baby #3: 27 weeks

27weeksBaby’s size: About 15 inches long and just over two pounds!
Maternity clothes?:
 Yes, plus some regular loosely-fitting tops. I’m pretty sure that non-maternity shirts actually make my belly look even bigger, though (see above)!
 Well… clumsiness? Ever since we moved in to our house, I’ve been afraid of falling on the stairs, and this week it finally happened. Luckily, I caught myself after about 4 or 5 steps, but I bruised my tailbone. My hips have been a little sore too, but I think it’s just from falling. Thankfully, baby is just fine (and I’ve got a definite grip on the handrail every time I go up or down the stairs now)!
 Good-quality when I’m sleeping, but we stay up too late as usual. I’m napping all the time lately.
She had a few days where she just didn’t seem as crazy… but lately, she’s made up for it by never stopping her dance party! I’ve been genuinely shocked by how strong her kicks can be! Sometimes, it even feels a little uncomfortable. This princess has some tough feet!
Whipped cream. I feel like that’s an odd craving to have, but I want to put it on everything sweet.
What I miss:
Nothing really!
Anything making you queasy or sick?:
I’ve had a good bit of nausea this week. My own morning breath can turn my stomach, and by dinnertime, I’m usually feeling sick again. It is what it is, so I try not to complain. I also seem to get shaky easily still.
Belly Button in or out?:
Ran 22.6 miles, walked 4.2. Fitbit total: 93,004 steps.
Loving all her movements and just trying to enjoy this time, because I know it’s going to go so fast!
Best moment this week:
 Enjoying so much time at the pool with my family! 🙂
Looking forward to:
Really working on the girls’ room and getting started on the nursery.
Big sisters: Kaya keeps asking me if my baby can come out in September (I think she wants to share a birthday month)! She will also sometimes tell me that she can’t eat a certain food because “her baby doesn’t like that” (she sometimes has a pretend baby in her belly, and other times, her baby has apparently already come out)! Kaelyn sometimes touches my belly with interest, but I’m not sure she really understands that there’s a real baby in there.
27 weeks with Kaya; 27 weeks with Kaelyn.

five on friday (07/22)

ONE. We’ve been soaking up our time at the pool this week (and unfortunately, my shoulders have soaked up a little too much sun… it’s hard to sunscreen your own back)! Humidity has ranged from 97-100% every day, so going swimming is a great break from the heat. These two sweeties love playing together and would stay at the pool all day long if I let them.

Kaya loves “swimming” in the big pool. Two-foot-deep water probably seems as vast as the ocean to her right now!

Kaelyn loves to practice “kicking” in the water while I hold her and spin her around, but she spends most of her time pouring water in and out of her buckets.

TWO. Suddenly, my baby seems so grown up. She finally figured out how to blow real bubbles (instead of just putting her mouth on the wand), and even insisted on using the big-kid swing instead of the baby one yesterday. As of these past couple of days, we’re also really close to being completely done with nursing. Seriously… all these milestones all at once!

THREE. We did the letter “i” for preschool this week, so we’ve enjoyed a lot of ice cream-themed crafts and some “ice science“. They absolutely loved this activity, and I really love seeing my kids learn.

_MG_4144 FOUR. Photography business has been so good this summer. I’m feeling really blessed (especially with the upcoming expenses associated with having a new baby soon), and I’m excited to see where my business might be six months or a year from now. My priority in this stage of life is being the best mom I can be to my kids, but I do enjoy using my talents and being able to do something I really love on the side.

Michael also took an updated headshot for me. He’s getting pretty good with the camera, too!_MG_4114-2 - Copy

FIVE. All this swimming, playing, learning, and working wears us out fast! Kaelyn had a hard time staying awake on the way home from the pool, and when I got her out of her seat, she rested her head on me and wrapped her little arm around my neck. I live for these small moments.

Hopefully, we all get some good rest this weekend, because this is what it’s been looking like around here! (Kaya is totally pretending, although she has been tired, but Kaelyn was legitimately asleep in this picture!)

Happy weekend!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

fourth of july weekend 2016

I know… how long ago was the Fourth of July? I’m always behind, but these are things I don’t want to forget, so here we go!

We kicked off the long weekend in the best way possible on Friday morning- with some pool time! My girls love playing with their buckets and rubber ducks and would probably do it all day long if we could. Of course, they do love taking a little break to have lunch in the shade.

