Family, Love Letters

Love Letter: Dear Sawyer June

Sawyer June Ego
7.13.17 at 2:09 p.m.
6 lbs 10 oz

Dear Sawyer June,

We’ve been waiting for you for a long time. No, not just these last 9 months, but 23-ish years to be exact. That’s how long its been since there has been a new baby in this part of the family, so Janci and I have been waiting all of that time to have an Ego cousin. And to be honest, Janci was long overdue to give up the “baby of the family” title.

Don’t get me wrong, having our grandparents all to ourselves while growing up down the street from them was actually pretty great. As far as grandparents go, our Grammy and Grampy are one of a kind and now it’s your turn to get spoiled by them. And trust me, they are pretty great at that too.

This family you were born into is kind of crazy. It’s been said that we should have our own sitcom. We are a bit loud and a bit sarcastic, so you’ll need some thick skin to survive. But our love for one another is just as big so it balances out at the end of the day.

Your daddy was like a big brother to me, instead of an uncle. He let me annoyingly tag along and my Barbies to co-exist with his Legos. He taught me to geek out over movies and to have a sense of adventure. I’m pretty sure you will have seen Star Wars no less than 100 times by the time you are 5. I hope that someday you will let my own kids tag along without too much fuss. And your mama, well she has been the perfect balance to all our chaos and I was so happy when she became a part of our family.

You are already so loved little girl and the fact that I don’t get to hold you for another 3 weeks is making me more homesick than I ever have been before.

You’ll learn quickly that family is the most important thing we have and we are so glad that you joined ours.

Love, Mandy

Family

Janci’s College Graduation

I figured I should probably go ahead and get this blog post up before the end of another week came up…

(I’m in the process of moving to a new apartment and getting ready for a work trip, so things are a little busy around here.)

But it was important for me to take the time to celebrate one of my favorite people. Graduating college is no small feat, and my sister did it with quite a bit to be proud of.

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She was on the Dean’s list almost every semester and recognized with the Outstanding Graduate Award for her major. On top of that she was a student-athlete, finishing her final season this spring as a 2nd Team All-Conference player, an Academic All-Conference student athlete and with a conference regular season team championship. She was also given the Champion of Character Award at the conference championship tournament.

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I have always admired Janci for her tenacity. As much we try, there are a lot of new experiences and challenges that you can’t quite prepare for in college, but Janci had more focus and determination than most people I know. And most importantly, she found what she is passionate about, which can be the hardest part. I am so proud of all of her hard work and of the person she became along the way. Even though I keep moving further away from home, somehow we have grown closer as sisters and now best friends.

I was pretty disappointed that it didn’t work out for me to there in person to help celebrate her with the rest of my family, but thankfully they flooded my text message inbox with pictures to make me feel like I was there.

Congratulations Jancz!
I love you~

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My sister and our parents.

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Mom and Janci.

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With our Aunt Diane.

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With our Grampy and Grammy.

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With her roommate and teammate Karina.

Life at Random

Loves + Hates

As I’ve ventured back into blogging, I’ve wondered whether or not I should engage with other bloggers. I blog primarily because I really like to write and share/scrapbook my life with my friends and family who enjoy keeping up with me. So there was never a negative thought towards engaging (because that is a huge part of blogging) but it just was never my original purpose to invest in. However things change and I went back to a mantra that has been big for me in 2015… Why Not?

So I’ve slowly started to reach out and engage with others, and so far I’m glad I have. Obviously its taking me a while to get used to the swing of things because it took me three weeks to notice that Kylie tagged me in her post last month about ten things she loves and hates. (BTW Thanks Kylie!)

Well, I LOVE list making so if this is what engaging with others looks like, then count me in! I will say though, I struggled a bit writing this because I know at least one of my college roommates will read this and would immediately call me out for not listing all of the weird things I have really strong feelings about, so in other words, this post should instead be titled “Owning the Crazy.”

