Saturday, November 26, 2016

Lake Michigan

We've been to Milwaukee now 4 or 5 times---I believe it's four, Justin thinks its five. Either way, it doesn't change the fact that we have never actually checked out the "beach"---even having literally been lake front and being able to see it from their first home. We just didn't make time.

The home that they live in now is a measly block from being lake front property but since we you don't really see it, again, we never really thought about it--plus it's usually pretty cold out which means it would be even colder by the water.

So when the sun peaked out on Saturday, we decided to do the same. We bundled the kids up with layers upon layers and turned them loose---after grabbing a few shots of them all together.

The boys were in heaven. Not only had we been limited to indoor activities that last few days but they love to explore and use their imagination---especially Logan.

We walked alongside the shore and the boys noticed that these rocks were much smoother than shells and we talked about how the water from the lake continues to soften the rough edges making them super smooth and the BEST rocks to skip. So of course we had to have a lesson in skipping rocks...

Meanwhile, Logan started collecting driftwood and arranging them in the soft sand. He had a system and when the other kiddos saw what he was doing they wanted to join as well. He's a nice kid so he of course welcomed their help but he became the foreman of the project and explained what he was doing and where everything should go.

This is a dinosaur and her eggs (lots of lake rocks) are in the middle below "her belly" as she is protecting them. I sat on this larger piece of driftwood for a good while just watching him at work.

They could have played at Kaledo Beach all day, every day. It was literally the perfect mid-morning activity for us & we got to check off seeing one of the Great Lakes off our bucket list.

They're our heart and soul.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Go Bucks Go!

I have mentioned how great of hosts the Garretts are?! They are the best. Seriously, no kidding. The best. & I tend to ruin everything.

When I learned that we would be spending our Thanksgiving in the north, i.e. Wisconsin, I asked if the Bucks would be playing in town. Mentioned that it might be fun to take the kids to their first NBA game---well, they had already had that idea and were hoping to kind of surprise us, so there's that. 

On Friday evening we all loaded up and headed downtown for the game. We made sure to arrive SUPER early so we could find out seats and check things out. Justin (Garrett) suggested leaving around 6 for a 7 o'clock game, Tugce and I were a little worried due to parking and suggested 5:30. We won. We were WAY too early. Like the kids had snacks before the game even started, early!

But before the snacks came we met a few of the Buck dancers. Kaden was a little gun shy & stayed back by his dad. 

Some members of the prep team gave the kiddos a chance to spin the ball on their finger! 

And then another member met up with them to pose for pictures and to let them dribble the ball around a little bit. 

We then made it to our seats & as we sat down the BIG BUCK started making it's way around the room. The boys were so hoping that it would come and give them a fist bump but sadly he couldn't come down that low but did drop a few coupons for the kids. 

& then it was treat time. Kaden and Tugce came back with ice cream--seriously it was freezing and he was eating ice cream which made Logan want some too. And of course he had to go with BLUE--thankfully he didn't get any on him. 

As warm-ups started to wind down we headed down a few rows for a family picture & as we were snapping the National Anthem started to play and Kaden made sure we were paying attention, with our hands over our heart and we all listened as he belted the Star Spangled Banner out. This happens to be my very favorite part of any sporting event!!

We got to see a great game, the Bucks came up short at the end but the boys were amazed by some of the dunks & shots we got to see. Kaden, well, he had a perma-grin on his face the entire time. Justin and I love that he LOVES sports so much and is at such a fun age to take to games. 

Attending an NBA game--check. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Road Trip

This year, we decided to pack up and head north to see some of our favorite people, the Garretts! The last few Thanksgivings they have come to KC to see us (and their family here) and Thanksgiving just wouldn't be the same without them so we decided to take a little road trip.

Thankfully, we have some pretty awesome family that understands how near and dear these four people are to us & are pretty understanding when we say we are going to miss our on their Thanksgiving. Except my dad---well, he gets it, he just likes to give me a hard time.

So we pulled the kids out of school a few hours early and we hit the road. 8 hours, 59 minutes. We got this.

For most of our drive it was dark but the boys hung in, they did great actually. Each hour, on the hour---if they were good---they got to reach into a grab bag I made of small toys and pull one out. Some of the items were Pokemon cards or small Legos. This did two things, kept them from getting bored & more importantly, kept them from asking me how much longer till we get there. Kaden is a pro at reading a clock and calculating how much time left.

