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 ūüôā !) 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!

mother’s day (2017)

Michael didn’t have any extra church meetings on Mother’s Day, so we got to start the morning off nice and slowly, with some surprise donuts from my favorite local bakery! He’s getting too good at sneaking out on Saturday evening to buy¬†donuts, and then hiding them until Sunday morning (which he’s done on several holidays for the past few years). However,¬†I think he’s learned not to tell Kaya where he hides them anymore-¬†she’s been a secret-spoiler lately!

Admittedly, I sometimes wish that Mother’s Day would be¬†renamed to something that would be¬†inclusive for all women, because I know how hard this day can feel for so many because of that title (sidenote: there actually is an “International Women’s Day” on March 8th of every year). The reality is, even if someone isn’t a mother by the standard definition, they equally deserve to be honored for their work and righteous, loving influence over others. I have so many amazing women to look up to in my life, and I am so grateful for them.

The best part of the day was hearing the Primary children sing at the front of the chapel during sacrament meeting. Kaya was waving to us for a good part of the performance, all while attempting to remember the words to “I Often Go Walking”. I can’t believe that next year, Kaelyn will be up there with her!

The girls came home from their classes with Rice Krispies treats, but gave them to me,¬†saying,¬†“Because I love you!”, as they handed them over. In truth, they actually don’t like them, but hey, the sentiment was just as sweet, and I can’t pass up free Rice Krispies treats. I love these little girls with my whole heart, and even when we have rough days, I still feel so much gratitude knowing that they are mine. It’s a little crazy, a little wild, and so perfectly imperfect, but I wouldn’t trade my days with these three for anything.Kaya actually did two of these little “my mom” surveys (one at the library and one in her primary class), so I thought I’d condense the answers here. These types of things always make me realize that maybe I’m doing a little better at this job than I tend to think I am.

My mom is… 29 years old.
My mom has blue eyes and brown curly hair. (she told me she was making up a pretend mommy for this one)
Her favorite flower is… a heart flower. (not sure what this is, but it sounds like something I’d like!)
My mom always says I love you. (melt my heart!)
My mom makes the BEST pumpkin bread. (currently Kaya’s favorite breakfast)
She is SO good at… taking care of me.
My mom is funny when she has daddy laugh at her…
…and she laughs when I give her a hug.
My mom’s favorite color is blue.
My mom’s favorite food is pizza.
My mom’s favorite game to play is Candy¬†Land.
My favorite memory with my mom is going to the store.
My mom always forgets to close the van door. (hahaha… so true!)
My favorite thing to do with my mom is going to Target.

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! ūüôā

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

nella: 7 months

Clothing size: 6-9 month-sized everything, except I did find a pair of 12 month leggings that fits her perfectly now. I think we can blame it on her huge diaper!
Eye color: Baby blue.Hair: She’s lost pretty much all the hair she was born with at this point, and some of the new growth on the sides is coming in super light blonde. It still curls up on its own after her bath and will randomly stick up at times.

Nursing: Just about every three hours now. We haven’t started solids yet, besides just giving her a little peanut butter to help prevent future allergies.

Sleep: This has been her roughest month of sleep so far. She had her first cold, which completely threw her off (she didn’t want to sleep at all), and then we had random wake-ups for about the following week. She’s also sporadically woken up for an extra feeding around 4 am some nights, too. I think we’re pretty much back on track now though!

She likes to go to bed around 7 or 7:30 pm, and she sleeps until I feed her at 5:45 am. Usually, she falls back to sleep after that until 8 am or so. She naps for three hours in the afternoon, too! Sometimes, she has a hard time waiting for her sisters to finish their lunch before I get everyone ready for a nap, so she just catnaps wherever she is for a little while until we’re ready to head upstairs.

She’s still sleeping in our room, although she is almost too tall for her bassinet. Daddy is ready for her to move to her own room, but I know I’m going to miss her so much when she does.

Favorite things: Her sisters are still her number one favorite thing! They act silly and she laughs like crazy. She’s also really started to like stuffed animals in general, and she actually plays with the toys on her exersaucer and bouncer seat now. It’s so easy to get her laughing that sometimes all I have to do is look at her and she starts giggling.¬†She also loves going outside and watching us all play, especially when we blow bubbles and she can visually track their movement through the sky.

