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 on friday (12/28)

Happy Friday!!! The very LAST one of the year! I can’t even believe that another 365 days have come and gone, but here we are. I’m happy to sneak in one last “Five on Friday” before we ring in 2019!

ONE. We’ve had a lot going on over here lately… but our biggest adventure was taking a trip to SPAIN at the beginning of December! I have a whole lot to share about our travels, but for now, I’ll just leave this photo of one of my very favorite places on the Costa Brava! It was so refreshing to leave home and do something completely new, although I definitely missed my kids (minus Eve, who was lucky enough to tag along). TWO. After we got home from our trip, I was ready to do all the Christmas things, since we had already missed about half of the pre-holiday festivities. We baked and delivered cookies, watched several Christmas movies (which is definitely a good activity when you’re dealing with jet lag), and went out looking at Christmas lights. I missed these munchkins so much, so I was extra grateful for the special time we’ve had together. I can’t believe Christmas Day has already come and gone, but we’re still looking forward to some family time between now and the New Year.THREE. Grandma Gina and Grandpa Skip came up to visit for a couple of days this week! The girls enjoyed snuggling, watching Shaun the Sheep (as they always do with Grandpa), and showing off their Christmas presents. (Also, 3 out of 4 kid smiles is as good as we could get with this picture… Nella has a 1-minute tolerance level for picture-taking these days!)We also enjoyed some Sweet Frog! This might be the girls’ favorite place ever. Even Nella knows what the sign looks like now. She gets excited before we even go in!FOUR. Oh, these sisters. They’re always playing “babies”, and I just think it’s the funniest thing when they pretend to be pregnant and walk around with these fake baby bumps. My mama heart just loves these pictures, and I hope that one day, in 20 years or so, they can recreate this for me for REAL! Besties.FIVE. Nella. She’s as crazy as ever, but this flaxen-haired beauty got her first haircut a couple weeks ago!Because she’s so energetic and doesn’t want to sit still for a photo, the best picture I could get of her new ‘do was when she was lying down. It was so hard for me to cut it (I was obsessed with her absolutely wild curls), but she was eating her hair and having some digestive troubles, so it had to be done. Her tummy seems to be a lot better, and we think her hair-eating habit is broken. Don’t worry, her new hair can be completely unruly, too!SIX. Just because there needs to be a little more Evie in this post… 😉

Happy Friday!!!

five on friday (10/05)

It’s been far too long since my last post, and it feels so good to be on here and getting a little creative energy out. Life has been full to the brim these past couple of months, and obviously, my kids come first, but I’ve realized just how much I need a little time for myself. Photography and this little bit of writing really invigorates me. It seems like I have a million thoughts and ideas swirling around in my head, and never enough time to write all of them!

I have a lot to share, but instead of trying to catch up on all of it, I’m just going to keep it short and simple for now.

ONE. We had a visit from my Dad a couple weeks ago! It’s been two years since he’s come to our house, so it was fun to have him here and show him some of the home improvement projects we’ve done. As soon as he pulled up in his Jeep, the girls ran to him with giant smiles and hugs.We were totally twinning in our American flag shirts… completely unplanned! Kaya and Kaelyn affectionately call him “Santa” because of his beard. About a week before Grandpa arrived, Kaelyn randomly started saying, “Santa’s coming!”. I was confused until I realized that she was actually talking about my Dad!He played CandyLand and Trouble with them, and even read them a story. They always love all the extra attention from grandparents. Nella has been a little wary of everyone recently, so she mostly avoided social interaction with Grandpa.And now Evie has met all her grandparents!

