Wednesday, October 30, 2013


My husband is a HUGE Mizzou fan. Neither of us went to MU or even went to a university in Missouri for that matter but none-the-less he is a fan. I wouldn't say he bleeds black & gold but its pretty close. & you know it has worked out pretty well for me. My dad has always been a MU fan (I am at least from Missouri) so when I met one of the only MU fans at Pitt State (GOOOOOOO-rillas), he was pretty happy. Not sure what he would have done had I brought home a KU fan...

About once or twice a year Justin and I attend some sort of sporting event in Columbia (we enjoy more than just basketball--ehhh hmmmm). We actually got engaged on my 25th birthday after watching MU and KU play basketball. So although we didn't attend school there, we still have memories that were made there. & this last month we got to add to those memories--we took our boys to their first MU football game. 

Justin's Aunt Barbara & Uncle Charlie live outside of Columbia and have basketball and football tickets. They emailed Justin one day to let him know they would be heading out of town and wanted to know if we would like their tickets to the game. Justin jumped at the chance to the take the boys--I was a little worried about it. But since we only needed 3 tickets for Justin, me and the boys, Janet came along too--I was happy to have a little extra help. This wasn't like going back to my hometown where the boys could just run around and play, they would have to sit still for 2.5-3 hours. Could they handle that? Better yet, could I handle that?

We made it down to Columbia around lunch time to have lunch with Barbara and Charlie before they took off and then we put the kids down for a nap before we loaded up and headed into the game. & as a special treat, our friends Chris and Becky met up with us with their daughter Kiley. So the boys and someone else to play with and help pass the time.

The weather wasn't the greatest--it was kind of spitting rain all night but at least it was FREEZING cold. The first quarter was some what of a challenge but by the end of the first half the boys were finding their groove and really starting to enjoy themselves. They loved being able to do the MIZ- ZOU cheer. They loved looking for Truman the Tiger. They loved when the canon went off after each touchdown. But most of all they LOVED the cool smoke and fog that came out when the players ran out onto the field for the first time. Sure we had to buy a lot of food & popcorn to keep them entertained. I played countless games of I Spy with them but all in all, they did pretty darn good. Hopefully this is another tradition that we can start with the boys & something they can look back on and smile about.

Thank you Barbara and Charlie! Because of you, three of my boys had permanent smiles on their faces that evening.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Thanksgiving in OCTOBER

Yes, you read that correctly--We had Thanksgiving in October this year. After all, Thanksgiving is about giving Thanks, and being together with family, friends all while eating food and watching football--we had all of these things & there's not time like the present so we went for it. & it was great.

Justin had family in from San Francisco-Roy & Tim, and family in from Florida-Aunt Judy & Uncle Dave. It doesn't happen very often that we all are in the same city, at the same time so we couldn't let the opportunity go by without getting together for at least one evening.

We decided that since we had the room & TOYS (more importantly TOYS) that we would have everyone over to our house. Justin took on the turkey challenge (his first attempt) & everyone else brought something to add. & even I added a little something to the menu--my 'apple'tizers (not sure if that is a word but if it isn't, it should be). They might not look all that great but they were delicious.

By six o'clock the house was filled with amazing aromas. By six-thirty we were all gathered around the kitchen holding hands and giving Thanks. To our family, our friends, our health, the ability to be together. & the cutest thing, Kaden had his hand over his heart, he knew we were going to do something special, just wasn't sure if we were going to sing or not. But holding onto his tiny little hand and his brother even tinier hand made me that much more thankful this Thanksgiving.

After we gave Thanks we filled our plates with some of the most delicious food--Justin's turkey turned out great. His smoked ham was maybe even better but his salmon, well that was top notch--but then again, its always top notch. We had stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes (with red hots and marshmallows--the bomb), rolls, corn, & crab mac & cheese--yes, Justin made crab mac & cheese too. & then it was dessert time---Christopher Elbow's Glace Artisan Ice Cream. (go and check out his facebook page - Glace Artisan Ice Cream -- & he makes the yummiest chocolates too.) & Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without a pumpkin pie--contrary to what my MIL may think!

