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. 

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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!

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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! 

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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!

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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!

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  • 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.”

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  • 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.

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  • 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!

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  • 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!

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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

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

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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!) 

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

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All the kids loved the animals! 

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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!

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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.

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

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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!

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Everyone working hard…especially Brody 🙂

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

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Brody LOVED seeing the pumpkins all lit up! 

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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!

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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!

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We loved getting to spend the day with my family! 

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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!

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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!

Our Last Month with our Koda Bear

September seemed to fly by, until the very end of the month. Kinsie celebrated her 8th birthday, so that was a positive, but it was also a tough month because we had to say goodbye to our loyal companion, Koda. He got to spend his last days with a lot of family time, which was his absolute favorite thing. 

Here is how the rest of our month went.

Cousin Sleepovers

Out of the 4 weekends in September, we had sleepovers for 3 of them! My sister’s kids were supposed to come over for a sleepover at the end of August, but it didn’t work out so we had to switch it to Labor Day weekend. The whole family (my parents and my sister’s whole family) ended up coming for the weekend. The kids had a blast together. We watched movies, explored campus, and had a family baseball game.

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The next two weekends, the whole family came again because IU Football season started and we have season tickets. One of the weekends was also my sister’s birthday, so we got to celebrate with her. The fam got to tag along to watch Brax play soccer as well!

Cousins-soccer

The kids LOVED their weekends with their cousins. They made lots of forts, played outside a lot, and played lots of games. They all get along so well and had a great time together!

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Another Quarantine

This time, Brax’s entire class was quarantined after one of his classmates tested positive. Luckily, the whole class wears masks, but because they eat lunch in the classroom, they thought the safest decision was to have the whole class quarantine for a week. He was bummed, but he was at least glad that it was his whole class, so he wasn’t missing out on anything. Luckily nobody else in the class got sick, so again – masks work! He was a champ doing his schoolwork at home, and he enjoyed the extra Brody time!

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Football Season

Ryan and I bought season tickets to IU Football this year with my parents. When we were in college, IU Football was never good, so we were excited to go to games where we were actually a decent team! To be honest, I was nervous going to an event like this when we’ve been so careful throughout this entire pandemic. But IU requires their students to be vaccinated, and the majority of the crowd most likely is as well. We’ve still been wearing masks during the games just to be extra careful – mainly to protect our kids. But it was nice to be out and about again – it had been way too long!

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Fun at School

Braxton has been rocking Kindergarten. He has made SO much progress so far both academically and in maturity. He makes friends very easily and loves all the fun activities they do in school. This month, he was the “Wise Owl of the Week,” where he got to bring in pictures and share information about himself with the class. He also got to go on a field trip to the fire station!

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Life at Home with Bro

This kid keeps me busy! He gets into everything all the time! He is hilarious and so much fun though! We try to go on walks when the weather is nice, but other than that, we hang at home. By nap time, I’m worn out and sometimes need a short nap myself to charge back up for the afternoon. I’m sure glad I have this little ball of sunshine to fill my days!

Brody

Enjoying the Outdoors

Fall weather is my FAVORITE. We got small glimpses of lovely fall weather this month. We also had some extremely hot days. But when it was decent out, we did lots of chalk, baseball throwing, car riding, bubbles, frog hunting and trail walks.

Outside

Kinsie turned 8!

Our beautiful girl turned EIGHT this month! We started our day with birthday donuts. She enjoyed her day at school, where her class made her a birthday book. She also passed out Harry Potter pencils and mini erasers, which she thought was the greatest thing ever! 

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After school, she opened her presents. She loved her Lego set, pop-its, and the animation studio we got her, but she especially loved the new Nugget she got in the mail from Grandma Bev and Papa Tim! The kids already have one, but Kinsie always wants to build her own forts with it, and the boys always destroy it because they want to climb and be rough. So now she has her own, but she of course shares with her brothers so they can make extra cool formations!

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After she opened her presents, we went on a walk around campus. The weekend before Kinsie’s birthday was when Koda started not acting like himself. He wasn’t eating and he was more tired than usual, so we knew something was up. We wanted him to be with us, so we took him on our walk too. He moved slowly, but he enjoyed being with us.

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After our walk, we got Mother Bear’s Pizza and some ice cream to celebrate our girl! She had a great day!

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Zoo Date

The Saturday after her birthday, Kinsie’s request was to have a Zoo Day at the Indianapolis Zoo, and then a swim party at my parents’ house afterwards. We kept it small – just our immediate families. We spent the earlier part of the day at the zoo, and all of their cousins eventually met us there. The kids were in heaven! 

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We had to get a picture of the Mexican cousins with the Dia de los Muertos display!

