Thursday, August 28, 2014

& it begins just as it ended in 2012

Last October Justin and I purchased another week in St. Martin & it was basically an identical trip to the one we took in 2012. The only difference, we weren't sure who would be coming with us, we just knew we wanted to go again. Adam, Becky & Colton went with us in 2012 & had the first invitation but Colton was starting Kindergarten and this was going to be his first full week at school & as much as they wanted to come, they knew they needed to pass---& I would have done the same. So we asked my mom and dad. They said yes---well my mom said yes and she made sure my dad did the same.

Justin and I talked about how great it would be to have both of our parents on the beach with the boys for an entire week. They get to see my parents often but there aren't many times where the boys get their undivided attention & the same with Grammy. Here they are the center of attention and I can't even begin to describe how it feels to watch the boys with our parents on the beach and swimming in the ocean. Its only day one and the trip is already more than what I imagined.

& just as it ended in 2012, this one began. We started out the morning at the pool and by 10 or so made our way to the beach. We made a few trips to the local store and bought a few rafts, some sand toys...

we met a new friend within the very first minute of arriving at the pool. 

Janet and I started looking for Christmas Carol--that was the name she gave us--the moment we stepped foot on the beach. Last time we were here Christmas Carol gave the best back massages and we were keeping our fingers crossed that she would be on the beach again. There might have been a few times where we just yelled "Christmas Carol" to see if anyone turned their heads but no luck. Then it was like the gates parted and out she walked--Christmas Carol was here. & as soon as the boys were down for naps, I was getting a massage. Under a cabana. With a drink in hand.

We finished the day of sun off back at the pool for happy hour & then headed out for dinner. On this night we walked a little further from our resort, maybe 25 yards & had dinner at the Boathouse. The boys and I feasted on mac & cheese & chicken strips while the rest of the crew settled for Stuffed Grouper--they say it was mouthwateringly delicious. I'll take their word for it.

The day was full of highlights but one of my favorites was watching the boys dance at dinner. The song choices weren't the best or the most appropriate but the boys didn't seem to mind...

Are We There...YET?

We have been planning this trip since last October and honestly, it kind of snuck up on me. Yes, I knew it was coming. Yes, I was counting down the days but when it came to planning and packing, it was all done pretty last minute. The boys got complete new wardrobes. The confirmation of our condo rental was confirmed the week before & I didn't even get a pedicure. Lots of last minute plans coming together.

This is the 2nd time we have made this trip. Last time was two years ago and we learned a few things.  Like last time, our initial flight was canceled, well moved up which meant our connecting flight would arrive 4 hours too late to catch the plane to St. Martin. We actually flew out a day early to make it all work.

This time around we just planned on going out a day early so we didn't have to worry about that early flight to St. Martin. & the bonus, instead of the kids spending 6 hours on flights, we could break it up and spend 2 hours and 4 hours.

I'll be honest, I want to forget everything about Friday. Logan was great. Kaden was something else. We all know we call him light switch for a reason and it was shining bright on Friday. I actually got up from dinner and took him up to our hotel and put him to bed.

Putting him to bed seemed to work. He woke up Saturday in the best mood. We might have had an early Saturday flight but that wasn't phasing him, he was full of manners and good behavior. Now this was the Kaden that we so dearly love---okay, we love all forms of Kaden but this one we can brag on.

Logan was asleep before we even took off the runway. Not Kaden, he didn't sleep one minute on the flight. He watched Hook---after all he wants to be Captain Hook when he grows up. He played on the iPad with Grammy. He and I put together two Lego Mixels. 4 hours later and we were landing & he was still smiling and still using manners. At one point he was sitting across the isle and I just looked at him in amazement at how big he looked--hard to believe he is turning 5 in just a few short days.

We landed & bonus day had begun. What's bonus day you ask? It's when you arrive at your destination---St. Martin in our case---early enough to enjoy happy hour on the beach! The boys were begging to go straight to the beach and Grandma Sara and Grammy happily jumped at the chance to let their feet touch the ocean. Papa Tom and Justin ran to the store. I unpacked. & then we all headed to the beach.

By the time I decided that we needed to capture the first day picture, my mom had already taken Logan back to the house--per his request. & my picture cropped out not only my dad but my MIL too. It was at least a good try!

But the day didn't end with the beach--we still had dinner to go & we made our way across the street to Lee's Grill. We ate here last time and you know, its nice to see that some things stay the same. On that very first night lobster was had.

