five on friday (01/24)

We’ve had a lot going on the past couple of weeks, and to be honest, I haven’t felt much like writing here. I thought doing a “Five on Friday” might help me get back into gear. I have two memory cards full of DSLR photos to go through, but for now, I’m just going to share some quick and easy pictures from my phone.

ONE. We battled the stomach flu! By the time it went through all the kids, it was a whole week of sickness. It’s just awful seeing your babies feel so horrible, not to mention the amount of extra laundry and clean-up required. We made it through, and here’s to hoping we don’t see another stomach bug for a long time to come.TWO. Kaya has always loved Eve, but lately, they’ve really been playing together a lot more. Eve will jump into her arms, give giant hugs, and apparently, even enjoy a ride on her back. The older girls sometimes say, “I miss when Eve was a little baby”, but they really have been having a blast with her now that she’s a little bigger. THREE. Michael has been amazing in his recent calling as counselor to the Bishop, but he’s still adjusting to a new schedule. Meetings at 6:30 am mean that he is completely wiped out by 1 pm. He’s not a napper, but he has taken a few here lately. FOUR. What’s better on a cold, wintery day than a warm, snuggly puppy? Scout has really been my pal these past few weeks. She also turned 3 years old on January 9th (we have yet to get her a birthday gift)! FIVE. This little sweetie always keeps us smiling. She gets so excited over everything, even eating cereal! She’s such a good reminder of how even the simplest things can bring so much joy. HAPPY FRIDAY!

five favorites (07/17)

It’s not even Friday, but there are always so many little things going on that I’ve been really eager to write here. I could probably write another “Five” in just a couple days (maybe I will!), and there will always be things that I didn’t get to!

ONE. For the past few months, Nella has been obsessed with being the “helper” at mealtimes. When I say, “I’m going to make lunch”, she runs over to the table, drags a chair to the counter, and says, “helper!!!” She sometimes helps put cucumbers atop salads, but mostly, being the helper means she just stands there and eats at the counter.Croutons are a definite favorite of hers right now. TWO. We finally got Kaya a bike! She was just riding the tricycle before now, but she’s really been too tall for it for a while. This one was a lucky Craigslist find that my dad picked up for me. We have a thing for banana-seat bikes around here.
We put it out in the front yard one morning and surprised her when she woke up. She ran to it and wanted to ride right away.It’s been a lot of fun to ride around (mostly just culs-de-sac) with them! Now I need to find a similar one for Kaelyn.THREE. These lucky girls have had some pretty fun daddy-daughter dates lately. I had a meeting, so Michael took all of them out to dinner at Wendy’s (their favorite)!Messy, happy girl.Messy, silly girls!On another day, Michael took Kaya out on some errands with him. Kaya saw this cat swimsuit, and Daddy just had to pretend to try it on!FOUR. We also have some pretty big news around here- Kaya lost her two front (top) teeth! One of them was loose for over a month, so we were all very ready for it to finally come out. She is not a big fan of the actual “falling out” process, but once it’s gone, she’s always excited to get money under her pillow at night and try to put food through the gap at lunchtime.FIVE. Scout is always resting at the top of the stairs, keeping an eye on things. She’s ready to run down at any moment if you drop food or she hears the slightest noise outside. We love this goofy (and loud…) dog!

five on friday (06/21)

Happy Friday! It’s been a while since my last “Five on Friday”, so I’m really excited about this! These small snippets of life are some of my favorites to look back on.

ONE. We’ve been really enjoying summertime so far! Swimming was a huge part of my childhood summers, so it just doesn’t feel like the season without having some fun in the water. We bought a month-long pool pass, and it’s been one of our favorite things to do! Nella always asks to go to the “wa wa”!These are some happy kids. Kaya and Kaelyn ask to stay for hours and hours, even if the water is a bit chilly.

Bonus: Everyone is tired out afterward!TWO. Michael took off work one day last week, and we all went bowling! Life has felt so crazy-busy this past month or so, so it was great to take a couple of hours to reconnect as a family. The lighting isn’t so great for pictures in the bowling alley, so this is the best I have from my phone. Nella sometimes really wants to take her turn, and other times, she couldn’t care less about it. Kaya is actually getting really good at bowling! She still uses the ramp and bumpers, but she might have scored higher than me…

