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Saturday, May 4, 2019

the BIRTHDAY party

It was birthday party time which also meant birthday cake time but before we could settle on a cake design we need to have a theme for the party. Logan went back and forth between SkyZone, Gaming Truck or a Wild Animal Party. He finally settled with the exotic animal theme as he is a LOVER of all animals & since we had a theme, we had a starting point for cake ideas. 

The birthday cake is one of those things that has kind of morphed into a yearly tradition. It started out relatively simple with round cakes & sprinkled ages and then the ideas and the execution just kept growing. We've had a bowling cake, a dog food cake, a smore's cake, a Royals' baseball cake, Super Mario Bros, Pokemon and now a Burmese Python.


Honestly, it was a little aggressive. Especially knowing that I would be traveling for work that week and wouldn't return home until later Friday afternoon but go big or go home. So while my mom was in town the weekend before, we made 4 cakes and placed them in the freezer. I had Justin remove them for me Friday morning so that I could get straight to work when I got home. We turned four bundt cakes into a three + foot long snake. Now, we had WAY too much cake but two bundt cakes wouldn't have looked right & if I was going to do this, I was going to try and make it look at least halfway decent. Kaden and Logan were both huge helps as they both learned to pipe a little allowing my hand to have a little bit of a break. In the end, Logan was beyond happy & that's all that mattered.


For the party we found a company, J Exotics R US, that would bring rescued animals to our house for the kids to interact with. Not only were they able to interact with the animals but the learned so much about each of the species that were brought. This little armadillo was one of our favorites because he would just run around on his tip toes and no matter where you would put him, he'd head straight for Logan. Plus, he was super ticklish. We got to see some lizard type reptiles, a hedgehog, a chinchilla which felt like a cloud--supposed to be one of the softest living animals and after petting him, we could see why. I got to hold one of the fox relatives -- he loves long hair and then the bigger guy got to climb over all the dads. & then she brought out the lemur -- a real life LEMUR. She was just a baby and she could easily catch a cold so no one could hold her but she loved looking around at everyone. You could tell that Logan was in his element from the first hello.











We finished the party off with cake and ice cream & Logan opened a few presents before all his buddies left. At the end, after most of his friends had left, he opened one last present from his Grammy---it was a three part present.


First it was crackers. 


Then there was cheese.


And finally, a cheese cutting board.


Logan loves cheese and every time we are at Grammy's she always has cheese sliced up with crackers and Logan basically hovers over it until it's all gone. So, now, he has his own board where we can slice his own cheese and you better believe it's gotten lots of use too! 


It was a great 8th birthday celebration with some very wonderful friends. We are so blessed that Logan has found such a good group of kids to call his friends & buddies.


Sunday, April 28, 2019

KC T-Bone Sizzler 2019

This weekend was all about baseball and for both boys. It was the KC T-Bone Sizzler baseball tournament. It also happens to be the first tournament that the boys would be in where they weren't on the same team and would be playing at different locations. Not to mention, it was lake house clean up weekend and Dad was needed/expected there so I needed some major backup and help. Enter Grandma Sara---man, we love her.

We finally got their schedules and I guess, it really couldn't have been much worse---they both had 8 am games, at different locations and then Kaden had a 10 am game, Logan an 11:30 game. Divide and conquer was the name of the game this weekend. 


Grandma Sara headed to one location with Logan in tow and I headed to the other with Kaden. As soon as Logan's game wrapped up, they joined us to watch the start of Kaden's second game. After his game started, Logan and I headed back over for his second game where Grandma Sara and Kaden joined us after his game had wrapped. PHEW, is right!




Both Aces teams, 8u and 9u went 2-0 in pool play putting them in great positions for bracket play. Kaden's team was seeded 2nd and Logan's team 1st. So onto Sunday play we went. Kaden's first game was at 10. If he won he'd play at 4:00 and then 6:30. Logan's first game was at 3 and if he won, he'd play again at 4:45. So, best case scenario, we'd have to divide and conquer again. 

The best surprise, Daddy decided to get up super early and drive home to catch Kaden's game. & boy was he glad he did.

First up, Aces 9u. They won. 
Kaden actually threw a no-hitter. A four-inning complete game allowing zero hits, and two runs while striking out nine. The defense behind him that day was on fire. Trust me, it was a little crazy as a mom to watch. 

