Another Covid-Style School Year

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

Here is how our August went…

Days at the Playground

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

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Walk by the Waterfall

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

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Kinsie starts 2nd grade!

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

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

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Braxton starts Kindergarten!

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

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

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

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

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Adventures at Home with Brody

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

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

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Soccer Saturdays

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

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

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Gymnastics

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

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Lake Day

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

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Pool Day

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

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Trail Walks

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

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Quarantined

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy our August 1 Second Everyday video!

Soakin’ Up Summer

We soaked up ALL the summer we could this month. Kinsie starts school the first week of August, and Braxton starts the week after that, so we tried to do all the summer-y things we could. It was a fun, busy month with lots of pool time, cousin fun, and family adventures. Here is how our July went…

 

4th of July

Ryan unfortunately worked most of 4th of July weekend, so the kids and I spent our time with family. The Saturday before, we went to the lake for the annual lake fireworks. The big kids got to enjoy the fireworks lakeside with their cousins, and I took Brody back to my parents’ house to go to bed. He isn’t quite old enough to be able to stay up that late, or enjoy the fireworks anyway. Maybe next year!

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The next day, we spent the day at the pool. My sister’s family came and had some of their friends over as well, so the kids had lots of kids their own age to play with. They had SO much fun swimming, lighting sparklers, watching fireworks and catching lightning bugs. And Brody enjoyed corn on the cob, and his mama!

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When Ryan finally had an evening off, he bought a home firework kit to do with the kids. He used to do fireworks all the time growing up, and he hasn’t been able to do any the last few years because he’s almost always working, so he enjoyed being a pyromaniac once again, but this time with his kids!

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Park Day

The kids LOVED this park last year…they called it the “Ninja Warrior Park.” They had been asking when we could go back, so we finally got a chance to make a trip there on a day that wasn’t scorching hot. Brody LOVES to climb, so we laced up his tennis shoes on him and let him join in on the fun. He absolutely loved it!

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A Much Needed Trip

Ryan and I haven’t been on a trip just the two of us since residency interviews…that was almost 5 years ago! It has been a really long few years, and I really needed a break. I love my kids and I love getting to stay home with them, but I haven’t been away from my little mama’s boy for more than a hour or two at a time in his entire life. He stopped nursing in June, so I finally felt somewhat free and needed a short getaway. Ryan had about a week off early in the month, so we booked a last minute trip to Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio. We booked a cabin for ourselves and had Ryan’s parents watch the kids. It was EXACTLY what I needed!

On our first full day, we did a 14 mile hike – basically hiking through the entire state park. There were stops along the way – so we would stop and enjoy the the scenery whenever we could. We packed a lunch and ate on the trail. Throughout most of the day, we didn’t come in contact with many people…just in the sight-seeing areas there were more people. It was very peaceful to just be surrounded by nature. 

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We spent a morning canoeing on the river.

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We loved exploring together. So many neat caves, rock formations, creeks and waterfalls!

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We especially loved Ash Cave and all the random waterfalls throughout the park. The best/weirdest part of the trip was just running on our own time. Normally our day is dictated by nap time, snacks, etc. And it takes at least an hour to get ready to go anywhere – I usually have to pack enough sunscreen, bug spray, extra clothes, snacks, diapers, etc. and make sure everyone is ready for the day. But it was so nice just to worry about us two only for a few days. It was so nice to spend some uninterrupted time with my Ry!

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Meanwhile, the kids were in good hands…

I was a little nervous on how Brody would handle being away from me. But I knew it was good for both of us. Not only is he is Covid baby and hardly ever even gets to leave the house, but I have always stayed at home with him, so he isn’t used to being watched by other people. Luckily, he did great! Since he wasn’t around me, he clung to his grandma…but I don’t think she minded!

The kids got to spend lots of time with cousins swimming in the pool at the lake, eating popsicles and just living their best life!

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They loved spending time at the playground with cousins too!

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And walking through the creek…

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And getting ice cream of course!

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One of their highlights was having a cousin sleepover at the camper. Aunt Megan stayed with this crazy crew. They watched a movie and loved their first camping experience!

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They also got to go to the Indianapolis Zoo. Before we moved to Arkansas, we had a membership to this zoo, so I took Kinsie all the time. She remembered it pretty well, but we moved when Brax was only 1, so he remembers the Little Rock Zoo more. They had an awesome day at the zoo. They saw lots of animals, had good treats and got souvenirs. I don’t even think they missed us!

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Fun at Home

The kids have been enjoying just spending time at home this summer too. We are still so in love with our new house and are enjoying it to the fullest this summer. They’ve been enjoying our big yard and doing fun water activities, like the mini splash pad, water table and slip n slide!

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They are obsessed with the slip n slide!

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Something they’ve always enjoyed doing was making obstacle courses. Now we have the perfect backyard for them! We even made a special baby version for Brody!

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When we are home and not outside, we are pretty much always in the basement. Brody is still obsessed with the Nugget, and loves destroying anything and everything he can get his hands on. We recently bought a card table and set it up in the basement so we could use it for family games, but the kids mainly like to use it to set up their toys so Brody can’t reach them!

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Cousin Birthday Party

The kids’ cousin Hudson turned 4 this month, and had a fun outdoor Dino-themed birthday party. They had an inflatable water slide and the kids were all obsessed! We stayed most of the day and the kids had an absolute blast.

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Pool Days

Since Ryan had a week off for our trip earlier in the month, the rest of his month was pretty busy with work. Whenever he had a stretch of a few days in a row, the kids and I went and stayed at my parents’ house. We had lots of pool days with cousins! Brody is becoming more and more obsessed with the pool so he loved getting in on the action whenever he could!

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This travel high chair was such a great purchase! Brody loves eating his lunch and snacks pool-side!

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Lots and lots of swimming fun. Brax even learned to swim independently in the deep end… no more floaties for him!

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When mom is too lazy to put on your swim suit and swim diaper…you just go with it!

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The cousins loved pool-side lunch picnics too!

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Splash Pads

We made it a summer goal to check out the local splash pads. I also wanted to somewhat wait until Brody was walking a little more, and he finally started walking regularly in the second half of the month, so we finally made a few day trips to the splash pads. Brody was a big fan of his first splash pad experience!

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Wonderlab

This has become one of our new favorite spots, especially since I feel somewhat safe bringing the kids there. I wanted to bring the big kids one more time before school started, and I’ll probably make it a regular place to bring Brody for a morning activity when the kids are in school!

