Our Month of MAY-hem

Wow…we had SO much happening in the month of May. It seemed to fly by, but then again, it seems like the beginning of the month was a year ago. We had lots of fun, and were also very busy this month, so brace yourself for pictures galore!

Brax’s First Birthday

Brax turned one on May 2, and while we already had his Lumberjack party a few days earlier, we still had to do something for our boy’s special day. He received an Orange Leaf gift card as one of his birthday gifts, so we took him for his first frozen yogurt experience. He loved it, and of course, Kinsie didn’t mind it either!

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Kinsie and Mommy’s Day of Fun

Any fans of the show “Friends” out there? Well just like Joey and Janice, Kinsie and I had a special day together this month. Her school had a Mother’s Day Lunch on a Friday morning, so I took the morning off to go with her. We had a great lunch together at her school, then I had to get ready to leave and head to work. Her brown eyes had big ol’ crocodile tears in them when I told her I had to leave…so I thought about it, and since it was nearing the end of the school year (my students checked out LONG before this anyway), and the rest of the afternoon at school was our PTO Walk-a-thon, I thought, what the heck, I’ll bring her along! We had a great day together! She loved playing on the playground, silent reading time, and being my little helper at school. My students LOVED having her there, and they were great with her. It was a much-needed Mommy and Kinsie day.

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Dr. Matthews

It’s official…he’s a doctor now! After 4 very long years of medical school, my husband is now an MD. Two years of living in different cities with a newborn baby, two years of countless rotations with long and crazy hours, throwing another baby in the mix and surviving on a teacher’s salary…and we made it! I know we still have a long road ahead as he starts his residency, but we have come so far. We did it as a team, and that’s how we will continue our journey.

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First Swim of the Season

This usually happens WAY sooner, but it has been a crazy April and May. Lots and lots and lots of rain and below 50 degree temps. But a few weeks into May, we finally got these kids in the pool! Kinsie did her happy dance all around the pool, and Brax splashed and giggled and did his happy shout the whole time!

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Lake Time

Ahh, the lake. Our favorite. Our happy place. We have spent two weekends at the lake this month…we are trying to soak in as much lake time as we can before we move. We spent all of Mother’s Day there, and Memorial Day weekend. We have our staple activities that we always do while we visit…including lots of fishing, golf cart rides to the playground at the Marina, and lots of boat rides. This last trip even including Brax’s first time on the paddle boat, and both kids took turns driving the boat. Both of the kids (and the adults) are SO happy while we are at the lake. We all drag our feet when it’s time to leave and head back home. It really is all of our happy place.

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Outside Fun

We haven’t had quite as much outside time as you would think for the month of May, but the few times it has been nice enough, we try to get the kids outside. Even if we don’t want to, they drag us out. They have enjoyed wagon rides, playing t-ball, family bike rides, and running around in the backyard finding frogs and other critters.

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Soccer

Kinsie loved her soccer season! She absolutely loved playing with her cousins, and getting a snack ticket after every game. She improved SO much this season. She became more competitive and aggressive…all she needs is a little bit of speed and she’ll be a soccer star! Whether it was raining, freezing, windy, or sunny (I think this only happened twice), the kids were troopers and had a great season. They always had a great fan club too!

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Some “Lasts”

Within one week, Kinsie had her last gymnastics class, her last soccer game and her last day of preschool. All of these lasts weren’t just for the season, but her last doing all of these things in our current home of Indiana. She had such great experiences for all of these things, especially her preschool. We were so sad for her to leave this school, we really loved it there. She loved her teachers and her friends, but she is very open-minded about finding a new preschool and new friends (we’re hoping her optimism rubs off on her mama a bit). We were so lucky that she had all of these great opportunities to help her learn and grow, and we know we will get other fun opportunities in our new home.

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Last week was a tough one, because I had to say goodbye to a job that I love. I packed up my classroom, turned in my keys, and said “see you later” to some amazing fellow teachers that have become my best friends. I taught in this community for 5 years, and while it often completely drained me, it was so fulfilling. Even though I won’t be teaching at this school anymore, I feel in my heart that my teaching career is far from over.

