Pinterest Valentine’s Fail, times two.


It’s high time I stopped succumbing to the Pinterest fantasy.

See, I saw this lovely pin from The Nerd’s Wife:


“I’ve got to get my kids’ valentines done!” I said.

“Hey! I’ve got a heart shaped ice cube tray!” I said.

“I’ve got crap-loads of broken crayons lying around here somewhere!” I said.

“I can do that!” I said.

Well mine looked like crap. Aaaand I ruined my tray. Aaaand it was a pretty silicon one. Aaaaand I probably left them in the oven way too long because the colors blended super weird with a film of waxy/oil almost-color across the top.



So instead, I bought my son the cheap Star Wars valentines at the grocery store like he wanted from the beginning. No candy. No super cute quote. No not-candy-but-look-at-this-cool-item-because-I’m-a-really-on-the-ball-mom pun thing. Just a small piece of holographic cardstock. And my son LOVED IT.

But my daughter, who’s been through this song and dance before, straight up ASKED me to look at Pinterest. “Pentrist?” she said, with a hopeful smile. They get ’em young, I’m tellin ya.

So, I found this awesome Pinterest gem, thinking “no oven, no hot glue gun, no photoshop, no selling my soul to the craft store gods . . . and I get to be ‘the healthy mom.’ I can do this.”


I didn’t think this one through.

I printed that printable on hot pink paper, cut them out by hand (because who has the “circle cutter” mentioned in the post?) and taped those babies to my dollar store applesauce all within an hour the night before the kindergarten valentine’s party. I felt awesome. Correction: awesome sauce. Everything was going according to plan.

Until morning arrived.

Do you know how much 28 applesauce cups weigh?

It’s a lot. Like, too much for a forty pound kindergartner.


When my daughter’s carpool ride arrived, I had to walk out, help her load the bag of cups into my neighbor’s van, and mumble some weird apology/joke about how I was making my daughter lug half her body weight around in a new-baby gift bag.

She came home and told me that her friend had to help her haul the valentines across campus into class.

Good job, mom.

It wasn’t until later that day, as my daughter and son were going through all of the valentines they’d gotten from friends that I realized something else. We never put her name on her valentines.

So now, I don’t even get the credit for being the healthy mom. What’s the point of being the healthy mom if I don’t get the credit! Oh, not the point, riiiight.


Verdict: Holographic cardstock valentines for the win.

But we ended Valentine’s day with a lovely family BBQ, drawing with chalk on the back porch, watching the sun set. I love my Valentines. All four of them.


Did I mention my husband painted my portrait? And nope, he didn’t have help.


He said the wet smudges at the bottom are “cloud nine.” Because I’m floating.

Until next time,


p.s. There was a third FAIL, but it involved a compromising chalk drawing of yoda, darth vader, and obi wan kanobi in a fight. It was on accident, but my brother keeps bringing up “schwartz” Spaceballs jokes…



Wild Zone!


Wild Zone!

My dad is awesome. He has a hilariously skewed and unexpected sense of humor. He likes the weirdest movies, and proves it with endless obscure movie quotes that almost no one but his family recognizes. Aziz! Liiiight! 

He’s many things: an airline pilot, a stubborn debater, world-class champion of The Look, tinkerer, mechanic, sailor, grandpa, cherisher of my angel of a mother, BYU Cougars fan, intellectual, rock music aficionado, pet scorpion owner,* and secret teddy bear.**

But did you know? He’s also an inventor. No, for real. Like, the man has two patents. The guy could have been a mechanical engineer if the sky hadn’t been calling to him since he was a little tyke.

I’m going to let you in on his best creation (besides us kids, you know). It’s called WILD ZONE!. That punctuation may look funny. It’s because you can’t say “WILD ZONE!” without the “!”

Now, this is a hard pill for me to swallow. I’ve spent years, nigh, decades alongside my siblings in our combined pursuit of OMG-Dad-you’re-so-embarrassing. Wild Zone is one of those things we “tolerated.” Almost like how we barely tolerate the super worn-out overalls he deems worthy of wearing in public. Except, the overalls are truly horrifying, and Wild Zone is actually pretty awesome. But of course, we couldn’t admit that.

