Baby Byrd Number Two

If you follow along on Facebook or Instagram, you might have seen our big announcement over the weekend. But in case you missed it – the Byrd family is growing. We are expecting our second baby this December!

pregnancy announcement

For all of you who sent your congratulations, thank you. We were floored by all of the love we received and are so thankful for each and every one of you! It really means a lot to know that we have the support of our family and friends.

Physically, this pregnancy has been pretty similar to my first. Aside from a few nights of nausea, I haven’t had any episodes of the dreaded morning sickness. I also haven’t had any intense if-I-don’t-get-this-now-someone-is-going-to-get-hurt cravings, but I have been requesting a lot of iced tea and Gatorade. My biggest symptom by far is exhaustion…zzzzZZZ

Emotionally, this pregnancy is a lot different.

The excitement level is higher. We now know first hand just how amazingly beautiful bringing another life into this world is. How rewarding it is to watch your baby grow and hit milestones. How special it is to build a family. Knowing that we get to do that again is thrilling.

The fear is also higher the second time around. Some days I feel like I am just getting the hang of this whole “being a mom” thing and then I realize that in six short months I will be a mother of two under two and think omghowamigoingtodoit?! Rationally, I know I will figure it out. Two will be our new normal and we will find our groove. But some days I just can’t wrap my brain around it. (I can hear all you moms with two or more laughing right now – that’s ok) Oh, and that whole giving birth thing? I can’t believe I’m doing it again! Hopefully this time it will be less traumatic (for all parties involved).

Lyla and her sibling will be 18 months apart. In some ways, I think that age gap is perfect and in other ways it makes me feel all sorts of guilty. Did she have enough time with just the two of us?! She has such a sweet heart and soul and I know that she will be an amazing big sister but it still makes me sad sometimes. It’s hard to imagine there being enough room in my heart for another little munchkin! I’m pretty sure every mom struggles with these feelings whether they are expecting number two or number seven (right?!) so I just keep reminding myself that giving Lyla a brother or a sister is such a blessing and really, I can’t wait to watch them grow up together.

Already this pregnancy is flying by. December will be here before we know it, so I am trying to make sure that I soak it all in – the excitement, the fear, the love, the exhaustion. It’s all part of this beautiful little thing we call life and I’m so thankful for it.

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Cake Smash

I know, I know. You’re tired of posts about Lyla’s birthday. I don’t blame you. And I promise this is the last one. Promise. 

Lyla's Birthday Smash

A few months ago a local photographer had posted that she was looking for a baby who would be celebrating their first birthday in April or May for a cake smash photo shoot aaaaand it just so happens that I know a baby that fit the bill so I contacted Karena and we set something up. 

Lyla's Birthday Smash

Karena had an awesome studio set up in her home. She was very warm and welcoming and made the whole experience so easy and fun. I was a little unsure of how Lyla would do because sitting still is not her jam but Karena kept her happy and entertained. I was such a proud little mama. 

Lyla's Birthday Smash

Lyla's Birthday Smash

I got copies of the photos today and I may or may not have teared up a little. Thank you, Karena! 

 

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pineapple party

Here in Hawaii, first birthday parties are a big deal. We’re talking booking large venues months in advance, major entertainment, awesome food, the works. They are tons of fun and, I think, it’s such a fun way to celebrate the little ones. 

We don’t have nearly enough family and friends on the island to justify throwing a huge party, but I definitely wasn’t going to let miss Lyla’s first birthday pass without throwing some sort of shindig. 

I played around with a few ideas before landing on the pineapple party theme. Honestly, Alex wasn’t entirely convinced that pineapples were a theme but he went with it anyways. (thanks, babe!)

pineapple party

We kept it simple by hosting a few of our close family and friends in our backyard. We didn’t book any outside vendors and made all of the food and decorations ourselves. My family was a huge help in getting everything together and I am so thankful for them all (I’m looking at you Lily, Hoku, Mimi and Keiko!)

pineapple party food

pineapple party

pineapple party sandwiches

Rather than serving a big meal, we made a bunch of finger food for our guests. We had PB&J, cucumber cream cheese and chicken salad sandwiches (cut out in pineapple shapes, of course), fruit salad, teriyaki meatballs with pineapple chunks and an awesome cheese ball modeled after this one (just used a different recipe). 

The pineapple cups from Oriental Trading Company were a hit and made for a great party favor. 

pineapple party

pineapple party

pineapple party

Towards the end of the party we opened presents, had some cake and broke open the piñata (which I made – who knew pineapple piñatas were so hard to find?!)
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pineapple pinata pineapple pinata

No, she won’t remember this party and I’m sure her sixteen-year-old self will look back at these pictures and be like “really, mom? pineapples?!” but we all had a great time. Just look at this smile…

pineapple party

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Lyla Turns One

Well, folks, it happened. Our little girl turned one.

Surprisingly, I didn’t fall apart. Less surprisingly, I shed some a lot of tears. I’m pretty sure that this year was the fastest year in the history of ever, don’t you agree?

