Sunday, September 23, 2018

Fall at the Lake

So, we bought a boat. Well, kind of. The whole South family bought a boat. & we didn't buy it until after we had already had our final hurrah of the summer so Justin wanted to find a fall weekend to take the boys down and head out on the water for some exploring. 

Now, we had a boat before but it was an older one. One that we really didn't trust a whole lot so we only took it out in our cove & maybe the cove over but we never went on any lengthy boat ride. 

I was also of the mindset that maybe we didn't really need anything more because we have an awesome dock in a quiet cove. Why would we want to be on a boat all day and take it out to swim when we have the perfect area right at our house to enjoy. But Justin got it. & he got me on board.

We headed down after the boys got out of school on Friday with three dogs in tow---Stoli, Gus and Schultz. Janet and Craig would be arriving late into the night as they had tickets to Billy Joel. For the most part, it was a simple ride. For the most part, the dogs did great, actually, one dog didn't move for the entire trip. Once we arrived we got to work on setting up the cabin. I made beds. The boys fed the dogs & took them on a walk. Justin got the water turned on. The one thing that we didn't have to do was unpack a weekend's worth of food. We decided that we would eat lunch out on the water and then dinner in town. We wouldn't be sticking around too long on Sunday since we had baseball practice and a Chiefs game to watch so we barely packed any food--it was amazing.

As soon as the boys woke up we got them fed and headed down to the dock to check out the boat. They were super excited as Craig and Justin started uncovering it. We bundled up and headed out for the morning. There was so much room and the radio actually worked. We had cup holders and lounge chairs. It was so nice. The boys were loving life & so was the captain. 

I saw more of LOTO that day than I have in the last 16 years that I have been going down there & probably spent more time in this new boat than I ever did in the old boat too. Justin navigated his way to the toll bridge & of course we had to take a picture & then it was my turn to give driving the boat a try. I never wanted to drive the old boat because technically it wasn't ours, it was Justin's aunt and uncle's boat and well, if something happened, I didn't want to be blamed. This boat is different. It's our boat & although I doubt I spend much time driving it because that's Justin's gig, I want to at least know how to do it. You know for safety reasons.

Once we reached the bridged the headed back towards are section of the lake and stopped in at Jolly Roger's for some lunch. This is where Logan met a new friend, Corona. 

After lunch we made the short drive back to the cabin where the boys got to fish and the dogs got to run. Well, Gus ran as Stoli and Schultz slowly walked around. & for this being Gus' first time at the lake, he did amazing, sure he wouldn't lay down and go to sleep until the house was quiet and dark but outside of the first time taking him to the bathroom, he was never on a leash. He stayed right next to us the entire time. Was a little skiddish about the dock but eventually found his way out there. Helping the boys fish was what he loved the most.

The boys fished for awhile and then they were ready to go back out on the boat. So were we. We packed up a little cooler and headed a different direction, this time ending up at the dam. & then we found a quiet little cove where the boys jumped into the water and then got their fishing poles back in the water. It was a perfect afternoon to be on the water & once we got back home it was already dinner time. We loaded up, headed into town, had dinner and then spent the evening with the Walshes who were down at Scott's house. It didn't take long before this one's head it the pillow and his eyes were shut. Summers at the lake are a favorite of ours but fall at the lake, well, it's pretty awesome too.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Bunks Are Gone

For awhile now I have been contemplating taking down Kaden's bunk beds and bringing back in his old bed from when he was 3. In the last few weeks, Kaden, himself, has started requesting getting rid of the the bunk beds. I loved that they provide more room for him to play in his room but that stage sadly, has come and gone. He doesn't need as much room to play now because play comes in the form of Legos or baseball cards or Nerf wars that the boys use the whole house for. 

And if you know me at all, you know that when I get an idea, I kind of just run with it. So step one was getting rid of the bunk beds. I figured I would put a little feeler out there on Facebook and if anyone was interested then great. If not, then we could wait a little while longer until I figured out what we would do with them --- and the mattresses that go with them.

So, we went for it. I snapped a picture & posted it. Stated that they were free to a good home but the only catch, you had to come and break them down and haul them off on your own. This not only made sure that people were interested before they reached out but also allowed for them to know how to put it back together since they took part in the disassembling process.

It didn't take long and messages were coming in. I got two message about what size they were -- they were twin and both individuals needed full -- and then message three showed up asking if they were still available and that she was just confirming with her husband. They were and he was in. Bunks were sold -- well, spoken for in this case. 

On Sunday morning they showed up & we started planning how we would take them apart. Two minutes later and bolts were being removed. Twenty minutes later and we had the bunks pulled apart in four pieces and loaded into their truck with the mattresses. 

Twenty minutes after that, I had Kaden's old bed back in his room and ready to go.

And twenty minutes after that, I got the cutest pictures of the sweetest girls just LOVING LIFE. I quote, "this is the best day of my entire life."

