Monday, August 5, 2019

Laurie Hillbilly BBQ

It's not often that we get to go to the lake two weekends in a row. And for the last 6 years we have never been able to go down the first weekend of August because I have always been attending a conference in Vegas...but not this year. This year was the first year in where I didn't have to go & as soon as Justin learned this, he and the Pitt Smokers signed up for the Laurie Hillbilly BBQ competition in Laurie, the little town next to our lake house.

The plan was that we would all caravan down -- the Seilers, the Griffiths and the Souths, we would pull the trailer. & we did, only had one little mishap when the head vent came flying off the trailer on 435 but no one was hurt, all was good and we kept on going---we didn't even know it happened. We arrived into Laurie about 3ish & we went straight to the BBQ site to drop off the trailer. The guys had decided that since they were using can smokers they would just sleep at the cabin and get up super early to head in & that's exactly what they did. Before leaving we decided to let the boys play in the Buck a Duck race--basically, a dollar buys a rubber ducky and they dump all the duckies into a stream and the first one that crosses the finish line wins 50% of the pot. It was a fun little fund raiser so we thought why not, bought our ducks but we didn't stick around for the show. Instead we went back to the lake house to enjoy the water and fishing. 

We should have though. about 4:45 Jay got a phone call asking for Logan South. We all thought it was weird as why would someone be calling Jay asking for our son BUT then we realized what was going on. Logan's duck had one the race and he was $62 richer! He was a gracious winner though and gave each one of the kids $5 and then we bartered for what he really got to keep, he was pulling for $24 -- that I could get behind but he had to wait until we got home. I placed it in my wallet and for the next 72 hours he would not let me forget that I said $24--I get it kid!

We headed back into town to collect his winnings, attend the chef's meeting and then grab some dinner at one of our favorite local establishments, then it was back to the lake house for some sleep before the big boys had to get up and head out for the competition. 

As soon as we were all up and around the kids were ready to head to the water and wanted to go fishing again. I probably fixed our fishing poles more times than I can count on two hands and we only caught one fish, I caught it, but it was worth seeing them all have fun.

Mid morning, Kaden, wasn't all too interested in being in the water, he just wanted to be with his dad. So I texted Justin and he said that while he couldn't leave to come and get him, I could bring him up. This brought a smile to Kaden's face. I ran him in there and he spent the rest of the morning helping get everything ready for turn ins. He even got to smoke his own ribs from start to finish. I mean look at how yummy these look.

After lunch the rest of us, the girls plus Logan, headed into the BBQ to finish out the turn ins and then to wait for the awards. It's been a good while since the boys and I have been able to be there with Justin for the results due to baseball so this was a special treat for us all. 

And it was soooooo worth it too. The Pitt Smokers took 1st PLACE in chicken -- Woo-Hoo! Although they were called up as the 2nd place winners but once Justin got up there he realized what he had done and said, "Wait, that isn't right, Pitt Smokers, hold on..." he then announced the 2nd place winner and then re-announced their first place finish! We were all super excited, especially the kids & gosh darn it, I missed getting it on video, forgot to hit the button. They didn't end up placing in the top 10 for anything else BUT they were 12th in brisket and finished 8th overall! It was a great finish for them, beating out some HUGE names in the BBQ circuit too. So proud of them all.

And just as exciting, they have a KidsQ and both the boys want to participate next year so I guess we will see you same time next year, Laurie Hillbilly BBQ.

We were all pretty wiped from the early start and the long day at the competition that we decided to stick close to home on Saturday evening. The kids swam, we ate some first place chicken and the rest of their BBQ leftovers, plus Kaden's ribs & just chilled. It was an even earlier night than the evening before which also meant it was an earlier morning for most of the house. And at 8:30 we were meeting more friends in town at Val's for breakfast. The Walshes were down at Scott's lakehouse and the Berbs were with them. Thankfully, Val's, was able to fit us all in & let me just tell you, their cinnamon cake, may have been bigger than Kaden's arm but that didn't stop him from putting a giant dent in the thing!

