five favorites (11/06)

Happy weekend! I didn’t quite get to this yesterday, but better late than never! Here are a few of our fun moments lately:

ONE. Michael ended his work day a few hours early yesterday, and took Kaya and Kaelyn on a hike! They went to Bald Knob, which was about 2 miles up and back, and not too difficult for the kids. Kaya snapped about a hundred pictures and kept remarking, “Wow, it’s just so beautiful!” I love how the beauty of nature is even more greatly magnified in a child’s eyes.

They also loved taking pictures together.There were some “Instagram Influencers” up there who ended up getting a few awesome photos of Michael and the girls. I love this one!I love that they were able to have this special Daddy-daughter time.The views are breathtaking, even in pictures.

TWO. We have a pretty strict rule about no kids crawling into our bed at night, and no leaving their rooms without permission. Still, Eve is ready to run out of her room every morning at the earliest permissible moment. She loves to cuddle up, ask a bunch of questions, and play songs on her favorite puppy toy, who she named “Buddy”, after my parents’ dog.She insisted on wearing two foam rollers to bed. We insisted that she already has naturally curly hair, to no avail, obviously. She’s the spice of life.

THREE. We’ve still been doing house projects, and lately, the focus has been our own room! It’s something I put on the back burner for too long.

Michael built some new dressers, and Little Man was all excited watching the drill. He’s ready to help Daddy!It’s not done yet, but I’ve been enjoying this room. Having a calm space to relax in makes all the difference.

FOUR. More house things (are you bored yet? I actually love all this)… This week, I got to have a night out with my friend Jennie to browse for bathroom floor tile! It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and lucky for me, she has experience with flooring. We just looked around for ideas, but I’m still so excited!

I am really loving these white hexagons. They’re timeless!Of course, I had to trick Michael and tell him I was thinking of getting these pebble tiles, which would make for the most interesting (and difficult) bathroom floor I’ve seen. He was baffled, but he didn’t say no right away. Haha!

FIVE. I keep getting all these throwback photos of my baby boy from exactly one year ago. There’s so much I never shared, so I can leave a little extra baby spam here now, right? Seriously though, he had the squishiest cheeks and sweetest lips. I miss this tiny little pumpkin!

Happy Saturday!

five on friday (10/29)

Happy Halloween Weekend!!! We are SO PUMPED for all the Halloween festivities coming up over the next couple of days. Here’s what we’ve been up to lately:

ONE. We’ve done quite a bit of Halloween crafting this week! Any guesses on our costume theme? The girls worked hard at tracing these bricks, and then I outlined them with a Sharpie.We gave Eve her own construction paper to practice on, since she didn’t quite understand the concept of tracing… and she was so very proud of herself for making a “baby yellow brick road”.If you still somehow haven’t managed to guess the theme, maybe Eve’s costume will help…She waited three weeks for it to come in the mail. When it finally arrived, she couldn’t wait to be “the witch with the tiny hat!” I love her enthusiasm for being the Wicked Witch!

TWO. These may not be Halloween costumes, but the girls have been wearing all sorts of dress-up outfits this week. Kaelyn made everyone (including her Doggy and two of Nella’s Beanie Babies) some pipe cleaner antennae. I love her creativity.Max and Huey had to match Nella, of course!

Nella has been a princess all week, and she “can never take her crown off, not even when she’s sleeping”. Haha. She matched glasses with her all-time favorite Beanie Baby, Max!

THREE. We’ve been spending as much time outdoors as we can, knowing that we’re right on the cusp of winter weather. Fall seems much too short here in the mountains. It’s finally been sweater weather, at least, and I am still completely obsessed with all the baby boy clothes. This little man in a sweater just about melted me!Nella is still learning to ride a big bike, and when Kaelyn stepped in and started helping her down the hills (without being asked), my heart was full. I love these sweet, thoughtful sisters.We also got to hang out with Lelia, Bryce, and Ryder last week! It was a quick visit (it could never seem long enough to me, anyway), but we had some fun in the sunshine at the playground. Google auto-generated this GIF, and I think it’s pretty perfect.

