April Sunshine

We had a lot going on in April! We had a lot of fun experiences, stayed busy, and had an awesome visit from family. While April is usually filled with lots of rain, (which we still had plenty of), we had tons of beautiful sunshine as well. Like I’ve said before, spring weather here is Arkansas is on point. We probably spent more time outside this month than we did inside. Any chance we got, we spent it outside. This was good for all of our souls, and we soaked in every minute of it. Here is a recap of our April.

Brax’s First Movie Theater Experience

One of Braxs’s favorite Disney movies is Dumbo, so as soon as we knew that they were making a live-action version, we wanted to see it right away. We don’t go to the movies often…it has to be something we really want to see for us to go. Since our boy loves Dumbo, we figured this would be a great opportunity for his first time at the movie theater. The movie was wonderful, and the kids did great! Brax spent most of his time eating popcorn, and climbing all over me asking when the movie would be over…but once it actually was, he kept saying he wanted to see it again!

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A Ballerina Birthday Party

Kinsie was invited to another friend from school’s birthday parties. This time, Daddy was able to stay home with Brax, so I got to have a little girl time with Kinsie. This party was a ballerina themed party, with a guest visit from the Sugar Plum Fairy. Kinsie was a little starstruck, but loved spending time with her friends and getting her face painted.

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No More Pacifier…and No More Naps

Last August, we took Brax’s pacifier away and let’s just say, it was a complete disaster. We gave up and decided to try again later. The time had come again when I knew we just had to suck it up and do it. We prepared him for weeks, telling him he’s a big boy now, and big boys don’t need pacifiers. We told him that his baby cousin was coming to visit soon and he needed to give his pacifier to Griffin. Luckily, this time around, things went much better! He still had a couple of rough nights falling asleep, and a few very early mornings, but overall, he’s done great! This was a huge hurdle for us considering he was very attached to his paci at night.

Ever since we got rid of his pacifier, naps have gone out the window. Each time I tried, he wanted nothing to do with it. I knew this might happen, so at least I was somewhat mentally prepared. Back to the minor setbacks he’s had with this big change, one morning he woke up at 5am and refused to go back to sleep. The next day, I made him go to his bed for a nap. Again, he wanted nothing to do with it and fought and screamed. I just left him in there, and eventually we noticed on the monitor that he was sitting up, but not moving. That little stinker was stubborn, but exhausted. He fell asleep sitting up in his bed! I still laugh when I look at the picture below on the right. Sorry buddy…Mama won this battle!

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T-ball is in Full Swing

We are in the midst of t-ball season, and it is keeping us busy. Kinsie still loves it, and Brax loves going to watch her. She even had a special visitor come to one of her games. Even though Megan and Griffin were only able to make it for the last inning due to a diaper blowout, Kinsie was excited that they got to see her bat.

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Give us ALL the Outside Time!

Even though I miss it, one plus side to Brax not napping anymore is that we don’t really have as much of a schedule on when to be back home or back inside…so we’ve been spending all day every day outside.

We like to change it up between the front yard, backyard, and the park. Even when we stay home, they always come up with creative ways to play, like having picnics, or making “stew” out of leaves and grass. They especially love finding critters, like ladybugs and slugs. They also love washing my car!

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We have spent lots and lots of time at the park by our house. It really is a win win…I get some exercise by pulling them in the wagon to the park, and they have lots of fun once we get there!

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Lucky little Brax gets even more park time since Kinsie goes to school 5 days a week. We go to the park any day that we can. We’ve even had a few picnic lunches at the park.

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Lately, the kids are really having a hard time getting along. They are always fighting about something, or just trying to get under each other’s skin. Everything changes when we go to the park though. Somehow, they magically get along and are each other’s best friends. Maybe this is why I don’t mind spending so much time there either!

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One Saturday, Ryan had to work a 12 hour shift, and it was a beautiful day, so we packed a picnic and headed to the park. We spent hours there. After our lunch, we played on the playground and had a nature scavenger hunt.

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The kids loved finding pine cones, sticks, and flowers on their scavenger hunt.

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Later after dinner, we heard the ice cream truck outside. By the time we got outside, it was driving around the corner, so the kids and I hopped in the car and chased it down! We got it at its next stop and the kids loved it! It was a great way to end our day. This honestly was one of my favorite days I’ve had with the kids in a long time.

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Cousin Love

We haven’t seen Megan, Tim, and Griffin since Christmas, and we were so excited that they agreed to come spend the week with us for Easter. Megan and Griffin flew in, then Tim drove here a few days later. The kids were in heaven. They ADORE their baby cousin. They spent most of their time on the floor swooning over him. Griffin stayed very entertained while he was here!

