Posted in Friday Favorites, Kids

Friday Favorites

Hello! Shew! We made it. I feel like I jumped back into reality with both feet this week. The struggle was real setting my alarm clock, getting dinners made, and getting my people where they needed to be, but it’s finally Friday.

I linking up with Andrea and Erika for this week’s Friday Favorites.

Here’s a quick recap of my favorites from the week…

Favorite Kid Quote:

{Sweet Kid Quote}

This moment is technically from a couple weeks ago, but right before Spring Break, Hadley’s teacher emailed me to tell me that Hadley had shared a Google Slides Presentation that she made about her classmates. Each slide had something that Hadley liked or admired about each of her classmates. The teacher shared it with the class and said that everyone loved it. A few students even thanked Hadley for noticing attributes they didn’t think anyone noticed about them. It was a very sweet email, and I was super proud of Sis.

(I’m letting it slide that she apparently emailed it to her teacher at 10:00 PM when I thought she was sleeping!) πŸ˜†

{Funny Kid Quote}

This week Hayden was gearing up for his baseball season to start. Hadley’s favorite part of the baseball season is the concession stand. Hayden said, “Well, this year the league’s baseball concession stand is “goat(ed)!” I guess that means they have great food!

Favorite Food:

Speaking of food, I picked up a few bags of Trader Joe’s Salted Inca Corn the last time I was there. They are basically the TJ version of Corn Nuts which are my fave.

*Fun fact: Per tradition, I usually pick up at least one bag of Corn Nuts on any road trip with Travis. He always complains…πŸ˜‚, but he said how much he loves these!

Favorite Moment(s):

Baseball Boo is back! Hayden’s on a new team this year, and had games Tuesday and Wednesday this week!

Here he is ready for Tuesday night’s game…{Homer stayed home!}

Wednesday night, back in action, sporting the black uni!

It’s always fun watching him play….even though it’s meant a couple of late nights this week.

up to bat, pitching, and playing 1st

Other Faves:

The flowers I picked up at Trader Joe’s for Easter are still showing off!

The weather has been so pretty this week. I’m still doing my Beach Body workouts, but have opted to walk on Tuesday and Thursday this week. I was feeling like I needed to mix it up a bit, and my walks are the only times I really get to listen to my favorite podcasts!

Favorite Mom Meme:

For my kids, it’s sometimes too much Xbox or iPod, but I can definitely relate to this meme:

Bonus Fave: Flashback Friday:

Since Easter was the week, Hadley in her bunny ears at Target in 2012 seems very appropriate.

Weekly Recap:

Here are my posts from this week in case you missed one! This week was a mix of Easter, Amazon, and Opryland!

Speaking of posts…Monday is our April Not Just a Mom link up! If you are a blogger, we’d love to have you join us. This month’s topic is Favorite Family Memories.

I hope you have a great weekend. We have friends’ birthday parties and baseball on tap (if the rain holds off on Saturday). See you back here on Monday; thanks so much for reading.

Posted in Books and Shows, Clothes, Friday Favorites, Kids

Friday Favorites

Hello!…and Happy Friday! Shew…I made it…It’s the Friday before Spring Break, and I’m ready for it. Only about seven hours remain before I can not set an alarm and not pack a school lunch. I’m hoping to spend the next week recharging, getting caught up on some of my favorite shows, having fun with the kids, and reading a bit more.

Before I can get to break, I’m recapping this week by linking up with Erika and Andrea for this week’s Friday Favorites.

Favorite Photo(s):

Since it was a new experience for us, and I was so proud of Hadley, her dance competition photos are my favorites from the week…

The professional ones are even better πŸ˜‰

Favorite Moment:

My favorite moment from the week was receiving the kids’ 3rd quarter report cards. Both of them had awesome report card grades which earned them…

the red plate!

For Hadley, we celebrated her grades and dance competition performance. For Hayden, we celebrated grades, basketball championship win and the start of baseball season.

Favorite Food:

I tried a new recipe this week…Shay‘s Easy Shrimp Fried Rice. We devoured it. Easy and delish!

Favorite Clothing Item:

Ok…so I saw Shelby share this Target dress in her Insta Stories recently, and I bought it thinking it could be a good option for Easter. It arrived, and I was soooo pleasantly surprised.

When I went to take this photo, I realized the dress has pockets!!! So, not only is it pretty and flowy, the pockets make me so happy. I can even see myself wearing this to school with a cardigan or denim jacket to “dress it down” a bit.

I saw that the price dropped to just $20, so I ordered the mint one as well.

I finally realized I should tote my mirror to the sun room…best light in the house! duh!

Favorite Kid Quote:

On Monday night, Hadley was tired from all the weekend activities. She begged me to stay home from dance, and I said, “No!” As she left for class she said, “Don’t be surprised if you get a phone call saying I fell asleep in class!” #sassysincedayone

Then, when she arrived home, she came up the stairs and said , β€œI survived dance, but my dogs are barking!” 🀣 I was like, “Where have you heard that?” She said her dance teacher sometimes says that. Her delivery of the line was exasperated and so funny.

Favorite Mom Meme:

Even worse…I’m trying to get my kids to go to bed and then squeeze my adult life into one hour. I’m always ready for bed…and they never are!

This next meme is so very true!

A couple of funnies this week:

English teacher humor…

One of my colleagues had an extra one of these, so I added it to one of the walls in my classroom.

and…I started a Zoom meeting yesterday with a student to find this as my profile pic…

I’d been #Hadleyed.