We immediately went home and headed out on the water. We met some other friends in a cove, headed off to Franky and Louie's before heading back to the house and just relaxing on the dock. The Griffiths took off late that afternoon and then we decided to hit up Jolly Rogers for dinner and take in a little night fishing. 

We ended our little lake weekend with a quite kayak ride on Monday morning before loading up and heading home. It was a perfect way to end our summer at the lake, filled with so many things that I love. Summer may be coming to an end but our time at the lake isn't, we will be back this fall. Fall at the lake has become one of my favorite things!

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Lake Weekend

The last week and a half as been one of the hardest weeks for our family. After losing my Uncle Scott in a tragic accident it was kind of hard to get back into the swing of things. We weren't planning on heading to the lake but after being surrounded by family for the last few days, I knew there was nothing more that I would want than to be with family and at one of the most peaceful places we know, our lake house. 

So we called Adam and Becky and we asked if they had room for us and they of course said yes. We pulled our stuff together, grabbed groceries and then headed that way once work let out for us both. It happened to be the middle of rush hour traffic AND during construction so it took a little longer than normal but it was exactly what we needed. We needed time with the South side of the family. We needed to be present and just feel each other's love.

Saturday we ventured out to our favorite new place, The Boat House, for lunch. The boys enjoyed the water, Becky and I enjoyed our drink, and we all enjoyed the food and company.

Having the new boat has allowed us to be able to not only venture further out but for all of us to be together on the water too. And Colton and Logan got to test out the wake board. Colton has done it before but Logan hasn't and even though it didn't go as well as what we had hoped, he attempted! He was certainly bummed but nothing a little ride, well in his case, drive, on the sea doo couldn't fix. Colton was up like a pro and rode those waves as though he had been doing it for years.

And this kid--even though he isn't our adventurous one, he went out on the sea doo with me and he even let me go out of our cove. We made it up to 22 mph and guys, that is a HUGE win!!

Speaking of the new boat, we all have our jobs when it comes to launching and docking the boat. Justin and Adam are usually in the driver's seat and then the rest of us wait to be called. First up, the buoy crew -- this crew consists of Logan, Kaden and Colton. They are in charge of either pulling the buoys up out of the water and into the boat when we launch or putting them on the side of the boat when we dock. After they are done, they have to remain seated until the driver says they can get out of the boat. Janet, well her job is to remain seated at all times now--she doesn't even get to be part of the buoy group since she hurt her toe helping dock the boat. The remainder of us either stay seated or we help guide the boat into the dock. It's a tight fit so we basically walk it in. It's a lot to do each and every time and I never thought I would say this BUT it's so worth it.

As the boys get older the lake becomes more and more of a blessing. To watch them grow up spending their summers at the lake with their cousin, at the house that their great grandpa built, well, there just aren't words. So thankful for all the family who has kept this little hidden oasis alive and well. It's hard to believe that these boys will be bringing their own families down here one day but I am sure Janet felt the same way and here we are.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Checking out KC

This summer has been crazy so when we had a little extra time we tried to take advantage of KC and what our city has to offer. 

Not only has the summer been crazy but it's also been super RAINY. So when the kids and I were both off and Spiderman Far From Home came out--we invited some buddies and headed out! Two thumbs up across the board for the movie.

We ventured out to the Lenexa Farmer's Market where we got some goat milk lotion...and some amazing cheese from some of the local farmers.

We took in a Sporting KC game, this time not sitting in the suite but sitting with all the wild and crazy fans-such a great time. The boys even caught Blue as he was walking by.

We visited Nelson Atkins Museum for their 9 hole ART mini-golf course that is available to the public through Labor Day Weekend. While we waited for our "tee-time" we ventured through the glass maze, thankfully it was in the shade or that would have been way to hot to enter. & surprisingly, we only had one major collision. I'm sure you can guess who.

