A December to Remember

We had SUCH a busy and exciting month of December! In all honesty, we had very few days where we didn’t have some kind of activity happening. We had countless Christmas parties and programs, a new family member born, and an amazing trip to Indiana filled with cousin craziness, and Christmas love. Bare with me, this is going to be a full recap!

Welcome, baby Griffin!

On the morning of December 1, I finally received the text message I’d been anxiously awaiting. “Baby Mosier is on the way!” It was a beautiful day here in Arkansas, so as we waited to hear more, the kids and I walked over to the park. I watched my phone like a hawk and finally got the news that Griffin Timothy made his appearance at 10:08am. He is as sweet and perfect as can be, and the kids were thrilled that they had a new cousin. We got to unofficially meet him through FaceTime later that day, and we got to officially meet him in person later when we traveled to Indiana for Christmas. This precious boy was prayed for long before he came, and he was absolutely worth the wait!

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Advent and Christmas crafts

My kids have always known that the birth of Jesus is why we celebrate Christmas. However, every year, we teach them a little more as they can comprehend more with age. This year, the ladies in my Bible study created an Advent study for kids, and I thought Kinsie would be the perfect age to really dive into the reason for the season. We made small ornaments with a bible verse on one side and a picture representing that verse on the other side, and a small guide that went over each verse/story. Every day in December, the kids and I would read the Bible story that corresponded with that day, and they would take turns hanging the ornament on a small tree. They absolutely loved it! The stories didn’t keep Brax’s attention quite as much, but he got the overall gist. Kinsie on the other hand, completely soaked it in. I was so impressed by how much she “got it” this year. I think it also helped that she was learning these stories at school and church as well. We loved doing this Advent study together, and this set can be reused each year.

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Kinsie is all about crafts. One of her days off school, we made a trip to Hobby Lobby to buy some Christmas crafts she could make. I figured this would be a project that would keep her busy for a few days – nope! She made all of them in ONE day. She made little Christmas dogs and manger scenes for everyone she knew – including our neighbors. She loved writing who they were for and delivering the crafts to everyone!

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Santa Sightings

Ever since Kinsie was about 2, she has requested to see Santa Claus. I’m not the kind to force my kids to sit on a stranger’s lap and take of picture of them screaming and trying to escape, so I’ve only taken the kids by request. Last year, Brax wasn’t really digging it, so we all just got a family picture with Santa, and Brax sat with me. This year, I was shocked to find out that Brax did amazing with Santa! I’m sure it helped that Kinsie went with him and helped him be brave. We visited Santa at Bass Pro Shop, which was an awesome experience. After visiting with Santa, we hung around and did some of the different activities they had around the store for Christmas. Santa also made an appearance at the kids’ school, and they kids did great again. Santa was definitely a hit this year!

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Residency Christmas Party

This was one of our favorite events last year, and this year was a blast as well. We all loved visiting with our residency friends, and the kids also loved getting some awesome gifts. We are so blessed to be a part of such a great residency group!

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Parent (and brother) Week at Ballet

Kinsie’s ballet program has various themed weeks, such as Pinkalicious Week, and Express Yourself Week. The most recent themed week was “Parent Participation Week,” where parents were invited to join the class. I had Brax with me since Ryan was working, so he got to join as well. I loved getting to watch Kinsie in her class (normally we don’t get to watch), and Brax had a blast running around with Kinsie doing dance moves!

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Christmas Music Programs

Kinsie had a Christmas program with her Wednesday night church class. We hadn’t been able to attend Wednesday night church regularly during the last few months, so I wasn’t sure if she would even know the songs or motions, but she did great!

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Both the kids also had a program at school. Kinsie’s class also did a manger skit, and she was a sheep. Brax’s class joined for the last two songs. I wasn’t sure how he would do in front of a crowd, but he did great! (Sorry I don’t have pictures of the program – but you can see glimpes of the program on the 1 Second video at the end of this post!)

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After the program, Kinsie’s class had their Christmas party and the parents were invited to stay for it. Ryan was finishing up his PICU rotation, and didn’t have very many days off, but chose this day as one of his days off so he could be a part of it. Kinsie was SO happy to have us there, especially her daddy!

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Other Christmas Fun

The kids loved filling our pantry door with Christmas cards and the crafts they made all month. They were very proud! Kinsie also loved pointing out all the people she knew on the Christmas cards we received.

