April Quarantine Adventures

Time is so weird. It seems like time is standing still right now, and that we are repeating the same day over and over again like the movie Groundhogs Day. However, here we are…already in May. It is officially baby month AND moving month! Never in a million years did I think we would be quarantined at home during a global pandemic homeschooling our kids, all while preparing for a baby and a move to another state. Life is crazy. And just when I think things will calm down, it often gets crazier and harder. We are so grateful for our family, and most importantly, our faith to get us through day by day.

Here is a recap of our month…

Quarantine Life

Overall, our every day has consisted of pretty much the same stuff. Wake up, have breakfast, let the kids play or watch a show, do schoolwork, find something to keep them busy and happy for the afternoon, have dinner, go to bed, repeat. I am on complete survival mode with being 9 months pregnant, so I’ve tried to give myself grace about not doing all the exciting Pinterest-worthy projects and activities that I see other moms doing right now. When it’s nice outside, we go outside. When it’s not, we stay busy inside with modeling clay, FaceTime with family, coloring, and building box houses. Overall, the kids have been fantastic throughout all of this. Yes they fight more, and yes they get extra emotional about things because they don’t know how else to let out their frustration with this crazy life we are currently living. But overall, I have been so impressed with how they’ve handled everything.

We try to go on small, random adventures when we can. Every once in a while, the director of Brax’s school will put out the treasure box in front of the school so the kids can come by and pick a treasure. Sometimes we go get slushies during Sonic Happy Hour. Any small errand to give us a change of scenery is good for our souls!

Other-quarantinelife

We’ve had lots of nice days, but every so often we get a small dose of summer weather. We’ve had a few swim suit, sprinkler and water table days. The kids love it, their large pregnant mama struggles with the heat. It makes the kids happy though, so I manage with lots of water, shade, and the large fan in the garage.

Outside-1

On other nice days, the kids find all kinds of random games and activities outside. Cornhole, nature scavenger hunts, climbing trees, you name it. They have great imaginations so they can pretty much stay busy in any environment.

Outside-3

Grateful for Easter

Ryan’s sister’s family was originally going to visit for Easter, but obviously everyone’s travel plans changed. Luckily, Ryan still scheduled Easter weekend off so he could spend that time with us.

Easter Cookies

Usually this is an activity I do with the kids when Ryan is working…just for something to do. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to do this tradition this year since my carpal tunnel syndrome is so bad. Instead, we just made the cookies with Ryan so he could help!

Easter-cookies

Another one of our favorite Easter traditions is to dye eggs. The kids got extra fancy this year and even added some extra sparkly paint!

Easter-dyingeggs

We knew Easter day was supposed to include lots of rain, so we planned our big Easter egg hunt the day before. We stuffed them with treats and hid them around the yard and the kids loved hopping around like bunnies finding the eggs.

Easter-egghunt

The kids loved seeing their surprises from the Easter bunny on Easter morning!

Easter-gifts

Even though we didn’t go anywhere, the kids (mainly Kinsie) wanted to wear their Easter clothes that I originally bought them. We took the opportunity to still take a few Easter pics! It definitely wasn’t the Easter we were used to or planned on, but we still got to spend time together as a family, watch a wonderful and much-needed Easter church service, and be reminded of the good news of Easter. To be honest, it couldn’t have been more perfect timing for that good news!

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Easter-family

Easter-kids

Other Big Events

Kinsie had been working hard on her second wiggly tooth for a couple weeks. The day before Easter, she decided she wanted to lose that tooth that day so that the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny could both come to our house that night (she got this idea from her cousin Briggs, who did the same thing on Christmas Eve) That tooth was quite stubborn and took us a while, but Kinsie was determined. She finally got it out and was so excited to see her money and a note from the tooth fairy the next morning!

Other-Kinsietooth

We officially closed on our home! We move out at the end of May and will be headed back to our home state! We will live with my parents for the summer, then live in a rental while we build our dream home. It’s a lot of planning and extra chaos, but we could not be more excited!

Other-soldhouse

Pregnancy Updates

We are coming down the home stretch! For a little while, I honestly thought this might be an April baby. He’s still cooking though, and I’m hoping he stays put a few more days so that Brax still has his own birthday! Overall, this pregnancy has flown by…until the last few weeks. I am currently 37 (almost 38) weeks, and I am READY. My sister always told me that her third pregnancy was the hardest on her body, and I can definitely relate to that!

Updates/Symptoms:

  • I am very physically uncomfortable. Like…all the time. This includes heavy pelvic pressure and severe ligament pain.
  • I’ve had pretty consistent Braxton Hicks contractions the last week.
  • I’m guessing baby is putting more pressure on my bladder…because I need to use the restroom about every half hour.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome is still a problem, getting worse. Hoping I can get a cortisone injection soon to help this problem because it is hard to function.
  • Lots of hot flashes, especially at night.
  • I am very emotional – hello hormones!

In this photo, I was 36 weeks – baby is about the size of a small watermelon.

Pregnancy-36 weeks-1

I’m not usually much of a mirror selfie person, but this could be my last pregnancy (we haven’t made any decisions about this yet), so I figured I’d try to document as much of this bump as I could.

34 weeks

Pregnancy-34weeks

Easter Day – 35 weeks

Pregnancy-Easter35weeks

My mom has been planning for a while now to come help us when the baby comes…mainly to watch the big kids while Ryan and I are in the hospital. With my level of physical discomfort and the fact that I haven’t been able to use my hands much without hurting, she decided to come early and we were SO grateful. The kids have been loving their Yaya time, and she has been helping me so much, especially when Ryan is at work. Here is a sweet video of the kids’ reactions when she arrived.

Most of the time, I’ve been trying to just take it easy and relax as much as possible. However, I’ve also been trying to “loosen things up” and help the process along, and enjoy the lovely Arkansas spring weather one last time, so we’ve been going on short walks when I’m up for it. The kids love walking with me, and they often use it as an opportunity to have nature scavenger hunts and watch the ducks and turtles.

Outside-2-2

It’s only a matter of time that this little boy will be making his grand entrance into this world and into our hearts. Stay tuned!

A Month of Loss

March was hard. Then April came along and said, “Hold my beer.” I genuinely did not expect April to bring about even harder and darker days than what we were already experiencing.

