August Adventures

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!

IMG_8124

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.

BeforeKinder-3

We also took a trolley ride around the city. The kids love doing this, and it’s free…win win!

BeforeKinder-2

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.

BeforeKinder

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!

BeforeKinder-4

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!

Kinsie-K-firstday

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.

Kinsie-K-firstweek

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!

Kinsie-K-lunchvisit

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!

BraxDays-1

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!

BraxDays-2

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!

BraxDays-3

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!

BraxDays-park

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!

BraxDays-4

More Adventures

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!

BraxDays-5

Weekend Adventures

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.

Weekend-outletbasspro

We also went to the Purple Cow restaurant for dinner one night. The kids loved their purple ice cream sundae!

Weekend-other

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!

Weekend-outside

R.I.P. Hedwig

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

Hedwig-2

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!

Hedwig

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.

Hedwig-newfish

Family Visit

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!

Familyvisit-2

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!

Familyvisit-3

Familyvisit-1

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!

BraxOpenHouse

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!

Here is our August 1 Second Everyday video.

Surviving July

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!

4thJuly-24thJuly-1

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!

4thJuly-3

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.

Kinsie-earpiercing

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!

Outside-2

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!

Pool

Indoor Adventures

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!

WonderPlace

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).

TrampolinePark

Kiddie City

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.

KiddieCity

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!

crafts

Baking Fun

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!

baking-2baking-1

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.

FarmersMarket

After the Farmer’s Market, we ventured down to the splash pad. The kids (and Ryan) had a great time!

SplashPad

Birthday Parties

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!

Judah'sparty

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!

UrbanAir

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!

Outside-1

Zoo Day

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.

Zoo

Kinder Camp

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!

Kindercamp

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 Travels

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! Ozarks-1-1

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.

Ozarks-2

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!

Ozarks-3

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!

Ozarks-4

 

Small Adventures

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!

Adventures-other

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.

Adventures-walk

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!

Dragonboats-2Dragonboats-1

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!

FathersDayAnniversary

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!

LRfriends

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!

CM-2

Some of the highlights of the inside of the museum included the carousel, the fossil digging area, and the Paw Patrol exhibit.

CM-1-1

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!

CM-1CM-3

Indianapolis Zoo

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!

Zoo-2

Zoo-1-1

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.

Zoo-1

Splash Pad

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!

SplashPad

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!”

ToyStory-1

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!

ToyStory-2

Cousin Sleepovers

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!

Sleepover

Pool Days

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.

Swim-2

The kids’ happiest of happy places…ALL their cousins in the pool with them!

Swim-1

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.

Swim-3

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.

Swim-4

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!

Outside

Lake Days

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!

Lake-1

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.

Lake-4

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!

Lake-3

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!

Lake-2

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!

Return

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!

Here is our June 1 Second Every video. Enjoy!

 

Our August

We have had to put in quite an effort to keep these kids busy for their last month of summer before they start school. They are to the point where they are just over being home with me all the time. No offense taken…I’m over it too! They have been fighting more, and just extra sassy to me. They are definitely ready for a new environment, new friends, and a new authority figure! However…we have done the best we could at finding fun things to do. Every once in a while, we’ll have a few days where the weather isn’t melting us, so we’ll do something fun outside, but other than that, we mainly have to find indoor things to do. Here is a recap of our August.

Day Dates

Like I said, we’ve had to do our best at getting out of the house as much as possible. Whenever Ryan has a day off, we try to find a new fun place. This month, we discovered a few new places!

Discovery Museum-

We’ve known about this place for a long time, but finally got around to trying it out. Ryan is much more into science than I am, so I wanted him to get to come with us. We all had a great time! It’s no Indianapolis Children’s Museum, but it did the small city of Little Rock justice. There is a full room full of science experiments, so my nerdy husband was in heaven. Now Kinsie wants a science kit for her birthday!

DayDate-2

The Wonder Place-

We’ve been here before, but the kids loved it so much, we had to go back. This place is seriously perfect for young, busybodies like my kids! Now that elementary schools have started, we practically had to place to ourselves!

