kaelyn: 14 months

_MG_9146Clothing size: Still wearing 9-12 month onesies and pants. Dresses and jammies are 12-18 months now.
Eyecolor: Pale blue.
Teeth: 4! Two top and two bottom. I keep thinking that she’s teething, but nothing else has popped up yet.
Eating: She’s nursing about 4 times a day now, and her consumption of solid foods really seems to have gone up this month! She loves yogurt (Greek or regular), grapes, olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, any kind of shredded chicken, graham crackers, and any kind of cheddar cracker (i.e. goldfish).

We also let her try pizza a few days ago at this community pool party… and she was ripping pieces off with her teeth and actually eating it! My baby is so grown up!

She’s starting to get bored with Cheerios for breakfast, but that’s the easiest thing I can give her while we’re all getting ready in the morning.

She also likes to taste-test sidewalk chalk…

Words: Her favorite words are hey, hi, this, and that! She loves to go up to the guinea pig cage and say “heeeeey” so excitedly to them.
Favorite things: “Piggy” (her plush guinea pig), reading books, the toy cookie set, pretending she’s talking on the phone, drawing on the magnetic board, peekaboo, and little toy cars. She loves watching the real guinea pigs, and Kaya still gets the biggest laughs out of her.
Dislikes: 
Getting her face wiped and laying down for diaper changes.
Sleep:
She sleeps from about 8 pm until 6 or 7 am, and for the most part, sleeps through the night! She’s had a few extra wake-ups lately from traveling, but other than that, she’s been very predictable in this category lately. She takes a 3 hour nap (as long as big sister doesn’t wake her up), starting around 1 pm. She still likes her little 30-minute “power nap” in the morning if she can get it. We’ve had a few days lately where it just hasn’t happened, and usually, she starts falling asleep in her high chair at lunch!
Nicknames: 
Baba, Baba Grace, Baba Gracie. Although we call her by her nicknames 90% of the time, she somehow does still know her real name!
Milestones, etc.:
-She’s still not walking independently, but she’s pulling up on things and cruising along them whenever she can! Standing opens up a whole new world of activities- like playing the piano!_MG_9138-She’s started climbing. For example, she can get into the cozy coupe car all on her own. She also likes to sit in Kaya’s baby stroller (until I catch her and take her out)!

-She tries to put shoes on all by herself! One time, I got my running shoes on, and she grabbed Kaya’s flipflops and attempted to wear them so she could come with me.

-She definitely has little temper tantrums when she doesn’t like something, but I have to say, on the whole, she is a very mild-mannered little girl. Her tantrums involve her squawking and throwing her body backward… and that’s pretty much it.

-She’s always loved her daddy, but this month, she’s really taken a lot more interest in him and will even ask him to hold her. I’m glad they’re spending a little more time together!

-We switched her over to the convertible car seat this month and she seems to like it a lot more than her infant seat. We brought it inside to clean it up (it was Kaya’s before) and adjust the straps, and she sat in it any chance she got._MG_9039-She’s started to (sometimes) fold her arms at prayer time. What is cuter than chubby little baby arms folded together? (answer: maybe nothing)

Dear Kaelyn,

Baby girl, I love everything about you. You climb into my lap to snuggle, you kiss and hug freely, and you make everyone smile. You love being close to your mama and I couldn’t be happier about that.IMG_20150805_180546You are so inquisitive these days and are always asking me “this?” (what’s this?) so that I’ll name objects for you. Your most-frequently spoken word is “hiiiiiiiii!” without a doubt. You say it any chance you get and I love hearing that little baby voice of yours.

Keep on smiling little princess. We love you more than you know.

Love, Mommy

a reunion and a birthday

Last weekend, while we were still out of town, we went to Michael’s 10-year high school reunion. I can’t believe that we both graduated high school that long ago already. Wasn’t it just yesterday? Although, in ten years, he’s accomplished quite a lot (finished undergrad studies, served a church mission, got married, had two kids, and is working on getting his Master’s), so maybe it is believable that this much time has passed.

