seeing the solar eclipse (2017)

The solar eclipse fell on the same week as Michael’s available vacation time off of work, and Myrtle Beach was only about an hour away from the totality zone, so of course, we had to go on a family vacation! I’d been throwing around the idea of a family beach trip all summer long, so I was excited that Michael was enthusiastic enough about the eclipse for us to make the drive down there. He ordered our eclipse glasses over a month in advance, and we were ready for the big day. Everyone was pretty pumped!

On the morning of the eclipse, we drove from our beach house to Georgetown, SC, which took about an hour and fifteen minutes due to heavy traffic. The weather was not looking good. There were clouds, intermittent thunderstorms, and pouring rain, but we headed down anyway, hoping it would clear up in time for us to see this natural phenomenon.

We actually went to an LDS church, since we figured the members there might have some kind of event going on and the building might be open. We were right, and it was nice to have access to air conditioning, bathrooms, and somewhere to nurse the baby while we waited for totality. We had packed our lunches, and had a little picnic in the Primary room.The clouds kept moving, and at times, the sun wasn’t visible at all. The rain had stopped, at least, but we were hoping it would be clear at the most important moment!

I have to be honest, I was a little nervous about the whole thing, because I had seen too many “warning posts” online that insinuated that eye injury was inevitable, and how people shouldn’t let their kids watch it at all. We were careful, and talked to the girls about how we never ever stare at the sun on any day. We explained that if they wanted to look at the eclipse, they had to wear their glasses. They actually did really well (and Nella had no idea what was going on, never looked up, and I kept her facing away from the sun, so she was fine).Just minutes before we reached totality, temperatures dropped noticeably. Can you see how odd the lighting is in this photo? It was the weirdest natural light I’ve ever seen, and as a photographer, I’m glad I don’t ever have to deal with these odd shadows when doing a session for someone! We watched through our glasses as the moon moved over the sun, and then, through the lenses, it was completely black. This was the only time it was okay to take them off, and when I did so, I was surprised not to see complete darkness where the sun once was, but a glowing, beautiful orb. It reminded me of a diamond, and there are no pictures online that even come close to portraying how amazing an eclipse actually is. I think I’ll never forget that moment of beauty. We had a full minute and 21 seconds of totality, and it went by so quickly that I’m glad I didn’t waste any of it by attempting to take pictures. I soaked it in with my family, which was what Michael and I both wanted.Michael used this app to time the entire thing, which ended up being great for counting down to it, and for knowing when to put our glasses back on as totality neared its end.

Kaelyn was completely obsessed with the entire experience. We actually rubberbanded her glasses together to keep them on her head, which turned out to be a great idea. She stared and stared in wonder, and I’m glad we were able to give all the girls the chance to see this. Kaya was nervous it was going to get very dark outside, so she was a little hesitant, but it was actually never as dark as we all expected it to be.

We ended the day with some Krispy Kreme “eclipse” donuts!Michael had the best time of all, and he’s so excited about eclipses now that he’s already looking forward to the one in 2024!

happy 5th birthday, kaya!

Dear Kaya,

I’m writing this on your birthday eve, and I’m feeling all sorts of emotions over the fact that in a few hours, you will be FIVE years old! I have no idea how that much time has already passed. Today, I told you a little bit about your birth story (now that you’re a little older and can understand), and how excited we were to have you come to our family. Of course, I also needed to write this letter to tell you a little bit about what you’re like at this age.You are so smart. Homeschool is your favorite thing ever, and according to you, it’s because, “I get to stay home with you! I would miss you if I went to real school”. You are already reading (and comprehending) sentences, and I’m so proud of you and all your hard work. We’re about three quarters of the way through Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons now, and you continue to surprise me with how fast you learn. We’re also halfway through your kindergarten math program, and you are loving that as well. I’m so grateful that you enjoy learning and working hard.

