Obadiah is Two!!

Here is one of this guy’s first public posts!  He is TWO and finally, officially ours!  God is pretty amazing!  Funny story, we actually took these two photos below in reverse order.  I took the one of Obie holding his name first and he was thrilled and so proud to get to hold the frame.  Afterwards, we had my brother-in-law, Justin, try to get one of the three of us where we held the sign (in front of Obie’s head, nonetheless).  Bad move.  He was throwing a fit back there and kept siting down.  It took a while to get him to stand long enough to snag the shot, but we made it happen. #reallifewithkids

*confession* Obie’s “handsome,” polished, black dress shoes were actually Elly’s sparkly black girl boots with bows.  Ya…. realized we didn’t have much to work with last minute since he wears his special made blue nikes with ankle braces 24/7 and has limited other options.  You can kinda sorta see them in all their bling glory here. haha

We had a wonderful time celebrating his adoption with family and friends (including our friend, Michelle, who kindly took this picture and the one above)!  What a blessing! ❤

Our little man was definitely worth the long, painful journey!

Obie weighs 25 lb 7 oz now and his hair is as orange as ever.

I know it’s typically called, “red” hair, but come on!  This is as orange as orange gets!!

Obie loves wearing hats.  In general, he tends to get really excited over what he’s wearing for the day.  I think he has a slight obsession with clothes because his sisters all have doll clothes for their babies and are dressing them constantly while chattering over it.

We got the 4 older kids matching lamby hats and he thought he was pretty cool wearing his.

Speaking of wearing stuff, I found my old pair of glasses (from college years, guys!  Yes…. my eyesight is failing and I need an updated pair desperately, but who has time for eye appointments?  I can hardly keep up with all the kid appointments in my life! haha) and as any good mom should, I forced my children to wear them for pictures because what is more cute than little kids in glasses?!  Really now….

Bath time fun!

Obadiah really likes his ducks in a ROW.  Some examples:  He is obsessed with music.  Whenever I sit down to play our keyboard, he comes and stands at my elbow.  I frequently play out of our church hymnal and often will sing while playing.  We also sing hymns every evening during our family Bible time.  Obie knows many of the hymns by heart, from the words to the music.  This kid seems to be somewhat gifted in the area of music.  He will often sing the note he knows is coming.  He also knows what I play for an intro and if I don’t start singing right away after the intro?  He will have a throw down fit.  He can’t handle it.  It’s quite interesting.  He LOVES to sing!

Other things that trigger breakdowns for this tot are when a sister is reading a book and then closes it.  He doesn’t like story time ending, so I’m guessing that’s why that bothers him.  Meals are also an intense time for this guy.  So far, he doesn’t seem to recognize stopping points, so his therapist still has me stop him once he’s had enough.  He almost always throws a fit when he’s done, even with prepping and verbal reminders that we’ll be finished soon, etc.  He still tends to do much better in a home setting with just his usual family members around vs. a public one or when we have guests over.  If I try to have a conversation while feeding him, watch out!  He will be super on edge because he anticipates me being way too distracted to remember giving him bites.  Oh Obie…..

Hanging with Grandpa is fun!

Obadiah was able to get to know Grandpa D. a little better when we went to visit him a couple weekends ago!

Poor Obs lives the life of a lone brother with nothing but girls about.  Here he is in his hand me down, pink toddler bed.  At least it hasn’t seemed to interfere with his naps….

Obie still  sees a physical therapist, although she now comes once every other week instead of weekly.  She said he will need some kind of foot braces for a while yet but hopefully can eventually move to shoe inserts.  We have more Iowa City visits scheduled for various things (a neurology appointment in April and a genetic counseling appointment to be determined).  Obie has been doing a lot better with walking, lately!  He has also started to prefer walking over crawling finally!  That was a slow transition for him, but we’re all very excited about it!

Even though my go-to mode for anything is FAST, it has been good for me to sloooooow down for this little guy.  Our grocery trips have been a little more tedious as I’ve been having him walk the entire time vs. riding in the cart.  He has to hang on to the front of the cart with both hands, but he plods along and I know it’s good for him.  He definitely prefers those times where he can sit and riiiiiiide through life, so he wasn’t too happy the first couple times I had him walk, but we managed and now it’s the expected norm.

Speaking of walking, I’ve also transitioned him out of the stroller (partly for necessity with our 4 month old, because I really don’t like using the carrier that much and partly because I knew he needed all opportunities possible to work on walking/endurance/stability/etc.).  The first time I had him walk our mile it took us (wait for it) 55 minutes!!  I almost died, guys, but I knew it was what he needed.  However, I am happy to report that the last couple walks, he was able to pull off a 30 minute mile and then a 28 minute mile the next day!  That is some serious improvement!!  The goal is to get him ready for hiking come warmer weather!

The outdoors have never been Obie’s favorite.  I have hope he will enjoy it more as his mobility improves, but in the summer he was ultra sensitive to the bright sun and in the winter he’s so bundled that moving much just doesn’t happen.  Sledding with help was fun though. haha

I think come spring he will be more ready!  His preferred choice is to just sit when we head out, which is one reason he really loves our cat, Sunny.  He can sit by her and enjoy her company while not moving a ton. haha

This kid has a glare to beat them all.  Caleb and I have to laugh because this look often comes before he smacks the floor defiantly.  (yes, we deal with the behavior, but it’s still funny because ooh ho!  You smacked the floor?!?  *Gasp!!*)

New Years Eve party ’till 8!!  Woooo!!

Brushing those pearly whites!

This kid always has plenty to say about who knows what! haha

Obs has quite the personality on him.

Wally World had an incredible deal on kiddie trampolines, probably leftover from Christmas, and we figured it would be an excellent gift for our son.  It was!  All the kids love it!  He can’t do too much jumping, although he gets a little done, but it’s been very good for him!  He climbs up and down on it, and the handle works great to support him while standing on the bouncy base.

Elly and him are hilarious on there together.

Those two can be quite mischievous together.  Here they were busy “helping” me with unpacking when we moved.

Obie loves being a big brother to our little baby girl.  He was totally obsessed with her when she came.  She shares his room so he’s not a lonely only in there.  He would hold her all day if I let him.

His favorite part of any day is getting read to.  He LOVES it.

Obie has been working on learning some letter sounds and colors.  He loves to learn and is always right a the elbow of whoever is doing school at the moment.

He’s a cutie and we’re sure glad he’s ours!

Okay, here’s my favorite picture ever of all four kids!  It’s next to impossible to get the girls and Obie to all cute smile a the same time, but this is the ONE picture where I actually managed to make it happen, all while taking the picture I might add.  #miracle  Let’s just all appreciate it, okay?  And realize it may never happen again.



Eliana is Twenty-one Months Old!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My lil’ baby is getting older!!  She may only weigh 23 lb 3 oz and be on the shrimpy side, but she has a mighty personality!

Double-chinnin goofy goober! ❤

Yes, I did the “make my kid wear my old glasses I found, because kids in glasses are adorable” thing for all my kids.  So, if you haven’t seen them all yet, yes, they’re still coming.  Just look at this little squish!  Cutest.