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That just about wraps up our month. It was busy, crazy, exhausting, but amazing. We are counting down the days to our big move, which is happening in a couple of weeks. While we can barely walk through our house because of moving boxes everywhere, we are still trying to relax, soak it all in and enjoy our time with our families and friends before we pick up and move our lives to Little Rock.

Our April

April seemed to fly by! We stayed pretty busy between soccer, gymnastics, planning for Brax’s party, work, and just the everyday grind. We are enjoying our last few months in Indiana and spending as much time with family as we can. Here are the highlights of our April…

Soccer

We are loving Kinsie’s soccer season. It has been very odd weather on game days…either freezing or pouring down rain, and ONE nice Saturday so far! Kinsie loves playing with her cousins and she continues to get better every week!

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The boys cousins watching the girls

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Easter

Easter weekend is one of my all-time favorite weekends of the year. I love spending time with family and doing Easter egg hunts with the kids, but I mostly love what Easter represents. As Kinsie gets older each year, I try to teach her a little more of the details about why we celebrate Easter (and Christmas). Last year, she knew that we celebrated Easter because “Jesus Loves us.” This year I took it a step further and taught her that we celebrate Easter because “Jesus died and came back to life.” She understood this, and seemed amazed by it…so I accomplished my goal! We had an amazing weekend including time at Ryan’s aunt’s house with all his aunts, uncles and cousins, Sunday Easter service, an Easter bunny visit, multiple Easter egg hunts, and time with all the people we love.

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Showing off their gifts from the Easter bunny

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A visit from the Bunny…Brax loved it! Kinsie was a little unsure…

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Crazy kids getting ready for their egg hunt

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Bradford Woods

One of the highlights of my school year is our annual trip to Bradford Woods with the entire 5th grade. This field trip takes planning all year, but it is so worth it. While I hated being away from Ryan and my babies for 3 days, I love getting to spend time with my students in an awesome environment. I love seeing the students in a different light. The students who have the hardest time at school sitting at a desk all day thrive at Bradford Woods. This trip was especially important to me because it was my last one. I will truly miss this tradition, and I will truly miss my fellow teachers with whom I’ve gotten to share the experience.

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Brax’s Birthday Party

We had our sweet boy’s FIRST birthday party on Saturday! We had a “Wild One” lumberjack theme, and he had the BEST time. I will have a separate post with more details and pictures about the party soon!

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And just like that…it’s May! The coming months are going to be an absolute whirlwind for us, so hopefully I can keep up and remember to breathe and enjoy the ride!

A Momentous March

What a busy and exciting month of March we had! It was colder than we hoped, but that doesn’t seem so bad now that we will be moving to a warmer climate in a couple of months. As always, we were very busy this month with lots of exciting new beginnings.

Reading

Kinsie’s school celebrated literacy month by doing a reading competition. We were given reading tickets, where we had to write down the titles of the books that we read with her. For every ticket we turned in, (10 books), the class would add a piece to their class caterpillar. As you already know, Kinsie LOVES to read…and so do Ryan and I. We already read with her all the time, so now we just had to keep track of what we read. Kinsie got very competitive with it (and I’ll admit, so did we). She wanted to read even more than usual to help her class win. Unfortunately, we didn’t win…the winning class blew everyone else out of the water…but we got 2nd place! I personally kept track of how many reading tickets we turned in, and it was 30. So we read around 300 books this month.

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Brax wanted to hear the story too!

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Outside fun (when possible)

We didn’t get very fun nice weather this month, so when we did, we had to take advantage. Even if it was still 40 degrees and partly sunny…we would find something to do outside weather it was swinging or taking a walk.

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Gymnastics

Kinsie started up a gymnastics class this month. She was in a “Mommy and me” class before she was 2, and she loved it. Once Brax was born, life got a little too crazy and we stopped the class. Now, she still has more energy than she knows what to do with and she is as clumsy as can be, so we figured a class to help burn energy and practice coordination couldn’t hurt. Now she is in the 3-4 year olds class, so we just watch from behind the glass. She is doing pretty well considering she’s been out of the game for a year now. She’s a fast learner and has fun doing it. Brax enjoys watching too!

