Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Full Swing Ahead

We are back at it, full swing ahead with fall ball. This time around we joined a different league, since both boys were in school and attending the same school, we decided to sign up with Olathe Parks and Rec so that they had a better chance of being on a team with someone they knew from their school.

Logan would be playing coach pitch this time around and Kaden would be stepping up to the next level as well, machine pitch. Although games weren't schedule to start until the end of August, they both had a couple of practices & during one of the weekends which we were gone, Kaden's team had a chance to hit off of the machine so they could get a feel for it. Sadly, we couldn't make it to that practice--we were enjoying our last weekend at the lake with cousins.

But we still wanted Kaden to see what it would be like, so Justin bought a helmet and we took him (and his little brother) to the batting cages. Justin and I both were a little worried when we saw how fast 35 mph was but neither kid seemed to care, they both got in there and gave it their all. & hit it more times than not and both Justin and I were pleasantly surprised. Then again, they are my kiddos.

Now it was game time. I wasn't all that nervous for Logan because he's a go-with-the-flow kind of guy and he would have 5 or so attempts to hit from the coach and then would get to hit off the tee if needed. He would get to run to first and continue on around the bases whether he was out or not. They all batted. Each inning.

My worries were with Kaden. They got 5 pitches. That's it. If the fifth was a foul, sorry Charlie, you're out. Three outs and you switch. 7 runs and you switch. We are talking a real game you all and Kaden doesn't do so well with failure. It's something that we try to work on, I never let him win when he plays against me in anything so you'd think he would take it a little easier, but he doesn't.

What if he doesn't hit? Then what? As much as I wanted him to get a hit each time he was at bat, a very small part of me wanted him to miss. All. Five. Pitches. I figured it could be a good learning experience.

Screw the learning experience. Hit the damn ball.

And he did. He went 2-2 that day. His streak continued and he's got a hit every time he has been up to bat but 2 of them were hit right to the first baseman and he stepped on first for the out. Which Kaden didn't like too much but hey, he should have pulled the pitch. Kidding. Wait, no, I'm not. 

The other nice thing about this league, the coaches. I can't say enough great things about the coaches for these teams. Kaden's coach has everything organized so well & each kiddo has a chance to play a few different positions--both boys even got to catch. Pretty sure there isn't anything cuter than seeing a munchkin in catching gear. 

I think I could get use to being a baseball mom.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Sunflower State

I was born and raised in Missouri, the Show Me State but shortly after high school I crossed the state line to Kansas, the Sunflower State and I've been a resident now for more than 16 years.

I won't lie, I not as up to speed on Kansas history as I am on the Show Me State's history--it's what I learned in school. Hell, the boys could school me when it comes to the State of Kansas. They know that the Western Meadowlark is the state bird and that Honeybee is the state insect. That the Cottonwood is the state tree. I know that the Dogwood is Missouri's state tree and that the Bluebird is the state bird.

But back to Kansas. One of the best things about Kansas is the state flower, the Sunflower. The rolling hills of sunflowers this gorgeous state has to offer. And thanks to a local farm, who plants acres after acres of sunflowers, we get to experience first hand. And for about 2 weeks--depending on weather--they are one of the most magnificent sites you'll see. This little farm use to be a quiet little secret but thanks to social media it blew up this year. I had been watching, along with everyone else, for Farmer Ted's wife to give the thumbs up, letting us know the sunflowers had bloomed. Once word was given, I planned our adventure. Justin's Mom and Craig joined us too, neither having seen them either. We would head out on Sunday morning while church was in session and hope that we miss the rush. It was busy but thankfully we found parking right off the bat and we made our way to the fields.

I figured the boys would be too scared to truck through the field since honeybees were all over but they surprised me. They finally figured out that the honeybees wanted nothing to do with them and everything to do with the sunflowers. 

And although the crowd seemed to be fairly light, there were still people everywhere and it was super hard to get images without someone photobombing. We stayed for about 20 minutes and then loaded back up into the car. We decided that since we were already in Lawrence, why not eat there too. So we headed back to Mass Street, had lunch and then finished it up with the best milkshakes EVER at the Burger Stand. Frozen Oreo crushed up for the win.

