christmas day (2019)

Am I the only one who wishes it was still the holiday season? With a worldwide pandemic going on, I miss the peace and joy that Christmas brings. I’m once again feeling grateful that I’m only just catching up on these posts now, because reliving these moments with my family is the best gift.

So, on Christmas Eve, Mommy and Daddy were up very late when Santa finally decided to deliver some gifts.I thought this might be the year the girls would figure out that they could try to get us up early on Christmas morning, but to my surprise, everyone slept in until 8:15! Kaya did wake Daddy up in the middle of the night at some point to ask how many hours she had left to wait, though. Seeing these faces and hearing their squeals of excitement is one of the best moments for me.Matching jammies courtesy of Grandma Debbie.Let the opening begin!Kaya is definitely the most openly excited about everything, and she “ooos” and “awwws” her whole way through the gift-opening process. I love her enthusiasm and how she just overflows with joy at the smallest of things. Pomsies for everyone! We’re still singing their “meow meow” song just about every day.
I had to put this one in here because it’s just too funny. Kaya made Nella a “Calico Critters car” out of a cardboard box, but when Nella opened it, all she saw was… a plain box. She was so confused and disappointed because this was the first thing she had opened. Her face was priceless, though.Calico Critters chipmunk family for Kaelyn!The Maple Cat family for Kaya!Water WOW and Color Wonder books!Hei Hei is Nellie’s favorite.Along with Elmo! This was Nella’s favorite gift- Daniel Tiger family figurines!Magic Treehouse books for Kaya!Some new clothes for everyone. Nella was very serious here.Games to share.Eve was giving Daddy high fives. Cutest. thing. ever.Play-doh noodle maker! Nella’s big gift was this Calico Critters set!Kaelyn’s was this camper for her Critters! She now drives them on adventures all over the house. The face you make when you can’t believe you got the biggest thing on your list!Kaya loves her treehouse.Kaya also made a “Minnie Mouse Look and Find” book for Kaelyn, which was so sweet. She made a heart picture for Daddy and a cute “I love you Mommy” note for me. Eve got her own My Little Pony!And a Pomsie, too. Daddy got his Star Wars game!Michael snapped this one without me knowing… whew. The opening aftermath! At first glance, all I saw was the huge mess… but I can see now how much fun we were all having, too.Scout was there, too! We love our puppy.I made some homemade reindeer donuts for breakfast.This is happiness right here. Everyone was a fan.We spent the day playing with everything. The family games were especially fun. Eve really loved coloring.It was an absolutely gorgeous day, so while Nella and Eve took naps, Michael got the last gift (and biggest surprise) ready. Kaelyn had been asking for a new bike for ages, but she’d still just been riding the tiny tricycle we have. He put her new bike (and Kaya’s) up in the front yard. When she walked out and saw it, she was ecstatic!
She saw the basket on the front and immediately ran inside to get her Dalmatian to ride in it. Kaya was happy, too, because we told her we had ordered a basket for her bike, and it was due to come in the mail any day.Practicing with the pedals and brakes takes some time!One very happy kid.
We wrapped up a perfect day with the best turkey I’ve ever made. Kaya and Kaelyn even tried mashed potatoes and gravy for the first time and loved it! These smiling faces are the very best gift I could ever have. Creating the holiday “magic” isn’t easy, but for them, it is worth it.We sang “Happy Birthday” to Jesus and had some chocolate cake. It’s such a simple tradition, but it always touches my heart in a special way.

Until next year (247 days to go!)!

teerlink family christmas party (2019)

We always love going to the annual Teerlink Christmas party. It’s fun to see Michael’s extended family, eat delicious food (which means waaay too much mac and cheese for me), and remember our Savior at this special time of year.

This was the smallest group we’ve had at any of the family parties I’ve been to, so we missed a lot of people. We still had enough people to put on the play!I thought Kaya might be too tall to fit in the lamb costume this year, so we were both very happy to see she still did! I loved having three little lambies and a shepherd in the play.
Lelia was an angel this year (perfect role for my sister, if you ask me), and we had a plastic baby doll for the first time in a while! There’s no way Eve would have cooperated, haha.

