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!

pumpkin painting (2019)

The girls were so excited to paint their pumpkins for Halloween! This is a tradition we started back when Kaya was only two years old, and I really love how it’s evolved over time. Painting gives them the freedom to create whatever they can imagine. Kaya made a ladybug to match her Halloween costume!Kaelyn’s favorite thing in the whole world is a Dalmatian… so you can guess what she made! Nella was very serious about this job. She didn’t make a design, but she did choose these specific colors. Eve… well… She did what she always does… make a HUGE MESS! She also tried to eat paint (thankfully, it’s nontoxic) and ended up with it pretty much everywhere. I’m really glad I put this brown paper down first to at least catch some of the mess. She was having a good time, anyway.She did get some paint on her little pumpkin!
Kaya had the idea to put some pipe cleaners on hers as antennae. So creative! I love it.Cutest little Dalmatian.Nella painted the entire thing! I made a quick “Sally” from The Nightmare Before Christmas! I loved all their designs, and I was amazed to see how their skills and creativity have really grown over the last few years. I hope this is a tradition they’ll always want to do!

five on friday! (11/15)

We’re halfway through November already. I really can’t believe it! I’m trying my best to get caught up on here before the holidays start.

ONE. Our beloved Kangaroo Kids class has officially ended until next year. I have just as much fun as the girls do, and I really could make a whole post out of it, but I’ll just keep it to the highlights here.They loved this new inflatable pizza.Kaya and Kaelyn ask about these hopper balls nearly every week. These were one of my favorite things in my elementary school gym class, too.Bubble time is Evie’s favorite! She is also obsessed with the bounce house now that she screams when we get out of it!Eve is also now a pro basketball player. Her little ponytail and headband made this even more adorable!

Michael got to come with us to an evening class (unusual for us, but it was a make-up class), so I had extra time to bounce around with the girls. This is one of my favorite things for sure.

TWO. Michael went to a conference at Cornell University last week. He even had the opportunity to present! I’m so proud of him for all the amazing presentations he does and how well he represents his team at work.He got to enjoy some snow, but thankfully, it didn’t affect his flight home at all.So pretty! I love seeing other university campuses.The girls had a very hard time with him gone, which meant they were constantly waking up at night and crying. It was rough. We did do quite a bit of Facetiming with Daddy (and when you have four little girls, it’s totally normal to have a unicorn on your head)!Kaya sent Daddy this text, and I thought it was just the sweetest representation of how much she loves him.We’re happy to have him home!

THREE. Our children’s museum closed at the beginning of the year in order to renovate a new space and move! We really missed going, and it seemed like forever until it was finally done, but it opened last week! We went for the first time and had so much fun with all the new play areas.The girls loved the vet clinic and had to play there first, of course.Eve loves guinea pigs, so this piggy was her best friend for the rest of the day. (Also, those fuzzy boots on her just melt me!)Daddy had just as much fun building tall towers and knocking them over.Kaya became a builder!They had these benches that you could decorate with markers. Kaelyn surprised me by writing this on the bench, and I hope they never paint over it.Kaya made a cat, of course!FOUR. This one was from a few weeks ago, but I love time with our friends so much that I had to put it in here. We had a few play dates with Aaliyah and Talyah at the playground before it got so cold. The girls play together so well, and I am grateful for friends.FIVE. After a rough week with Michael being gone, and then the girls taking turns being sick, everything felt hard. Sometimes, I feel like I’m doing this whole motherhood thing wrong, and I get discouraged. Without ever knowing how much this means to me, Nella took the special sticker she got at Kangaroo Kids (hearts are her very favorite), put it on a paper, and added some yellow scribbles. She gave it to me and said, “I luh you”. My heart melted.These precious little moments are what get me through the hard days.Happy Friday!

five on friday! (10/18)

Happy Friday! I have a lot of small things to share that have brought me so much joy this week, so I’m glad to squeeze this post in just before Friday ends. Little things really are my favorite.

ONE. I have to start with these adorable matching sisters! I know I’m biased, but come on… that ear-to-ear grin on Nella and Eve’s insanely-blue eyes? They are really becoming little buddies with a perfect sibling relationship, meaning that sometimes they play and hug, and other times, they push each other and fight over toys. I really love seeing them interact, and having them wear the same shirts that Kaya and Kaelyn wore four years ago just completely melts my heart. They’re my next inseparable duo, just like their oldest sisters. TWO. Kangaroo Kids started up again, and these girls could not be happier. I love seeing them jump, climb, balance, and pretend. Nella has started asking, “Go Bim Bam” when she wants to go to our class, because at the end, we usually sing a few songs, including this one called Razzama Tazzama. Watching her have fun is just the greatest.Eve is all over the place now, walking and climbing on everything. She really wants to keep up with her sisters.THREE. Kaya and Kaelyn have been making some pretty fun art lately. Kaya started this one out as a galaxy, but it somehow turned into a rainbow, as most of her creations do!

