five on friday (09/03)

Happy September! The year is just flying on by, and with all the birthdays and holidays on the horizon, I know time isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Here are a few fun moments from our week:

ONE. The weather has been AMAZING. The humidity finally dropped, and we’ve had cooler evenings. That means that we haven’t been able to go to the pool lately, but we have had so many family walks. The girls love to ride their bikes and take turns walking Scout. Being outside with my people (and puppy) is my favorite.
Little man is so content to ride in the stroller and look at everything we pass on the way. He often takes a little snooze, too. TWO. We went to a new playground this week! The girls have seen it and asked to go to it for a while, and they were so happy to finally check it out! There are swings, a rock-climbing wall, a steep slide, and a rotating tire swing that I might have completely overdone it on (someone needs to remind me that I’m not eight years old anymore). Everyone had a blast! THREE. Every once in a while, we’ll let the girls have Nutella toast with breakfast. They all think this is the best treat ever, and I think Eve purposely tries to wear as much of it as possible on her face. Kaya snapped this photo so we’d remember her Nutella mustache forever.
Meanwhile, Little Man looks forward to the day I’ll finally let him have a fruit snack. I still really like fruit snacks myself. Any other adults like to eat “kid” snacks? I used to bring them to eat during my long training runs!FOUR. Calico Critters are still the number one toy around here. They’re so adorable, and I like playing with the girls with them, so no complaints here. It’s funny when they drive their long caravan around the house. Lately, the Critters have even gone to the hospital to have babies. I love that they all love playing together.FIVE. I bought a robot vacuum on Amazon Prime Day, and it’s probably the best thing EVER. Scout wasn’t too sure about it at first, but now she’ll lie down right in front of it and make it go around her. With 5 kids and a dog… it’s the best idea I ever had. We named it “Sharkie”, and he’s totally one of the family now.

five on friday (06/04)

It’s Friday!!!!!!

ONE. We officially finished homeschool last Thursday! On the whole, the weather has been glorious, so we’ve been enjoying it as much as possible. All those “little summer things” turn out to be the biggest memories for me: walks with my kids and puppy, freezie pops, and just enjoying the warmth of the sun.

We bought this slip ‘n slide on sale a couple of weeks ago, and I could not wait to try it. I was just as excited as the girls were! Crazy enough, I guess there’s more of a learning curve to slippin’ and slidin’ than I thought- only Kaya really figured out how to do it.

Still, they all said it was “more than fun”, so I’m calling it a win!We’re keeping Kroger in business with all the freezie pops we’ve already consumed this summer. They usually ask me what color they should eat, but they generally try to save some blue ones for me, since those are my favorite.Kaya was able to have a field-day type of activity for her group at church, so while she was gone, we went for a walk. We discovered someone’s sprinkler spraying intermittently over the fence, and the girls thought it was the most fun ever to run through it. Their giggles were the best.Chandler frequently gets a decent nap while we walk.TWO. Finally, after nearly 15 months of the pandemic, we were able to visit with friends this past weekend! Bianca had us all over for dinner, and the kids were so happy to see each other that they ran around laughing the entire time. They all looked so adorable in their dress-up clothes.Bianca finally got to meet Chandler! He has been unsure of seeing new people, but he actually does a lot better than I expected.We were able to visit with a couple of other friends, too. Eve enjoyed the outdoor toys!THREE. Michael ran his first-ever nerd conference this week! He put so much work into this dream that he’s had for a long time, and I’m really proud of him.

Enjoy this unrelated photo of him returning some things to Old Navy for me. I love how he makes me laugh.Chandler had to wear his Docker onesie for a few pictures for Daddy’s conference!This is pretty much how every photoshoot with this boy goes… sideways. Literally! Haha.FOUR. Nella and Eve are at that age where they’re extra silly, and they are best little buddies. They crack me up with all the goofy things they do. One night, after their baths, they insisted I wrap their hair up in towels. This completely made their night.Nella added toy glasses and it really took the fun to the next level!Eve dressed up as a superhero one day (and made Nella’s stuffed puppy match)! The overalls, pigtails, and huge smile really complete the look!FIVE. I’ve been reliving the 1990s several days this past week when the girls have asked to take out my “vintage” (yes, they are considered vintage now, so what does that say about me?!) Polly Pockets! This is still such a special activity for them, and I’ll never get tired of sharing my childhood memories with them.

Happy weekend!!!

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!

a surprise visit

As we were finishing up cooking and baking on Mother’s Day, there was a mysterious knock at the door… and when we opened it, Kaya’s favorite stuffed bear from Grandma Gina’s house, Blue Bonnet, was sitting there on the landing. Then Grandma Gina and Grandpa Skip appeared!!! We had no idea there were coming, so it was a wonderful surprise for all of us!

Grandpa was right in time for cake!(And silly faces!)No cake for Evie until her birthday, but Grandma Gina had her laughing!Michael ended up taking the next day (Monday) off, so it really all felt like one big special occasion. I was also extra grateful to have this family day, since Michael spent the rest of the week on a business trip in Nebraska.

