currently (may 2016)


Reading… The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I was wait-listed at the library for this book for so long, and it was worth waiting for. It’s been very thought-provoking so far, and even makes me want to start my own Resolutions Chart. I love how the author pushes herself to go out of her comfort zone to attain her goals, but still stays true to being herself.

Watching… Call the Midwife on Netflix. I know I’m late to the game, but this show has me hooked!

Eating… This Santa Fe Crockpot Chicken! We had some friends over for dinner on Monday night, and I wanted to make something easy without having to take a trip to the grocery store. This fit the bill! I ended up using three chicken breasts, so I added a little extra of each spice. This made a ton of food and tastes amazing over rice or even just lettuce. Mmmm.

Planning… Kaelyn’s 2nd birthday party! I finally settled on a theme after wavering between several: rubber ducks! She’s been obsessed with ducks for a few months now, and “quack” was the first animal sound she learned to say, so I think it’s a perfect choice. You can’t go wrong with adorable yellow ducks!rubberduckybirthdayboard

Editing… lots and lots of photos! I’ve had a few recent clients for photo sessions, plus all the pictures I took on our vacation. I’ve been so excited to see my business picking up- I love using my talents for others, and making a little extra money is always a plus. I’m saving up for a macro lens next (probably this one) and getting close to having enough!

Shopping… for so many random house-related items. Everything from new toilet seats to window blinds to choosing paint colors. It’s all so exciting and truthfully, a little overwhelming. Making home decor choices completely intimidates me, but I’m so eager to get started… now we just need to decide what room we want to focus on first! 😉

baby #3: 18 weeks

(written May 21st… a few days late, since we were out of town! 🙂 )18weeks_1Baby’s size: About 5.5 inches long from head to rump, and weighing in at around 7 ounces! Apparently, this is about the same size as a sweet potato… or according to the Ovia app, also a sugar glider, a slingshot, or a croissant. Haha.
Maternity clothes?: All regular clothes still! I do choose shorts over my jeans though whenever I can- the jeans still button, but they are definitely less comfortable.
Gender: We are pretty sure we know… but we’re waiting to announce at 20 weeks, after confirming it at our anatomy scan! I seriously cannot wait to share!
Symptoms: A very crampy belly while we were on vacation this week… probably just due to sitting in the car for so many hours and not being diligent about drinking enough water. I also think it’s partly just growing pains!
Sleep: Restless this week while on vacation and sleeping somewhere other than home, but normally, I’ve been sleeping pretty soundly and getting up to use the bathroom only once at night.
Movement: I felt a few kicks this week that were so much stronger than anything I’ve felt so far! I think this baby is going to be a crazy mover like Kaya was. Baby also starts moving a whole lot after I have something cold, like water or ice cream.
Cravings: Greek gyros and Nutella… I know, so bad, but SO good!
What I miss: Sometimes I miss feeling like I look fit… my belly is in that awkward “did she eat too many donuts?” stage, and even though I’m grateful we have an obviously-growing baby in there, it can be hard to see all your physical fitness going downhill. I also just feel like I’m showing a lot earlier this time… but I guess that’s to be expected with baby #3!18weeks_2Anything making you queasy or sick?: Greek yogurt and Italian vinaigrette still smell so disgusting to me… But as long as I’m not eating them (and believe me, I’m not, just serving them to the kids), I’m alright.
Belly Button in or out?: In.
Exercising?: I started the week out with a cold… and then we were on vacation, and I forgot my GPS watch. So I’m not exactly sure on the number, but I still ended up running about 20 miles or so.
Mood: Happy!
Best moment this week: Going on our family beach vacation!
Comparison: 18 weeks with Kaya; 18 weeks with Kaelyn

mother’s day 2016

This year was the best Mother’s Day yet… and it wasn’t because we did anything spectacular or even very out of the ordinary. Mostly, I was overjoyed to see Kaya so excited about celebrating the day. She was absolutely exuberant when all the primary kids went up to the front of the chapel to sing (this song) at church… She was even waving and grinning at us!_MG_1841Both girls made some fingerprint flowers for me in their classes. I love those tiny hands and I’m so glad to have these.kayakaelynmothersdayfingerprintsKaya even helped Michael make “square shooter” cookies as a special treat… and then she proudly carried some upstairs to me with a glass of milk right after I took a nap, announcing “Happy Mother’s Day!” as she strolled into the room._MG_1860 We also took a few pictures, because I’m almost always on the other side of the camera, and getting a few pictures with my babies is my one real request every year._MG_1844I think we ended up with some hilarious candid ones. This is motherhood for real, you guys…_MG_1842_MG_1846 With all the hustle and busyness of moving into our home just a few days prior, this low-key day turned out to be perfect._MG_1851Kaya also did this little survey in Primary, and it’s pretty hilarious and sweet, so I had to include it:

My mom’s name is: Tara

My mom is 2 (?) years old.

