Evan’s Summer Wish List: British Soccer Camp

Enter disclaimer text This post about British Soccer Camp is one such post.

What does Evan want to be when he grows up? A soccer player.

That’s why I’m not at all surprised when he was full of delight when I asked him if he’d be interested in spending a week of his summer focused on soccer skills. I didn’t even have to bribe him with “you’ll get to ride to work with Mommy and maybe we’ll stop for coffee one or two days”, because he’s just that into soccer. Score.

We’re lucky here in Pittsburgh to have several options for the soccer camp in the area this summer, with locations around the city that are sure to be convenient for all of us ‘Burghers. If your soccer player isn’t ready to take on a full day program, there are also half-day options available.

British Soccer Camp

Our friends over at US Family Guide filled me in on why this camp is the place to be this summer:

British Soccer Camps are the most popular soccer camp in the US. With an innovative curriculum that develops skills, speed and confidence in players ages 3-18, The British Soccer Camp provide boys and girls with the rare opportunity to receive high-level soccer coaching from a team of international expert’s right in the heart of their own community. In addition to teaching new skills and improving game performance, each British Soccer Camp provides lessons in character development, cultural education and is the most fun your child can have learning the sport they love!

Sounds like it will be a great experience for our future soccer star, right? If you would like enroll your child in a British Soccer Camp near you (not limited to Pittsburgh!), use code CAMP17 when you register for camp and get a free soccer ball, jersey, t-shirt, and poster (over $100 in gifts)! Follow along on Twitter with @ChallengerCamps and be sure to follow @usfg for family-friendly fun near you.

British Soccer Camp Kids

‘lil Old Man

The 100th day of school feels like it was 100 days ago, but I just can’t get enough of the cuteness that was my ‘lil old man. Evan came home begging to look just right for his kindergarten celebration.

Don’t you think he did a good job?


In addition to dressing like a ‘lil old man, he also took in 100 M&Ms. His report on what they did with them? I don’t know! I guess all he was worried about was lookin’ good.

How did your ‘lil ones celebrate the 100th day of school? 

A Thankful Birthday

Today we celebrated The Bigs, a thankful birthday party filled with food, fun, and family. Just the way we like it.


With an October birthday for Arianna and a December birthday for Evan, we try to go with the middle road and celebrate both in November. While it’s confusing for Evan in December, it’s a nice way to separate his day from the holiday hustle and bustle.

Arianna turned 8 on October 5 and Evan will be 6 on December 17. 


It was a day filled with food – the highlight of which was this cake (and cake pops) from Tasty Bakery, an adorable cake shop in Pittsburgh. I totally contemplated running away, just me and the cake because it was so delicious. And the icing was incredible and edible. I’m really blown away by Beverly’s talent.

cake shop pittsburgh

The day was fun, full of laughs (especially comparing Ava to Aunt Wink) and smiles. The kids got some neat gifts and are thankful for their piggy bank builds (because they hope to put it toward a Disney trip with their new suitcases – they’ve been begging since I got home and getting new suitcases upped the ante). Isla made us all giggle with her selfies that kept our family photo from being pinterest perfect but made it this is us perfect.


And of course, there was family. The glue that holds us together. If you peek in the top left of the photo above, you’ll see the kids four years ago. My, how they’ve grown in front of our eyes. Knowing they’ve grown up with all four of their grandparents, several great aunts and uncles, and uncles and aunts who are so very much part of their lives warms my heart. It’s truly a very thankful birthday, indeed. Thank you to everyone who was part of today being so special. Love you all lots! xoxo

Super Wings

Enter disclaimer text (We received Super Wings in exchange for this post.)

Raise your hand if you can rattle off the name of all the shows your kids watch. Mine is not raised. You see, I didn’t know that Evan was into Super Wings until I brought him home some figurines and asked him if he wanted to check out the app. He looked at me like I was on something, like why don’t you know I like them?!?!

super wings

Super Wings is an animated television series where cars and planes work together to solve problems – together! There is also an app and a toy line. We got to check out their blind bag toys, which soon became a staple in Evan’s every day play.

