Monday, July 10, 2017

Tournament Champs

What a fun three days of baseball the Aces had! Hot? Extremely, but so much fun.

As the Aces season was coming to an end, their coach sent out an email to the team to see if everyone would be interested in playing in the leagues end-of-the-season tournament and everyone was. The boys had finished strong in the regular season and we were just hoping that momentum would continue.

It was a single elimination tournament and when the brackets were released, we were one of only 4 teams that would have to win 3 game to win it all but the boys were up for the challenge.

The first of the games was against the Jags and took place on a Sunday at 4:45, talk about scorching hot---it was miserable, at least for me. The boys though, they handled it like pros and at the end of 4 innings came out on top--by a pretty good margin too. Kaden had a bases clearing double but he wasn't the only one knocking in runs though, they each took full advantage of their at bats. By winning game one, it meant the possibility of a double-header the following day beginning at 5:30--in 95 degree weather.

Game two was scheduled for 5:30 against the Firebirds---we had not played any of the teams in our division's bracket and all we knew was that our records were about the same during league play. This game was even a little hotter than the day before but we also got a little smarter. Parents brought pop up tents to ensure there was plenty of shade, coolers full of water for the boys to stay hydrated and we packed Royals' rally towels that were soaked in water and then placed in the freezer for a few hours to allow the boys a quick cool down. They came in handy too, after 3.5 innings Aces were up 16-7 and the Firebirds were out of options since they could only score 7 runs in any one inning so the game was called. The boys shook hands with the other team and then immediately sat down to cool off and to rest a little.

The championship game was against the Surge & by the looks of their previous game, we were going to have our hands full. Coach kept the same line up and the boys went to work.

After two innings of play it was 11-4 Aces & we were back up to start the 3rd inning with the top of our line up due up. As the Royals' commentators would say---Keep the Line Movin'---and that is exactly what the boys did. One after another they moved their teammates around the bases scoring their limit of 7 more runs making the score 18-4. We were nearing the time limit and worst case scenario they would have been able to tie us but that would have meant they had to score their limit each inning and keep us from scoring any more runs because one additional run would have put the game out of reach. Forgive me, I'm a number cruncher...

We played on though. The game was not over so the Aces took the field again. The Surge, did exactly what their name suggested, they Surged and put 6 runs on the board that inning making the score 18-10. Before our first batter could reach the plate, time was called. The boys were excited. The coaches were excited. The parents were excited.

& then the kids saw the trophy they were getting & I didn't think their smiles could get any bigger but man, did they!

And if you had asked me at the beginning of the season if this group of boys would be holding up a trophy at the end of the season I would have said, "not going to happen". However, if they were giving out a trophy for most improved, this team would have won that too. By the end of the season, everyone was getting hits, the boys were catching popups & at times, getting that double play associated with catching a popup. They were hitting their cutoff man & holding teams to mostly singles with the occasional double which in the beginning would have been easily triples. They were throwing runners out at first and at second--multiple times during an inning/game. Now, did they continue to make some silly mistakes, of course but they quickly learned for them and the next time around, they killed it. So when I say the parents were proud---we were but it wasn't about the "trophy", it was about how far they had come as a team. We were proud about their journey. 

Way to go Aces! 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Birthday America

This may have been my favorite 4th of July holiday in recent years, mostly because the celebrations just kept going. We kicked off the weekend with our neighborhood celebration & it just rolled from there. 

Late Monday afternoon we headed to the Walshes. We've been going to the Walshes for years now since they live in Lees Summit and fireworks are legal there---in Lenexa, we can't shoot them off. I get it I do but having a childhood without fireworks is just wrong. Plain. Wrong. It doesn't hurt that the 4th of July happens to be one of Jake and Jennifer's favorite holidays & they don't skimp when it comes to fireworks both big or small. 

The boys were another year older and a little more brave this year. Kaden actually tends to be our hesitant child and there were times where that certainly showed but for the most part it was one firework after another...while I sat back and held Miss Kendall. 

They ran down parachute after parachute. They lit off fountain after fountain, threw snappers after snappers. And after all that they had a water balloon fight. 

We ended the night on the Walshes back deck watching Jake's finale---it was worth the wait. His wife even FBLived it so friends & family who weren't able to make it could watch along. Each year he keeps upping the bar so I can't wait to see what he does next year---maybe he will add music to it! 

The kids were beat & didn't wake until almost 9 the next morning---too many nights in a row being up way too late but man, they were having sooo much fun. First on the agenda, we needed to whip some cupcakes together for America's birthday---it's our tradition. We pick out a fun USA cupcake recipe & we go to work in the kitchen. Each year they get better and better at helping. 

