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. 

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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!

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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!

Baby Number THREE!

Surprise!! Baby Matthews #3 is on the way and should arrive sometime in May!

Not to get into too much detail, but this baby was planned. The timing of this baby was not. However, we trust that God knows best and even though our spring and summer of 2020 is going to be super chaotic (a new baby AND moving to Indiana), we are excited about all the blessings coming our way!

Because we were not expecting this at this time, I was shocked. So shocked that I truly didn’t believe it until I saw it on an ultrasound machine. But I’ll get to that in a minute. The morning I got a positive pregnancy test (two actually), the kids had school and Ryan had conference in the morning. I took the test first thing in the morning, saw the two lines in complete disbelief, but had to go abut my day of getting the kids where they needed to go. After I got the kids to school, I ran by the store to pick up another test because I still didn’t believe it. And what do you know, another two bright pink lines! When Ryan got home, here is what I left on his side of the sink in the bathroom.

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When he got home and saw it, he just started cracking up. But of course he was excited! This will be the fifth out of six babies born within the residency program in the spring/summer of 2020!

My parents were flying in to visit us for Kinsie’s birthday the day after I found out. My parents can read me so well, I can never keep a secret from them for very long, so it worked out that we would get to tell them so soon. We told the kids the next morning before school so they would know before my parents came. They were so excited! Kinsie always says, “I just wish the baby would come out right now!” I always have to remind her that the baby needs to “keep cooking” for a while. Brax kind of understood, but not completely, until recently when I started showing a bit. Now he seems to understand that there actually is a growing baby in there!

We used this picture and framed it for my parents, Ryan’s parents, Ryan’s sister and brother, and my sister’s family to tell everyone. My parents were of course the first to know. Their reaction was absolutely priceless!

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We had a great weekend for Kinsie’s birthday with my parents, and luckily enough, Ryan’s parents were planning on visiting the very next week for Brax’s grandparents day at school, so we were able to tell them also! For the rest of the family, we had my parents or Ryan’s parents hand out the “gift” with the framed picture of this gem above and we did Facetime with them to see their reactions!

From what I could gather, I had an expected due date of about May 27. With this being the third baby, I can’t hide my bump for long. With both this pregnancy and when I was pregnant with Brax, I personally could see a bump at 5-6 weeks.

I wasn’t able to get into my OB’s office for an appointment until after our vacation in Orlando. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to wait that long to see the baby and make sure everything was ok and that there was only one baby! Lucky for me, I’m married to someone who not only has access to an ultrasound machine, but knows how to operate it as well! On one of Ryan’s days off and the kids were in school, he snuck me into the emergency department for a quick ultrasound. (we had to sneak mainly because I was only 6 weeks and I didn’t want to see people I knew). Everything looked great on the ultrasound, and we even got to see the baby’s tiny little heart beating! It was so special that Ryan was able to perform our first ultrasound!

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Here are some progress pictures and updates on this pregnancy so far…

Month 1:

I had no symptoms at all the first few days. This is how I was with Brax also. About a week or so later, the fatigue hit me hard. Whenever Ryan was home, he made me go take naps. When he wasn’t home, I just try to rest the best I can while the kids are running amuck through the house.

Around 5 weeks – baby’s the size of a grain of rice

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Month 2:

  • Fatigue. Fatigue. Fatigue. It’s intense. Worse than the other two, and with those I was even working full time!
  • Extreme hunger/nausea. I was SO hungry all the time, and if I didn’t eat something soon enough, I would get really nauseous. If I kept my hunger under control, I felt pretty good. But I also tried to not overeat or eat too unhealthy.
  • Super sensitive to smells/gagging – I usually have a strong sense of smell, but when I’m pregnant, its on another level. When the kids use the restroom (#2…sorry for TMI), I have a really hard time with the smell, and my gag reflexes are not a fan as well!
  • Bloating. This happens often after I eat dinner, and it’s not fun. It’s very painful and it doesn’t get better unless I sit down and don’t move for a while…which is not easy to do with two children and a busy working husband.
  • Cravings – they are sometimes super random…like a McDonalds cheeseburger or Olive Garden breadsticks. But overall, the main recurring cravings include sour food – pickles, lemons, and sour candy.

