Dancing in September

September was SO busy, but we loved it! The last three months since we moved to Arkansas have kind of dragged on because we didn’t have a whole lot going on (well, Ryan did, but the kids and I didn’t). Ryan was on his Trauma rotation, which was rough. 12-14 hour shifts with maybe one day a week off. Luckily, the kids and I stayed busy which helped us deal with it. Kinsie started school, we had soccer practices and games, we had a visit from some family, and we visited our home in Indiana for 2 weeks…it was a great month!

Kinsie Starts School

We’ve been anxiously awaiting for this for a while now. As soon as we found out where we were moving, I started researching preschools. I wanted Kinsie to have a great experience like she did in Indy. I loved the Christian environment she was in there, and how much the teachers loved on her and really got to know her. After lots of research and referrals, we found the school for her. It is very similar to her last school, and we absolutely love it. Before school started, we went to an open house where she could meet her teacher and see her classroom, the kids loved running around the room and rolling on the beanbags! Kinsie has done wonderful there! Every day she tells me EVERYTHING about her day, and she is always excited to go back the next day. I also love how the school has a private Facebook group where they post pictures throughout the day so the parents can see what they are doing. This has been such a positive experience and has really helped Kinsie adjust and meet kids her age!

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Kinsie goes to school 3 days a week, so that leaves Brax and I for some special time together. He definitely misses Kinsie, but he enjoys just having some mommy time too!

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Labor Day Weekend

For Labor Day weekend, Ryan’s sister Megan and her husband came to visit. This was crucial for my sanity, as I was missing home SO much at this point. I really really needed to see some family. Ryan had one day of the weekend off, so he got to help us show them around our area. We went to the Farmer’s Market, the rock park, and ate lunch at the River Market. We also visited the Old Mill, a really neat little park that was featured in Gone with the Wind. The next day, Ryan had to work but I took Megan, Tim and the kids to the zoo. It was a hot, but fun day! We LOVED their visit. It was so nice to be around familiar faces again and be around other people we love.

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Petit Jean State Park

Whenever Ryan has a day off, we always try to take advantage of it and do something fun. There are so many amazing parks in Arkansas and we are slowly getting to explore them. One park that some friends told us about was about an hour away, but was incredible! There were tons of hiking trails, camping areas, a waterfall, and lots of beautiful scenery. We went on a 2 mile hike to see the waterfall. Kinsie was an absolute CHAMP and walked almost the whole time. On the way back, she tripped and fell and needed a little break, so Ryan carried her for about 5 minutes, but other than that, she hiked by herself…and it was no easy hike! Brax wanted to be big time like his sis and he wanted to hike by himself too…but that wasn’t really possible with how strenuous the hike was. Ryan helped him walk some of the way, but eventually we just made him suck it up and ride in the backpack. Once we got to the waterfall, we climbed up behind it and just hung out for a while behind the waterfall. It was amazing! It was a great experience that we definitely want to do again.

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Soccer

On my last post, I was a bit disappointed in the soccer program that Kinsie is in. Well, its still unorganized, but it’s gotten better! It turns out her coach is her teacher’s husband, so that helped make a connection and the coach really took more of an interest in her. She is really having fun too, which is the most important part! Ryan sometimes can make it to practice, and usually can come to the games. Brax loves watching and cheering on his sis…and giving Daddy kisses!

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Gymnastics Day

We joined a “Mommy and Me” group when we moved here, and try to attend the events whenever we can. Our favorite has been the Gymnastics day. As I’m sure you remember, Kinsie LOVED the gymnastics classes she took in Indy. She was in HEAVEN at this place. She was sprinting around the place as fast as she could doing every activity possible. Brax of course tried to keep up, and he had a great time too!

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Visit to Indiana

This was definitely the highlight of our month. This was a MUCH needed trip. I was craving my family and it was so good to spend time with them again. We had an amazing 2 weeks and did SO much. We did so much in fact, that our trip to Indiana will be its own blog post…so stay tuned! The kids loved seeing their grandparents and all their cousins. They were sad to leave them, but ready to be home and back to our routine. Luckily we’ll get to see them again in the next few weeks.

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Kinsie’s Birthday

I’ll cover this more in my next post, but my girl had a GREAT 4th birthday in Indiana. She had a very special day, and was so happy to spend it with our families. We also had a small party for her at her favorite place, the lake. We were sad that Daddy couldn’t be with us on her birthday, but he still found a way to be with us in a different way!

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September definitely kept us busy, but we needed it. So many positive things happened, which is helping keep our spirits up even on tough days. Arkansas is starting to feel more and more like home, and even though we miss everyone, we are finding ways to deal with that (Facetime is essential!) I know that the next few months will be busy, but I am really looking forward to it. October is always one of my favorite months, and we are excited to do our usual fall traditions in a new place. Stay tuned for our Indiana post coming soon!

