five on friday (04/21)

Whew! This has been a long, tiring week, and I’m so excited to get the weekend started!

ONE. This nerdy guy (and I say that as a compliment, because he loves his work, and I love that he enjoys what he does) headed to Austin, Texas, this week for Docker’s big developer conference. He had such a great time, but we most definitely missed him. When we would talk on the phone with him and then hang up, Kaya would cry, “Talking to Daddy makes me miss him even more!” Me too, kid. I feel a little lost when my best friend isn’t here.

TWO. Thankfully, Michael’s mom came up to help out and spend some time with us this week while he was gone. I was so grateful for an extra pair of hands, and that she could watch the kids so I could still have some time to myself to go running. We all love Grandma!

We did a lot of fun things with her, including reading at the library, swinging at the park, doing puzzles, visiting the vet, and going to Kangaroo Kids! I think we tired ourselves out. She also helped me rake and pull all the weeds in our garden so I can get some vegetable plants started here soon!

THREE. The teachers at Kangaroo Kids usually pull a new and different activity out of the closet each week, and this week, it was these jumping balls! Riding around on these was one of my favorite things to do in gym class in elementary school, but I had completely forgotten about them. Kaya and Kaelyn loved them just as much as I always did!

I found out they make them in adult size… can you imagine me hopping around my house all day long?

FOUR. This sweet baby girl has had a rough week. She went to the doctor for her shots, which always make her feel crummy for about a week, but then she came down with her very first cold on top of that. She’s been so congested, which makes nursing and sleeping a little difficult.On Wednesday, we had the roughest night of sleep since the day we brought her home from the hospital. I was so grateful my mom-in-law was there to hold her for a couple of hours so that I could get some sleep after being awake most of the night.

FIVE. Favorite Dollar Tree purchase ever- whale bubble machines! These have been so much fun! Scout wasn’t quite sure what to think of the bubbles!

Happy Friday!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

five on friday (04/07)

ONE. We spent a lot of time outdoors this week, enjoying the sunshine and trying to wear the puppy out (and let’s be honest, the kids too)! It’s a good thing we soaked in the warmth while we could, because today we’ve had snow flurries and wind gusts of up to 40 mph. April’s weather is full of surprises!

Nella loves riding in the stroller……and napping in it, too!Sidenote: when did Kaya’s legs get so long?!We met up with Daddy at the playground one day after work. The girls eagerly wait for him to come home each day, and I love seeing him act completely silly and play with them when he does.

TWO. Scout’s been learning all the important things a puppy should: house-training, not jumping up on people, sit, stay, and oh, you know, how to go down the slide.  When your best friend is four years old, that’s what you get! She actually did this completely on her own- no pulling, pushing, or coaxing needed (although it might’ve had something to do with retrieving the stick she dropped)!

THREE. One reason I like going to Kangaroo Kids each week is that I can play with my girls without getting distracted by all the things on my to-do list at home. Nella usually takes a little catnap while we’re there, and that’s when I get to be crazy! This week, I helped each of them into these little tunnels and then rolled them around.

I wish they’d never get too old for this.

FOUR. A few months ago, I gave Kaya a lesson on how to tie her shoes. She didn’t seem to understand yet, so I just let it go and figured we’d come back to it another day. This morning, while she was playing with a larger pair of shoes I had stored away for her to use in the future, she randomly came up to me and said, “Look! I tied my shoe!” At first, I almost thought she was somehow trying to trick me, because we haven’t practiced since that one day, and the shoelaces were tied so very neatly.

She then proceeded to show me how she did it. No tricks here!

I’m so proud of this little girl!FIVE. I guess I’m still on a high from running the Monument Avenue 10k last weekend (blog post on that coming next week), because I went ahead and signed up for my very first half marathon. I’ve wanted to try the distance for a few years, and I figured that now is as good a time as any to just go for it! I love seeing what my body can do and how I can grow stronger.Happy weekend!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

kaya’s random birthday celebrations (2016)

Yeah, yeah, I know Kaya’s birthday was forever ago, but I’m basically a million years behind on everything I need to do (folding laundry, blogging, photography business stuff, you name it)… better late than never, right? Plus, I have some very cute pictures that I just couldn’t refrain from sharing here.