TWO. Nella has been such a loving and kind big sister to Eve, but she’s had a slightly difficult time adjusting to our new normal. She’s been struggling to fall asleep at night, and she wakes up in the wee hours of the morning screaming. We’re also just managing her strong 2-year-old tendencies.I’ve been trying to give her some intentional attention each day, whether it’s been snuggling or being silly or baking muffins together. I remember I started baking with Kaya around her age, and although it makes the biggest mess, it’s such a fun memory to have.She might not be the youngest of the family anymore, but her sisters play “baby” with her all the time lately.They tuck her into a box, pretending that it’s her bed, with her Beagle and all. She thinks it’s so much fun just to sit in there and get all the attention.THREE. I’ve been making an effort to get us outside in the mornings before we start our schoolwork. I used to be so diligent about taking the girls outside everyday, but then pregnancy and a newborn kind of threw us off for a bit. It’s refreshing to have that outdoor time with my babies, and it’s good for them to get some energy out before we sit down to learn.

Kaelyn picked me a dandelion.
Nella peeks through these little windows and says “Hewwo!”Evie just gets a little stroller nap while we play!FOUR. Minnie Mouse lives at my house now. Apparently, she can drive…She’s also a pretty good babysitter! 😉FIVE. This baby! Oh, this beautiful baby girl. Part of the reason I’m so behind on everything is because I just keep snuggling her and soaking her in as much as I possibly can. It’s cliché, but it’s true- we blink and our babies seem to grow up in the instant we weren’t looking. Before I know it, she’ll be another year older, another foot taller… So I’m just savoring every moment with her as she is right now. She’s such a perfect angel and has the sweetest smile. It’s so easy to get her to grin that I probably have hundreds of photos of her just looking at the camera and beaming. Who could resist so many photos of this darling face?And what is it about babies in blue jeans? Melt my heart.
Happy Friday!

eve’s first day

Evie is 9 weeks old, and I’m still catching up over here. In a way, though, it’s felt extra special to go through my photos now and be able to relive those sacred first moments we spent together (and also be surprised by some of the shots I’d forgotten I took).
The atmosphere of the hospital room changes drastically in just moments. Intensity, and sometimes chaos, right before the birth, and the greatest feeling of peace and calm in the moments following. I looked forward to and truly cherished the sweet serenity and rest that followed Eve’s delivery.Eve nursed almost immediately after she was born, for a whole hour. I was feeling really grateful that she was born in the morning, at a time when the hospital was still serving breakfast, since we were famished. We ate while she ate! Afterward, she was very sleepy and enjoyed some rest. Flexible little feet! It’s so crazy to think that these little heels were poking me in the ribs just hours before this.I was still feeling very excited from the birth, so it was hard for me to sleep, but I tried to let Michael nap as long as possible. He was such amazing support for me throughout the entire night, so he definitely deserved this. Baby snuggles after waking up. After we rested and washed up, Grandma Gina brought our three princesses to meet the fourth! They came in smiling, with balloons and cards as gifts for their new little sister.This was the moment they had waited for for what seemed like so long.
Kaelyn always talked about Eve arriving right after her 4th birthday, just like Nella had arrived right after Kaya’s 4th birthday. With Eve’s birth being the only one Kaelyn remembers, it was almost as if meeting Eve was a special belated gift for her.Nella was very unsure of everything that day. She was having some tummy troubles and wasn’t really interested in Eve at all. We’re so thankful for Grandma and everything she did for us while she stayed.Evie found her thumb right away! She always had her hands up by her face at our ultrasounds, so this was no surprise.I wanted a picture with all of my girls, but Nella just didn’t want to. Oh well.She did get some Daddy cuddles before they all headed home, though. Kaya cried when they left and truly didn’t want to go. Kaelyn just told me over and over how much she missed us.After they left, Eve was able to have her first bath (there’s a new rule at our birth center that prohibits bathing for the first 8 hours after birth). She was not a fan!She did like getting her hair washed, though. We all tried to get some sleep that night, although Eve was a little more interested in nursing every hour instead of sleeping. Finally, around 2 am, we asked Nurse Julie if Eve could go to the nursery for a little while so we could try to rest. I felt a little guilty at the time, because we’d never sent any of our babies to the nursery before. We ended up sleeping until about 6:15 am, though, which we very much needed, so it turned out to be good for everyone.We woke up to these beautiful, shining eyes, hoping we’d be able to go home that same day.I can’t get enough of these baby toes.Seriously.It was a busy morning while we saw the pediatrician, my OB, and the hearing test administrator. She passed all her blood tests and weight check, so we were cleared to leave when she was just 27 hours old.Daddy buckled her in!No one ever likes the car seat.It’s always so bittersweet to leave. Of course, we’re happy to go home, be with our kids, and rest in our own familiar space, but this is the place where we overcame the challenges of birth, felt some of the most intense physical pain, and also experienced our greatest joy. This little room is a special place for me.One of the nurses walked us out, and we loaded Evie into the car. She slept through her entire first ride.It was a Sunday morning, so we arrived home to an empty house.We couldn’t wait to surprise the girls when they got out of church! They ran to us as soon as they saw that we were home, and then, of course, there were some disputes as to who got to hold the baby.And so began life as a family of SIX!!!