You are my big helper. You help me watch over your little sisters, and you’re always doing things to make daily life a little easier. You love to dress Nella, help water my flowers, and vacuum. You hang the cloth diapers up to dry when they’re done washing, and usually, you tell me you help out “because I love you!” I love that you already see a connection between serving others and loving them.

Because you’re the oldest, you are the ring leader. You come up with some elaborate pretend-play scenarios, and help Kaelyn form her character roles in them. You have the ability to get everyone completely hyped up and crazy, too.

Dancing and singing are two of your favorite things to do. Your current favorite “kid music” includes the Frozen soundtrack, the Laurie Berkner band (especially “The Goldfish”), and songs from Daniel Tiger. You also really like country music and are a big fan of Old Dominion right now.

I hardly let you watch any television, but your current favorite show is Blues Clues.

You and I are still very much alike, and I don’t think that will change anytime soon. We have a lot of the same little quirks, and in a way, it makes it so easy for me to understand how you’re feeling and know the thought processes you go through. Sometimes, I think having so much in common can make it so that you and I frustrate each other a little, but in the end, we both know we share some special qualities, and I think that as you get older, those things will help us to stay close to each other.

Kitties are still your very favorite thing in the whole world. That same old raggedy Kitty stuffed animal still goes everywhere with us, and he’s still a pretty integral part of many of your pretend-play scenarios. You especially need him when you’re feeling sad or tired, and when you hold him as you fall asleep, you stroke his tail with your finger to soothe yourself.

Other favorite kitties include Hello Kitty and any rainbow-colored cats.

You love creatures of all kinds, no matter how small, and are even enthralled by various insects (unless they’re flying near you, then, you scream). You have such a tender heart and truly care for anything living. We’ve planted seeds that grew into plants that ended up dying, and you cried. You very much love taking care of things.

You think you don’t need a nap anymore, but you still have some quiet time in your room each afternoon. You probably still end up falling asleep about twice a week on average.

I’m really proud of you for your desire to eat healthy so you can grow “big and strong”. Your typical lunch includes half of a PB&J, a Greek yogurt (Key Lime flavor is your favorite),  and a small salad. You also love broccoli, spaghetti with homemade sauce, and my whole-wheat chocolate chip muffins.

The beach is your favorite place to go, and you were so happy when we told you we were going this past summer. You loved every moment of it this year.

You are an artist. You love to draw, write, send “letters” to people (real and fictitious individuals), paint, cut, glue… all of it! I love your need to create.

The rainbow obsession is still going strong. Very strong.

You’re also obsessed with babies. You pretend to have at least one baby every day, so by now, you’d surely be a mother to hundreds of imaginary kids. You want to be a mommy when you grow up, and I certainly look forward to seeing you with your real children. Don’t ever doubt that you were made to be a mother, Kaya.

You also tell me that you want to be a runner when you grow up, just like Mommy. When we’re out on a walk and you start jogging, you always tell me, “I’m getting my exercise!” You also love to run pretend “races” around the house.

You pretend to take photos with your imaginary camera all the time. You put your hands over your eyes, in kind of a triangle shape, and then you move the top point of your fingers up and down as if you’re clicking the shutter. I love it.

You love singing church songs, and going to Primary on Sunday is one of your very favorite things. I love how much you already love the gospel.

Family is so important to you. You have such a deep, innate love for not only your immediate family, but also your grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Still, deep down, you are a daddy’s girl through and through. When he’s home, he’s who you want to hang out with and have help you with anything you need.

You love to have your picture taken, and I love having someone so willing to pose for pictures.We love you so much, Peeky. Thank you for making us parents.

Love, Mommy

nella: 11 months

Clothing size: 9-12 month stuff! I finally found some like-new jammies for her at the used kids’ store here. You can’t beat $1.87 for some Carter’s brand jammies (just because they’re my favorite). And seriously… penguins!Eye color: As Kaelyn would say, “bluey!”
Hair: It’s filling in, still blonde, and it’s just starting to curl in the back! I won’t even brush it after her bath, and she’ll have a natural mohawk for days. Everyone compliments her “spiky hair”, and no one can resist touching it.
Teeth: FIVE! Another one poked through on the top, to the left of her front teeth.

