Thursday, December 29, 2016

New and Old

Christmas traditions. This year we kept a few going & even started a new one, although we quickly learned a valuable lesson. 

For the past 5 years, since 2012 we have gone to the "North Pole" to have the kids' pictures with Santa done. In previous years the Berberich girls would join us and we would make it a family night out but sadly this year calendars were just not matching up. Babies were being born, practices were being had and parties were be held--we won't let those get in the way next year though. 

Both boys were eager to tell Santa what they wanted.

Kaden wanted a new bike, binoculars and a Yokai watch. 
Logan wanted binoculars, Yokai watch and a Pikachu.

Now Kaden's list stayed consistent and he never wavered but Logan, that Pikachu was a December 17th add, as in I am sitting on Santa's lap add. He wanted a soft Pikachu. Santa had quite the time find this guy...

Prior to seeing Santa we rang the bell for the Salvation Army at Bass Pro. This was our first year signing up to ring the bell and I had signed up about 3 weeks prior but little did I know that the day we were scheduled to ring, it would be the 5th coldest day in the history of Kansas City. Brrrr is an understatement. The boys were troopers, for the most part. Thankfully Bass Pro had a double set of doors and they stood in between and opened the second set for customers. Justin got the hero badge, he was out there for all but 20 minutes.

We then celebrated with dinner at Texas Roadhouse. We were thinking Panera but then after standing outside for so long Justin wanted a steak and a warm baked potato. He earned it.

The boys did gingerbread houses with Emily and Nathan.

We visited the Magic Tree again. 

We started our baking extravaganza off with Grandma's mini Smores. They're super easy to make too---broken graham crackers (this year I used the dippers and had Kaden break them in half), mini marshmallows and Hershey bars. I got a bag of individually wrapped bars so that they would melt more consistently and Logan would have a job of his own--unwrapping.

My favorite tradition of the Christmas holiday is by far the pictures of the boys in front of the Christmas tree each year. I love looking back and seeing just how little they were and how much they have grown. In that moment, all is right in the world & it is a great reminder that everything Justin and I need, is right there.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

To Grandma's house we go...

Our time is never long enough at Papa Tom's and Grandma Sara's, especially celebrating Christmas so I took a few days off after Christmas and the boys and I headed home to spend a little time in the country.

The weather was looking pretty decent and since the boys' had just gotten their bikes for Christmas, I told them I would try and pack them too. They were super excited to be able to ride them a little at Papa Tom and Grandma Sara's, I was just keeping my fingers crossed I could get everything I needed in the Yukon.

We may have been packed to the brim---I had a cooler riding shotgun but we were on our way. Grandma had lunch ready when we arrived and we quickly ate, loaded up and picked up Madison for a trip to the movies. Sing was on the agenda. We arrived a little early but thankfully we did because we were first in line to enter the theater when they allowed our showing in. Grandma Sara watched the kids as I stood in line for snacks and as I was headed over to get in line I saw something that Logan just had to see too. 

I called him over and pointed and he said, "Wolverine!" and I just shook my head. I told him to read the letters and then LIGHT BULB---LOGAN! So we had to get a picture. 

Sing was a little disappointing. The kids thought it was good, I almost fell asleep & almost all good parts were shown in the previews. Such a great cast but total let down--then again, I'm not expert. We are looking forward to Lego Movie--Batman on February 10th though, oh and A Dog's Purpose. 

One of the items on my to do list---rest. I got it too. I went to bed at 9 pm on Monday night and didn't get up out of bed until 8 or 8:30 on Tuesday morning. I woke up to the boys helping Papa Tom carry in wood. 

After they were finished, mom, Logan and I headed to the Farm Store to pick out a bird feeder. Aunt Jennifer had gotten the boys some binoculars for Christmas, along with a salt lick for deer and some books on birds and deer. Logan thought a bird feeder would help bring birds closer to us and how could I say no---the boys love nature! 

We arrived back at the house and in a matter of minutes, I knew how I would be spending the rest of my day. I mean seriously, this kid is not only the cutest little nugget but the snuggliest and undisturbed baby I have ever met. He just loves his sleep and lucky, for me, I was looking to catch up on mine too---we may or may not have napped together while the big kids were at the bounce house. 

