Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Birthday Boy!

What a fun day, even if I did have to work and Kaden went to daycare-we still made the most out of it. We got up, got ready and headed out the door with a few snacks for the kids at daycare. BTW-I was instantly reminded of taking treats with me to grade school on my birthday and sharing them with my friends. Man was life simple…

Anyways, back to the birthday boy. We walked into Ms. Brenda's house and the table was decorated with balloons and party hats. We had one excited TWO year old on our hands. He had a blast celebrating all day long and when I picked him up for the day I let him on the secret. We were heading to Fritz's. Last time we were there, Kaden enjoyed the trains but I had a feeling he would be even more thrilled and excited this time. And man was I right. He squealed each time they went by. He would point to them and yell "Daddy look!" Trains went round and round and Kaden kept his eyes locked on each and everyone. We finished up with a yummy vanilla shake and we headed home for bath time. Although I didn't get to spend the whole day with Monkey, we had a great evening together and we still have lots of FUN things planned for this weekend! I love that his birthday always falls right before Labor Day, an extra day for me to love on him.

What a happy birthday boy we have!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Goodbye Ones. Hello Twos

Monkey will be turning two in a matter of hours and to be honest, it is kind of hard to wrap my arms around it. Why is it so hard to believe that he is already two? We all know that so much has happened over the last few years, I mean really, I have a squirming 4 month old laying next to me as I type this-shouldn't that be enough? But it isn't. I can remember bringing him home from the hospital. I remember sleeping down on the couch with him in his Boppy right next to me due to his acid reflux. I remember taking him to physical therapy for torticollis. I remember him rolling over, sitting up, crawling, standing and even walking for the very first time-it all seems like yesterday and I will always treasure these moments. But my fondest and proudest memory of Kaden was the first moment he laid eyes on Logan. He was in awe. Just as I was of both of my boys. And in the last 4 months he has become a protector, a teacher, a brother. He has surpassed any expectations. Frankly he amazes me. So tonight after he fell asleep, I snuck in and sat down on his bed, snapped a few pictures and then just watched as he slept…

Kaden, you may not have the most vast vocabulary but you sure make up for it in personality. A day doesn't go by that your daddy and I aren't laughing at something you have done or said. You have a huge heart and although you love to torment the dogs, we often catch you loving on them tenderly. You won't go to bed without your two favorite lovies. You have an extreme obsession over two things-the baby stroller you just got, it must be in your sight at all times. The other, POCKETS. I had put shorts on you the other day that didn't have pockets in them and you just kept saying pockets over and over again. You weren't going to be happy until you got your pockets and because you said please, we switched pants and instantly your mood changed. I am not sure what it is about those pockets but you gotta have them. You have always had pretty good dance moves but within the last 3 weeks those dance moves have gone to a whole new level and you can already dance circles around your dad. You give the best hugs a mom could ask for and your kisses, well lets just say you are the only one that can get away with the added slobber.

You keep our life interesting. I can easily admit that I never knew a love like this existed until you entered our world on one very hot and humid Monday in August. You challenge us each and every day and because of that, we are better parents. We love you to the moon and back, Mr. Kaden Oliver.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Walk in the Park

Every other Monday we eat out. After picking up the kids from daycare, changing them into something clean, we load them back up and to dinner we go. You see, every other Monday our house gets cleaned-scrubbed from top to bottom and the last thing that we want to have is a dirty kitchen from cooking. Tonight we headed to Granite City with The Johnsons. We are sort of regulars at GC. They are always friendly, have great food (especially on Sundays and Mondays-$6 specials for football) and they are very kid friendly. In fact, we walked in tonight and the host and hostess couldn't get enough of Kaden. They said that he was quite the stud and the guy, went as far as saying he wanted a kid just like him. Kaden was putting on quite the show!

