my dog might be more popular than me

We went for a 6-mile run on Saturday, and six distinct sets of people said hello… to my dog. That’s more greetings than I probably get in a whole week while out exercising (although a cute, cuddly puppy is a little more inviting than a sweaty girl wearing her hair like she just took a ride through a clothes dryer…)

I’ve been thinking about Greek food for weeks now and we FINALLY went out for some on Saturday night. Mmmm gyros. Of course, Kitty had to come along.092913photogrid1 Lelia and I spent some time planning out all the details of our Halloween party. Halloween festiveness got the best of me, so I went out and bought burlap that very night to make a special craft (hopefully I’ll have it completed and on the blog soon). Check out those candy corns!IMG_20130929_201850

My baby has also realized that she can walk without holding on to furniture, walls, or my pants… so she made it all the way down the hallway yesterday while carrying Kitty and her music radio. She just keeps practicing since then, but I never seem to have the camera right at those exact moments. Mom fail.

And just because… a shameless selfie (with Michael’s computer in the background, of course). I love my best friend (and I love that he let me sleep in two days in a row. If there were an Ultimate Husband award, he’d win, hands down.)

kaya- 12 months!

(written September 25th)

_MG_9711 (2)Height: 31 inches (95.3%)
19 pounds 6 ounces (21.6%)
Head Circumference: 
18 inches (69.05%)
Clothing size: 
9-12 month pants, 9-12 month onesies, and both 9-12 and 12-18 month jammies (although the latter are still a little long).
She now has teeth G, F, E, D, O, P, N, Q, and L, but I can see/feel parts of the other three molars coming in already! (dental chart) She’s had a couple middle-of-the-night wake-ups this week and I’m attributing it to all those teeth.
She loves bananas, strawberry yogurt, cheese, cucumbers, cold pizza, corn, green beans, pasta (with or without tomato sauce), chili, and soup. Although I’d rather her not eat too many of these, she still loves graham crackers, wheat crackers and cheesits. This month, we went from nursing about 4 times a day down to 3 (morning, before afternoon nap, and before bed)._MG_9621 Words: Over the past few days, “Daddy” has become very clear and she probably says it more than anything else. Her second most-used word is “puppy”… but it sounds more like “doggy” (we only call Jax a puppy, so it’s kind of strange that she says it that way). “Mama” is a less-frequently-heard word.
Favorite things: She’s obsessed with stuffed animals (and will even steal mine), but Kitty is still her very favorite. She likes rocking on her horsey all by herself, playing with her baby friends (although maybe not sharing with them), pulling the containers out of the cupboard, playing with her number puzzle, riding in the stroller, swinging, throwing the ball for Jax, dancing, and any kind of phone/device with a touchscreen. She also likes splashing in the tub now!
Getting her diaper changed.
Sleep: Still taking two naps that are each about 2 hours long (usually around 9 am and 2 pm). Bed time is between 6 pm and 7:30 pm and she is usually awake for the day between 6 and 6:30 am._MG_9883Milestones, etc.: – We switched her over to the “big girl” (a.k.a. convertible) car seat this month. She looks so much more comfortable and doesn’t fuss as much about getting in the car now.IMG_20130911_140327– She’s started playing “phone” by holding any object up to her ear (which is also interesting because we talk on speakerphone about 90% of the time).
-She’ll take maybe 5 steps at a time on her own! I think she could walk more, but she’s just afraid so she still holds on to us or furniture.
– She’s an expert climber and can get herself on top of the couch or ottoman. When she’s in her playpen, she’s constantly trying to stand on one of her toys to be taller.
– She constantly does “squats” and has very good control of her balance.
– She gives SO MANY KISSES!
– She recognizes objects (if I say “where’s your horsey?” she’ll crawl over to it!)
– She imitates us a lot now (shaking her head no, clapping, turning her head sideways, etc.)

Dear Kaya,
I loved you one year ago, but with each passing day, you steal a little more of my heart. You have grown from a baby into such a wonderful little girl. You’re smart, funny, beautiful, and a little bit crazy (I’d like to think you get that from your mama). I hope you never let the world tell you who you should be, because you are perfect, just the way you are. I love you so much, Baby Bird. You are our little miracle.kaya12monthgrid


We had such a crazy, fun, family-filled weekend (in fact, it feels like we’re still recovering…  look at our little sleepyhead)!PhotoGrid_1380068330851Kaya’s birthday party turned out to be pretty adorable and almost just like I imagined it. We had both sides of the family here to celebrate, and to say that our princess is spoiled might be an understatement. Hopefully I’ll be sharing photos from it later on this week!

