Our Month of MAY-hem

Wow…we had SO much happening in the month of May. It seemed to fly by, but then again, it seems like the beginning of the month was a year ago. We had lots of fun, and were also very busy this month, so brace yourself for pictures galore!

Brax’s First Birthday

Brax turned one on May 2, and while we already had his Lumberjack party a few days earlier, we still had to do something for our boy’s special day. He received an Orange Leaf gift card as one of his birthday gifts, so we took him for his first frozen yogurt experience. He loved it, and of course, Kinsie didn’t mind it either!

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Kinsie and Mommy’s Day of Fun

Any fans of the show “Friends” out there? Well just like Joey and Janice, Kinsie and I had a special day together this month. Her school had a Mother’s Day Lunch on a Friday morning, so I took the morning off to go with her. We had a great lunch together at her school, then I had to get ready to leave and head to work. Her brown eyes had big ol’ crocodile tears in them when I told her I had to leave…so I thought about it, and since it was nearing the end of the school year (my students checked out LONG before this anyway), and the rest of the afternoon at school was our PTO Walk-a-thon, I thought, what the heck, I’ll bring her along! We had a great day together! She loved playing on the playground, silent reading time, and being my little helper at school. My students LOVED having her there, and they were great with her. It was a much-needed Mommy and Kinsie day.

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Dr. Matthews

It’s official…he’s a doctor now! After 4 very long years of medical school, my husband is now an MD. Two years of living in different cities with a newborn baby, two years of countless rotations with long and crazy hours, throwing another baby in the mix and surviving on a teacher’s salary…and we made it! I know we still have a long road ahead as he starts his residency, but we have come so far. We did it as a team, and that’s how we will continue our journey.

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First Swim of the Season

This usually happens WAY sooner, but it has been a crazy April and May. Lots and lots and lots of rain and below 50 degree temps. But a few weeks into May, we finally got these kids in the pool! Kinsie did her happy dance all around the pool, and Brax splashed and giggled and did his happy shout the whole time!

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Lake Time

Ahh, the lake. Our favorite. Our happy place. We have spent two weekends at the lake this month…we are trying to soak in as much lake time as we can before we move. We spent all of Mother’s Day there, and Memorial Day weekend. We have our staple activities that we always do while we visit…including lots of fishing, golf cart rides to the playground at the Marina, and lots of boat rides. This last trip even including Brax’s first time on the paddle boat, and both kids took turns driving the boat. Both of the kids (and the adults) are SO happy while we are at the lake. We all drag our feet when it’s time to leave and head back home. It really is all of our happy place.

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Outside Fun

We haven’t had quite as much outside time as you would think for the month of May, but the few times it has been nice enough, we try to get the kids outside. Even if we don’t want to, they drag us out. They have enjoyed wagon rides, playing t-ball, family bike rides, and running around in the backyard finding frogs and other critters.

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Soccer

Kinsie loved her soccer season! She absolutely loved playing with her cousins, and getting a snack ticket after every game. She improved SO much this season. She became more competitive and aggressive…all she needs is a little bit of speed and she’ll be a soccer star! Whether it was raining, freezing, windy, or sunny (I think this only happened twice), the kids were troopers and had a great season. They always had a great fan club too!

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Some “Lasts”

Within one week, Kinsie had her last gymnastics class, her last soccer game and her last day of preschool. All of these lasts weren’t just for the season, but her last doing all of these things in our current home of Indiana. She had such great experiences for all of these things, especially her preschool. We were so sad for her to leave this school, we really loved it there. She loved her teachers and her friends, but she is very open-minded about finding a new preschool and new friends (we’re hoping her optimism rubs off on her mama a bit). We were so lucky that she had all of these great opportunities to help her learn and grow, and we know we will get other fun opportunities in our new home.

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Last week was a tough one, because I had to say goodbye to a job that I love. I packed up my classroom, turned in my keys, and said “see you later” to some amazing fellow teachers that have become my best friends. I taught in this community for 5 years, and while it often completely drained me, it was so fulfilling. Even though I won’t be teaching at this school anymore, I feel in my heart that my teaching career is far from over.

