The Longest February in History

This month was LOOOOONG. Usually January is the worst month, but goodness, this February was rough. The weather was absolutely insane and we had so many random things go wrong and need repaired. Our house is ALMOST DONE…which is why I think time went especially slow because we are so anxious to move in! But we made it to March and we couldn’t be more excited! Here is a rundown of our incredibly long February…

Valentine’s Day Activities

We always try to do several fun activities to celebrate Valentine’s Day for the kids…starting with making valentines for their classes. My crafty girl always wants to make her valentines, rather than just buying some and putting her name on them. This year, she made “love monsters” for her class. And Brax of course, wanted dinosaur valentines! They enjoyed putting them together for their friends.

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We also spent a day making valentine cookies (we threw in some unicorns too). The kids always love making cookies, and their most recent favorite decorating themes include Harry Potter cookies (notice several of the cookies have glasses), and cookies with masks!

Valentines-cookies

On actual Valentine’s Day, Ryan had to work in the afternoon so we did our valentines activities in the morning. This mainly included a scavenger hunt to find their gifts. Then of course I always take a million pictures of them…especially since its Brody’s first Valentine’s Day!

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A recent tradition I’ve done the last few years is writing reasons why we love the kids – one reason for each kid starting on February 1 until February 14. They loved waking up each morning to see a new reason, and Brody loved wrinkling up and chewing on his reasons! 

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I also usually try to make a Valentine-themed dinner for the kids. This year included heart-shaped grilled cheese sandwiches. And for Brody, his lunch meat and veggies were arranged in a heart!

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The Never-ending Blizzard

The week after Valentine’s Day was INSANE. Not only the entire state of Indiana had major snow storms, but even southern states like Texas and our old home state of Arkansas did too! The entire time we lived there, there was maybe a light dusting of snow once…and the entire city shut down. Now they had like 10 inches! I’m not sure how they survived! Anyway, the kids didn’t have school on Monday (President’s Day), and that is when the madness began. It snowed ALL DAY and ALL NIGHT. And then it snowed MORE. And MORE. It just wouldn’t stop. The kids ended up having 3 snow days in a row! (Kinsie had e-learning on these days). And it wasn’t ideal to go outside and play in the snow because a) the temperature was in the single digits, and b) Ryan was working the whole week and it was hard managing time around Brody’s naps and Kinsie’s schoolwork…but the kids didn’t even want to play outside. They were over it! We all were…except for maybe Koda.

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We did have some epic icicles on our house!

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Koda enjoyed the snow! The rest of us not so much.

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Kinsie all bundled up doing her school work online

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At one point, I did scoop up some fresh, clean snow and the kids and I made snow ice cream!

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Not only was the weather crummy, but about everything broke down during this week for us. Our toilet stopped working (and we only have one bathroom in our rental), my car got stuck in the deep snow in our driveway, our laptop stopped working intermittently, our printer stopped working, and once we actually got my car out of the driveway, the power steering pump needed replaced! It was a tough week. We were stuck inside all day, every day for a week. We actually ended up spending one night at my parents house just to have a working toilet for 24 hours. The kids were sick of each other and sick of not being able to go to school. And we were all sick of everything not working…but we got through it, and we know it could have been much worse, so we tried our best to stay positive!

Home Activities and Projects

Like every other month, February consisted of a lot of staying home and trying to stay busy. There is always a lot of arts and crafts, science, games, and imaginative play. 

One day when Aunt Renata came to visit, she got out some of Ryan’s butcher paper and started creating a board game with Brax. They included Dinosaur Land, Unicorn Island, and more. Once Kinsie came home from school, then she took off with lots of ideas for the game too. The kids loved designing it and playing it!

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Ryan and I recently watched the Netflix show called “The Queen’s Gambit.” It’s about a young orphan who becomes a prodigy and world champion at chess. I’ve never known how to play chess, and watching this show made me want to learn. Ryan bought a learning version of the game, called “No Stress Chess.” So one day, Ryan started teaching me how to play, and the kids became obsessed…especially Brax! I didn’t think it would interest him much, but he LOVES it, and still asks Ryan to play with him regularly!

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Kinsie is still slowly working through all of the science kits she received for Christmas. Ryan loves doing them with her and teaching her about science along the way. Brax usually joins in on the fun too!

