our 4th of july weekend (2020)

We usually treat the Fourth of July like a pretty minor holiday around here. We would typically go to our town’s community fireworks show, and maybe make a red, white, and blue dessert. This year, I had some fun trying to make it a really fun day for the girls. I think that being in quarantine for several months has made it so that we look for any reason to make things a little extra special when it comes to family time.

We also lucked out and had absolutely perfect weather all weekend long. We enjoyed the pool on both Friday and Saturday afternoon. It was just the best temperature! I always think it’s fun that Kaya and Kaelyn practice floating in this tiny pool! Being in the sunshine with my babies truly is my happy place.
The girls got to try these bomb pops for the very first time. They were a hit! We repainted our toes… and I will never get enough of little baby feet with pink nails.Kaya and Kaelyn had some time to make chalk art in between swimming!I made this “pulled chicken” (instead of pork), and it was amazing! I love that it was completely from scratch and was so moist that it didn’t need barbecue sauce at all. I tried this corn on the cob in the oven, and that worked really well, too! The girls had never had corn on the cob before. Kaya loved it the most!I made these s’mores bars for dessert, which were also a hit, especially with the kids. I cut the sugar in the crust by half and they were really still too sweet for me.We got everyone bathed and in jammies before we headed outside to do sparklers. Because of social distancing, I counted on these being our only “fireworks” and really soaked in watching the girls have fun with them.Evie was absolutely OBSESSED with the sparklers.Watching all her firsts is still so special. We came inside, and just as we were tucking everyone into bed, we heard fireworks. The town still had its traditional show, and to our surprise, we had a pretty good view of it out our upstairs window. Kaya and Kaelyn were taking pictures and videos with their cameras. It felt like the perfect ending to a great day.

christmas day (2019)

Am I the only one who wishes it was still the holiday season? With a worldwide pandemic going on, I miss the peace and joy that Christmas brings. I’m once again feeling grateful that I’m only just catching up on these posts now, because reliving these moments with my family is the best gift.

So, on Christmas Eve, Mommy and Daddy were up very late when Santa finally decided to deliver some gifts.I thought this might be the year the girls would figure out that they could try to get us up early on Christmas morning, but to my surprise, everyone slept in until 8:15! Kaya did wake Daddy up in the middle of the night at some point to ask how many hours she had left to wait, though. Seeing these faces and hearing their squeals of excitement is one of the best moments for me.Matching jammies courtesy of Grandma Debbie.Let the opening begin!Kaya is definitely the most openly excited about everything, and she “ooos” and “awwws” her whole way through the gift-opening process. I love her enthusiasm and how she just overflows with joy at the smallest of things. Pomsies for everyone! We’re still singing their “meow meow” song just about every day.
I had to put this one in here because it’s just too funny. Kaya made Nella a “Calico Critters car” out of a cardboard box, but when Nella opened it, all she saw was… a plain box. She was so confused and disappointed because this was the first thing she had opened. Her face was priceless, though.Calico Critters chipmunk family for Kaelyn!The Maple Cat family for Kaya!Water WOW and Color Wonder books!Hei Hei is Nellie’s favorite.Along with Elmo! This was Nella’s favorite gift- Daniel Tiger family figurines!Magic Treehouse books for Kaya!Some new clothes for everyone. Nella was very serious here.Games to share.Eve was giving Daddy high fives. Cutest. thing. ever.Play-doh noodle maker! Nella’s big gift was this Calico Critters set!Kaelyn’s was this camper for her Critters! She now drives them on adventures all over the house. The face you make when you can’t believe you got the biggest thing on your list!Kaya loves her treehouse.Kaya also made a “Minnie Mouse Look and Find” book for Kaelyn, which was so sweet. She made a heart picture for Daddy and a cute “I love you Mommy” note for me. Eve got her own My Little Pony!And a Pomsie, too. Daddy got his Star Wars game!Michael snapped this one without me knowing… whew. The opening aftermath! At first glance, all I saw was the huge mess… but I can see now how much fun we were all having, too.Scout was there, too! We love our puppy.I made some homemade reindeer donuts for breakfast.This is happiness right here. Everyone was a fan.We spent the day playing with everything. The family games were especially fun. Eve really loved coloring.It was an absolutely gorgeous day, so while Nella and Eve took naps, Michael got the last gift (and biggest surprise) ready. Kaelyn had been asking for a new bike for ages, but she’d still just been riding the tiny tricycle we have. He put her new bike (and Kaya’s) up in the front yard. When she walked out and saw it, she was ecstatic!
She saw the basket on the front and immediately ran inside to get her Dalmatian to ride in it. Kaya was happy, too, because we told her we had ordered a basket for her bike, and it was due to come in the mail any day.Practicing with the pedals and brakes takes some time!One very happy kid.
We wrapped up a perfect day with the best turkey I’ve ever made. Kaya and Kaelyn even tried mashed potatoes and gravy for the first time and loved it! These smiling faces are the very best gift I could ever have. Creating the holiday “magic” isn’t easy, but for them, it is worth it.We sang “Happy Birthday” to Jesus and had some chocolate cake. It’s such a simple tradition, but it always touches my heart in a special way.