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Meet Dash!

Kinsie has wanted a bunny for years. We originally planned on letting her have one when he moved back to Indiana, but then we decided to build a new house so we knew we’d have to wait until we were in our new house. The day finally came, and she and Brax were SO excited! They picked out a bunny at the Animal Shelter and named him Dash. Brody has enjoyed him too, even though we have to keep a close eye on him so he doesn’t love on him too much! Koda is still getting used to him. We have to introduce him in small doses and try to get him to understand that he’s a family member, not a snack!

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Getting acquainted with the new member of the family!

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Lots of playtime with Dash!

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Meet Spotty!

Another promise we made was to get Brax a lizard. Ryan has had lots of different reptiles in his day, so he figured a leopard gecko would be the way to go. So now we can officially introduce Brax’s new gecko friend… Spotty! His full name is “Spotty Pickles Dobby!” You gotta love the creativity of kids! 

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Brody Updates

Brody has grown and changed so much lately, I had to share some of his newest tricks!

 

He is officially WALKING. I truly thought this would happen sooner since he’s been crawling since 4 months, and he loves to climb and get into everything. But he took his time and finally got the hang of it. Now he loves toddling around everywhere!

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He’s talking and repeating sounds a lot more. He loves repeating high-pitched screaming and “woo-hoo” sounds, and he likes to imitate different voices. He loves imitating Donald Duck and the Hulk’s voices the most. He says words like hi, cheese, fish, Kinsie, bye, and more.

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He LOVES Mickey Mouse and the whole gang. He always says “hi” to him and gravitates towards any Mickey toy. He doesn’t really watch TV yet, but loves the Hot Dog song from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse! Sometimes I will play the song on repeat when I need a couple minutes of him not hanging on me!

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He LOVES to be chased…especially to the Jaws theme! As soon as we start with the “Duh nuh…duh nuh…” music, he immediately gets the biggest smile on his face and starts running away! He cracks up when we catch him!

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He loves drinking whole milk. He gets warm whole milk in the morning when he wakes up and at night before he goes to bed (it helped wean him off of nursing), and it is his favorite part of the day! He gets so excited when he sees his milk and he will sit and chug it until it’s gone!

He is still as crazy as ever, and starting to get more and more “toddler moments” every day. He keeps us busy for sure! Enjoy the video below of his precious walking!

And that was our July. The kids will start school soon, and they are looking forward to it…even if they have to continue masking up (thanks a lot, Delta.) 

Here is our 1 Second Every Day for July. Enjoy!

 

June is Bustin’ Out All Over

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

Here is our June went down…

A Weekend at the Dunes

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

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

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

Cicadas Galore!

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

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Walking through the very LOUD trails on campus.

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

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

Champions!

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

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Anniversary Date

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

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Pool Days

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

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Lake Days

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

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Rainy Days

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

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

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

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

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Life is never boring in this household!

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Soaking up All the SUMMER

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

Morning at the Park

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

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Slip n Slide

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

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Even Brody took a few turns on it!

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Kiddie Pools, Sprinklers, and Slides…oh my!

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

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They love their snack breaks!

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Walks on the Trail

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

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Other Outside Fun

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

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Cincy Zoo Day

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

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

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

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

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Wonder Lab

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

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

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

Enjoy the 1SE video for June!

Many Celebrations in May

We had a very busy May, and it felt great to be *somewhat* back to normal. We celebrated 2 very special birthdays, the kids finished their school year and stayed busy in sports, and we got to have lots of semi-normal spring and summer fun. It was refreshing!

Braxton’s Surprise Birthday Trip

For the first time in over a year, we took a family weekend trip! We did a surprise birthday trip for our big 5 year old. We didn’t tell him where we were going, so he enjoyed the suspense knowing we were going somewhere special for his birthday weekend.

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Day 1: Kentucky Down Under

We drove about 3 hours to Cave City, Kentucky. The first surprise was Kentucky Down Under. Ryan and I came here with his family when we were engaged, so we knew the kids would love it. It’s an interactive zoo with lots of fun outback animals to see and interact with. This was really Brody’s first time at a zoo too!

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The kids loved the area where you can feed the birds and they climb all over you. Even Brody tried to grab the birds!

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We also loved the outback area where there were kangaroos, emus, and some farm animals openly wandering around. You could buy cups of food to feed the animals. The kids were in heaven and Ryan made best friends with all the animals of course!

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The park was mostly outdoors, so overall we felt pretty safe and comfortable. We kept our masks handy and wore them when we couldn’t distance ourselves from other people. Brody spent his time either in the stroller or in the Ergo carrier, and we did our best to keep him away from people since he can’t wear a mask. He was a trooper! He seemed to enjoy a new environment since he doesn’t get out much. He even took a decent stroller nap in the afternoon.

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The animal show was not super “Covid friendly” since they bunched everyone together in a small amphitheater. I just wore Brody in the carrier and stood to the side away from everyone, and Ryan and the kids wore their masks. The kids still enjoyed the show, and they loved getting to pet (and hold) the snake!

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The kids had a great day and they loved the park! Brax still asks us all the time when we can go back!

Time at the Hotel

This was Brody’s first time staying in a hotel. It was an interesting experience! I couldn’t just let him crawl around since hotel floors are gross, and I couldn’t let him play on the bed much because he would try to dive off. We ended up setting up his pack ‘n’ play and letting him play in there… but he isn’t a huge fan of being contained! That evening we let Brax open his gift, and we got carry out and ate in the room. We were all tired from our busy day so we just took it easy and played in the room and watched TV.

Birthdaytrip-hotel

Brody did not understand bed time with us all in the same room. We turned off all the lights, and I set the kids up with a show on the iPad while Brody fell asleep. I figured he’d be exhausted, but he thought it was party time! He just kept standing up in his bed and talking and screaming happily. After maybe 45 minutes, he finally sat down and passed out. He was up and at ’em early in the morning and woke us all along with him. But it was Brax’s birthday so we were excited to start the day!

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Day 2: Dinosaur World

On the drive, we told Brax to look for clues for where we were going for his big birthday surprise. He finally saw a huge dinosaur statue and started to get an idea! He was so excited!

