new look

This new blog has been in the works for quite some time now... and I am so happy to say it's done!

This was one of the less important things I wanted to get done before Brynnley came.. but seeing as how she came a little early, I didn't get around to it. I have been wanting to change the URL for a long time, for many reasons.. but most importantly.. no one {ok, a small amount of people} can spell our last name. Therefore, tlcvanleeuwen was an issue. I really wanted a fresh start incorporating the new blogger design tool. There were so many features I wanted to add to my blog but I was a little clueless on how to make it work. I spent a lot of time researching blog tutorials and learning how to read and write in HTML. I know.. HTML.. it's like a foreign language! Now I'm practically fluent.  It took a lot of brain power, but I am finally done and very happy with the way everything has turned out!

Take a minute and poke around! I transferred everything over from our old blog. Plus I have new pages along the top and icons on the side to follow me on Pinterest, Facebook and Etsy.
Don't forget to change our blog address wherever it is you follow from!



Flower Baby

I had to write this down. Some things are just a little too funny to let myself forget.

Over the years I have come to really truly love my grandmother. As a child I remember helping her in the kitchen and working in the yard. She taught me so many good life skills. I also remember being scolded. Forced to drink all the milk off my cereal, or eat every last bite off my plate. It didn't matter that I didn't like spaghetti squash, watermelon rind juice, cottage cheese beat smoothies.. etc. I had to eat it. There was always a little bit of resentment in my younger days.. can you blame me? ;) She has become so funny to me over the last several years. Her way of life is so much from the past. The things she says and does seriously make me want to laugh out loud. I have so many stories I could tell. 

Her and my Grandpa were headed down to Orem about 2 weeks ago and decided to stop by so they could see Brynnley. Caden immediately grabbed my Grandpas hand and forced him to play all sorts of games. My grandma sat on the couch and chatted with me while she held the baby. She used to be an OB nurse, so her love for babies runs deep. She just ooed and awed over little Brynn.. I wonder where my mom gets her baby talk from.....? She didn't like that I had painted her toe nails black, haha. She just told me yesterday at Caden's birthday party that the peach color I had on her toes was much better than the black. She held her for a long time and when they were just about to leave she gasped and looked at me. "Do you know what she looks like?" I was expecting something.. very.... well something only Grandma would say.. "She looks like one of those flower babies! She is so beautiful, she looks just like those sweet little flower babies." I smiled, trying not to explode with laughter. When they walked out the door I couldn't keep from chuckling. Ah, Grandma I love you.

The only reason I even know what the "flower babies" are.. Is from my old pediatrician's office. They have Anne Geddes photos hanging in every room. Most of them were the older style, totally cheesy, babies dressed in flower suits. Anne Geddes does have some really incredible photos that are very artistic.. but the ones that came to mind made me laugh.




So little Brynn, I want you to know that your Great Grandma thinks you are absolutely beautiful.

and she thinks you look like a flower baby.
which I'm sure was meant to be a compliment ;)



Splish Splash

The hot hot Utah summer is finally here! Goodness.. it took long enough. Swimming is pretty much out for me at the moment and I really couldn't go anyway unless I had an extra set of hands to take care of both kids. Caden begs and begs to play in the water so we've had to come up with other solutions. Alpine had an amazing park put in last year and they had this little splash park under construction until this year. We were so excited for it to open and we've spent several afternoons up there playing! The water is ice cold and feels really good on a hot sunny day. They have lots of covered picnic tables and a nice pavilion where parents can sit and watch. It has been so nice to get out of the house and enjoy being outside with my little ones.

We took my family up one afternoon to play. Now that Brynnley is here they can't seem to stay away for more than a few days ;). My siblings all loved the park and Caden was very happy to have someone else to play with.



Frisbee has become one of our little family's favorite games. We spent one evening teaching Caden how to throw it [expecting that he'd never get it]. He pulled out some mad skills and I'd say he's probably better than I am at throwing it now. He's working on catching it still. It has to be right to him and not too fast, but he's caught a few over the last month! This was his pass to daddy.  
Pretty good huh?


