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.

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.

a visit with lelia and bryce!

Lelia and Bryce came up for a visit one weekend this summer, and it was so special to have them here! It’s been awhile since we just got to “hang out” without having another event going on, like a birthday, holiday, or race, so this was a little extra fun!Don’t worry, we’re still just as crazy as we ever were (now we just have little people to be crazy with us)!

We had a thunderstorm on the afternoon they arrived, which canceled our plans for walking to the playground, but that just gave us some time to make brownies! It was so fun and special to see the girls enjoy some real playtime with Bryce. There’s no friend in the world like a cousin!Seriously. I’m melting into a puddle looking at these.We did get to go swimming the next day! These kids are little fishies.I just wish summer could go on forever.We came back home when the youngest kids were getting tired. The girls enjoyed some hammock time and puzzles with Auntie Lelia!When Michael got home from work, we packed up a picnic dinner (taco salad) and headed to this amazing playground we’d never been to before (near the pool), where there were picnic shelters and everything. Eating outside in summer is definitely one of my favorite things.After eating, everyone got to play on the playground! Kaya and Kaelyn loved these ropes!Daddy climbed right up there with them, helping and encouraging them the whole way.This little spinning seat… whew. This is maximum dizziness right here!This ring also spins. I went on it with all the kids and just kept going and going and going around. It’s fun to just be a giant kid sometimes!Let’s not forget the puppies! Fallon got to come along, too. This was Scout’s first time having a doggy guest, and they both did really well. Fallon wanted to wrestle but Scout kept avoiding it. Kaelyn kept saying that Fallon is Scout’s best friend, haha.We had such a great weekend. I love all these silly people (Nella started picking her nose, so of course, everyone had to pretend to do the same…)Happy weekend!

monument avenue 10k recap (2019)

My fourth time racing Monument Avenue is in the books! It feels like I just started participating in races, but the years are flying by, and this was my 6th race overall.

The weather leading up to the race was looking dismal. I kept hoping the forecast would clear, but we were scheduled to have thunderstorms that morning. I obviously didn’t want to take my kids out there in a storm. We ended up leaving Nella and Kaelyn with my mom at her house, and only took Kaya, who was running the Kids’ Run, and Eve, in case she needed to nurse. We decided to head to the race and see how the weather was upon arrival.

I’m not so great at navigating Richmond, and we weren’t able to pre-purchase a parking garage pass, so we headed to one garage, but ended up turning around and heading to the garage my mom-in-law had parked in. We were cutting it close on time, and with changing garages, we ended up being late and running to the start of Kaya’s race. If Grandma Gina hadn’t been there, they would have closed the Kids’ Run start line and we would have missed it, but thankfully, they held it open for us.

Despite sprinting to the start, Kaya was still so fast and ran the whole thing at a 10:23 pace! I was so proud of my little girl, running as fast as she could, enjoying the cheers from spectators, and even giving some of them high fives!We got a little drizzled on, but there was no thunder!Her quads were a little sore for a day or so afterward. I know it was worth it for her, though. I love seeing her set a goal and achieve it!Michael deserves so much credit for going to all these races and helping with anything he can. Where’s the Runner Husband medal?I had about 20-25 minutes between Kaya’s race and my wave start time, so I got in line for the bathroom, and planned to meet Lelia before the start. The line moved a lot slower than I had hoped. As we were making our way to the start line, the announcer was calling out wave letters just before mine, and I knew I wasn’t going to make it. It’s easy to jump in a slower wave, but Lelia didn’t know where I was, and we each spent half the race trying to look for each other.

I started in Wave Q instead of N. Can you find me?
I was making good time. Thankfully, it was still only drizzling. It did seem like there were fewer people there, since I had the whole left side of the road open to me for most of the race. I think the potential thunderstorms might have deterred some people from coming at all.I was almost at the halfway turnaround point when Lelia finally spotted me and yelled to me from across the grass median. She finished strong!And this is me trying to wave to the girls while running…DONE!!! My official finish time was 51:34, which is a personal best for me! GIRL POWER!It’s so special to stand with Kaya after the race, and crazy to think that just 7 years ago, I’d go running with her in my belly!I’m still just beyond proud of this beautiful girl.Lelia and Bryce!! His shirt says, “Run like you’re being chased by a baby dinosaur!”Lelia was prepared and brought her previous medals to make the 20-year-anniversary triad. Yay!It felt weird having just two of our kids there. Eve passed out while she was waiting!Grandma Gina is always behind the scenes, holding babies and helping with whatever she can. I’m glad she could come! Lelia made these amazing homemade donuts for us to have afterward! We headed to a park to have a little time together. Mmmmm! Those chocolate ones were heavenly. We went back to my mom’s house, and spent some time with her. Kaya shocked and amazed her while playing hangman.We got to hang out with Buddy dog and get some Grandma cuddles.There was a lot more donut-eating, and I got to go on a walk with Lelia and Scout a little later in the day.On Sunday, before we left, Grandma Debbie surprised the girls with these plush Easter bunnies that used to be hers (given to her by my dad), before I was born! They look like new, and of course the girls loved them. I love that they have something that was special to her.Race weekends full of family time are my favorite.

