Monday, February 3, 2020

MiMi's First Week of School

I was looking through the archives and ran across these pictures of Mila's first week of school.  I picked her up.  I cannot believe she's almost 12 now!

Get It Guuuuuuuurl!

Over the weekend, we attended Spring Fest and Mila displayed her superior hula hoping skills.

(This was originally from April 23, 2014...why I never posted it, I have no idea.)

Monday, August 26, 2019

Big Sis MiMi

You guys it's official: there's another little Gaston in the bunch!

Say hello to The Jader's little sister, Nia Renae Gaston, born 8/24/19 at 5:42 AM at a whopping 5 lbs 15 oz and 18 inches!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

It's Official: We Have a Sixth Grader 😭

Is it illegal to tie bricks to kid's heads so they don't grow up?  Asking for a friend.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Almost Back to School

Believe it or not, the kiddos are headed back to school in a few weeks which means we only have a short amount of time left for back to school shopping.  Mila will be a 6th grader this year (I know; try to contain your tears) and this is the latest and greatest from our MiMi Jader.

Oh, and we have exciting news to come VERY SOON!

Monday, December 3, 2018


So....I shouldn't be worried that Mila just yanked a tooth out of her mouth like a G right before bed?  She's 10.  That's still normal...right?

Friday, November 30, 2018

Just Because

When you're this pretty, sometimes you just gotta show it off. 😍

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Long Hair Don't Care!

Well guys we've got ourselves a pre-teen.  Nana thought it would be cool to straighten the Jader's curls.  What we didn't know is that we had a Barbie doll hair factory right underneath our noses all this time!  Can we make money off of that?  😂😂

See...Barbie doll hair factory.  Side note: we find her hair EVERYWHERE!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Welcome to the 5th Grade!

Welp guys it's official - we have a 5th grader.  I don't know whether to run around and high-five 5 people, laugh, cry, or tie bricks to Mila's head so she can stop growing.  Sigh... y'all pray for my strength!

 First day of school outfit and pictures.  Le sigh.

 Hamming it up....would you expect anything less?

I'm impressed.  Despite the fact that her bus comes at 6:50 AM... let me type that again for those who missed it; Mila's bus comes at 6:50 AM, she still manages to have a smile on her face.  That's my baby!

The Last Hooray - Vacay 2018

Say it with me now: VACAY!!!

Since I moved to Kansas City, Mila has been asking to come and see me.  So, unbeknownst to herself, Uncle Cai Cai, Mama, and Aunt TeTe were devising a plan affectionately named "Operation Extract MiMi" to spend some much-needed time with me, her good ole' TeTe, for vacation before school started again.  She had no clue but her face said it all when she stepped out of the car and saw me standing there waiting for my hug from my baby!  

Wednesday, 8/01/18 came first and we started the day in Branson, MO on the Runaway Mountain Coaster at Branson Mountain Adventure Park!  This is a special roller coaster.  We rode in our own cart and I got to drive, so we were able to decide whether we used the brakes or not.  Mila said "no brakes!" and she always gets her way!  Talk about exhilarating!

In retrospect, I really wish I'd known just how crazy this track was BEFORE I let Mila decide we couldn't use the brakes at all! (Spoiler alert: I USED THE BRAKES; I thought we were going to fly into the stratosphere!)

This was the car that we rode down the mountain in.  I felt like a leaf blowing around in the wind, being tossed to and fro! 

Aerial of some of the track.  


(Insert barfing sound here....😵😵😝😝)

And the very end after getting off of the ride.  We laughed, we screamed, we ate bugs, and we had a BLAST!

Next we headed deeper into town to one of the go cart racing course with the group, bumper cart style at The Track Family Fun Parks.

Aerial view

The track was made of wood and so fun! 

View from the bottom of the track.

And we were having fun until SOMEBODY had to make a stupid rule about "no intentionally bumping each other in the cars"... WHAT?!  That defeats the whole purpose of driving bumper carts!  Needless to say, we didn't listen to the rule anyways. 

We finished the night by heading back and relaxing in the hot tub and swimming pool at the hotel.


We started Thursday morning with half the group fishing at Table Rock Lake and the other half of our group eating breakfast at a local diner with AMAZING food and then checking out local businesses.

They had amazing everything and every kind of waffle possible.  They were amazing!!!

Then we were off to patronize local businesses and we met a very special young lady named Allona with the cutest dresses, skirts, pants suits, and rompers.  If you're ever in Branson, check her out!

Next we hopped in the car and headed to Ozark, MO to Lambert's cafe, home of the home-thrown rolls, giant portion sizes, and never ending sides that they pass around to anyone who wants them to accompany their meal - fried okra, fried potatoes and onions, black eyed peas, and macaroni and tomatoes.

Here's a video of the magic in process:

I ordered a salad but this thing was a BEAST!  One of the waiters said that he's never seen anyone finish the entire thing, and then the kiss to seal it: "if you eat everything but the bread, I'll give it to you."

It was 🔥🔥🔥!!!

Let's just say, I went down in Lambert's history.




Seeing as how the weekend we went for vacation was tax free weekend, we hit the Branson outlet mall like a pack of hungry wolves!  Mila made out like a bandit.  She ended up with 2 dresses, 6 pairs of shoes, 8 shirts, 4 pairs of pants, a backpack and a lunchbox.  She's not spoiled at all; can you tell yet?

