Marshmallow Mondays

Help Us Fight Kidney Disease
09.12.16, 7:28 AM
Filed under: Events, Family | Tags: , ,

October 11th will mark 2 YEARS since Ryan received his kidney/pancreas transplant.

It will be 2 years since another family made the most selfless decision and gave Ryan the gift of life in the midst of their own tragic loss. For us, that has meant 2 years without a scary low sugar episode or the need to call 911. 2 years without hospital stays. 2 years since time felt as though it was standing still. 2 years since a heavy weight was lifted from our shoulders. 2 years of health, happiness and special memories that our family of four have been able to cherish because another family said “yes” to organ donation. 2 years of living diabetes and kidney disease free.

IMG_5724To honor our donor family, to celebrate Ryan’s health, and to show our support for those who are fighting against kidney disease every day, we will once again participate in Lexington’s Kidney Walk on October 9th at Coldstream Park.

This is an opportunity to show our support and provide hope to the 26 million Americans who are living with kidney disease, and the 73 million who are at risk.

We invite all of our friends and family members, near and far, to help us make a difference. There are numerous ways that you can participate:

  • Walk with us. Join our Match For Ryan Team and walk with us on October 9th.
  • Donate to our team. Help us reach our fundraising goal by making a donation, which will help The National Kidney Foundation make a difference in the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease.
  • Visit our Lemonade Stand! On Saturday, September 17th, from 1-4pm Rydan and Lily will have a lemonade stand set up in our front yard. lemonadeoverview100 percent of their sales will support our fundraising goal for the walk. Stop by for some fresh lemonade, sweet treats, and to see two smiling faces trying to make a positive difference because they understand what it’s like when someone you love suffers from kidney disease.

Many thanks in advance for any support you can give!

Barbie Birthday

Every year, we let the kids choose the theme for their birthday. And every year, we host a big party at our home. This was the first year that Rydan asked if he could have his party outside of the house, which made me a little bit sad. However, he and his friends had a ton of fun at his SkyZone party, and I have to admit that only having to bring the cake was a nice change. No planning, no details, no decorating, no cleaning up, no entertaining… just jump, eat pizza (that I didn’t have to provide), eat cake, and go home.

Thankfully for the event planner inside of me, Lily is still young enough to enjoy parties at home. This year, she chose a Barbie theme, which I was quite excited to plan. Without having to worry about a ton of details for Rydan’s party, I had even more time this year to work on a Barbie-themed birthday party. We kept things girly and classy, going with a black, white and pink color scheme.

My first project was a life-size Barbie box that Lily and her friends could pose inside of for photos. After one Sunday of work, we had a finished project.


We kept our decorations fairly simple. Many of them I found as free printables online, and then added my own touch with things I already had. The rest I picked up at Party City and Walmart.





Since we held the party in the afternoon, snacks were pretty easy as well. Anything pink or Barbie-themed! (I put out some strawberries too to somewhat balance out all of the sugar.)




Our cake came from our favorite donut shop, Donut Days Bakery. They’ve been doing our cakes for quite a few years now, and they never disappoint. No matter what design or theme we come up with, they always come through with something even better than what we imagined. And they taste just as delicious as they look! This year, Donut Days also made a few sugar cookies as an extra take home treat for the girls.



To look like a real Barbie fashionista, our dear friend and neighbor, Mary, who owns K3 Kreations Monograms & More , created a fun shirt for Lily. We completed her look with some sequined hot pink shorts and a matching black hair bow.



Before the party even began, we had a big surprise for Lily. Her best friend, Reese, who sadly moved to Missouri earlier this summer, came to surprise Lily. Lily had absolutely no idea that Reese was coming, and actually told me that morning how much she wished Reese could be here. It took a little scheming, but we managed to get Lily out of the house for a few minutes while Reese and her parents arrived. Ryan told Lily they needed to go pick up some candles for her cake. After they left, Reese stood inside of the Barbie box and waited.


Ryan “forgot his wallet” and turned around to come home. The funny part was that Lily wouldn’t get out of the car while Ryan “came inside for his wallet.” After a bit of convincing, Lily reluctantly strolled into the house. I casually asked her to come help me with something, and then let her stumble onto her surprise. It was a truly priceless moment to see these two friends reunited on such special day. If you haven’t seen the video, check it out on my Facebook page. It will melt your heart.

Lily had a total of 11 girls who came to her party. These are friends from Kindergarten last year, dance class, our old neighborhood, swimming lessons, and even a new friend from First Grade. When the girls arrived, they found a seat and started coloring a Barbie (downloaded and printed from



After all of the girls had arrived, we played a few Barbie-themed games. The first – Barbie Bingo. This was an easy DIY game – Google Barbie images, print, cut and glue onto construction paper. The girls loved it.


