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.

pumpkin picking (2019)

It’s the final day of 2019- I can’t even believe it! It might almost be 2020, but I’m still determined to get caught up on all the fall holidays and winter activities from this season. I’m really hoping I’ll be able to make more time for blogging and sharing photos in 2020. I’ve realized that it’s a much-needed creative outlet for me, not to mention, I love writing all of these posts for the girls to read someday. It’s been a little easier to work on posts since we’ve been off of school most of this month.

So… back in October, we went to our favorite pumpkin patch at Joe’s Trees! We took our traditional hay ride up to the field! It wasn’t busy at all this day, which was really nice. I like it when we have the place mostly to ourselves.Those rolling hills just take my breath away.We found the farmer-face cutout up by the corn maze this year! I love seeing how much the girls change every year they do this!We went through the corn maze, which turned out to be the perfect challenge. There have been years when it’s been way too easy, and other years when we’ve been lost and going in circles. We figured this one out in a decent amount of time and were still happy at the end, haha. Nellie was afraid of all the bats and ghosts hanging in the maze, but she fell in love with every single scarecrow. Kaya, Kaelyn, and Nella all wanted pictures with each of them.Eve wasn’t a fan of getting out of the Ergo (we also realized she lost a shoe while we were in the maze, so we spent a while looking for it. Turns out, we had lost it on the hayride and someone else found it for us)! We headed over to a patch of pie pumpkins and let each girl choose one. Again with the scarecrows! Nella was really happy that this one was a girl with bows.I was happy to get a picture with all my girls, even if not everyone is looking and smiling. This is real life, guys.Eve was obsessed with holding every pumpkin she could, but she wasn’t into pictures until we were about to leave. Seriously, a baby with pumpkins is always one of my favorite things to photograph! We had such a great time, like we always do. I’m already looking forward to going back!

the sunflower festival

We had a day in September that felt really special to me. I had been talking to Michael about how much I really wanted to see a field of sunflowers, but there weren’t any in our area that I knew of. He randomly found a sunflower farm (Beaver Dam Farm) that was having a festival about an hour away, and when he said, “Let’s go”, I might have been even more excited than the kids.We headed up there in the afternoon, after Michael attended our church’s stake service project and the girls and I had done all our chores around the house. The weather was warm but just slightly overcast, making for some of the best pictures.I was a little surprised to see all the thousands of sunflowers facing the same direction. After a Google search, I learned that sunflowers display “heliotropism”, a behavior where they follow the sun across the sky, until maturity, when they generally face east.Nella was really not into pictures this day. See her little hat squished into Daddy’s leg?We had a lot of fun taking a bunch of pictures. It was so beautiful out there being surrounded by the sunflowers and seeing the mountains in the distance.This is one of Kaelyn’s most natural smiles that I have photographed. I love it.Daddy was the baby-wrangler this day. He carried Evie the entire time, and although Nella didn’t want to take pictures, I still love this one because it shows how much Michael loves his girls.Sunshine feeds my soul. I’m so grateful for these outdoor days with my family.There were calves and a miniature horse to pet, which everyone loved, especially Nella. We got some kettle corn and boarded the hay ride!The flowers look like they stretched on for miles here.Kaya used her camera to take pictures the entire time, too.Nella warmed up to photos a little once we gave her kettle corn. All the girls were obsessed with it!We ended the day with snow cones- lemon lime for me, cotton candy for the girls, and a Dr. Pepper float for Michael. I guess we just need to give Nella treats to get her to smile for me!We bid the sunflowers goodbye and headed home. It’s one of those days I’ll always love remembering.

five on friday! (09/06)

Happy Friday, and happy September! I’m excited for fall, although, admittedly, I partly wish we could keep the summer sun and warmth forever. Still, we have a lot to look forward to here in the next few months, with birthdays, holidays, family visits, and my brother’s wedding!

ONE. As warm temperatures start to disappear, we’re preparing to say goodbye to our little container garden until next spring. I was surprised this week when Kaya and Kaelyn showed me this humongous cucumber that seemed to appear almost overnight!They were so excited to pick it! We shared it for lunch, and it certainly was fresh and tasty. I’m still so proud of these little ladies for growing these vegetables.

