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!

meeting baby bryce

About a month ago, we visited Jeff and Lelia, which meant that we got to meet baby Bryce for the very first time! I’d been looking forward to it so much that I was counting down the weeks until this very day. My girls were equally excited to see their newest cousin! It brought me so much joy to see Lelia as a mommy. Bryce is one lucky little guy! I love that we could take a picture of us together, each with a baby in our arms. Kaelyn just couldn’t believe it when we asked her if she wanted to hold two babies! This right here was pretty much heaven for her. She seemed to be extra connected to Bryce, too. He just had a sense of calmness around her.

Two days later, we were able to attend his baby blessing!
So many family members were there, but I didn’t get a photo of the entire group. Here’s our four-generation shot, though!
We were so glad to see Grandpa Teerlink! Grandma loves Nella… …and Grandpa loves being completely silly! After the blessing and pictures, we enjoyed some refreshments (Lelia’s Andes mint cookies… mmmm)! I also got to hold Bryce one more time, and he took a little nap on me. I already miss when Nella would curl up on me like this. Why are these newborn days so fleeting? It’s safe to say, I’m smitten with my little nephew. I’m so glad we were able to be at his blessing and enjoy some time with family.

five on friday (06/30)

It’s super late and I should be in bed, but I have a hard time letting a Friday go by without listing five great things from the week!

ONE. The biggest event of the week- our second sweet princess turned 3 years old! We had her party last weekend, but on her real birthday, we went out to the local bakery and treated her to any cookie she wanted. She, of course, chose one that had a 10:1 frosting to cookie ratio. A girl after my own heart! She was beaming as we sang “happy birthday” to her right in the middle of the mall. We went to play on the indoor playground afterward. I love how the simple things are her favorites.

TWO. Grandma came down for Kaelyn’s party, and stayed for a couple of days at the start of the week. We had a nice long walk and some time at the playground and in the yard with her. These girls sure love their Grandma Debbie (even if I could only convince two of them to get into a photo with her)…

THREE. My garden is growing! For real! I’m amazed to see these plants growing so big, and I’m actually getting kind of attached to them, so here’s to hoping that nothing comes along and eats them. There’s no produce yet, but I have a couple of cucumber plants… … some green beans… …and one lone cherry tomato plant. I’m so excited to hopefully see some food growing on these soon!

FOUR. What’s cuter than a baby in just a tank top and her diaper? One of my favorite things about summer is being able to leave her arms and legs bare so I can see those squishy little rolls of hers! Baby chub is the best.

Also, these little toes!

FIVE. It’s been a while since Freyja and Claire have graced the blog with their presence, so here they are in all their fuzzy glory. Kaya and Kaelyn helped me give them a little “spa night” a couple weeks ago, where they had baths and got their nails clipped. The pigs didn’t enjoy the process, but I can tell you that they do like to feel clean when it’s all done. Claire reminds me of a little teddy bear!Happy weekend!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

fun with the grands

Last weekend, we got to enjoy some time with Michael’s parents! It’s been a while since both Mom and Dad have been able to come up here at the same time (January was our last visit all together at our house), so it felt a little extra special and fun. They arrived on Friday afternoon, so we had maximum time for goofing off!

The girls have been really into board games lately, and they somehow charmed Grandpa Skip into playing both Candy Land and Thin Ice.
Nella was tickled by Grandma Gina’s “piano fingers”, and obviously, she loved it! This was Dad’s first time meeting Scout, and I think he really liked her. They played on the floor, ran around the house, and even took a couple of walks. Kaya rode on Grandpa’s shoulders for most of the time. I’m glad she’s still little enough to do so, but it did make me realize how tall she’s getting!
Nella got some cuddles from both Grandpa and Grandma (and I’m sure she seemed so big to them after they’ve visited with newborn cousin Bryce so recently)! On Saturday morning, I had a 10-mile run, and then we all did a little work around the house and yard. Michael, Mom, and the older girls went to help out with a food drive service project, and Dad and I stayed home with Nella while she napped. I might have also crushed him at Mario Kart Wii… some of the time. I think we’re pretty equally matched, actually.

We ended the day with our favorite thing- Chinese food! Dad and Michael always love to go browse at Best Buy, so we all spent a few minutes in there after dinner. Kaya and Kaelyn thought it was one of the most fun places, probably just because they got to act silly with Grandpa Skip in there. On Sunday, we all went to the first hour of church together before they had to head home. Nella took two naps on her Grandma that morning! They both love snuggling, so they’re a pretty perfect match!

I always wish for more time with our family when they have to leave. It goes too fast!

christmastown, cousins, and crazies

The Christmas posts just never seem to end around here, right? Thankfully, it’s because we had so many family members to visit and enjoy the season with this past holiday.

