August Adventures

We are continuing to make strides in the process of getting settled in our new home in Little Rock. Some days are easier than others for sure, but we are making the best of it. This month, Ryan worked mostly evening or night shifts…so he would either work from 3pm-1am or 9pm-7am. This was harder on me than I expected. We were on complete opposite schedules. We would see him for about 30 minutes in the morning before he went to sleep, and for maybe 2 hours in the evening between him waking up and going back to work. We are always grateful for the time we have with him, but its hard putting the kids to bed by myself on evening shift nights, and going to bed alone every night. Once the kids went to bed was usually the time that we finally got to relax and enjoy each other’s company without children climbing all over us and demanding our attention. Even though we barely spent any time together this month, we found creative ways of showing each other love!

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I went through a funk this month because of all the time I spent alone, but I also was reminded to rely on my faith to get through difficult times. Throughout the last couple of weeks, I can feel Jesus working on my heart and helping me become more content in my circumstances.

It is still pretty darn humid here in Arkansas, so we’ve continued to try to stay busy and cool this month! Ryan had about one day a week off, so we would always try to do something fun as a family on those days. Here are some of the things we did this past month!

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

The Library system in Central Arkansas has a program called “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten.” I entered Kinsie into this program since she loves reading and I’m trying to teach her about setting goals. We started the program at the end of July, and she has already hit the 200 mark! Every time she fills a sheet, she gets so excited to turn it in and get her next sticker!

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Staying Home

Let’s face it…sometimes it’s just easier to stay home. We still try to get out of the house at least once a day for all of our sanity, but honestly, the kids are usually pretty content to stay home and play!

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Play dough fun…Brax was upset that he couldn’t eat it at first, but he got over it!

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Playing in the fort that Daddy helped them build

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Chocolate pudding night!

Play Dates and Outings

About once a week, we’ve been getting together with some of the other residents’ wives and kids for a play date. I have gotten pretty close with a few of them, and I am so grateful that they include me every time they go out. This has helped my sanity being with other adults throughout the day, and the kids love having other kids to play with. This has also helped us get out and about more and find new places to explore.

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Play places and crafts

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“Baking” at the Children’s Library

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Donut date with mom!

Outside Play

We haven’t gotten out as much as we all would have liked because of the heat, but it’s slowly getting better. Whenever we find a day that we can actually breathe outside, we take advantage! We found the cutest little play house for a bargain at Walmart, so the kids have been all about that lately. We also love making our way to the park by our house whenever we can.

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Pinnacle Mountain State Park Nature Center

Pinnacle Mountain was one of our favorite things about Little Rock when Ryan and I first visited. We haven’t taken the kids up the mountain yet since its been too hot, but someday we definitely want to. Every time we drive and see the mountain, Kinsie tells us she wants to hike up the mountain! In the mean time, we just visit the Nature Center there. On one of Ryan’s days off, they were having special presentations and activities dealing with amphibians and reptiles, some of Kinsie’s faves. The kids loved the view and learning about animals.

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Having S’more Fun!

Kinsie has been asking to do s’mores for MONTHS now. We had a small fire pit at the old house but didn’t bring it with us, so we had to find a new one for a good deal first. Once we found one, and bought some firewood, we had to wait for an evening that Ryan was off. For the longest time, every time he had an evening off, it was pouring down rain. We FINALLY got the opportunity and the kids were pumped! Kinsie bought a new shirt at Bass Pro Shops that says “Have S’more Fun,” so she couldn’t wait to make s’mores with her new shirt. The kids “helped” make the fire, and then got busy roasting marshmallows. Brax was OBSESSED with the fire…so much so that one of us had to hold him to keep him away from the fire THE WHOLE TIME. Once he shared a s’more with dad though, he was good!

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Solar Eclipse Day

Ryan has been excited about this day for far too long! My science nerd husband bought the glasses and special solar binoculars months ago. He was THRILLED to learn that he had that day off…the odds were definitely in his favor! We went to the Big Dam Bridge for the event. Brax obviously didn’t know what was going on, but he had fun running around the bridge. Kinsie thought it was pretty cool and loved looking at the eclipse with her glasses. I brought toys and books for the kids to keep them entertained while we were there and even though it cut into Brax’s nap time, it was well worth it and the kids did great! It was such a neat experience for all of us!

