Sun Rays and Disney Days

We were so grateful to get to go on a vacation to Florida this month! Ryan gets 3 weeks of vacation throughout his first year, so we coordinated it with my family’s vacation to one of our favorite places, Siesta Key, Florida. With the way our week worked out, we also got to visit Disney World for 3 days…another one of our favorites! Originally with Ryan’s schedule, he would get to go to Siesta with us, but not Disney. After he pulled some strings at work, he found a way to go with us for the entire trip, and we were all SO grateful. We all needed that quality Daddy time! Here are the highlights from our trip.

PART I: Siesta Key

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The Beach

We came here last December, and Kinsie was a little beach baby. She was obsessed! Brax wasn’t even mobile yet, so he spent most of his time in the tent. This time, we had two beach babies! Brax wasn’t a huge fan of the ocean (the waves scared him), but he loved playing in the sand. All the kids loved chasing birds, getting buried in the sand as different animals and characters, and building sand castles and animals. The older kids loved the ocean until we realized how many jellyfish were in the area. Both Kinsie and her cousin Briggs got stung by jellyfish…but luckily nothing too severe. After that, they were all a little skeptical about getting in the water…and they called themselves the “jellyfish cousins.”

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The Pool

All five of the cousins are little water bugs. We spent a few days by the pool, and ALL the kids were having fun. Brax wanted to jump in over and over again…he honestly didn’t even care if he went under water. I’m also pretty sure that being in the pool with her cousins is one of Kinsie’s happiest happy places!

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The Boat Ride

We rented a boat while in Siesta Key, and it was such a fun and crazy day! We ate cinnamon rolls, got splashed by large waves, saw dolphins and manatees, got stuck on a sandbar, got lost, and had lunch at a restaurant on the water. We all loved every part of the crazy adventure…especially the dolphins!

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Lots of Much-Needed Family Time

I know, this is vague, and cheesy…but it’s true. Now that we live apart, time with family is so special. Especially with the kids…they all love each other so much and they are just giddy when they are all together. All of the kids have a special relationship and it is so fun watching them grow up together. And like I mentioned earlier, it was so nice having a full week of Ryan. The kids were all about Daddy all week!

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PART II: Disney World

Magic Kingdom

We spent the last 3 days of our trip at Disney World…and it was as magical as ever! It was SUPER crowded…more than I remember it ever being, but we still made the best of it and had a great time. The characters have always been Kinsie’s favorite part, and she still loved them, but oh my sweet Brax…he adored the characters! It melted my heart to see him stare in the face of Mickey Mouse in complete awe and give each character hug after hug. His reaction to seeing Mickey in the parade was priceless! Some of our other favorites of the day were Small World, the parade, the fireworks, and the Haunted Mansion ride. Kinsie talked about this ride ALL day, but the line was always too long. Finally after the fireworks, the line was down so we went. Kinsie fell asleep on Ryan’s shoulders on the way there, so we just let her sleep while we waited in line. We woke her up before we got on the ride and she LOVED it. She is still talking about it every day. It was a long but wonderful day!

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Animal Kingdom

This is another one of our favorite parks in Disney, and we really wanted to see all the new Avatar stuff (it was AMAZING by the way). It was ridiculously hot this day…like sticky, heavy, hard to breathe hot. But we powered through it and still enjoyed our day. We loved the safari, the characters, the Avatar ride, and the evening lights show on the water. We were exhausted at the end of the day, but it was worth it.

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Chef Mickey’s

My parents surprised the kids with tickets to Chef Mickey’s. I was probably just as excited as the kids to experience this! We went to a restaurant where Mickey and the gang danced around and came around to visit with everyone. The kids loved it and the food was on point!

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Disney Springs

We spent our last evening just walking around Disney Springs. The only other time I remember coming here, we were only there for a few minutes so we didn’t really get to enjoy it. It was so nice to just take our time and enjoy everything there was to see. We especially loved the Lego store and the T-Rex Cafe. We didn’t even eat there, we just walked around and played in the dino digging area!

