five on friday (10/15)

It’s been about a month since I wrote one of these, and we’ve had a lot of bigger happenings (*ahem* three birthday parties pretty much in a row) that I hope to get to soon, but chronicling these small moments throughout the week means so much to me when I look back.

ONE. My mom came up for Chandler’s birthday party, and she brought a bunch of my old toys that I thought had been long gone. These Littlest Pet Shops and Pound Puppies were some of my very favorite things, and pretty much defined the 90s for me. I was so happy to see the girls play with them for hours on end.

TWO. The girls and I watched The Wizard of Oz last week, and they all loved it so much. Eve thought the Wicked Witch was hilarious and kept asking for her to come back, and Kaya seemed to understand the true makings of a classic movie. I caught them riding brooms around the driveway this week, saying, “I’ll get you my pretties!”

When you’re the littlest, your big sisters can really help you “fly”!

THREE. My three oldest went to church tonight to practice for the upcoming Primary Program, so it was just Eve, Chandler, and me. I snuggled Eve while we watched Daniel Tiger, let her share some of my special Lindt chocolate, and took them both on a walk to the playground. It was so very special just having that time with them. Having a big family is wonderful, but sometimes, it can be complete chaos, so stealing these little one-on-one moments feels so invaluable.Yes, she’s wearing a skirt over her overalls. I love her style.Eve said, “Watch, I’m gonna go fast!”Chandler throws his head back in the swing and laughs like crazy.

FOUR. Being a kid around Christmastime means one thing: you scramble for the yearly toy catalog when it arrives! Seeing them all poring over every toy in that book reminded me of when I was a kid, meticulously paging through the JCPenney holiday catalog, circling far too many items. Christmas is still magical at their ages, and I’m so excited for it. Also, I love my goofy dog in this one.

FIVE. Cousin Jack sent us a box full of Halloween goodies this week! The girls have loved wearing the glasses, fingers, and vampire teeth. They also painted some wooden Halloween decorations! We’re counting down the days until we can wear our costumes!

I told them to make “monster faces” for this one! Haha.

Happy weekend!

halloween 2019

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

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

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

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

extra halloween shenanigans (2018)

Besides trick-or-treating on Halloween night, the girls were lucky enough to attend two other Halloween activities this year. Michael’s work always puts on an afternoon trick-or-treat in their office, and everyone was so excited about it (they hadn’t even had any candy yet, believe it or not)!What’s better at an office Halloween party than finding Clippy (remember him from Microsoft Word?) as someone’s cubicle decoration? Of course, the girls each wanted to take a picture with him. We loved seeing all the festive decorations around the office.Everyone loved meeting Evie for the first time! Michael always gets compliments on how adorable his girls are.We enjoyed some refreshments after the girls collected as much candy as they could. Nella loved having a very sugary juice box…We also had a church Trunk or Treat activity! We were charged with bringing some cupcakes, so we decided to make monster-themed ones. These girls were so excited to help out! They put all the dry ingredients together, and when it came time to decorate, Kaya asked to try using the piping bag for the very first time. She added some smiles and eyebrows to a few of them and did a really great job! They both put some candy eyeballs on them, too.“Monster faces!”They tasted just as good as they looked! Sadly, it was pouring down rain that evening, so our trunk-or-treat was moved indoors. It wasn’t quite the same (attendance also seemed low), but we had a good time.

We had two separate themes this year: Minnie Mouse with Daisy Duck, and Blue’s Clues. This was the only Halloween activity that Michael and I dressed up for this year!Nella was busy trying to eat every piece of candy as soon as she had possession of it…I love my cuties! (also, isn’t Michael the perfect “Steve”?)Kaelyn was counting on me to be Daisy Duck, and it meant so much to her that we matched. I even dyed my tights orange to look like duck legs, although you can’t see them in any of these pictures. I’m not sure anyone else knew who I was if Kaelyn wasn’t next to me, but I was glad to be able to make her so happy.And Nella was still sneaking candy…The girls love playing the games that the Young Women set up for everyone. “Donut on a string” is always as a favorite!As is the cake walk!And that wraps up our Halloween! 🙂

halloween 2018

I’m determined to be caught up with blogging about all our fall holidays before Christmas arrives in less than a WEEK! Time is going by so fast; it’s crazy!

Halloween was a day long-anticipated by Kaya and Kaelyn, mostly because we always shop for our costumes quite early. Our local kids’ consignment shop puts Halloween attire out right at the beginning of September, and we try to get there as soon as we can so that they still have a decent selection of costumes available.

