We Have a Teenager in the House!

When Anika was a little girl, we had friends who often talked about how scared they were to have teenagers someday. It made me feel nervous, so I tried to block it from my mind.

AnikaA few years later, we met a couple who had two teenage boys, and they said, “The teenage years are so much fun! They’re our favorite – we LOVE having teenagers!” I decided to listen to them.

I have no idea how these teenage years will go – I know there’s a lot of big challenges and issues that can come up, but I’m realizing a couple of things:

  1. When we look too far ahead, it looks scary and unknown. When Anika was two, thinking of her being a teenager was quite overwhelming. But now that we’re here, it feels right and good, and I delight in seeing the person she is becoming. Let’s take things as they come.
  2. Because I love her, I also love her as a teenager. She’s not some random kid – she’s my kid. Before she was born, I was worried because I’ve never been completely comfortable with newborn babies. I’m never the one at baby showers who’s desperate to hold the new baby. I kinda used to wish they’d come out three months old. But even though I don’t love random newborn babies, I fiercely loved our newborn babies. And I will fiercely love our teenagers.
  3. We can always choose life-giving words. If we say, “The teenage years will be TERRIBLE!”, there’s a good chance we’ll be right. If we say, “The teenage years are going to be AWESOME!”, there’s a good chance we’ll be right! Becoming an adult can just be hard – there are a lot of tough adjustments to make, but there’s also a lot of exciting things to look forward to. Today, I’m choosing to celebrate where Anika is at, and all the good things to come.
  4. She was made to do this. Whenever it feels as though my kids are growing up too fast, I have to remind myself this is God’s plan. He created all of us to grow up and become adults. I have to believe that His plan is right and good and perfect, and that He has given me just enough time with my kids to do what He’s asked me to do. He had a great idea when He made Anika, and she will be an amazing adult. I will love being her mom then, just as I love it now. It will be different, but it’s meant to be.

I believe all these things, but hey, we’re only two days in!;) You’re welcome to check in with me in a few years to see how it’s going!

Anika & meSticking with tradition around here, we take a moment to record “birthday favorites” – what Anika is enjoying right now. She’s loving fried potatoes, mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, and sliced/baked in butter potatoes. She is also very passionate about sushi, Cat Warriors or Christy Miller books, and sleepovers with friends. She loves writing her own books, babysitting, attending the youth group at our church, finally being allowed to sit in the front seat when we drive somewhere, and having her own bedroom and bathroom in our newly finished basement.

siblingsShe is a loving, conscientious big sister, and she is incredibly helpful with babysitting or doing work around the house. I love our one-on-one talks early in the morning before anyone else is awake, or curled up in her bed at night. She’s wearing my clothes, and it won’t be long before I look her straight in the eye. She’s growing up! My favorite teenager ever.

Anikaphoto credit: Morgan Braun



Birthday Favorites Part 5

On Friday, life happened but a blog post didn’t, so I’ll sneak one in today, and finish up my birthday favorites!

Favorite Essential Oils

I’ve dabbled in the wonderful world of essential oils for a couple of years now, but this last year is when I realized it was time to get serious! Last summer, I got an insane infection, and was able to avoid antibiotics by using garlic cloves and essential oils. I was blown away by how effective essential oils were in treating the pain and infection.

It can be a bit overwhelming to learn about essential oils, because there is a ton of information, but a wise lady once told me to start with one, and add on as I felt comfortable. That was the perfect advice, and now I don’t feel overwhelmed anymore – it’s fun to find out how to use all of these oils to treat pretty much everything!

My absolute favorite will always be the Stress Away blend from Young Living, but a new favorite is a blend from Rocky Mountain Oils called Balance. Although I have a membership with Young Living, I still don’t order enough oils to benefit from their rewards program. I prefer to order from Rocky Mountain Oils, because the cost and shipping is much lower, but the quality is still great, some would say even better. I like the simplicity of not having to worry about points and passwords, and there are so many great blends.

Favorite Form of Stress Relief

Over the years, I’ve gotten pretty tired of hearing how moms need to take time for bubble baths, and that will somehow be the perfect escape. I really, really dislike baths. I know that sounds weird, but I just don’t take baths. What does that leave for me to enjoy when I’m stuck at home with my kids, and needing an escape?!

Fortunately, someone told me about adult colouring books last summer, and I am saved from bubble baths. Once I start colouring, it is so hard to stop! I love it.