TWO. We’ve had a bit of a rough week and a half, with sickness lingering and spreading ever so slowly to each child in our family. Coughing, congestion, runny noses, body aches, and tiredness has gotten to all the girls now. Nella tucked Kaya in when she fell asleep on the couch, and even gave her her Kitty.Kaelyn’s bout only seemed to last a day, with a lingering cough.Nella has had it the roughest.When you don’t feel well, it’s perfectly acceptable to pass out in your chair at lunchtime.

THREE. Nella and Eve have had the best time being little buddies lately. They’ve been playing together, sharing snacks, and laughing at each other’s antics. As soon as their eyes were open on Monday morning, they couldn’t wait to sit by each other on Nella’s bed. I just love that they’re truly bonding now.

FOUR. Now that it’s September, we’ve already got Halloween costumes on our minds! The girls love dressing up all year long, though, so really, the only thing different on Halloween is that they get candy for looking cute.

Kaelyn became a “super unicorn”, and dressed her puppy (Pokie) up to match!Eve loves wearing anything on her head, and usually it’s these unicorn ears or a birthday crown.FIVE. Everyone loves to be like Daddy. When I saw Nella pretending to work on her laptop next to him, I just had to get a picture.

Happy weekend!

pumpkin picking 2018

Right after all of Nella’s birthday festivities, we headed out to a local farm for some pumpkin picking. It was a little chillier outside than it had typically been, but the sun was shining down so intensely that it felt wonderful to be outside.While we waited in line for the hayride, we each took a turn pretending to be a farmer! Even Michael and I got in on it this year. Why not? ūüôā We climbed into the wagon and rode to the pumpkin field! We went through the corn maze! Or really, we got lost in it. We wandered around and around for probably 20 minutes, and still had no idea which way we were supposed to go. The mazes here have ranged from very easy to very difficult, depending on the year, and I’d say this was definitely one of the harder ones. We ended up going out the same way we came in!Nella thought the¬†plants were pretty cool. Somehow, Daddy would get her laughing just by yelling “CORN!”They all loved the scarecrow in the middle of the maze!Michael wanted documentation of him “being the shade” for the previous photo. Oh, the things he has to do because he’s married to a photographer.This was our sixth year out at this farm (which also sells Christmas trees), but I’ll never cease to be awed by the beauty of those rolling Virginia hills.I wore Evie in the Ergo carrier, and she was asleep for the entire outing. Sweet sweet baby girl.Nella got tired, and Grandma carried her down the dirt road and back to the main shop. Confession: we ended up not choosing a pumpkin from the field, because once we got out there, we realized we had no way to carry one back (our arms were already full of KIDS)! Plus, all the ones out there were extra large this year, so we chose some smaller ones from the little shop up front.The girls did a little ring toss game and milked a wooden cow.
We couldn’t leave without picking out an ornament for our Christmas tree (Grandma got the girls their own ornaments, too), some fudge, and kettle corn. These really are the best days. I love this little family of mine.(Also, I love how this picture reminds me so much of this one from 2016!)

pumpkin picking 2017

I know, this was practically 5,000 years ago… (or really, two months), but I’m determined to be completely caught up on here by Christmas. So, to the pumpkin patch we go… again!

We went to our local pumpkin farm the very first weekend they were open this season. Michael would be heading to Copenhagen the following Saturday, so we wanted to get some quality family time in before he had to leave.

