Marshmallow Mondays

03.28.16, 7:47 AM
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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!





Christmas in Pennsylvania
01.04.16, 8:40 AM
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I know this post is overdue, but right after our Christmas in Kentucky, we packed up the car and drove 586 miles to visit our family in Pennsylvania. It’s hard to believe this was the fourth Christmas road trip we’ve made since living in Kentucky. Those miles certainly don’t get any shorter with each trip we make, and this year we took our three month old puppy, Rosie, along with us, which made things even more interesting.


Thankfully, she slept for most of the ride on my lap.

We left at 3:45am on the 26th and arrived at Nana and Pappy Buff’s at 12:45pm. The festivities and family visits began pretty much immediately with a gift exchange that evening with Nana, Pappy, Uncle Brad, Aunt Jill and Bryar.



After opening gifts, we had a great time with the Pie Face game.



On Sunday we ventured to Klingerstown for a second gift exchange with my mom’s side of the family. Lily especially looks forward to this visit because cousin Kip has historically gifted her with an oversized zoo animal for the past three years, so she’s been anticipating what he could possibly come up with for this year.


The big reveal… a horse with wheels that Lily can actually ride.



Lily was pretty excited about her new riding buddy. In her words, “Kip buys the best presents!”


Rydan was excited about his stack of Xbox Live gift cards.

On Monday, it was a third exchange with Ryan’s extended family back at Nana and Pappy’s. There were lots of little ones running around, lots of laughter taking place, and lots of memories being made.

For me, a big highlight of the entire PA visit took place that afternoon. It was the time I got to spend with my mom, gram, pap and great-aunt Polly. Polly has been staying with my gram and pap while she recovers from her hip surgery. She uses a walker, needs help getting around, and doesn’t leave her chair much, but her mind is still very sharp. Nothing makes her happier than being surrounded by the ones she loves. She even told me that she’s had “the best week of her life” staying with my gram and pap. After complaining a bit about having to make the long trip to PA, I needed to hear that from her. At 90 years old, Polly has a lifetime of memories, many of them during days of better health. However, being with family during the holidays and feeling loved, even in a state of poor health, is what stands out to her as special and memorable. There is a lesson in that for all of us.


On Tuesday, we enjoyed our favorite subs from Nino’s while exchanging gifts with “Papoose” (my dad), Grandma Wiest and my brothers.


My dad used his wood-working skills to build Rydan and Lily a wooden box. Rydan is currently using his to store Taekwondo belts, and Lily is using hers for doll clothing. I love that they’ll have these boxes for years to come, and can store whatever treasures they like inside for safe keeping.


Lily would not leave Grandma’s lap, which warmed my heart to see.


Rosie had a great time running in my dad’s back yard.

On Wednesday we were treated to my dad and grandma’s homemade pot pie while visiting with more relatives on my dad’s side. It was a treat to finally meet baby MaKenna and see my cousin Laura after almost four years apart.

On Thursday, we made a trip with my mom and sister to Hershey’s Chocolate World, had lunch at The Chocolate Avenue Grill, and took Lily to the Disney Store.



One of my favorite parts of this day was listening to these three belt out Taylor Swift on the drive back to Hegins.

That evening we attended a New Year’s Eve party at cousin Megan’s, where we got to see her new house and spend our last few waking hours with family.

On Friday at 3:40am, we were on the road back to the Bluegrass. We pulled into our driveway in record time at 12:07pm. Rosie handled the trip home even better than the trip to PA. At only 3 months old, she traveled extremely well. We took her with us to every single stop we made in PA, so she was just as exhausted as we were by the end of it.

By 7pm that evening, we had all of our Chirstmas loot unloaded and put away, our tree was down, Christmas decorations stored away, and Valentine’s decorations on display. By 8:30pm, we were all ready for bed.


This sums up how we all felt after arriving back home.

Independence Day
07.06.15, 8:15 AM
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We hope all of our readers had a fun Fourth of July!


My day began with a 10k in downtown Lexington, the Bluegrass 10,000. Since the kids had a busy week at camp, I let them (and Ryan) sleep in rather than tagging along to the 7:30am starting line with me.


This was a fun, well-organized race on a flat course with lots of spectator support. There were patriotic costumes, cowbells, motivating signs, cheering kids and adults, and an overall energy that you don’t always find on a race course. With close to 3,100 runners participating, it was quite a sight to see in downtown Lexington.


I love being part of local races like this one. The miles seemed to fly by and before I knew it, I had crossed the Finish Line and was on my way back home. It’s rare that I run a race more than once, but this is definitely one that I think I’d return to for years to come.

That afternoon, we ventured back downtown for the parade. It was quite crowded, but we were able to find a decent spot to watch.









Towards the end, we were hot and ready for a break from the crowd, so we left our spot and found the lemonade and Italian Ice concessions.

Back home, we enjoyed burgers on the grill, pasta salad and watermelon. Lily ended up falling asleep on the couch at 7:25pm, and Rydan was outside with friends, so it wasn’t until last evening that we finally did our sparklers. Lily still isn’t too sure about them, so she threw a few pop-its and then watched from a distance.



Father’s Day Recap
06.22.15, 8:28 AM
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We hope all of our Daddy readers and their families had a wonderful Father’s Day!

Rydan and Lily each made a special gift for Ryan. While he was in Denver last month, I took the kids to Mad Potter and let them each pick out a Father’s Day gift to paint.

Rydan chose a jar that he wanted to decorate like a baseball and fill with snacks.

Rydan chose a jar that he wanted to decorate like a baseball and fill with snacks.

Lily chose an "I Love Dad" coffee mug.

Lily chose an “I Love Dad” coffee mug.



