Sunday, August 26, 2018

Level UP - NINE

It was time for another South birthday party. Kaden was turning NINE!

We had talked about what kind of birthday party he'd like to have and I threw out the idea of a mobile gaming truck. I wasn't sure how they really worked but they looked like fun and he seemed thrilled with the idea. We booked it and decided our theme would be Level Up - a gaming theme. 

Finding a date though was a little harder, we didn't want it too far out from his birthday but his birthday also coincides with Labor Day each year. I was afraid to choose a Saturday because the baseball schedules weren't out yet and everyone else has activities on Saturdays too. So we went with a Sunday afternoon, after baseball practice. He decided that he wanted to invite all of his baseball team, his cousin Colton, our buddy Nathan and then a friend from school. I figured the boys would be sweaty and dirty anyways from baseball so being outside for another 2 hours wasn't going to make a difference and would even maybe allow us to take it up another notch.

The first thing out of Kaden's mouth on Sunday morning was, "Mom, do you have something to say to me today? Like, happy birthday party day, Kaden!" "That's right, it is today, isn't it? Well, happy birthday party day, Kaden. It's going to be a wonderful day, I am sure of it." 

And it was. 

The guest were all boys, except one special little girl who Kaden just adores.

Party prepping was relative easy for this party. We would have cake, Fanta Floats and a popcorn barn. They would hang out and play video games for an hour before singing happy birthday & then we would shoo them back out the door to have a little color powder war. 

But first, the cake. We all know by now that I try and make/decorate a cake for the boys' birthdays. I've done a bowling cake, a Smore's cake, a Pokemon cake and a number of simply cakes with sprinkles and their age on it but it seems like with each and every cake I do, I try and stretch my limits. Since gaming was the theme Kaden and I talked about pulling together a few Mario references and Pokemon and then he suggested something called Roblox. Here goes nothing. 

I Pinterested a few idea and then Friday night I got to baking--4 round cakes.

Saturday I stacked two round cakes on top of on another and then cut the other two in squares and placed them on top of the larger circle cakes. We attended a friend's of Kaden and Logan's birthday party & when I got home I dove right into icing. This is where it all started falling apart. the top layer was NOT having it. I could not for the life of me get any icing to stick and I was just try to do a simple crumb coat. So into the trash it went & I proceeded with just the two round cakes. I could still make this work and explained to Kaden what our new plan was -- Mario only. Cool was his response. Good enough for me. 

I mixed up two large batches of icing and went to town. Started with two colors of green for the rolling hills. moved to yellow and white for the stars and parts of the mushrooms. Fill in the red and then finished it off with the blue. I didn't get fully finished until after Kaden had gone to bed but when he woke up he was AMAZED at his cake. Logan told me I was an excellent cake maker. 

Those comments made the time and my sore hand all worth it.

We slapped a few Mario characters on it -- Kaden was Luigi for Halloween last year so Luigi made the cake and Mario would have made it too if not for his missing nose! The other characters that we had bought to use on the cake found homes being used as decorations.

Since the party was after baseball practice that gave me 2 hours to get everything pulled together with a quite house. Say what?! That 2 hours went by so quickly and before I knew it, the mobile gaming truck with Sky's The Limit Mobile Gaming was arriving and our ball players and friends were right behind him. The set up was perfect for these boys -- all very anxious to get to playing.

I limited the games to game which EVERYONE can play. No shooting, no blood, no violence. There were few grumbles at the beginning but once they were inside they were totally mesmerized by all the TV and game choices.

They even had a VR -- and now that is exactly what this kid wants for Christmas.

I had decided to schedule the truck for an hour, thought that maybe two hours would be too much and they would lose interest, WHAT WAS I THINKING. The boys LOVED everything about it, as did Justin and I -- so easy to keep track of them and someone else was in charge of implementing rules.

Once our hour was up we headed inside to sing Kaden Happy Birthday. This is usually where I grab a picture of Justin and I with Kaden and one of him with his cake. And, although this picture works, I had to steal it from a video that I took. And well, the one with Justin & I will just have to come later.

Once the boys were all nice and sugared up on cake, ice cream and popcorn -- we got them changed into their white shirts and safety glasses, we headed outside for a little color war. A few boys weren't so sure about the whole color war thing but once it got going there was no turning back and they went for it. Thankfully they followed directions and did not get any adults that were standing nearby. 

I look at this picture and I am instantly reminded of just how lucky Kaden is to be surrounded by wonderful family, friends and buddies. These kiddos represent different parts of his life and don't all know each other but you'd would have never known that from the party. They are the most welcoming group of kiddos and their only goal is to have the best time possible. 

Goal obtained.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

So it begins-Kid Pitch

It's baseball time again but this time around it's a whole lot different.

But before I get to that -- there's this. A picture that Alyssa, Rachel and I have been trying to get for two seasons now but hey, we got it and on game one for fall ball.

