Loving the Summer Life

July was so busy and fun! I’ll get right to it.

4th of July Celebrations

We had a whole weekend of 4th of July fun- and Ryan got to enjoy it all with us! 

4thJuly-1

We started out at the lake for the annual fireworks. We always spend the day there, then watch the fireworks at night. The kids had a blast swimming, paddle boarding, and collecting rocks. 

4thJulyLake-1

Brody was too hype to take a nap that day, but I knew he would love the fireworks, so we just went with it. He didn’t nap, and he was slap happy! He did want his pacifier because he was tired, but he LOVED the fireworks, and he danced around while watching them and naming all the colors he saw! The big kids enjoyed the fireworks too! This was Evie’s first experience with fireworks as well, and we had no idea what to expect. She definitely didn’t like them, but she did ok if we held her close and reassured her!

4thJulyLake-2

We spent the night at the lake house, and woke up to do more lake fun. We took a golf cart to the campgrounds and hung out there for a little while, then we came back for more swimming fun.

4thJulyWeekend-24thJulyWeekend-3

We also had a fun boat ride. The kids all had fun, and Evie really liked her first boat ride. She loved the wind blowing her ears!

4thJulyWeekend-4

The next day was the actual 4th, so we joined my family at the Brownsburg parade. The kids loved the snow cones and getting lots of candy from the floats driving by. 

4thJulyParade-4

The highlight of the parade, however, was Brody’s reaction to the firetrucks. He loves trucks and vehicles of all kinds, so he was PUMPED to see police cars and firetrucks in the parade!

4thJulyParade-5

We had an awesome morning with family! 

4thJulyParade-14thJulyParade-24thJulyParade-3

After the parade, we had lunch at my sister’s house. The big kids really wanted to stay and swim at their neighborhood pool, so they stayed and we took Brody back to my parents’ house for a nap. The big kids had a blast swimming with their cousins!

4thJulyWeekend-1

Later in the afternoon, we brought the kids back to my parents’ house for swimming, dinner, and fireworks. Ryan’s parents came to join as well. 

4thJulyYayas-2

Ryan bought a big case of fireworks last year and we only used about half of them then, so we used the rest that evening. The kids loved doing sparklers and watching Ryan light some fireworks in the street. It was a chill, low-key 4th of July, and it was the perfect way to end our busy weekend!

4thJulyYayas-1

Soccer/Ninja Camp

I recently found out that there are tons of day camps offered in our town during the summer. I was too late to sign the kids up for a lot of them, but I was able to sign them up for a day camp at their gymnastics building. It was a Soccer Ninja camp! I originally just planned on signing up Brax for this camp, but Kinsie thought it sounded fun too so they did it together. They loved it! They played soccer, had Nerf gun wars, did ninja/gymnastics activities, and a craft each day.

BUGS Camp-1

One of the crafts was a shark mask. Brody thought it was hilarious! He definitely missed them while they were at camp each day, but they had a lot of fun!

BUGS Camp-2

Lake Days

We got to spend another weekend this month at the lake! We enjoyed a boat ride, swimming, and going to the kids’ cousin’s birthday party!

Lake-boatLake-swim

Pool Days

The kids and I came up to my parents’ house about once a week for a swimming day. My sister’s kids would join us whenever they could which always made my kids happy! I never get many pictures of our pool time because I’m usually in the water with Brody, but here are a few!

Pool-cousinsSwim-Yaya

The Great Outdoors

We had another fun month of lots of outside fun! We finished the month of July at almost 800 hours for the year!

Outside-1

The kids always enjoy finding bugs and critters.

Outside-2

Doing water activities has become one of their favorite things. They love the kiddie pool, spraying each other with the hose, and jumping on the trampoline with the sprinkler!

Outside-3

 

Brax has been obsessed with sports lately, so he spends a lot of his outside time playing baseball and soccer!

Outside-4

 

And the kids are still always riding around on their bikes, scooters and power wheels!

Outside-5

 

And sometimes our outside time is more chill – like drawing with sidewalk chalk, drinking gatorade and just chilling in a fold up chair!

Outside-6

Other Fun at Home

The kids have now started school, but they enjoyed their off time while it lasted. Kinsie is always finding art and craft activities to keep her busy, and the boys enjoyed working out with Ryan and I, and also just lounging around having lazy mornings in bed!

Inside-KinsieArtInside-BoysWorkoutInside-BoysBed

Yaya Day

At one point in the month, Brody had a double ear infection. It was rough on his little body, and he was out of whack for a couple weeks, all while Ryan was working a string of 12 hour shifts. One day, Brody had an especially bad day, which made it a really hard day for me. The next day, my mom decided to come down for the day and help me. Her being here helped SO much. The kids were happier, and I had another adult to take some of the load off of me. I am so grateful for my mama and everything she does for our entire family!

YayaDay-2YayaDay

Grandma Day

Ryan’s mom got to have some special time with the kids this month too. She planned a play date at a water park near Megan’s new house with a bunch of their cousins. They had so much fun, and even spent the night. 

GrandmaDay-2GrandmaDay-3GrandmaDay-1GrandmaDay-4

Fun at the County Fair

One evening, the kids and I were visiting at my parents’ house and my dad asked if we wanted to go to the Hendricks County Fair, so we loaded up right then and there and went! The kids had so much fun!

CountyFair-4

Brody’s favorite part was definitely the tractors! We can’t wait to take him to the state fair next!

CountyFair-2

The kids enjoyed riding a few rides at the fair too.

CountyFair-3

They loved getting to spend some special time with Papa!

CountyFair-1

Brody’s Partially Vaccinated!

Even though we’ve now had Covid, it was a great feeling to get my baby his first Covid vaccine! He was a champ!

BroCovidVaccine

Library Reading Challenge

The kids enjoyed doing the Summer Reading Challenge through the county library this summer. They got prizes during different stages of the challenge, and the final prize for finishing the challenge was to pick out their own book. Brax picked a dinosaur book, Kinsie picked an origami book, and Brody picked out a truck book. All very fitting for them!

LibraryChallege

Holiday World

Ryan had a few days off the week before the kids started school, so we decided to take the kids to Holiday World! We have never been, but have always heard great things. We stayed in a hotel for 2 nights, and a cottage at Santa’s Cottages for one night (since that is al that was available!)

Traveling with kids is always an adventure!

HW-Hotel

The original forecast wasn’t very promising, but we decided we would make the most of it regardless. It rained pretty heavily in the morning while we were still at the hotel and eating breakfast, but by the time we got to the park, it slowed down significantly. Then about an hour in, the rain clouds went away and the sun came out! It was a beautiful, perfect day at the park!

HW-1

The kids loved exploring the different holiday-themed sections of the park!

HW-3

Brody was about half an inch too short for a lot of the rides, but he loves all the rides that he was able to go on. One of his favorites was the Holidog Express Train!

HW-5

We all had a lot of fun on the rides at Holiday World! And the kids LOVED the free fountain drinks available everywhere!

HW-4 (1)

After exploring Holiday World for a little while, we ventured over to Splashin’ Safari, the water park connected to the main park. It was amazing! Ryan and I took turns going on water coasters with the big kids, while the other one stayed back at the splash pads for Brody. The areas for little ones like Brody were fantastic – a toddler’s dream. He LOVED all the water slides!

HW-SS-3

We stayed until close that day and watched the evening fireworks and drone show. It was an amazing day!

We took the next day off from the parks and ventured around town. We were able to check into our cottage, which we absolutely loved!

HW-Cottage-1

The heat index was well in the 100s that day, but the kids still loved playing on the playground at the cottages and feeding the fish in the lake.

HW-Cottage3

The cottages also had a Reindeer Express Train that ran every morning. Brody was a BIG fan!

HW-Cottage2

The kids also loved looking around the Christmas Store, the candy shop and the toy store!

HW-Candy

We were on the go so much that day that Brody didn’t get his nap. So by dinner time, he was tuckered out!

HW-Dinner

We went to the parks the next day for one more day, but this time with a good strategy to make sure we did everything we wanted to. When we entered the park, we were greeted by Santa! Brody wanted absolutely nothing to do with him, but Kinsie and Brax enjoyed saying hi!

HW-2

We spent most of the day at the water park. The kids rode more of the bigger rides and Brody had so much fun in the little kid areas. After a while, we changed into dry clothes and rode more of the Holiday World rides. We stayed until close again, and then drove home that night. It was an awesome note to end our summer vacation on. We definitely want to make it a summer tradition!

HW-SS-2HW-SS-1

Like I said, our month was very busy and lots of fun! The kids have started school back up now, so we’re trying to get back into the swing of our school routines.

Lately with the craziness of life as a mom of 3 kids and a crazy pup, it has been difficult to find the time to do my monthly blogs. I really enjoy doing them, but it is a struggle to make the time. So I may cut down how often I post, maybe every other month or so. We’ll see where life takes us! Thanks for whoever continues to follow our journey!

Here is our 1 Second Everyday for the month of July. Happy end of summer!

Marchin’ into Spring

We love March. It marks the beginning of spring and warmer weather. This month had some beautiful weather, and some freezing weather…typical of Indiana! But we had a lot of indoor and outdoor fun this month!

New Trampoline

We bought a trampoline! This was something we’ve had our eye on for a while. We knew the kids would love it…and we were right! We’ve had it less than a month and it has already been a huge hit!

Trampoline-1

Even Brody is having fun on the trampoline. He can’t really jump yet, but he loves bouncing around when Kinsie and Brax jump around him. The kids already have lots of plans with this trampoline as the weather gets consistently warmer.

Trampoline-2

Kinsie’s Art Display

Kinsie’s artwork was chosen by her art teacher to represent her school In the Youth Art Month exhibition at the art museum on IU’s campus. Only a few students’ artwork from each school were chosen for this exhibition, so it was an honor. We were so proud of her, but not surprised! She is a wonderful little artist and it is great to see her thrive in an area that she loves so much.  On the first day of the exhibition, we took a trip to campus to go see her artwork.

KinsieArt-1

She received a certificate and a gift bag from the museum. She was so happy!

KinsieArt-2

Kinsie’s little brothers were proud of her and loved seeing her art too!

KinsieArt-4

It was a beautiful day outside, so we took the opportunity to spend the morning on campus. We had a picnic lunch and walked around campus. The museum is right next to the Showalter Fountain, and IU’s marching band happened to be practicing there at the time. We enjoyed sitting and listening to them practice by the fountain, and Brody danced around to the music! The fountain was empty, so the kids got in and ran around in it. It was a beautiful and fun morning!

KinsieArt-3

School Dress-up Days

The kids had a few dress-up days this month for Read Across America week. Kinsie got to dress as her favorite book character, so she dressed as a Hufflepuff character (her Halloween costume). 