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That just about wraps up our month. It was busy, crazy, exhausting, but amazing. We are counting down the days to our big move, which is happening in a couple of weeks. While we can barely walk through our house because of moving boxes everywhere, we are still trying to relax, soak it all in and enjoy our time with our families and friends before we pick up and move our lives to Little Rock.

Wild ONE!

A few days before Brax’s birthday, we had a lumberjack “Wild One” birthday party for him at the lake. I love how both of my kids have birthdays in months where we can spend time outside…or at least we SHOULD be able to. The weather lately hasn’t exactly been typical of late April and early May…it has been cold and rainy for weeks now. It poured all morning the day of Brax’s party…so it became an indoor party. I was a little bummed, but I knew he wouldn’t know the difference. Actually, once it was time for the party later in the afternoon, it stopped raining…but it was still too wet to do any of the festivities outside. We still love our home away from home, even if we don’t get to be outside.

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Thanks to Megan for making Brax’s outfit and the awesome “1” banner!

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Ryan was a huge help for the party…making the “Wild One” sign and the “Trail Mix Bar” sign, as well as drawing and painting the lumberjack man! Also, thank you to Bev (and Tim) for hosting and making a lot of the food, as well as Aunt Renata for the amazing cookies!

Brax had the BEST time at this party. He barely napped that day, probably because he was too excited for his party (no joke…he knew something exciting was about to happen!) Even without much sleep, he was a champ throughout the afternoon. He partied hard, visited with everyone, and played with all of his cousins. Kinsie helped him open his presents, which was quite a chaotic adventure! As you’d expect from a one year old, Brax was more entertained by the boxes and bows than the gifts themselves. Kinsie was pretty excited to play with all of Brax’s new toys though!

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Next was probably Brax’s favorite part of the afternoon…being sang to and eating cake! He LOVED when everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to him. He was absolutely giddy. He giggled, wiggled and laughed the entire time. When it was time for cake, I figured he would dive right in because that is how he usually approaches food, but surprisingly, he was cautious. He wasn’t too crazy about getting icing all over him at first, but once he realized that this stuff that was all over his fingers tasted delicious, he was all in!

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We had one very happy little boy that afternoon. Kinsie had a blast too! We love getting all of our family and close friends together for occasions like this. It fills my love tank. It is hard to believe that the next several birthdays the kids will have will be in Arkansas. However, even though we are moving, we still plan to spend the kids’ birthday weekends at home to celebrate with all of our family and friends. Kinsie is already planning her 4th birthday party, in which she claims that she’ll have another dinosaur party. We’ll see if she changes her mind by September!

Happy FIRST birthday my little WILD ONE!

Kinsie-saurus’s Dino Party

As you already know, Kinsie loves dinosaurs. This started around this time last year when we took her to the Children’s Museum for the first time and she loved the dinosaur exhibit. Ever since then, her love for dinosaurs has only grown. This year, when I asked her what kind of birthday party she wanted, without hesitation, she said she wanted a dinosaur party at the lake. So that’s what we did! We invited family and very close friends and the party was a huge success!

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Grandma Bev helped make most of the food, Ryan carved the dinosaur watermelon, and Aunt Renata made the awesome dinosaur cookies! We ordered the cake from Shug’s Cakes.

 

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“Kinsiesaurus” shirt made by Aunt Megan!

Some of the entertainment for the kids included digging for dino fossils in the sandbox, and the bounce house. We also had a dinosaur pinata that was a big hit! Dean ended up busting out the candy from the pinata!

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Kinsie said her favorite part of the party was opening her presents. She got some awesome stuff! Ryan had to build new shelves in her room just so we could fit all her new toys in the house!

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Our girl was pretty pumped about her dinosaur cake. When it was time for cake, the spot that we had set up was right in the sun, and I didn’t want to be in full sun for the pictures…so we moved the whole set up to the shade. Ryan (my brother-in-law) and Nate untied the banners from the tree and held them up over our new set up so we could have them in the cake pictures! World’s Best Uncles!

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It was an awesome day! Kinsie had so much fun with the people she loves. Brax had a great time too in his little dinosaur hoodie! We are so appreciative to everyone to helped out and came to celebrate our girl’s birthday. We jammed out to her birthday mix CD the whole way home!

