The Best and Worst of Times in May

What a whirlwind of a month. We had some awesome days, and some really really tough days. I’ll get right into it…

Brax turned SIX!

The first Monday after we got back from Disney was Braxton’s 6th birthday! We had so much fun celebrating our oldest boy. We started out with a birthday tradition of donuts for breakfast. While he was at school, my sister had Crumbl Cookies delivered to our house to surprise him when he got home!

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He has been obsessed with all things Mario (especially Mario Kart) lately, so he was STOKED about his birthday present from us…a Rainbow Road Mario Kart track!

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Once Kinsie got home from school, we got carry out dinner and went to one of Brax’s favorite parks. His dinner choice was sushi (just like his mama). So we enjoyed our sushi at the park, then let the kids play for a while.

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We also ventured down to our favorite waterfall area of the park too. Even Evie got to join!

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After fun at the park, we went to get our favorite ice cream, Jiffy Treat!

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Evie got to try ice cream for the first time, and so gobbled it down! Afterwards, she was shivering! It must have made her cold!

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It was such a fun day. I love my kids’ birthdays. I love spoiling them and making them feel special all day. I think our boy had a wonderful birthday!

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First Pool Weekend

We stayed at my parents’ house for Mother’s Day weekend, which became the first pool weekend. It wasn’t THAT warm…maybe high 60s/low 70s. But the kids still really wanted to swim…and they did. They swam Saturday night and all day Sunday. The pool was warm, so as long as they stayed in, they were good. They even had a poolside lunch so they didn’t have to get out!

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Brody turned TWO!

I’m not really ok with the fact that my baby is two…but I am also obsessed with watching him learn and grow every day. He keeps us busy, but constantly entertained. He is so funny, loves doing everything his siblings are doing, and is very independent. He is also the cutest stinkin’ little boy ever! 

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Again, we started our morning with birthday donuts!

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He was SO excited about his birthday present. He is obsessed with his Daddy’s Jeep, so we got him his own! He spent the majority of his day riding around in it!

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Brax was already out of school, but Kinsie still had a week left. Since both boys had May birthdays, we took them to Build-a-Bear to make birthday bears. Brax made his roar like a dinosaur when you squeeze his paw, he had a Stitch outfit, and a glowing light saber. Brody just picked out a basketball, so I added the IU shirt to go with it!

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After his nap, we got out the water toys for the afternoon. Then we had Mother Bear’s pizza for dinner.

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Brody loves the Happy Birthday song, but he does NOT like it sung to him and being the center of attention…as you can see from the second picture below! Typical toddler! We had another great day celebrating our baby boy!

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Take me out to the Ballgame

This month involved lots and lots of time at the ball fields. The kids are enjoying their seasons of softball and baseball, and we are loving watching them. Brody mainly loves eating snacks, climbing on Brax and Kinsie, and putting on sunscreen!

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“Swimming” Birthday Party

We had another combined birthday party for the boys. Brax wanted to have a swimming party at my parents’ house with his cousins, so that is what we planned on! The forecast looked like it was supposed to be a beautiful day, with maybe a few scattered showers later in the afternoon….but this is Indiana. And the forecast is almost always wrong!

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Right before the kids planned on going swimming, it started storming. Luckily they still enjoyed playing together in the basement for a while. 

I used my Cricut skills to make a banner, birthday shirts, and party favors for the kids – color changing cups with their names on them. Brody especially loved all of the cars, trucks and bus decorations!

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The storm stopped for about 30 minutes at one point, so the kids all sprinted out and swam for a little while. As soon as we heard thunder again, they had to get out. But they enjoyed it while it lasted! Afterwards we did the piñata and presents in the garage.

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The boys loved all their gifts from everyone!

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Finally, we came inside to sing happy birthday and have cake and ice cream. Again, Brody cried and hid under the table when everyone sang to him! But he loved the cake and spending time with all of his cousins!

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Even though the day turned out different than we expected, we still had a great day. The kids were genuinely happy to be together and play with their cousins, and that is all that mattered!

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End of the School Year Activities

May is always SO busy but SO much fun. I love all of the end of the year activities that happen…especially now that the world is opening back up and schools are having programs, etc.

