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.


Linking up here, here, and here today!

five on friday (09/16)

ONE. My Dad came up for a couple of days this week to help us work on our basement. He and Michael ripped out old baseboards, cut and installed new ones, and patched drywall. It was almost two full days-worth of hard work, and it’s still not completely done, but I am so grateful for the help and the fact that this project got started!

Kaya is in love with each of her grandparents (especially when they share candy with her- this time it was Whoppers)!_mg_5006 TWO. I picked up a used game of Candy Land for $2.50 a couple of weeks ago, so we’ve been having a good time playing together (and teaching Kaelyn her colors)! This was my favorite game as a child, so it’s extra fun to see my kids enjoying it._mg_5084 Somehow it seems like I always end up back at the Peppermint Forest whenever I’m close to winning. Kaya always reassures me, “It’s okay, Mommy, we can play again”. Aww._mg_5085

THREE. The young men at church made dinner for our young women on Tuesday night, and they were literally running to give each girl a rose as she came in. So sweet! We leaders each received a rose too, and I’ve been enjoying its fresh scent and beautiful color all week.

FOUR. The weather is changing, and we’ve had a fair mix of hot days and somewhat chilly mornings and evenings. We took a walk without the stroller (Michael had the car and it was accidentally left in the trunk, whoops!), and Kaelyn actually walked a whole mile on those little legs. My girls are getting so big!

FIVE. Speaking of growing up… someone has started wanting to sit on the potty this week! (And yes, this is a completely unrelated picture of her blowing bubbles, because one thing I won’t do is post pictures of my kids sitting on the toilet…) We haven’t had any luck yet, and honestly I’m not sure I’m up for potty training her a few weeks before baby comes, but this is a positive step in the right direction! Both of my girls have shown interest in potty training right around the same age, all on their own._mg_4998

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!

labor day weekend 2016

Labor Day weekend- when we celebrate working by not working! Or, in our case, Michael didn’t have to go to work, but we accomplished a bunch of projects at home. Our house is not a fixer-upper by any means, but I’ve still been surprised by how many small things we need to fix or want to change. We are always doing something, and I suspect we will never truly be done.

We kicked off the weekend with some juicy watermelon from my Young Women president! Kaelyn can eat a couple slices in one sitting, and I was surprised that Kaya willingly tried some. Mmmm!

On Saturday morning, Michael started putting together the girls’ furniture, only to discover that their dresser came without instructions! Meanwhile, he built their bunk beds (and we’re still waiting to hear back from the manufacturer about the dresser)!_MG_4840

Kaya begged and begged to sleep in her new bed, so we were sure to have it all put together by bedtime. I LOVE how they both screamed “yay! yay!” as soon as they saw it.

I’ve been telling Kaelyn she would be getting a big girl bed soon, but I couldn’t have predicted how truly happy she would be!_MG_4848 This rocking chair is supposed to go in the baby’s room, but it’s actually been pretty nice to have it in their room for story time! We always read a book before nap and bed time._MG_4855On Monday, we bought a few cans of paint (which was actually great timing, since Behr paint has a $10 rebate per gallon through today)! Michael painted over the yellow ceiling in the stairwell, and started going over the primer on the left wall. This week, we’ll fix the drywall downstairs, install new baseboards, and finish the painting._MG_4863 On Monday night, Michael spread some new mulch, while I took a few updated portraits of Kaya and Kaelyn. The lighting was dreamy, and they were both surprisingly cooperative! Kaelyn didn’t want to wear shoes, and I’m actually glad- I love seeing those tiny toes wiggling in the photos. We ended up with a few great shots that I can’t wait to put on the wall!_MG_4898

five on friday (08/26)

ONE. Our house has been in all sorts of disarray this week as we’ve gotten some serious painting done! The girls’ room is finished- I’m so excited and a little relieved! I picked out their bunk beds and a new dresser for them to share, so we’re just waiting for delivery on those. It’s all coming together!

Kaya is a painting enthusiast and insists on helping!_MG_4596

Painting buddies! 🙂_MG_4598

TWO. To go right along with painting, one of the young men at church told me he’d help out with priming the basement in exchange for homemade cinnamon rolls. How could I say no to that deal? I haven’t made these in a long time, but they turned out just as delectable as ever. Kaya helped mix up the dough and was obsessed with having “cinnamons” for dessert and breakfast.

