easter egg hunt 2016

We had a fantastic Easter weekend, and as usual, I took plenty of pictures, so I think I’ll be splitting them up over a few separate blog posts. This way, it’s quicker for me to write, and easier for you to read!

I kicked off my Saturday morning with a 6.3-mile run. The weather was chilly (I had all my winter gear on), but still beautiful. It was great practice for my first 10k in a couple of weeks! I returned home to a house full of sleepyheads, all still completely unaware that I had even left.

We hurried the girls through eating breakfast and getting washed up, and then headed to the church so Michael could practice a special musical number that he would perform on Sunday. Piano and flute together on “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” seriously might be one of the most beautiful pieces I’ve ever heard. I wish I would have recorded it so I could listen to it a million times over.

After his practice, we drove over to the park for the town’s annual Easter egg hunt. There was a bit of a wait for the 3-year-olds, but I took Kaelyn through the line for 2-year-olds pretty quickly.

There’s a little fenced-in area, filled with straw, where the eggs are hidden. Parents aren’t allowed to go in, and are required to watch from the side. Well, Kaelyn wasn’t having any of that, and wouldn’t even walk in there without me. Some of the volunteers handed her a few eggs out of pity, and she insisted on handing them back! Somehow, she ended up with three eggs and lost one before we made it back to the car. Better luck next year, sweetie.
_MG_1320 _MG_1319 Kaya, on the other hand, was more than ready to run in there and grab all the eggs she could!_MG_1325 _MG_1326 She found so many eggs that one of the volunteers actually had to stop her from picking up any more. She was beaming and so proud of herself._MG_1329 I can’t believe how much this beautiful little girl has grown in just a couple of short years._MG_1334 And when I see this face… I see her daddy and all the silly poses he does for photos._MG_1341 Neither of them wanted anything to do with the Easter Bunny himself (not that I really blame them… those giant furry rabbit costumes always seem more scary than cute)… But I did get them to at least stand in front of a giant Easter Egg. Kaelyn won’t look at the camera for all the candy bribery in the world these days…_MG_1342And that’s it- part one of our Easter celebrations! How was yours? ūüôā

five on friday (03/25)

Happy Easter weekend! We’ve been so excited for this weekend and all the festivities coming up. Here’s to springtime and sunshine!

ONE. We had our preschool Easter party this week! It was my turn to host a party, and thankfully, it all went well. I always get a little nervous and really tried to make it a good time for the kids. I think I succeeded, because afterward, Kaya just kept telling me she wanted to do it all again with our friends.

We did several different activities, but I really loved these little “birdhouse” snacks we made._MG_1271Cute, easy, and delicious.
_MG_1265 TWO. Sometimes, this is what it looks like to be a “girl dad”. He’s the best (and those little toes are still my favorite…)_MG_1232

THREE. These cheeks were FULL of pickle slices! Kaelyn is so open to trying new foods lately, and I love that I can count on her to eat almost anything I make. Also… those baby blues. My other favorite thing!_MG_1221FOUR. We spent some time outside in the sunshine this week. There is nothing like exercise, fresh air, and a break from being at home with all the chores and other distractions. I love this time with my babies.

Kaya loved it until a fly landed on her hat… and then she was too frightened to play anymore. We’re working on tolerating bugs at the playground… ūüėČ

FIVE. Now that Kaya can recognize the letters in the word “donut”, I’m calling all our homeschool preschool learning a success (or maybe we really have just had too many donuts lately). Seriously though, I am SO proud of her and happy to see that she is retaining information.

A video posted by Tara (@tarairwin) on

Happy Easter!
Linking up here!

thursday confessions: donuts and photoshop

I confess…

We have been eating way too many donuts lately. Seriously… I think we’ve had them once a week for the past three weeks or so, whether they’ve been homemade, from our local bakery, or even just the Little Debbie ones from Food Lion. We are so bad, but they taste so, so good.

I am a Photoshop junkie… and sometimes I totally feel like I deceive people with my abilities. Boogers on my kid’s face? Cloned away. Toy on on the floor in the background? Gone.¬†My camera picks up so many minuscule details, so even when I wipe my kids’ faces, it seems like I always miss a crumb or two… and since I know I can fix it easily, it actually bothers me if I don’t.