– LOVES –

1. K-State Gameday
 I could go on for days about why I love sports, but there are few things that parallel my love for K-State Gamedays. If you tell me it’s just a football game, we can’t be friends. It’s tailgating, kegs and eggs, bean toss games, going to the Ville afterward and friends. It’s the sea of purple, Snyder’s pre-game playlist, traditions, doing the Wabash and tearing up every time I hear this song…

I’ve said before that my perfect last day on earth includes a K-State Gameday and I mean it.
I’m going to miss my first Family Reunion (opening game) since I became a Kansas State Wildcat six years ago….and I will definitely be a little extra homesick for Kansas that day.
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2. Showers
This is what my college roommates would have called me out on for not including, partially because I didn’t realize it was something I LOVED until I lived with them and vocalized it to the point that it became a joke. But seriously though, I know it sounds weird, but I just love a long, really hot shower before bed (at night because I have curly hair.) And it must not be just an adult-me thing because I’m pretty I haven’t had a bath since before I was young enough to remember. Ok, now that we are bordering the TMI line…
 
3. Caffeine
To know me, is to know how much I LOVE coffee and Diet Coke.
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PEOPLE, I have a Pinterest board just for Caffeine.
I could keep going for days.

4. Live Concerts
In the same way that I could write multiple lists and blog posts about sports, I could about music. My tastes stretch far and wide to encompass a pretty unique influence of people, places and experiences. But the true test and the best way to experience music is live, whether its in a huge stadium or a college bar. I could never pick a favorite genre, artist or song, and at this point I couldn’t pick a favorite concert…I’ve been to A LOT…my college budget was basically built around them. So far my favorite venue is Starlight Theatre (an outdoor amphitheater in Kansas City,) and Red Rocks is at the top of my bucket list.

5. Words
Ironically, this is usually hard for me to explain.
They are one of the few things that continue day in and day out to challenge, fascinate and surprise me.
I believe words are a simple art medium, like paint or music notes, but the strongest, most impactful tool that we have.
Language, Typography, speeches, prose, poetry, stories, scripture, quotes and lyrics… I love it all, so much so, that I’ve written a post about it before. Read HERE.
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6. Chips & Salsa
I would eat them with every meal if I could.
Every. Single. Meal.
I did once, when I was in vacation in Cabo San Lucas.
It was fabulous.

7. Turquoise
I’m one of those people, whose favorite color is obnoxiously obvious at all times.
This is just my jewelry.
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Then if we start branching out into the blue color family, it’s incorporated in some shade into every room’s theme in my home except for the kitchen and its my clothing neutral color.
Ironically, I really hate the song Blue (Da Ba Dee) by Eiffel 65.

8. 80’s Movies
In my past life I would have been in a John Hughes film.
I can quote Breakfast Club on command, Footloose is my anthem, I wanted to be Andi in Pretty in Pink and really, we shouldn’t get started on my love for Top Gun.
The music! The hair! The cheesiness!
Basically I’m saying if you stood outside my window with a boom box I’d fall in love with you forever.

9. Pigs
This is another one that my college roommates always found pretty amusing. I don’t expect you to understand, especially if your only reference is Charlotte’s Web. But when you grew up in agriculture and showing livestock, its different. I’ve always loved swine science. They are incredibly smart, cute and yes…great to eat. Honestly, my first job with the Kansas Pork Association was perfect for me.
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 10. My Sister
 Okay, I know this one is kind of cliché to list, its usually assumed that most people love their family. And my Mom is now rolling her eyes because I’ll see Janci in just two days and it’s a guarantee that we’ll argue at least once. But I know people who genuinely can’t stand their siblings or will never understand them, and that just makes me so thankful for our friendship. She turned 21 this summer and I wrote about that HERE.

Other Things That I LOVE…
Flowers, giving presents, messy braided hair, mountains, watermelon, my Dad’s cooking,  fireworks and the 4th of July, weddings, babies, Grumpy Cat memes, taco trucks, western boots, Summer Shandy, basketball, agriculture, mason jars, reading, Criminal Minds, Gilmore Girls, Doctor Who…I’m sure I could go on.

– HATES–

1. Green beans
As an adult there are foods that I still don’t like but will eat anyways every now and then.
Except for green beans, I can’t even stand the smell of them.
My first semester in college I went home for a three day weekend with one of the girls who lived in my scholarship house. When we sat down with her family for dinner, everyone passed their plate to the Dad and he filled up your plate for you, which was totally fine except that he gave me green beans and right as I was about to say no thank you, the girl pipes up and says, “Amanda, my mom makes the best green beans!” It was traumatizing and at the end of the weekend I called my Mom to tell her, just so she would say she was proud of me.

2. Winter
This hate is multi-faceted…
I hate being cold, anything peppermint is gross and I’d rather dropkick the chipmunks than listen to them sing. Actually I dislike Christmas music in general, with a few very specific expectations, that can only be played between the day AFTER Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. I could write a whole other post just on the reasons why I hate snow, the static air drives me loony and I have this weird complex with cheesy Christmas anything. And did I mention that I hate being cold?  I promise there are a few things I do like about the season, but for the most part I wish we could skip it all together.

