Pumpkins, Weddings, and Theme Parks

Pumpkins, weddings and theme parks…that was basically the gist of our month! We spent the month of October in 3 (kind of 4) different states between a family wedding and vacation…and still managed to fit in all of our favorite fall and Halloween traditions! Like I expected, it was a very busy month…but we made lots of memories!

Here’s how our month went down…

Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

Between traveling, school, and Ryan’s schedule, we had ONE day of the entire month that we could actually take our annual visit to the Pumpkin Patch…so luckily it worked out! It was hot and crowded, but we had a great visit. We enjoyed picking out pumpkins, taking a hay ride, playing in the corn pit and climbing on the hay playground. We love this farm and will miss it next year…but Indiana knows a thing or two about farms so I have no doubt we’ll find another one to continue our fall traditions next year!

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Kinsie Rocking Kindergarten

Kinsie is still doing great in school! She still loves it more than ever and I know she’s learning a lot. Lately, she received a few awards…a responsibility citizen of the month from the school counselor, perfect attendance for the quarter, and Super Falcon for her class! We are so proud of her!

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             Kinsie’s Writing

I LOVE when Kinsie brings home her writing from school…it melts my heart! I love watching her using her phonics skills to sound out her words. Here are a few of my favorite fall writings this month.

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               Red Ribbon Week

The week after Fall Break, Kinsie’s school celebrated Red Ribbon Week to promote living drug free. I used to be the Student Council sponsor for my school, and I loved planning the dress up days for Red Ribbon Week, so of course I also enjoyed dressing Kinsie up!

Day 1: “Tell Drugs to Take a Hike!” (top left – dress like you’re going camping)

Day 2: “Make it a GOAL to stay drug free!” (top right – dress in a team jersey)

Day 3: “Don’t let drugs be the villain in the story of your life!” (bottom left – dress like a Disney character)

Day 4: “Bubble Bubble, Witches Brew…we’re drug free…how about you?” (bottom right – dress in Halloween costume)

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Wedding Weekend in Indiana

Ryan’s cousin Nicole got married in October, and we were excited that the kids were asked to be the flower girl and one of the ring bearers, along with their baby cousin Griffin. Unfortunately with Kinsie’s school and Ryan’s work, we were only able to visit Indiana for the weekend. We left on Thursday after school and returned home Sunday evening. We were really only there for 2 days, but we made the most of it!

On Friday, my sister took Kinsie to have lunch with her cousins at their school. She loved getting to see them and their school!

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The wedding took place in a beautiful barn, and fall (and practically winter) weather decided to show up for the occasion…it was cold! Kinsie loved dressing up like a princess, and Brax decided to make things as difficult as possible while putting on his nice clothes. He goes through waves, where he’ll be super laid back and sweet for a few months, and then an absolutely stubborn terror for a few months (remember when I said he’s a sour patch kid?!) Unfortunately, right now he’s in a sour phase so everything is a battle. We won every battle except him wearing the bow tie and suspenders…so we called it a win. The kids looked great and did their job well, and Griffin was the absolute sweetest, smiling away in his wagon! We loved getting to see all of family at the wedding and the kids loved dancing the night away!

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Vacation in Orlando

We were so excited for this vacation, not just for where we were going, but the fact that Ryan got to spend an entire week with us! With the wedding and this vacation somewhat back to back, he had to use all of his days off for those trips, so when we were home, he was working every day. We all definitely needed this week of vacation!

Day 1 and 2: Traveling and Disney Springs

Our trip there was overall non-eventful, which was nice after some of the stressful airport experiences we’ve had in the past! We had to drive the 2 hours to Memphis for our flight, which wasn’t too bad considering how much cheaper it was. My saint of a husband even offered to sit with the kids on the plane and let me sit across the aisle from them. It was lovely!

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We got to Orlando around 2pm, so we wanted to use our time wisely! We spent the evening at Disney Springs. The kids love digging for dino fossils at the T-Rex Cafe and looking at giant LEGO statues. We also loved the Marvel store and shopping at the Rainforest Cafe!

On Day 2, the original plan was to go to Universal Studios with the whole family, but there was a huge tropical storm and it poured all morning! Luckily we had a built in “off” day the next day, so we just switched and went the next day. The storm was over by early evening on Saturday, so we all went back to Disney Springs again that night!

