Posted in Kids, Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts

Hello and happy Thursday! This is a Thursday that feels like a Friday which is so nice. We don’t have school tomorrow. Since we still have a couple of weeks left until spring break, I’ll take the extra day off!

Recently, on Instagram, Ashley was answering some questions and one of them was “What do you miss most about your kids being little and love most about them being older?”

This question really “hit” me…To be honest, I’d say this past year (2022) was probably the toughest parenting year so far.

First of all, I have teens now. That’s probably all I need to say. 😂

That being said, last year started with a health issue for Hayden. While we were pretty certain the source of the issue, we still had a few months of uncertainty and tests to rule out major issues. My “mama heart” stayed worried during that time which of course caused me to feel stressed and anxious. Thankfully, things are much better now, but it was a hard season of worry to navigate.

Also, I think I’m just very aware of how quickly time is flying by. Recently, I said to Hayden, “I can’t believe I only have five more years with you all in the house with us.” His reply: “I can just live with you when I’m in college too.” Well, that’s the thing…I don’t necessarily want that either…You know, I want to get them to the point of independence. Of course, if they are in school and want to live at home for a year or two, I wouldn’t say no. It’s just I know I need to maximize my time with them while also raising productive members of society 😉

I also think Travis and I have done a good job setting boundaries and expectations while also giving them some independence as well. Now, do they give us credit for doing those things? Not always! 😂..,but I know they know we’re just trying to help them in the long run.

They like to take turns keeping me on my toes. Truthfully, I know that most of what we deal with is “normal” middle school behavior. That being said, there have been some trying times and season of growth. Again, it’s probably typical “growing pains” (literally and figuratively), but sometimes I just feel like I’m doing this parenting thing all wrong. Also, since I’m with teens at school all day, I try not to let my patience be spread too thin at home after a long day, but sometimes that’s hard. Thankfully, Travis balances me out. I feel like we make a great team.

And…we are just very busy. I always say, “blessed to be busy,” but this is just a very busy season of life. There aren’t many nights when we are all home for dinner at the same time, and sometimes I feel like I only see the kids when they are just waking up in the morning and tired or very late at night when they are tired as well. Sometimes, I feel like I’m just fussing at them to use their time wisely or get things done. Then, there are nights they do everything they are supposed to when they are supposed to, and that’s amazing!

Anyway…

So, when thinking about the question…

What do you miss most about your kids being little?

When they were little, they loved me so unconditionally. I miss that. I miss them sitting in my lap. I miss their little voices. (A Facebook memory popped up with a video of Hayden’s little 2nd grade voice, and it stopped me in my tracks). I miss them wanting me to read to them, toothless smiles, and much more.

I feel this deeply:

If that meme doesn’t sum up thirteen year olds, I don’t know what does!

But…

What do you love most about them being older?

Of course, I enjoy who they are now. I can really see who they are becoming as people, and I love it. Also, it is nice that they have more independence and responsibility. They can pack a suitcase with minimal help (I still provide a list!), they can run into the grocery store with my debit card and pick up a few items we need, they can turn the lights off if I go to bed before them, I can trust them with their friends (I hope that’s always the case), and I’ve enjoyed seeing their relationship develop through the years. (Of course, if they want to quit fighting in the bathroom in the morning, I would be ok with that too!)

Anyway, I’d love any words of wisdom from those with older kids. I’m trying to enjoy this season the best that I can. Thankfully, they still hug me and tell me goodnight. That’s the good stuff, for sure! It just feels like they went from this…

to this…

in the blink of an eye!

Posted in Kids

Just Dance!

Hello!

Well, I had planned this post to cover the past two weekends of dance competitions, but then Hadley’s competition last weekend ended up being canceled due to no power at the auditorium in Louisville where they were going to perform.

As I type this, it’s Tuesday afternoon, and I’m using my brother’s house to charge everything and do some laundry. So, I thought I’d go ahead with this post and share all about Hadley’s dance competition a couple of weeks ago in Cincinnati.

A few things first…

I’m always amazed at Hadley’s performances. When she went back to dance in the third grade, she only did studio classes for a couple of years. Then, in fifth grade, she started with competition classes as well.

When you take competition classes, you have to also take ballet, tap, and jazz studio classes. So, two nights a week, Hadley is at dance for 2.5 hours. One night is ballet, tap, jazz, and then other night is for competition. Then, some dancers add on other classes like hip hop or lyrical. Since Hadley also does volleyball and track, we can’t commit to more than the two days.

They start working on routines in August, but competition season is January – May. Her studio usually attends 3-4 competitions in a season, and try to stay somewhat local…or at least not having to drive too far. Most competitions aren’t more than two hours away, and some are even closer to home.