Around 8 weeks – baby’s the size of a raspberry

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Month 3:

  • I still get hungry often, but it’s not as extreme as it was before.
  • I’m still tired, but it seems to have improved some! One of the main reasons that it has bothered me so much that I’m tired is because I haven’t been able to work out as much as I’d like. Before I got pregnant, I LOVED working out. Now I still do, but my workouts have changed a bit, and they are very inconsistent. I hate that I’ve been too tired to work out most days, especially when I was in such a great habit before. Hopefully my fatigue will continue to decrease and I’ll get back on a good workout schedule. I’m in a MUCH better mood when I can workout more often!
  • Headaches – this is a new thing. I get a headache almost every day, and it is hard to function.
  • Other typical symptoms – always needing to use the restroom, extra emotional…the usual!
  • I’m pretty sure I felt my first baby kick at 14 weeks! I can’t wait to feel more!

 

Around 12 weeks – baby’s the size of a lime

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15 weeks – baby’s the size of a pear

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As you can see, it’s not so easy to hide anymore! I felt like I really popped when we were in Orlando on vacation. Even the kids mention my belly getting bigger, and they are really excited about it!

When I finally got in to see my OB, I was around 10 weeks (or so I thought). My appointment was on a Friday, so Brax didn’t have school, so he came along. We saw the baby squirming around and heard a strong heartbeat. Brax seemed somewhat confused at the time, but later seemed excited that he got to see the baby. When the nurse practitioner was measuring the baby, she said the baby was measuring about 10 days bigger than what I originally thought! So now we’re going with a due date of May 17, which is one day later than my due date with Brax!

In the ultrasound, the baby had his/her hand up by its face!

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I just started my second trimester and can already tell my fatigue and extreme hunger have decreased some…yay! The kids are so excited and they love knowing what kind of fruit the baby is the size of each week. Both of my kids are super energetic, which of course I love, but it’s also exhausting…especially while pregnant. I keep hoping my next child will be the chill one. But are we even capable of producing a chill baby? I guess we’ll find out! Either way, we’re excited to welcome him/her into our chaos!

We will be finding out the gender in December and sharing the news with our families when we come home for Christmas. Stay tuned for more pregnancy updates!

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Kinsie Kay is SIX!

Our beautiful Kinsie Kay turned six last week! It is amazing to see the transformation a child can make in just one year. Kinsie has matured in so many ways, and her education and creativity has completely blossomed. It has been so fun watching her grow and change this year. We love watching her busy little mind at work. She is constantly wanting to learn more about the world around her (just like her dad!) Her creativity is something truly amazing, and we love seeing the creative ideas that she comes up with on a daily basis. I can’t wait to continue to watch her grow and blossom and see what amazing things she accomplishes!

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Here are some stats about our big six year old!