Guest Day – Brax’s school has a “Guest Day,” where they can choose any adult guest to come join them at school for the day. They weren’t able to have it last year because of Covid, but they were able to do it this year. Brax was very excited to pick his Papa! 

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End of Year Luau – Brax’s school always goes all out with the end of the year luau. They decorate the hallways, play Hawaiian music, and plan lots of games and activities. 

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Family Fun Night – Kinsie’s school held a “Family Fun Night” one evening. Ryan was working, so I brought the kids and they had a blast. There was a book fair, snacks, games, and crafts.

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Writing Celebration Picnic – Kinsie’s class held an end of year picnic, where the students got to share their writing from the school year with us, then we had a picnic lunch. Brody loved getting to see his sissy at school and eating lunch with her!

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Last Days of School – I can’t believe how much Braxton grew this year…physically, academically, socially, emotionally…the list goes on. I know I made the right choice sending him to half day Kindergarten, and now I am 1,000% sure he is ready for 1st grade!

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Kinsie also had a fantastic year. She’s always been smart, but she was painfully shy. She made SO much progress this year and made lots of friends!

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Kindergarten Grad

We loved getting to see Brax graduate from Kindergarten! It was really important to me to see this. If you recall, I didn’t get to see Kinsie graduate from Kindergarten. This was when Covid shut the world down. They had a drive-through graduation, and I was stuck in the hospital with Brody, so Ryan and my mom brought her and recorded it for me. So I was very happy to get to see Brax’s graduation!

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Brax had the sweetest Kindergarten class. He was emotional before the last day because he didn’t want to leave his friends. We are so proud of our Kindergarten grad!

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Lots of Hours Outside

We are trucking along with our 1,000 Hours Outside goal! We are just short of 500 at the end of May! We’ve been able to get outside for at least an hour or two every single day lately. It helps that we recently got some nice outdoor furniture for our back patio. We’ve been eating lunch and dinner outside pretty much every day!

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We also just hang out on the patio and color or play too. We spend a lot of time on the driveway with all the cars, scooters, bubbles, chalk, and sports equipment.

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When Kinsie was still in school, the boys had lots of quality brother time!

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We even tested out our new fire pit to make s’mores!

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Lately, the kids even want to play outside when it’s raining!  

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Ending our month with Covid

After 2 years, it finally got us. We were careful for SO long, and lately we let our guard down and started living our life again. We knew the risk was low, but still there. I thought for sure that if we were going to get it, we’d get it from a place like Disney World…but no. Kinsie got it from someone at school on her last week of school.

On the last day of school, we got an email saying that someone in Kinsie’s class tested positive. The next day, she started getting a sore throat. The next morning, she also had a headache and a fever, and we pretty much knew what that meant. We tested her, and it showed up positive right away. 

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At that point, we knew we all had been exposed and would most likely all get it too, but we still tried to mitigate the spread just in case. We put a TV in Kinsie’s room and let her quarantine in there. If she came out of her room, we all wore masks. She came out to eat dinner with us…another reason our outdoor patio furniture came in handy! But other than that, she actually enjoyed her alone time in her room!

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The day after Kinsie tested positive, I started to get a scratchy throat. I was certain that I had it, and I tested myself that night, but it was negative. I was still convinced that I had it, so I tested again the next day, and low and behold…positive.

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Again, we knew Ryan and the boys would probably get it, but I still wore a mask around them until I knew for sure. Luckily Kinsie already was starting to feel better, so she came outside with us to play and take walks. Ryan continued to test himself throughout this entire process, and each time, he tested negative, so he continued to go to work (They are too short-staffed to lose any doctors from being close contacts).

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The day after my positive test, I was MISERABLE. I was up all night throwing up and suffering from body aches and chills. Luckily Ryan was off work on this day, so he was able to help with the kids. Even still, Brody always wants to lay and hang on me, and Evie always wants to play…so I didn’t get to relax quite as much as I would have wished.

On this day, Brody woke up from his nap with a fever. We decided not to even test him, we pretty much knew he was positive too.

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The next few days I spent trying my best to recover. I napped when Brody did and tried to just sit down and “relax” as much as possible. But I was pretty miserable for a few days. The body aches and extreme exhaustion completely kicked my butt. My best comparison to how I felt was when I had Swine Flu in 2009, plus the exhaustion of the first trimester of pregnancy all wrapped up in one sickness. Covid was the only other time I felt that kind of exhaustion. And I’m vaccinated!! I am so grateful that I am vaccinated because it could have been SO much worse for me had I not been.

