9 Month Adventures

Our baby girl is 3/4 of a year old! Where has the time gone? Miss Kinsie Kay is as spunky and rambunctious as ever! I have been on summer break for over 2 weeks now, and I have loved every second of my time with her. Of course, she gets bored if we just hang around the house, so I try to take her on a few adventures a day. She enjoys any little trip whether it be the grocery store or the park or zoo. She is loving sleeping in and spending time with her mommy all day (at least I hope!) She is as happy as can be and is constantly smiling, babbling, and on the move!

At 9 months old….

  • She can army crawl like a beast.
  • She still only has 2 teeth, but has 4 more that are close to popping through.
  • She rolls, scoots and sits up in her crib whenever we put her down to sleep.
  • She likes to crawl up into our laps when playing on the floor.
  • She likes to beat on things like a drum (perhaps this is the influence of Uncle Nate?)
  • She loves to grunt, groan, roar, and make all kinds of  other “monster” noises.
  • Her happy place is in the pool.
  • She looks just like mommy as a baby.
  • She likes taking “big girl” stroller rides (without the car seat).
  • She is the best shopping buddy and loves to sit in the shopping cart.
  • She’s the best model for when mommy practices her photography.
  • She is constantly moving and squirming and is surprisingly strong…which makes her mom and dad feel like they are wrestling an alligator all day!

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Having fun during our photo shoot

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Beautiful girl – her eyes are looking more and more like daddy’s!

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We just can’t get enough of this little ball of sunshine!

The Story of Us

Today marks the two year anniversary of the day I married Ryan. That day will always go down as one of the best days of my life. Now I know that most of you probably only read my blog to see updates and pictures of my precious baby girl (and I don’t blame you), but this post is devoted to the man that helped me create that little beauty. The man that I’ve loved since I was 14 years old and who I will continue to love all the days of my life.

In honor of our anniversary, I am going to tell you our story. The story that started back in 2003 with just a couple of awkward middle school kids. Many of you may already know this story, or you may even be a part of it. For the rest of you, I hope you enjoy reading it!

Ryan and I had many mutual friends in middle school, which eventually led to us being in the same group when we all went to the movies or hung out at friends’ houses. We became very good friends, but we were usually going out with other people so we didn’t really look at each other any other way for a long time. I don’t know how it started for him, but I just remember whatever boy I was going out with at the time, I never had as much fun with him as I did with Ryan. I found myself thinking about Ryan all the time and how much he made me laugh and how comfortable I was with him, and let’s face it, most 14-year-old girls aren’t even comfortable in their own skin, so I knew it meant something. One night, we were talking on AOL Instant Messenger, (yes, that was the cool thing to do back then) and somehow we ended up spilling our guts to each other. We both really liked each other, but we were worried that going out would ruin the close friendship we had. We decided that it was a risk we were willing to take. And just like that, we were a couple. Because we were such good friends before we started dating, our relationship was surprisingly strong for middle schoolers. We were definitely young and immature, but we both knew that it was real.

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Fast forward to senior year of high school. We were still together and stronger than ever. We had a great four years of high school growing up together and loving each other. We were both planning on going to Indiana University for college in the fall, so we were set. Once we started school in the fall, things changed quickly. We just seemed off and not as close as we always were before. Being in a new environment with new people and new freedoms that we had never experienced before seemed to drive a wedge between us. After almost 5 years of being together, we decided that there was so much in the world that we hadn’t experienced yet, and we needed to do it as individuals. It was extremely difficult to walk away from something that was so dear to my heart, but we knew that this is what God was telling us we needed to do. Ryan and I broke up, but for a few months afterward, we were really bad at not being a couple anymore. We still talked and hung out on a regular basis. It was too hard for us to just quit talking to each other when we had been best friends for 5 years. It turns out that trying to stay friends after breaking off a long relationship is a really bad idea. I couldn’t get the closure that I needed. I eventually told Ryan that if we were going to be broken up, we couldn’t be friends anymore. This was one of the hardest things I ever had to do, but I knew that I had to do it. I had to figure out who I was outside of “me and Ryan,” and he had to do the same.

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After that, we went about 2 years with very minimal interaction. During that time, Ryan transferred to the University of Indianapolis after our sophomore year, so then I never saw or talked to him. He dated a couple other girls and I made peace with the fact that it was really over between us. I moved on, and so did he. He tried contacting me through Facebook a few times, but I knew that with our history, there was no way we could ever be just friends, so I tried to keep that door closed to avoid getting hurt.

