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bow tie

Brace yourself. This blog post is not for the faint-hearted because it is packed full of adventure, craziness, and all the fun I have had in the last month. So, put on your seat belt and prepare yourself for an avalanche of life from my perspective.On September 11, the twins turned four. I cannot believe they are already four. Those little boogers are growing up so fast, and they are too smart for their own good. For their birthday, I sent them hula skirts and coconut bras. They looked so stinkin' cute, but they said the coconut bras were not comfortable, so don't expect to see them wearing these outfits on the daily. This is special occasion only garb.Alright, for all my "Mean Girls" fans out there, this one is for you. If you recall, Lindsay Lohan throws a party at her house that gets a little out of control. Some partiers are throwing around a vase, and Lohan hides it under the sink. It is a special fertility vase of the Ndebele tribe. Anyway, my boss Robin and I were watching the movie because she had never seen it before. During that scene, she commented that she recognized the vase. Turns out, the vase is on display in the officer's meeting room on the ship! She proved it to me the next day. Now I don't sit so close to that window during meetings :)
The next weekend called for a roommate day. Victoria an
d I did what we do best, shopping, eating, and competing. We went to the mall and shopped our little hearts out, then headed to Dave and Busters. After stuffing our faces, we headed to the game area. Both of us are super competitive, so that made for a fun afternoon of game play and competition. That night we went to dinner on the ship. I am so lucky to have such a good friend and roommate, and we have so much fun together!I had the afternoon off on Tuesday, so Megan and I took full advantage of it. First we headed to the black sand beach, followed by some exploring on lava rocks.After our exploring, we took the three mile hike back to the ship. The best part about Hawaii is that there are amazing views even when you are just walking down the street. Along the way, we made a pit stop at a homemade ice cream stand. We tried banana macadamia nut fudge ice cream. It was delicious. I think there are going to be several trips back to that little stand during my next contract.As my contract came to an end I packed my bags and got some great news about new projects coming to our ship that I get to be a part of. It really helped finish off the contract with a bang. It was so exciting, I was able to convince the straight-laced Chris to do a pre-vacation dance!As soon as I got home, the adventures skyrocketed from 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds. After spending a day with Amanda, Gabe came and picked me up for a little daycation he had planned. We went to the arcade, did some bowling (i won!), and visited our pal Justin. During the day of fun we came upon a vending machine that sold socks, yeah, that is correct, socks. And if you look carefully, you will see that only the middle column is labeled new socks. Needless to say, we invested in a pair, and I will admit they are quite comfy! I know I can always count on some sort of ridiculous to be present when Gabe makes the plans, but I definitely did not see that one coming!That night, I met Jordan for birthday sushi. It has become a bit of a ritual for us to grab sushi every year for his birthday. It is always good to catch up with him, and try new roll combinations.
The next day, I packed my bags and headed to the airport, destination: Dallas, Texas. This marked the beginning of The Bow Tie Tour 2011! Theo and I had been planning a road trip for months, and as we began to map it out, we noticed the trip was in fact shaped like a bow tie. Thus, The Bow Tie Tour 2011 was planned and we were about to embark on 14 days of action-packed adventure.I was greeted at the airport by a car, but not ju
st any car, the window of the passenger's seat on this car was plastered in snickers bars. As I climbed inside, I was surprised to find a bag filled with bow tie pasta (in honor of the road trip), green beans (my second favorite food), more snickers (Theo and I's snack of choice), and mexican jumping beans (because when you are Theo's friend, he is always going to throw in something unexpected and super fun)! We headed home and dropped off my bags before hitting the town to meet some of Theo's friends, and get me acquainted with the place he calls home.The next day, we explored downtown Dallas, and the arts district. It was a beautiful area, and we had a lot of fun doing the tourist thing.We then got to go see Theo's friend perform and spend a night out on the town. We had a blast, and Theo even went up on stage for a few numbers.

I ask that you pardon this blog interruption for a dance break.Now back to our regularly scheduled blog.

