Beach Babes

At the beginning of Winter break, we were able to take a trip to Siesta Key, Florida with my family. Our family owns a condo in the area, so we used to go all the time when I was in high school and college. However, with the busy-ness of life with kids, and a med student husband whose time is not his own, we have only been there once since Kinsie was born, and she was a baby so she didn’t remember.

My parents and my sister’s family flew in a few days before we did, because I had to finish my last few days of school before Winter Break started, and Ryan had another residency interview trip to return from. In those days, we had a major ice storm in Indiana, which delayed and cancelled many flights…ours being one of them. We ended up flying the next day straight to Orlando – which really worked out better for us because we were planning on spending that afternoon and evening at the Magic Kindom for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party anyway before spending the rest of our vacation in Siesta Key. We were all THRILLED to get away from the freezing cold weather!

This was our first time traveling with 2 kids. While the kids were absolute champs, traveling with two is quite different than just one! Our time at the airport was complete chaos with all of our luggage including 2 car seats, wrangling the two kids, trying to prevent Brax from spitting up all over the airport seats while trying not to spill our coffee on ourselves, the kids, or even the floor (can’t waste that gold!) Kinsie was excited to roll her own suitcase through the airport. She spent the flight singing Christmas songs to everyone and watching episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and Brax slept the majority of the flight. During the time he was awake, he was happy but crazy (per usual!) He made loud happy squeals, smiled at everyone around him, and squirmed so much that we were sweating by the end of the flight. Like I said…the trip wasn’t bad, just chaotic!

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Once we flew into Orlando, my parents picked us up and we headed straight to Disney World. We didn’t buy regular admission tickets, just for the Christmas Party…so we were able to enter the park at 4pm. As soon as we got there, the first thing we did was meet Mickey. Brax was beyond tired at this point, so he really needed to nap, but I really wanted him to get to meet Mickey. He LOVED him! Kinsie and the other kids of course loved him too! During our time at Magic Kingdom, we rode a few rides, watched the parade and the fireworks (our favorite parts), ate Christmas cookies, and had a dance party with the reindeer! We were there until after midnight, and Brax slept on and off in the stroller, and Kinsie not only stayed awake the entire time we were there, but walked the entire time! Even when we held Brax and offered the stroller to Kinsie, she wanted to walk. Finally as we were leaving the park after midnight, Kinsie passed out in Ryan’s arms. We drove back to Siesta Key that night and arrived at 3am. It was a long, exhaustic, but wonderful evening!

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Kinsie was only 9 months old when we went to Siesta Key last, and while she loved the pool and the sunshine, she was not the biggest fan of the beach – mainly because she was too little to run around and enjoy it. The closest we have come to the beach since then was last summer when we went to the Dunes for a family reunion. Kinsie loved that beach, so I figured she would be in heaven on Siesta Key Beach…one of the world’s best and most beautiful beaches. Boy, was I right! She spent all-day every day at the beach. Ryan and I took turns in the condo with Brax for his naps, but Kinsie always stayed on the beach either with one of us, or with my parents. Brax obviously couldn’t enjoy it as much as Kinsie, but that kid has fun doing just about anything. He enjoyed it the best he could!

Kinsie loved spending time with her cousins. They spent a ton of time playing in the ocean, finding sea shells and seaweed, chasing seagulls, and making sand castles (and sand hippos too). We were there on my mom’s birthday, so we had a cookout on the beach on that day. Brax ended up coming down with an upper respiratory infection while we were there, so he was a bit needier than usual, but he still did very well considering. Ryan and I really wanted to get the chance to go fishing on the dock, but it was difficult to find the time. We tried to go during Brax’s naps, but he didn’t sleep more than 45 minutes at a time since he didn’t feel good. On the last night of our trip, we were able to make it happen once the kids were in bed. We didn’t get many bites that night, so we went back with the kids the next day before going to the airport. Ryan finally caught a snapper, so we were excited that we at least got something during the trip!

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We all had such a great time. The weather was perfect while we were there, making it hard to come back to Indiana. We can’t wait to go back again!

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November Adventures

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

Trip to Florida

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

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Jurassic Quest

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

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Thanksgiving

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

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Thanksgiving feast at Kinsie’s preschool

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Thanksgiving lunch at Megan and Tim’s

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All the cousins gathered around the cousin table for Thanksgiving dinner

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Polar Express

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

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