fourth of july (2017)

Three weeks later… and I’m finally writing about our Independence Day! Whoops. We had an amazing four-day weekend and truly enjoyed filling our time up with family, friends, and good food.

To start off the holiday, we needed some matching patriotic outfits, of course. Apparently, this is the face Nella makes when she’s very excited about something!
Kaelyn is always the first one who wants to be done having her picture taken. This was too classic to leave out. This girl and her dog… I absolutely love them together.Michael worked on painting our front door and priming our kitchen early in the day. There’s always a project to be done around here, and I’m glad he’s so willing to do it. In the process, we discovered that our previously blue door had apparently been red at some point. (If you remember our basement, it’s pretty obvious that one of the previous homeowners loved red!)
This was Nella’s “last first” holiday, so there had to be some pictures of just her in her patriotic garb. What’s cuter than a baby in holday-themed apparel? Answer: Nothing. That’s what. One of the families we know at church had a huge, open-invitation, cookout at their home- I think nearly half the ward (congregation) showed up that evening. See that ripped up hot dog bun? That’s what happens when you try to fill up your plate while also holding a baby who likes to grab everything! Really though, any meal that includes mac ‘n cheese is an automatic success. I don’t know how many of these cute smiley-faced cookies my girls ate…… and Nella was still really excited about everything! The kids all got to play an egg-toss game, but it started to pour down rain right in the middle of it all. It’s a tradition of ours to go to the town firework show, but we really didn’t want to sit out in the rain, so we stayed at the barbecue a little longer. They shot off some small fireworks, and we had sparklers for the kids.

Kaelyn was afraid and wanted nothing to do with the sparklers, but we managed to convince Kaya that they’d be fun, and she couldn’t get enough of them after she started.
We stayed out a lot later than we normally do (since we became parents, anyway), and I think this is how we all felt the next morning!

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! 🙂_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

cookin’ out with karl

We got to see my brother this past weekend! He brought Kaitlyn over too, of course, and we had a great cookout. They really enjoyed seeing the babies!_MG_7823 We tried some grilled chicken (using this recipe). I am so picky about my meat that I barely tried it, but everyone else said it was great. Even Kaya ate a ton of it, so it must have at least been decent! Michael is awesome for manning the grill, as always._MG_7818 We also enjoyed some corn, barbecued beans, and cookies. Jax’s mouth was watering the entire time, as usual! He really earned a piece of chicken though, since we had a great 6.35-mile run earlier that morning._MG_7820Of course, there was some serious Mario Kart playing afterward. Hopefully we’ll see them again soon- we’re hoping to go tubing down the river later this summer. I’m looking forward to it!

run bike eat (weekend)

We had the most beautiful weather this past weekend, so we took advantage of it with plenty of exercising and cooking out. My favorite days are the ones we spend outside (and with friends)!

The morning was perfect, so I started running and just kept on going. Michael also put in 42 miles on his bike!

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My running buddy definitely earned his right to lick the bottom of the peanut butter jar! 🙂_MG_7192

Later in the day, we had a cookout with Ben and Brittany! Hotdogs, grapes, and cookie bars were on the menu._MG_7214

Also, it’s really hard to get three babies smiling (or even looking) at the camera all at once._MG_7199

I love these two buddies! 🙂 It’s a good thing I took this when I did, because not long afterward, Kaya saw a bug and was so afraid that it ruined her whole evening. Every little speck of dirt turned into “a buggy!” and she was almost inconsolable. Poor baby.
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Kaelyn was happy as a clam just sitting on a blanket with baby Caroline!_MG_7209

Until she started throwing punches (not really)! Haha._MG_7220

On Sunday morning, I had a Young Women meeting to go to. I brought these muffins. They’re a lot different from my usual recipe, but if you like your muffins fluffy and looking like they came from a bakery (and who doesn’t?) you need to give these a try!_MG_7243Michael somehow ended up sleeping in Kaya’s bed, and this was the position they were in when I left for my meeting. I’m really not sure how Kaya could be comfortable, but I guess she was, since they slept in until 9:30!

