michael’s birthday celebrations (29!)

Michael’s birthday was on a Tuesday, so really, it was a pretty typical weekday for us. He had to work, and I had to be at church youth activities later that night. He was celebrated at work with a chocolate birthday cake, so I planned to make him some other type of special dessert for later on.

The night before his birthday, his mom texted and asked if we’d like to have her spend the day with us. She had been helping out Michael’s great grandma, who lives about two hours from here, for the past couple of weeks, so making a quick day trip was actually feasible! Of course we said yes, and everyone was super excited to see Grandma._MG_4782

While Michael was at work, we made some family-favorite choco-mint freeze, picked up ingredients for his mom’s homemade chicken nuggets at the grocery store, and bought him some mylar balloons (which really ended up being more for the girls than for him, haha)! Still, they were so eager to surprise him as soon as he came home. Of course, he had to close his eyes, per Kaya’s request!_MG_4784 They loved running at him with their balloons!_MG_4786His gifts were some new bluetooth headphones from us (which he couldn’t resist opening that morning before work!), and a check from his parents._MG_4788 This was Kaya’s reaction when she saw that he got money in his card… ūüôā_MG_4789 My mom-in-law cooked some amazing homemade chicken nuggets, and after dinner, I went to youth activities. When I came home, it was time for choco-mint freeze!_MG_4797 They were pretty excited… and pretty goofy._MG_4793 Like father, like daughter._MG_4794 _MG_4795 Kaelyn was too busy actually eating her dessert to goof off (or even look at me for a picture). Girl’s got focus!_MG_4798

This was probably one of the simplest birthday parties ever, but we all loved celebrating our favorite guy. Hopefully next year I’ll have more energy to put together something awesome for his big 30!

Happy 29th Birthday, best friend!

baby #3: 32 weeks

32weeksBaby‚Äôs size: About 18 inches long and nearly 4 pounds! I’m also excited (and a little surprised) to report that my fundal height measurement is back on track! I measured 31 centimeters at my 32-week appointment, and my OB is happy with that. Yay for catching up!
Maternity clothes?: Yes… and my belly basically feels humongous at this point. I haven’t gained any more weight than with my other pregnancies, but the bump seems a million times larger this time around.
Gender: Girl!
Symptoms: We’ve all had some congestion/colds this past week and a half. Here’s to hoping that clears up soon!
Sleep: I’ve been having good, deep sleep this past week. We still go to bed too late though… but that’s old news!
Cravings: Nothing really!
What I miss: I miss feeling like I could get more things done in a day. There are so many items on my to-do list, but I pretty much always need to take a break to rest/nap, and I feel like that really hampers my productivity.
Anything making you queasy or sick?: This has been a much better week as far as nausea goes! There have still been nights where I just want toast for dinner because food in general doesn’t appeal to me much, but hey, that’s better than feeling constantly sick.
Belly Button in or out?: Flat.
Exercising?: Ran 21.5 miles; walked 3.2. Fitbit total: 86,966 steps.
Mood: Excited! I feel like we’re in the final countdown now!
Best moments this week: Getting the big girls’ room¬†painted, picking out their furniture, celebrating Michael’s birthday, and seeing my mom-in-law for a day!
Looking forward to: Reviewing some of the natural birth books I used last time, and also reading “Birthing From Within“, which I just got in the mail this week. Anything that encourages me to have an empowering birth experience is what I really need to focus on right now.
Big sisters: Kaelyn gets SO EXCITED when she sees my belly for the first time each morning. She’ll stop whatever she’s doing and say “MOMMY! Baaaaaaby!” She’s also completely obsessed with taking care of her baby dolls, so I think she’s going to be a great big sister. Kaya is as sweet and tender as always, making sure she kisses my belly every night before bed and nap time.
Comparison: 32 weeks with Kaya; 32 weeks with Kaelyn.

five on friday (08/26)

ONE. Our house has been in all sorts of disarray this week as we’ve gotten some serious painting done! The girls’ room is finished- I’m so excited and a little relieved! I picked out their bunk beds and a new dresser for them to share, so we’re just waiting for delivery on those. It’s all coming together!

