Thursday, August 31, 2017


When we saw that the Chiefs were playing their final preseason game on Kaden's 8th birthday we knew this was the perfect opportunity to introduce the boys to a Chiefs game at Arrowhead Stadium. 

We've been wanting to take them for a number of years to a game but the crowd at Arrowhead is a little rowdier than the crowd at Kaufman--so we waited until the boys got a little bit bigger & we weren't so worried about the language they would hear. It also helped that this was the 4th and final preseason game which meant that the starters wouldn't play at all and attendance would be on the low side. Sure it's a school night & the teachers might not be too excited to learn the boys were out super late & may be extra tired at school so we put a plan together for that too. 

They were going to get to skip school on Friday! 

We picked up a little Joe's KC before heading out to the stadium where we met up with Grammy and Craig. We tailgated long enough to finish our food and throw the football around a few time before Justin and I thought it would be best to head in and get a little closer to the field for warm-ups. 

We found our seats relatively easy and then the boys asked if they could go down lower and since there weren't many people in the stadium yet we said yes. & they stood there holding their signs watching the Chiefs players run drill after drill. Kaden picked out Travis Kelce and Alex Smith. Justin pointed to a few others. The boys were amazed at how BIG some of the players were in person vs. what they seem like on TV. We stood there for about 15 minutes and watched a number of fans & pee-wee football players walk by us on the sidelines. I made a comment to Justin about how cool it would be to be down there and wondered how one would get that opportunity. Next thing I knew a wonderfully nice gentleman walked by and read Kaden's sign & two minutes later he showed up and handed us a pass to the field. We showed our pass at the gate and on the field we went. Talk about making a kids 8th birthday--he was on cloud 9. & so was his dad. 

We only got to stay on the field for a few minutes before they were ushering us off but the night was already made. On the way up to our seats we ran into the X Factor---kids thought he was so cool and had to have their picture taken with him. He even gave the boys his very own "football trading card". It was a little weird. We quickly found our seats after having ran into him & enjoyed the pregame show---which is nothing like it use to be when I was a little girl. 

The boys were having a blast and had lots of questions about the game of football which Justin and I were happy to answer. They were full of smiles the entire time. They even made it on the jumbo-tron which is ALWAYS a goal of theirs.

And on the way out---we left at halftime---we jammed with the Rumble. The boys were doing their best "Arrowhead Chop" & dancing along to the beat...all the way out the front gates and to the car.

Happy 8th Birthday Monkey!

Eight -- Did I just write that...


Somehow we let you turn eight. I'm not sure why, but we did.

Being your mom is one of my most cherished jobs. You pretty much challenge me every. single. day. & not always in the best ways but I wouldn't have it any other way.

This last year you have taught me so much about so many things. You taught me how to LOVE through difficult days. You showed me how to fight for someone you love & to never stop asking questions until you get the answers you need.

You continue to show me unconditional love & I am so fortunate for that.

You haven't stopped growing & you love standing next to me and announcing how tall you are compared to me. There is no doubt, that in a matter of years, maybe 3, I will be looking up at you.

You have one of the smoothest baseball swings I have seen in an 8 year old kid & I just LOVE watching you play the game. I hope that it brings you as much joy as it does me. & if it doesn't, let's talk.

The Rubik's Cube doesn't leave your side. You have the original, a 2x2, a triangle one and although you have only mastered the 2x2, you are determined to solve them all. It's only a matter of time.

If given the chance to play outside or play on the electronics you always choose to play outside. You could ride your bike forever and a day--you soak it up. If your aren't riding your bike then you have a ball attached to you---soccer ball, basketball, baseball, football, golf balls--you have no prejudice. 

You are the first to wake up in the morning and you never want to go bed when we say its time. I love how you'll come into our room, pull back my covers and snuggle up before asking to stay. I mean, how can I say no when you've already snuggled up to me? I can't. So I don't and you end up getting a few extra minutes of wake time -- snuggling with your mommy though. These are some of my favorite times with you. 

You love the color pink. I love that you love pink and you aren't scared to say it or to show it. 

You wear your emotions on your sleeve and I never have to question where I stand with you or how you are feeling. And I love that. You love harder than anyone that I know and are always the first to hug me when I walk through the door. You aren't shy about telling me, or anyone else for that matter, how much you love us. 

I promise to always love you, guide you and have your back. And I will do my damnedest to always let that sparkle in your eyes shine. You make life worthwhile.

