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!

April Sunshine

We had a lot going on in April! We had a lot of fun experiences, stayed busy, and had an awesome visit from family. While April is usually filled with lots of rain, (which we still had plenty of), we had tons of beautiful sunshine as well. Like I’ve said before, spring weather here is Arkansas is on point. We probably spent more time outside this month than we did inside. Any chance we got, we spent it outside. This was good for all of our souls, and we soaked in every minute of it. Here is a recap of our April.

Brax’s First Movie Theater Experience

One of Braxs’s favorite Disney movies is Dumbo, so as soon as we knew that they were making a live-action version, we wanted to see it right away. We don’t go to the movies often…it has to be something we really want to see for us to go. Since our boy loves Dumbo, we figured this would be a great opportunity for his first time at the movie theater. The movie was wonderful, and the kids did great! Brax spent most of his time eating popcorn, and climbing all over me asking when the movie would be over…but once it actually was, he kept saying he wanted to see it again!

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A Ballerina Birthday Party

Kinsie was invited to another friend from school’s birthday parties. This time, Daddy was able to stay home with Brax, so I got to have a little girl time with Kinsie. This party was a ballerina themed party, with a guest visit from the Sugar Plum Fairy. Kinsie was a little starstruck, but loved spending time with her friends and getting her face painted.

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No More Pacifier…and No More Naps

Last August, we took Brax’s pacifier away and let’s just say, it was a complete disaster. We gave up and decided to try again later. The time had come again when I knew we just had to suck it up and do it. We prepared him for weeks, telling him he’s a big boy now, and big boys don’t need pacifiers. We told him that his baby cousin was coming to visit soon and he needed to give his pacifier to Griffin. Luckily, this time around, things went much better! He still had a couple of rough nights falling asleep, and a few very early mornings, but overall, he’s done great! This was a huge hurdle for us considering he was very attached to his paci at night.

Ever since we got rid of his pacifier, naps have gone out the window. Each time I tried, he wanted nothing to do with it. I knew this might happen, so at least I was somewhat mentally prepared. Back to the minor setbacks he’s had with this big change, one morning he woke up at 5am and refused to go back to sleep. The next day, I made him go to his bed for a nap. Again, he wanted nothing to do with it and fought and screamed. I just left him in there, and eventually we noticed on the monitor that he was sitting up, but not moving. That little stinker was stubborn, but exhausted. He fell asleep sitting up in his bed! I still laugh when I look at the picture below on the right. Sorry buddy…Mama won this battle!

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T-ball is in Full Swing

We are in the midst of t-ball season, and it is keeping us busy. Kinsie still loves it, and Brax loves going to watch her. She even had a special visitor come to one of her games. Even though Megan and Griffin were only able to make it for the last inning due to a diaper blowout, Kinsie was excited that they got to see her bat.

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Give us ALL the Outside Time!

Even though I miss it, one plus side to Brax not napping anymore is that we don’t really have as much of a schedule on when to be back home or back inside…so we’ve been spending all day every day outside.

We like to change it up between the front yard, backyard, and the park. Even when we stay home, they always come up with creative ways to play, like having picnics, or making “stew” out of leaves and grass. They especially love finding critters, like ladybugs and slugs. They also love washing my car!

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We have spent lots and lots of time at the park by our house. It really is a win win…I get some exercise by pulling them in the wagon to the park, and they have lots of fun once we get there!

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Lucky little Brax gets even more park time since Kinsie goes to school 5 days a week. We go to the park any day that we can. We’ve even had a few picnic lunches at the park.

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Lately, the kids are really having a hard time getting along. They are always fighting about something, or just trying to get under each other’s skin. Everything changes when we go to the park though. Somehow, they magically get along and are each other’s best friends. Maybe this is why I don’t mind spending so much time there either!

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One Saturday, Ryan had to work a 12 hour shift, and it was a beautiful day, so we packed a picnic and headed to the park. We spent hours there. After our lunch, we played on the playground and had a nature scavenger hunt.

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The kids loved finding pine cones, sticks, and flowers on their scavenger hunt.

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Later after dinner, we heard the ice cream truck outside. By the time we got outside, it was driving around the corner, so the kids and I hopped in the car and chased it down! We got it at its next stop and the kids loved it! It was a great way to end our day. This honestly was one of my favorite days I’ve had with the kids in a long time.

