five on friday: colds, cuddles, and cookie dough

ONE. We’ve all been sick with colds this week. It’s not the most fun thing, but I can’t really complain, because that just meant I got a whole lot of extra snuggles.Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetWe’re almost back to our normal selves, just a little congested and sleepy.Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

TWO. Lately, Kaya wears her jammies Tarzan-style! She can wiggle one arm out of the neck hole and then gets stuck. I really can’t imagine that this is a comfortable way to sleep…_MG_1478 THREE. These two together… I love how he looks out for her, plays with her, and tolerates all her antics. I love how she’s started giving him hugs and bringing him his blanket. (also note Kaya’s mess pile of favorite things surrounding her…)IMG_20140226_111702

FOUR. She got this balloon for Valentine’s Day from our friends, Bianca and Aaliyah, and if you can’t tell, she’s crazy over it. She has liked it even more now that it’s lost some helium- she can hug it and grab it a lot easier this way!kaya02242014grid1

FIVE. I love this smile… and she loves sweets, just like her mama. She gets so excited to lick the cookie dough off the beater when I’m finished mixing._MG_1405Happy Friday! 🙂

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

baby #2: 22 weeks

(It’s always windy. Every time!)_MG_1472Baby’s size: 7⅔ inches from crown to rump and weighing in at about 12.25 ounces.
Maternity clothes?: I made the switch to maternity jeans this week, which feels pretty amazing 🙂
Gender: A sweet baby girl!
Sleep: Kaya is still struggling to sleep, so we obviously are, too. When she cries in the middle of the night, I can’t seem to pry my body out of bed to go get her… All I can say is that Michael is amazing and has had a lot less sleep than I have. I also just want to add that having a body pillow is ahhh-mazing. My hips don’t hurt at all when I use it, but without it, it’s not fun.
Movement: She’s strong enough now that her movements can’t be ignored. I’m feeling her all throughout the day and I love it. She’ll sometimes kick/push on my hand when I touch her, and I think I might’ve felt hiccups a few times, too.
Cravings: S’mores… which is hilariously random, because apparently I wrote that on my 22-week update with Kaya, too.
What I miss: Nothing really besides sleeping.
Anything making you queasy or sick?: We have all been under the weather this week, so my nausea has come back. Bleh.
Belly Button in or out?:In.
Exercising?: Ran 23 weekly miles. My bladder is really starting to notice how big she’s getting… I also sometimes feel sore on my right side, but that’s probably because she’s been sitting in a ball on that side for weeks!
Mood: I love this little girl so much already and am so grateful for her.
Best moment this week: Spending time out in the sunshine!
Comparison: 22 weeks with Kaya! I think it’s kind of crazy how similar my belly looks in both pregnancies so far!22weekcomparison

sunshine & fun times

The snow finally melted, and we had a few days of sunshine! Michael’s parents made the trip up here a few days later than they had originally planned, but that’s just fine- it’s never too late for grandma cuddles…_MG_1391 (or puppy wrestling cuddles, if you’re Dad and Jax…)1392701115454 We enjoyed some Red Robin for the first time in a long time (and Kaya loved trying on my sunglasses while we were waiting for everyone to meet up)! Kaya ate some fries, but as soon as I dipped one in ketchup, she didn’t want any more. What kid doesn’t like ketchup?!Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Our weekend was warm, so Brittany and I planned a little cookout for Saturday afternoon. Why not grill out in February? I think Kaya was just excited to get out of the house (and sit next to Jax in the car)!02222014kayagrid Our friends, Katherine and Mia 🙂_MG_1437We even went on a family walk on Sunday!
_MG_1440It felt so good to have a break from the single-digit and teen temperatures. Thankfully, we don’t have too much longer until spring!

weaned

I lay on the floor in her dark, quiet room, my head resting on our nursing pillow.

Sobbing.

Michael held a calm, tired Kaya in our rocking chair. She was almost asleep.

It should be me holding her. This is our special time together. That’s our rocking chair.

But she only wanted her Daddy.

This has been so much harder than I ever expected.

Not for her, but for me.

Kaya self-weaned a couple weeks ago, and I’ve been a teary-eyed mess ever since.

Maybe my emotions are just amplified because of the pregnancy hormones, but it’s really hard to lose that physical connection to my first baby.

For more than two years my body provided some sort of nourishment and protection for her.

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And suddenly, we’re just done.