Until next year (247 days to go!)!

teerlink family christmas party (2019)

We always love going to the annual Teerlink Christmas party. It’s fun to see Michael’s extended family, eat delicious food (which means waaay too much mac and cheese for me), and remember our Savior at this special time of year.

This was the smallest group we’ve had at any of the family parties I’ve been to, so we missed a lot of people. We still had enough people to put on the play!I thought Kaya might be too tall to fit in the lamb costume this year, so we were both very happy to see she still did! I loved having three little lambies and a shepherd in the play.
Lelia was an angel this year (perfect role for my sister, if you ask me), and we had a plastic baby doll for the first time in a while! There’s no way Eve would have cooperated, haha.

I love singing the songs and feeling the Spirit. I always think about the previous generations who put on this exact play and wore these same costumes, and somehow, that legacy always touches my heart. There have been so many amazing people who have come before us.

Kaya had the very special job of helping Great Grandpa Teerlink hand out his cards. She did a great job.

Grandma Gina brought a special gift for the girls- handmade baby doll beds! These have gotten so much use over the past few months.

I always love to sit with Grandpa and hear some of his stories. He has made me feel so included in the family.

And some more pictures with Grandpa T, just because!

We love these days as a family and these Christmas memories.

christmas cookies & delivery (2019)

It’s never too late to reminisce about Christmas cookies, right? This is definitely one of my favorite things to do with the girls, and these couple of pictures of us all working on cutting out cookies together are some of my very favorites. It really is worth taking the time to set up the tripod so I can get into a few photos every once in a while.Eve didn’t actually help, because she was really busy trying to eat the gingerbread dough. Maybe next year!Kaya and Kaelyn wanted to try rolling some of the cookies out themselves.. They did really well! They’ve almost put me out of a job at this point! After cutting, baking, and cooling, we decorated! Once again, Eve ate all the sprinkles and candies.Someone else was eating sprinkles, too… Just look at that green beard she has going on! Nella did actually decorate a few, though.Could they have been any more excited? No. The correct answer is most definitely not! I’m not sure who made which of these… but these were some of my favorite designs. I know that Kaya did the rainbow bear on the left, and Michael made the pretty little tree up top.I made a few other treats so we could deliver plates to friends! (white chip chocolate cookies; chocolate chip cookies)

We put on our Santa hats and headed out to surprise people. We only did 14 plates, which is fewer than some years, but I felt like it was enough. I love seeing how excited the girls are to take turns delivering the plates. I think this is one way they truly feel the Christmas spirit of giving.

thanksgiving 2019

We stayed home for this past Thanksgiving. It was only the second time we’ve ever done that, so it always feels a little strange, and I definitely missed my mom’s cooking (no matter how good mine turned out) and hanging out with my aunts and brother. We were also still sick with some kind of upper respiratory mess, so all I really wanted to do was sleep, but I still tried my best to make it a memorable day for my family.

