friday favorites

Maybe I should just rename these posts “photodump Fridays”, because I think that’s my real excuse for writing them. All my pictures have to go somewhere!

This week was filled with puppy kisses…_MG_6113… more puppy kisses… (and even more that I’ll refrain from posting…)
_MG_6140Anything and everything can and will be used to pull or push her onto her feet. (The rolls! They kill me! We’ve also been going pants-less due to a mini heat wave… and by “we” I mean Kaya. Not me. Ahem.)
_MG_6124 _MG_6121 Standing AND trying to get wires… her two favorite things!_MG_6143 Kaya finally discovered the dog food bowls. She had the best time banging and rolling it on the floor. Who needs real toys?_MG_6130 I’ve loved having two sidekicks this past week. Here they are, “helping” me make dinner. I’ve also enjoyed wrapping up my evenings with some puppy cuddles (seen left), and watching Jax destroy his toys (right). Just look how worn out he looks!PhotoGrid_1369941605291 The best part of the week? Definitely the gorgeous weather and spending time with friends! We’ve had a barbecue, ice cream downtown, and a walk on the trails. Kaya loves seeing Mia and Liam! 🙂PHOTO_20130530_120915Happy weekend!



Lately (and especially since I’ve become a mom), I’ve found that indescribable joy can come from the very smallest of moments. It’s these little things that I think I’ll miss the most one day.

I never knew how beautiful a few tiny blonde curls of baby hair could be.

I love the way cuddles and nursing can calm her in a way nothing else can.IMG_20130527_230115

Seeing her smile and rock in my lap while listening to the “Little Duck” song takes me back to when I learned that song for my own preschool graduation. She loves it at least as much as I did.

I love her utter goofiness (like smashing her face up against the playpen and licking/biting it)._MG_6095

I never knew that a few silent moments in a hot shower could feel like an hour.

Even getting caught in a torrential downpour during a family walk is a memory I want to keep. We ran home as fast as we could, dog galloping with his mouth wide open and tongue hanging out, and Kaya giggling as raindrops pelted her in the face. I couldn’t keep myself from laughing right along with her.IMG_20130523_215812

facts about jax

It was already a week ago today that we drove about an hour and twenty minutes to go meet Jax. We were about 95% sure that we would be bringing him home that same night, so we had his collar, leash, and crate along for the ride (and several toys and bags of dog food waiting for him at home)!

He has adjusted so well thus far. He’s definitely a happy boy!
IMG_20130525_122507He loves destroying his toys. This raccoon toy had two squeakers in it… and now it has none. He also has a squeaky bear that has no ears and only one limb left.
_MG_6030 This ball was gone in a few hours!_MG_6082 _MG_6088

He is a fantastic running partner. I’ve taken him as far as 4.5 miles so far and he handles it like a pro! Usually, he isn’t even interested in other dogs, squirrels, birds, or people. He runs by my side. I love seeing him tired out after his exercise!IMG_20130524_131056 He has mostly stopped jumping on people, and he knows to stay out of the kitchen when we’re cooking. He also knows he’s not allowed in Kaya’s room. He even goes in his crate immediately when we ask. Such a good boy!IMG_20130523_215122

He generally follows me around anywhere I go. When I sit on the floor, he climbs in my lap to be petted. I think it’s safe to say that we are already pals 🙂IMG_20130528_155656Everyone always asks, “So how is he with Kaya?” They definitely like each other…  a lot! He kisses her (maybe too much sometimes) and she giggles. She crawls toward him, and he is patient when she grabs onto him. The only struggle they have is learning which toys belong to whom!
_MG_6090He wouldn’t sit still for a photo outside… clearly he is already tired of having his picture taken!

9 pictures

I’m participating in this Tuesday Topics link-up again this week, and today the topic is “nine pictures of you and your spouse”! It was really fun to go through many of my photos from the past five years and see how much we’ve all changed.