the children’s museum of richmond

Back around Thanksgiving, we spent the day at the Children’s Museum of Richmond! We met up with Jeff, Lelia, cousin Bryce, and Grandma Gina late in the morning and spent nearly the entire day there. It was our first time going, and it definitely didn’t disappoint!

We were surprised to see a real fire engine and a full-size bus inside the building. Nella immediately wanted to climb up and drive!There were so many fun things to do, and Kaya ran up to me over and over again to tell me to come see all the amazing places you could go. Daddy and the girls went to a little retro diner where another little girl served them some pizza and steak.I got some Lelia time (and Evie got some Auntie Lelia cuddles)!Grandma Gina always asks Nella, “Are you my cuddlebug?”, and she certainly was that day. Nella played with Grandma almost the entire time we were there, and even snuggled with her on the pirate ship.Kaya and Kaelyn climbed the rock wall about 100 times (and Bryce had some crackers)!There was also this very cool apple tree that would use air pressure to move the balls (“apples”) you put in the tubes. Kaya loved it.We left for some lunch and rest. My mom got off work a little early, so we decided to go back for her to enjoy some time playing with girls. I’m so glad we did. She really loved watching them have so much fun.Kaya gave us all a bus ride!Nella was the backseat driver… and Michael was terrified. Ha!Kaelyn and Grandma Debbie got their workout in!And Kaya climbed the wall some more.Kaelyn rode the scooter around for a while!And we ended up back at the diner. No matter how real those juke boxes look, don’t try to put a quarter in the slot. Don’t ask how I know!Kaya ended her day playing in the veterinary hospital. I just love this picture because it’s so her: wearing her cat shirt, donning cat scrubs on top of it, and holding a cat while pretending to take care of animals. That’s my girl.Nella and Kaelyn ended the day in the little “sandbox”. Nella was also completely soaked because she played at the water station for a long time just before this!It was such a great day with family! I’d definitely love to go back sometime (and I’m sure the girls would, too)!

kaya’s 6th birthday (a unicorn party)!

We celebrated Kaya’s birthday at the end of September (postponed by a week due to the uncertainty of hurricane Florence’s effect on our region), but I’m so excited to be catching up and sharing some of her special day.Kaya is perhaps the most birthday-enthused person in our family (which is saying A LOT, because I’m pretty into birthdays myself), so it’s always a little extra fun to surprise her and make her wishes come true. Ever since her 5th birthday, she’d been counting on having a unicorn-themed party for her 6th. She wanted her cake to be rainbow (for the 3rd year!), so I obliged, but switched things up a little with some rainbow rosettes. My attempt at a fondant unicorn fell flat (literally) late the night before the party, so I ended up printing a unicorn, laminating it, and attaching it to a popsicle stick. I was worried she’d be disappointed, but when she saw the finished cake, she unexpectedly threw her arms around me, squeezed me tight and said, “You did so GREAT!” It was my favorite moment of such a wonderful day.We had unicorn headbands for our three oldest girls (although Nella napped through the entire gig).Have you ever seen anyone happier on her birthday?We let her blow out the candle six times. Why not? Whenever we take these birthday pictures of just the birthday girl and us parents, I can’t help but remember the first picture we ever took with her. It seems like yesterday and forever ago all at the same time. Chocolate cake! Not to brag, but I think this was the best-tasting cake I’ve made so far. It was moist and rich, and the frosting was the creamiest. It had chilled in the refrigerator, so the coolness of the cake was delectable. Uncle Jeff, Auntie Lelia, and Cousin Bryce got to come up and celebrate with us! We were so happy to have them here.Grandma Debbie was here for the party, too!She’s already getting to that age where she asks for more expensive items… so that means she had just a few things to open. I liked the simplicity of it. Hatchimals from Grandma Debbie! She has been talking about these for over a year and was so excited to finally have her own!Kaya had already guessed what this one from us would be…“ROBOTIC PONY!!!”And some money for her 529 from Uncle Jeff, Auntie Lelia and Bryce! It was so funny to hear her read her card aloud as soon as she opened it.Grandma Gina and Grandpa Skip arrived close to dinnertime, so Kaya got to enjoy a second round of presents. A book light!And slippers!We waited until the next day to open her Hatchimals, since we knew it could take a while for them to actually come out, and we were all pretty exhausted by the end of her party. Kaya had so much fun tilting and rubbing the egg, and when they finally broke through, it was pretty exciting. She named her new babies “Flappy” and “Cuddly” and has loved taking care of them.

