it’s dancin’ time!

Tonight I was a proud alumni. I always am, but tonight I was even more so.

WKU basketball has won back to back Sunbelt conference championships now. It was an incredibly fun tournament to watch. It wouldn’t be a WKU game if it didn’t come down to the last few seconds. And if you’re as competitive and intense as me, you really get into the games and stress out a bunch. Sorry people at the bar that had to hear me yell. There were some really bad calls at the end.

Now that we won the Sunbelt conference, we are going to the NCAA MARCH MADNESS TOURNAMENT! Whew, got excited there. We went last year, but lost to UK early on. This year, we could definitely go further. We have some great guys this year. They are young too, so if we don’t, there’s always next year! We’ll just have to see…

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typical big red…

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baller

A weekend with the Irish.

Remember the post from back in August when I surprised my husband with tickets to a Notre Dame football game (something he’s wanted to do since he was a kid!) for his birthday? Well, this past weekend was the game! And boy, was it worth all of the money and miles.

On Friday afternoon, we headed north on our journey. We made a pit stop in Indianapolis to eat dinner and meet up with a good friend of mine from high school. I love getting to catch up with friends I don’t get to see very often. We had fun at dinner and then enjoyed walking around the downtown area, exploring for a bit before getting back on the road.

soldiers and sailors monument in downtown Indianapolis.

We arrived safely at our hotel in Kokomo, IN and called it a night since we knew it’d be a long day ahead. Seven AM on Saturday morning came too quick, but we were so excited that we didn’t care if we were tired. We got ready and made our way 90 miles up the road to the University of Notre Dame. Game day on ND’s campus is something everyone should experience. It’s incredible how much school spirit and tradition is on that campus.

the basilica, where Mass is held on campus.

the golden dome!!

We spent the morning walking around and taking in the beauty of the campus. For those of you who don’t know my husband, he is not only a ND fan, but a Rudy fan as well. If you haven’t seen the movie, watch it sometime. It’s a classic. With that being said, we just had to get a picture of the bench where Rudy read his acceptance letter to ND. Now we can sleep peacefully at night knowing we’ve been to that exact location. Thank the Lord.

some things have changed since the movie was made, but that is the exact location he sat.

Once we were done sight-seeing, we lined up along the sidewalk leading to the stadium to watch the band proceed into the game. I didn’t realize this before, but Notre Dame had the first University marching band. I guess that’s why it is such a large band and very well-respected on campus. We made it to our seats and could immediately feel the excitement in the stadium.

at the game.

The first three quarters didn’t go so well. We thought Pitt was going to hand us our first loss of the season and that was not going over well with the fans. All of the excitement from before the game was replaced with frustration and anger. But just when we thought it was over for Notre Dame’s perfect season, things started to turn around. We were down by 14 points in the 4th quarter, but out of nowhere the defense stepped it up and the offensive was actually able to do something with the ball. We came back to tie up the game 20-20 with no time left in the game, thus sending us into overtime. Oh, but not just one OT; not just two, but THREE overtimes later we WON! It was such an emotional rollercoaster of a game. There were multiple times where we thought for sure Pitt was going to win or vise-versa. Finally our quarterback ran it in for the final touchdown of the game, putting us ahead 29-26. ND is now 9-0, ranked #4 in the nation.

As we walked out of the stadium, the entire crowd was chanting “undefeated!” over and over again. It was such a fun atmosphere and I can’t imagine a better game and outcome to attend. We most definitely got our money’s worth for those tickets. Good memories!

After the game we stopped at a pizza place before heading to our hotel half-way between South Bend and Chicago, IL.

Sunday morning brought cold temperatures and breezy weather. Windy city is an understatement for Chicago. It was fun exploring the town with my husband, because he had never been there. We knew we had a six-hour drive ahead of us, so we only stayed in the city for about four hours before finally making the journey home.

skyline from the navy pier.

world’s largest bean

We were blessed with safe travels, great weather, and some amazing memories. So thankful. Praise be to God!

oh, just makin’ dreams come true.

Twenty-six years ago today an adorable baby entered this world. Come on, I’m not that conceited. I’m talking about my husband here. I love birthdays. There’s something about them that just excites me (even if it’s not mine). I love giving gifts. My gift to him this year was tickets to a Notre Dame football game. He has been a huge fan since he was a kid. He has always said one of his ‘bucket list’ items is to attend a ND football game in South Bend, IN at the ND stadium. That, folks, will be taking place on November 3rd. Notre Dame is playing University of Pittsburgh. I am so excited to have the opportunity to do this with him.