DayDate-3

Trampoline Park-

This was another place that we’ve known about since we moved, but never took the chance to try it out. Again…this place was PERFECT for our kids. A huge warehouse full of trampolines and a giant foam pit had their names written all over it. We went on another one of Ryan’s days off so he got to enjoy it with us. We will definitely be going back!

trampolinepark2

Little Rock Zoo-

We had about 3-4 days in a row where the weather was perfect, and luckily Ryan was off during one of those days, so packed up the kids, the wagon, and a lunch and spend the day at the zoo. These kids love animals so much, they get just as excited to see them each time we go. Another bonus was that every year when your membership renews, you get free tickets for a train ride. Another score for my kids! We had the perfect family day at one of our favorite places!

Zoo-3Zoo-1Zoo-2

Outdoor adventures

Every time I check the weather and see if its going to be less than 90 degrees, we try to spend some time outside. We love going to the park by our neighborhood, and even just playing in our own yard. One afternoon we had some of the other residents’ kids over for a sprinkler date. The kids love spending time with other kids their age, and I love getting some adult interactions with the other moms!

Outside-1

Weekend at Home

We were so excited to get to come home for a weekend for Ryan’s cousin’s wedding. We were only home Friday, Saturday, and Sunday…but we packed in a LOT of activities in those 3 days!

Indiana State Fair-

We LOVE the fair…both county and state. We love the animals, the food, the rides…all of it. We especially love it when we get to go with family. The 5 cousins had a blast together drinking milkshakes, petting cows, and riding all the rides. It was such a fun, much-needed family night with some of the people we love most.

IN-fair1IN-fair2

Masey’s Wedding-

Ryan’s cousin Masey is one of the sweetest souls I’ve ever met. As soon as I found out when her wedding was, I REALLY wanted to make it. Luckily, Ryan was on an ED rotation so he was able to request a couple days off in a row so we could go. This day did not exactly go as I planned it…but that’s life. Brax would not…I repeat, WOULD NOT wear the cute collared Polo shirt I had picked out for him. Or the matching boat shoes. After a long battle, I had decided to cave and let him wear whatever the heck he wanted, but at that point he was inconsolable. We could not take him to a wedding like this! My parents offered to let him take a nap, and then they would bring him for the reception. After his nap and getting to wear an animal shirt rather than his nice clothes, he was better, but still a bit grumpy. He did better as the night went on…I’m sure it helped that Grandma kept sneaking him upstairs to eat the bridal party’s cookies. Even though I didn’t get any nice family pictures, and Brax didn’t make it to the actual ceremony, it turned out to be an awesome night. Kinsie looked beautiful and danced the night away. We loved getting to spend a beautiful evening celebrating sweet Masey with Ryan’s family.

IN-wedding

Lake Day –

On Sunday, we spent most of the day at the lake. The kids loved boat rides, swimming, and tubing with cousins. It’s always a nice treat when Ryan is home in Indiana with us, and I know the kids, and the rest of the family loved having him home as well.

IN-lake

Pool Night-

After a day at the lake, we went back to my parents’ house for swimming and dinner.  I missed this SO much. Sunday dinners with my family were one of my favorite traditions before we moved, and it felt so good to do it again, especially on a great night where the kids were still wearing their swimsuits and googles and giggling together at the cousin table. This trip to Indiana was therapy.

INpool

August is over now, and I hate it say it, but I’m a bit relieved. Like I said at the beginning of this post, we are all ready for a change. The kids need school. I need a break. I love my children to the ends of the Earth, but it has been a long summer, and I am ready for some well-earned “me” time. I think we will all be in better moods and get along better when we are not together 24/7. Ryan will have one of his hardest rotations in September, but luckily we should stay busy. Kinsie will start T-ball and ballet, and obviously school will start as well. The kids and I will also spend the week of Kinsie’s birthday in Indiana, and we’ll have Bev for a couple days before, and my mom for a couple days after. We are looking forward to the next few months. Stay tuned!

As always, here is our 1 Second Everyday video for the month of August.