We took Kaya to her 1-year check-up yesterday… she had to have FOUR shots plus get her toe poked to measure her hemoglobin level. She was upset as soon as she saw the nurse come in the room! Poor Baby Bird was groggy all the rest of the day.
IMG_20130923_183045Michael and I have resembled zombies the past few days, too, so hopefully we will get to bed early tonight (but if you know me… you’re probably laughing at that aspiration right now)!

friday favorites

Our family is coming into town this weekend for Kaya’s birthday party! Of course, I still have a million things left to check off my to-do list, so I’ll just leave you with a short post of this week’s highlights 🙂

Fall weather has arrived and we are loving the cooler temperatures (although I might not be loving how dark it is when I go running in the morning)… Kaya and I took a walk and she had fun pointing out all the trees.  She even wore a hair bow! 🙂

_MG_9657 Kaya has learned to “throw” the ball for Jax to fetch! As always, here he is kissing her right IN the mouth. My two crazy kids…_MG_9627 I stripped our bed down to wash the sheets, and someone made himself a little too comfy on our pillows and comforter. He does have his own blanket, you know… that he ripped to shreds._MG_9691 We gave Kaya a cupcake last night to celebrate her birthday, and she barely touched it! Michael had to encourage her to taste it. She seemed to like it but only tried a small bit before she was bored with it. (C’mon Kaya… it’s chocolate!)_MG_9702

I’ve been crazy busy this week making all sorts of things for her party tomorrow. I made fondant for the first time ever and had so much fun playing with it yesterday… here’s a sneak peek of the cake!092013photogrid1Happy Friday!

happy 1st birthday, kaya!

Throughout the past few days, I couldn’t help but remember all the events of one year ago- our last prenatal appointment, staying up all night with contractions, arriving at the hospital, the doctor breaking my water, breathing deeper than I ever have in my life to get through the pain, and finally, realizing that my labor and birth wasn’t going to go the way I had hoped when I ended up on Pitocin and with an epidural.

That physical and emotional pain was surpassed with greater amounts of love and joy than I ever thought imaginable from the very second I laid eyes on Kaya. In that moment, I knew I had never loved anyone so much, and I couldn’t fathom love being any more intense than it was right then._MG_4872

A year later, I can testify that there are no boundaries on true love. Our hearts keep growing and filling up with every smile, every cuddle, every kiss, and every new thing that she learns.

Happy Birthday, sweet girl. I’m so thankful for each and every day with you. You’ve helped me to see and love in a way I never could have done without you. You are the light of our lives._MG_9505

You might be a toddler now, but you will always be our “Baby Bird” (even when you leave the nest one day…)

Thank you for coming to join our little family. We love you more than words can say!

Happy First Birthday, Kaya!

kaya’s one-year photos

I was so excited to take Kaya’s first birthday photos! I planned the shoot and imagined how they would look for weeks (at least), and I have to say… I LOVE how they turned out! She was completely obsessed with her balloons but really didn’t want anything to do with the cake. (Let it also be known that it was a miracle for her to wear bows in her hair. Usually she rips them out in a millisecond, but I think I’ve finally figured out how to trick her into wearing them…)_MG_9454 _MG_9449 _MG_9466 _MG_9469 _MG_9460-2 _MG_9550 _MG_9505 We just had to take a few with “Kitty”… he’s her ultimate favorite and he goes everywhere._MG_9491 kaya1stbirthday4 _MG_9508 kaya1stbirthday3

This is as dirty as she got… just her pointer finger and a little bit of frosting that somehow got IN her shoes.kaya1stbirthday2 kaya1stbirthday5 _MG_9555 kaya1stbirthday1Happy Birthday Eve, pretty girl!

life is good

About a week ago, Brittany and I were talking about how fast summer went… and she suggested that we have one more cookout all together before the warm weather disappears for good. So on Friday, we did just that! We grilled and then planned to have a game night (which really just turned into all the boys playing Xbox and all the girls sitting around and chatting… which was still a lot of fun)!_MG_9413


Karl even came! It’s been a while since we’ve been able to do anything fun together. Nothing beats picking on your little brother 🙂09132013photogrid3

We had hamburgers, hot dogs, Amanda’s amazing pasta salad, and I made some s’mores bars that actually ended up NOT tasting like real s’mores… but you can’t go wrong with something covered in chocolate, so they were still a big hit.

