Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Texas in December

Merry Christmas! But before we get to that post, here are our pictures from our trip to Austin. Enjoy!

(I would make a comment about having our pictures up before the Kurths, but if it wasn't for them, we would have no idea how to store pictures, or even what a blog was).

Saturday, December 15, 2007

How to take a family Christmas picture

1) Convince your husband that this is a worthwhile way to spend a Saturday afternoon and that it won't be taking him away from football. And no, he is not to wear any Big Team team t-shirt.

2) Find a time when every member of the house is awake and ready to smile.

3) Bribe your neighbor to come over to help with the process. This is a good time to break out the snacks.

4) Attempt to arrange a baby and toddler on the couch with the parents. Convince the toddler that this not time to play with her toys or the neighbor or the camera.

5) After many, many discarded attempts, call over another neighbor, have him hide behind the couch to jump out and "suprise" the baby and toddler to hopefully catch a spontaneous-looking smile.

The result:

Friday, December 14, 2007

Three months old!

Big news this month: she moved into her big-girl crib in the room she shares with Mali. They both love it (as do their parents). If Brinn wakes up in the middle of the night loudly enough to wake Mali too, Mali is ready with the offer of a binky and stuffed animal to share. She also did great on her first airplane trip and had fun in Texas. More pictures of that trip soon. Overall, Brinn is smiley and happy and actually beginning to develop a regular sleep/feeding schedule. And she's still our snuggler!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Don't mess with us (we're going to Texas)

We're off for a family vacation to Austin. We are really excited to eat barbeque and meet up with the cast of Friday Night Lights. (Maybe that last part is just wishful thinking)

Every Friday night we watch our childless neighbors leave for a night out of happy hour and dinner. (No diaper bags! No sippy cups!) We wave and smile at them, knowing that soon it will be bedtime here and we can break out the dessert and watch our new favorite show. It's a small consolation. Did you know that the actor playing "Smash" went to Carnegie Mellon? I'm going to make Jonathan wear his CMU sweatshirt just in case we run into him.

Oh, and while we're in the area, we'll see the Kurths, meet baby Jonah, and be honored to stand as his godparents at his baptism. It's a good thing they live very near where FNL is filmed so we could fit them in.

Friday, November 30, 2007


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving in Michigan. The minivan performed wonderfully in transporting two little girls and all of the gear across three states. The girls did relatively well on the drive. We had two dinners, one with each side of the family and it was so great to introduce Brinn to Berrien Springs. Another highlight was finally meeting Adison Hildebrand and our "Thanksgiving Friday" tradition of hanging out with her parents.

Click here are the rest of our Thanksgiving pictures.

And, speaking of holidays, here are our Halloween pictures.

Monday, November 26, 2007

17 Months Old

Can we brag about our toddler for a few minutes here? She is changing every day recently. Her vocabulary is taking off! New word yesterday: "meat". That's a pretty useful one since she eats that and everything else in sight. One of our favorite words to describe her is "bold". She eagerly attacks the world with such enthusiasm she often wears us out. She loves, loves, loves taking a bath, seeing animals (especially Grandma's cat),saying "hi" to anyone crossing her path, laughing at her own jokes, playing with older kids, and of course, her sister. She (like her parents) is a child of routine and is proud to be able to anticipate what is happening next in the day, whether that is praying before bed or pushing her daddy out the door in the morning. Oh, and she can do a killer buffalo impression.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Recent quotes from Mali

While getting dressed for church--
Kaethe: Mali, you look so cute.
Mali: Yeah!

Picking Jonathan up from work, Brinn sleeping in her car seat--
Jonathan: Hi Mali! I'm so happy to see you!
Mali: Shhhh! (Then pointed at Brinn and wouldn't even look at Jonathan!)

Looking forward to seeing her friend Jack--
Kaethe: Jack's coming over!
Mali: JA!
Kaethe: That's right, "Jack". You two are such good friends. He's probably your best friend. Who is your best friend, Mali?
Mali: Sister!
Kaethe and Jonathan: Awww...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Two months old

Ten pounds, eleven ounces! Still gaining about one once per day!
(Unfortunately, these pictures don't capture her precious smiles).

And yes, she's also the proud owner of a Daddy with a beard. Mike, I think you might lose this one. I like to think that the free time he has from not shaving in the morning he can use for diaper changes.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Another fun fall weekend

We have been really taking advantage of the beautiful Pittsburgh weather this fall. Seriously, I think the climate here is wonderful. Here is an album of the past few weekends we shared with visiting family.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Our girls

Jonah Howard Kurth...

has arrived! Our friends, Derek, Karianne, and Kaeta have a brand new little boy in their family. We are so thankful for a safe and uncomplicated birth. However, we're a little thrown off that he's a boy. None of our friends have had boys recently. In fact, when we heard that the Kurths may be going into labor, I said to Mali "maybe baby Greta is here" (Greta being a name that they were considering for a girl). Mali gave me a confused look...and made the sign for gorilla. We had been calling the baby "Greta Gorilla" ever since then. And now we have to get used to saying "Jonah".

We'll be travelling to Texas in December for his baptism. We've never had a baby godson before.

Now back to making the wedding plans for Brinnly and Jonah...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Happy Halloween

Lots more pictures to follow!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Saturday, October 27, 2007

October 27, 2001

Six years of marriage
Five different full-time jobs
Four homes together
Three years of graduate school
Two beautiful daughters
One (still) happy couple

Thursday, October 25, 2007

All Smiles

This picture doesn't quite do it justice, but Brinn has been charming us all with her smiles lately. It is especially fun to watch her beam at Mali. Speaking of our big girl, we have another reason to smile around here--Mali has been practicing using the potty! Obviously, she's way too young for official potty-training, but when we got it out for her to become used to it, it worked! We'll spare everyone the details, but we're already counting the money we're potentially saving on diapers.

