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!!!

a visit with lelia and bryce!

Lelia and Bryce came up for a visit one weekend this summer, and it was so special to have them here! It’s been awhile since we just got to “hang out” without having another event going on, like a birthday, holiday, or race, so this was a little extra fun!Don’t worry, we’re still just as crazy as we ever were (now we just have little people to be crazy with us)!

We had a thunderstorm on the afternoon they arrived, which canceled our plans for walking to the playground, but that just gave us some time to make brownies! It was so fun and special to see the girls enjoy some real playtime with Bryce. There’s no friend in the world like a cousin!Seriously. I’m melting into a puddle looking at these.We did get to go swimming the next day! These kids are little fishies.I just wish summer could go on forever.We came back home when the youngest kids were getting tired. The girls enjoyed some hammock time and puzzles with Auntie Lelia!When Michael got home from work, we packed up a picnic dinner (taco salad) and headed to this amazing playground we’d never been to before (near the pool), where there were picnic shelters and everything. Eating outside in summer is definitely one of my favorite things.After eating, everyone got to play on the playground! Kaya and Kaelyn loved these ropes!Daddy climbed right up there with them, helping and encouraging them the whole way.This little spinning seat… whew. This is maximum dizziness right here!This ring also spins. I went on it with all the kids and just kept going and going and going around. It’s fun to just be a giant kid sometimes!Let’s not forget the puppies! Fallon got to come along, too. This was Scout’s first time having a doggy guest, and they both did really well. Fallon wanted to wrestle but Scout kept avoiding it. Kaelyn kept saying that Fallon is Scout’s best friend, haha.We had such a great weekend. I love all these silly people (Nella started picking her nose, so of course, everyone had to pretend to do the same…)Happy weekend!

five favorites (09/05)

Happy September! I have quite a few posts I’d like to catch up on this month, but I thought I’d start it all off with my classic “five” from the past week!

ONE. We’ve been soaking up the last of the summer weather (and the 100% humidity has been literally soaking us), but I’m making the very most of it while it lasts. Autumn seems to come and end in the blink of an eye in this region. Historically, our winter temperatures have lasted for up to six months, so I’m in no rush for the weather to change!

Kaya took her schoolwork outside to the hammock. We were writing “All About Me” books this day.Kaelyn joined in!Kaya and Kaelyn asked to have a picnic out on the deck for lunch one afternoon. These small things make them so happy. (Nella is still way too messy to join in on the fun just yet, so she ate in her normal seat!) Baby cuddles in the hammock for me! What could be better?TWO. I’m all clear to run! After my postpartum break, I’m ecstatic to be back at it. It’s slow going, but more distance and speed will come with time. For now, I’m just happy to be out there at all. It feels a little strange to run without my big belly, and I do miss having Eve with me, but I’m excited to get stronger and maybe race again sometime in the upcoming months.THREE. While I’m out running, Daddy and the girls are dressing up and dancing!I just love seeing what they get into with Daddy!FOUR. If you can’t tell from this picture, Nella is baby obsessed. Real baby in one arm, baby doll in the other!Babies holding babies.This was just a lucky shot, but I LOVE it! Smiles for kisses!FIVE. Can we talk about these cheeks? I’m seriously obsessed with our littlest lady. We’re really looking forward to having family in town for her baby blessing soon!

five on friday (03/31)

ONE. Spring is finally here and we have been soaking it all in! For family night this week, we headed to the pond for a picnic and to feed the ducks. It’s so exciting to eat your sandwich outside!

Nella might be too little for a sandwich, but she was content to just sit and take in her surroundings. This girl is never short on smiles!

TWO. We’re officially that family with so many little kids that we drive the equivalent of a bus for a stroller. For months, I dragged my feet on upgrading, because it seemed a little excessive to have such a big stroller, but after combining a sale with a coupon, I decided to just go for it. I like to take relatively long walks, and the truth is that Kaya gets tired and can’t make it on foot the entire way. It’s been super nice having a seat that she can easily get in and out of as she pleases.

Nella really likes it too! She can (mostly) sit up and ride without the car seat, and she loves excitedly kicking her feet as she sees the world around her.
After a two-week hiatus, we started another round of Kangaroo​ Kids! My girls were so excited to jump, slide, and run through obstacles again. Even more impressively, they do it all with an armful of rubber duckies!