As you can see, they were quite proud of their work and very excited to give Ryan their gifts. I was rather impressed at how well they were able to keep our Mad Potter visit a secret.


Our Father’s Day was spent going for morning donuts before church, lunch at Firehouse Subs, an afternoon enjoyed at home, and ended with steak on the grill.

Ryan is returning to work today with a special jar of baseball-themed snacks and a very colorful coffee mug to always remind him how loved he is.


This is the first Father’s Day since Ryan’s transplant. Every holiday from this point forward is always an extra special reminder of how grateful we are for the organ donor who gave Ryan a second chance at life. Being able to celebrate fatherhood together without worrying about Ryan’s past health issues is a gift from above that has given our whole family new reasons to smile and appreciate life every single day. As always, we encourage all of our readers to please join the organ donor registry at

Memorial Day 2015
05.25.15, 8:39 AM
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Happy Memorial Day to all of our readers!

Our three-day weekend has been filled with all sorts of fun and beautiful weather.  Rydan left right after school on Friday to spend the weekend at his friend’s house boat. I’ve been receiving lots of texts and photos, and Rydan is having a fantastic time.


Goofy boys.

Rydan caught his first fish.

Rydan caught his first fish.

He reeled in this big guy one morning after leaving his pole out during the night.

He reeled in this big guy one morning after leaving his pole out during the night.

Enjoying a boat ride.

Enjoying a boat ride.

Ryan, Lily and I have had a relaxing weekend at home, but we’ve also gotten out of the house to do some fun “firsts” with Lily.

First time on the pedal boats at Jacobson Park.

First time on the pedal boats at Jacobson Park.

First time flying a kite.

First time flying a kite.



First time miniature golfing.

First time miniature golfing.



We hope you all have had lots of fun with your family and friends too! And please don’t forget the reason we celebrate today… to honor all of the brave men and women who have served for our country, and all those who continue to serve. We remember your sacrifices for our freedom today, and every day.

For me, Memorial Day is also a special time to remember and honor my Pap Wiest. When we lived in Pennsylvania, I always enjoyed visiting his resting place at Fort Indiantown Gap every Memorial Day. Beautifully decorated with thousands of flags, it’s such a special, peaceful place to stand in on this holiday and know that you are surrounded by such brave, honorable men and women who fought for our country.

This year makes 15 years since my Pap Wiest passed. Knowing my dad would go visit Fort Indiantown Gap this weekend, I asked him to take some flowers from me. He sent me this picture on Saturday.

I love and miss you every day, "Skinny Pap!"

I love and miss you every day, “Skinny Pap!”

Easter 2015
04.06.15, 8:56 AM
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This is what Easter looks like when your grandparents live in Pennsylvania.



Pappy and Nana Buffington know exactly how to make Rydan and Lily smile… cash and Orange Leaf gift cards.


Papoose always keeps them well-dressed, and supplied with their favorite Hershey’s treats.


Lola always surprises them with something they’ve really wanted… a Hello Kitty watch for Lily…


…and Jimmy & Jey Uso WWE action figures for Rydan (along with lots of sweet treats for both of them).


The Easter Bunny brought Rydan a Dragonball Z Xbox360 game, and Lalaloopsy Stretchy Hair for Lily (and more sweet treats).


He also brought them each a new bathing suit…


…and lots of fun beach toys to play with when we go on vacation in July.


Overall, it was a very Happy Easter for these two bunnies. We hope all of our readers had a wonderful holiday too!


Christmas In Kentucky
12.26.14, 2:32 PM
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We enjoyed our first Christmas in our new home in Kentucky!

With a new home, I wanted to start a new tradition.  On Christmas Eve, I wrapped a gift box for Rydan and Lily that was filled with new pajamas, a Christmas movie (Fred Claus), movie snacks, and hot chocolate.  That afternoon, I wrote “Open on Christmas Eve” on the box, and placed it underneath the tree. It literally was a matter of minutes before the kids noticed it. We all enjoyed an evening of eating Whoppers, Junior Mints, Reeses Pieces, Goldfish and Grandma Wiest’s Chex Mix while watching the movie.





Afterwards, it was off to bed, which was tougher for Lily than Rydan, and not because she was too excited about Santa coming. “What if Santa comes into my bedroom, Mommy? I don’t want him in my bedroom. Or what if he says Ho, Ho, Ho and it scares my ears?” Getting her to fall asleep was not an easy task, but eventually I convinced her that Santa doesn’t want to be seen or heard.

It was about 7:15am Christmas morning when Lily opened her door and said “Mommy!  Oh. My. Gosh. Santa did come!  And he never came into my room or said Ho, Ho, Ho!
















After opening all of their gifts from underneath the tree, Rydan and Lily each had one more surprise. Rydan’s was sitting outside of his room, and Lily’s was set up in her play room.  These surprises were extra special hand-made gifts from my dad (aka “Papoose”).  My dad is amazingly gifted when it comes to wood-working, and he created beautiful treasures for the kids to enjoy for years to come.



FullSizeRender (9)

FullSizeRender (8)

That evening, we had some fun with a gift that I gave to Ryan… a funnel cake maker.  Ryan loves funnel cakes, but as a diabetic, he never really indulged in more than just a few bites. Now with his diabetic lifestyle in the past, he can enjoy all the funnel cake he wants.


Since Christmas Day, we’ve been doing a lot of karaoke-ing and pogo sticking.  Thanks to Lily, we have Taylor Swift’s new 1989 album almost memorized.  When he isn’t singing and dancing with Lily, Rydan is trying to beat my record on the pogo stick… 211 bounces.  Good luck, buddy!



We hope all of our readers had a very Merry Christmas, and we wish you a new year that is filled with lots of happiness, memorable moments, and time spent with the ones you love. Cherish every day of 2015!

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