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 (08/17)

Happy Friiiiiiday!!! The weeks are flying on by, and I feel like I can’t keep up, but I at least put together a Five on Friday post!

ONE. On Saturday, we went to a Turkish barbecue hosted by one of Michael’s co-workers, Russ. It was the perfect evening to be outside, and I was really looking forward to the food, since Mediterranean cuisine is my favorite. It was also really fun to show off our brand new little princess!It was nice to get out and do something- I’ve been a total homebody since Eve was born.
Kaelyn wants to hold her sister any chance she can. This is true happiness for her!
It’s not a real party unless your face is covered in chocolate at some point during the evening, right? More true happiness!

TWO. We’ve been doing a whole lot of walking around here, mostly because I’m not currently running. Each week, I’ve tried to make one of those walks a “family walk” that includes everyone (which is sometimes more challenging that it might seem). Both Kaya and Kaelyn wanted to hold my hand one night while Michael pushed the stroller, and it was just so sweet.We’ve enjoyed some stops at the playground, too!Who is this big kid trying to climb the ladder?And this big kid on a grown-up swing?

THREE. Evie wore this special little dress to church on Sunday. It brings back so many memories for me because this was the dress Kaya wore on her first day of church, and all the other girls have worn it, too. It’s still just as adorable as it was on day one!Love these two so so much.

FOUR. We’ve had some really great kid-created art happening around here! They wanted to paint one morning, and I loved seeing what they came up with. (Nella is too little to use paint just yet, but she still wanted to sit for the picture!)

FIVE. I had to put some sister pictures in here because they are too sweet! The three big girls were sitting in the chair together, so I just had to put the baby in there too and take the opportunity for a photo. This is Nella’s most-commonly-made face these days. We’ll talk to her and she’ll pretend she isn’t looking at us.What is it about seeing your baby kiss your baby? Melt my heart.Eve was also hugged by a tiger this week!Tiger kisses!Happy weekend! These will be our final days off before we officially start homeschool on Monday (although that hasn’t stopped the girls from working on some of their books already)!

five on friday (06/08)

Happy Friday! I’m sneaking this post in at the last minute! We’ve mostly just been resting at home this week, but we still had some exciting, fun things happen!

ONE. Kaya had what feels like a huge milestone this week… she lost her first tooth!!! She started telling us that her tooth was hurting when she took a bite of toast back at the end of May, so we checked, and sure enough, it was loose! It took almost 2 weeks for it to fall out, but she liked wiggling it (and having Michael and I wiggle it) in the meantime. I feel like it was just yesterday that she was teething and having all these baby teeth come in.Once it got very, very loose, Daddy told her about the old “tie a string to it and pull it out” trick… so she asked to do it. We set it up, twice actually, but both times, she ended up changing her mind and not wanting to go through with it. Funny enough, once she decided she wasn’t going to pull it, she moved her head just the right way (with the string still attached to her tooth) that it came right out on its own.There was some crying involved, due to the newness of the experience, but a little ice cream fixed that!She was so excited to get a dollar under her pillow, especially because she’s now saved up enough for her own little camera!Kaelyn was a little upset that she didn’t get a dollar… but we told her that she will when she loses a tooth! She’s so excited to do everything her big sister does.TWO. We started off our week at our neighbor’s dinosaur birthday party! There’s no better kid party than one at a playground, with cupcakes, cookies, and ice cream as refreshments, right?