Unlike summer, SUMMER is fabulous and magical.

3. Balloons
 So if I had continued the list on things that I love I would have eventually written about flowers, mainly because my family are florists. But for as much love and nostalgia I have for flowers, but I feel the exact opposite about balloons. The helium gel stinks, tying them off makes my hands cramp and one can handle only so many popping noises. One time, one of the grade schools had ordered something like 500+ balloons because the kids had met their reading goals, so everyone was going to get to release one. To me that was the definition of pointless and wasteful. But yet I’m the one who got pulled out of school to blow them all up.

My Mom jokes that she’s going to decorate my future wedding with them.

 4. When People Act Dumb, or Speak and Write Incorrectly…On Purpose
I thought about making poor grammar one on this list, but decided it kind of a given considering my career, so I thought, “What actually gets on my nerves?”

There is a time and a place for shorthand and slang. We all make mistakes and no one should ever be made to feel belittled for what they genuinely don’t know or understand. But when people do it on purpose to manipulate a situation, be lazy or say “whatever, I don’t care.” NO. You are privileged to have an education. Please use it.

5. Masks
Think mascots, Halloween corn mazes and actors dressed up as animated characters.
Think about it. Grown adults putting on silly and usually oversized costumes that hide their identity whose primary purpose is to hug children. Ummm HELLO, why am I the only one who is bothered by this?!
Yes, it may be a bit irrational and no, I don’t have some traumatizing childhood experience, but if I can’t see your face I won’t trust you and seriously, DON’T TOUCH ME.

The fact that this picture exists is a big deal. #ididitforthetshirt polo
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6.The Princess Bride (the movie)
Yet I’ve seen it at least 3 times…
Don’t try to reason with me, it’s a permanent hatred.

7. Laundry
Always have and always will.
The rest of my house will be organized and clean, but I will always have laundry, both dirty and clean piled on the floor. One of my apartments in college had a community laundry room that was literally across the lawn (and around the pool) from our door and I would have to bribe my roommates to go with me to help carry all the laundry I procrastinated on or just because I needed the motivation.

8. Shopping
OK, I don’t actually hate shopping, but it definitely doesn’t go into the LOVE category. I can be incredibly indecisive so it stresses me out. And crowded malls with overly aggressive sales people who aren’t actually helpful when you need them to be is just not how I want to spend my time. Growing up we had to shop in a order for back-to-school stuff. Dad went first so he could then wander off to the book store (he was a teacher), then me and then Jancz. Poor Mom, she could always tell by the look on my face that I was DONE.

9. “I Gotta A Feeling” by The Black Eyed-Peas
Not that I liked it at all to begin with, but every time I hear it, all I can hear is a specific someone’s annoying high-pitched, nasally voice screaming the lyrics.
I know that’s kind of mean, especially since I can’t sing at all either, but still…I just can’t handle it.
For good measure, the music video is also just as stupid.

10. Automated Telephone Services
The hours of my life that I’ve lost to automated telephone services.
I know they have a purpose, blah, blah, blah.
But I just want to talk to a real human being and not to have to push “1” 60 billion times just to realize that I’m in the wrong menu.
The only thing worse is when you do get a real person and then spend 7 hours over the course of two weeks trying to get things sorted out. (I’m looking at you Comcast.)

*****
This was fun to write!
If you haven’t done a post like this before, join in!
im okay with my crazy

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Linking up on “Thursday’s are for Thinking Out Loud” with Running with Spoons. 

Family

Gonna Party Like We Just Turned 21

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Today this girl {finally} turns 21.
I know these days, a cheesy birthday post are a dime a dozen, but then again its not every day that your baby sister turns 21.

This is Janci L’Amour.
She’s sassy, silly and smart.
She loves all things pink, action movies, baking, country music, golf and is forever in search of the perfect taco.
She’s a hard working student-athlete and can ALWAYS make me laugh.
She is NOT a morning person and might be even more impatient than I am.
Oh, and she’s definitely a crazy cat lady in the making.
Growing up, our ages didn’t often align. Far enough in age to not be able to relate to each other, but close enough in age for us to not get along in the process. There was a time where I thought we could not be more different.
And in A LOT of ways we are still very different, but over time that age gap faded and we grew to be best friends.
I know I’m only a few years older, but I just feel so proud to have watched her grow up, doing things her own stubborn way and become someone who inspires me.
She’s the perfect sister, side kick and partner in crime.