After he opened his blind bag, Evan begged for the iPad so he could check out the App. He’s loving helping Donnie “make things happen” (as Donnie’s favorite saying is I’m ready to make things happen, in case you’re like me and aren’t schooled in Super Wings) and video Donnie and the rest of our Super Wings in action.

super wings app

If you’re like me and didn’t know about Super Wings until today, check them out online as well as on Sprout TV. Super Wings toys are available through Auldley Toys.

super wings blind bag


Back to School 2016

No idea how this happened, but the Bigs have made it through eight days of school already. Before things become like Ari’s last day of first grade, we present the official back to school 2016 photos!

back to school 2016

Okay, who stole our babies and told them it was okay to grow up and into a Kindergartner and Second Grader? I mean seriously. Thank goodness they think this is funny.

Arianna will be taking on the last grade that I taught this year. Let that one sink in. She is in the grade that I was teaching when she was born.

second grade

And in ten years, back to school will be her senior year and this shirt will fit her. Sigh.

river hawks

And then there is Evan. He was so excited for full day Kindergarten + free breakfast and lunch this year (what a great score for our district!). Although he was nervous that his bff from Pre-K Counts wouldn’t be in his class (he’s not), he was still ready to give it a try.


And the Armstrong River Hawks Class of 2029 is sure blessed to have him as part of their own, aren’t they?


We are so proud of you, Bigs!



And an even bigger shout out to Greg who took this task on all by himself. I was away for work and got to join in via Skype, but he took care of all the details and photos. Thank you for making their days so special! xoxo

Evan and His Shoes

Oh, Evan and his shoes. Somehow, the boy has grown out of shoes overnight. Like from a size 11 to needing a size 13 all of the sudden.

And of course, none of the shoes we have in the house were his size except for his soccer cleats.

And of course, none of the shoes at the store were going to be just right, either.

Take, for instance, the shoes mama brought home from the store because she knew she couldn’t manage a trip to the store with the boy with the style that he can’t explain.

The shoes that he didn’t even see before he proclaimed he didn’t like them, they were weird. The shoes that you all told him you liked, many of you sending notes and messages and even a video to tell him how awesome he is {in his shoes}.


Evan and his shoes have had a few days together. Maybe they’re growing on him. Maybe.

Evan’s Pre-K Counts Graduation

There was no formal celebration, just some sweet hugs and goodbyes for Evan’s Pre-K Counts Graduation today. And that was just perfect for my sweet, shy guy.


It’s hard to believe that he is now a rising kindergartener, that soon he’ll go off on the bus and be gone all day (YAY for full day K!) with his big sister.

He’s writing his full name so well. His favorite thing is to draw, and it’s evidenced by the 100s of papers he brought home a week. Second to that, it’s bugs and animals, mostly his ant farm. When he grows up, he wants to be a soccer player.

With that sweet smile, his caring attitude, and loving heart, I know he’ll go far. But for now…I just want my babies to stay little!

Look at the difference the school year made:



Sunday (aside from being Mother’s Day) included church, as our Sundays do. As usual, I found myself with tears streaming down my face following worship, not wanting it to end, needing it not to end. The message was an explanation of the kinds of baptism.

I won’t go into all the details – but there are three kinds of baptism, two of them being spiritual and the other the physical baptism. The church we attend dedicates babies and baptizes, in a tank, the teens and adults when they are ready to “take the plunge” and symbolize the old life turning to the new. 

These types of messages always get me thinking, comparing the differences between the church I was raised in and the church we are attending these days. Honestly, I don’t have a strong opinion on what is right or wrong about either – both make sense to me. (And coincidentally, my dad posted a photo on Facebook the night before, comparing baptisms with donuts – my UMC roots are “sprinkles”!)

What I do know is that I’ve always understood my baptism, probably because I grew up in a church and was literally raised by it. I thought my baptism anniversary date was today (May 9), however, I must have things wrong because the Sundays in that year were the 8th and 15th. Time to find that baby book (because I’ve been living as though that’s been the date for YEARS). But anyways.