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Little Rock Zoo

Ryan had a couple days off last week before starting his next rotation, so we spent a day at the zoo. The weather was surprisingly perfect. The kids especially loved the gorillas, the elephants, the train ride, the petting zoo and the penguins. We had a great family day!

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First Soccer Practice

Kinsie had her first soccer practice this week, and it was….interesting I guess? Kinsie said she had fun, but practice was run very differently than what we are used to. They had ALL the kids in her age level in the same practice with only 2 coaches. Eventually they split the kids up and did a few drills and a scrimmage and once they did that, Kinsie was in her element. Ryan just started his very busy rotation and is working 12-14 hour shifts, so I had both kids at practice and was trying to help Kinsie know what to do amidst the chaos, and chase after Brax at the same time! It was chaotic, and a bit stressful, and I am hoping the organization of practices improves. Kinsie still had fun and played well, so I guess that’s all that matters. I am hopeful that she’ll meet some friends and enjoy her soccer season like she has in the past!

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That was our month in a nut shell. Kinsie starts preschool after Labor Day, so that will be exciting and should keep us busy. She’s super excited to start school, and I am very hopeful that we will love the preschool we picked out. Ryan just started a tough rotation, so we won’t be seeing much of him again. The last two weeks of September, the kids and I will fly to Indiana for a couple of weeks and spend Kinsie’s birthday with our families. I am aching to see our families again…that is by far the hardest part about being here. From seeing them several times a week to every other month or less has been very difficult. This two weeks at home will be good for all of us and we are all looking forward to it. Like I said before, we are slowly making progress with this adjustment. God is helping me through my own personal challenges with this big change, and I can feel him working on my heart every day. I am hopeful that time will help us continue to adjust.

Brax is ALMOST One!

How is my little boy almost one? I know I sound so cliche right now but it is going so fast! I feel like he was a newborn yesterday…yet I don’t remember what life was like before he was born. He has wiggled his way perfectly into our little family and adds the perfect touch to us. He is so stinking cute and happy and he melts my heart every single day. I wish I could attach a permanent GoPro camera to him so I could record everything he does, because everything he does is so cute! He has brought so much joy to our family and I am so grateful to God for letting this incredible little boy be mine.

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Here is an update on our Braxy boy at 11 months…

    • He is done with baby food. He eats just table food now. He is an eating MACHINE. He loves food. Any food. All food. We have yet to find a food that he doesn’t like. He tends to like meat and grains the most. Some of his favorites include avocados, Cheerios, and hot dogs.
    • He can throw a ball. Playing catch is his favorite activity!
    • He has 6 teeth.
    • He waves ALL the time. It is the CUTEST thing EVER. He waves to anyone and everyone!
    • He is a Daddy’s boy lately. He still loves Mama, but he gravitates more toward Daddy and always wants him to hold him.
    • He loves to try to bite people. He thinks it is hilarious.
    • He can say Dada and Mama…and we THINK he recognizes us with those words.
    • He still thinks Kinsie is hilarious. If she laughs, he laughs. She tackles and squeezes him all the time and usually he loves it.
    • He doesn’t understand the word “no” yet…we are working on it.
    • Although he doesn’t know what “no” means, he always shakes his head no!
    • He can stand by himself for a few seconds.
    • We call him “Stitch” (from the movie Lilo and Stitch) because all he wants to do is destroy everything!
    • He LOVES to be outside.

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Kinsie loves entertaining her brother!

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Happy 11 months, Brax! Next update you will be ONE!

Kinsie Kay is THREE and a HALF!

How did this happen? It feels like she JUST turned three…then suddenly I blinked and she is halfway to FOUR! We have noticed a huge difference in her lately…she is so grown up! All of the sudden she isn’t a toddler anymore, but a little girl. Every day, we continue to be blown away by our daughter. She is such an amazing little girl and she is SO much fun to be around. She has a tender, sweet, gentle side, yet she is spunky, sassy and crazy. I love every part of her and I love getting to see her change and grow each day.

Here is a glimpse of my girl at three and a half…

  • She LOVES to learn. She can recognize all of her numbers and letters, and loves learning how to write them.
  • She can spell and write her name.
  • She can do very simple addition.
  • She LOVES to read. We read a ridiculous amount of books each day, and her teachers at school say that all she does at school is read. She memorizes a lot of her favorite books, so then she can “read” them to Brax.
  • She is currently playing soccer and doing a gymnastics class.
  • Favorite animal: hippos
  • Favorite color: pink
  • Favorite movies: Moana and Trolls
  • Favorite books: Dr. Seuss books
  • Favorite food: protein bars and pickles
  • Her favorite people to hang out with are her cousins and her brother.

