Back Home Again in Indiana

Soon after we moved here, I planned a trip home to Indiana for 2 weeks in September. I knew that Ryan would be on a rotation where we’d barely see him, and I wanted Kinsie to have a special birthday and spend it with family. The plan was for me and the kids to fly to Indy, then later Ryan would drive up for a few days, then we would all drive back together. As it got closer, we realized that Ryan could barely make it work to come at all. He was only able to come to Indy for about 24 hours. We really missed him, but we had a wonderful trip!

The Flight

I was nervous about flying with both kids from the moment I booked the tickets. I planned out everything weeks ahead of time, trying to make the process as smooth as possible. I had movies and TV shows on the iPad, snacks, toys, books…you name it. Luckily, the Little Rock airport is small and never crowded, so checking in and security were a breeze. Once we were on the plane, the kids were happy watching Paw Patrol. (This could keep them occupied for hours at home if I allowed it). After about 20 minutes, Brax was done. He didn’t want to sit on my lap, (which he had to, he isn’t old enough to need a seat of his own), he didn’t want to watch a show, he didn’t want to read books, and even snacks weren’t keeping him happy. I wrestled him most of the flight. Then once the descent started, he was REALLY done. He was screaming and thrashing. Kinsie and I were both trying to make him happy, but he was DONE with this flight. I prayed that the next flight would be better…yes, two flights…unfortunately there’s no direct flights from Little Rock to Indianapolis. Switching planes was quick and easy. I think it was an act of God that on the next flight, there was an empty seat next to me. Brax was happier when he had more to squirm around. That flight went MUCH smoother!

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When we got to the Indianapolis airport, we had some special guests awaiting our arrival! My mom, my sister and her whole family was waiting for us, and we all embraced and cried. The kids were all SO happy to see each other, and we were so happy to have made it!

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Cousin Time 

The kids had some awesome times together during the 2 weeks. The night we came in, Ryan’s aunt had a get-together at her house to welcome us home. The kids had a blast with each other driving around in all the different vehicles. One day, Kinsie got to go have lunch with her cousin Briggs at his elementary school. We also got to go swimming, watch Briggs’ football game, and just hang out at my parents’ house playing. It didn’t matter what they were doing, if they were with their cousins, they were happy!

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Kinsie’s Birthday

Kinsie had a very special birthday. I let her decide what she wanted to do, but it was really hot outside so we were somewhat limited. When she woke up, I took her and Brax to get birthday donuts at Dunkin Donuts. Later, my mom watched Brax so I could take Kinsie to lunch. She chose to go to Cheddar’s because she loves their huge fish tank. After lunch, I took her to Half Priced Books, which she loved. It was SO nice having some time with just her. I love my boy Brax, but he had been super needy lately and Kinsie had to fend for herself for quite some time because Brax was constantly needing me, so it was nice to get to focus on her. Later in the evening, our family all came over to have a small party for her. She loved her Paw Patrol presents and her ice cream cake. We did FaceTime with Ryan so he could be a part of the fun. He even found a way to be in the birthday picture!

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Visit to Purdue

Ryan’s brother Nate started his freshman year at Purdue in August. We wanted to visit him at school during our visit, even if it was at Purdue! We got to see his dorm (which was covered in pictures of Kinsie and Brax), walked around campus a little and had lunch. It was a great day and it was so good to see our Nate! I am still so blown away by how much Kinsie looks and acts like him when he was that age. Maybe that’s why they have such a special bond!

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Dress-up Parties

Kinsie spent some time with Aunt Renata during our visit, and Renata had lots of costumes in her basement that Kinsie wanted to try on, and it started a trend for the rest of the trip. She became obsessed with dressing up! Her favorite costume was the Buzz Lightyear costume…she spent a lot of time in it and even had her cousins wearing it too!

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Haircuts

I took the kids to Ryan’s cousin Jess to get their haircuts. Kinsie did great and loved getting her hair washed, cut and braided. Brax was a different story! We had to find some creative ways to get him to sit still. He had suckers, sat on my lap, watched Mickey Mouse on my phone, and Jess had to chase him around the salon to get the job done! It was quite an adventure that left me sweating and exhausted, but the kids looked great with their new haircuts!

