Monday, December 31, 2018

NYE 2019

We've kind of changed up our New Year plans over the last couple of years and not because we don't love who we were spending it with --- actually quite the opposite. It has to do more with logistics and wanting to stay close to home. Gone our the days were either of us like to wake up the next morning feeling like poo and here are the days where we wake up and spend another day as a family together before heading back to reality. So when our dear friends planned to do a repeat of their party from the year before -- we were in. It's a block down the street in our neighborhood and if we didn't make it to midnight, there would be zero hard feelings plus we could be home to let the dogs out one last time & sleep in our own beds.

And it was all about being comfy. Win. Win.

We arrived a little after 7 -- we decided to start a little later and have the kids already fed so they could go straight into painting and playing. Another great decision by the Shafers. And I loved that they have continued with the painting theme---basically, we each paint our favorite memory from the year. Logan painted Max, his new lizard he got from Santa. Kaden painted Russell, his new fish -- pretty sure that was just top of mind, I painted our trip to watch the Chiefs play the Rams for Justin's favorite memory (I guessed right) and then for me it was watching the boys play baseball together this last season. It was there last together and it was so special. 

The boys had their annual game of poker which meant two days later we were ordering our own chips so that we could play at home too. 

The parents played their annual game of What the MEME. And we laughed and laughed and laughed. Until Travis and Jenn were winning EVERY SINGLE ROUND.  

& before we knew it, midnight was here. We gathered the boys, we all got our noise makers and our poppers and we counted it down. 

& then we all gathered around the pot for our New Years Resolutions. We wrote three. 1 to share. 1 to burn. 1 to tuck away. 

The shared ones for the Souths were:
Justin - To spend more time with the Palangies and the Shafers
Kayla - To read more. For myself and the boys. 
Kaden - To not be as mean.
Logan - To become a better football player. 

& then we shared hugs all around and said our goodbyes. It was the perfect end to 2018 and the perfect start to 2019. It's going to be a GREAT year.  

Friday, December 28, 2018

Let's Go To the Movies x5

I love going to the movies and thankfully the boys do too. So, winter break we decided to fit as many movies as we could in. We kicked off winter break with Spiderman: Into the Spider-verse with our buddy Jax. Super cute movie, one of my favorite Spiderman movies actually. 

The following day we headed out to see Mary Poppins with some of our favorite people. Mary Poppins is one of my all time favorite movies so the fact that it was being remade and Emily Blunt was going to star in it, made it at the top of my must see movies in 2018. It is also at the top of the BEST movies I've seen in 2018 and maybe in the last few years. It was that good.

The day after Christmas was over I went and saw two movies back to back with my good friend--Instant Family and The Green Book. Both great movies but Instant Family was another winner, you'll laugh, you'll cry and it will make you think. Like really think. 

After we said good-bye to Grandma Sara and Madison we went and saw The Grinch -- the boys enjoyed it, to me it was the story line just with better graphics. Cindy Lou Who was pretty darn cute. I ended up falling asleep a couple times--it was a tough one.

& then the boys got to see Bumblebee with Grammy & they said it was AWESOME--won't lie, I kind of wanted to see that too but they said they would watch it again when it comes out On Demand.

Kids - 4, Mom-5

It was a good winter break.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Special Guests

Since I had a number of days off from work during the holidays we figured that we would spend some time down South at Grandma Sara's and Papa Tom's BUT then Grandma Sara mentioned coming to KC and bringing Madison with her. The boys loved the idea and so did Madison so the day after Christmas they made their way to KC and we ventured out on a few adventures.

We started our Thursday at Union Station & right off the bat they were amazed by the grandness of the dinosaur and well, I knew it would make for the perfect picture.

Grandma Sara LOVED the giant Christmas tree and I loved how quiet it was -- we got there nice and early to hopefully avoid any of the holiday crowds. We didn't have an agenda, the only thing we knew we wanted to do was eat at the "train place" and recapture a picture that we took 4 years go at the other "train place". So we just wandered and for the most part, the kiddos were troopers. We had one incident but it wasn't with the kids, it was with a VERY rude worker who was stationed at the kid train in Union Station. The kids wanted to ride the train, it was $5 so my mom said sure and handed them each a $5 bill. They were the second set of kiddos in line. As Kaden handed his money to the first worker, she took and he proceeded and then another lady came up grabbed him by the shoulders and then shoved him to the side stating he was too big for this. I stepped up to see what the issue was just as the biggest alligator tears filled his eyes. I asked for his money, assured the other two to go on and then questioned why they said he was too big as there is ZERO mention of an age or height requirement ANYWHERE. She continued with the same horrible attitude with me and I just looked at her and said, "he's a kid, you could have handled this in a much nicer and understanding way." 