Fun little Sunday exploring our great state and got to check something else off the bucket list. A big thank you to Grinter Farms for opening their farmland up to so many people. It sure brought joy to our family. 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Thank Heaven

For Turning SEVEN at The K!

About a month ago I was given 4 tickets to an upcoming baseball game at The K. Just days after Kaden turned 7 so of course we would be celebrating his birthday while we were there. After-all, I had to miss his actual birthday since I had a meeting out of town and this would be a nice way to extend his celebrations.

It was also Salvy Bobble-head night which meant we had to get there nice and early. Thankfully we were sitting in Diamond Club so we had awesome parking and we were able to walk through the premium entrance which had enough bobbleheads to go around.

The K was also hosting Noah's Bandage Project so the boys made sure to drop off their colorful bandages in the bins as we entered the stadium.

We quickly found our seats, took in a little batting practice and snapped a few pictures.

We had at least an hour and a half to kill so we headed to the Little K for some fun. It was packed but they made it through the line for the base run & for mini-golf.

As we were waiting in line for the mini-golf, Justin jumped in line for pictures with bacon covered Sluggar bust, yup, it was also Bacon Day at the K. And not only did we get this sweet little GIF mailed to us but we got to guess how many strips of bacon it took to make Sluggar! I guessed 1314, Kaden came in with 1001 and Justin guessed around 400. Not sure what the number actually was but one of us was way off!

We made it back to our seats just in time for the National Anthem--one of our favorite parts of the game. The boys stood, took their hats off, placed their hands over their heart and sang the parts the knew--which was most of the song. 

I had told them before we got to the game that at the third inning they could have a snack and to be thinking about what they wanted. They both ended up wanting cotton candy and while Kaden was a little more neat with his, Logan couldn't eat it fast enough and didn't care how sticky he got, or I got! 

We may have left about the 8th inning and the boys in blue may not have played the best but we sure had a wonderful time celebrating our newly turned 7 year old.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Let's Roll--Birthday Style

It was that time of the year again--party planning for the soon-to-be 7 year old and it was no easy task this year. So many decisions to be made---do we do a school friends party or a family/friends party. And if we go with his school friends, do we invite those from last year's kindergarten class or this year's first grade class? Will our friends and family be sad if they aren't invited? Or will Kaden be sad his school friends are there? What theme do we go with? Cake, Cookies or Cupcakes? What do you get a 7 year old?

SO MANY QUESTIONS & I was getting stressed out about trying to make it all happen so I sat the almost-to-be birthday boy down and asked what he wanted. He wasn't stressed at all and had it all figured out. He wanted a bowling party (Grammy and Daddy were excited about this) & he wanted to invite his school buddies. Oh and he wanted me to make a cake. 

Now that we had a plan, it was time to start planning. I reached out to our favorite bowling alley & secured space for 10 kiddos for 2 hours. We would spend a little time bowling, some time in the party room and then they kids would get to finish off the party playing games in their arcade. For the first time, I didn't make an invitation, I just used Punch Bowl and called it good. We decided that it would be best to have the party at 11:30 in case the boys had afternoon baseball games which partly worked out as Logan ended up missing his game so he could come to the party but he wasn't upset about that.  
From Amazon I ordered---plastic bowling pins to fill with candy, a miniature bowling pin game & his birthday shirt. 

From Target I picked up some plates, cups, & napkins. 

From Price Chopper Justin picked up the balloons. 

And that was it besides the cake and cookies! 

For the cookies I decided to reach back out to Icings by Ang and once again she came through for us---I mean, she never disappoints. And if you can believe it, the cookies taste better than the look--seriously. 

The cake I started a earlier in the week as I knew I would be tight on time so I made the cake and then froze it. As soon as I walked in the door on Friday, it was go time. I had icing everywhere, my hand hurt like hell but hearing Kaden go on and on about how awesome the cake was made it all worth it. 

Now how was I going to make this cake, seeing how I don't really have much experience with cakes. I did a trial run a few weeks back that when pretty good so this time around I just made the cake bigger, used two cake mixes and a larger cake pan. Then I wrapped it and put in the freezer. Once I pulled it out, I unwrapped it and then placed my drawing on top. 