I totally eat ice cream when my kids are napping. Add that bad habit to confession #1 up there…

I struggle to get anywhere on time with my kids. You probably don’t want to ask me to meet you anywhere before 9:30 am on a weekday, because we will most definitely be late.

I really really love giving gifts, especially to my kids. It’s so hard not to go overboard on birthdays and holidays, especially since I’m really good at deal hunting and couponing and usually get things cheaply. I probably still overdo it, but they really do appreciate everything that they have, and our toy rotation system keeps things from getting too cluttered anyway. They are only little once, so I’m just enjoying it for now.

We are really boring when it comes to lunches. All of us eat the same thing just about every day: peanut butter and jelly for Michael, a salad for me, and a yogurt or a PB&J with a salad for the girls. Call us consistent!

Linking up here!

kaya says (volume 4)

I haven’t done one of these posts in a while, so some of these conversations are a little old (it’s amazing to see how much Kaya’s sentence structure and vocabulary have changed in just a few short months)! However, a lot of them are just too funny, so I had to share¬†them._MG_1162

Me: I think I hear music.
Kaya: No, no hear music. I think it’s just a dinosaur.

Kaya: No sleepy, already took a nap.
Me: How long did you nap for?
Kaya: 3 minutes.

Grandma: What’s in your pocket?
Kaya: Just a cake. (for the record, it was felt food… but still! hahaha)

Water is running in the bathroom.
Me: what are you doing?
Kaya: Make a pool! (She fills up the sink, then lets it go down the drain). Bye-bye pool, see you later!

Kaya (as she walks into the bathroom): Okay, bye Baba (Kaelyn) see you next week! (that’s a long potty break…)

Me: Who is Grandpa Skip married to?
Kaya: Uhhhh…. Jesus!

Me: Listen, do you hear a puppy barking?
Kaya: Yeah…
Me: What’s he saying?
Kaya: Poptarts! He wants poptarts too! He say “peeeease”!

five on friday (03/18)

ONE. Kaya did another one of Lowe’s “Build and Grow” activities last Saturday, and made a monster truck! She was talking about this project for weeks beforehand and could not have been more excited (if you can’t tell from the picture)!TWO. For a change of pace (and to look for Easter dresses, with no luck unfortunately), the girls and I spent Monday morning at our mall. They were so excited to play on the playground, and they did nearly everything hand-in-hand while we were there. I love the bond I see forming between them now.I packed up some PB&Js, and we ate there, too. Eating your same-old-same-old sandwich is even more¬†delicious¬†when you do it somewhere other than at home.I had to let Kaya pick out a cookie, too, of course.
THREE. As I mentioned, they do everything together these days. I ended up getting a second DoodlePro board for free when I wrote to Fisher Price to tell them that our original¬†board seemed defective (one corner section of it wouldn’t erase). They immediately mailed me another one, free of charge. Since it’s only one small part¬†of the board that doesn’t work,¬†it’s still usable. They carry these around all day and draw together.


FOUR. I came home from running on Wednesday morning, and this is what I found:¬†the best Daddy ever, snuggling his girls (who woke up a little earlier than usual), after he himself had only slept for about 3 hours due to work and school obligations. Basically, he’s Superman._MG_1202

FIVE. The faces they make just crack me up. Kaya requested a “hug” picture for the bottom two. I love my crazy kids. HAPPY FRIDAY!

Linking up here!

little moments I live for

As time keeps rushing right on by, I’m realizing more often that it’s the small moments that matter most in life. One day, when I’m older, and I think back on these years, I don’t want to just remember the big things, like getting married, getting jobs, having kids or even buying a house.

These little memories are the most important to me, so I’m writing them here so I never forget.

These days, I live for…

… when Kaya says “let’s hold hands”, just because she wants to, and not because we’re crossing a busy street or parking lot.

… that first moment when Kaelyn sees me again after nursery at church. The way she clings to me and gladly gives me a kiss helps me know how much she still needs me.

… the way Kaya hugs my legs so tightly (and repeatedly) when I pick her up from preschool.

