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… monday?! (06/12)

We had my in-laws in town for the weekend, so I didn’t get a chance to write my regular Five on Friday post last week! Spending time with family is the most important thing, and we had so much fun that I’m more than happy to write my belated “five” today.

ONE.The weather has been glorious (although still wavering between summery warmth and a cool, almost autumn-like briskness at times), so we had some quality playtime outside.

The girls randomly came up with having Kaelyn ride on the back of Kaya’s tricycle, all on their own. They’ve been doing this for a few weeks now already, actually. I think Kaya is truly ready for a “big” bike, so before long, these rides might come to an end, but I’m soaking up seeing these sisters bond for as long as I can.And when you see pretty flowers on the side of the road, you definitely have to pause your bike ride for a photo with them.

TWO. We did a lot of sidewalk chalk last week, too. My driveway was covered in tiny drawings and words (a result of our outdoor phonics lesson that day). I love having our own little space for playing like this, and of course, these little people to play with.

THREE. This hat is about two sizes too big for Nella’s head, so I spend half of our outdoor time pulling it up so she can actually see, or rolling it up all awkwardly, like so: … but then she gives me a smile that’s two times bigger than her face, and I just melt into a giant puddle. There are no words for how much this princess brightens my every day.

FOUR. Lately, Kaya and Kaelyn are in love with the game, “Thin Ice”. It was one of my top three favorite board games as a little girl, and I love seeing them enjoy it, too! It’s a little easier these days, since this newer model has plastic balls instead of real marbles, but I think that actually works better for this age group.FIVE. Sometimes, you’re just too tired to wait for nap time. Nella is so easy-going and will still sleep just about anywhere she needs to.Happy Monday!

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! 🙂

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

five on friday (08/26)

ONE. Our house has been in all sorts of disarray this week as we’ve gotten some serious painting done! The girls’ room is finished- I’m so excited and a little relieved! I picked out their bunk beds and a new dresser for them to share, so we’re just waiting for delivery on those. It’s all coming together!

Kaya is a painting enthusiast and insists on helping!_MG_4596

Painting buddies! 🙂_MG_4598

TWO. To go right along with painting, one of the young men at church told me he’d help out with priming the basement in exchange for homemade cinnamon rolls. How could I say no to that deal? I haven’t made these in a long time, but they turned out just as delectable as ever. Kaya helped mix up the dough and was obsessed with having “cinnamons” for dessert and breakfast.

THREE. I know that summer is practically over, but we got the girls their own kiddie pool this week! I’ve been wanting to get one for a while, but just haven’t been out to Target, so when we were there this week, I squished this thing in the back of the car and brought it home. They were beyond excited!_MG_4806

_MG_4801

Kaya wanted to continuously slide down into the water. I’m actually surprised that she loves doing this, because any other time, if even a drop of water touches her face, she panics. I guess the adrenaline rush is worth getting a little extra wet!_MG_4814

FOUR. Kaelyn has been all about this baby doll this week. She nurses her, puts real diapers on her, and brings her everywhere. I think this is great big sister training! (We’ve also skipped a couple of naps this week, hence her passing out on the couch!)_MG_4777

FIVE. We had a play date at the mall playground with some good friends, and afterward, my girls and I had a little indoor picnic. They think it’s so much fun to eat their sandwiches somewhere other than at home- and of course, I had to spoil each of them with a cookie from the bakery. It’s little things like this that make me wish they never had to get any older.08252016collageI also wish I had a never-ending supply of these brownies…

Happy Friday!!!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

five on friday (08/12)

Friday AGAIN? Seriously! Today is actually my half-birthday (you totally get half a party or half a cake for that, right? 😉 ), which also means that it was just about six months ago that we found out we were expecting our little Pumpkin. Somehow, that feels like yesterday and an eternity ago all at the same time! Time is such a strange thing.

Here are our top five moments from the week:

ONE. Our sweet neighbor/fellow church member gifted us some toys she was getting rid of, and one of them was this alphabet puzzle. Kaya has been obsessed with it all week long, and I have to say, I’m so proud of her for being able to put it together on her own! Her letter-recognition skills are strong! 🙂_MG_4378 TWO. We braved the 100% humidity and spent some time outside. Outdoors is our favorite place to be, and any amount of sweat, heat, and sunscreen is worth seeing these smiles (and in all honesty, the weather almost feels cool once the sun starts going down, anyway)!_MG_4382 Post-nap pigtails are the messiest… 🙂_MG_4395

THREE. If you had unexpectedly stopped by my house for dinner any night this week, there’s a 90% chance that this is what you would have had on your plate- a pepper-jack grilled cheese with roasted red peppers. I’ve had a lot of nausea this week, and nothing really sounds good to me anymore… but apparently this is acceptable to my stomach.

FOUR. Kaya stole one of my old t-shirts for bed one day this week, and now she wants to wear it every single night. She’s a big Snoopy fan, which is only made even more appropriate by the fact that his “real” birthday was apparently on Wednesday. Happy Birthday, Snoopy!

