cousins, horses, and puppies, oh my!

On our way home from our long weekend of celebrating my mom’s birthday and meeting our newest nephew, we made plans to stop and visit with Michael’s cousin, Nicole! She’s been inviting us to come up to their place ever since they moved back to Virginia, so I was glad to finally make it happen!

They live out in the country, and her husband Brian works with the horses there. We arrived in the early evening, just around golden hour.  Between the animals, the middle-of-nowhere feel, and the sunset, this was basically a little slice of heaven for me. (Can you find Scout?)They had several horses, and I was so excited to meet them. This one, named Dublin, was my favorite! Such a sweetie. Kaelyn was the most smitten with the horses. She could not stop stroking their noses and talking to them. I loved seeing her fascination and joy. There’s just something about a horse barn… ok, everything about a horse barn… that makes me feel so much peace, calm, and happiness: the smell of hay and sweaty horses, the soft sounds they make as they move in their stalls, and the sweetness of a horse pressing his giant head up against your side, waiting for you to rub his nose or scratch his ears. Horses have a profound effect on me that nothing else seems to, which is why I often miss my days of working at the barn and riding so very much.Nicole also has a few chickens (and the coolest chicken coop I’ve seen), so the girls loved watching them, too. Kaelyn even helped find an egg! I promise, she was much more excited than she looks here.They also had a litter of hunting dog puppies for us to visit with. The girls were so excited (and these babies looked so little compared to Scout)!Brian grilled up some chicken and corn on the cob, and we enjoyed dinner outside together. Nicole brought out ice cream for dessert (a Teerlink family tradition for Sunday nights!), and I believe this was Kaya’s first time ever having it in a cone. It was a hit! Kaelyn’s first cone! Michael, with his ice-cream-sandwich-shoved-into-a-cone-topped-with-an-extra-scoop dessert, covering up his eye to be funny, because for the first time since I met him almost nine years ago, he had an allergic reaction to something! His eye was completely swollen and red. He was fine, but it was a little concerning to me just because he’d never had anything like this before.Being silly (with that swollen eye)!It was sad to leave, but we still had a few hours of driving left to get home. There’s nothing like having fun with your cousins (and second cousins)!

five favorites (07/31)

I might be a couple days late, but I had to find some way to get my “five” from last week in!

ONE. We’ve been spending a lot of time out in the hammock. How could we resist, with these nearly chilly mornings and evenings? We’ve been doing school out there after breakfast, and cuddling up after dinnertime. Nella loves hiding out in there… …and sometimes has a little too much fun! I love how everything is so exciting to her.

TWO. Falling temperatures won’t stop these kids from playing with the water table (and getting completely soaked)! Kaya is suddenly starting to seem a little tall for it, but that’s not stopping her from making up stories about rubber duck families and “baking” pretend bread (made from water, obviously)!Kaelyn has a lot of fun splashing!

THREE. Speaking of homemade bread, I tried another new recipe (after months of not making any), and can finally say that I think I’ve found the one. It’s 100% whole wheat, super easy, and only has one rise. Does it get any better than that? Plus, the loaves are basically gorgeous. Here’s the recipe if you want to try it, too!

FOUR. I’ve been waiting to get these early-reader BOB books from the library, and finally, it’s our turn! Kaya has been so excited to read whole books all on her own. As soon as we arrived home from the library, she sat right down and started reading to Kaelyn.

FIVE. Scout’s had a little bit of a rough week, due to an unexpected vet visit. We had noticed that her eyes looked a little different than usual, and my vet friend Katie suggested that we take her in. Thankfully, her eye pressures were fine, but she does have some inflammation. She’s getting ointment and eye drops 4-5 times a day, and we’re finally seeing seeing some improvement. Going to the vet wears a puppy out! When Michael came home with eye drops for the dog, I almost laughed because I wasn’t sure how on earth we were going to get her to sit still long enough to put them in. After a week, I’m surprised to say that we’re practically pros at administering eye drops. She sits still and waits for her treat the whole time! I’m glad to see my furry baby looking a little more like herself again.

Happy Monday!

five on friday (7/21)

This week has felt jam-packed (in the best way possible), so I feel like this is the longest Five on Friday I’ve written in a while! We’re having fun and getting all we can out of summertime, which makes my heart so full.

ONE. The weather is finally feeling like summertime should… HOT! We’ve had plenty of fun outside! We’ve all been enjoying the hammock, although the kids don’t quite understand that it’s meant for resting and relaxing, and not swinging as fast as you can in it. Ha! We had a “picnic” with friends, Aaliyah and Talyah! I love how making kids this age happy is as easy as putting a blanket out on the deck and eating outside.  Scout loves being out on the deck too!

TWO. We’ve found several little friends outside this week. This woolly bear caterpillar was walking across our driveway one evening, and Kaya was eager to pet it and hold it in her hand. She insisted on keeping it, so we made a little house out of an empty milk carton, and Kaya picked some leaves and flowers for it to eat.