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Cousin Love

We haven’t seen Megan, Tim, and Griffin since Christmas, and we were so excited that they agreed to come spend the week with us for Easter. Megan and Griffin flew in, then Tim drove here a few days later. The kids were in heaven. They ADORE their baby cousin. They spent most of their time on the floor swooning over him. Griffin stayed very entertained while he was here!

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We did various activities while they were here. We took several walks around the lake, and Griffin either enjoyed the view or snoozed.

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We walked on the Big Dam Bridge. The kids were being goofballs the entire time, so again, Griffin stayed entertained.

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We even got to take Griffin on his very first zoo trip. It turned out to be a much colder day than we expected, but the kids still loved showing him their favorite animals and attractions at the zoo.

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We also took them to hike Pinnacle Mountain with us. Griffin was a trooper and seemed very content throughout the hike. Kinsie took twice as long as usual because she wanted to touch and explore every leaf, acorn, and stick along the way. Brax split his time between being a good little hiker and riding on Daddy’s shoulders, or being an absolute terror and refusing to go anywhere. But hey, that’s life with a toddler.

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The view from the top of Pinnacle Mountain never gets old!

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Easter Activities

We like to do lots of different crafts and activities to celebrate Easter. I always try really hard each year to still have fun with egg hunts and such, but making sure the kids know the real importance of Easter.

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Dying Easter Eggs

The kids loved having Griffin watch them dye their Easter eggs this year. Griffin even got a little too excited and knocked over the bowl of yellow dye. The kids got a kick out of it and decided that his favorite color is yellow. Kinsie decorated all her eggs like unicorns of course, and Brax just put as many dinosaur stickers on each egg as he possibly could fit.

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Easter Cookies

Making cookies is another tradition that I started since we moved here, since Aunt Renata always made cookies with them before. She even still sends us supplies in the mail to make cookies each holiday! The kids, Megan and I enjoyed decorating bunny, egg, and flower cookies…and Griffin just loved watching the madness!

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Church Easter Egg Hunt

Our church has a big Easter egg hunt the Saturday before Easter, and the kids had a blast at it last year, so we knew we wanted to go again this year. They split it up by age group, which is perfect so kids don’t get overwhelmed or intimidated. It was a beautiful day and the kids had a great time finding eggs and learning more about Jesus.

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Easter Morning

All the kids woke up to a full Easter basket and enjoyed their treats from the Easter bunny. Then we all went to church for an Easter service.

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After church, we made brunch and then had another egg hunt for the kids. Kinsie hopped the entire time, Brax screamed happily, and Griffin chilled. What a trio!

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We LOVED our time with the Mosier family, and we were so thankful that they made the trip to spend Easter with us. Holidays can be really tough being away from home, especially when we can’t always make the trip to be with everyone, so it means the world when family comes to us.

Another month down, and now May is upon us. My baby is about to be three in a few days, and I can’t even deal! We are excited for May, and hoping we can survive another hot Arkansas summer!

Here is our 1 Second Every Day video for April. Enjoy!

Falling for October

October seemed to fly by! We stayed incredibly busy this month between t-ball, school, ballet, church, vacation, and lots of fall fun. Some of our favorite yearly traditions take place in October, and even with Ryan’s busy schedule, we try really hard to still fit it all in and create fun memories. Here is a recap of our October.

T-ball Season

Kinsie’s t-ball games started this month, and she has been rocking it! Softball has come more naturally to her than any other sport she has tried so far. She still needs to work on her throwing skills, but she has been hitting the ball incredibly well, and being very aggressive on the field. She seems to love it, and we all enjoy watching her play!

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Pumpkin Patches

Going to the pumpkin patch is always a must every year. We always try to find a day where Ryan can go with us, because we all enjoy it. We went to the same pumpkin patch as last year because we loved it so much. The corn pit, the hay playground, the farm animals, the hay ride, the maze…we loved it all!

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This year, Kinsie and Brax’s school did a field trip to a different pumpkin patch. We had so much fun! The kids spent most of their time with Kinsie’s buddy, Judah (who is also on her t-ball team). They loved picking pumpkins and spending time with their teachers outside of the classroom. Kinsie had a homework assignment while she was there, which she was ALL about. This farm had tons of playground areas for the kids to run around, and lots of play scenes to take pictures with. It was a fun morning!