THREE. We’ve had some fun at the library, too! I love snuggling up with my girls and reading. Kaya and Kaelyn would play with the blocks all day!Eve has been having a lot more fun now that she can pull herself up and play with the toys there.FOUR. Kaya and Kaelyn have still been doing swim lessons, so when Michael takes them, I get some quality time with Nella and Eve. I love my big girls, but having this time with the little girls is so precious to me.  It’s a little calmer, a little quieter, and I just get to soak in their sweet personalities. Also, I just have to put this here, because taking that picture of Nella and Eve reminded me so much of this picture of Kaya and Kaelyn, at nearly exactly the same ages, four years ago! It’s amazing how time passes so quickly and so much changes.Nellie loves to climb all the rocks!Eve really only has the option of swinging for now, but she’s more than content.FIVE. Our little Scoutie girl has had a bit of a rough month. She had her annual physical in May, where she was diagnosed with Lyme disease. She had a few days where she clearly wasn’t feeling well at all, and my heart was broken for her. I hate to see her suffering! She had another trip to the vet where she was prescribed some anti-nausea meds and probiotics, and she’s since been on the mend. She finished her round of antibiotics yesterday, and I’m hoping she’s able to stay symptom-free.

We also got her a harness, which we all love! It’s so much gentler than the “gentle leader” we were using, and it looks cute to boot.Happy weekend!

happy 2nd puppiversary, scout!

It’s been two years with this crazy puppy… and I guess I really can’t call her a puppy anymore! A week and a half ago marked the anniversary of when we adopted Scout, so I figured I’d put together some kind of post for her! She is an important part of our family.

She still loves her Daddy more than anyone else. He gets the best “welcome home” reaction from her even if he only leaves the house for a minute. When she hears his moped coming or the garage door opening, she does what we call her “Daddy dance”, which consists of a grumbly bark and tail-swishing so powerful that it moves her whole body from side to side. Her excitement might be a little excessive, but I think it’s sweet that she’s so attached to him.

She is a blanket THIEF! I don’t let her use this blanket that my mom-in-law made for me, but one morning, I found her perfectly (mysteriously) tucked in and taking a nap with it. I had to take a picture before I took it away.Spoiled.

I jokingly call her my “footstool” because she follows me around all day long, every day, and sits right under my feet. She especially likes to do this when I’m nursing Eve, because I probably subconsciously pet her with my toes as my short legs hang down from the rocking chair.

When she’s not following me around, she loves to lie down in the sun on the carpet or perch herself at the very top of the stairs and watch everything. I like to think she’s watching over us when she does this.She’s actually pretty lazy and doesn’t mind just sleeping most of the day. She finds all these strange positions to sleep in and tries to cuddle with any pillow, stuffed animal, or slipper she can find. I guess she might have been cuddling with the couch here!She also sits pretty funny sometimes.She lets the girls read to her and even dress her up sometimes. She gets excited for walks when we go on them, but she still has to wear her gentle leader because she tends to pull a lot. I’ve only taken her running a handful of times, and she really seems like she’s not that into it. (Her face says it all in this photo!)

She loves to fetch and she really loves to dig up the yard.

Kaya tries to teach her tricks all the time, but all she really knows is “sit” and “wait”. We still joke that the ultimate trick would be her learning to put her own toys away, because we’re always tripping over them (especially on the stairs)!

She’s been banned from having a dog bed because she destroys every single one I buy.

I struggled a lot early on in my relationship with Scout because I was terrified of going through another bite incident. In a way, after having that happen with my child and our previous dog, I feel like I will never view animals exactly the same way I did before. However, I’ve improved a lot, and I am definitely grateful we decided to try having another dog. Scout has been a valuable part of our lives these past two years, and I hope for many, many more with her.We love you, Scouty!

thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving was forever ago (last year already, ha), and we pretty much always do the same thing, eat the same turkey, and take the same photos, but these are still so precious to me and need to be on here.

We headed down to my parents’ home to celebrate Thanksgiving with family. My mom always puts so much energy and love into the Thanksgiving meal, and this one turned out as delicious as any. My Dad is always the designated turkey carver. Making mashed potatoes!The girls relaxed and waited patiently until it was time to eat. Everyone cuddled Evie a lot!Happy first Thanksgiving, baby Eve!Kaelyn wanted to jump in a picture, too!It looks like a full house (there are two tables put together underneath all that food), but we were missing Karl and Kaitlyn (they were at a wedding in Georgia), and Auntie Carol, who was sick and missed coming so that none of the babies would catch it. We had a good time, but it honestly didn’t feel the same without them.Somebody really really likes corn.And someone else doesn’t like veggies much at all…Your first Thanksgiving is a little bit of a letdown if you’re not old enough to eat any food! Eve was content to sit and watch everyone else.Nella slept through the entire meal, but woke up in time to have her dinner when we were starting dessert.Pumpkin pie, pumpkin cake, brownies, and apple pie!Extra thankful for my mom this year.
You might think he’s taking your picture, but Michael is really taking a selfie. He’s a tricky one! We had a great visit. Grandpa Peter got lots of Evie snuggles!Buddy tried to snuggle with me, too. Kaelyn always likes seeing her favorite “Dalmatian”!

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!!!

