Tuesday, November 13, 2018

World Kindness Day

For our fall family pictures I needed to get the boys something new to wear and so I went to the one place I also go now, Abercrombie Kids. I picked out a few button ups and then picked out a few Christmas shirts and then added these Choose Kindness shirts to my pile. I envisioned getting a picture of them wearing the shirts on the red steps and door after we grabbed a few family pictures. 

And while my vision came true--they were freezing. But it literally took 3 minutes to capture a couple pictures & this picture (taken with my phone) may just be one of my favorites yet. 

So, after I got the shot, I posted it to Instagram and I, of course, tagged Abercrombie Kids. A few days later they reached out and asked if they could use the image in their upcoming World Kindness Day email campaign.  Ummmmm, my kids, in an Abercrombie Kids campaign, ABSOLUTELY. I exchanged a few messages with them and they told me that the campaign would come out on the 13th, World Kindness Day. And what do you know, it did...

And not only were they featured at the top but they were featured as the cover image on their Instagram account, their Twitter account and their Facebook page. 

We always talk to them about how important it is to CHOOSE KINDNESS over anything else. That people will forget what you did or what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel. 

I couldn't have picked a better campaign for the boys to be part of and can we just give it up for Abercrombie Kids for promoting kindness. Kindness to one another, kindness to ourselves.

Choose Kind. Every Time.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Happy {Half} Birthday Logan Beckett

For months he had been counting down the days until his half birthday but then on the day of, he didn't even say a word about it--must have forgot. And although, I didn't forget about celebrating his half birthday on the 6th---the day just didn't allow for it to happen. We went from school straight to basketball practice and then straight to the American Royal. By the time we got home he was exhausted so I didn't say anything and decided we would celebrate a day later.

I was under the weather but still had a few work meetings that I had to make but after those were over I picked up some Bundtinis from Nothing Bundt Cake & had them ready to go for him when he got home from school. We had to get a little creative when it came to the candles but we made it work.

Happy {Half} Birthday, Mr. Logan Beckett. You make my heart swell with pride.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

An Officer and a Robber

Well, it's not surprise what the boys were this year for Halloween-- an Officer and a Gentleman I mean, Robber. 

Logan really wanted to be a robber this year because he knew his friend Drake was going to be a police officer--Drake just wanted a costume with handcuffs and well, police officer was the safe route when it came to handcuffs. And each year we try and do some sort of family costume for our annual Halloween party -- so Kaden asked to be the officer and Justin and I jumped on the robber band wagon. Easy Peasy. & the boys were both happy.

Halloween night turned out to be a beautiful evening and thankfully we didn't have to add too many layers to the boys before they went knocking door to door with their friends from the neighborhood.

Yes, his costume actually had Officer South on it. We don't mess around with Halloween around here. I thought we would be doing good if we made it around half the neighborhood but the kids were going strong and they just kept going and going and going.

Gone are the days were we had to wait for their little feet to catch up cause now, we are the ones holding them up. Or in Kaden's case, he just took off and I had to send Justin with the golf cart to locate him. Next year, they are wearing their light up shoes! They, of course, made out like bandits, pun intended, when it came to candy & filled their buckets up more than once.

Oh and a big thank you to the lady who gave out whistles! REALLY!! Did you NOT have kids because if you ask me what the one thing I don't want you to hand out, whistles would be at the top of the list. And, of course, they immediately went into the kids' mouths as soon as they stepped off her porch and the whole neighborhood sounded like a high pitched squeal. I totally thought about going over to her house at 6 am and waking her up with that damn whistle.

Other than that, it was a perfectly, delightful evening.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

4th Annual South Halloween Bash

It was party time. The 4th Annual South Halloween Bash was a go. Justin had another BBQ tournament so party prep fell to the boys and I. But we had this.

Our costumes were fairly easy to pull together--Logan wanted to be a robber, Kaden a cop so Justin and I jumped in as robbers too. Ordered a few hats, masks and shirts and we were done. Comfy too.

Just like every year prior, trophies are a must. We were prepared to give out one for the scariest, best woman, best male and then best family/couple costume. Boys were excited to see everyone in their costumes and help with the trophies this year.

This year we decided to not try and got all "Halloweeny" on the food, I just wanted to have a good variety of foods for adults and kids. The one thing that we knew we HAD to have, jello shots--for the kids and then of course for the adults too.