Since we still had daylight and it was a gorgeous evening we decided to hit up a park and let the kids run wild. Although this park didn't have any swings, it was a hit. Kaden loved the soft rubbery chips beneath his feet and decided they made for the perfect trampoline and did seat drop after seat drop. I cross my fingers and toes that this weather is here to stay and we get to enjoy many, many more nights at the park watching Miss Madi and Kaden chase after each other. Thanks for the fun evening Johnson family!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Another Birthday Celebration

We didn't just get to celebrate one birthday this weekend but two, well actually three. Justin's mom, aka my MIL, was celebrating a BIG birthday and we had to do something special for her. We decided that instead of any type of surprise party that we would take her to dinner and then we would meet a few of her friends out at a piano bar for some drinks.

We decided to pick a place that none of us have been to, so Fogo De Chao it was. We had reservations at 6:30 and after endless supply of salad bar and Brazilian meats, we were on our way out. Before loading up and heading down to Ernie Biggs we stopped for a quick family photo op. By 9:30 we were surrounded by 10 of Janet's closest friends and we were all well on our way to a fantastic evening. We did a celebratory shot (lemon drop, doesn't get much easier than that) and we sang our hearts out. I know I always talk about how lucky I am to have Justin but that extends to his family as well. We always manage to have a great time and Saturday was no exception, one of our best family outings. I need to give special props to Becky, who is celebrating a birthday on Tuesday-thus the third birthday, she was a trooper and met me drink for drink, which wasn't a lot but I believe the last time she REALLY drank was before Colton and he is now 2 1/2! Anyways, back to the party, I am not sure if I know many people who would celebrate such a big birthday at Ernie Biggs but Janet did it well. We all had such a great time and you know, its pretty neat when you can go to a bar with your MIL and her friends and have just as good of a time as you would with your own friends.

Happy Birthday MIL and Becky. Thanks for always, ALWAYS making me feel so welcomed into this family. May the upcoming year bring you both so many, many wonderful things!


And no, I don't mean pounds but the almost as obvious, Logan Beckett South. The little guy turned 16 weeks old on Friday and because I have been such a slacker when it comes to taking weekly pictures I figured I would do a quick shoot today. He continues to change daily. He is spending more and more time on his belly and working on strengthening those neck muscles. He loves to put anything and everything into his mouth-if he can get his hands on it. He can easily scoot his way off any play mat with just a few kicks of his legs. Best of all, he is still filled with smile after smile and it is sooo contagious. We head to the doctors later this week for Kaden's 24 month check up and his 4 month check up, anxious to see just how much he has grown-I am saying 15 lbs and Kaden will ring in at a whopping 33 pounds…

Caution: Work Zone Ahead

The day was finally here. After more than 3 months of party planning it all came to a screeching halt and I could watch my vision come to fruition. The theme, construction. The colors, orange and yellow. Instead of birthday hats we had hard hats and tool belts. And what construction themed birthday party would be complete without a few dump trucks.

Yes, I planned for 3 months BUT I knew how busy August would be for me and landing back in KC mid afternoon the day before the party wouldn't allow me much time to prepare. Luckily, Justin had already done the food and beverage shopping so all I needed to do was pick up the cupcakes. We worked away until almost midnight and then decided we better get a little bit of sleep since the party started at 10. Jenn and I made it over to the park just after 9 and immediately went to work morphing the shelter into a construction zone outfitted with multiple projects to keep all our little construction workers busy. We had a table full of play-dough and cookie cutters. We had a dump truck filled with chalk and buckets of bubbles. And we had a table where each worker could personalize their own hardhat and tool belt with stickers galore. Oh and did I mention the HUGE playground just feet away-it was perfect and so was the weather-we were in for a great SECOND birthday party.

Our little workers all started arriving one by one and soon enough we had 15 under 5 and laughter ensued. I couldn't have scripted a better morning-happy feet were everywhere.

The best part-we continued with tradition and in lieu of gifts we asked that everyone join us in donating a book to the boys and girls at Operation Breakthrough. Just like last year, the outpour of generosity was incredible and moving. We not only collected a few toys but we collected seventy books. Yes, you heard correctly, seventy as in 7 - 0! We are so thrilled to share these gifts with all the boys and girls at Operation Breakthrough and once again are in complete awe of our friends and family. Thank you, each and every one of you, for making Kaden's second birthday so special, for being so giving and for helping Justin and I teach our boys the gift of giving back.

