five favorites (09/28)

Happy Saturday! I wanted to post this yesterday, but we were traveling home from Raleigh, so I was a little short on time. It feels like life has been nonstop busy for the last couple of weeks, and I have a lot to catch up on here, but today I just wanted to share a few of the little things that have recently brought us joy.

ONE. Michael was ordained a high priest and set apart as second counselor in the bishopric at our church this past Sunday. I’m so grateful for his willingness to serve, his strong testimony of Jesus Christ, and the love he has for everyone around him. We enjoyed having so many family members visit for this special day. His parents, cousins Nicole and Brian and their boys, and my mom! We enjoyed our time together for sure.There always has to be a crazy picture.These three have taught me so much about selfless service.All the heart eyes for this guy and our sleepy little Nels. I’m so thankful for my best friend.

TWO. We also got to go on a date last weekend! We don’t get many of these, but since our parents were in town, we had the opportunity and took it. We tried to go to a fancy place we had a giftcard for… only to find out that we needed a reservation. We decided that we’d eat outdoors at a local Mexican restaurant instead… only to have it rain! Haha. We went to another Mexican place where we sat indoors.My date was pretty goofy, but I’ll keep him. There were tons of kids there all dressed up and having dinner before going to the homecoming dance. It was a lot of fun to people-watch and reminisce, although it did make me feel a little old!

THREE. This little Eve… she’s always getting into trouble! She’s our newest little marshmallow thief. Nella used to do this all the time when she was younger, so I guess she’s either taught Eve well, or marshmallow-thievery is in the genes. Her little lips and cheeks!!!FOUR. Kaya is always taking boxes I get in the mail and making something out of them. Usually, it’s a house or a boat, but this last time, she made a desk! Notice how it even has a little drawer with a pull handle. She had a shelf inside for storing her pencils and erasers. I love seeing her creativity. It has since collapsed, so it’s gone now, but it was fun while it lasted. FIVE. I’ve been trying to learn some different ways to do the girls’ hair. I’ve never really been great at braiding, so I’ve been practicing French braids on them almost every day now. This one was a “bubble braid”, which was pretty cute. Kaya’s hair is so curly that the end of her braid always curls up underneath! Hopefully, I’ll improve over the next month and be able to do something really cute on them for Karl and Kaitlyn’s wedding.Happy weekend!

five on friday (04/06)

Happy Friday!!! It’s been a low-key week, but we still had some fun and sweet moments.

ONE. Happy (belated) Easter from these little bunnies! I saw these Easter hat printables and just knew Kaya and Kaelyn would love to make them. Of course, Kaya made hers a rainbow!Kaelyn has been hopping absolutely everywhere this week!Scout was a little too interested in licking this pretend bunny…They’ve been wearing their hats to do almost everything: helping with vacuuming, doing schoolwork, and playing out on the deck!TWO. The most exciting part of the week was our kid-free DATE!!! You know we love our kids, but we really don’t go out enough as just the two of us. My in-laws were here, so they watched the girls. I had looked forward to this all week long!We tried a new Greek place (my favorite type of food), which was amazing. Seriously though, I can’t wait until I can take this guy to Greece for real and show him what the rest of Greek cuisine is like.We walked around Target for a little bit, which weirdly felt so fun with just us. Somehow he convinced me to go to Coldstone, too. I’ve been trying to reduce/almost eliminate ice cream from my diet because it seems like it messes with my stomach too much during pregnancy… but this was WORTH IT!THREE. I’ve been sick a lot this week, and when Kaya and Kaelyn see me lying on the couch, they like to make me these special little notes. I’m so grateful for their thoughtfulness; these mean so much to me. (Also, please notice the beautiful blanket my mom-in-law made me for my birthday!)(by Kaya)FOUR. Nellbells turned 18 months on Wednesday, and I can’t believe it, but she’s still not walking solo! She will take up to 6 steps on her own before she crashes to the floor, otherwise she needs to be holding onto someone or something. This little smile though… melt my heart!FIVE. Every afternoon before nap time, Kaya loves to read her sisters a book… and she’s really reading! She gathers everyone together and will read as many books as time allows. I love seeing her use the knowledge we’ve worked so hard for this past year.And just because I’m a super-proud parent, here’s a video of her reading. I know at least her Grandmas will love this!

Happy weekend!

Linking up here and here today!

five on friday (01/05)

Happy 2018!!! I had to check that it is in fact a Friday, because we’ve still been in winter-break mode over here. Michael has been out of work, and we’ve had an enjoyable respite from our homeschool lessons. I think we’ll feel refreshed and ready to jump back into our routine next week!

ONE. I always wish the magic of the holidays would never end, so I am a little sad to say goodbye to the Christmas season. We made a lot of good memories that I’m excited to blog about, but for now, I’ll just share these sweet little girls, so excited to see the giant Christmas tree at the mall. I love how everything is extra magical at their ages.
TWO. This little angel has had a bad cold and is simultaneously cutting two of her molars. Yikes! You’d never know it from this happy face, but she has been crying a whole lot more than usual, and it completely breaks my heart. We knew she wasn’t quite feeling like herself because of the congestion, but when I looked in her mouth and saw those two top molars coming in, we finally understood why. Hopefully we get through this stage quickly so I can have my sunshine baby back all day long!Little by little, we have started working on decorating our bedroom, and last week, we got a good deal on a new duvet set that came with 1,000 pillows (okay, 7). Nella’s new favorite activity is playing peekaboo from behind them!THREE. I know that everyone and their dog is talking about the weather this week, but seriously?! Every morning I wake up eager to see if the temperature is suitable enough to run. Just to clarify, a “real feel” of 7 degrees below is not. I am really looking forward to next week when we have a little heatwave.Michael has been the best helper this week while he’s been home, especially because he’s been walking Scout every single day in this weather. He’s also been hanging curtain rods, and re-hanging all the doors in our house with new hinges. He’s the best.FOUR. I try not to write anything on here that might embarrass my kids later in life, so I’m really hoping this doesn’t fall into that category… but Kaya hit a really big milestone last week- she stopped sucking her thumb! I’m partly sharing this because maybe what we did will work for someone else with this struggle.

Every night at bedtime (which was mostly when she was doing it), we wrapped her thumb with medical tape. That way, if she tried to put it in her mouth, it wouldn’t feel right, and she’d take it out. I had actually read about this technique in Parents magazine, and decided I wanted to do it as soon as we could. So, I explained to Kaya why this was important, and she was completely on board with it… until I wrapped her thumb the first night. She cried and cried because she wanted it off, but we told her if she could do it for 10 nights in a row, she could choose a reward. Of course, she picked Sweet Frog! She was so proud of herself every single morning when she woke up, excitedly declaring, “I didn’t suck my thumb!” She chose to make our outing a mommy-daughter date, which felt a little extra special.FIVE. Just keeping it real over here… not everyone is always in the mood for a photoshoot, and this is how it goes sometimes.Grandma Gina made these adorable Hello Kitty dresses for the girls for Christmas! I love when all three of them match, even if they look a little (or a lot) grumpy.Happy Friday!

five favorites (10/30)

This has kind of become a Monday thing now, hasn’t it? 🙂 Some of my favorites from last week:

ONE. Before he left for Copenhagen, Michael made a secret pact with the girls- if they were good listeners the entire time he was away, he promised to take us all on a family date to Sweet Frog. Kaya was the most excited about this, and I have to say, an excellent secret keeper. She never revealed what the special treat was until Daddy told her it was time to spill the beans. We all headed out for frozen yogurt in the pouring rain, and I was glad to see these little girls so happy. Nella wasn’t quite sure of her opinion just yet! But she sure loves her Daddy! Seriously, how cute are they?
TWO. Daddy came home from his trip with surprises! For the girls, he brought some Legos! I had no idea, but apparently the entire LEGO company started in Denmark, and he was able to go to the big Lego store there (hopefully I’ll pull together some of his pictures for a separate post on his adventures). This is Kaya and Kaelyn’s first real Lego set, and they were so excited to build it with Daddy! Legos for little girls, and bling for me! Pandora Jewelry also started in Copenhagen, in 1982. Michael has only bought me two other pieces of jewelry in the 9 years we’ve been together, so I was very happily surprised! THREE. Sometimes, it’s the simple things. Rolling across this beam over and over again kept them entertained for about 15 minutes straight at Kangaroo Kids. Kaelyn would fall off on purpose at the end, so don’t worry, she was just fine.

FOUR. I’ve always tried to get the girls to put their own toys and clean clothes away, but lately, we’re getting serious about having real chores. I’ve been writing out a list of weekly to-dos, and so far, they are loving helping and putting check marks next to each job when it’s complete. I feel like I’ve been waiting forever for them to be old enough to truly help, and I’m so happy the day is finally here!

