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Not my finest moment

Today wasn’t a trophy day in my life as a mother. Really, the last few weeks haven’t really been a shining moment for me. I have been impatient, distracted, and counting down the minutes until her next nap time or bed time. On Mr.’s days off, I often “check out” to get away for a couple hours, I make him change her diapers, put her to bed, etc… I have been unintentional during my time with her, trying anything (even marshmallows) to get her to quietly play by herself. I’ve been super short tempered when she pulls relentlessly on my pants or sleeves, or wont settle down to nurse or get her diaper changed. I have been distracted by a myriad of boring adult responsibilities, none of which will matter at all within the year, and none of which matter to her.

But, tomorrow is a new day. Instead of getting annoyed with her constant squirming, I will cherish how she shows her love for me in her special way. Instead of pushing her away when she tugs on my pant leg or sleeve, I will understand that she wants to play with her best friend, and one day I will be begging her for time to play and to be her bestie. Instead of counting down the minutes and filling time unintentionally, I will plan things for us to do together that will interest her and encourage her to explore more. I will slow down and take in those extra moments where we snuggle and nurse just as she is going down to sleep, instead of rushing out to check boxes off my to-do list. I know that I am doomed to fail again one day, but tomorrow I will try just a little harder, and harder some more the day after that. For some reason, I was created to love her, to be her mother. And, for some reason, she was created perfectly just for me.


Dear Em: You’re 11 Months Old!

bebe and Em

You and Bebe at the Lake

Hello, my sweet little girl-

You’re inches away from your first real birthday! I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited (and a little terrified- I mean, ONE?! Already?!). It really does feel like you were born not that long ago, maybe 6 months ago? But here we are, in your last month of being an infant, and I couldn’t be more amazed at how much you’ve grown.

However, there are some things about you that remain very itty-bitty-baby-like… Like, you LOVE being swaddled. STILL. I swear, you are probably the only 11 month old that still needs to be tightly swaddled. I’ve tried countless times to put you down for naps or at night without being swaddled, and its a mess. You squirm everywhere, you do baby yoga, or your arms and legs will flail around like crazy. I think you must have an infant form of restless leg (and arm) syndrome – just kidding. Whatever it is, its still pretty funny, but often frustrating because I just want you to sleep, but swaddling does the trick. Putting you down without being swaddle can take maybe 45 minutes (I actually have no real time amount here, I just usually put up with it for 45 minutes then swaddle you), and swaddling gets you to sleep in less than 15 minutes. Another thing you still love- breast feeding. You still prefer to do this about 3-4 times a day (if we can find the time to). NOT COMPLAINING. I actually love this. You’re my little cuddle bug, and nursing is often our way to cuddle and get some sweet time together. I love the way you look up at me while nursing, and the way your hands rest on me. Its sweet and endearing. And you’re amazing.

Some things you learned/did at 10 months old:

