happy 2nd birthday jax!

wpid-wp-1409531847957.jpegDear Jax,

Today is your second birthday! Of course, we don’t know your actual birthday, but this is the day the animal shelter chose to write on your records, and we’ve stuck with it.

You’re probably thinking it’s the best day of your life, since you enjoyed eating the fat trimmings off a piece of steak and licking the empty peanut butter jar. I’m not sure it gets much better than that when you’re a dog.

We brought you home 15 months ago now. Before we lost Maggie, I always had the thought that she’d pass away at a time that another animal would need us. I found you on Petfinder, and when we met you for the first time, I just knew you had a good heart. You’ve proven that time and time again, especially in your role as “big brother” to two crazy little girls._MG_3420

Jax, you’re the best dog our family could have ever hoped to find. You’ve had your share of struggles while adjusting to living with us, but all in all, you’re a good boy.

You live to run and always get excited when you see me putting on my shorts and lacing up my running shoes.

You’re the best cuddler. There were so many days in the beginning of my pregnancy where I was sick and exhausted, and having you curled up in the crook of my leg while I slept was just what I needed. When my back would ache, you would lay behind me in just the right place. How is it that dogs just seem to know?wpid-photogrid_1409535276157.jpg

We love your energy and sweet spirit. You’re wild at times (even running for an hour doesn’t wear you out), but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

You’re a good dog. Happy birthday! 🙂

five on friday: headbands and #babyselfies

Friday, Friday… Here we go!

ONE. Kaya won’t let me put headbands on her for real, but wearing six headbands as a joke is perfectly acceptable according to her standard. Obviously. I love my silly girl.Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 presetTWO. Is there anything cuter than a clean baby in a bath towel? I’ll answer that for you: no, no there is not._MG_3868THREE. Kaya still prefers to sleep on her bedroom floor instead of in her own bed (this could be a whole other post itself), but she LOVES climbing up into ours and asking us to tuck her in at random times of the day. Usually, she’ll pat the pillow next to her to indicate that she wants you to cuddle with her. The baby was asleep yesterday morning, so when my big girl asked me to lay down and snuggle, I jumped at the chance to relax._MG_3849FOUR. This little Peanut had her two-month checkup this morning (which also means she got four shots… ouch)! Right now, she’s sleeping it off, and I just keep thinking about how happy I am that she gained another two pounds this month. That puts her 4 pounds and 1 ounce above her birth weight already!
Processed with VSCOcam with se2 presetFIVE. Michael shows memes to his seminary class every morning before they get started with the lesson. I thought I was being pretty funny by making these (and secretly hoped he’d show one in class… he did, even if he was just humoring me)!08292014collage1Happy Friday!!!

happy 27th birthday, michael!

Michael’s only request for his birthday was to have some new photos printed so he could take them to work and decorate his space. I made him some plain old 4x6s, but still wanted to give him a fun little surprise.

I saw this idea on Pinterest and knew I wanted to create my own version of it. It’s easy when you have such cute, photogenic girls! 🙂 Michael absolutely loved it, of course.
deardaddycollageKaya insisted on Kitty having his own picture done, too. I’m not too good at translating stuffed-cat-ese, so his message is up for interpretation._MG_3780 We had a cookout with some friends and family. It rained on and off throughout the day, but luckily, it stopped long enough for us to enjoy some time outside._MG_3827 _MG_3829 _MG_3830I made cupcakes (of course)! These might be the messiest ones I’ve ever frosted… but they were definitely some of the most delectable I’ve ever made! They were dark chocolate with a homemade white chocolate cookies and creme frosting. Mmmm.
_MG_3834 _MG_3835 _MG_3836 Happy Birthday Daddy! Your girls sure do love you! 🙂_MG_3832

kaelyn’s blessing day

Kaelyn received her baby blessing on August 10th- two weeks ago already! So I’m super late at posting this, but hey, at least I’m catching up.