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One day, Kinsie randomly decided she was going to make vet stations for their stuffed animals. She had a station for checking eye sight and getting glasses, a teeth brushing station, a station to check for ticks, and a station to receive a shot and decorate a bandaid to put on after the shot. She asked Brax and Brody to each pick a stuffed animal to go through the stations with. It was so creative!

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I have always wanted to collect all of the kids’ drawings and artwork and put them into a book, but I never took the time to do it. Well one day, my sister-in-law sent me a text saying that Shutterfly was having a deal where you could make a book with free unlimited pages. I knew right then, this was the time I finally needed to do it. So I spent the next couple of days organizing the kids’ artwork, scanning it all, and arranging it all into books. I made one book for Brax with artwork from age 2 until now, and I had to make 2 books for Kinsie because she had SO much artwork. Just last spring alone when the pandemic hit, drawing was stress relief for her, so she spent hours a day drawing. Now all of that artwork is displayed in these awesome books rather than tucked away in bins where nobody will see them. I love how they turned out!

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Since we hardly ever leave the house, Brody often gets bored with his same environment and toys, so I try to switch it up and take him into different rooms. Whenever I have computer work to do, I bring him to the office (which is also the room where he sleeps) and I put him in his pack n play and put toys in with him. The kids always like to get in there with him to play, so of course I had to document it!

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Fun at School

Even though this year is very different, the kids are still really enjoying school. I love seeing the different activities and work they bring home from school.

This particular paper Kinsie brought home melted me. She had to write about her superhero, and she wrote about her dad!

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I love when their schools share photos on social media so I can get a glimpse of their day!

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This month, Brax got to celebrate his 100th day of school! He got to bring in 100 of a snack (he chose M&M’s), and 100 of an item of his choice, as long as it fit in a gallon sized bag. He brought in 100 dinosaurs!

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Cousin Sleepover

My parents invited all the cousins (except Brody…he still needs his mama at night!) for a sleepover. It’s reasons like this why, even in the midst of a horrible winter, we are so glad we moved back home!

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OUTSIDE!!

After the snowstorm week from hell, the sun finally decided to shine again! The temps got up to the mid fifties and it was HEAVEN. Most of the snow melted, and we finally ventured outside and I can’t even tell you how amazing it felt to feel the sun again!

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Progress on the House

Our house is ALMOST DONE. I’m so excited I can barely think straight. The updates this month were SO fun because we’ve gotten to see it slowly come together to look like the final product. It is so beautiful I could cry.

 

The living room after a fresh coat of paint

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In love with my counter tops!

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The basement!

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Master shower

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Kinsie loves her room!

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Living room

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The upper back porch

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Master bathroom

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Kids’ bathroom

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My amazing kitchen 

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Ryan and I have had to meet with the guys working on the house every once in a while to discuss things, and Brody is usually along for the ride. One day, we had to go through the house and decide the layout of all the closets. Well I guess we took longer than I expected because Brody ended up falling asleep!

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Picnics are a common thing at the house! 

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Brody is NINE Months!

My baby is only 3 months away from turning one, and I’m not ok with it! Goodness this boy brings us so much joy. He is so sweet, silly, and happy, and he still LOVES his mama. The feeling is mutual, but I don’t necessarily feel the need to hang all over him and chase him around like he does to me.

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Brody updates at 9 months –

  • He weighs 19 pounds – 36th percentile
  • He is 28.8 inches tall – 63rd percentile
  • He loves to dance! He has the most precious signature dance that he does whenever he hears music (you can see small snippets of his dance in the 1 Second Everyday video at the end of this post).
  • His favorite food is strawberries. But he still loves most food. And he eats SO fast…like his dad!
  • His two top teeth have broken through and are SO cute.
  • He is “real” crawling now. However, when he wants to get somewhere fast, he still drops down to his belly and army crawls like a beast.
  • He is saying sounds like “da-da,” “ya-ya,” and “ga-ga.” No meaning yet, just cute babbles.
  • His favorite thing to do is pull up on anything he can. He is also starting to get braver and tries to climb up onto things. 
  • His favorite place in the world is his mama’s arms.
  • He looks just like Kinsie did as a baby. I didn’t realize it until I looked back at baby pictures of Kinsie. 
  • He loves discovering his voice, He makes all kinds of cute babbles and squeals constantly.

