June flew by quicker than I anticipated. Summer didn’t seem like it really started until mid-June because of sickness, vacation, and baseball. But it was a great month, and now we are in the full swing of summer. Here is a recap of our June.
Anniversary Trip to St. Thomas
Ryan and I have been married for 10 years! Our decade together hasn’t exactly been a cake walk with Ryan’s long and grueling medical training journey, but we came out stronger through all of it. To celebrate, we took our first extended vacation together since our honeymoon…to the Virgin Islands!
The view from our balcony
We did TONS of sightseeing and exploring. The views everywhere were absolutely breathtaking!
One day we visited Coral World, where we got to swim with dolphins. This was definitely a highlight of our trip!
We probably spent the majority of our week snorkeling in the beautiful bays of the islands. We saw SO many amazing fish and coral, both on St. Thomas and on St. John. A few of our favorite things we saw included sea turtles, Caribbean reef squid, sting rays, barracudas, and parrot fish. Between the two islands, we snorkeled in 14 different bays! To see more of our pictures, check out the Youtube link below.
We loved getting to spend so much quality time together. We don’t get to relax much in our everyday lives, so we enjoyed living on island time and eating delicious seafood and drinking painkillers and banana daiquiris every day.
After 10 years, he’s still the one I love!
We got a new underwater camera before our trip, and we took some amazing photos and videos while snorkeling. Check it out in the video below.
While we were gone, the kids stayed with Grandma Bev and Papa Tim. They had a blast! They had lots of fun at the lake and spent time with their cousin Griffin.
Ryan and I had to miss a couple of the kids’ games, but they still had plenty of representation! My parents were watching my sister’s kids while they were also on vacation, so they came to see the kids play in their games. Brax even got the game ball when they came!
Evie got to have cousin fun too! She got to spend a couple nights at Nate and Kendyl’s house with her cousin Alfie! They were best buddies and spent lots of time playing and snuggling together! We were so grateful for our tribe for taking such good care of our babies so we could enjoy our vacation together!
End of Softball and Baseball Season
The kids had an awesome season! We loved seeing Kinsie make tons of improvement from last year when she started. She ended her season with a bang and got another game ball…which her cousins were there to see!
Brody was sad to see baseball season end…mainly because that meant he couldn’t get as much popcorn and slushies from the concession stand anymore!
We were also so proud of Brax for his first season of baseball! He did so great and had so much fun. His team got regular season runners up, and he also ended his season with another game ball!
At the beginning of summer vacation, we couldn’t go anywhere because we were in quarantine from Covid. Then as soon as we were all out of quarantine, Ryan and I went on our trip. So FINALLY one I was home, we could go explore!
We went on walks on the trail
We went to the park for a play date
We’ve taken rides in Daddy’s Jeep
Another park day…
And we’ve gone to the library a few times!
Stay tuned for more summer adventures in July!
We’re still trucking along with our outside hours. We are usually averaging around 3 hours a day…but sometimes we get up to 9 or 10 hours in one day! The majority of the hours we got this month was at house doing water activities. We bought a new kiddie pool and it is the BEST. Every other pool we had popped or broke after a few uses, but this one is much more durable. The kids have also been enjoying using the sprinkler under the trampoline. Our water toys keep the kids busy for hours!
We also take Evie on walks whenever we get the chance to help get some of her energy out.
The trampoline and sprinkler have been a huge hit!
Another summer tradition has included making s’mores on our new fire pit! Brody mainly loves the marshmallows, and he will keep trying to sneak more when he thinks we aren’t looking!
The kids always find something fun to do outside!
One night, we let the kids go out to the backyard to catch fireflies. We have the perfect yard for it since we have woods behind us and open lots next to us. They loved it!
Swimming at Yaya’s
We always try to find time to go swimming at Papa and Yaya’s. The kids still had softball and baseball throughout most of the month, so it was harder to find the time to go, but we squeezed in a few trips. I’m sure we’ll have more in July.
Unfortunately, having a fearless, adventurous little toddler has its downside. Brody took a spill on his little bike and knocked out his front tooth. It was pretty traumatic to see my baby bleeding and in so much pain, but it could have been much worse. His tooth was knocked clean out, root and all and he had a fat lip and some scratches on his face, but after a popsicle and some medicine, he recovered pretty quickly.
He was acting like his silly self again by the next afternoon. I was sad that his little smile wouldn’t be the same, but I’ve learned to love his precious new look!
At the end of the month, we lost someone very near and dear to our family. My brother-in-law’s dad, Don, joined his beautiful wife Diane in heaven. I’ve known Don since I was in high school, and he has always been such a special part of our lives. He was the best Pops to my sister’s kids, and treated my kids as his own as well. He was such a special man, and I feel so blessed that I was able to call him family.
We ended our month spending lots of time with family, which wasn’t under the best circumstances, but definitely needed through the heartache of losing Don. My kids loved getting to be there for their cousins and making them smile during a difficult time. Now we are looking forward to July…hopefully having more fun summer adventures before the kids start school in August.
What a whirlwind of a month. We had some awesome days, and some really really tough days. I’ll get right into it…
Brax turned SIX!
The first Monday after we got back from Disney was Braxton’s 6th birthday! We had so much fun celebrating our oldest boy. We started out with a birthday tradition of donuts for breakfast. While he was at school, my sister had Crumbl Cookies delivered to our house to surprise him when he got home!
He has been obsessed with all things Mario (especially Mario Kart) lately, so he was STOKED about his birthday present from us…a Rainbow Road Mario Kart track!
Once Kinsie got home from school, we got carry out dinner and went to one of Brax’s favorite parks. His dinner choice was sushi (just like his mama). So we enjoyed our sushi at the park, then let the kids play for a while.
We also ventured down to our favorite waterfall area of the park too. Even Evie got to join!
After fun at the park, we went to get our favorite ice cream, Jiffy Treat!
Evie got to try ice cream for the first time, and so gobbled it down! Afterwards, she was shivering! It must have made her cold!
It was such a fun day. I love my kids’ birthdays. I love spoiling them and making them feel special all day. I think our boy had a wonderful birthday!
First Pool Weekend
We stayed at my parents’ house for Mother’s Day weekend, which became the first pool weekend. It wasn’t THAT warm…maybe high 60s/low 70s. But the kids still really wanted to swim…and they did. They swam Saturday night and all day Sunday. The pool was warm, so as long as they stayed in, they were good. They even had a poolside lunch so they didn’t have to get out!
Brody turned TWO!
I’m not really ok with the fact that my baby is two…but I am also obsessed with watching him learn and grow every day. He keeps us busy, but constantly entertained. He is so funny, loves doing everything his siblings are doing, and is very independent. He is also the cutest stinkin’ little boy ever!
Again, we started our morning with birthday donuts!
He was SO excited about his birthday present. He is obsessed with his Daddy’s Jeep, so we got him his own! He spent the majority of his day riding around in it!
Brax was already out of school, but Kinsie still had a week left. Since both boys had May birthdays, we took them to Build-a-Bear to make birthday bears. Brax made his roar like a dinosaur when you squeeze his paw, he had a Stitch outfit, and a glowing light saber. Brody just picked out a basketball, so I added the IU shirt to go with it!
After his nap, we got out the water toys for the afternoon. Then we had Mother Bear’s pizza for dinner.
Brody loves the Happy Birthday song, but he does NOT like it sung to him and being the center of attention…as you can see from the second picture below! Typical toddler! We had another great day celebrating our baby boy!
Take me out to the Ballgame
This month involved lots and lots of time at the ball fields. The kids are enjoying their seasons of softball and baseball, and we are loving watching them. Brody mainly loves eating snacks, climbing on Brax and Kinsie, and putting on sunscreen!
“Swimming” Birthday Party
We had another combined birthday party for the boys. Brax wanted to have a swimming party at my parents’ house with his cousins, so that is what we planned on! The forecast looked like it was supposed to be a beautiful day, with maybe a few scattered showers later in the afternoon….but this is Indiana. And the forecast is almost always wrong!
Right before the kids planned on going swimming, it started storming. Luckily they still enjoyed playing together in the basement for a while.
I used my Cricut skills to make a banner, birthday shirts, and party favors for the kids – color changing cups with their names on them. Brody especially loved all of the cars, trucks and bus decorations!
The storm stopped for about 30 minutes at one point, so the kids all sprinted out and swam for a little while. As soon as we heard thunder again, they had to get out. But they enjoyed it while it lasted! Afterwards we did the piñata and presents in the garage.
The boys loved all their gifts from everyone!
Finally, we came inside to sing happy birthday and have cake and ice cream. Again, Brody cried and hid under the table when everyone sang to him! But he loved the cake and spending time with all of his cousins!
Even though the day turned out different than we expected, we still had a great day. The kids were genuinely happy to be together and play with their cousins, and that is all that mattered!
End of the School Year Activities
May is always SO busy but SO much fun. I love all of the end of the year activities that happen…especially now that the world is opening back up and schools are having programs, etc.
Guest Day – Brax’s school has a “Guest Day,” where they can choose any adult guest to come join them at school for the day. They weren’t able to have it last year because of Covid, but they were able to do it this year. Brax was very excited to pick his Papa!
End of Year Luau – Brax’s school always goes all out with the end of the year luau. They decorate the hallways, play Hawaiian music, and plan lots of games and activities.