Years and years ago, my dad invented a game. And then he had it made. Made. As in he professionally printed his card game. Then life got busy. Four kids and his profession and all other sorts of life responsibilities took precedence, and so the card games never got sold to stores. They wallowed in storage for a very long time. Then one day, his partner-in-crime decided it was pointless paying the storage fee for years on end, so boxes of card games arrived at our house. LOTS of boxes. An INCREDIBLE amount of boxes.

Wild zone storage

This is what’s left after a good 10 years of giving away games whenever possible.

Inside each box are 48 WILD ZONE!’s. We as a family played a lot of WILD ZONE!.

Wild Zone!

What a gem. Straight outta Zack Morris/Kelly Kapowski early 90’s perfection.

Did I mention we have a lot of boxes? Guess what my parents gave out to trick-or-treaters last year? Yep.

It’s a fast game, with simple math, and a whole lot of you snooze, you lose rivalry. If you can add up to 10, can tell the difference between red & blue, and have no problem stealing your own mother’s turn, then you can play.

When Nick and I lived in Hawai’i, my Dad snuck a box of these into our luggage, which we dispersed among friends. Many a get-together resulted in heated WILD ZONE! matches across our coffee table.

My dad named Nick the Vice President of International Sales and Distribution. Which means WILD ZONE FOR EVERYONE!

So, if you want a free card game, hit us up! This is prime Monday FHE material we’re talking about here. Though if you’re a local neighbor of mine, just wait a few weeks until neighborhood Christmas gifts start making their rounds. 🙂 Why didn’t I think of that years ago?


*Yes, my father owned a slew of scorpions for longer than I care to acknowledge. He kept them in a large fish tank on his bathroom counter. And he named them after his daughters’ ex-boyfriends. Except for the one he claimed was a member of a Mexican drug cartel. That one was named “El Jefe.”

**The mother of my childhood best friend once told me that she had always been super intimidated by my Dad. That she thought he was sorta scary. Then she declared, “But really, he’s just a big teddy bear, isn’t he?”



Pee-Pants. A horror story.


PEE-PANTS Horror StoryIn case you were wondering what I mean by said “pee-pants,” we’re speaking of toddler/kid night time pull-ups. And, dear readers, PULLS-UPS ARE THE KINGS OF THE NECESSARY EVILS.

They’re disposable (yay!) and suspiciously expensive (boo.)

They’re easy for kids to pull on (yay!) except every 3rd time, when they rip up the side (boo) and render themselves useless. Unless you’re a parent willing to use duct tape. No comment.

They’re everywhere & always within reach (yay!) until it’s two hours past your adorable hellion’s bedtime and you discover you’re all out (major boo).

But dear readers, let me tell you a horror story.

It happened on a very recent dark, stormy night. We did laundry. More specifically, we did the kids’ laundry. If you know where this is going, then shame on you for not warning me ahead of time.

The buzzer buzzed oh-so-innocently and hubby got up from the couch where we were watching reruns of “New Girl” to forward that load to the dryer. I heard the washer door open, then an incredibly long silent pause. No sounds of sloshing wet clothes. No little “hmphs” from Nick begrudgingly bent over transferring those wet clothes to the dryer. Nothing. Sickening silence.

Then, the dreaded, “honey . . . ?”

I didn’t move. Maybe if I just pretend I didn’t hear it, time will rewind and fix whatever horror it is. 

“Seriously. Something is wrong. Come look at this.”

Nope. Nnnnnope. Nothing is wrong. Everything is just fine.

“Tara. There is something seriously wrong with our washer.”

I blew out a sigh, bid Schmidt to wish me luck, and trudged into the laundry room WHERE FREAKIN’ SLIMY SNOW AWAITED ME.

I kid you not. Little, clear-ish/white-ish slimy pellets of snow were spilling out of the washer and clinging to the wet clothes.

“I don’t want to know what that stuff is,” said my dashing, debonaire, total scaredy-pants husband.

