Scorching Summer Days in July

We have survived our first full month living in the south, and MY GOODNESS is it hot here! I honestly wasn’t expecting the intensity of this heat when we moved…I assumed it would be similar to Indiana since the humidity there is difficult to bare in the summer too. Indiana’s heat has NOTHING on Arkansas! Believe it or not, our bodies are adjusting. As long as our air conditioning is working, (which is wasn’t for a full day, could have been longer if I hadn’t kept bugging AC companies…but it was a very long and hot 24 hours), then we are able to find ways to keep busy and cool. Ryan finished his orientation month at the hospital, and is now is working mostly night shifts, but we take advantage of the time we have with him to still get out and find fun things to do as a family. We had visitors, and a trip to Chicago during July as well. Enjoy the highlights of our month!

Little Rock Zoo

Early in the month, we took the kids to their first trip to the Little Rock Zoo. We only had one opportunity to go with Ryan’s work schedule, so we decided to go rain or shine. Well, it rained…pretty hard for about 30 minutes. The kids were troopers with their umbrellas, and we did all the indoor activities for a while until the rain stopped. Once it did, it was perfect! The temperature was perfect, the animals were active and there were no crowds. We all loved it!

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4th of July

Luckily, Ryan did not have to work on the 4th of July, so we had him all day and night for 4th of July fun. This was CRUCIAL because this started out as a rough day for me. We always spent this day with both of our families, and it was killing me that we weren’t at the lake with them like we were every year before this. However, the four of us had each other, and we ended up having a really great day. The town we live in has a 4th of July parade and some activities by the lake that is right by our house. The kids absolutely loved the parade! After dinner, we took the wagon down to the lake where there were bounce houses, food vendors, a band, and fireworks. We all had such a great time. The kids were SO happy and absolutely loved every second of it…especially the fireworks. Brax laughed hysterically throughout the entire firework show. It was such a great family day and night that we will never forget!

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Outside Play

Some days, we just couldn’t do it. Even Kinsie, who LOVES being outside, often wants to stay inside because of the heat. However, most days we need to get out of the house, so if we do, we find ways to stay cool. There have been a lot of water table, sprinkler, pool and splash pad days throughout the last month. We have done a few wagon rides and days at the park, but we try to keep those trips earlier in the day before the heat hits us hard!

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A Visit from Cousins

We were SO excited to have my parents and my sister’s family come visit us this month! Kinsie and Brax were absolutely giddy. During their visit, we went to the Farmer’s Market downtown, played at the rock park and the splash pad, went fishing, and got family pictures taken at the lake. It was so refreshing to spend time with my people again. The kids all had so much fun together and made many wonderful memories!

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Kinsie visits Indiana

After my family visited, Kinsie rode back to Indiana with my parents and spent the week with Grandma Bev. Of course she didn’t object since she hadn’t seen her in a month! We would head to Chicago for a wedding the next weekend anyway, so it worked out perfectly.  Kinsie had an awesome week back at home! She went shopping, played at the park with some of her cousins, had a cousin sleepover, and went to the fair. Ryan, Brax and I missed her like crazy, but we loved seeing how much fun she was having and knew our families needed it!

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Chicago Wedding

Our very good hometown friend Eric got married in Chicago this month! Ryan was a groomsman and Kinsie was the flower girl. Kinsie went to Chicago on Friday with Bev and had a great time at the rehearsal dinner. Ryan had to work until Friday afternoon, so he and I drove from Little Rock to Chicago once he got off work. We arrived in Chicago around 3:30am on Saturday morning. Although we were running on little sleep, we had a great trip! We spent the whole day before the wedding primping Kinsie for the wedding. I curled her hair and painted her nails…she loved it! She was an absolute ROCKSTAR at the wedding. I had so many people tell me how great did she and how beautiful she looked. She and the ring bearer were the only kids at the wedding, so they bonded. Kinsie adored him, and he was so sweet to her! In between the wedding and the reception, Bev and Tim walked around the Lincoln Park Zoo (where the wedding was held) with them. Once the dancing at the reception started, we couldn’t get our little party animal to stop! She had so much fun twirling around, tossing her flowers up in the air, taking pictures in the photo booth and dancing with everyone. It was a beautiful wedding and we all had a wonderful time. We flew back to Little Rock the next morning. Thankfully, Aunt Renata and Dean drove down to Arkansas to visit us during this time and stayed at our house to watch Brax and the dogs while we were gone. This helped us SO much to not have to travel with a one year old when he wasn’t even going to the wedding. Once we got back, Brax and Kinsie were so happy to be reunited after a long week apart!