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On the last Wednesday night church of the month, the kids got to have a pajama party with their classes. With that said, can I just say I was insanely impressed with my church kids’ program on how involved they get with Christmas? To kick off the Christmas season earlier in the month, they brought in live animals and had people dressed as Mary Joseph, a baby Jesus, the three kings, you name it. They also had the hallways beautifully decorated, and had awesome lessons and crafts every week! We are so blessed that we found a church we love!

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Ryan and Brax both received Christmas Groot shirts as gifts. Brax was so proud to match Daddy!

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Christmas in Indiana

After Ryan finished his PICU rotation, he started his Anesthesia/Ultrasound rotation, which comes with a week off. We were all so excited that he got to travel to Indiana with us for a week! We also brought the dogs with us so they could be with us for Christmas. Usually the dogs are great travelers and just chill in the back of the SUV, but Koda wasn’t feeling it this time. He slowly snuck his way up to the front with the kids, and even spent a little time on Kinsie’s lap! Once we got to Indiana, we had a FULL week ahead of us!

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Meeting Griffin

The first thing we wanted to do when we got to Indiana was meet sweet Griffin. The kids were obsessed with him, understandably so. Kinsie loved holding him, and Brax loved rubbing his head. After meeting him, Kinsie talked about him nonstop. He really was as sweet and precious as can be, and we all fell in love with him immediately!

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Christmas #1 – Immediate Matthews family and Stevens/Stars cousins

The next day, we had breakfast and a gift exchange with Ryan’s immediate family. The kids had a blast opening their presents, snuggling with Griffin and wrestling Uncle Nate. Later in the afternoon, we met up at Aunt Rita’s house to see some of the kids’ other cousins. The kids spent hours playing with each other decorating Christmas cookies.

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Christmas Eve (Christmas #2 – Matthews family at Renata’s)

Like usual, we attended our old church for a Christmas Eve service. As always, it was an amazing sermon and it really made me miss that church. Kinsie and Brax both got to go in their church classes with cousins, so they weren’t as nervous being in an unfamiliar class. After church, we went to Aunt Renata’s house for Christmas with Ryan’s extended family. We had lots of great family time and the kids enjoyed opening more gifts. We also got more baby Griffin time, which was pretty much the kids’s #1 priority!

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(Side note: Christmas miracle alert – Brax let me put a collared shirt on him! If you know him, you know how big of a deal this is. This was probably the nicest he has ever looked, so I had to heavily document it!)

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Family pics before church

 

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Christmas Morning (Christmas #3 – Vargas family)

The kids woke up on Christmas morning to see that Santa treated them well! Kinsie’s got a Hatchibaby, a Fiona the hippo calendar, a few new princess dresses, and two new Hatchimal play sets. Brax got a balance bike, a construction play set, and some new puzzles. After we did Santa gifts and our own family gifts, my sister’s family came over and we all opened gifts from each other. This is always one of my favorite days of the year. Somehow it is always chaotic, yet relaxing. The kids play all day with each other and their new toys, and you can barely see the floor from all the wrapping paper and new gifts. We are so blessed to have so many people that love us and spoil us and our kids!

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A few days later, we headed back to Arkansas in a VERY packed car. Ryan’s packing skills were truly impressive, and the dogs had to squeeze in to the front with us. As always, it was a tough goodbye, but we were ready to be home and start a new year.

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Notice in these pictures, my sweet girl is bawling her eyes out. She hates leaving family…poor girl! Also we couldn’t quite squeeze Brax in the bottom picture!

Ringing in the New Year

Like last year, we had a family evening at home for New Year’s Eve. We ate pizza, played Super Smash Brothers and a couple of new board games, drank fizzy drinks and popped confetti poppers…and all before 9pm! We did an early countdown (thanks Netflix) with the kids, then put them to bed. We had a great family night!

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And that wraps up our year! This year was transformational for me. I started out the year somewhat low, and promised myself that I would work harder to make Little Rock my home and grow some roots here. Now, I can honestly say I am happy here. Yes, we still want to move back to Indiana when residency is over, but I finally hit my stride here, especially as a stay at home mom. God did some serious work on my hear this year, and made me see the amazing benefits and potential of staying at home during this season. Staying at home has made me a better mom and wife, and I’m finally at peace with this being my role right now. I am in a great place right now and I give all the credit to God!

Here is my last 1SE video of 2018. I love this monthly tradition, so I plan to continue it in 2019. Happy New Year!

Good Riddance, January!

January is FINALLY over. This is my least favorite month of the year for many reasons, mainly because of the dreadful weather. Don’t get me wrong, we had some good times in January, but I do have to say that I’m glad it’s over…and it seemed to last FOREVER. Honestly, the weather wasn’t as horrible as previous Januarys we’ve had, but…it’s still winter. It still kept me cooped up inside the house with two crazy kids who need ways of getting their energy out. (Not to mention, I work every day with 10 and 11 year olds who also feel unmotivated and stir crazy when stuck inside due to the weather.) Ryan was on his busiest rotation of his 4th year, where he averaged 60+ hours a week, working weekends and overnights often. I feel like I’ve somewhat reached my stride to life with 2 kids, so it’s not that I needed him for the help as much…but I missed him, and the kids did too…and it’s a lot easier to make dinner, do laundry or even go to the bathroom when there is another adult present! When Ryan has had busy rotations in the past, it was at least summer or fall, so we were able to get outside, go swimming, or take walks and wagon rides. But not in January. We had to find creative ways of having fun and allowing our hyperactive kids’ to burn their energy! Here are the highlights of this month…

New Year’s Eve

I know that technically, the majority of this evening occurred in December…so don’t judge! New Year’s Eve is very different once you have children. Ever since Kinsie was born, we usually just stayed at home, put her to bed at her normal time, had movie marathons and tried to pry our eyes open long enough to watch the ball drop. Since Kinsie is 3 now, and, let’s face it, has more energy than both me and Ryan combined, we figured it would be a good year to let her stay up until midnight for the first time. We went to my sister’s house for the evening, but first had to trick Kinsie into taking a nap. We loaded her up in the car and drove around for a while until she fell asleep, and then parked in the driveway and just let her nap away. Once we were at Krista’s house, we ate dinner, played lots of board games, had a few dance parties, played XBox Kinect, watched YouTube videos…you name it (keeping toddlers entertained until midnight was exhausting!) Kinsie started losing steam around 10:30pm, but then got a second wind once the ball dropped. We had champagne and the kids had juice boxes and we all rang in 2017 as a family. It was a great night with great memories!

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Birthday Parties

We had a lot of birthdays to celebrate in January. First was our good family friends, Jake and Drew, who turned 13. We’ve known them their whole lives, and they are like family. The kids had a great time running (or crawling) around with their cousins. Next, we went to dinner for my brother-in-law Ryan’s birthday at Rick’s Boatyard. The weekend after was my nephew Briggs’ birthday. On his actual birthday, we went out to dinner at one of the kids’ favorite hangouts, Chick-fil-A, then the next evening was his party at the Well Community Center. This was an awesome place to have a party! It had tunnels, slides, and tons of toys (even baby toys for Brax). The kids had a blast and Kinsie became obsessed with all the songs on the CD that Briggs gave out as party favors. Finally, Kinsie’s cousin, Hazel had her birthday party the next day at the Jump-n-Play…another one of her favorite places.

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All-day Pajama Parties

Let’s face it, when it is cold outside, don’t you just want to stay in your jammies all day? Well, we did that pretty much every weekend. Since Ryan was working so much, me and the kids didn’t venture out a whole lot on the weekends. It was too cold (and too exhausting) to get everyone ready and dressed and bundled to go anywhere, so we stayed home a lot. The kids didn’t mind, they enjoy being home and with their own toys. We played a lot of dress-up, built things with Tinker Toys, read hundreds of books, watched countless movies (inclduing Kinsie’s new favorite…Trolls), and had more dance parties than I can count. Brax is a man on the move these days, so he crawled laps around the house daily. Kinsie has loved learning all her letters at school, so now her newest interest is learning how to write each letter. We also recently bought her some beginner Math books, so she loves doing those workbooks. She always says how much she loves to learn, and how she wants to be a teacher when she grows up like mommy. I hope she continues her love for learning…it’s definitely in her genes!

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January is over…on to February! To be honest, February isn’t my fave either (again…this is mainly motivated by the weather). Although I am already looking forward to spring, I will continue to soak in as many indoor snuggles and pajama parties as I can while they last.

Farewell, 2016!