My mommy’s job is: clean the bathroom

My mommy laughs when: I do funny faces

My mommy is really good at: Mom

My favorite meal my mommy makes is: spaghetti

My favorite thing to do with mom is: snuggle

my baby brother is all grown up

On May 7th, my no-so-little-anymore brother graduated from Radford University! He finished with two Bachelor’s degrees (for Accounting and Criminal Justice), and I was so proud to see him walk across the stage that I started to tear up a little._MG_1806I missed out on his high school graduation, so I was glad to be there for him this time. The ceremony was outdoors, and the weather was perfect… maybe even a little too perfect, because after sitting in the sun for a few more hours than we were expecting to, we each had a slight pink tinge to our skin. Oops.IMG_20160507_125902I stood up at the front, waiting to take this photo for probably close to an hour… Karl and Kaitlyn are good sports when it comes to my paparazzi-like tendencies._MG_1796We took a ton of photos afterward, too, as you might have expected. It was so nice to see my whole immediate family together!_MG_1812Seriously, I’m already missing this kid, but I know he’s moving on to bigger and better opportunities._MG_1808_MG_1820 _MG_1815 Since my Mom, Dad, Karl and I were all in the same place at the same time (and looking pretty sharp, I might add), I absolutely had to get this photo of the four of us. Kaya really wanted to be in it, too, and that was just fine by me._MG_1829My sunshine in her favorite rainbow dress! The kids were so well-behaved for the entire outing, despite being hungry and tired._MG_1826We all went to Subway downtown for lunch afterward. Someone couldn’t quite make it through the afternoon without passing out on Grandma (which she seems to do almost every time she visits)!

Congratulations Karl and Kaitlyn!!!

tour de cure 2016 weekend

Michael completed his fifth Tour De Cure (Race for Diabetes) on April 30th! He chose to do the 65-miler this time (you know, only 65 miles instead of 100 like last year… to me, either is a huge feat)! He honestly didn’t have a whole lot of time to train for the race this year due to his schedule, so the shorter ride ended up being perfect for him.

He found a great group to ride with along the way.26778061266_42d0a271bd_o (1)

My awesome mom-in-law raced again this year too! She did 25 miles!Michael’s total time was 3 hours, 53 mins, 23 seconds for 65.44 miles. That’s an average of 16.85 mph!

Once again, I wasn’t at the race this year. It just seems like we always have some other life event going on right around the same time as the race… this year we were preparing to MOVE, so there was plenty to get done! Also, taking the kids in the car for 10 hours within a 24-hour period never really seems appealing._MG_1689We did a lot of packing while Daddy was gone, and also hurried to shampoo the carpets at the new house before he had to leave with the car. I surprised the girls with some new Duplo blocks while I cleaned, and surprisingly, those kept them entertained for most of the 4 hours we were there._MG_1676We were so happy to have Michael home again on Saturday night! Even when he isn’t gone for long, it’s always a relief and a joy to have him back with us.

baby #3: the details

I thought it’d be fun to answer some of the most common questions we’ve been getting this time around… and just do one big update! I’m also just so excited that it’s our turn to do all this again! 🙂17weeks_1

To start, we’ve nicknamed this baby “Pumpkin”… because what better moniker is there for an October baby? (Remember how Kaya was “Munchkin” and Kaelyn was “Peanut”?). I love having something to call the baby other than “It” for the first little while, and Pumpkin seemed to fit perfectly.

Have you felt any different this time around?
Not at all! It’s actually kind of crazy how eerily similar this pregnancy is to my other two- especially my first. Exhaustion and morning sickness sum up my first trimester really well every time, but otherwise, I’ve been feeling good.

