Christmastime

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Christmas 2016

It’s the most wonderful(ly busy) time of the year. We’ve had a busy month since my last update and at some point (as I always seem to say) I’m going to sit down and write about it, but for now, I’m just going to leave some of our pre-Christmas photos here so they’re all in one place for me to look back on and get teary-eyed about because OH MY GOSH MY BABY IS A TODDLER NOW. And she is the most beautiful, sweet, and perfect little girl I’ve ever met.

My mom and sister outdid themselves again with the holiday-themed photos. We can all agree that it is SO much harder to get her to stay still enough to get a decent, non-blurry photo now that she is constantly on the move.

And speaking of being on the move, two toddlers are way, WAY, harder than one. Kim and I did our second annual cousins’ Christmas photos and they were super cute, but SUPER hard to do. It took forever last year since the babies were constantly sleeping, eating, and pooping, but this year was WAY more challenging. I was chasing them both around trying to throw them into place and duck out of the frame before they ran off again.

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Miles and Kaya, Christmas 2016

But didn’t they turn out amazing? Miles is very, very active and easily excited and it was very overwhelming for Kaya. He loves to give hugs, but they were a little aggressive for Kaya so I spent a lot of time trying to coax her in to staying beside him without crying or trying to escape.

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Turns out, one-year-olds don’t actually like sitting on a crate tangled in lights.

It was great to spend a day with Kim and Miles again, like the days when we were on maternity leave together. And I’m so thankful we’re making this a tradition because we’ll have these great memories forever.

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Those diaper butts are the cutest.

Kaya ate her first cookie…and LOVED it. Hope she doesn’t think that’s going to be a regular thing. ;)

 

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Eating Santa’s cookies by the tree. :)

We got our tree with my family again this year. Kaya had a great time running around and pointing at all the trees.

She LOVES Christmas lights. She points and “ooos” at them and loves wandering around my parents’ and my parents’ neighbor’s yard because they have a bunch of figurines setup. She officially says dog (pronounced “deg”) now and “woof woofs” at almost every animal she sees.

I can’t believe Christmas is in two days! My grandparents’ flight gets here in a few hours and I’m so excited for all of the fun holiday activities we’ll be doing with family this weekend. I hope Kaya kicks this little cold she has going on today! I’m enjoying all of the extra snuggles and don’t really mind her wiping her snot on me, but I hate to see her feeling a little less like herself. Fingers crossed for happy AND healthy holidays!

Just the two of us

Josh went on vacation for a week so it’s just been the two of us (three including Hanky ;)). I’ve been working from home in the mornings before I drop Kaya off and, thankfully, it’s been slow so I haven’t had to do much. I wish I could be at home every morning! It’s much easier going to work everyday when I get to hang out with her for a few hours in the morning, too.

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She’s got style.

Most of our week has been laid back and lazy, but we’ve gone on a few little adventures, too! We went to a first birthday party and Kaya had fun running around with the other little kids. She’s such a social butterfly when it comes to kids!

 

We also took Hank to the dog park and Kaya had the time of her life pointing and giggling at all of the dogs. She also ate some dirt and I am SO grossed out because who knows what kind of germs were on it. EWWW.

My friend Chrissy gave me a pass to the Birch Aquarium for Kaya’s birthday (kids under two are free) so we went on Sunday and it was awesome! Kaya loved the floor-to-ceiling exhibit and “oooed” and pointed at everyone passing by. When we were outside, Kaya was so excited to run over to one of the tide pools, but a lady wasn’t watching where she was going and plowed into her. She hardly even seemed apologetic! Kaya superman-sprawled onto the ground and started bawling. It was so sad, but she calmed down pretty quickly and came out relatively unscathed, just a small red mark on her cheek. I felt so livid and wanted to pummel that lady for her lack of caution and remorse. But we moved on and had a good rest of the day.

On Friday, Kaya had her twelve-month checkup. I still can’t believe she’s a whole year old! She passed with flying colors yet again. She’s in the 76th percentile for weight (21 pounds and 11.5 ounces), 67th for height (29.75 inches), and 99th for her big ol’ noggin’. She did so well with her vaccines. When she got pricked the first time, she stared at the nurse like “WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU DONE?” and then sobbed for her other three. Nothing a single puff couldn’t cure though. By the time the nurse left she was waving and giggling again. She’s such a happy girl.

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I’ll say this every day and at every appointment, but she’s still perfect. :)

We went to breakfast too many times (I’m a pancake/waffle addict!), including this morning for my mom’s birthday. We’re going to celebrate with dinner tonight, too. Josh should be home tonight and I’m curious to see Kaya’s reaction when she sees him. We’ve talked on the phone and FaceTimed a few times, but she hasn’t been super interested. Hank, on the other hand, gets so excited to hear Josh’s voice and I know he’s going to lose his mind when he sees Josh. I’ve tried to spend some extra time with Hank while Josh has been gone, but it’s hard not to neglect him a little. He’s been so good with Kaya lately and it’s adorable to see their little relationship develop. He’s gotten frustrated with her when she tries to take toys out of his mouth or when she screams at him and pokes his eyeballs, but overall he’s super gentle and sweet.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I am thankful for so many things, but above all else, I’m so thankful for my family.