Eating: It feels like we’re suddenly spending a whole lot less time nursing, and in a way, I miss having more snuggle time, but it is also nice to have a little more freedom. She’s still nursing about 5 times a day (every 3-4 hours or so) , but she’s so efficient that it’s quick. I also seem to forget that she isn’t a little baby anymore and doesn’t need to eat every 2 hours, despite my efforts to feed her that often. She tries really hard to pull my hair now when she’s eating, which is not at all fun.

Solids-wise, she loves everything: PB+J, pasta, cucumbers, grapes, crackers, yogurt, pancakes, cheerios, chicken, beef, cheese, rice… you give it to her, she will eat it! She makes it nice and easy for me. She usually gets some Cheerios as a mid-morning snack, and then she has whatever we’re having for dinner.

Sleep: Bedtime is around 7:30 pm, and she sleeps all night until she nurses around 6 am, and falls back asleep for about another hour or so. When I go in to get her in the morning, she’s usually doing some variation of a yoga pose (the Cobra?), and, of course, she’s smiling! I love this happy little sweetie, especially in the morning.

She also naps for about 3 hours every afternoon. She’s been having a hard time staying up until the older girls go down for nap/quiet time, so I’ve been putting her down around 12:30 ish now, just before lunch. I think our vacation wore her out, plus having a little cold and teething, so she’s been more than ready for her naps these past couple of weeks.

Words: Her only word is “Ma-ma-ma”, but it’s sounding more articulate, and she is definitely calling for me when she does it.

Favorite things: This might sound a little conceited, but I think Michael would agree- she LOVES her mama. If I’m in the room, I’m the one she wants to be with, and if anyone else is holding her, she’s still got her eyes on me. Of course, she also intensely loves her Daddy and her sisters. She loves when I spin her around and dance with her, laughing, and going “upside down”. Swinging at the playground is one of her very favorite things to do, and she still loves to play in the bathtub.Dislikes: Because she seldom falls asleep nursing anymore, she cries almost every time I put her in the crib. I usually give her something to hold, like a rattle or a stuffed animal, and that helps her calm down enough to fall asleep. She also really hates it when I have to get something out of her mouth that she’s picked up off the floor (it’s almost always a piece of fuzz)! She also gets so upset when I say “no” to her. She looks so heartbroken, like she’s let us down. It’s so sad!

Nicknames: Nellbells, Nella Bella, Nellie, Nella Sunshine, and Daddy’s new favorite, “Rolly Polie Olie”, because she rolls all over the place! (Kaya pronounces it,  “Holey Polie Olie”, which is hilariously adorable.Milestones, etc.: -She’s crawled about an inch, I think. Ha! She starts to make the movements, but then she just lays down and starts rolling everywhere. It’s kind of ridiculous! She is also able to rotate/turn herself around on the floor. I know she could really crawl if she wanted to.

-At this rate, I think I’m going to be carrying this little girl around forever because she is still nowhere close to pulling up, standing, or cruising along anything. Still, I do love how she takes a firm handful of my shirt, right at my shoulder, and fits so perfectly on my hip when I am toting her around.

-She would play peekaboo all day long.

-She loves wearing anything on her head- blankets, hats (except her own sunhat, of course), her Halloween costume… Bonus points if you take whatever it is off of her head and say “peekaboo!”

-She is babbling a bit more, and she thinks it’s so funny if we imitate her or babble back.

-She loves other babies, and her reflection, of course! She is obsessed with taking my phone, and I think it’s solely because she can see her mirror image in the screen!

-Keeping your headband on is so last month.

Dear Nella,

I can’t believe we have just a few weeks left until you turn one! I love you so much baby girl, and I sometimes still can’t believe how blessed we are to have you in our family. You are our little sunshine baby, brightening our days with your smile and shining eyes.It’s so easy to make you laugh, and I hope stay that way- so quick to see the good in life. You are okay with anyone holding you, even if you don’t really know them, as long as you can see your mommy nearby. I love the sweet bond that we share.