Fast forward to May 2010. Ryan’s sister, Megan graduated high school, and my family and I were invited to her open house. I always loved Ryan’s family, so I knew I wanted to go to support Megan, but I was a nervous wreck about seeing Ryan again. I didn’t know if it would be awkward between us, or if we’d avoid each other altogether, or what would happen. Well, as soon as I saw him, I had an instant attraction to him again. I later found out that he felt the same way, and even after I left the open house, his grandma and aunts were giving him a hard time telling him he never should have let me go. I pushed the feelings I had out of my head because I didn’t want to go there again. A few days later, he sent me a text message telling me it was good to see me and that we should hang out again soon. I ended up inviting him and his friends over for our Memorial Day party. To be honest, I was just being nice and I didn’t actually think he’d come. Well, he did. And he stayed for a long time. My mom, Krista and I watched “The Bachelorette” that night, and he stayed and watched with us. I kept thinking, “Why is he still here?” “What does he want?” “Does he have feelings for me or is he just trying to be friends again?” I was extremely confused on his intentions so I kept my guard up. Then I didn’t hear from him for a few weeks. He was being totally random. When he contacted me again, he wanted me to come over to see the house he was living in. I know, random. I remember the night before I went to see him, I prayed for answers. I was tired of being confused, and I didn’t want to be dragged along for nothing. I didn’t want to let my guard down then end up getting hurt. I also didn’t want to get involved in anything again unless it was the real deal. I knew for a long time that for Ryan and I, it had to be all or nothing. Over the next few days, he ended up confessing to me that he did have feelings for me, and that those feelings never entirely left, but he knew now after all of that time apart, and dating other girls that he didn’t want anyone else but me. I knew deep down that I felt the same about him, but it took me a while to open up and completely let my guard down. He took me on dates and courted me all over again, sending me flowers at work and other sweet things trying to “win me back” and prove to me that he was serious about this. Soon enough, with the help of many prayers, I was convinced. This was in fact the real deal. At first, I wasn’t entirely sure if it was going to work since we both changed so much since we broke up. Well, it turns out, we worked better than we ever had before. We both grew and matured into two people who balanced each other and fit each other perfectly. This time, we had no regrets. We knew there was nothing else out there but each other. And most importantly, this time our relationship had God in the center of it. From then on, we never looked back. We got engaged a year after our reconciliation, and the rest is history.

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And that is our story…or the beginning of it anyway. We have only been married for 2 years, but in the 11+ years that we’ve known each other, we have been through quite the roller coaster ride. I know that this is only the beginning of a hopefully long journey together, but I am excited and ready to take on the rest of my life with my husband.

Through our story, not only did I find the love of my life, but I found a very strong relationship in Jesus Christ. There were a lot of details that I didn’t include in this story, many of which were very low points in my life. It was during these times that I realized that God was looking out for me. He had a plan for me the entire time, and He was showing me that I just had to trust Him. I strongly believe that if Ryan and I didn’t take that time away from each other, we would not be together today. That’s the thing about God’s plan and His timing, it is ALWAYS right. Joyce Meyer once said, “Even when we cannot understand God’s plans, we must trust them. And even when we are impatient for our situations to improve, we must trust God’s timing.” I have lived many days of my life by this quote, and look where it led me. I am now married to an amazing man and have a beautiful daughter. I have been blessed beyond what I could have ever imagined, and it is all thanks to the Lord.

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My Ryan,

Happy anniversary, my love! What a beautiful life we have together. We have been through so much together so far, and I can’t wait to see what lies ahead. I will always cherish our story and how every part of it helped bring us to where we are today. I thank God every day for blessing me with such a wonderful husband who loves me and our daughter unconditionally. I love you with everything that I am and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you.

Love Kara

Summer Vacation…what took you so long?

I am officially on summer vacation! Summer has never tasted sweeter, especially after the long gruesome winter we had, and after spending a semester away from my sweet baby during the day. Don’t get me wrong, she was in great hands, but I missed her and craved her every single day. Now I can’t wait to spend almost 2 months with her (and Ryan too of course!)

