So there's this new thing in KC called iFly, it's been a round for awhile and I eye it every time we drive by but sadly, I'm the only one who wants to give it a try. Justin doesn't like amusement park rides, the boys, I thought, were too little so it just didn't make sense to do it alone. I wanted to experience it with someone.
And then Leah arrived. & she was totally game for it. We decided to wait until her final week with us and go out with a bang. She was a little nervous. I really wasn't as I have jumped out of plane before and done the real thing but was certainly excited.
Leah and I arrived an hour before our flight time.
The boys came later. Right before we were about to take off.
We were in a group of about 8 people. We all got suited up, entered the chamber waiting area and took a seat waiting for our turn. Leah and I were the last two to go. We would get two turns in the wind tunnel. Your goal is to have as little contact with the instructor as possible but for first timers, that would be hard. When entering the chamber you try and make a big X, or a jumping jack of sorts--chin up, legs straight, and arms in front of you.
It wasn't that it was hard but you could hear absolutely nothing & you were trying to focus on everything they told you so you could get the most out of your flight time so I felt kind of tense the entire time but wasn't too upset with my first attempt. Up next, Leah.
After the first round, everyone got to go a second time and for an extra $0.06 we got to fly to the top with the instructor for the last 30 seconds of our flight. It was pretty unreal and actually made me want to do it a few more times.
& then Leah went again. She was catching on really well they said. And our instructor, Pepe, was very impressed with how little he really had to help her.
We had such a great time and it was so fun watching the boys watch us fly. They had smiles on their faces the entire time and both have asked if they can go and since you only have to be three, I think we might let them try it out for Kaden's birthday. I'll place bets now, Logan will fly, Kaden will back out it---which is totally okay, he can sit with his dad. Thanks for flying with me Leah!!
Another month of summer brought another trip to the lake. We try to go down at least once a month so that the boys feel like they spent part of their summer at the lake. This time we were headed down with Adam, Becky and Colton--who just happened to recently buy a Seadoo.
We arrived just as the sun was going down and got the cabin opened up & cooling down. Boys went to bed pretty easily and woke up nice and early the next morning. They were all ready to head down to the water as soon as they finished their breakfast. I was too.
As Becky and I got everything situated at the dock, Justin and Adam went to drop the Seadoo in the water. Adam pulled up and it was over, the boys were hooked.
& we spent the rest of the next two days taking turns on the Seadoo. The kids gave a go at knee-boarding. Logan succeeded. Kaden just wanted to fly like Superman---to each their own.
Leah and I took the boys on a little kayaking ride through our cove. Kaden didn't last long but I am sure that is due to the lack of room in his canoe.
The boys fished. And fished. And fished. Seriously, fishing was by far one of the highlights of the weekend, even if Kaden was the only one to catch one.
& then there was the paddle boarding. I had been begging my husband to let me buy one, or a couple and he kept saying that if he got a Seadoo, I could have a paddle board. Ha! Hardly the same. Needless to say, I didn't get a paddle board but our lake neighbors had one and I finally worked up the courage to ask to use it, the worst that could happen is they would say no and I already didn't have one so oh well. But of course they didn't, they allowed me to borrow it and I took little Logie on a ride.
Kaden later joined and then Leah took Colton out on it. Honestly, it was hot, no wind and no water splashing in my face but I could totally get down with it early in the morning or later in the evening.
As Becky and I were cleaning the cabin and packing up to leave the boys found some fireworks and did a few smoke bombs.
Most everyone wasn't really all that excited when we said it was time to go but one little guy was done. Literally, fell asleep on the chair as he waited for everyone to go on one last Seadoo ride.
But that little nap proved to be all he needed because he didn't sleep a wink on the ride home and all I could here as I was trying to close my eyes were his giggles. Pretty perfect sound to try and take a little nap to if you ask me. The only downfall to the weekend, I lost my prescription sunglasses at the bottom of the lake and as great of a swimmer/diver has my BIL is, he wasn't able to retrieve them but I appreciated that he and Justin both gave a valiant effort. Oh well, they can be replaced.
