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!

The Longest February in History

This month was LOOOOONG. Usually January is the worst month, but goodness, this February was rough. The weather was absolutely insane and we had so many random things go wrong and need repaired. Our house is ALMOST DONE…which is why I think time went especially slow because we are so anxious to move in! But we made it to March and we couldn’t be more excited! Here is a rundown of our incredibly long February…

Valentine’s Day Activities

We always try to do several fun activities to celebrate Valentine’s Day for the kids…starting with making valentines for their classes. My crafty girl always wants to make her valentines, rather than just buying some and putting her name on them. This year, she made “love monsters” for her class. And Brax of course, wanted dinosaur valentines! They enjoyed putting them together for their friends.

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We also spent a day making valentine cookies (we threw in some unicorns too). The kids always love making cookies, and their most recent favorite decorating themes include Harry Potter cookies (notice several of the cookies have glasses), and cookies with masks!

Valentines-cookies

On actual Valentine’s Day, Ryan had to work in the afternoon so we did our valentines activities in the morning. This mainly included a scavenger hunt to find their gifts. Then of course I always take a million pictures of them…especially since its Brody’s first Valentine’s Day!

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A recent tradition I’ve done the last few years is writing reasons why we love the kids – one reason for each kid starting on February 1 until February 14. They loved waking up each morning to see a new reason, and Brody loved wrinkling up and chewing on his reasons! 

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I also usually try to make a Valentine-themed dinner for the kids. This year included heart-shaped grilled cheese sandwiches. And for Brody, his lunch meat and veggies were arranged in a heart!

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The Never-ending Blizzard

The week after Valentine’s Day was INSANE. Not only the entire state of Indiana had major snow storms, but even southern states like Texas and our old home state of Arkansas did too! The entire time we lived there, there was maybe a light dusting of snow once…and the entire city shut down. Now they had like 10 inches! I’m not sure how they survived! Anyway, the kids didn’t have school on Monday (President’s Day), and that is when the madness began. It snowed ALL DAY and ALL NIGHT. And then it snowed MORE. And MORE. It just wouldn’t stop. The kids ended up having 3 snow days in a row! (Kinsie had e-learning on these days). And it wasn’t ideal to go outside and play in the snow because a) the temperature was in the single digits, and b) Ryan was working the whole week and it was hard managing time around Brody’s naps and Kinsie’s schoolwork…but the kids didn’t even want to play outside. They were over it! We all were…except for maybe Koda.

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We did have some epic icicles on our house!

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Koda enjoyed the snow! The rest of us not so much.

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Kinsie all bundled up doing her school work online

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At one point, I did scoop up some fresh, clean snow and the kids and I made snow ice cream!

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Not only was the weather crummy, but about everything broke down during this week for us. Our toilet stopped working (and we only have one bathroom in our rental), my car got stuck in the deep snow in our driveway, our laptop stopped working intermittently, our printer stopped working, and once we actually got my car out of the driveway, the power steering pump needed replaced! It was a tough week. We were stuck inside all day, every day for a week. We actually ended up spending one night at my parents house just to have a working toilet for 24 hours. The kids were sick of each other and sick of not being able to go to school. And we were all sick of everything not working…but we got through it, and we know it could have been much worse, so we tried our best to stay positive!

Home Activities and Projects

Like every other month, February consisted of a lot of staying home and trying to stay busy. There is always a lot of arts and crafts, science, games, and imaginative play. 

One day when Aunt Renata came to visit, she got out some of Ryan’s butcher paper and started creating a board game with Brax. They included Dinosaur Land, Unicorn Island, and more. Once Kinsie came home from school, then she took off with lots of ideas for the game too. The kids loved designing it and playing it!

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Ryan and I recently watched the Netflix show called “The Queen’s Gambit.” It’s about a young orphan who becomes a prodigy and world champion at chess. I’ve never known how to play chess, and watching this show made me want to learn. Ryan bought a learning version of the game, called “No Stress Chess.” So one day, Ryan started teaching me how to play, and the kids became obsessed…especially Brax! I didn’t think it would interest him much, but he LOVES it, and still asks Ryan to play with him regularly!

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Kinsie is still slowly working through all of the science kits she received for Christmas. Ryan loves doing them with her and teaching her about science along the way. Brax usually joins in on the fun too!

