The Longest February in History

This month was LOOOOONG. Usually January is the worst month, but goodness, this February was rough. The weather was absolutely insane and we had so many random things go wrong and need repaired. Our house is ALMOST DONE…which is why I think time went especially slow because we are so anxious to move in! But we made it to March and we couldn’t be more excited! Here is a rundown of our incredibly long February…

Valentine’s Day Activities

We always try to do several fun activities to celebrate Valentine’s Day for the kids…starting with making valentines for their classes. My crafty girl always wants to make her valentines, rather than just buying some and putting her name on them. This year, she made “love monsters” for her class. And Brax of course, wanted dinosaur valentines! They enjoyed putting them together for their friends.

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We also spent a day making valentine cookies (we threw in some unicorns too). The kids always love making cookies, and their most recent favorite decorating themes include Harry Potter cookies (notice several of the cookies have glasses), and cookies with masks!

Valentines-cookies

On actual Valentine’s Day, Ryan had to work in the afternoon so we did our valentines activities in the morning. This mainly included a scavenger hunt to find their gifts. Then of course I always take a million pictures of them…especially since its Brody’s first Valentine’s Day!

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A recent tradition I’ve done the last few years is writing reasons why we love the kids – one reason for each kid starting on February 1 until February 14. They loved waking up each morning to see a new reason, and Brody loved wrinkling up and chewing on his reasons! 

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I also usually try to make a Valentine-themed dinner for the kids. This year included heart-shaped grilled cheese sandwiches. And for Brody, his lunch meat and veggies were arranged in a heart!

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The Never-ending Blizzard

The week after Valentine’s Day was INSANE. Not only the entire state of Indiana had major snow storms, but even southern states like Texas and our old home state of Arkansas did too! The entire time we lived there, there was maybe a light dusting of snow once…and the entire city shut down. Now they had like 10 inches! I’m not sure how they survived! Anyway, the kids didn’t have school on Monday (President’s Day), and that is when the madness began. It snowed ALL DAY and ALL NIGHT. And then it snowed MORE. And MORE. It just wouldn’t stop. The kids ended up having 3 snow days in a row! (Kinsie had e-learning on these days). And it wasn’t ideal to go outside and play in the snow because a) the temperature was in the single digits, and b) Ryan was working the whole week and it was hard managing time around Brody’s naps and Kinsie’s schoolwork…but the kids didn’t even want to play outside. They were over it! We all were…except for maybe Koda.

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We did have some epic icicles on our house!

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Koda enjoyed the snow! The rest of us not so much.

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Kinsie all bundled up doing her school work online

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At one point, I did scoop up some fresh, clean snow and the kids and I made snow ice cream!

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Not only was the weather crummy, but about everything broke down during this week for us. Our toilet stopped working (and we only have one bathroom in our rental), my car got stuck in the deep snow in our driveway, our laptop stopped working intermittently, our printer stopped working, and once we actually got my car out of the driveway, the power steering pump needed replaced! It was a tough week. We were stuck inside all day, every day for a week. We actually ended up spending one night at my parents house just to have a working toilet for 24 hours. The kids were sick of each other and sick of not being able to go to school. And we were all sick of everything not working…but we got through it, and we know it could have been much worse, so we tried our best to stay positive!

Home Activities and Projects

Like every other month, February consisted of a lot of staying home and trying to stay busy. There is always a lot of arts and crafts, science, games, and imaginative play. 

One day when Aunt Renata came to visit, she got out some of Ryan’s butcher paper and started creating a board game with Brax. They included Dinosaur Land, Unicorn Island, and more. Once Kinsie came home from school, then she took off with lots of ideas for the game too. The kids loved designing it and playing it!

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Ryan and I recently watched the Netflix show called “The Queen’s Gambit.” It’s about a young orphan who becomes a prodigy and world champion at chess. I’ve never known how to play chess, and watching this show made me want to learn. Ryan bought a learning version of the game, called “No Stress Chess.” So one day, Ryan started teaching me how to play, and the kids became obsessed…especially Brax! I didn’t think it would interest him much, but he LOVES it, and still asks Ryan to play with him regularly!

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Kinsie is still slowly working through all of the science kits she received for Christmas. Ryan loves doing them with her and teaching her about science along the way. Brax usually joins in on the fun too!

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One day, Kinsie randomly decided she was going to make vet stations for their stuffed animals. She had a station for checking eye sight and getting glasses, a teeth brushing station, a station to check for ticks, and a station to receive a shot and decorate a bandaid to put on after the shot. She asked Brax and Brody to each pick a stuffed animal to go through the stations with. It was so creative!

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I have always wanted to collect all of the kids’ drawings and artwork and put them into a book, but I never took the time to do it. Well one day, my sister-in-law sent me a text saying that Shutterfly was having a deal where you could make a book with free unlimited pages. I knew right then, this was the time I finally needed to do it. So I spent the next couple of days organizing the kids’ artwork, scanning it all, and arranging it all into books. I made one book for Brax with artwork from age 2 until now, and I had to make 2 books for Kinsie because she had SO much artwork. Just last spring alone when the pandemic hit, drawing was stress relief for her, so she spent hours a day drawing. Now all of that artwork is displayed in these awesome books rather than tucked away in bins where nobody will see them. I love how they turned out!

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Since we hardly ever leave the house, Brody often gets bored with his same environment and toys, so I try to switch it up and take him into different rooms. Whenever I have computer work to do, I bring him to the office (which is also the room where he sleeps) and I put him in his pack n play and put toys in with him. The kids always like to get in there with him to play, so of course I had to document it!

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Fun at School

Even though this year is very different, the kids are still really enjoying school. I love seeing the different activities and work they bring home from school.

This particular paper Kinsie brought home melted me. She had to write about her superhero, and she wrote about her dad!

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I love when their schools share photos on social media so I can get a glimpse of their day!

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This month, Brax got to celebrate his 100th day of school! He got to bring in 100 of a snack (he chose M&M’s), and 100 of an item of his choice, as long as it fit in a gallon sized bag. He brought in 100 dinosaurs!

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Cousin Sleepover

My parents invited all the cousins (except Brody…he still needs his mama at night!) for a sleepover. It’s reasons like this why, even in the midst of a horrible winter, we are so glad we moved back home!