A few days after celebrating Christmas at home, we headed down to visit Michael’s side of the family! Kevin and Tori flew in from Utah- it had been about a year and a half since we last saw them! We had never met our nephew Jack before, so needless to say, we were pretty excited!

I instantly fell in love with Jack (sweet sweet baby boy!), and my girls really loved playing with him, too. It was so fun to finally see the cousins together! Of course, I also had to get pictures of everyone meeting Nella! 🙂
And yes, there were plenty of Grandma cuddles for her, too.Kaya enjoyed some snuggling with Auntie Lelia!There were some presents, of course… … including a rainbow hat made by Grandma!This was the first time the older girls have slept in the same bed. At first, we heard some complaints of “she’s touching me!” and “she’s taking my animals!”, but eventually, they settled down and slept soundly.On the second day of our visit, we headed to Busch Gardens Christmastown! The last time we were there, Kaya was just 3 months old! It’s crazy how quickly everything changes with kids.
We wore our new hats made by my mom-in-law!I always love admiring the decorations. It almost feels like a world away from this one, made entirely of glowing lights and Christmas spirit.Kaya was old enough to ride the mini roller coaster this year! She was so excited when they pulled out of the station, and I knew she’d return either completely petrified or absolutely elated. Thankfully, she had the time of her life and even asked to go on it again! Seeing her so happy was the highlight of the trip for me, although hearing Michael, Kevin, and Jeff screaming all through the ride was pretty fun, too.Kaelyn was too little to ride most of the attractions, so we let her walk around and explore the brightly-lit trees for a bit.She did get to join everyone on this mini Mach Tower ride! I wish I had a better photo, but it was so dark that I couldn’t get my camera to focus. Good picture or not, these kids had a blast.I feel like I haven’t been able to go on rides for forever (being pregnant with three babies in four years will do that to you!), so it was extra-fun for me to join Grandpa Skip and Kaya on the bumper cars and flying swings. When everyone else headed to the train, Dad and I went on my all-time favorite ride. Busch Gardens calls it “Le Catapult”, but I think it has other names at different parks.Of course, we went to the Festhaus to warm up, eat dinner, and nurse the baby. It’s always nice to get a little break from the cold.
The girls really enjoyed watching the performance inside!On our last afternoon together, we took a family picture. I love having everyone all together (and let’s face it, I really lucked out and got some amazing in-laws).When we got home, they wanted a brother picture…… which quickly turned into chaos…… and… sorority squats? What?!And apparently, it only takes one minute of me not paying attention for my relatives to steal my phone and fill it up with a million surprise photos before we left that evening. I love these crazies!

what happens in vegas

A few weeks ago, Michael had the opportunity to attend the Amazon Web Services conference in Las Vegas! He was gone for a whole week, and we definitely missed him (getting all three girls washed up for bed without him was the hardest part of the day!), but this is basically where all his nerd dreams came true.img_20161129_083215

Luckily, he sent us a lot of photos, so we were able to see what he was up to and how attractive the city can be.

img_20161128_160310He stayed at a cool hotel called the “Flamingo” (and yes, they did have live flamingoes there)!img_20161128_182111

He did a ton of walking (about 85,000 steps in 5 days) and took several panoramic shots. This was taken inside his conference building, The Venetian!pano_20161130_072958He even met a ninja…img_20161129_084656 …and had an 80’s-themed dance party one night (what you can’t see in this photo are his neon orange leg warmers!)img_20161130_203009 One of the highlights of his trip was visiting the Las Vegas LDS temple! I love the palm trees.img_20161202_151211Back home, we spent about half the week on our own before Grandma Gina and Grandpa Skip came up for a few days.

_mg_6890 _mg_6892This was the first time Nella met her Grandpa!_mg_6901Where there are grandparents, there’s bound to be Chinese food. 😉 We all enjoyed a dinner out on Thursday night.img_20161201_182601img_20161201_182621 Kaelyn probably ate her weight in jello…img_20161201_185612These girls loved snuggling their Grandpa as soon as he woke up.
20161203_090337 They also had one of the giggliest games of hide-and-seek._mg_6907 Kaelyn was pretty good at hiding for only a few minutes at a time before giving away her location…_mg_6904On Saturday, we went to Lowe’s for their free kids’ workshop. Kaya and Kaelyn were both so excited to make Christmas ornaments!
20161203_102655This was only Kaelyn’s second-ever workshop, but she did a pretty decent job with the hammering.20161203_102706

20161203_102835020161203_103344We had so much fun (and I was thankful for the extra hands and just the fact that I wasn’t alone all week), but we were definitely excited to see our Daddy when he came home late on  Saturday night!

five on friday (09/16)

ONE. My Dad came up for a couple of days this week to help us work on our basement. He and Michael ripped out old baseboards, cut and installed new ones, and patched drywall. It was almost two full days-worth of hard work, and it’s still not completely done, but I am so grateful for the help and the fact that this project got started!

