Dear Maddie,

You are five months old and full of smiles. You are the happiest and most content baby girl. We are so excited to celebrate Christmas with you this year.

You weigh nearly 19 lbs. You are mostly wearing size 9 month clothing but you still wear some size 6-9 month clothes as well. 

You love to talk. You are starting to discover more and more consonants. What used to be "Oooowwaaahhh" has now turned into "Baaah Bah Bah!" Sometimes you even say "Mah Mah" or "Dah Dah" which makes your Daddy and I really happy. And every morning when you first wake up and we say "Hi!" you say "Hi" back. Of course, we don't count any of this as your first words because we know you have no idea what you are really saying. But it still melts our hearts as you continue to mimic the sounds you hear.

You are finally rolling over again! You started rolling over quite early in life, around seven weeks, and then those thighs got in the way. Earlier this month you started rolling over again and again and again. You are a master now.

You continue to sit on your own for longer and longer bits of time. You can hold yourself up for thirty seconds to a minute before you throw yourself back in excitement or lean and fall to the side. Daddy or I are always close by to catch you just in case.

You are getting more interested in faces. You love to grab Daddy's face when he talks to you. You mirror our facial features as we talk and laugh with you.

You love being in your Johnny jump up and the sling. You hate missing out on anything. You are quite the social girl. You love visiting your cousins. They make you laugh by playing peek-a-boo and keep away with you. Your favorite toy is still your noisy paper. You are starting to love your books too. You love handling the books and turning the pages yourself.

We talk to Grandma and Grandpa Birkeland on Skype at least a few times a week. You love to talk to Grandma and Grandpa while they are on their mission in Sweden.

Happy five months baby girl! Next month we'll be talking solids!  


Three years going on forever

Three years ago, on a white December morning 
we made us forever. 

 Today, we celebrate as a family of three.


Kewpie Maddie

Is it just me or does Maddie look like a total Kewpie Doll in this pic?


Away in a Manger

Madeline Jaye Birkeland made her acting debut on December 1st, 2011 in a performance as the Christ Child in her ward nativity that is already stirring up Oscar buzz.  Fans were in awe of her peaceful portrayal of the Divine Infant.

When asked what the hardest part was while prepping for the part, Madeline said she spent all four months of her life preparing so that she could get through the 45 minute show without fussing. 

She said, "When I read the script, which was inspired by the scriptures and the hymn Away in a Manger, I was surprised when I read the line 'The little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes'.  I know that Christ was perfect, but I am definitely not perfect. So playing a perfect baby was difficult and took a lot of work."

Her onscreen mother, and mother in real life, Haley Birkeland agrees. "Most actors and actresses have to work hard in order to make themselves cry.  But it is 100 times more difficult for a baby to suppress that instinct. Madeline did a great job keeping her cool while she was on a hot stage surrounded by Primary children and adults dressed as angels, shepherds, and wise men."


We asked Madeline if it was difficult to play a male role as a female actress. She replied that she was inspired by the actress Mary Martin who played Peter Pan. "If you are a good actress, gender doesn't matter."

Besides making a slight cooing noise when her daddy smiled at her, Madeline didn't make another sound during the entire production. Fans praised her for her performance remarking that "She was the most quiet Baby Jesus I've ever seen!"

Others couldn't get over her wispy white hair and glorious thighs with rolls upon rolls of darling baby fat.

Luckily Madeline isn't self conscious of her weight.

"I'm a girl with curves!" She proudly states.

We look forward to seeing more from this rookie actress.

Okay so besides the Oscar nod and the quotes from Madeline this is all pretty much true, including the part that Madeline was silent for the entire performance. Madeline played the Christ Child and Brett and I played Mary and Joseph for the ward nativity. It was a wonderful experience that we all enjoyed.


Decorating the Christmas Tree

This last sequence of photos is my favorite! :)