A Scorching September

Like usual, our September seemed to go by pretty fast! Now that both kids are in school and all of their activities have started, we stay pretty busy, making the days go by faster. After a LONG summer, I needed some faster-paced living. Unfortunately, the scorching summer has not subsided yet! This was the hottest September I can remember. It was almost consistently in the high 90s with very high humidity. I’m so ready for fall!!! Crossing our fingers that October will be our month!

Here is the run down of our month…

Brax Started Preschool

Since Kinsie had already been in school for a month, Brax was so excited to start preschool himself! He has had such a great start to his school year! He loves his teacher and has been really excited to learn. Last year, he was hit or miss on whether he would cry when I dropped him off, but this year he has been an absolute champ!

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He has already had lots of fun learning opportunities and projects this year!

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School has really sparked Brax’s interest in learning to write. He learned how to write his name over the summer, but now he’s learning the rest of the letters. He is constantly asking me how to spell words so he can write them!

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Brax’s Ninja Class

This is the first year that Brax was old enough to do an extra-curricular activity. The place that Kinsie does her gymnastics also offers “Ninja Zone” classes, which got Brax really excited. His first class didn’t go quite as expected…he got a little freaked out and didn’t want to participate. After some coaxing, he finally did and has not looked back since! I think at first, the idea that we were now watching him instead of him watching Kinsie freaked him out, but now he does great!

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Rare Days Outdoors

I’ve been somewhat depressed about the weather this month, mainly because I didn’t expect it. I thought we would get SOME relief from the heat, but we really didn’t. We did, however, have maybe 2 or 3 days where the heat didn’t hit hard until the afternoon, so we took advantage of those days. One morning we took a walk around the lake.

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Another morning we went to the Farmer’s Market downtown and let the kids play at the rock park!

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Family Visits/Grandparents Days

The other 2 years we’ve lived here, the kids and I traveled to Indiana for Kinsie’s birthday. This year, we weren’t able to do that since Kinsie can’t really miss school as easily now. Instead, my parents came to us! We got really lucky that her birthday weekend coincided with her school’s Grandparents Day! We had such a great weekend with my parents and it was MUCH needed since we hadn’t seen them since the end of June.

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The next weekend, Ryan’s parents came down for Brax’s grandparents day at school. We loved having family here back to back!

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My kids are beyond lucky that they’ve never had a Grandparents Day at school without at least one grandparent there…even with living so far away. Our parents are absolutely amazing!!

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Kinsie’s 6th Birthday Celebrations

Kinsie decided that she just wanted to have a family birthday party this year, which I was totally fine with! Luckily, her birthday fell on a Saturday, so we had a whole fun day planned.

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Kinsie decided she wanted to go downtown for her birthday. We started out at the rock park, and then took a trolley ride around the city.

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Then we went to the nature center where they did an animal scavenger hunt! After that we went to a pizza place for lunch. It was such a fun morning, and my parents loved spending that time with us too!

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We had a mermaid-themed birthday party for Kinsie that evening. She loved the intimate family-only celebration with balloons, a good dinner, presents, and cake!

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She had such a special 6th birthday, and we were so grateful my parents were able to join us in celebrating our girl!

Since Ryan’s parents were coming to visit the next week, we kept all the decorations up and had a birthday celebration part 2 with them! We had the other half of the cake from the previous week and sang happy birthday again and she got to open her presents from Grandma Bev and Papa Tim. She loved getting 2 birthday parties and getting to celebrate with both sets of grandparents!

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And that’s a wrap for our September. October is going to be SO busy, but we have lots of excited things happening. We will be traveling to Indiana for a family wedding, spending a week in Orlando at some of our favorite theme parks, and enjoying some of our favorite fall traditions for the last time living in Arkansas. We are excited to continue our traditions back in Indiana next year!

Here is our 1 Second Everyday video for September.

Kinsie Kay is SIX!

