Meet Dahlia

Dahlia was our huge surprise baby! We were so excited for a girl, and have always loved the name Dahlia. Her middle name is Bruges, after the city we got engaged in, in Belgium. She was born just 15 months after Teddy. 

 

We knew we'd be calling her our baby Dahl since before she was born. We also knew with our luck, she'd take all the height from Branden and be a tall girl, and that she is. Whether she'll end up being 6 feet tall or more, she'll be her 5'3" mom's baby Dahl forever. 

 

Our sweet angel is truly that, an angel. I'll never forget the morning she was born, and what an easy quiet birth she was. Her first night on Earth was spent just alone with me, in bed together, at the hospital. I sent Branden home to rest (really, so I could stop hearing him complain about the pull out sofa) and Dahlia and I relaxed in bed all night and day, eating/nursing and watching Big Brother. We had fewer visitors than we had for Teddy, but that was a great different experience; just she and I, lounging, taking each other in, no distractions, and never not skin to skin. I hardly moved for 24 hours. She was so chill, content to just lie with me, and she fit perfectly in the crook of my arm and on my chest. I felt like somewhat of an old pro (even though I was still a very new mom), having just been at this exact hospital barely over a year prior.

 

Dahlia has olive skin like Dad, soft golden hair (but not much of it yet), and a full bottom lip like Mom. She has the biggest eyes and the longest lashes, and when she smiles at you, she juts her chin up and shows all her silly spaced out teeth, her easygoing big-eyed gaze right at you, patiently waiting to see what you're going to do next.

 

Dahlia is an observer, a chill toddler, and an easygoing gal. Give her her bambas, bananas, or bread (B foods?), or baby dolls and books (B theme it is) and she's happy. She has just started to love Minnie Mouse, which is adorable to see, and seriously, the girl loves to be tossed around and swung. She's not fully walking yet, but wants to be on the move. She adores shrieking at her brother, riding the car with the windows down, and is the only fan on Earth of her Mom's singing. She and Branden have a special bond, she falls asleep easiest in his arms, and he takes her to most of her therapy appointments. After him, her next bff is that right thumb :) 

Meet Jenny and Branden

We met around July 2005 through friends, and for me, it was love at first sight. I was smitten with how funny and confident Branden came across, and chased him down big time until he finally came around and liked me back. We dated and then became official on Easter 2006. We've been married since 2012.

 

Branden and my personalities are similar in a lot of ways: we're loud, sometimes brash, opinionated, and bossy. That likely comes from being the oldest sibling for each of us. We both like to travel, eat good food, and hang out with our kids and friends.

 

Branden really loves Hawaii, and being outdoors, but his main hobbies are motorcycles, cars, and guns. All things I have zero interest in. I'm more into movies, books, throwing parties, girl trips, reality TV, and being OCD about the house (and about everything else, let's be honest).

 

My husband is one of the most loveable people I know, and he's definitely the funniest guy I've ever met. He's smart (too smart) and he knows all there is to know about history. He's also the greatest dad to our two kids. As irreverent as he is all the time, he's the kindest, most gentle loving father to T and D. I don't know where I'd be on this journey, and in my life, without him by my side, towering over me, driving me crazy but also holding me together every step of the way.

Can't Forget Teddy!

Theodore Branden was born on March 24th, 2016. We couldn't decide on a name forever, but I always kept coming back to Teddy because of Branden's love for Teddy Roosevelt. Pregnancy was great, but goodness I'll never forget laboring with him. The back labor was horrendous. The epidural took all the pain away, and I remember only about 3 pushes and he was out. Branden and I both gasped at the orange hair! Who's responsible for that?! (Turns out both of us are, and don't let Branden tell you differently)

 

We had been trying for a good while for our firstborn, and were so thrilled to have Teddy in our world. Teddy was born with Pulmonary Stenosis, so his first night on Earth was spent a lot differently than Dahlia's; he was run through multiple tests immediately, and spent his first 32 hours in the NICU. I didn't get to hold him longer than a minute after he was born. This rocked our world, but he had a successful balloon valvuloplasty at 9 months, gets regular EKGS and ECHOS, and has shown no major symptoms since. We're blessed that he's a healthy, rambunctious, smart and silly boy. 

 

A friend recently described Teddy as like a cartoon character, and she couldn't be more right! Teddy is animated; his one liners, mannerisms and jokes will have you rolling. With his exaggerated marching, dancing, perfectly timed cheesy smiles and thumbs ups, you'd think he was an actor in a SNL infomercial skit. He is always over the top, thinking of funny things to say, and always laughing and playing pranks. His favorite places to go are the beach, any playground, and anywhere there are other kids for him to chase around and play make-believe with. He loves to sing songs, his favorite song right now is "Desperado" (Me First and the Gimme Gimmes version). He loves cowboys, firemen, robots, and cars, and Blippi is his idol. 

 

Teddy is the best big brother to Dahlia. While he may be rowdy with other kids or find it a little hard to share, Dahlia is his "baby sister", as he says all the time. Somehow he knows she's a little fragile, and he's so gentle and patient with her. She loves to climb on top of him, and drape herself over his stomach, and he allows it, laughing and tickling her and being careful not to knock her over. The bond they share warms our hearts, but if I'm being honest, it's bittersweet, because of the pain we expect to all go through as Dahlia ages and regresses. For now and every day we have together, we are just so grateful they have each other to love and learn from.

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Jenny Wildvank

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