five on friday (05/26)

Happy Memorial Day weekend! I’ve got an 11-mile run planned for tomorrow, and after that, hopefully we get some work done on the house. I’m excited for an extra day to spend with these crazy people of mine.

ONE. This was a really big week for Nella. She celebrated two major milestones: sitting up on her own and sleeping in her crib!

We’re still perfecting her balance, but for the most part, she’s doing it! (Yes, all while wearing Christmas jammies at the end of May 🙂 !) I don’t know how she can seem so big, yet still so small, all at the same time.
Last night was her first time sleeping in the crib. I waited basically as long as we could before moving her to her own room (read: she’s almost too tall for the bassinet), because I just loved having her close. She went to bed with no trouble at all, and probably liked being able to move around a little more freely.I missed hearing her soft little sounds and seeing the green light of her Owlet monitor glowing in our room, but we were okay. I might have snuck into her room a few times for “one last goodnight kiss” before we went to bed.

TWO. I was surprised to see some little seedlings sprouting up in our garden this week, considering how short of a time period they’ve been in the ground. We have some green bean and cucumber plants, although there’s already some kind of insect trying to eat away at the leaves, so we’ll see how this all turns out. I made some homemade repellent spray, now I’m just hoping it works! The weather has been dismal, but we did get one walk in this week. Kaya loves to pick these little mini wildflowers as we make our way through the neighborhood.

THREE. We’ve incorporated read-aloud chapter books into our homeschool routine, and now that we’re on our third book, the girls are really getting into it. When we got home from church on Sunday, I went upstairs to feed the baby, and Michael soon sent me this picture of Kaya and Kaelyn, all snuggled up of their own accord, “reading” Stuart Little. I love how much they enjoy books! Kaya has also been trying to diligently read her scriptures every day, just like her primary teacher taught her in class last week.

FOUR. What do you do when peppers are on sale? Make fajitas, of course! This is one of my favorite dinners.FIVE. I bought this “Daddy’s Sunshine” onesie for Nella long before she was even born, and now, I love dressing her in it because there couldn’t be anything more perfect for her personality. She is our little sunshine baby, and I’m so grateful for the love and joy she brings to our home.

Here’s to hoping for some sunshine this weekend (and an end to all the rain)!

Linking up here and here today!

five on friday (02/17)

ONE. Michael finished making his work desk/table this week! He’s really excited to have his own space for doing coding projects and using an extra monitor when he needs it. Naturally, Kaelyn had to try it out!

Kaya thinks it makes a pretty good fort for coloring.

TWO. We have a tendency to hold on to the same old library books for several weeks, but we finally went and chose some new ones! I love that the kid section also includes puzzles, Duplos, and coloring pages. Kaya put this giant puzzle together on her own!

THREE. We haven’t gone out for dinner in a few months, so last weekend, we enjoyed some Chinese food. This picture sums it all up perfectly- Kaya is too busy eating to stop for a photo, Michael has a mouthful of food, and Kaelyn is wild about eating Jello.

FOUR. I finished a local running challenge (complete 100 miles in January), and I finally got my free shirt last week! In summer, a hundred miles in a month is a piece of cake, but I’m actually pretty proud of getting it done in the winter… and I kind of forgot about it until the month was half over. Oops. Nella was pretty excited too! 

FIVE. I knew my kids were growing up fast, but who knew they were old enough to drive? Haha. They love pretending. Cutest little drivers ever.

five on friday (08/12)

Friday AGAIN? Seriously! Today is actually my half-birthday (you totally get half a party or half a cake for that, right? 😉 ), which also means that it was just about six months ago that we found out we were expecting our little Pumpkin. Somehow, that feels like yesterday and an eternity ago all at the same time! Time is such a strange thing.

Here are our top five moments from the week:

ONE. Our sweet neighbor/fellow church member gifted us some toys she was getting rid of, and one of them was this alphabet puzzle. Kaya has been obsessed with it all week long, and I have to say, I’m so proud of her for being able to put it together on her own! Her letter-recognition skills are strong! 🙂_MG_4378 TWO. We braved the 100% humidity and spent some time outside. Outdoors is our favorite place to be, and any amount of sweat, heat, and sunscreen is worth seeing these smiles (and in all honesty, the weather almost feels cool once the sun starts going down, anyway)!_MG_4382 Post-nap pigtails are the messiest… 🙂_MG_4395

THREE. If you had unexpectedly stopped by my house for dinner any night this week, there’s a 90% chance that this is what you would have had on your plate- a pepper-jack grilled cheese with roasted red peppers. I’ve had a lot of nausea this week, and nothing really sounds good to me anymore… but apparently this is acceptable to my stomach.

FOUR. Kaya stole one of my old t-shirts for bed one day this week, and now she wants to wear it every single night. She’s a big Snoopy fan, which is only made even more appropriate by the fact that his “real” birthday was apparently on Wednesday. Happy Birthday, Snoopy!

