Happy 4th Birthday Clara!!

IMG_7370IMG_4697I seriously can’t believe my little Clara Dawn is already 4 years old! She has really come into her own over the past few months and I love watching her confidence grow each week. She has discovered her innate ability to entertain people. She loves to draw and create, loves to dance and sing, loves making people laugh and has no threshold for how much tickling she can endure.

Clara's hilarious song about Peter Pan.

A video posted by amberwire (@amberwire) on

Here are some recent Claraisms for you to enjoy.

  • “If you are really fwustwated a mommy can help you feel better.”
  • “Nana is the best grown up I ever had!”
  • While holding a tape measure toward me she said, “hmmm mom, you’re twenty big.”
  • She loves the art table at her school and her teachers told me that she would do art all day if they let her. IMG_4624_2
  • “IT’S MY FRAVORITE FRAVORITE SWIMMING SUIT MOMMY!”
  • She often asks me what day it is. I’ll say “Tuesday” and she will yell out, “It’s Tuesday!”
  • She always thanks God for all the Rainbows and all the “Aminals” when she says prayers at bedtime.
  • Clara refuses to nap but occasionally she falls asleep on the couch, floor, or coffee table while Ruby is at school.IMG_5383_2
  • She never agrees or admits to “taking a nap” but often says she is going to “take a little rest”.
  • Each morning at school drop off Ruby wants to give hugs and kisses to Clara and Charlie before getting out of the van. Some mornings Clara squirms and screams and doesn’t want hugs and kisses. Other mornings she cries big tears about how much she will miss her Ruby girl. There’s no middle ground with Clara. She’s extreme. She feels ALL THE THINGS.IMG_5822
  • Speaking of feeling all the feelings, she was not happy about the seam on the toe of her tights on Palm Sunday.  IMG_5827
  • Clara changes clothes about 5 times per day. She lays out her outfit the night before, changes in the morning, changes after school, changes before picking Ruby up from school, changes after dinner… this girl loves clothes.
  • She is basically a style icon – her daily outfits (which she chooses herself) are layers and layers of colorful amazingness. Here are a couple of examples:IMG_4917_2 IMG_5293_2
  • Whenever I put in a Disney DVD she reminds me, “If a scary pawt comes then you can past forward it.”
  • Her shoes are on the wrong feet 100% of the time. You’d think there would be a 50/50 chance she’d get it right, but no, it’s absolutely always wrong.
  • Already a Patriot, whenever we are driving she calls out all the flags we pass, “I SAW ANOTHER CAMERICAN FLAG!!” IMG_4598_2
  • On our way into the car I said, “Jump in your seat” and she stomped her foot and said, “I don’t JUMP in my seat, I GET in my seat!” yikes!
  • She loves going to play at the mall play place and always reports back on any kids that looked at her or tried to play with her. “He was just looking at me mommy. I didn’t want he to look at me!”
  • “I’m gonna go get beautifulled up.”IMG_6858
  • When she gives herself a shampoo mohawk in the bathtub she calls it a “Bow Hog”
  • While driving home from school the other day she said, “Keep your eyes peeled because you have to keep an eye on my place.”
  • Clara LOVES her daddy. One on one time with Ryan is all she needs to become her best self.IMG_5030_2
  • I’m trying to help her be a teeny bit more friendly: responding/acknowledging when someone says “hello” or “good morning” to her. On the way to school we talked about saying “Good Morning to her teacher instead of walking past and ignoring her greeting. Clara told me, “I’m not gonna say good morning today.” and she didn’t…
  • I’ll ask, “do you need to go potty?” and she always answers, “No, princesses do not go potty.”IMG_5301_2
  • Her BFF Emmi’s dad has a Jeep and Clara loves yelling out “JEEP!!” whenever we see one.
  • “I think my brudder just loves me. And also, he loves one of those” (points to toast).
  • Clara and Charlie love each other so much. They chase each other around the house all day. I love seeing them laughing and playing together.IMG_5688_2

"If you're happy and you nose, clap your hands!"