Abuelita

The day after Easter, my sweet and beautiful Abuelita went to heaven. Her mind had been trapped by dementia for the last decade, so even though it was hard to lose her physically, it’s at least refreshing to know that both her body and mind are free now. She was the absolute epitome of love. Whether she knew you or not, if you were in her immediate presence, you could feel her love. We always said she “threw love at strangers,” so I’m sure you could imagine the love she poured on her family. Some of my favorite memories of her included her many lipstick-marked kisses, her homemade authentic Mexican meals she often cooked for us, her serenading us in Spanish, or giving us the earrings that she was wearing because we told her we liked them. We were also lucky enough to go on many vacations with her and my Grandpa Beto, and the memories made on those trips will be cherished forever. It’s hard knowing I’ll never see her again here in this life, but I rejoice for her that she is free in Heaven with the love of her life, Beto, and her Heavenly Father.

Losses-GrandmaVargas2Losses-GrandmaVargas

Addie

Two days after my grandma passed, our sweet family dog Addie passed away as well. This one really blindsided us because her sickness came so quickly, we really did not have time to process or prepare for what was about to happen. She was throwing up for just one day, and we even took her to the vet and they assumed it was just a stomach bug. The next day, she passed away. We were all devastated and really struggled to understand what happened to her. She was not even 10 years old, and she recently struggled with arthritis, but we think something in her stomach or bowels developed, and there really would have been no time to do anything about it even if we would have had labs and blood work done.

 

Losses-Addie3

We had Addie since before we were married, so we have many happy memories with her. She was the sweetest, most loving pup, and she had SO much patience for our crazy kids. With the quarantine in place, we spent all of our time with her during the last month of her life, which is exactly what she would have wanted. Her favorite place in the world was wherever we were!

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Addie was the best snuggling buddy!

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Here is a picture that Kinsie drew at the end of our rough week. From left to right it includes her fish Hedwig (who died last August), Jesus, Grandma Graves (Ryan’s grandma who passed away in December 2017), Addie, and my Grandma Vargas. Of course when she showed me, I immediately started crying!

Losses-Kinsiespic

It was important to all of us that we bring Addie with us when we move, so we found a pet cremation company. We got back a beautiful box with her name engraved on the top, and my personal favorite, a heart with her paw print imprinted into it. You can tell its definitely her paw print, because it includes her long fingernails that she would hardly ever let us cut!

Losses-Addie4

Like I said, it was a harder month than we expected, but we are sticking together as a family to help each other grieve. We still miss our Addie every day, and it has been tough finding our new normal without her companionship. We have so many wonderful memories with her so we try to focus on those to help get us through.

We are hopeful that May will be a month filled with joy and good news…we definitely need it!

Here is our April 1 Second Everyday video. Still lots of love and laughter to fill even our difficult days.

Hello, Third Trimester!

We are officially one month closer to moving AND to meeting our sweet baby boy! For some reason, February seemed to drag on a little more than I expected, but we are excited for March to be here and for spring to come. We had a lot going on this month, so enjoy our recap!

Preparing the House

We had a lot of work that needed done to the house to prepare it to sell. We are SO lucky to have the resources that we do, including my dad and sister, who sell houses for a living and know exactly what to do to prepare the house, AND Ryan’s parents, who manage rentals for a living and know exactly HOW to prepare the house. Ryan’s parents visited at the beginning of the month to help us do just that. We got a LOT accomplished in just a few days, including lots of power washing, painting, and repairing. Ryan did all the power washing outside and decided to have some fun with it, and to entertain the kids…see picture below!

Again, we are SO grateful for the family that we have and how willing they all are to help us with anything at the drop of a hat…hence the reason why we are moving closer to them!

PreppingHouse

Daddy Daughter Dance

Last year, Ryan and Kinsie went to the Daddy Daughter Dance in our town and had a great time, so they did it again this year! Kinsie loved getting dressed up and having a special night with her Dad. With his schedule, any quality time with him is so special to all of us, and she enjoyed every moment! And I know Ryan enjoyed time with his little girl as well!

DaddyDaughterDance-1DDDance-1

Family Campfire Night

The kids are all about campfires and s’mores, so we try to fit them in whenever we can. Ryan’s schedule has been tough lately with lots of evening shifts, so one of the only nights we had available was a very cold night! But we bundled up and made the most of it. It was so cold, in fact, that Brax actually agreed to wear a hat and gloves! If you know him, you know this is a big deal and he really must have been cold! We had a great night roasting marshmallows, eating s’mores, snuggling by the fire and telling knock knock jokes.

FamilyCampfire

Artwork, writing and crafts

With lots of indoor time this month, the kids have been really into drawing and crafts.

Kids-drawing-2

Kinsie recently learned about American symbols at school, and loves teaching us all everything she learned. I still can’t get enough of her sweet writings she brings home from school!

Crafts-Kinsiewriting

Below are some of Kinsie’s most recent drawings. I love her details!!

It’s pretty easy to tell what she draws these days, but just in case you can’t tell…

Top left- Mickey Mouse Clubhouse with Mickey and friends; top right – The Avengers; bottom – Frozen and Frozen 2 characters

Kinsie-drawings

Brax has learned all of his letters now, so his newest obsession is writing his name and lots of random words. He also has gotten much better at drawing people and animals. I’m  obsessed with his little imagination!

Top left- a gorilla going to the eye doctor; top right – two sharks chasing fish; bottom left – Mickey Mouse Clubhouse with Mickey and Friends; bottom right – dinosaurs holding hands

Brax-drawings

A few more…Kinsie drew all the Disney princesses along with their friends, sidekicks, significant others and accessories! Brax drew dinosaurs in the jungle

Kids-drawing-1

And finally, here is a picture of drawings that the kids made me when I was having an extra rough and exhausting day. They are the best!

Crafts-kidsdrawings

Kinsie recently discovered a short series on Disney+ called Family Sundays, where they have families doing Disney themed crafts together. One weekend, she saw an episode about making Frozen 2 themed soap. We needed a Saturday family activity to get out of the house anyway, so we took a trip to Hobby Lobby and bought supplies to make soap. She loved watching the video and following the step-by-step instructions. While we were at it, we made unicorn soap too!