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Trip to Florida

The kids and I were very lucky to get the opportunity to go to Florida with my family for a week. Our original hope was for Ryan to come with us for a few days, but with his limited days off, we just didn’t think it was worth it for him to try to make this trip. We really missed him, but we did have a great time! The kids spent most of their time on the beach playing with their cousins. They loved building sand castles, playing on the boogie board, collecting seashells, and more. It honestly didn’t matter what they were doing, as long as they were with their cousins, they were happy!

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We also decided to spend one day at Disney’s Epcot. We hadn’t been there since Kinsie was 2 and I was pregnant with Brax. The older kids are getting more interested in learning about other countries and cultures, so we thought this was a great time to take them here. We had a very busy, but awesome day! We accomplished a ton in just one day. We loved The Seas with Nemo and Friends and the giant Epcot ball, but mostly the kids loved the characters (we’ll get to that in a minute), and visiting all the countries in the World Showcase.We bought the kids Epcot passports, and they LOVED visiting every country and getting their passport stamped. It was actually very neat, especially because the people who work at each country are actually from that country. This was a very neat experience for all of us, and I loved how much they enjoyed learning about different countries and cultures.

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Our other favorite part of Epcot was getting to meet all the characters. This was definitely the highlight for Brax. He absolutely loved hugging and getting his picture taken with all of his favorites. At the end of the night, we surprised the kids with a Disney princess dinner. The girls were so excited, and loved visiting with, and getting autographs from some of their favorite princesses. It was a long, busy, but wonderful day at Epcot!

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Like I said, we really missed Ryan, but we’re so glad we took this opportunity. We had some great quality family time, and the kids were so happy to spend time with their favorite people. I am so grateful for my family for making this trip work for us and helping me so much. I literally couldn’t have done any of it without them!

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Pumpkins Galore!

Every year, our creative side comes bursting out around Halloween. Ryan and I, even when we were in high school, loved carving unique pumpkins together. We’ve managed to continue this tradition with our kids. This year, we also included painting to the mix. The kids loved painting their pumpkins, and Ryan and I added a Harry Potter and Hedwig to the pumpkin crew this year.

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Last year, one of our favorite activities with the residency group was pumpkin carving. We made sure to be a part of it again this year. The kids loved carving their pumpkins, but they loved running around and playing hide and seek with their friends even more.

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Pictured below- all of our finished painted pumpkins

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And now pictured below are the finished carved pumpkins. From left to right we had Brax’s picks – Chase from Paw Patrol and Bruce the shark from Finding Nemo, Ryan’s pick – a human heart/skull, my pick – the Hocus Pocus witches, then Kinsie’s picks – a unicorn and a Hatchimal.

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Halloween

It poured on Halloween night! And we knew it would…it was in the forecast for a few days. Most of the city of Little Rock moved trick-or-treating to the night before, but Kinsie had a double-header that night. Luckily, our church had a festival on the night of Halloween…so we still got to do our Halloween thing. Kinsie has had her costume picked out for months…she wanted to be Anne Wheeler, the trapeze artist from the movie, The Great Showman. Brax was a different story! I can’t even count how many times he changed his mind. Some of his options over the last month included (but are not limited to) PT Barnum, an elephant, an alligator, a lion, Mickey Mouse, a dinosaur….and about 10 more different types of animals. He’s so picky about what he wears, so I knew it would be a challenge to actually get him to wear something. He finally settled on Mickey Mouse…which I was fine with because I could make him a simple Mickey costume using just normal clothes. Of course he wouldn’t wear it to his school Halloween party, but I was so relieved that he actually wore it on Halloween!

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The festival at church was a lot of fun. It was very crowded, but they had tons of games, activities, and food. The kids loved all the games and had a great time with some of their friends.

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Busy, busy month…but we loved every bit of it! Looking forward to exciting things in November…especially expecting our newest nephew to arrive by the end of the month!!! We can’t wait to meet him and to witness Megan and Tim embark on the amazing journey of parenthood.

As always, enjoy our 1 Second Everyday October video!

Stories of our September

We had a very eventful and refreshing September. After a few months of no activities and extreme heat (thus, us all getting stir crazy and sick of each other), we finally started up our fall activities, and it felt good to become busy again. Not only did school, T-ball, ballet and church activities begin, but we had a nice long week visit in Indiana. Ryan was on his SICU rotation (Surgical Intensive Care Unit), which we knew would be rough. He was working 14 hour shifts with only 4 days off for the whole month. This is part of the reason the kids and I took our trip, because we knew we wouldn’t see much of him anyway. I’m so grateful that his SICU rotation fell on a month where we were busy…if he would have had it during June or July I’m not sure I would have come out alive! We definitely missed him and we’re so glad that he is back in the Emergency Department now, but I’m glad we found ways to get through it.