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OUTSIDE!!

After the snowstorm week from hell, the sun finally decided to shine again! The temps got up to the mid fifties and it was HEAVEN. Most of the snow melted, and we finally ventured outside and I can’t even tell you how amazing it felt to feel the sun again!

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Progress on the House

Our house is ALMOST DONE. I’m so excited I can barely think straight. The updates this month were SO fun because we’ve gotten to see it slowly come together to look like the final product. It is so beautiful I could cry.

 

The living room after a fresh coat of paint

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In love with my counter tops!

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The basement!

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Master shower

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Kinsie loves her room!

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Living room

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The upper back porch

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Master bathroom

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Kids’ bathroom

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My amazing kitchen 

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Ryan and I have had to meet with the guys working on the house every once in a while to discuss things, and Brody is usually along for the ride. One day, we had to go through the house and decide the layout of all the closets. Well I guess we took longer than I expected because Brody ended up falling asleep!

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Picnics are a common thing at the house! 

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Brody is NINE Months!

My baby is only 3 months away from turning one, and I’m not ok with it! Goodness this boy brings us so much joy. He is so sweet, silly, and happy, and he still LOVES his mama. The feeling is mutual, but I don’t necessarily feel the need to hang all over him and chase him around like he does to me.

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Brody updates at 9 months –

  • He weighs 19 pounds – 36th percentile
  • He is 28.8 inches tall – 63rd percentile
  • He loves to dance! He has the most precious signature dance that he does whenever he hears music (you can see small snippets of his dance in the 1 Second Everyday video at the end of this post).
  • His favorite food is strawberries. But he still loves most food. And he eats SO fast…like his dad!
  • His two top teeth have broken through and are SO cute.
  • He is “real” crawling now. However, when he wants to get somewhere fast, he still drops down to his belly and army crawls like a beast.
  • He is saying sounds like “da-da,” “ya-ya,” and “ga-ga.” No meaning yet, just cute babbles.
  • His favorite thing to do is pull up on anything he can. He is also starting to get braver and tries to climb up onto things. 
  • His favorite place in the world is his mama’s arms.
  • He looks just like Kinsie did as a baby. I didn’t realize it until I looked back at baby pictures of Kinsie. 
  • He loves discovering his voice, He makes all kinds of cute babbles and squeals constantly.

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On Brody’s 9 month birthday, the kids made him cards, and found toys and wrapped them up in paper for him to open as presents. It was precious!

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Matching brother hats

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Always standing!

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More precious Brody smiles! I could stare at his face all day. I often do.

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Our growing boy!

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Good riddance, February. We’re ready to move on from you. We’re ready for March. We’re ready for spring. We’re ready for warmer weather and more outside time. And we are SO ready to move into our house…SO SOON! Stay tuned…next month is officially move-in month!!

Here is our February 1 Second Everyday…enjoy!

Going through the January Motions

January is one of my least favorite months ever, no matter where I live. It’s just so blah. The excitement of Christmas is over, it’s winter, all the trees and grass are dormant, it’s not pretty outside…it’s just blah. And it always seems to last forever. However, we know that we still have a lot to be grateful for, and a lot to look forward to. This January brought some hope that we’re *hopefully* seeing the light at the end of this very long Covid tunnel. More Americans are getting vaccinated each day, and I am (not so) patiently waiting my turn. In the meantime, it’s very reassuring that Ryan is now fully vaccinated, so that risk of him becoming infected at work is significantly lower. We’ll just keep trucking along in our little Covid bubble until things are safe for us to come out of it.

With all that said, my monthly blogs with continue to be somewhat boring because we don’t go anywhere! But hopefully you’ll still enjoy some pictures of our activities from home!

Home Activities and Projects

Luckily the kids have been able to go to school so far this calendar year. They need the social interaction, the time away from home, and the time away from each other. But when they aren’t at school, they are home. And they do a pretty darn good job of keeping themselves busy and entertained!

Kinsie loves arts and crafts. It’s one of her favorite things in life. For Christmas, she got a Disney craft book, and she has already set to work. The first craft she made from it was an Aladdin puppet theater. She did an amazing job!

Home-Aladdin

Brax received several Lego sets for Christmas, mostly dinosaur sets since that is his favorite thing in the world right now. So we took some time after school for a few days to build a T-Rex, a triceratops and a pterodactyl. He can’t wait to display them in his new room! On a separate note…Legos are surprisingly extremely satisfying for my busy mind. I also built the Knight Bus from Harry Potter on my own one night when the kids were in bed!

Home-Legos

Kinsie and Brax have both inherited my and Ryan’s love for all things Harry Potter. So we decided to start reading the books together as a family. It helps that we have the illustrated versions of books 1-4 to keep them intrigued in the story. We already finished Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and they loved it! Ryan did the best character voices, British accents included! Kinsie especially can’t wait to start the next book.

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On MLK Day, Kinsie’s school encouraged the students to use it as a “day on” instead of a “day off” and do some kind of service project. Kinsie decided to make valentines for frontline healthcare workers. When she was done, she had Ryan take them to work and hang them up around the emergency department so everyone could enjoy seeing them.

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The kids can get so creative with the games they come up with. On this particular day, they created a zoo with all of their toy animals. Each animal species had their own containment, and sometimes an animal would break out and create chaos and would need to be tranquilized by a helicopter and brought back to its cage!

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On weekends, we always try to find little projects for the kids to do. Ryan found a dinosaur fossil dig site for Brax at the store, and Brax was pumped. He worked so hard digging out his dino!

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Lately when Ryan is home in the evenings, the kids always want to do something fun with him. Sometimes it is play a video game with him, but usually Kinsie wants to do science with him. She got several science kits for Christmas, so they’ve had lots of fun trying them out. They’ve played with slime and kinetic sand, dug for crystals, made a volcano, and even made their own ice cream and slushie!

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Cousin Visits

When Ryan worked one Saturday, we needed a change of scenery, so I loaded the kids up and we drove to my parents’ house and had the kids’ cousins come play. I have lots of stuff stored in my parents’ basement, so while I sorted through all of that stuff, the kids had a blast playing with their cousins all day. Their favorite thing was playing their new “The Floor is Lava” game with them!

