Our Last Month with our Koda Bear

September seemed to fly by, until the very end of the month. Kinsie celebrated her 8th birthday, so that was a positive, but it was also a tough month because we had to say goodbye to our loyal companion, Koda. He got to spend his last days with a lot of family time, which was his absolute favorite thing. 

Here is how the rest of our month went.

Cousin Sleepovers

Out of the 4 weekends in September, we had sleepovers for 3 of them! My sister’s kids were supposed to come over for a sleepover at the end of August, but it didn’t work out so we had to switch it to Labor Day weekend. The whole family (my parents and my sister’s whole family) ended up coming for the weekend. The kids had a blast together. We watched movies, explored campus, and had a family baseball game.

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The next two weekends, the whole family came again because IU Football season started and we have season tickets. One of the weekends was also my sister’s birthday, so we got to celebrate with her. The fam got to tag along to watch Brax play soccer as well!

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The kids LOVED their weekends with their cousins. They made lots of forts, played outside a lot, and played lots of games. They all get along so well and had a great time together!

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Another Quarantine

This time, Brax’s entire class was quarantined after one of his classmates tested positive. Luckily, the whole class wears masks, but because they eat lunch in the classroom, they thought the safest decision was to have the whole class quarantine for a week. He was bummed, but he was at least glad that it was his whole class, so he wasn’t missing out on anything. Luckily nobody else in the class got sick, so again – masks work! He was a champ doing his schoolwork at home, and he enjoyed the extra Brody time!

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Football Season

Ryan and I bought season tickets to IU Football this year with my parents. When we were in college, IU Football was never good, so we were excited to go to games where we were actually a decent team! To be honest, I was nervous going to an event like this when we’ve been so careful throughout this entire pandemic. But IU requires their students to be vaccinated, and the majority of the crowd most likely is as well. We’ve still been wearing masks during the games just to be extra careful – mainly to protect our kids. But it was nice to be out and about again – it had been way too long!

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Fun at School

Braxton has been rocking Kindergarten. He has made SO much progress so far both academically and in maturity. He makes friends very easily and loves all the fun activities they do in school. This month, he was the “Wise Owl of the Week,” where he got to bring in pictures and share information about himself with the class. He also got to go on a field trip to the fire station!

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Life at Home with Bro

This kid keeps me busy! He gets into everything all the time! He is hilarious and so much fun though! We try to go on walks when the weather is nice, but other than that, we hang at home. By nap time, I’m worn out and sometimes need a short nap myself to charge back up for the afternoon. I’m sure glad I have this little ball of sunshine to fill my days!

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Enjoying the Outdoors

Fall weather is my FAVORITE. We got small glimpses of lovely fall weather this month. We also had some extremely hot days. But when it was decent out, we did lots of chalk, baseball throwing, car riding, bubbles, frog hunting and trail walks.

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Kinsie turned 8!

Our beautiful girl turned EIGHT this month! We started our day with birthday donuts. She enjoyed her day at school, where her class made her a birthday book. She also passed out Harry Potter pencils and mini erasers, which she thought was the greatest thing ever! 

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After school, she opened her presents. She loved her Lego set, pop-its, and the animation studio we got her, but she especially loved the new Nugget she got in the mail from Grandma Bev and Papa Tim! The kids already have one, but Kinsie always wants to build her own forts with it, and the boys always destroy it because they want to climb and be rough. So now she has her own, but she of course shares with her brothers so they can make extra cool formations!

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After she opened her presents, we went on a walk around campus. The weekend before Kinsie’s birthday was when Koda started not acting like himself. He wasn’t eating and he was more tired than usual, so we knew something was up. We wanted him to be with us, so we took him on our walk too. He moved slowly, but he enjoyed being with us.

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After our walk, we got Mother Bear’s Pizza and some ice cream to celebrate our girl! She had a great day!

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Zoo Date

The Saturday after her birthday, Kinsie’s request was to have a Zoo Day at the Indianapolis Zoo, and then a swim party at my parents’ house afterwards. We kept it small – just our immediate families. We spent the earlier part of the day at the zoo, and all of their cousins eventually met us there. The kids were in heaven! 

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We had to get a picture of the Mexican cousins with the Dia de los Muertos display!

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The kids all had SO much fun together. By the early afternoon, it was getting pretty crowded and we saw everything we wanted to see, so we headed back to my parents’ house for Part 2 of Kinsie’s Birthday Celebration.

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Harry Potter Party

My girl has been obsessed with Harry Potter lately – not that I can blame her! She wanted to have a Harry Potter themed swimming party. Since it was just immediate family, and we had a lot going on with Koda the previous weeks, we didn’t go all out like I would have liked, but we still made it cute and fun with some fun decorations and snacks.

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The weather was great – in the low 70s. Probably not quite warm enough for swimming, but the kids didn’t care. They kept warm in the heated pool and had a blast.

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After swimming, we had Subway for dinner (Kinsie’s favorite), ice cream cake and cookies, and then she opened her presents. She had a wonderful day!

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We knew our sweet Koda was declining quickly, and we brought him along for the trip. We are so glad we did because he got to spend his last weekend with all of his favorite people. Both of our families got to give him some love and say goodbye.

Our Koda Bear

At the end of the month, we had to say goodbye to our sweet, loyal, almost 13 year old pup, Koda. We started losing him the weekend before Kinsie’s birthday and he declined pretty quickly. We think he had something going on with his intestines – whether it was cancer or something similar. The last week was so hard seeing him so miserable. He wasn’t eating anything and he was so weak. Ryan and I had to make the difficult decision to put him down. We stayed right by his side throughout the process, hugging him and loving on him while he left this world.

Ryan got Koda as a puppy before we were even married, so he has been through many different seasons of life with us. He lived in 6 different houses with us and helped us welcome 3 children into our family. He was such a good, loyal dog. He was so laid back and easy going, but also extremely protective of us. I always felt safer with Koda around. He was happy anywhere or doing anything as long as he was near us. As he got older, he got overwhelmed by the high level of noise and chaos in our home with our 3 crazy kids – but he always remained right in the center of it because he simply wanted to be with us. We have so many wonderful memories with him that we will carry in our hearts forever.

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It definitely is not the same at our house now that he’s gone. Little every day things are so different now. Pets are so interwoven into our everyday lives and you don’t fully realize it until they are gone. I I will miss not having to sweep the crumbs under Brody’s high chair because Koda would lick them up. I will miss hearing his claws tapping around on the floor when he got excited and chased his tail. I will even miss his hair tufts that I found everywhere in the house and had to sweep up constantly. But mostly I will miss his comforting presence and sweet companionship. We will love you forever, Koda bear!

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Overall, we had a great month. We were devastated to lose our Koda, but we are relieved that he is no longer in pain. He’s probably running around heaven chasing rabbits with Addie!

We are ready for October, one of our favorite months. We love all of our fall traditions so we are excited to do them in our new house.

Enjoy our September 1 Second Everyday!

Another Covid-Style School Year

We were genuinely enjoying our warm, summer days…until August. August was HOT. It felt like we were back in Arkansas. It was hard to be outside at all…even early in the morning. August was also a rough month Covid-wise. The big kids started school in middle of this scary Delta surge, Ryan is back to wearing his N95 mask for his entire shift, and I’m back to treating Brody like Rapunzel and holding him captive inside the safety of our home. Between the potential of Delta invading my vulnerable unvaccinated kids, and it being hotter than Hades outside, we have spent a whole lot of time at home…which luckily, we LOVE our home. But for a busy, active toddler, we’ve become a bit stir crazy again!

Here is how our August went…

Days at the Playground

I really should rephrase this “Day at the Playground…” singular. We were only able to go once this month because it was too darn hot. The weekend before school started the weather was fantastic, so we spent a lot of it outside. After that, no way. But I’m glad we took advantage of that early August day and had a family day at the park. Brody LOVED it. He climbed everywhere on his own and dove down the slide head first over and over!

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Walk by the Waterfall

After we played on the playground, we took a walk back by our favorite waterfall! The kids always have fun looking for critters and throwing rocks.

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Kinsie starts 2nd grade!

Kinsie couldn’t wait to start school! She was excited to meet her teacher and see her friends again. She has absolutely loved her first few weeks. She even wants to play school at home all the time and do the activities with Brax that she does at school.

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Kinsie was also especially excited to get to ride the bus. In Kindergarten, she went to a charter school and they didn’t have buses. And last year, we lived out of her school boundaries for most of the school year so we had to drive her. So now she finally got to ride the bus. She has been enjoying it, even though there is a bus driver shortage and many of the bus drivers have to do multiple routes, causing her bus to be late most days. The boys have enjoyed taking trips to the bus stop too!

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Braxton starts Kindergarten!

Brax has loved starting Kindergarten this month! He is doing the half day program at the church that he did Pre-K last year. Since he is a May birthday, we’re doing Kindergarten this way so we can help make the best choice for him on whether to send him on to 1st grade at Kinsie’s school next year, or repeat Kindergarten at Kinsie’s school next year. Either way, he is excited to get to ride the bus with her next year!

He enjoyed his Kindergarten orientation, and getting to see some old friends from Pre-K, and meeting new friends!

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Last year, he cried the first few days of school when we dropped him off. Not this year! He is so excited to go to school every day! He loves his teacher, and he loves getting to eat lunch at school every day this year.

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I’ve been working on sight words with him for about a year now, and he has made a lot of progress, but he has never been quite as enthusiastic about learning as Kinsie was. Just in the last few weeks though, it has really clicked for him! He is reading independently now, and becoming more confident! His teacher said he is one of the stronger readers in his class! We are so proud of him!

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Adventures at Home with Brody

Since the big kids are in school now most of the day, Brody isn’t always sure what to do without them. Sometimes he gets bored with me, but most of the time he enjoys having all the toys to himself!

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On another note, this kid is nuts. He climbs into and onto everything. He often runs off when I’m not paying attention for a minute, and I find him in my shower or in the tupperware cabinet! I give him full credit as to why I’m so exhausted every night!

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Soccer Saturdays

Brax was really excited to do soccer again after last season. He got to move up to U6, which includes 30 minutes of coach-led activities, and 30 minutes of scrimmage. He absolutely LOVES it, and he is really good! He is very aggressive and a great team player!

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Kinsie and Brody enjoy being in Brax’s fan club. Kinsie always packs snacks and toys to entertain Brody during soccer. She’s the best big sis!