Family Fun Night – Kinsie’s school held a “Family Fun Night” one evening. Ryan was working, so I brought the kids and they had a blast. There was a book fair, snacks, games, and crafts.
Writing Celebration Picnic – Kinsie’s class held an end of year picnic, where the students got to share their writing from the school year with us, then we had a picnic lunch. Brody loved getting to see his sissy at school and eating lunch with her!
Last Days of School – I can’t believe how much Braxton grew this year…physically, academically, socially, emotionally…the list goes on. I know I made the right choice sending him to half day Kindergarten, and now I am 1,000% sure he is ready for 1st grade!
Kinsie also had a fantastic year. She’s always been smart, but she was painfully shy. She made SO much progress this year and made lots of friends!
We loved getting to see Brax graduate from Kindergarten! It was really important to me to see this. If you recall, I didn’t get to see Kinsie graduate from Kindergarten. This was when Covid shut the world down. They had a drive-through graduation, and I was stuck in the hospital with Brody, so Ryan and my mom brought her and recorded it for me. So I was very happy to get to see Brax’s graduation!
Brax had the sweetest Kindergarten class. He was emotional before the last day because he didn’t want to leave his friends. We are so proud of our Kindergarten grad!
Lots of Hours Outside
We are trucking along with our 1,000 Hours Outside goal! We are just short of 500 at the end of May! We’ve been able to get outside for at least an hour or two every single day lately. It helps that we recently got some nice outdoor furniture for our back patio. We’ve been eating lunch and dinner outside pretty much every day!
We also just hang out on the patio and color or play too. We spend a lot of time on the driveway with all the cars, scooters, bubbles, chalk, and sports equipment.
When Kinsie was still in school, the boys had lots of quality brother time!
We even tested out our new fire pit to make s’mores!
Lately, the kids even want to play outside when it’s raining!
Ending our month with Covid
After 2 years, it finally got us. We were careful for SO long, and lately we let our guard down and started living our life again. We knew the risk was low, but still there. I thought for sure that if we were going to get it, we’d get it from a place like Disney World…but no. Kinsie got it from someone at school on her last week of school.
On the last day of school, we got an email saying that someone in Kinsie’s class tested positive. The next day, she started getting a sore throat. The next morning, she also had a headache and a fever, and we pretty much knew what that meant. We tested her, and it showed up positive right away.
At that point, we knew we all had been exposed and would most likely all get it too, but we still tried to mitigate the spread just in case. We put a TV in Kinsie’s room and let her quarantine in there. If she came out of her room, we all wore masks. She came out to eat dinner with us…another reason our outdoor patio furniture came in handy! But other than that, she actually enjoyed her alone time in her room!
The day after Kinsie tested positive, I started to get a scratchy throat. I was certain that I had it, and I tested myself that night, but it was negative. I was still convinced that I had it, so I tested again the next day, and low and behold…positive.
Again, we knew Ryan and the boys would probably get it, but I still wore a mask around them until I knew for sure. Luckily Kinsie already was starting to feel better, so she came outside with us to play and take walks. Ryan continued to test himself throughout this entire process, and each time, he tested negative, so he continued to go to work (They are too short-staffed to lose any doctors from being close contacts).
The day after my positive test, I was MISERABLE. I was up all night throwing up and suffering from body aches and chills. Luckily Ryan was off work on this day, so he was able to help with the kids. Even still, Brody always wants to lay and hang on me, and Evie always wants to play…so I didn’t get to relax quite as much as I would have wished.
On this day, Brody woke up from his nap with a fever. We decided not to even test him, we pretty much knew he was positive too.
The next few days I spent trying my best to recover. I napped when Brody did and tried to just sit down and “relax” as much as possible. But I was pretty miserable for a few days. The body aches and extreme exhaustion completely kicked my butt. My best comparison to how I felt was when I had Swine Flu in 2009, plus the exhaustion of the first trimester of pregnancy all wrapped up in one sickness. Covid was the only other time I felt that kind of exhaustion. And I’m vaccinated!! I am so grateful that I am vaccinated because it could have been SO much worse for me had I not been.
Brody had a fever for about 1.5 days, and a little bit of congestion, and then he was 100% fine and back to himself. He is still our only unvaccinated family member, so I was SO grateful that he had the most mild case.
The CDC recommends testing yourself if you’re a close contact about 5 days after the exposure, so Ryan and Brax (still completely asymptomatic at this point) both tested, and were both negative. I wasn’t sure how they had dodged it! But then, 3 days later, almost a full week after Kinsie tested positive, Brax started going downhill. He wasn’t acting like himself, and he kept telling me he was so tired. Later in the evening, I felt his forehead and could tell he had a fever. I tested him right then, and another positive.
He had a high fever and some congestion for about 1.5-2 days, and wasn’t his usual silly self, but after just a couple days, he was much better. It honestly made it easier once he had it, because then Ryan was working every day, and the rest of us all already had it, so we didn’t have to quarantine or mask up or any mitigation measures at that point.
RYAN STILL NEVER GOT IT! We couldn’t believe it. Maybe all of the small exposures he had at work over the last 2 years gave him some immunity. We don’t know, this virus is crazy.
As of today, the kids have been stuck at home for 10 days. Brax still has a couple days to go, and then they will all be free! Thank goodness it was nice outside, so we spent tons of time outside.
The kids also did lots of crafting, LEGO projects, and Kinsie made a bunch of different small desserts that she came up with on her own.
They really were champs through all of it. I tried so hard to protect them for 2 years, but I knew the risk would always be there, and at least we made it until 2 out of our 3 kids were vaccinated, and once the variants were a little more mild.
Here’s a breakdown of all of our symptoms:
Kinsie: sore throat, fever, headache, congestion
Kara: scratchy throat, tired/weak, body aches, vomiting, coughing
Brody: fever, some congestion
Brax: fever, tired, some congestion
Ryan: Miracle human
So now hopefully Covid is behind us and we can TRULY move on. I will still get Brody vaccinated as soon as it is available for him, and the kids will get boosters after a few weeks as well. This virus is no joke and I hope to never get it again! We’re looking forward to officially starting SUMMER! We can’t wait to venture out to parks and splash pads and the pool! Enjoy our 1 Second Everyday video for the month of May!
We were genuinely enjoying our warm, summer days…until August. August was HOT. It felt like we were back in Arkansas. It was hard to be outside at all…even early in the morning. August was also a rough month Covid-wise. The big kids started school in middle of this scary Delta surge, Ryan is back to wearing his N95 mask for his entire shift, and I’m back to treating Brody like Rapunzel and holding him captive inside the safety of our home. Between the potential of Delta invading my vulnerable unvaccinated kids, and it being hotter than Hades outside, we have spent a whole lot of time at home…which luckily, we LOVE our home. But for a busy, active toddler, we’ve become a bit stir crazy again!
Here is how our August went…
Days at the Playground
I really should rephrase this “Day at the Playground…” singular. We were only able to go once this month because it was too darn hot. The weekend before school started the weather was fantastic, so we spent a lot of it outside. After that, no way. But I’m glad we took advantage of that early August day and had a family day at the park. Brody LOVED it. He climbed everywhere on his own and dove down the slide head first over and over!
Walk by the Waterfall
After we played on the playground, we took a walk back by our favorite waterfall! The kids always have fun looking for critters and throwing rocks.
Kinsie starts 2nd grade!
Kinsie couldn’t wait to start school! She was excited to meet her teacher and see her friends again. She has absolutely loved her first few weeks. She even wants to play school at home all the time and do the activities with Brax that she does at school.
Kinsie was also especially excited to get to ride the bus. In Kindergarten, she went to a charter school and they didn’t have buses. And last year, we lived out of her school boundaries for most of the school year so we had to drive her. So now she finally got to ride the bus. She has been enjoying it, even though there is a bus driver shortage and many of the bus drivers have to do multiple routes, causing her bus to be late most days. The boys have enjoyed taking trips to the bus stop too!
Braxton starts Kindergarten!
Brax has loved starting Kindergarten this month! He is doing the half day program at the church that he did Pre-K last year. Since he is a May birthday, we’re doing Kindergarten this way so we can help make the best choice for him on whether to send him on to 1st grade at Kinsie’s school next year, or repeat Kindergarten at Kinsie’s school next year. Either way, he is excited to get to ride the bus with her next year!
He enjoyed his Kindergarten orientation, and getting to see some old friends from Pre-K, and meeting new friends!
Last year, he cried the first few days of school when we dropped him off. Not this year! He is so excited to go to school every day! He loves his teacher, and he loves getting to eat lunch at school every day this year.
I’ve been working on sight words with him for about a year now, and he has made a lot of progress, but he has never been quite as enthusiastic about learning as Kinsie was. Just in the last few weeks though, it has really clicked for him! He is reading independently now, and becoming more confident! His teacher said he is one of the stronger readers in his class! We are so proud of him!
Adventures at Home with Brody
Since the big kids are in school now most of the day, Brody isn’t always sure what to do without them. Sometimes he gets bored with me, but most of the time he enjoys having all the toys to himself!
On another note, this kid is nuts. He climbs into and onto everything. He often runs off when I’m not paying attention for a minute, and I find him in my shower or in the tupperware cabinet! I give him full credit as to why I’m so exhausted every night!
