journey (back) to utah

Kevin and Tori are tying the knot on Friday, so we made the trek to Utah yesterday! Luckily, modern transportation actually means the “trek” is a drive and a flight (or two) that can all be accomplished in one day.

We tried to help Kaya wait for a nap until we got in the car and on our way. She did nap, but only for an hour. She was happy for a short time before she was fussy and needed a nursing/play break.
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My parents live close to the airport, so we visited with them for a little while before my dad dropped us off. My mom even made us dinner (and muffins to take on the plane)!
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Last time we flew, Kaya was mostly easy to entertain and put to sleep, but this time, she was even better! She loved looking out the window, staring up over the seats and just smiling and waving at everyone. She slept for most of the second flight (about 3.5 hours) all cuddled up with me. I soaked in all her precious baby snuggles.
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By the time we got in and settled, we didn’t fall asleep until about 2 am (which is 4 am back east)! Today has mostly been about relaxing and goofing around with Michael’s parents. (I might have also had a Greek gyro… And Kaya tried her first French fry!)
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ten things I live for

I live for the little moments in life. The ones that fill up your heart.

Like when my baby girl looks up at me and smiles for no reason at all, other than that she loves me.

Or when Michael is so grateful for the peanut butter and jelly sandwich I made him, even though he’s probably had about 1500 of them since we were married (one every day, and nope, I’m not kidding)!

I live for making memories and then reliving them through my photographs and writing.

I live for that first moment between sleep and wakefulness in the morning.

I live for motherhood._MG_4853

I live to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.

I live for friends who stay to talk and laugh for hours.

I live to create and use my talents.

I live for the way Michael holds my hand in the car.

I live to strive to become better each day.

Linking up with Lauren and Tiffany for Tuesday Topics!

friday favorites

Apparently, last weekend didn’t rejuvenate Kaya at all, because she kicked off Monday morning by falling asleep in the high chair! (I even got her into the crib after this without waking her up… and I’m not the gentlest person, so that’s impressive!)IMG_20130722_091105 For family night, we went to the pool! We stayed long enough for Kaya to get the wrinkliest little baby toes.PicsArt_1374537969810 On Tuesday, I made a cake for the first time in months! It was chocolate with buttercream frosting (inspired by this). I know it’s far from perfect… I like to call it “shabby chic”. Emphasis on the shabby._MG_7570The cake was part of a surprise party for Brittany and Lelia after institute! I’m so glad we got to celebrate these two awesome girls (by the way, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Lelia TODAY)! This might’ve been one of the only times I didn’t bring any leftover cake home.PhotoGrid_1374629824097

There was a whole lot of playing this week (as usual)…_MG_7552 _MG_7537-2 _MG_7546 … some laughing over sandwich crumbs, and sleeping while running errands/shopping (what am I going to do when we upgrade her car seat and she falls asleep?)072613fridayfavs

Church put on a “Pioneer Day” activity on Wednesday, so we enjoyed some fun outfits, homemade butter, making yarn dolls, and gunny sack racing!
_MG_7601 The missionaries had the best getup._MG_7606And if you want a good laugh…

This morning, we had a playdate with Bianca and Aaliyah! The weather has been cooling down a whole lot lately, so we enjoyed being outside without sweating! (Kaya also wore SHOES for the first time ever… and what’s even better is that I got them yesterday for 50 cents 🙂 )IMG_20130726_132244

Also, I think someone has been watching the puppy a little too closely…

kaya- 10 months!

