Bug Project


Today is a very big day in the lives of all the Manchester Park Elementary 3rd graders!  They are turning in the famous “bug project.” Every student that has walked through the doors of MPE has done this…it’s like a rite of passage.  Every Fall, you see kiddos scouring the neighborhood with bug nets and desperately trying not to damage the bugs in the catching process.  We’ve had bugs in our freezer for years…literally!  However, when it came time to get Drew’s project together, we realized we did not have enough bugs with all the legs in tact!  Crap!  We even had to call in some help from Nanny and Shauna’s nephew, Griffin, who catches bugs in his sleep practically.  You would think finding a variety of 6 insects (3 body parts and 6 legs–so no cocoons and no spiders) would be pretty easy but not when you are in a million sports practices/games every single day.  We’ve used the same display case for the 3rd time and we will be saving it for Reece!  We scraped this one together and I, for one, couldn’t be happier!    When I opened up the display box yesterday to check on it and take a picture, the smell about caused me to fall to the floor.  I’m serious!  This is why they have specific instructions that they cannot be turned in early and they will be graded and sent back home by the end of the day!  Way to go Drew…hope you get an A+ buddy!!



Happy Birthday Brian & Jennifer


Today is Brian and Jennifer’s birthday!  It doesn’t seem possible that another year has passed already.  This time last year, I surprised Brian with a trip to the Dominican Republic and was desperately trying to hide a surprise birthday party from Brian and Jennifer.  This is not an easy task!  Wow – I’m stressed out just thinking about all of that again!  This year is much more relaxed and I must admit, I’m happy about that!  Although, being in the Dominican Republic was glorious, so is a day out on the golf course with my sweet hubby.  Hoping for a fun-filled day and at least a couple of good golf shots so I don’t embarrass myself.  I had a better golf lesson this week so maybe there’s hope.  Morgan, I’m borrowing your driver and Jake I’m borrowing your hybrid…Ok?  I promise to return them! Brian is hoping for another ‘best round ever’ like he had last week when he shot a 75 at Lake Quivira.  Nice work!  We have about eighteen million soccer practices tonight so we will be having a celebratory dinner at home between baths and homework!

Happy birthday to two of my favorite people.  Here are a few flashback photos from the big 4-0 celebrations last year…

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic – September 2015


40th Surprise Birthday Party . Margarita’s Mexican Restaurant . Sept 22, 20159-22-15-brianjenns-surprise-40th-party-99-22-15-brianjenns-surprise-40th-party-19-22-15-brianjenns-surprise-40th-party-289-22-15-brianjenns-surprise-40th-party-419-22-15-brianjenns-surprise-40th-party-43


Morgan’s surprise home office decorating for dad…Isn’t she sweet!?20150922_064549He LOVES Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups…9-22-15-morgan-decorated-for-brians-40th-109-22-15-morgan-decorated-for-brians-40th-79-22-15-morgan-decorated-for-brians-40th-6

9.22.15 Morgan decorated Brian's Car (3).JPGHope your day is extra special again this year and cheers to a wonderful year ahead!

Love, C


Aunt Jenn is married!

This weekend was a very special and highly anticipated one…Aunt Jenn and Bob got married!  Congratulations!  They are honeymooning in Marco Island, FL at the moment and we are super happy for them!  We are also happy to not be stressing out about the wedding anymore 😉  I’m sure they agree with me whole-heartedly on that one!  I really only have a couple pics from my phone to share for now but will hopefully have many more from the photographer later.  The original photographer broke her foot, so luckily Jenn found another one on short notice to step in.  With that, my kids trying to severely injure themselves, burning a hole in Reece’s dress belt the night before, Brian losing his voice (he was the officiant for the wedding), trying to find a dress to wear, and just overall last minute wedding details, you can understand why we are happy the stress is gone!

We set up the candy table and did all the ribbons and tags at our house.  Can you imagine how hard it is to have all this candy sitting at your house and not eat it!?  Especially for someone that adores candy!  I only caught one cute little guy sneaking tootsie rolls 😉


And the programs turned out great too.  A little last minute…but hey, Aunt Jenn likes to keep us on our toes!IMG_5296.JPG

I’m pretty sure Jake’s mohawk is not what Aunt Jenn had in mind for a hair-do on her wedding day…img_5358

The girls got pampered at Hair West most of the day.  Aren’t they cute?






And our sweet Morgan did such a great job reading her scripture in the ceremony…she was nervous about pronouncing the word Ecclesiastes 3:1-14 (can you blame her!?).  It was a great reading but we laughed and teased her because the word “time” is used 30 times in the reading.  You rocked it momo!  Here’s a video clip…

And I will leave you with this very scary photo taken the night of the rehearsal…no she is not driving yet but it’s coming sooner than we want!! look out world…


Congratulations Jennifer and Bob McEachron!  It’s really going to take me awhile to get used to not calling you Jennifer Conley….

Jennifer’s beautiful bouquet




Grandparent/Special Guest Lunches

The kids love this week!  Each year, the school invites grandparents and special guests to come into the school and enjoy lunch with their kids.  If you are lucky enough to find a parking space and get there early enough, you can go see their classrooms too!  My kids absolutely love and look forward to these lunches.  Grandma always gets their orders in advance and gets exactly what they want to eat.  Take a wild guess what Drew’s order is…McDonald’s of course!  Plain double cheeseburger, fries, & lemonade or sprite.  This cutie looooves McDonald’s and we really never go there so it’s a special treat for Drewy!