Do Kaya and Kaelyn know about the pregnancy?
Kaelyn is oblivious, and I’m guessing she’ll stay that way until either my belly is huge or we bring the baby home. Kaya, on the the other hand, definitely understands that there is “just a little baby” in my tummy, and is SO excited! She kisses, hugs, sings to, and just cuddles up to my belly all the time. This baby has already brought her so much happiness. I just know my heart is going to explode with emotion the first time I see her hold her new sibling.

How far apart will the kids be?
Kaya turns 4 just a few weeks before this one is due, and Kaelyn will be 27 months. I would have had them just as close as my first two (21 months apart), but it took a little longer to get pregnant this time (about 8 months). When it comes down to it, I have faith in God’s timing, and I’m actually really happy to have another Fall baby. (here’s our first ultrasound at 10 weeks!)10weekultrasound_bw1crop

Any morning sickness?
YES. I’ve had more of the “all-day-long” morning sickness this time around (just like with Kaya), and spent a whole lot of time on the couch in the first trimester. I started feeling a lot better just before the second trimester began.

I barely tried to cook real meals during those tougher weeks, just because I knew that most foods and smells would set off my nausea. Thankfully, Michael really is the best and took over making sure dishes got done and some kind of food was on the table for the kids. It’s a good thing they’re all happy with just PB&Js or pizza.

Chicken, cheese, Greek yogurt, beans, and Italian salad dressing have been big aversions for me this time. I also didn’t eat a chocolate chip cookie for about 2 months… that’s practically eternity for me!

I’ve noticed that I crave real fruit or fruity-flavored things this time. I actually started sucking on Kaya’s Dumdum lollipops when I would feel nauseous, and it seemed to help. Donuts, brownies, pizza, Chinese food, and Subway subs were most of the things my stomach could handle when I felt my sickest.


Are we going to find out the gender?
Confession: We actually went and found out the gender EARLY (at 15 weeks) this time! However, I am waiting until we have it confirmed at our 20-week anatomy scan before we make an official announcement. 🙂 Many people automatically assume we want a boy after already having two girls… but I can honestly say, we would be overjoyed with either a prince or princess. We are just very grateful for this little baby.

15weekultrasound_babyprofile_enhancedcropHave you felt movement yet?
This little person has been very active at both of our ultrasounds… and seemed to have some pretty serious hiccups at the 10-week one! I’ve been feeling flutters since 13 weeks, and I’m pretty sure it’s those little legs kicking! I almost always feel it on my right side.

Have you still been running?
Yes! I’m actually really proud to say that with this pregnancy (so far), this is the best I’ve done with keeping up with my desired mileage! I am already a lot slower (10-minute miles on average, unless I have a running buddy to keep me going), but I’m doing what feels good and stopping for water and bathroom breaks if I go more than 6 miles. I was blessed to be able to run up until delivery with my other two, and I’m so hoping it goes that way again!

Pumpkin, you are so wanted, prayed for, and loved. Only about 5 more months until we meet you!

baby #3!

We’re so happy to finally announce…baby3announcement_2

Baby #3 is due in October!!!

As you can see, we (especially Kaya) couldn’t be more excited! I’m already 17 weeks along, and the time is just flying by!

Hopefully I’ll be able to start some weekly updates soon, and post about some other fun details too, like how we announced it to our families this time! 🙂

Happy Friday all! 🙂

kaelyn: 22 months

(Most of this was written April 29th… and then life got crazy with packing and moving, and without internet, I couldn’t post it anyway!)_MG_1725 Clothing size: I finally got her new clothes out of the closet! She’s now wearing 24-month and 2T items. Size 5 shoes, but we’re still squeezing those size 4 sneakers on for playing outside.
Eyecolor: Blue.
Teeth: Eleven.
Eating: She tried and fell in love with strawberries this month! She can never have enough of them. She also loves grapes, cucumbers, Greek yogurt, wheat thins, chocolate-chip muffins, shredded chicken, and a tall glass of whole milk.
New words:
She will try to say almost any word you ask her to now. She’s efficient at using: hi, bye, help, and no. 
Favorite things:
Piggy (although this is the month that her original piggy was lost, so now she has a replacement. I think she might like the new one even more, though!), Blue Kitty, ducks, her baby doll, being swung up and down by Mommy or Daddy, swinging at the playground, and playing any pretend game with Kaya.
Getting her face wiped, being told no, sharing, and the car seat. The worst of all is getting her diaper changed.
She’s down for bed around 8:30 or 9, and wakes up around 7 am. She naps for three hours in the afternoon, starting around 1:30 pm._MG_1644 Nicknames: Baba, Baba Grace.
Milestones, etc.:
-She falls asleep in her high chair at lunch time several times a week now… and sometimes in the stroller, too!

