Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Flu Shots--Oh Boy!

You'd think by looking at the above picture that they both took it likes champs. Well, you'd be half right. One took it like a champ while the other completely lost his shit. Like screaming bloody murder lost his shit. 

I figured it was best to be honest with the boys so I told them a few weeks back when I got my flu shot, that theirs was coming up. Kaden had his 8 year well visit & well, flu shots were being tacked on. They didn't like hearing that but they didn't flip out. Fast forward to Tuesday night, the night before the dreaded flu shot -- and Logan was losing his shit. He was so upset that he couldn't calm himself down for about an hour. We rocked together. I had him lay with me. I had him lay without me. We were breathing together. You name it, we were trying it. Finally he was able to calm himself down enough to come lay on the couch and for the next few hours things were good. Then bedtime came & shit was lost again. 

Thankfully, it was much easier to calm him down this time around. I asked him what he needed. He said he wanted to talk to the doctor. To ask a few questions. Easy enough, that was something I could get behind so I told him prior to the shot we would discuss things with the doctor but if she stated we needed the shot, we would have to get the shot. He agreed but quickly threw out an alternative, Logan was fully prepared to get TWO shots next year if that meant he didn't have to get any this year. Nice try but not sure it works like that, however, I wasn't going to burst his bubble just yet--let the doctor do that. 

It was flu shot day & you could see that both boys were a little nervous. I suggested to Justin that he stop by the house and pick up their lovies and then I got some Skittles and some bubbles to hopefully help take their mind off of things. Kaden said he got upset in class just as he was getting ready to leave because he was worried about how much it would hurt. By the time I met up with them at the doctors office they were both very quiet. We got called back and the nurse started taking Kaden's measurements---80th percentile in height (down from 95th--she believes that a major growth spurt is right around the corner. God, help me) & 70th percentile in weight (also down but more due to his new medication). All in all, he checked out perfectly. 

It was flu shot time now. I asked for two nurses so that we could just do it at the same time. I asked for Kaden to be super brave to help Logan. Everyone was on board. Skittles were in one hand and lovies in the other. Nurse #1 and #2 walk into the room with their trays, Logan starts to loose his shit. As I am trying to comfort him, I look over and Kaden is clenching his teeth and a band-aid is being placed on his arm. He took it like a champ and was tell Logan that it didn't hurt that bad, Logan couldn't hear anything over his tears so I did the only thing that I could. I wrapped my arms around him in a bear hug as tightly as I could. I held one arm tight against me and pressed my head down against his and as tears strolled down my face I nodded to the nurse. 

It was over. 

But now, I had two upset boys. I guess Kaden had a dose of sympathy cries for Logan. We gathered our composure in the room and a few minutes later we walked out with our eyes watery and red but with our heads held high. We celebrated with a Root Beer from Sonic. 

The only thing Logan was now worried many days in a year. Guess that means the countdown till next years shots has already started. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

What ADHD Looks Like

Kaden has ADHD.

Phew, hard part over. I said it. I wrote it.

He was diagnosed this past July with a mild to moderate form of ADHD. & for us, it was a really long and bumpy road, one that was about 18 months long. One that had Justin and I doubting our parenting ability. One that had us second guessing if we were doing all we could for Kaden or if we were putting too much pressure on his shoulders, after all, he was only six when this journey started. One that took us to see multiple doctors and fill out multiple evaluations. & if I am being completely honest, one that had me fearing how not only Kaden would be judged but also how we would be judged. Would kids not want to play with him, parents not want to include him in birthday parties. Sadly, my list of worries were pretty long---all valid. Yes, every parent worries about their kid making friends but now, that worry was exemplified ten thousand times. So after we began the journey we didn't stop until we had answers and that took awhile to get--here's why. 