Kaya is a painting enthusiast and insists on helping!_MG_4596

Painting buddies! ūüôā_MG_4598

TWO. To go right along with painting, one of the young men at church told me he’d help out with priming the basement in exchange for homemade cinnamon rolls. How could I say no to that deal? I haven’t made these in a long time, but they turned out just as delectable as ever. Kaya helped mix up the dough and was obsessed with having “cinnamons” for dessert and breakfast.

THREE. I know that summer is practically over, but we got the girls their own kiddie pool this week! I’ve been wanting to get one for a while, but just haven’t been out to Target, so when we were there this week, I squished this thing in the back of the car and brought it home. They were beyond excited!_MG_4806


Kaya wanted to continuously slide down into the water. I’m actually surprised that she loves doing this, because any other time, if even a drop of water touches her face, she panics. I guess the adrenaline rush is worth getting a little extra wet!_MG_4814

FOUR. Kaelyn has been all about this baby doll this week. She nurses her, puts real diapers on her, and brings her everywhere. I think this is great big sister training! (We’ve also skipped a couple of naps this week, hence her passing out on the couch!)_MG_4777

FIVE. We had a play date at the mall playground with some good friends, and afterward, my girls and I had a little indoor picnic. They think it’s so much fun to eat their sandwiches somewhere other than at home- and of course, I had to spoil each of them with a cookie from the bakery. It’s little things like this that make me wish they never had to get any older.08252016collageI also wish I had a never-ending supply of these brownies…

Happy Friday!!!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

to the guy who lets me steal his clothes (happy birthday, Michael!)

Today is my favorite guy’s birthday! He does so much for our little family, and I’ve loved watching him grow and better himself in so many ways every single year. He works so hard and juggles so many different roles- husband, daddy, software developer, student, teacher, ward clerk, and business owner (to name a few!). I honestly am not sure how he gets it all done!

So Happy Birthday to the guy…_MG_3424

…who met me exactly eight years ago today (and will never live it down for not saying hello to me when I tried to introduce myself)!

…who remedies all my technology struggles (even when he could make me figure it out on my own) without grumbling.

…who never complains about eating sandwiches (again) for dinner when I haven’t cooked.

…who takes care of pouty lips and booboos like a pro._MG_4131

…who lets me steal all his most comfortable t-shirts to use as pajamas.

…who takes care of¬†our kids so that I can have a photography business.

…who probably never suspected that he’d be so popular with the ladies


…but truly is the very best daddy there could ever be._MG_4128

We all love you, buddy!

HAPPY 29th Birthday, Best Friend!!!

the dog bite: one year later

The end of June marked one year since Kaya was bitten by our dog, Jax.

I try not to dwell on unfortunate events, but this was our first major emergency with one of our children, and it wasn’t just an accident- it was a traumatic, vicious situation. Naturally, as we approached the anniversary of the day, I’ve been silently evaluating how we’re all doing one year later.

My biggest concerns afterward were Kaya’s physical and emotional healing.

Honestly, for a time, I feared that her face would never look the same. We were originally most concerned that she would develop an infection behind her eye, which would have had permanent implications. The plastic surgeon also warned us that because the muscle in her forehead was split open, it could leave a large gap there as she grows.

 (2.5 months after the bite)_MG_9010

The gap was evident for a few months, but¬†now it appears to be almost¬†completely healed. Her plastic surgeon was the best we could have hoped for, and we were diligent about following his care instructions. We kept¬†silicone sheeting on the scar for months afterward, per his recommendation. We also used some frankincense essential oil that Michael’s cousin, Nicole, sent to us, for almost the entire year.

The scar on her head has now faded to a whitish-gray, and if you didn’t know what happened, you might not even notice it. She has healed better than I could have ever imagined.


Kaya’s emotional healing has also been nothing short of miraculous.

She loves animals of all sorts- especially dogs. That’s not to say that she doesn’t remember what happened to her- in fact, she still frequently mentions how we don’t have Jax anymore because “he bit Peeky”.

For a few months after her bite, she would describe to me in detail how there was a lot of “red” (blood) on her face afterward, and she sometimes would inspect her scar in the mirror. I know she’s young and most likely will forget the specifics of the situation, but she has overcome what could have been a lifelong fear. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for that, and take pride in my baby for being so resilient._MG_7820

Following the incident, fear gripped me.

