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!

five favorites (08/03)

What better way is there to kick off a Monday than with some fun things we’ve been up to lately? I still find so much gratitude when I write these posts, so even if they’re only for myself, they are definitely worth the time.

ONE. We introduced the girls to tie dye! They have been looking forward to it all summer long, and I was just waiting for shirts to go on sale so we could use the kit I already had. Everyone chose a different design, and we helped put the dye on. Daddy did his shirt last, so there wasn’t much dye left. We let the girls go crazy with the remaining dye and make his shirt however they wanted. It turned out pretty cool!

Eve was not into taking this picture at all. It kind of cracks me up. Real life, you guys. Always my little monkey.We all matched for our family walk. These little moments are so precious. TWO. Kaya, Kaelyn, and Nella decided that they wanted to make playdough one afternoon. All I did was print the recipe, and they executed it all on their own! It’s amazing to see how much they have grown to be able to do.
This kept them busy for hours… and kept me sweeping up playdough for days. Haha.Sensory play is the best!
THREE. After the girls finished their virtual race series a couple months ago, we let them choose if they wanted the commemorative medal or a race t-shirt. They all chose medals, but it took quite a while to get them in the mail. They finally came at the end of last week, and it was like a mini-Christmas. I loved their giant smiles as they ran around wearing them. They definitely earned these! This is one of the most genuine Nella smiles I’ve captured.FOUR. Our church Primary put on a “drive-through ice cream” activity last week. It was so simple, but it meant so much to the girls to get out and do something special. The pandemic has still changed things for them, and they miss going out as a family. I was okay with this since it was outdoors and low-attendance. We are definitely out of practice with leaving the house, though- we completely forgot the diaper bag and wipes to clean everyone up afterward. Thankfully, we were able to borrow some (especially since Eve was completely covered in popsicle juice just moments after I took this picture)!FIVE. Family movie nights are the best. I think the girls’ favorite part is the popcorn, but I love snuggling up with freshly-bathed babies in soft pajamas. There’s nothing better.
They’ve recently discovered the Sophia the First TV series, so we borrowed the movie from the library to get the whole backstory. They loved it.
HAPPY MONDAY!

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.

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 on friday (07/03)

Happy Friday! We’ve been enjoying our long weekend by balancing some house projects with having fun. There has been a lot going on here lately, with milestones, birthdays (last week and next week), and resuming our schoolwork already. Here are some of our favorite things lately!

ONE. Kaelyn lost her very first tooth this week! We noticed it was very loose the night before her birthday, and then it came out three days later! She was reading a book and it just popped right out. We never found it, and she said maybe she swallowed it. Oops.The tooth fairy still came and brought her a dollar!TWO. Kaya met a big milestone this week, too- she learned to ride her bike without training wheels! It was really no big deal for her. Daddy took her pedals off a few weeks ago to get her used to balancing it on her own, and when he put them back on this week, she zoomed away without any trouble. She loves riding her bike even more now. THREE. Nella needs her little tricycle fixed, but she’s been having fun driving her puppies around in the toy car. She was looking so cute that I just had to take a few pictures. Look at her toes peeking out underneath! And she was wearing her Elmo shirt, of course. THREE. We took about a month off of school, and it was so much fun to see what activities the girls came up with for themselves during the break. There was A LOT of art, crafting, playing outside, and Calico Critter town-building.

I just love seeing them be so creative.
Eve’s version of watercolor painting is literally just painting with water. I gave her her own paints, but this is just how she preferred to do it. Paint until the paper falls apart! I showed Kaya and Kaelyn how they could use crayons to draw and then paint watercolors over it. They had some fun! Nella asked me to paint some fishies with her. I love when she asks to do things together. FOUR. What’s better than puppy snuggles in a hammock? Probably not much!

Our poor Scout has been having some extra vet visits and treatment for what could be early kidney disease. We did some subcutaneous fluids at home with her, and she goes back for bloodwork in a couple weeks. Hopefully, the levels that were elevated will come down. We sure love our puppy. FIVE. I painted everyone’s toes for the first time in a very long time. It was actually a first for Evie! She loved it so much. There’s just something extra sweet about chubby little toddler toes with sparkly colors on them. So many toes! I love these little things with my girls.