*Disclaimer* This next pair is definitely NOT mine, guys, but we had someone accidentally leave them at our house and this was necessary before returning them.  If only she knew how to make the, what’s it called? “duck face?”

We still call this little twerp, Jelly Bean, all the time.  It fits her perfectly.  I don’t think she even knows her actual name is Eliana because she is either referred to as Jelly Bean, Elly, Elle, Yelly, Jelly, or Baby.  Can’t win them all.

I’ve been trying to switch Elly over to wearing 2T lately.  The sleeves and pants are all a little long on her though.  18 month pants still fit her best. Some of the 18 month shirts were getting a little snug though.  This girl might be low on the growth charts, but she does have quite the pookey little belly. ha!  You can kinda see it in this picture.  She was lounging on the chair (sick) with her drink and I let her “use” Evelyn’s “computer” for a few minutes.  She couldn’t really figure it out, but she thought she was living it up BIG.

Speaking of getting dressed…. this is what it looks like when you ask Daddy to get one of the kids dressed.  She came out in her brother’s shirt, pantsless, and looking slightly confused.  hahahahaha

Jelly Bean is OBSESSED with footwear.  For a really long time, finding a pair of boots to wear was one of her first activities of the day.  She would put them on herself too, of course! (Miss Independent herself!)  Just drinking her morning keifer with her morning hair-do (Who am I kidding??  This was probably her all day hair….) while wearing her stylin’ boots!

These rain boots were Elly’s absolute FAVS for a while.  She was so attached to them, she often wore them all nap time. haha

This little girl is probably our most independent one so far.  She is much more ambitious than Evie was at this age and is always attempting (and often successfully so!) to do anything and everything.  She’s the child who is often discovered in the kitchen preparing herself a snack, or almost completely dressing herself for an excursion outside, the one who has been climbing up (and down) from the girls’ bunk bed for the past couple months, the one I actually have to go looking for because she’s off who knows where doing who knows what, the tot who gets all the toothbrushes and toothpaste at bedtime and brings them out to Daddy, and who already undresses/dresses herself better than big sister Evie could a few months ago. haha

Yelly has her own sense of style too.  As I mentioned before, that usually involves boots.  This is her modeling Evie’s pink cowgirl boots and a headband accessory she added on part way through the day.  Hey, if Mama doesn’t get your hair fixed, you just do it yourself around here!  Elly has been enjoying building Duplo towers for quite a while now.  This one even got graced with a cow!

A while back, when Elly first started realizing she could handle undressing herself, I would often find something like this when I peeked in on her before my bed time…..  Ohhhh, Elly! ❤

You might notice the diaper in the above picture.  Although Elly has been day and nap time potty trained for months now, she still gets a diaper overnight.  Mostly because I don’t want to get up to take her in the middle of the night and she is always wet in the morning, soooooo…. I’ll work on it eventually.  These were from a while ago at our old house.  Sometimes you just need to get comfy when you gotta go.

We had an extra nice winter day sometime back in January and spent some time playing on our tennis court (aka, bike pad).  Elly was stuck with a trike for the first part.  She was a little frustrated with it because it was so slow.

I thought she might be a little tiny for it, but I eventually brought down the strider to see what she’d do with it.  She hopped right on and with great determination was practicing for about 20 minutes before getting off again. haha  She was so smug about it, I could hardly get her to smile.  She though she was just like the big girls!  After observing the way her sisters were riding bikes, she decided to try picking her feet up at one point.  It didn’t go well, but there were no tears.  She just got back up and tried again.  I have a feeling this girl is going to master the strider soon after warm weather hits!

Elly Babe often wants to be big, big, BIG!  She loves taking care of our baby, which is adorable. ❤

She laid by her in the boppy pillow one day for about 20 minutes.  It was the cutest.

Sometimes she thinks she’s a bit too big.  Trying Daddy’s shoes on for size…

She loves taking care of her babies just like Mama takes care of our baby.  It’s so funny how kids respond.  When Elly was a baby and I was nursing constantly, my girls always had their shirts up feeding their babies.  Now that Elly gets to watch me bottle feed our little one, that’s the go to method. haha

She loves taking care of her babies.

This girl is a nuthead on our trampoline.  She loves to lift herself up from the bar and hang there and she can jump hilariously high.

Although she does like to be a big girl, every once in a while we have some reverting. hahaha  Feeling a little foolish lounging in the baby bouncer.

Putting on sock mitties like Baby gets to wear. ha

Sometimes you just need bundled and cuddled by your Mama.  Elly has been quite the cuddler lately, which I’ll take any day!  I love cuddle time and my kids are usually such busy babes they won’t sit still and cuddle.

In our old house, when Elly was still in a crib in our room (due to lack of space), one of our routines was getting her up and taking her in to wake up the big girls (who slept on the floor at the time ha).  They loved it.

I’m kinda obsessed with Elly’s hair in a ponytail and her sort of side bangs out.

This was Elly’s silly face she was super into for a while. haha  She couldn’t help cracking up over it too.

Ohhhh hats! ❤

For a few weeks, Elly went through a wake up early from nap and think she’s done phase.  I would bring her out to the living room because otherwise she’d wake the other kids with her screeching and she’d promptly cuddle up and pass out again.  She moved on, but it was kind of fun while it lasted. 🙂

Elly can be a bit of a bully.  I probably need to crack down on it a little more firmly so we can move on, but it never ceases to amaze me how she can bully her older siblings around.  I mean, she will be hitting Abby and Evie on the head with toys or shoving them or taking their stuff and they’ll be screaming for me to help.  Say what?!  You are like at least twice her size, guys!!  Come on now!  Pull it together girls!  Obie I can understand a little more.  He’s not quite as physically with it just yet.  For a while she would see him standing in the middle of the floor and run at him with arms outstretched and he’d be flopped to the floor.  Of course, this isn’t always the case.  Sometimes he will fake a shoving when I’m standing there and watching and Elly doesn’t even touch him, so they both have their issues. haha  These two have cute, playing together moments as well, which is always a nice change of pace.

Little snow monster cutie.

Sledding with Mama.

Elly and her snow baby.

Elly loves her Daddy. ❤  She saw him laying on the floor one day and thought he needed cuddled up, so she got her blanket for him.  Sweetest.

Bath time goofy hair!

Three little troublemakers in a tub!

We had pizza one night and this kid was just making me laugh.  Prancing around in her jammies, munching her pizza smugly…. what a goober.

Elly got to hang out with Great Grandpa D. when we visited Urbandale in January.

She ate in his old high chair too, because it’s tradition!

Little Miss was licking ice off the window and eating it one morning (ya…. our windows may all need replaced ha).

My slow teething kids…..  I think this is still about all she has in there! haha

Our four little tots. ❤

Elly is still a pretty silent Sal.  She will spurt little sentences out or a word or two here and there, but she doesn’t exert a lot of effort in the speech department.  This is often the face I get when I ask her to say a word.

