Thursday, May 31, 2018

May Extras

Thank you notes for his birthday buddies.
A little birthday card for his teacher--in cursive.
New plants that the boys helped with.

Celebrating Jackson's birthday in the rain with sno-cones.

Celebrating Nathan's 6th birthday at Sky Zone.

Field Day at CCE

Last day of SJA baseball camp--he tried getting out of it each morning but LOVED everything about it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Fear vs. Courage

This past Saturday I watched Kaden overcome fear with courage. It was remarkable to watch it all play out in front of me over the course of a few hours.

You see, Uncle Adam had picked up some lumbar to build a jumping platform for the boys. We don't utilize the far side of the dock except to park the Sea-Doo and paddle boards when they are not in use. The far side only has a walkway so you can't really "hang out" over there and we've been talking about a slide or a jumping platform for a while now. Well, Uncle Adam was done talking. 

He and Craig spent the first few hours of Saturday morning constructing the plaform. Kaden eagerly awaited. As did Colton and Logan. Once the platform was built and tested by the adults of the fmaily, it was the boys' turn. Kaden climbed up to the top. He stood there. Turned right back around as he picked at his fingernails and told Colton and Logan they could go. He'd wait.

Colton jumped.

Logan jumped.

Kaden climbed back up and right back down and put his sweet little head into my chest and the tears started to flow. He so desperately wanted to jump off the new platform just like his cousin and brother but he just couldn't muster up the courage. I explained that sometimes, we just need a little extra time to assess the situation before feeling 100% comfortable. That we had all weekend and all summer to conquer that platform. He didn't want to wait all weekend, all summer. He wanted to conquer it that day.

So he climbed right back up and sat down. On the edge. He knew all it would take was one little push off and the rest would be history but he just couldn't find it in him and he made his way back down the steps. 

I asked him about his fears. He was afraid that his feet would hurt when he hit the water. He put on his water shoes. He was afraid it was too high. We talked about how he went off the high dive at Grammy's pool last summer. You could see the courage start to grow within him but he needed a break. He went back up to the house and changed out of his swimsuit. Fear was still overpowering his courage.

He came back down an hour later. In a new suit. More determined to conquer that platform.

He went up. This time with Logan beside him. Patting his back. Giving him a little pep talk. Telling him it was okay either way. Kaden listening. Picking at his fingernails while carrying on a conversation in his own head. 

He came down again. And his head immediately went back to my chest. Tears once again filled his eyes. He felt defeated. I got down to his level, which isn't far anymore since he's so tall, and told him just how proud I was of his desire and will to stick with it. That climbing those steps took so much courage and that he should be proud of himself too. A little smile came across his face and when he looked up at me, I put my hands on both sides of his face and told him that I loved him and couldn't be more proud of him. That jumping off that platform or not jumping off that platform wouldn't change how much I loved him and that I supported him either way. 

And then, I told him, that I had to go up to the house for a second and NOT to jump while I was gone, I didn't want to miss it. And he smirked as he ran towards the platform. I went up to the house, grabbed what I needed and when I got back down he was still there. I asked Becky if he had gone and she shook her head no. As I went to change the music, I heard, "Mom, watch!"

And off he went. Courage had defeated fear.

He came up to hooping and hollering from me, Grammy, Aunt Becky, Logan and Colton. More importantly, he came up with the biggest smile I had ever seen and shouted, "I'm doing it again!" 

And he did, without hesitation, at least 15 times in a row.

I never want it to go unnoticed how much of an internal struggle he had that day. He battled with himself for hours before making that leap of faith. I can't help but wonder how different this would have played out prior to being diagnosed with ADHD and starting medication. Kaden tends to be impulsive and he doesn't think much before acting but after introducing medication into his day to day world, he does stop. He analyzes the situation. He thinks before he acts and in this case, maybe a little too much BUT in the end, he won. He created enough courage within himself to push the fear aside for 5 seconds -- and that is all he needed. Five seconds where his courage outweighed his fear and he soared.

I'm proud of both the boys for conquering that platform, it wasn't easy and I know because I jumped too. However, I also know the immense struggle that Kaden overcame and how Logan sat there beside him and encouraged him -- he saw Kaden struggling too and instead of adding to his worries, he helped push those fears away right there alongside him. There aren't enough words to describe how much pride and admiration I was feeling for both of our boys in that moment. 

