Kinsie Kay is FIVE!

I cannot believe my daughter has been with us for half a decade. She is no longer a toddler, but a little girl. She is stubborn and passionate, but she can also be very shy and nurturing. She has developed her own opinion and attitude that she loves to test out in all situations. She takes her role of big sister very seriously, and fiercely protects her brother. Ironically, she is also the one to push his buttons and beat him up more often than necessary! She has more energy than she knows what to do with (thanks a lot, Grandma Bev!), and wears us all out. If any of you have ever read the children’s book Olivia, THAT is Kinsie. We always joke with her with the famous quote from that book…”You know, you really wear me out. But I love you anyway!” She has gotten much taller this year, and has legs for days! I’m sure she’ll be passing me up in no time!

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This year has been harder on her than we expected with living away from the home and family she’s ever known, but from that she has learned a lot of life lessons that I think have helped her mature. She definitely struggles with residency and everything that goes with it. She doesn’t like her daddy being away as much as he is, and she hates that she isn’t with all our family in Indiana. This breaks my heart when she gets sad about it, so we are working with her on finding ways to focus on the positive aspects of our situation. Keeping busy is crucial for her busy little mind, so lots of activities help keep her from getting sad. She does have lots of friends here between church, school, and the other residents’ kids, which helps her as well. She still loves Facetime sessions, and seeing pictures and videos of our family, and she enjoys counting down how many sleeps until the next time she gets to see them. She really has handled the changes very well for a little girl, and we have all bonded over the changes. Overall she is such a happy, bouncy, energetic, smart little girl who just loves life!

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Here are some current stats about our Kinsie Kay:

  • Favorite color: still pink!
  • Favorite TV shows: Paw Patrol, Peppa Pig, Fancy Nancy and Vampirina
  • Favorite movie: The Greatest Showman
  • She is very well-rounded. She loves unicorns, princesses, mermaids, and dressing up in tutus, but she also loves dinosaurs, bugs, wrestling and getting dirty.Kinsie-silly
  • She LOVES drawing, arts, and crafts. She enjoys art on all kinds of media- paper, sidewalk chalk, the iPad, you name it. Every day she comes home from school with about 8 more pictures that she drew for us. This does not surprise me at all considering Ryan and I have always both loved art. Give her some paper and crayons, she’ll stay busy for hours. Throw in some scissors and tape, she’ll come up with all kinds of crazy creations!Kinsie-drawing
  • She wants to be a teacher when she grows up. She used to also want to be a doctor, but now that she sees how often her daddy works, she doesn’t want to be a doctor anymore. Funny, but a little sad! Maybe once residency is over and Ryan’s hours decrease, she’ll want to be a doctor again!
  • She loves the outdoors. She loves fishing, hiking, running, climbing, swimming, finding critters, and more.Kinsie-tomboy
  • She absolutely loves animals. Visiting different zoos is one of her favorite hobbies. Her favorite animals are still hippos and dolphins. She recently got to meet Fiona the baby hippo from the Cincinnati Zoo and they became instant best friends! Kinsie-animals
  • Lately we’ve been teaching her a few sight words every day, and she loves helping me read her books before bed. She has actually done better with this beginning stage of reading than I expected, and she is surprising her teacher with her new skills. She’s become a pro at writing her letters, and knows how to spell certain words on her own. Her newest obsession is taking the words she knows and creating sentences. IMG_4402
  • She still loves reading books, and works hard at memorizing some of them so she can recite them to Brax. Soon she’ll be actually reading some on her own!IMG_8684
  • She has always loved water, but lately she has become quite the little fish. She has become much more comfortable in the water and has been practicing swimming underwater. I think she’ll be a pro by the end of next summer!Kinsie-swimming
  • She has a great imagination. She has always been so great at playing independently and coming up with very unique ways of playing.
  • She is currently playing T-ball and taking ballet classes. She still loves soccer, but agreed to take a break in order to try T-ball. So far she loves it!Kinsie-sports
  • She has never stayed too much of a mama’s girl, or a daddy’s girl…she’s both! She loves helping me around the house with chores and cooking, and she loves when I teach her new things. She loves using her daddy as her own personal jungle gym, and doing science experiments and sports with him.Kinsie-parents

She and I are very different in many ways, but can also be very similar. She thrives on social interaction, which is very different than me. She can be very hard on herself, which is just like me. Every day I learn something new about her and raising her stretches my limits and tests my patience every day, but I am working very hard to raise her into a God-fearing, respectful young lady. Even though she is stubborn (just like her dad), we are trying to teach her to use her drive and passion in positive ways. Pray for us!

