Saturday, January 29, 2011

Baby-Sitting {Day 2-3}

Our schedule today:

{7 am} Lola & Tillie wake up
{7:45} Lola & Tillie wake Taryn up
{8:05} Waffles & Peanut Butter for breakfast
{9:00} Baths & Showers
{9:15} Watch part of "Rainy with a Chance of Meatballs"
{10:00} Leave for Tumbling (30 minutes early)
{10:15} Pick up coffee for Taryn
{10:30} Tillie goes to tumbling
{10:45} Lola and Taryn wait for Tillie to be done. Lola eats a donut.
{11:00} Lola goes to tumbling
{11:15} Taryn & Tillie go to Walmart to wait on Lola to be done.
{11:20} Taryn picks out what she needs at Walmart
{11:25} Taryn & Tillie arrive to the fingernail polish aisle to pick out a color. Taryn gets distracted. Taryn can't make a decision.
{11:30} Taryn realizes it's late and goes to check out.
{11:32} As Taryn exits the store, the alarm sounds and the lady by the door has to "de-magnetize" her purchase before she can proceed.
{11:34} Taryn has a mild panic attack that she is so late in picking Lola up from tumbling and tries to smile nicely at the lady who finally gives her purchase back and says, "Thank you for your time."
{11:36} Taryn experience what road rage is really like.
{11:40} Taryn arrives to pick up Lola.
{11:50} Taryn, Tillie, and Lola arrive at McDonald's to meet other family & cousins for lunch.
{1:00} Everyone goes to Taryn's studio to take a few fun pictures.
{1:30} Everyone goes to "Grandma's" to get manicures.
{2:30} We play games (Dance, Chutes & Ladders) & read books.
{3:30} Taryn takes a couple of the girl cousins home and returns back with Lola & Tillie.
{4:00} Lola & Tillie bundle up and go outside to play.
{4:30} Lola & Tillie relax inside with sweats on.
{5:30} Another baby-sitter arrives so Taryn can go out to eat with the adults.
{6:00 on} Lola & Tillie have a fun-filled night with the baby-sitter.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Baby-Sitting {Day 1}

Day 1 of baby-sitting the girls... ending well. I only have the 2, but you have to break me in easy. I am quite positive I could have handled Milo, too, but I am thankful for the opportunity to enjoy the ones I have.

There are a couple of things that I forgot about kids:

1) They are inventive.

(e.g.) Cutting a piece of paper into 100 little pieces, making a fort out of a blanket that is covering our legs, and being entertained enough to work on a sticker book for 1 hour.

2) Their curiosity.

(e.g.) Kids ask a lot of questions. And by a lot, I mean, every other sentence that comes out of their mouth is a question. If it's not a question, it's a statement of the obvious that you must nod and smile to acknowledge or else it will be repeated 25 more times.

Toward the end of the day, I became a bit lazy and started answering questions that took too much explaining with, "I don't know." Otherwise, my explanation was too complicated, which only evoked even more questions.

My favorite question of the day: Let me set the scene. We were all in the van, heading home from a dinner of pizza. We had to drive across town, which takes around 10 minutes. We were about 2 minutes from home, and up until then the ride had been relatively silent. Lola pipes up from the back seat,

"Taryn, do you know how to drive?"

My immediate reaction would usually be to remark, "No, I have no idea how to drive," but since 5-year-olds don't usually understand sarcasm, I just laughed and assured her that I do know how to drive. How else would we be driving right now?

And then, "How do you know how to drive?"

"I learned it in school," I told her.

"Do you go to school?"

"Not anymore. I'm all done." (Contrary to popular belief, I'm not 15 anymore, even though I must look it).

"You aren't going to school tomorrow?"

"No, I don't go to school anymore."

"Why not?"

"Because I work now. But I'm not working tomorrow, because I am staying home to watch you."

Overall, today was really fun! I am sure I'll return tomorrow with some more stories. Until then, enjoy the pictures.

Love you all!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Selection of 5

There is no argument about it: I am random.

