fun with the grands

Last weekend, we got to enjoy some time with Michael’s parents! It’s been a while since both Mom and Dad have been able to come up here at the same time (January was our last visit all together at our house), so it felt a little extra special and fun. They arrived on Friday afternoon, so we had maximum time for goofing off!

The girls have been really into board games lately, and they somehow charmed Grandpa Skip into playing both Candy Land and Thin Ice.
Nella was tickled by Grandma Gina’s “piano fingers”, and obviously, she loved it! This was Dad’s first time meeting Scout, and I think he really liked her. They played on the floor, ran around the house, and even took a couple of walks. Kaya rode on Grandpa’s shoulders for most of the time. I’m glad she’s still little enough to do so, but it did make me realize how tall she’s getting!
Nella got some cuddles from both Grandpa and Grandma (and I’m sure she seemed so big to them after they’ve visited with newborn cousin Bryce so recently)! On Saturday morning, I had a 10-mile run, and then we all did a little work around the house and yard. Michael, Mom, and the older girls went to help out with a food drive service project, and Dad and I stayed home with Nella while she napped. I might have also crushed him at Mario Kart Wii… some of the time. I think we’re pretty equally matched, actually.

We ended the day with our favorite thing- Chinese food! Dad and Michael always love to go browse at Best Buy, so we all spent a few minutes in there after dinner. Kaya and Kaelyn thought it was one of the most fun places, probably just because they got to act silly with Grandpa Skip in there. On Sunday, we all went to the first hour of church together before they had to head home. Nella took two naps on her Grandma that morning! They both love snuggling, so they’re a pretty perfect match!

I always wish for more time with our family when they have to leave. It goes too fast!

five on friday (06/16)

ONE. Without fail, nearly every time we venture out on a walk, someone says, “Wow, that’s a lot!”, referencing my stroller full of kids with a puppy tied to it. I rarely ever see another mom out in our neighborhood with three kids (or more), so around here, I guess this looks like a lot to handle. Yes, we are those crazy (and probably too loud) people walking through the neighborhood. Sometimes it’s hard to get where we’re going without a struggle or a meltdown, but I love getting outside with my babies. Most of the time, we’re having fun.

TWO. It’s no secret that I like blowing bubbles even more than my kids do. I always try to convince someone to run around and catch them as they float over the playground. Kaelyn usually takes some time to play with me, and I thought that this picture actually turned out pretty neat.

THREE. Nella’s been melting my heart since 2016… and now that she’s got two tiny teeth, it’s even easier! She’s still too little for everything at the playground except for the infant swing, but she’s just as content to sit with me and watch everything around her.

FOUR. I love hearing Michael practice the piano, and it’s even better when Kaelyn sits next to him and gently taps on the keys. She never slams on them or makes a ton of noise. She’s very careful and deliberate with her “piano playing”.

FIVE. This little girl… she absolutely cracks me up. She accidentally broke Daddy’s measuring tape a week or two ago, and she was so sad and remorseful over it for the rest of the day. I asked her about it again a couple of days ago, and she was so silly that I had to record her. She also talks about her birthday for the remaining two minutes of this video, which is equally adorable.

Happy Friday!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

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!

running and shutters (weekend)

This past weekend started off very exciting- Jeff and Lelia welcomed their first baby into their family on Friday afternoon! I am beyond excited for them, and I can’t wait to meet baby Bryce in a few weeks! Kaya and Kaelyn are just as eager to hold him as I am.

Meanwhile, we started off our Saturday with some sweet baby Nella snuggles! One of the best things about Saturdays is being able to move a little more slowly and enjoy time together before we start the day’s projects.I had my longest training run planned for that morning- 13 miles! That’s the farthest I’ve ever run, so once I was finished, I was felling really proud (hence my hands in the air- woohoo!). All the muscles in my legs wanted to quit when I hit mile 11.5, but I pushed through, and when I reached the end of my route, Michael and the girls jumped out from around the corner and started yelling and cheering for me. They said they had to practice for race day… obviously! I’ll take “practice cheering” anytime. I love my thoughtful family.I was very ready for a nap after all that running, but first, we all helped Daddy finish putting the new shutters on the house. (Kaya insisted on wearing those blue toy glasses all day long!)
On Sunday morning, Nurse Kaelyn gave everyone checkups. She loves playing with this dress-up outfit and always tells me that she wants to be a “nurse [who] takes care of babies” when she grows up.

The rest of the weekend was filled with naps, homemade paninis, and church. What could be better? I love these simple weekends with my little family.

anniversary shenanigans (2017)

From the very beginning of my half marathon training, I told Michael that the first time I ran ten miles, we would be going to Red Robin for dinner. Well, that first 10-mile Saturday fell on our anniversary weekend, so we counted it as our family date for the month and headed out for a special meal.

I think we’ve only been on four dates without the kids since Kaya was born… so obviously, they came along. I like including them in celebrating our anniversary, anyway. According to Kaya, it’s our “family’s birthday!”

Kaya really looks forward to eating the broccoli there (although I don’t think it’s any different than the broccoli we make at home)!

