five on friday (05/01)

It’s still Friday, and I felt like putting a post together for the first time in a while! What better way to start May?

We’ve been making the most of being at home, and we’ve come up with some simple, fun things to do as a family. The little things are always the most memorable, anyway.

ONE. We’ve had some beautiful weather intermittently over the past month or so. It felt more like summer at the end of March than it does now, and somehow, we even had small amounts of snow between then and now. Anyway, we made the most of the warmest days and had a couple of “picnic” lunches on the deck. The girls thought it was the most fun thing ever to move their little table outside.CHEESE! We also enjoyed the first strawberries of the season, which always seem to taste the sweetest.

TWO. Kaya, Kaelyn, Nella and I have been participating in our local running store’s virtual race series. They created the races especially for this time of social distancing, and it’s definitely been a bright spot in our weeks. The girls love to go running with me, and I can tell how accomplished they feel when they’ve finished.Nella busted her lip on the pavement during the first run when we were almost home. She was a champ and still smiled for a picture afterward.I love that Michael snuck this one of us all heading out to run together. That little hand hold!

Going for a run means you get freezie pops afterward!THREE. We had a dinosaur come visit our yard… He went all around the neighborhood being silly, and all three of the older girls loved it so much.Eve was slightly wary, and the T-rex might have almost eaten her! (Don’t worry, it was just Daddy in the suit!)FOUR. Lately, Kaya, Kaelyn, and Nella have been obsessed with the Polly Pockets I had as a little girl. They ask to play with them just about every day while Eve is napping, and seeing them enjoy these play sets is something so special to me. These were some of my very favorite toys, and I definitely spent hours and hours playing with them when I was young, too. I’m grateful my parents saved them and that they stayed in such great condition. FIVE. This little troublemaker gets into everything in a split second. She’s definitely my wildest at this age. She came downstairs one day with her face all colored pink with lipstick, and it was just too funny and adorable. Good thing she’s so cute! It’s impossible to stay grumpy at this face.Happy Friday!!!

halloween 2019

Our Halloween was a little different this year because we were out of town due to Karl’s wedding, which was the night before. We were able to visit with family and trick-or-treat in my parents’ neighborhood, which was a fun opportunity. Since we weren’t home, we did miss a few of our usual Halloween activities, like trick-or-treating at Daddy’s work and the annual church trunk-or-treat.

Kaya also woke up with a fever, aches, and chills on the morning of Halloween, so she missed out on most of the trick-or-treating. Kaelyn was really lost without her best buddy, which you can see in the group pictures.

Everyone was also content to wear costumes we already had, so we didn’t buy anything new this year. I was grateful that they were fine with keeping it simple.

Eve wore the lion costume that Nella wore two years ago, which is still just as cute as ever. She wasn’t very interested in pictures, but she was fascinated by the leaves. Oh my heart. Too much cuteness.Nella wore the elephant costume! It’s so fun to think of my three oldest all having worn it now.This was the first year I couldn’t really get everyone on board with a family theme, and then when Kaya ended up sick, Michael stayed home with her and didn’t worry about a costume. I’m glad I still got this picture of him with Nellbells!This giraffe costume always makes me giggle a little. Kaelyn was almost too tall for it! This is her giraffe face, I think. Haha.They weren’t really into group pictures without Kaya.I have always wanted to be a witch for Halloween, so I created my own version of the Wicked Witch to go with Eve’s lion costume (although there is absolutely nothing ”cowardly” about this brazen girl)! I had so much fun doing some different-than-usual make-up.My Dad had this brand-new wolf mask that  he was so excited to wear. The mouth really moved and everything, which made it a little scarier than it’d seem.My Dad, Mom, and I took all the kids except Kaya out around the neighborhood for a while. They were so happy to take their grandkids trick-or-treating for the first time ever, and I’m glad we could all do it together.Eve ate any candy she could get her hands on before we figured out that she shouldn’t be allowed to hold her bucket. She came home with a very chocolatey face! Kaya stayed home with Michael and handed out candy on the porch. She finally felt well enough to eat something, and so when we returned with the younger girls, she said she wanted to try to go out for a bit. It was just her and I, which felt really special. She also got a lot of candy, because by this time, people were wrapping up and just dumping all the candy they had left into her bucket. Toward the end of our time, a thunderstorm started, so we ran home just before the rain poured down.My mom baked some sugar cookies that everyone decorated at the end of the night. It was the perfect way to finish the day.We traveled home the next day, and as it turned out, our town had postponed Halloween due to horrendous weather.  Kaya wasn’t up for going out, but I took Kaelyn and Nella around our neighborhood for a bit and had a lot of fun. I was excited we got to have a second, unexpected, Halloween.

