Saturday, June 30, 2018

June Extras

We celebrated Brodi's heavenly birthday this month. 

Taking it old school.

Baseball and Bubbles

Homemade Popsicles.

A little one on one time at the pool.

Gus has a thing for shadows.

They've missed each other so much during the daytime.

Office progress.

Gus turns ONE!

Saturday, June 23, 2018


Another Newman wedding. 

This time the youngest Newman son was getting married, Zach. Zach is Justin's 2nd cousin, he's first cousins with Zach's dad Mark but we are closer in age with their boys. Chad and Morgan got married last August -- Logie was the ring bearer -- and then Corey and Jordan got married last September. 

Zach and Bethany were getting married in Warrensburg, MO -- about an hour or so drive from our house--the only catch, I was riding solo with my boys. Justin was in the Great Lenexa BBQ Battle & sadly would not be able to attend the wedding but the boys and I could, so we did. I think they secretly loved being my dates for the wedding--I mean, how handsome are they?! & they both picked out their outfits, from head to toe. Kaden even picked out my shoes.

The wedding was gorgeous but we all know the reception is where all the fun is had. And this wedding reception site was just perfect for the boys -- they love to dance, they love playing games, LOVE photo booths, and they love the Newman boys--all three of them. 

And when I say they love to dance, I mean, can't-drag-them-off-the-dance-floor-loves-to-dance. Kaden and Grammy danced to Cupid's Shuffle. Kaden danced the Mother/Son dance with me after first giving me the Heisman and me forcing Logan to the dance floor with me but before the song was over, Kaden was asking to step in & he danced with me not only for the remainder of that song, but the next one too. By far the highlight of my evening. 

Logan tried to cut in on Craig but instead they just welcomed him to the party.

And then their song played, 24k Magic by Bruno Mars -- they had been waiting all evening, well, Logan had. Kaden wasn't so certain he'd dance to it but when the time came, he was ALL IN. 

And though they only danced for the first 2:30 seconds of the song, after I stopped recording they just kept going and so did the screams! It was the perfect way to end our time at the wedding-we said our goodbyes to the family & to the bride and groom -- who seem like they couldn't be more perfect for one another--and headed back home. Not always fun going to a family wedding without your husband--especially one you marry into BUT this family--well, there's never a dull moment and they've always made me feel like family from day one and now they'll do the same for Bethany.

Friday, June 22, 2018

The Great Lenexa BBQ Battle

For the past of the couple of years Justin and his buddies, the Pitt Smokers, have competed in The Great Lenexa BBQ Battle and this year was no exception. I won't lie, I like it when the compete in smaller scale events so that they have a better chance of winning but this competition, but this is the exception. The Great Lenexa BBQ Battle is a party. A great big party on Friday night filled with kids activities, live music and, of course, delicious food. 

So the boys and I headed up on Friday night to show Justin our support. Thankfully we had Grammy with us too and she came with a parking pass that got us FRONT row parking and for this event, that may be better than GOLD. It wasn't just the boys, Grammy and I that came out either, the whole South clan was there. Plus, CG and Jay's families & some wonderful friends too.

We weren't able to stay too long because we had a busy Saturday ahead of us but it was fun not only seeing everyone but the weather was gorgeous as it was somewhat cool enough for me to need a jacket as the sun started to set. Last year, not so much.

So, how did Pitt Smokers do? Pretty good actually. They didn't have any top 10 finishes BUT Justin's brisket finished 27th and overall they finished 35th--and they would have been happy to finish in the top half so this was icing on the cake.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Father's Day at the Lake

One of Justin's favorite places in the world is at the lake house. I don't disagree with him, it's pretty dang special so it certainly came as no surprise when he wanted to spend his Father's Day weekend at his favorite place in the world. 

Father's Day ends up being one of the weekends where family doesn't end up coming down with us and instead, we invite friends. This year the Kufeldts were able to join. The Kufeldts have become great friends over the last few years--well, ever since Logan and Drake were in kindergarten together. Now all three boys play baseball together so not only do we get to see them all the time, but we all genuinely enjoy being around each other--or at least the Souths do! 

We arrived with a few hours of daylight to spare the kids headed straight for the water.

And although it was a later than usual night the kids were up at the crack of dawn ready to go. So back out we went--fishing and paddle boards were the first requests. The bigs did the paddling while the littles sat and "navigated"--everyone was happy.

And then it became a free for all--some where on the Maui Mat, some where jumping off the dive platform, others were taking a ride on the Sea Doo, all while the adults sat and watched over.

She's a grand old flag....

