Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Holiday Visitor

Tonight marked the start of Advent for the South household. In a previous post, I mentioned that I had wrapped books, old and new, and we would unwrap one book a night and read it together. Two reasons I chose books. One, Kaden loves to read. And two, I thought it would make for good practice for unwrapping presents.

Our first book brought us a holiday visitor, meet Mr. Elf. Mr. Elf was brought to us by the North Pole and will be keeping tabs on the kiddos. He will fly back to the North Pole on a nightly basis and will report to Santa what he has seen. He will arrive back in our home before the kids are up the next morning. He will be tucked away and hard to see but with a little searching we will find him. Can't touch him, he will lose his magic but he will listen all day long to what the kiddos would like to get for Christmas. He will stay with us during the holiday season and when he hears Santa's bell he will return to the North Pole until he is needed next holiday season. We were given a task to give him a name but since the boys don't quite understand, naming him will just have to wait. For now we will refer to him as Mr. Elf and hope that he enjoys our happy home.

We wanted to make sure that Mr. Elf was as comfortable as could be so out came the stockings and the tree. Growing up we always put up the tree and the decorations the weekend after Thanksgiving so it only made sense to keep with the tradition. We pulled out the decorations and started going through each box deciding what would make the cut and what would stay packed away. We want the house to be festive but we also can't go crazy to ensure that potential buyers see the house and not so much us. In the end, we had just the right amount. Kaden was our little helper and if you looked at our tree you could tell exactly where he added his touch. The bottom. Pretty much eye level is where his ornaments found their home. We still have a few finishing touches to add to the tree, an ornament for each of the boys and one for our family of four. Now to get the presents wrapped and under the tree. First thing first, we must all rest and get over our colds so we can enjoy all the celebrations that lie ahead.

P.S. For some reason this blog rhymed. It wasn't my intention but I think Elf of the Shelf got stuck in my head!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Let's Go To The Movies

Let's go see the stars. Name that movie. Hopefully that only took you matter of seconds since it only happens to be my favorite movie of all time! And it is a perfect intro for this blog post. This morning we went to the movies. Me and Kaden. Kaden and I. A date with my son and it was perfect start to the morning. We played hooky from Happy Feet (soccer) and went and watched Happy Feet 2 instead. We got to the theater, bought 5 tickets and Kaden waited patiently for Becky and Colton to arrive. We then jumped in line at the concession stand got a kids pack for each boy and away they went. One following the other. Stopping intermittently to make sure we were still behind them. We found our seats, the movie theater lights dimmed and the previews begun-all 20 minutes of them! You would think a kids movie would have fewer previews since their attention span falls on the shorter end of the scale but nope, 8 previews in all and a short film! Finally the penguins took to the screen. Kaden started out covering his ears with his hands but eventually he got comfortable and only did that on the super loud parts. He sat in his chair. He stood up and danced. (Luckily he isn't all that tall and it didn't matter if he was standing or sitting.) He and Colton exchanged movie critiques and even swapped spots a couple times. As movie hit its climax the theater got quiet, the movie was silent and one special a little boy cried "Oh No." Yes, that was my son who just did that. He timed it perfectly and the theater full of people just chuckled. We finished the movie off with a little dancing and a standing ovation by Kaden. Okay, so maybe he was already standing but he still enjoyed it and this mommy is looking forward to our next movie date!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Day To Give Thanks

On the road by 8. That was our plan for this morning. As you can imagine things don't always go as planned with two little ones. Kaden not only got sick last night but he has also caught a nasty cold. So nasty that it has required us to implement breathing treatments 3 times a day. When we put Kaden to bed last night we figured we would play today by ear. He woke up in a great mood, hardly coughing and was excited to see Papa Tom. We were a go. Justin was giving Logan his bottle to ensure a fully and happy baby for the drive but the next thing we knew, he was getting sick too. All over his CUTE turkey day shirt. Our plans officially came to a screeching halt. I was bummed. I was a little annoyed. Why now? Why not tomorrow? All I wanted to was little time with my family. For my boys to play with their cousins and to give a huge hug to two very special people (you know who you are.) I cried. I cried for probably too long but eventually I got over the pity party I was throwing and reminded myself of what today is really all about...

Giving Thanks. When I think about all the things that I am thankful for this year so many come to mind. Our little family of three grew by two tiny feet when Logan was born in May. Not only has he brought a feeling of completeness for our family but he has an endless supply of smiles and coos that make my heart all warm and fuzzy. He also made the other main man in my life a big brother. I can never seem to get enough of watching Kaden interact with Logan. The love that he has for his brother is so pure and beautiful. We couldn't be more proud of how Kaden has transitioned into his new role in the family and for this I am very thankful. For my husband and all that he does for me and our boys. Most importantly for being able to put up with me and love me day in and day out, I know it isn't always easy but he sure makes it look like it is. Our four-legged family members-you are always excited to see us come home and you always know exactly what we need from you. For the family (that I am not with today) but that I know loves unconditionally with all their heart. Who will be there for one another no matter where we are in our lives and what we are doing. For my in-laws that have so graciously made me a part of their family from the beginning. For all of our health. To the men and women who continue to fight for not only our freedom but for others as well. For my job, my hobby (Oliver Beckett Photography) and its clients. Most importantly, I give thanks to God, knowing that without him none of this would be possible.