For me, my baptism was a sign of a dedication from my parents to bring me up in the church (little did they know that my dad would become a pastor a few years later), a deal I sealed when I was 13 and became a Christian. And since then, I’ve remembered it, renewing my faith during each baptism I’ve attended; remembering in services like the time my dad did a “bubble” service at a youth retreat (really cool moment – right after Wendy passed). And I’m not going to lie…I’ve even been mulling over a new baptism, one to symbolize the new me as an adult.

So it got me thinking…and confirmed…I’ve not shared the kids’ baptism photos here on the blog! Now, they might not remember these dates like I do, but I’ll be sure to remember. Maybe they’ll see this as their dedication and then in a few years decide to “get pickled” (if you go to NLC you know what I am talking about!) and let go of the old life for the new. Regardless, these were important days for me, symbols of our faith commitment, so worth sharing (especially as the girls’ one year is today).

Arianna – December 21, 2008 – Ford Memorial UMC


What a ‘lil sweetie. She was dressed in a beautiful gown the my mom made out of her wedding dress, but in typical Pappy-baptism style, sweetie got soaked and changed into her Steelers onesie (like we Burghers do).

I was so glad that my best friend (Missy) and my brother (Jack) could stand with me. This was a tough time in my life, but you’d have no idea when you look at that smile. I was smiling so big because my family is so amazing to me and had me so supported that day. I knew that I’d made the right choices to raise my baby girl and that God had a plan. And woo-boy does He have one for me and that ‘lil lady. Things were (and DID) going to work out.

Evan – December 24, 2010 – Manorville UMC


I’m not sure why we look so ’90s in this photo (hellllllooooo flash?!?!), but another amazing memory for us. Arianna and I had found our forever, Greg, and welcomed a baby brother a few years later. My cousins Jess and Dan, also with us through it all, stood with us on Christmas Eve. Evan was a week old.

That ‘lil snoozing baby boy has grown into my ‘lil prayer warrior, ensuring we pray before road trips and when we’re not feeling well.

Ava and Isla – May 10, 2015 – East Brady UMC


Pappy may have got their names a wee-bit mixed up that day, but he got the main points right – asking Greg and I to raise these two ‘lil ladies up in faith and love. It may have taken us a few more months to find our current faith home, but they have always been covered in prayer since we saw those two pink lines (just like with their sister and brother).


Each ones’ faith journey, like mine and Greg’s too, will be their own; however, these kids are definitely aware of God’s hand in their lives. And that? That’s worth remembering year after year.



First Friday

Tonight started a new summertime tradition for the kids and me – First Friday. It’s an event local to us up here in Armstrong County, a food truck roundup on the first Friday of every month in the summer.

First Friday

We’re pretty lucky to have some really motivated business people in our area. The event was brought together by some of our favorite food truck owners in hopes to bring the community out and supporting local small businesses.

Even though it was raining, plenty of people came out to Ford City and indulged in everything from gyros to tacos to lemonade to bbq to monte cristos to cupcakes to crepes. Phew. It was amazing.

But even better for me, my kids were daring. They made a plan to see every single truck and have me tell them what they offered before deciding. After a hot dog, they also wanted pulled pork and cole slaw. They picked out their favorite cupcakes to take home and then asked for a crepe before we left the park. The choice was easy – s’mores with Nutella. Even the ‘lil girls enjoyed that treat.

As we were packing up and pulling away, Evan burped. “I’m not even going to say excuse me. That burp tasted like pulled pork and crepes. That’s a good thing, Mama. They were my FAVORITE THINGS EVER,” he screamed. I’ll let it slide. That smile is so worth a silly burp, right?

They’re already looking forward to the next event when the trucks come over to our ‘lil neck of the woods, Kittanning. “We can walk there and run and play and eat and eat and eat,” Arianna informed me.

You better believe I’m going to make sure these kids understand how awesome they’ve got it. Thank goodness for First Friday and food trucks!

Want to find out more? Follow our local taco truck, LA Taco, for more events like this!