Home-science

One day, Kinsie randomly decided she was going to make vet stations for their stuffed animals. She had a station for checking eye sight and getting glasses, a teeth brushing station, a station to check for ticks, and a station to receive a shot and decorate a bandaid to put on after the shot. She asked Brax and Brody to each pick a stuffed animal to go through the stations with. It was so creative!

Home-VetDay

I have always wanted to collect all of the kids’ drawings and artwork and put them into a book, but I never took the time to do it. Well one day, my sister-in-law sent me a text saying that Shutterfly was having a deal where you could make a book with free unlimited pages. I knew right then, this was the time I finally needed to do it. So I spent the next couple of days organizing the kids’ artwork, scanning it all, and arranging it all into books. I made one book for Brax with artwork from age 2 until now, and I had to make 2 books for Kinsie because she had SO much artwork. Just last spring alone when the pandemic hit, drawing was stress relief for her, so she spent hours a day drawing. Now all of that artwork is displayed in these awesome books rather than tucked away in bins where nobody will see them. I love how they turned out!

Home-artbooks

Since we hardly ever leave the house, Brody often gets bored with his same environment and toys, so I try to switch it up and take him into different rooms. Whenever I have computer work to do, I bring him to the office (which is also the room where he sleeps) and I put him in his pack n play and put toys in with him. The kids always like to get in there with him to play, so of course I had to document it!

Home-crib

Fun at School

Even though this year is very different, the kids are still really enjoying school. I love seeing the different activities and work they bring home from school.

This particular paper Kinsie brought home melted me. She had to write about her superhero, and she wrote about her dad!

School-hero

I love when their schools share photos on social media so I can get a glimpse of their day!

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This month, Brax got to celebrate his 100th day of school! He got to bring in 100 of a snack (he chose M&M’s), and 100 of an item of his choice, as long as it fit in a gallon sized bag. He brought in 100 dinosaurs!

School-100thday

Cousin Sleepover

My parents invited all the cousins (except Brody…he still needs his mama at night!) for a sleepover. It’s reasons like this why, even in the midst of a horrible winter, we are so glad we moved back home!

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OUTSIDE!!

After the snowstorm week from hell, the sun finally decided to shine again! The temps got up to the mid fifties and it was HEAVEN. Most of the snow melted, and we finally ventured outside and I can’t even tell you how amazing it felt to feel the sun again!

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Progress on the House

Our house is ALMOST DONE. I’m so excited I can barely think straight. The updates this month were SO fun because we’ve gotten to see it slowly come together to look like the final product. It is so beautiful I could cry.

 

The living room after a fresh coat of paint

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In love with my counter tops!

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The basement!

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Master shower

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Kinsie loves her room!

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Living room

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The upper back porch

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Master bathroom

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Kids’ bathroom

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My amazing kitchen 

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Ryan and I have had to meet with the guys working on the house every once in a while to discuss things, and Brody is usually along for the ride. One day, we had to go through the house and decide the layout of all the closets. Well I guess we took longer than I expected because Brody ended up falling asleep!

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Picnics are a common thing at the house! 

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Brody is NINE Months!

My baby is only 3 months away from turning one, and I’m not ok with it! Goodness this boy brings us so much joy. He is so sweet, silly, and happy, and he still LOVES his mama. The feeling is mutual, but I don’t necessarily feel the need to hang all over him and chase him around like he does to me.

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Brody updates at 9 months –

  • He weighs 19 pounds – 36th percentile
  • He is 28.8 inches tall – 63rd percentile
  • He loves to dance! He has the most precious signature dance that he does whenever he hears music (you can see small snippets of his dance in the 1 Second Everyday video at the end of this post).
  • His favorite food is strawberries. But he still loves most food. And he eats SO fast…like his dad!
  • His two top teeth have broken through and are SO cute.
  • He is “real” crawling now. However, when he wants to get somewhere fast, he still drops down to his belly and army crawls like a beast.
  • He is saying sounds like “da-da,” “ya-ya,” and “ga-ga.” No meaning yet, just cute babbles.
  • His favorite thing to do is pull up on anything he can. He is also starting to get braver and tries to climb up onto things. 
  • His favorite place in the world is his mama’s arms.
  • He looks just like Kinsie did as a baby. I didn’t realize it until I looked back at baby pictures of Kinsie. 
  • He loves discovering his voice, He makes all kinds of cute babbles and squeals constantly.