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We spent all morning exploring Dinosaur World. It isn’t a huge park, and most people could go through the whole thing in maybe an hour, but we spent more time than usual because Brax wanted to see and read every single thing possible. There was a walk through the woods where you would see life-size dinosaur statues, and Brax wanted a picture with every single one! Later I took all the pictures from Dinosaur World and put them all in a Shutterfly book with facts about each dinosaur so he could look at it whenever he wanted!

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There was also a fun dinosaur-themed playground and we let the kids play for a while. Even Brody enjoyed it!  After a while, we let the kids pick out something from the gift shop, then we left. Brax LOVED Dinosaur World. He said he wanted to live there! It was a perfect place to spend his birthday!

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We told Brax he could choose anywhere he wanted for lunch. Or if he wanted a certain type of food, we could find something. Of all the possibilities, he chose Wendy’s!

Birthday-lunch

Ryan’s parents were watching our dog for the weekend, so we had them meet us back at home so we could eat dinner together and get ice cream for dessert. Brax requested our favorite ice cream shop, Jiffy Treat. He had a wonderful 5th birthday and couldn’t wait to tell his teachers and friends about his weekend!

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Mother’s Day

Ryan had to work in the afternoon, so we spent the morning together as a family. It was a gloomy, rainy day, so while Brody took his morning nap, we all watched a movie together. Once Brody woke up and Ryan headed to work, the kids and I spent the afternoon at my parents’ house. It was laid back and relaxing, and the kids just enjoyed having fun together like usual!

For Brody, every day is Mother’s Day!

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The kids made a “stuffed animal parade” along the balcony. This is just an example of the many creative things they do when they play together!

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Fully Vaccinated!

On May 4th, I got my 2nd Covid vaccine! I thought Star Wars Day was a good day to become fully vaccinated, and I prepared with an appropriate band-aid. I did have some symptoms with this vaccine, but it was tolerable. Once the kids were in bed that evening, I started having chills and body aches. I didn’t sleep great, but I was able to rest a little the next day and manage the body aches with Advil. By about 24 hours post vaccine, I was completely fine. 100% worth it!

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My sister got me this amazing hat so that WHEN I feel comfortable going out in public without my mask, at least people will know that I am vaccinated! 

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Outdoor Living

I’m not going to lie, spring weather has not shown its face as often as I’d like at this point in the year. We’ve had so many random cold and rainy days. BUT, we take advantage when we can. Brody is a little outdoor boy. He loves it! He has been enjoying his new outdoor toys like his swing and walking lawn mower.

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Whenever Renata comes over, she always tries to do something fun with the kids. One day she brought stuff for the kids to paint birdhouses and flower pots.

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Enjoying the outdoors whenever they can!

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It has only been warm enough to set up the water table once or twice, but when we do, Brody gets real excited. He splashes like crazy and gets himself soaked immediately!

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It’s an annual tradition to start the swimming season by all the cousins jumping in the pool together holding hands (Brody will join someday!)

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Lake season has started as well and we’re real excited about it! We were there a lot last summer, but Brody was such a tiny baby he obviously couldn’t enjoy it much. Now he loved it. He wasn’t crazy about the boat ride, but mainly because he didn’t like wearing his life jacket. The big kids loved swimming and riding the paddle boat with their cousins!

Outside-lake

Dinosaur Birthday Bash

Since the boys’ birthdays are only 2 weeks apart, we decided to have a combined birthday party for them. Brax was really excited to share his party with his brother! We let him pick the theme and of course he picked dinosaurs! Since Covid is still a factor, AND we still don’t know very many people in our town yet, we stuck with a small family-only party…just the people the kids are closest to.

Party-boys

We were excited to finally get to host something at our new house! I had a lot of help prepping for the party – even if it was just someone coming to entertain the kids so I could clean! Ryan’s sister Megan made me some banners and the matching shirts for the birthday boys. And Aunt Renata made her famous cookies! We ordered Jimmy Johns for the main food and I ordered cakes from a local lady who has a side cake business. They turned out really cute!

Party-decor

I didn’t have a whole lot of activities planned, but I didn’t have to. These kids are all so close they can have fun doing anything! 

Party-kids

It was a team effort to open presents. I helped Brax, and Ryan helped Brody. Kinsie and a few of the cousins delivered the presents to the boys when they were ready for another present to open. Brody was so funny opening his presents. He would open one, then want to play with the toy and wouldn’t want to put it away to open the next. And he continued to get distracted and tried to crawl away. When he opened a jumbo pack of Puffs (his favorite snack), he was so excited and didn’t want to put them down!

Party-presents

We all sang “Happy Birthday,” and dug into the cake and ice cream. Brody got his own special smash cake!

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Of course we all had to be dressed in our dinosaur gear!

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Brody loved his smash cake! He seemed to enjoy eating the cake, but honestly, he didn’t eat THAT much. He mainly just played in the cake. He loved squishing it between his fingers and rubbing it in his hair!

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My kids LOVE doing the piñata, so we made sure we got one. Now that most of these kids are playing softball or baseball now, they broke into the piñata sooner than they ever had in the past!

Party-pinata

It turned out to be a great party. The week leading up to party day, the forecast said it was 100% chance of rain. Somehow, it turned out to be a perfect, beautiful day. After the party activities, the adults hung out and talked and the kids all ran around in the backyard and the basement. It was a great day!

 

Brody’s FIRST Birthday

Our littlest love turned ONE this month! Since we had the party the day before, we had somewhat of a low-key birthday for our boy (after all, it was a Monday!) The kids still had school, but Ryan was off work so Brody got to spend the morning with mommy and daddy.

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After Ryan dropped the kids off at school, he stopped to get Brody his first official birthday donut. He was a big fan!

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Once the kids were home, we set up Brody’s gift in the basement and brought him down to see it. He loves tents, so we got him a pop up tent and tunnel, and bought balls to put in it. He LOVED it! Kinsie and Brax enjoyed playing in it with him too!

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In the evening, we got Culver’s for dinner and Brody loved his first cheeseburger. We also got ice cream for dessert. We sang “Happy Birthday” to him and let him try some ice cream. You could tell he liked the taste, but it was too cold…he kept making a shivering sound! We ended up letting him have some of his leftover smash cake for dessert and he enjoyed that too. He had a great day!

 

Sports Life

Sports kept us very busy this month! Brax had soccer once a week, and Kinsie had softball practice once a week, and at least one game a week. Normally, Brax’s soccer and Kinsie’s practices were at the same time on Saturdays, so Ryan and I had to divide and conquer. But a few times, Kinsie’s practice got cancelled so we got to see Brax play soccer. 