I took this picture and then couldn’t stop laughing about it, because it’s so real life… Nella’s shoving as many cookies as we’d let her have in her mouth, meanwhile, Michael is cleaning up Kaelyn’s entire cupcake off the floor. Oh, parenthood. (That cupcake on Nella’s plate also met its fate on the ground…)Bigger mess = more fun, right?The party-horn-blowing fun lasted for days afterward… Nella kept saying, “Gaaaaain!” (Again!) when Kaya would do this!THREE. We finally took our family/maternity pictures this week, and I think these might be my favorites of us ever. The lighting and weather were just perfect, and I’m happy to have some updated shots of just Michael and me together, too. I’ve already ordered the prints and cannot wait to get them up on the wall. I’ll be sharing more later, but here’s a sneak peek!FOUR. Keeping on with the unofficial “weekly hammock photo” tradition… nothing makes them happier than snacks and being outside! I love each of their unique grins.Daddy got some Nella snuggles in, too. She’s been extra cuddly with her “Daaaa” lately.FIVE. I just had to end this with her huge grin! Nella loves her baby dolls, and plays with them every day. I can’t wait to see her smile when she holds the new baby so soon!

Linking up herehere, and here today!

five on friday (04/20)

Happy Friday!!!

ONE. We’ve had a couple of good walks this week and actually enjoyed some sunshine! It was even warm enough for shorts one day! The temperatures have still been in the 30s these past few mornings, so late afternoon walks are our favorites. (And this might be one of my favorite-ever pictures of Kaya and Kaelyn together!)This girl with her crazy hair and sly smirk… She’s always so content to sit and watch the world go by as her sisters run down the path.Come on Spring! Kaya keeps reminding me that the groundhog told us we’d only have “6 more weeks of winter”, and it’s been longer than that. Haha.TWO. They’re all growing up so fast that it’s breaking my heart a little… but then I see how much they can do on their own, and how these three sisters really look out for and care for one another. It’s nice to be able to sit back for a moment and just watch them create their own fun. THREE. I’ve been looking for these little “bug boxes” for the older girls for probably about a year, and this week, we finally found some at the dollar store! Now Kaya is ready for the next time we find a caterpillar!Are they not the cutest little entomologists you’ve ever seen? They’ve been searching everywhere for something to catch, but besides a few ants, they haven’t had any luck yet.FOUR. We had a super-simple family night this week, and it was Kaelyn’s turn to pick the treat. She saw some ice cream cones in the grocery store and instantly knew that was what she wanted (although I did have to explain that the cones didn’t come with ice cream already in them like the picture on the box portrayed)! I dipped them in melted chocolate and sprinkles to make things even more fun.It’s the little things that still make them the happiest (including deflating balloons, apparently…)FIVE. We were the only ones at Kangaroo Kids this week, so my girls ran around probably twice as fast as usual because they didn’t have to worry about waiting their turn for anything. And all the bubbles were just for them! They napped really well once we got home, too. 😉Happy weekend!

Linking up herehere, and here today!

five on friday (04/06)

Happy Friday!!! It’s been a low-key week, but we still had some fun and sweet moments.

