my littlest love

I’ve loved her from the moment I knew she was growing inside of me.

I knew I’d do anything to keep her healthy and safe. She made my heart so full, right from the start._MG_4394 - Copy

And yet, there’s nothing like the fierce, uncompromising love I’ve felt growing in my heart for her since that moment we first met face-to-face.

It’s completely true what they say- you will love your second baby with the same intensity and devotion as your first. It’s incredible how two completely different little people can capture my heart so fully. So equally.Processed with VSCOcam with lv02 preset

There are so many little things I completely adore about her.

I never want to forget how much she loves to hold on to me, and be held. She grips my finger with her whole little hand while she nurses.

She’s got the softest, fuzziest hair of any baby I’ve ever touched. I love to brush my lips up against it when I carry her in my arms. It’s starting to grow into a puffy little mohawk and I almost wish it’d just stay that way forever.

We spend our afternoons snuggling, just the two of us, while Big Sister naps. Sometimes, we just hang out, laughing and staring at each other.Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetI hope it’s always so easy to make her smile. Her first laugh was one of the sweetest sounds I’ve ever heard._MG_4553She seems especially snuggly and warm first thing in the morning. After I come home from my run, she’s so excited to hear my voice again that she flails her arms and legs (we call it her “happy dance”)!_MG_4528Sometimes, she takes breaks between gulping down milk to look up at me, smile, and chat. I love our early-morning conversations._MG_4609I just can’t get enough of her sweet little cheeks, so I usually sneak in one last kiss before I climb into bed at night. I’m going to miss her sleeping in our room for that reason alone!

This tiny girl filled a void in my heart that I didn’t even know was there.Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

pumpkin picking in the arctic

On Saturday morning, we headed out for our annual visit to the pumpkin patch. We had arranged to go with friends and were really looking forward to having a great time!

_MG_4564Admittedly, we were completely unprepared for the weather. Earlier that same morning, I had gone running in shorts and a t-shirt! The pumpkin patch is in a neighboring county, so naturally, we didn’t expect to encounter high winds and a huge drop in temperature. Kaya really could have used a hat, mittens, and a warmer coat. Mom fail.

She did get to enjoy seeing all the farm animals before it got too cold, though!_MG_4568 _MG_4570And she tried to milk a wooden cow…_MG_4576 _MG_4575… and Michael slingshot a pumpkin across a pond!
_MG_4571 We did take a short hayride to the field to pick out a pumpkin._MG_4583 (cold weather had Michael making some funny faces)_MG_4584Our cold little girl gave me one big smile right before we left, so at least I have one good photo to remember our trip this year!
_MG_4591Kaelyn didn’t make it into any pictures, because luckily, she was wrapped up (warmly) in the Ergo carrier and slept nearly the entire time!

five on friday! (10/17)

I’m finally sitting down and writing this at 9:30 pm on a Friday…better late than never! (And yes, we’re old married folk by now who are actually home nearly every Friday night, snuggling babies to sleep, doing dishes, and finishing up laundry… already in our pajamas. My how things have changed in just a few short years. But I’ll tell you what… I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!)

ONE. For weeks now, I’ve been brainstorming family-themed Halloween costumes, and I think I’ve changed my mind more times than a mom might change her newborn baby’s diaper (okay, not really, because we all know that’s about every five minutes)… but I’ve finally made a decision and started working on the costumes! I’ve had to measure the girls to be sure everything is the right size, so Kaya caught on pretty quickly and had a whole lot of fun “measuring” her baby doll, too._MG_4503

TWO. This little cutie took her first-ever nap in the crib this week! It’s only happened once (mostly because we’ve been busy out of the house and I haven’t tried again), but I’m so excited she’s starting to fall into some sort of nap schedule.Processed with VSCOcam with a4 preset Good naps = happy babies!_MG_4530THREE. I was curious to see if I could create my own pumpkin muffin recipe, and this week, I decided to go for it. They turned out soft, with just the right amount of spices and chocolate chips! Hopefully I’ll be sharing the recipe soon, but I first need to make it again to be sure they’re consistently delicious!Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 presetFOUR. Everyone says how photogenic my babies are, and I definitely won’t disagree… but here’s a little reality for you- sometimes they’re less than thrilled to have their pictures taken! (but how adorable is that little baby yawn?)_MG_4517Most of the time, though, I think I have a little baby model on my hands._MG_4509 FIVE. After a stormy week, the weather was absolutely perfect today. Kaya is old enough now to take short walks without the stroller, and I love seeing her explore every tiny thing she finds. Today, she just had to bring her Halloween bucket with her (with Kitty inside, of course). I’m soaking up these days because I know it won’t be long before we’ll be barricaded in by snow and ice. Sidenote: when did my first baby get so very tall?!Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 presetHappy weekend!!!