However, when she WANTS to, she can really let the ol’ volume up.  Examples: in her bed after we lay her down for the night (“MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!  MOM!!  MOOOOM!!”), screaming when her sisters take from her, or my personal favorite, her hymn singing.  She is still obsessed with holding her “hymn” book (usually a big, hardcover, collection of stories type of book) and belting out songs at the top of her lungs.  It’s pretty funny.  Some of the words you can pick up while she’s singing are hallelujah (ha-way-woo-ya!) and He’s alive! (Ee awive!).  This is not an angry face, but an intent, I’m singing VERY LOUDLY over here, face. hahaha

Our household has been GETTING it with sicknesses this winter.  It’s just like one thing after the next.  Little kids grubbing on every germ imaginable when we go anywhere will do that to you I suppose.  Phew.  Anyway, Elly picked up on my mode of coping when I’m in the throes and she often will say she’s “Code!” and grab a blanket and cuddle up on the couch.  Sometimes she’s feeling friendly and a big sister gets to cuddle up by her. ❤

Matching winter jammies are way too fun. ❤

Elly loves doing whatever her big sisters are doing.  She is never one to be left behind!  She’s starting to work on learning a few colors now (ya, I don’t work with her as much as I did Abby, buuuuut life, guys…) and told me she wants a kitty birthday when I asked her.  Way to go, Sunny, you are rocking our kids’ world.

This is often how Elly’s hair looks, because she isn’t a fan of me putting it in a ponytail and try as I might with consequences, she always rips out her hair tie at SOME point, unless it’s the little super tight rubber band kind and I get tired of putting those in and out.  They take some decent effort!

We love this little ball of fire!  She is a very busy tot.  One of her favorite activities is dumping puzzles out and putting them back.  The worst is when she dumps two at once…. ya, we’re working on that.  She’s a goober when someone says they’re going to tickle her.  She’ll shriek, “No, no, no, no, no!!” really fast.  I love asking her, “Do you know Mama loves you?” and she’ll squeak, “Ya!”  We love you always, always, always, Elly Belly!! ❤ ❤

Moving Day!!

We bought a house!!  We really did!  We’ve been looking and dreaming for years and it finally became a reality.  Alright, stay with me here guys….  We heard about it from friends of ours from church who heard about it from other friends of ours from church who heard about it from some people who heard about if from the seller I believe.

Properties in the country are far and few between and it seems they often sell before even hitting the market.  I called the seller right away after hearing and she agreed to let us take a look that evening, right before another couple was coming over to see it (all of this is before it even was listed – really!).  As we pulled in to the mature tree lined driveway that evening, I had to stifle my excitement.  Cabz had already said we weren’t going to decide anything that first night and I was trying to be calm and quiet (fyi: both of those are really not natural for me, especially at the same time!).

We looked at the property first and it was kind of amazing.  Then, we made it back to the house.  I was worried it was going to be the big moment of truth upon stepping inside, but the inside was perfect too!  Older, not over the top fancy….. homey. 🙂  I kept sneaking peeks at Cabz to see if he was loving it like I was.  I think he sensed my bottled up excitement just a tad and I could tell he loved it too.  Long story short, we ended up making an offer on it early the next morning.  The other couple who were going to look at it ended up waiting until the following day.  The seller said she wanted to be fair and give them a chance before accepting our offer.  That was a tough waiting period, but I’m thankful we knew the Lord was sovereign over it all and we could rest in that.  Sooooo… ya.  We got the house.  Closing Day faces!!!!

The kids weren’t as excited at the closing because when I kept excitedly telling them we were going to buy the new house they interpreted it as we were going to drive by the new house which apparently sounded more fun to them than standing quietly along a wall while adults signed fifty papers.  Who knew??

Cabz headed off to work shortly after the closing, but the girls and I finished up loading the van and took our first haul over to the new house!

I was surprised how much we could pack into our huge van.  It fits a ton. haha  It took me 40 minutes just to unload it.  Of course, my door holders were debatable and I had to keep splitting up quarrels and locating children.

Callie, Darah, and some of the girlies came and helped us pack and haul another hefty load that afternoon.  We filled all 3 vehicles pretty solidly.  Some of our helpers really wore themselves out!! haha  Abby told me later that unloading was “more fun when our friends helped.”

Good ol’ Callie even helped me do a “midnight run” (more like 9:30/10 p.m., but close enough) with a third load that night.  On Friday, I had a little trouble getting the van loaded with the kids, but we eventually got ‘er done.  Lunch was a bit late, but Callie came over again to help with a 2nd load that afternoon.  Friday night, our last night in our rental house, turned out to be extra memorable.  Abby woke me up with her coughing.  I was about to ask her to tone it down a bit (she can be a super loud cougher) when I heard an exceptionally nasty one followed by, “Mama!  I barfed!”  I raced in, but it was too late.  She had cough barfed and hit pretty much everything in the room, including a solemn Evie, who sat up with barf dripping out of her hair.  I think this one was about 3 in the morning.  After a round of baths and scraping barf off bedding with baby wipes (most of our cleaning products had already been moved over to the new house of course ha) we settled back in.  Thankfully, Abs managed to hit the garbage can with her next two eruptions.

Saturday was official Moving Day!!  Woo!  Callie and Natasha came over early and we brought one load over before a crew from our church family showed up to clear house.  We were so thankful for all of their help!  It was a whirlwind of tearing down, loading up, and bringing in to the new place.  This is kind of how Abby’s moving day went.  Poor kid. haha  She had been anticipating this day for weeks!

After everyone’s help with moving, we were also blessed by a couple of friends completely clearing our yard of leaves.  We have a ton of awesome trees, but that means our yard was a virtual carpet of leaves.  It would have taken us hoooooours!  And yes, we have a tennis court in the backyard!!  YES, I am excited!  It needs a little TLC, but I’m still excited! 🙂

I had all sorts of “helpers” with unpacking….

Moving Day Team shirts (you can’t see them super well, but it was our Rustic Run ones obviously hahaha.  I saved them as our only shirts not packed, so Cabz had to go with it).

The girls have been loving gathering corn in their field.  Abby is planning to fill her ice cream bucket.

That’s what she was working on when we were hanging out in our extra garage building the other day.

The girls were majorly pumped about moving and getting their NEW BEDS!  They had been sleeping on the floor for who knows how long on sleeping bags and their Uncle Justin made them these awesome loft bunk beds!  He’s making a dresser to fit underneath too!  Yes…. Elly promptly figured out how to climb to the top too.  She is not one to be left behind…. ha

First game night in the new house!  It’s not a real home until you have a game night, is it?!  Cabz smoked us at Carrom.  Unbelievable.  Next time…. (doubtful).

Oh!  We also have our first pet!  Meet “Sunshine” aka “Sunny,” the calico stray that someone dropped off at our neighbors.  She’s a bit on the skittish side, but I think she’ll warm up to us over time.  The girls think she is the best, even though they have yet to get to pet her. ha  She’s a little scraggly and has a scratch on her nose, but she eats up our scraps and saves our sink from the grease.

Thank you, Lord, for this home you provided!!

Moving was exciting.  It was also a little more work than we anticipated.  As Abby thoughtfully pointed out to me the other day, “Moving was harder than camping, ‘cuz you have to pack more stuff.  The minivan fit all our stuff for camping.”  True story.  Moving with 5 kids 5 and under complete!

