August Adventures

We are continuing to make strides in the process of getting settled in our new home in Little Rock. Some days are easier than others for sure, but we are making the best of it. This month, Ryan worked mostly evening or night shifts…so he would either work from 3pm-1am or 9pm-7am. This was harder on me than I expected. We were on complete opposite schedules. We would see him for about 30 minutes in the morning before he went to sleep, and for maybe 2 hours in the evening between him waking up and going back to work. We are always grateful for the time we have with him, but its hard putting the kids to bed by myself on evening shift nights, and going to bed alone every night. Once the kids went to bed was usually the time that we finally got to relax and enjoy each other’s company without children climbing all over us and demanding our attention. Even though we barely spent any time together this month, we found creative ways of showing each other love!

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I went through a funk this month because of all the time I spent alone, but I also was reminded to rely on my faith to get through difficult times. Throughout the last couple of weeks, I can feel Jesus working on my heart and helping me become more content in my circumstances.

It is still pretty darn humid here in Arkansas, so we’ve continued to try to stay busy and cool this month! Ryan had about one day a week off, so we would always try to do something fun as a family on those days. Here are some of the things we did this past month!

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

The Library system in Central Arkansas has a program called “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten.” I entered Kinsie into this program since she loves reading and I’m trying to teach her about setting goals. We started the program at the end of July, and she has already hit the 200 mark! Every time she fills a sheet, she gets so excited to turn it in and get her next sticker!

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Staying Home

Let’s face it…sometimes it’s just easier to stay home. We still try to get out of the house at least once a day for all of our sanity, but honestly, the kids are usually pretty content to stay home and play!

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Play dough fun…Brax was upset that he couldn’t eat it at first, but he got over it!

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Playing in the fort that Daddy helped them build

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Chocolate pudding night!

Play Dates and Outings

About once a week, we’ve been getting together with some of the other residents’ wives and kids for a play date. I have gotten pretty close with a few of them, and I am so grateful that they include me every time they go out. This has helped my sanity being with other adults throughout the day, and the kids love having other kids to play with. This has also helped us get out and about more and find new places to explore.

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Play places and crafts

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“Baking” at the Children’s Library

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Donut date with mom!

Outside Play

We haven’t gotten out as much as we all would have liked because of the heat, but it’s slowly getting better. Whenever we find a day that we can actually breathe outside, we take advantage! We found the cutest little play house for a bargain at Walmart, so the kids have been all about that lately. We also love making our way to the park by our house whenever we can.

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Pinnacle Mountain State Park Nature Center

Pinnacle Mountain was one of our favorite things about Little Rock when Ryan and I first visited. We haven’t taken the kids up the mountain yet since its been too hot, but someday we definitely want to. Every time we drive and see the mountain, Kinsie tells us she wants to hike up the mountain! In the mean time, we just visit the Nature Center there. On one of Ryan’s days off, they were having special presentations and activities dealing with amphibians and reptiles, some of Kinsie’s faves. The kids loved the view and learning about animals.

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Having S’more Fun!

Kinsie has been asking to do s’mores for MONTHS now. We had a small fire pit at the old house but didn’t bring it with us, so we had to find a new one for a good deal first. Once we found one, and bought some firewood, we had to wait for an evening that Ryan was off. For the longest time, every time he had an evening off, it was pouring down rain. We FINALLY got the opportunity and the kids were pumped! Kinsie bought a new shirt at Bass Pro Shops that says “Have S’more Fun,” so she couldn’t wait to make s’mores with her new shirt. The kids “helped” make the fire, and then got busy roasting marshmallows. Brax was OBSESSED with the fire…so much so that one of us had to hold him to keep him away from the fire THE WHOLE TIME. Once he shared a s’more with dad though, he was good!

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Solar Eclipse Day

Ryan has been excited about this day for far too long! My science nerd husband bought the glasses and special solar binoculars months ago. He was THRILLED to learn that he had that day off…the odds were definitely in his favor! We went to the Big Dam Bridge for the event. Brax obviously didn’t know what was going on, but he had fun running around the bridge. Kinsie thought it was pretty cool and loved looking at the eclipse with her glasses. I brought toys and books for the kids to keep them entertained while we were there and even though it cut into Brax’s nap time, it was well worth it and the kids did great! It was such a neat experience for all of us!

