Friday, March 24, 2017

Road trip to Springfield!

In February, we started missing our Cousin Whit REEEEEEALLLLY bad. So we decided to take a road trip! It was a long drive for a less than 24 hour stay, but we were so glad we went! Me, Tommy, Tessa and Nana loaded up on a Saturday morning and took the 4 1/2 hour drive to Springfield. The kids did SUPER great--I think we only stopped once and the complaining was fairly minimal! Once we got to Whitney's house, we rested for an hour or so and then set out to meet a few other family members for dinner.

We went to Lambert's and when we got there, we almost left because the line was so long. But we ended up staying and it really wasn't too bad. Maybe 25 minutes or so. We were able to wait outside and the weather was BEAUTIFUL, so the kids had fun running around and looking at everything. Once we got seated, the food started coming and it didn't stop. At Lambert's, they throw rolls when you want one! Tommy loved it--it was every carb lovers dream, so we were in heaven! They also brought around big bowls of potatoes and pasta and okra. It was a food free-for-all.

The kids got pretty restless, but overall did good. Obviously, Tommy was thrilled to be there....
 I can't get this next picture to turn, but all of our meals were SO huge that they were served in literal frying pans. We got about half way through them and then couldn't take another bite! But everything was SO good! And the company was even better.

After dinner, we went outside to get some fresh air and talk a little more. The kids were being super crazy and not listening at all (so basically, being them normal selves). I was getting really frustrated because they were being naughty and I couldn't really visit very well. And then I look over and see this....

Darn kids--they suck me back in and make me love them even more EVERY TIME I'M MAD! They're just so stinkin cute when they're getting along. At least their desire to drive me crazy brings them closer together. After dinner, we headed back to Whitney's and hung out for awhile and stayed up way too late.

The next day, we had to head back home in the early afternoon. We did get to sleep in a bit, so that was nice! We ate breakfast and got around and then went to find a park for the kids to run around in. They were so happy because we'd spent a lot of time in the car!
 We found the cutest park that had some farm animals in it and a neat farm playground to play on. The kids ran and ran and ran! We ate a quick lunch there and played for about an hour. They loved it!

After that, we headed back home. The kids actually did really good the whole way home. Tommy had his Nintendo, so that kept him distracted and when Tommy's not bothering Tessa, she's a pretty chill kid. So the ride home was peaceful and easy (even though we took a really weird way that my GPS recommended). It was such a quick, fun road trip to see cousin Whit and we had a great time!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Valentine's Day 2017

Valentine's Day this year was super simple. I usually make home made valentines using the kids' pictures, but this year....I just didn't have it in me. I've totally hit the prioritize or die phase in life. JUST SAY NO, BRADY. So I bought Star Wars valentine's for Tommy to hand out and kitty and dog valentine's for Tess to hand out. They were ugly as sin, but the kids loved them and it saved me AMPLE amounts of time. I also cheated a little for Tommy's valentine box. They were supposed to bring one to school. Most kids made theirs........but I might have bought him a Star Wars one at Wal-mart. Oops. In all fairness, it had been a BUSY week! 

Here's sweet Tessa Grace, ready for her party!
I got to help with Tommy's class party because I'm one of the room moms (also, somebody please remind me at the beginning of next school year NOT to volunteer for that role ever again). It was a lot of fun and the kids loved handing out their valentines and playing the games.

 After Tommy's party, we went to pick up Tessa from my mom's and I got to spend a few minutes snuggling this precious little guy. He's the best valentine of all (sorry, Nick).

We didn't really do anything special. Nick and I exchanged cards (I think) and he cleaned the house for me while we were out of town (best present EVER!!!). I ended the night playing tooth fairy. Tommy had lost a tooth awhile back and he forgot to put it under his pillow a few times (it was in a baggie on his desk) and then one night, he put it under there and we totally failed as parents. The next morning, he woke up and it was still there and he said, "HEY! The tooth fairy forgot me!" I was thinking to myself...what distracts boys?! How can I make him think this is funny and intentional?! So I said, "Um, it was probably because you kept tooting in your sleep last night and you were super stinky, so she didn't want to come in your room!" Luckily, he thinks anything to do with butts is super hilarious, so he laughed and laughed and totally bought it. Whew. When the tooth fairy finally did come on Valentine's morning, she had to throw daddy under the bus to keep the focus off her failure (again...sorry, Nick).