We had the cupcakes baked but the icing would have to wait as we were headed to lunch with the fam bam. Last year we came home from Cabo on the 3rd to no power so on the 4th we had lunch at BRGR with the fam, this year we continued the lunch tradition and met at Johnny's. As the boys walked in Grammy handed them their 4th of July shirts & off to the bathroom they headed to put them on. Grammy gets them a shirt each year to celebrate the 4th of July and in the past they have been the Old Navy flag shirts, this year she had to go a different route and the boys were all about it. 

We had hoped to spend the day at the pool but the weather had something else in mind so we headed to Top Golf where Justin and I enjoyed an afternoon beverage & the boys worked on their form. 

& then it was time to sing happy birthday to America and make a wish for her---may this year bring a little more love, peace and understanding for her. 

We finished the evening off with a wonderful dinner with some very sweet and dear neighbors which included a melting pot of food, just like America & then a quiet walk home followed by the Macy's Firework Extravaganza. It was a great four days. 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Red, White and BBQ

We moved into our home about 5 years ago. We weren't the first in the neighborhood but we certainly were one of the early arrivals. After moving in we saw home after home going up. The bus stops started to grow a little more with kids, a few additional stops were added & the pool became the spot to be on the weekend. It was wonderful seeing so many families move into the neighborhood but it was also hard to really get to know anyone at the same time.

Thankfully we have met some wonderful people who we have really become great friends with & she was feeling the same way so we decided to take it into our own hands and plan a little gathering.

We called it---Red, White and BBQ.

It would consist of a children's parade which would start on one side of the neighborhood and finish on the other and then followed by a street BBQ. We printed cute little invitations to hand out to each house in the neighborhood and requested that neighbors bring a side dish or dessert to share & we would take care of the burgers and dogs. And by we, Justin would.

We were hoping for 50 people. We got 120!! Over 40 homes from the neighborhood RSVP'd on a holiday weekend, we were so pumped with the turnout. Now it came down to the execution....& of course I didn't think the whole bike decorating thing through. It took way more time than I thought it would and when I was finished with the first, I did not even want to look at the 2nd bike. But that wouldn't have been fair & I would have had one sad boy on my hand so I got 'er done. 

We weren't sure how many kiddos would show up to the parade & we were a little worried their bikes or scooters wouldn't be decorated but once again, we were presently surprised. We had about 25 kids & every. single. bike. was decorated. I even noticed on a friend's fb post that someone commented on how they hadn't seen this done in years and just loved that our neighborhood did it. Now, I know we aren't the only neighborhood that does this but it's still nice knowing that people moved to our neighborhood to belong to a community and although it took a few years to get there, we're finally getting it. 

& let me just say, those big kids were moving on their bikes--we may have to figure out a way in which we can keep all the kids together so it looks more like a parade and less like a free for all--ha! 

The parade ended at our cul-de-sac where the street BBQ was taking place. I had cleared it with all of my neighbors before sending out the invite and everyone was on board with the idea so we just sat our chairs down and blocked the street. The only vehicle that would need to get through would be the mailman but we were okay waiting until Monday for those bills. 

Although the weather was gorgeous, it was HOT and since we live in a newer subdivision there aren't many trees to provide shade & everyone was melting. Thankfully a few dads left and came back with a couple pop up tents which provided some much needed relief.

We had bubbles, tattoos, sidewalk chalk and glow sticks to entertain the kids. We have drinks to entertain the adults. For the next 4 hours or so everyone just mingled & put names to faces. Yard games were pulled out. Tag and hide and seek were played. Bomb Pops were had. And even though the heat was something fierce that day since there was no wind, everyone was smiling, relaxing and having a great time.

& clean up was super easy--easier than any party I have thrown. We had cardboard boxes with trashcans stationed around the street & whatever the neighbors brought to share, they took home with them or we chucked it in the trash. & since we said no fireworks--city of Lenexa doesn't allow anyways--we didn't have a ton of trash on the ground either. Plus tons of neighbors stayed and asked how they could help,we really do live in a great community.

I won't lie, when we first came up with this idea, I was a little intimidated but thanks to my dear friend, Jenn, a few other ladies, & Justin manning the grill, we pulled it off & a 2nd annual Red, White and BBQ has already been requested by so many neighbors. 

When we moved into this neighborhood we were praying for a good mix of young families and older couples & we couldn't be more blessed with how the neighborhood has filled in. Our street is filled with empty nesters who just adore the boys and on the other side of the neighborhood--loads of kids and the majority are under the age of 10 which means fun for the boys and maybe a few new friends for mom and dad too.

