Our Family Photos | 2014

Tarchala family photo 2014

Here we are, almost a year later and I never actually posted photos of my family that we took last year for Christmas cards. I had every intention of printing custom Christmas cards and sending them out so I wanted to save them for that. Of course I never actually did that, because I’m a procrastinator in every way. I did print some for my house and for a few relatives for the holidays, but I’m kind of sad that I didn’t get to share them when they were more relevant. After all, Finn is just a little handful of cuteness in my belly in these pictures. I still love them, however and hopefully you’ll enjoy sharing in these year-old smiles for a bit.

Official Tarchala Family photos 2014 - Christmas card session

Finn | 5 Months

Finn 5 months old, playing with his toes and chewing on his fingersBased on how often I find myself writing these updates, I should start planning Finn’s first birthday already. But for reals… time goes a gazillion times faster when you have your second kid. I was just realizing that we’re less than a month away from Finn’s 1/2 year. That’s insane to me!

The timing of my life has been weird lately… it was all “springtime…pregger, preggo… pregnant….. and… BABY!” Then a rapid blur of warm summer months. There were a couple afternoons where I looked outside and remarked to myself “Oh, hey! It’s summer, isnt’ it? Must be hot out there.” There were hour-long visits to the pool right before it closed, trying to soak up the sun before it set and the summer before it was over. There was our “last hurrah to summer” roadtrip and now BOOM! It’s fall. When the annual Facebook salute to fall began to fill up my feed I had to do a doubletake. You mean it’s here already!? After an adjustment period of a week or two, I found myself ready to embrace the season in all it’s crunchy, chilly autumness!

This month has got to be one of my favorites (aren’t they all, though?). This is such a great stage of baby-hood. He’s grabbing his feet constantly (actually, he’s grabbing everything lately), he’s munching on them, and he’s giggling at everything. He has the “stickiest” little grabbers. He seems especially obsessed with water, pawing furiously towards any water bottle within sight. Cups, plates, toys, food, hot things, sticky things, choke-y things… he grabs at it all. The impressive thing is he manages to snag his target most of the time. I’m slow on the defense.

He watches his big brother and has the biggest laughs while observing his antics. His favorite “Miles’ show” these days is any involving brother throwing things high into the air or at walls. Double points if it’s in the tub during bath time.

Finn still abhors the carseat and having a dirty diaper. He gets frustrated easily when he can’t have what he’s grabbing for or if he’s trying to accomplish a task for which he isn’t yet skilled enough. We’ve determined that he is competitive and determined like his daddy. I’m very impressed by the things he can do and his determination to get and do things. He’s lifting his tiny baby booty in the air quite a bit lately and I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts crawling before long! Right now he’s able to roll both ways easily and scoots around his accessible 360 degrees. He loves jumping in his jumperoo and playing tickle games and peekaboo. Another favorite pastime is when I set him on his tummy in front of Miles toy xylophone/piano. He’ll plunk away happily, composing baby symphonies!

His sounds! They are so precious! Lately he’s added some high pitched squeals and screeches. He’s also been putting a couple sounds together. He blows cute little raspberries all the time, too. I just love this age, it’s adorable.

Ok, on to the picture time! See you at 6 months!!! Ahhhhhh! TOO FAST!


There are a TON of pictures this month, thank you for indulging me.

Official Photos

Finn is 5 months old! He likes to play with his toes, chew on his fingers, and stick out his tongue

Unofficial fancy camera photos

Cute 5 month old pictures of Finn

Cell phone photos

Cell phone photos of Finn's 5th month - Instragram Cell phone photos of Finn's 5th month

Monster Party in Colorful Neon

Cute orange monster cake and colorful, neon monster eyeball cookies

The Monster Party

Here are some photos of the party we planned for Miles third birthday. We had a fuzzy monster cake with eyeballs that was inspired by this one I saw on Pinterest. We had some eyeball snacks like these cookies and some dipped rice krispy treats. I attempted to make some monster balloon column/towers and made some favor bags that I decorated like monsters. I really did try to keep it more on the simple side this year. It might not seem like it, but I’m learning!

