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!

A Momentous March

What a busy and exciting month of March we had! It was colder than we hoped, but that doesn’t seem so bad now that we will be moving to a warmer climate in a couple of months. As always, we were very busy this month with lots of exciting new beginnings.

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Kinsie’s school celebrated literacy month by doing a reading competition. We were given reading tickets, where we had to write down the titles of the books that we read with her. For every ticket we turned in, (10 books), the class would add a piece to their class caterpillar. As you already know, Kinsie LOVES to read…and so do Ryan and I. We already read with her all the time, so now we just had to keep track of what we read. Kinsie got very competitive with it (and I’ll admit, so did we). She wanted to read even more than usual to help her class win. Unfortunately, we didn’t win…the winning class blew everyone else out of the water…but we got 2nd place! I personally kept track of how many reading tickets we turned in, and it was 30. So we read around 300 books this month.

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Brax wanted to hear the story too!

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Outside fun (when possible)

We didn’t get very fun nice weather this month, so when we did, we had to take advantage. Even if it was still 40 degrees and partly sunny…we would find something to do outside weather it was swinging or taking a walk.

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Gymnastics

Kinsie started up a gymnastics class this month. She was in a “Mommy and me” class before she was 2, and she loved it. Once Brax was born, life got a little too crazy and we stopped the class. Now, she still has more energy than she knows what to do with and she is as clumsy as can be, so we figured a class to help burn energy and practice coordination couldn’t hurt. Now she is in the 3-4 year olds class, so we just watch from behind the glass. She is doing pretty well considering she’s been out of the game for a year now. She’s a fast learner and has fun doing it. Brax enjoys watching too!

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Soccer

Spring soccer season has officially started! This season we are playing with a different league because we wanted to sign Kinsie up with a few of her cousins. She is on a team with her cousin Emery, and Kerigan. Ryan, my brother-in-law Ryan, and Ryan’s cousin’s husband Scott are the coaches. We’ve had 2 practices so far and they are certainly entertaining! Kinsie has made a lot of progress since the fall, so hopefully she was continue to improve throughout the season. Kinsie is especially pumped that her daddy is the coach and that she gets to play with her cousins!

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Match Day

From my previous post, you have seen that on Match Day, we found out we are moving to Little Rock, Arkansas! I am nervous, but VERY excited for this new adventure. Match Day was a neat experience, where all of the 4th year IU med students all gathered together and opened their envelope at the exact same time. The room was full of a lot of joy, hugs, and excitement. The kids weren’t really sure what we going on, but they were excited too!

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Cincinnati Zoo

Since I was on spring break for 2 weeks, we decided to take another trip to the Cincinnati Zoo, or as Kinsie calls it, the “hippo zoo.” It was just a 2 hour drive, and the kids had a blast. Brax barely napped all day, but he was a happy little camper. We spent a lot of time with the hippos, Kinsie’s favorite. Brax loved the lions and the train ride most. It was a great day!

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My Cousin’s Wedding

My beautiful cousin and one of my best friends, Sarah, got married this month! She married a fish farmer named Joe, and we love him. He took us on a tour of the fish farm last summer, which was a highlight of our summer. The wedding was quaint, simple, beautiful, classic and SO Sarah. They had the reception at the family farm. Sarah is very passionate about agriculture education and supporting her family’s farm. Her dad, (my uncle) passed away in 2009 in a farming accident, and she and her sister Katie have kept his passion for farming and agriculture alive. The wedding was beautiful and we all had a great time. Kinsie especially loved getting some extra cousin time, including her cousins from Philadelphia!

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The outtakes of our family photo

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Cousin time

We bought a house!

Yes, you saw right. We already bought a house in Maumelle, Arkansas…it is about 20 minutes outside of Little Rock. While I was still on spring break, we went on a 3 day trip to go house hunting. And when I say “we,” I mean pretty much my entire family! We took a 12 passenger van and everyone (except for my sister’s husband and Brax…he can’t really handle long car rides yet) loaded up and drove the 8+ hours to Arkansas. The kids were rockstars and we had a VERY productive trip. We looked at 7 houses and there was no competition as to which one we wanted to be our home. We put an offer on it that day and found out later that evening that they accepted our offer! We LOVE the house, the yard, the 5 minute walk to the park (with a lake…where we can fish), and the community that we will be living in. Best of all – it was Kinsie-approved!