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The kids all had SO much fun together. By the early afternoon, it was getting pretty crowded and we saw everything we wanted to see, so we headed back to my parents’ house for Part 2 of Kinsie’s Birthday Celebration.

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Harry Potter Party

My girl has been obsessed with Harry Potter lately – not that I can blame her! She wanted to have a Harry Potter themed swimming party. Since it was just immediate family, and we had a lot going on with Koda the previous weeks, we didn’t go all out like I would have liked, but we still made it cute and fun with some fun decorations and snacks.

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The weather was great – in the low 70s. Probably not quite warm enough for swimming, but the kids didn’t care. They kept warm in the heated pool and had a blast.

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After swimming, we had Subway for dinner (Kinsie’s favorite), ice cream cake and cookies, and then she opened her presents. She had a wonderful day!

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We knew our sweet Koda was declining quickly, and we brought him along for the trip. We are so glad we did because he got to spend his last weekend with all of his favorite people. Both of our families got to give him some love and say goodbye.

Our Koda Bear

At the end of the month, we had to say goodbye to our sweet, loyal, almost 13 year old pup, Koda. We started losing him the weekend before Kinsie’s birthday and he declined pretty quickly. We think he had something going on with his intestines – whether it was cancer or something similar. The last week was so hard seeing him so miserable. He wasn’t eating anything and he was so weak. Ryan and I had to make the difficult decision to put him down. We stayed right by his side throughout the process, hugging him and loving on him while he left this world.

Ryan got Koda as a puppy before we were even married, so he has been through many different seasons of life with us. He lived in 6 different houses with us and helped us welcome 3 children into our family. He was such a good, loyal dog. He was so laid back and easy going, but also extremely protective of us. I always felt safer with Koda around. He was happy anywhere or doing anything as long as he was near us. As he got older, he got overwhelmed by the high level of noise and chaos in our home with our 3 crazy kids – but he always remained right in the center of it because he simply wanted to be with us. We have so many wonderful memories with him that we will carry in our hearts forever.

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It definitely is not the same at our house now that he’s gone. Little every day things are so different now. Pets are so interwoven into our everyday lives and you don’t fully realize it until they are gone. I I will miss not having to sweep the crumbs under Brody’s high chair because Koda would lick them up. I will miss hearing his claws tapping around on the floor when he got excited and chased his tail. I will even miss his hair tufts that I found everywhere in the house and had to sweep up constantly. But mostly I will miss his comforting presence and sweet companionship. We will love you forever, Koda bear!

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Overall, we had a great month. We were devastated to lose our Koda, but we are relieved that he is no longer in pain. He’s probably running around heaven chasing rabbits with Addie!

We are ready for October, one of our favorite months. We love all of our fall traditions so we are excited to do them in our new house.

Enjoy our September 1 Second Everyday!

HALF a Year with Brody

November was somewhat uneventful, but we were completely fine with that! The pandemic is making its fall surge as per expected, and with the colder weather, we haven’t had as many outdoor adventures, so we spent most of our time at home. Even though our schedule isn’t packed full with activities, we’ve really been able to enjoy the simple, but more important parts of our life right now – like watching Brody grow and reach milestones, and watching our dream home being built!

Here is how our simple, quiet November went down…

Brody’s First Sickness

Our sweet little Brody had his first illness this month. He really struggled sleeping one night, and quickly became very congested and had a high fever. Ryan and I had to take shifts holding him throughout the night so he could sleep. The next day was Election Day, and both of my big kids had the day off (their schools were polling locations). After a night of pretty much no sleep, my mom came to help me since Ryan had to work. I’m so grateful she came, because she helped me tremendously with the big kids while I held Brody all day to help him nap. The next day, I took him to the doctor, and it turned out he had an ear infection. We got him some antibiotics and he was feeling better within a few days. It was an exhausting week (add on daylight savings time AND a new tooth in the same week), but he was such a champ, and I honestly enjoyed the extra snuggles with my sweet boy.

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Progress on our House

They are doing WORK on our house. Like seriously, it is going up so fast and we are SO excited! They finished framing the entire house and the kids have loved visiting almost every day and running through the house. They would move in today if I let them!

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The kids in their rooms – before the wall and bathroom was framed out in between!

 

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One of our favorite parts of the house – the back patio!

 

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Windows and shingles – done!

 

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Recently they’ve been working on the electrical and plumbing, then they’ll be doing the drywall soon. This has been such a fun process and we’ve already created many memories at this house and we haven’t even moved in yet!

Picnic Dinner at the House

One evening when we had nicer weather, we got dinner from Subway, drove to the new house and had our first official dinner in our new kitchen – picnic style!