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Kinsie has improved TREMENDOUSLY this season. She started the season barely hitting the ball and she wasn’t the best at fielding either. But between my dad, Ryan, and her coaches, she has gotten so much better! She gets on base every game now and even gets in on the fielding action! We are so proud of her progress!

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End of the School Year

The end of the school year is always a fun time. We were so sad that the kids didn’t get to experience it last year. 

 

Braxton got to celebrate his birthday at school this month. He got to bring the snack that day (we brought pre-packaged cupcakes), and the class sang to him while he wore the birthday hat!

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Brax also had an end of the year program. There were only 2 guests per child allowed, we had to wear masks the entire time and space out in the auditorium. Luckily, Grandma Bev came down to watch Kinsie and Brody so that Ryan and I could go to the program. Brax was all business throughout his songs, then at the VERY end he did a crazy face pose! 

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Brax had a WONDERFUL school year. We absolutely loved his school, and we are looking forward to Brody getting to attend there someday. His teachers were amazing, and he made significant growth this year – both emotionally and academically. He made some great friends too! He will be attending the half day Kindergarten program next year at the same school, then he’ll be moving on to Kinsie’s school after that!

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Kinsie loved her end of the school year too. Their class counted down the last 10 days of school with 10 fun activities – such as stuffed animal day, an ice cream snack, watching a movie, and working with a partner for the day. Her school district has been very cautious with Covid all year, so they avoided a lot of normal end of the year activities…but they still made it special for the kids. She is looking forward to things becoming more normal as time goes on so she can experience all the fun normal school activities!

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How amazing are our kids though? They had the craziest year, but they got through it with a smile on their face (under their mask!) They didn’t let all the unknown and crazy of the world bother them. They were just happy to be at school and see their friends. I wish adults could be more like kids!

 

Beginning of Summer Vacation

The first few weeks of summer vacation were not exactly summer weather. It rained or was 60 degrees or less most days, so we spent a lot of time indoors. Luckily, we had a few new toys that kept them busy! My mom saved ALL of my beanie babies from when I was little – specifically for her grandkids to someday play with. Now that we were settled into our house, my parents brought over the tubs (yes, multiple) of beanie babies. The kids LOVED going through all of them and sorting them into categories. And I may have enjoyed looking through them as much as they did!

We also spent time playing in the tent and doing some virtual reality. Yes, Ryan got new toys too!

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The best new toy, however, is the Nugget. My sister-in-law first told me about these months ago, and I knew I wanted one once we were in the new house. I ordered one back in March when we moved in, but they are VERY popular, so they were backordered about 2 months. Well, our long awaited delivery came just in time for summer vacation. So far the kids have been OBSESSED!

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They have used it as a couch, a fort, a slide, and a climbing ramp. I think Brody may love it the most!

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Memorial Weekend

Last year on Memorial Weekend, I was in the NICU with Brody at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and was less than a week away from moving to another state. This year, we got to spend it together as a family with a happy, healthy, crazy little one year old! 

We went to my parents’ house on Sunday to watch the race and have a pool day. Most of the day it was actually pretty cool – too cold to swim in my opinion. But the kids didn’t care! Even though it was only 65 degrees outside, they spent the majority of the day in the pool. In the late afternoon, the temps finally seemed high enough for Brody to get in the pool. At first we let him sit on the side and watch the kids, but he kept trying to dive in so we figured he wanted to get in!

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Brody loved the pool…just like I figured he would. He is a huge fan of the bath and splashes like crazy, and he was the same way in the pool. I have a feeling this little guy will keep me busy this summer!

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We spent the night at my parents’ house that night so we could wake up and head straight to the lake the next morning. It was only Ryan’s parents and his brother at the lake that day, which was nice! When Brody was napping, we went fishing with the kids. At first they were nervous to hold the fish, but eventually they got brave enough to do it, and then they didn’t want to stop!

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Once Brody woke up, we let him see one of the fish we caught. And, like I figured he would, he tried to eat it!

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Last winter, Ryan’s parents bought a camper to keep at the campgrounds. We drove golf carts down to the campgrounds to see it for the first time. We loved seeing the camper of course, but the big highlight was the cicadas! They were EVERYWHERE around the campgrounds. Kinsie is obsessed. She would find them at recess and play with them, and already knows all kinds of facts about them. Now she got Brax and Brody into them too. They were collecting them and playing with them. Kinsie even took one back to the lake house with her and made a little habitat in a jar. She has always been my nature girl!

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We ended the evening with a boat ride. This time, I just wore Brody in the Ergo carrier and he enjoyed it much more this time! We had a great weekend together!

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We had a wonderful month of May. It felt more like the way it should be. I know things are not completely back to normal, and I won’t feel 100% better until my kids are able to get vaccinated, but it is SO nice that Ryan and I are both fully vaccinated. I feel a little more comfortable going places now, especially outside. My kids are kind of socially awkward and don’t get close to people they don’t know anyway, so it works out! We are hoping to spend a lot of our summer days enjoying our own backyard (we got a TON of outdoor toys for the boys’ birthday), swimming at Yaya’s pool, hanging out at the lake, and hopefully some other fun adventures as well. 

Happy Summer and enjoy our May 1 Second Everyday!

 

A Much Better April

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

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

Easter

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

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

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

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Kinsie’s Softball

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

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

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

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Brax’s Soccer

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

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Kinsie’s Lost Teeth

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

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Outside Time

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

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

Outside-fun

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

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

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First Vaccine!

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

Vaccine

Brody turned 11 Months!

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

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Our Brody boy at 11 months:

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

Big boy with his walker!

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Always climbing up onto the kids’ art table!

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Hanging out in the pantry – always!

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He loves his brother and sister so much.

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

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Sweet Brody faces at 11 months!

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

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

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We love you SO MUCH, our sweet Brody!

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

The March We’ve Been Waiting For

It’s been a whole year since the pandemic hit the United States hard. How crazy is that? I don’t think I would have ever expected it to last this long, and I am so glad that a year ago, I didn’t know that an entire year later we would still be in this mess. I have tried not to think too much about the emotional roller coaster that I was feeling this time last year, because my anxiety then was sky high, and even though we’re still dealing with a lot of the same, we have come so far as a family throughout this crazy year. I certainly have a lot more hope today than I did a year ago…and every vaccine that gets put into another arm is getting us that much closer to normalcy again… something that I am desperately looking forward to, but also somewhat terrified of. I have a feeling it is going to take me some time to adjust back to normalcy…because life with masks, social distancing, and staying home has become my new normal. I’m sure it will take time for me to feel comfortable in big groups again and walking around with a naked face. But before I get ahead of myself because we’re probably still months away from that…I’m just looking forward to getting that shot in my arm NEXT WEEK! 

