The March that Nobody Expected

Our March started out great, and we were looking forward to listing our house, and visiting Indiana to start house-hunting. Well as you all know, things took an unexpected turn for the entire world with the global pandemic, COVID-19. This virus turned everyone’s world upside down. For our family personally, it has been really hard with me being very pregnant with 2 kids now fully at home since schools are closed until further notice…and all of this while I was trying to get the house prepared to put on the market. Most importantly, Ryan works in the emergency department, so he is on the frontlines of this battle, which is the scariest part. We have been social distancing and doing e-learning and trying to come up with creative ways to let the kids get their energy out, but the idea that Ryan has the risk of being exposed every time he steps into work has caused me a great deal of anxiety. I have gone through several stages of emotions this month…from full on panic and anxiety, to somewhat acceptance UNTIL another major change happens, to anticipating more major changes and trying to find mental peace when they happen, and so on…but overall, the only thing that is really getting me through this is my faith. When I feel weak, I pray. When I feel hopeless, I pray. When I feel anxious, I pray. When I feel overwhelmed, I pray. I hate to admit that I haven’t been living this way the last few months. With so much going on in our lives, I’ve just been a little energizer bunny constantly going and doing and taking control of every situation and marking things off my checklist like a mad woman. God has really used this pandemic as an opportunity to humble me and make me slow down and let go of the control that I thought I had and just trust Him. This month has been so hard and scary, and I know the pandemic isn’t even over yet, but I am grateful that God has used it to open my eyes and realize that I need to fully trust Him.

With all that said, here is a rundown of our crazy month…

Enjoying the weather (pre-pandemic)

March has always been one of my favorite months, and in Arkansas, the weather is usually amazing from March – May before the intense summer heat comes. Ryan worked a lot of weekends and nights early on, so the kids and I had to find activities that I  could physically manage and still let them run around. Before COVID-19 came around, we still made trips to our favorite park as often as we could!

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Book Character Day

In honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday week, Kinsie’s school had several dress-up days focused around Dr. Seuss books, such as “Cat in the Hat” day (wear a hat), “Fox in Socks” day (wear crazy socks), etc. On Friday of this week, the kids got to dress as any book character and bring the book if they had it. Kinsie chose to dress as Pinkalicious! I always loved book character day as a teacher, and I’m so glad that I got to help Kinsie be a part of it now!

BookCharacterDay

Wye Daffodil Festival at “Daffodil Hill”

Every year, Wye Mountain has an entire field full of daffodils, and when they are in full bloom, they have a festival. I always saw people posting pictures of it, but each year it didn’t work out with our schedule for us to check it out. Luckily this year, we were able to make it work, even though Ryan was coming off of night shifts and was sleep deprived…but he knew this was our last chance so he took one for the team. The kids loved running and rolling through the fields of daffodils and I loved all the beautiful photo opportunities. Little did we know, COVID-19 was on its way, and this was our last real adventure before the recommended quarantine began, so I am especially grateful that we took the time to check it out. It is also funny looking back at these photos, because this was the last time Ryan had his facial hair. With the virus, Ryan has to stay clean shaven in order for his N-95 mask to fit properly. No complaining here…I love him no matter what and I’ve learned to embrace his scruff, but I do love seeing more of his handsome face!

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E-Learning Days

When Kinsie found out that she wouldn’t get to go to school for a while due to the virus, she bawled. My sweet girl loves school so much, and she hated the idea of not seeing her teacher and her friends for a while. I always said that homeschooling would never work for us, and I still believe that, but I am very impressed and surprised with how well e-learning from home has been going so far. Kinsie stays much more focused than I expected, and all of her teachers have done a fantastic job keeping their lessons online as normal as possible, just like they would be had they been at school. Her main teacher posts videos every day with their spelling and phonics lessons, and even does a read aloud video every day. There are often fun activities the kids can do too, like make a leprechaun trap on St. Patricks Day. All of the specials teachers post fun lessons for them as well, and I about melted at the videos the music teacher posted singing her “hello song” to each individual class with her ukulele! This school has been such a blessing for Kinsie this year, and I know we will miss it. Brax really wanted to learn too, so I used my old online teaching resources and printed worksheets for him to practice letters, numbers, colors, and more. Once he finished his worksheets for the day, he could do learning apps on the iPad until Kinsie was finished with her work.

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Kinsie’s school, and many other schools that I have heard about, have been providing free breakfasts and lunches to students while school was out. Kinsie’s school also made these meals available to any kids, not just students of the school, of any age, as long as they were in the car with you when you picked them up. The kids were pumped to pick up our free meals and enjoyed them all week.

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St. Patrick’s Day

Not that we do a whole lot on this day anyway, but it’s a fun excuse to dress up and take a picture!

StPattysDay

St. Patrick’s Day is always special to our family though, considering Ryan’s Match Day happened to be on this holiday 3 years ago. I have SO many emotions about this day, and now I am super nostalgic about it since we are ALMOST DONE with residency!!

SellingHouse-MatchDayTimehop

Kinsie’s First Tooth

Recently, Kinsie noticed that she had her first wiggly tooth. She was SO excited because she sees her classmates losing teeth all the time and always wondered when she would start losing her teeth. She wiggled nonstop (of course during a pandemic, my first piece of advice to her was to always make sure her hands were clean before wiggling her tooth!) Each meal she ate caused her wiggly tooth to become a little looser. Finally one night, I told her it was SO close and I could probably get it easily. Surprisingly she let me, and it indeed came out so easily…so easily in fact that it didn’t even hurt at all! She was so excited and loved getting her first visit from the tooth fairy the next morning! The tooth right next to it is now starting to wiggle, so she’s been working on that one next!