Bonus Fave: Flashback Friday (Dance Edition)

The competition last weekend has me taking a little stroll down dance recital memory lane…

2016 was the first year at Hadley took dance. She was in kindergarten and took a tap and ballet class. For the recital she was in two ballet routines.

After taking a two year hiatus to try gymnastics, Hadley was back at dance and took Hip Hop.

For her 2019 recital, she was in one hip hop routine.

Last year’s recital was postponed and then videoed in studio at the end of August 2020. In 2020, Hadley took ballet, tap, jazz, and hip hop, so she had four routines (3 costumes) in last year’s dance recital.

This year she’s in ballet, tap, and jazz. She dropped hip hop to do competition because I told her something had to give…and if you’ve seen her Tik Tok moves (she doesn’t have Tik Tok…just looks up the videos), well, you know she’s pretty much mastered hip hop. haha

One More Fave!

The kids opened some fun mail on Wednesday, and to their surprise, they saw that we are on a book cover! A colleague of mine that I taught with at my previous school is now an author in her retirement years. Her latest story includes twins, so she asked if she could use a family photo (from 2014!) for her cover.

I haven’t read it yet, but I sure hope to dive into it soon.

Megan’s Miracles can be purchased on Amazon.

Weekly Recap:

I posted 5 days this week, y’all! That hasn’t happened in a hot minute. Here are my posts in case you missed one!

Lastly, with Easter a little over a week away, I thought I’d share my Easter gift ideas for kids one more time.

I still hope to post some next week even though it’s Spring Break, but I guess I will just see where the week takes me!

I hope you have a great weekend. See you soon.

{this post contained Amazon affiliate links…}

Posted in Kids

Just Dance!

As I mentioned in Monday’s post, Hadley had her first ever dance competition on Saturday. This could be the first of many or a short season of her dance life, but I wanted to document the day because it was so special for her and was also “different” because of Covid protocols.

Friday Night:

We took some time to get organized. I labeled all the things, organized her make up and bobby pins, and packed her bag. We double checked that she had her jazz and tap shoes, put her costumes together (costume, tights, mask), and gathered clothes (studio jacket and clothes to wear home) in order to be ready for an early wake up call.

Saturday:

I woke up at 6:30, and Hadley slept until 7:15. I made her breakfast while she got dressed, brushed her teeth, and put her hair in a low pony tail. Our sweet sitter, who has been a dancer for all of her life, came over at 8:00 to put on Hadley’s eye lashes (I took notes for next time!), help her with eye make up (those eye have to “pop!” ….especially while wearing a mask!), and bobby pin her bun.

We left around 8:45, stopped at Starbucks and hit the road for the competition. (Hayden and Travis had to be at the ball field early, so they met us at the competition.)

We were early (yay!), so we had plenty of time to find the auditorium, park, get wrist bands (audience was very limited), and make our way to the dressing room. (On the way to the dressing room, we took a peak at the stage!)

After Hadley’s other team members arrived, they all got dressed and accessorized, and obliged the moms with some photos.

There was a “step and repeat,” and the girls were “here for it!” πŸ˜‰

They performed their jazz/musical theater routine first…

Then, it was time for a quick change for their tap routine.

Then, they girls let us take another group photo in their tap costumes.

We were so proud of them, of course. After changing, they sat and watched the other group routines as well as the remaining solos and duets.

After their block of time, all the girls from the dance studio went and sat on stage. The judges handed out awards and invites. Since the other dance studios still had to perform throughout the rest of the weekend, the final results weren’t posted until Sunday night. That being said, they did announce scores for the routines, and both of Hadley’s team dances scored 5 stars! They were excited. Like Hadley, it was the first competition for some of the girls on her team.

When the results were posted on Sunday night, the girls’ jazz performance received a Golden Ticket Award. One more thing to celebrate!

Without ever being at a dance competition, I know how “lucky” we are that this competition ran as smoothly as it did, had protocols in place, and only took up a few hours of our weekend.

Some of the protocols they had in place:

  • Dance studios each had a block of time for their performances.
  • They sanitized after each block of time.
  • Dancers (everyone) wore masks.
  • Limited audience (Live stream for people to view at home)
  • No in person (overall) awards.

I think last year, the girls who were on competition team were able to perform one time before everything shut down, so I think everyone was feeling very grateful that they were able to perform.

Saturday afternoon:

After the competition, we enjoyed some pizza outside at a local restaurant before heading home.

Hadley was asleep within minutes, and slept for most of the car ride home!

Overall, it was such a great experience. Hadley already received her pins for the two team dances, and her dance teachers are encouraging her to try a solo or duet for next year’s competition season.

The sky is the limit for my little Dancing Queen!

I hope you are having a great week!

Posted in Kids, School, Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts

Hello and Happy Thursday. How is your week going?! We are in that transition to back to school (yay!) which means earlier wake up calls, the hustle and bustle of making lunches and packing backpacks, and the rush of getting out the door. While that all can be exhausting, I’m here for it!

Today, I’m reflecting on the last 355 days at home for virtual learning as I know it’s a time the kids and I will always remember, and this post will be perfect to have those thoughts all in one place.