First Day of School

The kids (and I) were SO excited to start school this year. Kinsie could not wait to get back to the classroom with her friends, and Brax was excited for a new adventure too. Kinsie has loved every moment since she started school. Going 5 days a week has been wonderful for her busy little mind. Brax has done surprisingly well for his first school experience. He still gets a little nervous when I drop him off, and it took a few days of peeling him off of me so I could leave…but other than that, he’s done great. He adores his teacher and seems to like the change of scenery. And I’m not going to lie, I’m enjoying my 2 days a week of kid-free time!

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T-Ball

Kinsie has been excited to start her first season of T-ball. We have practiced with her throughout the summer so she knew what to expect. She’s had 2 practices so far, and games start next month. She has really enjoyed practice, and loves having one of her friends from school on her team. Brax enjoys watching her practice too, but he mainly spends his time chasing bugs and climbing up and down the bleachers!

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Megan’s Baby Shower

As many of you know, my sweet nephew, due at the end of November, was prayed for long before he even existed. Megan and Tim had a long journey of infertility, and we were all in tears of joy when God finally blessed them with a baby boy. Long before Megan was even pregnant, I knew that when the day came, I wanted to throw a baby shower for my sister-in-law. With our current circumstances of us living 500 miles away, I knew it wouldn’t necessarily be easy, but it was going to happen. Months ago, I planned it all out – the kids and I would come visit for a week in September, and that is when we would have the shower. Luckily, the dates worked out for everyone else! I did what I could from a distance, and a few more of Megan’s aunts and cousins helped as well. The shower was a huge success! The decor was amazing, the food was great, and the company was perfect. The kids all enjoyed running amok and helping with the shower games, and we all loved spoiling sweet Megan and baby Mosier.

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Babyshower

Cincinnati Zoo

We used to go to the Cincinnati Zoo pretty often, mainly since they opened the Hippo Cove. In January 2017, the baby hippo Fiona was born premature. Because of this, it took longer than expected for baby Fiona to be displayed in the Hippo Cove with her parents. By the time she was big and healthy enough, we moved to Arkansas, so we weren’t able to see her in person. Kinsie has always followed Fiona’s story, and loves seeing pictures and videos of her. She even has a calendar and several books about her. When I found out we would be in Indiana for a week, I really wanted to make it happen to take Kinsie to finally meet Fiona. Grandma Bev and Aunt Megan tagged along, even though it was supposed to rain all day! However, a little rain would not stop my girl from meeting the baby hippo she’s been dying to meet for so long!

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We started our day at the Hippo Cove, and spent over an hour there. Luckily, the area was covered, so we escaped the rain for a bit. We LOVED meeting sweet Fiona! She was so active and energetic. She was swimming back and forth and doing flips everywhere. Kinsie was in heaven! Both kids followed her and her mom Bibi back and forth across the Hippo Cove and loved every minute of it!

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After spending the morning with Fiona and Bibi, we explored the rest of the zoo. Luckily, the rained eventually stopped and it turned out to be great weather. The morning rain kept the crowds away, so it was much more pleasant than usual. We especially loved the manatees, elephants, giraffes and gorillas. It was a long day, but completely worth it!

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The Lion King

While we were in Indiana, The Lion King Broadway show was playing in Indianapolis. My parents took my sister and I in New York when we were younger, and it was incredible. We really wanted the chance to share this experience with our kids. My mom, sister and I took the 3 older kids to the show. It was even better than I remember, and the kids absolutely loved it! We had a wonderful night and all 3 kids were zonked out by the time we got home!

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Kinsie’s Birthday Adventures

We were a little bummed that Kinsie’s birthday fell on the same month that Ryan had his SICU rotation, but we used it as an opportunity for her to spend her birthday with our family in Indiana. Kinsie had a very busy and fun 5th birthday…

We started our day with traditional birthday donuts. Since we had just seen the Lion King the night before, Grandma Bev had Brax overnight, so we took advantage and had a much needed Kinsie and Mommy morning date!