It was so wonderful to celebrate our girl and have so much of our family here to do it with us. These birthday weekends are some of my favorite memories.

Happy 6th Birthday Kaya!

monument avenue 10k (2018)

I can’t believe this was a whole month ago already… it actually feels like a lot longer than that! We put another Monument Avenue in the books, and this might have just been my favorite one yet.

We drove down to stay with my parents on Friday night, and I woke up at 4:30 am on race morning. We didn’t need to leave home until around 7 am, but I’m always a little too excited to sleep before a race, so I got up and started getting things ready. I was less nervous than I usually am for these types of events, but I definitely still had some pre-race jitters.

Kaya had been talking about “running a kid race” for months, so I had signed her up for the Virginia529 Kids Run, which started about an hour and twenty minutes before my wave. We drove into Richmond, pinned our bibs on, loaded the two littlest girls in the stroller, and hustled from the parking garage to the start line.

At the last possible moment, we decided to register Michael as a “companion runner” for Kaya, since there were so many more people than I had even imagined, and I didn’t feel comfortable sending her out on her own (despite the security measures they have in place). I’m so glad they did this together.

I wasn’t sure how long it would take her to finish, but Kaya shocked us all by running the mile in about 13 minutes, which I think is really great for a 5.5-year old! The look of pure joy (and the hug she gave her dad) as she crossed the finish line was so memorable and sweet. Her excitement was contagious, and actually brought me to tears because of how much joy and pride I felt seeing my baby want to do something that I love doing. I also love knowing that she likes running because she knows it keeps her body healthy and strong.She smiled all day long! Did I mention how proud I am?She now has her medal hanging from her bunk bed!We had three of the four grandparents at the race this year! My mom had never been before, so she rode down with us, but seeing my in-laws was a complete surprise. They met up with us right before Kaya started, and I am so grateful for all the support and love these three (plus my Dad, who stayed home to watch the dogs), give us.I had enough time before my wave started to sunscreen up, use the bathroom, put on my pregnancy support belt and find Lelia! Do you see us in the starting corral?We started off in a slower wave, because when we signed up (back in December), we had predicted that by this point in my pregnancy, I wouldn’t be moving so fast. Surprisingly, I haven’t been as slow as I thought I’d be, so we ended up passing a lot of people, but we really got into a great rhythm.

Lelia and I are great running partners- we just match each other so well as far as pace and stride. Look how synced up we are here! This race was a little extra special, because at Christmastime, I told Lelia we were pregnant by saying that we’d have another “Monument baby” (Nella and Bryce both did this in utero!), and she was instantly willing to run with me. I was super grateful to have her as a buddy/bodyguard.I knew the miles with Lelia would just fly right on by, and they did! It was a gorgeous day, but a little warmer than I’m used to running as of late, so I definitely appreciated all the water stops, and Lelia pouring the rest of her drink down my back at one point. I started to feel tired around halfway through, but I honestly couldn’t believe the splits we were getting, so I didn’t want to slow down. We finished with an official time of 59:52, which put us at a 9:38 min/mile average. My goal going into this was an average pace between 10-10:15, so I was ecstatic!Sweaty hugs all around! We did it! I think I cry every time I see the finish line in a race.Finishers with our “Monument babies”! I can’t believe two years ago I ran this with Nella in my belly, last year Lelia did it with Bryce, and now our newest princess has done it, too. I hope they’ll all look back on these pictures one day and think it’s as cool as I do.27-week bump!When Lelia did this last year at 30 weeks pregnant, she had said she wished she had a sign on her back so that people wouldn’t get too close (this is a busy race, and some people are absolutely crazy when trying to pass you)! I printed out this little sign, laminated it, and brought it to wear on race day. I was so glad I did, because I felt like I had a little extra security with this on.Another one done!Of course, there had to be donuts afterward! We headed to “The Treat Shop” in Richmond for these.And because Kaelyn was at the race, but didn’t want to be in any pictures, here’s one of how she eats a donut. Frosting first!Adorable even when she’s a total mess…I’m so thankful for all the family time we got to have that weekend, as well as the love and support I feel from all of them. Completing a race wouldn’t mean half as much to me without having family waiting at the finish (or running alongside me)! This is it as far as racing goes until after the baby comes, but I’m already looking forward to a postpartum comeback!

