Saturday, June 22, 2019

Tournament Time for the Aces

Another weekend. Another baseball tournament. 

And somehow during each tournament, Justin or I had something going on which meant we had to call for reinforcement--this time around it was Grammy!

The good news, we weren't going to have to play too far into the evening, if everything went as planned we would be done by 4:30. Bad news, there was overlap. Logan's first game started at 12:30 and then he had a 2:00 game. Kaden had a 10:00 and a 2:30. So we started our day off at one location with Kaden, Grammy got Logan over to his game for warm ups and then Kaden and joined them for the start of his game. Both boys won their first game and then it was time to divide and conquer.

And let me just say, we have the BEST baseball families---everyone was sending me play by play for Logan's at bats and his field plays. It was like I was there which means so much because I HATE missing anything of the boys, they are only little for so long and before I know it these days will be gone. They both ended up winning their second games. Kaden's was a little closer than we would have liked to have seen and with him on the mound I was a nervous wreck. A few errors were made but when it counted the most he reached deep within and he struck out the last batter for a BIG WIN. 

With both teams going 2-0 we knew we would be in store for a very LONG day at the ball fields on Sunday but that was okay because Justin would be with us however, Mother Nature had something else in mind. It ended up raining some obscene amount throughout the night and into the mid morning that they canceled bracket play. However, since both teams were seeded 2nd going into bracket play, they were given the 2nd place finish and earned themselves so BLING!

Proud of these boys and their buddies. They've been so fun to watch this year!

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Father's Day Weekend - LOTO

When you ask Justin what he wants for Father's Day it's always the same answer -- to spend it at the Lake. He makes it fairly easy for us to ensure he has a great weekend -- being on the water and being surrounded by some of our favorite people. 

Last year the Kufeldts joined us and this year they were coming back--guess we didn't scare them off too badly! The Clelands would be joining us too but good news/bad news, the Aces had a game and Drake and Logan were skipping but since Scott was the head coach, he had to coach and Caden had to play or else we would have had to forfeit, so it would just be a little later until they joined us.

Until then, we took advantage of our time -- stopped at Steak'n Shake on the way down. The kids thought they were something special as they sat in their own booth...I'm sure the staff was a little concerned at first but it didn't take long for them to realize they had four very polite and respectful kiddos on their hands.

We got settled in Friday night and then almost immediately on Saturday we were getting the boat ready to take out on the water. It was quiet on the water, I am sure the weather had much to do about that but we still ventured out and we headed back to our favorite spot on the water, the Boathouse.

And then the sun came out! The kids jumped into the pool and we sat watching while chatting. The food was good. The drinks were good. The company was the best.

As we returned to the house the ballgame was about to start so we turned it on and we listened to the Aces come back from behind to win the game. Both Drake and Logan were super proud of their teammates--now, they just had to wait for the Cleland crew to arrive. & when they did, game on.

Somehow we managed to get all kids ready and in their beds by 10 pm and when I checked on them 30 minutes later they were all out -- but laying in different spots than where they started. And good thing we got them to bed at a halfway decent time as it was a BRIGHT and early start the next morning. It didn't matter that it was slightly chilly or that the sun wasn't out, the boys were ready to swim. They spent time jumping from one tube to another & up and down the ladder they would go time and time again. It was a morning full of smiles. & then it was time for the boat ride.

It was even chillier on the boat but the kids hung in there and when we made it back to the house some of the bigger kids (minus Kaden) wanted to go tubing so the dads took them back out. Kaden stayed with Bennett and gave him a little ride around the cove on the paddle board. Everyone was happy and everyone was smiling. 

Around lunchtime there still seemed to be zero sun in the forecast so we started packing up. We said goodbye to our dear friends and then we finished cleaning up the cabin before taking off ourselves. We stopped and had lunch at Mexican restaurant in Sedalia before arriving at home only to head back to the pool. It was a long but fun weekend and when these three are smiling, I'm smiling.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

11 years later...

