happy halloween!

… from the cutest little pumpkin you ever did see!

I made this pumpkin costume for her on Monday (procrastination again, I know, it’s awful)! I am obsessed with the little hat. Is it acceptable to wear a pumpkin hat year round?

Originally, my plan was for all three of us to be pumpkins. Then I changed my mind, because I didn’t think it was worth the expense of getting the supplies to make us costumes, too, so I thought we wouldn’t dress up. But not dressing up is BORING! So we went to our church Halloween party last night as a “pumpkin farm”- a farmer, a scarecrow, and the pumpkin, of course!

There was a costume contest, and we won for “best family theme” (although we may or may not have been the only entrants in that category…)

Love this little girl.

Michael even participated in a sack race. He won a kazoo as a prize! There was also a scary haunted house and a “cake walk” where you could win cupcakes.

Tonight we’re looking forward to some pumpkin carving, homemade cookies, and “The Nightmare Before Christmas”.

Happy Halloween everyone!

blessing day

At Church this past Sunday, Kaya received her baby blessing! I was really looking forward to it, and I’m glad that I was able to finish her dress for the occasion (Michael’s mom helped me a bit, and credit for sewing on the last snap goes to Jeff and Lelia). I procrastinated finishing it for about a month, so maybe I should start working on her baptism dress soon- that way I’ll have about 8 more years to be sure it’s done! Haha. It turned out just how I had envisioned it.

I was surprised to find that I cried during the blessing (actually, I started tearing up as soon as Michael started carrying her up to the front of the chapel)! Didn’t see that coming at all.

The blessing was so beautiful, but it wasn’t really the words- it was the feeling evoked by it. The Spirit was definitely there.

Our daughter is a real angel, and I am so grateful to have her in my life. Her name actually means “pure”, and I think it fits her perfectly. I can’t wait to learn and grow right along with her over the years.

We had four generations there to see Kaya be blessed. There’s no better time than family time! I’m so glad everyone could come and that we had a really fun weekend together (but we did miss Kevin).

We all love you so much, little girl.

pumpkin plucking

On Saturday, we finally went pumpkin picking with some of our favorite people- our parents, and our friends, Mike and Amanda! (Yes, Mike and Michael are all matchy-matchy, and no, they didn’t plan it… they are just that cool. Or they share a brain. I don’t know.)

We were lucky that we were able to go, since it had been raining cats and dogs that morning (okay, maybe I just included this detail so that I had an excuse to post pictures of a random cat at the greenhouse, and Scrappy…)

We had a really fun time, and if you’re wondering how a field and a gravel lot can be so entertaining, all I can say is “boys will be boys”.

There seems to be some unwritten rule that every baby needs her picture taken with pumpkins, so here it is! She slept through the entire event.

And just in case that wasn’t an adequate number of pumpkins for you…

We actually went home with both a traditional orange pumpkin and a white one! I was so excited about that little white pumpkin, but I couldn’t really justify getting two, until my mom-in-law said, “Well, you need a Thanksgiving pumpkin!” and I was sold. Who knew that turkeys and pumpkins go together, too?

Now all we have to do is carve some amazing pumpkin art!

snail fun

Last week I decided to take out this light up, musical snail toy that my mom had given Kaya when she was born. At the time, I remember thinking that it would be forever until she would be old enough to use it. Boy, was I wrong! I noticed how interactive she’s becoming with her surroundings, so I decided to give it a try.

It turns out that Kaya loves this thing. It even makes tummy time slightly more bearable.

So much fun! I love seeing her happy.

She already spends too much time in front of the mirror…

The best part is that she reaches out for it, all on her own! I’m so amazed at how  many skills she’s gaining so quickly.

insta-jam #6

It’s been waaay too long since we had an insta-jam post (seriously, the last one was for August)! I think that instead of doing monthly ones, I’m going to switch to numbering. Then I can write them whenever my little heart desires (and I won’t have a ridiculously large number of photos all at once…)

Hmmm, where to begin? How about with the birth of the sweetest little girl ever?

1: Kaya on the morning she was born! So very brand new.

2: She was actually born with a slight fever, but after that, her temperature dropped and she had to wear two hats and two blankets to get warm.

3 & 4: Chubby cheeks!

1: Showing off those big blue eyes, even at the hospital.

2: Kaya loves sleeping with her hands up by her face.

3: Check out those serious eyebrows!