Our beautiful Kinsie Kay turned six last week! It is amazing to see the transformation a child can make in just one year. Kinsie has matured in so many ways, and her education and creativity has completely blossomed. It has been so fun watching her grow and change this year. We love watching her busy little mind at work. She is constantly wanting to learn more about the world around her (just like her dad!) Her creativity is something truly amazing, and we love seeing the creative ideas that she comes up with on a daily basis. I can’t wait to continue to watch her grow and blossom and see what amazing things she accomplishes!

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Here are some stats about our big six year old!

  • Favorite color: still pink!
  • Favorite TV shows: T.O.T.S., Puppy Dog Pals…although she really hasn’t been into TV much. She would rather draw, write, or do some other type of imaginative play!
  • Favorite movie: All of the Toy Story movies
  • Favorite animal: still hippos and dolphins
  • When she grows up, she wants to be an art teacher. She has always wanted to be a teacher like her mama, but lately with her love of art, she discovered that she could combine 2 of her loves…teaching and art!IMG_BC71A0D54AE0-1
  • Her learning has completely exploded. She often surprises us with the knowledge that she acquires without us even knowing it. She is a complete sponge and soaks up everything around her. Her reading is improving every day. Since she was born, we have always read books before bedtime. This summer, we wanted to get her ready for school so we started having her read to us at bedtime. Between doing this, and practicing reading at school (and reading every sign and label everywhere she goes), her fluency has really improved. She also has been doing a lot of writing at school. I LOVE seeing the writing she brings home! Kinsie-writing
    Recently, her school did NWEA testing, which is a computerized test that measures individual student growth throughout the year. Kinsie scored in the 92nd percentile in math, and the 99th percentile for Reading! We were SO proud of our girl! As lovers of learning ourselves, we could not be happier that our children are loving to learn as much as we do!
  • Kinsie is absolutely rocking Kindergarten. She loves everything about it! She is very shy at school and would never dream of doing anything to get in trouble. I have no problem with this of course, but I do remind her to loosen up a bit and have fun at school too. Recently she received a “Citizen Shout-out” from her teacher for always being a good listener and being ready to learn. Her name was read on the school intercom and she received a certificate and special button!IMG_5789
  • Kinsie has definitely found a good stride living here in Arkansas, but she is definitely ready to move back to Indiana. She loves her school and her friends, but her family means more to her than anything else. She misses her grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles every day and can’t wait to be closer to them again. I have no doubt that she will handle the move like a champ. She is really good at making friends, so I think she will do great starting a new school next fall!Kinsie-cousins
  • She is currently in gymnastics only. Brax has started a Ninja class, so it’s been kind of nice having them each in only one activity. She moved up to the Level 1 class this year, which is a bit tougher but she still loves it.
  • Since Kinsie is so busy with Kindergarten, the residency life hasn’t affected her as much as it did in the past. However, when Ryan has a string of evening shifts, it is really rough on her. When this happens, Ryan’s shift starts when she is in school, and he doesn’t get home until after the kids are in bed, so Kinsie goes days without seeing him. We’ve gotten through them by Ryan waking up early to see her before school (even when he doesn’t get home until 2am), and him having lunch with her at school.
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  • She’s still an outdoorsy girl! But with the extreme heat we’ve had the last few months, we haven’t been able to spend near as much time outside as we’d like. Whenever the heat chills out a little bit though, we make sure we spend that time outside. It is therapeutic for all of us! Kinsie-outdoors
  • Kinsie and Brax are ultimately still best friends. Sometimes they can’t stand the sight of each other and cannot get along for the life of them, and other times they are the best of friends and make each other laugh the way nobody else can! Even though he can be a typical annoying little brother, she adores him!IMG_7949

 

We are so proud of the little lady she is becoming. She has such a strong personality, and is very strong-willed and passionate, which we are hoping will get her far in life!

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Happy 6th birthday, Kinsie Kay! We love you more than life itself!