I did try and spook things up a little when it comes to the kids dessert bar. I saw a picture of a skeleton that was oozing of deliciousness and knew the boys would have the best time pulling it together. We bought bug tape from Amazon. We bought body part gummies from Amazon. We bought eyeball gumballs from Target and then mixed in homemade cookies and rice krispy treats. They did a bang up job on it & it was a HUGE hit with all the kids.

Sadly, we had a number of people who weren't able to attend last minute BUT we still had a wonderful turnout of friends. From Rock, Paper, Scissors to a ninja family to a creepy old man to two sets of cops and robbers. It was such a great evening of filled with lots of friends and lots of laughter from the kids who hardly came inside and spent the entire night playing out front together.

Last year the Kufeldts came dressed as us, the Souths. It was pretty cute. This year, they came as robbers too, unbeknownst to us. It was pretty epic.

And my dear friend Angela, she was Winda but I mean come on, could we have dressed anymore alike. I might REALLY need the glasses but hey, opposites attract.

Best Family Costume Winners

Scariest Costume Winner (2nd year in a row)

Best Male (2nd year in a row)

Best Female Costume

Runner up for couple.

Majority of the party was over by 9 but a few of our favorites stuck around for a few more hours. Towards the end of the evening I started getting a little tired and counting down the hours until I had to jump on  plane so the night came to an end. But was a wonderful night it was.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Fall Break - No Place Like Home

The boys were on out of school on "fall break" and I needed to work so my mommy came to the rescue. She always does. I literally have the best mom and in turn, the boys have the best grandma. The initial plan was for us to meet halfway in Butler and make a switcheroo with the boys & then Justin mentioned something about the Wizard of Oz in a conversation he was having. Wait what? When? He stopped what he was doing and pulled it up, the Kansas City Ballet was presenting The Wizard of Oz & it was playing through the week. The Wizard of Oz happens to be my mom's all time favorite movie so I texted her and asked if she wanted to drive all the way up and stay with us on Wednesday. We would do dinner and take in the ballet and then she and the boys could drive back home to Carthage on Thursday morning. She was in. I was stoked.

This would be both of our's first time at the Kaufmann Center of Performing Arts & I couldn't think of a better performance to take in with a better person. 

The show was AMAZING. It was not only our first time at the Kauffman Center of Performing Arts but also our first ballet. The Wizard of Oz made for a great first ballet experience because everyone knows the story line, there was no need for dialog. The dancing said it all. It was beautiful.

Thursday morning she and the boys headed to Carthage and then I joined them Friday later afternoon. When I walked in Logan immediately wanted to show me that they had the pumpkins cleaned out and ready to go for carving. As soon as Trenton and Madison arrived we headed out to the shed & we got to work. Kaden wanted a super scary face, Logan a cat, Madison a ghost and then we threw something together for Trenton. 

Logan actually did the entire thing all on his own--well, he asked that I add the ears and the eyes. Kaden did about 50% of the work, the problem was his "kit" wasn't all that helpful. In fact, it was a pain in the ass so I drew on the smile with a marker and then went to carving. Madison, well, Grandma Sara probably did more than her but she stayed right there next to her the entire time. 

About 7:30 Logan came to me and said he was really tired. He's been having troubles going to sleep on his own. It all kind of started when a neighbor of ours had a fire, a bad fire, & since then, he just hasn't wanted to fall asleep on his own. So he climbed up on my lap and within minutes, he was out.

The next morning we were up and out of the house early because he had to claim a spot alongside the Maple Leaf Parade route. Thankfully, one of Madison's friends lives RIGHT on the parade route so we only had to find parking. The boys were all about the candy. & the hot chocolate that Grandma Sara made for them to bring.

We got to say hi to the Jasper Eagles Marching Band who sounded great even though they had very few band members. I grew up in a super small town so having a small band, isn't something new--and good things do come in small packages. 

An hour and a half later the parade was still going. I thought I was going to fall asleep, I mean I love a good parade but I had no idea it would be this long. Thankfully there was a little break in action and the boys stopped long enough to take a picture with their deal old mom. Looking back, I wish I would have got my momma in the picture too--she does so much for us.

After the parade we headed to the square to grab lunch. & since we were all in great moods the kids hit the jackpot. Per Logan they had the best cinnamon rolls ever. Kaden said they had the best root beer ever. Madison said the cotton candy was the best ever too. 

