five favorites (02/03)

I didn’t get this done on Friday, but what better way is there to start the week than with a “Five” post? These always put me in a good mood. I love sharing my joy.

ONE. Last week, Michael had a business trip out to Utah! We missed him so much, but we made it through. The girls were all such HUGE helpers the entire time he was gone. They even kept lists so they could show Daddy their good deeds. We took them to Sweet Frog for frozen yogurt as a special treat when Daddy came home.Just being all together is the best ever.Eve was really happy about getting something sweet.We sure missed our Daddy!TWO. In addition to the conference he went to, Michael had a whole lot of fun in Utah. He got to see Kevin and Jack, visit with some of his cousins, and stay the night at our dear friends’ house. To be honest, I’m totally jealous I didn’t get to go and see all of them, too!He was able to visit some temples. This one is Manti!He was also able to do some work in the Provo City Center Temple. We saw this being built about 6.5 years ago. It’s so beautiful! Look at these amazing clouds he flew through on the way home. The fact that humans can fly at all is still so amazing to me. This is breathtaking.THREE. What’s better than a baby fresh out of the bath? Those big blue eyes and cute hooded towel over her head just melt me.Also, these pruney little toes!Tickles from Kaelyn. Kaya loves to help give Nella and Eve their baths lately. She even made a mohawk for Nella! This was too funny and cute.FOUR. Kaelyn might still be in Kindergarten, but she completed her math books back at the beginning of December, and has moved on to her first grade curriculum. Math comes so easily to her, so she’ll just do as many pages as she can in a day. It feels crazy to already be going through this book again, since Kaya did the same one a couple of years ago. How does time go that fast?I’m so proud of these girls and all their hard work.FIVE. Kaya is getting really good at using my camera. She took this in manual mode, using back-button focus. She’s done it a few times now, and I’m really impressed. She keeps filling up her own camera’s memory card, too. I’m sure she’s going to get into photography when she’s older.Happy Monday!

kaelyn’s 5th birthday shenanigans

It’s always a little challenging when a birthday lands on a weekday instead of a weekend. We  try to make sure our girls feel special on their real day, and then we have a simple party with family on the weekend. Over the past few years, I’ve started calling these random fun things we do on their actual birthdays “birthday shenanigans”, so here are Kaelyn’s from this year!

She woke up before all her sisters (as she always does) and ran downstairs right away to find her balloons and streamers hanging from the ceiling. These simple things seem to mean the most to our girls.She ran through the balloons, laughing and smiling.We took the day off from school and headed to the pool as soon as everyone was ready!  We were lucky that it wasn’t crowded at all that day, so the girls had an extra-fun time swimming wherever they wanted and playing on the slide and under the “dumping buckets”. We came home for lunch and some sister snuggles. Kaelyn really, truly, adores Evie.Everyone had naps, and when Daddy came home, we had Kaelyn’s favorite for dinner- homemade pizza! She had been waiting to wear the birthday crown for months, so she was excited it was finally her turn!Now, Kaelyn had been talking about Dairy Queen for months. She had only ever been there as a baby, when we used to have one in the mall and would frequently make going there our “family date” activity. We gave her only little tastes back then, so she never remembered having it. The food court at the mall closed, and we hadn’t taken the girls to a Dairy Queen for years.

We decided to take her to the “new” nearby Dairy Queen for her birthday treat, and she was ecstatic! She chose this wild-looking “Zero Gravity” blizzard, which she thought was delicious. We sang to her, and she was the happiest girl in the world.Kaya and Nella were also really happy to have ice cream. Thank goodness for Oxiclean, because Nella’s shirt was blue by the time we left.To top it all off, we surprised her with one small gift- a Paw Patrol Marshall fire truck. She loved it.The weather was absolutely perfect, and the three oldest girls loved running around together in the grass after finishing their dessert. I loved watching their happiness.
I got to hold her for a few moments before bedtime and then tuck her in, which is something Daddy usually does these days. It seems like yesterday that I was holding her as a 5.5-pound baby and waking up with her at night, so I’m grateful I could cuddle her again before saying goodnight.

