halloween party 2013!

Halloween was pretty much an eternity ago (we are actually starting our Thanksgiving celebrations TODAY… oops), but I just couldn’t skip over posting the party that Lelia and I worked so hard on.

It was November 2nd, with tons of food, fun friends, and great costumes. We had a million ideas and it was hard to pick just a few, but you can see all of them on our Pinterest board here.

We made these super-adorable bat invitations…

_MG_0008 _MG_9924Our main entree was “mummy pizza“!
_MG_9902 _MG_9903 We made this amazing green punch and Amanda brought a barfing pumpkin!_MG_9914There were homemade cupcakes (of course)! We had a bunch of awesome design ideas for cupcakes… but when it came down to it, I just wanted to keep it as simple and stress-free as possible. So here’s what we came up with:
_MG_9906 _MG_9911 Ghost luminaries for decoration (the babies liked playing with these… don’t worry, there were fake votives inside)!_MG_9913 Egg-carton bats hung from the ceiling…_MG_9920 How cute are these Waldos? Seriously._MG_9919 I’m so thankful for all these amazing people. We see a lot of friends come and go in our town, but I’m thankful for the memories we get to make while they’re here._MG_9938Straight crazy.
_MG_9939 That’s how we roll._MG_9941

kaya- 14 months!

This might be the latest I’ve ever posted her monthly update, partly because of how difficult it was to get a usable photo and partly just because life feels like a whirlwind lately! So here it is, finally 🙂_MG_0179

Height: 31.5 inches
Weight: 19 pounds 13 ounces
Clothing size: 9-12 month pants, 12-18 month leggings, both 9-12 and 12-18 month onesies, and 12-18 month jammies.
Eyecolor: Hazel/Gray/Green.
Teeth: No new ones this month, so still twelve! She has teeth G, F, E, D, O, P, N, Q, L, S, B and I.
Eating: This girl is an eating machine now! She eats a big bowl of cheerios (that we cover in yogurt) every morning, a peanut butter sandwich (on just one slice of bread) and a banana or apple slices for lunch, and then whatever we have for dinner. She’s hit or miss with how much she’ll eat for lunch or dinner, but breakfast is always her most successful meal of the day.

She recently had spaghetti for the first time, and loved learning how to “slurp” it! It was seriously adorable. We also figured out that sometimes she really doesn’t like sitting in the high chair to eat and will do better if we just hold her on our laps. She also tried broccoli and couldn’t get enough (just like her mama)!_MG_0198

Michael shared his morning muffin a few times… and now her sweet tooth has come in. She’ll beg for a piece of anything chocolate if she catches you eating it! Oh yeah… and she’s still a cheesit-aholic.

We’re still nursing three times a day and are definitely not ready to cut back yet. She gets very anxious for milk after her nap, and then of course still in the morning and before bed. If I ask her “Do you want milk?”, she grabs her kitty, runs over to the rocking chair, and tugs on the boppy pillow. I love my time with her and am not in any hurry to quit.

Words: (from most-used to least-used) Daddy, Hi, Kitty, Mama, piggy. Still not a lot of recognizeable words… but she babbles constantly. Her gibberish is starting to sound more like words and sentences so I guess we’ll see if her vocabulary gets bigger soon. We can ask her almost anything and it seems like she understands us.
Favorite things: Her stuffed kitty, dancing, opening and closing doors, books (especially opening up hymnbooks and “singing”), hugging Jax, tackling us with hugs, giving kisses, watching Baby Einstein, hide-and-seek, and pushing chairs or hampers around like they’re “baby strollers” (she even puts kitty inside)! She also loves to play pat-a-cake, and will start clapping your hands (or even feet) to get you to start.
Dislikes: Bath time is worse than ever (so much screaming and crying)! She also throws these mini tantrums when we take something away or tell her no.
She’s down for bed around 7-7:30 pm and up for the day around 7 am, usually. I was in the habit of waking her up to nurse before I’d go running (hence her previously normal wake-up time of 6 am, but I’ve stopped doing that and so she sleeps in just a little now._MG_9790

We are down to one nap, usually 3 hours long (10:30 am-1:30 pm), but sometimes that still leaves her super cranky around 4:30 pm, so I’m not sure she’s completely adjusted to the transition.
Milestones, etc.: -She is pretty much RUNNING now and amazes onlookers with her speed! Keeping track of her at church is getting a little more difficult.
– She is more willing to play away from us. I go to an institute class geared toward moms with young kids, and they have a “nursery” of sorts while we all learn. Well… last week, Kaya followed the other kids and stayed in the nursery for 45 minutes without me. I’m so proud of her, but also a little sad that she’s becoming so independent!
– She is so expressive and can definitely tell us what she wants… whether that’s a new diaper, a snack, or to watch a show…
– I thought she was good at climbing before… but now, if I turn my back for a moment, she can get up on the table. Whoops. I feel like I’m always pulling her off of something.