Here's to another wonderful year and to all the things big and small that we are thankful for and not just today but every day.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tomorrow it begins...

Tomorrow will be the first of multiple Thanksgiving celebrations and what better way to kick off the holiday season and to wish everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving than with a picture of the two things I am most thankful for day in and day out. My two turkeys…

And I don't mean to leave my husband out, he ranks right there at the top with the boys but he didn't want to put his turkey shirt on...

Monday, November 21, 2011

We're Getting Ready.

This year we are starting a new tradition. Advent. We needed something simple and easy for Kaden to understand but still fun so he looked forward to it each and every night. I figured Pinterest would be full of ideas and lucky for me I was right. Books. Each night we will unwrap one book, starting with Elf on the Shelf and ending with Twas the Night Before Christmas. 29 books. The number of books we will need so tonight I got a started on the wrapping. The best part-I used some of Kaden's books that we already have on hand. Ones that we read all the time. I'll mix a few of the old books with some new books and we will be well on our way.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Happier Feet…Finally.

This morning marked our third Happy Feet (soccer) "practice" and I'll be honest, I was half tempted to skip. You see last week was just a total waste. Waste of time. Waste of money. Kaden never really followed the instructions given by his coach. He didn't kick Bob (the ball) when asked. He didn't sit quietly when asked. He ran in and out of the room. Grandma Sara and I both tried to reign him in and play along with the coach in hopes that Kaden would follow us but we lost the battle. Notice I didn't say war because today we would be heading back for Numero Tres Battle-O and I would do it all alone since Daddy was playing golf. We arrived in plenty of time. Kaden held my hand as we crossed the parking lot and he even went to the door to open and hold it for me as I lugged Logan inside. And then it started. Some lady came flying out of the door and it hit Kaden smack dab in the middle of the head and as she "apologized" (she did a shitty job of apologizing to Monkey) the goose egg started to shine. I was afraid we were headed down the same path as last week…

We started off okay. He did a few of the things the instructor said but for the most part ran around and kicked Bob back and forth, back and forth. A little over halfway through the class I was ready to leave. Kaden was sitting on the bench taking a break so I handed him his hat and told him to go and get the ball. When he went back in he liked what he saw-coach was singing a song and playing games with the kids. Kaden jumped right in with "Roll, Roll, Roll your Bob" (Sang to Row, Row, Row your boat) and for the next 10 minutes he was the star pupil and showing the gotta-be-almost-three-year-old-giants who was boss. I was one very proud Soccer Mom and very happy that I didn't make the non-interested Kaden go home early. All he needed was a little bit of time and a coach that truly interacted with each and everyone of the kids. The coach we had this week was amazing. He did so many fun things with the kids and had them laughing and high-fiving by the end of the class. He even got them all to huddle up, put their hands in and yell "Soccer is Fun" on three. It was precious to stand back and watch. The jury is still out on whether or not we will have a soccer star but at least we saw a glimpse of promise this weekend.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It Never Fails

You leave for a few days and when you come home your boys have each learned something new. I knew Logan was close to crawling, I mean, he has been up on all fours for awhile now but up until now he has only been rolling to get where he needs to go. While we were gone he discovered and conquered the army crawl and man can he scoot. Kaden seems to have picked up a little bit of an attitude but also a few new words or at least it seems as though he has. Maybe it is just because we were gone for awhile and missed all that Kaden lingo that he spills out. Man how I missed those baby blues...

When we got home we noticed all the leaves in our neighborhood had found their way into our yard. Yay us! But then I remembered our Fall 2011 Bucket List. Have a photo shoot in a pile of leaves. We (Justin) quickly piled the leaves up and we spent the next half an hour running and chasing one another through the huge leaf pile, even Brodi joined in on the fun. And if you couldn't tell by Kaden's snotty and running nose, it was a tad cold out and the sun was about to go down so we all headed inside to cuddle up and get warm.

It is always a sad day when I have to leave the boys but to come home to two smiling boys from ear to ear, to hugs that could save the world, to a little boy who is so excited that he jumps up and down on my lap over and over and who won't let me out of his site almost makes it worth it. Almost.