These bunks were a labor of love over 5 years ago. I spent most of the 2014 World Series run paining every single board grey. The boys would have sleep overs with each other, they would build forts and I was even known to fall asleep with Kaden a few times on the bottom bunk. And as much love as I put into them, I think it is pretty safe to say that not only was it time for us to part ways with the bunks, we also found the best home for them. I can see lots of slumber parties and forts in these girls' near future.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Sunday Funday

On this particular Sunday my goal was to have no electronics or to turn the TV on until the Chiefs game, which was at three. It took a little creativity but we did it & you know what, the boys actually continued playing with one another in a make believe format even after the Chiefs game started.

We had lazer tag wars. Kaden received a set of lazer tag guns for his birthday and they are incredibly fun. They came in a pack of 4 from Amazon - and sometimes you can even find them for $25.00 on a blue light special. We've played as a family with these. Inside and outside. This particular day I sat up a few barriers for Kaden to hide behind and caught Logan jumping/falling through the air as he shot.

Then it was off to ride bikes. We started out with just riding on our street but then I suggested heading to the lake and seeing if our buddy, Jax, would want to join & he did. They rode their bikes around the lake twice as I walked one way and then back tracked to keep my eyes on them at all times. 

It was then home for lunch and off to baseball practice. Logan even got his first shot at pitching in practice -- not too shabby when it comes to form. 

If you ask me, this is the best kind of Sunday there is. A little down time using imaginations and getting outdoors with friends. So ready for fall.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Reputation - MNO

 Taylor Swift. Enough said.

Literally the BEST. CONCERT. EVER.

Better than Justin Timberlake. Better than Maroon 5. Better than Sugar Ray.

It was about a year ago that Taylor Swift announced her Reputation Tour, I am not even sure if her album was even out yet BUT as soon as the album dropped, I bought it. & listened to it on repeat all damn day. As soon as it was time to purchase tickets for her stop in KC, I bought two. I wasn't sure who was going to go with me, all I knew was that it had to be someone who would rock out to Taylor Swift and be good company--enter Jenn. She didn't bat an eyelash when I told her I had two tickets and one had her name on it - she was 100% game. Moms' Night Out was happening but not for another 9 months...

It was a long wait. A long wait of reading all the AMAZING reviews & then watching all the rain we were expecting during her time in KC. On Monday it was rain all weekend. By Wednesday it had cleared up a little and rain was only expected on Saturday. Fingers were crossed but I was determined to go rain or shine. Saturday came and the rain held off. It started out pretty cool but then righ before we left the sun came out and the weather was perfect. 

Dined on some sushi beforehand and then headed to the stadium about an hour before the concert was scheduled to begin. I pride myself in knowing how to get in and out of a packed stadium. I know all the good shortcuts and where to park---thanks to my mom. However, traffic was worse getting to Arrowhead for the Reputation Tour than it was for the 2015 World Series Game 1 or Game 2. 

Taylor Swift or Bust. 

Jenn was aggressive--that's my girl. And we found parking right next to the stadium, right in front of the 50 semi's that transport the set. Jenn backed right in so when it was over, we could get right out!

We found our seats just as the first act was hitting stage. She was good. Camilla Cabello was better. Neither held a candle to Taylor & I don't mean that in a negative way, just that Taylor was FREAKING AMAZING. 

From the moment she stepped out on stage we didn't take a seat. Or stop signing.

The production Taylor and her team put on was unbelievable and if she would have played the following night, I would have found a way to get tickets to it too. This time I would have taken the boys. Although, when they learned that I brought them home some TSwift socks, they were happy campers. They love socks! 

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Level UP - NINE

It was time for another South birthday party. Kaden was turning NINE!

We had talked about what kind of birthday party he'd like to have and I threw out the idea of a mobile gaming truck. I wasn't sure how they really worked but they looked like fun and he seemed thrilled with the idea. We booked it and decided our theme would be Level Up - a gaming theme. 

Finding a date though was a little harder, we didn't want it too far out from his birthday but his birthday also coincides with Labor Day each year. I was afraid to choose a Saturday because the baseball schedules weren't out yet and everyone else has activities on Saturdays too. So we went with a Sunday afternoon, after baseball practice. He decided that he wanted to invite all of his baseball team, his cousin Colton, our buddy Nathan and then a friend from school. I figured the boys would be sweaty and dirty anyways from baseball so being outside for another 2 hours wasn't going to make a difference and would even maybe allow us to take it up another notch.

The first thing out of Kaden's mouth on Sunday morning was, "Mom, do you have something to say to me today? Like, happy birthday party day, Kaden!" "That's right, it is today, isn't it? Well, happy birthday party day, Kaden. It's going to be a wonderful day, I am sure of it." 

And it was. 

The guest were all boys, except one special little girl who Kaden just adores.