  • You clap! All the time! At everything! And its the best. Your face lights up into this goofy, big, toothy grin that is infectious. Daddy and I can’t help but clap along with you and cheer, even if we don’t know why you’re clapping. 
  • Your affections now lie with Monkey. I don’t know why Duck all the sudden took the back seat in your heart, but it happened. You grab Monkey, hug Monkey, give Monkey a big kiss. You hold onto Monkey for dear life. And we make Monkey sounds to you, and you think it’s hilarious. 
  • Speaking of sounds… You now makes sounds for Monkey, goats, and dolphins. Fun thing is- they are all the same sound. It this back of the throat, eh-eh-eh-eh-eh sound. You also make a great face when trying to make this sound. At first, we thought something was wrong with you, but nope… Oh, and the faces people give you when you make this sound? Priceless! Then we have to explain that that is just your Monkey sound.
  • You give kisses now. Yep! Big, sloppy, wet, and sometimes-with-tongue kisses. Oh sweetie, they are great! We love to ask you for a kiss. Most times, you’ll willingly face us and open your mouth super wide and lean towards us. Then there are times that you run away. Understandable. If your Daddy asked me for a kiss every  minutes, I’d get a little tired of it, too. But then, there are a lot of times you willingly and spontaneously crawl over to one of us and lean in, mouth wide open. And you’re so proud of yourself, too. You often clap after giving Daddy or me a kiss.
  • You’ve learned how to refuse. If I want to feed you something, you violently shake your head back and forth, tightly close your eyes, and purse your lips tight. Its pretty funny, and I get a bad parent award for laughing and encouraging you in this naughtiness. 
  • You try to put everything over your head- blankets, pants, diapers, wipes, noodles, lunch meat, shirts, shoes, towels, Monkey, etc… We think you’re either playing a game of “Where’s Emmy?!” or trying to imitate putting clothes on. I don’t know, but its fun to you!
  • If there is a drawer or cabinet within your reach, odds are you are rummaging through it. You’re pulling everything out, then getting into that drawer or cabinet yourself. Our bathroom is in constant state of disarray. So is the kitchen, or our dresser in the bedroom. The side table in the living room of the place we’re staying in at the time is your favorite. You pull the tiny drawer out, then find something like my shoe or my phone or your blanket and try to put it in, then close it, then open it again, then close, etc… Sometimes you have attempted to put your self in the drawer, by pull it completely out then putting it on the ground and stepping in it. You haven’t quite figured that one out yet.
  • You’re beginning to prefer Daddy at times, and I oddly love this. Its a nice break for me, and it produces this huge feeling inside me. Its kind of an indescribable feeling, but I’ll try- its like I’m so proud of you two, and I’m happy, and I get this huge feeling of overwhelming love from just seeing two of the people I love the most loving on each other and bonding. I feel blessed. I cant help but smile. And I think it’s because I remember the bond I had with my Dad as a child (and still do), and seeing the two of you begin this same bond makes me overjoyed. I remember how that bond with my own Dad created a feeling of safety, of a place of belonging when I sometimes felt the contrary, my friend and authority who taught me to love the outdoors, to work hard, to love Jesus, kept me in check, and loved me despite my grades or athletic ability or sassiness (He really was the only one – besides your Daddy – to understand that obnoxiously sassy part of me and make it into a good quality). You’re so truly, deeply blessed to have these two men in your life, as am I.
  • Speaking of Grandpa… Woah. You love that guy! We took a two week trip to visit your Grandparents, and to see Bebe and Aunt Joni while they were visiting. You couldn’t get enough of him! The minute he’d show up, you lit up and would reach for him instantly. And you two would play so much! And of course, the ice cream…
  • While we were up in Coeur d’Alene, me and Auntie Chels took you, Gracie, Abby, and Lexi to the fair for the first time. You had a lot of fun! You got your first balloon, you saw animals, you tried and Elephant Ear and Funnel Cake for the first time, and you loved playing with Gracie and Abby. You hated the donkeys- they made you and the other girls cry when they talked. You weren’t too sure about the horses- I think you were just in awe of such a big animal that you’ve never seen before. We really didn’t give you or the other girls a chance to see the cows or pigs, because Auntie Chels and I HATE cows and pigs. Walking into the cow and pig exibit was an accident- we thought that building was for the rabbits. And the rabbits- you were so interested in them! Who wouldn’t be, right?! But then the goats- you loved the goats. You were reaching out of your stroller to pull on the gates to get you closer to get a better look at them. And then you would do you excited dance you do when you’d see one. So, I let you out of your stroller and took you over to a little goat they took out of it’s stall and let you pet one. Oh, the squeal of happiness that came out of you!!! It was great. And you were glued. Maybe one day, we’ll have goats. 🙂 It was such a fun and great day for you… You and Abby passed out on our way to the car and slept the entire way home and even when we got home, too. 

10 months was a very good month for you. 🙂 You learned so much and grew so much. I am so proud of each new thing you do and learn. I cannot wait for your FIRST birthday- it’s going to be so great!

XOXOXOXO, I love you!



My dear, sweet, energetic, sassy, curious, funny, smart, naughty little girl…

You are 10 MONTHS. I woke up this morning, looked at you, and you just seemed… Different? More like a toddler than an actual baby, although much of you is still very much a baby. You’re big (actually, you’re on the normal-to-smaller scale), but to me you’re big compared to what I think I remember of you being itty-bitty squishy baby sized. My friend Gigi just had her baby, and when I held Sloane I was in awe of the tininess and tried to remember how it felt to hold you at that size, and for the first time I don’t think I could have even fathomed it. At the same time, it made me sad and proud. Sad, because I miss those days (but I don’t at the same time, I know… Mama is filled with complex and opposing emotions right now. Hey, we’re all a mess in our ways..); proud, because you have grown so much, you’re so capable of so many things, and we have come a long way together in our 10 short (were they short?) months.

During your 10th month of life, you:

-Learned to say ‘DUCK’. And you latched on to your stuffed duck toy. Girl, that thing makes you sooooo happy! If you’re in a bad mood, or starting to get into things you should not, all I have to say is “Where’s duck?!” and your face will light up, you’ll stop what you’re doing, sometimes stand up and bounce for a second out of pure excitement, and go on the hunt for that duck. Or I’ll make him (if duck had a gender…) appear out of nowhere and goodness! That face is the happiest. 

-You make the funniest faces. Oh man… Like sometimes pensive, sometimes silly, most of the time mischievous. You’re so expressive.

