Enjoying the ‘Rays in May

May was SO busy! When I think back to the beginning of the month, it seems like it was 3 months ago. May always tends to be one of the busier months of the year with the end of school and all the programs and activities that go with it, the end of sports seasons, etc…but we loved every minute of it! Here is how our May went down…

Brax’s Birthday

I’m still in denial that my baby is three. And the crazy thing is that ever since he turned three, he’s acted older. He talks like he’s older, his fine motor skills and agility have taken off, and his behavior has improved (for now). Our special boy deserved a special birthday!

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His birthday started off with surprise donuts from Dad. Ryan had been on a string of night shifts, and he stopped by the famous Hurts Donuts in Little Rock on his way home from work to surprise Brax!

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Next, Brax got to spend part of his birthday with his teacher and friends at school. We sent cupcakes and Avengers napkins for them to enjoy.

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After school, we let him open a few presents. He loved his shark tent and chair from his cousins, his talking Hulk from Papa and Yaya, and his robot from us!

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Next, we took him to his favorite restaurant for dinner, All Aboard. Every time we go, the kids get so excited to watch the train deliver food for everyone.

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After dinner, we came back home for birthday treats. He was grinning from ear to ear as we sang to him, and loved every bite of his blue birthday cookies!

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Brax’s Birthday Party

We decided to have a mini-party for Brax when some family came to visit for Kinsie’s Pre-K graduation. We decorated the kitchen in Avengers decor, with a special banner made by none other than Aunt Megan (this banner now hands in his room!) We ate burgers and cake, opened more presents, and dressed in superhero masks and tattoos. It was a great night!

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Kinsie’s Ballet Recital

Kinsie has been loving her ballet class this year. The season ended with a special performance to show off all the skills they learned throughout the year. Kinsie did a fantastic job and loved getting to perform on stage!

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Mother’s Day

Ryan has been in the MICU this month, which is one of the toughest rotations in residency. He works extra long hours and gets fewer days off. I was really bummed to learn that he was going to have to work a 24 hour shift on Mother’s Day this year, and he wasn’t able to change it. I was bummed, but we did our best to work around it. We went out for a sushi dinner the night before, and then some residency friends took the kids and I out for a Mother’s Day lunch after church. After that, I spent the entire day at the park with my little loves. The weather was perfect and we actually had a great day together.

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In between our activities, I had a special delivery from Ryan. He sent me some flowers (which could be planted in the yard of course…we’re not big on spending money on flowers that will die a few days later!) and some treats. It made my day that he was still thinking about me even though he couldn’t spend the day with me.

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The kids definitely made me feel extra loved on Mother’s Day!

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Kinsie’s Graduation

I can’t believe my big girl graduated from preschool and she’ll be starting Kindergarten in the fall! I have no doubt in my mind that she’s ready, and she’s SO excited! She wants to be a teacher like her mama when she grows up, and she has LOVED every second of her schooling experience so far. I know she’ll do great in elementary school!

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Again, it wasn’t the best month for Ryan. Last month, he was selected as Chief Resident of his program, which we were very excited about! However, this required him to go to an out-of-state conference the same week as Kinsie’s graduation. As soon as I knew he wouldn’t be able to come, I recruited some family to come for her special day. I know I’ve said it before, but we the BEST family in the world. My mom, Ryan’s mom, Megan, Nate and Griffin all came. Kinsie loved having so many people come for her graduation, and I know it helped her not be too sad about her daddy missing it. But we took lots of videos for him to watch when he returned!

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Family Visit

We loved having some family visit us for a few days. The weather was beautiful, so we spent a lot of time outside at the park.

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One day when Kinsie was at school, Brax helped both of his grandmas do some gardening in the front yard. He loved helping!

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And cousin pool parties are always a good idea! Griffin loved his first pool experience and the kids loved sharing it with him.

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Last Day of School

The kids had a wonderful school year. They both grew and learned so much. Brax especially did amazing for his first school experience. He adored his teacher and loved meeting new friends!

Kinsie’s first and last day of school…

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Brax’s first and last day of school…

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And together…

LastDaySchool-bothKinsie definitely grew this year! She is much taller and no longer has a baby face, but is developing into a beautiful little girl. Brax doesn’t look a ton different, but you can tell he looks a little taller and slimmer!

The kids had the BEST teachers this year. Mrs. Lina was Brax’s teacher, and she was the sweetest, most patient and kind teacher, which was perfect for him in his first year. Brax started out the year very shy and wouldn’t talk much to her, but he ended the year hugging on her, and running around acting like his silly self at school. Kinsie’s teacher, Mrs. Suze was also perfect for her this year. She really helped Kinsie mature, and prepare for Kindergarten. She did tons of creative projects with higher-level thinking, which is perfect for my imaginative little girl. Of course, my passionate and emotional Kinsie Kay bawled like a baby when she had to say goodbye to her teachers and preschool! It broke my heart, but also made me happy that she loves school so much.

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Last Day of T-Ball

Kinsie wrapped up her last season of T-ball. She had a great experience and a great coach for both seasons she played. If she decides to continue, she will play softball in the fall. She had a great season and we loved watching her!

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Brax’s First Dentist Appointment

My big boy had his first dentist appointment recently. When we first got there, he was a little nervous and wouldn’t look or interact with the hygienist. However, she was so great with him and took lots of time talking to him, and showing him all her tools so he would become more comfortable. By the end, he was giggling and talking to her like he knew her all along. And of course, Kinsie was the best supportive big sis, holding Brax’s hand and showing him how to open wide!