Virtual Learning:

  • March – May 2020: We all mastered Google Meet and Google Classroom. We lived in two weeks chunks of time while decisions were made at the state and district level about in person learning. Most days, the kids could sleep in before joining their class Google Meet at 10:00. They were on with their teachers for about an hour before completing their work for the day. Even a field trip and field day took place virtually. We missed out on fun events like the school carnival. I heard the sadness in their teachers’ voices as they said goodbye for the summer. None of us realized how long we’d be out of school.
  • August 2020: Back to school was delayed a few weeks, and we started school on August 26 rather than August 12th. Leading up to the first day of school, we drove through the car line at school to pick up materials and meet the teachers from our car while wearing masks. We decided to send the kids to a pod (at my friend Amy’s with their school friends…mostly girls, much to Hayden’s chagrin!) two days a week. “Back to School Night” was held via Zoom.
  • August 2020-March 2021: Synchronous and Asynchronous instruction were the new “buzz words” for the year. We mastered Zoom, Canvas, and Google Classroom. The kids’ school day was much more structured, and they spent most of the morning on Zoom. They had a 1.5 hour chunk of time for lunch and would often play with their friends in the neighborhood or at the school play ground. They would get back on Zoom in the afternoon for the last hour of the school day. Parent/teacher conferences we held via telephone. We lived in bigger chunks of time while waiting for decisions on return to in person learning. The number of school activities the kids missed out on is endless: field trips, lunch bunch, spaghetti/puzzle night, chorus concerts, academic team, clubs, the books fair, and more. January 2021: Their school schedule basically remained the same, but with an earlier start time and a bit more structure with the goal of prepping for a return to in person learning. Late February 2021: We learned that K-2 would begin on February 22 and 3rd-5th grades would start on March 3.

What we thought would be a few weeks in March and April of 2020 turned into months…and almost of a year of learning at home.

Real talk: I actually teared up typing this time line…I can’t believe we’ve made it through this time. There have certainly been ups, downs, learning curves, tears, frustration, and more.

Thankfully, they have amazing teachers who have hosted virtual lunch bunch, dropped off gifts on front porches, met with students individually who were struggling academically, made phone calls home with words of encouragement, waved as we drove through the car line, and so much more.

At the pod, the kids were able to read in groups, play games, bake, have holiday parties, learn about the election process, go roller skating, and experience many more fun activities.

Memories at home learning provided us…

and some things I will miss about at home learning...

  • The kids showing me what they are working on and asking for help.
  • Meals: enjoying leisurely breakfasts and lunches. (Bonus: Hadley now can make a quesadilla and soup on her own. Hayden has mastered heating Spaghetti O’s on the stove and can make a mean grilled cheese!)
  • Hearing their awesome teachers and the sweet replies of their classmates.
  • (also) Hearing Hayden and Hadley’s thoughtful responses when sharing answers with their classes.
  • Friday Chick-fil-A lunch
  • Time outside with them during “recess” and going for walks
  • Flexibility and maximizing our time: I’ve been able to start dinner in the slow cooker at 10:00 am vs 7:00 am, they’ve completed chores on a break, and we’ve been able to schedule ortho appointments during lunch break.
  • Extra Homer snuggles
  • Impromptu play dates during recess or learning at home with friends
  • Pajama pants as suitable school attire!

That being said, it’s time. It’s been 355 days since they’ve walked into their school building. They only have nine weeks left in the elementary school building they’ve attended since kindergarten.

Real talk (again!): I’ve also said that their age during this time has been a blessing. They are old enough to work pretty independently, but are young enough to still need me. I will treasure this experience forever, but I’m also happy to release them to the elementary educational professionals πŸ˜‰

I asked them both what they will miss about at home learning and why they are excited to return to the building. Here are their responses:

Hayden:

I will miss being at home with Homer all day.

I’m excited to actually be in the school building to learn with my teachers and friends.

Hadley:

I will miss being able to stay in my pjs while learning at home.

I’m excited to see my friends and my teacher in person.

A few photos:

First day at the pod: August 26, 2020

Last day at the pod: March 2, 2021

First day of 5th grade: August 26, 2020

First day of in person learning, 5th grade: March 3, 2021

Back to School Breakfast (again!)

I decided to have another back to school breakfast, and was able to put this together pretty quickly thanks to a trip to The Dollar Tree (thanks, Amy, for the idea!) and a few items from my “Back to School Breakfast tub.

I love these little lunch trays from The Dollar Tree, and I assembled an easy breakfast of donuts, yogurts, Cuties, and juice boxes.

I got them each a little notebook and the “Star Student” tags were perfect for the lunch trays.

Other Back to School Breakfast posts:

When they enter the building, they go through a thermal scanner to have their temperatures taken, there are plastic dividers at their desks, they will eat lunch at their desks, they have to stay with their classes at recess, and some of the their specials teachers will come to them.

I received emails from both kids within the first couple hours of school πŸ˜‚

Hayden was telling me he’d forgotten his watch, and could I bring it to school (the answer was no) πŸ˜‚, and Hadley’s email brought tears to my eyes. She said she was so happy to be at school and that her teacher cried happy tears!

Their assistant principal sent me pictures of them at their desks. Hadley looks so happy, and I’m proud of Hayden for “going with the flow.” ( I know that’s not easy for him).

Hadley’s teacher shared this photo with me. So far, Hadley has been pretty consistent with her plans to be an elementary school teacher 😊

I know school will look so different compared to when they were last there on March 13, 2020, but I’m forever grateful for the school administrators, teachers and staff who have made this transition from at home learning to in person learning as smooth as possible. The school sign said, ‘Welcome back,” there were lawn letters greeting them with sweet “back to school” wishes, and so many wonderful teachers were outside waving and opening car doors at car line yesterday morning.

