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 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 on friday (01/24)

We’ve had a lot going on the past couple of weeks, and to be honest, I haven’t felt much like writing here. I thought doing a “Five on Friday” might help me get back into gear. I have two memory cards full of DSLR photos to go through, but for now, I’m just going to share some quick and easy pictures from my phone.

ONE. We battled the stomach flu! By the time it went through all the kids, it was a whole week of sickness. It’s just awful seeing your babies feel so horrible, not to mention the amount of extra laundry and clean-up required. We made it through, and here’s to hoping we don’t see another stomach bug for a long time to come.TWO. Kaya has always loved Eve, but lately, they’ve really been playing together a lot more. Eve will jump into her arms, give giant hugs, and apparently, even enjoy a ride on her back. The older girls sometimes say, “I miss when Eve was a little baby”, but they really have been having a blast with her now that she’s a little bigger. THREE. Michael has been amazing in his recent calling as counselor to the Bishop, but he’s still adjusting to a new schedule. Meetings at 6:30 am mean that he is completely wiped out by 1 pm. He’s not a napper, but he has taken a few here lately. FOUR. What’s better on a cold, wintery day than a warm, snuggly puppy? Scout has really been my pal these past few weeks. She also turned 3 years old on January 9th (we have yet to get her a birthday gift)! FIVE. This little sweetie always keeps us smiling. She gets so excited over everything, even eating cereal! She’s such a good reminder of how even the simplest things can bring so much joy. HAPPY FRIDAY!

five favorites (07/17)

It’s not even Friday, but there are always so many little things going on that I’ve been really eager to write here. I could probably write another “Five” in just a couple days (maybe I will!), and there will always be things that I didn’t get to!

ONE. For the past few months, Nella has been obsessed with being the “helper” at mealtimes. When I say, “I’m going to make lunch”, she runs over to the table, drags a chair to the counter, and says, “helper!!!” She sometimes helps put cucumbers atop salads, but mostly, being the helper means she just stands there and eats at the counter.Croutons are a definite favorite of hers right now. TWO. We finally got Kaya a bike! She was just riding the tricycle before now, but she’s really been too tall for it for a while. This one was a lucky Craigslist find that my dad picked up for me. We have a thing for banana-seat bikes around here.
We put it out in the front yard one morning and surprised her when she woke up. She ran to it and wanted to ride right away.It’s been a lot of fun to ride around (mostly just culs-de-sac) with them! Now I need to find a similar one for Kaelyn.THREE. These lucky girls have had some pretty fun daddy-daughter dates lately. I had a meeting, so Michael took all of them out to dinner at Wendy’s (their favorite)!Messy, happy girl.Messy, silly girls!On another day, Michael took Kaya out on some errands with him. Kaya saw this cat swimsuit, and Daddy just had to pretend to try it on!FOUR. We also have some pretty big news around here- Kaya lost her two front (top) teeth! One of them was loose for over a month, so we were all very ready for it to finally come out. She is not a big fan of the actual “falling out” process, but once it’s gone, she’s always excited to get money under her pillow at night and try to put food through the gap at lunchtime.FIVE. Scout is always resting at the top of the stairs, keeping an eye on things. She’s ready to run down at any moment if you drop food or she hears the slightest noise outside. We love this goofy (and loud…) dog!

five on friday (06/21)

Happy Friday! It’s been a while since my last “Five on Friday”, so I’m really excited about this! These small snippets of life are some of my favorites to look back on.

ONE. We’ve been really enjoying summertime so far! Swimming was a huge part of my childhood summers, so it just doesn’t feel like the season without having some fun in the water. We bought a month-long pool pass, and it’s been one of our favorite things to do! Nella always asks to go to the “wa wa”!These are some happy kids. Kaya and Kaelyn ask to stay for hours and hours, even if the water is a bit chilly.

Bonus: Everyone is tired out afterward!TWO. Michael took off work one day last week, and we all went bowling! Life has felt so crazy-busy this past month or so, so it was great to take a couple of hours to reconnect as a family. The lighting isn’t so great for pictures in the bowling alley, so this is the best I have from my phone. Nella sometimes really wants to take her turn, and other times, she couldn’t care less about it. Kaya is actually getting really good at bowling! She still uses the ramp and bumpers, but she might have scored higher than me…

THREE. We’ve had some fun at the library, too! I love snuggling up with my girls and reading. Kaya and Kaelyn would play with the blocks all day!Eve has been having a lot more fun now that she can pull herself up and play with the toys there.FOUR. Kaya and Kaelyn have still been doing swim lessons, so when Michael takes them, I get some quality time with Nella and Eve. I love my big girls, but having this time with the little girls is so precious to me.  It’s a little calmer, a little quieter, and I just get to soak in their sweet personalities. Also, I just have to put this here, because taking that picture of Nella and Eve reminded me so much of this picture of Kaya and Kaelyn, at nearly exactly the same ages, four years ago! It’s amazing how time passes so quickly and so much changes.Nellie loves to climb all the rocks!Eve really only has the option of swinging for now, but she’s more than content.FIVE. Our little Scoutie girl has had a bit of a rough month. She had her annual physical in May, where she was diagnosed with Lyme disease. She had a few days where she clearly wasn’t feeling well at all, and my heart was broken for her. I hate to see her suffering! She had another trip to the vet where she was prescribed some anti-nausea meds and probiotics, and she’s since been on the mend. She finished her round of antibiotics yesterday, and I’m hoping she’s able to stay symptom-free.