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It was a LONG trip but the kids did great!

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Exploring the city

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Our new house!

Another great month! The next few months will be our last in Indiana. We will be busy packing and soaking up as much time with our family and friends here as we can. Also, our little boy turns ONE in almost a month, so I’m going to excuse myself now to go cry in the corner!

 

Fall Fun in October

October is usually a very busy time of year for us with all kinds of fall and Halloween activities. This October definitely did not disappoint! Here are the highlights of our month…

Our New NIECE!

In the early hours of October 8, we were blessed with a beautiful baby niece, Kollyns Sophie Alane Robinson. My sister and I have always been in the delivery room for each other when we’ve had our babies, so I got to witness this sweet girl’s birth and capture her first moments on camera. We didn’t know the gender of the baby until her birth, and she was the tiebreaker among the cousins! Kinsie said from very early in Krista’s pregnancy that it was a girl…and she was right! Believe it or not, Brax was also very excited to meet his baby cousin. He was extra squirmy and trying to dive out of our arms when we visited her at the hospital! We all absolutely adore sweet baby Kolly!

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Pumpkin Patch

Visiting the pumpkin patch is always one of our favorite things to do in October. Anderson Orchard is our favorite place to pick pumpkins, climb on the hay bales, and eat some delicious snacks (fresh biscuits with apple butter, and apple cider slushies…yes please!)  This year, Kinsie helped pick out her own pumpkin and loved showing Brax all the pumpkins. We had 2 very happy little pumpkins!

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Zoo Boo

Our original plan was to go to Zoo Boo on Saturday, October 8…but baby Kolly had different plans and decided to grace us with her presence that day! We didn’t mind! Anyway, we ended up going a week later (Kolly may have broken a record on youngest zoo guest!) Ryan, the kids and I all went as the Ninja Turtles this year for Halloween. It turned out to be a beautiful evening, the animals were very active and the kids had a blast!

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Pumpkin carving

If you remember from past Halloweens, pumpkin carving is one of me and Ryan’s favorite hobbies. This was the first year that Kinsie really got to help with pumpkin carving. She picked a Ninja Turtle, I picked Dory, and Ryan picked a skeleton dog. We made it a family event and we all helped in the process (well, Brax watched and provided enthusiastic squeals). We were pretty happy about our finished products!

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Trick-or-Treating

This year, we went trick-or-treating at my sister’s neighborhood so Kinsie could be with her cousins. The neighborhood was perfect for the kids to go door to door and they did such a good job saying “trick or treat!” and thanking the people after they got their candy. Both of my kids were pretty pumped about all the candy they got, and Brax was even nice enough to give all his candy to Kinsie! It was a great night!

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Another eventful October in the books. This one was even more special because we got a new member of the family. The holidays are coming up so stay tuned for more updates soon!

Our September

Our September was busy, exciting and hard. As I mentioned in my last post, Ryan was in Cincinnati for the majority of September. The kids and I stayed with my parents during this time…thank goodness for this, I probably would still be hiding in a hole somewhere had I dealt with the kids by myself the entire month. We all missed him, but Kinsie took it the hardest. Luckily, we stayed pretty busy throughout the month. Here is the rundown of our month…

Kinsie’s Soccer Season

This kept us very busy this month with practice twice a week and games on Saturdays. It was good for Kinsie though to be outside running around. It was a great season!

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Grandparents Day

Kinsie’s school had Grandparents Day early in September. Both my parents and Ryan’s parents were able to make it, and I guess Kinsie was the only student in the school who had all 4 grandparents come! They all seemed to have a blast!

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Birthday dinners

September is a busy birthday month for our family. My dad, my sister and Kinsie all have birthdays in September. On the evening of my dad’s birthday, we went out to dinner to celebrate the September birthdays.

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Start of football season

These precious kids are enjoying dressing in their Colts gear and watching games with our family!

