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! 🙂

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. 🙂

img_20161207_203423-animation

Happy Friday!!!

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five on friday (10/14)

ONE. I guess everything pre-Nella is old news, but I never got to blog about our weekend just before she arrived. Michael and I were able to sneak away for one last date night while his parents watched our girls, and that’s worth writing about, because we don’t go out together nearly as often as we should!

He tagged along for a family photoshoot I had that evening, and then we enjoyed dinner and dessert together. I’m so grateful for those few special hours that we had, just the two of us, to really talk and be together before our sweet baby came.img_20161001_180411-01

TWO. We’ve been keeping it really laid-back over here, so we haven’t done any “official” school this week, but we did make some pumpkin stamp art! My girls love any kind of art project that has to do with paint._mg_6033Here’s Kaya’s little pumpkin patch. I love the super-smiley ones!kayapumpkinstampsTHREE. We made our favorite pumpkin bread into muffins this week! I cut out 1/2 cup of the sugar and substituted in more whole wheat flour than white, and they still turned out amazing.Kaelyn almost couldn’t wait until they cooled down to try one!
_mg_6020FOUR. Kaya is all about the alphabet lately. She reads letters everywhere we go, and will make them out of anything she can. On this day, she told me that her sandwich was the letter C!_mg_6045She also likes to make “smiles” out of her apple slices. 🙂

FIVE. You didn’t think I’d get through a whole post without sharing a baby picture, did you? I’m pretty much obsessed with these lips and her warm, snuggly little body. In a way, I still can’t believe this precious little girl is all ours forever. We sure do love her.

Happy weekend!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

five on friday (09/23)

Nothing too exciting has happened this week, but I’m soaking up all these calm, “mundane” moments before our world is completely rocked (in the best possible way!) by a baby so very soon!

Here are our top five:

ONE. Kaya got her first-ever pair of (clip-on) earrings this week! We took her to the mall on her real birthday and let her pick out whichever ones she wanted. She chose a set of butterflies! If she wanted her ears pierced, I’m completely okay with it- but she’s just not ready. Maybe in a few years!_mg_5255She’s been excited about them all week long… and I think they make her look at least 5 years older (even with this goofy grin)! 🙂_mg_5259

TWO. We played this “say and spray” alphabet game this week and my girls loved it. Luckily, Daddy came home just in time to finish writing out the alphabet so that I didn’t have to bend over this huge 36-week belly anymore!_mg_5258 _mg_5252

THREE. Suddenly, Kaelyn is saying many, many new words every single day. I absolutely love this little voice, and I’m grateful for improving our communication, too. Seriously, how sweet is the way she says “birthday”?

A video posted by Tara (@tarairwin) on

FOUR. We worked on the letter U for preschool this week, so of course, we had to make unicorns! Kaya was all over this since it involved using rainbow yarn, and Kaelyn actually put hers together without much guidance from me. I love any colorful crafts we can hang on the fridge._mg_5394

FIVE. We picked out some new library books this week. It’s hard to get them to narrow down their choices, and we always end up coming home with somewhere around 15 books these days. I love their enthusiasm for reading!09222016collage1

Happy weekend!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

five on friday (09/09)

Happy Friday!

ONE. The transition to bunk beds has gone a whole lot easier than I ever anticipated. Kaelyn LOVES her big girl bed and willingly stays in there (most of the time!).  She did try to climb the ladder today, but after taking two steps, she was completely petrified and unable to go any further. Hopefully that means she won’t try it again for a long while!_MG_4860

Besides some minor goofing off, they actually do still take naps!_MG_4861

TWO. Kaelyn has been completely obsessed with my big belly and wants to kiss the baby all the time. Seriously… how cute is her little voice saying “baaaby!”? I’m glad she finally seems to know what’s going on, and I think she’s going to be the perfect big sister (just like Kaya always has been to her)!

A video posted by Tara (@tarairwin) on

THREE. This has been a rough week for me as far as nausea goes. I still have some kind of cold/sinus infection as well, so the combination of both has made me seem less than functional. I feel so guilty for slacking on my responsibilities, but the gratitude I have for my best friend and all his help is immeasurable. He works from sun up to sun down nearly every day, and never ever grumbles about it. He takes care of the kids when I’m feeling too sick, and somehow keeps us all laughing. I love you buddy. (I found this picture from last fall when I was backing up photos this week- it’s so perfect!)_mg_9985

FOUR. This entire time I’ve been planning out the nursery, I thought we would paint it a light, neutral gray… and then this week, I completely changed my mind. There are so many gorgeous gray nurseries out there, but I couldn’t help feeling like I was walking into a dungeon once I put those gray samples on the walls. I love bright, happy colors… so we picked up a light mint-colored paint, and I’m in love. Paint color is hard to photograph accurately, but you get the idea:_mg_4981

FIVE. I don’t usually buy worksheets for preschool (there are so many great resources for free!), but I saw this interactive notebook bundle and had to try it. 868 pages for $10? It’s super easy to just print off what I want, and it’s all ready to use. Kaya loves it so far, and I think it was completely worth it!_mg_4987

Linking up here, here, and here today!