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“Lake-ation” All I Ever Wanted

As you know, I am on summer vacation and Ryan started his 4th year of med school at the beginning of June. Since Ryan didn’t really get time off for vacation, we still wanted to find a way for a “get away” with the kids, so we spent almost a week at the lake in between his June and July rotations. We had an amazing time! It was like we were on vacation, but we also felt very at home. Here are some of the highlights of the trip…

Fishing

Surprised? Probably not! We love to fish and Kinsie has recently hopped on the bandwagon too. We fished off the dock. We fished on the pontoon. We fished near the marina. We fished as often as we could. Ryan had the best luck of all of us. We caught mostly bluegill and pumpkinseed fish, but also caught a catfish, a bass, and even a turtle!

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Swimming in the Lake

We swam in the lake on several occasions. We took Kinsie to the “beach” of the lake, and she was not a fan of the sand on the beach (after feeling the sand at Siesta Key, who can blame her?) but she loved swimming! I’m sure that in another year or two, Brax will be right there with her!

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Splash Pad

We took Kinsie to the splash pad at the clubhouse last year and she loved it, and of course she did again this year. Ryan had to go downtown for lecture on this day, so Grandma Bev, Uncle Nate and I took Kinsie to the pool area. She had a blast and Brax snoozed away!

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Tubing

We took Kinsie tubing once last year during Memorial weekend (one of the busiest weekends at the lake…not sure what we were thinking) and the water was way too rough for even me, let alone our not even 2-year-old at the time. She wasn’t too crazy about it then. We tried it again during the week and she loved it! She wouldn’t let go of the handles for her life, but she definitely enjoyed herself. Brax enjoyed watching us tube from the boat. Again…in another year or two, I’m sure both kids will be little dare devils on the tube like their daddy and Uncle Nate were when they were young!

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Riding on the Boat

This is always one of our favorite things to do. It is so relaxing and beautiful. We spent almost the entire day on the boat one day, and Brax took one of the best naps he’s ever had while on the boat. I joked that he and I would spend the night on the boat so I could get some sleep for once! We loved fishing off of the pontoon and watching the sun set into the lake. One night, my parents and niece and nephew came to visit, so the kids loved their boat ride together.

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S’mores

How could this not be one of the best parts of the trip? Cooking s’mores over the fire on a beautiful evening is always a good idea!

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4th of July Fun

Every year we spend the Saturday of 4th of July weekend at the lake and watch the fireworks from the boat. A lot of Ryan’s family always comes and spends the day as well, and Kinsie had a blast with her cousins running around, fishing, and doing sparklers. We even got to meet the newest member of the family, Ryan’s cousin’s daughter, born 6 weeks after Brax. We all had a great day!

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We had an awesome week. I was honestly really sad when it was time to go home. I didn’t get that feeling at the end of a vacation where you are excited to be home…I could have spent another month there! I am so grateful that we have this beautiful place available to us and that Ryan’s family always welcomes us there. It is one of our favorite places in the world and it  was the perfect little vacation for our family this summer.

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Waiting for Baby

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Ok, I’m finally to the point where I am ready. I mean, really ready. I’ve never been more ready to, of course meet my first son, but also to simply get this baby out of me!! My body is done. I hate to sound negative, but, like I said…I am physically, mentally, and emotionally ready! Luckily, I’m close…approximately 4 weeks left!

How I’m feeling:

I feel about how you would expect a 36 week pregnant lady to feel. Tired, uncomfortable, anxious…you name it! I’ve mentioned before that this pregnancy has been much harder on me physically than when I was pregnant with Kinsie, and that is true now more than ever. It hurts to walk, stand, bend, and even sit sometimes! My feet are swollen and I am out of breath after I do anything or nothing at all. I am SO lucky to have such helpful coworkers, students, family and husband to help me do the physical things that I just can’t do right now. This part is so hard for me, because I hate asking for help. I am terrible at delegating because I would rather just do things myself, but for the safety of myself and my baby, I have to ask for help more right now, and the people in my life are wonderful about it. Something else that started up this month is carpel-tunnel syndrome. I have had this problem before, but very sporadically and not at all when I was pregnant with Kinsie. It is SO bad right now. I sleep with a wrist brace on both wrists, and that gives minimal relief, but doing anything with my hands throughout the day is insanely painful and difficult. I am praying that this subsides soon after delivery, because as a teacher, mom, and human…it is difficult to not use my hands much throughout the day!

