father’s day 2017

This already feels like forever ago, but we had a sweet, simple Father’s Day celebration for our one and only best guy. Michael is the most amazing Daddy. His girls are his whole world, and I’m so grateful for his love, patience, and guidance when it comes to raising our daughters.

Each of the girls surprised him with one of his favorite candies…
…and subsequently begged him to share everything with them!Kaya made him a custom pipecleaner-pony-bead bracelet. He’s actually worn it every day for the past two weeks, and it’s surprisingly still holding up!I think the pictures just get crazier as this post goes on…
We ended up having our church’s stake conference on Father’s Day, which made our Sunday schedule a little different than usual. The primary kids sang “I’m So Glad When Daddy Comes Home” the previous week, and at the end of church, all the dads enjoyed some pie.

Of course, we still wanted to make him a special treat on the real holiday. We mixed up some homemade brownies. Kaelyn is always the first to jump up and help me bake!
If you can’t tell, the girls got completely sugar high on the brownie batter. Needless to say, they didn’t eat any actual brownies.

Kaya came home with one of those “my dad” surveys from primary, too. Here were her answers:

My Dad is… 29 years old.
My Dad’s favorite thing to do is… tickle me.
My Dad’s job is… helping me take a bath.
My Dad’s favorite food is… pizza.
My favorite thing to do with my Dad is… play hide and seek.
My Dad is really good at… volleyball.
My Dad makes me laugh when he… tickles me.
I am so happy when me and my Dad… hug each other.

Happy Father’s Day, buddy! We sure are lucky to have you.

five on friday (03/03)

Happy March! We’re on the brink of spring and sunshine, and I couldn’t be any more excited about the upcoming change of seasons.

We had a bit of a rough start to the week with Kaelyn and me coming down with colds. I think this sad little face says it all. Thankfully, she was better within a couple of days, and I’m almost back to normal. It really breaks my heart to see my babies feeling sick. Anyway, we still managed to fit some fun into the week:

ONE. The weather has been all over the spectrum, but we sure enjoyed the warmest day of the week by heading out for a walk and going to the playground. Kaya wanted to push Kaelyn on the swings, and she actually got her going pretty fast! Nella went on the swings for the very first time! She had no idea what was going on, and I just barely tapped the swing to get her moving, since she’s still a little wobbly with head stability. Bare baby toes in the sunshine are my favorite. TWO. Everyone wants to be just like Daddy…Michael’s desk has become the coloring station for Kaya and Kaelyn, sometimes as soon as they wake up in the morning!
THREE. Kaya came up with her own craft project this week… a Hello Kitty, of course! I’m proud of her for executing this idea with minimal instruction from me, and she was thrilled with how it turned out. FOUR. If you know me, you know this is long overdue, but I finally got the kids some French books! I had a really hard time narrowing down what I thought was worth buying to start out with, and I’m actually very happy with this small assortment. I pretty much jumped for joy each time one arrived in the mail, and I’ve loved reading them to the girls. Kaya has started using a few French words and phrases now and then, so obviously, I’m elated. FIVE. Sometimes, my favorite pictures are silly, blurry ones. Bedtime is usually chaos at our house, but I love this sweet eternal family of mine (plus, how cute are babies in jammies?)!

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.

“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.


Happy Friday!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

michael’s birthday celebrations (29!)

Michael’s birthday was on a Tuesday, so really, it was a pretty typical weekday for us. He had to work, and I had to be at church youth activities later that night. He was celebrated at work with a chocolate birthday cake, so I planned to make him some other type of special dessert for later on.

The night before his birthday, his mom texted and asked if we’d like to have her spend the day with us. She had been helping out Michael’s great grandma, who lives about two hours from here, for the past couple of weeks, so making a quick day trip was actually feasible! Of course we said yes, and everyone was super excited to see Grandma._MG_4782

While Michael was at work, we made some family-favorite choco-mint freeze, picked up ingredients for his mom’s homemade chicken nuggets at the grocery store, and bought him some mylar balloons (which really ended up being more for the girls than for him, haha)! Still, they were so eager to surprise him as soon as he came home. Of course, he had to close his eyes, per Kaya’s request!_MG_4784 They loved running at him with their balloons!_MG_4786His gifts were some new bluetooth headphones from us (which he couldn’t resist opening that morning before work!), and a check from his parents._MG_4788 This was Kaya’s reaction when she saw that he got money in his card… 🙂_MG_4789 My mom-in-law cooked some amazing homemade chicken nuggets, and after dinner, I went to youth activities. When I came home, it was time for choco-mint freeze!_MG_4797 They were pretty excited… and pretty goofy._MG_4793 Like father, like daughter._MG_4794 _MG_4795 Kaelyn was too busy actually eating her dessert to goof off (or even look at me for a picture). Girl’s got focus!_MG_4798

This was probably one of the simplest birthday parties ever, but we all loved celebrating our favorite guy. Hopefully next year I’ll have more energy to put together something awesome for his big 30!

