Friday, September 30, 2016

Ryder Cup-Hazeltine

I'm not a big golf fan, I tend to be the one sleeping through most of the coverage and waking up at the end. Now don't get me wrong, I know about golf and I can certainly name more golfers than most girls can, maybe guys too. Let's see, there's Mickelson, Woods, Garcia, McIlroy, Johnston--both Dustin and Zach, Bubba, Spieth...

I rest my case.

Anyways, an opportunity came up through work which would take me to the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine. My husband was jealous and would have done anything to tag along with me but this wasn't one of those times so he stayed home with the kiddos.

We flew up to Minneapolis for meetings to be followed by dinner on Thursday afternoon & then departed for Hazeltine bright and early. That's only half true, it was early all right but not so much bright & it was freezing. Thankfully, my good friend Sarah, had helped me pick out some clothes to wear because I had no idea what was Ryder Cup appropriate...

Turns out, I could have worn long as it was RED, WHITE or BLUE. The outfits were amazing--Captain America was there, at least 50 of them, Uncle Sam, faces were painted--it was a great people watching event.

The one thing that stood out to me though, the security. It was so well done. As soon as we got off our corporate bus we went through metal detectors and once we got to the gates, all they had to do was scan our badges. Lines were so quick but safe.

We had a few minutes to spare before the opening tee-time so we hit the merchandise tent. HOLY COW. It was like 2 football fields worth of Ryder Cup merchandise and of course I had to pick up a few things. A shirt for Justin--the Sunday shirt that Team USA wore, a hat for the boys--the Friday hats team USA wore and then a sweatshirt for me. & then we made it to the first hole. We decided to stop half way down the fairway since there was a hill and their second shots would be right in front of us. It was a good call.

We watched each of the four morning groups tee off & then headed to the chalet which was overlooking the 7th hole--the signature hole for the Ryder Cup. What you don't see on TV, the muddy mess that we were all walking through and around, the bathrooms, and TV camera crews following each player. It was crazy.

As we made our way to 7, we came across the 5th tee and there were spots right there to watch a couple of them tee off-but pictures couldn't be taken of them teeing off so this is as good as I got.

& then it was off to the chalet. We got some food and watched a few rounds from there and then headed off to what we thought was going to be the 13th but it was packed. So was the 14th and the 15th--we kept going. Now remember, there are only 4 groups on this particular morning & all 60k of us were fighting over a few holes.We finally got to the 16th and decided to park it about 100 yards out as there was a hill I could stand on and we could see the green pretty easily too. I got some of my favorite shots here...

and then the players started to arrive. Dustin Johnson and his partner had already wrapped up their day on 14 with a win so we were down to just seeing three groups play---2 of which won their matches at 16!

After the 16th hole we headed back to the chalet for lunch and networking with colleagues. As the afternoon group began to tee off we were on our way back to the bus to catch our flight home. On the way, I snapped this of the 8th.  

This might have been a once in a lifetime opportunity as it won't be here in the US for another 4 years--Koehler, Wisconsin actually--and I was pretty lucky to have gotten the invite. Sometimes traveling for work really does pay off but that doesn't change how great seeing KC was that afternoon.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Their Voice

One of the things that I know I am going to miss the most about the boys growing up are their voices. Their sweet, innocent voices. Okay, Okay, mostly sweet, mostly innocent.

They way they say "I love you, Mom." Or their sweet, sweet chuckles that make my cheeks hurt from grinning so hard. This is what I wish I could bottle up and save forever. 

Yes, I have videos of them. I'll always have those videos but it just won't be the same---that sparkle is hardly there when the camera is rolling. I want authentic. 

& I'll find a way to get that and until then, I'll have these. 

Their voice prints. Each as unique as they are. & amazingly insightful on their personalities.

Kaden Oliver South -- our strong willed, intense in the most beautiful way, child. 

& Logan Beckett South -- our sweet and quiet lil man. 

I should back up though for a second and tell you how I came across this idea and the artist that did these. We've all seen something like this before---some are voice prints of couples saying "I do", others are voice prints of kids saying I love you or a spouse. You can say whatever it is that you want, the idea isn't new but I hadn't seen any that I was deeply in love with. That is until we had dinner at the home of a friend of Kaden's from school & they had a couple of these on their walls. I made a comment to how much I loved them but it wasn't until I got home that I knew what I wanted to replace the kids art wall with---these. 