Favorite Song

This song kept popping up all over the place for me this last year, and every time, I would get that big lump in my throat from trying not to cry. It gets me every time – “To tell you my story is to tell of Him.” Isn’t that amazing?! God is so good, and comes after us with love and mercy – how can we keep quiet about all He’s done for us? It’s why I love writing and speaking, why I love talking with people and hearing their stories, and why I believe every hard and horrible experience can be redeemed. There is so much to learn from each other about God’s goodness to all of us. I’m teaching a class this fall about the power of sharing our stories, and I’m getting so excited!

That’s the last bunch of favorites! I’d love to hear what’s brought joy into your life recently – I need to find some new favorites for this next year!


Birthday Favorites Part 4

Today is my food post. I love food. I’m not sure how interesting my food favorites are for anyone else, though, because I have a very basic diet (basic” sounds so much more positive than “restricted”!). I have some issues with food intolerance, but my health as improved a lot in the last few years, and I’m hopeful that as things continue to improve, I’ll be able to add a little more variety to my diet – eggs and Greek yogurt are at the top of my wish list!

The funny thing is, I wouldn’t actually change a lot about my diet, even if I could. In my college days, I ate chocolate ice cream and Fudgee-o’s every single day, and I wouldn’t have believed it was actually possible to survive without chocolate. When my health took a big hit in my 20’s, I had to make some dramatic changes. I quit sugar, dairy, and gluten, which gradually led to a major improvement in how I was feeling. In the beginning it was torture, but with time, I stopped craving junk, and now I completely love eating tons of colorful vegetables, and keeping food simple and unprocessed. That doesn’t mean I never have weak moments – popcorn, chips, and pasta are foods I have trouble eating in moderation, and since all that stuff turns to sugar in the body, I try to stay away from it – usually physical pain is an excellent motivator for healthy eating.;) Anyway, the point is, I eat weird, but this doesn’t bother me, and there are delicious, healthy things to enjoy every day!:)

Here are a few new favorites I discovered this last year:

Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowl

Breakfast is hard when trying to avoid eggs and processed carbs. This is my favorite treat, and I’ve been eating it every single morning for a few months now. I mash up a small sweet potato, melt a ton of butter over it (the only dairy I’m okay with eating), and stir in chopped walnuts and a little bit of sea salt.

sweet potato bowl

Roasted Broccoli Chicken Potatoes

I never know what to call this, but it’s my favorite thing to make for meals these days. It is easy, fast, and I love how it tastes. I cut potatoes into chunks, drizzle oil on top, and season with salt, garlic, or oregano. I roast it for 20 minutes at 400, and then add broccoli and cooked chicken (I always keep some in the freezer so recipes like this are much faster to prepare). Roast for about another 20 minutes, and it’s done! Easiest meal we have around here.

potatoes broccoli chicken

Snap Pea Crisps

If I’m going to have a treat, this would be it. I love these things. While it was brilliant for Costco to start selling the snack size bags, I would have to argue with what the portion size should be.;) We broke up during my pregnancy with Everett – it was just one of those foods that made my stomach turn. Happily, I got over that, and this last year, we got back together again!

snap pea crisps

What are your favorites? I am always looking for new recipes!

Birthday Favorites Part 3

Today I’m sharing my favorite entertainment this past year – it’s on my mind because I’ve been lying around feeling sick and needing some entertainment for the last two days! Bless my in-laws, they’ve taken care of my kids, because I’ve been too sick to do so.

Here’s what I’ve been enjoying this last year:

White Collar

I loved this TV show. I was pretty sad when we finished it, because it might be one of my favorites ever. When I was a kid, I remember listening to Frank Abagnale Jr. share his story on Focus on the Family, and it was super interesting. When the movie inspired by his story, “Catch Me if You Can” came out, I wasn’t really a fan, but this TV show, also inspired by Abagnale Jr., was amazing.

white collarsource

I’m trying to figure out what I loved most – the characters are fantastic, and the writers did such an incredible job with development throughout the show. And there’s that constant pull between wanting Neal Caffrey reform and be the good guy you know he has to be deep down somewhere, but…really loving how incredibly amazing he is at being a con artist. Ben and I were very divided about how we wanted the show to end – I wanted him to reform, and Ben wanted him to keep conning, but the ending was crazy unexpected, and we were both satisfied, and then sad, because that show was just so great.