I used a big knife and just cut around the shape and put the scraps to the side---they'll be used for a trifle of sorts later. I was having a little trouble finding an icing that I liked and could easily work with and then my cousin recommended a Crusting Buttercream frosting, she was totally on point! I crumbed the cake and then started starring the shit out of that cake. 

In the end I wish I would have put the "7th" at the top of the pin & then wrote Kaden alongside the bowling ball but you live and you learn. 

So now the party. It was a huge hit. Kaden had such a great time. We told each of the parents that they could drop the kids off for the party and come back at the end to pick them up & that's what they did. We had a great group of kids & they all got along so well with each other. They gave one another high fives as they arrived or a little "bro" hug--so cute. As everyone arrived our hostess got them all shoes and got them on their way with bowling. 

& that bowling ball you see, that just happens to be a gift from his Grammy. Janet heard that we were doing a bowling party and asked if she could get him his very own bowling ball and we of course said yes so on the Thursday before the party she dropped by, gave him his gift and then took him to get it drilled so that it fit his fingers perfectly. 

He even got to test it out at the pro shop. Talk about having the South form down! 

Once the kids were starting to show signs of no longer wanting to bowl---about 45 minutes in, we headed to the birthday room. And I could not say enough great things about our hostess at Park Lanes, she was fantastic. I didn't realize that Kaden would get a bowling pin--signed by all his buddies, nor did I realize that they would all be getting a gift baggie--all bonuses in our book. 

Although I think I should have stuck with lemonade and not fruit punch because Kaden had a red mustache for the rest of the day.  

Before sending the kiddos off to play in the arcade I had Kaden take a picture with each of the boys. Figured that I could send a Sticky9 magnet inside the thank you cards he is going to write. Most of the boys would walk up and stand next to Kaden and he would wrap his arm around them and I would snap the picture. That is until Logan came up, he ran right up to his brother and gave him the biggest hug possible. It was the cutest thing. 

Finally, it was arcade time. They were bursting at the seams to play. 

The kids all left doped up on sugar, with a handful of crap & hopefully with some great memories. I know this kid did---he couldn't stop talking about how much fun he had. 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Final Trip of the Summer

I won't lie, I didn't want to go. Not one single bit. I kept telling Justin that it was going to rain the entire time and that it would just make more sense not to go---and he reluctantly agreed and then I felt bad, so I gave in and said let's do it. We could make the most of it.

And we did.

My sister, Leah and Blake were joining us for the weekend but they weren't the only ones.  Stoli and Brodi got to make this trip as well. Brodi was a last minute decision because typically its too hot for him to go but not this past weekend, he was in doggy heaven. And Stoli, well, she knew exactly what she would be doing all weekend long.

The boys spent most of the weekend in the water while the rest of us sat around in our light jackets and pants. The water was seriously warmer than the air.

& on Sunday I woke up early enough to take the dogs for a little dock time on the morning and catch the last little bit of the fog roll out. The picture really doesn't do it justice.

Adam told Justin that we could take the Seadoo with us and while I was a little hesitant--I don't like borrowing things from people, especially something like this--I was glad we took it. Logan was all about it and ready to go on any ride that Justin or I would take him on. Leah and Blake of course had more fun with Justin than they did with me---it's the motherly instinct to protect that comes out in my driving. Kaden, well, he talked a big game but when it came time to get on, he froze. On Saturday I finally talked him into getting on with me and staying in our no wake cove which he agreed to. As I got closer and closer to the start of the cove and the buoy, his grip on my arms tightened. I asked if we could go and count slides and he said sure but his eyes weren't coming off the speedometer. I got to going a little faster and after a little while he relaxed & really seemed to be enjoying himself. We got back to the dock and he was smiling from ear to ear but the next day we were back to not wanting to go. I talked him into riding with me in the cove and then we ventured back out when he was ready, this time he got to drive a little which he enjoyed. When I asked him why he was worried or scared he said because he hit his head once on a big wave--well that would do it so we talked about how to keep his head up higher when riding. Hopefully it won't be as tough next year getting him on because we can't buy a couple if he isn't on board! 

We were planning on sticking around until mid day on Sunday but with it being as chilly as it was and a full week ahead of us all, we just decided to call it a day and packed up around noon. The Siebert clan headed south and we headed west but so thankful they came to spend the weekend with us and check out Justin's family's cabin even though they live the lake life everyday.