Saturday, July 31, 2010


For those of you who know me and know me well, you know how I like to have a plan. So having planned this soon-to-be birthday bash for the past 2-3 months should be no surprise to anyone but there is still lots more planning to be done. And yes, in the beginning, I heard it all, Kaden won't remember the party, he doesn't really have any "friends", you are going way overboard....but the kid only turns one once and this is a celebration not only for him but for all our friends and family that have made this past year, the most amazing year of Justin and I's life. We are so blessed and look forward to celebrating and sharing our joy with so many loved ones. Here are a few pictures of Monkey and the amazing invitations that our dear friend, Kendra, designed for the upcoming bash.

Before and Halfway there...

It has been a little while since I have been able to blog since Justin, Kaden, the dogs and I just moved back into the house after living at the wonderful MIL's house for a week. We had to be out of the house for a few days while the floors were sanded down and then refinished. This is the "halfway there" look, we still have to paint the walls and add some new accessories but I wanted to share the new beautiful floors!! LOVE THEM!


And the "Halfway There"

Monday, July 26, 2010

Hello World...

We always say that our friends are like family, well meet Madisyn Renee Johnson, the newest member of our family.
Miss Madi was born on Friday, July 23rd at 4:46 pm. She weighed 6 pounds 4 ounces (a far cry from Kaden's 8.2) and was 19 inches long. Miss Madi is so precious and I could have sat there all night holding her in my arms, you almost forget that she was even there because she is so sweet and quiet. 

Madisyn, we can't wait to watch you and Kaden become best of friends and grow up together. May all your sweet little dreams come true. Scott and Korie-she is perfect and you guys will be such great parents, congratulations and welcome to the best thing ever-PARENTHOOD!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

One Thousand Eighty

The number of miles to Chicago and back. Justin and I were lucky enough to spend the past few days in Chicago celebrating both Tiffany and Jason's 30th Birthdays. On Thursday morning, we pulled out of our driveway at 5:05 am and headed to the Walshes. Jake and Justin are huge fans of the show Diners, Dives, and Drive-ins and wanted to stop at Charlie Parkers in Springfield, IL for brunch to try their famous Horseshoe-buffalo chicken smothered with more buffalo sauce, tator-tots and topped with cheese.

After leaving Springfield we shortly found out that our hotel rooms were canceled by the wonderful and we were now without a place to stay and only a few hours outside of Chicago. When it was all said and done, both the Walshes and us were out $700, since we had to pay for our stay a 2nd time. DARN YOU 1800HOTELS.COM-we will get you!!

We finally arrive in Chicago and we all agreed that we needed a drink.We found a local pub, toasted to Jason's 30th and mapped out the next few days. While in Chi-Town, we visited Howl at the Moon, Navy Pier, Hancock Tower, Michigan Ave for some GREAT shopping, ate some CHICAGO style pizza and got to see the Cubs take on the Cardinals at Wrigley Field. On Saturday night we got a friendly visit from the Garretts, they drove down from Milwaukee to help celebrate as well!!

We were up and at it by 9:00 this morning and started our drive back to KC. Mommy and Daddy were very anxious to see Monkey and when we pulled up at 6:00, our little man was waiting for us and had the biggest grin on his face!

Past the Point of No Return

After taking the house off the market, we decided we would make it our own and update a few things. We started with new carpet in the family room and guest bedroom, added a new couch, put in new energy efficient windows and up next is the massive kitchen remodel. This is how the kitchen looked when we left for Chicago....

And this is what we came home to...

We also had the UGLY green carpet ripped up and found these beautiful hardwood floors underneath and they were in pretty good condition too. This week the floors will be refinished and it will be like brand new!

We are so excited to see the completed project and just keeping our fingers crossed it is ready to unveil at Kaden's First Birthday Bash!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Look Ma, No Hands!

Our little monkey is growing up so fast and I will admit, I actually cried a little today just thinking about it. Up until this point he needed his mommy to help him get around but now, he can basically do it all himself. In just a matter of a day, he went from standing on his own for a measly 5 seconds to just chillin' out as though he had been standing on his own for months. Now, I know that he isn't quite walking yet but if I cried today and he was only standing on his own, watch out for the water works when he takes his first few steps! And this is just the start of it, one day my little guy will be starting school, then it will be off to college in a blink of an eye and don't even get me started on the I Dos. Am I crazy to have even thought about these future milestones? Yes. But knowing how quickly the past 11 months have gone by, makes you start wondering where Kaden will be in 2, 5 or even 20 years...
Outside of standing on his own, he has upped his game on peek-a-boo, he loves opening and closing any door and then peeking around the corner to see if we are still there and then he just laughs. Kaden has such an infectious laugh and it may just be one of the best sounds EVER.

Look Ma, No Hands!


Nap time. What is wrong with this picture?


Friday, July 16, 2010


We woke up this morning after a LONNNNNNNGGGG night of Kaden waking up every 30-45 minutes and found 3 molars cutting their way through his gums. Two of the three you can fully see and the third you can at least feel at this point and will be fully through in just a matter of days. The lack of sleep makes me dislike molars but I know a little monkey who HATES them and I am sure if he was able to speak, he would say "GET ON WITH IT ALREADY, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!" I guess on the bright side, we will be well on our way to a full set of teeth for the first birthday party!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

What A Weekend!

This weekend had it all. A little bit of family, friends, and great food. Kaden and I loaded up on Friday and headed down to Carthage to see Papa Tom and Grandma Sara. Not only did we have Taco Town Cheese Dip waiting for us but Cousin Brett, Cousin Leah and Cousin Blake were waiting for us too! Papa Tom was in the kitchen fixing BLTs and fresh corn on the cob. I don't think Papa Tom was prepared for the amount of bacon he would have to fix, he ended up frying 2 lbs since Brett had 4 BLTs, now that is EIGHT slices of bread! If Grandma Hartley was here, she would be checking his leg to see if it was hallow or not.