We also brought the kids’ bikes, so after dinner, they rode around the cul-de-sac for a little while. We also got our first glance at the sunset view we’ll get from our lot. It was a beautiful and fun family evening!

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My Birthday

I turned 32 this month. And now we’re getting to the point where everyone has had a birthday in this weird 2020 year. It was different, but I still got what I wanted, which was time with my family. Ryan took the day off, and we spent a nice day together. We had carry-out Jimmy Johns for lunch and sushi for dinner. Ryan bought me my favorite Starbucks drink, and I got to do some Christmas shopping alone! It was all I needed. A few days later, we spent the day at my parents’ house and celebrated my birthday, and my niece’s birthday with family. 

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Thanksgiving

The kids had a week off school for Thanksgiving break. Before they were off, they both had some fun Thanksgiving activities at school. Braxton got to have a Thanksgiving celebration within his own classroom, complete with fun placemats and pumpkin pie. Kinsie got to create her own disguise for a turkey to help him avoid being eaten for Thanksgiving dinner. She disguised her turkey as Harry Potter! Usually, the kids’ schools do feasts at school with families invited, but things are obviously different right now. However, they continue to be champs throughout all of this and just enjoy life as it happens!

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Unfortunately, Ryan had to work on Thanksgiving evening…but part of his job is knowing that he will have to work on holidays sometimes. While this isn’t ideal, it definitely helps that we are back in Indiana closer to family. The kids and I drove up to Indy to spend Thanksgiving with the family inside our current Covid bubble. First we stopped at Ryan’s sister Megan’s house to have a Thanksgiving lunch with his immediate family. It was nice, simple and quiet, and the kids enjoyed playing with their cousin, Griffin.

After lunch, we drove to my parents’ house to have Thanksgiving dinner with my immediate family. The kids had a blast playing with their Robinson cousins, we had a great meal and just enjoyed each other. Again…simple, but perfect! 

Luckily, Ryan had the rest of the weekend off so we still got some good family time during the holiday weekend.

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Kinsie’s Sleepover

My niece, Kerigan, turned 7 this month. For her birthday, she just wanted a sleepover with Kinsie, and their other cousin, Emery. We all went over to my sister’s house for dinner, then we left and let the girls have their sleepover. They did crafts, drove around the see Christmas lights, played “The Masked Singer,” and ate donuts for breakfast. They always have such a great time together!

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Brody turned 6 months old!

How is our sweet little guy half a year old already? It is truly bizarre to me that just 6 months ago, our precious Brody came into this world at the beginning of a global pandemic. And then we were stuck in the hospital for a week. And then we moved to a new state. And then we had to spend a month without Ryan while he finished residency. We’ve had a LOT happen in the last 6 months, but we’ve accomplished and grown so much in that amount of time. What a weird, but wonderful start to Brody’s life!

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Here are some updates of our boy at 6 months-

  • He weighs 16 lbs. and 12 oz. (34th percentile).
  • He is 27.6 inches long (86th percentile).
  • He got his first TWO teeth!
  • He is army crawling ALL over the place.
  • He can sit up independently. However, he doesn’t like to sit still so he can’t show off his sitting skills long because he dives forward wanting to be on the move again.
  • He still loves to chew on everything in sight. His current favorite chewing toys include a teether giraffe, my legs, and anything the kids are trying to play with.
  • His obsession with mama is intensifying. While I’m flattered, I’m hoping we can work through it and it doesn’t linger too long. My Brody-holding arm is exhausted!
  • He loves attention.
  • He is still the happiest little guy with the BEST smile!

 

And of course we are all still obsessed with him! 

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His sweet smile is my absolute favorite!!

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Growing month by month…

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This boy has been the sunshine that we desperately needed this year. We are beyond grateful for this perfect little gift from God!

Happy HALF birthday, Brody Ryan!

And that was our November. Simple and uneventful, but great. December is always an exciting month, and we all know things will be different, but we are ready for the holiday season. The presence of Christmas lights and Christmas music has already been so soothing to my soul. This has been a crazy year, and we’ve seen a lot of hatred and division in the last few months in our country, so I’m looking forward to the stillness and peace that Christmas brings. We all need the reminders of Jesus’s birth and what is truly important in this life. I’m looking forward to being home for Christmas and spending that time with my family celebrating the birth of our Savior.

And as always, here is our 1 Second Everyday video for November.

Back to an Indiana Fall

Oh how we missed fall in Indiana! This fall in particular did not disappoint. The colors of the trees were incredible and we were here for all of it! I’d say we accomplished our October goals by hitting all of our main traditions despite the pandemic. Here are some highlights of our October.