CousinFun

Another day, my sister’s family came to visit us and see the progress of our house. We made a day of it and had a picnic at the house, then they came back to our rental house for a while. We loved having them visit and the kids always love cousin time!

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Snow Day!

The kids have been dying for snow ever since we moved. We’ve had several small drizzles, but not enough to cover the ground for more than a couple of hours. Well…they finally got their wish! We finally got a good, somewhat heavy snowfall…enough to cover the ground and make the roads slick. Because of this, they had their first official snow day. Kinsie technically had an e-learning day, but she was done with her school work shortly after lunch, so then we were able to go outside and play.

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We all went out as a family. Brody loved sitting in the sled and watching the kids run around in the snow!

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Snow angels, sledding, and snowmen…oh my!

Our current yard is big, but it isn’t the best sledding yard, so Ryan attached the sled to his jeep with a rope and pulled them around the yard. They had a BLAST! And Koda loves snow too, so he ran around like a puppy chasing them in the sled!

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I wasn’t always the biggest fan of snow…especially in high school and college. I always swore I would move somewhere warm where I would never have to see snow again. Well, that wish somewhat came true for a while! But now my perspective has changed. Not that I love cold weather by any means…but now I embrace it. I had my time in a warmer place, and let me tell you…the grass is not greener on the other side! Yes the winters in Arkansas were MUCH better, but the intense heat of the summers were almost unbearable. I traded one dreadful season for another. I’ve learned that there is no perfect place to live. But after being away from our loved ones for 3 years, we decided that we’d rather endure the rough winters if it means we’re close to family again. And to be honest, I missed the season changes of the midwest. I’m sure I’ll be over the snow and cold weather soon…but at least now I have a little more perspective, and I’ll remember that I chose family over mild winters.

100th Day of School

Kinsie recently celebrated her 100th day of 1st grade. Her class was encouraged to dress like they are 100 years old. At first, Kinsie was skeptical…she said she didn’t want to look weird. But I told her we wouldn’t go over-the-top and we would make her a cute old lady! I gathered a few items together, and Ryan made a cane for her. We let her try it on the night before and she approved! She was the prettiest little old lady I’ve ever seen!

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Progress on the House

The progress is really picking up at the house and we are so excited! They got so much done this month. It is hard not to go visit every day…which I basically do!

Working on the exterior…

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We have a front door… and a pretty little model!

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We have cabinets! I am SO excited for my new kitchen!

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We have tile in the mudroom and bathrooms…

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Obsessed with our vinyl floors!

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Kinsie showing off my new farm sink…one of the things I’m most excited about. And I’m not even kidding!

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We LOVE the way the exterior turned out!

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The kids always have so much fun when we visit. They like playing hide-and-seek in the cabinets. We also try to bring Koda whenever we can so he can get used to it and not feel the need to “mark his territory.”

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The house is estimated to be done in March. We’re so close!!

Brody at 8 Months

Not sure how I blinked and my baby turned 8 months old! I have to admit that I am enjoying and savoring his precious baby days more than I did with Kinsie and Brax. Maybe it’s because I’m not working now. Maybe it’s because we’re in a pandemic. Maybe it’s because he may be my last baby. Whatever the reason…I am savoring every precious smile, giggle, and snuggle with this boy. And even the tougher moments like teething, fussiness and when he decides not to sleep at night…I know that those moments are temporary. I know it’s just a season, and it will be over soon…just like his time being so little.

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His monthly photo shoots are getting a little harder to do since this boy is ALWAYS on the go!

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Here are some updates of our Bro Bro at 8 months old…

  • He is starting to pull up on things. We have to watch him like a hawk!
  • He LOVES table food. He’s been trying lots of new foods and likes almost everything he has tried. His current favorite include strawberries, carrots, avocados, and pears. He suddenly decided he does not like scrambled eggs anymore. He is definitely showing preferences for certain foods!
  • He often does the “downward-facing dog” yoga pose.
  • He is still army crawling. We know he is physically strong enough to crawl normally, but he prefers to scoot around. And does so very quickly!
  • Unlike his siblings, he has never been a huge fan of baths. However, now that he can sit up independently, I’ve been letting him take his baths with Brax. The first time I was going to give them a bath together, Kinsie was super jealous so I let her join in for the first time. But now that Brody is taking his baths with his brother, he has SO much fun. He even splashes in the water like crazy!
  • He and Brax have their own language. They will often mimic each other’s noises, and then laugh.
  • He is currently popping his two front teeth.
  • He is still obsessed with his mama. But he has a fun relationship with his daddy too.
  • He is really starting to play with his siblings…not just sit and watch. He’ll chase them around and interact with them and try to play what they are playing.

Showing off his standing skills!

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Loving his food!

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Bath time for Bro!

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Just doing some yoga!

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Mama love

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Brother and sister love. He already has such a sweet and unique relationship with each of them.

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More sweet Brody faces!

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The best thing to come out of 2020! Thanks for the perfect onesie, Yaya!

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Our growing little boy! I’m not ready to accept the fact that he’ll be a year old in just a few months!

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And that’s a wrap for January. And we are one month closer to moving into our dream home. I am SO ready to not only live in our new beautiful house, but to finally become somewhat settled. To not live in limbo anymore, where we have that nagging feeling that we’ll have to pick up and move again in a couple of years. That has been lives together so far for the past 8.5 years. Med school and residency and so many changes and moves…I’m ready to finally be in my forever home. And by the end of February, we should be pretty darn close to doing just that!

And as always, here is our January 1 Second Everyday…the first of 2021. This has become such a fun tradition. We all LOVE going back and watching them all from the past, and watching the kids grow through the seconds. It’s a tradition I have no intention of stopping anytime soon. Enjoy!

Kicking off 2020 at 6 Months Pregnant

The first month of this year has been interesting. It’s been long, like most Januarys, but we’ve also been busy…in a different way. Being 6 months pregnant makes busy days a bit more exhausting. I started AND ended the month being sick…nothing too bad, just a cold…but man, these colds have kicked my pregnant behind! Having a cold while pregnant is a lot worse than I remembered…I’m already tired and out of breath all the time, and I didn’t have many options for any medications to give me any relief. I’ve mainly relied on nasal spray and rest. With a busy working husband and two kids who need dropped off, picked up, and ran around to their various activities…rest is few and far between. Luckily I’ve had help here and there with a few mom/mother-in-law visits!