Our final day was spent outside. The boys didn't want to be inside and I don't blame them. Madison came over the they all rode their bikes. They got to check out Larry's "tree houses". Played ball with Jade & trucked all over the yard in too big of boots. 

This little two day get away was just what we needed. Thanks mom and dad for everything. Really. You do so much for us kiddos. 

Monday, December 26, 2016


Remember those adorable plates the kids made a few weeks back...

Well, I had an extra plate left over. And, I couldn't necessarily give the two that we made to my mom or my MIL. I mean, who would get which one. One would get Kaden's and then one would get Logan's---how would I decide. Would they think that one of the boys liked them more than the other or that the other preferred the other grandma. Seriously, these thoughts are constantly in my head. So instead of trying to wrestle with this idea, I just picked up another plate to go with the one I already had on hand.

The boys were a little annoyed they had to get their feet all messy again, mainly because they are SOOOO ticklish, but I reminded them that they had a treat waiting for them.

I decided to go with the MistleTOES theme---this way they each would use one of their feet & it didn't matter that they were different sizes. It also ensured that I had plenty of room to add a few decorations. & let me tell you, there is such a thing as OVER in point.

Got a little carried away with the wording, should have just kept it simple as this is one attempt over another attempt, over another attempt---Sorry Mom. I did learn from my mistake though...

A few tips---make sure to lather on the paint nice and thick. If you can, have someone help you hold the plate a little closer to the floor so that you can also hold their foot and place it where you need it to be. Make sure to push down on each of the toes but if you are having trouble, don't risk moving the foot--come back and add the toes with your fingers. Kaden's pinky didn't come out, I just used my pinky finger.

& for the holly, I had the boys use their thumbs. The design I followed from Pinterest just had them drawn on but I figured it would be cuter if it was as personalized as possible. Kaden did two on one plate and Logan did two on the second plate.

Let dry & then bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Once the 30 minutes is up, just turn off the oven and let it cool down in the oven--this helps prevent the plates from breaking.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

A South Christmas

Each year after we are done celebrating Christmas morning with the boys, Justin's family comes over for brunch and the South Christmas. This year we had an added guest, Uncle Bob. Uncle Bob moved up here last March and it has been such a blessing to have him back in our lives and for him to get to know the boys too.

Justin made another fabulous brunch and then the boys had to take the obligatory picture with Grammy.

& then one with Uncle Bob too.

& then the camera pretty much went away except for capturing their annual ornaments from Grammy.

The boys got some video spy phones that are kind of like Facetime, Logan got his very own bowling ball--a 6 pounder and Adam and Becky gave them their Yokai watches and a basketball goal to hang on one of the doors in the basement. 

I wish I had more pictures--Janet got a really cool map that Adam created (like the travel map we have hung in the house) so she can pin all the places she has traveled to or will be traveling to. Justin bought her some new kitchen utensils & I found the perfect wine glass for her, well wine glass bottle! 

Colton got a really cool cube game that you can design your own game on a tablet and then upload it to your phone. We got him a skateboard backpack so he can carry his skateboard while riding his bike or scooter, plus a book--the gift of reading! 

And Uncle Bob gave the boys a little card with some money that they are very anxious to spend. Another Merry South Christmas was had. 

Did Santa Come?

The last few weeks have been building up to this, did the big come and did he bring the boys what they had asked for...

He did. 

But let's take a second here, Justin and I do our best when it comes to reminding the boys what the real reason is that we celebrate Christmas during the holiday season. We hope, they get it but we also know that at 5 and 7, there is just something magical about Santa and gifts and everything else that surrounds the holiday. Again, we do our best but we also love to see their eyes light up on Christmas morning--it's part of growing up. 

The boys were up around 7:30 and ready to head downstairs but they knew I had to be done there first so they patiently waited...

We pretty much stuck to our three gift rule but this year since Pottery Barn Kids was having such a great sale on luggage and frankly, they are too big to share ours now, we got them some luggage and wrapped it too. So the boys got a read--each a book with a stuffed animal, a wear--superhero Gap and Abercrombie clothes and then a want--soccer goals for Logan and a hover ball for each and then a baseball backstop for Kaden. But let's be real, their excitement came with the gifts that Santa brought them--both received new bikes, Logan a Pikachu and Kaden sandals for basketball. I mean it came with a kickstand! 