Kinsie Kay is FOUR!

My beautiful, crazy, spunky, sweet and sassy girl is four years old today! I’ve become closer with her over the past few months since I’ve spent so much time with her, and every day I discover more about her and how amazing of a little girl she is. She is so smart and loves to learn. She loves to read, and even when one of us can’t read to her at the moment, she’ll either read what she had already memorized from that book, or just make it up. She loves to use her imagination, and is teaching Brax to love it too. She could talk all day…and often does. When she gets home from school, she will tell me every detail and every dialogue of her entire day. Then when Ryan gets home from work, she will go through the whole story with him. I love discovering the way her mind works and seeing her little personality blossom more and more each day. She has become my little sidekick and my helper in our new life in Arkansas. Brax is her best friend and he wants to do everything she does. Even though she can be very rough with her brother, she is very protective of him and would do anything for him. She challenges me every day and makes me a stronger person and a better mom. Her sense of adventure forces me out of my comfort zone. She made me a mom, and I will always be grateful to her for that.

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Kinsie has changed and matured so much throughout the last year. Here are some updated stats on my four year old girl…

  • She has always been a bit verbally advanced, and continues to be so. She talks like an adult. I often forget how young she is when we have conversations.
  • She has a special relationship with both Ryan and I. She will have spurts of being a “mommy’s girl” or a “daddy’s girl,” but overall, she doesn’t discriminate.
  • She’s a total outdoors girl. She would probably sleep outside if she could. I have a hard time getting her back inside even when she has sweat dripping down her face and mosquito bites all over her legs.
  • Her favorite animals are hippos and dolphins.
  • Her favorite color is still pink.
  • Her favorite TV show is Paw Patrol.
  • She loves everything Disney. She has always loved Mickey and his crew, but recently we’ve been watching all the Disney classics together. Right now some of her faves include Dumbo, Beauty and the Beast and Toy Story.
  • She loves to learn new things and thrives on positive reinforcement. However, she is very hard on herself (just like her mother). She expects to do things perfectly when trying them for the first time and gets frustrated with herself when she can’t.
  • She can spell various words such as Kinsie, Brax, zoo, dog and cat.
  • She can add small amounts together.
  • She’s getting pretty good at drawing. You can actually tell what she is trying to draw.
  • She wants to be a teacher and a doctor when she grows up.
  • She still loves soccer and gymnastics. She is playing soccer in a program in our town, and we plan to enroll her in a gymnastics class in the winter.
  • She loves meeting new friends, but is horrible at remembering their names.
  • She loves school. She participates, listens very well, and is a great helper. Her teacher said she is always happy and bouncy!
  • She has been my saving grace throughout the move. She has stayed positive and open minded about all the changes. Even though she misses our families, she has handled the transition so well and has loved the opportunity to explore a new place!

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Happy 4th birthday, my sweet girl. The world is a better, brighter, and more exciting place with you in it!

Wild ONE!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy FIRST birthday my little WILD ONE!

Brax is ONE!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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Our September

Our September was busy, exciting and hard. As I mentioned in my last post, Ryan was in Cincinnati for the majority of September. The kids and I stayed with my parents during this time…thank goodness for this, I probably would still be hiding in a hole somewhere had I dealt with the kids by myself the entire month. We all missed him, but Kinsie took it the hardest. Luckily, we stayed pretty busy throughout the month. Here is the rundown of our month…

Kinsie’s Soccer Season

This kept us very busy this month with practice twice a week and games on Saturdays. It was good for Kinsie though to be outside running around. It was a great season!

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Grandparents Day

Kinsie’s school had Grandparents Day early in September. Both my parents and Ryan’s parents were able to make it, and I guess Kinsie was the only student in the school who had all 4 grandparents come! They all seemed to have a blast!

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Birthday dinners

September is a busy birthday month for our family. My dad, my sister and Kinsie all have birthdays in September. On the evening of my dad’s birthday, we went out to dinner to celebrate the September birthdays.

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Start of football season

These precious kids are enjoying dressing in their Colts gear and watching games with our family!

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Cincinnati Zoo

This was one of the big highlights of the month. Since Ryan was in Cincinnati and couldn’t come home very often, we went to visit him and the zoo! Kinsie was super excited not only to see her daddy, but also to see her favorite animal, hippos! This was an AWESOME zoo and we had an amazing day.

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Kinsie’s Birthday and Dinosaur Party

As you’ve probably seen in my previous posts, Kinsie turned three this month! We had a dinosaur party for her at the lake. It was a huge success!!

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We had a great month, but like I said, it was hard not having a piece of our hearts with us. We are so glad to have Ryan back home and excited for the fall season!