I love singing the songs and feeling the Spirit. I always think about the previous generations who put on this exact play and wore these same costumes, and somehow, that legacy always touches my heart. There have been so many amazing people who have come before us.

Kaya had the very special job of helping Great Grandpa Teerlink hand out his cards. She did a great job.

Grandma Gina brought a special gift for the girls- handmade baby doll beds! These have gotten so much use over the past few months.

I always love to sit with Grandpa and hear some of his stories. He has made me feel so included in the family.

And some more pictures with Grandpa T, just because!

We love these days as a family and these Christmas memories.

gingerbread house (2019)

I took what I think was my biggest break from blogging yet, but honestly, it was refreshing to not think about it for a while. With mandated quarantine going on right now due to COVID-19, I’m actually happy to revisit Christmastime through my photos as I spend a little time catching up.

So, right before Christmas, I surprised the girls with a gingerbread house kit. Eve didn’t get to help this time, since we knew her “helping” would be a bit destructive, so we made it while she was napping.Decorating is serious business.It’s also serious fun.Kaya, Kaelyn, and Nella came up with their own design and pattern for the house.They divided up the workload evenly, and all I had to do was put the icing where they wanted it.Michael snuck this one of me. I love finding these candid shots later on.Their houses have become more and more elaborate over the years. It’s been really fun to see the designs evolve.Can it be Christmas again? I just love the sweet, cozy warmth of gingerbread and the tree lights.

christmas cookies & delivery (2019)

It’s never too late to reminisce about Christmas cookies, right? This is definitely one of my favorite things to do with the girls, and these couple of pictures of us all working on cutting out cookies together are some of my very favorites. It really is worth taking the time to set up the tripod so I can get into a few photos every once in a while.Eve didn’t actually help, because she was really busy trying to eat the gingerbread dough. Maybe next year!Kaya and Kaelyn wanted to try rolling some of the cookies out themselves.. They did really well! They’ve almost put me out of a job at this point! After cutting, baking, and cooling, we decorated! Once again, Eve ate all the sprinkles and candies.Someone else was eating sprinkles, too… Just look at that green beard she has going on! Nella did actually decorate a few, though.Could they have been any more excited? No. The correct answer is most definitely not! I’m not sure who made which of these… but these were some of my favorite designs. I know that Kaya did the rainbow bear on the left, and Michael made the pretty little tree up top.I made a few other treats so we could deliver plates to friends! (white chip chocolate cookies; chocolate chip cookies)

We put on our Santa hats and headed out to surprise people. We only did 14 plates, which is fewer than some years, but I felt like it was enough. I love seeing how excited the girls are to take turns delivering the plates. I think this is one way they truly feel the Christmas spirit of giving.

christmas at grandma debbie’s (2019)

I’m still catching up on the Christmas posts, and I’m hoping to be done here in the next week or so. I used to feel like I had to blog every single memorable thing we did… but now, I’m really just trying to highlight the big stuff so the girls will have it when they’re older.

We got to spend a couple of days before Christmas with my side of the family, where we enjoyed my mom’s amazing home cooking, relaxing and watching Gomer Pyle with my Dad, and opening some Christmas gifts!

My mom always does such a great job on her tree.This was Nella’s face through most of opening things. She doesn’t like to show emotion, so she’ll get super serious. Clearly, everyone else was excited about her Elmo ornament.Grandma Debbie always gives the girls matching Christmas jammies! I hope we’ll always be able to find identical sets in all their sizes, because this is quite possibly my favorite part of Christmas. Calico Critters! Kaya and Kaelyn were hoping for these buses for a long time. Koalas for a Nella who blinked.Hatchimals!A Care Bear (who she named “Cherry Bear”) for Nellie.Eve got really into opening gifts this year. She loved her Duplos!Michael received a couple of signed Greg Olsen prints! So beautiful. Ponies! My mom really wanted this “inside out” umbrella. It was pretty cool, actually!And a Chewy gift card for my Dad so he can spoil his favorite Buddy.I’m looking wiped out here, but happy with Fantastic Beasts 2 and some pretty hair clips. My mom knows me well!