Brene Brown

Rising Strong strongly affected the way I think, so I ordered The Gifts of Imperfection next, and Ben gave me Daring Greatly for my birthday. Anything she writes is fantastic. I wrote about Rising Strong here, and The Gifts here. I’m sure Daring Greatly will inspire a blog post or two in the future.

Rising Strong


I was curious about Instagram for a long time, but since I’m not the hugest social media fan, I held off. I didn’t think I needed anything else to distract me or keep me busy. But oh my goodness, Instagram is wonderful. It’s exactly what I love – combining pretty pictures with words. I just love following people who know how to take good pictures. I’m still trying to learn how to take good pictures with my phone, but it’s fun to play around with, and I love seeing how other people are sharing their images. If you’re not on Instagram, but you want to check out what I’m sharing, just click on the image to the right.

What have you been doing for fun recently? Any good TV shows on Netflix for us to try, now that White Collar is done?



Birthday Favorites Part 2

Hey, Friends! Thanks so much for all the kind birthday wishes! I spent my day relaxing as much as possible, because I caught the cold my kids have been struggling with for the last week!:( Ben and I postponed our birthday date to a day when I’m feeling better, but at least we had babysitting all lined up, so I spent down time on the couch with some Gilmore Girls episodes. Not really that exciting, but now we have more time to anticipate our birthday date.:)

For today’s birthday favorites, it’s all about exercise. This last year was my year to start strengthening my body, and that’s a big deal for me, as I explained in this post.

It’s funny, because I’ve spent most of my life thinking I wasn’t athletic in any way, and it took 37 years to figure out I was wrong. The school I attended was all about basketball and volleyball, which I couldn’t stand. I liked biking and walks in the sunset, but those weren’t considered “exercise”. When Ben and I first got married, I went through an aerobics video phase, but didn’t really enjoy that either. Exercise was something I felt negative about in every possible way, and I tried to force myself to do it, but nothing stuck.

It’s probably a large part of why I ended up with all the issues I’ve had with my back and hips, although there are other contributing factors. I had a crooked spine, and because I’ve always been very small, I just didn’t have the strength to do things other people would find easy. I tried to make up for lack of strength with tension, and the muscles in my body got pretty messed up, especially during pregnancy.

After spending a few years working on flexibility with yoga, massage, and physiotherapy, this was the year to finally begin strengthening my unhappy muscles. Besides my little team of therapists, who take fantastic care of me, I have four parts to my strengthening program which have been changing my life. That sounds dramatic, but seriously – there are major shifts happening in my body, and I delight in them every single day! When I pick up Everett, or open a heavy door, and am able to do these things easily, I feel very excited about my progress!! Someday soon, I’m going to ride my bike and mop the floor, and it will be a beautiful day….

In the meantime, here’s what I’m loving right now:

Going for Walks

For years, I couldn’t go for a walk, because my hips just hurt far too much. I was always really sad about this, because I had so many beautiful memories of walking down the gravel road with my mom when I was in high school – half a mile west into the sunset, and then back home again.

Last spring, Ben encouraged me to start getting out of the house for a walk, no matter how short it might be. He kept saying a little bit was better than nothing, so I listened to him, even though it felt really dumb to walk past four houses down our street, and then turn around, because that was as far as I could possibly go. But very slowly, I started getting stronger, and I could get past five or six houses. All winter long, no matter how cold it was, I put on a million layers, and I got outside for a walk. My anxiety got less, my sleep improved, and my body got stronger. I love it. Now I go for a daily 20 minute walk, and every single time I head out our door for a walk, I am so full of joy and thankfulness because I can walk again.


Oh, I have such a love/hate relationship with planking!! I love how it’s strengthening my body, but it is so hard to do it! In the beginning, I would actually cry because I dreaded it so much! But my therapist has said it is the BEST thing for back issues. He promised I’d start noticing the difference by two minutes, be in a great place by five minutes, and not even feel my back by ten.

I thought he was insane.

I started with 30 seconds, and it seemed completely impossible to plank for one minute, never mind five or ten. I started in December, and I’ve made it to four minutes. Suddenly five doesn’t seem so impossible anymore! I like to flex in front of the mirror now, because I’m still trying to believe weak little me is actually able to have some muscles in those arms. Anything is possible, I tell ya!!!