This little goofball wearing my sunglasses still cracks me up!IMG_20160701_125329-01 On Saturday morning, I enjoyed an awesome 7.5-mile run. I really felt great the entire time, which I especially relish these days- you just never know when pregnancy is going to throw you an achy ligament or make it feel like you need to pee for 5 miles.IMG_20160702_100157-01 Mom and Dad Irwin arrived right around noon! Dad and Michael immediately started work on some house projects, including adding new posts to the deck! They finished it in just a few hours. I was both grateful and impressed!_MG_3450 Because they couldn’t make it up for Kaelyn’s birthday party the previous weekend, they had a few gifts to give her. Everyone gets excited about Daniel Tiger books!_MG_3458 _MG_3459 These Duplos were also a big hit. I’m honestly impressed with the things my little girls can build!_MG_3461 Sunday afternoon brought naps and more block-building fun…_MG_3468 … and we somehow managed to convince Michael to make some square shooter cookies!_MG_3470Grandma Gina and I played “Trouble” with the girls… but it might have been more trouble than it was worth (see what I did there?) because Kaelyn kept moving the pieces. It was more like a game of “Remember Where All Your Pieces Are, Because They Will Most Definitely Be Moved”! Haha.
_MG_3473 There were daddy-daughter-granddaughter (and guinea pig!) cuddles, along with lots of Wii-playing! 20160703_190111-02 On Monday morning, we got to sleep in until about 7:30! Grandpa Skip loved waking up to a cute little cuddlebug… 🙂_MG_3478 Michael’s parents had to leave around lunchtime to head back home, so we spent the rest of the day enjoying time as just the four of us. Grandma Gina gave the girls these pinwheels (their first ones ever!), so they had a whole lot of fun getting them to spin. Grandma Debbie gave them some matching patriotic shirts, so I think we pretty much mastered American festiveness on the 4th!_MG_3497 _MG_3499 We were invited to a barbecue by some church friends, so after naptime, we headed over there. The weather was on-and-off rainy, so we probably sat outside for .0005 seconds before we had to go in to finish our meal.IMG_20160704_173652She acted grumpy about the food on her plate, but then proceeded to eat two hotdogs. Ah, two year olds.
IMG_20160704_173658Have you ever seen someone more excited about eating in a camping chair?
IMG_20160704_174545 After the barbecue, we headed out to the town fireworks show. We wondered if it would be canceled due to the potential for severe thunderstorms that night, but thankfully, the rain held off until the very end._MG_3507 I surprised the kids with glowsticks (which they absolutely loved) and sparklers (which they were slightly terrified of) while we waited for the show to start!_MG_3509 Kaya actually held one for a few seconds, but overall, she didn’t want to be anywhere near them once they were lit._MG_3510 My intentions were to enjoy the fireworks without taking too many pictures, and I thought I did better at that this year, until I realized how many fireworks photos I have to share. The photography nerd in me just can’t help myself.

Both girls were a little apprehensive of the loud booming at first, but as long as they were snuggled up to us, they were enjoying it.07042016_1The show finished right before a tremendous thunderstorm blew through. We were running to our car and ended up completely soaked to the bone by the time we got there! I’m grateful for the the time we could spend as a family, enjoying the many freedoms we have in this country. We truly are blessed.

a rubber ducky birthday party (kaelyn’s 2nd birthday!)

I’m finally blogging about Kaelyn’s 2nd birthday party! Anytime I take a lot of photos all at once, it seems like it takes me a while to actually go through them all and share them. I definitely snapped a lot of pictures that day (June 25th), in part because I’m still adjusting to the lighting in our new home, so I kept changing my camera settings and trying different things. Many of these photos aren’t perfect, but I’m grateful I have them to remember my littlest’s special day.

