Indian Food

Drew’s buddy, Ethan, has told us on numerous occasions that he loves Indian food and he has challenged Drew to try it probably 20 times now.  I finally caved in tonight!  First of all, I do not know anything about Indian Cuisine and I’m not very adventurous myself when it comes to eating!!  So I had to get some specific instructions from Ethan on where to go and what to order.  Which basically means I had to google it!  We google everything now don’t we!?  He said he gets “butter chicken and naan bread” and I don’t readily see this on the menu so I had to text his dad for clarification.  Thank you Scott for being so smart and pointing me in the right direction!  Two orders of butter chicken (aka Chicken Makhani) and naan bread made it into my minivan and back to our kitchen island. Morgan and Drew were very skeptical and I was actually warming up to the idea.   Ethan was very courteous and gracious and told us exactly how to dish it up and eat it!  Let’s just say we probably won’t be getting this on a regular basis BUT I did eat mine and Morgan ate hers.  Drew had about 3 bites and decided he could not continue.  Most importantly we made our guest Ethan happy for the evening and he’s adorable so how can you say no to this kid!?  I’m actually quite happy that my kids tried something new and let’s be honest, maybe I’m most proud of myself!  MJD&R, I hope you keep trying new things…you just never know when you might discover a new favorite!!  Be adventurous every once in awhile!  For now, Drew’s adventurous side is adding a condiment to a McDonald’s or Freddy’s cheeseburger…we’ll give him some time 😉


Jake’s Float


At Manchester Park Elementary a big event occurs each May…the 50 states parade!  Every 4th grader is assigned a state that they research, create a float, and dress in red, white, & blue for a parade.  Hundreds of parents stream into the school and stake out a spot in the gym to get pictures and o-o-h and a-w-w over the handy work of the students (or their parents as it seems like for some).  You would think we were all rushing into a Royals World Series game or something…these school events are nuts!  Jake was assigned North Dakota.  No offense, but that state is just not that interesting, sorry!  Nevertheless, he embraced the project, came up with his own ideas and sent me out with a shopping list.IMG_3794.JPG

Jake’s float project shopping list…what’s up with this kid’s handwriting!?  He must get that from dad 😉

He also did a presentation to the class about his state float.  I love his initiative and determination and I’m proud of what he accomplished!  Great job Jakey!  Especially since this really is a hectic time of year, so squeezing in this project among many other things can be stressful.  I distinctly remember helping Morgan with hers a few years ago on Mother’s Day…Happy mom’s day…you get to endure numerous hot glue burns!! ha!  This year I solicited Brian’s help and he jumped in like a champ.  If you click on the YouTube link below you will get to see a small clip of the parade…

P.S. I hope Drew and Reece get Hawaii or Colorado 😉


Happy Birthday Reece!

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Six years ago today, Reece Mae Conley, was born!  Isn’t she precious!?  Ok some people think newborns are not so cute and rarely are their hospital pictures very stellar…but, to me she is absolutely beautiful!  Nothing makes me happier than newborn babies…I LOVE THEM!  We glued those hair bows on her head for MONTHS!  Maybe that’s why I can barely get her to put on a headband even on special occasions.  Apparently I scarred her for life.


Look at her sweet hands on my face!  Best day ever! (next to the births of my other 3) 
Notice Morgan already has a phone in her pocket that she apparently swiped from Grandma!
Who was in charge of Jake’s outfit on this day?  I know I bought that shirt, but what’s up with the red sweat pants!?  Oh who cares…look how stinkin’ CUTE he is!


I am amazed at how quickly time passes.  Reece is growing like a weed and turning into quite the little lady.  She is constantly dancing, singing, and cartwheeling herself around this house and making messes like you’ve never seen.  It’s a bit of an art form.  Her vocabulary is expanding, her story-telling is quite elaborate and overall she is just her own little person. She  definitely has a certain way she wants everything to be in her world so we go along for the ride and sometimes wonder how she has any friends 😉  Well I think we know the answer to that…she’s pretty unique, awesome, and makes our family complete.

We’ve been party planning for months and we are in the thick of it this week so this mommy is running on fumes but bound and determined to please my baby with the best beach party ever.  Reece and Morgan are my party helpers and I love the time we get to spend together doing this.  It’s so much fun but we always need more hours in the day!  We are making great memories here, girls!

Reece is smitten with “Lea” the girl of the year at the American Girl Store, and since Lea is sort of “beachy,” thus came the inspiration for her party.  She hopes to be unwrapping a perfect new Lea doll this week and toting her to Chicago when school gets out.  When Morgan was 5, we took her to Chicago for her American Girl trip, so it’s Reece’s turn!  We are turning it into our short summer vacation and this family is ready!  We are putting an end to all of these school projects, book reports, 50 states tests, presentations, quizzes, spelling tests, and every other thing the teachers can cram into the last few days of school.  It’s time to take a break!!  side note…I do think teachers are awesome, and I truly appreciate all they do for our kids!

