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!