August Adventures

And now August, a.k.a. the hottest month of the year in Arkansas, is finally over. We are somewhat grateful that this is the last August that we’ll be living here. Like I’ve said before, all of the other seasons in Arkansas are great, but we struggle in summer. This August in particular seemed especially brutal. It was rare that we had a day where the heat index wasn’t above 100 degrees. We are craving fall weather and everything that comes with it. Who knows if we’ll actually get cooler temperatures yet or if they won’t show up until October, but at this point, anything below 90 is considered pleasant!

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Lots of exiting milestones and adventures in August! The biggest thing was Kinsie starting Kindergarten!! But I’ll get to that in a minute. With Kinsie in school and Brax not starting until after Labor Day, we’ve had to get creative on how to stay occupied when it’s too hot to go outside. We had lots of little adventures and enjoyed our time together.

Here is the recap of our August…

The Weekend Before Kindergarten

During the month of August, Ryan was on a teaching rotation, where he spent his shifts teaching medical students. He had fewer and shorter shifts, and he got to pick when they were…so he had the weekends off. It was amazing! We wanted to have a fun family weekend before Kinsie started school, and we let her pick what she wanted to do (within reason of course). First, she chose to go to downtown Little Rock. We went to the Farmer’s Market, and played for a while at their favorite rock park.

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We also took a trolley ride around the city. The kids love doing this, and it’s free…win win!

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In the afternoon, the kids wanted to play in the yard. They played in their inflatable pool, sprayed each other with the hose, played with water balloons, and more.

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The next morning, we went to church, then Kinsie wanted to have lunch at the train restaurant, All Aboard. We had a great family weekend, and we were lucky that Ryan was able to join us for all of it!

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Kinsie Starts Kindergarten

Kinsie has been aching to go to school for a while now. She was SO excited to start Kindergarten! It definitely did not disappoint for her, she has loved every second of it!

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Brax misses Kinsie while she’s at school. He always hugs and kisses all over her (as you can see in the picture below).

The biggest adjustment for Kinsie has been having to wake up an hour earlier than she’s used to, but other than that, she has done great. She loves her teacher, and has made lots of new friends. The biggest adjustment for me has been the car rider line. Since Kinsie attends a charter school, they don’t have a bus system. All students are dropped off and picked up by their parents, so Brax and I spend quite some time waiting in line! But other than that, we love this school and are very happy with the school choice.

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Brax and I enjoy having lunch with Kinsie at her school. She lights up when she sees us!

It makes my mama and teacher heart SO happy that my girl loves school so much. I was the same way, so I hope her love for learning continues. I love hearing all about her day, and what activities she did and what she learned. We are looking forward to seeing what all she accomplishes during the rest of the school year!

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The Brax Days of Summer

Like I mentioned before, Brax and I have had lots of little fun adventures together this month. We try to do something outside of the house at least once a day, even if it’s something small like go to the store. He has been SO well behaved lately (he’s come a long way since the spring) so I have genuinely enjoyed our days together. Here are some of the highlights of our time together this month…

Library Walking Trail

We came to the library to read and check out books, but the kids often like walking around the trail behind the library, especially to see the swan that lives in that lake. It was a very hot day, but Brax really wanted to find the swan, so we walked. We ended up having to walk quite a ways around the lake, but we found the swan! He was so excited, so it was worth it!

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Altitude Trampoline Park

This is such a great place for a toddler to blow off some energy. I take the kids here often and they always have a great time. I wasn’t sure if Brax would still have a lot of fun like usual, or if he wouldn’t know what to do without Kinsie, but he still loved it!

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The Wonder Place

I was nervous that Kinsie would get upset that I brought Brax here without her, but she was surprisingly ok with it. I think it’s honestly because she loves school so much! Brax and I had a great morning together at the Wonder Place!