Happy Birthday Kaden Oliver. May this be your best year yet.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

a {Home Run} birthday celebration

Gone are the days of full on themed birthday parties. I won't lie, part of me misses planning all the little details and searching for the perfect items to include in the celebration but I've come to realize that even though I was doing it for the boys, they didn't really care. The only thing that mattered to them was that they were surrounded by their friends doing something they loved and had a cake with candles to blow out. So, the last few years we have switched gears--we done a bowling party, Top Golf party, 2 Sky Zone parties & now we have added a baseball party. 

From the moment I knew we were having a baseball party I started looking for a shirt for Kaden. His favorite player is Cain, just like his mom, but he is a big fan of Moustakas too & well, he's #8 so it only made sense. You would think this would have been an easy task as there are a TON of Moose shirts but  not a lot with an 8 on the front and that was in Kaden's size. It tested my Googling skills but when I finally ran across this one, I added it to my cart & called it good.

Kaden loves baseball. Unless it's early in the morning or late in the evening and he's wanting to complain about something... He loves playing it & he loves the Royals. He honestly knows just as many players names & positions as I do. So when I suggested a party at DBats -- our favorite batting cages in KC, it's indoors & so much more than just cages -- he was all for it. A quick call to DBats and it was booked. They had a party room where we could enjoy some cake and presents & then when we weren't in the party room, which was a majority of the time, an instructor that would play games with the boys. They started the party off with a game of wiffle ball--Blue Crew vs. Birthday Boys. The thing that I liked most of all, the instructor made them listen, if they didn't listen to the rules and play the right way, then they had to do push-ups. They were all ears & the instructor was AMAZING with the boys. 

Since we were doing a baseball theme it only made sense to have Big League Chew, Cracker Jacks and Sunflower Seeds as part of the treats. We also ordered a few cookies from Icings By Ang, another local favorite & cookies that Logan actually likes---huge win & then I made the cake. The cake has become somewhat of a tradition for us now. It kind of all started on Kaden's 5th birthday and every birthday since then for him and Logan, I make at least one of their cakes. Most of the time it is used at their parties but occasionally it will just be used at home--time constraints. This year I had very little time to prep for the party, let alone the cake. We had just returned from Whistler two days earlier, really 36 hours and I had to work a full 8 hours on Friday and we had baseball on Saturday morning followed by a birthday party for Logan to attend. Thankfully, Justin took the boys to a friend's birthday party on Friday night so I could go to work in the kitchen. I planned on keeping it simple, two round cakes on top of one another and then iced---needed a little blue, gold, red and white icing. This time I only started over once with the gold icing---it wasn't centered on the cake. & then there are the baseball stitches--UGH. At least it was made with 100% love and Kaden couldn't have been happier with it. 

I also bought a Royals baseball for all his friends to sign and Kaden gave them a Royals powercord wristband as his party favor. & then it was time for presents -- he got socks and was super stoked about them. He also got some baseball cards which are a first for him and he's super excited to put them into a binder and go through them with his dad just like Papa Dave did with Justin. Cousin Colton gave him a Pogo Stick which is a huge hit but frustrating at the same time since it take practice to get better. His friends were all excited to watch him open their gift and Kaden was equally excited to see what they had picked out for him.

After the boys were all hyped up on sugar we sent them back down to play a few more games with the instructor. They played kickball and had relay races. Losers had to either do push ups, burpees, or wall sits. & let me tell you, after the two hours of running, jumping and competing these boys were a sweaty mess. Sweaty but smiling from ear to ear. 

What a fun birthday party. 
Happiest of birthday celebrations my little love. May you always be surrounded by so many wonderful friends throughout your life. 

Fall Ball Begins

Well, we are back at it. Fall ball has begun. 

We are back with the Aces for another season and this time around, Logan joined the team. That's right, both South boys are on the same baseball team. Kaden's coach wanted fall ball to be all about fundamentals and he had recalled a time when I mentioned how I would ideally like to have both boys on the same baseball team so he asked if Logan wanted to play. We were a little hesitant at first but Logan is athletic, he gets the game and really enjoys playing. He can hold his own in the batters box & can stop a ball so we figured we would give it go. It would only benefit Logan more by playing up a year & would totally make things easier for us--but Logan's happiness was top priority.

