Burning Tree Golf Academy 2017

IMG_8609.JPGFor three years running, we have been a part of the golf academy at Burning Tree Golf Course in DeSoto, KS.  It’s every Tuesday & Thursday afternoon in the summer for about 6 weeks and it’s grown to about 54 kids.  It’s always blazing hot but they really enjoy it.   Truthfully, Jake just likes to rub elbows with the golf Pro, Ryan Patterson, Drew seems to win hot dogs and drinks every lesson, and Reece claims to be a chipping master and won this candy bar in the last challenge.  She didn’t realize that the candy bar she chose had a wrapper that describes her perfectly! ha!IMG_8496.JPGThe last two sessions of the summer are the tournament days.  Parents, grandparents, and high school golf team members are the caddies – this year Papa and Greg were there and did a great job!
IMG_8523IMG_8524IMG_4611IMG_4610IMG_4609And great news….the Conley kids & Collin all finished first place in the tournament in their age brackets.  Way to go kids!

IMG_8610.JPG6.1.17 DeSoto Golf.JPGThis year we got our sweet neighbors across the street to join the academy!  Brian keeps asking if we get a discount for having multiple kids in the academy and referrals.  So far, no luck on that but I’m sure he’ll keep trying!

Morgan’s 14th Birthday!

I really didn’t mean to gloss over Morgan turning 14 on June 29th.  I just needed a stretch of time to write about it and give it the effort it deserves!  She and her bestie, Emma, many months ago spent multiple hours doing research and putting together a powerpoint presentation to us (the parents).  They were hoping to give the presentation only once but with 4 busy parents, that didn’t work out.  I was their first client.  They were absolutely adorable and the purpose of the presentation was to ask permission to travel out of town to see a Justin Bieber concert.  They had researched flights and proposed costs…it was pretty impressive.  Now if they could just put this amount of effort into their actual school work – we’d be in business!  At the end of the day, we agreed to it and the dad’s are taking the girls to Denver in a few weeks.  Part of the deal was an agreement to forgo a birthday party.  Well, since I’m not part of the Bieber trip, there was no way I was not going to celebrate my baby girl turning 14!  Thus, a Pineapple birthday Party was thrown.

Much to my sister’s dismay, in my usual trip to Target, I passed by these pineapple cards and I couldn’t get them out of my head.  Unfortunately, they are produced by American Greetings.  Since my sister is an executive at Hallmark and I worked there for years, it really is not cool to buy a competitors product.  We sort of have a rule against it.  Sorry Shauna & Hallmark, I had to buy them because I LOVE these pineapples!  It just takes one small thing for me to be inspired…and this was it!6.30.17 14th Bday Pineapple Party Invites (1)6.30.17 14th Bday Pineapple Party Invites (2)My usual team of party helpers was not accessible this time around, so I spent a lot of late nights pulling this party together for my girl.  Reece was keeping tabs on me often and making lists and checking them off – I love it!!  6.28.17 Pineapple Party Prep (2).JPGI did have some great painters!  Morgan ended up staying up super late painting pineapples…aren’t they super cool!?6.28.17 Pineapple Party Prep (1)6.30.17 Morgans 14th Pineapple Party! (2)You have no idea how many looks and comments I got when I had an entire grocery cart full of pineapples!  I was making a palm tree too – so I needed a lot!  Pineapples along with a few parts from Home Depot…and voilà…a palm tree centerpiece!6.30.17 Morgans 14th Pineapple Party! (44).JPGOn her actual birthday, she had to get up early to get to swim practice (ugh!) and swim in a meet the evening of her bday (double ugh!).  So we tried to squeeze in some fun in between!  Reece was so sweet and was planning to serve Morgan breakfast in bed.  She prepared this all by herself – cereal and mini muffins from the pantry.  She set it on her desk so she would get it as soon as she woke up…precious!6.29.17 Morgan's 14Bday Breakfast&Donuts (1)And we brought her a Starbucks frappaccino – she loves those things because they don’t contain caffeine and it’s basically a chocolate shake.  This girl loves chocolate!6.29.17 Morgan's 14Bday Breakfast&Donuts (2)Aunt Jenn brought over these famous donuts (she waited for a really long time to get these from a food truck making an appearance in KC!)  Aren’t they beautiful!?