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LOTS of Art Projects

Kinsie has loved art for a while now, but now she is sharing that love with her little brother. Brax has taken a huge interest in drawing lately. I’m not exaggerating when I say that he spends at least 2-3 hours a day drawing. And he has gotten really good!

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The kids each have a sketchpad and some markers that I keep in the car for them. I am amazed at the creations they draw in such a short amount of time. The pictures below include Kinsie’s drawing of an eagle, and a mermaid castle.

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I just can’t get enough of Brax;s little concentration face (which is the SAME as his daddy’s), and his precious little drawings. He has come a long way drawing people and animals. Right now he especially loves drawing smiley faces and jelly fish.

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Kinsie’s imagination has been off the charts lately. Her new favorite thing to do is draw pictures and tape them to popsicle sticks and put on “puppet shows.” We love her imagination and love how she shares it with Brax.

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Outside Adventures

The first couple weeks of May brought lots and lots of rain. So much so, that there is severe flooding in many parts of Little Rock. The flooding isn’t directly affecting us luckily, but we had many umbrella and rain boot days during that timespan!

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The second half of May has brought much better weather. The summer heat is here and the upper 80-90 degree temps often starts as early as 8 a.m. each day. If we happen to have a day where it’s only in the 70s, we venture to the park.

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Most days lately, we’ve been in our bathing suits playing with the sprinkler, water table and baby inflatable pool. Believe it or not, the kids have so much fun in this tiny pool. And popsicles don’t hurt either!

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Sprinkler fun!

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We’ve had lots of critters around the house lately. We’ve seen multiple lizards, and even a snake in our yard. Ryan caught the snake and put it in a bucket for the kids to look at, of course. No worries…he’s working on a fellowship in wilderness medicine and knew that the snake was non-venomous. That didn’t stop me from staying as far away as possible though! The snake appeared in our yard twice, and after that Ryan walked it down the path a ways so that it hopefully found a new home!

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We recently upgraded the kids’ inflatable pool to a bigger size and they have been loving it! No joke, I’ve spent about 3-4 hours a day outside with them while they play in their pool!

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Day Adventures

Library

The kids love the library. Even though our library is small and doesn’t have many activities, they love picking out endless stacks books to read together.

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Behind the library, there is a nice deck area where you can walk around the pond. The kids and I ventured out there and had a blast. We made friends with a swan and several ducks. The kids love finding nature outside, and they could have stayed watching those birds for hours.

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Chick-fil-A and Sonic

We don’t do this as often as the kids would like, mainly because we can’t afford to eat Chick-fil-A every day, but every so often we do have lunch dates there and spend some time playing. The kids always love it. We’ve also discovered Sonic’s happy hour. It’s been a fun little afternoon activity to get the kids out of the house and enjoy some slushies on our hot days.

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Kiddie City

This is a new place in our town that I’ve been wanting to try. We spent the morning there one day and the kids were obsessed. It was perfect for their age, with tons of play fixtures, slides, play kitchens, dress-up, and more. The kids have been asking every day when we can go again!

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Family Trip to Memphis

Ever since we’ve moved here, we’ve been wanting to go to Memphis, mainly because they have hippos at their zoo. It’s only about a 2 hour drive, so we knew we could take a day trip there. However, Ryan had a short 1.5 day stretch after Memorial weekend, so we decided to make it an overnight trip. We drove to Memphis in the afternoon when he got off work, and spent the night.

The afternoon we got there, we went to the Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid. We love Bass Pro anyway, so going to this unique one was a cool experience.

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The next morning, we woke up and headed to the zoo. We had such a great time. It was hot, but it didn’t get unbearable until it was almost time to leave. We got to see the hippos, which wouldn’t get as close and put on a show for us like Fiona does at the Cincinnati Zoo, but we still loved seeing them! We also loved the gorillas, the polar bear, feeding the stingrays, and the camel ride!

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Another highlight was the bird house. Anytime we go to a zoo with this, it’s always one of the kids’ favorite things. They love feeding the birds and having them land on their feeding stick!

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There were also lots of fun interactive activities in between exhibits. The kids loved playing the drums and pretending to hatch out of eggs. It was such a great little family trip, after this long month of Ryan being in the MICU, we definitely needed this quality family time.

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So that was our month. We had a LOT going on, and even though Ryan had to work a lot, we stayed very busy and had lots of fun. We have a lot going on in June as well, and the kids and I will hardly be home! It will be nice to visit our family in Indiana while we have the time off in the summer.

Another exciting event that happened this month was that Ryan signed a contract for Bloomington Hospital starting in August 2020…so we will officially be moving back to our home state of Indiana in about a year! We are so excited, especially to live in Bloomington where we both attended IU. We will definitely miss the home we’ve made here in Little Rock, but we can’t wait to be close to family again and finally SETTLE!

 

Here is our 1 Second Everyday video for the month of May. Enjoy!

Three and Thriving!