Of course, I am so grateful for those 16.5 months. Many moms don’t even get to nurse that long, let alone through half of another pregnancy.

I just miss that closeness. Some of my best memories are in that rocking chair.

I miss her anxious, sleepy eyes looking over at me while her daddy would get her pajamas on every night.

I miss the way she’d cling to me in the dark.

How her body would relax and melt into mine, heavy with sleep.

Those quiet moments when the whole world slept, except she and I.

I was her comfort, and now, at times, I feel like nothing to her. Although I know deep down it isn’t true, I can’t help feeling useless when she is inconsolable.

Those 16.5 months were some of the best, but I know they’re short compared to all the learning and growing we have ahead of us.

So I’ll just remember all the giggles, all the love, and all the late nights we spent in that chair. I’ll remember the last time she really nursed, and the way I stroked her hair while she did, just like I have since the very beginning. My face was wet with tears after I laid her in her bed that night.

Here’s to a million more kisses and hugs to fill the void. I love you Kaya Rose.

runners tell all: how and why I started running

Today I’m linking up with Amanda and Beka to talk a little bit about running! Running is a big part of who I am, so I am pretty pumped about this series.

I started running in January 2009, when I left to study abroad for a semester in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland.

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Before I began my adventures abroad, I dedicated a lot of time to going to the gym. I knew that I wouldn’t have gym access in Riva, so I decided I was going to run to stay fit. (Not to mention that our wedding was just two weeks after my return to the States, and I had to be in shape!)

I started out by going a distance that felt “far” to me, which was probably about 2.5 miles at the time. I increased my mileage a little over the semester and started to feel healthier and see a change in my level of fitness. I started to lose weight, and realized that going to the gym all those years really wasn’t helping me the way I thought it was.2052_651510700233_3279_n

(my roommate, Katherine, and I about to go run. Photo credit to our roommate Amanda!)

If I hadn’t studied abroad, I’m not sure I would’ve become such a dedicated runner. It’s just one more reason I’m glad I went to Europe 🙂

sand or snow? the boys behind the blog #9

Welp!  It’s another post from me (Michael) in the glorious “Boys Behind the Blog” series!  I know, I know… you’ve missed the posts, as I haven’t done it every month.  But, there’s a gift card on the line, so you know I’m in!  So… here we go!

1. If you could live anywhere, where would you live?

If I could live ANYwhere, I’d say it’d be a house in the mountains, with a nice view, and a small little pond/lake.  I love hearing the sound of running water, as well as the views of mountains.  Maybe something like this?  (assuming it has a decent internet connection)

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Photo from http://wallpaperswide.com/serenity_4-wallpapers.html

2. Sand or snow?

I’d probably go with sand.  I enjoy the relaxation that comes with the beach and the sound of the crashing waves.  When’s the last time anyone just sat and relaxed in snow?  I’ve certainly had enough of it this year!

3. What Winter Olympic sport would you rock at?

I honestly have no idea.  But, maybe speed skating?  I’ve always been pretty fascinated watching the athletes fly around corners and I may or may not be guilty of trying to mimic them when I roller blade.  And as a biker, the aerodynamics of it all is pretty fascinating too!  I mean… look at this guy!

Photo from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Veit_Dubiel_2008-11-02.jpg

Photo from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Veit_Dubiel_2008-11-02.jpg

4. You’re cooking a romantic dinner- what is your go-to dish?

Spaghetti?  Haha…  I don’t know if I have a specific “go-to” dish.  It probably would be some sort of pasta with garlic bread.  Then brownie sundaes for dessert!  I know… not too creative.

5. Fill in the blank: This year, I gave Tara a __________ for Valentine’s Day?

Since Tara’s birthday is right with Valentine’s Day, it’s always a little tough to figure out what to do.  And to top it off this year, there was a TON of snow.  But, I was able to surprise her with a new Kindle Paperwhite.  I had actually been thinking about getting one for her for a while, but then she mentioned it a week or two ago.  I’ll take it as a sign!  So, that ended up being a combined birthday and Valentine’s Day present.  Love you buddy!  Glad you’ve already enjoyed it as much as you have!  🙂

Linking up with Stephanie and Mallory today!

