campground fun and a visit with great-grandpa

Just before Michael’s birthday, we were able to drive up to Waynesboro for a short day trip. We hung out at the campground my in-laws were staying at, and we also had the chance to visit Grandpa Teerlink! We’ve been saying “yes” to more trips and opportunities, and it’s made for a lot of great family memories. I hope we can keep taking little trips like these.

The first thing the girls did was feed the local ducks. The shop on site had special duck food and everything, which Grandma Gina surprised them with. The girls were just obsessed with these baby ducks. The mama was fearsome and drove away nearly all the other adults so her babies could eat. After watching her, I couldn’t help thinking that the term “mama bear” needs to be replaced with “mama duck”!

I know Grandma’s eyes are closed in this one, but Grandpa’s photo-bomb was too good to leave out!There was some pink-sunglasses wearing… (and Grandpa cuddles!)Kaelyn’s smile just kills me. She’s so happy.There was a little dog park there, so Scout was able to run around and meet other dogs! She did really well with socializing, and I think we wore her out.There was the coolest playground there in the shape of a ship! The girls loved this so much and probably could have played on it all day had we done no other activities.There was even a pole to slide down into the lower level! So cool.Grandpa gets credit for the next two photos. I am basically a giant kid and love playing on playgrounds, too.Seriously, she’s too cute.Afterward, we got everyone ready and walked to the pool on site. Nella loves riding in this floatie more than Eve does, and frequently asks to go in it. The time seemed to go by so fast, and before we knew it, we were out of the pool and headed back to change again.The girls fed the ducks some more when we got back (ignore all our pool towels and floaties behind them…)Evie loved watching.To end the visit, Michael had a little birthday celebration! There was ice cream, but I think he was pretending to blow out invisible candles here?Nella the helper.As Kaya said, “That’s a lot of M&Ms!”He also got new shoes.We packed up the van (with four kids, it seems like we need so much stuff just for a day trip), and headed over to Great-Grandpa Teerlink’s house.
We enjoyed some Wendy’s, and I had the privilege of listening to him tell sweet stories about his wife and their lives together when they were younger. I really cherish those memories and insights. I really feel lucky to be loved by this family and to be able to glean wisdom from Michael’s grandparents.We had to take a few four-generation pictures. Kaya was super tired by this point and not really into it, but we tried.Yup. Kaya was done.Dad, on the other hand, never tires of leaving pictures like these on my camera! I kind of love it.We love you, Grandpa T!

five favorites (08/03)

Happy August! I can’t believe we’re in the last stretch of summer already. Where does the time go? We’ve been on the go a lot lately, so these are ALL phone pictures, but in a way, it’s kind of great, because that means we’ve been having adventures and getting out of the house. It’s never easy with four little people, but it is worth making the effort to go out of our comfort zone a little.

ONE. Michael got to take the girls camping last weekend! There was a church campout activity, and he thought that Kaya, Kaelyn, and Nella might finally be at ages where they’d actually enjoy sleeping in a tent outdoors. He was right! They absolutely loved all of this: playing in the woods, having a “girls only” party in the back of a pick-up truck, and snuggling up with Daddy all night. They even giggled about how “the potty was just a big hole!” (it was an outhouse), and didn’t have a single complaint when they came home and told me all about it. Of course, who could complain when you get to eat s’mores for dessert and breakfast?

Eve and I stayed home (I’m not brave enough to attempt camping with a baby), so I was left with a bunch of free time. I used a lot of it to straighten up downstairs, organize Kaya and Kaelyn’s room, and shampoo the living room carpet. There’s nothing like a clean floor!

