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!

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!

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 (02/03)

It’s February! The countdown to my birthday begins (9 days)! But for now, here are my top five moments from this week:

ONE. These little girls were so excited to celebrate Groundhog Day this week! For preschool, we learned all about groundhogs and made these adorable hats. They absolutely love learning about animals and the world around us, so they really enjoyed this activity. Kaelyn has been wearing her hat ever since she made it (except for sleeping, of course)! TWO. We finally got outside for some fresh air this week! Overall, I feel like it’s been a relatively warm winter, but I’ve still been wary of taking the baby out in chilly temperatures (although she’s probably the warmest of anyone, what with being curled up against me in the wrap with all her layers of clothing).

Anyway, there is nothing that seems to rejuvenate us more than some sunshine and cool, crisp air.

THREE. When the cutest baby in the whole world stops nursing for no reason other than to look up at you and give you the best gift she can… a giant smile!

FOUR. This might not look like much to most people, but at 3 months postpartum, I’m proud of both my pace and distance from Saturday. I saw a meme this morning that said something like “It doesn’t matter how far you go, how fast you are, or how long it takes… it just matters that you DO it!” I’m improving and feeling so good about it. FIVE. And apparently, when I run a lot, I start craving pancakes. Big, soft, fluffy pancakes! Michael whipped up this recipe for the first time, and it’s definitely a keeper. I made this syrup, but instead of a full tablespoon of maple extract, I used half maple and half vanilla. If there are pancakes in heaven, these are them. Mmmm.

Linking up here, here, and here today!

kaya’s random birthday celebrations (2016)

Yeah, yeah, I know Kaya’s birthday was forever ago, but I’m basically a million years behind on everything I need to do (folding laundry, blogging, photography business stuff, you name it)… better late than never, right? Plus, I have some very cute pictures that I just couldn’t refrain from sharing here.

Now that’s she’s a little older, Kaya definitely knows what her favorite foods and activities are, so it was really fun to take her out and do what she really likes. We decided we’d treat her to a special birthday dinner, and we let her choose the place. She really loves Red Robin, so on the Friday night before her party, we headed there (along with Grandma Debbie)!img_20160916_195103 img_20160916_192036

The waiter even brought her a special birthday ice cream. This little girl couldn’t have been more excited!

On her real birthday, we asked her what she wanted to do… and predictably, she answered that she’d like to go to the mall. This is one of her favorite places (which might have something to do with the cookie place and the playground being there)!

We had a little “picnic”, and let her pick out a treat. We stuck her candle in the cookie, and sang “Happy Birthday” one more time!

These are some happy people right here. (Kaya was also wearing her most favorite things on this day: a rainbow tutu and a Hello Kitty shirt!)

We had to spend some time playing on the playground afterward, of course.

Daddy ran around with them like crazy (and I love these animated GIFs that Google makes for me, haha)!vid_20160919_204923-animation A couple weeks later, Grandma Gina brought Kaya a special gift she’d made…_mg_5420 _mg_5422 _mg_5424 A rainbow blanket! It turned out so beautiful, and Kaya was instantly in love._mg_5426

It was so much fun making her birthday truly special for her. Sometimes it’s tough watching your kids grow up so fast, but as they get older, there are so many more opportunities for enjoying time together.

five on friday (08/19)

ONE. These two sisters and the way they interact and play together never fails to warm my heart. I’ll say it over and over again… I’m so grateful they have (and love) each other!

They still love to play this pretend game where Kaelyn is a baby (named “Gaga Baby” every time), and Kaya takes care of her by giving her pretend ice cream, changing her pretend diaper, and making sure she has her baby doll’s pacifier. I hope all this baby care practice gets put into action for real here in a couple of months!_MG_4572

They were also both so excited to be wearing sandals on the same day. I looked into the passenger seat when I was pulling out of the garage, and they had their feet together, chanting “sandaaaaals!”

They loved saying “whooooooooooa whooooooooa” over and over when we visited the merry-go-round this week. Everything is so much more fun when they are together.

TWO. We did the letter “O” for preschool, so we had a whole lot of fun decorating our letters with orange paint, cheeriOs, and ocean animal stickers.08162016collage Their favorite craft by far was this octopus, made from a toilet paper tube!_MG_4593 Kaelyn has been proud of her creation all week long. You can’t really see it in the photo, but she even painted a glittery smile on hers!_MG_4588 THREE. When we did the letter “S” just over a month ago, we planted some seeds that we picked up at the dollar store. Kaya’s tomato plant has really grown quite tall! She’s so proud of her little sprout and loves to check on it and give it water._MG_4421

FOUR. We went to the children’s museum for the first time in a few months. I didn’t tell them where we were going beforehand, so the girls were pleasantly surprised! Kaya was delighted to dress up as a cat and put on a “show” for me, complete with music, dancing, and chanting.