She had the most beautiful dress, made by her Great-Grandma Teerlink. I hope that one day in the future, Kaelyn might use this dress to bless one of her daughters in. It really is something special to have!_MG_3644 _MG_3647Michael gave her an amazing blessing. She has the potential to grow up to be one amazing girl.
_MG_3645 _MG_3626 _MG_3627 We had all of Michael’s family (minus Kevin and Tori), Grandma and Grandpa Teerlink, and my mom come up for the blessing. So many people love our little girl._MG_3583 _MG_3595 Four generations!_MG_3591 _MG_3596 _MG_3601 We didn’t get a great shot of the four of us… but here’s the best of what we have. Better than nothing!_MG_3610I’m so grateful for my little family and special days like these. 🙂

five on friday: smiles, sisters and sweetness

Happy Friday! I say it every week, but the days keep on flying by. Time flies when you’re having fun! Or taking care of two babies. Same thing, right?

ONE. We started cloth diapering Kaelyn as of last Saturday. While I was pregnant, I bought some Kawaii-brand “newborn” diapers (sized for babies from 6 to 22 pounds). They were very inexpensive as far as cloth diapers go, and I was excited to have something smaller to use this time around, since Kaya’s one-size Bumgenius diapers didn’t really fit her until she was about 10 weeks old. So far, these have been working really well for my little peanut.
08162014collage1 TWO. Michael’s birthday is tomorrow, and Kaya’s is sneaking up on us in less than a month! A few months ago, I threw around the idea of having a “kitty-themed” birthday party for her, and since Kitty is still her favorite thing ever, that’s what we’re going to do. I really want to keep it simple… just get her some balloons and make a cute cake. I’m really excited for her to just enjoy her special day! 🙂kittybirthdaypinterestboard2014 THREE. I’m actually surprised it’s taken her this long to do it, but Kaya pretended to nurse her baby doll this week! She grabbed my nursing cover, climbed up in the chair, and pulled her shirt down. She’s a little mommy in the making!_MG_3761 _MG_3758 FOUR. While I was taking their individual weekly/monthly photos, I let Kaya hold Kaelyn all on her own (the armchair definitely helped, and I was right there in case she decided to make a sudden move). Kaya LOVED it and kept asking to do it again._MG_3802 Kaelyn was pretty smiley about being so close to her sister, too. 🙂_MG_3799 Kisses._MG_3797 FIVE. Her smile. Seriously… my heart explodes on a daily basis from this girl._MG_3766Happy weekend! Hopefully the weather stays nice so we can cook out and have cupcakes for Michael’s birthday 🙂

kaya- 23 months!

This is it… her last-ever monthly update. Once she’s two, I might just do them quarterly. It’s so crazy that we’re already here!_MG_3786

Clothing size: 12-18 month pants, 24 month shorts, 18 and 24-month onesies, 2T tees, and 12-18 month footie pajamas and 2T summery jammies. We’ve mostly moved on to size 6 shoes, but there’s definitely still room to grow there.
Eyecolor: Hazel/Gray/Greenish. There have been days lately that they look extremely green!
Teeth: 20.
Eating: When she likes something, she really shovels it down! She’s most obsessed with cheese and yogurt. Pasta and Mexican are her favorite dinners. She started using a regular cup for drinking, but still doesn’t want milk (unless it’s been turned chocolate by cocoa puffs). Apples, bananas, and raisins are her favorite fruits; green beans are her favorite vegetable.
New words: Suddenly, she says at least one new word every day! I kept a list this month, but there are probably more I forgot to jot down: Ducks, Mama, Dada, clock, heart, boom, star, backpack, nut, bone, grass, whoa, wow, blocks, pop, my, cup (“up”), off, dirty, door, bows, wall, towel, home, up, eyes, honk, poo and bowls. Phew, that’s a lot!
Favorite things: Playing outside, her shopping cart, pretending she’s a puppy, pretending everything is a slide, holding Kaelyn, and hugging/doing silly things to Jax. She also climbs on anything and everything, so lately I keep calling her “Monkey” (and she always responds with “Eee! Eee!”)
Dislikes: She still won’t stay in nursery by herself.
Sleep: Bedtime is around 8:30 pm and she’ll still sleep about 12 hours. She also still takes a 2.5-3 hour nap, although we have had a couple days lately where her nap has been about 1.5 hours instead.
Milestones, etc.: -Finally, she’s TALKING! No sentences yet, but she uses words all the time now! It’s so much fun to hear her little voice and see her get excited about learning new words.

