five favorites (07/18)

Whew! It feels like it’s been crazy busy around here, but it’s always worth taking the time to write one of these (even if it means sacrificing a nap… which is really hard for a pregnant mama)!

ONE. Michael took last week off of work and used some of his time off to start refinishing our deck. He’s been power-washing and sanding, and today we picked out the new paint color. I’m really excited! Goodbye, chipped red stain! I found his selfie in our shared photos account and it kind of makes me laugh for some reason.

TWO. We’ve spent a lot of time in the little pool so far this summer. It’s not quite the same as going to the community pool, but we’ve already had a lot more fun with it than I even expected to. It doesn’t take much to make these kids happy. I’m not sure where she got the peace sign thing from, but it’s cute! Eve always has to bring her pacifier in the pool and usually likes to stay by me. She’ll go to the opposite end and say, “I’m coming!”, and then she hurries over to me as quickly as she can. She also really loves pouring water on my baby belly!I’ve also really enjoyed this little pool. I can sit in there and the girls still have plenty of room to play. There’s just something extra-relaxing about being in water when you have a baby bump.

THREE. We’ve been trying to take more family walks lately, even if it’s the last thing we do right before the girls go to bed. We usually only go about a mile, but it’s been something I really love doing all together. Sometimes, the girls put their pajamas on before we leave so they’re ready for bed when we get back. Eve was so exhausted after her birthday party that she passed out in the stroller. That’s just the best.Nellie likes to hide in the pine trees and “scare” us as we walk by. BOO!We found some pretty flowers and had to take a picture with them! I love how Eve is not paying attention and is trying to walk away because it’s so true-to-life. This girl has things to do!

FOUR. This week, Kaya had a school assignment to create a flower out of fruit and then write a step-by-step paragraph about it. We turned it into an activity for everyone (minus Eve, who was napping and would have made an epic mess)!Nella has been really into photobombing these days.
Oh this face.And this one. I love Kaelyn’s laugh.FIVE. We borrowed library books for the first time since everything locked down for the pandemic back in March! Our library just reopened a few weeks ago, and we can order books for pickup. I picked out some new ones for the girls, and when Daddy brought them home, it was seriously like Christmas for them!
It was pretty much a book explosion, but I love how they all just dove right in and started reading. I love how much they love books.Happy Saturday!

five favorites (08/10)

Happy Saturday! I didn’t quite get this done yesterday, so here I am. We spent a big part of today cleaning, so it’s nice to pop on here for a bit of fun and share what we’ve been up to this week!

ONE. We got to go to our town’s summer festival last weekend. There were craft vendors of all sorts, with a plethora of homemade items for sale. I think this was the first year we didn’t buy a single thing, but the girls had the best time. They got free lollipops from the local sweets shop. Everyone chose “rainbow” flavor, of course.

The fire station gave out these free firefighter hats, and the girls got to go up in the fire engine to look around, too. It was so exciting for them!The girls have been wearing their hats just about every day since. They pretend to come to my house and check that my smoke detectors are working. I love watching their creativity.They also got to go on a bounce house/slide! This was the best part for them.

TWO. Michael has been working hard out in the yard this week, removing the old bushes, most of which were dead or at least half-dying. This is a massive work-in-progress, but I’m realizing that having a house basically means you’re always working on something. At least, that’s how it is for us.Kaelyn was a good little helper.Nella keeps finding these old tennis balls in the yard. We (and Scout) found quite a few the first year we lived here, so I figured we had uncovered them all. Nope! They are still showing up. Someone must have played a lot of fetch before we bought the house.

I guess we’ll have to figure out what we’re putting here instead!

THREE. Speaking of our yard, we’ve had a lot of wild visitors lately… This buck has been here a few times to eat apples off the tree. He has a deformed antler, so he’s been easy to identify. He was also at the playground one day when I was running! I used my telephoto lens to get these, which is something I don’t get to do very often, so it was a fun change.On another day, we had a mother and her two fawns come by! I had seen the mother before and could tell she was lactating… so I was so excited when she brought her babies with her on her next visit. I only had time to grab my phone to take these before they sprinted away (ahem, Scout, thank you for barking and scaring them)! FOUR. Apparently, I’ve just been having a lot of fun with nature photos this week. Our purple flowers are already starting to wilt and fall to the ground, which means fall is fast-approaching.The girls and I loved reviewing what we’ve learned about pollination by watching the bees drink nectar from each flower.FIVE. One of my very favorite things about having a bunch of little girls is putting them in matching clothes, and it’s even better when I get to match them, too! I was in love with these pink sparkly shoes ever since I bought them for the girls for Easter, and when my size went on clearance last week… I just had to get them. These little moments make life sweet. (Also, Nella’s bare baby legs are just way too cute!)