Crafts-soap

Holly’s Baby Shower

One of the intern residents’ wife is someone I’ve become very close with this year, and shortly after they moved here from Arizona last summer, she became pregnant with twins! She already has 3 kids, so now she’s adding 2 more to her crew. The ladies from our bible study and I threw a small baby sprinkle for her so she can get some extra stuff they may need two of now. I loved getting to celebrate this sweet friend of mine and the baby boy and girl that will make their appearance soon. Meanwhile, Ryan took our kids over to her husband’s house and they ordered pizza and let all the kids play. They had a fun Daddy Kid play date!

Holly Baby Shower

Valentine’s Day Festivities

Valentines for class

The weekend before Valentine’s Day, Ryan worked the ENTIRE weekend…two 12 hour shifts in a row, which was rough on my very pregnant body and mind. However, we made the most of it and did all of our Valentines fun and prep to keep busy, starting with the kids’ valentines for their classes. Brax picked out shark valentines, and Kinsie, my little overachiever, always like to buy a kit and make her valentines. This time, she picked heart emojis, so she could design each heart with different features. This is the first year that Brax could address his own valentines, so he was excited to get to do his own!

Valentines-forclass

Valentines Cookies

This is a yearly tradition now, and the kids love doing it. They worked so hard and we ended up with lots of beautiful, delicious valentine cookies!

Valentines-cookies

Valentines Day Fun

The kids had a great time at each of their class valentines parties. Brax made lots of cute crafts, and Kinsie worked hard on her “love bug” valentine bag they made in class.

Valentines-crafts

Another tradition I started last year, was every day from February 1 – 14, the kids receive a heart with a reason why we love them. They loved waking up each morning to see what their heart said!

Valentines-lovereasons

Ryan worked another evening shift the night of Valentines day, so, like last year, I made the kids heart-shaped pancakes for dinner. I even made them extra special this year and added Nutella and pink and red sprinkles!

Valentines-pancakes

Overall, we had a good Valentines Day. However, my sweet Brax started not feeling great that evening, which started his week of sickness.

Valentines-kids

Sickness Strikes

Our little guy doesn’t get sick very often, but when he does, it breaks our hearts because he’s not his perky, silly little self. On the afternoon of Valentine’s Day, he went downhill fast. He didn’t want to play, but just wanted to snuggle, and I noticed he was getting a fever. Everything escalated pretty quickly, and we could tell he felt terrible. He’s not a big fan of medicine, so I had to trick him and sneak some into his gatorade. He felt better for a few hours (while the medicine did its job), then he went downhill again once the medicine was out of his system. Ryan had to work that evening, and the kids and I had some valentine fun, but you could tell Brax just didn’t feel good. He ended up vomiting once that night (I already struggle with vomit…add pregnancy on top of it and it was almost unbearable to clean up). Once I got him cleaned up, he fell asleep on the couch. I let him sleep out there on the couch with me until I was going to bed…mainly to make sure he didn’t vomit again. The next few days were still pretty rough, but at least Ryan was home to help. Brax was mainly really tired and sluggish with a high fever. The only way to manage it was to keep him medicated (which, again, I always had to trick him into taking it!) He never sleeps well when he’s sick (who does, really), so we all didn’t sleep great. A few days in, he started complaining about his ears. Luckily, we had a doctor in the house and he was able to check his ears, diagnose him with a double ear infection, and prescribe him with some antibiotics. FINALLY Brax started to feel better!

(In the bottom photo below, it was a beautiful day so we tried to take the kids on a wagon ride…Brax tried to have fun, but he just wasn’t feeling it!)

Braxsick

A little more outside time

This month, we were able to get a little more outside time than last month. Ryan worked lots of evenings and 12 hour weekend shifts, so we definitely needed activities to keep these kids busy that didn’t require a ton of extra energy on my part.

We did lots of chalk and tracing of each other and stuffed animals…

Outside-tracing

Lots of bike and scooter races and tree “climbing…”

Outside-2

Bubbles, bow and arrow practice and hula-hooping…

Outside-3

And a few trips to the park complete with playground fun and climbing/rolling down the hills.

outside-hill

Papa and Yaya visit

My parents were able to make a long weekend trip to come visit us. The breaks between family visits in the winter always seem especially long. This month has had its rough moments for me with feeling mentally overwhelmed and physically exhausted, so getting to see my parents was a breath of fresh air. They helped us with a few last minute things on the house that I wasn’t able to physically be much help on, and they also helped us with the logistics of what’s next on our house-selling adventure. But most importantly, they just got some quality time with us…which is what we all needed most!

PapaYaya

Pregnancy Updates – THIRD Trimester

The third trimester creeped up on me fast. It seems like all of the sudden, I am to the point where I can barely reach my feet to put on socks or shoes, and I can’t get comfortable no matter how hard I try. The kids often forget that I’m getting bigger and less mobile, so we have to constantly remind them to help me out in whatever ways they can. When the kids are at school, I usually use that time to run my errands and get as much as I can done. I still do that to an extent, but overall I’ve been trying to use at least part of that time to just relax, which is easier said than done for me, especially at such a busy time in our lives.

This photo was taken at 28 weeks – baby was the size of a head of lettuce

Pregnancy-28 weeks-1

Symptoms this month include:

  • Braxton Hicks contractions
  • Starting to get very uncomfortable. It’s hard to be comfortable in pretty much any position except laying on my side.
  • Shortness of breath – mainly because the baby is often up in my ribs!
  • Mind constantly racing and sometime experiencing anxiety – like I’ve said before, my mind is extra “busy” when I’m pregnant. With a busy mind, but a body that’s physically unable to do much, I have a problem. I’ve been having to rely a lot on devotionals and reading to help with this problem.
  • LOTS of baby movement – again, I love it, and I am going to miss it when I’m not pregnant anymore…but goodness, this kid is already strong! I often wonder if he moves a lot in his sleep, or if he just doesn’t sleep because he is constantly moving. The kids LOVE feeling him move all the time!

