five on friday (02/24)

There hasn’t been a whole lot of blogging over here this week… Sad! Having three kids can be busy, so if I don’t schedule time for it, it doesn’t happen. The USB receiver for my keyboard and mouse also mysteriously turned up snapped in half this week, so my computer wasn’t even usable. Life with kids! You know I wouldn’t have it any other way, though.

ONE. This little baby is falling more in love with her daddy every single day, and he’s fallen head over heels for her, too. She’ll spot him from across the room, fix her gaze on him, and smile until he notices her. Michael bonds with our babies the most once they start smiling and interacting with him (you know, after the first few months, when they’re essentially eating and pooping machines)! I’ve loved seeing them grow closer, and I look forward to seeing her light up for him when he comes home from work each day.

TWO. There’s nothing better than making cookies on a rainy day… unless they’re Hello Kitty cookies! I never ever buy cookie mix, but when I saw this, I knew how excited the girls would be, so I splurged. They loved putting the edible stickers on! I enjoy doing these little projects with them. THREE. Kaelyn has started tracing letters! I let her decide if she wants to participate when Kaya and I do school, and usually she does. This week, she got out her alphabet book and started matching the correct stickers to the letters and actually writing them. I get so excited to see her learning! FOUR. These kids are still crazy for the Kangaroo Kids program. They are on the go for the entire hour, but I did get them to sit still for one picture in this little boat ball pit.

FIVE. We’ve been having some amazingly warm weather here this week. We’ve been soaking up the sunshine (although, having summer-like temperatures in February does make me a little nervous about how hot the actual summer will be), going on walks, and enjoying time at the playground. I think I feel closest to my kids when we’re outside, playing and exploring together.Nella has loved riding in the stroller and being able to see the world! This means that Kaya is on foot now, but she’s a pretty good little runner and even likes to help push the stroller.

Happy weekend!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

five on friday (02/17)

ONE. Michael finished making his work desk/table this week! He’s really excited to have his own space for doing coding projects and using an extra monitor when he needs it. Naturally, Kaelyn had to try it out!

Kaya thinks it makes a pretty good fort for coloring.

TWO. We have a tendency to hold on to the same old library books for several weeks, but we finally went and chose some new ones! I love that the kid section also includes puzzles, Duplos, and coloring pages. Kaya put this giant puzzle together on her own!

THREE. We haven’t gone out for dinner in a few months, so last weekend, we enjoyed some Chinese food. This picture sums it all up perfectly- Kaya is too busy eating to stop for a photo, Michael has a mouthful of food, and Kaelyn is wild about eating Jello.

FOUR. I finished a local running challenge (complete 100 miles in January), and I finally got my free shirt last week! In summer, a hundred miles in a month is a piece of cake, but I’m actually pretty proud of getting it done in the winter… and I kind of forgot about it until the month was half over. Oops. Nella was pretty excited too! 

FIVE. I knew my kids were growing up fast, but who knew they were old enough to drive? Haha. They love pretending. Cutest little drivers ever.

five on friday (02/10)

Friday… again?! I’m the featured blogger for the High Five for Friday link-up this week! This weekend, I’m really looking forward to some rest, a long Saturday run, finishing up our office and some family time.

Here are my top five moments from the week:

ONE. My biggest news of the week is… are you ready for this? Kaya is READING! We’ve been working so hard on phonics, and it’s finally all starting to make sense to her. We still have a lot of work to do, but I’m extremely proud my girl for putting in so much effort and making real progress. These are the kind of moments that make teaching her at home completely worthwhile.

A video posted by Tara (@tarairwin) on

TWO. I signed the girls up for a community “kangaroo kids” program for a few weeks. I thought it’d be a fun way for them to get some indoor exercise and maybe make some new friends. It was basically an open gym with obstacles for them to play on, as well as this giant inflatable slide. They played on this for at least 40 minutes, and they wouldn’t even slow down long enough for me to take a non-blurry picture!

