Saturday, February 10, 2018


 Well, I completed another year around the sun & 35 was actually pretty damn good. Not too much to complain about--healthy family, happy kiddos, wonderful friends. Memories were made--some of the best we've had yet too.

If thirty-six is half of what thirty-five was, it will be a good year.

Most years I celebrate birthMONTH. Friends and family get to hear all about it from February 1st through about the middle of the month. We already had plans for my actual birthday as the boys and Justin bought us all tickets to the MU game in Columbia against Mississippi State. So Saturday was planned but I wasn't sure what else I wanted to do to celebrate, I just knew I wanted to something for me. Something different and something fun. The tricky part--the boys were out of school, they are always out of school around my birthday for teacher conferences. This is seriously the third year in a row. So I did what any person would do, had my MIL watch the boys on Thursday and then my mom came to down and watched them on Friday while I worked and then took off to the spa to relax with my dear friend Jenn. It was long overdue. 

Jenn and I ate at Trezo Mare for lunch before heading next door to the Spa at Briar Cliff. We arrived, changed into our robes and gossiped a little in the lounge before we were both called back. When I got into the room she went over what I had scheduled -- Jenn had scheduled them for us -- she said I had a 90 minutes massage with hot stones. EEK. I've never had hot stones before but this was the day of YES so I went for it. And let me tell you, I LOVED it, won't be my last hot stones massage. 

After the massages we hung out & then we got ready for dinner. Since we were already downtown we just met the group at the restaurant. I chose The Westside Local since it was close to where we were looking to go afterwards and it was new to Justin and I. Plus I am on a cleanse and it had some clean options for Justin and I and a couple of our friends to choose from. Delicious. 

Dinner was over and the real fun was about to begin. Anyone that knows me, knows that I am not a huge dinner and hang around type of girl, I like to be doing something. I had seen something about axe throwing & thought, why not. Who doesn't LOVE throwing a sharp object at some board. Talk about therapeutic. 

So here we were at Blade & Timber down in the West Bottoms all in our flannel glory.

They have an instructor come and show you how to stand, how to throw and then once you throw the axe they will move you around so that when you throw it again, you hit the target. He showed us a few different ways to throw the axe and then we were off on our own. We played the first to 50 with Alyssa taking home the win and then a game of BLADE, think Horse.

It was easier than I thought and honestly, the gals did better than the guys because the guys were trying to be all macho and manly and throwing it rather hard were the girls weren't.

I love when friends you have had forever mesh well with the newer friends in your life.

And since we were on a cleanse, we weren't looking to go out afterwards so we were home by 10:15 and it felt so great. Especially since we had to get up and be out of the house by 8 the following morning. The Souths were headed east.

Our first stop was in Roche Port to see Justin's Aunt Barbara. The plan was to meet her for brunch but with the weather being a little yucky she chose to make us lunch -- it was divine. We visited for awhile and then we jumped back into the car and off to Mizzou Arena we went. We found relatively easy parking and had a fairly easy walk even though the wind was in our face.

Before finding our seats we made our way down to the court to grab a picture of the boys. This was not only the boys' first game and my birthday but it was also the Rally for Rhyan game which is a little girl who is fighting cancer and WINNING. This particular game not only raised awareness for pediatric cancer but also over $60,000 too. 

Eleven years on my birthday, while at dinner in Roche Port after attending a MU basketball game, Justin proposed. I remember driving back to KC that night and listening to him talk about this little boy sitting in front of us with his dad at the game. How he kept looking at them and thinking how great it will be to take our kids to a game at MIZZOU arena someday. Well, today was that day and it was better than anything we had pictured.

Cheers to 36!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Puzzles Galore.

We've found a new family pastime at home. Puzzles. 

I've always loved putting together a good puzzle but for the most part, it's been me putting them together. Until now. Kaden has taken to them too. I'm not sure if it has to do more with his age or more with the fact that he is more focused than he used to be since we've been working through his ADHD diagnoses but whatever it is, he is loving them & he's pretty darn good at them too. 

I found a fun puzzle series called Joe Journeyman and basically Joe tours around the US visiting each of NFL stadium & taking a snap shot of what he sees. They are full of crazy fans & funny landmarks but still give great insight into each city and what they are known for. 