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Lake Willastein Park

Near the end of the month, the mornings were more mild, and then it would get hotter in the afternoon. Brax and I walked over to the park on one of these mornings and really enjoyed ourselves. We don’t get to come to the park as often as we’d like in the summer, so we stayed for a few hours and had a great time!

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Learning, Puzzles, and Games

Whenever we were home or had some down time, Brax loved doing puzzles and playing games. I also took some time this month to teach him how to write his name. He loves practicing any chance he gets! I’m hoping we have another kid who loves learning in the making, just like his big sis!

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More Adventures

Some of our other adventures included a visit to the children’s library, Chick-fil-A lunch dates, grocery store trips, and just playing in the yard and driveway. I’m excited for Brax to start school soon, but I really enjoyed my days with him!

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Weekend Adventures

To be honest, since Kinsie started school, they have been VERY easy to entertain at home on the weekends. Kinsie misses being home and playing with her own toys and with Brax, so they spend 75% of their time just playing together at home. We have taken a few little adventures just when I feel like I need to get out of the house including…

Bass Pro Shops to see the fish, and the outlet mall…mainly to go to the bargain book store and ride the mini carousel.

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We also went to the Purple Cow restaurant for dinner one night. The kids loved their purple ice cream sundae!

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Early one Saturday, before the heat kicked in, the kids and I walked over to the park and enjoyed some outside time. They needed the fresh air to run around and get some energy out…especially together!

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R.I.P. Hedwig

Our sweet goldfish, Hedwig passed away this month. Ryan won him at the Indiana State Fair before we were even married, so he lived longer than most goldfish…about 8 years! The kids grew up with him, as you can see in the pictures below. It was especially tough for Kinsie, because Hedwig’s tank has been in her room the last few years.

Left photo- Kinsie at 3 months looking at Hedwig; middle photo- Hedwig in 2014 (he got MUCH bigger than he was then); Right photo- Brax at 1 year old with Hedwig

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Kinsie made a little casket and cross for him, and we buried him in the backyard. We were lucky to have him for so long!

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Even though we were sad that Hedwig passed, we were excited to make his tank a home for some new fish! We got 4 glowfish and Kinsie named them after Toy Story characters – Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep and Trixie.

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Family Visit

This summer seemed really long, so it seemed like it had been forever since we had seen any family. We were REALLY needing some family time, and luckily, Grandma Bev, Megan and Griffin came through! We were all so happy they were able to make the trip for a few days to see us! They loved visiting Kinsie for lunch at her school!

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We didn’t do a whole lot, but we didn’t need to. We were all just happy to be together. The kids always love their Griffin time!

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This visit was just what we needed and we are so grateful they came. We’ll have more family visits coming up in September so this helped us get through until then!

Brax’s School Open House

Our boy finally gets to start his school year soon! He will be in the Pre-K3 class at the same school he and Kinsie attended last year. He recently had his “Meet the Teacher Open House” and he was so excited to see his classroom and meet his new teacher. I think he is going to have a great year!

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And that’s a wrap for our August. Our favorite time of the year is approaching! We absolutely love fall. Kinsie’s birthday is coming up, and then all of our favorite fall activities in October, and also a short trip to Indiana for a family wedding, followed by a trip to Orlando! Lots of exciting things coming up so stay tuned!

Here is our August 1 Second Everyday video.

Surviving July

Full disclosure here…July is tough for me! It was a very long month and I hate to say I’m somewhat glad its over…please no judging! I am mentally exhausted after this month. Don’t get me wrong, we had lots of fun adventures in July, but it just comes to a point where the kids (especially Kinsie) are just over it. She’s over summer vacation and she’s ready for school. It is really hard being full time entertainment for 2 VERY busy children, neither of whom nap, and are both in need of constant mental stimulation…and throw in the fact that it’s too darn hot to step outside most days! Kinsie is so ready to get back into a school routine, be surrounded by kids her own age, and an adult who isn’t me! She starts Kindergarten on Monday and she could not be more ready! I am so excited for her and can’t wait to see her thrive. Brax doesn’t start preschool again until after Labor Day, so I still have a little while with him. Overall, he’s pretty content doing puzzles and playing board games all day so we should be able to get through it ok!

