Sunderbrunch Park for Hiking and a Picnic!

We knew we needed to do something outdoors today.  The weather was way too gorgeous for this time of year!!  We decided to head over to Sunderbrunch for some hiking after Caleb got done with Bible study.  While he was there, some friends from church sent a text asking if anyone was interested in a hike/picnic at Sunderbrunch…. haha!  How fun!

We hiked some really fun trails and Tyler’s phone said we did about 3.5 miles in a little over an hour.  Pretty good when you consider 4 adults were hauling at least one kid in a carrier, one stroller made it part of the way, and we had a total of 10 kids with us!

Just two little troublemakers on a dinosaur! haha

Say cheese!

Our poor little bug collecting, bug loving, daughter Abby with her moth.  “It’s the first one I ever caught!!”  After this I had to explain to her that when you hold a moth too long, the dust on its wings can all brush off and then it won’t be able to fly and might not make it in life.  She set it in a nice weed patch and we cheerfully hiked on, optimistically hoping for the best.

Evie dreaming wild dreams of crazy mountain bike riding.

Some of the group.  I missed getting Darah in any of these pictures I see!  We’ll have to fix that next time.

Hiker girls!  The kids were all such troopers!

We found a cool wooden table with tall chairs!  Girls, girls, girls!  We love them! ❤  Of course, mine were the obstinate ones with me behind the camera….. *sigh*

More girls….

Abby enjoyed the fast hike a few of us did.  Her and Lily were the kid walkers that went for it.  At one point she said, “My stomach is kind of hurting, but that’s good!  Because it means it’s getting stronger!”  (We’ve used this line on her quite a bit….haha!!)  Elly was cracking up while we jogged.  Apparently it’s pretty fun to bounce around in the carrier.

The end of the hike!  We made it!  Time for lunch!

Scott County Park – Hiking Fun!

Today was so much fun!  We had been meaning to make our way over to Scott County Park for quite a while now.  Some of our friends from church were camping there this weekend and that gave us the perfect excuse to check it out!

We hiked around 1 1/2 miles and this great guy hauled BOTH of our babies the entire way. ❤

These bridges were kind of rickety, but at least they didn’t break!!

I liked crossing in the water much better! 🙂

“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” Psalm 42:1-2

Getting the girls to smile for a picture isn’t always easy…..

Searching for the perfect walking stick.

Evelyn always carries a stick.  You never know when you might need to poke some mud.

Elly enjoyed her ride for the most part. haha

Thanks for some of these pictures, Brenda!  We had so much fun enjoying God’s beautiful creation with you guys! ❤

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Abigail’s 4 1/2 Year Old Update

Abigail Joy is 4 1/2!  She weighs and is tall now (didn’t do these yet since I forgot.  I’ll try to remember soon!).  She wears 4 and 5T shirts and mostly 4T pants (very few of which actually stay up on her poor hiney).  Her favorite colors are pink, purple, blue, and “golden” (aka yellow).  She likes those because they are princess colors of course.

Our little miss is extremely thoughtful and careful.  She is ever observant and loves to learn.  She wants to know everything about everything!!  “What kind of tree is this?”  “After spring comes summer and after summer comes fall and after fall comes winter, right?!”  “Why do the leaves on our branches crinkle up and fall off?”  “How do people make clothes?”  “Why is it getting dark outside?”

Quotes from our big girl (the first few are imitated from me):

“It is what it is!”

“You get what you get and you don’t get uh-set!” – upset

“But it’s her choice.  It’s not my choice.  It’s her choice.  She can do whatever she wants to.  Either way.  Doesn’t matter.”

Your choice!  It’s your choice if you want to eat your food or leave it.  It’s not Mama’s choice” (She’s not trying to be disrespectful, but will use this if she knows it’s something I’m leaving up to them haha).

“Evie can do the top part of the buckle herself now, Mama!  Just so you are aware.”

“Look, Mama!  I have a twirl-twirl on!”

“Yittle” – Little

“That kind is gooder than the other ones.”

Caleb was going to make us eggs and Abby exclaimed, “Our daughters really like them, don’t they Daddy??!”

Hymns at church, “He will hold me past!” (fast) “All underground is sinking sand!” (other ground)  “I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but Holy God is Jesus’ name!” (but wholly lean on Jesus’ name)

Abigail has always been my personal quoter.  If I say it (EVER), she is sure to repeat it later.  She almost always will use phrases with perfect context, although humorous.  I have often calmed Abby down over a broken toy (usually done by Evie or friends) by reminding her, “Toys aren’t the most important thing.  You can’t take toys with you when you die.”  We’ve been looking for a house for quite a long time now.  We really have outgrown our rental and it would be nice to have a final place of our own.  However, I know I am prone to desiring this too much, and in many ways it has been good for me not to have it.  One day, I was out for a walk with the kids and I was talking excitedly about going to look at a house later.  Abs gave a quick shrug and didn’t miss a beat, “It’s fine if we do buy it and it’s fine if we don’t.  You can’t take it to heaven with you!”  I had to nod and smile.  I need to listen more when I speak…

I asked her if she’d like a chicken sandwich with cheese or without.  She goes, “I want my chicken on the side with cheese, so I can dip my bread in the apple dip.”  *pause*  “That’s what I would prefer.”  I think she added the last little part to sound more polite.  Plus it was hilarious as her first time using the word “prefer.” ha  Also…. who dips their bread in apple dip?!  Ew.

Baby Boy is physically quite slow, to put it nicely.  He is finally starting to figure out crawling, but is far from being able to get down the stairs independently/safely.  Every time we head out for anything, I have to cart him down the two short flights of steps.  I was in the process of lugging him and other necessary items down the stairs the other day and Abby cheerfully piped, “You get what you get!  We got a baby that can walk and a baby that can’t, but it doesn’t matter.  You get what you get!”  I couldn’t help laughing.

All of our kids enjoy books at times, but our Abby Joy has been an avid book lover forever.  This is such a typical scene to walk into when she’s back in her bedroom.  Books are the best!