Aces 9u advances.


& then we said goodbye to our savior of the weekend, Grandma Sara. I seriously couldn't have done this weekend without her.


Next up, Aces 8u. They won too & advanced to the championship

& our little Logan Beckett had one stellar of a play! Diving catch stellar of a play and I wish I would have seen it but I was taking our other ball player to his game. 


Fourth game for Aces 9u. They won and advanced to the championship as well. 

Meanwhile, Lil South's game had already started and I was having a hard time not being able to be in two places at once. I wanted to watch Logan and his team play out the final pitches of their game but I also couldn't leave Kaden without family in attendance. So I stayed.


And then the pictures started rolling in. Logan's team had lost to a really good team and ended up taking 2nd place in the tournament BUT what an achievement for the Aces 8u, their first season playing together and after only a handful of regular season games. I just love this picture of Logan and his dad, makes me smile with pride each time I look at it.



And Dad and Logan joined us just as Kaden's game got underway. The boys were tuckered out, this was their 5th game of the weekend and you could start to see it set in but they never gave up and made a game that should have probably been an easy one for the other team, a tight match. They ended up losing 3-6, a very hard fought loss.

So Aces 9u, also ended up taking 2nd place in the tourney.



So after a long, rainy, windy, sunny weekend of baseball, both South boys came home as runner-ups and they both had the smile to show for it. So proud of how they each played and the effort they and their teams gave to the very end. Love watching these boys make memories.



Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Aces MNO

When you spend as much time playing baseball as we do, you wanna really get to know and love the families that are there with you. I can honestly say that we are beyond lucky to have found such a wonderful and supportive baseball family. Families that are GREAT people, have GREAT kids and just want is truly best for their own kiddos as well as everyone else's kiddos. Families that cheer louder for your son than you do at times because they know he gets embarrassed when it's his own mom. Parents who offer support and encouragement when your son easily gets frustrated and who are quick to pick up whomever is needing it. We have found, no, we have created the most amazing village when it comes to our baseball family. We genuinely enjoy hanging out with one another outside of baseball--case in point, Aces MNO. A little crafting session with some of my favs. Baseball themed, of course, no need to go too crazy! 


Friday, April 12, 2019

C + K + L

Olathe was out of school again. Thankfully, not for snow, this one was fully planned & we were prepared. We decided that it would be fun to have Cousin Colton join us since he was out as well and we were just going to make a day of it. The initial plan was heading to the zoo but it ended up being far colder than we had expected so we started off with a little Duck Donuts. I think Kaden and I enjoyed them probably more than the other two.


After Duck Donuts I thought it would be fun to check out a new exhibit at the mall so we headed to the mall. & that was a negative--they weren't open until 3 pm on Fridays so plan B turned into plan C, SkyZone. I drove over to SkyZone and that was a negative too. They were closed and didn't open up until 3. Mind you, all three boys were super stoked when I pulled into SkyZone so I now had three very bummed out kiddos. We headed back to our house to grab lunch and then we loaded back up in the car and we headed to the movies to meet Grammy. The one thing on our list since pivoting from the zoo was seeing the movie Shazam! and it did not disappoint.


As soon as it was over we hightailed it back over to SkyZone and for the next hour the boys ran wild. Well, not as wild as some of the kids, these boys were kind and waited their turns patiently. Made this mom/aunt very proud. 


We ended the evening with dinner and a soccer match of Colton's and then it was off to bed, not a single peep out of either of them once I tucked them in. They were wiped. So was I.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Aces 8u - Your Turn

So it was back to machine pitch for Logan. 

He wasn't super stoked about having to go back to machine pitch because that also meant no leading off and no stealing. On the flip side, he would probably get to play a few more positions like pitcher, catcher and second base so he was going with it. 

The good news---since two of the coaches from the OG Aces were his best buddies' dads, the Aces name would get to stick. We would have an Aces 9u and an Aces 8u so he'd wear the same uniforms as his big brother and his older buddies plus he'd get to tag along to all the games when there isn't conflicts and possibly maybe get to even be bat boy. This also meant that I didn't have to get any new baseball fan gear--unless we wanted it, which we did. 