Kaelyn made this card for Kaya. It says, “Kaya, I hope you like this card. I love you Kaya.” She even made a little “frame” for it (they learned how to do that from Mr. Rogers), and attached a cute turtle at the bottom. She’s so thoughtful.

This one is from Kaelyn, to me. She drew me outside with flowers and a butterfly!Kaya has also been really into making these bubble/block letters. She sometimes writes notes on the magnadoodle board and leaves them for me to find.FOUR. I got to do a photo session for a family Michael knows through work this week, and we had a lot of fun. Michael met up with me on location so he could take the kids, but they ended up staying and playing with the other family’s little girl, which was a blast. We all went to dinner afterward, and I’m still excited about the dreamy lighting we had.Those little arms reaching around Daddy for a hug… ahhhh my heart!FIVE. Kaya came down with a cold on Thursday, so she’s done quite a bit of sleeping, and we’ve had modified school lessons. We even counted watching The Magic School Bus as science, which everyone really really loved!In between sleeping, she’s read over 100 pages of Because of Winn-Dixie. I’m so proud of my avid reader! She can’t wait to see the movie when she’s finished.Happy weekend!

five favorites (10/08)

It’s not a Friday (or even the weekend, for that matter), but I’ve been really wanting to write one of these for a few days. I’m still figuring out how to balance all the things I need to do with all the creative things I want to do, but this little bit of sharing and organizing of my pictures is so good for my soul.

ONE. I don’t know what took me so long, but I finally got some watercolor paints for the girls, and we are loving them. We’ve used tempera and acrylic paints before, but the watercolors are so much cleaner and easier as far as set-up goes. Bonus points for incorporating them into our science activity! Painting the solar system!

TWO. It’s only taken me a thousand years of doing laundry, but I think we’ve finally figured out a system that works for us as far as keeping up with it! We’ve really limited how many items of clothing each person is allowed to have, and we do at least one load each day. In the morning, I take all the clean items and sort them by person. Kaya and Kaelyn are responsible for folding and putting away their own clothes, and I do everything else (Nella sometimes puts hers away after it’s been folded). It’s become a habit now, so no one really gripes about doing it. It’s been such a huge relief to not be behind! Plus, the girls get to pretend the empty baskets are boats (and they look adorable all squished in there, although I can’t believe they can all fit, really)!

THREE. Sometimes, being homeschooled means you get to have a special treat during the afternoon when your baby sisters are sleeping. Kaya and Kaelyn earned these cookies after helping with some extra clean-up.

FOUR. We finally made it back to the library (after a long hiatus) to get some books and movies, play in the kids’ area, and do some festive coloring. All the girls were so happy to be there and could have stayed for hours had we had the time. Even little Eve was trying to use crayons! I was also reminded how important small acts of service can be. While we were there, we ran into a friend from church, who offered to help us check out and carry all our books to the car. It’s really not a big thing… but I had been having a bit of an emotional day, and just that little bit of help while I cared for my four girls turned my day around. People are good. I’m trying to be more mindful about how I can help others, even in small ways.FIVE. We really enjoyed our church’s General Conference broadcast this past weekend! We always try to take a group picture on Conference weekend, so here it is, serious and then silly, of course. I really loved this quote: “If you hesitate in this adventure because you doubt your ability, remember that discipleship is not about doing things perfectly, it is about doing things intentionally. It is your choices that show what you truly are, far more than your abilities.” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf). I have a renewed desire to try my best, not worry about doing it all “perfectly”, and try to avoid being distracted from my most important work by things that might be “good”, but aren’t “best”.Happy Tuesday!

general conference weekend (april 2019)

Conference weekend already feels like it was forever ago! We were surprised on Friday afternoon when Grandpa Skip and Grandma Gina came up for a visit! The girls were just so excited.

They took us out to Red Robin for dinner, which is a favorite for all of us. This is one place where Kaya, Kaelyn, and Nella actually eat their dinner, so it’s a win! They also really look forward to getting a balloon to take home at the end.Eve tried French fries for the first time ever and LOVED them! She was also dancing along with all the N*Sync and Backstreet Boys songs the restaurant was playing.There was also some Sweet Frog involved… these girls are living the life when Grandma and Grandpa are here!I woke up early on Saturday morning to get my final 13-mile training run in before my second half marathon of 2019. My friend Brook came and paced me on her bike. It was so fun to have a buddy along with me (those long runs can get a little monotonous sometimes), and I was really happy with my pace.I came home, Michael cooked me some scrambled eggs, and then everyone except Eve and me headed out to Home Depot for the Kids’ Workshop! They put together these little birdhouses and did an excellent job. This was Nella’s first time doing one of these crafts, and she loved it (of course, she had a lot of help). The girls came home and wanted to paint their birdhouses while listening to General Conference. It was an easy way to keep them quietly busy!