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Little Rock Zoo

Ryan had a couple days off last week before starting his next rotation, so we spent a day at the zoo. The weather was surprisingly perfect. The kids especially loved the gorillas, the elephants, the train ride, the petting zoo and the penguins. We had a great family day!

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First Soccer Practice

Kinsie had her first soccer practice this week, and it was….interesting I guess? Kinsie said she had fun, but practice was run very differently than what we are used to. They had ALL the kids in her age level in the same practice with only 2 coaches. Eventually they split the kids up and did a few drills and a scrimmage and once they did that, Kinsie was in her element. Ryan just started his very busy rotation and is working 12-14 hour shifts, so I had both kids at practice and was trying to help Kinsie know what to do amidst the chaos, and chase after Brax at the same time! It was chaotic, and a bit stressful, and I am hoping the organization of practices improves. Kinsie still had fun and played well, so I guess that’s all that matters. I am hopeful that she’ll meet some friends and enjoy her soccer season like she has in the past!

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That was our month in a nut shell. Kinsie starts preschool after Labor Day, so that will be exciting and should keep us busy. She’s super excited to start school, and I am very hopeful that we will love the preschool we picked out. Ryan just started a tough rotation, so we won’t be seeing much of him again. The last two weeks of September, the kids and I will fly to Indiana for a couple of weeks and spend Kinsie’s birthday with our families. I am aching to see our families again…that is by far the hardest part about being here. From seeing them several times a week to every other month or less has been very difficult. This two weeks at home will be good for all of us and we are all looking forward to it. Like I said before, we are slowly making progress with this adjustment. God is helping me through my own personal challenges with this big change, and I can feel him working on my heart every day. I am hopeful that time will help us continue to adjust.

Scorching Summer Days in July

We have survived our first full month living in the south, and MY GOODNESS is it hot here! I honestly wasn’t expecting the intensity of this heat when we moved…I assumed it would be similar to Indiana since the humidity there is difficult to bare in the summer too. Indiana’s heat has NOTHING on Arkansas! Believe it or not, our bodies are adjusting. As long as our air conditioning is working, (which is wasn’t for a full day, could have been longer if I hadn’t kept bugging AC companies…but it was a very long and hot 24 hours), then we are able to find ways to keep busy and cool. Ryan finished his orientation month at the hospital, and is now is working mostly night shifts, but we take advantage of the time we have with him to still get out and find fun things to do as a family. We had visitors, and a trip to Chicago during July as well. Enjoy the highlights of our month!

Little Rock Zoo

Early in the month, we took the kids to their first trip to the Little Rock Zoo. We only had one opportunity to go with Ryan’s work schedule, so we decided to go rain or shine. Well, it rained…pretty hard for about 30 minutes. The kids were troopers with their umbrellas, and we did all the indoor activities for a while until the rain stopped. Once it did, it was perfect! The temperature was perfect, the animals were active and there were no crowds. We all loved it!

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4th of July

Luckily, Ryan did not have to work on the 4th of July, so we had him all day and night for 4th of July fun. This was CRUCIAL because this started out as a rough day for me. We always spent this day with both of our families, and it was killing me that we weren’t at the lake with them like we were every year before this. However, the four of us had each other, and we ended up having a really great day. The town we live in has a 4th of July parade and some activities by the lake that is right by our house. The kids absolutely loved the parade! After dinner, we took the wagon down to the lake where there were bounce houses, food vendors, a band, and fireworks. We all had such a great time. The kids were SO happy and absolutely loved every second of it…especially the fireworks. Brax laughed hysterically throughout the entire firework show. It was such a great family day and night that we will never forget!