Linking up with Natasha, April, Christina, and Darci today!

if you really knew me…

If you really knew me, you’d know that…_MG_4108

… I’m completely obsessed with chocolate-chip cookies and I have my favorite recipe for them memorized.

… I was born a Jersey girl, but I love country music, horses, trucks, and all that other countrified stuff. Michael thinks I wish I was country and he just might be right.

Laundry is my least favorite chore, and I usually have a big mountain of clean clothes waiting to be folded (which I could totally be doing right now, but am obviously avoiding… at least the clothes are clean, right?)!

… I keep tons of baking supplies in my pantry at all times. If you came over and wanted to make something, I probably already have the staples to bake it right then and there.

… My heart beats with a love for my two little girls like nothing I’ve ever known. They are my everything, but when I was younger, being a mom wasn’t even part of my “life plan”.

Michael and I actually met for the first time on his birthday. I said hello and he completely ignored me!

… I call my dad-in-law my “twin” (not that we look alike) because we have all the same favorite foods and love to have daddy-daughter cuddles when we visit.Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

I love to run and currently go about 20 miles per week, but I’ve never entered a race! I think I’m just a little intimidated because I know I’m not very fast.

… I’m a great baker and a pretty decent cook… but for some reason, it took me a really long time to learn to make pancakes without burning them on the outside or having them still be raw on the inside. Whoops. (notice how many of these facts are about sweets…)

… I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and as far as the gospel goes, I know it, I live it, and I love it! :)

What’s something I don’t know about you?

october 2014 goals

Hey, remember me? I’m the girl who used to actually DO the goals she set each month. I guess it’s just been hard to find the time and energy with a new little baby in our family. But hey, I’ll take baby cuddles over accomplishing my goals on time any day. At least I’m trying!

(I also started writing this two weeks ago and just never finished. Oops.)

September Goal Review:

1. Do one step toward finishing the quilt per week. 

2. Decide on the gallery wall layout before the 15th of the month, and have pictures printed by the 30th.

3. Do ab-healing exercises at least three times per week. I’ve been pretty consistent with this and I am definitely seeing the gap in my abs closing up! Yay for some progress! :)

4. Complete the September photo-a-day challenge. This did not happen at all because I just forgot to do it every day!

5. Take Kaya’s two-year photos. DONE! They’re here if you didn’t see them earlier! :)

6. Have a birthday party for Kaya and make her an awesome cake! I was happy with how her birthday went, and if you missed that, it’s here.

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1. Take family pictures.

2. Keep working on my abs (at least 3 times per week). Seeing results is really motivating (as is realizing that this problem isn’t going to fix itself).

3. Make Halloween costumes.

And let’s be honest here… that’s probably all I’ll be able to get finished. Wish me luck!

friday favorites (10/10)

Happy Friday! As usual, here are some of the best moments from our crazy little family this week! :)

This sweet girl will always make my favorites list. Of course! How could she not, with that gummy smile and her bright eyes? All of a sudden, her cheeks seem a lot chubbier and her tummy pokes out (which makes it even more tempting to tickle her)!kaelyncollage10102014 - CopyIt’s been cooling off and feeling a little more like fall, and cuddling up with my baby and taking a nap has happened a couple times this week. I’ll snuggle this sweet face to sleep any day.Processed with VSCOcam with a4 preset

Katherine hosted our play date this week, and she turned it into a Halloween cookie-decorating party for the kids! We had so much fun and actually made way less of a mess than I expected we would with little hands in frosting and sprinkles!
Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetI did the frosting, and then Kaya put all the candies and marshmallows on by herself! I have to say, I’m impressed. I was also amazed that she didn’t eat any of the decorations while we were doing it!
Processed with VSCOcam with a5 presetSpeaking of eating, I made fajitas for the first time ever this week and they were so easy and amazing! Here’s the recipe if you want to try it (and believe me, you do).Processed with VSCOcam with a9 presetIt wouldn’t be a true Friday Favorites post without my dog doing something goofy… so here’s all 31 pounds of him, squished into a Build-a-Bear toy bed. There is nothing he won’t try to snuggle with!Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Happy weekend!

conference weekend

General Conference happens twice a year, and I have to say, those are some of my very favorite weekends! Who wouldn’t want to sleep in, indulge in some home-cooked breakfast, cuddle up on the couch with your family, and have uplifting gospel messages broadcasted right into your living room?