-She tries to get dressed, but her only success is putting her shoes on. She has taken off her own shirt, and for the first time ever, her diaper. GASP! Hopefully that means we’re close to potty-training.

Dear Kaya,

You are almost TWO years old! You’re the most fun girl I’ve ever met, and you make my heart feel so full. In such a short time, you’ve grown from a tiny baby into such an amazing little person.
_MG_3806You fill up our days with laughs. I hope you keep being the crazy monkey that you are, and I can’t wait to celebrate YOU next month!

We love you Birdy!

friday favorites

This week, all the kids went back to school, and while it normally wouldn’t affect us, it does now, because Michael was called to be the early-morning seminary teacher for our church ward! His class starts at 6 am, so we’ve adjusted our routines and have been trying to get to bed a little earlier (which is something we’ve never been good at).

It’s obvious that he already loves his class. He’s definitely going to be an amazing teacher._MG_3684

Friday tradition states that someone brings breakfast in for the class. It was our turn this week, so I made my mom-in-law’s famous homemade cinnamon buns.Processed with VSCOcam with a5 presetKaya has been crazier than ever… She runs from one end of the house to the other as fast as she can, happily yelling and giggling. She’s also finally figured out how to ride this stick pony that one of Michael’s coworkers gave her a few weeks ago. I’m betting she asks us for a real pony before the age of five.


When she’s not being a wild monkey, she’s hiding in the kitchen cabinets. She makes Kitty hide among my tupperware in the opposite cabinet now, too._MG_3659

Kaelyn suddenly stopped looking like a newborn this week. She’s got a little chub in her cheeks now! If she’s not eating or sleeping, she’s usually smiling 🙂_MG_3722 08142014collage1

I could snuggle her all day… and sometimes I pretty much do.Processed with VSCOcam with a4 preset

I survived my first solo trip to the grocery store with both kids. There was pretty much no room in the cart, and we didn’t buy much, but I was just proud we did it!Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

We visited Michael at work yesterday, and unbeknownst to us, apparently it was “food truck day”. Michael splurged on a snow cone and Kaya loved feeding it to him. Eventually, she decided it was my turn too!Processed with VSCOcam with lv03 presetHappy Friday!!!Processed with VSCOcam with b1 preset

kaelyn grace: the birth story (part 2)

(part one here)

Despite the contractions being so close together and my husband speeding through the neighborhood, I was calm. I was convinced that my labor wasn’t too far advanced. I guess I was in a bit of denial!

We grabbed my wallet (Brittany was waiting with it out on the front step) and were back on the road to the hospital at about 2 am. We arrived around 2:20 am and went straight to the nurses’ station to check in.

“Can I help you?”
“She’s ready to have a baby,” Michael said.
“What?” the nurse asked. It seemed she hadn’t heard him. I was confused that she even had to ask why I was there after two in the morning. Apparently, I was so calm that it wasn’t obvious I was in labor.

We were asked some questions, and then our awesome nurse, Kelly, took us to triage and had me change into the hospital gown. I had a couple more contractions while I was in the bathroom, so it took me longer to change than I felt it should have.

I got into the bed, and Kelly strapped the heart rate and contraction monitors on and then checked my cervix.

Before she told me how many centimeters I was, she asked, “How would you rate your pain?”
I just replied, “Um… variable,” since I’d still just been feeling what I’d call tightness and pressure.
“Well, you’re at 7cm! And you’re just talking through contractions like we’re out getting a pedicure together!” she said. I was definitely glad to be so far advanced already.

It was around 2:40 am when we walked from triage to our room, and they had the baby warmer out already. I remembered that they didn’t bring that into the room until I was very close to delivering Kaya, so this made me very excited! I got in the bed and had the monitors strapped to my belly again. The nurses put an IV put in my arm for a saline drip, since I apparently had a fever, but I was so focused on working through the contractions that I wasn’t even aware of it.