It was a great evening to sit around and watch football--that is until the Tigers decided to stop playing and lost...

& you know, its kind of nice getting one Thanksgiving out of the way early, now we won't have to worry about which Thanksgiving dinner to go to this year. Instead we can sit home and enjoy football with our boys and I can figure out which stores I will be hitting up online at midnight!

Happy {October} Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

so nice we did it TWICE

Initially I only had one thing to talk about on this particular post but then another exciting thing happened this weekend and it just made sense to add it here too. But first, to the first reason for this post.

We got a new table. Don't get me wrong, I was so sad to see the old one leave, I loved everything about it. The white pedestal bottom. The chalkboard top that allowed the kids (&I) to draw and write as Justin got dinner ready. I really loved the feel that it brought to the home. Yes, we wanted it to be nice but we wanted people to know they were in a FAMILY home as soon as they walked through the door. Where kids could be kids and they could run and play, and what says that better than a chalkboard kitchen table!

You may remember that I found this gem on Craigslist--it was a tossed aside oak table that just needed a little bit of paint. It took no time at all to bring it from, well it will do, to YES, I love it.

But it was missing something. Well two things really. It was missing a sturdy leg & it was missing room. I kind of wanted something a little bit bigger or something that had the ability to expand. So back to Craigslist I went. I looked week after week. I searched "kitchen table", "oak table", "pedestal table". "white table" & then one day I found it. A beautiful DISTRESSED white kitchen table with a LEAF! & it was Pier One. & it was $100. It was such a great find that I didn't even feel it was worth trying to bargain with. I called up the lady and she said we could have it, we raced over the next morning before heading out of town and loaded it up before she or my husband could change their mind.

The only issue with the table, it had two little marks on the top where something had set for a little too long and messed with the finish. But that didn't matter, I was already planning on painting the top with chalkboard paint again. Although before we painted we let it sit there for a few days just to make sure that was what we wanted. Did I want to go with another pop of color or go back to what was working. And you know what they say, if it works, don't fix it. & it works. So one afternoon I pulled the table apart, added the leaf and went to work. 3 coats later we had our chalkboard table functioning. & even without the leaf the table is just a smidgen bigger allowing a little more space between the boys at dinner time which is one very big PLUS! & this weekend, we get to add the leaf  & use the table in its entirety---Thanksgiving is coming early to the South house! I am so happy with how it turned out---but I knew I would be.

after one coat.
after the second coat.
& after the third and final coat.


So onto the second, "so nice we did it TWICE". A few years ago, two to be exact. We attended an auction at John Paul II, Justin's mom teachers here. This auction is their biggest fund raiser of the year & since our little ones will probably attend school here, or at least pre-school we thought it was important to go and support the school. Oh and his mom of course! Well two years ago we made the decision to bid on a beach vacation. Here we are, Adam, Becky, Janet, Justin and myself sitting around the table discussing how much we were willing to pay. Here I was with a paddle in my hand bidding. My heart was racing. It came down between us & another individual, we went back and forth. My husband told me to just throw out our max bid but we were hundreds of dollars away from that number, so we stuck with it. In the end, we won & we paid much less than our max bid. (& of course we won, I am a competitive freak & it wasn't going to end any other way.) So the following August the 8 of us took off for St. Maarten. The travel kind of sucked but the trip was AMAZING! It was beautiful.

Fast forward to this past weekend & we found ourselves at the auction again. We had just received word that the trip was a last minute add. Justin and I had been wanting to take the kids back to the beach again. The location was great, the beach was amazing. The pool was just fine for what we wanted. There were restaurants within walking distance. We knew what we were getting so why not do it again. Why not take the kids one last time before Kaden started school. (the kids would have to be taken out of school to go.) We made the decision that we would bid on it again. This time we set our max much lower because last year, it went for crazy cheap but it started off FAST. My heart was beating even faster. It went back and forth, back and forth until there were 3 left and then there were two. Because it was moving too fast, I took my time & at the very last second I threw up my paddle & we took it again. We are sooooo excited to take the boys back to the very same beach they were at just a little over a year ago. Logan will be 3 and Kaden will be turning 5 again while we are there.