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Day 3: Universal Studios part 1

The whole crew (us, my sister’s family, my parents, Ryan’s parents, and my aunt Stella and her husband Andre) went to Universal Studios together. They all hadn’t been in a really long time, but Ryan and I went a few years ago so we helped lead the way. I could have spent all day just in Harry Potter world, but I knew not everyone knew and loved the wizarding world like I do, so we just visited there for a little while and made time for other activities too. My sister recently read the HP series though, so I was excited for her to share the magic with me! We enjoyed the castle, some rides, the butter beer, and meeting some characters.

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Day 4: Disney’s Hollywood Studios

We worked it out so that my family stayed in a Disney resort one night so we could all take advantage of the “Extra Magic Hours” at Hollywood Studios. I hadn’t been to this park since I was really young, and the kids had never been. They are obsessed with Toy Story right now, we we were really excited to experience the new Toy Story Land! Extra Magic Hours started at 6am, and the park didn’t open to the public until 9am…so we got a LOT in during those 3 hours! It was tough waking up at 5am and getting to the park before the sun even came up, but totally worth it!

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I was so proud of Kinsie because she rode her first roller coasters on this trip! She started with the Slinky Dog Dash and absolutely loved it! She even rode it a second time with Uncle Ry Ry since the lines were so short so early in the morning! She also had fun riding with Aunt Tita on the Alien Saucer Spin.

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The kids loved meeting Woody, Bo Peep and Jessie!

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Toy Story Land was amazing! And it looked a little different from 6am to later in the day…like I said, I’m so glad we were able to take advantage of those extra hours!

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We spent a good part of our day in Toy Story Land, but also made time for the new Star Wars land, and meeting lots of other characters! We ended up leaving the park around 8pm…we were all tired after a 14 hour day!

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Day 5: Universal Studios part 2

The next day, we came back to Universal Studios, while the rest of my family went to Epcot. Ryan and I love Universal and we knew there was more we would want to do than what we’d be able to do in one day, so we chose to spend another day there. Ryan’s mom came along while his dad had to travel to Tampa for work. We had another great day exploring Hogsmeade, riding the Hogwarts Express, and doing magic with our wand. We didn’t really have time last time to explore the Marvel Superhero Land, so we made sure to spend time there this time. The kids got to meet Captain America and Spiderman and loved it!

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Day 6: Disney’s Magic Kingdom

When you make a trip to Orlando, it’s a requirement to spend at least one day at Magic Kingdom…at least for our family! We met back up with my family and everyone for a day at the most magical place on earth. The kids all had so much fun together. They loved the “It’s a small world” ride, the Dumbo ride, the parade, and the fireworks.

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Best attempt at a full group selfie on Small World!

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Lots of castle pics are a must!

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It took way too long to find a spot to watch the fireworks, (I won’t get into too many details, but Ryan just about fought with the Disney employees for not letting us stand anywhere to watch!) but by the time we actually found a spot, Brax was asleep in the stroller! He stayed asleep until we left the park! Kinsie however, enjoyed the fireworks, then finally also passed out while we were waiting (for over an hour) for the ferry boat home.

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Our Disney days almost always end in two passed out kids…that’s how you know it was a fun and successful day!

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Day 7: Last day at Universal Studios – part 3

Our original plan was to spend 2 days at Disney and 2 days at Universal, but when we bought our tickets, our 2-day ticket to Universal came with a third day free…so we were happy to take advantage!

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We had the kids write down the things they definitely wanted to do on their last day there, so we made sure we hit up those things, then added a few fun extras. The kids could have spent the entire day at Dr. Seuss Land. They loved all the rides and characters! We also met Branch and Poppy from Trolls, and King Julien from Madagascar.

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There was a fun Curious George splash pad area that the kids loved. I stayed there with them while Ryan caught a few of the rides he wanted to do by hopping in the quick single rider line. We also rode a few rides that they loved the days before again, like Storm Force (similar to the tea cup ride at Disney), the “If I Ran the Zoo” interactive playground, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, and the Dr. Suess sky train. We had a great last day, and even finished in time to go meet our family for dinner since it was our last night together.

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It was exhausting, but such a great trip! We were so glad Ryan was able to join us, and that we were able to spend some time with our Indiana family as well.

Fitting in all the Halloween Activities

We got back from our trip with less than a week until Halloween. We have lots of fun Halloween traditions that we do every year, so we had to do work once we were back!