We pulled into their driveway about 11:00, just after GG gave up and went to bed. We tried to quickly put the kiddos to bed but everyone was pretty excited to see one another so it took a little time to wind down.

The kiddos were up by 6 playing and laughing, and bickering was done between the two oldest---seriously they acted liked an old married couple! We started our Wednesday off with a trip to AJ Bombers, which is known for their burgers. And all of Milwaukee is known for their Bloody Mary.

We took the kids rollerskating--Kaden and Logan's first time on skates and let me tell you, I was worn out! 

We crafted the morning of Thanksgiving before heading out to their local community center to burn off some energy while the Justins took care of Thanksgiving dinner. 

After dinner Tugce and I took the kids to watch Moana, cute movie but the music could have been better. & then we got to see the Whitefish Bay Christmas tree in all it's "early" glory---it wasn't put all the way together just yet. 

We took in the Bucks game and played on the beach front at Lake Michigan. Our trip to see our dear friends was one for the books but our favorite part of the trip, was just lounging around and catching up with them. Watching the kids bicker back and forth during the day like an old married couple and the insisting they sleep next to each other at night. Our time is never long enough with the Garretts and sadly, Sunday morning came WAY too quickly. 

7:15 am and we were back on the road. 8 hours later we were hitting the outskirts of Kansas City. Now, let me just say, my husband is a bad ass, he drove 15 of the 16 hours of this trip, I could not have done what he did and he made it look so easy. My job was to entertain and take care of the kiddos, who were also rock stars & were such awesome road trippers. I thought the last time we went to Milwaukee the kids were great on the drive, this time they surpassed that! 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Friday Family Fun

Our Friday nights have started to look a little bit different lately and I couldn't be happier with how they've been going.

It's gotten colder---finally and we aren't running around crazy right now, even with the holidays quickly approaching. We finally feel like we have a little more free time so we have implement Friday Family Fun.

One particular Friday night we went bowling. Kaden got to take his own ball & some how we ended up getting the VIP room at no extra cost & got to Rock & Bowl which the kids ate up.

Most of our Friday nights have been spent on the couch as a family, watching movies. Recently we have watched Pete's Dragon---so good, Ghostbusters---the chick version, Star Wars--one of the newer ones but not sure of the name, The Junble Book...

We just curl up on the couch together and spend some down time together---the best time. It's now something that we start looking forward to--the calm before the weekend hustle and bustle. Even our dear four legged friends get special treatment and join us.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

A little early this year...

Christmas decorations came out a little earlier this year. I am ALWAYS the person that wants to celebrate Thanksgiving before bringing out the decorations and putting the tree up. Ever since I was little we would spend the day/weekend after Thanksgiving getting the house ready for Christmas. It's been tradition...

Well, I broke tradition this year. But for a very good reason---we would be gone over Thanksgiving visiting our dear friends, the Garretts, & I wanted to come home to a decorated house that was ready for the holidays.

So over a multiple weekends we got to work--first with our traditional tree. This tree gets decorated with our yearly ornaments. It has each of our First Christmas ornaments, family ornaments over the years, ornaments that the boys received as gifts & then the ones they pick out each year. This year it was all about Star Wars. They boys love to help when it comes to their ornaments.

Next up was bringing out the big guy. & man is it big--next year, I may not use the bottom of the tree and just start with the middle section and maybe not make it as tall---kind of just thought of that! It took us all to put this one together. I climbed on a ladder as Justin stood on the stairs to help me hoist the top section up. Then the boys took turns catching the lights as I tossed them their way.

Since this tree is so BIG, we have decided to start simple and add a few decorations each year--this year we added some pastel glass ornaments to our gold decor from last year. But sadly, I didn't take a picture of it when it was "complete".

Once the trees were up I moved onto the rest of the house, trying to bring a little Christmas into each room. Logan and I did a little shopping and added a few things here and there this year, not at all like our Halloween decorations though but hands down my favorite addition to our holiday decor were these...