Happy weekend!

five favorites (06/23)

It’s not Friday, but I’m overdue for one of these posts! We’ve been off of school for a few weeks already, and despite mostly still being quarantined, we’ve been trying to make the most of our time at home. Luckily, it really doesn’t take much to keep these girls happy!

ONE.  We’ve had a lot of outside fun and have really enjoyed the sunshine. Nella and Eve love to draw with chalk and throw a ball back and forth together. It’s been fun to see them getting closer and spending more time interacting with each other, instead of just playing side-by-side. Kaya and Kaelyn are my little monkeys. They’ve probably spent hours up in this tree.TWO. Our local pools have closed for the whole summer, so we got a little inflatable one to try. It takes forever to fill, so I’m not sure how often we’ll be using it, but it’s a fun treat every once in awhile. The girls were so excited and had the best time playing in it, even if it’s really not much more water than they’d have in the bathtub!Kaelyn really wanted to wear her floaty. I love these sisters.I was really excited that Eve got to wear her panda swimsuit… my favorite!Nellie was blowing bubbles!THREE. The girls had been begging Daddy to take them camping! Because of all the rain we’ve been having, he decided to set the tent up in the basement. We couldn’t trust Eve to sleep anywhere but her crib, so I stayed upstairs with her, and he slept in the tent with the three oldest girls. There was a lot of silliness and not a whole lot of sleeping that night, but they had a good time. Eve’s face! She didn’t know she wasn’t staying yet!FOUR. We had a taco and ice cream sundae party to celebrate the end of the school year! Everyone was so excited to eat outside at the kid table. We also recently introduced the girls to hard taco shells, so they have been really loving those. Yes, it was Taco Tuesday!We gave them Magic Shell for the first time, too! It’s the simple joys.FIVE. Kaya, Kaelyn, and Nella have been saving up their allowance for months, and finally decided that they wanted some new Beanie Babies. We ordered them online and they came in the mail just in time to open after we finished our weekly chores.Nella picked this little dog, “Huey”, and has been completely obsessed with him ever since. Apparently, Beagle (her all-time favorite stuffie) is his mommy.Kaelyn chose this Unipuppy she saw at Joann’s months ago. Daddy calls it a “Puppycorn”, haha.Of course, Kaya chose this sparkly cat, Whimsy. I love seeing them enjoy things they’ve worked so hard for.Evie doesn’t get allowance, but she requested a picture anyway.Happy Tuesday!

five on friday! (05/29)

There are still a few minutes left of Friday… so why not put together a “Five” post? I have missed doing these consistently over the past few months. Writing out a few good things at the end of the week really helps give me some perspective and renewed gratitude.

ONE. I am SO PROUD of these girls because they finished all five races in our local running store’s virtual series! We did their final mile this week. Eve rode in the stroller for all of it, but she was a great sport, so she gets points, too.I’m grateful we had some extra motivation to get outside in between all the rain we’ve been having!Love these girls. Love holding hands. Love matching Minnie Mouse shirts. Love being outside!

TWO. Daddy, Kaya, and Kaelyn made cookies to deliver to some neighbors this week. The girls were so excited! We all love Great Grandma Teerlink’s traditional “Square Shooter” recipe.

THREE. Kaya and I finished her standardized testing for the year! She did great, and as mind-numbing as giving a test for days can be, I’m relieved to have that checked off for the year.

Yes, all of Kaya’s favorite plush kitties “watched” her take her test. She was also dressed up as a queen.

We also tied up the last few loose ends of our textbooks. It feels like such an accomplishment to check off the last page of a huge book!Cuddling up and reading is my favorite.

FOUR. We’ve had a decent number of warm days lately, so Nella and Eve have been enjoying the water table again. They always seem to end up completely soaked!Nella likes to pretend to cook!Taste-testing is probably not such a good idea, though.

FIVE. Kaya and Kaelyn have become epic fort-makers. They take over the entire living room with their creations and play in there for hours. Usually, they pretend to be mermaids (along with Nella) named “Mirmy”, “Mirmir”, and “Bloomer”.