Here is a recap of our month…

Prepping for the big move

We’re planning on putting our house on the market in March, so the first step is LOTS of decluttering. It’s been tiring, but mentally satisfying for me. When I’m pregnant, my nesting drastically kicks in, and my mind can’t rest. It’s almost like taking Adderall – I have a hard time not being productive. Even though I don’t have a nursery to prepare for unil we move, luckily I’ve had a whole house to clean…fulfilling my nesting needs. We rented a storage unit to keep our stuff that we’ve cleared out of the house, which the kids have been weirdly obsessed with. They don’t like storing any of their stuff, but they LOVE taking runs to the unit and helping load it up!

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Trampoline Park Day

Before the kids started school after Christmas break, they needed to get some energy out, so I took them to one of their favorite places, the trampoline park. Even though I wasn’t physically able to jump with them this time, luckily they entertain each other pretty well and had a great time!

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100 Magical Days

Kinsie was super excited for her 100th day of school. At the school in which I used to teach, celebrating this day was more of a lower elementary thing, so as a 5th grade teacher, I never really got to partake in the fun. Being the mom of a Kindergartener though has given me that chance! Kinsie and I went to Hobby Lobby together to pick out her supplies and made her shirt together. Her shirt had a rainbow made out of 100 gems, a unicorn, and the words “100 Magical Days!” She was so excited to show it off and loved telling me about all the different 100 Day activities they did at school that day.

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Rare Outside Time

If Arkansas gets any cold weather, January is typically when it happens. Overall, it’s usually about 30 degrees in the mornings and evenings, and then gets up to the 40s, MAYBE 50s during the day. Not too bad compared to an Indiana January, but still. We’ve had TONS of rain this month, which is what has kept us from being outside more. We did, however, get a few rare opportunities to spend some time outside, which always fills the kids’ buckets.

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Community Helpers Unit

Kinsie had her first big unit at school, community helpers. They’ve been learning about different community helpers and what they do, and they’ve even had several guest speakers (her daddy being one of them!) All the Kindergarteners had to pick a community helper and create a poster and present it to the class. Kinsie picked doctors because she is so proud that her dad is one. She worked so hard on her poster, and it turned out great! I helped her physically put it together, but she did all the research (Ryan was her resource), and all the writing. She was a little nervous to present to the class, but she ended up going first and did an awesome job! She was so excited to have Ryan come speak to the Kindergarten classes about being a doctor too!

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Baby Updates – 6 Months

I’m kind of freaking out at how fast this pregnancy seems to be going this time. Between life with two other kids and keeping up with all of their activities, plus starting the process of moving, each week is flying by!

Updates and Symptoms-

  • Baby is a little more than 1 pound
  • His hands are always by his face
  • He is VERY active. I absolutely love feeling him move, but he is getting bigger and stronger, which makes some of his movements somewhat painful!
  • Continued gigantic hiccups
  • Intense need to “nest”
  • Mild carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms – I’m hoping this one is more from the work I’ve been doing around the house rather than my pregnancy. If you recall, my carpal tunnel pain was SO intense near the end of my pregnancy with Brax, which continued for several weeks after he was born. It was so terrible being in horrible pain even holding my newborn baby. I eventually had to get cortisone injections is both of my wrists. I am trying to be very proactive this time to avoid it getting that bad again.

Early in the month, we had our anatomy scan. Even though we already knew it was a boy, I loved every moment of the ultrasound. The tech was extremely thorough and even gave us a free DVD with the entire ultrasound on it. We got lots of great views and pictures of our crazy little guy, including a quick 3D view of his sweet little face! He is very healthy and right on track with his size!

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This picture was taken at 22 weeks – baby was the size of a red bell pepper

22 weeks

 

This picture was taken at 24 weeks – baby is the size of a pomegranate (notice the size difference in just 2 weeks from the previous picture!)

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I found some of my old pregnancy pictures from my last 2 pregnancies, and compared the pictures all at 24 weeks. It is so interesting how different each pregnancy has been! As you can probably see, I was the biggest at this point with Brax. With this baby, I’d say I’m in between how big I was with Kinsie and Brax.

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The kids were excited to get in on the action with pictures this time! They are SO excited to meet their baby brother!

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Real life with these two…

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That’s a wrap for our January. Life is going to continue getting crazier as we get closer to the arrival of our little guy, and our big move back to our home state. It’s a lot all at once, but I keep reminding myself that it’s all good stuff. God is blessing us abundantly and we couldn’t be more grateful for his goodness!

Enjoy our first 1 Second Every video for the year 2020!

The Longest January in History

Ok…full disclosure. No sugar coating. January seemed like the longest month in history for us. Just one month felt more like six months. I don’t know if it’s because the last few months were so busy for us, so it made January seem slower? Or if it’s because it’s just winter and there isn’t as many opportunities for us to get out and about as much as we’d like to? Maybe it was a combination of both? Nothing bad happened…it’s not like it was a bad month. It was just long. And now I’m just so glad it’s over!

This pic below pretty much sums up our month of January.

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Anyway, because it was such a long and dreary month, we all kind of struggled.  It seems like it’s been forever since we’ve seen any family, even though it’s only been a month. The kids (especially my little energetic Kinsie) struggled with not being able to run around as much as they need to. The kids fought more than usual, and I was less patient than usual. (I told you…full disclosure!) It also didn’t help that Ryan had to take his Step 3 exam, which consisted of lots of studying and two full testing days one week apart. His testing days took up two of his very few days off for the month, and whenever he was home, he was studying, But somehow, we survived it. We did whatever we could to survive and did the best we could at still enjoying our time. We still did fun things, it just took a lot more energy and creativity than usual!

Kinsie started gymnastics

This was a major highlight for her. She did gymnastics when she was little and always loved it. She’s been asking to do another class ever since we moved here, it just hadn’t worked out since she was already in so many other sports and activities. Right now she only has ballet once a week, and T-ball doesn’t start back up until spring. My little energizer bunny definitely needed something else to help her get her energy out during the winter, so we signed her up. She has class once a week, and has absolutely loves every second of it! Brax usually has to come with me and he enjoys watching Kinsie’s class too. We love watching her bouncing around happily each week…and let’s be honest, the extra practice in coordination can’t hurt her either!