A very Buggy Birthday!!!!! And a special “Mama Time”

Last night with my 4 year old!!!!  Still can’t believe she’s FIVE now.  Where does life even go?!

Peanut was feeling left out and needed in on the action. haha ❤

Soooooo, it’s Abigail.  She was set on a bug birthday, but toyed around with what she wanted the cake and focus to be.  For a while she was determined to have a stink bug birthday cake, but thankfully she switched that up.  Ugh.  Finally, she decided to dress up as a Ladybug Girl and have a bug cake with a praying mantis.  Whew.  The requests I get, I tell ya.  Here is your cute little Ladybug Girl! ❤

Alright, here are the cake pics you’ve all been dying to see.  Take a few deep breaths and remember this was fairly challenging for me. haha  All angles, folks.  Get ready.

Check out that praying mantis!

And the Oreo dirt sides with worms.

I considered it a success because the birthday girl approved after all.

Abby Joy had one major birthday request.  She wanted to invite “her” (my kids even steal my friends) friend, Callie (pretty sure my kids all actually call her “Cowie”) over for her birthday.  She had been dreaming of this for weeks (Abby, not Callie – clarification), so Callie got to come over and we had an extra special “Mama & Callie Time” with both of the big girls!

The fun started with some necklace making.  Abby loves flower/nature stuff and creating things with them.  She had been drooling over the fake flowers at Wal-mart for practically forever, so I let her and Evie each pick a batch out for the big day.  Pretty sure this scene below made one of Abby’s top 10 moments of her entire life.

This is Abby’s contained excitement, yes, I’m loving this face. haha

Finished products!  They wore these for days.

After necklaces, we fit in a little bug fun.  Create your own bug(s)!  Evie went with the blue theme, because she likes the color blue obviously, guys.  So, she picked out a blue paper and glued on a blue bug with blue eyes, a blue nose, and blue feet.  Yup.  She then proceeded to rip it off and reglue it like fifty times until it shredded. #3yearoldlife

Abby worked diligently, perhaps modeling a few ideas from Callie….

Mine was kind of a distracted one this time and didn’t turn out quite like I was hoping.  It kinda looked more like a bird than a bug.  Bummer.  Maybe next time.  I did really like my polka dot background though.  That kinda spiced it up.

I think Callie won the best job award this time.  Her alien bug was pretty cute and that distinguished caterpillar with the black mustache…. I mean, come on.

Abby got some bug finding and observing materials for her bday, which she was 100% thrilled over and immediately put to use.  Yes, apparently there were some boxelder bugs and stink bugs still lurking in our house this time of year.  Really!!

Birthday banner?  Reused from Evie’s, because leaves totally work with a bug theme too and we were in the middle of trying to buy a house and WHO HAS TIME FOR A NEW BIRTHDAY BANNER!?? haha

Oh, also?  Totally didn’t get the birthday invites done or mailed out, but here they are in all their glory.  At least the internet can enjoy them.

Pretty nifty, eh?  In addition to the buggy cake, I made some praying mantis and ladybug cookies.  I thought the praying mantis ones looked more like vipers, but Cabz reminded me that praying mantis heads really do like kinda viper-like up close.

And of course we had to have some ants on a log.  We also had chili, but that hopefully didn’t have any bugs in it. lol

We got to have a special guest for Abby’s part, Great Grandpa D.!!  He happened to be visiting right over party time!  We enjoyed getting to show him our house – it was our last chance before moving!  We all enjoyed his company. ❤

This is a little blurry, but us with our new 5 year old!!!!! ❤

Abigail is Five!!!!!

We have a 5 year old in the house!!!!!  I can hardly believe it!  That’s the age when everyone starts asking when they’re going to school and kind of the growing up age.  Five year olds are basically way too big.

Abby Joy weighs 36 lb and is 3′ 5 1/2″ tall now.

She currently is growing her bangs out, but for the life of me I can’t make up my mind which way I like her hair best!  I think I like both, which is the problem.  I’ve had more people vote yes to her bangs than not, but the pictures I have of her bangs were typically good bang days and you don’t always have those!  This is one of my favorite recent pictures of her.  It can be difficult to get authentic smiles from my big girl, but this was one time I got it! ❤

Abigail enjoys so many things, but she has a very noticeable fascination with bugs and nature related things.  She is our little entomologist.  As I was going through pictures of her, I was amazed at how many were along those lines.  I guess the only thing to do is dedicate the next large portion of her update to that part of her.  This was a grass headband my sister, Liz, made for Abby.  Abs loved it!  This look suits her personality amazingly well!

I love Abigail’s desire to learn and her ability to remember so many facts (thanks, Daddy) about things around her.  She loves to know everything about everything!  When I was little, there were certain things I was really interested in and a lot of things I really didn’t want to bother knowing about.  I’ve never found a topic Abby isn’t interested in knowing ALL ABOUT.

We all had SUCH a fun time raising Monarch caterpillars over the summer!  The ditch along Emmy & Papa’s house is typically loaded, so we gathered a few caterpillars there.  We learned a lot from it too!  Our first batch we got consisted of one full grown caterpillar and one teensy, tiny guy.  We took all sorts of pictures of our big one, expecting it to make its chrysalis any day.

As time went by, we became concerned about our big caterpillar (Big John, as Evie named him – he was “hers”).  He ate maybe one hole a day on the milkweed and ultimately didn’t seem too interested in eating.  He would hang around on the top of the cage and acted like he wanted out.  Meanwhile, the little caterpillar, Abby’s “Susan,” munched and munched and grew and grew.  One day they were about the same size and we made a startling observation.  They didn’t look the same.  Big John had decidedly different markings than the noticeably monarch coloring of Susan.  We freaked out, thought Big John was a tomato worm, put him outside, and were ready to squish him.  Thankfully Daddy saved the day for Big John.  He looked him up and it turns out we had a Black Swallowtail caterpillar!  With newfound anticipation, and regret/worry for starving Big John so long, we recaptured him in a new cage and Daddy ran to the store for some parsley.  Turns out Swallowtail caterpillars like celery, fennel, parsley, and dill.  Big John did eat a little and then the next day made a chrysalis.

Abs continued faithfully running outside each morning to pick a fresh milkweed leaf for Susan.  We have a couple stalks of milkweed that come up in our little “garden” plot each summer.  Abby was always in a semi-panic until I let her out the door to feed her pet.

Eventually, Susan made a chrysalis, and in due time she emerged.  Abby was in her happy place getting to hold Susan while she dried off her wings.

Evie enjoyed watching, but didn’t like actually holding Susan.  It freaked her out when Susan crawled around with her spindly legs. haha

After Susan, we raised another little monarch, Patty.  We got to set her free in our tree where Abby climbed up and was able to watch her drying her wings for quite a while.  The rest of the summer, whenever we would see a monarch in our yard, the girls would freak out, “LOOK!!!  Patty’s here!!  Patty came back!  Look!” haha

Once we had decided to be done raising monarchs for the year, Abby was totally thrilled to find an American Dagger Moth caterpillar.  We set him up in a jar and he made his cocoon that evening.  We couldn’t find a lot of information on raising them (apparently they’re not as popular as the 2 ish week phase of monarchs), but it seemed that they could take around a year to change and emerge.  I figured we could save the jar for now, but we’re not holding our breath on the ending.