It was a very MERRY morning at the South home. 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Joy To The World. The Lord Has Come.

Joy to the world!

The Lord has come!

Christmas Eve at Home

We have a few Christmas Eve traditions at the house.

The boys wear their pjs that Fishlegs brings to them and I get to snap a few pictures of them saying goodbye to Fishlegs Hiccup---it's cool, he can catch a ride with Santa vs. having to fly on his own---and in front of the Christmas tree.

They love being able to pick up Fishlegs Hiccup on Christmas Eve to give him a little squeeze. They both tell him how much they have enjoyed having him with us again and give him one last reminder as to what they would like from Santa.

I try to always get a picture of them looking at me in front of the tree and one of them looking up at the star. I may have gotten them this year but they were less than thrilled about pictures---thankfully, Fishlegs was still watching.

And then we placed out the cookies for Santa and some reindeer food for his 8 tiny reindeer & settled into the couch to read Twas the Nigh Before Christmas. This year, Kaden shared in the reading which made this little family tradition that much better.

As we wrapped up with Happy Christmas to All and to All a Goodnight, the boys took off for their beds. They knew the sooner they were asleep the sooner the big guy could make his appearance. They both mentioned they would try to wake up and catch him in the act but when it came time for Santa to stop by our house, I was the only one awake and I secretly took a quick picture of the big guy. The boys couldn't believe I actually did it, they were amazed and became even bigger believers when I showed them the picture. I love seeing the magic in their eyes and I hope that sparkle never fades.

A Hartley Christmas

With Christmas falling on a Sunday this year, the Hartleys' went back to Christmas Eve's Eve to host our family celebration. Once Justin was off work we headed south to my aunt and uncles where we finally got to meet Graham--my cousin's son who would turn one on the 30th & got to love on my newest nephew a little more. Or at least I thought. Once Zack and Lindsey arrived with Trenton, Papa Richard assumed the position and I wasn't about to take Trenton from him. Watching the oldest in our family hold our youngest was something pretty special. I knew as he looked down at our newest little guy in the family that his mind was with Grandma Hartley and how much she would have loved to be there rocking her great-grandson. He sat there quietly, rubbing Trenton's feet as only Grandpa Hartley knows how to do and looked on as the rest of his family exchanged gifts and celebrated the birth of our savior Jesus Christ.

After the Hartley Christmas ended the Tom Hartley family loaded up and headed home to Papa Tom and Grandma Sara's house---they had a full house that evening. Kids were sleeping on couches, blow up mattresses and on the hallway banister, but we wouldn't have it any other way. We all stayed up way too late, boys included & morning came rolling around all too quickly.

Papa Tom and Grandma were up and fixing breakfast---it was like a restaurant as everyone received their favorite breakfast food. Donuts, dried beef gravy, bacon and eggs, muffins, you name it, they were fixing it. I know, they spoil us.

After breakfast was finished and the kitchen was clean, we all assumed our positions and the gifts were handed out--by the cutest elves there ever was.

& this just happens to be one of the only pictures I took. I managed to get one of Logan and his new night vision spy glasses & Madison with her lip gloss rings & kitty kat headbands we got for her. Kaden and Logan both got new KC Chiefs tailgate chairs, Bluetooth CD players for their own rooms, binoculars, magformers and a k'nex. They were pretty happy campers and had lots to play with over the next few hours as I took Trenton's newborn pictures. He was an absolute angel.

Soon after wrapping up his photoshoot we all had to get dressed and we headed to Christmas Eve service at my mom and dad's church. They held a live nativity scene in between services and the boys thought that was pretty special.

They even got to pet the donkey afterwards, and of course Logan manage to step in the ONLY donkey poop on the ground. Thankfully, those shoes were on their last leg so we just tossed it--no need for that to stink up the whole car on our way home.

It was a sad goodbye, it always is when leaving family. It isn't often that we are ALL together and with the addition of Trenton this year, it made it all that much more special. Family is everything, they'll always be there for you.

Another year of Fishlegs Hiccup

Well, Fishlegs Hiccup found his way back to our house one late night in November & he once again came with gifts of his own--two big ole' empty tubs for the boys to fill up with toys and books to donate to other boys and girls.

The boys were pretty excited to see Fishlegs Hiccup because they knew that meant Christmas was on it's way.