We also played “Barbie Says” (just like Simon Says) and a variation of Red Light Green Light, where the girls held their Barbie and took a step forward every time I said “if your Barbie is wearing a dress” or “if your Barbie has a crown,” etc. The first girl to reach me won. Prizes were pink glow sticks/necklaces, pink lip gloss, pink necklaces, and pink nail polish. We played lots of rounds, so there were lots of winners.


After games, it was time for cake and ice cream.



Then came the gifts. These girls were so patient, so sweet, and it was so much fun to watch their excitement as they took turns sitting with Lily while she opened up each gift. There were handmade cards, new Barbies, crafts, games, a new dance bag, doll clothing/accessories, and all sorts of fun, thoughtful things for Lily to enjoy.


With fifteen minutes to spare, Lily handed out her treat box favors, which were filled with a pair of sparkly hot pink Barbie shades, a pink lollipop, sugar cookie, a ring, a pink beaded necklace, Barbie candy, and Barbie glitter glob.


Before saying goodbye, we took one last picture with the girls all wearing their new pink shades. When I bought these Barbie sunglasses, I remember thinking to myself how cute it would be to get a group photo like this. This might be my favorite picture from the whole party. Adorable!


A huge thank you to all of Lily’s friends for coming to her Barbie party to celebrate her 6th birthday! It makes me so very happy to see Lily making so many wonderful friends. The girls you see above are some of the sweetest little girls I’ve ever met. Lily sure is lucky to know each one of them. I can’t wait to watch these friendships grow!



Summer Recap
08.08.16, 7:50 AM
Filed under: The Buffington Southern Experience | Tags:

Marshmallow Mondays is back! I apologize for the long break, but I needed some time away from the blog to just enjoy summer with Rydan and Lily. Today’s post is to share all of the fun camps, classes and activities that they’ve participated in over the past two months.

Lily’s summer kicked off with a half day Frozen dance camp at her dance studio, The Lexington Dance Factory. This was five days of Frozen-themed games, crafts, stories, songs, and of course, dancing.


In addition to Frozen camp, Lily also did a summer hip hop class at her dance studio. She was super excited about finally being able to do a “coffee-grinder” by the end of the six-week session. If you don’t know what a “coffee-grinder” is, I’ll be glad to send you a video of Lily doing it. She’s quite proud of herself.

Though we didn’t plan any vacations this year due to numerous camps and summer activities, Rydan was able to enjoy a weekend at the lake with his good friend, Carson. Check out that catch!



While Rydan was at the lake, we took Lily to a Lexington Legends game to redeem her free ticket from completing the library’s summer reading program. It had been awhile since we’d been to a ballpark, and this was the perfect evening for it. We had great seats, and the weather was beautiful.



It has been one HOT summer in Kentucky, so we also enjoyed a few days at the pool to cool off. Lexington has quite a few public pools, so it’s fun to try a different one every time we go.





In the middle of July, Rydan went to a four-night camp called Christ In Youth at Wesleyan University with our church. This was four days of worship, games, activities and all sorts of fun. Students stayed in dorms and got a small taste of life on campus. Rydan came home smiling with a hoarse voice because he “worshipped so loudly so many times every day,” and he had lots of awesome things to say about the experience he had at Christ In Youth.



While Rydan was at camp, we visited some of our favorite places, like the Kentucky Children’s Garden, Evan’s Orchard, the Kentucky Horse Park and the Brighton Trail.





One afternoon, after listening to Rydan and Lily whine about how bored and hot they were, we got in the car and went to Cut & Paste Craft Studio. We each chose a wooden piece and spent a few hours painting together and cooling off.


At the end of July, Rydan celebrated his 12th birthday with a few friends at Skyzone. This was the first time we’d done a party anywhere other than our house. It was a big success and so much fun.


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Last week, Lily ended her summer with a second round of dance camp. This time, she chose Hip Hop Hula. It’s really amazing to see how far she has come since she first started dancing at three years old. This year, she decided to audition for the competition team at her dance studio. I’m proud to say that she will be a member of the “Pearls,” the youngest competition team at The Lexington Dance Factory. She is super excited and looking forward to embarking on a new journey. She’ll be learning new styles of dance, performing with The Ballet Academy in The Nutcracker, learning two competition numbers, which the team will perform at one local and two regional competitions, as well as in the spring recital. There are sure to be lots of dance posts on our blog, so stay tuned!

