I love Kansas, Kittens, and 2015

Can I just say that I Love Kansas!?

A couple years ago when we were deciding where we would like to live, Kansas was one of the first states eliminated.  Too flat.  Too windy.  Too ugly.  And I think parts of the state may be like that.  But this little section, the Flint Hills, is far from flat.  It Is windy here. You can’t get around that point. But I knew that coming here and the home we bought is kind of protected so it hasn’t bothered me too much at this point.  I don’t think it’s ugly here – probably because it isn’t flat and we still have some trees.  I think it’s really pretty here — even if everything is brown because it is winter.

long shadows

I know I’ve said this before, but we have moved a lot.  Since getting married eight years ago we have lived in seven states: North Carolina, California, Florida, Washington, Mississippi, Alabama, and now Kansas.  (We also sort of moved to Colorado for a brief period of time – but it’s a long story.)  And in those seven states, we’ve lived in nine different houses.  At six years old, Lizzie has lived in six different states.  Which is not too bad because for awhile she had lived in more states than she was years old.

So now, as we settle in once more to a new house, a new job, new church, new everything, I have never felt more at home.  I just love it here!  This has come as quite a surprise to me.  Something is different about this move and, though I can’t quite put my finger on it, I can feel it.  I’m at peace here and knowing that we are supposed to be here the next four years is reassuring.


Four years – that means we can actually have a garden for more than one season.  We can actually send Christmas cards from the same address multiple years in row.  We can actually be settled. And if Rich decides to switch to the Guard then we could be here even longer.  That would be amazing.

Of course, as I’ve said before, the house we bought needs work.  We’ve been here just over two weeks and have already had to deal with two major issues.  The first was a plumbing issue.  I don’t know what happened exactly, but all of a sudden there was water pouring out of the basement ceiling.  Thankfully, the basement is 100% unfinished but there are a lot of boxes down there.  We were running around trying to figure out what was going on.  The shower and bathtub were filling with water and the toilets were bubbling.  Rich got on the phone with our realtor to get the septic guy’s number and find a plumber.  For about 15 minutes everything was in complete chaos and then all of a sudden there was a Whooshing noise and all the water drained from the shower and tub and everything started flowing normally.  Apparently there was some kind of block in the mainline from the house.  We had it cleaned out and here’s hoping that never happens again.

The second big issue went something like this:

Rich: Your car sounds terrible.  How long has it been running like this?

me: What do you mean?

Rich: You don’t feel that?  I press the accelerator and it’s lurching.  That’s not normal.

me: oh.  I dunno.  I have no idea.

A few days prior, Rich had purchased this Auto Enginuity program for his truck so he could read codes and get a slew of data from the engine.  He plugged it into my car and it threw a camshaft position sensor code.  He thought he was going to have to replace the sensor, but when he went to investigate it, he discovered there was nothing wrong with the sensor.  The problem was that a mouse (or mice) had chewed the wire and the sensor wasn’t even connected.  On top of that, they had packed a ton of dog food into my engine.

When we moved in, I was worried about mice in the house.  We haven’t seen any evidence of mice in the house (thankfully), so far.  But after the car incident, we got two little kittens. They are seven weeks old and live out in the barn.


When it came to naming the kittens, I said we should name them after the cats on the Big Cat Diaries, which is a favorite show around here.  I immediately thought of Toto, who was the youngest cheetah ever caught on film.  And Toto is Swahili for “little one.”  I told Lizzie this and she loved the name Toto.  No sooner were the words out of my mouth that I had a hand to forehead moment: ugh, Toto is Dorothy’s dog from the Wizard of Oz and to make matters worse – we live in Kansas!  How cheesy is that?! Good grief.  Well, no taking it back now; Lizzie loves the name Toto.

So I thought, well if we’re going to be totally cheesy with the names then we might as well find another Oz name for the other one.  The only thing I could come up with was Ruby but since they were both Boys that wouldn’t do.  We decided on Tex for the second kitty – not for any good reason other than it also started with a “T”.  So we have Tex and Toto.


These kittens were born in a barn and are perfectly happy living outside.  However, we go out and play with them quite a bit and they don’t protest too much about being handled.  They are so fun and playful.  I never thought I’d like having outdoor kitties but it’s so nice to not have to worry about furniture or jumping on the counters or anything.  We can just enjoy watching them be kittens.  We are keeping them in the barn except a few times a day when we let them explore the outside.  They are just too little to be out on their own and the barn has lots to offer them anyway.  Plus it has been Freezing so they are toasty in there with their heat lamp and hay.

Lizzie and Tex

I can’t seem to get a good picture of the two kittens together.  They are so fast and curious.  But to get a good idea of how tiny they are, here is a picture of Rich holding Toto:

Rich and Toto

So now as 2014 is closing out, I’m looking forward to starting this new year.  I have a lot of plans for 2015.  These are not new year’s resolutions because these were my plans for once we got to Kansas.  It just sort of happens to line up with the new year.

1. Apply (and hopefully get accepted) to Graduate School.  This is my biggest goal of the year.  The deadline for the Spring 2016 semester applications is September 1.  I need to make a calendar for myself, but I’ll probably spend most of January and February studying for the GRE.

2. Launch my new blog.  This is my most exciting goal of the year.  I have a new blog I’m putting together.  I started shaping it in my mind last October but I couldn’t really implement it then.  It is a running and photography blog.  I’m still working on the layout but hopefully it will be launch in a couple weeks.  Don’t worry – I’ll still be here on helper and defender.  The other one is just a more specific niche.  More to come on that!

My other goals are really just related to these two.  For example, since I’ll be studying and working towards going back to school, I know I need to get better about meal planning and prepping food.  I have given myself till Sunday to finish getting settled and then Monday (Jan 5th) I start studying.  And since I am starting this running blog, I want to clean out my Runner’s World Magazine and pull workouts and training advice from them.  I have a friend who has an extremely organized magazine collection.  She pulls out the articles she likes and puts them in a binder under specific labels like recipes, beauty, workouts, etc.  I want to do something similar with my Runner’s Worlds.

I have my work cut out for me, but I like to be busy.  And now that Rich is home, my load is a lot lighter than it used to be.  My prayer for this year is that I will be a good steward of my time and the responsibility that has been placed on me.

Thank you all for your continued support.  We had a hard year but we have come through and now we are ready to tackle the next challenge.  Happy New Year!



4 thoughts on “I love Kansas, Kittens, and 2015

  1. Happy New Year and what an adventures year it will be. Many blessing and best wishes .
    ( BTW: it looks to me that everyone could use a new knitted hat for this winter ? ) :)

    love to ALL

  2. I’m so glad you love the Flint Hills. Looking forward to pics you take of them in different seasons. Lots of history to explore around there. The flat plains are out in western Kansas.

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