five favorites (07/31)

I might be a couple days late, but I had to find some way to get my “five” from last week in!

ONE. We’ve been spending a lot of time out in the hammock. How could we resist, with these nearly chilly mornings and evenings? We’ve been doing school out there after breakfast, and cuddling up after dinnertime. Nella loves hiding out in there… …and sometimes has a little too much fun! I love how everything is so exciting to her.

TWO. Falling temperatures won’t stop these kids from playing with the water table (and getting completely soaked)! Kaya is suddenly starting to seem a little tall for it, but that’s not stopping her from making up stories about rubber duck families and “baking” pretend bread (made from water, obviously)!Kaelyn has a lot of fun splashing!

THREE. Speaking of homemade bread, I tried another new recipe (after months of not making any), and can finally say that I think I’ve found the one. It’s 100% whole wheat, super easy, and only has one rise. Does it get any better than that? Plus, the loaves are basically gorgeous. Here’s the recipe if you want to try it, too!

FOUR. I’ve been waiting to get these early-reader BOB books from the library, and finally, it’s our turn! Kaya has been so excited to read whole books all on her own. As soon as we arrived home from the library, she sat right down and started reading to Kaelyn.

FIVE. Scout’s had a little bit of a rough week, due to an unexpected vet visit. We had noticed that her eyes looked a little different than usual, and my vet friend Katie suggested that we take her in. Thankfully, her eye pressures were fine, but she does have some inflammation. She’s getting ointment and eye drops 4-5 times a day, and we’re finally seeing seeing some improvement. Going to the vet wears a puppy out! When Michael came home with eye drops for the dog, I almost laughed because I wasn’t sure how on earth we were going to get her to sit still long enough to put them in. After a week, I’m surprised to say that we’re practically pros at administering eye drops. She sits still and waits for her treat the whole time! I’m glad to see my furry baby looking a little more like herself again.

Happy Monday!

five on friday (7/21)

This week has felt jam-packed (in the best way possible), so I feel like this is the longest Five on Friday I’ve written in a while! We’re having fun and getting all we can out of summertime, which makes my heart so full.

ONE. The weather is finally feeling like summertime should… HOT! We’ve had plenty of fun outside! We’ve all been enjoying the hammock, although the kids don’t quite understand that it’s meant for resting and relaxing, and not swinging as fast as you can in it. Ha! We had a “picnic” with friends, Aaliyah and Talyah! I love how making kids this age happy is as easy as putting a blanket out on the deck and eating outside.¬† Scout loves being out on the deck too!

TWO. We’ve found several little friends outside this week. This woolly bear caterpillar was walking across our driveway one evening, and Kaya was eager to pet it and hold it in her hand. She insisted on keeping it, so we made a little house out of an empty milk carton, and Kaya picked some leaves and flowers for it to eat.

Kaya declared it a girl, and named her “Caterpillary”, with a nickname of “Fuzzy” and a last name of “Wuzzy”. Caterpillary “Fuzzy” Wuzzy. We’ve had a lot of fun learning all about this type of caterpillar, and it’s provided several hours of entertainment for Kaya already.

We (or should I say, Scout) also found this little baby bird out in the yard this morning. It looked like a Mockingbird fledgling, most likely working on learning to fly. The girls were so excited to say hello to this little guy, but we made it a quick visit so we wouldn’t disturb it or its mama bird too much.

THREE. When Kaya styles your hair, you might end up with four bows in it all at once… … but still look as cute as ever!

All three of these ladies together… breaking my heart with a cuteness overload! Kaelyn’s working on her “smolder” face, obviously (and she hasn’t even seen Tangled yet)!

FOUR. Nella’s been having some form of dinner every night this week. We tried apple-prune puree, as well as strawberry Greek yogurt. The latter has been her favorite so far!

FIVE. Last, but definitely not least, I guess we’ve “officially” started our homeschool kindergarten curriculum! We’ve been nonchalantly doing schoolwork through the summer, but this week was sort of my test run to see how well we could stick to a more structured schedule.

Kaya is absolutely loving her new math book, and if she keeps working at the pace she’s going, we might be done with kindergarten math by Thanksgiving. I love that we can go quickly over what she already knows, and spend greater time on units she needs more practice in. Kaelyn has been using some preschool books from the dollar store, and is just as eager to learn! I’ll probably be writing more about our homeschooling adventures, but for today, I’m just excited to say we’ve started!

Happy weekend!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

five on friday (05/26)

Happy Memorial Day weekend! I’ve got an 11-mile run planned for tomorrow, and after that, hopefully we get some work done on the house. I’m excited for an extra day to spend with these crazy people of mine.

ONE. This was a really big week for Nella. She celebrated two major milestones: sitting up on her own and sleeping in her crib!