Branson Vacation

Every 2 years, Ryan’s family takes a vacation to Branson, Missouri. When Kinsie was less than a year old, we got to go, but we didn’t get to 2 years ago due to Ryan’s med school schedule. We were so excited that we were able to go again this year, especially since its only 3 hours away from Little Rock, and we knew the kids were at perfect ages to enjoy all the fun things to do there. Ryan was able to use one of his weeks of vacation for the trip, which was much needed after last month. We had an awesome trip and had made some wonderful memories.

Intropic

Much like Little Rock, it was VERY hot the whole week in Branson, but we still made it work and found lots of fun things to do. Here are the highlights from the trip…

Promised Land Zoo

This was one of our favorite things we did last time we came. There are 2 parts to this zoo, a walk-through and a drive-through. At both, you get up close and personal with lots of animals, and get to feed many of them. Even as a baby, Kinsie has always loved animals, and she loved feeding the animals at the zoo, and sticking her head out the window as we drive around while animals came up to our car windows. Brax has developed that same love for animals, so this time we had 2 very happy children! We planned the walk-through part right because we got there right when it opened, before it got too hot outside. We loved walking around petting and feeding birds, kangaroos, camels and more. Then we had lunch, and drove to the drive-through zoo. At first the kids (and myself) weren’t so sure about emus coming right up to the car, but we eventually became friends and the kids loved it! Such a fun day!

PLZoo-2PLZoo-1PLZoo-3

Table Rock Lake

We rented a pontoon boat for 2 days at Table Rock Lake. We spent all day on the water, only stopping at small restaurants on the water with decks to eat lunch. Since it was so hot, we spent a considerable amount of time just lounging in the water. Kinsie has become much more comfortable in the water this summer, and she was a little fish swimming all over the lake. Brax loved it too, and even took a nap on the boat (this is almost unheard of for him!) We love spending days on the lake!

TRLake-1TRLake-2

Pool Days

The village that Ryan’s parents have their time share is perfect for kids. They have an awesome pool area with an amazing kids section. As soon as we got to the village on the first day, the kids were dying to play in the pool area. Again, with the heat, we didn’t mind a few pool days. The kids had a BLAST. The entire kids area is extremely shallow, so it was perfect for them to run around in!

Pool-1Pool-2

Wonders of Wildlife Aquarium

There is a new aquarium in Springfield, MO, which was about an hour away from Branson. We needed at least a day doing something indoors, and this was the perfect option. It was amazing! The building had an aquarium section, and a museum section, and we only did the aquarium side and just that took us over 3 hours to see everything. Some of the highlights were feeding the stingrays, and drawing a sea creature and scanning it to see it come to life on a large projector screen…so cool!

Aquarium-3Aquarium-2Aquarium-1

St. Louis Zoo

The kids and I rode back to Indiana with Ryan’s family to stay for a week after Branson (Ryan had to work, so he drove back to Little Rock). St. Louis is about halfway between Branson and Indianapolis, and they have a great (free) zoo (with hippos)! We stopped for a couple hours just to see some of the kids’ favorites. It was EXTREMELY humid, almost so much that it was hard to enjoy, but Kinsie doesn’t get to see hippos everyday, so we persisted! They loved the animals we got to see, including hippos, gorillas, elephants, penguins, and bears. It was definitely worth the stop!

SLZoo-1

We had such a great week, and it was so nice having Ryan for a week. The kids LOVE whenever he has time off, and they are always ALL about him! We are so grateful to his family to letting us be a part of such a great trip!

 

Feelin’ Hot Hot Hot in June

The southern summer heat is here and more intense than I remember. April and May were perfect, then June hit and the high temps and humidity hit us hard. Unless you go outside before 8am, or are in water, it’s honestly hard to bear. Without school or extra-curricular activities, we’ve had to get creative to keep the kids busy. Ryan has had a harder rotation than I expected, with several all-day shifts (7am-10pm), and the rest 11am-9pm. Like mid-shifts, I really dislike these shifts because he’s not home for not only most of the day, but dinner and getting the kids ready for bed. Evenings are my kids “witching hours,” so it’s not fun dealing with it alone! I’ve definitely become used to it, but it’s still so much better when he’s home to help. The kids have REALLY missed him this month – especially Kinsie. She has cried on multiple occasions because she misses him, and she takes out her frustration of him not being home on me. I think it’s worse than usual because she’s not in school to help keep her mind busy. Next month, he’ll get a week off and we’ll go in vacation to Branson, MO…so we’re all looking forward to that!

