sadie's first birthday.

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We celebrated Sadie Baby at the park with good friends. When I pictured Sadie's first birthday, I always saw flowers and cake because Sadie is soft and sweet. And, so that's what we did. I was proud of myself because I kept the party small (for my standards), with easy food, and decorations I already had. I just wanted to get friends together and relax with my baby girl.

We had hotdogs and hamburgers, and the kids ran around the playground all evening. Sadie was surprisingly cranky, and refused to smile for the camera unless I was literally holding a piece of food in front of her face. But, I forgive her because she mysteriously decided to keep her flower crown on for the second half of the party.

Also, the second we put that cake in front of her, her face lit up with delight. She already had a cake smash while were in Utah, so this time around she totally knew what was going in. She immediately picked up the entire mini cake with both hands and started to shoving it in her mouth. Sadie eating cake is the best thing you will see all year. 

The birthday girl also left everyone a present on the picnic blanket later. I still don't quite understand how it happened, but one minute she was sitting on the blanket, and the next minute she was crawling away, leaving behind a perfectly formed poop. She was wearing a diaper and bloomers! (!?) That crazy party girl.

We had a good time celebrating our sweet girl. I loved seeing her bask in her birthday bliss. I think she picked up on the fact that everyone was paying attention to her, and she really appreciated it. I'm so grateful for good friends who treat my girls like their own, and come out to a picnic birthday party for a baby. We had a good time.

Also, my mom came all the way out from Texas! It was so nice having her here to celebrate. She was such a help with the party, and with the girls. More to come, from our adventures the past few weeks...

one year.

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Sadie Baby is one year.

I love that second picture of her, because it's how I will remember her at this age. Right at her year mark, Sadie just started to blossom with personality, independence, and a sweet sort of mischief. She was scooting along quite contentedly when, pretty much overnight, she figured out how to crawl and stand by herself. She is steady and strong, and getting into trouble.

Sadie is the sweetest. She finds the best moments to rest her head on your shoulder. Like, when I sit down in the backseat about put her in her carseat, she suddenly melts into my chest and I am forced to take a short, sweet moment to hold her and be still. She still sucks her thumb, and lovingly pinches you with her other hand. If she's by herself, she will suck her thumb and pinch her ear lobe or her own tiny arm. She loves our quiet moments, like when she wakes up, when no one else has come to break the quiet. Those moments when it's just the two of us and we can just be still.

I love this baby girl so much.

I waited so long. It took us 16 months to get pregnant this second time around. I was frustrated and sad, and just didn't understand how or why it wasn't working out the way I had planned. But, when I look at this baby girl with her toothy smile and her sweet downturned eyes, I want to cry and say, "Yes. I will take care of you. You are mine, forever." Yes, I would have waited longer if it meant having my Sadie. And, honestly- Yes, I could have three more if they were all like Sadie. She is everything I could have asked for in a baby.

I love this age. It's that glorious time where you, as a mom, are the tops. That baby wants you 90% of the time. That baby makes you feel like a million bucks. She can play by herself, doesn't talk back, and still wants to cuddle. And when you do the smallest thing to please or nourish her, that face lights up and makes you feel like pure gold.

Sadie Baby, you are golden. We love you.

Sadie at one year:

reaches- My favorite, favorite new development is "the reach." She will crawl over to my feet, sit down, look up at me, reach out her arms, and open and close her little hands. She does it whenever she sees me, no matter who is holding her. I feel like it's the first concrete communication she has developed. And, those tiny hands...

LOUD- She has also become quite vocal. She will tell you when she is upset or hungry or bored or needs a cuddle. She will yell it at the top of her lungs until you do something about it. This is the new Sadie, and she will no longer be ignored. She wants in on the action.

growl- Sadie growls like a little gremlin. It is the funniest sound. I need to get a good video of it, because I have a feeling it may not last long. She growls as a form of communication or just while she is casually playing. She loves it when you growl back at her, and will hold a full conversation if you let her.

"mama"- She's been saying it for awhile, but I think she is starting to say it when she is referring to me. It's hard to tell. She even picked up on one of my gestures. Lately, I have been trying to get her to learn the names of the family members. So, I point to Eliza and say "Eliza." Or, I pat my hand on my chest and say, "Mama." So, lately, Sadie says "mama, mama" and pats her belly like she's pointing to herself.

BIG- This child is huge all of a sudden. Like, long and large. I think all the moving is leaning her out a bit, but she is definitely getting longer. She still has that roll on her thigh, though. As long as she has that roll, I don't need to worry about my baby growing up. It's when the rolls melt away that you have a toddler on your hands.

games- Sadie loves to play games with you. She loves playing "drop the toy over and over." My favorite (Ha.) Except, sometimes when I allow myself to be patient and have fun with it, it can actually be really cute. She gets so excited to play.

molars- Sadie has actually been a bit of a nightmare this last week. Upon further investigation, we discovered that her molars were already coming in. So, I had to forgive her. Even if I'm getting sleepless nights. Silver lining: this baby can eat pretty much anything you give her. She has 10 teeth now!

standing- So, she is standing and pulling herself up now. She can't stand along without holding on, but she's definitely trying to. She will push herself up to her feet over and over, falling back on her bum. We have a coffee table in the living room that Eliza usually plays on. I love seeing Sadie's chubby hands grab onto the edge, until her eyes suddenly peek out from the edge. When, Eliza isn't looking she will snatch a toy or two, or swipe her hands around and scatter the legos. She's a quick one, and full of mischief these days.

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eliza's first recital.

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Eliza had her first dance recital a couple of weeks ago. She has been taking a ballet class at my studio all year with her best friend, Sage. It fulfilled all my mommy dreams.