Everyone was smiling: students, teachers, and parents, and even a mask couldn’t hide the enthusiasm that returning to the school building after 355 days has brought to everyone.

My wish for the kids: “You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!” ~ Dr. Seuss

(read: mom loves you, but bye!) πŸ˜‰

The weight of the pandemic, as a mom and as a teacher, has been very difficult…probably more difficult than I have realized at times. Getting my kids back to school yesterday was a huge step towards normalcy, and I felt a weight lift off my shoulders. Next week, students start to return to my school building, and I’m so looking forward to that next step as well!

Thanks so much for reading today’s post. I hope you’re having a great week. I know mine sure has taken a turn for the better!

Posted in Kids

Girl Scout Cookies

Hello and Happy Monday! (and Happy March 1st!) How was your weekend? Hadley and I went to Target for a few things on Friday including something for her to wear on the first day back to school this week. Somehow, we left with four pairs of workout tights/leggings for her. I think I was #Hadleyed.

Hayden had four total basketball games this weekend which are always fun to watch. And, in true Kentucky weather fashion, we’ve gone from snow and ice to sunshine to rain all in the matter of a week!

One of the tasks Hadley and I accomplished yesterday was sorting her third and final order of Girl Scout cookies. I thought I share about her cookie sales through the years. This last year of elementary school has me feeling all kinds of nostalgia!

Image c/o lcnme.com

Every year, she sells to family and friends, and Travis and I take the cookie form to work. That being said, they are her cookies to sell for her troop, so I always tell her that if she wants me to share about cookie sales on social media, she has to make a video.

These videos have cracked me up through the years. One year, when she mentioned her troop, she said, “Toot toot!” instead of “22” haha! We couldn’t stop laughing.

She always shares any cookie updates, what the favorite cookies are, the new cookies, how much the cookies cost, and whatever else she can think to share in her one minute video.

She also sells door to door in the neighborhood, and she learns so much from interacting with “customers” on those direct sales. Also, her troop typically sells at Kroger during a two hour window of time a couple Saturdays or Sundays in February.

Of course, Covid made things different this year, so there were no cookie booth sales for her troop, but we did go door to door to neighbors who I knew would feel comfortable with her selling cookies; we of course, kept our distance and wore masks during those sales.

She definitely loves this time of the year, and while sorting hundreds of boxes can be daunting, we make it a family affair! Hayden will even help us if needed πŸ˜‰ (Also, of note: the mom in our troop in charge of cookies is an absolute saint! I’m forever adding to orders I’ve given her, swapping cookies, or asking how much money we owe! I don’t know how she does it, but we sure do appreciate her!)

Cookie Time through the Years…

2018:


I’m fairly certain this wasn’t the first year her troop sold cookies, but it must have been the first year they had a cookie booth a Kroger.

They were so cute in their little cookie costumes. Who could say ‘no’ to these sweet faces?

2019:

Cookie booth at Kroger in 2018 in their second year as Brownies.

I took this picture of Hadley to share on Facebook as a “thank you” post for supporting her sales.

2020:

The cookie booth smiles continued in 2020.

2020 “thank you” photo…

2021:

Who knew when they sold at Kroger in 2020, that there would be no booth sales in 2021?! They always have so much fun together greeting the customers, giving their sales pitch, tallying the cookies sold, and providing the (hopefully!) correct change when the customer makes a purchase. They always worked so well together playing off of each other’s strengths and weaknesses!

2021 cookie photo when her first two rounds of orders were picked up!

We made the final tally over the weekend and Hadley sold…

630 boxes!!! She was so excited.

2021 “thank you” photo:

It’s always fun seeing who orders what, and which cookie is the winner in most boxes sold…It’s always the Thin Mint cookie as the winner! The new “Toast-Yay” cookie was really good, and this was the last year for the S’mores!

  • Toast-yay 45
  • S’more 48
  • Lemonades 55
  • Shortbread 61
  • Thin Mint 134
  • Peanut Butter Patties 92
  • Caramel deLite 111
  • Peanut butter Sandwich 42
  • Gluten Free Chocolate Chip 28
  • Donated: 14

This year, I think so many people took advantage of cookies being shipped. We were able to reach more than our Kentucky friends and family, and we, of course, appreciate their generosity.

Our family favorites:

  • Hadley: Peanut Butter Patties or Toast-yay
  • Hayden: Lemonades (Every year, he gives Hadley his own money for one box to keep all for himself!)
  • Trav: Caramel deLites
  • Me: Peanut Butter Patties

Thank you:

I created this form a couple of years ago as a way to help with sorting and keep orders straight. Again, I feel like it’s important for Hadley to help and also give thanks to those who have placed ordered.

Being in Girl Scouts has taught Hadley so much. Being a servant leader, navigating life skills, and building confidence are certainly just a few of the things she’s learned while being a part of this sweet little troop!

I can’t believe cookie season is over. We actually did a good job pacing ourselves with the cookie eating! We still have quite a few boxes, and I’ve hidden them in the basement πŸ˜‰

What are your favorite cookies? Thanks so much for reading, and have a great week!

Posted in Holidays, Kids

Party Time!

Today, I’m sharing the details of the kids’ birthday. Hard to believe it, but the are officially 11.