THREE. Kaya and I had a little mommy-daughter date to the grocery store. It might not sound like a crazy-fun outing, but I loved just having some one-on-one time with her. These past two months, Michael and I have been trying to schedule individual parent-child “dates” so that we can devote special attention to each of our kids. I really like how it’s working so far!

I told her she could choose a Valentine treat, and after much debate, we came home with chocolate puppy lollipops for both her and Kaelyn!Kaelyn is obsessed with puppies, so this was the perfect little surprise for her.

FOUR. When you’re the third baby girl, having an outfit that isn’t a hand-me-down is something special! This dress was on clearance at The Children’s Place, and I couldn’t wait for her to wear it this past Sunday. She looked like the perfect little Valentine’s baby. Who could resist smooching those cheeks?
FIVE. It’s no small feat to get all three of these wild girls to look at me and smile at the same time! The big girls saw me taking Nella’s 4-month photo, and they wanted one with her, too.Sometimes being a mom isn’t easy, but I love these little girls more than anything. They make it all worth it.

Happy weekend!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

five on friday (02/03)

It’s February! The countdown to my birthday begins (9 days)! But for now, here are my top five moments from this week:

ONE. These little girls were so excited to celebrate Groundhog Day this week! For preschool, we learned all about groundhogs and made these adorable hats. They absolutely love learning about animals and the world around us, so they really enjoyed this activity. Kaelyn has been wearing her hat ever since she made it (except for sleeping, of course)! TWO. We finally got outside for some fresh air this week! Overall, I feel like it’s been a relatively warm winter, but I’ve still been wary of taking the baby out in chilly temperatures (although she’s probably the warmest of anyone, what with being curled up against me in the wrap with all her layers of clothing).

Anyway, there is nothing that seems to rejuvenate us more than some sunshine and cool, crisp air.

THREE. When the cutest baby in the whole world stops nursing for no reason other than to look up at you and give you the best gift she can… a giant smile!

FOUR. This might not look like much to most people, but at 3 months postpartum, I’m proud of both my pace and distance from Saturday. I saw a meme this morning that said something like “It doesn’t matter how far you go, how fast you are, or how long it takes… it just matters that you DO it!” I’m improving and feeling so good about it. FIVE. And apparently, when I run a lot, I start craving pancakes. Big, soft, fluffy pancakes! Michael whipped up this recipe for the first time, and it’s definitely a keeper. I made this syrup, but instead of a full tablespoon of maple extract, I used half maple and half vanilla. If there are pancakes in heaven, these are them. Mmmm.

Linking up here, here, and here today!

five on friday (01/27)

ONE. We went to a big birthday bash for our friends, Aaliyah and Talyah, this week! My girls were beyond excited about having cupcakes. Funny enough, despite all her enthusiasm, Kaelyn didn’t even take a bite out of hers.

Kaya fell in love with the elephant pinata, and was the queen of collecting candy once it was broken open. Sadly, another kid tore the eyes and most of the paper off of it after this, and Kaya was on the verge of tears to see her new friend ripped to shreds. She’s so very sensitive and loving, even toward fake cardboard animals.

TWO. We’ve been doing some more work on the house, from small things like changing out all the brass doorknobs to a “brushed bronze”…

…to painting the office (which is still in progress)! Have you figured out what my favorite color is yet?

THREE. This little princess has started having very animated “conversations” with us every day. She coos, grins, and just melts your heart. Her excitement multiplies a hundred fold when you smile and talk back to her!FOUR. I’m getting a new nephew!!! Lelia and Jeff announced this week that they are having a sweet baby boy in June, and I just cannot wait to meet him!Of course, we had to recreate this silly picture from nearly five years ago (what?!) when I was 15 weeks pregnant with Kaya, but we comically reversed roles and shoved a kitchen towel up Lelia’s shirt. Lelia actually sent me this picture in a card in the mail to announce their pregnancy a couple months ago, and I was so excited that I could barely talk when I called and left her a voicemail.
Really, I’m so happy for this sister of mine and I can’t wait to see our babies all together.

FIVE. Speaking of little babies… I love my sweet, sleeping angel, tucked in so tight.