Anyway, we had a good time, and it was nice to go out on a date. Kaya and Kaelyn had a fun time with their grandparents. :)IMG_20150822_182705Sunday was Michael’s birthday! His mom made his favorite dessert, choco-mint freeze! We planned to start our drive back home right from church, so we celebrated with a family lunch in the church basement after all our meetings were over.

We didn’t use any real candles… but Michael was ready to substitute a Cheeto for one. Haha.
_MG_9081Singing “happy birthday” (and I have no idea what Michael was doing with his hands in this picture…)_MG_9082Blowing out the imaginary 28 candles!_MG_9084We had a great visit with family. I’m glad we could be with them for Michael’s little celebration!_MG_9087

five on friday (08/28)

Happy Friday! :)

ONE. Monday morning had a slow start! After all our traveling last week, we’ve been a little extra tired. Kaya likes to snuggle up to me while I’m nursing the baby, and lately, she’s made herself even more comfortable by putting her pillow over my legs. I know she might not always want to cuddle her mom, so I’m soaking this up while it lasts.TWO. Our friend Katie surprised us with this gorgeous orchid! It’s the most vivid blue flower I’ve ever seen, and I love how it brightens up the room! It’s supposed to be pretty foolproof as far as care goes, so here’s to a (hopefully) long-lasting relationship with this beauty._MG_9104 THREE. So this must be the reason I had two kids…_MG_9117 …even if the end result is a giant mess! :)_MG_9122FOUR. These little baby piggies are growing so fast already! They had their first baths this week and look better than brand new. :)

Claire is still a little shy… :)_MG_9133FIVE. We kicked off our Friday with sidewalk chalk! Kaya loves creating and even tried to make a rainbow. Kaelyn just loved tasting the chalk.. haha. Playing outside with my girls is definitely one of my favorite things.

Happy weekend! What are your plans?

Linking up here!

bubbles and breakfast (with grandma debbie)

After spending two of Michael’s vacation days at home, we packed up and headed east to visit both sides of our extended family.

Funny (or maybe not) side-story before we even left:

We timed our departure right at nap time, with the hope that our two kiddos would sleep for most of the ride. The car was all loaded up, lunches were stowed in the front seat to be eaten on the way, and we were ready to buckle the kids into their car seats when we realized…

Kaya’s beloved Kitty was missing.

If you don’t know, Kitty goes everywhere, and a day (let alone a week) without him would be pure agony for everyone involved.

We asked Kaya if she packed him in a suitcase… and she told us she hadn’t. We started searching frantically through the house… opening everything that can be opened and pulling various items from their places. We couldn’t find him, and Kaya was sobbing. My heart was breaking for my little girl.

Michael searched the inside of our suitcases in the car. No Kitty. He even went to the dumpster, found the trash we had taken out earlier, and searched it. Still no Kitty. We were starting to lose some hope, and gave her the new “backup” Kitty to try to calm her down.

Michael went out to the car to look (for a 3rd time, I think), and this time, Kaya immediately climbed onto one of the suitcases… Michael looked in one of the front pockets (which looked waaay too small to have Kitty in it), and finally, there he was. Apparently, she packed him, forgot she did it, and we had no idea it even happened.