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Gymnastics

Kinsie has been wanting to do gymnastics ever since she stopped when Covid hit last year. I wasn’t comfortable with her doing it for a long time since it’s indoors. However, I found a place here in town that people really recommend, and has good Covid protocols in place, so I finally gave her the green light. She has been loving it!

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Lake Day

Ryan worked a lot of weekends this month, so when he finally had a weekend day off, we decided to spend it at the lake. We enjoyed fishing, a boat ride, swimming, and playing with Uncle Nate’s new pup, Alfie.

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Pool Day

One weekend, Ryan worked multiple 12 hour night shifts in a row. My aunt and cousins and their kids came to town to swim at my parents’, so my sister’s family and me and the kids came to hang out as well. The kids always love cousin swim time, and they especially loved my aunt’s famous dirt and worms treat!

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Trail Walks

Brax started school a week after Kinsie, so when he was still on summer vacation, we took a few walks around the trails. It’s always nice to get outside and see some nature, and watch these precious brothers enjoy each other’s company.

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Quarantined

While Kinsie really has enjoyed riding the bus, it did bring her first (and HOPEFULLY last) quarantine. About 2 weeks into school, she was identified as a close contact from the bus. There were apparently multiple positive cases on the bus. Luckily, all the kids wear their masks on the bus and all day at school, which I truly think kept her healthy. However, the school protocol is that if you’re a close contact, you have to quarantine. The contact tracing process takes a while, so we didn’t find out until about a week after her exposure. This could have been bad if she would have been infected, but luckily she wasn’t, and she only had to miss a few days of school. We didn’t even get her tested because she had no symptoms and it wouldn’t have changed her quarantine time.

She had to do some of her schoolwork at home during this time, which she has never been a fan of. She was really bummed, but we had to remind her that it could be a lot worse, and if she had gotten sick, she would have had to miss a lot more school.

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She was especially sad to miss Art class and choice time, so I let her paint and do as much art as she wanted. This has always been her stress relief anyway!

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I’m not going to get too much into the whole thing about kids wearing or not wearing masks at school, because it’s been a MAJOR debate around the country. You probably already know what side of the debate I’m on since I’ve been pro-science since day one. However, I will say…it really bothers me when people don’t worry about kids getting Covid, brushing it off as not a big deal because they won’t die from it, or even that most kids have mild cases. While that is true for most kids (not all), people need to remember the mental impact that getting Covid, or even just having an exposure, has on these kids. Kinsie only had to miss 3 days of school, and she was devastated. She laid her head in my lap and cried because she couldn’t be at school. She didn’t understand why she was being punished, when she has been SO careful. She always wears her mask, even at recess. She washes her hands so much that they get raw. She has understood the seriousness of this virus from day one and understood the need to protect other people. Yet, with some bad luck, she was still exposed. Luckily she didn’t get sick. Do you know why she didn’t get sick? Because the kids were wearing their masks! But anyway, please consider these poor kids having to miss school from getting sick or being close contacts before you brush it off as not a big deal. Even missing school for a few days is a big deal to them. And many kids aren’t as lucky as Kinsie was. MANY children are being hospitalized with Covid around the country. Also, if you haven’t already, please get vaccinated! That is the best way to protect these precious, innocent, vulnerable kids. And you better believe the SECOND that a vaccine becomes available for my kids, I will be signing them up!

We are really looking forward to September, and fall in general. Summer has been great, but we’re ready for some cooler temps and fall traditions. We are also looking forward to getting closer to the vaccine being available for my big kids (Brody may have to wait until early 2022), and for Ryan to soon get his booster shot. We’re hoping both of those things happen in the next month or two! In the meantime, my kids are staying masked up, Ryan has been shaving daily again to make sure his N95 fits his face, and I’ll be staying home with Brody. We are praying that we can all stay healthy through this Delta surge, while still enjoying our favorite season!

Enjoy our August 1 Second Everyday video!

Soakin’ Up Summer

We soaked up ALL the summer we could this month. Kinsie starts school the first week of August, and Braxton starts the week after that, so we tried to do all the summer-y things we could. It was a fun, busy month with lots of pool time, cousin fun, and family adventures. Here is how our July went…

 

4th of July

Ryan unfortunately worked most of 4th of July weekend, so the kids and I spent our time with family. The Saturday before, we went to the lake for the annual lake fireworks. The big kids got to enjoy the fireworks lakeside with their cousins, and I took Brody back to my parents’ house to go to bed. He isn’t quite old enough to be able to stay up that late, or enjoy the fireworks anyway. Maybe next year!

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The next day, we spent the day at the pool. My sister’s family came and had some of their friends over as well, so the kids had lots of kids their own age to play with. They had SO much fun swimming, lighting sparklers, watching fireworks and catching lightning bugs. And Brody enjoyed corn on the cob, and his mama!

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When Ryan finally had an evening off, he bought a home firework kit to do with the kids. He used to do fireworks all the time growing up, and he hasn’t been able to do any the last few years because he’s almost always working, so he enjoyed being a pyromaniac once again, but this time with his kids!

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Park Day

The kids LOVED this park last year…they called it the “Ninja Warrior Park.” They had been asking when we could go back, so we finally got a chance to make a trip there on a day that wasn’t scorching hot. Brody LOVES to climb, so we laced up his tennis shoes on him and let him join in on the fun. He absolutely loved it!

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A Much Needed Trip

Ryan and I haven’t been on a trip just the two of us since residency interviews…that was almost 5 years ago! It has been a really long few years, and I really needed a break. I love my kids and I love getting to stay home with them, but I haven’t been away from my little mama’s boy for more than a hour or two at a time in his entire life. He stopped nursing in June, so I finally felt somewhat free and needed a short getaway. Ryan had about a week off early in the month, so we booked a last minute trip to Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio. We booked a cabin for ourselves and had Ryan’s parents watch the kids. It was EXACTLY what I needed!

On our first full day, we did a 14 mile hike – basically hiking through the entire state park. There were stops along the way – so we would stop and enjoy the the scenery whenever we could. We packed a lunch and ate on the trail. Throughout most of the day, we didn’t come in contact with many people…just in the sight-seeing areas there were more people. It was very peaceful to just be surrounded by nature. 

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We spent a morning canoeing on the river.

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We loved exploring together. So many neat caves, rock formations, creeks and waterfalls!

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We especially loved Ash Cave and all the random waterfalls throughout the park. The best/weirdest part of the trip was just running on our own time. Normally our day is dictated by nap time, snacks, etc. And it takes at least an hour to get ready to go anywhere – I usually have to pack enough sunscreen, bug spray, extra clothes, snacks, diapers, etc. and make sure everyone is ready for the day. But it was so nice just to worry about us two only for a few days. It was so nice to spend some uninterrupted time with my Ry!

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Meanwhile, the kids were in good hands…

I was a little nervous on how Brody would handle being away from me. But I knew it was good for both of us. Not only is he is Covid baby and hardly ever even gets to leave the house, but I have always stayed at home with him, so he isn’t used to being watched by other people. Luckily, he did great! Since he wasn’t around me, he clung to his grandma…but I don’t think she minded!

The kids got to spend lots of time with cousins swimming in the pool at the lake, eating popsicles and just living their best life!

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They loved spending time at the playground with cousins too!

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And walking through the creek…

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And getting ice cream of course!

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One of their highlights was having a cousin sleepover at the camper. Aunt Megan stayed with this crazy crew. They watched a movie and loved their first camping experience!

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They also got to go to the Indianapolis Zoo. Before we moved to Arkansas, we had a membership to this zoo, so I took Kinsie all the time. She remembered it pretty well, but we moved when Brax was only 1, so he remembers the Little Rock Zoo more. They had an awesome day at the zoo. They saw lots of animals, had good treats and got souvenirs. I don’t even think they missed us!

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Fun at Home

The kids have been enjoying just spending time at home this summer too. We are still so in love with our new house and are enjoying it to the fullest this summer. They’ve been enjoying our big yard and doing fun water activities, like the mini splash pad, water table and slip n slide!

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They are obsessed with the slip n slide!

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Something they’ve always enjoyed doing was making obstacle courses. Now we have the perfect backyard for them! We even made a special baby version for Brody!

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When we are home and not outside, we are pretty much always in the basement. Brody is still obsessed with the Nugget, and loves destroying anything and everything he can get his hands on. We recently bought a card table and set it up in the basement so we could use it for family games, but the kids mainly like to use it to set up their toys so Brody can’t reach them!

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Cousin Birthday Party

The kids’ cousin Hudson turned 4 this month, and had a fun outdoor Dino-themed birthday party. They had an inflatable water slide and the kids were all obsessed! We stayed most of the day and the kids had an absolute blast.

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Pool Days

Since Ryan had a week off for our trip earlier in the month, the rest of his month was pretty busy with work. Whenever he had a stretch of a few days in a row, the kids and I went and stayed at my parents’ house. We had lots of pool days with cousins! Brody is becoming more and more obsessed with the pool so he loved getting in on the action whenever he could!

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This travel high chair was such a great purchase! Brody loves eating his lunch and snacks pool-side!

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Lots and lots of swimming fun. Brax even learned to swim independently in the deep end… no more floaties for him!

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When mom is too lazy to put on your swim suit and swim diaper…you just go with it!

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The cousins loved pool-side lunch picnics too!

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Splash Pads

We made it a summer goal to check out the local splash pads. I also wanted to somewhat wait until Brody was walking a little more, and he finally started walking regularly in the second half of the month, so we finally made a few day trips to the splash pads. Brody was a big fan of his first splash pad experience!

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Wonderlab

This has become one of our new favorite spots, especially since I feel somewhat safe bringing the kids there. I wanted to bring the big kids one more time before school started, and I’ll probably make it a regular place to bring Brody for a morning activity when the kids are in school!

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Meet Dash!

Kinsie has wanted a bunny for years. We originally planned on letting her have one when he moved back to Indiana, but then we decided to build a new house so we knew we’d have to wait until we were in our new house. The day finally came, and she and Brax were SO excited! They picked out a bunny at the Animal Shelter and named him Dash. Brody has enjoyed him too, even though we have to keep a close eye on him so he doesn’t love on him too much! Koda is still getting used to him. We have to introduce him in small doses and try to get him to understand that he’s a family member, not a snack!

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Getting acquainted with the new member of the family!

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Lots of playtime with Dash!

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Meet Spotty!

