five favorites (08/03)

What better way is there to kick off a Monday than with some fun things we’ve been up to lately? I still find so much gratitude when I write these posts, so even if they’re only for myself, they are definitely worth the time.

ONE. We introduced the girls to tie dye! They have been looking forward to it all summer long, and I was just waiting for shirts to go on sale so we could use the kit I already had. Everyone chose a different design, and we helped put the dye on. Daddy did his shirt last, so there wasn’t much dye left. We let the girls go crazy with the remaining dye and make his shirt however they wanted. It turned out pretty cool!

Eve was not into taking this picture at all. It kind of cracks me up. Real life, you guys. Always my little monkey.We all matched for our family walk. These little moments are so precious. TWO. Kaya, Kaelyn, and Nella decided that they wanted to make playdough one afternoon. All I did was print the recipe, and they executed it all on their own! It’s amazing to see how much they have grown to be able to do.
This kept them busy for hours… and kept me sweeping up playdough for days. Haha.Sensory play is the best!
THREE. After the girls finished their virtual race series a couple months ago, we let them choose if they wanted the commemorative medal or a race t-shirt. They all chose medals, but it took quite a while to get them in the mail. They finally came at the end of last week, and it was like a mini-Christmas. I loved their giant smiles as they ran around wearing them. They definitely earned these! This is one of the most genuine Nella smiles I’ve captured.FOUR. Our church Primary put on a “drive-through ice cream” activity last week. It was so simple, but it meant so much to the girls to get out and do something special. The pandemic has still changed things for them, and they miss going out as a family. I was okay with this since it was outdoors and low-attendance. We are definitely out of practice with leaving the house, though- we completely forgot the diaper bag and wipes to clean everyone up afterward. Thankfully, we were able to borrow some (especially since Eve was completely covered in popsicle juice just moments after I took this picture)!FIVE. Family movie nights are the best. I think the girls’ favorite part is the popcorn, but I love snuggling up with freshly-bathed babies in soft pajamas. There’s nothing better.
They’ve recently discovered the Sophia the First TV series, so we borrowed the movie from the library to get the whole backstory. They loved it.
HAPPY MONDAY!

five favorites (07/18)

Whew! It feels like it’s been crazy busy around here, but it’s always worth taking the time to write one of these (even if it means sacrificing a nap… which is really hard for a pregnant mama)!

ONE. Michael took last week off of work and used some of his time off to start refinishing our deck. He’s been power-washing and sanding, and today we picked out the new paint color. I’m really excited! Goodbye, chipped red stain! I found his selfie in our shared photos account and it kind of makes me laugh for some reason.

TWO. We’ve spent a lot of time in the little pool so far this summer. It’s not quite the same as going to the community pool, but we’ve already had a lot more fun with it than I even expected to. It doesn’t take much to make these kids happy. I’m not sure where she got the peace sign thing from, but it’s cute! Eve always has to bring her pacifier in the pool and usually likes to stay by me. She’ll go to the opposite end and say, “I’m coming!”, and then she hurries over to me as quickly as she can. She also really loves pouring water on my baby belly!I’ve also really enjoyed this little pool. I can sit in there and the girls still have plenty of room to play. There’s just something extra-relaxing about being in water when you have a baby bump.

THREE. We’ve been trying to take more family walks lately, even if it’s the last thing we do right before the girls go to bed. We usually only go about a mile, but it’s been something I really love doing all together. Sometimes, the girls put their pajamas on before we leave so they’re ready for bed when we get back. Eve was so exhausted after her birthday party that she passed out in the stroller. That’s just the best.Nellie likes to hide in the pine trees and “scare” us as we walk by. BOO!We found some pretty flowers and had to take a picture with them! I love how Eve is not paying attention and is trying to walk away because it’s so true-to-life. This girl has things to do!

FOUR. This week, Kaya had a school assignment to create a flower out of fruit and then write a step-by-step paragraph about it. We turned it into an activity for everyone (minus Eve, who was napping and would have made an epic mess)!Nella has been really into photobombing these days.
Oh this face.And this one. I love Kaelyn’s laugh.FIVE. We borrowed library books for the first time since everything locked down for the pandemic back in March! Our library just reopened a few weeks ago, and we can order books for pickup. I picked out some new ones for the girls, and when Daddy brought them home, it was seriously like Christmas for them!
It was pretty much a book explosion, but I love how they all just dove right in and started reading. I love how much they love books.Happy Saturday!