It was an early start on Saturday morning, we had to be up at Grandma Earl's by 10 but before we got back in the car, we had a visitor. Papa Richard came out baring gifts, a flat full of his own fresh garden tomatoes. Now the only thing better than Papa Tom's fresh tomatoes are Papa Richards and he brought about a dozen just for us! Papa Richard couldn't wait to hold the little monkey but since Kaden continued with his "mommy's boy" ways, Papa Richard had to enjoy Kaden from my lap. And instead of ice cream (it was 9 in the morning) Kaden got a few gold fish but that still wasn't enough to pry him away from me. Below is a picture of Kaden when anyone but Mommy held him this past weekend, and this has been going on for 3 weeks now!! Part of me, loves it because it makes me feel pretty special but I know how bad others want to hold him so hopefully this phase will be over very quickly!

The special guests didn't end with Papa Richard so we headed north on 71 to Jasper where we were able to meet two of the newest family members, Kaden's second cousin, Matthew and his second cousin, Leigha. Matthew is only 16 weeks younger than Kaden and traveled all the way from New Jersey with his mom, Renee and his grandma Cinda. Baby Leigha is just three weeks old and so TINY! I am not sure I have ever held a baby her size and I didn't hold her long, Kaden wasn't really in the sharing mood but we did manage to squeeze in a picture before he tried crawling over her! (I think mommy might have a touch of baby fever after holding sweet little Leigha.) Since we had 3 of the newest babies in town, we just had to get a picture with Grandpa and Grandma Earl-Kaden allowed Brett to hold him for a whole 2 minutes but then again there were 8 of us dancing and laughing to try and get them all to smile.

We still had swimming on our to do list but first it was nap time. A usual nap for Monkey lasts about 2 hours, this one pushed 3 1/2 hours, I finally had to send the dog in to wake him up so we would still make it to the pool. We were heading over to the Parker's and it was pretty special to be taking my little man over there. A lot of childhood memories have stemmed from pool parties at the Parker's. Our parents would always get together and play cards, volleyball, horseshoes and us kiddos would swim for hours. I guess it wasn't the "kids" they all had in common because to this day, they still gather and have pool parties and I can only hope that Justin and I have life long friends like they all do. Although I don't have a picture of Kaden in the water, I still had to take one of him while he was there-food on shirt and all!

It was more play time once we got back to Papa Tom and Grandma Sara's and then off to bed so we could wake up and get back on the road to get home and see Daddy. But when we woke we had yet another surprise visitor, Officer Hartley, aka Uncle Zack! Uncle Zack had just gotten off a 4 night rotation and he drove home, showered and came right over to see us. I, myself, would have went straight to bed after working 4 nights in a row, so the fact that he came over to see us before getting some much needed shut-eye makes us feel pretty darn special.

It is always great going home to mom and dad's and getting to see everyone but there is just something special about walking into your own "home". We sure missed Stoli, Brodi and most importantly, Daddy!

An update on Miss Lottie Mae. She is at home in Carthage with her momma, daddy and baby sister Leigha. She is one tough cookie and continues to amaze each and everyone of us who hear how she is handling all of this. She wasn't feeling all that great when she was on her way home but woke up the next morning wanting PANCAKES and her momma had never been so happy to whip up a batch. While at Children's Mercy, Lottie Mae was diagnosed with Acute Lymphomablastic Leukemia and given a 90% chance of a complete recovery. She had a port put in last week which she will receive her treatment through for the next two years and on Tuesday will make a trip back to KC to receive another chemo treatment through the spine and they will check to see if she could possibly be in remission already. We are all keeping our fingers crossed and praying, praying, praying.

A special thank you to Blake-what great pictures you take!

Kaden and Cousin Matthew.
Mommy, Kaden and Cousin Leigha.

Leah holding Baby Leigha
Love how he crosses his ankles-this is new.

Kaden when someone other than mommy is holding him.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Just Monkey

Kaden's first Popsicle.
Future Contortionist.

Plastic tubs keep him busy all morning long!

Swimming lessons certainly paid off.

He is off....and naked.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

One LITTLE girl needing BIG prayers!

Over the past day we learned that one very tiny and oh so special little girl in our family has Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Miss Lottie and her parents, Victoria and Scott, are here in Kansas City at Children's Mercy. Victoria says Lottie is doing great for a 2 1/2 year old in her condition and she has been so brave through all the testing. After what I am sure seemed like an eternity to Victoria and Scott, Lottie's doctors gave some good news-Lottie has an 80-85% chance of making it out of this with a clean bill of health in the end.  Here are a few pictures of Lottie being her adorable self and one with her new baby sister, Leigha. Victoria (my cousin) just gave birth to Leigha a little over 3 weeks ago via c-section. Prayers are already being answered but Lottie still has a pretty good fight ahead of her so please keep Lottie and her family in your thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Let Freedom Ring!

Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays and it isn't because of all the wonderful BBQs or the fireworks that you share with family and friends but more so because of what it stands for. If there is one country that everyone wants to move to it is America. America is the land of possibilities, the land of the free. This country would not be what it is today without the many, many soldiers that fought for our freedom then and now. Not only do the men and women of our country continue to fight to keep us safe, they are fighting for the freedom and safety of others too. Although things are far from perfect here in the USA, we are still free and that is one amazing feeling. Thank you and God Bless to every man and woman who has served our country or who is currently serving, we have freedom because of you.

Happy Independence Day.