Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February Extras

The month of February brought a lot of random activities for us. 

We ventured out to Justin's old Eagle Scout's chili bingo night and went home big winners!

Kaden has his 2nd grade field trip to the Kansas City Performing Arts theater. They were all asked to dress nicely and he wanted his "tuxedo".

Gus destroyed toy after toy.

Logan continued to love on the puppies. 

And donated a large sampling of his stuffed animals to charity. 

These are a few that decided to keep.

The boys attended an ONNW basketball camp.

Kaden was really feeling this look.

We said our goodbyes to our turtle Leo, or Raph, or Mikey--depending on the day--and gave him to Ms. Brenda where we know he will get so much more LOVE than we were able to give him.

And to the snow-hopefully!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Stealers Season Comes to An End

Another basketball season for Kaden and I comes to an end.

It may have not been the season that we had hoped for. We didn't win as many games as we would have liked but winning isn't the only thing that matters when you are playing youth sports so we tried focusing on that. 

We went into tournament play seeded 9th out of 10 team. I'm not sure we deserved the 9th place seed but that's how the cookie crumbles sometimes -- we ended having to play a team that beat us pretty good the first time, two more times where no other team had to. Instead they played a team which everyone beat handily, that game for us was canceled. Anyways, we entered the tournament as the 9th seed & had an uphill battle ahead of us.

As the 9th seed we took on the 8th seed a team that we went into double overtime with and lost in sudden death by one basket. We knew we had a chance. We had a good game plan, could we execute it? The boys did exactly that--they executed their offense, transition offense and inbound plays like never before. I had been saying it all season long, we just had to get our shots to drop, defense was typically always solid but our shots just weren't going--not this game, they dropped. 22-15 was the final score and the Stealers would live to play another game. 

Three hours later. 

So we hightailed it to Chipotle for a little dinner. I asked Kaden to take a picture with me and he started laughing after, saying he tried to be a vampire by using his rice. Sure enough. Thanks K-man.

Game 2--Since we had won the first game we were now going to be playing the top seed in the tournament. This team hadn't actually been playing in our division so we weren't sure what to expect but we came with the same game plan in place. The boys had found a rhythm with the two groups 5 (one 6) from the game before that we just kept it going. And you know what, we knocked off that top seed 24-14. We lived to play another day--the following Saturday to be exact. 

As the coach I did a little research before our game--I knew who we were playing. We had played them before and they had ONE player that could play better than any 2nd grader I have seen. I am still not sure why he was in our division or why his parents would want him playing with kids who were clearly not to his level, plus he wasn't from Olathe or KS for that matter, but he was signed up with the league. He wore #3 the first game we played them and this time he was #34. Again, lots of questions but I had a game plan. That game plan started with my son, South, as the team calls him. 

Before the game I told Kaden that if that player was there today that I was going to have him guard him. He wasn't too excited about it because he knew just how good he was. I told him that not only did I believe that he could handle the job but that I thought he was the best person for it too. He was tall and quick with his feet and plays great defense. That's what I needed him to do. Play as good as defense as he could & then if he got beat, let his teammates help him out. He was up for the challenge and so was his teammate Griffin, he'd guard him when Kaden wasn't in---which was half the time because at this age, you play everyone equally--even when other teams don't and it's part of the rules. See---I told you there was more to youth sports than winning--following the rules and playing with sportsmanship is important and this is something we stressed a lot during the tournament. 

The other part of the game plan was on the offensive side. I would have one of the bigger guys bring the ball up, Kaden if he was in, with our guard running up the other side of the lane. Although you may change who you are guarding each possession, you must stick with your man through each possession and there is no double teaming. The young man on the other team that was REALLY good, he was always picking up the person dribbling the ball, so I had Kaden be the decoy. Kaden brought up the ball, he picked Kaden up and before Kaden crossed the "defensive line to be guarded" he passed the ball to our guard and we took off. Kaden's only job then became to stand outside the three point line by like 5 feet so his man had to stay with him and essentially creating a 4 on 4 opportunity for us, without their good player in the mix.

The game plan worked, our shots didn't fall. We lost that game 18-12.

That team went on to win the tournament for our division & actually beat the team we lost to three times by one point. 

So we may not have won as many games as we would have hoped to have won but these boys, well they ALWAYS gave 110% when it came to effort and hustle. They didn't let being behind by 15 points get them down, they kept keeping with it and trying their hardest and honestly, I learned more about facing adversity from these kiddos than they probably learned from me this season. 

We celebrated the season--a successful one by my standards--with a little pizza party at Johnny's. Honored to have coached this group of boys this season. 

Now onto baseball.

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)