We also made it to the movies!6.29.17 Morgan's 14Bday Breakfast&Donuts (3).JPGBy late afternoon we had to be at the swim meet…so glad we didn’t skip this because her butterfly time qualified her for the All-City Championships!

And a post-meet late dinner out at Jose Peppers – she LOVES Mexican food!6.29.17 Morgan 14 Bday post swim meet dinner_Jose Peppers.JPGShe was also leading a group of kindergartners in Vacation Bible School this week.  Yikes – this really is sounding bad isn’t it!?  Can we say – ‘over-scheduled!?’ Actually, it’s just making Morgan seem extra amazing that she can manage all of this!  Let’s go with that!6.26.17 Morgan VBS Kgn Leader_Reeece&Lila.JPGThe next day in the midst of the state baseball tourney, I was bound and determined to throw this pineapple party.  So minus Brian and Jake, the party went on anyway and friends and family joined us when they could.6.30.17 Morgans 14th Pineapple Party! (1)

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MoMo & Uncle Greg
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Morgan.Uncle Greg.Aunt Brandy & Cousins (Collin, Ethan, & Alyssa)
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Manhattan cousins – Eli & Audrey
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Aunt Jenn
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Uncle Scott & Aunt Edie
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The Stowell’s
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Morgan & Emily Kate

6.30.17 Morgans 14th Pineapple Party! (64)This party was so bright and fun…I had a blast decorating!  Honestly, I could tinker around with this kind of crafty stuff all day.  I had to rely on Morgan to take pictures and Scott to be my drink bucket filler…thanks you guys!!  MoMo, sorry you had to take pictures of your own party!6.30.17 Morgans 14th Pineapple Party! (19)

We served all of her favorite foods…walking tacos, cheese dip, guacamole, potato chips and ranch dip.  You know…a bunch of healthy stuff because that’s what teens love! 😉

I love you to pieces Morgan…happy 14th birthday!  I hope you loved your party!6.30.17 Morgans 14th Pineapple Party! (63)

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all of Morgan’s fun birthday gifts!

In my spare time, I did manage to pull a video together of pictures and memories from the last year of MoMo’s teenage life.  It includes some music she enjoys (JB, of course!) and I hope to be able to share a link soon…stay tuned!


3rd time’s a charm!

Morgan passed her Kansas driver’s licence permit exam this morning!  Woo Hoo!  After weeks of agonizing, standing in line super early, literally dragging siblings to the drivers license bureau, and taking it 3 times, she did it!  She’s most excited that she can legally drive our golf cart now and one year from today she can get her restricted license.  Look out world!  Actually, I have mixed emotions about all of this.  It’s super scary, but at the same time, this mom could use a helping hand with some of the driving!IMG_8538IMG_8540So happy for you MoMo!  And so happy I don’t have to endure waking up at the crack of dawn to drive to the KDL anymore this summer.   You may not realize this, but as a parent, we get just as nervous as you do – it’s like we are taking the test too.  Actually, everything you do in life we agonize over!  That’s why we have wrinkles and walk around with a stomach ache 99% of the time.  ha!  Love you to pieces!IMG_1320.JPG



All City Swim Championships

We all have our strengths and weaknesses and it’s pretty great when you finally identify what those strengths are.  I can’t contain my excitement for Morgan this week.  I’ve been taking her to Lenexa Lazers swim team practices every weekday this summer 8-10 a.m. and attending swim meets every Thursday night.  I love that she makes this commitment as a 14 year old and sets a great example for her siblings.  We could use a little work on limiting phone use, but I’ll take any great examples at this point!  The entire world is glued to their phones, so I’m fighting an uphill battle there.

Morgan’s swim times from meets this summer qualified her to compete in the All-City Championships this past Wednesday.  Only the top three times from each age group and stroke can qualify, so it is truly an honor to even be eligible to compete in this meet against 8 other city teams.

