kaya’s 2-year photos

I love everything about these photos, and of course, everything about my girl! These pictures capture her personality so well. We took these on Friday night, and I’m actually amazed at how many great shots we ended up with (if you’ve tried to take pictures of a toddler, you know what I’m talking about…)! Michael was the best helper and I’m so glad Kaya thinks her Daddy is so entertaining._MG_4346 _MG_4357 I talked to her ahead of time about how fun it’d be to put on a pretty dress and sit on a blanket and say “cheese”. Once I spread the blanket out on the grass, she excitedly ran over to it and waited for me to take her picture! I’m just surprised that our little prep talk worked so well._MG_4343 _MG_4338 _MG_4360 _MG_4358 _MG_4359 _MG_4354 _MG_4350And to keep it real, she wasn’t just sitting and posing the entire time… there was a whole lot of running and jumping going on too!_MG_4347

five on friday: feels like fall!

ONE. It’s finally feeling like fall around here and I couldn’t be more excited for all the upcoming seasonal festivities. We’ve been running around town nearly every day these past two weeks, so when we had a day off with nothing planned, we took full advantage of staying in our jammies and relaxing.

Kaya cozied up with a book, her baby doll, and a blanket and was happy as can be._MG_4287Kaelyn actually stays in her pajamas about fifty percent of the time, anyway…_MG_4274 … and obviously, she’s pretty happy about it. It’s just easier to take her outside that way when it’s chilly._MG_4263 TWO. Kaya got some playdough for her birthday, so we busted it open this week and had a blast with it! She loved using my fondant rolling pin and cookie cutters to make shapes._MG_4259 I made her a cupcake and a puppy. They were definitely not works of art, but she was obsessed and wanted to take the puppy everywhere with her for the rest of the day._MG_4267

THREE. I made my first pumpkin bread of the season for seminary last week. Mmmmm. The taste of pumpkin really makes Fall feel official.Processed with VSCOcam with a9 preset FOUR. Cooler temperatures = a happy baby in a hoodie!PhotoGrid_1411577333009FIVE. We had Kaya’s birthday party last weekend, and I still haven’t gone through all the pictures! She had such a wonderful day, and I’ll be posting all about it soon.Processed with VSCOcam with se1 presetHappy weekend!

kaya- 24 months!

I know I said that last month was going to be her final “monthly update”… but I have no idea what I was thinking when I wrote that. Of course she has to have her two-year update! After this, though, I’m just going to do them quarterly._MG_4146_24monthsHeight: 35 inches (80%)
Weight: 23 pounds 1 ounce (7%)
Head circumference: 18.75 inches (54%)
Clothing size: 12-18 month pants, 24 month shorts, 18 and 24-month onesies, 2T tees, and 12-18 month footie pajamas and 2T summer jammies. We’ve mostly moved on to size 6 shoes, but there’s definitely still room to grow there.
Eyecolor: Hazel/Gray/Greenish/Light brown.
Teeth: 20.
Eating: This girl either eats really well, or hardly at all. We switched to Greek yogurt and she hasn’t found a flavor she doesn’t like. She begs for cheese (even if she just hears me opening the bag in the kitchen), and still loves pasta and Mexican-type foods.
New words: She usually says a few new words every day now, but there were so many this month that I didn’t even make a list. Some of my favorites to hear her say: tomorrow, apple pie, and pumpkin. She’s also started to put together a couple of words… i.e. she’ll say “Jax… home” when we’re in the car.
Favorite things: Her shopping cart, any animals (real or fake), pretending she’s a puppy, slides, holding Kaelyn, reading, balloons, dancing, and hugging/doing silly things to Jax. She’s always finding a new way to climb or hang on something and pretend she’s a monkey.
Dislikes: She doesn’t like going to nursery alone, but I can get her to do it (through tears and holding on to me tighter than ever) during my Friday institute class. Michael takes her on Sunday and still can’t just drop her off.

She’s also been very attached to Daddy this month (ever since he wasn’t home to put her to bed one night). She asks for him as soon as she wakes up and again periodically throughout the day. She even tells me her animals are crying… and when I ask why, she just says “Dada”. Obviously she doesn’t like when daddy isn’t home.

Sleep: Bedtime is around 8:30 pm and she’ll still sleep about 12 hours. Naps are usually 2.5-3 hours long, but we did have a week where she’d wake up crying and cranky after only 1-1.5 hours.
Milestones, etc.: -She’s really started to play with her friends and not just next to them. It’s so fun to watch!
-Her memory and ability to associate things has definitely improved. We can say one word or line from a song and she’ll start singing another part!
-She’s great at playing pretend and building towers.
-I can give her almost any instruction and she’s able to follow it.
-She tells me when she goes pee or poop in her diaper… but I’ve tried sitting her on the potty and nothing has happened yet.

This month’s letter to Kaya is here.

happy 2nd birthday, kaya!

Dear Kaya,

I feel like I’ve already written you so many letters, but it’s just something about writing to you on your birthday that stirs up some of the deepest feelings of my heart.