This cute girl was pretty excited for her first conference. _MG_4468Actually, she’s just happy (almost) all the time. But she definitely enjoyed all the extra snuggles.
_MG_4470 _MG_4469

We kicked off Sunday morning with some homemade chocolate-chip pumpkin pancakes! I might be a little obsessed…Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset I had already made a bunch of them before anyone else in the house was awake. Kaya came out of her room and immediately got excited (she also tried to call them “cupcakes”…)!_MG_4475

Here’s one of my many favorite quotes from this conference:neillfmarriottoct2014quote - Copy

By the end of the weekend, we were all pretty tired, and might have passed out during the last session…Processed with VSCOcam with lv02 presetI just love the extra time we get to spend together as a family, and I definitely came away feeling inspired to make a few changes and improvements. I’m grateful that we can learn, grow, become better, and feel the Savior’s love!

a kitty birthday (kaya’s 2nd birthday party!)

Kaya’s actual birthday was on a Friday, but we waited until Saturday to have her real celebration. As it turns out, Friday mornings are pretty crazy at our house! She did get to eat (almost) as many chocolate donut holes as she wanted, and I sang happy birthday to her at breakfast time (Daddy was already at work). Her friend Mia came over for a couple hours that night, and they had the best time two crazy, fun toddler girls can have together (just picture them jumping on Kaya’s bed, dancing, and sharing pizza)! :)

Since her real birthday was so low-key, I definitely wanted to make sure the day of her party started off with some true excitement. I hung a bunch of balloons from the ceiling for her to see as soon as she woke up and walked into the hallway. She was a little timid at first, but she spent a good part of the day running through them and yelling “baoons!”_MG_4187Her next surprise was in the living room. Her big gift from us was her very own slide (yes, we are those crazy parents with a slide in their apartment… but hey, it actually folds up if we ever wanted to put it away). She pretends that everything and anything is a slide (and we even used a folding table as one, once), so having a real one definitely won’t go to waste!

She was so surprised!

One happy girl._MG_4200

_MG_4202Her actual party was very simple. I wanted to do something I thought she’d love, so I chose to base it off of her very favorite little buddy- Kitty, of course!_MG_4209I actually love how the cake turned out! It looked just like her stuffed animal! Honestly, though… Kaya didn’t even notice it was Kitty. I’m still glad I put the effort into though, because it’s still something meaningful to her, and I know one day we’ll look back on this and it’ll be a sweet memory._MG_4211IMG_4215_MG_4220I made a felt applique shirt for her, and she actually did notice that and liked it!_MG_4225_MG_4226She loved her cake this year! Who can resist dark chocolate? (answer: no one. duh.)_MG_4234She opened her presents all on her own! As usual, she was spoiled with some really awesome gifts._MG_4239_MG_4241Her favorite thing might’ve actually been the fruit snacks Uncle Kevin and Aunt Tori sent all the way from Utah. Grandpa couldn’t feed them to her fast enough! :)_MG_4244We’re so grateful for all our friends and family who were here to celebrate our sweet girl with us! (And yeah, photography fail- the birthday girl ended up hiding behind Mike’s head in this picture…)!
_MG_4246Happy 2nd birthday, Kaya Bird! We love you so very much!_MG_4255

five on friday! 10/3

ONE. My normally super-happy baby had a really rough day on Monday. I think it was due to some gas pain, and she just wanted to cry until she’d fall asleep in my arms. The weather was perfect for a walk, and some fresh Fall air did the trick- everyone was happy after a little time outside! I loved seeing all the golden leaves scattered across the playground, and Kaya was excited as soon as she spotted the slide. This was our hangout spot nearly every warm day this year before Kaelyn was born, and it felt so good to go back.PhotoGrid_1412039157781