FOUR. We’ve been enjoying (and adjusting to) life with a little puppy! Scout is settling in and figuring everything out. Apparently, if you can’t reach your water bowl, it’s acceptable to stand in your food bowl.

One day we’re going to look at this picture and be amazed that she was small enough to fit under the chair!

FIVE. Sometimes it’s a little crazy taking care of all these little people, but once in a while, we’ll have a moment that feels perfect and makes all the hard work worth it. Our family walk and time spent at the playground this week was just that.

kaya’s random birthday celebrations (2016)

Yeah, yeah, I know Kaya’s birthday was forever ago, but I’m basically a million years behind on everything I need to do (folding laundry, blogging, photography business stuff, you name it)… better late than never, right? Plus, I have some very cute pictures that I just couldn’t refrain from sharing here.

Now that’s she’s a little older, Kaya definitely knows what her favorite foods and activities are, so it was really fun to take her out and do what she really likes. We decided we’d treat her to a special birthday dinner, and we let her choose the place. She really loves Red Robin, so on the Friday night before her party, we headed there (along with Grandma Debbie)!img_20160916_195103 img_20160916_192036

The waiter even brought her a special birthday ice cream. This little girl couldn’t have been more excited!

On her real birthday, we asked her what she wanted to do… and predictably, she answered that she’d like to go to the mall. This is one of her favorite places (which might have something to do with the cookie place and the playground being there)!

We had a little “picnic”, and let her pick out a treat. We stuck her candle in the cookie, and sang “Happy Birthday” one more time!

These are some happy people right here. (Kaya was also wearing her most favorite things on this day: a rainbow tutu and a Hello Kitty shirt!)

We had to spend some time playing on the playground afterward, of course.

Daddy ran around with them like crazy (and I love these animated GIFs that Google makes for me, haha)!vid_20160919_204923-animation A couple weeks later, Grandma Gina brought Kaya a special gift she’d made…_mg_5420 _mg_5422 _mg_5424 A rainbow blanket! It turned out so beautiful, and Kaya was instantly in love._mg_5426

It was so much fun making her birthday truly special for her. Sometimes it’s tough watching your kids grow up so fast, but as they get older, there are so many more opportunities for enjoying time together.

five on friday (09/30)

ONE. We made our very first pumpkin bread of the season this morning! Kaelyn was very excited to help (i.e. dump flour and spices out of the bowl and onto the counter), and it turned out tasting just as heavenly as ever. There’s just something about a rainy morning and the scent of warm pumpkin that make it really feel like fall. This little sweetie couldn’t get enough of licking the batter!

TWO. Speaking of pumpkins, the girls have painted mini ones twice now. I saw some at Food Lion and decided to surprise them, and they eagerly decorated them. We set them outside to dry… and then it rained, and all their hard work was erased. Luckily, they were excited that they had the chance to do it again, instead of being sad that their masterpieces were destroyed.

Can you tell what Kaelyn’s favorite color is? _mg_5388

THREE. Sometimes, Michael will randomly snap a picture of the girls when he’s taking my weekly belly picture, and lately, I’ve been surprised with some really cute ones when I upload photos from my memory card. Kaya has been so excited to wear the new “button jacket” (denim jacket) that she got for her birthday!_mg_5407FOUR. My friend, Bianca, surprised Kaya with some kinetic sand for her birthday, and these girls love it. They’ve been making cookies and having invisible people over to come eat them. I love their imaginations, haha!_mg_5400

FIVE. We’ve had a couple of “picnics” (a.k.a. any time the girls eat their sandwiches anywhere other than home) this week! Kaya and Kaelyn love doing this, even though it’s the same old lunch that they always have. I had nearly back-to-back doctor appointments on Wednesday, and we had just enough time to stop at the park to eat.