Finding robin egg shells is always exciting!

Once we found a nest that had fallen out of the tree.  The eggs were laying around in the grass.  The girls were sad the baby robins wouldn’t hatch, but were thrilled at the chance to hold the real deal.  Shortly after this picture, Evie squeezed hers a little too hard and that was the end of that “fun.”

After a big rain, Abby got Evie on board to “Save all the worms!!”  Saving the world one worm at a time over here guys.  No big deal.  Carry on….

Abby was a huge fan of cicada season.  I went through a phase when I was little where I enjoyed finding the (empty!!) shells and even hanging them on my clothes, or some unsuspecting passerby, but I never enjoyed picking up the live bugs. *gag!*  Abby loved finding them and would pick them right up.  I was fine with it, as long as she didn’t get too close to me. ha

On really good days, Abby would find one working on emerging from its previous shell.  Talk about lucky!  This is why we don’t even have a t.v., guys!!  Who wants to stare at a moving picture box when you can watch a cicada molting?!  For real….

I think Abby’s favorite bug day all summer was the day I spotted a praying mantis on our deck.  It was during Quiet Time and I called her out of her room to see.  She was completely enthralled and I told her we could try to catch it and keep it as a pet for a while.  She helped me snag it in a jar and then transfer it to our prepared bug house.  The rest of Quiet Time was spent like this:

Abby promptly named her pet, Sunflower.  What name could possibly match an “adorable,” “sunny,” (creepy) praying mantis better than that?!

Sunflower provided us with all sorts of impromptu science lessons.  I think we overfed her a bit too.  By trial and error, we found out she enjoyed stinkbugs, house flies, hover flies, grasshoppers, and cicadas.  Abby caught a grasshopper on our walk once (towards the beginning of our mile of course) and was determined to get it back to Sunflower.  The thing peed on her, puked up some nasty stuff on her, escaped when she got jittery (like 4 or so times due to the excreting fluids all over her hands *barf*), but was finally delivered to Sunflower.  There were times I almost though I could describe Sunflower as “cute.”  This was not one of them.  She always started eating bugs by gnawing their heads off.  Normally, we had given her smaller bugs and this happened at least relatively quickly.  But the grasshopper took her fooooooooorever.  And yes, the grasshopper wriggled and writhed almost the whole time.  And then to top things off, when she finally finished off the head, the grasshopper literally exploded and these nasty orange guts curled up and out of it and smeared all down the side of the cage (I had to clean it off eventually.  I was gagging and almost died actually).  Sorry to get so gory with detail…. guess I didn’t want to suffer alone. ha  The cicada eating was fairly nasty too.  It buzzed for like an hour while Sunflower gnawed on it.  Then, she was overfed, so she took a long break before finishing the job.  Abby’s concerned face to fit the mood:

In spite of all this, she was Abby’s beloved pet.  We kept her for quite a while, before deciding we needed to release her.  We didn’t want to let her go when it was too cold out.  It was a tad bittersweet letting her go.  It helped Abby cheer up that she got to hold Sunflower for a while first (with thin gloves as they can sometimes bite, if they think your finger is a bug).  These were some “almost cute” moments for Sunflower, in my opinion.  I almost wanted to take her back inside, but I brought the grasshopper episode to mind and I was able to remain strong ’till the end.

Can you spot Sunflower?

Aside from her enjoyment of bugs, Bigs really enjoys gathering, sorting, picking apart, and creating things with nature.  She finds all sorts of “treasures” every time we go outside.  She’s always making fun little decorations for me to beautify our house with. 🙂

This was a hanging decoration she made with my little sister, Liz.  She was pretty proud of it!

Poor Abs was always trying to plant seeds from her food and get something to grow all summer.  Our yard is fairly shady and there really isn’t a good place to get it done, other than the middle of the grass where it would just get mowed off.  Here the girls were planting and watering their apple seeds.  After a few days of desperately trying to water all over the general area, Abby gave up, telling me she just couldn’t remember where she planted it.  Bummer.

Walks are Abby’s favorite!  Especially when we go on “the park loop” because that’s where I let them let go of the stroller and find all the treasures they can stand.

This girl.  This big, firstborn of mine.  She is such a blessing to us in so many ways!  She generally has such a desire to help me around the house, which I should appreciate more if anything!  Some of the tasks she often helps me with include: taking diapers out to the trash, taking out recycling, changing the bathroom garbage, helping Evie wipe up after a number 1, putting some laundry away, sweeping up under the kid table following meals, washing dishes, watching 1 or 2 of the kids while I accomplish something, bringing out pajamas and diapers for little ones at bedtime, bringing out hair ties and a brush for morning hair fixes (and brushing out her hair), tidying up toys and books, buckling kids in (she’s sill working on her thumb power to be able to unbuckle Evie, which would be a huge help!), carrying in and putting away groceries, and probably a lot of other things I’m forgetting.

She wants to help a lot more, and I hope she will be able to do more cooking this year.  That’s my goal for her.  Her constant cry is, “Can I help you with anything, Mama??”

She does sometimes struggle with consistency.  She’d rather help with something new and exciting than do the same old, “tiresome” tasks.  Washing dishes is a favorite of hers.

Especially when Daddy helps!

Big eyein’! haha

Abby and Evie both dream of the day we get our very own puppy.

And goats!  They are excited for goats too of course. 🙂

Bike riding continue to be one of Abigail’s favorite activities.  She dreams of moving to a house where she can ride her bike all over, without waiting for walks.

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a million times…. why do we even have toys?!  I think we would have a cleaner, happier house if we just gave them all away.  Honestly!

This girl has her entire future planned out.  She’s saving up all her money to buy a double-seater kayak and become a fisher woman with Evie.  Abby is planning to do most of the fishing, while Evie paddles.  They’re going to buy their kayak at Wal-mart or “Dominaes” (aka Dunhams).  Abby is always on the look out at stores and on walks, finding and saving pennies like her life depends on it.

Thankfully, they’ve had some birthday money gifted to them, so they have more than a few cents. haha  Abby also made quite the haul at our garage sale this past summer.  I helped her make some brownies to sell, which was a major success.  Even Daddy bought a brownie from her!  Maybe I should have just hired her to have a bake sale for me.  Anyway, she made off like a bandit with all sorts of tips and sales.  With all of the girls’ saving, they might get their dream boat before too long!  They were originally planning to also purchase a car with a top that could go down (convertible), but plans have since gone a more frugal route and they’re just going to use our big van.

Abby’s told me that eventually I won’t have to buy so many groceries, because her and Evie will be hauling home the fish.  So, we can just have fish every day.  We can have fish everything, fish and eggs, fish pancakes, etc.  Wow, honey!  That sounds…. delicious?  She’s our little planner. ❤

She also has assured me multiple times that she is going to live with me forever.  By her own mouth, although her and Evie would like to have children, they are not going to because they would have to leave home and get married in order to do that.