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Kinsie wanted breakfast food for her birthday lunch, so we went to Bob Evans and invited some of her favorite people. We had an awesome lunch with balloons, a mini cake and piggy pancakes.

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The town that my sister lives in had their homecoming parade that day, so I brought the kids to the parade with their cousins. They had a blast catching candy and Brax mainly pointed and laughed at all the floats and high school students dressed up like jungle animals.

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We ended the night with a birthday dinner at Yaya’s. Kinsie especially loved playing her new Hatchimals board game and painting her new unicorn molds with her cousins.

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Kinsie’s Magical Birthday Party

On our last day in Indiana, we had a unicorn-themed birthday party at Ryan’s Aunt Rita’s house. It was simple…just grandparents, a few aunts and uncles, and cousins. That’s all she needed! Like usual, I had a wonderful tribe helping me with the details! The decorations, cake, and cookies were perfect!

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The kids had a blast running around on the swing set, riding bikes and motorized jeeps, opening presents, and hitting the piñata.

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Kinsie was one happy little unicorn girl. Since Ryan was on such a tough rotation, he wasn’t able to make it to Indiana at all this trip like he was able to last year. We really missed him, but we made sure we included him while we sang happy birthday to our girl.

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Grandparents Day at School

I literally could not have done the trip to Indiana without my amazing mother-in-law and my mom. Bev flew to Little Rock a few days before our trip and helped us drive to Indiana. Then my mom helped us drive back and stayed for a few days before flying back to Indiana. We are so lucky to have families who are so willing to help us!

The timing worked out perfectly, because my mom was able to be here for the kids’ school Grandparents Day. They both LOVED having Yaya at their school! They got extremely attached to Yaya while she was here, and we were very sad to see her go…but luckily we get to see her again in 2 weeks (trip to Florida coming up…stay tuned!)

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Family Time

We didn’t get very much of it during SICU…so any family time we got was a highlight. On Ryan’s few days off, or just in his 1/2 hour to 1 hour time spans we had with him on the days he worked, we squeezed in some quality time together. Whether it was a morning of fishing, watching a quarter of the first Colts game or a quick game of Kinsie’s Hatchimals board game, we just were happy to have Ryan home!

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Again, I am so grateful for how busy we stayed this month. We really missed Ryan and hated barely getting to see him. However, I’m glad we used it as an opportunity to visit family. Since we won’t be able to take the kids out of school for a week at a time next year since Kinsie will be in Kindergarten, we are taking full advantage of her last year of Pre-K. We are really looking forward to the next few months since we have trips planned and holidays. The end of the year months are the best because we know we get to see family often. Having things to look forward to help us get through the tough days!

Enjoy our September 1 Second Everyday video!

 

The Merry Month of May

We had so much fun this month! We spent about 90% of our time outside, which the kids loved. We celebrated my sweet boy turning 2, explored new parks, camped out with family, and much more.

Brax’s Birthday

Brax had a great 2nd birthday! We started the day with birthday donuts, then once we took Kinsie to school, we had a Mommy and Brax day. We played in our backyard for a while, then I took him to the park (his favorite) and he had the best time! Once Ryan was home from work, we opened presents and made Brax’s favorite meal – pancakes and scrambled eggs. After dinner, we made birthday ice cream sundaes. We had one happy little birthday boy…and one happy big sister too!

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Family Fishing

Whenever Ryan has a day off, we always try to take advantage and plan something fun as a family. Fishing is one of our favorite things to do, and we just have to walk the 5 minutes to the park to do it! Brax hasn’t mustered up the courage to hold a fish yet, but he still gets real excited to see Kinsie do it!

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Mother’s Day

It was hard being away from family on Mother’s Day. Especially because Ryan was working a lot of mid-shifts (3pm-1am) which are my least favorite. We got to spend some family time at a park and had a Mother’s Day dinner a few days before, but on the actual day, he had to work that evening. We at least got to go to church together, and I still got to spend the day with my babies. Kinsie was really into Mother’s Day this year…she made me something special at school, and drew pictures for me all week long. She even taught Brax how to say “Happy Mama Day!” Heart melted!

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Downtown Fun

The Farmer’s Market is officially back open for the season! I LOVE the Little Rock Farmer’s Market. There are so many vendors selling fruits, veggies, jams, granola, wine (my personal favorite), and much more. One of the vendors had painting for kids, so they loved painting pictures and little figurines. After exploring the Farmer’s Market, we let the kids play at the Rock Park for a little while. This is one of our new favorite Saturday morning traditions!

