five on friday (04/28)

It’s the final Friday of April… what?! We’re already moving past spring into summer, and I can’t believe how the time is flying by.

ONE. We’ve had a tremendous amount of rain here for the past week and half, so when the sun finally came out again, we were more than willing to run outside! This little princess is the calmest baby. She’s happy to just sit in the stroller and watch everyone else play or work. That little tongue!

TWO. Between Michael being out of town and then all the rain, there wasn’t an ideal time to cut the grass this week, so our yard was starting to look a bit like a jungle. Michael was working late on Wednesday night, so I decided to mow the lawn as a surprise for him. This was my first time ever mowing the whole thing on my own, and I won’t tell you how long it actually took me to finish… but Michael was so happy and I felt pretty accomplished for getting it done. Plus, this totally counts as cross-training for my half marathon, right? Kaya took the picture- she’s getting good!

THREE. Speaking of my half marathon… Overall, I’m still feeling really pumped up and excited about it, and training is going well. I ran nine miles this morning, which is my furthest-ever distance. Running greater distances makes me want to nap more, and my appetite is a lot larger, too. #runallthemiles #takeallthenaps #eatallthefood

Needless to say, I was pretty happy when we all went out for Chinese after my long run last week! We’ve been trying to have one “family date” out for dinner each month, and it’s really been fun for all of us.

Don’t be fooled by all that chicken on her plate… Kaelyn pretty much gorges herself on Jello every time. Good thing she’s still only two and free!

FOUR. Anytime we go anywhere, Kaelyn loves pretending to drive… …and if you can’t drive the real car, a pretend one is a good substitute! Both girls love getting this grocery cart at Kroger. I’ll admit, it makes running errands a lot more fun!

FIVE. When your dog starts to shake off in the middle of you snapping a photo… haha!Linking up here, here, and here today!

five on friday (04/21)

Whew! This has been a long, tiring week, and I’m so excited to get the weekend started!

ONE. This nerdy guy (and I say that as a compliment, because he loves his work, and I love that he enjoys what he does) headed to Austin, Texas, this week for Docker’s big developer conference. He had such a great time, but we most definitely missed him. When we would talk on the phone with him and then hang up, Kaya would cry, “Talking to Daddy makes me miss him even more!” Me too, kid. I feel a little lost when my best friend isn’t here.

TWO. Thankfully, Michael’s mom came up to help out and spend some time with us this week while he was gone. I was so grateful for an extra pair of hands, and that she could watch the kids so I could still have some time to myself to go running. We all love Grandma!

We did a lot of fun things with her, including reading at the library, swinging at the park, doing puzzles, visiting the vet, and going to Kangaroo Kids! I think we tired ourselves out. She also helped me rake and pull all the weeds in our garden so I can get some vegetable plants started here soon!

THREE. The teachers at Kangaroo Kids usually pull a new and different activity out of the closet each week, and this week, it was these jumping balls! Riding around on these was one of my favorite things to do in gym class in elementary school, but I had completely forgotten about them. Kaya and Kaelyn loved them just as much as I always did!

I found out they make them in adult size… can you imagine me hopping around my house all day long?

FOUR. This sweet baby girl has had a rough week. She went to the doctor for her shots, which always make her feel crummy for about a week, but then she came down with her very first cold on top of that. She’s been so congested, which makes nursing and sleeping a little difficult.On Wednesday, we had the roughest night of sleep since the day we brought her home from the hospital. I was so grateful my mom-in-law was there to hold her for a couple of hours so that I could get some sleep after being awake most of the night.

FIVE. Favorite Dollar Tree purchase ever- whale bubble machines! These have been so much fun! Scout wasn’t quite sure what to think of the bubbles!

Happy Friday!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

five on friday (04/14)

It’s already evening, but I just can’t let a Friday go by without listing some of my favorite moments from the week! I basically feel like I have four kids now (puppy included), so I just have to write whenever I can, even if it’s at odd times of the day. I’m always so grateful that I take the time to do this, though, because without these little blurbs about our everyday lives, I forget so many of the little details.

ONE. The weather has been gorgeous all week long, so we’ve been walking, playing at the playground, climbing rocks, drawing with sidewalk chalk, and using the water table again. Being in the sunshine automatically lifts our spirits so much! Kaya drew our family! I absolutely love her little people and that sweet heart she made at the start of the lineup.

What’s better than being able to work outside with a sweet baby on your lap?