Our last day in Texas was spent at the Texas state fair! We ate everything fried... ok, so I ate everything fried and Theo lived vicariously through me due to his gluten allergy, but he still got his share of fair food. We made our way through the entire park, and rode the giant ferris wheel. Then, like all good fair-goers, we impulse bought everything from candied jalapenos to remote control helicopters. I think my favorite part of the day was watching Theo try to fly his new helicopter when we got home that night. I can now say that he knows how to operate the little thing, but the first few flights were out of control!Next stop on the trip, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. We met u
p with a friend Theo had met when he was a passenger on our ship. He introduced us to a fun restaurant, and we spent the rest of our night sleeping. I think the fair wore us out, and it took a few days to recuperate. We started the next day fully rested and checked out Bricktown and the Oklahoma City bombing memorial before getting back on the road, Pittsburg, Kansas bound!Pittsburg was a quick stop, but we had enough time to hit the hot spots. I gave Theo a tour of campus, and the sorority house! For those of you who remember Michael Admire in previous posts, I am proud to announce that he is a sports broadcaster for KOAM. Talk about pursuing your dreams, Michael is doing just that, and we got to see him in action while we were in Pitt. It was good to be back in the gorilla nation, even if it was short lived.
The next point of the bow tie was none other than my homeland, Kansas City! We spent our first evening relaxing. I made Theo a big pot of jumbalaya, and gave him a tour of the family businesses. That night, he proved how good of a friend he was by bearing with my mom and I and our Project Runway obsession. He even joined in on some mid-show discussion and critiques!We went downtown the next day to see some of my favorite places in Kansas City. Union Station, Crown Center, and the Plaza have been staples in my childhood, and I believe no trip to Kansas City is complete without a visit to all three. We grabbed a small lunch at Fritz's train station restaurant in order to leave plenty of room for the Kansas City bbq sampling he was about to experience that evening. After much discussion, and a family vote, it was determined, that Theo's first encounter with the savory, delicious, fall off the bone bbq we live for should be a Fiorella's Jack Stack. We met up with Kelly and enjoyed the delectable flavors I just can't seem to find in Hawaii.We wrapped up our Kansas City experience and h
eaded to Branson, Missouri. Now, this town is known for it's appeal by the senior citizen crowd, but I must admit, it was may favorite part of the trip! We went to a show the first night, then hung out with the cast of Oh What A Night that is currently performing there. The following day, Grandma and Grandpa McDonald came to town to see OWAN with us. It was a different experience to sit next to Theo during the show since I am so used to seeing him on stage, but we really enjoyed the performance.We had a break before going to see the show Six that night, so we made use of our time by visiting the Dinosaur Museum! I think we were the only ones in the whole museum, so we had a lot of fun learning and posing with my favorite creatures!We spent our last day in Branson driving go-carts and hanging out at the hotel. Things got a little wild when Oatmeal Cream Pies were flying across the room, and we discovered that they sell three-foot-long Twizzlers. Our tour through Branson was definitely an unforgettable one.
From Branson, we headed to Monett to introduce Theo to Dad, Shelly, and my little twin sisters. They immediately clung to Theo and he got quite the workout pushing them on their new swing set. It was a short stop there, then we were headed back to Dallas.
The road from Monett to Dallas is a long one, so we stopped in Fayetteville, Ark
ansas along the way. My cousin Emily is a freshman at University of Arkansas, so we met her for lunch and continued on the road to Dallas. When we arrived back in Dallas, we were exhausted. I watched Top Gun for the first time ever (an activity that was long overdue), and relaxed in the hotel. The road trip was officially over.
I went back to Kansas City for a day, and Mom and I took full advantage of that day. We shopped up and down every inch of the Plaza, and celebrated the end of our shopping experience with a feast at the Brazilian steak house. I love spending time with my mom.My trip to Pittsburg had been too short during the road trip, so I headed back for round two homecoming weekend. Almost all of my old roommates were in town, and we had a fun time catching up and crashing the Sig Ep fraternity formal. It was fun to see the look on everyone's faces when a posse of people in jeans and t-shirts walked into the formal, but they all welcomed us with open arms!The football game was a victory, and most people left when we were ahead by 50 points. Erin, Corbin and I stuck it out until the end to see the Gorillas triumph 69-6. The team is now ranked third in the nation, and it is good to see my beloved Gorillas back at the top of the charts. Like they always say, "once a gorilla, always a gorilla."My dad picked me up from Pittsburg the next day, so I could spend a week with him in Monett. While there, I took the twins to Build-A-Bear workshop. I think they were the happiest little girls in the world, and they had a blast putting together their bears.On Wednesday, I headed back to Branson for one last visit with the guys down there. We had been planning to go try our luck at putt putt golf, but that all changed when a vicious cold front came through town. Luckily, we found out about a local indoor putt putt course! We entered to find it was a Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn themed, indoor, glow-in-the-dark course. After taking in all of that, we tried out our skills. It was a lot of fun until the last hole which was a massive ramp. I gave up after 10 tries, and Jonathan and Christian followed my lead. Taylor was able to make it in three tries, but he doesn't count since he is a retiree of a putt putt course. Then, to all of our surprise, the six-year-old behind us conquered the final hole with an impressive hole-in-one! We had to take a picture with him to remember his great accomplishment. The following day, Bryce came to town, as well as our grandparents. It was so good to catch up with the brohan, and spend some quality family time together before heading back to Kansas City.
I spent all of Saturday with Amanda and her family. You can go back to my very first blog post to see that Amanda is my longest running friend to date, and I don't think that will be changing anytime soon. We go way back to 6th grade, the year of braces, and our first encounter with lockers and passing periods. I wouldn't trade all the fun we have had over the years for anything. I can always count on her to pick up our friendship right where we left off, no matter how many months or miles come between us.
Sunday, I caught up with the tonsil-less Meghan Kranz and spent the day walking and baking. I then spent the evening hanging out with Joe and Jordan. We feasted on Chipotle burritos and laughed out loud to funny and ridiculous videos. I have no problem bragging about how awesome my friends are, and I am so blessed to know each and every one of them. They are all so supportive of me and the things I have been doing, and welcome me every time I make my way back home. I cannot thank them enough for their love and encouragement as I pursue my dreams, which sometimes take me half way around the world.
In just a few short days, I am headed out again on the next big tour. Like I said earlier, there are some big projects in my near future, and I look forward to the opportunity to grab them by the reigns. I will fill you in on all the details as everything falls into place. I still have a few adventures up my sleeve before I ship out, but I will have to let you know about them later. I think this post has had all the fun it can handle.

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