five on friday: happy things (06/10)

It’s been a looooong time (seven months too long, to be exact) since we had a Five on Friday post! I’ve been feeling really grateful for all the small things happening lately and really wanted to write some of them down. So, here we go!

ONE. Eve had her first-ever trip to the dentist, and I don’t think any kid could ever be happier than she was for her appointment! Daddy took her, and he said she was so bubbly and cooperative the entire time that even other hygienists (who weren’t assigned to her) were coming in just to see her. I hope she always exudes such joy.It certainly helps when your dentist makes balloon animals for you to take home. Eve received a puppy and a flower!

TWO. The weather has been mild for June, but so pleasant. We’ve really enjoyed it, other than the fact that it’s still too chilly to swim here. Kaya’s Activity Days group at church had her start some seeds (she chose California Poppies), so she’s been looking after those each and every day. They’re really sprouting fast!My hydrangeas finally started blooming, too! We had colder temperatures for longer than usual this year, and I feared they hadn’t made it through the winter. I’m so excited for flowers!We’ve taken several walks to the playground……and Little Man is content enough to climb up and down the stairs there about a thousand times. This is my favorite outfit of his right now- anchors for Grandpa Peter, who was in the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

THREE. This boy… This BOY. He has stolen my heart. He also steals everyone’s shoes. It doesn’t matter the size or color, he’ll proudly wear them around, drag them up and down the stairs, and put them everywhere. Good luck finding them when you actually need to go out!He also thinks Minnie Mouse ears are necklaces and wears one every day.

FOUR. We’re still working on some bigger things at the house, but doing smaller (read: instantly gratifying) projects is fun, too. We switched our outdoor lanterns from old brass to oil-rubbed bronze. Wow, what a difference something so small can make! I’m kind of obsessed with putting Edison bulbs in everything right now.

This project isn’t quick, but since we hired someone to do it, it’s fun to watch. We’re finally getting our walkway fixed! I don’t know if it was originally built when the house was, but the ground had sunken in places, and the bricks had, too. It was so exciting to see them excavate it!

The girls were obsessed with watching the process with the backhoe. After the workers went home for the day, they went outside and sat on the front landing, just taking it all in.It should be completed next week!

FIVE. I made double chocolate muffins for the first time in YEARS! I used this recipe, but I cut the sugar in half and used half whole wheat flour instead of just all-purpose. I also tripled it, since we now have what feels like a million muffin-eaters here. YUM!

Chandler loved trying these. Have you ever seen a happier (and sleepier) face?

Happy Weekend!!!

five on friday! (05/29)

There are still a few minutes left of Friday… so why not put together a “Five” post? I have missed doing these consistently over the past few months. Writing out a few good things at the end of the week really helps give me some perspective and renewed gratitude.

ONE. I am SO PROUD of these girls because they finished all five races in our local running store’s virtual series! We did their final mile this week. Eve rode in the stroller for all of it, but she was a great sport, so she gets points, too.I’m grateful we had some extra motivation to get outside in between all the rain we’ve been having!Love these girls. Love holding hands. Love matching Minnie Mouse shirts. Love being outside!

TWO. Daddy, Kaya, and Kaelyn made cookies to deliver to some neighbors this week. The girls were so excited! We all love Great Grandma Teerlink’s traditional “Square Shooter” recipe.

THREE. Kaya and I finished her standardized testing for the year! She did great, and as mind-numbing as giving a test for days can be, I’m relieved to have that checked off for the year.

Yes, all of Kaya’s favorite plush kitties “watched” her take her test. She was also dressed up as a queen.

We also tied up the last few loose ends of our textbooks. It feels like such an accomplishment to check off the last page of a huge book!Cuddling up and reading is my favorite.

FOUR. We’ve had a decent number of warm days lately, so Nella and Eve have been enjoying the water table again. They always seem to end up completely soaked!Nella likes to pretend to cook!Taste-testing is probably not such a good idea, though.