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Here is a video I made to capture our little girl’s silly and spunky personality. Enjoy!

Happy 5th birthday, my beautiful firstborn. You will always be so special to me!

Brax is TWO!

I am still in denial that my little boy is TWO! This creeped up on me quicker than I expected, and I’m not ready for it! Turning two is such a big year and they grow so much physically and developmentally during this year. He is looking and acting more and more like a little boy rather than a baby, but he is SO much fun! We love watching his little personality blossom more and more every day. He does many things so much like Kinsie (because he is her little shadow and does everything she does), but he also has his own little idiosyncrasies that make him unique. He is definitely a “second child” and knows how to stick up for himself when big sis is doing something he doesn’t like. He is all boy who loves to wrestle, be loud, crash into and destroy things. He makes us laugh every day, and we just adore squeezing him, hugging him, tickling him and snuggling with him.

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Here are some fun facts about our precious little two year old…

  • He gives the world’s best hugs…and we are not just biased. We’ve had several other people tell us this!
  • Kinsie is his best friend. His favorite thing to do with her is tackle her and wrestle.

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  • He is obsessed with our dogs and spends a significant amount of time chasing Addie around the house.
  • Some of his favorite activities include reading books, hiking, playing outside, playing ball, taking baths, and playing with trains and cars.

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  • He is pretty fearless. More so than what makes me comfortable!
  • He is a major mama’s boy but also adores his Daddy… he screams out of excitement when he gets home from work.

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  • His vocabulary has exploded. He can say a lot of words and phrases…we just can’t always understand him! Kinsie is the best at translating for him. We always call him Joey because if you’ve seen the episode of “Friends” where Phoebe is try to teach Joey how to speak French, he gets it all wrong but is completely confident that he’s saying it right. This is so Brax when he talks!
  • Favorite animals: gorillas, elephants, lions and alligators
  • Favorite movie: Coco
  • Favorite TV shows: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Bubble Guppies
  • Favorite food: mini corn dogs and scrambled eggs
  • Favorite books: “It’s Pumpkin Day, Mouse” and “Big Smelly Bear”
  • Favorite song: The clean up song from Barney, and Poco Loco from the movie Coco
  • He has improved tremendously with his separation anxiety (thank goodness!) He now loves going to his church class and does great with babysitters.
  • He will start preschool (Mother’s Day Out) in September.
  • He is a complete ball of sunshine. He is SO happy, giggly, and adorable. We literally cannot get enough of him! Kinsie will even attack him with kisses and say “I can’t help it…he’s just so cute!” Agreed!

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Here is a video I made for Brax’s birthday so you can get a glimpse of the preciousness and chaos that I live with every day! Enjoy!

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Happy 2nd birthday my sweet, precious boy. You will have our hearts forever!

Our Brax Man at 18 Months

And just like that…my little boy is 18 months old. He entered our lives a year and a half ago and changed them forever in the best way. He completely lights up all of our lives and he, and his sister of course, are the best little gifts God ever gave us.

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Our little guy has grown up SO much since he turned a year old. He is walking, talking, dancing, even sassing. I love watching him change every day and watching him learn more about the world around him. Kinsie is still totally in love with her little brother and loves teaching him everything she knows. He has such a fun and spunky little personality that is so contagious.

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Here are some stats about our Brax Man at 18 months old…

  • He is 26 lbs, 13 oz. (63rd percentile) and 32 inches tall (34th percentile).
  • He is obsessed with reading. Maybe even more than Kinsie if that’s possible. He will bring us book after book after book, then plop his little booty down right in our lap to listen to the book. He especially loves Sesame Street books.
  • He is getting very verbal and is learning new words every day. Some of his first words included ball, book, Batman, and dog. He shortens most words to just one syllable…like “Mickey” becomes “Mick,” and apple becomes “app.” Some of my favorites of his words are banana (nana), and shoes (shh).
  • He still loves playing with balls. He will spot a ball in any room, on any page of a book, or on any show.
  • When we name a body part, he can point to it on his body. His belly is his favorite!
  • He can name several animal sounds. His favorite animal sounds are elephants, cows, monkeys and pigs.
  • He absolutely loves Mickey Mouse. On TV, in person, in books, in stuffed animals…he loves any form of Mickey!
  • He is great at making messes, but loves to help clean up his messes.
  • He watches EVERYTHING Kinsie does and wants to do it too.
  • His favorite animals are elephants and monkeys. He also LOVES dogs.
  • His favorite foods are bananas, applesauce, and pretty much anything with ketchup.
  • He loves to snack throughout the day.
  • He is a major mama’s boy, but still adores his daddy.
  • He is very determined about what he wants and doesn’t want, and will make sure we know it.