Brody had a fever for about 1.5 days, and a little bit of congestion, and then he was 100% fine and back to himself. He is still our only unvaccinated family member, so I was SO grateful that he had the most mild case. 

The CDC recommends testing yourself if you’re a close contact about 5 days after the exposure, so Ryan and Brax (still completely asymptomatic at this point) both tested, and were both negative. I wasn’t sure how they had dodged it! But then, 3 days later, almost a full week after Kinsie tested positive, Brax started going downhill. He wasn’t acting like himself, and he kept telling me he was so tired. Later in the evening, I felt his forehead and could tell he had a fever. I tested him right then, and another positive.

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He had a high fever and some congestion for about 1.5-2 days, and wasn’t his usual silly self, but after just a couple days, he was much better. It honestly made it easier once he had it, because then Ryan was working every day, and the rest of us all already had it, so we didn’t have to quarantine or mask up or any mitigation measures at that point.

RYAN STILL NEVER GOT IT! We couldn’t believe it. Maybe all of the small exposures he had at work over the last 2 years gave him some immunity. We don’t know, this virus is crazy.

As of today, the kids have been stuck at home for 10 days. Brax still has a couple days to go, and then they will all be free! Thank goodness it was nice outside, so we spent tons of time outside.

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The kids also did lots of crafting, LEGO projects, and Kinsie made a bunch of different small desserts that she came up with on her own.

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They really were champs through all of it. I tried so hard to protect them for 2 years, but I knew the risk would always be there, and at least we made it until 2 out of our 3 kids were vaccinated, and once the variants were a little more mild.

Here’s a breakdown of all of our symptoms:

  • Kinsie: sore throat, fever, headache, congestion
  • Kara: scratchy throat, tired/weak, body aches, vomiting, coughing
  • Brody: fever, some congestion
  • Brax: fever, tired, some congestion
  • Ryan: Miracle human

So now hopefully Covid is behind us and we can TRULY move on. I will still get Brody vaccinated as soon as it is available for him, and the kids will get boosters after a few weeks as well. This virus is no joke and I hope to never get it again! We’re looking forward to officially starting SUMMER! We can’t wait to venture out to parks and splash pads and the pool! Enjoy our 1 Second Everyday video for the month of May!

 

A Much- Needed Family Summer

Even though the pandemic is still raging, our summer in our new home as a full family of five has been so refreshing! We’ve had so much quality family time that we’ve all been aching for for years! Since Covid is still going strong and we are still being protective of our little Brody, we really haven’t gotten out and about much to explore our new town and we haven’t really been able to meet people, but we know that will come soon enough when things get better. In the mean time, we’ve just been soaking up all the family time we can get, and enjoying being close to our families and cousins again.

Here’s a rundown of our July…

4th of July

We enjoyed going to the lake this year for the 4th. Our day mainly consisted of boat rides, fireworks and cousin time!

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IU Scavenger Hunt

We took the kids on a long walk through IU’s campus, and I wanted to find a way to make sure they somewhat stayed interested, so I made a scavenger hunt. It included specific landmarks around campus, such as the Sample Gates, the Showalter Fountain and the Herman B. Wells statue, but it also included things like red and white flowers, a red clock, people riding bikes, etc. The kids enjoyed it even though it was about 100 degrees out that day!

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Exploring new parks

We have tried to spend some time finding old and new parks to explore in our new town. The first one I wanted to go to was my favorite park from college, Lower Cascades Park. It is a beautiful little park with a hidden creek and waterfall. The kids LOVED the waterfall area! They spent a good hour climbing behind and all around it, and throwing rocks in the creek.

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After the waterfall hike, we let the kids just play on the playground. This park is also nice because it isn’t usually too crowded. Another day, we came back to this park to ride bikes and had a Subway picnic.

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Another park we tried was called Switchyard Park. Kinsie liked to call it the “American Ninja Warrior Park” because it had lots of climbing ninja-type activities, which is one of her current obsessions!

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Pool Parties

We’ve gone to my parents’ pool about once a week this month. This is probably the kids’ favorite place to play with their cousins!