Here is a recap of our June…

Chugga Chugga Choo Choo! Brax is Two!

The kids spent the last week of May in Indiana with family, and Ryan and I came up the next weekend for a wedding, then had a late family birthday party for Brax. It was perfect timing for us to be home, because my sister-in-law also had just found out the gender of her baby, so we had a small gender reveal before Brax’s party. They are going to have a sweet baby boy and we are SO excited to meet this little blessing! Kinsie asks about the baby EVERY day and can’t wait to have a new cousin. Brax doesn’t quite understand yet, but he loves babies so I’m sure he’ll be obsessed when he meets him!

DSC_0038

The kids had a great week in Indiana, but after a week of being away from me, Brax was pretty grumpy and wouldn’t let me leave his sight. His party was a lot of fun, but a little stressful because he was so grumpy and would only say “No!” to anyone who tried to talk to him. Luckily everyone who was there loves him regardless and we all just took it in stride. We managed to get a few smiles out of him, and he still says he loved his choo-choo party when we ask him, so I guess that’s what counts!

Braxis2-4Braxis2-1

These sweet cousins were inseparable the whole party

Braxis2-2

A special shout-out to Megan for making the kids’ train shirts, the cupcakes, and the banner…Renata for another batch of amazing cookies…my Mom for helping with balloons, and Bev and Tim for hosting! I am SO grateful for my village!

The kids had a blast with the piñata, playing on the ATV, fishing, and just spending time together. Anytime we are surrounded by both of our families, we are happy!

Braxis2-5Braxis2-3

Outdoor fun

We are always trying to find time to spend outside. When the humidity isn’t as intense, or in the morning when the yard is still in the shade, we try to go out and burn some energy. The kids have loved the sprinkler, water table, kite flying, hopscotch, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, bug-catching, and more. Kinsie recently decided that she wants to start t-ball in the fall, so she’s been practicing whenever she can!

Outside-play

And of course, nothing is better on a hot day than some cold treats! Popsicles, ice cream, and our favorite shave ice truck have been lifesavers in this heat!

Outside-coldtreats

Relief from the heat

Spending time outside is not always possible because of rain, or extreme heat…but my busy kiddos can’t handle too much time in the house. They are great with just playing with their toys, but after a while, they (and I) get stir-crazy and they fight a lot more. We try to get out of the house just about every day, even if its a small adventure. We try to discover new places, or visit our old favorite places. We recently found a restaurant called “All Aboard,” where a train delivers your food (for my Indiana folks – its like Pizza King but more food options and cooler trains that you can see around the entire restaurant) The kids were obsessed and both cried when we left! We also have made small adventures to our favorite frozen yogurt place, had lunch and play time at Chik-fil-A, and visited the library.

Inside-eatingInside-library

Our anniversary

Ryan and I celebrated our 6 year anniversary this month. We didn’t have a romantic, kid-free dinner or anything, but that’s overrated! We were just happy for Ryan to have the day off! Our anniversary was on a Saturday, so we spent our morning at the Little Rock Farmer’s Market (one of our faves!), and the splash pad. We also ate lunch at the River Market, which is one of my favorite things to do as well ($5 sushi rolls…yes please!) We had a nice dinner at home and just spent time together. It was a great day!

Anniversary-1Anniversary-2

Kinsie starts ballet

Kinsie has been asking me for months to take a ballet class. I wanted to wait until soccer was over, then signed her up for a short summer session. She absolutely loves it! It’s only a 3-week session so she could just try it out, and since we’ll be out of town a couple of weeks in July, but I have a feeling she will ask me to sign her back up once this session is over. Unfortunately, we don’t get to watch her while she’s in class, so Brax and I have to keep ourselves busy when she’s in class.