My legs started to shake a lot and I know I commented on it at least once. I asked why I was shaking so much and Kelly just replied, “Because you’re a seven, dear!”

I had some more contractions, but just kept closing my eyes and breathing through them. The nurses were impressed and said that I just “went in the zone” during my contractions, and that I should teach a Lamaze class, because not everyone can focus like that. Nurse Kelly kept telling me I was a rockstar. I loved all the praise and it really encouraged me! Kelly asked me all the standard hospital registration questions while I lay and contracted in the bed. It was around 3 am, and all the nurses left, but told me to press the nurse-call button if I started feeling a lot of pressure.

Michael and I just sat together, and he rubbed my arm and held my hand. It was getting harder to sit through the contractions and focus. I didn’t want to, but I kept watching the clock because it was on the wall right in front of me. By 3:20, I was very uncomfortable and called the nurse. Kelly came in right away and checked me. She said, “Oh yeah… let’s have a baby!”. I was excited… but still a little afraid honestly. There was no turning back now! I was doing this all naturally!

The midwife, Mattie, came in, and I started pushing around 3:30. It was definitely the hardest part of the entire labor. When I didn’t push, my muscles would hurt. I felt this incredible amount of pressure in my pelvis, and not to be gross… but it really just felt like I had to use the bathroom more than I ever have in my entire life. I really wanted to just run into the bathroom and go! I was somewhat impatient while waiting to push with the contractions because I just wanted that insane amount of pressure to disappear. Pushing burned a little, and the midwife told me that I had to just get past it and push my baby under my pubic bone. Michael kept telling me he could see her head and that I was so very close to having her here.

Her heart rate started dropping a bit. I immediately became nervous that they’d send me to c-section, but apparently her head was already crowning by that time. Between contractions, they had me wear an oxygen mask to help Kaelyn get enough air.

Mattie told me that I probably had one or two more contractions before she’d come out, and I think it was on the third one, at 3:55 am, that my sweet little girl was born. I didn’t see her for the first few seconds, and the first thing I heard the midwife say was “double nuchal”, which made me panic, because I didn’t know what it meant (the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck twice, which was the reason her heart rate was dropping). Someone else exclaimed “What a little peanut!”, so I really worried that something was wrong.IMG_2903

They put her on my chest and she was healthy. I was so grateful. I honestly just couldn’t believe that my baby was out. She was here, and she was mine. I had a small second-degree internal tear, and was stitched up while the nurses took care of my sweet little Kaelyn. 5 lbs 10 ounces, and 18.5 inches long.IMG_2905

Once I was stitched up, I got to hold her again. I was overwhelmed with emotion and love for this little person who I was “technically” just meeting. I cried.

IMG_2911They went to give her a bath, and she was gone for a few hours because she had to be under the warmer. I missed her so much. When I got her back, I just kept stroking her cheek and talking to her. She definitely knew my voice right from the beginning (probably from hearing me talk to Kaya all the time).

I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for this very special little girl. I definitely feel a very powerful connection to her and love her with all my heart.

Thanks for coming to our family, Kaelyn Grace.

kaelyn grace: the birth story (part 1)

Disclaimer: This is a birth story, which means it includes talk of body parts, bodily functions, and all that other stuff that comes along with having a baby. There’s nothing distasteful written here, but I still wanted to give a fair warning to those who might be sensitive to this sort of thing._MG_2934-2On Wednesday, June 25th, I noticed that I was cramping a lot. I had been having some cramps the night before too, but I was trying to not really think about them or get my hopes up, since my due date was still a week away. The cramps kept coming all morning, but I still didn’t time them or pay them much attention. They were very low in my belly, which was completely different from how I remember my contractions feeling with Kaya. I went about my normal routine, still running two miles in the morning and then walking another two to take Kaya to the playground. I had my 39-week appointment with my OB at 1:30 pm, so I picked Michael up from work and we headed there.