I had some intense thoughts. These were things I never would have imagined thinking before.

Why would anyone allow an animal, with a mouth full of what could be considered weapons, live in their home? How crazy is all of mankind to think that sharing our habitations with dogs is a good idea?_MG_4618 But people do allow dogs into their lives and their living spaces, because they are so much more than fur and teeth and bones.

They are a soft place to lay your head when you’re tired.Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

Velvety ears to listen to your worries and sorrows when no one else is there.

A comforting furry body to bury your face into when you need just need a hug.

Instant and pure happiness over the simplest things.

Forever loyalty and devoted love.

I miss all of those things. I crave all of those things, and when I’m around other good dogs, my heart gets a bout of puppy-fever. When I see¬†how much my children love dogs, I want to give them that special relationship that can only form with a furry four-legged friend.

It’s been an emotional, tearful year when reflecting on this event, but I’m a little less afraid now. I’m grateful for all the positive interactions my children have had with friends’ and family members’ dogs recently. I will forever be extra vigilant and cautious when exposing my children to animals, but I still feel like the benefits of having a dog outweigh the potential risks.

I’m sure that one day, we will try again. We’ll be the safest and most educated we can be before we welcome another dog into our family, but the reality is, any dog could do what Jax did in any instant. No animal should be blindly trusted.

I’m grateful for all the tender mercies and blessings we received during the incident and in the months following. Kaya surely had some angels looking out for her.

baby #3: 31 weeks

31weeksBaby’s size: About 17.5 inches long and around 3.5 pounds- about the size of a head of Romaine lettuce!
Maternity clothes?: Yes, and my support belt has been awesome. When I wear it, it makes me feel a little “less pregnant”, since I don’t have to haul this big belly around all by myself.
Gender: Girl!
Symptoms: Nausea and fatigue.
Sleep: I’m feeling grateful that my kids are willing to nap/rest in the afternoons. I get a good 2-hour nap most days, and I really don’t feel so great if I don’t.
Movement: It’s a rare¬†moment when she isn’t moving! It’s going to be so weird when she comes out and I don’t feel constant flutters or feet poking me in the side!
Cravings: Cookies and ice cream… and I’ve totally been indulging in both of those this week!
What I miss:¬†I love this miracle and am SO grateful that I can grow a baby… but honestly, there are so many times I want to just fast forward to the end of this pregnancy and have her out of my body. I want to feel normal and be able to do the things I need/want to do! I don’t remember feeling quite so uncomfortable and sick with my other two pregnancies.
Anything making you queasy or sick?: YES… lots of nausea on and off, and I threw up once this week. This is my sickest pregnancy for sure.
Belly Button in or out?: Flat.
Exercising?: Ran 23.5 miles; walked 2.1. Fitbit total: 86,162 steps.
Mood: I’ve been feeling kind of guilty about resting so much and having Michael take over a lot of things… but¬†he is the best. He’s actually painting the girls’ room right now and has been working on that for most of the day. He snuggles with me when I feel sick, and even woke up in the middle of the night to massage my leg when I started to get a charley horse.¬†Pregnancy is rough but I’m grateful that I have a best friend to go through it with.
Best moment this week: Getting a refund for our old apartment’s rent/deposit in the mail. With the decorating and furniture-buying we’re doing in the older girls’ room, it’s really a big help.
Looking forward to: Finishing up the kid bedrooms and deciding what kind of blanket I want to make for this baby girl. Also, celebrating Michael’s birthday next week!
Big sisters:
Kaya keeps calling her “Baby Sunshine” and saying that that is going to be her real name! We’ll see if that nickname sticks. ūüėČ Kaelyn has started saying “baby!” so often now, and even hugs and kisses my belly. So sweet!

Kaya also really wanted a “bump picture” this week too, so Michael snapped this one, haha!¬†_MG_4583Comparison: 31 weeks with Kaya; 31 weeks with Kaelyn.

five on friday (08/19)

ONE. These two sisters and the way they interact and play together never fails to warm my heart. I’ll say it over and over again… I’m so grateful they have (and love) each other!