  • Favorite color: still pink!
  • Favorite TV shows: T.O.T.S., Puppy Dog Pals…although she really hasn’t been into TV much. She would rather draw, write, or do some other type of imaginative play!
  • Favorite movie: All of the Toy Story movies
  • Favorite animal: still hippos and dolphins
  • When she grows up, she wants to be an art teacher. She has always wanted to be a teacher like her mama, but lately with her love of art, she discovered that she could combine 2 of her loves…teaching and art!IMG_BC71A0D54AE0-1
  • Her learning has completely exploded. She often surprises us with the knowledge that she acquires without us even knowing it. She is a complete sponge and soaks up everything around her. Her reading is improving every day. Since she was born, we have always read books before bedtime. This summer, we wanted to get her ready for school so we started having her read to us at bedtime. Between doing this, and practicing reading at school (and reading every sign and label everywhere she goes), her fluency has really improved. She also has been doing a lot of writing at school. I LOVE seeing the writing she brings home! Kinsie-writing
    Recently, her school did NWEA testing, which is a computerized test that measures individual student growth throughout the year. Kinsie scored in the 92nd percentile in math, and the 99th percentile for Reading! We were SO proud of our girl! As lovers of learning ourselves, we could not be happier that our children are loving to learn as much as we do!
  • Kinsie is absolutely rocking Kindergarten. She loves everything about it! She is very shy at school and would never dream of doing anything to get in trouble. I have no problem with this of course, but I do remind her to loosen up a bit and have fun at school too. Recently she received a “Citizen Shout-out” from her teacher for always being a good listener and being ready to learn. Her name was read on the school intercom and she received a certificate and special button!IMG_5789
  • Kinsie has definitely found a good stride living here in Arkansas, but she is definitely ready to move back to Indiana. She loves her school and her friends, but her family means more to her than anything else. She misses her grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles every day and can’t wait to be closer to them again. I have no doubt that she will handle the move like a champ. She is really good at making friends, so I think she will do great starting a new school next fall!Kinsie-cousins
  • She is currently in gymnastics only. Brax has started a Ninja class, so it’s been kind of nice having them each in only one activity. She moved up to the Level 1 class this year, which is a bit tougher but she still loves it.
  • Since Kinsie is so busy with Kindergarten, the residency life hasn’t affected her as much as it did in the past. However, when Ryan has a string of evening shifts, it is really rough on her. When this happens, Ryan’s shift starts when she is in school, and he doesn’t get home until after the kids are in bed, so Kinsie goes days without seeing him. We’ve gotten through them by Ryan waking up early to see her before school (even when he doesn’t get home until 2am), and him having lunch with her at school.
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  • She’s still an outdoorsy girl! But with the extreme heat we’ve had the last few months, we haven’t been able to spend near as much time outside as we’d like. Whenever the heat chills out a little bit though, we make sure we spend that time outside. It is therapeutic for all of us! Kinsie-outdoors
  • Kinsie and Brax are ultimately still best friends. Sometimes they can’t stand the sight of each other and cannot get along for the life of them, and other times they are the best of friends and make each other laugh the way nobody else can! Even though he can be a typical annoying little brother, she adores him!IMG_7949

 

We are so proud of the little lady she is becoming. She has such a strong personality, and is very strong-willed and passionate, which we are hoping will get her far in life!

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Happy 6th birthday, Kinsie Kay! We love you more than life itself!

Enjoying the ‘Rays in May

May was SO busy! When I think back to the beginning of the month, it seems like it was 3 months ago. May always tends to be one of the busier months of the year with the end of school and all the programs and activities that go with it, the end of sports seasons, etc…but we loved every minute of it! Here is how our May went down…

Brax’s Birthday

I’m still in denial that my baby is three. And the crazy thing is that ever since he turned three, he’s acted older. He talks like he’s older, his fine motor skills and agility have taken off, and his behavior has improved (for now). Our special boy deserved a special birthday!

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His birthday started off with surprise donuts from Dad. Ryan had been on a string of night shifts, and he stopped by the famous Hurts Donuts in Little Rock on his way home from work to surprise Brax!

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Next, Brax got to spend part of his birthday with his teacher and friends at school. We sent cupcakes and Avengers napkins for them to enjoy.

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After school, we let him open a few presents. He loved his shark tent and chair from his cousins, his talking Hulk from Papa and Yaya, and his robot from us!

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Next, we took him to his favorite restaurant for dinner, All Aboard. Every time we go, the kids get so excited to watch the train deliver food for everyone.

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After dinner, we came back home for birthday treats. He was grinning from ear to ear as we sang to him, and loved every bite of his blue birthday cookies!

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Brax’s Birthday Party

We decided to have a mini-party for Brax when some family came to visit for Kinsie’s Pre-K graduation. We decorated the kitchen in Avengers decor, with a special banner made by none other than Aunt Megan (this banner now hands in his room!) We ate burgers and cake, opened more presents, and dressed in superhero masks and tattoos. It was a great night!

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Kinsie’s Ballet Recital

Kinsie has been loving her ballet class this year. The season ended with a special performance to show off all the skills they learned throughout the year. Kinsie did a fantastic job and loved getting to perform on stage!

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Mother’s Day

Ryan has been in the MICU this month, which is one of the toughest rotations in residency. He works extra long hours and gets fewer days off. I was really bummed to learn that he was going to have to work a 24 hour shift on Mother’s Day this year, and he wasn’t able to change it. I was bummed, but we did our best to work around it. We went out for a sushi dinner the night before, and then some residency friends took the kids and I out for a Mother’s Day lunch after church. After that, I spent the entire day at the park with my little loves. The weather was perfect and we actually had a great day together.

