Our October in Arkansas

I was excited to spend October in our new home. We have a lot of fun traditions that we do in October, so I was glad that Ryan was on an easy rotation and could enjoy them with us. We did lots of fun fall and Halloween activities, as well as traveled to Florida for vacation. It was a great month that went by fast! Here is our recap…

Visit to the Pumpkin Patch

This is one of our favorite traditions. We love the pumpkin patch, the hay rides, the apple snacks, you name it. When we first moved here, we went to the Farmer’s Market in downtown Little Rock, and one of the booths set up was for a winery. I tried their wine and fell in love (For all you Indiana folks, it’s similar to Oliver Wine). When I bought some wine from them, they told me they also have a great farm and a great pumpkin patch in the fall. I was anxious to visit, not only for the pumpkin patch, but to buy more of their wine! This pumpkin patch did NOT disappoint! I was so impressed with all the activities they had set up. The kids loved playing in the corn pit and making “corn angels,” climbing on the hay bales, sliding down the tubes, visiting the farm animals, picking out their own pumpkins and going on the hay ride. They had all kinds of scarecrows dressed up as different characters and decorations to see on the hay ride so it kept us entertained! We loved our day at the pumpkin patch!

pumpkinpatch-2IMG_3517IMG_3520pumpkinpatch-1IMG_3554

Trip to Florida

You’ve probably already seen the post about our trip to Florida, but this was definitely one of the best things about our month. We loved spending our days on the beach, lots of cousin time, Mickey Mouse, and having Ryan for a whole week!

Family-beach-1IMG_3953

Boo at the Zoo

The Indianapolis Zoo Boo was always one of our favorite traditions around Halloween, and we were so excited to find out that the Little Rock Zoo also did “Boo at the Zoo!” For this event, you had to purchase tickets, even if you are zoo members, but there was a lot more to do at this event than at the Indy zoo. There were carnival games and rides, trick-or-treating, a Haunted House, a “spooky” train ride, food trucks, bounce houses, and tons of Halloween decorations. The ONLY thing I was a little disappointed in was the fact that the event really didn’t have anything to do with the animals. In fact, most of the animals weren’t even out for display. The event focused on the activities, but it was still a lot of fun. We went with another resident’s family whom we’ve gotten pretty close with. The kids all had a great time together and it was a great night.

IMG_4430zooboo-activitieszooboo-carouselIMG_4450

Fun at School

Kinsie is still loving school! They do so many fun activities and themed days. She adores her teacher and finally seems to know all the kids’ names in her class (there are only 8 kids). Some of her favorite things she’s done at school include making apple pie, a martial arts class, and trick-or-treating. And again, I love how much they share on their Facebook page so I can see how much fun she’s having every day!


IMG_3410schoolfunIMG_4680

Pumpkin Carving and Painting

We don’t take pumpkin carving lightly. We go all out every year, and we don’t just do it for the kids…Ryan and I look forward to it every year! This year, Kinsie also really wanted to paint some pumpkins, so I let the kids paint a couple of them. Last time I had Brax paint, he hated it…this time, he loved it!

paint-1IMG_3599

Ryan’s residency group also had a pumpkin carving night, where all the residents and their families could come and carve pumpkins together. The kids loved helping with the pumpkins, running around with the other kids, and all the snacks they could dream of!

residencypumpkins-2residencypumpkins-1

Then, we finally got to carve the rest of our pumpkins. Kinsie really wanted to help with as much as she could, so she helped scoop out seeds, poke the holes for the outline of the design, and even did some minor carving. Brax stuck the spoon into the pumpkin maybe once and then he was done. He spent the rest of the time reading books, climbing into the toy box and running amok while we finished carving. The kids LOVED the end results!

pumpkinshomeIMG_4517

From left to right, “silly guy,” Batman, Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Mickey Mouse, and Stitch

Other Halloween activities

Some other activities that we did this month included spending a lot of time in Halloween PJ’s, watching Hocus Pocus while wearing a witch costume, trick-or-treating at Kinsie’s last soccer game, and making Halloween cookies!

IMG_3437IMG_4518soccercookies

Trick-or-treating

The kids are still young enough that they like wearing coordinating costumes, and we are taking full advantage of it until that day ends! We love doing family costumes, and we always base it off of things that Kinsie is really into at the time. Last spring, she said she wanted us to all be trolls from the movie “Trolls.” Then a couple months after that, she wanted us to all be characters from “Moana.” Then she kind of lost interest in those movies, so we gave her some options from movies she likes. We always call Brax “Stitch” because he destroys everything, so Kinsie thought it was be fitting for her to be Lilo and Brax to be Stitch for Halloween. I found some cute and versatile costumes that I could warm up or cool down depending on how our weather was, and Ryan and I decided to join in on the costume fun again. I decided to be Nani, Lilo’s sister, and Ryan was Agent Pleakley, the green alien from Stitch’s home planet. Ryan’s sister, Megan and her dog Ali came to visit us and went trick-or-treating with us as well. It was pretty chilly, but not so much that it affected our trick-or-treating fun. The kids LOVED it. We walked around our entire neighborhood, and they were exhausted but very excited about how much candy they received!