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Family Park Days

Whenever Ryan had a day off this month, we tried out some different parks. Right when we finished with his MICU rotation, we spent the morning at the park by our house. We took roller skates, bubbles, soccer balls, frisbees, scooters…you name it. The kids had a blast just running around in the open fields. This day was a breath of fresh air after Ryan’s long month.

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Another day, we went to another park that the kids and I had played before with some friends. The kids love the playground, but they loved the creek even more. They sat down by the creek for probably an hour just throwing rocks and looking for critters. Family park days are our favorite!

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GreekFest

Little Rock had a Greek food festival one weekend. Ryan loves Greek food, and we heard good things about the festival, so we went with some friends. We had a great time! They had bouncy houses, tons of food, crafts, shopping, and more. The food was awesome and the kids had a great time playing with the other kids.

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Kinsie’s Last Day of School

Kinsie had her last day of Pre-K3, and she was excited, but also sad. She loved her class and her teacher this year. This school was such a blessing for us, and we are so grateful that they loved on our girl and helped her feel at home here. She is excited to start in the Pre-K4 class in the fall…and Brax will start in the two year old class!

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Ok…can we talk about how much my children have grown this year? I couldn’t believe the difference in both of them from September to May. Kinsie is turning into such a beautiful young lady, and I feel like she grew a foot taller this year. Brax was a BABY at the beginning of the year, and now he is a little boy. I can’t even handle it!

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Other Outside Fun

Like I said, we have spent a lot of time outside. For a while, we were even eating our dinners outside every night before it started getting too hot. We had a routine…the kids would play in the backyard while Ryan and I prepared dinner. Then we would eat outside, then the kids would sit in the swinging chair with Ryan for a little while, then they would play a little longer until we couldn’t handle the mosquitos any longer. We also broke out the sprinkler and water table, and the kids have been in heaven! Their favorite part is spraying each other with the hose.

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Kinsie drew this picture of our entire family. Notice that she even drew our dogs, and labeled everyone in the picture!

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Residency Crawfish Boil

One of my favorite things about the UAMS Residency program is how many family events we have. We recently had a crawfish boil, and we had a blast. The kids loved playing with the crawfish (before they were cooked), playing in the bounce house, playing with balls, chalk, and bubbles, and enjoying their friends. Kinsie wasn’t as crazy about eating the crawfish, but Brax loved it!

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Memorial Weekend

Ryan’s family came to visit us over Memorial Weekend. Megan and Tim camped out at Petit Jean State Park, and Ryan’s mom and brother Nate stayed with us. The state park is about an hour away, so we took turns spending time at our house, and at the park. On Ryan’s day off, we spent the morning hiking. Every trail we’ve been on at that park has been amazing. The kids loved throwing rocks in the water, looking at the small waterfalls and splashing in puddles.

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The next night, we had a cookout at Meg and Tim’s camper. We roasted hot dogs and s’mores, and the kids had a blast running around playing hide and seek and drinking from the water tank. It was a busy, fun and much-needed weekend with family!

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Road Trip to Indiana

Since Ryan’s family visited for Memorial Weekend, and Ryan was in a wedding the next weekend, we thought that would be a great opportunity for the kids to spend the week in Indiana. They rode back with Ryan’s mom and then we brought them back home the next weekend. The kids had such a great time at the lake, playing with cousins, swimming, and more. I sure missed my babies, but goodness it was nice to have a break.

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Exciting News!

We recently found out some very exciting news…Ryan’s sweet sister Megan, and her husband Tim are expecting a baby in November! This is a HUGE blessing and such an answered prayer. They technically told us in April, but we were sworn to secrecy until just a couple of weeks ago. I was honored to take their announcement pictures when they came to visit us last month. The kids are SO excited to get a new baby cousin soon!

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And as always, I end my post with our 1 Second Everyday video for the month of May. Enjoy!