Happy weekend!

five favorites (09/18)

I always intend to get these posts done on Friday, but with how jam-packed life has been ever since we had Eve, it seems like it takes me a few extra days to actually finish them. Oops! I guess it doesn’t really matter what day I get them done, because regardless, I know that I’ll love looking back on these in a few years.

ONE. We’ve been trying to get outside when the weather has been nice enough, and we definitely snuck in some playground time before the tail end of Hurricane Florence’s rain came here. Nella has been insisting on only riding the big kid swing, and she also went down the slide all on her own for the very first time!We love it when Daddy meets us there on the way home from work!
TWO. I had a doctor appointment this week, and fortunately, Daddy was able to take the girls so that I could go alone. They went on a little walk and had the best time seeing some farm animals! Kaya and Kaelyn named this horse “Beautiful”! THREE. A few weeks ago, Michael really hurt his ankle playing volleyball. We thought it was just sprained, but after about ten days of him walking around in an ACE bandage and not seeing any improvement, he ended up getting an x-ray at the local urgent care clinic. The radiologist told him it was an avulsion fracture, and he was put in a boot!He wore the boot for about a week before he was able to get an appointment with an orthopedist, who told him that he and his colleague had meticulously looked over his x-ray and had no idea what the radiologist had seen. It wasn’t broken after all! Crazy. Michael took a little while to adjust back to the biomechanics of non-boot life, but he’s on the mend now.

Even with a messed up ankle, he’s still been doing house projects. He got the stairwell painted, which is something I’ve been eager to get done for forever!FOUR. On Wednesday, my Dad-in-law sent me a picture of him and Mom having breakfast at Cracker Barrel… so I asked them where they were, and they told me they were in the next town over! They were driving home from their trip out west and completely surprised us by spending the morning here. These little girls were so happy (and of course requested to watch Shaun the Sheep with Grandpa… it’s kind of their thing now)!Grandma got some Evie snuggles!FIVE. We got to go to a Hokie volleyball game last week! I had never been to one, and it was a first for the girls, too. It was really fun to be back on campus and feel the sense of school pride and community that any of my fellow Hokies know! I just had to get a picture of the girls with the largest Hokie Bird statue I know of!Happy Tuesday!

five on friday (07/27)

What’s this? A Five on Friday post?! I haven’t written one since Eve was born! I’ve been trying to keep up with only the most essential tasks these days, so blogging has taken a bit of a back seat to real life, but I’m back, for today at least, and that feels good. This is going to be one giant catch-up post, so I might end up with more than five things…

ONE. Michael was given official paternity leave this time around, and so we enjoyed a full 2.5 weeks of having him home with us. It was really amazing to have that time to bond as a new family of 6 (!!!), and also to have the extra help while I recovered from delivery. I’m so grateful that he could take care of the older girls while I only had to tend to the baby. Those early weeks of just baby snuggles were blissful. He’s back to work, now, although he has been taking it slow in the mornings and going in a little later than usual.

I’d say we’ve been doing really well on our own- the day feels full and life is busy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. On our first “official” day without Daddy, Nella ended up with an upset stomach and threw up for an hour and a half… I felt just awful for her, but the fact that we had such chaos as soon as we were on our own was almost laughable. Almost.TWO. We’ve had a lot of fun with grandparents this past month! Grandma Gina selflessly came up to stay with us while we awaited Eve’s arrival. We tried to have some fun outings (since Eve took a little more time than we all expected), and one of those days, we went to the mall to play at the indoor playground.This little bunny is always Kaya’s favorite!Nella is getting a little too good at climbing…This week, Grandma and Grandpa were able to come back for a day visit! Of course, there had to be a family date to Sweet Frog (Kaya and Kaelyn’s current favorite place). I stayed home with Eve, but Michael brought some back for me (covered in Nutella)!Grandma Debbie also came up for a few days this past weekend! We enjoyed her homemade spaghetti sauce, some long walks, and time at the playground!And a million baby cuddles, of course.THREE. With all of Michael’s time off, he tried to get some projects done around the house. The tasks have ranged from small things like hanging photos and new ceiling fans, to ripping up the entire attic floor so we could have some guys come and seal it (that way, we’ll hopefully lose less heat/AC and be a little more energy efficient).

We were able to borrow a laser level to help with our photo gallery, which made things so much easier!Ta-da! I still need another large frame on the end for a photo of Eve, but I’m really happy with how this turned out. (And I took this before Michael replaced the ceiling fan!)My brother-in-law, Jeff, custom-made the wooden Virginia sign for me. I love it! I also got those watercolor printables from this Etsy shop.Michael has installed three ceiling fans so far. I really love how much brighter the rooms seem with these white fans and light fixtures. We have a few more to replace before the whole house is done, but these little things add up fast, so we’re just doing a little at a time.FOUR. We’ve been blessed with great neighbors and a wonderful church family who have brought us meals and gifts for the baby these past couple of weeks. We are so so grateful for everyone’s generosity.