4: So sleepy… eating is hard work!

1: Early morning cuddles with daddy!

2: She makes this face every time we burp her! I love it.

3: Her first Halloween card (from Auntie Joyce)!

These are two of the approximately one million hilarious faces she makes.

Smiles are so priceless. Right before I took this, I told her to say “hi daddy!” and she smiled so big.

1: I love getting drawings from my Primary kids (if you looked at my refrigerator, you’d instantly know this)! This one has a baby bird saying, “mom mom mom”, and then the mama bird is saying “kid kid kid”. So thoughtful, and I think it’s extra cool since we call Kaya “Baby Bird”, which then leads to Michael calling me “Mama Bird”.

2: Halloween socks I got from Target for $1 apiece! I am crazy about holiday socks, but all my old ones were getting holes in them, so I’m glad I saw these!

3: Jeffrey tried out some of the hair bows I made for Kaya…

4: There’s been a whole lot of football-watching going on around here. I’m never too interested in it, but I do get disappointed when the Hokies lose.

1: Our neighbors brought us dinner after Kaya was born, including this HUGE tray of cookies- M&M ones, gingerbread, and even chocolate-covered candy corn. Mmm. I think they lasted about a day. Oops.

2: I tried out a new crockpot recipe: Cuban Street Tacos. Michael really loved them, but they were a bit too citrusy (is that a word?) for me.

3: My homemade buttermilk biscuits. Now I just need to master homemade mac ‘n cheese, and I can open my own Cracker Barrel!

Kaya and I went to visit Michael at work for lunch one day (please take note of the spit-up on my sleeve)! It was fun to show everyone the baby and see Michael’s new cubicle. He always loves to see us.

This past Saturday, we had a date night at Cookout! So unhealthy but so delicious. Michael was sad that I didn’t take a picture of our milkshakes- he had mint Oreo and I tried something new called caramel fudge, but it was not quite as fudgy as the name lets on.

(Okay, this one technically isn’t an instagram photo, only because there was no way for me to crop it into a square and keep both our faces in there. I like it, so I’m including it here anyway!) I love snuggling with my baby, waiting for Michael to come home. This was after church on Sunday. I took this picture and e-mailed it to him while he was gone, titling it “your girls miss you”.

kaya – one month!

Height: 22.25 inches (89th percentile)! She is a tall gal!
Weight: 8 lbs 11 ounces (36th percentile). The doctor was pretty impressed with how much she’s gained in the past month!
Head Circumference: 14.75 inches (61st percentile).
Clothing size: Still mostly wearing newborn stuff, as well as some 0 to 3 months, and one random pair of pants that is size 3 months.
Favorite things: Any instrumental music (especially piano), getting her diaper changed, snuggling, being an eating-machine, her light-up snail toy, her pacifier, and her daddy!
Dislikes: Getting buckled into the carseat, tummy time, getting dressed, and gas pains 🙁
Sleep: Generally, she goes to bed around midnight and will sleep until about 4 or 5 am, when she wants to eat! Then she’ll go back to sleep until about 7. Sometimes she’ll even sleep a little longer after that. We are definitely lucky!

We started putting her to bed in her own room at 3 weeks old. She is a little chatterbox (even in her sleep!), so even if she was asleep and didn’t need me, I was still waking up a whole lot when she was in our room. We are all sleeping so much better now.

(I also love the puffy hairstyles she wakes up with!)

Milestones: She’s definitely become more alert, has started focusing her eyes more, and will even “track” things that move in front of her. If she hears us, music, or one of her toys, she’ll actually turn her head to look at it!

She’s “rolled over” 4 times, and I know it’s just because she really hates tummy time (she takes matters into her own hands and ends the session by flipping onto her back)! Still, I am so impressed that she was strong enough to turn herself over starting at 9 days old.

My favorite thing that she’s started doing is SMILING! The pediatrician said that they aren’t true smiles, and while I agree that some of them are just associated with passing gas… others are definitely real. She really does respond to our voices.

Smiles are the very best thing in the whole world.

Dimples were the one attribute I’d hoped she’d inherit from me… and she did! Love them.

We love your cuddles, baby girl.

We love how chubby your little cheeks, arms, and legs are getting…

All the funny faces you make…

…and your tiny little toes.

You’re already a big talker, and we can’t wait to see what else you have to say in the coming months.