Dear Kaya,

I love you so much, and I’m so proud of all the big-girl things you’re doing now. You are my little best friend, and I love sharing so many of my favorite things with you now that you’re a little older. _MG_0102You’re crazy and love to run, but sometimes you still slow down to cuddle and love your mama. The moments where your cheek is pressed up against mine, and your little body is curled up next to me are some of my favorites.IMG_20131119_165811

I can’t wait for you to try your first Thanksgiving turkey later this week! Holidays are so much more special with you.

five on friday: perfect pizza, snuggles, and singing

ONE. I’ve been blessed with so many snuggles from my princess this week. I love it and can’t get enough (even if it is because she is tired and cranky).IMG_20131120_104341

TWO. I think I’ve finally figured out the secret to amazing, crispy pizza crust. Last night, I heated up the pizza stone at 500 degrees for maybe 10-15 minutes, rolled out the dough, threw it on there and cooked it for about 4 minutes (still at 500!), and then took it out and added the toppings. Four more minutes at 425 degrees and it was magical. I have never made pizza that delicious, and I think Michael agrees.

THREE. This little girl has been “singing” every day lately. She opens a hymnbook (either at home or at our institute classes) and will do this for minutes on end (I love her love for music) :

FOUR. I know I’m already late writing Kaya’s monthly post… but she is getting so difficult to photograph! I tried so hard to get a decent shot for her “month picture”, but when we went outside, she just wanted to run, and when we tried inside… well, it was just silly. Hopefully Michael can help me out tomorrow. (And yes, those are cheesits in her mouth. I fully admit to bribing her…)


FIVE. I’ve been so excited about Christmas everything (32 days to go!) and I found all these adorable ornaments I want to make… But Michael still says to wait until after Thanksgiving. I’m trying to at least convince him to help me put the tree up this weekend… but we’ll see.


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

project 365: 7/365

I know I’m a couple weeks behind on posting these… but I figured I’d do a week at a time, that way, it isn’t a photo overload (for either you or me).

For November, I’ve been finding something I’m grateful for every day and capturing that moment. So here we go!

November 1: I’m so thankful this little girl made me a mama…_MG_9825 November 2: … for crazy and fun friends!_MG_9942 November 3: … for a super snuggly puppy and lazy Sunday mornings._MG_9949 November 4: … for Baby Einstein shows when she’s tired/cranky._MG_9973 November 5: I’m grateful someone else is enjoying my boppy pillow…_MG_9976 November 6: … for all the silly things she does (like stand on top of the clean laundry pile just to look in the mirror)._MG_9987 November 7: … for a daddy who can make her laugh and help get her ready for bed._MG_9994


Counting down the days to Christmas! (35 days, 13 hours and 15 minutes if you’re wondering)… I’m so excited to share Christmas with Kaya this year (she was such a tiny little munchkin last year, so I’m anxious to see her reaction to the Christmas tree, opening presents, and sweet treats 🙂 )!

Trying to catch up on editing photos. I still haven’t gone through all the ones from our family shoot. I’ve been super diligent about shooting every day for my 365 project, but I’m behind on editing those too.

Thinking about gingerbread cookies! This is a big tradition for my family, and in the years since we’ve been married, we’ve tried to keep it up. There is nothing like my mom’s recipe (and all the delicious candies we decorate them with!)_MG_7261

Planning out the rest of the cookies we want to make to keep up with our cookie-delivery tradition. There are always so many great recipe options (I even started a Pinterest board just for Christmas cookies), but I am especially loving anything that has to do with chocolate and peppermint right now.