My baby boy is three. THREE. It still doesn’t seem possible to me. He was just a baby when we moved to Arkansas…not even walking or talking yet. Now he’s a loud, crazy, hilarious, stubborn toddler running circles around us. He has made incredible gains in his maturation and development this year. He’s still a bit clumsy, but he can run, jump, and climb like a beast. He has an incredible vocabulary and never really stops talking (just like he sister…between the two of them, there is literally no air time). Looking back at pictures and videos of just a year ago, it’s amazing how much he’s changed. However, he’s still our goofy, giggly, wild little boy!
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Here are some stats about Braxton at three years old…

  • Favorite color: Blue
  • Favorite animal: Gorillas
  • Favorite food: Chicken nuggets and any and all snacks
  • Favorite TV shows: Team Umizoomi and Puppy Dog Pals
  • Favorite movies: The Lion King and Dumbo
  • Favorite books: S is for Superhero, and Hulk to the Rescue
  • Favorite songs: Come Alive (from The Greatest Showman), and The One I Love (by Tyrone Wells)
  • Other songs he enjoys singing: Jesus Loves Me, ABC’s, The IU Fight Song, Old McDonald, and Baby Shark (you know…the essentials)
  • He wants to be a doctor and a superhero when he grows up.

Other Fun Facts about our boy:

  • Kinsie is still his best friend. However, he knows exactly how to push her buttons. He loves to do whatever she is doing, and hug and kiss all over her…but his favorite thing to do with her is wrestle her. Usually they wrestle under control for a few minutes, then he takes it too far and begins “Hulk smashing” her, and someone usually ends up in tears! They go through phases where they get along great and play nicely together, or other times where they can barely be in the same room without fighting. Typical siblings I guess!

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  • He loves school and his teacher, Ms. Lina. He went through a few phases where he would cry when I dropped him off, but overall he has done great and always has fun! Below is a picture of him with his class full of boys. And yes…he is the shortest one in his class. In his defense, he is the youngest as well. Most of these boys already turned 3 last fall. We are hoping Brax eventually gets some height from his Uncle Nate!Brax-school

 

  • He is very well potty trained. I know I discussed this in another post, but he was actually very easy to train. He usually still sits on the potty, but is now working on standing up like a big boy so he is ready for the 3’s class next year at school. He has been great at going potty on the go since we are constantly going from place to place. When Kinsie has t-ball, they only have port-a-potties, so we’ve brought along his potty chair in the back of the car. He is a champ about just going with it!

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  • He’s definitely still a mama’s boy, and loves to be my little sidekick…but he adores his daddy. He is becoming more aware of the fact that Daddy works a lot, and he really misses him when he’s gone. Whenever Daddy is home, he is hugging all over him and constantly wanting to play superheroes or play fight.

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  • Like I mentioned before, his vocabulary has increased tremendously this year. Last year he was talking better, but we had a tough time understanding everything he said. Now we understand most of what he says. He even recently starting saying “Kinsie” accurately, where before, it sounded like “Ti Ti.”
  • He recently gave up both his pacifier and naps. I’m very excited about no more paci… not so excited about no more naps!
  • He absolutely loves being outside. He could spend all day at the park if I let him!

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  • His current obsession is superheroes. It’s all he talks about. He knows all the Avengers by name, and talks about them as if they are his close personal friends. The Hulk is his favorite!

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Below is a picture that Kinsie drew for Brax for his birthday. It is the Hulk holding a birthday cake, and a number 3 (even though it is backwards…it’s the thought that counts!)

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  • He loves reading and puzzles. He can memorize long books and recite them word for word. He can also do a 36 piece puzzle by himself!Brax-bookspuzzles

  • Like his sister, he has really started to love drawing, arts, and crafts. He has become pretty good, and we can actually somewhat tell what he is drawing! Brax-drawing
  • He is one of the most stubborn children I have encountered. This has caused for some major power struggles and temper tantrums that have tested my limits. However, he seems to be improving. We are working on making him aware of his behavior, and how he can do better. We have a “Nice Boy” chart where he has to be a good listener and be nice to his family in order to get special rewards. So far it is working pretty well!
  • He is literally either snuggling with us, or wrestling with us. There is no in between!

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  • He is very picky about who he lets in his inner circle. Once you’re in though, you’re in for life. Speaking of which, he is very close to all of his family…grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. With us being out of town during these crucial memory-making years, we have really made it a priority to visit, Facetime, and even look at pictures and videos of family so that he always knows who they are.
  • He has become very aware of the fact that we live far away from everyone. Kinsie has already gone through this, and she has actually gotten better. Now Brax struggles when we leave Indiana, or when family leaves us from a visit. He adores his cousins and is happiest when he’s with them!

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He is definitely a unique kid. We call him our sour patch kid…he is either sour or sweet, with no in between! He makes us laugh every single day. It’s hard to look at him and not just want to kiss his sweet little cheeks! Even though he can be a total stinker, his sweet side draws people to him. We all adore him and are loving watching him grow into the unique little person he is!
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Happy 3RD Birthday, Braxton Robert!! We love you to infinity and beyond!!

April Sunshine

We had a lot going on in April! We had a lot of fun experiences, stayed busy, and had an awesome visit from family. While April is usually filled with lots of rain, (which we still had plenty of), we had tons of beautiful sunshine as well. Like I’ve said before, spring weather here is Arkansas is on point. We probably spent more time outside this month than we did inside. Any chance we got, we spent it outside. This was good for all of our souls, and we soaked in every minute of it. Here is a recap of our April.

Brax’s First Movie Theater Experience

One of Braxs’s favorite Disney movies is Dumbo, so as soon as we knew that they were making a live-action version, we wanted to see it right away. We don’t go to the movies often…it has to be something we really want to see for us to go. Since our boy loves Dumbo, we figured this would be a great opportunity for his first time at the movie theater. The movie was wonderful, and the kids did great! Brax spent most of his time eating popcorn, and climbing all over me asking when the movie would be over…but once it actually was, he kept saying he wanted to see it again!