Happy Friday!

spring hats & pinwheels

We received a box of hats, pinwheels, and Easter eggs filled with candy from Grandma Gina, and these girls couldn’t have been more surprised! They looked so sweet in their hats that I just had to take a few photos. There may have been some bribery with jelly beans, but everyone was generally cooperative, and I was grateful to get some sweet photos of all my babies together. Notice Scout peeking out the window!Eve turned into a complete ham and really cheesed it up.Wait for it…Little goofball.She keeps us smiling, that’s for sure. Nella usually isn’t very willing to get her picture taken, but I still love the few I got of her sweet little face. Kaecakes! I love these girls. Happy Spring!

once upon a snow day

It’s May and I’m writing about a snow day… sounds like it should be against the rules, right? 

This was the only snow we had this winter that was deep enough to play in, and with the recent plummeting temperatures here due to a polar vortex (again, in MAY!), I couldn’t help but reminisce on this day and the fun we had.On a day we truly needed a break from our regular schedule, we woke up to find the world transformed into a winter wonderland. This snow felt like a gift to me in so many ways.Daddy bought us a new sled this year, since the one the old homeowners had left finally cracked to the point where it was unusable. Kaya, Kaelyn, and Nella couldn’t get enough of sledding down the big hill over and over again. They took turns pulling each other up and down and giggled like crazy every time. Eve and I had a go!Kaya built the cutest little snowman. He had a carrot nose and even wore the hat that Grandma Gina made for her.She was so in love with him, and it was heartbreaking to watch him slowly melt as the sun emerged later in the day. Kaya has such a tender heart.Nella ended up wearing my kitty-cat mittens and was the happiest ever.Eve quickly tired of the snow. She was not having fun at all, really, and if I wasn’t holding her, she was screaming. Hopefully she’ll like it more next year.Kaya and Kaelyn were content to be out for hours.
Did I mention that Kaya made my hat all by herself?We came in for hot chocolate and dry clothes. I’m so grateful for these beautiful days with my babies.I had to include this one of Scout. She doesn’t like to be out in the snow, but she’s ever-watchful.

five on friday (05/01)

It’s still Friday, and I felt like putting a post together for the first time in a while! What better way to start May?

We’ve been making the most of being at home, and we’ve come up with some simple, fun things to do as a family. The little things are always the most memorable, anyway.

ONE. We’ve had some beautiful weather intermittently over the past month or so. It felt more like summer at the end of March than it does now, and somehow, we even had small amounts of snow between then and now. Anyway, we made the most of the warmest days and had a couple of “picnic” lunches on the deck. The girls thought it was the most fun thing ever to move their little table outside.CHEESE! We also enjoyed the first strawberries of the season, which always seem to taste the sweetest.

TWO. Kaya, Kaelyn, Nella and I have been participating in our local running store’s virtual race series. They created the races especially for this time of social distancing, and it’s definitely been a bright spot in our weeks. The girls love to go running with me, and I can tell how accomplished they feel when they’ve finished.Nella busted her lip on the pavement during the first run when we were almost home. She was a champ and still smiled for a picture afterward.I love that Michael snuck this one of us all heading out to run together. That little hand hold!

Going for a run means you get freezie pops afterward!THREE. We had a dinosaur come visit our yard… He went all around the neighborhood being silly, and all three of the older girls loved it so much.Eve was slightly wary, and the T-rex might have almost eaten her! (Don’t worry, it was just Daddy in the suit!)FOUR. Lately, Kaya, Kaelyn, and Nella have been obsessed with the Polly Pockets I had as a little girl. They ask to play with them just about every day while Eve is napping, and seeing them enjoy these play sets is something so special to me. These were some of my very favorite toys, and I definitely spent hours and hours playing with them when I was young, too. I’m grateful my parents saved them and that they stayed in such great condition. FIVE. This little troublemaker gets into everything in a split second. She’s definitely my wildest at this age. She came downstairs one day with her face all colored pink with lipstick, and it was just too funny and adorable. Good thing she’s so cute! It’s impossible to stay grumpy at this face.Happy Friday!!!