April Activities

Our spring is going by faster than I expected. I felt like time dragged on from when we moved here until the end of the year, but it has flown by since January. Probably because we are more established here now and are busy with activities. Between my job, church activities, Kinsie’s school, soccer, and playdates….we stay pretty busy which I love! Ryan is on his MICU rotation (Medical Intensive Care Unit) at the VA, and saying it has been rough would be an understatement. Most of his shifts are from 6am-7pm. He worked a week of 12 hour night shifts, and the rest of his shifts are from 6am-4pm. However…the time he is supposed to get off rarely actually happens. Most of the time he gets home right before the kids go to bed. I usually let them stay up a little later so they can spend time with him. So needless to say, I’ve been solo parenting for a large majority of this month. It has been pretty hard, but I’m honestly glad that we’re going through it near the end of our first year rather than at the beginning. I have gotten used to caring for the kids alone, so I can handle not having help better than I used to. Now when he works a lot, I honestly just miss his company more than anything. Even with this crazy month, we still managed to have some good family moments!

Here is our recap…

Easter Day

As I mentioned in my previous post, my family came to visit for Easter weekend, which we loved! We had a great time and the kids had a blast with their cousins. They had to leave on Easter Day after church and brunch, but we still had a great Easter and the kids loved church and their surprises from the Easter bunny.

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1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

Ever since we moved here, the library has been one of our favorite spots. They have a program called 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten…which is pretty self explanatory. I thought Kinsie could for SURE do that…she loves to read! The library was closed from November through March for renovations, so we couldn’t go there for a while to turn in her sheets and get her stickers. However, she reached 1,000 right in time when the library reopened. She loved getting her 1,000 sticker and her free book. Brax was a proud brother too!

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Playdate (for both kids AND the moms!)

This month, the second year residents had a weekend retreat, and I mainly hang out with the wives of the second years (none of the first years have kids). Since all of their husbands would be gone, they planned a dinner/playdate, and since Ryan was working late that night, the kids and I came too. We had a great time talking, eating tacos, and chasing our kids. We did manage to get a group picture of most of the kids. Between 4 of us, we have 11 kids, and one of the way (don’t get excited…its not me!) I am SO grateful for these families…they have been crucial to my sanity since moving here!

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Loving the outdoors

We’ve had a lot of rainy April days, but we’ve also had a lot of beautiful sunny days too. When Kinsie is at school, Brax and I often walk to the park and spend the morning there. I try to bring Kinsie too on her days off. Lately both kids love picking flowers on the walk home. We also love just hanging out in our own front or backyard. They could do sidewalk chalk and bubbles for hours! We’ve also tried to grill out and eat dinner outside whenever we can too. We’re trying to enjoy it as much as we can before the unbearable heat arrives.

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Disney on Ice

I’ve always loved Disney on Ice. But then again, I love anything Disney. My kids do too. That’s why when I saw that Disney on Ice was coming to Little Rock, I REALLY wanted to make it happen. When I found out that it fell on the same month as Ryan’s busiest rotation, I was bummed…but I still wanted to find a way to make it work. Since it fell on the same week as his night shifts, we basically had just one option…the Saturday at 3pm show. That way Ryan could still sleep during the day, then wake up in time for the show, then head to work afterwards. I knew Brax would miss his nap that day, but we really wanted Ryan to get to come with us, so we knew it’d be worth it. It was such a fun afternoon. The kids LOVED it. Brax was super squirmy and slap happy since he skipped his nap, but he was happy and still had a lot of fun. He mainly liked the parts with Mickey Mouse, and Kinsie says she loved it all! I am so glad Ryan was able to come with us and we had a fun family date.

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Family Fishing

We’ve been aching to go fishing, but haven’t found many opportunities with Ryan’s busy schedule. He gets very few days off, so on those days we try to find something fun to do. On one of his days off, we were determined to fish. Even though it lightly rained on us most of the time, we didn’t let that stop us. Kinsie recently got a new princess fishing pole, and Brax inherited Kinsie’s old Ninja Turtles pole, so the kids were excited too. Brax practiced with a pretend fish, and had fun with just that. Between the four of us, we only caught one fish, but that one fish brought quite a bit excitement!

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A Family Visit

Since I’ve known for a while that this would be a tough month and Ryan would barely be around, I’ve been recruiting family to come visit us. Megan and Tim were up to the task! I always tell them they are “winning” at visits here. They are best at knowing when I’m aching for family the most, so they work their schedules to make it happen. We had a wonderful weekend with him with perfect weather. Unfortunately Ryan wasn’t around much to spend time with them, but I was very grateful for the company, and so were the kids. We absolutely love it when they visit!