Leaf Hunting

Lately, the kids are especially into noticing nature and they love going on nature scavenger hunts. The rental house we are living in has a lot of tree variety, so we spent an afternoon walking around the yard finding different types of leaves. We also discovered a corn field behind the trees behind our house, so the kids were pumped about that! Brody enjoyed walking around being a part of the fun too.

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Campus Walk

I’m so proud that we have only lived in this town for a few months and my kids already love walking around IU’s campus as much as I do. IU is always beautiful, but it is especially beautiful in the fall. The kids had a long weekend for fall break, so we took one of those days to take a long campus walk. We had a picnic lunch and just soaked in the beauty of campus in the fall.

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Riding Trail

We discovered a walking trail near Kinsie’s school, so we brought the kids’ bikes and went to check it out. We were pretty excited to find out how close it is to our new house, so I’m sure we will have frequent trips to this trail in the future!

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Cousin Day at Aunt Rita’s

One weekend, Ryan was working so the kids and I took the day to visit Ryan’s aunt’s house and have a play date with some of their cousins. It was a beautiful fall day, so they spent the entire day outside taking golf cart rides, playing on the swing set, doing sidewalk chalk, and feeding donkeys. We couldn’t have asked for a better day!

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Breakfast Date with Ry

Dates are very few and far between for Ryan and I with the craziness of med school, residency, living far away with limited babysitters, etc. In residency, the few times he had a weekday off and the kids were at school, we loved to have breakfast or lunch dates. We finally got a chance to do that here. We got carry-out breakfast and had a picnic on campus. Of course we had to bring our little guy, but he was good company! We enjoyed our semi-quiet morning of breakfast and walking around campus.

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Pumpkin Patch

Going to the pumpkin patch is one of our favorite fall traditions. Since we live in a new town, we got to try a new patch! We heard of a smaller, family-owned pumpkin patch and took the kids right after school one day, in hopes that we would beat the crowds. We masked up and kept our distance from the few other groups there and had a great time! Ryan’s mom and aunt joined us, and it was a beautiful afternoon.

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Halloween Fun-

Cookie Day

Even though life is kind of crazy right now, I tried really hard to continue most of our normal traditions, like making Halloween cookies! We had to plan it around Brody’s naps (he’s not so much into the cookie making just yet!) but the kids loved it as usual. They have also helped me keep my Harry Potter cookie tradition alive!

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That day, they also requested a “Halloween surprise” lunch, so I gathered around what I already had around the house. This turned out to be a grilled cheese with a jack-o-lantern face, an orange “pumpkin,” and a little banana monster with candy eyeballs. They thought it was hilarious and appreciated my efforts!

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Campground Trick-or-treating

One weekend, the campground at the lake had a trick-or-treating night. Ryan was working, so I decided to bring the kids. The kids always enjoy time at the lake with Grandma and Papa Tim!

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We enjoyed our afternoon just relaxing at the campground. Kinsie was Elsa and Brax was the Hulk, and they wore their masks and hung back behind any crowds of people and got lots of fun treats. Their favorite part was just hanging out with some of their cousins!

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Pumpkin Carving

Ahh, pumpkin carving. It’s like a sport to our family. We love getting really into it. This year, Kinsie decided to do hers completely on her own. She designed a face and carved it independently. She did a great job and was very proud of herself! Brax helped us carve a velociraptor for his pumpkin, and Brody napped or just hung out and watched. We played Halloween music and drank apple cider and I baked all the pumpkin seeds like I do every year. It was such a fun afternoon with my favorite people!

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From left to right: Brax’s velociraptor, Kinsie’s silly face, Ryan’s plague doctor, and my “Lumos” (a Harry Potter reference).

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Halloween

I knew Halloween would be different this year, but I really hoped we could still make it a fun evening for the kids, especially since it was Brody’s first Halloween. Kinsie really wanted to be coordinating costumes, and when Brax wouldn’t go for a “Frozen” theme, we came up with some other ideas and they settled on E.T.! This worked out perfectly because Brax is super weird about wearing costumes anyway…so for Elliot, all he had to wear was a sweatshirt!

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Brody was the cutest E.T. of all time!

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We spent Halloween evening at Ryan’s cousin’ house. They had games for the kids, a piñata, and a small campfire. The kids had a great time running around with their cousins, and we even did a little bit of trick-or-treating. We all wore our masks, and we were so impressed with the creativity of how people found ways to safely pass out candy. Some houses had tables set out at the end of the driveway, some people passed out candy with tongs, and some made little chutes to drop candy from a distance.