I’ve always been big on birthdays. I started traditions with them when they were young, and we always look forward to their big day. Last year, when they turned 10, I told them we’d probably start scaling back some of the festivities. For example, most years, we’d have a family party and a friend party. For a stretch of about five years, I always made their cakes. I bought them a birthday t-shirt each year, I always make the food for the party…and the list goes on and on.

Insert a pandemic, and well…all festivities look different now. We still made the most of the day, took advantage of a Friday birthday with beautiful weather, and hosted a few friends to play outside.

I still have zero chill when it comes to birthdays, and the zillion photos I take are my proof. πŸ˜‚

The night before their birthday, I get out my birthday tub with a few decorations. I put those out along with their presents.

Since they were little, I put streamers on doors, so I do that before I go to sleep. I always think I could do the decorating and extra touches in the morning, but with my luck, they’d wake up before I’d get everything set up how I like it.

I always make muffins for their birthday breakfast, and we take this time to open presents and sing happy birthday to each of them. Hayden first…and then Hadley. #birthorder

After breakfast, it was time for online school while I worked. For lunch, they requested Raising Canes. Then, I picked them up each a bundt cake to blow out rather than blow out their candles on the cookie cake.

In the past, I let them each pick out a cookie cake from Great American Cookie, but with less friends at the party and to simplify it a bit, I just chose one cake for them. We picked it up on Thursday and stopped by they party store as well for a few balloons.

Double the 11’s. Double the fun!

I think this is the fourth year I’ve ordered the yard signs. I used a new company this year because they had so many fun options. I think Lawn Letter Kreations did an amazing job! The signs fit their personalities perfectly! And, I felt it was money well spent since their friends got to see the yard too.

Hayden…

Hadley…

turn 11!

I made this birthday banner for their 3rd birthday party. I just keep it in the birthday tub and switch out the age each year. I wasn’t going to put it up, but decided to decorate the sun room a bit in case it was utilized during the party.

Outdoor decorations and food: banner, chalkboard, chips, Capri Sun, and party favors…and hand sanitizer. πŸ˜‰

I got these personalized cups from a local business (Cups on Cochran), filled them with candy, and added a hand sanitizer in the cup too!

The kids played for about an hour and a half, we picked up pizza for the kids and then had cookie cake.

We sang and they blew out their candles on their bundt cake. We actually sang to Hadley twice because she didn’t feel like the boys put in enough effort the first time! πŸ˜‚

Cookie cake tradition continues…

Then, they went back to playing!

With twins, boy/girl twins at that, it’s hard to find something they both want to do for a party, and keep the invite list under control…especially during Covid. The kids are blessed with great friends, and I’m glad it worked out for them to each invite a few to play; the weather couldn’t have been better…especially for November!

This little sign says it all…

11 years of being a mom. 11 years of watching them grow. 11 years of worry and love and all the emotions. What a blessing these 11 years have been.

Once everyone went home, Hayden hugged me and said, “Mom, this was the best birthday ever. You should sit down and have a glass of wine. You deserve it!” Ahh…that kid!

I guess a little outside backyard fun, friends, pizza, and some cake are all you really need. It was a great day. We made the most of this pandemic birthday.

As always, thanks so much for reading!

Posted in Kids

Friday Favorites: The Twins Turn 11

Hello and Happy Friday! I know I always say that when starting these posts, but today is a very special and happy Friday…Today, Hayden and Hadley turn 11! 11 on 11.20.20 πŸ₯³

As always, I’m linking up with Andrea and Erika for this week’s Friday Favorites post. Of course, birthdays are always my favorite. I have zero chill when it comes to celebrating birthdays in this house!

Today, I’m looking back on this year and giving my two faves a little shout out on their special day!

Happy 11th birthday…

…to my two most favorite people in the world!

Last year I shared a post with 10 things I love about each of them…and shared some of my favorite pics of them through the years.

While they don’t read my blog (maybe someday?), I still want to write to them…

Dear Hayden and Hadley,

This year, to celebrate you turning 11, I thought I’d share my 11 favorite pics of each of you this year!

Hayden:

Hayden, you were “Baby A” born at 12:08 p.m, so your trip down memory lane is first…

You love to be outdoors, and look so cute in a stocking cap!

You are a great friend. You cherish having quality friendships over quantity of friendships.

You know how to relax (and your tan seems to last forever!)

You are an adventurous eater, and you can eat your weight in oysters!

You can be pretty serious, but when you smile, it’s the sweetest.

I admire your quiet confidence (& occasional flex after scoring two on the basketball court) πŸ˜‰

You give it your all when you are doing what you love.

You take chances.

You persevere.

You are humble.

And…you like to have fun!

Hayden, being your mom is one of my greatest gifts, and seeing you work through the ups and downs of life makes me proud to be your mom.

Hadley:

Well, you may have been born one minute later at 12:09 p.m., but you’ve been dominating the world ever since!

I love that your inner beauty matches your outer beauty.

Like your brother, you like to have fun!

You love the surf and the sand and time spent with your family.

Your whole life, you’ve gone either 0 or 100. No in between. You rarely sit still, but when you do…

You’re always smiling.

You are graceful and exude positive energy.

You aren’t afraid to try something new.

You never give up.

You are a good, inclusive friend.

You are confident.

And…you are a free spirit.

Hadley, being your mom is one of my greatest gifts. Continue to let your kind heart lead you through life, but your confidence and sass will come in handy too!

Happy Happy birthday!