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On Brody’s 9 month birthday, the kids made him cards, and found toys and wrapped them up in paper for him to open as presents. It was precious!

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Matching brother hats

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Always standing!

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More precious Brody smiles! I could stare at his face all day. I often do.

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Our growing boy!

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Good riddance, February. We’re ready to move on from you. We’re ready for March. We’re ready for spring. We’re ready for warmer weather and more outside time. And we are SO ready to move into our house…SO SOON! Stay tuned…next month is officially move-in month!!

Here is our February 1 Second Everyday…enjoy!

Going through the January Motions

January is one of my least favorite months ever, no matter where I live. It’s just so blah. The excitement of Christmas is over, it’s winter, all the trees and grass are dormant, it’s not pretty outside…it’s just blah. And it always seems to last forever. However, we know that we still have a lot to be grateful for, and a lot to look forward to. This January brought some hope that we’re *hopefully* seeing the light at the end of this very long Covid tunnel. More Americans are getting vaccinated each day, and I am (not so) patiently waiting my turn. In the meantime, it’s very reassuring that Ryan is now fully vaccinated, so that risk of him becoming infected at work is significantly lower. We’ll just keep trucking along in our little Covid bubble until things are safe for us to come out of it.

With all that said, my monthly blogs with continue to be somewhat boring because we don’t go anywhere! But hopefully you’ll still enjoy some pictures of our activities from home!

Home Activities and Projects

Luckily the kids have been able to go to school so far this calendar year. They need the social interaction, the time away from home, and the time away from each other. But when they aren’t at school, they are home. And they do a pretty darn good job of keeping themselves busy and entertained!

Kinsie loves arts and crafts. It’s one of her favorite things in life. For Christmas, she got a Disney craft book, and she has already set to work. The first craft she made from it was an Aladdin puppet theater. She did an amazing job!

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Brax received several Lego sets for Christmas, mostly dinosaur sets since that is his favorite thing in the world right now. So we took some time after school for a few days to build a T-Rex, a triceratops and a pterodactyl. He can’t wait to display them in his new room! On a separate note…Legos are surprisingly extremely satisfying for my busy mind. I also built the Knight Bus from Harry Potter on my own one night when the kids were in bed!

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Kinsie and Brax have both inherited my and Ryan’s love for all things Harry Potter. So we decided to start reading the books together as a family. It helps that we have the illustrated versions of books 1-4 to keep them intrigued in the story. We already finished Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and they loved it! Ryan did the best character voices, British accents included! Kinsie especially can’t wait to start the next book.

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On MLK Day, Kinsie’s school encouraged the students to use it as a “day on” instead of a “day off” and do some kind of service project. Kinsie decided to make valentines for frontline healthcare workers. When she was done, she had Ryan take them to work and hang them up around the emergency department so everyone could enjoy seeing them.

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The kids can get so creative with the games they come up with. On this particular day, they created a zoo with all of their toy animals. Each animal species had their own containment, and sometimes an animal would break out and create chaos and would need to be tranquilized by a helicopter and brought back to its cage!

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On weekends, we always try to find little projects for the kids to do. Ryan found a dinosaur fossil dig site for Brax at the store, and Brax was pumped. He worked so hard digging out his dino!

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Lately when Ryan is home in the evenings, the kids always want to do something fun with him. Sometimes it is play a video game with him, but usually Kinsie wants to do science with him. She got several science kits for Christmas, so they’ve had lots of fun trying them out. They’ve played with slime and kinetic sand, dug for crystals, made a volcano, and even made their own ice cream and slushie!

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Cousin Visits

When Ryan worked one Saturday, we needed a change of scenery, so I loaded the kids up and we drove to my parents’ house and had the kids’ cousins come play. I have lots of stuff stored in my parents’ basement, so while I sorted through all of that stuff, the kids had a blast playing with their cousins all day. Their favorite thing was playing their new “The Floor is Lava” game with them!

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Another day, my sister’s family came to visit us and see the progress of our house. We made a day of it and had a picnic at the house, then they came back to our rental house for a while. We loved having them visit and the kids always love cousin time!