Happy 21st Birthday Jancz!
I’m so glad that you get to spend it at the U.S. Open and be a part of something that you are so passion about. And I’m SO EXCITED to celebrate with you in LAS VEGAS in August!!
{Insert Sister of the Year Award HERE}

I love you, to the moon and back,
Sissy

Friendship, Kansas

Throwback: Two Weddings and…Two Weeks

With wedding season officially in full swing I couldn’t help but reminisce about last year’s season. On this very day last year I was on my way down to Southeast Kansas to kick off two of my busiest weeks, ever! I was honored to stand by two of my best friends, Kyla and Leah in their weddings…which happened to be on back-to-back weekends. It’s kind of hard to imagine that was all a year ago now!

Since I wasn’t regularly blogging at the time, I figured why not do a little throwback!

I said those two weeks were busy, but if I’m being honest, it was the entire first half of 2014. My Pinterest account got daily attention and together my friend Megan and I became bridal shower and bachelorette party hosting pro’s.  There were dress fittings, accessories to keep track of and 10 different hairstyles to plan, practice for and do. For Leah’s wedding there was an invitation to design and +10,000 songs on my iTunes to sort down to one playlist; while for Kyla’s there was an {awesome} speech to write and flowers for my mom and I to put together.

I say all of this not to gripe, but because I want to remember every bit of it.
Yes it was busy, but it was also such a special couple of months.
Both of these girls had been my roommates through college. We finished our growing up together; laughing, crying and supporting each other through accomplishments, mistakes, challenges, change and milestones. They are both so unique, and inspire me with their strength, friendship and compassion. I witnessed both of their love stories and was so happy to share in this part of their lives.

I teased these girls (who are both great friends with each other) for the circles they had me turning in, but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. There are so many little anecdotes, jokes and memories, that I have with them and the great group of friends we have, that shared in it all. And in a lot of ways, since the last of us had also just graduated, it was the end of an era.

To Nathan and Kyla, and Leah and Ryan,
Wishing you both a Happy First Anniversary!
Love you!

Family, Love Letters

Livin’ on Love for 25 Years

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Today is my parent’s 25th wedding anniversary.

I’m living out here in D.C. and my sister is currently in Utah at a college golf tournament.
It’s the middle of the school week, so Dad was at work before the sun comes up and it’s also Tuesday, so Mom might be prepping the weekly shipment of roses to go into the cooler at the shop.
Life will probably go on as any other day, and I know my parents wouldn’t have it any other way.
But it’s important for them to know how important this is to Janci and I.
Words might be a strange gift, but it’s the best kind that I know how to give.

Mr & Mrs Tom Spoo    Cake

You know when you are growing up, you don’t really think much about love, marriage and your parents as a couple. They’re Mom and Dad. They’ve always been a part of your story, there to do what parents are supposed to do.

It wasn’t until I left for college that I started to see who they were from a different perspective. As I met new people, I saw different family dynamics, examples of love, marriage and ways to raise a family. And while I have a lot of respect for those differences and families, I began to realize the significance of what I had and how much it had impacted who I was.

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It’s hard to summarize who my parents are in one blog post.
You know my dad as Tom, the ag teacher turned principal, who enjoys cooking for people and wears a flat brimmed cowboy hat. And you know my Mom as Julie, who owns our family’s 3rd generation flower shop and drinks endless amounts of Diet Coke.

But together, they are our parents. Dad is our superhero and Mom is our very own Gilmore Girl. They certainly are not perfect, and thats what makes what our family has, so special.
Our parents have never really sheltered us. The world is big, scary, confusing and unfair. But they’ve shown us that it is also bold, beautiful, forgiving, kind and full of opportunity.
We’ve seen them yell, struggle to communicate and both be stubborn to a fault. But we’ve also seen what it means to work as a team, to trust and forgive, be patient and to always, always give each other grace.

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Over the years, I’ve gotten some weird looks and rolled eyes when I tell people that my parents truly are two of my best friends. But to be honest, I don’t really think that was their true intention, it just sort of happened that way. Janci and I practically grew up at the flower shop and when we weren’t there, we were in Dad’s classroom or riding along in the truck on his endless errands. No, we didn’t have a lot of fancy vacations or structured cookie cutter family time – what we had was better. Our parents shared themselves with us. Their careers, passions, habits and interests.  There is a reason Janci and I have creative minds and can’t sit down during basketball games. It’s for the same reason that we listen to Kris Kristofferson and eat tacos when we are homesick.