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KinsBrody

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On Brody’s 9 month birthday, the kids made him cards, and found toys and wrapped them up in paper for him to open as presents. It was precious!

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Matching brother hats

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Always standing!

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More precious Brody smiles! I could stare at his face all day. I often do.

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Our growing boy!

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Good riddance, February. We’re ready to move on from you. We’re ready for March. We’re ready for spring. We’re ready for warmer weather and more outside time. And we are SO ready to move into our house…SO SOON! Stay tuned…next month is officially move-in month!!

Here is our February 1 Second Everyday…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.

Home-HP

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.

Home-MLKService

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!

Home-zoo

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!

Home-dig

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!
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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! 

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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…

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Christmas crafts…

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and making Christmas cookies…

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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. 

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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!

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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.

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Progress on our House

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

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

 

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

 

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Windows and shingles – done!

 

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

Picnic Dinner at the House

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

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

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My Birthday

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

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Thanksgiving

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

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

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

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

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Kinsie’s Sleepover

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

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Brody turned 6 months old!

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

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Here are some updates of our boy at 6 months-

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

 

And of course we are all still obsessed with him! 

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His sweet smile is my absolute favorite!!

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Growing month by month…

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

Happy HALF birthday, Brody Ryan!

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

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

Back to an Indiana Fall

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

Leaf Hunting

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

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Campus Walk

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

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Riding Trail

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

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Cousin Day at Aunt Rita’s

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

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Breakfast Date with Ry

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

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Pumpkin Patch

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

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Halloween Fun-

Cookie Day

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

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

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Campground Trick-or-treating

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

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

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Pumpkin Carving

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

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

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Halloween

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

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

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

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

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Visits from the Tooth Fairy

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

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Koda’s Birthday

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

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Progress on our House

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

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Our basement walls

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Kinsie standing in the future garage

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The kids in the basement

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Koda approves of his future pride lands

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Excited about our basement!

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Starting to look like a house!

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The back of the house

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Brody at 5 Months

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

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Here are some stats on our Bro at 5 months…

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

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

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

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And of course more sweet Brody faces!

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

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

Our September Stories

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

Here is a recap of our September…

Kinsie starts in-person school

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

Brax’s School Activities

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

Family Hike at McCormick’s Creek

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

Visitors

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

Kinsie is SEVEN!

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

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

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

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

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

Kinsie’s Pinkalicious Birthday Party

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

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

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

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

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

Fall Fun with Cousins

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

Breaking Ground

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

Brody at 4 months

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

Here are some stats about our Bro at 4 months…

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

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

The many adorable faces of Brody at 4 months.

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

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

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

New Adventures in August

August was a month of lots of new beginnings. Kinsie and Brax both started school, and Ryan started his new job. Covid is still raging, but at least we have somewhat of a routine now and school to keep us busy. The kids have spent WAY too much time together and have way too much energy for me to keep up with, so having schoolwork now has helped keep their mind somewhat stimulated.

Here is a summary of our August…

Kinsie Starts 1st Grade Virtually

Starting the school year online was definitely not our first choice. We had a talk with Kinsie about school earlier in the summer, and we all agreed that being in school, even if that meant wearing a mask and social distancing, was the best choice for her. She thrives in school, and she couldn’t wait to start at a new school and meet her teacher and new friends. However, about a week before school was supposed to start, the district decided to start the first few weeks online. She was really bummed, but she made the most of it. Her school day included several live meetings with her class, which was a great way for her to still get to know her teacher and classmates. Her teacher has done an amazing job connecting with the students and creating class community, even virtually. Luckily, after the last board meeting, the district has decided to move to “phase yellow,” which means elementary students can start attending school in-person next week, and middle and high school students move to a hybrid schedule. Kinsie is SO excited! I’m so proud of her for how she has handled all the crazy changes this year.

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Ryan Starts His Job

We were all excited for Ryan to officially start his first real job! And it only took about 10 years to get there! So far he loves the hospital that he is working at, and all of his co-workers. He is still getting used to being “in charge” but he is doing great and we are all loving his hours.

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After Kinsie’s first day of school and Ryan’s first day of work, we had to celebrate with a trip to Jiffy Treet for ice cream!