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Snow Day!

The kids have been dying for snow ever since we moved. We’ve had several small drizzles, but not enough to cover the ground for more than a couple of hours. Well…they finally got their wish! We finally got a good, somewhat heavy snowfall…enough to cover the ground and make the roads slick. Because of this, they had their first official snow day. Kinsie technically had an e-learning day, but she was done with her school work shortly after lunch, so then we were able to go outside and play.

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We all went out as a family. Brody loved sitting in the sled and watching the kids run around in the snow!

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Snow angels, sledding, and snowmen…oh my!

Our current yard is big, but it isn’t the best sledding yard, so Ryan attached the sled to his jeep with a rope and pulled them around the yard. They had a BLAST! And Koda loves snow too, so he ran around like a puppy chasing them in the sled!

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I wasn’t always the biggest fan of snow…especially in high school and college. I always swore I would move somewhere warm where I would never have to see snow again. Well, that wish somewhat came true for a while! But now my perspective has changed. Not that I love cold weather by any means…but now I embrace it. I had my time in a warmer place, and let me tell you…the grass is not greener on the other side! Yes the winters in Arkansas were MUCH better, but the intense heat of the summers were almost unbearable. I traded one dreadful season for another. I’ve learned that there is no perfect place to live. But after being away from our loved ones for 3 years, we decided that we’d rather endure the rough winters if it means we’re close to family again. And to be honest, I missed the season changes of the midwest. I’m sure I’ll be over the snow and cold weather soon…but at least now I have a little more perspective, and I’ll remember that I chose family over mild winters.

100th Day of School

Kinsie recently celebrated her 100th day of 1st grade. Her class was encouraged to dress like they are 100 years old. At first, Kinsie was skeptical…she said she didn’t want to look weird. But I told her we wouldn’t go over-the-top and we would make her a cute old lady! I gathered a few items together, and Ryan made a cane for her. We let her try it on the night before and she approved! She was the prettiest little old lady I’ve ever seen!

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Progress on the House

The progress is really picking up at the house and we are so excited! They got so much done this month. It is hard not to go visit every day…which I basically do!

Working on the exterior…

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We have a front door… and a pretty little model!

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We have cabinets! I am SO excited for my new kitchen!

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We have tile in the mudroom and bathrooms…

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Obsessed with our vinyl floors!

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Kinsie showing off my new farm sink…one of the things I’m most excited about. And I’m not even kidding!

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We LOVE the way the exterior turned out!

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The kids always have so much fun when we visit. They like playing hide-and-seek in the cabinets. We also try to bring Koda whenever we can so he can get used to it and not feel the need to “mark his territory.”

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The house is estimated to be done in March. We’re so close!!

Brody at 8 Months

Not sure how I blinked and my baby turned 8 months old! I have to admit that I am enjoying and savoring his precious baby days more than I did with Kinsie and Brax. Maybe it’s because I’m not working now. Maybe it’s because we’re in a pandemic. Maybe it’s because he may be my last baby. Whatever the reason…I am savoring every precious smile, giggle, and snuggle with this boy. And even the tougher moments like teething, fussiness and when he decides not to sleep at night…I know that those moments are temporary. I know it’s just a season, and it will be over soon…just like his time being so little.

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His monthly photo shoots are getting a little harder to do since this boy is ALWAYS on the go!

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Here are some updates of our Bro Bro at 8 months old…

  • He is starting to pull up on things. We have to watch him like a hawk!
  • He LOVES table food. He’s been trying lots of new foods and likes almost everything he has tried. His current favorite include strawberries, carrots, avocados, and pears. He suddenly decided he does not like scrambled eggs anymore. He is definitely showing preferences for certain foods!
  • He often does the “downward-facing dog” yoga pose.
  • He is still army crawling. We know he is physically strong enough to crawl normally, but he prefers to scoot around. And does so very quickly!
  • Unlike his siblings, he has never been a huge fan of baths. However, now that he can sit up independently, I’ve been letting him take his baths with Brax. The first time I was going to give them a bath together, Kinsie was super jealous so I let her join in for the first time. But now that Brody is taking his baths with his brother, he has SO much fun. He even splashes in the water like crazy!
  • He and Brax have their own language. They will often mimic each other’s noises, and then laugh.
  • He is currently popping his two front teeth.
  • He is still obsessed with his mama. But he has a fun relationship with his daddy too.
  • He is really starting to play with his siblings…not just sit and watch. He’ll chase them around and interact with them and try to play what they are playing.