I love how much my family adores this little girl. I tell myself all the time: they loved Caden.. but not this much. Haha. My mom can't keep her hands off her! She'll walk around with her, repeating over and over: "You're the prettiest baby, Oh you're so pretty.. You're so sweet.." etc. She just loves her. Rachel is a close second. She will come up by herself just to see Brynn and Caden for a few minutes some nights. She is such a sweet auntie. I love this picture of her holding Brynn. Since the day this little girl was born everyone has said  that she looks just like Rachel. We have pulled out her baby book and compared pictures and it is definitely true. I tell Rae all the time that Brynn looks like her baby, not mine!


Crazy Ladies together already ;) - this is for you Rae


We are loving summer. Seriously the best part of having a Summer baby is that I don't have to be cooped up inside with a newborn. I could have all my babies in the Summer and be in heaven. We all love being out in the fresh air.

Who wants to come play with us?



For my Little 1 Month old:

I came across this darling idea on Pinterest. I couldn't pass up the chance to do the same thing for my sweet little girl. I can't believe she is already a month old. I feel like time is passing faster than it ever has. I love watching my sweet baby grow, but it breaks my heart knowing that I don't have a little newborn anymore. She is so sweet and precious. 

Brynn Month1

We are so in love with you little miss Brynn. You have grown so much and I feel like you are changing  every day. Your cheeks are getting chubby. The front half of your hair has fallen out. Your eyelashes are growing longer and curlier. We kiss you all day long, you have the sweetest lips. Several women have told me they are jealous of your gorgeous lips. They really are irresistible. You love being outside. The second we step out the door you go silent and stare at the beautiful world around you. You get the hiccups all the time, just like when you were in my belly. You hate them, you act so frustrated when you have them. It’s very cute. You love to be swaddled up tight, any time of the day. You sleep like an angel, you are already sleeping 5 hours straight most nights. I could watch you sleep all day.  You smiled for the first time when you were 4 weeks old. You have the cutest smile. You always stick your tongue out of that big toothless grin. Everyone says you look just like your Auntie Rae, and I  would have to agree. You are so sweet and perfect.



Life with a Newborn

{First Bath}

We waited patiently that first week for Brynnley's belly button plug to fall off. I only had to give her one sponge bath, thankfully. I hate listening to those whimpering cries of a cold baby. When she was 9 days old I just changed her clothes and diaper, I decided to put pants and a shirt on her so her belly button could be better exposed to air. I sat down to feed her right after. She was sitting in my lap and as she ran her hand from her side up by her head she grabbed hold of her belly button plug and yanked it out! I freaked out for a second. The doctor said don't pull it out even if it's hanging on by a thread. It had only been hanging on by a thread, but it still scared me half to death. I had to pry the plug from her tight little fist. I guess she was sick of it ;). It was a little weepy and bloody for a couple of days. It was a happy day when we finally got to give her a real bath! She loved having warm water poured over her belly. She loves to lay in the tub. I save the hair washing for the very end, she still doesn't like that very much. I have loved using coconut oil on her, after baths. It makes her skin so soft and it smells so good. Plus it's all natural and much better for a newborn. She loves to be rubbed down and massaged. 
Spoiled little girl.


{Tummy Time}

She spends lots of cuddly tummy time on her daddy's chest after work. He loves to snuggle his sweet little girl. It melts my heart how much he loves her. She is his precious little girl.


{Love and Kisses}

Caden wants to hold his sister first thing every morning when she wakes up. It took me a little while to feel totally comfortable with him holding her by himself. He does such a good job now. He loves his baby sister so much. He hugs and kisses her all day long. He is very gentle and I haven't had to worry about him "loving" her too hard. Whenever she whimpers or cries he is right at her side kissing her and giving her a binky. He thinks kisses make everything better, and most of the time they do. He is a very proud big brother. He constantly tells me she is "so cute".



I give her my fair share of kisses too. Her cheeks and lips are so irresistible!


Laying her alone on the bed or couch never lasts long... Caden is by her side in a matter of minutes to cuddle with her.


I just love this picture.