TWO. I almost feel like Scout needs her own series of blog posts, titled “goofy things my dog does”. The best way to use your dog bed is to fold it in half, and then rest with your head under it, obviously.While Michael is working on one side of the yard, Scout’s trying to dig holes on the other side……but when she’s not getting into something, she’s busy snuggling with anyone who will sit with her. We really love having this little puppy in our family.THREE. One benefit of doing preschool at home is that we can do our lessons all cuddled up together, if we like. I love any reason to snuggle with these too-grown-up girls of mine.And we can take a break to take silly pictures together…
FOUR. This big kid is officially out of the high chair and sitting in a booster seat at the table! I love having her so much closer to us at mealtime.FIVE. Because there weren’t enough chubby cheeks in this post…  Happy Easter weekend!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

grandpa peter turns 60!

When we traveled back to my parents’ neck of the woods on race weekend, we also celebrated my Dad’s 60th birthday! Having a party with all of my family was really the perfect way to end an already-great Saturday.

After the race, we headed to Longhorn Steakhouse for my Dad’s special birthday dinner! He had to wear this special blinking birthday pin that my aunts both wore on their sixtieth birthdays- it’s a tradition! Hey, at least it got him a free ice cream sundae at the restaurant.
I’m so glad everyone could be there together. Michael and I ended up on opposite ends of our very long table… so I think this picture pretty much sums up what he was doing for the duration of the dinner- wrangling these big kids! He’s such a good sport, and I love him so much for taking care of our girls. Nella’s little hand grabbing onto my arm… melt my heart. And it’s always fun to hang out with Auntie Carol and Auntie Joyce! We headed back home for cake and gifts! Kaya is so into birthdays (she actually pretends it’s her baby doll’s or Kitty’s birthdays on a nearly-daily basis at times), so anytime she’s allowed to participate in the festivities, she’s all for it.I think Grandpa liked having a candle-blowing-out, present-opening helper.
When I was about six years old, I made my dad a “birthday necklace” out of strips of paper that I had colored and stapled together. I made a giant paper birthday cake and stapled it to the center of the necklace, and of course, he had to wear it, even though it was probably the ugliest and most awkward necklace in existence. He donned this plastic, blinking birthday necklace this year, a sort of tribute to that awful paper necklace from years past. He received lots of great gifts, but Snoballs were obviously the most exciting! I think the grand-puppy was cuddled more than the grandbabies on this trip! I was a little concerned about traveling with such a young puppy, but she really did great. She slept on the floor of the van for the entire drive, and didn’t make any trouble or destroy anything at my parents’ house. I’d call that a success! I think she won my Dad over when she fell asleep in his arms. On Sunday morning, we got to sleep in, which was so refreshing after getting up early for the race the previous day. I get to share a room with Nella at my parents’ house (everyone else sleeps downstairs), and I always look forward to waking up and having some one-on-one time with this smiley little baby. My mom made us the biggest pancakes in the world for breakfast!

We walked our dogs out in the yard, and Kaelyn enjoyed putting on “makeup” (just lipstick) with Grandma. This is one of her favorite things.Before we knew it, we were back on the road and on our way home!

five on friday (04/07)

ONE. We spent a lot of time outdoors this week, enjoying the sunshine and trying to wear the puppy out (and let’s be honest, the kids too)! It’s a good thing we soaked in the warmth while we could, because today we’ve had snow flurries and wind gusts of up to 40 mph. April’s weather is full of surprises!

Nella loves riding in the stroller……and napping in it, too!Sidenote: when did Kaya’s legs get so long?!We met up with Daddy at the playground one day after work. The girls eagerly wait for him to come home each day, and I love seeing him act completely silly and play with them when he does.

TWO. Scout’s been learning all the important things a puppy should: house-training, not jumping up on people, sit, stay, and oh, you know, how to go down the slide.  When your best friend is four years old, that’s what you get! She actually did this completely on her own- no pulling, pushing, or coaxing needed (although it might’ve had something to do with retrieving the stick she dropped)!

THREE. One reason I like going to Kangaroo Kids each week is that I can play with my girls without getting distracted by all the things on my to-do list at home. Nella usually takes a little catnap while we’re there, and that’s when I get to be crazy! This week, I helped each of them into these little tunnels and then rolled them around.

I wish they’d never get too old for this.

FOUR. A few months ago, I gave Kaya a lesson on how to tie her shoes. She didn’t seem to understand yet, so I just let it go and figured we’d come back to it another day. This morning, while she was playing with a larger pair of shoes I had stored away for her to use in the future, she randomly came up to me and said, “Look! I tied my shoe!” At first, I almost thought she was somehow trying to trick me, because we haven’t practiced since that one day, and the shoelaces were tied so very neatly.