This summer a new lake tradition was created, unknowingly. Over Memorial Day weekend Colton and Adam brought back a huge piece of driftwood from the out in the lake. We joked that it was their treasure find -- really they were just clearing it out of the way. Justin decided to one up them and bring back an even larger piece & then they took home the trophy for the weekend by bringing home the tiniest little turtle--how they ever spotted that in the water while they were driving I will never understand. Fast forward to Father's Day weekend and the treasure hunt continued. A few pieces of driftwood only to be topped by a fish-- a dead fish -- thanks Kevin and Drake. In the end, my girl Aubrey and I took home the win with this boat flag which we found in the middle of the channel. Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner! 

This picture is everything. It described our time at the lake perfectly. Kaden on the go, Aubrey ready channeling her inner thrill seeker, Drake taking it all in & Logan smiling.

The real reason though we were all the lake was to celebrate these two rad dads. Pretty sure we are some of the luckiest kids and wives around.

Thankful for the wonderful friends our kids have made and the parents we inherited due with those new friendships--it's kind of like it was always meant to be.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Another Building Block-STP

building blocks - a basic unit of which something is built. 

About 4 or 5 months ago I learned of a summer camp through a friend of mine from California. She and her family are originally from the KC area but have relocated to California. Not only do we both love our kiddos immensely BUT we both have kiddos with ADHD, and their both our oldest. She and I were exchanging experiences and really, just being there for one another when she mentioned a camp that they were looking into in KC for the summer. They were actually going to move back to KC for 7 weeks so that her son could attend. I asked a few more questions and then started looking into it myself. The camp, well, it was a summer treatment program for ADHD--one that took treatment above and beyond just medication. The best part of it all, it's put on by his own doctors within the Children's Mercy ADHD clinic and we had an upcoming appointment where I could ask lots and lots of questions. And I did. I left that appointment knowing that we needed to do whatever it took to provide Kaden with this opportunity. It was a large financial commitment and a large time commitment. It would also mean that the boys would spend the majority of the summer apart, something that neither of them would be super stoked for. However, the benefits of what this camp could offer to our family, especially for Kaden, were to great to ignore. So we would figure it out and we started the enrollment process & then we waited. For what seemed like FOREVER!

On March 22nd we got our welcome letter and I cried as I read through it. For the first time in a while a feeling of hope was starting to stir. And it's not like we ever lost hope, this just brought another level of hope our way. I went home that evening, sat both boys down and explained how the summer would look for our family. Both boys had the fear of missing out -- how could they not, but we talked about how this is something that we really needed to do for our family. That this was ONE summer & that there will be time at the beginning of summer and at the end of summer for lots of fun together. I'm not sure if everyone was 100% on board BUT we didn't have a lot of push back after that.

We've been praying for God to show us a way, not THE way, just a way. A way for us to provide some building blocks for Kaden. He has the most gentle and kindest heart but sadly, his brain gets in the way more often than not and most people, don't get to see that side of him. Ever since he was little we called him light switch, lovingly, but still light switch. He was either on or he was off. When he was younger he was on more often than not but as he grew older and started dealing with a wider range emotions, it became apparent that he didn't have the same tools that everyone else had to learn and deal with these emotions in a thoughtful, productive way. So we started to ask questions of his pediatrician which led to an 18 month journey before we officially were able to diagnose him with ADHD. The journey didn't stop there, with the diagnoses came more peaks and valleys. That first 9 months after his diagnosis we went through three different medications and two of those had two different dosages and we still haven't found the right match for him but we have learned is that we gotta keep pushing for answers and fighting to set Kaden up for success. And this camp, well, it's us fighting. It's us putting Kaden's needs first. It's us trying to ensure that he has access to the tools needed to do every day life. Now, don't get me wrong, Kaden can do everyday life but it just doesn't come as easy as it does for others. He's impulsive and doesn't think decisions through. He's an emotionally intense child who puts a lot of unnecessary worry and pressure on his shoulders. It's black or white. It's success or failure. There's no in between in Kaden's mind. However, with the help of medication, Kaden has been able to slow his mind down, trick his mind if you will into allow him to think before acting. To understand that losing a game isn't the end of the world and that we may actually learn something valuable from losing. And this camp, is to help provide him with tools and resources that he can draw upon during all parts of the day, especially when his medication is not within his system. This camp or summer program if you will, will help develop his problem-solving and social skills, and help him gain the social awareness needed to enable him to get along better with other kids. It will help hone his abilities to follow through with instructions and complete tasks and will help improve his learning skills and academic performance and most importantly, at least to us, increase his self-esteem. 