I don't consider myself a very detail-oriented person, yet I love to capture details. Perhaps it's because it is all the little details that piece together in order to make the magnificent whole. They are the puzzle pieces in painting the picture.

When you combine random + details, it = tonight's post.

I am sharing 5 images that may speak to you all in different ways. It's been awhile since I have posted a Top 10 Tuesday... and it is Tuesday... but I only have 5 images. So pretend like there's 10 and participate... comment about the image that makes you the happiest!

Love you all!


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Laying Low

Tonight I tried to make a mocha smoothie. It failed. It really sounded good, too. This is one smoothie I have not quite mastered the art of perfecting. In the mean time, I continue to stay addicted to mocha ice caps from Sweet Treats on Main St.

We had an engagement shoot on Saturday in which Kristi and I hiked into a gully. It was snow-covered and around 20 degrees, but the couple wanted snow. So we showed them snow! We were outside over an hour, but it was actually very fun.

My weekend has been pretty low-key and slightly lame. That's OK, though, every once in awhile. Sometimes, life gets so busy that I forget what having time to relax looks like, and I need weekends like this to remind me that they truly are a gift.

In church today I sat with two Hispanic brothers, ages 9 and 7. Their mother and two younger brothers sat behind us. They all have thick dark hair, big eyes, and dimples. They are absolutely irresistible.

It was the second service (after lunch). I found myself thinking and praying for them the whole time. In fact, I heard very little of the sermon. I kept thinking about them, their siblings... their parents.

They come from a rough family environment... a dysfunctional one. It's a situation in which they will likely learn the wrong behaviors and make the wrong decisions, because that is all they know. Yet at this age, at this innocent age, they are precious. How does a vicious cycle of broken lives become mended, so that a future of hope can take place? We are trying to figure that out.

The two boys I had charge over sat like perfect angels and played with toys from one large bag that was shared among all four. After they were finished with one activity, they neatly put it away and asked for another. Towards the end, the 7-year-old became fascinated with these little plastic pieces that have multiplication tables on them and red string to match the correct answer to the problem. I thought he would be too young, but he was quick and sharp. He answered several correctly.

Our family has become close with their mother and father. We are trying what we can as a family and church body to offer them the help they need. It is sometimes hard to discern the appropriate level of "help" to administer, but God gives guidance.

I am finding that the rough and tough, the underdogs, the downtrodden, the oppressed, the jailed, the beggars... what they really need is love. It sounds cliche, of course. But really. A little bit of attention and some loving care goes a long way.

They are not used to having the common luxuries that most of enjoy everyday. There is nothing consistently stable about their lives. And then I review my earlier sentence at the beginning of this post and find myself disgusted that I complained about a lame yet relaxing weekend.

God brings people and situations into our lives to teach us lessons. The older I get, the more I am finding how He shapes me through circumstances, and how I react to them. Whether or not I find joy in the journey is completely up to me and my obedience to the One who guides.

Love you all!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

God Calling

This is the part of winter where I start to fall victim of SAD. I can only endure so many cold, gray days. My lasting hope is a Florida trip planned at the end of February. I leave in 45 days. Not that I'm counting.

Until then, a few of my winter necessities have malfunctioned. For instance, I only have one pair of warm boots that are wearable on an everyday basis. The other days, I wear flats. I am somewhat of a flat fanatic. I opt for comfort over height so you will seldom see me clicking around in heels unless absolutely necessary. Also, my mustard yellow winter coat from last year has bit the dust. A new one must be purchased. But part of me wants to withhold. What if a warm front comes through soon and stays until June?

Highly unlikely, but somehow, buying the new coat solidifies my reluctant belief that winter is, indeed, sticking around for at least 3 more months.

Enough on the weather. I received this prayer journal for Christmas called "God Calling." It was written by two women who seek to remain anonymous and call themselves the "Two Listeners."

I wasn't sure what to expect, because most devotionals tend to be the same way... nuggets of treasured wisdom here and there, but predictably mild most of the time. However, this book has some of the most profound thoughts in it. I really love it, and look forward to reading it each and everyday. I also love how it is written. There is a charming and mysterious quality about it; it is as if you are starting to read the middle of a really awesome thought process rather than the logical beginning-middle-end setup. It is forthright and gives directives. It is real.

