weekend wednesday

I’m writing about the weekend on a Wednesday (that’s what all the cool kids are doing now, right?), and it’s not that we did anything too out of the ordinary, but we did get some quality family time in. And that deserves to be documented!

Friday night, we all went out to dinner together for the first time in months. It felt great to do something different and just focus on each other. We decided on Red Robin (because who doesn’t love bottomless carbs?), and I think the kids were equally happy with our choice. They loved the food, but they actually might have been even more excited about coloring on the kids’ menu.

Free crayons are the way to her heart.Bruschetta chicken is the way to mine! ūüôā

Saturday was spent doing a lot of chores around the apartment, and then Michael headed off to church meetings late that afternoon. Sunday morning brought super-early bishopric meetings for him, as well as an opportunity to play piano for a musical number at another meeting later that night! He was gone a lot, so after church and nap time, the girls and I watched a movie- we chose Beauty and the Beast! It was their first time seeing it, and I was a little worried that Kaya would be scared, but they both loved it! I think Lumière was their favorite character and elicited the most giggles from them.

Daddy arrived home in time to help with the bedtime routine. These little girls went crazy and started going down the slide as quickly as they could together. I love how anything they do together is a million times more fun than if they had done the same activity alone._MG_1637 _MG_1639

five on friday (04/22)

How is it Friday again? In a way, it feels like it’s always the weekend… and then sometimes, it feels like all we do is wait for the weekend to get here. Time is a funny thing. We’ve spent a lot of time outside this week, so I have a lot of happy, bright photos for today.

ONE. Last Saturday was “Virginia Tech Remembrance Day” (officially named so as of this year, by the governor). The university¬†always hold a 5k run in memory of those who were lost that day, but I never sign up for it… all because I get too emotional about it. I lived on campus when the tragedy struck and lost a classmate, so it’s easy to feel sensitive about April 16th. Anyway, I ended up completing a¬†solo. 7.8-mile, run that morning. It felt good to be in the sunshine, push my body a little harder than usual, and still spend time remembering the Hokies we lost 9 years ago.

TWO. Michael has been working so hard these days with his regular job, revamping his online camp registration system, and teaching a real college course. He hasn’t had a whole lot of time to play games, so I was happy to see him enjoying some time online with his brothers last weekend. Of course, Kaya had to join in!¬†_MG_1606 THREE. Lately,¬†we’ve been walking up to the bus stop to “pick up Daddy”, as Kaya says. She begs me to let her bring her baby doll stroller with us, and because it’s a short walk, I say yes. This is the happiest girl in the world right here._MG_1616

Kaelyn loves to see Daddy get off the bus. She was running to him as fast as she could when she saw him walking toward us! Of course, New Piggy has to go everywhere lately, too.

FOUR. We’ve been taking short family walks (which somehow still end up taking an hour when we let the little people stretch their legs), and enjoying all the sights of spring. Kaya loves to sit on any big rock she sees, so naturally, we had to sit down by the pond for a bit._MG_1622They also love the horses in a nearby field. This gray gelding is named “Chance” (I used to work over at the barn he’s at, so that is actually his real name), and he’s Kaya’s current favorite.
It’s on these warm sunny days that I really miss riding._MG_1626

FIVE. We tried a new soup recipe this week, and it was definitely something to make again. This Italian minestrone reminded me a lot of my days in Switzerland. It required a lot more vegetable-chopping than I normally like to do, but it was worth it!

Happy weekend!

Linking up here!

breakfast at grandma’s

We spent some time visiting with my parents when we went down to Richmond for my first official 10k race. We arrived on Friday night, enjoyed some pizza, and watched our girls get spoiled by their grandparents, per usual. My mom made them some belated Easter baskets, and Kaya and Kaelyn were so glad to have some new things to play with away from home.
_MG_1553 _MG_1557 _MG_1560 Chapstick… always a favorite for Kaelyn._MG_1564 These chapsticks actually taste like jellybeans, so it’s amazing the kids haven’t completely used (aka eaten) them. Kaya’s also been really interested in Winnie the Pooh lately, so she was excited for this tiny plush. Later, she enjoyed watching one of the old Pooh VHS tapes I had as a child._MG_1562 Grandma kisses!_MG_1567 _MG_1568 We went to the race on Saturday morning, and then spent the rest of the day relaxing and showing my parents “Despicable Me” for the first time.