Party prepping was relative easy for this party. We would have cake, Fanta Floats and a popcorn barn. They would hang out and play video games for an hour before singing happy birthday & then we would shoo them back out the door to have a little color powder war. 

But first, the cake. We all know by now that I try and make/decorate a cake for the boys' birthdays. I've done a bowling cake, a Smore's cake, a Pokemon cake and a number of simply cakes with sprinkles and their age on it but it seems like with each and every cake I do, I try and stretch my limits. Since gaming was the theme Kaden and I talked about pulling together a few Mario references and Pokemon and then he suggested something called Roblox. Here goes nothing. 

I Pinterested a few idea and then Friday night I got to baking--4 round cakes.

Saturday I stacked two round cakes on top of on another and then cut the other two in squares and placed them on top of the larger circle cakes. We attended a friend's of Kaden and Logan's birthday party & when I got home I dove right into icing. This is where it all started falling apart. the top layer was NOT having it. I could not for the life of me get any icing to stick and I was just try to do a simple crumb coat. So into the trash it went & I proceeded with just the two round cakes. I could still make this work and explained to Kaden what our new plan was -- Mario only. Cool was his response. Good enough for me. 

I mixed up two large batches of icing and went to town. Started with two colors of green for the rolling hills. moved to yellow and white for the stars and parts of the mushrooms. Fill in the red and then finished it off with the blue. I didn't get fully finished until after Kaden had gone to bed but when he woke up he was AMAZED at his cake. Logan told me I was an excellent cake maker. 

Those comments made the time and my sore hand all worth it.

We slapped a few Mario characters on it -- Kaden was Luigi for Halloween last year so Luigi made the cake and Mario would have made it too if not for his missing nose! The other characters that we had bought to use on the cake found homes being used as decorations.

Since the party was after baseball practice that gave me 2 hours to get everything pulled together with a quite house. Say what?! That 2 hours went by so quickly and before I knew it, the mobile gaming truck with Sky's The Limit Mobile Gaming was arriving and our ball players and friends were right behind him. The set up was perfect for these boys -- all very anxious to get to playing.

I limited the games to game which EVERYONE can play. No shooting, no blood, no violence. There were few grumbles at the beginning but once they were inside they were totally mesmerized by all the TV and game choices.

They even had a VR -- and now that is exactly what this kid wants for Christmas.

I had decided to schedule the truck for an hour, thought that maybe two hours would be too much and they would lose interest, WHAT WAS I THINKING. The boys LOVED everything about it, as did Justin and I -- so easy to keep track of them and someone else was in charge of implementing rules.

Once our hour was up we headed inside to sing Kaden Happy Birthday. This is usually where I grab a picture of Justin and I with Kaden and one of him with his cake. And, although this picture works, I had to steal it from a video that I took. And well, the one with Justin & I will just have to come later.

Once the boys were all nice and sugared up on cake, ice cream and popcorn -- we got them changed into their white shirts and safety glasses, we headed outside for a little color war. A few boys weren't so sure about the whole color war thing but once it got going there was no turning back and they went for it. Thankfully they followed directions and did not get any adults that were standing nearby. 

I look at this picture and I am instantly reminded of just how lucky Kaden is to be surrounded by wonderful family, friends and buddies. These kiddos represent different parts of his life and don't all know each other but you'd would have never known that from the party. They are the most welcoming group of kiddos and their only goal is to have the best time possible. 

Goal obtained.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

So it begins-Kid Pitch

It's baseball time again but this time around it's a whole lot different.

But before I get to that -- there's this. A picture that Alyssa, Rachel and I have been trying to get for two seasons now but hey, we got it and on game one for fall ball.

So fall ball--why so different this year. The boys have entered the kid pitch world. Kid pitch doesn't just mean that kids are pitching, it also means they can lead off, steal, drop third strike comes into play, & pick runners off. We weren't really sure how this season was going to go -- we decided to commit to the competitive league again but hoping to drop down a division since last season didn't go as well as we had hoped. Thankfully, it looks like we are matched with teams more on our level. 

Three things I have learned already. 

1. The games are FOREVER LONG. This is mainly because walks are in play now and if you don't have a pitcher that can consistently throw strikes you end up walking 7 runs in. 

2. The boys are LOVING it. Although the games are longer and lack a lot of action, the boys end up paying more attention. They are leading off and have to watch the pitcher to get back to the bag if he tries to pick them off. They are watching the pitcher for his release and then taking a bigger lead to possibly steal. They have a little more time in between each play to gather their thoughts or emotions and to shake off mistakes. 