Logan has been counting down the days until his new backpack arrived on the first steps--he could hardly contain his excitement. I mean, picking out your FIRST backpack, it's kind of a big deal.
He first wanted Spiderman. Then Batman. Then back to Spiderman. Oh what is a five year old to do?
Superman. That's what. & when it arrived he waited as patiently as possible for me to open the box and pull it out but as soon as he could see it, he ripped it out, took off the packaging and on his back it went.
How can one look so big but yet so small at the same time. & for the first time since kindergarten round-up, I had tears in my eyes. There was no looking back for my littlest man.
Last year I took Kaden school supply shopping and it was a tad more stressful than I had anticipated. This year, I did it on my own and when I walked through the door with an arm full of Target bags they were right there ready to figure out what was theirs and what wasn't.
Sometime later I had it all separated---names on pencils, crayons and markers. School boxes organized--I am fully aware that they will never look that good again. & two happy kiddos that are more than ready to take on kindergarten and first grade. & Thankfully we have sneak-a-peek the evening before school starts so that the littlest guy doesn't have to try and figure out how to carry all that stuff on day one!
For the past few summers Leah has been able to spend time with us here in KC. Last summer she spent 3 weeks in June and then we had to say goodbye. This summer, she spent three weeks in June, headed home for a few weeks and then came back for another 3 weeks in July.
Although I wasn't able to really take off work a lot to spend one on one time with Leah, we did get some girl time on the weekends--sushi and shopping. Who could ask for more.
While she was in town we did a photoshoot for her.
and she continued to perfect her baking skills. I swear I gained more in the 6 weeks she lived with us than in the entire last year!
& when our sitter was away on vacation, she watched the boys for us.
To say that we love having her spend her summers with us is an understatement. She has the kindest, biggest heart you will ever see--she is always wondering about what more she could be doing for others. She doesn't cause a fuss, she uses her manners and insists the kids do the same and although she doesn't need to, asks Justin and I before she gets anything out of the fridge or pantry.
She spent the majority of her days with the boys and Emily but when she needed her "me" time, she headed downstairs and she shut the door and watched Netflix. She painted. She helped me organize and snap pictures of the boys' art work for a photo book. She let Stoli sleep with her at night---Stoli was in heaven.
Basically, she was a dream. Is a dream. & I am beyond proud of the amazing young woman she is becoming. If I had a girl, I'd be so happy knowing she would have Leah as a role model and someone to look up to. We are going to miss having her around---I mean, who am I going to watch Big Brother with now!?!?
It was a whirlwind of a trip but we weren't about to miss Madison's 4th birthday. Not only was it at a bounce house, which the boys were super stoked about, but it was also a SUPER HERO themed party, which my brother was super stoked about!
& since the party was fairly early in the morning on Saturday we headed down after I got off of work Friday night. We grabbed a pizza on our way to my Mom and Dad's so they wouldn't have to worry about feeding us and then it was outside to play Pokemon Go---except there were ZERO Pokemons to be found near my parents. Logan was bummed, so we had a race. I won. Barely.
We then went inside & I pulled out my phone and turned on the Music.ly app. The boys had us rolling, I haven't seen my mom or dad laugh like that in a while.
The app basically takes a song, plays it as someone dance and you record it and then when it's done, it's you dancing to the music without any noise in the background. You can do it in slow motion or speed it up like this...
It makes for some very fun entertainment.
The following morning it was off to celebrate with our favorite birthday girl. & you better believe that she was not about to let anyone else think it was their birthday. I kept saying it was mine and she kept laughing and reminding me it was her's and that I was too big to be four. Right you are Madison, right you are.
& let me just say, my SIL and brother sure now how to put on a party. Okay, my SIL does, as I am sure my brother had very little to do with the actual partying planning just as my husband does with our boys' parties. Although I did learn that he picked out Madison's skirt which was super cute!!
And can we just talk about this cake for a second? You'd think that if a cake looked like this then it probably wouldn't taste that great but you'd be wrong. It was so yummy, even Logan didn't leave any crumbs behind.