FOUR. Meanwhile, we’ve still been attempting (admittedly less often) to take care of the plants we put in this past summer. I’m hoping they survive the winter and grow some beautiful flowers next spring, but only time will tell. I went to pull some weeds this week, only to find Kaelyn taking my gloves and doing it all for me. She makes a very cute gardener!These other non-gardeners were monkeying around in the tree. Gosh I love their silliness.FIVE. There’s not enough of the Little Man in this post, so… here he is! I love when Daddy plays the “Go Get Mommy” game, and they both laugh and laugh like this. I took his last monthly photo of his first year, plus a few more of him with his birthday balloons before packing them away. It’s all so bittersweet.

five on friday (10/15)

It’s been about a month since I wrote one of these, and we’ve had a lot of bigger happenings (*ahem* three birthday parties pretty much in a row) that I hope to get to soon, but chronicling these small moments throughout the week means so much to me when I look back.

ONE. My mom came up for Chandler’s birthday party, and she brought a bunch of my old toys that I thought had been long gone. These Littlest Pet Shops and Pound Puppies were some of my very favorite things, and pretty much defined the 90s for me. I was so happy to see the girls play with them for hours on end.

TWO. The girls and I watched The Wizard of Oz last week, and they all loved it so much. Eve thought the Wicked Witch was hilarious and kept asking for her to come back, and Kaya seemed to understand the true makings of a classic movie. I caught them riding brooms around the driveway this week, saying, “I’ll get you my pretties!”

When you’re the littlest, your big sisters can really help you “fly”!

THREE. My three oldest went to church tonight to practice for the upcoming Primary Program, so it was just Eve, Chandler, and me. I snuggled Eve while we watched Daniel Tiger, let her share some of my special Lindt chocolate, and took them both on a walk to the playground. It was so very special just having that time with them. Having a big family is wonderful, but sometimes, it can be complete chaos, so stealing these little one-on-one moments feels so invaluable.Yes, she’s wearing a skirt over her overalls. I love her style.Eve said, “Watch, I’m gonna go fast!”Chandler throws his head back in the swing and laughs like crazy.

FOUR. Being a kid around Christmastime means one thing: you scramble for the yearly toy catalog when it arrives! Seeing them all poring over every toy in that book reminded me of when I was a kid, meticulously paging through the JCPenney holiday catalog, circling far too many items. Christmas is still magical at their ages, and I’m so excited for it. Also, I love my goofy dog in this one.

FIVE. Cousin Jack sent us a box full of Halloween goodies this week! The girls have loved wearing the glasses, fingers, and vampire teeth. They also painted some wooden Halloween decorations! We’re counting down the days until we can wear our costumes!

I told them to make “monster faces” for this one! Haha.

Happy weekend!

five on friday (09/03)

Happy September! The year is just flying on by, and with all the birthdays and holidays on the horizon, I know time isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Here are a few fun moments from our week:

ONE. The weather has been AMAZING. The humidity finally dropped, and we’ve had cooler evenings. That means that we haven’t been able to go to the pool lately, but we have had so many family walks. The girls love to ride their bikes and take turns walking Scout. Being outside with my people (and puppy) is my favorite.
Little man is so content to ride in the stroller and look at everything we pass on the way. He often takes a little snooze, too. TWO. We went to a new playground this week! The girls have seen it and asked to go to it for a while, and they were so happy to finally check it out! There are swings, a rock-climbing wall, a steep slide, and a rotating tire swing that I might have completely overdone it on (someone needs to remind me that I’m not eight years old anymore). Everyone had a blast! THREE. Every once in a while, we’ll let the girls have Nutella toast with breakfast. They all think this is the best treat ever, and I think Eve purposely tries to wear as much of it as possible on her face. Kaya snapped this photo so we’d remember her Nutella mustache forever.
Meanwhile, Little Man looks forward to the day I’ll finally let him have a fruit snack. I still really like fruit snacks myself. Any other adults like to eat “kid” snacks? I used to bring them to eat during my long training runs!FOUR. Calico Critters are still the number one toy around here. They’re so adorable, and I like playing with the girls with them, so no complaints here. It’s funny when they drive their long caravan around the house. Lately, the Critters have even gone to the hospital to have babies. I love that they all love playing together.FIVE. I bought a robot vacuum on Amazon Prime Day, and it’s probably the best thing EVER. Scout wasn’t too sure about it at first, but now she’ll lie down right in front of it and make it go around her. With 5 kids and a dog… it’s the best idea I ever had. We named it “Sharkie”, and he’s totally one of the family now.