HAPPY FRIDAY!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

five on friday (01/13)

ONE. Michael gave me a KitchenAid stand mixer for Christmas (the best gift ever, second only to my DSLR, am I right?), so baking lately has been even more fun.

Kaya and Kaelyn have been my little baking buddies from the days they were each old enough to stand up at the counter on a step stool. I’m so glad they love to help combine ingredients, melt butter in the microwave (Kaya), and taste-test the batter. I cherish our time spent in the kitchen together.TWO. I go upstairs for a few minutes and come back to a girl who painted her face with ketchup! I’m pretty sure Daddy encouraged this one, but there’s no limit on her art media – Greek yogurt is also fantastic for making messy, fake mustaches. Who knew?THREE. This girl makes a double chin look like the most adorable feature in the entire world…

FOUR. What better way is there to do school than in your pajamas? We had a very cold and snowy start to the week, so I let the girls stay comfy. Honestly, I think they’re both a little obsessed with their jammies and would stay in them all the time if they were allowed.

FIVE. Apparently, being tickled by your big sister is one of the funniest things! I adore how much my big girls love taking care of Nella. They’re always concerned about her happiness, and they’re constantly teaching her new things. They already have this intense, unshakable bond between them, for which I am so grateful.

Happy Friday!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

five on friday (01/06)

Happy first Friday of 2017! It felt good to ease back into our regular routine this week. We’re due for our first snowstorm of the season this weekend, so I’m hoping it either passes over us or that we end up getting a big heap the kids can play in!

Here’s our week in a nutshell:

ONE. We finally decided to rip the built-in tables out of the basement. They were here when we moved in (8 months ago already!), and I never really loved them, but we had thought that if we ended up using the basement as an office, they would have been useful. This week, we settled on turning the current playroom into the office, and then making the basement into a playroom.

The room feels so much more open without those tables! Michael is spackling, priming, and painting that section of the wall, and then we will be officially finished with the basement.
TWO. The end of the holidays means that we’re back into our preschool routine, and we actually accomplished a lot this week. Honestly, life has felt like a bit of a juggling act since Nella was born, and we haven’t been as consistent as I would like (then again, we did continue to do schoolwork all last summer so that I could be flexible when the baby came).

Anyway, I’m feeling like it’s getting easier to balance it all, and I’m very proud of how well Kaya is doing. I recently went over a “kindergarten readiness list”, and out of about 80 items, I can check off all but a few for her. Not bad at all for only 4.25 years old!THREE. I joined in on a photography challenge this year- Click It Up a Notch’s #portraitsofme. It seemed like something new and fun to do (plus, I am notoriously good at not getting in photos, so this might be a good change). Kaya was eager to jump into a picture with me.She took this one herself! She’s already a pro at using my remote.FOUR. Sometimes, everyone wants to do tummy time with the baby! (Kaya and Kaelyn don’t remember that they both absolutely loathed this activity when they were babies…)FIVE. Nella started laughing this past week! As if I wasn’t already completely smitten with this girl, she had to go pull out her newest trick and melt my heart even more. Seriously.

Linking up here, here, and here today!

five on friday (12/30)

ONE. I can’t believe Christmas has already come and gone! In a way, I’m sad it’s all over, but in another, I’m ready to feel a little less busy. I still have a bunch of holiday-related activities to write about!

We did get to visit a live nativity put on by a local church. I love participating in things that reinforce the true meaning of Christmas, and our girls loved seeing “Bethlehem” and baby Jesus. I don’t have any pictures because it was pitch black outside.

Afterward, the same church had a little area where you could visit Santa and enjoy some hot chocolate and cookies. Michael thought it was pretty funny to fog up his glasses with his cocoa.