FIVE. Kaya and Kaelyn have become epic fort-makers. They take over the entire living room with their creations and play in there for hours. Usually, they pretend to be mermaids (along with Nella) named “Mirmy”, “Mirmir”, and “Bloomer”.

Happy Friday!

five on friday (10/05)

It’s been far too long since my last post, and it feels so good to be on here and getting a little creative energy out. Life has been full to the brim these past couple of months, and obviously, my kids come first, but I’ve realized just how much I need a little time for myself. Photography and this little bit of writing really invigorates me. It seems like I have a million thoughts and ideas swirling around in my head, and never enough time to write all of them!

I have a lot to share, but instead of trying to catch up on all of it, I’m just going to keep it short and simple for now.

ONE. We had a visit from my Dad a couple weeks ago! It’s been two years since he’s come to our house, so it was fun to have him here and show him some of the home improvement projects we’ve done. As soon as he pulled up in his Jeep, the girls ran to him with giant smiles and hugs.We were totally twinning in our American flag shirts… completely unplanned! Kaya and Kaelyn affectionately call him “Santa” because of his beard. About a week before Grandpa arrived, Kaelyn randomly started saying, “Santa’s coming!”. I was confused until I realized that she was actually talking about my Dad!He played CandyLand and Trouble with them, and even read them a story. They always love all the extra attention from grandparents. Nella has been a little wary of everyone recently, so she mostly avoided social interaction with Grandpa.And now Evie has met all her grandparents!

TWO. Nella has been such a loving and kind big sister to Eve, but she’s had a slightly difficult time adjusting to our new normal. She’s been struggling to fall asleep at night, and she wakes up in the wee hours of the morning screaming. We’re also just managing her strong 2-year-old tendencies.I’ve been trying to give her some intentional attention each day, whether it’s been snuggling or being silly or baking muffins together. I remember I started baking with Kaya around her age, and although it makes the biggest mess, it’s such a fun memory to have.She might not be the youngest of the family anymore, but her sisters play “baby” with her all the time lately.They tuck her into a box, pretending that it’s her bed, with her Beagle and all. She thinks it’s so much fun just to sit in there and get all the attention.THREE. I’ve been making an effort to get us outside in the mornings before we start our schoolwork. I used to be so diligent about taking the girls outside everyday, but then pregnancy and a newborn kind of threw us off for a bit. It’s refreshing to have that outdoor time with my babies, and it’s good for them to get some energy out before we sit down to learn.

Kaelyn picked me a dandelion.
Nella peeks through these little windows and says “Hewwo!”Evie just gets a little stroller nap while we play!FOUR. Minnie Mouse lives at my house now. Apparently, she can drive…She’s also a pretty good babysitter! ūüėČFIVE. This baby! Oh, this beautiful baby girl. Part of the reason I’m so behind on everything is because I just keep snuggling her and soaking her in as much as I possibly can. It’s clich√©, but it’s true- we blink and our babies seem to grow up in the instant we weren’t looking. Before I know it, she’ll be another year older, another foot taller… So I’m just savoring every moment with her as she is right now. She’s such a perfect angel and has the sweetest smile. It’s so easy to get her to grin that I probably have hundreds of photos of her just looking at the camera and beaming. Who could resist so many photos of this darling face?And what is it about babies in blue jeans? Melt my heart.
Happy Friday!

five on friday (03/30)

Happy Friday!!! This has felt like a really long week, but I’m excited for Easter weekend and spending some time with my in-laws!

ONE. Are you tired of seeing snow pictures yet? We have had literally every type of weather this week: winter snow, March’s “in like a lion” winds, April’s showers, and then just plain glorious spring. Phew. I kind of can’t believe that’s all happened in the past few days!