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Happy half birthday, my beautiful girl!

Ten Months with our Wild Man

Holy cow…my little boy is going to be a year old in only 2 months!! My goodness though…he is such an awesome kid. He never stops moving, he is constantly getting into things that he’s not supposed to, he exhausts me beyond explanation, but he is absolutely the BEST thing that has ever happened to us.

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Here is the breakdown of our Braxy boy at 10 months old…

  • His eyes are starting to turn brown(ish).
  • He can walk by himself with his walking toy.
  • He has 4 new teeth!
  • He is an eating machine. He LOVES table food…scrambled eggs, pears, crackers, waffles…you name it, he loves it.
  • He is starting to enjoy being read to, rather than just trying to escape or eat the book.
  • He HATES being contained. While in his high chair or car seat, he tries to bust out like the Hulk.
  • He is starting to use a sippy cup.
  • His spitting up is continuing to improve, and he is officially off of his acid reflux medication…yay!
  • He just switched to a convertible car seat.
  • He loves standing at the front door and greeting everyone as they come in.
  • His favorite things to play with right now are coasters and the magnet letters on the fridge.

Kinsie continues to be tested as Brax becomes bigger and more mobile. He always tries to grab whatever she is playing with, and he loves to get a handful of her hair! She is still learning how to treat (and not treat) her brother…and some days are better than others (being stuck in the house all day certainly doesn’t help!). Regardless, Kinsie is still one of Brax’s favorite people! He still thinks she is hilarious, and she still loves entertaining him and loving on him every chance she gets!

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Ok my baby…you can slow down on growing any day now!

March is here!!

You guys…it’s finally March! This is such a big deal for me in many ways…I always LOVE when February is over and March begins. It means that the majority of winter is over, and spring is almost here! I also love March Madness, and 2 weeks off for spring break…and this March is especially important for our family. We find out in about 2 weeks where Ryan will get matched for residency! If you were to ask me a year ago how I felt about the possibility of moving to another state, I would have had a panic attack right there on the spot. I’ve prayed every single day about this to help me adjust to this idea and be excited for whatever adventure God brings us. I have come a LONG way, and now I truly am excited to find out what our future will look like…even if it means uprooting from my home in Indiana.

Now on to how our February was…it was busy! From ear infections to random beautiful weather, to a weekend trip to Arkansas…here is the breakdown of our past month.

Sick kiddos

Early in the month, Kinsie had a double ear infection. Poor girl missed a whole week of school, and eventually went to the doctor and was put on antibiotics. It was like having a newborn at night again…she would be up every few hours crying from ear pain. As soon as she started feeling better, Brax caught the bug too. Finally we got everyone healthy again for about two weeks, and then it came back around to Kinsie again! She is currently on a second round of antibiotics and we are praying that Brax doesn’t get it again too!

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Valentines Day

Kinsie and I made homemade valentines this year for her class. She loved sitting down with me and putting together her ladybug valentines! On Valentines Day, Kinsie made heart cookies with Aunt Renata while Brax just enjoyed being a studly “eligible bachelor!”

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Wagon Rides and Kisses

We had a few days of random beautiful weather in February…so we jumped at the opportunity to take the kids outside for some fresh air. Brax got to experience his first wagon ride. He loved the ride and Kinsie loved having a buddy.

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Visiting Abuelita

My sweet grandma has been in an assisted living for a couple months now, and I finally got the chance to go visit her with my dad. I decided to keep the kids at home with Ryan so I could just have some quality relaxing time with my dad and grandma. We took her out for ice cream and she loved it! It was a great day seeing one of my favorite people in the world!

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Arkansas

Out of all of Ryan’s interviews that he went on, Arkansas was one of his favorite places. He loved the program, and the area. Since he knew he wanted to rank it pretty high on his list, he wanted me to get a chance to see it too. We took a weekend trip just the two of us. We loved exploring the beautiful city and imagining it being our future home. Grandma Bev watched the kids for us, and they had a blast too!