A video posted by amberwire (@amberwire) on

  • Clara loves talking to Ryan through the shower curtain in the mornings. She has so much to say when she first wakes up. I love listening to their conversations echoing in the bathroom.
  • When she’s playing silly games with Ruby and realize Ruby is laughing she starts saying “Eyeball Twash” over and over and makes Ruby laugh even harder. I have no idea what Eyeball Trash is or how she knows about it.
  • She loves to comb my hair and tries to braid it… which takes me a good chunk of time to untangle once she’s done.IMG_5061_2

Clara Dawn, you are so funny. I love seeing your sense of humor develop and love the look you get on your face when you realize you’re being entertaining. I love that your favorite song is “Jump Into The Light” and that you love singing songs about Jesus. You did an awesome job being three and I can only imagine how much more wonderful you will become during this next year of your life. I admire your strength, stamina and determination, qualities that make it difficult to parent you, but qualities that will be incredibly beneficial to you later in life. You’re a special little person and Daddy and I are so grateful God picked us to be your parents. And I’m really thankful God picked Ryan to be your daddy because he really helps me understand your shenanigans…

I love you and your shenanigans sweet girl. Thank you for regularly reminding me to “Let it go, Let it go…”

Clara singing into the whisper tubes @meijergardens. #frozen

A video posted by amberwire (@amberwire) on

Rubyisms

IMG_4701_2Ruby Dawn will be 6 years old in June. She is growing and changing so fast but still saying all sorts of hilarious things. I love the way her mind works – the connections she makes and observations she has about the world around her. Here are some of her recent Rubyisms:

  • Ruby loves helping me put Charlie to bed. She pats his head in his crib and with a lullaby tune sings, “Go to sleeeeeeeeep, go to sleeeeep, go to sleep little buuuuuddy.” then whispers, “Goodnight little buddy” and tiptoes out of his room.
  • “God can do whatever he wants because he’s God. God can buy whatever he wants without money. God can eat Hermit Crabs whenever he wants. God can eat vitamins whenever he wants because he’s God.”
  • Ruby looks forward to Tuesday nights because that’s the night she and Clara get to go to gymnastics. After the first class she asked, “So mom, have you started digging a pit in the basement yet? I really need a pit to practice all my new moves.”IMG_4628_2
  • Ruby has a 5th grade reading buddy at school. This sweet 5th grade girl works with Ruby one day each week to help teach her to read – They’ve been meeting for the entire year but Ruby still doesn’t know what her name is.
  • Not a day goes by that Ruby doesn’t try to make a new friend. Any kid playing within 10 houses of our house gets invited over for a playdate. She will yell out “Hello Katherine!!” to any woman with brown hair who jogs past our house. I’ll say, that’s not Katherine and she will hold her hands together and say “Oh, I guess I need more practice”
  • We took the kids out on frozen Lake Michigan to check out the ice waves – Ruby was a fearless explorer, venturing over, under and through all the caverns.IMG_5282
  • She is usually “A hundred quadruple ninety eight percent sure” about things.
  • One snowy morning, “What are we gonna do with all these snowflakes? Maybe ‘Super Why’ can help us!”
  • Exasperated, “I had a really rough day today! The girls wouldn’t scooter with me, my straw had a hole in it, I got chased by a baby…”
  • We celebrated my Papaw (Ruby’s Great Grandfather’s) 90th birthday. Can you tell how excited she was to give him the letter she wrote him? In it she told him he’s the best Papaw she’s ever had.IMG_5069_2
  • Clara was telling Ruby about a new dace she learned. Ruby interrupted, “Did ya do the Conga? I’m really good at that!”