We had a lot of random adventures this month to keep us busy. We had one week of great weather, but other than that, it was your typical high humidity Arkansas heat. We found a lot of indoor activities and projects to do to keep us as busy as possible. Here is a rundown of our July…

4th of July

Now I do love 4th of July. Ryan always makes a point to try to get this day off because we enjoy our 4th of July traditions here. Like last year and the year before that, we went to the 4th of July parade in our town, had hot dogs for dinner (they always sound good after watching the Hot Dog Eating Contest…is that weird?), then to the park for fireworks. The parade is simple, short, and sweet, but the kids enjoy getting candy and seeing firetrucks, etc. One float in particular always tosses out popsicles…which is brilliant. They loved it!

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After our hot dog dinner, we walked over to the park. We enjoyed some treats, played a few games, then just chilled in the field until it was time for the fireworks. The kids were slap happy so they danced and tackled each other until the fireworks started. And as always, the park put on a great fireworks show!

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Kinsie’s ear piercing

Kinsie has been asking to get her ears pierced for almost a year. I wasn’t quite ready for it at the time, so I told her it could be her 6th birthday present. Well we decided to let her do it a little early before she started school. She was SO brave and didn’t even flinch! She loves her earrings and takes every change she gets to show them off.

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Pool Days (of various sizes)

A few times a week, Ryan and I lift weights together…and unfortunately, our garage is the only place we have room for all of our equipment…which means those workout sessions in the summer are brutally hot! At least we have some huge fans to help us get through it! Anyway, when we workout, the kids usually put on their swim suits and play in their kiddie pool. That pool has been the best $10 I’ve ever spent! They stay content for hours in it. After our workouts, we cool down by having water balloon fights with the kids. Fun and staying cool…win win!

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There is a community pool in our town, and we try to visit it once or twice each summer. We decided to use one of Ryan’s days off and make it a family pool day. The kids had a great time, and we even ran into Kinsie’s best friend from school, so they were especially pumped to have a playmate!

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Indoor Adventures

We spent most of our July indoors. Most days, the heat index was between 100 and 110 degrees. Therefore, we explored every play place possible in the city of Little Rock. And when we weren’t doing that, we were playing games, doing art projects, and making obstacle courses in the house.

The Wonder Place

We actually came here twice. The kids love it and its a great place for them to play for a few hours, and I brought along a book and read while they played!

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Altitude Trampoline Park

The kids love this place, and usually we beat the crowds and hardly see anyone there. However, we went on one of the hottest days of the summer, so everyone else apparently had the same idea we did! The kids still had fun though, and it got some of their energy out (just some).

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Kiddie City

This place is neat, but pretty expensive. Luckily, I’m in a moms group in town and once a month we get a discount day, so we take full advantage! The kids love this place, and after the last time we visited, they even created their own version of it at home.

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Projects and Crafts

Kinsie has a lot of creativity in her little brain, and needs lots of outlets for it. We did lots of play dough, painting, and crafts this summer. Remember the Toy Story 4 project she started after she saw the movie last month? Well we took it a step farther and laminated all the characters, labeled them and strung them together to create a banner in the playroom!

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Baking Fun

In one day, we spent a few hours baking different recipes from Kinsie’s princess cookbook. We made muffins, princess popcorn, and fairy wands. The kids loved getting to help and making as big of a mess as possible!

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Farmer’s Market and Splash Pad

We LOVE the Farmer’s Market. This was the first Saturday Ryan had off since May, so we finally got to go. We loaded up on all our favorite jams and granola, and the kids got to paint a picture and a statue at one of the booths.

