Christmas is coming!

Oh shoot, Christmas is flying in here quick and I’m starting to panic.  I like to have everything buttoned up well in advance.  I’m a planner, an analyzer, and a list maker.  But for some reason this year I’m just off pace!

A blizzard blew through here last week so of course I took a day off doing Christmas prep to hang with my kids. Snow days are the best!  Unless you have a billion things to do.  But this time we decorated gingerbread houses!  I loved every minute of it!  I’ve had these houses in storage at my sister’s since last year!  Ok that probably sounds really weird, but when you find these kits super cheap after Christmas, you snatch them up!  No one actually eats the house, so who cares how old it is!  Morgan made hers perfectly perfect in Christmas colors.  Jake’s was totally weird with gummy octopus, sour patch kids, and swedish fish! and Reece and Drew’s were super fun and bright.

I could’ve decorated all day and night but kids lose interest in arts and crafts after awhile and really just want to go sledding!

11.26.18 Snow Day Sledding! (3)
Falcon Valley Golf Course attracts lots of kiddos for sledding!

In the meantime, we also got all of our Christmas decorations up and it’s a Christmas wonderland around here now!  We added some lighted garland to our stairs this year and Brian (aka Clark Griswald) put up lights on the house.  We are in the Christmas spirit!11.23.18 kids tree decoratingThe kids got their tree decorated downstairs, Morgan added lot’s of cute decorations to her room, and of course Reece has gotten a hold of the tape and added some Christmas stuff in her room too.  Santa, please bring me some tape.  Reece keeps using all of mine!11.24.18 kids tree decorating & Santa (3)We mailed our letters to the North Pole, made cute little bags, and left Bass Pro Shop with a new pair of PJ pants that are now permanently glued to Jake’s body, and an expensive pair of sunglasses. How did that happen!?  We just went in there to talk to Santa and mail our letters!!

Sparkles (our Elf), Snowflake (our reindeer pet), and Besler (our St. Bernard elf pet), have come to visit us again and Reece has been treating them so well!  She has made an entire habitat for them, given them gifts, and written them multiple notes!  All of this and they’ve only been here for 3 days!  There’s no way this girl is going to be on the naughty list…she is covering all of her bases!12.2.18 Reece's Elf Pet HabitatShe read all of our elf books to us and made a promise (with her girl scout hand signal) to love and take care of our pets! 😉  Reece, you are rockin’ it this Christmas season!12.2.18 Reece Elf Pets PledgeAll the while, Morgan and I are learning how to be cookie decorators in our spare time!  It’s surprisingly fun and stress relieving and Morgan is a natural!  We’ve spent about our entire Christmas budget on supplies to try to whip some up ourselves from start to finish.  Yikes, we have a lot invested here, I hope we can pull this off!11.20.18 Cookie Decorating Class (8)11.20.18 Cookie Decorating Class (9)We also had the amazing opportunity to volunteer at the Children’s Mercy Leukemia & Lymphoma Holiday Party at Sporting Park.  Morgan worked for “Faces of Hope” to paint fun holiday designs on kids currently battling disease or within 3 years of remission.  Shauna and I worked at the ring toss and had so much fun!  These sweet kids and their families got to enjoy a fun-filled day with gifts, games, food, and so much more.  We left there with such happy hearts…this is what the season is truly about!

and bonus…Blue the SKC dog proposed to me at the ring toss 😉 and we got a tour of the locker room.  It’s such an awesome facility right here in KC!12.2.18 Children's Mercy LL Holiday Party (1).JPG



Thanksgiving 2018!

This is only my 3rd time cooking a turkey so I figured I might as well go big.  24 lbs isn’t easy to handle when you’re 5’2″!  I had to get on a stool to get that big bird in the brining bag.  With a little help with my sidekick, Drew, who is also not tall (yet!).  I’m certain I looked absolutely hilarious prepping our turkey for roasting.  A couple of early mornings, lots of notes to myself, and 7+ hours in the oven, and our Thanksgiving lunch was ready, and delicious, I might add!  We had 19 on the roster, so I had to get creative with seating.  And look at me using those pine cones I picked up at Morgan’s golf tournament again!   I’ve used that bag of pine cones 3 times now!  I’m so proud!