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In return, our parents also invested themselves in the things that made their kids happy. We became curious about the world around us because we all talked, shared and listened to each other. Dad learned to enjoy jamming to Kelly Clarkson and Mom fought through her late summer allergies to spend the week at the county fair. They made sure we knew that they were always in our corner, no matter what.

My parents have built their marriage and our family on laughter. So much so that I’ve found that elsewhere in life, the people I can laugh with are the people that I trust and respect the most. Laughter should be easy, cheesy and shared. In our family you have to be witty, onery and willing to laugh at yourself, if you are going to keep up.

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Above all though, the most important thing that they’ve taught us through their 25 years of marriage, is what it means to live on love. They taught us to believe in it, value it and to live for it.  There may still be lot that Janci and I both have left to learn about love, but in my mind we have the best teachers because theirs is mushy, steadfast and shared.

Love is my Dad not turning in for the night before grabbing a cold Diet Coke for Mom, who has already gone upstairs. But in return, she will be expected to be able to hold a conversation with him at 5 a.m. when he’s up and getting ready for work.

It is the way my Dad giggles when Mom gets really irritated with him and uses “Thomas Spoo” like he’s a four year old in trouble. And its how she knows exactly what volume to talk at so that he can’t hear her because he refuses to wear his hearing aids at home.

Love is the fact that my Mom will never stop blaming Dad for saving the dog before her when the truck caught on fire. And it’s also why she took Janci to get her ears pierced as a toddler just to spite him.

It is the reason I get a phone call every year on her birthday or Christmas when he is clothes shopping for her, because he thinks that magically through the phone I am going to be able to tell him that yes it will fit and yes, I think she will like it. I am not sure why he does that, because it is always perfect.

Love tastes like chicken and dumplings, sour dough cinnamon rolls and taco soup. It’s the sound of the truck pulling in the drive, the way Mom always smells like a bouquet of flowers and the feel of crisp, newly ironed button up shirts.

It is the reason my Mom has not had a real garage in 10 years, and Dad faithfully hauls in the mass amount of Christmas decorations each year.

Love is the reason that our living room doesn’t get used much. Because no matter how many times they said “no more,” the four of us are always most at home sprawled across their bedroom in the evenings to watch a movie or TV. It’s a good thing that as we grew up, their master bedroom got bigger.

 It’s 25 years of  a lot of big, proud moments and even more little ones everyday. It is all of the stories that Janci and I do know, and the ones that we don’t.

Dear Mom and Dad,
Because of you, we believe in every cheesy country love song that we hear on the radio.
Someday Janci and I hope that we can have 25 years that look like yours.
We love being your baby girls.

Happy Anniversary.
– Mandy and Jancz

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Kansas, Love Letters

A Love Letter to Manhattan, Kansas

There is one thing I remember from the second time I drove into Manhattan, Kansas. I remember quite a bit about the first time too, but at that time I was a high school senior, and even though I knew that this was where I wanted to go to college, it all seemed so surreal and far away.

But my second time it wasn’t to visit, it was to stay. Manhattan was going to be my home, and I was terrified. I had no idea what I had committed too, and still wasn’t above begging my dad to take me back to Oregon with him. But the single thing I remember from that drive in from the airport was the sound. The sun was starting to go down in my beloved west, and what should have been a beautiful evening, was ruined by what sounded like a surround sound generator. When we pulled up to Smurthwaite Scholarship House, the very first thing my dad says to the girl welcoming me in is, “What the hell is that sound out there?”

They were cicadas and at that point I was pretty sure there was no way I could live in Manhattan, Kansas.

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Fast forward 5.5 years later, not only did I stay and graduate from Kansas State University, but I chose to stay in Manhattan for my first job. Now I’m looking at a new job and adventure in Washington D.C., and with two days before my move, I keep thinking back to those stupid cicadas. I couldn’t tell you when it happened, but at some point they became a normal part of life, and then I didn’t notice them at all.

I think it would be easier to leave a place if you were running from it. But while my life seems to have always moved at a full sprint, I never felt like I was running away from anything. I’ve said this a million and one times, but I never could have known what the choice of a stubborn eighteen year old would become. The phrase “Home is where the heart is” is a common one, but I think it needs to be taken a step further. Home is a feeling, and the strongest, truest, best feelings are the ones that you can’t quite describe. Those are feelings of love. And somewhere between those cicadas driving me insane and now, I fell in love with Manhattan, Kansas, and it became my home.

So here’s my love letter to you, because these are that kind of feelings that should be shared.