Cute and colorful monster party decorations and food ideas. Orange monster cake with eyeball skewers, eyeball cookies, colorful dipped rice krispy treats with eyeball candy, googly eyes on drinks and monster balloon towers/columns

The Prep-work

Progress pictures of the cake, favor bags and decor.The process of decorating the monster cake for Miles birthday party Cell Phone Photos of the Monster Party Decor - Monster cake, eyeball cookies, drinks and colorful straws

fun monster party favors, decorated monster favor bags, googly eyes and teeth on shoes

I want to give my inspirations the credit they deserve for all the creative ideas, so check out the originals whose pins I linked to in the paragraph above.

Mister Miles | Three Years Old

Close-up of my oldest, Miles on his third birthday

My Little Boy is Three!

My sweet oldest boy turned the big THREE in September! We celebrated with a big monster party. It was the first party where Miles picked the theme himself. We were browsing Pinterest and he saw a pin of some awesome eyeball monster cookies by Kristyn here and insisted that’s what he wanted his party to be. I tried to show him other monster party decorations and snacks but he kept making me scroll back up to look at the cookies. “That one!!! I want that for my birfday!!! Please?” “Sure! We’ll have monster cookies!” “Oh, DANKKKK you!!!!!”

That’s just one of the adorable phrases I love to year from his mouth. He is genuinely touched by things we do for him and it makes it all so worth it. It’s hard to type the way it sounds, but he says “Thank” with a “D” and a “TH” sound so it’s kind of like “Thdank you!!” It is always said with pure enthusiasm and is usually returned by me with a hug and a “You’re welcome!”

Some other favorite phrases these days include “Oh, YEAH, baby!”, “I almost got [insert something he ‘for’got here]”, ending sentences with “right?!” Example: “Baby brother loves me, righttt?!?” and of course he’s always right.

He has a silly sense of humor and will laugh at anything that involves falling, banging, hiding, teasing and scaring.

When he’s feeling aggressive or is in an awkward social situation he will pretend to be a dinosaur and start rawring and charging people. Lol. Poor kids.

Speaking of poor kids and effect on people in the vicinity, he also likes to strip down naked anywhere, anytime. We’ve been telling him now that’s he’s three he can only be naked at home with mommy, daddy, and Finn.

His favorite toys are his purple stuffed dinosaur that we bought him at the T-REX cafe, my decorative bowl of pine-cones, pillows of all kinds, play-doh, watercolors, and whatever toy Finn is playing with.

He loves to dance, do “school” in the mornings, jump off high things, make pillow piles, hide things, pretend to be stuck, help me cook, make my coffee in the morning, be naked, make Finn laugh, and watch TV. His favorite shows are Octonauts, Phineas and Ferb, Gruff (Tinkerbell/Neverbeast), Baymax (Big Hero 6), and Puss in Boots. Lately he’s been requesting specific episodes of his favorite shows, so that’s fun. His favorite P&F episodes are “Meep,” “cutie patootie,” and “thousands of monsters”. Octonauts faves are “the spiky one” and “the walls falling down one.”

He has a fantastic memory for places. If we’ve been somewhere even just one time he will recognize the place if we drive by it again. While on our roadtrip we stayed at a Hampton Inn. A couple weeks after we had returned we drove past a Hampton Inn and Miles recognized it and said “That’s the hotel! We sleep there last week, right!?!?” My smartie. He points out “HIBATCHIIIIIII!!!” every time we drive by and it is only a few blocks away, so we hear that one often. He can recite our Chick-fil-a order pretty well, too. “NO PICKLES and a Dr. Pepper.” At least he remembers the most pertinent details.

Favorite Quotes

Here are a few of my favorite quotes I’ve saved from the past year:

Miles: “It’s really dark outside”
Me: “Yeah it is”
Miles: “The light is broken”
Me: “What light? 
Miles: “The sun.”

Seeing a newborn in the ob office while pregnant with Finn
Miles: “Take it home wif us?”

I was playing with Steven’s hair on the back of his head because he just got it cut and it was soft and fuzzy.
Me: “This feels so cool, I could do this all night.”
Miles: “Umm. Go away. That’s weird.”