So we did a thing. Justin and I actually went on a vacation sans kids. I know, shocking. I'm not sure that Justin and I have ever been on a vacation alone since the boys have been born. Yes, we have been on some trips together and some of them being to AMAZING destinations but it's always been work related for me. So this is a first. 

And it was for someone super special too. Our dear friend, Dawn, turned 40 this year in late May and wanted to celebrate her birthday milestone with some of her favorite people. She's been planning this for awhile and since the very beginning it has always been in Gulf Shores, which just happens to be where Justin and I got married 11 years ago. We were pretty excited to be able to head back down where it all started and get to explore a little more and see just how much it had all changed. 

We arrived without any delays and then we ran into a little issue at the car rental. We requested a convertible. They didn't have one for us when we arrived, even though they had confirmed our reservation. Most companies would get us in something similar or upgrade us for no additional charge. Not this company. But for a little extra they would get us in a soft-top jeep. I was not happy. Not happy at all but we didn't want it to ruin our vacation so we paid the fee and then headed out to get our jeep. Only issue, when I gave them the receipt to pick up the keys, they said they no longer had it. We had literally walked 100 ft to pick up the car and they no longer had it. It was a shit show. Turns out they gave our jeep to a family of four (who couldn't fit in it with their luggage as they asked for a 4 door) & their car to another family. Finally someone came in that knew what he was doing and got it all sorted out -- we were finally on the road.

We arrived just as the sun was setting & it couldn't have been more beautiful. 

Dawn and Nolan had rented the house for a week and friends were coming and going throughout the week. They had family and friends from NE that had arrived the same day we had, on Saturday, more family and friends on Sunday and then we would be departing on Wednesday as the last couple arrived. Eight couples in all---thankfully the house was massive, 8 bedrooms with 9 bathrooms, don't get me started on the obscene kitchen. The house was perfect, it even had it's own pool which is perfect for me because I am not the biggest salt water fan -- something about getting wet sand in places it shouldn't be. 

For the next 4 days we lounged by the pool, we hung out at the beach, we drove around with the top off on the jeep and we even went zip-lining.

On Monday even we decided to head out to Flora-bama. When we got married our guests and families visited Flora-bama BUT we didn't. We went out that evening, just the two of us, to dinner while everyone else visited the infamous bar. Eleven years ago it was ONE bar, now it's like 4-6 different bars on both sides of the street. We dined by the water while listening to someone who sounded a whole lot like Chris Stapleton, I could have listened to him all night but we decided to cross the road to the main bar area. More live music was happening and on two separate stages. Honestly, it wasn't as busy as I thought it would have been but we still managed to have a great time. And as we all know, Justin and I are not night owls so about 11:30 we headed back to the house and it was such an weird drive home. No one was out--it was almost too quiet but it made the drive home fairly quickly as traffic there can get out of hand quickly. 

We had to say goodbye to everyone late on Tuesday night as we had an early departure on Wednesday to get back home to the boys and as sad as we were to leave, we were ready to see Kaden and Logan. & when we walked in they had picked some beautiful fresh flowers for us with some sweet, sweet hand written notes--thanks to Emily.

Monday, May 27, 2019

The Pool is Open

Within minutes of pulling into our driveway the boys had their suits on and were ready to head to our neighborhood pool. While Justin went and gassed up and washed the car, I unpacked and then jumped into my suit as well. The water was just as cold as the lake was so I wasn't about to get it but the boys couldn't care less as off they went with their neighborhood friends. 

When we first moved into our house this pool wasn't quite complete and even after it was, it wasn't unusual to have the pool completely to yourself for hours at a time. Now, its packed--mostly in the best way possible as all you hear are the laughs and splashes of the dozen of kiddos enjoying summer to the fullest. As we left, both boys asked if we could come to the pool every night and even though we won't be able to make it happen every night due to baseball or other activities--we will do our best to be there as often as possible.