The kids and I baked and decorated Halloween cookies the weekend we returned.

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We also painted our smaller pumpkins (Unicorn, dinosaur, Forky)

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Ryan worked a few evenings in a row once we got back, so we had to split up our pumpkin carving into 2 separate days. The first round, the kids helped clean out their pumpkins and collect the pumpkin seeds so I could bake them. Then the kids did as much as they could to help carve, but like usual, they get bored easily so Ryan and I finished them up.

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The kids pumpkins are on the left… Ariel and King Kong. Ryan and I had to do ours a few days later when the kids were in school, and we did Groot and Dobby.

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Halloween Night

Ryan made sure he got Halloween night off so he could come trick-or-treating with us. I made the kids jack-o-lantern pizzas for dinner.

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Kinsie wore her costume all day since her Red Ribbon Week day was for her to wear her costume anyway, but Brax is a weirdo and didn’t want to wear his to school. He is extremely particular about what he wears lately, so I worked hard to make sure his costume was as basic as possible. And with Brax being in a “sour” phase of his sour patch kid lifestyle, when it was time to put on his costume, he threw an absolute fit. He was still excited to be Forky, but he just really enjoys being stubborn and didn’t want to do what we asked of him. After a short intense battle, we won, and he was Forky. Once his fit was over, he was as happy as can be and had a great time trick-or-treating!

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The whole family… Woody, the alien, Jessie and Forky

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Once Brax’s fit was over, we all really had a great night. It was colder than usual, but the kids did great trick-or-treating and had a great time!

October went by in a flash, and now we’re ready to take on November. My birthday is this month, and my family is coming to visit for Thanksgiving, so we have more to look forward to!

Enjoy our 1 Second Everyday for the month of October!

Our October in Arkansas

I was excited to spend October in our new home. We have a lot of fun traditions that we do in October, so I was glad that Ryan was on an easy rotation and could enjoy them with us. We did lots of fun fall and Halloween activities, as well as traveled to Florida for vacation. It was a great month that went by fast! Here is our recap…

Visit to the Pumpkin Patch

This is one of our favorite traditions. We love the pumpkin patch, the hay rides, the apple snacks, you name it. When we first moved here, we went to the Farmer’s Market in downtown Little Rock, and one of the booths set up was for a winery. I tried their wine and fell in love (For all you Indiana folks, it’s similar to Oliver Wine). When I bought some wine from them, they told me they also have a great farm and a great pumpkin patch in the fall. I was anxious to visit, not only for the pumpkin patch, but to buy more of their wine! This pumpkin patch did NOT disappoint! I was so impressed with all the activities they had set up. The kids loved playing in the corn pit and making “corn angels,” climbing on the hay bales, sliding down the tubes, visiting the farm animals, picking out their own pumpkins and going on the hay ride. They had all kinds of scarecrows dressed up as different characters and decorations to see on the hay ride so it kept us entertained! We loved our day at the pumpkin patch!

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Trip to Florida

You’ve probably already seen the post about our trip to Florida, but this was definitely one of the best things about our month. We loved spending our days on the beach, lots of cousin time, Mickey Mouse, and having Ryan for a whole week!

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Boo at the Zoo

The Indianapolis Zoo Boo was always one of our favorite traditions around Halloween, and we were so excited to find out that the Little Rock Zoo also did “Boo at the Zoo!” For this event, you had to purchase tickets, even if you are zoo members, but there was a lot more to do at this event than at the Indy zoo. There were carnival games and rides, trick-or-treating, a Haunted House, a “spooky” train ride, food trucks, bounce houses, and tons of Halloween decorations. The ONLY thing I was a little disappointed in was the fact that the event really didn’t have anything to do with the animals. In fact, most of the animals weren’t even out for display. The event focused on the activities, but it was still a lot of fun. We went with another resident’s family whom we’ve gotten pretty close with. The kids all had a great time together and it was a great night.

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Fun at School

Kinsie is still loving school! They do so many fun activities and themed days. She adores her teacher and finally seems to know all the kids’ names in her class (there are only 8 kids). Some of her favorite things she’s done at school include making apple pie, a martial arts class, and trick-or-treating. And again, I love how much they share on their Facebook page so I can see how much fun she’s having every day!