Now that it’s fall, I’m also excited to see you truly experience the upcoming holidays. You already love trying on your Halloween costume!

Love, Mommy

 

five favorites (09/11)

I really meant to write this on Friday… but it just seems like it’s getting harder to find time to get on the computer these days. Better late than never, as I always say!

ONE. Baking with my little ladies on Sunday mornings is one of my favorite things… ever! Now that the weather has cooled off and it’s basically autumn, my penchant for whipping up homemade jam… bread… muffins… brownies… or really anything, is strong! Getting these two involved in making strawberry freezer jam was super simple, and they loved having the leftover strawberries as smoothies afterward.

TWO. We’re pretty excited, because we just replaced the roof on our house! Between that and the new shutters, it looks so drastically different. The girls loved going outside and watching “the roof guys” working and seeing all their progress. (Also, can I just point out here that Kaelyn is totally Michael’s mini-me? They are so much alike in so many ways!)

THREE. With all the noisy hammering going on, we had some fun getting out of the house. We visited with friends and spent some time at the library. These girls love books, so they always want to bring home more than we could possibly carry. It’s also been fun helping Kaya to try reading some actual stories, instead of just the super silly ones in her phonics book. We also really love the library’s Lego table.

FOUR. I’m so proud of Kaya, because only about a month and a half into our kindergarten year, she’s already finished with half of her math program. Book A is complete! She absolutely loves doing math- she’d probably do these workbook pages all morning if I let her, but I try to slow her down a little to be sure she really understands the concepts. We’re on to Book B, and she’s so excited!FIVE. The other awesome thing about homeschool- being able to take all three of my girls outdoors any time we want for some cool, fresh fall air. I love seeing these babies together (and hey, having the playground to ourselves isn’t bad either)!Happy Monday!

first day of school (and why we’re homeschooling)

To be completely honest, I somehow feel a little nervous about writing this post. I didn’t want it to seem like I am against public schools, or teachers, or anyone who sends their child to school. I admire teachers so much for everything that they do, and I know their jobs are definitely challenging. Deciding to keep Kaya at home for kindergarten was not a conclusion I reached easily, but I know in my heart it is the right thing for her right now.

When she was just over 2 years old, I came across some information on homeschooling, and after that, it constantly weighed on my mind. It was an intense (and at times, all-consuming) thought that would never would go away, no matter how hard I tried to let it go. So, I started to do my research and learn about all the different homeschooling philosophies, the various curriculum, and what would be required to keep her at home. I talked to and asked a million questions of any other homeschooling families I met. I pondered and prayed and waited and listened to feel confirmation that this would be the right choice. Many days and nights of fearing my own inadequacies and doubting my ability to teach her finally culminated in a true sense of peace, and knowing that I was made to teach my own children best.

There are so many reasons I have for homeschooling, but if I had to summarize the majority of them in one word, it would come down to this:

TIME.

We get our kindergarten work done in about 1.5 to 2 hours each day, as opposed to the 8 hours she would spend away from home at public school. At this young age, I want her to still spend the majority of her day with her family. I want us to be her greatest influence. 

I want to teach her math while we’re baking, tell her about nature as we take walks, and answer all her hard questions. I want to have TIME to do all those things with her, and having her home will make those teaching opportunities more readily available.

I want her to learn life skills, not just school smarts. I want her to have more opportunities for service and helping others, and to see how important that is.

With her home, we can have lunch together everyday. We can have dance parties in the afternoon and go on more family trips. She can choose what she wants to learn about, and I can help fuel her interests. I want to be there to hear about her dreams and listen to her imagination. I want to have a strong bond with my daughters, and for them to form strong bonds with their sisters, too. I’m just not sure that could really be done in just the two or three rushed hours we’d have together after she’d get off the bus.

