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


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!


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

up on blueberry hill

Last week, on the most humid day of the year thus far, we headed up to the local blueberry patch. I’ve been looking forward to this activity for a couple of months now, and I was so excited that the fruit was finally ripe and ready for picking._MG_3137 Each of our girls carried their own bucket and received instructions from the farm owner on how to gently pull blueberries from the bushes._MG_3088 The berries were sweet and juicy, so there was a lot of taste-testing straight from the bush._MG_3090 The lighting up on this hill during the golden hour was pretty much a photographer’s dream. It was a little slice of heaven on earth, so I took as many pictures as my kids would allow. _MG_3092I love their berry-tasting faces._MG_3094 _MG_3102 Picking berries was serious business for Kaelyn… although she mostly ended up with tiny green ones in her bucket. She gets credit for all of her time and effort._MG_3103When she wasn’t pulling green ones off the bush, she was doing this…
_MG_3109 _MG_3112 _MG_3110 I love those little cheeks._MG_3113 Michael probably picked most of our gallon-sized haul on his own… obviously, since I was too busy taking pictures, and Kaelyn was too busy snacking on fruit._MG_3116 Kaya probably filled one quarter of her bucket, which I think is impressive for a 3-year old. She was definitely focused on her job._MG_3091Kitty had to come with us, and ended up riding along in Daddy’s pocket._MG_3115 I love this sweet, spunky little girl._MG_3118 Watching my family find joy in something so simple fills my heart to the brim. These little moments are the ones that will stay with me forever._MG_3121 Seriously… how adorable are they?_MG_3133Don’t worry, there’s an equal amount of crazy to go with that adorableness…
_MG_3134Summertime and these simple outings are some of my favorites.

at the crossroads

We’re at that time of the year when summer is winding down, but fall isn’t quite here yet. It’s somewhat of an in-between, with the best parts of both seasons combined.

It’s refreshingly cool in the mornings, but the sun still beats down hotly in the afternoons. There’s the scent of fallen apples on the walking path, but the smell of sunscreen, chlorine, and sweat still on our skin.

The pool is still open, but only in the evenings, and it’s closing for the season tomorrow. We’ve spent countless hours there this summer, and I’ve loved watching my girls grow to really love the water. I can only hope that we still live in a community with pool access again next year.

Summer almost demands messy hair, comfy clothes for playing outside, and a slower daily pace. Fall was always my favorite season, but I’ve been holding on to every last drop of all this. The fresh, cool autumn seems to last a few short weeks before our hills are covered in snow and the next polar vortex sweeps through.

No matter the season, I’m grateful for all the memories we’ve made as a family this summer just by spending more “intentional” time together. (for the record, Kaya had no interest in being in this picture with us… sad!)Here’s to autumn and more good things to come.

five on friday (09/04)

Happy Labor Day weekend! We are soaking up the last of these summer days 🙂 Here’s our top five from this week:

ONE. Kaya is suddenly obsessed with rainbows, so much so that she keeps telling me she wants a rainbow birthday cake… with a cat on top. Of course. She became a crazy cat lady at the record age of 2.

We’ve been playing with sidewalk chalk a lot lately, so this week, we made a rainbow together. She was over the moon. I love my happy girl.
TWO. We also tried out the big kid playground this week… and Kaya can climb this shaky bridge with no problem now. She’s been asking to go back nearly every day since. I still can’t believe my little baby has grown into such a big girl so fast.
THREE. Speaking of babies growing up, take a look at this little girl sporting her tiny ponytail! It totally makes her look so much older, and all I can think of when I see this photo is a line from my favorite Sara Evans song: “our little ponytail girl, grown up to be a woman, and she’s gone in the blink of an eye”. A couple more blinks of the eye and she really will be all grown up.
_MG_9159FOUR. These sisters love doing almost everything together, and this week, Kaya asked to hold Baba as they went down the slide. I hope she’s always so willing to help her baby sister and that they always love doing things together.
FIVE. Michael isn’t the seminary teacher anymore (he was released just before the start of the school year), but I was asked by the new teacher to make them some surprise cinnamon rolls for breakfast this week. It’s my mom-in-law’s recipe, and it must have left a lasting impression the last time I made them, because all the students were so excited to have them again. I’m so glad I got to do something for these kids who wake up at the crack of dawn every day to attend seminary.
And for all the guinea pig lovers… happy “wheek-end” from Freyja 🙂_MG_9173

Linking up here today!