Wednesday, June 27, 2012

photo dump

Carter and Cate after his baseball game Sunday.  He's really good to her <3

Joe Cool


Evening at the pool celebrating Father's Day with my parents, sister & family

Quiet morning on the front porch with her favorite person
Shucking corn for lunch

I love chocolate ice cream, Scott loves vanilla, and we both love carmel.  This ice cream is perfect for us...half and half with carmel in the middle!

Cate has moved on from Ben and Brady's friends to Carter's friends.  I wish this picture was better...her newest victim..Stevie!  (Looks like Abbie has some competition!)  I think she has great taste :)

Her "dive"

Brady spent 24 hours with my sister, Kenny, and Jon over the weekend.  They went fishing, swimming, 4-wheeling, and horseback riding.  He was in heaven!!

Brady caught a total of 62 fish.  (that is 61 more fish than Cody's last attempt.  Just sayin')

Bennett stayed last Sat/Sun with his friend Connor and then Monday with his friend Ryan. He loves being sibling-free and with his buddies!

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012


The day after Father's Day (aka 'the day after the crowds'), we celebrated the awesome men on Scott's side of the fam at The Old Spaghetti Factory downtown Stl.  DELISH!~our fave.  Of course it's not just about the food, it's about spending time with family and letting them know how much they're appreciated and loved. (duh)  Someone must have called ahead and let Spags know that a crazy cast of characters (ahem, Uncle Mikey and Josh) would be in attendance and they gave us the entire second floor to ourselves ;)  Food was great, service was outstanding, and the company was better than ever.  The balloon man even found us which led to about thirty minutes of extra entertainment! I'm one lucky girl...not only was I born into a fabulous family, I married in to one too!!!
Crazies and their balloon creations! Carter~chose a bear, Ben, Brady, Josh, & Lauren with their wild hats, and Cate chose a bunny and flower hat. 

Carter was absolutely amazed by the balloon mans skills and asked him which college he attended to learn how to do it.  Naturally Carter was dead serious and the balloon guy was kind of stumped at the question.  Another Carter-ism to add to the endless list :)
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Friday, June 22, 2012


Doesn't get any better than this....
Fresh-from-the-garden cucumber/tomato salad, Bisquick cheddar biscuit (on sale at Schnucks for $.25/pkg!), the best crockpot roast ever, and fresh picked Relleke's corn (we have corn for lunch and dinner everyday.  No joke.) 
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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Raging Rivers

Today we made it to Raging Rivers.  Reason #12,498 why I love summer...last minute (11:30am) decision to go to a water park because, well, why not? No need for planning, just grab some towels and head out...nothing else on the schedule.  I. love. summer. 

Brady, Jon, Cate, Bennett, Carter

Probably a bad idea. I wanted a shot of the park over-looking the Mississippi but I didn't realize how stupid it was to ask Cate to stand on a non-supportive chair, on the edge of a deck, way above the ground.  She's such a good sport  :)

So much for a relaxing day hanging out in the kiddie pool.  Cate realized she was big enough for the huge slides and I spent hours climbing the steep inclines to the top of the park over and over and over again.  All worth it though...I loved that she would throw her arms up and I could hear her squealing "yeeehawwww" all the way down!  She even went on the waterslides where she had to sit in a tube and go down by herself (thank you Ben for always carrying her tube up the hills!).  And she loved the wave pool.  I made her wear her floatie (which she was not thrilled about because "I've overgrown that mommy, I can swim in the deep by myself") because of course she refuses to stay where she can touch...she insisted on going all the way to the back of the pool where the waves are huge and the water is 6ft deep.  She kicks herself out there and I can hear her squeal "bigger! bigger! bigger waves!"  {from where I'm standing in the 4ft water! Don't worry mom, I never take my eyes off her :) } One of the older manager/safety guys who stands guard in the deep end during the waves yelled to me "great job on teaching her to be such a strong swimmer, my job would be a lot easier if every kid were taught to swim like that" then he gave me the thumbs up sign.  It made me smile, but I was really thinking "little do you know, old man, that she taught herself to swim because she's too hard-headed to be told she has to wear a floatie or stay in the shallow end".  But I'm glad she's a fearless swimmer and has so much confidence in the water....makes me one step closer to being able to lay out on a lounge chair all day while the kids play in the pool without my supervision!!!   
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Sunday, June 17, 2012