Another promise we made was to get Brax a lizard. Ryan has had lots of different reptiles in his day, so he figured a leopard gecko would be the way to go. So now we can officially introduce Brax’s new gecko friend… Spotty! His full name is “Spotty Pickles Dobby!” You gotta love the creativity of kids! 

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Brody Updates

Brody has grown and changed so much lately, I had to share some of his newest tricks!

 

He is officially WALKING. I truly thought this would happen sooner since he’s been crawling since 4 months, and he loves to climb and get into everything. But he took his time and finally got the hang of it. Now he loves toddling around everywhere!

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He’s talking and repeating sounds a lot more. He loves repeating high-pitched screaming and “woo-hoo” sounds, and he likes to imitate different voices. He loves imitating Donald Duck and the Hulk’s voices the most. He says words like hi, cheese, fish, Kinsie, bye, and more.

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He LOVES Mickey Mouse and the whole gang. He always says “hi” to him and gravitates towards any Mickey toy. He doesn’t really watch TV yet, but loves the Hot Dog song from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse! Sometimes I will play the song on repeat when I need a couple minutes of him not hanging on me!

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He LOVES to be chased…especially to the Jaws theme! As soon as we start with the “Duh nuh…duh nuh…” music, he immediately gets the biggest smile on his face and starts running away! He cracks up when we catch him!

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He loves drinking whole milk. He gets warm whole milk in the morning when he wakes up and at night before he goes to bed (it helped wean him off of nursing), and it is his favorite part of the day! He gets so excited when he sees his milk and he will sit and chug it until it’s gone!

He is still as crazy as ever, and starting to get more and more “toddler moments” every day. He keeps us busy for sure! Enjoy the video below of his precious walking!

And that was our July. The kids will start school soon, and they are looking forward to it…even if they have to continue masking up (thanks a lot, Delta.) 

Here is our 1 Second Every Day for July. Enjoy!

 

June is Bustin’ Out All Over

I see a trend happening here. Each month seems a little more like normal, and each month is MUCH better than the same month last year. This same time last year was rough, and even though it brought us back to our home in Indiana, and brought us our sweet Brody, it is a time of my life that still gives me heart palpitations when I think about it. This year is better. This year is more normal, and even though I’m watching my kids like a hawk to keep them safe since they can’t yet be vaccinated, we at least feel safe enough to go certain places and do certain activities. This June felt a little more like summer as the way it should be, and it was refreshing!

Here is our June went down…

A Weekend at the Dunes

If you recall, my sweet Abuelita passed away last April. This was right when Covid hit hard, and with our family living in all different states, we couldn’t get together for a long time. Now, a good chunk of us are vaccinated and things are overall getting better, so we planned a celebration of life. We had a short outdoor ceremony at the burial site where my grandpa is already buried. She had such an amazing life and legacy, and she is now in heaven with her Beto instead of trapped in her broken mind here on Earth, so it truly was a celebration.

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After the ceremony, everyone met at the Indiana Dunes State Park. We reserved a shelter, and had lots of Covid-friendly individually-wrapped food. It was great to get to see some of my family that I haven’t seen in over a year – maybe more. We also spent some time at the Lake Michigan beach. The kids LOVED it! They haven’t been to Florida, or any vacation for that matter, in a long time so they were loving it.

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That evening, we put the kids to bed in the hotel room (they were EXHAUSTED), used our phones as a baby monitor, and spent some time hanging out with my aunts, uncles, and cousins in the lobby just talking and laughing. It was so refreshing and a great time!

Cicadas Galore!

This was the month of the cicadas! This was the year of the 17 year life cycle of cicadas where they emerged from underground and flew amok. The kids were ALL about it! Kinsie particularly was so fascinated by them, and even researched them to find out as much as she could about them…and wrote a book about them! (See video below) Certain parts of Indiana were swarmed with cicadas, including Bloomington. One evening, we had a picnic on campus and took a walk afterwards. IU’s campus was seriously invaded by cicadas. They were all over all the trees and buildings, and they would fly around and land on us. It sounds creepy, but it was actually really fun!

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Walking through the very LOUD trails on campus.

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The kids kept catching cicadas and holding them and becoming friends with them.

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Enjoy this video of Kinsie reading her book about cicadas that she wrote.

Champions!

Kinsie’s first softball season is now in the books. She had a great season and improved SO much! Her team was so much fun to watch. They had their end of the season tournament this month. They won their first game, but barely lost in the championship game (8-9). Even though they got 2nd place in the tournament, they were still the regular season champs! I think Kinsie enjoyed it and wants to play again next season!

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Anniversary Date

Ryan and I haven’t been on an anniversary date in YEARS. Four years ago, we were moving and doing the 10 hour drive from Indiana to Arkansas, and were in different vehicles so we barely spent any time together. Then the next 2 years he was either working or we just couldn’t afford a babysitter, and last year, he was still in Arkansas finishing residency and the kids and I were living in Indiana with my parents for the month. Now the stars finally aligned and we were able to have an evening out together. Ryan worked the early shift that day and was off by 3, and we had his mom and aunt come down to watch the kids. We went to dinner, took a walk around campus, and ran to a few stores. It wasn’t much, but it didn’t need to be much. Just being together, without kids was so nice and relaxing and something we don’t get nearly enough of.

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Pool Days

We’ve been enjoying my parents’ pool as often as we can this summer. Whenever we go there to swim, the kids swim literally the entire day. They only get out to eat and pee. I haven’t taken many pool pictures this summer because I’m usually fully hands-on with Brody. He is like Forky and trash with the water – he is constantly speed crawling toward the pool!

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Lake Days

We haven’t been able to spend as much time at the lake as we normally like to with the weather and Ryan’s schedule, but when we do, we soak it in. Ryan was luckily off work for Father’s Day weekend, so we spent the day at the lake. It was just Ryan’s immediate family – his parents, his sister and her family, and his brother. It was such a fun, relaxing and beautiful day. The kids always love playing with their cousin Griffin. Brody enjoyed the water table, kiddie pool, and baby slide. We ended the day with a good dinner and a boat ride.

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Rainy Days

We’ve had a good mixture of beautiful summer days, and dreary rainy days. On those days, at least we have this beautiful house to enjoy! The Nugget is still a huge hit. Brody spends a good majority of his days climbing all over it.

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When Brody was napping one day, we tried something new with the big kids. We made the Nugget into a giant slide on the stairs. This kept them entertained for a while!

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Life with Brody is always fun and never boring. He loves climbing into and onto anything he can find – including his sister, his brother’s laundry hamper, and the beanie baby bin!

We also recently got a good deal on a new kids’ camera for them to share. It came with a green screen so they can do fun animation videos and news reports!

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Life is never boring in this household!

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Soaking up All the SUMMER

Last summer, we did “summer things” but it was a lot harder with a newborn and my postpartum self, and a pandemic, and Ryan not even being with us half the summer. So this year, we are trying harder to do ALL the things.

Morning at the Park

Brax has been asking to go to a playground for a while. He really wanted to go to the playground at the park where he played soccer. One morning before it got too hot, we loaded up and went to the park. There was a daycare there with probably 20 kids, so my kids masked up, kept their distance, and still had a great time.

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Slip n Slide

Brax and Brody got several new water toys for their birthdays, and we’ve slowly been trying them out. Their favorite is probably the slip and slide! Ryan even went a step further and put baby soap on it to make it extra slippery. This kept the kids entertained for hours!

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Even Brody took a few turns on it!

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Kiddie Pools, Sprinklers, and Slides…oh my!

Living in Arkansas without a pool in our backyard, we had to find ways to survive the hot summer days. The kids spent almost every day in the summer playing in the water table, sprinklers, and kiddie pools. Last summer once we moved to Bloomington, our rental house didn’t even have a hose spigot…so we couldn’t do any of those things. When we built our new house, we made sure we didn’t have that problem! The kids have been all about their water toys this year, and now Brody loves getting in on the action too!

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They love their snack breaks!

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Walks on the Trail

We’re still discovering parks and trails near our new home, so we try to spend mornings or evenings finding new areas. We love taking walks and the kids like bringing their scooters or bikes on the trails. Lately, the kids got new Fitbits, so they enjoy running on the trails to try and meet their Fitbit goals!

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Other Outside Fun

Even on the days where we don’t spend the entire day outside, we still try to get our daily vitamins D dose, even if its just an hour, by playing on the driveway with wagon rides, bubbles, or hitting softballs.

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Cincy Zoo Day

It has been a few years since we’ve been to our favorite zoo in Cincinnati. Kinsie still talks about their baby hippo, Fiona, often, and I promised her that once we moved back to Indiana, we would go visit her. Well, Covid made that hard to do last year, so we made it happen this year.

We woke up early and drove the 2.5 hours to the Cincinnati Zoo. To limit crowds, you have to make reservations on the day you want to visit the zoo. Well, I’m not sure exactly how many reservations they allow on one day, because it was SO crowded. It was possibly more crowded than any other day we’ve been there, NOT during Covid. My guess is that they only make non-members make reservations, and members can go anytime they please. It definitely made it harder since the kids aren’t vaccinated, but we did the best we could to keep safe and still have fun.

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We went to the Hippo Cove to see Fiona twice. In the morning, she was sleeping. When we came back in the afternoon, she was very active! We stayed for a while and watched her swim around like a ballerina!

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Kinsie and Brax wore their masks a lot that day. Whenever we had space to ourselves, I let them have breaks, but because it was so crowded, they didn’t get as many mask breaks as I hoped. But they didn’t care, they are champs. They were just happy to be at the zoo. And like usual, Brody was either in the stroller or I was wearing him in the Ergo carrier. If there was ever a crowded exhibit, I just stayed back with Brody away from people and Ryan took Kinsie and Brax to go see it. Overall, we had a great day at our favorite zoo!

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Wonder Lab

Bloomington has a great science lab for kids. Ryan’s mom and sister bought us a family membership for Brax’s birthday last year, but we weren’t able to use it for a long time due to Covid. Now we finally got to visit and it was a wonderful morning! The kids (and Ryan) LOVED everything here. You have to sign up for 2 hour windows, which was the perfect amount of time to see and do everything there.

The kids especially loved the water and bubble area. They even had a baby section that Brody loved. I was SO impressed with their cleanliness and sanitation here. In the baby section, a family could sign up for a 20 minute window to let their child explore, and when their window was up, the staff came around and sanitized EVERYTHING. Everyone above the age of 2 was required to wear a mask, and they truly only allowed a certain number of people in the museum at a time. They had hand sanitizing areas everywhere, and I saw the staff cleaning the areas down often. I told the staff how impressed I was, and I wish more places took it as seriously as they did. Science for the win!