This month I had to do my glucose tolerance test. This is where you drink an extremely sugary drink in 10 minutes, and then get your blood drawn an hour later to check for gestational diabetes. You are supposed to fast for 2 hours prior to drinking the drink, which created a problem for me. My test was in the morning, so I had to wake up early and not eat anything, and just drink this sugar-filled drink. Ryan was originally supposed to work this day, but I asked him to switch his shift because I had experienced dizziness during this test in my previous pregnancies. It was a Friday so Brax didn’t have school, so he would have had to come to the doctor with me…another reason I wanted Ryan to drive me… I did not want Brax in the car with me if I was dizzy. Well, its a good thing Ryan was able to switch, because in the car, halfway into my “hour wait” between the drink and my blood test, I got extremely dizzy and threw up the entire drink in the car! I was mostly upset because I knew there was a good chance they wouldn’t be able to draw my blood now, and I would have to completely redo the test. Unfortunately, I was right. I was super bummed and nervous that I wouldn’t handle it well the next time too. I picked a different flavor for the next time, and made an afternoon appointment so I wouldn’t have to fast all day. The day of my retest, I ate a big breakfast before my 2 hour fast. Luckily, the test went much better this time around. I kept the drink down and passed my glucose tolerance test!

Pregnancy-Glucose test

We are ready for March! March has always been one of my favorite months because we start to see some evidence of upcoming spring. We are excited to be one month closer to lots of exciting life changing events for our family!

Here is our 1 Second Every Day video for the month of February. Enjoy!

Kicking off 2020 at 6 Months Pregnant

The first month of this year has been interesting. It’s been long, like most Januarys, but we’ve also been busy…in a different way. Being 6 months pregnant makes busy days a bit more exhausting. I started AND ended the month being sick…nothing too bad, just a cold…but man, these colds have kicked my pregnant behind! Having a cold while pregnant is a lot worse than I remembered…I’m already tired and out of breath all the time, and I didn’t have many options for any medications to give me any relief. I’ve mainly relied on nasal spray and rest. With a busy working husband and two kids who need dropped off, picked up, and ran around to their various activities…rest is few and far between. Luckily I’ve had help here and there with a few mom/mother-in-law visits!

Here is a recap of our month…

Prepping for the big move

We’re planning on putting our house on the market in March, so the first step is LOTS of decluttering. It’s been tiring, but mentally satisfying for me. When I’m pregnant, my nesting drastically kicks in, and my mind can’t rest. It’s almost like taking Adderall – I have a hard time not being productive. Even though I don’t have a nursery to prepare for unil we move, luckily I’ve had a whole house to clean…fulfilling my nesting needs. We rented a storage unit to keep our stuff that we’ve cleared out of the house, which the kids have been weirdly obsessed with. They don’t like storing any of their stuff, but they LOVE taking runs to the unit and helping load it up!

Storage

Trampoline Park Day

Before the kids started school after Christmas break, they needed to get some energy out, so I took them to one of their favorite places, the trampoline park. Even though I wasn’t physically able to jump with them this time, luckily they entertain each other pretty well and had a great time!

TrampolinePark

100 Magical Days

Kinsie was super excited for her 100th day of school. At the school in which I used to teach, celebrating this day was more of a lower elementary thing, so as a 5th grade teacher, I never really got to partake in the fun. Being the mom of a Kindergartener though has given me that chance! Kinsie and I went to Hobby Lobby together to pick out her supplies and made her shirt together. Her shirt had a rainbow made out of 100 gems, a unicorn, and the words “100 Magical Days!” She was so excited to show it off and loved telling me about all the different 100 Day activities they did at school that day.

100thDay

Rare Outside Time

If Arkansas gets any cold weather, January is typically when it happens. Overall, it’s usually about 30 degrees in the mornings and evenings, and then gets up to the 40s, MAYBE 50s during the day. Not too bad compared to an Indiana January, but still. We’ve had TONS of rain this month, which is what has kept us from being outside more. We did, however, get a few rare opportunities to spend some time outside, which always fills the kids’ buckets.

Outside

Community Helpers Unit

Kinsie had her first big unit at school, community helpers. They’ve been learning about different community helpers and what they do, and they’ve even had several guest speakers (her daddy being one of them!) All the Kindergarteners had to pick a community helper and create a poster and present it to the class. Kinsie picked doctors because she is so proud that her dad is one. She worked so hard on her poster, and it turned out great! I helped her physically put it together, but she did all the research (Ryan was her resource), and all the writing. She was a little nervous to present to the class, but she ended up going first and did an awesome job! She was so excited to have Ryan come speak to the Kindergarten classes about being a doctor too!

ComHelpers

Baby Updates – 6 Months

I’m kind of freaking out at how fast this pregnancy seems to be going this time. Between life with two other kids and keeping up with all of their activities, plus starting the process of moving, each week is flying by!

Updates and Symptoms-

  • Baby is a little more than 1 pound
  • His hands are always by his face
  • He is VERY active. I absolutely love feeling him move, but he is getting bigger and stronger, which makes some of his movements somewhat painful!
  • Continued gigantic hiccups
  • Intense need to “nest”
  • Mild carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms – I’m hoping this one is more from the work I’ve been doing around the house rather than my pregnancy. If you recall, my carpal tunnel pain was SO intense near the end of my pregnancy with Brax, which continued for several weeks after he was born. It was so terrible being in horrible pain even holding my newborn baby. I eventually had to get cortisone injections is both of my wrists. I am trying to be very proactive this time to avoid it getting that bad again.

Early in the month, we had our anatomy scan. Even though we already knew it was a boy, I loved every moment of the ultrasound. The tech was extremely thorough and even gave us a free DVD with the entire ultrasound on it. We got lots of great views and pictures of our crazy little guy, including a quick 3D view of his sweet little face! He is very healthy and right on track with his size!

Baby ultrasound-1

Baby ultrasound-2

 

This picture was taken at 22 weeks – baby was the size of a red bell pepper

22 weeks

 

This picture was taken at 24 weeks – baby is the size of a pomegranate (notice the size difference in just 2 weeks from the previous picture!)

24 weeks-1

I found some of my old pregnancy pictures from my last 2 pregnancies, and compared the pictures all at 24 weeks. It is so interesting how different each pregnancy has been! As you can probably see, I was the biggest at this point with Brax. With this baby, I’d say I’m in between how big I was with Kinsie and Brax.

24weeks-3babies

The kids were excited to get in on the action with pictures this time! They are SO excited to meet their baby brother!

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Real life with these two…

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That’s a wrap for our January. Life is going to continue getting crazier as we get closer to the arrival of our little guy, and our big move back to our home state. It’s a lot all at once, but I keep reminding myself that it’s all good stuff. God is blessing us abundantly and we couldn’t be more grateful for his goodness!

Enjoy our first 1 Second Every video for the year 2020!