christmas parade (2019)

Ready for Christmas to come back in full swing? I’m going to be doing some more catching up on here, and I’m excited to get to relive it all through my photos. I tried to keep our holiday season relaxed this year, but there’s still always a lot going on and some stress involved with getting everything done. It’s so fun to take a break afterward and come back to the memories anew.

As per tradition, we went to our town’s Christmas parade! It was quite a cold one this year, and of course, since it was pitch black, the photos aren’t the best, but I love remembering this. All the girls were so incredibly excited to get there and watch!

For the first time ever, we were up near the front of the parade, so the girls ended up with a bunch of candy and even some coloring books.

Some of our favorite floats included:

A giant fish!Mickey and Minnie!Classic cars!A minion!A monarch butterfly!And a poo emoji, of course! Haha.

Watching my family enjoy it is the best of all. Toward the end of the parade, we saw some little kids (who were part of a float) carrying these huge armfuls of stuffed animals down the street. They saw all the kids sitting in our area, and started handing out brand-new unicorns to my girls! This was one of the happiest days of their lives.

Kaya said over and over, “I can’t believe I got a unicorn!” It was a lucky moment for sure.

Santa came by at the end, like he always does!

Everyone went home happy.

the last of the christmas shenanigans (2018)

This is it! The final blog post about Christmas, just before we roll into March. Ha! Better late than never. I lumped an entire weekend into this one entry, so here we go!

The weekend after Christmas, we headed off to Michael’s Aunt Becky’s house for the Teerlink family Christmas Party! I got to hang out with some of my favorite people! (And see some other awesome family members we haven’t seen for awhile)!My favorite part of the entire party, year after year, is the nativity play. There’s always just such a sweet, sweet spirit present when we reenact the scenes and sing hymns together. I also love seeing the costumes made by Grandma and Grandpa Teerlink so many years ago.

Eve was the youngest baby there, so she got to play Baby Jesus this year! She was so perfectly calm and content.My other three girls were little lambs (Nella just wanted to sit on Grandpa’s lap the entire time, though)!Cousin Bryce was a cute lambie, too!The entire cast:I love this wiseman and his little sheep.It’s so special when Grandpa Teerlink gives a short speech, which always includes something about his Sweetheart. Their love is the kind of love I aspire to have when Michael and I are in our 80s.We drove straight from the party to my parents’ house, just a couple hours away. We had some homemade chicken noodle soup made by my mom, and then, everyone was excited to have a late-night Christmas. Eve was well-entertained by the wrapping paper!Pajamas for everyone! I just love seeing my mom’s face in all these photos. Gift-giving is most definitely her love language and brings her true joy. Nella’s big present was… …a horse!The teddy bear had to be the first to ride the horse, obviously. Calico Critters cars!And clothes for their dolls!We had this special pillow made for my Dad with Buddy and Sockie’s photos on it. I think he might have choked up a little when he saw it. Sockie passed away last fall, so this was a good way to remember him.There were tons……and tons of cookies! Mmmmm.Grandpa got to hold Evie quite a bit! Eve also met my Auntie Carol for the very first time! She loved her right away. My aunt is good at having fun, and she was dancing around with Eve, so it’s no wonder they had a good first visit! Auntie Joyce visited with us too; I just didn’t get any pictures.Auntie Carol brought Eve a hat, which was a little too small, but we tried to get a picture of her wearing it, anyway.