Sara and I would switch off taking the girls to class each week. On days that I took them, we always got there a little early so they could play in the big grassy field next to the studio. They would climb the fig tree, and build houses in the plants. Then, we would run inside for class. Eliza was always wearing a random concoction of tutus and leotards, and rarely ever tights. The girls would run around the studio, laughing and playing until their teacher turned the music on. I would sit on the side, bouncing Sadie, while the girls tiptoed around the room. I loved watching her little bourrées- her tiny feet and skinny legs, and the last bit of baby belly hanging over her skirt. Sometimes she would be overly-silly and wild, and sometimes she would be very serious. She was especially serious about her "first position" and would often miss half of the dance, trying to force her toes out to the side.

Ariana taught her class this year, and they learned three whole dances- "Bongo," "Twinkle, Twinkle," and "Winnie the Pooh." I got to be backstage for one entire show, and then sit in the audience for the second show. I loved being backstage. The girls were so giddy with excitement. They loved putting on make-up, especially the glitter. And, Eliza was really into her crowns. 

They both did such a good job during their performance! I was nervous for Eliza, because she got very scared and worked up during dress rehearsal and cried for one entire number. But, she was all smiles for the recital. Well, on stage she was mostly deer-in-the-headlight. But, she still had fun. 

My favorite moment was when she found a shiny sequin on the ground in the middle of her dance, and spent the second half of the dance trying to pick between her fingers. At one point, she dropped it when she had to loop elbows with Sage and skip around and around- but she kept her eyes on that sequin, whipping her head around with every turn. When the lights turned off, she proceeded to feel around on the ground for it until she was ushered offstage.

Another favorite moment was the first time the kids practiced on the stage at dress rehearsal. The balancing at the end of "Twinkle, Twinkle" was so, so good (hilarious). Also, at the end of the dance, the kids were supposed to bourrĂ©e off into the wings. But, since they had never danced on the stage, and the wings weren't dropped yet, they all sort of slowly scattered out towards the audience. Ah, dance mom dreams! I firmly believe that the funnier a 3 year old performance is, the better. 

I loved waiting around backstage with them. The girls would play and laugh, and chat nonstop. These girls are such good friends. We waited outside for awhile, and they made up this game where they would hide behind a wall, pop out and dance, bow, and then run and hide again. Over and over, until I thought my face would bust from happiness, and I they would melt into a fit of giggles. 

I got the girls each a bouquet of roses after their last performance, and Eliza was so happy. I love this girl so much. And, I am so proud of her for sticking with it this year and having such a lovely recital performance. She makes me smile!

I don't have the official performance video yet, but I did catch this video of her at the dress rehearsal. It's the "Twinkle, Twinkle" dance I mentioned before. Eliza is the third from the left, with the super exaggerated balances at the end!


Redwoods Graycation.

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This is so late, but I have had zero time to sort through my life lately. But, I had to take a minute to remind my future self that we had THE most amazing weekend out in the woods with our family, and I wish we could all go back!

Sam's youngest brother just returned from a two-year mission for our church, serving the people in Northern Texas. Literally, two days after he stepped off the plane, he was whisked away for an entire week of Graycation 2017! We have been talking about doing something like this for years and years. After Sam and I found our "Redwoods Cabin" we often thought, "This would be the perfect place for the Grays." The place has a huge lodge, super long dining table, massive deck, enough beds for everyone and then some, and endless amounts of outdoor games and fun. But, I was still actually a little surprised when we somehow convinced the entire family to fly/drive out to California for a reunion in the Redwoods. I say "reunion," but really they all live in Utah and we are the only ones who live away. So, I am so grateful that they were willing to come out here for the fun! Unfortunately, one family was not able to come out, and their absence was definitely felt. We missed you guys!

We spent a couple of days hanging out in Berkeley and San Francisco, and some were even able to catch a Giants game. And, then we all packed up for a five day stay at Camp Liahona Redwoods. That is, after we had the most epic Costco trip and filled an entire pallet with food. We bought so much food. We obviously ended up bringing quite a bit back with us, but you never know with this troop. Those boys can eat.

We spent our days playing in the lodge, making puzzles, playing cornhole on the deck, eating, pitching in the field, kayaking in the river, eating, lounging, sleeping, and eating. We spent one day out at the coast, playing spike ball and dipping the babies toes in the ocean. We had the best gaggle of babies to entertain us. The second to last picture is of Anthony with all five babies that were born while he was gone on his mission. Sadie will have so much fun with these cousins when they are older! For now, they tentatively played next to each other, occasionally stealing each other's toys. Sadie is, unfortunately, used to some intense rough play from her older sister, and kept hitting and climbing on the twins. Poor guys.

Speaking of, we all got to celebrate the twins' first birthday on the trip! We had a little cake smash and everything.

Eliza was so excited to have so many people to entertain her. I was nervous that she would be jealous of all of the babies, but everyone was so generous in giving their time and attention to E. Every time i turned around, someone was happily reading her a book or playing a game with her. And, I think she felt special to be able to play in the water and float in the kayaks with the adults, while the babies played on the beach. She even found a tiny toad, and collected endless amounts of treasures. And, one of my favorite memories was making art crafts on the deck with her.

I will say it again and again- I am so grateful to have married into this family. They are so loving and kind, and such fun. It was fun to be around Sam's brothers' new families, too. We haven't really been all together a lot since the addition of these new babies. I always find it interesting to see what kind of parents your loved ones become, when you have known them before they had kids. They are all stellar parents, and I feel like I learned so much from them in that short week! And, Sam's parents are always such examples of patience and love. Thank you, Grays. Here's to next year's Graycation!