Monday, May 28, 2018

MDW 2018

The official start to summer for the Souths is marked by our first trip to the lake. Like last year, we decided to head down with Adam and Becky, Janet and Craig for the holiday weekend -- we were all ready for some family down time & some rest & relaxation. I took a half day off of work, picked up the kids from their first day of summer break & loaded the car. We just needed daddy--who didn't get home as quick as we would have liked BUT at as soon as he was, we loaded up & off we went.

The drive wasn't too bad--especially for a holiday weekend. We stopped at our favorite little Mexican restaurant, Tapatio, in Sedelia to let some of the traffic go on by and to allow the boys to run off some energy--by no means is it a long drive BUT it never hurts.

As soon as we arrived the boys had their swimsuits on & were in the water -- well, after finding their life jackets. If the next two days were anything like how the weekend started, we were in good shape.

Saturday morning the boys were up and ready to head down to the water at 8:30. Before the day got too crazy I made them stop to take our annual South Brothers' LOTO picture. I have this same picture of the two of them since about 2013 and is one of my favorite traditions. 

 The boys played and played and played. There was one thing that I noticed though, Kaden seemed a little hesitant when it came to things that he had done the summer prior. One example, the paddle boards. He talked all the way down about how excited he was to get them out and wanted me to get them out on Friday but I told him those would have to wait until morning. Morning rolled around and he didn't really want much to do with them. He said he was afraid he forgot how to do it. That he wasn't sure he could figure it out again---this worried me because I knew how much he was looking forward to it and I hated seeing fear win BUT after he saw Logan and Colton out on one, he was ready to give it another try too. That's all it took. He was hooked once again. 

The lake cabin has become one of my happy places. It's calm and quiet. It's quaint. But most importantly, my favorite people are always with me & although it stinks, we don't get that great of service down there so you are forced to be present which is ALWAYS a good thing. 

The boys spent time on the Maui Mat. They played basketball with a new hoop that Logan got for his birthday from our friend Nathan. They rode the Sea-Doo. The paddle boards. They fished. 

They ate crappy food like squirt cheese and crackers. They ate healthy food like salmon. And shockingly Logan LOVED them both.

They watched Black Panther, Jumanji, and Spiderman Homecoming. 

They were loving every. single. second -- until there were breakdowns from sure exhaustion -- but if you asked them what their favorite part of the weekend was, it most definitely would be the new "diving board" that Uncle Adam and Craig installed. 

It was more like a jumping platform but I guess you could totally dive off of it too, like Uncle Adam.

It doesn't look too high but looks can be deceiving. & let me tell you, it was wobbly, not because it wasn't constructed well enough but because the dock wobbles on it's own due to waves and then add being 10 feet over the water, off the side of the dock on top of that too -- makes for LOTS of wobbles. Two of the three boys walked right up and didn't turn back. One kiddo had a little bit of a harder time working up the courage it took -- more on that later.

The boys played so hard. All weekend long. When Memorial Day rolled around they just weren't sure what they wanted to do. Did they want to get in the water? Did they want to fish? Did they want to chill inside? And the indecisiveness came with trying to hold back tears so we made a plan. A family plan. We were planning to leave after lunch but after talking it over, we loaded up and headed on home. Allowing the boys to rest a little on the ride home, grab a bite to eat and then once we got home and unpacked we would hit the pool. They were in agreement. So we said our goodbyes--but not for long, this weekend kicks off a summer of lake trips. 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

1st and 2nd Grade -- CHECK!

Well, that year flew by. Too fast.

This school year was one for the books and in the very best way too. Kaden's first grade year was one we were ready to turn the page on, to move to the next chapter. This year however, I didn't want it to end. Before starting the school year we started him on some ADHD medicine and knew it would be a year of roller coasters but we were up for the challenge. We knew we would be flying high when his medication was working but there was the probability that he may grow tolerant to them and we would find ourselves in a valley, wondering where we go next. And we did. We had highs and lows, changed medication a number of times (and still don't have the right cocktail figured out) BUT his teacher made all the difference in the world. She PARTNERED with us. She knew just how hard Kaden was trying and that his ADHD was a real problem BUT not with who he is. She allowed him to shine when he could and provided support when he needed it. His confidence grew this past year and I believe whole-heartedly it was because of her. And at the end of the day -- he did it. He may not have had the best handwriting and might not be the most organized but he excels at spelling and math & his grades are grades that ANY parent would be happy with. You are now looking at a third grader.