We ventured out to the Drive-in with some of our favorite people too. It was a lineup that we couldn't pass up - Lion King AND Toys Story 4. Both boys were determined to make it through both movies. One succeeded. One did not. But he put a good fight.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Spring Season Comes to an End

Spring ball has come to an end.

This was a whole new ballgame for the Souths. Logan dropped back down to his age group and finished out the season on machine pitch. While Kaden stuck with the Aces for another season of kid pitch. This was the first season in a long while where we knew we wouldn't get to see each of the boys play every game or where they would get to see one another play. It was a divide and conquer type of season, one that certainly had it's downfalls but this also had moments like this where we realized it was exactly what each boy needed. 

For Kaden it was a season of highs and lows---every game had his roses and thorns but we certainly saw more highs than lows. Kaden found a love and a knack for the pitching mound. He has one heck of an arm and his consistency has greatly improved from the season before & contributed in a meaningful way to his team's success from there. Outside of the mound he played second, short and right field & again, wasn't super excited about right field but the kid has an arm on him and it can come in pretty handy. His fielding was probably what he would be most proud of and although I am proud of it too, his determination in the batter's box is what I am most proud of. Last season Kaden hardly swung the bat, this season, he was swinging. With swinging came striking out and he did not like striking out BUT he kept swinging. He'd get a foul ball here or there and every blue moon would get a hit BUT then something clicked in our last two tournaments and he accumulated multiple hits in multiple games. They weren't the hardest hit balls, but they were hits & his confidence was growing. So this off season, all two weeks of it, will be spent getting hitting lessons and in the cages. 

Aces 9u went 16-8-2 and by all accounts, that's a success.
Two Tournament Runner Up Finishes

The Aces are more than just baseball players--we're a family. A family that supports each other kids and only wants what's best for the team. A family that shouts our words of affirmation and encouragement rather than frustration. A family that wants their boys to compete but KNOWS this is far bigger than baseball. It's rare to find what we have and I'm just so very thankful that we get to be part of this family.

Speaking of baseball families, we knew what we had with the Aces 9u and wanted the exact same thing for the Aces 8u and by golly, we got it. From the coaches to the kids, from the kids to the families, we got it. A positive and uplifting experience for all and one I hope continues for many years to come because baseball is so much more than just a game. It's about figuring out who you are too and for Logan that meant watching his confidence grow this last season. He discovered branching out and trying new things which developed a love for multiple positions, especially the outfield. At first he wasn't so keen on playing out there but I explained that since this is the last year of machine pitch, kids are ripping the ball & we needed strong outfielders that can make plays. & make plays he did. On his final outing, which I missed since I was with Kaden, he caught three outfield flies & they weren't cans of corn either. And his bat, he may be little but he is mighty!

Aces 8u finished the season 13-7. 
Two Tournament Runner Up finishes.

Kid pitch, here we come. 
Fingers crossed the boys will be playing at the same fields this season!

Thursday, July 4, 2019

America's Birthday

Fourth of July is always one of our favorites---it's one extra day that we get to spend as a family and we try and pack it full. This year we were going to WALK in the Lenexa parade in support for our friend, Chris Poss, who is running for Lenexa City Council. The boys had their scooters all decorated, thanks Emily, and their helmets on. We had the wagon packed with candy, t-shirts on and as we pulled up to park and head to our meeting spot, the parade was canceled. Darn rain was literally raining on our parade. But, a nice young lady snapped this picture for us anyhow. 

Since the parade was canceled we headed home to eat lunch, rest up and then left a few hours earlier than normal for the Walshes. The Walshes were hosting their annual Fourth of July Extravaganza and every year the boys get more and more into fireworks & this year was no exception. Especially for Kaden--he was all about it, even the rain wasn't stopping him.

And the firework spectacular at the end of the night was next to none. I thought it would be hard to top what Jake did last year but he did it. And he did it with all the fireworks that you see here!

The 4th of July was full of friends, who are more like family, food and lots of fun. 
Happy Birthday, America!

May we learn to love more, accept more and seek to understand our differences more. May we always lead with kindness and put others needs before our own.