christmas cookie delivery 2013

One of my favorite parts of celebrating Christmas has got to be the cookies (I’m stating the obvious here… even if you skip all my words and just look at the pictures on my blog *ahem dad-in-law ahem*, I think you’ve probably figured this out by now)!

We love continuing the Irwin family tradition of delivering cookies to our friends. I felt like I was baking for days on end this year, but it’s always so worth it when you see the joy on someone’s face upon receiving a thoughtful, unexpected treat.

_MG_0542Here are the goodies that we made this year:

gingerbread cookies from my mom’s classic recipe
these chocolate thumbprint cookies
my favorite sugar cookie dough twisted into candy cane shapes
this Michigan fudge

I think I can speak for everyone when I say that everything tasted just heavenly! It was my first time trying that fudge recipe, and I’m definitely never switching back to the one I used to make.

The thumbprint cookies were so good that it was hard to not eat a whole bunch of them right after they came out of the oven. In all honesty, the full recipe didn’t even make enough to give to everyone, so some people who received cookies didn’t get these (but I did try to make up for it by giving the thumbprint-deprived people extra fudge…)

Gingerbread and sugar cookies are a classic that can’t go wrong!

Kaya wore her reindeer hat out on our delivery trip (and yes, that’s fudge smeared on her cheek. It was Kaya-approved)!

I think our goodies were thoroughly enjoyed (and some of these same treats might make a repeat appearance next year)!

kaya- 15 months!

_MG_072015monthsHeight: 32 inches (90th percentile)
20 pounds 4 ounces (13th percentile)
Head Circumference:
18.5 inches (91st percentile)
Clothing size: 
Both 9-12 and 12-18 month pants, both 9-12 and 12-18 month onesies, some 2T tees (we like them long) and 12-18 month jammies.
Still twelve! She has teeth G, F, E, D, O, P, N, Q, L, S, B and I.
A TON of food! She sure knows how to shovel down her Cheerios and banana every day. She tried and loved pot roast and broccoli this month. She can probably eat about 10 big pieces of broccoli in one sitting- I think it’s a new favorite!

We’re still nursing three times a day. Sometimes, she’s super quick, but usually we still get to snuggle for a good while. I love it.

Her sweet tooth has come in in full force now (Michael shared his chocolate-chip muffin with her, and now there’s no going back). There is no sneaking chocolate when she’s around, unless you plan on sharing!IMG_20131220_072857-2

Words: Dadada (daddy), Mama, uh-oh, kitty, and hey! In the past few days, it seems like she is trying to repeat some of the words we say. Most of the time, she’s babbling gibberish like crazy!
Favorite things:
Dancing (especially to Taylor Swift), giving kisses, having us blow bubbles for her, her ball-popping machine, throwing and kicking balls, helping load the dryer and empty the dishwasher, and looking at books._MG_0539Dislikes: Long car rides, baths usually, and getting her teeth brushed (she’ll even bite me if I’m not careful)!
Sleep: Still sporadic ever since we traveled home for Thanksgiving. Now that Michael’s been home for Christmas vacation, we’ve been sleeping in and her nap quality/length seems random. She did get some shots at her 15-month doctor appointment though, and I think those might be having something to do with it. She is absolutely exhausted by 6pm every day, and we put her down around 7 or 7:30. She wakes up around 7:30 or 8 am lately.
Milestones, etc.:
-She seems more observant when it comes to watching how things work, and then trying to imitate that. For example, I showed her how to “feed” a baby doll with a bottle, and she caught on right away. The next day, we had a play date and she kept “feeding” one of her friends with his sippy cup!
-She’s almost a pro at climbing stairs.
-She understands so much now! I am amazed at what I can ask her to do and she’ll really follow through.
-She appropriately answers our questions by shaking her head “no” quite often!
-She’s so skilled at kicking and throwing balls now!
-She has started to help us get her dressed. We’ll say “Where’s the hand?” and she’ll shove her arm into her sleeve. She loves trying to put her coat on by herself!
-We’re slowly working on learning animal sounds. She can do horse, cow, and dragon (which is a growl/roar)!