Friday, June 30, 2017

June Extras

Cousin Deonte graduated from high school.

Jax turns 7!

KidsGig 2017

Summer Photo Journaling

Sporting KC game

The Great Lenexa BBQ

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Baseball Buds

I didn't anticipate how hard it would be to join a baseball team. But let me tell you, it is. Like your- kid-is-just-born-sign-him-up-already hard. 

I grew up in a small town called Jasper. We had ONE flashing light as you entered our little town, population 996. So when it came to sports, most of the time we were lucky if we had enough kids to fill a roster for softball/baseball. Every girl in my class that wanted to play, got to play and we were all on the same team. We had two classes for each grade so you knew everyone and chances were that if you weren't in someone's class one year, you would be the next year. Friendships were easily cultivated since you were always together. 

Up here in the big city, not so much. It's hard. 

For Logan's group, teams were literally formed before kindergarten even started so this past spring I found myself a little behind--you'd think I would have learned with Kaden's group. Thankfully, two of his most bestest---yes, I said that--- friends also didn't have teams so we went for the lottery and asked for these three cuties to be on the same team. We weren't looking for anything super competitive--they're 6 & I want the boys to really love it on their own before the pressure of a competitive team comes into play. Thankfully, it worked and they are now a packaged deal. Where one goes, the other two will go and it has been so much fun watching them play together. We still aren't sure what their future teams will look like but hey, they're having fun right now. 

Then there is Kaden. The first "real" outing with baseball we signed up through Olathe Parks and Recs and didn't know a single kid that might be playing so we just wrote his school name down and went for it. We got lucky and a few kids from his school were also on the team. We also lucked out with a great coach and Kaden learned a lot that first season but we were looking for something a little more this past spring. I quickly learned that their "school" teams were pretty full and pretty competitive, again, not wanting something super competitive for the boys at this point & had decided that we would just go for the lottery when Kaden's coach reached back out and said he was moving to 3&2 & wanted to know if Kaden would like to play. A few of the same boys from his previous team were also making the move so he would know a few people even if no one from his school was on the team. Luckily, two kiddos were on his team, Ben and Cole but he didn't know them very well because since there are 5 first grade classes & he hadn't been in a class with either of them. I love watching kids who barely know each other in the beginning build strong friendships over the course of a season. & boy has it been fun watching them develop their skill level & go from hardly getting any outs in the field to sometimes shutting teams completely down during innings or holding them to singles. They've come a long way & now it's time to put everything they know to the test as it's tournament time for the Aces...they'll do great & even if they don't win their first game, they'll still have fun. & that's the most important thing. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father's Day 2017

Father's Day always brings a bag if mixed emotions for Justin. And for me. On one hand I want to celebrate everything that he is and everything that my dad is but on the other hand, I know Justin would give ANYTHING to have his dad with us today. Dave is always on our minds but Father's Day takes it to a whole new level so what we do is 100% up to Justin and it is no surprise that for the last few years he's wanted to be at the lake.

This year Adam and Becky joined us and when we arrived our summer lake shirts that Cousin Leanne had made for everyone were waiting for us. Squirrel Town -- some inside joke about a place at the lake many, many years ago.

& as heavy as Father's Day can be, one thing is certain, Justin is an exceptional father. He isn't worried about rolling up his sleeves and getting down and dirty with the boys. He often is asked to play the mom role as I am out of town traveling and he doesn't miss a beat. He loves being outside with them whether it is playing baseball, basketball, soccer or just watching them ride bikes. He is teaching them the art of cooking by including them in the prep work. He's quick to let them know when they are out of line & can do better but equally as quick to express just how proud he is of them. We got lucky this one and couldn't love and appreciate him more than we already do. & I know his dad is so proud of the father he is.

Life Jackets.

There is no question to whether or not our boys have to wear their life jackets while at the lake. If they are going into the water, that jacket has to be on. Honestly, the life jacket should be on whenever they are near the water & from here on out, it will be.

When it comes to life jackets Justin and I have always seen eye to eye--until the boys are like 12-15 & can swim from dock to dock, they will have it on. You never know what lies just below the surface, you can't see your hands or feet when you are swimming--it's lake water. All it takes is ONE second, one second for you to lose sight of someone...

& you don't think it will happen to you until it does. & it happened to us this past weekend, thankfully, Logan had his life jacket on & he is 100% okay but here's what happened. 