Kaya worked really hard making a homemade garland so she could decorate for us. She comes up with these projects all on her own. I love that she loves contributing to our holidays with her art.We spent the morning watching the Macy’s parade while Michael played football with some guys from church, despite the crazy wind we were having. Kaya and Kaelyn made a bunch of turkey handprints! Waiting for turkey dinner is so exhausting that you have to feign sleep……until it actually leads to real sleep for someone very little.Those lips and cheeks. Ahhh! I did get to nap while the turkey was baking away, only to get it out of the oven and realize I had totally forgotten to put water in the pan for gravy. I panicked, but my mom told me on the phone that I could still add it. It worked, and I think it was actually some of the best gravy I’ve ever made.YUM. I love a turkey with a lot of spices.Michael has been made the official turkey-carver.I told the girls about the tradition of breaking the wishbone, and how whoever gets the bigger piece gets to make a wish. Kaya wanted to do it, but was so grossed out by the thought of touching the bone that she let me stand in for her.Kaelyn won it!Kaya also made these little placemats for all of us to use.We had some delicious dinner, followed by chocolate cake.These two and their faces. Always cracking me up. Kaya was really tired by this point and still disappointed that I didn’t win the wishbone for her.Eve had her first-ever taste of turkey, since she was too little last year. She gobbled it right up! I was amazed by how much she ate. We called our families afterward to end the evening. It was a simple, but sweet day together.

christmas 2018

Finally, our Christmas!!! I’m always sad when this special day is over, so to be able to relive it a little through photographs is such a blessing. Christmas mornings with our little girls will forever be some of my favorite memories.

As usual, we spent our Christmas Eve wrapping presents (with A Christmas Story on in the background)! I was able to wrap most of Kaya’s before Eve woke up and needed me to hold her. Michael is the best and finished the rest. We kept the number of gifts at three for each of the older girls, which was simpler, but plenty. With all these kids, it still looks like a lot under the tree!To our surprise, everyone slept in until about 8:30 on Christmas morning! Even Evie gave us a 6-hour stretch of sleep, which was a pretty great gift. We could hear Kaya and Kaelyn excitedly telling the stuffed animals they had received last Christmas that it was now “their first birthday!” We thought that was pretty funny and adorable.

Happy First Christmas, Eve!They came down, and I just couldn’t wait to see their faces! They indulged me and let me take a picture of them all together before they dug into the gifts (clearly, Nella had a hard time waiting)!Four pretty babies in polka dot pajamas. All I could want.Kaya and Kaelyn got these Fingerlings unicorns! Kaya has wanted one of these forever, and upon opening it, she exclaimed, “My friend is here!”Eve just sat happily amidst the chaos.Nella’s Fingerling was a dragon (named “Tara”)!They each received a candy cane full of M&Ms. Nella looked worried about hers for some reason…Wallets (with zippers so we won’t lose any more allowance)!Kaya and Kaelyn had been waiting for this gift for almost a year… “American Girl” (full disclosure: Target brand) dolls! Eve really wanted to help open this one!                            “Jovie” and “Olivia”!This was definitely one of my favorite moments… Nella’s reaction when she opened her doll! She was surprised and so happy.This baby girl absolutely loves babies. She’s so sweet.
She also really loves her shoes!An extra outfit for their dolls……and then their last, very exciting, gift!Hatchimals!We decided Nella was too little for a Hatchimal, so instead… …she got a Furreal Friends Tiger! I saw him on sale, and he was way too cute to pass up. She wasn’t sure about him at first.She quickly warmed up to him, though!“ROAR!”Her doll had to meet her tiger, obviously. While we were in Spain, the girls went shopping with Grandma Gina and picked out some presents for Eve and I. Kaelyn was so excited to help Eve open hers.A book!Kaya also made sweet cards and notes for everyone! The girls also surprised me with some holiday socks, and my Auntie Joyce sent me a silver Viking ship necklace to replace the one I had lost a few years ago.Keys and an O-ball for Eve! We surprised them with one more shared gift… A Calico Critters house!The gift-opening aftermath.Nella had some more fun playing with Tigey… …while I finally whipped up some breakfast. They girls always look forward to something a little special, so I made homemade chocolate donuts with glaze and then decorated them to look like reindeer. Easy and adorable.They were a hit! All month long, the girls pretend to “call the North Pole” on this toy radio. Kaelyn had the last turn on Christmas Day!I love them. After breakfast, we opened the Hatchimals!It took forever for Kaelyn’s to finally come out (and we had to help it a little in the end), but she was so excited when it finally did! It was a “mystery” one, so we didn’t know which color was inside before hatching it. She was happy with her pink and yellow owl and named her “Grace”.Kaya just happened to get the same exact one (which is really a good thing), and named hers “Rosie”!Meanwhile, Nella carried her Tiger all over the house. In the midst of all this, I was attempting to cook a turkey that hadn’t thawed out at all. It was still FROZEN! The good news is, you can actually still cook a frozen bird, it just takes longer. We ate dinner really late, but it was delicious nonetheless.Someone was spoiled, sitting up on the counter, in such close proximity to the M&Ms…Official turkey carver!After a day full of playing, we finally enjoyed our dinner. The girls were so exhausted at the end of it all, and very much ready for bed. I ended my night with a tacky Christmas movie, contented and so grateful for this precious day with my family.