Janet and Justin picked out their very own lobster & so did my mom and dad. In total over 8 pounds of lobster.

It was fresh. & from what I heard--and tasted--it was pretty good too.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Round 2

Today was Kaden's 2nd FIRST day of pre-school. Since he is still four and won't be turning 5 for another 10 days he is going to get to enjoy another year of pre-school before having to really GROW-UP and head off to Kindergarten.

& let me tell you, this morning was so different from the 1st FIRST day of pre-school. He walked in like he owned the school. He didn't have any fears. He wasn't shy  & he was totally excited to see his teachers again.

The only thing that threw Kaden for a loop---which girl he was going to play with. I had told him that one of his friend's from Ms. Brenda's was going to be going to his same pre-school and that she would be there this morning. He asked if Sophia (his crush from last school year) was going to be there too. We weren't sure but he was sure hoping. He walked in and there was his friend from daycare & off he went to draw with her. As I was saying my goodbyes to him and Miss L, Sophia walked around the corner & Kaden did a double-take. You could almost see his mind racing & trying to figure out who he was going to play with. Miss L or Sophia. Here he is, not even 5 years old and already trying to figure out how to juggle two girls. Totally his dad's son--kidding--well kind of. When I picked him up from school I asked how it went and who he played with, "I played with both Miss L and Sophia, we all played together Mom. It was a good day."

But he didn't even have to tell me how good of a day it was, his smile said it all. So here's to his last year of pre-school…

Monday, August 18, 2014

Pin IT.

For awhile now I have wanted to hang some type of map somewhere in our house. At first it was just a map of the good ole' US of A & I thought the toy room would make a perfect place for it. Then I started seeing maps where people pinned all the places they have been or are wanting to go & let's face it, a map of just the USA wasn't going to cut it anymore since both boys have their passports & have already been out of the country---twice (in a matter of days). Same location but hey, its twice.

I started looking for maps of North America and I thought to myself, geesh Kayla,there is a lot more to this world than just North America. After-all we do have plans to go to Europe for our 10 year anniversary, granted the kids won't be coming with us but we also hope to visit Turkey with the Garrett's and bring the kids along. Plus I would love to make it to Australia & Thailand.  Big dreams, yes. But having them stare at me day in and day out may just make them happen a little faster---so with that in mind, we did the whole WORLD.

I found this Pin on Pinterest & decided to give it a whirl.

I bought two maps off of Amazon for $7.00 total---and I guess there was a reason they were so cheap, Las Vegas is spelled Las Vagas. & why two? My SIL and I were going to do the project together--one for her & one for me.

I then gathered the rest of the materials. Instead of using cork board, I bought sound board at Home Depot. It was $10 for a full sheet and they went ahead and cut 4 24x36 inch pieces for me. I then purchased an open back frame from Hobby Lobby with my 40% discount--and I went with what looks to be the same frame as the Pin, I liked how it added to the antique/vintage feel. I already had the Modge Podge & adhesive spray on hand from previous projects so we were good to go there.

Since we were dealing with adhesive spray we went ahead and fixed up an area in the driveway to ensure proper ventilation. & this is certainly a two person job, not saying it can't be done on your own but when it came to placing the map on the sound board having another person there was clutch. The adhesive was instantly sticky & it allowed us to line up the corners without having to put the map fully down.

Photo Credits: Colton South
& this little project really took no time at all. We spent more time sitting around chatting waiting for the Modge Podge to dry before we could put on a second coat than anything.

& in the end, it didn't turn out half bad. I will admit there are a number of wrinkles on the map due to the Modge Podge but it kind of makes it look like a typography map. Now we just have to find the right place in the house to hang it so you don't get blinded by the wrinkles and the gloss from it. & having read some of the comments after completing the project, I might have went with a different plan of action but for $3 more, I can always give it another shot!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Lakin' it.

I won't lie. I wasn't feeling it & I had so many reason why I wasn't feeling going to the lake this past weekend.

Kaden was on the verge of getting sick. Complaining about his ear hurting. Running a very low grade fever and you could just hear it all over in his voice.

I hadn't "been" home in a week and half---between work events here in KC, a conference in Vegas, dinner at Grammy's, I haven't done anything at home besides sleep & shower--if I was lucky.

We had only two weekends "open" before leaving for vacation & so MANY things to do before that time comes.

I was exhausted & I was almost hoping that when I took Kaden to the doctor on Friday morning that she was going to say he couldn't be in water but she didn't & the boys & Justin were excited for a weekend at the lake.