The boys were on the Maui Mat--Emily was on the dock talking to me as I watched over the boys, Tyler sitting on the mat watching them play, the boys--they were wrestling on the mat. Something that they have done from the day we got the Maui Mat & honestly, they continue to do even after this incident as it wasn't anyone's fault & this could have happened with multiple kiddos jumping off and on the Maui Mat. 

Anyways, both Logan and Kaden went into the water at the same time. BOTH WEARING LIFE JACKETS--as I said, they don't have an option, they wear it, period. The mat moved and Logan got stuck under the mat. 

Emily had just asked me if I ever get in the water and I just got done stating that I'd probably get in the water a little later today but that I wait until the middle of June because the water is pretty cold anytime before that. 

I hardly got those words out of my mouth before I was yelling, where is he? Where did he go? Does anyone see him? & I was in the water. Tyler was pushing the mat out of the way as he felt him under his legs and Logan popped up. I pulled him over to me as he started to cry out of fear. The thing is, he did everything he was suppose to do---he kept swimming and was pushing up on the mat so we could know where he was. I hugged him and told him that I was so proud of him. Kaden came over and hugged him and patted him on the back & told him good job. 

He of course wanted out of the water and didn't want anything to do with the Maui Mat for awhile. He was scared he would get stuck under it again so we talked about what he could do if that happened---hands up, push the mat in the air and then slide to the side. That if he got stuck under there, someone would be in the water in a matter of seconds, just like this time. 

It scared him. It scared me. But he had that life jacket on & honestly, that may have just saved his life. Logan can swim but not all that great & I don't even want to think about how this would have ended had he not had his life jacket on. That 15 seconds seemed like forever though...

Your kids might battle you with wearing one but stick to your guns, they save lives & honestly, I'm okay if my kids want to hang out in the house if they think they don't need it. This is one thing that I won't budge on. 


As soon as I got Logan out of the water and had him curled up on my lap, Justin suggested we go out on the boat. He had thought that maybe it would take Logan's mind off of things & it did. 

We ventured over to a new-to-us place called Jolly Rogers and come to find out, it's closer than our usual go to place of Coconuts & the food was probably even better. I can see this place becoming our new regular boating restaurant. 

Once we returned back to the house the boys were right back on the water and it was almost as though the little incident earlier, hadn't happened. A few hours later, Cousin Colton arrived and game on. The boys were in and out of the water. On and off the sea-doo. In and out of the swimsuits. They were fishing, shooting off fireworks, play catch & swinging in Tyler's hammock. It was another fun-filled family weekend. 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Messy & Colorful

Our life is pretty messy with 6 & 7 year old boys. On the other hand, it's also very colorful.

& it's important to me to document it all. Enter Katy Gitto Photography, she's been our go to now for 6 years & I can't imagine having anyone else but her capture our family. I signed up for a mini-session on a whim just before Logan was turning one & since then she has captured our family on a yearly basis and the boys on an even more frequent basis. 

This year, I didn't reach out to Katy, Justin did. I had decided that instead of spring pictures (which we always do) that I would set something up for the fall with Katy. Justin, however, had something more in mind and reached out to Katy on his own to set up a session as a gift to me for Mother's Day. He scheduled an hour session and being a photographer myself, I knew that was WAY too much time for the boys, Justin included. So I reached out to Katy and asked if we could break it up into two sessions, one for spring and one for fall & she was totally on board! If you didn't know, I just LOVE her. I put off ideas for the shoot--well, shopping for the shoot & then the next thing I knew it was just days away. I didn't have a plan. What I did know, I wanted it to be fun & lighthearted. I didn't want to get all worked up about how everything looked and did we coordinate the right way so I sent Katy a quick message--what about a Royals theme--it's no secret that we love our Royals & this would totally be up Justin's alley, a little thank you for booking this shoot. And then they boys could take off their jerseys & I could throw on a white t-shirt and we could have some fun with some color powder. 

She was in. Again, LOVE her!

I also had two requests for specific shots, one with each of my boys. I wanted a picture of me holding Kaden. He's 70 pounds, yes, you read that correctly, 70 POUNDS & I'm not sure how much longer I am going to be able to pick him up so he jumped up and I held on. 

The second request, a picture of Logan kissing me. On the lips. I'm a mom that kisses on the lips. And lately, I have seen a lot of controversy over this very simple & innocent show of love between a mother and child, or a parent and child. It just breaks my heart that some people have to ruin this for others--so if you are like me and you kiss your kids on the lips, keep doing it--it's those people who have a problem with it, that make it weird, not us.