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We had such a great trip and loved spending time with family, but we were also ready to be home. After lots of crowds, traffic and congestion, we were ready to be back in our quiet town. Our flights to and from Florida were both very eventful…we BARELY made it onto our flight on the way there…but after cutting everyone in the security line and sprinting to our gate, we made it. On the way back, we were on different flights from Orlando to Atlanta, but on the same flight from Atlanta to Little Rock. Ryan took Brax and I had Kinsie. Ryan’s flight was running a little later than scheduled, so as he got to the gate of the second flight, they were shutting the door and wouldn’t let him in. As he argued with the lady at the gate, I was talking to the captain and trying to see if he could get him on the plane. He was trying really hard to help us because he knew we were a family and we just wanted to get home. If they weren’t going to let him on, Kinsie and I were going to get off and we could all find a new flight together…although I really didn’t want to do that since the kids were exhausted and Kinsie had school the next day. The captain called the official Delta people and it was a long ordeal, but they FINALLY let him on. As he and Brax got on the plane, everyone applauded! Later when we got off the plane in Little Rock, everyone who passed by us said they were happy for us! It was a crazy experience, and we were SO happy to be home!

Back Home Again in Indiana

Soon after we moved here, I planned a trip home to Indiana for 2 weeks in September. I knew that Ryan would be on a rotation where we’d barely see him, and I wanted Kinsie to have a special birthday and spend it with family. The plan was for me and the kids to fly to Indy, then later Ryan would drive up for a few days, then we would all drive back together. As it got closer, we realized that Ryan could barely make it work to come at all. He was only able to come to Indy for about 24 hours. We really missed him, but we had a wonderful trip!

The Flight

I was nervous about flying with both kids from the moment I booked the tickets. I planned out everything weeks ahead of time, trying to make the process as smooth as possible. I had movies and TV shows on the iPad, snacks, toys, books…you name it. Luckily, the Little Rock airport is small and never crowded, so checking in and security were a breeze. Once we were on the plane, the kids were happy watching Paw Patrol. (This could keep them occupied for hours at home if I allowed it). After about 20 minutes, Brax was done. He didn’t want to sit on my lap, (which he had to, he isn’t old enough to need a seat of his own), he didn’t want to watch a show, he didn’t want to read books, and even snacks weren’t keeping him happy. I wrestled him most of the flight. Then once the descent started, he was REALLY done. He was screaming and thrashing. Kinsie and I were both trying to make him happy, but he was DONE with this flight. I prayed that the next flight would be better…yes, two flights…unfortunately there’s no direct flights from Little Rock to Indianapolis. Switching planes was quick and easy. I think it was an act of God that on the next flight, there was an empty seat next to me. Brax was happier when he had more to squirm around. That flight went MUCH smoother!

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When we got to the Indianapolis airport, we had some special guests awaiting our arrival! My mom, my sister and her whole family was waiting for us, and we all embraced and cried. The kids were all SO happy to see each other, and we were so happy to have made it!

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Cousin Time 

The kids had some awesome times together during the 2 weeks. The night we came in, Ryan’s aunt had a get-together at her house to welcome us home. The kids had a blast with each other driving around in all the different vehicles. One day, Kinsie got to go have lunch with her cousin Briggs at his elementary school. We also got to go swimming, watch Briggs’ football game, and just hang out at my parents’ house playing. It didn’t matter what they were doing, if they were with their cousins, they were happy!

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Kinsie’s Birthday

Kinsie had a very special birthday. I let her decide what she wanted to do, but it was really hot outside so we were somewhat limited. When she woke up, I took her and Brax to get birthday donuts at Dunkin Donuts. Later, my mom watched Brax so I could take Kinsie to lunch. She chose to go to Cheddar’s because she loves their huge fish tank. After lunch, I took her to Half Priced Books, which she loved. It was SO nice having some time with just her. I love my boy Brax, but he had been super needy lately and Kinsie had to fend for herself for quite some time because Brax was constantly needing me, so it was nice to get to focus on her. Later in the evening, our family all came over to have a small party for her. She loved her Paw Patrol presents and her ice cream cake. We did FaceTime with Ryan so he could be a part of the fun. He even found a way to be in the birthday picture!

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Visit to Purdue

Ryan’s brother Nate started his freshman year at Purdue in August. We wanted to visit him at school during our visit, even if it was at Purdue! We got to see his dorm (which was covered in pictures of Kinsie and Brax), walked around campus a little and had lunch. It was a great day and it was so good to see our Nate! I am still so blown away by how much Kinsie looks and acts like him when he was that age. Maybe that’s why they have such a special bond!