Kaya and Kaelyn have been pretty big helpers, too. They’ve been holding Eve, soothing her when she’s sad, and have even helped out with chores. Kaya is actually getting really good at mopping!Kaelyn is great at vacuuming the stairs!FIVE. The girls are great at coming up with their own games and ideas, which is really useful since we’ve been at home a whole lot lately. Kaya has been building blanket forts, which provide hours of entertainment for everyone.Even Nella likes hanging out in the fort!We’ve been playing on the deck (and practicing spelling, which both Kaya and Kaelyn think is a lot of fun)…… and spinning around and around in the office chair. We have plenty of entertainment around here!SIX. (Whoops, I knew I’d have more than five things!) Kaya and Kaelyn have been making so much beautiful art lately that I just had to share some here. I love how nearly everything Kaya does incorporates rainbows:“Our Family During the Daytime”:Kaelyn always draws me and her together. In this one, we were taking a walk! I love the giant hearts.And because there was just not enough baby sweetness in this post… Those chubby cheeks and pouty lips get me every time.Happy Friday!

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five favorites (06/16)

Happy Saturday! I’m here with our highlights from the week:

ONE. One of the girls’ favorite summertime “family night” activities is washing the car! I really think they just love anything that they can do in their swimsuits, but this is a win-win for everyone- happy kids, clean van! Everyone had a turn soaping it up and then using the hose to spray it off. Kaya liked running through the water while Kaelyn was spraying! Nella was just obsessed with playing with all the bubbles!It was a little overcast, so by the end of the activity, everyone was chilly. Kaelyn was excited to use her Olaf towel!TWO. It’s been a few very productive weeks of getting projects done around here. Michael has been painting, hanging new towel rods and toilet paper holders, and installing a new faucet in the kitchen.I just love those little seahorses in the girls’ bathroom! It’s hard to tell from the picture, but this minty green paint is so bright and happy, too. (Now hopefully no one smears toothpaste all over the wall… again!)THREE. While Daddy works on the house, all the girls go to Home Depot to get more things for him to work on the house. Ha! These little ladies and I decided to go out and check some things off our errands list last Saturday, and although it was a little exhausting getting them all in and out of the car several times, we really had fun and enjoyed being out of the house for a bit. (Yes, Nella is totally picking her nose. This is real life…)We also went to Target and looked at ALL the toys. Kaya and Kaelyn later said that was the best part of their day (of course)! We found some fox sippy cups on clearance, and since it seems like we never have enough cups (I have no idea how that’s possible, but it is), we ended up getting them. Nella has been so excited to drink from a straw!FOUR. I used to collect cool pencils and pens when I was a kid, and I still have some them stowed away in a drawer. Kaya found this very old Etch-A-Sketch pen this week, and was so excited to try it out. It’s fun to see the old childhood classics still holding entertainment value for the new generation.And yes, they were hanging out in the hammock all together. You didn’t think I’d skip a week of hammock photos, did you?Bookworm baby!Scout actually tries to climb in the hammock on her own just about every day. She seems to think she’s a person, which is usually pretty hilarious. No hammocks for puppies!

FIVE. Sometimes, when you’re the third kid, you need your own little space. Nella found hers in the (clean) laundry basket this week. Of course, she had to bring a baby doll in there with her!Happy weekend!

five on friday (03/16)

It’s late on Friday night, but I just had to squeeze this post in! I have a lot of cute little moments to share and couldn’t pass it up.

ONE. The girls have been putting on these little “costume parades” (in their words) for us lately. The most popular version of the parade is “Frozen”, and while Kaya and Kaelyn each take turns playing Anna or Elsa, Nella is always Olaf. If you think pants are required to be Olaf, guess again! Apparently just a diaper (and one sock?) will do! TWO. Michael has a Docker meetup once a month, and this one included their birthday celebration! Naturally, I had to make some cupcakes for him to bring.Cutest little Docker Captain you ever did see!You can’t beat her adorableness, even with the cap on backward!THREE. I know I talk about it all the time, but it really is my favorite part of the week- Kangaroo Kids!!! I just love how big my girls smile while we’re there.

Nella’s favorite activities involve collecting all the balls she can see… Seriously, I wish they could stay little enough for this forever.FOUR. This is actually pretty big news- we got all new windows installed this week! We were wait-listed for about 10 weeks for this, and I’m so excited it’s finally finished! It was so strange to see the workers just rip the old ones right off the house and have absolutely nothing there for a short period of time…It was pretty cold, too, so thankfully, they were pretty quick about getting the new ones in. We already notice less of a draft and have been able to keep the thermostat set lower, so this was definitely something that needed to be done.FIVE. Kaya has been such a big helper lately, and this week, she wanted to help make Daddy’s lunch. She told me, “He likes pretzels on his sandwich!”, so I thought she’d put some between the bread slices, but this is what she came up with, all on her own. I love her creativity (and Michael loved his special sandwich)! Happy weekend!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

five favorites (09/11)

I really meant to write this on Friday… but it just seems like it’s getting harder to find time to get on the computer these days. Better late than never, as I always say!

