One week of first grade.

Today marks the first full week of First grade for our sweet Hadley. All of last week, her school went half days only because of the heat. This week has been a little on the cooler temperatures compared to the high humidity of last week. I feel so bad for all the kids having to wear masks in this heat, just hate it. But like most kids, they all get used to everything.

Soccer practice was indoors last week due to the heat, again! The girls loved practicing inside and kicking the ball in the gym.

The first week of school is always a little rough, super tired and early bed times when we we’re not having sports or things to do.

Just like last year, she is still doing so great with homework. At the first grade level, they don’t have too much but she has gotten into an awesome routine with it. She comes home after school, washes her hands, sometimes changes her clothes, and does homework right away. Then she has the rest of the night to chill, watch TV, sports practices, etc.

She was such a trooper for her first week of school.  She loves not being the youngest in the school anymore, and helps some kindergartners find their way around school. We are so proud of our big first grader!

Happy end of August. I’m ready for a new month!

From the weekend.

Saturday morning we spent half the day at two high school volleyball games for Natalie. I have to say, they are way more exciting to watch in high school verses grade school. Hadley was a trooper sitting inside a gym all morning, and then when we got home everyone chilled on the couch. Welcome back Natalie haha

While Natalie and Hadley chilled inside, like a crazy person I decided to vacuum out my car and Kevin’s truck. He was outside with me cleaning the floor mats, it was gross hot out! But, we hadn’t cleaned our cars since before we left for our Destin beach trip and they needed it!

We are slowly doing some house updates! Painted the fireplace white, and it looks soo good! Got rid of the carpet in the family room, and put down hardwood floors. We ordered a new couch and ottoman also. Now I need to find a new rug, and things to put on the walls! We got rid of our kitchen table, well it’s actually for sale on Facebook Marketplace if anyone is interested, let me know! We replaced the table with this small white one with two chairs. It’s the perfect size for this space in our kitchen. The other table was too big and made the kitchen look over crowded. When all of the kids are home, we usually eat in the dining room anyway that has six chairs so we can all fit.

On Sunday, Hadley had her second soccer game in the hot hot heat! She lost 2-1. I love that she loves sports so much, and hope she continues to want to play. So far she has played indoor soccer, softball, outdoor soccer and cheer are happening now.

We had a busy weekend, now back to the grind of the work week and all that entails. Soccer practice, cheer practice, work, laundry, grocery shopping, yada yada yada!

Happy Monday! Make it a great week!

First grader.

We have an official first grader! She started school this past Tuesday. I just love back to school photos, and seeing all the kids in their uniforms, new school clothes, fresh gym shoes, crisp backpacks, just love it all!

Last week was meet the teacher night! We just love her teacher for first grade, super young and very on top of it with everything so far. I can appreciate all the little details that goes into setting up a classroom, and getting everything ready for the kids. I always make a point to notice the little details, since that is something I enjoy doing so much as well.

The night before school, we got all of her new things together. One thing that is super convenient about meet the teacher night, is you can drop off all of the school supplies then so the kids don’t have to carry so much stuff with them on the first day.

Fun little things for her first morning of school. Kroger was out of her favorite donut, chocolate with sprinkles so Dad got plain glazed. She’s usually too nervous to eat breakfast on the first day, but it’s always there as an option in case she feels like eating a little something.

Traditional back to school photo on the front porch!

No tears this year yay! She was a little nervous like most kiddos are, but no tears just all the feels!

While she was at school, Dad put up this board with hooks for her bookbag and things. It will help so much with the clutter that ends up on the kitchen table all school year. If their’s a place for things, it helps so much!

After school pickup, and all smiles from this little lady! I hope she continues to love school so much. She comes home and does her homework, then has all the free time until bed. Crossing fingers this routine sticks for the next ten plus years!

Happy school year to all the kiddos! You will do great things.

Our 2021 Destin beach trip.

We spent last week at the beach! It’s been a few years since we’ve been to our happy place. We squeezed in lots of fun things on this vacation, and the best part about it all was we took our time! It was the most relaxed, chill, no worries kind of vacation! Ready for a photo dump?