Rydan also participated in a summer lacrosse league with various lacrosse players throughout Lexington, including some from his middle school team. These were held on Wednesday evenings, so it was always super hot, but Rydan powered through and learned more about the sport. He’s had to juggle both lacrosse and Taekwondo over the summer, along with his Sunday evening youth group, but he’s learned a great deal about commitments, balance and how to best manage his time.

After all that, it’s now time to go back to school. On Wednesday, Lily will go back to Athens-Chilesburg Elementary as a big first grader, and Rydan will go back to Edythe J. Hayes as a big seventh grader. One might be slightly more excited about returning to school than the other. It’s sure to be another busy year with these two!

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Bluegrass Beautiful

It was a beautiful weekend in the Bluegrass! We took full advantage of it.

On Saturday morning, Lily and I visited Shaker Village for an event called “Breakfast With The Babies.” We enjoyed a delicious buffet breakfast, and then ventured outside to meet all sorts of cute baby animals.





Lucky for my little horse lover, Lily found another special friend, and spent more time with him than any of the babies.




Later that day, while Rydan was hanging out at the ball field with some friends, Ryan and I took Lily to Kite Fest at Jacobson Park.




On Sunday, we took the kids to Keeneland for Family Day. This was their first time watching horse racing at Keeneland, and we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day.









After all of that fun, we were a little sad to see Monday roll around. We’ve got another busy week ahead, and Rydan and Lily are both counting down the days until school is out.Wishing all of our readers a wonderful week!



03.28.16, 7:47 AM
Filed under: Holidays | Tags:

We hope all of our readers had a very Happy Easter! Rydan and Lily woke up to lots of baskets… some from the Easter Bunny and others from family in Pennsylvania.


Inside, they found all sorts of goodies…





Even Rosie found a basket for herself.



After checking out all of their Easter loot, we enjoyed a filling french toast casserole breakfast and then snapped a few photos before heading to church.




After church, Ryan and I spent the afternoon putting together Rydan and Lily’s trampoline, which has been sitting in the garage since Christmas.This was a gift from my mom, and the kids have been asking us to assemble it for months. We later enjoyed our Easter ham for dinner, followed by lots and lots of jumping.




And now, it’s time to enjoy SPRING BREAK!




Lacrosse & Disney
03.14.16, 6:47 AM
Filed under: The Buffington Southern Experience | Tags: ,

Lacrosse has quickly become a big part of Rydan’s life. He is playing on the middle school JV team, which involves 2-hour practices four days a week and a game almost every weekend (sometimes even during the week).

Here are a few pictures from his past two games. The first was in Louisville, which they won. The second was this past weekend in Lexington, in which they came up one point short in overtime. These boys practice hard, play hard, and it’s pretty exciting to watch them in action.



Their first game was quite a mudfest.


Rydan plays as a defender, so while this position is not directly involved in scoring the goals, if a team’s defensive end struggles, they likely won’t be very successful on game days. So far, Rydan has gotten a decent amount of playing time and seems to be enjoying the game.



After his game on Saturday, it was time for a mommy-daughter date at Disney On Ice. This was a first for us, so we were pretty excited about going. Even though I ordered tickets months ago, I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived at Rupp Arena to see that we were in the second row! I hadn’t realized we would be THAT close.


As you can see, the excitement on her face is pretty obvious.

This show was so much fun to watch. We saw Mickey & Minnie, The Lion King, Aladdin & Princess Jasmine, Ariel, Rapunzel, Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs, Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, and so many others.







I loved watching Lily wave to the characters as they skated by us. She was on the edge of her seat the entire time. Her favorite characters were Tinkerbell and of course The Little Mermaid. On the way home she kept saying “Mommy, I loved that show so much!”

Extend Hope

Happy Monday, friends! We hope you all had a great weekend. Part of ours was spent serving at our church on Saturday afternoon, where we helped pack ONE MILLION meals for Haiti – enough to help feed 3,500 kids for an entire year.

Over the course of 24 hours, 6,500 volunteers came together to extend hope through meal packing. With 80’s music blaring, motivating announcements, enthusiastic table captains, and eager, compassionate volunteers, this was a really awesome experience.


We were minus one since Rydan had lacrosse practice, but our Lily lady was ready to work extra hard to make up for her brother’s absence.


Her official job was to open up the meal bags so that they were ready to be filled with food. She was super focused the entire time, and as the youngest member at our team table, she did an awesome job of keeping everybody moving as quickly as possible.



Our table packed 20 boxes in just over an hour, contributing to the 110,000 meals that were packed in our afternoon session.


“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”John Bunyan


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