Anyway…March was an exciting month for the Matthews family, and I’m sure you know why! We finally moved into our NEW HOUSE! And it has been an absolute DREAM! We had other fun things this month and some beautiful weather which was good for our souls. Here is a rundown of our exciting March…

Fun Activities at School

Brax had “Dr. Seuss Week,” where they celebrated Dr. Seuss with different fun dress up days. He actually had a lot of fun with this. Sometimes he would be hesitant to dress up, but eventually we would convince him and he ended up loving it.

Monday was Silly Sock Day…

Tuesday was Hat Day…

Wednesday was Wacky Wednesday… (he wore a pickle shirt, dinosaur pants and socks, two different shoes, and a Forky hat)

Thursday was Crazy Hair Day

And my personal favorite was Fancy Friday…

Kinsie had a few exciting things going on this month at school too. She got to write and “publish” an informative book about hippos and share it with the class. 

The day before spring break, her class also had a “Beach Day” where they could dress like they were going to the beach, and bring a stuffed animal as well. She loved dressing up herself, but also dressing up her stuffed animal!

Finishing Touches on the House

It was so much fun to see the final touches on the house. Seeing the entire process from digging a hole to the absolutely beautiful home we are now living in has been such an amazing experience! My favorite was after the cleaners came in and made it sparkle! 

Spring Break…aka MOVE IN WEEK!

We were so glad to be able to work it out to move in when the kids were on spring break. That way we didn’t have to worry about dropping off and picking up the kids throughout each day, and the kids could just enjoy their week off in our new home. We were able to recruit some family to help us on moving weekend, so we got a lot more done than I expected. It was a busy, exhausting, but wonderful move-in weekend.

Ryan still had to work that week, so he did what we could when he was home, but I wasted no time getting to work on unpacking and organizing. The kids were so excited to have so much space to play, and to get some of their toys back that had been in storage all year. But we have absolutely LOVED being in our new home…even Brody! The first few days through all of the chaos, I was either wearing him, or he was in a little playpen until we could get a baby gate in front of the stairs to the basement.

 

The kids hanging out in Brax’s dinosaur bed…

 

Brody is excited to finally have his own room! And I was excited to finally create a Harry Potter nursery for him!

One of the kids’ favorite spots is the “book nook,” a closet under the basement stairs. We made it cozy with blankets and pillows and books!

It rained a LOT the first week or so that we moved in, but every so often we’ve had some amazing weather. The kids LOVE hanging out on both the upper and lower deck!

While digging the basement, the workers find a large limestone rock so they threw it out back, and now Brax is convinced that it is a dinosaur fossil!

The kids drew pictures that we sent to our builder along with a thank you note. We even got an email back saying they could be architects someday!

St. Patrick’s Day

We didn’t do anything special on St. Patrick’s Day, but I had to share this cute picture of my kids all dressed up!

I also wanted to point out that 4 years ago on St. Patrick’s Day was also Match Day…where we found out we were moving to Arkansas for Ryan’s residency. Seeing this picture always makes me emotional because I remember the emotions I was feeling in that very moment. I was excited but completely terrified. And now it’s crazy to look back at that time and see how far we’ve come. We are so grateful for our time in Arkansas, but we are also so glad our residency years are behind us and now we FINALLY get to settle in our forever home!

Sleepover

Near the end of the kids’ spring break, Kinsie and Brax went to spend the night at Aunt Renata’s house. They had such a great time playing outside, roasting marshmallows, watching movies and doing fun Easter activities. Brody stayed home with me and we got some quality time together too going on walks and playing outside.

It’s Finally Spring!

After the dreadful February we had, we were thrilled to get some nice weather this month. We have especially enjoyed exploring outside of our new home!

We also spent a day after school going back to one of our favorite parks and taking a quick hike by the waterfall. 

Brody is 10 Months Old!

I’m in complete denial that my baby is going to be one year old soon. This year has been so weird. In some ways it has dragged on, and in other ways it has flown by. Watching this precious boy has been the absolute sunshine of my year. He is so sweet and silly and snuggly and we just love him to pieces!

Updates on our Bro Bro at 10 Months…

  • He loves to climb. He tries to climb on anything and everything.
  • He has discovered our dog Koda and likes to chase him and grab him. Koda is not amused!
  • He has 3, maybe 4 new teeth…which brings him to a total of 8 teeth!
  • He still loves food of all kinds. 
  • He has learned how to use his sippy cup and he loves it. He chugs his water during his meals!
  • He is still a major mama’s boy, but now he is starting to voluntarily go to his Daddy, grandma or other close family. 
  • He is the king of babbling. He talks all day long. “Da da” is his favorite phrase right now. We think he is starting to gain some meaning with his babbles.
  • He finally sleeps in his crib (it was in storage until we moved) and he loves it! He even likes playing in there.
  • His favorite place to hang out is in Brax’s shark tent.
  • He can walk with his walking toy. He also cruises along the furniture constantly.
  • Kinsie and Brax both like to carry him. Kinsie is at least learning how to support him better while she holds him, but Brax just holds him around his belly. At first Brody didn’t like it, but now he is used to it and doesn’t seem to care. Third kid problems!
  • He has been spending a lot more time outside this month and loves it. He especially loves riding in his little car.
  • He loves playing with his brother and sister and wants to do whatever they are doing!

 

Examples of his climbing, or just diving into his toy box!

 

Walking like a big boy with his walker toy

 

Just hanging out in the shark tent!

 

Sweet sleeping baby

 

Always being carried!

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He loves riding in his car!

 

Sweet Brody faces

Growing month by month…

I genuinely can’t imagine life without this boy. I thank God every day for giving me this precious gift. He brings so much joy to our lives, and we all just can’t get enough of him. He adds another level of crazy and loud to our family, and we love every bit of it!