It really isn't fair how big Caden seemed to me once we got home. He was not my baby anymore. In fact.. He tells me he is a man every day. I'll tell him he's such a good boy, or thank him for being a big helper.. and he will reply with "I a MAN mommy". He has become extremely independent. He wants to do almost everything on his own. He never asks for any help when he goes to the bathroom now. He wants to wipe himself.. which sometimes doesn't turn out so well. He has to completely undress himself while he is sitting on the toilet. Side story: *When Taylor was a little boy his kindergarten teacher sent him home with a note one week requesting that his parents teach him to keep his clothes on while he goes to the bathroom. He apparently liked to completely undress himself even in a public setting.* I wonder where Caden gets it from. After minutes of begging him to put some clothes back on he will usually end up with just his underwear on. They are never on the right way. They are always inside out and backwards. No matter how many times we explain the right way to put them on.. he doesn't get it. Or maybe he just prefers them this way ;)



She sleeps like a little angle. Once her tummy is full and she's all swaddled up she will sleep 4-5 hours straight at night . I usually only wake up with her once or twice. She still sleeps a lot during the day, but she is starting to stay awake for longer periods. Her and Caden have been taking naps at the same time in the afternoon. It has been so nice for me to either get things done or lay down for a while. 

She has the sweetest sleeping face I've ever seen.


I just love having a newborn around again



4th of July

On the 2nd Taylor took Caden went with his family to the Stadium of Fire. Since I had to miss out on all the fun, Taylor ordered me take out from Olive Garden [yumm] and I spent the night at home watching a movie with the babe.They had a really great time and got to see Brad Paisley and David Archuleta perform. Caden got his hair spray painted like a flag, which looked very cool ;). The fireworks were the talk of the weekend from my little man. He tells me he loves fireworks. Those yearly illegals could get dangerous with my boys around. Watch out mimi and poppy.

We weren't up for doing too much on the 4th this year. Brynn was almost 2 weeks old and life was pretty much back to normal. It was nice that Taylor had so much time off work at the beginning. I really enjoyed having him home. A family in Taylor's parents ward has a yearly BBQ/Pool Party every year on the 4th. They invited us to come join them. It was nice to be close to home and just relax. Caden loved the water. It was really overcast and kind of cool so his teeth were chattering in no time, but he did not want to get out of the water. He swam with daddy and blasted everyone with the water gun. He had a great time.





We headed up to Mimi and Poppy's house after the party to join Triest and Ross. Grandma and Grandpa got to see Brynn for the first time! We hung around and chatted. Then they pulled out the sparklers and snap pop things.. I don't know what they're actually called. Ross lit off some fountain fireworks and some other fun things. We had to make sure Caden and Gabe didn't catch each other on fire with the sparklers ;).




I'm kicking myself for not taking any pictures of Brynnley! Sorry baby girl. I think I was just not used to taking pictures of another child. Bummer. She looked so cute. I had her dressed up in a cute red smocked romper with a white flower on her head and she sported her first set of red painted toe nails. She was a doll.

When we got home that night we watched fireworks all across the valley from our deck.
It was a very happy 4th of July.



Week: ONE

I have a lot I want  need to write down. I'm having a hard time figuring out how to break down the first month [i know... MONTH!].
Here we go with getting caught up!

We were so excited about getting back home. The hospital was great and all, but nothing sounded better than sleeping in my own  bed and taking a shower. My family was so wonderful and took Caden for almost an entire week! It was so nice to just have time with my sweet little baby. I still can't believe how fast my recovery was, by the end of that first week I was almost back to normal. Heaven. The best part of coming 9 days early was I never got sick of being pregnant. In fact [and.. I never thought I'd ever say this..] I kind of miss it! I really loved this pregnancy. If every pregnancy were to be just like it.. I could have a lot of kids.