I love you!

xoxo, Mom

Y’all, babies don’t keep! Being a mom is the hardest yet most rewarding job I’ll ever have. They aren’t perfect, nor am I, but I feel pretty lucky that I get to be on the sidelines of life cheering them on.

Weekly Recap:

And since it’s Friday, I’ll go ahead and share my weekly recap of my posts this week.

Thank you so much for reading. Don’t forget to check out the other ladies’ posts too!

Have a great weekend.

Posted in Kids, Life Lately, Trader Joes

Life Lately

Compared to the past couple of months, life has been a little less hectic, and I’m here for it. We’ve gone from having some kind of practice every evening to practice just a couple days a week. We’ve gone from baseball tournaments and cross country meets taking up the weekend to just one basketball game on a Saturday afternoon. Also, with it getting darker earlier, it’s easier to convince my kids to get settled in for the evening.

Even with the slower pace, we’ve still been busy. So, today I’m sharing a bit of our life…lately.

Hayden’s in a 3 on 3 basketball league. Due to Covid, his regular league isn’t having a season (yet?). With this league, the season is shorter, the team is smaller, and they only play half court. That being said, he loves basketball, so I know he’s happy to be back on the court. His team won their first game on Friday evening, and Hayden had six points.

The kids (and Travis) wrapped up the regular cross country season last Saturday with the 5th/6th grade state meet. This was the first time the kids had been in a race with 6th graders, so I think there were a few nerves. It was the hottest day and the hardest course, but both battled to run pretty decent races. Hadley earned a medal, and I know Hayden wished he had placed a little higher, but we were proud of them, of course.

Y’all, I always joke that if you see me running, somebody is probably chasing me! haha…so who am I to judge?! πŸ˜‚Both had an amazing season with ups and downs, PR’s, top 10 (& 1st) place finishes, and lots of miles put on those legs. They had fun with their teammates and supported each other in practices and races which is what it’s all about.

And, I have to give a shout out to Travis. He coaches this team during the busiest months of work for him, and he gives it his all. The kids don’t know how special it is to have this time and these memories with him. I know they’ll look back on these years with fond memories…and will hopefully forget that, according to them, he made them run farther in practice! πŸ˜‚

On the run!

Cousin crew came to cheer the kids on!

We’ve had really beautiful weather, so I’ve been trying to ease back into working out with some walks every other day or so.

The leaves, even the ones on the ground, are so beautiful. I really do love fall!

There’s a beautiful street in Lex that’s known for their ginkgo trees. Facebook is flooded with Lexington peeps checking out the beautiful yellow leaves. For Tuesday’s recess, we decided to visit the “yellow brick road” and go for a little afternoon walk around that neighborhood.

The leaves are just stunning!

It was such a nice way to spend a few minutes on a weekday afternoon!

On Tuesday, Homer also enjoyed the lovely weather and the sunshine.

I’ve been reading Louisiana Lucky, and it’s such a cute read! I should finish it up in the next day or two.

Over the weekend, I finished watching Virgin River. Season 2 comes out November 27th, so I won’t have to wait long to see what Mel and Jack are up to!

I’d heard many people talking about The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix, and I decided to give it a try. To be honest, I don’t think I ever would have clicked on this show while just scrolling Netflix, so I’m glad for the recommendation. I’m three episodes in, and I love it so far.

This is a miniseries based off of the novel with the same name. The main character, Beth, is an orphan, and she’s on a quest to become the greatest chess player in the world. She learns how to play from the custodian at the orphanage. Beth is adopted by a couple from Lexington, so there are some Lexington references in the plot. I think the author grew up here? Anyway, I definitely recommend it based on what I’ve seen so far.

And…I’m excited because The Crown is back for Season 4 on November 15th. I was late to The Crown game, but started watching it back in March once life came to a halt! I really enjoy it as well, and can’t wait for this season.

I made a Trader Joe’s run over the weekend, and picked up some of our faves plus a few new foods to try.

  • Chicken nuggets – The kids love these for lunch.
  • Granola bars – I love these for an afternoon snack.
  • Blondie bars– This mix is perfect when you want something sweet. Hadley and her friend made these the other day, so I had to get another box to keep on hand.
  • Black bean burrito– We all love these.
  • White Cheddar shell mac & cheese– Hadley’s fave
  • Turkey and pumpkin mole burrito – This was a new find for me. I thought it was ok.
  • Everything but the Bagel Seasoning– I was running low on my other bottle, and started to panic!
  • Corn dippers – They go great with…
  • Buffalo chicken dip! – I also eat the dip with mini peppers.
  • Blue corn tortilla chips – I picked these up to mix in with our regular tortilla chips when I made sheet pan nachos for dinner on Tuesday night.
  • Chomps – Hayden’s fave!
  • Havarti Dill cheese – My fave! I eat some bites of cheese with…
  • Salami! – I love a snack plate!

I always stock up on our frozen staples when I’m at TJ’s. We eat the…

  • Gnocchi or Mushroom Risotto as a side dish at least once a week.
  • Mexican style roasted corn is usually a side dish when we eat Mexican food for dinner which is probably once a week!

Most Sundays I try to bake something for dessert. Hadley usually helps me, but she was outside playing on Sunday afternoon when I had time to make Shay’s pumpkin cake.

It was soooo good!

We also took some time this week to celebrate the end of cross country season and report cards with great grades on them! So, Hayden got the “You are Special” plate one night, and Hadley got it the next night!