Showing off his standing skills!

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Loving his food!

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Bath time for Bro!

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Just doing some yoga!

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Mama love

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Brother and sister love. He already has such a sweet and unique relationship with each of them.

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More sweet Brody faces!

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The best thing to come out of 2020! Thanks for the perfect onesie, Yaya!

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Our growing little boy! I’m not ready to accept the fact that he’ll be a year old in just a few months!

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And that’s a wrap for January. And we are one month closer to moving into our dream home. I am SO ready to not only live in our new beautiful house, but to finally become somewhat settled. To not live in limbo anymore, where we have that nagging feeling that we’ll have to pick up and move again in a couple of years. That has been lives together so far for the past 8.5 years. Med school and residency and so many changes and moves…I’m ready to finally be in my forever home. And by the end of February, we should be pretty darn close to doing just that!

And as always, here is our January 1 Second Everyday…the first of 2021. This has become such a fun tradition. We all LOVE going back and watching them all from the past, and watching the kids grow through the seconds. It’s a tradition I have no intention of stopping anytime soon. Enjoy!

A New Kind of January

January was a very odd month. It seemed really long…maybe because we experienced both winter and spring in one month. January started out pretty cold for Arkansas. The lowest it got down to was around 15 degrees…which is pretty rare for the south (meanwhile in Indiana, it was below zero…so 15 degrees didn’t seem so bad). Just a couple weeks later, it was sunny and in the 50’s and 60’s! Ryan and I keep wondering, so…was that it? Is winter over? I guess we’ll see what February is like!

Here is a recap of our month…

“Snow” Day

We heard from several people that if it snows even a little bit in Arkansas, the entire city practically shuts down. All the schools and most businesses are closed. Mainly because they don’t have the necessary equipment available here because it doesn’t happen often. Ryan and I were really hoping it would happen, just so we could see the madness. Guys…this is no joke. It snowed MAYBE half of an inch…not even enough to cover the grass (see picture below). All of the schools did indeed close, Ryan was supposed to have a meeting and it got cancelled, my Bible study was cancelled, and so on. We had a “snow” day…although I’m not sure if you can really call it that when you could still see the grass! Even so, I was very grateful that Ryan didn’t have to work that day, so we all spent the day in our pajamas building with Legos, drinking hot chocolate and watching movies. We would have played outside with the kids, but again…there was barely anything on the ground!! By the time Brax woke up from his nap, most of the snow was already gone. And the saddest part is that the schools were closed the next day too! We definitely are not in Kansas (Indiana) anymore!

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THIS is how much snow we got…craziness!

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Getting our energy out

Even though most of our month wasn’t too bad…it was still overall too chilly to spend much time outside, so we had to entertain ourselves inside most of the time. We spent a lot of time at home because the kids are great about entertaining themselves with all their toys. Kinsie built a fort almost daily and threw all of her toys, pillows and stuffed animals in it with her, we read lots of books, made pretend cupcakes, and spent lots of great time with daddy (this last rotation has been GREAT…like a normal job with weekends off!) Every once in a while we would venture out to Chik-fil-A or indoor playgrounds in the area. Kinsie is so excited that Brax is big enough to climb up into the bigger areas of the playgrounds with her now!

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Lots of fun at home

 

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My Chik-fil-A dates

 

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Is it spring already?

Probably no more than a week after our so called “snow” day, we started experiencing spring-like weather. Sunshine and temps in the 50’s and 60’s. We have been jumping at the opportunities to take walks and play in the yard. One of Ryan’s days off we took a full family walk…dogs and all…around our favorite park and to the kids’ favorite playground. Again, Kinsie LOVED having Brax climb all the way up to the top and slide down the big slide with her. When Kinsie is at school, Brax and I have been taking strolls through the park and pushing trucks around outside. It’s been perfect not-too-hot playing outside weather and we’ve been loving it!