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Pumpkin Carving and Painting

We don’t take pumpkin carving lightly. We go all out every year, and we don’t just do it for the kids…Ryan and I look forward to it every year! This year, Kinsie also really wanted to paint some pumpkins, so I let the kids paint a couple of them. Last time I had Brax paint, he hated it…this time, he loved it!

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Ryan’s residency group also had a pumpkin carving night, where all the residents and their families could come and carve pumpkins together. The kids loved helping with the pumpkins, running around with the other kids, and all the snacks they could dream of!

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Then, we finally got to carve the rest of our pumpkins. Kinsie really wanted to help with as much as she could, so she helped scoop out seeds, poke the holes for the outline of the design, and even did some minor carving. Brax stuck the spoon into the pumpkin maybe once and then he was done. He spent the rest of the time reading books, climbing into the toy box and running amok while we finished carving. The kids LOVED the end results!

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From left to right, “silly guy,” Batman, Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Mickey Mouse, and Stitch

Other Halloween activities

Some other activities that we did this month included spending a lot of time in Halloween PJ’s, watching Hocus Pocus while wearing a witch costume, trick-or-treating at Kinsie’s last soccer game, and making Halloween cookies!

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Trick-or-treating

The kids are still young enough that they like wearing coordinating costumes, and we are taking full advantage of it until that day ends! We love doing family costumes, and we always base it off of things that Kinsie is really into at the time. Last spring, she said she wanted us to all be trolls from the movie “Trolls.” Then a couple months after that, she wanted us to all be characters from “Moana.” Then she kind of lost interest in those movies, so we gave her some options from movies she likes. We always call Brax “Stitch” because he destroys everything, so Kinsie thought it was be fitting for her to be Lilo and Brax to be Stitch for Halloween. I found some cute and versatile costumes that I could warm up or cool down depending on how our weather was, and Ryan and I decided to join in on the costume fun again. I decided to be Nani, Lilo’s sister, and Ryan was Agent Pleakley, the green alien from Stitch’s home planet. Ryan’s sister, Megan and her dog Ali came to visit us and went trick-or-treating with us as well. It was pretty chilly, but not so much that it affected our trick-or-treating fun. The kids LOVED it. We walked around our entire neighborhood, and they were exhausted but very excited about how much candy they received!

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We had a great month! Now with November and December coming up, we know we are going to continue to be busy…which is a good thing for us! We will be headed back to Indiana to be with family for Thanksgiving and then again for Christmas. We are still settling in to our new home, but we become more and more comfortable and feeling “at home” here every day. We are in love with the state of Arkansas, and absolutely love living here…but we are still missing our families. We love having them visit, and traveling home to visit them as well. However, with the cold weather season approaching, we are looking forward to spending winter in the south!

Puppies and Pumpkins

Ever since I stopped dressing up and trick-or-treating, I have never been that super crazy about Halloween….until I had a child. Now I think that Halloween is even more fun with a child than when I was a child! Kinsie got really into Halloween this year, as soon as costumes and decorations started being sold in stores. I wanted her to pick what she would be for Halloween, so we thought about the things that she was into at the time and gave her a choice. She chose a dalmatian puppy. We found lots of opportunities throughout the month for her to wear her costume. We went to Zoo Boo, then we went to a kids Halloween party at Heritage Lake, we went trick-or-treating on Halloween night, and then finally went to a costume cookout at my sister’s. Kinsie was always such a happy puppy. I may have to take her puppy costume with us everywhere we go just in case she is in a bad mood…it would perk her right up!

Like I mentioned in my last post, Kinsie was quite the little pumpkin picker. We let her decide what she wanted on her pumpkin, and, to no surprise at all, she wanted Olaf. We also let her help us pick out what we would put on our pumpkins, so we went with Shrek and a dinosaur. We let her help clean out her pumpkin and collect the seeds so I could bake them. We weren’t sure what she would think of the slimy pumpkin guts, but she didn’t mind at all! She was really excited about her Olaf pumpkin when we finished carving it. Then later that night after she went to bed, we carved Shrek and the dinosaur (while watching Hocus Pocus of course). When Kinsie woke up the next morning, she was super excited about all three of her pumpkins!