Even with all that conviction in my heart, I still felt emotional when I saw that big yellow bus roll through our neighborhood on the first day of school, knowing Kaya wasn’t getting on it. The day your first baby goes to kindergarten is a big milestone, and in a way, “skipping” that made my choice to homeschool feel a hundred times more real and monumental. I can only hope that when my daughters look back one day, they won’t feel as if I took something away from them by not putting them on that school bus, but that I gave them the gift of a different kind of learning, and a little more time to still be just kids.

One of the most common questions I’ve been asked is, “Are you going to do homeschool forever, or just for kindergarten?”, and the only answer I can give so far is that we’ll be taking it one year at a time to see how it goes.

Kaelyn will be doing preschool this year, just the way I did with Kaya for the past two years. She’s already interested in Kaya’s books, so she’s been quick to learn. I’m happy to have her home with us, too.Here’s to our first “official” year of learning!

“I promise you: the calling to be a parent includes the gift to teach in the ways that are right for you and for your children.” – Robert D. Hales, “Come, Follow Me” by Practicing Christian Love and Service

five on friday (09/01)

The big camera didn’t come out much this week, so all I have are a bunch of photos from my phone. Sometimes those quick phone shots are some of my favorites, though, because those are the fleeting, yet memorable, moments that are so worth capturing, but they’re usually over by the time I can reach for my DSLR.

ONE. We’re back from the beach! We spent all of last week on a family vacation, which was honestly our best trip yet since we’ve had the girls. We played in the sand, celebrated Daddy’s birthday, and even saw the total eclipse. It was a great time, but it’s also nice to be home and back into our regular routine. I can’t wait to share some pictures of our trip, hopefully next week!

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TWO. Everyone sure missed our puppy while we were gone! We boarded her at the vet, and she was just fine, but we were so excited to pick her up on the way home. Every morning when Daddy goes to work, these three sit at the window and wave (or wag a tail) goodbye! This girl and her dog… all the heart eyes!

THREE. Nella didn’t act like herself for most of the week. Super tired and cranky, a fever, and decreased appetite made for some sad days, and then yesterday, she had a rash that instantly reminded me of when Kaelyn had roseola as a baby. At least now we know what was making her feel so under the weather. (Also, can we just talk about that crazy blonde bedhead and her gorgeous blue eyes? I’m swooning over here!)We really missed her sweet, smiley personality, and it was so good to see her feeling better and grinning again yesterday.FOUR. Cinnamon rolls. Need I say more? I owed these to some seminary students, and we enjoyed the extras. They’re so perfect on a chilly fall morning!FIVE. When I was a little girl, one of my favorite fall-time traditions was visiting Heaven Hill Farm, where we would choose a pumpkin and a Halloween costume for that year. There was always so much excitement upstairs in that warm little costume shop, walking from one end to the other, taking in all of our options before deciding on what we wanted to be.

All those good memories make it even more fun for me to take my girls costume shopping each year. Our local secondhand kids’ shop put Halloween costumes out last weekend, so we made our way over there today to pick out what we wanted, early and ahead of the seasonal rush. The girls were ecstatic, and I couldn’t wait to see what they’d choose. Kaelyn was obsessed with this tiger costume, and wouldn’t even try anything else on. (I told her to say, “ROAR!” for this picture!)Kaya was the cutest little ladybug you ever did see!

I won’t give away their final choices, but they just can’t wait for trick-or-treating time to come!

Happy Friday!

michael’s 30 for 30

Michael celebrated his 30th birthday last week, but because we were at the beach, I wasn’t able to finish this post in time! I thought it’d be fun to write down some things about him, especially for our girls to look back on one day. So, here we go, 30 facts for his special birthday:

1. He can make our kids laugh harder than anyone else can, over the littlest things.

2. He puts up with all the bedtime shenanigans that the girls put on nearly every night, with an incredible amount of patience and love.

3. He also comes up with the best little games/actions to make things fun- like making a heart shape with his hands, putting them over his eyes, and saying “heart binoculars!” to the girls, as they do the same back to him. They usually blow him a kiss through their “binoculars” and say, “Did you feel it?”