We've known for awhile that Kaden has more energy than most kids his age but some kids just have more energy. We have also known that awhile that Kaden can easily get frustrated. Not to mention he can be easily distracted. I mean, we've lovingly referred to him as light switch-he's either on or off, there was never really an in between. The kid loves harder than anyone that I know but he can throw a fit with the best of them too. And as parents we were very aware of all of this, the last thing we wanted to be was naive because that would help no one. We spoke about this with our pediatrician early on & every so often we would check in and evaluate. During the second half of kindergarten our pediatrician suggested that maybe we just fill out a Vanderbuilt assessment and see where he falls. So we did. Both his teacher & then Justin and I (taken separately and at different times) did not show that he was clinically significant to be diagnosed. For those that are not familiar with the diagnoses, you must be clinically significant in two settings, for us that is at school and at home. So we implemented a few behavior modifications at home only because there was no concern with his behavior at school with his teacher. He followed these rules without issue and we really didn't see any decline in his behavior. 

Fast forward to October 2016--I took a mental health day. I was wiped. As I was resting at home I got a call from the school's principal. Kaden had punched a kiddo on the school bus. He would be spending the day in in-school suspension with the principal. The principal wasn't all too concerned about the instance and felt that it wouldn't be repeated because this wasn't typical behavior they saw out of Kaden. & I agreed, we hadn't seen aggression before. He explained that the kid on the bus was singing and Kaden had politely asked him to stop a handful of times and he didn't. As they were walking off the bus to enter the school, he asked one more time and when the kiddo wouldn't stop, he punched him the stomach. Kaden told the truth. He didn't lie about it which everyone was proud to see but he still had to pay the consequences. This event kicked off a number of doctors visit, some with Kaden, some without. We knew this was another red flag and it was time to dig a little deeper. So we did. 

We met with his pediatrician again. We filled out the Vanderbuilt assessment again. We met with a child psychologist. Followed by the Conner's assessment which is similar to the Vanderbuilt. We bought books and read what was given to us to read. This time around the results were a little different, his first grade teacher had him rated clinically significant at school, Justin and I did not. So now we were in limbo. Kaden clearly had similar symptoms to a child with ADHD but he couldn't be formally diagnosed since it wasn't present in two settings. Furthermore, his grades were good. So with the teacher's help we implemented some behavior modifications at school. 

For awhile, this seemed to work pretty well but then we hit a pretty rough patch at school. His teacher and I had, what I thought was, pretty good communication but then I think the communication got to be too much. Probably for both of us. I was learning of his behavior before I could event get home to let him tell me about his day. I started developing anxiety and getting through work at times was just draining because I knew 3 o'clock was coming and if an email showed up, it wasn't a good day. Some of the emails were justified, majority, sadly weren't or I felt was "normal boy behavior". And I don't blame anyone for this except myself, I engaged very early on and wanted the teacher to know we not only cared & had her back but that we were involved too. However, at some point, you've gotta have your kid's back. After all, if we can't, who will. So I called a meeting between the principal and his teacher. We had 5 weeks left of school and as much as we would have loved to just push forward and get through those weeks, that wasn't what was best for Kaden, his teacher or us. The meeting in and of itself was pretty okay but we don't believe anything got accomplished, which was sad but we got it. Kaden didn't fit the mold nor would he.

What it did do, was show us that Kaden has more advocates than just his dad and I. We all wanted to see him excel & felt that it was very important to ensure that we set him up for success heading into second grade. This meant, finding the best fit atmosphere & teacher for his needs. Structure with flexibility to be himself and let all his positive qualities shine--because he has SOOO many of them. 

& we couldn't forget about Logan. The boys are back to back in school. Logan would be entering first grade and it was important for him to not have to walk in Kaden's shadow. It was important for him to be able to create his own identity--good, bad or indifferent. & honestly, Kaden didn't need to be compared to Logan either so it was decided that the boys would not have the same teacher from that point forward--which I am sure we will win out on at times and lose out on at times.