It was a chilly (especially for my little Arkansas children), but beautiful night and we had a great, safe time!

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Visits from the Tooth Fairy

Kinsie lost not one, but BOTH of her front teeth this month! She had 2 visits from the tooth fairy just two weeks apart, and now she proudly sports her new toothless smile!

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Koda’s Birthday

Our sweet pup, Koda, is twelve! After unexpectedly losing Addie in the spring, we have all been more intentional with our love for Koda. The kids especially have learned that dogs don’t live forever, so we need to give them all the love while they are here with us. Koda is getting old and sometimes grumpy, but he also still often acts crazy like a puppy. We all love and appreciate our Koda bear!

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Progress on our House

We broke ground about a month ago, and they have already made SO much progress! We have a walk-out basement, and they are currently in the framing process. Our lot is only 5 minutes away from Kinsie’s school, so we often drive by there when we pick her up from school. The kids are LOVING watching the progress!

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Our basement walls

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Kinsie standing in the future garage

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The kids in the basement

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Koda approves of his future pride lands

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Excited about our basement!

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Starting to look like a house!

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The back of the house

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Brody at 5 Months

Our sweet, squishy, happy little boy is 5 months old! He is growing and changing right in front of our eyes and we are loving every single moment! He is so happy and mostly loves just being around his family and being included is whatever we are doing. He adores his brother and sister, and smiles bigger for them than anyone else.

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Here are some stats on our Bro at 5 months…

  • He is finally sleeping through the night!
  • He is always finding ways to move. He NEVER wants to be still.
  • He has tried several different types of puree fruits and veggies. So far his favorites seem to be pears and bananas.
  • He loves playing peek-a-boo.
  • He is officially a tummy sleeper (No worries…now that he can roll and is no longer swaddled, he is safe to sleep on his tummy)
  • He is definitely in the teething process. His main goal in life is to chew on everything he can find. His favorite chew toys include his banana teether and my finger.
  • He loves to hold hands.
  • He loves to blow raspberries.
  • He is starting to become a mama’s boy. He notices now if I’m not within his sight and isn’t a fan when I’m not.
  • He is starting to have preferences and favorite toys. 
  • He likes to grab EVERYTHING.
  • He is now sleeping in his own room. Once he started sleeping through the night, it helped to move his bed to the office. Ryan often gets home from work late, and as soon as he would quietly walk into the room at night, Brody would wake up. So we are all sleeping better now with Bro in his own room!

Some footage of Brody’s first time trying green beans. He wasn’t a huge fan at first!

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Someone is pretty much always loving on Brody at all times!

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And of course more sweet Brody faces!

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Like I said, our first fall back in Indiana did not disappoint. Although, now we know that winter is coming (any Game of Thrones fans reading?) Ryan and I obviously remember what Indiana winters are like, but I think the kids are in for a rude awakening!

And to finish my post, here is our October 1 Second Every day.

Our September Stories

September was the first month in a long time that really seemed to go by quickly. Both of the kids are in school now, so just the driving around dropping off and picking up kids each week day keeps me pretty busy! Covid is obviously still lingering, and to be honest, hit a little too close to home this month…but overall, it has sadly meshed into our every day lives. Wearing masks, keeping our distance from people, constantly cleaning everything and washing our hands…it’s second nature now. We are doing our best to still be aware of it and do our part to flatten the curve, but also still do fun things and *somewhat* live our lives.

Here is a recap of our September…

Kinsie starts in-person school

This was probably the highlight of her month…and her birthday was this month too! Kinsie was SO excited to finally start at her new school, and she was not disappointed at all! She has absolutely loved every second of it so far. She has made several friends right away, which is amazing considering how shy she usually is. She and Brax both don’t seem to mind the changes to school this year from Covid. They have a great collection of cute masks that they genuinely get excited to pick out each day for school. If only more adults were more like these kids…we’d be over this pandemic a lot sooner! We know there is always the possibility that things will get bad again and they may shut the schools down again, but for now, the kids are loving their time at school.

Brax’s School Activities

Brax is loving his new school too! He seems to be fitting in well and making new friends. His class has a special private Facebook page where they share pictures of the kids activities. One of his favorite activities that they have done so far was dig for dinosaurs (while learning about the letter D). Recently, Brax was also the “Top Banana” in his class, which is like the student of the week. He got to bring in pictures of his family, his pet, and some of his favorite things. He also got to bring in his favorite book for the teacher to read to the class. He loved it!