The girls were really lucky to find character costumes that they truly love. Everyone was so excited to go trick-or-treating! The sweetest little “Blue” from Blue’s Clues! Kaya has loved all her costumes, and this one was no exception- she snuggled with it and cared for it just like a stuffed animal in the days leading up to Halloween.“Bow bow!” (as Blue says)! We went around saying it all night long. Kaya is good at sounding like Blue, but she was shy about doing it in front of anyone other than just us. Kaelyn… oh sweet Kaelyn. This was her favorite costume to date. There’s nothing this girl loves more than Minnie Mouse, Paw Patrol, and Dalmatians, so to actually be Minnie was a dream come true for her. She was glowing with joy each time she wore it.Kaelyn and Minnie Mouse aren’t so different- both are caring, kind, adorable, and have the sweetest voices. Maybe that’s why this seemed to fit her so very well.Nella reused Kaelyn’s old poodle costume, which is still just as adorable as ever. Nella looked like a walking stuffed animal, and I wish I could have squeezed and hugged her all evening because she was just so FLUFFY!Puppies are her thing right now, so this was completely perfect for her.Happy first Halloween to Eve! She was a zebra because it was just too cute (and cheap) to pass up. Plus, she was nice and warm!She got to stay with Daddy and hand out Halloween candy at our house.Evie didn’t really love her costume… but she sure looked adorable.Kaya, Kaelyn, and I painted pumpkins earlier in the afternoon while Nella napped. This has become a fun tradition, and I love seeing what they come up with!Mike Wazowski from Monsters Inc., Minnie Mouse, and Steve with Blue!This pumpkin was HUGE, but I’m really happy with how it turned out!Kaelyn made Minnie on one side of hers……and Mickey on the other!I took all the big kids out trick-or-treating. We tried to use the stroller, but it ended up being more of a hassle than a help, so we brought it back home and I just carried Nella while the oldest two girls walked. We went around our neighborhood collecting candy, but it wasn’t long before Kaelyn’s feet started hurting, and she wanted to go home to help Daddy hand out candy. Kaya wanted to keep going, so we kept ringing doorbells until it was too late to do any more. It was so sweet to hold my first baby’s hand and have that time together, just the two of us. She walked about 3 miles that night, and she never once complained. We ended the festivities with homemade chili, lots of candy, and everyone feeling completely exhausted, but contented.

halloween 2017

I just had too many Halloween photos to put them all in one post! I guess that means we have too much fun, right?

Michael’s work hosted their annual office trick-or-treating activity (this was actually the same day as the church Trunk-or-Treat), so of course, the girls were excited for another opportunity to celebrate (and get candy, obviously)! We walked through the rooms, stopping at each cubical to visit with whomever was there. Everyone loved the girls’ costumes and couldn’t stop talking about how adorable they looked.I think office trick-or-treating is by far the quickest way to fill up your candy bucket!Everyone loved our little lion!The older girls had some treats while Nella explored Daddy’s work.On Halloween day, I told the girls we’d have a special “school Halloween party”, and they were so excited! I prepared Halloween Bingo and pumpkin painting, and that was all we really got around to doing, but they absolutely loved it. Kaya made this “Hello Kitty” pumpkin all on her own, and Kaelyn made a “Skye (from Paw Patrol)” pumpkin. I love their creativity!I made this minion pumpkin, and I really loved how it turned out. Kaelyn kept telling me, “You’re doing a great job, Mommy!” as I was painting it, which I thought was so funny and adorable.We took a picture with the pumpkins while we waited for trick-or-treating to start!It was dark by the time we got out there, so I didn’t get any amazing shots on my big camera, but in case you need to remember how sweet they all looked in their costumes, it was just like this:I took the older girls out, and we went to as many houses as we could until they were too tired to go any further. I really got into the excitement of the evening, especially remembering all the years my dad would take us trick-or-treating when I was little, rain or shine. I felt a little bit like he might have so many years ago, ushering my kids from house to house, holding their hands, and asking them what they got after each stop. Michael stayed home with Nella to hand out candy! It was actually a pretty chilly night, so I was grateful that everyone had chosen warm costumes.Everyone was more than ready to fall into their warm, cozy beds at the end of the night. That candy was well-earned! Scout tried to steal a Hershey Kiss right out of Kaya’s bucket, but thankfully, we caught her. No chocolate for puppies, no matter how big and sad her eyes might look!And that wraps it up for this year… Happy Halloween (2 months ago)!

lions, tigers, bears… and a cowgirl! (trunk or treat 2017)

Happy New Year’s Eve! I’m still catching up and talking about Halloween, but it just seems like it’s been impossible to get on the computer and blog these days. I at least have to have Halloweeen finished before rolling in the new year, right?