five on friday (08/27)

ONE. This little Chandler man is sooo spoiled and definitely enjoys having four big sisters who play with him, read to him, and hold him constantly. His day is so full of fun because of them! Lately, his new favorite thing to do is take a ride in the Cozy Coupe car. There’s almost always someone willing to push him around, and if not, he’s just as content to sit there and play in it.

TWO. We’re making most of these last days of summer. I’m holding on tight to the sunshine, the warmth, and the outdoor family time with everything I’ve got. Ice cream just tastes better in the heat of the August, and even with fall enticing us with her crisp, cooler temperatures and sweet memories to be made, I’m just not ready to say goodbye to this season quite yet.The girls all think that having ice cream in a cone is an extremely exciting event!THREE. The deck is… almost… nearly… done! Michael had a friend from work come over and help on a few occasions. I’m so excited to see the color and how it’s coming together. I’m optimistically hoping that we can put some furniture out there and enjoy it before winter comes along. FOUR. There’s been a ton of extra love for Claire these past few weeks. The girls have been holding, visiting, and giving her more treats to help her feel less alone. I’m grateful we still have a piggy to hold. FIVE. His smile is the perfect way to kick off the weekend! He was laughing so hard at me while we were playing with a pair of sunglasses. I’m also kind of obsessed with his mint romper and that little anchor on it (anchors are Grandpa Peter’s favorite)! Happy weekend!

splish splash (pool days)

Halfway through the summer, when it’s consistently warm enough to swim here, we joined a pool! I had completely forgotten that this pool existed, but it’s the only one in town you can join without living in a particular neighborhood or being a country club member. This little place feels like a lucky find.We’ve been able to go swimming several times. The girls were all a little apprehensive at first. The beginning of the pandemic canceled swim lessons, so it had been about a year and a half since they’ve swum on a consistent basis. They didn’t seem to remember how to hold their breath underwater at all on that first day!Eve had to hold onto us the entire time at first. Now, she’s jumping in (with her life jacket) and getting her head all the way under! I’m amazed at how her confidence has grown in the past few weeks.They have pool noodles for everyone, so if no one else is using them, Kaya has been ”the queen of the noodles”  and floats on as many as possible all around the pool.Nella and Eve got some goggles, and they are obsessed with them. Eve wanted to sleep with hers on at first (which we vetoed). Nella doesn’t care if she has hair in her face (how?!) but she is getting good at jumping in on her own, too. My mini man had his first real swim… ever! He liked it, but I think he mostly just tolerates the water, to be honest. He did do a little bit of splashing, but he’s not interested in staying in as long as his sisters are, that’s for sure.Also, I will never get enough of soft baby toes.

Chandler has really been such a great sport with nursing in public and hanging out when he’d rather be taking a nap. He hasn’t had a lot of practice with all that since he’s spent almost his entire life at home.

Daddy makes things pretty fun on the weekend! Everyone goes home tired and happy.

in memory of freyja

Dear Freyja,

It’s hard to think that you’re really gone. It feels like you were here, “wheeking” for your veggies one day, and now, suddenly, you’re missing.

I had noticed that you were starting to get tired just a couple of weeks ago. It seemed like you weren’t as active as you usually were, and I could see some changes happening in your body, too. When guinea pigs start to show their age, they tend to go downhill fast, and you were no exception.

Still, saying goodbye seems shocking and unreal.You have been a best buddy to Kaya, especially for the past year or so. She diligently brought veggies, pellets, and water to you and Claire every evening, and you got to know the sound of her feet on the stairs and the tone of her voice. Just days before you died, you were still excitedly looking for her and your treat when you heard her.