They still love to play this pretend game where Kaelyn is a baby (named “Gaga Baby” every time), and Kaya takes care of her by giving her pretend ice cream, changing her pretend diaper, and making sure she has her baby doll’s pacifier. I hope all this baby care practice gets put into action for real here in a couple of months!_MG_4572

They were also both so excited to be wearing sandals on the same day. I looked into the passenger seat when I was pulling out of the garage, and they had their feet together, chanting “sandaaaaals!”

They loved saying “whooooooooooa whooooooooa” over and over¬†when we visited¬†the merry-go-round this week. Everything is so much more fun when they are together.

TWO. We did the letter “O” for preschool, so we had a whole lot of fun decorating our letters with orange paint, cheeriOs, and ocean animal stickers.08162016collage Their favorite craft by far was this octopus, made from a toilet paper tube!_MG_4593 Kaelyn has been proud of her creation all week long. You can’t really see it in the photo, but she even painted a glittery smile on hers!_MG_4588 THREE.¬†When we did the letter “S” just over a month ago, we planted some seeds that we picked up at the dollar store. Kaya’s tomato plant has really grown quite tall! She’s so proud of her little sprout and loves to check on it and give it water._MG_4421

FOUR. We went to the children’s museum for the first time in a few months. I didn’t tell them where we were going beforehand, so the girls were pleasantly surprised! Kaya was delighted to dress up as a cat and put on a “show” for me, complete with music, dancing, and chanting.

Kaelyn was pretty excited about the fake flowers, haha. ūüôā

FIVE. If you need someone to wash your windows, Kaya is your gal! I’m always amazed at the games she creates out of the simplest things. (And yes, that’s totally a clean paint roller… and I definitely need to Windex¬†the windows now. But she makes me laugh!)_MG_4552

Happy weekend!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

the columbus zoo

While we were in Ohio, we visited the Columbus zoo! Kaya has been asking to go to a zoo for over a year now, so she was so excited to finally see the animals! We saw some flamingos…¬†_MG_4308 … some real penguins at feeding time…_MG_4310 … and some kangaroos! I think they were my personal favorite (and probably Kaelyn’s too), because you could actually walk right through their exhibit and get quite close!_MG_4314 It was fun to see them hopping around (this one was named Alice)!_MG_4317 We also took the kids on the zoo carousel, which has been another dream of Kaya’s ever since she saw a picture of one in a library book. It was the best $2 I’ve spent in a long time._MG_4325 _MG_4326 _MG_4329 _MG_4328 The zoo had an awesome aquarium section (which was also great for getting out of the heat!), which included manatees and a sea turtle. My girls really loved seeing the big fish!_MG_4332 There were also some 5-month-old baby tigers. They were so much smaller than I was expecting, but so cute!_MG_4336These best friends held hands for a good distance through the park. I loved hearing their conversations and seeing them fall right back into being pals after being separated for a couple of months.
_MG_4347 _MG_4349 They also loved climbing on all the bronze animal statues together!_MG_4342 We ended up walking around as much of the zoo as we could for about 4 hours or so. After that, the kids were exhausted and the day was really starting to heat up, so we ended our visit with one of my all-time favorite animals- the giraffe!_MG_4353Somehow, our very tired kids still didn’t take an afternoon nap, and instead spent more time out in the yard and baby pool. We had some amazing Chinese food, and then everyone was more than ready for an early bedtime (with a story first, of course)!_MG_4354

a visit to ohio

A week and a half ago, we went to visit our friends, the Allens, for the first time since they moved away. It was my very first trip to Ohio!

Kaya had been saying for weeks on end that she was so excited to see Mia, so I was really anticipating watching them meet again. They were a little shy around each other at first, but their reservedness turned to pure joy very quickly. I loved seeing my little girl so very happy.

Katherine made some delicious homemade pizza!

We spent most of the time we were at their house out in the yard. My girls thought that sliding down into a baby pool was pretty much the most fun idea ever!_MG_429508042016collage1 _MG_4290

Popsicles on the porch at the end of the night made for some happy girls!_MG_4307 We went to the zoo (which will be another post, since I took too many pictures to include here), played some Blokus, laughed over the oddness of the Olympic opening ceremonies, had Chinese food, and made amazingly-huge brownie sundaes when the kids were asleep. It was so refreshing to see our good friends, just relax, and spend time together.

