Christmas With Two

We love Christmas time around here, and having two children for the first time this Christmas season was double the fun! Christmas is practically a month long with all the festivities that come with it, and with all of that, we are very adamant about remembering why we are celebrating Christmas in the first place. Now that Kinsie is old enough to understand, we really tried to make the birth of Jesus the focus throughout the Christmas season. As a result of this, she became obsessed with Baby Jesus! She got super excited every time she saw a Nativity scene, and constantly sang songs about Baby Jesus. Of course she still got excited about Santa, Christmas lights and presents, but she at least seemed to understand the real meaning of Christmas (to the extent that a 3 year old can understand it). There was a lot that went on this month, so here were some of our favorite Christmas activities this month…

Breakfast with Santa Party

Kinsie’s cousin Emery had her 3rd birthday party at the beginning of the month, and it was a “Breakfast with Santa” party. It was so cute and so much fun! Santa came and each kid got to sit on his lap and take pictures with him. Like on the Polar Express, Kinsie was very shy, but excited to see Santa. Brax was all smiles like usual!

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Meeting Santa

I have always said that I would never force my kids to visit Santa and sit on his lap and get a picture of them crying…I would only take them if they wanted to see him. Last year was the first year that Kinsie really could have a choice, and she wanted to meet him. Same with this year, and Brax is still young enough that he doesn’t seem to care either way. We visited the same Santa we did last year, he is a great one! Both the kids did great!

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Christmas Music Program

Kinsie’s preschool had a Christmas music program this month. They have been practicing their songs for quite a while now, so Kinsie had been singing them to me at home constantly. She particularly liked the song “Oh What a Special Night,” which is about Baby Jesus being born and all the animals in the manger singing to Him for His birthday. It is a precious song, and luckily her cousins knew it too…so they later sang it on the beach in Florida! Kinsie did awesome in her program! She sang all the words, (we could even hear her among all the voices) and did all the motions. It filled my heart with so much joy to see her singing so excitedly about Jesus!

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Christmas Eve at Aunt Renata’s

The last few years we have done pretty much the same Christmas Eve and Christmas Day routine. On Christmas Eve morning we eat breakfast at Ryan’s parents’ house and open gifts with them, then go to Christmas Eve service, then to Ryan’s Aunt Renata’s house for dinner and gifts. This is always a highlight, as we love spending time with everyone in the family. Kinsie seemed to love opening gifts even more this year because now she got to help Brax open his as well! Brax of course enjoyed his gifts, but seemed more interested in the ribbons and boxes! Both of the kids slept the whole ride home that night and went right to bed when we got home. We still left out milk and cookies for Santa though so they could see if he ate them in the morning!

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Christmas Morning at Home

If you recall, last year I woke up on Christmas morning feeling terribly ill. I spent the entire day vomiting, so I didn’t get to enjoy watching Kinsie see what she got from Santa and opening all her gifts. I prayed that we all stayed healthy this year for Christmas, and I did have a sinus infection, but I would take that any day over the stomach flu! The kids were so excited this year to see what Santa brought them. The main gift that Kinsie wanted was the game Hungry Hungry Hippos, so she was thrilled to see it when she woke up! She also got a fishing game, a talking minion, and a hippo shirt. Brax was excited about his Mickey puppets, dinosaur teething toy, and elephant rattle!

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Christmas Day at Papa and Yaya’s

Another tradition…after opening gifts with our individual families, we always meet at my parents’ house for brunch and gifts. Last year we had 3 kids opening gifts, and this year we added 2 more to the mix! Brax and Kolly couldn’t do a whole lot of the opening on their own, but the three older cousins came to their aid. It was Christmas chaos all morning and we loved every second of it. The kids were all so happy opening their presents and just being together. After all the gifts were open, we stayed for a while and the kids opened all their new toys and games and played with all of them. It was a perfect day spent entirely in our pajamas and enjoying each other’s company.

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Kinsie got a ton of hippo related gifts this year, which is funny since she has been obsessed with the song “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.” She indeed got a hippopotamus for Christmas…or a few for that matter! Our boy Brax also had a wonderful first Christmas!

It was a wonderful month of December, and we had so much quality family time. It is times like this that we really realize how blessed we truly are. Christmas with two kids certainly added another level of chaos, but I wouldn’t have it any other way and I can’t wait to see the joy on the kids’ faces year after year on Christmas.

Beach Babes

At the beginning of Winter break, we were able to take a trip to Siesta Key, Florida with my family. Our family owns a condo in the area, so we used to go all the time when I was in high school and college. However, with the busy-ness of life with kids, and a med student husband whose time is not his own, we have only been there once since Kinsie was born, and she was a baby so she didn’t remember.