Happy 4th Birthday Miss Madison, we love you to the moon and back. You are going to be the best big sister ever--well, behind me, of course!
Our time in Carthage was winding down but we still had one more stop to make before he headed back to KC-Papa Richard's. & somehow he had an idea that we would be popping in because the candy bags were ready for Leah and the boys when they got there. & of course we had to do a family selfie with Papa Richard---he may just be one of my favorite people on this planet.
We said our goodbyes to him and headed back to my Mom and Dad's for lunch and then said our goodbyes there too. It's never easy saying goodbye but thankfully we live close enough that we don't have to go too long before seeing everyone again.
Well, we couldn't keep Brodi from having surgery. Which, I knew was going to be the case all along because it's just been the way the chips have been falling lately.
We went for a recheck after we got back from Cabo...
I could tell that as we lowered his medication blood was starting to pool in his ear again so I took him in to get the doc's opinion. Doctor Z suggested that we up his medication but that if it continued to get worse to bring him in and we would move to do the surgery. I wasn't very hopeful that we would be able to keep from having the surgery but I also didn't want to go ahead and do the surgery if it wasn't necessary so we upped his meds. & he continued to pee in the house. The meds make him drink, eat and pee more. He was ruining our carpets, not to mention the door frame he destroyed. But I just bought more carpet cleaner and every night cleaned the entire carpet as best as I could.
We gave him a few days for the meds to kick in but they just weren't doing their job so we decided that it was time. Let's get him back on the road to recovery.
We had a few labs done the day prior to his surgery & although Doctor Z called with a few minor concerns about his lab work--liver enzymes were off but could be due to the meds he was on---she felt comfortable moving forward with the surgery. I won't show a picture of the results but basically they took his ear and punch holes in it with a hole punch like tool. Removed tissue and then stitched each hole together to bind it back and not allow the blood to pool. His ear looked like a nasty piece of Swiss cheese.
A few hours after they started they called to tell us he made it through perfectly and that we could come and get him. They sent him home with a ton of pain meds and a cone. They suggested that he be kept in a room or a kennel because if he were to shake his head he might get blood on everything. We decided a kennel would be best so he could be with us and thankfully he had minimal bleeding after the first day.
Hopefully our big Gold Dog will be up and feeling more like himself soon. & fingers crossed we are done with doggie issues for awhile.
Every year around the beginning of July, Justin's family makes the trek from San Francisco to Kansas City for a visit. And every year we try our hardest to ensure we are around so we can see them. This year was no exception but we had something else important to fit in too--a special three year old's birthday.
We kicked the day off with a family pool party at noon with a number of Justin's family and Papa John and Tina were so very nice to invite us all over to their house. I sadly don't have any pictures from our time there because it was short due to the fact we had to leave early to make the birthday party on time BUT I do have something better. The boys' cousin Jack is incredibly talented when it comes to the Rubik's Cube. Like I'm in total awe and so were the boys...
We were able to see family that we hadn't seen in for over a year which is always nice and it was sad to leave (Justin stayed behind with his mom) but two little boys were excited to help Miss Lilly celebrate her big 3rd birthday. This cute group of kiddos always seem to have so much fun playing and it makes my heart swell just thinking about the amazing friendships that will be formed over the years to come.
Not sure who thought it was a good idea to give these kiddos a long wooden ruler but hey, no one got hurt.
& after the party was over we headed back home where we met back up with Justin and the South family decided to continue the party with pizza and more pool time. The boys were of course all for it & instead of saying goodbye to Cousin Colton we ended the busy day with a sleepover. & they all slept in, pretty well.
Some people probably shake their head at some of things that we do as a family, or I do as a mom. Yes, we celebrate not only birthdays but half birthdays. We celebrate our dogs birthdays. So why wouldn't we celebrate America's birthday too.