Ballet

Savoring Daddy time

Like I said, it’s been a harder month than expected, and the kids have REALLY missed their dad. Whenever he is home, they are ALL over him! He is on a rotation where he has “call shifts,” meaning he has to be in the on-call room all day, unless they need him for a code or pronouncement. During these shifts, we can go visit him in the on-call room. The kids have LOVED doing this!

Daddytime

One good thing about this month is that Ryan was able to set his own schedule, so he took Father’s Day off. We loved having him home for the day, and the kids were so excited about giving him their gift!

FathersDay

Wonder Place

We discovered this great little place that is specifically for kids 0-8. This place was perfect for my busy kids! So many things to do including water activities, a train set, a sand table, a “river market” with pretend food they can buy, a dress-up area and stage, and more. We stayed for a few hours and they kids are already asking to go back. Definitely a fun morning!

Wonderplace

Craving family

The kids and I were really missing family this month, so I talked to my parents and we decided to make an impromptu trip home for a long weekend. The kids were in heaven swimming in the pool, having cousin sleepovers, watching fireworks and playing at the lake, and just spending time with family. All 5 of the kids were inseparable the entire weekend. It was a wonderful, much-needed trip!

home-cousins

Sweet cousin love

home-pool

Swimming fun

IMG_8939 IMG_0120

Ready for fireworks at the lake!

IMG_8946home-lakeIMG_8989

Having a blast swimming in the lake!

 

It was a harder month than I expected. We’ve officially been here for a year, and I have made significant progress making this my home. I am much better off emotionally and mentally right now than I was this time last year, but I still go through difficult spells. I think summer is hard because I know that if I were in Indiana, I’d be spending most of my time with family at the lake or at my parents’ pool. The kids would be having cousin sleepovers all the time, and we’d be grilling out and eating dinner outside. I miss summers with family SO much. We do what we can to still have a fun summer and give the kids great memories, and we truly treasure when Ryan has a day off. I don’t know what the future will bring after this season of residency, but I trust in the Lord and take comfort in the fact that He knows our next step.

And as always, to end my post, here is our June 1 Second Every video.

The Merry Month of May

We had so much fun this month! We spent about 90% of our time outside, which the kids loved. We celebrated my sweet boy turning 2, explored new parks, camped out with family, and much more.

Brax’s Birthday

Brax had a great 2nd birthday! We started the day with birthday donuts, then once we took Kinsie to school, we had a Mommy and Brax day. We played in our backyard for a while, then I took him to the park (his favorite) and he had the best time! Once Ryan was home from work, we opened presents and made Brax’s favorite meal – pancakes and scrambled eggs. After dinner, we made birthday ice cream sundaes. We had one happy little birthday boy…and one happy big sister too!

Braxbirthday-2Braxbirthday-1Braxbirthday-3Braxbirthday-4

Family Fishing

Whenever Ryan has a day off, we always try to take advantage and plan something fun as a family. Fishing is one of our favorite things to do, and we just have to walk the 5 minutes to the park to do it! Brax hasn’t mustered up the courage to hold a fish yet, but he still gets real excited to see Kinsie do it!

Fishing-1

Mother’s Day

It was hard being away from family on Mother’s Day. Especially because Ryan was working a lot of mid-shifts (3pm-1am) which are my least favorite. We got to spend some family time at a park and had a Mother’s Day dinner a few days before, but on the actual day, he had to work that evening. We at least got to go to church together, and I still got to spend the day with my babies. Kinsie was really into Mother’s Day this year…she made me something special at school, and drew pictures for me all week long. She even taught Brax how to say “Happy Mama Day!” Heart melted!

MothersDay-1

Downtown Fun

The Farmer’s Market is officially back open for the season! I LOVE the Little Rock Farmer’s Market. There are so many vendors selling fruits, veggies, jams, granola, wine (my personal favorite), and much more. One of the vendors had painting for kids, so they loved painting pictures and little figurines. After exploring the Farmer’s Market, we let the kids play at the Rock Park for a little while. This is one of our new favorite Saturday morning traditions!