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In between our activities, I had a special delivery from Ryan. He sent me some flowers (which could be planted in the yard of course…we’re not big on spending money on flowers that will die a few days later!) and some treats. It made my day that he was still thinking about me even though he couldn’t spend the day with me.

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The kids definitely made me feel extra loved on Mother’s Day!

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Kinsie’s Graduation

I can’t believe my big girl graduated from preschool and she’ll be starting Kindergarten in the fall! I have no doubt in my mind that she’s ready, and she’s SO excited! She wants to be a teacher like her mama when she grows up, and she has LOVED every second of her schooling experience so far. I know she’ll do great in elementary school!

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Again, it wasn’t the best month for Ryan. Last month, he was selected as Chief Resident of his program, which we were very excited about! However, this required him to go to an out-of-state conference the same week as Kinsie’s graduation. As soon as I knew he wouldn’t be able to come, I recruited some family to come for her special day. I know I’ve said it before, but we the BEST family in the world. My mom, Ryan’s mom, Megan, Nate and Griffin all came. Kinsie loved having so many people come for her graduation, and I know it helped her not be too sad about her daddy missing it. But we took lots of videos for him to watch when he returned!

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Family Visit

We loved having some family visit us for a few days. The weather was beautiful, so we spent a lot of time outside at the park.

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One day when Kinsie was at school, Brax helped both of his grandmas do some gardening in the front yard. He loved helping!

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And cousin pool parties are always a good idea! Griffin loved his first pool experience and the kids loved sharing it with him.

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Last Day of School

The kids had a wonderful school year. They both grew and learned so much. Brax especially did amazing for his first school experience. He adored his teacher and loved meeting new friends!

Kinsie’s first and last day of school…

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Brax’s first and last day of school…

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And together…

LastDaySchool-bothKinsie definitely grew this year! She is much taller and no longer has a baby face, but is developing into a beautiful little girl. Brax doesn’t look a ton different, but you can tell he looks a little taller and slimmer!

The kids had the BEST teachers this year. Mrs. Lina was Brax’s teacher, and she was the sweetest, most patient and kind teacher, which was perfect for him in his first year. Brax started out the year very shy and wouldn’t talk much to her, but he ended the year hugging on her, and running around acting like his silly self at school. Kinsie’s teacher, Mrs. Suze was also perfect for her this year. She really helped Kinsie mature, and prepare for Kindergarten. She did tons of creative projects with higher-level thinking, which is perfect for my imaginative little girl. Of course, my passionate and emotional Kinsie Kay bawled like a baby when she had to say goodbye to her teachers and preschool! It broke my heart, but also made me happy that she loves school so much.

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Last Day of T-Ball

Kinsie wrapped up her last season of T-ball. She had a great experience and a great coach for both seasons she played. If she decides to continue, she will play softball in the fall. She had a great season and we loved watching her!

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Brax’s First Dentist Appointment

My big boy had his first dentist appointment recently. When we first got there, he was a little nervous and wouldn’t look or interact with the hygienist. However, she was so great with him and took lots of time talking to him, and showing him all her tools so he would become more comfortable. By the end, he was giggling and talking to her like he knew her all along. And of course, Kinsie was the best supportive big sis, holding Brax’s hand and showing him how to open wide!

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LOTS of Art Projects

Kinsie has loved art for a while now, but now she is sharing that love with her little brother. Brax has taken a huge interest in drawing lately. I’m not exaggerating when I say that he spends at least 2-3 hours a day drawing. And he has gotten really good!

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The kids each have a sketchpad and some markers that I keep in the car for them. I am amazed at the creations they draw in such a short amount of time. The pictures below include Kinsie’s drawing of an eagle, and a mermaid castle.

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I just can’t get enough of Brax;s little concentration face (which is the SAME as his daddy’s), and his precious little drawings. He has come a long way drawing people and animals. Right now he especially loves drawing smiley faces and jelly fish.