Kaya loves taking this little hand vacuum to the stairs and baseboards.
Kaelyn will clean anything that involves the sponge, so she happily wiped some baseboards and fingerprints from windows.
I love my little helpers. FIVE. I fell asleep on the couch for a few minutes, and when I opened my eyes, this was the first thing I saw: a plastic horse, all dressed to the nines for her “birthday party”! I was laughing so hard that Kaya thought I was crying, and I just couldn’t stop. It just seemed like the funniest sight. If you see “Chancey”, don’t forget to wish her a happy birthday! 😉 Kaelyn’s “Neigh-Neigh” had to have a turn with the hat, too. I love the ways they play pretend.

Happy Monday!

we went on a real date?! (obviously some grandparents came to visit)

Michael’s parents came up for a visit a few weeks ago! Of course, that meant we had to take advantage of the extra help and get something done around the house. My in-laws are some of the most service-oriented, helpful people I’ve ever met, so they requested that we come up with something to work on while they were here.

Obviously, there had to be some painting involved. Michael and Dad (and Kaya!) finished up the dining room, and it makes me happy to see it done every time I walk in there. This actually might become our homeschool room, although to be honest, I’m not completely certain at this point.

And yes, my entire house is basically some shade of blue now. #noshame
There was also a lot of puzzle-building that weekend…
And, I’m glad to say, they practically kicked us out of the house (in the most loving way possible) to go out on a date. We don’t ever leave our kids with babysitters, so this doesn’t happen nearly as often as it should. There also aren’t nearly as many pictures as there should be, because most of our date happened after it was already dark outside. So… Here’s Michael eating Coldstone. It felt good to be a little spontaneous!
We also had dinner at an authentic Turkish barbecue that one of his coworkers, Russ, was throwing. Mediterranean food is one of my major weaknesses, so of course it turned out to be a good time.

Our town had its annual summer street fair going on that same day (again, it was too dark to take pictures), so we window shopped at all the tents and ended up finding these handmade bottle-cap bows for the girls. Hello Kitty and Paw Patrol are their favorites, so we couldn’t pass them up!
On Sunday, Grandma Gina made us her delectable homemade chicken nuggets. Anytime she asks us what we’d like her to cook, those nuggets are my only answer. I guess they’re so good that they’re all I can think of! The girls had such a great time helping her mix up the flour and spices. Nella grabs her foot; Grandpa and Michael grab theirs. Monkeys see, monkeys do. I love having time with our family. These are the days!

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… 😉Our 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 (04/28)

It’s the final Friday of April… what?! We’re already moving past spring into summer, and I can’t believe how the time is flying by.

ONE. We’ve had a tremendous amount of rain here for the past week and half, so when the sun finally came out again, we were more than willing to run outside! This little princess is the calmest baby. She’s happy to just sit in the stroller and watch everyone else play or work. That little tongue!

TWO. Between Michael being out of town and then all the rain, there wasn’t an ideal time to cut the grass this week, so our yard was starting to look a bit like a jungle. Michael was working late on Wednesday night, so I decided to mow the lawn as a surprise for him. This was my first time ever mowing the whole thing on my own, and I won’t tell you how long it actually took me to finish… but Michael was so happy and I felt pretty accomplished for getting it done. Plus, this totally counts as cross-training for my half marathon, right? Kaya took the picture- she’s getting good!

THREE. Speaking of my half marathon… Overall, I’m still feeling really pumped up and excited about it, and training is going well. I ran nine miles this morning, which is my furthest-ever distance. Running greater distances makes me want to nap more, and my appetite is a lot larger, too. #runallthemiles #takeallthenaps #eatallthefood

Needless to say, I was pretty happy when we all went out for Chinese after my long run last week! We’ve been trying to have one “family date” out for dinner each month, and it’s really been fun for all of us.

Don’t be fooled by all that chicken on her plate… Kaelyn pretty much gorges herself on Jello every time. Good thing she’s still only two and free!

FOUR. Anytime we go anywhere, Kaelyn loves pretending to drive… …and if you can’t drive the real car, a pretend one is a good substitute! Both girls love getting this grocery cart at Kroger. I’ll admit, it makes running errands a lot more fun!

FIVE. When your dog starts to shake off in the middle of you snapping a photo… haha!Linking up here, here, and here today!

five on friday (10/14)

ONE. I guess everything pre-Nella is old news, but I never got to blog about our weekend just before she arrived. Michael and I were able to sneak away for one last date night while his parents watched our girls, and that’s worth writing about, because we don’t go out together nearly as often as we should!