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Brax is on the potty train!

Brax is a stubborn kid, and I fully expected potty training to be a major battle, because many things have been with him so far. Because of this, I was not in any hurry to start. I learned the hard way from Kinsie that potty training cannot be forced on a kid if they aren’t ready and willing. Over the last few months, I would randomly ask Brax if he wanted to try sitting on his potty, and usually the answer was no, so I left it alone. However, early on in the month, I knew we were going to be home for most of the weekend since we weren’t having great weather anyway. I’m not going to lie, I did not have high hopes and I assumed nothing would actually come of it…but I figured I would try anyway. We let him run around commando for the day and encouraged him to try sitting on his potty every so often. To my surprise, it actually went very well! He had a great first day and was excited to keep going. We kept going and within 3 days, he was completely potty trained while commando, so we let him try underwear. This took him a little longer, but still within 5 days or so, he was getting it. Now he is still doing great. He wears a pull-up to church just in case, but wears underwear everywhere else, and he has had minimal accidents in weeks. He even goes potty at school and in public places. Stickers and small treats worked really well for him day to day, and he loves keeping track of his dry days and earning bigger rewards, like a popcorn party, small toys, and an ice cream trip. He is so excited to be a big boy, and Kinsie has been his biggest supporter!

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(Side note – Kinsie thinks his potty chart that says “Brax is on the potty train” is absolutely hilarious. I guess she will enjoy puns and plays on words when she’s older!)

Trying to stay sane indoors

Like I said before, we’ve had to get creative on how to stay busy inside. One of Kinsie’s favorite things to do lately is make recipes from her Disney Princess cookbook. So far we’ve made “Chip’s bite-size cookies” and “Rapunzel’s Towering Parfaits.”

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Indiana has had a rough January with lots of snow and extremely cold temps. Kinsie was so jealous that we didn’t get snow like they did, but was THRILLED when we had some snowflakes one day. It only lasted about 10 minutes and of course none of it stuck, but the kids were excited just to see any snow at all!

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We’ve also stayed busy by doing science experiments, setting up an entire community on the train table, doing lots of arts and crafts (including a birthday card for Kinsie’s favorite hippo, Fiona, from the Cincinnati Zoo), dress up, board games, and lots and lots of puzzles. No joke…when Kinsie is at school and Brax is home with me, we do puzzles all. day. long.

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Ryan is in the ED this month, so he is back to his abnormal hours. He has had a lot of evening shifts (our least favorite) this month. Between his shifts, studying for his test, and his weekly conference on Wednesday mornings that he is required to attend, the kids didn’t get much daddy time. At one point, they hadn’t seen him in a couple days, and he had a small break between conference and his shift, so Brax and I met him for lunch while Kinsie was at school. Brax was SO happy to spend time with Daddy and never stopped touching him. We never did tell Kinsie about it because she would have been sad she missed it!

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Zoo Day

We’ve had very seldom days where it was nice enough to be outside, so whenever it did happen, we booked it out of the house. The zoo is still one of our favorite places to visit so we spent one of our semi-nice days visiting our favorite gorillas and petting the goats.

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Rare Outside Days

The kids were giddy whenever it was nice enough to go outside (which only happened about 3-4 times). They didn’t care if the temperature was still in the 40s, they were just happy to be outside. Kinsie spent most of her outside time on her scooter and enjoyed skating with Daddy. Brax loved being pushed around in his car, and trying to keep up with Kinsie on the scooter!

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Family Downtown Day

Ryan has had to work every single Sunday this month…which has been a bummer. However, he has had a couple of Saturdays off. The Saturday after his last Step 3 session, we decided we needed to celebrate by getting out of the house and exploring downtown. It was a sunny, 50 degree day and there are a lot of fun things to do in our little city. We visited the animals at the nature center, rode the trolley, played at the rock park, walked on the Junction Bridge, and had brunch at our favorite restaurant called At the Corner. It was exactly what we all needed after a long month of studying and seclusion indoors. We had a wonderful family day!

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We are all so relieved that this month is over. February SHOULD be better. We always enjoy Valentines Day activities, and our parents are coming to visit near the end of the month. The weather also gets a little better in February here, so hopefully we’ll be able to spend more time outside and not cooped up in the house.

As always, here is our January 2019 1 Second Everyday video. Good riddance, January!

A New Kind of January

January was a very odd month. It seemed really long…maybe because we experienced both winter and spring in one month. January started out pretty cold for Arkansas. The lowest it got down to was around 15 degrees…which is pretty rare for the south (meanwhile in Indiana, it was below zero…so 15 degrees didn’t seem so bad). Just a couple weeks later, it was sunny and in the 50’s and 60’s! Ryan and I keep wondering, so…was that it? Is winter over? I guess we’ll see what February is like!

Here is a recap of our month…

“Snow” Day

We heard from several people that if it snows even a little bit in Arkansas, the entire city practically shuts down. All the schools and most businesses are closed. Mainly because they don’t have the necessary equipment available here because it doesn’t happen often. Ryan and I were really hoping it would happen, just so we could see the madness. Guys…this is no joke. It snowed MAYBE half of an inch…not even enough to cover the grass (see picture below). All of the schools did indeed close, Ryan was supposed to have a meeting and it got cancelled, my Bible study was cancelled, and so on. We had a “snow” day…although I’m not sure if you can really call it that when you could still see the grass! Even so, I was very grateful that Ryan didn’t have to work that day, so we all spent the day in our pajamas building with Legos, drinking hot chocolate and watching movies. We would have played outside with the kids, but again…there was barely anything on the ground!! By the time Brax woke up from his nap, most of the snow was already gone. And the saddest part is that the schools were closed the next day too! We definitely are not in Kansas (Indiana) anymore!

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THIS is how much snow we got…craziness!

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Getting our energy out

Even though most of our month wasn’t too bad…it was still overall too chilly to spend much time outside, so we had to entertain ourselves inside most of the time. We spent a lot of time at home because the kids are great about entertaining themselves with all their toys. Kinsie built a fort almost daily and threw all of her toys, pillows and stuffed animals in it with her, we read lots of books, made pretend cupcakes, and spent lots of great time with daddy (this last rotation has been GREAT…like a normal job with weekends off!) Every once in a while we would venture out to Chik-fil-A or indoor playgrounds in the area. Kinsie is so excited that Brax is big enough to climb up into the bigger areas of the playgrounds with her now!