Logan's season kicked off a week later than Kaden's but that didn't stop him and Little C from coming up after his practice to watch the older boys---Little C played with them last season too. I mean, how cute are these two in their practice/tournament jersey!


He had been waiting for this day for awhile. It was all him. The only South on the field. My eyes were only on him, Daddy's eyes were only on him and Kaden was his biggest fan. 

That first game he got to play all the positions that he wanted to and he came off the field loving the catching position most.

I'll be honest, I wasn't quite sure how I would feel about not having both boys on the field at the same time but it is what was best for each of them and honestly, me too. We needed to be able to pour our energy into each one equally when it came to their games. They each deserved the opportunity to shine on their own and not to either be overshadowed or overlooked due to something the other did. The smiles told us everything we needed to know---this was exactly how it should be.



When we first moved the younger boys up it was because we couldn't find space for ALL THREE to play together. They started together and we wanted to keep them together & that's what we did. It organically grew into what it is today, these three on a team with all their buddies but still part of the OG Aces. They've come along in baseball but their cuteness has been strong from day one.





Saturday, April 6, 2019

New Room. New Bed.

You know when you say something in your head and it sounds like a great idea but then once you say it out loud, you can't help but want to take it back. That's what happened here & it just set off a snowball of changes. 

After we returned home from our vacation the house was in desperate need of a good carpet cleaning. I borrowed my SIL's carpet cleaner and I got to work on the carpets. First starting in the living room --which the timing was great here as our new couch was being delivered so we sold the old one, cleaned the carpets and then had the new one delivered.

Logan's room was next. Stoli use to camp out in there and I'm afraid, well, I know she had one too many accidents in there while we were gone. But in order to really clean the carpet we needed to move Logan out for a few days so he slept in the spare bedroom. Next thing I knew, we were ordering him a new bed (this had been promised to him for at least a year now and I kept pushing it off). A new bed meant new bedding because I mean, why not--well, and for the simple fact we didn't have any full size sheets for him. & somehow this snowballed into him moving his entire room into the spare bedroom. Well, me moving it all but him asking for it to be done. 

Justin and I talked about, kind of, neither of us saw a big issue with it. Both boys would have their own bedroom and bathroom which was a good thing because sometimes arguments broke out in the bathroom for one reason or another. They would have their own space and neither would have any reason to walk through the other's room unless they were invited in. 

So we made the switch. First starting with the closet and you better believe that as we worked our way through the closet that we unloaded a TON of clothes. Some that no longer would fit, some that he hadn't grow into but I knew that since Kaden didn't wear them, he wouldn't either. 


We moved his dresser in--only after having gone through EVERY. SINGLE. DRAWER. We moved Max in to. We ordered a mattress in box and placed it in his old room as it needed 72 hours to expand and once it finally had reached it's stated size we put together his bed. We realized quickly that even though it had some rails, we needed a box spring set to not only give the mattress some height but also so it wouldn't sink through the rails--it was such a soft mattress. I was able to fix the problem bandaid the problem until we found the box spring but that was a story in and of itself. Let's just say, Uncle Adam came to the rescue and measuring might be a good thing to do before buying something like that! 

Finally---he was all set. There's nothing on the walls as I have no idea how long this will last but so far, so good. He loves having "his" own space and could care less about the fact that his bathroom is decked out with some girly decor---he's just happy he has his own even if that meant saying goodbye to sleeping with Stoli.


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Aces 9u-- You're Up

This would be the first game in three seasons that the boys would be taking the field separately. They were ready, I was not. My heart was struggling with the idea that I would have to choose one kiddo over the other at some point or another during this season BUT luck was on our side and when the regular season schedules came out, we had ZERO overlap out of 28 games. This meant that both Justin and I would get to watch both boys play, they would get to watch their brother play but it also meant our next 6 months were going to be spent at the ball fields. Good thing I love not only love them but I love baseball too.

Up first was the Aces 9u team--Kaden's team. We have a number of familiar faces on the team but we picked up some new faces that instantly fit into the Aces family. They got new uniforms for this "new" team and man do they all look sharp. 