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18months

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This kid is so awesome. I can’t wait to keep watching him grow and learn! I can’t believe he’ll be two in 6 months!

Kinsie Kay is FOUR!

My beautiful, crazy, spunky, sweet and sassy girl is four years old today! I’ve become closer with her over the past few months since I’ve spent so much time with her, and every day I discover more about her and how amazing of a little girl she is. She is so smart and loves to learn. She loves to read, and even when one of us can’t read to her at the moment, she’ll either read what she had already memorized from that book, or just make it up. She loves to use her imagination, and is teaching Brax to love it too. She could talk all day…and often does. When she gets home from school, she will tell me every detail and every dialogue of her entire day. Then when Ryan gets home from work, she will go through the whole story with him. I love discovering the way her mind works and seeing her little personality blossom more and more each day. She has become my little sidekick and my helper in our new life in Arkansas. Brax is her best friend and he wants to do everything she does. Even though she can be very rough with her brother, she is very protective of him and would do anything for him. She challenges me every day and makes me a stronger person and a better mom. Her sense of adventure forces me out of my comfort zone. She made me a mom, and I will always be grateful to her for that.

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Kinsie has changed and matured so much throughout the last year. Here are some updated stats on my four year old girl…

  • She has always been a bit verbally advanced, and continues to be so. She talks like an adult. I often forget how young she is when we have conversations.
  • She has a special relationship with both Ryan and I. She will have spurts of being a “mommy’s girl” or a “daddy’s girl,” but overall, she doesn’t discriminate.
  • She’s a total outdoors girl. She would probably sleep outside if she could. I have a hard time getting her back inside even when she has sweat dripping down her face and mosquito bites all over her legs.
  • Her favorite animals are hippos and dolphins.
  • Her favorite color is still pink.
  • Her favorite TV show is Paw Patrol.
  • She loves everything Disney. She has always loved Mickey and his crew, but recently we’ve been watching all the Disney classics together. Right now some of her faves include Dumbo, Beauty and the Beast and Toy Story.
  • She loves to learn new things and thrives on positive reinforcement. However, she is very hard on herself (just like her mother). She expects to do things perfectly when trying them for the first time and gets frustrated with herself when she can’t.
  • She can spell various words such as Kinsie, Brax, zoo, dog and cat.
  • She can add small amounts together.
  • She’s getting pretty good at drawing. You can actually tell what she is trying to draw.
  • She wants to be a teacher and a doctor when she grows up.
  • She still loves soccer and gymnastics. She is playing soccer in a program in our town, and we plan to enroll her in a gymnastics class in the winter.
  • She loves meeting new friends, but is horrible at remembering their names.
  • She loves school. She participates, listens very well, and is a great helper. Her teacher said she is always happy and bouncy!
  • She has been my saving grace throughout the move. She has stayed positive and open minded about all the changes. Even though she misses our families, she has handled the transition so well and has loved the opportunity to explore a new place!

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Happy 4th birthday, my sweet girl. The world is a better, brighter, and more exciting place with you in it!

Brax is ONE!!!

My baby is one. ONE. How is this already true? I feel like he was born YESTERDAY. I went back and read his birth story today and cried and wallowed in my nostalgia. I remember every last detail about the evening before and the morning he was born. The intense thunderstorm that cleared the roads for us to drive to the hospital, my water breaking as soon as I crawled into bed, feeling completely exhausted and attempting to “rest” but not being able to because I was SO anxious…but most importantly, meeting my boy. My beautiful, perfect, 7 lb. 15 oz. baby boy that I waited not just 9 months, but my entire life to meet. I cannot believe that it was a year ago that we became a family of four. A year ago, my sweet little boy came into this world and wiggled his way right into our hearts.

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Brax is very busy these days. He is always on the move and learning new things. Here are his ONE YEAR updates…