Here are some candid shots from the birthday party to hold everyone over until we get the professional pictures back from Janie Jones! Can't wait to see all the special moments she was able to capture.


It may not be the best color for a boy but it hasn't stopped Kaden from playing hours on hours with it. Thanks to Aunt Jennifer, Uncle Rob and the kids, Kaden now has a stroller for his doll. He carries it everywhere with him. Up the stairs. Down the stairs. Following Brodi around the house. Lets hope it doesn't break or we may just have to make a trip to Walmart for another. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Longest Week Of My Life...

The past five days have been the longest of my life. Sure I spent the week alongside some great company and co-workers. And it may have been spent at one of the premier resorts in Colorado but three things were missing. Justin. Kaden. Logan. If I filled this blog with thousands of words, I still wouldn't be able to come even close to explaining just how much I missed my boys. The only thing that got me through it was knowing that they were in such great hands with their Daddy.

Now, five days is a long time for anyone, especially for a Daddy with two under two. Bottles still needed to be washed, laundry needed to be done, toys picked up, baths taken and mouths fed. I was fully prepared to come home, walk through the door and shake my head. Shake my head to the piles of dirty laundry. Shake my head to the sink full of dishes. Basically, I was prepared to be cleaning and picking up for hours while the kids napped but that didn't happen. (Have a mentioned what an amazing husband I have?) The house looked amazing. Besides a few bottles and a couple pieces of my own mail to sort through, there was nothing to be done. He did it all. I am not sure how he did it but he did. He is a Rock Star and he makes working and traveling doable. How much I missed him and the boys will never change but he does make it a little easier for me. Love you babe and thank you for everything that you do for our family-I know I don't say it enough but I really do appreciate it all.

After 5 long days, I finally got to settle back in at home to this…

Couple of things.
  1. Kaden now turns his head sideways because I sometimes do the same thing when taking pictures. Pretty cute if you ask me, and I know you were!
  2. Do you like how Kaden has the iPad and an Xbox controller? Uncle Zack (who is in town for K-man's 2nd birthday party) was teaching him some new game skills and Kaden was teaching Uncle Zack how to spell.  
  3. Kaden mimicking Daddy. It was bedtime and he was told if he got up he would have to go to bed so he did this instead. This kid cracks me up!
  4. Logan has been all smiles this evening. I missed his little chunky rolls!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Another Wonderful Weekend

The weekend didn't start off like we would have hoped but it still managed to be a top notch weekend. I woke up at midnight on Thursday night to no power and for the remainder of the night I listened to the crews working to get it back up and running. Which didn't happen. Getting Kaden to lay in bed and watch cartoons is sometimes a challenge but now, we didn't even have cartoons on our side. It was literally just the 4 of us. On the positive side, I got ready in record time since all I could was pull my wet hair back in a ponytail. And on an even brighter note, we were headed to my mom and dad's for the weekend so we really didn't need the power to come back on until Sunday but the sooner the better for hopes our food wouldn't spoil. We loaded the car up with the kids and a couple coolers of food and headed south. We would stay at my mom and dad's for the night and then we would all load up and head on down 241 into Bella Vista for my sister's nuptials.

Life is sometimes hectic but Saturday brought a whole new meaning to hectic and this family, we had to divide and conquer to get everything done. Mom and I took the kids and headed to the ceremony location. We chatted for a little while and then she took Blake and Kaden and headed into Jennifer's house to do a little cooking and to wait for Dad and Justin. Now, Dad and Justin had to meet Brett at the football stadium for his first scrimmage and as soon as it was over they hauled *ss to get back to the house in time for the wedding. At 6:45 everyone was in place and the wedding was about to start. My niece(s) Leah and Lauren were the first ones down the isle followed closely by Blake (who actually carried the real rings-but don't worry he had lots of practice at my wedding). And then there was Brett, my oldest nephew, the-I'm-already-a-foot-taller-than-my-aunt-and-I-am-not-even-fourteen, who stood proud and tall with his mom on his arm as he escorted her down the isle. There she and Rob exchanged their vows to one another as their family and closest friends overlooked. It was short. It was simple. It was perfect and wouldn't have wanted to be any other place. It has been a long road for my sister but I am truly happy that she has found someone that makes her smile this much. I mean, this is what it is all about, Right?! Love you sister, so very honored to be a part of your special day.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Daddy's Little Helper