 

 

And that about wraps up our March. It was a good one. Much different than March last year. Moving into our new house was a long awaited time…not just the 6 months that it took to build, or even the year that we’ve been planning it. Ever since Ryan and I got married 9 years ago, our lives have always been “what’s next?” Between med school, residency and everything between we never fully got to settle anywhere. We always knew that we’d have to pick up and move again soon. I knew this was part of the medical gig, but I have been looking forward to the day where we were finally done with the “what’s next” part of the journey and finally get to settle. After 9 years…really longer than that since I knew back in high school what Ryan’s future entailed…we are FINALLY settling in our forever home. I can’t even tell you how good it feels. We are looking forward to making many many memories in this home!

And to finish off this post, here is our 1 Second Everyday for the month of March. Enjoy!

Going through the January Motions

January is one of my least favorite months ever, no matter where I live. It’s just so blah. The excitement of Christmas is over, it’s winter, all the trees and grass are dormant, it’s not pretty outside…it’s just blah. And it always seems to last forever. However, we know that we still have a lot to be grateful for, and a lot to look forward to. This January brought some hope that we’re *hopefully* seeing the light at the end of this very long Covid tunnel. More Americans are getting vaccinated each day, and I am (not so) patiently waiting my turn. In the meantime, it’s very reassuring that Ryan is now fully vaccinated, so that risk of him becoming infected at work is significantly lower. We’ll just keep trucking along in our little Covid bubble until things are safe for us to come out of it.

With all that said, my monthly blogs with continue to be somewhat boring because we don’t go anywhere! But hopefully you’ll still enjoy some pictures of our activities from home!

Home Activities and Projects

Luckily the kids have been able to go to school so far this calendar year. They need the social interaction, the time away from home, and the time away from each other. But when they aren’t at school, they are home. And they do a pretty darn good job of keeping themselves busy and entertained!

Kinsie loves arts and crafts. It’s one of her favorite things in life. For Christmas, she got a Disney craft book, and she has already set to work. The first craft she made from it was an Aladdin puppet theater. She did an amazing job!

Home-Aladdin

Brax received several Lego sets for Christmas, mostly dinosaur sets since that is his favorite thing in the world right now. So we took some time after school for a few days to build a T-Rex, a triceratops and a pterodactyl. He can’t wait to display them in his new room! On a separate note…Legos are surprisingly extremely satisfying for my busy mind. I also built the Knight Bus from Harry Potter on my own one night when the kids were in bed!

Home-Legos

Kinsie and Brax have both inherited my and Ryan’s love for all things Harry Potter. So we decided to start reading the books together as a family. It helps that we have the illustrated versions of books 1-4 to keep them intrigued in the story. We already finished Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and they loved it! Ryan did the best character voices, British accents included! Kinsie especially can’t wait to start the next book.

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On MLK Day, Kinsie’s school encouraged the students to use it as a “day on” instead of a “day off” and do some kind of service project. Kinsie decided to make valentines for frontline healthcare workers. When she was done, she had Ryan take them to work and hang them up around the emergency department so everyone could enjoy seeing them.

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The kids can get so creative with the games they come up with. On this particular day, they created a zoo with all of their toy animals. Each animal species had their own containment, and sometimes an animal would break out and create chaos and would need to be tranquilized by a helicopter and brought back to its cage!

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On weekends, we always try to find little projects for the kids to do. Ryan found a dinosaur fossil dig site for Brax at the store, and Brax was pumped. He worked so hard digging out his dino!

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Lately when Ryan is home in the evenings, the kids always want to do something fun with him. Sometimes it is play a video game with him, but usually Kinsie wants to do science with him. She got several science kits for Christmas, so they’ve had lots of fun trying them out. They’ve played with slime and kinetic sand, dug for crystals, made a volcano, and even made their own ice cream and slushie!

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Cousin Visits

When Ryan worked one Saturday, we needed a change of scenery, so I loaded the kids up and we drove to my parents’ house and had the kids’ cousins come play. I have lots of stuff stored in my parents’ basement, so while I sorted through all of that stuff, the kids had a blast playing with their cousins all day. Their favorite thing was playing their new “The Floor is Lava” game with them!

CousinFun

Another day, my sister’s family came to visit us and see the progress of our house. We made a day of it and had a picnic at the house, then they came back to our rental house for a while. We loved having them visit and the kids always love cousin time!

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Snow Day!

The kids have been dying for snow ever since we moved. We’ve had several small drizzles, but not enough to cover the ground for more than a couple of hours. Well…they finally got their wish! We finally got a good, somewhat heavy snowfall…enough to cover the ground and make the roads slick. Because of this, they had their first official snow day. Kinsie technically had an e-learning day, but she was done with her school work shortly after lunch, so then we were able to go outside and play.

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We all went out as a family. Brody loved sitting in the sled and watching the kids run around in the snow!

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Snow angels, sledding, and snowmen…oh my!

Our current yard is big, but it isn’t the best sledding yard, so Ryan attached the sled to his jeep with a rope and pulled them around the yard. They had a BLAST! And Koda loves snow too, so he ran around like a puppy chasing them in the sled!

SnowDay

I wasn’t always the biggest fan of snow…especially in high school and college. I always swore I would move somewhere warm where I would never have to see snow again. Well, that wish somewhat came true for a while! But now my perspective has changed. Not that I love cold weather by any means…but now I embrace it. I had my time in a warmer place, and let me tell you…the grass is not greener on the other side! Yes the winters in Arkansas were MUCH better, but the intense heat of the summers were almost unbearable. I traded one dreadful season for another. I’ve learned that there is no perfect place to live. But after being away from our loved ones for 3 years, we decided that we’d rather endure the rough winters if it means we’re close to family again. And to be honest, I missed the season changes of the midwest. I’m sure I’ll be over the snow and cold weather soon…but at least now I have a little more perspective, and I’ll remember that I chose family over mild winters.

100th Day of School

Kinsie recently celebrated her 100th day of 1st grade. Her class was encouraged to dress like they are 100 years old. At first, Kinsie was skeptical…she said she didn’t want to look weird. But I told her we wouldn’t go over-the-top and we would make her a cute old lady! I gathered a few items together, and Ryan made a cane for her. We let her try it on the night before and she approved! She was the prettiest little old lady I’ve ever seen!

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Progress on the House

The progress is really picking up at the house and we are so excited! They got so much done this month. It is hard not to go visit every day…which I basically do!

Working on the exterior…

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We have a front door… and a pretty little model!

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We have cabinets! I am SO excited for my new kitchen!

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We have tile in the mudroom and bathrooms…

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Obsessed with our vinyl floors!