& yes, we bought donuts, that morning in fact. However, it wasn't necessarily for this picture. We had no power on 4th of July--another story--so the boys needed something for breakfast & Justin quickly ran to the store. They were stoked for donuts, especially with chocolate frosting and sprinkles. & even though they wanted to dive right in and start devouring them, they were patient while I got the candles out and we sang. (I had planned on making cupcakes with the boys like last summer but again, no power, so the donuts came through in more ways than one.)
After breakfast we unpacked from our trip and then headed out to lunch with the family. We chose BRGR because what is more American than a hamburger or hot dogs! Each year Grammy buys the boys Fourth of July shirts from Old Navy & this year they actually got to wear them together. Colton even got a little more festive with the red, white and blue hair.
Since we were still out of power and it wasn't looking like it would be turned on any time soon we headed out to Jake and Jennifer's for some firework fun. Safety is not an accident.
When it comes to fireworks our boys are so different. Logan is a pyro-loving, let-me-shoot-off-everything, bigger-is-better type of kid. He doesn't mind the noises & is completely calm, cool, and collected when it comes to lighting them.
Kaden, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. He doesn't like the noises and really only likes to light smoke bombs and things that light up without much noise. His favorite thing to do was chase parachutes after someone else lit them. & when it came time for the big stuff, he had to be coerced outside but he finally settled in on my lap, a very safe distance away. His hands never leaving his ears. And even though Fourth of July isn't his favorite thing, he still smiled all the way home.
We may have spent that afternoon being big kids ourselves, as we sat off massive amounts of fireworks, but we certainly never forgot as to why we were celebrating. And we tried to explain to the boys what America's birthday really meant. It wasn't just fireworks and donuts, it was so much more. We are the land of the free. Land of dreams--a melting pot of dreams. One nation. Under God.
& it's because of this ONE nation--albeit still in desperate need to evolve as one--that we have the liberty and freedom to live our life as we see fit. To make choices and decisions based on what we believe is best for our family. To send our boys to school. To let them follow their dreams no matter what they may be--you want to be a superhero, go be the best damn superhero out there. It's because of these Superheroes---American soldiers, Firemen, Policemen---that we celebrate. So if my boys want to grow up and be real life superheroes, I say reach for the stars, I'll be right there with you.
Home of the FREE because of the BRAVE. Happy 240th Birthday America.
We had known for awhile that we were headed back to Cabo for vacation this year, we just didn't know when because getting schedules to match up with family isn't always the easiest thing to do. We finally found a week that we thought was going to work and we were ready to book the flights when Justin's brother and his family sadly had to back out. We decided that we still wanted to go & Janet was still on board that since we had the extra room we would reach out to my parents and invited them to go. I was 100% certain that they wouldn't go for two reasons. One, they had just gone to Jamaica in April and 2. my dad was over flying and customs.
Surprisingly, when Justin and I brought it up to them he didn't immediately say no. In fact, he pulled it up on the computer & started asking lots of questions. The next morning he had my mom reach out to their dog sitter and see if he was available. He was. They were in. I was shocked. The boys stoked.
With as much excitement as we had surrounding the beach and our trip, there was one major drawback, a 5:45 am flight. With two little boys. But we made the most of it.
The good news, Logan slept on both legs of the plane ride and Kaden slept on the first leg. I love that he is still able to curl up and fall asleep on me, at his head can.
And since we got up so early, we were in Cabo before noon and to the pool by four. We had made it to paradise.
It had been one long day of travel and fun, we were all wiped.
Both Justin and I and my mom and dad got hit up on night one to take the "vacation package" presentation. They were giving up a pretty good credit to the resort so we decided that for an hour and a half it would be worth it. We woke up the next morning and as we headed to the sales pitch, Janet took the boys to the pool. The sales pitch did two things, paid for many of meals and happy hours & it allowed Justin and I to learn a little more about what Janet had purchased the year before. Honestly, Justin was ready to pull the trigger and now knows why I didn't keep his mom from doing it! We held strong though and put in our hour and half and then headed to meet the boys, who were pedal to the medal from the get go.