Since we were not so prepared before Brynn came, there were somethings we had to take care of after we got back home. We really wanted to get a gift for Caden from Brynnley to add to his excitement and maybe help him like her just a tiny bit more ;) This boy loves big guns. He will play with my youngest brother's toy rifles all day when we go down to visit. He knows he's not allowed to shoot people.. he can only shoot the birds. So he'll stand at my parents windows and doors and hold the gun ready to fire at any bird who dares fly into their yard. haha. When we got back home I had Taylor run to the store with the mission of coming back with an awesome present for Caden. He came back very proud with a very nice pistol and rifle set that included a holster and neck tie. We wrapped it all up for our little man who would be coming to visit us that night. My parents brought the crew and dinner up a few hours later. Caden was so excited to open his present from baby sister. I've never seen his eyes so huge. I thought he was going to rip the cardboard off the guns. He was in heaven. He immediately ran over and started kissing his little sis. Thanks you, Thank you, Thank you! From that moment on.. we have not had a single second of him disliking her. She is his "favit". He has since enjoyed lots of afternoons standing out on our deck, "shooting" the birds that sit on the garages. He takes this very seriously.


Visiting sister our first night home. He wanted to hold her and kiss her and thank her for his guns all night.. and he gives the sweetest kisses.



Our first picture as a family of 4!


We got Caden back for our second night home. That weekend was spent mostly on the couch relaxing. We gave little Brynn her first sponge bath on Sunday. As soon as she was dried off and I started rubbing her down with coconut oil she was out. She falls asleep every time I rub her down after a bath now ;)


My sweet kids [kids.. I still can't believe it!] crashed on the couch. We did lots of sleeping that first week.


Caden had a bitter streak towards me for the first 2 weeks. He fought me on eating, going to the bathroom, taking naps.. but just basic everyday things. It was hard, and I'm glad it didn't last very long. He hasn't had one second of anger or frustration towards his little sister, which I am so grateful for. He's a happy little camper now and life is pretty much back to normal plus our cute little addition ;)



Newborn Love

[newborn pictures taken at 9 days old]

I have been so nervous and excited to take pictures of my little girl. I have absolutely no experience with newborn pictures.. hence the nerves. But who can really mess up that much when it comes to a sweet perfect newborn. She was so cute and good for these pictures. Caden would sit and watch and ask me to take pictures of him in between. I'm very happy with how they have turned out. I still have a few more to edit and I'm planning on taking lots more.

For now.. these are my favorites:






I could just kiss those lips all day








I am falling more in love with this precious girl every day. I love holding her close and taking in those sweet moments. I wish I could keep her tiny forever. I get so emotional thinking about her all grown up some day. I want to be her best friend now and always. I can just imagine all the fun we'll have. I am so glad she is mine. I love having a daughter.

Brynnley had her 2 week check up last Tuesday. She is looking just perfect. She gained almost a pound more than her birth weight. The doctor thinks she may have been measured wrong at birth since she supposedly grew an entire inch!

2 weeks:
7 lbs 7 oz {50%}
21 inches {90%}

Brynnley is a wonderful eater. She has never spit up and she's just about the easiest baby to burp.
She is sleeping for 4 to 4 1/2 hours straight at night now.
She loves to be on her tummy and have her back rubbed.
She giggles all the time in her sleep. It is so adorable.
She loves to be swaddled.
She only cries when she is hungry or needs to poop. She is a very content baby.
She pulls the funniest faces I've ever seen when she's in her REM sleep cycle.
She has long skinny fingers.
The outside corners of her eyes turn up like Taylor's.
She has cute little ears that are very flat against her head.
Her feet and toes look just like mine.
She has dark hair, it's longer on the sides and back than it is on top.
At the nape of her neck it's about 3/4" long and very thick.
She has the cutest little duck tail.
She has a really deep belly button just like mine.
She has big beautiful alert eyes.
Her nose is shaped like Taylor's underneath and turns up like mine.
She has a long pointy tongue with a dimple right at the tip.
She has thick curly blonde eyelashes.
She has the most delicious little lips. I could kiss them all day.
She has the cutest dimple in the middle of her bottom lip.
She is several shades darker than Me and Caden. I hope it stays like that!
I love painting her toe nails, they look so cute!
She has the sweetest disposition.
She is the most beautiful thing I have ever laid eyes on.
We absolutely adore our little girl.