While sleeping… Points and says
Miles: “What’s that snake doing?”
Daddy: “What snake?”
Miles: “That snake on the moon…”

Tells daddy about a shark that lives in the forest and eats carrots. Continues story to say there are sharks in the river and says
Miles: “I want to go to the shark river. Right. Now!

Miles was telling Finn a story. I heard him say
Miles: “Once upon time, free witto pigs, jumped on the water and a monster.”
…then he would repeat that haha

Miles: “It makes me sad.”
Me: “What?”
Miles: “The peoples breaks my heart”

Miles: “Mom, sometimes I freak out”

Miles: “I’m too strong. I’m big. Bigger than all the people’s”

Miles shook Finn’s hand and said
Miles: “nice to meet you, brother”

Miles: “I see a big watermelon last time and it tried to eat me! Tried to bite me! Tried to bite me up again!”

Miles: “He doesn’t do much”
Me: “Brother?”
Miles: “Yeah”
Me: “That’s because he’s a baby”
Miles: “Yep. He’s a baby. I’m a big brother. Mommas the momma… And daddy is… The boss”

Miles: “I’m the best brother whole world. Love my baby ”

While reading his book about vegetables
Miles: “Umm… Beet scares me”

Miles: “Where’s my beautiful dinosaur?! My dinosaur, my pet?!”

Me: “Peowww pow! Pow pow pow!”
Miles: “Mom! You sound like potatoes!”

My favorite pronunciations:

Spaghetti  = spetty-getty
Sandwich = swfitch
Privacy = pragasys
Vacuum =vappuh
Popsicle = possilull
Slippery = slipahly

I love my little threenager and I’m just going to soak up every moment of this year as much as possible, and document all the sweet moments the best that I can. I love you Miles Jayce!

photos of my oldest, Miles on his third birthday

A post with details from his monster party coming soon!


Family Session | The Skeltons

I like to force my photography onto my friends and family like the awkward person that I am. For that reason, I suggested that my BFF get her family together for a session this summer when they were all in town for the first time in a long while. I’m so happy it worked out because it was a huge treat for me. I’m insanely nostalgic, so you can bet my heart was clenching with bittersweet joy as I snapped away during every laugh and smile. Truly the moments I live for.

I love you Skelton family! Thank you for sharing Lizzy with me and for all the amazing memories our families have shared. No matter where we all go in life, you guys will always feel like you’re just a field away!

Family Session - Summer Blues - The Skeltons

Finn | 4 Months

Finn's 4 Month Update - Official Featured Photo

My big little. I call Miles my little big and Finn is my big little. Somehow that makes sense to me.

Finn amazes me. Motherhood is almost a brand new experience this time around. Seeing each of my boys develop their own personality and quirks and imagining what passions they will discover as their sponginess expands and they soak up more and more of the world… it makes my heart and my brain hurt. He may only be four months old, but I still swelled with joy to help him dip his toes into the ocean surf for the first time. I broke out in a zillion smiles when I got to show Finn the “big trees” because I can already tell he’s a nature boy . This month was full of firsts in a totally new way. Our “Maiden voyage” held many firsts for a little man so young!

Four months old and Finn has really come into his own in so many ways. He is starting to grasp his toys and he continues to preach to anyone who will listen. He has added a squacking screech to his existing “Ohhh!” of deep wonderment. As his vocabulary grows, so does his library of expressions. I’ve seen more “mischievous” and “curious” peek out of his peepers lately.

He loves to sit in a lap and observe a room. Even better if you can help him “stand!” He loves to watch Miles run around and be crazy and have laughing fits about all the silly things little boys find funny.

He has two cry settings, “totally chill” and “royally peeved.” The second can happen unexpectedly at any moment, but is often triggered by the following: Car seats (even after abiding in one pleasantly for a good 20 minutes), realizing the person holding him is not his mother, being laid down when he wants to play, sometimes just out of the blue baby terrors.

Here are his stats from his 4-month well-baby
Height: Weight: Head Circ:

I didn’t get the chance to take any “official” four-month photos, but here are my snapshots featuring Finn from the month of August, up until our return from our trip.