It blows my mind that my kids haven’t stepped foot in a classroom in almost 8 months! I feel blessed that they are certainly persevering during these times. (Real Talk: I’m also glad they aren’t in primary grades where I know they’d need my help 90% of the time!) I’m thankful that they are pretty independent workers, for their awesome teachers, pod instructor and sitters! It really does take a village…especially during a pandemic.

I hope all of you are hanging in there as well! I know, for us, each day is different. Some days are definitely easier and better than others! And..on the “other” days, I just get in my pjs by 5:00 and count the minutes until bedtime…for all of us!

See you back here tomorrow for Friday Favorites: Thanksgiving Edition!

Take care,

Posted in Friday Favorites, Holidays, Kids

(Flashback) Friday Favorites

Hello and Happy Friday! This week has been so different for me! I’ve had lots of time spent on the mend with napping and Netflix. That being said, Travis has definitely had to wear his Super Dad cape this week! I greatly appreciate all he does for me and for our family to keep us a float while we are a (wo)man down!

The kids still had activities, I still worked from home, friends continued to bring us meals and desserts, and we are just taking one day at a time.

Today, I’m linking up with Andrea and Erika for their weekly Friday Favorites post.

Today’s Friday Favorites has a Flashback twist. With Halloween around the corner, I thought I’d share the kids’ costumes through the years.

2010:

Lil Pumpkin and chubby skeleton…

2010

2011:

M&M’s…

2011

2012:

Fireman and Princess…

2012

2013:

My favorite costume combo: Batman and Robin! (Being Robin was 100% Hadley’s idea after Hayden said he wanted to be Batman)

2013

2014:

Captain America and Elsa (from Frozen)

2014

2015:

A ninja and a pink Power Ranger…The neighborhood was very safe that year πŸ˜‰

2015

2016:

A bee and Luke Skywalker…

2016

2017:

Super Girl and KC Royals player Mike Moustakas…

2017

2018:

Soccer player and 80’s party girl #omg

2018

2019:

A Ghostbuster and a nerd πŸ˜‚

2019

Last year, our Halloween trick-or-treating was moved due to weather. So, we had a fun dinner at home on Halloween. Andrea had shared about her spooky dinner, and I recreated the fun. I hope to do this again this year.

I thought that would be a fun trip down memory lane! Now, on to some favorites…

Favorite Picture:

After a string of dreary days, the sun finally came out! I went outside to tell Hadley to come in for dinner and saw one of our front yard trees showing off.

now…who is going to rake up all those leaves? πŸ€”

Favorite Clothing Item:

My pjs or comfy clothes on repeat.

Favorite Food:

Again, we’ve been enjoying so many wonderful foods that friends have brought us for dinner. We’ve had soups, lasagna, chicken enchiladas, and a quiche. As well as too many delicious desserts.

Cupcakes made by H&H

Favorite Moment:

When I had my surgery last week, my goal was to rest up and be able to attend the kids’ district championship cross country meet on Wednesday. I’m so glad I was able to attend! The boys and girls teams have come so far, and I’m so proud of Travis for taking on the coaching responsibilities again this year. They’ve had a pretty good season considering the late start due to Covid.

Hadley finished with her best time and highest finish yet with 4th place. Then, Hayden finished again in first. They’ve grown so much as runners in the past year, and again, it’s so awesome to see teammates cheering each other on!

I caught this pic of Hayden right as the race started. He had on his new bright cleats and was chasing the daylight!

On the run…

left: Hadley and her friend leading the pack; top right: Hadley almost to the finish line; bottom right: Hayden at the finish!

Twinsies with their hardware.

Their cousins came to cheer them on πŸ™‚

It was such a beautiful day, and definitely a fun race for all.

Favorite Kid Quote:

This quote goes back to last week. Hadley had her first band class via Zoom for playing flute on the Wednesday of my surgery. That evening, when I Facetimed the kids from the hospital, I asked Hadley how band went, and she told me how the teacher taught her a few notes. I said, “Hadley, I’m so proud of you!” She said, “No, mom, I’m so proud of you.” ❀️She knew I was anxious about my surgery that morning, and that I was so relieved to be on the recovery side of it.

She’s such a sweet girl…when she’s not being sassy πŸ˜‰

Favorite Mom Memes:

This one popped up in my Facebook memories. Thankfully, I haven’t had to cook in over a week! πŸ˜‚

Travis is the real MVP this week getting the kids where they need to go. Technically, I’m not supposed to drive yet, so it’s on him to get them to school pod and activities…as well as other errands.

Weekly Recap:

It was a short blogging week for me, but here are my two other posts from the week:

Y’all, by some miracle we don’t have any real plans this weekend. No sports or other major commitments on the schedule which means I will continue to get some much needed rest.

Thanks so much for reading, and have a great weekend!

Posted in Kids, What's up Wednesday

What’s Up Wednesday

Happy What’s Up Wednesday! On the last Wednesday of the month, Sheaffer and Shay host a link up to share a bit about what’s going on!

I can’t believe tomorrow is October! It’s no secret that I love fall, but October is my favorite month of the year. By October, we are in a school routine (even for an odd year like this one!), the weather is turning cooler, we have fall break, we visit the pumpkin patch, and of course, there’s Halloween!

Before I get too far into dreaming about October, I first need to wrap up September! Here’s what’s happening with us!