DressUpDay-1

Brax had a few fun dress-up days too…including Wacky Wednesday! 

DressUpDay-2

And Crazy Hair Day! His blue hair was a hit!

DressUpDay-3

St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patty’s Day is mainly a fun excuse to take cute pics of my kids!

StPatty-2

Since the kids were on Spring Break, Ryan’s parents, and his sister Megan and her son Griffin came for the day to visit. They wanted to see Kinsie’s artwork, but also just hang out with us for the day. It was another beautiful day, and we took advantage of it again by walking and exploring campus. 

StPattys-3

Grandma Bev and Papa Tim were in their happy place with all 4 of their grandbabies!

StPatty-1

Cincinnati Zoo

We love the Cincinnati Zoo…mainly because of the hippo, Fiona. Recently, the zoo got another adult hippo in the exhibit – Tucker. Ever since then, the kids have been asking to go again to see Tucker. So when the kids were on Spring Break, we did. My parents came along for the fun too. The weather was great and it wasn’t too crowded like it was last time we went.

The kids loved feeding the giraffes and seeing them up close.

Cincy-1

We had lunch with a view of the savanna.

Cincy-2

We spent a lot of time with Fiona, Tucker and Bibi at the hippo cove. Like usual, they did not disappoint! They were SO active…swimming back and forth, doing flips, and playing with each other. Kinsie was in her happy place…she could have stayed there all day!

Cincy-4

We’ve been visiting Fiona since she was less than a year old, and Kinsie was only 4! Look how much they’ve both grown!

Cincy-6

We loved seeing and interacting with all the animals!

Cincy-5

The perfect way to end our day…ice cream!

Cincy-3

Children’s Museum

Grandma Bev watched the kids overnight, and then she and Megan took them to the Children’s Museum. The new Dinosphere opened back up, so Brax was pumped! The kids had a great time…even Brody got to join!

SB-Museum

Fun at Yaya’s

Another day, the kids had a play date at my parents’ house. They played outside ALL day!

YayaFun

Cousin Fun

We had a few random cousin play dates this month. Have I mentioned how nice it is being just an hour away from all the people we love, instead of 10 hours? Cousin Griffin came over to play a few times. They always have a fun time together!

CousinDay-1

My sister came down to visit one day with her kids, and she brought along a few more of the kids’ cousins for a play date. It was pretty chaotic with 8 kids – but it was a lot of fun! 

CousinDay-2

My kids were back in school, but some of the cousins came along to pick them up from school. They loved it! It was another beautiful day, so the kids spent most of the day outside. We had Mexican food for dinner and had a great day!

CousinDay-3

Day Adventures with Bro

Now that Covid isn’t completely taking over our lives, we’ve been venturing out a little more. When Ryan has days off, we try to have day dates, and Brody tags along!

We love walking around campus, and Brody LOVES seeing all of the campus buses!

Adventure-3

Brody and I love going to the park…especially when we have the place to ourselves!

Outside-Park

I’ve even felt a little more comfortable taking Brody with me on errands now…as long as we go places when it isn’t crowded, which usually it isn’t in the morning. He loves looking through the toy aisles and playing with all the trucks…and getting cake pops!

Adventure-2

Brody loved going on a breakfast date with us! He ate like a king!

Adventures-1

Outside Fun at Home

We’re still going strong on our 1,000 Hours Outside goal. Here are a few pictures of our time outside this month.

Outside-Home

Inside Fun at Home

And of course the kids always find fun things to do when we’re inside too. Kinsie created a food truck, and created a menu of fun little snacks. The boys loved it!

Inside-FoodTruck

 

The kids are always playing in the workout room, They love climbing on the gymnastics bar!

Inside-Gymnastics

 

Braxton is always reading to Brody. It is so sweet!

Inside-BrothersReading

 

We are still doing puzzles! Even Kinsie has been helping a little more. We’ve moved up to 500 piece puzzles!

Inside-Puzzles

 

This boy…he is always climbing. Always getting into something. He is 100% toddler. Pray for me.

Inside-BroClimbing

Puppysitting Lola

We watched my sister’s dog while they were on vacation. She’s an old pup (13 years), so she was very low maintenance. But the kids – especially Brody – loved having her for the week! The weather wasn’t great for the last few weeks of March, so we didn’t get outside or go on as many walks as we wanted to…but Lola enjoyed just being wherever we were. Brody loved following her around and letting her kiss him!

Lola

Play Ball!

Softball and baseball season have officially started! Kinsie and Brax both had their first practice during the last week of March. Kinsie is back with her team from last year, and Brax is starting his first season of baseball. He is so excited!

Sports-FirstPractice

And that was our March! We are excited for April…we have Easter coming up, as well as lots of other fun things planned…like another vacation at the end of the month! 

And as always, here is our 1 Second Everyday for the month of March.

Feelin’ Good in February

February is usually one of my least favorite months. We usually have the worst snow storms in February, and even though it is a shorter month, it always just seems like it takes forever to get to March. But this time, it was better…probably because we went on our first real vacation since October 2019! But before I get to that, I’ll discuss the rest of our month.

Spending Time Outside (Before the Snow)

The first day of February was amazing – it was in the 60’s and sunny. Brody and I spent most of the day outside. And when we did go inside to eat lunch, he didn’t want to take off his hat and boots! The funniest part is that is was warm enough that he didn’t even need a hat or boots – but that’s what he wanted!

Outside-Broready

Outside-Brody

Once the kids got home from school, we went to the walking trail. Kinsie and Brax brought their bikes and Brody rode in his little car. It was a perfect day to ride on the trail and let Brax practice his new no-training wheels bike skills! There was a huge snow and ice storm coming the next day – so we savored the amazing day. (Also, don’t judge Brody’s crazy hair – he was getting a haircut in a few days!)

Outside-Bikes

Snow Days

As I said, the very next day we were due for ice and then snow. Kinsie’s school went ahead and called in for e-Learning days for the next few days since the ice was supposed to start that afternoon. Kinsie had a class meeting on her iPad, and she brought a friend to class! When she was doing her school work, Brody wanted to do some too!

SnowDays-eLearning

We didn’t get much snow the first day, just some ice. But the next day, it snowed. And snowed. And snowed. It snowed heavily for the entire day. Luckily Ryan was off for a few days, so he got to enjoy being snowed in with us. Once Kinsie was done with her schoolwork, we all bundled up and went outside. The kids loved sledding, catching snowflakes, and playing “arctic animals.” However, it was REALLY cold and windy so we didn’t spend as much time outside as we could have liked.

SnowDays-togetherSnowDays-3kids

The next few days were much more bearable. The snow stayed but it was a tad warmer, no wind, and the sun was out…so we ventured outside for several hours each day. We enjoyed LOTS of snow activities including sledding, making a snowman, snow painting, snow volcanoes, following animal tracks and more!

SnowDays-activities

And of course we had to make snow ice cream!

Snow-icecream

Even when the kids went back to school, Brody and I still tried to venture outside whenever we could. He’s always in a better mood outside!

SnowDays-meandBro

One day after school, Brax had a sledding playdate with his best friend from school. They had a wonderful time together!

Snow-sleddingdate

Haircut for Bro

This handsome boy was LONG overdue for a haircut…he hadn’t gotten one since September! But between the Omicron surge, the holidays, and the fact that Brody HATES haircuts, it just wasn’t a priority. But since we were going on vacation soon, I knew we had to get it done. He definitely didn’t enjoy it, but it’s Ryan’s cousin who cuts his hair and she was patient with him and loves him so she didn’t mind – and he looked SO handsome when he was done!

Haircut

Gym Ninjas

Kinsie is still loving gymnastics, and recently I signed Brax up for a class called Gym Ninjas at the same place and time. He’s had one class so far and he LOVED it! One of his best friends from school is in his class too so he was so happy!

GymNinjas

Valentine’s Day

We got to squeeze in some fun Valentine’s Day activities before we went on vacation. We always love making cookies, and we even got to enjoy making some with the kids’ cousin Griffin!

Valentines-cookies2

And here are the cookies we made at home!

Valentines-cookies

Brax’s class needed an extra parent volunteer for their Valentine’s party, so his teacher asked me to step in. I love getting to volunteer for his class! I love seeing him in the school environment and with his friends.

Valentines-Braxclass

And here’s just a picture of my cute boys in their matching Valentine’s shirts!

Valentines-matchingshirts

A tradition we started a few years ago includes a heart for each kid every day starting February 1 until Valentine’s Day with a reason why we love them.

Valentines-doors

Another tradition includes a scavenger hunt around the house that leads to their Valentines gifts!

Valentines-gifts

We love our sweet valentines!!

Valentines-kids

VACATION

We finally went on a real vacation for the first time in over 2 years! We didn’t feel comfortable traveling with our unvaccinated, unmasked infant for a while, but also…life kept us very busy the last 2 years. We finished residency, moved to a new state, started a new job, had a baby, and built a house all during a global pandemic…so vacation wasn’t exactly at the top of our priority list for a while. But now that we’ve settled into our new lives, and 2/3 kids are fully vaccinated, and cases are dropping significantly, we were ready for a vacation. My parents were going to our condo in Siesta Key for 3 weeks, and they invited us to join at the tail end of the trip. I was so excited to get my babies on the beach!

Brody’s First Flight

I really haven’t taken Brody many places in his life, so this trip was a whole new world for him – starting with the airport. He was so nervous with all the people and new things to see. He clung on me like a koala bear all through the airport, including through security. Once we were on the plane, he got more comfortable and acted like his crazy self.

FL-IndyAirport

Our flights were later in the evening, and we had to stop in Atlanta for a connecting flight. Brody was a wild man on the flights! He just didn’t want to sit still. Ryan and I took turns throughout the first flight passing him back and forth. Kinsie and Brax were absolute traveling champs, making it much easier on us. The second flight was better because it wasn’t a full flight, so we found an empty row and Brody was able to have his own seat and more room to wiggle. I was hoping he would sleep on this flight since it was well past 10pm at this point…but nope. There was too much to do and see! Overall, he was a great traveler!

FL-PlanetoFL

The Beach

We were all SO excited to get to the beach the next morning. It had been at least 3 years since we’d been to the beach, so Kinsie and Brax didn’t remember much about it either and were so excited. Brody wasn’t sure what to think about the sand between his toes at first, but he quickly learned to love it and was a happy little beach baby! He especially loved the ocean…but we had to watch him like a hawk because he kept wanting to run straight into the ocean!

FL-Beach-1FL-Beach-3kids

Around lunchtime, my sister’s family flew in also and met us at the condo. The kids were so excited to have their cousins to play with on the beach! They spent the next few days digging holes, building castles, boogie-boarding, and finding sea shells.