TWO. We got to go to the Radford Planetarium’s special exhibit in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. They had a special show, along with some other exhibits (one of which included ice cream made with liquid nitrogen)! Eve didn’t make it through the entire show, but I’m still glad we were able to take the other girls and have some time as a family.They also had a small “Museum of the Earth Sciences” there, where we saw some amazing fossils and geodes. They had this T-Rex skull, which is the most complete fossil of its kind in existence. So cool! All the girls were afraid of it, but Kaya stood next to it long enough for a photo.THREE. We got to go to the pool this week with Bianca and her kids! She gifted Eve this baby floatie, which was amazing, because it was the first time in 6 years that I haven’t had to carry a baby in my arms the entire time we were swimming! Eve loved it for a while and then decided she wanted to be held.Nella was pretty cranky, so she tried Noah’s shark floatie out for a bit. Kaelyn was pulling her all around the pool, so I think she enjoyed the ride.Of course, Eve doesn’t really need to go to the pool, because she’s just as happy to climb into her sister’s tiny toy pool. She gets soaked in the tiniest amount of water!FOUR. We had an extra-fun morning yesterday when Daddy joined us at the playground on his lunch break! Playing with him is everyone’s favorite thing. Eve is all about trying to walk (while holding on to things) everywhere she can. She wore her little pink shoes!Their joy is my joy. Seriously, that little paci grin! I love her so much. She was very ready for a nap after this.FIVE. We’ve had a lot of butterflies visit our deck lately. We all love watching them and appreciating the beauty of nature so nearby.This butterfly and another just like it spent a couple of days on our deck, except that the second one had large parts of its wings missing. Kaya has such a tender heart, and she was so worried about that butterfly. When the injured one flew away, she wanted to be sure its “sister” butterfly followed after it.HAPPY SATURDAY!

five on friday (07/26)

I’m sneaking this post in just before it turns midnight! We’ve had a whole lot going on here, and as usual, I feel like this post just barely scratches the surface of it all. Here are just a few fun things from lately:

ONE. Michael had the opportunity to go to Scout camp last week as a leader for our church Stake! It was a challenging week without him (and I really really missed running), but he was very much needed and definitely enjoyed getting to know some of the young men better. Plus, look at this view! He was mostly offline the entire time, too, which sounds really peaceful, although we definitely missed talking to him.His selfies in our photo account are always fun to find. This is the most facial hair I’ve ever seen him have!
We totally looked like zombies by the end of the week, but I was so happy to have him home!!!

TWO. Nella and her baby dolls… If she’s not playing “Mommy and Baby” with the Calico Critters, she’s taking care of a baby doll. Actually, she is pretty good at pretending anything is a mommy or a baby, even her fork and spoon at meals or her sippy cup. I’m really hoping this little lady grows up to have a bunch of kids because it’s so deeply ingrained in her nature to care for them. Of course, she’s kind of a goober, too.THREE. We’ve had some fun at the library with the summer reading program! We went to a hilarious puppet show one week, and another week, we saw a balloon show. The girls each got to pick a fun balloon to take home at the end. We had butterfly wings, a flower, and just a crazy spiral balloon.The individual beads on Kaya and Kaelyn’s necklaces were earned for each book they read independently. I am so proud of these big kids!FOUR. We went to a different playground than we usually do, and the girls had an extra fun time trying out all the different equipment. This one reminded them of the balance scale we’ve used for math.We didn’t even realize there was another whole section to this park with a giant wooden castle, which actually reminded me a lot of a playground I used to go to when I was young. They had a blast over here playing with our friends!Bianca and I tried to contain the babies in here, but Eve still ended up eating dirt and crawling everywhere she wanted to go.FIVE. May your weekend be as happy as a one-year-old with bubbles…She absolutely cracks me up. And her little face just melts my heart every time.Happy Friday!!!

insta-jam for june!

I took a LOT of pictures this month. That just means my life is super interesting, right?

1: We were having some beautiful June weather, so we went out for a walk one night. Of course, it started raining, and Michael didn’t have a jacket so we ended up waiting awhile under a tree!

2, 3 & 4: We stopped at the playground on our walk. I’m glad we’re both such big kids… but swinging while pregnant does not feel so good. Don’t try it.

1: Breakfast time for piggies! They are always so happy and alert when I greet them in the morning.

2, 3 & 4: Just plain cuteness! I love those Juni lips.

1: My first ever oven-roasted chicken. I even made gravy! It was so easy and delicious and definitely worth buying the whole chicken. We ate it for about a week I think!

2: Homemade stir-fry. This was a new recipe for me, too! I was so proud of myself for actually cooking some real meals this month (for some reason, I am just not easily motivated to cook during pregnancy. It’s so weird because I used to cook all the time before). I’m sure Michael appreciates anything that isn’t frozen pizza or hotdogs.

3: A wild bunny we saw when we were out walking! At the end of our walk, we saw a run-over bunny and I busted out sobbing because I thought it was the same one.

4. Panda came camping with us. I guess he was scared of the dark since he was hanging out by the lantern!

1: New sunglasses because my pink and purple ones broke.

2: Cheap clothes I got for munchkin. I’m super excited about those little overalls!