Notice the purple paint next to Nella’s eyebrow!

I love these happy people.

This is what happens when they try to be serious. It just doesn’t seem right!There we go. The perfect amount of silliness:As always, listening to the Conference talks was uplifting and encouraging. One of my favorites (among many) was from Sharon Eubank, who said, “Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said: ‘It is not intended that we run faster than we have strength. … But [in spite of] that, I know … many of you run [very,] very fast and that [the] energy and emotional supply sometimes registers close to empty.’ When expectations overwhelm us, we can step back and ask Heavenly Father what to let go of. Part of our life experience is learning what not to do. But even so, sometimes life can be exhausting. Jesus assures us, ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.'”.

At a time in life when there is always so much to do, I feel the importance of remembering that we don’t have to do it alone. Christ is there to strengthen us, and we can act as His servants to strengthen those around us.

five favorites (03/19)

I meant to post this on Friday, but I keep falling asleep on the couch and not finishing anything! I don’t say that to complain; it’s just the season of life I’m in right now, and I want to remember it.

We’ve been having some fun around here amidst all the craziness:

ONE. These cute girls have loved our Kangaroo Kids class the past few weeks. They were especially excited to see these little hopper balls out to play with during one class. This is one of their very favorite things to do, and I think they hopped around for at least 30 minutes straight. Nella tried it out, too, but she hasn’t been very keen on having her picture taken lately. Bubble and parachute time is always a favorite! The bubbles are popped all over Kaelyn’s hair and jacket in this picture. We usually sing “Zoom zoom zoom, we’re going to the moon!” at the end of each class while playing with the parachute. I love seeing all the kids get so excited for this part.TWO. Nella is getting interested in coloring, finally! She really didn’t care for it at all until now. Now we just need to work on staying on the paper! Oops.THREE. We finished our standardized testing for Kaya’s first grade year, so we all went out to celebrate with frozen yogurt! These were some very happy girls. (Bonus: Nella was free because she’s under 3!)They have a giant chalkboard there, so of course, we all had to draw something. Kaelyn made this pig eating an ice cream cone. Adorable!Kaya made herself with a cat, with ice cream!FOUR. Nella is obsessed with helping me in the kitchen lately, whether it’s putting clean silverware away or baking. She loves putting the muffin cups into the pan… or just lining them up, putting chocolate chips in them, and eating them. Same thing, right? FIVE. I started using the 1 Second Everday app in February in order to encourage myself to take more videos. So far, it’s been a lot of fun! Here is last month’s little video collage. These types of things really help me see the beauty in everyday life.

Happy Tuesday!

my birthday! (2019)

My birthday this year was so simple, sweet, and special. My girls and my best friend planned a few activities for the evening, and it was just perfect for me.

Kaya and Kaelyn were so excited about my birthday (probably more than they ever have been) that they were jumping on my bed the night before it, yelling, “It’s almost Mommy’s birthday!” They sang to me first thing in the morning, and after quiet/nap time, Kaya came out of her room with this very thorough “birthday festivities” list she had written all on her own (with some brainstorming from Kaelyn).I love these little ladies and their enthusiasm so much! Kaelyn insists that any birthday girl must wear this birthday crown that Grandma Gina gave her for her 4th birthday, so I had fun being the “Birthday Princess” for the night! (Also, is it just me, or do they happen to look like teenagers here?)Michael brought home some Chinese- one of my favorite dinners! Mmm.
After dinner, Michael banned me from the kitchen so that he and the oldest three girls could bake a cake. I nursed Eve, and then she rolled around on the floor while I folded laundry and listened to a podcast. It was actually pretty great to have quiet time!Michael’s life lesson from this cookie cake: don’t put the candles in until it’s completely cooled! There was a lot of wax in the middle, but we cut that part out. It was sooo delicious!
I love this picture so much. This is a true Nella face for sure!Mmmm.Now, I know almost everyone would say presents are the best part of a birthday… but these gifts right here truly came straight from my girls’ hearts. Kaya’s own sheet of Hello Kitty stickers, cards from both Kaya and Kaelyn, and something that Kaya wanted to spend her own allowance on for me (she also wrapped it herself)!Kaya immediately hopped into my usual role at their birthday parties… the paparazzi! Look behind her, and you’ll see Nella holding her Beagle up in an attempt to make me smile, just like we often do for her!A rare voluntary picture with Nellbells…Homemade cards and homemade hugs! 🙂New slippers from Kaya!The best part of this gift was seeing how happy she was when I opened it. She’s got a heart of gold.So comfy.I just loved all these cards so much. “I LU” is how Kaelyn writes “I love you” right now.They really know how to make a day special.

five on friday! (01/25)

Happy Friday!!! The day is almost over, but I’m glad to sneak in one of these posts before it ends! These simple little things are some of my favorites to look back on.