Kinsie tooth

Selling the House

We’ve been preparing for this for months. After LOTS of decluttering and storing, painting and repairs and deep cleaning…it was finally time to list our house! Getting our house “show ready” with 2 kids, 2 dogs, lots of rain, hence, lots of mud and dirt tracked in, all while being 8 months pregnant…definitely no easy task! On top of all that, this was right when COVID-19 came about, so then we had the added worry that people wouldn’t be out trying to buy houses right now. We went ahead and listed it, hoping it would at least get a lot of online attention while everyone was quarantined at home.

SellingHouse-sign

Our house officially went on the market on a Monday, and the VERY next day, we had 3 showings! We were supposed to be in Indiana the first week our house was listed, but we decided it wasn’t best to travel during the pandemic, especially being around our families with Ryan working in health care, so instead we stayed home. Before we found out about the 3 upcoming showings, Ryan had already planned on picking up a couple of extra shifts to make some extra “moonlighting” money. So I was on my own with getting the kids and dogs out of the house!

The first showing was around lunch time, so we loaded up the car and grabbed fast food and just hung out in the car. It was rainy out anyway, and the kids stayed entertained watching a movie and doing activity books.

SellingHouse-firstshowing

The second 2 showings were in the evening back to back, and it was nicer outside, so we grabbed some dinner and had a picnic at the park. Apparently since this was the first sight of nice weather in about a week, EVERYONE else in the town decided to go to the park as well, making it very hard to implement social distancing. We sat at our own little picnic table by the lake, then tried to find areas in the park for the kids to play without other people. The kids helped me walk the dogs, and we used hand sanitizer after touching literally anything. Both the kids and dogs were very good, but even so, afterwards I was EXHAUSTED!

SellingHouse-showings

After just 1 day of being on the market, and 3 showings, we have officially accepted an offer and are under contract! It was truly a God thing that this all happened so quickly even during a pandemic. It is such a relief that I don’t have to continue having the physical stress of keeping the house ready, but even more not having the emotional stress of wondering if our house would sell before we needed to move. The best part is that we negotiated with the buyers to let us stay in the house until the end of May, which will be super helpful since the baby comes sometime in May. The kids and I will move out then, and Ryan will find a co-resident to stay with until he finishes out his contract at the end of June.

Social Distancing Spring Break

Like I mentioned before, we were very sad to make the decision not to travel to Indiana for spring break, but we definitely felt that it was the right thing to do. We were planning on house hunting, and even though that was our only chance to go, we’ve continued to look online, and we are very blessed that we at least have 2 realtors in the family that I fully trust to look at the houses we like and help us make a decision. Anyway, the first few days of spring break were rainy, so we had to entertain ourselves inside, at home. This included getting our the Easter eggs and having indoor egg hunts, lots of dancing and Go Noodle videos (short dance along videos for kids to follow), drawing and coloring, puppet shows, live stream videos of animals at the zoo, and even a few naps!

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Luckily, we didn’t have gloomy weather for too long while the kids were home for spring break. As soon as the rain stopped, we busted outside as often as we could while still maintaining social distancing. On one of the days, we took a family walk (dogs and all) around the park. Ryan doesn’t get to do this with us very often, so it was nice to share this time with him.

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The next few days we had WONDERFUL weather. We spent about 4 days in a row outside all day.

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The kids loved having nature scavenger hunts and combining the nature items they found to create new “inventions.”

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One day, we had straight up summer weather. It was 87 degrees! We took advantage of the weather and let the kids have their first pool and sprinkler day. They loved it! They even washed my car and found a lizard friend. This day made me very grateful that I won’t be pregnant through the real Arkansas summer, because the heat from this day was rough on my very pregnant body!

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Another day, the kids were running out of ideas to do in our own yard, and it wasn’t quite warm enough to do the water activities again. I came up with the idea to make a “board game” on our driveway and they loved it. Both kids helped me plan out our game, and all the obstacles and accelerations that would come with it. When we were done, Ryan took an aerial picture from the top of his Jeep, then we played the game… a lot!

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Some of the specific parts of the game included:

  • Frog jump ahead 3 spaces
  • Bubble Spill – lose 1 turn
  • Swimming with fish shortcut (Kinsie’s idea was to wear goggles while taking this shortcut!)
  • Stuck in the ball pit, lose 1 turn (they would literally sit in a bin filled with balls)
  • Scooter ride acceleration
  • Frisbee toss ahead 3 spaces
  • “God Bless America,” march ahead 3 spaces
  • Duck crossing, go back 2 spaces to allow them time to cross
  • Hit by a water balloon, lose a turn to dry off

I asked Kinsie what she wanted the “end goal” of the game to be, and she said that the goal is to get to “Princess and Superhero World!” It was actually a lot of fun creating the game with them, and they played it nonstop until it eventually rained and washed the game away.

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Pregnancy Updates

At 32 weeks, we entered our 8th month of pregnancy. At the most, I have about 8 weeks left, but with my history, and based on how I’ve been feeling, I probably have less time than that. This month has been tough emotionally for obvious reasons, but it has also gotten much more physically difficult for me. Moving around in any way takes about 10 times more effort than usual, and my hips are really starting to hurt…I can physically feel my body getting itself ready for labor.

Here are some updates and/or changes at 8 months:

  • This boy has not calmed down…not even a little bit! It is safe to say that he is by far my most active child in utero. He also seems to be very strong, because his kicks send shockwaves of pain through my ribs, my hips and my bladder!
  • He is currently anywhere around 4 pounds and 17 inches long.
  • My ankles and feet are starting to swell. Lately I’ve TRIED to sit down as often as possible, but…you know…kids. Ryan is a MAJOR help whenever he is home. Kinsie usually tries to help, but is often is oblivious, and Brax is just Brax…he doesn’t really understand.
  • Like I said before, my hips are giving out on me. In the evenings in particular they really hurt and I can feel my ligaments stretching, making it painful to walk.
  • My carpal tunnel syndrome is slowly getting worse. It’s not unbearable yet, but I have to sleep every night with wrist braces, and now I wear a brace on my right hand throughout most of the day. The less I use my hands, the better it feels…but its kind of impossible not to use my hands!
  • I developed two new random cravings this month – apple juice and grapes. But not necessarily together.
  • We THINK we have his name picked out…but you’ll have to wait until he’s born to find out!
  • Bright side – at least this quarantine is happening when I’m too physically exhausted to run around anyway!

