a change in seasons

The weather is changing yet again, and we’re transitioning from a cool, crisp fall to a dark, frigid winter.

I watch the seasons go by like some time-warped illusion, each one seeming to pass even more quickly than the last. As I see the world turning and the days flying by, the abrupt end of the seasons reminds me how very fleeting time is.

This whole period of life we’re in is nothing but a season, and before anything changes, I already know how much I’ll miss these most tender moments with my young family.
_mg_6579 These days are marked by soft little voices, afternoon naps, chubby baby cheeks and sweet snuggles._mg_6609By the absolute silliest, most hilarious Daddy three little girls could ever hope for.
_mg_6597These are the days when the simplest things bring my children so much joy: jumping in a big pile of leaves, wearing their hair in pigtails, and bringing their best stuffed animal friends  with them everywhere they go._mg_6599There are giggles and all-around goofiness. They run to the door joyfully shouting our names when we come home, and mommy’s kisses are still magic for stopping booboos from hurting._mg_6594In the more challenging moments, I remind myself that I won’t be handling tantrums, potty-training, or seemingly endless mess-making forever, because after this season, those too will pass. In an instant, my daughters’ sweetness and love make up for the more difficult days of parenting little people._mg_6584This is a season I’m so glad to be in.

little moments make it all worth it

I always say how grateful I am to be able to stay home with my kids, teach them, and watch them grow- but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy and fun.

Although they are generally well-behaved, my girls will still fight over the same hair bow on Sunday morning, refuse to eat their dinner, scream and squabble over toys, or end up in time-out several times in one day. It’s enough to wear down anyone’s patience and sense of accomplishment, and that’s when it really does me good to recognize and cherish the small moments in the every day.

Time isn’t going any slower, and even though I usually feel like I couldn’t be any more tired than I am now, I know that these are some of the very best days of my life.

These days, I love…

…knowing that they are best friends and will forever have each other._MG_3593

…watching their wonder and amazement at a big thunderstorm rolling through the neighborhood.IMG_20160727_161527

…a little baby who never seems to stop wiggling in my belly.

…finding surprising new flowers budding in my yard._MG_4188

forehead kisses from my best friend.

…early-morning sleepy hugs in the last few moments before Daddy heads off to work._MG_4182

handcrafted bracelets, gifted to me with the tightest around-the-neck hug that it almost takes my breath away.

…impromptu hilarious moments._MG_4238

… how she always has an armful of her favorite stuffed animals, and blurry pictures of her real smile.IMG_20160803_112852

… a classic George Strait song that speaks right to my soul and has me imagining what my babies might be like when they’re grown.

… pretend tiny tea parties with my littlest._MG_4248

…that Kaelyn answers every single question we ask her with a resounding “NOOOO!”, followed by a giant laugh.

…when Kaya randomly says “I’m so happy that we’re having another baby”. I know that as soon as they see her for the first time, they will forever protect her and love her._MG_4099

making the magic

I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve written. Just a week really, but it’s been a quiet, wonderful break from feeling like I constantly need to be working on a project.

Michael has been off of work since the afternoon before Christmas Eve, and we’ve been enjoying some relaxing time as a family. Sleeping in, leisurely getting ready in the mornings, and having nowhere to be at any certain time has been good for all of us. I’ve even had time to sit and read a entire novel in these past couple of days!

Our Christmas was magical. I couldn’t have hoped for it to be any better. If you know me well, you know that I love counting down to Christmas, and for me, the anticipation of the day is nearly as exciting as the day itself. As always, it’s a bit sad when this season ends, but this year, I also felt a new emotion after all our festivities, when both my children were tucked into bed.

A relieved sense of accomplishment._MG_0494

I pulled it off- all the planning, shopping, present-wrapping, baking, cooking, photo-taking, videotaping, and of course, holding meaningful conversations about our Savior and the true purpose of Christmas.

My family had the happiest smiles on their faces all day long, and that’s what I would call success.

It is no small task being the mom around Christmastime.

I really have a new-found appreciation for my own mom and all the work she has always put into our family holiday gatherings. My children are getting old enough to start remembering our activities and traditions, and I’ve felt the importance of really putting forth the effort to make memorable experiences for them.

Another Christmas has passed and become just a memory. I’m grateful I get to be a part of making the magic of the holiday happen for my little family.

three years of motherhood

It’s no secret that I tend to get sentimental around my babies’ birthdays. Really, is there any mom who doesn’t?

Obviously, I was emotional about Kaelyn turning one just a few months ago, but there is something that pulls on my heartstrings a little extra hard when Kaya’s birthday rolls around.

Probably because it’s not only her birthday, but also the anniversary of when I first became a mom. And that is one of my favorite memories of all time.

I see all these super-pregnant women around just waiting to have their first babies, and silently, I think about all the things I could tell them.

Mostly, I could sum it all up in one sentence:

Mama, your world is about to be rocked.

Sure, you’ll have the sleepless nights, lots of crying, and toddler tantrums. Your body might never be the same, and your life certainly won’t be, either. Sometimes, you might even forget who you used to be before you became “just mom”.

But really, these little babies change everything in the best way.

You’ll think you love that little person who miraculously comes from your own body when you first meet. And you will.

But just wait until she smiles at you for the first time. When she gives you a giant kiss and slobbers on your whole face. That first time she throws her arms around your neck and genuinely tells you “I wuv mommy”. When you laugh together for so long that your cheeks hurt.

Just wait until your baby is sick, and she needs you to sit with her while she throws up.

Just wait until she gets hurt and needs to go to the hospital for stitches. When she comes home afterward, her face so swollen that she barely recognizes herself in the mirror. Your heart will be in your throat, and you’d do anything to trade places with her so that she wouldn’t have to go through this.