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Soccer

Spring soccer season has officially started! This season we are playing with a different league because we wanted to sign Kinsie up with a few of her cousins. She is on a team with her cousin Emery, and Kerigan. Ryan, my brother-in-law Ryan, and Ryan’s cousin’s husband Scott are the coaches. We’ve had 2 practices so far and they are certainly entertaining! Kinsie has made a lot of progress since the fall, so hopefully she was continue to improve throughout the season. Kinsie is especially pumped that her daddy is the coach and that she gets to play with her cousins!

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Match Day

From my previous post, you have seen that on Match Day, we found out we are moving to Little Rock, Arkansas! I am nervous, but VERY excited for this new adventure. Match Day was a neat experience, where all of the 4th year IU med students all gathered together and opened their envelope at the exact same time. The room was full of a lot of joy, hugs, and excitement. The kids weren’t really sure what we going on, but they were excited too!

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Cincinnati Zoo

Since I was on spring break for 2 weeks, we decided to take another trip to the Cincinnati Zoo, or as Kinsie calls it, the “hippo zoo.” It was just a 2 hour drive, and the kids had a blast. Brax barely napped all day, but he was a happy little camper. We spent a lot of time with the hippos, Kinsie’s favorite. Brax loved the lions and the train ride most. It was a great day!

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My Cousin’s Wedding

My beautiful cousin and one of my best friends, Sarah, got married this month! She married a fish farmer named Joe, and we love him. He took us on a tour of the fish farm last summer, which was a highlight of our summer. The wedding was quaint, simple, beautiful, classic and SO Sarah. They had the reception at the family farm. Sarah is very passionate about agriculture education and supporting her family’s farm. Her dad, (my uncle) passed away in 2009 in a farming accident, and she and her sister Katie have kept his passion for farming and agriculture alive. The wedding was beautiful and we all had a great time. Kinsie especially loved getting some extra cousin time, including her cousins from Philadelphia!

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The outtakes of our family photo

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Cousin time

We bought a house!

Yes, you saw right. We already bought a house in Maumelle, Arkansas…it is about 20 minutes outside of Little Rock. While I was still on spring break, we went on a 3 day trip to go house hunting. And when I say “we,” I mean pretty much my entire family! We took a 12 passenger van and everyone (except for my sister’s husband and Brax…he can’t really handle long car rides yet) loaded up and drove the 8+ hours to Arkansas. The kids were rockstars and we had a VERY productive trip. We looked at 7 houses and there was no competition as to which one we wanted to be our home. We put an offer on it that day and found out later that evening that they accepted our offer! We LOVE the house, the yard, the 5 minute walk to the park (with a lake…where we can fish), and the community that we will be living in. Best of all – it was Kinsie-approved!

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It was a LONG trip but the kids did great!

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Exploring the city

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Our new house!

Another great month! The next few months will be our last in Indiana. We will be busy packing and soaking up as much time with our family and friends here as we can. Also, our little boy turns ONE in almost a month, so I’m going to excuse myself now to go cry in the corner!

 

My Heart Belongs in Arkansas

The day that we had been anxiously awaiting for years finally happened…Match Day! And as you probably guessed based on this blog’s title…we are going to Little Rock, Arkansas!!

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I feel a lot of emotions about the idea of moving to Arkansas…anxious, nervous, overwhelmed….to name a few. But overall, I am very excited. This will be an exciting new adventure for our family. We always talked about how we didn’t want to live in Indiana forever. I knew the possibility was coming soon, and I truly felt that God prepared me for this. A year ago, I was TERRIFIED of the idea of leaving my home in Indiana…I would have a panic attack if Ryan even mentioned it (I literally cried the first time he showed me the list of residency programs that he was going to apply for). But slowly, over time, God worked on my heart. I prayed constantly…not that we would end up in Indiana, but that I would find peace wherever we ended up. Day by day, my heart softened to the idea. In November, I went to Gainesville with Ryan for one of his interviews, and actually SEEING a place that could be a potential home made me excited for the first time. Picturing myself living somewhere different seemed exciting rather than terrifying. After 13 interviews around the country, Ryan continued talking about his first interview in Arkansas. He loved the area, the program, and the people. He really wanted me to see it for myself, so in February, we took a weekend trip. That trip was a game changer for me. During the entire weekend there, I felt a sense of comfort. I felt at home. I felt at peace. I felt that that is where my heart belonged. I knew that God put that feeling inside me for a reason.