We had the biggest snowfall of the year thus far on Saturday night, so when we woke up on Sunday, everything looked like this:I have never seen so much snow on the trees. Lots of limbs around the neighborhood came down.Church was cancelled, so naturally, Michael asked the girls if they wanted to help him make waffles. They love baking!Mmmmm.TWO. As soon as the snow melted (which was thankfully pretty quickly), we were eager to get outside and get some exercise. Kaya learned to do the monkey bars all by herself!We had another day where we spent the entire morning outside, and the sunshine felt so invigorating. Nella had her very first (albeit slow) ride on the merry-go-round!After all the precipitation we’ve been having, all the streams were full, which just fascinated Kaya and Kaelyn. They tracked the water’s path throughout our entire walk, and when we stopped to play, they were excited to “wash sticks” in it.My only child who didn’t get covered in mud…THREE. Who remembers Polly Pockets? Playing with these is one of the best memories of my childhood, and I’m so lucky that my parents saved them, because now I get to share them with my girls!

It’s been all about Polly Pockets, day in and day out, for the past couple of weeks for these two. I love seeing them enjoy them.I have to say, I am really impressed with how well these have held up. Most of these are around 25 years old! I only allow them to take one out at a time, and so far, that’s been working really well. There are just so many small pieces.FOUR. The girls’ costume parades have continued! The newest theme is “Pets”, which includes a cat, a Dalmatian puppy, and a baby tiger.Also, didn’t Kaya just wear that Dalmatian costume for Halloween yesterday?FIVE. Just because I love these four so dang much (and I love how much they love their Daddy)!Linking up here, here, and here today!

five on friday (03/09)

I feel like it’s been a year since I’ve gotten on the computer to write anything but a baby update… so I have a lot of pictures! Let’s see if I can keep this down to just five things (I’m guessing not…)!

ONE- VISITORS. We’ve had some visitors these past couple of weeks! Lelia and Baby Bryce made their first-ever trip (since he was born) out here to see us! I know it’s not easy to make a longer drive with a baby (and sleep away from home), so I definitely appreciate all the effort it took them to get out here.Lelia and I enjoyed a run (our first one together in over a year!), some cookie bars, and just hanging out chatting. Kaya and Kaelyn enjoyed kissing and hugging all over Bryce every chance they got. I just love these sweet sweet cousins! I enjoyed some Baby Bryce cuddles, too!It was also especially fun to see Bryce in person because he reminds me a lot of Kaelyn as a baby. I feel like they look like they could be siblings, really.Who couldn’t love nose-chomping kisses?The following weekend, Grandma Debbie came up for a visit! The girls loved snuggling, playing endless tic-tac-toe games, and drawing love notes for her.

TWO- MICHAEL.¬†I feel like my guy really deserves his own post, but he’ll have to settle for just one section of this one. He’s always so busy working hard for us, lifting us up when we’re down, and just being there in general.

I can’t help thinking that we keep adding little princesses to our family because he’s the best “girl dad” there’s ever been. I’m not sure how Little Girl #4 is going to fit on his lap, but I know he’ll find a way.He spent part of February at home sick with a cold. I was sad to see him not feeling well, but the girls loved having him home for a few days. Thankfully, no one else caught what he had!Don’t worry, he’s still working on his baby bump…

THREE- KANGAROO KIDS. This is the highlight of the week for my little girls. Even Nella is really getting into it! She crawls all over the mats, climbs on everything, and wants to do everything her sisters do. The teachers brought the ball pit out especially for her, but of course, everyone else loved it just as much.She also had her first ride on the parachute! Kaya and Kaelyn were so excited to share this with her, and held her hand to keep her safe.

FOUR- SCOUT. Spring came to town for about two weeks (before winter rolled right back in)… and it rained forever and the pollen count was very high, so naturally, my dog looked like this (yes, again):At least we’ve seen a consistent pattern of this happening in relation to the weather, so after some eyedrops and Benadryl (and a few days without rain), she’s been looking better.¬† Poor poor puppy. I like seeing her back to her normal self!

