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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The taste of summer.

Grilled Marinated Vegetable Salad Recipe

I love the taste of different seasons...warm soups and comfort food in the fall & winter, farm fresh veggies & grilled meats in the summer. 

I tried this recipe for Grilled Marinated Vegetable Salad a few weeks ago & it was so delicious I had to share. It tastes just like summer. I served it room temperature & it was perfect! I opted not to use all of the marinade it called for, but had a hunch to save some. Glad I did because the marinade for the vegetables makes a delicious dressing to drizzle on a strawberry, spinach, & walnut salad...added bonus!


Monday, June 9, 2014

Owen's words.

From the time you wake in the morning until you talk yourself to sleep at night, you are constantly talking. You amaze us with the things you say. You speak in complete sentences and often string multiple sentences together. Sometimes I wish I could walk around with a pen & paper and write down everything you say. Some of the things you say are so precious, and I don't want to forget them...

Like, last week when we were outside & I commented that the mosquitoes were awful as I was swatting them away from your face. You said "shoo bugsquitos" and continued to refer to the pesky things as "bugsquitos".

Or, when you point to someone else and say "that's not my mommy" and then turn to me, point & grin and say "that's my mommy"!

You wake up early and usually the first words you say are "It's get up time. I'm ready for my breakfast."

Sometimes you try to use your language to be a bit manipulative, like when I found you jumping on the couch a few weeks ago and reminded you that we did not jump on the furniture and you told me "I was just exercise jumping" (as if that would be acceptable!).

As the boxes pile up along the walls in preparation for our move, you've been very curious and are becoming somewhat concerned about why none of your things have been packed yet. Today you said to me, "Mommy, I'm going to pack up my friends and take them to my new house with me." You also constantly remind us that "we will move to our new house when the other people move out". 

And, since starting Sunday morning curriculum at church we have had some precious conversations about God. You constantly point out things that God made, especially when we are outside. "God made that robin bird mommy. He has an orange tummy." "God made that tree." "God made my sticks."

Moments with you are never dull and very rarely quiet; and for now, I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014


What a wonderful weekend to unofficially welcome the summer season!

We made a lot of sweet memories this weekend-see for yourselves!

Picking strawberries at Circle S Farms...

Chef Owen helping Mommy bake strawberry bread...

Our new home.

The last few weeks have been simply overwhelming.
After a 2 month search, touring 24 houses, and making 1 unsuccessful offer on another home, we have been blessed to find our next home!

The process was challenging, frustrating at times, and left us questioning if it was really the right time for us to buy a house.
We were growing weary of dropping everything we were doing at a moments notice to run out to see a house before it flew off the market.
It wasn't consistently easy to trust God and to believe that His timing would be perfect.
But God is faithful and we are so overwhelmed with finding the house that is just right for us.

We have already had so much fun dreaming up what we want each room to become as we make the house our own. Owen can't wait to move to "our new house", and we can't either!

So thankful for our new home. Look out Franklin, TN...here we come!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Priceless moments.

The last few months haven't lent themselves to writing about all of the fun moments we've enjoyed. I'm learning to be ok with that-these priceless moments are forever in my mind, my heart, and thankfully I captured many with my camera too!

Owen's first banana pudding. With the exception of one year since her death, I remember Peppes on the anniversary of her death by making her banana pudding. I never make it any other day of the year. Some of my sweetest memories with Peppes were in the kitchen learning how to make important things like banana pudding. This year, Chris' family was in town. I let Owen help me stir the homemade pudding with the wooden spoon. It will continue to be an important tradition that I want to carry on. And, clearly he loved the banana pudding, Peppes would be delighted!
A breakfast conversation with BooBoo in March.

My silly cowboy.
 My little green monster-his new monster bath robe from Kohl's.

" Mowing with Daddy"

 Learning to love Daddy's hammock

Sweet faces.

Owen's first baseball game-Nashville Sounds, March 12th, 2014.

A blog hiatus.

I've been on quite the blog hiatus. My last post was over a month ago. In some ways it feels like yesterday.
This last month has been eventful, filled with a bout with a stomach bug for all 3 of us, a thus-far unproductive house search, and wrapping up the end of a busy semester. Oh, and keeping up with a very busy 2-year old boy.

But, my favorite time of the year has finally arrived-spring! Because this past winter was so bitterly cold and long, I feel like I have enjoyed this year's spring more than ever before. Spring has refreshed me in a much needed way.

I took a few minutes last weekend to capture these pictures of the beauty of spring...God is so good.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Owen at 2.