FIVE. Michael posted this a couple of weeks ago, but I just had to share it. That giggle! She melts my heart every single day.

Laptop? Check. Purse? Check. Pants? Who needs those? #readyforwork #crazylaugh

A video posted by Michael Irwin (@mikesir87) on

Happy Friday!

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 (07/15)

We’ve had a fun week over here, and I have a million things to catch up on and blog about… but today I have a nice, simple, Five on Friday to share!

ONE. We’re right in the middle of our typical stormy season here in the Blue Ridge Mountains, which means very hot and humid mornings, followed by big thunderstorms in the afternoons. We’ve been trying to get outside and enjoy the sunshine while we can! These girls love their matching sunglasses!_MG_3915

TWO. I’m very much enjoying having a screened-in back porch and a hammock! The girls can play with their water table, and I can rest for a few minutes (just don’t ask me how hard it is for me to actually get out of the hammock at 6.5 months pregnant, haha)!_MG_3920

THREE. This little girl is always cracking me up. She loves to help me put each item back in my makeup bag as I finish with it, and lately, she wants to try and put some on, too._MG_3928

PSA: This is the new way to curl your lashes.

She also “nurses” her piggy, and even tells him “switch” when it’s time to nurse on the opposite side…

… and somehow, she’s now old enough to know how to use scissors! She was actually cutting paper this week. Where on earth did my little baby go?!_MG_3887

FOUR. For all their lives, the girls have taken their naps in separate bedrooms. Now that I’ll need another room for the baby, I really wanted to transition them into the same room. There have been a lot of shenanigans instead of sleeping, leading to long afternoons and cranky kids, but after a week of trying it, I think they’re finally adjusting.

I think I’ll always think they look like angels when they’re sleeping, no matter how old they get.

FIVE. Kaya got a letter in the mail from her BFF Mia! She could not have been any more excited! This made her day, and she has been carrying the card around, taking it in and out of the envelope over and over again. Now it’s our turn to mail something back! 🙂_MG_3896

Happy weekend!

Linking up here!

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!

five on friday (07/01)

ONE. We’ve had gorgeous weather and a whole lot of outside playtime this week! Kaya has asked to ride her bike nearly every afternoon.

Sadly, her old tricycle was broken when we moved, and we haven’t had any luck finding the replacement part we need. Grandpa Peter just sent her a “new” tricycle, similar to the old one, and she has been loving it. This is one happy girl!_MG_3410 TWO. When big sister is out with Daddy, Mommy and little sister will make cookie dough! Kaya is always my helper in the kitchen, so while she was gone, I eagerly gave Kaelyn the opportunity to pour, stir, and even hold the mixer. She was so excited about everything (especially licking the dough off the beaters)!_MG_3444 THREE. I picked up these dry-erase pockets for $1 at Target last week, and we’ve used them every day that we’ve done preschool this week. The girls love them, and I love that I don’t have to laminate everything that I want them to practice doing multiple times. Totally worth $1!_MG_3413

FOUR. You know you hit the jackpot as far as husbands go when he brings you your favorite bakery brownie after you go to the dentist… Mmmm.

FIVE. This sweet girl… I can’t get enough of her. I managed to get in a couple of good naps for myself this week (all I want to do lately is sleep), and after Kaya woke up and used the bathroom one afternoon, she said “I don’t want to go back in my bed, I just want to cuddle with you. You want some cuddles from me?”

My heart melted… I will always want cuddles from you, Kaya. She tucked me in with her favorite cat blanket and even scratched my back. She’s going to make a fabulous mommy herself, someday.

Linking up here!

poolside

We spent early Saturday afternoon at the pool! It was our first visit of this summer season, and I have to admit, I think I was just as excited as the kids were about finally going swimming.

I didn’t think we’d get a chance to go to this pool again (because we had already moved), but our old apartment is still vacant- which means that we are still paying rent up through the end of July, when our lease officially ends (unless we or the complex owners find someone who wants it before then). Anyway, this means that we still have access to community amenities- including the pools! Might as well enjoy it while we can! 🙂
_MG_3157This is one of my favorite places to be with my kids. As a child, my own summer days were spent at the lake or the pool, swimming with my brother until we were too tired to swim anymore. I love doing this with my own babies now.
_MG_3179 Kaelyn enjoyed some splashing, but mostly just wanted to sit at the edge and kick her feet in the water._MG_3170 _MG_3171 I cherish these afternoons spent as a whole family… and these girls sure do appreciate some quality time with their daddy._MG_3164Michael found a rubber ducky in the pool drain, and Kaelyn was over the moon with joy, since rubber ducks are one of her favorite things right now._MG_3186 _MG_3188 _MG_3191 _MG_3193 I packed up a lunch for everyone, so we enjoyed a poolside picnic after swimming. Grapes, cucumbers, yogurt, salad, sandwiches, and Goldfish crackers- it was quite a smorgasbord!_MG_3195The girls were exhausted at the end of our outing, so we all enjoyed a peaceful nap afterward. These are the best summer days._MG_3201