Some dancers also do solos, duets, and trios as well as the group performances. Again, due to Hadley’s other activities, she has just stuck with the group performances, but she may do one of those in the future if she sticks with dancing.

Different dance competitions have different scoring systems and awards, and honestly, sometimes my head is spinning during the awards. For example, the competition they were in a couple of weeks ago had double platinum, platinum, high gold, etc. with other leveled awards as well.

The judges do provide feedback that the dancers go over with their teachers at their next class. They make some adjustments and work on things in order to refine their dances for the next performances.

Dancers have a jacket for their studio, and they collect pins at the competitions for each performance.

In Monday’s post, I shared some of Hadley’s “dance essentials.” While I know why some, including my dad (haha), wonder why the girls wear makeup and eyelashes, I can understand that the judges (and audience) need to see facial expressions from a distance, and the girls need to look as “uniform” as possible. To me, her studio doesn’t go “over the top” with their expectations for the girls, and Hadley can do her hair and makeup on her own.

Through the years…

The first year Hadley did competition, it was the spring of 2021….and things still looked different because of Covid. She was in two small group performances, one tap and one jazz. Whenever they had the competitions, they “blocked” the studios, so all dances for a group of studios were within one 3-4 hour window of time with awards immediately following.

Last year was Hadley’s second year in competition, and she was in one small jazz group and then a larger musical theater number with all the competition dancers.

This year, Hadley is in four dances: two large group musical theater and two small group, jazz and lyrical.

Their first competition of the season was Stage One in Cincinnati. Now that competitions are back to their regular three day schedule, it’s typically solos, duets and trios on Friday night with group dances, large and small, on Saturday and Sunday.

For Hadley, she danced the two large group performances on Saturday evening and then the two small group numbers on Sunday morning. That meant we needed to stay overnight in Cincinnati. Some dancers went to Cinci on Friday afternoon because they had their individual performances that evening.

So, on that Saturday, we arrived in Cinci around 3:00 and checked into our hotel. Since you never know about timing, Hadley made sure her hair and makeup were ready, so all she had to do was organize her costumes. We still haven’t purchased one of those dance bags that has the built in clothing rack to hang costumes. So far, two hanging garment bags have worked fine for Hadley. She keeps her two large group costumes in one and her two small group costumes in the other. The bags have two pockets where she keep hair pieces, dance shoes, extra tights, etc.

After we checked in, she went to our friends’ room and then the girls got ready. We walked over to the convention center an hour before her first dance. Once she was there, Hadley put on her first costume, and then all the girls stretched.

The one large group musical theater is the same Sponge Bob one as last year, and it’s always fun to watch.

Then, this year, the whole competition team has another Beetlejuice themed musical theater performance.

After those two performances, Hadley and friends watched other performances before the awards. I went back to the hotel, got us unpacked/organized, and had a bit of downtime. Then, I met a friend at the hotel bar…it was her birthday, so we had a drink before going to the awards.

After the awards, we went back to the hotel. Since it was 8:00, we just ate there and chatted with Hadley’s friend and her mom. We just hung out for a bit before heading back to the room around 10:00. The view from the room, especially at night, was so pretty. We were asleep by 11:00.

We were up early on Sunday, and I went and grabbed a few “grab and go” type things for breakfast and coffee while Hadley got ready.

She had her two small group performances that morning, and they were amazing. The lyrical performance brought a few tears to my eyes. The girls all looked so grown up and danced beautifully in both routine, but especially that one.

We snapped a few pictures and checked out of our hotel room before the awards.

Overall, it was a successful first competition, and we had a great time.

Hadley’s studio has been around for years and has a smaller group of dancers with more low-key moms! I’m actually grateful for that. They goal is for these dancers to have fun, grow as performers, and support the arts. Hadley is always excited to show us what she’s learned, and she has fun with the dancers at her studio. To us, that’s all the matters.

Maybe as you are reading this, my electricity has returned? We’ve now missed three days of school thanks to this weather event…I’m definitely ready for things to get back to normal.

Posted in Holidays, Kids, Life Lately

Life Lately

Hello!

How is your week going? Ours is…going.

Here’s a bit of our life…lately.

The kids had a big Friday night! They went to the 7th grade dance. Hadley was counting down the days, and we were all shocked that Hayden contemplated going. 😆

I’m not sure what their school did before Covid, but last year there weren’t any dances/mixers. This year, the PTSA has done an awesome job organizing something for every grade level. They had a school wide mixer (dance/game night) one Saturday evening in January, then the 6th graders had a casual after school dance in early February. The 7th graders had the Valentine’s Day dance on Friday night, and then the 8th graders have a more “formal” dance in the spring.

It’s been so nice to see the kids and their friends have these opportunities.