Dear Kaya,

_MG_0723month15You are so precious to me. My favorite thing about you is definitely your smile. I hope that when you get older, you never hold back your true personality and infectious grin- both shine so brightly! Thanks for loving me, Princess, even when I make mistakes. I love seeing you grow up, but you will always be my baby girl.

Love, Mommy

pre-christmas celebrations

The weekend before Christmas, we made the trek back home to spend a little time with our families. It was the shortest stay we’ve had in a long time, but we definitely enjoyed every minute of it!

We went to my parents’ house first and were definitely spoiled._MG_0572 My mom has almost all of the Hallmark singing snowmen. It wasn’t long before Kaya figured out how to get them working (and of course she danced)!_MG_0563 _MG_0574 _MG_0578 She was in love with opening gifts this year and even helped rip the wrapping paper!_MG_0580 She also kissed almost every toy she received…
_MG_0583Her big gift from my parents was a shopping cart. She screamed when the last piece of wrapping paper came off!
_MG_0590She immediately knew how to use it, too.
_MG_0591 _MG_0603 We decorated cookies again (although it was a bit more difficult this time, since my mom only had spatulas instead of the usual paint brushes…)_MG_0606 _MG_0610 My mom made a pot roast feast (and Kaya actually enjoyed the meat)!_MG_0608 We went to the Irwin house too, but I didn’t take nearly as many pictures. Kaya enjoyed more present opening/yelling!_MG_0613

She got some toy food, but her ultimate favorite was these little toy tupperware cups._MG_0620And that was part one of our Christmas! 🙂

merry christmas, 2013

Merry Christmas everyone, from our family to yours! We didn’t send out any real cards this year, but I saw these cute templates and just couldn’t resist whipping one up.christmascard2013We’re home for Christmas, after spending the weekend with both sides of our family. Tonight we’ll be wrapping presents, reading Kaya the nativity story, and enjoying some festive cookies!

Merry CHRISTmas! 🙂

i’m ready…

… for our first Christmas day at home as just a family of three. I’ve been dreaming about this day for quite a while and I am so excited to just relax together.

… to see Kaya’s excitement on Christmas morning! She probably still won’t understand exactly what’s happening, but I’m sure she’ll see our joy and emulate it. I can’t wait for her to see her new toys!


… for Michael to have a couple weeks off of work just to spend with us. He’s always working so hard (both at work and then on side projects at home), so this is a well-deserved break!

… to snuggle, sleep late, and watch Christmas movies!

… to cook my very first Christmas dinner. I’m planning on making my mom’s pot roast, mashed potatoes, and broccoli (all my favorites)! Hopefully it turns out half as good as her cooking!

… to maybe… just maybe… make a few more Christmas cookies. I already baked about a million and a half to give away, but there are a couple more recipes I want to try.

five on friday: bubbles, cookies, and friends

ONE. Kaya is obsessed with bubbles! It’s the cutest thing ever… the only downfall is that she’ll ask you to blow them all day long, and it’s just not really possible to blow bubbles in every situation!_MG_0466 She gets so excited! This picture cracks me up (and I might’ve started singing “the hills are aliiiiive, with the sound of muuuusic” when I saw it)!_MG_0475 TWO. She is in love with the Christmas tree. Michael showed her how to crawl under and around it (why, I have no idea), and then she also just loves to shove her body into it and use it as a scratching post._MG_0525

THREE. Her little giggle is the best. She loves this dancing Snoopy (she even laughs at herself when I show her this video):

FOUR. It feels like I have been baking almost nonstop this week. I love giving cookies out to friends and scarfing down a few myself, so it’s worth all the time in the kitchen._MG_0507

Having a cute helper doesn’t hurt either 🙂

FIVE. I hosted our play date this week. We had four awesome ladies and babies here, and it was a great time as always. I am so thankful for all the new friendships we’ve made this year. It’s been amazing to watch our babies (and ourselves as mothers) grow together!_MG_0553

Happy weekend! 🙂
Linking up with Natasha, April, Christina, and Darci today!

pancakes or waffles? a post from michael

I’ve seen this link-up come and go for a few months, and I finally asked Michael to participate this time, so here are his answers! It’s so fun to see him write a little something about himself!