Brax was really excited to do soccer again after last season. He got to move up to U6, which includes 30 minutes of coach-led activities, and 30 minutes of scrimmage. He absolutely LOVES it, and he is really good! He is very aggressive and a great team player!
Kinsie and Brody enjoy being in Brax’s fan club. Kinsie always packs snacks and toys to entertain Brody during soccer. She’s the best big sis!
Kinsie has been wanting to do gymnastics ever since she stopped when Covid hit last year. I wasn’t comfortable with her doing it for a long time since it’s indoors. However, I found a place here in town that people really recommend, and has good Covid protocols in place, so I finally gave her the green light. She has been loving it!
Ryan worked a lot of weekends this month, so when he finally had a weekend day off, we decided to spend it at the lake. We enjoyed fishing, a boat ride, swimming, and playing with Uncle Nate’s new pup, Alfie.
One weekend, Ryan worked multiple 12 hour night shifts in a row. My aunt and cousins and their kids came to town to swim at my parents’, so my sister’s family and me and the kids came to hang out as well. The kids always love cousin swim time, and they especially loved my aunt’s famous dirt and worms treat!
Brax started school a week after Kinsie, so when he was still on summer vacation, we took a few walks around the trails. It’s always nice to get outside and see some nature, and watch these precious brothers enjoy each other’s company.
While Kinsie really has enjoyed riding the bus, it did bring her first (and HOPEFULLY last) quarantine. About 2 weeks into school, she was identified as a close contact from the bus. There were apparently multiple positive cases on the bus. Luckily, all the kids wear their masks on the bus and all day at school, which I truly think kept her healthy. However, the school protocol is that if you’re a close contact, you have to quarantine. The contact tracing process takes a while, so we didn’t find out until about a week after her exposure. This could have been bad if she would have been infected, but luckily she wasn’t, and she only had to miss a few days of school. We didn’t even get her tested because she had no symptoms and it wouldn’t have changed her quarantine time.
She had to do some of her schoolwork at home during this time, which she has never been a fan of. She was really bummed, but we had to remind her that it could be a lot worse, and if she had gotten sick, she would have had to miss a lot more school.
She was especially sad to miss Art class and choice time, so I let her paint and do as much art as she wanted. This has always been her stress relief anyway!
I’m not going to get too much into the whole thing about kids wearing or not wearing masks at school, because it’s been a MAJOR debate around the country. You probably already know what side of the debate I’m on since I’ve been pro-science since day one. However, I will say…it really bothers me when people don’t worry about kids getting Covid, brushing it off as not a big deal because they won’t die from it, or even that most kids have mild cases. While that is true for most kids (not all), people need to remember the mental impact that getting Covid, or even just having an exposure, has on these kids. Kinsie only had to miss 3 days of school, and she was devastated. She laid her head in my lap and cried because she couldn’t be at school. She didn’t understand why she was being punished, when she has been SO careful. She always wears her mask, even at recess. She washes her hands so much that they get raw. She has understood the seriousness of this virus from day one and understood the need to protect other people. Yet, with some bad luck, she was still exposed. Luckily she didn’t get sick. Do you know why she didn’t get sick? Because the kids were wearing their masks! But anyway, please consider these poor kids having to miss school from getting sick or being close contacts before you brush it off as not a big deal. Even missing school for a few days is a big deal to them. And many kids aren’t as lucky as Kinsie was. MANY children are being hospitalized with Covid around the country. Also, if you haven’t already, please get vaccinated! That is the best way to protect these precious, innocent, vulnerable kids. And you better believe the SECOND that a vaccine becomes available for my kids, I will be signing them up!
We are really looking forward to September, and fall in general. Summer has been great, but we’re ready for some cooler temps and fall traditions. We are also looking forward to getting closer to the vaccine being available for my big kids (Brody may have to wait until early 2022), and for Ryan to soon get his booster shot. We’re hoping both of those things happen in the next month or two! In the meantime, my kids are staying masked up, Ryan has been shaving daily again to make sure his N95 fits his face, and I’ll be staying home with Brody. We are praying that we can all stay healthy through this Delta surge, while still enjoying our favorite season!
We soaked up ALL the summer we could this month. Kinsie starts school the first week of August, and Braxton starts the week after that, so we tried to do all the summer-y things we could. It was a fun, busy month with lots of pool time, cousin fun, and family adventures. Here is how our July went…
4th of July
Ryan unfortunately worked most of 4th of July weekend, so the kids and I spent our time with family. The Saturday before, we went to the lake for the annual lake fireworks. The big kids got to enjoy the fireworks lakeside with their cousins, and I took Brody back to my parents’ house to go to bed. He isn’t quite old enough to be able to stay up that late, or enjoy the fireworks anyway. Maybe next year!
The next day, we spent the day at the pool. My sister’s family came and had some of their friends over as well, so the kids had lots of kids their own age to play with. They had SO much fun swimming, lighting sparklers, watching fireworks and catching lightning bugs. And Brody enjoyed corn on the cob, and his mama!
When Ryan finally had an evening off, he bought a home firework kit to do with the kids. He used to do fireworks all the time growing up, and he hasn’t been able to do any the last few years because he’s almost always working, so he enjoyed being a pyromaniac once again, but this time with his kids!
The kids LOVED this park last year…they called it the “Ninja Warrior Park.” They had been asking when we could go back, so we finally got a chance to make a trip there on a day that wasn’t scorching hot. Brody LOVES to climb, so we laced up his tennis shoes on him and let him join in on the fun. He absolutely loved it!
A Much Needed Trip
Ryan and I haven’t been on a trip just the two of us since residency interviews…that was almost 5 years ago! It has been a really long few years, and I really needed a break. I love my kids and I love getting to stay home with them, but I haven’t been away from my little mama’s boy for more than a hour or two at a time in his entire life. He stopped nursing in June, so I finally felt somewhat free and needed a short getaway. Ryan had about a week off early in the month, so we booked a last minute trip to Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio. We booked a cabin for ourselves and had Ryan’s parents watch the kids. It was EXACTLY what I needed!
On our first full day, we did a 14 mile hike – basically hiking through the entire state park. There were stops along the way – so we would stop and enjoy the the scenery whenever we could. We packed a lunch and ate on the trail. Throughout most of the day, we didn’t come in contact with many people…just in the sight-seeing areas there were more people. It was very peaceful to just be surrounded by nature.
We spent a morning canoeing on the river.
We loved exploring together. So many neat caves, rock formations, creeks and waterfalls!
We especially loved Ash Cave and all the random waterfalls throughout the park. The best/weirdest part of the trip was just running on our own time. Normally our day is dictated by nap time, snacks, etc. And it takes at least an hour to get ready to go anywhere – I usually have to pack enough sunscreen, bug spray, extra clothes, snacks, diapers, etc. and make sure everyone is ready for the day. But it was so nice just to worry about us two only for a few days. It was so nice to spend some uninterrupted time with my Ry!
Meanwhile, the kids were in good hands…
I was a little nervous on how Brody would handle being away from me. But I knew it was good for both of us. Not only is he is Covid baby and hardly ever even gets to leave the house, but I have always stayed at home with him, so he isn’t used to being watched by other people. Luckily, he did great! Since he wasn’t around me, he clung to his grandma…but I don’t think she minded!
The kids got to spend lots of time with cousins swimming in the pool at the lake, eating popsicles and just living their best life!
They loved spending time at the playground with cousins too!
And walking through the creek…
And getting ice cream of course!
One of their highlights was having a cousin sleepover at the camper. Aunt Megan stayed with this crazy crew. They watched a movie and loved their first camping experience!
They also got to go to the Indianapolis Zoo. Before we moved to Arkansas, we had a membership to this zoo, so I took Kinsie all the time. She remembered it pretty well, but we moved when Brax was only 1, so he remembers the Little Rock Zoo more. They had an awesome day at the zoo. They saw lots of animals, had good treats and got souvenirs. I don’t even think they missed us!
Fun at Home
The kids have been enjoying just spending time at home this summer too. We are still so in love with our new house and are enjoying it to the fullest this summer. They’ve been enjoying our big yard and doing fun water activities, like the mini splash pad, water table and slip n slide!
They are obsessed with the slip n slide!
Something they’ve always enjoyed doing was making obstacle courses. Now we have the perfect backyard for them! We even made a special baby version for Brody!
When we are home and not outside, we are pretty much always in the basement. Brody is still obsessed with the Nugget, and loves destroying anything and everything he can get his hands on. We recently bought a card table and set it up in the basement so we could use it for family games, but the kids mainly like to use it to set up their toys so Brody can’t reach them!
Cousin Birthday Party
The kids’ cousin Hudson turned 4 this month, and had a fun outdoor Dino-themed birthday party. They had an inflatable water slide and the kids were all obsessed! We stayed most of the day and the kids had an absolute blast.
Since Ryan had a week off for our trip earlier in the month, the rest of his month was pretty busy with work. Whenever he had a stretch of a few days in a row, the kids and I went and stayed at my parents’ house. We had lots of pool days with cousins! Brody is becoming more and more obsessed with the pool so he loved getting in on the action whenever he could!
This travel high chair was such a great purchase! Brody loves eating his lunch and snacks pool-side!
Lots and lots of swimming fun. Brax even learned to swim independently in the deep end… no more floaties for him!