  • He is 22 lbs, 8 oz. (70th percentile) and 29.5 inches tall. (50th percentile)
  • He has 8 teeth. He doesn’t use them as much for chewing food as much as biting his loved ones. He finds it hilarious. We don’t.
  • He can stand independently for up to a minute…probably longer. It only happens when he is distracted and doesn’t realize he is doing it.
  • Some of his favorite hobbies include playing catch, eating, yelling, and wrestling with his sister.
  • He loves to clap his hands.
  • He loves to dance.
  • He hates naps (how did we get 2 children who hate sleep?)
  • He is learning to talk more and more every day. He mainly says “mom” and “dad,” but he loves babbling, yelling and hearing his own noises at a very loud decibel!
  • He loves touch and feel books, and even tries to touch the pages on non-touch and feel books.
  • Some of his favorite foods include blueberry waffles and mac and cheese.
  • He is learning what “no” means. You can see the little wheels turn in his head when we teach him when he shouldn’t do something. (Like eat dog food)
  • He is super ticklish…especially his toes.
  • He still loves bath time. As soon as we start the bath water, he books it to the bathroom and tries to climb in by himself.
  • He loves chasing the dogs and trying to grab their tail and paws. Koda runs away, Addie just licks his face.
  • Nobody can make him laugh as much as Kinsie can…they are the best of buddies and partners in crime!

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To my sweet, one-year-old boy, Braxton…

I can’t believe you are one year old! We have all LOVED getting to know you throughout the last year. Every day, we learn more about you and fall in love with you even more. You are a crazy, loud, little ball of energy with an award-winning smile, making it impossible not to smile back. You haven’t let me have much quality sleep in the last year, and one day at home with you puts more steps on my Fitbit than if I ran the mini marathon…but I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything in the world. Your sister may pester you constantly, but she is your biggest fan. She loves having a little sidekick and putting on a show for you to make you smile. Your dad and I are obsessed with your sweet personality, and your precious giggle is our favorite sound in the world. We can’t wait to watch you continue to learn and grow into a little boy and see what amazing things you accomplish. I thank God every day for the amazing blessing that you are. I am so grateful to be your mom!

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Brax is ALMOST One!

How is my little boy almost one? I know I sound so cliche right now but it is going so fast! I feel like he was a newborn yesterday…yet I don’t remember what life was like before he was born. He has wiggled his way perfectly into our little family and adds the perfect touch to us. He is so stinking cute and happy and he melts my heart every single day. I wish I could attach a permanent GoPro camera to him so I could record everything he does, because everything he does is so cute! He has brought so much joy to our family and I am so grateful to God for letting this incredible little boy be mine.

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Here is an update on our Braxy boy at 11 months…

    • He is done with baby food. He eats just table food now. He is an eating MACHINE. He loves food. Any food. All food. We have yet to find a food that he doesn’t like. He tends to like meat and grains the most. Some of his favorites include avocados, Cheerios, and hot dogs.
    • He can throw a ball. Playing catch is his favorite activity!
    • He has 6 teeth.
    • He waves ALL the time. It is the CUTEST thing EVER. He waves to anyone and everyone!
    • He is a Daddy’s boy lately. He still loves Mama, but he gravitates more toward Daddy and always wants him to hold him.
    • He loves to try to bite people. He thinks it is hilarious.
    • He can say Dada and Mama…and we THINK he recognizes us with those words.
    • He still thinks Kinsie is hilarious. If she laughs, he laughs. She tackles and squeezes him all the time and usually he loves it.
    • He doesn’t understand the word “no” yet…we are working on it.
    • Although he doesn’t know what “no” means, he always shakes his head no!
    • He can stand by himself for a few seconds.
    • We call him “Stitch” (from the movie Lilo and Stitch) because all he wants to do is destroy everything!
    • He LOVES to be outside.

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Kinsie loves entertaining her brother!

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Happy 11 months, Brax! Next update you will be ONE!

Kinsie Kay is THREE and a HALF!

How did this happen? It feels like she JUST turned three…then suddenly I blinked and she is halfway to FOUR! We have noticed a huge difference in her lately…she is so grown up! All of the sudden she isn’t a toddler anymore, but a little girl. Every day, we continue to be blown away by our daughter. She is such an amazing little girl and she is SO much fun to be around. She has a tender, sweet, gentle side, yet she is spunky, sassy and crazy. I love every part of her and I love getting to see her change and grow each day.

Here is a glimpse of my girl at three and a half…

  • She LOVES to learn. She can recognize all of her numbers and letters, and loves learning how to write them.
  • She can spell and write her name.
  • She can do very simple addition.
  • She LOVES to read. We read a ridiculous amount of books each day, and her teachers at school say that all she does at school is read. She memorizes a lot of her favorite books, so then she can “read” them to Brax.
  • She is currently playing soccer and doing a gymnastics class.
  • Favorite animal: hippos
  • Favorite color: pink
  • Favorite movies: Moana and Trolls
  • Favorite books: Dr. Seuss books
  • Favorite food: protein bars and pickles
  • Her favorite people to hang out with are her cousins and her brother.

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Happy half birthday, my beautiful girl!