Happy Friday!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

weekend + home from the beach

We spent last week down at Myrtle Beach with our great friends, Ben and Brittany! We enjoyed so much sun, swimming, and good food. Friday morning, we packed up and headed home… vacation always seems to go by so fast! The beach is one of my favorite places for sure. I’ll definitely be sharing a lot of pictures from our adventures over this coming week.
_MG_7696 We came back to real life and the most gorgeous spring weather… so naturally, we enjoyed eating outside both on Saturday and Memorial Day! Kaya was so excited for our picnic on Saturday, even though she was insistent on “no grilled cheese [for] Peeky”. She was missing out- sharp cheddar, pesto, and roasted red peppers make a mean sandwich._MG_7746 My littlest cutie is always patiently watching!_MG_7747And she makes a pouty-lip face even she’s happy. Haha._MG_7751Kaya and Daddy goofed off on the playground for a little while. There’s no better way to get your energy out just before bedtime!
_MG_7761Most of my favorite moments are so small and maybe not “blog-worthy” to most, but it’s these little family activities that fill my heart with the most joy. I’m so thankful for all those special, small things that build a lifetime of memories.

Hope everyone had an amazing weekend!

memorial day weekend

We had a fantastic Memorial Day weekend! The weather was amazing and it actually feels like summer is coming, which I couldn’t be more excited about.

I finally decided on Kaya’s new bed. I ordered a twin-size mattress for her, and it arrived on Friday. Now, we’re just waiting on the bed frame to get here! We had tried converting her crib into a toddler bed, but she never wanted to sleep in it. So far, she likes her “big girl” bed and actually sleeps on it!

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We had a lot of grandparents come up to visit this weekend (which meant that Kaya was incredibly spoiled)!

_MG_2650 One of her surprises was a new “Kitty” from my mom. The old one has seen better days, but I still might have cried a little when Kaya immediately took to the new stuffed animal. I guess I can blame pregnancy hormones… but that old Kitty has had so many adventures with us!_MG_2681 My happy girl was so excited to take a picture with both her kitties 🙂 Her grandmas also lavished her with new books, dresses, and toys. It was almost like Christmas around here!_MG_2675 We all went out to dinner on Saturday, to church on Sunday, and then to the pool on Monday! The first day of the swimming season always feels a little extra exciting._MG_2654 Love these two (and Michael’s tan line)! Kaya actually didn’t spend a whole lot of time in the water, since it was still a bit chilly. She mostly just stood next to the pool and threw her ducky and ball in for us to toss back to her._MG_2662 We planned a cookout with some dear friends after our swimming. We probably had the best spread of food we’ve ever had at any of our cookouts (hot dogs, bratwurst, salad, pasta salad, chips, lemonade, and all manner of desserts)!_MG_2668_MG_2667At the end of it all, Kaya was more exhausted than I think I’ve ever seen her.

It’s after time spent with family and friends and days like these that my heart feels so full of gratitude.

the time michael (almost) singed off his eyebrows…

… because apparently, using lighter fluid can be trickier than it seems. Somehow, the fire just exploded from the grill and blew him backwards and onto the ground.

I’m so glad I didn’t actually see any of it happen.

His hair and eyelashes are a little shorter, but luckily that’s all (and we still had some pretty tasty food, so everything’s good, right?)
_MG_1990We had some much-needed sibling time this weekend. Kevin and Tori were driving through on their way back from Utah, and they decided to spend a day with us! We hardly get to see them, so it was a real treat. The weather was perfect for a cookout, so that’s exactly what we did!_MG_1991I love seeing Kaya get to know her aunts and uncles better!_MG_1993We finished off the evening with some homemade cookie bars, which tasted a little extra-amazing after all our running and biking earlier in the day. Spring weather, family time, and good food make for some of the best weekends 🙂

sunshine & fun times

The snow finally melted, and we had a few days of sunshine! Michael’s parents made the trip up here a few days later than they had originally planned, but that’s just fine- it’s never too late for grandma cuddles…_MG_1391 (or puppy wrestling cuddles, if you’re Dad and Jax…)1392701115454 We enjoyed some Red Robin for the first time in a long time (and Kaya loved trying on my sunglasses while we were waiting for everyone to meet up)! Kaya ate some fries, but as soon as I dipped one in ketchup, she didn’t want any more. What kid doesn’t like ketchup?!Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Our weekend was warm, so Brittany and I planned a little cookout for Saturday afternoon. Why not grill out in February? I think Kaya was just excited to get out of the house (and sit next to Jax in the car)!02222014kayagrid Our friends, Katherine and Mia 🙂_MG_1437We even went on a family walk on Sunday!
_MG_1440It felt so good to have a break from the single-digit and teen temperatures. Thankfully, we don’t have too much longer until spring!