… hearing that Tim McGraw song on the radio that takes me back to when I felt a little younger and a little more free.

… feeling the warm sun on my face for the first time this year, and how I’d love to sit and soak it in for as long as I can.

… when sleeping babies make everything become quiet and still in the afternoon.

running as the sun comes up and seeing the sky look more beautiful than a vibrant painting.

… seeing the outfits Kaelyn comes up with when she gets into the dress-up clothes. A leopard wearing pink sunglasses? She always comes up with the best costumes.

… the way Kaya yells “surprise!!!” when she and Daddy bring home donuts (and how all her favorite kinds of donuts are the same as mine).

… posed, cheesy-looking kisses.

five on friday (03/11)

Happy Friday!!!

ONE. We’ve had the best spring weather this week, and we soaked it all in as much as we could.¬†It’s been so long since we’ve played outside¬†without our winter coats on! Riding in the swing was as exciting as a completely brand-new experience for Kaelyn. I love her happy squeals._MG_1176Kaya¬†still loves riding her tricycle! We need to build up her speed and endurance again!TWO. Kaya loves to have her picture taken next to trees, and will insist on sitting next to one if I want to photograph her. This golden, warm light has me excited for outdoor photography to really begin again._MG_1163THREE. I have wanted western boots for forever… and thanks to some birthday money from my mom-in-law, I finally bought some! They came in the mail this week, and Kaya was so excited that we can match now.

FOUR. My little fashionista started clipping bows to her shirt as an accessory. This has got to be a new trend, right? I love how she loves everything to be colorful and bright._MG_1184 FIVE. I taught preschool today, and these little best friends just melt my heart. Kaya loves Mia so much and always wants to do what she does (i.e. Kaya saw that Mia had her bracelet on her left wrist, so she switched hers to the left, too). I love listening to their little conversations and the questions they ask each other while they’re working on their crafts.

Happy weekend all!

Linking up here!

donuts and a daddy-daughter date

Yeah, it’s definitely Thursday, and I’m only just writing about our weekend now. But how can you let a great weekend go undocumented?

On Saturday morning, I went out for my run, and when I came home, I discovered that we had no muffins left… and there wasn’t enough milk to make any more. What’s a girl to do when you have a breakfast crisis like this? Make donuts, of course! I haven’t made any in quite a while, so I revisited this recipe, and I think these were the best cake donuts I’ve ever made. We obviously skipped the glaze, because we’re chocolate-on-chocolate-with-sprinkles kind of people.

Michael and Kaya had a daddy-daughter date that morning. First stop- Home Depot for one of their kids’ workshops. Kaya built a miniature toy wagon, and apparently drove all the nails herself. I’m so proud of my skilled little girl!

She was also thrilled because apparently they gave out juice boxes at the workshop… and Kaya has never had juice (of any kind) before, so this really was exciting for her! She had a few sips and didn’t really know what to think of it at first.

They ran some errands at Walmart, where the bank inside just happened to be giving out balloon animals and stickers. It was Kaya’s lucky day for sure!

Daddy took her to Wendy’s for a Frosty (her favorite treat). And yes, apparently you can get a Frosty in the morning!

During nap time, Michael worked on patching our tire. We’ve had a slow leak in it for months, but we couldn’t find the cause. Finally, Michael spotted a nail stuck in the tire. He pulled it out and patched it up.
_MG_1139 Saturday night always means bathtime! We like to have clean kids for church, at least. ūüėČ Someone loves her lion towel too much…_MG_1142 I taught the young women on Sunday, we had nice long afternoon naps, and then rounded out our weekend with some coloring. These small things might not seem important, but I always love looking back at these tiny details and little moments._MG_1151

And now I’m practically ready for the weekend (again)!

kaelyn: 20 months

(I’m so late on this… partly because we were all sick, and partly just because I’ve been slow about finishing this post, even though I started it a while ago. Oops.)
Clothing size: Mostly 18-month clothing, but she is definitely growing into her 24-month things. Size 4/5 shoes.
Eyecolor: Blue.
Teeth: Ten.
Eating:¬†She loves cucumbers, Greek yogurt, pasta, chicken, muffins, Cheerios, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and goldfish crackers. Her ultimate favorite though… PIZZA!!! She can eat a whole slice almost as fast as an adult might._MG_1032