I bravely picked up a clump and squished it between my fingers. Then images of a long-forgotten Youtube gardening video flashed through my mind. A video where the crystals inside of diapers are soaked with water and placed in the soil, thereby providing a source of water for thirsty plants and also preventing overwatering.


My son’s ***PEE-PANTS*** literally expanded to 5 times their normal size and violently disintegrated.

With more attitude than was probably necessary, I impatiently carefully removed each article of wet, slimy clothing and shook out slimy crystals all over my laundry room floor, then threw them in the dryer. We plugged a wind-turbine in front of the washer to dry out the crystals and hoped (or just pretended) the clothes now in the dryer wouldn’t do any damage. “This thing is under warranty, right?”

Nick vacuumed out the dried crystals in the morning, and the kids clothes are no worse for wear. (Though I cannot attest to their emotional and mental state.) I still haven’t tried to use the washer or dryer since. Too scared. Should we take bets on how long I can go without doing a load of laundry in this house??

Moral of the story: warn your kid not to put their pee-pants in the dirty clothes. And warn yourselves to be on the lookout for the little disposable traitors when throwing in a kids’ load late at night in the dark.

Stupid pee-pants. Stupid, stupid little pee-pants.

*If someone dares make a joke about them not being “little” pee-pants when they’re five times their normal size, I will publicly unfriend you.


She’s finally here!



Guys, I’m going to start this post by saying how GLORIOUS it is to not be sick anymore! I CAN’T STOP SMILING!! I can talk! I can walk! I can laugh! I can mom!

That said, as you might have guessed (or seen on my facebook page), baby girl decided to finally join us. And she’s adorable. (you might remember me mentioning here that my oldest daughter was a gorgeous newborn but my son looked more on the Benjamin Button side of things for a few months. So maybe a little part of me was worried…)

And she’s the best baby EVER. Seriously. From 9:00 at night until about 9:00 in the morning, she sleeps. Even when I wake her to feed her, she basically sleeps through it. Hubby and I are getting a ton of sleep! Scratch that. We could be getting a ton of sleep if we’d stop with our second go-around of Netflix binging all the seasons of Friday Night Lights. Texas forever.


I’ve never understood why family and friends want to know the weight and length of a newborn, so I’ll just say she was born perfect. She is on the long and lean side, though this past week she’s started to plump up with that ridiculously cute cheek and thigh squish.

She’s super curious and has these ginormous, searching eyes, which you might get a glimpse of if you happen to be around during the few minutes she decides to forgo her beauty sleep and grace us with her awake presence.


She’s named after her great grandmother and her grandma. Though I’m on the fence about sharing my kids names on a public blog, so I’ll keep those to myself for now.

Delivery was a cinch, recovery has been awesome, and again, I CAN’T STOP SMILING! Two days after delivery, I was already anxious to be normal again and started making plans. “Nick, let’s go camping! Let’s throw a party! Let’s start going back to the gym! I’m going to church this Sunday! I’m gonna make the kids’ Halloween costumes this week! What do you want for dinner?? Ooooh, let’s host Thanksgiving for EVERYBODY!!” I tell you, pregnancy is not my forte. Newborns? Newborns I can handle like a boss.


We’ll see how long it lasts. I’m sure you all remember this post when I was definitely not on my A-game.

So, dear readers, I know I announced that I was “back” a few months ago, but in reality, my fingers were typing away some thoughts while I whithered away behind the scenes in misery.

But Oh Glorious Day, we have arrived! The land of the living has beckoned and brought with it a perfect, beautiful little girl! Our family is healthy, happy, together, and smiling. What more could we ask for?

I’m feeling tremendously grateful. I have the best husband. He’s thoughtful, and caring, and works hard for our family, and brings spontaneity and laughter. He’s my best friend. He’s my love. He has sacrificed so much to keep our family running smoothly during my pregnancies. He is strong, he is wise, he is brave, and he is mine. He doesn’t just make me smile, he makes me feel like I’m glowing. There is no one better for me than him, and I’m so lucky to have found him.