Sunday morning, Kaelyn enjoyed some chocolate donuts (what other kind is even worth mentioning?) while my mom cooked a special breakfast. Those are some sleepy eyes!_MG_1572 French toast…_MG_1578This is what Michael and Kaya were doing while all the breakfast-making commotion was happening in the kitchen, right next door! Traveling really takes a lot out of all of us, especially the kids. They’re past the age when they’d nap in the car for most of the trip¬†(even if we leave town right at nap time), and then our nap and bedtime schedule is almost nonexistent when we’re not at home. Hence, we had some exhausted kids._MG_1576Socks was begging for some bacon. Too bad he’s on a green-bean diet…_MG_1582 We finished our breakfast, headed to church, and made the drive home. It was a simple, but fun, weekend!_MG_1584

monument avenue 10k race recap

After being a runner¬†for just over 7 years, I finally completed my first race! I probably never would have done it if Jeff and Lelia hadn’t signed me up, and although I will admit to being very nervous in the days leading up to it, I’m glad they encouraged me to do something new.

I was worried about the weather (it was projected to be freezing with some serious wind gusts), running around so many people (I always run alone!), and just coming out of it with a pace that I wouldn’t feel embarrassed about. Thankfully, mother nature surprised us all with much warmer temperatures than we were expecting, and all those other worries ended up not mattering at all.

Also, I apparently look very serious when I’m running.

Since this was my first time, everything was new and amazing to me- all the people holding hilarious signs (my favorite was a lady with her dog: “Keep running, the dog farted!”), some people’s costumes (one person was wearing a full-on unicorn suit), the live bands, and just the surge of collective energy between all the runners.

Michael kept these super-cute kids entertained just a few tenths of a mile before the finish line while they waited for me. He snapped some photos, and they’re just too cute to not include, so…

Apparently Kaelyn was keeping my gloves warm for me!

Jeff, Lelia, and I all finished within a few minutes of each other. I think we were all freezing as soon as we stopped running!

I think Lelia summed up the day best when she posted this picture below on Facebook, so I’ll quote her here: “I cannot begin to express the love and pride going on in this picture. We’re one hardcore family!”

She gave me the best pep talk just minutes before the race. It was so heartfelt and motivating that I replayed the words several times in my mind as I was running… and I might have been tearing up a bit, too. I also started to tear up anytime I saw little kids holding stuffed animals on the sidelines, waiting to see their moms run by. Oh, motherhood-induced emotions.IMG_20160409_103042Here’s my official race time! I felt really great about how I did.monument10kclock My official pace was 9:12 min/mile, and my GPS watch said my splits were as follows:monument10ksplitsOf course, after running a few miles, you need to replenish your energy with donuts, right? Jeff and Lelia took us to a little donut place in Richmond called Sugar Shack, and it was amazing. That one on the bottom left is covered in KitKat pieces!

We spent some time relaxing with Jeff and Lelia at their apartment before heading back to my parents’ house for the rest of the day. My girls loved playing with their puppy, Fallon, and actually ended up tiring her out pretty well.

I’m so glad I was able to have this experience with some of my amazing family members. If you’ve never run a race… try it! I’m not sure when my next one will be, but this most likely won’t be my last.

five on friday (04/15)

We’ve had what felt like a busy week over here. Yesterday, we had nothing specific scheduled, so I asked Kaya what she wanted to do. “I want to just stay home”, was her reply. I realized that we’d been running around hurriedly all week, so I heeded her request and soaked in that slow, easy morning with my babies. These little moments have all been favorites this week:

ONE. Kaelyn has been waking up from her naps happy. She used to always wake up crying and in a somewhat grumpy mood, so this is quite a change for her. I love this toothy little grin and how she just wanted to pop up and play peekaboo with me._MG_1595 _MG_1592

TWO. Kaya was drawing on her doodlepro board, and told me “Look! I made a seal!” ¬†I might have actually gasped audibly when I saw that her rendition of a seal actually looked like one. She’s getting better at drawing and writing letters all the time, and I just continue to be amazed at her skills.

THREE. We had a play date at the mall with friends this week! I think Mia and Kaya held hands for 75% of our visit (while they were running around like crazy, nonetheless)! Obviously, we couldn’t leave without stopping for a cookie first.

Would you like some cookie with your frosting?

FOUR. We’ve still had some chilly mornings, but I think spring might just come to stay soon. Kaya and Kaelyn were running like crazy up and down this miniscule hill (and yes, if you look closely enough, you’ll see that their clothes are covered in sidewalk chalk)! Warm sunshine and later sunsets are two of my very favorite things.