We had a giant spread of food and the weather was perfect for family basketball and flag football.  The kids had been looking forward to this since last Thanksgiving.  We moved the game to the neighbors back yard for some flat ground.  And the most exciting news is we incurred no injuries this year!  Yay!11.22.18 Thanksgiving FB (1).jpgThey were serious about this, eye black and everything!  As we worked on cleanup and scouring the black friday ads, these guys were having a blast!  We did make it out to snap a few pics…11.22.18 Thanksgiving FB (3)11.22.18 Thanksgiving FB (4)11.22.18 Thanksgiving FB (6)11.22.18 Thanksgiving FB (7)11.22.18 Thanksgiving FB (8)And our all time fave, thanks to Dawn…this catch made by Morgan and Eli’s expression of devastation….11.22.18 Thanksgiving FB (1).jpegWay to go team Conley!

Aunt Jenn and Bob sat with the kids and I have a feeling they were having a great time making fun of me having a turkey maze activity page 😉 IMG_5129.JPGFinally, I want to share Reece’s 3rd grade Thankful Tree!  She said, “I am thankful for books because I can get smarter by the second and it inspires me to be a reading teacher when I grow up.”  I love it, Reecie Cups, you will be amazing at whatever you do!

I am so thankful I got to enjoy this Thanksgiving week with minimal practices and games and lots of fun family time!  It’s the best!

Tulsa Showcase/Friendship Cup

Jake and I just returned from a whirlwind weekend trip to Tulsa, OK, 29 hours to be exact, and I’m still scratching my head over it!  Jake’s U14 (7th/8th grade) Fusion Academy team was competing in what I thought was a soccer tournament called the Tulsa Friendship Cup.  Turns out it was a combination of 3 things – the Adidas Sam Shannon Showcase/Boys ECNL National Event/Tulsa Friendship Cup 2018.  I don’t know what any of this means really, all I know is I had 3 games on my calendar against NPL teams (National Premier League) from OK and TX.

We had hotel reservations on the books for months and when the schedule finally came out, the boys were definitely disappointed.  Our first game wasn’t scheduled until Saturday night at 8:40 p.m.  This meant one less night to hang with friends in a hotel because there was no need to get to Tulsa any earlier than Saturday afternoon.  Let’s face it, these out of town tourneys are less about soccer and more about getting out of school early on a Friday, packing a bag of junk food, kids jacking around in the hotel, and parents bellied up to the hotel bar.  Don’t get me wrong, these boys love to play and are fierce competitors, so when we found out there was no championship on the line here, I started calling it a “fake tournament.”  I’m sure I got a few eye rolls for that one – but seriously…it seems to me that we just drove 4 hours to play 3 games that didn’t really matter!?  On a positive note, it is nice to get out and play some teams we don’t normally play and size up against other premier teams.

And another bonus, Jake is old enough to pack himself!  I have to admit, it was a nice change from me doing everything.  He had the van seats situated just perfectly, cooler packed, and all his gear bagged up.  yes!  I love this!  I didn’t even double check what he had.  I let him be solely responsible for his stuff and if he didn’t have what he needed, it was on him.  Ok, I’m acting really cool here because you know I am a total control freak, so this is really stepping out for me!

At the last minute, Jake’s teammate, Brett, and his mom Lori hopped in with us.  They are neighbors and we’ve known them for years so we really enjoyed the company.  We had many laughs along the way.  On our route in and out of our hotel we came across this street sign and it cracked us up!  I’ve heard of a speed “bump” but a speed “hump!?”  What!?  That’s a new one!


We dropped our bags at the hotel, said hello to a few fellow soccer buddies, and hit up a nearby restaurant, Bricktown Brewery for food.  You know Jake can’t go long without a cheeseburger in his belly!IMG_4966.jpg

Jake had our fridge completely stocked.  It was so cute that he thought we needed all of this for an overnight stay! 😉

Game 1 was good, albeit a late one and the sideline smelled like fish (apparently we were close to the river), the boys won 2-0 and at 10:30 p.m. on the way back to the hotel we found ourselves in the Whataburger drive thru, a recommendation from Brett.  We laughed so hard when I was trying to place my order and couldn’t get it right to save my life!  The cashier handed us a big bag of food and milkshakes and said “you ladies have a great night.”  I was almost in tears I was laughing so hard!  Apparently she didn’t see the boys in the back so it just looked like two moms on the town in a minivan having a GIANT midnight snack after a long and confusing ordering process!  I was practically best friends with those Whataburger workers at that point.  Ok maybe the boys were embarrassed but I thought it was hilarious!  We proceeded to let them run wild in the hotel past midnight with various run ins with the hotel security until we finally called it a night.

