Our October in Arkansas

I was excited to spend October in our new home. We have a lot of fun traditions that we do in October, so I was glad that Ryan was on an easy rotation and could enjoy them with us. We did lots of fun fall and Halloween activities, as well as traveled to Florida for vacation. It was a great month that went by fast! Here is our recap…

Visit to the Pumpkin Patch

This is one of our favorite traditions. We love the pumpkin patch, the hay rides, the apple snacks, you name it. When we first moved here, we went to the Farmer’s Market in downtown Little Rock, and one of the booths set up was for a winery. I tried their wine and fell in love (For all you Indiana folks, it’s similar to Oliver Wine). When I bought some wine from them, they told me they also have a great farm and a great pumpkin patch in the fall. I was anxious to visit, not only for the pumpkin patch, but to buy more of their wine! This pumpkin patch did NOT disappoint! I was so impressed with all the activities they had set up. The kids loved playing in the corn pit and making “corn angels,” climbing on the hay bales, sliding down the tubes, visiting the farm animals, picking out their own pumpkins and going on the hay ride. They had all kinds of scarecrows dressed up as different characters and decorations to see on the hay ride so it kept us entertained! We loved our day at the pumpkin patch!

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Trip to Florida

You’ve probably already seen the post about our trip to Florida, but this was definitely one of the best things about our month. We loved spending our days on the beach, lots of cousin time, Mickey Mouse, and having Ryan for a whole week!

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Boo at the Zoo

The Indianapolis Zoo Boo was always one of our favorite traditions around Halloween, and we were so excited to find out that the Little Rock Zoo also did “Boo at the Zoo!” For this event, you had to purchase tickets, even if you are zoo members, but there was a lot more to do at this event than at the Indy zoo. There were carnival games and rides, trick-or-treating, a Haunted House, a “spooky” train ride, food trucks, bounce houses, and tons of Halloween decorations. The ONLY thing I was a little disappointed in was the fact that the event really didn’t have anything to do with the animals. In fact, most of the animals weren’t even out for display. The event focused on the activities, but it was still a lot of fun. We went with another resident’s family whom we’ve gotten pretty close with. The kids all had a great time together and it was a great night.

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Fun at School

Kinsie is still loving school! They do so many fun activities and themed days. She adores her teacher and finally seems to know all the kids’ names in her class (there are only 8 kids). Some of her favorite things she’s done at school include making apple pie, a martial arts class, and trick-or-treating. And again, I love how much they share on their Facebook page so I can see how much fun she’s having every day!


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Pumpkin Carving and Painting

We don’t take pumpkin carving lightly. We go all out every year, and we don’t just do it for the kids…Ryan and I look forward to it every year! This year, Kinsie also really wanted to paint some pumpkins, so I let the kids paint a couple of them. Last time I had Brax paint, he hated it…this time, he loved it!

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Ryan’s residency group also had a pumpkin carving night, where all the residents and their families could come and carve pumpkins together. The kids loved helping with the pumpkins, running around with the other kids, and all the snacks they could dream of!

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Then, we finally got to carve the rest of our pumpkins. Kinsie really wanted to help with as much as she could, so she helped scoop out seeds, poke the holes for the outline of the design, and even did some minor carving. Brax stuck the spoon into the pumpkin maybe once and then he was done. He spent the rest of the time reading books, climbing into the toy box and running amok while we finished carving. The kids LOVED the end results!

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From left to right, “silly guy,” Batman, Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Mickey Mouse, and Stitch

Other Halloween activities

Some other activities that we did this month included spending a lot of time in Halloween PJ’s, watching Hocus Pocus while wearing a witch costume, trick-or-treating at Kinsie’s last soccer game, and making Halloween cookies!

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Trick-or-treating

The kids are still young enough that they like wearing coordinating costumes, and we are taking full advantage of it until that day ends! We love doing family costumes, and we always base it off of things that Kinsie is really into at the time. Last spring, she said she wanted us to all be trolls from the movie “Trolls.” Then a couple months after that, she wanted us to all be characters from “Moana.” Then she kind of lost interest in those movies, so we gave her some options from movies she likes. We always call Brax “Stitch” because he destroys everything, so Kinsie thought it was be fitting for her to be Lilo and Brax to be Stitch for Halloween. I found some cute and versatile costumes that I could warm up or cool down depending on how our weather was, and Ryan and I decided to join in on the costume fun again. I decided to be Nani, Lilo’s sister, and Ryan was Agent Pleakley, the green alien from Stitch’s home planet. Ryan’s sister, Megan and her dog Ali came to visit us and went trick-or-treating with us as well. It was pretty chilly, but not so much that it affected our trick-or-treating fun. The kids LOVED it. We walked around our entire neighborhood, and they were exhausted but very excited about how much candy they received!