Abs started really figuring out reading a few months back, but has been more and more excited about it as time goes on.  We’re borrowing a McGuffy reader from my mom and she is obsessed with it.  She is always begging us to help her read another story.  She has learned so many words with it and will proudly offer to read any story she knows to any visitors.  She will scour the pages in her other books and excitedly call out when she sees a word she knows.  It’s the cutest. 🙂 There is such excitement with learning to read!

Our tot learned to ride her “big girl bike” (no training wheels, and pedals!) at 3 1/2 years.  Since then, she has been working on outgrowing that bike.  When we were at my parents a few weeks ago, she figured out she could ride one of the girls’ old bikes and this was the smug expression that produced.  She has been unstoppable ever since! ha!

Biggin’ still has her love of bug collecting/observing.  She will spend tons of time with her bucket and her bugs, studying them and trying to provide good environments for them.   While it is definitely cute to watch her enjoy this hobby, I like to think it springs from her lack of an actual fun pet. haha  I still can’t wait until we can get a puppy! 😀  I also decided a while back that a sugar glider would be the perfect pet for our Abby.  Everything about them sounds like it would be her perfect fit.  So, if anyone wants to give us a friendly one for free….. we’re available.

Aside from bugs, Abigail and Evelyn both enjoy gathering”treasures” for their buckets.  Abs is always so excited when she finds a flower she can pick (our landladies spray our yard, so there aren’t usually too many available).  She is such a careful little body and flower picking has always fit her personality so perfectly.  She would be more than happy to spend a long afternoon in a field of wildflowers!

Feeling drop dead gorgeous in the grass jewelry her auntie Liz made for her.

I finally gave Abby her first haircut a few months back.  It was a long time coming, but I just couldn’t bear to cut it since it would curl so beautifully in the summer.  Her hair was just so uneven though and really needed it.

Abigail grew her bangs out quite a while ago.  A few months ago, she was thinking about wanting them back.  Then, I got bangs.  That was a little startling to the children and when I asked her, “Do you want to get bangs too, like I did?” she looked at me and then said, “Uh…. no thanks.  I don’t want bangs anymore.” hahahahah

After the initial shock wore off, she decided she did actually want bangs back, so being the professional hair cutter I am (FALSE!  Just cheap… haha!!) I gave her back some bangs.  The good news is, I’ve heard she looks much younger with them.  The first two are what I typically get when I ask Abs to smile cute for a picture…. *sigh* haha

I have to say, she was looking WAY too grown up with no bangs.

This girl has such a creative mind.  It’s so much fun to see what she will come up with next.  That is one thing about her that reminds me of myself as a child.  She makes all sorts of creations with her pipe cleaners and beads at Quiet Time.  That is often her favorite time to make stuff.  She has made horse halters/leashes, jewelry for her babies, jewelry for her sisters/me/herself, headbands (as pictured), and probably other things I can’t remember.

For a while, Abs was on a kick using her clothespins and notebook papers to make hats and other accessories for her dolls.  It was pretty sadly adorable because they were so hideous and impractical.  Awww. haha!  I love her so much.  Speaking of hats, she also had a hat business going for quite a while.

She was getting orders left and right from the relatives and could hardly keep up! haha!  Here she is showing off her Christmas model.

Legos are another perfect outlet for our creative little daughter.  She is always building interesting, unique creations.  One of my favorites was her Lego candy store she made.  She was wishing she was a Lego so she could pay her store a visit!  I kind of was too!

Drawing phases happen off and on around here.  We’re currently in a bit of a lull with it, but this snowman she drew this past winter is still one of my favorites.  It’s just too cute, although the eyes are pretty frightening.  Funny comment, but Caleb totally still makes all his drawing characters/animals with creepy eyes like that!!  Why?!

Abby is ever our constant chatterbox.  The girl never runs out of things to say.  You’d think she would, considering I am with her every waking second, every day, but nope!  If she’s slow on material, she just rewords things and says it again on the off chance I didn’t quite catch it the first (or second, or third, or fourth…) time around.  Gotta love it.

As our shy, super quiet girl in public, people always quizzically believe the previous paragraph.  She can’t even answer my question, “How old are you?” and you’re telling me she talks nonstop at home?  Yes, yes she really truly does!  I have videos to prove it!  Abby is very shy.  She continues to thrive on knowing (and talking out) everything possible before we do it.  She really likes to know what is coming so she can mentally prep herself beforehand.  The more familiar she is with people, the faster she is to loosen up around them.

Abigail can easily get emotional when she is stressed out.  She has known how to buckle herself for a while, but oh my goodness!  If she has a dress on or a bulkier jacket and she can’t get it, BWAAAAAH!!  The tears start rolling fast and furious as she goes into panic mode.  A missing piece from one of her Lego sets?  NOT okay!  If a visiting friend takes a toy from her or *gasp* breaks one of our toys that she is always so careful with, tears and sobs will occur.  Not optional.  “Will you throw it away?!”  Lately, she has been better about quickly tuning into the positives, “*Sniff!* Toys don’t matter anyways. *sob*”  Oh my little Abbins.

This can be kind of annoyingly funny when it follows a loss of privilege/toy consequence.  “Well, at least I can still have this one!  And that’s pretty good!  I don’t really mind too much!”

Someone was incredibly proud of the gingerbread house she helped make last winter.  My older brother made the mistake of teasing he was going to eat it and she about died.  I told her we would have to eat it at some point, but we could take a picture first to remember it.  That was key.

Winter in general was a pretty fun time.  Abby enjoyed being out in the snow more than the other tots.  Evie was okay with it sometimes, but was still at that “I can barely walk in all this stuff you bundled me in out in this slippery white crud and I keep slipping and getting stuck!” stage.

Abs really enjoyed building her snowman.  This was a much anticipated activity!

I got a kick out of this next picture…..  Her snowman had started melting and its eyes, nose, and arms fell off.  Abby fixed them herself.  It’s a little tricky with those big, chunky gloves on. haha!!