Jeff and Lelia joined us for games, and Chris and Cerina were in town (from North Carolina!) so they stopped by. These BOYS. ARE. CRAZY when they’re together! Love it. (This was a tickle fight in case you can’t tell. Jeff versus everyone else… haha!)09132013photogrid1


On Saturday, I worked pretty hard to get everything ready for Kaya’s one-year photoshoot. I finished the cake, Michael bought her some balloons, and we got her dressed. I LOVE how these turned out and I can’t wait to share the rest.

She loved her balloons so much (even when they had already fallen to the ground the next morning).
_MG_9601We had our awesome friends over again on Sunday night, because someone needed to eat the cake left over from Kaya’s photoshoot (which she didn’t smash)! We played some more games and laughed a lot.

Life is good.


I’ve been so nostalgic these past few weeks. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t had to choke back tears a few times.

More often than not, I’ve let them run down my cheeks.

My baby is about to turn one.

Where did time go?

It’s been a year full of laughter, tears, late nights, early mornings, cuddles and kisses.

It’s been a year full of LOVE and more joy than I could have ever imagined.

I’ve been looking through all her photos to choose some for a birthday slideshow. I came across this video, taken on her very first day. (it’s obvious that I was struggling with the camera big time here…)

I watched that movie, and my heart filled up. I can almost, just almost, smell that precious new-baby smell. I can feel her tiny, warm body nestled into mine. I remember how snuggling and staring at her all day still didn’t seem to be long enough. I can feel the peace that was in that hospital room.

An angel had arrived to join our family, straight from Heaven. Innocent and pure, which is exactly what “Kaya” means.

Sometimes, I almost still can’t believe she’s real. We made that little girl. And she’s perfect.

I’m so grateful for you, Kaya Rose. Thank you for teaching me more about life and myself than I ever could have imagined. Can’t wait to celebrate your birthday together next week._MG_4863

one and five

ONE year ago, I was 39 weeks pregnant and so very anxious to meet our baby girl. I had six days until my due date, 5 until I went into labor, and 7 until I’d be able to hold my sweet angel. Those last few weeks of pregnancy seemed to drag on forever, but this past year feels like it’s gone faster than I could bat an eye. (I still can’t believe Kaya ever fit in my belly!)

_MG_4678FIVE years ago today was the the day that Michael and I “officially” started dating. I can safely say that we are just as goofy now as we were back then. (Don’t you love our awesome photography skills five years ago? We took selfies before they were cool. Even cooler? Selfies with the camera flash on!)DIGITAL CAMERAMichael was so sweet, kind, and caring back then… but he has become even more loving and sensitive as the years have gone on and our love has blossomed. I was twenty years old and somewhat clueless about a lot of things in life when I met Michael. Dating him was the best decision I could have made. I’m so grateful for the amazing example that he is. He’s the rock I can always lean on, and I find so much peace knowing that he will uplift and encourage our little girl in the same way.091213photogrid1

fried chicken, bike rides, and a dog who thinks he’s a baby


We’ve enjoyed date nights as a family of three. We used some of Michael’s birthday money to go out to eat one night (hello chocolate oreo milkshake)! Kaya enjoyed her usual favorite thing- graham crackers (but we do let her have a few bites of our dessert).
PhotoGrid_1378001974957 Michael acquired a bike trailer from one of his co-workers last week, so we just had to try it out! We biked to our institute class, and then to a Hokie soccer game! Kaya really seemed to enjoy it (if only because she could laugh at how goofy her mama looks on a bike…)IMG_20130906_202509 We’ve had play dates and a church chili cook-off (I brought the cornbread).090913photogrid1A certain someone has been a little feverish and taking extra long naps (I’m blaming the new molar…)IMG_20130909_154737 And someone else only wishes he could be a human baby and steals Kaya’s things any chance he gets.IMG_20130909_154323