I can’t even believe I’m writing this (and I’m a few days late, as it is)… double-digit months!_MG_7525 (2) (written July 22nd)
Height: 29 inches
Weight: 19 pounds
Clothing size: 6-9 and 9-12 month onesies, 6-9 month pants, 6-9 month jammies, and then some 12-18 month t-shirts (The Children’s Place tees seem to run quite small).
Eyecolor: Gray or green with little brown specks (everyone still says what big, beautiful eyes she has)! Sometimes people will still come up to her and say what beautiful blue eyes she has, so maybe it really just depends on the light, but to be honest, I don’t think they are a true blue.
Teeth: SIX! Another upper incisor came in this month (dental chart), and according to the chart, she now has teeth G, F, E, D, O and P. I am pretty sure I saw another bottom one that’s about to break the gum, too!
Eating: This month, she’s tried sweet potatoes, vegetarian chili, blueberries, a slice of a navel orange, grapes and graham crackers. I think the only things she truly liked out of that list were grapes and graham crackers! This past weekend, we went to an institute activity where she LOVED eating mac and cheese and bits of fried chicken off of my plate! Last night, I gave her some of the enchilada rice we were having, and she enjoyed that, too. I think I’m just going to start giving her whatever we’re having from now on (which is what I originally hoped to do, because I wanted to do baby-led weaning, but she just needed a slow introduction to softer foods, so that didn’t work out). She still LOVES her Cheerios and yogurt in the morning. At this point, we are trying to do two meals a day. She still nurses on demand and almost always before naps and bedtime._MG_7433 Words: Nothing at all except babbling! I think she thinks she is coherently speaking to us, though.
Favorite things: When Daddy comes home (she gets so excited and crawls right up to him!), looking at books, swimming at the pool, music and dancing (especially if she sees me dancing… I guess that’s pretty hilarious), and whenever Michael is holding her and he quickly walks toward me (she cracks up)! She also loves this completely random fake laugh we do while we nod our heads to one side. She loves grabbing Jax’s tail or tags, too. She loves playing under the table, and she thinks it’s hilarious if we join her and say “we’re in a fort”! Her favorite toys would probably be her purple squishy ball, her toy kitchen, and her orange stuffed kitty (she carries him around a lot!)._MG_7477 Dislikes: Getting buckled into her carseat and when we don’t let her play with something she wants._MG_7487Sleep: Sleep has slightly changed this month- previously, she was still waking up once at night to nurse and then would go back to sleep, but now she sleeps straight through. It’s so strange (but oh so nice!) to go to bed and not get up in the wee hours of the night. She goes to bed between 6 and 7pm, and then wakes up around 6 am, usually. We’ve had two two-hour-long naps for the past few months, but the past few days, her morning nap has been more like an hour and a half long. She seems to be a little crankier though, even after that nap, so I’m not sure if maybe it’s a temporary change because of another tooth or something else.
Milestones, etc.: -She has mastered the pincer grasp, and can pick up Cheerios and feed them to herself! Sometimes she misses her mouth and I have to help her, but I am proud of her nonetheless.
– She wants to walk EVERYWHERE. Only trouble is, she still needs to hold on to something (or someone). She can get around just holding on with one hand (so she can carry something else with her!). She gets cranky if she wants you to help her walk and you stop. Crawling just isn’t good enough anymore.
– She can stand up without holding onto anything for probably about 10 seconds before she drops into a squat. So strong!
– This is the first month I can confidently say that she knows the word “no” as well as her name (she responds to both “Kaya” and her nickname, “Birdy”). Sometimes, when I say no, she’ll shake her head. So cute!
– She’s been waving for a couple of months, but now she does it a whole lot more, especially when we tell her “say bye!”
– She carries things around with her as she crawls!
– She’s always getting ahold of our phones, and now she has mastered using just her index finger to swipe through the screens._MG_7383 – Sometimes it seems like she has started throwing these mini temper tantrums. She’ll fuss and cry if we don’t give her what she wants.
– She’s pretty good at using a sippy cup! She can sometimes use it all on her own, and other times, she needs me to hold it up for her.
– She can also click her tongue/cluck. She’s ready for a pony, daddy!
– When she feels like it, she gives these giant slobbery kisses!

Dear Kaya,

Some days, I think I’m a bit infatuated with you. Your sweet, toothy grin, laughing eyes, and button nose never fail to capture my heart. You really do live up to the meaning of your name, which is “pure”._MG_7481

I can’t help but feel that you and I are really developing a bond that is even more special and beautiful than before. You are my best little friend._MG_7396

I’m so proud of all the big-girl things you’ve been learning to do lately. I love you so much and no matter how big you get, you will always be our little princess.

She would not stay still at ALL this time, even with Michael’s help… I resorted to giving her a piece of clear tape to play with. Magic!10monthoutttakes

one lifelong dream

Tuesday Topics this week is on a lifelong dream! I’ve had so many goals and aspirations throughout my life so far, but the one ambition I can always remember having is this…

I’ve always wanted to help animals. I have had a special love and connection with them ever since I was a little girl, and I’ve forever had a desire to heal the sick ones, feed the hungry ones, and love those that had no one else.

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me and my childhood dog, Shadow

When I was small, I thought that the only way to help animals was to become a veterinarian, so that’s what I set out to do. In my college years, I realized that that wasn’t exactly what I wanted as a career.

While my current focus is on being the best mother I can be, I hope that one day I can do more- maybe volunteer at a shelter, foster some puppies or even consider working as a veterinary technician. For now, I’ll just keep advocating adoption over buying pets. I’m so grateful for all the amazing rescue organizations that have helped so many pets find loving homes, especially my Jax._MG_6640Linking up with Lauren and Tiffany!

friday favorites

Monday was the only day of the week that the forecast didn’t predict thunderstorms, so Kaya and I tried to cram every warm-weather activity into our day. We went walking with Daddy on his lunch break, had a barbecue with friends, and even planned to go to the pool (but after a million and one errands, Kaya really needed a nap, so there was no swimming for us).
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The weather man was wrong (go figure!) so we did get to enjoy some pool time on Tuesday after all. Baby Bird is always so exhausted after we swim! Despite her tiredness, her morning nap seems to be getting shorter and shorter…
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Our computer came last night! It came in a bunch of different boxes, so Michael had to put it together (actually, he still has a few things left to do to finish it, so I haven’t had any fun playing with it yet). The boxes had tons of padding to protect the computer, and Kaya sure loved playing with all the paper.