When mom is too lazy to put on your swim suit and swim diaper…you just go with it!
The cousins loved pool-side lunch picnics too!
We made it a summer goal to check out the local splash pads. I also wanted to somewhat wait until Brody was walking a little more, and he finally started walking regularly in the second half of the month, so we finally made a few day trips to the splash pads. Brody was a big fan of his first splash pad experience!
This has become one of our new favorite spots, especially since I feel somewhat safe bringing the kids there. I wanted to bring the big kids one more time before school started, and I’ll probably make it a regular place to bring Brody for a morning activity when the kids are in school!
Kinsie has wanted a bunny for years. We originally planned on letting her have one when he moved back to Indiana, but then we decided to build a new house so we knew we’d have to wait until we were in our new house. The day finally came, and she and Brax were SO excited! They picked out a bunny at the Animal Shelter and named him Dash. Brody has enjoyed him too, even though we have to keep a close eye on him so he doesn’t love on him too much! Koda is still getting used to him. We have to introduce him in small doses and try to get him to understand that he’s a family member, not a snack!
Getting acquainted with the new member of the family!
Lots of playtime with Dash!
Another promise we made was to get Brax a lizard. Ryan has had lots of different reptiles in his day, so he figured a leopard gecko would be the way to go. So now we can officially introduce Brax’s new gecko friend… Spotty! His full name is “Spotty Pickles Dobby!” You gotta love the creativity of kids!
Brody has grown and changed so much lately, I had to share some of his newest tricks!
He is officially WALKING. I truly thought this would happen sooner since he’s been crawling since 4 months, and he loves to climb and get into everything. But he took his time and finally got the hang of it. Now he loves toddling around everywhere!
He’s talking and repeating sounds a lot more. He loves repeating high-pitched screaming and “woo-hoo” sounds, and he likes to imitate different voices. He loves imitating Donald Duck and the Hulk’s voices the most. He says words like hi, cheese, fish, Kinsie, bye, and more.
He LOVES Mickey Mouse and the whole gang. He always says “hi” to him and gravitates towards any Mickey toy. He doesn’t really watch TV yet, but loves the Hot Dog song from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse! Sometimes I will play the song on repeat when I need a couple minutes of him not hanging on me!
He LOVES to be chased…especially to the Jaws theme! As soon as we start with the “Duh nuh…duh nuh…” music, he immediately gets the biggest smile on his face and starts running away! He cracks up when we catch him!
He loves drinking whole milk. He gets warm whole milk in the morning when he wakes up and at night before he goes to bed (it helped wean him off of nursing), and it is his favorite part of the day! He gets so excited when he sees his milk and he will sit and chug it until it’s gone!
He is still as crazy as ever, and starting to get more and more “toddler moments” every day. He keeps us busy for sure! Enjoy the video below of his precious walking!
And that was our July. The kids will start school soon, and they are looking forward to it…even if they have to continue masking up (thanks a lot, Delta.)
I see a trend happening here. Each month seems a little more like normal, and each month is MUCH better than the same month last year. This same time last year was rough, and even though it brought us back to our home in Indiana, and brought us our sweet Brody, it is a time of my life that still gives me heart palpitations when I think about it. This year is better. This year is more normal, and even though I’m watching my kids like a hawk to keep them safe since they can’t yet be vaccinated, we at least feel safe enough to go certain places and do certain activities. This June felt a little more like summer as the way it should be, and it was refreshing!
Here is our June went down…
A Weekend at the Dunes
If you recall, my sweet Abuelita passed away last April. This was right when Covid hit hard, and with our family living in all different states, we couldn’t get together for a long time. Now, a good chunk of us are vaccinated and things are overall getting better, so we planned a celebration of life. We had a short outdoor ceremony at the burial site where my grandpa is already buried. She had such an amazing life and legacy, and she is now in heaven with her Beto instead of trapped in her broken mind here on Earth, so it truly was a celebration.
After the ceremony, everyone met at the Indiana Dunes State Park. We reserved a shelter, and had lots of Covid-friendly individually-wrapped food. It was great to get to see some of my family that I haven’t seen in over a year – maybe more. We also spent some time at the Lake Michigan beach. The kids LOVED it! They haven’t been to Florida, or any vacation for that matter, in a long time so they were loving it.
That evening, we put the kids to bed in the hotel room (they were EXHAUSTED), used our phones as a baby monitor, and spent some time hanging out with my aunts, uncles, and cousins in the lobby just talking and laughing. It was so refreshing and a great time!
This was the month of the cicadas! This was the year of the 17 year life cycle of cicadas where they emerged from underground and flew amok. The kids were ALL about it! Kinsie particularly was so fascinated by them, and even researched them to find out as much as she could about them…and wrote a book about them! (See video below) Certain parts of Indiana were swarmed with cicadas, including Bloomington. One evening, we had a picnic on campus and took a walk afterwards. IU’s campus was seriously invaded by cicadas. They were all over all the trees and buildings, and they would fly around and land on us. It sounds creepy, but it was actually really fun!
Walking through the very LOUD trails on campus.
The kids kept catching cicadas and holding them and becoming friends with them.
Enjoy this video of Kinsie reading her book about cicadas that she wrote.
Kinsie’s first softball season is now in the books. She had a great season and improved SO much! Her team was so much fun to watch. They had their end of the season tournament this month. They won their first game, but barely lost in the championship game (8-9). Even though they got 2nd place in the tournament, they were still the regular season champs! I think Kinsie enjoyed it and wants to play again next season!
Ryan and I haven’t been on an anniversary date in YEARS. Four years ago, we were moving and doing the 10 hour drive from Indiana to Arkansas, and were in different vehicles so we barely spent any time together. Then the next 2 years he was either working or we just couldn’t afford a babysitter, and last year, he was still in Arkansas finishing residency and the kids and I were living in Indiana with my parents for the month. Now the stars finally aligned and we were able to have an evening out together. Ryan worked the early shift that day and was off by 3, and we had his mom and aunt come down to watch the kids. We went to dinner, took a walk around campus, and ran to a few stores. It wasn’t much, but it didn’t need to be much. Just being together, without kids was so nice and relaxing and something we don’t get nearly enough of.
We’ve been enjoying my parents’ pool as often as we can this summer. Whenever we go there to swim, the kids swim literally the entire day. They only get out to eat and pee. I haven’t taken many pool pictures this summer because I’m usually fully hands-on with Brody. He is like Forky and trash with the water – he is constantly speed crawling toward the pool!
We haven’t been able to spend as much time at the lake as we normally like to with the weather and Ryan’s schedule, but when we do, we soak it in. Ryan was luckily off work for Father’s Day weekend, so we spent the day at the lake. It was just Ryan’s immediate family – his parents, his sister and her family, and his brother. It was such a fun, relaxing and beautiful day. The kids always love playing with their cousin Griffin. Brody enjoyed the water table, kiddie pool, and baby slide. We ended the day with a good dinner and a boat ride.
We’ve had a good mixture of beautiful summer days, and dreary rainy days. On those days, at least we have this beautiful house to enjoy! The Nugget is still a huge hit. Brody spends a good majority of his days climbing all over it.
When Brody was napping one day, we tried something new with the big kids. We made the Nugget into a giant slide on the stairs. This kept them entertained for a while!
Life with Brody is always fun and never boring. He loves climbing into and onto anything he can find – including his sister, his brother’s laundry hamper, and the beanie baby bin!
We also recently got a good deal on a new kids’ camera for them to share. It came with a green screen so they can do fun animation videos and news reports!
Life is never boring in this household!
Soaking up All the SUMMER
Last summer, we did “summer things” but it was a lot harder with a newborn and my postpartum self, and a pandemic, and Ryan not even being with us half the summer. So this year, we are trying harder to do ALL the things.
Morning at the Park
Brax has been asking to go to a playground for a while. He really wanted to go to the playground at the park where he played soccer. One morning before it got too hot, we loaded up and went to the park. There was a daycare there with probably 20 kids, so my kids masked up, kept their distance, and still had a great time.
Slip n Slide
Brax and Brody got several new water toys for their birthdays, and we’ve slowly been trying them out. Their favorite is probably the slip and slide! Ryan even went a step further and put baby soap on it to make it extra slippery. This kept the kids entertained for hours!
Even Brody took a few turns on it!
Kiddie Pools, Sprinklers, and Slides…oh my!
Living in Arkansas without a pool in our backyard, we had to find ways to survive the hot summer days. The kids spent almost every day in the summer playing in the water table, sprinklers, and kiddie pools. Last summer once we moved to Bloomington, our rental house didn’t even have a hose spigot…so we couldn’t do any of those things. When we built our new house, we made sure we didn’t have that problem! The kids have been all about their water toys this year, and now Brody loves getting in on the action too!
They love their snack breaks!
Walks on the Trail
We’re still discovering parks and trails near our new home, so we try to spend mornings or evenings finding new areas. We love taking walks and the kids like bringing their scooters or bikes on the trails. Lately, the kids got new Fitbits, so they enjoy running on the trails to try and meet their Fitbit goals!
Other Outside Fun
Even on the days where we don’t spend the entire day outside, we still try to get our daily vitamins D dose, even if its just an hour, by playing on the driveway with wagon rides, bubbles, or hitting softballs.