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 favorites (06/23)

It’s not Friday, but I’m overdue for one of these posts! We’ve been off of school for a few weeks already, and despite mostly still being quarantined, we’ve been trying to make the most of our time at home. Luckily, it really doesn’t take much to keep these girls happy!

ONE.  We’ve had a lot of outside fun and have really enjoyed the sunshine. Nella and Eve love to draw with chalk and throw a ball back and forth together. It’s been fun to see them getting closer and spending more time interacting with each other, instead of just playing side-by-side. Kaya and Kaelyn are my little monkeys. They’ve probably spent hours up in this tree.TWO. Our local pools have closed for the whole summer, so we got a little inflatable one to try. It takes forever to fill, so I’m not sure how often we’ll be using it, but it’s a fun treat every once in awhile. The girls were so excited and had the best time playing in it, even if it’s really not much more water than they’d have in the bathtub!Kaelyn really wanted to wear her floaty. I love these sisters.I was really excited that Eve got to wear her panda swimsuit… my favorite!Nellie was blowing bubbles!THREE. The girls had been begging Daddy to take them camping! Because of all the rain we’ve been having, he decided to set the tent up in the basement. We couldn’t trust Eve to sleep anywhere but her crib, so I stayed upstairs with her, and he slept in the tent with the three oldest girls. There was a lot of silliness and not a whole lot of sleeping that night, but they had a good time. Eve’s face! She didn’t know she wasn’t staying yet!FOUR. We had a taco and ice cream sundae party to celebrate the end of the school year! Everyone was so excited to eat outside at the kid table. We also recently introduced the girls to hard taco shells, so they have been really loving those. Yes, it was Taco Tuesday!We gave them Magic Shell for the first time, too! It’s the simple joys.FIVE. Kaya, Kaelyn, and Nella have been saving up their allowance for months, and finally decided that they wanted some new Beanie Babies. We ordered them online and they came in the mail just in time to open after we finished our weekly chores.Nella picked this little dog, “Huey”, and has been completely obsessed with him ever since. Apparently, Beagle (her all-time favorite stuffie) is his mommy.Kaelyn chose this Unipuppy she saw at Joann’s months ago. Daddy calls it a “Puppycorn”, haha.Of course, Kaya chose this sparkly cat, Whimsy. I love seeing them enjoy things they’ve worked so hard for.Evie doesn’t get allowance, but she requested a picture anyway.Happy Tuesday!

claytor lake

We had the chance to spend one Friday night at the lake for a friend’s birthday party, and I’m so glad we went, because these little girls had the best time. This was Nella and Eve’s first time ever playing in sand, and they loved it! Nella immediately started adding to another child’s sandcastle, and Eve sat on the shore happily.

Nella also surprised me with how willing she was to let me take a few pictures of her. That little foot pop and smile… be still my heart.The water washing over her legs made Eve so excited! She was laughing and trying to crawl right into it. My mom was in town. It was so nice to have her join us! Outdoors is my happy place.Kaya and Kaelyn were playing nonstop and didn’t even want to take a break to eat dinner! Eventually, they did, and we had a little picnic in the sand.Michael got to go out in our friends’ kayak with each of the girls for very short little rides… until we found out you’re not supposed to launch kayaks from this part of the shoreline. Whoops. It was fun while it lasted. Nella looked unsure, but she had a good time, too.The girls had freezie pops to end the night. It was a perfect evening.

five favorites (08/19)

I’m brightening up a Monday with one of my favorite ways to blog… sharing five of the best things that have been going on here lately! It was a good day as far as Mondays go, actually, this just makes it even better.

ONE. Last week, we had what was probably our last day at the outdoor pool. They close during the week once public school starts (and it has now), and I’m not sure if we’ll be back there on a Saturday sometime before it completely closes down for the season. We soaked it all in and made the very most of it.

Nella absolutely loves this whale fountain in the baby pool!