WHAT WE ARE EATING THIS WEEK:

I’ve been a slacker…and off my meal planning game…

  • Sunday: Subway sandwiches in between baseball games.
  • Monday: Rotisserie chicken, Trader Joe’s mushroom risotto, and broccoli before the kids’ cross country meet.
  • Tuesday: Shay’s Sloppy Joe’s , Bob Evans mashed potatoes, and salad.
  • Wednesday: leftovers
  • Thursday-Saturday: I had hoped to make my favorite Pumpkin Sausage Penne recipe, but I may push that to next week and wing it for meals the rest of the week.

Hadley earned the Red Plate last night because her teacher called and left me a message about how hard Hadley is working in class as well as how she is being a leader and a good classmate. Makes my mama teacher heart very proud.

Also, this week, we’ve enjoyed treats that the kids made in their pod on Monday. They were put into three baking groups for an apple baking challenge. The three groups made one of the following: mini apple pies, apple turnovers, and apple monkey bread bites.

They had such a great time, and the leftovers have been amazing.

WHAT I’M REMINISCING ABOUT:

Last fall break when we went glamping . It was definitely a fun experience.

I’m also reminiscing about this sweet little troop of girls. They started off as Daisies and are now Junior Girl Scouts. They had their first meeting of the year last Friday.

2017

WHAT I’M LOVING:

My new bar stools for my kitchen. We’d had the previous ones since we moved in six years ago, and it was time for an upgrade. I found these at At Home store, and they are two inches taller and more sturdy. Hopefully, we can get five years (or longer!) out of these too!

WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO:

I feel like a broken record, but yes, our lives revolve around our kids’ activities right now. From cross country to dance to baseball to Girl Scouts…that’s where you’ll find us. I do enjoy watching them do the things that they love even if it means early wake ups on the weekend, later bedtimes (for me!) on a weeknight, and miles on put on my car.

I’ve mentioned before that Hadley’s trying competition team this year. There will be three competitions (hopefully!) in the spring. She was excited to find this sign in our yard on Friday.

Friday evening, the kids had a cross country meet. The hosts of the events we’ve gone to have done such a wonderful job following protocols that then allow these kids to compete. I’ve been very impressed.

Hadley finished in 7th place, and Hayden had his first ever first place finish. We are so proud of both of them, and I love that Travis is coaching them.

Real talk: Trav’s family is a running family. My family is not. I always joke if you see me running, you’d better help me because that means someone is chasing me! πŸ˜‰So, I guess they get their speed and agility from his side!

Friday night Hadley’s Girl Scout troop met for the first time this year. One of their fun activities was roasting marshmallows and making s’mores. It was the perfect evening for an outside meeting.

Saturday and Sunday Hayden had a baseball tournament. He pitched two of the four games over the weekend, and did an amazing job.

This team lost in the championship, but enjoyed their weekend playing ball.

Funny Hayden quote: When we arrived home very late on Sunday night from the championship game, Hayden was excited to see Homer. Homer sniffed Hayden a whole bunch, and Hayden said, “What Homer? Do I smell like a runner-up?” πŸ˜‚

Then, Monday, some of the area schools put together a cross country meet here in town. We haven’t had rain in over two weeks, but Monday’s weather was the real test for these runners. They ran in wind and a light rain with cooler temps. The cooler temps were perfect for running…not so much the wind and rain. But…they persevered. Hadley placed 6th and Hayden had another 1st place finish. This was their first 3K meet of the year. The other two meets have been 1.2 miles.

WHAT I’M DREADING:

This topic always throws me off each month! I never want to sound negative. Sarcastic, yes. Negative, no. πŸ˜‰

We’ve been in such a blessed position with the kids going to a pod to learn two days a week, our sitter comes over one day, and I’m with them the other two days. That being said, we haven’t had much clarification for a timeline to at least start with a hyrbid model, and I was really hoping my kids would be able to at least start going to school, even for just a couple days a week, soon. It sounds like November is our earliest option, but unfortunately, we still need the number of Covid cases to decline.

WHAT I’M WORKING ON:

Basically, I’m just over here trying to get my life together! So, that’s what I’m working on. I’m also hoping to get a blog post together for this week (hopefully tomorrow!) about the books I read in September.

WHAT I’M EXCITED ABOUT:

I’m excited about having a couple of days off starting tomorrow. It will be nice to relax, unwind…and not set an alarm for a couple of days.

WHAT I’M WATCHING/READING:

I’m almost finished reading Two Can Keep a Secret which one of my friends recommended.

Lately, I feel like I haven’t had tons of time to read or watch many shows. If I have a few minutes, I like to watch some mindless shows like Real Housewives. I only have a couple episodes left of The Home Edit on Netflix. I’ve loved watching those ladies purge and organize other people’s closets, kitchens, and homes.

WHAT I’M LISTENING TO:

I’ve been listening to random podcasts here and there, but lately, I turned back to Even the Rich podcast. This season focuses on the Chappaquiddick saga with Ted Kennedy.

WHAT I’M WEARING:

Cardigans. On Repeat. I added this Amazon cardigan to my collection recently and love it. It’s so soft and not too heavy.

Also, I’ve continued to wear my Universal Thread cardigans from Target.

WHAT I’M DOING THIS WEEKEND:

We are taking a break from all the sports action and kids’ activities. I’m hoping for a few days of relaxation and family time.

WHAT I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH:

All things October.

Thanks so much for reading. Don’t forget to check out Sheaffer and Shay’s posts too!

I hope you are having a great week!