December Days

I apologize that it’s almost halfway through January before I even got around to posting my December updates, but things have been crazy since we got home from Christmas! We had a super busy and fun December like I expected! Between Christmas activities and being pregnant, I’ve been one exhausted mama. We had a great month though, and we are looking forward to all the exciting things happening for our family very soon!

We had lots of fun little activities or events all through December, such as…

Kinsie’s first Kindergarten Field Trip

She was mostly excited about riding a school bus for the first time. Since she attends a charter school, they do not use buses as transportation, but instead parents drop off and pick up. Kinsie loved her first bus experience, and the field trip itself was fun too! I came along as a parent chaperone. First we went to a theater to watch a really neat Christmas lights show. After the show, we ate lunch and the kids all played at a nearby park.

Field trip

First BB Gun

Ryan has been anxiously awaiting this day for a long time now. He bought the kids their first BB gun! He found a great deal and couldn’t pass it up, and the kids were super excited to try it out. They went outside to practice right away. They did great for their first time! You’ll see later that the BB gun played a key role in our gender reveal!

BBgun

Santa at Bass Pro

This has become one of our new favorite traditions. We already love Bass Pro, but it’s even better at Christmas time. We loved Santa’s Workshop where the kids could play and make crafts. The kids did great meeting Santa again!

BassPro

Brax meeting Santa again!

Lucky little guy got to see Santa for another time at his school. He was really excited and loved telling us about it when he got home.

Santa at School

Brax’s Christmas Program

Ryan and I both got to see Brax perform in his Christmas program at his school. He was shy and a little nervous, but he did great! He’s come a long way since the Baby Shark incident at Kinsie’s graduation last year!

ChristmasProgram

EM Christmas Party

Another one of our favorite events from the past few years. Every year, we go to the Christmas Party for the UAMS Emergency Medicine program. There’s always a great dinner, desserts, and the department coordinator’s wife buys amazing gifts for all the kids in the program. The kids were super excited about their gifts! We are so sad we won’t have this tradition once Ryan’s done with residency. We LOVE our UAMS residency family!

ResidencyParty

Christmas Cookies

The kids and I enjoyed making Christmas cookies together one weekend day. It keeps them busy for a while, sparks their creativity, and then of course there are cookies to eat when we’re done! It’s become one of my favorite things to do with them for holidays.

Cookies

Dinner at All Aboard

Ryan was on an elective this month, and he chose to do a rural medicine rotation, where he had to do 10 shifts at a rural hospital up in northwest Arkansas. He did a few shifts before Christmas, then finished the rest when we got home. Since he would be gone for almost a week, and with me being halfway through my pregnancy, his mom flew down for the week to help me with the kids. We loved having Grandma visit, and we tried to do fun things like have dinner at their favorite restaurant, All Aboard!

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Indiana Travels

Once Ryan was home and Kinsie was officially on winter break, we hit the road! We had Bev with us to help drive, and loaded up our gifts and dogs to spend Christmas with family.

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We got to Indiana just in time to celebrate my mom’s birthday. She was in her happy place to get to celebrate with all her grand babies! We also took this opportunity to do our gender reveal with our families! But I’ll get to that soon…

Yaya Birthday

It had snowed several days before we arrived, and the kids were SO excited that there was still snow on the ground. Every time we went outside, they ran around in it with no regard. They were super bummed when it eventually melted. I kept reminding them that we’re moving back and they will get PLENTY of snow soon!

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Something we’ve done every year for the past few years is get together with Ryan’s Aunt Rita’s family and decorate cookies and let the kids play. They are all around the same age, so they always have a blast together!

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Christmas Eve

Every year we attend the Christmas Eve church service with my family. The kids get to join their cousins in their classes, and we always love visiting our old church and listening to our old pastor’s sermons. After church, we headed to Aunt Renata’s for Christmas with the Matthews side. The kids loved sorting gifts for everyone and playing with their cousin, Griffin.

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Christmas Day

On Christmas day, the kids were SO excited to wake up and see what Santa brought them. All Kinsie asked for this year was a Fiona calendar (her favorite hippo from the Cincinnati Zoo). Brax asked for something different every time we asked, so it was pretty much a free-for-all for him. They both seemed very excited about their gifts and loved playing with everything right away.

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After opening gifts for just our immediate family, we ate a big breakfast that my dad made. After a while, my sister’s family came and we all did our presents together. While the kids helped pass out everyone’s gift, I went upstairs and got a time-lapse of the chaos!

 

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The kids all had a great day together, and it was funny because they all showed up wearing very similar pajamas! Of course we had to get a picture!

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After playing inside for a while with all their new stuff, we realized how beautiful it was outside, so we all went outside for a while and let the kids play. Later on, we visited some of Ryan’s mom’s side of the family. When we got back, Brax was SO tired, but he refused to go to bed. Instead, he ended up passing out right on the couch in the middle of the chaos!

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We had a great visit with family and friends. It’s always tough traveling 10 hours with 2 kids and 2 dogs and a car FULL of Christmas gifts, but it is completely worth it. On the way home, we even stopped in Paducah, KY to visit some of our old residency friends. It’s been a good ride, but we are excited and relieved that this was our last “traveling” Christmas, since we’ll be back in Indiana next year.

New Year’s Eve

For New Year’s Eve, we were back home and trying to catch up on sleep and get settled again. Since we didn’t have a great reason to, we didn’t have the kids stay up until midnight, so we did an early countdown/celebration with them like we have the last couple of years. We made our own pizzas, had a dance party, drank fizzy drinks and ate cookies, and enjoyed our family night together.

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Baby Updates: Month 4 (Weeks 16-20)

I can’t believe I’m already halfway done with this pregnancy. It has definitely flown by, and this little one will be here before we know it!

This month’s pregnancy symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Really strong waves of fatigue again…but that could be partially due to the holidays and all the events and activities that came with it. We were very busy so I was very tired!
  • Appetite has decreased…which is probably a good thing because it was a bit out of control during the first trimester.
  • Hiccups…like huge, obnoxious hiccups.
  • Back pain…now that my belly is getting bigger, my back is getting out of whack, especially when trying to sleep. Fun times!
  • Baby kicks…ALL the time. And I could not love it more! I’ve already mentally accepted the fact that I will probably never have a chill child…this one will most likely be a wild child like the other two!

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This photo was taken at 18 weeks – baby is the size of a grapefruit

Boy or Girl?