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The week before Halloween, Heritage Lake was hosting a kids Halloween party. We got Kinsie suited up and took her, and it was a lot of fun and perfect for her age. They had crafts, snacks, carnival games, a cake walk, and dinner. She did that cake walk for a good 30 minutes and every other kid around her would win, but not her. She was determined to stay until she won. Finally, with us and the people in charge of the walk rooting for her, she won! She was pumped about her cupcake prize! Another one of the highlights of the night was the tattoo station. Kinsie got to pick out which tattoo she wanted, and of course she picked the dinosaur. She was so proud of her tattoo, she would show everyone and even talk about it in her sleep!

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Halloween fell on a Saturday, so Kinsie had soccer that morning. The kids were encouraged to wear their costumes, so of course Kinsie was down for that. She has soccer class with her cousin Kerigan, and her third cousin, Emery…so the girls (and Briggs) had fun running around playing soccer in their costumes. Kinsie loves playing soccer, but she is often anti-following directions in class. Not this week…I swear, that puppy costume works wonders!

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For Halloween night, we went to my parents’ neighborhood, and Ryan’s parents and brother joined us. We just trick-or-treated around their cul-de-sac, and as soon as we got back around to my parents, it started raining…but by that time, Kinsie’s little puppy legs were getting tired anyway. She was so cute trick-or-treating, and she thought it was so much fun! She has never really had much candy in her life, but she was excited about all the candy she was getting. When we got back to my parents, she enjoyed helping pass out candy to other trick-or-treaters. I let her have a couple pieces of candy, which kept her occupied most of the evening while we watched Hocus Pocus (yes, again…there is no limit as to how many times I can watch it during the Halloween season). Kinsie had such a fun night, and, a week later, she is still carrying around her pumpkin full of candy everywhere she goes!

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The next evening, my sister had a little costume cookout for our family and some close friends. The kids had one more opportunity to wear their costumes, so they were ready to party. We had food, sat around the fire, and let the kids run around and make forts in their costumes. It was a lot of fun!

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Once Halloween was officially over, Kinsie got pretty upset, especially when our neighbor put away his big inflatable black cat and gargoyle (she loved looking at them through the window every night). But we had to remind her, that now Christmas will be coming soon, and we can celebrate that. She is already talking about Santa Claus and Christmas trees! Like I said before, holidays are so much more fun with a child!

Halloween Happenings

I’ve never been much of a fan of Halloween. I believe it is a fun holiday for kids, but other than that, I think it is taken a bit out of hand. I haven’t dressed up or gone to a Halloween party since high school. Call me a Halloween “Scrooge,” but it’s just not my thing. However, that has never stopped me from enjoying the beautiful season of fall. Every year, my sister and I like to have what we call a “Fall Foliage Festival” where we all carve pumpkins, eat pumpkin seeds and caramel apples, drink apple cider, and watch Hocus Pocus. To be honest, it is one of my favorite traditions that we do all year. We would always carve quite extravagant patterns and display them at our parents house on Halloween night.

Here are some pictures from previous years…

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This year was a little different for us. With Ryan and I having a newborn and him living in Muncie, and with Krista being 9 months pregnant and moving into a new house, it was a little difficult to find the time to have our annual Fall Foliage Festival. We never even got the chance to go to the pumpkin patch! Obviously our family had a lot going on this year, but they were all good things, so I didn’t let myself get too sad about missing our tradition! I felt bad not having anything on my parents porch for the trick-or-treaters, so the night before Halloween, my mom and I bought a pumpkin. While I watched the baby, she emptied it out and got all of the seeds for my dad to bake, then she watched the baby while I carved the pumpkin. I wanted to do something simple that wouldn’t take me hours like it has in the past, so I chose to make Briggs happy and carve a Mickey Mouse face (yes, this is my idea of “simple!”) I was pretty happy with it considering what little time and energy I have these days!

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Now that I have a child, I feel like I get to enjoy what Halloween is really about again. Even though Kinsie is only a month old, it was so much fun dressing her up and hanging out with her cousin, Briggs (who was a lion). Kinsie was in somewhat of a grumpy mood on the night of trick-or-treating, and all she wanted to do was sleep, but we still had a fun night at her Grandma and Grandpa Vargas’s house watching Hocus Pocus and eating candy! It is crazy to think that next year, Kinsie will be a year old and her, Briggs, and her new cousin will be running around trick-or-treating together. Our family is growing every year and every day I thank the Lord for these amazing blessings!

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Our little ladybug

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Briggs the Lion

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