Anyway… Grandma Debbie came up to stay with us for a few days, and as seems to be tradition, Kaelyn took a nap on her right before the party! We started our celebrations at 2 pm, so this little catnap was actually very much needed in order to avoid an afternoon meltdown._MG_3257 Kaelyn absolutely loves rubber ducks and gets SO excited anytime she sees one that she has to yell “QUACK!” over and over again. I knew she would be ecstatic with these rubber duck balloons!_MG_3261 Hugs for the ducky!_MG_3264 Uncle Karl and Kaitlyn brought her some more fun balloons when they arrived!_MG_3407This was one seriously happy little girl._MG_3267 I made her cake super simple this year. The only real goals were for it to look like water and have some bubbles and rubber ducks on top._MG_3269 I used this lemon cake recipe (minus the blueberries) with this frosting recipe, which I think pretty much equaled perfection. What’s better than a lemon cake on a summer day? (Not to mention, I almost always make chocolate cake, so this was a nice change!)_MG_3276 _MG_3293 We started the party off with Kaelyn’s favorite food- pizza!_MG_3280 _MG_3282_MG_3283 _MG_3291_MG_3307 Soon it was time to blow out the candle (and she was still in love with her balloons)!_MG_3317 _MG_3314I am so blessed to call these two precious girls mine.
_MG_3325Kaya was extremely excited for the party, and it wasn’t even her birthday! She is definitely looking forward to her own special day in a couple of months._MG_3320 _MG_3329 Kaya ended up helping Kaelyn blow out the candle, because she had absolutely no idea what to do! We completely forgot to “practice” beforehand._MG_3333 Well… this is the best family picture we could get. I kind of think it’s hilarious._MG_3334 She loved her lemon cake!_MG_3345 Everyone had blue lips afterward…_MG_3347After cake, she opened a few gifts.
_MG_3353 _MG_3355 We gave her this VTech Horse Stable that both girls have loved building and playing with together._MG_3357 My mom’s friend, Susan, sent her this stuffed penguin and a couple of books. She loves stuffed animals so much that she snatched it out of the bag as fast as she could, with the biggest grin on her face._MG_3362Uncle Jeff and Auntie Lelia gave her some money for her 529 college fund. It’s definitely something she will appreciate when she’s older!_MG_3360

Grandma Debbie gifted her a rubber duck water table. Obviously, she has absolutely loved this over the past couple of weeks!_MG_3369 After gifts, I tried to get a couple of pictures of her in her birthday outfit, mostly to no avail. She did like standing next to Fallon (Jeff and Lelia’s dog), though._MG_3376 _MG_3380 We had to test out the water table, of course. Everyone ended up getting pretty wet!_MG_3384 _MG_3388 Kaya insisted that she needed her swimsuit… and when she came back out after changing into it, she was still wearing her undies and socks, haha!_MG_3392 We had one happy (and tired) princess at the end of the day. I really think this was the perfect birthday party for her._MG_3398

We love you, Kaelyn!

baby #3: 26 weeks


Baby’s size: Over 14 inches tall and about 2 pounds! Apparently, this is the equivalent of a bowling pin, haha.
Maternity clothes?:
Yes. At the end of the day, I look forward to stealing one of Michael’s big t-shirts for bed. I also got a maternity belt this week to wear while running, and it is awesome. I’ve only used it once so far, but I can’t wait to see how much it helps on longer runs next week.
 My face has been breaking out more… and I had one day where my hips were achey, but only while I was lying down. I used my body pillow (but only for the second time this whole pregnancy)!
 I’m napping whenever I can and still having crazy dreams. I’m really just tired a lot, but that’s to be expected.
Seriously… does she ever sleep? I have been amazed this week at how strong she’s getting. She’s kicked me hard, and I very distinctly felt her foot against my hand a few nights ago. I also think she has turned… maybe not completely head down, but I’m feeling a lot more kicking high up in my belly. I absolutely love waking up to her wiggles in the morning and find it funny when she seems to “dance” to the radio.
Double chocolate muffins and pizza.
What I miss:
Nothing really!
Anything making you queasy or sick?:
I’ve been feeling good this week, for the most part! I even used Italian salad dressing for the first time in ages (although it might just be the Kroger-brand dressing that my stomach dislikes)…
Belly Button in or out?:
Ran 24.2 miles; walked 2.2 miles. My longest run was 6 miles. Fitbit total steps: 94,154.
Happy! It’s starting to feel real that we’ll really be holding a baby girl in a few months. Sometimes, it feels like I have FOREVER left to be pregnant- it just seems like I’ve already been waiting to meet her for so long! Other days (usually when I’m adding things to my pre-baby to-do list or realizing that summer is more than halfway over), it feels like she’ll be here in no time at all!
Best moment this week:
Spending time with Ben and Brittany and holding their new baby girl!
Looking forward to:
Getting some painting done this week!
Big sisters: Kaya always tells me that the baby is kicking her hand, but I’m still the only one who has actually felt her move. Kaelyn seemed to notice my big belly for the very first time this week, too!
26 weeks with Kaya; 26 weeks with Kaelyn.

five on friday (07/15)

We’ve had a fun week over here, and I have a million things to catch up on and blog about… but today I have a nice, simple, Five on Friday to share!