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Outside Play

Some days, we just couldn’t do it. Even Kinsie, who LOVES being outside, often wants to stay inside because of the heat. However, most days we need to get out of the house, so if we do, we find ways to stay cool. There have been a lot of water table, sprinkler, pool and splash pad days throughout the last month. We have done a few wagon rides and days at the park, but we try to keep those trips earlier in the day before the heat hits us hard!

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A Visit from Cousins

We were SO excited to have my parents and my sister’s family come visit us this month! Kinsie and Brax were absolutely giddy. During their visit, we went to the Farmer’s Market downtown, played at the rock park and the splash pad, went fishing, and got family pictures taken at the lake. It was so refreshing to spend time with my people again. The kids all had so much fun together and made many wonderful memories!

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Kinsie visits Indiana

After my family visited, Kinsie rode back to Indiana with my parents and spent the week with Grandma Bev. Of course she didn’t object since she hadn’t seen her in a month! We would head to Chicago for a wedding the next weekend anyway, so it worked out perfectly. ┬áKinsie had an awesome week back at home! She went shopping, played at the park with some of her cousins, had a cousin sleepover, and went to the fair. Ryan, Brax and I missed her like crazy, but we loved seeing how much fun she was having and knew our families needed it!

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Chicago Wedding

Our very good hometown friend Eric got married in Chicago this month! Ryan was a groomsman and Kinsie was the flower girl. Kinsie went to Chicago on Friday with Bev and had a great time at the rehearsal dinner. Ryan had to work until Friday afternoon, so he and I drove from Little Rock to Chicago once he got off work. We arrived in Chicago around 3:30am on Saturday morning. Although we were running on little sleep, we had a great trip! We spent the whole day before the wedding primping Kinsie for the wedding. I curled her hair and painted her nails…she loved it! She was an absolute ROCKSTAR at the wedding. I had so many people tell me how great did she and how beautiful she looked. She and the ring bearer were the only kids at the wedding, so they bonded. Kinsie adored him, and he was so sweet to her! In between the wedding and the reception, Bev and Tim walked around the Lincoln Park Zoo (where the wedding was held) with them. Once the dancing at the reception started, we couldn’t get our little party animal to stop! She had so much fun twirling around, tossing her flowers up in the air, taking pictures in the photo booth and dancing with everyone. It was a beautiful wedding and we all had a wonderful time. We flew back to Little Rock the next morning. Thankfully, Aunt Renata and Dean drove down to Arkansas to visit us during this time and stayed at our house to watch Brax and the dogs while we were gone. This helped us SO much to not have to travel with a one year old when he wasn’t even going to the wedding. Once we got back, Brax and Kinsie were so happy to be reunited after a long week apart!

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Family Fishing

One morning, we took the kids down to the lake to go fishing. We all had the best time and did pretty well! Kinsie caught 2 small blue gill, I caught 2 catfish and Ryan caught a big bass. The kids loved playing with all the fish and chasing each other around the dock. We will definitely have many more family fishing trips in our future here!

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Other Random Fun

When the heat is too much, we have to find indoor activities to do. We’ve gone to Walmart or Target and wandered around playing with all the toys, made cookies, gone to the library, and met up with other residents’ wives and kids for playdates about once a week.

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Also, a big milestone happened this month…Brax is finally walking! He was an early crawler, so we figured he would start walking before he turned one. This was not the case…in fact he was completely uninterested in walking for months. Finally around the beginning of July, he would randomly get up and take a few steps without being prompted. Whenever we tried to get him to walk, he wouldn’t do it…only when he thought nobody was looking. This video was when he finally started taking more steps at a time, but if you saw him now, you’d think he’d been walking for months! He is EVERYWHERE now! He barely ever sits down. He even walks around while drinking his milk before bed or while having a snack. Once he started, he never wanted to stop!

So, it was actually a pretty busy month! We are starting to get comfortable here and it is feeling more and more like home. It is still so hard being away from everything and everyone that was so familiar to us in Indiana. We take it day by day and try to stay busy and explore and meet people as often as we can. We are learning not only to accept our new life here, but to embrace it. We still have rough days no doubt, but we are having less of them as time goes on.