This photo was taken at 32 weeks – baby was the size of a cantaloupe

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The kids LOVE feeling their brother move. When they snuggle with me on the couch, their hand usually finds my belly and just rests there so they can feel his crazy movements.

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My sweet Kinsie has the tendency to drop something on the ground whenever she is done with it, whether it is a toy, her jacket, her shoes, etc. Ryan and I have been trying to explain that she needs to pick things up and put them in the right spot, especially now to help me out. This message was not quite getting through, so we had to take it a step further. We found a 2 pound medicine ball and wrapped it around her body with seran wrap, then I had her wear it around for a few minutes and try to pick up various things around the kitchen. She was not a fan (she wouldn’t even let me get a picture so I had to sneak one), but she started to understand! Now whenever she starts becoming “unhelpful” again, I remind her of the lesson and she starts to help more. My sister called this lesson “Empathy for the family way!”

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I’ve been trying to soak up my time as just a mom of 2, and trust me, I’ve had LOTS of time with my 2 the last month! They often drive me crazy but goodness I love them and all their crazy and unique idiosyncrasies. I can’t wait to meet this new little one and get to know his unique crazy self too!

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We still had lots of good moments this month, but it definitely was not the month that anyone expected. I am praying constantly that COVID-19 will start to slow down soon so we can all feel safe leaving our homes again and continuing our lives, but I am trying to prepare my mind for the possibility that it could still last a while.

My 2 biggest fears right now are 1) that Ryan gets infected and has to be put on quarantine when the baby comes, and 2) that the virus continues so heavily that the kids won’t get to finish their school year at their schools here in Arkansas. This is supposed to be such an exciting time for us, and the idea of the kids not getting to say goodbye the proper way to their teachers and friends just breaks my heart. With my first fear, I know that its a possibility, but I also know that Ryan is doing everything in his power to make sure that doesn’t happen. He is always wearing his PPE at work, and cleaning and sanitizing himself and all of his materials before he even comes into the house and hugs any of us. This month has proved to me even more that my husband is a freaking rockstar. He is handling everything so well both physically and mentally, AND helping me and the kids through it too. I am so grateful for everything he does for us and the fact that I get to do life with him every day. With the second fear, I know this is also a good possibility, and Kinsie knows it too. I told her that if this happens, we will do whatever we can to make sure she gets to say goodbye to the people she has grown close to here in Arkansas, whether its through FaceTime, or even if we need to come back a few months after we move when this has all been cleared. Only time will tell how the rest of this all plays out.

I’ve come a long way mentally and emotionally in just one month, but I know I have only been given the strength to do that through God. Don’t get me wrong, I still have weak moments…every single day. But I’ve been doing a LOT of praying, talking with family and just focusing on all the good things happening, and that is what is getting me through it. Praying for everyone else out there and hoping you all STAY HOME and STAY HEALTHY!!

Here is our March 2020 1 Second Everyday video…

 

Hello, Third Trimester!

We are officially one month closer to moving AND to meeting our sweet baby boy! For some reason, February seemed to drag on a little more than I expected, but we are excited for March to be here and for spring to come. We had a lot going on this month, so enjoy our recap!

Preparing the House

We had a lot of work that needed done to the house to prepare it to sell. We are SO lucky to have the resources that we do, including my dad and sister, who sell houses for a living and know exactly what to do to prepare the house, AND Ryan’s parents, who manage rentals for a living and know exactly HOW to prepare the house. Ryan’s parents visited at the beginning of the month to help us do just that. We got a LOT accomplished in just a few days, including lots of power washing, painting, and repairing. Ryan did all the power washing outside and decided to have some fun with it, and to entertain the kids…see picture below!

Again, we are SO grateful for the family that we have and how willing they all are to help us with anything at the drop of a hat…hence the reason why we are moving closer to them!

PreppingHouse

Daddy Daughter Dance

Last year, Ryan and Kinsie went to the Daddy Daughter Dance in our town and had a great time, so they did it again this year! Kinsie loved getting dressed up and having a special night with her Dad. With his schedule, any quality time with him is so special to all of us, and she enjoyed every moment! And I know Ryan enjoyed time with his little girl as well!

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Family Campfire Night

The kids are all about campfires and s’mores, so we try to fit them in whenever we can. Ryan’s schedule has been tough lately with lots of evening shifts, so one of the only nights we had available was a very cold night! But we bundled up and made the most of it. It was so cold, in fact, that Brax actually agreed to wear a hat and gloves! If you know him, you know this is a big deal and he really must have been cold! We had a great night roasting marshmallows, eating s’mores, snuggling by the fire and telling knock knock jokes.

FamilyCampfire

Artwork, writing and crafts

With lots of indoor time this month, the kids have been really into drawing and crafts.

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Kinsie recently learned about American symbols at school, and loves teaching us all everything she learned. I still can’t get enough of her sweet writings she brings home from school!

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Below are some of Kinsie’s most recent drawings. I love her details!!

It’s pretty easy to tell what she draws these days, but just in case you can’t tell…

Top left- Mickey Mouse Clubhouse with Mickey and friends; top right – The Avengers; bottom – Frozen and Frozen 2 characters

Kinsie-drawings

Brax has learned all of his letters now, so his newest obsession is writing his name and lots of random words. He also has gotten much better at drawing people and animals. I’m  obsessed with his little imagination!

