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!

life last week

This has been the least amount of blogging I’ve done in many months, and my guilty conscience automatically starts to apologize as soon as my fingers hit the keyboard again. But then I remember that my main reason for writing this blog is so my kids will have it when they’re grown, and I realize that I don’t have to be sorry. I think when they finally read this in 10 or 20 or 30 years, they’ll be glad that their mom was sometimes a little too busy to blog because she was playing outside with them, helping them with crafts, and putting together their birthday parties. Whenever there’s a lot to write about, there doesn’t seem to be enough time to actually blog about it, because we’re busy living it. And in a way, I’m okay with that.

We’ve been spending a lot of time outside and at the playground. These two love “rock climbing” together!Kaya is becoming a little more bold and has started practicing hanging from the monkey bars. She isn’t able to grab onto the next one and keep going yet, but I am proud of her for going out on a limb (a.k.a. monkey bar) and trying something new.
This little monkey is also trying to climb more… …while the littlest monkey isn’t monkeying at all. When you’re the third baby, you sometimes have to nap on the go! On a recent walk, a lady told me that I need more kids in my stroller. I told her that if there were any more, I might not be able to push it up the hill! Really though, I love having all these seats full (and this stroller is still one of the best things ever)!
If you were worried that the girls have just cardio at the playground as their only exercise, fear not- strength training happens via morning push-ups with Daddy!The girls worked on painting these suncatchers one afternoon. They are both pretty meticulous artists now, so they take their time, and I love seeing what they come up with at the end! They also made about a million perler-bead animals, so my iron lived on the kitchen counter for a few days so we could finish all of their creations ASAP. Waiting to melt those beads together inevitably leads to having them spill, which makes for some very sad little girls (and a crazy puppy who tries to eat any bead she discovers on the floor)! We went shopping for baking supplies for Kaelyn’s birthday cake, and Nella sat in the front seat of the shopping cart for the first time ever. As evidenced by her silly little grin, she loved it! She’s had a few more rides since last week, and she kicks her legs and smiles happily every time. Someone was excited to pick up her birthday balloons… … and someone else was excited to show off her cute little teeth! These are the days, and I’m glad I’m living them, even if I’m not writing about every detail.

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 (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!

nella’s first day

I know this was basically forever ago (5 whole weeks already!), but Nella’s first day of life was so special, and I have so many photos that bring back all the beautiful memories and emotions of that day. I finally got to go through them all, and I would be remiss not to include them in our family’s history here.

Besides, it’s hard not to take a million pictures when you have a model who’s so willing. 😉_mg_5767 There’s always such a special feeling in the hospital room when we welcome a new baby into our family. It’s a sacred sense of peace and love that I will never forget._mg_5799 _mg_5785 _mg_5795 Kaya and Kaelyn were ecstatic to finally meet their new baby sister. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this was definitely the very best day of their lives._mg_5731They truly never wanted to let her go._mg_5748Kaelyn loves to point out all the parts of Nella’s face._mg_5745My little girl seamlessly transitioned into her role as a big sister. I just know she’ll always be there for Nella- as a protector, a best friend, and a role model._mg_5738_mg_5741Nella didn’t have her first sponge bath until much later that night. She wasn’t a big fan! She did calm down once the nurse swaddled her up and washed her hair in warm water from the faucet.
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_mg_5759We girls all had a monopoly on holding the baby for most of the day, so I made sure Daddy had his own turn later. She already loves him so much.
_mg_5764The next morning, my girls came back for another visit. They were so happy to see both me and the baby, and Kaya kept hugging me and saying how much she missed me. This picture is most definitely one of my favorites of all time._mg_5821 _mg_5819 _mg_5835 _mg_5842 _mg_5841 Kaya had gone to the pediatrician earlier that morning for her four-year well visit. She was nervous about the four vaccinations she had to receive, so we promised her that afterward, Daddy would take her to the dollar store to pick out a reward. She chose a pink bear for herself, and also requested to bring a matching one to Nella. I love her generous and thoughtful heart.

Nella had her first stuffed animal before she was even one day old!_mg_5856 _mg_5848 The doctor came in later that afternoon and asked us how we were doing and if we wanted to go home. We were somewhat surprised that we didn’t need to stay longer, but of course, we were eager to get home to be with our big girls and sleep in our own bed. We loaded Nella up in the van and were back at home by the time she was 28 hours old!_mg_5857_mg_5861 _mg_5864 Of course, she had a few people very excited to see her once we arrived. Kaelyn was the first to hold her at home._mg_5876Those first few days are beyond busy and exciting, and I’m so grateful I got to experience them with my amazing little family.20161005_202942

labor day weekend 2016

Labor Day weekend- when we celebrate working by not working! Or, in our case, Michael didn’t have to go to work, but we accomplished a bunch of projects at home. Our house is not a fixer-upper by any means, but I’ve still been surprised by how many small things we need to fix or want to change. We are always doing something, and I suspect we will never truly be done.

We kicked off the weekend with some juicy watermelon from my Young Women president! Kaelyn can eat a couple slices in one sitting, and I was surprised that Kaya willingly tried some. Mmmm!