THREE. I know that summer is practically over, but we got the girls their own kiddie pool this week! I’ve been wanting to get one for a while, but just haven’t been out to Target, so when we were there this week, I squished this thing in the back of the car and brought it home. They were beyond excited!_MG_4806


Kaya wanted to continuously slide down into the water. I’m actually surprised that she loves doing this, because any other time, if even a drop of water touches her face, she panics. I guess the adrenaline rush is worth getting a little extra wet!_MG_4814

FOUR. Kaelyn has been all about this baby doll this week. She nurses her, puts real diapers on her, and brings her everywhere. I think this is great big sister training! (We’ve also skipped a couple of naps this week, hence her passing out on the couch!)_MG_4777

FIVE. We had a play date at the mall playground with some good friends, and afterward, my girls and I had a little indoor picnic. They think it’s so much fun to eat their sandwiches somewhere other than at home- and of course, I had to spoil each of them with a cookie from the bakery. It’s little things like this that make me wish they never had to get any older.08252016collageI also wish I had a never-ending supply of these brownies…

Happy Friday!!!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

five on friday (06/24)

ONE. We experienced a first this week- an entire four days away from Michael! I know that four days isn’t that long, but it’s definitely the greatest amount of time that I’ve been with the kids all on my own. He went to “DockerCon” out in Seattle for work, so he was all the way across the country! I was nervous about being alone, but we did alright. We even managed to have some fun! 😉

Of course, everyone was ecstatic to see him walking up to the front door on Wednesday afternoon when he returned._MG_3219

TWO. We kicked off the first official day of summer in the best way possible- at the pool! I actually remembered to bring their sunhats and toys (two crucial elements of a good time), and they were having so much fun that they basically never wanted to leave.IMG_20160620_122620-01 IMG_20160620_113105-01 (1) We picnicked and people-watched. Kaya kept watching the older kids in the big pool and saying (multiple times) “WOW! They are having SO much fun!” Haha.IMG_20160620_123102

THREE. This was actually last week, but we went to the coolest dinosaur activity at the library. The event was advertised as meeting “real dinosaurs”, so I knew it would probably be very fun, or very disappointing. We lucked out, because the group that put on the presentation was awesome. They had a guy in a huge, realistic-looking raptor costume, baby dinosaurs hatching from eggs that the kids could pet, and then these animatronic triceratops that the kids could ride if they read a story out loud. Kaelyn kept saying “ROAR!” all throughout the activity, and Kaya was eager to kiss and pet every dinosaur she got close to. I love how magical these simple events are for them.

FOUR. “Take our picture!!!” was Kaya’s request just before I snapped this. They were pretending that Kaelyn was a baby named “Baby Gaga” (not to be confused with a certain celebrity) and were playing so sweetly together. I love these cute sisters._MG_3218

FIVE. We did it- we picked a paint color for the family room! I guess I’m going to keep everyone in suspense and wait until it’s finished to reveal it- hopefully next week sometime! I’m so excited to work on our house to improve it and truly make it our own.IMG_20160623_201419

Happy Friday!!!

Linking up here!

moving: the process (aka, we made a giant mess)

As of tomorrow, we moved exactly one month ago! This has possibly been the busiest month of our lives, but we are getting settled in and really enjoying having our own home!

Of course, I couldn’t let such a monumental event happen without sharing photos of the biggest mess we’ve ever made. Packing and unpacking seem to turn everything into a disaster zone…

… and you also find some pretty funny things in the process, like this Halloween wig!_MG_1736 We didn’t get serious about packing up until about a week before the move, mostly because we were just going a short distance. The den became the official “box storage room”…IMG_20160502_001525 … but soon enough, the whole apartment looked like this! Like I said, it was the biggest humble jumble of our things I’ve ever seen._MG_1740 We rented a U-haul truck to make this a one-trip, easy process. I think our truck was 24 feet long… and I was shocked when we filled every inch of it. I thought for sure we’d have extra space!_MG_1743 The girls loved climbing up in the cab with Daddy once he got it home and parked!_MG_1749My mom-in-law came up for most of the week and helped with everything: packing, cleaning, moving furniture, unpacking, entertaining kids… you name it, she did it. I am so grateful for her help and how willing she always is to serve others._MG_1755We loaded up the truck right around 5 pm on a Tuesday, and so many people from church showed up to help us! We had somewhere around 30 people who came, so we had the truck filled, driven over to the new house, and unloaded all in under two hours. Everyone enjoyed some pizza afterward, and I was thankful that the process went so quickly!_MG_1757My mom-in-law helped a ton with unpacking at the new house. Kaelyn wanted to be a big helper, too, so she started putting things in the pantry!_MG_1762 _MG_1759 Mom Irwin and I cleaned up the old apartment on the following Thursday morning. Together, it took us about 3 hours to vacuum, shampoo carpets, and scrub everything down. Once again, I was so glad to have help- it would have taken me at least twice as much time had I done it alone. My girls were angels, just playing with a random bouncy ball that was left behind, as well as reading a couple of books.IMG_20160514_153112Of course, I’m grateful that we could move on to somewhere bigger and better, but looking at these pictures of our empty apartment still tugs at my heart a little. That tiny kitchen where I made so many meals for our family, perfected my baking skills, and bonded with the people who helped me create those things will always hold special memories for me.