Kaya has been absolutely crushed. You were a huge part of her world, and missing you is her first real experience with grief. It has been painful to watch my own baby cry for you and know that I can’t fix it. She wants you back. I am utterly helpless.

Kaelyn, Nella, and Eve have been sad, too. Eve went to look for you first thing this morning when we told her you had died, and she keeps saying, “I miss Freyja” and “Where’s Freyja?”.

You were always so friendly, so outgoing, and loved being petted and held. You loved your treats. You felt like a special gift to me, because you always reminded me of my very first guinea pig, Maggie, with the way your fur fell over your ears, how confidently you’d walk around the cage, and how chatty you were. In some ways, her memory lived on in you.

We had a little funeral for you this morning. Michael took care of everything logistical, and I was so grateful. We all gathered around to say goodbye. There were so many tears, and everyone had one last look at you before Daddy lowered you gently into your final resting place.

He covered you in a blanket of dirt, and then each of the girls placed a carrot (your favorite treat) on the grave, ultimately creating a heart shape. He filled in the remaining gap with more dirt, and through tears, I choked out a short poem I found online.

We have all loved you so very much. Thank you for all the joy you brought to our family, sweet Freyja.

I hope to plant something beautiful over your grave, so we can remember you every year when the flowers bloom.

Love you forever.

Freyja, July 2015 – July 27, 2021

(written July 28th)

five favorites (07/26)

Happy Monday! As always, I wanted to do this on Friday (the past several Fridays in a row, to be honest), but I never quite get to it. I’m trying to make more time for this, so here’s to keeping it a little simpler with the hope that I can write more often.

ONE. These crazy kids all got some sleeping bags, and they practiced their camping skills in the living room. In fact, I think there’s been more sleeping on the floor than anywhere else. I’m actually not sure why we even have beds! Haha.The only one who really fell asleep in the living room was Eve. I wish these sweet, pink baby cheeks could last forever.

TWO. I’ve done more yard work in the past two weeks than I have the entire time we’ve lived here. All the bushes that were out front when we moved in ever-so-slowly died… a while ago. So, I finally decided to try to fix it, and when I saw these hydrangeas, I just knew they were perfect. I planted five of them out front, plus some daylilies out by the mailbox. The girls have been helping me water them each day. Fingers crossed they’re here for many years to come!

THREE. This baby man… oh my heart. I am so over-the-moon in love with him. Also, boy clothes are the cutest. I bought this outfit a year ago and dreamed of the day I could take some pictures of him in it.Daddy says, “Let’s go get Mama!” And he smiles like this.

FOUR. Kaya asked to wear Chandler in the Ergo carrier, and she is actually (just barely) big enough for it! I adore this sibling sweetness between my oldest and youngest. He was comfortable enough to fall asleep on her.Apparently, they were playing a game where they were kids who traveled the world, and at some point they found a baby they needed to take care of.

FIVE. Scout’s not sure about all those sleeping bags taking up her beloved space… but she looks cute anyway. We love our puppy.

five on friday (06/04)

It’s Friday!!!!!!

ONE. We officially finished homeschool last Thursday! On the whole, the weather has been glorious, so we’ve been enjoying it as much as possible. All those “little summer things” turn out to be the biggest memories for me: walks with my kids and puppy, freezie pops, and just enjoying the warmth of the sun.

We bought this slip ‘n slide on sale a couple of weeks ago, and I could not wait to try it. I was just as excited as the girls were! Crazy enough, I guess there’s more of a learning curve to slippin’ and slidin’ than I thought- only Kaya really figured out how to do it.