Oh, Logan. First grade was another wonderful year for him. He grew a few inches taller and his heart and mind grew even more. Logan is smart as a whip and it comes pretty easily to him. He doesn't mind homework and he LOVES to read. He started the year out with some smaller chapter books and ended the year with the real deal. He was loved by everyone--even a little girl in his class who he promises is "just a friend". We had a few issues with his handwriting at semester, his As, Os, Gs -- all of which he writes non-stop since it's in his name -- were all done somewhat backwards but he worked and worked and by March he got it and he's not looking back. His grades -- I mean -- they're great. I dislike so much about MAP testing but when you have scores like him, it's hard to dislike. His teacher was so lovely and allowed him to create his own identity outside of his brother -- being only a year apart in school can make things like this tough. She supported, encouraged and most importantly, challenged him. I'd say any teacher that gets Logan is sure to be in for a wonderful treat.

Peace out 1st grade. Hello 2nd Grade!

And as a treat for such a successful school year, they were rewarded with a trip to the pool before heading down to the lake. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Team 24k Magic - CCE 2018 Talent Show

Ever since last year's talent show at school came to a close, Logan has not stopped talking about what he would do for the next one. He was determined to think of something as he was not sitting out this time. The conversations were going on constantly almost to the point where we were like--"hold up Logan, it's like 9 months away!" 

Now, I should say, I have a love hate relationship with talent shows. Not only will these kiddos be judged by their peers but they would also be judged by teachers and by parents and honestly, there are so many people who can just be complete a-holes and I didn't want that for my kids. On the flip side, you can't squash their desire, their want, their creativity. So the reward outweighed the risk. For sure. 

He and Kaden talked about telling jokes together. They talked about dribbling basketballs. They had settled on telling jokes UNTIL our last cruise. While aboard we watched a performance where the performers came out and danced with light up shoes -- Logan's eyes lit up instantly. As we walked out of the theater he knew what he wanted to do -- he wanted to dance with his friends with light up shoes on. Turn off all the lights and dance. Again, I didn't want to squash his idea or his courage so I went with it. I emailed a few moms & asked their thoughts--they were all in. 

Logan not only picked out the idea, he picked out the song too.

24k Magic by Bruno Mars

The problem, the lyrics weren't appropriate. Thankfully, Kids Bop had a version that was totally usable. Plus, Just Dance for the Nintendo Switch had all the dance moves. We submitted our talent show paperwork, ordered the light up shoes--which you can find on Amazon for like $15--no kidding & I managed to pick up a few light up gloves for everyone to add a little extra flair. It was game time.

The boys practiced on their own a few times--I may or may not danced along with them, someone needed to count and help them learn it. We started with the first couple of 8 counts and then we added on from there. It didn't take long for them to get it down the only problem, we hadn't really had a group practice. UNTIL, the day before. We put them in formation and ran through it twice. It was so cute. I wish I had video from the "dress rehearsal" because their facial expressions were probably the best part of it. Logan's face beamed the entire time he was dancing. & on the day of the performance they had three performance to get through. One for the 4th graders, one for the 2nd graders and the last for the 1st graders and let me tell you, Logan (as did everyone else) beamed for the ENTIRE day. So, without further ado...

Team 24k Magic

Made up of 5 first graders and their siblings.
Before their first performance.

And after.
I could not be more proud of these kids. I mean, talk about the amount of courage and bravery needed to get up on a stage and perform, not just once, but three times, in front of your friends, peers, teachers and parents AND they KILLED it. I may or may not have cried tears--I was so overwhelmed with pride and excitement for these kiddos. They may not make it into the finals as there was some stiff competition at the 4th grade level BUT they won top spot in my heart & should be so proud of what they accomplished. Job well done Team 24k Magic.

Monday, May 14, 2018

THAT TOOK FOREVER--Peace Out First Tooth

Seven year and 8 days later and his FIRST tooth finally fell out.