Over the next few days the boys filled their tubs full of toys--some they still play with that they felt other boys and girls could enjoy more, some they don't play with but knew someone would. I won't say it was easier this year than last year as they tend to want to hold to most things like their momma does but their big hearts continued to speak to them.

& Fishlegs Hiccup continued with the theme throughout the month, prompting the boys to think of something nice that they could do for someone else.

He helped by wrapping presents for me which Kaden was the first to see, he is always the first up, & decided he would take a picture of it and bring it up to a sleeping me to show. 

& he left special messages for the boys too--especially the night the Chiefs won since the boys had to school the next day and weren't able to stay up. He wanted them to know they had won the moment they got up. 

The boys held up on their end too. Logan thought handing out hot chocolate to bell ringers would be a nice thing to do. & they both withstood the coldest day of the year to ring the bell for Salvation Army---a family first but not last.

On Christmas Eve, Eve he got out all the ingredients we need for our holiday baking that we like to give to our neighbors. But that darn Fishlegs used my marker again--the boys were sure to point that out to me. However, I let it slide as he was super nice to organize it all for us. 

And then on Christmas Eve he came baring gifts for the boys & they loved the Chrismas pjs that he picked out this year for them---they wouldn't take them off! Fishlegs did a great job this year of showing the boys little small acts of kindness that really help me and their dad out around the house. Here's to hoping the boys pick up on it and pass those acts of kindness forward to others throughout the year, not just during the holiday season.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Miss Kendall Elizabeth

Welcome to the world sweet-little-love-bug. It's been a long road for your mommy and daddy to get to this day where they finally get to hold your sweetness in their hands. You are as much a miracle and a blessing as there ever was & as you get older you will learn just how important your timing was, God is so good.

We are so excited to watch you grow up alongside your BIG brother Nathan and our boys. I can see lots of laughter in your future.

Kendall Elizabeth Walsh
December 21, 2016

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Holiday School Parties

At our last school party, Halloween, Kaden was sick so I only had one party to attend to but not this time, he wasn't missing this one for anything.

But before the parties we had the holiday sing-a-long. The entire school packed into the gym & the music teacher led the school in a mish-mash of holiday songs. Kaden's teacher gave each of the kiddos little elf hats and since he knew I was there keeping an eye on Logan's class, he asked to sit with me and Logan. She gladly said yes.

They sang Jingle Bells, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer & on a couple of occasions took a few wiggle breaks and danced with Santa but my favorite was the last song they all sang. They all stood up, locked arms, swayed back and forth and sang Silent Night. It was pretty special. 

I am so very thankful that I'm able to make these special events because if things were different and I weren't able to, I might just have to re-evaluate what I am doing. 

Next up was the holiday parties and I always get a little nervous since I'm one of the room moms for Logan's class but the parents who signed up to help with the party knocked it out of the park which gave me time to jump back and forth between Kaden's class and Logan's. 

They both ate. Played games. And danced around. It was fun being a little fly on the wall this time around and watching who they were playing with & watching kids either flock to them or seeing how they naturally drift towards. 

And as fun as the parties were---what followed did not. A ticket. I got a parking ticket while at the party. Parking is very limited and a free for all when ANYTHING is happening at the school & I was the FIRST one to not find a parking spot in the school's parking lot so I did what we always do, and everyone else always does--parked across the street in a neighborhood. I pulled onto the street, immediately turned around in the first driveway and then pulled up behind the stop sign--far enough back to be legal. What I didn't see, because I turned around to early, was the no parking sign about two houses behind me. Oops. Small price to pay for some holiday fun with the kiddos. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Couldn't Wait...

So last year I said I would wait another three years to take this image...

But I couldn't. If I had waited three years before making the boys sit here again, then Kaden would be 9, Logan 7 and that might be the last time they indulge me and my photo requests & I couldn't just have one more image like this so I didn't wait. & I am glad I didn't. Everyone, especially me, could use a little more Kaden and Logan in their lives!

& for the sake of keeping it real---I so dislike Kaden's hair, we had the cutest hair style and then he decided to cut it himself which then led to our dear friend Jenny having to buzz it. So here we are, trying to grow it out a little.



After capturing the image I needed, I let the boys be boys. & honestly, this instantly made my top 10 favorite images of them together and the fact that I took it, even better.