Family Hike at McCormick’s Creek

During Labor Day weekend, we wanted to take a family hike somewhere nearby. McCormick’s Creek is only about 15 minutes away from us, so we found a cave trail to explore. It was more crowded than we expected, but we never go anywhere without our masks, so we just threw those on and continued our hike. Kinsie especially loved it, and she walked our dog Koda the whole time. Brax wasn’t feeling great. He had just had his flu shot, and he was having what we thought was side effects from that, but he continued to have symptoms that got us worried in today’s Covid world. He was a champ and toughed out the hike, but he definitely didn’t feel good. We ended up taking him to get a Covid test the next day and after 24 excruciating hours of waiting, it was negative!

Visitors

It is SO nice being close to family again. We love when grandparents, aunts/uncles and cousins come to visit us for an afternoon!

Kinsie is SEVEN!

Our beautiful girl turned seven this month! She had quite the special day. First we started our morning with our traditional birthday donuts.

Kinsie had school on her birthday, which she was really excited about. Her teacher and classmates made it a very special school day for her. She got to bring in birthday treats, she wore a sticker that said “Today is my birthday!” and they made her a birthday book. She made the cover, and each classmate made a page in it.

After school, we got carry out from a sandwich shop (Kinsie wanted grilled cheese), and we took it to IU campus near the Sample Gates to have a picnic dinner.

After dinner, we went to a park to let the kids play for a little while.

Finally, we ended our night by getting ice cream from our favorite ice cream shop in town and ate it on our front porch. We had such a fun afternoon celebrating our favorite seven year old!

Kinsie’s Pinkalicious Birthday Party

Now that we live closer to family, Kinsie really wanted to have a birthday party with all of her cousins, so we had a very small family-only Pinkalicious birthday party at the lake house. We made sure to keep it small and outdoors so we were still being safe. It turned out to be a beautiful day so it worked out perfectly.

If you have never read the book, “Pinkalicious,” it’s about a little girl who eats too many pink cupcakes, so she turns pink. The doctor diagnosed her with “Pinkititis,” and told her in order to turn back to normal, she must eat a steady diet of green food. For Kinsie’s party, we included the cupcakes (but made sure nobody ate too many!), lots of fun pink food, and a tray of green food for the cure to Pinkititis!

The cousins all loved making their own crowns with stickers and jewels. They even made one for Brody!

Kinsie loved opening her presents, eating cupcakes, and hitting the piñata. She was completely in her happy place to be surrounded by all of her cousins!

It filled my heart to see her so happy. It was also so nice that Ryan was able to join us, since, in several years past, he had to work. The kids all had so much fun together and clearly wore our girl out! She usually has so much energy and NEVER falls asleep in the car, so the party was clearly successful since this is how I found her when we got home!

Fall Fun with Cousins

My niece Kolly had her birthday party at my parents’ pool near the end of September. It was supposed to be a pool party, and while it was a little too chilly to swim, it was a beautiful fall day! After the party, my family and I all sat around talking for hours while the kids played independently. No arguing, no adult intervention, no screens…just kids being kids. They had a blast playing in the leaves together all afternoon.

Breaking Ground

We finally broke ground on our home!! We are so excited to get this process started. It has been almost 6 months since we first decided to build, so to finally see a hole in the ground is so exciting!

Brody at 4 months

Our precious, happy little boy turned 4 months old this month! He is still overall a very easy-going baby, but he knows what he wants and we have a feeling he will be on-the-go as soon as physically possible. He adores his brother and sister, and the feeling is mutual. We all love our Brody time and love watching him grow!

Here are some stats about our Bro at 4 months…

  • He started to giggle and we are OBSESSED.
  • He loves when we hold him and walk around. He always wants to see everything around him.
  • His brother Brax often calls him “sweet boy” and its the most precious thing ever.
  • He has different interactions with all of us. My favorite is how he smiles at Kinsie.
  • He is ticklish under his armpits and on his thighs.
  • He rolls from his back to his belly…constantly. This often keeps us up at night as well so we’re hoping the novelty wears off soon!
  • He wants to be able to move so bad, so he works hard at scooting himself forward. He will probably be crawling in no time!
  • He is showing signs of changing eye color. We are thinking they may turn brown like me and Kinsie’s eyes.
  • Now that he is big enough, he loves looking out in my Ergo carrier. He loves being able to see everything going on!

We are all always loving on Brody. Like literally at all times.

The many adorable faces of Brody at 4 months.

Four months in and we are all still completely smitten with this little boy. And now I can’t believe that he will have his half birthday in less than 2 months. It is also crazy that his whole life so far has been during a pandemic. He doesn’t know any different than to see us wearing masks all the time. But someday, hopefully sooner rather than later, life will be somewhat back to normal and he won’t remember the crazy world he was born into.