These kids were living their best life.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Flu Shots & Hot chocolate


I mean, I remember this time last year and how Logan was completely beside himself when it came time for his flu shot. Like, hold him down, wrap my arms around him and yell "just do it, like now" to the nurse - beside himself. It took a little time for him to calm down but we walked out of there with our heads held high and sucker in tow. We headed straight for Sonic where they both got slushies. As we sat there waiting, he asked when he had to do that again and I explained not for another year. 

Fast forward 11 months, it's September 5th & he asks, "when is my flu shot." His eyes were already filled with tears as he was anticipating my answer. "Next month, honey." & the waterworks ensued. He did NOT want to get another flu shot. He did NOT want to think about it. He did NOT want it to hurt. He did NOT. DID NOT. DID NOT. 

I tried to explain to him that the flu shot is what we call preventative care and would hopefully keep us from getting super sick and having to get lots of shots. He wasn't having it. I tried to explain how we needed to be brave because there are boys and girls out there who have to get shots daily, if not multiple times a day that are really sick. We should be brave for them. He wasn't having that either & that evening he cried himself to sleep as I laid there next to him. My heart breaking that I couldn't take the fear away for him. Or the "pain" of the shot.

& then, like 2 weeks ago he declared that he wasn't worried any longer. That a girl at school said she got one and it didn't hurt at all. Now, Justin and I said the same thing and that did nothing but coming from a girl at school, well, that made all the difference. He said it would feel like a pinch. So we went with it.

Leading up to the big day he would talk about it. How he wasn't worried and it would be over before he knew it. He heard "Believer" by Imagine Dragons and suggested that we listen to that song as the shot is happening. I commented on what a great idea that was and that he was more than welcome to take his iPad and listen to music in the office. 

The morning of, he was ready. He was ready to get it over with. We arrived at the doctor's office, got checked in and then he took his seat. He was more curious than nervous & talking up a storm.

As we got back to the room I reminded them both that Kaden would be getting his well check first and then we would do the flu shots. I also suggested to the nurse that since they were both getting their shots done that maybe she could grab a friend and they could be done at the same time. I just never know which one will freak out and which one will be okay. We settled in for the wait. 

Then there was a knock. The doctor was still with another patient and they wanted to know if I was okay with getting the flu shot out of the way. BRING IT ON! This wasn't what the boys were expecting but they both got up on the table, rolled up their sleeves and before I could even get Logan situated, Kaden was done. Band-aid on. WOW, that was quick. Gave him a high five & then looked over at Logan and he was done and immediately proclaiming that the pinch he gave himself hurt worse than the shot did. He was so stinking proud of himself. As was I.

Hot Chocolates ALL AROUND!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

School Projects & School Pictures

I don't mind school projects but sometimes they end up being more my project than his and not because I take over, because sometimes, they are just too much for his age. But not this time. This time, it was pretty much on point--we just had to break it up into smaller chunks. 

The Project - Pumpkin Book Report
Pick a book to read, choose a character and then write and decorate a pumpkin about said character.

Book: Super Fudge

Super Fudge was too long for this sort of project and frankly, the directions given stated that it could be a picture book too. Try again, Kaden. 

Book: The Day the Crayons Quit

We could do this. The project consisted of reading the book, choosing a character then describing that character with 6 different adjectives. Taking those 6 adjectives and formulating a paragraph about the character & including the title, author and a quick summary of what the book was about. Like I said, we broke it up into smaller parts so that it wasn't overwhelming for Kaden and we worked on it a little each night. 

& once we were done with the writing part of the project we dug into the pumpkin decorating. Kaden chose Purple Crayon to do his report on since at the time, purple was his favorite crayon. Although Purple Crayon loved that he got to draw the dragons, grapes and wizard hats, he didn't like that Duncan was so messy. & Kaden loved the face that Purple Crayon was making -- like, WHAT?!

Kaden handled the spray painting, he did all the drawing on the pumpkin and did the cutting of the top of the crayon. I had to help form the shape but he worked hard on pinning it together so it could stick. In the end, he earned a 49.5/50 on this project. We were pretty proud of his effort and you could tell he was too.

School pictures, how I despise you. I typically tell the boys that there are only a couple days a year that I will tell them what specifically they will need to wear. First, Last and Picture day at school. This year, I didn't want to battle. So I told them that they could go with shorts and tights as long as they had a "nicer" t-shirt on. I gave them a couple options on the shirts and then called it good. They were happy and I was happy. It's all that really mattered & their pictures turned out as cute as ever.