While Abby and Evie play together much more now, there’s something Abs loves about her independent play during Quiet Time.  It’s always good for her to take some time to quiet down and have a little space.  She usually comes out very refreshed and cheerful again.  She will often cycle between books, Legos, little rubber dollies, her baby dolls, and some kind of beads/buttons/paper crafting.  Her “Baby Rose” (gifted to her when Evie was born) is always her special favorite.  She made Baby Rose’s headband. 🙂

Daddy keeps his gamer girl gaming!  Playing a little Long Shot.  She always enjoys a game night with her Dad. ❤

My girl still likes a good puzzle too!  Here she is working on her 100 piece candy puzzle.  It’s a tricky one!

The girls enjoy playing “picnic” together.  It’s pretty cute when all three are playing together without fighting (rare).

These two can be such nutheads!

What is more fun that playing in the rain with umbrellas?!  These two have been dreaming of this for a long time and finally got their warm summer rain without lightning.  Hurray!

When Abby is in a pleasant mood, she can be the sweetest big sis!  I love listening to and watching her interact with her little sisters.

She was so thrilled when she realized she could pick Elly up and carry her around.  Elly went with it for a while and then decided she was way too big for that foolishness.

Abbins can be such a gentle helper with the other kids.

This is her, “Awww, look at little Toby (cousin) wanting to help me.  Isn’t that cute?” face.

These close ups are kinda funny, but this girl’s eyes!!  So big and beautiful! ❤

Free cone day at Dairy Queen!  Need I say more??

We always have lots of fun at the park!  While there is a park with swings we can walk to, it’s a little further away than our most frequented park.  Abby wishes we could go there more often though as she is really wanting to learn how to pump.  I know she’d get it if we ever spent consistent time near swings, but oh well.  It is what it is! 🙂

Swimming pool days are her fav.

These make me laugh so much and love my little girl to pieces. haha  She can be so awkward sometimes.  This is what I got when I asked her to smile cute for the camera and she was actually trying.  Awwww! haha!!

This is normally what I get when I ask for a cute picture…..  Intentional goofball followed by her laughing at herself.

Apples and Abby.  An apple a day!

Abby is inquisitive CONTINUALLY.  I hope you gathered all the emphasis I tried to place on “continually.”  I not only underlined it, but capitalized it, made it bold, and italicized it.  haha!  Seriously though…..  this girl loves to learn and loves to ask questions.  She genuinely wants to know about everything.  As an example, she already knows more driving rules than I did going into drivers ed.  I mean, it’s not even a contest.  She’ll talk them all through too as I’m driving around running errands.  “Why’d you have to stop on a green light, Mama?  Oh, it’s because it was red and then it turned green and so cars were already stopped in front of you.”  “Why can you go even when the light is red?  Oh, that’s because you were turning right.  So you have to stop and check and then you can go, right, Mama??”  If there’s ever something new that pops up, she is quick to ask for an explanation of what is going on.  The latest was, “Why did you turn left even on a red light?”  In case that confuses you, I was already committed.  Committing to the intersection is basically my bff in driving.  I’m not missing that light!

Bigs has two moods.  Super helpful, kind, obliging, sweet with the others, and teasing, lying, looking for trouble at every turn, sassy (this has just started happening.  I’ll tell her something to do and will be met with a snarky, “No!” or “I don’t want to!” if she thinks it was somehow optional), disobedient, and doing things halfheartedly.  We all like the first mood better.  When she’s in her super chipper mood, Caleb and I get a kick out of asking her to do things because she will respond with a super obedient, “Yes, Mommy!  Yes, Daddy!” as she races off eagerly to get it done.  It’s really not funny as it’s the epitome of self righteousness at work, but at the same time it kind of is.

I don’t know if you’ve ever read Green Eggs & Ham by Dr. Seuss, but Daddy has been getting that quoted to him quite a bit lately (probably as a result of us quoting it to her haha).  “Daddy!  Why didn’t you put cashews on top of your Chinese??”  “Well…. I don’t think it’s my favorite really….”  “Put some on, Daddy!  Try them, try them and you may!  Try them and you may, I say!”  I get such a kick out of this.  He actually feels slightly guilty when she does this and has even tried a few new things. hahaha

The blank stare….  (aka, too many pics, Mama)

There were three in the tub! 🙂 🙂 🙂

My little goose.

This kid has always been the best sleeper.  She’s out like a light at bedtime and sleeps through till morning every time, unless she’s sick.  So grateful for this.  When she gets really sick, (usually with an ear infection – poor kid has had at least 30 in her lifetime) she will sometimes pass out on the couch.  Or, an even more rare occurrence, in my arms.  Although sick kids are tough, I kind of treasured that moment because there are so few chances I get to hold and rock my 4 year old “baby.”

The kids all had the actual barf flu for the first time this past winter.  It definitely made me thankful it had waited this long to strike!

I can’t even remember the last time Abs got to sit her hiney in a stroller, but trust me…. it has been a LONG time.  The kids all had the flu for days and we HAD to get out of the house, so we made it happen.  Daddy with a carrier and Abby in the umbrella stroller, me with the double stroller holding Bud and Evelyn.  It was a sight, but then again, we always are. haha!

Legos were our go-to when everyone started having enough energy to play for a few minutes at a time.

Abigail is a lover of fun, new adventures!  Especially with those she knows and loves well.  There is nothing she likes more than something new with her family all there to enjoy it with her. ❤  We took the girls paddle boating for the first time a couple weekends ago and her and I were in our element!  Water, outdoors, family, ahhhhhhhhh.

Posing in a cave we found while exploring Wildcat Den State Park!

Being outside is Abby’s favorite.

Getting the farm work done!

Although our girl learned how to ride her bike at a super young age, she isn’t exactly an all around athlete by nature.  This is one of her “tricks” that she thinks requires incredible talent.  It is exactly what it appears.  She puts her hands on the ground and lifts one leg in the air.  Watch out.  Future Olympic gymnast in the making, folks!