Morgan took this beautiful artsy picture before warm-ups

IMG_8528.JPGAs we pull into the parking lot of Black Bob Bay pool in Olathe KS at 6:45 a.m., I couldn’t be more excited for her.  It’s a total mad house, but I got my chair right up front by the finish and proceeded to sit there for 6 hours to watch my baby girl swim a total of 130 seconds.  I love watching her swim but that is a long time in the blazing sun!  The heat index was probably 95 degrees and there were times that I found myself daydreaming of jumping into the pool to cool off!  I wonder if any spectators have actually gotten delirious and done that at a swim meet!?  That would be hilarious!  The truth is, I would do this time and time again for Morgan because she works very hard.  She’s not always the fastest in the pool but she is a beautiful swimmer and always has a great attitude. Who knows, maybe this strong young lady will swim for the Olathe Northwest Ravens someday!?IMG_8529.JPGShe swam the backstroke with a qualifying time of 45.5.  She wasn’t able to beat that time and didn’t make it in medal contention (top 8 swimmers), but again, she’s just happy to be there!7.12.17 Mo_All City Swim Meet 13U (2)Next, she swam Butterfly and came in 1st in her heat and 6th overall with a time of 40.58. That’s almost 7 seconds faster than last summer!  Way to go MoMo, you rocked that Butterfly!  There are lot’s of kids that don’t even swim that stroke because of it’s difficulty, and to come in 6th out of 21 swimmers….that’s amazing!  Personal best time and super proud mama.7.12.17 Mo_All City Swim Meet 13U (1)7.12.17 Mo_All City Swim Meet 13U (4)7.12.17 Mo_All City Swim Meet 13U (5)The 200m relay did not turn out as she had hoped, she was the first leg of the swim and there was confusion at the start.  She didn’t realize she was supposed to be swimming until they were nearly half way down the pool already.  So she had to frantically jump in and swim.  oops!  She felt absolutely awful that she had let her team down and so many people had crowded around me, I couldn’t even see her swimming!  Back off crazy swim people – I got there very early to get that spot!  In the end, all of her teammates made her feel better about it and we moved on to the post-meet lunch and awards with smiles.7.12.17 Mo All City Swim Meet_black bob pool (4)7.12.17 Mo All City Swim Meet_black bob pool (6)7.12.17 Mo All City Swim Meet_black bob pool (1)Morgan, I will always love watching you swim.  I will get up super early, I’ll sweat to death, I’ll endure crazy swim parents yelling in my ear, buy expensive swim gear, and I will never ever complain because I’m super proud to be your mom!  You go girl!  7.12.17 Mo_All City Swim Meet 13U (3)

Congrats on a great swim season MoMo!

On a side note, this little swimmer won the John Farmer award at the Lenexa Lazers end of season party!  The award is given to participant who has always shows a positive attitude, has great attendance, works hard every day and is always there to uplift teammates.  She never missed a practice or meet in her first summer swimming on the pre-competitive team.  Twice a week she would come straight from gymnastics.  Way to go Reecie Cups!7.9.17 LLParty_Reece Award (1)7.9.17 LLParty_Reece Award (2)7.9.17 LLParty_Reece Award (3)






Celebrating 50 Years!

Forgive me on the delay for this one too!  On June 3rd, these two cuties celebrated 50 years of marriage!

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My dad solicited help from my sister-n-law, Brandy, (aka Cricut Queen) to make this adorable canvas for my mom.

We are going on a family cruise in a couple weeks to celebrate, but we couldn’t let the actual day pass without recognizing this milestone!  We’ve been organizing and pretty much lying about everything for months!  We surprised them with a family dinner at Grand Street Cafe, an awesome photo book that my sister worked tirelessly on, and loads of cards from friends and family.  They deserve it, they’ve set the best example for all of us and we love them to pieces!  Cheers to 50 years!6.3.17 Mom&Dad's 50th Wedding Anniversary Party_Grand St Cafe (5)6.3.17 Mom&Dad's 50th Wedding Anniversary Party_Grand St Cafe (7)6.3.17 Mom&Dad's 50th Wedding Anniversary Party_Grand St Cafe (26)I think they were most excited to see Grammy D (my mom’s mom).  The kids and grandkids are chopped liver…kidding!  My brother went to get Grammy in Pittsburg and we were hiding her from my parents in our houses.  We joked that Shauna tried to starve her because she doesn’t cook and never has any food at her house!  We made sure she had what she needed and as I always say, she’s super awesome and we were thrilled to have her in on this!6.3.17 Mom&Dad's 50th Wedding Anniversary Party_Grand St Cafe (17)6.3.17 Mom&Dad's 50th Wedding Anniversary Party_Grand St Cafe (16)

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The famous Grandkids!  Reece, Alyssa, Drew, Morgan, Jake, Collin, & Ethan

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The whole crew!
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Shauna (my beautiful but older sister), dad (papa), mom (nanny), me & Greg, my twin (who stole all the height!)