Here they are all dressed up and ready to go.

One of the moms organized a pre-dance get together with appetizers for the kids at a local restaurant. The moms stayed as well, so that we could then get them to the dance. So, from 5:15-6:45, the kids hung out, ate, and we talked them in to a few photos before they headed to the dance from 7-9.

This really is such a great group of kids. I’ve said it before, but Hayden and Hadley have held on to their close elementary friendships and the new friends they made last year have been such an added bonus. We’ve enjoyed getting to know the parents too.

Hayden rode with friends, and I got to drop these lovely ladies off at school.

Hayden texted about a half hour in to the dance asking when it was over. 😂Some of my friends were chaperones and reported back that both kids were having fun. Hadley gave us all the details when she got home, and Hayden actually said he had a good time.

This was such a nice “rite of passage” for them, and I loved seeing every moment.

Go Chiefs!

On Saturday, my mom decorated Chiefs cookies with the kids. I was impressed.

Sunday night was game time.

I picked up some balloons and a cookie cake. We’d ordered pizza the two previous play off games, so we continued that tradition too. Everyone was up late for the big win! We were all so excited.

Valentine’s Day

I think the kids had a pretty good Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, I’ve been sick this week, so I wasn’t up to make a special breakfast. I did put out a couple of decorations once I got up…

After school, we gave them a few gifts.

I got the kids some candy and donuts. Then, they both got a new alarm clock/sound machine. They both have the same sound machine from when they were babies (seriously – their sound machines are now 13 years old!), and Hayden’s is kind of glitchy. I’m going to put Hadley’s old one in my suitcase, so we always have it on hand for travel. I’ve decided the kids need to start setting an alarm in the morning, so that combined with the sound machine was a good little gift that they “needed.”

A couple of months ago, I picked up a heart necklace for Hadley when Shay had her collaboration with Victoria Emerson.

For Hayden, I also got him this running calendar and Toughness by Jay Bilas. (*I may end up reading it too!) 😉

Then, for dinner, we had heart shaped chicken nuggets and mac and cheese. An easy and delicious dinner made us all happy.

The past couple of years, I’ve made a special weekend Valentine’s Day lunch, but with our already hectic weekend and then V-Day falling on a Tuesday, we made the most of it. Travis and I hope to go out to dinner this weekend.

Have a great Wednesday,

{This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Thanks so much for supporting my blog.}

Posted in Friday Favorites, Kids, Meals and Recipes

Friday Favorites {#144}

Hello and Happy Friday!

This week was super busy, but it did include a snow (icy) day! Now, I think we have milder temps on the way.

As always, I’m linking up with Andrea and Erika for this week’s Friday Favorites.

Here are some favorites of the week:

Hadley and I baked a cake last Friday. We’re trying to make a cake a month, and this was our first one of the year. Hadley did most of the work, including decorating it. We made this Chocolate Chip cake, and it was really good.

On Saturday morning, we went to my nephew’s basketball game. He did such a good job, and his sister did some cheers at halftime!

My brother gave my niece his phone, and then sent me this selfie she took. Too funny.

On Sunday, Hayden had an indoor track meet in Louisville. With basketball going on, he has only been running a couple of days a week, but still had a PR in the mile.

Of course, my household was super excited with the Chiefs big win! We are close to Bengals country, so that made this win even more exciting. We can’t wait to cheer on the Chiefs in the Super Bowl.

Snow day pancakes on an icy Tuesday morning hit the spot!

Hayden’s basketball team is off to a solid start. They had two wins this week!

Fave Mom Meme:

This made me laugh…but it also reminded me that I want to pick up a couple of things for the kids for Valentine’s Day.

Bonus Fave: Flashback Friday

With Hayden’s basketball season starting up, I love this 3rd grade throwback to these two cute ballers. This is the year that Travis coached Hadley’s team to the championship victory! Hayden was on a team with a great group of kids too.

Weekly Recap:

Well, I continued with Bloganuary on the weekends, so I have a full week of posts:

I guess my blogging streak of 33 posts is coming to an end. I enjoyed tackling some Bloganuary posts on the weekends this month. Honestly, I have a bit more time to blog on the weekends, but readership is down on the weekend, so obviously, Monday-Friday blogging makes the most sense. Who knows, maybe I’ll throw in a random weekend post every now and then.

What are your weekend plans? Hadley has some fun planned with her friends tonight, and Hayden has basketball this weekend. I’m not sure what else we’ll do. See you back her Monday for my Amazon purchases this month.

Have a great weekend!

Posted in Blog challenge, Holidays, Kids

Bloganuary 1.29.23

Hello and happy Sunday! Well, we went from cold temps to temps in the 50’s yesterday…and then this upcoming week looks a little messy. Yep. It’s definitely the end of January.