Still, they all said it was “more than fun”, so I’m calling it a win!We’re keeping Kroger in business with all the freezie pops we’ve already consumed this summer. They usually ask me what color they should eat, but they generally try to save some blue ones for me, since those are my favorite.Kaya was able to have a field-day type of activity for her group at church, so while she was gone, we went for a walk. We discovered someone’s sprinkler spraying intermittently over the fence, and the girls thought it was the most fun ever to run through it. Their giggles were the best.Chandler frequently gets a decent nap while we walk.TWO. Finally, after nearly 15 months of the pandemic, we were able to visit with friends this past weekend! Bianca had us all over for dinner, and the kids were so happy to see each other that they ran around laughing the entire time. They all looked so adorable in their dress-up clothes.Bianca finally got to meet Chandler! He has been unsure of seeing new people, but he actually does a lot better than I expected.We were able to visit with a couple of other friends, too. Eve enjoyed the outdoor toys!THREE. Michael ran his first-ever nerd conference this week! He put so much work into this dream that he’s had for a long time, and I’m really proud of him.

Enjoy this unrelated photo of him returning some things to Old Navy for me. I love how he makes me laugh.Chandler had to wear his Docker onesie for a few pictures for Daddy’s conference!This is pretty much how every photoshoot with this boy goes… sideways. Literally! Haha.FOUR. Nella and Eve are at that age where they’re extra silly, and they are best little buddies. They crack me up with all the goofy things they do. One night, after their baths, they insisted I wrap their hair up in towels. This completely made their night.Nella added toy glasses and it really took the fun to the next level!Eve dressed up as a superhero one day (and made Nella’s stuffed puppy match)! The overalls, pigtails, and huge smile really complete the look!FIVE. I’ve been reliving the 1990s several days this past week when the girls have asked to take out my “vintage” (yes, they are considered vintage now, so what does that say about me?!) Polly Pockets! This is still such a special activity for them, and I’ll never get tired of sharing my childhood memories with them.

Happy weekend!!!

five on friday (05/21)

Well…

It’s been a LONG time! A reeeeeally long time for me, considering how often I used to post. There have been a lot of reasons I’ve stepped back from this space, some simple, and some that could have their own blog post, but now, almost 9 months later, I think I’m ready to start coming back.

I’ve missed this, and I’ve realized that sharing my joy only multiplies it. If writing brings just one person a smile (even if the one person is myself), it’s more than worth it.

It’s impossible to sum up nine months in five bullet points, so I’m not going to try. I’m just going to touch on some of the things that have brought us happiness lately:

ONE. Our greatest joy during this time has been our BABY BOY!!! Chandler Beau was born in October, just five days after we took our maternity family pictures. Looking back and remembering how big my belly was gives me a renewed sense of awe for the human body. I’m so grateful to have been able to carry him and bring him into this world.

His sisters met him at home, since no visitors were allowed in the hospital due to COVID-19. It was one of the best mornings of their lives when they woke up and saw their brother for the first time.

He brings us a thousand smiles every single day. We love our little guy so much.

TWO. We’ve still homeschooled this year, and we’re getting ready to wrap it all up for summer! We’re at the end of 3rd grade, 1st grade, and Pre-K. These girls have done amazing and made so many great strides during an unpredictable year. I’m so proud of us. This picture was from our spring break, when they were so happy to play dolls with me.

THREE. SCOUT!!! Our puppy turned 4 years old in January (guess that means I can’t call her a puppy anymore, right?), and she’s doing so well. Her bloodwork last year showed some impaired kidney function, but as of her last physical, everything came back normal! I’m glad my furry pal is doing well. She follows me around all day long, loves trying to lick Chandler, and does such a funny, happy dance when she knows it’s time for one of the girls to feed her.

FOUR. I’ve still been running, but due to the pandemic, I haven’t done any in-person races this year. Maybe soon? I miss the thrill of the starting line. I did do a virtual race to raise awareness for maternal mental health on Mother’s Day weekend. Mental health is something I’ve become passionate about as I’ve worked harder than ever on my own.

FIVE. We’ve finally seen the light at the end of the pandemic. Michael and I have both been vaccinated, and I’m looking forward to seeing extended family again soon! Michael was pretty lucky- his only vaccine side effect was being extremely tired and sleeping almost all day long. I had an intense immune response, with achey joints, chills, shaking, hot flashes, dizziness, and nausea. Phew. It lasted for about 30 hours, but I’m glad I did it. Here’s to a brighter 2021. Happy weekend!!!