Processed with VSCOcam with g1 presetHappy Tuesday! How was your weekend?

happy 27th birthday, michael!

Michael’s only request for his birthday was to have some new photos printed so he could take them to work and decorate his space. I made him some plain old 4x6s, but still wanted to give him a fun little surprise.

I saw this idea on Pinterest and knew I wanted to create my own version of it. It’s easy when you have such cute, photogenic girls! 🙂 Michael absolutely loved it, of course.
deardaddycollageKaya insisted on Kitty having his own picture done, too. I’m not too good at translating stuffed-cat-ese, so his message is up for interpretation._MG_3780 We had a cookout with some friends and family. It rained on and off throughout the day, but luckily, it stopped long enough for us to enjoy some time outside._MG_3827 _MG_3829 _MG_3830I made cupcakes (of course)! These might be the messiest ones I’ve ever frosted… but they were definitely some of the most delectable I’ve ever made! They were dark chocolate with a homemade white chocolate cookies and creme frosting. Mmmm.
_MG_3834 _MG_3835 _MG_3836 Happy Birthday Daddy! Your girls sure do love you! 🙂_MG_3832

lately (aka a big giant post with lots of pictures)

This post is really just a big, quick conglomeration of everything that’s gone on in the past two weeks, since I haven’t had a whole lot of time to get on the computer and blog (I’m actually amazed that I’m not even further behind than I am)!

Both of our moms came to stay with us and help out after we brought Kaelyn home. My mom took the first shift. She enjoyed grand-baby cuddles, and we enjoyed a lot of her awesome home-cooked meals._MG_3061

She went home on Wednesday, leaving just the four of us for a few days. Michael took some time off of work to help out and spend quality time with us… which included “watching” the baby while playing Xbox! Haha. She was more than happy to sleep on her daddy, and this allowed me to take a nap, so I’m not complaining._MG_3141

Kaya’s been up to her usual antics and making us laugh! She won’t wear a bow in her hair… but she’ll wear six headbands. Crazy girl!
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We joined our friends for a cookout on the Fourth of July. It was our first real outing as a family of four (besides going to doctor appointments), and I have to admit, it was strange having to keep track of two kids._MG_3160

Kaya is a pretty good helper. She’s always looking out for her sister (and I’m not sure why they both have disgusted expressions in this picture…)_MG_3145

When she wasn’t putting Kaelyn’s pacifier back in her mouth, Kaya was monkeying around with her BFF Mia!_MG_3150-2

We didn’t go to the fireworks display this year, since it didn’t seem like a great idea to bring a newborn, and it was past Kaya’s bedtime, anyway. We did get to have yet another cookout, though, when Michael’s cousin, Nicole, came into town on Saturday!

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Oh, cousins.07052014collage1

Grandma Gina came back on Sunday night to help us out for a few days. Kaya definitely enjoyed her visit (and I enjoyed when she’d take the baby and tell me to go back to bed)!_MG_3177

Grandma, Jeff, Brittany and I all went blueberry picking on Tuesday morning. I had so much fun just watching Kaya enjoy it! She was super gentle and didn’t even get any blueberry juice on her hands, which is more than I can say for myself.Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

Apparently, a blueberry patch is a fine place for a nap.
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Grandma left on Thursday, so I’ve been successfully taking care of two kids all on my own for a few days now (although I do have an amazing little helper who loves to rock the baby when she’s crying and help with diaper changes)!_MG_3199

Michael showed Kaya how to hide herself in the kitchen cabinets (and even close the door), so if it gets quiet and my helper is nowhere to be seen, I have to remember to look here now!_MG_3174

We’ve also been reading a lot of books. Kaya will sit with me and look at some while I nurse the baby, and then we also try to carve out some one-on-one time to read with her before bed. She definitely looks forward to those snuggles. Michael is so good at making all the sound effects from “Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?” that Kaya was cracking up a TON a few nights ago. I loved seeing them all sitting together._MG_3210

The rest of our time has been filled with nursing… nursing… and more nursing. I love these little baby cuddles. The nights are long right now, but I’m soaking it up because I already know the years are short.Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset