New Videos + May Photos

I remember when I used to be clever and creative with my blog post titles…oh well.

I have a few photos to share from May, but first I thought I’d share a few videos.  The first one is Cody’s first school program…he knew all of these songs backwards and forwards and sang them at home all the time, but really really didn’t want to get up on the stage and sing them, so we really considered the fact that he held it together and stayed up there a win, even though he didn’t sing a word.  If you look closely, you can see him doing some of the motions.  This program gave me such an interesting perspective, because in our home, Cody is the big boy, and we have all these advanced conversations and I’m amazed at all the things he’s capable of doing, because I’ve known him since he was only capable of newborn reflexes, but seeing him and his classmates up on that stage, before all the “big kids”…I realized he’s still just a little guy! Anyway, he had a great first year of part-time preschool and we are very grateful for his great teachers and the great experience.

This is Grace, and a little appearance by Cody, entertaining our friends while we put the finishing touches on our Easter dinner.

Grace has picked up several new tricks in the past month or so, which you’ll see in these videos: clapping, peekaboo, assisted walking…the fun is really beginning! Normally she laughs hysterically at the animal noises in the “favorite book” video, but naturally she was not wanting to perform while we were recording.


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Photos & News from January, February, March, and April

Perhaps you’ve been wondering, as my mother wondered aloud, “Are you ever going to blog again?” I had some nice pictures from my grandma’s birthday from the end of January, but the first full week in February, Caleb was out of town, and I was feeling incredibly tired and as if I were coming down with something, but I figured it was the strain of a few days of single parenting. However, after Caleb had the kids pretty much all day Saturday and I was STILL feeling incredibly tired and mildly nauseous, I decided on a whim to take a pregnancy test and what do you know?  We’re expecting again! Due Oct. 10, which will be after our move to Texas! Grace will be 14 months, so obviously this wasn’t the timing we were originally thinking, but already we’ve realized it’s a good thing, largely because once Caleb finishes training about a year from now, he could deploy soon after, or maybe not for another year, but this way we know for sure he’ll be home for at least the baby’s first 7-8 months.

Anyway, the nausea and fatigue just got worse after that, pretty much rendering me useless for most of February and March.  I basically let the housework go and napped whenever I could and poor Caleb had to pick up some of the slack in addition to his full time job.  I was not actually as violently ill as frequently this time, especially once I started taking anti-nausea medication (why didn’t I do that before??) which was great, but I described it to Caleb this way: the nausea is like a little green man on my shoulder: a small but constant but surmountable presence, but the fatigue is like a sledgehammer to the face: I just can’t get up!  I think people always kind of dismiss fatigue as a less severe symptom, one, because it’s a sensation everyone experiences at some point, and two, because it’s just not as dramatic as vomiting, but to me it has actually been more debilitating.

Then I was feeling a little better towards the end of March, but got busy with a couple photography assignments, so I’m just now feeling good and catching up on personal photos, housework, etc!

So, here are some photos from the past several months!

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Back to December

Hello, Readers!

Wanted to share a few photos from our December, which I’ve been desperate to get through so I can now get to creating our annual photo yearbook, which has become both a pain in my neck, and also a great joy…when it’s finished…it’s really not that bad once I get going.  The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.  Anyway, wanted to share these photos because I hope you will enjoy seeing glimpses of December! (And I’m already getting backed up with January photos to be edited…)

More on the Tennessee trip: I tried to get photos of all the relatives with the kids, but couldn’t keep track of all the combinations very well, and often chose to sit and enjoy the moment instead of jump up and capture it.  Not pictured: we had a great time just relaxing and visiting; so so nice to let other people entertain the children as much as possible! Caleb and I both took advantage of exercising in the hilly neighborhood there, since we have no stairs or other change in elevation around us!  Our glutes have basically been taking a nap for three years, ha ha.  We also enjoyed a trivia night at a local microbrewery/bar and seeing Star Wars in the theater, thanks to Grandma for volunteering to babysit.  Cody got to see the Bristol Motor Speedway in Lights again, and is still talking about that.  Katie, Julie, and I treated ourselves to manicures.  We enjoyed a couple fires in the fireplace and of course gifts and playing games and conversation…I’m sure I’m forgetting things but we had a great time visiting and relaxing and having fun!

Hope you all had a blessed December!

And, yikes, just realized Grace is 5 months and not represented in the blog header photo! I have no wide angle photos of all of us.  I’ll have to update that soon.  I’m sure it’s been driving you all bonkers 😉

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Quick Photo Update

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Halloween Etc.


Had a few pictures to share and a few little updates for which I have no pictures.

First, Grace! Grace is 3 months now and doing well.  Of course, I am always ready for everyone to sleep more, but I think she’s doing just fine.  She does pretty well with tummy time and even started rolling herself over a few weeks ago, but then did not repeat for at least a week, and now she’ll do it several times in a row, maybe every other day.  She’s also been toying with laughing, and I think just getting the hang of it the past day or two.  She also genuinely enjoys looking at our impressionistic mediterranean-style paintings while she’s awake, ha ha, as well as the given baby pleasers: ceiling fans and light sources and fixtures.  Sometimes she stares so intently at a light fixture or ceiling fan, I think that she is trying to figure out why sometimes they are on and sometimes not, and wonders what controls them. (Spoiler alert in this video title lol)

Cody update: my goodness, so much.  Most of the time I feel like he is turning into such a little pistol, but he also does and says so many incredible things.  We’ll go ahead and focus on the neat things. I’ve heard this is typical of little boys, but Cody gets into phases with such intensity!  Whether it’s a certain book, song, game, etc.: he wants to experience it over and over and talk about it all day!  I think this phase is winding down, but in the late summer he became fixated with patriotic songs, namely “You’re a Grand Ole Flag”, “The Star-Spangled Banner”, and “The Air Force Song”, where he’d ask us to sing them over and over, and he still sings them occasionally and marches around the yard pretending a fallen branch with leaves is a flag.  You should’ve seen how much trouble I was in when I irreverently tossed one of these “flags” into the yard waste bin.  Right now the major obsession is “Peter and the Wolf”, which Caleb and I both listened to growing up, and I was reminded of it when a friend recently mentioned playing it for her kids.  I thought that would be a great way to keep him out of my hair for 30 minutes, but at first he wasn’t really into it.  My parents sent us their copy of the book that goes along with story, and now Cody asks to hear “Peter and the Wolf” at least once a day, loves looking through the book and asking about the different instruments and animals, acting out the story, alternating being Peter with his blanket as the rope or being the wolf, coming out of the forest.  He also does a MEAN impression of Grandfather saying “and what if a wolf had come out of the forest? What. would. you. do!?”  I wish I could get it on video.  The other current fixation is time.  Cody is very interested in looking at our digital and analog clocks (at least one in every room per my preference, ha ha) and asking what time it is and updating us on the progress of the second hand and asking what each time “means”, i.e.:

“What time is it?”


“What does 8:05 mean?”

“It means put on shoes and get ready to go to preschool time”

All day.  Every day.  He’s getting pretty good at reading numbers off digital clocks, but is still grappling with the complex concepts of the three different hands and how the numbers mean different things if it’s the hour hand or minute hand pointing at them.  I remember struggling with all that at a much older age!

And of course there’s the long-standing obsession with all things flight.  Flying his little planes around, pretending our couch is a T-6, pretending our car is a T-1 (we “strap in”, “push back”(back out the driveway) “taxi”(drive down our street) and “take off”(drive down a bigger street). I couldn’t begin to catalog all the questions I field about aircraft: how fast they go, how many engines and what kind, why does it have x many vertical stabilizers, who do we know who flies it and on and on, day after day.  To say the boy’s got an inquisitive mind is an understatement.  I realize posts like these make our life sound so charming, but I assure you, they are also laden with many frustrations, tantrums, fussing, exasperation, strong wills, and straight up defiance.

Oh, and a word about Halloween.  Neither Caleb nor I have ever cared much about Halloween, but on the day this year, it occurred to me we have possibly underplayed the fun of it, as I got a bewildered Grace and non-plussed Cody into their costumes and was met with reluctance and pouting from our elder child.  “You understand you’re going trick-or-treating, right? You understand you’re going to be given candy for free? And you understand Mommy and Daddy will let you eat some tonight, right?” “Yeah…”  As far as I can guess, he was a) tired from not napping for many days in a row, b) not wanting to speak to strangers and say “trick-or-treat” c) freezing (it was really quite cold out!) or d) all of the above.  We took a couple pictures and hit about half a dozen houses on our street and called it a night!  Well, we passed out candy until Cody’s bedtime.  Adding to our lack of Halloween enthusiasm, we figured the most creative, or perhaps only creative costume we saw was a group of teens or preteens dressed as rock, paper, scissors.  I didn’t even actually see them: Caleb answered the door and I was doing something else.

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A Day in the Life 2.0

Well, since I went and publicly declared that I’ve been wanting to do another day in the life post, I decided I would just go ahead and do it.  Since I think all of our readers have been a stay at home mom, are/have been married to a stay at home mom,  or grew up with a stay at home mom, I don’t pretend any of this is that fascinating to y’all, but hopefully it’s kind of interesting and I kind of like to have it for a record for our family.  (here was a day in our life 1.5 yrs ago, I think) This was Wednesday, but for simplicity’s sake I’ll use the present tense.

6:50 am: Everybody wakes up about the same time, and a bit later than usual today!  I feed Grace and change her diaper while Caleb gets breakfast going for him and Cody; oats, I think.  A little blanket play time with Cody and Grace, while I get dressed for my walk/run.

7:15: I have recently decided to stop whining about weather and embrace the saying, “there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing.”  Cold weather, rain, even hot humid weather would derail the old Tara’s plans for outdoor exercise, but I’ve realized I just really prefer exercising outdoors, and since we no longer live in temperate northern California, it’s time to dress accordingly.  It’s 39 degrees out this morning, and it’s even a bit of a later start then I normally get, but I bundle up and it’s really not that bad.  I have lately been rewarded with lots of fiery orange sunrises, but since I am a little later this morning, I get these views instead: mist rising off the local drainage ditch, and watercolor-esque layers of pink, blue, and gray in the sky. It’s an amazingly powerful way to kind of clear my mind and have some peace and quiet and get ready for the day.

7:45: The hustle and bustle of getting Caleb out the door for work and Cody for preschool: getting Cody dressed, packing Caleb’s lunch, and kicking off the day’s chores with a load of laundry.  Grace has already gone back down for her first nap.  I make my to-do list for the day; something I’ve been doing lately that’s really helping me stay focused and be productive, and it helps me remember when Caleb asks me what I’ve done at the end of the day, ha ha. Caleb drops Cody off at preschool then heads into work.

(This photo is mostly about kind of playing with a lens I recently acquired and the wide aperture it has :-D)

8:15 I sit down to spend a few minutes doing the reading and questions for my weekly Bible Study.  We’re going through the book of Isaiah, which has always been an enigma to me, and I think for many people, so I’m really enjoying making some sense of it and learning a lot of history and about God’s character.

8:30: I spend some time “working” on the computer: update the budget, address emails, purchase and download some photography educational materials I’ve been pondering for some time.

9:00: I clean the bathrooms.  I’ve always preferred to do all the cleaning on one day, so that the whole house is clean at once, but I recently realized I no longer have large chunks of time or energy to do it all in a day, so I’ve divided up the cleaning among the days, and I’m liking the results so far.

9:20: Amazingly, Grace is still sleeping soundly, so I take a few minutes to update my Fantasy Football roster and move laundry from washer to dryer.

9:30: I get the little sweetie up, feed her, change her diaper, and walk her around looking out the windows, in the mirror, and at our impressionistic mediterranean scene paintings–she really likes looking at them, I promise!

10:15: Grace goes down for her second nap, and I finally take the time to shower and get dressed.

11:00: I always feel guilty about this, but there’s not much I can do: I get Grace out of her crib and sleep sack and put her in her car seat so we can go pick up Cody from preschool.  She is a peach and pretty much always falls right back to sleep, but I still can’t stand interrupting her precious nap time.  We get Cody and drop off some donations at a thrift store before heading home.  Cody’s school had a visit from a firefighter and they talked about fire safety, and they made these adorable dalmation ears out of paper, but he refused to put them on for a picture.  Sigh.

11:30 Cody and I have lunch and catch up with Caleb’s cousin, Emily, on the phone (Hi, Emily!) Emily’s baby is very close in age to Grace, and so it’s great to compare notes and strategies!

12 noon: I sort and fold laundry while still talking to Emily.  Cody climbs on the bed, knocking over my piles and dumping the laundry basket out.

12:30: Grace is up again so I feed her and change her diaper and play with her for a bit, and she gets some “floor time” so I can finish putting away the laundry.

1:15: Naptime for Grace, “quiet time” for Cody.  I’d say he falls asleep two days a week on average, but he’s very tired in the late afternoon every other day of the week.  Even though I would really like to take a nap, being extra tired from Cody waking up and crying intermittently from 2-3 am about being cold (WHEN do kids learn to put themselves under covers and stay there when it’s cold??) and having a runny nose,  instead I scroll though Instagram and sort through the mail that arrives, in between listening to Cody singing, playing, and protesting his confinement.  I go into his room more times than I’d like to admit, and pine for the old days where we could both nap easily.

3:00: We call it quits for quiet time and I’m starting to feel cranky.  You may also notice I don’t manage to take many pictures from this point on, ha.  Grace awakes and I feed her and change a blowout diaper, and therefore change and stain treat her outfit.

3:30: I have a neighbor who’s been wanting to get over and hold Grace for a while.  I text her today and let her know we are home and Grace will be awake for a while, and she comes right over and brings us some soup to boot.  We really have the best neighbors, and I enjoy a little visit with her while she fusses over Grace.

4:00: Grace goes down again, and Cody and I make these pumpkin-applesauce “muffins”(they’re really closer to unfrosted cupcakes) for Bible Study brunch tomorrow.  The whisk was actually used as a “microphone”, not a whisk. You may also notice the fire engine and badge stickers from that morning 🙂

4:30: Cody goes and plays at the neighbors’ house across the street for a while, and I decide to get a head start on dinner, as Grace has a tendency to wake up and be fussy as I’m making dinner.

5:00: Grace wakes up and fusses intermittently as I try to get dinner to a good stopping point so I can go get her.  This is the challenge of this time of day: dinner is just not the sort of thing you can drop and leave at a moment’s notice.  Also Cody returns from across the street.  This is also the time of day I often text Caleb to ask when he thinks he’ll be able to come home 😀  Usually he’s able to get home between 5:30 and 6, but today he tells me duties will keep him until about 7 and either he forgot to tell me or I forgot to remember that.  Blast.

5:30 Things are a little hazy around this hectic time of day, but at some point, I get Grace up and feed her and change her diaper, and Cody and I have dinner.  Someone from our squadron brought us this soup after Grace was born and we really liked it so got the recipe.  There’s green stuff in it, so it’s healthy, right? Eh, it’s not really that healthy but it’s tasty and has some redeeming value.

6:00 Grace is very sleepy and still kind of fussy but goes to sleep in her crib.  UPS brings an exciting package: some flannel bedding for Cody.  We spend some time unpacking that and talking about how cozy and warm his bed will be and how he’ll never want to get out of it again.  I can try, right?

6:30: Cody and I clean up, brush teeth, put on jammies, and read a story to prep for bed.  On days he naps, he does quite well with an 8 pm bedtime, but when he doesn’t, it’s really a struggle bus to get to a 7 pm bedtime, and he goes to sleep right away.

7:00: Caleb comes home just in time to bid Cody good night, and Grace is awake again.  I feed her, change her diaper, and Caleb changes out of his flight suit and into athletic clothes and is out the door again for an intramural flag football game on base.  I enjoy some nice quiet cuddling and playing time with Grace, and put her down around 7:45.

8:00: I talk to Caleb’s sister Julie for a little bit on the phone and edit some photos on the computer while I do so.  Our conversation leads me to pull out my journal of lists and notes and thoughts from the college years and I get lost in reminiscing, laughing at myself and being amazed at how things have turned out.

8:30: I finish editing/exporting/uploading some photos, including those from today.  Believe it or not, I am the “webmaster” for a small church’s website ( and I spend some time updating the site.

9:00: Caleb comes home from his game (they lost, but he caught a pass for a touchdown) and we spend some time catching up and exchanging notes from the day.

9:30: Grace has her last feeding for the day, and we get ready for bed!  Lights out by 10 is always our goal, but of course that doesn’t always happen.

So, that’s a pretty typical Monday, Wednesday, or Friday for us in this season of life!  Normally Caleb is home for dinner and bedtime, and then we can sit and relax together for an hour or an hour and a half after kids are asleep, but other than that, that was pretty typical.  Hope you enjoyed this marathon of a post in some way, and if you read all the way through it, you deserve a medal!

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Between blog posts, I think to myself that I will write a nice long blog post with descriptions and anecdotes of what the children are like and what we’ve been up to…and then I edit the photos and decide better to just upload photos and let captions suffice than wait for the day I have time to sit and reflect and type.  I also keep wanting to do another “day in the life” post…yep, keep wanting to do one…

In the meantime: a few pictures from around the home and our big trip to Colorado in September.

Update: forgot to include the video of the big event!  Thanks to my dad for administering the sacrament of Holy Baptism to Grace, and to Aunt Julie for taking the video for us.  Her sponsors are Uncle Josiah and Aunt Ashley.  🙂 This church has the baptismal font in the back of the church, in case you are feeling disoriented!

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A Plethora of Photos

Photos from Cody’s birthday, visits from grandparents, and miscellaneous.  Click through the photos for informative–and occasionally entertaining–captions.  🙂

Oh, and I’m sure this seems silly, but I wanted to take a moment to record an ode to my recently departed alarm clock.

She may not even remember this, but for my 13th birthday(pretty sure, or it might’ve been Christmas that year), my Aunt Susie gifted me an alarm clock called the Wacky Wake up Alarm clock.  This week (approximately 17 years later), it finally gave out.  Started lighting up in all the wrong places, making numbers that don’t exist for half the day and flickering when I tried to reset it.  If you know me very well, you probably know I’m not overly sentimental: I cull and purge physical and even digital items regularly and with ruthless determination, which works well for our lifestyle.  However, I’m not completely black-hearted, and some objects, if they’re really useful or I’ve had them around for a really long time, work their way into my heart.  The Wacky Wake Up alarm clock was both.

The numbers the perfect size and brightness that I could see them without my contacts or glasses, but not be blinded, as is the case with my current stand-in.  This alarm clock faithfully woke me up and informed me of the time for over half my life, although I have not used an alarm clock since Cody was born except maybe that one time we had to go to the airport really early.  But what really made this alarm clock special was that everyone else hated it.  See, instead of beeping or ringing like a normal alarm clock, the Wacky Wake Up cycled through colorful humorous phrases and obnoxious sound effects, most of which, I’ve realized in adulthood, are examples of cultural stereotypes.  For example, there’s a lawyer voice that said, “If the alarm don’t quit, UP you must get! My client cannot be expected to wake up in these circumstances.  They are deplorable, they are intolerable, and un-quintessential.”  Then there was a red-neck voice that said, “I’ll teeell you what.  You hit that there snooze button one mo’ time, and I’m gonna open up a can of Whup- (beep beep), and you know I’m gonna do it too, doncha?” There was an Italian voice that said, “Bongiorno…why don’t you treat me with no respect?  You can get out of bed, or I can come in there and get you out of that bed, capiche? Now, where’s my canoli?” Then there was a sort of frantic Indian voice–I imagine it’s how some cab drivers in NYC sound– that said, ” Oh my goodness it’s time to get up.  Yes, you, you, you got to get out of bed.  Get out of bed and drop de pee-low(pillow).  Drop de pee-low!”  And one or two others that escape me right now.  You’d think I’d remember after 17 years, but I guess the lack of use in the past three years has tarnished my memory.  Anyway, you could cycle through the phrases for fun by holding the snooze button, so I would play it for other people sometimes (perhaps I’ve played it for you) and I can’t remember anyone who didn’t say, “That is terrible.  I would hate waking up to that.”  But I thought it was hilarious, and I loved it.  Perhaps even more so when other people said they didn’t, because I’m obstinate like that.  I had that alarm clock in my parents’ house, three dorm rooms, three apartments, and four houses.

I can’t tell you how sad it made me to realize nothing could be done and to place it gently in the kitchen trash this week.

Update: for interested parties, this is the exact alarm clock I had, so you can hear what it sounds like and decide if you love it or hate it! (And you can hear the phrases I forgot, mixed up, or didn’t get quite right)


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Hi All,

Thought I’d go ahead and share some pictures I’ve been excited to share, and I’ll give an abbreviated birth story, too.  (At least, abbreviated is the plan)

You may remember Cody was born at 41 weeks, so all along I was convinced this baby would be born past the due date, though not all the way at 41 weeks.  I’d been having contractions for months, gradually getting more consistent and, in the past week, more intense.  Thursday was Grace’s due date and I told everyone that a due date is just a day, not a set appointment or anything and that it would probably be several more days.  Cody and I went to music class in the morning and the pool in the afternoon.  During dinner, I started to feel some regular contractions with the same intensity I’d been feeling for a week or so, but by 8 pm, they kept coming one after the other and building ever so slightly in intensity and I said, “I think these might be labor contractions.”  We started timing them, and about 9:15 we decided we would finish putting the hospital bag together and contact our neighbor who would stay with Cody.  Our neighbor arrived around 10 and we made the five minute drive to the hospital, where they determined I hadn’t progressed since my last prenatal visit the previous day (already a 4, whoo hoo).  We opted to walk the halls for an hour, contractions building in intensity until I was having to breathe through them and they were getting into my lower back and I prayed “dear Lord, please let the labor be progressing so we can call the anesthesiologist!” Thankfully I’d changed about a centimeter so we got admitted, IV inserted, blood drawn, and called the anesthesiologist.  I think by that time it was about 1: I felt like it took forever while the nurse dug around in both my arms trying to get the IV in (I am still swollen and bruised.  Ouch.) and waiting for lab to come and then wondering how many more contractions I’d endure before the epidural would be in place.  I was about a 6-7 at that point and the contractions were pretty intense, and I also had “labor shakes” this go around, which means I was uncontrollably shaking and shivering and chattering every time I changed positions.  What was promised to be 20 minutes of waiting was about an hour, but at last the angel of mercy arrived and by 2:45 we fell asleep.  Woke up about 6:40 kind of feeling some pressure, and I was nervous the epidural might be wearing off, which it did twice with Cody, but when the nurse checked she said, “Nope, you’re complete and feeling the pressure of the baby.  We’ll get things set up and get ready to push.” They wheeled in all this stuff for the delivery and for the baby and called the doctor, etc and at 7:15, I pushed through one contraction, then my doctor arrived, I pushed through another contraction, and he said “Don’t wait for the next contraction; push now” and out she came at 7:27!  All in all, less than 12 hours from when I said, “I think this is labor,” and really only 10 of “Whew, this is definitely labor!” so significantly shorter than my first labor of 40 hours, although not nearly as fast as some of the anecdotes about subsequent children that get told!

Anyway, Grace is well, I am recovering well, Cody is loving on Grace all the time and Caleb is loving on Grace AND me AND Cody all the time! Sooo thankful he gets as much paternity leave as he does; I don’t know what I would do without him! Also, forgot to mention what a wonderful and tireless birth support partner Caleb was, first time and this time.

Thanks very much for all your prayers and well wishes! Stay tuned for more pictures.

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Hope everyone is enjoying summer! 😀

Thought it was about time to post some photos since a bit of a backup was starting to form with finished pictures on the computer, pictures sitting on the camera…time has gotten away from me this summer!  I guess we’ve been busy with some little trips and trying to take care of a number little things before August!

Anyway, today we have a few pictures from our Memorial Day overnight camping trip, a few from Caleb’s IM softball championship and a few randoms.

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