Two year-olds are quite interesting little people.
Two is proving to be both fun & challenging in so many new ways.

Owen now weights 27 lbs. & 8 oz. (56th%) & is 36 1/4 inches tall (89th%). Dr. Rauth says she thinks he's going to be a tall guy one day. He's definitely lost all of his "baby fat"  & looks so tall & lean. He wears 2T clothes now, but I have a feeling by summertime, he'll be wearing 3T. 

Thankfully the weather has turned warmer on most days & we have more day light into the evenings meaning that our little man is a happy guy. He loves nothing more than to be outside with his blue truck, a pile of sticks, & some bubbles.

Owen has certainly become opinionated about many things. He likes to choose his clothes every morning-he always wants to wear a green shirt, and he likes to choose his pajamas at night after his bath-his favorites are the "car pajammies".

Our little man is still quite the good eater & breakfast remains his favorite meal of the day. A typical breakfast is 2 bowls of oatmeal and a banana or 2 waffles and a banana...most days he eats more than we do for breakfast!

Owen's vocabulary grows daily. His memory amazes us. He has memorized excerpts of books we read often (Llama Llama Misses Mama, Little Bear, & One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish) & we will hear him reciting them while he plays or while he pretends to read to himself. Owen knows the lyrics to so many songs & sings nearly all the time. He also likes to pretend to play musical instruments (the fiddle & the banjo are his current favorites). Owen knows his colors, his ABCs, can count to 10, knows shapes (including parallelogram & trapezoid!), and can spell 'Owen Tarr'. We think he is one smart guy!

Owen still loves school. He is so excited when we get there & can hardly wait to carry his lunch box through the door and then dropping it to run over to the water fountain for a drink and to the fish tank to see if the fish are hiding. He enjoys talking about his friends at school (expecially Charlie, Justin, Jack, Amina, Kate, Elizabeth, & Rosie).

We just love watching Owen learn & grow. It's hard to believe that he's been a part of our lives for nearly 26 months now...the time has flown!

(Pictures are getting harder & harder to take as he is so busy & so interested in touching the camera lens)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Check these out...

I was fortunate enough to become aware of these 2 amazing videos this week.

Turn your speakers up, close your eyes, and just listen. I had heard "Oceans" but not this acoustic version, which I now cannot get enough of. The message in the song is so powerful and made even more powerful by the amazing gifts of Hillsong United.

And this video is an amazing example of 5 Christian witnesses who just so happen to be the new reigning Super Bowl Champions. I was so impressed to see them share their faith.

I hope you'll be as blessed by them as I was!

Owen's 2nd birthday.

We celebrated Owen's 2nd birthday over the course of 2 weekends. PawPaw, Grandma, & Aunt Erin visited on the weekend of Owen's birthday. We had a great time spending time together, eating birthday cupcakes, and having a birthday dinner with live music at McNamara's Irish Restaurant.

Owen's official birthday party was the next weekend. Grammy, Grampy, Auntie Cheri, Mrs. Laura,
and The Karpinos family joined us to celebrate with an "All Aboard" themed party since Owen loves trains right now. It was again a fun weekend.

It's still so hard to believe that our little man is 2!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Capturing time.

I love using pictures as a way to reflect, and sometimes pictures capture time far better than words...our little man is so grown up!
It's also glaringly obvious that it is now all but impossible to capture him for any still posed pictures...thus is life with a 2 year old boy!

Friday, January 17, 2014

A 2 year old.

Dear Owen,

How can it be that tomorrow you will be 2 years old? Sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday that our home was filled with family & friends celebrating your first birthday. And on other days, it even feels like I was walking beside Daddy as we carried you into our home for the first time.

These two years with you have been an adventure & a blessing. I have loved watching you grow from a completely dependent squirmy baby to a constantly on-the-go little man seeking all the independence you can find.

You are curious, smart, loving, handsome, and full of fun. You love music, books, church, and of course-anything the color green. You love going to school, but you also love the days that you know we get to stay home together all day. You love weekend with Daddy home, and I love watching you two play together.

I wish I could capture all of our moments together in words. I pray that they will always be fresh in my mind. Being your mommy is my greatest joy!

I love you more & more every day. 




I have spent the first 17 days of this new year pondering over what I should resolve to accomplish in 2014. To be honest, I can't even remember my resolutions from last year, or the year before that. I don't want to end up in that same boat in a year from now. So...I'm keeping it simple. In fact, "keeping it simple" is my motto for 2014. I need to simplify my life...my stuff, my time, my plans.