Missing this little chunk-a-monk. It’s so weird not having pigs (and probably part of the reason I am so behind on editing photos… my computer is in the den, where Maggie and Juni used to always be. It just seems so quiet in here without them)! We used to pick on Juni for being “chunky”, and now it makes me pretty happy to look back at earlier photos of her in good health, because she was definitely a skinny pig in her last days. (And this is random, but did you know that Juni was actually featured on Cute Overload a few years ago?)IMG_8804Wishing you a happy Tuesday!

sometimes, it’s the little things

I know my last post was kind of on the down side, but I’m happy to report that we are all doing so much better than we were a few days ago.

This sick little face is finally back to being herself. We had a couple of rough days and nights, but it really wasn’t so bad.

_MG_0029This week, I’ve really been appreciating the small, meaningful moments. Sure, Kaya didn’t feel well, but that just meant that we got to snuggle and watch a million episodes of Baby Einstein. We even had a family slumber party in the living room at 4 am because she didn’t want to be alone (and being propped up instead of lying flat seemed to help her rest better).

Michael and I had a late dinner date to Wendy’s. We ate in the car while Kaya slept, and the radio played all our favorite songs. It was so fun to do something spontaneous together.

Kaya took a super long nap, and I was so grateful after those late nights and early mornings we had. I took full advantage (and as usual, Jax takes any opportunity he gets to be on the bed and smother me. I actually love that he’s so cuddly).

IMG_20131113_144506 I still miss Juni, but Michael lovingly cleaned up all her things so that I didn’t have to. I’m so thankful for him.

My thoughtful visiting teacher left a treat at my front door just to let me know she cares.

If you know me, you’ve probably seen me wearing Christmas socks all year round. I can’t help it- I just love holiday socks! I was so thrilled to find these (on the right, the ones on the left are from Michael’s Arts and Crafts) for $1 at Target today. Bring on the Christmas season! I also bought sprinkles for decorating gingerbread cookies… I want to do it all now, but Michael is making me wait until Thanksgiving is over!

socks2013collage1I’m so thankful for tiny tender mercies, no matter how trivial some of them might seem. God is good.

sometimes, it’s rough

Let’s face it- on the blog, I mostly write about sunshine, rainbows, and/or unicorns. (Not really, but you get the idea, right?)

Today I’m going to be honest.

Life is hard sometimes.

I know that other people have trials that are so much bigger. So much harder.

But that doesn’t mean that YOUR troubles aren’t significant and sometimes even overwhelming.

We had a crazy weekend. For most of it, I was feeling pretty under the weather. I noticed on Saturday night that my guinea pig, Juni, really wasn’t looking so well. She was still eating, so I kept an eye on her.IMG_1497 [640x480]

When I woke up on Sunday, she was just lying there, barely hanging on to life.

“I think she waited for you”, Michael said.

I agreed.

I spent all morning with her. I stroked her fur, which seemed softer than ever. I told her I loved her. Her breathing became so slow that it was hard to tell exactly when she left us, but I believe it was just before we headed out to church.

This is the first time in almost 8 years I haven’t shared my home with a guinea pig. It’s strange. It feels empty.

We went to church, and suddenly, Kaya started to become lethargic and feverish. She has never been sick before (we have definitely been blessed), so it made me really nervous. We actually left a few minutes early to get her home, take her temperature, and see if she’d nap.

103.4 degrees.

I felt so helpless. She cried and cried and cried. My first instinct is to nurse her, but anytime I’d lay her down, she’d start bawling.

Sometimes (maybe even most of the time), I have no idea what I’m doing as a mom. I’m just making it up as I go along, and sometimes that doesn’t feel good enough.

She was still eating and drinking, so we didn’t take her in to her pediatrician until today. Her doctor said that she has seen a lot of kids lately with fevers that just run for a few days, and that’s all it is. Everything else looks good.

All these events seemed to accumulate into one big avalanche and completely cover me. Add some insomnia and sleep deprivation to our equation… and it made today seem so hard. I’m so thankful for Michael, because without him I would probably be 100 times more irrational and clueless.

I miss Juni. My heart breaks for my sick baby. I’m exhausted. But it’s okay. Life’s meant to be a little rough.

I also burnt our microwave out on Friday. I’m almost laughing at that one now. Almost.

trick or treating 2013!