  • From the backseat of the van, “God loves us just the way we are – even if you have a tattoo. God loves us even if you have a beard!”
  • I chaperoned the Kindergarten class field trip to the circus. Whew! I tell you what, kindergarten teachers are AMAZING! I barely survived the day. The kids had fun though. This is the part where a carnie grabbed my child by the head and sprinkled glitter all over her face.IMG_5467_2
  • I fix Ruby’s hair all nice each morning before school, braids and pigtails and pony tails and clips and everything… without fail she comes home each day with her hair down, all in her face and windblown. I’m not ready to give up the good fight just yet. I should buy stock in “Goody” hair supplies because I always need more clips to replace the 14 I lose each day.
  • Ruby loves holidays and loves when there are dress-up days at school, “It’s Safe Patricks Day!”IMG_5523
  • She always has stories to tell me after school each day. “Today was the best day of my life because some fifth graders came and they met me and they gave me underdogs on the swing and I loved it so much! They’re SO GOOD at doing underdogs!!”
  • Some of her after school stories help me remember to teach her to always tell the truth. “These boys were being so mean to me. They were trying to scrape my knee and cheating on me and breaking my promises, and poking my eye with pine needles and biting me. But my teacher saw them and just threw them in jail, lickety split.” IMG_4669_2
  • “Allison Wonderland” is Alice’s full name.
  • We had a detailed discussion yesterday about hazmat suits and how they keep the germs out. She was asking a bunch of questions about how hazmat suits work and what they look like and was very interested in knowing whether her daddy wears a hazmat suit at the hospital since he might be around some germs. I assured her that he does not, but if he ever had to they would provide him with one at work. Then we watched you tube videos about deadly viruses for a while…
  • Ruby loves science. Lucky for her, there are quite a few super smart scientists in her family. This was the face she made at Chipotle when Uncle Kyle told her about the Moons of Jupiter.IMG_5170
  • After her art class at school I asked how it went. She said, “I saw a picture of Mother Lisa!” Do yo mean the Mona Lisa? “No… she was Mother Lisa.”
  • While playing with Charlie, “Mom, this little baby of ours has so many tales. Tales to tell!”
  • She loves to “Pinky Promise” about everything.
  • At breakfast the other day Ruby ran down the stairs and happily proclaimed, “Mommy Mommy! I’m pretending it’s Friday! FRIDAY!! FRIDAY!!”IMG_4695_2
  • We were at Meijer Gardens the day the butterflies started to hatch. Ruby was enthralled by the whole experience. This butterfly had just come out of his cocoon about 10 minutes earlier!
  • Ruby asks Clara leading questions then tattles on her. “Clara, do you want to share with me anymore?” “NO” “Maaaahhhhmmy!! Clara said she is never going to share anything with me, ever, for the rest of her life!!!”
  • Ignore vs Annoy: “Sis! Stop! You’re just doing that to ignore me!”
  • Bored vs Embarrassed: “I’m so embarrassed! I just don’t have anything to do!!”IMG_5714_2
  • When I asked about her new friends she met on the playground, “They call me Rosie but that’s not my real mane but Rosie is kinda close to Ruby so I don’t mind.”
  • She recently told one of our babysitters, “Next time you come can you bring some donuts and some surprises? …Some really good surprises?”
  • During her prayers the other night (which she sings every night) she sang, “I love my mom and my daaaaaad, but not as much as youuuuu God, I don’t love anyone as much as youuuuuuuuuu, I love you the most, more than my mommy and daddy and sister and broooooootherrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr,” I’ll try to get a video of night time prayers soon. It’s so precious and genuine and also I have to try really hard to not laugh. Ruby and Clara’s night time prayers might be my most favorite thing in the world.