Monday, Aug 9

The drive from Cincinnati to Destin is about 11 hours. With this trip being our six year old’s first long drive, we decided to stop at a hotel. Stopping was the best decision ever, we had no time constraint, we got there when we got there. During our drive, I had a few surprise car gifts for Hadley to break up the time. She had already had a bucket full of things to do already, plus her iPad, but these were extra things in case she needed some distractions. Car surprise #1 were the ever so popular pop-its! I don’t know a kid that doesn’t like these things!

We drove for seven hours, with a few rest area stops, and finally stopped in Birmingham, Alabama. The hotel was beautiful, and the staff was so polite! The general manager came out to the pool while we were swimming, and gave us bottled water!

Hadley was super excited to have a bed all to herself!

Tuesday, Aug 10

Woke up and worked out in the hotel gym. Ran on the treadmill for twenty minutes. Kevin and Hadley just chilled in the hotel room. After my workout, I hopped in the shower to get ready to leave for the next drive of our trip. Kevin and Hadley went down to get breakfast while I was finishing up. The hotel breakfast was amazing, they had everything you could ask for which was crazy, especially for a complimentary breakfast during a pandemic! Hadley sat with me while I ate my breakfast, and Kevin packed up the truck.

On the road again! We only had a four hour drive to Destin which seemed super short! We were all pumped and ready to see the ocean! The next car surprise was from Grandma Gail, she brought her a box of goodies for the trip.

We arrived! Hadley was soo excited, she wanted to run straight to the beach! But we had to check in and unload the truck. You know, the not so fun part of vacation. I wish I would’ve taken more photos of the condo, it was so nice. Hadley had bunk beds to sleep on, she slept on the top bunk every night. She loved having her own little area.

We took no time to unload, changed into our bathing suits, and hit the beach! The water was gorgeous! I couldn’t get over how clear it was! It took Hadley about a day and a half to get used to the salt water, and the waves that would almost knock her down as you walked into the ocean. We brought her life jacket which was the best idea, she loved floating in the ocean and not having to worry about not touching.

After the beach, Hadley and Kevin checked out the pool while I went up to the condo to freshen up a little bit. Hadley could swim in a pool everyday all day of her life. She loves the water!

Wednesday, Aug 11

Worked out at the condo gym, we had it to ourselves! Hadley was so cute and tried a few of the machines out while I ran on the treadmill. I hope I encourage her that exercise is an important part of life. After our workout, enjoyed breakfast on the lanai overlooking the beach!

First full day at the beach! We came prepared! Beach toys, life jacket, umbrellas, and beach chairs.

For dinner, we went to Fudpuckers Gator Beach. They had live alligators you could feed while you waited for your table. It was a long wait, but fun while you waited. Super kid friendly!

After dinner, we went swimming in the pool and hung out on the lanai just listening to the ocean. I could listen to that sound all day everyday.

Thursday, Aug 12

My little workout partner! I worked out 5 out of the 7 days we were there full days. Some days I would do the Nike app in the condo, and other days I would go to the gym. I didn’t make it to the beach to walk/run, but maybe next time.

Waking up to this view every morning was the best. I couldn’t imagine having a condo without a beach view.

Our little beach babe! She adapted so well to the beach life. We found her a hat to help with her face getting so hot, it helped so much with her little cheeks. She’s a hot box!

We had a routine for the most part, beach all day then late afternoon I would go up and get ready for dinner while these two swam in the pool.

Some nights, we would eat in the condo instead of going out. After we ate and showered, we headed out for some crab hunting! Hadley was most excited about this. Walking along the beach at night was so nice and peaceful, and the condo looked so pretty all lit up. We saw so many little crabs, and one huge mama crab! I shined the flashlight on the big mama one and it crawled straight into the ocean. It was such a fun night!

Friday, Aug 13

Today was the dolphin cruise! We were up early and ready to roll. We decided to do the morning cruise so it would be less hot, and we’d still have time to go to the beach afterwards.