Cincy Zoo Day
It has been a few years since we’ve been to our favorite zoo in Cincinnati. Kinsie still talks about their baby hippo, Fiona, often, and I promised her that once we moved back to Indiana, we would go visit her. Well, Covid made that hard to do last year, so we made it happen this year.
We woke up early and drove the 2.5 hours to the Cincinnati Zoo. To limit crowds, you have to make reservations on the day you want to visit the zoo. Well, I’m not sure exactly how many reservations they allow on one day, because it was SO crowded. It was possibly more crowded than any other day we’ve been there, NOT during Covid. My guess is that they only make non-members make reservations, and members can go anytime they please. It definitely made it harder since the kids aren’t vaccinated, but we did the best we could to keep safe and still have fun.
We went to the Hippo Cove to see Fiona twice. In the morning, she was sleeping. When we came back in the afternoon, she was very active! We stayed for a while and watched her swim around like a ballerina!
Kinsie and Brax wore their masks a lot that day. Whenever we had space to ourselves, I let them have breaks, but because it was so crowded, they didn’t get as many mask breaks as I hoped. But they didn’t care, they are champs. They were just happy to be at the zoo. And like usual, Brody was either in the stroller or I was wearing him in the Ergo carrier. If there was ever a crowded exhibit, I just stayed back with Brody away from people and Ryan took Kinsie and Brax to go see it. Overall, we had a great day at our favorite zoo!
Bloomington has a great science lab for kids. Ryan’s mom and sister bought us a family membership for Brax’s birthday last year, but we weren’t able to use it for a long time due to Covid. Now we finally got to visit and it was a wonderful morning! The kids (and Ryan) LOVED everything here. You have to sign up for 2 hour windows, which was the perfect amount of time to see and do everything there.
The kids especially loved the water and bubble area. They even had a baby section that Brody loved. I was SO impressed with their cleanliness and sanitation here. In the baby section, a family could sign up for a 20 minute window to let their child explore, and when their window was up, the staff came around and sanitized EVERYTHING. Everyone above the age of 2 was required to wear a mask, and they truly only allowed a certain number of people in the museum at a time. They had hand sanitizing areas everywhere, and I saw the staff cleaning the areas down often. I told the staff how impressed I was, and I wish more places took it as seriously as they did. Science for the win!
It was such a good June. Much better than last June. I like this trend, and I hope it continues. I just can’t wait until my kids can get vaccinated so we can truly feel safe going places and being around people. I wish more people would trust science and get the vaccine so we can truly put this all behind us…but at least for now, we are better off than we were this time last year. Baby steps I guess!
Even though the pandemic is still raging, our summer in our new home as a full family of five has been so refreshing! We’ve had so much quality family time that we’ve all been aching for for years! Since Covid is still going strong and we are still being protective of our little Brody, we really haven’t gotten out and about much to explore our new town and we haven’t really been able to meet people, but we know that will come soon enough when things get better. In the mean time, we’ve just been soaking up all the family time we can get, and enjoying being close to our families and cousins again.
Here’s a rundown of our July…
4th of July
We enjoyed going to the lake this year for the 4th. Our day mainly consisted of boat rides, fireworks and cousin time!
IU Scavenger Hunt
We took the kids on a long walk through IU’s campus, and I wanted to find a way to make sure they somewhat stayed interested, so I made a scavenger hunt. It included specific landmarks around campus, such as the Sample Gates, the Showalter Fountain and the Herman B. Wells statue, but it also included things like red and white flowers, a red clock, people riding bikes, etc. The kids enjoyed it even though it was about 100 degrees out that day!
Exploring new parks
We have tried to spend some time finding old and new parks to explore in our new town. The first one I wanted to go to was my favorite park from college, Lower Cascades Park. It is a beautiful little park with a hidden creek and waterfall. The kids LOVED the waterfall area! They spent a good hour climbing behind and all around it, and throwing rocks in the creek.
After the waterfall hike, we let the kids just play on the playground. This park is also nice because it isn’t usually too crowded. Another day, we came back to this park to ride bikes and had a Subway picnic.
Another park we tried was called Switchyard Park. Kinsie liked to call it the “American Ninja Warrior Park” because it had lots of climbing ninja-type activities, which is one of her current obsessions!
We’ve gone to my parents’ pool about once a week this month. This is probably the kids’ favorite place to play with their cousins!
We recently let Brody have his first pool experience. He was pretty chill about it, like most things in life!
We’ve spent almost every weekend at the lake, our happy place! We always love going on lots of boat rides whenever we can.
The kids have loved spending time with their other cousins as well. We enjoyed visiting some cousins at the Heritage Lake Campground, as well as some much-needed Griffin time!
We always have fun at the lake. Whether it’s fishing, swimming, boat rides, paddle boat rides, kayaking, or just hanging out, it is always a fun and relaxing time!
The house we are currently living in is a great place to catch fireflies. The kids loved their first firefly experience!
Ryan has never had this much time off before, and he is not the type to sit around…so he did lots of projects. Just a few examples include a giant Jenga set, and a peg board for the kids to climb!
Fun at Renata’s
The kids are always asking when we can go back to Aunt Renata’s house. I took them one day and like usual, they had a blast. They loved playing with Nicole’s dog Winnie in the baby pool, running around outside, and doing lots of painting and art projects!
Kinsie the Biker Babe!
Our big girl Kinsie learned how to ride her bike without training wheels…in about 5 minutes! We were visiting Ryan’s Aunt Rita and her family at the campground, and Kinsie wanted to ride bikes with her cousins. The only extra bike they had didn’t have training wheels, so Aunt Rita took her out and Kinsie picked it up SO quickly! It was so much fun watching her ride and all the kids running with her and cheering her on! We’ve been taking her places as often as we can to keep practicing. She’s a pro now!
My sweet Kinsie has REALLY missed being in school. She was supposed to start her first day at her new school on August 5, but her district decided to do online learning until at least September. She’s super bummed, so I’ve been trying to find ways to keep her spirits up. Since she is at home with her brothers all day every day, she’s been needing some breaks…and since she’s good about wearing a mask, I’m able to take her on little dates. One day I took her to get special drinks from Starbucks and then to the park. Another day I took her to get school supplies and go see her school. She loves our girl dates!
Cousin Bike Ride
Ever since Kinsie learned to ride her bike with no training wheels, she wants to ride ALL the time! Our rental house is on a main road, so she can’t ride there, so we take it to parks and my parents’ house often. One day, my sister brought her kids and their bikes too and all 5 of the kids had a cousin bike ride.
Brody is 2 months!
We are SO grateful for our precious Brody in our lives, especially during such a weird time. His sweet noises and smiles can brighten up any dark day we may have.
Here are some updates on our Bro at 2 months:
He is 12 lbs. 5 oz. – 55th percentile for weight.
He is 24″ long – 85th percentile for height.
Like my other kids, he has quite a large noggin! His head circumference is in the 95th percentile!
He sleeps a good 6-7 hour stretch at night in between feedings.
He is talking and interacting much more.
He is SO smiley…especially in the mornings.
He recognizes voices and faces and love his family.
He loves doing bicycle kicks with his legs. When his belly hurts, this is one of the only things that calms him.
He loves when people talk to him and love to be involved in whatever we’re doing.
Car rides, boat rides, and being worn in a carrier always soothe him to sleep.
He is getting on a more consistent eat – wake – sleep cycle… a Babywise method that worked well for my other kids.
The kids are still completely obsessed with their little brother. They love cuddling with him, talking to him, playing with him, helping give him baths, and cheering him on with tummy time!
His smile is seriously my favorite…
More sweet Brody faces!
As you can see below, he has already grown a lot! He is really filling out and getting some cute chubby cheeks!
We are all head-over-heels with this sweet little boy. Even though giving birth and living with a newborn in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic has been extremely difficult, his laid back personality and overall sweetness has made every difficult second completely worth it. He was an unexpected, but perfect gift from God. If it would have been up to me, of course I wouldn’t choose to have a baby during a pandemic. But God knows better and I can’t imagine life without this precious gift He knew we needed!
Ryan is excited to start his official job in August, Kinsie will start online learning, and Braxton gets to start at his new preschool. We also should be breaking ground on our house in August as well. We are grateful for these things to keep us busy and give us something to look forward to during an unpredictable time.
We have officially lived in Indiana for one month now. Well…the kids and I have, Ryan has only been back about a week! It has been very different than I originally expected pre-pandemic. We are obviously still living in quarantine as much as possible and haven’t been able to visit as many friends and family as we’d like, but it has still been nice being close to our immediate family, especially with Ryan away. We are definitely still reeling from the crazy roller coaster that our lives have been the last few months, but it helped to have our family close to help me and entertain these busy kids!
Here is a recap of our month of June…
Swimming at Yaya’s
The kids and I stayed at my parents during the month of June while Ryan finished his residency. We spent lots of time swimming! One of Kinsie’s summer goals was to learn to swim completely on her own with no floaties. Well, she accomplished that goal in about 5 minutes! My mom worked with her in stages and had her swimming and jumping off the diving board independently in no time!
Play Dates at Aunt Renata’s
We’ve always been close to Ryan’s Aunt Renata, and she used to help watch my kids when I was working. We really missed her during our time in Arkansas, so we’ve been making it up with lots of play dates at her house! The kids are always busy when visiting her house, whether it’s throwing rocks in the creek, painting rocks and birdhouses, making cookies, or just lounging in the hammock!