Ruby, you are growing up so fast! You’re reading and writing and creating and becoming such an amazing little girl. You would harrumph and tell me you’re not a little girl, but you are… so little. I love your spunk. I love the lens you see this world though. You make daddy and I so proud, you make us smile everyday and we are so happy God chose us to be your parents.

Charlie. He’s getting older.

IMG_4009You guys, I don’t even know how old Charlie is right now. I was going to title this post, “Charlie: 18 months old” but as I was typing it I wasn’t really confident that’s actually his age. I was much better at keeping track of these sorts of things when I only had one child… and I feel like I was ok at it when I had 2 children. Poor Charlie – maybe he’s 18 months old? If he’s not 18 months old yet, he probably will be soon – or maybe he’ll be 19 soon. I don’t know.

Needless to say, he is getting older.IMG_3406

The last time I updated you on my little buddy we were celebrating his first birthday. Instead of all the effort it would take for me to update you on everything that has happened since then, I’ll give you a glimpse into my life with Charlie through some recent pics from my Instagram feed.IMG_2742 IMG_2283

Charlie and my Papaw, his Great Grandfather. I love this picture because when I was a little girl, if I was concentrating really hard papaw would always ask me, “are you sure you’re holding your tongue right?” and it would always make me laugh.

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Some of my favorite things about Charlie:

  • the way he waves at me when I come to get him after naps
  • his eyes smile before his mouth does – which is ridiculously endearing and will probably be one of the things that his future wife loves most about him too.
  • how he hums to himself when he’s concentrating
  • How happy he is when Ruby kisses him goodbye on her way to school each morning.
  • the way he wrestles and tumbles and wipes out but gets up and seems totally fine
  • the fact that his hair on the sides of his head grows 3 times faster than everywhere else on his head
  • the way he runs and laughs when Clara chases him around the house
  • how he always wants to sit on the stool and brush his teeth when his sisters are brushing theirs
  • he says “dada, DADA!” stomps his feet and gets so excited when Ryan gets home from work each night
  • books, trucks, balls, shoes, dogs, baths and crackers are his most favorite thingsIMG_4182

Some of my “not as favorite” things about Charlie:

  • the fact that he empties my kitchen cupboards so all of our crackers, cereal boxes and snacks are sitting out and cluttering up our countertops.
  • changing his diaper is so stressful because the entire time he is rolling over, standing up, kicking his legs, squirming away, making my job IMPOSSIBLE!
  • no amount of food is ever sufficient for him. He wants more – even if it’s just to throw or smash onto his own head.
  • speaking of which, I’m far from succeeding in taming his meal-time throwing arm.

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He finds interesting ways to entertain himself – most of which I attribute to everything that is mysterious about the male species.IMG_4165IMG_0050IMG_0713

Charlie is really good at entertaining Ruby and Clara. They’re really good at reporting his shenanigans. “MOMMY! CHARLIE IS IN THE CUPBOARD AGAIN!” “MOMMY, CHARLIE STICKED HE’S HANDS IN HE’S POTTY!” IMG_3915IMG_4130

Charlie loves his sisters and is always looking for them when they’re both at school.IMG_3394

This little guy has absolutely stolen my heart. He causes me an unbelievable amount of trouble, but he also is such a sweetie pie. Being a mom to a boy has been totally different from how it’s always been with my girls, but I’m up for the challenge and I’m trying to soak up all the amazing and crazy moments with him each day. I know these days are long but the years are short and he won’t be a baby much longer. Thank you Jesus for Charlie. Help me be a good mama to him. Amen.

Thank you Jesus for underwear.

k2-_af40ba99-3968-49c0-882d-de6d85e9ae3d.v1Late last night little Clara woke up in an absolute panic, crying and screaming, I went into her room to find out what the problem was. Through sobs she told me that her underwear was on wrong (not the emergency situation that I was anticipating) so I told her we could fix it and everything would be alright. Upon inspection I discovered that there was nothing wrong with her underwear – all the legs were in the correct leg-holes and whatnot, so I told her it wasn’t on wrong, it looked just right – to which she sobbed, “ITS ON BACKWARDS MOMMY! I CANT SEE ELSA!!” (There’s a picture of Elsa from Frozen on the front – but since it was dark in her room she couldn’t see it.) Unfortunately it’s impossible to reason with a three-year old, let alone a frantic, distressed, half-asleep three-year old. So I told Clara we could pray about it.

I prayed for Clara, “Jesus, thank you for underwear. Thank you that Clara is getting so good at putting her underwear on right. Thank you that her underwear isn’t on backwards right now and that when the sun comes up she will be able to see the Elsa picture again. Please help her not be sad and help her go back to sleep so she can have a great day tomorrow. Amen”

Clara felt much better knowing that God cared about her underwear situation and fell right back to sleep.

I love that God cares for us so much that He want’s to hear us call out to Him for every need – even those that seem small and insignificant, and He wants us to THANK Him and have grateful hearts for ALL the gifts that He’s given… including underwear. For some reason I’m much better at spontaneously thanking God when I’m in “mom mode” and I want to show my kids that they can talk to Jesus whenever they want, about whatever they want, day or night.

Last night as I was sleepily trudging back to my bed after praying with Clara I realized how easy it’s been for me to outgrow my natural inclination to thank God and include him in the  craziness of my day-to-day routine. I want to be better at acknowledging God as the giver of every good gift and expressing appreciation to Him for those gifts.

I’ve been studying the book Choosing Gratitude but Nancy Leigh DeMoss with my SideBySide group here in Grand Rapids. Our group has been discussing how to work gratefulness into our lives everyday. Ephesians 5:20 tells us to give thanks to God for everything. EVERYTHING! Even the little things that we often overlook – and when it comes down to it, I really am grateful for underwear.