FIVE. In somewhat sad news, Kaelyn lost her beloved, special, piggy out in Richmond last weekend. We were at my race (more details on that next week!), and she dropped him without us noticing. We searched for him, but with so many people around, it was hopeless.

Grandma Debbie sent a new piggy in the mail this week, which arrived yesterday. Kaelyn was seriously dancing as Michael pried the box open, and she could not stop smiling with that new guinea pig under her arm for the rest of the night.
_MG_1599 I know it’s not quite the same (especially since the orginal “Piggy” was a gift to me when my first guinea pig passed away), but there is nothing like seeing her truly happy face._MG_1603

Happy weekend everyone!

Linking up here!

picnicking with the grandparents

Two weekends ago (see how I am always behind here?), my in-laws came up for a visit! Their favorite local campground had finally opened up for the season, and they were ready to enjoy the great outdoors… along with paying a visit to their favorite granddaughters, of course! ūüôā_MG_1469¬†We all did some relaxing and movie-watching at our apartment, but the real fun (and where I took the most photos) was from our “cookout” lunch and walk down at the campground. It was quite windy, so we ended up eating in their new camper. Hot dogs and homemade mac and cheese, with s’mores for dessert (there’s no s’more picture obviously, because who has time for that when deliciousness is right under your nose?)!
_MG_1470This is my peanut-butter-sandwich kid. She’d rather have a PB&J than almost any other food… except for maybe Chinese. Otherwise, it’s her go-to choice, and I think she’d eat it for every lunch and dinner every day if I let her._MG_1472We went on a little walk through the woods. We showed Kaya that she could pick the dandelions… and now she wants to pick every flower, everywhere. She had quite a collection at the end of the day (and I think they were all in Grandma’s pocket)!_MG_1476 I love these people._MG_1485 Don’t be fooled… Kaelyn probably rode on Daddy’s shoulders for about two minutes. She wanted to walk the whole way, all by herself, even when there were tree roots growing in the middle of her path. She’s slow, but persistent, and she walked almost all of the trail¬†with those two little legs._MG_1487 _MG_1496Of course, Kaya got some good swinging action. I think she might have her grandparents wrapped around her finger (quite literally)…
_MG_1500Later that night, we had a tumultuous wind storm- gusts were up to 60 mph! We lost power for about 13 hours, so sadly, we weren’t able to watch much of General Conference on Sunday. Mom and Dad Irwin did cook (in the camper) a special breakfast, and brought it inside for us. Bacon, eggs, sausage, and cinnamon buns. Mmmm.
_MG_1540 Anything sweet is her favorite, so you can guess how much she loved the cinnamon rolls!_MG_1541 And what would a grandparent visit be without some sweet kisses? I love how much my girls love them._MG_1455 _MG_1460

the kids behind the blog (april 2016)

I saw this link-up a few months ago, and somehow kept on forgetting to do¬†it. I actually remembered to ask Kaya the questions this time, so here it is! I can’t wait for Kaelyn to be able to talk so she can participate one day, too. ūüôā Her answers are short and sweet, but I love hearing what goes on in that mind of hers._MG_1436

What is your favorite thing to do with your friends? Play toys. What’s your favorite toy? My purple puppy next to my kitchen.

Who is your favorite person? Mia. Why? Because I wuv her.

When playing outside, what do your ideal sunny day plans look like? Blow bubbles. A BIG BUBBLE!

What do you like to do when it’s raining? Play inside. My tent is my favorite one.

If you could plant a garden of anything, what would you plant? Water and seeds! What kind of seeds? Black! Put them in the ground, them grow like plants!

five on friday (04/08)

Happy Friday!

ONE. Last week, we had a stroke of good weather, so we took advantage of the sunshine and went down to the pond to feed the ducks. I’m looking at these pictures with a little bit of weather-envy right now, since we are potentially expecting some severe winds and/or snow this weekend. Where did springtime go?_MG_1443


Kaya could not have been any more excited to throw the bread, and Kaelyn was just happy to see some real-life ducks._MG_1434TWO. This sweet little sister cries for her big sister as soon as we drop her off for preschool. She wails “Peeeeeeky!”, and it just breaks my heart. Then again, I’m grateful to see how much they truly love being with each other. We try to have some good one-on-one time while Kaya is gone, but usually she’s happy to just do her own quiet activity while I clean up around the apartment.

THREE.¬†I’m usually up and out the door, running, before my babies wake up, but yesterday was a “rest day”, so I woke up to this precious face at the side of my bed. I love that bed head, sweet little smile, and that she’s got a Daniel Tiger character under each arm. These little moments make me the happiest.