Oh, how we’ve missed our days at Heritage Lake! It is one of our absolute favorite places to be. We spent several days on the lake with Grandma Bev and Papa Tim this month.
I spent as much time fishing as I could since I haven’t done it in far too long. The kids like to fish too…but they don’t have the attention span to do it for long. Usually what ended up happening was they would do other things while I fished, then when I caught one, they wanted to touch and hold it.
Boat ride are always a favorite activity at the lake…and now we have Brody to enjoy them with! Brody was extra calm on boat rides, and they always rocked him right to sleep!
Other Lake Adventures
The kids loved taking cubby rides around Heritage Drive, and especially to the marina. They enjoyed ice cream lakeside, and then loved playing on the playground.
Cousin Play Dates
The kids have LOVED being back home closer to their cousins! We’ve tried to squeeze in as much cousin fun as possible this month. Their cousin Griffin was born in the middle of residency, so we’ve only gotten to spend time with him in small chunks during our short and busy visits home, so now the kids are loving spending lots of time with him now that we’re back!
And of course the kids love their time with their cousins on my side of the family too. They call themselves the “Super 6” and are so excited to add Brody to the cousin crew!
Our 8th Anniversary
Unfortunately, Ryan and I didn’t get to spend our anniversary together this year, but with residency life, this is somewhat the norm. Our entire marriage so far has been simultaneous with Ryan’s medical journey, so we’ve never really had “normal lives” since we got married in 2012. However, we’ve made the best of it! Our marriage has already been tested with the craziness of med school and residency life, even several periods of time where we didn’t even get to live together, and we’ve only come out stronger because of it. We are hopeful that from now on, we’ll actually get to spend our anniversaries together and maybe even get to have a date night here and there…something that has been few and far between for us!
We also didn’t get to spend Father’s Day with Ryan this year since we were in Indiana and he was still in Arkansas. However, we tried to still make it special for him. We took a picture (below, right) and put it on a canvas and mailed it to one of Ryan’s co-residents’ houses. The kids also drew pictures for him, and we sent those as well. Ryan’s co-resident then wrapped them for me and gave the gift to him while he was on shift on Father’s Day! He was surprised and loved his gift. We also got to FaceTime with him before he went to work, so we gave him as much love as possible from a distance.
Other Fun Activities
My older two have been through a lot the last few months…with the pandemic and not getting to finish school, moving, and getting a new sibling. With all that, they have definitely had their moments of feeling overwhelmed, but overall they have handled all the change SO well. However, they are busy kids, and they behave much better when they stay busy. We played outside as much as we could, spent days at the homes of different family members, and even visited our rental home in Bloomington a few times. They enjoyed driving cars and tractors at both grandparents’ houses, picking strawberries in Grandma Bev’s garden, and having reading time together.
Tours of IU Campus
IU Campus has my heart. It is so beautiful and I’ve always loved visiting whenever I had the chance. Since this is now the location of our new home, I’ve loved showing the kids the campus that I love so much!
It was a long month without Ryan, so we were counting down the days until he came home. Ryan finishing residency was very different than it was supposed to be. He was supposed to get a special graduation ceremony, but they had to do it via Zoom instead. Luckily, they livestreamed the ceremony on YouTube so we could watch. I was an emotional mess watching the whole thing because a) I was sad that it had to be this way and b) I was so proud of Ryan. He even won the Resident of the Year award!
We wanted to make it a big deal when he came home. We invited both of our families, ordered a big yard sign, made food, ordered a cake, and decorated the house with streamers and signs. We were all so excited when he finally made it home and we had a great night together with our favorite doctor finally home for good. If you haven’t seen it already, be sure to watch the video below of his homecoming.
Brody turned 1 Month Old!
Our sweet Brody turned 1 month old in June! We have adored every second of our time with him. He is the absolute sweetest baby, and I am convinced that with all the craziness going on this year, God knew we needed a sweet baby like him. He has made a very difficult time in the world a whole lot better for us.
Here are some stats about Brody at 1 month old…
At his 1 month checkup, he was 10 pounds and 2.5 oz (55th percentile), and 22.5 inches long (80th percentile).
Like I said before, he is SO sweet.
He is very laid back, something I did not expect based on the energy level of my other two, and how he acted in utero.
He rarely cries, something else we weren’t expecting based on our last colicky child.
He may not cry often, but he sure makes a lot of noises. He squeaks and grunts a lot. His little squeaks are the sweetest sound, and the kids call him “Squeaks” because of it. Whenever he’s hungry or gassy, rather than crying, he just grunts. I’ll take grunts any day over excessive crying!
He is most comfortable when being held. He is such a snuggly baby.
When he is awake and happy, he wiggles and kicks his legs a lot.
He had his first social smile right around 4 weeks old, and it was when FaceTiming with his daddy.
He loves watching ceiling fans.
He enjoys watching his big sister and big brother while they play.
He is very tolerant of the love (more like smothering) that he gets from Kinsie and Brax.
He loves his pacifiers. He has a monkey and a frog pacifier, and he hugs them while he sleeps.
He is starting to be awake for longer periods of time, which we all love!
The many precious faces of Brody…
We love his adorable smile!
I’m always capturing his big siblings loving on him. They love playing with him when he’s on the floor, and they literally argue over holding him. I often have to set timers while they take turns holding him.
And that’s a wrap for our June. We survived with the help of our family, and now we are so happy to have Ryan home and to officially start our new chapter of life post-residency. Ryan has the entire month of July off, so we are looking forward to lots of Daddy time and trying to explore our new town (as much as we can during a pandemic).
And now August, a.k.a. the hottest month of the year in Arkansas, is finally over. We are somewhat grateful that this is the last August that we’ll be living here. Like I’ve said before, all of the other seasons in Arkansas are great, but we struggle in summer. This August in particular seemed especially brutal. It was rare that we had a day where the heat index wasn’t above 100 degrees. We are craving fall weather and everything that comes with it. Who knows if we’ll actually get cooler temperatures yet or if they won’t show up until October, but at this point, anything below 90 is considered pleasant!
Lots of exiting milestones and adventures in August! The biggest thing was Kinsie starting Kindergarten!! But I’ll get to that in a minute. With Kinsie in school and Brax not starting until after Labor Day, we’ve had to get creative on how to stay occupied when it’s too hot to go outside. We had lots of little adventures and enjoyed our time together.
Here is the recap of our August…
The Weekend Before Kindergarten
During the month of August, Ryan was on a teaching rotation, where he spent his shifts teaching medical students. He had fewer and shorter shifts, and he got to pick when they were…so he had the weekends off. It was amazing! We wanted to have a fun family weekend before Kinsie started school, and we let her pick what she wanted to do (within reason of course). First, she chose to go to downtown Little Rock. We went to the Farmer’s Market, and played for a while at their favorite rock park.
We also took a trolley ride around the city. The kids love doing this, and it’s free…win win!
In the afternoon, the kids wanted to play in the yard. They played in their inflatable pool, sprayed each other with the hose, played with water balloons, and more.
The next morning, we went to church, then Kinsie wanted to have lunch at the train restaurant, All Aboard. We had a great family weekend, and we were lucky that Ryan was able to join us for all of it!
Kinsie Starts Kindergarten
Kinsie has been aching to go to school for a while now. She was SO excited to start Kindergarten! It definitely did not disappoint for her, she has loved every second of it!
Brax misses Kinsie while she’s at school. He always hugs and kisses all over her (as you can see in the picture below).
The biggest adjustment for Kinsie has been having to wake up an hour earlier than she’s used to, but other than that, she has done great. She loves her teacher, and has made lots of new friends. The biggest adjustment for me has been the car rider line. Since Kinsie attends a charter school, they don’t have a bus system. All students are dropped off and picked up by their parents, so Brax and I spend quite some time waiting in line! But other than that, we love this school and are very happy with the school choice.
Brax and I enjoy having lunch with Kinsie at her school. She lights up when she sees us!
It makes my mama and teacher heart SO happy that my girl loves school so much. I was the same way, so I hope her love for learning continues. I love hearing all about her day, and what activities she did and what she learned. We are looking forward to seeing what all she accomplishes during the rest of the school year!
The Brax Days of Summer
Like I mentioned before, Brax and I have had lots of little fun adventures together this month. We try to do something outside of the house at least once a day, even if it’s something small like go to the store. He has been SO well behaved lately (he’s come a long way since the spring) so I have genuinely enjoyed our days together. Here are some of the highlights of our time together this month…
Library Walking Trail
We came to the library to read and check out books, but the kids often like walking around the trail behind the library, especially to see the swan that lives in that lake. It was a very hot day, but Brax really wanted to find the swan, so we walked. We ended up having to walk quite a ways around the lake, but we found the swan! He was so excited, so it was worth it!
Altitude Trampoline Park
This is such a great place for a toddler to blow off some energy. I take the kids here often and they always have a great time. I wasn’t sure if Brax would still have a lot of fun like usual, or if he wouldn’t know what to do without Kinsie, but he still loved it!
The Wonder Place
I was nervous that Kinsie would get upset that I brought Brax here without her, but she was surprisingly ok with it. I think it’s honestly because she loves school so much! Brax and I had a great morning together at the Wonder Place!