She then proceeded to show me how she did it. No tricks here!

I’m so proud of this little girl!FIVE. I guess I’m still on a high from running the Monument Avenue 10k last weekend (blog post on that coming next week), because I went ahead and signed up for my very first half marathon. I’ve wanted to try the distance for a few years, and I figured that now is as good a time as any to just go for it! I love seeing what my body can do and how I can grow stronger.Happy weekend!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

these days when…

Whenever I go somewhere with all three kids, someone almost always remarks, “You have your hands full!”

Wrangling three kids out in public isn’t always easy, but generally, my girls are well-behaved, so in response I usually quip, “Yes, but it’s fun and we love it!”

Last week, when we were out for a family walk (puppy included), a middle-aged woman and her three teenage kids were all sitting out on their deck. She saw us puttering along down the walking path, and asked the ages of our daughters. When we told her, she said, “My kids all have the same age gaps as yours, and we got a lab puppy when our youngest was a baby, too”, and then, gesturing to her three nearly-grown children, she said, “Take a look, this is your future!”

I’m excited to watch my girls grow up together and become wonderful, amazing young women, but for now, I’m holding on, as tightly as I can, to these days of their childhood. I’m relishing all the small moments that bring us all so much joy, and trying hard to remember to let them be little.

These are the days when…

… we can make the morning fun just by going to the grocery store and letting them push their own carts around. They love to feel like “big helpers”, and getting some teddy bear graham crackers is one of the most exciting surprises.

… Kaelyn loves to pretend to put on makeup (and she calls my makeup brushes “mommies and babies”, all depending on their sizes).

… sharing Twizzlers on a road trip and sitting up front with mommy during a rest stop is special.

… driving the car is just pretend, and having a permanent faux-hawk hairdo is totally in style.

… it’s completely adorable to sleep in your puppy costume…

… and it’s still acceptable to go out in public while wearing it.

… being a sister means being best friends.

… your puppy is still small enough to fit in your lap.… and sticking your tongue out is the best way to smile.

“Let them be little, cause they’re only that way for a while.
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love, everyday.
Let ’em cry, let ’em giggle, let them sleep in the middle.
Oh just let them be little.”  -Billy Dean

five on friday (03/31)

ONE. Spring is finally here and we have been soaking it all in! For family night this week, we headed to the pond for a picnic and to feed the ducks. It’s so exciting to eat your sandwich outside!

Nella might be too little for a sandwich, but she was content to just sit and take in her surroundings. This girl is never short on smiles!

TWO. We’re officially that family with so many little kids that we drive the equivalent of a bus for a stroller. For months, I dragged my feet on upgrading, because it seemed a little excessive to have such a big stroller, but after combining a sale with a coupon, I decided to just go for it. I like to take relatively long walks, and the truth is that Kaya gets tired and can’t make it on foot the entire way. It’s been super nice having a seat that she can easily get in and out of as she pleases.

Nella really likes it too! She can (mostly) sit up and ride without the car seat, and she loves excitedly kicking her feet as she sees the world around her.
THREE.
After a two-week hiatus, we started another round of Kangaroo​ Kids! My girls were so excited to jump, slide, and run through obstacles again. Even more impressively, they do it all with an armful of rubber duckies!

FOUR. We’ve been enjoying (and adjusting to) life with a little puppy! Scout is settling in and figuring everything out. Apparently, if you can’t reach your water bowl, it’s acceptable to stand in your food bowl.

One day we’re going to look at this picture and be amazed that she was small enough to fit under the chair!

FIVE. Sometimes it’s a little crazy taking care of all these little people, but once in a while, we’ll have a moment that feels perfect and makes all the hard work worth it. Our family walk and time spent at the playground this week was just that.

meet scout

It’s been an entire week since we brought her home, so it’s about time I introduce you to our newest furry family member, Scout!

Kaya was bitten by our previous family dog nearly two years ago, and after a lot of emotional healing for both her and me, we’re excited to start fresh. To be honest, as much as I absolutely love animals, I’ve still felt sensitive throughout this process. Kaya, however, has this amazing ability to forgive and constantly love. I’m so grateful for the wonderful example she sets for me.