ONE. We’re right in the middle of our typical stormy season here in the Blue Ridge Mountains, which means very hot and humid mornings, followed by big thunderstorms in the afternoons. We’ve been trying to get outside and enjoy the sunshine while we can! These girls love their matching sunglasses!_MG_3915

TWO. I’m very much enjoying having a screened-in back porch and a hammock! The girls can play with their water table, and I can rest for a few minutes (just don’t ask me how hard it is for me to actually get out of the hammock at 6.5 months pregnant, haha)!_MG_3920

THREE. This little girl is always cracking me up. She loves to help me put each item back in my makeup bag as I finish with it, and lately, she wants to try and put some on, too._MG_3928

PSA: This is the new way to curl your lashes.

She also “nurses” her piggy, and even tells him “switch” when it’s time to nurse on the opposite side…

… and somehow, she’s now old enough to know how to use scissors! She was actually cutting paper this week. Where on earth did my little baby go?!_MG_3887

FOUR. For all their lives, the girls have taken their naps in separate bedrooms. Now that I’ll need another room for the baby, I really wanted to transition them into the same room. There have been a lot of shenanigans instead of sleeping, leading to long afternoons and cranky kids, but after a week of trying it, I think they’re finally adjusting.

I think I’ll always think they look like angels when they’re sleeping, no matter how old they get.

FIVE. Kaya got a letter in the mail from her BFF Mia! She could not have been any more excited! This made her day, and she has been carrying the card around, taking it in and out of the envelope over and over again. Now it’s our turn to mail something back! 🙂_MG_3896

Happy weekend!

Linking up here!

the kid behind the blog (july 2016)

I just love these question-and-answer link-ups. You never know what kids will say! It’s fun to get a glimpse into Kaya’s thoughts, and I can’t wait for the day that Kaelyn can join in on the fun._MG_3772What 2 things do you like to do outside in the summer?
Go “wee” on my slide! And go in special puddles. When it’s leaf time I like to splash in puddles.

If you could go anywhere this summer, where would you go and why?
To the temple… because I like going with you guys.

What is your favorite thing about summer?
Ooo I like playing with Baba! But when she’s reading books I don’t play with her, because that would be silly.

If you could pick any way to spend a hot summer day, how would you spend it?
With Mommy, Daddy, Baba and me… in the snow!

What is your favorite summer treat?
Pops. Big pops, like the one with the little cover on it! (she means popsicles!)

Linking up here!

kaelyn: 24 months

I can’t believe this is her last monthly update… my baby is all grown up!_MG_3618

Height: 32.5 inches (18%)
19 pounds 13 ounces (0.11%)
Head Circumference:
18.25 inches
Clothing size: 
24-month and 2T items. Size 5 shoes.
Eyecolor: Blue.
Teeth: 19 (as far as I can tell- I wasn’t about to get my fingers chomped on/make her upset)! It looks like she’s just missing her top left canine tooth! 🙂
Eating: She is an excellent eater, and because of that, her doctor is not worried that she’s so petite. She eats more breakfast than any of the rest of us on a regular basis. She loves PB&J (but not the crust), pizza, yogurt, and salad.

We’ve cut out her morning nursing session, but we still do it for nap and bedtime. I am hopefully going to cut out those two feedings very soon and get a break before her baby sister arrives. Nursing has turned into a bit of a hair-grabbing, sticking-her-foot-up-my-shirt-sleeve, not-so-gentle circus… and all that craziness makes me feel ready to just be done.
New words: She’s saying a few new words every day, but no sentences yet. My favorite recent word is “oops!”
Favorite things:
Stuffed animals are her main squeeze… literally! Favorites include Piggy, Blue Kitty, Baby Margaret (from Daniel Tiger), and her lab, Sandy. She loves playing with blocks and pretending to go on “walks” or shopping with Kaya. Being outside and taking off her shoes is pretty awesome to her, too.
Diaper changes, the doctor’s office, and being helped with any task she thinks she can do herself.
 Bedtime is around 8:30 pm, and she sleeps until about 6:30 or 7 am most days. Nap is at 1 or 1:30 pm and lasts about 3 hours.
Baba, Baba Grace.
Milestones, etc.:
-She is great at imaginative play. She loves to cook in her kitchen and bring me “food” to eat. She also pretends to nurse her stuffed animals in the rocking chair, and will even say “switch” when she wants them to nurse on the opposite side. Haha.

-She has excellent fine motor skills- she holds and controls a marker well, and can even use kid-safe scissors to cut paper.

-It seems like she’s finally understanding “if/then” statements, which makes it so much easier to reason with her!