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It was such a good June. Much better than last June. I like this trend, and I hope it continues. I just can’t wait until my kids can get vaccinated so we can truly feel safe going places and being around people. I wish more people would trust science and get the vaccine so we can truly put this all behind us…but at least for now, we are better off than we were this time last year. Baby steps I guess!

Enjoy the 1SE video for June!

Many Celebrations in May

We had a very busy May, and it felt great to be *somewhat* back to normal. We celebrated 2 very special birthdays, the kids finished their school year and stayed busy in sports, and we got to have lots of semi-normal spring and summer fun. It was refreshing!

Braxton’s Surprise Birthday Trip

For the first time in over a year, we took a family weekend trip! We did a surprise birthday trip for our big 5 year old. We didn’t tell him where we were going, so he enjoyed the suspense knowing we were going somewhere special for his birthday weekend.

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Day 1: Kentucky Down Under

We drove about 3 hours to Cave City, Kentucky. The first surprise was Kentucky Down Under. Ryan and I came here with his family when we were engaged, so we knew the kids would love it. It’s an interactive zoo with lots of fun outback animals to see and interact with. This was really Brody’s first time at a zoo too!

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The kids loved the area where you can feed the birds and they climb all over you. Even Brody tried to grab the birds!

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We also loved the outback area where there were kangaroos, emus, and some farm animals openly wandering around. You could buy cups of food to feed the animals. The kids were in heaven and Ryan made best friends with all the animals of course!

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The park was mostly outdoors, so overall we felt pretty safe and comfortable. We kept our masks handy and wore them when we couldn’t distance ourselves from other people. Brody spent his time either in the stroller or in the Ergo carrier, and we did our best to keep him away from people since he can’t wear a mask. He was a trooper! He seemed to enjoy a new environment since he doesn’t get out much. He even took a decent stroller nap in the afternoon.

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The animal show was not super “Covid friendly” since they bunched everyone together in a small amphitheater. I just wore Brody in the carrier and stood to the side away from everyone, and Ryan and the kids wore their masks. The kids still enjoyed the show, and they loved getting to pet (and hold) the snake!

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The kids had a great day and they loved the park! Brax still asks us all the time when we can go back!

Time at the Hotel

This was Brody’s first time staying in a hotel. It was an interesting experience! I couldn’t just let him crawl around since hotel floors are gross, and I couldn’t let him play on the bed much because he would try to dive off. We ended up setting up his pack ‘n’ play and letting him play in there… but he isn’t a huge fan of being contained! That evening we let Brax open his gift, and we got carry out and ate in the room. We were all tired from our busy day so we just took it easy and played in the room and watched TV.

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Brody did not understand bed time with us all in the same room. We turned off all the lights, and I set the kids up with a show on the iPad while Brody fell asleep. I figured he’d be exhausted, but he thought it was party time! He just kept standing up in his bed and talking and screaming happily. After maybe 45 minutes, he finally sat down and passed out. He was up and at ’em early in the morning and woke us all along with him. But it was Brax’s birthday so we were excited to start the day!

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Day 2: Dinosaur World

On the drive, we told Brax to look for clues for where we were going for his big birthday surprise. He finally saw a huge dinosaur statue and started to get an idea! He was so excited!

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We spent all morning exploring Dinosaur World. It isn’t a huge park, and most people could go through the whole thing in maybe an hour, but we spent more time than usual because Brax wanted to see and read every single thing possible. There was a walk through the woods where you would see life-size dinosaur statues, and Brax wanted a picture with every single one! Later I took all the pictures from Dinosaur World and put them all in a Shutterfly book with facts about each dinosaur so he could look at it whenever he wanted!

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There was also a fun dinosaur-themed playground and we let the kids play for a while. Even Brody enjoyed it!  After a while, we let the kids pick out something from the gift shop, then we left. Brax LOVED Dinosaur World. He said he wanted to live there! It was a perfect place to spend his birthday!

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We told Brax he could choose anywhere he wanted for lunch. Or if he wanted a certain type of food, we could find something. Of all the possibilities, he chose Wendy’s!

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Ryan’s parents were watching our dog for the weekend, so we had them meet us back at home so we could eat dinner together and get ice cream for dessert. Brax requested our favorite ice cream shop, Jiffy Treat. He had a wonderful 5th birthday and couldn’t wait to tell his teachers and friends about his weekend!

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Mother’s Day

Ryan had to work in the afternoon, so we spent the morning together as a family. It was a gloomy, rainy day, so while Brody took his morning nap, we all watched a movie together. Once Brody woke up and Ryan headed to work, the kids and I spent the afternoon at my parents’ house. It was laid back and relaxing, and the kids just enjoyed having fun together like usual!

For Brody, every day is Mother’s Day!

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The kids made a “stuffed animal parade” along the balcony. This is just an example of the many creative things they do when they play together!

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Fully Vaccinated!

On May 4th, I got my 2nd Covid vaccine! I thought Star Wars Day was a good day to become fully vaccinated, and I prepared with an appropriate band-aid. I did have some symptoms with this vaccine, but it was tolerable. Once the kids were in bed that evening, I started having chills and body aches. I didn’t sleep great, but I was able to rest a little the next day and manage the body aches with Advil. By about 24 hours post vaccine, I was completely fine. 100% worth it!

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My sister got me this amazing hat so that WHEN I feel comfortable going out in public without my mask, at least people will know that I am vaccinated! 

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Outdoor Living

I’m not going to lie, spring weather has not shown its face as often as I’d like at this point in the year. We’ve had so many random cold and rainy days. BUT, we take advantage when we can. Brody is a little outdoor boy. He loves it! He has been enjoying his new outdoor toys like his swing and walking lawn mower.

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Whenever Renata comes over, she always tries to do something fun with the kids. One day she brought stuff for the kids to paint birdhouses and flower pots.

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Enjoying the outdoors whenever they can!

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It has only been warm enough to set up the water table once or twice, but when we do, Brody gets real excited. He splashes like crazy and gets himself soaked immediately!

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It’s an annual tradition to start the swimming season by all the cousins jumping in the pool together holding hands (Brody will join someday!)

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Lake season has started as well and we’re real excited about it! We were there a lot last summer, but Brody was such a tiny baby he obviously couldn’t enjoy it much. Now he loved it. He wasn’t crazy about the boat ride, but mainly because he didn’t like wearing his life jacket. The big kids loved swimming and riding the paddle boat with their cousins!

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Dinosaur Birthday Bash

Since the boys’ birthdays are only 2 weeks apart, we decided to have a combined birthday party for them. Brax was really excited to share his party with his brother! We let him pick the theme and of course he picked dinosaurs! Since Covid is still a factor, AND we still don’t know very many people in our town yet, we stuck with a small family-only party…just the people the kids are closest to.

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We were excited to finally get to host something at our new house! I had a lot of help prepping for the party – even if it was just someone coming to entertain the kids so I could clean! Ryan’s sister Megan made me some banners and the matching shirts for the birthday boys. And Aunt Renata made her famous cookies! We ordered Jimmy Johns for the main food and I ordered cakes from a local lady who has a side cake business. They turned out really cute!

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I didn’t have a whole lot of activities planned, but I didn’t have to. These kids are all so close they can have fun doing anything! 

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It was a team effort to open presents. I helped Brax, and Ryan helped Brody. Kinsie and a few of the cousins delivered the presents to the boys when they were ready for another present to open. Brody was so funny opening his presents. He would open one, then want to play with the toy and wouldn’t want to put it away to open the next. And he continued to get distracted and tried to crawl away. When he opened a jumbo pack of Puffs (his favorite snack), he was so excited and didn’t want to put them down!

Party-presents

We all sang “Happy Birthday,” and dug into the cake and ice cream. Brody got his own special smash cake!

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Of course we all had to be dressed in our dinosaur gear!

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Brody loved his smash cake! He seemed to enjoy eating the cake, but honestly, he didn’t eat THAT much. He mainly just played in the cake. He loved squishing it between his fingers and rubbing it in his hair!

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My kids LOVE doing the piñata, so we made sure we got one. Now that most of these kids are playing softball or baseball now, they broke into the piñata sooner than they ever had in the past!

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It turned out to be a great party. The week leading up to party day, the forecast said it was 100% chance of rain. Somehow, it turned out to be a perfect, beautiful day. After the party activities, the adults hung out and talked and the kids all ran around in the backyard and the basement. It was a great day!

 

Brody’s FIRST Birthday

Our littlest love turned ONE this month! Since we had the party the day before, we had somewhat of a low-key birthday for our boy (after all, it was a Monday!) The kids still had school, but Ryan was off work so Brody got to spend the morning with mommy and daddy.

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After Ryan dropped the kids off at school, he stopped to get Brody his first official birthday donut. He was a big fan!

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Once the kids were home, we set up Brody’s gift in the basement and brought him down to see it. He loves tents, so we got him a pop up tent and tunnel, and bought balls to put in it. He LOVED it! Kinsie and Brax enjoyed playing in it with him too!

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In the evening, we got Culver’s for dinner and Brody loved his first cheeseburger. We also got ice cream for dessert. We sang “Happy Birthday” to him and let him try some ice cream. You could tell he liked the taste, but it was too cold…he kept making a shivering sound! We ended up letting him have some of his leftover smash cake for dessert and he enjoyed that too. He had a great day!

 

Sports Life

Sports kept us very busy this month! Brax had soccer once a week, and Kinsie had softball practice once a week, and at least one game a week. Normally, Brax’s soccer and Kinsie’s practices were at the same time on Saturdays, so Ryan and I had to divide and conquer. But a few times, Kinsie’s practice got cancelled so we got to see Brax play soccer. 

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Kinsie has improved TREMENDOUSLY this season. She started the season barely hitting the ball and she wasn’t the best at fielding either. But between my dad, Ryan, and her coaches, she has gotten so much better! She gets on base every game now and even gets in on the fielding action! We are so proud of her progress!

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End of the School Year

The end of the school year is always a fun time. We were so sad that the kids didn’t get to experience it last year. 

 

Braxton got to celebrate his birthday at school this month. He got to bring the snack that day (we brought pre-packaged cupcakes), and the class sang to him while he wore the birthday hat!