Of course, I had to mark this momentous occasion with a long, sappy blog post about how sweet and special our little munchkin is. So if reading paragraphs upon paragraphs about tiny humans isn’t your thing I suggest you leave now. BUT if you happen to love Lyla even the teensy tiniest bit, then you may want to stick around. 

Now that you have been fairly warned, here we go! 

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Lyla has the biggest, sweetest smile that I have ever seen (hello, mom bias) and she brings so much joy into our world.  

She as at such a fun stage right now. Her personality shines so bright and we are constantly in awe of both her physical and mental abilities. She’s totally a little person now.

She has the tiniest little teeth. Only two right now, but a few on the top are working their way through. 

Her voice is so sweet. She can say “all done”, “uh oh” and “hi” very well and is working on expanding her little vocabulary. When she wakes up in the morning, she lays in her crib and says “allllllll DONE” and it melts me every time. 

She loves being outside. I think she would stay outside forever if I would let her. We swing, play in the pool and take Rocco for a lot of walks. She is very observant and is constantly pointing out when airplanes and helicopters fly over the house. 

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She is a very good eater. I’m convinced that she has a hollow leg. We are hard-pressed to find things that she doesn’t enjoy eating. So far, everything that she has tried has ended up in the “love it” category (with the exception of asparagus).

The way she looks at her daddy (and he at her) warms my heart in a way that I will never be able to fully explain. I thank God daily for the two of them. 

She has a soft spot for animals. Rocco is totally her buddy and she loves to share tennis balls with him. And she loves to visit Uncle Bert’s kittens. She has a special squeak reserved for when she sees little animals and it is so adorable. 

To me, her laugh is the most beautiful sound in the world. I know, I’m the cheesiest person ever but seriously, it is. 

She gives the wettest, dirtiest kisses ever. And I can never get enough. 

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In typical mom fashion, I am always so proud of her.I love watching her little brain make connections. It’s amazing to witness how much these little humans can learn and process in such a small amount of time. 

She loves music and her dance moves are enviable. Even when strapped in the cart at the grocery store, she can’t help but bust a move when she hears music. 

Lyla absolutely loves the beach and the ocean. Convenient since we live in Hawaii, dontcha think?

I really could go on and on…and on…and onnnnn about our girl but I don’t want to scare away any of you who have actually made it this far so I think I’ll stop here. 

 

Baby girl,

thank you for choosing me as your mommy. You have already taught me so much about life and love and I am looking forward to many, many more years with you. I love you, bean. 

-ma

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eight years

 

Happy Sunday, folks! We are a few days into our vacation and loving it. So far we have been able to spend lots of quality time with family which has been soul-warming. Being back in California this time has left me feeling a little nostalgic for the years that we lived here together (I blame mom hormones) and so today I’m taking a trip down memory lane.

Eight years ago today, Alex became my boyfriend. And four years ago today, he became my fiance. Even though we don’t celebrate, I think November 2nd will always have a special place in my heart. Thinking back on the last eight years puts an extra spring in my step, a giant smile on my face, and makes me squeeze Alex a little tighter. He makes me happy, and I am so thankful for that.

Here is a little look back at the last eight years of Alex + Natasha…

first picture

Our first picture together. We had just started our freshman year at California Lutheran University. We were hanging out a friends house with our peer group. Alex is sweaty from playing basketball, and I look like a goober because I was taking a picture with this cutie 😉

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The summer after our freshman year, we took a trip to Arizona. Alex’s dad has some beautiful property there that he graciously made available to us. We took an old-fashioned train to the Grand Canyon (complete with a cowboy robbery) and had lots of fun.

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The next summer we took a trip to Walt Disney World. We spent a few days touring the parks and melting in the humidity. I think this picture is funny because just a few years later I would be working inside of that castle.

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We like to spend time at the beach (so weird that we moved to Hawaii, right?). This photo was taken after an awesome day at Leo Carrillo. We had picked up some food from Malibu Seafood, taken it to the beach for a picnic and then spent time exploring the tide pools.

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This photo is from the Ventura County fair. Even though the fair is held in August, I remember this day being super cold (the lady in the tank behind me begs to differ). We rode the ferris wheel, checked out the animals and ate deep fried oreos. Happy day.

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A few months after we were married, we took a trip to Big Sur. It might be my favorite trip that we have ever taken together. The weather was cold and super cozy. We rented a charming little cabin in the woods and we spent our nights inside drinking wine and building puzzles by the fireplace. We ate a duck and arugula pizza that I thought was so delicious. Even though we hit a few bumps in the road (Alex got poison oak and an RV broke the mirror on the side of our brand new truck) we had the best time.

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We took this photo right before we left to see Mumford and Sons at the Santa Barbara Bowl. We stopped at a little Mexican place for dinner on the way. The show was awesome and the company was even better.

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Obviously, this picture is from when we got engaged. When I got home from work, Alex asked me if I would like to take a hike. We went up a path we hadn’t taken before and to document it, we set up the camera to take a photo with the self-timer. This was all normal for us so I had no idea what was coming next. I was so surprised when Alex got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. I love this picture.

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And here we are right now. We are little older, a little wiser and a little more tired. I am so enjoying this ride we are on.

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