Usually, the rule at meal times is “Eat it or leave it.”  I got really sick of fighting with the kids to take “this” many bites before they were done.  Here’s the truth with my kids.  Some days they are growing like weeds and lick their plates clean, asking for seconds every meal!  Other days, they just don’t want or need it.  They eat a few bites and you wonder what they’re running on all day.  Once in a while, I’ll have a “You Choose” day.  This basically means, they get a choice. haha  Sometimes this will mean if we’re having spaghetti they can choose if they want sauce or no sauce, and cheese or no cheese.  Other times I’ll give them an entire meal choice.  Alfredo or pb & j?  “You Choose” days are Abby’s favorites. haha

I love what a helper this girl can be.  She is always excited to learn a new task or “help” me with any and everything I’m doing.  Her company makes life sweeter. ❤

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This picture sadly turned out blurry, because the girls were all moving almost nonstop (unlike it appears).  But I have to share it anyway because it’s still one of my favorites! ❤  I love these people so much!

I love all these girls of ours!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

I’m a sentimental mom soooo, here is a side by side of Abby just about 3 years ago and now (in the same hat of course).  Can you tell it’s the same girl?  She hasn’t grown up that much, has she?  It’s okay to say no!!

Oh, this girl!  My beautiful, sweet, sneaky, LOUD, talkative, quiet, creative, helpful, troublesome, bookworm, bug collecting, observant, smart, careful, adventurous, tree climbing, water loving, bike riding, thoughtful, oldest, big girl Abigail Joy.  How I love you, Sweets!  Even when you drive me crazy.  We are so thankful for what a blessing you are in our lives. ❤

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The Girls’ First Time Paddle Boating!

We decided we needed another outdoor adventure and headed over to West Lake Park to see if there was fun hiking or anything.  It turns out, there was paddle boating.  An hour for ten bucks!  We are usually pretty cheap, but we decided to go for it.  It was well worth it.

Daddy took the first ride.  We couldn’t all go together because we hadn’t asked permission to take Baby Boy out on the water.  That was kind of a bummer, but at least the bigger girls still enjoyed it.  It was a little trickier than it should have been to get off the dock.  It’s actually much harder to maneuver these things when it’s only one peddler and your boat is unbalanced to boot. haha

Daddy eventually go them out on the water.

Because he loves me, Cabz only took a short spin on the water.  He mostly carried and pushed babies back and forth on a strip of sidewalk while I was out with the girls. ❤  He’s way too good to me.

The girls and I were in our element!!  Water, outdoors….. loving every minute!

We made it around most of the lake before our hour was up.  The girls enjoyed seeing all the sights and bumping over the waves when a motor boat went by (me too!!).

I am totally not up on my birding skills, but we saw what I thought was a couple of blue heron standing in the water at the edge of the lake.  I pointed them out to the girls and they were all excited about the sighting!  Abby misinterpreted what I said and was telling Evie to look at the “blue hairys” and “long hair birds.” haha!

Evie, on the other hand, was just disgruntled that I called them blue herons.  She kept grouching, “No, no, no!!  ‘Cuz they’re not blue birds!!”  Which, they weren’t exactly blue so I’ll give her that.

We thought about hiking afterwards, but the kids were all ready to eat and we decided to end the evening with a picnic and playground instead.

I always enjoy family adventure time so very much!  Also, I love this guy! ❤ ❤

Birthday Babe

Parenting win of the year.  We kept almost forgetting about Elly’s big FIRST birthday.  If it wasn’t for her older sisters, we probably would have! haha  Thanks to them, she didn’t miss out on her cake.  The morning of her birthday, they were asking me, “Is Elly gonna have a cake??  Does she get a cake or anything for her birthday?”  Oooooh, yes.  Yes, yes, she does.  Good thing it’s our Aldis day!  We’ll just add a boxed cake mix to the list! Woo!

I happened to have some leftover pink and white frostings in the fridge, so I made a round cake and tried to do a darker pink strip, a lighter pink strip, and a white strip.  So fancy, right?  haha  The sprinkled #1 on top made it all better.

Elly’s cake eating pictures were probably my favorite so far.

First, the cautious, “What is this stuff you put in front of me?”

“Oh YA!!  THIS IS GOOD!”

SMASHING CAKE IN FACE!  “GET IN MY BELLY!”

That awkward moment when you look up and realize everyone is watching you stuff your face.

“Eh… oh well!  This stuff is too good to care!”

Double-fisting it!

*Sugar Coma*

Annnnnnd we’re done.  Mama intervention and cake time is over. haha

We didn’t have a present for Elly because, TOYS.  All over my house.  Constantly.  But I started thinking it would be kind of fun to watch her open one, soooo I wrapped up an old baby doll of Evie’s and we were good to go!  #regifting  #practicalparenting  #recycling  #toomanytoys

I wrapped Elly’s cute little present up and she took off running with it.  She thought it made a great accessory…..

….Until she became bored of the seemingly useless blob and threw it.

Our “sweet” little Eliana can be quite foul when she wants to be.  She wasn’t getting the “open it” concept very well, so I plunked her on the couch with it and gave her some extra encouragement.

She fiddled with it for a little bit….

And then got frustrated and kicked it to the floor while doing her squealy bratty yell thing.  So adorable, right?  Err…..

After practically opening it for her, she finally was motivated enough to pull the doll out.

She decided to be sweet again and gave her new baby lots of very wet kisses.

Then she ran her baby over to the window, but her chair (aka stepping stool) had books on it.  So she had to whack those off to the floor first.

Then she told her baby all about the outside world and gave her a few more kisses.

Time to open her present Emmy and Papa sent for her.

Well, that went well.  SHOVE.  KICK! haha

I opened it for her since she was being little Miss Attitude, and what did she do?  Shoved the clothes back in the back.  MMM!!