But the camp isn't just for Kaden, it's for Justin and I too. We will be taught how to take what he is learning at camp and implement it into our daily lives once camp is over. They will work with us to help change unacceptable behavior at home, reduce the non-complaint and disruptive behaviors that we see. And most importantly to us, improve his relationship with us and with Logan. Again, we have a very LOVING relationship and I know he loves me, his dad and his brother but there is always room for growth when it comes to the bond between a parent and child and then between brothers.

That friend of mine that told me about the program, well, sadly they were not able to attend--reasons that are really out of anyone's control--but it does make me think about the timing of things. How I wasn't even aware of this program before speaking to her, someone that lives in California, and we even had been seeing the exact doctors that brought the program to KC. I think this was God's way of showing us a way. He placed her into my life again at that moment in time to lead me to where we are today. If not for her, we wouldn't have found this program and been able to give Kaden this opportunity. An opportunity that I am learning from so many has life changing implications. I've had a number of wonderful parents who have heard about or been a part of this program before who told us just how excited they were for us and how amazing their experience was. It's so hard trying to keep my hopes in check with all the amazing things we have heard but in the end, if he is able to just show more of his sweet and kind heart, it will be a win. Building blocks.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Tournament Time for the Aces

It was baseball tournament time- The Legends Tournament. This was the 2nd for the boys--the first was in freezing weather and now this one was basically in record highs. That wasn't slowing the boys down though. For the Aces the tournament started off on Friday night and pool play continued Saturday morning. Bracket play would be on Sunday after pool play had wrapped up.

We went into the tournament with no real expectations. There were 15 teams in our division. The boys took the field both Friday and Saturday and although we didn't have the results we would have liked to have seen, there was no denying that these boys weren't figuring it out. They played some really good defense but their bats just weren't working. Honestly, it's where we as a team have been struggling. So we went 0-2 in pool play and got seeded #13 for Sunday bracket play. 

Our first game was scheduled for 11:30 that Sunday morning and we would be taking on the #12 seeded team. Winning team advances. Losing team goes home. We knew we could play better than the day before, we just needed both sides of the ball to come together. 

Kaden started off in the pitching position & Logan was in right field. But we didn't take the field first, no we would be the visiting team from here on out so we were up to bat first. More specifically, Logan was up to bat first - and he rocked that lead off position. He didn't let the fact that he was at least, if not more, than a year younger than most all of these kids get in his head. He stepped up to that plate and the kid did what he needed to do. He didn't bat 1000 but he went 3 for 4 that first game, with his brother right on his heels. 

Aces ended up taking that first game 9-5 and the advanced to the semi-final match up.

We were playing the Bulldogs. & the boys were positioned just as they were the first game of that day. Same line-up, same positions. We were keeping our fingers crossed that we would start the game just like we had finished the last one, on fire. And they did. Logan going 2 for 4 and Kaden going 3 for 4. Logan having some amazing throw-ins from the outfield to hold runners from advancing. Kaden knocking down and throwing out a handful of batters at first with Cade's assist. 

Aces took game two of the day 21-13. They were advancing to the championship game. Boys were stoked. Coaches were stoked. Families were stoked.

Honestly, we weren't expecting to be playing in the championship, we kind of thought that we were going to be one and done. Not because the boys are giving it their all and aren't a good little team but because our competition up until this point has been tough--we've gotten zero breaks when it comes to our schedule and who we play. But that's how it goes and we are all still learning and growing.

The championship game was going to be one of those moments of growth. We were playing a team that we had already played in the regular season who rocked us. It wasn't pretty. So we kind of knew the outcome would not go in our favor but that didn't stop the boys from going out and giving it their all. There were frustrations and disappointments from some of our boys, Kaden included. He struggles with success vs. failure and not being able to see that it doesn't have to be just one or the other that there is space in the middle between the two. So he got down on himself and pulling him out of that rut is hard. And when the game was over, he and a few of his other teammates were not happy about the scoreboard -- one kid two out of the park home runs generating 7 run there alone. In the end, the Aces fell to the Silverbacks BUT they still took home 2nd place.
Once the boys realized that they got 2nd in the tournament which meant a nice wooden bat for the team and individual medals they were all smiles again.

It may have been hotter than we would have liked but the day was just as long as we had hoped it would be. Such a fun weekend watching these boys grow in so many ways -- their faces show their pride but they don't even begin to show how proud their parents are of them.

This team has created a little family over the last two seasons and it's one that we are very fortunate to be a part of. Such great kids, coaches, and families who not only want to teach the boys' baseball skills but also life skills and how to have fun doing it.