I’ve got you, babe… 

I've Got You, Babe... | originally posted on www.oliverandtara.com

Pip was born in the main OR of a hospital in San Jose, California. It was sterile. It was cold. It was terrifying.

I remember reading up on c-sections when we learned we had no other choice. One thing I read stuck with me – Pay attention to the details. Remember the little things.

As they prepped me for surgery, before O was let in, there was music playing over the speakers. “Put the lime in the coconut. ” I remember thinking “they wouldn’t be playing this on the maternity floor.”And that made me even more sad.

When I finally could hold Pip, I insisted on pulling back his cap. I wanted to see the details.  Did he have hair? [yes.]  How long were his fingers? [they looked so long on the ultrasound!].

Then, I spoke to him. And he stopped screaming. He turned and looked at me. Eyes wide open. And over the speakers I heard “I’ve got you babe…”

And all I could think was “well, that was perfect.”

❤️ Tara

The first scare… 

Somehow both of our children have been able to give us a good scare before they were even a month old. 
Confession: I doubted I had any “mommy sense” when Liam was first born. His delivery was emotionally difficult and left me feeling like I was “behind” most other moms. You know, the ones who got to see their baby sooner than 2.5 hours after delivery. 

But every internal alarm went off when  things started to unravel for Liam. I’m so grateful for a pediatrician who believed in “mommy sense” and followed up… 

For those of you who have never heard this before…  Here is Liam’s story

But the view… 

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This past weekend was absolutely beautiful. The weather, the sunshine. *happy sigh* I could see the snow capped mountains for miles. I constantly remind myself never to take this view for granted. 

Right now we are going through every single corner of our house and cleaning it out. We are physically putting a hand on everything we own and deciding if it should stay in our house or go. If it’s a “go”, out the door with it (which takes 2 votes). If yes (even just 1 vote) then we decide where exactly it goes. A place for every thing and every thing in its place. The main floor is a few feet of playroom floor space away from being done! 

After quite a few days in the house going through cabinets and cupboards, I had penciled in 2 hours all to me on Saturday. O took Pip and Liv to go pick us up some lunch. I, on the other hand, laced up my shoes and decided to set some sights on some personal records. 

And I nailed it. Longest run at home, some seriously consistent splits and a best time. Only missed my goal by 2 minutes. I’ll blame stop lights and call it a win! 

The Princess Half Marathon is just a few weeks away…  I had doubts as to my abilities back in January. But I know I’ve got the Half in the bag this time and can’t wait!

This next week I’m pulling out my sewing machine and working on my costume…. I’ll post here when I’m done! 

❤️ Tara

Family Movie Night

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We don’t watch much TV in our house. We’ll go weeks without even turning it on. If it is on with the kids awake, we try to have it only be shows that teach (such as documentaries). Don’t worry,  Pip gets to watch movies at Nana’s house and cartoons with his cousins. He’s far from deprived and is up on all the modern references 😉

Growing up we watched a LOT of movies  by Feature Films for Families. After I was grown, the company put out a line for younger kids, known as “Stepping Stones”. My mom has continues to support the company long after we owned every film and has now made sure our kids all have a library of quality entertainment. 

So, last night we started a new family activity – movie night. Pip picked a movie, then he and daddy popped popcorn on the stove. Mommy and Liv pulled out snuggle blankets for everyone and found the big popcorn bowl. We pulled out “the parking garage” (a small basket) and put  our phones in it, placing them way over in the kitchen. Then we all got on mommy’ s couch (that’s a hilarious story for another time) and watched Jasper: Journey to the End of the World

If there was any doubt that my kid’s love language is quality time, you should have felt the happiness seeping out of his being for those 90 minutes. 

❤️ Tara

My town… 

Growing up I would always answer the “Where are you from” inquiry with a proud “Illinois!” Don’t get me wrong, I still answer that way and still call Champaign/Urbana my hometown. But moving around as much as we have means we have had a lot of places we call home. Which,  by default, means  we also have a lot of places we miss. 

I’m just starting to find the hidden gems in our, Lord willing,  final hometown. A good barn for my horse,  favorite restaurants and the mail lady at the post office knows me (ok,  really the kids) by name. I know shortcuts and can give newbies advice on where to find things. I even figured out how to order at our local coffee stand to get a pretty close replica of The Common Place’s beloved Holy Brown Cow (Gosh I miss Indiana, PA). 

This week I ended up meeting with a community board member for coffee. I wanted to learn some more about my community and he was more than willing to oblige. It affirmed my adoration of this town as I heard some of the amazing things going on here. 