HalloweenDSC_0634DSC_0608

DSC_0637

We had a great month! Now with November and December coming up, we know we are going to continue to be busy…which is a good thing for us! We will be headed back to Indiana to be with family for Thanksgiving and then again for Christmas. We are still settling in to our new home, but we become more and more comfortable and feeling “at home” here every day. We are in love with the state of Arkansas, and absolutely love living here…but we are still missing our families. We love having them visit, and traveling home to visit them as well. However, with the cold weather season approaching, we are looking forward to spending winter in the south!

Dancing in September

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

Kinsie Starts School

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

Kinsie-PK3-1School-firstdayIMG_2195

School-openhouseSchool-inclass

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

School-Braxtime

Labor Day Weekend

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

LDW-RockParkLDW-OldMillLDW-zooIMG_2368

Petit Jean State Park

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

IMG_2630PJ-hikeIMG_2647IMG_2679PJ-waterfallIMG_2688IMG_2675

Soccer

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

SoccerIMG_2818USJJE6543

Gymnastics Day

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

gymnastics

Visit to Indiana

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

Indiana

Kinsie’s Birthday

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

IMG_2957

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

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!

hp-collagenovember_54november_37november_29november_71parks-collagenovember_101

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!

november_129dinosaurs-1dinosaurs-2november_153

november_155

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!

thanksgiving-collage

Thanksgiving feast at Kinsie’s preschool

november_193family-thanksgiving-1-1-4

Thanksgiving lunch at Megan and Tim’s

img_6491

All the cousins gathered around the cousin table for Thanksgiving dinner

img_6487

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.

fullsizerenderimg_6406img_6405

polarexpress

img_6434

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!

Fall Fun in October

October is usually a very busy time of year for us with all kinds of fall and Halloween activities. This October definitely did not disappoint! Here are the highlights of our month…

Our New NIECE!

In the early hours of October 8, we were blessed with a beautiful baby niece, Kollyns Sophie Alane Robinson. My sister and I have always been in the delivery room for each other when we’ve had our babies, so I got to witness this sweet girl’s birth and capture her first moments on camera. We didn’t know the gender of the baby until her birth, and she was the tiebreaker among the cousins! Kinsie said from very early in Krista’s pregnancy that it was a girl…and she was right! Believe it or not, Brax was also very excited to meet his baby cousin. He was extra squirmy and trying to dive out of our arms when we visited her at the hospital! We all absolutely adore sweet baby Kolly!

kolly_collage

iphone_oct_18

Pumpkin Patch

Visiting the pumpkin patch is always one of our favorite things to do in October. Anderson Orchard is our favorite place to pick pumpkins, climb on the hay bales, and eat some delicious snacks (fresh biscuits with apple butter, and apple cider slushies…yes please!)  This year, Kinsie helped pick out her own pumpkin and loved showing Brax all the pumpkins. We had 2 very happy little pumpkins!

pumpkinpatch

Zoo Boo

Our original plan was to go to Zoo Boo on Saturday, October 8…but baby Kolly had different plans and decided to grace us with her presence that day! We didn’t mind! Anyway, we ended up going a week later (Kolly may have broken a record on youngest zoo guest!) Ryan, the kids and I all went as the Ninja Turtles this year for Halloween. It turned out to be a beautiful evening, the animals were very active and the kids had a blast!

zooboo

iphone_oct_65

Pumpkin carving

If you remember from past Halloweens, pumpkin carving is one of me and Ryan’s favorite hobbies. This was the first year that Kinsie really got to help with pumpkin carving. She picked a Ninja Turtle, I picked Dory, and Ryan picked a skeleton dog. We made it a family event and we all helped in the process (well, Brax watched and provided enthusiastic squeals). We were pretty happy about our finished products!

carving

Trick-or-Treating

This year, we went trick-or-treating at my sister’s neighborhood so Kinsie could be with her cousins. The neighborhood was perfect for the kids to go door to door and they did such a good job saying “trick or treat!” and thanking the people after they got their candy. Both of my kids were pretty pumped about all the candy they got, and Brax was even nice enough to give all his candy to Kinsie! It was a great night!

noviphone-1_39

trickortreat

Another eventful October in the books. This one was even more special because we got a new member of the family. The holidays are coming up so stay tuned for more updates soon!