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It’s been a tough, but busy month. We’ve still managed to have quality family time despite the limited time we have all together. We just use the short moments we do have together wisely…even if that’s just the kids climbing on and wrestling with their daddy. We are definitely all ready for him to be on a normal rotation again. The next few months have a lot going on…my baby boy turns 2, we have a few trips planned, and of course there’s always fun things to do during the summer!

Last but not least, here is our 1 Second Everyday video for April. Enjoy!

One Fine February

I can’t believe it is already March tomorrow. Usually January and February DRAG on, but this year it hasn’t seemed near as bad. Our winter months here in Arkansas haven’t exactly been sunshine and super warm temps, but they were definitely more mild than what I am used to in Indiana, which was very helpful to help us adjust. Overall, it hasn’t really been play outside weather, but we’ve had a handful of really nice days. The last few weeks we’ve had a TON of rain…our backyard was a giant mud pool. But now the warmer weather is starting to peek out, and we are loving it! February wasn’t super eventful, but we did have some visitors, a fun Valentine’s Day, and some fun outdoor adventures.

Costumes, coloring, and play-dough…oh my!

Like I said, we did have to spend a significant amount of time inside. Luckily we love our house and have lots of things to do in it, so we definitely stayed busy! We watched lots of Disney movies, (especially Moana…both the kids’ obsession…or as Brax calls it, “Na-Na”) we read hundreds of books, did lots of art and coloring activities, played dress up, had lots of dance parties, and more. Even though sometimes I would rather be outside or find things outside of the house to do, I love seeing the kids be creative and use their imagination while they play. Kinsie loves teaching Brax different things, and he loves learning from her. They both love to read, and often bring us book after book after book to read, which can be exhausting, but I love that we’re instilling these habits into them while they are still so little.

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Valentine’s Day Fun

I have never been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day…Ryan and I always thought it was overrated and didn’t want to spend money on flowers or gifts when we’d rather just get to spend time together. Most holidays change once you have kids, and Valentine’s Day is no exception. Kinsie loved everything about this holiday! We loved making Valentine cookies together. They may not have looked perfect, but they tasted good and we had a blast making them. Kinsie also loved hand-making all her Valentines for her family and friends at school. We bought the kits to make her Valentines a few weeks before she actually needed them, and she wanted to start working on them right away! She did all of them by herself, including writing the names of each person she made a valentine for…I just had to help her spell the names. She was so proud of herself and couldn’t wait to pass them out to everyone. Brax enjoyed all the extra love and kisses on Valentine’s Day as well. The kids loved getting valentines from family and friends, and we hung them all up on our pantry door.

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Making cookies with my girl

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Making and passing out her valentines for school

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A Visit from my Parents

My parents have had this trip planned for over a month, and we couldn’t wait! They visited for about 4 days, and they were constantly loving on, hugging and kissing the kids. We had some great meals, had several dance parties, and took walks around the park when the weather cooperated. The kids loved having Papa and Yaya here to visit!

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Outside Day

The last few days have been really nice, and since we were cooped up inside the house while it rained for several days straight, we were aching to be outside. Ryan had the day off on a Monday (and Kinsie doesn’t have school yet on Mondays), so we spent the entire morning at the zoo. After Brax’s nap, we spent the evening outside riding bikes, taking a walk around the park, and visiting with our neighbors. We spent almost the whole day outside on a random day in February, and we loved every minute of it. We are hopeful for more and more of these kinds of days in the near future.

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We didn’t have a very busy month, but even so, I feel like a lot happened. I feel like I’m finally starting to grow some roots here. We found a church home that we love, and I even feel comfortable going by myself with the kids when Ryan’s not able to come. I started attending a Bible study for moms with young children, which has introduced me to many women who are in a similar season of life. Finally, I started a new job! I began working at a tutoring center, where I work with kids one-on-one who are academically behind to help get them back up to grade level. I’m really enjoying it so far, and it works out perfectly for our schedule. It’s nice doing something just for me, and getting some of my teacher fix that I’ve desperately missed. I’m so grateful that God has put all these opportunities in my lap, and that he gave me the courage to step out of my comfort zone a bit more to explore and find ways to help me feel more fulfilled. We still really miss being around family, but I have been working hard at meeting new people and finding new activities to help fill that void.

To finish my post, here is our “One Second Everyday” February video. Enjoy the laughing, dancing, yelling and wrestling that goes on in my household every day!