We’re so excited to watch you grow up, Kaya!

fall is…

crunchy leaves
orange and maroon
Hokie football
warm sweaters
holding hands
a cuddly baby
hot chocolate
baking cookies
chocolate-chip pumpkin muffins

homemade soup
buttermilk biscuits
pumpkin picking
pumpkin carving contests
family walks (all bundled up) 

 …my favorite season!

a manly man weekend and a blog remodel

Michael’s alarm went off at 4:05 am on Saturday morning, and for once, he didn’t hit the snooze button! I don’t think he’s ever gotten ready for the day quite so quickly (or so early)! He was very excited, because this was the day of the “manly man” hike that some guys from church were doing. Who wouldn’t want to prove their manliness while watching the sunrise over the mountains? (For the record, the baby and I were at home and fast asleep!)

I have to give those guys some credit, though- the hike was about 3.5 miles long, but they climbed about 1600 feet in a mere 1.5 miles. It was STEEP! Michael snapped these photos with his phone.

As if hiking up a mountain wasn’t enough exercise for Michael, we also took our Baby Bird out for a walk! She always has to get bundled up first, though! She’s received so many wonderful, handmade hats, so we try to alternate which one she wears.

We also spent the weekend enjoying a whole lot of smiles from our little princess. Supposedly, these are “reflex smiles”, and aren’t “real”… but some of them sure do seem like the real deal! She is becoming more and more alert and definitely reacts to us now.

We also had a lot of fun with so many friends this weekend- we went to Sweet Frog (it was my first time there!) after our church meeting on Saturday night. There were so many toppings and flavors that I wanted to try, so I ended up with some crazy conglomeration of sugar. It was delicious, but I think I’ll try to keep it simple next time we’re there.

We also had our friends Nate and Rhonda stop by to visit and meet Kaya! We haven’t seen them in awhile, and their little boy has grown so much! It’s crazy to think that Kaya will be his age this time next year. I don’t want her to grow up too fast, but I know that we have a whole lot to look forward to as she gets older.

The blog also got a face-lift yesterday! I have so many favorite new photos (can you have more than one favorite of something? Brian Regan does… why not?), so it was easy to choose which ones to use in the header image. I love being able to include our little girl in it now!

3 weeks

I am so in love with this little angel. She seems to get sweeter every day!

This will probably be the last “weekly” growth post I write- I’ll just continue on with months from now on. Otherwise, we’d have quite a gaggle of posts by the time she’s older. It’d be kind of ridiculous to have a “100 weeks old!” post, wouldn’t it now?

I love seeing her personality starting to come out. She really is a calm, quiet little girl for the most part. She does try to talk to us though- she’ll make all sorts of cute little noises!

The little stretch she does when she’s waking up is priceless- she purses her lips, reaches her arms waaay over her head, and throws her head back as far as she can.

She’s been sleeping so well at night now (sometimes we get about 7 hours in a row)! I think that sometime this week we might move her into her crib. She’s been sleeping in our room, but I wake up for any little noise or movement she makes! Then again, I might miss her too much if she sleeps in her own room.

We’ve gotten a few little smiles, but I’m not sure any of them are “real” quite yet. She has at least one dimple (you can just barely see it in this picture)! I’m still on the lookout for one on the other cheek!

conference weekend

This weekend was our church’s General Conference! I heard someone recently describe it as “self-improvement television”, which is a pretty neat way to explain it to anyone who hasn’t heard of it before. There were so many uplifting talks, and one of the recurring themes was “service to our fellow men”. Serving others can help us find joy and develop a closer relationship with God. (I’m finding that motherhood is kind of like one GIANT act of service, but I hope that I can look for ways to help other people, too).

So because church didn’t start until noon, we got to “sleep in” a little. After you have a baby, the definition of sleeping in definitely changes!

While Michael went to the priesthood session of Conference on Saturday night, Baby Bird and I got snuggly on the couch. We even listened to some classical Christmas music (I know, I know, some of you reading this are shaking your heads, since it isn’t even Halloween yet)! In my defense, Kaya LOVES instrumental music and will usually calm down pretty quickly when she hears it. So… why NOT use it as excuse to celebrate my favorite time of year a little early?

Kaya also had her regular tummy-time… and rolled herself over again! She has done it four times now. We might have to start baby-proofing sooner than we think!

We even got to visit with our friends, play Blokus, and bake cookies!