I reached out and asked for the artist's information & immediately reached out to Absent Art. He was such a pleasure to work with and we will treasure these forever. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Spirit Week

There are so many things that I love about our boys' school. First and foremost, the teachers and faculty have just been amazing. Their communication has been top notch and they really make families feel as though you are part of the community from the start. Less than a month into the new school year and Spirit Week is happening and so is our first and ONLY fundraiser of the year. I despise fundraising. I hate asking for neighbors and family for money and thankfully, our school gets that. At the end of Spirit Week the kiddos do a walk-a-thon and the goal is for each kiddo to raise $50. You can raise it or just write a check, we just write checks and I am completely a-okay with that!

But before we get to the walk-a-thon the kids get to have a few other fun days.

Mustache Monday--compliments of Justin since I was traveling.

Tacky Tuesday did not get captured but I was told they looked pretty tacky! 

Wacky Hair Wednesday--we had big plans for Wacky Hair Wednesday, even waiting to get the boys' hair cut until after but then it started to rain and I was worried the hair color would run & get all over their clothes so we went for plan b. 

 Throw on a Hat Thursday -- yup, another one I forgot to capture.

& finally, on Friday they had their walk-a-thon. First up was Logan and although it had rained most of the week they decided to try and have it outside. & his class would be the only ones that got to do it outside as it started to sprinkle a little and there were massive puddles all around the track. The kiddos didn't avoid them either, full speed ahead and SPLASH.

Kaden's class took to the halls about half an hour after Logan's but sadly, they weren't allowed to run as the littles did. They were stuck inside and had to keep it at a brisk walk, I mean, after all it was a walk-a-thon and they didn't seem to mind, they knew what awaited them after it was over.

And what better way to cap off such a great week at school than sleeping with mom in her bed while dad was at his bar-b-que tournament. They were out almost as soon as their tiny little heads hit their pillows. Me on the other hand, had one pretty crappy night of sleep but I still wouldn't have changed it. I was right where I wanted to be.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Full Swing Ahead

We are back at it, full swing ahead with fall ball. This time around we joined a different league, since both boys were in school and attending the same school, we decided to sign up with Olathe Parks and Rec so that they had a better chance of being on a team with someone they knew from their school.

Logan would be playing coach pitch this time around and Kaden would be stepping up to the next level as well, machine pitch. Although games weren't schedule to start until the end of August, they both had a couple of practices & during one of the weekends which we were gone, Kaden's team had a chance to hit off of the machine so they could get a feel for it. Sadly, we couldn't make it to that practice--we were enjoying our last weekend at the lake with cousins.

But we still wanted Kaden to see what it would be like, so Justin bought a helmet and we took him (and his little brother) to the batting cages. Justin and I both were a little worried when we saw how fast 35 mph was but neither kid seemed to care, they both got in there and gave it their all. & hit it more times than not and both Justin and I were pleasantly surprised. Then again, they are my kiddos.

Now it was game time. I wasn't all that nervous for Logan because he's a go-with-the-flow kind of guy and he would have 5 or so attempts to hit from the coach and then would get to hit off the tee if needed. He would get to run to first and continue on around the bases whether he was out or not. They all batted. Each inning.

My worries were with Kaden. They got 5 pitches. That's it. If the fifth was a foul, sorry Charlie, you're out. Three outs and you switch. 7 runs and you switch. We are talking a real game you all and Kaden doesn't do so well with failure. It's something that we try to work on, I never let him win when he plays against me in anything so you'd think he would take it a little easier, but he doesn't.

What if he doesn't hit? Then what? As much as I wanted him to get a hit each time he was at bat, a very small part of me wanted him to miss. All. Five. Pitches. I figured it could be a good learning experience.

Screw the learning experience. Hit the damn ball.

And he did. He went 2-2 that day. His streak continued and he's got a hit every time he has been up to bat but 2 of them were hit right to the first baseman and he stepped on first for the out. Which Kaden didn't like too much but hey, he should have pulled the pitch. Kidding. Wait, no, I'm not. 