He tagged along for a family photoshoot I had that evening, and then we enjoyed dinner and dessert together. I’m so grateful for those few special hours that we had, just the two of us, to really talk and be together before our sweet baby came.img_20161001_180411-01

TWO. We’ve been keeping it really laid-back over here, so we haven’t done any “official” school this week, but we did make some pumpkin stamp art! My girls love any kind of art project that has to do with paint._mg_6033Here’s Kaya’s little pumpkin patch. I love the super-smiley ones!kayapumpkinstampsTHREE. We made our favorite pumpkin bread into muffins this week! I cut out 1/2 cup of the sugar and substituted in more whole wheat flour than white, and they still turned out amazing.Kaelyn almost couldn’t wait until they cooled down to try one!
_mg_6020FOUR. Kaya is all about the alphabet lately. She reads letters everywhere we go, and will make them out of anything she can. On this day, she told me that her sandwich was the letter C!_mg_6045She also likes to make “smiles” out of her apple slices. 🙂

FIVE. You didn’t think I’d get through a whole post without sharing a baby picture, did you? I’m pretty much obsessed with these lips and her warm, snuggly little body. In a way, I still can’t believe this precious little girl is all ours forever. We sure do love her.

Happy weekend!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

tall towers and pizza bigger than my face

My in-laws came up to visit this past weekend! As always, we had a really great time with them. They arrived late on Friday night, after the kids were already in bed (disclaimer: just because they were in bed does not mean they were sleeping…)

Mom went with Michael and Kaya to her final gymnastics class on Saturday morning. After running, I made a new batch of muffins for Dad- they’re his favorite, and he eats them for breakfast and lunch when he visits.

After everyone came home, had eaten, and got cleaned up, we headed out to the children’s museum. Grandpa was really into the jumbo-sized blocks.

They built the tallest towers together (and had fun knocking them down of course)!

Shopping with Grandma! Kaelyn wasn’t quite her peppy self (we thought maybe she was teething, but it might have actually been the start of a cold…).

We came home, and the kids took much-needed naps while Dad and I played some Wii! At dinnertime, they insisted that we take advantage of their offer to babysit and go on a date (we only ever seem to go out on our own when they’re here to watch the kids)!

We ended up driving around for about 20 minutes before we could make a decision on where to go! We ended up at this little locally-owned Italian place that we had gone to once before Kaya was born, and then forgotten about. It turned out to be the perfect choice, and since we never really go out as just the two of us, we totally splurged. Mozzarella sticks for appetizers! 

And then I ordered two slices of pizza and they turned out to be bigger than my face. I seriously ate this pizza for three meals… and it was consistently delicious!02272016collage2

We saved room for this triple chocolate cake. Best cake ever. I’d order a whole cake for every one of my future birthdays if I could.

We returned home to find a crazy game of “hide and seek” going on. And then Grandpa taught Kaya how to “lose” her thumb while sucking it, and then blow on it to get it to reappear. This girl was cracking up.collage02272016We enjoyed going to church together on Sunday, and after lunch, they headed home. We can’t wait to see them again in a few weeks!

five on friday: driving, swimming, dating

Another week has come and gone! I will never cease to be amazed at how fast time goes once you become a mom.

ONE. My babies have actually started playing together. Everyone told me about how magical it would be… and they were right, it’s true! Kaya has been giving Kaelyn nearly-endless rides in the cozy coupe this week and they are both loving it. I’m loving how happy they are and that they can entertain themselves for short periods of time (total honesty here)!_MG_8549TWO. Kaya’s mantra this week: “I’m so excited!” She’s been saying it in anticipation of so many things, but the best time had to be when we were at the pool and she was dancing around! They just built a new wading pool over there, and it’s perfect for both my babies to play in.

THREE. We went on a date this week, just the two of us! I know that this shouldn’t be something monumental… but we can count the number of dates we’ve gone on sans kids on one hand since Kaya was born. Ridiculous, I know. At least we’re making the effort now!

We went to Buffalo Wild Wings (only after finding out that my favorite Greek restaurant was closed) and shared what they call the “sampler”. Mmmmm.

FOUR. We finished up our guinea pig sitting yesterday! We had such a fun time looking after these two sweet girls. Kaya already misses visiting them and has even asked me for our own guinea pigs. All I have to say is… we’ll have to see 🙂FIVE. Sometimes it’s rough being a big sister._MG_8568Happy FRIDAY! 🙂

Linking up with April today!