When school came to an end we found out that his reading grade would be dropping. At winter break he was already at a 2nd grade reading level but now, somehow, his reading had regressed even beyond where he should have been in December and now would be entering 2nd grade below reading level. We were beyond pissed with this new revelation. One, it was really the first time we were hearing about him having any issues with reading comprehension. Two, we never once heard from his actual reading teacher -- they switch teachers for reading groups. Three, he was in the highest reading group. Four, he wasn't tested by his reading teacher when it came to his reading grade. Five, FOUR days before school was ending we were learning about this & when we questioned why, they said they didn't have to test him in 3Q because he was above where he was supposed to be--well, the system failed. We should be better than the system. We should want more for our kids. 

To note--We brought up his reading grade when we met with the principal and his teacher because it didn't show any progress and asked if there was something we should be doing at home to help & we were told that he wasn't tested and thus it showed no growth. I commented how it would be nice to have a disclaimer for those students who weren't tested as we were worried he wasn't progressing but at the time we were assured that wasn't the case.

Also to note--I'm sure I have quite the reputation at school as being a difficult mother and frankly, I'm okay with that. I mean, we are talking about a 7 year old boy, our boy, who isn't able to reach his potential for one reason or another. Some parents on this journey would have already been directed to medication but we weren't. The evaluations weren't supporting that option but anytime you are looking at medication as an option, it takes the severity of the situation to a whole other level. We don't take talking about medicating our child lightly and was hoping for a little more understanding than I felt we got. 

However mad we were at the situation, it gave us some more color into Kaden's world. It seemed that his behavior was now affecting his school work. It also confirmed that we couldn't stop fighting for him. We couldn't stop looking for answers. It was our job to set him up with all the tools needed for him to succeed. & that was what we were going to do. As school was winding down we reached back out to our pediatrician to catch up. We mentioned trying a very low dosage of ADHD medication over the summer to see if it would help him. I mean, we had already implemented behavior modifications--probably too many of them to be honest. It was time to see if we could look at using medication in conjunction with behavior modifications. She suggested we see the ADHD Clinic at Children's Mercy before doing so since Kaden still wasn't diagnosed. We agreed. 

In July we sat down with the ADHD Clinic. Kaden was with us. Our meeting lasted two hours. We met with a team of doctors--a child's psychologist and an pediatric MD. Prior to our appointment we reached out to his teacher and asked if she would fill out one last evaluation for us. She thankfully agreed--and for the record, we never doubted for a second that she didn't want what was best for Kaden too. We talked a lot during that appointment--both Kaden and I. I cried during the appointment. Again, this is our child. Our first born and I didn't want him thinking he wasn't already perfect in every way. It's a hard concept for a kiddo his age to comprehend, one, frankly, he shouldn't have to. After about an hour and a half the doctors left to discuss among themselves for a few minutes & came back. With the results. 

& I cried. Again. But not because our child had ADHD, but BECAUSE our child had ADHD. It wasn't his fault he was acting impulsively. It wasn't his fault he was fidgeting. It wasn't his fault he had more energy than most kids. His brain just isn't wired like the average kiddo's brain. Finally we had answers and more importantly a plan to help set Kaden up for success. Although the evaluations still showed Kaden clinically significant at school & not at home, they felt confident diagnosing him with a mild to moderate form of ADHD. They felt that if not for the behavior modifications that we had in place at home paired with being able to sit down and talk to us in depth with what we were experiencing day to day that it made sense to look at the next step. Medication. We not only left the office that day with a prescription--one that has to be mailed to me monthly since its a controlled substance--but we also left that office with HOPE. I could instantly feel the weight being lifted off my shoulders and honestly, Kaden's too. 

The one area that I was struggling with was how to explain it to Kaden. We didn't want him to think that he wasn't okay just the way that he was or that he had to take this medication to be a "better" kid. So we asked for help with that explanation and we were given a really great response. We were told to be honest & to explain it like having a brain that runs like a really fast car but when it comes to stopping that fast car we only have bicycle breaks. This will help him slow down so that he can pay greater attention to the smaller details. He got it. That was all he needed. 