They took a picture for us, although sadly it didn’t turn out so great. Kaya wanted nothing to do with Santa, even though she knows he’s just “pretend” and this is all for fun.TWO. Sometimes, it’s hard to stay awake during tummy time. This has happened three times now! I am infatuated with her lips and cheeks.
THREE. Nella started using her cloth diapers last week! As long as we use two inserts, she’s been mostly leak-free, and I’ve been happy not to have a trash can full of disposables. Plus, how cute are those little leg rolls? FOUR. My girls have rediscovered their love for their toy drum. We’ve had a lot of “parades” in our house lately, and although it’s pretty noisy, I love watching them have so much fun.FIVE. This post has been dominated by sweet baby cheeks… But come on, I can’t resist sharing this little girl’s big grin. I am obsessed with everything about this little princess.

five on friday (12/09)

ONE. We are counting down the days until Christmas (16, if you’re wondering)! I don’t think there have ever been two little girls more excited for the big day than these two are, and it’s been really fun to see their anticipation and joy grow so much this year. If you even mention the word “Christmas”, Kaelyn is more than ready to tell you all about how she wants a (stuffed) “puppy mommy [with] babies”. I’m really looking forward to these next few weeks filled with festivities and family._mg_6886

TWO. We’ve been working really hard on our phonics and letter-writing this week. Kaya is suddenly obsessed with copying words, so she’s been diligently practicing that as well as flipping through her alphabet flashcards and announcing all their sounds._mg_6990Her writing definitely isn’t in a straight line, but it is legible! This reads: “I love you Grandma P”. (She added a P at the end because she asked me how to spell “grandpa” afterward, and I told her it was the same as “grandma”, just change the “m” to a “p”. Haha.)
img_20161202_104244For Kaelyn, school sometimes turns into seeing how many markers she can stack without having them topple over.
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THREE. We did it! We started potty training last week, and this little girl was almost instantly a pro. I’m so proud of Kaelyn, and grateful that this endeavor wasn’t nearly as messy as I was expecting (which is mostly why I kept putting it off)! She loves wearing undies like a big girl now (although she only wants to wear pairs that are blue or have puppies on them, which are in short supply at our house, so we might have to go shopping, haha).

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FOUR. Sweet Nella has been smiling so much these past two weeks! I am so obsessed with these cheeks and that mohawk and her little dimples.12072016collage1

FIVE. If that wasn’t enough cuteness for you, Google automatically created an animated GIF just to make everyone’s hearts melt a little more. 🙂

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Happy Friday!!!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

five on friday (11/18)

ONE. We jumped back into our homeschool preschool routine this week! It feels good to have a little more structure to our days, and the girls have just been loving doing activities again.

We kicked off the week with the letter L. What better way to decorate the letter L than with your lipstick-covered lips? Kaya and Kaelyn love any reason to play with makeup, so this activity was a big hit.
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“Show me your lipstick!” I said, and she instantly puckered up._mg_6758

We also learned about lions and painted paper plates to look like them. Kaya wished hers was a mask._mg_6774TWO. I had my postpartum check-up with the midwife this week, so Michael watched the kids for about an hour. He ended up taking them on a Daddy-daughters date to Sweet Frog, which is pretty much heaven to these ice-cream-lovin’ girls. I always seem to miss out on froyo, but I love seeing them have a good time.img_20161114_135503

THREE. I made it through my first solo shopping adventure with all three girls. We just went to the dollar store, so it really wasn’t much shopping, but it’s still confidence-building to get out and get used to juggling three little people.

Of course, this little pumpkin needed a snack break in the car, because hello, she’s got to maintain those gloriously chubby cheeks.img_20161114_162523

FOUR. My body is finally starting to feel stronger and I am so happy to get outside and get my heart pumping. After having a baby,  I always want to hit the ground running (literally), but it really is worth taking the time to rest and recover before pushing your body too hard. For now, I’m not fast and my mileage is low, but I’m proud of this body and all it has done.img_20161117_071920FIVE. This little baby has already outgrown almost all of her newborn clothes! Shouldn’t that be illegal or something? I’m holding on to this snuggly, sweet stage as tightly as I can, but the days are already flying by way too fast.img_20161117_133837

With that fauxhawk, her tongue sticking out, and her finger in the air, it almost looks like she’s saying “rock on!” I love this crazy baby.

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Happy Friday!

Linking up here, here, and here today!