And now onto October…one of my favorite months. We hope to still incorporate some of our favorite fall traditions while still being safe. Halloween may look different this year, but the kids will still be in costumes and they are excited to be close to home to spend that time with the people we love.

And as always, here is our 1 Second Everyday video for September 2020. Happy fall!

Thankful for November

November was a good month. We had a few fun trips, and lots of quality time with family! Here is how our November went down…

Trip to Bloomington

Ryan will graduate from residency in June 2020, and believe it or not, he is on the job search for when that happens! We recently had the opportunity to travel back to the town of our Alma Mater for a job interview trip. Bloomington is one of our favorite towns. There is so much natural beauty, culture, and memories from when we went to school there. We made it a family trip and met up with family at our favorite restaurant, Mother Bears (where Kinsie proudly added her name to their famous graffiti walls). Then Grandma Bev took the kids for a few days so Ryan and I could explore on our own and attend interview events. We loved walking around campus and hitting up some of our favorite spots. We went at the perfect time of year…cooler fall temps and amazing leaves. Ryan’s interview went great and we will hear more next spring about job availability.

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While we had a few days to ourselves, the kids were having a blast with family. They played outside, went to Kid’s Planet, and played with cousins.

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Trip to Fayetteville

This is the first year that Indiana University played University of Arkansas in basketball. The game was in Fayetteville, which is where Arkansas’s campus is. We’ve always heard that this town is beautiful, so it has been on our list of places to go since we moved here. We took this opportunity, plus the fact that Thanksgiving was the following week, to have my family travel to visit us, spend the weekend in Fayetteville, and go to the game. We loved walking around campus, and going on an awesome hike at Devil’s Den State Park. IU barely lost a tough game, but it was still such a fun experience. Kinsie and Kerigan dressed up in my sister and I’s old IU cheerleading uniforms, and they loved their first IU game!

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Family Week

Cousin Play Dates

After our trip to Fayetteville, my family spent the week of Thanksgiving with us. We showed them around some of our favorite play date places, like the Wonder Place and the trampoline park. The kids loved every moment together!

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Thanksgiving

Before the kids had a week off of school for Thanksgiving break, Kinsie’s class had a Thanksgiving feast. She and her classmates got to wear turkey hats and do a square dance! Brax was also in school this day, and the feast was only for the older classes, so I got to have some quality time with my girl!

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On Thanksgiving Day, we all chipped in on making an amazing dinner. Since it was a beautiful fall day, we took the big kids to the park while the babies napped.

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Dinner was a huge success, my dad worked hard all day on the turkey, and it did not disappoint! The kids loved their cousin table complete with a coloring tablecloth, crayons, and lots of chocolate pie.

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Pinnacle Mountain

The day after Thanksgiving, we took the family on one of our favorite hikes, Pinnacle Mountain. It was a little cold that day, so we bundled them all up and headed up the mountain. The kids were absolute champs. As you hike up the mountain, there are markers from 1-10 to show you how close you are to the top. The kids loved finding the markers and taking a picture with each one. They were so proud when they got to 10!

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We all loved the view from the top. This is the 3rd time Ryan and I have done this hike, and it is just as amazing each time!

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Decorating for Christmas

This is always one of our favorite things to do. Since we spend Christmas in Indiana, we always decorate early so we can enjoy it longer. No joke, Kinsie put most of the ornaments on the tree. The kids have already loved having their Christmas decorations up, playing with their Christmas toys, and watching Christmas movies!

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Like I said, it was a good month. We were really hoping our nephew would make his grand entrance into the world this month, but he’s holding out to share a birthday month with his mommy and Uncle Ryan. It will be any day now, and we all can’t wait to meet this precious boy!

Enjoy our November 1 Second Everyday video (can you believe I’ve almost done this for an entire year!?!)

Falling for October

October seemed to fly by! We stayed incredibly busy this month between t-ball, school, ballet, church, vacation, and lots of fall fun. Some of our favorite yearly traditions take place in October, and even with Ryan’s busy schedule, we try really hard to still fit it all in and create fun memories. Here is a recap of our October.

T-ball Season

Kinsie’s t-ball games started this month, and she has been rocking it! Softball has come more naturally to her than any other sport she has tried so far. She still needs to work on her throwing skills, but she has been hitting the ball incredibly well, and being very aggressive on the field. She seems to love it, and we all enjoy watching her play!

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Pumpkin Patches

Going to the pumpkin patch is always a must every year. We always try to find a day where Ryan can go with us, because we all enjoy it. We went to the same pumpkin patch as last year because we loved it so much. The corn pit, the hay playground, the farm animals, the hay ride, the maze…we loved it all!