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We did various activities while they were here. We took several walks around the lake, and Griffin either enjoyed the view or snoozed.

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We walked on the Big Dam Bridge. The kids were being goofballs the entire time, so again, Griffin stayed entertained.

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We even got to take Griffin on his very first zoo trip. It turned out to be a much colder day than we expected, but the kids still loved showing him their favorite animals and attractions at the zoo.

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We also took them to hike Pinnacle Mountain with us. Griffin was a trooper and seemed very content throughout the hike. Kinsie took twice as long as usual because she wanted to touch and explore every leaf, acorn, and stick along the way. Brax split his time between being a good little hiker and riding on Daddy’s shoulders, or being an absolute terror and refusing to go anywhere. But hey, that’s life with a toddler.

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The view from the top of Pinnacle Mountain never gets old!

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Easter Activities

We like to do lots of different crafts and activities to celebrate Easter. I always try really hard each year to still have fun with egg hunts and such, but making sure the kids know the real importance of Easter.

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Dying Easter Eggs

The kids loved having Griffin watch them dye their Easter eggs this year. Griffin even got a little too excited and knocked over the bowl of yellow dye. The kids got a kick out of it and decided that his favorite color is yellow. Kinsie decorated all her eggs like unicorns of course, and Brax just put as many dinosaur stickers on each egg as he possibly could fit.

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Easter Cookies

Making cookies is another tradition that I started since we moved here, since Aunt Renata always made cookies with them before. She even still sends us supplies in the mail to make cookies each holiday! The kids, Megan and I enjoyed decorating bunny, egg, and flower cookies…and Griffin just loved watching the madness!

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Church Easter Egg Hunt

Our church has a big Easter egg hunt the Saturday before Easter, and the kids had a blast at it last year, so we knew we wanted to go again this year. They split it up by age group, which is perfect so kids don’t get overwhelmed or intimidated. It was a beautiful day and the kids had a great time finding eggs and learning more about Jesus.

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Easter Morning

All the kids woke up to a full Easter basket and enjoyed their treats from the Easter bunny. Then we all went to church for an Easter service.

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After church, we made brunch and then had another egg hunt for the kids. Kinsie hopped the entire time, Brax screamed happily, and Griffin chilled. What a trio!

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We LOVED our time with the Mosier family, and we were so thankful that they made the trip to spend Easter with us. Holidays can be really tough being away from home, especially when we can’t always make the trip to be with everyone, so it means the world when family comes to us.

Another month down, and now May is upon us. My baby is about to be three in a few days, and I can’t even deal! We are excited for May, and hoping we can survive another hot Arkansas summer!

Here is our 1 Second Every Day video for April. Enjoy!

March Madness

No, this post isn’t about the NCAA basketball tournament…just the chaos and crazy, or “madness” if you will, of our ever day lives…and I wouldn’t have it any other way! March went by way too fast because we stayed busy! Here were our favorite moments of March.

Spring has arrived!

The warm weather in Arkansas is pretty much here to stay! While it may be chilly in the mornings and evenings, most days it gets up to the high 60s or low 70s. The kids have been LOVING it. We’ve played in the yard a lot, had picnics, and explored some new parks.

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Colorado Vacation

I already posted about our Colorado vacation, but this was definitely a major highlight of our month. We had the best vacation with Ryan’s whole family in Colorado Springs in mid-March. We did so many fun activities and always had an amazing view of the mountains. We definitely want to make it back to Colorado again someday.

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Random Sweet Moments

My kids definitely like to explore and go places every so often, but overall they are homebodies like me, and love to just play at home. Ryan was on his OB rotation this month, so he worked long hours at night, so the kids and I had a lot of quality time just the 3 of us. I always try to document the random little moments where the kids do something sweet or unique…especially when the kids are getting along so well without me coordinating it. Kinsie will “read” books to Brax, or Brax will line up all his cards to make a long “choo-choo,” or the kids will snuggle extra close to me when they are scared of a thunderstorm. I try to savor these moments because I know they won’t last forever!

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Pinnacle Mountain

Ryan and I hiked Pinnacle Mountain when we came to visit Arkansas before he made his rank list last year. It was a great hike with a beautiful view, and we’ve been wanting to take the kids ever since. We finally got the opportunity, and we had a great time! Kinsie was an absolute CHAMP and hiked the whole thing by herself. Brax rode in the hiking backpack and was not happy about it at first…he wanted to do it himself too! He eventually gave up and just had fun riding in the backpack with his Daddy. The kids loved the view and they didn’t want to leave the top of the mountain!