So fall ball--why so different this year. The boys have entered the kid pitch world. Kid pitch doesn't just mean that kids are pitching, it also means they can lead off, steal, drop third strike comes into play, & pick runners off. We weren't really sure how this season was going to go -- we decided to commit to the competitive league again but hoping to drop down a division since last season didn't go as well as we had hoped. Thankfully, it looks like we are matched with teams more on our level. 

Three things I have learned already. 

1. The games are FOREVER LONG. This is mainly because walks are in play now and if you don't have a pitcher that can consistently throw strikes you end up walking 7 runs in. 

2. The boys are LOVING it. Although the games are longer and lack a lot of action, the boys end up paying more attention. They are leading off and have to watch the pitcher to get back to the bag if he tries to pick them off. They are watching the pitcher for his release and then taking a bigger lead to possibly steal. They have a little more time in between each play to gather their thoughts or emotions and to shake off mistakes. 

3. I'm a nervous wreck during games. I keep score for the team through GameChanger, which keeps some of my anxiousness at bay but that first time they both stepped into the box I almost couldn't handle it. Heart was pounding so fast. & then came the moment that I knew would happen, Kaden was called in to pitch. I had to step away from the field. I handed my duties off to another mother and I backed away -- still in sight to watch him warm up but far enough away to let him do his thing without me coaching him. I actually FaceTimed my mom because I wasn't going to be a ball of nerves by myself, she made me move closer so she could see better. He only had to face one batter, either he would walk him and the 7th run would cross the plate or he would strike him out and that would be our third out. He struck him out but we dropped the ball on the third strike and weren't able to capture the out. I know there will be another time he's in the game pitching & I'll still be a nervous wreck but you know who wasn't--Kaden. 

& Logan, he keeps surprising us all. He doesn't care that he's a year younger, he can hang with these guys. He played right field and stopped a huge hit, keeping the batter to a single and saving a run. He had his best hit, maybe ever & was the cutest third baseman you ever did see. He would cover the bag when a runner was at 2nd or 3rd and then as Cade would pitch he jump off and cover the field like it needed to be. He may have thrown in a few floss moves here and there too.

Aces have started off strong with a 2-0 record. Most importantly, they're having fun.

Thursday, August 16, 2018


A first and a last all in the same day. First day of second grade for Logan and third grade for Kaden but it was their last "first" day at Cedar Creek Elementary. See, a new elementary school is being built closer to us so the boys will finish out their elementary years there. Cool little fact, it's all CCE - Canyon Creek Elementary, so at least we can save all of our spirit wear.

We had a few nervous jitters to start the morning out but by the time they sat down for breakfast those were long gone. They were so excited to see all their friends they had missed over the summer. We started off this school year just like we finished off last school year--with a hot breakfast. Two circle cakes for our second grader and three for our third grader.

This morning we decided that we would venture over to one of our buddies' homes and walk with him to school. This particular buddy just moved into our school district and was starting his first year at CCE, the boys didn't want him to have to walk up to school alone on that first day. But first---we had to grab a few pictures of this monumental day.

They kind of fought me on their outfits--mainly their shorts as they both wanted to wear gym shorts but I wouldn't budge. I told them that there were only two days that I would pick out their clothes for--first day of school and class pictures, everything else was their call. Unless of course it was cold and I told them to add a few layers. That did the trick though, they put on their smiles and we got it done.

Justin had a work call that he had to be on at 7 that morning and we weren't sure if he be done by the time that we were leaving so Kaden & Logan stepped in and became the photographer. I'm still not that great about handing the phone to someone else and capturing me with the boys but I'm working on it. And as luck would have it, Justin's call ended right before we were loading up and he jumped in a picture with the boys too--the boys were pretty excited that he made it.

As we started to make our way around to the front of the school, Logan saw one of his besties walking up and the biggest smile appeared on both of their faces. Followed by each of them shouting the other's name and big waves. They ran towards each other and Seph's momma grabbed this shot. Melt my heart into a million pieces.

And then we made it to the doors and friends were everywhere. At one time I had lost Kaden, he had already gone inside due to the excitement but then he reappeared. We snapped one last picture, both boys gave me a kiss and off they went to what we all hope to be a fabulous year at CCE. 

The next morning brought another set of firsts and lasts. First ride of the school year on the bus but last year to ride a bus until middle school. The boys picked out their own outfits from head to toe. Socks and all! Logan's shirt was one that he made with Emily and Drake that read Drake is my best friend and then Kaden asked that I make him one that read, My mom and dad are the coolest. 

Hard to believe that Kaden is halfway through elementary school and that Logan is right behind him! 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

On to SECOND and THIRD grade...

It seems like the summer flew by. Like so fast & before I knew it, I was out on the driveway with chalk for a fourth year in a row. Second grade for Logan and third grade for Kaden---like what?!?