Everything at the appointment was pretty standard, but I did tell him about the cramps. He said it sounded like my body was getting ready, and asked if I wanted to be checked. I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to know how dilated I was, but a part of me just had a feeling that my body had already made some progress. Well… he checked me, and my cervix was completely effaced and 4 cm dilated! He also said that her head was so low that he had to reach AROUND it to even check my cervix. I was so excited to be at 4 cm already. It gave me the hope I needed for a natural (unmedicated) birth, especially since it had taken me so long (and had felt so agonizing) to get to 4 cm with Kaya. My doctor predicted that I’d have a baby in just a couple of days. He was actually pretty eager to strip my membranes, but I was adamant about keeping this labor as natural as possible.

I dropped Michael off at work and noticed that I was now having some pretty intense cramps. They stayed low down in my belly, so they didn’t necessarily feel like all-encompassing contractions. I also felt like I needed to pee very badly, so I was eager to get home.

I used the bathroom as soon as I got home, and noticed a small gush. I wondered, just for a moment, if my water had broken… But I mostly just dismissed the thought. It sure seemed like a lot of liquid, but I had felt such an overwhelming urge to go to the bathroom that I just thought my bladder must have been very full.

Kaya went down for her nap, and I kept cramping, but just like I had done all day, I was trying to ignore it. I didn’t want to start timing contractions and putting too much focus on them, just in case I had a long labor again like I did with Kaya.

I spent some time texting back and forth with my friend Brittany. She was super excited about my cramps, and told me that she needed some “Tara time” with me before I had the baby and got super busy. Right before she arrived, I noticed that my shorts were wet… just a little bit on the backside. I was a little suspicious, but in the end, I chalked it up to my bottom just sweating a lot (it was a hot day and I had been sitting on a hard wooden chair). Looking back, I know now it was my water leaking. I changed my shorts and stayed completely dry after that, so I dismissed the possibility that my water had broken and went on with my day.

Around 3 pm, I noticed that the cramps really were feeling like mini contractions. I still didn’t want to get too excited in case this wasn’t really labor, and tried to blame the cramps on the fact that the doctor had checked my cervix. Brittany came over around 3:30 pm, and she chatted with me while I folded laundry. I was having some very tight cramps by this point, but nothing too distracting. We kept talking until it was time for our husbands to come home from work. She left, and Kaya woke up while we waited for Michael.

Michael ended up missing his bus, so I went to pick him up instead. My latest craving was fried chicken and mac and cheese, and since I wasn’t so sure yet that we’d be having a baby that night, we decided to indulge in KFC for dinner. Michael had the buffet, but surprisingly, I didn’t eat very much. There were a few things we needed to get at Walmart, so we headed there afterward. I kept cramping the whole time, and even ended up leaning on the handle of the shopping cart during a couple of the contractions. We got what we needed and also made a quick stop at Target before heading home.

We got Kaya ready for bed around 9 pm, which is very late compared to our normal schedule, and had prayers and goodnight kisses. By this point, I just had a feeling that these would be our last goodnight hugs with Kaya before our family would change forever. I teared up a little, but I didn’t stay in her room long because I thought that taking a shower and then sitting in a warm bath might help me relax.

I got in the shower, and managed to get clean before I started feeling incredibly hot and nauseous. I had thought the hot water would help my muscles relax, but it left me feeling shaky. I started having hot and cold flashes, intermingled with the urge to throw up. I called for Michael, and when he saw me, he told me to just sit down. I sat in the shower and just tried to overcome the feeling that I had to throw up. Fear set in for a few minutes. Could I really have the natural birth I had hoped for? Part of me wanted to just head to the hospital right then and ask for painkillers (although it was the nausea that was really getting to me, not the contractions).

It was about 9:45 pm when I realized that this would probably be the night we’d meet our sweet baby. I really wanted to lay down and rest, because in hindsight, I wished I had done that in my early labor with Kaya. However, I just couldn’t mentally relax because we didn’t have any bags packed! I couldn’t take the chance that we’d have to go to the hospital without our things.