He also does “up and down” (lifting them in the air over and over) to put them into their beds, and gives “stuck kisses” (which are kisses on the cheek that pause for a moment in order to make whatever animal sound the girls ask for. I usually hear a lot of barking, baaing, or mooing coming from their room)! He’s the best.

4. He always tucks me in, too, and gives me a goodnight kiss. Every single night.

5. His favorite color is blue.

6. He loves sweet and spicy mixed together… like pineapples in his salsa.

7. As a kid, he was actually lactose intolerant. Thankfully, he grew out of it!

8. Everywhere we go, someone always makes it a point to tell him how outnumbered he is with all these girls in the house. I know he loves it, though I think eventually he wouldn’t mind having a boy around (especially when Kaya says “no boys allowed” in regard to whatever pretend play scenario is going on)…

9. He frequently likes to joke that we’re going to have a dozen kids. Um, nope. I love my kids, but who has time for 12 of them?!

10. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always called him “Buddy”, and he’s always called me “Roo”. I have no idea how we started the nickname thing, but I love it.

11. His favorite board game is Blokus, and he almost always wins.

12. When I asked him, he said his favorite food is spaghetti, but if I had answered for him, I would have said burgers. I don’t make them at home, so he loves when he gets to go to Five Guys or Red Robin.

13. His least favorite foods are mushrooms and olives.

14. Favorite dessert: cookies and rocky road ice cream.

15. He says he’s always known he wanted to be a “nerd” (a.k.a. software developer) when grew up.

16. To add to the nerdiness, he is now a Docker captain, and pretty proud of it.

17. His go-to outfit is a polo and khaki cargo shorts. He’s got just about every color polo you can imagine at this point. If he’s not wearing a polo, he’s probably wearing one of the million Docker t-shirts he’s brought home from conferences.

18. He really loves to watch the SpaceX rocket launches, and has started getting the girls interested in them, as well.

19. He dreams about owning a Tesla car one day.

20. His favorite place to be is anywhere outdoors. Riding his bike, sitting in the hammock, etc. One of his favorite scents is freshly-cut grass.

21. All the church callings he’s served in from his early twenties until now: full-time missionary, Sunday school teacher, 11-year old scout leader, executive secretary, online stake seminary teacher, early-morning ward seminary teacher, and ward clerk.

22. Favorite hymn: Come Thou Fount.

23. His favorite holiday is Christmas (a perfect match for me)!

24. He doesn’t cook often, but he makes great tacos, waffles, and pancakes. If we have breakfast for dinner, he’s usually the one at the griddle or waffle iron (and there’s usually a ton of chocolate chips and/or sprinkles in the batter)!

25. He’s not super into television or movies, but when asked to pick a favorite, he went with The Imitation Game.

26. He’s really one great piano player, and he’s always willing to share his talent and play at church whenever anyone asks him. He also knows how to play the trumpet!

27. Every night, we like to watch a little Jimmy Fallon and/or Studio C together.

28. His current favorite sport to play is volleyball!

29. He seriously cannot take naps… if he does nap, it ruins his sleep for later that night. He is also a night owl and gets his best work done when he stays up late.

30. In his 30s, he’s looking forward to: seeing the kids grow up, continuing what’s going on at work, and traveling around the world.

There are so many changes that have come along in our 20s. Buddy, I’m so proud of you and everything you’ve accomplished. I’m so grateful we’ve been able to bring three beautiful baby daughters into this world, and I love working on our own home together. You keep me safe, help me stay grounded, and love me more than I thought anyone ever could. I love you.

Happy 30th Birthday!

 

we went on a real date?! (obviously some grandparents came to visit)

Michael’s parents came up for a visit a few weeks ago! Of course, that meant we had to take advantage of the extra help and get something done around the house. My in-laws are some of the most service-oriented, helpful people I’ve ever met, so they requested that we come up with something to work on while they were here.