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A Ballerina Birthday Party

Kinsie was invited to another friend from school’s birthday parties. This time, Daddy was able to stay home with Brax, so I got to have a little girl time with Kinsie. This party was a ballerina themed party, with a guest visit from the Sugar Plum Fairy. Kinsie was a little starstruck, but loved spending time with her friends and getting her face painted.

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No More Pacifier…and No More Naps

Last August, we took Brax’s pacifier away and let’s just say, it was a complete disaster. We gave up and decided to try again later. The time had come again when I knew we just had to suck it up and do it. We prepared him for weeks, telling him he’s a big boy now, and big boys don’t need pacifiers. We told him that his baby cousin was coming to visit soon and he needed to give his pacifier to Griffin. Luckily, this time around, things went much better! He still had a couple of rough nights falling asleep, and a few very early mornings, but overall, he’s done great! This was a huge hurdle for us considering he was very attached to his paci at night.

Ever since we got rid of his pacifier, naps have gone out the window. Each time I tried, he wanted nothing to do with it. I knew this might happen, so at least I was somewhat mentally prepared. Back to the minor setbacks he’s had with this big change, one morning he woke up at 5am and refused to go back to sleep. The next day, I made him go to his bed for a nap. Again, he wanted nothing to do with it and fought and screamed. I just left him in there, and eventually we noticed on the monitor that he was sitting up, but not moving. That little stinker was stubborn, but exhausted. He fell asleep sitting up in his bed! I still laugh when I look at the picture below on the right. Sorry buddy…Mama won this battle!

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T-ball is in Full Swing

We are in the midst of t-ball season, and it is keeping us busy. Kinsie still loves it, and Brax loves going to watch her. She even had a special visitor come to one of her games. Even though Megan and Griffin were only able to make it for the last inning due to a diaper blowout, Kinsie was excited that they got to see her bat.

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Give us ALL the Outside Time!

Even though I miss it, one plus side to Brax not napping anymore is that we don’t really have as much of a schedule on when to be back home or back inside…so we’ve been spending all day every day outside.

We like to change it up between the front yard, backyard, and the park. Even when we stay home, they always come up with creative ways to play, like having picnics, or making “stew” out of leaves and grass. They especially love finding critters, like ladybugs and slugs. They also love washing my car!

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We have spent lots and lots of time at the park by our house. It really is a win win…I get some exercise by pulling them in the wagon to the park, and they have lots of fun once we get there!

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Lucky little Brax gets even more park time since Kinsie goes to school 5 days a week. We go to the park any day that we can. We’ve even had a few picnic lunches at the park.

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Lately, the kids are really having a hard time getting along. They are always fighting about something, or just trying to get under each other’s skin. Everything changes when we go to the park though. Somehow, they magically get along and are each other’s best friends. Maybe this is why I don’t mind spending so much time there either!

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One Saturday, Ryan had to work a 12 hour shift, and it was a beautiful day, so we packed a picnic and headed to the park. We spent hours there. After our lunch, we played on the playground and had a nature scavenger hunt.

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The kids loved finding pine cones, sticks, and flowers on their scavenger hunt.

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Later after dinner, we heard the ice cream truck outside. By the time we got outside, it was driving around the corner, so the kids and I hopped in the car and chased it down! We got it at its next stop and the kids loved it! It was a great way to end our day. This honestly was one of my favorite days I’ve had with the kids in a long time.

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Cousin Love

We haven’t seen Megan, Tim, and Griffin since Christmas, and we were so excited that they agreed to come spend the week with us for Easter. Megan and Griffin flew in, then Tim drove here a few days later. The kids were in heaven. They ADORE their baby cousin. They spent most of their time on the floor swooning over him. Griffin stayed very entertained while he was here!

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We did various activities while they were here. We took several walks around the lake, and Griffin either enjoyed the view or snoozed.

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We walked on the Big Dam Bridge. The kids were being goofballs the entire time, so again, Griffin stayed entertained.

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We even got to take Griffin on his very first zoo trip. It turned out to be a much colder day than we expected, but the kids still loved showing him their favorite animals and attractions at the zoo.

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We also took them to hike Pinnacle Mountain with us. Griffin was a trooper and seemed very content throughout the hike. Kinsie took twice as long as usual because she wanted to touch and explore every leaf, acorn, and stick along the way. Brax split his time between being a good little hiker and riding on Daddy’s shoulders, or being an absolute terror and refusing to go anywhere. But hey, that’s life with a toddler.

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The view from the top of Pinnacle Mountain never gets old!

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Easter Activities

We like to do lots of different crafts and activities to celebrate Easter. I always try really hard each year to still have fun with egg hunts and such, but making sure the kids know the real importance of Easter.

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Dying Easter Eggs

The kids loved having Griffin watch them dye their Easter eggs this year. Griffin even got a little too excited and knocked over the bowl of yellow dye. The kids got a kick out of it and decided that his favorite color is yellow. Kinsie decorated all her eggs like unicorns of course, and Brax just put as many dinosaur stickers on each egg as he possibly could fit.

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Easter Cookies

Making cookies is another tradition that I started since we moved here, since Aunt Renata always made cookies with them before. She even still sends us supplies in the mail to make cookies each holiday! The kids, Megan and I enjoyed decorating bunny, egg, and flower cookies…and Griffin just loved watching the madness!

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Church Easter Egg Hunt

Our church has a big Easter egg hunt the Saturday before Easter, and the kids had a blast at it last year, so we knew we wanted to go again this year. They split it up by age group, which is perfect so kids don’t get overwhelmed or intimidated. It was a beautiful day and the kids had a great time finding eggs and learning more about Jesus.