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Lake Time

We spent a few days at our favorite place, Heritage Lake. We did lots of cubby rides, sidewalk chalk, took several boat rides, went fishing, and played at the playground at the marina.

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Ryan finally was able to drive up to Indiana with the dogs on Saturday, we were SO excited to see him after not seeing him for 2 weeks!

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Paw Patrol Party

We ended our trip with a birthday party for Kinsie at the lake. Ryan was able to make it for the party, so at least he could be a part of one of the birthday celebrations. We had a family party with a Paw Patrol theme, and like usual, our families were a huge help in making the party successful!

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The kids all had a great time with the piñata! Kinsie of course also loved opening her presents and the other kids loved watching and playing with all her new toys.

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We took the kids on a boat ride, and to say it was chaotic would be an understatement! The kids weren’t bad or misbehaving at all…just excited and hyper. I don’t think there were any free adult hands at any point during the ride. The kids all took turns driving the boat, and running from one side to another, trying on as many life jackets as they could, and just being goofballs together.

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We loved having Daddy in the flesh for this birthday celebration! Notice the lovely birthday banner in the background…thanks to Aunt Megan! Also the weather couldn’t have been more perfect!

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We left that evening around 6:30pm, and got home around 3am. Ryan had to be somewhere for work at 8am the next day, so we took turns driving and resting. The kids did pretty well, sleeping most of the way. We spent the whole next day recovering from the drive, relaxing at home and playing with all of Kinsie’s new presents. It was a fantastic trip. We all really needed this time at home with our families, and we left with our love tanks full!

Dancing in September

September was SO busy, but we loved it! The last three months since we moved to Arkansas have kind of dragged on because we didn’t have a whole lot going on (well, Ryan did, but the kids and I didn’t). Ryan was on his Trauma rotation, which was rough. 12-14 hour shifts with maybe one day a week off. Luckily, the kids and I stayed busy which helped us deal with it. Kinsie started school, we had soccer practices and games, we had a visit from some family, and we visited our home in Indiana for 2 weeks…it was a great month!

Kinsie Starts School

We’ve been anxiously awaiting for this for a while now. As soon as we found out where we were moving, I started researching preschools. I wanted Kinsie to have a great experience like she did in Indy. I loved the Christian environment she was in there, and how much the teachers loved on her and really got to know her. After lots of research and referrals, we found the school for her. It is very similar to her last school, and we absolutely love it. Before school started, we went to an open house where she could meet her teacher and see her classroom, the kids loved running around the room and rolling on the beanbags! Kinsie has done wonderful there! Every day she tells me EVERYTHING about her day, and she is always excited to go back the next day. I also love how the school has a private Facebook group where they post pictures throughout the day so the parents can see what they are doing. This has been such a positive experience and has really helped Kinsie adjust and meet kids her age!

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Kinsie goes to school 3 days a week, so that leaves Brax and I for some special time together. He definitely misses Kinsie, but he enjoys just having some mommy time too!

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Labor Day Weekend

For Labor Day weekend, Ryan’s sister Megan and her husband came to visit. This was crucial for my sanity, as I was missing home SO much at this point. I really really needed to see some family. Ryan had one day of the weekend off, so he got to help us show them around our area. We went to the Farmer’s Market, the rock park, and ate lunch at the River Market. We also visited the Old Mill, a really neat little park that was featured in Gone with the Wind. The next day, Ryan had to work but I took Megan, Tim and the kids to the zoo. It was a hot, but fun day! We LOVED their visit. It was so nice to be around familiar faces again and be around other people we love.