five on friday (09/13)

Happy Friday! It’s been a much easier week than last, especially since all of our girls have gotten past the sickness that lingered around here for nearly two weeks. It’s such a relief that they aren’t congested anymore.

ONE. Our Nellie is officially a big girl now because she got her own comforter this week! We had already moved her into a “big bed”, but seeing her bed all made up like this really seals the deal. She was beyond excited when I pulled it out of the box and said it was for her! I would definitely be tempted to have a blush pink bedspread on my own bed if Michael hadn’t already vetoed it years ago, haha.

TWO. Bike rides near sundown are some of my favorite childhood memories, and I love seeing our girls enjoy them, too. Kaelyn is still kind of nervous to ride, but after about half a mile, she calmed down a bit and actually enjoyed it. Daddy passed us on the way home from work, and decided to go the rest of the way home with us. We were laughing about how funny it must have looked to any random onlookers that all the rest of us were getting some exercise and he was leisurely riding his moped.

THREE. We still have Halloween on our minds… and the girls already have their costumes picked out. They decided, all on their own, that they wanted to use costumes we already have from years past. We always buy them secondhand, anyway, but I’m excited to save a little time and money by not having to go costume shopping. Also, yay minimalism.

Plus, it doesn’t get cuter than this, anyway.FOUR. If we’re not talking about Kaya’s upcoming birthday or Halloween lately, it’s usually Uncle Karl and Kaitlyn’s wedding! Because they aren’t brides, I think it’s okay to show off their flower girl dresses. They all look so grown up and gorgeous that I might cry a little when they walk down the aisle. Eve has one, too, but she was asleep when we tried these on.FIVE. Sisters. These ladies are best friends 85% of the time, and I’m so grateful. Disputes do happen, though, like this morning, when one sister bit another on the face. It took a long time to get her to apologize, but eventually, hugs were given and giggles were heard. I love these happy faces.Please, girls, stay best friends forever.Happy weekend!

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!

a dinosaur in san francisco (dockercon 2019)

Immediately after my half marathon, we dropped Michael off to catch his flight to San Francisco for DockerCon 2019! While he was flying, we did some chores, and then mostly tried to take it easy after my big run. We even napped and watched some shows!

Michael had the opportunity to bike around San Francisco on his first day there, which he said was actually surprisingly hilly and challenging. He even saw (and biked across) the Golden Gate Bridge!Seriously so beautiful!  He enjoyed about 27 miles that morning.I really liked his picture of the Port of San Francisco. It’s a beautiful building!Michael was asked to do both a talk and a workshop. He certainly was busy, but he loves all of this. (If you want to read his slides, go here!)He also spent some time running around in his T-Rex suit (it’s kind of a joke in the Docker community, referencing “Dino Apps”)! Dino selfie!
The best talks are repeated for a second session, and Michael’s was chosen this time! He decided to make a hilarious appearance in his dinosaur costume.His grand entrance!

It would have been pretty challenging to give his entire talk wearing that, so he turned back into a normal person. I’m really proud of him and how much he’s accomplished.Meanwhile, we were back home having a lot of fun, too! We spent the first few days on our own, and then Grandma Gina got to come up and help us. We went to Kangaroo Kids!Grandma and Kaya played “tennis” almost the entire time!Evie has always loved the bubble machine.We also spent some time at the library!Who is this big kid standing up like this?Nels got to visit the Hokie Bird when Grandma took them out for ice cream! She is obsessed with him these days, and I love it.Mmmmm!Later in the week, Grandma also took us to Chinese! Eve had her first tastes of sweet and sour chicken and also orange jello. She loved it all!Nella became an orange jello monster!!!Seriously, it was everywhere. At least she had fun!Michael arrived home very late on Friday night, so these little girls were definitely excited to wake up on Saturday and see him!

five favorites (04/01)

Happy Monday (and April Fool’s Day)! We haven’t played any tricks over here, but I’ve already been fooled by at least one online article today. Whoops!