We are now three months in with medication, a new school year and a new teacher. Justin and I have noticed a huge improvement in overall behavior at home because he is slowing down and thinking about his choices before acting. We have noticed the attention and focus that he has been giving to his homework in the classroom. It's no longer a challenge to get him to do his homework, in fact, he likes knocking it out right away rather than waiting. He talks more openly about his day and what they are learning in school. He and his brother seem to get along better--most of the time, they are still brothers. & it's not just us noticing the changes. We had a follow up appointment with the ADHD clinic & the psychologist said that his teacher's evaluation showed NO signs of ADHD in the classroom. Let me repeat that again, NO signs. We even got an email from the teacher after she did his beginning of the year reading assessment...

Subject: Checking In :)

Hi Kayla!
I just wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying Kaden! 
I was thinking about your email before school started, and I know that making the choice to put him on medication was a hard one. I just wanted to tell you that your being brave is helping him!
He is working hard, and I can tell he is anxious to learn and to show what he's learning. 
His end of the year reading level was below grade level, but I did his assessment today and he is right on grade level. I'm sure that having his brain slow down has made a big difference. I can appreciate the difference it can make and the courage that it takes. 
Thank you for sharing your sweet boy with me. 

I mean talk about instant tears. For the first time in a long time, I felt as though we were at a really good place. For Kaden. For our family.

I've learned so much over the last 18 months, hell two years now. I learned that ADHD is not something to be embarrassed about or to be taboo about. Quite the opposite. Again, this wasn't Kaden CHOOSING to make poor choices, his brain literally does not function like a normal brain would. It's a real disorder. A real problem and for us, a real obstacle--and thus we continued to push until we got REAL answers which led us to REAL solutions. Today, we see Kaden succeeding. Honestly, he is flourishing & enjoying more of what life has to offer along the way. His sweet demeanor and kind heart shines through much more often. 

At times, I wonder how things would have gone had we jumped to medication earlier. Would that have changed how the second half of his first grade year went? Probably. However, I'd always wonder if medication was really meant for him or if it was just the easiest thing to do. Instead, we took the long, bumpy path and I wouldn't change that for the world. I know we exhausted all options before we looked at medication and for that I am thankful. I have no concerns giving Kaden the medication at this stage of our journey. It was that missing tool he needed to set him up for success. Have there been side effects? Yes. A few tics (which he likely had before but they were super subtle) have been heightened but thankfully they don't seem to get too much in the way. & he's dealing with them like a champ. He's lost a little bit of weight but that just means we need to pump him full of more protein--again, to be expected and nothing any his doctors are worried about. Do we still have our battles--yes. Do we still have our challenges--yes, specifically dealing with disappointment and setting realistic expectations. It's just now, we know we have a little added help when it comes to helping him through this normal childhood obstacles. 

So this is what ADHD looks like to us. It comes with many faces, this is ours.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Another Newman Wedding

It was Cory and Jordan's turn.

Their wedding was being held at a winery near Lake of the Ozarks. Seven Springs Winery to be exact. We contemplated making a weekend out of it at the lake but instead we got tickets to a Royals game and drove down early Saturday morning. & the entire way down to our lake house, which was 2 1/1 hours, the boys read their new books--the quietest trip to the lake EVER. 

We arrived at the lake house & Grammy, Craig, Adam, Becky and Colton were relaxing on the deck so the boys (Justin included) and I joined them. We only had a few hours to kill before we needed to change into our wedding attire and head to the ceremony--which was about an hour away. 

Talk about a gorgeous venue. Rows and rows of vineyards making for some very picturesque and of course the photographer in me & the mom in me, wanted to get the most perfect picture. It wasn't happening though & a few of my boys were getting a little annoyed by me so we just went with what we had. Still cute & when looking at this picture I can't get over how big Kaden is getting. I have on wedges and he is still up to my shoulders.

The entire South clan & Craig---but he's more than family now.