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Brax also had an end of the year program. There were only 2 guests per child allowed, we had to wear masks the entire time and space out in the auditorium. Luckily, Grandma Bev came down to watch Kinsie and Brody so that Ryan and I could go to the program. Brax was all business throughout his songs, then at the VERY end he did a crazy face pose! 

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Brax had a WONDERFUL school year. We absolutely loved his school, and we are looking forward to Brody getting to attend there someday. His teachers were amazing, and he made significant growth this year – both emotionally and academically. He made some great friends too! He will be attending the half day Kindergarten program next year at the same school, then he’ll be moving on to Kinsie’s school after that!

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Kinsie loved her end of the school year too. Their class counted down the last 10 days of school with 10 fun activities – such as stuffed animal day, an ice cream snack, watching a movie, and working with a partner for the day. Her school district has been very cautious with Covid all year, so they avoided a lot of normal end of the year activities…but they still made it special for the kids. She is looking forward to things becoming more normal as time goes on so she can experience all the fun normal school activities!

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How amazing are our kids though? They had the craziest year, but they got through it with a smile on their face (under their mask!) They didn’t let all the unknown and crazy of the world bother them. They were just happy to be at school and see their friends. I wish adults could be more like kids!

 

Beginning of Summer Vacation

The first few weeks of summer vacation were not exactly summer weather. It rained or was 60 degrees or less most days, so we spent a lot of time indoors. Luckily, we had a few new toys that kept them busy! My mom saved ALL of my beanie babies from when I was little – specifically for her grandkids to someday play with. Now that we were settled into our house, my parents brought over the tubs (yes, multiple) of beanie babies. The kids LOVED going through all of them and sorting them into categories. And I may have enjoyed looking through them as much as they did!

We also spent time playing in the tent and doing some virtual reality. Yes, Ryan got new toys too!

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The best new toy, however, is the Nugget. My sister-in-law first told me about these months ago, and I knew I wanted one once we were in the new house. I ordered one back in March when we moved in, but they are VERY popular, so they were backordered about 2 months. Well, our long awaited delivery came just in time for summer vacation. So far the kids have been OBSESSED!

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They have used it as a couch, a fort, a slide, and a climbing ramp. I think Brody may love it the most!

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Memorial Weekend

Last year on Memorial Weekend, I was in the NICU with Brody at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and was less than a week away from moving to another state. This year, we got to spend it together as a family with a happy, healthy, crazy little one year old! 

We went to my parents’ house on Sunday to watch the race and have a pool day. Most of the day it was actually pretty cool – too cold to swim in my opinion. But the kids didn’t care! Even though it was only 65 degrees outside, they spent the majority of the day in the pool. In the late afternoon, the temps finally seemed high enough for Brody to get in the pool. At first we let him sit on the side and watch the kids, but he kept trying to dive in so we figured he wanted to get in!

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Brody loved the pool…just like I figured he would. He is a huge fan of the bath and splashes like crazy, and he was the same way in the pool. I have a feeling this little guy will keep me busy this summer!

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We spent the night at my parents’ house that night so we could wake up and head straight to the lake the next morning. It was only Ryan’s parents and his brother at the lake that day, which was nice! When Brody was napping, we went fishing with the kids. At first they were nervous to hold the fish, but eventually they got brave enough to do it, and then they didn’t want to stop!

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Once Brody woke up, we let him see one of the fish we caught. And, like I figured he would, he tried to eat it!

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Last winter, Ryan’s parents bought a camper to keep at the campgrounds. We drove golf carts down to the campgrounds to see it for the first time. We loved seeing the camper of course, but the big highlight was the cicadas! They were EVERYWHERE around the campgrounds. Kinsie is obsessed. She would find them at recess and play with them, and already knows all kinds of facts about them. Now she got Brax and Brody into them too. They were collecting them and playing with them. Kinsie even took one back to the lake house with her and made a little habitat in a jar. She has always been my nature girl!

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We ended the evening with a boat ride. This time, I just wore Brody in the Ergo carrier and he enjoyed it much more this time! We had a great weekend together!

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We had a wonderful month of May. It felt more like the way it should be. I know things are not completely back to normal, and I won’t feel 100% better until my kids are able to get vaccinated, but it is SO nice that Ryan and I are both fully vaccinated. I feel a little more comfortable going places now, especially outside. My kids are kind of socially awkward and don’t get close to people they don’t know anyway, so it works out! We are hoping to spend a lot of our summer days enjoying our own backyard (we got a TON of outdoor toys for the boys’ birthday), swimming at Yaya’s pool, hanging out at the lake, and hopefully some other fun adventures as well. 

Happy Summer and enjoy our May 1 Second Everyday!

 

Brody is ONE!

My precious baby is ONE year old! I don’t know how this crept up on me so fast. What a crazy year it has been. In such a dark, confusing and anxious time in the world, God blessed me with a child that is the epitome of sunshine. Watching Brody grow into the silly, adorable little boy he is today has been the absolute joy of our lives. Of course the pandemic has been extremely difficult for everyone, but I am somewhat grateful for what it has done to our family. It forced us to slow down and enjoy what is right in front of us. We have had wonderful family time together, and we have all loved being home more and watching Brody grow. He has no clue about the crazy world he was born into, but he is healthy and happy as can be, and loved beyond measure and that is all that matters to him. 

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Here are some fun facts about our little ONE year old-

  • He is 21 lbs, 11 oz (55th percentile), and 32 inches tall (98th percentile)…how in the world did I get such a tall kid??
  • His favorite food is cottage cheese. He’s so obsessed with it, he often refuses to eat anything else in front of him. He also loves crackers with hummus, greek yogurt, and mini muffins.
  • He still has 8 teeth.
  • He can nod “yes” and shake his head “no,” and does so quite aggressively.
  • He is starting to have some “toddler-isms” and trying to test boundaries. He will try to get into things (like dog food), and when we say “no,” he just looks us dead in the eye and goes for it again. Hopefully we don’t have another stubborn toddler like his brother was!
  • He loves to babble and yell. He can say a few words – mama, dada are his favorite words, but he sometimes tries to say “Kinsie,” “Bubba,” (his name for Brax), and “dog.” He imitates our noises constantly though…even when his siblings are yelling (which is almost always…we have very loud children).
  • He still loves cruising the furniture, and can sometimes stand independently when he doesn’t realize it.
  • He loves playing with instruments – particularly the maracas.
  • He might possibly be our squirmiest child yet – and that’s saying something. Getting him to sit still for even half a second is an almost impossible task. That is why he is in motion in almost every single picture of him!
  •  He is tight with his small circle of people – but doesn’t really know what to do if he meets new people (remember – he is a 2020 baby, so he hasn’t met many people!) 
  • Dancing is one of his favorite hobbies. ANY music he hears, even if its me singing to him, he’ll start dancing!
  • He loves to clap for himself.
  • He loves touch-and-feel books. But his favorite thing to do with books is pull them out of all the bookshelves.
  • He is a wild man in the bath tub. I usually end up soaked after his bath because he splashes so much.
  • He loves being outside. Although, he can’t walk yet so he tries to crawl on the concrete. When that starts hurting his knees, he starts to bear crawl.
  • He gets into EVERYTHING. He loves to open the cabinets and pull out anything he can get his hands on. He climbs on anything and everything. He would dive off of the couches and beds if we let him. He has absolutely no fear. We have to watch him like a hawk! 

Brody is still a major mama’s boy, but he has grown close to his daddy too! Especially since he lets him sit on the counter and eat lunch meat!

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Brody is happiest when he is playing with his “bubba” and “sissy!” 

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Our mischievous little guy getting into everything!

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Brody enjoyed trying to new treats for his birthday – a donut for breakfast and cake during his party!

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We can’t get enough of these precious Brody faces!

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One month to twelve months – time flies WAY too quickly!

GrowingBrody-12months

Brody Ryan…

You are the SUNSHINE that we desperately needed during a dark time in life. God knew exactly what He was doing when He brought you into our lives, and I thank Him every day for giving us this precious gift. The beginning of your life was absolute chaos- with you being born during a global pandemic, being confined to a hospital room under bilirubin lights for the first week of your life, moving to a new state when you were less than two weeks old, and spending the first month of your life without the help of your dad while he was finishing residency in Arkansas. Despite all of that, every moment of your life has brought us so much joy! We adore your sweet, silly, crazy personality. We love watching you interact with your brother and sister and learning all of their crazy ways. We love watching you learn and discover things in the world around you – even though, little do you know, you haven’t gotten to see very much of it yet. Even so, you are as happy as can be and love your family with all of your little being. We can’t wait to continue to watch you grow and blossom into the amazing little person that God intended you to be. We love you with all of our hearts! Happy birthday, my sweet boy!

 

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Finally, here is a video of Brody’s first year. It will most likely be the best 9 minutes of your day!

A Much Better April

This April was MUCH better than last year. Last year the start of the pandemic was still fresh and overwhelming, the kids were doing online school, I was insanely pregnant not knowing what my birthing experience would be like with the new Covid restrictions, and to top it all off, my grandma and sweet dog Addie passed away. I remember my emotions last April. I remember crying randomly every day. Even though it was a year ago, these emotions are still fresh on the surface when I think back to that time. My anxiety was through the roof, and pregnancy hormones added another level of stress. But here we are now. We are still in the pandemic, but we are finally seeing better days ahead. We are finally starting to creep toward normalcy. The place I was in this time last year is tough to remember, but it makes me even more appreciative of where we are now. We are stronger as individuals, we are more firm in our faith- despite not stepping into a church in over a year, and we are closer as a family than ever before.

 Spring weather is officially here! Arkansas always had to best spring weather. Indiana’s spring weather is hit or miss…this year we’ve had a lot of rain and a few random super cold days, but overall it’s been nice to be able to be outside on a regular basis again. Both of the kids started up some spring sports which has kept us pretty busy too…it’s taken some time to re-adjust to actually having activities on the calendar, but it feels good to get out of the house a little more. Here is how our April went down…

Easter

Ryan had to work on Easter, so we did some family Easter activities the days before. We made Easter cookies, had an egg hunt in the backyard, and dyed Easter eggs. The kids loved it all, and Brody enjoyed all of his first Easter experiences as well!