Looking back on years past, my “five favorites” posts used to be a lot simpler and shorter… and I’m thinking I’d like to get back to that. Simpler posts might encourage me to make time to do this more often, instead of trying to block out enough time to write one very long post.

So, here’s to a new week, and a new month!

ONE. Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck came to visit our house! Kaya made me a special “Disney ticket” that I had to hand to them so I’d be allowed to greet them and take photos. Kaelyn wants to go to Disney so badly, but for now, I guess dressing up is a good alternative!

TWO. When reading with Daddy…
…turns into TICKLING!I just love how much Nels loves her Daddy. She’s his little buddy right now. There’s just something extra special about the age of two.

THREE. If you don’t know what Kaelyn is up to, she’s probably cuddled up with a book! She’s our newest little bookworm. She tries hard to read what she can, and if she can’t read it, she attempts to recite books from memory.

If she’s not reading a book, she’s very likely to be playing with Evie! Kaelyn spends time with her any chance she gets. They truly have a special bond.

FOUR. Kaya made a “teddy bear picnic” for her stuffed animals. It was the sweetest. She drove them over to the event in the stroller, lined them all up, and passed out their “baby bottles” (markers) and food.

FIVE. These baby ROLLS! Do I even need to say anything else? I just love her so much.

five on friday (02/01)

Happy February!!! This is always one of my favorite months (it might have something to do with my birthday!), so there’s a definite air of excitement around here. This post is full of little moments from the week, which are always my favorites.

ONE. We had a tiny Dalmatian puppy living here this week… and apparently, this puppy knows how to drive a car!
Nella has been obsessed with this costume lately. It’s sometimes hard to convince her to not wear it for meals or nap time. So adorable!All that driving makes a puppy tired.We also had a cowgirl, walking her pet tiger around, one morning before school. I love seeing what they come up with.TWO. Speaking of school, our sweet Kaelyn has been working on Kindergarten material since the start of the new year. Suddenly, she just seemed ready, and more than eager, to do something a little more structured. She can read quite a bit, and she also loves working in her math book. She and Kaya started their own little competition to see who could complete more pages in their workbooks, which means that lately, they each do quite a lot!Another homeschool perk: getting to have lunch with your baby sister every day. Or maybe that’s not such a good thing, if the baby is trying to spill your entire plate onto the floor…THREE. Eve might not do schoolwork, but she decided to “work” on the toy laptop this week. She’s already following in Daddy’s footsteps!Really, though, she likes anything that plays music.Also… that little grin!!!I think I need 100 of her!FOUR. Nella asked to hold Evie this week, and it was just the most precious thing. She even shared the toy zebra she had been playing with. I love these sister photos so much, and I hope they will become the best of friends, just like Kaya and Kaelyn. CHEESE!Nella was also lucky enough to have a mini Daddy-daughter date this week. It was her first time pushing the little shopping cart at Food Lion, and she LOVED it! Beagle had a ride, of course.FIVE. We had a “slight” (compared to much of the U.S.) polar vortex this week, which meant that it was just perfect to let the girls stay in their jammies, and that always makes them so happy. Kaya also had a slight cold, so she enjoyed cuddling up with all the blankets and being so cozy.Kaelyn snuggled her best friend, Minnie! I am really hoping that we can take this girl to Disney one day.Happy weekend!

five on friday! (01/25)

Happy Friday!!! The day is almost over, but I’m glad to sneak in one of these posts before it ends! These simple little things are some of my favorites to look back on.