FIVE- HOUSE. We’ve been talking about it for probably a year, but finally made the decision to go ahead and get rid of the little fireplace that was here when we moved in. We had a guy come and remove the gas line, so now all that’s left is fixing the wall and replacing the carpet where it was.I’m really excited to have this corner open, since that gives us more options for arranging the furniture.SIX- TREATS. I know, I went past five, but I had to end this on a sweet note! We’ve been doing a little more baking around here and even delivered some treats to friends. (Yes, that is a blue dog!)We’ve also enjoyed some of the best local donuts. Mmmm!Happy Friday!!!


five favorites (02/10)

It’s so late, but I just had to get my Five in for the week!

ONE. Probably the most unusual part of our week was finding an injured deer in our backyard one morning. I saw her when I came back from my run, and we watched her out the window for a bit (of course, the girls instantly fell in love). When she just kept lying there, I started to figure that something had to be wrong, so I walked out to get a closer look. When I came within 6 feet of her and she didn’t budge, I could see that her whole bottom was bleeding and raw.

Logically, I know there’s an overpopulation of deer in Virginia, but I just couldn’t help myself- I called Michael, sobbing, begging him to figure out who could save this deer. As it turns out, the local wildlife¬†rehabilitator can only take fawns who are young enough to have spots, so although this one appeared to be quite young, she didn’t qualify. They actually sent the police deputy out to see if she should just be put down, but right before he arrived, she surprised us all and actually stood and walked a few steps.

I don’t know how far she got, but at this point, I just hope she didn’t have to suffer. Kaya and Kaelyn were heartbroken when they knew the deer was so hurt.

TWO. Kangaroo Kids started back up for the first time in the new year! I surprised the girls by not telling them where we were going, and hearing their squeals upon our arrival was the best.

Nella was all over the place this time! Climbing, chasing balls, and wanting to do everything her sisters did. When we started going to this one year ago, she would nap in her car seat the entire time, and last fall, I just carried her around for most of it. I guess she’s a real big kid now! They ran around so much that all of them passed out for long naps when we got home. The house was as silent as it’s been in a long time!

THREE. I’m still trying my best to get us outdoors as much as I can, but the weather hasn’t been helping. We actually had church canceled last Sunday due to snow that blew in just a few hours beforehand! We did get out for a couple of short walks after the ice melted, though!

And when you don’t nap during nap time, you might fall asleep in the stroller! Those are some very sleepy eyes. Kaya found this block of ice, named it “Toothless” (like the dragon), and carried it for almost half a mile home. She even had to check on Toothless several times that evening before she went to bed. This is such a fun, imaginative age.FOUR.¬†Sometimes, you just need a chocolate chip cookie, quick! (Anyone else? Or is that just me?) Anyway, I tried this microwave chocolate chip mug cookie, and it was amazing. I actually cut the sugar in half and left out the salt, and it was just fine. I shared with Kaya and Kaelyn, who were pretty much the happiest girls in the world.FIVE.¬†This sweet little baby girl, with curls on the back of her head and that completely wild ponytail, was just waiting for her Daddy to come home yesterday. She’s getting so smart- anytime she hears the lock on the door click, she immediately looks that direction and asks, “Daaa?” She just knows that it clicks, the door opens, and Daddy comes through! It’s the sweetest thing. Happy weekend!

five on friday (11/03)

Happy November! I had to stop myself from writing “10/03” up there in the title. It’s hard to believe that Halloween has come and gone, and we are now counting down to Thanksgiving! I really dislike feeling so behind on everything I want to write about on here, but here’s to hoping I can catch up before we really start the holiday season.

ONE. Yesterday I was helping one of the older girls with something, and then I turned around and saw THIS!

I know, I know, most would say it isn’t a big deal for a 12-month old to pull herself up and stand, but Nella has gone from only rolling to full-on crawling and putting weight on her legs (which she always resisted doing before) in just the past couple of weeks. She decided she has to hit every milestone at once, apparently. Next up, walking!

