Category: Everyday Life


This will be a very “clean” post (har..har..har…) – all about the absolute showering of gifts we’ve received already for squishy. We’ve been so surprised that the little “orange” is already so very loved by those around us! From the day people found out, we’ve been showered with amazing gifts for us AND for squishy. Below are just some of the gifts we’ve received from the circle of people we know will love this child with all their hearts.


So much love for such a small squishy!

Whooooooo’s Whooooo of the Gift Givers ūüôā
[ please excuse typos! ]
Another special gift we’ve received have been so many people praying for us and sharing in our excitement! My bump may be tiny, but it’s still exciting when people say they notice it. When people rejoice with us in the blessings of this baby, it warms our hearts. And when people ask us about our nursery theme, our plans once baby arrives, and my symptoms we are SO excited to share our updates again and again. I can’t walk through church without at least 3 people stopping to ask about Squishy, and I get daily to weekly texts from friends and family checking up on me. Thank you everyone – you are making this time even more blessed and joyous for us!!

What are some of the most memorable gifts you received at a special time in your life?

<3 Tara and Oliver

The search begins…

Surprise! Quadruplets!


Kidding! Hahaha… seriously. Kidding. There is only one in there! And Oliver re-confirmed¬†that with the doc a few times! So why does Oliver have FOUR baby car seats/carriers? Because nothing is easy when signing up for a registry …

We had fully decided on a carrier and were ready to register for it. We’d gone to the store, lifted it, carried it around, taken it in and out of the base a few times. But then we found out it was NOT compatible with our stroller. And the stroller is a solid “yes”… more so than anything else on our registry (more on that in a later post). So we were back to the drawing board again, but this time armed with a list of what IS compatible with the stroller. My friend (and former SLPA) has a saying anytime something isn’t working the way we feel it should – “You have to be smarter than the thing you are trying to operate”. Well by golly those are smart suckers those baby carriers. It took a lot of work to figure out how to get them in and out. Some latched in the front, some in the back, some you pull, some you push. And we only wanted to try out four! But in the end we narrowed it down to 2, and we’re now working to figure out which is the safest out of those two …

It’s fun to get to the “real” baby stuff now. For weeks our registry has consisted of books, owl sheets, more books, a stroller and did I mention books? There were only ~ 50 … until today. I just added more *grin* Hey! When you have a “wisdom” theme going, you gotta stock up on the literacy! And, of course, when you have a Speech-Language Pathologist for a mommy…


FEEDBACK: What’s the BEST baby item out there that you (or a mommy you know) just couldn’t live without? Leave a comment and let us know!¬†


<3 Tara and Oliver

Matters of the Heart


Oliver and I have known for some time that I am a genetic carrier for a familial heart condition. It had been a non-issue until we became pregnant. Apparently this heart condition LOVES pregnancy because of all the extra fluid you carry around. However, with all of that extra fluid, heart failure during and after labor is a higher possibility. If I had developed the condition since last tested at age 20, I needed to know. This would then label me as a “high risk pregnancy”. On July 5th I went to Stanford’s Cardiology Department to have my heart checked out. Oliver and I really went into this putting it all in God’s hands. If we’ve learned (and continue to learn) anything through all of this, it is that this baby is NOT ours, nor do we have ANY control over what happens. It is all in God’s hands, in His control.

The day was long (5 hours in the hospital) and full of tests. First I had an echo, which was relatively easy. I say “relatively” because they put you in a dimly lit room, laying on your side, under a warm blanket … it was impossible to stay awake. And by impossible, I mean I MAY HAVE fallen asleep a few times. *smile* ¬†Thankfully I had an understanding tech …

After the echo I went back to the¬†cardiology¬†department to get an EKG. The medical assistant doing the EKG was getting very strange readings and couldn’t figure out what was wrong. It was my mom who finally said “wait… is that the baby’s heartbeat??” She was right – the machine was picking up squishy, which was messing with the readings of my heart! It was like a nice little “hi mom! I’m still here!” from the squish.

After the EKG I was seen by a resident, a visiting cardiologist from Italy, my actual cardiologist and a geneticist. Going through my case history, I apparently had all of the symptoms of the heart condition Рshortness of breath (I have asthma), chest pains (I have acid reflux), heart murmur. They listened to my heart while sitting, taking deep breaths, and doing squats Рit was quite the three ring circus doing this with ALL of those eyes watching you.

The geneticist went through all of the information we needed to know to protect the baby. She offered to do the genetic testing before the baby arrives, but Oliver and I turned that down. It wouldn’t change anything, and there was no danger to the baby if it went undetected. They wouldn’t begin treating the baby until 5 years old if he/she does have the condition anyways. So we’ll wait till after the baby is born to do the testing, so we can be prepared to deal with it as we raise our blessing. A side note: I really appreciate this geneticist – she called my baby a “baby”, rather than a “fetus”. I don’t really care if that is the medical terminology for this stage of my pregnancy … this is our BABY we’re talking about and I’d rather we recognize it as a living breathing little human than a developmental stage.