Yesterday’s Bloganuary topic was: describe your perfect birthday cake.

Well, we are cookie cake people, and we are also Bundt cake people.

I did not grow up eating cookie cakes for my birthday, but now I think everyone knows that’s the expectation. I’m sure I’d had a cookie cake before, but I think we started buying cookie cakes for celebrations in the summer of 2010. My brother was with me at Sam’s Club and saw the double decker cookie cake. He said we should get one because it was June and his birthday combined with Father’s Day for Travis…like we needed a reason to justify it. haha

For years, we just bought them at Kroger, but then for quite a few years now, we’ve gotten them at Great American Cookie.

We are so lucky because we have a friend who makes cookies and cookie cakes too. They are delish.

This year, Travis got my cookie cake from Insomnia Cookie. It was so good…and I liked how small it was because I have zero will power when it comes to cookie cake! Plus, it was the right amount of icing.

See…we are big cookie cake people!

Love a cookie cake.

So, this prompt got me thinking about the kids’ birthday cakes through the years. For their first couple of birthdays, I had a Lexington and then KC party since we were in KC for Thanksgiving. Then, from the ages of 4-10, we always had two parties: one for their friends and one for family. I know it may sound crazy, but I just didn’t want to force family to come to Chuck E Cheese or have tons of kids running around our house since they have a November birthday.

The year they turned 11 was Covid 2020, and I had already told them that around that age they were getting older and too busy to keep having two parties. So, we’ve naturally just gone back to one party with friends…and who knows how much longer that will last.

Anyway, there were quite a few years that I made their cakes…and while I would consider myself novice and cake decorating, it was always fun.

1.

When the kids turned one, we had family over. My friend’s sister decorated cakes on the side, and she made their smash cake and cupcakes that were laid out in the shape of a one.

When we went to KC for Thanksgiving, my mom made them big cupcakes as smash cakes too.

2.

My mother-in-law decorated cakes for years and years when Travis was growing up. So, when the kids turned two and we had a “Oh TWO-dles” party (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse), she made their Mickey and Minnie cakes for their party.

Again, when we went to KC, my mom tried her hand at fondant, and made a cute Mickey cake. We also did cupcakes with Oreo Mickeys.

3.

When the kids turned three, my mother-in-law made their cakes again. The kids were very into the Sprout Channel and all of those shows. She made Chica from that channel as well as Calliou for their cakes.

4.

When the kids turned 4, I was inspired by my friend’s sister who made the one year cupcakes and smash cake. Also, thanks to Pinterest, I made a Curious George and a Hello Kitty cake for the family party.

For the friends party at Chuck E Cheese, I made the Thomas the Train and Elmo cake. These were some of my favorites that I made.

5.

When the kids turned five, I made Frozen cupcakes and dirt cupcakes for their indoor pool party with friends. For the family party, I made a Frozen cake and construction cake. Props helped make the cake even better! When I was looking through photos, I found this one with brownies that I guess I made on the day of their actual birthday. So many sweets in November!

6.

When they turned six, I made this football cake for Hayden and Power Rangers for Hadley.

7.

For the kids 7th birthday, they had their friends party at a tumbling place, so I made cupcakes and then bought the cupcake toppers off Etsy. For the family party, I ordered this gymnast made out of fondant for Hadley’s cake, and then made a football/baseball/basketball cake for Hayden.

8.

When the kids turned 8, they actually had an outside birthday party with friends. It was a mild early-November weekend, so we made dirt cups instead of cupcakes. Then, closer to their birthday, for the family party, I made a volleyball cake for Hadley and KC Royals (#8 Mike Moustakas) cake for Hayden.

9.

For their 9th birthday, the kids requested ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins, so that’s what we got for their (bowling) party with their friends.

This was the year that life caught up with me, and I realized it would be easier to let them pick out cookie cakes for family parties. It was fun seeing what designs they chose. Of course, Hayden loves basketball, and what girl doesn’t dream of going to Paris and seeing the Eiffel Tower?

10.

For their 10th birthday, they talked me into a slumber party (girls upstairs, boys in the basement!) We went to an indoor place for them to run around and play soccer and volleyball. Then, we came home for pizza and cookie cake before movies and bedtime.

Hadley’s slumber party cookie cake was perfect, and Hayden wanted Homer on his cake!

This was the kids’ last year having a family party, and I was going to order a Bundt cake. That being said, we had quite a bit of cookie cake left, so I just bought the kids each a mini cake then we had the leftover cookie cake with family.

11.