Finn's 4 Month Photos

Finn's 4 Month Photos Instagram Finn's 4 Month Photos - Cell phone

2015 October Fall Mini Sessions

2015 Fall Mini Sessions in Leavenworth and Kansas City areas

As we turn the corner from September to October, my brain begins to consider all the great fall things: brisk walks, admiring fallen leaves as they swirl to the ground, baking a thousand yummy things (building up my tolerance to calories in preparation for the holidays, of course), picking apples, and fall mini sessions! I am super stoked to take these seasonal feelings and let it fuel my photography!!! Please send me an email at photo@silverdoves.com so we can book your mini session! You’ll find all the details below and you can always email to ask me questions!

Price: $250
Includes: 30 minute session + 10 high-resolution image files + 8×10 print
Availability: Sessions are available most evenings during October and some weekend times. This special pricing is available to anyone who books their session during the month of October and can be couples, families, kids or individuals! (Large families/groups may require additional fee)
Location: Basically anywhere! (Any location beyond 45 miles will require an additional travel fee)



Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Cinnamon Crumb Topping

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Cinnamon Crumb Topping

That’s Right!!! Tasty Tuesday is BACK! Is it back for a day? A week ? To stay? I don’t know. But my head is swimming with thoughts of fall baking recipes, so as long as I’m riding this wave, you can share it with me.

Banana Muffins with Cinnamon Crumb

Do you have that one recipe that can instantly transport you back to a moment in time when you can smell it, feel it and live it again? For me that recipe is banana bread. If just for a moment, I am once again fourteen, wearing my favorite hoodie, embracing the first chilly gusts of fall weather, wondering if I’ll see my crush later when I go out with my friends. Who was my crush? I dare not tell. Back in those days I already had a growing love for baking (and eating… of course I could eat 50 muffins and lose weight when I was that age). I rotated between the few recipes I was familiar with: Crumb top apple pie, peanut butter cookies, and banana bread. The rest of the world may celebrate pumpkin spice as the flavor of the season, but for me it will always be banana bread.

Taking a bit of cinnamon banana muffins Untitled_0105

I’m not sure what recipe I used in those days, but for several years after leaving the nest I struggled to find one that really gave me what I was looking for. I wanted moist, buttery, flavorful banana bread that crumbles on your tongue and had just enough crust to make you work for it. I have a family friend to thank for this recipe, where I finally discovered the banana bread of my dreams. Every month or two you’ll find me opening up my recipe app on my phone and searching for “Mrs. Purchase’s Banana Bread.”

Penzeys Cinnamon Crumb Topping Banana Muffins Banana Muffins Slathered in Butter

Sometime last year I decided to make the bread into muffins because my loaf pan always ended up overcooking the crust and I wanted to package my treat up in a tiny bite of fall goodness. I added a brown sugar and cinnamon crumb topping and I will never go back to baking it as a loaf again. It’s absolutely perfect. It’s especially perfect paired up with a warm cup of coffee, which is also perfect (have I said perfect too much?) because today is International Coffee Day! So make these muffins, slather them in butter like I do, and sit down with a steaming cup of something bitter (well, except for some obligatory caramel and heavy cream) and celebrate.

Miles likes coffee. International Coffee Day


Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Cinnamon Crumb Topping
Print Recipe
Moist, crumbly banana muffins made with whole wheat flour and topped with a brown sugar cinnamon crumb topping. Try it hot and slathered with butter!
Servings Prep Time
12 Muffins 10 Minutes
Cook Time
20 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 Muffins 10 Minutes
Cook Time
20 Minutes
Whole Wheat Banana Muffins with Cinnamon Crumb Topping
Print Recipe
Moist, crumbly banana muffins made with whole wheat flour and topped with a brown sugar cinnamon crumb topping. Try it hot and slathered with butter!
Servings Prep Time
12 Muffins 10 Minutes
Cook Time
20 Minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 Muffins 10 Minutes
Cook Time
20 Minutes
Crumb Topping
Servings: Muffins
  1. Combine 1 cup flour, sugar baking powder baking soda and salt.
  2. Add mashed banana, oil and milk.
  3. Best low until blended, the on high for 2 minutes
  4. Add eggs and remaining flour
  5. Beat until well blended
  6. Pour into greased or lined muffin pan
  7. Combine all ingredients for crumb mixture in a bowl and crumble with your fingers
  8. Top each muffin with crumb mixture.
  9. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes and cool for 10 minutes
Recipe Notes

If you want to make bread instead of muffins, you can pour the batter into a loaf pan and bake for 40+ minutes.