I tried to pick photos that held good memories, but I also wanted to use some that haven’t been on the blog before, so here goes:

October 2008 at a “1980’s-themed” birthday bash.DIGITAL CAMERA

Christmas 2008 at Grandma & Grandpa T.’s house100_0558January 2009, engagement photosDIGITAL CAMERA

May 2009, MARRIED! 🙂may 2009 087-2 May 2009- The lease on our apartment didn’t start until two weeks after our wedding, and we were blessed to have a friend who let us stay in her empty apartment. We had no table to eat on, so we had dinner on this plastic storage tote for awhile. I love this photo because it reminds me of just how simply we lived, especially at the beginning of our marriage.DIGITAL CAMERAFebruary 2011 on my birthday!IMG_2834 September 2012, maternity photos_MG_4820 September 2012, we welcomed our little Baby Bird!_MG_5447March 2013, Easter. Love these two more than anything in the world ever._MG_3522

friday/anniversary date night!

We had a pretty fantastic Friday! Karl came over for the first time in at least a million months (he’s been busy working so hard)! I’m happy to say that Kaya is officially over the “stranger danger” phase, because although she didn’t remember Uncle Karl, she fell in love with him again pretty quickly. She kept “asking” him to help her stand up!_MG_6047 Michael kept teasing about having some sort of surprise date night in honor of our anniversary. As usual, he didn’t disappoint- he took me out to the best Greek food in town. Mmmmmm. If I ever make it back to Europe, revisiting Greece is at the top of my list.IMG_20130524_222204

The next part of the date was a complete shock- he drove to our Institute director’s house and we left Kaya with his family! It was the first time we’ve had a date without her… which was strange at first, but it let us relax a little more. We had a great time just joking around without worrying about pacifying a sleepy baby! (Of course, we had to go to Dairy Queen. It’s not a real date if you don’t.)IMG_20130524_201245After ice cream, Michael surprised me again by bringing me back to the very place where we both realized we’d marry each other. We sat under the same little tree (well, we at least tried to pick the same one) as nearly 5 years ago now and just talked.20130524210125251I loved having some special time with my buddy to just reflect on the past few years. Thanks for the fun night, pal!

kaya- 8 months!

(written May 20th)_MG_5938(No headband this month because she kept pulling it off! We were lucky enough to get a photo of her not trying to roll over, pull on the blanket, or put her legs high up in the air. She’s a goofball!)
Height: 28.5 inches
Weight: 17 lbs 14.4 ounces
Clothing size: Mostly 6-9 month outfits. I tried on some of her summer clothes (9-12 months), and they were still just a bit big, so we’ll wait a few more weeks to wear those.
Eyecolor: Still changing… They can seem gray, blue and brown all at the same time! On rare occasion, they even look green!
Teeth: FOUR! The two top middle ones are finally here! They broke through the gum but haven’t come down all the way yet.
Eating: Still just nursing really. I tried a little harder this month to get her to eat, but her gag reflex is still so sensitive that oftentimes putting food in her mouth makes her throw up the milk that was already in her stomach (which is a bit counterproductive). She did eat a few bits of cereal two days in a row, so we tried applesauce and some green beans with corn, but she was either gagging, throwing up, or just making the most disgusted face ever.
Favorite things: She will dance to ANYTHING. You can just barely sing a line or make your own beat and she will start rocking. I love how much she enjoys music! All her toys seem equally entertaining, but she’d rather try to play with tags or power chords… and she likes eating paper. She also loves hitting the doorstopper because it springs back and forth and makes a cool noise._MG_5800