christmas cookies (2018)

My goal is to be caught up with the Christmas posts before February ends. It might seem ridiculous to be so late on this, but this is the life season I’m in right now. I’m just doing my best to keep up with everything! I can’t let our holiday go undocumented, so here are our cookies from this past Christmas!

We make a pretty big deal out of Christmas cookies around here. It’s a tradition I get from my mom, and I think we do a great job upholding it. These little girls are always so excited to start making them, and they usually talk about doing it for the entire month of December (at least)!It was exciting to have Nella be able to help this year!Kaya and Kaelyn almost didn’t need me. They surprised me when they started rolling and cutting the dough themselves. I’m learning that the biggest messes make the greatest memories.The gingerbread-making process takes us a few days… Day one, I make the dough and chill it overnight. Day two, we bake and decorate, and day three, we deliver cookies. I also whip up some royal icing and always make Michael run to the store to get some more sprinkles (despite my stockpile being quite impressive)! Kaya and Kaelyn were so into decorating this year that they did the vast majority of the cookies themselves! They each did approximately 25, and Michael did 8. I think there were about 5 left for me to do by the time I finished dyeing the frosting and cleaning the kitchen. Someone was taste testing…This was Nellie’s first time decorating! She might have been eating those M&Ms by the fistful…Ta-da! Some of my favorites!Michael made that crazy-looking skeleton guy…“Swimsuit girl” has to make an appearance each year!Evie was so tired from all the decorating. I can’t wait to see her make a mess with us next year!The next day, we delivered some cookies to friends! I definitely kept the plates a lot simpler this year, with only three different types of treats. It was still so much fun to surprise people and enjoy a few short visits.We delivered 15 plates this year (and included some cute cinnamon ornaments that the girls had made with Grandma Gina)!We wore our silly holiday hats and played Christmas music in the car during our drop-offs. Gosh I love this tradition! (And it looks like I need to make another reindeer hat!)

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.

mother’s day 2018

Now that it’s almost Father’s Day… I figured I should actually post about Mother’s Day!

Honestly, Mother’s Day always brings up a lot of strong emotions for me, mostly because I know that there are so many women who are hurting on this day for various reasons.

Before we had our girls, I used to struggle so much because I truly lacked a testimony of my own divine role as a daughter of God. I looked all around me and saw women who were thriving, seemingly called to raise families. I doubted my ability to be “good enough” to ever mother children at all, so starting our family took a huge amount of faith. I’m not a perfect mom, but I’m trying, and I know now that there’s no such thing as “good enough”. Raising these little girls is what I’m supposed to be doing, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Of course, I’m also so grateful for all the amazing women, both those who have gone before me and those in my life now, who have set incredible examples for us.