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Family Fishing

One morning, we took the kids down to the lake to go fishing. We all had the best time and did pretty well! Kinsie caught 2 small blue gill, I caught 2 catfish and Ryan caught a big bass. The kids loved playing with all the fish and chasing each other around the dock. We will definitely have many more family fishing trips in our future here!

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Other Random Fun

When the heat is too much, we have to find indoor activities to do. We’ve gone to Walmart or Target and wandered around playing with all the toys, made cookies, gone to the library, and met up with other residents’ wives and kids for playdates about once a week.

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Also, a big milestone happened this month…Brax is finally walking! He was an early crawler, so we figured he would start walking before he turned one. This was not the case…in fact he was completely uninterested in walking for months. Finally around the beginning of July, he would randomly get up and take a few steps without being prompted. Whenever we tried to get him to walk, he wouldn’t do it…only when he thought nobody was looking. This video was when he finally started taking more steps at a time, but if you saw him now, you’d think he’d been walking for months! He is EVERYWHERE now! He barely ever sits down. He even walks around while drinking his milk before bed or while having a snack. Once he started, he never wanted to stop!

So, it was actually a pretty busy month! We are starting to get comfortable here and it is feeling more and more like home. It is still so hard being away from everything and everyone that was so familiar to us in Indiana. We take it day by day and try to stay busy and explore and meet people as often as we can. We are learning not only to accept our new life here, but to embrace it. We still have rough days no doubt, but we are having less of them as time goes on.

Let the Adventure Begin!

The journey to Little Rock that we’ve been anticipating for months now is in full swing. We spent countless hours physically and mentally preparing for this change, and while the physical move is complete, we are still working on the mental and emotional part of being in a new place. But I’ll back up for a minute and talk about the whole moving process…

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The kids have been absolute champs throughout this process. It definitely wasn’t easy trying to pack an entire house with two little ones, so they made the process pretty interesting. They loved playing with boxes and playing hide and seek on the truck!

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While we spent the majority of our time packing, we had to take breaks here and there to entertain the kids, and to keep our sanity!

Brax’s First Haircut

One of our packing breaks consisted of Brax’s first haircut. We really wanted to get his hair cut before we moved, mainly so that Ryan’s cousin Jess could be the one to do it. Kinsie got hers cut too, and she loved being a role model for Brax so he wouldn’t be scared. He was still a little nervous, but he did great!

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Trip to the Zoo

We definitely could not have gotten through the moving process without the help of our families. Not only did they help us pack, load the truck, unpack, and more…they took turns watching the kids so that Ryan and I could actually have productive packing time. This was probably the most helpful thing anyone could do because we got SO much done when the kids weren’t there. Grandma Bev and Aunt Megan took the kids to the zoo one day and met up with some of their cousins, and they had an absolute blast!

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Family Hike

Ryan and I also wanted to do some family activities when we weren’t packing, so we decided to go on a family hike at Eagle Creek Park. We had so much fun, and saw lots of fun things like raccoons, frogs, turtles, snakes and fish. It was much-needed quality family time!

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Summer Cousin Fun

The kids absolutely adore all of their cousins, so we tried to fit in as much cousin time as possible before we left. They got to swim, play in sprinklers, go to birthday parties, and more. This was really important to me that they weren’t missing out on summer fun through the chaos of moving.

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Full House

We were SO grateful that my parents, Ryan’s parents, and Ryan’s siblings drove all the way down to Arkansas to help us move. And they were all SO helpful. My parents drove with me and the kids…which was crucial to help me entertain my 2 energetic toddlers through a 10 hour car ride, Ryan and Nate drove the UHAUL, Megan and her husband Tim drove Ryan’s truck, which included a trailer, the fish tank, all the fish, AND our 2 dogs, and Bev and Tim drove the next day once Tim came home from a work trip. They all stayed for about 5 days, and it is unbelievable the amount we accomplished in that time. We unloaded everything, unpacked and organized almost everything, stripped the wallpaper in the kitchen and bathroom, then painted the kitchen and bathroom, all while helping entertain the kids! We also did a little exploring of the town during our breaks too. They were all troopers sitting on the floor to eat meals, and sleeping in sleeping bags and air mattresses, and helping us with tasks that weren’t necessarily fun or easy. (Just ask Megan and Nate about their experience stripping the wallpaper in the bathroom!) I can’t even explain how grateful I am for all the help we got from the people we love!