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After the Farmer’s Market, we ventured down to the splash pad. The kids (and Ryan) had a great time!

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Birthday Parties

Two of Kinsie’s best friends from preschool had birthday parties this month. Judah had a firefighter party, where they got to visit the fire station and explore and climb on a real fire truck. The kids thought it was the coolest thing ever!

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Luke’s party was at a place called Urban Air Trampoline Park. It was similar to the other trampoline place we go to, but there was lots more (it’s also a lot more expensive, so we’re lucky we got to go for free since it was for a birthday party!) There were trampolines, ball pits, tubes and slides, rock climbing, a foam pit, ropes courses, and more. It was a really neat place and the kids were in absolute heaven!

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The One Week it was Nice Outside

We had one week of pure perfect weather. So we spent most of those days at the park. We hadn’t been there in a while since it’s been so hot, so we loved exploring our favorite park again. One of the days we met up with some residency friends, and the other days we just played on our own. It felt so good to be outside again!

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Zoo Day

One of the other days that we had nice weather, I took the kids to the zoo. We usually go to the zoo with Ryan since he loves it too, but he had to work and we really wanted to take advantage of the nice weather while Kinsie was still out of school. We had such a great time. The kids were so well behaved and loved everything we saw and did. It was one of my favorite days with them this summer.

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Kinder Camp

Kinsie’s school had “Kinder Camp,”, where all the incoming kindergarteners got to bring their school supplies and meet their teachers. Kinsie was awestruck. She was so excited to meet her teacher and see her classroom. Her teacher seems so sweet, so we are looking forward to a great year!

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We are looking forward to August, especially for Kinsie to start Kindergarten. Once September gets here, I feel like time goes a lot faster…so before we know it, it will be June and we will be moving back! We are so excited, but enjoying our time in Little Rock while we can.

Here is our 1 Second Everyday video for the month of July!

June Travels

June was a whirlwind! We were gone more than we were home. During the month of June, we traveled to Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, and then the kids and I took a 2 week trip to visit family in Indiana. Ryan had to stay home to work, and we definitely missed him a lot while we were gone! However, we stayed super busy and did lots of fun activities back in our home town. I’m excited to share our June adventures!

Trip to Lake of the Ozarks

Since Ryan was named Chief Resident, one of his first responsibilities was to make the first few schedules. We knew that the kids and I were going to be gone the last 2 weeks of the month, so Ryan scheduled himself to work pretty much the whole time we were gone. With that being said, he was able to get multiple days off in a row during the first half of the month, so we decided to take advantage of that and take a little trip to the Ozarks! My parents met us there and brought along Kerigan. Unfortunately, Kinsie was not feeling well during the trip, and we later discovered she had pneumonia. She was just extra tired and not her perky self, but she was a trooper and still had fun.

On the first full day, we took a hike at the state park. It was a fun and easy hike, and we saw tons of deer! Ozarks-1-1

After our hike, we went to the beach area near our condo. The kids loved splashing around at the beach, playing on the playground, and taking a ride on the inflatable kayak that Ryan brought with us.

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The next day, we rented a pontoon boat and spent the entire day on the lake. We had a great day exploring the lake, trying out different restaurants on the water, fishing, and more. The kids were all exhausted by the end of the day, and Brax even fell asleep on Yaya’s lap, which I know she didn’t mind at all!

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I felt so bad that we took Kinsie on this trip when she didn’t feel good, but she was such a trooper. After the trip, we got her on some antibiotics and she was feeling better within days. It was still such a fun little trip with some people we love!

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Small Adventures

Taking small trips, even if it’s to a store or to get ice cream, are crucial for my sanity. Since Kinsie wasn’t feeling well, we were home a lot. As soon as she was feeling a little better, we took short trips out of the house just to get some fresh air. We needed to get some school uniforms for Kinsie, so we went to the outdoor mall and had ice cream. Another day, we went to Target and got cake pops at the Starbucks inside the store. It’s the little things!