3: The free Target beauty bag I got in the mail. Yay!

4. Michael learned a hard lesson: never send a pregnant lady to the store alone, because she WILL come back with donut holes (not like he minds)!

1: As you already know, Kroger does not have rainbow Twizzlers, so I “settled” for this red pack of Starbursts instead. They were so good! Mmm.

2. The next morning, I woke up to this love note on the kitchen counter.

3. I fell and hurt my knee pretty badly. Michael came home early from work to take care of me, since I couldn’t even put any weight on it, let alone clean it and wrap it myself (we actually didn’t even have many first-aid supplies, so he had to go buy some. Lesson learned)! I’m so grateful for my buddy who is always looking out for me.

4. One morning I woke up to this surprise- a cute game on the tablet! It’s called Kinectimals and Michael knew I would love it, so he downloaded it before I got up and then woke me up to surprise me.

1: I surprised Michael with freezie pops! Who knew you could get a big box of them at the Dollar Tree? He was thrilled!

2: We went out for milkshakes, and ended up getting an extra one for free because they messed up my first one. YUM!

3: Poor Michael studied for HOURS for this network intrusion exam he took at work. He passed, of course!

4: We got a piano! Michael was and still is so excited about this and I can’t wait to hear him play more often.

1: Balloons my mom got for the double baby shower we had with cousin Nicole!

2: After years of hearing about this place that Michael’s grandma used to take them to for ice cream, we finally got to go! It was delicious and worth the 3.5 year wait! Haha.

3: Lelia and Jeff are kind of weird, but we let them have ice cream with us too.

4: We had two HUGE storms. One of them hit while we were out of town at my parents’ house, where it wasn’t nearly as bad. A lot of people lost power and a lot of trees have gone down. What a mess. I’m grateful that our power didn’t go out though, because my pigs would have been pretty hot without the air conditioning.

hi-ho, hi-ho, a-camping we did go!

I’ve been talking about camping for a few weeks now, and this weekend we finally went! I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited to go camping before, so Michael definitely loved my new-found enthusiasm.

I never went camping as a kid, so I guess I never learned all the basic skills you really need to do it. Luckily, I am married to an Eagle Scout who knows pretty much everything and doesn’t mind doing it.

He sets up the tent like a pro.

Thankfully, he also knows how to start a fire.

Neither one of us is all that great at cooking hotdogs, though. Everything might look just fine and dandy in this photo, but both of these dogs fell into the charred-ash abyss just seconds later. Whoops.

I planned a bunch of fun things for us to do, but I didn’t tell him anything ahead of time, so it was all a surprise! We did a “nature scavenger hunt”, which actually turned out to be a whole lot more exciting than I had anticipated! I also had a secret plan for dessert.

We made Campfire Cones, which I had seen on Pinterest not too long ago. They were such a fantastic idea because they are so customizable and whole lot less messy than regular s’mores. Oh, and I guess they were delicious, too! We put marshmallows, white chocolate, milk-chocolate covered caramels and cookie dough bites, Reese’s pieces and M&Ms in ours. Mmmm.

I had found a bunch of glowsticks at the dollar store, so I brought those for some more fun. It was also nice just to have it to wear so we could see each other walking around in the dark. Of course we played with them with the camera’s slow shutter speed.

Michael made a wave.

And I made a heart!

We had such a great time together, and this just might be one of my new very-favorite photos.

Thanks for taking me camping, buddy!

old mcdonald had a farm…

And TWO of his pigs live at our house!

Last night we went camping with the ward, which was fun… except we definitely did NOT bring enough blankets, so we ended up sleeping in the nice, warm car instead of our freezing tent!

This afternoon we met up with the very nice people who had "Patches".  They rescued a mommy pig, who had seven babies!  They just can't keep them all, so I am lucky enough to get one of the cuties!  I was so excited!  I brought Maggie to meet the two pigs I had asked her to bring down here, and she and Patches hit it off right away.  Maggie was licking her and Patches just likes to snuggle!  So we just let them play for about an hour, and then took her home!

I let them play alittle together at home, but Maggie's been a little jealous- she's used to having me all to herself!  So she squeaks for extra attention.  Don't worry, they're both spoiled.

And, since Maggie's full name is actually "Magnolia", I decided to keep to the shrubbery theme-so I renamed Patches "Juniper", with the nickname Juni for short.  Isn't she cute?