There are some pretty strong fountains in the baby pool, too. Nella loves just sitting between them.

Being the littlest sister definitely has its advantages… someone is always willing to play with Eve! Kaya loved bouncing her up and down in the water.I brought the girls their own little bags of chips as a special snack to have during the mandatory swim break. I think they might have been just as excited about eating these as they were about swimming (especially Nella and Eve)! Kaya also told me that this is the best picture of Eve I’ve ever taken, haha.Not the best quality photo, but I got us all in and everyone is looking (also, Eve’s little grin)! Again with the chips! I promise this isn’t sponsored by Ruffles, haha.

It was pretty empty. I guess most people already felt like summer was over. I’m definitely going to miss this place until next year.

TWO. We’ve been homeschooling through the summer, but we were a little more low-key for most of it, just doing language arts and math. We finally dove back into history and science, and Kaya and Kaelyn are loving it. We started with Ancient Greece, so they had a “Greek snack” (olives, grapes, and pita chips) while they listened to me read. They thought this was so much fun!They also designed their own “red clay pottery” with scenes that depict their everyday lives. Kaya drew herself with the deer who visit our yard, and Kaelyn drew herself at the playground.We also did a “lab” for science where the girls made their own play dough. They loved it so much! I love watching them have fun and explore.

THREE. If you’re wondering what Nella and Eve do during all this school, half the time, they’re playing with water out on the deck! If they aren’t happy doing that, they’re usually having a snack.Nella could do this for hours.Standing in a bowl of water is equally fun.Nella always cracks me up with the outfits she chooses. Somehow, she had on a shirt without pants, and before I knew it, she had put on her boots to go out and play. Boots with no pants. I don’t think that’s going to be trendy anytime soon… at least, I hope not!

This might be one of the last pictures of her in a diaper, because we’re ever-so-slowly starting potty training with her! I’m nervous and excited to finally get this going.

FOUR. Remember our plants? They’ve grown SO much! I’m so proud of Kaya and Kaelyn for watering and taking care of them every single day, sometimes twice a day (those tomatoes need a lot of water)! Kaya heads outside as soon as she wakes up to check on them, and if Kaelyn sees the tomatoes drooping, she’ll say “Uh-oh, the tomatoes are looking sad!” Kaya found the tiniest little tomatoes growing yesterday morning. She was so excited! We also have some beans, but no sign of any cucumbers yet. I am so grateful that Kaya and Kaelyn could have this experience of tending to a living thing all on their own, and that they are able to see the fruit that comes from diligence and patience.FIVE. We’ve had quite a few storms lately, and when the sun came out immediately after one, we ran outside as fast as we could to see if there was a rainbow. There was! These were some happy girls!It actually became a double rainbow, but with all the cloud coverage, it was impossible to see it all the way across the sky. Looking at the rainbow out there in the drizzle with my girls was so simple and sweet.
Happy Monday!

five favorites (08/10)

Happy Saturday! I didn’t quite get this done yesterday, so here I am. We spent a big part of today cleaning, so it’s nice to pop on here for a bit of fun and share what we’ve been up to this week!

ONE. We got to go to our town’s summer festival last weekend. There were craft vendors of all sorts, with a plethora of homemade items for sale. I think this was the first year we didn’t buy a single thing, but the girls had the best time. They got free lollipops from the local sweets shop. Everyone chose “rainbow” flavor, of course.

The fire station gave out these free firefighter hats, and the girls got to go up in the fire engine to look around, too. It was so exciting for them!The girls have been wearing their hats just about every day since. They pretend to come to my house and check that my smoke detectors are working. I love watching their creativity.They also got to go on a bounce house/slide! This was the best part for them.

TWO. Michael has been working hard out in the yard this week, removing the old bushes, most of which were dead or at least half-dying. This is a massive work-in-progress, but I’m realizing that having a house basically means you’re always working on something. At least, that’s how it is for us.Kaelyn was a good little helper.Nella keeps finding these old tennis balls in the yard. We (and Scout) found quite a few the first year we lived here, so I figured we had uncovered them all. Nope! They are still showing up. Someone must have played a lot of fetch before we bought the house.