We knew we would be really close to that time where we could find out the gender of the baby by the time we came home for Christmas, so we asked our doctor if we could find out before we go. I wasn’t quite due for my full anatomy scan yet, but because my doctor is amazing, she gave me a quick freebie ultrasound at my next appointment so we could find out. My appointment was early in the morning, so we let Kinsie be a little late to school and brought both her and Brax along with us so we could all find out together. At first, the umbilical cord was right in the way…so the doctor kept wiggling the ultrasound wand around to see if she could get a good angle. Finally the baby moved a little, and voila….there it was! Baby Matthews #3 is a BOY!!

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We had to keep the secret for about a week before we headed home to Indiana to tell everyone. I didn’t let the kids talk on the phone to anyone during that time!

When we got to Indiana, we invited all our immediate family over for my mom’s birthday, and our gender reveal. We had a paint-filled balloon pinned to a canvas, and Kinsie would shoot her BB gun to pop the balloon and reveal the color. However, things didn’t exact go as planned! As you’ll see in the video, Kinsie hit the balloon TWICE, and the BB just bounced right off! Ryan eventually had to shoot it point blank for it to finally pop!

 

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We all are so excited to have another little boy join the family in May!

Finally to end out our December and our year, here is our 1 Second Everyday video for December 2019. Happy New Year!

 

Baby Number THREE!

Surprise!! Baby Matthews #3 is on the way and should arrive sometime in May!

Not to get into too much detail, but this baby was planned. The timing of this baby was not. However, we trust that God knows best and even though our spring and summer of 2020 is going to be super chaotic (a new baby AND moving to Indiana), we are excited about all the blessings coming our way!

Because we were not expecting this at this time, I was shocked. So shocked that I truly didn’t believe it until I saw it on an ultrasound machine. But I’ll get to that in a minute. The morning I got a positive pregnancy test (two actually), the kids had school and Ryan had conference in the morning. I took the test first thing in the morning, saw the two lines in complete disbelief, but had to go abut my day of getting the kids where they needed to go. After I got the kids to school, I ran by the store to pick up another test because I still didn’t believe it. And what do you know, another two bright pink lines! When Ryan got home, here is what I left on his side of the sink in the bathroom.

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When he got home and saw it, he just started cracking up. But of course he was excited! This will be the fifth out of six babies born within the residency program in the spring/summer of 2020!

My parents were flying in to visit us for Kinsie’s birthday the day after I found out. My parents can read me so well, I can never keep a secret from them for very long, so it worked out that we would get to tell them so soon. We told the kids the next morning before school so they would know before my parents came. They were so excited! Kinsie always says, “I just wish the baby would come out right now!” I always have to remind her that the baby needs to “keep cooking” for a while. Brax kind of understood, but not completely, until recently when I started showing a bit. Now he seems to understand that there actually is a growing baby in there!

We used this picture and framed it for my parents, Ryan’s parents, Ryan’s sister and brother, and my sister’s family to tell everyone. My parents were of course the first to know. Their reaction was absolutely priceless!

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We had a great weekend for Kinsie’s birthday with my parents, and luckily enough, Ryan’s parents were planning on visiting the very next week for Brax’s grandparents day at school, so we were able to tell them also! For the rest of the family, we had my parents or Ryan’s parents hand out the “gift” with the framed picture of this gem above and we did Facetime with them to see their reactions!

From what I could gather, I had an expected due date of about May 27. With this being the third baby, I can’t hide my bump for long. With both this pregnancy and when I was pregnant with Brax, I personally could see a bump at 5-6 weeks.

I wasn’t able to get into my OB’s office for an appointment until after our vacation in Orlando. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to wait that long to see the baby and make sure everything was ok and that there was only one baby! Lucky for me, I’m married to someone who not only has access to an ultrasound machine, but knows how to operate it as well! On one of Ryan’s days off and the kids were in school, he snuck me into the emergency department for a quick ultrasound. (we had to sneak mainly because I was only 6 weeks and I didn’t want to see people I knew). Everything looked great on the ultrasound, and we even got to see the baby’s tiny little heart beating! It was so special that Ryan was able to perform our first ultrasound!

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Here are some progress pictures and updates on this pregnancy so far…

Month 1:

I had no symptoms at all the first few days. This is how I was with Brax also. About a week or so later, the fatigue hit me hard. Whenever Ryan was home, he made me go take naps. When he wasn’t home, I just try to rest the best I can while the kids are running amuck through the house.

Around 5 weeks – baby’s the size of a grain of rice

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Month 2:

  • Fatigue. Fatigue. Fatigue. It’s intense. Worse than the other two, and with those I was even working full time!
  • Extreme hunger/nausea. I was SO hungry all the time, and if I didn’t eat something soon enough, I would get really nauseous. If I kept my hunger under control, I felt pretty good. But I also tried to not overeat or eat too unhealthy.
  • Super sensitive to smells/gagging – I usually have a strong sense of smell, but when I’m pregnant, its on another level. When the kids use the restroom (#2…sorry for TMI), I have a really hard time with the smell, and my gag reflexes are not a fan as well!
  • Bloating. This happens often after I eat dinner, and it’s not fun. It’s very painful and it doesn’t get better unless I sit down and don’t move for a while…which is not easy to do with two children and a busy working husband.
  • Cravings – they are sometimes super random…like a McDonalds cheeseburger or Olive Garden breadsticks. But overall, the main recurring cravings include sour food – pickles, lemons, and sour candy.

Around 8 weeks – baby’s the size of a raspberry

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Month 3:

  • I still get hungry often, but it’s not as extreme as it was before.
  • I’m still tired, but it seems to have improved some! One of the main reasons that it has bothered me so much that I’m tired is because I haven’t been able to work out as much as I’d like. Before I got pregnant, I LOVED working out. Now I still do, but my workouts have changed a bit, and they are very inconsistent. I hate that I’ve been too tired to work out most days, especially when I was in such a great habit before. Hopefully my fatigue will continue to decrease and I’ll get back on a good workout schedule. I’m in a MUCH better mood when I can workout more often!
  • Headaches – this is a new thing. I get a headache almost every day, and it is hard to function.
  • Other typical symptoms – always needing to use the restroom, extra emotional…the usual!
  • I’m pretty sure I felt my first baby kick at 14 weeks! I can’t wait to feel more!