Anyway, this year, we had our church Halloween party on the Friday before the actual holiday. We brought a cowgirl, a lion, and a tiger! We usually try to have some kind of unified family theme, but these were the costumes that they loved the very most, so we just went with it.

While we were costume shopping, Nella would not stop smiling when I tried the lion mane on her, and Kaelyn never wanted to take off the tiger. Kaya almost instantly named the horse “Chancey” (yes, still after her favorite real horse), so that was a done deal, too.HUGS! They were still too shy to actually say, “Trick or treat”, but who could resist giving these cuties candy anyway?Sweetest little lion! Fun fact: my brother Karl was actually a lion for his first Halloween! If only I had a picture to put side-by-side with this one. Little lions have a lot of exploring to do.And, as Kaelyn kept telling me, “Tigers climb trees!”She tried to get as far up the trunk as she could.And then she was hiding (but this one cracks me up, since you really can’t see her at all)!My little cowgirl! I love all of this so much- her smile, the pink boots, denim jacket, and how she rigged up the horse to hold her candy bucket. No one ever looked cuter in a western hat!So instead of one family theme, we had two separate ones. A lion, a tiger, and a [panda] bear… (oh my!)And a cowgirl with the cow she lassoed! Michael is a really good sport and walked around like this all evening.Love these crazies of mine! The girls walked around the church parking lot, filling their buckets up with candy. At the end of the night, we went inside for some games. The donut game is always our favorite! I like this activity just because I get some pretty hilarious photos out of it.Nella didn’t get any donuts, but she was obsessed with all the balloons that were there. I love how she’s so easy to please.And that was our Trunk or Treat! On to real Halloween!

five on friday (09/01)

The big camera didn’t come out much this week, so all I have are a bunch of photos from my phone. Sometimes those quick phone shots are some of my favorites, though, because those are the fleeting, yet memorable, moments that are so worth capturing, but they’re usually over by the time I can reach for my DSLR.

ONE. We’re back from the beach! We spent all of last week on a family vacation, which was honestly our best trip yet since we’ve had the girls. We played in the sand, celebrated Daddy’s birthday, and even saw the total eclipse. It was a great time, but it’s also nice to be home and back into our regular routine. I can’t wait to share some pictures of our trip, hopefully next week!

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TWO. Everyone sure missed our puppy while we were gone! We boarded her at the vet, and she was just fine, but we were so excited to pick her up on the way home. Every morning when Daddy goes to work, these three sit at the window and wave (or wag a tail) goodbye! This girl and her dog… all the heart eyes!

THREE. Nella didn’t act like herself for most of the week. Super tired and cranky, a fever, and decreased appetite made for some sad days, and then yesterday, she had a rash that instantly reminded me of when Kaelyn had roseola as a baby. At least now we know what was making her feel so under the weather. (Also, can we just talk about that crazy blonde bedhead and her gorgeous blue eyes? I’m swooning over here!)We really missed her sweet, smiley personality, and it was so good to see her feeling better and grinning again yesterday.FOUR. Cinnamon rolls. Need I say more? I owed these to some seminary students, and we enjoyed the extras. They’re so perfect on a chilly fall morning!FIVE. When I was a little girl, one of my favorite fall-time traditions was visiting Heaven Hill Farm, where we would choose a pumpkin and a Halloween costume for that year. There was always so much excitement upstairs in that warm little costume shop, walking from one end to the other, taking in all of our options before deciding on what we wanted to be.

All those good memories make it even more fun for me to take my girls costume shopping each year. Our local secondhand kids’ shop put Halloween costumes out last weekend, so we made our way over there today to pick out what we wanted, early and ahead of the seasonal rush. The girls were ecstatic, and I couldn’t wait to see what they’d choose. Kaelyn was obsessed with this tiger costume, and wouldn’t even try anything else on. (I told her to say, “ROAR!” for this picture!)Kaya was the cutest little ladybug you ever did see!

I won’t give away their final choices, but they just can’t wait for trick-or-treating time to come!

Happy Friday!

trick and trunk or treating 2016

I’m going to spare you my whole “trick-or-treating-was-a-whole-month-ago-and-I’m-just-blogging-about-it-now” spiel and just jump right into it. After this post, I think I’m mostly caught up to the present… The key word being “mostly”, ha!

Our two “big” little girls were beyond excited for Halloween. Kaya asked me nearly every day for over a month when she would get to wear her kitty costume, so when the day finally came, she was ecstatic!