Sunday morning we packed the car (didn’t we just unpack!?), filled up with gas and headed to game #2.  It was very cold, drizzly, and the boys won 5-0.   Sweet.  This fake tournament isn’t so bad after all!  In the meantime, I’ve had a million phone calls from home so I was up to speed with all the activities going on back in KC.  Thank you babysitting crew!IMG_4972.JPGWith a little bit of time in between games, we invaded Braum’s for more food and at this point in the trip,  Jake is on his 3rd cheeseburger and second milkshake.  The kid can eat!  AND he’s a mess….this is his side of the hotel room.  My side was perfectly tidy of course!IMG_4968Game 3 is about to start and Jake’s coach is asleep in his car right next to us.  It was a late night and an early morning for him (his academy girls team had a 7am game).  We have our handwarmers ready, a stack of blankets and this is going to be our toughest competition of the weekend.  Boys are pumped.

Brett Hynek & Jake (i.e. Milkshake & Cheeseburger).  I learned that Brett loves milkshakes and ice cream (he had 3 on this short trip) and we all know Jake’s love of cheeseburgers!

Some of the opponents this weekend were sporting full mustaches and word on the street is they were seen driving themselves out of the complex earlier in the day!  hmmm, interesting concept for 13 year olds!?

The game started late and we haven’t even played 15 minutes before there’s a yellow card, a massive yelling match between our coach, the center ref, and field marshals all around.  Coach gets kicked out, the center ref quits and calls the game final and we are on the road home with no explanation of what the heck just happened.  I still don’t know what to make of all of it but I can honestly say in all these years of 18 million soccer games, I’ve never seen that happen.IMG_7340IMG_7341IMG_7342I’ve driven 8 hours in the last 29, and I’m exhausted and sad for the boys that their final match got abruptly yanked away from them.  They were down 2-0, but our boys were pumped and ready to play what was going to be a highly competitive match.  It was the cherry on top to the fake tournament.

Either way, I had so many laughs this weekend and always have fun with my Jakers.  He’s a blast to be with and It’s certainly a trip I will never forget!  Don’t worry, we did stop on the way home so he could consume another cheeseburger.  Yes, that’s 4.  Should a cholesterol check for him be next on my to-do list?  No time for that.  I need to start prepping for Thanksgiving dinner!IMG_7336.JPGLove you to pieces, Jakey, I adore watching you play.  Keep smiling bud!!😘


Nutcracker 2018

Reece has been mentioning often…”When are we going to the Nutcracker Tea Party?”  And that’s where it gets tricky.  You see, Brian is traveling and I need to take Jake to a soccer tournament in Tulsa this weekend.  Soooo – this means we will miss the Nutcracker Tea Party 😦  We went last year for the first time, and LOVED every minute of it.  Reece looked gorgeous!  I’m certain I wrote about it on conleycrew but here’s a flashback anyway…

This year we had to settle for a movie date to see the Nutcracker and the Four Realms and lunch out afterwards.  It was a nice break on a Saturday afternoon when we are normally running from game to game.  We really hope to get back to the tea party in the future but for now, just being with my sweet girl for a special afternoon is just as wonderful!  Love you Reecie Cups!11.10.18 Nutcracker Movie Date (1)

11.10.18 Nutcracker Movie Date (2)
The theater had this pretty awesome balloon art in the lobby! 

Christmas is coming!  Of course she has made a countdown and taped it on her bedroom wall.  This girl goes through tape like CRAZY!  Her walls will never be the same and being a perfectionist, I struggle with this.  But in this case, I don’t really care, because I love her enthusiasm and creativity.  I will never forget this part of her room where there is always something important to her posted with pride!IMG_4963





Joust! A Mighty Medieval 5th Grade Musical


IMG_4898IMG_4897Oh this just hurts me to report that Drew just performed in his last elementary school musical!  Insert tears here.  Even though music is not always at the top of his list, Drew really got into this one and was even practicing songs at home!IMG_7313.JPGI feel a little bit bad saying this, but our school musicals are not usually very well done.  However, this one was organized, they had costumes, a backdrop, the songs were good, and it was just the right length.  Way to go Manchester Park 5th Graders!IMG_7334.JPGDrew was cast as “Morty the Minstrel” and had a cute little 9 word speaking part.   I had to google what a minstrel was…it’s a medieval singer or musician 😉

11.6.18 Drew_Joust 5GR Musical.jpg
cutest Minstrel EVER!


If you have a minute to watch these songs on YouTube, It’s pretty cute to see our little Morty Minstrel do his part…

After the show was over, my dad asked him if he was actually singing up there on those risers or was he just mouthing the words.  Shame on you, Papa, yes he was singing!  They practiced really hard for this!IMG_7330.JPGIMG_7328.JPGYou can view this song (All I Ever Wanted) on YouTube below – It’s probably my favorite because Drew really gets into it.  Love it!