She’s really started to drink whole milk (finally), but we’re still nursing 3 times a day. I’m honestly surprised that we’re still going and that she still wants to nurse so much. At this point, I think we’ll just try to make it to her second birthday and then attempt¬†to wean.
New words:¬†I feel like this has been a big month for language. She’ll at least try to say most of the things I ask her to. New words include eat, cat, blue, pink, Peeky, “baaa” (like a sheep), and the sound of a dolphin (however you write that)…
Favorite things:¬†Blue Kitty, Piggy, the stuffed turtle Grandma Debbie brought for her, her Fisher Price laptop, our slide, and any kind of ducks! She gets so excited any time she sees a duck in a book and immediately starts saying “quack! quack!”_MG_0996 Dislikes: Diaper changes (these are getting so difficult because she fights me… hard), getting her face wiped, being told no, sharing, and the car seat.
Sleep: She’s down for bed around 8-8:30, and wakes up around 7 am. She naps for three hours in the afternoon, starting around 1:30 pm.

Nicknames: Baba, Baba Grace, KaeCakes, Monkey.
Milestones, etc.: 
-She’s started singing! One day at mealtime she just started saying “pop pop” and making little hand motions that could only go with the primary song “Popcorn Popping”. She must have learned it in nursery, and now we sing it to her often just to see the gestures she makes along with it.

-She likes nursery now! The leaders tell me that she cries for about one minute, but then she has a great time. She is always so proud to show me whatever project she made or paper she colored!

-She loves being outside and will cry anytime we pass by a slide without actually playing on it.

-She “brushes” her own teeth and would do it for an hour if I let her…

-To go along with brushing teeth, she can now spit in the sink on request.

-She insists on going up stairs herself, but will usually crawl instead of walk.

-She’s really good at helping me clean up and loves to help with anything I ask of her.

-She can accurately identify/point to a picture that goes with most words I ask her.

-She is SO good at coloring and is entertained by it for probably an hour at a time. She draws lines and fills up a whole blank piece of paper with color before she’s done._MG_0987

-She’s great at stacking several wooden blocks on top of each other without immediately knocking them down.

Dear Kaelyn,

You are so spunky these days! I love your wry little smile and how hard you work to make us laugh. You idolize your big sister and want to do everything she does. Oftentimes, at bedtime, Kaya will call out “Daddy!” and we’ll hear your little voice echo hers. I can’t wait to see what you have to say as your language skills increase here in the next few months._MG_1170

You are so sweet and funny about everything- you have certain stuffed animals that you have to have in order to go to sleep, and you’re always very upset if we forget to take your ponytail out before bedtime. You love to be “tucked in” and always plop right down onto your belly for us to cover you up. I love your happy little smile and the way you say “mommmmy!” after I come home from youth activities every week. You make me so happy, little girl.

Love, Mommy

five on friday (03/04)

ONE. We’ve had a bit of a rough week. I know it could always be worse, so I try not to complain, but the girls and I have had sickness (bad coughs, congestion, body aches and fatigue) that just wouldn’t go away. Kaya even fell asleep snuggled up to me while I was nursing Kaelyn, which would never normally happen. We’re on the mend, and I’m glad to see my girls’ bright and happy countenances again.

TWO. Despite barely leaving the couch for most of the week, we somehow made it out to go vote in the presidential primary on Tuesday! We basically walked in and right out, no lines or anything. The girls were so excited to each get their own “I voted!” sticker. (And yes, Kaelyn totally busted her eyebrow open on the edge of my laptop. Luckily it wasn’t deep and it’s almost healed already!)_MG_1085 THREE. Oh the shenanigans Daddy will perform for his princesses. Kaya’s cat blanket can act as a saddle…_MG_1077 … or a cape!_MG_1076 FOUR. There’s nothing she loves more lately than these elephant pajamas and pretending that she’s a baby again._MG_1128 FIVE. Camouflage at its finest. Where’s Claire?_MG_1119

Happy Friday! I’m looking forward to (hopefully) leaving the house and having some family time!

Linking up here!