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Family for Easter

We haven’t seen my sister’s family since Christmas, so we were all counting down the days until they were going to visit us for Easter weekend. My parents were coming too, so we were excited to see everyone. We had the best weekend with everyone! The kids had fun together no matter what they were doing. We played outside, went to the zoo, went to my church’s Easter egg hunt, and much more. These pictures show the joy and fun these 5 had together more than I can really explain…

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Trip to the zoo

 

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Kinsie’s fan club at her soccer game

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Wagon rides, playing at the rock park, dressing up as princesses…cousin time doesn’t get much better than that!

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Lots of fun at the church Easter egg hunt

We loved getting to spend time with both of our families this month. It always fills our buckets when we get to see family. We have adjusted to living here, and finally are starting to feel more established, but being away from family is still by far the hardest part, and I don’t know if I’ll ever completely get used to it. That’s why we savor our moments we do have with them. Still, we are really enjoying living here, and when I see pictures and videos of my kids, I truly feel that they are happy, and that’s what matters most.

Here is our “One Second Everyday” video for March…enjoy!

 

Our April

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

Soccer

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

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The boys cousins watching the girls

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Easter

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

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Showing off their gifts from the Easter bunny

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

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Crazy kids getting ready for their egg hunt

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Bradford Woods

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

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Brax’s Birthday Party

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

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

Easter Blessings

We had a great Easter Sunday celebrating with family and friends. As you already know, Kinsie gets really into holidays these days, so of course she was all about Easter eggs and bunnies. While all of that is good and fun, since Kinsie is able to understand so much more now, I tried really hard this year to help her learn why we really celebrate Easter. I tried explaining how Jesus died for us, then came back to life…but it is hard to explain that to a toddler when they don’t really know what death is yet. So instead, we just focused on the idea that we celebrate Easter because Jesus loves us, because she understands that concept, and loves the song, “Jesus Loves Me.” I really feel that society gets way too wrapped up in the “eggs and bunnies” part of the holiday, that they forget (or may not even really know) the true significance of Easter, and I want Kinsie to understand that significance at an early age so she always knows it as she grows up.

When Kinsie woke up in the morning, she was pumped to see what the Easter Bunny got her. She got an Easter basket with a personalized dinosaur placemat, Olaf tattoos, a magnetic building set, a new set of stamps, and Ninja Turtle bath toys. As you can see in the picture below, she was pretty excited, and even had to take her new bath toys to church with her.

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After an awesome sermon at church, we went to my parents’ house for Easter lunch and an egg hunt. Ryan’s parents and brother were out of town for Spring Break, so unfortunately they didn’t get to join in on the festivities, but we still got to be with Ryan’s sister Megan and her husband Tim, Aunt Renata and her family, and Ryan’s grandparents. We also spent the morning with my parents, my sister’s family and some family friends. After lunch, the kids had an egg hunt. This was definitely one of the highlights of the day!

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After the egg hunt, we went to Ryan’s aunt’s house for some family festivities with his mom’s side of the family. Like I mentioned in my last post, Kinsie has pretty much given up naps, but she’ll fall asleep easily if she rides in the car late in the afternoon. She fell asleep on the way with her Easter basket clutched tightly! Even once Ryan got her out of the car, she was still passed out! Once we got up to the house and she heard all her aunts and cousins, she woke up refreshed and joined the fun.

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Kinsie loved getting to play with more of her cousins and have another egg hunt. Ryan’s cousin even dressed as the Easter bunny (even though it was probably the creepiest Easter bunny you could imagine.) Some of the kids were terrified! Kinsie was definitely skeptical, and she would only go see the bunny if I went with her. We had a great time catching up with Ryan’s extended family.

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We really had a great day, and the weather was beautiful throughout most of the day. Kinsie loved getting to find eggs with all her cousins and friends. Throughout the day, I would even ask her why we celebrate Easter and she would say “Because Jesus loves us!” So even with all the hoopla, I still accomplished my goal this Easter! While Easter is the main day we celebrate the incredible act of love that Jesus did for us, really this is something we should celebrate every single day. Whenever I sit and really reflect on the crucifixion and the resurrection, my mind is completely blown. I know that I need to do a better job each and every day of reminding myself of the love that Jesus has for us, and the hope that the cross has given us. If you want to see an awesome Good Friday and Easter sermon, I would highly recommend the sermons from my church home, Traders Point Christian Church. The links of the sermons are below in case you are interested…

TPCC Good Friday Sermon

TPCC Easter Sunday Sermon

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Happy Easter from the Matthews’ family!

Spring has sprung!