Kaden loved the idea of having his little bro on the same team. We were a tad worried that he would try and "coach" Logan a little too much but we had a couple conversations about how he needed to let Logan do it on his own. If they were in the field together then he could help by letting him know where the plays will be and that he can cheer for him while he is at bat but that Logan is just another teammate. He loved hearing that he could be Logan's biggest fan and thus far through practices and games, they have done a great job. Logan on keeping up, Kaden on keeping to himself!

We were even lucky enough that a couple of Logan's buddies joined the team too. These three have played with each other for awhile now and all LOVE the game of baseball and we LOVE watching them play and their friendship continue to build.

Here's to another season of baseball--one with lots of learning, growth and fun!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Off they go--Together again.

Wow, summer flew by in a flash and somehow, we now have a first grader and a second grader. CRAZY! But as fast as the summer went, both boys were ready to get back to school and to see all their friends they had missed over the last few months.

Logan was so excited to learn that one of his best buddies was going to be in his class but at the same time was super bummed that a few of this other best buddies weren't. Thankfully they all take recess together and he knew he would get to see them there.

We always get the boys a fresh haircut to start the school year off and we were just planning on a little trim for Logan but then he announced he wanted his sides to be short and although he hasn't the cutest locks, we went with it. It's crazy how taking a little more hair off the sides can make him look so much bigger.

Kaden, well he just wanted to keep his hair the same. Short on the sides, longer on the top but NO hard part this time. I really love the hard part.

As much as Kaden was ready to start school, I had a little anxiety about it. I have spent many nights praying over him and praying for him. Praying that we have made the right choices for him. Praying that he gets a teacher this year that will help guide him in a positive direction. One that will use as many resources as necessary to help him learn in the way he needs to learn. One that will be understanding to his needs. One that will love him, encourage him and lift him. I just want him to be himself and feel confident in that & if he can do that, it will be an exceptional year.

I can't help but smile when I see these two boys standing next two each other. They wrestle and fight all day, everyday but they also love like nothing I have ever seen. They encourage one another. They cheer for one another. They protect one another. They are the best of buds and it shows in everything they do. They now even refer to one another as "bro". Just "bro".

& this year we decided that instead of fighting the insane amount of traffic at school, that we would tell they good-bye and to have a great day at school from the bus stop. Of course since it was the first day, the bus stop was a little quiet but we had a new little friend join us who was off to kindergarten and I have never seen someone so excited for their first day of school and first bus ride. It brought the biggest smile to my face & the boys were just as excited to show her the "ropes". Hopefully they teach her what to do instead of what NOT to do.

Cheers to another year at CCE. I'm excited to see just how much they learn and grow over the coming year.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

CCE Sneak-a-Peek 2017

The day had finally arrived--time to meet their new teachers! Sneak-a-Peek started at 5 but parking is an issue at our school, I was ticketed once during the Christmas celebration. So we arrived at 4:45 so we could at least have somewhat of a close parking spot. We lucked out too, right next to the side of the building in the car rider line---there was no picking up and dropping off happening so we followed the car in front of us, who was following the car in front of them and we just parked! 

We hopped out and go in the line that was already about 100 deep. As we stood there, the boys started searching for their friends and running up to say hi. Smiles plastered on their faces. Once they opened the door we headed to their classrooms--Logan's first and then Kaden's but not before we said our hellos to our favorite kindergarten teacher -- Miss Timmerman. We were fortunate enough to spend the last two year with her since both boys drew the lucky straw and were in her class. 

Kaden ducked into Mrs. Downing's room to pick up his summer reading program treat and to say hi as we took Logan further down the first grade hall to his new classroom and to meet his teacher. Mrs. Kleweno was there with a big smile and as soon as Logan said his name, she knew exactly who he was and also that he had an older brother named Kaden. Still not sure if that was a good sign or not but Logan took his name tag and picked out where he wanted to sit for the first two days of school. We quickly worked through the welcome back packet, said our "see ya tomorrow" & headed across the hall. Yup, the boys are literally right across the hall from one another, share a bathroom and water station too. 

Kaden was a little shy when he first walked into Mrs. Vohs room but he quickly saw a few of his friends and the nerves were gone. He found his seat, right next to Kendall who was in his class last year & we started to work through his checklist too. It didn't take as long as we thought it would have since the kiddos were going to sort through it all the following day so we signed that he was a bus rider and off we went. We had baseball practice to get to.