Happy 29th Birthday, best friend!

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!

father’s day weekend 2016

We kicked off our Father’s Day weekend with an amazing dinner, cooked by a great family from church who invited us over. I’ve been dying to try this lemon pound cake, so that’s what I brought along. It was moist and lemony- definitely not a disappointment!
Michael spent Saturday morning doing what he always does since we acquired our own yard- mowing the lawn! Father’s Day didn’t get him out of this chore. Sorry, buddy.

_MG_3140 We spent the afternoon at the pool, and after the girls had their nap, we surprised Daddy with some very small gifts. He was leaving for his trip on Saturday night, so we obviously had to celebrate a day early!

Kaya absolutely loves giving presents, and she always insists on the recipient closing his or her eyes beforehand in order to make it even more exciting. I just love this genuine joy:_MG_3206 Both girls made him a card with a big giant fish on it._MG_3211“Dear Daddy: You’re a great catch! ‘Fishing’ you a Happy Father’s Day!” It was definitely cheesy, but he loved it, and Kaya was so proud of her craftiness._MG_3212 We also surprised him with a new photo collage for his cubicle at work. He was in need of some updated pictures!_MG_3208 We gave him this book to read with the girls, and our littlest bookworm snagged it immediately._MG_3210 We also supplied him with a few sweet treats for his flight out to Seattle. Thankfully, he isn’t opposed to sharing his stash with a couple of Swedish Fish fanatics before he had to leave town._MG_3215 We enjoyed a little pizza and some Wii games before we had to drop him off at the bus that would take him to the airport. On Sunday, we girls were all on our own… but church went smoothly, and we made sure to take a few silly selfies to send to Daddy.IMG_20160619_124323 (2)-01

We all wore matching coral-colored outfits. I really wish my babies could stay exactly as they are now and always think that matching with their mom is cool. 🙂IMG_20160619_124328

Happy Father’s Day, bestie!

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!

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. 😉 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)!

if you give a kid a cookie (weekend)

We kicked off our weekend with a Friday-night Hokie football game! Kaya was more into reading books than actually watching, but she still loved cuddling up with Daddy and staying awake a little past bedtime.

On Saturday morning, Michael took Kaya to another Lowe’s Build and Grow activity. This one was a “haunted birdhouse” for Halloween! She was so proud of her handiwork and keeps opening up the roof while telling us “I want to catch a birdy!” Kaelyn and I had a fun hour at home together, although I didn’t take any pictures (whoops). We worked out our abs, and she played with any toys she wanted to without having to share with anyone.

After nap time on Saturday, we ended up running a ton of small errands around our local shopping center. Michael was pretty much my chauffeur, and that made it a whole lot easier to just run into stores super fast without having to unbuckle, re-buckle, and carry kids in and out of everywhere. Thanks buddy.

Of course, we had to spend some time playing on the playground at the mall and getting some dessert. 🙂

If you give a kid a cookie… you’ll have to clean the frosting off of her face and jammies. Whoops.

Sunday was church, and these sweeties were so exhausted by the end of it. This might sound crazy, but I am so excited that we have 9 am church again in a couple months. It will be so much easier on all of us when we can have our regular naptime.

daddy-daughter time

There’s something so amazing about seeing your child’s beautiful, smiling, happy face.

And then there’s something even more wonderful about watching your child beaming from ear to ear because she’s having fun with her daddy.

One of my very favorite things about motherhood is being able watch my husband enjoy fatherhood. Seeing our little girls scramble for the door when he comes home, hug him, climb all over him, and snuggle up to him warms my heart.

I love how they trust him and know that he’ll always be there for them.

Michael has been having some great daddy-daughter time with his girls lately. Last weekend, he took Kaya on a “date” to a free Build and Grow activity at Lowe’s. They were building a toy firetruck and Kaya could not have been more excited.

Michael said that she was a little apprehensive of all the hammering at first, and he did most of the real building, but she helped put the stickers on it. She was so excited to drive it around before the wheels were even on!

collage109262015They had so much fun together and she was so proud of her new firetruck! She couldn’t wait to show her stuffed animals (and mommy, too)! 🙂

As soon as he arrived home from work yesterday, Kaya shouted “Have a picnic with me, Daddy!” and all three of them sat down on a blanket on the kitchen floor, prayed, ate invisible food, and drank pretend juice._MG_9356 I love my three sweethearts and the way they care for each other._MG_9360