five on… monday?! (06/12)

We had my in-laws in town for the weekend, so I didn’t get a chance to write my regular Five on Friday post last week! Spending time with family is the most important thing, and we had so much fun that I’m more than happy to write my belated “five” today.

ONE.The weather has been glorious (although still wavering between summery warmth and a cool, almost autumn-like briskness at times), so we had some quality playtime outside.

The girls randomly came up with having Kaelyn ride on the back of Kaya’s tricycle, all on their own. They’ve been doing this for a few weeks now already, actually. I think Kaya is truly ready for a “big” bike, so before long, these rides might come to an end, but I’m soaking up seeing these sisters bond for as long as I can.And when you see pretty flowers on the side of the road, you definitely have to pause your bike ride for a photo with them.

TWO. We did a lot of sidewalk chalk last week, too. My driveway was covered in tiny drawings and words (a result of our outdoor phonics lesson that day). I love having our own little space for playing like this, and of course, these little people to play with.

THREE. This hat is about two sizes too big for Nella’s head, so I spend half of our outdoor time pulling it up so she can actually see, or rolling it up all awkwardly, like so: … but then she gives me a smile that’s two times bigger than her face, and I just melt into a giant puddle. There are no words for how much this princess brightens my every day.

FOUR. Lately, Kaya and Kaelyn are in love with the game, “Thin Ice”. It was one of my top three favorite board games as a little girl, and I love seeing them enjoy it, too! It’s a little easier these days, since this newer model has plastic balls instead of real marbles, but I think that actually works better for this age group.FIVE. Sometimes, you’re just too tired to wait for nap time. Nella is so easy-going and will still sleep just about anywhere she needs to.Happy Monday!

tour de cure (2017)

At the end of April, Michael completed his seventh Tour de Cure bike race! I almost can’t believe he’s been doing this for so long already, but I’m still just as proud of him as ever for helping to raise money for diabetes research.

This year, he did the 65-mile loop, and he got to ride along with Lelia’s mom, Mary!The girls and I ended up staying home again this year (I think we’ve only actually been to two of these races in the past five years, so we don’t really have the best track record)… I always want to go and be there to support him, but it is a long car ride for the kids, who were already unhappy about taking another “big” trip when we originally told them about it. We decided it would be so much easier for Michael to go on his own- he could drive there faster without having to make so many stops, and he’d be able to get a little more sleep the night before the race without having kids there to wake him up. We definitely missed him though.
Thankfully, he took pictures along the way for me!It was a super hot day (probably the warmest of 2017 thus far)! Michael wasn’t able to get much training done before this year’s race (he did only two rides in the weeks leading up to it), so I was a little worried about him in the heat. Thankfully, they have aid stations all along the way, and he was just fine.
He caught up with his mom just before the finish line! This year had the most participants from our family! Lelia’s mom posted this picture on Facebook and I had to share it here too. Michael, his Aunt Liesl, Grandma Gina, and Mary are all hardcore! While Daddy was gone, we enjoyed the warm weather by taking the kiddie pool out for the first time this season! (But seriously, when did Kaya’s legs get so long?!) She loves splashing down into the water, but hates getting any of it on her face. It makes for an interesting experience!Kaelyn didn’t like sliding, so she just played in the pool.

Michael came home late on Saturday night, so everyone was very happy to see him when they woke up on Sunday!

five on friday (07/01)

ONE. We’ve had gorgeous weather and a whole lot of outside playtime this week! Kaya has asked to ride her bike nearly every afternoon.

Sadly, her old tricycle was broken when we moved, and we haven’t had any luck finding the replacement part we need. Grandpa Peter just sent her a “new” tricycle, similar to the old one, and she has been loving it. This is one happy girl!_MG_3410 TWO. When big sister is out with Daddy, Mommy and little sister will make cookie dough! Kaya is always my helper in the kitchen, so while she was gone, I eagerly gave Kaelyn the opportunity to pour, stir, and even hold the mixer. She was so excited about everything (especially licking the dough off the beaters)!_MG_3444 THREE. I picked up these dry-erase pockets for $1 at Target last week, and we’ve used them every day that we’ve done preschool this week. The girls love them, and I love that I don’t have to laminate everything that I want them to practice doing multiple times. Totally worth $1!_MG_3413

FOUR. You know you hit the jackpot as far as husbands go when he brings you your favorite bakery brownie after you go to the dentist… Mmmm.

FIVE. This sweet girl… I can’t get enough of her. I managed to get in a couple of good naps for myself this week (all I want to do lately is sleep), and after Kaya woke up and used the bathroom one afternoon, she said “I don’t want to go back in my bed, I just want to cuddle with you. You want some cuddles from me?”

My heart melted… I will always want cuddles from you, Kaya. She tucked me in with her favorite cat blanket and even scratched my back. She’s going to make a fabulous mommy herself, someday.