I had been browsing Craigslist, looking at puppies, for a few months. Last week, I saw Scout’s picture and instantly fell in love. She was part of an unplanned litter of puppies, located a couple of hours away. The owner agreed to meet us at a halfway point so we could see the puppies and decide if we wanted to bring one home.

I didn’t tell the kids what we were doing, other than that we were having a “super special family night” (they guessed that we were going to the pond to feed the ducks!) and that we would be in the car for about an hour. When Kaya saw the puppies out the van window, she instantly started beaming, and she couldn’t wait to get out and pet them. She was even more surprised when I asked her, “Do you want to take this puppy home with us?”

The sun was setting as she grinned and giggled, happily walking that tiny, 10-week old puppy down the sidewalk. It was truly one of those moments I won’t forget.She rode all the way home peacefully sleeping on my lap.

Kaelyn was overtired and cranky when we first saw the puppies, but she started to warm up to Scout after we went to do some puppy-supply shopping.Scout is supposedly a mix of lab and pit bull, and she currently weighs about 14.5 pounds. The vet predicts she’ll even out around 50-60 pounds in adulthood. I think we’re basically going to have a giant lapdog, since she has no qualms about sitting right on you for some cuddles.She had never been on a leash before we got her, so we’re working on that, along with basic commands, like sit, leave it, and down. I’m actually impressed with how quickly she’s been learning words. She loves to burrow into wet grass, and she’s already unearthed several tennis balls that the previous homeowners left in the yard.

Kaya keeps telling me “I’m so glad we have a puppy again!”

So am I.

five on friday (03/17)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

ONE. Daylight Savings was so good to us on Sunday. Afternoon church is a big struggle with little kids who are missing their naps, but skipping ahead an hour and having a little “extra” sunshine (and lollipops) made everyone a little less cranky​.And yes, I love matching dresses with my baby.
TWO. In honor of “Pi Day”, we made a chocolate chip cookie pie (with this crust) to bring to our youth mutual activity on Tuesday night. If you like gooey amazingness… this is the perfect pie.

Kaelyn actually rolled out the crust herself and did a great job (all while making the silliest faces)!THREE. Once a month for past few months, Michael has been holding training meetups for a company named Docker. There, he teaches some of the latest software development practices. Our girls are obsessed with their whale logo, and when Nella was born, they actually sent a onesie just for her. This baby looks so good in blue!Michael had his meeting this week, which coincided with Docker’s birthday. He needed to bring cupcakes, so naturally, the girls and I whipped some up. Yellow cake with chocolate buttercream might be my current favorite combination.

FOUR. Michael has been painting our bedroom this week, and apparently reviewing the alphabet with Kaya at the same time! Haha. If you’re thinking that this blue looks the same as the color in the office, you’re right. I’m kind of obsessed with it, but I promise this is the last room in the house that’s going to be blue.

FIVE. Of course, we had to make some art for St. Patrick’s Day! The girls finger painted rainbows and we learned a little bit about the holiday and the mythological leprechauns.Kaelyn’s art was a little more abstract, but I still love it (and her silly faces)!

Happy weekend!

five on friday (03/10)

ONE. Michael is my knight in shining armor. Actually, I’m certain he was made for his role as such a tender-hearted, patient husband and father of daughters. I started the week off being sick (again, which is typically unusual for me), and he came home early from work just to take care of us. All four of us adore him, and I’m so grateful for this guy who gives us his all one hundred percent of the time.

TWO. The “March comes in like a lion” expression has certainly been true around here lately, with our area experiencing everything from extreme gusts of wind, to snow, to rainstorms, to 60-degree days. Kaya was beyond excited about the random snow we had, and although none of it stuck around, she loved catching the flakes and twirling outside in it.

THREE. Two of Kaya and Kaelyn’s favorite things: jammies and baby dolls! These little girls play “babies” together nearly all day everyday. Kaya’s baby, Alice, was apparently born and celebrated her 3rd birthday party all in the same week. Kaelyn’s baby, Doll, learned to walk today. These are very busy babies!FOUR. I’ve made some major strides (haha, running humor) in my pace in these past few weeks. Doing speed work has really been paying off, and although it might not look like much to some, I’m so happy to see improvement. I’ve never been a very fast runner, but getting back to where I was pre-Nella is encouraging.

FIVE. When I’m nursing the baby, the girls love to make a “tunnel” under my legs between the ottoman and the chair. Kaelyn thought it’d be fun to hide and then surprise me… I think this little .GIF is pretty hilarious (and oh so representative of her personality)!  

Happy Friday!

Linking up here, here, and here today!