Through it all, you’ll feel like you love her a thousand times more than you did when you met her that first day.

She changed my world forever. Everything is a little more beautiful. Moments are a bit more precious. Love is a whole lot stronger.

I’m still kind of new to this motherhood thing, but I can’t help thinking that that is exactly how it should be.

I’m so thankful for this kind of love and that I get to spend my days with my two little girls.

Thanks for making me a mama, sweet Kaya.

mother’s day 2015

We didn’t really do anything on Mother’s Day this year… but we did take a picture, and that is worth posting!_MG_7426I could write a whole post about everything these two have taught me… the way they love me and test me, fill up my heart and then try my patience. I could list out all my favorite moments or tell you how much it means to me to be a mom to these special spirits.

But today I want to just keep it simple.

I love these two little princesses with my whole being. I usually don’t feel like I even deserve them because they really are that amazing.

I feel blessed, and I’m so grateful for this sacred calling. Even on the tough days, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Hope you all had a great Mom’s Day 🙂

holding on tight

Tomorrow, my baby turns 9 months old. NINE months. She’s been living in the outside world just as long as she lived inside my belly, which is so crazy to think about.

Before long, I know she’ll be crawling, then walking, then going off to college. I might be exaggerating a little, but time is certainly flying by.

So I’m holding on to these days with my baby.

And more often than not, her little arm is wrapped around me, and she’s holding on, too.
_MG_6838 I cherish the moments we have together, just the two of us. Sometimes, we have our quiet time together in the dark of night. I have to admit, I really don’t mind waking up with this girl at 3 am, because that’s when we seem to have the best snuggles and the happiest sleepy-faced grins.

Sometimes, I’ll fall asleep while feeding her, and I wake up when I feel her tiny fingers stroking (or sometimes grabbing!) my face. As soon as we lock eyes, we always share a smile.
_MG_6841When she’s upset, all I have to do it hold her close to me, and her whole body relaxes and rests on mine. I am still her safe place.

Love you to the moon and back, Kaelyn Grace.
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a perfect hint of spring

Being a mom is my favorite “job” ever.

There are good days, frustrating days, fun days, and somewhat boring days.

And then, every so often, there’s a perfect day.

Monday was definitely one of those.
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It felt just like spring with temperatures in the low 50s. My lungs basked in the warm air on my morning run, and soon after I returned home, I hurried back out the door with my babies in tow. There was no way we were going to miss out on warm weather when we’ve been enduring single-digit and teen temperatures often this winter.

We walked 2.25 miles and made a stop at the playground. Kaya enjoyed running from the slide to the ride-on space shuttle, with a few stops on the swings in between. She just kept telling me “fun!”, and that made my heart soar pretty high. From time to time, she’d look over at me with the biggest grin on her face.kaya02092015collage Kaelyn took a mini-nap in the stroller, and then enjoyed snuggles with mommy and her first-ever ride in the baby swing! Kaya was so eager to help push her, and they were both all smiles.02092015collage2
We all went to bed happily tired that night. Having fun is the best way to wear yourselves out!

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you’re doing better than you think

In the quiet evening hours, when I have a few moments alone long enough for thinking, I usually find myself wondering, “Did I do a good job today?”

Sometimes, I get a serious case of “mom guilt”. It’s easy to be hard on yourself when you’re doing the biggest, most important job of your life.

As I mentally run through the day, I can recall several situations that might not have been ideal:

My toddler wet her pants more times that I could count.
Maybe I wasn’t as calm as I would have liked to be about said pants-wetting.
I’m not always sure what to say (or how to say it) so that I’m building my child up instead of tearing her down.
I’ve called waffles “dinner” more times in a week than I’d like to admit.
The baby sat in her seat longer than I’d like instead of being cuddled or getting some exercise on the floor.
Did Kaya eat enough vegetables today? (or sometimes more realistically… did she eat any vegetables today?)
Did we enjoy and real quality time together? The minutes pass me by so quickly and I worry I’m not enjoying my babies enough.

And just when I start worrying about all these things, Kaya reaches out to hold my hand. She asks to sit on my lap, and stays there for a while.

She still loves me, despite all my mistakes. I’m doing better at this whole motherhood thing than I tend to think I am.

Chances are, you are too.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset(Kaya took this picture without me knowing, and I love it, because it’s so real. A kiss from me to a happy baby, completely unposed.)

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playing zoo

Something I still haven’t really mastered since having a second baby is carving out some one-on-one time with each of them. It’s so easy to get caught up in all that needs to be done, driving all over town, and completing chores, that more often than I would like to admit, the day ends and I’m left wondering if we had any good quality time together.

When a few quiet moments present themselves, I’m more than eager to get down on the floor and play.
_MG_6213Yesterday, Kaya and I built a mini “zoo” out of blocks. She was so excited and started putting her animals inside the fence right away! She’s growing up so fast and the way she plays is changing, too- she actually pretended the animals were climbing the walls, running, eating, and drinking!
_MG_6214Just a few minutes with her mommy all to herself meant the world to this girl._MG_6215 The best part is… it meant a whole lot to me, too.
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she is my joy

The morning is new, the sun barely risen. She stretches, opening her eyes barely a sliver before catching sight of me. The world’s biggest grin dances across her lips. She’s been with me throughout various hours of the night, but seeing each other for the first time at each new dawn never loses its magic, for either of us. I live for moments like that.

She quietly nurses. Her dimpled hands grab at my shirt, and when she finishes, she lays her head up against my chest. There is no closeness like this one.
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She wants nothing more than her mama. I am her source of comfort, peace, and nurture. She is my source of joy.Processed with VSCOcam with lv02 preset

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