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Julie Dunlap

Stories by Julie

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Actors Riggle, Rudd, Sudeikis to host celebrity fundraiser for K.C. children’s hospital

Kansas University alumnus Rob Riggle anticipates a full house this weekend as he once again teams up with fellow actors Paul Rudd, also a KU alumnus, and notorious Jayhawk fan Jason Sudeikis, to co-host the third annual Big Slick Celebrity Weekend, a benefit for Children’s Mercy Hospital.

River City Jules: The next Rocky … or not

My friend, Jill, makes the most marvelously addictive fried fondue balls. I know this because I ate no less than 200 of them at bunko last month. This unleashing of my not-so-inner turophile, along with an upcoming vacation and the bikini I plan to pack, inspired me to try a conditioning session at a nearby boxing club.

River City Jules: Mystery of the Redbox rental

I am not sure what my husband and I were discussing during dinner when Luke’s monologue finally registered in our heads with, “I told the guy to leave me alone. I’m only 10.”

River City Jules: Royal wedding watch (tiaras required)

I might look like a grown-up complete with gray hairs, wrinkles and a minivan, but inside I am still the girl who swoons at the very mention of the words “royal” and “wedding.” And, of course, “half of Wham!”

River City Jules: There's an ad for that

It was one of the many days our kids had off from school this semester (they are all running together at this point, and I can’t be certain which one it was), and I was in the kitchen making lunch (of this I actually am certain).

River City Jules: Introducing the River City roller

For all my fellow Gen X-ers who find themselves sitting around with friends, grumbling about how times have changed, lamenting the passing of their acid-washed, Karma Chameleon childhoods as kids these days bop along with their flat-billed hats and nanopods right before you yell at them to get off your lawn, I have found a time machine guaranteed to take you back and ma

River City Jules: Bad date, happy outcome

Aaah, Valentine’s Day, a day for celebrating love. (And/or eating chocolate.) In honor of this special day I have a special story to share, inspired by a question my oldest daughter recently asked, “Mom, what was your worst date?”

River City Jules: Enough with the snow days

Uncle! Mercy! Whatever Mother Nature’s safe word is, I’m calling it right now.

A refresher course on toddlers

Apparently I had blocked out about eight years of my life from the recesses of my brain. But a few days with my nephew, Charlie, and all those memories of the eight straight years I spent turning my toddlers into preschoolers came flooding back. For those of you blessed to have survived this point and, like us, do not remember what it was like, here is a refresher…

River City Jules: Uncomfortable party pics

It was after midnight in Chicago. My husband had taken our kids back to the hotel earlier, leaving me to enjoy an evening out at my BFF’s 40th birthday party with college friends and my brother, now living in the Windy City.

River City Jules: Nice minivan, ma'am

It’s not so much that we were about to purchase a minivan this week. I accepted the fact long ago that I was far too practical of a person and lacked far too much eye-hand coordination to ever own an SUV and was, therefore, destined to contain my herd behind sliding doors.

River City Jules: Here's to a 2011 sans Kardashians

My list is meager, a realistic and attainable set of goals for us to collectively embrace: an end to all illness, corporate corruption and TMZ’s coverage of all Kardashians and those who keep up with them.

River City Jules: New Year's, 'Punk'd-style

With one last primp of the hair, we made our grand entrance to… A bunch of families in T-shirts surrounded by people my parents’ age.

River City Jules: Santa holds off on retirement

‘Twas the week before Christmas And all through my brain My to-do list was running Just like a freight train

River City Jules: Top offenders in holiday cards

To ensure you always end up on our “nice” list, we have some pointers that are guaranteed to make you the hit of the mailbox every year.

River City Jules: Gingerbread fantasies quickly crumble

Just like moving from the low dive to the high dive, moving from home-displayed gingerbread house construction (whereby your children decorate spiced cookie abodes with minimal supervision and the hope of one day vacuuming the last green sprinkle out of your dining room carpet), to an original creation (built upon plywood for judges and a paying audience) takes commitment.

River City Jules: an exclusive hoops interview

Basketball season is in full swing again, and do I ever have high hopes for a certain crew of boys in blue.

River City Jules: A Thanksgiving to beat all?

I will be the first to admit, if not flat-out brag, that my brother-in-law’s Thanksgiving turkey is the most delectable, savory food ever to hit one’s taste buds.

Cruise spa's expensive shower not to one’s fancy

My friend Sara is taking a cruise this winter, abandoning us to relax on the Promenade Deck. Oblivious to the shade of green upon my face, she asked if I had any advice.

Not a ditz, Mom! No, really…

Another fall, another round of parent-teacher conferences done. Like many parents, I imagine, I attend these conferences not for constructive criticism, but to spend time with my children’s teachers swapping stories about how brilliant and entertaining my children are.

The haunted smoke detector

It was a dark and stormy night. Rain seemed to fall not drop by drop, but, rather, bucket by bucket upon our fair city, as an angry Kansas gale ripped across our yards and down our streets. Its target: the power grid encompassing this writer, home alone with her daughters.

Nation doomed by Missouri

I’m River City Jules, and I approved this message:

Adulthood causes a fright

“I can’t sleep.” This often-heard delay-of-game came from our 9-year-old son, Luke, just minutes after I tucked him in bed, assured him of my love and alluded heavily to the fact that I would see him in the morning, many hours after watching the season premiere of “Dexter.” And not one minute sooner.

Breast health important for all

It was a hot, sunny afternoon in Wrightsville Beach, N.C., a perfect day for boogie boarding with the family. On a family vacation. At a family beach. With family values.