Waiting for the cruise to start was hot hot, even mid-morning! And Miss Hadley wore her dolphin earrings for the dolphin cruise.

We saw the harbor, Crab Island, and along with the dolphins, we saw some sharks! It was hard to take photos of the dolphins, they were fast.

The water is just gorgeous, and so peaceful to watch. We loved the cruise, the breeze was just enough so you weren’t sweating your booty off.

After the cruise, we walked around a little bit and found this super fun activity to do for kids. We were soo surprised Hadley did it, but she did and loved it! She walked into this deflated giant bubble, they blew it up with her inside of it which she thought was going to be scary but wasn’t. Then the man walked her into the pool, and there she goes! Floating around with other kids in bubbles, and as you can see by the photos nothing but smiles.

After the dolphin cruise, we still had some time to go to the beach! We were so glad we brought her life jacket from the lake, she loved floating in the ocean.

Just like every day, pool time after the beach!

Saturday, Aug 14

Started off the morning with a workout in the condo, did the Nike app.

Clear blue skies, no filter! Another beautiful beach day!

For dinner tonight we went to Lulu’s! Out of all the places we went to eat, this was at the top of the list! Being Jimmy Buffet fans and all, we thought it was pretty neat that this place is owned by his sister Lucy! They had a live one man band playing, the entire place was open so you could feel the ocean breeze, had an outdoor bar area, with sand and access to the beach. It wasn’t very crowded outside, because a storm was rolling in. It was awesome though, and we loved it!

Sunday, Aug 15

Went for donuts for breakfast this morning! The line for this popular place, The Donut Hole, was very very long, like out the door long and this was before 9am. So we decided to do takeout and eat at the condo. They were delicious!

Beach day! Towards the end of our day, Tropical Storm Fred winds started rolling in. The winds were so strong the sand was blowing against our bodies and it hurt! Floaties and pool chairs were flying all over the place, so we headed indoors.

Since the storm turned our beach day short, we went bowling before dinner. This place was called Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl and Grill and it was so neat inside. Everything was ocean themed, and it felt like you were bowling inside an aquarium.

After bowling, we went to dinner at the The Back Porch! Food wise, this was our favorite place. The fish was so good and fresh. LuLu’s was great for the ambience, and the food was good too. But the Back Porch food was very good and another place right on the water. Just love eating with the ocean breeze flowing in! We loved hanging out on the beach while we waited for our table.

Monday, Aug 16

Our last full day before we had to leave, Tropical Storm Fred had other plans for us. They closed the beaches, and pools, it was a double red flag day. We took our time in the morning, I worked out, ate breakfast on the lanai, took showers, and took a long walk on the beach. The tide came up to where everyone sits on the beach!

We went to a Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park! This place was huge, and totally worth a visit. Side note, notice the surfers behind the last photo? Double red flag, and surfers were out there! The lifeguards kept coming by and telling them to get out, then they would get right back in. Anyways, we saw a show about seals, and dolphins! And saw so many other ocean animals. It was a very cool place!

After the Gulfarium, we ate at Rockin Tacos for an early dinner. On our last night, we stayed in so we could pack and get everything ready for the road the next day.

Tuesday, Aug 17

On the morning before we left, the beach was just gorgeous! I guess Tropical Storm Fred busted out of there in just one day.

On the road again! Car surprise was more pop-its! We decided to drive for eight hours until Bowling Green, KY. We stopped at Cracker Barrel to eat dinner, haven’t eaten there in ages. I loaded up on pancakes, my favorite there!

The hotel was not as nice as the one in Birmingham. It’s a long story, but let’s just say Kevin isn’t in charge of booking things anymore haha! The indoor pool was okay, we let Hadley swim for just an hour or so. It was already late enough, but she just can’t resist a pool. Oh, and I totally forgot to give her this underwater camera for the beach and pool in Florida! She used it in the pool at the hotel, and got the hang of it.