Happy 5th Birthday Kaelyn! We love you so much!

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!

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!

Linking up herehere, and here today!

five on friday (04/13)

Happy Friday! The sun is shining, and it’s finally feeling like SPRING! I’m so excited for the weekend and some family time!

ONE. We’ve had a few good walks this week! There is nothing like having the warm sun on your face after what has seemed like an extremely long winter. Lately, the girls are obsessed with all going down the slide together. I think Nella isn’t as big a fan of this activity as the older girls are, but she at least tolerates it.Kaelyn and her sunglasses… she just cracks me up. She was also extremely excited that Kaya’s old polka dot hat is now hers!And no, I will never have enough pictures of Nella in the swing. She laughs and laughs the entire time she’s in it!TWO. Michael had a work trip to DC this week! He attended the Docker GovSummit conference and even got to give a talk. He had about 150 people attend his presentation. I may not understand any of his “nerd” stuff, but I am still so so proud of him.The conference building was right down the street from the Capitol. So cool!He was able to walk around for a bit and see the memorials and monuments. Maybe one day we’ll all get to go with him on one of these trips and enjoy seeing the sites, too.THREE. While Daddy was walking around DC, we were bouncing around at Kangaroo Kids! The teachers brought out this new little bounce house, and the older girls were obsessed with climbing over the wall.Nella loves climbing into this big donut-like structure and just hiding. She also collects all the balls she sees!
FOUR. Whenever Michael gets home from a trip, we always try to do something a little extra special (if the girls have been well-behaved while he was gone). This time, we went out for Chinese food. These were some very happy kids!Her “cheese” face just cracks me up.We also enjoyed some family time at the library. It’s always so quiet and refreshing when we go in the evening.FIVE. This isn’t exciting… or at all glamorous… but just a friendly reminder that it’s not a bad idea to have regular skin checks with your dermatologist. This week, I had the tiniest little biopsy (and one single stitch) on a spot that looked like it could have been a basal cell carcinoma on my face, but thankfully, it came back clear. Here’s to using sunscreen and taking precautions against skin cancer.Happy weekend everyone!

Linking up here and here today!

five favorites (01/29)

I’m always a little behind… but what can you do? These three keep me on my toes. Most of my pictures are just from my phone this past week, which made me a little sad at first, but then I realized that maybe it’s good, because that means we actually got out of the house and did things!

ONE. We had a gloriously warm day in the 50s, with the sun just peeking through the overcast sky, so we of course just had to get outside. Running is my all-time favorite, but sometimes, I really look forward to our walks, just because I get to go a little slower and take in my surroundings.

These ladies love the swings the most… And Kaya loves “climbing” trees (which really means that I help boost her up there, and then she attempts to go up higher but can’t quite do it yet)!They also love hiding behind rocks! Muddy puppy!!! She will, without fail, always find a way to get dirty.TWO. We had a family dinner out for the first time in almost 2 months! It felt special to take the girls and see them really enjoy the experience of dining out. Of course, we kept it simple and only went to Red Robin, but it’s a favorite for everyone! Plus, it was relatively empty on a Tuesday night, which meant that we got the biggest booth to contain our messy, crazy children.

Everyone begged Daddy for his strawberry lemonade… the entire time that we were there.Nella has been so into coloring lately; we’re just still working on the logistics of holding the crayon! Love this one Michael snapped of me helping her.Grandpa Skip should be proud, this girl loves French Fries!Pizza is always her favorite, anytime, anyplace.THREE. We also had a family trip to the library one night after picking Daddy up from work! I love bringing Michael to the library, because then I have two extra hands to carry our massive pile of books! Plus, I can sneak away for a few minutes and peruse the shelves alone.