3. I'm a nervous wreck during games. I keep score for the team through GameChanger, which keeps some of my anxiousness at bay but that first time they both stepped into the box I almost couldn't handle it. Heart was pounding so fast. & then came the moment that I knew would happen, Kaden was called in to pitch. I had to step away from the field. I handed my duties off to another mother and I backed away -- still in sight to watch him warm up but far enough away to let him do his thing without me coaching him. I actually FaceTimed my mom because I wasn't going to be a ball of nerves by myself, she made me move closer so she could see better. He only had to face one batter, either he would walk him and the 7th run would cross the plate or he would strike him out and that would be our third out. He struck him out but we dropped the ball on the third strike and weren't able to capture the out. I know there will be another time he's in the game pitching & I'll still be a nervous wreck but you know who wasn't--Kaden. 

& Logan, he keeps surprising us all. He doesn't care that he's a year younger, he can hang with these guys. He played right field and stopped a huge hit, keeping the batter to a single and saving a run. He had his best hit, maybe ever & was the cutest third baseman you ever did see. He would cover the bag when a runner was at 2nd or 3rd and then as Cade would pitch he jump off and cover the field like it needed to be. He may have thrown in a few floss moves here and there too.

Aces have started off strong with a 2-0 record. Most importantly, they're having fun.

Thursday, August 16, 2018


A first and a last all in the same day. First day of second grade for Logan and third grade for Kaden but it was their last "first" day at Cedar Creek Elementary. See, a new elementary school is being built closer to us so the boys will finish out their elementary years there. Cool little fact, it's all CCE - Canyon Creek Elementary, so at least we can save all of our spirit wear.

We had a few nervous jitters to start the morning out but by the time they sat down for breakfast those were long gone. They were so excited to see all their friends they had missed over the summer. We started off this school year just like we finished off last school year--with a hot breakfast. Two circle cakes for our second grader and three for our third grader.

This morning we decided that we would venture over to one of our buddies' homes and walk with him to school. This particular buddy just moved into our school district and was starting his first year at CCE, the boys didn't want him to have to walk up to school alone on that first day. But first---we had to grab a few pictures of this monumental day.

They kind of fought me on their outfits--mainly their shorts as they both wanted to wear gym shorts but I wouldn't budge. I told them that there were only two days that I would pick out their clothes for--first day of school and class pictures, everything else was their call. Unless of course it was cold and I told them to add a few layers. That did the trick though, they put on their smiles and we got it done.

Justin had a work call that he had to be on at 7 that morning and we weren't sure if he be done by the time that we were leaving so Kaden & Logan stepped in and became the photographer. I'm still not that great about handing the phone to someone else and capturing me with the boys but I'm working on it. And as luck would have it, Justin's call ended right before we were loading up and he jumped in a picture with the boys too--the boys were pretty excited that he made it.

As we started to make our way around to the front of the school, Logan saw one of his besties walking up and the biggest smile appeared on both of their faces. Followed by each of them shouting the other's name and big waves. They ran towards each other and Seph's momma grabbed this shot. Melt my heart into a million pieces.

And then we made it to the doors and friends were everywhere. At one time I had lost Kaden, he had already gone inside due to the excitement but then he reappeared. We snapped one last picture, both boys gave me a kiss and off they went to what we all hope to be a fabulous year at CCE. 

The next morning brought another set of firsts and lasts. First ride of the school year on the bus but last year to ride a bus until middle school. The boys picked out their own outfits from head to toe. Socks and all! Logan's shirt was one that he made with Emily and Drake that read Drake is my best friend and then Kaden asked that I make him one that read, My mom and dad are the coolest. 

Hard to believe that Kaden is halfway through elementary school and that Logan is right behind him! 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

On to SECOND and THIRD grade...

It seems like the summer flew by. Like so fast & before I knew it, I was out on the driveway with chalk for a fourth year in a row. Second grade for Logan and third grade for Kaden---like what?!?

 & we couldn't send them off to start a new school year without checking out their new classrooms and meeting their teachers at sneak-a-peek. I had told them both before I left for work that morning that they needed to be showered and dressed nicely before we are able to leave and head to the school. I got home, Emily, our nanny, already had them showered and they got themselves dressed. Socks and all. I smiled and decided it really didn't matter that I didn't like their socks. They did.

Logan sadly didn't have any of his besties in his class this year but he was still excited for the school year to begin because he had some friends in his class that he didn't have last year. He drew Mrs. Neuschafer and we just know a wonderful year lies ahead for him. That evening he had to pick out his super power and he picked out Math and Kindness. He nailed it.

Kaden drew Mrs. McGraw and lucked out and had a couple of buddies from last year in his class again this year. He was hoping for his buddy Cade who would not be attending CCE to be in his class but sadly that didn't work out. I'd love to say next year but there won't be a next year at this CCE. His class size is pretty small compared to the other third grade classes with only 18 but it's due to the size of this specific room and honestly, I love that. Kaden feeds off of positive reinforcement and more one on one time and this will lend well to that. He's excited to take third grade by the horns and we are so very excited to watch it happen.