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Dress-up Parties

Kinsie spent some time with Aunt Renata during our visit, and Renata had lots of costumes in her basement that Kinsie wanted to try on, and it started a trend for the rest of the trip. She became obsessed with dressing up! Her favorite costume was the Buzz Lightyear costume…she spent a lot of time in it and even had her cousins wearing it too!

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Haircuts

I took the kids to Ryan’s cousin Jess to get their haircuts. Kinsie did great and loved getting her hair washed, cut and braided. Brax was a different story! We had to find some creative ways to get him to sit still. He had suckers, sat on my lap, watched Mickey Mouse on my phone, and Jess had to chase him around the salon to get the job done! It was quite an adventure that left me sweating and exhausted, but the kids looked great with their new haircuts!

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Lake Time

We spent a few days at our favorite place, Heritage Lake. We did lots of cubby rides, sidewalk chalk, took several boat rides, went fishing, and played at the playground at the marina.

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Ryan finally was able to drive up to Indiana with the dogs on Saturday, we were SO excited to see him after not seeing him for 2 weeks!

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Paw Patrol Party

We ended our trip with a birthday party for Kinsie at the lake. Ryan was able to make it for the party, so at least he could be a part of one of the birthday celebrations. We had a family party with a Paw Patrol theme, and like usual, our families were a huge help in making the party successful!

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The kids all had a great time with the piñata! Kinsie of course also loved opening her presents and the other kids loved watching and playing with all her new toys.

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We took the kids on a boat ride, and to say it was chaotic would be an understatement! The kids weren’t bad or misbehaving at all…just excited and hyper. I don’t think there were any free adult hands at any point during the ride. The kids all took turns driving the boat, and running from one side to another, trying on as many life jackets as they could, and just being goofballs together.

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We loved having Daddy in the flesh for this birthday celebration! Notice the lovely birthday banner in the background…thanks to Aunt Megan! Also the weather couldn’t have been more perfect!

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We left that evening around 6:30pm, and got home around 3am. Ryan had to be somewhere for work at 8am the next day, so we took turns driving and resting. The kids did pretty well, sleeping most of the way. We spent the whole next day recovering from the drive, relaxing at home and playing with all of Kinsie’s new presents. It was a fantastic trip. We all really needed this time at home with our families, and we left with our love tanks full!

November Adventures

The fall months always keep us busy! There is always a lot going on with birthdays, holidays and fall activities. Here were the highlights of our month:

Trip to Florida

Ryan is in the midst of residency interview season, so he is raveling around the country interviewing for different Emergency Medicine residency programs. When he got an interview with the University of Florida program in Gainesville, I volunteered to go with him without hesitation! At first we were planning on bringing the kids, but we decided to leave them with our parents and take a trip just the two of us. We hadn’t done this since our Honeymoon, so it was much needed! Since we were going to be in Florida for a few days, we also took the opportunity to visit a place that was on our Bucket List…Harry Potter World in Universal Studios. Ryan and I are both Harry Potter nerds and we have been dying to visit there. It was AMAZING. We spent 2 days there and loved every minute of it. We walked through Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, ate at the Three Broomsticks and the Leaky Cauldron, bought the Elder Wand, rode the Hogwarts Express, drank butterbeer and much more Harry Potter fun! Our other favorite area of Universal Studios was Jurassic Park. We spent a lot of time in the gift shop buying dinosaur souvenirs for the kids! After two days in Orlando, we drove to Gainesville for the interview. We walked the campus, and hiked through some of the local parks. At a park called La Chua Trail, we saw at least 50 alligators! One of them was blocking the trail so we couldn’t go any further. We loved exploring the beautiful town of Gainesville and we had an amazing trip!

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Jurassic Quest

A month or so ago, Ryan’s cousin saw an ad for a show that was coming to the Indiana State Fairgrounds in November, called Jurassic Quest. She told us we should take Kinsie. We looked into it and decided to buy tickets. It was an awesome experience! We were in a huge warehouse and there were tons of life-size animatronic dinosaurs that moved and roared. Kinsie got to ride on a moving dinosaur, and then Brax joined her on a smaller non-moving dinosaur. There were also bounce houses, crafts, face-painting (which we didn’t do because there was a 2 hour wait!), and arcade games. Kinsie was in heaven! She told us that she never wanted to leave. Of course we eventually did, but both the kids got to bring home a stuffed dinosaur souvenir. They loved it!