We had the best time on this trip! Would definitely recommend Destin, and we plan to go back again sometime! I loved how we took our time getting there, had zero plans while we were there, just went with the flow everyday and did whatever. I loved not having a real plan everyday. I did do some research and planning beforehand and had a few places in mind to check out, but nothing set in stone. Hadley loved the beach, and just like anything she does she adapts so well to whatever environment she is in and is such a happy easy going kiddo. Love these memories we’ve created for her and us as a family!

Vacation ticket.

In two weeks, we are going on vacation to the beach! I always like to think of fun ways to do things around here, so I came up with a quick scavenger hunt. Hadley just loves them, they are so easy and you can make them super short too.

First clue: Girl, does Mom and Dad have a surprise for you! Where you get wet in the house is the first clue!

Second clue: Great job! World class swimmer! Ride the waves to where you eat dinner. (Clue was in the shower door).

Third clue: Grab your goggles and dive deep. Find the next clue where you sleep. (Clue was on a kitchen table chair).

Fourth clue: Let’s build sandcastles and play in the sand! Look for the next clue where you wash your hands! (Clue was on her pillow in her bed).

Fifth clue: No resting yet, you’re almost done. A surprise is waiting where there’s movie fun. (Clue was in the bathroom).

Last clue was the ticket to the beach! I made this in Photoshop, and cut it out by hand. (Last clue was in the TV stand / movies). Hadley is super excited! She’s been to the beach when she was around two years old or so, but obviously doesn’t remember at that age. So this will be her first real trip to the beach! We can’t wait to see her have fun on the beach, build sandcastles, swim in the ocean, and to just see this vacation through her little blue eyes! And of course, to just chill, relax, and breath in that ocean air!

Front yard makeover reveal.

We have lived in our home for almost three years now. When we first moved in, the front yard was super plain and no color. The yard consisted of lots of pine trees, boxwood bushes, and a ginormous ivy like bush. Don’t get me wrong, it was super low maintenance and all we had to do was trim some of it down occasionally. My husband and I wanted lots and lots of color, flowers, etc. Well, after almost three years, we finally got the front yard we’ve always wanted!

The before photo above was taken about a year ago, look at those huge pine trees, all the shrubbery by the front porch, and the gigantic bush on the side of the garage. You can barely see the house!

The after photo above is our dream front yard! It looks amazing! No more pine trees, and all those pine needles that fall into the mulch. And all of that shrubbery that was blocking the house is gone. It opens up the house soo much!

It took a lot of work to get the yard where it is now. We dug all of the old stuff out by hand, we had some helpers which made it easier. But it took lots and lots of work digging up thirty year old roots, and trust me when I say there were so many roots it was insane!

Next on our list was to remove the pine trees! Some people ask why did we get rid of them? We were just not fans, the pine needles that fell into the mulch, and how much the trees covered our house. These guys did four trees in one day, it was very cool to watch!

My husband put in the paver wall himself. It took many trips to Lowes, because you can never really be sure how many pavers you are going to need right? It took us awhile to decide how high to make the wall, and I’m glad we went with the curvy design versus a straight wall, things like that, but we are so happy with how it turned out.

Lots and lots of work with this wall. Some pieces he had to chip off to fit right, kept calling him Jesus with his carpentry tools!

Here’s a closer view of the flowers. The only pieces we kept was the three boxwoods on the far top. Everything else was all planted by yours truly! It was a chore to plant everything, because as I dug into the ground there were roots in every hole. Soo so many roots! We weren’t expecting the hyrangeas to bloom so fast, but they are huge and so pretty!

Vinca’s are my favorite, they do very well in direct sunlight.

Here’s the front view of the flowers. The tiny tuff stuff hydrangeas are smaller than the lime ones closer to the porch. I’m glad we went with the smaller ones in front so they didn’t takeover the view from the front of the house.

We have another hydrangea lime light bush on the other side of the garage. There used to be a huge bush here that took over the entire space. Hydrangeas are so much nicer!

The front porch is a large variety!

These need to be desperately trimmed down, they are growing so fast! I love the Vinca’s, and the shade combos by the front door. They are a mixture of ferns, coleus, and I’m not sure what the pink flowers are in there.