We still ranked IU as his #1 choice…just because this is where our lives are. We knew it was a long shot since the Indiana Emergency medicine program is rated among the top 3 programs in the country. We knew that God would place us where we were meant to be. Well, we are meant to be in Arkansas.

My emotions have been a roller coaster already since finding out a few days ago, and I know they will continue to change from day to day. I’m still scared…but I’m more excited. I’m sad to leave our home where we started a family…but I’m ready to have a new home and make new family memories. I hate the idea of leaving my job and my school family…but I know I’ll gain new friends and hopefully a new school family. I am dreading leaving our families…but I know I’ll still get to see them often and thank goodness for modern technology and FaceTime!

Here are more Match Day pictures, as well as the video of the opening of the envelope…

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And so the adventure begins…God prepared me for this, so I know He will not abandon me now!

March is here!!

You guys…it’s finally March! This is such a big deal for me in many ways…I always LOVE when February is over and March begins. It means that the majority of winter is over, and spring is almost here! I also love March Madness, and 2 weeks off for spring break…and this March is especially important for our family. We find out in about 2 weeks where Ryan will get matched for residency! If you were to ask me a year ago how I felt about the possibility of moving to another state, I would have had a panic attack right there on the spot. I’ve prayed every single day about this to help me adjust to this idea and be excited for whatever adventure God brings us. I have come a LONG way, and now I truly am excited to find out what our future will look like…even if it means uprooting from my home in Indiana.

Now on to how our February was…it was busy! From ear infections to random beautiful weather, to a weekend trip to Arkansas…here is the breakdown of our past month.

Sick kiddos

Early in the month, Kinsie had a double ear infection. Poor girl missed a whole week of school, and eventually went to the doctor and was put on antibiotics. It was like having a newborn at night again…she would be up every few hours crying from ear pain. As soon as she started feeling better, Brax caught the bug too. Finally we got everyone healthy again for about two weeks, and then it came back around to Kinsie again! She is currently on a second round of antibiotics and we are praying that Brax doesn’t get it again too!

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Valentines Day

Kinsie and I made homemade valentines this year for her class. She loved sitting down with me and putting together her ladybug valentines! On Valentines Day, Kinsie made heart cookies with Aunt Renata while Brax just enjoyed being a studly “eligible bachelor!”

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Wagon Rides and Kisses

We had a few days of random beautiful weather in February…so we jumped at the opportunity to take the kids outside for some fresh air. Brax got to experience his first wagon ride. He loved the ride and Kinsie loved having a buddy.

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Visiting Abuelita

My sweet grandma has been in an assisted living for a couple months now, and I finally got the chance to go visit her with my dad. I decided to keep the kids at home with Ryan so I could just have some quality relaxing time with my dad and grandma. We took her out for ice cream and she loved it! It was a great day seeing one of my favorite people in the world!

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Arkansas

Out of all of Ryan’s interviews that he went on, Arkansas was one of his favorite places. He loved the program, and the area. Since he knew he wanted to rank it pretty high on his list, he wanted me to get a chance to see it too. We took a weekend trip just the two of us. We loved exploring the beautiful city and imagining it being our future home. Grandma Bev watched the kids for us, and they had a blast too!

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Other Random Indoor Fun

Like I’ve mentioned before, when it’s winter and you have a small house with limited playing space…you have to be creative with your kids to keep them entertained. We made a clubhouse out of a cardboard box, had laundry basket rides, played “Troll Trouble,” took trips to the store to ride the horse, and lots more. Kinsie has been obsessed lately with learning how to write her letters, as well as drawing things like dinosaurs. Tic-tac-toe is one of her new faves too. And as always, the kids love it anytime they get to have cousin playdates!

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I am SO excited that it is finally March! We have a lot happening this month that I can’t wait to find out more about and share it with you! Happy (almost) Spring!

Good Riddance, January!