& during the reception Kaden wanted to take a picture with me and that darn Logan snuck in behind us for the perfect photobomb. This picture makes me smile so much it hurts every time I look at it. 

The ceremony was beautiful, they each wrote their own vowels and they were so personal. You could just tell that they chose each and every word carefully & thoughtfully with only one another in mind. After the fairly short ceremony -- thank you Cory and Jordan -- we enjoyed a cocktail hour while they took pictures and then the real party started. Jordan is an entertainer. She seems all small and quiet but let me tell you the girl can dance and she has so much fun doing it too. So it came as no surprise that their first dance was a huge hit and the daddy/daughter dance was one for the books. It was crazy good & got everyone on their feet and to the dance floors.

The boys weren't as into the dancing this time around but they sure loved the candy and popcorn bar and made sure to get a to go bag as we headed out to the car to start our trek home. The rest of the family was staying at the cabin but I had to work the following afternoon and I really just wanted to wake up in my own bed so Justin took one for the team and drove us all the way home. We walked in the door at 11:56. Be congratulations to Cory & Jordan, we were so honored to witness the start of your next journey together.

Two Newman boys down. One more to go. In about 8 months too.

Friday, September 29, 2017


This past season we haven't made it out to The K as often as we would have hoped and with the season closing in on us, we knew we had to make it a priority. We had to get back to The K to see our favorite Boys in Blue for this could, most likely will be, the last time we see four of our favorites all in a Royals uniform at the same time. You see, Hosmer, Moose, Cain and Escobar all have contracts that come to an end after the close of this season. & well, we couldn't let them leave without a proper farewell.

I'm sure most of MLB won't understand why all of KC's hearts are broken and that's okay because to us, it was more than just a couple playoff runs. It was more than just a World Series title. 

It was watching our own boys grow up alongside this once young team. They wear Moose shirts and get Hosmer haircauts. They wanna run the bases like Cain and play shortstop like Esky. This team taught our boys a REAL love of the game and as a parent, it was something pretty special to watch and I am beyond grateful Kaden and Logan got to experience so much with our Boys in Blue. 
They sure made their mark here in KC--in the best possibly way. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Gold Dog

Meet Brodi, AKA Gold Dog. He's our 12 year old golden retriever. He didn't come to us as a puppy but instead we found him while looking through the Kansas City Star, our local newspaper, & he was needing a new home. You see, his family loved him so much and were devastated that they had to find a new home for him but sadly, their son was extremely allergic to him. Their son was 7, Brodi was 13 weeks old. 

It was love at first sight when we saw him & that evening we took him home to meet his new fur-sister, Stoli. Stoli wasn't super stoked with the change but it didn't take long for her to warm up to the idea of having a buddy around all day. & here we are 12 years later. We've been through two major surgeries with Stoli, one surgery with Brodi, ear infections galore and countless destroyed pillows & comforters. But the love that these two pups have given to us and the boys can't be measured. 
It's endless.   

In the recent weeks we have noticed that Brodi wasn't feeling like his normal self. He was starting to move a little slower and we figured that his old age was starting to catch up to him. Then almost over night he seemed to lose control of his hind legs. Not completely but periodically it seemed as though he couldn't control his legs--like he was walking drunk or something. So we called our vet and made him an appointment. I had done a little research and had a pretty good idea what we were looking at but I was hoping I was wrong. When Justin called the doctor said he had arthritis, which was good for two reasons--one, it could be managed with medication and two, I was wrong and in this case, that was a very good thing. So we started giving him the medication and hoping that his symptoms gradually went away. 

They didn't. & I was convinced more than ever that we were dealing with something else. So Justin and I made another appointment & I stayed up all night researching what I had initially thought so I could be ready with questions. Besides not having control of his hind legs more often than not, Brodi never seemed like he was in pain. He was SUPER happy to see us whenever we walked in the door and would try and race over to us, hind legs following limply behind him. He never looked as though he didn't want to get up in the morning when we did. He didn't mind if I messed with his legs, think playing bicycle with a kid. He didn't mind me holding onto his paws. All of which should have bothered him if it was arthritis. 