I’m not sure what the hanging basket flowers are, I’m so bummed I didn’t save the tag! I love how the greenery cascades down from the basket, and the yellow flowers are so bright!

And three months later, it’s so awesome to say everything is still alive and well. Nothing that we planted from scratch has died. It’s all doing so great! The front yard was a labor of love, lots of hard work, and lots of hours spent sweating and working very hard. I’m glad our vision came together, and so very happy with the end result.

From the past few weekends…

Happy Monday everyone! Catching back up from the last few weeks. We’ve been busy enjoying summer, going to the lake, marking off our Summer Bucket List, and so many other things. I can’t believe July is almost over, this Summer is just flying by soo fast. Love it, but also hate it. Here are some different collages of photos from what we’ve been up to…

Part of our Summer Bucket List was to visit the Mt. Airy Forest Treehouse. We didn’t even know this place existed until I started looking up things to do this Summer. We had the whole place to ourselves, it was so cute. Hadley couldn’t believe how big it was! Afterwards, we stopped at a picnic bench and she drew the treehouse in her journal. And then we played at the playground for a little bit, it was a great day!

We went over to Kevin’s friends pool and swam with him and his family. The pool felt amazing! Afterwards we grilled out, dodging the super fast storm that rolled in. His wife made homemade ice cream, so so good! The Thursday of July 4th weekend, I went to Kroger in the morning and so glad I did. It was already crowded, and going to the store for our family for 10 days at the lake should count as a workout in itself. The cart was so full I could barely push it! We went out to dinner after work that day, and Hadley wearing Dad’s hat at dinner.

Friday of July 4th weekend, we went to a graduation pool party! The kids had a blast, and being around this pool brought back so many memories of our old house and our pool. It was great to see everyone, and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect!

July 4th weekend at the lake, started off with the cove party! The house at the end of our cove puts on a band every year, and half the lake anchors in our cove, swims, hangs out, it’s a great time. Our dock was a hot spot, we had so many kids we didn’t know jumping off our high jump!

Sunday was the golf tournament! We came in second place, it was a scramble so pretty easy and fun! It was hot hot hot though, we were sweating our butts off by the end of the tourney. Brady showing off with the winners cape / hat afterwards. Came back to the lake and swam, it felt so good to cool off.

Grandma took the girls to the Ark Encounter for the day. I drove back home for a few days for work, and then came back for the weekend. Everyone else stayed all week long. The big kids took the pontoon boat out by themselves time, and the battery died (because nobody uses it anymore!), and they had to get a tow back to the dock. The pictures the kids took on their phones were hysterical.

Bonfire night! Hadleys first time roasting s’mores. She liked it, so she says. S’mores are so delicious, yet so filling. It was a gorgeous night for a bonfire!

Thursday of last week, we went to the West Chester Clock Tower, for a concert outside. It was nice to just sit, chill, talk, and enjoy live music. Hadley loved the snow cones, people watching, looking at all the different dogs people brought, and playing hangman with Grandma.

Another Summer Bucket List item marked off the list, watch the Parent Trap movie under a fort! I printed off a few “camp” like things, taped them to the TV stand, made a fort with old sheets, and Hadley was in heaven. Super simple things like this, makes her so so happy.

Well there you have it, just a few photos of what we’ve been up too! It’s been a pretty great Summer so far. As always, thanks for reading!

DIY softball treat bags.

Hadley’s softball season ended last week, and I made these easy and fun treat bags for all the girls on the team. These would be great for an end of season gift or team mom gift for softball girls. Since my husband was the coach, I wanted to do a little something for their first softball season!

All of the supplies and items were all purchased at the Dollar Store. Yellow paper bags, bag of mini suckers, temporary tattoos, fun pens, and rainbow nail polish.

For each bag, I used a half circle stencil I cut out from a plain piece of paper, traced it onto each bag with a red sharpie and then drew lines down each side. And then wrote each of the girls’ names with a black sharpie in the middle and that’s it!