One of her favorite things is getting up on Daddy’s shoulders and going for a ride. She can’t stop squealing and pulling his hair! She loves swinging at the park. She also wishes she could play with our laptops and cell phones._MG_5887 Dislikes: She actually had fun taking her most recent bath, so I don’t know if that is still on the “dislike” list. After she spent a lot of time in the car in Utah, getting buckled into the carseat was torture, but I think she’s mostly over that now.
Sleep: She’s in bed between 6 and 7pm, wakes up once to eat sometime between about 1 am and 5:30 am, and then sleeps until about 6:30 or 7. She still takes two naps that are each about two hours long.
Milestones, etc.: – Kaya is crawling (as of 5/16)! I’m so excited to see her getting around and discovering everything she can see! She was just wiggling, scooting, and rolling before, but she finally figured out how to move her knees forward._MG_5898_MG_5902– Her babbling sounds a lot like made-up words now instead of just random consonants.
– She started waving at people when we were in Utah! She will only do it sporadically, but it sure seems like she realizes what she’s doing.
– She went through the “stranger danger” phase for a couple weeks, but now she’s back to flirting with everyone.
– She can grab onto something and pull herself up… which means we can’t leave anything on the couch now, because she can grab it!
– She’s started playing a little differently- she’ll take her toy and put it up to my mouth and start cracking up about it! I guess it’s funny to see your mom with a very-hungry caterpillar on her face.

_MG_5806Dear Kaya,

You made our lives a whole lot crazier this month because suddenly, you can go anywhere you want! I love how you are starting to venture out and explore the world around you. I’m also so glad that you still like to snuggle when you aren’t busy!

_MG_5807You have the best smile in the world. I love starting my day with your goofy grin and warm cuddles.
_MG_5637I hope one day you’ll read all these letters and realize how truly cherished you are. You are the greatest gift we have ever received. Keep being the beautiful, smart, and silly girl that you are!

Love, Mommy

jumping jax

(Excited doesn’t nearly begin to describe how I feel about writing this post!)

We finally got a PUPPY!_MG_5985 And isn’t he cute? (this is where I’m about to overload you with photos. But really, can you have too many puppy pictures?)_MG_5987

I’ve been dreaming about the day we’d get a dog ever since we got married. In a way, I still can’t believe he’s ours!_MG_5994

He’s even smarter than he is cute (if you can believe that)! I hope we can put all those brains to good use with some tricks and maybe even an agility or flyball class._MG_6008

He’s an 8-month-old Border Collie mix, which was exactly the breed I wanted. The dog my family adopted when I was in high school (Socks!) is part Border Collie, and I’ve always loved his vast amount of energy for playing and running. We’ve already gone on one run together, and I think he’s going to be an excellent partner._MG_6001 His name at his foster home was “Jax”. I searched through a bunch of dog names online, but nothing really seemed more suitable. He likes to jump on people (we’re working on it), so I think it’s even more fun to say “Jumping Jax!”_MG_6012 He already knows “sit”, “down”, “kiss” and of course “no!”.  He loves frisbee and tug-of-war, but he is afraid of going up stairs. If you get on the floor with him, he tries to cuddle with you!_MG_6011So there he is… the perfect dog! 🙂

4 years

Happy 4th Anniversary to my best friend!


On one hand, four years have flown by, and I can’t believe it’s been that long! On the other hand, it feels like we’ve been married forever! We’ve done so much in four short years, and I’m excited to share the rest of eternity together.

Michael works so hard for our family and makes so many sacrifices so that we can be happy. He truly loves the Lord and His Church, which definitely shows through all the service he so freely gives.

I am so grateful for everything you do, buddy, and I hope that I can become even half as amazing as you are!

I love you!

ten things that make me happy

I saw this “Tuesday Topics” link-up, and it sounded pretty fun, so why not join in? Here ten things that make me happy, in no particular order… 🙂

1. falling asleep cuddling with my best friend
2. waking up to my sweet, smiling baby girl_MG_36873. my pets (and really any animals in general)

_MG_40214. photography
5. running
6. baking (and eating!) sweets
7. weekends (because that means family time!)
8. writing in my journal (I do it every single night)
9. visiting the temple_MG_459210. my whole crazy family_MG_8766

kaya & mia

We had a fun playdate with our friends, Katherine and baby Mia, last week! They invited us to go to the park, and we enjoyed the opportunity to play out in the sunshine. I have a less-than-stellar habit of staying inside all day (besides going for my run in the morning), so any encouragement to get out of the house is great!image

Now that they are a little older, these girls love looking at each other and “sharing” toysimage

They laughed like crazy on the swings!image

So excited to see these cuties grow together!