Now that’s she’s a little older, Kaya definitely knows what her favorite foods and activities are, so it was really fun to take her out and do what she really likes. We decided we’d treat her to a special birthday dinner, and we let her choose the place. She really loves Red Robin, so on the Friday night before her party, we headed there (along with Grandma Debbie)!img_20160916_195103 img_20160916_192036

The waiter even brought her a special birthday ice cream. This little girl couldn’t have been more excited!

On her real birthday, we asked her what she wanted to do… and predictably, she answered that she’d like to go to the mall. This is one of her favorite places (which might have something to do with the cookie place and the playground being there)!

We had a little “picnic”, and let her pick out a treat. We stuck her candle in the cookie, and sang “Happy Birthday” one more time!

These are some happy people right here. (Kaya was also wearing her most favorite things on this day: a rainbow tutu and a Hello Kitty shirt!)

We had to spend some time playing on the playground afterward, of course.

Daddy ran around with them like crazy (and I love these animated GIFs that Google makes for me, haha)!vid_20160919_204923-animation A couple weeks later, Grandma Gina brought Kaya a special gift she’d made…_mg_5420 _mg_5422 _mg_5424 A rainbow blanket! It turned out so beautiful, and Kaya was instantly in love._mg_5426

It was so much fun making her birthday truly special for her. Sometimes it’s tough watching your kids grow up so fast, but as they get older, there are so many more opportunities for enjoying time together.

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 (08/12)

Friday AGAIN? Seriously! Today is actually my half-birthday (you totally get half a party or half a cake for that, right? 😉 ), which also means that it was just about six months ago that we found out we were expecting our little Pumpkin. Somehow, that feels like yesterday and an eternity ago all at the same time! Time is such a strange thing.

Here are our top five moments from the week:

ONE. Our sweet neighbor/fellow church member gifted us some toys she was getting rid of, and one of them was this alphabet puzzle. Kaya has been obsessed with it all week long, and I have to say, I’m so proud of her for being able to put it together on her own! Her letter-recognition skills are strong! 🙂_MG_4378 TWO. We braved the 100% humidity and spent some time outside. Outdoors is our favorite place to be, and any amount of sweat, heat, and sunscreen is worth seeing these smiles (and in all honesty, the weather almost feels cool once the sun starts going down, anyway)!_MG_4382 Post-nap pigtails are the messiest… 🙂_MG_4395

THREE. If you had unexpectedly stopped by my house for dinner any night this week, there’s a 90% chance that this is what you would have had on your plate- a pepper-jack grilled cheese with roasted red peppers. I’ve had a lot of nausea this week, and nothing really sounds good to me anymore… but apparently this is acceptable to my stomach.

FOUR. Kaya stole one of my old t-shirts for bed one day this week, and now she wants to wear it every single night. She’s a big Snoopy fan, which is only made even more appropriate by the fact that his “real” birthday was apparently on Wednesday. Happy Birthday, Snoopy!

FIVE. Michael posted this a couple of weeks ago, but I just had to share it. That giggle! She melts my heart every single day.

Laptop? Check. Purse? Check. Pants? Who needs those? #readyforwork #crazylaugh

A video posted by Michael Irwin (@mikesir87) on

Happy Friday!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

five on friday (07/08)

A couple of these things are from last week, but they’re too cute to just leave off the blog! Some weeks, it seems like I have way more than just five things to share on Friday, and others, it seems like nothing too interesting happened all week. So, I’m just balancing it all out today! 🙂

ONE. This little girl has fallen head over heels for her Daddy. She’ll cuddle him, with her whole body wrapped around his arm and her head on his shoulder, when she first wakes up in the morning, when he gets home from work, and just before going to bed again. I love how sweet and tender she is._MG_3568

TWO. Over the past month, I’ve gotten some good deals using Amazon’s “subscribe and save” option. Well, all those things didn’t ship until a much later date than I bought them, and then I also happened to order guinea pig food and bedding around the same time, so one day, we came home to a HUGE stack of boxes at our door! I was pretty impressed that the mail-lady could stack them so high. Too bad it was mostly boring toilet paper and other things that we actually needed. 😉

THREE. I let these crazy girls have ice cream after dinner one night this week, and you’d think it was the best day of their lives. They aren’t strangers to sweets, but they don’t get dessert often (on less than a weekly basis), so this really was a thrilling treat for them. They say that your kids will like eating whatever you ate during your pregnancy… so this really should be no surprise to anyone! 😉IMG_20160707_220914FOUR. We found this awesome Melissa and Doug puzzle at the thrift store this week for 99 cents! I think I get some kind of adrenaline rush from scoring a good deal, but the girls were equally excited about this find. Needless to say, we’ve heard a whole lot of elephants, penguins, and zebras in our house this week._MG_3582FIVE. We’ve had a TON of rain this week, so there hasn’t been a whole lot of playing outside for us, but this video is from all our fun last week. I love summertime and evenings outside with my family.