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Easter Morning

All the kids woke up to a full Easter basket and enjoyed their treats from the Easter bunny. Then we all went to church for an Easter service.

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After church, we made brunch and then had another egg hunt for the kids. Kinsie hopped the entire time, Brax screamed happily, and Griffin chilled. What a trio!

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We LOVED our time with the Mosier family, and we were so thankful that they made the trip to spend Easter with us. Holidays can be really tough being away from home, especially when we can’t always make the trip to be with everyone, so it means the world when family comes to us.

Another month down, and now May is upon us. My baby is about to be three in a few days, and I can’t even deal! We are excited for May, and hoping we can survive another hot Arkansas summer!

Here is our 1 Second Every Day video for April. Enjoy!

All the Love in Arizona

I went to Arizona about 9 years ago with my parents for baseball spring training when I was in college. It is such an amazing and unique place. I love the mountains, the cacti, and the climate. My family goes every year, and it never worked out for us to go before, until this year. We love when Ryan gets time off from work, and spending it in a beautiful place like Arizona is even better!

The kids have become good little travelers. They are used to driving 10+ hours in the car, so flying with them really isn’t a problem. The hardest part is all the extra luggage…suitcases, a pack-n-play, car seats, etc. Luckily, they enjoy helping as much as they can! We made it there in one piece, and it took some time to adjust to the 2 hour time difference, but we were excited for some fun adventures.

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Day 1 – Chicago White Sox Spring Training Game

Baseball spring training is how the yearly Arizona tradition all began. My mom loves her Chicago White Sox, so my parents would always try to come out to see them play. This was the first time that all of us got to come, and that we had all 5 of the cousins together with Yaya in her happiest happy place! To be honest, my kids didn’t pay attention at all to the game. They were more interested in the hot dogs, popcorn and churros. But nonetheless, they had fun with the snacks and their cousins!

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Day 2 – Pinnacle Peak

Pinnacle Peak was a great starter hike. It was kid-friendly and we just got to take our time and enjoy the scenery. We loved seeing mountains in every direction, and the kids especially loved looking for critters!

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Day 3 – Lookout Mountain

The next day, we took just the big kids on a harder hike. They’ve all hiked Pinnacle Mountain in Little Rock before, so we knew what they were capable of. We chose Lookout Mountain, which was perfect. It was definitely tougher for them, but they pushed through and made it to the top. They were very proud of themselves and enjoyed the beautiful view!

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Day 4 – Piestewa Peak

This was the “adult hike.” We knew we wanted to do a more strenuous hike, so Grandma Bev and Yaya watched the fab 5 while we hiked up Piestewa Peak. It was definitely a tough hike, but it was amazing. All of us are pretty physically fit, so this hike was perfect for us. We got an amazing workout in, closed our Activity rings on our Apple Watches before noon, and saw some beautiful views!

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Later that evening, we drove to Arizona State University to walk around campus and eat dinner. The highlight for the kids, however, was the rainbow chair!

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Day 5 – Out of Africa Wildlife Park

This was probably our favorite day of the week. Almost everywhere we travel, we like to try out the different zoos. My aunt recommended this particular wildlife park to us, which was like a zoo, but much more interactive. It was an incredible place with wonderful experiences!

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The park had multiple shows throughout the day, including 2 different tiger shows, and a giant snake show. All 5 of the kids were brave enough to pet the snake!

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The tigers were a major hit. The trainers at this park are unbelievably close to animals, and love them like their own pets. They run around inside to fences with them, play with them, and hug them. We enjoyed watching the tigers swim in the pool, play games, and we even got to feed them!

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Most of the adults and the bigger 3 kids got to ride on the “SuperMog,” which was basically a safari to get up close with the animals and feed many of them. Kibo, the giraffe was our favorite! We all got to feed him, and my crazy husband fed him from his own mouth! Luckily, the babies didn’t miss out too much. We walked around the park later and got to feed Kibo again. We made a new best friend!

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Our day at this park was something we’ll never forget, and we will definitely want to experience it again someday!

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Day 6 – Camelback Mountain

This was another somewhat leisurely hike that we did as a whole crew. The higher you went up, the harder it got, so everyone could go as far as they wanted and then turn back. Brax was going on 6 days of much less sleep than usual (thanks to the time change and few naps), so he was a bit “off” that day if I want to put it nicely. Luckily, we had quite a bit of backup to help us handle his meltdowns, so we were still able to somewhat enjoy our last hike!

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Day 7 – Outlet Mall and Hole in the Rock

Our last day in Arizona, we spent some time at the outlet mall because…why not? This particular outlet mall had a small train that traveled around the mall. All 5 kids hopped in the caboose and had a blast!

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Before we headed to the airport, we got in one last mini-hike up to the Hole in the Rock. It was a neat little area where the kids could climb around inside a rock. It was a great way to end our trip.

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Every day is a pool day!

After our hikes and adventures almost every day, we ended up back at the pool at our resort. This was probably the kids’ favorite part of the trip (except for maybe feeding the giraffes!) They had some fun water slides, and a great kids’ area. The kids were so easy to entertain out there and they loved every minute of it!

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What an amazing trip with such amazing memories. We are especially lucky that we had parts of both of our families there with us. Spending time with family is always good for our souls, and this was even more so being in such a beautiful place. We loved our time in Arizona, and we can’t wait for another visit!

Marchin’ into Spring

We are finally getting out of our little winter funk. It’s so crazy how January and February seemed to crawl by, but March went by in a blur. March has always been good for my soul…even if the winter weather lingers, it just brings new hope that spring is indeed coming. Here is a recap of our month.