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Petit Jean State Park

Whenever Ryan has a day off, we always try to take advantage of it and do something fun. There are so many amazing parks in Arkansas and we are slowly getting to explore them. One park that some friends told us about was about an hour away, but was incredible! There were tons of hiking trails, camping areas, a waterfall, and lots of beautiful scenery. We went on a 2 mile hike to see the waterfall. Kinsie was an absolute CHAMP and walked almost the whole time. On the way back, she tripped and fell and needed a little break, so Ryan carried her for about 5 minutes, but other than that, she hiked by herself…and it was no easy hike! Brax wanted to be big time like his sis and he wanted to hike by himself too…but that wasn’t really possible with how strenuous the hike was. Ryan helped him walk some of the way, but eventually we just made him suck it up and ride in the backpack. Once we got to the waterfall, we climbed up behind it and just hung out for a while behind the waterfall. It was amazing! It was a great experience that we definitely want to do again.

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Soccer

On my last post, I was a bit disappointed in the soccer program that Kinsie is in. Well, its still unorganized, but it’s gotten better! It turns out her coach is her teacher’s husband, so that helped make a connection and the coach really took more of an interest in her. She is really having fun too, which is the most important part! Ryan sometimes can make it to practice, and usually can come to the games. Brax loves watching and cheering on his sis…and giving Daddy kisses!

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Gymnastics Day

We joined a “Mommy and Me” group when we moved here, and try to attend the events whenever we can. Our favorite has been the Gymnastics day. As I’m sure you remember, Kinsie LOVED the gymnastics classes she took in Indy. She was in HEAVEN at this place. She was sprinting around the place as fast as she could doing every activity possible. Brax of course tried to keep up, and he had a great time too!

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Visit to Indiana

This was definitely the highlight of our month. This was a MUCH needed trip. I was craving my family and it was so good to spend time with them again. We had an amazing 2 weeks and did SO much. We did so much in fact, that our trip to Indiana will be its own blog post…so stay tuned! The kids loved seeing their grandparents and all their cousins. They were sad to leave them, but ready to be home and back to our routine. Luckily we’ll get to see them again in the next few weeks.

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Kinsie’s Birthday

I’ll cover this more in my next post, but my girl had a GREAT 4th birthday in Indiana. She had a very special day, and was so happy to spend it with our families. We also had a small party for her at her favorite place, the lake. We were sad that Daddy couldn’t be with us on her birthday, but he still found a way to be with us in a different way!

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September definitely kept us busy, but we needed it. So many positive things happened, which is helping keep our spirits up even on tough days. Arkansas is starting to feel more and more like home, and even though we miss everyone, we are finding ways to deal with that (Facetime is essential!) I know that the next few months will be busy, but I am really looking forward to it. October is always one of my favorite months, and we are excited to do our usual fall traditions in a new place. Stay tuned for our Indiana post coming soon!

Let the Adventure Begin!

The journey to Little Rock that we’ve been anticipating for months now is in full swing. We spent countless hours physically and mentally preparing for this change, and while the physical move is complete, we are still working on the mental and emotional part of being in a new place. But I’ll back up for a minute and talk about the whole moving process…

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The kids have been absolute champs throughout this process. It definitely wasn’t easy trying to pack an entire house with two little ones, so they made the process pretty interesting. They loved playing with boxes and playing hide and seek on the truck!

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While we spent the majority of our time packing, we had to take breaks here and there to entertain the kids, and to keep our sanity!

Brax’s First Haircut

One of our packing breaks consisted of Brax’s first haircut. We really wanted to get his hair cut before we moved, mainly so that Ryan’s cousin Jess could be the one to do it. Kinsie got hers cut too, and she loved being a role model for Brax so he wouldn’t be scared. He was still a little nervous, but he did great!

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Trip to the Zoo

We definitely could not have gotten through the moving process without the help of our families. Not only did they help us pack, load the truck, unpack, and more…they took turns watching the kids so that Ryan and I could actually have productive packing time. This was probably the most helpful thing anyone could do because we got SO much done when the kids weren’t there. Grandma Bev and Aunt Megan took the kids to the zoo one day and met up with some of their cousins, and they had an absolute blast!

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Family Hike

Ryan and I also wanted to do some family activities when we weren’t packing, so we decided to go on a family hike at Eagle Creek Park. We had so much fun, and saw lots of fun things like raccoons, frogs, turtles, snakes and fish. It was much-needed quality family time!