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One day, Ryan didn’t have to work until the afternoon, so we took a family walk around the lake. The kids enjoyed stopping along the way to see turtles and ducks and we enjoyed some quality family time.

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Dragon Boat Races

The lake by our house does this event every year, and the first year it took place on the day we moved. We obviously didn’t go then since we just moved in, but we did see the fireworks from our house! This is the first year we were able to check it out, and it was very cool! Different companies get together and make teams and they race dragon boats across the lake to raise money for charity. Each company also sets up a tent and gives away free items. The kids got some free dragon cups, a beach ball, and lollipops, so they were in heaven! There were also fun games and activities set up around the park, so we all enjoyed a fun family morning at the event!

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Father’s Day and Our Anniversary

Our 7th anniversary and Father’s Day landed on the same day this year, so I made sure Ryan took the day off! We didn’t do anything spectacular…just went to church, and spent the day playing outside with the kids. Then I made Ryan’s favorite dinner. It was simple…but that’s all we needed. All we wanted for both our anniversary and Father’s Day was to spend the day all together, so that’s exactly what we did!

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A Tough Goodbye

As soon as we moved here 2 years ago, I made some incredible friends within the residency program. Several other wives within the program took me in right away and became my very good friends. We did playdates often, went to church together (usually without husbands, but with ALL our kids), we constantly had a group text going, and we supported each other through the tough journey of residency. The thing I loved most is that all of our husbands were in emergency medicine together, so we all shared the same struggles and helped each other through them. Their husbands were in the residency class above Ryan, so they just completed their third year and all moved away for new jobs. It was really hard saying goodbye to the friends I got so close with, but I was SO grateful just to have them for the 2 years that I did. Now I just have an excuse to travel around the U.S. to visit!

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Back Home Again in Indiana

The kids and I went to Indiana to visit family for 2 weeks, so that was half of our month right there. We are so grateful for our family for always helping us find ways to get there and back when Ryan can’t drive with us. This time, Bev flew to Little Rock and helped us drive to Indiana, and my mom helped us drive to Little Rock and then flew back to Indiana. We were SO busy during our 2 week visit, and we loved every minute of it! Here is a recap of our adventures in Indiana…

Indianapolis Children’s Museum

We used to take Kinsie to the museum when she was little, then of course we moved when Brax was still a baby, so we hadn’t been there in a few years. The kids were so excited when their cousins invited us to spend the day there with them. Brax LOVED the dinosaur peeking in the building as you first walk in!

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Some of the highlights of the inside of the museum included the carousel, the fossil digging area, and the Paw Patrol exhibit.

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Although we loved everything we saw inside, we spent the most time outside in the sports area. This is somewhat new, so we had never been. It was amazing! They had tons of exercising activities, every sport you can imagine, and a huge treehouse, similar to the “Tree of Life” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We spent hours exploring and playing! It was an awesome day!

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Indianapolis Zoo

We tagged along with Megan, Griffin, Grandma Bev and Ryan’s cousin Jess and her daughter Bexlee to the zoo. The bad news is that it rained almost the entire time we were there. The good news is that we still got to see most of the animals. A few of the savanna animals, and the tiger (my favorite) weren’t feeling the rain, but other than that, we saw a lot and had a great day. Kinsie hitched a ride in Griffin’s covered wagon, and Brax used Kinsie’s unicorn umbrella, so we were all good! The Indy Zoo has a great indoor aquarium area, so we spent a lot of time there. The kids loved all the sea creatures, and Kinsie got to see the dolphin show that she’s been talking about literally since we moved. Brax loved the orangutans and talked about them for days after!

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Another neat temporary exhibit was the MISTery Park. It was just a short little loop full of mist sprayers. Simple, but neat! Despite the rain, we enjoyed the day with family and animals.