Grammy Janet has had these images in her home for as long as I have been around and I am sure they predate me by many years. We finally asked her to make us a couple copies as we wanted to display them too. You see, that's Justin's mom on the right sitting on Santa's lap and that little boy on the left, well, that's his dad. Same year, same location. It's nice to have another reminder of Justin's dad in our home--he's someone we want the kiddos to feel like they know, even though they never got the change to meet him. He was a good man.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

2016 Presidential Election

It would be historic moment in America's history & I wanted to bring the boys along for the ride. They're only 5 & 7 so of course we didn't go into a lot about the candidates and honestly, we sheltered them from as much of the election coverage as we could---they didn't need to see how nasty it was getting between the two candidates, their innocence needs to stay intact for a little while longer. Nevertheless, they went with me that morning to the polls & helped me cast my vote.  

It's no surprise who I voted for, I wasn't shy about it. I also feel that I wasn't---shove it down your throat and you better agree with me--about it either. Maybe to my mom, we had lots of great talks but in the end, I can have those with her, she still loves me and I love her probably more because she accepts my differing views and doesn't try to change them.

I voted for Hillary. #imwithher

Not because she is a woman---which was an added benefit. I voted for her because I wanted to see inclusion in our country not separation. I wanted to see more love not hate. I wanted to see equality win. I wanted someone leading our country that believes we are better together and that we are better because of each other and our differences.

I want our boys growing up in a country where we respect one another. That we accept one another no matter our race, religion, sexual orientation or gender.  A country where we pick one another up and lend a helping hand when someone is down. A country that is kind. That doesn't mean that we always have to agree on the same issue but it does mean that we need to be open-minded. To listen to each other because when we are open-minded and listen to one another, we knock down walls. We start moving towards a greater America.

I wanted her to win because she was the change that I felt our country needed.


I stayed up and watched as all the polls closed and as states declared their winner. Mr. Trumps numbers continued to grow but Florida and a few other battleground states were still on the table, she only needed one, maybe two depending on how you sliced it. She didn't get it and before I finally went to bed, like really turned off the tv and went to bed, Trump gave his acceptance speech. It wasn't the Trump that we have seen every day (outside of the last two weeks) of his campaign. He was soft spoken, a little more articulate and tried unifying the country but it will take more than just one soft spoken speech for me to believe that he will truly try and bring the country together after the campaign he led.

Hillary didn't speak last night. She conceeded over the phone to the President-elect Trump but we as a country didn't hear from her until this morning.

She came out to address her supporters in nothing other than a pantsuit--purple at that. Afterall, together, red and blue make purple. She gave a speech like no other. It was presidential, poised, and full of so much class. And as much disbelief as she might have still been in, she called for our country to join behind Mr. Trump. That he won the election and deserves to be given a fair chance at running our great nation.

So today, the sun came up. God is still good. & as an American, it is my duty to support our President-elect & work towards bringing this country together. To spread love & celebrate differences.

This election will go down in the history books. Mr. Trump accomplished something short of a miracle that no one---media, polls, either party, vast majority of Americans---saw coming. It was the upset of all upsets but I'm still happy I was with her.

& I'll end with just a few of my favorite HRC quotes from her remarkable concession speech:

Our campaign was never about one person or even one election. It was about the country we love—and about building an America that’s hopeful, inclusive, and big-hearted. -HRC

...please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It’s always worth it. -HRC

And to all the little girls watching right now, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world. -HRC

Sunday, November 6, 2016

5 and a HALF!

By now you know the drill, we celebrate half birthdays at the South house and today was Logan's half birthday---his sixth half birthday which would make him 5 and a half! We don't go crazy on half birthdays but we do like to celebrate with some sort of dessert---rice crispy treat cake, pizza, brownies.

This year, we did donuts but not just our favorite John Space Age Donuts, no, we decided to do something different. I had heard about Donutology which is new to the city and down in West Port so we got in the car and headed down. We had heard that you could create your own donut masterpieces here and the boys were so excited to see pictures of donuts with Fruit Loops on them.

We called a friend who lived nearby and they joined us for a little sugary adventure. The boys immediately grabbed their menu and a pen and they got to work. First up, what type of donut. Followed by icing type, toppings, and dizzle---so many options at each stage.

And if you didn't want to create your own concoction they had you covered, there was a huge assortment of regular donuts too.

The boys enjoyed their donuts so well that they asked to go back through and make a few donuts for dad too. Each boy got to dream up their best idea for their dad, as did I---I think he'll agree that the donuts I created actually worked well. Then again, they didn't have strawberry icing and Fruit Loops and Coco Puffs on them.

Happy Half Birthday Logie. You are certainly not my sweets man but you gobbled these up--always keeping us on our toes.