FL-Beach-cousins

The pure joy on this sweet boy’s face while he experienced so many new things made my heart so happy!

FL-Beach-Bro

Enjoying the sunset with my girl

FL-Beach-sunset

FL-MatthewsFam

Big Cat Habitat

After a couple days on the beach, our family needed a little bit of a break (we all had sunburns!), and my dad had told us about a cat sanctuary nearby, so we decided to check it out. It was called the Big Cat Habitat, and it was really neat! Kinsie and Brax both got to feed a bear and a liger (a lion mixed with a tiger).

FL-BigCat-feed

There was also a fun petting zoo area.

FL-BigCat-goats

Eventually, Brody conked out in the stroller with his hand in the goldfish bag!

FL-BigCat-Bronap

Kinsie and Brax showed off their stickers proving that they fed the animals. It was a fun day!

FL-BigCat-bigkids

Other Florida Fun

Our time in Siesta Key also included sitting on the dock waving to the boats passing by, shopping at the village and sharing snacks and smoothies with cousins, swimming at the pool, and lots and lots of crazy cousin fun!

FL-Other

DISNEY

I’ve been dying to take Brody to Disney World since he LOVES Mickey Mouse and all his friends. When we decided to go to Florida, we really wanted to make it happen. We planned on driving to Orlando and spending the last 2 nights of our vacation there, including 1 day at a Disney Park.

Fun at the Resort

It was my sister’s idea to stay at a Disney resort, and I am so glad we did. Not only are the resorts amazing, but you get extra perks at the Disney parks when you stay there. We left Siesta Key Saturday morning and headed to Orlando. We got there around lunch time, and got to spend a few hours by the pool. The kids loved the slides and splash pad area!

FL-ResortSwim

After swimming, we went to Disney Springs for a little while, but it was insanely crowded. We went to the big Disney Store and walked around a little, but it was honestly hard to maneuver around so many people and trying to stay distanced. As we walked around, Brody took a little stroller catnap…which made him wired later on at bedtime! But eventually we all went to sleep and prepared for our big Disney day!

FL-Resort-bed

A Magical Day at Hollywood Studios

We chose to spend our 1 Disney park day at Hollywood Studios because it has some of the most sought after rides that are often hard to get into unless you get lightning lane passes for them, and you can often only get lightning lane passes for them by staying at a Disney resort. It was also great because it was so close to our resort, so we were able to take the skyliner to the park!

FL-HS-Skyliner

Here’s our whole crew with our neon tie-dye shirts (that I helped make with my Cricut!)

FL-HS-WholeFam

The best part about the entire day for me was Brody’s reactions to Mickey and Minnie. He loved them SO much, just like I knew he would! He could have stayed there with them all day if we let him. All the other kids enjoyed seeing the characters too, but mostly everyone loved watching Brody’s interactions with them!

FL-HS-MickeyMinnie

We also met Olaf, Chip and Dale, Pluto, and Doc McStuffins. Character interactions certainly aren’t what they used to be before Covid, but they were still magical…especially through the eyes of a toddler!

FL-HS-OtherCharacters

We also had some fun dining reservations throughout our day…including lunch at the Sci-Fi drive-in theater…

FL-HS-SciFi

And drinks and snacks at Oga’s Cantina. The girls particularly enjoyed the limes that came with the drinks!

FL-HS-Ogas

Papa and Yaya were in the happy place with all their babies!

FL-HS-PapaYaya

We had a blast on all the rides. This was Brax’s first time riding Slinky Dog Dash and he LOVED it! Thanks to lightning lane passes and child swap, Kinsie and Brax were both able to ride it 3 times…and Brody loved watching us all ride the “Doggy!” We also loved Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Toy Story Mania, Aliens Swirling Saucers, and Rise of the Resistance (Ryan’s fave!) 

FL-HS-RidesFL-HS-Fam

The sweetest cousin crew!

FL-HS-Cousins

For dinner, we had reservations at Hollywood & Vine, which is a character meal. We were excited for Brody to get to see more characters! Before dinner, he dozed off for a nap, but we woke him up in time to see the characters.

FL-HS-HV1

FL-HS-HV2

It was truly a wonderful day. It was crowded, but very manageable. Having Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lanes were SO helpful and let us ride almost everything. My sister did an amazing job planning and booking everything, and now I’m learning everything I can from her so I can do it when we return to Disney in April!

FL-HS-WholeFam2

Heading Home

The next morning, we were able to sleep in and have a nice breakfast. The kids enjoyed Mickey waffles with a view! Afterwards, we packed up and headed back to Sarasota for our afternoon flight home.

IMG_6249

My parents were on our flight this time, which was nice to help with the kids. It was also a direct flight which was very helpful too. We were all exhausted so it was nice to finally relax on the plane. The kids watched shows on our iPads and Brody actually slept most of the flight! It was a quiet, relaxing way to end our wonderful vacation.

FL-PlaneHome

Bookends of Nice Weather

We started February with beautiful weather, and ended it with more beautiful weather. When we got back from Florida, it was freezing, raining, or freezing rain for about a week. So when it finally was warm enough to be outside again, the kids were ready! 

IMG_6374 copy IMG_6411 copy

IMG_6379IMG_6423 copy

It was a great month, and I don’t usually say that about February! We may have to plan more February Florida trips in the future because it definitely helped break up the dreadful winter months. Now we are ready for SPRING!

Here is our February 1 Second Everyday. Enjoy!

 

That’s a wrap, 2021!

I was hopeful that 2021 would resemble a little more normalcy than 2020, and in some ways, it did. But overall, 2021 was just as weird as 2020. Maybe even weirder. Even so, it was a good year. We tried really hard not to let the pandemic define our lives, but learned to coexist with it, while remaining vigilant to protect ourselves (unfortunately we’re in the minority of people still doing this). We were busy with all things Christmas this month, and we had a wonderful, magical Christmas season! Here is how our December went…

A Special Visitor

The kids were SO excited to finally get an Elf on the Shelf! I always thought I could get super creative with this, but the last few years were too unpredictable and chaotic between residency life in Arkansas and moving to multiple different houses, I didn’t really have the energy to devote to it until this year. But this year…we were ALL in! They named him Rocket and they LOVED finding him in silly places all month!

Rocket

I made a short video for the kids so they could see Rocket’s adventures all year long. Feel free to take a look!

 

Swimming Party

The kids’ cousin Griffin turned 3 this month, and he had a small family indoor pool party to celebrate. The kids had a BLAST swimming with their cousins…even Brody! He went down the slide and loved splashing around in a pool that was just his size!

GriffinParty

Fully Vaxxed!

My bigs are fully vaccinated! It was more of a mess getting this appointment than I expected. Their original appointments got cancelled from short staffing, so I had to scramble around trying to reschedule as soon as possible. I ended up having to pick up the kids a little early from school and driving an hour to Plainfield. Grandma Bev was kind enough to stay with Brody so I didn’t have to stick him in the car all day long. The kids did fantastic, and we even got Dairy Queen afterwards to celebrate. Now 4/5 family members are fully vaccinated…hopefully Brody will have his turn within a few months!

FullyVaxxed

Outside Time

This December had some surprising and unprecedented warmer weather…and since we’re all in a better mood when we’re outside, we soaked it in. We took walks, played in the driveway and in the woods behind our house, and climbed on the hay bales in the open lots. 

OutdoorWalkOutdoor

One day, Ryan and I even took Brody out for an outdoor lunch date. The restaurant was right across the street from an elementary school, so Brody spent the majority of lunch turned around watching and laughing at the kids at recess!

OutdoorLunch

Cousin Sleepover

One weekend, my parents visited for the weekend and brought along my sister’s kids for a cousin sleepover. They always have a blast together playing, watching movies and eating popcorn…but their favorite part was that their Elf on the Shelf, Lucky, came over to spend the night as well! And the elves brought Christmas donuts and coloring sheets!

Cousins

IMG_3163

Bro Being Cray

About 95% of my daily life is watching my youngest child be an absolute crazy nut. He has a unique mind of his own! He loves taking off his clothes and running around in just his diaper. He loves getting into the pantry and stealing snacks, or just carrying them around. And he loves climbing on EVERYTHING. I have countless pictures and videos of him living his crazy life…here are a few from this month.

Bro

Loving on our Favorite Doc

As Covid continues and we enter another surge, I need to give a quick shoutout to my favorite healthcare hero. He started his career in a pandemic and even though he gets very weary and exhausted from constantly treating sick Covid patients and fighting misinformation, he still comes home with a smile on his face and the determination to help people. When things get bad, I always remind him to keep his N95 mask on, so he sent me a picture of himself once to show me! The kids are so proud of their dad and always welcome him home with open arms (once he has showered and changed of course!) (Note…the below picture on the right was before a shift. Ryan is extremely careful about disinfecting himself once he gets home!) Ryan also took his oral boards this month, so very soon he will officially be a board-certificated emergency medicine physician! We are so proud of him!!

HealthcareWorkers

Christmas Activities-

We love all of the little Christmas traditions that we do all month. A few of them are still on a hiatus with Covid (like visiting Santa), but we still enjoy doing the traditions at home.

Baking Christmas cookies is one of our favorite traditions. They honestly enjoy decorating them more than actually eating them!

Christmas-cookies

We also decorated a gingerbread house!

Christmas-gbreadhouse

The kids spent the majority of the month in Christmas pajamas. They even have a few matching pajamas so they would coordinate whenever they could!

Christmas-activities

Another tradition we continued this year (but I didn’t get any photos of) is our Advent Bible study. We read a Bible story and hang an ornament that goes with the story on a small tree. Kinsie has always loved doing this, and now Brax got really into it this year. Even though we haven’t been to church since Covid started, Brax is learning about the Bible in school since he currently attends a Christian school. He had been learning the same stories at school, so he would get really excited to read them again at home. This warmed my heart that my kids were so excited to read the Bible. I hope they always continue to find so much joy in reading God’s word.

Yaya’s Birthday and Christmas at the Zoo

We hadn’t been to Christmas at the Zoo in years, so this year we celebrated my mom’s birthday together with a quick trip to the zoo, followed by cake and ice cream. The zoo was more crowded than we liked…so we all wore our masks most of the time, and we just pushed Brody in the stroller and kept him as far away from people as possible. But the kids loved seeing some animals and all the lights with their cousins. And we all loved celebrating our sweet mama (and Yaya) on her special day!

Zoo-2Zoo-1

Yaya in her happy place…with all 6 of her babies!