‘Oldies’ aren’t THAT old

I have discovered a terrifying phenomenon in music that has nothing to do with Justin Bieber. Huey Lewis is getting airtime. On the OLDIES station.

From out of the Blue(tooth)

People, we need to discuss Bluetooth etiquette, as there seems to be some confusion on the part of a small but audible sector of the general population about how to appropriately converse on the helix-held (the hard part of the ear, I just Googled it) talking device.

What to say to impress Oprah?

Today marks the first of many lasts for my BFF, Oprah, as the first show of her final season airs. Like many women around the world, I have long-dreamed of meeting this superlegend, sending in more letters than I can count over the past 24 years. And, although this dream has yet to come to fruition, I have come close …

A lesson in appliance repair

It has been brought to my attention that “River City Jules” lacks substance. That these pieces serve as nothing more than emotional reprieve from the real news. “Fluff,” if you will. So today I will deviate from my normal, silly banter and pass along a real-life lesson I learned last summer: How to get a new dishwasher.

Putting criticism to good use

There are some people, for instance the one I married, who feel I can be overly critical. Maybe it is about one’s need to crank up the heavy metal while driving, maybe it is about one’s habit of treating those within earshot to an a capella version of “Symphony of Destruction” while listening to one’s iPod. The (his) point is that I have a natural ability to find room for improvement in others.

Post-Toddler Stress Disorder

I could not understand the urgency with which my parents had delivered my perfectly darling 2-year-old nephew, Charlie, to us last weekend for an overnight stay while my sister and her husband were away.

A teen without John Hughes?

According to the school calendar, summer is ending this week, proving there is a God and He does, indeed, love me.

What happens in Vegas …

“You have to do something pretty spectacular to stand out in Vegas,” a woman said to me at the MGM Grand pool in Las Vegas last weekend.

Camping resembles grieving

For 50 straight hours, I fought extreme heat and the harsh reality of being one of the few moms in my son’s pack unable to convince her husband that taking off work to attend Cub Scout Camp was vital to the development of our boy into a man who can tie a slipknot.

A love story

This week’s story is a little different from the others. But while it might lack laughs, it should make you feel good all the same.

One unhappy camper

Today might very well be my last column, and I want to take just a moment to thank you all for reading River City Jules these past eight months. But I am afraid our time together may be coming to an end, as this week I am doing a two-night stint at Cub Scout Camp that, based on my experience last summer, has the potential to land me either in an institution for overexposure to nature or in jail.

Personal trainer or torturer?

I hate my personal trainer. Not because she is one of the nicest people I have ever met, though she is. Not because she is so stinking cute I would like to clone her and marry her off to one or both of my brothers, though I would. And not because, in spite of the fact that she is older than I am and has had multiple C-sections, she still has abs that rival any concrete slab for strength and flatness, though that certainly does not help her case. She is a freak of Mother Nature.

Mario (Kart) miracle

Our family vacation had been a little rough on Luke. By the trip’s end, Luke was hungry for a moment of triumph when his soul, which longed for adventure, could rise to a challenge with his body, which obviously did not spend enough time outdoors.

A world of laughter ...

All was peaceful at Disney World. Children were laughing, princesses were frolicking, and everywhere we looked, dreams were coming true.

Cleaning in case of emergency

“Why do you always clean the house before we leave on vacation?” my husband inquired as I dusted behind the refrigerator.

What a girl wants

While sitting at the KU Spring Game, I overheard two young teenage boys discussing the odds for the players on the field. However, unlike the grown men around me, these lads were not weighing the team’s chances of making it to a bowl game. They had more immediate matters in mind. “Those guys have it made,” the first one said to his buddy. “Girls love jocks.”

Don’t I know you?

I first met my friend Sarah at a holiday party in December. She had just moved to town, and I found her to be positively delightful.

I know Victoria’s secret

Apparently Victoria’s Secret sells a Brazilian bikini. How I know this is part of a long story, ending with me accepting the fact that it will take far more than an intimate wax job to get me in one.

Tale of a third-grade dropout

While driving with my son, I noticed a “Now Hiring” sign in the window of a soon-to-open restaurant near our home.

See you at the reunion

An invitation came for my 20-year high school reunion. After checking the current date, referring to an old yearbook, doing some math and crying a little, I realized the invitation had, indeed, arrived at the correct address.

First-time moms, don’t judge

My friend, Janie, was on the treadmill next to me at the gym not long ago, telling me about her recent family vacation. “We had a great time,” she said, “except we were the only people at the hotel with children over 1 year old.”

Relaxing with a root canal

There are few outings new moms can count on for relaxation. An eye exam, the annual physical, anything necessitating time in a room sans children becomes a precious respite during those early days of turning newborns into functioning people.

Caged pets not for this family

“Mom, can we get a pet?” my third-grade son, Luke, asked. Luke had just attended a birthday party at Pet World, where he spent 90 minutes man-handling baby pythons, snapping turtles and other creatures and, apparently, forgot all about the three sisters, the dog and the one remaining hermit crab at home.

‘Fairytale’ concert hard to top

Christmas finally arrived for our two oldest daughters when we took them to the Taylor Swift concert last weekend.

Lifetime crush: George Brett

Nothing ushers in spring quite like the Royals home opener. And no one is more Royal than George Brett.

It’s not you, it’s April Fools

Due to a crippling case of Aphrilophobia, I will not be available for human interaction Thursday.