It was family night in the kitchen and pizza was on the menu. Not the "It's not delivery, it's Digiorno" and not Papa John's favorite but the get-your-hands-dirty-build-your-own-from-scratch-kind and it was deeelicious! The best part wasn't getting to eat the pizza either but watching Kaden make his own, with a little help from Daddy.

He rolled it…

He made sure the sauce was perfectly done…

And the cheese, well it was spread evenly…

Twelve minutes later it was a bubbly pizza perfection. Paired with some pineapple and yogurt and dinner was served. Family time is my favorite kind of time. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

All You Need Is Love

I love blogs. I love writing blogs. I love reading blogs. I love searching on blogs for ideas for the home, for fun things to do with the kids or just to learn that I am not alone when it comes to things happening in my life. The other night I ran across the cutest LOVE decoration using frames of all sizes and I just had to try and recreate it myself. After switching out a few frames and printing off a few different fonts, we ended up with this. Now the question, where will it go??

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Date Night

It has been awhile. Heck, I am not even sure the last time Justin and I were alone without the kids. We gotta be pushing 15+ weeks and it was high time to enjoy an adult only dinner. Grammy Janet was needing her baby fix so we took her up on the offer to watch the kiddos and called up the Walshes for a little dinner at Carmen's. Kaden was pretty excited to see Grammy and was just itching to get outside and play in the water and he proudly said bye-bye, gave me a kiss good-bye and then as gently as he could, shoved me out the door with a big GOOOOOO. For the next two hours we didn't talk about the kids, we didn't worry about the kids, we just enjoyed a nice dinner with great friends and were able to catch up with their lives. We didn't have to worry about what to talk about or have to try and carry on the conversation by ourselves, it just flowed from one topic to the next and that is exactly how it should be, effortless. It amazes me how easy it is to get caught up in the day to day hustle of life-bottles, diapers, baths, day care, grocery shopping, laundry….. I love my boys and I love every minute that I spend with them but it was nice to have a couple of hours to wind down, enjoy a night with friends and frankly, flirt with my husband. To be reminded yet again of all the reason I fell in love with him so long ago. Because of him, I have them…

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Eighty Years Young

80 years ago today a very wonderful man entered this beautiful world and this weekend we were able to all get together and celebrate Grandpa Hartley's life with lots of family and family friends. We had great aunts come in from Oklahoma, one which actually shares the same birthday as Grandpa but was turning 88! Anyone up for an interesting family fact? Perfect…Aunt Ida married my grandpa's brother, Don and not only did Grandpa Hartley and Ida share the same birthday but so did Grandma Hartley and Don (October 12th if anyone is counting). So for those of you who are scratching their head, my grandpa shared a birthday with his SIL and my grandma shared a birthday with her SILs husband, AKA BIL.

Anyways, back to the party. It was so great to see family that we haven't seen for awhile and to once again listen to the stories which Grandpa, Ida, Joann and John told. They could have told stories forever and I could have sat there and listened for just as long. I have always, always loved sitting around my grandpa's table and listening to him and grandma talk about their families and growing up. Let's face it, it my family history and I find it fascinating and some day, I hope to be having the same type of conversations with my boys and their kids…

Happy Birthday Grandpa. We love you so very, very much and I have been blessed to have you in my life for these past 29 years. I can only hope and wish that the love that Justin and I share for one another can someday rival what you and grandma have. To this day, I can't think of two people who love each other more than you do and although she has passed, I can still see your love growing for her more each day. You truly are an inspiration for us all.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The BEST conversation EVER

Occurred tonight at around 6:45 ET, 5:45 CST. You see, I am in Buffalo, NY for work and the boys are at home with their daddy, who is taking such great care of them. I miss them all very much but I no longer worry about them, they are the best hands.