Then today  I ran further than I ever have in my town. I usually run one for many loops I’ve mapped out that all bring me back home. Recently I found out that the local Episcopalian church has a prayer labyrinth on its property. So, tonight,  I ran the 4 miles to the church and spent some time in the labyrinth. Along the way I saw new things, understood how some paths connected and observed my town (and it’s people) in a whole new way. It was fun to see my town from a different perspective and fall a little more in love ❤️

Now to get some lined leggings… 27°F is no joke in summer running leggings!  Brrrr

❤️ Tara

Running Disney… or not.

Running Disney... or not. | Originally posted at http://www.oliverandtara.com

I ran in high school. Really just to keep up (and beat) some of the boys.
Once I did? I quit.

I ran in college because I feared the freshmen 15.
When I realized it wasn’t happening? I quit.

Getting pregnant was taking a long time (again), so I started running.
Then I got pregnant. And quit.

Then I saw a post about the Disney World Half Marathon… so I started again.

And I didn’t quit.

I ran outside until the cold hives got too bad. Then O got me a treadmill and I started running inside. We traveled and I found ways to run.

I didn’t quit.

So unbelievably excited!!!

A photo posted by Oliver and Tara +2 (@oliverandtara) on

Flash forward 7+ months and it was  January 6th, the night before the race. I was excited. I was scared. I was packed. I’d put in the miles.

I wasn’t quitting.

As I crawled into bed I checked the weather and the official Facebook page for the race. They called it. It was cancelled.

And I quit.

Yep, just like that I quit. I called Oliver and cried.

(more…)

Running Like Grandma

Not many people know this, but my grandma was a runner. I actually forgot this myself until we were preparing for our recent trip.

They live in the hills outside San Diego, so needless to say I was NOT training there! Heck, I don’t even enjoy driving those hills!

So, after I arrived, I asked grandma for some running spot recommendations. With a twinkle in her eye, she told me about her favorite spot.

Each day I ran, I’d return back to their house and grandma would ask about the trail. Did I see any animals? Did I beat any of the boys? I diligently reported on the friendly old men who cheered me on, the hawk that swooped my head, and how many people I “beat” to the corner.

I loved “her” trail. It smelled of eucalyptus and went around a quiet golf course. It took me past a few horse stables, and kept my mind sharp dodging puddles.

It would be crazy to grow eucalyptus in my basement to make treadmill running easier, right?

In Love With Foam

As I prepare for a holiday season of travel, I picked the brains of my favorite running coaches (my PT and Chiropractor) as to what was going to be the biggest help for me to keep my training up, chance of injury down and get me through my first half marathon.

My PT’s recommendation was love at first roll…

(I have a large one at home, but a travel one was PERFECT!!!)

Maps Galore!

Maps Galore! | originally posted at www.oliverandtara.com

I don’t quite remember when Pip first became interested in maps. He would ask to stop and look at the map in malls, the zoo, museums, etc sometime in the past year.

But I remember when it reached a new level…

We were about to go on his first ever camping trip. I had loaded up on camping themed books at the library and we read up on what to expect. One book in particular struck Pip’s fancy. It was Camping: A Mr. and Mrs. Green Adventure by Keith Baker. On one page there is a map that Mrs. Green makes for Mr. Green to help them find their camping spot.

Multiple times a day this book was brought to me so we could read the story and talk (at great lengths) about the map. That’s when his interest in maps became a full on fascination.

I could roll my eyes at this surly short lived fascination. Or I could embrace it. Being a homeschooling family, we embraced it!

We’ve borrowed a plethora of map themed books from the library. Our top five favorites are:

I’ve printed off maps of some of our favorite places and laminated maps from some of our favorite local stops (museums, zoos, etc).

And guess what? I’ve learned more about Pip in the process…

He knows many common map symbols without me ever directly teaching it. “Look mommy! Potty!”

He loves knowing where his cousins all live and being able to point to Virginia and Florida on the map.

He enjoys “planning trips”. Especially with the Disney World maps. He shows everyone who will look where his favorite places are in WDW.

It’s awesome ♥

Why I run…

Why I run | article originally posted at www.oliverandtara.com

Well, I’ve officially been cleared to start running! Yep, you read that right. I’m running again.

Before I get too much further, let me set the record straight… this is not in an effort to get skinny, fit into size 4 jeans, lose my mom pooch, have a bikini bod, etc.

This is 100% for me. I used to run and I loved it. I want to run to be the healthiest mom I can be for my littles. I want to run to get 30 minutes in my own head, uninturrupted. I want to be an example for Pip and Liv. Period.

The way my body looks because of the running is simply a side effect.

I’m a goal orientated girl, so I need something to work towards. That thing is the WDW Half Marathon in January.

Crazy, right?! Well, my amazing friend Traci joined me in my crazy moment and we signed up together.

I’ve never raced before. Ever. Go big or go home!

So, expect running updates along with kiddo and homeschool updates in the months to come. Here we go!

-Tara ♥