A Surprise Trip Home

One day my sister called me to tell me that she had just been informed that our dad was going to win one of the most prestigious awards given by their company. When this award is announced, the winner’s family meets them on stage. As soon as we knew my dad was going to be awarded this honor, my mom and sister wanted to do whatever we could to get me there to surprise him. For weeks, we secretly planned out all the details (which is no easy task…we don’t call my dad “the hawk” for no reason). I flew into Indianapolis late Monday night, and had my father-in-law pick me up to take me to my sister’s house. Then as soon as my dad went to work the next day, my mom came by to pick me up to take me to the event with her.

It was a whirlwind of a couple days. I was pretty anxious because it was all so exciting and I just wanted it all to work out and for him to be surprised. Well…it could not have gone better. The look on his face when he saw me was completely worth all of it! It was such an unforgettable experience and I am so glad I got to be there during this special time for him.

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I really wanted to bring the kids with me, but I knew this would be a quick trip (about 48 hours), and it wouldn’t be worth the exhausting travel and extra money to bring them along. So, Ryan’s mom and aunt agreed to come visit to help watch them. Unfortunately, my sweet Kinsie Kay came down with the flu during this fiasco. She was down with a high fever, tiredness and body aches, and missed school for a solid week. I hated leaving her, but I knew Ryan was still there (when he wasn’t at work), and she had grandma and Aunt Renata taking care of her. I am so grateful for them driving 10 hours both ways to help me make this trip happen! The kids enjoyed having them here, and I loved my sweet welcome home message when I returned.

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Marvel Universe Live!

Brax has become obsessed with superheroes lately, especially from the Marvel universe. Almost 3 years ago when I found out I was pregnant with a baby boy, Ryan told me that I needed to educate myself on superheroes for the sake of our son. Within the last year, I started watching Marvel movies and…I’m not going to lie…I’ve become obsessed with it myself! It has been so much fun learning about all the different superheroes with my boy, and watching him flying around the room with his cape, or run around with his giant Hulk hands “Hulk-smashing” everything in sight!

One day, Ryan randomly saw an advertisement for a live show featuring our favorite Marvel characters. The tickets were reasonable, so we booked it. We have gone to many Disney On Ice shows, which we love, but we thought this would be something exciting and different and focused on Brax’s current obsession.

We loved seeing Captain America, Spider-Man, Groot, and many more of the Marvel gang. Brax, however, was most excited about seeing the Hulk! In fact, he loved seeing him so much, that he cried when the show was over…and continued to sulk about it the rest of the day! Needless to say, he loved the show!

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Bottom right picture – Brax’s reaction to the show being over. He was so upset that Hulk had to leave!

 

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We had a great family day!

 

Spring has Sprung!

Ahh spring. We missed you! I know winter is so much worse in Indiana, but it still isn’t great here. But spring….yes. Spring here in Little Rock is my favorite. The temps are perfection during this time of year. We’ve been spending a lot of time riding bikes, taking walks, and eating outside dinners. We are going to fully embrace this weather until the dreadful humidity kicks in.

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One of our favorite things to do as a family this time of year is eat dinner outside. This particular day, we roasted hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire. The best!

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T-ball Season Begins

Another season of t-ball is upon us. Kinsie missed it and was excited to start again. She has had 2 practices so far, and has been rocking it again. She’s the only girl on her team again, but she is also one of the most aggressive players. We are excited to watch her again this season, and as long as she still loves it, she’ll be moving on up to a real softball league next fall.

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Family Vacation in Arizona

We had been looking forward to this trip for a long time, and it did not disappoint! We had an amazing week in Scottdale, Arizona with our families. There were so many great memories and pictures, I’m devoting an entire blog post just for the trip. It will be up soon!

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Other Activities

A friend’s birthday party

Kinsie had a friend from school who had their birthday party at the same place she takes gymnastics. The kids had a blast, and it was a great way to spend our Saturday!

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Sickness strikes again

The week before we went to Arizona, my poor girl got struck again, but this time, with the stomach bug. She was down for about 3 days, then she got much better in time for our trip. The rest of us stayed healthy too which was a relief. We’re hoping she got all of her sickness for the year out of the way this month!

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St. Patrick’s Day

This holiday has always kind of been a non-factor in my life. I’m not Irish, I don’t really drink, and I’m not crazy about the color green. However, when you have kids, every holiday is more fun! These crazy kids love dressing in their green for St. Patty’s Day and now I have another excuse to take cute pictures of them!

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Avengers Assemble

As I said earlier, Brax is in a major superhero phase and we are loving it! He walks around with his giant Hulk hands constantly, and is always Hulk-smashing everything…including us. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “Brax, don’t Hulk-smash your sister!” He will constantly put his little fists up in the air to Ryan and say, “Daddy, let’s fight!” He always makes Ryan be the bad guy, and he is the Hulk, and he beats up the bad guy and saves the day! We are all embracing this boy’s love for superheroes, even sweet Kinsie Kay. She loves Wonder Woman, and plays right along with her brother’s superhero games!

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Stay tuned for a post all about our trip to Arizona…because it was definitely the highlight of our month. April is here now and we are excited about this spring weather and fun events coming up like Easter, Brax’s birthday, and Kinsie’s Pre-K Graduation.

Happy April, and as always, here is our 1 Second Everyday video for March 2019.

