Happy Halloween!

Every year toward the end of September we get the beloved Chasing Fireflies catalog in the mail. And every year Tylee sees it before I'm able to throw it away and chooses her costume. Last year she wanted to be a genie - and not just any genie, THAT GENIE. I wasn't paying $65 for a genie costume that didn't even include the ($16) hat and the ($16) lamp. This year she chose the voodoo doll costume and while I initially said no, I was surprised to find similar costumes at other retailers were almost the same price. Apparently just going to Goodwill is a thing of the past. And apparently, my kid is also very spoiled. But she looked so, so good and that made Halloween so, so fun! 

She told me, "I love this costume because I don't have to smile!" Thankfully, I was able to coax one out of her. It was fun that Halloween was on a Saturday this year. We got ready early afternoon and did our little photo shoot before heading to town for dinner. We hit up Grammy's and Grandpa Tom's before going to our favorite little neighborhood. 
We got there a little later than I had planned and it was too dark to get any pictures of her trick-or-treating. It was a nice little break from shooting though and I thoroughly enjoyed the night with my family! I sure will miss these days! 



For some reason, Taylor decided to put her tickets on sale a full 10 months before the concert. That means that last December (the 5th, to be exact) I scored Tylee and I some awesome seats at a concert scheduled for September 22nd, 2015. That is a looooong time to wait! But we survived. And once the day finally came, the anticipation and wait was totally worth it...just as I knew it would be! 

I picked Tylee up from school around lunch that day and we jammed out to Taylor Swift the whole 3-hour drive to KC. I love me some Taylor but that was a little much even for me! I finally convinced her to switch to the radio to see if maybe we could find a station broadcasting live from the Sprint Center. No such luck but it did give us me a breather for a bit before we turned her back on. 
I was really, really nervous about rush-hour and parking in downtown KC with 13,000 other Swifties. I'm not usually one to be scared of traffic but something about this was bothering me. We stopped by my brothers to freshen up and drop off our bags and decided to head down early to beat the crowd. 

We got parked and found the Sprint Center just fine! Whew! Now I could finally enjoy the evening. 
We had about a 2.5 hour wait so we walked around Power and Light for a bit and then went and ate dinner. Tylee was so anxious to get inside but didn't understand that all we would do is sit, sit, and sit some more!

The atmosphere was really buzzing around the Sprint Center and radio stations were set up playing Taylor non-stop. I distracted Tylee all that I could and we finally went in about an hour before Vance Joy started. Before we went in, I had asked one of the DJ's if you could see Taylor's tour bus and semis if you walked back behind the Sprint Center. She told me no - they were pulled underneath but lo and behold when we walked around the arena - there they were. I'm still sad about that missed photo-op! 
There was enough going on once we got inside that the wait went by fast. Taylor had videos playing of interviews with trivia and stuff. 
At one point, I saw everyone down on the floor looking excited and all kind of turning toward this group of people moving towards us. I looked around and saw that it was Taylors Mom causing all the fuss!! She was coming straight towards us but before we knew it, BAM! The lights went off and there was Taylor! I was kind of distracted because I knew Andrea (her Mom) was coming our way and chose people out of the audience to go meet Taylor. I was trying to follow her, take it all in, and watch Tylee's reaction but from that very moment until the very last song - everything went 100mph with not a single second to gather your thoughts.

(I would've given anything to take my DSLR inside but alas, no professional cameras allowed. We were so close I could've developed a poster! But nope, enjoy the iPhone photos.)
After the first song, I looked over at Tylee and we were both smiling so big. I asked her what she thought and she told me, "I cried." That has to be my happiest parenting moment to date. To be able to give that moment to her and experience it with her just made my heart so happy. TJ really missed out by choosing to opt out on a teeny-bopper concert. :-D 

The concert wasn't what I thought it would be at all but I am not disappointed in the slightest. I love a good toe-tapping sing-along but this was far from that. Taylor is 100% a pop-princess who knows how to work the audience like a pro. There were 25 outfit changes and something going on at all times. 2 stages, 10 backup dancers, a stage that elevated, confetti, lights - and ever single bit of it was top notch. The cameras (for the jumbotron) knew exactly how many steps Taylor was going to take before she even took them and flung around to get her on the way back flawlessly. I can only assume I will never experience anything like that again in my life. Every single concert that Tylee attends after this one will probably be a disappointment. Sitting on the 6th row and seeing your idol on stage singing all of your favorite songs at 7-years old going to be pretty hard to top.

We stayed all night with my brother and Erin that night and wrapped up the rest of our Mommy-Daughter date the next day. We did some shopping and ate sushi before heading home to Daddy. 
Moments like this are the ones I envisioned when I first heard those three words, "It's a girl!" I still get warm fuzzies thinking about that evening and it has nothing to do with Taylor Swift. (Okay, well, maybe a little.) But having something to bond over with my girl and being able to provide something to make all her dreams come true, is priceless. 


The Greatest Show on Earth!

How did I forget to blog about the greatest show on earth?! It was a really, really cool show and since I've only been to one circus in my life, probably the greatest show I've seen.  We were highly impressed! A friend at work had recommended it to me a couple years ago but I must've missed it when it came around last year. I was happy to have caught it this year and it did not disappoint! TJ asked me several times before we went who was more excited - me or Tylee? I think I was! 
Although I wasn't excited about that $15 sno-cone! 
There was a pre-show before the circus and we were able to go down and walk around. We got to meet some of the stars and look at the costumes and such. It was neat but Tylee was too shy to get the full experience. Oh well, it was free. 

This was the smaller version of the Ringling Brothers circus so I was a little nervous that we were going to miss out on a lot. I think the main thing this show (Built to Amaze) didn't have was the lions and tigers but I cannot imagine them cramming much more in to a 2-hour time slot.  

This (above) was my favorite thing. Once it got going, I was too mesmerized to get a good picture but here is a video. I'm not sure that Tylee understood how dangerous it all was so although neat, she wasn't as amazed at TJ and I. 

If you ever have a chance to go, I would highly recommend it. We had such a great time and will definitely go again in a few year! 


Back to the lake!

Summer is almost over and we had yet to all make it to the lake! This made me so sad so I took matters into my own hands and loaded up as many kids as I could! We basically got there Friday night in time to eat some hot dogs and get unpacked but we didn't care, we were finally there! 
Saturday morning we woke up to rain, rain, and more rain. It was in the forecast but we had decided to chance it. After breakfast, we had some time to kill while waiting for it to clear off. Papa and the kids built a fire (with wet wood) and we made things interesting with a game of darts.
It finally cleared off about noon and we were able to get out on the water! The first stop, as usual, was Serenity Point to get some gas and play on their water toys. 

After that, we headed to Duck Creek to feed the catfish and piddle around on the water. Since it had been raining most of the morning, the lake wasn't busy and the water was so smooth. No complaints here! 
As we were leaving Duck Creek, a GRDA flagged us down and handed out free T-shirts. Everyone was initially really nervous but when he asked what the kids shirt size was, they were pretty excited. We got off the boat a little before dark and headed up to make dinner. The kids all wore their shirts home the next day and we snapped this picture with Grandma before we left.