When we first moved in to our apartment 5 years ago, it seemed enormous. And it was- it was just the two of us, and we didn’t have much furniture to fill it. We grew our family there. It’s where we brought two sweet babies home, and watched them grow, explore, and learn so much.IMG_20160514_153117

Here’s to another chapter and making new memories in our new place!

tour de cure 2016 weekend

Michael completed his fifth Tour De Cure (Race for Diabetes) on April 30th! He chose to do the 65-miler this time (you know, only 65 miles instead of 100 like last year… to me, either is a huge feat)! He honestly didn’t have a whole lot of time to train for the race this year due to his schedule, so the shorter ride ended up being perfect for him.

He found a great group to ride with along the way.26778061266_42d0a271bd_o (1)

My awesome mom-in-law raced again this year too! She did 25 miles!Michael’s total time was 3 hours, 53 mins, 23 seconds for 65.44 miles. That’s an average of 16.85 mph!

Once again, I wasn’t at the race this year. It just seems like we always have some other life event going on right around the same time as the race… this year we were preparing to MOVE, so there was plenty to get done! Also, taking the kids in the car for 10 hours within a 24-hour period never really seems appealing._MG_1689We did a lot of packing while Daddy was gone, and also hurried to shampoo the carpets at the new house before he had to leave with the car. I surprised the girls with some new Duplo blocks while I cleaned, and surprisingly, those kept them entertained for most of the 4 hours we were there._MG_1676We were so happy to have Michael home again on Saturday night! Even when he isn’t gone for long, it’s always a relief and a joy to have him back with us.

we’ve moved!

Well, if you’ve been wondering about the recent stretch of radio silence happening over here, now you know why…

We moved!_MG_1754

We closed on our very first home at the end of April, and scheduled our move for last Tuesday. We’ve been busy packing, unpacking, and adjusting to life in a new neighborhood.

If you ever thought I couldn’t go a whole week without blogging… Well, I just proved you wrong, but only because we didn’t have any internet, so it’s not like I had much of a choice. Haha.

It’s a crazy feeling to be in our own home. We’ve anticipated this day for several years now, and it almost seems unreal. I keep feeling like I’m just on some weird trip, staying temporarily in someone else’s place. Hopefully that feeling dissipates after we start decorating and truly making this place our own.

I have a whole lot of catching up to do here on the blog, so expect a lot of posts to come your way here in the next couple of weeks! I’ve really missed having my “hobby” so easily accessible.

blog every day in may | day 15: my dream house


We’re currently still renting, and I know that the first house we buy probably won’t be our perfect “dream house”, but I’m still so excited for that day, because it’ll be ours. Still, though, it doesn’t hurt to imagine what I’d like in a dream home!

1. A big, fenced-in yard. It’d be so nice to just let my kids (Jax included) run freely outside without worrying about cars.

2. A cozy porch. Sitting around outside with family on summer nights (maybe even making s’mores over the grill) is definitely where I want to be! This porch looks perfect to me:

3. A big kitchen with a breakfast nook. I want to be able to prepare meals while my kids sit nearby and eat breakfast, tell me about their day, or do homework.

4. A play room/craft room. I want a place where we can play and create things without worrying about the mess we make.

5. Extra land for a little barn at the back of the house (and horses in it, too, of course). I’d still love to have a horse of my own someday. It’d be so great to just walk out the back door and be able to get my horse time in. I’m also sure that our kids would love it as much as I would.

Linking up with Erin!