Happy weekend!

Linking up here!

five on friday (06/03)

Happy Friday!!! It’s been a whirlwind of a week, with doctor appointments, photoshoots, and lots of quality family time. I’m hoping we get to relax a little this weekend, but we always have a pretty big to-do list, so we’ll see if that actually happens. 🙂

ONE. We kicked off the week in the best way possible- church, followed by naps! I think Michael uses the girls as his secret weapon for waking me up… because who could be upset about waking up to those precious little faces? They love to snuggle lately, and I’ll gladly take any chance to cuddle up with them that I can.TWO. We’ve had fantastic weather this week, and have played outside just about every day. Kaya was excited to introduce Daddy to the merry-go-round! I think this might be her  new favorite place.They love going through this tunnel, too!
IMG_20160603_102320IMG_20160603_101722THREE. This wouldn’t be a Five on Friday post without a cheesy video, right? Haha. This turned out really cute… and blowing bubbles is one of our favorite things to do (truthfully, I think I like it as much as the kids do)!

FOUR. Kaya helped me make some strawberry freezer jam this week! We had leftover strawberries, so what better thing to do than make a strawberry slushie? Both girls LOVED this drink (just pureed strawberries and crushed ice); it disappeared in no time!_MG_2778

FIVE. I did it… I bought my three (!) girls their first matching clothes! I saw these fruity-themed leggings on clearance at Target this week, and just couldn’t pass them up for next summer. I’m sure this is the first of many matching outfits to come. I cannot wait to see them all wearing these next year. 🙂

And now I’m craving all the fruit…

Happy weekend!

Linking up here!

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… 😉

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!

oh christmas tree (2015)

We obviously did this a few weeks ago… so right along with my usual timing, this post is late! We also tend to make a huuuuge mess when we put up the tree, so excuse the boxes and plastic pine needles everywhere in these photos._MG_0227The girls were both sooo excited to see all these new things come from our storage closet! They fell in love with these Santa hats, and Kaelyn spent most of her time just playing with all the musical, battery-operated knickknacks we brought out._MG_0228 Kaya thought the stockings were for wearing on her feet…_MG_0231 Michael put the basic frame together, and I did the lights, per usual. Michael unboxed all the ornaments so that Kaya and I could hang them. She was so into it this year!_MG_0235 Of course, a lot of ornaments ended up on the very bottom of the tree, so we had to do some rearranging later. 🙂_MG_0245Obviously, there’s a home video to go with all these photos…

2 more days!!! I can’t believe it!_MG_0472

five on friday (10/02)

Happy Friday everyone! We’re looking forward to a weekend of General Conference and staying out of the rain (and hopefully Hurricane Joaquin really does keep out of our neighborhood)!

Here are my favorite things from the week:

ONE. Oh, sisters… I love how much these two adore each other (I know, I know, the teenage years might be a whole different story). Kaya saw me taking Kaelyn’s monthly photo and wanted to take one with her. Kaelyn tried to give her big kisses as soon as they were both sitting down!09302015collage1 And then the most adorable hug ever happened…_MG_9395TWO. I took my two monkeys in for their 3-year and 15-month checkups this week. Daddy didn’t come with us like he usually does, and Kaya always gets so upset around doctors and nurses, so I wasn’t sure how handling both kids alone would go. Well… Kaya didn’t cry! She did everything they asked her to and really surprised me with how calm and grown-up she acted. I guess she really is a big girl now!

THREE. I signed Kaya up for a short gymnastics course that begins in a couple weeks. She is beyond excited and just keeps “doing gymnastics” all over the house. I think she’s really going to love it!

_MG_9338FOUR. This totally makes me sound all housewife-y, but I bought a steam mop on sale a few weeks ago, and it finally came in the mail. I always use too much water with a traditional mop, and it takes forever to dry (not to mention creating potential water damage). It’s nice not to worry about chemicals on the floor or a bucket of water sitting out with little kids. I think getting excited about a mop officially makes me an adult though… bleh.

FIVE. Yeah, we all knew it was true, but it’s official: I’m the second favorite around here. Daddy is the best of course 🙂

Linking up here today!