Outside

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Visit from family

Ryan’s parents, his sister Megan and her husband Tim (and their pup Ali) came to visit us during MLK Jr. weekend. I know I’ve said this before that we LOVE when we get visitors. It was actually pretty cold that weekend, but we still found ways to explore the city. We visited the nature center, Bass Pro Shops, and had a bonfire with s’mores. The kids seriously love it when family comes to visit, and they were both pretty sad when they had to leave. We aren’t able to come home to Indiana for a few more months, so we are hoping for more family visits soon…especially since the weather here is on the upswing.

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We had a great January…not sure if I’ve ever said that before! We were totally spoiled having Ryan around so much. To end my post, I want to share my new obsession…an app called 1 Second Everyday where you add one or two “snippets” (one second videos) and the app mashes them all together to give you a video collage of your month. Enjoy!

Snow Days

As most of you already know, I’ve been very nervous to go back to work and leave my baby every day. I’ve been on maternity leave since Kinsie was born and I was supposed to return to work on Monday, January 6 when Christmas break ended. However, God must have known that I wasn’t quite ready to leave Kinsie, so He gave us some snow. A LOT of snow! This was definitely the biggest snow storm I have ever witnessed. Not only did we receive approximately 12 inches of snow, but we reached record low temperatures of -15 degrees. The roads got so bad, almost the entire state was on a “red” travel restriction, meaning it was illegal to be driving on the roads except for emergencies. For those of you who know me well, you know that I am NOT a winter person! I would not be sad if I never saw snow again, and I fully plan on moving south once Ryan is finished with medical school. With that said, this storm was not exactly my cup of tea, but I was BEYOND grateful for this snow storm, because it allowed me, not 1, not 2, but 5 extra days with my baby!

Leading up to the storm, everyone acted like it was the Apocalypse and stocked up on milk and bread as if they’d be snowed in for weeks. We all knew it was coming though, and with it, hope that I might get a snow day or two. Ryan was supposed to start classes on Monday also, but there is always less of a chance of a college campus canceling classes than an elementary school, so we knew he probably needed to go back to Muncie before the storm got too bad just in case he would still have class. After 3 wonderful weeks of him being home with us, he had to leave on Sunday morning, right after church was cancelled due to the weather. It took him almost twice as long to get back, and of course, once he was back, he found out his classes were cancelled. So we were snow in away from each other. Luckily I still had Kinsie and the dogs to keep me company, but I was so jealous of all the people who were snowed in with their entire family, and angry at the people who were already complaining about their family driving them crazy after only a day of being stuck in the house together. I am the type of person who needs alone time, but not too much. I was getting very lonely without Ryan, and I know he really missed us being in Muncie alone without any cable or even any studying to do since his classes hadn’t started yet. I am SO thankful for my in-laws who ventured out in the trecherous weather to bring me dinner and to shovel a pathway for my dogs to go outside. Speaking of the dogs…it was so cold one morning, when I let them out to go potty, Addie ran right back in and pooped in the house! She was so embarrassed, and I honestly couldn’t blame her for not wanting to squat in a foot of snow and negative temperatures! Poor girl!

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 Because of the storm, our satellite went out for about 3 days, so I couldn’t watch TV. This wasn’t a huge deal for me because I don’t watch a ton of TV, but I still had to find things to do when Kinsie was napping. I ended up reading an entire book in just 3 days. (The book was called Bloom by Kelle Hampton…amazing book, I HIGHLY recommend it!) Anyway, Kinsie and I had to find things to do so we wouldn’t get bored (yes, even she was getting bored), so I used our time as an opportunity to play around with my camera and take pictures of my sweet girl.

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Making funny faces

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Watching the fish

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Lazy pups

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Baby snuggles and a good book…doesn’t get any better!

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Luckily on Tuesday, my dad decided to be a rebel and go against the travel restrictions to come pick me and Kinsie up to go to their house so we wouldn’t have to be alone anymore. I mean, being lonely and stir crazy is considered an emergency…right? Don’t answer that! Because school just kept getting cancelled, we got to spend the next few days with my family, which made being snowed in much more tolerable. We still really missed Ryan though!

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I couldn’t believe that we ended up getting 5 snow days in a row. God gave me 5 extra days with my baby and I couldn’t have been more grateful for that extra time with her. Unfortunately, reality starts on Monday!