Last season was the first kid pitch season and Kaden struggled at the plate. He had zero trust when it came to the pitchers he was up against and he wouldn't swing the bat. I don't think he actually swung until the last few games and he had one "hit", and I say "hit" because he was thrown out but he made contact and EVERYONE was on their feet when it happened. I wasn't sure what to expect. Justin and I decided that we would bribe him---for every swing we would pay him a quarter. Money motivates the kid. And it worked. First up to bat and he got a hit, like a REAL hit. Now he struck out one other time and then walked but that didn't matter, he did his job and earned himself some money at the same time. 


Justin and I were so very proud that he got up there and was swinging---and at good pitches too. Now, to focus in and connect. He'll get there. Sadly, they didn't get too many chances in the field to make play but they walked away with a win! Aces 9u were 1-0. 

Fast forward a week and he was our starting pitcher. I was a nervous wreck. Not that I was worried that Kaden would get a ball hit back to him and it would hurt him, but more so because pitching is a head game and Kaden can easily get frustrated. But he proved that I had zero to worry about and he rolled that evening. He pitched three innings, striking out 6, throwing out 1, allowing 1 hit and only 2 runs. His defense backed him up & the offense piled the runs on. He and a buddy switched positions in the fourth inning and his buddy kept with it and the two of them helped secure another win. 

As good of a game as he had on the mound, it wasn't the same at the plate. He struggled again and he knew it. He couldn't shake it off and got frustrated each time he was at bat when he struck out, swinging or not. For the most part, he had his moment (quietly) and then walked back out to the mound and continued to perform. I was so proud of his effort and tried telling him that he played the role that his team needed him to play. He gave them the chance to win that game and he should be happy about his overall performance. He wasn't buying that and was stuck on how he "sucked" at hitting. So, since he was swinging, I figured it was time to reach back out to Nate at DBats and build that confidence. Let's hope a few lessons with Nate will have him back on track and he'll be smiling from both sides of the field---and if not, let's hope he can get a few walks! Either way, it's going to be fun season watching the Aces play.



Sunday, March 17, 2019

This is ELEVEN

The past two years we have celebrated our anniversary aboard a cruise ship, this year we would disembarking early in the morning and then headed back to Fort Lauderdale for the afternoon.

We weren't sure what the afternoon would entail but we decided to find a beach. The boys the love the beach and I don't hate it.


The boys played on the beach and in the water for a few hours and then we walked around the boardwalk for a little. This picture represents what the last 11 years has been about. We've gone through the ups and the downs that marriage can bring but our greatest achievement as husband and wife is raising these two boys. We aren't perfect. They aren't perfect. But we make perfect sense as a family. We lift one another up when it's needed and we are there to ground one another when that is needed too. There is honestly no place I'd rather be than with them & I am so thankful that I have Justin by my side every step of the way. I couldn't, nor would I want to, do life without him.

Happy 11th Anniversary & Happy St. Patrick's Day. Cheers to many more spent with us four.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Souths Sail the Horizon - Hello La Ramona

Good morning, La Romana.


We didn't really have much planned for this stop, in fact we were planning on just hopping off the boat for a quick second, stepping foot into the Dominican Republic & then getting right back on the boat but as we were disembarking they mentioned a little train ride around the city. We figured it would be short so why not but first pictures!






The nice thing about not having anything planned is that we could take our time getting off and on the ship. We ate breakfast without rushing and slowly made our way down to the deck 0 to hop off the boat. As were were waiting in line we ran into my cousin and her boys so we just hopped in the train line with them and on we went. The train ride was NOTHING to write home about. It did provide some humbling moments and hopefully some thankful moments for the kids but outside of watching people run along side the train to sell you anything from cigars to necklaces to sodas and water, we didn't see much. It wasn't the longest ride so we were back in a matter of 30 minutes to do a little shopping before jumping back on the boat for lunch. It was Guy's Burgers for us all. 




Since we were at port and the ship was basically empty the boys took advantage of the no lines and went on the ropes course. And by boys, I mean, Logan, Colton and Dane--Kaden was enjoying soccer pool with Luke. Logan was a little timid the first time through but that second time around he flew through it and my worries and concerns were long gone. 


We typically don't do dinner in the main dining room when we are at port but since we were on the boat so early we decided to take advantage of a quiet dining room. The boys all found their love for salmon and crackers again and I'm pretty sure each ate their weight in chicken nuggets. I may have done the same with the shrimp cocktail.