I preformed a little test while we waited in the doctors office just to confirm my theory on what I thought we were dealing with. He didn't pass my test & 5 minutes later, the doctor (different from the first visit) also performed the test with the same result. It wasn't arthritis. It was degenerative myelopathy. Or DM for short. It's fairly rare. Mostly found in shepherd or retriever breeds & is a neurological disorder. Basically, the signal from his brain to his hind legs is getting interrupted and is unable to pass through. He knows his legs are supposed to do something, he just can't always make it happen. & sadly, there isn't anything we can do for him except love on him for as long as we have him, which looks to be anywhere from weeks to 6 months. We just don't know. 

The good news--he is in zero pain. 

It sucks though. We don't know how long we have because we have no idea how far into this we are. We hope we found it early and he will be with us for months to come but we just don't know. We also have two little boys that love their Brodi boy & who are heartbroken with the news. Yes, we told them. They needed to know. They need to know how to help Brodi around the house. They need to know that if Brodi runs into them, it's not his fault. They need to know that their time with Brodi is winding down and that the more love we can show him the better. 

So for now we are taking it day by day. We are helping him up the stairs. We have turned our hardwood floors into a maze of rugs. We lift him up onto our beds and twenty minutes later we lift him back off because we don't want him hurt himself as he tries to get down. & we give him as much loving as he will allow us too--which is a lot. He is such a lover & has been there for us for the last 12 years--through getting engaged and then married. To having babies and house remodels. To moving and summer trips to the lake. So now it's our turn to be there for him. To hold his paw and show him just how much he is loved and means to our little family. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Odds and Ends

A few randoms from the last few weeks. We've been on a big reading kick--which I love and will NEVER say no to feeding their imaginations. Kaden found Dog Man & not only enjoys reading the series but LOVES to draw him too--below is his first rendering. 

Is there anything cuter than 6, 7 and 8 year olds doing a little pregame warm up? I think not.

South boys covering the middle of the field at second and short.

Final days of summer.

Practicing their spelling words with one another before heading off to school.

Spirit Week at CCE--Hat Day

Spirit Week at CCE - Crazy Hair Day -- thank goodness they are easy to please.

Spirit Week at CCE - Favorite Sports Team & bonus points for Kaden since he decided to promote his momma's work too.

Spirit Day at CCE - Mix Matched Monday

Picking their NFL week 2 picks for the Hartley Football Pot. 

Best part of my afternoon was holding Miss Kendall while she napped.

My photography assistant for the day--he came in very handy!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Souths Head West -- Day 3

Our last day in Colorado Springs was also our most relaxed day. The only thing we had on our to do list was their zoo, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo - elevation 6714 feet. We had heard wonderful things about the zoo and how it was built into the side of the mountain. Not to mention, you could feed giraffes---I mean, how cool is that?! We had one boy who was super stoked about the getting to feed giraffes and another that wasn't too keen on the idea. 

We arrived just as the zoo was opening, good thing too because out of all my planning the only thing that I didn't do was check when it opened!

When you first walk into the zoo you run right into the giraffes. They are truly the star of this show and with faces like this, they were getting loads of attention.

Logan's smile could not have gotten any bigger. It literally stretched from ear to ear. If he wasn't feeding the giraffes then he was trying to pet them. All 20+ of them.

Kaden on the other hand, well, he was staying a safe distance away. He's not all that big on having some huge animal in his face but he still enjoyed watching the interaction we had with them & talked about how cool it was. 

Giraffes aside, this zoo was still one of the best zoos that we have been to. Don't get me wrong, the Kansas City Zoo is great BUT it is beyond spread out and most visits we choose to either do Australia or Africa because it requires so much time to cover it all. Here, you just wound your way up the side of a mountain and everything was right on top of each other. So compact. This zoo was very intimate, you felt as though  you were right next to all the animals. & the animals were ALL so very active too. We literally saw every single animal that called this zoo a home & a lot of these animals are ones we do not have at the Kansas City Zoo.