-She’s already interested in letters and numbers and loves to point them out to me, and although she can’t accurately pronounce them yet, she sure tries to.

-Anytime she’s upset, she almost instantly calms down when we hold her and rub her back in a circular motion. She loves to snuggle, especially when she’s tired.

This month’s letter to Kaelyn can be found here.

july 2016 goals

We’re a third of the way through the month… but I just have to update on how things are going around here! 🙂

Here was June:

Choose a paint color for the family room. DONE… and it’s already painted! My awesome brother-in-law Jeff painted the majority of it himself when he was here for Kaelyn’s birthday party. Michael helped out too, of course, but I’m grateful Jeff got it started!

Sell the retro dining table and chairs the previous homeowners left in the basement. SOLD for $480! I’m just thrilled to have it out of my house once the buyer picks it up! For your entertainment, here’s what it looks like:_MG_1670

Do school with Kaya three days per week. We had one week that we fell short, but we’ve done extra days on other weeks, so I’m happy with how much we’ve been getting done.

Finish reading one book. Oops, this didn’t happen.

Take the kids to the library every week to choose new books. It hasn’t quite been every week, but we’ve been to the library three times in the past month! I didn’t see a need to keep a strict schedule with this goal since my girls always want to check out a lot of books at a time and don’t seem to tire of them for awhile.

Plan/host Kaelyn’s birthday party. 

Finish backing up my computer. Well, this is about halfway done. I finished ALL of 2014! It’s taking so painstakingly long because I’ve been going over every single photo again, being sure that there are no further edits I want to make before I export them all as .JPGs and delete the RAWs forever.

Now on to July!july2016goalsGet the girls’ room painted. This means I need to choose a color, too. I really want to get moving on this so that I can make all the changes I want to (moving furniture, transitioning Kaelyn to a bed, etc.) well before Baby #3 arrives so that they can adjust ahead of time. I also just feel like I can’t get started on the nursery until I at least have their room painted first.

Prime the basement walls. See that bright red in that picture of the table up there? Yeah… hopefully that doesn’t take too much convincing to go away!

Finish backing up 2015 photos. I’d love to just be done with 2016 photos too, but we’ll see how it goes.

Finish reading one book.

Keep up with preschool three days per week.

Deep clean the car. It’s not super disgusting or anything… but it could use some vacuuming, straightening up, and wiping down on the inside.

See you in August!

baby #3: 25 weeks

Heyyyy big belly! I’m definitely seeing (and feeling) a difference in size this week!25weeksBaby’s size: About 13.5 inches long and 1.5 pounds.
Maternity clothes?:
Yes yes yes… and the only non-maternity tops I’m wearing are things that used to be long and tunic-like on me before!
Just some ligament soreness on the right side of my belly. I’m looking into hopefully getting a support band, mostly just for when I run.
I am napping almost every day… it actually feels strange if I stay awake in the afternoon now. Even Kaya is perplexed if I tell her I wasn’t sleeping while she was! Usually exhaustion hits me hard in the third trimester, so hopefully I don’t get much more fatigued than this.

Pregnancy also gives me some pretty realistic-feeling dreams- this week I truly thought I was riding a horse, and another day, I was a real princess in a forsaken castle. Crazy and fun! Last week, I was dreaming something that made me actually punch Michael in the arm. Luckily, he said it was a soft punch, but in my half-asleep state, I thought I hit as hard as I could!
Moving moving moving ALL DAY LONG! She kicks my front, my side, my backside, up high, down low… you name it. She is all over the place. I’ve really noticed her getting stronger this week, and can distinctly feel her pushing her feet into my side.
Double chocolate muffins and pizza.
What I miss:
Nothing really!
Anything making you queasy or sick?:
I’ve mostly been feeling great, but I had a day this week where I just felt nauseous all day long. I also have started noticing that I often feel shaky/weak by lunchtime, but after I eat, I’m fine.
Belly Button in or out?:
Getting flatter, but I’d be surprised if it actually pokes out.
Ran 26.3 miles; walked 3.2 miles. My longest run was 7.53 miles. Fitbit total steps: 96,640.
Good, just not sure I feel ready to actually give birth again. I still have some time to prepare, so I should probably start doing that…
Best moment this week: 
Celebrating the Fourth of July with my family!
Looking forward to:
Ben and Brittany visiting from Texas!
Big sisters: Kaya always kisses the baby goodnight! So sweet.
25 weeks with Kaya; 25 weeks with Kaelyn.