ONE. Happy (belated) Easter from these little bunnies! I saw these Easter hat printables and just knew Kaya and Kaelyn would love to make them. Of course, Kaya made hers a rainbow!Kaelyn has been hopping absolutely everywhere this week!Scout was a little too interested in licking this pretend bunny…They’ve been wearing their hats to do almost everything: helping with vacuuming, doing schoolwork, and playing out on the deck!TWO. The most exciting part of the week was our kid-free DATE!!! You know we love our kids, but we really don’t go out enough as just the two of us. My in-laws were here, so they watched the girls. I had looked forward to this all week long!We tried a new Greek place (my favorite type of food), which was amazing. Seriously though, I can’t wait until I can take this guy to Greece for real and show him what the rest of Greek cuisine is like.We walked around Target for a little bit, which weirdly felt so fun with just us. Somehow he convinced me to go to Coldstone, too. I’ve been trying to reduce/almost eliminate ice cream from my diet because it seems like it messes with my stomach too much during pregnancy… but this was WORTH IT!THREE. I’ve been sick a lot this week, and when Kaya and Kaelyn see me lying on the couch, they like to make me these special little notes. I’m so grateful for their thoughtfulness; these mean so much to me. (Also, please notice the beautiful blanket my mom-in-law made me for my birthday!)(by Kaya)FOUR. Nellbells turned 18 months on Wednesday, and I can’t believe it, but she’s still not walking solo! She will take up to 6 steps on her own before she crashes to the floor, otherwise she needs to be holding onto someone or something. This little smile though… melt my heart!FIVE. Every afternoon before nap time, Kaya loves to read her sisters a book… and she’s really reading! She gathers everyone together and will read as many books as time allows. I love seeing her use the knowledge we’ve worked so hard for this past year.And just because I’m a super-proud parent, here’s a video of her reading. I know at least her Grandmas will love this!

Happy weekend!

Linking up here and here today!

five favorites (01/23)

I missed my “Five” post last Friday, so obviously, I had to make up for it somewhere! The end of the week turned into one big whirlwind of activities, so there literally wasn’t time for me to get on the computer at all. It’s crazy how life really can get that busy these days.

Anyway, some of my favorites from last week:

ONE. To piggyback on the cuteness overload in my last post, I had to start off with the sweetest little smile of the happiest baby girl! Her feet might not reach the pedals yet, but watch out, there’s a new driver in town!(And there are headbands all over the outside of the car because her sisters “decorated” it for Christmas…)Move on over!

TWO. It’s a good thing… a really good thing… she’s so dang cute, because then she turns around and does stuff like this! Newsflash: Cucumber slices are NOT hair accessories. Her hair was so slimy and crusty that she needed an emergency bath!

THREE. When your kids are in the bathroom and yell for you to “come see”, you never know what you might find… but I walked in to see these girls being sweet, sharing the step stool and hugging while getting ready for the day.

I know it seems like such a small thing, but these are the moments that remind me why I’m so grateful for our homeschooling schedule. There’s actually time for the girls to be together, whether that’s in the morning because we aren’t running to catch the bus, or just throughout the day in general. Don’t think they always get along like this, but that’s part of the beauty of it all, too- working through the rough parts of our most important relationships.

FOUR. We had enough snow, ice, and cold temperatures that the public schools canceled all but half of one school day last week! I missed a run, but to me, it is just not worth risking slipping on black ice (which we had a ton of around here). When most of it had melted, I was excited to get out for my run, even if it was only 10 degrees! I obviously needed a frozen-faced photo when I returned:FIVE. We let the girls stay in their jammies for most of the week, since we were snowed in anyway. They were looking so adorably snuggly that I just had to get a picture of all of them together, but despite all the marshmallow-bribery in the world, these were still the best I could do. Nella was just too busy shoving those marshmallows in! For fun, I let Kaya try to take a real picture on my DSLR for the first time ever. She actually did really well! And hey, here’s to maybe getting in more photos.I don’t know why Kaelyn looks so hesitant, because she willingly joined me for this one. Oh well, I still love it anyway!And now, of course, Kaya is asking to take pictures all the time… so she’s saving her allowance for a real camera of her own. I really hope she follows through with it, because I’d love to see a glimpse of the world through her eyes.

Happy Tuesday!