We've done: The Kansas City Chiefs, The New England Patriots, The Seattle Seahawks, The Washington Redskins (which we ironically were working on when the news of trade of Alex Smith came in. He also wanted to send it to Alex Smith), and The New York Giants

Now, these puzzles can range in price and the only reason we have purchased the ones we have (outside of the Chiefs) is that they were on SALE and a massive sale at that. As we work our way through one puzzle I head out to Amazon and check to see which of the teams have dropped in price & if one has, I pick it up. Now, that doesn't mean once we are done with one of the puzzles we never put it back together again, in fact, the Chiefs puzzle has been put together 5+ times (missing a few pieces now thanks to Gus) and then both the Patriots and the Seahawks a couple times. Puzzles kind of go in the same bucket as books with me, I am more than happy to buy them as long as they are being read and used---helps that we moved a table out to the living room so it makes it more of a family activity. So if you need a good puzzle, we have a few! 

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Honest Abe - 2nd Grade Bottle Project

What's a bottle project you ask? You aren't alone. 

Kaden, and the rest of the 2nd graders at CCE, were assigned a history maker bottle project. Basically they would spend in classroom time researching and studying up on a famous person of history & then create a "doll" out of a 2 liter soda bottle which "resembles" that said famous person. 

I immediately thought to myself how this seemed to be more of a parent project than a student project because of everything that it would entail. I mean, we are talking about painting a head, giving this "person" a face and hair, creating clothes from lord knows what--I'm not sure my high school self could have done this on my own. In the end, I knew I would be playing a major roll in this creation. 

First, I had to find out who Kaden had. Abe Lincoln. 

Okay, we could work with this. Tall hat, black and white clothes and a tie. Simple enough. I picked up some supplies that I thought we would need over lunch one day and then one evening we sat down and started going to work. I was determined to have Kaden do as much of this project as he could on his own. I mixed the paint, he pained the head.

I drew a template for the Abe's beard, he traced it and then he used scissors to cut it out. I figured it would be easier to use sewing tape vs. hot glue and I actually already had some on hand so Kaden was able to cut them to size to help secure the doll hair to his beard.

I also found a hat while shopping for supplies. It was a derby hat and not really the right shape so Kaden add a little height to it by cutting a new topper out of some foam board. 

And then we rested. Honestly, we started early on this project because I knew it would take us a number of days since Kaden doesn't always have the attention span needed for longer projects. 

A couple days later Kaden added the rest of the hair to his head & created a white shirt and a black vest from felt & then a bow tie from a handkerchief. Using the templates that I drew and again used the sewing tape to secure it all together. Now all he needed was a jacket. & a face. 

I wasn't sure how we were going to create the jacket. I can't sew worth a lick & creating "arms" had me all flustered. Kaden kind of draped the other handkerchief around the bottle and you know what, it looked pretty damn good just like that so we went with it.

And had it been up to me, we would have left his face blank but Kaden wanted to add a face and he did. I suggested adding some black to the lips and then smearing it which he did but then he wasn't happy about it. Oh well, we win some, we lose some. All in all, I think Kaden enjoyed our little project together and he actually ended up being able to do more than what I had initially thought, then again, we weren't using the hot glue gun.

Fingers crossed good ole' Abe come home in mint condition and we can do a little recycling next year when it's Logan's turn! ;0)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A holiday weekend at HOME

Martin Luther Kind Day was coming up and not only were the boys out of school on that Monday, they were also out the following day too. I had Monday covered since I don't work on government holidays but not Tuesday but I took a vacation day and decided the boys and I would head south to invade Grandma Sara and Papa Tom's house. They didn't get near enough of us over the holiday...

The both won their basketball games for the day and we took off. Enjoy your free time Daddy.

We got down to my mom and dads just in time for dinner -- somehow I manage my time so that our arrival and departures are always timed around food. I mean--it's home cooking, my mom's home cooking at that.

We had ZERO plans for the few days we would be at my mom and dad's. We had to get in to see Papa Richard, we would go to church on Sunday with my parents and if all worked out, we would look at catching a movie. This weekend was about rest and relaxation.

We did another puzzle--actually two.

 The boys taught Grandma Sara how to ride on their hover board.

It snowed so of course they wanted to play in it but that meant Papa Tom and I had to run to Walmart to stock up on snow shoes & some warmer pants for the boys & Madison. We happily obliged and off they went with the dogs, Papa even gave them a ride through the snow in the golf cart --- I stayed in and watched from the window while I sipped on some hot tea--well, after I snapped these.

Miss Madison stayed over and the baked a giant cinnamon roll. We also learned that Logan has a little trouble saying cinnamon. I think it's pretty cute. He doesn't seem to agree.

It was opening weekend at the box offices for Paddington 2 so after a snowy start to the day we loaded up in Grandma Sara's car and we all headed to the movies. Paddington 2 was just as cute as the Paddington was but Madison had nothing to compare it to since she hadn't seen the first one yet. Well that was about to change because when we settled in for another movie and popcorn in front of the fire Paddington was on. Grandma Sara was glued to the screen just like her three littles. 