2016 was a great year for us…one of the best we’ve had! We had so many wonderful and life-changing things happen this year, so I had to make a blog post giving a shout-out to 2016. I wanted to do a “Top 10” of the great things that happened this year, but I couldn’t narrow it down enough so instead you are getting the “Top 12 Favorite Moments of 2016!”

#12 – Kinsie was potty trained!

This may seem trivial, but to us, it was a HUGE deal. We dedicated so much time and energy from January through May trying to get this girl potty trained. It was draining and exhausting. We made very little progress throughout all that time, so being 8 months pregnant and completely wiped out physically and emotionally, we decided to give it a rest for a while. Once Brax was born in May, it finally started to click. She saw that Brax was a baby and he wore diapers, so she finally decided that she didn’t want to wear diapers anymore. Hallelujah!

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#11 – Trip to the Cincinnati Zoo

This trip to the zoo was very special to us. The reason we even went to Cincinnati was to visit Ryan, who was on a month-long rotation there. He tried to come home as often as he could, but it wasn’t always possible. When we went to visit him, it had been over a week since we had seen him. It was such a special day together, and Kinsie got to see hippos, so that was a major plus too!

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#10 – Halloween

This was our first Halloween as a family of 4, so we wanted to come up with costumes that we could be as a family. Kinsie is really into the Ninja Turtles, so that’s what we went with! We went to Zoo Boo, the Heritage Lake fall festival, and trick-or-treating as the Ninja Turtles tribe!

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#9 – Kinsie playing soccer

Kinsie participated in her first real soccer league this year. She had practice twice a week and games on Saturdays. It kept us busy, but we loved it! She was often your typical 3-year-old, picking grass and rolling around on the ground instead of paying attention to the game, but we were still proud of our girl and loved watching her play!

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#8 – Kinsie’s Third Birthday

It is always fun planning a birthday party, especially a dinosaur-themed one at the lake! Our girl was in her glory with the lake, dinosaurs, cake and cousins.

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#7 – Beach Vacation

We loved getting to take a trip to Siesta Key. The kids loved the beach and it was SO refreshing getting a break from the cold weather.

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#6 – Harry Potter World

This trip was also very special, because it was the first get-away that Ryan and I had in years. We were in heaven getting to visit Harry Potter World and embracing our not-so-inner Harry Potter nerdiness!

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#5 – Lake Vacation

In late June, we spent a week at one of our favorite places, Heritage Lake. It was so relaxing. Every day we would fish, take boat rides, and more. It was like a vacation, but better because we were someplace familiar and comfortable. I could have stayed for another month.

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#4 – Christmas

My Christmas post is pretty recent, so I probably don’t have to do too much reminding on why this was a highlight of our year. Our first Christmas with two kids was pretty special. Seeing the joy on both of our kids’ faces on Christmas morning (and throughout the Christmas season) will always be one of my favorite things in life.

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#3 – Kinsie Starting School

This was a game-changer in many ways. It seems like my little girl grew up so much since starting school. We absolutely love her school and all the love, lessons, and activities that go with it. We’ve loved the crafts, the songs, the programs, the special occasions and the especially the huge change we’ve seen in our daughter. She is more mature, kinder, more polite, and had made many new friends.

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#2 – Kolly’s Birth

Our second niece, Kolly was born in October, and I was able to be in the delivery room when she was born. It was so special getting to witness the birth of this sweet girl, and we are all so in love with her. She is the perfect addition and the girl tiebreaker to the #5under5 cousin tribe.

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And our #1 moment of 2016 is….

Brax’s Birth

This was by far the best and most life-changing event of our year. This little guy stole our hearts in early May and changed the dynamic of our family and the way we do life, all for the better. His constant smiles and giggles bring so much joy to our lives, and we can’t imagine life without his sweet little self in it. Not only did Ryan and I become the parents of the sweetest little boy, but Kinsie also became a big sister. She is seriously the BEST big sister to him, constantly hugging and kissing him, protecting him, talking to him, cheering him on, and always trying to make him smile. They adore each other and have such a special relationship already. I can’t wait to watch them grow up together!

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So there you have it…our favorite moments of 2016. It was such a wonderful year for us. I’m anxious for see what is in store for us in 2017…finding out where Ryan gets in to residency, moving to a new house, Brax turning one, and I’m sure many more adventures…we can’t wait to watch it all unfold!

Cheers to 2016!