Saturday, May 25, 2019


Summer really doesn't officially kick off until we spend Memorial Day at the lake. & this year was no exception--the boys jumped off the school bus for the last time, we went to Kaden's game and then we loaded straight up and headed to the lake so that we could enjoy an extra day at the lake.

Friday was gorgeous. We had to start off with getting the picture tradition out of the way. So crazy to see just how big they are both getting--it gives me an array of emotions.

What makes this weekend extra special is that it's always with family which means these three get to spend some much needed cousin time. They are so lucky they get to grow up together spending their summer at the lake. At the lake house their paternal great-grandfather built.

And this happened to be the first time we would all get to take out the new boat together. Kaden and I were loaded and ready to go first thing in the morning. 

The first night at the lake house is always tough for the boys to settle in and go to sleep because of all the anticipation for the days to come so Logan decided a little cap nap was in order while we were on the water. Trust me, I wasn't upset at all about getting to hold him, it kind of made my day.

The boys fished. They swam---in pretty cold water. They played Nintendo when it was raining. And we did a lot of work around the house---cutting down trees, mowing, cleaning the boat and so on.

We decided that with the weather forecast not looking so great for Sunday after noon and Monday that we would load up and head home a little early, after all the pool was now open and we could hop down there for some fun in the sun too. 

This little weekend with family was the perfect way to kick off the summer and had us counting down the days until we were back for Father's Day weekend.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Farewell CCE

This was an emotional week. Not only did it seem like this school year flew by but it was our last year at this particular school--Cedar Creek Elementary. You see, CCE is now the largest school in our district and they built a new elementary school just down the road from our house & the boys, along with 200+ other kiddos, will transition there. It's exciting and it's overwhelming so we are just trying to soak up every minute and every moment we can.

Since winter break the boys have been asking for me to take them to school and thankfully, my schedule can allow for that most days and the last few days of school were no exceptions. I think driving up to school those last few days was harder for me than it was for them--we've had so many wonderful educators and partners when it comes to the boys and their academic and social schooling. To say we've been blessed would be an understatement--we have certainly had our struggles here and there but we've learned so much from those struggles-- we know so much more about how and when we advocate for the boys & who we need to be working with. So thankful for so many at CCE.

But here we were, the final day of school. Kaden Oliver was saying peace-out to third grade--THIRD GRADE. All in all--it was a pretty great year for him. We aren't the kind of parents that put high expectations on test scores and grades, we ask that he does his best, that he's kind to everyone and we work with his teachers to ensure those expectations are met. He tends to get frustrated when it comes to his performance since it's not PERFECT (his expectations) so this year we really worked on focusing on effort and doing his best. We struggled at times BUT we will get there, no doubt. Now, don't get me wrong, he had good if not great grades and we are super proud of that but we are equally if not more proud of how he continues to show up each day and just wants to help. He has the biggest heart and we were so blessed with how his teacher allowed that to shine this year.

And then there is Logan, Logan Beckett. He flew through 2nd grade with flying colors. He loves school and loves learning. Again, we aren't those types of parents who expect perfect test scores and homework assignments, we ask that he does his best and well, his best is near perfect. He is the first to offer help to a classmate in need and he's quick to recognize if someone is feeling lonely or a little off & will ensure that there day gets turned around. He always has a GIANT smile on his face and out of both boys, is the one that is a littler more weary about leaving CCE behind and heading to the new school because of all the friends he will leave behind. He's a softie like his momma and has just as big of a heart as his brother does.

The South boys sure make us proud.

And since our time at CCE came to an end, so does our bus rides---well, at least until middle school. So, of course, I had to be there as they got off for the last time with Ms. Bonnie. Oh how we love our Ms. Bonnie -- I'm pretty sure the South boys were her favorite too. :0)

So there we have it, both boys grew in more ways than one---and both boys are on to bigger and better things in 4th and 3rd grade. See you in August, Canyon Creek Elementary.