This is just a little showcase of some of the goodies Mila made out with. 😃

We stopped for a quick bite to eat at Cracker Barrel and a game of checkers in the hot August heat.

To finish off the day we headed to Silver Dollar City.  Mila is an adrenaline junkie so I'm sure the anticipation alone just about wore her out!

The shuttle rides from the parking lots to the theme park were fun too!  Clearly, Mila was having fun!

Our group of ragamuffins are beautiful!  Tired, sweaty, worn out and tuckered out never looked so precious!

We ended the night in the hotel pool and hot tub to cool off street a long, hot day or fun and adventure.


Saturday was our last day in Branson so we wafted to go out with a bang.  While the adults finished school shopping during tax free weekend, we dropped the kids off at Grand Country Inn water resort.  They had no clue we had that planned for them.

Now, I know they swam non-stop for all 5 hours.  How do I know?  Because they were all burned to a crisp by the time we came back to get them!  They went in looking like vanilla wafers and came out looking like Oreo cookies 😂😂😂.  Mila is now sun-kissed!

After that we headed back to Kansas City to rest and relax for that Saturday night.


CHURCH DAY!  It is always a blessing when your Father wakes you up in the land of the living.  And it's even more of a blessing to go to the collective house of worship to be taught about God's kingdom and how to live successfully in His country.  After all, the Bible isn't a religious book; it's a book containing the Constitution of a county, Heaven. It's a book about a king, his territory, and his royal children.  Here's the message from Sunday:

After church we had dinner and then fishing!  Mila and I grew up going fishing with my dad from a young age, so this reminds us of him.  And can you believe that while at the lake, someone caught a SNAKE on their hook!?

 *Note: Snakes definitely WERE harmed in this picture.  We cut the head off so it wouldn't bite anyone.  Can anyone tell me what kind of snake this is?  Copperhead?  Water moccasin?


I had this day off from work so this was my last full day to spend with Mila.  We got up and hit the ground running.  We started with nails and toes.  It's been a few years since I last took my baby to get pampered, but it's amazing how quickly she fell right back in line and knew what to do. 


Next we were off to The Ceramic Cafe to paint pottery.  Mila painted a mermaid cup and I was super impressed by her pottery skills.  She said that she had done it before in school and knew how to use all the tools including the sponges and everything.  I said "go baby go!"

I just want y'all to notice that she put a pirate's eye patch on this poor little mermaid.  Who's going around, skipping rocks in the ocean and putting mermaid's eyes out?  Only the inventive and imaginative mind of Mila could have thought up something like this. 😂😂

Finished product after it had been fired in the kiln.  Look at my baby's artistic abilities! 


As Monday was my last day of vacation from work, Tuesday I, Aunt TeTe, headed back to work, but that doesn't mean that the fun and adventure ended for Mila and I.  She had no clue that what God opened up for me to do for her that week was even MORE than we had done the week before in Branson!  But then again, that's normal occurrences in the kingdom of God.  The culture of God's kingdom is to exceed what we can ask or think!  So, Tuesday night we went to the Splash pad which is a fun little water park a few blocks away where the babies can run and play and get doused with water to their heart's content.

Tuesday night we ended the evening at McAlister's deli for dinner and cookies and ice cream.


Wednesday while I was at work, Mila spent the day with my First Lady and her girls.  I still don't know all the shenanigans that happened!  I do know, however, that Mila was doing her normal comedic routine (i.e. being her normal, goofy self) and had everyone laughing all day long.  She was affectionately nicknamed Firecracker too!  Lord, help us LOL!  All I know is by the time I made it to Bible study that night, I found this:

Can we say tuckered out?

Wednesday night I made one of Mila's favorite dishes, burritos, and we ate and watched movies until bedtime after that.


Thursday was a BIG day!  It was nothing but the grace of God, but I ended up with 6 tickets to the Kansas City Chief's NFL pre-season game against the Houston Texans.  Mila got to go to her very first football AND very first NFL game at the same time!

We had amazing seats too (thank you Lord 👐👐) right off the field where we could see every play of the game.

Naturally, the MiMi Jader spent at least 50% - no, probably 70%, of the game eating.

And eating...

And eating some more!

I promise that kid must've eaten half her body weight in food! 😂😂😂

The Chiefs didn't win the game, but we were all on the mega TV screen; the second ones on it at that!  God did that!!!

This is a night I'll never forget as long as I live and I'm sure Mila won't either! ❤

WOW....Mila DOES look like me! 😂😂😂😍😍


FRIDAY, AUGUST 10, 2018:

Friday was mine and Mila's last full day together so I had to make it extra special.  So, I took her to the dine-in movie theatre and we watched Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.  The movie was AWESOME don't get me wrong, but I was more entertained watching Mila realize what movie I'd brought her to see and watching her reactions during the movie.  I literally thought we were going to get put out of the theatre a few times because she was talking so much with excitement.  It was priceless!  I don't think I'll forget that as long as I live!  

LOL, it looks like I strapped Mila in to the back seat with a 5 point harness, but I promise that's only one seat belt and her purse on the other strap. 😂😂😂


Well, Saturday was our last day together.  We were sad that things had to come to an end, but also we know that all good things must come to an end.  I'll never forget the time God blessed us to have with each other.  I'm so thankful for being able to see my baby, for provision, and the memories we will have for the rest of our lives.

Until next time, MiMi Jader!