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Ryan didn’t work until 9am on Easter, so he got to spend Easter morning with us and see the kids with their Easter baskets. Once he left for work, the kids and I loaded up the van and went to my parents’ house to spend the day. Can I just say how nice it is to be able to do this again? Holidays, birthdays and other special days were always so hard while living in Arkansas…because Ryan was usually working and I really missed my family. Now, we just have a quick hour drive and we don’t have to spend these days alone anymore, and I am SO grateful for that!

Easter-morning

We had a great Easter Day. It was a beautiful day, so we spent most of it outside. The kids had a cousin egg hunt, we had an awesome dinner, and other than that, the kids just played together outside all day, and the adults just hung out together. It was such a beautiful and relaxing day celebrating our risen King!

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Kinsie’s Softball

Kinsie’s softball season is in full force now, and she is enjoying it! It took some time for her to get the hang of it, but we have been practicing with her almost every day and she has improved tremendously! She has awesome coaches and a great team. The first few games, she didn’t get any hits, but she did a great job in the outfield backing up first base. We have enjoyed watching her games so far…even Brax and Brody (although, Brax’s favorite part is the concession stand…just like me when I was a kid at my sister’s games!)

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My dad used to coach softball, so he has been coming to town a lot and helping her learn and practice. I think recently, it finally clicked with her, and she started hitting the ball more and more when we practiced. She finally got a hit at one of her games, but she got out at first. Then at her next game, my parents and my sister’s family all came to see her play, and she hit the ball and got on base ALL 4 TIMES she was up to bat! She was a rockstar, and was even given the game ball from her coach! We were all so proud of her and I know she was so excited!

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Since Kinsie has been practicing softball so much, this has sparked an interest in Brax with baseball. He always wanted to practice with us too, and it turns out, he’s a natural! My dad even surprised him with a new bat for his birthday, and he loves hitting the ball off the tee, as well as when we pitch to him. Next spring, he will be old enough to play in the 5 year old baseball league here in town, and he can’t wait!

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Brax’s Soccer

Brax really wanted to try soccer this season, so we signed him up. At his age, it is more of an academy, where they just do fun drills to get the hang of the sport. He has had one practice so far, and he loved it! Ryan even stayed late with him once practice was over because he wanted to play longer! I think he will be our little athlete!

Brax-soccer

Kinsie’s Lost Teeth

Kinsie has lost SO many teeth lately! In the matter of about a month, she lost 4 more teeth – putting her at 8 total (which is the same number of teeth that Brody currently has!) One tooth in particular that she lost, we give credit to Brax. They were wrestling one day, and he got too rough and kicked her tooth out! Now she is the prettiest little jack-o-lantern face we’ve ever seen!

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Outside Time

Whenever it isn’t raining or freezing, we are usually outside. We live on a cul-de-sac with several open lots, so the kids have plenty of room to play. The kids love their bikes and scooters, and Brody loves his little car!

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One of their favorite things to do lately is ride down the driveway while the sprinkler is on. Ryan also mowed part of the open lot next door into the shape of a baseball diamond. So now they enjoy playing softball and baseball there, or just running around in the open grass!

Outside-fun

We’ve had a few Sundays this month where we had dinner with my family. Whenever we are there, the kids always have so much fun together…especially when Yaya breaks out the parachute!

Outside-parachute

My sister gave me this awesome collapsible playpen, and it even comes with a sunshade. We’ve used it inside a lot to contain Brody when needed, but we’ve recently been able to use it outside as well. At first Brody wasn’t a fan because he didn’t want to be in there alone, but once Kinsie and Brax joined him, he was happy as can be!

Outside-playpen

First Vaccine!

I finally had my turn! I received my first vaccine early in April. I had been anxiously awaiting this moment for SO long, so it felt great to finally get to do it. If you haven’t already, go get your vaccine as well and let’s kick this thing to the curb and get back to normal!

Vaccine

Brody turned 11 Months!

I’m still in denial that my baby will be one soon. This year has flown by, and we have absolutely loved watching him grow into the precious little boy he is. He is seriously SO much fun. He is in such a cute and silly stage, and he makes us laugh every day! He learned a lot this month and developed some cute and hilarious new habits.

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Our Brody boy at 11 months:

  • He has 8 teeth. He popped 4 teeth at once, which made it a doozy of a month, but now that they are out, he is a happy camper!
  • He learned how to wave.
  • He learned how to clap.
  • He shakes his head “No” (all the time – he thinks it’s so funny!)
  • He can give high fives.
  • He can give hugs (and it melts me every single time).
  • He loves getting into the pantry and trying to steal his snacks.
  • He can say “mama,” “dada,” “hi,” and “more” with meaning. He can also sign “more.”
  • He cruises around furniture constantly.
  • He still loves to climb everything, including the kitchen cabinets and counters. He tries to use the cabinet drawer handles as a latter, and he legitimately tries to do pull ups on the countertops.
  • He loves to rub whatever he is eating into his hair.
  • He suddenly hates diaper changes. He tries to roll over and kick me so he can escape. This is exactly how Braxton was too…fun times.
  • He loves playing outside.
  • He still adores his brother and sister and screams excitedly when they walk into the room.

Big boy with his walker!

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Always climbing up onto the kids’ art table!

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Hanging out in the pantry – always!

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He loves his brother and sister so much.

And this is no joke how Brax carries him around and Brody doesn’t even care!

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Sweet Brody faces at 11 months!

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He’s growing up too fast for me to handle!

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I know I’ve said it many times, but Brody is such a blessing from God. I didn’t know it at the time, but God knew how much I needed him throughout this time in life. When I think about this time last year, and not only how I was a complete emotional roller coaster, but also how I was so physically miserable from pregnancy, and then I see my life now…he was worth EVERY SINGLE OUNCE of emotional and physical pain I endured before/once I had him. he brings us immeasurable joy, and I can’t imagine our lives without him. Next month, he will be ONE!!

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We love you SO MUCH, our sweet Brody!

And that’s a wrap for April. Lots of exciting activities planned in May, including two birthdays for our boys! And here is our 1 Second Everyday for April. Enjoy! 

The March We’ve Been Waiting For

It’s been a whole year since the pandemic hit the United States hard. How crazy is that? I don’t think I would have ever expected it to last this long, and I am so glad that a year ago, I didn’t know that an entire year later we would still be in this mess. I have tried not to think too much about the emotional roller coaster that I was feeling this time last year, because my anxiety then was sky high, and even though we’re still dealing with a lot of the same, we have come so far as a family throughout this crazy year. I certainly have a lot more hope today than I did a year ago…and every vaccine that gets put into another arm is getting us that much closer to normalcy again… something that I am desperately looking forward to, but also somewhat terrified of. I have a feeling it is going to take me some time to adjust back to normalcy…because life with masks, social distancing, and staying home has become my new normal. I’m sure it will take time for me to feel comfortable in big groups again and walking around with a naked face. But before I get ahead of myself because we’re probably still months away from that…I’m just looking forward to getting that shot in my arm NEXT WEEK! 

Anyway…March was an exciting month for the Matthews family, and I’m sure you know why! We finally moved into our NEW HOUSE! And it has been an absolute DREAM! We had other fun things this month and some beautiful weather which was good for our souls. Here is a rundown of our exciting March…

Fun Activities at School

Brax had “Dr. Seuss Week,” where they celebrated Dr. Seuss with different fun dress up days. He actually had a lot of fun with this. Sometimes he would be hesitant to dress up, but eventually we would convince him and he ended up loving it.

Monday was Silly Sock Day…

Tuesday was Hat Day…

Wednesday was Wacky Wednesday… (he wore a pickle shirt, dinosaur pants and socks, two different shoes, and a Forky hat)

Thursday was Crazy Hair Day

And my personal favorite was Fancy Friday…

Kinsie had a few exciting things going on this month at school too. She got to write and “publish” an informative book about hippos and share it with the class. 

The day before spring break, her class also had a “Beach Day” where they could dress like they were going to the beach, and bring a stuffed animal as well. She loved dressing up herself, but also dressing up her stuffed animal!

Finishing Touches on the House

It was so much fun to see the final touches on the house. Seeing the entire process from digging a hole to the absolutely beautiful home we are now living in has been such an amazing experience! My favorite was after the cleaners came in and made it sparkle! 

Spring Break…aka MOVE IN WEEK!

We were so glad to be able to work it out to move in when the kids were on spring break. That way we didn’t have to worry about dropping off and picking up the kids throughout each day, and the kids could just enjoy their week off in our new home. We were able to recruit some family to help us on moving weekend, so we got a lot more done than I expected. It was a busy, exhausting, but wonderful move-in weekend.

Ryan still had to work that week, so he did what we could when he was home, but I wasted no time getting to work on unpacking and organizing. The kids were so excited to have so much space to play, and to get some of their toys back that had been in storage all year. But we have absolutely LOVED being in our new home…even Brody! The first few days through all of the chaos, I was either wearing him, or he was in a little playpen until we could get a baby gate in front of the stairs to the basement.

 

The kids hanging out in Brax’s dinosaur bed…

 

Brody is excited to finally have his own room! And I was excited to finally create a Harry Potter nursery for him!

One of the kids’ favorite spots is the “book nook,” a closet under the basement stairs. We made it cozy with blankets and pillows and books!

It rained a LOT the first week or so that we moved in, but every so often we’ve had some amazing weather. The kids LOVE hanging out on both the upper and lower deck!

While digging the basement, the workers find a large limestone rock so they threw it out back, and now Brax is convinced that it is a dinosaur fossil!

The kids drew pictures that we sent to our builder along with a thank you note. We even got an email back saying they could be architects someday!

St. Patrick’s Day

We didn’t do anything special on St. Patrick’s Day, but I had to share this cute picture of my kids all dressed up!

I also wanted to point out that 4 years ago on St. Patrick’s Day was also Match Day…where we found out we were moving to Arkansas for Ryan’s residency. Seeing this picture always makes me emotional because I remember the emotions I was feeling in that very moment. I was excited but completely terrified. And now it’s crazy to look back at that time and see how far we’ve come. We are so grateful for our time in Arkansas, but we are also so glad our residency years are behind us and now we FINALLY get to settle in our forever home!

Sleepover

Near the end of the kids’ spring break, Kinsie and Brax went to spend the night at Aunt Renata’s house. They had such a great time playing outside, roasting marshmallows, watching movies and doing fun Easter activities. Brody stayed home with me and we got some quality time together too going on walks and playing outside.

It’s Finally Spring!

After the dreadful February we had, we were thrilled to get some nice weather this month. We have especially enjoyed exploring outside of our new home!