Nella might have been obsessed with every single one of Grandma Debbie’s decorations.I also found my old Guess Who game in the closet, which Kaya loved playing so much.
On New Year’s Eve, Lelia and I kicked off the morning with a nice 7.7-mile run! The miles just flew on by (perks of running with a great friend), and I think I was riding a runner’s high the whole rest of the day. They invited us over for lunch, and Bryce ate up some Evie cheeks. He just loves her so much and hugs and kisses her as much as possible. It’s really so sweet.Grandpa Skip and Grandma Gina stopped by for a few minutes, too, and in the midst of all the family togetherness, I had one of those rare moments where everything felt perfect.Later that night, we stayed up way too late to watch the ball drop with my mom and ring in the new year. These weekends with family fill up my heart to the brim.

christmas 2018

Finally, our Christmas!!! I’m always sad when this special day is over, so to be able to relive it a little through photographs is such a blessing. Christmas mornings with our little girls will forever be some of my favorite memories.

As usual, we spent our Christmas Eve wrapping presents (with A Christmas Story on in the background)! I was able to wrap most of Kaya’s before Eve woke up and needed me to hold her. Michael is the best and finished the rest. We kept the number of gifts at three for each of the older girls, which was simpler, but plenty. With all these kids, it still looks like a lot under the tree!To our surprise, everyone slept in until about 8:30 on Christmas morning! Even Evie gave us a 6-hour stretch of sleep, which was a pretty great gift. We could hear Kaya and Kaelyn excitedly telling the stuffed animals they had received last Christmas that it was now “their first birthday!” We thought that was pretty funny and adorable.

Happy First Christmas, Eve!They came down, and I just couldn’t wait to see their faces! They indulged me and let me take a picture of them all together before they dug into the gifts (clearly, Nella had a hard time waiting)!Four pretty babies in polka dot pajamas. All I could want.Kaya and Kaelyn got these Fingerlings unicorns! Kaya has wanted one of these forever, and upon opening it, she exclaimed, “My friend is here!”Eve just sat happily amidst the chaos.Nella’s Fingerling was a dragon (named “Tara”)!They each received a candy cane full of M&Ms. Nella looked worried about hers for some reason…Wallets (with zippers so we won’t lose any more allowance)!Kaya and Kaelyn had been waiting for this gift for almost a year… “American Girl” (full disclosure: Target brand) dolls! Eve really wanted to help open this one!                            “Jovie” and “Olivia”!This was definitely one of my favorite moments… Nella’s reaction when she opened her doll! She was surprised and so happy.This baby girl absolutely loves babies. She’s so sweet.
She also really loves her shoes!An extra outfit for their dolls……and then their last, very exciting, gift!Hatchimals!We decided Nella was too little for a Hatchimal, so instead… …she got a Furreal Friends Tiger! I saw him on sale, and he was way too cute to pass up. She wasn’t sure about him at first.She quickly warmed up to him, though!“ROAR!”Her doll had to meet her tiger, obviously. While we were in Spain, the girls went shopping with Grandma Gina and picked out some presents for Eve and I. Kaelyn was so excited to help Eve open hers.A book!Kaya also made sweet cards and notes for everyone! The girls also surprised me with some holiday socks, and my Auntie Joyce sent me a silver Viking ship necklace to replace the one I had lost a few years ago.Keys and an O-ball for Eve! We surprised them with one more shared gift… A Calico Critters house!The gift-opening aftermath.Nella had some more fun playing with Tigey… …while I finally whipped up some breakfast. They girls always look forward to something a little special, so I made homemade chocolate donuts with glaze and then decorated them to look like reindeer. Easy and adorable.They were a hit! All month long, the girls pretend to “call the North Pole” on this toy radio. Kaelyn had the last turn on Christmas Day!I love them. After breakfast, we opened the Hatchimals!It took forever for Kaelyn’s to finally come out (and we had to help it a little in the end), but she was so excited when it finally did! It was a “mystery” one, so we didn’t know which color was inside before hatching it. She was happy with her pink and yellow owl and named her “Grace”.Kaya just happened to get the same exact one (which is really a good thing), and named hers “Rosie”!Meanwhile, Nella carried her Tiger all over the house. In the midst of all this, I was attempting to cook a turkey that hadn’t thawed out at all. It was still FROZEN! The good news is, you can actually still cook a frozen bird, it just takes longer. We ate dinner really late, but it was delicious nonetheless.Someone was spoiled, sitting up on the counter, in such close proximity to the M&Ms…Official turkey carver!After a day full of playing, we finally enjoyed our dinner. The girls were so exhausted at the end of it all, and very much ready for bed. I ended my night with a tacky Christmas movie, contented and so grateful for this precious day with my family.