Now, with three kids, I’m a little ashamed to admit that I’ve almost given up on wearing matching or festive clothing on outings like this. Hey, if they’re clothed and have had their hair and teeth brushed for the day, I consider it winning. However, I did pull Nella’s pumpkin onesie out from storage, and that got Kaya and Kaelyn asking about their Halloween shirts from last year. In fact, they insisted on me getting them out just minutes before we left home. Thankfully, they still fit, and I’m so glad these girls of mine are adament about holiday apparel, because they look so dang cute all together in orange, don’t they?Daddy photo-bomb!We had some overzealous sister hugs, too.Kaya always loves to get behind this tractor cutout!We headed over to the real tractor for a hayride, which is where we switched to taking phone photos, since it was drizzling on and off, and I didn’t want to take a chance that we’d get stuck out in the rainy field with my DSLR.All the sporadic rain made a beautiful rainbow!We had the hayride all to ourselves on the way out. This was the least busy we’ve ever seen the place (including the one year that was unexpectedly freezing). It was great to have space and time to just be together as us five. After disembarking from the wagon, the girls found a big model tractor they could climb up on.There may have been dance moves involved.We picked a few small pumpkins, and one large one. The girls were really looking forward to painting theirs!It’s been so much fun this holiday season to have Nella aware of what’s going on! She was such a little peanut last year that this all feels new, and in a way, like her “first” time doing it. She contentedly rode in the Ergo and loved watching everything.The corn maze was even better this year than last. Honestly, I think it was a lot easier, but that’s exactly what I hope for when we go through with three little kids and allow them to choose what route we take.Seriously, the scenery out there is so beautiful.We took the hayride back to the main shop to pay for our pumpkins, where we also got some fudge and a new handmade ornament for our Christmas tree, which has become a tradition for us the past few years.We headed home at sunset with happy hearts, a trunk full of pumpkins, and the taste of grasshopper fudge on our lips. These simple family outings are my very favorites.

five favorites (11/12)

ONE. My little kindergartner is officially doing addition! We spent a couple of weeks practicing hard and meticulously going through the lesson unit, and I am so proud of her for mastering such a big concept. It definitely helps that math is her favorite subject! There are times that I worry I’m not doing enough with this whole homeschooling endeavor, but to see her succeeding and feeling confident gives me a sense of accomplishment, too.TWO. I peeked into the bathroom when Kaya and Kaelyn were getting ready for bed one night this week, and I saw them hugging while brushing their teeth, saying “Toothbrush buddies!” I love how anything can be a bonding moment for them. This picture kind of reminds me of the Brad Paisley song, “Toothbrush”. One of my favorites!

I’m not saying they never fight, because they sometimes do, just like all kids, but more often than not, they are very best buddies. And what’s better than freshly bathed kids in their jammies?THREE. This little baby… is not so little anymore! She is monkeying around, accomplishing all sorts of physical feats that I wouldn’t have imagined a month ago. I was surprised to see her STANDING, playing with the toy kitchen! It still looks so strange to me when I see those little legs holding her up. Where is my baby?She’s also made it her own personal mission to never lie down on the changing pad for more than .001 seconds. It’s getting impossible to change her when all she wants to do is sit up, roll over, crawl, and act completely crazy!

FOUR. After a few weeks of rain, our yard was needing some serious TLC. Michael went out to mow the lawn and rake all the leaves, and thankfully, it isn’t looking quite so much like a jungle anymore. He came inside, and with a concerned look on his face, told the girls, “I have a problem. There is a big pile of leaves out there, with no one to jump in them!” They immediately ran for their coats, hats, and boots. I love these crazies. FIVE. Just because she looks so dang cute in Daddy’s headphones…Happy Sunday!

five on friday (09/22)

Happy first official day of fall!

ONE. We’ve certainly been enjoying this fall weather so far, although we’ve had quite a variety of temperatures these past few days. For the most part, it’s so cool and crisp, but still warm enough, in the mornings to spend time playing outside.

We love these quiet times at the park, when it’s just us and we can be as calm or crazy as we like.

The girls were pretending that the big rocks were boats, the grass was the ocean, and I was a shark that could come and get them. They’ve been obsessed with sharks ever since we went to the aquarium in Myrtle Beach, so this game was perfect. I love playing pretend with them.

When we weren’t playing out in the grass, we were out on the deck. Kaya and Kaelyn love to use water from the water table to make “pretend homemade bread”, which we then had a picnic to eat. Each duck represents one slice of bread! Haha.

Nella likes to roll… and roll… and roll… the entire time we’re out there.

TWO. After all that rolling around outside (and the way she eats yogurt for lunch), this baby girl needs a bath. I’m absolutely obsessed with her post-bath hair (and those eyes)!! THREE.¬†Last week, Scout had another bout of her eyes swelling up like they did at the beginning of August. When we took her to the vet then, they had no idea what was causing it, but we knew it wasn’t anything serious, so this time, I just continued using eye drops at home. It cleared up within about 5 days or so, and I’m happy to have her back to normal. I’m starting to think it’s some kind of outdoor allergy, but that’s all speculation.We sure love our puppy kisses (Scout might’ve been trying to lick crumbs off of Kaya’s face, though)!