Kaden Oliver South - 3rd Grade Mrs. McGraw

Logan Beckett South - 2nd Grade Mrs. Nueschafer

Saturday, September 29, 2018

The Bitter {sweet} End

Another season comes to an end for the Aces. 

It was their first kid pitch season & the last season the South boys would be playing on the same team for at least the foreseeable future. I had mix feelings about splitting them up but in the end, they were mostly selfish reasons and we knew what was best for Logan. It wasn't that he couldn't compete but he just wasn't as strong as the others. He was still on the small side and it's pretty noticeable when you are playing with kids that are two years older than you---at least some are. And by Logan dropping down to his own age group it allows for him a great opportunity to play a few other positions, which he has been begging to play for some time. So, the decision was made and we were going to soak it all in while we still could.

The Aces signed up to play in a tournament towards the end of the season which besides no sunshine, brought pretty decent weather. We would also get to see some new teams & would get to stick around in between games to watch others play. This was the first time they got the "tournament" feel and they were all digging being with their buddies all day. 

That Saturday they went 1-1 in pool play & they had some special fans in the stands, Grandma Sara and Papa Tom -- this was Papa Tom's first game he'd been able to see in person.

My Instagram Post that day: Proud of this kid. He’s been dynamite in the field this season but has been struggling at the plate. The unknown is not something that comes easily and once he gets in his head, it’s hard to overcome. We’ve told him just to try his best, that’s all we ask and he does, but he also knows deep down, he’s a hitter. Today I moved to telling him that HE’S ENOUGH. ALWAYS. As our second game started he found that he was moved down a few spots in the batting order and he wasn’t happy with that. 

He decided it was time. 

He blocked out the doubts and stepped into the batter’s box. And on the second pitch, he took a big swing and bat met ball.

And although he got out, he made contact. He overcame the unknown. 

His dad and I were instantly at our feet, cheering more now than we would have before on a hit. We weren’t the only ones cheering either. Coach Justin stopped him at first and got down to his level and gave him a fist bump and a pat on the shoulder. As he come off and continued to make his way back to the dugout, mind you it was the third out, a smile broke out on his face as he noticed the Aces family on their feet cheering loudly. He entered the dugout to high fives all around. Spirits higher than ever. 

We may have lost a close one this afternoon, 9-8, but that team also beat us yesterday 9-1 and had us down 7-4 after the first inning today. These boys battled their hearts out and even though in the game of baseball we may not have won, they won in so many other ways. After all this game is so much more than a game. It’s about not giving up. It’s about picking up your teammates when they’re down. It’s about cheering for EACH. AND. EVERY. small victory along the way.

Sunday brought bracket play, we were seeded 4th and would be taking on the 5th seeded team with the chance of knocking off the top seed if we won. The team that we were playing though had annihilated the team that we had played the day before way worse than we did. They were huge but in the end, David won and the Aces moved on. 

Next up was the same team that we played the day before and lost to. They took an early lead and had us down 7-4 but the boys kept with it and fought back. The Aces took the lead 8-7 and all they had to do was get one more out and the game was over -- we couldn't get that out and in a controversial no call one of their plays slid across home plate head first for the win and beat us 9-8. I say controversial because they had been warned the game prior that there was no sliding into home head first. That would have been the last out and the game would have continued on with the score 8-8. However, that wasn't how the cookie crumbled that day and the Aces left bummed out but held their head high as that team beat us the day before 9-1. 

 These boys finished this first season of Kid Pitch with a winning record. They grew closer together as a team and as friends. It's been such a fun ride and I've enjoyed watching every second of it. Win or lose, these kids know what it's about. We celebrated not only them but the coaches too this past weekend with pizza and a driveway movie--Rookie of the Year.

It wasn't long until a game of touch football broke out. The smiles, the laughs. It was everything. And although it will look much different come spring season for the Aces, the friendships will most certainly not be effected. Not with these boys and their hearts!

Watching these two cheer for each other, encourage one another, pick each other up when the other is down has been one of the highlights of the past three baseball seasons. Kaden become known as South. Logan was Lil South. Together they were the South Boys. When they were younger I always dreamed of seeing my boys play on the field together and well, that came true. 21 months apart and only one school grade separating them allowed it to happen. I love that they had this special experience of playing together but now it's time to let them both go their own separate ways again and shine on their own, not just as brothers. 

I you South Boys and I am so very proud of you.