Fiesta de Kaya

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Kaya’s first birthday party, November 12, 2016.

To celebrate our little Kaya June’s first birthday, we threw a fiesta and it was a BLAST. Kaya had a great time mingling with her 49 birthday guests. She was a little shy at first (she wouldn’t budge from the spot she was standing in when people started to arrive), but before long she was wandering around the backyard smiling and pointing.

What a day! Josh worked his buns off to get the backyard ready and kid-friendly, and my sister and I spent so much time crafting and planning. The result? Perfection! It was a fun and Pinterest-worthy party, if I do say so myself.

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Oh, that little furrowed brow and those balled up fists. I love her personality.

I never thought we’d have an opportunity to have almost all of our friends and family join us for a big celebration after our wedding, but we did! There were quite a few kids and babies, which was heaven for Kaya. I love how much she loves kids. And now that she can walk, she has even more fun chasing them around.

The cake smash was pretty funny. She was very concerned when everyone started singing and then she lightly grazed the frosting with her fingers. She wasn’t too interested when I cut a piece for her to taste either. I ate a good portion of it over the next days so it didn’t go to waste. ;)

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CAKE.

Even though she didn’t eat much cake, she was a mess afterward. So happy I bought two adorable Mexican dresses. Everyone was impressed (and possibly a little weirded out) by the outfit change. She is SO stinking cute I can hardly stand it.

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The sassiest señorita I know.

A friend from work lent me her son’s bounce house and it was a huge hit! The perfect size for the little ones and great entertainment for the big kids. I always thought it was kind of ridiculous to own one of these things, but after seeing how much fun everyone had in it, I can see how it could be a good investment.

I’m glad everyone took so many photos because I completely forgot until the end. So thankful to everyone who captured all of these great shots!

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Mama to the best little girl.

I kind of forgot about the piñata until the last minute (also I bought three because I had plans for really cute posted photos…which I also forgot about) so we ended up having the olders kids destroy it on the ground. In hindsight, that was not a safe idea, but it worked out and everyone had fun.

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Just a girl and her donkey.

And now, I’m just going to post a bunch of photos because I can’t think of anything else to say other than I am so thankful for my hardworking husband, crafty sister, good Mexican food, and all of our friends and family who helped us celebrate our sweet girl.

Happy,  happy birthday, sweet Kaya June! Thanks for letting us dress you up in cute dresses and bows and being such a good sport for the millions of pictures we take of you. You’re the best thing ever.

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Happy 1st birthday, little one!

You’re one

Kaya June,

Last week you turned one. Oh, how the time has flown. We had such a fun week and you had a blast at your first birthday bash. I have so much to tell you and so many memories to share. I’ll do that soon. For now, I want you to remember the words from one of our favorite books, Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You. Forever and for always I will mean them, sweet love.

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November 9, 2016: You are ONE.

I wanted you more than you will ever know,
so I sent love to follow wherever you go.

It’s high as you wish it. It’s quick as an elf.
You’ll never outgrow it…it stretches itself!

So climb any mountain…climb up to the sky!
My love will find you. My love can fly!

Make a big splash! Go out on a limb!
My love will find you. My love can swim!

It never gets lost, never fades, never ends…
if you’re working…or playing…or sitting with friends.

You can dance ’til you’re dizzy…paint ’til you’re blue …
There’s no place, not one, that my love can’t find you.

And if someday you’re lonely, or someday you’re sad,
or you strike out at baseball, or think you’ve been bad…

Just lift up your face, feel the wind in your hair.
That’s me, my sweet baby, my love is right there.

In the green of the grass…in the smell of the sea…
in the clouds floating by…at the top of a tree…

In the sound crickets make at the end of the day…
“You are loved. You are loved. You are loved,” they all say.

My love is so high, and so wide and so deep,
it’s always right there, even when you’re asleep.

So hold your head high and don’t be afraid
to march to the front of your own parade.

If you’re still my small babe or you’re all the way grown,
my promise to you is you’re never alone.

You are my angel, my darling, my star…
and my love will find you, wherever you are.

You are loved.

I’ll love you forever, sweet girl.

Family Friday

I don’t think that’s really a thing, but I’m rolling with it because, while I don’t have much to say, I just HAVE to post these photos so I have a legitimate excuse as to why I’m staring at them for the millionth time this week.

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The Cassels, August 2016

Back when my family was here in August, we took family photos at a park near our house and they turned out so well! We finally got them back (there were so many too choose from!) and I love them so much. So thankful to have these sweet memories, especially since we don’t get to get a big group of us together very often.

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My favorite girls.

I swear, it’s only been 2 1/2 months and Kaya already looks so different! She still looks like a pudgy little baby in these!

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The best people in the world.

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F A M I L Y

And that’s that. I feel so lucky to have such a great family. I really do.

