five favorites (08/22)

Happy Saturday! I’m taking a few moments to reflect on the past week and feel grateful. Here are five highlights from lately:

ONE. One of Michael’s old high school friends came into town and invited him to go hiking. Michael took Kaya and Kaelyn along, and they had such a great time! This was their first time really hiking on their own, without being carried, and they did amazingly well. This loop is almost 4 miles long, and there wasn’t even any complaining!There’s also a giant waterfall at the top! They enjoyed lunch (which included some special thin mint cookies), and they even tried to swim a little, despite the water being pretty cold. Kaya found a picture frame-shaped stick and had Daddy take a picture special for me, since she knew I’d love it!Daddy treated them to Dairy Queen on the way home, and then they passed out in the car. It was nearly an all-day adventure, and they were so worn out.TWO. While Daddy and the big girls were hiking, I got to enjoy some time with just the little girls. Nella had been asking all week to play dolls with me, so I thought that would be a special activity for just the three of us.
I have two American Girl dolls from my childhood, and Nella loves when I take them out and she gets to dress her doll in their clothes. I help do their dolls’ hair and put shoes on them. It’s really special to watch them enjoy some of the things I had as a little girl.

It also felt so quiet and simple having just two kids at home!THREE. The girls have randomly been willing to pose for a few pictures together lately! It’s out of the ordinary for them to just do this on their own and not have anyone feeling grumpy. There’s something extra special about having them all in one picture. Oh, my heart!They’ve also been really into making these blanket and pillow piles to watch a show. It’s the cutest thing to see them all cuddled up.Snuggly sisters, cuddly stuffed animals. FOUR. After a few months of testing Scout’s kidney function and doing subcutaneous fluids at home, her bloodwork finally came back normal at her last appointment! We sure love our puppy (and her kisses)!Now, we get to slowly wean her off the fluids and recheck her levels in a couple of months. Fingers crossed! FIVE. We’ve been back to school for a while now, but we didn’t start our science curriculum right away, and after we did, I decided to completely shift gears and do something else. We are now trying out REAL Science Odyssey this year, and so far, it’s a big hit! We’ve done a couple of labs, and even little Nella has wanted to participate. It’s fun to watch them making discoveries on their own and learning about chemistry. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the year!Happy weekend!

hiking the cascades

Michael took some vacation time last week, and on his first day off, we decided to hike the Cascades! It was our very first hike with kids (I can’t believe we haven’t gone since before Kaya was born), and overall, it went really well.
IMG_20150817_095244 IMG_20150817_095200 Kaya was a trooper and hiked about 1.5 miles of the 4-mile trail. That is no small feat, especially since there were a lot of rocks and somewhat steep slopes.IMG_20150817_095919 IMG_20150817_095935Both girls loved watching the water move down the river. I loved watching them enjoy nature. IMG_20150817_100027 IMG_20150817_100051After about an hour and a half, we reached the amazing waterfall at the top.IMG_20150817_113709 IMG_20150817_114514 We let Kaya take her shoes and socks off to feel the icy cold water with her toes.IMG_20150817_114410 She loved it.IMG_20150817_114543 I’m so grateful for this little family of mine and these beautiful places to explore together.IMG_20150817_115515 We made our way back down, which almost seemed more difficult for Kaya to navigate than the way up. I will admit, there were some slippery parts of the trail that I was nervous about traversing while wearing Kaelyn. We might wait until they are a bit older to do this particular hike again.IMG_20150817_120307 Both kids were so exausted that they fell asleep before we even reached the bottom of the trail.IMG_20150817_124153These simple memories together are some of the sweetest.

first date and a woodland adventure

My in-laws came up for Easter weekend and camped nearby, which meant that we got to have a whole lot of fun, do a little bit of hiking, and take advantage of some free babysitting! All that pretty much equals a perfect weekend.

On Friday night, Michael and I headed out for our first date with just the two of us in two years. Crazy! I cannot believe how fast that time has gone by. We headed to Cracker Barrel and somehow ended our date by goofing off in the toy aisle at Walmart. We apparently don’t need to have the kids with us to still act like kids…
Processed with VSCOcam with a10 presetWe visited Mom and Dad at the campground, and enjoyed walking some of the trails. Kaya walked over a mile and a half all on her own, which is so far for such little legs! She also enjoyed riding on Grandpa’s shoulders. šŸ™‚Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset I love the mountains, especially in spring.Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset Grandma made matching “Easter” hats for the girls. Seriously… how cute is my baby? I love everything about her happy little face!baba04042015We had a fantastic Easter Sunday too, but there are so many pictures that it’ll have to be another post! We definitely love our family time.

a manly man weekend and a blog remodel

Michael’s alarm went off at 4:05 am on Saturday morning, and for once, he didn’t hit the snooze button! I don’t think he’s ever gotten ready for the day quite so quickly (or so early)! He was very excited, because this was the day of the “manly man” hike that some guys from church were doing. Who wouldn’t want to prove their manliness while watching the sunrise over the mountains? (For the record, the baby and I were at home and fast asleep!)

I have to give those guys some credit, though- the hike was about 3.5 miles long, but they climbed about 1600 feet in a mere 1.5 miles. It was STEEP! Michael snapped these photos with his phone.

As if hiking up a mountain wasn’t enough exercise for Michael, we also took our Baby Bird out for a walk! She always has to get bundled up first, though! She’s received so many wonderful, handmade hats, so we try to alternate which one she wears.

We also spent the weekend enjoying a whole lot of smiles from our little princess. Supposedly, these are “reflex smiles”, and aren’t “real”… but some of them sure do seem like the real deal! She is becoming more and more alert and definitely reacts to us now.

We also had a lot of fun with so many friends this weekend- we went to Sweet Frog (it was my first time there!) after our church meeting on Saturday night. There were so many toppings and flavors that I wanted to try, so I ended up with some crazy conglomeration of sugar. It was delicious, but I think I’ll try to keep it simple next time we’re there.

We also had our friends Nate and Rhonda stop by to visit and meet Kaya! We haven’t seen them in awhile, and their little boy has grown so much! It’s crazy to think that Kaya will be his age this time next year. I don’t want her to grow up too fast, but I know that we have a whole lot to look forward to as she gets older.

The blog also got a face-lift yesterday! I have so many favoriteĀ new photosĀ (can you have more than one favorite of something? Brian Regan does… why not?), so it was easy to choose which ones to use in the header image. I love being able to include our little girl in it now!