TWO. Fall is for baking homemade pumpkin muffins… and eating them in the messiest way possible, apparently!

We also made some cupcakes for the church Halloween party! Kaya and Kaelyn were amazed that they could sit and watch them bake through the door once I turned the oven light on. I remember doing the same thing as a little girl.

THREE. Uncle Karl and Kaitlyn gave Kaya a whiteboard/chalkboard easel for her birthday, and this is just a small sample of the many, many works of art she’s made on it. She drew a minion (“with color-changing eyes!”) special for me after I painted our pumpkin to look like a minion for Halloween. I was really impressed with her style and skill!She also drew a picture of us having spaghetti dinner:

Of course, everyone wanted a photo with the minion.

Kaelyn’s little people are starting to look very good, too!

FOUR. This is what it looks like to go to Food Lion with all three kids! Kaya and Kaelyn think those little carts are the best thing ever, and to be honest, sometimes I do go there just so they can push them around. They are my big little helpers!FIVE. You didn’t think I’d leave Kangaroo Kids out, did you? Nella has been participating a little more lately and absolutely loves bouncing around with her sisters.I just love seeing them have fun (and joining them on the slide any chance I get)!

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!

anniversary shenanigans (2017)

From the very beginning of my half marathon training, I told Michael that the first time I ran ten miles, we would be going to Red Robin for dinner. Well, that first 10-mile Saturday fell on our anniversary weekend, so we counted it as our family date for the month and headed out for a special meal.

I think we’ve only been on four dates without the kids since Kaya was born… so obviously, they came along. I like including them in celebrating our anniversary, anyway. According to Kaya, it’s our “family’s birthday!”

Kaya really looks forward to eating the broccoli there (although I don’t think it’s any different than the broccoli we make at home)!

We accomplished a lot of other things around the house that weekend- Michael started putting new shutters on the house, I cleaned, and Nella did what babies do best… ūüėČOur actual anniversary was that next Monday, and Michael surprised me with some flowers! I love getting potted plants- these should last for a long time (hopefully)!I had to run some errands that evening, and while I was gone, Michael and the girls made square shooter cookies……as well as a pretty big mess!Seriously, who couldn’t love a guy who bakes surprise cookies? I’m so grateful to have Michael in my life, and I love our simple anniversary celebration. ¬†Maybe once we get to ten years, we’ll do something a little more exciting, but for now, this weekend was perfect.

five on friday (03/17)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

ONE. Daylight Savings was so good to us on Sunday. Afternoon church is a big struggle with little kids who are missing their naps, but skipping ahead an hour and having a little “extra” sunshine (and lollipops) made everyone a little less cranky‚Äč.And yes, I love matching dresses with my baby.
TWO.¬†In honor of “Pi Day”, we made a chocolate chip cookie pie (with this crust) to bring to our youth mutual activity on Tuesday night. If you like gooey amazingness… this is the perfect pie.

Kaelyn actually rolled out the crust herself and did a great job (all while making the silliest faces)!THREE.¬†Once a month for¬†past few months, Michael has been holding training meetups for a company named Docker. There, he teaches some of the latest software development practices. Our girls are obsessed with their whale logo, and when Nella was born, they actually sent a onesie just for her. This baby looks so good in blue!Michael had his meeting this week, which coincided with Docker’s birthday. He needed to bring cupcakes, so naturally, the girls and I whipped some up. Yellow cake with chocolate buttercream might be my current favorite combination.

FOUR.¬†Michael has been painting our bedroom this week, and apparently reviewing the alphabet with Kaya at the same time! Haha. If you’re thinking that this blue looks the same as the color in the office, you’re right. I’m kind of obsessed with it, but I promise this is the last room in the house that’s going to be blue.

FIVE. Of course, we had to make some art for St. Patrick’s Day! The girls finger painted rainbows and we learned a little bit about the holiday and the mythological leprechauns.Kaelyn’s art was a little more abstract, but I still love it (and her silly faces)!

Happy weekend!