We still love you, Cutie! ❤ haha  XOXOXO

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Eliana is Twelve Months Old!!!!!!!!!!!!

The ol’ ONE YEAR epidemic strikes our house again!  Or rather, it struck over a week ago and I am just getting around to documenting that exciting occurrence.

I’m ONE!  No, she didn’t hold up one finger on purpose.  Lucky shot. 😉 haha

Our precious little Eliana Hope is about the size of your average 5 month old.  She weighs 17 lb 12 oz which means she JUST doubled her birth weight of 8 lb 14 oz!  I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen!  (and I guess, since I took her weight a weekish late, maybe it didn’t, but close enough)  Her older sister, Evelyn, weighed 17 lb 6 oz at a year, and is still the winner for our smallest baby contest. haha  Elly gained about half a pound since her weight check last month.  That still counts as growing though!

Baby Girl still just has two teeth on the bottom.  I find it so funny watching her use them to gnaw on apples or bite crackers.  She has to really jut out that ol’ bottom jaw to get anything done! haha!

Elly continues to eat pretty much whatever.  I still think she has the smallest appetite when comparing our three girls at this age.  She really likes to eat, but typically very moderate to small portions.

She even enjoys snacking on your occasional grass, sticks, leaves, nature.  Maybe she will really like salads…. ?

Elle has been the easiest of our daughters to switch over to whole milk.  No, I haven’t weaned her yet, but yes, she already drinks significant amounts of whole milk every day.  She usually downs about 2 full sippy cups in addition to her 3 nursing sessions!  Our other two girls would drink about a cup of milk over the course of the entire day if I remember correctly.  At least when we first switched them over.

The first time I had Elly try whole milk, it didn’t go super well, so I tried the chocolate syrup mixed in trick.  I added in enough that she liked it and thinned it out from there.  I was amazed how quickly she let me thin it down to plain milk!  Only a matter of days!  I am kind of thinking I’ll wait until she becomes less interested in nursing before I cut it out.  Mostly because she still really likes it and I think we’ll hit a point where she’s not as into it.

This baby can be trouble.  She is a major climber baby, which can sometimes end poorly for her.  I am constantly finding her on top of things she shouldn’t be.  Elly thought it was a riot when she realized she could climb up on the walker and hang out.

She also figured out how to (almost always) successfully get herself in and out of the walker.  It’s so much more fun when you do it yourself, right?!

We recently made a rule that Elly can’t climb on top of the big girls’ table anymore.  She absolutely loved it, but kept hurting herself.  Mostly, I think she enjoyed the fact that her big sisters couldn’t put stuff on their table to keep out of her reach anymore.

Monster Baby attacking the doll house!

Speaking of our wild baby…. this picture makes me laugh.

I think I’m the only one in our house that has always found this hilarious.  Baby in a “loin cloth.”

Elly started pointing a while back and I finally got around to documenting a few of those times.  She will point with just one finger sometimes, but often likes the whole hand approach.

This is my view when someone’s feeling needy…

Sometimes an applesauce squeezer will cheer Elly up a little bit during a cold.

Also, playing little Legos with the big girls – a coveted rarity due to frequent attempts to eat them.

Oh!  And extra snuggles with Daddy were yet another necessary when sick.

When this girl lets out some yelling she does it with her whole body.  Arms tensed, fists clenched, and her arms come in towards her middle a bit as she yells her short, jerky bursts.  Ahh!  Ahh!  Ahh!  She’s usually just being a goof.  Sometimes it’s because she wants more of some snack I’m sharing, but she never gets any when she yells at me. haha  She knows how to sign “more” for that.

Sweet Cheeks really enjoys it when I play chase with her and switch up running away from her and chasing after her.  She doesn’t get the concept of running away yet, but will come running to me with arms outstretched laughing away.  Her little hugs (leaning her head on me) are some of my favorites! ❤

When your baby is growing up on you, sometimes you shove a bink in her mouth and a bonnet on her head and pretend she’s still little.  #notmyproudestmoment  #reallymom?

Elly and Baby Boy have been bffs lately.  She enjoys climbing all over him (until they both end up sprawled out on the floor), hugging him, patting him, etc.  They really are a funny duo.  Elle is really obsessed with trying to feed her snacks to Baby Boy.  I don’t let her, but if I ever turn around for a second, she is over there trying to feed him and he of course is ready with mouth wide open.  They have an interesting relationship.  Sometimes they are all over each other hugging and talking sweetly.  Elly will pat him on the head (condescendingly or does she really think she’s older??).  Other times they’re yelling at each other and trying to get around one another.  Elly will rotate between finding toys to hand him and walking by nonchalantly and swiping whatever toy he has.  They are also quite jealous of one another and always want my attention especially bad when I’m giving it to the other.  #twinlife?

Here’s a rare picture of Elly crawling.  I’m afraid those days are seconds away from being over.

Sweet Cheeks started walking right at the end of 9 months.  By 11 months she was a pro.

The last few weeks Elly has been standing herself up without having to crawl over to something to get back up.  She didn’t realize she was capable of that new ability however until her birthday!  So cute!  With that revelation, the crawling days truly are coming to an abrupt close.  *sniff*

Baby walking is adorable.  That’s definitely not just me, right?!

This picture is great because it’s one of the few where our baby looks a little chubby! ❤

Although Elly has been over baby toys for a long time now, I’ve been working on packing them up lately.  She’s always been all about whatever those big sisters are into.

Little Miss is currently pretty independent of her big sisters.  She definitely wants to do what they are doing, but she typically doesn’t want their help or want them to hold her and she’s not shy about letting them know.  However, when she is in the right mood (over tired/hyper or supposed to be sitting quietly in church) she will crack up laughing at the slightest silly face they make.

When your oldest sister is WAY more smug about twinning with you than you are.

Someone is never happier than when they are JUST like the big girls!!

Watching the man power wash our siding.

Elly Hope was finally (barely!) tall enough to peek over and see the baby chicks at Theisens last time!  She was SO excited!