YayaBirthday copy

Christmas Eve

Ryan had to work on Christmas day this year, so we had to shift around some of our usual Christmas plans. We started out getting together with just Ryan’s immediate family for dinner and gifts, then we went to Aunt Renata’s house the next morning (Christmas Eve morning). Brody had a little bit of a cold during Christmas and was extra clingy, so I didn’t get as many pictures as I had hoped. We did a quick at-home Covid test on him before seeing all of our family though just to be on the safe side. He definitely didn’t enjoy that, but we felt better seeing everyone with a negative Covid test!

After Renata’s house, we came to my parents’ house for dinner, online church, and gifts. 

Eve-cousins2Eve-cousins1 copy

We miss going to in-person church, especially at Christmas time. So we try to still make it feel like we are there by doing the candlelight at the end of the sermon. The kids enjoyed participating with their battery-operated tea lights and singing along with us!

Eve-candles

We had a wonderful dinner, and then we opened gifts. The kids loved all the gifts that they got from all their family members…and we had a LOT to take home after 3 different Christmas celebrations! 

Eve-giftsEve-fam

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve with both sides of the family. We headed home that evening, the kids spread their reindeer dust in the yard and they were off to bed ready to see what Santa would bring in the morning!

Eve-wholefam

Christmas Day

The kids were so excited to see their gifts from Santa! Ryan didn’t work until 11am, so we were able to take our time in the morning opening gifts and enjoying each other. 

Morning-gifts

Again, in the chaos of present-opening and Brody hanging on me, I didn’t get as many pictures as I like to, but the kids loved all their gifts! Braxton had another dinosaur Christmas, Brody got lots of fun Mickey Mouse toys, and Kinsie loved her Legos and Present Pet.

Morning-boys

Ryan and I did pretty well for each other this Christmas too! He got me a Cricut (which I’ve wanted for years but would never buy myself one), and I made him a Lego photo of the two of us. This was quite a project that took hours, but it turned out great and he loved it!

Morning-Ryangift

Once it was time for Ryan to head to work, the kids and I loaded back up in the car and spent the rest of the day at my parents’ house again so we didn’t have to be alone on Christmas. The rest of the day was pretty chill, which was nice after the busy day before. It was a wonderful Christmas!

Children’s Museum

The next week, Megan’s family wanted a play date with the kids, so Kinsie and Brax spent the day with them while I took Brody to hang out with my mom and I ran some errands. First, Megan did some crafts with Kinsie while Brax and Griffin played, then they all went to the Children’s Museum. They had such a great time! 

Museum-1Museum-2

Wonder Lab

I really wanted to take the kids back to the Wonder Lab while they were off school, so we went on New Year’s Eve morning. This is one of the only places I’ll take Brody since they limit capacity, require masks and disinfect often. We had such a fun morning!

WonderLab

New Year’s Eve

Kinsie stayed up until midnight once a few years ago when we spent New Year’s with my sister’s family, but ever since then, we never did anything special, so we always did an early New Year’s celebration and then the kids went to bed before midnight. But this year, the big kids really wanted to stay up until midnight, so we had lots of fun activities planned, and my parents joined us for the festivities. First we had a glow-in-the-dark dance party. This was SO much fun! 

NYE-glowparty

NYE-2NYE-1

After the dance party and putting Brody to bed, we did some games. We started with Harry Potter Pictionary Air, then played Beat That, which was such a fun party game! This kept us busy for a couple hours, and by the time we were done, it was about 11pm.

NYE-games

By that time, we only had an hour left, so we got some snacks and just hung around and relaxed until midnight. And when I say we, I mean the adults. Kinsie and Brax were SLAP HAPPY. They were so wound up…running around the basement screaming and laughing. I truly thought they would be tired…but no. Not even the slightest. I didn’t even see them yawn once.

NYE-slaphappy

They stayed up until midnight EASILY. They were dancing around at midnight ready to keep partying! But after our New Year’s celebration of poppers and fizzy drinks, we finally had to get them calmed down and ready for bed. It was such a fun night, and they actually slept in until almost 10am…which is probably a record for them!

NYE-midnight

It was a great way to end our year! We’re ready for 2022…at least I think we are! I’m ready to get Brody vaccinated and try to go back to normal life. We have some vacations planned for 2022, including flying on a plane for the first time since before Covid, so I’m hoping this Omicron surge comes and goes quickly and without quite as much damage. Even so, we’ve gotten pretty good at still doing fun things safely. And we’ve really realized that it’s more about who we are spending our time with rather than where we are going or what we are doing. And as long as we are together and happy and healthy, then I feel blessed!

Happy New Year! Below is our December 1 Second Everyday, followed by our 1 Second Everyday for the entire year of 2021. Watching these reminds me that my kids really are happy and enjoying life…and that is all that matters to me!

 

Thankful in November

And just like that…November is over and we are now in our last month of 2021. It’s so crazy to me how quickly this year is flying by. November was filled with lots of quality family time, which is always my favorite. Here is a recap of our month…

Kindergarten Field Trip

Braxton’s class went on a field trip to a nearby farm this month, and parents got to come along! It was a cold morning, but I LOVED spending quality time with my boy. He loved petting many of the animals, and most of all…holding a baby lamb! 

Brax-fieldtrip

Fall Walk on Campus

IU’s campus is always gorgeous in the prime of fall. It’s my favorite. So we always try to find a day to take a walk on campus during the peak of the leaves changing. Like usual, it didn’t disappoint! 

CampusWalk

First Dose for the Bigs!

I’ve been excited for this day for a LONG time…Kinsie and Braxton got their first dose of the Covid vaccine! Even though they are not a big fan of shots, they were ready for this one. They are excited to get closer to normalcy and to help protect their little brother who won’t be able to get his vaccine for a few more months. 

Vaccines

Birthday Celebration

My birthday was this month, and I never ask for much except to hang out with family. During the weekend before my actual birthday, we were at my parents’ house to hang out for the day while Ryan went to visit some friends. When he got back, my family surprised me with a cake and small birthday celebration! 

Birthday

Cousin Fun

We’ve had lots of great cousin time this month! My niece Kerigan had a small birthday party at an art studio, and the kids were ALL about it. They absolutely loved it!

Keriganparty

My kids had the week off for Thanksgiving, so we spent a lot of time at my parents’ house. The big kids went to a movie with their cousins, played in the little snowfall we got, and just enjoyed playing together at Papa and Yaya’s house!

Cousinfun

Fun at Home

We still spend a lot of time at home during the weekends or after school. This month the kids enjoyed doing Christmas crafts, watching deer out the kitchen window, coloring, dressing up Bob the boxing guy, and just playing together and coming up with creative games. 

Home-inside

And of course we get outside as often as we can too! The kids have loved walking down to the woods behind our house and climbing rocks!

Home-outside

Brown County

My birthday gift from my parents was a night getaway to Brown County while they watched the kids. It was EXACTLY what I needed. Ryan and I got to spend the day in Brown County, just the two of us. We took a hike in the state park, had some amazing meals and snacks, went shopping, did a wine tasting, and just relaxed. We loved the quality time together and definitely need it more often!

BrownCounty

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is always a busy, but wonderful day for us. We started the day at Ryan’s parents’ lake house for a delicious Thanksgiving lunch with Ryan’s side of the family. The kids loved playing with their cousin Griffin, and Nate’s dog, Alfie! 

Thanksgiving-cousins2

DSC_0015

Later in the afternoon, we made our way to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving dinner with my side of the family. The kids always have a blast at the cousin table, and Brody even joined them! It was a busy, chaotic day, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Days like this make us realize how blessed we really are to not have just one, but TWO wonderful families that we can spend the holidays with.

Thanksgiving-cousins

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas…

I love Christmas time. When we lived in Arkansas, I always decorated early because we usually spent the week of Christmas in Indiana with our families, so I wanted to be able to enjoy our Christmas decorations longer. Now I don’t really have that excuse, I just decorate early because I love it! I was especially excited to decorate my new house for Christmas for the first time! Last year, we didn’t have much space, and most of our Christmas stuff was in storage, so we were all excited to get it ALL out this year and have an abundance of space to put it all. Brody loves all the Christmas lights, and every time he passes the tree, he points and says “Ooooh!”

Christmastree

Brody is 18 Months!

Our crazy little Covid baby is 18 months old! It’s hard to believe that his entire life has been in a pandemic, and he has no idea! He is still the happiest, craziest, most active little dude. He still has a severe case of stranger danger, but he knows who is in his circle and he welcomes them with open arms!

Brody18months

Some fun facts about our Bro at 1.5 years…

  • He LOVES to talk. He knows everyone’s name in his family, and he knows a lot of words. He also babbles on and on for minutes at a time as if he’s having a full conversation with us! My favorite words that he says (that we can understand), are banana (nana), shoes, (oosh), and cookie.
  • He loves to color and explore art. But he’s still learning that we only color on paper!

Bro18Months-3

  • He has his first official “lovey,” a stuffed animal Pluto that he found in Brax’s old stuffed animals. He loves it so much! He carries it everywhere, sleeps with it, and calls it “Woof Woof.”

IMG_2812

  • He LOVES snacks. Just like his brother. He often does not want anything to do with his meals, but he wants snacks all day long. And he can open the pantry by himself, so he is constantly getting in the pantry and gathering up the snacks he wants.
  • His favorite foods are cottage cheese, cheese sticks, bananas, and veggie straws.

Bro18Months-2

  • He still loves being outside, or leaving the house in any way. He gets SO excited at the chance to play outside, or put on his shoes to go somewhere…even if it’s just taking his brother and sister to school.
  • He loves to dance…especially to the songs from any Mickey Mouse show!
  • He loves books…and lucky for him, there are now 4 people in his family that are able to read to him.
  • He loves Mickey Mouse and Baby Shark.
  • He hates having his picture taken…but I love taking his picture, so I’ve had to get creative to get any decent pictures of him! This often involves me chasing him around while singing songs and making a fool of myself just to make him laugh!
  • He doesn’t always like to wear clothes. He will often remove his own shirt or pants and run around almost naked!

Bro-18Months-4

  • He is absolutely wild and exhausting, but he is also hilarious and so stinking cute! We are all still so obsessed with him in every way!

DSC_0202

As I was writing this blog post, I looked back at my old blog posts from when Kinsie and Braxton turned 18 months. Braxton and Brody are SO much alike! Brax went through some really difficult toddler phases, but now he is an absolute gem so I’d be ok if I raise another one just like him!

And that was our November. Overall, we didn’t do much other than the everyday hustle and bustle. But we love our time at home or at my or Ryan’s parents’ houses just spending time as a family. That is what fills our buckets. We are looking forward to the Christmas season and all the joy and magic it brings!

Enjoy our November 1SE…its a whole lot of Brody squeals and dancing!