There are lines on each page to then journal prayers. That is another thing that I love to do. It is such a huge testimony of how God works when you have the opportunity to write out your prayers.

Anyway, from time to time I would love to share thoughts from this book. Tonight I will share the insight from January 6. It is titled "Sharp and Ready."

"You must pray. The way will open. God cares and His plans unfold. Just love and wait. Love is the Key. No door is too difficult for it to open.

What cause have you to fear? Has He not cared for and protected you? Hope on. Hope gladly. Hope with certainty. Be calm, calm in My Power.

Never neglect these times; pray and read your Bible and train and discipline yourself. That is your work--Mine to use you. But My instruments must be sharp and ready. Then I use them.

Discipline and perfect yourselves at all costs. Do this, for soon every fleeting thought will be answered, every wish gratified, every deed used. It is a fearful Power, a mighty Power. Oh! be careful that you ask nothing amiss-- nothing that is not according to My Spirit.

All thoughts harmful must be tuned out. See how necessary I have made the purity and goodness of your own lives to you. Soon, you shall ask and at once it will come. Welcome the training. Without it I dare not give you the Power.

Do not worry about others' lives. You must perfect yourselves first in My Strength."

I like the importance the author places on daily devotion to God. Getting in the word, and having a prayerful mind. It is so simplistically (and truly!) stated... God cares... God will provide... God's way will unfold. So why DO we worry?

The other day, I had the thought that perhaps I make life way more difficult then I need to. And perhaps we all do, as humans. So much of self distracts us from the Truth written in those words above. If only I would just cling to what I know to be true, then life would be easier.

If only I would always trust. If only I would remember God's promises. God loves, God provides, God comforts, God's will prevails.

It's like this. Imagine a narrow road. All you have to do is keep walking on the road to get to your destination. That's it. Just straight ahead. But the catch is, there are so many distractions on either side. So many other paths to take that intersect this narrow road. So many different choices, so many other options. Before you know it, you've wasted 1 year on another path, 2 months up a tree, 4 weeks trying to cross a river when the road was all you needed to follow.

God has really made it quite simple for us.

I like the emphasis placed on "love is the key," too. Love IS the key, really. Sounds so cliche, but I have been learning a lot about it. If a word, an action, an attitude is not motivated by love, it cannot result in anything fruitful.

Love you all!


Sunday, January 16, 2011

My Life in Pictures

I don't have time for many words tonight, so I'll let the pictures speak for what I've been about these past couple of weeks!

Holly & Kent at their rehearsal dinner
All the bride's maids minus Jenn at Holly's the night before her wedding (we're holding sparkling water)
A quick snap with Holly & Kent on their wedding day!
Arlan & Katie, the lovely host couple at the reception
Holly's flowers
The very cool reception venue
Saying good-bye to Mr. & Mrs. Levy
On the way home from MI, we stopped at a Starbucks for my birthday
Cyd's for lunch for a girl's day party
Girl's Day Out
My FAVORITE cake of all times for my family birthday celebration... Buckeye Cake
Tillie helped me blow out the candles
Tillie and Silas jumping up and down, SO excited for cake!
Naomi & Lola
I found Sylvia like this... on the kitchen table, eating garlic butter with a straw
Hugs from the girls
Birthday girls... my 25th and Melissa's 30th
Tate & Sophie were playing Just Dance II on the wii, and Sophia gave Tate a high 5 at the end
Kristi & I were invited to a lovely morning brunch last week... Lynn is welcoming us in!
Pretty table decor
Oh... reminds me of Spring. Can't wait
Our delicious brunch
Love you all! Will be back soon with words. T

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Adventures in the Grocery Store

Today I attacked our refrigerator and kitchen cupboards. We had little to no food left in our house, and the food we DID have was mostly expired or rotting.

Needless to say, we've been in and out of our house since the holidays, so reorganization was in order. After pitching the old and making room for the new, I had prepared a mental grocery list in my head of what we needed. I had already promised my mom that I would do the grocery shopping today, so this was a good first step.