ONE. Baking with my little ladies on Sunday mornings is one of my favorite things… ever! Now that the weather has cooled off and it’s basically autumn, my penchant for whipping up homemade jam… bread… muffins… brownies… or really anything, is strong! Getting these two involved in making strawberry freezer jam was super simple, and they loved having the leftover strawberries as smoothies afterward.

TWO. We’re pretty excited, because we just replaced the roof on our house! Between that and the new shutters, it looks so drastically different. The girls loved going outside and watching “the roof guys” working and seeing all their progress. (Also, can I just point out here that Kaelyn is totally Michael’s mini-me? They are so much alike in so many ways!)

THREE. With all the noisy hammering going on, we had some fun getting out of the house. We visited with friends and spent some time at the library. These girls love books, so they always want to bring home more than we could possibly carry. It’s also been fun helping Kaya to try reading some actual stories, instead of just the super silly ones in her phonics book. We also really love the library’s Lego table.

FOUR. I’m so proud of Kaya, because only about a month and a half into our kindergarten year, she’s already finished with half of her math program. Book A is complete! She absolutely loves doing math- she’d probably do these workbook pages all morning if I let her, but I try to slow her down a little to be sure she really understands the concepts. We’re on to Book B, and she’s so excited!FIVE. The other awesome thing about homeschool- being able to take all three of my girls outdoors any time we want for some cool, fresh fall air. I love seeing these babies together (and hey, having the playground to ourselves isn’t bad either)!Happy Monday!

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!

running and shutters (weekend)

This past weekend started off very exciting- Jeff and Lelia welcomed their first baby into their family on Friday afternoon! I am beyond excited for them, and I can’t wait to meet baby Bryce in a few weeks! Kaya and Kaelyn are just as eager to hold him as I am.

Meanwhile, we started off our Saturday with some sweet baby Nella snuggles! One of the best things about Saturdays is being able to move a little more slowly and enjoy time together before we start the day’s projects.I had my longest training run planned for that morning- 13 miles! That’s the farthest I’ve ever run, so once I was finished, I was felling really proud (hence my hands in the air- woohoo!). All the muscles in my legs wanted to quit when I hit mile 11.5, but I pushed through, and when I reached the end of my route, Michael and the girls jumped out from around the corner and started yelling and cheering for me. They said they had to practice for race day… obviously! I’ll take “practice cheering” anytime. I love my thoughtful family.I was very ready for a nap after all that running, but first, we all helped Daddy finish putting the new shutters on the house. (Kaya insisted on wearing those blue toy glasses all day long!)
On Sunday morning, Nurse Kaelyn gave everyone checkups. She loves playing with this dress-up outfit and always tells me that she wants to be a “nurse [who] takes care of babies” when she grows up.

The rest of the weekend was filled with naps, homemade paninis, and church. What could be better? I love these simple weekends with my little family.

five on friday (01/27)

ONE. We went to a big birthday bash for our friends, Aaliyah and Talyah, this week! My girls were beyond excited about having cupcakes. Funny enough, despite all her enthusiasm, Kaelyn didn’t even take a bite out of hers.

Kaya fell in love with the elephant pinata, and was the queen of collecting candy once it was broken open. Sadly, another kid tore the eyes and most of the paper off of it after this, and Kaya was on the verge of tears to see her new friend ripped to shreds. She’s so very sensitive and loving, even toward fake cardboard animals.

TWO. We’ve been doing some more work on the house, from small things like changing out all the brass doorknobs to a “brushed bronze”…

…to painting the office (which is still in progress)! Have you figured out what my favorite color is yet?

THREE. This little princess has started having very animated “conversations” with us every day. She coos, grins, and just melts your heart. Her excitement multiplies a hundred fold when you smile and talk back to her!FOUR. I’m getting a new nephew!!! Lelia and Jeff announced this week that they are having a sweet baby boy in June, and I just cannot wait to meet him!Of course, we had to recreate this silly picture from nearly five years ago (what?!) when I was 15 weeks pregnant with Kaya, but we comically reversed roles and shoved a kitchen towel up Lelia’s shirt. Lelia actually sent me this picture in a card in the mail to announce their pregnancy a couple months ago, and I was so excited that I could barely talk when I called and left her a voicemail.
Really, I’m so happy for this sister of mine and I can’t wait to see our babies all together.

FIVE. Speaking of little babies… I love my sweet, sleeping angel, tucked in so tight.

HAPPY FRIDAY!

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