Lake Willastein Park
Near the end of the month, the mornings were more mild, and then it would get hotter in the afternoon. Brax and I walked over to the park on one of these mornings and really enjoyed ourselves. We don’t get to come to the park as often as we’d like in the summer, so we stayed for a few hours and had a great time!
Learning, Puzzles, and Games
Whenever we were home or had some down time, Brax loved doing puzzles and playing games. I also took some time this month to teach him how to write his name. He loves practicing any chance he gets! I’m hoping we have another kid who loves learning in the making, just like his big sis!
Some of our other adventures included a visit to the children’s library, Chick-fil-A lunch dates, grocery store trips, and just playing in the yard and driveway. I’m excited for Brax to start school soon, but I really enjoyed my days with him!
To be honest, since Kinsie started school, they have been VERY easy to entertain at home on the weekends. Kinsie misses being home and playing with her own toys and with Brax, so they spend 75% of their time just playing together at home. We have taken a few little adventures just when I feel like I need to get out of the house including…
Bass Pro Shops to see the fish, and the outlet mall…mainly to go to the bargain book store and ride the mini carousel.
We also went to the Purple Cow restaurant for dinner one night. The kids loved their purple ice cream sundae!
Early one Saturday, before the heat kicked in, the kids and I walked over to the park and enjoyed some outside time. They needed the fresh air to run around and get some energy out…especially together!
Our sweet goldfish, Hedwig passed away this month. Ryan won him at the Indiana State Fair before we were even married, so he lived longer than most goldfish…about 8 years! The kids grew up with him, as you can see in the pictures below. It was especially tough for Kinsie, because Hedwig’s tank has been in her room the last few years.
Left photo- Kinsie at 3 months looking at Hedwig; middle photo- Hedwig in 2014 (he got MUCH bigger than he was then); Right photo- Brax at 1 year old with Hedwig
Kinsie made a little casket and cross for him, and we buried him in the backyard. We were lucky to have him for so long!
Even though we were sad that Hedwig passed, we were excited to make his tank a home for some new fish! We got 4 glowfish and Kinsie named them after Toy Story characters – Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep and Trixie.
This summer seemed really long, so it seemed like it had been forever since we had seen any family. We were REALLY needing some family time, and luckily, Grandma Bev, Megan and Griffin came through! We were all so happy they were able to make the trip for a few days to see us! They loved visiting Kinsie for lunch at her school!
We didn’t do a whole lot, but we didn’t need to. We were all just happy to be together. The kids always love their Griffin time!
This visit was just what we needed and we are so grateful they came. We’ll have more family visits coming up in September so this helped us get through until then!
Brax’s School Open House
Our boy finally gets to start his school year soon! He will be in the Pre-K3 class at the same school he and Kinsie attended last year. He recently had his “Meet the Teacher Open House” and he was so excited to see his classroom and meet his new teacher. I think he is going to have a great year!
And that’s a wrap for our August. Our favorite time of the year is approaching! We absolutely love fall. Kinsie’s birthday is coming up, and then all of our favorite fall activities in October, and also a short trip to Indiana for a family wedding, followed by a trip to Orlando! Lots of exciting things coming up so stay tuned!
Full disclosure here…July is tough for me! It was a very long month and I hate to say I’m somewhat glad its over…please no judging! I am mentally exhausted after this month. Don’t get me wrong, we had lots of fun adventures in July, but it just comes to a point where the kids (especially Kinsie) are just over it. She’s over summer vacation and she’s ready for school. It is really hard being full time entertainment for 2 VERY busy children, neither of whom nap, and are both in need of constant mental stimulation…and throw in the fact that it’s too darn hot to step outside most days! Kinsie is so ready to get back into a school routine, be surrounded by kids her own age, and an adult who isn’t me! She starts Kindergarten on Monday and she could not be more ready! I am so excited for her and can’t wait to see her thrive. Brax doesn’t start preschool again until after Labor Day, so I still have a little while with him. Overall, he’s pretty content doing puzzles and playing board games all day so we should be able to get through it ok!
We had a lot of random adventures this month to keep us busy. We had one week of great weather, but other than that, it was your typical high humidity Arkansas heat. We found a lot of indoor activities and projects to do to keep us as busy as possible. Here is a rundown of our July…
4th of July
Now I do love 4th of July. Ryan always makes a point to try to get this day off because we enjoy our 4th of July traditions here. Like last year and the year before that, we went to the 4th of July parade in our town, had hot dogs for dinner (they always sound good after watching the Hot Dog Eating Contest…is that weird?), then to the park for fireworks. The parade is simple, short, and sweet, but the kids enjoy getting candy and seeing firetrucks, etc. One float in particular always tosses out popsicles…which is brilliant. They loved it!
After our hot dog dinner, we walked over to the park. We enjoyed some treats, played a few games, then just chilled in the field until it was time for the fireworks. The kids were slap happy so they danced and tackled each other until the fireworks started. And as always, the park put on a great fireworks show!
Kinsie’s ear piercing
Kinsie has been asking to get her ears pierced for almost a year. I wasn’t quite ready for it at the time, so I told her it could be her 6th birthday present. Well we decided to let her do it a little early before she started school. She was SO brave and didn’t even flinch! She loves her earrings and takes every change she gets to show them off.
Pool Days (of various sizes)
A few times a week, Ryan and I lift weights together…and unfortunately, our garage is the only place we have room for all of our equipment…which means those workout sessions in the summer are brutally hot! At least we have some huge fans to help us get through it! Anyway, when we workout, the kids usually put on their swim suits and play in their kiddie pool. That pool has been the best $10 I’ve ever spent! They stay content for hours in it. After our workouts, we cool down by having water balloon fights with the kids. Fun and staying cool…win win!
There is a community pool in our town, and we try to visit it once or twice each summer. We decided to use one of Ryan’s days off and make it a family pool day. The kids had a great time, and we even ran into Kinsie’s best friend from school, so they were especially pumped to have a playmate!
We spent most of our July indoors. Most days, the heat index was between 100 and 110 degrees. Therefore, we explored every play place possible in the city of Little Rock. And when we weren’t doing that, we were playing games, doing art projects, and making obstacle courses in the house.
The Wonder Place
We actually came here twice. The kids love it and its a great place for them to play for a few hours, and I brought along a book and read while they played!
Altitude Trampoline Park
The kids love this place, and usually we beat the crowds and hardly see anyone there. However, we went on one of the hottest days of the summer, so everyone else apparently had the same idea we did! The kids still had fun though, and it got some of their energy out (just some).
This place is neat, but pretty expensive. Luckily, I’m in a moms group in town and once a month we get a discount day, so we take full advantage! The kids love this place, and after the last time we visited, they even created their own version of it at home.
Projects and Crafts
Kinsie has a lot of creativity in her little brain, and needs lots of outlets for it. We did lots of play dough, painting, and crafts this summer. Remember the Toy Story 4 project she started after she saw the movie last month? Well we took it a step farther and laminated all the characters, labeled them and strung them together to create a banner in the playroom!
In one day, we spent a few hours baking different recipes from Kinsie’s princess cookbook. We made muffins, princess popcorn, and fairy wands. The kids loved getting to help and making as big of a mess as possible!
Farmer’s Market and Splash Pad
We LOVE the Farmer’s Market. This was the first Saturday Ryan had off since May, so we finally got to go. We loaded up on all our favorite jams and granola, and the kids got to paint a picture and a statue at one of the booths.
After the Farmer’s Market, we ventured down to the splash pad. The kids (and Ryan) had a great time!
Two of Kinsie’s best friends from preschool had birthday parties this month. Judah had a firefighter party, where they got to visit the fire station and explore and climb on a real fire truck. The kids thought it was the coolest thing ever!
Luke’s party was at a place called Urban Air Trampoline Park. It was similar to the other trampoline place we go to, but there was lots more (it’s also a lot more expensive, so we’re lucky we got to go for free since it was for a birthday party!) There were trampolines, ball pits, tubes and slides, rock climbing, a foam pit, ropes courses, and more. It was a really neat place and the kids were in absolute heaven!
The One Week it was Nice Outside
We had one week of pure perfect weather. So we spent most of those days at the park. We hadn’t been there in a while since it’s been so hot, so we loved exploring our favorite park again. One of the days we met up with some residency friends, and the other days we just played on our own. It felt so good to be outside again!
One of the other days that we had nice weather, I took the kids to the zoo. We usually go to the zoo with Ryan since he loves it too, but he had to work and we really wanted to take advantage of the nice weather while Kinsie was still out of school. We had such a great time. The kids were so well behaved and loved everything we saw and did. It was one of my favorite days with them this summer.
Kinsie’s school had “Kinder Camp,”, where all the incoming kindergarteners got to bring their school supplies and meet their teachers. Kinsie was awestruck. She was so excited to meet her teacher and see her classroom. Her teacher seems so sweet, so we are looking forward to a great year!
We are looking forward to August, especially for Kinsie to start Kindergarten. Once September gets here, I feel like time goes a lot faster…so before we know it, it will be June and we will be moving back! We are so excited, but enjoying our time in Little Rock while we can.
Here is our 1 Second Everyday video for the month of July!