-Speaking of expressive… Your ‘talking’. We may not know what you’re saying, but we definitely know what you’re conveying. We’ve started a game of “Please and Thank You”. The please is a hard concept, but thank you is fun. Just recently, you started sounding a very peppy (no thanks to me) ‘thank you’ after I hand you something and say it myself. Sometimes, its a high pitched “Hmmmm-hmm” or “Da-du”. Its cute. I don’t think you quite know what it is you’re saying, but I’ll take it! 

-You also are sporadically starting to say “Dog”, maybe because it sounds so close to “Duck”? But you know what it means, and who it means. I always thought you’d say “Lola” first, but this works, too. 

-You also know the word ‘no’, but you also know how to ignore it. Stinker. You love to hear it when you try to eat the dog’s food, splash in the dog’s water, chew on or play with the dog’s bones (you should see Lola’s face when you do this. Pure terror.), try to help mom type her blog posts (like you are at this very second), stick your fingers into sockets, get into the trash, get into the refrigerator, get into all the cupboards, get into the bathroom and the toilet, take off my glasses, chew on dad’s sunnies, chew on anything for that matter, steal my coffee or my food, drop your cup from the table, try to feed the dog your food… And the funny part is that when we catch you and say “no-no!”, you immediately make it look like you werent doing anything. You’ll pull your cup back up, put the food back to your mouth when trying to feed Lola, or just give us a blank “Dang, I was caught” stare, not too sure what to do. You definitely give me a run for my money. But I love that spirit of curiosity and adventure in you. I hope that continues for your whole life- understand risks, but understand reward in some of those risks. Don’t be afraid to push your boundaries like you push mine. Don’t be afraid to try new things, seek out new places, dare to experience things beyond your comfort level. 

-One of my favorite memories of us this month is when I was getting ready for work, you were up and daddy was trying to still sleep. I could tell you were still a bit sleepy and just wanted to be everywhere I was. I laid you on the bed and gently gave you kisses all over your face. Usually you try to shoo me away, but this time you just smiled, closed your eyes, and began to drift off. The happiness you had was so pure. Oh goodness, that moment was so sweet, I didn’t want to go to work. 

-You love to show us what you have. You’ll have something, then hold it out for us to see. Sometimes you’ll hand it off and quickly hold your empty hand back out to ask for it back; or you’ll just show us and go on to eventually put it in your mouth or throw it to the floor. Its a fun game for you. 

-Other random, fun little things you do: click your tongue and smile, point to yourself (or really anything and everything and a whole bunch of random nothings that you find amusing), and you love to kiss your reflection in the mirror. Oh yeah, that one is funny.

-You’re definitely an iBaby, no matter how many times Dada tries to tell you you’re a PC. Sorry, you’re not a computer, but you sure do love iPhones, iPads, and the like. You love to steal my phone. Sometimes, you’ll hold it up to your ear and then hand it back to me, like you’re saying “Phone’s for you, Ma!” We’re surrender working on the “Hello?!” or “Hi!” thing.

-You’re soooooo close to walking! When you start to lose your balance, you’ll sometimes replace you foot to get better balance, and dad seems to think that was a “step”. Exciting, yes, but walking? Not yet. You’re getting better at standing. You wobble a bit, but I’ve been you stand for a whole 3-5 minutes without assistance, and you can drink from your sippy cup or eat or wave a toy or bend down to pick something up and stand straight again without falling over. Impressed! Just waiting for that first real step!

-During this month, our family made a transition. We moved from Walla Walla to Garden Valley. Dad went from a full-time grad student to a full-time therapist, and I started staying home with you. We’re only a few days into it, but it’s working!

I can’t believe you’re at 10 months already… and that soon we’ll be celebrating your first birthday. Time has flown by so fast!

I love you, Noodle!



Fourth of July (aka Tarvanning 2013)

Last year, we began a new tradition with the Manning’s and Simpson’s… ‘Tarvanning’ (name will change next year when the Simpsons rejoin us again next year 😉 ). We spend the Fourth of July together, and its fabulous. We really love and miss spending our daily lives with these people, so spending time with them even for this one day is such a fresh breath of air and such a summer highlight for us!

This year we went out to my Aunt & Uncle’s lake property to enjoy some time on the beach and in the water, and so that my family could also spend some time with Em as well. I love love love it out there! The property sits nestled in this little bay on Lake Coeur d’Alene, surrounded by pine trees. No joke, this place was my “happy place” to visualize when I was in labor- that’s how much I love it! To me, there is no better way to spend a day than to be in a gorgeous setting with my family and a few of my closest friends all in one spot.

The trip started off rocky… Our car had a couple “issues” on the drive up. A 3 1/2 hour drive turned into a 5+ hour drive, with a certain baby screaming for most of it, and left me needing a stiff drink once we got to the lake. But goodness, once we were there… The week and weekend went a lot smoother. Thank God!!!