So then we took two Kitties on our trip, but everyone was happy.We made it safely to my parents’ house by evening. Our plan to get them to nap in the car mostly failed, so we still had two sleepy girls the next day._MG_9041We spent a lot of time just lounging around and relaxing. _MG_9045Grandma had some new bubbles for Kaya to play with! We enjoyed sitting out on the swing and just soaking in the warmth of these late summer days._MG_9047This was also Kaya’s first time having extended contact with a dog since the bite incident, and for the most part, she did great.  _MG_9051My parents’ dog, Socks, is really sweet, but also very loud, so she was afraid when he would bark a lot. She asked about him whenever she couldn’t see what he was doing, and laughed when he would give us all kisses. I am still so proud of my girl for being so brave. _MG_9052Grandma and Kaya took several walks around the yard. _MG_9053We had a lot of really great food on our trip- especially for breakfast, like these muffins. Mmmm.
_MG_9079 My mom made pancakes and bacon another day. Even Kaelyn dug right in!_MG_9075 _MG_9077 We also played some classic old games with my dad, like “Thin Ice” and “Cootie”, but I forgot to take a picture of those. Friday night, we packed up (again) and headed down to my inlaws’, but this post is already way too long, so I’ll save that for another day. :)

hiking the cascades

Michael took some vacation time last week, and on his first day off, we decided to hike the Cascades! It was our very first hike with kids (I can’t believe we haven’t gone since before Kaya was born), and overall, it went really well.
IMG_20150817_095244 IMG_20150817_095200 Kaya was a trooper and hiked about 1.5 miles of the 4-mile trail. That is no small feat, especially since there were a lot of rocks and somewhat steep slopes.IMG_20150817_095919 IMG_20150817_095935Both girls loved watching the water move down the river. I loved watching them enjoy nature. IMG_20150817_100027 IMG_20150817_100051After about an hour and a half, we reached the amazing waterfall at the top.IMG_20150817_113709 IMG_20150817_114514 We let Kaya take her shoes and socks off to feel the icy cold water with her toes.IMG_20150817_114410 She loved it.IMG_20150817_114543 I’m so grateful for this little family of mine and these beautiful places to explore together.IMG_20150817_115515 We made our way back down, which almost seemed more difficult for Kaya to navigate than the way up. I will admit, there were some slippery parts of the trail that I was nervous about traversing while wearing Kaelyn. We might wait until they are a bit older to do this particular hike again.IMG_20150817_120307 Both kids were so exausted that they fell asleep before we even reached the bottom of the trail.IMG_20150817_124153These simple memories together are some of the sweetest.

freyja and claire

We’re back from (almost) a week of traveling and visiting our families! We left town with four family members in our car…

…and came back with six! We added two furry little guinea pig babies to our family! Meet Freyja and Claire!
They are about 6-8 weeks old and most likely sisters. They definitely enjoy each other’s company and have been caught snuggling many times already. If we hold Claire by herself, she’ll usually start “wheeking” (that’s guinea pig language) for Freyja until she knows where she is.

Claire seems to be slightly more dominant thus far. Both are very outgoing, but Freyja is a bit more social. She’s comfortable enough with people to nearly doze off while being held.Kaya is so happy to have pets again (after a hiatus of two months), and has been so loving and gentle toward them. She loves helping me feed them and asks to see and hold them all the time._MG_9062 Michael finished building their cage last night, so they’ve been adjusting to that and have enjoyed jumping around in it. They seem so tiny next to the food bowls!_MG_9097

family festival weekend

Our Friday night was one of those nights. You know… the kind when you’re having such a good time that you just know you’re right in the middle of making an amazing memory.

Those kinds of memories are the ones I like to revisit for years to come.

Michael’s work puts on this “Family Festival” at the end of every summer. I always bring my big camera and never really take any pictures, so this year, I left it at home. Well, apparently we just needed our oldest daughter to grow up a little bit, because she was so involved in everything… and I wanted to take her picture doing it all. So… all I have for you today are some nice phone photos. Whoops. (Really though, it is hard to use a DSLR when you’re wearing a baby on your chest, too, so it might not have worked out so well anyway…)

We met up with Ben, Brittany, and Caroline! We can always count on Kaya to push their stroller around.
IMG_20150814_182110There were so many good treats at this mini festival. After some hotdogs and hamburgers, there were snowcones, cotton candy, and ice cream!IMG_20150814_184223We waited in line for balloon animals for quite a while, but I knew it would be worth it once Kaya saw what was going on. I requested a horse for her, and her whole face lit up with joy. For me, there is no better prize than that.IMG_20150814_191931Balloon horses have to gallop on Daddy’s head, obviously. :)collage08142015This might have been my second stick of cotton candy… So obviously I had to do some kind of crazy dance. #YOLO IMG_20150814_194436Kaya went down this inflatable slide as much as we would let her! I think Michael had just as much fun as she did.