I bought the tickets a couple of weeks ago on stubhub. It must have been through a season ticket holder, who wasn’t going to be able to make that game, because he didn’t have the actual tickets yet (they get them once the season starts). They will be mailed to us sometime before the end of October. Since I didn’t have the actual tickets to give him on his birthday, I made some on Microsoft Word. I put them in his birthday card. I really don’t think you can tell they are fake unless you knew or look really, really hard. Not trying to toot my own horn or anything. But really.

i should make this my career.

I also made him a cake that I (attempted to) make look like a football field. Keep in mind, I’m not a professional cake baker/decorator so cut me some slack when judging the cake.

For the cake, all I did was buy a box of cake-mix (milk chocolate) and added 3 eggs, 1 1/4 C of water and 1/3 C. vegetable oil. This made it extra…damp? (I despise the ‘m’ word – I can’t even type it) I mixed up the batter, lined a 13×9 pan with wax paper (as to easily transfer it from the pan to the cake carrier) and poured in the mix. Baked at 350 for 25 minutes (may vary from oven to oven). Poked a toothpick in and it was perfect! Then I took vanilla icing and green food-coloring and mixed them together for the grass field look. I then used white ‘writing’ icing that I had left over from a previous dessert (it doesn’t expire…kind of makes you wonder what’s in it) and made the lines on the field out of that. It was super easy (especially when you don’t make anything from scratch! haha). And that’s about as creative as I get.

We went to church tonight and then afterwards, went out to eat with some friends to celebrate. We enjoyed mexican food and football field cake. My favorite.

birthday boy.

Needless to say, he loved the gifts! He is really excited to go to the game. I just wish we didn’t have to wait 2 1/2 months now. Now starts the planning for an adventurous weekend in Northern Indiana. Maybe we’ll even make it to Chicago since he has never been there. We’ll see.

have a little faith.

WKU is playing UK tonight in the second round of the NCAA tournament. UK is the top #1 seed in the tournament and WKU is a #16 seed. A #16 seed has never beat a #1 in NCAA history. How cool would it be to make history? I know everyone is saying it’s so unrealistic, but it’s still fun to have your school in the tournament. No matter who they play (even if it ruins my bracket), I’m going to cheer for them. It’s important to have pride in your school.

it ain’t over till it’s over.

There are two very important things I have learned about being a WKU basketball fan; never stop having faith and never stop watching until the clock strikes 0.00. There have been numerous occasions (especially of late) that we have been down by more than 10 in the last 8 minutes of the game and we have come back to win. SinceRay Harper was named official head coach at WKU, he has not lost a game. He has done a tremendous job at taking this team of kids and turning it into a team of young men. He took over the team mid-season, after having one of the worst seasons we’ve had in a long time. That’s incredibly hard to do. And look at us now. I just can’t get over how great of a coach he is, and even more, how great of a person he is. Last night, in the first round of the NCAA tournament, WKU played MVSU. We were down by 16 with 4 minutes left in the game; we came back to win by 1 point. What a great and unexpected turn-around. I don’t think anyone saw that coming.

This is a picture from last night’s game. That is WKU’s basketball coach hugging an opposing player to console him after they lost the game they thought they had in the bag. What makes this picture so great, in my opinion, is that it shows us that we should view games for what they are – games. It shows us that winning is great, but caring about others, even our opponents, is greater. Not only is it the other team consoling this player, but it’s the coach of the other team. What a great example for our players. If there is one guy I want coaching our Toppers, it’s Ray Harper. HARPERNATION: I’m on board!

day seven – a person you would love to meet.

If someone had asked me this question yesterday, I would have said Peyton Manning: QB for the Indianapolis Colts. What’s my answer today? Peyton Manning: free agent?

When I heard the news that the Indianapolis Colts were parting ways with Peyton Manning, my heart sank inside my chest. I can’t say that I was completely caught off guard, because realistically, we all saw the potential for this to happen. But hearing the words officially spoken was a bit heart-wrenching for me. I think what hurts the most, is knowing that Peyton built this team into what it is today. I remember watching my first Colts game back in middle school and thinking how cool Manning was. It was their 2003 season, when they had guys like Edgerrin James, Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison, Brandon Stockley and of course Tony Dungy coaching. Who wouldn’t fall in love with a team consisting of those players?

So, would I still love to meet Peyton Manning? Of course! He is one of the best quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen. He is the reason I fell in love with football. He plays smart, he is clutch, and he gets things done. I will always respect him as a player. I wish him the best wherever he ends up.

The Colts definitely have their work cut out for them. I am, and always will be, a fan, there’s no doubt about that. It’s just going to be a rough couple of seasons ahead, unless Andrew Luck turns out to be as great as everyone thinks. Who knows, maybe he’ll be the next Manning. One can only hope.

But for now….what to do with my Manning jersey?