FIVE. Michael posted this a couple of weeks ago, but I just had to share it. That giggle! She melts my heart every single day.

Laptop? Check. Purse? Check. Pants? Who needs those? #readyforwork #crazylaugh

A video posted by Michael Irwin (@mikesir87) on

Happy Friday!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

five on friday (04/29)

It’s been a BUSY (but fantastic) week!

ONE. Spring is finally here! The weather has been gorgeous (the trees seem to know it too, because there’s pollen everywhere), so we’ve been outside enjoying it whenever we can. Kaya was so excited to ride her bike again. She didn’t even want to take her helmet off once we got to the playground!

We also pulled all the girls’ summer clothes out of the closet, and Kaya has been so thrilled over having new things to wear. This octopus shirt is a favorite for sure!

Why does my baby suddenly look so big? She’s mastered going down the big slide all on her own!

TWO. Riding a bike means you might fall off… and Kaya did exactly that this week. She got her first official “biking boo-boo”. She was pretty distraught about it until I told her that Mommy and Daddy used to fall off our bikes when we were kids too. By the time we got home, she was in high spirits again and almost couldn’t resist laughing when I asked her to make a sad face for this picture.

THREE. We had some errands to run this week, so while we were out near all the “big” stores, we took some time to do a little shopping. I finally lucked out and found two swimsuits on clearance (!!!), after I’ve been looking everywhere for months for something I liked.

Kaelyn is honestly a little difficult to entertain while we’re out. She wants to grab things off the racks and play with her seat belt buckle the entire time, but with a few hundred fruit snacks as bribery, we made it through the trip! I really do love my little shopping buddies. 🙂

FOUR. Our friend, Mallory, had her baby shower this week! It was so fun to have a night out without the kids. I can’t even remember the last time that happened, so I truly enjoyed it. There were fun games (including Pictionary!), good friends, and these amazing Belgian waffles made by Cheryl. I covered mine in cookie butter, Nutella, and whipped cream… And I think my taste buds died and went to Heaven.

Seriously. This is not a high-quality picture, but trust me, there’s a waffle under there!

FIVE. Everyone goes crazy for Daddy when he comes home! I love how much our girls just adore him! Laughing, wrestling, and tickling are almost always on the agenda. 🙂_MG_1656


Yes, they were totally rolling around on my clean (folded!) laundry… haha._MG_1659

_MG_1660Happy weekend!

Linking up here!

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! 🙂

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!

tall towers and pizza bigger than my face

My in-laws came up to visit this past weekend! As always, we had a really great time with them. They arrived late on Friday night, after the kids were already in bed (disclaimer: just because they were in bed does not mean they were sleeping…)

Mom went with Michael and Kaya to her final gymnastics class on Saturday morning. After running, I made a new batch of muffins for Dad- they’re his favorite, and he eats them for breakfast and lunch when he visits.

After everyone came home, had eaten, and got cleaned up, we headed out to the children’s museum. Grandpa was really into the jumbo-sized blocks.

They built the tallest towers together (and had fun knocking them down of course)!

Shopping with Grandma! Kaelyn wasn’t quite her peppy self (we thought maybe she was teething, but it might have actually been the start of a cold…).

We came home, and the kids took much-needed naps while Dad and I played some Wii! At dinnertime, they insisted that we take advantage of their offer to babysit and go on a date (we only ever seem to go out on our own when they’re here to watch the kids)!

We ended up driving around for about 20 minutes before we could make a decision on where to go! We ended up at this little locally-owned Italian place that we had gone to once before Kaya was born, and then forgotten about. It turned out to be the perfect choice, and since we never really go out as just the two of us, we totally splurged. Mozzarella sticks for appetizers! 

And then I ordered two slices of pizza and they turned out to be bigger than my face. I seriously ate this pizza for three meals… and it was consistently delicious!02272016collage2

We saved room for this triple chocolate cake. Best cake ever. I’d order a whole cake for every one of my future birthdays if I could.

We returned home to find a crazy game of “hide and seek” going on. And then Grandpa taught Kaya how to “lose” her thumb while sucking it, and then blow on it to get it to reappear. This girl was cracking up.collage02272016We enjoyed going to church together on Sunday, and after lunch, they headed home. We can’t wait to see them again in a few weeks!

labor day long weekend

Yes, I’m finally writing about our weekend… on a Wednesday! Since we had Monday off, I think I can cut myself some slack though, right? #ijustkeepthinkingitsonlytuesday

We didn’t do anything monumental by any means, but we did have some relaxing family time, and that’s always what I like best. On Saturday, Grandma texted us and told us that they were getting Chinese, and I made the mistake of reading it aloud. For the rest of the day, Kaya kept reiterating “I want Chineeeeeese”. Who are we to deny a little girl happiness?

She even offered to drive, but her feet don’t quite reach the pedals yet (and yes, she buckled Kitty in too)!