kc weekend

This weekend, Bennett and Brady both played in a tournament in Kansas City.  I should have known it was going to be a less-than-stellar weekend when it was 10:30am on Friday~we planned to leave at noon~and had yet to start packing..or even bring our suitcases up from the basement. We didn't have any games Friday night and the drive is only 3 hours, but still, we're usually a little bit more on top of things.  All three of our Illini teams stayed at the same hotel, which is nice because both boys have friends to run around with.  However, what made this tournament a lot less fun for everyone is that we were literally only back at the hotel to sleep.  Last tournament we were done playing by 2:00pm Saturday and had all evening to hang out.  This time around, our first Saturday game was at 8am and our last was at 7:00pm so needless to say, there was no time for anything but baseball! Ben and Brady both played great, but their teams had little success...guess you can't win them all! 

Brady hit great and made some amazing plays at 2nd base.  It was the first time they were allowed to steal bases and bunt so he was really excited about that.  It was fun to watch his catcher Logan throw kids out at second...he and Brady had the catcher/2nd base teamwork down by the second impressive :)

Bennett hit really well too. He's doing great in that 4th batter clean-up spot :)

Obviously Cate feels right at home in a hotel!  She's getting really good at flips on the luggage cart bar :)

We stayed at this same hotel two years ago with Bennett's team and I told Brady he wouldn't remember it.  As soon as we walked into the lobby, he started throwing details at me about the college hockey team that stayed there two years ago and every other thing we did and saw.  I swear he can pull up memories from as far back as the hospital nursery...he forgets NOTHING!!

Hot tub time!  This hotel has the smallest pool ever (not much bigger than the hot tub)

In between rain showers!

During Bennett's second game, a storm rolled in.  It was lightening, thundering, and pouring rain and the boys were still playing.  Scott stopped the game when the other teams 1st basemen had an anxiety/panic attack over the storm but his coach refused to let him off the field because they only had 9 players!!!  Finally the tournament officials called a delay.  I took Cate and a few other kids to our car to watch a movie and the delay only lasted 30 minutes. 

Captain of our ship.  HAPPY FATHER'S DAY SCOTT!!!

Sporting my first official black eye/bruised face.  Ran into a lifeguard stand at the pool Thursday morning.  (in my defense, the stand had been removed from the pool deck and was placed in a stupid spot in the middle of a walkway)  Nearly knocked myself out and I am suffering from some whiplash issues.  It hurts to smile.  I was holding a fountain soda at the time and I hit the stand so hard it cut the styrofoam cup in half.  Seriously, I hit it that hard.  Thankfully only two people witnessed it and one was a 6-year old who said she wished she had it on video because it could be on MTV's Ridiculousness.  Waaaahhhhhh!!! (but I'm proud of myself that I didn't fall and I didn't cry!!)

As soon as we got home from KC, we headed to the pool.  Cate's reward for being such a great baseball sister again this weekend! 
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Thursday, June 14, 2012

swim meet.

The boys had their first swim meet tonight and they all did great!  Carter is swimming in the 13-14 age group, Bennett in the 9-10, and Brady has two more years at 8 & under.  Swim practice started late this summer and with the pool issues and one stormy morning, they only had five days of practice before the first meet.  Brady is already only 4 seconds off the 25m fly record and I'm hoping he gets even closer to it by the end of summer and then breaks it next year (especially since my childhood friend, who pushed me off my BigWheel when I was five, still holds the record from 1984. Obviously I will never get over that incident!!) Scott and I are once again the head timers for our team and we pretty much do whatever else is needed throughout the's a lot of work to run a swim meet (our team alone has over 110 swimmers).  Cate has lots of friends and our families who keep her entertained during the meets...I'm thinking next year will be her year to join the team :)
Carter being Carter
Ben and Brady ready to race!

Very successful night for all three boys

Telling a story to a very attentive audience in the bullpen! (that's her new Build-a-Bear bunny she named Cate Smallie.  Original, I know.)

Frannie made it home from Europe just in time to replenish her goodie bag!
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Sunday, June 10, 2012

baby shower

Today we celebrated my niece Annie's baby shower...jungle themed and it was wildy successful (get it?!).  My aunt Mary and I were in charge of the decorations.  Note to self: next time volunteer to bring store bought food instead of making table centerpieces and invitations.  The bedding that Annie registered for (and Mary bought) was a jungle/sports theme so we took it from there....heavy on jungle light on sports.  
"Sure I'll take care of the guest list, invitations,  and RSVPs.  Really?  You're inviting 170 people?? Sure, no problem" Hang up the phone....shit!shit!shit! Note to self: don't ever put your phone number or email address on 170 invitations that require an RSVP.  I should have changed my voicemail message to "Grand Central Station, this is Shower Coordinator Debbie, are you in or are you out? Thank you and have a nice day" :)
Who is that strange woman peeking out the door?  Why that's our mom-to-be! I was trying to capture a photo of the wreath that Mary made for the entrance door but Annie photo-bombed me :)

The room looked awesome after all of the tables were set and the food/cake/drinks/gift tables were filled.  Mary had the cutest wrappers made for Hershey bars..I wish I had gotten a picture of one :(  Those were our favors for each guest. 

I googled jungle themed baby shower centerpieces, clicked on "images" and had a zillion to choose from.  The ones I chose to duplicate were fairly cheap to make and only slightly time consuming.  My fingers have no skin left due to my love/hate relationship with the glue gun, but overall I thought they turned out great :) 

I used animal print and solid colored ROUND scrapbooking paper to make the cones.  One twist, a line of glue, and that was that.  The bases are boxes that I wrapped with coordinating wrapping paper.  I found the wood animals at Michael's and hot glued them to sticks. Cut holes in the top of the box to stick the cones and animals in, used hot glue to secure them, filled the cones with animal crackers, and finished it off with some "grass filling" and this one even got a leopard ribbon...ooohhhahhhhh.  They did take a couple of hours to make...and making 15 of anything is tedious, but I got them all done (on time!) and I think they turned out cute.

These are cards I made so each guest could offer the parents-to-be some words of advice or helpful hints on how to raise a baby. They were printed on 4x9 cream card stock.  We collected the cards once they were filled with words of wisdom, threw them in a basket and every 15 minutes Jen drew one out and a gift was delivered to the winner. About the easiest and least annoying baby shower game ever!

Prizes and Cake table

My very talented sister, aka GRANDMA Kathy, made this awesome diaper cake. We used it as a centerpiece on the food table.
Cate was determined to help Annie open ALL of the gifts.  And she did :) Thank you Ann for letting her help, she's been looking forward to it for months!
Here's where my photo subjects start to change. As in, less Annie and baby shower stuff, and more me, Jen, Vanessa, and our kids. A small photo session may or may not have happened in the back of the room while Ann was opening gifts.  We're good at turning any big event into being all about us :)  

Vanessa, Jen, Me
BFFs! Sometimes when these three broads are together, there is more play and less work happening.  Embarrassed to say that the other 60 pictures I took had nothing to do with Annie and everything to do with us and our girls.  Ha!

BFF daughters Cate, Harper, Claire, Delaney

Acting like their fathers ;)

Serving cake with a smile!
Is that Jen sweeping the floors????

I'm guessing Cate is letting Harper know she missed a spot.....

Once again, everyone was thankful when Brady showed up.  He was a huge help to Annie while she opened 1,983,801 gifts.  He collected trash, organized already opened gifts, and whatever else Ann needed.  She was so grateful for his help that she gave him $20.  He asked me how many funnel cakes he could buy with that at the pool!!!!
Overall, it was a fantastic day.  Hosting a shower for 90+ people is a lot of work. A LOT.  Weeks of coordinating, countless emails/texts, lots of WalMart/Party Store/Craft Store runs, but in the end, it was all worth it.  Annie had a great day sharing the excitement of her final weeks of pregnancy with all of the people that love her most.

Good luck Annie & Cody....get ready for the ride of your lives!!!

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