The other nice thing about this league, the coaches. I can't say enough great things about the coaches for these teams. Kaden's coach has everything organized so well & each kiddo has a chance to play a few different positions--both boys even got to catch. Pretty sure there isn't anything cuter than seeing a munchkin in catching gear. 

I think I could get use to being a baseball mom.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Sunflower State

I was born and raised in Missouri, the Show Me State but shortly after high school I crossed the state line to Kansas, the Sunflower State and I've been a resident now for more than 16 years.

I won't lie, I not as up to speed on Kansas history as I am on the Show Me State's history--it's what I learned in school. Hell, the boys could school me when it comes to the State of Kansas. They know that the Western Meadowlark is the state bird and that Honeybee is the state insect. That the Cottonwood is the state tree. I know that the Dogwood is Missouri's state tree and that the Bluebird is the state bird.

But back to Kansas. One of the best things about Kansas is the state flower, the Sunflower. The rolling hills of sunflowers this gorgeous state has to offer. And thanks to a local farm, who plants acres after acres of sunflowers, we get to experience first hand. And for about 2 weeks--depending on weather--they are one of the most magnificent sites you'll see. This little farm use to be a quiet little secret but thanks to social media it blew up this year. I had been watching, along with everyone else, for Farmer Ted's wife to give the thumbs up, letting us know the sunflowers had bloomed. Once word was given, I planned our adventure. Justin's Mom and Craig joined us too, neither having seen them either. We would head out on Sunday morning while church was in session and hope that we miss the rush. It was busy but thankfully we found parking right off the bat and we made our way to the fields.

I figured the boys would be too scared to truck through the field since honeybees were all over but they surprised me. They finally figured out that the honeybees wanted nothing to do with them and everything to do with the sunflowers. 

And although the crowd seemed to be fairly light, there were still people everywhere and it was super hard to get images without someone photobombing. We stayed for about 20 minutes and then loaded back up into the car. We decided that since we were already in Lawrence, why not eat there too. So we headed back to Mass Street, had lunch and then finished it up with the best milkshakes EVER at the Burger Stand. Frozen Oreo crushed up for the win.

Fun little Sunday exploring our great state and got to check something else off the bucket list. A big thank you to Grinter Farms for opening their farmland up to so many people. It sure brought joy to our family. 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Thank Heaven

For Turning SEVEN at The K!

About a month ago I was given 4 tickets to an upcoming baseball game at The K. Just days after Kaden turned 7 so of course we would be celebrating his birthday while we were there. After-all, I had to miss his actual birthday since I had a meeting out of town and this would be a nice way to extend his celebrations.

It was also Salvy Bobble-head night which meant we had to get there nice and early. Thankfully we were sitting in Diamond Club so we had awesome parking and we were able to walk through the premium entrance which had enough bobbleheads to go around.

The K was also hosting Noah's Bandage Project so the boys made sure to drop off their colorful bandages in the bins as we entered the stadium.

We quickly found our seats, took in a little batting practice and snapped a few pictures.

We had at least an hour and a half to kill so we headed to the Little K for some fun. It was packed but they made it through the line for the base run & for mini-golf.

As we were waiting in line for the mini-golf, Justin jumped in line for pictures with bacon covered Sluggar bust, yup, it was also Bacon Day at the K. And not only did we get this sweet little GIF mailed to us but we got to guess how many strips of bacon it took to make Sluggar! I guessed 1314, Kaden came in with 1001 and Justin guessed around 400. Not sure what the number actually was but one of us was way off!

We made it back to our seats just in time for the National Anthem--one of our favorite parts of the game. The boys stood, took their hats off, placed their hands over their heart and sang the parts the knew--which was most of the song. 

I had told them before we got to the game that at the third inning they could have a snack and to be thinking about what they wanted. They both ended up wanting cotton candy and while Kaden was a little more neat with his, Logan couldn't eat it fast enough and didn't care how sticky he got, or I got! 

We may have left about the 8th inning and the boys in blue may not have played the best but we sure had a wonderful time celebrating our newly turned 7 year old.