November of 2020 Covid was still rampant. We took advantage of online learning and had an outside birthday one Friday afternoon in November. Again, I picked up mini Bundt cakes, so they wouldn’t spread their germs (which honestly seems like it should always be that way…haha)

Then, I just picked up one cookie cake after realizing two cakes were too much the previous year.

12.

After going to a trampoline place with their friends, we got pizza and had cookie cake. Then, on their birthday, my brother and his family came over for Bundt cake.

13.

This year was much the same as last year. They went to Activate Games with friends and then we got pizza and had cookie cake.

On their actual birthday, we had a nice dinner out, and then stopped by my brother’s house to share the Bundt cake.

That was a fun walk down memory lane. I’m big on birthdays and always want my family, kids, and friends to feel celebrated!

What’s your ideal birthday cake?

See you back here tomorrow for Monday Memes!

Posted in Friday Favorites, Kids

Friday Favorites {#141}

Hello and Happy Friday! We’ve had a good week, but I’m always ready for Friday…especially with a three day weekend on the horizon.

As always, I’m linking up with Andrea and Erika for this week’s Friday Favorites.

Here are a few favorites from the week:

I feel like I don’t have many pics this week, and that’s because January really is a slower month. Hayden has basketball practice every day after school, but no games yet. Hadley is still dancing a couple of days a week, and both kids are running a bit to get/stay in shape for track season. That being said, we haven’t had much going on in the evenings which has been a favorite.

Favorite food:

Michelle (@ellerydesigns)shared that she’d been eating avocado toast, and it sounded so good. I’d never had Dave’s Killer Bread, but I added it to my Kroger order along with some avocados. I’ve had this a couple times this week with an over easy egg on top. So good!

I feel like I’m always begging everyone to get to the dinner table. One night this week, I said that dinner was ready, and look who was the first one in the kitchen? I turned around and saw this sweet face. He stays begging for food.

Hadley and friends went to their first middle school dance last weekend. It was more like a “mixer” since it was informal, but there was a DJ and games, and these girls had fun. With Hadley’s permission, I worked the front entrance to check ID badges, and it was fun seeing so many kids at their first middle school dance…even the 8th graders had never had one.

Hayden opted to go to a basketball game with his friend. haha

With track season in a couple of months, Hadley has wanted to go into the season in a bit better running shape. I’ve done a good job getting back to working out. That being said, I was going to have a rest day on Sunday, but Hadley convinced me to take her to the gym. Well, if she was going to be there, then I would take advantage of some time on the elliptical. She’s apparently my accountability partner. haha

She’s actually gotten up a couple of mornings these past couple of weeks to go to the gym with Travis before school. Hayden gets up and runs a couple of mornings as well since he has basketball practice after school.

A friend of mine adopted a baby, and a few friends are collecting books for her new little one. Hadley went to the bookstore with me, and she had a great time picking out some Valentine’s Day books as well as some “classics” that she remembers having on her bookshelf when she was little.

After a doctor’s appointment yesterday, I treated myself that afternoon with a mani and some mint chocolate chip ice cream…my favorite.

Favorite Mom Meme:

This is soooo true.

Bonus Fave: Flashback Friday

I’ve shared this January 2010 pic before, but then…

…these pics with the kids in their first little monogrammed outfits also popped up this week.

Weekly Recap:

Well, this month has been my busiest blogging month since I’m posting on the weekends too 🙂

What are your weekend plans? Tomorrow is my birthday, and we have dinner plans. I’m hoping to go see a movie this weekend too!

I hope you have a great weekend.

Posted in Friday Favorites, Kids

Friday Favorites {#138}

Hello and Happy Friday!

Wow! I feel like this week flew by. Did you feel that way too?

As always, I’m linking up with Andrea and Erika for this week’s Friday Favorites.

Favorite Moment:

Last Friday, we headed to Knoxville because Hayden had a race on Saturday. This was the final race of club season, and he was running in the AAU National Championship.

Last year, the race was in Paris, KY, closer to home….but we’d had tons of rain which provided for a very muddy course.

2021:

While Knoxville wasn’t that muddy, it was muddy enough that Travis taped his runners’ spikes on their feet with duct tape. #protip.

2022:

When we were figuring out what time we needed to be there, I confirmed with Travis who said, “No, that’s when the 11-12 year olds run.” I looked at him confused, and he said, “Hayden is 13!” Well, I guess I’d forgotten that…and also didn’t realize he’d already bump up in age.

Hayden ran a great race and was one second off of a PR. That being said, the conditions and course was harder than where he ran the PR. Travis said he was probably 20-30 seconds faster than the PR race. Needless to say, we were proud of his effort and he placed 34th.

Thomson Training has running groups in Louisville, northern KY and Travis coaches one of the Lexington groups. He was proud of all of his runners. (only a few pictured below)

…and the 13-14 boys were the National Champions!