P.S. SideBySide has been an absolute gift from God to me in the past 4 years. If you know the wife of a medical or dental student, resident, fellow, or attending you should let them know there might be a group in their city! You can connect them with me and I’ll help them find a group or you can look on the CMDA website for more info.

Rubyisms

Five and a half suits Ruby Dawn well. There is no end to her exuberance. She wins the “most excitable” award as well as the “most dramatic” award on a daily basis. She’s been learning to read at school and loves “reading” books she has memorized to Charlie and Clara. She put on my glasses and proclaimed, “Uhhhhhhhhh Mommy? I’m just blind in your glasses!”IMG_1985

Here are some more “Rubyisms” for your enjoyment.

  • As we dropped change into the girls piggy banks, “The coins in Clara’s piggy bank are just making friends with each other!”
  • While driving down the road I hear from the backseat a dreamy, “What’s that smell? It smells like buttercups in love!”
  • “Mom, can we go somewhere today? I want to go to a National Park today.” I do too hun. I do too.
  • When I asked her to repeat the instructions I had just given her, “uhhhhh, I guess I was just talking too much.”
  • She was so excited to “help” Uncle Chris hold his candle during the Christmas Eve service at our churchIMG_3397
  • As I dropped her off for school one morning before turning the corner down the steps, she looked back at me and yelled out, “Better get crackin’!” then lifted one knee and quickly made her way down the stairs like a cartoon character.
  • When I asked her to put her boots on, “You got it sweet cakes!”
  • She loves to sing… Frozen. If she’s not singing Frozen she is making up her own songs which use all the notes you’d find in Gregorian Chants. I don’t know why her natural inclination is to be a monk – but she’d be great at writing music for those guys.
  • Her joke-telling is getting a little better – “Where do ants go to eat? A restaur’ant’.”
  • The second half of any “why did the ____ cross the road” joke is “Because he didn’t have the guts to do it!” followed by uncontrollable laughter.IMG_0022
  • While reading one of her library books, “Did you know a lobster has great armor like a knight?” All library books she chooses are about spiders, deep-sea creatures, poisonous snakes and other things I’d rather not be thinking about at bedtime.
  • Ryan asked her how her day was and she replied, “I can’t read independently yet.”
  • “I’m gonna get fashioned up.” as she runs up to her room to change clothes for the 16th time each day.
  • During a spaghetti dinner, “Let’s pretend we are rats eating worms… Mama Rat?!?!”
  • “I’ll be Snow White and mom, you can be the queen and Clara can be the one dwarfs because we don’t have seven dwarfs.”IMG_3247
  • I signed the girls up for Gymnastics. Ruby thinks she’s been in Gymnastics already because she jumps on the couch in the basement. “I can do backflips but not independently.”
  • Since gymnastics began she’s been asking me to buy her a tard to wear. “I just need a tard mom! All the other kids wear tards at gymnastics!” (leotard)
  • Ruby has been making plans to get together with her friends after school. These plans include talking to her friends parents and asking them to call me to talk about “the plans”.IMG_3221

Ruby asks me everyday if it’s summer yet, but still loves playing outside in the snow. She takes her boots, snow pants, hat and gloves to school everyday so her teachers will let her play outside during recess. They get to go out as long as the windchill stays above zero… hashtag PureMichiganIMG_3694

A letter from Clara (A Glimpse into the Three-Year-Old Mind)

This morning I thought I’d get a head-start on creating some Valentine’s Day cards so I asked Clara if she’d like to write a letter to her dad. She was so excited to tell him some things. This is her letter.

This is a letter to dad. Mom, I think we should put some smiley faces on it. :) :) :) And a smiley face :) and another smiley face :) and another one :) and another one :) and that one :) and that one :) and this one :)

Mommy, Is daddy at work? I’m going to tell him what my Valentines Day card is. Um, I think I’m gonna do more smiley faces. :) :) :)

I want to say I love him, and mom, do you see this smiley face? It’s because I love daddy. :) Remember to put some smiley faces on. :) And also I love about him… too… how much he loves me. And I also love daddy for… a present. And I like doing music with daddy. Uhhhh Mommy, I want to just talk to dad.

Actually, this note will be to Nana. I wanna say that I love Nana. Sooooo, and also I love funny faces. And I love about Nana dancing… yes dancing. Mom, this is gonna be really fun. Mom, pretty please can we please go to Nana’s for a teensy tiny bit?

