November Adventures

The fall months always keep us busy! There is always a lot going on with birthdays, holidays and fall activities. Here were the highlights of our month:

Trip to Florida

Ryan is in the midst of residency interview season, so he is raveling around the country interviewing for different Emergency Medicine residency programs. When he got an interview with the University of Florida program in Gainesville, I volunteered to go with him without hesitation! At first we were planning on bringing the kids, but we decided to leave them with our parents and take a trip just the two of us. We hadn’t done this since our Honeymoon, so it was much needed! Since we were going to be in Florida for a few days, we also took the opportunity to visit a place that was on our Bucket List…Harry Potter World in Universal Studios. Ryan and I are both Harry Potter nerds and we have been dying to visit there. It was AMAZING. We spent 2 days there and loved every minute of it. We walked through Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, ate at the Three Broomsticks and the Leaky Cauldron, bought the Elder Wand, rode the Hogwarts Express, drank butterbeer and much more Harry Potter fun! Our other favorite area of Universal Studios was Jurassic Park. We spent a lot of time in the gift shop buying dinosaur souvenirs for the kids! After two days in Orlando, we drove to Gainesville for the interview. We walked the campus, and hiked through some of the local parks. At a park called La Chua Trail, we saw at least 50 alligators! One of them was blocking the trail so we couldn’t go any further. We loved exploring the beautiful town of Gainesville and we had an amazing trip!

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Jurassic Quest

A month or so ago, Ryan’s cousin saw an ad for a show that was coming to the Indiana State Fairgrounds in November, called Jurassic Quest. She told us we should take Kinsie. We looked into it and decided to buy tickets. It was an awesome experience! We were in a huge warehouse and there were tons of life-size animatronic dinosaurs that moved and roared. Kinsie got to ride on a moving dinosaur, and then Brax joined her on a smaller non-moving dinosaur. There were also bounce houses, crafts, face-painting (which we didn’t do because there was a 2 hour wait!), and arcade games. Kinsie was in heaven! She told us that she never wanted to leave. Of course we eventually did, but both the kids got to bring home a stuffed dinosaur souvenir. They loved it!

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Thanksgiving

This year, my school system changed our calendar, and we had one week off for Fall Break in October, and the whole week of Thanksgiving off. I didn’t like it at first since I only had one week off after the first quarter of school, but I actually loved having Thanksgiving week off. Ryan had the week off too, so we were able to spend a lot of great family time together. Earlier in the week, we got to go to Kinsie’s preschool’s Thanksgiving feast. She made placemats for us in class that included what she was thankful for. It was a lot of fun! Thanksgiving Day itself is always a highlight of our fall because we get to spend the day with both of our families. During the day, we went to Ryan’s sister Megan’s house for Thanksgiving lunch. We got to spend a few hours there with Ryan’s family, and Kinsie always loves going there to run around with their dog, Ali. Later, we went to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving dinner with my family. The kids had a blast with their cousins and we had some great family time! Later that evening, Kinsie was having a slumber party with her cousins at my parents house, and my poor sweet girl got sick and we had to come and get her. We spent the next few days snuggling at home watching movies and she was feeling better within a few days. Our family tends to have bad luck with holidays…one of us is always sick on either Thanksgiving or Christmas. Fingers crossed that we all stay healthy this Christmas!

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Thanksgiving feast at Kinsie’s preschool

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Thanksgiving lunch at Megan and Tim’s

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All the cousins gathered around the cousin table for Thanksgiving dinner

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Polar Express

This year, we thought that the kids would really enjoy doing the Polar Express train ride. Ryan’s cousin’s kids are about Kinsie’s age and they love hanging out together, so we decided to get tickets for the same train as them. This was such an awesome experience! We all wore Christmas pajamas, rode on the train, drank hot cocoa, and ate cookies. We rode to the “North Pole” and picked up Santa Claus, who rode on the train ride back to the train station and visited with each kid. Kinsie had been talking about Santa SO much and couldn’t wait to see him, then once she did, she was so overwhelmed! She tried to hide behind me but I wouldn’t let her because I knew she wanted to see him. When he sat in the seat with us, she was super shy. (this was exactly how she was at Disney World last year when meeting the characters!) She told Santa what she wanted for Christmas, but very quietly! Of course afterwards, she couldn’t stop talking about how she met Santa! It was a lot of fun and a very neat experience.