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Braxton Starts Pre-K

Another new adventure was Brax starting pre-K at his new school. Luckily, he has been able to go in person. He has to wear his mask sometimes throughout the day, like walking into and out of the building, and he does such a great job with it. He was a little nervous to start at a new school, but so far he has loved it and loves his new teacher and classmates.

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Outdoor Adventures

Even with the kids starting school, we still have to get the kids outside to play as often as possible. They have SO much energy, and they fight more with each other and drive us crazy if they aren’t active enough throughout the day. Luckily, we have a pretty big yard for them to explore and play.

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Kinsie’s current obsession is American Ninja Warrior, so Ryan has tried to give the kids some “ninja-type” activities in our own yard. We even gave her an early birthday present and got her a slackline obstacle kit. The kids could spend hours on it!

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Love these crazy kids!

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We still make our way over to my parents’ pool for swimming days every so often too!

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One morning, we went to the park that Kinsie calls the “American Ninja Warrior” park. This is a newer park so it gets crowded often. We went early, and had a good chunk of time without crowds, but it didn’t last too long. When there were too many people around, we had the kids put on their masks. Even so, they always enjoy any park time they get.

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One day, Ryan’s mom and aunt Renata came to visit. The kids wanted to take them to our other favorite park, and to show them the waterfall. We also enjoyed a picnic lunch at the park, bike riding, and looking for fish in the creek.

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Weekends at the Lake

We are taking full advantage of our summer time at the lake. We have gone pretty much every weekend, even if just for the day. Ryan’s parents recently got some paddle boards, so we have all been enjoying trying them out.

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In August, we also celebrating our sweet Grandma Bev’s birthday. Even though she fell in the lake while trying to help dock the boat, her heart was so full the whole day with all of her kids and grandbabies!

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And of course the kids always enjoy their time with their cousin, Griffin…even if its running around in random sun hats!

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Building Our Home

We are in the homestretch of preparing to build our forever home. Just a couple more weeks and we will be breaking ground. We are all so excited, and we love going to visit the lot whenever we can. I will be taking lots of pictures of the building process so I will be sure to share the progress.

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Brody turned 3 months

Our precious little Brody is growing so fast right in front of our eyes! He is getting so big and so much fun. We are all so obsessed with him. The kids literally fight over who gets to sit closer to him. He is so happy and BUSY…like his brother and sister. He is still pretty go with the flow because as a third kid, he really has no choice…but lately he has less chill days and more busy days and always wants to be on-the-go!

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Here are some updates of our little Bro at 3 months –

  • He talks and squeals a lot – definitely discovering his voice.
  • He loves to suck on his hands.
  • He is much more interactive and LOVES when people talk to him.
  • When laying down on his back, he scoots backwards like a worm.
  • Most nights, he sleeps a 6-7 hour stretch. Some nights he wants to make sure I don’t forget about him and wakes up after just a couple of hours for a midnight snack.
  • He loves looking around and observing everything around him.
  • He often smiles with his tongue out, just like Kinsie did as a baby.
  • He naps best with loud music to drown out the noise of his siblings.
  • He is doing great with tummy time.
  • He is in constant motion. In fact, when I put him down on his playmat and walk away to do something, I’ll come back not even a minute later and he has scooted himself off the mat!
  • On the day he turned 3 months, he tried a new trick and can roll from his belly to his back. The kids love cheering him on when he does this!

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These kids are ALWAYS loving on their baby brother. I feel like I say “Give him some space” a hundred times a day!

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More sweet faces of our favorite little guy…

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We love every single day with this boy. He brings us so much joy. I love seeing the kids in their roles of his big brother and sister. Even if they beat each other senseless often, they are so sweet and loving with Brody. We’ll see how long until he joins in on their wrestling matches!

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Growing month by month…

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Lots of new and exciting changes in August, and now we are looking forward to September. Our Kinsie Kay will be 7 this month!! We love fall and we have so many fun traditions we usually do in this season. However, it is 2020…the year of the pandemic. Things may look different than they usually do, but we still have each other and so much to be grateful for. We’ve been through so much this year already, and our kids have become absolute champs with all the change. We’re ready for our first Indiana fall, even if we mainly enjoy it just from our front porch!

Here is our August 1 Second Everyday video. Enjoy!