Baby updates:

Size: This (not so) little guy should be about 6 pounds and 20 inches long. I am super anxious to find out big he’ll be at birth because Kinsie was only 6 lbs. 10 oz. and I feel that this baby boy is much bigger, but I don’t know how big a baby can really get when I have such a short torso and don’t have much room for growth!

Movement: My boy is still as wild as ever. The baby apps say that the baby has less room to move at this point, so their movements are usually not as intense as before…but not this kid. He makes room for big movements. He stretches my uterus beyond its natural abilities and he kicks me so hard I feel like my hips will snap. He pretty much moves all day long, but he has two times in the day when he is extra wild…usually around 4 or 5 pm, then again around 10pm. Ryan gets a kick (haha, get it?) out of feeling him move, and he likes to guess where each body part is as he’s moving…typical med student!

Name: We have finally settled on a name! But you won’t find out until the big day 🙂 The only clue you get now is that it starts with a B (as you’ll see in the nursery pictures below).

Nursery: The nursery is pretty much complete! I know that a baby doesn’t spend a whole lot of time in their nursery for the first months anyway, but any nesting pregnant woman, let alone one with OCD personality can understand that I wanted to get it done more for me than for the baby. The last thing we need to do is stain the rocking chair and add it to the room. Ryan’s great grandpa built a rocking chair when Ryan’s Aunt Renata was pregnant with her first, and she was kind enough to pass it along to us, so we thought it would be a great addition to the nursery. Here are a few pictures of our nursery/office. As you can see, the name is blocked out 🙂

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Sprinkles: A few weeks ago, my life group had a baby “sprinkle” for me at one of my favorite restaurants, Charbonos. They bought diapers and gifts for our boy, and dessert for me and Ryan! Our life group has been together for almost 3 years now, and together in that time we have had 6 babies, and this baby will be the 7th! I love spending time with such wonderful people and it is awesome to see our little life group family grow.

My staff also had a sprinkle for me at work last week. They hooked me up with tons of diapers and wipes, and made breakfast and treats. They have taken such good care of me throughout this pregnancy, and are always going out of their way to help me with anything I need and being accommodating to doctor appointments, etc. I absolutely LOVE the people I work with!

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What else we’ve been up to this month:

I had a nice 2 week spring break and got to spend so much quality time with Kinsie. She and I both needed that, and I really soaked up my time with her because that was our last break of school with just the two of us. We had to just hang out at home more than I wanted because I didn’t have the physical capabilities to go out and do much, but Kinsie didn’t seem to mind. Every once in a while we would venture out a bit by going to the park or the library, but that was pretty much the extent. Either way, she was happy to have her mama home and I was happy to be home with her.

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Ryan finished his internal medicine rotation and started his Pysch rotation with much better hours and weekends off. We have definitely taken advantage of having him around more. A few weekends ago, we took a family trip to the zoo, and even though it was windy and cold, the crowds were minimal and the animals were active, so we had a lot of fun! I really wanted the chance to take Kinsie to the zoo one more time before the baby came, but I knew I would have a hard time taking her myself, so with Ryan there, I was able to take more breaks and not have to handle my wild toddler alone!

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Kinsie started soccer class a couple weeks ago. She has been excited about starting soccer for several months now, and she loves running around the house practicing with her daddy. So far, she’s done pretty well when she’s in the mood to participate! Sometimes she’s not as into the other drills and games, but she could just run around and kick a soccer ball all day long!