We also spent a day after school going back to one of our favorite parks and taking a quick hike by the waterfall. 

Brody is 10 Months Old!

I’m in complete denial that my baby is going to be one year old soon. This year has been so weird. In some ways it has dragged on, and in other ways it has flown by. Watching this precious boy has been the absolute sunshine of my year. He is so sweet and silly and snuggly and we just love him to pieces!

Updates on our Bro Bro at 10 Months…

  • He loves to climb. He tries to climb on anything and everything.
  • He has discovered our dog Koda and likes to chase him and grab him. Koda is not amused!
  • He has 3, maybe 4 new teeth…which brings him to a total of 8 teeth!
  • He still loves food of all kinds. 
  • He has learned how to use his sippy cup and he loves it. He chugs his water during his meals!
  • He is still a major mama’s boy, but now he is starting to voluntarily go to his Daddy, grandma or other close family. 
  • He is the king of babbling. He talks all day long. “Da da” is his favorite phrase right now. We think he is starting to gain some meaning with his babbles.
  • He finally sleeps in his crib (it was in storage until we moved) and he loves it! He even likes playing in there.
  • His favorite place to hang out is in Brax’s shark tent.
  • He can walk with his walking toy. He also cruises along the furniture constantly.
  • Kinsie and Brax both like to carry him. Kinsie is at least learning how to support him better while she holds him, but Brax just holds him around his belly. At first Brody didn’t like it, but now he is used to it and doesn’t seem to care. Third kid problems!
  • He has been spending a lot more time outside this month and loves it. He especially loves riding in his little car.
  • He loves playing with his brother and sister and wants to do whatever they are doing!

 

Examples of his climbing, or just diving into his toy box!

 

Walking like a big boy with his walker toy

 

Just hanging out in the shark tent!

 

Sweet sleeping baby

 

Always being carried!

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He loves riding in his car!

 

Sweet Brody faces

Growing month by month…

I genuinely can’t imagine life without this boy. I thank God every day for giving me this precious gift. He brings so much joy to our lives, and we all just can’t get enough of him. He adds another level of crazy and loud to our family, and we love every bit of it!

 

 

And that about wraps up our March. It was a good one. Much different than March last year. Moving into our new house was a long awaited time…not just the 6 months that it took to build, or even the year that we’ve been planning it. Ever since Ryan and I got married 9 years ago, our lives have always been “what’s next?” Between med school, residency and everything between we never fully got to settle anywhere. We always knew that we’d have to pick up and move again soon. I knew this was part of the medical gig, but I have been looking forward to the day where we were finally done with the “what’s next” part of the journey and finally get to settle. After 9 years…really longer than that since I knew back in high school what Ryan’s future entailed…we are FINALLY settling in our forever home. I can’t even tell you how good it feels. We are looking forward to making many many memories in this home!

And to finish off this post, here is our 1 Second Everyday for the month of March. Enjoy!

The Longest February in History

This month was LOOOOONG. Usually January is the worst month, but goodness, this February was rough. The weather was absolutely insane and we had so many random things go wrong and need repaired. Our house is ALMOST DONE…which is why I think time went especially slow because we are so anxious to move in! But we made it to March and we couldn’t be more excited! Here is a rundown of our incredibly long February…

Valentine’s Day Activities

We always try to do several fun activities to celebrate Valentine’s Day for the kids…starting with making valentines for their classes. My crafty girl always wants to make her valentines, rather than just buying some and putting her name on them. This year, she made “love monsters” for her class. And Brax of course, wanted dinosaur valentines! They enjoyed putting them together for their friends.

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We also spent a day making valentine cookies (we threw in some unicorns too). The kids always love making cookies, and their most recent favorite decorating themes include Harry Potter cookies (notice several of the cookies have glasses), and cookies with masks!

Valentines-cookies

On actual Valentine’s Day, Ryan had to work in the afternoon so we did our valentines activities in the morning. This mainly included a scavenger hunt to find their gifts. Then of course I always take a million pictures of them…especially since its Brody’s first Valentine’s Day!

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A recent tradition I’ve done the last few years is writing reasons why we love the kids – one reason for each kid starting on February 1 until February 14. They loved waking up each morning to see a new reason, and Brody loved wrinkling up and chewing on his reasons! 

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I also usually try to make a Valentine-themed dinner for the kids. This year included heart-shaped grilled cheese sandwiches. And for Brody, his lunch meat and veggies were arranged in a heart!

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The Never-ending Blizzard

The week after Valentine’s Day was INSANE. Not only the entire state of Indiana had major snow storms, but even southern states like Texas and our old home state of Arkansas did too! The entire time we lived there, there was maybe a light dusting of snow once…and the entire city shut down. Now they had like 10 inches! I’m not sure how they survived! Anyway, the kids didn’t have school on Monday (President’s Day), and that is when the madness began. It snowed ALL DAY and ALL NIGHT. And then it snowed MORE. And MORE. It just wouldn’t stop. The kids ended up having 3 snow days in a row! (Kinsie had e-learning on these days). And it wasn’t ideal to go outside and play in the snow because a) the temperature was in the single digits, and b) Ryan was working the whole week and it was hard managing time around Brody’s naps and Kinsie’s schoolwork…but the kids didn’t even want to play outside. They were over it! We all were…except for maybe Koda.

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We did have some epic icicles on our house!

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Koda enjoyed the snow! The rest of us not so much.

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Kinsie all bundled up doing her school work online

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At one point, I did scoop up some fresh, clean snow and the kids and I made snow ice cream!

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Not only was the weather crummy, but about everything broke down during this week for us. Our toilet stopped working (and we only have one bathroom in our rental), my car got stuck in the deep snow in our driveway, our laptop stopped working intermittently, our printer stopped working, and once we actually got my car out of the driveway, the power steering pump needed replaced! It was a tough week. We were stuck inside all day, every day for a week. We actually ended up spending one night at my parents house just to have a working toilet for 24 hours. The kids were sick of each other and sick of not being able to go to school. And we were all sick of everything not working…but we got through it, and we know it could have been much worse, so we tried our best to stay positive!

Home Activities and Projects

Like every other month, February consisted of a lot of staying home and trying to stay busy. There is always a lot of arts and crafts, science, games, and imaginative play. 

One day when Aunt Renata came to visit, she got out some of Ryan’s butcher paper and started creating a board game with Brax. They included Dinosaur Land, Unicorn Island, and more. Once Kinsie came home from school, then she took off with lots of ideas for the game too. The kids loved designing it and playing it!

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Ryan and I recently watched the Netflix show called “The Queen’s Gambit.” It’s about a young orphan who becomes a prodigy and world champion at chess. I’ve never known how to play chess, and watching this show made me want to learn. Ryan bought a learning version of the game, called “No Stress Chess.” So one day, Ryan started teaching me how to play, and the kids became obsessed…especially Brax! I didn’t think it would interest him much, but he LOVES it, and still asks Ryan to play with him regularly!

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Kinsie is still slowly working through all of the science kits she received for Christmas. Ryan loves doing them with her and teaching her about science along the way. Brax usually joins in on the fun too!

Home-science

One day, Kinsie randomly decided she was going to make vet stations for their stuffed animals. She had a station for checking eye sight and getting glasses, a teeth brushing station, a station to check for ticks, and a station to receive a shot and decorate a bandaid to put on after the shot. She asked Brax and Brody to each pick a stuffed animal to go through the stations with. It was so creative!

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I have always wanted to collect all of the kids’ drawings and artwork and put them into a book, but I never took the time to do it. Well one day, my sister-in-law sent me a text saying that Shutterfly was having a deal where you could make a book with free unlimited pages. I knew right then, this was the time I finally needed to do it. So I spent the next couple of days organizing the kids’ artwork, scanning it all, and arranging it all into books. I made one book for Brax with artwork from age 2 until now, and I had to make 2 books for Kinsie because she had SO much artwork. Just last spring alone when the pandemic hit, drawing was stress relief for her, so she spent hours a day drawing. Now all of that artwork is displayed in these awesome books rather than tucked away in bins where nobody will see them. I love how they turned out!

Home-artbooks

Since we hardly ever leave the house, Brody often gets bored with his same environment and toys, so I try to switch it up and take him into different rooms. Whenever I have computer work to do, I bring him to the office (which is also the room where he sleeps) and I put him in his pack n play and put toys in with him. The kids always like to get in there with him to play, so of course I had to document it!

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Fun at School

Even though this year is very different, the kids are still really enjoying school. I love seeing the different activities and work they bring home from school.

This particular paper Kinsie brought home melted me. She had to write about her superhero, and she wrote about her dad!

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I love when their schools share photos on social media so I can get a glimpse of their day!

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This month, Brax got to celebrate his 100th day of school! He got to bring in 100 of a snack (he chose M&M’s), and 100 of an item of his choice, as long as it fit in a gallon sized bag. He brought in 100 dinosaurs!

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Cousin Sleepover

My parents invited all the cousins (except Brody…he still needs his mama at night!) for a sleepover. It’s reasons like this why, even in the midst of a horrible winter, we are so glad we moved back home!

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OUTSIDE!!

After the snowstorm week from hell, the sun finally decided to shine again! The temps got up to the mid fifties and it was HEAVEN. Most of the snow melted, and we finally ventured outside and I can’t even tell you how amazing it felt to feel the sun again!

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Progress on the House

Our house is ALMOST DONE. I’m so excited I can barely think straight. The updates this month were SO fun because we’ve gotten to see it slowly come together to look like the final product. It is so beautiful I could cry.

 

The living room after a fresh coat of paint

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In love with my counter tops!

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The basement!

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Master shower

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Kinsie loves her room!

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Living room

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The upper back porch

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Master bathroom

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Kids’ bathroom

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My amazing kitchen 

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Ryan and I have had to meet with the guys working on the house every once in a while to discuss things, and Brody is usually along for the ride. One day, we had to go through the house and decide the layout of all the closets. Well I guess we took longer than I expected because Brody ended up falling asleep!

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Picnics are a common thing at the house! 

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Brody is NINE Months!

My baby is only 3 months away from turning one, and I’m not ok with it! Goodness this boy brings us so much joy. He is so sweet, silly, and happy, and he still LOVES his mama. The feeling is mutual, but I don’t necessarily feel the need to hang all over him and chase him around like he does to me.