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I love you at 7:00pm in the summer. The day’s temperature might have been unbearable, but when the humidity evaporates a little and the harsh sun splashes itself across the western horizon, everything else seems to wake up. Your smell, your color, your people and the promise of a little relief and time to enjoy being outside always got me through until the end of the day. As a K-State alumna I always loved the heartbeat of our campus, but in the summer you slow down and become almost peaceful. I love that you could be both and that the college and the community were a part of each other. I don’t know if you could have one without the other and still fall in love.

But my favorite season has always been fall, and that will always be my favorite time of year here. An oasis amongst the Konza Prairie, I don’t think I will ever tire of looking at the palette of fall leaves against your traditional limestone buildings. Fall also meant the city came alive again and while I quickly became a townie after graduation, K-State is what brought me here in the first place. And when my last day on earth comes, a seat in Bill Snyder Family Stadium with a roaring crowd is a strong contender for how I want to spend it.

I love your culture and your quirky personality. Often, when you say you are from Manhattan, people don’t know that The Big Apple has a little sister settled out in the Midwest. But invest a little time here and give it a chance and you’ll find you don’t need those big city lights. I’ll miss lazy days out at Pillsbury and Tuttle creek, and eating ice cream up on Manhattan Hill. Every time I thought I had finally ate at all of the unique places, there was always on more to try. And man, I’m sure going to miss Nancy’s and raspberry chipotle bean dip at So Long’s.

I’ve seen Aggieville packed with purple, packed with green and just plain packed. Every time I hear red dirt music I’ll be taken back to taken back to sticky floors, neon lights and two-stepping in Longhorns, back when it was in its country prime. She brought me new friends, great memories and terrible stories to laugh about later. And sure it’s great to reminisce about a time when my roommates and I knew its sidewalks better at last call, but I fell in love all over again each time I discovered it’s daytime personality. I loved getting lost in the Dusty Bookshelf, bacon maple donuts at Varsity and cheering on the Wildcats and Royals from the seats of whichever bar wasn’t “cursed” at the time.

You know, I could have written this letter to K-State specifically to reminisce about college but I’ve had time to do that since I graduated, and as much as I miss it, I’m okay with those four years being memories. Really great memories. And like college has, you’ll soon become a part of my past. But you see people pass through with their eyes on the future year after year, and you should be pretty darn proud at the role you’ve played in the success of so many of those futures.

Most people agree that it’s the simplest things in life to enjoy and surround yourself with. Well Manhattan, you sure do simple well. It’s ordering the Blackhole at Bluestem Bistro, exploring the Konza and waking up to see the sunrise on “Top of the World.” It’s driving “the city loop” at midnight with the windows down and blaring your favorite playlist. It’s the fact that you could meet someone new everyday, then see five people you knew at the grocery store. It’s all of your silly traditions. It’s tailgating on Gameday and fighting back the tears when they open the game with “Proud of the House We Built.” It’s showing you off to my family every time they visited. It’s forgetting how many times you’ve seen Logan Mize live and the crowd singing along to “Never Gonna Change.”

I love you for the people you brought into my life. Some were temporary and only shared a short part of their lives with me and others I’ll be connected to for the rest of my life. These people changed me. They became my best friends, partners in crime and soul sisters. They taught me to love Kansas.They welcomed me into their families. I’ve always believed that you will find good, kind people wherever you go, but I’m pretty convinced that the best ones have lived in Kansas at some point in their life.

This was a long love letter, not short and snappy like a blog post should be, but I needed to write it. For others, because I want you to know how much it hurts my heart to leave. My life here was full in every way. I feel selfish to think that maybe, just maybe I can find what I had here in another place. But if I don’t, I know that I lived more in these 6 years, then some ever do.

I mostly wrote this though, for myself. It’s a strange feeling, when you’re about to leave a place. I know that I’m not only going to miss the people I love, and this town, but I’m going to miss the person I am at this very moment and place, because I know I’ll never be this way ever again. But I am so very thankful for that person you made me become.  You taught her to laugh louder, write better and think for herself. She learned to love and she learned that as long as you kept moving forward, it was all worth it. You showed her what life could be when you embraced the crazy. She finished growing up here, became independent and passionate about the world around her. If it wasn’t for you, she might have never been brave to take another risk and make a move like this.

To Manhappiness, this purple little town that I’ve called home,
I’m so thankful those cicadas became a normal, welcomed part of life.
I can’t wait to come back and visit.

Love,
Amanda

Click HERE to Watch My Farewell Video