Ashtanga Yoga

This isn’t exactly new – I’ve been doing it for about three years now, but this last year has been exciting because I’m really able to notice the health benefits. There are many different types of yoga, but this is my muscle therapist’s favorite, and it’s incredibly effective. You can check it out on youtube here, but the white spandex shorts are a bit much, so I bought this book, since I don’t want to turn the TV on every night when I do yoga. There are pictures of each pose at the back, if I can’t remember the new stuff I’m working on.

Ashtanga Yogasource

Trigger Point Ball

trigger point ball

I love this ball. The idea is very basic – find a sore muscle, and lie on the ball. Sooo much pain, but it makes such a difference!! Unfortunately, Everett also loves it, too, and he runs away with my ball all the time. It rolls under furniture, and sometimes it takes me days to find it! I am very sore those days – I might need to consider getting a back-up. I’m told a lacrosse ball works just as well, and I’ve also used a baseball in desperation!

There you have it – the tools an unsporty girl is using to get strong and active! What’s your favorite way to exercise? Do you enjoy being active, or is it hard to get into the habit?

A Week of Birthday Favorites

Today is my 38th birthday, and the best part is I thought I was turning 39! It happens every year – Ben has his birthday in January, and I slip into thinking I’m already the same age as him, even though I’m six months behind. By the time my birthday roles around, I’m thinking I should be turning a year older, and it’s always a pleasant surprise to realize I’m a year younger than I thought I was!

Every year, I carry on a tradition started by my mom when I was a kid: make a list of birthday favorites. There are two reasons why I carry on with this tradition – it takes me back to all those years of sitting down with my mom to make a list, and even though my favorite foods were always chocolate cake and spaghetti, and my mom already knew that, it just made me feel special to have that one on one time with her, when she made a big deal about recording the things I liked.

The other reason I like doing it is because it’s a reminder of how change and growth continues to happen at any age. Every year, I want to keep pushing myself, learning and discovering, and never forgetting there is so much life to live, new things to enjoy, experiences to have. It might be the smallest things, but if it’s touched my life in a positive way, it’s worth recording.

In the past, I’ve spread this over a month of blog posts, which gets a bit intense, so we’ll make it a week of birthday favorites. And as always, I welcome you to add your favorites in the comments, because I love to hear what other people are enjoying! It’s interesting, inspiring, and gives me new ideas for the next year.

This last year was a tough one for me, but it’s definitely true that hard times are when we can grow the most, so it’s awesome to look back at this last year and see change. For today’s favorites, I’ve been trying to figure out what has brought about some of the biggest change:


It’s a bit humbling to start off with this one, and I hate the stigma around something so incredibly beneficial. Only weak people need counseling, right?! But I think really we all need counseling, because everybody has their own junk, and it is just super hard to work through it all on our own.

To have a completely safe place where I could be brutally honest, and share the ugliest, weakest, most pathetic thoughts with someone who was never shocked or judgmental turned out to be something very life-giving. My counselor walked me through some really tough issues. Sometimes she gave me the words to express what I’d never been able to put into words, other times she just listened. She challenged me to let go of old habits and thought patterns which were not serving me well.

I went for counseling because I had postpartum anxiety and the doctor suggested it, but my sessions went far beyond that issue, and gave me some tools I hope to use for the rest of my life. I don’t think I’m done with counseling – I’m taking some time to mentally chew on all I learned and uncovered, and trying to put all these new things into practice. But in time, I hope to go back again, and work through some more issues, because it really was such a helpful thing to do.


I set out to declutter 2015 things in the year 2015, which resulted in a lot more than just repeated trips to the thrift shop. I experienced a shift in my thinking, about belongings as well as just about life in general. Because of having postpartum anxiety, I had to simplify our schedule, and strip away some hard things like guilt and expectations. In order to function well, I needed to keep things very simple with how we spent our time, and I noticed that the tidier our house was, the better I felt. Life just felt more manageable when things were in their place, and the more I got rid of stuff, the easier it became to keep everything under control.

I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up last summer, and it lived up to it’s title! Up until reading that book, my thinking was, “What am I going to get rid of? What do I not use anymore?” Afterwards, it became, “What am I going to keep? What gives me joy?” The change in questions made it much easier to let go of things for better reasons.


I recommend the book to anyone who is interested in pursuing a lighter load in life! You can read more about the book and the results over here.


I have an app on my phone so I can listen to podcasts while I’m doing housework or driving. This has been amazing, because I’m learning so much from great speakers, and it’s a productive use of time. Sometimes when I have too much time to think, it can lead to negative thoughts, but I love turning on a podcast to get my thoughts back in a good place.