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Stripping wallpaper, eating on the floor and snacks in the playpen…oh, the joys of moving!

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Our Father’s Day consisted of another chaotic day of moving! At least this guy is so laid back that all he cared about was spending time with his babies on his special day!

 

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The kids are loving their new rooms, and especially their new playroom!

 

Exploring Arkansas

In between unpacking, we’ve tried to spend time exploring our new home. Ryan was in full swing of his orientation month, so he was often gone all day, so the kids and I would explore alone as much as I felt comfortable. We have a little park and lake very close to our house, so we have spent a lot of time there. However, it has been VERY hot and humid here this summer, so we’ve also had to be creative on ways to keep cool.

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Loving our time at Lake Willastein!

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Walking on the Big Dam Bridge…one of our favorite spots in Little Rock

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Lots of outside fun…trying to keep cool!

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Watching the ducks at the lake

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Strolling through the neighborhood is a daily activity!

Kinsie and I have done some special projects together since we’ve been here too. While Brax is napping, we try to find little crafts or projects to do together. We painted, made colored ice, made super slime, and made cookies!

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Our month of June was SO busy, but very exciting with a huge life change that we are still adjusting to. Ryan just started his official EM shifts, and he is absolutely loving it. The kids and I are getting used to our new home and trying to meet people and find our niche here. It definitely isn’t easy, and we have had some very difficult days in the last 2 weeks. Kinsie and I have cried together because we miss our families so much. The kids are both dealing with the changes in their own way, but overall they have been wonderful and my saving grace since Ryan is often not around. The kids have kept me busy, and have forced me to get out of my comfort zone and explore and try to meet people. Our roots were so deep in Indiana since I lived there my entire life, so completely uprooting and relocating somewhere unfamiliar has been extremely challenging. However, I LOVE the area we are in. Our neighbors are fantastic and welcoming, and we have met some families through Ryan’s residency that have been very helpful as well, so we are slowly getting there! Deep down, I have known since we visited in February that this is where we were meant to be. When we visited, I had an inner peace about being here that could have only come from God, so I know it isn’t a mistake that we are here, and I know it will all be ok. With the support of God, our families, and the community we are building here in Arkansas, we will make it through and thrive on this journey.

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Our old house and our new house…

I moved in to our house in Indiana with Ryan when we got married in June 2012, and it was a perfect little house for a newly married couple. We lived comfortably there just the two of us and the dogs, then eventually added 2 babies into the mix, and filled the house (literally) with toys and memories. That house will always have a special place in my heart, but we were definitely ready to move on! We LOVE our new house, and don’t know what to do with all the space! I will post more pictures of the house once we make a few more updates. Stay tuned to continue following our adventures in our new home!

Highlights of our Summer

I had every intention of writing this post about a month ago, but…life happened and I have been pretty busy since my school year started! Either way, it technically is still summer time so I guess I’m not too late with this post!

My summer vacation/maternity leave is officially over. I even had an extra month than what I normally would have had and it still seemed too short. Ryan had a busy few months of emergency medicine rotations (his favorite), so it wasn’t near as easy to get out and about and enjoy the outdoors this year since I had both kids alone most of the time and Brax was too little to be out in the heat too long, but we did what we could. Kinsie still got to have a lot of fun swimming and running around outside with lots of help from our family. Here is somewhat of a highlight reel of some of our favorite things we did this summer.

Family Reunion at the Dunes

In early June, we went to the Dunes State Park to meet up with my dad’s entire family. We loved getting to catch up with family, and Kinsie loved the beach!

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Anniversary Fishing

Ryan and I had our first date night since Brax was born for our fourth anniversary. We went out to eat, then went fishing. It was SO nice spending some time just the two of us and doing something we both love doing. The kids were in good hands…and Kinsie got Ninja Turtle ice cream from the ice cream truck!