Call me crazy, but I hate writing out grocery lists. It's strange because I have a terrible memory and I am such a visual person, but when I go to the grocery store, there is only one way I like to do it: aisle by aisle. I start at the outer perimeter of the store, checking in first to fresh produce, meats, dairy, and frozen food. I then weave in and out of the inner aisles to complete the job. I realize my mistake in shopping exactly opposite of what would be correct according to optimal food freshness, but I haven't broken the habit yet.

I would much rather look at everything in the store and be reminded of what I need than look at a list every 3 seconds and be stressed out the entire time about getting it all checked off.

Anyway, today I took an especially long time. There is never a place that I am more aware of my poor decision making skills than at the grocery store. Which kind of fruit, clementines or oranges? Should I select the ripe bananas or go for the ones that are still semi-green? Do we want 3 yogurts or 4... what if I make more smoothies than I think I will? Should I get the Kleenex in the horizontal box or the tall box, and once I make that decision, I have to pick which designs I want on the boxes.

Besides trying to make anywhere from 200-300 decisions regarding food type, color, size, portion, and nutritional value, I also have a mild case of ADD. I get distracted very easily. So while I am going up and down every aisle any way, it doesn't take much for something to catch my eye. Well... maybe I need to look at THAT. What is THIS? Is this new packaging??

So today, I was making pretty good progress, I will say. I had successfully loaded a lot of items into the cart, and I was reserving the front seat for a few of my own personal items. One happened to be a new candle for my office. For those of you who don't know-- I have a candle fetish. I LOVE candles. In fact, it probably took me about 5 minutes to figure out which scent to choose. Do I go for something seasonably appropriate, or a post-Christmas sale special, or something that reminds me of the beach since it's so cold out these days?

You can see my dilemma.

Nonetheless, I did eventually make a decision and so this candle was sitting in the seat of my cart. I was rolling down the candy/cereal aisle (very slowly, as there will quite a few shoppers around me) and I was in the process of deciding which candy we should put out at our IA office. As I was doing so, the candle that I had so carefully selected rolled out of my cart and slipped out of the little hole designed for a child's leg to fit through if one had been sitting in the seat.

In a moment of slow motion, it crashed to the tile ground and glass shattered everywhere. I heard a couple of passer-bys gasp. I quickly lowered myself and started scooping the candle out of the glass.

One lady moved slowly by and said, "Be careful with the all that glass, don't cut yourself."

For some reason, it really shook me up. I felt like a 5-year-old who just broke her mom's favorite glass lamp.

Within seconds, a teenage boy who works at the grocery store was by my side. He had come to my rescue with a cardboard box and a broom. I have no idea how he was there so quickly, but he was.

He started scooping up the glass into a pile and shoveling the larger pieces into the box.

I watched as he continued to scoop up my mess.

"OK, well just let me know and I can pay for it..."

"Don't worry about it," he told me, "It happens ALL the time."

"Alright," I smiled, and he was done within seconds. I gathered myself and tried to return to my decision-making world of candy and cereal boxes.

As I left the aisle, I saw the boy again. "Seriously," he told me, as if I didn't quite yet believe him. "It happens more than you think. But usually, it's something like spaghetti sauce."

I smiled. "Well, I'm glad I gave you something with easier clean up."

After about 5-6 more aisles, I came to the end of my journey. But I couldn't help but notice a sale on hangers. My mom always seems to be needing more and more of these, so I decided to do her a favor and pick up a few packages. The sale was for 4 bundles, so I collected them and bent down to place them at the bottom of my cart. As I did so, one slipped from my hand and fell to the ground. Somehow, the packaging ripped and 8 white plastic hangers tumbled onto the ground.


I frantically scooped up the hangers in the most nonchalant manner I could find and hurried to the nearest checkout line. I needed to get out of there.

There was a nice couple checking out in front of me and I marveled at how lucky I was; they were almost done and I would be next. I grabbed the little separator stick and started unloading my rather large cart of groceries onto the conveyor belt.