…and Thomson Training won overall National Champs!

So proud of all the runners, and Hayden capped off his season with a great performance.

Favorite Pic:

I love these pics of Hayden and Travis. It’s been so fun to watch Hayden improve while Travis has been by his side.

Fave pit stop:

On the way home from Knoxville, we stopped at Buc-ees because Travis and Hayden had never been. We picked up lots of snacks!

Favorite Food(s):

Hadley had told me about these cookies (I joked that they are when Pinterest and Tik Tok collide), and she made them on Sunday. You just buy the “break and bake” chocolate chip cookies, press them down, and add the Christmas sugar cookie on top. She wanted to find the Christmas tree ones, but all we found were elf hats.

Anyway, they were cute and tasty!

I made a bit stop in Trader Joe’s this week to pick up fruit…and realized I hadn’t shopped for some of my favorites yet this holiday season.

Last year, I missed out on Jingle Jangle, so I was happy to see they still had it in stock. The “Step Up to the Bar” mix and the mini iced gingerbread people are my two faves. I usually pick up Peppermint Joes, but decided to try these chocolate covered ones…they are so good too!

Favorite Kid Quote:

The other day, I picked Hayden up from school. As I turned into the median to merge, there was a car in the right lane. Hayden looked out the window, smiled, and said, “What’s up dog?” I didn’t think anything of it until I passed the car, and there was a miniature pinscher in the lady’s lap. I literally laughed out loud. I didn’t realize when he said that that there was an actual dog in the car. haha

Favorite Clothes:

Did you see my post on Wednesday? I can’t wait to wear my new sweater and cropped faux leather pants ASAP.

Favorite Mom Meme(s):

I do think this is what causes some of my anxiety/stress. Having kid with a November birthday followed by Christmas is always just a lot!

Hadley always wins for most amount of laundry…and I swear even if she wears something for a half hour, it goes in the laundry. Hayden probably does have a few things that just fall off the hangers into the dirty clothes!

Bonus Fave: Flashback Friday:

Have I ever shared this pic before? I don’t think I have? It always pops up this week in my Facebook memories. While Hayden came home from the hospital with us, Hadley stayed in the NICU for 13 days. Travis had gone with Hadley to the NICU right after she was delivered. I remember Travis and the dr. at my bedside while I was in recovery. The dr. said she’d probably be in the NICU for 12-14 days. Well, on day 13 she came home, and we were officially a family of four…at home.

Hayden weighed 4 lbs, 7 oz, and Hadley weighed 4 lbs. I had them at 36 weeks, and did think they’d weigh a bit more based on my appointments and ultrasounds in weeks leading up to their arrival.

Anyway, Sis has always been the sassy and self-sufficient one, and I think it’s because she started off being a fighter.

Weekly Recap:

I had a busy blogging week! Here are my posts:

Not Just a Mom:

On Monday, we have our final Not Just a Mom post of 2023!

This month’s topic is Loving Lately. If you have a blog, we’d love to have you join us on Monday.

What are your weekend plans? We have volleyball and a holiday party this weekend. We’re also hoping to tackle the science fair projects. *sigh* They get a bad rap…I know we need science (obviously), but for me it’s the timing. They are always due right after break. If they could do them in January, I swear I wouldn’t complain like I do. It’s just one more *big* task to tackle in an already busy season. (They do the work themselves, but they still need to get organized, buy supplies, type, print, organize the board, and more!)

One week from today starts our break…and I can’t wait. I keep telling myself, “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.”

See you back here on Monday for Not Just a Mom. Thanks so much for reading.

Posted in Holidays, Kids

Birthday Recap

Hello! How was the start to your week? Of course, we had school and then last night was busy with the kids having basketball and volleyball.

We have one more day and then it’s our Thanksgiving break.

Before too much time passes, I’m recapping the kids birthday celebration(s).

I joke that I don’t mess around when it comes to birthdays. I’ve always loved my birthday. Then, of course, I had two kids on one day, so why not celebrate as big as possible?

Party Time:

The past few years, we’ve been able to work out a time on a Friday to let the kids have some fun with their friends.

The only “free” evening or weekend day we had was Friday, November 11th, so we went ahead and scheduled the kids’ party with their friends for that day.

I picked the kids (and some of their friends) up from school and headed to our house. The other friends met us there, and then Travis and I took the kids to Activate Games. Honestly, I don’t know much about it, but both kids had previously been there and thought it would be a fun way to spend their birthday. There are a variety of high-tech games that test your team with real-life challenges.