Kinsie-saurus’s Dino Party

As you already know, Kinsie loves dinosaurs. This started around this time last year when we took her to the Children’s Museum for the first time and she loved the dinosaur exhibit. Ever since then, her love for dinosaurs has only grown. This year, when I asked her what kind of birthday party she wanted, without hesitation, she said she wanted a dinosaur party at the lake. So that’s what we did! We invited family and very close friends and the party was a huge success!

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Grandma Bev helped make most of the food, Ryan carved the dinosaur watermelon, and Aunt Renata made the awesome dinosaur cookies! We ordered the cake from Shug’s Cakes.

 

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“Kinsiesaurus” shirt made by Aunt Megan!

Some of the entertainment for the kids included digging for dino fossils in the sandbox, and the bounce house. We also had a dinosaur pinata that was a big hit! Dean ended up busting out the candy from the pinata!

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Kinsie said her favorite part of the party was opening her presents. She got some awesome stuff! Ryan had to build new shelves in her room just so we could fit all her new toys in the house!

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Our girl was pretty pumped about her dinosaur cake. When it was time for cake, the spot that we had set up was right in the sun, and I didn’t want to be in full sun for the pictures…so we moved the whole set up to the shade. Ryan (my brother-in-law) and Nate untied the banners from the tree and held them up over our new set up so we could have them in the cake pictures! World’s Best Uncles!

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It was an awesome day! Kinsie had so much fun with the people she loves. Brax had a great time too in his little dinosaur hoodie! We are so appreciative to everyone to helped out and came to celebrate our girl’s birthday. We jammed out to her birthday mix CD the whole way home!

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Kinsie is THREE!

I am in complete disbelief that my first baby is three years old! She is turning into one of the most amazing little people that I’ve ever known…and I know I may be a bit bias, but I’ve heard other people say it too! She is smart, goofy, wild, observant, curious…I could go on and on. Sometimes as I carry on conversations with her, I forget that she is just a toddler. The way her mind works amazes me and I learn and grow with her every day.

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Here are some updates on my girl at three years old…

  • Kinsie is going to preschool 3 full days a week.
  • She is FINALLY potty trained! We started the process last December, and after a few months of little progress and lots of power struggles, I took a break. After Brax was born, she saw that he was a baby and he wore diapers, and she didn’t want to wear diapers anymore. Hallelujah!
  • She is currently playing soccer for Westside United, and we plan to start her back up in gymnastics later this fall.
  • Favorite color: pink
  • Favorite animals: Hippos and dolphins
  • Favorite books: Dino Soccer and Pinkalicious
  • Favorite movies: Rio, Finding Nemo, and The Land Before Time
  • Favorite food: PB&J, pickles, mac and cheese
  • Favorite songs: Ring of Fire – Johnny Cash, Shut Up and Dance with Me – Walk the Moon, Can’t Stop this Feeling – Justin Timberlake, All Star – Smash Mouth, and Happy – Pharrell
  • Favorite TV Show: Paw Patrol, Spongebob Squarepants
  • Other loves: dinosaurs, swimming, fishing, playing with her cousins
  • She knows all her colors and shapes
  • She can count to 20 on her own, and higher with help
  • She is getting much better at learning her individual letters.
  • She is a beast at doing puzzles.
  • She has an unbelievable vocabulary.
  • She absolutely adores her baby brother.

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Birthday Adventures

Ryan was in Cincinnati for a month-long rotation from the end of August to the end of September. He has had very few days off, so most of our interaction with him has been via FaceTime. The kids and I lived with my parents during this time, which was such a blessing, but Kinsie really missed her daddy. On the morning of Kinsie’s birthday, she woke up and was a little bummed that we weren’t going to the lake for her dinosaur birthday party that day (another post for another day), and she was especially bummed that her daddy wasn’t home and that I couldn’t stay with her at preschool for her birthday. I truly believe it was a God thing that Ryan actually had Kinsie’s birthday off, so he drove home for the day, and I took a half day off work. We surprised her and picked her up early from school. I walked in first and she was happy to see me, then Ryan walked in behind me and she beamed and ran straight into her daddy’s arms! We took her to the park for a little while, but it was pretty hot out, so we left and went back to my parents’ house to swim. My mom watched Briggs that afternoon, so Kinsie was in her happy place swimming with her cousin, mommy and daddy. Brax was with Aunt Renata for the day, so it was nice to just have some quality Kinsie time. Later, we took Kinsie to Pizza King for dinner (her request). After dinner, we went to Orange Leaf. Our girl had a wonderful birthday!

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Birthday muffins for breakfast!

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Pizza King and Orange Leaf. Brax was having fun too! 🙂

Happy third birthday my beautiful girl!

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