Kaya is in love with each of her grandparents (especially when they share candy with her- this time it was Whoppers)!_mg_5006 TWO. I picked up a used game of Candy Land for $2.50 a couple of weeks ago, so we’ve been having a good time playing together (and teaching Kaelyn her colors)! This was my favorite game as a child, so it’s extra fun to see my kids enjoying it._mg_5084 Somehow it seems like I always end up back at the Peppermint Forest whenever I’m close to winning. Kaya always reassures me, “It’s okay, Mommy, we can play again”. Aww._mg_5085

THREE. The young men at church made dinner for our young women on Tuesday night, and they were literally running to give each girl a rose as she came in. So sweet! We leaders each received a rose too, and I’ve been enjoying its fresh scent and beautiful color all week.

FOUR. The weather is changing, and we’ve had a fair mix of hot days and somewhat chilly mornings and evenings. We took a walk without the stroller (Michael had the car and it was accidentally left in the trunk, whoops!), and Kaelyn actually walked a whole mile on those little legs. My girls are getting so big!

FIVE. Speaking of growing up… someone has started wanting to sit on the potty this week! (And yes, this is a completely unrelated picture of her blowing bubbles, because one thing I won’t do is post pictures of my kids sitting on the toilet…) We haven’t had any luck yet, and honestly I’m not sure I’m up for potty training her a few weeks before baby comes, but this is a positive step in the right direction! Both of my girls have shown interest in potty training right around the same age, all on their own._mg_4998

Happy weekend!!!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

one million visitors

We’ve had a whole lot of visitors since we moved into our new home- not quite one million, but we’ve enjoyed hosting both sides of our families. It’s also been nice actually having a real guest room for them to sleep in!

My dad came up for a few days before Karl’s graduation to work on some house projects (repairing shelves, getting the dryer working, sanding down closet doors, and replacing all the locks were some of the things he did). Karl came over to hang out and help, too!_MG_1765 My mom arrived the day before graduation. The girls are always SO excited to see her! It probably doesn’t hurt that she always brings them some sort of surprise- this time it was sneakers for Kaelyn and new socks for Kaya._MG_1772 _MG_1778 Jeff and Lelia came to stay with us the next weekend! They were going to their friend’s vet school graduation, so in between those festivities, we got to spend some time with them. Lelia and I had a great 5.6-mile run together, and of course, their favorite nieces were more than happy to cuddle and give kisses._MG_2101My mom and dad-in-law stopped for a quick visit as they drove through here on their way home from Utah! _MG_2390We cooked breakfast for dinner and went on a walk to the playground.
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It’s been a busy month, but we’re so glad we have a fantastic family who wants to visit and spend time with us. We can’t wait to see them all again in just a few weeks for Kaelyn’s birthday party!

picnicking with the grandparents

Two weekends ago (see how I am always behind here?), my in-laws came up for a visit! Their favorite local campground had finally opened up for the season, and they were ready to enjoy the great outdoors… along with paying a visit to their favorite granddaughters, of course! 🙂_MG_1469 We all did some relaxing and movie-watching at our apartment, but the real fun (and where I took the most photos) was from our “cookout” lunch and walk down at the campground. It was quite windy, so we ended up eating in their new camper. Hot dogs and homemade mac and cheese, with s’mores for dessert (there’s no s’more picture obviously, because who has time for that when deliciousness is right under your nose?)!
_MG_1470This is my peanut-butter-sandwich kid. She’d rather have a PB&J than almost any other food… except for maybe Chinese. Otherwise, it’s her go-to choice, and I think she’d eat it for every lunch and dinner every day if I let her._MG_1472We went on a little walk through the woods. We showed Kaya that she could pick the dandelions… and now she wants to pick every flower, everywhere. She had quite a collection at the end of the day (and I think they were all in Grandma’s pocket)!_MG_1476 I love these people._MG_1485 Don’t be fooled… Kaelyn probably rode on Daddy’s shoulders for about two minutes. She wanted to walk the whole way, all by herself, even when there were tree roots growing in the middle of her path. She’s slow, but persistent, and she walked almost all of the trail with those two little legs._MG_1487 _MG_1496Of course, Kaya got some good swinging action. I think she might have her grandparents wrapped around her finger (quite literally)…
_MG_1500Later that night, we had a tumultuous wind storm- gusts were up to 60 mph! We lost power for about 13 hours, so sadly, we weren’t able to watch much of General Conference on Sunday. Mom and Dad Irwin did cook (in the camper) a special breakfast, and brought it inside for us. Bacon, eggs, sausage, and cinnamon buns. Mmmm.
_MG_1540 Anything sweet is her favorite, so you can guess how much she loved the cinnamon rolls!_MG_1541 And what would a grandparent visit be without some sweet kisses? I love how much my girls love them._MG_1455 _MG_1460

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!