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Field Trip to the Fish Farm

My cousin Sarah is engaged to a fish farmer, and they agreed to take us all on a tour of the fishery. Joe did an awesome job teaching us all about the fishery, and the kids loved seeing all the fish, tadpoles and crawfish. Afterwards, we ate lunch at my aunt’s house. It was a great afternoon of fish, family and fun!

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Time at the Lake

I know I already posted about our “Lake-cation,” but it was definitely a highlight of our summer. We love our time at the lake!

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4th of July Parade

Every year we go to the 4th of July Brownsburg parade. Ryan had to work, but Kinsie, Brax and I still went with the rest of my family. Brax took a little nap and Kinsie loved spending time with her cousins and getting candy!

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Movies, bowling, and more

On the days that it rained or was too hot, we had to find indoor activities to do. I took Kinsie on a date to see Finding Dory and she loved the movie and the popcorn. We also went bowling, painted pictures, worked out, and just played inside. Kinsie is good at finding fun in whatever activity we do!

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Swimming

This was probably Kinsie’s favorite part. She LOVED swimming. I couldn’t always swim with her since I had to feed Brax so often, so thank goodness for my parents and Uncle Ryan for taking Kinsie swimming for me. Going into summer, I didn’t expect Kinsie to become so independent in the pool, but with her floaties on, she could swim by herself. She could (and often did) spend all day in the pool. Especially when her cousins were with her! We even got Brax in the pool once. He didn’t have much of a reaction…probably because the pool was so warm. I think he just thought he was in a big bath tub.

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Other Outside Fun

Like I said, I tried to get outside with the kids as much as I could. I loved taking morning walks with them before it got too hot, and the kids loved it too. Ryan would join us when he could, but I still tried to take them out even when he couldn’t join us. We played a lot of “I Spy” and played in the sprinkler, and Brax just went along with whatever adventures we would take!

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I survived my first summer vacation with 2 kids. It wasn’t easy, and it took a lot of patience, adjustments, and help, but I still think Kinsie had a fun summer and that is all I really wanted. I didn’t want her to have to miss out on too much because of the baby. I got to spend some time with each kid individually, and we spent a lot of time together too. Even though I was sad to see my summer vacation end, I was more ready to go back to work than I thought I would be. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and I loved my time with them, but I need a little break from mom life! Maybe someday I will quit teaching to be a stay-at-home mom, but I’m not ready yet. I still have other children who need me too. I still feel lucky to even get this time off every year to relax (as much as what is possible with two little ones) and recharge my battery. Now I’m back in full swing of mom life AND teacher life, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

“Lake-ation” All I Ever Wanted

As you know, I am on summer vacation and Ryan started his 4th year of med school at the beginning of June. Since Ryan didn’t really get time off for vacation, we still wanted to find a way for a “get away” with the kids, so we spent almost a week at the lake in between his June and July rotations. We had an amazing time! It was like we were on vacation, but we also felt very at home. Here are some of the highlights of the trip…

Fishing

Surprised? Probably not! We love to fish and Kinsie has recently hopped on the bandwagon too. We fished off the dock. We fished on the pontoon. We fished near the marina. We fished as often as we could. Ryan had the best luck of all of us. We caught mostly bluegill and pumpkinseed fish, but also caught a catfish, a bass, and even a turtle!

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Swimming in the Lake

We swam in the lake on several occasions. We took Kinsie to the “beach” of the lake, and she was not a fan of the sand on the beach (after feeling the sand at Siesta Key, who can blame her?) but she loved swimming! I’m sure that in another year or two, Brax will be right there with her!

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Splash Pad

We took Kinsie to the splash pad at the clubhouse last year and she loved it, and of course she did again this year. Ryan had to go downtown for lecture on this day, so Grandma Bev, Uncle Nate and I took Kinsie to the pool area. She had a blast and Brax snoozed away!

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Tubing

We took Kinsie tubing once last year during Memorial weekend (one of the busiest weekends at the lake…not sure what we were thinking) and the water was way too rough for even me, let alone our not even 2-year-old at the time. She wasn’t too crazy about it then. We tried it again during the week and she loved it! She wouldn’t let go of the handles for her life, but she definitely enjoyed herself. Brax enjoyed watching us tube from the boat. Again…in another year or two, I’m sure both kids will be little dare devils on the tube like their daddy and Uncle Nate were when they were young!

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Riding on the Boat

This is always one of our favorite things to do. It is so relaxing and beautiful. We spent almost the entire day on the boat one day, and Brax took one of the best naps he’s ever had while on the boat. I joked that he and I would spend the night on the boat so I could get some sleep for once! We loved fishing off of the pontoon and watching the sun set into the lake. One night, my parents and niece and nephew came to visit, so the kids loved their boat ride together.

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S’mores

How could this not be one of the best parts of the trip? Cooking s’mores over the fire on a beautiful evening is always a good idea!

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4th of July Fun

Every year we spend the Saturday of 4th of July weekend at the lake and watch the fireworks from the boat. A lot of Ryan’s family always comes and spends the day as well, and Kinsie had a blast with her cousins running around, fishing, and doing sparklers. We even got to meet the newest member of the family, Ryan’s cousin’s daughter, born 6 weeks after Brax. We all had a great day!

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We had an awesome week. I was honestly really sad when it was time to go home. I didn’t get that feeling at the end of a vacation where you are excited to be home…I could have spent another month there! I am so grateful that we have this beautiful place available to us and that Ryan’s family always welcomes us there. It is one of our favorite places in the world and it  was the perfect little vacation for our family this summer.

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One Month Old!

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Our baby boy is already one month old! While it still feels like we just brought him home from the hospital, it also feels like he’s always been with us. His presence in our lives has become our new normal, so much that I forget what our old normal was like.

Brax’s little body is still getting adjusted to the world. He’s been having a lot of issues with acid reflux which makes for one fussy and spitty baby and two tired parents. He’s been put on medication to help with this, and I’m adjusting my diet a bit too, so hopefully he’ll get some relief soon. Also because of his reflux, he makes snorting sounds all the time. Kinsie thinks his snorts are funny, and says that he sounds like a pig! She is still obsessed with him to the point that I have to tell her to give him some space! She especially loves holding him, kissing him, tickling him, bringing him toys, and helping give him baths.

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Since summer weather has finally decided to show up, Brax has already been on several adventures. We go to my parents’ house often to swim, and if it’s not too hot outside, he likes to sit outside with us and watch his sister swim. He’s also already been to the lake a few times. He loved his first boat ride and watching us fish off the dock. I’m sure it won’t be long before Kinsie is teaching him how to fish!

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Here is Brax at a glance at one month old:

  • He currently weighs 8 lbs. 14 oz. (30th percentile)
  • He loves sleeping curled up in a ball on his daddy’s chest.
  • He has very strong legs and loves to kick them while I try to change his diaper. (Another future soccer player hopefully!)
  • He has a very strong neck and great head control for his age.
  • He can almost roll himself from his belly to his back.
  • He loves his pacifier, but when he’s hungry, he swats it away like nobody’s business.
  • He is very tolerant of his big sister being all over him and in his face all the time.
  • He eats often, and spits up what seems like everything he ate.
  • He snorts like a pig.
  • He has lots of fun facial expressions…my personal favorite is his surprised face.
  • Car rides relax him. He either falls asleep or sits calmly and looks out the window.
  • He is not good at burping. Sometimes we’ll try to burp him for 30 minutes and get nothing from him. Sometimes when he does burp, he still spits up!
  • He loves to be held.
  • He is awake a lot more lately. (Kinsie LOVES when he’s awake!)

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Happy one month, sweet boy! I can’t wait to see how you grow and change each month!

Summer Lovin’

Well, I hate to say it but this was my last official day of summer vacation. It is uncanny how quickly these summers go by now that we are on the balanced calendar. Eight weeks for a summer vacation just isn’t long enough! But then again I am very grateful to even have a job where I can have this much time off. I haven’t posted much the last few months, so here is a recap of our summer.