Still recovering from the nausea and hot flashes, I sat on the bed while I told Michael what to grab from my drawers and put in the suitcase. He packed up a good amount of our things, and I think it was at this point that I asked him to give me a priesthood blessing. I don’t remember exactly what it said, but it did help me feel peace. Michael then went to finish up some work on his computer. He told me later that he didn’t realize how serious the contractions were really getting, so he thought he had some time to get a few things done.

I kept feeling like I had to use the bathroom, so I ended up sitting on the toilet for awhile. I texted with Brittany and she encouraged me to time my contractions. Around 11 pm, I noticed they were about 4 minutes apart and at least 45 seconds long. I still wasn’t diligently timing them, and they felt so short to me.

By 11:15, I was entertaining the idea of going to the hospital. I was a little anxious because I didn’t want to get there too early, but I also knew that we had to let Ben and Brittany know if they needed to come over to stay with Kaya while we were gone. At 11:30, we told them to just come. If we ended up not going to the hospital (I still thought the contractions might just fizzle out and we’d all go to bed as usual), it wasn’t really a big deal.

Ben and Brittany arrived around midnight. We all sat in the living room and chatted, but I have no memory of what we talked about. Every few minutes, I had to close my eyes and breathe through a contraction, but I honestly still didn’t think it was painful, just a lot of pressure. I’d focus on my body, the contraction would be over, and then we’d all go right back to laughing and hanging out. I was walking around through some of the contractions, putting together Kaya’s “big sister” gift bag and doing a few other things around the house, but most of the time, I was sitting. I think it was about 1 am when the contractions started to seem a little closer together. Brittany noticed and started timing them, since I still wasn’t at this point. They were about a minute and a half apart, but my perception was that there was so much time between them! The breaks between contractions seemed so long that I still didn’t think my labor was very intense. However, once they kept coming at 1.5-minute intervals, I knew we needed to leave for the hospital.

Michael had fallen asleep on my nursing pillow on the floor, next to our packed bags. Brittany and I excitedly woke him up and told him I needed to go!

We left around 1:45 am. We drove for about 10 minutes (Michael might’ve run a couple of stop signs and driven a bit above the speed limit) before I realized that I had forgotten my wallet, and therefore had absolutely no form of identification. I didn’t know if the hospital would ask for it, but I had to have it just in case.

“We have to go back and get it!” I exclaimed.

His reply was simple: “Do we have time to?”

To be continued…

friday favorites

Happy Friday! Finding time get on the computer/edit photos/write has been pretty challenging this week, so this is just a short synopsis of what we’ve been up to! I never knew my fingers could type and click so fast until I had two kids. Haha.

This girl. I’m telling you… she knows how to make us laugh, and she does it just about all day, every day. She’s such a goofball and we love it. She uses our legs like roads for her tiny cars, wears her sunglasses upside down (and inside nonetheless), and is a total ham in front of the camera. I’m so thankful for her lighthearted happiness and joyful spirit._MG_3544 We’re still walking just about every day. It’s starting to feel like summer again and I’m trying to soak up every last bit of it.Processed with VSCOcam with a4 preset Peanut still sleeps for the majority of our walks, which lets Kaya and I enjoy the playground together, just the two of us. I love having that special time with her.Processed with VSCOcam with a4 preset

Besides walking, I finally went on my first postpartum run! I was waiting to have my final checkup with my midwife, and everything looked good. I was so anxious to hit the pavement, and I was surprised at how great I actually felt and went 4 miles! I’m definitely excited to build up my strength and endurance again.

For the first time since Kaelyn was born (and our helpful grandmas went home), I actually got to take an afternoon nap this week… twice!
Processed with VSCOcam with a4 presetKaelyn turned 6 weeks old yesterday. She’s starting to be my “big” little peanut! Her little smiles are my favorite! This Sunday is her baby blessing at church, and I’m so excited to have our family in town.
_MG_3556 She’s obviously so over getting her picture taken already. Sorry sweetie… you still have years of photo shoots ahead of you!_MG_3555 I can always count on Kaya to smile the biggest she can for the camera. She loves climbing up in the chair with her baby sister when I take her weekly picture. CHEESE!_MG_3549Happy weekend everyone! 🙂