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!

A Very Kinsie Christmas

Kinsie was only 3 months old last year during Christmas, and even then she was fascinated with the lights, trees, and new toys…so I figured that this year, with Kinsie being 15 months old, Christmas would be 10 times more fun. Well, it was! We put our Christmas tree and decorations up right before Thanksgiving and she was amazed. She LOVED the Christmas tree. I wanted to teach her not to touch it but just to look at it, so I told her that we just look and say “Oooo, ahhh,” (which is what my sister and I used to say when we saw Christmas lights when we were little) so she picked that habit up immediately and that became her go-to phrase for any Christmas decorations. Anytime she saw a Christmas tree or Christmas lights, she’d say “Ooo ahh,” usually as one word. Our neighbors across the street went all out and had a blow-up Santa and snowman, as well as a lit-up Gingerbread house, so she spent a lot of time looking out the window at their decorations ooo-ing and ahh-ing away. We took complete advantage of the holiday season and read lots of Christmas books to Kinsie, and listened to Christmas music every chance we got. Her favorite Christmas song was Frosty the Snowman and she’d be-bop along every time it played. Every time she’d see Santa, she’d say “Ho Ho Ho!” (including when we read her Bible and there was a picture of Simeon, who also had a white beard!) Since Kinsie was so into Christmas decorations and lights, we had to find as many activities as we could that we knew she’d love, such as Christmas at the Zoo and the Danville Winterland light display.

Like last year, she had a blast at the zoo. It was pretty cold, so we had her wear mittens. This was the first time she wore them, so she wasn’t really sure what to do with her hands. She just sat in her wagon awkwardly holding her hands up (see picture below). She loved seeing all the lights and animals. Unfortunately, it was much more crowded this time than it was when we went last year, so we weren’t able to go to the dolphin show. We still took her to see the aquariums though and she got to see dolphins swimming around underwater.

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On Christmas Eve, we exchanged gifts with Ryan’s family. My mother-in-law bought a small bounce house for Kinsie to play in when she’s there, and she was pumped! When we went to Ryan’s cousin’s daughter’s birthday party a few weeks ago, they had one of these bounce houses and Kinsie had a blast bouncing and rolling around. I was somewhat of a nervous wreck because bigger kids kept charging in with no regard and I didn’t want Kinsie to get hurt (of course she didn’t mind the extra chaos). I felt much better with her playing in it this time since she was on her own and she could bounce and roll as much as she wanted. She had a blast!

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Kinsie received a lot of other great gifts from Ryan’s family as well, including a Doc McStuffins outfit and all the doctor tools. She still loves to wear her doctor outfit when she plays at home…I guess she wants to be a doctor like her daddy!

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Later in the afternoon, we went to the Christmas Eve service at church. The Christmas Eve service is one of my favorite times to attend church, not only to hear another awesome sermon, but also to see lots of new people come to church with their families and hearing the gospel message for the first time. The sermon is definitely worth hearing, so if you interested, it is available here. After church, we went to Ryan’s aunt’s house for dinner and to exchange gifts. For her Christmas gift to Kinsie, Ryan’s aunt painted a small table and chair set with her name on it. She was all about this table when she opened it and still is. We have it in her play corner in the living room and she’ll always sit at it and play with her toys whenever she gets the chance.

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On Christmas morning, Kinsie was super excited to see the gifts that Santa brought her, especially a large stuffed bear that she immediately hugged and wallered all over. After we opened our gifts at home, we went to my parents’ house for breakfast and to open more gifts. Ryan wasn’t feeling great throughout the day (he was sick on Christmas and I was sick on Thanksgiving…not the best luck!) but he still got to watch Kinsie open her gifts. Every time she would open a gift, she wanted us to take it out of the box right away so she could play with it. She was overwhelmed with new toys and didn’t know what to play with first! Since Ryan didn’t feel well, we just hung out at my parents’ house most of the day. Kinsie loved getting to stay in her Christmas jammies all day and play with her new toys with Briggs and Kerigan.

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Christmas is such a special time of the year and it is so much fun to watch your child’s face as they open gifts. However, it is extremely important to me that we always keep the real reason for the season in mind. Even though Kinsie is only a year old, we took every opportunity to talk to her about Jesus. When she played with her Little People Nativity Scene, we showed her Baby Jesus and told her how much He loved her (which usually led to her kissing Baby Jesus), and we read the Christmas story in her Bible on Christmas Eve, which was a tradition that we did when I was growing up. The sermon that we heard on Christmas Eve does an amazing job of explaining how humbling the real Christmas story is and why it was so significant that God sent a savior to be born in a manger to save us from our sins. My sister had her kids make a birthday cake for Jesus, which is another awesome way to remind children of why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. It breaks my heart that people get so obsessed with giving and receiving gifts that they often forget WHY we give and receive gifts at all. I want to raise Kinsie to always know why we celebrate Christmas and how grateful we should be for Jesus and what He has done for us.

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I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season with their friends and family!