Kaelyn was pretty excited about the fake flowers, haha. 🙂

FIVE. If you need someone to wash your windows, Kaya is your gal! I’m always amazed at the games she creates out of the simplest things. (And yes, that’s totally a clean paint roller… and I definitely need to Windex the windows now. But she makes me laugh!)_MG_4552

Happy weekend!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

five on friday (07/22)

ONE. We’ve been soaking up our time at the pool this week (and unfortunately, my shoulders have soaked up a little too much sun… it’s hard to sunscreen your own back)! Humidity has ranged from 97-100% every day, so going swimming is a great break from the heat. These two sweeties love playing together and would stay at the pool all day long if I let them.

Kaya loves “swimming” in the big pool. Two-foot-deep water probably seems as vast as the ocean to her right now!

Kaelyn loves to practice “kicking” in the water while I hold her and spin her around, but she spends most of her time pouring water in and out of her buckets.

TWO. Suddenly, my baby seems so grown up. She finally figured out how to blow real bubbles (instead of just putting her mouth on the wand), and even insisted on using the big-kid swing instead of the baby one yesterday. As of these past couple of days, we’re also really close to being completely done with nursing. Seriously… all these milestones all at once!

THREE. We did the letter “i” for preschool this week, so we’ve enjoyed a lot of ice cream-themed crafts and some “ice science“. They absolutely loved this activity, and I really love seeing my kids learn.

_MG_4144 FOUR. Photography business has been so good this summer. I’m feeling really blessed (especially with the upcoming expenses associated with having a new baby soon), and I’m excited to see where my business might be six months or a year from now. My priority in this stage of life is being the best mom I can be to my kids, but I do enjoy using my talents and being able to do something I really love on the side.

Michael also took an updated headshot for me. He’s getting pretty good with the camera, too!_MG_4114-2 - Copy

FIVE. All this swimming, playing, learning, and working wears us out fast! Kaelyn had a hard time staying awake on the way home from the pool, and when I got her out of her seat, she rested her head on me and wrapped her little arm around my neck. I live for these small moments.

Hopefully, we all get some good rest this weekend, because this is what it’s been looking like around here! (Kaya is totally pretending, although she has been tired, but Kaelyn was legitimately asleep in this picture!)

Happy weekend!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

five on friday (07/08)

A couple of these things are from last week, but they’re too cute to just leave off the blog! Some weeks, it seems like I have way more than just five things to share on Friday, and others, it seems like nothing too interesting happened all week. So, I’m just balancing it all out today! 🙂

ONE. This little girl has fallen head over heels for her Daddy. She’ll cuddle him, with her whole body wrapped around his arm and her head on his shoulder, when she first wakes up in the morning, when he gets home from work, and just before going to bed again. I love how sweet and tender she is._MG_3568

TWO. Over the past month, I’ve gotten some good deals using Amazon’s “subscribe and save” option. Well, all those things didn’t ship until a much later date than I bought them, and then I also happened to order guinea pig food and bedding around the same time, so one day, we came home to a HUGE stack of boxes at our door! I was pretty impressed that the mail-lady could stack them so high. Too bad it was mostly boring toilet paper and other things that we actually needed. 😉

THREE. I let these crazy girls have ice cream after dinner one night this week, and you’d think it was the best day of their lives. They aren’t strangers to sweets, but they don’t get dessert often (on less than a weekly basis), so this really was a thrilling treat for them. They say that your kids will like eating whatever you ate during your pregnancy… so this really should be no surprise to anyone! 😉IMG_20160707_220914FOUR. We found this awesome Melissa and Doug puzzle at the thrift store this week for 99 cents! I think I get some kind of adrenaline rush from scoring a good deal, but the girls were equally excited about this find. Needless to say, we’ve heard a whole lot of elephants, penguins, and zebras in our house this week._MG_3582FIVE. We’ve had a TON of rain this week, so there hasn’t been a whole lot of playing outside for us, but this video is from all our fun last week. I love summertime and evenings outside with my family.

Happy weekend!

Linking up here!