A Much- Needed Family Summer

Even though the pandemic is still raging, our summer in our new home as a full family of five has been so refreshing! We’ve had so much quality family time that we’ve all been aching for for years! Since Covid is still going strong and we are still being protective of our little Brody, we really haven’t gotten out and about much to explore our new town and we haven’t really been able to meet people, but we know that will come soon enough when things get better. In the mean time, we’ve just been soaking up all the family time we can get, and enjoying being close to our families and cousins again.

Here’s a rundown of our July…

4th of July

We enjoyed going to the lake this year for the 4th. Our day mainly consisted of boat rides, fireworks and cousin time!

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IU Scavenger Hunt

We took the kids on a long walk through IU’s campus, and I wanted to find a way to make sure they somewhat stayed interested, so I made a scavenger hunt. It included specific landmarks around campus, such as the Sample Gates, the Showalter Fountain and the Herman B. Wells statue, but it also included things like red and white flowers, a red clock, people riding bikes, etc. The kids enjoyed it even though it was about 100 degrees out that day!

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Exploring new parks

We have tried to spend some time finding old and new parks to explore in our new town. The first one I wanted to go to was my favorite park from college, Lower Cascades Park. It is a beautiful little park with a hidden creek and waterfall. The kids LOVED the waterfall area! They spent a good hour climbing behind and all around it, and throwing rocks in the creek.

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After the waterfall hike, we let the kids just play on the playground. This park is also nice because it isn’t usually too crowded. Another day, we came back to this park to ride bikes and had a Subway picnic.

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Another park we tried was called Switchyard Park. Kinsie liked to call it the “American Ninja Warrior Park” because it had lots of climbing ninja-type activities, which is one of her current obsessions!

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Pool Parties

We’ve gone to my parents’ pool about once a week this month. This is probably the kids’ favorite place to play with their cousins!

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We recently let Brody have his first pool experience. He was pretty chill about it, like most things in life!

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Lake Life

We’ve spent almost every weekend at the lake, our happy place! We always love going on lots of boat rides whenever we can.

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The kids have loved spending time with their other cousins as well. We enjoyed visiting some cousins at the Heritage Lake Campground, as well as some much-needed Griffin time!

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We always have fun at the lake. Whether it’s fishing, swimming, boat rides, paddle boat rides, kayaking, or just hanging out, it is always a fun and relaxing time!

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Outdoor Living

The house we are currently living in is a great place to catch fireflies. The kids loved their first firefly experience!

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Ryan has never had this much time off before, and he is not the type to sit around…so he did lots of projects. Just a few examples include a giant Jenga set, and a peg board for the kids to climb!

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Fun at Renata’s

The kids are always asking when we can go back to Aunt Renata’s house. I took them one day and like usual, they had a blast. They loved playing with Nicole’s dog Winnie in the baby pool, running around outside, and doing lots of painting and art projects!

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Kinsie the Biker Babe!

Our big girl Kinsie learned how to ride her bike without training wheels…in about 5 minutes! We were visiting Ryan’s Aunt Rita and her family at the campground, and Kinsie wanted to ride bikes with her cousins. The only extra bike they had didn’t have training wheels, so Aunt Rita took her out and Kinsie picked it up SO quickly! It was so much fun watching her ride and all the kids running with her and cheering her on! We’ve been taking her places as often as we can to keep practicing. She’s a pro now!

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Kinsie Dates

My sweet Kinsie has REALLY missed being in school. She was supposed to start her first day at her new school on August 5, but her district decided to do online learning until at least September. She’s super bummed, so I’ve been trying to find ways to keep her spirits up. Since she is at home with her brothers all day every day, she’s been needing some breaks…and since she’s good about wearing a mask, I’m able to take her on little dates. One day I took her to get special drinks from Starbucks and then to the park. Another day I took her to get school supplies and go see her school. She loves our girl dates!

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Cousin Bike Ride

Ever since Kinsie learned to ride her bike with no training wheels, she wants to ride ALL the time! Our rental house is on a main road, so she can’t ride there, so we take it to parks and my parents’ house often. One day, my sister brought her kids and their bikes too and all 5 of the kids had a cousin bike ride.

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Brody is 2 months!

We are SO grateful for our precious Brody in our lives, especially during such a weird time. His sweet noises and smiles can brighten up any dark day we may have.