Linking up here!

tour de cure 2016 weekend

Michael completed his fifth Tour De Cure (Race for Diabetes) on April 30th! He chose to do the 65-miler this time (you know, only 65 miles instead of 100 like last year… to me, either is a huge feat)! He honestly didn’t have a whole lot of time to train for the race this year due to his schedule, so the shorter ride ended up being perfect for him.

He found a great group to ride with along the way.26778061266_42d0a271bd_o (1)

My awesome mom-in-law raced again this year too! She did 25 miles!Michael’s total time was 3 hours, 53 mins, 23 seconds for 65.44 miles. That’s an average of 16.85 mph!

Once again, I wasn’t at the race this year. It just seems like we always have some other life event going on right around the same time as the race… this year we were preparing to MOVE, so there was plenty to get done! Also, taking the kids in the car for 10 hours within a 24-hour period never really seems appealing._MG_1689We did a lot of packing while Daddy was gone, and also hurried to shampoo the carpets at the new house before he had to leave with the car. I surprised the girls with some new Duplo blocks while I cleaned, and surprisingly, those kept them entertained for most of the 4 hours we were there._MG_1676We were so happy to have Michael home again on Saturday night! Even when he isn’t gone for long, it’s always a relief and a joy to have him back with us.

five on friday (03/11)

Happy Friday!!!

ONE. We’ve had the best spring weather this week, and we soaked it all in as much as we could. It’s been so long since we’ve played outside without our winter coats on! Riding in the swing was as exciting as a completely brand-new experience for Kaelyn. I love her happy squeals._MG_1176Kaya still loves riding her tricycle! We need to build up her speed and endurance again!TWO. Kaya loves to have her picture taken next to trees, and will insist on sitting next to one if I want to photograph her. This golden, warm light has me excited for outdoor photography to really begin again._MG_1163THREE. I have wanted western boots for forever… and thanks to some birthday money from my mom-in-law, I finally bought some! They came in the mail this week, and Kaya was so excited that we can match now.

FOUR. My little fashionista started clipping bows to her shirt as an accessory. This has got to be a new trend, right? I love how she loves everything to be colorful and bright._MG_1184 FIVE. I taught preschool today, and these little best friends just melt my heart. Kaya loves Mia so much and always wants to do what she does (i.e. Kaya saw that Mia had her bracelet on her left wrist, so she switched hers to the left, too). I love listening to their little conversations and the questions they ask each other while they’re working on their crafts.
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Happy weekend all!

Linking up here!

five on friday (11/13)

Happy Friday!!! 🙂

ONE. We’ve still been enjoying amazing weather here lately, and Kaya pleaded for me to let her ride her bike this week. The catch was that she also wanted to go to the playground, which meant that she’d be riding for over two miles. I wasn’t sure if she had enough stamina to go that far (or if I could help her on the hills while pushing the stroller), but I always try to give her opportunities to have fun, learn something, and get stronger… so I said yes. To my amazement, she rode for 2.25 miles, only fell once, and figured out how to walk her bike up the hills.

TWO. We had Karl and Kaitlyn over for a small (belated) birthday celebration on Wednesday night. There were tacos and Wii Party and brownies with ice cream. That’s pretty much the ultimate birthday shindig, am I right? I love my goofball brother. Happy 23rd, pal!_MG_0042THREE. We started our co-op preschool group this week, so for the first time ever, I dropped Kaya off and left. I was worried about how it would go, but she was just fine and had a great time.

Kaelyn and I then had some time to run errands all on our own… which really means that we ended up at the fabric store for forever because it was busier than I have ever seen it in my lifetime. Kaelyn loves these little “beanie boos” (beanie babies) and gets so excited anytime she sees them anywhere. Naturally, she had to cuddle them all (and tell each one “hi!” as she hugged them).

Aaaaand we might’ve come home with one… because my kids are only going to be little once, and sometimes it’s fun to give them a surprise gift for no reason. “Blue Kitty” hasn’t left her side all week. 🙂_MG_0035Of course, we brought home a surprise for Kaya, too- a baby dragon!collage11102015FOUR. That moment when you’re folding and hanging laundry, and look over to see your baby wearing underwear on her head… Hahaha. She has another pair halfway up her leg because she wants to be just like her big sister and wear undies (only over her diaper, of course. No way are we ready for potty training again)!_MG_0009

FIVE. #awkwardselfie award. I won’t tell you how many of these are on my phone, just from today (maybe because there are too many to count… haha)!

Linking up here today!

five on friday (10/23)

ONE. We kicked off our week with PINK EYE (for Kaya) and some lingering colds for Kaelyn and me. Luckily, we quickly got Kaya to the doctor for some antibiotic drops, so she had a just a mild case and is no longer contagious. Sick babies means everyone gets to relax a little extra and enjoy some Daniel Tiger._MG_9601

TWO. Despite being sick, we still made it outside to play a few times. The weather has been all over the place, with temperatures as low as 28 degrees and as high as 69. It felt crazy to break out some of our winter gear already!