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We had a great month! Now with November and December coming up, we know we are going to continue to be busy…which is a good thing for us! We will be headed back to Indiana to be with family for Thanksgiving and then again for Christmas. We are still settling in to our new home, but we become more and more comfortable and feeling “at home” here every day. We are in love with the state of Arkansas, and absolutely love living here…but we are still missing our families. We love having them visit, and traveling home to visit them as well. However, with the cold weather season approaching, we are looking forward to spending winter in the south!

Our Month of MAY-hem

Wow…we had SO much happening in the month of May. It seemed to fly by, but then again, it seems like the beginning of the month was a year ago. We had lots of fun, and were also very busy this month, so brace yourself for pictures galore!

Brax’s First Birthday

Brax turned one on May 2, and while we already had his Lumberjack party a few days earlier, we still had to do something for our boy’s special day. He received an Orange Leaf gift card as one of his birthday gifts, so we took him for his first frozen yogurt experience. He loved it, and of course, Kinsie didn’t mind it either!

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Kinsie and Mommy’s Day of Fun

Any fans of the show “Friends” out there? Well just like Joey and Janice, Kinsie and I had a special day together this month. Her school had a Mother’s Day Lunch on a Friday morning, so I took the morning off to go with her. We had a great lunch together at her school, then I had to get ready to leave and head to work. Her brown eyes had big ol’ crocodile tears in them when I told her I had to leave…so I thought about it, and since it was nearing the end of the school year (my students checked out LONG before this anyway), and the rest of the afternoon at school was our PTO Walk-a-thon, I thought, what the heck, I’ll bring her along! We had a great day together! She loved playing on the playground, silent reading time, and being my little helper at school. My students LOVED having her there, and they were great with her. It was a much-needed Mommy and Kinsie day.

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Dr. Matthews

It’s official…he’s a doctor now! After 4 very long years of medical school, my husband is now an MD. Two years of living in different cities with a newborn baby, two years of countless rotations with long and crazy hours, throwing another baby in the mix and surviving on a teacher’s salary…and we made it! I know we still have a long road ahead as he starts his residency, but we have come so far. We did it as a team, and that’s how we will continue our journey.

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First Swim of the Season

This usually happens WAY sooner, but it has been a crazy April and May. Lots and lots and lots of rain and below 50 degree temps. But a few weeks into May, we finally got these kids in the pool! Kinsie did her happy dance all around the pool, and Brax splashed and giggled and did his happy shout the whole time!

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Lake Time

Ahh, the lake. Our favorite. Our happy place. We have spent two weekends at the lake this month…we are trying to soak in as much lake time as we can before we move. We spent all of Mother’s Day there, and Memorial Day weekend. We have our staple activities that we always do while we visit…including lots of fishing, golf cart rides to the playground at the Marina, and lots of boat rides. This last trip even including Brax’s first time on the paddle boat, and both kids took turns driving the boat. Both of the kids (and the adults) are SO happy while we are at the lake. We all drag our feet when it’s time to leave and head back home. It really is all of our happy place.

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Outside Fun

We haven’t had quite as much outside time as you would think for the month of May, but the few times it has been nice enough, we try to get the kids outside. Even if we don’t want to, they drag us out. They have enjoyed wagon rides, playing t-ball, family bike rides, and running around in the backyard finding frogs and other critters.

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Soccer

Kinsie loved her soccer season! She absolutely loved playing with her cousins, and getting a snack ticket after every game. She improved SO much this season. She became more competitive and aggressive…all she needs is a little bit of speed and she’ll be a soccer star! Whether it was raining, freezing, windy, or sunny (I think this only happened twice), the kids were troopers and had a great season. They always had a great fan club too!

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Some “Lasts”

Within one week, Kinsie had her last gymnastics class, her last soccer game and her last day of preschool. All of these lasts weren’t just for the season, but her last doing all of these things in our current home of Indiana. She had such great experiences for all of these things, especially her preschool. We were so sad for her to leave this school, we really loved it there. She loved her teachers and her friends, but she is very open-minded about finding a new preschool and new friends (we’re hoping her optimism rubs off on her mama a bit). We were so lucky that she had all of these great opportunities to help her learn and grow, and we know we will get other fun opportunities in our new home.

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Last week was a tough one, because I had to say goodbye to a job that I love. I packed up my classroom, turned in my keys, and said “see you later” to some amazing fellow teachers that have become my best friends. I taught in this community for 5 years, and while it often completely drained me, it was so fulfilling. Even though I won’t be teaching at this school anymore, I feel in my heart that my teaching career is far from over.

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That just about wraps up our month. It was busy, crazy, exhausting, but amazing. We are counting down the days to our big move, which is happening in a couple of weeks. While we can barely walk through our house because of moving boxes everywhere, we are still trying to relax, soak it all in and enjoy our time with our families and friends before we pick up and move our lives to Little Rock.