Kaya declared it a girl, and named her “Caterpillary”, with a nickname of “Fuzzy” and a last name of “Wuzzy”. Caterpillary “Fuzzy” Wuzzy. We’ve had a lot of fun learning all about this type of caterpillar, and it’s provided several hours of entertainment for Kaya already.

We (or should I say, Scout) also found this little baby bird out in the yard this morning. It looked like a Mockingbird fledgling, most likely working on learning to fly. The girls were so excited to say hello to this little guy, but we made it a quick visit so we wouldn’t disturb it or its mama bird too much.

THREE. When Kaya styles your hair, you might end up with four bows in it all at once… … but still look as cute as ever!

All three of these ladies together… breaking my heart with a cuteness overload! Kaelyn’s working on her “smolder” face, obviously (and she hasn’t even seen Tangled yet)!

FOUR. Nella’s been having some form of dinner every night this week. We tried apple-prune puree, as well as strawberry Greek yogurt. The latter has been her favorite so far!

FIVE. Last, but definitely not least, I guess we’ve “officially” started our homeschool kindergarten curriculum! We’ve been nonchalantly doing schoolwork through the summer, but this week was sort of my test run to see how well we could stick to a more structured schedule.

Kaya is absolutely loving her new math book, and if she keeps working at the pace she’s going, we might be done with kindergarten math by Thanksgiving. I love that we can go quickly over what she already knows, and spend greater time on units she needs more practice in. Kaelyn has been using some preschool books from the dollar store, and is just as eager to learn! I’ll probably be writing more about our homeschooling adventures, but for today, I’m just excited to say we’ve started!

Happy weekend!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

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 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!

skit-skat-skoodle-scout

We adopted Scout on National Puppy Day (March 23rd, without even knowing there was a whole day in celebration of puppies!), so now that we’ve had her for just over a month, I thought I’d write a little update.

I almost can’t believe she grew from this little baby…

…to a taller, longer puppy in such a short time. She still only weighed about 17 pounds at her vet check-up at 14 weeks old, but she seems so much bigger overall.

Scout is still learning to walk on the leash without playing tug-of-war with it, and she’s getting used to walking alongside the stroller when we all go out. She also loves to sit outside with us when we’re working or playing in the yard, although clearly, her leash isn’t long enough, because she tends to wrap it around whatever she’s tied to until she can’t go anywhere.

The girls love to take turns dishing out her food at mealtimes, and she’s actually very good at practicing “sit” and “stay” while they pour it into the bowl. Kaya spends every morning playing with her, and sometimes even cries when we need to put Scout into her crate while we go get washed up and dressed. She sure does love her puppy. Kaelyn took a little longer to warm up to Scout, but now she loves to pet her. I’ve even heard her say, “I love you Puppy”, which completely melted my heart.

Scout hardly ever barks. She did howl and cry a lot during her first few nights here, but now she sleeps soundly. Thankfully, we’re also done with 3 am wake-up calls for me to take her outside to go to the bathroom!

Speaking of going to the bathroom… I was just about to laud her for going 3.5 weeks without a single accident… and then she peed on the floor last night. Whoops. Overall though, training this time around has been a whole lot easier. She’s still banned from the carpeted areas of our home (except for the office, but only when we’re in there working and can supervise her closely).

Apparently, she only likes to sleep on her dog bed when it’s upside down and/or folded in half.

Rawhides are her absolute favorite thing… I should probably buy stock in them, because they’re the only thing that can entertain her for any real length of time. She loves any toy with a squeaker in it, and actually hasn’t destroyed any of her things yet.She’s earned the nickname “Skit-Skat-Skoodle-Scout”, which might seem completely random, unless you’re a big fan of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, in which case, you’ll remember the line “Skit, skat, skoodle doot, flip, flop, flee. Everybody running to the coconut tree.” Sometimes we shorten it to just “Skit Skat”. We really, really, like that book in our house.And if you’re wondering where the name Scout came from… Kaya really likes the Leapfrog series, and insisted long ago that any future dog we’d have would be named Scout. Or maybe we’re more sophisticated than that and named her after the classic, To Kill a Mockingbird. I’ll let you decide! 😉

She absolutely loves to snuggle… on your lap, under your legs… or both. She will take any cuddles she can get, which might be my favorite part of having a dog.

And to keep this post real and honest… With having a dog again, I have had moments where the anxiety and fear of something awful happening to my children floods over me. Sadly, through training Scout, I’ve realized that I haven’t completely forgiven myself for Kaya being bitten two years ago, despite being told (and reminding myself repeatedly), that it truly wasn’t my fault. We’re trying to make Scout into the best dog she can be, and we’re teaching the kids how to be safe around dogs. We’re giving it our best effort, which is all anyone can really do.

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!