Dislikes: She really didn’t like having her very first cold (but who would?)- she couldn’t eat well or sleep much, and I think that just left her feeling tired and confused! Sometimes if she starts to feel sad, she makes the cutest, tiny-lipped pouty face. It usually only lasts for a second though, because overall, she’s still our happy little sunshine baby.

Nicknames: Nellbells, Baby Sunshine, Nella Sunshine, Nell, Nell-Nell, Nels, Angel, Cheeks, Newwie (by Kaelyn), and ‚ÄúBaby Nella Sunshine Sprinkle Pop‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúPushy Cheeks‚ÄĚ (by Kaya).

Milestones, etc.: -I know we’re kind of late to the game, but she rolled over (from her back to her tummy) all on her own for the very first time a few nights ago! And then, after a few minutes, just to impress us, she rolled to her back. She’s getting stronger; it’s probably only taking longer because I don’t give her as much time on the floor with her big sisters running all around.

-She’s always grabbing (and eating!) her toes!

-She’s still so close to sitting up… We’re just working on balance!

-She loves to look around and take in everything around her, even in the car. Most times when I peek back at her during a drive, she’s holding her head up high, not resting it up against the back of her seat. I love seeing that fuzzy hair of hers turning in all different directions as she makes her observations.

-She sticks her tongue out when she’s extremely happy or excited about something!

-I’ve heard her make some new sounds, like “mum” (she’s obviously just trying to say “mommy!”). She also likes to make this low, growl-like sound sometimes to try and talk to us. Usually though, she communicates with the sweetest, happiest little squeals.

-Just as a puppy wags her tail when she’s happy, Nella repeatedly kicks her legs when she’s excited about something. I love that just a smile isn’t enough- she has to get her whole body moving!

-Anytime she’s near a blanket (or clean laundry on my bed, let’s be real here), she purposely pulls it over her face and will “hide” until we come take it off of her and say, “peekaboo!”

-She still doesn’t really have any “stranger danger”, and will willingly snuggle with nearly anyone who wants to hold her.

Dear Nella,

I love that I can look over at you at any time of the day, and you always give me a giant grin. You are my sweet, happy little girl, and you are always bringing joy to everyone around you. No one can resist your gummy smile, chunky thighs, and tiny little toes.

Your sisters are excited for you to start crawling and ask me several times a week if you’re going to do it soon. We’ll see how excited they are once you can get into all their toys! I think they’re just ready for you to play with them like a “big kid”. I’m so excited for all your newest and upcoming milestones, but a big part of me just wants time to slow down a little so I can enjoy you just as you are now.We love you so much, Nellbells!

Love, Mommy

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. ūüėČ

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!

easter bunnies, eggs, and baskets

We didn’t have a big Easter celebration this year, mostly because I really wanted to keep that Sunday truly focused on Christ and the real meaning of the holiday. We taught our girls some of the stories about Jesus during¬†the last week of his life (I really liked using¬†these lessons¬†as a basis for ideas, and these Bible videos are a great supplement). They’ve loved hearing the lessons just as much as I’ve loved teaching them.

In an effort to keep things simple, I didn’t put together Easter baskets this year, but I did let them each choose a chocolate bunny at the store on the Monday after Easter (hello clearance)! Kaelyn was ready to eat as much of it as she could before I could say, “let’s put it away and save some for later”, but Kaya sobbed and sobbed that her bunny was going to disappear if she ate him. She’s a truly tender-hearted animal lover.¬† We did have a small Easter egg hunt for family night. They were both so good at finding the eggs that I think I’m going to have to make it a lot harder next year!Have you ever seen anyone so excited about jellybeans?Grandma Debbie also sent some Easter surprises!
Kaya always gets (and adores) cats… …and Kaelyn always receives puppies (who like to give pretend kisses, apparently)! PEEPS!Nella had no idea what was going on, but she did get a cute singing lightning bug, so she was happy. Happy first Easter, Nella!