We still have 7 days of school left (6 for Reece), but today is Reece’s day!  I’m actually starting to wonder if she is more excited about the tradition of Aunt Jenn bringing donuts on the morning of her birthday or a $120 doll!  She has been talking about those donuts non-stop.  She requested “some chocolate, the long ones, and everything should have sprinkles!”  Gotta love that request!  She has also had her mind made up for quite some time that she would be taking cookie cake to school to share with her class.   I’m sure we’ll end the night with another treat of some sort (we haven’t broken the news that she might have to go to Jake’s baseball game…yikes…that’s going to throw her into a sugar-filled frenzy!)


And since Daddy can’t be here on the morning of her bday due to a business trip, he has pre-recorded a video on the iPad that will surely put a smile on her face!  Usually Grandma and Grandpa call and sing happy birthday too, so she should have everything she needs to start the day out great!

Happy birthday Reecie…I hope your day is filled with fun surprises, lot’s of good wishes, and of course, many sweets (with sprinkles on top)!  I love you to pieces birthday girl!!

P.S. Happy birthday to my dear friend, Chesley…I hope she gets some sprinkles too!


Practice Lunch


Today is a very exciting day in the lives of the Manchester Park Elementary Kindergartners! Today they get to practice eating lunch at school.  This is important stuff!  They have to learn where the lunch room is, where to sit, how to go through the line, how to pay for hot lunch…you know…serious stuff for grade schoolers!   Reece chose to bring her lunch so I guess she won’t be learning very much!  If she’s like her brothers, she’ll be bringing her lunch every day and frantically stuffing her bag in the morning full of chips, brownies, and any other unealthy pre-packaged snack she can scrounge up.  I pack their lunches but I know they go back and add in extra stuff that I don’t approve of.  I’m smarter than I look, boys…

Reece, I’m so excited for you today but this also means we are one step closer to sending you off to 1st grade all day.  This is not going to go well for me as Brian reminded me this morning that we’ve had a child at home for the last 13 years!


I’m trying to figure out if this crazy grin is better or worse than it was the day before?

Drew’s buddy Ethan is trying to give him a lesson on “cute smiling”

Drew Boo lost his 5th tooth yesterday…the snaggletooth as we were calling it. (See Below)

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The “snaggletooth”

 It was hanging by a thread and clearly looking out of place but now he has a GIANT gap on one side.  I guess we all have similar old pictures looming in boxes in our parents basements but since they aren’t readily accessible we don’t have to worry about it. I’ll never forget my sister’s snaggletooth years!  She’s beautiful and I’m sure my mom told her she was back then even though we gave her lots of grief.  In today’s world everything is on our phones, computers, social media, and now on your mommy’s blog!  Lucky you Drew, you get to be famous with your lack of teeth!  I love you buddy….you’re adorable.


Card Sharks

1405 Pawnee Drive in Olathe KS  holds a ton of childhood memories for me.  I grew up in the house diagonal from there, 2000 Cherokee Lane, and I was instantly best friends with Lisa, or Lee, as we call her.  I remember spending pretty much every waking moment with her.  Since we were inseparable, I also became very close to her family…love them!   To this day, Lee is seen as part of my family and I am part of hers.  It’s a life-long friendship that we are so blessed to have.  I know it’s rare, but I hope my kids can have similar life-long friendships with someone.

The Catalina house was ‘the place to be’ to eat junk food, sleepover, stay up late, and play card games.  Which brings me to my main point of this post!  Lonnie and Jim opened up their home last Friday night to have a ‘card night reunion’ of sorts.  They still live on Pawnee Drive, although it looks dramatically different because Lonnie has painted every square inch inside.  I’m serious, they joke that if you stand still long enough, she will paint you!  I have so many fun memories inside that house!  I literally could write pages and pages of things that I remember.

Of course, Lonnie made bunches of snacks and we all gathered to play 31 which requires 3 quarters a round.  All of us brought our piggy banks; rather it be a giant bud light bottle, a spider-man Tupperware cup, or a secret stash in the Catalina furniture.  Of course Ryan was trying to intimidate us with a crisp $100 bill in his pile and wanted to up the stakes pretty quickly so we started playing ‘Guts.’  So many laughs and lots of joking around occurred and it was an awesome break from the craziness of our normal lives.  Thank you Catalina family!!  I’m going to declare myself the big winner because by 1:30am the bets were getting silly and I took most of Greg’s remaining money or Malaysian coins, gold doubloons, and everything else he was trying to pass off as real money 🙂  Love all of you to pieces and I hope we can re-match again soon!