Here are a few of my favorite podcasts right now:

Life Church – I’m working on the “Stay Positive” series, and it’s been very encouraging and motivating.

Meeting House – Bruxy Cavey will always be one of my favorite preachers to listen to.

Janet Lansbury Unruffled – I just started listening to these, but I love her thoughts on parenting. She has a very calm, gentle approach to strong emotions.

HopeWriters – This is a really positive, encouraging and motivating podcast for anyone who enjoys writing.

Personality Hacker – I’ve been learning so much about my personality, and why I interact with people the way I do. It’s led to a huge shift in thinking, and I’m curious about where it’s going to lead.

ProBlogger – For anyone interested in improving a blog.

Homeschool Leadercast – I’ve listened to some great speakers with practical tips on teaching and parenting.

Alright, that’s my first bunch of favorites! What have you been enjoying recently? Is there anything you’ve tried that has positively impacted your life?

Wild and Free

So it took me almost a month to convince Kaylia to let me take some pictures of her for her seventh birthday!

KayliaThis is one strong, determined, unique, feisty girl! Everything has to be her idea, or there is absolutely no way it’s happening. My sneaky parenting skills have greatly increased in the last seven years!

She is creative, sweet, imaginative, carefree, goofy, lovable, and independent. She makes us laugh all the time, but she doesn’t try to be funny just to get attention – she has this quiet way of slipping in these smart, funny little comments.

KayliaShe loves to play outside and help me in the garden. She doesn’t need a lot of people to make her happy – she is fiercely devoted to her three friends, and loves to spend time with Anika and Everett. We are learning the power of alone time for her!

KayliaIt’s so much fun to watch her being a big sister. She’s been the littlest for most of her life, but now she is becoming amazing at finding silly ways to keep Everett happy.

She likes things neat and tidy. She has very specific ideas about how she wants things, much like her big sister, but she doesn’t get emotional about it – she is very matter-of-fact about the way things are going to be.

Being heard and treated with respect are very important to her. Words can deeply wound her, but that’s about it – she is a tough cookie! She’s not a complainer, and she’s a hard little worker.


I tried to keep up the birthday tradition of writing down her favorite things right now, but after the first question, she informed me she was not in the mood, so I filled in her favorites myself.

Food: “I have MILLIONS of favorite foods! You’d have to do a very long list!”

Clothes: Up until now, she has always wanted to wear dresses. But about a month ago, she came to me and said very seriously, “I think I need to get used to wearing pants or shorts.”

Books: Anika has managed to pass on her great love for “Cat Warrior” books to Kaylia. Sometimes she reads them to Kaylia, sometimes Ben or I do, or sometimes Kaylia “pretends” to read them herself.:) The girls play cat warriors, wrestle like cat warriors, draw pictures of cat warriors, etc.

Toys: She is very into Lego Elves, when she’s not playing cat warriors!

KayliaI came across a quote the other day which made me think of her:

WildGod knew I needed her to loosen me up, and teach me a few things about being wild and free!


Our Sweet Birthday Boy

It’s Everett’s turn to join our family tradition of birthday favorites! Isn’t it just amazing that in a single year, a baby can go from being a helpless newborn to a little person with very distinct favorites and fun little personality?:)

EverettFavorite Food: apples, pancakes, muffins, sweet potatoes

Favorite Things to Do: Walk, walk, and walk some more. He also loves stories – he’ll go pick out a book and bring it to us. Bathtime is another HUGE favorite – if anyone mentions the word “bath”, he runs for the tub, calling out, “Ba, ba!!!” He loves to play ball, and makes car noises while driving his little cars around. He is so smiley and cheerful almost all the time, and loves to give us snuggles.:)

Words: He calls me “Mem”, cheers “Yay!”, and shakes his head for “no”.


EverettEverettWe love our sweet boy!!! Can’t believe how much better life is because of him!

And here are our comparison pictures:

All threeAll ThreeAll Three

Happy Birthday, Dear Anika

Kendra & AnikaShe’s the extrovert to my introvert. She’s the wild, crazy ideas to my methodical, detailed solutions. She’s the music and noise lover to my silence craving. She’s the dramatic energy to my need for peace and calm.

But she’s also my long-talk-loving, good-book-inhaling, open and honest sharing-of-the-soul craving daughter.