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!

easter dresses (2017)

I look at these photos and I just feel so blessed. I’m grateful for these amazing, beautiful baby girls. Their soft, flowy new dresses and shiny¬†shoes made them giddy with excitement this year. Those bright eyes and happy smiles are everything to me.I won’t even tell you how many treats I bribed them with to get these photos taken, but it was totally worth it.The candid ones are always my favorites (although I obviously have a lot of favorites, since I clearly couldn’t narrow down which photos to post…)!
Kaya’s dress is from The Children’s Place… if only they made an adult version!
She is so stunning.
It’s nearly impossible to get Kaelyn to look at the camera (not much has changed since last year, I guess!), but even when she’s looking away, she’s a real beauty.
We love her sneaky little sideways smile… Kaelyn’s and Nella’s dresses are from Crazy8, and I bought them before Nella was even born. Sadly, Kaya’s size wasn’t available, so I settled for¬†having two of them match.
This squishy-cheeked princess had no idea what we were doing, but she’s already a pro at smiling for the camera!
I tried so hard to get her to sit up for a couple of photos. Yes, I made her exercise even while wearing a nice dress!
Those cheeks and lips!

Happy Easter!

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!

nella: 6 months

She only just had her doctor visit (and received her measurements) this week, so this post is late… but still super cute!Height: 25.25 inches (17%)
Weight: 14 pounds 14 ounces (21%)
Head circumference: 16.25 inches
Clothing size: I just moved her up to 6-9 month clothing, and we moved her cloth diapers up to the next snap setting as far as height goes. Even with larger-sized pants, it still seems like everything is tight over that big puffy diaper!
Eye color: Baby blue.

Nursing: Every 2-3 hours during the day. We haven’t started solid food yet, although we probably will sometime in the next month or so.

Sleep: She’s still a perfect sleeper. We did have one week where she was waking up around 4 am for an extra feeding, but I figured she might have just been hitting a growth spurt. She goes to bed around 7:30 pm, and then typically sleeps until 5:30 am when I nurse her. Usually, she’ll go back to sleep until 7:30 am, but sometimes, she stays awake for a while before falling back to sleep. She naps for about 3 hours every afternoon, and takes a mini catnap¬†for about 30 minutes each morning, too.

And yes, she’s still sleeping in our room. I just don’t have the heart to move her! I love my little roommate, and she’s so quiet at night that we aren’t bothered by her being there. We’ll probably move her to the crib soon, but I’m putting it off for as long as I can because I love having her close.

Favorite things: Her sisters are her number one favorite! They can make her smile or burst out into laughter with just a word or a look. Seeing them all having fun together is the best. She also likes her yellow stuffed giraffe that plays music, and really any toy that she can hold and put in her mouth. She likes to ride in the stroller and swing at the playground.

Dislikes: She’s pretty happy about almost anything. She has started to get a little bit of “stranger danger”, so sometimes she’ll cry when she doesn’t know the person who is holding her very well.

Nicknames: Nellbells, Baby Sunshine, Nella Sunshine, Nell, Nell-Nell, Nels, Angel, Cheeks, Cheeky, Newwie (by Kaelyn), and “Baby Nella Sunshine Sprinkle Pop” and “Pushy Cheeks” (by Kaya).

Milestones, etc.: -She’s so close to sitting up! She can do it for a few seconds before toppling over. We’ve started putting her in the exersaucer so she can practice being upright, and she absolutely loves being able to look all around and watch everything going on. I don’t think she really likes it much when I make her practice, though!

-She’s started doing this low, growl-like noise to talk to us. She’ll try to have “conversations” with us just by using that noise alone. It’s pretty funny and adorable.

-When she’s happy, she kicks her legs! She’ll smile at someone, all while those feet are moving. During walks with the stroller, I look down and see her little feet bobbing up and down as she excitedly observes the outdoors.

-She’s always chewing on her hands, and she’s a devoted thumb-sucker. I keep thinking she’s going to get some teeth, but all we’ve seen so far is a whole lot of drool!

-If I don’t do anything to her hair, it curls as soon as she gets out of the bath. She’s also lost so much of the hair she was born with, and a lot of the new growth is very light blonde. Her eyebrows are still platinum, so I’m really curious to see what she looks like in a few months.

-She is a pro at rolling from side to side, so she can move and grab things that are within rolling distance now. In the exam room at her doctor’s office, she grabbed and completely crumpled all the paper on the exam table!

Dear Nella,

You personify your middle name, Joy, every single day! You smile at anyone who looks at you, whether you know them well or not. Everyone who meets you absolutely loves you, and it’s not hard to see why.

You are blossoming into your own little personality, but you’re still the calmest baby I’ve ever met, and everyone likes to comment on how easygoing you are. I sure hope you can keep your bright demeanor and positive attitude as you grow up- those are the things I love most about you! Your chubby little cheeks and chunky legs are a close second, though. ūüėČNellbells, we love you so very much.

Love, Mommy