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Brody updates at 9 months –

  • He weighs 19 pounds – 36th percentile
  • He is 28.8 inches tall – 63rd percentile
  • He loves to dance! He has the most precious signature dance that he does whenever he hears music (you can see small snippets of his dance in the 1 Second Everyday video at the end of this post).
  • His favorite food is strawberries. But he still loves most food. And he eats SO fast…like his dad!
  • His two top teeth have broken through and are SO cute.
  • He is “real” crawling now. However, when he wants to get somewhere fast, he still drops down to his belly and army crawls like a beast.
  • He is saying sounds like “da-da,” “ya-ya,” and “ga-ga.” No meaning yet, just cute babbles.
  • His favorite thing to do is pull up on anything he can. He is also starting to get braver and tries to climb up onto things. 
  • His favorite place in the world is his mama’s arms.
  • He looks just like Kinsie did as a baby. I didn’t realize it until I looked back at baby pictures of Kinsie. 
  • He loves discovering his voice, He makes all kinds of cute babbles and squeals constantly.

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KinsBrody

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On Brody’s 9 month birthday, the kids made him cards, and found toys and wrapped them up in paper for him to open as presents. It was precious!

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Matching brother hats

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Always standing!

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More precious Brody smiles! I could stare at his face all day. I often do.

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Our growing boy!

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Good riddance, February. We’re ready to move on from you. We’re ready for March. We’re ready for spring. We’re ready for warmer weather and more outside time. And we are SO ready to move into our house…SO SOON! Stay tuned…next month is officially move-in month!!

Here is our February 1 Second Everyday…enjoy!

Going through the January Motions

January is one of my least favorite months ever, no matter where I live. It’s just so blah. The excitement of Christmas is over, it’s winter, all the trees and grass are dormant, it’s not pretty outside…it’s just blah. And it always seems to last forever. However, we know that we still have a lot to be grateful for, and a lot to look forward to. This January brought some hope that we’re *hopefully* seeing the light at the end of this very long Covid tunnel. More Americans are getting vaccinated each day, and I am (not so) patiently waiting my turn. In the meantime, it’s very reassuring that Ryan is now fully vaccinated, so that risk of him becoming infected at work is significantly lower. We’ll just keep trucking along in our little Covid bubble until things are safe for us to come out of it.

With all that said, my monthly blogs with continue to be somewhat boring because we don’t go anywhere! But hopefully you’ll still enjoy some pictures of our activities from home!

Home Activities and Projects

Luckily the kids have been able to go to school so far this calendar year. They need the social interaction, the time away from home, and the time away from each other. But when they aren’t at school, they are home. And they do a pretty darn good job of keeping themselves busy and entertained!

Kinsie loves arts and crafts. It’s one of her favorite things in life. For Christmas, she got a Disney craft book, and she has already set to work. The first craft she made from it was an Aladdin puppet theater. She did an amazing job!

Home-Aladdin

Brax received several Lego sets for Christmas, mostly dinosaur sets since that is his favorite thing in the world right now. So we took some time after school for a few days to build a T-Rex, a triceratops and a pterodactyl. He can’t wait to display them in his new room! On a separate note…Legos are surprisingly extremely satisfying for my busy mind. I also built the Knight Bus from Harry Potter on my own one night when the kids were in bed!

Home-Legos

Kinsie and Brax have both inherited my and Ryan’s love for all things Harry Potter. So we decided to start reading the books together as a family. It helps that we have the illustrated versions of books 1-4 to keep them intrigued in the story. We already finished Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and they loved it! Ryan did the best character voices, British accents included! Kinsie especially can’t wait to start the next book.

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On MLK Day, Kinsie’s school encouraged the students to use it as a “day on” instead of a “day off” and do some kind of service project. Kinsie decided to make valentines for frontline healthcare workers. When she was done, she had Ryan take them to work and hang them up around the emergency department so everyone could enjoy seeing them.

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The kids can get so creative with the games they come up with. On this particular day, they created a zoo with all of their toy animals. Each animal species had their own containment, and sometimes an animal would break out and create chaos and would need to be tranquilized by a helicopter and brought back to its cage!

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On weekends, we always try to find little projects for the kids to do. Ryan found a dinosaur fossil dig site for Brax at the store, and Brax was pumped. He worked so hard digging out his dino!

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Lately when Ryan is home in the evenings, the kids always want to do something fun with him. Sometimes it is play a video game with him, but usually Kinsie wants to do science with him. She got several science kits for Christmas, so they’ve had lots of fun trying them out. They’ve played with slime and kinetic sand, dug for crystals, made a volcano, and even made their own ice cream and slushie!

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Cousin Visits

When Ryan worked one Saturday, we needed a change of scenery, so I loaded the kids up and we drove to my parents’ house and had the kids’ cousins come play. I have lots of stuff stored in my parents’ basement, so while I sorted through all of that stuff, the kids had a blast playing with their cousins all day. Their favorite thing was playing their new “The Floor is Lava” game with them!

CousinFun

Another day, my sister’s family came to visit us and see the progress of our house. We made a day of it and had a picnic at the house, then they came back to our rental house for a while. We loved having them visit and the kids always love cousin time!

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Snow Day!

The kids have been dying for snow ever since we moved. We’ve had several small drizzles, but not enough to cover the ground for more than a couple of hours. Well…they finally got their wish! We finally got a good, somewhat heavy snowfall…enough to cover the ground and make the roads slick. Because of this, they had their first official snow day. Kinsie technically had an e-learning day, but she was done with her school work shortly after lunch, so then we were able to go outside and play.

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We all went out as a family. Brody loved sitting in the sled and watching the kids run around in the snow!

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Snow angels, sledding, and snowmen…oh my!

Our current yard is big, but it isn’t the best sledding yard, so Ryan attached the sled to his jeep with a rope and pulled them around the yard. They had a BLAST! And Koda loves snow too, so he ran around like a puppy chasing them in the sled!

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I wasn’t always the biggest fan of snow…especially in high school and college. I always swore I would move somewhere warm where I would never have to see snow again. Well, that wish somewhat came true for a while! But now my perspective has changed. Not that I love cold weather by any means…but now I embrace it. I had my time in a warmer place, and let me tell you…the grass is not greener on the other side! Yes the winters in Arkansas were MUCH better, but the intense heat of the summers were almost unbearable. I traded one dreadful season for another. I’ve learned that there is no perfect place to live. But after being away from our loved ones for 3 years, we decided that we’d rather endure the rough winters if it means we’re close to family again. And to be honest, I missed the season changes of the midwest. I’m sure I’ll be over the snow and cold weather soon…but at least now I have a little more perspective, and I’ll remember that I chose family over mild winters.

100th Day of School

Kinsie recently celebrated her 100th day of 1st grade. Her class was encouraged to dress like they are 100 years old. At first, Kinsie was skeptical…she said she didn’t want to look weird. But I told her we wouldn’t go over-the-top and we would make her a cute old lady! I gathered a few items together, and Ryan made a cane for her. We let her try it on the night before and she approved! She was the prettiest little old lady I’ve ever seen!

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Progress on the House

The progress is really picking up at the house and we are so excited! They got so much done this month. It is hard not to go visit every day…which I basically do!

Working on the exterior…

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We have a front door… and a pretty little model!

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We have cabinets! I am SO excited for my new kitchen!

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We have tile in the mudroom and bathrooms…

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Obsessed with our vinyl floors!

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Kinsie showing off my new farm sink…one of the things I’m most excited about. And I’m not even kidding!

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We LOVE the way the exterior turned out!

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The kids always have so much fun when we visit. They like playing hide-and-seek in the cabinets. We also try to bring Koda whenever we can so he can get used to it and not feel the need to “mark his territory.”

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The house is estimated to be done in March. We’re so close!!

Brody at 8 Months

Not sure how I blinked and my baby turned 8 months old! I have to admit that I am enjoying and savoring his precious baby days more than I did with Kinsie and Brax. Maybe it’s because I’m not working now. Maybe it’s because we’re in a pandemic. Maybe it’s because he may be my last baby. Whatever the reason…I am savoring every precious smile, giggle, and snuggle with this boy. And even the tougher moments like teething, fussiness and when he decides not to sleep at night…I know that those moments are temporary. I know it’s just a season, and it will be over soon…just like his time being so little.

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His monthly photo shoots are getting a little harder to do since this boy is ALWAYS on the go!

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Here are some updates of our Bro Bro at 8 months old…

  • He is starting to pull up on things. We have to watch him like a hawk!
  • He LOVES table food. He’s been trying lots of new foods and likes almost everything he has tried. His current favorite include strawberries, carrots, avocados, and pears. He suddenly decided he does not like scrambled eggs anymore. He is definitely showing preferences for certain foods!
  • He often does the “downward-facing dog” yoga pose.
  • He is still army crawling. We know he is physically strong enough to crawl normally, but he prefers to scoot around. And does so very quickly!
  • Unlike his siblings, he has never been a huge fan of baths. However, now that he can sit up independently, I’ve been letting him take his baths with Brax. The first time I was going to give them a bath together, Kinsie was super jealous so I let her join in for the first time. But now that Brody is taking his baths with his brother, he has SO much fun. He even splashes in the water like crazy!
  • He and Brax have their own language. They will often mimic each other’s noises, and then laugh.
  • He is currently popping his two front teeth.
  • He is still obsessed with his mama. But he has a fun relationship with his daddy too.
  • He is really starting to play with his siblings…not just sit and watch. He’ll chase them around and interact with them and try to play what they are playing.

Showing off his standing skills!

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Loving his food!

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Bath time for Bro!

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Just doing some yoga!

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Mama love

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Brother and sister love. He already has such a sweet and unique relationship with each of them.

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More sweet Brody faces!

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The best thing to come out of 2020! Thanks for the perfect onesie, Yaya!

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Our growing little boy! I’m not ready to accept the fact that he’ll be a year old in just a few months!

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And that’s a wrap for January. And we are one month closer to moving into our dream home. I am SO ready to not only live in our new beautiful house, but to finally become somewhat settled. To not live in limbo anymore, where we have that nagging feeling that we’ll have to pick up and move again in a couple of years. That has been lives together so far for the past 8.5 years. Med school and residency and so many changes and moves…I’m ready to finally be in my forever home. And by the end of February, we should be pretty darn close to doing just that!

And as always, here is our January 1 Second Everyday…the first of 2021. This has become such a fun tradition. We all LOVE going back and watching them all from the past, and watching the kids grow through the seconds. It’s a tradition I have no intention of stopping anytime soon. Enjoy!