Overall, it was a great day!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Tommy lost a tooth!

Tommy lost his first tooth on January 31 this year! It's not technically his first tooth because he had to have one pulled when he was younger due to chipping it, but it's the first one he lost the "natural way." It was actually pretty hilarious how it happened.

It was one of his bottom teeth and it had been loose for quite awhile. He kept wiggling it and playing with it. I tried to get him to let me pull it, but he refused to even let me touch it because he just KNEW it would hurt. He had finally gotten to where he wouldn't even touch it because he didn't want it to fall out!

Then one morning, I was getting him ready for school. He was trying to take his pajama shirt off and it got stuck on his head, so he asked me to help. I pulled on it and I have NO idea how it happened, but somehow, the shirt got his tooth and when I pulled the shirt off his head, his tooth came with it. His face was PRICELESS. I didn't even realized it had happened and he was holding his hand up towards my face to show me when I finally figured out it was his tooth. He had tears in his eyes and he yelled, "MOM! LOOK!" I looked at the little baby tooth in his hand and then back at him and he said, "You did this to me!" and acted like he was just so upset and offended that I would make his tooth fall out.

I tried really hard not to laugh and I helped him rinse his mouth out. He calmed down when he remembered the tooth fairy would be coming! I begged him for a picture and he finally let me take one, but I swear he looks 15 in it. I don't know why, but he just looked so old and I started tearing up.
 The tooth fairy brought him $5 since it was "officially" his first tooth that he lost.

Only about 10 days later, he lost his next tooth! After he lost the first one, I was looking and noticed he had a 2nd tooth growing in already behind one of his other bottom teeth. And on February 10th, he lost the other bottom tooth! So for awhile he had a big ole gap in the front of his mouth. He looked adorable (and too old). This one wasn't quite as traumatic. Once he figured out that it really didn't hurt to lose teeth, I talked him into letting me pull this one. I got a paper towel to use to pull it out, but literally all I did was hold onto the baby tooth and it just fell out. It was ready to go! No tears with this one!

Now, only a month later, both adult teeth have grown in quite a bit! I'm keeping my fingers crossed his teeth won't get too weird (you know--that awkward stage every kid goes through when their 4 front teeth are way bigger than the rest?). I was so excited for him but felt a little bittersweet that he's already old enough for this to be happening. But he sure does look cute!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Newsboys Concert

My mom LOVES the Newsboys and their song, "God's Not Dead." Like.....LOVE, loves them. She asked if the kids and I would go to concert with her when they came to Wichita in February. I'm not a huge fan of concerts (or the Newsboys), but I said yes because she was so excited about it. My sister went too, so I figured we'd have a fun night out together even if the concert wasn't that great.

It was on a Thursday and it started at 7pm. I thought it would be a little 2 hour thing and then we'd be on our way. We got there around 6:30pm and it was already SOOOOOO crowded. It took us awhile to find some open seats, but we got some pretty good ones close to the stage, just off to the left quite a bit. But the kids were excited (and so was Nana)!

They were selling these foam, light up sticks for $5 and of COURSE the kids each had to have one. I told them if they wanted it, they had to flag the guy down and give him the money. So they did!

 They were happy as could be with their little glow sticks and their Nana and Aunt Brookie. And also, apparently, my son thinks he's 15 now. He throws up deuces almost every time I try to take a picture.

The first hour and a half of the "concert" was some weird drama thing that they put on. We seriously couldn't understand a single word any of the people were saying and we had NO idea what was going on. I THINK it was supposed to be some kind of game show involving singing or something. Literally not sure what went on. The kids were getting so bored and so were all of us.