We also got her a harness, which we all love! It’s so much gentler than the “gentle leader” we were using, and it looks cute to boot.Happy weekend!

happy 2nd puppiversary, scout!

It’s been two years with this crazy puppy… and I guess I really can’t call her a puppy anymore! A week and a half ago marked the anniversary of when we adopted Scout, so I figured I’d put together some kind of post for her! She is an important part of our family.

She still loves her Daddy more than anyone else. He gets the best “welcome home” reaction from her even if he only leaves the house for a minute. When she hears his moped coming or the garage door opening, she does what we call her “Daddy dance”, which consists of a grumbly bark and tail-swishing so powerful that it moves her whole body from side to side. Her excitement might be a little excessive, but I think it’s sweet that she’s so attached to him.

She is a blanket THIEF! I don’t let her use this blanket that my mom-in-law made for me, but one morning, I found her perfectly (mysteriously) tucked in and taking a nap with it. I had to take a picture before I took it away.Spoiled.

I jokingly call her my “footstool” because she follows me around all day long, every day, and sits right under my feet. She especially likes to do this when I’m nursing Eve, because I probably subconsciously pet her with my toes as my short legs hang down from the rocking chair.

When she’s not following me around, she loves to lie down in the sun on the carpet or perch herself at the very top of the stairs and watch everything. I like to think she’s watching over us when she does this.She’s actually pretty lazy and doesn’t mind just sleeping most of the day. She finds all these strange positions to sleep in and tries to cuddle with any pillow, stuffed animal, or slipper she can find. I guess she might have been cuddling with the couch here!She also sits pretty funny sometimes.She lets the girls read to her and even dress her up sometimes. She gets excited for walks when we go on them, but she still has to wear her gentle leader because she tends to pull a lot. I’ve only taken her running a handful of times, and she really seems like she’s not that into it. (Her face says it all in this photo!)

She loves to fetch and she really loves to dig up the yard.

Kaya tries to teach her tricks all the time, but all she really knows is “sit” and “wait”. We still joke that the ultimate trick would be her learning to put her own toys away, because we’re always tripping over them (especially on the stairs)!

She’s been banned from having a dog bed because she destroys every single one I buy.

I struggled a lot early on in my relationship with Scout because I was terrified of going through another bite incident. In a way, after having that happen with my child and our previous dog, I feel like I will never view animals exactly the same way I did before. However, I’ve improved a lot, and I am definitely grateful we decided to try having another dog. Scout has been a valuable part of our lives these past two years, and I hope for many, many more with her.We love you, Scouty!

five on friday (11/16)

Happy Friday!!! I’m trying hard to get back into a routine with blogging, so I’m super excited to get this post out. Our days feel non-stop busy over here, but we’re looking forward to some time off of school next week and enjoying Thanksgiving.

Here’s some of what we’ve been up to lately!

ONE. We’ve been trying to get out of the house a little more (it just seems hard sometimes when there’s so much to be done at home), but I think a little break from our regular daily routine is good for everyone. We enjoyed some time at the library last week! Nella was very excited to try out all the little chairs.Puzzles!

We were also able to visit the mall this week to pick out our Angel Tree child. This has been one of my very favorite traditions these past few years. I’m grateful we can give gifts to another sweet little girl who needs them.

In the shoe store just next to the Angel Tree, there’s the smallest rideable carousel I’ve ever seen. The girls had never been on it, so when they asked, we said yes. For 25 cents, we heard some of the sweetest laughter that I will surely never forget. It’s these very small moments that make parenting magical.

It’s been really fun to see Nella’s reactions to doing “big kid things” for the first time. She laughed and kicked and squealed while riding her horse.Kaelyn’s was named “Neigh-Neigh”, of course.

TWO. We had our first winter weather this week… ice! So much for starting off with snow! Fall is my busiest time for photography (I’ve had photoshoots just about every weekend for the past month), and it’s crazy to already see that season coming to an end. We’re headed straight into the cold, dark winter days.

THREE. Everybody is still obsessed with Evie! And, well, I’m just obsessed with all these little girls.

FOUR. We’ve been sporting some crazy fashion accessories around here! Like a bow bigger than your head……and a unicorn horn! Nella wanted to wear this all morning (she’s also totally obsessed with those “donut” pajamas she’s wearing).

FIVE. Sometimes, your dog interrupts your baby’s photo session…Kaya’s been teaching her all these tricks, like “go through the tunnel!” (meaning walk under her legs). She’s still a crazy puppy, but we love our Scoutie!(And she sure loves us, too!)Happy weekend!

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 (05/11)

Happy Friday!!!