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Thanksgiving

This year, my school system changed our calendar, and we had one week off for Fall Break in October, and the whole week of Thanksgiving off. I didn’t like it at first since I only had one week off after the first quarter of school, but I actually loved having Thanksgiving week off. Ryan had the week off too, so we were able to spend a lot of great family time together. Earlier in the week, we got to go to Kinsie’s preschool’s Thanksgiving feast. She made placemats for us in class that included what she was thankful for. It was a lot of fun! Thanksgiving Day itself is always a highlight of our fall because we get to spend the day with both of our families. During the day, we went to Ryan’s sister Megan’s house for Thanksgiving lunch. We got to spend a few hours there with Ryan’s family, and Kinsie always loves going there to run around with their dog, Ali. Later, we went to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving dinner with my family. The kids had a blast with their cousins and we had some great family time! Later that evening, Kinsie was having a slumber party with her cousins at my parents house, and my poor sweet girl got sick and we had to come and get her. We spent the next few days snuggling at home watching movies and she was feeling better within a few days. Our family tends to have bad luck with holidays…one of us is always sick on either Thanksgiving or Christmas. Fingers crossed that we all stay healthy this Christmas!

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Thanksgiving feast at Kinsie’s preschool

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Thanksgiving lunch at Megan and Tim’s

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All the cousins gathered around the cousin table for Thanksgiving dinner

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Polar Express

This year, we thought that the kids would really enjoy doing the Polar Express train ride. Ryan’s cousin’s kids are about Kinsie’s age and they love hanging out together, so we decided to get tickets for the same train as them. This was such an awesome experience! We all wore Christmas pajamas, rode on the train, drank hot cocoa, and ate cookies. We rode to the “North Pole” and picked up Santa Claus, who rode on the train ride back to the train station and visited with each kid. Kinsie had been talking about Santa SO much and couldn’t wait to see him, then once she did, she was so overwhelmed! She tried to hide behind me but I wouldn’t let her because I knew she wanted to see him. When he sat in the seat with us, she was super shy. (this was exactly how she was at Disney World last year when meeting the characters!) She told Santa what she wanted for Christmas, but very quietly! Of course afterwards, she couldn’t stop talking about how she met Santa! It was a lot of fun and a very neat experience.

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As you can see, it was a great month! Like most parents, we love nothing more than to see our kids happy, so we take them to dinosaur shows and wear ridiculous Rudolph pajamas. Since Ryan is traveling so much, we really do our best to savor our time together as a family and go out and do fun things. We have a lot planned for the month of December as well with a trip to Florida (this time with the kids), and lots of Christmas fun!

For a Special Two Year Old…

Today is my nephew Briggs’ second birthday. Words cannot explain how much joy this little boy has brought into my life. Since the day we found out about him, (which happened to be the day Ryan and I got engaged…talk about an unforgettable day!) he has been a part of my heart. He is such a smart, talkative, lovable and crazy kid who never fails to put a smile on my face. I have been able to witness every major milestone in his life so far and have loved every second of it. I can’t wait to continue watching him, along with his sister and his cousin, grow up together.

I am so grateful for the special relationship we have with this boy. When he first started talking, he couldn’t say his K sounds very well, so he ended up calling me “Gaga.” He also obviously couldn’t say his R sounds yet, so he calls Ryan “Bub,” which is what Ryan’s brother Nate has always called him. And of course, he LOVES his “Baby Kinsie!” He will dance around her, sing songs to her, and tell her that he loves her. Nothing makes my heart melt more!

Even though Ryan and I don’t know where life will take us once he is finished with med school, I hope that Kinsie can grow up with her cousins nearby. It is obvious that they already love each other so much. Briggs is such a special boy and I thank God every day for placing him in our lives!

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We love you to the moon and back, our sweet Briggs!

Love… Bub, Gaga, and Baby Kinsie

I have a NIECE!