My parents and my sister’s family flew in a few days before we did, because I had to finish my last few days of school before Winter Break started, and Ryan had another residency interview trip to return from. In those days, we had a major ice storm in Indiana, which delayed and cancelled many flights…ours being one of them. We ended up flying the next day straight to Orlando – which really worked out better for us because we were planning on spending that afternoon and evening at the Magic Kindom for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party anyway before spending the rest of our vacation in Siesta Key. We were all THRILLED to get away from the freezing cold weather!

This was our first time traveling with 2 kids. While the kids were absolute champs, traveling with two is quite different than just one! Our time at the airport was complete chaos with all of our luggage including 2 car seats, wrangling the two kids, trying to prevent Brax from spitting up all over the airport seats while trying not to spill our coffee on ourselves, the kids, or even the floor (can’t waste that gold!) Kinsie was excited to roll her own suitcase through the airport. She spent the flight singing Christmas songs to everyone and watching episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and Brax slept the majority of the flight. During the time he was awake, he was happy but crazy (per usual!) He made loud happy squeals, smiled at everyone around him, and squirmed so much that we were sweating by the end of the flight. Like I said…the trip wasn’t bad, just chaotic!

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Once we flew into Orlando, my parents picked us up and we headed straight to Disney World. We didn’t buy regular admission tickets, just for the Christmas Party…so we were able to enter the park at 4pm. As soon as we got there, the first thing we did was meet Mickey. Brax was beyond tired at this point, so he really needed to nap, but I really wanted him to get to meet Mickey. He LOVED him! Kinsie and the other kids of course loved him too! During our time at Magic Kingdom, we rode a few rides, watched the parade and the fireworks (our favorite parts), ate Christmas cookies, and had a dance party with the reindeer! We were there until after midnight, and Brax slept on and off in the stroller, and Kinsie not only stayed awake the entire time we were there, but walked the entire time! Even when we held Brax and offered the stroller to Kinsie, she wanted to walk. Finally as we were leaving the park after midnight, Kinsie passed out in Ryan’s arms. We drove back to Siesta Key that night and arrived at 3am. It was a long, exhaustic, but wonderful evening!

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Kinsie was only 9 months old when we went to Siesta Key last, and while she loved the pool and the sunshine, she was not the biggest fan of the beach – mainly because she was too little to run around and enjoy it. The closest we have come to the beach since then was last summer when we went to the Dunes for a family reunion. Kinsie loved that beach, so I figured she would be in heaven on Siesta Key Beach…one of the world’s best and most beautiful beaches. Boy, was I right! She spent all-day every day at the beach. Ryan and I took turns in the condo with Brax for his naps, but Kinsie always stayed on the beach either with one of us, or with my parents. Brax obviously couldn’t enjoy it as much as Kinsie, but that kid has fun doing just about anything. He enjoyed it the best he could!

Kinsie loved spending time with her cousins. They spent a ton of time playing in the ocean, finding sea shells and seaweed, chasing seagulls, and making sand castles (and sand hippos too). We were there on my mom’s birthday, so we had a cookout on the beach on that day. Brax ended up coming down with an upper respiratory infection while we were there, so he was a bit needier than usual, but he still did very well considering. Ryan and I really wanted to get the chance to go fishing on the dock, but it was difficult to find the time. We tried to go during Brax’s naps, but he didn’t sleep more than 45 minutes at a time since he didn’t feel good. On the last night of our trip, we were able to make it happen once the kids were in bed. We didn’t get many bites that night, so we went back with the kids the next day before going to the airport. Ryan finally caught a snapper, so we were excited that we at least got something during the trip!

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We all had such a great time. The weather was perfect while we were there, making it hard to come back to Indiana. We can’t wait to go back again!

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November Adventures

The fall months always keep us busy! There is always a lot going on with birthdays, holidays and fall activities. Here were the highlights of our month:

Trip to Florida

Ryan is in the midst of residency interview season, so he is raveling around the country interviewing for different Emergency Medicine residency programs. When he got an interview with the University of Florida program in Gainesville, I volunteered to go with him without hesitation! At first we were planning on bringing the kids, but we decided to leave them with our parents and take a trip just the two of us. We hadn’t done this since our Honeymoon, so it was much needed! Since we were going to be in Florida for a few days, we also took the opportunity to visit a place that was on our Bucket List…Harry Potter World in Universal Studios. Ryan and I are both Harry Potter nerds and we have been dying to visit there. It was AMAZING. We spent 2 days there and loved every minute of it. We walked through Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, ate at the Three Broomsticks and the Leaky Cauldron, bought the Elder Wand, rode the Hogwarts Express, drank butterbeer and much more Harry Potter fun! Our other favorite area of Universal Studios was Jurassic Park. We spent a lot of time in the gift shop buying dinosaur souvenirs for the kids! After two days in Orlando, we drove to Gainesville for the interview. We walked the campus, and hiked through some of the local parks. At a park called La Chua Trail, we saw at least 50 alligators! One of them was blocking the trail so we couldn’t go any further. We loved exploring the beautiful town of Gainesville and we had an amazing trip!