We had 5:30 reservations for 1 hour and 15 minutes of fun. We signed them in, and then Travis and I just hung out in the lobby. We actually both took turns shopping nearby while the other person hung out in case the kids needed anything. Honestly, we hardly saw the kids the entire time they were there…which I guess is a sign of a good time!

After the hour and fifteen minutes, they were hot, sweaty, and hungry!

We loaded up and headed to one of our favorite restaurants where we had reserved a room for pizza and cake. We got the kids settled, and Travis and I actually ate out in the main dining area. What is this life? haha

The kids ate, hung out, chatted, and opened gifts. After dinner, we had the traditional cookie cake!

The plan was to drop everyone off after dinner, but they were all very convincing that they wanted to play outside for a bit. So, boys vs. girls volleyball in our driveway burned a bit more energy. Everyone was home by 9:00, and it was a great party for a bunch of almost 13 year olds!

Big Birthday!

The Twins are Teens!

Wow! Times have changed. I was so tired on Saturday night that I went to bed waaaayy before anyone else. I was up around 7:00 which gave me time to put out the presents and few decorations instead of the night before like I did when they were little. Travis ran and picked up some donuts while the kids slept in.

Finally, around 9:30, they woke up. We sang them “happy birthday,” they ate their donuts and opened up the gifts from us. For their birthday, I try to stick with something they “want, wear, need, and read,” and that keeps things pretty simple.

I had them open the Homer socks last, and they loved them.

Since I knew Sunday would be so hectic, we took the traditional balloon photo on Saturday. *Sigh* this may be the last year…Hayden will oblige, but he doesn’t like the fanfare. Hadley’s like, “I’ll hold both balloons!” haha

I will say for having a weekend birthday, we’ve never been so busy on their actual birthday. Hayden’s rec league end of season tournament was this weekend. ALL of his games were on Sunday. Of course, if they had lost, they would have been finished, but they kept on winning. He played three games, and his team lost in the championship game.

Hadley’s studio does a Winter Showcase, and it’s usually in December. About a month ago, they had to move the venue, and the showcase was rescheduled for Sunday. She was in three routines, and it was such a fun performance to watch.

In between the dance showcase and the championship game, they let me take a few pics with the yard signs. The sign display seems to grow each year!

After the championship game, we headed straight to dinner. We had reservations at Carson’s which is one of our favorite restaurants. Of course, Hadley got the salmon, and Hayden ordered a bacon cheeseburger.

After dinner, we stopped by my brother’s house, so his family could wish them happy birthday and eat some cake!

We headed home around 7:30, so the kids could work on their science fair proposals and get ready for the (short) week ahead.

Overall, I think the kids had a really great day. Of course, it would have been nice to have some downtime, but, then again, they spent the day doing the things they love while receiving lots of calls and texts from friends and family. Of course, the day ended with some cake. What’s not to love?

Posted in Kids, Weekend Top 5

Life Lately

Hello and Happy Monday.

Well, after a very busy weekend, I’m thankful for a short school week this week.

I’m linking up with Holly and Sarah for:

…to share a little catch up with Life Lately.

We’ve been busy over the past couple of weeks, and here’s what we’ve been up to…

Both Travis and Hayden received all area recognition to wrap up the middle school cross country season which was an honor for both of them.

Hayden (& Travis) have continued with club season. Hadley joined them last weekend in the bitter cold temps as they ran the track at Bellarmine. Our nephew’s club team hosted a memorial run for Trav’s dad. Both kids did great and those races are always fun to watch…even in the cold temps with snow on the ground.

That same Saturday, one of Hadley’s best friends had her 13th birthday party at Kroger Field as the CATS played Vandy. Instead of “Big Blue Saturday,” I joked that it was “Big Brrr Saturday.” 😂 They had a scavenger hunt with 13 clues to do around the stadium. How fun is that? Such a great idea.

One of the clues was a photo with the cheerleader which Hadley thought was so fun.

Hadley’s volleyball season has continued these past few weeks. These girls are so fun to watch! They improve with each game and cheer each other on.

Hadley played one of her best friend’s teams, and it was fun to see her (and her mom!) and catch up.

My brother’s family has a new addition:

Meet Tilly! She’s a cutie.

On Friday night, we went to a charity gala for the Ronald McDonald House. I think we all know what an amazing organization this is, and nothing will help you count your blessings more than hearing the stories of so many thankful families.

We had a wonderful night with our friends for a great cause.

I got this dress from Red Dress Boutique and love it. Green and black appear to be sold out, but red would be perfect for any holiday party you have to attend.

Hadley has these same heels in nude, and I picked up the glitter/gold option. This purse was the perfect touch and holds so much! It’s my new “go to” clutch for sure.

I’m in size large dress, regular size 9 heels

We celebrated the kids as much as possible yesterday. We officially have two teenagers in the house!