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Splash Pad

We met Bev, Megan, and a few of Ryan’s aunts and cousins for lunch and then went to the park splash pad for the kids to play. It took some time for the kids to get comfortable enough to play, but once they did, they had a blast!

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Toy Story 4

The kids were dying to see Toy Story 4, (ok so was I!) so I wanted to take them to see it in theater during our visit. We invited some other cousins along, and we all took up an entire row! We all loved the movie, but my favorite part was hearing Brax belly laughing with every scene that had their new favorite “Forky!”

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The next day, all the cousins made their own version of Forky. Then Kinsie wanted to take it a step further and make more characters. This project continued for days and expanded more and more until she had drawn every single character from the movie! Her final project was quite impressive, and now she wants to display it in the play room at home!

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Cousin Sleepovers

The kids favorite part of visiting is always cousin time. They had several sleepovers, including Kinsie sleeping over at their house one night. Their time together is always fun and eventful!

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Pool Days

We always love spending time at Yaya’s pool while we’re in town. On our pool days, Kinsie transformed into a mermaid and did not get out of the pool unless forced to eat or go to the bathroom. There were a few days where she swam from 10am to 7pm! Brax made tons of progress from wanting someone to always hold him, to swimming around independently.

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The kids’ happiest of happy places…ALL their cousins in the pool with them!

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Even when we weren’t IN the pool, we still loved spending time out by the pool. When Brax needed breaks from swimming, he brought puzzles out and did them poolside. We also enjoyed several meals on the terrace.

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The kids had SO much fun together in the pool. They played for hours and hours, and they all get along so well. And we just love watching them have fun together.

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Other Outside Fun

The second week of our visit had beautiful weather. We spent as much time as we could outside. When we weren’t by the pool or lake, we enjoyed swinging and water table fun at Megan’s, or riding on the lawn mower with Papa!

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Lake Days

We spent a good chunk of time at the lake during our visit…which is one of my favorite places to be. We went for a few random trips during the week, and then spent the weekends there as well. During the week was the best time to relax and go fishing since there weren’t many people there. The kids enjoyed fishing for about 3 minutes, then moved on to other things. In that short time though, they did catch a fish or two! While the kids played, I fished longer with Ryan’s dad. Between the two of us, we caught lots of blue gill. I hadn’t fished in far too long so it was great to get to do it again!

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We spent our entire weekends at the lake as well. Lots of Ryan’s relatives came during that time, so we enjoyed visiting with family. All the kids LOVED swimming in the lake. Brax particular loved swimming with Uncle Nate, and Kinsie and the older cousins loved jumping off the dock and playing on the giant mat.

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More lake fun included boat rides, water balloon fights with cousins, and water table fun for the littles. And of course we had to snap this photo of Papa Tim with his 3 faves in his Heritage Lake shirt!

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Fireworks at the Lake

This is one of our favorite days of the year, and somehow we have managed to make it the last 2 years. Lots of family and friends came for the day so of course there was lots of people, fun and food. The kids spent most of the day swimming in the lake, and then the night consisted of the official fireworks put on by the lake. The kids got all decked out in glow necklaces and bracelets and stayed up late for the fireworks. We loved the fireworks, but my little guy fell asleep in the middle of them! It is very rare for either of my kids to accidentally fall asleep. He clearly was so exhausted from a long week of playing and swimming!

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Home Again Home Again, Jiggity Jig

After a very busy and fun 2 weeks, we were sad to leave family, but very ready to head home and see Ryan. The kids were SO happy to see him and spent the next 24 hours playing games with him, telling him all about our trip, and of course, climbing all over him! It was so good to be together as a family again!

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And that wraps up our month! We are looking forward to just being home in the month of July and enjoying summer before the kids start school. I still can’t believe that Kinsie starts KINDERGARTEN at the beginning of August! In the mean time, pray that we survive the intense Arkansas summer heat!

Here is our June 1 Second Every video. Enjoy!

 

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!

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!