Two years. You’re two years old! How can that be? We’ve shared so many of the best memories over those two short years, so in fact, it feels like we’ve had you in our family for much, much longer._MG_4163

You have so much energy and enthusiasm for everyday life. You run and jump and climb like crazy now. I call you a monkey when you’re being especially wild, and you always respond with “eee! eee!” You get so excited for some of the smallest, simplest things, like necklaces, chapstick, stickers or Reese’s Pieces. You really are one of the happiest little girls and definitely have a natural talent for finding joy in almost any situation.Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

You make your daddy and me laugh like crazy. Sometimes, even when we’re dog-tired and it’s late, we lay in bed and keep laughing and joking about whatever hilarious thing you did that day. Now that you’re talking (at least a little bit), we sometimes imitate your adorable little voice. Over this next year, I just know you’re going to do and say even crazier things than you do now. I can’t wait._MG_3961

Your imagination is perfect. Kitty is so real to you (as are all of your other toys), and you spend all day, every day with him. Sometimes you’ll hold him out and point his face in a certain direction to show him something so that he can enjoy it, too. I hope you are always so believing and creative._MG_4165

You are so incredibly compassionate. I love that about you. I’m sure that’s one reason you came to our family first, because that’s one of the qualities that makes you an amazing big sister. You love Kaelyn so much and are so quick to give her kisses and check on her when she’s crying. Jax always gets big hugs, and you love to burp, rock, and “change” diapers on your baby doll and Kitty all day long. I hope you’ll want to be a mommy someday, because I can already tell you’ll be great at it._MG_4009

Three years ago, we were hoping and praying for you. We really had no idea how truly blessed we were about to be. We couldn’t have imagined having a more amazing little girl._MG_4161

We’ve loved watching you grow, and I’m so thankful for all the ways you’ve helped me grow, too. Being your mama is the greatest gift I’ve ever been given.

Happy 2nd Birthday, sweet girl!

Love, Mommy

a girl and her “dada”

I never truly realized how little time fathers get to actually see their children every day. Most days, Michael leaves for work before Kaya is even awake, and she goes to bed only about 2-2.5 hours after he comes home at night. We definitely try to make the most of the time we all have together.Processed with VSCOcam with a7 presetI also never realized how much it’d warm my heart to see the love Michael shares with his daughters. I love hearing their laughter ringing through our home and how she runs to him when he first walks through the door. I love all the silly things he does just to get her giggling.
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I love how bath time is “their thing” and how she snuggles into his arms at night. It warms my heart to see how much she looks forward to spending time with him every day._MG_4090

Michael had a seminary meeting a few nights ago, and he wasn’t here to tuck her in and snuggle her to sleep. When she realized she was going to bed without him, the tears came pouring down. She kept crying “Dada, Dadaaaa”, and my heart was breaking for her._MG_3255Since then, she’s been extra sensitive to her Daddy leaving, and she asks for him as soon as she wakes up.

I love their love.

five on friday: a bookworm, friends, and a confused dog

ONE. I’ve had a little bookworm on my hands this week! She carries these books all over the house, puts them into piles, and sits and “reads” them. I’m so glad she has such a love for books! I’m hoping to get her some French stories soon, too._MG_4020 _MG_4021 TWO. I am so blessed to have so many great friends! We’ve been talking about taking a picture all together for a while now, and this week, we finally did it. I’m so glad we did! Katherine and I started these play dates when Kaya and Mia were just tiny little things… and we’ve watched our group grow in numbers, grow as mothers, and even grow more pregnant bellies! _MG_4042 THREE. This baby. This BABY! Seriously. She gets more beautiful by the day. She’s also chatting us up like crazy lately and it is so easy to get a smile out of her._MG_4067 _MG_4068 Also, please notice all the drool! Call me crazy, but I keep feeling around her mouth for tooth buds- Kaya got her first tooth at barely three months old, so I’m on the lookout! She also hasn’t been sleeping very well and has been nursing a ton…_MG_4076 I know I already shared about five million pictures of her in this post alone, but I just couldn’t pass up showing you her gorgeous Sunday dress! 🙂_MG_3978 FOUR. I think we’re getting close to potty-training… and I’m honestly not sure I’m ready for all that it entails! Kaya sits on her toy makeup mirror and pretends it’s a potty (and apparently you have to pull your shirt up over your belly when you’re on the toilet?)! She’s showing some other pretty big signs of being ready, too… so we might just have to start trying soon._MG_4085 FIVE. My dog sleeps in a cat-like position. He also still sneaks crayons as a snack when we’re not looking. Weirdo._MG_4055Happy Friday!!!

joy in the journey

It was almost like a scene out of a sappy movie.

I sat in my car, alone, for the first time in who-knows-how long. The rain was coming down, the night was black, and There Goes My Life by Kenny Chesney was playing softly on the radio. I was getting all choked up, flipping through the photos of our family I had printed for Michael’s birthday gift.