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Lots of fun at home

 

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My Chik-fil-A dates

 

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Is it spring already?

Probably no more than a week after our so called “snow” day, we started experiencing spring-like weather. Sunshine and temps in the 50’s and 60’s. We have been jumping at the opportunities to take walks and play in the yard. One of Ryan’s days off we took a full family walk…dogs and all…around our favorite park and to the kids’ favorite playground. Again, Kinsie LOVED having Brax climb all the way up to the top and slide down the big slide with her. When Kinsie is at school, Brax and I have been taking strolls through the park and pushing trucks around outside. It’s been perfect not-too-hot playing outside weather and we’ve been loving it!

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Visit from family

Ryan’s parents, his sister Megan and her husband Tim (and their pup Ali) came to visit us during MLK Jr. weekend. I know I’ve said this before that we LOVE when we get visitors. It was actually pretty cold that weekend, but we still found ways to explore the city. We visited the nature center, Bass Pro Shops, and had a bonfire with s’mores. The kids seriously love it when family comes to visit, and they were both pretty sad when they had to leave. We aren’t able to come home to Indiana for a few more months, so we are hoping for more family visits soon…especially since the weather here is on the upswing.

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We had a great January…not sure if I’ve ever said that before! We were totally spoiled having Ryan around so much. To end my post, I want to share my new obsession…an app called 1 Second Everyday where you add one or two “snippets” (one second videos) and the app mashes them all together to give you a video collage of your month. Enjoy!

March is here!!

You guys…it’s finally March! This is such a big deal for me in many ways…I always LOVE when February is over and March begins. It means that the majority of winter is over, and spring is almost here! I also love March Madness, and 2 weeks off for spring break…and this March is especially important for our family. We find out in about 2 weeks where Ryan will get matched for residency! If you were to ask me a year ago how I felt about the possibility of moving to another state, I would have had a panic attack right there on the spot. I’ve prayed every single day about this to help me adjust to this idea and be excited for whatever adventure God brings us. I have come a LONG way, and now I truly am excited to find out what our future will look like…even if it means uprooting from my home in Indiana.

Now on to how our February was…it was busy! From ear infections to random beautiful weather, to a weekend trip to Arkansas…here is the breakdown of our past month.

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Early in the month, Kinsie had a double ear infection. Poor girl missed a whole week of school, and eventually went to the doctor and was put on antibiotics. It was like having a newborn at night again…she would be up every few hours crying from ear pain. As soon as she started feeling better, Brax caught the bug too. Finally we got everyone healthy again for about two weeks, and then it came back around to Kinsie again! She is currently on a second round of antibiotics and we are praying that Brax doesn’t get it again too!

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Valentines Day

Kinsie and I made homemade valentines this year for her class. She loved sitting down with me and putting together her ladybug valentines! On Valentines Day, Kinsie made heart cookies with Aunt Renata while Brax just enjoyed being a studly “eligible bachelor!”

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Wagon Rides and Kisses

We had a few days of random beautiful weather in February…so we jumped at the opportunity to take the kids outside for some fresh air. Brax got to experience his first wagon ride. He loved the ride and Kinsie loved having a buddy.

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Visiting Abuelita

My sweet grandma has been in an assisted living for a couple months now, and I finally got the chance to go visit her with my dad. I decided to keep the kids at home with Ryan so I could just have some quality relaxing time with my dad and grandma. We took her out for ice cream and she loved it! It was a great day seeing one of my favorite people in the world!

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Arkansas

Out of all of Ryan’s interviews that he went on, Arkansas was one of his favorite places. He loved the program, and the area. Since he knew he wanted to rank it pretty high on his list, he wanted me to get a chance to see it too. We took a weekend trip just the two of us. We loved exploring the beautiful city and imagining it being our future home. Grandma Bev watched the kids for us, and they had a blast too!

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Other Random Indoor Fun

Like I’ve mentioned before, when it’s winter and you have a small house with limited playing space…you have to be creative with your kids to keep them entertained. We made a clubhouse out of a cardboard box, had laundry basket rides, played “Troll Trouble,” took trips to the store to ride the horse, and lots more. Kinsie has been obsessed lately with learning how to write her letters, as well as drawing things like dinosaurs. Tic-tac-toe is one of her new faves too. And as always, the kids love it anytime they get to have cousin playdates!

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I am SO excited that it is finally March! We have a lot happening this month that I can’t wait to find out more about and share it with you! Happy (almost) Spring!

Good Riddance, January!

January is FINALLY over. This is my least favorite month of the year for many reasons, mainly because of the dreadful weather. Don’t get me wrong, we had some good times in January, but I do have to say that I’m glad it’s over…and it seemed to last FOREVER. Honestly, the weather wasn’t as horrible as previous Januarys we’ve had, but…it’s still winter. It still kept me cooped up inside the house with two crazy kids who need ways of getting their energy out. (Not to mention, I work every day with 10 and 11 year olds who also feel unmotivated and stir crazy when stuck inside due to the weather.) Ryan was on his busiest rotation of his 4th year, where he averaged 60+ hours a week, working weekends and overnights often. I feel like I’ve somewhat reached my stride to life with 2 kids, so it’s not that I needed him for the help as much…but I missed him, and the kids did too…and it’s a lot easier to make dinner, do laundry or even go to the bathroom when there is another adult present! When Ryan has had busy rotations in the past, it was at least summer or fall, so we were able to get outside, go swimming, or take walks and wagon rides. But not in January. We had to find creative ways of having fun and allowing our hyperactive kids’ to burn their energy! Here are the highlights of this month…

New Year’s Eve

I know that technically, the majority of this evening occurred in December…so don’t judge! New Year’s Eve is very different once you have children. Ever since Kinsie was born, we usually just stayed at home, put her to bed at her normal time, had movie marathons and tried to pry our eyes open long enough to watch the ball drop. Since Kinsie is 3 now, and, let’s face it, has more energy than both me and Ryan combined, we figured it would be a good year to let her stay up until midnight for the first time. We went to my sister’s house for the evening, but first had to trick Kinsie into taking a nap. We loaded her up in the car and drove around for a while until she fell asleep, and then parked in the driveway and just let her nap away. Once we were at Krista’s house, we ate dinner, played lots of board games, had a few dance parties, played XBox Kinect, watched YouTube videos…you name it (keeping toddlers entertained until midnight was exhausting!) Kinsie started losing steam around 10:30pm, but then got a second wind once the ball dropped. We had champagne and the kids had juice boxes and we all rang in 2017 as a family. It was a great night with great memories!