Kaelyn knows what to do at a Chinese buffet (she was sure to wear her favorite blue necklace out on the town, too)…

I think it’s pretty obvious that I have the best husband ever- he let me sleep in on Monday morning, went and donated platelets at the Red Cross during nap time, and then did all my grocery shopping. Oh, and how sweet is he for reading to our princesses?_MG_9195Lelia came down for the football game on Monday night, so she joined us for dinner (these amazing chicken tacos). When she headed to the game, we went out for a walk and to the playground.

Sadly, the Hokies lost… but Lelia stuck around until nap time on Tuesday to hang out with us! She made up a counting puppy song with my babies, and even watched them so I could take a shower without having to worry about one kid injuring the other (real life mom problems, you guys)… Then she came out for a walk with us. We had a genuinely good time and it was so great to catch up with each other.

Kaya loves her Auntie Lelia so much, and when she left after lunch, Kaya said “Lelia move away? Oh. Miss her.” She’ll be back in about a week for your birthday, sweetie!

the guy behind the blog (july 2015 edition)

I love including Michael on the blog whenever I can, so when I saw this fun little survey here, I just had to ask him to participate! I want our girls to be able to look back one day and read something that their dad wrote, instead of just hearing from their mom all the time!

Before I turn this post over to him, I can’t go without mentioning how seriously adorable this photo is…  I’m convinced that there’s no faster way to melt a mama’s heart than a daddy dancing with his littlest girl. Anyway…_MG_8878

1. What is your all time favorite food?

Hmm… this is a tough one. I’ll basically eat anything that’s put in front of me (except for items in Question #4 below). I’m not very picky. So, not sure if I have a favorite right now. But, my favorite growing up was either mom’s homemade bread or Chicken Florentine. I think I was lucky enough once to have both in the same meal and I’m sure I probably exploded. Talk about some good food!

2. Who is the cook between you and your significant other?

Um… definitely not me. I can do cookies. And breakfast. I make some mean waffles. Beyond that, I haven’t had to make much. Tara does a fantastic job!

3. What is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?

On my mission, we had some Filipino Elders that occasionally dared us to try some of their food. So, I went with the balut challenge. Definitely the weirdest thing I’ve ever had and totally backs up my thought that a cultural delicacy is something only that culture would eat. (Be warned if you Google it)

4. Are there any foods that you absolutely detest?

Mushrooms and olives. Probably the only two things I can’t do. Mushrooms is just a texture thing. Olives has a story to it…

On my mission, we visited a lady’s home where she invited us in and offered to make us a salad (it was lunch time). She came back with a Greek salad, complete with green olives, olive dressing, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the lettuce was some distant olive cousin. Basically, too. much. olive. Ever since then, I haven’t been able to stomach olives.

5. What is your favorite local, little-known, or hole in the wall place to eat?

We frequent a small Greek restaurant here in town. It’s a small family-run restaurant, but they have the BEST gyros!

hiding from the fireworks

We had the most fantastic holiday weekend. It was so low-key, and apparently just what we needed. We had some quality family time and made some great memories.

We also made some fantastic cupcakes… because what is a holiday without special sweets? I saw these tie-dye cupcakes and just had to give them a try. That vanilla cake recipe is the best! (This photo is before frosting, obviously, or I would have just called them muffins…)_MG_8369Kaya is always eager to help me bake and decorate! She was so good at carefully putting the sprinkles on.
_MG_8376 Pretty sure you could get a sugar high just from looking at these._MG_8381 She insisted on wearing her [much-too-small] Kitty shirt that day, but I did talk her into at least wearing a red skirt. I think the cupcake is sporting enough blue for the both of them, anyway!_MG_8385 It was supposed to rain all day long, so I didn’t plan a cookout like we usually do. Instead, we had this pulled pork and these green beans. Both recipes live up to the hype! Kaya shocked me by eating two mini pork sandwiches!_MG_8377We had to balance out all that deliciousness with a little bit of exercise. Michael ended up with a free Fitbit One and passed it on to me! I love anything that tells me numbers and statistics, so this is a lot of fun. Saturday was my first day with it, and I was pretty excited to see how high my step count was just after going through a regular day.
Screenshot_2015-07-06-00-11-01~01 After dinner, we headed out for the fireworks. Our town puts on such a great display every year. We are never disappointed!_MG_8401 Kaelyn was a little nervous at first because of all the loud booms, but she quickly settled in to watching and enjoying the lights. This was her first firework show, since she was barely a week old last year!_MG_8412 _MG_8397Kaya, on the other hand, was begging to go home from the moment it started. She ended up “watching” the fireworks from under her cat blanket._MG_8411

By the time we got home on Saturday night, both babies went to bed super late. Thankfully, they gave us the gift of sleeping in on Sunday morning before church. (And yes, Kaya still prefers to sleep on the floor!)Hope you had a happy 4th!