Fall Fun in October

October seemed to FLY by. I felt like we were always busy whether it was with school or extra curricular activities, fall traditions, or taking care of a sick toddler. In fact, I can’t believe that we are now in November, and that 2021 is almost over. Life is crazy. Anyway, here is a recap of our busy October.

Fall Break in the Smoky Mountains

Our fall break trip was…an adventure to say the least. My kids only had a long weekend off for fall break, but we hadn’t been anywhere in so long that we decided to do a weekend in Gatlinburg, Tennessee with Ryan’s parents, his sister Megan and her son Griffin. The first day we got there, we just did a few things while we waited for our condo to be ready. We went to Bass Pro Shop and the kids loved seeing the fish and riding on the elevator. Then we got ice cream at a little ice cream shop. Brody doesn’t get out much so he loved running around and exploring new places, and luckily the places we went weren’t too crowded with unmasked people. 

Gatlinburg-Day1

The next morning we got up to get ready for our first day of hiking. However…Brody woke up with a 103 degree fever. He didn’t really have any other symptoms other than being tired and feeling crummy from his fever. We did a rapid Covid test just to make sure it wasn’t Covid, mainly since we were staying in a condo with the rest of Ryan’s family, and it was negative. Grandma Bev decided to be the sacrificial lamb that day and stay at the condo with Brody while the rest of us still went out to do stuff. Of course it was hard to enjoy myself while part of my heart was sick back at the condo, but I did my best to enjoy the day with Ryan and the big kids.

We first explored some old cabins, and the kids mainly loved just climbing rocks and seeing wild turkey. They loved getting time with their cousin Griffin.

Gatlinburg-firsthike1

Then we went on a hike to a waterfall. Unfortunately, it rained on us pretty much the entire hike! We tried to still enjoy it, but it definitely made the hike slippery and my clumsy kids slipped into the mud several times. The waterfall was really neat and the kids liked finding snails and lizards along the way.

Gatlinburg-firsthike2

The next day, Brody still didn’t feel well. Ryan decided to stay with him that day (he wouldn’t let me stay since I’m with him all the time). We went to Cade’s Cove, and we had to drive on back winding roads, which made Brax car sick. Luckily I always keep a grocery bag in my glove compartment because Kinsie used to get car sick randomly on our long drives from Arkansas. I also have a lot of personal experience with car sickness, so I was able to help Brax feel better pretty quickly. At Cade’s Cove, you drive along a path and there are places to stop along the way to see different sights, such as old churches and schoolhouses. However, it was SO crowded, so we sat in the car for a LONG time waiting to get anywhere. We took a few opportunities where we were stopped in the car line to get out and take pictures with the pretty scenery. We also saw a bear crossing the street from our car window (this was the highlight for Brax!), and the kids loved playing the old piano in the church and walking across a swinging bridge. It’s the little things they enjoy the most!

Gatlinburg-day2-3Gatlinburg-day2-1

Later that evening we went putt-putting. Brody was still feeling pretty bad, so Bev held him and kept him occupied while Ryan and I played putt-putt with the kids, They enjoyed their first time playing!

Gatlinburg-puttputt

On the second day when Ryan stayed at the condo with Brody, he started to notice a rash on his hands and feet and he knew immediately that it was Hand Foot Mouth Disease. Then we realized that Brax had it earlier in the week and we didn’t even know it at the time. He had a fever a few days before and he stayed home from school for a day because of it, then suddenly he was fine. He did end up getting a small sore on his mouth and I wondered if he had HFM but he didn’t have sores or rashes anywhere else, so I didn’t think that could be it…but once Brody showed his symptoms, we knew that’s what it had to have been. Brax is a little older so his case was super mild, but Brody wasn’t so lucky. He was so miserable and had a hard time eating or drinking anything because it hurt the sores in his mouth. I felt so bad that on Brody’s first real trip anywhere, he was sick the whole time and didn’t really get to do anything. There isn’t much you can do for HFM…just alternate Tylenol and Motrin to help their fever and pain. Other than that we did popsicles, warm baths, and just snuggled with him. We moved some seats around for the drive home so I could sit next to Brody for the 6 hour drive. It was a tough trip because he was tired and uncomfortable, but I tried to keep him busy and happy. Once we got home on Sunday evening, he started to perk up a little and he slowly got better throughout the rest of that week. He still had pretty bad sores for a little over a week, but luckily they didn’t seem to bother him anymore after a while.

Gatlinburg-Brosick

It definitely was not how I envisioned our fall break trip going, and I was bummed that my Brody felt so bad the entire time, but we still had some fun and made some memories. Hopefully his next trip will go better!

 

IU Football Season

We have really enjoyed going to IU Football games this year! Even though our team isn’t as good as we thought, it’s been a fun environment and I’ve had some nice kid breaks here and there (thanks to aunts and grandmas for watching my kids while we go to games!) One weekend, some friends of ours from high school came to town for the day. We loved spending the day with them – going to lunch, walking around campus, and going to the game with them. 

IU-friends

My parents still came to the game also and were just a few rows lower than us. It ended up raining the whole game – and luckily my mom is always prepared and had ponchos ready for us!

IUgames 

Missing our Koda Bear

It was a hard first full month without our sweet pup. The first few weeks were especially hard – little things that were a part of our regular everyday routine were so different now without him. But we have found ways to honor his memory and keep him a part of our family always.

Kinsie painted this picture at school. Art has always been therapy for her!

Koda picture

I ordered these special pillows for the big kids. They LOVE them and sleep with them every night. I didn’t think Brody would really be interested in one, but he is also obsessed! He carries it around and hugs it constantly. So I ended up ordering one for him too!

Koda pillows

One week after we lost Koda, there was a beautiful rainbow over our house. Our sweet neighbor took this picture and sent it to me saying “I think Koda is thinking about you all!” I think this was a love note from our pup!

Koda sunset

Kids Activities

Kinsie Gymnastics

Kinsie is loving gymnastics! She is improving so much and is having a great time. She finished her first term and just started her second term. She even got her first “gold medal” and t-shirt!

Kins Gymnastics

Fun in Kindergarten

Brax has had lots of fun activities going on in Kindergarten lately, some of which I’ve even been able to join!

The classes all get together once a month for Chapel – where they sing songs and learn a Bible story. This month was the first time since before Covid that they started letting parents come join for Chapel. Even though it was only 30 minutes, Brax was so happy I came. He needed some one-on-one mama time, and I needed it too!

SchoolBrax-chapel

 

The class also got to go on a hayride this month.

SchoolBrax-hayride

And clean out a pumpkin to learn about the life cycle of a pumpkin…

SchoolBrax-pumpkin

And they had a Pumpkin Party! I volunteered to help at this party, and I loved every moment of it! Not only did I love getting to spend some time with my boy, but I also loved getting to know his sweet class!

SchoolBrax-Party

Going Places with Brody

Once Brody started feeling better after having HFM (and I knew he wasn’t contagious anymore), I tried to make up for some of the fun he didn’t get to have by taking him to the park. He loved it so much! 

Places-Park1

Since he loved the park so much, and we had a few beautiful fall weeks, I took any nice day to take him either on a walk on the trail or to another park. He loves going on walks with me – and he seems to love the changing leaves like me too!

Places-walk

We tried another park on another day and he loved it even more than the first! He found a slide that he can climb up and slide down on his own…he probably did it 50 times! This park also has a fun musical section that he loves too!

Places-Park2

Since he loved getting out of the house so much, I tried to do something with him almost every day while the kids were at school. When it was cold and rainy, I decided to take him to the nearby mall. It was early, so I knew it wouldn’t be crowded – and our county has a mask mandate for indoor public places, so even if we saw people, most of them would be masked. Ryan joined us and we just let him walk around and explore. We took him into Target for a little while too and let him play with some of the toys (I used to do this with Brax regularly in Arkansas – pre-Covid). He loved sitting in the cart and pushing all the buttons on toys! I brought him with me to Kohl’s another day and let him do the same thing. It was nice to get out of the house with him and give him something to entertain him! I know most people probably complain about the county mask mandate, but I am SO grateful for it so I can start feeling comfortable taking him places.

Places-shop

 

Other Fun with Brody

This boy is a trip. He keeps me busy and entertained ALL day – and leaves me completely exhausted at the end of each day! He has a mind of his own and just does what he wants. When he wants to take a bath, he literally climbs right in on his own. When he wants a snack, he gets into the pantry and helps himself. He recently decided he’s a big boy and doesn’t want to use a high chair anymore, so we switched him to a booster seat and he’s so happy eating at the table like the big kids! 

BrodyFun

Fun at Home

As always, we are home a lot and always find stuff to do. The big kids have really been into Chess lately, so they play that with the actual board, or on the iPad. Whenever it’s nice out, we are outside. Brody wants to be outside ALL the time – even when it’s raining. He knows how to open doors now so we often have to lock the door or else he’ll try to go outside! Luckily our alarm system beeps if any door is opened, so if he’s trying to make an escape, we’ll hear it! He loves his swing, finding caterpillars, and playing with all the outdoor toys. Our kids also find fun in random items – like boxes and giving each other piggyback rides!

Homefun

Pumpkin Patch

We love going to the pumpkin patch! It’s one of our favorite fall traditions. We chose a beautiful Sunday morning to go this year, and we all had a great time.

The big kids loved the tractor ride (Brody was scared of it!) 

Patch-5

When Brax put his face in the opening for this picture, Brody ran over to him to hug his face!

Patch-7

All the kids loved the animals! 

Patch-6

They enjoyed picking out their pumpkins! Brody just ran around tripping over pumpkin vines and trying to pick up every pumpkin. Then he loved taking a ride in the wagon!

Patch-8Patch-4

Patch-1Patch-2Patch-3

It was such a great family morning, and we brought some good pumpkins home with us!

Kolly’s Birthday Party

One weekend, my niece Kolly had her 5th birthday party. It was a Snow White theme, and she even came for a visit! The girls all loved hearing her talk and sing, and they even got their faces painted. Brax and Brody didn’t really understand what was going on, but they had fun with their cousins anyway! We spent the rest of the day at my sister’s house and the kids all had a great time together.

Kollyparty

Painting and Carving Pumpkins

We had pumpkins of all sizes – some we painted, some we carved. No matter what we did, the kids loved every minute of it.

Paint-1

Brody loved his first real painting experience. He was so proud of his painted pumpkin!

Paint-2IMG_2150 copy

Between busy weekends and Ryan’s work schedule, we didn’t get to carve our pumpkins until the day before Halloween…but we still got it done! Kinsie did her Harry Potter pumpkin almost completely on her own…I only had to help her with a few smaller areas. We were very impressed! Brax did a lot of his Jurassic Park pumpkin on his own, but still needed a little help!

Carving-4

Everyone working hard…especially Brody 🙂

Carving-1

Our final products – from left to right- Venom (Ryan), Jurassic Park (Brax), Harry Potter (Kinsie), and the Hogwarts castle (me)

Carving-3

Brody LOVED seeing the pumpkins all lit up! 

Carving-2

Halloween Treats

One weekend, we made our annual Halloween cookies, and we also made some Rice Krispie Frankensteins! Ryan even joined in on the fun and made a creepy eyeball and a Scream ghost. I started the Harry Potter cookie tradition a few years back, and now the kids always do some too, so now the majority of our cookies are decorated to look like Harry Potter!

Treats-1Treats-2

Halloween Day

Our neighborhood doesn’t have a lot of kids, or even a lot of houses, so we decided to spend Halloween day with my sister’s family and trick-or-treat in their neighborhood. The kids played all day, we helped them carve their pumpkins, and we had chili and hot dogs for dinner. Brody had so much fun with his cousins, and even sat at the cousin table!

Halloween-dinner

The kids were PUMPED when it was time to put on their costumes. My dream finally came true and my kids were all Harry Potter characters! Kinsie was a Hufflepuff student, Brax was Harry Potter, and Brody was Hedwig the owl. Brody hates wearing hats, so I had to get creative with his costume!

Halloween-2Halloween-4Halloween-1

We loved getting to spend the day with my family! 

Halloween-3

Brody loved his first real trick-or-treating experience. I had to take him up to the houses and show him what to do, but once he got the hang of it, he was ALL about it! It was such a fun evening!

Halloween-5

We had a great month of fall fun. We made lots of new memories and had lots of fun with family. I honestly can’t believe this year is coming to a close. I am SO excited that my big kids will be fully vaccinated by the end of 2021…and Brody will be shortly after that! We have learned to live with this pandemic while still being safe, but goodness…I’m ready for some full-on normalcy!

Enjoy our October I Second Everyday!

Another Covid-Style School Year

We were genuinely enjoying our warm, summer days…until August. August was HOT. It felt like we were back in Arkansas. It was hard to be outside at all…even early in the morning. August was also a rough month Covid-wise. The big kids started school in middle of this scary Delta surge, Ryan is back to wearing his N95 mask for his entire shift, and I’m back to treating Brody like Rapunzel and holding him captive inside the safety of our home. Between the potential of Delta invading my vulnerable unvaccinated kids, and it being hotter than Hades outside, we have spent a whole lot of time at home…which luckily, we LOVE our home. But for a busy, active toddler, we’ve become a bit stir crazy again!

Here is how our August went…

Days at the Playground

I really should rephrase this “Day at the Playground…” singular. We were only able to go once this month because it was too darn hot. The weekend before school started the weather was fantastic, so we spent a lot of it outside. After that, no way. But I’m glad we took advantage of that early August day and had a family day at the park. Brody LOVED it. He climbed everywhere on his own and dove down the slide head first over and over!

Playground

Walk by the Waterfall

After we played on the playground, we took a walk back by our favorite waterfall! The kids always have fun looking for critters and throwing rocks.

Waterfall-2Waterfall-3Waterfall-1 copy

Kinsie starts 2nd grade!

Kinsie couldn’t wait to start school! She was excited to meet her teacher and see her friends again. She has absolutely loved her first few weeks. She even wants to play school at home all the time and do the activities with Brax that she does at school.

Kinsie-firstday1

Kinsie was also especially excited to get to ride the bus. In Kindergarten, she went to a charter school and they didn’t have buses. And last year, we lived out of her school boundaries for most of the school year so we had to drive her. So now she finally got to ride the bus. She has been enjoying it, even though there is a bus driver shortage and many of the bus drivers have to do multiple routes, causing her bus to be late most days. The boys have enjoyed taking trips to the bus stop too!

Kinsie-firstday2Kinsie-firstday3

Braxton starts Kindergarten!

Brax has loved starting Kindergarten this month! He is doing the half day program at the church that he did Pre-K last year. Since he is a May birthday, we’re doing Kindergarten this way so we can help make the best choice for him on whether to send him on to 1st grade at Kinsie’s school next year, or repeat Kindergarten at Kinsie’s school next year. Either way, he is excited to get to ride the bus with her next year!

He enjoyed his Kindergarten orientation, and getting to see some old friends from Pre-K, and meeting new friends!

Brax-firstday-orientation

Last year, he cried the first few days of school when we dropped him off. Not this year! He is so excited to go to school every day! He loves his teacher, and he loves getting to eat lunch at school every day this year.

Brax-firstday1Brax-firstday2

I’ve been working on sight words with him for about a year now, and he has made a lot of progress, but he has never been quite as enthusiastic about learning as Kinsie was. Just in the last few weeks though, it has really clicked for him! He is reading independently now, and becoming more confident! His teacher said he is one of the stronger readers in his class! We are so proud of him!

IMG_1024

Adventures at Home with Brody

Since the big kids are in school now most of the day, Brody isn’t always sure what to do without them. Sometimes he gets bored with me, but most of the time he enjoys having all the toys to himself!

Bro_at_home

On another note, this kid is nuts. He climbs into and onto everything. He often runs off when I’m not paying attention for a minute, and I find him in my shower or in the tupperware cabinet! I give him full credit as to why I’m so exhausted every night!

CrazyBro

Soccer Saturdays

Brax was really excited to do soccer again after last season. He got to move up to U6, which includes 30 minutes of coach-led activities, and 30 minutes of scrimmage. He absolutely LOVES it, and he is really good! He is very aggressive and a great team player!

Brax-soccer2Brax-soccer4

Kinsie and Brody enjoy being in Brax’s fan club. Kinsie always packs snacks and toys to entertain Brody during soccer. She’s the best big sis!

Brax-soccer3Brax-soccer1

Gymnastics

Kinsie has been wanting to do gymnastics ever since she stopped when Covid hit last year. I wasn’t comfortable with her doing it for a long time since it’s indoors. However, I found a place here in town that people really recommend, and has good Covid protocols in place, so I finally gave her the green light. She has been loving it!

IMG_1055

Lake Day

Ryan worked a lot of weekends this month, so when he finally had a weekend day off, we decided to spend it at the lake. We enjoyed fishing, a boat ride, swimming, and playing with Uncle Nate’s new pup, Alfie.

LakeDay

Pool Day

One weekend, Ryan worked multiple 12 hour night shifts in a row. My aunt and cousins and their kids came to town to swim at my parents’, so my sister’s family and me and the kids came to hang out as well. The kids always love cousin swim time, and they especially loved my aunt’s famous dirt and worms treat!

PoolDay

Trail Walks

Brax started school a week after Kinsie, so when he was still on summer vacation, we took a few walks around the trails. It’s always nice to get outside and see some nature, and watch these precious brothers enjoy each other’s company.

TrailWalks

Quarantined

While Kinsie really has enjoyed riding the bus, it did bring her first (and HOPEFULLY last) quarantine. About 2 weeks into school, she was identified as a close contact from the bus. There were apparently multiple positive cases on the bus. Luckily, all the kids wear their masks on the bus and all day at school, which I truly think kept her healthy. However, the school protocol is that if you’re a close contact, you have to quarantine. The contact tracing process takes a while, so we didn’t find out until about a week after her exposure. This could have been bad if she would have been infected, but luckily she wasn’t, and she only had to miss a few days of school. We didn’t even get her tested because she had no symptoms and it wouldn’t have changed her quarantine time.

She had to do some of her schoolwork at home during this time, which she has never been a fan of. She was really bummed, but we had to remind her that it could be a lot worse, and if she had gotten sick, she would have had to miss a lot more school.

Quarantine-1

She was especially sad to miss Art class and choice time, so I let her paint and do as much art as she wanted. This has always been her stress relief anyway!

Quarantine-2

I’m not going to get too much into the whole thing about kids wearing or not wearing masks at school, because it’s been a MAJOR debate around the country. You probably already know what side of the debate I’m on since I’ve been pro-science since day one. However, I will say…it really bothers me when people don’t worry about kids getting Covid, brushing it off as not a big deal because they won’t die from it, or even that most kids have mild cases. While that is true for most kids (not all), people need to remember the mental impact that getting Covid, or even just having an exposure, has on these kids. Kinsie only had to miss 3 days of school, and she was devastated. She laid her head in my lap and cried because she couldn’t be at school. She didn’t understand why she was being punished, when she has been SO careful. She always wears her mask, even at recess. She washes her hands so much that they get raw. She has understood the seriousness of this virus from day one and understood the need to protect other people. Yet, with some bad luck, she was still exposed. Luckily she didn’t get sick. Do you know why she didn’t get sick? Because the kids were wearing their masks! But anyway, please consider these poor kids having to miss school from getting sick or being close contacts before you brush it off as not a big deal. Even missing school for a few days is a big deal to them. And many kids aren’t as lucky as Kinsie was. MANY children are being hospitalized with Covid around the country. Also, if you haven’t already, please get vaccinated! That is the best way to protect these precious, innocent, vulnerable kids. And you better believe the SECOND that a vaccine becomes available for my kids, I will be signing them up!

We are really looking forward to September, and fall in general. Summer has been great, but we’re ready for some cooler temps and fall traditions. We are also looking forward to getting closer to the vaccine being available for my big kids (Brody may have to wait until early 2022), and for Ryan to soon get his booster shot. We’re hoping both of those things happen in the next month or two! In the meantime, my kids are staying masked up, Ryan has been shaving daily again to make sure his N95 fits his face, and I’ll be staying home with Brody. We are praying that we can all stay healthy through this Delta surge, while still enjoying our favorite season!

Enjoy our August 1 Second Everyday video!

June is Bustin’ Out All Over

I see a trend happening here. Each month seems a little more like normal, and each month is MUCH better than the same month last year. This same time last year was rough, and even though it brought us back to our home in Indiana, and brought us our sweet Brody, it is a time of my life that still gives me heart palpitations when I think about it. This year is better. This year is more normal, and even though I’m watching my kids like a hawk to keep them safe since they can’t yet be vaccinated, we at least feel safe enough to go certain places and do certain activities. This June felt a little more like summer as the way it should be, and it was refreshing!

Here is our June went down…

A Weekend at the Dunes

If you recall, my sweet Abuelita passed away last April. This was right when Covid hit hard, and with our family living in all different states, we couldn’t get together for a long time. Now, a good chunk of us are vaccinated and things are overall getting better, so we planned a celebration of life. We had a short outdoor ceremony at the burial site where my grandpa is already buried. She had such an amazing life and legacy, and she is now in heaven with her Beto instead of trapped in her broken mind here on Earth, so it truly was a celebration.

IMG_9929IMG_9930

After the ceremony, everyone met at the Indiana Dunes State Park. We reserved a shelter, and had lots of Covid-friendly individually-wrapped food. It was great to get to see some of my family that I haven’t seen in over a year – maybe more. We also spent some time at the Lake Michigan beach. The kids LOVED it! They haven’t been to Florida, or any vacation for that matter, in a long time so they were loving it.

Dunes-2Dunes-4Dunes-3Dunes-1

That evening, we put the kids to bed in the hotel room (they were EXHAUSTED), used our phones as a baby monitor, and spent some time hanging out with my aunts, uncles, and cousins in the lobby just talking and laughing. It was so refreshing and a great time!

Cicadas Galore!

This was the month of the cicadas! This was the year of the 17 year life cycle of cicadas where they emerged from underground and flew amok. The kids were ALL about it! Kinsie particularly was so fascinated by them, and even researched them to find out as much as she could about them…and wrote a book about them! (See video below) Certain parts of Indiana were swarmed with cicadas, including Bloomington. One evening, we had a picnic on campus and took a walk afterwards. IU’s campus was seriously invaded by cicadas. They were all over all the trees and buildings, and they would fly around and land on us. It sounds creepy, but it was actually really fun!

Cicadas-3Cicadas-4

Walking through the very LOUD trails on campus.

Cicadas-1

The kids kept catching cicadas and holding them and becoming friends with them.

Cicadas-5Cicadas-2

 

Enjoy this video of Kinsie reading her book about cicadas that she wrote.

Champions!

Kinsie’s first softball season is now in the books. She had a great season and improved SO much! Her team was so much fun to watch. They had their end of the season tournament this month. They won their first game, but barely lost in the championship game (8-9). Even though they got 2nd place in the tournament, they were still the regular season champs! I think Kinsie enjoyed it and wants to play again next season!

Softball-2Softball-1

Anniversary Date

Ryan and I haven’t been on an anniversary date in YEARS. Four years ago, we were moving and doing the 10 hour drive from Indiana to Arkansas, and were in different vehicles so we barely spent any time together. Then the next 2 years he was either working or we just couldn’t afford a babysitter, and last year, he was still in Arkansas finishing residency and the kids and I were living in Indiana with my parents for the month. Now the stars finally aligned and we were able to have an evening out together. Ryan worked the early shift that day and was off by 3, and we had his mom and aunt come down to watch the kids. We went to dinner, took a walk around campus, and ran to a few stores. It wasn’t much, but it didn’t need to be much. Just being together, without kids was so nice and relaxing and something we don’t get nearly enough of.

Anniversary

Pool Days

We’ve been enjoying my parents’ pool as often as we can this summer. Whenever we go there to swim, the kids swim literally the entire day. They only get out to eat and pee. I haven’t taken many pool pictures this summer because I’m usually fully hands-on with Brody. He is like Forky and trash with the water – he is constantly speed crawling toward the pool!

Pool-1Pool-2

Lake Days

We haven’t been able to spend as much time at the lake as we normally like to with the weather and Ryan’s schedule, but when we do, we soak it in. Ryan was luckily off work for Father’s Day weekend, so we spent the day at the lake. It was just Ryan’s immediate family – his parents, his sister and her family, and his brother. It was such a fun, relaxing and beautiful day. The kids always love playing with their cousin Griffin. Brody enjoyed the water table, kiddie pool, and baby slide. We ended the day with a good dinner and a boat ride.

Lake-1Lake-2Lake-3Lake-4

Rainy Days

We’ve had a good mixture of beautiful summer days, and dreary rainy days. On those days, at least we have this beautiful house to enjoy! The Nugget is still a huge hit. Brody spends a good majority of his days climbing all over it.

Inside-nugget2

When Brody was napping one day, we tried something new with the big kids. We made the Nugget into a giant slide on the stairs. This kept them entertained for a while!

Inside-nugget-1

Life with Brody is always fun and never boring. He loves climbing into and onto anything he can find – including his sister, his brother’s laundry hamper, and the beanie baby bin!

We also recently got a good deal on a new kids’ camera for them to share. It came with a green screen so they can do fun animation videos and news reports!

Inside-other

Life is never boring in this household!

Inside-family

Soaking up All the SUMMER

Last summer, we did “summer things” but it was a lot harder with a newborn and my postpartum self, and a pandemic, and Ryan not even being with us half the summer. So this year, we are trying harder to do ALL the things.

Morning at the Park

Brax has been asking to go to a playground for a while. He really wanted to go to the playground at the park where he played soccer. One morning before it got too hot, we loaded up and went to the park. There was a daycare there with probably 20 kids, so my kids masked up, kept their distance, and still had a great time.

Outside-park

Slip n Slide

Brax and Brody got several new water toys for their birthdays, and we’ve slowly been trying them out. Their favorite is probably the slip and slide! Ryan even went a step further and put baby soap on it to make it extra slippery. This kept the kids entertained for hours!

Outside-Slipnslide-1

Even Brody took a few turns on it!

Outside-slipnslide

Kiddie Pools, Sprinklers, and Slides…oh my!

Living in Arkansas without a pool in our backyard, we had to find ways to survive the hot summer days. The kids spent almost every day in the summer playing in the water table, sprinklers, and kiddie pools. Last summer once we moved to Bloomington, our rental house didn’t even have a hose spigot…so we couldn’t do any of those things. When we built our new house, we made sure we didn’t have that problem! The kids have been all about their water toys this year, and now Brody loves getting in on the action too!

Outside-pool-2Outside-Pool-1Outside-yardOutside-dragonOutside-hulaOutside-balloons

They love their snack breaks!

Outside-snackOutside-kiss

IMG_9961

Walks on the Trail

We’re still discovering parks and trails near our new home, so we try to spend mornings or evenings finding new areas. We love taking walks and the kids like bringing their scooters or bikes on the trails. Lately, the kids got new Fitbits, so they enjoy running on the trails to try and meet their Fitbit goals!

Outside-walks

Other Outside Fun

Even on the days where we don’t spend the entire day outside, we still try to get our daily vitamins D dose, even if its just an hour, by playing on the driveway with wagon rides, bubbles, or hitting softballs.

Outside-2Outside-1Outside-3

Cincy Zoo Day

It has been a few years since we’ve been to our favorite zoo in Cincinnati. Kinsie still talks about their baby hippo, Fiona, often, and I promised her that once we moved back to Indiana, we would go visit her. Well, Covid made that hard to do last year, so we made it happen this year.

We woke up early and drove the 2.5 hours to the Cincinnati Zoo. To limit crowds, you have to make reservations on the day you want to visit the zoo. Well, I’m not sure exactly how many reservations they allow on one day, because it was SO crowded. It was possibly more crowded than any other day we’ve been there, NOT during Covid. My guess is that they only make non-members make reservations, and members can go anytime they please. It definitely made it harder since the kids aren’t vaccinated, but we did the best we could to keep safe and still have fun.

Cincy-5

Cincy-6Cincy-1Cincy-8Cincy-9Cincy-10Cincy-7

We went to the Hippo Cove to see Fiona twice. In the morning, she was sleeping. When we came back in the afternoon, she was very active! We stayed for a while and watched her swim around like a ballerina!

Cincy-3Cincy-4Cincy-11

Kinsie and Brax wore their masks a lot that day. Whenever we had space to ourselves, I let them have breaks, but because it was so crowded, they didn’t get as many mask breaks as I hoped. But they didn’t care, they are champs. They were just happy to be at the zoo. And like usual, Brody was either in the stroller or I was wearing him in the Ergo carrier. If there was ever a crowded exhibit, I just stayed back with Brody away from people and Ryan took Kinsie and Brax to go see it. Overall, we had a great day at our favorite zoo!

Cincy-2

Wonder Lab

Bloomington has a great science lab for kids. Ryan’s mom and sister bought us a family membership for Brax’s birthday last year, but we weren’t able to use it for a long time due to Covid. Now we finally got to visit and it was a wonderful morning! The kids (and Ryan) LOVED everything here. You have to sign up for 2 hour windows, which was the perfect amount of time to see and do everything there.

The kids especially loved the water and bubble area. They even had a baby section that Brody loved. I was SO impressed with their cleanliness and sanitation here. In the baby section, a family could sign up for a 20 minute window to let their child explore, and when their window was up, the staff came around and sanitized EVERYTHING. Everyone above the age of 2 was required to wear a mask, and they truly only allowed a certain number of people in the museum at a time. They had hand sanitizing areas everywhere, and I saw the staff cleaning the areas down often. I told the staff how impressed I was, and I wish more places took it as seriously as they did. Science for the win!

Wonderlab-8Wonderlab-4Wonderlab-3Wonderlab-5 Wonderlab-2Wonderlab-7 Wonderlab-6Wonderlab-1

It was such a good June. Much better than last June. I like this trend, and I hope it continues. I just can’t wait until my kids can get vaccinated so we can truly feel safe going places and being around people. I wish more people would trust science and get the vaccine so we can truly put this all behind us…but at least for now, we are better off than we were this time last year. Baby steps I guess!

Enjoy the 1SE video for June!

Brody is ONE!

My precious baby is ONE year old! I don’t know how this crept up on me so fast. What a crazy year it has been. In such a dark, confusing and anxious time in the world, God blessed me with a child that is the epitome of sunshine. Watching Brody grow into the silly, adorable little boy he is today has been the absolute joy of our lives. Of course the pandemic has been extremely difficult for everyone, but I am somewhat grateful for what it has done to our family. It forced us to slow down and enjoy what is right in front of us. We have had wonderful family time together, and we have all loved being home more and watching Brody grow. He has no clue about the crazy world he was born into, but he is healthy and happy as can be, and loved beyond measure and that is all that matters to him. 