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Welcome Baby Zebulun – Newborn Lifestyle Session

My brother and his amazing wife, Jenna, welcomed their third little man into the family a couple months ago. I am immeasurably blessed by every opportunity I am given to document the meaningful moments in the lives of those I love. From the anticipation of new life I shared with them during Jenna’s maternity session to the thrum of new love that filled the house and surrounded their growing family when I took these pictures, every minute was joy. I am over the moon and past the stars and into another galaxy excited for them. Congrats to you all, I love you!

Welcome Baby Zebulun - Lifestyle Newborn Session - Photojournalism Welcome Baby Zebulun - Lifestyle Newborn Session - Posed NewbornWelcome Baby Zebulun - Lifestyle Newborn Session - FamilyIt also worked out that I could attend Zeb’s baptism, so I, of course, brought my camera.

Welcome Baby Zebulun - Lifestyle Newborn Session - Baptism

Finn | 3 Months

Finn's 3 month old update

The first three months of Finn’s life have shot past me at lightning speed. I was so busy just keeping my two kids alive and making sure I remembered to feed them, I didn’t have time to notice how much Finn had grown! Then we visited my family and had a chance to meet the new cousin, who was just a few days old. It was then that we all took notice of the beefy baby Finn had become! He was less than three months old and already outgrowing all his clothes. Within this week I realized he had mastered head control and was turning into a massive, studly baby that could rival the heftiness of some one-year-olds! I was then forced to accept that he had long surpassed the newborn phase and was likely to pop the snaps off of his 3-month sized jammies. Because both my babies were big and born during opposite times of the year, all my boy clothes in his new size were sweaters and long-sleeve onesies. So we made a trip to Carter’s and purchased a slew of PJ’s and onsies for my summer baby. The 6-month PJ’s we got him will probably only fit him for another month because he’s so long. It’s crazy. He’s also wearing some 9 and 12 month clothes that I dug out from storage.

He just rolled over for the first time from tummy to back. In protest of tummy time, I am certain.

He really dislikes his car seat. If it’s nap time, he’ll fuss until he falls asleep but if he’s wide awake he will scream in anger until you pick him up and play with him, then he’s the calm, laid-back baby we all know and love.

His eyes have been the vague blue of a new baby until recently. I discovered streaks of brown leaking into his eyes and I find it beautiful! I’ve posted a closeup of his eye below so you can see how adorable it is.

Returning to the topic of Finn’s amazing sleep habits… he has slept 9 straight hours twice during the last three nights. I am scared to think this will become a regular thing, but I’m hoping. Not one single time did Miles sleep that long at once during the first two and a half years of his life. I almost don’t know what to do with myself. I can scarcely believe it. Ok. I’m done being in shock.

Finn is a talker. He loves to tell stories. I like to say he’s a preacher like his daddy. His coos are deep and insistent and match his gaze perfectly! I’m excited to see how our conversations will evolve.

Finn has been only moderately okay with a pacifier since its introduction and now that he’s learning to control his hands better I’ve discovered he prefers to suck on his fingers. Just today he’s abandoned his pacifier in favor of his two chubby little fingers during both naps. Oh gosh.

Overall he’s a very laid back little lad, but he’s especially happy when he can be carried around in the moby wrap or someone’s arms, or propped up so he can watch the world around him.

Speaking of propping up… he is insistent about trying to sit up and stand whenever we will allow it. I’ve heard that’s a no-no at this age, but he loves it so much that I’ll often let him stand up on those massively chunky legs of his and smile at me with pride.

Ok, that’s a good recap of this month and a peek into the personality of my baby boy #2. I love him more and more every day and it gives me immense joy to watch the light of his spirit glow brighter every morning.

Finn's Offical 3 Month Old Update Photos

Finn 3 Month Update - Instagram Finn 3 Month Update - Collage

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