January is FINALLY over. This is my least favorite month of the year for many reasons, mainly because of the dreadful weather. Don’t get me wrong, we had some good times in January, but I do have to say that I’m glad it’s over…and it seemed to last FOREVER. Honestly, the weather wasn’t as horrible as previous Januarys we’ve had, but…it’s still winter. It still kept me cooped up inside the house with two crazy kids who need ways of getting their energy out. (Not to mention, I work every day with 10 and 11 year olds who also feel unmotivated and stir crazy when stuck inside due to the weather.) Ryan was on his busiest rotation of his 4th year, where he averaged 60+ hours a week, working weekends and overnights often. I feel like I’ve somewhat reached my stride to life with 2 kids, so it’s not that I needed him for the help as much…but I missed him, and the kids did too…and it’s a lot easier to make dinner, do laundry or even go to the bathroom when there is another adult present! When Ryan has had busy rotations in the past, it was at least summer or fall, so we were able to get outside, go swimming, or take walks and wagon rides. But not in January. We had to find creative ways of having fun and allowing our hyperactive kids’ to burn their energy! Here are the highlights of this month…

New Year’s Eve

I know that technically, the majority of this evening occurred in December…so don’t judge! New Year’s Eve is very different once you have children. Ever since Kinsie was born, we usually just stayed at home, put her to bed at her normal time, had movie marathons and tried to pry our eyes open long enough to watch the ball drop. Since Kinsie is 3 now, and, let’s face it, has more energy than both me and Ryan combined, we figured it would be a good year to let her stay up until midnight for the first time. We went to my sister’s house for the evening, but first had to trick Kinsie into taking a nap. We loaded her up in the car and drove around for a while until she fell asleep, and then parked in the driveway and just let her nap away. Once we were at Krista’s house, we ate dinner, played lots of board games, had a few dance parties, played XBox Kinect, watched YouTube videos…you name it (keeping toddlers entertained until midnight was exhausting!) Kinsie started losing steam around 10:30pm, but then got a second wind once the ball dropped. We had champagne and the kids had juice boxes and we all rang in 2017 as a family. It was a great night with great memories!

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Birthday Parties

We had a lot of birthdays to celebrate in January. First was our good family friends, Jake and Drew, who turned 13. We’ve known them their whole lives, and they are like family. The kids had a great time running (or crawling) around with their cousins. Next, we went to dinner for my brother-in-law Ryan’s birthday at Rick’s Boatyard. The weekend after was my nephew Briggs’ birthday. On his actual birthday, we went out to dinner at one of the kids’ favorite hangouts, Chick-fil-A, then the next evening was his party at the Well Community Center. This was an awesome place to have a party! It had tunnels, slides, and tons of toys (even baby toys for Brax). The kids had a blast and Kinsie became obsessed with all the songs on the CD that Briggs gave out as party favors. Finally, Kinsie’s cousin, Hazel had her birthday party the next day at the Jump-n-Play…another one of her favorite places.

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All-day Pajama Parties

Let’s face it, when it is cold outside, don’t you just want to stay in your jammies all day? Well, we did that pretty much every weekend. Since Ryan was working so much, me and the kids didn’t venture out a whole lot on the weekends. It was too cold (and too exhausting) to get everyone ready and dressed and bundled to go anywhere, so we stayed home a lot. The kids didn’t mind, they enjoy being home and with their own toys. We played a lot of dress-up, built things with Tinker Toys, read hundreds of books, watched countless movies (inclduing Kinsie’s new favorite…Trolls), and had more dance parties than I can count. Brax is a man on the move these days, so he crawled laps around the house daily. Kinsie has loved learning all her letters at school, so now her newest interest is learning how to write each letter. We also recently bought her some beginner Math books, so she loves doing those workbooks. She always says how much she loves to learn, and how she wants to be a teacher when she grows up like mommy. I hope she continues her love for learning…it’s definitely in her genes!

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January is over…on to February! To be honest, February isn’t my fave either (again…this is mainly motivated by the weather). Although I am already looking forward to spring, I will continue to soak in as many indoor snuggles and pajama parties as I can while they last.

Christmas With Two

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

Breakfast with Santa Party

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

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Meeting Santa

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

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Christmas Music Program

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

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Christmas Eve at Aunt Renata’s

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

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Christmas Morning at Home

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

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Christmas Day at Papa and Yaya’s

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

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

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