February Feels

Luckily, February was a little better than our January. It was still slow, but not as slow as last month. We had a little more to do to keep us busy this month, so that helped. However, it was somewhat of a rough month with Ryan’s work schedule. Probably half of his shifts for the entire month were mid shifts, so either 12pm-9pm, 1pm-10pm, or 3pm-12am. With all of these shifts, he barely got to see the kids, especially Kinsie. As soon as Kinsie would get home from school, he would have to leave for work, and he wouldn’t get home until after they were in bed. Kinsie struggled this month because of this, so we really had to work hard at keeping her spirits up and taking full advantage of whenever Ryan was home. Luckily, we had some nice days so we got to spend more time outside, and we had a family visit at the end of the month, which helped a lot too. Here is how our month went down…

A Day at the Park

We pass by this bridge almost every day. And every time we pass it, Kinsie tells me she wants to go walk on it. On a nice Saturday that Ryan had off, we finally took that opportunity. We took scooters, cars, and snacks and made a morning of it. This was such a nice little park…once you walk across the bridge, there are some trails and a great view of the river. It was a great family park adventure!

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Daddy Daughter Dance

The night before this event, I just happened to come across it on Facebook. I knew our town had a daddy daughter dance last year, but Ryan was working. As soon as I saw it this year and saw that Ryan happened to be off, I mentioned it to him, and he didn’t even hesitate to say that he would love to take Kinsie. This little girl was SO excited to get to go on a date with her daddy, especially in the midst of a couple of tough months of him working. She loved getting dressed up, getting her hair curled, and dancing the night away with her dad! These two truly have a special daddy daughter bond that completely melts me.

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Outside Fun

We were definitely able to get outside more this month than last, and we took every opportunity we could get. Even if we only got to play outside for a half hour before ballet, or take a quick stroll on the path behind our house, we enjoyed the fresh air whenever we could.

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Valentine’s Day Activities

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I have never been a fan of Valentine’s Day…until I had kids. And since the last couple of months have been a bit tougher than we expected, it was a perfect time to show the kids a little extra love that they really needed.

Kinsie loves hand-making her valentines. She loves picking out a craft kit at Hobby Lobby and personalizing them for all her friends and family. We went to the store and picked out her valentines at the end of January, and of course she was working on them that day!

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When we lived in Indiana, Ryan’s Aunt Renata always made valentine cookies with the kids when she would watch them while I worked. When we moved, I have tried to continue that tradition. I may not make them as well as her, but it’s the thought and effort that counts! The kids LOVE making cookies…especially covering them with every kind of sprinkles we own. They probably enjoy making them more than actually eating them!

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The morning of Valentine’s Day, I had a short scavenger hunt that led to the kids’ gifts. They loved going around the house finding the next clue and were so happy to find their gifts at the end!

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I got this idea from Pinterest and knew right away I wanted to do it. Each day, I would add a heart with a reason why we love them on their bedroom door. I started on February 1, and the last heart was added Valentines morning. Kinsie especially loved this, and definitely appreciated the extra love.

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Ryan had to work that evening, but I still had some great valentine dates. We made heart-shaped pancakes and had a great breakfast dinner!

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Special School Days

Kinsie’s class has been learning all about the human body lately. They traced each other’s bodies, and each day they would learn about a different body system, and would add it to their traced body. At the end of the unit, Kinsie’s teacher asked a special doctor to come in and speak to the class about how to stay healthy. The kids LOVED having daddy be a guest speaker in the class!

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Kinsie’s class got to go on a field trip to the Clinton Library to celebrate Dr. Suess’s birthday. Ryan happened to have the day off, so we both went with her and had a special Kinsie morning!

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Family Visit

We had been looking forward to this visit for months now. It seemed to take forever to come, but when it did, it was worth the wait. Both of our parents came to visit, and they brought along a surprise visitor. Kinsie was in shock when she saw that her cousin Kerigan tagged along. They were inseparable the whole weekend!

We enjoyed shopping at Bass Pro Shops and the outlet mall…

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And taking the family to the bridge and park to ride bikes around the trails. (Papa and Yaya also surprised Kinsie with a new bike and she is in LOVE with it!)

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The kids loved running around, riding bikes, climbing trees, and getting an ice cream treat after the park!

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My amazing parents and in-laws spent almost an entire day helping us around the house. They cleaned up all the leaves in the front and backyard (and if you saw our yard, you’d understand just how big of a job this was), cleaned out our gutters, fixed our flower beds, replaced our air vents, and more. This was such a huge help to us, especially since Ryan hasn’t exactly had time to do all that yard work. While the adults worked, the kids enjoyed running around “helping” as well!

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Boy, are we ready for March…and just spring in general. This winter was rougher than we expected, and we are ready to move on from it. March has always been one of my favorite months…especially when I was teaching. It was the end of the first round of ISTEP testing, March Madness, warmer weather, and spring break. Even now that I’m not teaching, it still brings hope after a few rough months. This month will hopefully bring more nice weather, and we will get to go on a trip with our families to Arizona, so we are really excited about that!

Enjoy our February 1 Second Everyday video. Cheers to March!

The Longest January in History

Ok…full disclosure. No sugar coating. January seemed like the longest month in history for us. Just one month felt more like six months. I don’t know if it’s because the last few months were so busy for us, so it made January seem slower? Or if it’s because it’s just winter and there isn’t as many opportunities for us to get out and about as much as we’d like to? Maybe it was a combination of both? Nothing bad happened…it’s not like it was a bad month. It was just long. And now I’m just so glad it’s over!

This pic below pretty much sums up our month of January.