IMG_5313.JPGHe is awkwardly turned to the side in this photo because he is embarrassed to have a giant scrape on the side of his face from a razor scooter incident.  yikes!  Shauna usually tries to take the week of Labor Day off work so she was able to come in too!  Yay!  The guests all pile into the gym for a picnic lunch and are also welcome to stay for a little bit of recess too.  What an awesome day for Drew Boo.

On Friday, it was Reece and Jake’s turn for lunch and they were equally as excited.  This day is an extra special one for many reasons…it’s Reece’s 1st grandparent lunch at Manchester Park and it is also Jake’s last!  In addition, Great Grammy D is in town and got to join the lunch.  What an honor!  Lunch of choice for these two cuties is Subway.  Thank you so much grandparents and special guests for making this a very memorable week for my kids.  You guys are so AWESOME!





Jake joins the band!


Look at this cool dude…he’s trying out the clarinet!  In 5th grade, the students have the opportunity to join orchestra or band.  After a few “try out” days, they can choose the instrument they want to play with some recommendations from the directors.  They recommended the clarinet or violin for Jakers.  He was very set on wanting to try the clarinet.  I have to admit, after a few discussions about it, I was sort of discouraging it (subtly).  Yikes…did I just put that in writing!?  I love music and I actually played the clarinet when I was young, and I was good at it I might add 😉  BUT, this family is crazy busy and especially Jake because he wants to play every sport ever invented.  Or as my mom would say, doesn’t he have a “tiddlywinks” competition coming up?  She likes to joke around about our crazy schedule!  I honestly did not think we could handle one more thing.  But I really don’t want to stifle any creative growth here so I agreed and immediately drove him to Meyer Music to get a clarinet.  We only have 1 free hour for the next several days, so I took advantage of the time and made this little guy super happy.  He has a brand new clarinet (that we are renting).  My stomach hurts already because I know that thing is going to get left on the bus or misplaced somehow (for sure it will be found in the crack of the bunkbeds at some point).  We’re talking about Jake here people…

As soon as he got home from the music store he was putting it together and on the way to soccer tonight he was bragging about it to his soccer carpool buddies.  It’s so adorable…I can’t help but smile!  He’s so happy that he can even make a sound with it!!  And I’ve been having a great time reminiscing my band days in grade school.  I told Jake that all my friends had brand new clarinets like his and my dad made me get a used one and none of the parts were even the same brand!  I’ll never forget my mom taking me to this house where a man was selling used and refurbished instruments out of his house.  Remember that mom & dad?  I was so jealous of Lisa’s shiny new clarinet.  Well Dad, I guess it doesn’t really matter how new and pretty your instrument is because I was in the honor band with my friend Chesley for 2 years and also in the 1st chair quite a bit!  I wonder if I could still play it?  I may have to give it a try!  Here is Jake with his little practice area set-up in his room…


I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to hold the clarinet with your knees…but hey…you’re just a beginner.  You’re going to learn so much in the coming months.  You’ll be playing home concerts in no time!  I used to do that for my parents in our family room…I wonder now if they had earplugs in!?

Jake, even though I discouraged adding one more activity to your load, I’m proud of you for trying and being persistent with me.  Somehow we will make this all work!  I promise!  It’s completely awesome to have a love of music and also be an athlete.  I tell you all the time that you have a beautiful voice too, don’t I!?  You’ll probably have a lot of girlfriends one day….like in 10+ years. wink wink 😉

Love you to pieces buddy.

check out his first tunes on the clarinet on this youtube video…



Goodbye cast!!


Goodbye lime green cast!  Although you are adorable, we hope we don’t have to see you again…ever!!  In a long-shot effort, I called the pediatric orthopedic office to see if possibly we could come in a couple days early to have Morgan’s cast removed and wrist x-rays taken.  I just know how excited Morgan is to be in Aunt Jenn’s wedding on Saturday wearing a beautiful dress that she LOVES.  Having a hard cast on, albeit the appropriate color for the wedding, was just not the flattering look she was going for!  The worst they could say is NO right!?  Well they said YES!  Woo hoo!  I picked up Morgan mid-morning from school and within 30 minutes, that bright accessory was sawed right off of that cute arm of hers.  She doesn’t even flinch at that loud machine and small circular saw anymore…I mean she is the expert now…4th time she’s done this routine!

Look at this happy girl!  sidenote:  she had lime green rubberbands put on her braces yesterday to match the wedding too.  so cute!


After the x-rays, the nurse told us she would definitely like to see more healing but she did not think she needed another cast.  So we have 3 weeks with a splint that can be removed for the wedding and pictures…then right back on.  This is all I could ask for and I’m so glad I decided to call.  Morgan, I know how much you are looking forward to the special day ahead and you are going to look drop-dead gorgeous.  I’m so proud of your positive attitude and being such a trooper during your recovery.  Now…BE CAREFUL for heaven’s sake!!



Pink Thunder Hustle Award


Reece received this beauty last night at the end of soccer practice.  It’s the Pink Thunder Hustle Award!  At the end of each practice the coach awards it to the most deserving player for their hustle and listening skills at practice.  So Reece gets to keep this trophy for the week then she will return it for another player to get.  It’s so cute…it is an old trophy that the coach has morphed into a “Pink Thunder” trophy with a little paper, cardboard, and tape!  Hey…whatever motivates 1st grade girls to play hard…you must do it!

She was so excited to get it!  Adorable!  She really does hustle hard so it is very well deserved.  Can’t wait for your 1st game this season Reecie…you are going to run circles around those opponents…keep up the hustle!  Go PINK THUNDER!