ONE. Evie had her first “snow” last week! I say “snow”, because it really ended up being more ice than anything else. Kaya and Kaelyn were so disappointed that it wasn’t right for playing in, but we still bundled Eve up just long enough to take a picture and head back in. She had no idea what was going on, but I still managed to get a smile!The first real snow of the season happened while Michael, Eve, and I were in Spain, so we missed that one.That’s a tired baby who really didn’t care that the outside world had turned into an icicle. (But oh, those cheeks of hers!)

TWO. I finally bought the girls some new dry erase markers, after a very long time without any (a certain 2-year-old someone was big enough to take the caps off the old markers, but still too little to put them back on, so they all dried out)! They have loved drawing on the whiteboard nonstop. I always love seeing what they make.

Kaya is still the queen of rainbows!She is also still obsessed with dinosaurs……and she is very ready for my birthday, which is still a few weeks away. I love how excited she gets for all celebrations.Kaelyn made some rainbow hearts……a dinosaur (Stegosaurus?)……a cute little turtle……and, a “statue” as named by her. The abstractness of this one reminds me of some of Picasso’s later versions of Las Meninas… seriously!

THREE. Over the past few months, the trees in our backyard have suddenly become the perfect hangout spot for cardinals. We’ve spotted up to six out there together, and amidst all this dreary brown and gray of winter, I’m glad to see those bright red birds out my window. They’re my mom’s favorites, too, so I always think of her. They are welcome to stop by anytime they please! The girls love watching them. FOUR. When everyone suddenly wants to squish together for a photo, I don’t miss the opportunity for anything! I love these girls so much, and I’m grateful for these rare, random moments when they’ll let me photograph them all together for a few minutes. I still can’t believe these girls are mine sometimes. Also, we’ve had several cuddly pajama days lately, especially with the recent frigid weather! I just love cute kids in jammies.FIVE. Because we like to keep things silly around here… huge play glasses on little kid faces crack me up! HAPPY FRIDAY!

five favorites (11/04)

Happy November! I’m going to try to do better with blogging this month, because I really do miss documenting more about our daily life and my kids’ shenanigans. We’re in the busiest season of our lives, though, so I’m trying to give myself some grace and understand that I just can’t do it all right now.

Here’s a little of what we’ve been up to!

ONE. We had a fun, memorable Halloween, but the girls enjoyed wearing several of their costumes from previous years for the entire week. They saved their “real” costumes for Halloween day (which will be another post). We had a lot of roaring and growling going on with a tiger and a dinosaur roaming around the house!
On another day, we had a quiet little giraffe in our midst.Kaya and Kaelyn also made some Halloween-themed art! They only asked me to spell “Halloween”, and they came up with the rest of this on their own. I just love these little ghosts. TWO. We’ve been having some fun at Kangaroo Kids the past few weeks! It’s been great to go back after an entire summer off, and the girls couldn’t have been more excited than they were on that first day we walked in. It’s also been really fun to watch Nella enjoying it more and more now that she’s a little older.Best friends. THREE. We went to the “Bug Fest” a couple of weekends ago, where we learned all about various types of insects (butterflies, honeybees, tarantulas, and cockroaches, to name a few). The girls were the very most excited about holding butterflies at the end of the event! I wasn’t so sure I wanted to hold one, but Michael encouraged me to, and it was actually pretty cool! Nella even held one for just a split second, which wasn’t long enough to get a picture.Butterfly buddies! (Eve was over it by this point!) Our other favorite station was learning about honeybees. We saw a real hive and even spotted the Queen!FOUR. The humidity has died down (finally!), and I’ve been enjoying some longer runs on the weekend! I’ve seen my running pace pick up drastically, and I’m already dreaming about maybe doing a half marathon next spring. This was my best postpartum run to date. It feels so good to feel more like my normal, non-pregnant running self again!FIVE. We enjoyed listening to General Conference at the beginning of October! Gaining inspiration and guidance for my daily life is something I will always hold dear. I participated in the social media fast recommended by President Nelson, and I learned a lot about myself, how and why I [should] use social media, as well as how it affects me day to day.

We brought back our old tradition of taking a group photo on Sunday morning!Of course we had to be silly.Michael might have taken multiple naps… but I’m still just grateful for this time with my family.Happy Sunday!

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! 😉FIVE. 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 cliché, 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!