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Cincinnati Zoo

This was one of the big highlights of the month. Since Ryan was in Cincinnati and couldn’t come home very often, we went to visit him and the zoo! Kinsie was super excited not only to see her daddy, but also to see her favorite animal, hippos! This was an AWESOME zoo and we had an amazing day.

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Kinsie’s Birthday and Dinosaur Party

As you’ve probably seen in my previous posts, Kinsie turned three this month! We had a dinosaur party for her at the lake. It was a huge success!!

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We had a great month, but like I said, it was hard not having a piece of our hearts with us. We are so glad to have Ryan back home and excited for the fall season!

A Pup at the Zoo

One of our new favorite fall traditions is to go to the Indianapolis Zoo Boo. Last year, Kinsie wore her skeleton outfit, but this year she was super excited to wear her costume – a dalmatian puppy. Ryan and I weren’t crazy about the dalmatian costumes in stores and online, so we made one, which was modeled after the dalmatian costume my mom made for my sister when she was young. A white crewneck sweatshirt, white pants and some black felt and boom – you’ve got yourself a pup costume! We also may have bought her a real dog collar with a name tag that says her name too! Anyway, Kinsie LOVES her costume. She wants to wear it all the time around the house…so we’ve been trying to find as many opportunities for her to dress as a pup as possible! The zoo is still one of her favorite hangouts, and its even better when her cousins are there too! The three musketeers spent most of the afternoon hand-in-hand, and eventually they recruited Uncle Ry Ry to join in on the hand-holding too!

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Kerigan – Little Red Riding Hood, Kinsie – dalmatian pup, Briggs – zebra (“Marty” from Madagascar)

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Checking out the animals

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The pup with her crew

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Our sweet pup

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The three best friends that anyone ever had

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We all had a blast at the Zoo Boo! Stay tuned for more fall and Halloween posts coming within the next few weeks!

A Boot-Scootin’ Labor Day

Over Labor Day weekend, we traveled to Nashville, Tennessee to celebrate my dad and sister’s birthdays as a family. Kinsie is in that phase of life where you can’t really tell her things until right before we do them because she will get really excited and then get mad when we don’t do them right away. With this in mind, I hadn’t told Kinsie about the upcoming trip yet, but my dad spilled the beans and got her all pumped! She asked about the trip every day, multiple times a day, the week leading up. She would tell her toys and other random objects (like her toothbrush), “Bye! See you later! I’m going on a trip!” So once the moment finally came, she was stoked!

After I got off work and Ryan got home from Muncie (Yes, he is back in Muncie this month), we hit the road. I had plenty of movies, games, and toys to keep my busy toddler occupied in the car. She was an absolute champ in the car! Not once did she get bored or antsy. In fact, when we stopped somewhere to get food, she cried because she wanted to continue the road trip! She enjoyed listening to Barney music, watching episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and drawing on an Aquadoodle. As it started getting late, we stopped to put on her PJ’s and get her some milk, then “tucked her in” the car seat for bed. We hoped she’d sleep for the last couple hours since we wouldn’t get there until 10 or 11. Well, I guess she was just too excited to sleep. She never fell asleep, despite the fact that we arrived around 11pm! She wasn’t grumpy or anything, she just hung out and didn’t sleep. But of course she passed out as soon as we got there and put her in her bed!

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The next day, regardless of her getting to bed so late, she was up at the crack of dawn ready to start the day. She hadn’t seen her cousins yet, so she was itching to get out of the hotel room and see them. We met my parents and the kids at the Nashville Zoo, per Kinsie’s request. We had a blast even in the sweltering heat! As soon as we were leaving the zoo, Kinsie kept telling us how tired she was, and she wanted to lay down. She didn’t even want to eat lunch first, and we planned on heading straight to the Country Music Hall of Fame, where we thought would be a good place for her to take a nap in her stroller. She fell asleep almost instantly in the car on the way there, and then slept in her stroller for maybe 30 minutes before she woke up, as grumpy as could be. She was exhausted and hungry, but wouldn’t eat or sleep…every parent’s dream! She eventually settled down, and we headed back to the hotel to just relax for a while. We ordered carry out, and then ventured back out for ice cream. Kinsie (and Ryan and I) are always up for finding fun ice cream shops. We found a little place that had very unique flavors. We tried peanut butter ice cream, mango ice cream, salted caramel ice cream, and a few others. Kinsie’s favorite part, however, was the waffle cone! After a long day, we were all pretty spent. Kinsie crashed hard that night!