We finished the night at our house toasting all the June 3rd anniversaries!  17 years for Brian and I and 22 for Shauna and Scott.6.3.17 Mom&Dad's 50th Wedding Anniversary Party_Grand St Cafe (40).JPG

Jr. State Cup

Speaking of soccer, I’m waaaaay behind on a few things that I intended to include in my family journal awhile ago.  Jake’s soccer team competed in the Jr. State Cup at the Overland Park Soccer Complex at the beginning of June.  It’s the pinnacle of the season for these 11 year old athletes.  They worked so hard and made it to the final championship game which was extremely exciting for all of us – parents, siblings, and players.  Even other members of our club were coming out to show their support.  Super cool!  Jake played with his usual intensity, left it all on the field, and even though they come up short in the end, these boys should be so proud that they came this far.  Way to go KC Fusion!6.5.17 Jr. State Cup Finalists.JPGIMG_4338.JPGDue to some club enforced coaching changes, Jake will say goodbye to Nate Herrington, his coach of 3 years, and start a new chapter with a new coach this coming season.  It’s been a great ride and we’re excited to see what the future holds for Jake.6.5.17 Jake&Coach Nate_Jr State Cup (1).JPGIMG_4325.JPGIMG_4328.JPG6.5.17 Jake Jr State Cup Finalists.JPGEven Great Grammy D made it out to the fields for a game!  Jake couldn’t have been happier to have her out there cheering him on.  She rocks!IMG_7926.JPGAt the start, the teams and refs parade out to the field towards the fans like an official match…it’s pretty cool!IMG_4178IMG_4298IMG_4299IMG_4190IMG_4193IMG_4196IMG_4198IMG_4205IMG_4309IMG_4310IMG_4312

Keep it up #16 – we love watching you play!

Date Night

It’s not often that I get a date night out but I was lucky to have the opportunity to take my boys to a Sporting KC game this week!  Our last date night with Mommy didn’t turn out so well so I was hoping to redeem myself!  We planned to have a little tailgate but unfortunately it was the hottest day of the summer so far (that’s my luck!).  We tried to brave it outside but ended up tailgating inside the van with the air conditioning running.  I’m starting to feel like I’m doomed when it comes to treating my boys to a night out!IMG_8500.JPG We went into the stadium a little early to check out some of the pre-game activities.  We were literally melting in the bright sun but had fun anyway!  A little mini putt putt with soccer balls – very fun (maybe a good birthday party idea…wheels are turning!)IMG_8501IMG_8503IMG_8502Drew was the big winner.  He won by 1 according to a revised scorecard (it was really 3 but Jake couldn’t handle that spread).  Drew agreed to let him change one of his scores – what a sweet little brother!  To be fair, Jake is definitely not on his A-game – he’s fighting a nasty summer cold.FullSizeRenderIMG_8504I was hoping to drive home in a shiny new Toyota but my boys let me down!  My Sienna is showing her age – Mom needs a new car!!IMG_8507IMG_8506IMG_8505This one was right on target but this challenge is not as easy as it looks!IMG_8509Luckily our seats were in the shade…Hallelujah!  It’s a special night out, so Drew got to enjoy a nice cold Fanta.  You can’t beat an adorable Fanta mustache on this little guy!IMG_8510IMG_8511Of course nachos and a soft pretzel had to be purchased as well.  The cheese is too fancy for these boys because it’s white and not the typical neon yellow stuff they glob on your chips at sporting events.  Lesson learned – Sporting KC serves ‘fancy cheese’ and blue corn tortilla chips.

I had an absolute blast with my soccer-loving boys even though the game ended in the dreaded ‘tie.’  Hey – at least it wasn’t a loss.  Always try to look for the positives.  The guys sitting next to us knew anything and everything there was to know about soccer (or so they thought).  Maybe they should be MLS coaches or commentators!?  Ugh – Jake & Drew, lets try not to act like that…EVER!

Love you cutie pies, XOXO-Mom