…and they didn’t even take a break on their birthday.

Hayden had a basketball tournament (& played three games yesterday)…

…while Hadley had her Winter Showcase for her dance studio.

We were able to go out to dinner and have cake (with cousins) last night.

Shew! Yesterday was non-stop, but the kids had a great day.

What was the highlight of your weekend? See you back here tomorrow!

{this post contains Amazon affiliate links}

Posted in Friday Favorites, Holidays, Kids

Friday Favorites {#136}: The Twins are Teens

Hello and Happy Friday! This week has been a good one! I hope the same can be said for you.

As always, I’m linking up with Andrea and Erika for this week’s Friday Favorites post.

Well, today’s post is a “Special Edition” of Friday Favorites because it’s all about two of my favorite people who are about to be teenagers. The kids will turn 13 on Sunday, and I really can’t believe how quickly these years have flown by.

Thirteen. Wow. I will say I’ve always felt 13 to be an unlucky number. But…how can I say that now? I’ve been blessed with the best title, mom, for 13 amazing years. The years have been filled with sleepless nights, amazing memories, highs and lows, achievements, milestones, and more!

To mark this special occasion…

…a stroll down memory lane…

I made these collages over the past thirteen days to countdown to the big day.

13 days to 13…

12.

11.

10.

9.

8.

7.

6.

5.

4.

3.

2.

1.

Y’all know I celebrate birthdays in a big way. Two kids, one day. Why not?

Through the years, I’m so glad that I did the birthday t-shirt tradition. We did that until they were ten, and those pics are always so fun to look back on. Starting when they were three until they turned ten, we had two parties: one for family and one for friends. The past few years, one party with friends has been perfect, and I know even that tradition may fade as they grow older and get busier.

When they were eight, I started buying the balloons with their age, and I hope to do that until they are 18! The yard signs are fun, and we’ve been doing those for a few years. That being said, Hayden doesn’t love all the attention from the neighbors. After this year, I may hold off doing that again until they are 16!

I hope they look back at all the times I made their cakes, started traditions, and planned parties with fond memories. They sure are worthy of celebrating, and it’s been so fun to do so through the years.

T H I R T E E N

Hayden…

From 4 lbs 7 oz almost looking me in the eye, you’ve certainly grown so much this year.

You are figuring yourself out, you are determined and driven, and you have a quiet confidence that I admire. You’ve overcome obstacles and continued to pave your own way.

13 things you did this year::

  • Caught up to your sister in height
  • Learned you love to fish
  • Made the basketball team
  • Made Honor Roll every quarter
  • Had a great 12 year old season and walked away from the baseball diamond on your own terms
  • Ran track (and set PR’s!)
  • Ran cross country (with your dad as your coach!)
  • Learned to cook a few things
  • Gave Homer lots of snuggles
  • Made new friends while keeping old friendships too
  • Cheered for the CATS and the Chiefs
  • Were recognized for good citizenship
  • Read lots of books

I pray that you know we’ll always be here for you, and that dad and I are your biggest fans. I’ve loved watching your relationship with Hadley grow through the years. You’re lucky to have her as a sister and as a friend.

I hope you have the best year yet. We can’t wait to celebrate you!

xo xo,

Mom

Hadley…

From 4 lbs to almost looking me in the eye (and almost sharing my shoe size!), you’ve certainly grown so much this year.

Your smile is infectious and you light up the room. You have grace and beauty. You cheer for others. You set goals and crush them. You have a confidence that I admire. You’ve taken risks, learned new things, and fostered friendships. You are silly at just the right time, and you don’t take yourself too seriously.

You continue to pave your way which has been a joy to watch.

13 things you did this year:

  • Danced (at school, for competition team, and for studio)
  • Swam (and set PR’s)
  • Ran track
  • Made Honor Roll every quarter
  • Went to camp
  • Made the volleyball team
  • Were involved in Student Council
  • Babysat
  • Went to youth group
  • Were an acolyte at church
  • Made new friends while keeping old friendships too
  • Went tubing on the lake and kayaked in the ocean
  • Got your braces off

I pray that you know we’ll always be here for you, and that dad and I are your biggest fans. I’ve loved watching your relationship with Hayden grow through the years. You’re lucky to have him as a brother and as a friend.

I hope you have the best year yet. We can’t wait to celebrate you!

xo xo,

Mom

Favorite Mom Meme:

This one feels perfect for today:

Previous Birthday Posts:

Weekly Recap:

Here are my posts from this week:

What are your weekend plans? We have so many fun things going on! We have plans with friends, Hayden has a basketball tournament, Hadley has a dance recital, and, of course, we have some birthday cake to eat!

See you back here on Monday! Thanks so much for reading.