(Logan was often in charge of choosing where and when we would take a picture.)

Our second stop was to visit the lions. There were two female lions and while one laid there looking all stoic, the other was incredibly playful. I wish I had captured it on video but she was playing with one of her toys---a cat and mouse like game. She would swipe the toy behind a pole with one paw and then swipe it back out with the other and if it got too far from her she would run, pounce and slide into the glass right in front of our faces. We probably stood there for a good 15 minutes watching her play & just as she decided to lay down, the other got up and was ready to play.

When we first walked into the monkey house the zookeepers were trying to get their female sloth to come out of her hammock but she was pretty active the day before and she would only give them her paw. So we moved on to check out the black bears but on the way back by they had opened her window and asked her to come out again & she was. A rope connected her indoor hammock to an outdoor tree and hammock and she was making her way to the outside perch. They were asking her to come out by using grapes and green beans--two of her favorite treats. & then Kaden started asking questions---do all sloths like grapes and green beans? How long do they sleep each day? Do you let her stay out here at night? All of which were great questions and he learned that they sleep anywhere from 15-20 hours a day and the speed that she was moving was really as fast as she goes. That sloths are very calculated with their movements so not to waste any extra energy since they have very little of it in the first place. We learned that they offer her the ability to go back into her inside home if she'd like but she doesn't always at night because she doesn't want to move. We also learned that in about a month they will stop offering her the chance to come outside because they'll open the window and she will peer out but will decide it's too cold and just stay put. It was all very interesting and again, so intimate. 

And what visit to the zoo would be complete without a trip on the carousel. They each picked out their own horse--Logan got Chief, total coincidence too.

We got to see a "MOOSE" and Justin even tweeted this picture to our favorite Royals player, Mike Moustakas.

We saw a mountain goat who climbed up on top of his shelter. A female wolf. Two porcupines being fed lunch. These cute little kitties called Canada lynx who happened to be born on little man's birthday, May 6, 2017---so of course he wanted a picture with the sign. We fed little parakeets & took a few pictures with a wallaby, who were just out and about with us chilling.

 We saw a few mountain lions, a tiger who would walk from one side of his habitat to the other over and over for us. & we of course saw elephants and alligators, snakes and beavers.

& before we called it good for our time at the zoo we took the ski lift to the top of the zoo for a little family picture with all of Colorado Springs in the background.

As we were headed out the zoo we walked by the giraffes again and we couldn't help but feed them one last time before hitting up the gift shop. Logan and I were the most excited about it but Kaden did "hold" onto my arm and "push" it up to the giraffes mouth to "feed" one. I was pretty proud that he pushed a little bit of his fear aside to do that too. 

At the gift shop the boys both got to pick out a little something to take home with them. We pointed to a couple medium size stuffed animals and then even pointed at some large ones but nope, Logan wanted to of the little stuffed animals--a cheetah and a giraffe & Kaden went with the same cheetah and then a Rubik's cube key chain that had animals on it. Sadly, that didn't last long and it was broke in a matter of minutes but we are going to try out best to fix it--or find another one!

That evening the only thing the boys wanted to do was swim & order room service. So that's what we did. They spent most of their time in the water but once in awhile they wanted to take a break and when they did, we played a little family game of Phase 10. The boys (Justin included) had never played so it was Daddy and Logan vs. Mommy and Kaden---we didn't finish the game until we returned home but Kaden and I dominated. 

To say we LOVED every minute of our time in Colorado Springs would be a huge understatement. It was so family friendly with so much to do and the weather was beautiful. It was the perfect little holiday road trip to recharge our batteries and to remind ourselves what life is really about--building memories that will last a lifetime with my three loves. So it's not goodbye, it's see you later--we will certainly be back next year.