This girl is our constantly half deaf child.  Almost every single time she gets a cold, an ear infection develops.  The antibiotics never work, but good ol’ garlic on cotton in the ears overnight always does.  I just have to do it a few nights in a row and it licks it.  Even her doctor has me just do that since she knows the medicine never works on Abs and it just gives her other issues on top of it.  Anyways, after her ear infections, she is basically deaf for a while as her ears get massively clogged with ear wax.  Initially, it will be terrible.  I’ll say something and she’ll go, “What??”  I’ll repeat it, “What??”  I’ll yell it.  She’ll get part of it.  It’s terrible, but it always resolves.  My least favorite is when she calls out, “What?!” and I didn’t even say anything to her.  “Nothing, Abs!”  “What?  You want me to find Elly?”  “NO, ABS!  NOTHING!”  One time, on the tail end of the clogging fun, the tornado siren was going off.  Abby asked, “What’s that noise?”  I replied, “A tornado siren.  They test them sometimes on Tuesdays.”  Abby wondered back, “A tomato siren?”

We were walking by a random house and Abby’s commentary on the people who lived there was, “We don’t know their names, but they do!  God knows though.  Only God knows.”

One time she was recounting a notable moment in her life to me, “The other day I was runnin’ cuz I fought someone was chasing me in the grass, but it was just my feet clompin’.”  hahahahha  This made me laugh so hard.  She is such a goof.  Abby is eternally my fearful, over the top careful, just don’t do anything dangerous!!!! child.  But this was just downright hilarious.  She was running away from…. herself! haha  I love her.

I said this once and lived to regret it.  Now, every time I declare something (for example, “this sock is dirty”) Abby responds with, “Are you sure about that?”

It’s no joke I barely let my kids touch desserts and sweets.  We were in Wally World a while ago and Abby snagged these off the shelf with the comforting comment, “Mama!!  When I grow up, I’m gonna buy the candy bagels!!”  Those are called donuts, babe.

Abs has never been a daredevil like Evie.  She likes to be cautious and know what to expect.  Example:  This is about as far as Abby made it up before she declared herself to be done and heading back down.  Evie would have scaled the top if Daddy didn’t force her to stop. ha!

The other day, I was showing Abby an old blog post of her and we came across a picture where she was making a goofy face.  She said kind of quietly, “I should have tried to look cute instead of looking like a goof!”  Regrets of a 5 year old…..  (it doesn’t seem to have had any lasting affect on her)

Abigail loved all the swimming and water fun all summer!  She couldn’t get enough.

We did the spray parks a little more faithfully in the beginning of summer.  Towards the end, Elly was just so mobile (and untrustworthy) that it became a little too difficult to oversee everyone.

The pool at Emmy’s house was pretty fun too though!

The girls’ squirters were probably the best summer purchase we made.

They were even multi-purpose!

Spray bottles and buckets were always a big part of pool time too.

And never underestimate how fun a neighbor friend can be.  Don’t worry, we did let her in through the gate. haha

Sweetcorn was another summer special.  We didn’t make it this year to help with my family’s freezing days, but we at least had it with our supper a few times.

Abby continued to enjoy tree climbing.  She’s getting fairly decent at it now, but she’s still a bit lacking in the strength department.

Parks are good for climbing too!  We made it to our parks quite frequently, as usual.  Gotta do something to get out of the ol’ house!

Now if you asked me to describe my eldest daughter in 3 words, I might just use “natural athletic talent.”  (or not)  She did enjoy learning a few basics for a little ball with her Daddy though. 🙂

Of course, if it’s an activity with Daddy it’s always fun!

One of Abby’s favorite things to do with Daddy lately is reading practice.

Also, she continues to love playing board games with him.  Her favorite lately has been Kingdomino. although “Evie usually wins with all the water pieces.  She takes those ‘cuz she likes blue.”

We made it to the John Deere Pavilion earlier this year.  The big equipment is always exciting to climb on.

You can’t leave without taking the classic “in the tire” picture.

Abby’s used to all the big tractors from Papa’s farm.

The kids always love their combine ride.  Uncle Tim gave them a soybean ride this time around.

Looking at these next photos, has me hoping Chick-fil-A does another free food day soon!  This was back from their dress like a cow and eat free day they do annually in July.  Abby didn’t want the fun to end at bedtime.

This picture was from one of our walks post Halloween.  We don’t take the kids trick or treating for many reasons, but Abby was beyond thrilled about the candy littering our walks for days afterwards.  Unbelievable. haha

Couch cleaning days are the best!

First harp lesson by Mrs. Bolkema. 🙂

Abby loves outdoor adventures!  She would hike and explore through creeks all day long if she could.  Those are some of my favorite things too.  Enjoying it together is the best! ❤

We don’t always get to do cool hikes, but we do have fun with our daily walks – even if they are in town. haha  When we’re lucky, we get to see our pony friend on the park loop trail.

Being outside!  Yes, yes, and more yes!!

Just building houses with Duplos.

Cutes. ❤

Abby does a lot of drawing during her Quiet Time.  She drew some people for me to post on her blog. haha  I don’t know why, but I really love her quirky little people.  She told me she sometimes doesn’t draw hands because she doesn’t really know how to do those.  She drew, in order, a person with a hat (I think this is my favorite!), a little girl with ratty hair (I think it’s her ha! This could also be my fav…), and a lady in a dress.

I haven’t worked with Abs on writing letters, or her name, in way too long.  Tonight, she really wanted to practice it though.  She did pretty good for no effort in so long I thought!  I made a line for her and asked her to try and write on it.

When Mama tells you to pose with the pumpkins and you do some really weird leg work while you’re trying to remember what it means to cross your legs.  Oh Abs. haha  She is all that is beauty and grace.  Just kidding.  She is hands down our little clutz.  But she sure is cute as she splats left and right. ❤

Little sister, Elly, rotates through phases where she refuses all helpful efforts from Abby and then will gladly accept help from her.  Right now, she is in a will generally accept help stage.  Abs loves nothing more than being a mom figure to the little ones, so these two have a pretty good relationship going on at the moment. ❤

Elly wanted to hold Big Sister’s hand every walk for a short span of time.  That ended of course, but it was the cutest while it was happening!

It always makes me smile when I see my girls holding hands though.  It’s kind of adorable.

Abby let’s Elly have some special “big sister time” with her after the middle two are in their quiet time spots and before Elly lays down (about 10-20 min depending on the day).  Elly loves it and definitely thinks she is hot stuff getting to play little Legos or read stories with Abby!

Abby and Evie have great fun together too!  They are always coming up with funny, new games.  One of my favorite hobbies is listening in to whatever they’re playing.  No shame.

They’re hilarious in their “Laura bonnets” more than anything.  They’re sort of goofy looking, but the girls have such fun with them and think they’re the cutest.

I thought it was cute that after going to the Laura Days in Pepin, WI (on our vacation), Abby was busy threshing her flax out in the yard. haha  We had seen a demonstration of that while we were there.

Everything is more fun when we’re together!

