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!

trunk or treat 2015

Two days before Halloween, our church put on a trunk-or-treat activity. Kaya had chosen her costume over a month prior, and she was so ready to finally wear it! We still had the elephant costume that Kaya wore two years ago, so we went with a zoo theme this year. I’d say we’ve definitely gotten good use out that $3 elephant suit! 😉

Sometimes, I still can’t believe how blessed I am to call these two precious spirits mine.
_MG_9752 There might have been bribery involved to get this smile out of Kaya…_MG_9759 Tall and kind of quiet… a giraffe costume really was the perfect choice for her._MG_9761 The other cutest little elephant you ever did see. 😉_MG_9745 Surprisingly, Kaelyn actually loved her costume. She’s old enough now to grasp the excitement of what was going on, and she enjoyed choosing her own candy from the bag/bowl when they went around trick-or-treating._MG_9740 We had  practiced saying “trick or treat”, but Kaya was still a bit apprehensive when it came time to say it during the activity. With candy as a reward, she eventually got the hang of it. She was begging us to let her eat all her candy immediately afterward. Ha._MG_9742 Add a Daddy Fox and a Mommy Cheetah and we had our own little zoo._MG_9769 There were carnival games inside (run by our awesome Young Women), but Kaya wasn’t too interested in most of them. Both girls did really like the storytime room, though._MG_9784

You know you’ve had a great party when your elephant passes out in the backseat.

five on friday (10/30)

ONE. After a couple days of bad weather, we had a short break from the rain. We were anxious to get outside and play, even if the playground was all wet. Meet the newest little “crocodile hunters.” 🙂Never mind that we were poured on during the last 3/4 mile of our walk home.

TWO. We are going strong with our little “homeschool preschool” and Kaya is still loving it.  I’m thinking of putting together some blog posts to share some of my favorite resources so far (even just so I can remember what we did 2 years from now… when it’s Kaelyn’s turn)!

And hey, since she doesn’t have to leave the house, she can do it in her jammies. Why not?_MG_9732

THREE. We were invited to a little Halloween-themed book club/play date this morning, and Kaya decorated her own “pumpkin”! She was so enthused about this activity, and she even drew the face on it herself! I am so impressed with her fine motor skills.

FOUR. I got a thank-you card from the youth/seminary students at church for making them cinnamon rolls… and it just made my day. I love these kids. It’s the little things, you guys.

FIVE. Fashion alert: pretend fruit baskets are now acceptable headwear. Just ask Daniel(le) Boone here with her coonskin-cap lookalike._MG_9729

Happy Friday! 🙂

halloween cookie-decorating party

On Tuesday morning, we hosted a mini (very mini) Halloween party for the kids. We invited both old and new friends, and kept it super simple. We basically just decorated some sugar cookies and then let the kids all play.

Kaya was truly the happiest little girl as she sat there and decorated cookie after cookie. I think she made more cookies than anyone else did (and actually only ate one… the very first one she made, of course)!_MG_9705 I helped her out with the frosting, and she did an excellent job of loading them up with as many m&ms, Resse’s Pieces, marshmallows, chocolate chips, and sprinkles as possible. Would you like some cookie to go with your toppings? (this is my favorite sugar cookie recipe, by the way 😉 )_MG_9724

We played some Halloween music, and Mia and Kaya started dancing. I’ve said it over and over again, but I just love that my baby has a best friend._MG_9706 I put together some super simple goody bags for the older girls- pumpkin bubbles, glowsticks, a kaleidoscope, and some homemade pumpkin play dough. Kaya was so excited to hand them out and even more excited to open hers up._MG_9712 Kaelyn tried her first sugar cookie at lunchtime, after the party. She had woken up around 5:30 am that day, and so sadly, she was cranky and cried for the majority of the cookie-decorating activity._MG_9718We had a great time with friends, and this little party was a great way to kick off our Halloween festivities! 🙂

trick-or-treating at the mall 2014

On Halloween day last year, we went trick-or-treating at the mall. It was perfect for a toddler- quick, easy, and weather-proof, so I knew we’d want to do it again this year. Unfortunately, it poured down rain that evening, so everyone in the valley had the same idea. It was super crowded, but I think Kaya still enjoyed herself!_MG_4918 _MG_4919 She already knew how the whole getting-candy system worked since we had just had our church trunk or treat a few days prior._MG_4921 _MG_4923 We met up with my brother Karl! Kaya actually let him carry her around for a while._MG_4929 This little puppy sat in the stroller the entire time… which made it really hard to get a decent picture of her… but these are still too cute to not share!_MG_4924 _MG_4926 _MG_4931 We came home, had a lollipop, and kicked back and relaxed (or Kaelyn did, at least…)_MG_4936 _MG_4940 “Show me your candy!”_MG_4941Love my little puppies. Love the holidays. Love that we get to do it all together.

trunk or treat 2014

Tuesday night was our church Halloween party! I was so excited to finally reveal our costumes and take Kaya trick-or-treating, especially since she could actually understand what was going on this year.

We decided to dress up as… (drumroll please)… 101 Dalmatians! Cruella, Jasper, and just two of the 99 Dalmatian puppies! 🙂 Our costumes were a conglomeration of my own handiwork, a few things we already owned, and a couple items bought on the cheap (aka eBay)!
_MG_4769We loaded up our trunk with a lot of stuffed “stolen” puppies. I stayed to pass out candy with Kaelyn while Michael took Kaya from car to car to fill up her bucket.
_MG_4767 My little helper came back to sit with me after she’d been to most of the cars and it started to get dark._MG_4783Jeff and Lelia had some awesome Hunger Games costumes!
_MG_4791 Of course, we two awesomely-clad ladies had to have a picture together (and yes, this is the best Cruella face I could make… dahling!)_MG_4789 There were carnival games inside after trick-or-treating, but Kaya wasn’t too into them. There were a lot of people and she was hungry and tired so we didn’t push her to do much. They did have an awesome photo booth on stage and we loved getting a great picture of the four of us!2014-10-28_214317-2 - Copy

By the end of the night, Kaya was pretty pleased with her candy stash, and Kaelyn was ready for bed (and still not a fan of her costume)!
_MG_4795We came home exhausted but so grateful we get to share these days with our little ones. Happy Halloween!!!

holidays are even better as a mom

When I was little, we’d walk for what seemed to be miles on Halloween night, eager to collect as much candy as we possibly could. We’d always make at least two trips, and sometimes even a third (very late, very cold) final outing with just my dad.

We exhausted ourselves all in the name of good fun. Every piece of candy was hard-earned and worth it.


Now, as a mom to one crazy toddler and a tiny baby, it’s safe to say that holidays feel even more exhausting… but they are so much more fun!

This month, I’ve spent hours dreaming up costumes, sewing, and wiggling little arms and legs into them about a hundred times before their completion. The excitement I felt about trick or treating with my munchkins could have rivaled a child’s anxious anticipation of Santa’s visit on Christmas Eve.

As a kid, tiring myself out was worth all the candy I could get… and it’s more than worth it now, too, and not because I get candy (although it’s a good thing Kaya can’t count how many pieces she started out with…), but because I love seeing their joy and excitement.

Last night was our church Trunk or Treat, and we all came home completely exhausted. Kaya had a bucket full of candy, and I had a heart full of gratitude for being able to share these days with my sweet little family.

Holidays are even better as a mom.