June was a whirlwind! We were gone more than we were home. During the month of June, we traveled to Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, and then the kids and I took a 2 week trip to visit family in Indiana. Ryan had to stay home to work, and we definitely missed him a lot while we were gone! However, we stayed super busy and did lots of fun activities back in our home town. I’m excited to share our June adventures!
Trip to Lake of the Ozarks
Since Ryan was named Chief Resident, one of his first responsibilities was to make the first few schedules. We knew that the kids and I were going to be gone the last 2 weeks of the month, so Ryan scheduled himself to work pretty much the whole time we were gone. With that being said, he was able to get multiple days off in a row during the first half of the month, so we decided to take advantage of that and take a little trip to the Ozarks! My parents met us there and brought along Kerigan. Unfortunately, Kinsie was not feeling well during the trip, and we later discovered she had pneumonia. She was just extra tired and not her perky self, but she was a trooper and still had fun.
On the first full day, we took a hike at the state park. It was a fun and easy hike, and we saw tons of deer!
After our hike, we went to the beach area near our condo. The kids loved splashing around at the beach, playing on the playground, and taking a ride on the inflatable kayak that Ryan brought with us.
The next day, we rented a pontoon boat and spent the entire day on the lake. We had a great day exploring the lake, trying out different restaurants on the water, fishing, and more. The kids were all exhausted by the end of the day, and Brax even fell asleep on Yaya’s lap, which I know she didn’t mind at all!
I felt so bad that we took Kinsie on this trip when she didn’t feel good, but she was such a trooper. After the trip, we got her on some antibiotics and she was feeling better within days. It was still such a fun little trip with some people we love!
Taking small trips, even if it’s to a store or to get ice cream, are crucial for my sanity. Since Kinsie wasn’t feeling well, we were home a lot. As soon as she was feeling a little better, we took short trips out of the house just to get some fresh air. We needed to get some school uniforms for Kinsie, so we went to the outdoor mall and had ice cream. Another day, we went to Target and got cake pops at the Starbucks inside the store. It’s the little things!
One day, Ryan didn’t have to work until the afternoon, so we took a family walk around the lake. The kids enjoyed stopping along the way to see turtles and ducks and we enjoyed some quality family time.
Dragon Boat Races
The lake by our house does this event every year, and the first year it took place on the day we moved. We obviously didn’t go then since we just moved in, but we did see the fireworks from our house! This is the first year we were able to check it out, and it was very cool! Different companies get together and make teams and they race dragon boats across the lake to raise money for charity. Each company also sets up a tent and gives away free items. The kids got some free dragon cups, a beach ball, and lollipops, so they were in heaven! There were also fun games and activities set up around the park, so we all enjoyed a fun family morning at the event!
Father’s Day and Our Anniversary
Our 7th anniversary and Father’s Day landed on the same day this year, so I made sure Ryan took the day off! We didn’t do anything spectacular…just went to church, and spent the day playing outside with the kids. Then I made Ryan’s favorite dinner. It was simple…but that’s all we needed. All we wanted for both our anniversary and Father’s Day was to spend the day all together, so that’s exactly what we did!
A Tough Goodbye
As soon as we moved here 2 years ago, I made some incredible friends within the residency program. Several other wives within the program took me in right away and became my very good friends. We did playdates often, went to church together (usually without husbands, but with ALL our kids), we constantly had a group text going, and we supported each other through the tough journey of residency. The thing I loved most is that all of our husbands were in emergency medicine together, so we all shared the same struggles and helped each other through them. Their husbands were in the residency class above Ryan, so they just completed their third year and all moved away for new jobs. It was really hard saying goodbye to the friends I got so close with, but I was SO grateful just to have them for the 2 years that I did. Now I just have an excuse to travel around the U.S. to visit!
Back Home Again in Indiana
The kids and I went to Indiana to visit family for 2 weeks, so that was half of our month right there. We are so grateful for our family for always helping us find ways to get there and back when Ryan can’t drive with us. This time, Bev flew to Little Rock and helped us drive to Indiana, and my mom helped us drive to Little Rock and then flew back to Indiana. We were SO busy during our 2 week visit, and we loved every minute of it! Here is a recap of our adventures in Indiana…
Indianapolis Children’s Museum
We used to take Kinsie to the museum when she was little, then of course we moved when Brax was still a baby, so we hadn’t been there in a few years. The kids were so excited when their cousins invited us to spend the day there with them. Brax LOVED the dinosaur peeking in the building as you first walk in!
Some of the highlights of the inside of the museum included the carousel, the fossil digging area, and the Paw Patrol exhibit.
Although we loved everything we saw inside, we spent the most time outside in the sports area. This is somewhat new, so we had never been. It was amazing! They had tons of exercising activities, every sport you can imagine, and a huge treehouse, similar to the “Tree of Life” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We spent hours exploring and playing! It was an awesome day!
We tagged along with Megan, Griffin, Grandma Bev and Ryan’s cousin Jess and her daughter Bexlee to the zoo. The bad news is that it rained almost the entire time we were there. The good news is that we still got to see most of the animals. A few of the savanna animals, and the tiger (my favorite) weren’t feeling the rain, but other than that, we saw a lot and had a great day. Kinsie hitched a ride in Griffin’s covered wagon, and Brax used Kinsie’s unicorn umbrella, so we were all good! The Indy Zoo has a great indoor aquarium area, so we spent a lot of time there. The kids loved all the sea creatures, and Kinsie got to see the dolphin show that she’s been talking about literally since we moved. Brax loved the orangutans and talked about them for days after!
Another neat temporary exhibit was the MISTery Park. It was just a short little loop full of mist sprayers. Simple, but neat! Despite the rain, we enjoyed the day with family and animals.
We met Bev, Megan, and a few of Ryan’s aunts and cousins for lunch and then went to the park splash pad for the kids to play. It took some time for the kids to get comfortable enough to play, but once they did, they had a blast!
Toy Story 4
The kids were dying to see Toy Story 4, (ok so was I!) so I wanted to take them to see it in theater during our visit. We invited some other cousins along, and we all took up an entire row! We all loved the movie, but my favorite part was hearing Brax belly laughing with every scene that had their new favorite “Forky!”
The next day, all the cousins made their own version of Forky. Then Kinsie wanted to take it a step further and make more characters. This project continued for days and expanded more and more until she had drawn every single character from the movie! Her final project was quite impressive, and now she wants to display it in the play room at home!
The kids favorite part of visiting is always cousin time. They had several sleepovers, including Kinsie sleeping over at their house one night. Their time together is always fun and eventful!
We always love spending time at Yaya’s pool while we’re in town. On our pool days, Kinsie transformed into a mermaid and did not get out of the pool unless forced to eat or go to the bathroom. There were a few days where she swam from 10am to 7pm! Brax made tons of progress from wanting someone to always hold him, to swimming around independently.
The kids’ happiest of happy places…ALL their cousins in the pool with them!
Even when we weren’t IN the pool, we still loved spending time out by the pool. When Brax needed breaks from swimming, he brought puzzles out and did them poolside. We also enjoyed several meals on the terrace.
The kids had SO much fun together in the pool. They played for hours and hours, and they all get along so well. And we just love watching them have fun together.
Other Outside Fun
The second week of our visit had beautiful weather. We spent as much time as we could outside. When we weren’t by the pool or lake, we enjoyed swinging and water table fun at Megan’s, or riding on the lawn mower with Papa!
We spent a good chunk of time at the lake during our visit…which is one of my favorite places to be. We went for a few random trips during the week, and then spent the weekends there as well. During the week was the best time to relax and go fishing since there weren’t many people there. The kids enjoyed fishing for about 3 minutes, then moved on to other things. In that short time though, they did catch a fish or two! While the kids played, I fished longer with Ryan’s dad. Between the two of us, we caught lots of blue gill. I hadn’t fished in far too long so it was great to get to do it again!
We spent our entire weekends at the lake as well. Lots of Ryan’s relatives came during that time, so we enjoyed visiting with family. All the kids LOVED swimming in the lake. Brax particular loved swimming with Uncle Nate, and Kinsie and the older cousins loved jumping off the dock and playing on the giant mat.
More lake fun included boat rides, water balloon fights with cousins, and water table fun for the littles. And of course we had to snap this photo of Papa Tim with his 3 faves in his Heritage Lake shirt!
Fireworks at the Lake
This is one of our favorite days of the year, and somehow we have managed to make it the last 2 years. Lots of family and friends came for the day so of course there was lots of people, fun and food. The kids spent most of the day swimming in the lake, and then the night consisted of the official fireworks put on by the lake. The kids got all decked out in glow necklaces and bracelets and stayed up late for the fireworks. We loved the fireworks, but my little guy fell asleep in the middle of them! It is very rare for either of my kids to accidentally fall asleep. He clearly was so exhausted from a long week of playing and swimming!
Home Again Home Again, Jiggity Jig
After a very busy and fun 2 weeks, we were sad to leave family, but very ready to head home and see Ryan. The kids were SO happy to see him and spent the next 24 hours playing games with him, telling him all about our trip, and of course, climbing all over him! It was so good to be together as a family again!
And that wraps up our month! We are looking forward to just being home in the month of July and enjoying summer before the kids start school. I still can’t believe that Kinsie starts KINDERGARTEN at the beginning of August! In the mean time, pray that we survive the intense Arkansas summer heat!