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It’s been hotter this week, so the air conditioning is back on. Poor Kaya was getting pretty sweaty!IMG_20130719_130810She also tried sweet potatoes last night! She only sort of liked them (her smile is for Daddy, not the food)! We are going to try again later today.
IMG_20130718_192637And I love how silly my baby is (by the way, I promise she does wear clothes 90% of the time… I guess she always just does photo/video-worthy things during the 10% she’s in only a diaper!)

Happy weekend!

thursday thoughts

Just a few random thoughts for today 🙂

1. On Monday, I finally found my dress for Kevin and Tori’s wedding! It’s somewhat “vintage” so I am making a few modifications, like shortening the sleeves, and taking it in just ever so slightly. It also had shoulder pads… yep. I took those out like 0.002 seconds after I bought it and washed it.

2. I’m pretty excited because today something awesome is coming in the mail… a new computer! Michael’s been wanting to build a desktop machine for forever and he finally just went ahead and did it. I’ll probably be the one using it the most (editing photos in a flash with more RAM and a faster processor!), so I am pumped to get it set up tonight.

3. I have been doing so great with my goals this month so far! Salads are now my go-to lunch (well, maybe not on Saturdays, but for the most part). Arm and ab workouts are finally starting to feel a little easier and less like I’m about to die. I can see just a slight difference in my muscle definition, and I’m extra excited about the area right around my belly button feeling more “pulled in” and toned. I think you mamas out there probably know what I’m talking about!

4. I found this cake recipe this morning (doesn’t everyone look at cake recipes as soon as they wake up?) and I need to find an excuse to make it. Mmmmm.

5. I find it funny that earlier in the day, I think “I can’t wait for Kaya to take a nap because I’m sooo tired and need one too!”, but then as soon as she’s asleep… I’d rather blog or edit photos or deconstruct that dress. Yep. (Can I also mention how I can’t believe my baby turns 10 months old tomorrow?)IMG_20130717_195829

insta-jam #12 (june 2013)

I just like to keep everyone in suspense waiting for my instagram photos, since we are halfway through the month again before I’m posting the ones from last month!

Sleeping; more sleeping (but doesn’t she look like a giant?); Jax; sleeping with his head under the couch (weirdo…)07162013instajam1“Helping” me clip coupons; how many sleeping pictures do I have?; see previous; practicing his tricks.
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Food!; she’s so obsessed with my hairbrush; smiling sleeping dog; he follows me wherever I go and then falls asleep.07162013instajam3 He’s always all over my exercise mat (or under me when I’m trying to do push-ups!); I made cookie bars, muffins, and pulled pork all on the same day when my in-laws came to town!07162013instajam4These two are always right next to me (and I love it); MORE sleeping (but she is precious, isn’t she?); chewing on an Easter egg; taco night!
07162013instajam5Ta-da!

two places I’ve traveled

I’m pretty excited about the subject for Tuesday Topics this week… travel! Four years ago, I was blessed with the opportunity to study abroad in Europe, so here are a couple of my very favorite places from my experience there. (I do wish my photos were better, but the camera I had back then was probably worse than the one on my current smartphone. Yup.)

1. Riva San Vitale, Switzerland
This is where I lived, had classes, ate meals, and most importantly, made new friends with people I will never forget. This was our villa:

DIGITAL CAMERAAnd here was our backyard!  Aren’t the palm trees beautiful? (Not all of Switzerland is snow and mountains like most people think)!DIGITAL CAMERA

Although there really isn’t much to see there from a tourist’s point of view, Riva was our home base during our stay in Europe, and it will definitely always hold a piece of my heart.

2. Santorini, Greece
I didn’t know anything about Santorini before arriving there, but out of all the places I saw in Europe, it quickly became my favorite. We were there in March, which is the off-season, so it wasn’t busy and we were able to enjoy having the island mostly to ourselves!

I love the buildings on the coast.DIGITAL CAMERA DIGITAL CAMERA And the architecture…santorinicollage1As well as the sunsets…DIGITAL CAMERA We ate SO MUCH in Greece, and I am always on the hunt for authentic Greek food in the States now.foodgreeceWe drove four-wheelers all over the island, visited beaches, and even hiked up a volcano! I hope one day to be able to go again and do it all with Michael.DIGITAL CAMERA

Linking up with Lauren and Tiffany!