We were so excited to take Kaya trick-or-treating this year and eat all her candy! It was so much more thrilling to see her actually be somewhat aware of what was going on, instead of just sleeping through the whole event, like last year.
_MG_9738 We decided to be a “zoo” just a couple days before Halloween. Don’t look too closely at Michael- he’s probably wearing every shade of khaki ever invented (and we didn’t even get a picture showing off his tall socks and my zebra legs)!_MG_9740 We actually got to take her out trick-or-treating twice. We had our church Trunk-or-Treat on Wednesday!_MG_9756 Kaya and her little buddy, Mia!_MG_9752 Cute little farmer family 🙂_MG_9748

Inside the church, they had a costume parade and some games for the kids. Kaya fell in love with these wiffle balls and probably played with them for thirty minutes straight.
_MG_9773 _MG_9770 _MG_9764 _MG_9780On Thursday night (actual Halloween!), we had plans to take Kaya trick-or-treating downtown with some of her baby friends. It started to rain just before we were all going to meet up, so Amanda invited us to go to the mall with them instead._MG_9803 Remember the six of us one year ago?_MG_9813 We found Waldo!_MG_9809 _MG_9817 Reese’s were a big hit for Kaya (she gets that from her daddy)!_MG_9805 _MG_9796 I’m so thankful to have my own little family (and great friends) to enjoy the holidays with. It really doesn’t get any better than this._MG_9799

goals for november


Here’s how I did for October:

1. Keep doing ab workouts 3 times per week. Rocked it! Thankfully, this has become a habit now (FINALLY) so I am not going to list it as an official goal. Here is one of my favorite new videos!

2. Throw a Halloween Party! We did it! We spent a lot of time crafting, decorating, and cooking, and it was so fun to have our friends all together.

3. Make our Halloween costumes. It turned out that our costumes were not “handmade”. We went to Goodwill and saw the cutest little elephant costume for Kaya for $2.95 (seriously… how can you pass that up?), and so we decided to be a zoo. We threw together some random clothes to make Michael a zookeeper and me a zebra. So no… no sewing or painting involved, but it still got done (cheaply)!

4. Try 3 more new recipes. I think we tried maybe 5 or 6 new ones? This could be a whole separate post, so I think I’ll share our favorites then 🙂 I could be wrong, but I think we only cooked meat once then entire month (and yes, it was tacos). We’re not going 100% vegetarian, but I have been trying to use more beans instead (they’re sooo much cheaper and more heart-healthy)! I’m actually amazed that we went most of the month without meat and didn’t feel like we were missing out on anything.

5. Go apple picking/make and can my own applesauce. This one didn’t get done, and quite honestly I’m not too disappointed over it. We were busy on most weekends, and the weather cooled off really quickly.

6. Take family photos. Done! We definitely got more goofy ones than anything else, but we have a few shots that would be acceptable to hang on the wall. So… ta-da!

And now on to goals for November:

1. Overhaul our closet. Our hamper broke… and it’s a disaster in there. We need to pick a hamper that isn’t the Walmart special (because those only ever end up in pieces for us)! I also want to go through our clothes (donate/trash/reorganize).

2. No technology use after 10 pm. Is it sad that I have to make this a rule? I find myself mindlessly looking at things on the internet when I should just be asleep. This means I need to journal and listen to my scriptures for the day before then. (I’ve actually already started doing this and it really seems to help me get to bed at least a little earlier! Also, this is a rule only for me. I can’t make Michael do it- his work is all on the computer and he is an online seminary teacher.)

3. Figure out Christmas presents. I need to decide what I’m making, what we’re buying, etc. because I don’t want to be a big ball of stress in December. I feel like I’ve started stressing out too much around the holidays these past couple years, and I just don’t want it to be that way.

4. Clean the car (inside and out). It’s not suuuper disgusting… it’s not like we keep trash in there. Just the everyday dirt and gunk that needs attention.

5. Project 365. I’ve wanted to take one of these on for what seems like forever… so I’m just jumping in. We’ll see how it goes (but I am excited to be deliberately shooting every day)!

the cutest little elephant you ever did see

This year, we went back and forth between so many different costume ideas. I probably changed my mind five times (or more)… All our ideas involved me sewing, stenciling, or gluing something together. We finally decided that we would be Little Bo Peep and two sheep, so we headed to Goodwill in search of a white sweatshirt to glue a million cotton balls onto.

But then we saw this adorable elephant costume. $2.95? Yes, please!_MG_9952 I think she makes the cutest little elephant ever! The best part was that I didn’t have to worry about her being warm enough in it._MG_9955_MG_9954 _MG_9962_MG_9961_MG_9968The only funny part about this costume is that Kaya is actually afraid of the sound elephants make (or at least the imitation that Michael does of it)!