Kaya was so excited and shouted, “It’s Mother’s Day!” as soon as she woke up that morning. Michael surprised everyone with donuts for breakfast, and we headed off to church. I always look forward to hearing stories from other people about the inspirational women in their lives.Kaya and Kaelyn got to go up to the front of the chapel and sing a special Mother’s Day song (“The Dearest Names”). My girls actually didn’t seem to know the words very well, but it was still completely adorable, especially since it was Kaelyn’s first time performing with the Primary! They always run back to our pew with the largest grins, so excited and proud of themselves for going up there at all.Kaya couldn’t wait to surprise me with this HUGE stack of cards… 21 of them, to be exact. She had them all folded and some tied up with yarn, so it was like opening all these little gifts from her. It was fun to unwrap each one while Michael made lunch for everyone.Kaya also made that little handprint in Primary at church. I might just keep it forever. Both girls received these little surveys at church, too. I always love hearing what they think and how they see our everyday life. No surprise, but it seems like the most simple things are usually their favorites (like snuggling)!

This morning Tara was named World’s Best Mom.
My mom loves to eat food with our family.
When she surprises us it makes me really happy.
My favorite thing to do with my mom is snuggle.
My mom is really good at teaching me.
Her very favorite thing about me is my big hugs and cards.
She loves to eat brownies with sprinkles and has really pretty curls.
Her favorite scripture story is Jesus’ birth.
I love her so much because she takes care of me while Daddy is at work.

This morning Mama was named World’s Best Mom.
My mom loves to take pictures with our family.
When she snuggles me it makes me really happy.
My favorite thing to do with my mom is spend time with her.
My mom is really good at making necklaces.
Her very favorite thing about me is that I’m a good helper.
She has a really pretty smile.

As if that wasn’t enough fun, we also played some Mario Kart (it’s so exciting that the girls are now old enough for games!) while Michael cooked tacos. I actually ate a taco, which was amazing! He even surprised me with a big bag of dark chocolate raisins, so I had some of those, too.

He took the older girls down to the basement to make one last surprise for me before the night was through- a video questionnaire! Now I can watch their adorable little antics forever and ever, so it’s even better than the paper version. (Sidenote: I love how they both said my favorite food is grilled cheese… it’s mostly all they’ve seen me eat for dinner for the past 6-ish months!)

The very best part of this day was seeing my girls’ excitement about everything. They absolutely love making surprises and showing love to our family. And, I’m looking forward to taking a picture with all FOUR of my little ladies next year!

teerlink family christmas party (2017)

This is it… the LAST of the Christmas posts! I am so relieved to be mostly caught up on here. Phew!

We headed up to Michael’s cousin Jenny’s house for the annual Teerlink Christmas Party two days before the new year. Grandma Gina and Grandpa Skip had come to visit us for a day just before this, so we all headed up there at the same time. The girls were happy to continue our visit for a few extra hours.My very favorite part of this entire tradition is doing the nativity play. They’ve been doing it this same way for decades, with a narrated storyline, actors in costume, and group singing throughout.I typically get kind of emotional watching this, and I might have teared up when I saw my shepherd and little lambs come out onto the floor. They absolutely love participating in the play. The whole cast.I just love these people so much!And these people!! So grateful I could have some time with Lelia, Jeff, and Bryce!Four generations! Grandpa spent some time handing out Christmas cards, bearing his testimony, and announcing some items that Grandma Teerlink had designated to go to certain grandchildren. In those tender moments, I know we all were missing her and wishing she could physically be there, too.
We just had to get one of Grandpa and the two littlest! (Nella had a little cold this day, and she was so tired that she wasn’t really excited about photos.)Each of the kids opened one present at the end of the night. Can you guess what ours were by now? Yup… Calico Critters! Nella gave the best gift of all… hugs to her sister.And that wraps up our entire Christmas season! Until next year!!!