I have the best little 5 year old daughter. She’s super smart and creative. She reasons through everything, making sure she thought of every detail. She’s very beautiful with big, bright blue eyes. She is very aware of others around her and tries so hard to be helpful. She never forgets anything (both a blessing and a curse), and her giggle is freaking adorable. She’s a lover if ever there was one, laying on kisses and hugs and cuddles like they’re going out of style.


My 4 year old son is so stinking cute! What a charmer. He’s one of those people that never laughs at his own hilarious commentary, even though the look in his eyes says he knows exactly how funny he just was. He’s the sweetest boy you’ve ever met. I get unsolicited “I wuv you, mommy”s all the time. He has to run everywhere, because walking is for chumps. His energy is never-ending. Except at church. At church he’s the epitome of shy, reserved, quiet, and tender. Oh, and he’s completely and utterly obsessed with Star Wars.


And now, I’ve been blessed with another beautiful soul. A sweet, sleepy, curious, pretty, perfect little baby girl. And I can’t wait to get to know her!

20150927_163540    20151005_093737

Love, Tara

Black Weekend



My husband’s family has this story. It’s called “Black Sabbath.” Story goes, one particular Sunday when hubby was a kid and visiting his grandparents up in Utah, EVERYTHING went wrong. They called it “Black Sabbath” because multiple trips to various stores to fix a slew of catastrophes meant that that particular Sabbath day wasn’t observed as intended.

Well folks, let me tell you about “Black Weekend.” Hubby and I decided to take the kids up north (north eastern Arizona area) to a family cabin and invited our best friends to drive down from Utah and join us. While there, we had the best time! Instead of being sick and dehydrated and hot and fainting (as I am while pregnant), I was actually doing pretty great! Sure I wasn’t my normal self, and sure I needed to lay down often. But we were out of the heat, chillin in beautiful country with great company, making fantastic memories, great conversation… all in all: WONDERFUL.


Everything else went terribly wrong.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? We decided to leave immediately after hubby got home from work Thursday evening, which left packing up (food, camp supplies, clothing, bedding, gear, etc.) to me. Normally, this is not a problem. With pregnant me, this is a problem. Yes, there were emotional and physical break downs. Finally, one groin strain later, a light-headed puke-y me pulls daddy’s big truck loaded to the gills out of the garage aaaaaand… KA-LUNK. Broken garage door. Sh&#%.

I manage to manually get the garage door shut and head over to my parents’ to hitch up a flat-bed trailer with an all-terrain “Ranger” vehicle loaded on it. There were issues there as well. I had to pull up the truck with 2 wheels on the sidewalk just to get the damn trailer hitch high enough to hitch. Hence: a good 45 minutes sprawled out on my parents’ couch with a tall glass of water to recover.

Hubby arrives, helps hitch up where I failed, and we’re on our way! Yay! Cool weather and friends here we come!

Picture this: it’s night time, on a very twisty, wind-y road switchbacking down a canyon, and the truck starts to rattle. Big time. “Is it the road? Hmmm….”  A mile later a whoosh alerts us to the fact that we’re screwed. Trailer tire completely stripped and blown out. Oh wait, where’s the fender? Yeah, that’s gone too, including the trailer lights on that side.


Hubby to the rescue! Wait, where’s the trailer-tire sized tire-wrench? Who knows, let’s just fish through our tool kit and Mickey Mouse this thing. (The process, not the result, people.)

On the road again…. (where’s my music notes emoji?).

We arrive at the last major township of civilization and rush to the grocery store, which is minutes from closing, to grab a few items I forgot back at home. We also meet up with our friends (HELLOOOOOO!!!!!!) who’ve been waiting for us in the parking lot of said township for way too long.

We finally get to the family cabin hours later than planned (past midnight) and settle in for the best weekend ever!! SO fun! So relaxing! Oh, the conversation! Oh, the memories! No major mishaps.

Well, there was the time I got myself locked in a bedroom for far longer than I appreciated; and the fact that we sort of broke the charger for the GPS; and hubby’s delicious spicy green chili gave three of the six of us wicked sheebs (digestional blow-outs); and there was the frigid downpour while driving the Ranger through muddy trails in the middle of no where, but good times. Best-weekend-ever.