Market-1

Family Park Days

Whenever Ryan had a day off this month, we tried out some different parks. Right when we finished with his MICU rotation, we spent the morning at the park by our house. We took roller skates, bubbles, soccer balls, frisbees, scooters…you name it. The kids had a blast just running around in the open fields. This day was a breath of fresh air after Ryan’s long month.

Parkday-1Parkday-3

Another day, we went to another park that the kids and I had played before with some friends. The kids love the playground, but they loved the creek even more. They sat down by the creek for probably an hour just throwing rocks and looking for critters. Family park days are our favorite!

Parkday-2

GreekFest

Little Rock had a Greek food festival one weekend. Ryan loves Greek food, and we heard good things about the festival, so we went with some friends. We had a great time! They had bouncy houses, tons of food, crafts, shopping, and more. The food was awesome and the kids had a great time playing with the other kids.

Greekfest

Kinsie’s Last Day of School

Kinsie had her last day of Pre-K3, and she was excited, but also sad. She loved her class and her teacher this year. This school was such a blessing for us, and we are so grateful that they loved on our girl and helped her feel at home here. She is excited to start in the Pre-K4 class in the fall…and Brax will start in the two year old class!

Kinsie EOY-3

Ok…can we talk about how much my children have grown this year? I couldn’t believe the difference in both of them from September to May. Kinsie is turning into such a beautiful young lady, and I feel like she grew a foot taller this year. Brax was a BABY at the beginning of the year, and now he is a little boy. I can’t even handle it!

Kinsie EOY-1Kinsie EOY-2

Other Outside Fun

Like I said, we have spent a lot of time outside. For a while, we were even eating our dinners outside every night before it started getting too hot. We had a routine…the kids would play in the backyard while Ryan and I prepared dinner. Then we would eat outside, then the kids would sit in the swinging chair with Ryan for a little while, then they would play a little longer until we couldn’t handle the mosquitos any longer. We also broke out the sprinkler and water table, and the kids have been in heaven! Their favorite part is spraying each other with the hose.

Outside-1Outside-2

Kinsie drew this picture of our entire family. Notice that she even drew our dogs, and labeled everyone in the picture!

Outside-3

Residency Crawfish Boil

One of my favorite things about the UAMS Residency program is how many family events we have. We recently had a crawfish boil, and we had a blast. The kids loved playing with the crawfish (before they were cooked), playing in the bounce house, playing with balls, chalk, and bubbles, and enjoying their friends. Kinsie wasn’t as crazy about eating the crawfish, but Brax loved it!

crawfishboil-1

Memorial Weekend

Ryan’s family came to visit us over Memorial Weekend. Megan and Tim camped out at Petit Jean State Park, and Ryan’s mom and brother Nate stayed with us. The state park is about an hour away, so we took turns spending time at our house, and at the park. On Ryan’s day off, we spent the morning hiking. Every trail we’ve been on at that park has been amazing. The kids loved throwing rocks in the water, looking at the small waterfalls and splashing in puddles.

PetitJean-1PetitJean-3

The next night, we had a cookout at Meg and Tim’s camper. We roasted hot dogs and s’mores, and the kids had a blast running around playing hide and seek and drinking from the water tank. It was a busy, fun and much-needed weekend with family!

PetitJean-2PetitJean-4

Road Trip to Indiana

Since Ryan’s family visited for Memorial Weekend, and Ryan was in a wedding the next weekend, we thought that would be a great opportunity for the kids to spend the week in Indiana. They rode back with Ryan’s mom and then we brought them back home the next weekend. The kids had such a great time at the lake, playing with cousins, swimming, and more. I sure missed my babies, but goodness it was nice to have a break.

Indiana

Exciting News!

We recently found out some very exciting news…Ryan’s sweet sister Megan, and her husband Tim are expecting a baby in November! This is a HUGE blessing and such an answered prayer. They technically told us in April, but we were sworn to secrecy until just a couple of weeks ago. I was honored to take their announcement pictures when they came to visit us last month. The kids are SO excited to get a new baby cousin soon!

MegTim

And as always, I end my post with our 1 Second Everyday video for the month of May. Enjoy!