Top left- a gorilla going to the eye doctor; top right – two sharks chasing fish; bottom left – Mickey Mouse Clubhouse with Mickey and Friends; bottom right – dinosaurs holding hands

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A few more…Kinsie drew all the Disney princesses along with their friends, sidekicks, significant others and accessories! Brax drew dinosaurs in the jungle

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And finally, here is a picture of drawings that the kids made me when I was having an extra rough and exhausting day. They are the best!

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Kinsie recently discovered a short series on Disney+ called Family Sundays, where they have families doing Disney themed crafts together. One weekend, she saw an episode about making Frozen 2 themed soap. We needed a Saturday family activity to get out of the house anyway, so we took a trip to Hobby Lobby and bought supplies to make soap. She loved watching the video and following the step-by-step instructions. While we were at it, we made unicorn soap too!

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Holly’s Baby Shower

One of the intern residents’ wife is someone I’ve become very close with this year, and shortly after they moved here from Arizona last summer, she became pregnant with twins! She already has 3 kids, so now she’s adding 2 more to her crew. The ladies from our bible study and I threw a small baby sprinkle for her so she can get some extra stuff they may need two of now. I loved getting to celebrate this sweet friend of mine and the baby boy and girl that will make their appearance soon. Meanwhile, Ryan took our kids over to her husband’s house and they ordered pizza and let all the kids play. They had a fun Daddy Kid play date!

Holly Baby Shower

Valentine’s Day Festivities

Valentines for class

The weekend before Valentine’s Day, Ryan worked the ENTIRE weekend…two 12 hour shifts in a row, which was rough on my very pregnant body and mind. However, we made the most of it and did all of our Valentines fun and prep to keep busy, starting with the kids’ valentines for their classes. Brax picked out shark valentines, and Kinsie, my little overachiever, always like to buy a kit and make her valentines. This time, she picked heart emojis, so she could design each heart with different features. This is the first year that Brax could address his own valentines, so he was excited to get to do his own!

Valentines-forclass

Valentines Cookies

This is a yearly tradition now, and the kids love doing it. They worked so hard and we ended up with lots of beautiful, delicious valentine cookies!

Valentines-cookies

Valentines Day Fun

The kids had a great time at each of their class valentines parties. Brax made lots of cute crafts, and Kinsie worked hard on her “love bug” valentine bag they made in class.

Valentines-crafts

Another tradition I started last year, was every day from February 1 – 14, the kids receive a heart with a reason why we love them. They loved waking up each morning to see what their heart said!

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Ryan worked another evening shift the night of Valentines day, so, like last year, I made the kids heart-shaped pancakes for dinner. I even made them extra special this year and added Nutella and pink and red sprinkles!

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Overall, we had a good Valentines Day. However, my sweet Brax started not feeling great that evening, which started his week of sickness.

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Sickness Strikes

Our little guy doesn’t get sick very often, but when he does, it breaks our hearts because he’s not his perky, silly little self. On the afternoon of Valentine’s Day, he went downhill fast. He didn’t want to play, but just wanted to snuggle, and I noticed he was getting a fever. Everything escalated pretty quickly, and we could tell he felt terrible. He’s not a big fan of medicine, so I had to trick him and sneak some into his gatorade. He felt better for a few hours (while the medicine did its job), then he went downhill again once the medicine was out of his system. Ryan had to work that evening, and the kids and I had some valentine fun, but you could tell Brax just didn’t feel good. He ended up vomiting once that night (I already struggle with vomit…add pregnancy on top of it and it was almost unbearable to clean up). Once I got him cleaned up, he fell asleep on the couch. I let him sleep out there on the couch with me until I was going to bed…mainly to make sure he didn’t vomit again. The next few days were still pretty rough, but at least Ryan was home to help. Brax was mainly really tired and sluggish with a high fever. The only way to manage it was to keep him medicated (which, again, I always had to trick him into taking it!) He never sleeps well when he’s sick (who does, really), so we all didn’t sleep great. A few days in, he started complaining about his ears. Luckily, we had a doctor in the house and he was able to check his ears, diagnose him with a double ear infection, and prescribe him with some antibiotics. FINALLY Brax started to feel better!

(In the bottom photo below, it was a beautiful day so we tried to take the kids on a wagon ride…Brax tried to have fun, but he just wasn’t feeling it!)

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A little more outside time

This month, we were able to get a little more outside time than last month. Ryan worked lots of evenings and 12 hour weekend shifts, so we definitely needed activities to keep these kids busy that didn’t require a ton of extra energy on my part.

We did lots of chalk and tracing of each other and stuffed animals…

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Lots of bike and scooter races and tree “climbing…”

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Bubbles, bow and arrow practice and hula-hooping…

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And a few trips to the park complete with playground fun and climbing/rolling down the hills.

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Papa and Yaya visit

My parents were able to make a long weekend trip to come visit us. The breaks between family visits in the winter always seem especially long. This month has had its rough moments for me with feeling mentally overwhelmed and physically exhausted, so getting to see my parents was a breath of fresh air. They helped us with a few last minute things on the house that I wasn’t able to physically be much help on, and they also helped us with the logistics of what’s next on our house-selling adventure. But most importantly, they just got some quality time with us…which is what we all needed most!

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Pregnancy Updates – THIRD Trimester

The third trimester creeped up on me fast. It seems like all of the sudden, I am to the point where I can barely reach my feet to put on socks or shoes, and I can’t get comfortable no matter how hard I try. The kids often forget that I’m getting bigger and less mobile, so we have to constantly remind them to help me out in whatever ways they can. When the kids are at school, I usually use that time to run my errands and get as much as I can done. I still do that to an extent, but overall I’ve been trying to use at least part of that time to just relax, which is easier said than done for me, especially at such a busy time in our lives.