Here's a picture with us and Ann, our wonderful midwife who caught Brinn. All good at the six-week check-up as well.

October 27, 2001

Six years of marriage
Five different full-time jobs
Four homes together
Three years of graduate school
Two beautiful daughters
One (still) happy couple!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Brinnly Ruth's Baptism

Our baby girl was baptized this past Sunday at our church, First Trinity Ev. Lutheran. We were honored to have our friends, Ruth and Jonathan Meyer serve as her godparents. As Jonathan Meyer is a Lutheran pastor, our pastors were gracious enough to let him participate in the service as well, making the service quite possibly the smallest ratio of congregation to clergy ever. (Four pastors present with a congregation of about 80!) Ruth was also able to show off her talent on the flute. The Meyer kids, Benjamin and Timothy were charming as ever and hopefully Mali learned from their exemplary church behavior. (I doubt it, since she spent most of the time sitting on our neighbor, Kaleab's lap).

Following the service, we celebrated at home with a typical Lutheran Oktoberfest lunch and a Steeler win. We were especially blessed to share the weekend with our family and friends who once again made the long Michigan to Pennsylvania trip for us. Thanks, everyone!

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:38-39

Click here for more pictures

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

15 Months Old!

Our big girl is now 15 months old and what an exciting few weeks she has had! She continues to adore Brinn and speaks in a sing-song voice only around her, usually saying "Hiiiiiiii". She also loves to kiss and pat her back, and snuggles with her the longest at bedtime, after giving Mom and Dad a perfunctory kiss. A few more tidbits...

At her check-up this week, we were surprised to find out that she's only in the seventh percentile for weight and the fourth for height! Her appetite is huge and we're not sure where she's putting all of it. Overall, she's very healthy.

Her favorite toys are her books right now, and she has very strong feelings about which ones she enjoys, namely Dr. Suess and any nursery rhymes. She enjoys being read to and we also find her quietly reading to herself often. (She doesn't seem to mind if the books are upside down).

One of the perks of having a new sister is even more pink clothes and we added another rack in the girls' closet. Mali can reach this one and LOVES to pretend to "shop" by going through the outfits.

She is walking/running/climbing everything in sight. She just figured out how to climb Brinn's bassinette reminding us just how close we have to watch those two.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Pictures of her first week...

Click here to see our first few days as a family of four.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The scoop on Brinnly Ruth...

A few more details on our littlest girl:

She is now five days old and doing great! We came home from the hospital on Thursday and have been pampered by doting grandmas ever since. Grandpa Gregg and Aunt Kara are now visiting too.

Her big sister LOVES her--really! And suddenly matching outfits have gone from being considered cheesy and over the top to an adorable necessity.

And for those of you that asked, we use both her full name, Brinnly and her nickname Brinn. Her name is Welsh in orgin and we both have family roots from that general region. We thought it was a nice compliment to Amalia's German name. Her middle name, Ruth,was chosen for her godmother, Ruth Meyer, and Kaethe's great-grandmother, Ruth Shunkwiler. We certainly hope she can live up to those namesakes!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Today...is even better than yesterday

Brinnly Ruth Ward entered the world on September 11, 2007 at 10:52 pm, weighing seven pounds, one ounce.

Although her labor was long, she is healthy, strong, and beautiful. Everyone is doing well, especially big sister Amalia who can't get enough of her.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Cute Mali story

In the absence of having any baby news to post about, I thought I'd pass on a cute-but-naughty anecdote of our firstborn from last night:

After a delicious pizza dinner, Mali was finally free to be out of her high chair and roam the house. However, she decided to go pursue one of her favorite, off-limits activity--climbing the side of her high chair. We told her no. She persisted. After she had one more chance to make the right choice, I picked her up to put her in time-out. Seizing the opportunity of having Daddy, Grandma, and neighbors all nearby, amidst her time-out protests, she somehow turned around in my arms and blew kisses to everyone in hopes that they would rescue her from her punishment.

No luck, but everyone present did have to turn their backs so they could laugh quietly without her seeing them.

What a character! And what tricks will the next one come up with?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Friday, September 07, 2007

Countdown until due date...0 Days!

"Punctuality is the virtue of the bored.”

~Evelyn Waugh

Our children are many things--adorable, feisty, good kickers, etc., but neither of them appear to be too punctual, at least not in regards to due dates. So unless I give birth in the next 11.5 hours, I will be officially overdue, again. Thankfully, I'm still feeling well and am prepared for more waiting, if needed. Mali, of course, was 8 days late and would have been later if she had her choice (I was induced).

This does give all of you time to enter your guesses in our contest (link on the right). And of course, we'll post as soon as the newest Ward officially enters the world!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A shout-out to parents

"Children do not accidentally become righteous leaders or emotionally healthy and productive adults--any more than seeds thrown randomly to the wind grow to be part of a thriving garden. Simply throwing children into a cultural tornado and hoping for the best gives them little chance of living up to their potential or coming out unharmed. Someone needs to take responsibility for their nurture, protection, nourishment, intellectual development, manners, recreation, personal needs, and spiritual development. Someone needs to commit time and energy into staying close to them as they grow, encouraging and correcting and teaching."

--Sally Clarkson, The Mission of Motherhood

(a book I should try to find time to read)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Summer lovin'

Free jazz concert at our favorite walking-distance-away park, sunshine, fun neighbors, and a dinner menu of chips, salsa, garden veggies, peanuts, and brownies.

Can life get any better?

Jonathan and Mali vote "no".