Ryan took his STEP 1 Boards in early June, then started his clinical rotations a few days later. His first rotation was in OB/Gyn…which is notorious for being one of the most intense rotations. This rotation included 13 hour days, 6 days a week (and keep in mind he isn’t even getting paid!) He would barely get home in time to see Kinsie before she went to bed. Because of this, he learned pretty quickly that this is not the field of medicine for him. After this, he got to experience the other end of the spectrum, Anesthesia. During this 2 week rotation, he only worked 40 hour weeks with weekends off. It was glorious! We got in SO much quality time with him during these 2 weeks, and he even had time to build Kinsie her very own swing set in the backyard! Being able to spend time with his family is obviously a priority for him, so anesthesia is not off the table! Today he started Plastic surgery which I’m sure will be an adventure! It is still taking some getting used to having him home every night…in a good way. Sometimes I just forget that he is coming home at night! One of the hardest parts about when he lived in Muncie was at night after Kinsie went to bed. It’s definitely no fun going to bed alone every night. But now we’re enjoying our time snuggling on the couch and watching Orange is the New Black while eating popcorn. It is SO good to have him home!

This summer in Indiana was actually a bit depressing…probably 80% of our days were rainy and muggy. Not only is this depressing for someone who loves the sunshine, but it’s especially so  for a toddler who loves the sunshine and has a ton of energy! I had to be very creative coming up with indoor activities for us to do on the many days we couldn’t go outside. We took trips to public libraries, did arts and crafts, read a lot of books, and watched a lot of movies! Well…I shouldn’t say a lot of movies. We watched the same movies over and over again. Her new obsession is Shrek, so we watched the 4 Shrek movies and the Shrek musical pretty much on loop!

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Kinsie started gymnastics classes this summer! She had been climbing on everything and tumbling around nonstop, so we figured this would be a good thing for her. She absolutely LOVES it! Her favorite thing to do is somersaults, but she also loves the balance beam and the bars. She even got her first trophy last week!

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We had a busy 4th of July. First we went to the Brownsburg parade. Kinsie, Briggs and Kerigan were all about collecting the candy thrown by the floats. They were proud of their big bad of candy at the end! Later we went to the lake, like we do every year. Kinsie had fun playing with cousins, doing sparklers, and watching fireworks on the boat. Last year she wasn’t able to stay up late enough to watch the fireworks, but we made sure she did this year!

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Two of our favorite places to hang out this summer were the zoo and the lake. You all already knew that Kinsie was obsessed with the zoo and animals in general, so of course we tried to find as many not-rainy, not-too-humid days to spend at the zoo. She especially loves it when we meet her cousins there!

The lake, however, is a new obsession. We can’t even mention the word “lake” unless we are driving there. For a while, every time we got in the car, she would say “lake?” and when I’d say no, she would pout. When we say her prayers at night, she prays for the lake. When I ask her in the morning what she dreamed about, she says the lake. The lake is her happy place. She loves the boat, the toys, the fishing,…everything. We made as many trips there as we could this summer, and will continue to make weekend trips when we can even though school is starting. I don’t blame her, I love it there too!

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Even though sunny days this summer were few and far between, whenever it was nice enough, we were outside. Wagon rides, trips to the park, swimming at my parents’ pool, you name it. God must have been looking out for us, because our last full week of summer was BEAUTIFUL! I had one very happy girl! To add on to that, like I mentioned earlier, Ryan built a swing set in our backyard…complete with 2 swings (a Kinsie swing and a “mommy swing” as she calls it), a climbing rope, a bar for gymnastics, and even a balance beam. Kinsie was on Cloud 9! Every morning as soon as I opened her door, she’d ask to go swing. I didn’t mind because I could swing right along side of her!

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Some of the water fun we had this summer!

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Parks, wagon rides, and bubbles.

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Kinsie’s new swing set. Kudos to Ryan for the excellent craftsmanship!

Finally, the last full week of summer was also the week of our county fair. I love going to the fair for the good food and to see my students with their 4H projects. Kinsie loves the fair for the animals and balloons. We went twice during the week, and both times she was one happy camper. She wouldn’t stop talking about balloons until we got her one, but once she did, she strutted around like she owned the place with her balloon in hand. She loved the “hop hops” and the goats, especially when they licked her hands. I love how much she loves life!

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I’m sure you can tell that overall, we had a pretty good summer! I am so grateful for all the quality time that I got to spend with my girl. Her newest thing is always wanting to hold my hand. No complaining here! I know that she won’t always want to hold my hand as she gets older, so I’m savoring these special moments. I’m not ready to be away from her all day again, even though I know she’ll be in the best hands. She is just too much fun and so full of life. She has changed my life in so many ways and has taught me to live in the moment and just enjoy life. Thank you, my sweet baby girl. I love you more than I can ever explain!