This photo was taken at 28 weeks – baby was the size of a head of lettuce

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Symptoms this month include:

  • Braxton Hicks contractions
  • Starting to get very uncomfortable. It’s hard to be comfortable in pretty much any position except laying on my side.
  • Shortness of breath – mainly because the baby is often up in my ribs!
  • Mind constantly racing and sometime experiencing anxiety – like I’ve said before, my mind is extra “busy” when I’m pregnant. With a busy mind, but a body that’s physically unable to do much, I have a problem. I’ve been having to rely a lot on devotionals and reading to help with this problem.
  • LOTS of baby movement – again, I love it, and I am going to miss it when I’m not pregnant anymore…but goodness, this kid is already strong! I often wonder if he moves a lot in his sleep, or if he just doesn’t sleep because he is constantly moving. The kids LOVE feeling him move all the time!

This month I had to do my glucose tolerance test. This is where you drink an extremely sugary drink in 10 minutes, and then get your blood drawn an hour later to check for gestational diabetes. You are supposed to fast for 2 hours prior to drinking the drink, which created a problem for me. My test was in the morning, so I had to wake up early and not eat anything, and just drink this sugar-filled drink. Ryan was originally supposed to work this day, but I asked him to switch his shift because I had experienced dizziness during this test in my previous pregnancies. It was a Friday so Brax didn’t have school, so he would have had to come to the doctor with me…another reason I wanted Ryan to drive me… I did not want Brax in the car with me if I was dizzy. Well, its a good thing Ryan was able to switch, because in the car, halfway into my “hour wait” between the drink and my blood test, I got extremely dizzy and threw up the entire drink in the car! I was mostly upset because I knew there was a good chance they wouldn’t be able to draw my blood now, and I would have to completely redo the test. Unfortunately, I was right. I was super bummed and nervous that I wouldn’t handle it well the next time too. I picked a different flavor for the next time, and made an afternoon appointment so I wouldn’t have to fast all day. The day of my retest, I ate a big breakfast before my 2 hour fast. Luckily, the test went much better this time around. I kept the drink down and passed my glucose tolerance test!

Pregnancy-Glucose test

We are ready for March! March has always been one of my favorite months because we start to see some evidence of upcoming spring. We are excited to be one month closer to lots of exciting life changing events for our family!

Here is our 1 Second Every Day video for the month of February. Enjoy!

December Days

I apologize that it’s almost halfway through January before I even got around to posting my December updates, but things have been crazy since we got home from Christmas! We had a super busy and fun December like I expected! Between Christmas activities and being pregnant, I’ve been one exhausted mama. We had a great month though, and we are looking forward to all the exciting things happening for our family very soon!

We had lots of fun little activities or events all through December, such as…

Kinsie’s first Kindergarten Field Trip

She was mostly excited about riding a school bus for the first time. Since she attends a charter school, they do not use buses as transportation, but instead parents drop off and pick up. Kinsie loved her first bus experience, and the field trip itself was fun too! I came along as a parent chaperone. First we went to a theater to watch a really neat Christmas lights show. After the show, we ate lunch and the kids all played at a nearby park.

Field trip

First BB Gun

Ryan has been anxiously awaiting this day for a long time now. He bought the kids their first BB gun! He found a great deal and couldn’t pass it up, and the kids were super excited to try it out. They went outside to practice right away. They did great for their first time! You’ll see later that the BB gun played a key role in our gender reveal!

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Santa at Bass Pro

This has become one of our new favorite traditions. We already love Bass Pro, but it’s even better at Christmas time. We loved Santa’s Workshop where the kids could play and make crafts. The kids did great meeting Santa again!

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Brax meeting Santa again!

Lucky little guy got to see Santa for another time at his school. He was really excited and loved telling us about it when he got home.

Santa at School

Brax’s Christmas Program

Ryan and I both got to see Brax perform in his Christmas program at his school. He was shy and a little nervous, but he did great! He’s come a long way since the Baby Shark incident at Kinsie’s graduation last year!

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EM Christmas Party

Another one of our favorite events from the past few years. Every year, we go to the Christmas Party for the UAMS Emergency Medicine program. There’s always a great dinner, desserts, and the department coordinator’s wife buys amazing gifts for all the kids in the program. The kids were super excited about their gifts! We are so sad we won’t have this tradition once Ryan’s done with residency. We LOVE our UAMS residency family!

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Christmas Cookies

The kids and I enjoyed making Christmas cookies together one weekend day. It keeps them busy for a while, sparks their creativity, and then of course there are cookies to eat when we’re done! It’s become one of my favorite things to do with them for holidays.

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Dinner at All Aboard

Ryan was on an elective this month, and he chose to do a rural medicine rotation, where he had to do 10 shifts at a rural hospital up in northwest Arkansas. He did a few shifts before Christmas, then finished the rest when we got home. Since he would be gone for almost a week, and with me being halfway through my pregnancy, his mom flew down for the week to help me with the kids. We loved having Grandma visit, and we tried to do fun things like have dinner at their favorite restaurant, All Aboard!

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Indiana Travels

Once Ryan was home and Kinsie was officially on winter break, we hit the road! We had Bev with us to help drive, and loaded up our gifts and dogs to spend Christmas with family.

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We got to Indiana just in time to celebrate my mom’s birthday. She was in her happy place to get to celebrate with all her grand babies! We also took this opportunity to do our gender reveal with our families! But I’ll get to that soon…

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It had snowed several days before we arrived, and the kids were SO excited that there was still snow on the ground. Every time we went outside, they ran around in it with no regard. They were super bummed when it eventually melted. I kept reminding them that we’re moving back and they will get PLENTY of snow soon!

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Something we’ve done every year for the past few years is get together with Ryan’s Aunt Rita’s family and decorate cookies and let the kids play. They are all around the same age, so they always have a blast together!

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Christmas Eve

Every year we attend the Christmas Eve church service with my family. The kids get to join their cousins in their classes, and we always love visiting our old church and listening to our old pastor’s sermons. After church, we headed to Aunt Renata’s for Christmas with the Matthews side. The kids loved sorting gifts for everyone and playing with their cousin, Griffin.

