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!

happy birthday to me! (29)

On my birthday, I woke up to the sweetest surprise from my best friend- flowers and my favorite candy! These, vibrant, beautiful flowers ended up lasting for about two weeks, which is quite possibly the longest I’ve ever had anything green stay alive in my house.

The girls were so very excited to surprise me, and now that Kaelyn is using sentences, she repeatedly told me “happy burtday mama!” Her soft, sincere little voice melts my heart.
My birthday was on a Sunday this year, which meant that there wouldn’t be much time for celebrating, since we have church pretty much all day long. In addition to our regular schedule, we had our special New Beginnings program for the Young Women later that night. I love church, but I honestly was feeling a little disappointed that we wouldn’t have time to do anything special together as a family.
However, my heart immediately changed when I arrived at church and saw our Young Women, all excitedly shouting “happy birthday!” After all my previous feelings of disappointment, I realized that being with these amazing young ladies was right where I wanted (and probably needed) to spend my birthday. I made cinnamon rolls to bring to New Beginnings that evening, and we had a fun and uplifting day.
Later in the week, my mom came up to throw a belated mini birthday party for me. She read the girls all the books they asked her to and even played some games with them. No one can resist kissing these cheeks!And no one wants to nap when grandparents come to visit… until this happens:
My mom brought me a cookies and cream cake with fluffy, whipped frosting!My girls were so excited to have a tiny party for their mommy. I really can’t believe that all three of these little sweethearts are mine.
My mom gets all the credit for putting this birthday together! We’ve got some crazy blowing-out-the-candles faces, that’s for sure. My mom spoiled me with some potholders, kitchen utensils, and a shirt. The kids were so into helping me open everything that it almost turned into a race!

That’s the end of the birthday shenanigans. Here’s to making the last year of my twenties amazing!

five on friday (03/03)

Happy March! We’re on the brink of spring and sunshine, and I couldn’t be any more excited about the upcoming change of seasons.

We had a bit of a rough start to the week with Kaelyn and me coming down with colds. I think this sad little face says it all. Thankfully, she was better within a couple of days, and I’m almost back to normal. It really breaks my heart to see my babies feeling sick. Anyway, we still managed to fit some fun into the week:

ONE. The weather has been all over the spectrum, but we sure enjoyed the warmest day of the week by heading out for a walk and going to the playground. Kaya wanted to push Kaelyn on the swings, and she actually got her going pretty fast! Nella went on the swings for the very first time! She had no idea what was going on, and I just barely tapped the swing to get her moving, since she’s still a little wobbly with head stability. Bare baby toes in the sunshine are my favorite. TWO. Everyone wants to be just like Daddy…Michael’s desk has become the coloring station for Kaya and Kaelyn, sometimes as soon as they wake up in the morning!
THREE. Kaya came up with her own craft project this week… a Hello Kitty, of course! I’m proud of her for executing this idea with minimal instruction from me, and she was thrilled with how it turned out. FOUR. If you know me, you know this is long overdue, but I finally got the kids some French books! I had a really hard time narrowing down what I thought was worth buying to start out with, and I’m actually very happy with this small assortment. I pretty much jumped for joy each time one arrived in the mail, and I’ve loved reading them to the girls. Kaya has started using a few French words and phrases now and then, so obviously, I’m elated. FIVE. Sometimes, my favorite pictures are silly, blurry ones. Bedtime is usually chaos at our house, but I love this sweet eternal family of mine (plus, how cute are babies in jammies?)!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

five on friday (02/24)

There hasn’t been a whole lot of blogging over here this week… Sad! Having three kids can be busy, so if I don’t schedule time for it, it doesn’t happen. The USB receiver for my keyboard and mouse also mysteriously turned up snapped in half this week, so my computer wasn’t even usable. Life with kids! You know I wouldn’t have it any other way, though.

ONE. This little baby is falling more in love with her daddy every single day, and he’s fallen head over heels for her, too. She’ll spot him from across the room, fix her gaze on him, and smile until he notices her. Michael bonds with our babies the most once they start smiling and interacting with him (you know, after the first few months, when they’re essentially eating and pooping machines)! I’ve loved seeing them grow closer, and I look forward to seeing her light up for him when he comes home from work each day.

TWO. There’s nothing better than making cookies on a rainy day… unless they’re Hello Kitty cookies! I never ever buy cookie mix, but when I saw this, I knew how excited the girls would be, so I splurged. They loved putting the edible stickers on! I enjoy doing these little projects with them. THREE. Kaelyn has started tracing letters! I let her decide if she wants to participate when Kaya and I do school, and usually she does. This week, she got out her alphabet book and started matching the correct stickers to the letters and actually writing them. I get so excited to see her learning! FOUR. These kids are still crazy for the Kangaroo Kids program. They are on the go for the entire hour, but I did get them to sit still for one picture in this little boat ball pit.

FIVE. We’ve been having some amazingly warm weather here this week. We’ve been soaking up the sunshine (although, having summer-like temperatures in February does make me a little nervous about how hot the actual summer will be), going on walks, and enjoying time at the playground. I think I feel closest to my kids when we’re outside, playing and exploring together.Nella has loved riding in the stroller and being able to see the world! This means that Kaya is on foot now, but she’s a pretty good little runner and even likes to help push the stroller.

Happy weekend!

Linking up here, 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.