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Summer Cousin Fun

The kids absolutely adore all of their cousins, so we tried to fit in as much cousin time as possible before we left. They got to swim, play in sprinklers, go to birthday parties, and more. This was really important to me that they weren’t missing out on summer fun through the chaos of moving.

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Full House

We were SO grateful that my parents, Ryan’s parents, and Ryan’s siblings drove all the way down to Arkansas to help us move. And they were all SO helpful. My parents drove with me and the kids…which was crucial to help me entertain my 2 energetic toddlers through a 10 hour car ride, Ryan and Nate drove the UHAUL, Megan and her husband Tim drove Ryan’s truck, which included a trailer, the fish tank, all the fish, AND our 2 dogs, and Bev and Tim drove the next day once Tim came home from a work trip. They all stayed for about 5 days, and it is unbelievable the amount we accomplished in that time. We unloaded everything, unpacked and organized almost everything, stripped the wallpaper in the kitchen and bathroom, then painted the kitchen and bathroom, all while helping entertain the kids! We also did a little exploring of the town during our breaks too. They were all troopers sitting on the floor to eat meals, and sleeping in sleeping bags and air mattresses, and helping us with tasks that weren’t necessarily fun or easy. (Just ask Megan and Nate about their experience stripping the wallpaper in the bathroom!) I can’t even explain how grateful I am for all the help we got from the people we love!

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Stripping wallpaper, eating on the floor and snacks in the playpen…oh, the joys of moving!

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Our Father’s Day consisted of another chaotic day of moving! At least this guy is so laid back that all he cared about was spending time with his babies on his special day!

 

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The kids are loving their new rooms, and especially their new playroom!

 

Exploring Arkansas

In between unpacking, we’ve tried to spend time exploring our new home. Ryan was in full swing of his orientation month, so he was often gone all day, so the kids and I would explore alone as much as I felt comfortable. We have a little park and lake very close to our house, so we have spent a lot of time there. However, it has been VERY hot and humid here this summer, so we’ve also had to be creative on ways to keep cool.

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Loving our time at Lake Willastein!

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Walking on the Big Dam Bridge…one of our favorite spots in Little Rock

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Lots of outside fun…trying to keep cool!

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Watching the ducks at the lake

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Strolling through the neighborhood is a daily activity!

Kinsie and I have done some special projects together since we’ve been here too. While Brax is napping, we try to find little crafts or projects to do together. We painted, made colored ice, made super slime, and made cookies!

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Our month of June was SO busy, but very exciting with a huge life change that we are still adjusting to. Ryan just started his official EM shifts, and he is absolutely loving it. The kids and I are getting used to our new home and trying to meet people and find our niche here. It definitely isn’t easy, and we have had some very difficult days in the last 2 weeks. Kinsie and I have cried together because we miss our families so much. The kids are both dealing with the changes in their own way, but overall they have been wonderful and my saving grace since Ryan is often not around. The kids have kept me busy, and have forced me to get out of my comfort zone and explore and try to meet people. Our roots were so deep in Indiana since I lived there my entire life, so completely uprooting and relocating somewhere unfamiliar has been extremely challenging. However, I LOVE the area we are in. Our neighbors are fantastic and welcoming, and we have met some families through Ryan’s residency that have been very helpful as well, so we are slowly getting there! Deep down, I have known since we visited in February that this is where we were meant to be. When we visited, I had an inner peace about being here that could have only come from God, so I know it isn’t a mistake that we are here, and I know it will all be ok. With the support of God, our families, and the community we are building here in Arkansas, we will make it through and thrive on this journey.

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Our old house and our new house…

I moved in to our house in Indiana with Ryan when we got married in June 2012, and it was a perfect little house for a newly married couple. We lived comfortably there just the two of us and the dogs, then eventually added 2 babies into the mix, and filled the house (literally) with toys and memories. That house will always have a special place in my heart, but we were definitely ready to move on! We LOVE our new house, and don’t know what to do with all the space! I will post more pictures of the house once we make a few more updates. Stay tuned to continue following our adventures in our new home!