She’s so much like me, and she’s also so much like Ben. She keeps me from getting stuck in my own controlled, organized little world, and reminds me that music, imagination, and a little flamboyancy keeps life happier.

Yesterday was Anika’s birthday, and although we could not make it a national holiday, which would be her preference, we were able to have a great day celebrating our sweet girl.


As is the custom around her, we’ve put together a list of her favorite things right now, as a brand new 12-year-old:

Food: POTATOES, pancakes, fish, sushi

Things to Do: reading, playing dolls and Lego with Kaylia, writing, hanging out with friends

Books: any Warrior Cats books, Story’s End, The Inheritance cycle, Anne of Green Gables, Christy Miller series, The Lord of the Rings trilogy

Colour: Blue

What she wants to be when she grows up: Actress and Author

And oh, my goodness, has she ever changed from last year! I didn’t realize how much she’s grown up until I went back to her birthday post from 2014. It shouldn’t have surprised me so much – I can hardly buy clothes fast enough to keep up with her growth spurts, she borrows clothes from me, and I slip into her rubber boots when I need to quickly run out to the garden. She’s also become very responsible in the last year, and takes care of Kaylia and Everett almost like they were her own children….Almost.;)

I’m having so much fun watching her grow up and becoming the person she was created to be!


Photo credit: Morgan Braun


Anika’s Birthday Favorites 2014

We celebrated Anika’s birthday this week!


She turned 11 on Wednesday, and was quite disappointed that her birthday happened to fall on a day when we had to be rushing around in the city with appointments and swimming lessons. But she got to choose our meals for the day, which was planned out months in advance, and we’re having a little party for her tomorrow with a small group of friends.

If Anika could plan her birthday in whatever way she truly wanted to, it would be a national holiday. She would invite about 30 girls to our house, we would decorate for about a week straight, and it would be a Huge Event. Someday, she’ll make a fantastic event coordinator…

For this year, we’ve had to have many little talks about keeping things small and simple – birthday party stamina is in short supply for me, so we’ll see how this goes.

In the meantime, we’ve got the tradition list of birthday favorites that I always do for each member of the family.

Breakfast: waffles, breakfast sausage and bacon, Tatortots, Honey Cloud Pancake

Lunch and Supper: sushi, Chip Potatoes, rotisserie chicken, fried potatoes, fish, steamed broccoli, mushrooms

Snacks and Treats: muffins, cupcakes, toast, Popcorn Twists, chocolate

Things to Do: play with Polly Pockets, Lego, read, play with friends, write books

Books: The Golden Compass, The Lord of the Rings, Emily of New Moon, Anne of Green Gables, The Babysitter Club series

Color: blue

What she wants to be when she grows up: author, actress, teacher (but she’ll homeschool her own kids!)

My Favorite Things About Anika:

– Talks at bedtime. This girl cannot go to sleep until we’ve talked through anything and everything that might be on her mind, and I love it. Bedtime is my favorite time with her!

– Her ability to enjoy such a wide range of people and activities. Anika loves babies, little kids, kids her own age, adults, anybody. She is comfortable talking to everybody – hairdressers take a special delight in her, because within about two minutes in the chair, she’s maturely pouring out her thoughts and secrets, and they’re talking like old friends.

She will make anything fun – entertaining kids with toys she has long outgrown, or using her imagination to transform anything into a fun, exciting story. It is no wonder Kaylia can’t wait to spend every moment playing with her sister.:)

– Her love for the dramatic. It is her greatest joy right now to have been given one of the main parts in our church’s Christmas musical. She has waited for this for two years, and when her dream finally came true, it was very difficult to eat or sleep or function normally in any way, for a few days.

Everything is a Big Deal with Anika. At times, it is hard for me to keep up with her energy level, but at the same time, I know that as she grows and matures, this will be a gift that I hope she will use in increasingly positive ways, and that will bring joy and excitement into the lives of people around her.:)

-Her help. I would not have been able to survive this pregnancy without her!! She has done a ton of extra chores around the house, little favours for me, and helped with Kaylia. I’ve been a hormonal grouch, and she’s been so understanding, telling me when she thinks it’s time for me to lie down and take a nap!!

She’s a beautiful, sweet girl, and I keep telling her that next year, when we’re not on the verge of having a baby, we’ll make up for this year’s low-keyed celebration!!


photos: Morgan Braun