So not surprising the boys were tired by mid afternoon but so was my dad. He had enough sun and water for the day and decided that he and mom would take the boys up to the room for a little while. The rest of us relaxed...and one of us continued to drink.
& before we knew it, the boys were back down and ready to go in style.
Day two looked a lot like day 1. And really every day pretty much was the same. I'd get up with the boys and we would head down to the pool around 8ish to pick out a spot and get some chairs while the others finished up breakfast and then shortly after they would join us at the pool. We chilled in that spot for the rest of the day.
& out of the blue Kaden exclaims, "I could do this all day!" Me too, buddy. Me too.
We were all pretty wiped and weren't really feeling going out for dinner but we got cleaned up and headed out for a nice, simple dinner at the Bristro. & we were all glad we did, such yummy food. Logan said his chicken fingers were the best ever.
Day four---more of the same. Seriously, we did this every. single. day. The only thing new that we did on this day was head down to the beach and check out the sand. I may or may not have gotten whistled at because I put our toes in the water...oops.
& then Janet stole my hat because her little visor just wasn't cutting it, her poor little top of her head was starting to burn. I hope my boys love me as much as her boys love her.
Day five we decided to mix things up and headed over to the sister resort where we could get into the water and see Lover's Beach and grab a bite to eat along the water. But since our ride wasn't leaving until 10, the boys got to enjoy a little Jacuzzi time.
Kaden loved that there was a little mariachi band that played for us. He couldn't stop smiling.
& he and Logan both wanted to get a couple little souvenirs from a boy that was on the beach. Of course I said yes to the little boy, mainly because I use to have a little armadillo like his dragon and Nemo but also because the little boy was so incredible sweet.
My FAVORITE picture of the entire trip. Sums up my entire world.
Day Six---it was starting to sit in that our days in paradise were number. But you guessed it, we managed to do more of the same. The boys and I were down at the pool by 8 & on this morning they got to watch a drone fly over us.
The sun & long days were starting to take their toll on the kids but they figured out how to get by...
& with all the time that we had been spending at the pool each day Logan really improved leaps and bounds with his swimming and on the last few days he didn't even wear his bubble. He was so proud. Please forgive the deep gasps, it took us checking on him a couple of times in fear before we realized it was just his way of swimming.
This happened to be the day where Justin and I decided to call it quits early too and headed back up to the room to let the boys rest a little more. Janet decided that she would stay by the pool so once the boys were up I took them on a little walk around the resort and even checked on Grammy at the pool.
And this was when I told them that we only had one more day in paradise. Needless to say, Kaden was not at all happy to hear that.
So we made the most out of the last day.
And if you had to guess, what would be the one thing that you think the boys would want to do before leaving? Night swim? Nope. Build a castle, again? Nope. Ping Pong? DING! DING! DING.
Play ping pong. They were dying to play so Justin and I gave them an introductory course, right then and there. Kaden caught on pretty easily but poor Logan was a little too small and it took some time for him to figure out to back away from the table.
Justin is on the hunt for a table now but I have no idea where one will go...
Every morning on our way to the pool we would stop by and say good morning to the birdies and on our last day as we headed to the lobby Logan had to stop one last time. He took a few extra minutes taking it all in and then instead of saying goodbye, he went with, see ya later. And he's right, we'll be back before you know it.
Our flights back home were easy. The layover though, was long. Thankfully it was July 3rd and the airports were so quiet--the boys had plenty of room to stretch out and relax. We made it home to KC just after 11 pm and pulled into our neighborhood only to realize it was pitch black. We were out of electricity. Unpacking and getting the boys into bed in complete darkness was challenging, especially since our phones were running low on juice. But man did it feel good to be home and in our own beds.
There are no words for how much this vacation meant to me and Justin. It was just so special to watch as our kids created such wonderful memories with their grandparents. I mean this is what it is all about, creating memories with the ones you love and do we love these people. Thank you Janet for jumping in with both feet last August and sharing it with us. Thank you mom and dad for not passing up on the opportunity to spend a week with the boys in paradise. Truly was one of the best weeks of our lives.