TWO. Kaya got this watercolor activity book for her birthday… and she has played with it every single day. I have to admit… I almost wish these existed when I was a kid! It’s also great to bring along for entertainment at church since it’s mess-free._MG_4441

THREE. This happy little girl had her first ride in the exersaucer this week! We started putting Kaya in it at this age (propped up with blankets of course), and although Kaelyn still seems so tiny, I wanted to try it. She obviously couldn’t jump in it, but she loved being able to sit up and even reached out to touch some of the toys!_MG_4423FOUR. This weekend, I’ll be watching our church’s General Conference broadcast! You can watch it from anywhere and it’s completely free. It’s so uplifting and energizing, so if you want to see what it’s all about, you can view it here!

FIVE. My tiny baby has become a big chatterbox. She has so much to say and does it so excitedly! As you can see, she’s also pretty serious about whatever she’s telling me._MG_4467Happy weekend!!!

Linking up with Natasha, April, Christina, and Darci today!

kaelyn: 3 months

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(Our own measurements this month, so who knows how truly accurate they are…)
Height:
24 inches
Weight:
11 pounds 8 ounces
Clothing size: It really just depends on the brand. We’re done with a lot of newborn outfits (especially because her cloth diaper makes everything just a wee bit tighter), but she still has room to grow in 0-3 month stuff.
Eyecolor: They still look blue to me… especially when we’re outside!
Nursing: She goes about 2-2.5 hours between feedings now.
Favorite things: She just loves when we get up close to her face, talk, sing, and smile at her! I definitely think she is one of the happiest babies ever. When I sing to her, she jabbers on and on as if she’s trying to sing along with me. Of course, she still loves to eat and snuggle. She talks to, plays with, and stares at the toys that hang above her seat all the time and is so content to do that for quite a while (which is really handy when Big Sister needs something or I have to shower or cook dinner, etc.)!
Dislikes: She’s still not a fan of tummy time… and I also scared the daylights out of her the other day when I was goofing around and made a voice with a “country” accent as a joke. She’s always been very responsive to the sound of my real voice and definitely didn’t like the change!
Sleep: For most of the month, sleep wasn’t so great. We had a couple weeks where she’d go to bed around 8:30, sleep until about midnight, and then wake up 4 times between then and 5 am. Talk about exhausting! We’re doing better now and it looks like we’re back to her waking up to eat sometime between 1 and 3, and then again at 5. She sometimes goes back to bed for a little while after that.

Naps don’t usually happen without me snuggling her, but I am starting to see a pattern- she gets tired around 8:30 am and again around 2 pm. In the morning, I can get her to sleep in the bassinet without snuggles.

And yes… she is still sleeping in the bassinet next to our bed. It’s been easy this way and I just don’t want to change it… but I know she needs to get used to sleeping in the crib soon.
Nicknames: Baba and Peanut!
Milestones, etc.: -She’s pretty much a pro at holding up her head and she easily turns it from left to right.
-She can roll from her back onto her side (so now I have to be sure to put her far from the edge of our bed when I change her)!
-The best milestone this month (and possibly the best of all)… she started laughing!!! She was so close for so long and finally did it on 9/22 when I tickled her tummy during a diaper change!
-She’s become so very vocal this month. We talk to her, and she “talks” back. There was one morning that we woke up to the sound of her cooing at the little animals that hang above her bassinet. Cutest thing ever.
-Speaking of her little animal toys, she is also a pro at grabbing them! She can get one in each hand and even pull the mouse far enough to make it vibrate. Hand-eye coordination is a great thing to have :)
-Not a milestone, but… this little girl has the sweatiest feet of any baby I’ve ever met. She doesn’t even have to wear footie pajamas to get them sweating.

Dear Kaelyn,

You have changed so much this month! Although you started out so small, you’ve been growing so fast that you’ve caught up to the size your big sister was at this age! I’m so proud._MG_4384

I keep telling your Daddy that you’re the happiest baby ever, and I think he agrees. This morning, he walked over to you and said “Hi Baba! You’re smiling! But of course you are!” I hope you stay so ready to smile, even when you’re bigger. You make our days so bright!_MG_4323

I don’t really know what I ever did without you. You’re my little cuddle buddy every afternoon (and a good part of most nights), and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I love you so much Kaelyn Grace. Keep growing big, strong, and smart!

Love, Mommy
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