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As you can see, it was a great month! Like most parents, we love nothing more than to see our kids happy, so we take them to dinosaur shows and wear ridiculous Rudolph pajamas. Since Ryan is traveling so much, we really do our best to savor our time together as a family and go out and do fun things. We have a lot planned for the month of December as well with a trip to Florida (this time with the kids), and lots of Christmas fun!

A Full Plate on Thanksgiving

We had a very busy Thanksgiving week! Ryan had almost the entire week off, which I was very excited about. Unfortunately, my sweet Aunt Virgie passed away over the weekend, so we had to start our holiday with a trip up to the region for her funeral. My parents went on Tuesday night, and Ryan, Krista, Briggs, Kinsie, Kerigan and I drove up the next day. Ryan Robinson was still in Muncie (yes, my sister’s husband is in Muncie too…I mentioned earlier that we always do things the same!) so he met us up there later when he got off work. The trip with all the kiddos went wonderfully, as all 3 of them slept most of the way. This was the first time Kinsie was meeting my dad’s side of the family…which is a lot of people. They all completely adored her and Kerigan  (how can you not!) Sadly, Aunt Virgie never got to meet the new babies, but she knew about them. The last conversation my dad had with her was to tell her about Kerigan being born. I know she is smiling down on them from heaven!

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My beautiful Aunt Virgie

Early the next morning, we had to get on the road to get back in time for all of our Thanksgiving festivities. I have to admit, I started the day a bit overwhelmed and stressed. We had a lot of places to be that day, which normally is no big deal, but with a 2 month old baby, it makes things a little more hectic. We were supposed to be at Ryan’s aunt’s house at 11am, but after packing all our gear, eating breakfast, feeding and taking care of the baby, we didn’t even leave Portage until 9:30 and still had a 2.5 hour drive. I was stressing out about having such a late start with all the places we needed to be, but after a little reminder from Ryan and my parents, I remembered how blessed we are to even have so many places to be. We are very lucky to be a part of these families with so many wonderful and loving people…so I carried that reminder with me the rest of the day.

Kinsie slept the entire way home, allowing me to nap as well, which I was very grateful for since she kept me up so late after all of the stimulation of meeting my huge Mexican family! As soon as we got home, we ventured to Thanksgiving #1 with Ryan’s dad’s side of the family. We had a great meal and Kinsie got to spend some quality time with her Grandma and Grandpa Matthews and the rest of Ryan’s family. Next was Thanksgiving #2 at Ryan’s other aunt’s house with his mom’s side of the family. Most of this family hadn’t met Kinsie either, so she was quite a hot commodity! Everyone took turns holding and loving on our sweet girl. Finally, we ventured back to my parents house for our final meal of the day, where we spent the rest of the evening with my family and my sister’s in-laws. Overall, Kinsie was a champ the entire day. I was one proud mama! It took several difficult days and nights to get her back on a normal napping and sleeping schedule because of all the stimulation she had in those 2 days, but I was glad that we got to spend Thanksgiving with both of our extended families.

iphone nov_41Laying around with Addie before our Thanksgiving adventures

iphone nov_42Our sweet little turkey

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Lots of grandparent, aunt and cousin time!

I wasn’t one of the people who listed what they were thankful for throughout the month of November on Facebook, but I definitely have SO much to be thankful for. Rather than sharing it on social media, I just shared it with my loved ones and my Lord. Here are a few that stand out…

  • I am thankful for my amazing husband, Ryan, who supports me and makes me feel loved every single day.
  • I am thankful for my beautiful daughter, Kinsie, who lights up my world and gives my life new meaning.
  • I am thankful for my parents who would do absolutely anything for me.
  • I am thankful for my sister, Krista who has always been and always will be my best friend.
  • I am thankful for my nephew, Briggs, and my niece, Kerigan, who add sunshine to my life.
  • I am thankful for my brother-in-law, Ryan Robinson, who has always embraced every aspect of our family.
  • I am thankful for my husband’s family who have always loved me and welcomed me into their family.
  • I am thankful for my dogs, Koda and Addie, who protect me and keep me company when Ryan is away.
  • I am thankful for my teaching job and the opportunity to make a difference in children’s lives.
  • I am thankful for the wonderful and supportive staff that I work with at Mill Creek.
  • I am thankful for my church, Trader’s Point, and our life group that helps me grow spiritually in my walk with the Lord.
  • Last and most important, I am thankful for my relationship with Jesus Christ and His grace that He has blessed all of us with!