I told myself that I was the only thing standing in the way of having a great weekend. Me and my attitude. So, we stayed up late on Thursday to pack and get everything organized and on Friday afternoon we took off. We were lake bound. All 6 of us--Yes, even the dogs too.

And to be honest, I am glad my husband made the decision to go. Had we not, the boys would have missed out on making memories at the lake with Cousin Colton. Each morning the boys went on a little nature walk with Grammy & came home with a bunch of wild flowers. They were beautiful. 

& its been three years since we have been able to capture these three at the lake together. Last year when we went it was just the four of us & the year before that we weren't able to get down there. So the last time these three were on this dock together was on 4th of July in 2011--Logan was just a couple months old. Doesn't seem possible. 

The weather on Saturday was pretty amazing--although I would have loved a little more sun to help prepare me for St. Maarten in a couple of weeks--but it made for the most perfect evenings. & because the sun wasn't just blaring, the kids swam and jumped until their little legs couldn't do it anymore. 

And when they weren't jumping and swimming they were exploring the yard--finding rocks they could reunite with their long lost rubble friends in the bottom of the lake. After a little rock throwing they moved to fishing---and both Becky and Colton caught themselves a fish before the weekend came to an end. 

& then there was our newest friend. This gorgeous butterfly must of been on its last leg--did you know butterflies only live for about 2 weeks. He kept flying around us, landing on us, letting us hold and move him wherever we wanted to. We all figured he just wanted to really be loved the last few hours of his life & loved he was! 

The boys got to take one last jump into the lake and Logie got the "boat ride" he had been asking for all weekend long. He was a little bummed when we all decided not to actually get the boat out but when I told him he could sit and "drive" the boat, he was more than excited. He just had one rule, don't touch anything except the steering wheel. Its amazing what a little "boat ride" can do for one little three year old. & then it started to rain & it rained all. the. way. home.

We endured a VERY rainy drive home & as good as it felt to walk through that door and finally unpack and spend more than a couple hours at home with my family, being at the Lake was exactly where we were supposed to be this past weekend.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Family 2.0

Family. Justin and I have been so fortunate when it comes to family. We have loving parents who will support us and guide us through life's many adventures. We have brothers & sisters who have proven to be best friends--the kind where they know they are the only one who can ask the hard questions and really make you question what you are doing and why? They will hold your hand, they will share in your pain & joys and will always give you the benefit of the doubt and second, third and even fourth chances. ---and in our family, we don't look at in-laws as in-laws. Becky, Adam, Lindsay are as much my brother and sisters as Zack and Jennifer are. That's just how it is.

& then we have our friends, who aren't just friends but family too. Justin and I wouldn't be able to raise our boys without these guys. They keep us sane by allowing us to compare stories and by telling us that our boys aren't the only ones who are running around half-naked every night. That the stomping off and fit throwing is happening at their houses too. We share our trials but we also share our triumphs--birthday celebrations, first hits in t-ball, learning to write names, making beds on their own. Our friends are our village & our boys are and will continue to be better little humans because of each and every one of them.

So when we learned that one of our dearest friends would be moving away, we were so sad. Kaden wasn't even one yet, they had just learned they were pregnant with their first baby & here they were packing everything up and heading to Wisconsin. This friendship was a little different than most our friendships though---I have worked with JG for 8 or 9 years now and we started out with a better friendship than maybe what he and my husband had or what I had with Tugce. Thats certainly not the case now, both JG and Tugce were in our wedding & although we don't live in the same state and we don't see or talk as often as we should--its one of those friendships that pick up wherever we left off.

We have traveled to Wisconsin 4 or so times to visit & they come home to KC often. Lucky for us, we have enough space in our home for them to stay with us while visiting. & that is exactly what they did this past week--it had been since Thanksgiving since I had seen Tugce and the kids which was WAY too long.

They arrived around midnight on Friday and stayed the week while JG and I attended our sales meetings. & although it was lovely having them here, I was a little grouchy all week long. Normally when we see each other, I'm not working. Tugce and I get to have a girls day. The guys have a guys night. & family days during the days but this week, well, it was full of work and each morning I had to get up and say goodbye to my family. Each evening I either walked through the door to the BIGGEST hugs four little humans could give or I walked into a quiet house because everyone had already fallen asleep.

Missing them goes without being said but you just don't realize just how much you miss someone until you get to hug & squeeze them in person for a week and then have to say goodbye. The one thing I know, we aren't waiting another 6 months before seeing them again.