We’re still perfecting her balance, but for the most part, she’s doing it! (Yes, all while wearing Christmas jammies at the end of May ūüôā !) I don’t know how she can seem so big, yet still so small, all at the same time.
Last night was her first time sleeping in the crib. I waited basically as long as we could before moving her to her own room (read: she’s almost too tall¬†for the bassinet), because I just loved having her close. She went to bed with no trouble at all, and probably liked being able to move around a little more freely.I missed hearing her soft little sounds and seeing the green light of her Owlet monitor glowing in our room, but we were okay. I might have snuck into her room a few times for “one last goodnight kiss” before we went to bed.

TWO. I was surprised to see some little seedlings sprouting up in our garden this week, considering how short of a time period they’ve been in the ground. We have some green bean and cucumber plants, although there’s already some kind of insect trying to eat away at the leaves, so we’ll see how this all turns out. I made some homemade repellent spray, now I’m just hoping it works! The weather has been dismal, but we did get one walk in this week. Kaya loves to pick these little mini wildflowers as we make our way through the neighborhood.

THREE. We’ve incorporated¬†read-aloud chapter books into our homeschool routine, and now that we’re on our third book, the girls are really getting into it. When we got home from church on Sunday, I went upstairs to feed the baby, and Michael soon sent me this picture of Kaya and Kaelyn, all snuggled up of their own accord, “reading” Stuart Little. I love how much they enjoy books! Kaya has also been trying to diligently read her scriptures every day, just like her primary teacher taught her in class last week.

FOUR. What do you do when peppers are on sale? Make fajitas, of course! This is one of my favorite dinners.FIVE. I bought this “Daddy’s Sunshine” onesie for Nella long before she was even born, and now, I love dressing her in it because there couldn’t be anything more perfect for her personality. She is our little sunshine baby, and I’m so grateful for the love and joy she brings to our home.

Here’s to hoping for some sunshine this weekend (and an end to all the rain)!

Linking up here and here today!

five on friday (04/14)

It’s already evening, but I just can’t let a Friday go by without listing some of my favorite moments from the week! I basically feel like I have four kids now (puppy included), so I just have to write whenever I can, even if it’s at odd times of the day. I’m always so grateful that I take the time to do this, though, because without these little blurbs about our everyday lives, I forget so many of the little details.

ONE. The weather has been gorgeous all week long, so we’ve been walking, playing at the playground, climbing rocks, drawing with sidewalk chalk, and using the water table again. Being in the sunshine automatically lifts our spirits so much! Kaya drew our family! I absolutely love her little people and that sweet heart she made at the start of the lineup.

What’s better than being able to work outside with a sweet baby on your lap?

TWO.¬†I almost feel like Scout needs her own series of blog posts, titled “goofy things my dog does”. The best way to use your dog bed is to fold it in half, and then rest with your head under it, obviously.While Michael is working on one side of the yard, Scout’s trying to dig holes on the other side……but when she’s not getting into something, she’s busy snuggling with anyone who will sit with her. We really love having this little puppy in our family.THREE. One benefit of doing preschool at home is that we can do our lessons all cuddled up together, if we like. I love any reason to snuggle with these too-grown-up girls of mine.And we can take a break to take silly pictures together…
FOUR. This big kid is officially out of the high chair and sitting in a booster seat at the table! I love having her so much closer to us at mealtime.FIVE. Because there weren’t enough chubby cheeks in this post…¬† Happy Easter weekend!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

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 (02/10)

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 (01/20)

ONE. These sweet sisters melt my heart daily. Last weekend, the big girls crawled right into bed with us to snuggle baby Nella. They practically fight over who gets to hold her, and there’s no quota on how many hugs and kisses they give out.

TWO. Daddy reads Kaya and Kaelyn bedtime stories each night, and they are currently obsessed with the book RRRalph, by Lois Ehlert, that we picked up from the library last week. They love just saying the title over and over! Who knew dogs could really talk?

THREE. The new semester started this week, so Michael is back to teaching! He has about 250 students, which makes this his largest class thus far. I have to brag a little and tell you that his students last semester absolutely loved him- at the end, he received thank-you cards, chocolates, and upstanding reviews. I’m so proud of him for excelling at something he loves doing.

When he’s not busy, this baby girl is chatting him up! ūüôā

FOUR. For school science this week, we learned about sea turtles! Both girls were fascinated by a video of a mother turtle laying her eggs on shore, and then loved watching the babies scurry to the sea once they hatched. Of course, we had to make our own turtles! Kaya wanted hers to be completely pink!

FIVE. We’ve dealt with some difficult behavior from our oldest two girls this week, and being completely honest, at times, it has felt overwhelming. When the quiet moments finally come, I feel extra gratitude for this sweet, calm little baby girl. She refreshes my mind and spirit in so many ways.

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 (12/09)

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. ūüôā

img_20161207_203423-animation

Happy Friday!!!

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