And then was over. And the Newsboys came on! Mom was so happy (can you see the light radiating from her face?....Just kidding--it's a spotlight. It was actually kind of hilarious because it shined right on her and only her for a solid 5 minutes).
 Like I said, I wasn't super thrilled about the concert, but it really did end up being pretty good once the Newsboys were out there! They put on a great show and their message was awesome. It did run a little late--I don't think we got out of there until 10:30pm. Obviously, Tessa didn't make it all the way through.
Tommy fell asleep with about 30 minutes left. The last song of the night was "God's Not Dead" and they were both asleep....I was so bummed. They love that song and that was the whole reason they wanted to go, but they were SO. TIRED. We ended up getting them partially awake so they heard a little bit of it, but not much.

Overall, it was a lot of fun! If we could've skipped the first half of it, it would have been perfect. I'd check their first concert as a success!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Tommy turns 6

This boy.....he has my heart. We had such a good time celebrating his 6th birthday! He went to bed a 5 year old....
 And woke up a 6 year old! We started off our morning with sprinkle donuts, because those are his fave!

 I let him open a few of his smaller presents in the morning before school. One of them was silly string because him and Tessa are OBSESSED with it and love to have silly string wars.
 He was actually excited to go to school because it was a FAB day and they were going to play bingo. He also got to take cupcakes to school with little airplane whistles on top of them. When I picked him up from school, he said it had been a great day. We headed to Nana's to celebrate with Nana, all the cousins and Aunt Brooke. Nana bought him a red cowboy hat (which I thought looked more like a pimp hat) that he insisted on wearing the whole time! He opened lots of presents....
....and ate some cupcakes and ice cream that he CLEARLY enjoyed.
  He's just the goofiest little boy! These are the poses I get over and over when I ask him if I can take a picture and that's why almost all of my pictures are blurry....
After our party at Nana's, we went home to open a few more presents and pick up dad to go eat dinner. He got all kinds of fun stuff.....a cowboy hat, a hot wheels car carrier, a cowboy belt and buckle and some other things I can't remember.
 We always let the kids choose where they want to eat their birthday dinner and he picked Golden Corral. Nick hates it, but Tommy LOOOOOVES it. And I don't mind it (although the older I get, the more buffets gross me out). He's a kid who really enjoys his carbs, so he eats 3 or 4 rolls every time we go there. He could survive on bread if we'd let him! His favorite part, though, is the dessert buffet with the chocolate fountain!
 We gave him his big gift after dinner while we were in the car. We knew if we gave it to him before dinner, we wouldn't get to talk to him for the rest of the night because he'd be distracted. We aren't really into electronics in our family. I don't like how much time kids spend on them and we live in the country, so I want them to find ways to have fun outside. BUT, Tommy has been really into playing games on our phone and does pretty good about following our time limits. So we decided to buy him a Nintendo DS lite. And he LOVED it! We bought a few games to go with it and he's really enjoyed playing them and having something to mess with while he's in the car or if we're waiting somewhere. And he's been pretty good about setting it down to go have fun doing other things too!

Overall, he had a really great birthday day! The next day, we had his birthday party with our family. He had asked me several times to make him a 6 layer cake, because he's six years old. At one point he told me, "Mom, I really want a 6 layer cake, but I understand if you can only do 5. I know 6 might be really hard." And that's when I knew I would make a 6 layer cake! I love a good challenge.
I'm not one to toot my own horn, but......toot, toot! I followed a recipe I found online and it was SO good. It had peanut butter frosting that was delicious and I poured hot fudge down the sides. YUM.

Tommy wanted a cowboy themed party, so I made some signs for the food and tried to serve what would be served around a campfire (maybe....I've never eaten a cowboy dinner around a campfire, so maybe I was way off).

We had mama's cornbread and Nana's tater salad....
.....and some rootin' tootin' baked beans.....
.....and move along little hot doggies......