I know they'll always be my babies but it's days like this that hit me pretty hard. I sit back and look at these pictures, I mean they're first and second graders now. FIRST and SECOND GRADERS! They are getting so big, so quickly and every day they seem to need me a less and less. You better believe that I am taking full advantage of all hugs, snuggles, kisses and piggyback requests while I can because I am going to blink and they'll be driving off to college. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

A 1st & 2nd grader

Well, it's that time of year again. School is starting which means it was time to get the chalk out and capture a few pictures of the boys with my handy iPhone. Big camera hasn't been put to use for much lately...

They weren't thrilled about having to take showers and then get dressed in the clothes that I picked out but I bribed them and as much as they may not admit it, they love being in front of my camera.  


& just for comparison sake, here is a little throw back...

 Kaden--First Grade 

Logan & Kaden -- Kindergarten

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Chad + Morgan 4 Ever

It's wedding season. More specifically, it's Newman wedding season. Justin's cousin Mark has three sons getting married within the next year, two within almost a month of each other. We kicked off the first of the three family weddings in early August & although each will be special in their own way, a little someone had a big role in this one. Logan was asked to be Chad and Morgan's ring bearer. He was a little hesitant at first since he didn't know what the job entailed but we continued to talk about and I shared that I was a flower girl for my uncle when I was little too. By the time the wedding week approached he was fully on board and digging his new threads. 

Not only was Logan acting as their ring bearer but Justin was handling the food at the rehearsal dinner--with the help of his mom & I took on the desserts. While Logan, Janet and I attended the rehearsal, Justin and Kaden headed to the park and got everything set up for when the guests of honor and their family and friends arrived. The weather for Friday evening was gorgeous--who would have thought that with a wedding being held in the beginning of August. 

Saturday's weather, was a little different but Chad and Morgan didn't let that RAIN -- pun intended -- on their parade. They were getting married and it was such a beautiful service and we were so lucky to have witnessed two young people devoting their life to another and promising to help get each other to Heaven so they can live together forever in the kingdom of God. 

It rained for the most of the morning but as we were headed out we got a little bit of a relief. And since Logan was all decked out, Kaden asked to bring out his bow tie too. I happily started digging through drawers looking for it---I mean, could they be cuter?

Speaking of cute---check out the flower girl. Eli and Logan hit it off from the get go and at the reception she decided to join our table so she could sit with the boys. You never know, maybe in 20 years these two will be on the Today show sharing their story about how they were in a wedding all those years before together...I mean, just the cutest. & when the moment counted, he grabbed her little hand and led her down the aisle. 

The rain held off for the entire ceremony and for most of the pictures that followed. Even allowed us to get to the reception and take a few family pictures before it started coming down & it came down but no one cared. We were all having way too much fun dancing the night away. 

It comes as no surprise that the dance floor was packed all night, Chad and Morgan are such an awesome couple that you just knew their friends and family would be just as awesome. & let me tell you, not only did they ask Logan to be part of their special day, they went above and beyond to make him feel special. His gift, a littler handkerchief that had his name embroidered in it. Morgan told Logan that from the first time she met Chad he carried around a handkerchief for her in case she ever started to cry, whether happy tears or sad ones. It was with this small handkerchief that she knew there was something special about Chad. I love that they chose to give Logan one & I hope he remembers just how meaningful a gesture such as this can be. 

The morning of the wedding day Logan had a present for Chad. Chad had a present for Logan. Logan had wrapped up a framed Green Monster that he had created a few years back that Chad commented on wanting when I was changing out decor at home. I was certain he had forgot about making the comment but he and Morgan finally had THEIR home together & it needed some wall decor so Logan let him in on the story. & Chad, well he had some fun socks for Logan to wear and they just happened to match his socks too. Logan was stoked to show me. & as he came to the end of the aisle, both he and Chad pulled up their pant legs to show off their socks and then gave a fist bump before Logan found his way to back to Justin and I. 

The boys were a little shy in the beginning when it came to the dance floor but Logan insisted that he would dance if "My House" by FloRida was played and Chad immediately requested it. It came over the speakers and Logan held up his end of the deal & from that moment on, it was hard to get him or Kaden off the dance floor. They booth learned Cupid's Shuffle and The Wobble, and everyone was eating them up. Finally it was time to say goodnight and as sad as it was for the evening to come to and end, these two little boys needed to get to bed. I was so proud of this little man and the job he did. He knocked it out of the park, just like everything else he does.