 & we couldn't send them off to start a new school year without checking out their new classrooms and meeting their teachers at sneak-a-peek. I had told them both before I left for work that morning that they needed to be showered and dressed nicely before we are able to leave and head to the school. I got home, Emily, our nanny, already had them showered and they got themselves dressed. Socks and all. I smiled and decided it really didn't matter that I didn't like their socks. They did.

Logan sadly didn't have any of his besties in his class this year but he was still excited for the school year to begin because he had some friends in his class that he didn't have last year. He drew Mrs. Neuschafer and we just know a wonderful year lies ahead for him. That evening he had to pick out his super power and he picked out Math and Kindness. He nailed it.

Kaden drew Mrs. McGraw and lucked out and had a couple of buddies from last year in his class again this year. He was hoping for his buddy Cade who would not be attending CCE to be in his class but sadly that didn't work out. I'd love to say next year but there won't be a next year at this CCE. His class size is pretty small compared to the other third grade classes with only 18 but it's due to the size of this specific room and honestly, I love that. Kaden feeds off of positive reinforcement and more one on one time and this will lend well to that. He's excited to take third grade by the horns and we are so very excited to watch it happen. 

Sunday, August 12, 2018

LOTO Season's Final Hurrah

We knew we had to get one last lake weekend in before summer came to a close so we headed down the weekend right before school was back in session. The boys are the perfect ages for lake weekends--they can chill in the cabin by themselves or they can join us at the dock. They can fish or they can nap. It also makes for a great age to start making memories with friends so we invited some of our favorites to the cabin--the Kufeldts and the Clelands sans tiny raptors plus Emily and Tyler.

The majority of us arrived around sunset on Friday evening and we got the house and beds organized before sending the kids off to bed. Although up late we all knew it would be an early morning for the kiddos---they gave us till 7. 

And then it was pedal to the medal for the rest of the day. They laughed. They wrestled. They chased after Emily and Tyler. They didn't stop moving or eating until it was lights out for the cabin.

Come Sunday morning the kids were exhausted & the majority of us were needing to get home so the kiddos played for a little while and the moms got the cabin cleaned and the cars packed. Before we jumped in the cars we grabbed a few pictures from the dock---I mean, it is what I do.

We may have had 13 people staying in a 2 bedroom, one bath cabin (sleeps way more than you think) but never once did it feel like it was too much. We were all able to relax and just enjoy one another's company. Us moms, we didn't hear "mom, get in with me" once time. The dad's didn't hear "fish with me" one time either. Although Emily and Tyler didn't go with us to babysit, the kids just gravitated towards them & them towards the kids. By far was one of the best weekends we've ever had at the lake. It's impossible to put a price tag on friendships like these. 

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Chiefs Training Camp 2018

A few months back my brother called and asked what we were doing the first weekend of August. I didn't even need to ask which day because I already knew that I would be out of town on work--it happens pretty much every August for the last 6 years. I explained that I had a work event and he continued to explain how they were coming up for Chiefs Training Camp. I hated missing it. I hated the boys missing it but then LIGHT BULB! I needed someone to watch the kids and my MIL was out of the country--enter MOM! She said yes and they made plans to join Zack and Lindsey as well. My parents came up on Friday night-drove separately-and then early Saturday morning, like 6:30 a.m. they took off for St. Joe.

Justin was torn--he was excited to spend a few days with me in Vegas but he really wanted to be at the camp too. He did the only thing he could and decked the boys out in new jerseys. And just in case you were wondering, it's about a $25 jump from a kids large to a YOUTH small. Both boys picked out their numbers---Logan at first said Tyreek Hill but then changed when Justin and I both told him who #15 was. (Turns out, the kid may have known what he was talking about.) 

Zack and Lindsey had spent a few days at Great Wolf Lodge and on Friday night decided to stay in St. Joe so they were closer to the training camp & wouldn't have to get up so early. However, sleeping in a hotel room with two kiddos under 6 isn't the easiest so they got up and around, headed to the fields and claimed their spots for the next few hours. 

The kids were troopers but they still needed to move around a little so they found the Kids Zone & then a few cheerleaders & KC Wolf along the way. Madison was in heaven. 

Finally, it was time. Autograph time. The boys were hoping that they would be able to get a few autographs from any of their players. Top of their lists (everyone else's lists too) Travis Kelce, Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill. Well, one out of three, isn't too shabby. 

Tyreek Hill came over to Kaden, signed his hat and then asked to borrow his pen for a little while. Mom said Kaden's eyes got real big like, what if I need it, but Tyreek assured Kaden multiple times that he would bring his pen back. So Kaden agreed. He watched closely as Tyreek went down the line signing autographs, worried he'd forget BUT he didn't. He came back to Kaden, thanked Kaden for letting him use his pen and posed for a picture too. 


Maybe Logan was right, a #10 jersey signed would have been pretty sweet. 

They also managed to snag Demarcus Robinson's autograph too & get McDonald's on the way home. These two were starting their weekend off right--spoiled to the core.