Thankfully, the train was a bust anyways---not a single kid was smiling but guess where that peach of a lady was, riding on top of the train.

Grandma allowed Kaden to keep his money and we Snapchatted as Logan and Madison rode the train. We were happy to leave that little incident behind us. Guess it sucks getting bigger when your little too. 

We had a full day at Union Station and Crown Center so we decided to spend the evening at home and bring in a little Joe's KC and Grandma Sara watched a little Teen Titan's Go to the Movies--she's a saint, I can't stand that show. We knew our time was coming to an end so we decided to send Grandma Sara and Madison off with a bang -- we took them to one of the newer donut places in the city -- Duck Donuts. These donuts are warm and made to order. They melted in your mouth and was the perfect way to end our little adventure with Grandma Sara and Miss Madison. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas Morning--Just us & Max

When we decided to have kids one of the things that we both felt strongly about was Christmas morning. We would go to sleep on Christmas Eve night in OUR home and the kids would wake up and experience the magic of Christmas in their own home. They'd run down the stairs with great big eyes filled busting at the seems with excitement to see what Santa had brought for them. 

& that is exactly what we have done. I thought Christmas as a little girl was magical, it has nothing on Christmas' now. Watching the boys light up with joy, excitement and thankfulness--there's no better feeling. Magical.

This year we took the family pjs to the next level - and got matching pjs. This may have to be a new tradition as I didn't really get out of mine the entire day except when the South family came over and then as soon as they left, the pjs went back on. 

But back to running down the stairs -- we have a rule on Christmas morning. They have to wait until at 6 am and they can't go downstairs without coming in and waking us up. Justin and I wake up, get a few things done & then we head downstairs so that we can video their reactions & watch as their excitement turns to joy.

This Christmas was extra special as our family grew by 4 feet. Yup, Logan asked Santa for a lizard, a real one, & Santa did not disappoint him. He came down the stairs, turned the corner and headed straight for Max -- he had already named him, just in case he showed up. It was literally love at first site and since meeting Max, the rest of us have taken a backseat. Honestly, I'm okay with that -- their bond is pretty special and it needs to be, Max will be around for many, many, MANY years.

Kaden headed straight for his Vego Viro -- Santa had some extra help from some very special elves on tracking down this bad boy. It was the hot gift of the year but all the work that Santa and his elves put into tracking this down was worth it when he saw it.

Santa's gifts are among the highlights of the morning BUT the top highlight is when the boys exchange gifts. This was only our second year doing this but it's easily become one of my favorite traditions of the holiday. I take each boy shopping and give them a dollar limit they must stay within. This year they both were able to stay within that budget and simultaneously buy gifts that wouldn't fit in your average size box. They were both beyond proud of their work and so were Justin and I, they really chose gifts that they knew their brother would love. 

Kaden chose a skateboard for Logan. Logan choose a football and soccer ball for Kaden.

And the weather was so nice on Christmas that they were able to get out and play with their new toys. They spent as much time outside as they could this Christmas morning and it warmed my heart in so many ways. And if Logan wasn't outside learning how to ride his skateboard, he was inside keeping his eye on Max.

The best part of the day, just being with the boys, all three of them. We didn't have an agenda, we didn't have things that needed to be done at home, we just got to BE. To be with each other. To play games. To put puzzles together. To watch Christmas movies. To just be. It just doesn't happen as often as it should so when it does, we try and make the most of it and we did. It was another magical Christmas--for so many reasons. 

Monday, December 24, 2018

& To All A Good Night

 Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. 


Fishleg Hiccup Retires

This year marked the end of an era for the Souths. Our friendly little elf came Fishleg Hiccup was up for retirement. We, of course, didn't know this until Christmas Eve when he wrote the boys a sweet little note explaining what Santa had asked him to explain. 

The gist--Fishleg Hiccup had been with our family for 7 years and if an elf does a REALLY good job for 7 years then he can retire and live with his family FOREVER. However, he had to ask the family first, in our case, the boys. Fishleg Hiccup would of course never want to retire if the boys didn't want him to but him retiring meant there would be no more magic to get him to and from the North Pole & for hiding BUT that also meant they could hug him and hold him whenever they wanted. 

It was up to the boys.

They decided that 365 days with Fishleg Hiccup was way better than 30 something days with him. So on Christmas Eve he told Santa thank you one last time for allowing him to watch over the South boys and hung up his little elf hat. He was a South forever now.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

What a difference a year makes...

Well, they humored me again, I'm not sure how much longer that will happen but for now, I will cherish it. These just happen to be some of my favorite images I have taken of the boys.

I can't believe how much bigger the boys have gotten in just one years time. Still wearing the same jeans, they just fit better. Gone up a size in shirts and have gotten more particular about their hair. Same sweet boys though.



Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Naughty or Nice

Well it was time. Which list would they be on?

Logan had stuck with his wish since day one. A lizard. A real lizard. He marched right up there and told Santa exactly what he wanted & then Santa looked at me to ensure it was okay because when it comes to LIVE animals Santa needs the parent's approval. Justin and I both shook our heads that it was okay & Logan just beamed.

Kaden, well he had waffled back and forth between a phone (not happening) or this thing called a Viro Vega 2-in-1 scooter and bike. He decided he would go with that. 

They were both totally into it, hook, line and sinker. They loved visiting the North Pole again and loved getting to chat with Santa. Pretty sure next time we are going to need to stand next to Santa because they are looking a tad too big for his lap these days. 

Now, they just have to wait & see which side of the list they'll end up on.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Two turn Two

If December couldn't be busy enough with all the holiday fun -- we've got two cute little people who have birthdays--one on the 14th and the other on the 21st. & since they are December babies and their birthdays are closer to Christmas than not, their parties usually fall on the same day OR at least on the same weekend which was the case this year.

So we celebrated two of our favorite people turning two, two days in a row.

First up--Miss Kendall. She had the cutest little birthday party -- Minnie Mouse & it was so fitting because in October she went to Disney for the first time! We had to arrive late because Kaden and I had a ballgame from 1:30 to 2:30 and the party started at 2 but they were so kind and waited till we arrived to do cake and presents. As we walked up she first saw Justin and ran to hug him and then when she saw me she started dancing in place and ran her cute little tutu bottom over to me as quick as should could and she just gave me the biggest hug and didn't want to let go. I was 100% okay with that. She can latch onto me anytime she wants to.

And then on Sunday we road tripped down to Carthage to celebrate Trenton! We arrived a few hours early so that we could just hang with the family for a little bit--the birthday boy was napping but we got to hang with Papa Tom, Grandma Sara and Aunt Lindsey for awhile. Finally, the birthday boy arrived. He wanted nothing to do with any of us, just wanted to be with his daddy. I think he was still a little tired but Papa Tom was able to bribe him and he started to warm up to the rest of us. 

By the time we were ready to leave, he wasn't ready for us to leave. I mean, I had just taken him on multiple laps around the shed on his new bike---which thankfully was his last gift because he did NOT want to give that sucker up. Case in point--our picture had to include the bike.

So happy we made the round trip to celebrate the INCREDIBLE Trenton because in a matter of days we will be back down there to celebrate Christmas and maybe, just maybe it won't take so long for him to warm up. 

Happiest of SECOND birthdays Trenton Thomas.

Friday, December 14, 2018

A Trip to the North Pole

Well, we have made it through another Christmas with the boys still believing! It's still just as magical, maybe even more so this year because they are more into "why" or "how" something happens and we always turn it back to them with a "how do you think" or "why do you think" and they just go into these elaborate theories. So when I mentioned we were going to do Santa, they were of course stoked and ready with exactly what they were going to say. 

We knew we could be in for a wait at the North Pole (Bass Pro but the boys call it the North Pole--have for years, after all, it's where they see Santa!). We had two dates in mind, Wednesday the 19th when they got out of school or Friday the 14th right after school. I though that maybe since it was a Friday that it wouldn't be so busy right after school that families might make a night of it with lights and such and for the most part, I was right. We got there at 4:30 and go the 5:00 pass and Justin and I got in line. 30 minutes later we were number 3 in line to meet the big guy and to give him their wishes.

They both were very aware that Santa has to okay ALL gifts with mom and dad and there really wasn't any wishy-washy happening this year, it was pretty much the same ask -- once I vetoed the Google Pixel phone that Kaden wanted. 

Logan's request -- a lizard. A real life lizard. 

It started out as a blue lizard but I kind of told him that if he wanted a real lizard, then he just needed to ask for a lizard. Santa couldn't make REAL blue lizards but he could bring a stuffed one if that is what he was wanting. He quickly dropped the blue and went with just a lizard. His back-up, a skateboard--you know, just in case I decide to veto the lizard. Kid already has a name picked out too.

Kaden's request -- a Viro Vega 2-in-1 Electric Scooter and Bike

After the phone, it was the only thing that he constantly asked for. & Santa probably had a really hard time getting his hands on one of these, or should I say the parts to make one of these---he is Santa after all. This "toy" happens to be one of the most popular gifts of the season and they are no where to be found. Thank goodness Santa has magical elves that are able to go WAY out of their way to find one. Fingers crossed they find or find the parts to make one! 

And just for fun--and for the sake of not having to dig through any previous years, a timeline of their visits with Santa. I'm thinking next year they may have to just stand by him versus climbing on his lap--you can hardly see Santa they're so big.