So I love about Nana is playing colors and sewing and pirate ship and also eating bananas and also doing art and music and that’s it. And also about going to the store with her.

I know! How about we go to Nana’s and give it to her, like, we hafta give it to her at her house.

Ok. I’m gonna go now.
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Claraisms

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Sweet Clara Dawn. This little lady is really something special. She’s as turbulent and tumultuous as any 3-year old I’ve ever met, but she’s also as sweet as pie sometimes. She keeps herself quite entertained and her imagination has really developed in the past few months.

  • Clara and Ruby started preschool and Kindergarten a couple of weeks ago. They are absolutely loving it. Clara goes 2 mornings a week and has the sweetest preschool teacher you can imagine. This pic on their first day of school pretty much sums up their excitement.IMG_5947
  • Clara’s got the music in her. She loves to put on shows which include singing and dancing as well as on-the-spot songwriting for anyone who will sit and listen. At the beginning of every show she says, “The show is starting to begin.”
  • Before preschool started she got to go to school to find her locker. When she saw it, she sat down and explained, “I just love it mommy.”IMG_5545
  • When I pick her up I always ask her what she did at school and she always replies, “I did everything I need to do.”
  • The girls both love riding their bikes and scooters when they come home from school in the afternoons. Clara was super disappointed the other day. I asked her what the problem was and she answered, “I just can’t ice-skate.”IMG_5158
  • While peeling a clementine, “I don’t want to get any clemonade in my eye.”
  • Clara is great at spotting things while we drive. “I saw a JEEP!” “That looks like the dentist!” “There’s a car wash! I saw a car wash!”
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  • “My energy is running out of batteries.”
  • I kinda enjoy that she can’t pronounce her “R’s” very well yet. “We watched this weally funny show where the pwincess kissed a fwog and it turned into a pwince!”
  • “My watch says its fourteen teen eight.”IMG_0437
  • She got to hold some baby goats and bunnies at the orchard last week. She LOVED the bunnies… poor bunnies that get held all day by crazy children. I think this bunny was just playing dead.
  • Before she starts a song she says, “a one, a one, a one, two, fwee”
  • At the end of her bedtime prayers she always says, “Thank you God for my mom and dad and sister and brother and most of all, thank you for my Clara girl.”IMG_5532
  • Ruby detests when Clara is screaming/crying so she covers her ears. Clara detests when Ruby is covering her ears. It’s a vicious cycle of detest. “Wooby is covering she’s ears!!”
  • She calls the airport “The Plane Station” like a train station for planes. It just makes so much sense, people!IMG_0962
  • Clara and Charlie are best little buddies and spend the hours of 4-6pm most days causing a ruckus, wrestling and chasing one another around the house. I love seeing their little friendship develop.
  • “Wooby is just going weally weally fast!”IMG_5742
  • “I need to give you a checkup mom.” She gave me this unfortunate diagnosis, “I’m sorry to say you’ve got a diarrhea of your mouth.”
  • She loves to pretend she’s going to work and talks a lot about “Daddy’s Hostible” (hospital) “I’m just going to see a lot of strange people eating when I go to work.”
  • In conclusion, following up with Ruby’s amazing school picture last week, here is Clara’s school pic. I’ve been laughing all morning about it. Those photographers are lucky I’m not in charge of hiring/firing them!IMG_1048

Rubyisms

It’s been too long since my last Rubyisms post. Now that school is in session I don’t get to see her 24/7 but that doesn’t mean I’m missing all the hilarious things coming out of her mouth. I’m sure her teachers could add to this list…