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Kinsie showing off my new farm sink…one of the things I’m most excited about. And I’m not even kidding!

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We LOVE the way the exterior turned out!

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The kids always have so much fun when we visit. They like playing hide-and-seek in the cabinets. We also try to bring Koda whenever we can so he can get used to it and not feel the need to “mark his territory.”

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The house is estimated to be done in March. We’re so close!!

Brody at 8 Months

Not sure how I blinked and my baby turned 8 months old! I have to admit that I am enjoying and savoring his precious baby days more than I did with Kinsie and Brax. Maybe it’s because I’m not working now. Maybe it’s because we’re in a pandemic. Maybe it’s because he may be my last baby. Whatever the reason…I am savoring every precious smile, giggle, and snuggle with this boy. And even the tougher moments like teething, fussiness and when he decides not to sleep at night…I know that those moments are temporary. I know it’s just a season, and it will be over soon…just like his time being so little.

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His monthly photo shoots are getting a little harder to do since this boy is ALWAYS on the go!

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Here are some updates of our Bro Bro at 8 months old…

  • He is starting to pull up on things. We have to watch him like a hawk!
  • He LOVES table food. He’s been trying lots of new foods and likes almost everything he has tried. His current favorite include strawberries, carrots, avocados, and pears. He suddenly decided he does not like scrambled eggs anymore. He is definitely showing preferences for certain foods!
  • He often does the “downward-facing dog” yoga pose.
  • He is still army crawling. We know he is physically strong enough to crawl normally, but he prefers to scoot around. And does so very quickly!
  • Unlike his siblings, he has never been a huge fan of baths. However, now that he can sit up independently, I’ve been letting him take his baths with Brax. The first time I was going to give them a bath together, Kinsie was super jealous so I let her join in for the first time. But now that Brody is taking his baths with his brother, he has SO much fun. He even splashes in the water like crazy!
  • He and Brax have their own language. They will often mimic each other’s noises, and then laugh.
  • He is currently popping his two front teeth.
  • He is still obsessed with his mama. But he has a fun relationship with his daddy too.
  • He is really starting to play with his siblings…not just sit and watch. He’ll chase them around and interact with them and try to play what they are playing.

Showing off his standing skills!

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Loving his food!

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Bath time for Bro!

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Just doing some yoga!

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Mama love

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Brother and sister love. He already has such a sweet and unique relationship with each of them.

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More sweet Brody faces!

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The best thing to come out of 2020! Thanks for the perfect onesie, Yaya!

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Our growing little boy! I’m not ready to accept the fact that he’ll be a year old in just a few months!

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And that’s a wrap for January. And we are one month closer to moving into our dream home. I am SO ready to not only live in our new beautiful house, but to finally become somewhat settled. To not live in limbo anymore, where we have that nagging feeling that we’ll have to pick up and move again in a couple of years. That has been lives together so far for the past 8.5 years. Med school and residency and so many changes and moves…I’m ready to finally be in my forever home. And by the end of February, we should be pretty darn close to doing just that!

And as always, here is our January 1 Second Everyday…the first of 2021. This has become such a fun tradition. We all LOVE going back and watching them all from the past, and watching the kids grow through the seconds. It’s a tradition I have no intention of stopping anytime soon. Enjoy!

A Sweet, Slow-Paced December

Our December is usually SO busy. We usually have Christmas programs, Santa visits, Christmas parties, traveling, and LOTS of family get-togethers. But this is 2020. Nothing is normal. And this has become our new normal. This December, we hardly left home (well, Ryan did for work…but the kids and I stayed in our pajamas throughout the majority of the month!) With Covid raging through the midwest, we’ve been extra cautious and have limited our contacts as much as possible. Part of me craved the crazy, busy lifestyle that we’re used to in December, but overall, we truly embraced being home together as a family. 

Here is a recap of our December…

Ryan’s Birthday

Ryan actually had his birthday off, and I wanted him to actually relax and enjoy it, so we drive up and spent his birthday at the lake. It was such a nice, relaxing day. Ryan got to spend his day with his favorite people, we had ice cream cake, and on the way home, we saw Christmas lights. 

Ryan-birthday

While we were at the lake, we let the kids drop off their letters for Santa at a nearby Santa mailbox. Kinsie asked for science kits, a Fiona the hippo calendar, and books. Brax asked for dinosaur toys and the video game Jurassic World Evolution. Brody didn’t have any preferences this year, so he just came along for the ride!
Ryanbirthday-Santaletters

Kinsie’s back to virtual school

We knew it would eventually happen again. And with the rising numbers, we saw it coming so we gave her a heads up. Kinsie was pretty bummed when her school district decided to go back to all online. Even though the schools are doing an AMAZING job with mask-wearing, cleaning and sanitizing and social distancing, the district makes their decisions based on the county’s positivity rate. Luckily, it was only for about 2 weeks before Christmas break, but I was sad that she didn’t get to enjoy all the Christmas fun and activities at school. She was sad, but enjoyed some extra time with Brody. She will get to start in person again to start the new semester, so our fingers are crossed that she’ll get to remain in person! 

StayHome-VirtualSchool

Staying Busy at Home

As most of you probably know, we have some BUSY kids! While they are usually really good at being creative and using their imagination when they play, they’ve had a little too much together-ness, so we’ve had to help come up with activities to keep them busy so they don’t fight so much! Our staying home activities included…

Playing in the tent and sibling reading time…

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Learning how to make pottery with a pottery wheel that Kinsie got for her birthday…

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Decorating a gingerbread house…

StayHome-gingerbread

Christmas crafts…

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and making Christmas cookies…

StayHome-cookies

Rare Outside Time

Indiana winter has kind of slapped us in the face this month. I think it’s trying to remind us what we’ve been missing the last three years! There were about 3-4 days, however, where it was somewhat warm enough to be outside. The kids had severe cabin fever, so as SOON as we had the opportunity, we took it! They played on their ninja course, played “Hogwarts,” (complete with a ride on the Hogwarts Express, a Sorting Hat ceremony, and wizarding lessons), and even played in the snow when we had a small snowfall. And when I say small, we could still see the grass…and it was still more snow in one day than we got in 3 years in Arkansas!

OutsideOutside-SnowDay

Ryan got vaccinated!