Kaden had a pretty epic first tooth story - he lost it at the lake but not only at the lake but IN the lake. So, Logan needed his own. Not only did it take 2563 days for it to fall out which is pretty epic in it's own right but it happened at the ball fields. On the 14th of May wearing number 14.

In the 2nd inning he called me over in a panic and showed me that it was "sooooo" lose. It was actually bleeding--totally ready to come out but he did not want me to pull it. "No, Mom. I'm not ready." and off he ran back onto the field. The entire time he was covering 2nd he was fiddling with it. I ran to the bathroom and got a few napkins on my way back thinking that maybe he would use them to pull the darn thing but before I could get them over to him, he was yelling it was out! And showing everyone his tooth in the dugout---one would think there would be a gaping hole but there isn't, that darn shark tooth is already there. 

I won't lie either--I'm kind of sad that he lost his first tooth and I think part of the reason why it took so long for him to lose it was partly because I wasn't ready for it. I LOVE his little baby smile with his baby teeth and now, that cute little smile that once was will be no more. I'm sure his new smile will be cute in it's own way but it's just another way where life is reminding me just how quick the years go by. And I don't like it. Next thing I know, he'll be too big for me to hold in my arms and that will be a very sad day for this sentimental momma.

After we got home from the baseball game we put his tooth in a baggie & I placed it under his pillow. He was a little sad that he didn't lose it at school because he really wanted to get the "tooth necklace" from the nurse but I reminded him that the tooth fairy couldn't come if it wasn't under his pillow. 

He woke up to two dollars that looked as though they were covered in fairy dust & his tooth was gone. Before I know it, his mouth will be full of holes & the tooth fairy will be working overtime.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mother's Day 2018

Every single day is Mother's Day. 

No seriously, I mean, it is the one word that I hear the most day in and day out.

"Mom, can you get me my underwear and clothes?"

"Mom, can you get me something to drink?"

"Mom, can we go outside and play?"

Mom. Mom. Mom.

I love being a mom, don't get me wrong. It is the hardest yet the most rewarding role that I fill. I've been blessed with the best kids too -- I'm sure every mom says that -- but I have. Kaden and Logan make my world go round. I may have a few more grey hairs these days than before they came along but that's a small price to pay for the amount of joy and love they give.With that being said, Mother's Day is the one day that I don't want to hear "Mom" all day long, I want a few hours where I am someone else than "Mom"---I MOM HARD ALL DAY, I DESERVE ONE DAY or a few hours.

So, for Mother's Day, I plan my day and for the past few years it has consisted of a double feature at the movies with one of my best friends. This year was no different BUT I had somewhere to be first for brunch, so for the morning, I "Mom'd". 

Janet and Craig made brunch reservations for all of us at GasLight Grill, that was Craig's three daughters and their families and then the whole South clan too. It was a wonderful start to the day but when 10:35 rolled around, I was out--I had an 11:00 date with popcorn.


Movies this year weren't as easy to choose as previous years, there just weren't a lot out that were getting good reviews. Two that were, Blockers and Tully and we found a way to make them both work. Typically we like to enjoy one movie that makes us laugh & another that makes our hearts swell or requires us to think about life a little deeper. I promised Jennifer that I would meet her at the theater at 11:00 and that I would be there before the movie started and I walked in to a completely empty theater as the previews started. Since it was empty, we were able to chat for a little bit before settling in for the movie. 

Blockers--hilarious. It certainly footed the bill for laughter.

We had a few minutes in between movies so we grabbed a quick drink.

And then we settled in for Tully. Now, Tully, great, GREAT acting. Was kind of left with lots of questions, like--what's going on and then to be followed by, did that just happen. Great movie, one that really shines a spotlight on a much needed topic, just not 100% where I thought they were going.

After the movies ended we headed back to our families. When I got home the boys were quietly playing but immediately asked to go outside. Justin had made dinner per my request & as soon as we ate, we headed outside to play a little kickball in the driveway. At bedtime I spent a few minutes with each of the boys thanking them for my Mother's Day gift -- a record player -- and telling them what I love most about them and how happy I was to be their mommy. 

& it wasn't over, the next day I capped off the Mother's Day celebration with a Mother's Day Read In with my favorite 1st grader. I love this tradition that our school has, I got to spend my lunch with him on a picnic blanket reading Captain Underpants. No where else I would have rather been.