I guess we’ll have to figure out what we’re putting here instead!

THREE. Speaking of our yard, we’ve had a lot of wild visitors lately… This buck has been here a few times to eat apples off the tree. He has a deformed antler, so he’s been easy to identify. He was also at the playground one day when I was running! I used my telephoto lens to get these, which is something I don’t get to do very often, so it was a fun change.On another day, we had a mother and her two fawns come by! I had seen the mother before and could tell she was lactating… so I was so excited when she brought her babies with her on her next visit. I only had time to grab my phone to take these before they sprinted away (ahem, Scout, thank you for barking and scaring them)! FOUR. Apparently, I’ve just been having a lot of fun with nature photos this week. Our purple flowers are already starting to wilt and fall to the ground, which means fall is fast-approaching.The girls and I loved reviewing what we’ve learned about pollination by watching the bees drink nectar from each flower.FIVE. One of my very favorite things about having a bunch of little girls is putting them in matching clothes, and it’s even better when I get to match them, too! I was in love with these pink sparkly shoes ever since I bought them for the girls for Easter, and when my size went on clearance last week… I just had to get them. These little moments make life sweet. (Also, Nella’s bare baby legs are just way too cute!)

Happy weekend!

five favorites (08/03)

Happy August! I can’t believe we’re in the last stretch of summer already. Where does the time go? We’ve been on the go a lot lately, so these are ALL phone pictures, but in a way, it’s kind of great, because that means we’ve been having adventures and getting out of the house. It’s never easy with four little people, but it is worth making the effort to go out of our comfort zone a little.

ONE. Michael got to take the girls camping last weekend! There was a church campout activity, and he thought that Kaya, Kaelyn, and Nella might finally be at ages where they’d actually enjoy sleeping in a tent outdoors. He was right! They absolutely loved all of this: playing in the woods, having a “girls only” party in the back of a pick-up truck, and snuggling up with Daddy all night. They even giggled about how “the potty was just a big hole!” (it was an outhouse), and didn’t have a single complaint when they came home and told me all about it. Of course, who could complain when you get to eat s’mores for dessert and breakfast?

Eve and I stayed home (I’m not brave enough to attempt camping with a baby), so I was left with a bunch of free time. I used a lot of it to straighten up downstairs, organize Kaya and Kaelyn’s room, and shampoo the living room carpet. There’s nothing like a clean floor!

TWO. We got to go to the Radford Planetarium’s special exhibit in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. They had a special show, along with some other exhibits (one of which included ice cream made with liquid nitrogen)! Eve didn’t make it through the entire show, but I’m still glad we were able to take the other girls and have some time as a family.They also had a small “Museum of the Earth Sciences” there, where we saw some amazing fossils and geodes. They had this T-Rex skull, which is the most complete fossil of its kind in existence. So cool! All the girls were afraid of it, but Kaya stood next to it long enough for a photo.THREE. We got to go to the pool this week with Bianca and her kids! She gifted Eve this baby floatie, which was amazing, because it was the first time in 6 years that I haven’t had to carry a baby in my arms the entire time we were swimming! Eve loved it for a while and then decided she wanted to be held.Nella was pretty cranky, so she tried Noah’s shark floatie out for a bit. Kaelyn was pulling her all around the pool, so I think she enjoyed the ride.Of course, Eve doesn’t really need to go to the pool, because she’s just as happy to climb into her sister’s tiny toy pool. She gets soaked in the tiniest amount of water!FOUR. We had an extra-fun morning yesterday when Daddy joined us at the playground on his lunch break! Playing with him is everyone’s favorite thing. Eve is all about trying to walk (while holding on to things) everywhere she can. She wore her little pink shoes!Their joy is my joy. Seriously, that little paci grin! I love her so much. She was very ready for a nap after this.FIVE. We’ve had a lot of butterflies visit our deck lately. We all love watching them and appreciating the beauty of nature so nearby.This butterfly and another just like it spent a couple of days on our deck, except that the second one had large parts of its wings missing. Kaya has such a tender heart, and she was so worried about that butterfly. When the injured one flew away, she wanted to be sure its “sister” butterfly followed after it.HAPPY SATURDAY!

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!

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!