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Anyway, because it was such a long and dreary month, we all kind of struggled.  It seems like it’s been forever since we’ve seen any family, even though it’s only been a month. The kids (especially my little energetic Kinsie) struggled with not being able to run around as much as they need to. The kids fought more than usual, and I was less patient than usual. (I told you…full disclosure!) It also didn’t help that Ryan had to take his Step 3 exam, which consisted of lots of studying and two full testing days one week apart. His testing days took up two of his very few days off for the month, and whenever he was home, he was studying, But somehow, we survived it. We did whatever we could to survive and did the best we could at still enjoying our time. We still did fun things, it just took a lot more energy and creativity than usual!

Kinsie started gymnastics

This was a major highlight for her. She did gymnastics when she was little and always loved it. She’s been asking to do another class ever since we moved here, it just hadn’t worked out since she was already in so many other sports and activities. Right now she only has ballet once a week, and T-ball doesn’t start back up until spring. My little energizer bunny definitely needed something else to help her get her energy out during the winter, so we signed her up. She has class once a week, and has absolutely loves every second of it! Brax usually has to come with me and he enjoys watching Kinsie’s class too. We love watching her bouncing around happily each week…and let’s be honest, the extra practice in coordination can’t hurt her either!

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Brax is on the potty train!

Brax is a stubborn kid, and I fully expected potty training to be a major battle, because many things have been with him so far. Because of this, I was not in any hurry to start. I learned the hard way from Kinsie that potty training cannot be forced on a kid if they aren’t ready and willing. Over the last few months, I would randomly ask Brax if he wanted to try sitting on his potty, and usually the answer was no, so I left it alone. However, early on in the month, I knew we were going to be home for most of the weekend since we weren’t having great weather anyway. I’m not going to lie, I did not have high hopes and I assumed nothing would actually come of it…but I figured I would try anyway. We let him run around commando for the day and encouraged him to try sitting on his potty every so often. To my surprise, it actually went very well! He had a great first day and was excited to keep going. We kept going and within 3 days, he was completely potty trained while commando, so we let him try underwear. This took him a little longer, but still within 5 days or so, he was getting it. Now he is still doing great. He wears a pull-up to church just in case, but wears underwear everywhere else, and he has had minimal accidents in weeks. He even goes potty at school and in public places. Stickers and small treats worked really well for him day to day, and he loves keeping track of his dry days and earning bigger rewards, like a popcorn party, small toys, and an ice cream trip. He is so excited to be a big boy, and Kinsie has been his biggest supporter!

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(Side note – Kinsie thinks his potty chart that says “Brax is on the potty train” is absolutely hilarious. I guess she will enjoy puns and plays on words when she’s older!)

Trying to stay sane indoors

Like I said before, we’ve had to get creative on how to stay busy inside. One of Kinsie’s favorite things to do lately is make recipes from her Disney Princess cookbook. So far we’ve made “Chip’s bite-size cookies” and “Rapunzel’s Towering Parfaits.”

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Indiana has had a rough January with lots of snow and extremely cold temps. Kinsie was so jealous that we didn’t get snow like they did, but was THRILLED when we had some snowflakes one day. It only lasted about 10 minutes and of course none of it stuck, but the kids were excited just to see any snow at all!

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We’ve also stayed busy by doing science experiments, setting up an entire community on the train table, doing lots of arts and crafts (including a birthday card for Kinsie’s favorite hippo, Fiona, from the Cincinnati Zoo), dress up, board games, and lots and lots of puzzles. No joke…when Kinsie is at school and Brax is home with me, we do puzzles all. day. long.

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Ryan is in the ED this month, so he is back to his abnormal hours. He has had a lot of evening shifts (our least favorite) this month. Between his shifts, studying for his test, and his weekly conference on Wednesday mornings that he is required to attend, the kids didn’t get much daddy time. At one point, they hadn’t seen him in a couple days, and he had a small break between conference and his shift, so Brax and I met him for lunch while Kinsie was at school. Brax was SO happy to spend time with Daddy and never stopped touching him. We never did tell Kinsie about it because she would have been sad she missed it!

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Zoo Day

We’ve had very seldom days where it was nice enough to be outside, so whenever it did happen, we booked it out of the house. The zoo is still one of our favorite places to visit so we spent one of our semi-nice days visiting our favorite gorillas and petting the goats.

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Rare Outside Days

The kids were giddy whenever it was nice enough to go outside (which only happened about 3-4 times). They didn’t care if the temperature was still in the 40s, they were just happy to be outside. Kinsie spent most of her outside time on her scooter and enjoyed skating with Daddy. Brax loved being pushed around in his car, and trying to keep up with Kinsie on the scooter!

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Family Downtown Day

Ryan has had to work every single Sunday this month…which has been a bummer. However, he has had a couple of Saturdays off. The Saturday after his last Step 3 session, we decided we needed to celebrate by getting out of the house and exploring downtown. It was a sunny, 50 degree day and there are a lot of fun things to do in our little city. We visited the animals at the nature center, rode the trolley, played at the rock park, walked on the Junction Bridge, and had brunch at our favorite restaurant called At the Corner. It was exactly what we all needed after a long month of studying and seclusion indoors. We had a wonderful family day!

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We are all so relieved that this month is over. February SHOULD be better. We always enjoy Valentines Day activities, and our parents are coming to visit near the end of the month. The weather also gets a little better in February here, so hopefully we’ll be able to spend more time outside and not cooped up in the house.

As always, here is our January 2019 1 Second Everyday video. Good riddance, January!