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Christmas Day

On Christmas day, the kids were SO excited to wake up and see what Santa brought them. All Kinsie asked for this year was a Fiona calendar (her favorite hippo from the Cincinnati Zoo). Brax asked for something different every time we asked, so it was pretty much a free-for-all for him. They both seemed very excited about their gifts and loved playing with everything right away.

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After opening gifts for just our immediate family, we ate a big breakfast that my dad made. After a while, my sister’s family came and we all did our presents together. While the kids helped pass out everyone’s gift, I went upstairs and got a time-lapse of the chaos!

 

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The kids all had a great day together, and it was funny because they all showed up wearing very similar pajamas! Of course we had to get a picture!

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After playing inside for a while with all their new stuff, we realized how beautiful it was outside, so we all went outside for a while and let the kids play. Later on, we visited some of Ryan’s mom’s side of the family. When we got back, Brax was SO tired, but he refused to go to bed. Instead, he ended up passing out right on the couch in the middle of the chaos!

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We had a great visit with family and friends. It’s always tough traveling 10 hours with 2 kids and 2 dogs and a car FULL of Christmas gifts, but it is completely worth it. On the way home, we even stopped in Paducah, KY to visit some of our old residency friends. It’s been a good ride, but we are excited and relieved that this was our last “traveling” Christmas, since we’ll be back in Indiana next year.

New Year’s Eve

For New Year’s Eve, we were back home and trying to catch up on sleep and get settled again. Since we didn’t have a great reason to, we didn’t have the kids stay up until midnight, so we did an early countdown/celebration with them like we have the last couple of years. We made our own pizzas, had a dance party, drank fizzy drinks and ate cookies, and enjoyed our family night together.

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Baby Updates: Month 4 (Weeks 16-20)

I can’t believe I’m already halfway done with this pregnancy. It has definitely flown by, and this little one will be here before we know it!

This month’s pregnancy symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Really strong waves of fatigue again…but that could be partially due to the holidays and all the events and activities that came with it. We were very busy so I was very tired!
  • Appetite has decreased…which is probably a good thing because it was a bit out of control during the first trimester.
  • Hiccups…like huge, obnoxious hiccups.
  • Back pain…now that my belly is getting bigger, my back is getting out of whack, especially when trying to sleep. Fun times!
  • Baby kicks…ALL the time. And I could not love it more! I’ve already mentally accepted the fact that I will probably never have a chill child…this one will most likely be a wild child like the other two!

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This photo was taken at 18 weeks – baby is the size of a grapefruit

Boy or Girl?

We knew we would be really close to that time where we could find out the gender of the baby by the time we came home for Christmas, so we asked our doctor if we could find out before we go. I wasn’t quite due for my full anatomy scan yet, but because my doctor is amazing, she gave me a quick freebie ultrasound at my next appointment so we could find out. My appointment was early in the morning, so we let Kinsie be a little late to school and brought both her and Brax along with us so we could all find out together. At first, the umbilical cord was right in the way…so the doctor kept wiggling the ultrasound wand around to see if she could get a good angle. Finally the baby moved a little, and voila….there it was! Baby Matthews #3 is a BOY!!

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We had to keep the secret for about a week before we headed home to Indiana to tell everyone. I didn’t let the kids talk on the phone to anyone during that time!

When we got to Indiana, we invited all our immediate family over for my mom’s birthday, and our gender reveal. We had a paint-filled balloon pinned to a canvas, and Kinsie would shoot her BB gun to pop the balloon and reveal the color. However, things didn’t exact go as planned! As you’ll see in the video, Kinsie hit the balloon TWICE, and the BB just bounced right off! Ryan eventually had to shoot it point blank for it to finally pop!

 

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We all are so excited to have another little boy join the family in May!

Finally to end out our December and our year, here is our 1 Second Everyday video for December 2019. Happy New Year!

 

Baby Number THREE!

Surprise!! Baby Matthews #3 is on the way and should arrive sometime in May!

Not to get into too much detail, but this baby was planned. The timing of this baby was not. However, we trust that God knows best and even though our spring and summer of 2020 is going to be super chaotic (a new baby AND moving to Indiana), we are excited about all the blessings coming our way!

Because we were not expecting this at this time, I was shocked. So shocked that I truly didn’t believe it until I saw it on an ultrasound machine. But I’ll get to that in a minute. The morning I got a positive pregnancy test (two actually), the kids had school and Ryan had conference in the morning. I took the test first thing in the morning, saw the two lines in complete disbelief, but had to go abut my day of getting the kids where they needed to go. After I got the kids to school, I ran by the store to pick up another test because I still didn’t believe it. And what do you know, another two bright pink lines! When Ryan got home, here is what I left on his side of the sink in the bathroom.

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When he got home and saw it, he just started cracking up. But of course he was excited! This will be the fifth out of six babies born within the residency program in the spring/summer of 2020!

My parents were flying in to visit us for Kinsie’s birthday the day after I found out. My parents can read me so well, I can never keep a secret from them for very long, so it worked out that we would get to tell them so soon. We told the kids the next morning before school so they would know before my parents came. They were so excited! Kinsie always says, “I just wish the baby would come out right now!” I always have to remind her that the baby needs to “keep cooking” for a while. Brax kind of understood, but not completely, until recently when I started showing a bit. Now he seems to understand that there actually is a growing baby in there!

We used this picture and framed it for my parents, Ryan’s parents, Ryan’s sister and brother, and my sister’s family to tell everyone. My parents were of course the first to know. Their reaction was absolutely priceless!

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We had a great weekend for Kinsie’s birthday with my parents, and luckily enough, Ryan’s parents were planning on visiting the very next week for Brax’s grandparents day at school, so we were able to tell them also! For the rest of the family, we had my parents or Ryan’s parents hand out the “gift” with the framed picture of this gem above and we did Facetime with them to see their reactions!