 

my dog, the lamp

Scout had had her spay surgery a couple of weeks ago, and of course, I have to post about it- a puppy with her “cone of shame” is just too cute not to share!

She also had an umbilical hernia repaired at the same time. Everything went well, and she was so happy to see us when we picked her up. Perhaps a little too happy, though, because she never stopped trying to jump up on us out of excitement. She certainly didn’t act like she’d just had major surgery.
Just as I was imagining Scout thinking something along the lines of, “Does this cone make my head look big?”, Kaya blurted out, “Scout, you look like a LAMP!” That just might be the quote of the year.This crazy dog loves sitting in the hammock with anyone who invites her. She’s also obsessed with her peanut-butter-flavored Nylabone and any soft toy that has a tail. 

Also, I kid you not, she burps. I’ve never really noticed another dog burp quite so loudly and frequently as she does.Her people are her favorite things in the whole world. Every morning, she gets so hyped up to see the girls that she’d wiggle right out of her fur if she could.

She’s 7.5 months old and about 40 pounds or so now. We’ve had her for over 5 months, which has gone by so quickly! I can’t believe how fast our little puppy turned into a dog.

She smothers us with love, but I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way.

grandma debbie’s 60th birthday

My mom’s 60th birthday was in July, so we took a long weekend and headed to my parents’ home for some quality family fun. It’s been a long time since we’ve had then entire family (both of my aunts, Karl, and me) all together, so this was something really special.

Kaya kicked off the weekend by coloring with Grandma! That’s something I remember her doing with me when I was little, so it’s fun to see it continuing on with the next generation.Of course, there were Dunkin’ Donuts, courtesy of Karl! I think these will always be my favorites, despite the amazing local donut shop we have here in town.We also got to meet my parents’ new puppy (I know, he doesn’t look like much of a puppy, right?) for the first time! His name is Buddy, and he’s part pit bull, just like Scout! The only difference is that he is stronger than an ox (I’m not even exaggerating here)! Scout didn’t like being pummeled by his overzealous attempt to play with her, so they didn’t really get to be friends.
But yeah… I pretty much fell head over paws for this puppy. How could you resist those eyes? I think my Dad is pretty smitten with him, too.We had some naps on Daddy… (and a change of clothes for Kaelyn, after she tripped and landed in Buddy’s water bowl!)……and then the whole crew went to an early dinner at Cracker Barrel, which is one of my Mom and Dad’s favorite places.Clockwise: Auntie Joyce and her friend, Melissa; Karl and Kaitlyn; hopefully you know who those people are; and Auntie Carol and Alan!
Princess Nella sat in her throne with her foot upon the table for the entire meal. She also cast a spell on everyone with that sweet little smile of hers.We all headed back to the house for some cake and gifts! My dad had an Oreo cookies and creme cake for his birthday party, and everyone loved it, so of course, we had to repeat it!
It’s not a birthday party with my family unless there’s a big pile of gifts!I found this little decorative watering can at Goodwill and just knew my mom would love it!It turned out that my dad hadn’t finished his gift shopping for my mom, so the day before the party, he took me out with him to get some ideas. We went to five different places without having much luck.

However, we did find a very heavy lawn decoration in the shape of a chicken, and we kept joking around that the “concrete chicken” was our fallback gift. Seriously, I think that thing weighs more than Kaelyn.

My dad actually ended up going back and getting it, and as it turns out, my mom loves her Concrete Chicken. I think I like the joke about the gift even more than the gift itself.I also helped him choose a new bird feeder for her, shaped like a butterfly!
But Karl and Kaitlyn’s gift had to be the best of all…

An iPhone! My mom had been managing with a smartphone that had almost no space to install anything or even be used properly… so now she can actually talk to us and see all the pictures we send. She was so surprised! As you can see in the video, I persuaded Karl to wrap it in a box, and then put that box in another box, wrap it, and so on. It was so much fun.They even made a case for her that had all the kids’ pictures on the back!And, of course, there was a whole lot of baby cuddling on this trip. Auntie Joyce always loves my babies.Apparently, Nella loves pinching her Great-Auntie Joyce’s cheeks. Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around?I was so happy to see these two… it’s been way too long!Grandpa Peter was obviously smitten with “Pumpkin” (as he calls her)!
My mom said this truly was the best birthday ever. I’m so glad we got to celebrate it all together!

meet scout

It’s been an entire week since we brought her home, so it’s about time I introduce you to our newest furry family member, Scout!

Kaya was bitten by our previous family dog nearly two years ago, and after a lot of emotional healing for both her and me, we’re excited to start fresh. To be honest, as much as I absolutely love animals, I’ve still felt sensitive throughout this process. Kaya, however, has this amazing ability to forgive and constantly love. I’m so grateful for the wonderful example she sets for me.