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!!!


teerlink family christmas party (2017)

This is it… the LAST of the Christmas posts! I am so relieved to be mostly caught up on here. Phew!

We headed up to Michael’s cousin Jenny’s house for the annual Teerlink Christmas Party two days before the new year. Grandma Gina and Grandpa Skip had come to visit us for a day just before this, so we all headed up there at the same time. The girls were happy to continue our visit for a few extra hours.My very favorite part of this entire tradition is doing the nativity play. They’ve been doing it this same way for decades, with a narrated storyline, actors in costume, and group singing throughout.I typically get kind of emotional watching this, and I might have teared up when I saw my shepherd and little lambs come out onto the floor. They absolutely love participating in the play. The whole cast.I just love these people so much!And these people!! So grateful I could have some time with Lelia, Jeff, and Bryce!Four generations! Grandpa spent some time handing out Christmas cards, bearing his testimony, and announcing some items that Grandma Teerlink had designated to go to certain grandchildren. In those tender moments, I know we all were missing her and wishing she could physically be there, too.
We just had to get one of Grandpa and the two littlest! (Nella had a little cold this day, and she was so tired that she wasn’t really excited about photos.)Each of the kids opened one present at the end of the night. Can you guess what ours were by now? Yup… Calico Critters! Nella gave the best gift of all… hugs to her sister.And that wraps up our entire Christmas season! Until next year!!!

thanksgiving with the irwins 2017 (and family photos!)

We celebrated Thanksgiving with Michael’s side of the family a couple of days early! Tori made these beautiful place cards, and along with using special silverware, our dinner felt a little extra fancy.
Per Mom’s request, we went around the table and each said something that we felt grateful for this past year. There was laughter, some tears, and just general heartfelt goodness in the room as we all thoughtfully prepared our statements. That seemingly small exercise turned out to be the most memorable moment of the entire holiday.I’m grateful for each of these people around the table, and that I’m lucky enough to call them my family! I think Dad is most grateful for chocomint freeze!Nella slept through the meal, but these big kids had fun chowing down at the picnic table! I love that we have cousins now, and a need for a “kid table”.After the meal, we prepared for family photos. I’ll tell you, it isn’t always easy getting everyone ready and putting everything in place (especially because my kids hardly seem to nap when we’re away from home), but it is always worth it.

And, truth time: this photo is a composite of four separate shots! It must be against some natural law that all kids will look at the camera at the same time and not appear sad, because I didn’t have one single shot where they all looked reasonably happy. Hey, at least I’m honing my photoshop skills!We get a little crazy……and clearly, there’s more where that came from.Mom gets major points for putting up with Dad’s shenanigans… all the time!Love these two.This shot was a test for lighting, but I just love how natural and “grandmotherly” it feels. We have some lucky kids!More tests for lighting, but someone loves her Daddy! (Also, can we just mention how beautiful Virginia is in the fall?)And someone else loves creepy photobombing…Brothers!!!Love this one!Siblings! (Also, I think I should start a photo series called, “weird things I do with my hand while trying to hide the camera remote”. Ha!)Apparently, they dance while they’re waiting for me to set up the shot. I don’t even remember this happening!And I’m not sure when there was time for someone to steal my camera and do this……or this……or THIS! Hahaha. Honestly, I love finding these surprises on my memory card later.Meanwhile, Jeff was working on his “Flynn Rider” face. Disney, he’s ready for hire.These two are so natural in front of the camera together.
Melt my heart!Seriously, so cute you guys!I know I’m gushing, but again, seriously. I’m surrounded by beautiful families! Our kids were so done with photos by this point, and we had already taken some photos of just our little family a couple of weeks prior, but since we had the camera out, we snapped a few anyway. I kind of love Kaelyn’s funny face!We ended the evening with an early holiday gift exchange, since Kevin and Tori wouldn’t be flying out again for Christmas. Nella was clearly excited!Bryce snuggles!Kaya had to jump in and get some cuddles too! She just loves her baby cousin and her Auntie.