Before we knew it, Tuesday morning had arrived and it was time to say our goodbyes and head back to KC to bring Gus home. He had been away at doggy school for two weeks and we were all so very excited for him to come home. Logan wanted one last picture with Samson--he's part horse!

And Kaden wanted one last hug from Grandma Sara -- we are so lucky that she's ours.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Stealers and Owls

Round Two - Here we go.

So it happened again. Mom is the coach for Kaden's team for the second year in a row. I wasn't planning on coaching this year but it kind of was the only way to keep a majority of these boys together. This year we had 4 boys returning from our team last year and joining us were 4 boys from our baseball team and two more boys from another school that a few of our kids go to. Everyone knew someone & no one would be the odd man out -- never fun. 

2nd grade basketball is a lot different than first grade ball -- you can steal. And that is what EVERY kid wants to talk about in practice and in game, CAN WE STEAL THE BALL NOW. So we named our team The Stealers. Even though, we don't spend a lot of time focusing on stealing, we are still focused on fundamentals and if stealing is all that happens, no one is learning anything. We have a pretty solid team -- and so far we are able to compete most teams we have played for at least a period of time. Our shots haven't fallen like we would like them too, our defense isn't as tight as we would like it to be all the time but we are getting better and better with each and every game. 

I honestly kind of enjoy coaching these boys -- they're such great kids with supportive parents too.

And then there are the OWLS. Logan was really hoping that I would be able to coach him too but one of his friends' mom was already signed up and we felt it was more important for him to play with his friends than for me to be his coach. We agreed to a few extra at home coaching sessions with me though. This would be our first experience with Upward but since most of the boys had already signed up with Upward, we jumped on the train. So far so good. He is having a blast and the kid does not stop smiling and in return, neither can we. 

Monday, January 8, 2018


You know how everyone has a "number", well that number for me is 14. 

One. Four. Fourteen.

I'm not really sure when it all started but from my freshman year on through my senior year in high school, fourteen was my number. At least it was for basketball and softball & it's what made it on my letterman's jacket too. To this day I still use it & it never fails that when I see the number, my high school athletics career comes flooding back. I know, kind of dorky--like move on already, everyone played in high school and you'd be mostly right. However, mine was different. 

Sports played such a big role in who I am today. It taught me how to be a team player and learn to count on others. It taught me how to lead and not just by my words but through my actions as well. I learned to accept that there will always be someone better than me but that didn't mean I could slack & just not give my all. It actually meant I would have to work for it that much harder, if I wanted it. It taught me toughness and I learned to compete. I'm still competitive. Like, annoyingly competitive but I can't help it--it's just in my blood. If you ask me about high school, a sports story is what you will get. I couldn't tell you what book we did our 10 grade English project over -- I don't even know if that was a thing. I couldn't tell you what my senior classes consisted of except for late arrival and study hall. I finished in the top 10% of my class, #4 out of 52 (yes, I graduated with only 52--it was a SMALL school but I LOVED IT) so it wasn't like I slacked when it came to my education, it's just my heart always belonged to the court. 

Papa Tom, my dad, coached me when I was little. We started playing basketball around the third grade and for 4 years he coached not only our school team but also our traveling team -- yup, I was that girl. But I loved it. For the most part. As I got older and entered junior high he retreated to the stands and became my number one fan, right alongside my mom. Even though there was a new coach in charge that didn't stop him from giving his advice & pointers -- most of which I didn't really want to hear but only because I knew he was right. 

My sports career didn't go beyond high school. If I'm honest with myself, that was a mistake but at the time, I was tired. I was following a boy to school and a lot of freedom was awaiting me. I absolutely could have played but probably not where I was looking to go -- or at least for a full scholarship so I said goodbye. Goodbye to my sports career or at least I thought I did. 

Then I had kids. Boys. Two of them. Both with the gift of athleticism. And here they are 8 1/2 and 6 1/2 and already in their second year of basketball (dude, it starts way tooooo early now for kids but that's a whole other post) and our youngest walked through the door the other night with his first "uniform" proudly sporting 14. 

We had just talked earlier in that evening about how their momma wore #14 when she played and wouldn't it be cool if one of them got to be number 14 too. It was by complete chance that he got my number. Or was it? Maybe it was always meant to be. Maybe the love for the game that I have always had wasn't ever about me. Maybe it was preparing me for my greatest role of all, their number one fan.