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Jurassic Quest

A month or so ago, Ryan’s cousin saw an ad for a show that was coming to the Indiana State Fairgrounds in November, called Jurassic Quest. She told us we should take Kinsie. We looked into it and decided to buy tickets. It was an awesome experience! We were in a huge warehouse and there were tons of life-size animatronic dinosaurs that moved and roared. Kinsie got to ride on a moving dinosaur, and then Brax joined her on a smaller non-moving dinosaur. There were also bounce houses, crafts, face-painting (which we didn’t do because there was a 2 hour wait!), and arcade games. Kinsie was in heaven! She told us that she never wanted to leave. Of course we eventually did, but both the kids got to bring home a stuffed dinosaur souvenir. They loved it!

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Thanksgiving

This year, my school system changed our calendar, and we had one week off for Fall Break in October, and the whole week of Thanksgiving off. I didn’t like it at first since I only had one week off after the first quarter of school, but I actually loved having Thanksgiving week off. Ryan had the week off too, so we were able to spend a lot of great family time together. Earlier in the week, we got to go to Kinsie’s preschool’s Thanksgiving feast. She made placemats for us in class that included what she was thankful for. It was a lot of fun! Thanksgiving Day itself is always a highlight of our fall because we get to spend the day with both of our families. During the day, we went to Ryan’s sister Megan’s house for Thanksgiving lunch. We got to spend a few hours there with Ryan’s family, and Kinsie always loves going there to run around with their dog, Ali. Later, we went to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving dinner with my family. The kids had a blast with their cousins and we had some great family time! Later that evening, Kinsie was having a slumber party with her cousins at my parents house, and my poor sweet girl got sick and we had to come and get her. We spent the next few days snuggling at home watching movies and she was feeling better within a few days. Our family tends to have bad luck with holidays…one of us is always sick on either Thanksgiving or Christmas. Fingers crossed that we all stay healthy this Christmas!

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Thanksgiving feast at Kinsie’s preschool

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Thanksgiving lunch at Megan and Tim’s

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All the cousins gathered around the cousin table for Thanksgiving dinner

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Polar Express

This year, we thought that the kids would really enjoy doing the Polar Express train ride. Ryan’s cousin’s kids are about Kinsie’s age and they love hanging out together, so we decided to get tickets for the same train as them. This was such an awesome experience! We all wore Christmas pajamas, rode on the train, drank hot cocoa, and ate cookies. We rode to the “North Pole” and picked up Santa Claus, who rode on the train ride back to the train station and visited with each kid. Kinsie had been talking about Santa SO much and couldn’t wait to see him, then once she did, she was so overwhelmed! She tried to hide behind me but I wouldn’t let her because I knew she wanted to see him. When he sat in the seat with us, she was super shy. (this was exactly how she was at Disney World last year when meeting the characters!) She told Santa what she wanted for Christmas, but very quietly! Of course afterwards, she couldn’t stop talking about how she met Santa! It was a lot of fun and a very neat experience.

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As you can see, it was a great month! Like most parents, we love nothing more than to see our kids happy, so we take them to dinosaur shows and wear ridiculous Rudolph pajamas. Since Ryan is traveling so much, we really do our best to savor our time together as a family and go out and do fun things. We have a lot planned for the month of December as well with a trip to Florida (this time with the kids), and lots of Christmas fun!

7 Month Little Man

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My little man is 7 months old! Now I feel like the months are really flying by because we are so busy. Some days I think that I still have a newborn baby, then I look at him and am quickly reminded how big he is! Our little guy is growing right before our very eyes but we are all loving every minute of it!

Kinsie and Brax are becoming the best of friends. Don’t get me wrong, they have always been tight…but now he is so much more interactive and Kinsie loves that. They adore each other and already have their own little language. I absolutely love their relationship!

Our boy Brax at 7 months…

  • He is army crawling like a beast. He is all over the place and can get somewhere fast if he is on a mission.
  • He has 2 teeth.
  • He weighs approximately 17 pounds.
  • He is finally sleeping through the night again.
  • Trying to change his diaper or clothes is like a wrestling match. I have to pin down all his limbs in order to win.
  • He loves bath time.
  • His favorite things to put in his mouth are his feet, Kinsie’s hair, and the jingle bell that he got from Santa on the Polar Express.
  • He is still SO smiley and giggly.

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We are loving every day with our beautiful babies. We are SO blessed!