1. What is your favorite cereal?

My favorite cereals (because I can’t pick JUST one) would be Frosted Mini Wheats and probably Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

2. Pancakes or waffles?


making waffles, of course!

Definitely. absolutely. without a doubt. Waffles! Especially if they are nice and hot and still gooey from chocolate chips! Makes me want to get up and make some now!

3. What is your favorite holiday tradition?

I would say that one of my favorite holiday traditions would be baking goodies and going around to deliver them. Why you ask? I love visiting people, maybe singing a quick carol, and making them smile with some yummy goodness. And no, it’s not my favorite because I “have to” taste test them. 😉

4. Finish the sentence: All I want for Christmas is…

my two front teeth! Sorry… just had to. Honestly, I would love to be able to go on a family trip somewhere where it’s just us and we can enjoy time outside and have fun. Too bad Christmas is super cold. So, maybe we’ll have to make it up later!

5. What was your best moment of 2013?

It’s hard to pick a single moment, as there have been lots of moments. I try to do my best to pick out little “tender mercies” as they appear. I’d say that most of them are circled around watching Kaya grow up, learn to walk, learn to express herself more, and just be so much fun! All of her smiles, running and wrapping her arms around my legs, and her little kisses are the best! Being a dad just rocks!

Linking up with Stephanie and Mallory today!

gingerbreads 2013

Saturday was filled with dough making, rolling, and baking! As you most likely know by now, decorating gingerbread cookies has been a tradition in my family ever since I can remember. Kaya actually tried to help this year (and by “help”, I’m really saying… she stole my cookie cutters and started eating raw dough right out of the bowl while I was rolling it)!_MG_0490


Lelia came over to help out! Jeff was out shopping, and Michael had some work to get done, so it was just us girls. Kaya helped Lelia for most of the evening!_MG_0497


Giant mess of deliciousness. Can you spot the Lelia cookie? (hint: she’s not a snowman, a reindeer, or a house…)_MG_0504


Here are a few of my favorites from this year (can you find the cookie Lelia made of me?)!_MG_0515

I think we decorated a record number of cookies (usually, we all get tired and leave a lot of them plain). Now we just get to give them away!

meeting santa

On Tuesday night, we took Kaya to visit Santa Claus! We were the 9th family in line, which was so much better than being 73rd like last year.

They had crafts and Christmas movies for the kids while they were waiting. Kaya was more interested in the television remotes, but overall, she was very patient._MG_0455 I expected her to be fussy- but I’ll admit, I’m a little disappointed I didn’t get a picture of her on his lap. Oh well. We avoided a complete meltdown, so I’ll call it a success._MG_0459 Even if she has no idea what’s going on, I love carrying on all these Christmas traditions._MG_046012 days, 7 hours, and 18 minutes!

christmas parade 2013

As is tradition, we went to the town Christmas parade on Friday night! Usually, we’re bundled up to the nines and look like we’re heading on an adventure into the arctic tundra… but this year, temperatures were in the 60s! I actually missed dancing around and sipping hot chocolate in an effort to stay warm._MG_0412 We found a few of our friends from church, including Jeff and Lelia!_MG_0415

That balmy 60-something degrees was a little too good to be true, because it ended up pouring down rain for the majority of the parade. A lot of floats cut out early because of it. All I ever really care about is seeing the horses, shelter dogs, and Santa, anyway._MG_0428

She’s still so little, but there’s something about watching her at Christmastime that brings tears to my eyes. Maybe I’m a little overly emotional, but I just can’t help looking at her and feeling my heart fill up with so much gratitude and love.
_MG_0425Santa was at the very end, of course, and then we were ready to go home and get some dry clothes on!
_MG_043214 days, 8 hours and 45 minutes!