On Saturday morning, Katherine and Matt watched our kids so we could visit the Columbus LDS temple. We haven’t been to the temple since last October, so this was a treat for us. I love the temple and the peace I feel there. Somehow, when I’m inside, most of the things I spend my time worrying about on a normal basis don’t seem to matter all that much._MG_4361 It doesn’t hurt to have a pretty studly date, either. ūüėČ_MG_4363 IMG_20160806_111408It was a very small temple (maybe even tinier than our chapel building back home), but it was, of course, perfect._MG_4364The gardens seemed extra beautiful, too._MG_4365 _MG_4371

We headed back to their home and stayed until just after lunchtime. I’m learning that my kids just don’t seem to do well with traveling- they seem to have an exponential increase in meltdowns and tantrums when we’re not at home, so they were more than ready for some naps on the drive back.

The only cool way to drive home is with pink sunglasses. Obviously.

We had such a great time. It’s not easy having friends move away, but I guess the silver lining is that eventually, you have friends in all different places to go and¬†visit!

baby #3: 30 weeks

30weeksBaby‚Äôs size:¬†Book value is about 3 pounds and close to 17 inches long, BUT my fundal height measured at about 27-28 cm¬†at my appointment this week, and my midwife is not concerned. I’m starting to think this baby will just be petite like Kaelyn, and I’m fine with that! The midwife did say that if I keep measuring small, we probably will have another ultrasound at some point, just to check on everything.
Maternity clothes?: YES! I’m wearing my support belt more and more often too- I definitely feel a difference at the end of the day when I’ve been wearing it versus not.
Gender: Girl!
Symptoms: Just nausea and fatigue.
Sleep: Napping every single day this week… and this will sound terrible, but as of last night, Michael started sleeping on our guest bed. I’ve noticed for a couple of weeks now that I just do not sleep soundly when I have to share space, so nighttime was rough. He pulled the extra mattress into our room, so at least he’s nearby. I did sleep so much better having the bed to myself, though. He’s seriously the best (even though I feel pretty bad for practically forcing him out of our bed…)!
Movement: Yep, she’s still moving all the time, and I think I noticed¬†her very first hiccups this week!
Cravings: I feel almost ashamed to admit this because I know how very unhealthy it is, but when I’m nauseous, all I want is a Wendy’s spicy chicken sandwich. Michael brought one home for me last night and it was amazing.
What I miss: Nothing really!
Anything making you queasy or sick?: I try not to complain, but in all honesty, I’ve had SO much nausea this week. I usually feel a little queasy in the morning, but the worst of it is in the evenings. I even skipped out on going to our Young Women activity on Tuesday night because all I felt like I could do was lay on the couch. My midwife recommended 50 mg of vitamin B-6 three times a day, so I might be headed to the store to pick some of that up this weekend.
Belly Button in or out?: Flat.
Exercising?:¬†WOW I am slow… but I’m still moving, and I think I should be proud of that! I also realized that a lot of my aches and discomfort during my runs have resulted from me being too obsessed with my pace and pushing myself too hard. If I listen to my body, I actually feel pretty great. I ended up with only 19.1 running miles due to traveling and missing a run. Fitbit total:¬†76,250 steps.
Mood: I’m just starting to get anxious to get things ready for this sweet baby. When I think of how many weekends we might have left until we meet her, I really feel like I have nothing prepared for her at all…
Best moment this week:¬†I met one of the “new” midwives at my OB’s practice, and I was relieved to hit it off with her right away. There have been several new hires and at least one midwife that left the practice since I had Kaelyn, and you never know who will be on call when you’re ready to deliver, so it’s great to know that there’s one more midwife I feel completely comfortable with.
Looking forward to: I’m really hoping to get the girls’ room painted and pick out some furniture for them… hopefully this week!
Big sister: Kaya will kiss and touch my belly and say “awww, she knows it’s me!” I think they really are going to have a sweet bond right from the beginning.
Comparison: 30 weeks with Kaya; 30 weeks with Kaelyn.

Just for fun (and not the highest quality photos, since I was too lazy to pull out my external hard drive)… Three baby girls, three bellies, same shirt!30weeks3bumps