Eliana has been going up our steps for a while now and has been dying to practice going down.  I didn’t take the time to let her try until recently, so that is her new favorite activity.  Going up and down and up and down and up and down the steps.  Of course, this pastime works best when it’s supervised.  She ended up falling down the first carpeted flight of stairs once, gaining a minor scrape to the head.  She knows she’s trouble! 🙂

This next picture is the actual look she gives me when she (proudly) knows she’s going to do something naughty.  Right here she was busy reaching for my Bible which she knows is not a toy.

Playing outside is this little girl’s favorite!!  The older two often get outside before I make my way with the babies.  This is still Elly’s post while she waits for her turn.

She enjoys all the new things to explore and getting out of the house!

Parks are no place to sit in the stroller anymore.  Elly will have none of that!  She will go up the steps herself and barrel down the slides (with major supervision of course haha).

For a while there Elle would put her hands both straight up when she had a windy stroller ride.  Really feeling that ol’ breeze! ha!

Carrier rides are fun too!  Especially with Daddy! ❤

Swinging will always bring a smile!

Evelyn has always been our “super easy to make smile for pictures” child.  Abby would often LOOK but would look dead serious, even while extremely happy.  Elly is also usually a tricky one to catch smiling.  She is also tricky to take pictures of because most of the time she won’t even grace me with looking.  The following are what most of my picture attempts of her turn into.  Basically, she’s way too busy and simply doesn’t have time for me.

Elly really gets a kick out of whispering with me.  She acts all intense like she’s saying all these important things as she whisper babbles to me. haha  The other day I was whispering to her and she leaned in for a kiss and then licked me instead.  I’ll take what I can get, I suppose.

Little One likes playing with her baby dolls a lot more now.  She will give them kisses and carry them around, trying to mimic things her older sisters do with their dolls.  For some reason, I’m not quite sure she’s ready to handle the real thing….

We’ve noticed our Elly is quite easily offended.  She enjoys being a Mama’s baby around other people, and yet enjoys any attention she can get too.  It’s a fine balance, but she knows how to work it.  Just look a that little offended face! ❤

Good thing Daddy gives the best hugs, so she always has a shoulder to cry on. haha

She likes to do little yells as her whole body sort of jolts together in a feisty movement when she wants something (usually another bite).  She knows how to sign “more,” but obviously needs reminding once in a while…. ha

Reading is fun sometimes!

My wild, rocking chair, window watching baby!

Got this flower to stay in for like a minute.  Winning.

I love this little girl and her smile! ❤

Happy One Year, Sweet Cheeks!!  You’ll always be my baby. ❤

 

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Evelyn’s 2 1/2 Year Update

*Long Post Alert!!*  After the babes hit 2 years old, I only do an update every 6 months…. soooo, it got a little long.  Feel free to skim. 😉

Evie Grace is changing so much lately!  She’s losing all her babyness (I can’t say “baby fat” because she never had any. ha!  Scrawniest baby ever!) and getting so big!!  Although, of course, she’ll always be my baby. ❤

Our little peanut weighs 28 pounds and is about 35 1/2 inches tall, just shy of three feet.

Evie embraced the past fall season wholeheartedly.

Apple picking was pretty great too!

Winter, however, wasn’t her favorite.  It took a lot of convincing to get her outside in the first snowfall.  She was quite skeptical and pretty upset that the snow was falling on her.  Of course, getting pulled around in a sled (sitting in it to avoid touching the snow was her thing) by your Daddy is pretty great!  And Mama can whip a snowhorse together like no one’s business, so there’s that too…

Her “swimming suit” made it a little better and of course, hot chocolate was a major highlight.  Evelyn continues to be our ever-thirsty child.  If she isn’t guzzling her water or milk, wait a minute and she will be.  She still loves her kefir in the mornings.  You might think the world is coming to an end if you witnessed Evelyn waiting (the whole five minutes it takes) for me to mix up and hand out the kefir morning shakes.

Lil’ Peanut loves being Mama’s helper, especially in the kitchen.  She definitely makes things more exciting!

So much happens to a 2 year old vocabulary-wise between turning 2 and 2 1/2!!  I tried to write down a few favorite sayings and quotes so I wouldn’t forget them all as Evie grew up on us.  She’s so funny and makes me laugh at least once every single day.  I’ll try to put the quotes in order so the first ones are from up to a few months ago and the last ones were more recent. 🙂

“Might see pumpkins  Might see tractors!”  Well, probably not anymore, Honey.  “Ne ‘er know!!” – her little optimistic, “Ne’er know!” was after hearing me say that a few too many times in response to the girls’ constant barrage of thoughts/questions/comments.  Are we gonna see Maddie (neighborhood dog) outside??  “You never know!”  Are we gonna see this?  How about that?  Will there be worker trucks??  “You never know!”

“Where me at?  I right here!!”

“I see ducklings in the sky!” – Do you mean, geese?

“That brown dog…. it’s nah woofin’!” – It’s not woofing

“Can I have Abby’s cheese?  Her not want it.”  “Elly’s sad.  Her wants her bink.” – You have to enjoy the stage of mixing up her and she.

“Now I’m not cold, Mama.  I’m in my swimming suit!” – she still calls it this….. I can’t bear to correct it.

“You okay, Seet Cheeks?  You okay?”  – aka “Sweet Cheeks,” She’d say this to Elly whenever she was crying.

“My nuuue shoes LIGH UP!” –  Evs is always so emphatic with everything she says.  When I’m sitting, she’ll get in my face, lower her face to mine, and really spit those words out.  It’s definitely an attention getter.

“Don’t bite my baby’s head off!!” – I was playing dollies with her and apparently this was a legitimate concern.  Of course, it’s something Evie might have actually done, so that makes it a little more understandable.