Obviously, there had to be some painting involved. Michael and Dad (and Kaya!) finished up the dining room, and it makes me happy to see it done every time I walk in there. This actually might become our homeschool room, although to be honest, I’m not completely certain at this point.

And yes, my entire house is basically some shade of blue now. #noshame
There was also a lot of puzzle-building that weekend…
And, I’m glad to say, they practically kicked us out of the house (in the most loving way possible) to go out on a date. We don’t ever leave our kids with babysitters, so this doesn’t happen nearly as often as it should. There also aren’t nearly as many pictures as there should be, because most of our date happened after it was already dark outside. So… Here’s Michael eating Coldstone. It felt good to be a little spontaneous!
We also had dinner at an authentic Turkish barbecue that one of his coworkers, Russ, was throwing. Mediterranean food is one of my major weaknesses, so of course it turned out to be a good time.

Our town had its annual summer street fair going on that same day (again, it was too dark to take pictures), so we window shopped at all the tents and ended up finding these handmade bottle-cap bows for the girls. Hello Kitty and Paw Patrol are their favorites, so we couldn’t pass them up!
On Sunday, Grandma Gina made us her delectable homemade chicken nuggets. Anytime she asks us what we’d like her to cook, those nuggets are my only answer. I guess they’re so good that they’re all I can think of! The girls had such a great time helping her mix up the flour and spices. Nella grabs her foot; Grandpa and Michael grab theirs. Monkeys see, monkeys do. I love having time with our family. These are the days!

my dog, the lamp

Scout had had her spay surgery a couple of weeks ago, and of course, I have to post about it- a puppy with her “cone of shame” is just too cute not to share!

She also had an umbilical hernia repaired at the same time. Everything went well, and she was so happy to see us when we picked her up. Perhaps a little too happy, though, because she never stopped trying to jump up on us out of excitement. She certainly didn’t act like she’d just had major surgery.
Just as I was imagining Scout thinking something along the lines of, “Does this cone make my head look big?”, Kaya blurted out, “Scout, you look like a LAMP!” That just might be the quote of the year.This crazy dog loves sitting in the hammock with anyone who invites her. She’s also obsessed with her peanut-butter-flavored Nylabone and any soft toy that has a tail. 

Also, I kid you not, she burps. I’ve never really noticed another dog burp quite so loudly and frequently as she does.Her people are her favorite things in the whole world. Every morning, she gets so hyped up to see the girls that she’d wiggle right out of her fur if she could.

She’s 7.5 months old and about 40 pounds or so now. We’ve had her for over 5 months, which has gone by so quickly! I can’t believe how fast our little puppy turned into a dog.

She smothers us with love, but I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way.

five on friday (08/25)

Phew! We’re winding down from a busy week, but I just couldn’t let the night end without sharing five of my recent favorite things. These little moments truly mean the most.

ONE. We love Sunday walks! The weather has been gorgeous, and I love spending time outdoors as a family. We’re definitely not winning any awards for speed, but I actually like taking our time, smelling the flowers, and just enjoying being together.TWO. When you’re three and four years old, a box can be anything you imagine it is. The girls commandeered this box and turned it into a “boat”. I love their imaginations!THREE. Nella always seems to know when I need a big smile. She’s still the happiest baby I’ve ever known, and one little grin can turn a rough day around.

And even when her sisters pick out crazy outfits for her to wear, she just keeps on smiling.

FOUR. These girls are still obsessed with the song, “Dirt on My Boots”, and ask our little Echo Dot to play it any chance they get. Kaelyn always says she likes it because “it has cowboys”, so I was excited when Kaya dressed them both up with Western hats and boots and proceeded to gallop around the house.

Kaelyn has been asking to ride  a a real horse for a while now, so I think it’s only a matter of time…

FIVE. If you’re wondering why my blogging has been scarce, it’s because any free computer time I’ve had has gone toward getting all my pictures backed up. I’m finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak, and it feels so good. Plus, Google then makes all these funny little collages and animations with the photos I upload. If you think our family photo shoots are ever tame, think again (from last November):

Happy Friday!