 

Around 12 weeks – baby’s the size of a lime

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15 weeks – baby’s the size of a pear

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As you can see, it’s not so easy to hide anymore! I felt like I really popped when we were in Orlando on vacation. Even the kids mention my belly getting bigger, and they are really excited about it!

When I finally got in to see my OB, I was around 10 weeks (or so I thought). My appointment was on a Friday, so Brax didn’t have school, so he came along. We saw the baby squirming around and heard a strong heartbeat. Brax seemed somewhat confused at the time, but later seemed excited that he got to see the baby. When the nurse practitioner was measuring the baby, she said the baby was measuring about 10 days bigger than what I originally thought! So now we’re going with a due date of May 17, which is one day later than my due date with Brax!

In the ultrasound, the baby had his/her hand up by its face!

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I just started my second trimester and can already tell my fatigue and extreme hunger have decreased some…yay! The kids are so excited and they love knowing what kind of fruit the baby is the size of each week. Both of my kids are super energetic, which of course I love, but it’s also exhausting…especially while pregnant. I keep hoping my next child will be the chill one. But are we even capable of producing a chill baby? I guess we’ll find out! Either way, we’re excited to welcome him/her into our chaos!

We will be finding out the gender in December and sharing the news with our families when we come home for Christmas. Stay tuned for more pregnancy updates!

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Waiting for Baby

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Ok, I’m finally to the point where I am ready. I mean, really ready. I’ve never been more ready to, of course meet my first son, but also to simply get this baby out of me!! My body is done. I hate to sound negative, but, like I said…I am physically, mentally, and emotionally ready! Luckily, I’m close…approximately 4 weeks left!

How I’m feeling:

I feel about how you would expect a 36 week pregnant lady to feel. Tired, uncomfortable, anxious…you name it! I’ve mentioned before that this pregnancy has been much harder on me physically than when I was pregnant with Kinsie, and that is true now more than ever. It hurts to walk, stand, bend, and even sit sometimes! My feet are swollen and I am out of breath after I do anything or nothing at all. I am SO lucky to have such helpful coworkers, students, family and husband to help me do the physical things that I just can’t do right now. This part is so hard for me, because I hate asking for help. I am terrible at delegating because I would rather just do things myself, but for the safety of myself and my baby, I have to ask for help more right now, and the people in my life are wonderful about it. Something else that started up this month is carpel-tunnel syndrome. I have had this problem before, but very sporadically and not at all when I was pregnant with Kinsie. It is SO bad right now. I sleep with a wrist brace on both wrists, and that gives minimal relief, but doing anything with my hands throughout the day is insanely painful and difficult. I am praying that this subsides soon after delivery, because as a teacher, mom, and human…it is difficult to not use my hands much throughout the day!

Baby updates:

Size: This (not so) little guy should be about 6 pounds and 20 inches long. I am super anxious to find out big he’ll be at birth because Kinsie was only 6 lbs. 10 oz. and I feel that this baby boy is much bigger, but I don’t know how big a baby can really get when I have such a short torso and don’t have much room for growth!

Movement: My boy is still as wild as ever. The baby apps say that the baby has less room to move at this point, so their movements are usually not as intense as before…but not this kid. He makes room for big movements. He stretches my uterus beyond its natural abilities and he kicks me so hard I feel like my hips will snap. He pretty much moves all day long, but he has two times in the day when he is extra wild…usually around 4 or 5 pm, then again around 10pm. Ryan gets a kick (haha, get it?) out of feeling him move, and he likes to guess where each body part is as he’s moving…typical med student!

Name: We have finally settled on a name! But you won’t find out until the big day 🙂 The only clue you get now is that it starts with a B (as you’ll see in the nursery pictures below).

Nursery: The nursery is pretty much complete! I know that a baby doesn’t spend a whole lot of time in their nursery for the first months anyway, but any nesting pregnant woman, let alone one with OCD personality can understand that I wanted to get it done more for me than for the baby. The last thing we need to do is stain the rocking chair and add it to the room. Ryan’s great grandpa built a rocking chair when Ryan’s Aunt Renata was pregnant with her first, and she was kind enough to pass it along to us, so we thought it would be a great addition to the nursery. Here are a few pictures of our nursery/office. As you can see, the name is blocked out 🙂

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Sprinkles: A few weeks ago, my life group had a baby “sprinkle” for me at one of my favorite restaurants, Charbonos. They bought diapers and gifts for our boy, and dessert for me and Ryan! Our life group has been together for almost 3 years now, and together in that time we have had 6 babies, and this baby will be the 7th! I love spending time with such wonderful people and it is awesome to see our little life group family grow.

My staff also had a sprinkle for me at work last week. They hooked me up with tons of diapers and wipes, and made breakfast and treats. They have taken such good care of me throughout this pregnancy, and are always going out of their way to help me with anything I need and being accommodating to doctor appointments, etc. I absolutely LOVE the people I work with!

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What else we’ve been up to this month:

I had a nice 2 week spring break and got to spend so much quality time with Kinsie. She and I both needed that, and I really soaked up my time with her because that was our last break of school with just the two of us. We had to just hang out at home more than I wanted because I didn’t have the physical capabilities to go out and do much, but Kinsie didn’t seem to mind. Every once in a while we would venture out a bit by going to the park or the library, but that was pretty much the extent. Either way, she was happy to have her mama home and I was happy to be home with her.

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Ryan finished his internal medicine rotation and started his Pysch rotation with much better hours and weekends off. We have definitely taken advantage of having him around more. A few weekends ago, we took a family trip to the zoo, and even though it was windy and cold, the crowds were minimal and the animals were active, so we had a lot of fun! I really wanted the chance to take Kinsie to the zoo one more time before the baby came, but I knew I would have a hard time taking her myself, so with Ryan there, I was able to take more breaks and not have to handle my wild toddler alone!

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Kinsie started soccer class a couple weeks ago. She has been excited about starting soccer for several months now, and she loves running around the house practicing with her daddy. So far, she’s done pretty well when she’s in the mood to participate! Sometimes she’s not as into the other drills and games, but she could just run around and kick a soccer ball all day long!