“Yittle” – little…. This is one of my favorites, especially because her and Abby do this. haha

“Bumby” – Bumbo

Climbing all over the bumbo.  “Evie… don’t climb on the bumbo.  You’re too big for it now!”  In a really squeaky, helpless voice, “No, I yittle.  I yittle.  I Elly Hope.”  (Her bear started frequenting the bumbo after a new house rule got Evie officially kicked out)

“Dat brown dog!  It’s nah woofin’!” – That brown dog.  It’s not woofing.

Calling Elly, “Ella” – she came up with this on her own.  I think it was after hearing another little girl’s name was, Ella. haha

“Turn to 358!” – This is what she tells us when it’s time to sing during family worship.  It stems from our hymnal singing at church.

“Good Shepherd for my Soul!” – Sometimes we will let the girls pick which song we sing and Evie always picks, “Good Shepherd of my Soul” slightly mispronounced of course. 😉

“I am gettin’ bigger, right Mama?  I am bigger!  Right?”  Yes, honey, you are bigger!  “I can touch scissors, right Mama?”  Uh… no.  No, you can’t do that unless I help you. haha  “But I can touch spoon!  And forks!”  Yes, yes you can.

“Look at the two whips!”  – took me forever to figure out she was pointing to the “tulips.”

While riding up on Daddy’s shoulders she kindly offered, “Daddy, when you get tinier, I’ll give you a ride on my shoulders!”

“When I get tinier and I’m a baby then I can wear it.” – In reference to some outfit Elly had on that she was jealous of.  I’ve tried to explain the whole, you’re not getting any tinier concept, but it still hasn’t quite clicked.

“When I get bigger I can touch knife-es and when I get bigger I can make kef!” – Knives and “kef” (kefir) are apparently where the real fun is at.

“I didn’t cumble today, Mama!” – aka tumble, my poor tots are always tumbling left and right and they have the scrapes to prove it!

“Why do you have a scarf, Daddy?!”

“Mama, why’d you make me a buns in my hair??  You should have made me a piggie!!” – she thought I put a butt in her hair… I’d be a little offended too.

Speaking of hair…. Evelyn finally grew enough hair that she could wear a ponytail (or “buns”)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I thought the day would never come.  It lasts longer if I wet it first, but still!!  On a bummer note, she looked waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too old with all her hair back!!

Ev still really likes seeing “diggers” and “big trucks” whenever possible.  Sometimes I’ll point one out and say, “Do you want to ride in that big truck?”  She’s usually pretty quick to respond, “NO!  I wanna DRIVE it!  And I will drive it wild and crazy!!  Heh heh heh!!”  She has the troublesome, super smug, mischievous, “heh, heh, heh!” laugh down pat.

Little One’s favorite color has been blue for quite a while now.  She was super excited when her aunt, Jill, found a blue coat for her!  (Sidenote: the girls are really into riding their bikes around with a bucket on their handlebars for treasure filling)

Evie Grace has definitely made leaps and bounds with her strider lately and races around balancing like a pro.  We thought she was ready to go ahead and ride it on our mile walk a couple days ago and she was SO thrilled!!!  She was completely giddy the whole time.  It’s been her dream (and constant question) for the last couple months.  She did really well and it was fun to get to walk at a faster pace than when she walks.

One of her favorite tricks, “Look, Daddy!  Look, Mama!  I’m balancing!!”

This is what we call, “The Evie Scowl.”  Woe to the one on whom it falls!  In her defense, she didn’t want to “smile for the picture” right after waking up from nap. ha!!

My girls got to have some long awaited ice cream on Dairy Queen’s free cone day.  They were living it up!

Little Lambykins! ❤

Selfies with Mama because Evie likes to sometimes say, “Take a picture with me!”

My baby has been demonstrating that my peaceful quiet time was coming to a close for a while now, but I finally am (very sadly) letting it happen.  That’s right.  Evie stopped her afternoon nap (the only REAL relaxing/quiet/peaceful/take ten breaths time of the day for me haha) about 2 weeks ago.  It’s over, folks.  We’re currently working to implement rules such as “no talking to Mama during quiet time,” “stay in your designated area,” and “use your quiet voice when it’s necessary to inform me that you need to go poop.”  Surprisingly, she is doing a little better each day.  Evie definitely has a shorter attention span than Abby, but I think this time is actually helping her expand that.  She was really into wrapping her blanket around her head to fall asleep prior to naps being cut.

Still breathing in there??  Yup.  All good.

Before I get too carried away lamenting my once peaceful hour of the afternoon….. there is a positive!  Evie now falls asleep much faster at bedtime, resulting in extended “date night” time with Cabz (we call every night “date night” once the kids are asleep haha).  I’m extra happy that I snagged a few too many pictures of napping Evs now.  She thought she was sill tiny enough to take her naps in the boppy pillow. haha

I love when she sleeps like this.  SO TINY!

Not many can pull off lookin’ fiiiiine even while asleep!

Ev always wins for best bed head EVER.  See what I mean??

The big girls had been talking and dreaming about having a “sleepover” for days.  It finally happened and the excitement levels were sky high!  Unfortunately, a few minutes later Abby started rethinking it….. I heard her in there, “Evie, quit poking my ears. Quit kicking me. No thank you!! No thank you! Evie what are you doing with my blanket?”  A bit later, Evie called out that she wanted back in her oooown bed!  Upon her removal Abby admitted, “I want Evie in her bed cuz she was kinda hurting me.”  Best sleepover ever.  It lasted about 15 minutes. haha!!

Evie Grace enjoys taking care of her baby dolls.  She wishes she could dress them, but so far she only undresses them and then oh-so-desperately needs someone else to redress them.  (That hair sprout though…)

I’ll admit, sometimes I pick on my Lil’ Peanut just a bit….  She doesn’t take it too personally.

Back in the nap time days, “Baby Belle” would often have to “nurse” for quite a while beforehand.