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Here are some updates on our Bro at 2 months:

  • He is 12 lbs. 5 oz. – 55th percentile for weight.
  • He is 24″ long – 85th percentile for height.
  • Like my other kids, he has quite a large noggin! His head circumference is in the 95th percentile!
  • He sleeps a good 6-7 hour stretch at night in between feedings.
  • He is talking and interacting much more.
  • He is SO smiley…especially in the mornings.
  • He recognizes voices and faces and love his family.
  • He loves doing bicycle kicks with his legs. When his belly hurts, this is one of the only things that calms him.
  • He loves when people talk to him and love to be involved in whatever we’re doing.
  • Car rides, boat rides, and being worn in a carrier always soothe him to sleep.
  • He is getting on a more consistent eat – wake – sleep cycle… a Babywise method that worked well for my other kids.

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The kids are still completely obsessed with their little brother. They love cuddling with him, talking to him, playing with him, helping give him baths, and cheering him on with tummy time!

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His smile is seriously my favorite…

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More sweet Brody faces!

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As you can see below, he has already grown a lot! He is really filling out and getting some cute chubby cheeks!

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We are all head-over-heels with this sweet little boy. Even though giving birth and living with a newborn in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic has been extremely difficult, his laid back personality and overall sweetness has made every difficult second completely worth it. He was an unexpected, but perfect gift from God. If it would have been up to me, of course I wouldn’t choose to have a baby during a pandemic. But God knows better and I can’t imagine life without this precious gift He knew we needed!

Ryan is excited to start his official job in August, Kinsie will start online learning, and Braxton gets to start at his new preschool. We also should be breaking ground on our house in August as well. We are grateful for these things to keep us busy and give us something to look forward to during an unpredictable time.

Enjoy our July 1 Second Everyday video!

Our First Month Back

We have officially lived in Indiana for one month now. Well…the kids and I have, Ryan has only been back about a week! It has been very different than I originally expected pre-pandemic. We are obviously still living in quarantine as much as possible and haven’t been able to visit as many friends and family as we’d like, but it has still been nice being close to our immediate family, especially with Ryan away. We are definitely still reeling from the crazy roller coaster that our lives have been the last few months, but it helped to have our family close to help me and entertain these busy kids!

Here is a recap of our month of June…

Swimming at Yaya’s

The kids and I stayed at my parents during the month of June while Ryan finished his residency. We spent lots of time swimming! One of Kinsie’s summer goals was to learn to swim completely on her own with no floaties. Well, she accomplished that goal in about 5 minutes! My mom worked with her in stages and had her swimming and jumping off the diving board independently in no time!

Swimming

Play Dates at Aunt Renata’s

We’ve always been close to Ryan’s Aunt Renata, and she used to help watch my kids when I was working. We really missed her during our time in Arkansas, so we’ve been making it up with lots of play dates at her house! The kids are always busy when visiting her house, whether it’s throwing rocks in the creek, painting rocks and birdhouses, making cookies, or just lounging in the hammock!

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Lake Days

Oh, how we’ve missed our days at Heritage Lake! It is one of our absolute favorite places to be. We spent several days on the lake with Grandma Bev and Papa Tim this month.

Fishing

I spent as much time fishing as I could since I haven’t done it in far too long. The kids like to fish too…but they don’t have the attention span to do it for long. Usually what ended up happening was they would do other things while I fished, then when I caught one, they wanted to touch and hold it.

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Boat Rides

Boat ride are always a favorite activity at the lake…and now we have Brody to enjoy them with! Brody was extra calm on boat rides, and they always rocked him right to sleep!

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Other Lake Adventures

The kids loved taking cubby rides around Heritage Drive, and especially to the marina. They enjoyed ice cream lakeside, and then loved playing on the playground.

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Cousin Play Dates

The kids have LOVED being back home closer to their cousins! We’ve tried to squeeze in as much cousin fun as possible this month. Their cousin Griffin was born in the middle of residency, so we’ve only gotten to spend time with him in small chunks during our short and busy visits home, so now the kids are loving spending lots of time with him now that we’re back!

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And of course the kids love their time with their cousins on my side of the family too. They call themselves the “Super 6” and are so excited to add Brody to the cousin crew!

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Our 8th Anniversary

Unfortunately, Ryan and I didn’t get to spend our anniversary together this year, but with residency life, this is somewhat the norm. Our entire marriage so far has been simultaneous with Ryan’s medical journey, so we’ve never really had “normal lives” since we got married in 2012. However, we’ve made the best of it! Our marriage has already been tested with the craziness of med school and residency life, even several periods of time where we didn’t even get to live together, and we’ve only come out stronger because of it. We are hopeful that from now on, we’ll actually get to spend our anniversaries together and maybe even get to have a date night here and there…something that has been few and far between for us!