We kicked off our Halloween festivities on Friday with Daddy at his work. His office put on a whole trick-or-treating activity for the employees’ kids, so we went from cubicle to cubicle collecting treats. Everyone (and really, I mean everyone) commented on how adorable Kaya and Kaelyn looked and how Nella looks like a little doll. The kids were feeling pretty shy, so I don’t think they said a single word to anyone, but they still came out with a bucketful of candy!
_mg_6284 From there, we headed straight to our church’s trunk-or-treat. Right up until that morning, we couldn’t decide what we wanted to be, so in true last-minute fashion, we chose “raining cats and dogs”. I made Michael a thunderbolt and myself a rain cloud shirt (which is somewhat difficult to see in this picture). Little Nella wore candy corn jammies and a pumpkin hat, so she didn’t quite fit the theme, but it was the perfect costume for our “Pumpkin”._mg_6290We walked around with the girls to collect even more treats!_mg_6292Later, we went inside for some fun activities. Kaya loved doing this donut-on-a-string game with Michael. Somehow, I think she looks even more like a real kitty here (if only cats loved donuts)!
_mg_6299 Halloween day was on Monday, so a couple of days after all those shenanigans, we finally took these crazy cuties out for their first-ever real trick or treating! It was so exciting to be able to go door to door in our own neighborhood. We really only went down our street, but it was far enough for our little girls on a chilly night._mg_6400 _mg_6410 _mg_6398_mg_6442 Michael said that they’re going to look back at these costumes one day and be embarrassed (the pink poodle costume reminds him of the pink bunny suit in A Christmas Story), but they chose these themselves, and as two and four-year-old girls, they absolutely loved them._mg_6444 Sometimes I can’t believe that all three of these fantastic girls are ours._mg_6443

our little pumpkins

From the day we knew we were pregnant, we started referring to our sweet baby #3 by the nickname “Pumpkin”. We knew she’d be due in October, and there couldn’t have been a better moniker for our little autumn blessing.

It was obvious, then, what costume she’d wear for her first Halloween! Kaya wore this sweet little pumpkin hat that I’d made for her first Halloween, and Nella was the perfect size to reuse it this year.

Kaelyn also wore these candy corn jammies for her first Halloween, so it was pretty much the perfect combination of “firsts” for Nella to inherit._mg_6489These cheeks of hers get me every time! I admit it, I kiss and pretend to eat them up all day long.
_mg_6504 _mg_6480While we’re on the subject of pumpkins, I thought I’d include the one we carved this year. Michael and I counted back and realized that this was only the third pumpkin we’ve carved together in the 8 years we’ve been a couple. We’re good at picking them, just not so consistent with carving them.

Apparently, gutting a pumpkin is pretty messy business._mg_6310

Kaya is completely obsessed with Hello Kitty right now, so after I showed her a photo of a Hello Kitty pumpkin, we definitely had to make one too. Poor Michael was easily outvoted in a house full of girls!_mg_6311 Kaya and Kaelyn weren’t so sure about this whole cutting-up-a-pumpkin activity._mg_6313 _mg_6319 Michael did a fantastic job, and the girls were so excited over the result. It was fun to actually have a place outside to display it this year too, since we couldn’t really do that at our apartment in years past.img_20161030_214839-01

These little holiday traditions bring me so much joy.

trick-or-treat at the mall 2015

Late Halloween afternoon, we took the kids to the mall to do some easy trick-or-treating! I always have a really hard time getting decent pictures in the mall with the way the lighting is (and I totally grabbed the wrong camera lens too, whoops)… but here are the few photos I did take. 🙂

We met up with Karl and Kaitlyn and had a good time goofing off while walking around getting candy. No matter how old I get… I don’t think picking on my little brother ever will get old. We are kind of obnoxiously goofy together._MG_9819 Our kids were pretty tired (due to a shortened nap/no nap), so they just rode in the stroller the whole time. This made the event go a whole lot faster and easier, and I was surprised when I realized we had been through the whole mall in about 30 minutes._MG_9814 _MG_9816 Kaelyn had never had a lollipop… but she sure figured out how you’re supposed to eat them! She just missed that one very important step… taking the wrapper off! I finally let her try one for real, and not long afterward, we noticed that she had a completely different flavor pop in her hand, and the first one we had given her was nowhere to be found. Our little Lollipop Bandit pulled this trick a few times before we wised up and confiscated her candy bucket.

Sneaking candy on Halloween… she learns fast! 😉_MG_9821This is my last Halloween post for this year… sad! I can’t believe our first holiday of the season is already over and we’re less than three weeks away from Thanksgiving!