In the end they seemed quite surprised that, despite having all the symptoms, my heart is quite healthy and fine! I will be checked again in October (6 months) and then after the squishy arrives!

Today was our latest prenatal checkup. It was a quick appointment (15 minutes – wow!), but we were able to hear the baby’s heartbeat again … 146-147 bpm. Always a beautiful sound – from fearing we’d never have a child to hearing its heart beat fast and strong. Gives me chills ūüôā God is so good!

Praise the Lord for a healthy baby – still set to arrive around January 15th.

<3 Tara & Oliver


Exercise and Cravings

This morning my friend Wendy and I took the babies for a hike. And by “babies” I mean her 2 year old, the two dogs and “Squishy” (not that he/she really had a choice!). Exhaustion is still lingering for me (I hear I should get used to it…) but it felt so good to get off the couch and exert what little energy I had conquering the lookout trail. It was a steep .7 mile trail that had 5-6 switchbacks taking you straight up to the top! At least I could carry my behbeh¬† in the front… poor Wendy had her’s on her back! But we made it, and it felt amazing to be at the top!


At the top of the lookout!
At the top of the lookout!

Afterwards I fed one of my newest cravings¬† … this craving has been around a week, I just haven’t’ been the one to go to the grocery store lately. So I stopped at Safeway on my way home and “indulged”…

Carrots and Ranch! Mmmmm!

We are technically 13 weeks today! Yay! So “Squishy” is the size of a peach or a tangerine… bump pictures to come tomorrow probably. We won’t be home till after dark today, and the nursery (our photo shoot location) doesn’t have any lights in it!

<3 Tara (and Oliver!)

The Facebook Announcement

Today we announced it to facebook that…

YES! We’re expecting!

You’re probably here because you saw that announcement or got our e-mail blast about baby. But we want to let you know that this will be our only “Baby update” via social media. Although we will sometime talk about a new “post” going up – there won’t be¬†blatant “BABY!!!” updates. We still have many friends dealing with infertility and we want to respect that they are still waiting for their own blessing. So *all* updates will be here …

Please be sure to read “Our Story” to understand where we’ve come from …


<3 Oliver and Tara

P.S. We are still in the process of doing some “back posting” of photos, videos, etc. We’ll put up a “new” post telling you when to go look at “old posts”. Confused yet?! Must be the baby brain…

Nana and Papa McKinney

My parents were both in town at the same time, so we could FINALLY break the news to them! Now, you know I couldn’t just say it – we had the benefit of seeing them eye-to-eye and watching their reactions (unlike the majority of our family). They are some of the few people who knew of our on-going struggle to get pregnant and were praying fervently for us. So we convinced them to go out to dinner with us to celebrate “mother’s day” and “father’s day”, since they had been out of town for both of those holidays. We met them at P.F. Changs in downtown San Jose. We then brought of the conversation of dates for a trip to Vegas we were going to take in January …. all while having these in our laps:

Nana and Papa x2 (this will be their second grandchild)

I’m not quite sure what my favorite part of this audio is …

  • dad cutting me off when I was trying to get to the big news
  • the dramatic pause where we hold up their shirts
  • dad’s yell of “ARE YOU KIDDING?!” which resulted in the entire restaurant looking at us ūüôā
  • Me, being too close to the secret recording, laughing and crying simultaneously through the whole thing
  • Mom telling the waiter when he came to give us our food
  • Ok… I pretty much love the whole thing.

Listen for yourself…¬†Telling Parents Moment

<3 Tara (& Oliver!)

Oliver finds out …

This morning I couldn’t believe it still.. so I took the 3rd (and last) test in the box. Yup. Still said pregnant.


Time to begin operation “Tell Oliver”. I’d been planning this for years.


The fortune inside the cookie says “You’re a father”

What I love about this:¬†He looks like I’ve just played the worst prank ever … I think this really shows how much we’d been waiting and wanting but still struggling with the “what if it never happens….” question.




I hadn’t been feeling well all week. After a long weekend at Maker Faire, I figured I’d just overdone myself and that a seizure was on the way. But as the week went on the exhaustion just wouldn’t subside, no seizure came, and I was weirdly adversive to some of my favorite foods.


…. wait a minute.


I thought about it for a few days before finally buying that new box of pregnancy tests. Oliver and I were set to go out of town for the long weekend to celebrate our 6 year anniversary. And those two dreadful words (“not pregnant”) just always made me so emotional. So here was my thought process: take the test Thursday, have it say “not pregnant”, cry, get over it, have a nice weekend with the hubby.


So I did it… and waited. And waited some more. Then a little longer. (ever notice how those 2 minutes feel like HOURS?!?!)


… it said pregnant.


I stared in disbelief for what must have been a minute. Then I began to shake, cry and had to hold myself up on the bathroom counter for fear of falling.


I took another test that evening… because I didn’t believe it. But it said the same thing. I would wait till morning to tell Oliver.