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We’ve had some odd April weather, but last weekend was finally beautiful! We took the opportunity to spend the weekend at one of our favorite places, the lake! A few weeks ago, we let Kinsie pick out her own fishing pole, and she picked a Ninja Turtles one. Ryan’s been teaching her how to cast and reel, and practicing with her at home. She was pumped to try it out on her own once we got to the lake. She did awesome! She cast her pole out on her own, waited as patiently as a 2 year old can wait, then once she was getting a bite, she reeled it in by herself about 90% of the way, then once she saw the fish getting closer, she kind of freaked out and needed daddy’s help reeling it in the rest of the way. She was SO proud of her first catch, and of course we were too! We had an awesome weekend of fishing and relaxing with Ryan’s family!

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So now here we are. Just getting through each day, waiting for the day that our little boy will officially join our family. I’m still a little anxious on how Kinsie will handle the transition, but I know she will be an awesome big sister. Keep us in your prayers over the next few weeks as we await our sweet little boy!

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O-FISH-ally Two!

We had Kinsie’s birthday party at her favorite place…the lake! Based on the fact that we were having her party there, we decided to go with a “fishing” theme. She was all about it from the moment we told her. She talked about her fishy party for weeks leading up to the party. We knew we were going to have one happy little girl when her party came! I honestly wish it was my full-time job to plan birthday parties for toddlers. It is too much fun. Thanks especially to Pinterest and Etsy, I found lots of cute ideas to make the party unique and fun.

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Thanks to the help of my mother-in-law Bev, my mom, Ryan’s aunts – Rita and Renata, and my aunt Mary Lou…there was plenty of food to go around. And of course we had to add some “fishy” fun with the food as well! The main course included hot dogs, hamburgers, and Bev’s famous chilli. Dessert included cake (Brenda’s Cakes), dirt and worms (Aunt Mary Lou), fish cookies (Renata), and fishy chow (rather than “puppy chow” – made by my mama). The food certainly did not disappoint!

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Ryan and I both worked hard to have plenty of fun activities for the kids. There was a coloring and craft station, fish cornhole, a magnetic fishing game, and of course, boat rides!

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I was really curious to know how opening gifts would be with Kinsie this year. I had a feeling that she would want to open and play with each gift as she opened it, and would be overwhelmed with all her new toys. Well, I was kind of right. She did want to open and play with each gift as she opened them, but after she opened about the 5th gift, she was done. She obsessed about the toys she had already opened, and didn’t want to open anymore! She just sat and played with those toys while I opened the rest of her gifts. Once we got home and got all her new toys out though, she was a happy camper and played with everything!

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Kinsie has been really into the “Happy Birthday” song lately, so when everyone sang to her, she was on Cloud 9. She certainly enjoyed being in the spotlight and eating cake and ice cream!

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The only down side to her party, was that her cousin (and best friend), Briggs had to leave a bit early. He woke up that morning with hives, and a swollen face. He still tried to have fun and enjoy the party, but you could tell the poor guy just didn’t feel well. He started getting more swollen as the evening went on, so they left early to take him to the hospital. He got worse before he got better, but after a couple days, he was pretty much back to himself.

Other that the issue with Briggs, the party was a huge success!! Kinsie had a blast, and of course, if Kinsie was happy, mommy and daddy were happy too. All of the guests seemed to have a good time as well, and we were lucky to have a beautiful day on the lake!

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Summer Lovin’

Well, I hate to say it but this was my last official day of summer vacation. It is uncanny how quickly these summers go by now that we are on the balanced calendar. Eight weeks for a summer vacation just isn’t long enough! But then again I am very grateful to even have a job where I can have this much time off. I haven’t posted much the last few months, so here is a recap of our summer.

Ryan took his STEP 1 Boards in early June, then started his clinical rotations a few days later. His first rotation was in OB/Gyn…which is notorious for being one of the most intense rotations. This rotation included 13 hour days, 6 days a week (and keep in mind he isn’t even getting paid!) He would barely get home in time to see Kinsie before she went to bed. Because of this, he learned pretty quickly that this is not the field of medicine for him. After this, he got to experience the other end of the spectrum, Anesthesia. During this 2 week rotation, he only worked 40 hour weeks with weekends off. It was glorious! We got in SO much quality time with him during these 2 weeks, and he even had time to build Kinsie her very own swing set in the backyard! Being able to spend time with his family is obviously a priority for him, so anesthesia is not off the table! Today he started Plastic surgery which I’m sure will be an adventure! It is still taking some getting used to having him home every night…in a good way. Sometimes I just forget that he is coming home at night! One of the hardest parts about when he lived in Muncie was at night after Kinsie went to bed. It’s definitely no fun going to bed alone every night. But now we’re enjoying our time snuggling on the couch and watching Orange is the New Black while eating popcorn. It is SO good to have him home!