These three. ❤ ❤ ❤

Our baby girl is sure growing up on us lately!  I hope she really does live with us forever, because I’m not sure what I’d do without her! (neither does Daddy!) ❤


Evie’s Mama Time Take 4

A fun afternoon spent with Evie Grace! ❤

We started out by making a stellar granola recipe.  It’s actually supposed to be a recipe for granola bars, but I tried that before and the consistency just is not going to make bars happen – sorry.  In spite of that part being a fail, these are really super tasty just as sticky granola.  I had made a container of it once before (for our Wisconsin trip) and Cabz and I really enjoyed it.  Opening butter is always the coveted helper task.

Measuring and dumping.  Oatmeal for the win!

While that was baking, we ran downstairs and did some pumpkin painting!  I had never tried this before, and it was really pretty fun. 🙂  Evie enjoyed adding lots of blue to hers of course.


Our finished products, before they were dried.

If you didn’t get pain on your fingers…. and toys…. and everywhere…. then it wasn’t really painting, right?

The girls all declared the granola a successful snack!

Eliana is Eighteen Months Old!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Our little Jelly Bean is a year and a half old!  She is growing up faster than I can believe. *sob!*  I need more babies, guys.  I always feel like I should give a warning: incoming, about fifty million pictures.

Little Elly Belly weighs 22 pounds .  She may be tiny, but she’s also mighty feisty!  Watch out for this little firecracker….

We took away Elly’s beloved binks about a month and a half ago, and she was not a fan.  At least, I assumed she was a little upset about it when she screamed ferociously at me and proceeded to throw everything else (blankets, pillow, dollies, and books) out of her crib for the first few nights every night and nap since.  Our breaking point was our Wisconsin trip when we over used it to get her to be quiet for travel.  She picked up on abusing it and would whip it somewhere in the van, then proceed to bawl at the top of her lungs until I scoured the van to retrieve it and plug her back up.  #parentingwin  Regardless…. the bink days are over. haha  Although, she has tried to swipe our new little baby’s pacifiers when I’m not looking.  *Oh Elly*

There may have been once or twice (or half a dozen times) that I thought about reliving the binky days, but thankfully Cabz kept me on track.  “She is SO sad!  She’s screaming her head off!  She doesn’t feel well… Awww…. plus she’s driving me nuts.  Can we give her back the b….”  “No.” “Not even for just one…”  “No.” ha  Side note: Elly has always had the absolute best frowny face ever.  There are all sorts of baby beauty contests.  My question is, why don’t they have frowny face contests?!  Discrimination!  Elly would win though.  It wouldn’t even be a competition.  Just look at this little grumpy buns!  I just want to smooch her cheeks while she whips her head away with an angry “Mmm!!”

Although Elle doesn’t jump into her crib with a giant smile, she usually just cries for a few minutes before settling down and sleeping like a champ.  I am so thankful that she is normally a very decent sleeper.  She takes one afternoon nap that lasts about an hour and a half and bedtime is from 7:30 p.m. to 7 a.m.  Typically she is quiet all night.  Once in a great while she will wake up in the middle of the night and whimper or cry a minute, but she always goes right back to sleep.  I always put her things back in after she’s asleep. ❤

Little Yelly (I give my kids all sorts of nicknames, and this one fits her well because she is tiny with a mighty voice as needed) loves to be my helper.  Sometimes she gets so excited to help that she overdoes it a bit.  I’ll ask her to bring me a diaper and she comes over with a stack so big she can hardly hold it.  Uh…. thanks, babe?  She is the best little grocery unloader helper ever though. ❤

Her favorite time to pitch in is during meal prep.  She is always extremely busy “helping” me while I’m cooking.

We thought Evelyn was going to be our unique wild child.  And then Elly happened.  If anything, she is crazier and more of a daredevil than Evie was at this age.  (yikes, right?!)  We have a kid picnic table and she will climb on top of it, stand up, and then jump off.  Yes, she falls every time, yes she has gotten hurt doing it, and yes she continue to laughingly do it with zero amount of fear.  She has always been such a troublesome climber!  The only sort of restraint is her height.

Parks are always nice and terrifying….

If the big sisters do it, Elly thinks she should be able to do it too.  Watching them climb trees from down below makes her m-a-d.

Kind of like the time Abby got to sell brownies at our garage sale and Elly was told she was too little….  Insta fit on the cement floor of the garage.

Swings are Elly’s favorite (until you make her get out)….

…but she always has to take things to the next level or it’s just not fun.

Elly doesn’t know how to pedal, but she does enjoy riding trikes.  She knows how to use her feet to go forwards and backwards.

Of course, she has done this down our driveway (I ran faster, don’t worry) to prove she’s not just a baby.

Lil’ Trouble has known how to walk down stairs for months now.

I did not approve of her going down our deck steps (to cement!) at first, but she is always careful to hang on, so she earned free reign.

Our lil’ Jelly Bean doesn’t say many words yet (she is definitely my slowest talker), but here are a few fun words she uses:

“MOP!” – She will yell this at the top of her lungs and end the ‘p’ sound with a tight pout lip.  She’s calling me.  I think it’s her version of ‘mom’ with a hint of sass.  The first pic is the actual face she makes.

“Yi yi yi!!!” – When Elly comes running out from a back room yelling this is a concerned voice, I know there’s trouble.  This is her way of telling me she did something naughty (stood on the toilet and turned the hot water on in the sink, colored on something other than paper, broke something, climbed somewhere she shouldn’t have, etc.).

“Ot!!” – (hot) Whenever I’m cooking, she runs over and is sure to remind me that everything is, “Ot! Ot! Ot!” (as she tries to fall in it of course).

“Code!!” – She will screech this (cold!) after bath time when I’m getting her dressed.

“A-ee” – Abby

“Eh-wee” – Evie

“Buuh” – Bud

Da-ee – (Daddy) She usually places a high pitched emphasis on the “ee” part. haha

Mah-ee – (Mommy) Same ending emphasis as Daddy

Babbles followed by GO! – Here we go!

“Ehhhh WEE!!!” – (Elly) I am constantly calling “EeeeellY!” to locate my missing troublemaker.  So constantly, that the troublemaker I’m referring to will frequently run around the house yelling, “Ehhhhh WEE!!” with a big grin on her face.

Elly’s biggest accomplishment while she was 17 months was getting (mostly) day time potty trained.  Why do I say ‘mostly?’  Well, she does 100% excellent, as long as I abide by her stipulations.  She must be nude from the waist down (no diaper, no pull-up, no underwear, nothin’!) and Bud can’t be sitting on her potty when she has to go or she’ll panic.  Also, if I put something ON her butt, such as one of the aforementioned objects of clothing, in order to leave the house, there are no guarantees she will keep it dry.  So, while she potty trained earlier than either of my other two girls, it’s not as perfectly as they did.  I think she is well on her way and I just need to strap some undies on her buns and keep a close eye all day to help her figure it out.  She will typically stay dry even when I do put something on for a walk or a trip to the store.  She definitely wants to stay dry, but doesn’t quite know how to tell me when she needs to go.  I get a kick out of the picture of her with her pants.  When we were first attempting potty training, she was not happy about losing her drawers.  She would run and pull about ten pairs of pants out of her dresser and come running to me with an angry face. haha

I love Elly’s concerned face.  On the pink blanket it was her, “I found a yuck!” expression.