christmas cookies (2018)

My goal is to be caught up with the Christmas posts before February ends. It might seem ridiculous to be so late on this, but this is the life season I’m in right now. I’m just doing my best to keep up with everything! I can’t let our holiday go undocumented, so here are our cookies from this past Christmas!

We make a pretty big deal out of Christmas cookies around here. It’s a tradition I get from my mom, and I think we do a great job upholding it. These little girls are always so excited to start making them, and they usually talk about doing it for the entire month of December (at least)!It was exciting to have Nella be able to help this year!Kaya and Kaelyn almost didn’t need me. They surprised me when they started rolling and cutting the dough themselves. I’m learning that the biggest messes make the greatest memories.The gingerbread-making process takes us a few days… Day one, I make the dough and chill it overnight. Day two, we bake and decorate, and day three, we deliver cookies. I also whip up some royal icing and always make Michael run to the store to get some more sprinkles (despite my stockpile being quite impressive)! Kaya and Kaelyn were so into decorating this year that they did the vast majority of the cookies themselves! They each did approximately 25, and Michael did 8. I think there were about 5 left for me to do by the time I finished dyeing the frosting and cleaning the kitchen. Someone was taste testing…This was Nellie’s first time decorating! She might have been eating those M&Ms by the fistful…Ta-da! Some of my favorites!Michael made that crazy-looking skeleton guy…“Swimsuit girl” has to make an appearance each year!Evie was so tired from all the decorating. I can’t wait to see her make a mess with us next year!The next day, we delivered some cookies to friends! I definitely kept the plates a lot simpler this year, with only three different types of treats. It was still so much fun to surprise people and enjoy a few short visits.We delivered 15 plates this year (and included some cute cinnamon ornaments that the girls had made with Grandma Gina)!We wore our silly holiday hats and played Christmas music in the car during our drop-offs. Gosh I love this tradition! (And it looks like I need to make another reindeer hat!)

christmas trees (2018)

After we decorated our gingerbread houses, we spent the evening assembling our Christmas tree. Michael gets all the credit this year, because I hardly helped with any of it. Usually, I spend a couple of hours putting the lights on (I’m extremely picky and very meticulous about how the wires sit on the branches), but I was still very jet-lagged, and so I relinquished my usual role to Michael. He put the whole thing together and then did the lights, too (which he is much less fussy about). It turned out fine, and the girls were happy to finally have our tree up.This was Nella’s first time helping with the ornaments! She was pretty excited. We did have to remind all the girls that once the ornaments were on the tree, they didn’t come off again to be played with. Nothing was broken, and everyone had a good time! Once again, all Evie could do was watch. Cutest little couch potato!Sweet sisters (who happen to be looking very tall here)!Nella also enjoyed some post-decorating tickles from Daddy!And because this is still tree-related, we visited the local Inn one evening to enjoy its annual display of Christmas trees.There was this adorable sleigh you could climb up in, so naturally, I had to get a picture of the girls in it! Nutcrackers! Kaelyn was my most-willing subject this night.There was this little display next to the Nutcracker ballet tree, and I tried so hard to get a picture of the girls on this pink bench, but the lighting was crazy, and I had only a few seconds before Nella decided she was done with photos. Oh well! The girls are still cute, no matter the lighting. We took a very dimly-lit family selfie before we left! With Nella and Eve wearing matching pajamas, I kind of felt like I had twins on my lap. So cute!And then there were 9 days until Christmas!