This summer in Indiana was actually a bit depressing…probably 80% of our days were rainy and muggy. Not only is this depressing for someone who loves the sunshine, but it’s especially so  for a toddler who loves the sunshine and has a ton of energy! I had to be very creative coming up with indoor activities for us to do on the many days we couldn’t go outside. We took trips to public libraries, did arts and crafts, read a lot of books, and watched a lot of movies! Well…I shouldn’t say a lot of movies. We watched the same movies over and over again. Her new obsession is Shrek, so we watched the 4 Shrek movies and the Shrek musical pretty much on loop!

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Kinsie started gymnastics classes this summer! She had been climbing on everything and tumbling around nonstop, so we figured this would be a good thing for her. She absolutely LOVES it! Her favorite thing to do is somersaults, but she also loves the balance beam and the bars. She even got her first trophy last week!

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We had a busy 4th of July. First we went to the Brownsburg parade. Kinsie, Briggs and Kerigan were all about collecting the candy thrown by the floats. They were proud of their big bad of candy at the end! Later we went to the lake, like we do every year. Kinsie had fun playing with cousins, doing sparklers, and watching fireworks on the boat. Last year she wasn’t able to stay up late enough to watch the fireworks, but we made sure she did this year!

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Two of our favorite places to hang out this summer were the zoo and the lake. You all already knew that Kinsie was obsessed with the zoo and animals in general, so of course we tried to find as many not-rainy, not-too-humid days to spend at the zoo. She especially loves it when we meet her cousins there!

The lake, however, is a new obsession. We can’t even mention the word “lake” unless we are driving there. For a while, every time we got in the car, she would say “lake?” and when I’d say no, she would pout. When we say her prayers at night, she prays for the lake. When I ask her in the morning what she dreamed about, she says the lake. The lake is her happy place. She loves the boat, the toys, the fishing,…everything. We made as many trips there as we could this summer, and will continue to make weekend trips when we can even though school is starting. I don’t blame her, I love it there too!

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Even though sunny days this summer were few and far between, whenever it was nice enough, we were outside. Wagon rides, trips to the park, swimming at my parents’ pool, you name it. God must have been looking out for us, because our last full week of summer was BEAUTIFUL! I had one very happy girl! To add on to that, like I mentioned earlier, Ryan built a swing set in our backyard…complete with 2 swings (a Kinsie swing and a “mommy swing” as she calls it), a climbing rope, a bar for gymnastics, and even a balance beam. Kinsie was on Cloud 9! Every morning as soon as I opened her door, she’d ask to go swing. I didn’t mind because I could swing right along side of her!

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Some of the water fun we had this summer!

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Parks, wagon rides, and bubbles.

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Kinsie’s new swing set. Kudos to Ryan for the excellent craftsmanship!

Finally, the last full week of summer was also the week of our county fair. I love going to the fair for the good food and to see my students with their 4H projects. Kinsie loves the fair for the animals and balloons. We went twice during the week, and both times she was one happy camper. She wouldn’t stop talking about balloons until we got her one, but once she did, she strutted around like she owned the place with her balloon in hand. She loved the “hop hops” and the goats, especially when they licked her hands. I love how much she loves life!

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I’m sure you can tell that overall, we had a pretty good summer! I am so grateful for all the quality time that I got to spend with my girl. Her newest thing is always wanting to hold my hand. No complaining here! I know that she won’t always want to hold my hand as she gets older, so I’m savoring these special moments. I’m not ready to be away from her all day again, even though I know she’ll be in the best hands. She is just too much fun and so full of life. She has changed my life in so many ways and has taught me to live in the moment and just enjoy life. Thank you, my sweet baby girl. I love you more than I can ever explain!

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Here’s to the start of a new school year!