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We recently let Brody have his first pool experience. He was pretty chill about it, like most things in life!

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Lake Life

We’ve spent almost every weekend at the lake, our happy place! We always love going on lots of boat rides whenever we can.

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The kids have loved spending time with their other cousins as well. We enjoyed visiting some cousins at the Heritage Lake Campground, as well as some much-needed Griffin time!

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We always have fun at the lake. Whether it’s fishing, swimming, boat rides, paddle boat rides, kayaking, or just hanging out, it is always a fun and relaxing time!

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Outdoor Living

The house we are currently living in is a great place to catch fireflies. The kids loved their first firefly experience!

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Ryan has never had this much time off before, and he is not the type to sit around…so he did lots of projects. Just a few examples include a giant Jenga set, and a peg board for the kids to climb!

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Fun at Renata’s

The kids are always asking when we can go back to Aunt Renata’s house. I took them one day and like usual, they had a blast. They loved playing with Nicole’s dog Winnie in the baby pool, running around outside, and doing lots of painting and art projects!

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Kinsie the Biker Babe!

Our big girl Kinsie learned how to ride her bike without training wheels…in about 5 minutes! We were visiting Ryan’s Aunt Rita and her family at the campground, and Kinsie wanted to ride bikes with her cousins. The only extra bike they had didn’t have training wheels, so Aunt Rita took her out and Kinsie picked it up SO quickly! It was so much fun watching her ride and all the kids running with her and cheering her on! We’ve been taking her places as often as we can to keep practicing. She’s a pro now!

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Kinsie Dates

My sweet Kinsie has REALLY missed being in school. She was supposed to start her first day at her new school on August 5, but her district decided to do online learning until at least September. She’s super bummed, so I’ve been trying to find ways to keep her spirits up. Since she is at home with her brothers all day every day, she’s been needing some breaks…and since she’s good about wearing a mask, I’m able to take her on little dates. One day I took her to get special drinks from Starbucks and then to the park. Another day I took her to get school supplies and go see her school. She loves our girl dates!

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Cousin Bike Ride

Ever since Kinsie learned to ride her bike with no training wheels, she wants to ride ALL the time! Our rental house is on a main road, so she can’t ride there, so we take it to parks and my parents’ house often. One day, my sister brought her kids and their bikes too and all 5 of the kids had a cousin bike ride.

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Brody is 2 months!

We are SO grateful for our precious Brody in our lives, especially during such a weird time. His sweet noises and smiles can brighten up any dark day we may have.

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Here are some updates on our Bro at 2 months:

  • He is 12 lbs. 5 oz. – 55th percentile for weight.
  • He is 24″ long – 85th percentile for height.
  • Like my other kids, he has quite a large noggin! His head circumference is in the 95th percentile!
  • He sleeps a good 6-7 hour stretch at night in between feedings.
  • He is talking and interacting much more.
  • He is SO smiley…especially in the mornings.
  • He recognizes voices and faces and love his family.
  • He loves doing bicycle kicks with his legs. When his belly hurts, this is one of the only things that calms him.
  • He loves when people talk to him and love to be involved in whatever we’re doing.
  • Car rides, boat rides, and being worn in a carrier always soothe him to sleep.
  • He is getting on a more consistent eat – wake – sleep cycle… a Babywise method that worked well for my other kids.

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The kids are still completely obsessed with their little brother. They love cuddling with him, talking to him, playing with him, helping give him baths, and cheering him on with tummy time!

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His smile is seriously my favorite…

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More sweet Brody faces!

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As you can see below, he has already grown a lot! He is really filling out and getting some cute chubby cheeks!

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We are all head-over-heels with this sweet little boy. Even though giving birth and living with a newborn in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic has been extremely difficult, his laid back personality and overall sweetness has made every difficult second completely worth it. He was an unexpected, but perfect gift from God. If it would have been up to me, of course I wouldn’t choose to have a baby during a pandemic. But God knows better and I can’t imagine life without this precious gift He knew we needed!

Ryan is excited to start his official job in August, Kinsie will start online learning, and Braxton gets to start at his new preschool. We also should be breaking ground on our house in August as well. We are grateful for these things to keep us busy and give us something to look forward to during an unpredictable time.

Enjoy our July 1 Second Everyday video!