ONE. Evie had her first “snow” last week! I say “snow”, because it really ended up being more ice than anything else. Kaya and Kaelyn were so disappointed that it wasn’t right for playing in, but we still bundled Eve up just long enough to take a picture and head back in. She had no idea what was going on, but I still managed to get a smile!The first real snow of the season happened while Michael, Eve, and I were in Spain, so we missed that one.That’s a tired baby who really didn’t care that the outside world had turned into an icicle. (But oh, those cheeks of hers!)

TWO. I finally bought the girls some new dry erase markers, after a very long time without any (a certain 2-year-old someone was big enough to take the caps off the old markers, but still too little to put them back on, so they all dried out)! They have loved drawing on the whiteboard nonstop. I always love seeing what they make.

Kaya is still the queen of rainbows!She is also still obsessed with dinosaurs……and she is very ready for my birthday, which is still a few weeks away. I love how excited she gets for all celebrations.Kaelyn made some rainbow hearts……a dinosaur (Stegosaurus?)……a cute little turtle……and, a “statue” as named by her. The abstractness of this one reminds me of some of Picasso’s later versions of Las Meninas… seriously!

THREE. Over the past few months, the trees in our backyard have suddenly become the perfect hangout spot for cardinals. We’ve spotted up to six out there together, and amidst all this dreary brown and gray of winter, I’m glad to see those bright red birds out my window. They’re my mom’s favorites, too, so I always think of her. They are welcome to stop by anytime they please! The girls love watching them. FOUR. When everyone suddenly wants to squish together for a photo, I don’t miss the opportunity for anything! I love these girls so much, and I’m grateful for these rare, random moments when they’ll let me photograph them all together for a few minutes. I still can’t believe these girls are mine sometimes. Also, we’ve had several cuddly pajama days lately, especially with the recent frigid weather! I just love cute kids in jammies.FIVE. Because we like to keep things silly around here… huge play glasses on little kid faces crack me up! HAPPY FRIDAY!

five favorites (01/14)

I meant to write this on Friday, but as life goes, I’m finally sharing on a Monday! It’s one of those rare days where we’ve finished school, dinner is already prepared, and the older girls are playing quietly while the little girls nap, so I feel like I can take a few minutes to hop on here and blog!

ONE. A new year means new classes for the girls at church! They are always so excited to move up to the next age group. I didn’t necessarily plan to take “first day” pictures of them, but they remembered that we did this last year and were willing to do it again. Kaya is looking like such a young lady these days.I’m a little sad that Kaelyn isn’t our little Sunbeam anymore (there’s just something extra sweet about that first year in Primary), but she has the same teachers for CTR 4 and loves going to class just as much as ever.Evie still just hangs out with us, and I am more than okay with that. Look at these two cuties!Nella most likely wouldn’t have posed with the chalkboard, but she did put this Santa hat on and smile for me. She moved up to “senior nursery” and I just can’t believe she’s so big.

TWO. Perler beads have taken over our house. I’m pretty sure that whoever lives in this house will forever be finding these little plastic beads. See that tub? There’s 22,000 of them in there!Really, though, Kaya and Kaelyn absolutely love these (admittedly, I do too… so many childhood memories)! They have spent hours and hours this past week creating anything they can imagine.Hello Kitty!(Yes, Kaya was wearing lipstick this day!)Skye from Paw Patrol!I’m starting to get better at ironing these a little more evenly (parchment paper seems to work best)!

THREE. Lelia and I went running on Christmas Eve, and we ended up going nearly 8 miles instead of the 6 we had originally planned. We had such a good time that we somewhat spontaneously decided to start training for a half marathon together. This is something we’ve talked about doing for awhile, and I’m beyond excited that it’s actually happening! My paces have been seemed more consistent, and dare I say, a little faster, than the last time I did this, so I’m really excited to see what I can do on race day!I had a 9-miler and a 10-miler this past week! Woohoo!FOUR. We started back to school last Monday. It was refreshing to have just over a month off for the holidays (and our Spain trip), but it feels good to be back at it and checking things off. I’m proud of my little first grader and how much she’s accomplished already this school year. It sounds crazy, but summer doesn’t seem that far away!It’s also so nice when your friends are homeschooling too! Our girls love being together, and I’m grateful that homeschool has allowed them to still have playdates in the middle of the day. (Photo credit to Bianca!)FIVE. I might be a little obsessed with the movie Moana right now (seriously, how cute is Pua the pig?), but I’m super obsessed with this smiley baby. It doesn’t get any sweeter than this!Happy Monday!