Keeping it simple in 2014 directly relates to my 3 resolutions for 2014...
(1) Spending more time with God. I know that spending time with God should always be #1 on my to-do list everyday, but last year I just didn't make it happen regularly & because of it I suffered as a Christian & my relationships with others suffered as well. I resolve that it will not be that way in 2014.

(2) Devoting more time to my husband. Unfortunately, by the time Chris arrives home in the evening he's getting less than the best of his wife. I've been up for at least 12 hours already, I've worked all day (either outside the home, at home, or both), and I'm often just done with the day. "Our time" together from 8:30 p.m.-whenever I fall asleep on the couch is not truly the quality time that it needs to be. I resolve to focus on being more present and more of the wife I should be.

(3) Being a better mother. I don't think I'm a bad mother, but there are a few specific things I want to focus on in 2014 that I believe will make me a better mom.
    a) See resolutions 1 & 2.
    b) Parenting with more grace. We all need grace, every moment of every day. I need to be role
        modeling to Owen the most amazing grace that has been offered to each of us by Christ.
    c) Taking better care of me. Although my mind knows that I need to take care of me so I can take
        care of my family, my hands & feet often get in the way. I find myself looking to 'do' instead of
        looking to 'be'. I resolve to just 'be' more- to think more, to read more, & to laugh more.

And so, what am I doing about my resolutions already?

(1) Spending more time with God. I'm waking up a few minutes earlier every morning & am reading the daily devotion from "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young. It's not a new book & I've considered reading it before, but 2014 is the year. I love how God is already using it to speak to me & to change me.

(2) Devoting more time to my husband. I am trying to make our time together more meaningful. For us, it has to be about quality rather than quantity. It's a work in progress so far! Chris & I have also vowed to go on 6 dates this year-3 that he plans & 3 that I plan. I can't wait to see what fun we'll have together!

(3) Being a better mother. I am working on reminding myself every day that some things can wait. When Owen naps on days I'm home, I'm working on taking some of that time to sit, to read, to think. I'm putting together a reading list for 2014 (soon to come) so that I'm never without something to read. I'm also trying to take better care of my physical body & have committed to a spin class once a week on Thursday mornings at 6:30 a.m. (yikes!). I'm 2 weeks in & love it so far. (I know that 1 day of exercise/week isn't sufficient, but it's a start!)

I'm always refreshed by the promise of a new year and am looking forward to reflecting back on where God takes me in 2014.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A gift for our little man.

For months I have wanted Owen to have his own little table & chairs.
We searched around & couldn't settle on an affordable option & so I tried to put it out of my mind. However, Pinterest gets the best of me some time (that's another story!) and I stumbled upon this piece of inspiration back in October. I loved this particular one because the table sits high enough and the chairs are big enough that he can use it for years.

The author of this blog and the designer of the plans convinced me that it was do-able, but that was the easy part. Convincing Chris was a bit more challenging! After pondering over it for a while, he agreed that we could do it.

It definitely took us longer to construct than the plans suggest, but that's to be expected for 2 pretty much novice carpenters!

The second weekend we worked on it it was so cold that we did most of our construction in the house. Chris let Owen help with the drill which he thought was amazing. I of course love that we have pictures of him 'working' on his own table.

We're both so happy with our workmanship. It's definitely not perfect, but it is a most special gift that will last for many years to come (we hope!).

Holiday recap.

Happy New Year!
We had a hectic, yet wonderful Christmas season. I wish I had more time to share all of the moments we shared, but a quick recap will have to suffice.

Just a few days prior to Christmas, Owen seemed to have a heightened interest in Christmas so we spent lots of sweet moments talking about "baby Jesus", Joseph, Mary, shepherds, and donkeys. One day Owen told me that "baby Jesus didn't cry". It took me a minute, but then I remembered that we had been learning Away in a Manger and he was remembering that lyric.

Chris, Owen, & I spent our first Christmas Eve & Christmas Day here in Nashville. From reindeer pancakes for Christmas Eve breakfast to Woodmont's candlelight Christmas Eve service, we enjoyed lots of memorable moments.

Christmas morning was so fun as Owen really enjoyed opening a few wrapped packages and playing with his new toys (a toy leaf blower, a tent with a tunnel, a doctor's kit, & a small train set). We all enjoyed our time as a family of 3.

Chris & I built Owen his very own table and chairs which was our big gift to him. More on that later...

We then spent the day after Christmas through New Year's Day in Atlanta with our families which we also enjoyed.

Here are just a few of my favorite pictures from our holiday...