We got home and then next morning we told Kaden and Logan we had a surprise for them. We told them we were headed back to the beach & surprisingly, Kaden knew exactly what we were talking about. He named everyone that was there with us & remembered that we had to ride a plane to get there too. He seemed as excited as we were. Time to get moving on those swim lessons again!

Now who wants to house sit and dog sit? Takers?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Black & Orange

Black & Orange. Two colors that are more than just colors. These colors represent going home. They represent a small town that gathers around the football field on a Friday night to watch the varsity team take on the rival town down the road. These colors represent a long history of pride, support & achievement. These colors can make you feel at peace--or at least they can for me. & although I know my boys will not grow up wearing THE black & orange, I still want them to have an idea of what those colors mean to their mommy.

A few weeks back the boys & I made the trip back to SWMO to see my parents. We hadn't been home in a few months and it was my mom's birthday so it was time. Not only was it my mom's birthday but it was also Jasper Appreciation days in my hometown. (You may remember that Logan took home first place in his division last year at the baby show--and if you don't, he did. You can read about it here.) It would be a weekend full of hometown adventures, just want I needed & my mom too. Oh and did I mention that my dad was celebrating his 40th high school reunion. Talk about OLD! & I love that he didn't really graduate from Jasper, he graduated from a school in Ohio, but that he still gets invited and attends everything as though he did. I mean, he did go to school with these guys for most of his school years, it just happened that he moved during his high school years.

So Friday night he knew there would be a lot of his old classmates in town for the game since they would be getting together the night before so we headed off to the game as well. My best friend from high school had a few shirts made for the boys (they had to be in JASPER gear) & I wore my mom's retro cheerleader sweater, it was sweet. As I walked up to the field I could see all the things that had changed since I had last been to a game (9 years maybe)--they had moved the scoreboard to the other end of the field, they added a sidewalk, a new HUGE building, the playground was all different and fenced in, they had changed the entrance spot, and added a fence to the stands. So much had changed but the feeling, it was all still there. The feeling of EAGLE pride. I didn't know many of the kids that were playing except for maybe the quarterback and the running back (my best friend's nephew) but that didn't matter--we jumped right in and started cheering along with the loudest and proudest moms and grandmas. It was kind of weird being on that side of the "ball". I was always the one playing, the one being cheered on but here I was, 13 years out of high school, cheering our boys to a victory. & here I was with my two boys looking on in amazement, knowing that all too soon it will be them out there and I will be one of those moms who will be beaming with so much excitement and pride, their biggest fan.

The next morning we were up & out of the house early. We had to be at the Jasper baby show by 9 because even though I didn't have any babies to enter this year I did have one VERY cute niece that would be vying for the title. Sadly, she didn't win so of course that means something was rigged! & as soon as her division was over we were out of there. We headed to downtown Jasper (you can walk the entire town--its pretty small) and enjoyed the festivities. Mom & I had ran into one of my classmates mom's the night before and she was going to be selling cotton candy so of course we HAD to stop by her tent. The boys got to pick out their flavors & their smiles grew with each turn of the wand. They were in SUGAR heaven. Before we were headed home they had successfully polished off a hot dog & then some snow cones--which were so delicious my sister, Brett & I had to go back for one ourselves. We ended the afternoon with the kid games--they bounced, flipped, & raced their way to the finish lines.


Finally it was time to head back to the house for naps--which were needed by all. & as I look back at our adventures from the football game & Jasper Appreciation days I think of all the smiles. Not only the smiles that Kaden and Logan had on their faces but the smiles they put on everyone else's faces. Every person they came into contact with they made smile-whether they were just sitting back watching the boys chase each other around-Logan repeating everything he saw Kaden doing. Or maybe something cute or funny they said--you never know what is going to come out of their mouths--we were all smiles.  But my favorite thing Kaden did--he walked right into Terry & Chub's house after walking right up to Terry and giving her a great big hug. He didn't know Terry. All he knew is that Papa Tom said we were parking at her house and when we got out of the car Papa Tom gave her a big wave with a big hello. That was all Kaden needed to hear. He ran right up to her, walked right into her house and was ready to play. Again, it was like that when we were growing up. You always knew Terry had an open door and you were welcomed there at any time. Its nice to see that my kids still feel the same way & that there are still so many things that remain the same from my hometown.