Round Two

If you drive by our house you won't see the FSBO sign in the front yard but it will be out there as soon as the leaves are raked and bagged. That's right, we are giving it another try but this time, the house has awhole-lotta new going on! If you know of anyone in the market for a starter home, our home would be a perfect fit. It makes me sad thinking that we could be months away from saying our good-byes to the house we brought both of our boys home from the hospital too but the family has grown and we are ready for some new space. Cross your fingers and maybe even say a little prayer.

Charming, Newly Updated Home - 8806 W. 72nd Ter , Merriam KS

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Monkey See. Monkey Do.

Even before Kaden was born, he was Monkey. His first stuffed animal was a monkey. He had a monkey themed first birthday party and every night before he goes to bed we tuck monkey (the stuffed animal) in and I give one kiss to monkey and another kiss to Monkey. The other night we were sitting here on the couch having family time when Kaden started eating fruit snacks like a monkey. Gross? Certainly. Funny? Absolutely. I guess after calling him Monkey for so long that it is only natural for him to start acting like one!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Today was perfect. I was right where I needed to be, alongside colleagues giving back. Taking time away from the everyday rat race of life to help those in need. On May 22nd an EF5 Tornado ripped through the heart of Joplin, Missouri destroying over 7,000 homes and taking 162 lives. This day was intended to be a day of celebration as local high school students walked across the stage to accept their diplomas and to toss their caps in the air. These students got their moment. They got their diploma and they got to throw their hats in the air as a sign of triumph, of accomplishment. But shortly after the celebration started their lives were instantly turned upside down along with thousands of other lives. It took a matter of 18 minutes for this tornado to rip a town in two, literally. And when it was over those who could, emerged through the rubble and saw what was left which wasn't much. I couldn't even begin to imagine the emotions that flooded through their minds. How they were able to find the courage to start the rebuilding process, to try and look forward and to try to find the silver lining out of this will always amaze me. The stories we hear-each and everyone of them-different but not one less important than the other. 5 months later and the stories are still pouring in but now they are of the Hope, Love, Dreams, Restoring Joplin-it's community, it's people, it's future. Homes are being rebuilt. Businesses are open. People are flooding back and making new starts. Fresh starts with pieces of their past but more importantly hope for their future. 

So today we helped. We planted trees. We put together goodie bags. We sifted through books. We did whatever we could to help whoever we could for as along as we could. This day certainly makes it into the top 10 days of my life. It was humbling to walk the streets of Joplin and to hear the stories of those families we worked beside today. To see all of their lives turned upside down in a matter of minutes and for them to come out on top with such a positive and upbeat outlook. To be reminded of what is truly important in life and how one has no control over what is going to happen next. It is about having faith and believing in something so much bigger than ourselves. My heart goes out to all those who lost loved ones, to anyone who was affected by this devastation but know, you are all heroes and inspirations to the rest of us. God Bless You All and thank you for sharing your homes and stories with us today. 

"We make a living by what we do. We make a life but what we give." 
                                                                                                -Winston Churchill

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My guy...

Work has been crazy. Crazy good but Crazy busy. Since last Wednesday I have been home only one night to put the boys to bed and if that doesn't pull at your heart strings I am not sure what would. Last night was no different. I had clients in town and we were taking them out to dinner. It was rainy. It was getting cold and I was ready to be home, crawl into bed and count the hours until the little guys woke me up the following morning. To my surprise the biggest little guy was still up when I walked into the house. It was more than an hour past his bedtime but there he was all snuggled up next to Daddy. He was scared. Scared of the thunder. Scared of the lightening and he didn't want be alone. Who could blame him? Certainly not me and I wasn't about to make him sleep alone after being away for so many nights. We kicked Daddy out of the bed and in came Monkey for the night. Each time the thunder crashed he threw his little arms around me and buried his tiny little face into my chest. I hate that the little guy was scared but the selfish side of me sure loved that he needed his mommy. I know the day will come that he won't need me to hold him tight but until that time comes, I am going to milk these thunderstorms for all their worth.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Happy Half Birthday Logan!

Today Logan is officially SIX months old and we celebrated by taking a little snoozer on the couch together. I love that he can still fit so comfortably in my arms and will fall right asleep all nestled next to me. It wasn't long before my arm fell asleep but I sucked it up and endured the tingly feeling since I hadn't held those chubby cheeks in 3 whole days. After napping we took to the yard for an impromptu photo shoot (saving the real one for Saturday when Grandma Sara is here) and then played a little soccer with his big brother.

Logan's Numbers
Weight: 18 pounds 7 ounces - 75th percentile (down from 85th)
Height: 27 inches - 75th percentile (up from 50th)
Diapers: Size 3
Clothes: 6-9 months or 6-12 months at GAP.
Likes: Carrots and Pears
Dislikes: Anything GREEN- he won't take peas or green beans.

 A little tight, I think so. These will be redone!