From what I could gather, I had an expected due date of about May 27. With this being the third baby, I can’t hide my bump for long. With both this pregnancy and when I was pregnant with Brax, I personally could see a bump at 5-6 weeks.

I wasn’t able to get into my OB’s office for an appointment until after our vacation in Orlando. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to wait that long to see the baby and make sure everything was ok and that there was only one baby! Lucky for me, I’m married to someone who not only has access to an ultrasound machine, but knows how to operate it as well! On one of Ryan’s days off and the kids were in school, he snuck me into the emergency department for a quick ultrasound. (we had to sneak mainly because I was only 6 weeks and I didn’t want to see people I knew). Everything looked great on the ultrasound, and we even got to see the baby’s tiny little heart beating! It was so special that Ryan was able to perform our first ultrasound!

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Here are some progress pictures and updates on this pregnancy so far…

Month 1:

I had no symptoms at all the first few days. This is how I was with Brax also. About a week or so later, the fatigue hit me hard. Whenever Ryan was home, he made me go take naps. When he wasn’t home, I just try to rest the best I can while the kids are running amuck through the house.

Around 5 weeks – baby’s the size of a grain of rice

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Month 2:

  • Fatigue. Fatigue. Fatigue. It’s intense. Worse than the other two, and with those I was even working full time!
  • Extreme hunger/nausea. I was SO hungry all the time, and if I didn’t eat something soon enough, I would get really nauseous. If I kept my hunger under control, I felt pretty good. But I also tried to not overeat or eat too unhealthy.
  • Super sensitive to smells/gagging – I usually have a strong sense of smell, but when I’m pregnant, its on another level. When the kids use the restroom (#2…sorry for TMI), I have a really hard time with the smell, and my gag reflexes are not a fan as well!
  • Bloating. This happens often after I eat dinner, and it’s not fun. It’s very painful and it doesn’t get better unless I sit down and don’t move for a while…which is not easy to do with two children and a busy working husband.
  • Cravings – they are sometimes super random…like a McDonalds cheeseburger or Olive Garden breadsticks. But overall, the main recurring cravings include sour food – pickles, lemons, and sour candy.

Around 8 weeks – baby’s the size of a raspberry

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Month 3:

  • I still get hungry often, but it’s not as extreme as it was before.
  • I’m still tired, but it seems to have improved some! One of the main reasons that it has bothered me so much that I’m tired is because I haven’t been able to work out as much as I’d like. Before I got pregnant, I LOVED working out. Now I still do, but my workouts have changed a bit, and they are very inconsistent. I hate that I’ve been too tired to work out most days, especially when I was in such a great habit before. Hopefully my fatigue will continue to decrease and I’ll get back on a good workout schedule. I’m in a MUCH better mood when I can workout more often!
  • Headaches – this is a new thing. I get a headache almost every day, and it is hard to function.
  • Other typical symptoms – always needing to use the restroom, extra emotional…the usual!
  • I’m pretty sure I felt my first baby kick at 14 weeks! I can’t wait to feel more!

 

Around 12 weeks – baby’s the size of a lime

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15 weeks – baby’s the size of a pear

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As you can see, it’s not so easy to hide anymore! I felt like I really popped when we were in Orlando on vacation. Even the kids mention my belly getting bigger, and they are really excited about it!

When I finally got in to see my OB, I was around 10 weeks (or so I thought). My appointment was on a Friday, so Brax didn’t have school, so he came along. We saw the baby squirming around and heard a strong heartbeat. Brax seemed somewhat confused at the time, but later seemed excited that he got to see the baby. When the nurse practitioner was measuring the baby, she said the baby was measuring about 10 days bigger than what I originally thought! So now we’re going with a due date of May 17, which is one day later than my due date with Brax!

In the ultrasound, the baby had his/her hand up by its face!

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I just started my second trimester and can already tell my fatigue and extreme hunger have decreased some…yay! The kids are so excited and they love knowing what kind of fruit the baby is the size of each week. Both of my kids are super energetic, which of course I love, but it’s also exhausting…especially while pregnant. I keep hoping my next child will be the chill one. But are we even capable of producing a chill baby? I guess we’ll find out! Either way, we’re excited to welcome him/her into our chaos!

We will be finding out the gender in December and sharing the news with our families when we come home for Christmas. Stay tuned for more pregnancy updates!

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Our Brax Man at 18 Months

And just like that…my little boy is 18 months old. He entered our lives a year and a half ago and changed them forever in the best way. He completely lights up all of our lives and he, and his sister of course, are the best little gifts God ever gave us.

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Our little guy has grown up SO much since he turned a year old. He is walking, talking, dancing, even sassing. I love watching him change every day and watching him learn more about the world around him. Kinsie is still totally in love with her little brother and loves teaching him everything she knows. He has such a fun and spunky little personality that is so contagious.

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Here are some stats about our Brax Man at 18 months old…

  • He is 26 lbs, 13 oz. (63rd percentile) and 32 inches tall (34th percentile).
  • He is obsessed with reading. Maybe even more than Kinsie if that’s possible. He will bring us book after book after book, then plop his little booty down right in our lap to listen to the book. He especially loves Sesame Street books.
  • He is getting very verbal and is learning new words every day. Some of his first words included ball, book, Batman, and dog. He shortens most words to just one syllable…like “Mickey” becomes “Mick,” and apple becomes “app.” Some of my favorites of his words are banana (nana), and shoes (shh).
  • He still loves playing with balls. He will spot a ball in any room, on any page of a book, or on any show.
  • When we name a body part, he can point to it on his body. His belly is his favorite!
  • He can name several animal sounds. His favorite animal sounds are elephants, cows, monkeys and pigs.
  • He absolutely loves Mickey Mouse. On TV, in person, in books, in stuffed animals…he loves any form of Mickey!
  • He is great at making messes, but loves to help clean up his messes.
  • He watches EVERYTHING Kinsie does and wants to do it too.
  • His favorite animals are elephants and monkeys. He also LOVES dogs.
  • His favorite foods are bananas, applesauce, and pretty much anything with ketchup.
  • He loves to snack throughout the day.
  • He is a major mama’s boy, but still adores his daddy.
  • He is very determined about what he wants and doesn’t want, and will make sure we know it.