I am so excited that it is finally SPRING!!! While this past winter wasn’t near as bad as last year, it is always so refreshing to be done with the cold, dreary winter in Indiana…especially when you have a crazy toddler and a very small house! We took her out to play in the snow one day, and she was less than thrilled. She didn’t mind sitting in her little car, or when we held her, but she wasn’t crazy about playing or even standing in the snow. She’s definitely my child!

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Kinsie has been pumped about the fact that we can go outside and play now. She makes sure I take her out every possible chance we get. I had a 2-week spring break, which is always much needed. The first week was cold and rainy, so Kinsie and I had to get creative on how to spend our days. We spent a few days in Muncie with Ryan, went shopping, and watched “Pups” (101 Dalmatians) a few more hundred times. Even when it was raining, she was always looking out the window telling me she wanted to go “outhide,” or go “wee” (swing). So of course as soon as the rain stopped and the temperatures broke 50 degrees, we were outside and she was in heaven. We have a great fenced-in backyard with lots of stuff to entertain her. She loves sidewalk chalk, bubbles, her water table, and finding leaves, rocks, sticks, and worms! Yes, this girl likes to make friends with worms.

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Kinsie is obsessed with going to the playground. She loves to swing and go down the slide. Her newest thing is going down the slide head first. Of course we are always waiting at the bottom to catch her though! Spring break_117

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We also had a very busy and beautiful Easter weekend. Kinsie is getting to the age where she understands so much more and is so much fun during holidays. She was really into all the eggs and bunnies (she calls them “hop hops”). While we were in Muncie, we went to the mall and I’ve always thought the Easter bunny was kinda creepy, but she saw it and loved it! She kept yelling “hop hop!” and laughed when it waved to her. On Easter Sunday, we went to church and heard another amazing service with 138 baptisms over the entire weekend! After church we had brunch and an Easter egg hunt at my sister’s house. The kids LOVED their Easter egg hunt! Kinsie literally could have done this all day.

After Kinsie’s nap, we went to Ryan’s aunt’s house where she got to do another Easter egg hunt and play with some of her cousins. Finally, we went to my parents house for dinner. Since the kids had so much fun with their egg hunt earlier, we had another one for them so they were pretty excited! Easter is such a special day to me because it is a reminder of the amazing grace that Jesus has for us. It is really important to me that Kinsie, and my future children understand why we celebrate Easter and what the Easter bunny and Easter eggs represent. As young as she is, I made a point to read books about the story of Easter and tell her all about Jesus. Hopefully as the years go on she will learn what it means to accept Jesus into her heart too. It was a busy Easter, but I was so grateful that we got to spend it with the people that we love most!

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Happy spring everyone!!

Easter Blessings

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live ever after dying. And whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” John 11:25-26

Our first Easter as a family of 3 was a wonderful one! Not only did we get to spend the entire day together and with family and good friends, but it was also a beautiful day! Kinsie is getting more of a glimpse into the Spring season and so far, she is loving it! We started the day by attending the Easter service at Traders Point. Our pastor had an amazing message about the true meaning of Easter and how monumental it really is. If you weren’t able to attend an Easter service on Sunday, or you just want to hear a powerful sermon, I would highly recommend listening to ours here. We absolutely LOVE our church and are so grateful for the Spiritual growth we have made since we became members a little over a year ago. Every year on Easter, they have a “spontaneous baptism,” where people who are feeling moved by the Holy Spirit can get baptized right then and there during worship. It is unbelievable and such a powerful way to respond to the Gospel! It was on Easter last year that Ryan officially gave his life to Christ and got baptized. It was a moment I will cherish in my heart forever.

After church, we went to my parents’ house for brunch and an Easter egg hunt for the kids. Now I know our crew only consists of a 2-year-old and 2 babies under the age of 1, but we wanted to live it up for our first Easter with the girls. They loved it! Briggs ran around and collected eggs for himself, Kinsie and Kerigan. Ryan and I took turns walking Kinsie around to collect eggs that she could reach, and to be honest, she really seemed uninterested. In fact, she was much more interested in the grass, mulch and tree bark. She is definitely her father’s daughter!

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Kinsie enjoying the gifts that the Easter Bunny brought her!

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Easter Egg Hunt with the kiddos!

We spent the rest of the day with the family relaxing in the beautiful weather. Days like this where we can all be together are such a blessing, especially since Ryan, Kinsie, and I don’t get as much time together as we’d like. Whenever we do though, we embrace every second!

 

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As many of you know, I’ve been really into photography lately, and like to practice my new hobby any chance I get. It just so happens that I have a beautiful little model who is usually willing and happy to help her mommy out. We had a fun little Easter photo shoot, with the help of daddy making our sweet girl grin from ear to ear!

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Happy Easter from the Matthews family!