FOUR. I’m so proud of my little preschooler! She is really excited to do phonics lessons with me, and she’s working on her writing skills. I feel like I’ve been a little more relaxed with her preschool curriculum than I was with Kaya’s a couple years ago, but that hasn’t kept her from picking up on things quickly and progressing. She knows the sounds for m, a, t, c, s, and long e, and has even read the word, “am”. She recognizes numbers and counts to 10 with no error. Way to go, Kaelyn!

FIVE. These girls of mine almost don’t all fit in the chair together for a photo anymore! I can’t believe how much all of them have grown in the past year.

Let’s just throw it back to 11 months ago for a moment… where did these BABIES go?!We may just have to stick to posing everyone on the floor from now on.

Happy weekend!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

five on friday (10/21)

ONE. You’d never know it by looking at the dreary, windy weather today, but we’ve actually had a week filled with 80-degree temperatures and glorious sunshine. I really do enjoy the cooler fall days, but having it be a little warmer has helped us get outside and do a lot of walking.¬†_mg_6171TWO. Kaelyn loves to choose her own outfits, and this week, her fashion sense even extended into the realm of hair accessories. She insisted on wearing these huge, mismatched bows… but I honestly think she could make anything look adorable._mg_6105

THREE. Speaking of hair, if you forget to brush this little baby’s hair after a¬†bath, it turns itself into a spiky ‘do. She actually had a couple of curls when she was born, and seeing this almost makes me wonder¬†if she might become a curly girl¬†too as she gets a little older._mg_6091 _mg_6094

FOUR. I think we bake something just about every week lately (even if it is always just pumpkin muffins or cookie dough), and these two little girls love having that special time with me. I love how much they enjoy helping in the kitchen!_mg_6050

FIVE.¬†I have to end this¬†with more baby lips… because I just cannot resist this sweet face and snuggles on a rainy day.

Linking up here, here, and here today!

pumpkin picking 2016

We had our very first outing as a family of five this past weekend (and I still can’t believe we’re numbered at five now… how did that happen so quickly?)!

Anyway, we met up with Karl and Kaitlyn and went out for our annual pumpkin-picking tradition at our favorite local farm. I could go out there every year for the rest of my life, and at the end of my days, I think I’d still be completely blown away by how gorgeous it all is. The sun breaks over that mountain ridge, warm on your face, and as you walk through that big old field, you almost¬†wonder if this was a little piece of heaven that fell down to earth._mg_6061

We took a hayride up to where the pumpkins are laid for picking. Kaya remembered the ride¬†from last year, and she was so very excited to do it again._mg_6054We let Kaya and Kaelyn each choose their own mini pumpkin to bring home._mg_6064Kaelyn was such a trooper through the entire afternoon. She trod up the hills with her pumpkin in one arm, and her stuffed “Baby Margaret” tiger in the other, and never faltered. This was also the hottest it’s ever been when we’ve gone pumpkin picking. Usually, we’re freezing (or at least wearing jackets)!_mg_6067

They loved “milking” this wooden cow._mg_6076

This was serious business, you guys._mg_6072

We went through the corn maze, and allowed Kaya to choose our path for most of it. We ended up hitting a lot of dead ends and being completely turned around before we shamelessly used the entrance as our own personal exit. At least we made it out!_mg_6080

We visited with some alpacas, and then stopped in the farm’s little shop for some homemade fudge and a new ornament for our Christmas tree. We also splurged on some amazing kettlecorn (Michael’s favorite) that completely disappeared before we even got it home.

I’m grateful my brother and Kaitlyn could come into town for the weekend. I miss them living locally!_mg_6083

If you can’t tell, Kaya was pretty tired by the end of the afternoon (although she’s totally “fake sleeping” in this picture)! I love this little (can I still call us little now that we have three kids?) family of mine, and I cherish these simple, sweet days we get to spend together._mg_6087