It truly is hard to believe that I just completed my second full year of teaching. It certainly has been a roller coaster, but in the end, I know that I am doing what God wants me to do and I’m doing what I can to make a difference. When I tell people that I teach fifth grade, they say, “I don’t know how you do that…you must have a lot of patience.” This may be true, but I love the age that I teach. They are still kids that like to have fun, but they are old enough to talk to them like adults. I have daily conversations with my kids about sports, music, and books (the Harry Potter series in particular…I got my class obsessed). I’ve always tried to be a role model and help them learn the life skills that they need before they enter the middle school and the years beyond. If I can make an impact in only one student’s life, then I feel like I’ve done my job. Here’s to the class of 2021…the newest members of Cascade Middle School.

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I also have 3 very special people that I’d like to thank for helping me get through this school year. My mom, my mother-in-law Bev, and my sister-in-law, Megan. They took turns watching my beautiful baby girl while I was at work. Like I said earlier, it is not easy leaving your child with anyone, but knowing that she was with one of these 3 amazing women eased any concern I may have had.  Not only did they watch her, but they took her to the doctor when needed, fed me dinner on a regular basis, and let Kinsie and I hang out as long as we wanted while Ryan was in Muncie so we wouldn’t be so alone. We are so blessed that both of our parents live so close and were available and willing to help me when I needed it.

Kinsie had SO much fun with her grandmas and her Aunt Megan, and I loved seeing pictures of what she did throughout each day. She always had Ryan’s grandmas, aunts and cousins come to visit while at Grandma Bev’s house, and Grandma Kay (also known as “Yaya”) took her to Aunt Krista’s house to play with Briggs and Kerigan once a week. What a lucky girl! I am not saying that there is anything wrong with daycare, but as a previous employee of one, I know that Kinsie is getting much more interaction, love, and learning from this arrangement, which I am incredibly grateful for. I cannot thank you 3 enough for taking care of my baby girl and contributing to the happy, goofy, loving girl she is today. We love you and appreciate you more than we could ever say!

 

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I may not have a very long summer (thanks to the balanced calendar), but you better believe I am going to soak in every second with my family throughout the next 8 weeks. Happy summer vacation!

Beach Babe

Over Memorial weekend, we took a trip to one of my favorite places, Siesta Key, Florida. We got to spend about 4 days there with my parents, my sister and her family, and our good friends, the Davis family and Nate Phipps. This was Kinsie’s first real trip and her first time on a plane. Ryan has always had ear trouble on planes, so I was a little worried that Kinsie would struggle too, but she was an absolute champ. She slept most of the plane ride, which was good because otherwise she probably would have been stir crazy since she is constantly on the move! She could not have been a better little traveler on the way there and on the way home!

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Kinsie had so much fun staying up late and playing with her cousins. She is a party girl, so she was loving being around a lot of people and doing lots of different things each day. The first day that we went to the beach, she wasn’t too sure how she felt about getting sand all over her, but after that, she loved it and had a blast! She loved watching the sea gulls and would laugh each time she’d see one fly over her, and she was intrigued by the waves in the ocean and when the water touched her toes. She turned out to be quite the little beach babe!

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One thing that we’ve recently learned about our girl is that she LOVES to swim. She could have spent the whole day in the pool if we let her. She loves to kick, splash and even stick her face in the water and blow bubbles. She would constantly try to dive out of our arms and drink the pool water, so we had to keep a pretty tight grip on her!

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We also got to take a ride on a pontoon boat while we were there. Kinsie was not a fan of wearing her life jacket, but in general, she doesn’t like being constrained in any way, so this came to no surprise to us. She and Kerigan both took a little snooze, but then woke up and loved the rest of the ride. While we were stopped to go fishing for a while, Kinsie got to take her life jacket off and got a kick out of “driving” the boat with her daddy.

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This trip was truly a blessing for us. With Ryan being in med school, vacations are not going to be a common thing for a while. It was really important to us that Ryan get to be a part of Kinsie’s first Florida experience. We are grateful for every moment together as a family, especially in such a beautiful place. My family has been going to Siesta Key since Krista and I were babies, and it has become such a special place for us. I’ve been through many seasons of life and have had some of my best memories take place there. To name a few, Siesta Key is where Ryan and I got engaged, and where I found out my sister was pregnant with my nephew Briggs (Both of these events happened on the same day I might add!) I am so glad that I got to bring my husband and daughter to this beautiful place and continue to make memories that I will always carry with me.

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The whole crew

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Our engagement – May 2011

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3 years later