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We’ve had some odd April weather, but last weekend was finally beautiful! We took the opportunity to spend the weekend at one of our favorite places, the lake! A few weeks ago, we let Kinsie pick out her own fishing pole, and she picked a Ninja Turtles one. Ryan’s been teaching her how to cast and reel, and practicing with her at home. She was pumped to try it out on her own once we got to the lake. She did awesome! She cast her pole out on her own, waited as patiently as a 2 year old can wait, then once she was getting a bite, she reeled it in by herself about 90% of the way, then once she saw the fish getting closer, she kind of freaked out and needed daddy’s help reeling it in the rest of the way. She was SO proud of her first catch, and of course we were too! We had an awesome weekend of fishing and relaxing with Ryan’s family!

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So now here we are. Just getting through each day, waiting for the day that our little boy will officially join our family. I’m still a little anxious on how Kinsie will handle the transition, but I know she will be an awesome big sister. Keep us in your prayers over the next few weeks as we await our sweet little boy!

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Coming Down the Home Stretch

Today marks 32 weeks, or about 8 months of pregnancy. I am definitely getting close, and my goodness am I getting more anxious! I have such a strong craving to snuggle this baby boy in my arms, and I am counting down the days (the best I can) until I can do just that. Luckily, in the mean time, I have a little girl who has been extra snuggly with her mama lately! In the last few months’ updates, I mentioned how fast this pregnancy has gone, and for the first 6 months, that was true. But now that I am in my third trimester, I feel like time is going in slow motion. I think because I became more physically uncomfortable earlier in the pregnancy, it has caused me to feel like I’ve been 8 or 9 months pregnant for several months now. I am coming down the home stretch now, and our little guy really will be here in about 8 weeks!

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How I’m feeling:

Like I’ve said before, I am so grateful to even be pregnant and get to experience the miracle of life, but now I’m kinda ready to have my body back. Overall, compared to what some other pregnant women have gone through, I feel great. It’s more the little things that aren’t as big of a deal if you don’t have another little one to care for at home. My lower back is in so much pain by the end of the day that I can barely stand. I’ve been having extremely uncomfortable hip pain and pressure that makes it hard to even walk across the room. I already feel bloated everywhere and feel like a beached whale when I try to stand up or roll over. Let’s just say I’m ready for this baby to come for more than one reason.

Baby Size:

Right now, baby boy should be about 4 pounds and the size of a head of lettuce. This whole pregnancy I have felt much bigger than my last pregnancy, but this is the first week that I feel like I am starting to even out a bit. I am definitely still bigger, but it isn’t as much of a difference in the two pregnancies like it used to be. Either way, I am to that point where it is a daily challenge to find something to wear!

Wild Man:

I heard somewhere that around this stage is when you feel the baby move a little less because they don’t have enough room to make as big of movements…not the case with this kid! He is kicking me stronger than ever, to the point where it hurts. Even so, I am still so grateful for every movement I feel. Something tells me that this boy will have his Grandma Bev’s energy just like Kinsie, because he is moving more than he is still! He is especially active around 9 or 10pm, and Ryan and I will just watch my belly move around for extensive periods of time.

Here is a video I took the other day that shows a little bit of his wild side!

Other baby updates:

Baby’s name: We have names narrowed down to our top 3, but we haven’t made any decisions from there yet. Mainly because we have reasons why we really like all 3, and we really can’t decide which one is our absolute favorite. When we do choose, we are planning on keeping it a secret until his birth day.

Baby’s nursery: The only thing I’ve really had time/energy to do so far is buy stuff for the nursery (mainly online shopping). The room will really be the nursery/office because we only have one bedroom left, and we still need a place to put Ryan’s desk and all of our book shelves. The office has also been somewhat of a storage area the last couple years, so Ryan finally had an extra hour last weekend to go through all of that stuff and find another place for it. Now that I am on my 2-week spring break, my only goal is to finally be able to work on the nursery. My nesting instincts have been in overdrive for months now, but now I finally have a little bit of time to work on it. Because of the current colors of the wall (dark red and tan), we decided to go with a sock monkey theme (both Kinsie and Uncle Nate love sock monkeys, so we figured they would be happy!) My mom and I have found some really cute sock monkey decor, so I am excited to finally start setting things up. Once I’ve made some progress, I will post pictures!

What else we’ve been up to this month:

I’ve been doing my best to get through a rough time of the school year…the end of winter and ISTEP testing. Any other teachers out there know the torture of standardized testing! We still have one more round of testing after spring break, but after that we’re done for the year. Ryan is finishing up his Internal Medicine rotation, which has been a rough one. He has been working 80+ hours weekly. Most days he works from 7am – 5pm, but every fourth night, he works from 7am – 9pm (sometimes later). These nights are the worst because he doesn’t even get to see Kinsie, and we don’t get our much needed daddy time. Luckily, this is the last week for this rotation, then he moves on to a Psych rotation, which SHOULD have better hours.

At least now we are getting to experience a little bit of spring time. The weather has been random, but we have had several beautiful days so far. We get outside whenever we can, and lately, Kinsie’s biggest goal in life is finding a good worm to become friends with!

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We started up gymnastics again this month, and Kinsie is loving it just as much if not more than she did last fall. It is amazing the improvements we’ve seen in her agility since November. She is still in the “Mommy & me” class, but now that she is 2 and a half (stay tuned for a blog post about this soon), she is old enough for the next class up where we would not be out there with her. I think she may be ready for this class in a few weeks, but I’m still a little skeptical because she isn’t the best at following the teacher’s directions yet!

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Well, I hate to say it but I think Kinsie is officially done with regular naps. Not the best timing, considering I need naps more than ever when I’m home on the weekends. Even though she isn’t taking regular naps anymore, if we put her in the car in the late afternoon to drive anywhere, she is out like a light! She falls asleep almost every time Aunt Renata brings her home on days she watches her, so she’ll bring her in and lay her down on the couch, and sometimes she keeps snoozing for a little while!

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We also officially transitioned Kinsie to her big girl bed! We figured this was a good time with the baby coming, and since we’ve given up on naps anyway. She’s obsessed with it. She had her first night in the bed last night and did great. She fell out of the bed a couple times (luckily it is a very short drop and her blanket was under her when she fell), so that will be a little bit of an adjustment. Whenever she doesn’t take a nap, she’s usually exhausted by bed time, so we probably won’t have to worry quite as much about her running around the room or trying to escape!

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new bed collage

We are all anxiously waiting for May to get here…even Kinsie. She is constantly hugging and patting my belly, and telling me she loves her baby. The other day she even lifted up my shirt trying to find him because she wanted to see him! I can’t blame her one bit…I want to see him too!