We accomplished a lot of other things around the house that weekend- Michael started putting new shutters on the house, I cleaned, and Nella did what babies do best… 😉Our actual anniversary was that next Monday, and Michael surprised me with some flowers! I love getting potted plants- these should last for a long time (hopefully)!I had to run some errands that evening, and while I was gone, Michael and the girls made square shooter cookies……as well as a pretty big mess!Seriously, who couldn’t love a guy who bakes surprise cookies? I’m so grateful to have Michael in my life, and I love our simple anniversary celebration.  Maybe once we get to ten years, we’ll do something a little more exciting, but for now, this weekend was perfect.

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!

the best teammate (8 years)

I’ve heard the quote, “Life is a team sport” various times, but today, on our anniversary, it’s the adage that keeps running through my mind.

Eight years ago, we became a team. I’d choose Michael a million times over, and I’m so thankful to call him my sweetheart forever.

I honestly couldn’t dream up a better teammate. He deals with all my shenanigans, tolerates my love of country music, and picks up the pieces when I fall apart. He encourages me to do better, work harder, and push myself to try new things. He never judges and is always there to help me, no matter what I need.

It’s amazing to me that in eight short years, we’ve grown into a family of five. A lot has changed in the time since we married, but the fact that Michael is my best friend and my favorite person to hang out with is only more true.

And just for fun, here’s our marriage, so far, by the numbers:

2 apartments. 1 house.
3 cars.
7 jobs.
2 little self-starter businesses.
3 incredible baby girls.
2 dogs. 4 guinea pigs.
2,920 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
5,840 bowls of ice cream.
Thousands upon thousands of photographs to remember it all.

Happy Anniversary, Bestie! I love you.

five on friday (05/19)

It’s summer!!!

Ok, technically it’s not summer yet. But the weather has been glorious; public school kids get out for summer vacation next week, and we’ve been playing outside most mornings and saving our school lessons for later. Sunshine makes us a very happy bunch.

ONE. Kaya climbed her first trees this week (with a little help from me)! She loved sitting up there and being able to see everything below her, although she was terrified every time she saw an ant crawl past.

TWO. We actually worked on our garden this week! We put some seeds in the ground, and I’m hoping we get something out of them. I know we probably should have started earlier, but this is still a huge learning process for me, and I will be thrilled if we get any veggies at all. Kaelyn helped rake the soil before we sowed anything. When she took a break to go help Daddy in the front yard, she said, “No touch my garden, okay?” For the rest of the week, both girls were pretty obsessed with watering the seeds with their little toy watering can. Hey, whatever keeps them occupied!THREE. If you’re going to garden, you better hope that Google auto-awesomes a hilarious GIF about it for you afterward. I think I cracked up at this for five minutes straight when I first saw it (although it was pretty late at night, so that might’ve had something to do with it)…

FOUR. Whenever I go to the grocery store without my older girls, I love to bring home something to surprise them. I don’t do it every time, and the surprise has ranged from grape tomatoes (Kaya’s favorite) to mini donuts. This week, I saw freezie pops there, and I just had to get some.These were one of my favorite summer treats as a little girl, and I love sharing them with my girls.FIVE. No ice pops for these sweet, sleepy cheeks……but she’s the happiest, sweetest little angel, just patiently watching while we do all these things in the yard.And of course, we’re all so glad when daddy gets home! 🙂

Happy Friday!
Linking up here, here, and here today!

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 (05/05)

ONE. What do you do when it’s almost bedtime, everyone is getting cranky, and Daddy is out mowing the lawn? Take everyone outside for some fresh air and bubble fun! Besides all the pollen (thankfully I’m the only one in the family with allergies, let’s hope it stays that way), it was an absolutely perfect evening to spend outside.Kaya was trying to catch bubbles on her tongue…

I love cuddling up with this snugly little baby and watching my big kids play together.

TWO. We had our last session of Kangaroo Kids this week! I spent extra time bouncing around with the girls, and I let them take turns sitting on my lap to go down the giant inflatable slide (and all three of us even went together for a few runs)! They think it’s the best thing ever when I play with them. I love it.

Kaya really loves this giant bubble machine…

THREE. We brought the princess tent back out for the first time since we moved to our house. Apparently, Kaya and Kaelyn were doing their “visiting teaching” in there this morning! I told them to say, “Olaf!” for this picture, and I love the expression I got out of Kaelyn!

FOUR. I had my first-ever visit to the chiropractor this week. I’ve had pain and soreness in my hips ever since Nella was born, and unlike after my previous pregnancies, it just wasn’t going away on its own. I’d be hurting after a run, when sitting in certain positions, and even turning over at night when sleeping. I decided to go see what could be done about it, and I’m so glad I did, because after a few adjustments, I feel almost brand new.

As a mom, I enjoy any “me time” I can get, even if it’s just going to a doctor appointment. I might have indulged in some frozen yogurt afterward, just because I knew I wouldn’t have to share with anyone. 😉

FIVE. Someone loves it when Daddy “eats” her tummy… and I love how much they love each other.Happy Friday!

Linking up here, here, and here today!