ONE. I’ve been working on making the girls each a special crocheted stuffed animal, and this week, I finally finished Kaelyn’s puppy! She’s been so patiently waiting for it to be done, and her giant smile was more than worth the time it took to make it.She named her dog “Rainbow Flower Irwin”, and they now go everywhere together.I actually finished Kaya’s cat (based off of this pattern) back in February, whom she named “Flower Rose”. She’s been in Kaya’s top 3 favorite stuffed animals ever since!Yes, she’s wearing her cat in the Ergo carrier here…Happy girls, happy mama.Rainbow Flower was based off of this pattern here.Kaya’s has started to get fuzzy… and I can see by looking at these pictures that her head has changed shape a bit from all the time Kaya has spent playing with her. I’m still really proud of how these turned out for my first “amigurumi” projects.TWO. We had our very last Kangaroo Kids class before the summer break… but I think it might have been the best one ever, because for the very first time, Daddy got to come! He took the afternoon off of work, arrived before us, and hid in this donut-shaped mat. When he popped out, the girls were ecstatic! He went in the bounce house, down the giant inflatable slide, and basically made all their dreams come true. He really is the best Daddy.We actually got to attend two classes this week, as a make-up for another week’s missed class. Nella is all about this ball pit. She loves finding the ducks that are hidden inside!THREE. My “ultra nesting” continues, and now I’ve got all the girls in on it, too. Today, they washed windows and cleaned baseboards for me. Kaya and Kaelyn are getting old enough to actually do well at these sorts of jobs!Nella, on the other hand…She might be the cutest little window washer, but her technique could use some work. She grabbed the extremely soapy sponge, dipped it in the dog’s water bowl, dripped suds all across the freshly-mopped floor, and went to wipe the windows that Kaya had just finished cleaning. She definitely gets points for effort and resourcefulness!FOUR. Kaya and Kaelyn have been very into perler beads again, and this week, they made some new critters to add to their ever-growing collection. Kaya free-handed the owl just by looking at a picture, and then made the smiling “Cheshire cat”. Kaelyn’s puppy was based mostly on a “green and white” color scheme.FIVE. I say it every week now, but there’s really no place I’d rather be than out in the sunshine with these girls. If you need me, I’ll probably be out here for the rest of the summer. This is my happy place.

Linking up herehere, and here today!

five favorites (04/28)

I feel like I’m always saying this, but it’s been a crazy week, so I missed doing my “Five” yesterday! We’ve been having as relaxing a Saturday as possible, so I’m happy to have a little time to catch up on here.

ONE. We all missed our favorite guy this week, because he was in Chicago at the GOTO Conference! It was a little rough without him, even though he gets serious credit for helping me with as much as he could before he left. I was super sick the night before he had to go, so he did a lot, including grocery shopping and cleaning up the guinea pigs. He really is the best.A couple of photos from his trip… Of course, he gave a talk on Docker (what else?), so Molly and Moby (the whales) had to tag along with him. Michael had some fun sending pictures of them adventuring around Chicago to Kaya and Kaelyn!TWO. While Daddy was gone, we tried to enjoy being outside as much as we could. I was a little too optimistic about the first 60-degree day, so I filled up the water table (with warm water) for the girls. The water cooled off a little too fast, and the girls got a little too wet, so everyone ended up cold. They still loved it, though!
This was Nella’s first time really playing with it, now that she’s good at walking and standing for long periods of time. I think this will be one of her favorite summertime activities.We had some fun at the playground. Don’t let her sad puppy-dog eyes fool you, Scout loves walks (and always tries to tangle herself up around the picnic table…)I enjoyed some time reading out in the hammock! I love that Nella walked over to me and asked to come up in it too. (Also, check out her bedhead! She seriously has the wildest hair!)THREE. Our homeschool mornings have been pretty relaxed here lately, and honestly, I’m okay with that. It’s kind of a combination of parenting on my own for a week/pregnancy sickness/spring fever/being done with all our kindergarten work besides spelling that has had us taking our time and just doing what we can.

I was so happy to see these girls snuggle and start reading as soon as they woke up one morning. They are obsessed with the American Girl books right now, and although I typically use them as read-alouds, Kaya can actually read a little of them on her own. I’m so grateful that they love learning, and that we all get extra time to spend together because of our choice to homeschool.FOUR. I guess the girls have been doing too much yoga with me lately, because Kaya wanted to make her own workout video (she even told me to “put it on Facebook”)! She came up with all her own exercises, and the theme of the video became “Exercises You Can Do with Your Cat”. Haha! I love her creativity.She wrote out every move before we could start recording…Some moves included planks/pushups with your cat on your back (I definitely would not recommend doing this with a real cat. Ouch!)……and lifting your cat high above your head while doing squats. Yup, pretty sure a real cat would have nothing to do with any of this…I didn’t post the whole video, but hearing her say “Namaste” at the end was just too dang cute, so here’s that.

FIVE. If you tell Nella to “say CHEESE!”, this is the face she makes now. Cutest little smile ever!Seriously, what’s more adorable than a smiling Dalmatian puppy?

Happy weekend!

Linking up here and here today!