Five Years

by Kayte

Five years ago Max and Lola came into our lives unexpectedly and tumultuously. We set out on a parenting journey that we weren’t prepared for, but it has taught us so much about love and strength and who we are and what we are capable of. In the years since their birth we have celebrated countless victories, overcome unimaginable adversity, experienced unconditional love, and felt our hearts break into a million pieces.

In the early days I naively thought that “this NICU thing” would be over when we finally brought Max and Lola home from the hospital, but I have since realized that this is something that, for better and for worse, will shape us for the rest of our lives. I’ve often wondered if I would go back and change things if I could, and I think as parents we would do anything to protect our kids, but I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

We remind ourselves that we are incredibly lucky to have our family together; thriving, happy, mostly healthy. Every day together is a miracle, even in, especially in, those most mundane of moments when things just feel ordinary. Happy 5th birthday Max and Lola. We are in awe of you. We are SO proud of you. We Love You.

Birthday Bikes

by Kayte

After the birthday party at school, Brody surprised the kids by coming home early and unveiling their big birthday present: new bikes! We had hidden them next door since they had to be preassmbled, so we had a little mini celebration with the neighbors. After present-opening we took the kids to early dinner at a teppanyaki restaurant where a chef chops and cooks all the food on the grill right at your table. The kids got a big kick out of it. It was a perfect celebratory, joyous birthday day.





PALs Birthday Party

by Kayte

Max and Lola got to be royalty for the day as their classes joined together for a big birthday celebration. Everyone sang “Happy Birthday” and I brought strawberries and whipped cream for a snack. We have really gotten close to the preschool teachers and families these past two years and I’m already starting to feel sentimental about the end of the school year. It’s been a great experience.

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Cake for Breakfast

by Kayte

Since Brody usually gets home from work after the kids are already in bed, they celebrated Brody’s birthday this morning with what is becoming an annual cake-for-breakfast tradition. Max and Lola get a big kick out of eating dessert for breakfast, and Brody gets some celebratory time with his kids. Who could ask for more?



Weirdo Glasses

by Kayte

Today we went to Cousin Booker’s house to celebrate his actual (or, as Lola called it, usual) birthday after the big party last weekend. We celebrated with lots of extended family, more pizza and weirdo glasses!

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Wading Pool

by Kayte

Booker had his annual birthday party at the awesome wading pool we went to last year. It was a hot triple-digit day, but the park had plenty of shade plus the pool to cool off in. There was a huge brush fire that started last night and the sky was hazy and smokey, but everyone still had a great time. Pizza, pool, family, cake!

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Happy Birthday Sudlow!

by Kayte

Seven years of puppy perfection.


Beachy Birthday

by Kayte

Today we went to the beach to celebrate my birthday. We ate breakfast at the cafe and spent the rest of the morning exploring the beach. The surf was pretty big so we didn’t get in the ocean, but when we got home we swam in the pool to cool down and rinse off the salt spray. It was a perfect summer birthday!









Feliz Cumpleaños

by Kayte

Auntie Karen is here for the week!!! Yay! We started her trip off right, celebrating her birthday with sushi and carrot cake.



by Kayte

Happy 4th birthday to my strong, sweet, brave, funny, beautiful, not-so-little babies. Your birthday is always a bittersweet reminder that our journey hasn’t been easy, but it has absolutely been worth it. We are so proud of you Max & Lola. We love you SO much.


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Comparison photos from 2012 and 2013.


After Party

by Kayte

Max and Lola had a fun post-birthday party day playing with every single one of their new toys. The big hit is a cash register/shopping cart combo [not pictured] but they are really enjoying everything.







Birthday Party

by Kayte

We had a small family gathering this weekend to celebrate Max & Lola’s upcoming FOURTH birthday! The kids have been bouncing off the walls in anticipation for days. They were especially excited to eat cake! Max requested vanilla and Lola wanted chocolate. We are very thankful for the family near and far who traveled to celebrate with us today.








Breakfast Cupcake

by Kayte

Since the kids have started school they have dropped their afternoon nap which means they now go to bed super early which means Brody usually does not see them when he gets home from work. So, to celebrate his birthday today, the kids shared a breakfast cupcake with him this morning before he left for work which they both thought was just the best.


Lola came up with the idea to get her dad balloons for his birthday. Max & Lola also made him a card, and this video:

Birthday Splash

by Kayte

We celebrated Cousin Booker’s 4th birthday on Sunday at an amazing little wading pool in Glendale. The pool was about a half foot deep which made it perfect for little ones to swim and splash. Water balloons + family + cake = a perfect day!













Saddle Up

by Kayte

Today was our annual group birthday party with our NICU friends. This year’s theme was western, and everyone dressed the part. There were cowboy hats, bandanas, sheriff badges, chocolate “gold” nuggets, and ponies for the kids. We ate hot dogs, baked beans and chips for lunch…and of course cake for dessert.

Unfortunately our friends Katrina and Jacob weren’t able to be with us today. They were missed very much and it wasn’t the same without our whole crew.








Poor Lola was so exhausted from school and missed naps that she fell asleep in the swing before the party was even over.


by Kayte

We had the family over for brunch to celebrate Max & Lola’s third birthday. Max & Lola opened presents, jumped in the jumpy house, and ate cake! They were even able to blow out their own candles (we’ve been practicing). It was a perfectly lovely day to turn three!


I’m three!



Birthday crowns made in OT



Cheers to turning three



Happy Birthday to Max & Lola



“Nice blowing Max!”



Carrot cake with raisins & walnuts.



Now, time for some singing:


Jumpy House

by Kayte

Max and Lola got an early birthday present from their dad today – their very own jumpy house! Brody has been working like crazy lately and won’t be around for Max & Lola’s birthday, so he wanted to give them their present on a day when he could enjoy it with them. Max of course loved bouncing around like a pumpkin. Lola talks a big talk when it comes to the jumpy house, but she’s still pretty timid when push comes to bounce. Either way it will be great for both of them.




Dino Party

by Kayte

We had a very busy Sunday. After our morning bike ride, Max went to a dinosaur-themed five-year-old birthday party. Lola was feeling pretty sick, so she stayed home with her dad and enjoyed a four-hour nap instead.

Max had s blast at the party. There was Dino-themed food, an art activity, fossil excavation, face painting, and cake!

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But Max’s favorite thing by far was the jumpy house. He was in and out of that thing the entire time, getting rocked by a bunch of 5-year-olds, and loving every minute of it.

Happy Birthday Daddy

by Kayte



Happy Birthday Booker!

by Kayte