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Other Random Indoor Fun

Like I’ve mentioned before, when it’s winter and you have a small house with limited playing space…you have to be creative with your kids to keep them entertained. We made a clubhouse out of a cardboard box, had laundry basket rides, played “Troll Trouble,” took trips to the store to ride the horse, and lots more. Kinsie has been obsessed lately with learning how to write her letters, as well as drawing things like dinosaurs. Tic-tac-toe is one of her new faves too. And as always, the kids love it anytime they get to have cousin playdates!

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I am SO excited that it is finally March! We have a lot happening this month that I can’t wait to find out more about and share it with you! Happy (almost) Spring!

9 Months with Braxy Boy

The older my son gets, the more obsessed with him I become. He is becoming such an awesome little boy. He is already so much fun to hang out with. He completely exhausts me because he is CONSTANTLY moving, but I chase him around with a smile on my face and a heart full of love. His sweet little smile not only melts the hearts of those who know and love him, but even strangers that see him when we are out and about. Everyone he comes in contact with can’t help but smile back at him. He has made some major developmental strides this month and he is reaching milestones much quicker than his big sister did. He is already a little dare devil…trying to crawl, climb, and stand anywhere he can…and if he falls, he rarely cries, but instead gets right back up and is at it again!

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Our Braxy Boy’s 9 month updates:

  • He is 18 lbs, 6 oz (25th percentile) and 28.5 inches long (75th percentile).
  • He is a pro at pulling up. He wants to do it ALL THE TIME.
  • He loves eating table food…especially mixed veggies.
  • He loves to make raspberry noises while eating baby food…resulting in a baby food shower for me at every meal.
  • He waves bye-bye (and it’s the most precious thing ever).
  • He can shake his head no.
  • He is obsessed with bath time with big sis.
  • He is talking more and more.
  • He is still a mama’s boy.
  • His favorite things to play with are all the fake kitchen food and dishes (particularly the chicken leg and the carrot).
  • He loves the “Hot Dog Song” on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
  • He loves to stand and climb on everything…everywhere…all the time.

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A common view of my little mama’s boy…

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The progression of sibling story time

Kinsie and Brax are still the best of buddies. She (usually) plays very well with him, but is still learning that if her toys on are the floor, they are free game for him. I love the way she talks to him and she LOVES making him laugh (as you’ll see in the following video)

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Seriously though…I’m obsessed! Happy 9 months Braxy boy!

Our 8 Month Crazy Man

Another month has gone by and our little boy is 8 months old now! When I was pregnant with him, he was a crazy little guy, constantly kicking and flipping around. I knew then that I was not going to have a mellow baby, and this has stood to be quite true! Our crazy little guy’s personality is shining so brightly every day, and he brings so much sunshine to our lives!

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Kinsie and Brax’s relationship is continuing to grow every day. She loves making him laugh and cheering him on with everything he does. He interacts so much with her and she loves it. I still have to tell her from time to time to give him some space because she always wants to be right by him touching and hugging him. Now that he is moving around and crawling more, Kinsie is really being challenged on the concept on sharing her toys with him. They will both be playing on the floor and he always wants to play with whatever she has…and she is not always ok with that. She liked it better when she had control over what to share with him by handing him toys and him not being able to move around to get something different. She is learning quickly though that unless it is something not safe for him, they have to share toys!

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Kinsie “helping” take Brax’s pictures. She always puts on a headband and makes funny faces to make him smile. Then she climbs up in the chair to get her picture with him!

Here are some updates on our boy at 8 months…

  • He can hold his own bottle.
  • He is still as spitty as ever…and still doesn’t seem to mind it.
  • He is not only army crawling now…but real crawling.
  • He is starting to pull up on things.
  • He always wants to play with what he shouldn’t have. For example, he will be surrounded by toys, but all he wants is the remote control.
  • He is a major Mama’s boy right now. Don’t get me wrong…I’m flattered. But it is EXHAUSTING. And it is not enough to just have me in the room, he wants me holding him. When I sit next to him to play on the ground, he crawls up into my lap. Again, I love it, but it exhausts me!
  • He is very ticklish.
  • He has had his first trip on an airplane and did great.
  • He met Mickey Mouse and loved him.
  • He still has just 2 teeth.

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Proud of his finally somewhat chunky legs!

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Happy 8 Months, my sweet boy!