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Birthday Parties

We had a lot of birthdays to celebrate in January. First was our good family friends, Jake and Drew, who turned 13. We’ve known them their whole lives, and they are like family. The kids had a great time running (or crawling) around with their cousins. Next, we went to dinner for my brother-in-law Ryan’s birthday at Rick’s Boatyard. The weekend after was my nephew Briggs’ birthday. On his actual birthday, we went out to dinner at one of the kids’ favorite hangouts, Chick-fil-A, then the next evening was his party at the Well Community Center. This was an awesome place to have a party! It had tunnels, slides, and tons of toys (even baby toys for Brax). The kids had a blast and Kinsie became obsessed with all the songs on the CD that Briggs gave out as party favors. Finally, Kinsie’s cousin, Hazel had her birthday party the next day at the Jump-n-Play…another one of her favorite places.

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All-day Pajama Parties

Let’s face it, when it is cold outside, don’t you just want to stay in your jammies all day? Well, we did that pretty much every weekend. Since Ryan was working so much, me and the kids didn’t venture out a whole lot on the weekends. It was too cold (and too exhausting) to get everyone ready and dressed and bundled to go anywhere, so we stayed home a lot. The kids didn’t mind, they enjoy being home and with their own toys. We played a lot of dress-up, built things with Tinker Toys, read hundreds of books, watched countless movies (inclduing Kinsie’s new favorite…Trolls), and had more dance parties than I can count. Brax is a man on the move these days, so he crawled laps around the house daily. Kinsie has loved learning all her letters at school, so now her newest interest is learning how to write each letter. We also recently bought her some beginner Math books, so she loves doing those workbooks. She always says how much she loves to learn, and how she wants to be a teacher when she grows up like mommy. I hope she continues her love for learning…it’s definitely in her genes!

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January is over…on to February! To be honest, February isn’t my fave either (again…this is mainly motivated by the weather). Although I am already looking forward to spring, I will continue to soak in as many indoor snuggles and pajama parties as I can while they last.

6 Month Update

Tomorrow marks 24 weeks, or about 6 months of pregnancy. As cliche as it sounds, it has been flying by! With my first pregnancy, I was able to savor every moment and sit around and blissfully dream about the little life inside my womb. Now, I don’t have much time for dreaming! While I still try to savor this pregnancy, I spend most of my “spare” time chasing a toddler around. However, May will be here before we know it!

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How I’m feeling:

I’m honestly feeling pretty good. So far, I have been blessed with great pregnancies. My fatigue went away when I entered the second trimester, but then it came back in full force when I started school back up after Christmas break. Kinsie is pretty good at letting me “rest” when I get home from work…but we are in the midst of potty training, so I have to be on call at all times to run her to the potty. Ryan’s hours this rotation aren’t too bad, so when he gets home from work between 5 and 6, he helps in any way he can. It is nice teaching 5th grade, because they can be very self-sufficient. I try to sit at my desk a lot while they are working independently, and if they have a question, I make them come to me! This time during my first pregnancy was when I started having severe back pain because of the sideways position that Kinsie was in. Knock on wood, but no back pain with this one so far! I did have one spell of Braxton Hicks contractions one day that were uncomfortable on my back, but that has been all so far.

The most difficult thing at this point in the pregnancy is that I am becoming much less mobile. I am on the floor with Kinsie all the time, and standing back up takes some serious skill and effort. Other little things like picking something up off the floor, and even putting on shoes or socks is a difficult task. I am usually very independent and don’t like relying on other people to help me with things, but now I don’t have much of a choice. My diminishing mobility makes it difficult to be as good of a teacher and mother as I want to be, which can be very frustrating. However, I don’t let that get me too down because I constantly remind myself how blessed I am to even be pregnant.

Baby on the Move:

I am still convinced that this little boy is going to be a wild child. He moves all. the. time. No complaining here…I LOVE feeling him move! As he gets bigger, I feel the movements even stronger and they are almost constant. This has been such a blessing because, like I said before, I haven’t been able to savor this pregnancy as much as I could the last one. However, baby boy makes sure that I acknowledge him throughout the day! Lately, he’s been nestling up towards my ribs. Maybe he’s cold?? Kinsie got to feel him the other day and she got all excited! She said, “My baby is moving! He’s a happy boy!”

Size:

Baby boy is apparently a little over 1 pound, and about the size of an ear of corn. I know I’ve said this before, but I’m thinking this boy is bigger than that. He was almost a pound at my 20 week ultrasound, so he’s probably far past the pound mark by now. I am still shocked by how much bigger I am during this pregnancy than with my first. I compared pictures with those of my first pregnancy, and I honestly feel that right now at 24 weeks, I look like I did at 30 weeks the first time around. I knew that it is common to show faster with the second, but I didn’t know that that idea maintained throughout the entire pregnancy. I’m hoping the speed in which he’s growing slows down just a bit soon so that I’m not a horribly uncomfortable whale by spring!

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(Left pic: 24 weeks with Kinsie, Right pic: 24 weeks with Baby #2)

Kinsie’s Thoughts:

The more time that passes, the more excited Kinsie seems to get. She talks about her baby brother all the time. She says she can’t wait to hold him and play with him. When we ask her what we should name the baby, she says “A boy.” Original I guess? I am praying that she transitions well and stays this positive throughout the whole experience, especially once he is here.

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What else we’ve been up to this month:

Well, it’s been January. Need I say more? We had our first big snow a few weeks ago, so we took Kinsie out for a while to play. Last year she didn’t really like it…it was too cold for her. This year she loved it! She was running around, making snow angels, and even eating the snow!

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We started potty training during Christmas break, in hopes that she’ll be pretty good to go by the time the baby comes. She’s actually been doing pretty well. The biggest obstacle for her is stopping her playtime to go potty. She hasn’t quite gotten that part yet because to her, playing is the most important thing in the world! When we’re home, she usually just doesn’t wear pants…just underwear or a pull-up, but she doesn’t seem to mind! Her stubbornness has become more apparent through this process, and she’s really testing my patience, which, let’s face it, is not super high these days anyway. But I’m proud of the progress she’s made so far and pray that she continues to get better at it.