Our September

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

Kinsie’s Soccer Season

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

img_5793img_5795

img_5739

Grandparents Day

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

iphone-september_110

Birthday dinners

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

iphone-september_37

Start of football season

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

iphone-september_120

Cincinnati Zoo

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

cincizoo

iphone-september_55

Kinsie’s Birthday and Dinosaur Party

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

kinsie_dinoparty_158

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

Fall Break Adventures

Well my fall break ended 2 weeks ago, so this may be a little late, but better late than never! It always seems that Fall Break is one of the most needed breaks of the year for me. Starting off a school year is long and exhausting (procedures, beginning of the year testing, more procedures, more testing…you get the idea), then throw in working full days PLUS parent-teacher conferences before and after school during the last couple of weeks, I was beyond mentally and physically exhausted and ready for a 2 week break with my family. During Ryan’s third year of med school, they get one “break” rotation…where they aren’t actually doing a clinical, but are usually still expected to do something. The nice thing was that Ryan got to choose when he got to have this break, and what he got to do with it. So we purposefully planned it so that he would have this rotation while I was on fall break. He chose to do some emergency medicine research, which mainly required him to enter data into his computer…which he could do from home. So for the first time in a LONG time, Ryan and I both had somewhat of a break at the same time. As much as I would have loved to go to Florida with my family, we just didn’t know what Ryan’s schedule would be early enough, but it still turned out to be such a nice, relaxing 2 weeks. Kinsie was perfectly content staying at home playing with her toys and playing outside (it was a BEAUTIFUL two weeks). We also took little day trips to places like the Children’s Museum, pumpkin patches, and even downtown Danville! I’ll share some pics from each of our little adventures!

We were finally able to take Kinsie to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum for the first time. She loved it! Her favorite exhibit was the dinosaur exhibit. Ever since then, she’s kind of been obsessed with dinosaurs. She has wanted dinosaur toys, dinosaur fake tattoos, and even made Ryan dress as a dinosaur for Halloween! Ryan’s inner child is pretty happy about this dinosaur phase that Kinsie is going through!

museum_collage

Like I said, we had some beautiful 60-70 degree weather during my break. You already know how much Kinsie likes to be outside, and now she is starting to embrace the beauty of fall. She loves the colorful falling leaves, and has even starting collecting them, thanks to some inspiration from her cousins. Ryan gets really into any hobby that Kinsie currently has, so he bought her a leaf-collecting kit. Between collecting leaves, sticks, and finding colonies of bugs, she was one happy girl to be outside!

outside_collage

Downtown Danville is always festive no matter the season, and I drive past it every day on my way to work, so I had seen that they had a scarecrow display around the square. Kinsie really likes scarecrows (and anything else dealing with fall), so I thought she’d like to walk around and see it. Plus, this is the closest place to us that has crosswalk signs, with which Kinsie is still obsessed, so we knew she would be happy either way! She LOVED the scarecrows! Different local businesses made different scarecrows to display around the square, and some of them were really creative! Kinsie’s faves were the Doc McStuffins and Olaf scarecrow. After we walked around, we ate lunch at Mayberry Cafe (their salad bar is one of my favorite things in life). It was a nice little family day trip!

scarecrow_collage

We went to two different apple orchards/pumpkin patches over break. We first went to Anderson Orchard just the three of us. We picked out pumpkins, ate biscuits and apple butter, drank apple cider slushies, and played on haystacks. Kinsie probably could have stayed there all night. We love Anderson Orchard because it’s cheap and not as crowded, but still offers lots of fall fun. Once my family came back from Florida, we all went to Beasley’s Orchard. We took a hay ride, bought apple snacks, and let the kids run around the pumpkin patch. Kinsie became a pumpkin-picking pro, and even later helped carve her pumpkin (post to come soon).

pumpkinpatch_collage

october_172

october_176

october_48 october_55

I was very grateful to have 2 weeks off with not only Kinsie, but with my husband too. It was SO refreshing, especially after a month’s rotation of him being in Muncie again. We got to have so much quality family time during those 2 weeks, which is all I ever ask for. We didn’t go anywhere super special or do anything extravagant, but we were together, which made it perfect!

A Pup at the Zoo

One of our new favorite fall traditions is to go to the Indianapolis Zoo Boo. Last year, Kinsie wore her skeleton outfit, but this year she was super excited to wear her costume – a dalmatian puppy. Ryan and I weren’t crazy about the dalmatian costumes in stores and online, so we made one, which was modeled after the dalmatian costume my mom made for my sister when she was young. A white crewneck sweatshirt, white pants and some black felt and boom – you’ve got yourself a pup costume! We also may have bought her a real dog collar with a name tag that says her name too! Anyway, Kinsie LOVES her costume. She wants to wear it all the time around the house…so we’ve been trying to find as many opportunities for her to dress as a pup as possible! The zoo is still one of her favorite hangouts, and its even better when her cousins are there too! The three musketeers spent most of the afternoon hand-in-hand, and eventually they recruited Uncle Ry Ry to join in on the hand-holding too!

Sept-Oct_91

Kerigan – Little Red Riding Hood, Kinsie – dalmatian pup, Briggs – zebra (“Marty” from Madagascar)

Sept-Oct_89

zooboo_collage_animals

Checking out the animals

zooboo_collage_crew

The pup with her crew

zooboo15-7

Sept-Oct_116

zooboo15-10

Our sweet pup

Sept-Oct_132

The three best friends that anyone ever had

Sept-Oct_96

We all had a blast at the Zoo Boo! Stay tuned for more fall and Halloween posts coming within the next few weeks!