My pyro cousin (the same one that surprised us with fireworks at our wedding) put together an awesome firework show that Mister quickly jumped in to help with. It was great! Long after the ‘grand finale’, they were still down on the beach, acting like 8 year old boys with a box of firecrackers! He had so much fun.

Thank you, Aunt Sandi & Uncle Jim, for letting us come out to the lake with you! Thanks, Manning’s, for an awesome day with you! We love you guys so very much. Thanks, Mom & Dad for a fun week. There is nothing quite like an Idaho summer.

June in Pictures…

I know, I know… Super late on this.  Funny how time flies when you’re running at the speed of light! Or just watching Pretty Little Liars, marathon style.

Celebrating our Second Anniversary


My husband. He’s great. And he’s also super awful at keeping surprises secret. Which is why I was actually surprised by the surprise date he took me on for our 2 year anniversary. It was long overdue since we were so busy with his graduation, then he actually got to go to our church’s youth camp as a leader (finally after three years – God bless his soul for actually enjoying spending time with a huge group of teens. I definitely do not have that talent. Give me 20 toddlers over 5 teens, any day.), plus our opposite work schedules and trying to find a sitter during the weeknight, well… Obviously, it took a while to get ourselves out to celebrate.

So I rushed home, got ‘dressed up’, dropped Em off with a friend and off we went! He took me all the way to the edge of a little town called Dayton where there is this little whole-in-the-wall, Mom-&-Pop 4 star rated restaurant that you would not know existed unless you actually knew it existed. It was so great once we were there. He wine & dined me… Like a real gentleman! Ordered the wine, ordered for me, no holds barred. And the food was insane (my #2 most favorite meal of all time, right after the scallops I had at Merriman’s on our honeymoon in Maui… oh gooooooooooossshhh). Mr. got the veal piccata, and I had the wiener schnitzel. Oh my gooooooooooooooodnesssssss, I am salivating just thinking about it. 

All in all, it was the perfect evening. Close enough to Em, but far enough away to feel like we got away for a while. So relaxing to just sit and talk with Mr. Great food, wine, dessert, and time reconnecting with the love of my life. And great food, did I mention that?! I’m a sucker for good food.


First time going to a restaurant that had my winery on the menu! And two other fab fave wineries, too! You know you’re at a good place when Doubleback, FIGGINS, & Leonetti are all on the menu. 😉

Dear Em- 9 Months Old


Dear Em, 

You’re 9 months old today! Happy Birthday! I know it’s silly, but every month I get so excited that you’re another month old that I sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to you first thing after you wake up and tell everyone who talks to you that its your 9 month birthday. 

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Happenings: The Tarver Fam Turns Two!

_MG_7746Photograph by Zach Mathers Photography


Although we were married two years ago today, I honestly don’t count this as our “anniversary”. It’s a big day in my mind, a great day that was the start of something awesome, a special day because we had mostly everyone we love the dearest in one location and told them how much we love one another. But there is a day bigger than this, that when I think back on it, I smile. I think back on it, and measure our journey from there.

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Happenings: Today is that day!

My devastatingly cute step-daughter, Abbie, on our graduation from University of Idaho in May 2011.

My devastatingly cute step-daughter, Abbie, on our graduation from University of Idaho in May 2011.

It’s June. June 15, 2013. The day we have been waiting for in what seems like forever, but at the same time it feels like time has just flown by! We’re looking forward to it because…

MISTER GRADUATES FROM GRAD SCHOOL TODAY!!!! Woohoo!!!!! Clapping! Fist pumping! Jumping! Dancing!

Mister, I am so PROUD of you! You set a major life goal ahead of you years ago, and you’ve accomplished it today. Many would’ve abandoned their dream while going through some things you’ve experienced throughout the years, but not you! Never once have you question what you’re set out to do, or question your purpose in it. You are amazing. Always working so hard on your coursework and constant practicums, working part time on the side, and studying into the morning hours on most nights. Plus, you deal with me, Em, and my “honey-do’s” on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis. You have, and continue to be, such a great blessing to me, your daughters, and your friends. I aspire to be more like you every day, and I can’t put into words how much I love you!


Happenings: Back On Track


Pancakes DO make people happy; Especially in this house, and especially Em. Our little Pancake Face.

I love weekends. I live for weekends. Getting things done, cleaning, family time, snuggles if I can get them. Grocery shopping during Em & Mister’s morning nap, finally having time to cook or bake, some home improvement, family walks to the farmer’s market or the dog park…  But there just never seems to be enough time in the weekend to do all I wanted to do, leaving projects to be completed sometime during the next week or following weekend. If only every weekend could be a 3-4 day deal.

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