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Here’s to the start of a new school year!

So Long, Muncie!

Ryan is officially done with his second year of medical school…which also means that he is halfway to becoming a doctor and that he is DONE in Muncie!!! Those of you who have followed our journey know how hard this has been on us. When I was 7 months pregnant, we found out that Ryan would be at the Muncie campus for his first two years at IU Med School. I know it could have been worse…he could have not gotten in to IU, or he could have been placed in Evansville or South Bend, or somewhere else hours away. However, it was still a rough and unexpected turn that I wasn’t ready for, especially since we were due to have our first child in just a couple months. I would have moved to Muncie with him, but I didn’t think anyone would hire a teacher who would need a maternity leave right away. We ended up getting Ryan an apartment in Muncie where he would spend the majority of the week, then come home on the weekends. To say that the last two years was hard would be an understatement. It was exhausting working full time, raising a new baby, taking care of two dogs, and keeping up with all of the groceries and housework practically alone throughout the week  (and we all know new moms don’t get the best sleep). I do have to give a quick shoutout to mine and Ryan’s parents for all of their support, whether it was feeding Kinsie and I dinner, helping me clean or run errands, or simply encouraging me when I was overwhelmed. I appreciate it more than I can say! It was hard too for Ryan being away from his family during the week and spending most of his time studying in a lonely apartment. As challenging as it was…I know that God’s hand was on us. It turned out the be a blessing in disguise for several reasons. While I would have much rather had Ryan at the Indianapolis campus, he would have been in a much larger class. Instead, his Muncie class had 24 people, who have now become his best friends and an AWESOME support system for our family. I can’t thank them all enough for being there for all of us and welcoming me and Kinsie like we were family. Ryan being away also made us cherish our time together as a family. When he was away, that was his intense study time. When he was home, he would be fully engaged in us and did his best to be a loving, hands-on daddy and husband. I think being away from each other made us appreciate one another much more than if he were home each night. There have been many times in my life where things take an unexpected turn and I questioned God and wondered how I was going to handle it. But this situation proves that things are not always going to go according to our plan, but God has a better plan. We may not understand God’s plan, but it is ALWAYS better so we need to trust Him!

Kinsie and I are SO happy to have Ryan back home. He’s been home since the beginning of May, but he had to spend practically every second of his time studying for his STEP 1 Boards. This test is a big one and will determine where he can get into residency, so he made sure he studied hard. Even though it was difficult, I supported him needing to study all the time because how he does on this test will affect our future. Kinsie wasn’t quite as understanding…she would often shut Ryan’s laptop, hand him a book and climb up on the couch for him to read it to her. He took his test on June 3 and we were all thrilled for him to be done. The next step in his med school journey is clinical rotations for two years. Most of these will be in Indy, which we are relieved about! After 2 more years, he will officially be an M.D. However, then comes residency. Depending on what he specializes in and what score he gets on the STEP 1 will determine where he will go for residency. We are hoping to stay in Indianapolis, but he will need to apply all over the country. Wherever he goes, Kinsie and I will be going with him!

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In other news, I have completed my 3rd year of teaching! It was a really rough start of the year with many administration and student behavior issues, but those issues were resolved and it turned out to be a great year for me. I got really close to my class, which made it hard to send them off to the middle school. But I’m sure you can imagine how excited I am to be on summer break and get to spend more time with my sweet girl!

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Ryan only had 4 days in between his test and the start of his clinical rotations, and we wanted to take a little trip, but obviously couldn’t go somewhere too far since we only had a few days. We decided to go to Bloomington…home of our Alma Mater, Indiana University. We LOVE this town and there are so many fun things to do and see. We loved getting to show Kinsie all of our favorite spots on campus. We went to Wonderlab Science Museum, went hiking at Cascades Park, walked around Kirkwood Avenue and showed her around campus. Her favorite part was the clock tower at the Student Building near the Sample Gates, which she called the “big girl clock.” She would belly laugh and squeal whenever the bell would ring on the clock! We had some awesome quality family time before Ryan had to start “work” full time. It was a much needed mini-vacation!

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Exploring IU’s campus

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Obsessed with the “big girl clock!”

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This was her face while the clock was ringing

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Fun at Wonder Lab

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Cascades Park

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