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18months

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This kid is so awesome. I can’t wait to keep watching him grow and learn! I can’t believe he’ll be two in 6 months!

Wild ONE!

A few days before Brax’s birthday, we had a lumberjack “Wild One” birthday party for him at the lake. I love how both of my kids have birthdays in months where we can spend time outside…or at least we SHOULD be able to. The weather lately hasn’t exactly been typical of late April and early May…it has been cold and rainy for weeks now. It poured all morning the day of Brax’s party…so it became an indoor party. I was a little bummed, but I knew he wouldn’t know the difference. Actually, once it was time for the party later in the afternoon, it stopped raining…but it was still too wet to do any of the festivities outside. We still love our home away from home, even if we don’t get to be outside.

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Thanks to Megan for making Brax’s outfit and the awesome “1” banner!

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Ryan was a huge help for the party…making the “Wild One” sign and the “Trail Mix Bar” sign, as well as drawing and painting the lumberjack man! Also, thank you to Bev (and Tim) for hosting and making a lot of the food, as well as Aunt Renata for the amazing cookies!

Brax had the BEST time at this party. He barely napped that day, probably because he was too excited for his party (no joke…he knew something exciting was about to happen!) Even without much sleep, he was a champ throughout the afternoon. He partied hard, visited with everyone, and played with all of his cousins. Kinsie helped him open his presents, which was quite a chaotic adventure! As you’d expect from a one year old, Brax was more entertained by the boxes and bows than the gifts themselves. Kinsie was pretty excited to play with all of Brax’s new toys though!

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Next was probably Brax’s favorite part of the afternoon…being sang to and eating cake! He LOVED when everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to him. He was absolutely giddy. He giggled, wiggled and laughed the entire time. When it was time for cake, I figured he would dive right in because that is how he usually approaches food, but surprisingly, he was cautious. He wasn’t too crazy about getting icing all over him at first, but once he realized that this stuff that was all over his fingers tasted delicious, he was all in!

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We had one very happy little boy that afternoon. Kinsie had a blast too! We love getting all of our family and close friends together for occasions like this. It fills my love tank. It is hard to believe that the next several birthdays the kids will have will be in Arkansas. However, even though we are moving, we still plan to spend the kids’ birthday weekends at home to celebrate with all of our family and friends. Kinsie is already planning her 4th birthday party, in which she claims that she’ll have another dinosaur party. We’ll see if she changes her mind by September!

Happy FIRST birthday my little WILD ONE!

Brax is ONE!!!

My baby is one. ONE. How is this already true? I feel like he was born YESTERDAY. I went back and read his birth story today and cried and wallowed in my nostalgia. I remember every last detail about the evening before and the morning he was born. The intense thunderstorm that cleared the roads for us to drive to the hospital, my water breaking as soon as I crawled into bed, feeling completely exhausted and attempting to “rest” but not being able to because I was SO anxious…but most importantly, meeting my boy. My beautiful, perfect, 7 lb. 15 oz. baby boy that I waited not just 9 months, but my entire life to meet. I cannot believe that it was a year ago that we became a family of four. A year ago, my sweet little boy came into this world and wiggled his way right into our hearts.

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Brax is very busy these days. He is always on the move and learning new things. Here are his ONE YEAR updates…

  • He is 22 lbs, 8 oz. (70th percentile) and 29.5 inches tall. (50th percentile)
  • He has 8 teeth. He doesn’t use them as much for chewing food as much as biting his loved ones. He finds it hilarious. We don’t.
  • He can stand independently for up to a minute…probably longer. It only happens when he is distracted and doesn’t realize he is doing it.
  • Some of his favorite hobbies include playing catch, eating, yelling, and wrestling with his sister.
  • He loves to clap his hands.
  • He loves to dance.
  • He hates naps (how did we get 2 children who hate sleep?)
  • He is learning to talk more and more every day. He mainly says “mom” and “dad,” but he loves babbling, yelling and hearing his own noises at a very loud decibel!
  • He loves touch and feel books, and even tries to touch the pages on non-touch and feel books.
  • Some of his favorite foods include blueberry waffles and mac and cheese.
  • He is learning what “no” means. You can see the little wheels turn in his head when we teach him when he shouldn’t do something. (Like eat dog food)
  • He is super ticklish…especially his toes.
  • He still loves bath time. As soon as we start the bath water, he books it to the bathroom and tries to climb in by himself.
  • He loves chasing the dogs and trying to grab their tail and paws. Koda runs away, Addie just licks his face.
  • Nobody can make him laugh as much as Kinsie can…they are the best of buddies and partners in crime!

12Months

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To my sweet, one-year-old boy, Braxton…

I can’t believe you are one year old! We have all LOVED getting to know you throughout the last year. Every day, we learn more about you and fall in love with you even more. You are a crazy, loud, little ball of energy with an award-winning smile, making it impossible not to smile back. You haven’t let me have much quality sleep in the last year, and one day at home with you puts more steps on my Fitbit than if I ran the mini marathon…but I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything in the world. Your sister may pester you constantly, but she is your biggest fan. She loves having a little sidekick and putting on a show for you to make you smile. Your dad and I are obsessed with your sweet personality, and your precious giggle is our favorite sound in the world. We can’t wait to watch you continue to learn and grow into a little boy and see what amazing things you accomplish. I thank God every day for the amazing blessing that you are. I am so grateful to be your mom!

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