Everyone gives us dirty looks because we take up 13 seats…Drew has quite the fan club!IMG_4890.jpgWe all enjoyed this production so much.  Great job Drew!  We are super sad this is your last one!

This video is so cute…Drew taking a final bow!


Laser Tag!

Finally someone has caught on to do a school sponsored mom-son night!  There’s always sweet little father-daughter dances but what about the moms!?  And what about the parents without daughters!?  Actually, there have been two other mom-son nights at Manchester Park but we couldn’t go for one reason or another.  BUT this time, we had no conflicts and it was laser tag!  Yay!  I happily put on my cute camo pants and black shirt and was ready for this one!  Actually, anytime I get a chance to have a date night with just one of my kids, I am SO IN!

The laser tag venue had opened up for our school only this evening and it was buzzing with moms and sons.  It was nice to catch up with friends, I managed to get out of there without spending any money in the arcade (miracle!), and bonus – I didn’t get last place!!  My little Drew was always making sure I was doing well, I had pizza on my plate, water in hand, and lots of hugs throughout the evening.  He is the most loving kid and I adore it!  I hope he never loses his snuggles.  I Love you to the moon and more than all the stars, Drew Boo!11.5.18 5GR mom son night_Laser tag! (2)

11.5.18 5GR mom son night_Laser tag! (3)
Front: Drew, Kole Kemp, Carter Coad  Back: Oto Sics, Jordy Nelson, Jake Milstead

And then a little stop in at QT on the way home for ice cream.  My friend Stacey gives me so much trouble because I never go to convenience stores.  She is astonished by this.  She thinks my kids are deprived!  I can assure you that whenever she has them in her car, she will be making a pit stop to QT, I just know it!

Carter and Jake got $2 ice cream and Drew chose a $7 bag of beef jerky!  See…this is why I don’t go to convenience stores!  $7!?  That’s ridiculous!  Good thing my date was so cute and sweet!11.5.18 5GR mom son night_Laser tag! (4)


Fall Fun

Ummm…so it’s snowing outside my window right now.  I don’t know what is happening but just a few days ago we were playing in our mountain of leaves, mowing, and wearing short sleeves for soccer games!10.27.18 Fall Leaves! (1).jpg10.27.18 Fall Leaves! (2)

10.27.18 Fall Leaves! (4)
Drew looks like he has no legs in this picture!!

10.27.18 Morgan- Fusion U16 Fall (7)10.27.18 Morgan- Fusion U16 Fall (9)10.27.18 Morgan- Fusion U16 Fall (14).JPG10.27.18 Morgan- Fusion U16 Fall (18)Brian got the kids into mowing our neighbors yards and they are learning about having a job, being responsible, and making a little bit of money along the way.  Morgan and Drew are stashing theirs away just like they’re supposed to and Jake, well let’s just say he has a growing collection of Adidas tennis shoes and he’s on a first name basis with the cashiers at Casey’s and Wendy’s up the street.

I got picked to join Reece at the Nelson Atkins museum for a 3rd grade field trip.  Most of the kids thought it was terribly boring – we spent 30+ minutes in the orange gallery below analyzing 2 paintings!  Whoa!  The comments the kids made about the paintings had me in tears it was so funny!

Drew was selected for MVP with his new baseball team at the Monster Bash tourney in Topeka.  Yay Drewy!10.27.18 Drew MVP Monster Bash_NBA.JPGJake finished up his US Kids Golf Fall season at the very beautiful (and difficult) Shadow Glen golf course…10.28.18 Jake US Kids Golf Shawdow Glen (5).JPGAnd a Panthers basketball tournament win in overtime!

Unfortunately, an ankle injury for Jake 😦

If this snow slows down a bit and we can get some warmer temps, we will still have a couple more outdoor soccer tournaments this month before we ramp up for 4 kids playing basketball, indoor soccer, and gymnastics meet season.  It’s madness, really.  But as many families in this phase of life say, we wouldn’t change any of it.  It’s so fun to watch these kiddos ‘do their thing.’  They’re creating memories every day and I’m trying my best to document it for them!