Halloween 2016

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Kaya’s 1st Halloween, 2016

Words can’t express how adorable my poofy rain cloud was, but pictures get a little closer.

I have to give myself a little pat on the back for her costume. I think I’m pretty creative, but my ability to actually execute my ideas is usually less than favorable. But her costume turned out pretty dang cute and she was the star of the trunk-or-treat carnival! And… I wore lipstick. It didn’t really pertain to my costume at all, but I decide to add some sass because it was Halloween or whatever. I felt kind of silly, pretty girly, and Kaya kept trying to pat my lips. Anyway, yay for our first Halloween family costume!

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Cassel Halloween, 2016

Kaya ripped her costume apart during the struggle to get her inside, but after a minor panic and a little extra spray glue, we were off to the festivities! She had the time of her life toddling around saying “hi” and waving to everyone. People stopped left and right to say hello to her and everywhere I looked I saw people pointing and fawning over our little baby cloud. PROUD MAMA OVER HERE!

Kaya’s first Halloween was definitely a success and being this little girl’s mama is the best thing ever.

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I’ll love you forever.

It’s fall, y’all!

I’ve always wanted to say that, but think it’s weird when non-Southerners do. But yesterday, really did feel like fall (y’all)! I took Kaya to the pumpkin patch on Sunday and it was drizzly and slightly dreary and it felt just right.

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Fall 2016

Kaya had a blast! She was thrilled to be around so many people, especially kids! I think she enjoyed waving and saying “hiieeee” to everyone more than checking out the pumpkins. Her little voice is the cutest thing. I was trying to be good about writing down all of her milestones, but I’m not quite sure when she started saying hi. It started off as “eye” and then sort of morphed into the “hiieeee” it is now with the softest little “huh” sound at the beginning. Most of the time it’s a short and loud, “AYE!” It’s darling.

I was sad that Josh couldn’t join us and I was kind of surprised to see him so bummed that he missed our pumpkin patch adventure. He was demoing the backyard in preparation for the wall we’re having put in this week. It’s funny how exciting house projects can be nowadays. We’re trying to get the backyard functional before Kaya’s birthday party in two weeks and even though we’ve lived in our house for five years, we’ve never had a big gathering so this is a pretty big deal!

Anyway, the pumpkin patch was a huge success and I can’t wait for Josh to join us next year! Kaya had so much fun in the corn maze and every time a kid ran past us she’d try to chase after them, waving and shrieking with glee.

Josh was so excited to let Kaya dig into a pumpkin. We thought she’d really get in there and get messy, but she was less than enthused. It’s funny because she is a total mess when she’s eating (she covers her face and body in food half the time), but she looked grossed out by the pumpkin guts. She spent a total of five minutes with the pumpkin, half of which involved me picking her up and putting her back in front of it after she’d walked away. These pictures make it look like she was a lot more interested.

In other news, this girl likes to eat! We’ve been blessed (for now) with a grazer, which makes going out to eat so easy. As long as she has little chunks of food in front of her, she’s content to sit in her high chair and hang out with us. She seems to like mostly everything now, but her favorite is cheese. Like mother, like daughter! I think I’ve pretty much sworn off apples at this point though. She seems to like them, but she chokes every time, even on little pieces. I let her gnaw on an apple at the grocery store (which actually grossed me out immediately after I gave it to her because I didn’t wash it first) and she thought that was the coolest thing ever. And then violently choked and spit up a bunch of phlegm all over the both of us. It was quite the scene.

We spent a lot of time at my parents’ house this weekend. Our house was noisy with all the yard work and I’ve been getting antsy when I stay cooped up too long. Kaya LOVES it at my parents’ house. They have grass and their patio is covered so she spends a lot of time outside, which is her favorite place to be. It was my sister’s birthday on Friday and we went out to dinner to this hibachi grill place and it was fun! Kaya cried once because the chef was so loud, but seemed to enjoy being passed around the table and was interested in the little fire tricks at the grill. It was fun and tasty! And Kaya absolutely adores her Auntie Bink.

I’ve been sick off and on with some sniffles and a gross cough for the last two weeks, but this weekend I really started feeling terrible. I can’t stop coughing! And I heard my poor little baby cough a few times the last two nights and I hate that I exposed her to whatever sickness I have going on. She seems okay during the day so my fingers are crossed that she’s not actually getting sick. The photos below are from a little photo shoot my mom and sister did last week. It sucks, for lack of a better word, to leave Kaya to go to work all week, but opening my phone to see these adorable photos definitely put a smile on my face. It’s funny because growing up, my sister and I were never allowed to dress up as anything scary and you’d definitely never find a witch hat in our house. I was shocked to see a little witch hat atop my baby’s head, even if it was a cutesy one. She’s the cutest little witch I’ve ever seen. ;)

For Halloween, we went to “Light the Night” at my parents’ church for trunk-or-treating. Kaya had the time of her life! I’m making a separate post for that because there are WAY too many photos to share!