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The next day, we wanted to go to a very popular Pancake restaurant for breakfast, but as we pulled up, the line was wrapped around the entire building…so we went with Plan B…Dunkin Donuts! At least just to hold us over for a while. Then we walked around on the pedestrian bridge. We ended up just getting carry out from the pancake place for a late lunch. After naps, we took the kids swimming in the hotel’s indoor pool. Kinsie was SO happy getting to swim with her cousins! For dinner that night, we went to a nice sushi restaurant. They didn’t have high chairs, which I immediately knew was going to be a problem…mainly because our child is a nut and takes every chance she gets to waller anywhere and everywhere! She got a little ornery through the dinner, but we made it through by taking turns wrestling with her.

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We left Nashville on Monday morning after breakfast. Again, Kinsie was a winner in the car. She even napped for the last two hours…which I was very grateful for because I was exhausted too! With our busy schedules and limited budget, we don’t get to travel much these days, so it is always a blessing when we do. Since we are not in the city much, Kinsie saw crosswalk signs for the first time. Most people don’t think much of these…in fact, a lot of people don’t even notice them or how common they are in the city. Well, our random child became OBSESSED. Every time she would see one, she would point it out and say “My hand!” or “My person!” depending on which sign was lit up. She made it her mission throughout the entire weekend to scout them out around the city, and she would become giddy every time she would see one! My daughter teaches me something every day…but here she really taught me to enjoy the little things in life!

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A few hours after we got home, we ventured back out to take Kinsie to Frozen on Ice. This was kind of an early birthday gift, because she LOVES Olaf, and talks about Ana and Elsa on a regular basis as well. She was super excited to watch the “Oflaf show,” as she called it. Grandma Bev and Papa Tim gave her some money before the show to buy a souvenir, so between her toys that she picked out, the popcorn, and the great seats, she was in heaven! Mickey and Minnie opened the show, which was a fun surprise…but Kinsie cried when they left the stage. We had to reassure her that the real show hadn’t even started yet! She loved the show and danced around and waved to the characters. She even got to see her cousins before the show, so they were all showing off the different toys they got. On the way home, she was a little chatter box, retelling everything she remembered about the show. She even wanted to take her souvenirs to bed with her, but we compromised and put them on the table across from her bed so she could see them as soon as she woke up.

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Even though I know she probably won’t remember things like this, just seeing the pure joy on her face while it is happening makes it all worth it. A Happy Kinsie = a happy mommy. It was so nice to spend a whole weekend with Ryan and Kinsie without the distractions of jobs, school, and household chores. Quality time is my love language, so after a great weekend with them and the rest of my family, my love tank is full!

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Summer Lovin’

Well, I hate to say it but this was my last official day of summer vacation. It is uncanny how quickly these summers go by now that we are on the balanced calendar. Eight weeks for a summer vacation just isn’t long enough! But then again I am very grateful to even have a job where I can have this much time off. I haven’t posted much the last few months, so here is a recap of our summer.

Ryan took his STEP 1 Boards in early June, then started his clinical rotations a few days later. His first rotation was in OB/Gyn…which is notorious for being one of the most intense rotations. This rotation included 13 hour days, 6 days a week (and keep in mind he isn’t even getting paid!) He would barely get home in time to see Kinsie before she went to bed. Because of this, he learned pretty quickly that this is not the field of medicine for him. After this, he got to experience the other end of the spectrum, Anesthesia. During this 2 week rotation, he only worked 40 hour weeks with weekends off. It was glorious! We got in SO much quality time with him during these 2 weeks, and he even had time to build Kinsie her very own swing set in the backyard! Being able to spend time with his family is obviously a priority for him, so anesthesia is not off the table! Today he started Plastic surgery which I’m sure will be an adventure! It is still taking some getting used to having him home every night…in a good way. Sometimes I just forget that he is coming home at night! One of the hardest parts about when he lived in Muncie was at night after Kinsie went to bed. It’s definitely no fun going to bed alone every night. But now we’re enjoying our time snuggling on the couch and watching Orange is the New Black while eating popcorn. It is SO good to have him home!