I had been browsing Craigslist, looking at puppies, for a few months. Last week, I saw Scout’s picture and instantly fell in love. She was part of an unplanned litter of puppies, located a couple of hours away. The owner agreed to meet us at a halfway point so we could see the puppies and decide if we wanted to bring one home.

I didn’t tell the kids what we were doing, other than that we were having a “super special family night” (they guessed that we were going to the pond to feed the ducks!) and that we would be in the car for about an hour. When Kaya saw the puppies out the van window, she instantly started beaming, and she couldn’t wait to get out and pet them. She was even more surprised when I asked her, “Do you want to take this puppy home with us?”

The sun was setting as she grinned and giggled, happily walking that tiny, 10-week old puppy down the sidewalk. It was truly one of those moments I won’t forget.She rode all the way home peacefully sleeping on my lap.

Kaelyn was overtired and cranky when we first saw the puppies, but she started to warm up to Scout after we went to do some puppy-supply shopping.Scout is supposedly a mix of lab and pit bull, and she currently weighs about 14.5 pounds. The vet predicts she’ll even out around 50-60 pounds in adulthood. I think we’re basically going to have a giant lapdog, since she has no qualms about sitting right on you for some cuddles.She had never been on a leash before we got her, so we’re working on that, along with basic commands, like sit, leave it, and down. I’m actually impressed with how quickly she’s been learning words. She loves to burrow into wet grass, and she’s already unearthed several tennis balls that the previous homeowners left in the yard.

Kaya keeps telling me “I’m so glad we have a puppy again!”

So am I.

a rainbow horse birthday party (kaya’s 4th birthday!)

Kaya had been saying that she wanted a “rainbow Chance party” for the majority of the past year. Like most people, you probably have no idea who Chance is… Well, he’s a horse who lives over at the barn I used to volunteer at during college. His pasture was right behind our old neighborhood, so Kaya saw him fairly frequently. I don’t know what it is about that gray horse, but he’s been her favorite for quite a while!

She loved her rainbow party last year, so she requested that again, too. What’s better than rainbows and horses combined?

We kicked off her party day with her favorite donuts. Daddy took the girls to our local donut shop to pick them up, and of course, Kaya chose mostly chocolate cake donuts or chocolate-frosted ones with sprinkles!
_mg_5162 This cake… oh this cake. It might not look like much, but it turned out to be a major labor of love. I actually ended up decorating the entire thing twice because it fell apart overnight… and then it started drooping again before she blew out her candle._mg_5176I think the decorations failed to stay on because I used a new death-by-chocolate recipe that was incredibly moist (and also called for using cooking spray and no flour on the cake pans when baking). It was the easiest cake ever to remove from the pans… but that also meant that the frosting didn’t stay on well at all. It tasted amazing, and I’d definitely use the recipe again, but not for a birthday cake with any kind of buttercream decorations.

The horses are from Playmobil. They really are so cute and well-made, and I’m glad I chose these!_mg_5189This little girl loved her cake so much (and couldn’t wait to play with the horses, of course)!
_mg_5170 _mg_5174 She was so excited for us to sing to her!_mg_5200 _mg_5202 Seriously… this cake was almost as fudgy as a brownie. Mmm._mg_5206 _mg_5208 Some of her presents included undies…_mg_5211 …a Hello Kitty shirt…_mg_5212 … and a “Chance” stuffed animal. She had asked for a “Chance snuggly animal”, and her reaction was just as adorable as I had hoped._mg_5216 Chance has gone everywhere with us ever since. I think he’s going to be a long-term favorite!_mg_5217 Her big gift was this horse stable from Grandma Debbie. I think Lelia and I enjoyed playing with it just as much as Kaya!_mg_5225During all the present-opening, Kaelyn had a good time goofing off with Uncle Jeff. These girls sure do love their aunts and uncles. 🙂
_mg_5220 We kept the decorations as low-key as ever, but we did surprise her with these cute horse balloons!_mg_5232 She also got to wear a fun rainbow tutu, which pretty much made her day!_mg_5237 _mg_5240 Jeff and Lelia brought their puppy, Fallon, so my girls had a great time playing with her all weekend._mg_5246 After the party, we cooked breakfast for dinner. French toast…_mg_5248 … scrambled eggs, and bacon!_mg_5249

Kaya even had a perfect day in Primary at church on Sunday. She got to stand up in front of everyone with her special birthday card while everyone sang to her (and I might have teared up watching from the back of the room… motherhood does crazy things to you!). They also had a lesson about God’s creatures, so her teacher brought in a cat for them to visit with (if you know Kaya, you know she loves cats)!

With all her rainbows, horse gifts, playing with Fallon, and holding a cat in Primary, I think she really had the perfect birthday weekend.

Happy Birthday Sweetie! I hope this is one you remember!