Also made a small gift for the assistant coaches that helped out. Sunflower seeds, a slim jim, and a mini bottle of fireball. I used the same yellow paper bags as the girls, and created a little tag in Photoshop.

I tied them all together with a red/white piece of twine before placing them in the yellow paper bags.

Something super simple, but also meaningful to let them know we appreciated their help this season!

I was very happy with how these treat bags turned out! You can always use any colored paper bag for your team color, etc. I hope you loved these treat bags, and would love to know what other softball / baseball ideas you have too! Feel free to comment below to share your idea.

From the weekend.

Friday started out with a movie night in the dining room. Sometimes we watch movies on the computer monitor, and put a bunch of blankets and pillows on the floor and snuggle up. After the movie, Hadley went to bed around eight o’clock. Around 9:15pm or so, we started getting heavy winds, thunderstorms, and the local sirens started going off for tornado warnings! I had to wake up poor Hadley, and we went to the basement. Luckily, she fell back asleep when we got to the basement. I lit some candles in case the power went out, and about 45 minutes later the warnings were gone. Woke Hadley back up, walked her back upstairs to her room, and she went right back to sleep again. I’m so so thankful for such a great kiddo that sleeps so good. Saturday morning, she didn’t remember a thing from this!

Saturday morning we went to Bob Evans for breakfast to celebrate my Dad, brother, and Kevin for Father’s Day. Poor Kevin had just two hours of sleep from working the night before. It was nice to see the whole fam, and the breakfast was so good! Haven’t had an omelet there in forever, I got the bacon and cheddar cheese omelet, so so good!

Saturday afternoon we went to the lake to celebrate Father’s Day with my father-in-law. We all ventured out on the new gator, it drives like a car and is so smooth!

Saturday had some boat rides, tossed some baseball, and just hung out. Hadley made this little wooden block with a photo of her holding a sign “I love you” up, they made these at her daycare. Soo cute!

Sunday, Brady did some wakeboarding before it got too crowded. And by Sunday night when we got home, little Miss Hadley was out. And I mean out. She probably fell asleep in less than a minute.

It was a great weekend spent with family, and really great weather after the tornado / thunderstorms went away on Friday!

Weekly recap.

Monday we went to a restaurant on the river called The Cabana. Hadley has been here before when she was two or three, so she doesn’t really remember. But she loved it! She’s currently obsessed with the pop-its, we all took turns timing ourselves to see how fast we can pop them all. After dinner, we walked over to the sand volleyball courts and watched them play. She could’ve played in the sand for hours.

Tuesday we had a baby deer badly hurt in our front yard. If you missed it earlier this week, you can read all about the baby deer in this post.

Wednesday we went to a comedy club with my brother and sister-in-law. The comedian we saw was Rocky Dale Davis, he was pretty funny, my face hurt from laughing so much. My favorite skit he did was about a four way stop sign, I couldn’t stop laughing it was soo right on!

Thursday morning while watering the flowers, I noticed a little frog behind the big pot. No matter how much I watered, or moved around on the porch, the frog stayed still the entire time.

Friday made some end of the year softball goodie bags for Hadley’s team. She has her last softball game tomorrow morning, but after all of these tornado warnings, and severe thunderstorm warnings tonight, I’m not sure she’ll play after all this rain.

Friday night we had a movie night in the dining room! Sometimes for a change of scenery, we bring my computer monitor over by the table, put a bunch of blankets on the floor, grab some snacks and get comfy for a movie. We started early after dinner which is why it’s still light out, she was super tired so it was an early movie night for us. We watched the movie Luca on Disney Plus, it was super cute!

Friday night After about two hours of Hadley being fast asleep, we had a tornado warning and sirens going off by our home. Had to wake her up to go to the basement until the warning was over, hated waking her up, but better to be safe than sorry. The warning lasted for only 40 minutes or so, woke her back up, and she went right to sleep in her bed. Thank goodness! Tornados are always so scary, even as an adult! I’m glad she managed to sleep right through it for the most part.

T.G.I.F.

Have a great weekend, and happy Father’s day to all the Dad’s, father figures, and step-dad’s out there!