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This year, Kinsie and Brax’s school did a field trip to a different pumpkin patch. We had so much fun! The kids spent most of their time with Kinsie’s buddy, Judah (who is also on her t-ball team). They loved picking pumpkins and spending time with their teachers outside of the classroom. Kinsie had a homework assignment while she was there, which she was ALL about. This farm had tons of playground areas for the kids to run around, and lots of play scenes to take pictures with. It was a fun morning!

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Trip to Florida

The kids and I were very lucky to get the opportunity to go to Florida with my family for a week. Our original hope was for Ryan to come with us for a few days, but with his limited days off, we just didn’t think it was worth it for him to try to make this trip. We really missed him, but we did have a great time! The kids spent most of their time on the beach playing with their cousins. They loved building sand castles, playing on the boogie board, collecting seashells, and more. It honestly didn’t matter what they were doing, as long as they were with their cousins, they were happy!

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We also decided to spend one day at Disney’s Epcot. We hadn’t been there since Kinsie was 2 and I was pregnant with Brax. The older kids are getting more interested in learning about other countries and cultures, so we thought this was a great time to take them here. We had a very busy, but awesome day! We accomplished a ton in just one day. We loved The Seas with Nemo and Friends and the giant Epcot ball, but mostly the kids loved the characters (we’ll get to that in a minute), and visiting all the countries in the World Showcase.We bought the kids Epcot passports, and they LOVED visiting every country and getting their passport stamped. It was actually very neat, especially because the people who work at each country are actually from that country. This was a very neat experience for all of us, and I loved how much they enjoyed learning about different countries and cultures.

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Our other favorite part of Epcot was getting to meet all the characters. This was definitely the highlight for Brax. He absolutely loved hugging and getting his picture taken with all of his favorites. At the end of the night, we surprised the kids with a Disney princess dinner. The girls were so excited, and loved visiting with, and getting autographs from some of their favorite princesses. It was a long, busy, but wonderful day at Epcot!

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Like I said, we really missed Ryan, but we’re so glad we took this opportunity. We had some great quality family time, and the kids were so happy to spend time with their favorite people. I am so grateful for my family for making this trip work for us and helping me so much. I literally couldn’t have done any of it without them!

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Pumpkins Galore!

Every year, our creative side comes bursting out around Halloween. Ryan and I, even when we were in high school, loved carving unique pumpkins together. We’ve managed to continue this tradition with our kids. This year, we also included painting to the mix. The kids loved painting their pumpkins, and Ryan and I added a Harry Potter and Hedwig to the pumpkin crew this year.

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Last year, one of our favorite activities with the residency group was pumpkin carving. We made sure to be a part of it again this year. The kids loved carving their pumpkins, but they loved running around and playing hide and seek with their friends even more.

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Pictured below- all of our finished painted pumpkins

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And now pictured below are the finished carved pumpkins. From left to right we had Brax’s picks – Chase from Paw Patrol and Bruce the shark from Finding Nemo, Ryan’s pick – a human heart/skull, my pick – the Hocus Pocus witches, then Kinsie’s picks – a unicorn and a Hatchimal.

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Halloween

It poured on Halloween night! And we knew it would…it was in the forecast for a few days. Most of the city of Little Rock moved trick-or-treating to the night before, but Kinsie had a double-header that night. Luckily, our church had a festival on the night of Halloween…so we still got to do our Halloween thing. Kinsie has had her costume picked out for months…she wanted to be Anne Wheeler, the trapeze artist from the movie, The Great Showman. Brax was a different story! I can’t even count how many times he changed his mind. Some of his options over the last month included (but are not limited to) PT Barnum, an elephant, an alligator, a lion, Mickey Mouse, a dinosaur….and about 10 more different types of animals. He’s so picky about what he wears, so I knew it would be a challenge to actually get him to wear something. He finally settled on Mickey Mouse…which I was fine with because I could make him a simple Mickey costume using just normal clothes. Of course he wouldn’t wear it to his school Halloween party, but I was so relieved that he actually wore it on Halloween!

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The festival at church was a lot of fun. It was very crowded, but they had tons of games, activities, and food. The kids loved all the games and had a great time with some of their friends.

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Busy, busy month…but we loved every bit of it! Looking forward to exciting things in November…especially expecting our newest nephew to arrive by the end of the month!!! We can’t wait to meet him and to witness Megan and Tim embark on the amazing journey of parenthood.

As always, enjoy our 1 Second Everyday October video!

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!

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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!

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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.

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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!


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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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

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Labor Day Weekend

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

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Petit Jean State Park

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

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Soccer

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

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Gymnastics Day

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

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Visit to Indiana

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

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Kinsie’s Birthday

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

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