After dinner, we opened presents and my little man got everything he hoped and dreamed for! He got a hoover ball, a bunch of camping gear, some star wars clothes and these shoes called S Lights that he had been BEGGING for. He was one happy boy!
After presents, it was time to eat that six layer cake! He was so excited when he saw it!

After he blew out the candles, we cut the cake and I served him a biiiiiiig slice......
And he ate ONE stinkin bite and then got up to play. He said he thought it was "really yummy," but he just wanted to play, not eat. Whatever. At least everyone else enjoyed the cake!

Happy 6th birthday, Thomas James!

Friday, January 20, 2017

To Tommy, on your 6th birthday....

Where has the time gone? It feels like yesterday that I was writing a letter to you for your 1st birthday.....and yet, here we are celebrating your 6th year of life.

Tommy, there are so many things I could say that you've taught me, but the most important thing you've brought to my life is that you challenge me in every way possible. From the time you were born and made me a mom until just this morning as I was waking you up, you have challenged me every. single. day. Sometimes in good ways, sometimes in hard ways (and sometimes in REEEEAALLLY hard ways).

You have challenged me to be more selfless, more kind, more loving, more thoughtful, more patient. You have challenged me to be more active, more social, more involved. You've challenged my time management, my thought processes, my method for disciplining. Every thing I thought I knew or was okay with before you were born has been challenged.

And I'm a better person because of it.

You're an awesome little man! At 6 years old, you are 47 1/2 inches tall and 51 lbs. You are in size 6 slim jeans and size 6/7 or small shirt. You are tall and skinny! You wear a kids size 1 shoe and are currently obsessed with your cowboy boots. You wear them almost every single day. We pick out your clothes the night before and you always tell me if you want to wear a "fancy Chuck Norris shirt" (you're talking about your plaid cowboy shirts) or something else. It's hilarious that you want to dress like Chuck Norris in Walker, Texas Ranger. Nana got you started on that show and you LOVE it. Ever since you started watching it, cowboys are your thing!

You're really into sports. You like playing them, but complain about going to practice all the time. We're gonna have to work on that because you have YEARS of practicing if you want to keep playing sports! Football was your favorite. You're in basketball now and are begging to play soccer, so we'll see how that goes.

You would veg out and watch TV or play your nintendo for HOURS if we let you. You love Alvin and The Chipmunks and ask to watch it constantly. Luckily, after 30 minutes or so, we can get you distracted or send you outside and you're just fine. You really love being outside. You like to help dad feed and water the dogs and you guys ride 4 wheelers all the time to the airport or over to our land. You love being able to run all over and act crazy and be as loud as you want (and I love it too because if you aren't doing those things outside, you're doing them inside!).

You love to spend money. You couldn't save a dollar if your life depended on it. Every time you get money for allowance or birthday or Christmas, you spend it right away. And usually on a light saber or toy gun! Or Hot wheels. You have SO many light sabers and hot wheels that I sometimes think I'll pull my hair out if you get another one. You also love collecting little "treasures." Which means I usually find rocks in your pocket or some random thing you've found outside.

You say you hate school, but I'm not buying it. I think you hate waking up for school, but once you get there, you like seeing your friends and your teacher says you do a great job! At your first conference, the only complaint we got was that you were too quiet. Ha! If only she knew the real Tommy.....but since the start of the year, you've gotten much friendlier with the other students and have made a few really good friends that you like to hang out with. Jace is your best friend right now. You seem to do really good at math and reading, but are struggling just a tiny bit with your spelling tests. You take after your dad in that area (sorry Nick, but you know it's true).
Tommy, I could talk about you all day. But I know you'd just roll your eyes and say, "Stoooooop, mooooooom." So I'll wrap this up. You're not the perfect son by any means, but you are the perfect son for me! I love you so much and even though we butt heads (because we're exactly alike), I couldn't be prouder of the big boy you're becoming. Daddy and I love you!

Happy 6th birthday!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Go Broncos!! And our KC trip...