There’s just something heart-striking about holding snapshots of your life in your hands. These babies are my life, and although imperfect at times, what a beautiful, wonderful life it truly is._MG_3848

Adjusting to caring for two little girls has honestly gone more smoothly than I expected, but of course, there are still plenty of crazy moments.

My two babies make the days go faster and the nights pass slower. Sometimes, I sleep more hours of the night cuddling my baby in our rocking chair, passed out while nursing, instead of in my bed.

Now, the mountain of laundry seems to grow exponentially by the minute. If I finally have all the laundry folded, it’s the dishes in the sink that are creeping yet a little taller.

Sometimes it seems like they take turns crying, and it rips my heart out when I have to choose who to comfort first when they’re both sobbing. If I’m being honest, so much crying all at once can even feel frustrating at times.

I’m learning that after feeding everyone else, mom eats last. It’s not unusual to nurse the baby and balance the toddler on my lap (while she steals all the cheese from my salad) just so I can get something in my belly.

By the end of the day, I’m usually wearing someone else’s barf, pee, and/or poop. That’s just how it goes.

And yet despite all the craziness, I recognize the beauty in it all._MG_3276_blur

I have a baby to snuggle virtually any time I’d like, and when my big girl hugs me and puts her head on my shoulder, I feel complete.

Kaelyn smiles, scrunching up her whole face, making my heart swell like a balloon. My exhaustion seems to fade.

She coos and takes me in, wide-eyed, as though I’m the most intriguing person in this whole big world. I know that one day I won’t be her everything, but she will certainly always be mine.Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

I feel extra-special when Kaya takes a break from monkeying around at the playground, just to come over and give me a kiss.

When I do wake up from falling asleep in my rocking chair in the middle of the night, I’m overwhelmed with love and gratitude for the sweet, sleeping angel in my arms. I cherish those late-night cuddles.

It’s in these little moments that I find joy in the journey. The love we share outweighs all the crazy.

There’s just something about these two sweet girls that makes my heart burn. I thought my heart was full after having Kaya, but after Kaelyn, it seems there was a whole other chamber of it, perfectly capable of loving, I didn’t even know existed.

Time moves all too quickly, and I know one day I’ll be helping my girls pack their things and watching them drive off, just like in the song. At the end of it all, I know I’m going to wish for more time. I already miss them when they go to bed at night.

My hands are full.

So is my heart.

And I wouldn’t trade these days for anything.Processed with VSCOcam with lv03 preset

Finding Joy in the Journey“, Thomas S. Monson

five on friday: pepper in my water and riding a giant bumblebee

My top five moments this week are simple but oh-so-sweet:

ONE. My baby has the best smile…_MG_3953 … and some of the funniest silly faces!PhotoGrid_1409366558504 TWO. Kaya has been playing with her kitchen every single day. I ask her for a drink, and she’ll get “water” from the faucet and then usually add salt or pepper. Yum… not quite the chocolate milk I was hoping for._MG_3944

THREE. How awesome is it when you think of texting your friend that you’re going to be at the park, and then she texts you first? Kaya and Mia had an impromptu play date and had the best time. Riding a bumblebee is sure to make anyone happy!IMG_20140904_111412FOUR. Kaya said her first French word yesterday, and I couldn’t have been more proud! She’s obsessed with this song and after asking to watch it a million times, said “un croc[odile]” and went to bed singing “crocrocro”. It all but melted my heart when I heard it.

FIVE. I told you Kaelyn loves her mobile… well, I used Google’s Auto-Awesome feature to make a little GIF. This is pure happiness right here!kaelyn09042014Happy Friday!!!

september 2014 goals

Well… all I have to say about how my goals went this month is… wow. I am actually a little embarrassed that I did so poorly. Kaelyn is keeping me busy enough and honestly, at the end of the day, I want to just rest instead of work on things.

August Goal Review:

1. Finish the quilt (for real this time). I seriously have three steps left before it’s done and I just can’t make myself do it…

2. Choose a layout for our photo gallery and get any additional picture frames.

3. Ab workouts three times per week. I had suspicions, and my midwife confirmed it- my abs are split (diastasis recti), so I need to do some healing exercises before I can do regular ab workouts. I’ve been doing them about three times a week since I found a good video to use.

4. Complete the August photo-a-day challenge. I missed a couple days, but stuck with it for the most part.

5. Take family pictures. I changed my mind and decided I wanted to do these in the fall, hopefully with the gorgeous, colorful leaves! It’ll also be better if we don’t all look as sleep-deprived as we have this past month.

september2014goalsI guess I’m going to be making a lot of the same goals until I actually accomplish something… maybe being more specific will help.

1. Do one step toward finishing the quilt per week. This should make it easy, right?

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 should maybe even be doing these daily.

4. Complete the September photo-a-day challenge.

5. Take Kaya’s two-year photos.

6. Have a birthday party for Kaya and make her an awesome cake!

Here’s to a more productive month! 🙂