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  • “Mommy! Call all your friends because I’m having a coloring party so they can all buy whatever they want but they won’t cost a price!! So, you wanna buy one?!?!”
  • During bedtime prayers a few weeks ago, “…and God, you made the fireflies glow and put wings on their bottoms and I just love what you have made.”IMG_5495
  • “The way kids drink pop is you freeze it and it tastes good for them, it’s a freeze pop.”
  • “God is perfect but he made us not perfect. But God can see us! He sees everything! I bet he has a loooong neck!”IMG_5299
  • She rides her scooter everyday and calls her kneepads “knee patches” and elbow pads “elbow patches.”
  • Charlie was laughing at Ryan during dinner the other night, Ruby exclaimed, “I guess Charlie likes being in our family.”
  • Kindergarten in Ruby’s favorite thing. She often talks about the principal because he’s out on the playground with the kids at recess. She tells me, “He’s the ruler of the entire school.”IMG_0026
  • Within the first week of kindergarten Ruby was already telling me she didn’t need me walking her all the way to her class. “I just know just where I’m going mommy. I know just the way! I can do it by myself!” Amazingly, she actually does know how to get to her class, hang up her coat and backpack and give her folder to her teacher each morning. I’m amazed.
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  • She’s been practicing her joke-telling, “Why is the Letter C blue? Because it’s some kind of nut! HA! I told you I’m a good joker!”
  • We’ve been talking about how when she prays she can just talk to Jesus like she’s talking to a friend. Now during her prayers at bedtime she throws in things like, “…and you know what God?…”IMG_0072
  • We’ve yet to take her to Chuck E Cheese, which she calls, “Chuck’s Cheese-Its”
  • This summer she went to VBS at Ryan’s parent’s church. She came home and announced, “Mommy! At VBS I got to see a REAL Christian!”
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  • Ruby loves wearing dresses all the time, but in the mornings when she wakes up early for school she is always “freezing” and chooses  to wear her sweatpants and matching zip-up sweatshirt to school. Purple velour from head-to-toe is a good look on her.
  • “I love Charlie a hundred gallons! That’s a lot!”IMG_5262
  • Ruby’s friend Genevieve made her a loom friendship bracelet which broke. She told Genevieve, “We don’t need a bracelet for friendship, we just ARE friendship.”
  • She loves playing in the dirt behind our garage. “I’m digging!” “I’m soiling my garden!”IMG_0304
  • “Mommy, Are there any mommy long-legs or kiddie long-legs?” In reference to all the daddy long-leg spiders she was finding on our swing set.
  • She fell off her scooter and scraped her knee, when she looked down she screamed, “MY BLOOD IS JUST FALLING OUT OF MY BODY!!”IMG_5993
  • “MOM! I heard from my teacher that our school is a BUILDING!!”
  • As she walked out from behind the garage I asked, Where were you? “I was making a worm die for God’s sins.”
  • Did you make any new friends at school today? “Oh yes! So many!” Do you know any of their names? “Not really.”IMG_5710
  • And now, I present to you the most enthusiastic picture of Ruby anyone has ever taken: her Kindergarten school picture. I love these hilarious memories and I love my hilarious Ruby girl.IMG_0882

Sleeping Bear Dunes

Michigan is GORGEOUS!! We were so happy to have a chance to spend a few days at Sleeping Bear Dunes a few weeks ago. In classic form, Ryan stopped at any and all fruit stands we passed along the way.
IMG_4315 We had a roadside picnic lunch at a rest stop in Mesick on our way north. The kids loved that they got to wash their hands with water from a pump before getting back on the road.IMG_4317 IMG_4321

We got to our motel in Empire with enough daylight left to explore some lookouts. The first one we stopped at had a view of Lake Michigan in one direction and Glen Lake in the opposite direction. Amazing!IMG_4329

The girls were good little dune climbers.
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The beach in Empire was the perfect place to watch the sunset. The kids frolicked around in the sand until way past their bedtime. Vacations are fun.IMG_4447 IMG_4498 IMG_4475 IMG_4503

The next day we did more exploring – starting with a trip to North Bar Beach. It’s off the beaten path enough that it’s typically not crowded. We got there early and had the entire beach to ourselves for 2 hours! It was picturesque and perfect in every way.IMG_4514 IMG_4523 IMG_4545

We had to hike quite far from where we parked to access this beach… walking around North Bar Lake and up and over a sand dune. Ryan dragged/carried our huge cooler all the way so we could eat lunch on the beach. In retrospect we would’ve left the cooler in the van and skipped lunch all together. The walk to get there was so worth it – the beach is unlike anything I’d ever seen. Ryan and I just kept saying, “Can you believe we are in Michigan right now?!?!”