"Um, ma'am," the checkout girl called. I looked up.

She pointed to the sign above her register.

"This is a 15 Items or Less lane."


Bewildered, I started collecting the items and putting them back into my cart.

The couple in front of me looked back.

"You almost made it," the man said, smiling.

"Yes," I said sarcastically, "If only I had chosen a few less groceries."

I was likely 100 groceries over the limit.

I left that lane and found one suitable to check out in. Luckily, I left the store without anymore mishaps.

I took my car through the car wash, then came home and unloaded everything. I made fresh salsa and my mom made potato soup for dinner. I love having fresh food on hand... it makes my heart smile.

And now... I have a large selection of bedtime snacks, for which I am grateful, because I am so hungry. The only problem will be making the decision: popcorn, cereal, or fresh fruit?

Who knows what I will decide? Maybe all 3!

Love you all-- T

Wednesday, January 05, 2011


I don't like New Year's resolutions.

Never really have. Mostly because I don't buy into them. Largely, people tend to create new year's resolutions about goals that a) die off within 2-3 weeks or b) should be instilled into their lifestyle, anyway.

So just to be contrary, I'm going to create a list of 10 resolutions for myself this year. This just gives me an excuse to create a list, and I love lists. :)

Consider these as more so applying to my formerly stated "b" above... "should be instilled into my lifestyle, anyway."

1. Eat More Chocolate
Last night, I heard that the world might run out of chocolate by year 2020. WHAT! OK, I am sure that there will be an alternative created. And actually, this probably won't happen.

But just in case... it's a goal.

2. Drink More Water
I am convinced that water is the cure to most ailments in life. It takes away headaches and sickness, and it is what keeps our bodies running. It cleanses, purifies, and hydrates. Without it, we cannot hold up for long. Therefore... I want to drink more of it.

3. Visit Another Country, or Plan on it...
I used to despise traveling. I never thought I'd be the type of person who would want to travel the world. Then photography became a passion. And when you learn to live your life through the eye of a lens, it's hard to pass up all the beauty, diversity, culture, and people that God has placed on this Earth. I want to experience it. Ever since I went to Africa, I'd love to do a photojournalistic story of each place I travel. So... I need to get on that.

4. Learn a Song on the Piano
I love to play around and improvise. Yet, that is the easy way out for me. I need to challenge myself to learn a more difficult song... and stick with it until I learn the whole thing. Kind of like piano lessons, but without the teacher!

5. Save More
As applies to money. Save more, spend less. Keeping in perspective that my money is God's and not my own.

6. Stay Fit
This is a lifestyle goal, really. I want to stay active during all seasons. Perhaps the most difficult is winter, especially since I despise winter sports (not that I like any sports at all). It IS possible, though! Especially with accountability. And you feel oh-so-much-more better.

7. Keep up with All-Natural
Forgive me and my vanity... but I usually like to spend a few minutes of my winter weeks in a tanning bed. Actually, I will say... I am a mild sufferer of SAD. So, I do think that this "fake" source of sun has helped me to overcome my feelings of sadness on long stretches of gray gloomy days. However, this winter I have fully embraced the winter, it's cold depth, and my white skin... and, I am finding, it is very freeing and natural. I keep reminding myself... this is what God intended with my skin. So, I need to keep it that way :) Furthermore, not long ago, I read a statistic that a small amount of tanning greatly increases your risk for skin cancer. And I can't ignore the fact that climbing into a tanning bed is very similar to the feeling of climbing into a coffin. So, enough said.

8. Breath Fresh Air
Get outside and enjoy the sun on my face, the rustling of the leaves on the trees, the bright flowers, the ice and snow, the wooded forests, the ocean's waves, the rocks, the mountains, the breeze, the crisp air.

9. Relax
One of the hardest things for me to do. I want to make sure to always have enough time for a bubble bath, or to read a few chapters in a good book, or to lay outside in the backyard and look up at the stars.

10. Devotion
To God! May I never let the day go by without reading the Truth and praying to the One who leads my life... not only for myself, but for everyone that I come in contact with on a daily basis.

Love you all!