Brodyis1Brodyis1-collageBrodyis1-3

Here are some fun facts about our little ONE year old-

  • He is 21 lbs, 11 oz (55th percentile), and 32 inches tall (98th percentile)…how in the world did I get such a tall kid??
  • His favorite food is cottage cheese. He’s so obsessed with it, he often refuses to eat anything else in front of him. He also loves crackers with hummus, greek yogurt, and mini muffins.
  • He still has 8 teeth.
  • He can nod “yes” and shake his head “no,” and does so quite aggressively.
  • He is starting to have some “toddler-isms” and trying to test boundaries. He will try to get into things (like dog food), and when we say “no,” he just looks us dead in the eye and goes for it again. Hopefully we don’t have another stubborn toddler like his brother was!
  • He loves to babble and yell. He can say a few words – mama, dada are his favorite words, but he sometimes tries to say “Kinsie,” “Bubba,” (his name for Brax), and “dog.” He imitates our noises constantly though…even when his siblings are yelling (which is almost always…we have very loud children).
  • He still loves cruising the furniture, and can sometimes stand independently when he doesn’t realize it.
  • He loves playing with instruments – particularly the maracas.
  • He might possibly be our squirmiest child yet – and that’s saying something. Getting him to sit still for even half a second is an almost impossible task. That is why he is in motion in almost every single picture of him!
  •  He is tight with his small circle of people – but doesn’t really know what to do if he meets new people (remember – he is a 2020 baby, so he hasn’t met many people!) 
  • Dancing is one of his favorite hobbies. ANY music he hears, even if its me singing to him, he’ll start dancing!
  • He loves to clap for himself.
  • He loves touch-and-feel books. But his favorite thing to do with books is pull them out of all the bookshelves.
  • He is a wild man in the bath tub. I usually end up soaked after his bath because he splashes so much.
  • He loves being outside. Although, he can’t walk yet so he tries to crawl on the concrete. When that starts hurting his knees, he starts to bear crawl.
  • He gets into EVERYTHING. He loves to open the cabinets and pull out anything he can get his hands on. He climbs on anything and everything. He would dive off of the couches and beds if we let him. He has absolutely no fear. We have to watch him like a hawk! 

Brody is still a major mama’s boy, but he has grown close to his daddy too! Especially since he lets him sit on the counter and eat lunch meat!

Mom-Dad

Brody is happiest when he is playing with his “bubba” and “sissy!” 

Brody-broandsis

 

Our mischievous little guy getting into everything!

Brody-scavenger2

Brody enjoyed trying to new treats for his birthday – a donut for breakfast and cake during his party!

Brody-cake Brody-donutBrody-1balloon

 

We can’t get enough of these precious Brody faces!

Brodyfaces-12months

One month to twelve months – time flies WAY too quickly!

GrowingBrody-12months

Brody Ryan…

You are the SUNSHINE that we desperately needed during a dark time in life. God knew exactly what He was doing when He brought you into our lives, and I thank Him every day for giving us this precious gift. The beginning of your life was absolute chaos- with you being born during a global pandemic, being confined to a hospital room under bilirubin lights for the first week of your life, moving to a new state when you were less than two weeks old, and spending the first month of your life without the help of your dad while he was finishing residency in Arkansas. Despite all of that, every moment of your life has brought us so much joy! We adore your sweet, silly, crazy personality. We love watching you interact with your brother and sister and learning all of their crazy ways. We love watching you learn and discover things in the world around you – even though, little do you know, you haven’t gotten to see very much of it yet. Even so, you are as happy as can be and love your family with all of your little being. We can’t wait to continue to watch you grow and blossom into the amazing little person that God intended you to be. We love you with all of our hearts! Happy birthday, my sweet boy!

 

Brodyis1-2

 

Finally, here is a video of Brody’s first year. It will most likely be the best 9 minutes of your day!

A Much Better April

This April was MUCH better than last year. Last year the start of the pandemic was still fresh and overwhelming, the kids were doing online school, I was insanely pregnant not knowing what my birthing experience would be like with the new Covid restrictions, and to top it all off, my grandma and sweet dog Addie passed away. I remember my emotions last April. I remember crying randomly every day. Even though it was a year ago, these emotions are still fresh on the surface when I think back to that time. My anxiety was through the roof, and pregnancy hormones added another level of stress. But here we are now. We are still in the pandemic, but we are finally seeing better days ahead. We are finally starting to creep toward normalcy. The place I was in this time last year is tough to remember, but it makes me even more appreciative of where we are now. We are stronger as individuals, we are more firm in our faith- despite not stepping into a church in over a year, and we are closer as a family than ever before.

 Spring weather is officially here! Arkansas always had to best spring weather. Indiana’s spring weather is hit or miss…this year we’ve had a lot of rain and a few random super cold days, but overall it’s been nice to be able to be outside on a regular basis again. Both of the kids started up some spring sports which has kept us pretty busy too…it’s taken some time to re-adjust to actually having activities on the calendar, but it feels good to get out of the house a little more. Here is how our April went down…

Easter

Ryan had to work on Easter, so we did some family Easter activities the days before. We made Easter cookies, had an egg hunt in the backyard, and dyed Easter eggs. The kids loved it all, and Brody enjoyed all of his first Easter experiences as well!

Easter CookiesEaster-egghunt2Easter-huntEaster-egghuntBroEaster-eggs

Ryan didn’t work until 9am on Easter, so he got to spend Easter morning with us and see the kids with their Easter baskets. Once he left for work, the kids and I loaded up the van and went to my parents’ house to spend the day. Can I just say how nice it is to be able to do this again? Holidays, birthdays and other special days were always so hard while living in Arkansas…because Ryan was usually working and I really missed my family. Now, we just have a quick hour drive and we don’t have to spend these days alone anymore, and I am SO grateful for that!

Easter-morning

We had a great Easter Day. It was a beautiful day, so we spent most of it outside. The kids had a cousin egg hunt, we had an awesome dinner, and other than that, the kids just played together outside all day, and the adults just hung out together. It was such a beautiful and relaxing day celebrating our risen King!

EasterDayEaster-withmomEaster-cousins

Kinsie’s Softball

Kinsie’s softball season is in full force now, and she is enjoying it! It took some time for her to get the hang of it, but we have been practicing with her almost every day and she has improved tremendously! She has awesome coaches and a great team. The first few games, she didn’t get any hits, but she did a great job in the outfield backing up first base. We have enjoyed watching her games so far…even Brax and Brody (although, Brax’s favorite part is the concession stand…just like me when I was a kid at my sister’s games!)

Kinsiegame-1 Kinsiegame-2

My dad used to coach softball, so he has been coming to town a lot and helping her learn and practice. I think recently, it finally clicked with her, and she started hitting the ball more and more when we practiced. She finally got a hit at one of her games, but she got out at first. Then at her next game, my parents and my sister’s family all came to see her play, and she hit the ball and got on base ALL 4 TIMES she was up to bat! She was a rockstar, and was even given the game ball from her coach! We were all so proud of her and I know she was so excited!

IMG_1678 IMG_8199

Since Kinsie has been practicing softball so much, this has sparked an interest in Brax with baseball. He always wanted to practice with us too, and it turns out, he’s a natural! My dad even surprised him with a new bat for his birthday, and he loves hitting the ball off the tee, as well as when we pitch to him. Next spring, he will be old enough to play in the 5 year old baseball league here in town, and he can’t wait!

Braxbaseball

Brax’s Soccer

Brax really wanted to try soccer this season, so we signed him up. At his age, it is more of an academy, where they just do fun drills to get the hang of the sport. He has had one practice so far, and he loved it! Ryan even stayed late with him once practice was over because he wanted to play longer! I think he will be our little athlete!

Brax-soccer

Kinsie’s Lost Teeth

Kinsie has lost SO many teeth lately! In the matter of about a month, she lost 4 more teeth – putting her at 8 total (which is the same number of teeth that Brody currently has!) One tooth in particular that she lost, we give credit to Brax. They were wrestling one day, and he got too rough and kicked her tooth out! Now she is the prettiest little jack-o-lantern face we’ve ever seen!

DSC_0133

Outside Time

Whenever it isn’t raining or freezing, we are usually outside. We live on a cul-de-sac with several open lots, so the kids have plenty of room to play. The kids love their bikes and scooters, and Brody loves his little car!

Outside-boys

Outside-Brody

One of their favorite things to do lately is ride down the driveway while the sprinkler is on. Ryan also mowed part of the open lot next door into the shape of a baseball diamond. So now they enjoy playing softball and baseball there, or just running around in the open grass!

Outside-fun

We’ve had a few Sundays this month where we had dinner with my family. Whenever we are there, the kids always have so much fun together…especially when Yaya breaks out the parachute!

Outside-parachute

My sister gave me this awesome collapsible playpen, and it even comes with a sunshade. We’ve used it inside a lot to contain Brody when needed, but we’ve recently been able to use it outside as well. At first Brody wasn’t a fan because he didn’t want to be in there alone, but once Kinsie and Brax joined him, he was happy as can be!

Outside-playpen

First Vaccine!

I finally had my turn! I received my first vaccine early in April. I had been anxiously awaiting this moment for SO long, so it felt great to finally get to do it. If you haven’t already, go get your vaccine as well and let’s kick this thing to the curb and get back to normal!

Vaccine

Brody turned 11 Months!

I’m still in denial that my baby will be one soon. This year has flown by, and we have absolutely loved watching him grow into the precious little boy he is. He is seriously SO much fun. He is in such a cute and silly stage, and he makes us laugh every day! He learned a lot this month and developed some cute and hilarious new habits.

Brody-11monthsBrody-11months2

Our Brody boy at 11 months:

  • He has 8 teeth. He popped 4 teeth at once, which made it a doozy of a month, but now that they are out, he is a happy camper!
  • He learned how to wave.
  • He learned how to clap.
  • He shakes his head “No” (all the time – he thinks it’s so funny!)
  • He can give high fives.
  • He can give hugs (and it melts me every single time).
  • He loves getting into the pantry and trying to steal his snacks.
  • He can say “mama,” “dada,” “hi,” and “more” with meaning. He can also sign “more.”
  • He cruises around furniture constantly.
  • He still loves to climb everything, including the kitchen cabinets and counters. He tries to use the cabinet drawer handles as a latter, and he legitimately tries to do pull ups on the countertops.
  • He loves to rub whatever he is eating into his hair.
  • He suddenly hates diaper changes. He tries to roll over and kick me so he can escape. This is exactly how Braxton was too…fun times.
  • He loves playing outside.
  • He still adores his brother and sister and screams excitedly when they walk into the room.

Big boy with his walker!

Brody-walking

Always climbing up onto the kids’ art table!

 Brody-climbing

Hanging out in the pantry – always!

Brody-pantry

He loves his brother and sister so much.

And this is no joke how Brax carries him around and Brody doesn’t even care!

Brody-sibs

Sweet Brody faces at 11 months!

Brody-faces

He’s growing up too fast for me to handle!

Brody-growing

I know I’ve said it many times, but Brody is such a blessing from God. I didn’t know it at the time, but God knew how much I needed him throughout this time in life. When I think about this time last year, and not only how I was a complete emotional roller coaster, but also how I was so physically miserable from pregnancy, and then I see my life now…he was worth EVERY SINGLE OUNCE of emotional and physical pain I endured before/once I had him. he brings us immeasurable joy, and I can’t imagine our lives without him. Next month, he will be ONE!!

Brody-11months-4Brody-11months-3

We love you SO MUCH, our sweet Brody!

And that’s a wrap for April. Lots of exciting activities planned in May, including two birthdays for our boys! And here is our 1 Second Everyday for April. Enjoy!