These three choose about 20 books in the space of two minutes and then immediately run to play with the blocks and puzzles!
FOUR. We’ve been doing some arts and crafts projects around here (really low-key stuff, mostly just from the Dollar Store), and I just love seeing their creativity come to life! Painting and drawing are their favorite art media.
Kaya was very excited about her elephant coin bank!We’ve also done some coloring on our dot-to-dot math pages. These are Kaya’s favorite, and she always gasps, “Ooooo a dot-to-dot!” every time one comes up in the lesson.Kaelyn titled this, “The Sharks and Me”. She’s been really interested in sharks ever since our last trip to Myrtle Beach!This is Daddy (yes, with the white hair!), and Kaya, created by the latter.FIVE. Just because she’s so dang cute, and I feel so lucky I get to sit next to her for lunch every day. (Also, she loves her Hokie shirt!)Happy Monday!

five on friday (11/18)

ONE. We jumped back into our homeschool preschool routine this week! It feels good to have a little more structure to our days, and the girls have just been loving doing activities again.

We kicked off the week with the letter L. What better way to decorate the letter L than with your lipstick-covered lips? Kaya and Kaelyn love any reason to play with makeup, so this activity was a big hit.

“Show me your lipstick!” I said, and she instantly puckered up._mg_6758

We also learned about lions and painted paper plates to look like them. Kaya wished hers was a mask._mg_6774TWO. I had my postpartum check-up with the midwife this week, so Michael watched the kids for about an hour. He ended up taking them on a Daddy-daughters date to Sweet Frog, which is pretty much heaven to these ice-cream-lovin’ girls. I always seem to miss out on froyo, but I love seeing them have a good time.img_20161114_135503

THREE. I made it through my first solo shopping adventure with all three girls. We just went to the dollar store, so it really wasn’t much shopping, but it’s still confidence-building to get out and get used to juggling three little people.

Of course, this little pumpkin needed a snack break in the car, because hello, she’s got to maintain those gloriously chubby cheeks.img_20161114_162523

FOUR. My body is finally starting to feel stronger and I am so happy to get outside and get my heart pumping. After having a baby,  I always want to hit the ground running (literally), but it really is worth taking the time to rest and recover before pushing your body too hard. For now, I’m not fast and my mileage is low, but I’m proud of this body and all it has done.img_20161117_071920FIVE. This little baby has already outgrown almost all of her newborn clothes! Shouldn’t that be illegal or something? I’m holding on to this snuggly, sweet stage as tightly as I can, but the days are already flying by way too fast.img_20161117_133837

With that fauxhawk, her tongue sticking out, and her finger in the air, it almost looks like she’s saying “rock on!” I love this crazy baby.


Happy Friday!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

five on friday: my mini-photographer, flowers, and a date

Happy Friday!!!

ONE. I am apparently raising a mini-photographer! It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows me well, but I just can’t get over how Kaya wants to take pictures all the time. She totally plays peek-a-boo and waves to get Kaelyn to look at the camera and it’s hilarious._MG_7303 TWO. When flowers are on sale, it’s totally cool to buy them for yourself, right? For $2.50, I couldn’t pass these up. I figured they’d last a day or two (since they were already on “manager’s special”, a.k.a. predestined to die soon), but they are still going strong after 5 days! Mmmm, this is definitely one of my favorite scents!_MG_7319

THREE. Kaya and I had our first-ever mommy-daughter date this week! I took her to Sweet Frog, bought her way too much ice cream, and just enjoyed having one-on-one time with my first baby. She was so excited to put m&ms, Reese’s Pieces, chocolate chips, and this giant gummy frog on her froyo… until we sat down to eat and she decided that the frog was now super scary. More gummy frogs for me!FOUR. I need some book suggestions! It seems like every book I choose lately takes a turn for the worse and has inappropriate romantic-like stuff in it… and I don’t want to read any of that, so I just quit and have to keep finding something new. What are some squeaky-clean fiction novels you love?

FIVE. Love this quote from our most recent general conference:20150501030650

Have a great weekend! 🙂

Linking up with April!