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Kinsie’s imagination has been off the charts lately. Her new favorite thing to do is draw pictures and tape them to popsicle sticks and put on “puppet shows.” We love her imagination and love how she shares it with Brax.

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Outside Adventures

The first couple weeks of May brought lots and lots of rain. So much so, that there is severe flooding in many parts of Little Rock. The flooding isn’t directly affecting us luckily, but we had many umbrella and rain boot days during that timespan!

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The second half of May has brought much better weather. The summer heat is here and the upper 80-90 degree temps often starts as early as 8 a.m. each day. If we happen to have a day where it’s only in the 70s, we venture to the park.

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Most days lately, we’ve been in our bathing suits playing with the sprinkler, water table and baby inflatable pool. Believe it or not, the kids have so much fun in this tiny pool. And popsicles don’t hurt either!

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Sprinkler fun!

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We’ve had lots of critters around the house lately. We’ve seen multiple lizards, and even a snake in our yard. Ryan caught the snake and put it in a bucket for the kids to look at, of course. No worries…he’s working on a fellowship in wilderness medicine and knew that the snake was non-venomous. That didn’t stop me from staying as far away as possible though! The snake appeared in our yard twice, and after that Ryan walked it down the path a ways so that it hopefully found a new home!

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We recently upgraded the kids’ inflatable pool to a bigger size and they have been loving it! No joke, I’ve spent about 3-4 hours a day outside with them while they play in their pool!

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Day Adventures

Library

The kids love the library. Even though our library is small and doesn’t have many activities, they love picking out endless stacks books to read together.

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Behind the library, there is a nice deck area where you can walk around the pond. The kids and I ventured out there and had a blast. We made friends with a swan and several ducks. The kids love finding nature outside, and they could have stayed watching those birds for hours.

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Chick-fil-A and Sonic

We don’t do this as often as the kids would like, mainly because we can’t afford to eat Chick-fil-A every day, but every so often we do have lunch dates there and spend some time playing. The kids always love it. We’ve also discovered Sonic’s happy hour. It’s been a fun little afternoon activity to get the kids out of the house and enjoy some slushies on our hot days.

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Kiddie City

This is a new place in our town that I’ve been wanting to try. We spent the morning there one day and the kids were obsessed. It was perfect for their age, with tons of play fixtures, slides, play kitchens, dress-up, and more. The kids have been asking every day when we can go again!

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Family Trip to Memphis

Ever since we’ve moved here, we’ve been wanting to go to Memphis, mainly because they have hippos at their zoo. It’s only about a 2 hour drive, so we knew we could take a day trip there. However, Ryan had a short 1.5 day stretch after Memorial weekend, so we decided to make it an overnight trip. We drove to Memphis in the afternoon when he got off work, and spent the night.

The afternoon we got there, we went to the Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid. We love Bass Pro anyway, so going to this unique one was a cool experience.

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The next morning, we woke up and headed to the zoo. We had such a great time. It was hot, but it didn’t get unbearable until it was almost time to leave. We got to see the hippos, which wouldn’t get as close and put on a show for us like Fiona does at the Cincinnati Zoo, but we still loved seeing them! We also loved the gorillas, the polar bear, feeding the stingrays, and the camel ride!

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Another highlight was the bird house. Anytime we go to a zoo with this, it’s always one of the kids’ favorite things. They love feeding the birds and having them land on their feeding stick!

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There were also lots of fun interactive activities in between exhibits. The kids loved playing the drums and pretending to hatch out of eggs. It was such a great little family trip, after this long month of Ryan being in the MICU, we definitely needed this quality family time.

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So that was our month. We had a LOT going on, and even though Ryan had to work a lot, we stayed very busy and had lots of fun. We have a lot going on in June as well, and the kids and I will hardly be home! It will be nice to visit our family in Indiana while we have the time off in the summer.

Another exciting event that happened this month was that Ryan signed a contract for Bloomington Hospital starting in August 2020…so we will officially be moving back to our home state of Indiana in about a year! We are so excited, especially to live in Bloomington where we both attended IU. We will definitely miss the home we’ve made here in Little Rock, but we can’t wait to be close to family again and finally SETTLE!

 

Here is our 1 Second Everyday video for the month of May. Enjoy!