FOUR. We went back to the children’s museum for the first time in a few weeks, and my girls had the best time, as usual. It helped that some of their best friends were there to play, too.

Kaelyn could color forever.

FIVE. Are moments like these ever going to not melt my heart? I hope they always do._MG_1536 _MG_1537

Linking up here!

easter 2016 dresses

This post is mostly for myself to look back on and laugh… because I took probably 30 photos of them in their dresses, but I’ve got a toddler who won’t look at the camera, and a preschooler who just won’t stop jumping. It makes for some pretty hilarious pictures!

This one actually turned out pretty cute. I love when they hold hands. Sometimes, they run up and down the hallway, hand-in-hand, going as fast as they can without tripping. It’s like a game!_MG_1407I was cracking up when I was going through these, because most of them looked like this:
_MG_1392 She’s getting good at giving the stink-eye…_MG_1404 I love having two little girls so close in age. Matching ruffly dresses and patent leather shoes make my heart swoon a little._MG_1387 _MG_1382 Obviously, she has some serious things weighing on her mind._MG_1421CHEESE!

kaelyn: 21 months

_MG_1505Clothing size: She’s mostly still wearing 18-month clothing, just because everything still fits fine, and I haven’t pulled the next size out of the closet. 2T dresses. Size 4 shoes are starting to get tight, but she’s still got some room to grow in size 5.
Eyecolor: Blue.
Teeth: Eleven! Finally, another tooth came through!
Eating: Her appetite seems to have significantly increased! She puts down pretty large portions at mealtime, and if she’s hungry at any other time of day, she helps herself to the snacks I keep in the diaper bag. Talk about being self-sufficient! Her favorite foods are cucumbers, Greek yogurt, pancakes, and pizza!_MG_1225

We’re still nursing three times a day… but she’s drinking about 8 ounces of whole milk per day now, and I feel like my milk supply might be¬†starting to drop, so we’ll see how much longer we¬†go.
New words:¬†I can’t think of any new words, but the words she does use seem to be getting a lot clearer/more articulate lately.
Favorite things:¬†Blue Kitty, Piggy, and basically any stuffed animal that we give her and tell her is “hers”. She just loves having something of her very own. She likes ducks (real, rubber, or in books), reading, “driving” little cars, and has recently started to love Daniel Tiger._MG_1212Dislikes: Getting her face wiped, being told no, sharing, and the car seat. The worst of all is getting her diaper changed. Seriously… it has become a battle between her and I to take off the dirty diaper and get her cleaned up without a huge mess and/or fit happening. Michael says she doesn’t fight him, so apparently, she only does this with me. Why?
Sleep: She’s down for bed around 8:30 or 9, and wakes up around 7 am. She naps for three hours in the afternoon, starting around 1:30 pm.
Nicknames: Baba, Baba Grace, KaeCakes, Monkey.
Milestones, etc.: -She has officially earned the nickname “Miss Independent”, because you better not dare to try and¬†help her to do anything, or she immediately screams and throws a fit.

-She is pretty good at doing a lot of things on her own, like buckling (and recently, unbuckling!) her high chair straps and putting on her shoes.

-She’s mastered actually walking up the stairs now, as long as there is a railing to hold onto.

-She’s great at throwing a ball overhand.

-She’s getting so good at building block towers! She can stack several wooden blocks without them toppling over.

-Tantrums. Whew. She’s had a lot of time-outs… and this week we started “hug it out”, and it seems like it works. She’s strong-willed.

Dear Kaelyn,

You are definitely finding (and showing us) your personality these days. You are wild and crazy half the time, and along with that, you’ve got a bit of a stubborn streak. You are determined to learn how to do things on your own, and while I admire that, I do wish you’d be more willing to let us help you more often. I hope that your determination sticks with you as you grow older and take on school projects and church assignments.

You’re half-naked in half your photos, mostly because you still make a giant mess whenever you eat anything, so we have to strip you down to your diaper. I’m constantly sweeping and scrubbing the floor underneath your chair these days.

_MG_1199You are now the same age that your big sister was when you were born! It’s crazy to me, because in so many ways, you still seem like such a baby, but I’m starting to see you grow and mature in small ways. It also just feels like you¬†reached this age so much faster than Kaya did! The same amount of time just passes faster when you have two kids, I think.

I’m also excited for you to really start talking so we’ll finally know what you’re thinking._MG_1533I love you, Baba Grace.

Love, Mommy