My sister and I are three years apart, but we have always been close since the day I was born. The first time she met me, she was with our cousin, who claimed that I looked like Rudolph since my nose was red from just being born. Krista immediately came to my defense by saying, “She not Wuldolph, YOU Wudolph!” She has been my best friend and my #1 supporter from day one. My sister and I have experienced so much together…including our pregnancies! We had the wonderful opportunity of being pregnant at the same time, me just 2 months ahead of Krista. Pregnancy is such a special experience in and of itself, but sharing it with your sister makes it that much better!

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As I mentioned in my previous post, all I really wanted for my birthday was a new niece or nephew. My sister was due on November 19 and my birthday was November 16, so it was very possible for that to happen. However, my birthday came and went, and no baby. I felt so bad for my sister because I know the feeling of anxiety waiting for labor to strike at any moment. Each night we went to bed hopeful that we’d get a call in the middle of the night, and finally, at 3:45 a.m. on Sunday, November 17, my mom called. I was already awake because Kinsie was getting hungry. While we waited to hear if Krista really was in labor, I fed Kinsie and got us ready to go to the hospital, then I woke up Ryan and said “It’s time!” He was sleepy, but excited. My mom called again saying this was the real thing, but we can wait and sleep a little longer while Krista progressed. However, Krista asked me to take pictures of her labor and birth, and our family tends to go through labor pretty quickly, so we went ahead to the hospital around 5 a.m. When we got there, Ryan took a nap because he needed to study, and I hung out in the room and took pictures while Krista labored. It was unbelievable how quickly it all happened, and thank goodness because she went natural this time around. I couldn’t believe how well she handled herself during contractions, especially now that I know that kind of pain. It was very difficult watching my sister in so much pain during the delivery, but I knew that it would soon be worth it. At 9:05 a.m., the baby was born…a beautiful baby GIRL! I was overwhelmed with joy at that moment. My sister has a daughter. Our daughters would be cousins. And they would only be 2 months apart. What an amazing blessing! It was amazing to think that the whole time Krista was pregnant, she was pregnant with a girl. We both were. I can’t wait to see these two girls grow up together to be best friends. And we can’t forget about Briggy too!

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Kerigan Kay Robinson

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Briggs and his sister

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Kinsie and Kerigan love each other already!

Halloween Happenings

I’ve never been much of a fan of Halloween. I believe it is a fun holiday for kids, but other than that, I think it is taken a bit out of hand. I haven’t dressed up or gone to a Halloween party since high school. Call me a Halloween “Scrooge,” but it’s just not my thing. However, that has never stopped me from enjoying the beautiful season of fall. Every year, my sister and I like to have what we call a “Fall Foliage Festival” where we all carve pumpkins, eat pumpkin seeds and caramel apples, drink apple cider, and watch Hocus Pocus. To be honest, it is one of my favorite traditions that we do all year. We would always carve quite extravagant patterns and display them at our parents house on Halloween night.

Here are some pictures from previous years…

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This year was a little different for us. With Ryan and I having a newborn and him living in Muncie, and with Krista being 9 months pregnant and moving into a new house, it was a little difficult to find the time to have our annual Fall Foliage Festival. We never even got the chance to go to the pumpkin patch! Obviously our family had a lot going on this year, but they were all good things, so I didn’t let myself get too sad about missing our tradition! I felt bad not having anything on my parents porch for the trick-or-treaters, so the night before Halloween, my mom and I bought a pumpkin. While I watched the baby, she emptied it out and got all of the seeds for my dad to bake, then she watched the baby while I carved the pumpkin. I wanted to do something simple that wouldn’t take me hours like it has in the past, so I chose to make Briggs happy and carve a Mickey Mouse face (yes, this is my idea of “simple!”) I was pretty happy with it considering what little time and energy I have these days!

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Now that I have a child, I feel like I get to enjoy what Halloween is really about again. Even though Kinsie is only a month old, it was so much fun dressing her up and hanging out with her cousin, Briggs (who was a lion). Kinsie was in somewhat of a grumpy mood on the night of trick-or-treating, and all she wanted to do was sleep, but we still had a fun night at her Grandma and Grandpa Vargas’s house watching Hocus Pocus and eating candy! It is crazy to think that next year, Kinsie will be a year old and her, Briggs, and her new cousin will be running around trick-or-treating together. Our family is growing every year and every day I thank the Lord for these amazing blessings!

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Our little ladybug

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Briggs the Lion

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