baby #2: 21 weeks

(written February 19th)_MG_1411Baby’s size: Crown-to-rump length is about 7.25 inches, and she weighs about 10.5 ounces. Apparently, this makes her the size of a banana!
Maternity clothes?: I am amazed that my jeans are still buttoning. They are a bit uncomfortable at the end of the day… but usually I feel that way even when not pregnant. Shirts are starting to feel a little short, but I know that maternity tops will be waaay too big at this point.
Gender: A sweet baby girl 🙂
Sleep: Yikes. Not a lot this week, but it has nothing to do with pregnancy. Kaya is up at random times and still either not napping or taking really short ones.
Movement: Usually a lot! I feel her several times throughout the day. When we’ve been up in the middle of the night with Kaya, Peanut is usually kicking like crazy!
Cravings: Still just chocolate-chip cookies and milk, but I’m really trying hard to not overindulge.
What I miss: A consistent schedule with Kaya and sleep.
Anything making you queasy or sick?: Just a few nauseous moments here and there… nothing major though.
Belly Button in or out?: In for sure.
Exercising?: I only ran 12 and walked 2 miles this week because of the snow. Bleh.
Mood: I am seriously crying at everything. Even Tim McGraw got me today.
Best moment this week: Revealing that we’re adding another princess to our family and friends! Everyone has been so incredibly excited and I love it.
Looking forward to:
Comparison: 21 weeks with Kaya! Yeah… we’re just going to say that 21 weeks is consistently a little awkward for me as far as how my belly looks.21weekcomparison

my valentines

When I was a kid, Valentine’s Day was a day for the whole family to get treats and feel a little extra loved. While Michael and I have never really gone out of our way to celebrate it, it’s a day I’ve always enjoyed.

This year, it was even more fun with to share it with Kaya! My friend Amanda hosted a Valentine’s-themed play date for all our kids on Tuesday, and I baked some chocolate sugar cookie hearts to bring. It was my first time using royal icing to outline and fill the cookies, and I think it actually went pretty well!

_MG_1287 _MG_1289On Valentine’s Day itself, the snow finally melted a little, and the roads were finally clear enough to escape our house. Since Kaya has still been struggling to sleep, we decided to have a “driving date”. She passed out, and we might’ve had both Subway cookies and Dairy Queen…IMG_20140214_173957

SInce we were snowed in for my birthday, it felt great to get out and finally enjoy time together.
IMG_20140214_181400 (2)While we were out, Michael also surprised me with my birthday present- a Kindle Paperwhite! I’ve already done more “fun reading” in the past week than I have in the past couple years. I’m definitely going to love using it when I have a newborn to nurse around the clock in a few months 🙂

Next Valentine’s Day, Michael will have three princesses to spoil!

baby #2: pink or blue?

I thought it’d be fun to list a few of the old wives’ tales gender “predictors” before the big reveal…

Baby’s heart rate: Over 140 bpm
Morning sickness: Yes
Chinese gender predictor: Boy
Sweet or salty cravings? Sweet
Are you more emotional? Yes
More or fewer face breakouts? More

Carrying high or low? Low
Dry hands or soft? Dry
Dreams (supposedly you have the opposite of what you dream): Boy
Mother’s intuition: Girl

So without further ado… Our little peanut is…

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A sweet little GIRL!!!_MG_1363We are so excited and feeling so blessed (of course, Kaya has no idea what’s going on and is more excited about the balloons)! I am already so in love with this little girl and can’t wait to hold her in a few months.

snow much fun

The snow started falling on my birthday. Michael had already surprised me by taking the rest of the day off after our ultrasound, and he said we could do anything I’d like. Kaya was looking pretty sleepy, so we decided that we’d go out for dinner later, after she’d had a nap.

The snowflakes started coming down in a hurry, and it was immediately obvious that we wouldn’t be going out that evening after all.

We woke up on Thursday morning to about 14.5 inches of a winter wonderland. By the time it stopped snowing later that day, we had accumulated about 21 inches. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that much snow all at once in my entire life!
_MG_1298 Someone was obviously pretty excited!_MG_1306 Jax loved leaping and bounding through the soft piles._MG_1320He even developed a sort of “bunny hop” for getting around:

_MG_1325The neighbor kids were outside too, and they let us borrow their sled for a couple trips down the slope. Kaya looks terrified, but after they’d get to the bottom, she was always eager to do it again!
_MG_1334Being out there with my sweetheart, my precious baby girl, and my crazy dog filled my heart with gratitude. My family is amazing, and I’m so grateful to share every day with them.