On Saturday morning, Michael started putting together the girls’ furniture, only to discover that their dresser came without instructions! Meanwhile, he built their bunk beds (and we’re still waiting to hear back from the manufacturer about the dresser)!_MG_4840

Kaya begged and begged to sleep in her new bed, so we were sure to have it all put together by bedtime. I LOVE how they both screamed “yay! yay!” as soon as they saw it.

I’ve been telling Kaelyn she would be getting a big girl bed soon, but I couldn’t have predicted how truly happy she would be!_MG_4848 This rocking chair is supposed to go in the baby’s room, but it’s actually been pretty nice to have it in their room for story time! We always read a book before nap and bed time._MG_4855On Monday, we bought a few cans of paint (which was actually great timing, since Behr paint has a $10 rebate per gallon through today)! Michael painted over the yellow ceiling in the stairwell, and started going over the primer on the left wall. This week, we’ll fix the drywall downstairs, install new baseboards, and finish the painting._MG_4863 On Monday night, Michael spread some new mulch, while I took a few updated portraits of Kaya and Kaelyn. The lighting was dreamy, and they were both surprisingly cooperative! Kaelyn didn’t want to wear shoes, and I’m actually glad- I love seeing those tiny toes wiggling in the photos. We ended up with a few great shots that I can’t wait to put on the wall!_MG_4898

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 (06/24)

ONE. We experienced a first this week- an entire four days away from Michael! I know that four days isn’t that long, but it’s definitely the greatest amount of time that I’ve been with the kids all on my own. He went to “DockerCon” out in Seattle for work, so he was all the way across the country! I was nervous about being alone, but we did alright. We even managed to have some fun! 😉

Of course, everyone was ecstatic to see him walking up to the front door on Wednesday afternoon when he returned._MG_3219

TWO. We kicked off the first official day of summer in the best way possible- at the pool! I actually remembered to bring their sunhats and toys (two crucial elements of a good time), and they were having so much fun that they basically never wanted to leave.IMG_20160620_122620-01 IMG_20160620_113105-01 (1) We picnicked and people-watched. Kaya kept watching the older kids in the big pool and saying (multiple times) “WOW! They are having SO much fun!” Haha.IMG_20160620_123102

THREE. This was actually last week, but we went to the coolest dinosaur activity at the library. The event was advertised as meeting “real dinosaurs”, so I knew it would probably be very fun, or very disappointing. We lucked out, because the group that put on the presentation was awesome. They had a guy in a huge, realistic-looking raptor costume, baby dinosaurs hatching from eggs that the kids could pet, and then these animatronic triceratops that the kids could ride if they read a story out loud. Kaelyn kept saying “ROAR!” all throughout the activity, and Kaya was eager to kiss and pet every dinosaur she got close to. I love how magical these simple events are for them.

FOUR. “Take our picture!!!” was Kaya’s request just before I snapped this. They were pretending that Kaelyn was a baby named “Baby Gaga” (not to be confused with a certain celebrity) and were playing so sweetly together. I love these cute sisters._MG_3218

FIVE. We did it- we picked a paint color for the family room! I guess I’m going to keep everyone in suspense and wait until it’s finished to reveal it- hopefully next week sometime! I’m so excited to work on our house to improve it and truly make it our own.IMG_20160623_201419

Happy Friday!!!

Linking up here!

they make each other laugh

I took all these photos near the end of April (before we moved), but just never had the chance to post them until now.

These two girls do just about everything together, all day, every day, and I love seeing the growing bond they share. Kaya teaches Kaelyn everything she knows._MG_1248

_MG_1257 They love to snuggle (most of the time…)_MG_1463_MG_1648… and are the absolute goofiest when they’re together._MG_1640Sometimes, they don’t always want to share…
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… but at the end of the day, they each make each other laugh the hardest._MG_1697I never knew how full my heart would be from watching our two little girls together. I can’t wait to see how much happiness our third princess adds to their dynamic.

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sister sister

My girls.

I’m not even sure there are words powerful enough to describe the way I love my two daughters. Sometimes, I feel a bit of writer’s block when it comes to transcribing my feelings for them.

It’s just hard to translate such raw, intense emotion into text.

Something that I continue to realize lately is how grateful I am that Kaya and Kaelyn have each other. A sibling is someone who can understand you (because you’ve got the same crazy upbringing), make you laugh your hardest, and always stands by you, no matter how hard things might get. Having a sibling is having a built-in best friend.

I’m so incredibly thankful that we could give our girls the gift of each other.
_MG_0008Sometimes they fight, and even at this young age, it seems like they already know exaclty what to do to irritate each other. There’s yelling, screaming, crying, hair-pulling, eye-poking, toy-stealing, and pushing.

But then there are hugs, kisses, cuddles, and the loudest laughter.
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They teach each other patience, kindness, and sharing (even if that means being sad about sharing Daddy’s cuddles in the morning).

They protect each other, anticipate each other’s needs, and melt my heart with the way they love each other.

I hope each of my beautiful girls always takes care of her sister._MG_9962 (2)