Elle Belle loves to get the colored pencils down and do some coloring.  Unfortunately she also enjoys spilling the can of pencils from time to time.  Making her clean them back up is not my favorite.

Sweet corn was a yummy part of summer.  Elly loved helping husk it with the big girls and Daddy.

Our baby is also a bit of a cheese monster.  She must get that from her dad.  She is thrilled when it’s a string cheese for snack kinda day!

Eliana has been a little food thief lately.  I’ve been letting her sit at the big girls’ table since it was easier for her to hop up and get on the can as needed.  This has its pros and cons….  She loves it and can make it to the pot when she needs to, but she is often popping up for reasons other than potty, trails food all over the house (worse than usual), and is right by the girls with easy access to swipe their food.  If they have something she loves and don’t eat it up before she finishes her portion…. watch out.  Blueberries?  Better eat those bad boys FAST.

Eliana got to try an icy for the first time this summer.  She thought it was pretty stellar.

She also came up with her own method of eating spaghetti.  Double-fisting it.  To each their own.

Someone still enjoys her little “bring cereal (or other) boxes over to Mama whenever I’m hungry” trick.

Elly quit taking morning naps a few months ago and we actually had an episode where one of our children fell asleep in their high chair!!!  I had to take a picture because although this is a common picture for many parents, this is something that literally never happens with our high strung babes.  Look in awe….

Little Toots finally has enough hair for little sprouts.  My sister gave me some little rubber bands that Elly is incapable of pulling out of her hair, which has helped us transition to constant hair sprouts.  Elle was the worst about pulling hair ties out the second she had an opportunity.

This little girl is always getting compliments on her hair.  It doesn’t show up quite the same in pictures, but she has sort of darker hair underneath with super blonde hair on top, so it turns out looking kind of like highlights or whatever it is women do to get that look.  I doubt it will stay, but it’s kinda cute while it lasts.

Yelly’s “say cheese” face.  Elly used to hate anything and everything to do with pictures, but has taken a liking to being in pictures.  She was my hardest kid to get pics of by far, so I’ll take it!

Scooters are tricky when you’re one.

A long while ago, the big girls randomly got these little rashes on their stomachs.  I would have them show me them to check progress sometimes and Elly started showing me her (nonexistent) rash.  She would whine a little and show me her “rash” hoping for some sympathy. hahaha  It was the best.

Parks, parks, parks!

We’ve still been getting out for our walks of course, but we sure do miss the warm weather when we could be out 24/7.  Boxes will always remind me how much we don’t need toys.

Walks, walks, walks.  This is how we all survive living in town. 🙂  Our usual is at least 2 miles a day, one in the morning, one in the late afternoon.  Lately, I have the one year olds ride in the double stroller, each big girl hang on to a side, and baby in the carrier.  It’s like our do or die routine. haha  Elly would get so excited on windy days that she would ride around with her hands up.

Elly’s favorite part of walks is when we do the park loop mile and stop at the park.  That means she gets to jump out of the stroller for the park path portion!  FREEDOM!!!!

It seems almost harsh to tell this story now, with it being so cold out, but in the HOT days of SUMMER I bring along a little spray bottle with cold water in it.  The girls love it when I spray them as we’re all walking along drenched in sweat.  Elly was squealing with joy in these pics.  Trust me.

Elly wanted to learn how to ride a bike too! ❤

I had Elly pose with the pumpkins.  She was really excited, until she realized they weren’t for snacking on.  She tried multiple times to bite one.  It was a bit disappointing to be honest.

Elly wants a puppy too.  It’s not just me, or Abby, or Evie, or Bud. 🙂

Trampoline hair is the best hair.

Hangin’ in Papa’s big tractor.

Elly is always happy to get a stick in her hand.  I have to say it can be pretty frightening though…. she swings them when she’s excited/happy and she swings them when she’s mad.  Moral of the story: WATCH OUT!

This kid.  She still hardly has any teeth!!  She does have a few more than pictured here, but for the longest time, her two little bottom teeth were her prominent ones.  Lil’ cutes!

This shirt was probably my favorite ever.  Too bad she grew out of it in like two seconds.  This is why I garage sale, people.

I didn’t get a picture of it, but this little twerp figured out how to side skip and it’s hilarious.  If only she would do things on command, I would already have a video…. *sigh*

Elly can be so completely ridiculous.  One of the other kids might take a doll away from her and she’ll scream in frustration.  I’ll have them hand it back to her like 2 seconds later and she’ll be so angry about it that now she doesn’t want it back.  And she’ll turn away and go, “Mmm!”  She gets this side from her dad I’m pretty sure.

She can also be quite the little obstinate twerp.  She heard me mention to Cabz that I wanted to get a picture of her in her capris because they just looked like pants on our short girl and it was hilarious.  This is the likes of what she proceeded to do for the next like 30 minutes while I tried to catch a picture of her standing.  UNbelievable. (also from her dad)

Elly loves her big sisters, although she isn’t generally very receptive to their assistance with, well, anything.  On a normal day, she gets to run in to Abby’s room and play with special big girl toys (little Legos, tiny rubber dollies, or pop beads) with her for about 20 minutes prior to nap.  It is one of her favorite times of the day and it’s so sweet. ❤  I didn’t get a picture, so you’ll just have to trust me on this one.

Abby gives the best trike rides too!  They’re even wild enough to suit Elly!

And she’s always willing to sneak in there and hold Elly when Elly doesn’t realize she’s being held. haha

Big sister Evie is quite the riot as well.  There’s sure to be cuddles and wild play combined!

Elly can be the typical little sister at times….  this was a thinking area (aka time out) session for the two big girls.  Elly cheerfully ran over to join them.  It’s not so funny when it’s her turn. hahaha

We love our little girlies!  Pretty sure they’re some of the cutest! ❤ ❤ ❤

I’m not one to resist matching outfits.  I mean, how cute is this?!  They LOVE when they get to match!  Best day ever!

I still always say, “Oh, Elly!”

I don’t have a picture of this, but Elly loves to hold our new little baby.  She will run and sit down and then open and close her hands while she scrunches her face all up in anticipation.  This is her way of saying, “Um, hello!?  I would like to hold the baby right this very minute!”

Elly is usually VERY selective with her hugs and cuddles.  She will usually allow grandparents, family, and close friends hold her, but it’s always on her terms.  When she’s ready she will run over to you, lift her arms up, and expect nothing less than absolute joy on your face that she actually graced you with getting to hold her.  And when she’s done, she’s done.  She has recently been obsessed with my friend, Callie, from church. (just for you, if you made it this far hahaha)  Do her brothers and sisters get to hold her?  Hardly.  But Callie is allowed the special privilege.  What a little twerp head. (Elly that is… for clarification)

She can sometimes be a bit of a Mama’s baby, especially when she’s overtired, sick, or whatever other reason she has to be a little extra cranky.  I don’t mind though.  I only get so many baby days left with this one.  Love you, sweets. ❤

This little girl is stubborn, adorable, feisty, independent, determined, LOUD, and a whole lot of other things.  We love her to pieces! ❤