Anniversary

Father’s Day

We also didn’t get to spend Father’s Day with Ryan this year since we were in Indiana and he was still in Arkansas. However, we tried to still make it special for him. We took a picture (below, right) and put it on a canvas and mailed it to one of Ryan’s co-residents’ houses. The kids also drew pictures for him, and we sent those as well. Ryan’s co-resident then wrapped them for me and gave the gift to him while he was on shift on Father’s Day! He was surprised and loved his gift. We also got to FaceTime with him before he went to work, so we gave him as much love as possible from a distance.

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Other Fun Activities

My older two have been through a lot the last few months…with the pandemic and not getting to finish school, moving, and getting a new sibling. With all that, they have definitely had their moments of feeling overwhelmed, but overall they have handled all the change SO well. However, they are busy kids, and they behave much better when they stay busy. We played outside as much as we could, spent days at the homes of different family members, and even visited our rental home in Bloomington a few times. They enjoyed driving cars and tractors at both grandparents’ houses, picking strawberries in Grandma Bev’s garden, and having reading time together.

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Tours of IU Campus

IU Campus has my heart. It is so beautiful and I’ve always loved visiting whenever I had the chance. Since this is now the location of our new home, I’ve loved showing the kids the campus that I love so much!

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Ryan’s Homecoming

It was a long month without Ryan, so we were counting down the days until he came home. Ryan finishing residency was very different than it was supposed to be. He was supposed to get a special graduation ceremony, but they had to do it via Zoom instead. Luckily, they livestreamed the ceremony on YouTube so we could watch. I was an emotional mess watching the whole thing because a) I was sad that it had to be this way and b) I was so proud of Ryan. He even won the Resident of the Year award!

We wanted to make it a big deal when he came home. We invited both of our families, ordered a big yard sign, made food, ordered a cake, and decorated the house with streamers and signs. We were all so excited when he finally made it home and we had a great night together with our favorite doctor finally home for good.  If you haven’t seen it already, be sure to watch the video below of his homecoming.

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Brody turned 1 Month Old!

Our sweet Brody turned 1 month old in June! We have adored every second of our time with him. He is the absolute sweetest baby, and I am convinced that with all the craziness going on this year, God knew we needed a sweet baby like him. He has made a very difficult time in the world a whole lot better for us.

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Here are some stats about Brody at 1 month old…

  • At his 1 month checkup, he was 10 pounds and 2.5 oz (55th percentile), and 22.5 inches long (80th percentile).
  • Like I said before, he is SO sweet.
  • He is very laid back, something I did not expect based on the energy level of my other two, and how he acted in utero.
  • He rarely cries, something else we weren’t expecting based on our last colicky child.
  • He may not cry often, but he sure makes a lot of noises. He squeaks and grunts a lot. His little squeaks are the sweetest sound, and the kids call him “Squeaks” because of it. Whenever he’s hungry or gassy, rather than crying, he just grunts. I’ll take grunts any day over excessive crying!
  • He is most comfortable when being held. He is such a snuggly baby.
  • When he is awake and happy, he wiggles and kicks his legs a lot.
  • He had his first social smile right around 4 weeks old, and it was when FaceTiming with his daddy.
  • He loves watching ceiling fans.
  • He enjoys watching his big sister and big brother while they play.
  • He is very tolerant of the love (more like smothering) that he gets from Kinsie and Brax.
  • He loves his pacifiers. He has a monkey and a frog pacifier, and he hugs them while he sleeps.
  • He is starting to be awake for longer periods of time, which we all love!

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The many precious faces of Brody…

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We love his adorable smile!

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I’m always capturing his big siblings loving on him. They love playing with him when he’s on the floor, and they literally argue over holding him. I often have to set timers while they take turns holding him.

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And that’s a wrap for our June. We survived with the help of our family, and now we are so happy to have Ryan home and to officially start our new chapter of life post-residency. Ryan has the entire month of July off, so we are looking forward to lots of Daddy time and trying to explore our new town (as much as we can during a pandemic).

Here is our June 1 Second Everyday video. Enjoy!