A video posted by Tara (@tarairwin) on

MIchael and Kaya danced to some live bluegrass music, and then she requested a photo with this giant cow in the center of the square.IMG_20150814_194942 The end of the evening was a little bittersweet, since this was our last hurrah with Ben and Brittany before their move to Texas. We are already missing our sweet friends.IMG_20150814_182416

Happy Monday! How was your weekend?

five on friday (08/14)

Happy Friday!!! Here are our recent top five:

ONE. I never posted about our weekend, but I had an awesome run on Saturday! The weather was so perfect (we finally had a short break from all this humidity) so I took full advantage. Some people have told me that if I can just go out and do 8 miles like this, I could easily train for a half marathon. I was sore for two days afterward, but it’s definitely something I’ve thought about doing. Seasoned racers, any thoughts?

TWO. Somebody discovered how delicious graham crackers are this week! Sometimes when I look at that four-toothed grin, I see a little girl instead of my baby. _MG_9033 THREE. This little $5 stroller has given Kaya so many hours’ worth of fun. I let her take it outside this week to meet Daddy at the bus stop, and she pretty much thought it was the best thing ever. Various stuffed buddies have taken turns getting rides!_MG_9021FOUR. The easiest way to get my two sweaty, sunscreeny kids clean lately has been to put them in one bath! I’ve done this a few times now, and they LOVE it. They laugh and splash so much that I usually end up cleaning water off the floor, but I love how much joy they find in each other’s company._MG_8995FIVE. This has been our last week with Brittany and Caroline before they move far far away to Texas. We’ve been relishing our playtime and trying not to think about the fact that soon they’ll be gone. I love these little baby buddies! (photo cred to Brittany!)

Happy weekend!

Linking up here today!

once an animal lover

Growing up, I was always known as the “animal lover” of the family. My lifelong goal was to help animals in any way I could.

I always found that I had some special way of understanding them, as they did me.

_MG_2976They were my safe place. At the end of the day, if I was stressed, hurting, or just needed company, I knew they would always be there for me. There was an inherent trust between us. “You care for me, and I’ll watch out for you”, they always seemed to say._MG_2870 Losing Jax was hard. The trust and security I had relied on throughout my whole life was suddenly shattered, and for a short time, I wondered if it was gone forever. I loved him, but his hurting of my own human child felt unforgivable.IMG_20140729_191344We are without a pet for the first time in the six years we’ve been married. A little time has passed since the dog bite incident, and Jax officially has a new home now. While I am so happy that he received a second chance and the best possible future, there is definitely an aching void in my heart for my puppy.

My furry buddies are such a huge part of who I am, and I’m sure now that nothing can change that.

Once an animal lover, always an animal lover.

august 2015 goals

I took a break from goals in July. We spent a lot of time outside and with friends, so my down time was just that… a time to relax. I know August is already a third of the way through… but here’s to hoping for better progress this month!

Here was June:

1. Abs 3x’s per week.

2. Read one book. “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” was a good read!

3. Celebrate my baby girl with an awesome birthday party!

4. Make my baby an amazing cake.

5. Sew something.

6. Finish my Personal Progress faith value project.

7. Make a Shutterfly photobook. I started this, at least, just didn’t finalize and order it… august2015goals1. Abs 3x’s per week.

2. Read one book.

3. Sew something.

4. Complete 2 value experiences for Personal Progress.

5. Finish my Faith PP project.

6. Organize two areas of our home.

7. Take Kaya on a mommy-daughter date.