We were SO excited for Ryan to receive his first Covid-19 vaccine! As a healthcare worker, he was honored to be one of the first groups of people to receive the vaccine. This is history in the making, and the biggest step we can take to do our part to help beat this thing (other than masking up and social distancing of course). He’ll receive his second vaccine in a couple weeks. We all can’t wait for our turn…hopefully sooner rather than later!

Ryan vaccine

Progress on our House

They are still moving along with our house and we are so excited! This month they completed the electrical wiring, HVAC, and plumbing, which wasn’t very “visible” progress, but still exciting! They also added the garage doors, and now the entire house is dry-walled. We still love taking trips over there, and when we do, the kids don’t want to leave!

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Standing in their rooms!

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Christmas Activities

Christmas was definitely different this year, but we still found lots of ways to celebrate the season safely. This was a great opportunity to slow down and focus on the REAL reason for the season!

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One thing I really miss about Arkansas is the amazing women’s bible study I was in. And as SOON as we are able to, we can’t wait to find another church home. Anyway, a few years ago, in my bible study, we made an Advent study for our kids using the Jesus Storybook Bible. My kids love doing this every year! They know the stories by heart, but they still love hearing them over and over, and celebrating Jesus as the best gift we’ve ever received!

Christmas-advent

Matching Christmas pajamas are always a must! My sweet boys rocking their Santa jammies!

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We took a few opportunities throughout the month to drive around and look at Christmas lights and displays. 

Christmas-lights

Christmas Morning

Christmas morning is truly magical when you have kids. I am always so happy to watch their eyes light up when they see what Santa brought them! From Santa, Kinsie got the science kits and Fiona calendar she wanted, and she also got a “Fiona kiss,” a Hufflepuff mug (she recently took the official Pottermore Sorting Hat quiz and discovered she is a Hufflepuff and couldn’t be more proud!), and a unicorn nightlight. She was also super excited to get a Kids Kindle from us. She has already downloaded tons of books and reads from her Kindle every day! When Brax saw his dinosaur toys that Santa brought him, he literally dove at them and starting “swimming” in them. He was so excited! And Brody loved his Harry Potter bear, and fun books and toys! However, he spent most of his morning climbing on unopened presents and trying to eat the wrapping paper and bows!

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Kinsie’s school did a “Penguin Patch Holiday Shop,” where the kids could shop online and buy little items for their friends and family. I told her how much she could spend, and she picked out small toys for her brothers, all of her cousins, and our dog Koda. She was SO excited to give her gifts to everyone! I think my girl has the gift of giving like her mama and grandmas!

After we opened our family gifts at home, we packed up and headed to my parents’ house for Christmas with my immediate family. We loved our day of spending time with the family and letting the cousins play all day. 

The next day, we had Christmas with Ryan’s immediate family. We hadn’t seen both sides of our families since Thanksgiving, so it was really nice to spend some time with them. This is the extent of our Covid bubble right now, and even them we don’t see as often as we’d like. I’m just glad we live close now so we at least have the option to see them at all!

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The kids LOVE their cousin time!

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It was definitely a different Christmas than we are used to, but it was perfect. We loved our time with family and we loved taking it easy and just focusing on each other and Jesus…the best gift of all!

Christmas-family

New Year’s Eve

The last few years, we have enjoyed just staying home and taking it easy for New Year’s Eve…so this year was obviously no different! Ryan had to work, so the kids and I had some New Year’s fun. We played board games, “Just Dance” on Nintendo Switch, and did a “countdown” with sparkling grape juice…all before 9pm! Since it was just us, there was no point in trying to keep the kids up. I barely made it to midnight myself! Ryan got home at 11:58pm…just in time to watch the ball drop with me!

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The best thing to come out of 2020…my precious little Brody!

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Brody is 7 months!

This precious little ball of sunshine is 7 months old! He is the absolute best blessing to come out of 2020. He has brought us so much joy during a difficult time in the world, and because of that I will always be grateful for the year 2020. 

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Here is what our little guy is up to at 7 months…

  • He still army crawls like a beast. And when he really wants something, he goes fast!
  • He is starting to get up on his hands and knees. You can tell he wants to start crawling the real way, but he knows he can go faster with his army crawling!
  • He snorts when he laughs.
  • He crinkles his nose when he smiles big.
  • He has very strong legs. When I’m changing his diaper, he’ll kick his legs like crazy and sometimes gets me in the stomach and knocks the wind out of me! 
  • He is starting to pull up on things.
  • He loves playing with anything the kids play with. Particularly Brax’s dinosaurs.
  • He is still a major mama’s boy. If I’m not holding him, he will chase me around the room. If I walk passed him without picking him up, he melts. If I am sitting with him while he plays on the floor, it doesn’t matter if he’s surrounded by toys, he just wallers all over me. I’m sure there are lots of other 2020 babies who are attached to their mamas since they don’t get out much and see other people!
  • He has been trying lots of different types of food (real food – not just baby food). He always wants us to feed the pieces to him. He’ll pretend to try to pick up pieces on his own, then just opens his mouth for us to feed him! 
  • We’ve also been introducing him to high-allergen foods, like peanut butter and eggs, and so far he has done great with no allergies (yay!) He loves avocados, blueberries, and mixed veggies…but his absolute favorite thing so far is peanut butter. I can’t blame him!

Loving on his brother and sister. They are still obsessed with him. We all are!

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Enjoying some avocados

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Pulling up. Not sure I’m ready for this!

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Brody LOVED his first Christmas! He especially loved scooting over to the Christmas tree when we weren’t looking and grabbing the bows off the presents and grabbing any ornament he could reach!

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Happy Brody faces are my favorite!!

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Our growing boy!

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And that’s a wrap for our December, AND 2020. What a crazy year it was! I knew it was going to be a big year with a baby coming, finishing residency and moving…but I had no idea just how big it would be. We grew SO much this year and all became stronger individuals and as a family. God really gave me a good, strong dose of humility with this pandemic, which I know I needed. I am not in control, He is…and I need to trust his plan instead of trying to make my own. We are excited to see what 2021 brings…especially moving into our new house! We are also hopeful for a less eventful year…and we are definitely hopeful for this pandemic to end sometime this year. However, we’ve learned with this year that no matter what comes our way, we can handle it together as a family, and definitely with the Lord on our side!

Here is our 1 Second Everyday for December…

 

And if you are interested, here is the 1 Second Everyday of the entire 2020. It is pretty entertaining!

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.

Brody-sick

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!

Halloween-campgrounds

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.