Hubby was supposed to fix the leaking sink faucet that weekend, but he wisely refrained, knowing how all things mechanical were going for us so far.

When best-weekend-ever came to an end, we were all super sad to part. It went by way too fast! We said goodbye, hugged and hugged, and parted ways.

Ready for round two of our travel commute?

We head back to the nearest town and get two new, top quality tires on the trailer. (Thank you, spare tire! You did your duty!)

On the road again….

100 miles or so later: the rattle. The last time the truck got the shakes, the trailer tire blew to pieces, so we immediately pulled over. All four truck tires and the two new trailer tires seemed to be in perfect condition. Hmmmm…..

(insert potty break in wide open country with nothing to hide behind, but, I just couldn’t hold it in anymore.)

On the road again….

Once again, the shakes. So I called my dad. He gave us a few pointers on what to look for, but still nothing stood out as “wrong.” He assured us we’d probably be fine driving slow to the next town, where we could get them checked by professionals.

On the road again…. though 35 mph on the highway. “Thanks, Dad. Love you!” Hang up. 30 seconds. KA-BOOM! GRIND, GRIND, GRIND…..

This time, it was a truck tire, the huge, beefy kind. Mutilated. Not only that, but massive body damage to the back end/underside of the truck. That beefy tire decided if it was going to bite the dust, it would take out whatever it could with it.


I’ll work on getting a better pic of the body damage.

Hey, did you know that those huge trucks have special ways of storing their spare tire? Yeah, they’re underneath by the axel. But you don’t just unscrew some bolts to free it. There’s a magical “key” that goes into a small hole above the back bumper in which you slowly crank down the tire. That took us a half hour to finally figure out.

It’s hot (like over 100*F), we’ve pulled over just past a big bend in the road (so incoming traffic has almost no notice), and there’s my Super-Hero Husband a foot from speeding traffic melting in the Arizona sun changing the biggest tire I’ve ever touched. My kids are wailing that they want to get home. I’m holding back tears. Husband’s jaw has never been so tense. Prayers for days, people.


(Here’s a THANK HEAVENS! for my dad’s recent purchase: the world’s most awesome jack. At least lifting the truck and trailer were easy.)

Oh, did I mention that we were supposed to get home early because hubby had business to do for work? Yeah, so he was trying to get emails sent and calls made all while changing the second blow out in the scorching sun.

On the road again….

We stop at the next town, find the only tire place in the whole stinking county that sells the brand of tire we need, and get things squared away. “Freak manufacturer error,” according to the tire techs. So, at least hubby feels a little better that it wasn’t his fault. Oh, and the entire piece of body work from the back passenger door to the tailgate eventually needs to be replaced.

On the road again…..

I start cramping. Badly. Like painful contractions. Sweet Heavens, keep this baby in!  Hubby sighs, laughs, then says, “You know, giving birth in the car would be the icing on this cake, now wouldn’t it?”

We finally roll into my parents’ driveway. Dad comes out to assess and help, and while checking on the trailer hitch his brand new iPhone spills from his pocket and the screen shatters. Yep. We’re contagious.

We unload. I try to hose off the muddy Ranger, but instead my Dad takes charge of the hose and mumbles something about how he better take over from here. Probably didn’t want something else to fall into our Black Weekend trap.

Dear readers. Best-weekend-ever was also Worst-weekend-ever.

Yet, despite a seemingly endless trail of bad luck, we’re feeling pretty blessed that despite all this, we’re all home safe and healthy. Things could have turned out a lot differently. And I truly believe we were being watched over.  I think Heavenly Father must have a use for us down here on Earth.

Also, my husband is amazing. The best man on this planet. Sorry (not sorry) I scooped him up, ladies, but he’s mine forever.

And my dad is incredibly patient. And helpful. And (thank heavens) prepared.


Moral of the story: say your prayers.

Other moral of the story: when things start to go south, prepare yourself for the fact that bad things don’t always come in threes. They might come in sixes, or sevens, or twelves.

Third moral of the story: remember these moments, so when you get to heaven you remember to thank the Angels.


P.s. Good news: the garage wasn’t broken! It just needed to be re-set. Yay for super-hubby!