Anyways, back to my conversation...

Me: Hi Monkey
Him: (complete silence)

Me: Hi Monkey, it's Mommy.
Him: MMmmoooooommmmmmm!! Hiiiiii. Mommy! (and I know he is looking at Daddy and thinking what is going on? I can hear Mommy. Mind you he hasn't had a lot of practice when it comes to talking on the phone.)

Me: Did you have a good day?
Him: Yes.

Me: Are you being good for Daddy?
Him: Yup.

(a man of many words)

Me: Do you miss your Mommy?
Him: Yes.

Me: Okay, give the phone to Daddy now. Love you.
Him: wuv you (heart just melted)

Me: Bye, Bye Monkey, see you tomorrow.
Him: Byeeeeeeee

This is followed by a few minutes of silence in hopes that he thinks I am no longer there and gives the phone back to Daddy. As I listen, Justin is trying, unsuccessfully, to coax the phone back from him and then I hear this...

Justin: "Oh shit!" followed by a the annoying sound of being hung up on.

But by far the best phone conversation I have had. Just made me miss that little guy even more. Can't wait to get my hugs and kisses from him tomorrow!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Four Generations

In-A-Sort-Of-Kind-Of-Way. After our fun play date with Hannah and Jake yesterday we swung by Grammy Janet's house to pick her up for a SUPER late lunch. Actually we didn't even eat but those who we were meeting certainly did along with tons of other people but more on that later.

Okay, it's later. Every other week Justin's Dad's Aunts and Uncle get together for lunch in Independence. They all pile into Junior and Lorraine's car and head down to the Hometown Buffet at 2:30, not any earlier and not any later, 2:30 on the dot, thus the reason we didn't eat. And let me tell you, this place was so busy. Yes, there were a lot of elderly people but I was so surprised by the amount of families eating at 2:30 and the last time we were there it was just as busy plus, there was a wedding reception happening. Who would have thought.

So why the in-a-sort-of-kind-of-way…

There were a few people missing and Janet had to stand in. Junior and Lorraine are married and Wilma and Letha are Junior's sisters. They have another sister named Ruth. Ruth was Justin's paternal grandmother and sadly passed away a few years back. So the fact that we get to see and spend time with his great aunts and uncle and the kiddos great, great aunts and uncle is well, great. Janet was a trooper and stood in at picture time for both Dave and Justin since Justin was enjoying some time at the lake with his buddies. So there you have it, as close as we will get to a four generation picture on Justin's dad's side.

I really wanted to keep this post light hearted but its kind of hard to do when you think about the people that your kids won't get to meet. I would have loved to see my kids with my Grandma Hartley, she would have got a kick out of Kaden and just would have loved holding him and scratching his back. I would have loved to have seen my Grandpa Earl holding Logan (he luckily got to meet Kaden) and talking about all his coyote hunts. But I think most of all, I would have liked for our boys to meet Justin's dad. To watch him teach our boys how to bowl would have been something. We are lucky, we have pictures of Justin and his dad and we are at a place now that we can talk about Dave. We will be able to share stories with the kids so when they grow up, they will know all about him. But it just isn't the same and that sucks. The silver lining, I know they are all watching over our kiddos and keeping them safe but I hope they all know how badly they are missed and how we are constantly thinking about them.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

We do not...

have an olympic gold medalist gymnast on our hands. Today we had a play date with Hannah and Jake at Pinnacle Gymnastics-thanks to our Living Social coupon! But before all the flipping and jumping could start we met up with the Achatz brood at UnForked, a restaurant by Sheridan's. Surprisingly very modern atmosphere with delicious food-just wish they had a kids menu since there were kiddos everywhere and we had 3 that would be eating! After a quick bite to eat we headed to the gym where the kiddo got to hula hoop, walk on balance beams, hang on the uneven bars, do summersaults, and jump on trampolines.

This was Kaden for the first 20 minutes…

He loves pockets!!