We all decided to go bowling! (Nella in motion!)This is really becoming one of our favorite things!
There’s an arcade in the bowling alley, and the girls were so excited when Grandma and Grandpa said they could play some games! Nella was content with just sitting on the rides without actually turning them on.This car was her favorite.
Kaya and Kaelyn earned enough tickets for candy necklaces and bracelets! We came home to let Eve nap, and the rest of us worked outside for a bit. Kaya and Kaelyn climbed trees, and Nella made chalk paint with me. Michael took Scout to the vet that evening, and the rest of us took a walk! We enjoyed some time on the playground. Kaya was flying so high! Grandpa cuddles!I can’t believe it, but Nella is big enough for the regular swing now! She loves it.I’m so grateful for how much my girls’ grandparents love them. There’s nothing like it.They left to go home on Tuesday morning. We were sad to see them leave, but I’m already counting down the days until they come back!

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 (03/02)

Happy March! I am so excited that we’re nearing the end of winter. Hopefully, most of the cold temperatures and snow are behind us now!

ONE. It’s been nice enough to go outside for walks a few days this week! Evie had her first stroller ride without having the car seat attached. She loved sitting up, looking around, and kicking her little feet the entire time. (Also, can we all just take a moment to admire those cheeks and her double chin? Definitely some of the best baby features. I just want to eat her up!)Our little “hoodlum” (what we call her when she wears this) was so glad to go outside, too. She always likes to wear this particular shirt because it has “a hat”!Kaelyn was excited to ride the tricycle for the first time! She made it about half a mile.
TWO. Kaya has started her first round of swim lessons! She always looks forward to it, and I’m so proud of how well she has adjusted to doing something completely new, with people she just met.

THREE. After she was always taking Kaelyn’s Minnie Mouse to play with, we finally got Nella one of her own. I ordered it online when Disney had a good sale, so when it came in the mail, we were all excited to surprise her.

Daddy started opening the box……and it was love at first sight.It was fun to have something special just for her.

FOUR. These sisters… are just crazy! They have moments when they fight or don’t get along, but the majority of the time, they’re best friends. They’re always coming up with some silly game to play, and I love seeing them do it all together. They were dancing (which looks a lot like running in circles through the house) while holding hands. These laughs are real! They also love hanging out in Kaya’s bed. Nella only stays up there for a few minutes (with Daddy or me supervising). Nella seems to think her big sisters are a little crazy! This one cracks me up.FIVE. Evie might be too little to run with her sisters, but she has a tummy time buddy! All the girls adore Eve, but Kaelyn has a special place in her heart for her baby sister. I think it’s because Eve is the only baby she remembers (and she also likes that their birthdays are close together)!I love these silly princesses.

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 (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 favorites (02/10)

It’s so late, but I just had to get my Five in for the week!

ONE. Probably the most unusual part of our week was finding an injured deer in our backyard one morning. I saw her when I came back from my run, and we watched her out the window for a bit (of course, the girls instantly fell in love). When she just kept lying there, I started to figure that something had to be wrong, so I walked out to get a closer look. When I came within 6 feet of her and she didn’t budge, I could see that her whole bottom was bleeding and raw.

Logically, I know there’s an overpopulation of deer in Virginia, but I just couldn’t help myself- I called Michael, sobbing, begging him to figure out who could save this deer. As it turns out, the local wildlife rehabilitator can only take fawns who are young enough to have spots, so although this one appeared to be quite young, she didn’t qualify. They actually sent the police deputy out to see if she should just be put down, but right before he arrived, she surprised us all and actually stood and walked a few steps.

I don’t know how far she got, but at this point, I just hope she didn’t have to suffer. Kaya and Kaelyn were heartbroken when they knew the deer was so hurt.

TWO. Kangaroo Kids started back up for the first time in the new year! I surprised the girls by not telling them where we were going, and hearing their squeals upon our arrival was the best.

Nella was all over the place this time! Climbing, chasing balls, and wanting to do everything her sisters did. When we started going to this one year ago, she would nap in her car seat the entire time, and last fall, I just carried her around for most of it. I guess she’s a real big kid now! They ran around so much that all of them passed out for long naps when we got home. The house was as silent as it’s been in a long time!

THREE. I’m still trying my best to get us outdoors as much as I can, but the weather hasn’t been helping. We actually had church canceled last Sunday due to snow that blew in just a few hours beforehand! We did get out for a couple of short walks after the ice melted, though!

And when you don’t nap during nap time, you might fall asleep in the stroller! Those are some very sleepy eyes. Kaya found this block of ice, named it “Toothless” (like the dragon), and carried it for almost half a mile home. She even had to check on Toothless several times that evening before she went to bed. This is such a fun, imaginative age.FOUR. Sometimes, you just need a chocolate chip cookie, quick! (Anyone else? Or is that just me?) Anyway, I tried this microwave chocolate chip mug cookie, and it was amazing. I actually cut the sugar in half and left out the salt, and it was just fine. I shared with Kaya and Kaelyn, who were pretty much the happiest girls in the world.FIVE. This sweet little baby girl, with curls on the back of her head and that completely wild ponytail, was just waiting for her Daddy to come home yesterday. She’s getting so smart- anytime she hears the lock on the door click, she immediately looks that direction and asks, “Daaa?” She just knows that it clicks, the door opens, and Daddy comes through! It’s the sweetest thing. Happy weekend!