The fun didn't stop there. That evening my Cousin Casey came over with her husband and little girl, Gracey Jo. Gracey and Logan are only a few weeks apart in age so it was pretty special to see them playing together & chasing after Kaden as Maddie followed closely behind. Casey Jo and Ben were in town to pick up the crib. You remember the crib that we took down and moved out of the house, well its going to be used by my cousin for her little boy!!! I knew taking it down would be the right move and I am so excited that it will live to see another baby--and one in our family. Who knows, maybe it will make its way back to our house some day in the future.

This weekend that we spent at home makes me realize just how lucky I am to have the family I have. I don't get to see them as nearly as often as I would like but when we are together, we can pick up conversations as if no time has been missed. & maybe its the same for anyone else that has moved away from home but going HOME, is relaxing, its easy and its so good for the soul. I only hope that when my boys are grown and have families of their own that they will feel the same way about coming home to their daddy and I. They think they are spoiled now, they should wait until they get older, I am sure I will be begging to do their laundry, make them dinner (or ask their father too), change their kiddos diapers, take them to church with me while they go and pursue their hobby/dream. I hope they will always look forward to coming home & not as though its a chore and they HAVE to see me because that is FAR from what I feel now. I WANT to go home and I WANT to spend time with my family & I LET my mom & dad take care of not only me but of their grandkids too. It might sound selfish that I let my mom & dad take care of me and my kids but I know that makes them happy too & they wouldn't want it any other way.

Black & Orange. Home.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Better LAKE than never...

Well its been a month now since we had our 'stay'cation and the only piece I documented was how Kaden took right to the water & jumped in without fear.

But that wasn't the only fun we had while we were away taking a break from all the day to day hustle and bustle.

Most mornings we woke up, had breakfast on the deck and then headed straight to the water for a little morning swim. The boys (Justin and Kaden) took turns jumping off the dock as Logan and I chilled in the water. Justin and I had one goal--wear the boys OUT so they would NAP well. Most days it worked. A few days Kaden got to stay up with Justin and I while Logan took a nap, he thought he was pretty special & he was right.

On the days that both boys went down soundly, Justin and I were able to sit down by the water and relax with a drink in hand. It was so nice having that time together where we didn't have to do anything. Far too often when we are home we get caught up cleaning out the pantry, hanging curtains, doing laundry, editing pictures that we don't take the time for ourselves. This was a great reminder that as a mom and dad, we still need that time to be husband and wife.

After naps we usually would head right back down to the water but this time we did more boating than swimming. We weren't sure how the boys would do on the boat but after the first few minutes of being a little freaked out they both settled in and were ready to take over the captain's chair. & as many times as I have been on this boat, I haven't driven it once--but I can't say the same for our boys. Justin happily slid over to let the boys take over and navigate us back home. Mind you there wasn't a boat in site, Justin was still right there & we were pretty much idling. And although the boys weren't able to push the throttle they had the biggest smiles on their faces.

& then there were the random things we did. We went shopping at the outlets. Twice--had to go back for more of the same things we found on the first the day. We went and played miniature golf at Sugar Creek which just happens to be the one that Justin and I would go to all the time when we were sans kids. I loved getting to take the boys to not only the places that I have been enjoying for the last 10 years or so but to all the places that Justin has been enjoying since he was a little boy.

I'll admit, I didn't quite get why Justin wanted to be at the lake so badly--we had a neighborhood pool. We had our own beds, a bigger space, central air, & all the kids' toys. Why would we need to go 2 hours away to do the same thing we could do here?

Well, now I get it. Its about making memories. Its about telling your family stories. Its about showing OUR kids everything he loved about his childhood & watching OUR kids relive those moments. & I'll be honest again, I won't let another summer go by without doing this again. It was just perfect.