-She is a big helper and is great at following instructions. I can always count on her to do what I ask.

-She has started throwing some serious tantrums… foot-stomping, screaming-at-the-top-of-her-lungs, banging-on-the-door fits. Time-outs are happening much more frequently lately.

-She has started SINGING! She has the most adorable little voice, and will often mimic whatever tune we’re humming.

-Her independent streak has continued… I feel like she doesn’t want my help for anything these days! I sometimes miss her babyhood days when she relied on me so much…

-She’s really an excellent climber now, and has also mastered the stairs.

Dear Kaelyn,

Your little smile just lights up our world.  You often crinkle up your nose and squint your eyes at me when you want to make me laugh… and that funny face always does it! You love when we chase and tickle you, or when we make a goofy face back at you. Getting you to laugh is so, so easy these days!_MG_1735You are our little sunshine girl!_MG_1624

Love, Mommy

we’ve moved!

Well, if you’ve been wondering about the recent stretch of radio silence happening over here, now you know why…

We moved!_MG_1754

We closed on our very first home at the end of April, and scheduled our move for last Tuesday. We’ve been busy packing, unpacking, and adjusting to life in a new neighborhood.

If you ever thought I couldn’t go a whole week without blogging… Well, I just proved you wrong, but only because we didn’t have any internet, so it’s not like I had much of a choice. Haha.

It’s a crazy feeling to be in our own home. We’ve anticipated this day for several years now, and it almost seems unreal. I keep feeling like I’m just on some weird trip, staying temporarily in someone else’s place. Hopefully that feeling dissipates after we start decorating and truly making this place our own.

I have a whole lot of catching up to do here on the blog, so expect a lot of posts to come your way here in the next couple of weeks! I’ve really missed having my “hobby” so easily accessible.

five on friday (04/29)

It’s been a BUSY (but fantastic) week!

ONE. Spring is finally here! The weather has been gorgeous (the trees seem to know it too, because there’s pollen everywhere), so we’ve been outside enjoying it whenever we can. Kaya was so excited to ride her bike again. She didn’t even want to take her helmet off once we got to the playground!

We also pulled all the girls’ summer clothes out of the closet, and Kaya has been so thrilled over having new things to wear. This octopus shirt is a favorite for sure!

Why does my baby suddenly look so big? She’s mastered going down the big slide all on her own!

TWO. Riding a bike means you might fall off… and Kaya did exactly that this week. She got her first official “biking boo-boo”. She was pretty distraught about it until I told her that Mommy and Daddy used to fall off our bikes when we were kids too. By the time we got home, she was in high spirits again and almost couldn’t resist laughing when I asked her to make a sad face for this picture.

THREE. We had some errands to run this week, so while we were out near all the “big” stores, we took some time to do a little shopping. I finally lucked out and found two swimsuits on clearance (!!!), after I’ve been looking everywhere for months for something I liked.

Kaelyn is honestly a little difficult to entertain while we’re out. She wants to grab things off the racks and play with her seat belt buckle the entire time, but with a few hundred fruit snacks as bribery, we made it through the trip! I really do love my little shopping buddies. 🙂

FOUR. Our friend, Mallory, had her baby shower this week! It was so fun to have a night out without the kids. I can’t even remember the last time that happened, so I truly enjoyed it. There were fun games (including Pictionary!), good friends, and these amazing Belgian waffles made by Cheryl. I covered mine in cookie butter, Nutella, and whipped cream… And I think my taste buds died and went to Heaven.

Seriously. This is not a high-quality picture, but trust me, there’s a waffle under there!

FIVE. Everyone goes crazy for Daddy when he comes home! I love how much our girls just adore him! Laughing, wrestling, and tickling are almost always on the agenda. 🙂_MG_1656


Yes, they were totally rolling around on my clean (folded!) laundry… haha._MG_1659

_MG_1660Happy weekend!

Linking up here!