I have no idea why, but for whatever reason I have gotten mastitis an average of every other month while nursing Elly.  Whenever it strikes, I use the pump to try and work through it as fast as possible.  Evelyn was all curious, wondering if she could have that milk in the cup and so finally I let her once.  She DOWNED it.  Ever since, there is always at least ONE giddy person when I get mastitis….  She helps me get it all put together, antsy for her cup of milk.  Weird or not weird??  I personally think it’s a little weird, but welcome to real life in our household.

Evs is still obsessed with watching the garbage and recycling trucks go by.  This is where I am sure to find her if we’re not actually out on the driveway.

Evie’s eyes are so fun, because they are the same dark, dark brown as Caleb’s!  I always thought his eyes were the best and hoped at least one of our kids would get them from him.  She totally did!! (along with a ton of other features, head profile/forehead, movement mannerisms, and SO many of her facial expressions look almost identical to his little kid pictures.  SO fun!)  Her nose is certainly not his (Abby got that), but she definitely fulfills my dream to see a little girl version of my handsome guy. 🙂

We found out this past winter that we have an up and coming professional golfer on our hands.  The picture with her holding the golf club up in the air for me to see?  Ya, I was terrified too!

Evelyn and her sticks.  The girls often want to pick up “treasures” on our walks.  I usually limit their pick-ups to one item unless we’re on a park trail or something and moving slower.  Otherwise, we literally never get going as they stop and pick up everything they see. haha  Abby usually will choose a flower – sometimes a walnut, acorn, or pine cone.  Evelyn?  She always chooses a stick.  Our little wild girl!

This kid has always been our wild girl.  Some things never change….

Big Sister, Abby, is often overwhelmed by Evie and her antics.  Evie can’t quite keep up with Abby’s mouth, but Abby can’t keep up at all with Evie’s wild behavior. ha!

Baby Girl has always been our hands on, super squirmy, cuddle bug.

Evie enjoying the pumpkin patch last fall.  She has always known how to really live it up with whatever we’re doing!  The hard part for her is transitioning when something is over or we say it’s time to leave.  She always listens, but we definitely go through phases that require consequences.

Evie’s “awkward, how do I pose for a picture??” face, followed by her, “haha!! That was foolish!” face.

Evelyn’s dream: sit in the big car at the mall.  She has no idea that it can move if you put money in it.  I think she’d scream for joy if we ever went all out and did that.

Her, “I’m not sure about this person” face.

These next pictures demonstrate what we know as the “classic Evie.”  This enthusiastically happy, open mouthed grin has been her go-to expression ever since she first learned how to smile as a baby.  I will never get tired of seeing this cute face!!  The baby pic is from when she was around 11 months old I believe.  If you know our Lil’ Peanut, you’ve seen this face! ❤

While my girls enjoy going out and about doing things, they are also quite content with more simple home pleasures.  Here is pictured a rare walk where Daddy kept an eye on both napping babies and Evie actually got to RIDE something instead of walk!!

Enjoying our new keyboard!  Music is such a wonderful gift from the Lord!

Popcorn night will always be the best ever.

Having fun in our yard is always a favorite pastime!! ❤

Water and Evelyn are bffs.  I could give this kid a drop of water and she would somehow manage to sop her entire outfit.  Helping wash the van was mostly squeezing water all over and splashing in the bucket, but she sure enjoyed it! haha

When your good hair day goes bad….

We are ever amazed at how frequently the younger sister beats up on the older one….  One of our most hilarious stories to date: We were driving somewhere and Abby and Evie were going round and round in the back seat.  We were talking and didn’t really notice for a while.  Finally, we realized there was an issue in the back and asked, “Girls, what is going on back there??”  Abby sadly says, “Well, Evie says she is going to do mean sings (things) to me in the morning!!”  “Uh…. what mean things?”  “Well…. I don’t remember, but she probably knows!”  I turn to look at Evie and she’s sitting in her seat SMUG as all get out.  Overall, they have a ton of fun together, but there are always those moments….

It’s always a fun day when you get to twin with a sister!!  Elly is never as excited about it as the older two.

Although Evie has never had quite as much patience for books as Abigail, her enjoyment of reading has been increasing over time.  She will actually sit and “read” books to herself fairly often now and is always excited when I have time to read a book of choice to each girl! (This pic is a little snippet dedicated to my most loyal reader – you may be the only one who even makes it this far in this way too lengthy post!!)

Books are especially sure to interest Evelyn when they are about tractors, trucks, or diggers!!

Little Miss can have an attitude when she so desires.  “I don’t wan to!” smile for the picture.

Uh-oh.  This is what happens when I turn away for literally 2 minutes when Evie is using window markers.  Hmm… they can color on windows…. how about my hands??  *sigh*

Boots + Evie Grace = a perfect look!

This set of pictures is “Just Evie.”  She was carrying on her little conversations with me as I snapped these nonchalantly.  I love capturing the kids in their element, just doing what they do! ❤

This is what Evie looks like after eating spaghetti and getting washed up at the sink.  Still sort of grubby, and wet all over. haha

Here is what Evelyn picks out to wear on a “you choose” day.  She’s stylin’ and she knows it!!  Monster truck shirt, striped leggings, and her Olaf the Snowman tall socks (on the outside of the leggings obviously, so you can see them!!).

I find this picture so hilarious.  She is standing SO straight and holding her bear just so and it just makes me laugh.  This is one of those poses I think I can picture Caleb doing as a 2 year old. haha

Sometimes I catch myself wishing they’d grow up just a little more slowly….

Although Evie doesn’t talk at quite the level of speed Abby did at this age, she is still quite a little chatterbox.  When out walking, I often have to hush one child so I can hear the other child and then listen to the other one, etc. etc. etc. the entire walk.  I never want for conversation.  Marrying Cabz, I thought for sure we’d have a super quiet kid, but…. that has yet to happen!  Unless Elly is going to be Miss Silent.  I guess we don’t know for sure with her just yet.

We are so incredibly blessed with these babies of ours!  Getting to watch them grow, learn, and change day by day and getting to be their parents has taught us SO much.  God has sure used our children to show us our great need for Him, among other things!  We love you each!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

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