Kaya had a couple of great bike rides on the warmer days. (And don’t dare to tell her that she has a tricycle. It’s a BIKE to her and she will correct you!)_MG_9593

THREE. It’s hard to stay awake for 30 seconds after you come home from a walk, while mommy brings the stroller inside… She was out cold.

It’s also difficult to stay awake during lunch, even when candy corn is used as bribery._MG_9648 FOUR. Kaya got herself all dressed on Wednesday morning, and then put this little jean jacket on… and she was too adorable to not take a picture. Between the boots and the denim and the leaves, these pictures just scream “autumn” to me. Love my girl._MG_9645 Admittedly, I still haven’t taken her 3-year portraits (a whole month late now!), and these are so cute that I almost just want to count them as it and be done._MG_9641 FIVE. Because fall is my favorite season, and there is no beauty like the Earth’s._MG_9598

HAPPY FRIDAY! 🙂

Linking up here today!

five on friday (09/25)

We’ve been spending most of our week playing outside (in drizzle or sunshine), so I just have a bunch of phone pictures for you this week. They might not seem very momentous to anyone, but being outdoors with my kids is my definition of happiness, so these are some of my favorites.

ONE. This is the first year that Kaya has been so aware of the change in seasons. She was fascinated that so many leaves are now on the ground instead of on the trees! She might have carried this one all the way home to show Daddy.
TWO. I feel like this photo perfectly sums up their sisterhood: the little sister looks to the big one for guidance and direction, and the big sister tenderly takes her by the hand and makes sure she’s safe. All while pretending to nurse Kitty, because he was hungry of course. Haha.

THREE. My dad restored this old tricycle to give to all his grandchildren, and since Kaya is the oldest grandkid, she obviously has first dibs. She had her very first ride on it this week and absolutely loved it. We didn’t think she’d make it very far, so she truly surprised us when she pedaled for about 1.5 miles. My kid is hardcore.

FOUR. I have the cutest baby ever… and I just can’t get over how adorable she looks with these little neon sneakers that I picked up for $3.50. Her shirt says #toocute and I think it’s spot-on accurate. 🙂

FIVE. Because we all know how obsessed I am with these Google video compilations… and you know you want to see three crazy girls go down the slide all at once…

Happy weekend everyone!

family weekend

We had a busy, family-filled weekend, which I think was just what we needed after the shock of this past week. Being surrounded by loved ones definitely helped take our minds off of what happened, at least temporarily.

My dad has been fixing up a tricycle for Kaya for a while now, and he recently finished it! My mom brought it up this weekend to surprise her. This little girl cannot stop talking about her “bike” and wants to ride it all the time. We’ve only been letting her practice in the house and on the porch until her head is healed up and she can wear a helmet again.

_MG_8174 Kaya also enjoyed plenty of bubble blowing this weekend…_MG_8182 On Friday night, we headed out to Mom and Dad Irwin’s campground. Karl and Kaitlyn met us there to visit for a while, since they would be working the next day during Kaelyn’s birthday party. We had a fun time hanging out, swapping stories, and making s’mores._MG_8185 Saturday was Kaelyn’s birthday party, which will be a whole separate post! I will give you a sneak peek of my cute little one-year-old though:_MG_8287

Sunday was church, followed by a mostly-failed attempt to take naps, and then more time at the campground. Mom Irwin made this amazing stew in the Dutch oven over the fire. Seriously… I need to go camping just so I can eat this again._MG_8303

Love spending time with this group._MG_8306 Kaelyn didn’t have any stew, but she did put down some apple-blueberry puree. Grandma loved feeding it to her!06282015collage1We had such a great time with family. I’m excited to share pictures from Kaelyn’s party later in the week! 🙂

130 miles for diabetes

Michael completed yet another bike race this past weekend! It was his fifth Tour de Cure race and third 100-mile race, and although he had to cope with the worst weather yet, he did it! It was a bleak, rainy day, and he was pretty wet and cold by the end of it.Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset The best part about this year? His mom joined him for the 30-mile route! They both did so great! Total, they raised $2400 for the American Diabetes Association.Processed with VSCOcam with c3 preset We ended up staying back home instead of traveling to the race with Michael. I was sad not to be there to see him cross the finish line, but after seeing how bad the weather was, it was probably better that we didn’t go.

With staying inside because of the rain and Michael having the car, we did our best to get crazy indoors. I made Kaya’s first-ever braid! I know it’s totally tiny and imperfect… but hey, she had enough hair to do it! I was excited and she loved it.
_MG_7274 We painted a lot of pictures. And Kaya painted over my pictures (please notice how she turned Kaelyn into just a blotted-out blob…)Processed with VSCOcam with a7 preset  Michael got home super late on Saturday night (it was technically almost Sunday)! Both girls were so happy to wake up and see Daddy for the first time in two days!_MG_7289

I love these two little rascals, and we really had the best time we could have had at home without Daddy, but I will say- parenting by myself for a couple days with zero help totally wore me out! I have so much respect for moms who don’t regularly have their husbands home to help with baths and bedtime. Even just a couple hours with him home makes a big difference! 🙂_MG_7284