On Christmas Day, we took off for Kansas City so the boys could go to a Broncos/Chiefs game. They were SO excited! The game started at 7pm, so we were aiming to be there around 5pm. Well, we started driving and we were only about an hour into the drive and it started POURING down rain. Like....torrential rain. We started to get a little concerned because Tommy is not the hardiest boy in the world. He doesn't like being tired and he doesn't like being wet. And we knew if it kept raining, he would be both. We just started praying it would quit by the time the game started! I had bought them both ponchos for the game, so we knew they would have a little protection from the rain, but we also knew Tommy would still probably be whiny. 

It was still raining when we got there. We checked into our hotel and dropped off all of our stuff. The boys were pumped and ready to go!

 However, Nick went to unpack the ponchos and we could only find one of them. Of course. There was no sign that the rain was letting up, so we headed to Walgreens to buy some garbage bags. They weren't wide enough to fit around Nick's shoulders, so he told Tommy he'd have to wear a garbage bag so Nick could wear the poncho. 

Well. That did NOT fly with Tommy (I keep thinking, "Nobody puts Tommy in a trash bag.....nobody."--just a little Dirty Dancing reference there). He did NOT want to put on a "stinkin trash bag." We were able to stave off a meltdown about the garbage bags and redirect his mindset to something else. We got to the stadium and waited in a line of cars a mile long just to drop the boys off. We had NO idea where to go, so we just picked an entrance. They tried to charge me $50 to go through that parking lot, but they finally let us just drop the guys off and leave. As I watched them start running through the rain to the stadium (that seemed SOOOOO far away), I was so worried Tommy was going to be grumpy and ruin Nick's time. Tessa and I headed back to the hotel and I kept praying they'd have fun despite the weather.

Let's just say, "God is good." Nick texted me about an hour later that they had made it to their seats. The rain was slowing down, but it didn't matter, because their seats ended up being under an awning! I know it's silly, but that made me SO happy. I knew Tommy would have more fun if he was dry and warm, which meant Nick would have more fun. They were surrounded by Chiefs fans, but Nick said they were all super nice and even bought some snacks for Tommy. Obviously, he was enjoying himself.....
 I mean, that face is the face of a boy who loves his pretzels! The Broncos ended up losing, but the boys had SO much fun! Tessa and I had a good time at the hotel watching TV and making jewelry with a little kit she got for Christmas. We went to go pick them up when the game was over and let's just say I will NEVER do that again. I don't care if a cab costs $100.....we'll pay it just so I can avoid that parking lot. Nick and I ended up having to text our coordinates to each other. I just parked the car until he was finally able to find me (an hour later). Once we had all met up again, we headed back to the hotel for some rest. Tommy was SO exhausted!
 The next day, we just did some shopping and running around in the morning. We ate at Bob Evans. It was good, but not like the BEST food I've ever had. However, Tommy continues to talk about it two months later and always wants to "eat at that place in Kansas City where we had ice cream." So Bob Evans, head to Wichita, would ya?! My son loves you!

 After finishing our shopping, we headed to our next stop that was another surprise for the kids. We had told them to bring their swimming suits in case we had a pool. They kept asking when we would get to swim and we had to hold them off for a bit. When we finally pulled up to our hotel, we got inside and they were SOOOO excited! We went to Coco Keys, an indoor water park/hotel. They looooooooved it. I was a little leery because of some of the reviews. However, it was really a pretty nice facility and the kids had a blast in the water park. There were all kinds of slides and pools and things to do. And it was nice because Nick and I could swim with the kids, but also eat funnel cake and drink grown up things while they were playing in the kiddie part (that's a win-win in my mind).

These are literally the only two pictures I took while we were there.  The first one I just thought was hilarious. Tessa kept begging to see out the window, so I put her up there and she looked like a gecko!
This was the kiddie pool area where we could relax and they could swim without us worrying they would drown! It was great!

We stayed the night at Coco Keys and then left for home the next morning. This was really our first "vacation" where it was JUST us. We've gone a few places with his family or mine, but never just as our little family of four. It was SUCH a great time of bonding and restoration. The kids were SO good and we all got along really well. I loved it and can't wait for future trips!