Once he observed enough kids playing around he decided to join in on the fun. Hannah may have a future in hula hooping, Jake might have a future with American Gladiators-he loved jumping on and off of everything and Kaden well the verdict is still out. On a side note, that darn balance bracelet that Papa Tom gave him sure came in handy, his falls were far and in between. An hour and a half later the kids were worn out and it was time to go. Hopefully we get to go back soon and this time, avoid the bratty girl that kept stealing their toys and hitting them…

Happy Quarter Birthday Logan

Today marked Logan's quarter birthday! And no, for those of you who are wondering, we didn't celebrate-just wanted a fun but true title for this blog.

In just 3 months Logan has become everything we could have imagined for our family. Just like Kaden, he is a blessing each and every day.

A few fun little tidbits about our little bit…he is the bestest baby ever and you can ask anyone that crosses his path and they will tell you the same. If he is awake, he is smiling or cooing. If he is asleep, he still smiles. The only time he will cry is if he is hungry or once in awhile if he is too tired but it never lasts more than a few minutes. He basically sleeps from 9 to 7 every night. On the rare occasion he might wake up at 3 or 4 wanting to be fed but instantly falls back asleep.

He doesn't mind being malled by his older brother. Kaden loves Logan but sometimes a little too much. You can often find Kaden pushing Logan's swing too hard or too high and even though it makes me hold my breath, Logan is cooing away. And because Kaden doesn't quite understand how strong he is or how gentle he needs to be, Logan often is the lucky recipient of the I-am-going-to-break-your-ribs-hugs which Kaden gives but once again, Logan smiles away.

Logan has found a new fascination for his hands and feet. He loves kicking his legs and swatting at toys. He is sitting up like a big boy in his bumbo-that is if he can keep it long enough before Kaden wants in it. He is still taking about 4 ounces of formula right now but thinking it might be about time to up it to 5 or 6 ounces and see how that goes. He still has very little hair and what hair he does have is so light it is hard to see. His eyes, still blue! He is currently wearing mostly 3-6 month clothes with a few 0-3 thrown in there and a size two in diapers. If I had to guess I would say he weighs in around 14 lbs and has possibly grown another inch or so but we won't get the official numbers until his 4 month checkup which isn't until the beginning of September…

Happy Quarter Birthday Logie! Mommy, Daddy and Kaden love you very much.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Peaks and Pits

When growing up the Kardashians' went around the table each night and told their peak and their pit of the day. I figured I would day the same.  But instead of sharing it at the table with my 2 year old and 13 week old, who could care less. I figured I would share it with you, who probably could care less too but then again, this is my blog…

Pit-came at the airport. I went up to the counter to get my seat assignment and the lady behind the counter was very rude. When I first checked in and they gave me my ticket, they said "when you reach the gate go  directly to the counter and they will give you your seat assignment." Easy enough. I get there, tell them I was told to come to the counter when I arrived and the lady snatched my ticket out of my hand and drew a BIG circle around some super small writing that said I would need to wait 10-45 minutes before boarding for my assignment and then she proceeded to shove it back into my face. Completely, 100%, uncalled for. She wasn't even busy but I wasn't going to let her ruin the rest of my day…onward and upward.

Peak-pulling up to Ms. Brenda's house. I was seconds away from seeing my boys and the anticipation was almost unbearable. I walked into the house and Logan was dozing off but as soon as he heard my voice he woke up and just started smiling and cooing. And then Kaden peaked around the corner. I have never seen him run so fast and straight into my arms he went. He hugged me for so long and I won't lie, it was one of the best feelings I have ever had. When he finally broke free he went to get his shoes and pulled the car seat over and pointed for me to put Logan in. He was ready to go. Before he could get his shoes on though, he was back in my arms for another hug. He knows exactly how to make his mommy's heart melt. All I wanted to do was hold my boys tonight so when it came time for bedtime, we acted as though we didn't see the clock so we could have a few more minutes of snuggle time. I have said it before and I will say it again, I am one lucky Mommy and blessed to have my two boys…