IMG_4566 IMG_4580 IMG_4623 Ruby made a collection of lake rocks which she strategically placed in a heart-shape in the tall dune grass by the beach. Northern Michigan is seriously one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever been. There were some places in Australia that are comparable… but that’s kinda far away.IMG_4609 IMG_4577

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We changed out of our swimming suits and into some hiking clothes so we could check out Pyramid Point. The girls collected wildflowers along the trail.IMG_4643 IMG_4626

It was only 2.7 miles, but pretty steep, so most of the hike was spent with no more than 4 of our 10 feet on the ground. I had Ruby on my back and Ryan carried Charlie in the backpack and held Clara at the same time. We were feeling adventurous and we knew the view from the top would be worth it!IMG_1088

IMG_4629I’m not usually a nervous nelly, but having toddlers running around at the top of this cliff turned me into one. I simply did not want to have to rescue whichever one threw herself over the edge… I will say it was super cool to look out and see North and South Manitou Islands in Lake Michigan.

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Some clouds rolled in while we made our way back down the dune and we were so hot and filthy we decided to take a dip in Big Glen Lake before dinner. We found a cool little park with a public access dock. The northern water temperatures didn’t stop my crew from jumping in.

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After grabbing a quick dinner in Glen Arbor we went back to the beach. This is vacation you know.

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Have I mentioned how amazing the sunsets are at the beach in Empire?

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Ruby, Clara and Charlie swam in their clothes, raced down the beach, splashed in the surf and rolled around in the sand until it was dark out.

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This last picture is a perfect end to our vacation. Ryan carried our soaking wet children back to the van while they giggled their heads off. Our little trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes was one of the best times we’ve ever had as a family. I’m so thankful for Ryan, for our little family and for the amazing time we had together.

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Yelling, Lie Telling and Nudity

I briefly mentioned in my last post that I try to blog mostly about all the happy moments I want to remember and look back on – but sometimes it’s good to let all the rest of you moms out there know that I’m totally barely hanging on by a thread most days too. I feel exhausted, frazzled, outnumbered, under appreciated, and pray I survive until bedtime most days. I seem to never know what’s for dinner even though I’m in charge of making it. My kids fight, scream, bicker and whine. I’ve been terrible about yelling across the house at my kids to get them to obey ANYTHING I’ve asked lately. To top it off, I got puked on today. Not just a little spit up… I’m talking about a fountain of projectile vomit all over my hair, shirt, shorts, dripping down my legs and all over the floor and wall within a 3-foot radius of where I was standing.

I looked around for my mom and realized again that I’M THE MOM.

OH. MY. GOODNESS. GRACIOUS.  I stand frozen in shock trying to get my brain to function beyond my immobilizing disgust enough to figure out what to do next. I think to myself, should I set Charlie down and risk him crawling though his own vomit puddle and tracking it even farther than it already reached? If I move my feet I will track vomit with me. Maybe I should just stand here until Ryan gets home from work… in 5 hours. If Ruby comes in this room and sees what just happened she will FREAK because for reasons unknown to me vomit is the thing she is most afraid of in the whole world. I realize my three-year old is my only hope. In my calmest voice I call to her, “Clara, sweet Clara girl, can you please come in the kitchen and help mommy reeeeeally quick? Clara? Clara? HELLOOOOOOO? Clara?”

Ruby appears around the corner. “Mommy. What is THAT?!?” she asks pointing to the slimy liquid running down my arms and legs and dripping from my ponytail. “Well Charlie isn’t feeling good, can you just grab me that towel over there so I can stand on it to wipe off my feet?” “Mommy. Is that diarrhea?” she asks. I know I’m not supposed to lie to my children, but knowing what might happen if Ruby knew it was actually vomit made me respond, “Yes Ruby. Yes it is. Please stay away from it until I can get Charlie bathed off and come back downstairs to clean it up.” She tosses me the towel, I wipe off my feet and head upstairs to the bathroom.

A short while later Charlie is sleeping in his crib and I come down to clean up the mess. I’ve thrown all my clothing down the laundry chute and plan to run upstairs to shower as soon as I get the floor cleaned and a load of laundry started in the basement. The girls are disturbed that I’ve become a nudist and are asking me all sorts of questions while work on  getting chunks of gooey banana? toast? cheese? out of the carpet fibers. Ruby asks why I have to clean everything and I try to explain that it’s my job as a mommy to clean up messes sometimes. In her dramatic and exasperated way declares that she is “NEVER going to be a MOMMY, mommy.” and storms into the other room.

So there you have it. Having 3 kids in 5 years has turned me into a yelling, lie-telling, nudist who may never have grandchildren.

How was your day?