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This is always the hardest time of year…with the cold weather, dark mornings and evenings, ISTEP prep at school, and now the lack of energy and mobility that I have. At least we have Ryan home now. Winter storms the last few years were the worst because he usually got snowed in while in Muncie. To get through this winter, I am resting when I can, enjoying baby boy wiggles in my belly, enjoying time with my girl, and soaking up her snuggles that she constantly wants to give me right now! We will all look forward to spring and warmer weather, and then soon, our sweet baby boy!

Waiting for Spring

As I type this, we are in the midst of yet another major snow storm. This winter has been absolutely brutal! If I didn’t have Kinsie to keep me occupied, I would probably be sinking into a black hole of seasonal depression right about now. It seems like this winter is crawling by. January seemed to be unbearably long and now we are just a few days into February. Spring is not quite in sight yet. It is this time of year where it is hard to get out of your warm bed in the morning  only to drive through the darkness and trudge through the snow while the cold wind bites you in the face. Can you tell I am not a fan of winter? This winter is especially difficult when you have a baby that you have to bundle up, load in and out of the carseat, try not to slip on the ice while carrying her, and avoid letting the wind blow open the carseat cover so her sweet little face doesn’t get exposed to the harsh weather!

Kinsie was born in the fall, so she hasn’t really gotten to experience nice weather yet. There were a few days after she was born that we took her on a little stroller ride around the neighborhood, but she was too little to look around and appreciate being outside. Right now, her personality is really blossoming and she is becoming so curious and interested in the world around her. With that said, I cannot wait for my little girl to experience spring and summer. I know that she will absolutely love playing outside and enjoying the sunshine. After all, she is my daughter and nobody appreciate the warm sun more than I do!

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Ready for some sunshine!

My sweet Kinsie Kay…

Even in these dreadful winter months, you are such a ray of sunshine in my life. Your smile shines brighter than the sun on the warmest summer day. You’ve only had a glimpse of this world and yet you are already so curious and intrigued with what it has to offer…just like your daddy. Thank you for keeping my spirits up during this harsh winter and for constantly reminding me how beautiful life can be. I can’t wait for spring to come and for you to see more of God’s beautiful creation. There is so much beauty that you haven’t gotten to experience yet and I am so excited to see the wonder in your eyes as you continue to explore the world around you. I know you will love the warm weather, the sunshine, the flowers, the trees, and all of the new life that blossoms with the spring season. Just another month or two and we can put this winter behind us and move forward into a much more enjoyable time of year! Until then, we can snuggle up and keep each other warm all day long!

Snow Days

As most of you already know, I’ve been very nervous to go back to work and leave my baby every day. I’ve been on maternity leave since Kinsie was born and I was supposed to return to work on Monday, January 6 when Christmas break ended. However, God must have known that I wasn’t quite ready to leave Kinsie, so He gave us some snow. A LOT of snow! This was definitely the biggest snow storm I have ever witnessed. Not only did we receive approximately 12 inches of snow, but we reached record low temperatures of -15 degrees. The roads got so bad, almost the entire state was on a “red” travel restriction, meaning it was illegal to be driving on the roads except for emergencies. For those of you who know me well, you know that I am NOT a winter person! I would not be sad if I never saw snow again, and I fully plan on moving south once Ryan is finished with medical school. With that said, this storm was not exactly my cup of tea, but I was BEYOND grateful for this snow storm, because it allowed me, not 1, not 2, but 5 extra days with my baby!

Leading up to the storm, everyone acted like it was the Apocalypse and stocked up on milk and bread as if they’d be snowed in for weeks. We all knew it was coming though, and with it, hope that I might get a snow day or two. Ryan was supposed to start classes on Monday also, but there is always less of a chance of a college campus canceling classes than an elementary school, so we knew he probably needed to go back to Muncie before the storm got too bad just in case he would still have class. After 3 wonderful weeks of him being home with us, he had to leave on Sunday morning, right after church was cancelled due to the weather. It took him almost twice as long to get back, and of course, once he was back, he found out his classes were cancelled. So we were snow in away from each other. Luckily I still had Kinsie and the dogs to keep me company, but I was so jealous of all the people who were snowed in with their entire family, and angry at the people who were already complaining about their family driving them crazy after only a day of being stuck in the house together. I am the type of person who needs alone time, but not too much. I was getting very lonely without Ryan, and I know he really missed us being in Muncie alone without any cable or even any studying to do since his classes hadn’t started yet. I am SO thankful for my in-laws who ventured out in the trecherous weather to bring me dinner and to shovel a pathway for my dogs to go outside. Speaking of the dogs…it was so cold one morning, when I let them out to go potty, Addie ran right back in and pooped in the house! She was so embarrassed, and I honestly couldn’t blame her for not wanting to squat in a foot of snow and negative temperatures! Poor girl!

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 Because of the storm, our satellite went out for about 3 days, so I couldn’t watch TV. This wasn’t a huge deal for me because I don’t watch a ton of TV, but I still had to find things to do when Kinsie was napping. I ended up reading an entire book in just 3 days. (The book was called Bloom by Kelle Hampton…amazing book, I HIGHLY recommend it!) Anyway, Kinsie and I had to find things to do so we wouldn’t get bored (yes, even she was getting bored), so I used our time as an opportunity to play around with my camera and take pictures of my sweet girl.

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Making funny faces

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Watching the fish

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Lazy pups

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Baby snuggles and a good book…doesn’t get any better!

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Luckily on Tuesday, my dad decided to be a rebel and go against the travel restrictions to come pick me and Kinsie up to go to their house so we wouldn’t have to be alone anymore. I mean, being lonely and stir crazy is considered an emergency…right? Don’t answer that! Because school just kept getting cancelled, we got to spend the next few days with my family, which made being snowed in much more tolerable. We still really missed Ryan though!

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I couldn’t believe that we ended up getting 5 snow days in a row. God gave me 5 extra days with my baby and I couldn’t have been more grateful for that extra time with her. Unfortunately, reality starts on Monday!