This summer in Indiana was actually a bit depressing…probably 80% of our days were rainy and muggy. Not only is this depressing for someone who loves the sunshine, but it’s especially so  for a toddler who loves the sunshine and has a ton of energy! I had to be very creative coming up with indoor activities for us to do on the many days we couldn’t go outside. We took trips to public libraries, did arts and crafts, read a lot of books, and watched a lot of movies! Well…I shouldn’t say a lot of movies. We watched the same movies over and over again. Her new obsession is Shrek, so we watched the 4 Shrek movies and the Shrek musical pretty much on loop!

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Kinsie started gymnastics classes this summer! She had been climbing on everything and tumbling around nonstop, so we figured this would be a good thing for her. She absolutely LOVES it! Her favorite thing to do is somersaults, but she also loves the balance beam and the bars. She even got her first trophy last week!

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We had a busy 4th of July. First we went to the Brownsburg parade. Kinsie, Briggs and Kerigan were all about collecting the candy thrown by the floats. They were proud of their big bad of candy at the end! Later we went to the lake, like we do every year. Kinsie had fun playing with cousins, doing sparklers, and watching fireworks on the boat. Last year she wasn’t able to stay up late enough to watch the fireworks, but we made sure she did this year!

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Two of our favorite places to hang out this summer were the zoo and the lake. You all already knew that Kinsie was obsessed with the zoo and animals in general, so of course we tried to find as many not-rainy, not-too-humid days to spend at the zoo. She especially loves it when we meet her cousins there!

The lake, however, is a new obsession. We can’t even mention the word “lake” unless we are driving there. For a while, every time we got in the car, she would say “lake?” and when I’d say no, she would pout. When we say her prayers at night, she prays for the lake. When I ask her in the morning what she dreamed about, she says the lake. The lake is her happy place. She loves the boat, the toys, the fishing,…everything. We made as many trips there as we could this summer, and will continue to make weekend trips when we can even though school is starting. I don’t blame her, I love it there too!

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Even though sunny days this summer were few and far between, whenever it was nice enough, we were outside. Wagon rides, trips to the park, swimming at my parents’ pool, you name it. God must have been looking out for us, because our last full week of summer was BEAUTIFUL! I had one very happy girl! To add on to that, like I mentioned earlier, Ryan built a swing set in our backyard…complete with 2 swings (a Kinsie swing and a “mommy swing” as she calls it), a climbing rope, a bar for gymnastics, and even a balance beam. Kinsie was on Cloud 9! Every morning as soon as I opened her door, she’d ask to go swing. I didn’t mind because I could swing right along side of her!

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Some of the water fun we had this summer!

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Parks, wagon rides, and bubbles.

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Kinsie’s new swing set. Kudos to Ryan for the excellent craftsmanship!

Finally, the last full week of summer was also the week of our county fair. I love going to the fair for the good food and to see my students with their 4H projects. Kinsie loves the fair for the animals and balloons. We went twice during the week, and both times she was one happy camper. She wouldn’t stop talking about balloons until we got her one, but once she did, she strutted around like she owned the place with her balloon in hand. She loved the “hop hops” and the goats, especially when they licked her hands. I love how much she loves life!

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I’m sure you can tell that overall, we had a pretty good summer! I am so grateful for all the quality time that I got to spend with my girl. Her newest thing is always wanting to hold my hand. No complaining here! I know that she won’t always want to hold my hand as she gets older, so I’m savoring these special moments. I’m not ready to be away from her all day again, even though I know she’ll be in the best hands. She is just too much fun and so full of life. She has changed my life in so many ways and has taught me to live in the moment and just enjoy life. Thank you, my sweet baby girl. I love you more than I can ever explain!

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Here’s to the start of a new school year!