Claraisms

IMG_9596I’ve been cracking up looking back at all the thoughts our spunky little Clara Dawn has been thinking out loud lately. She is very certain and very matter-of-fact about everything she says. She’s got an eye for beauty/fashion/art and loves to put on shows and sing songs for any guests who come over to our house. Here are some recent Claraisms from my 4-year-old “middlest child” as she calls herself.

  • “These pants match this shirt because they’s yellow, but this skirt doesn’t match… but I’m wearing this skirt today for fashion.”IMG_9632
  • “Who’s your middlest child?”
  • Anything in the past happened “Last Day”. “When did we go to the playground, was that last day?”
  • “I can see everybody’s eyes but I can’t see mine because they’re up in the top.” (pointing to her own eyes)IMG_7332
  • The kids have been practicing winking. We’ve got more practicing to do.
  • “Mom, did you know when we were little, we were small? I’m my own self and daddy’s he’s own self and Ruby is she’s own self and mommy and Charlie are these own selfs.”IMG_8020
  • “Sheldon Cleaners has a bow tie shaped logo, so Clara always says “it’s just for daddys.”
  • “Mom, You’re so big, you’re almost twenty big.”
  • On SuperHero day at Spring Hill Day Camp I asked Clara what her special power was. She thought for a minute then yelled, “I have sandwiches powers!”IMG_9614
  • “I’m gonna read this whole long story. This is a picture of animals and this is a thing about animals… some of these pages are ripped a little bit but mommy taped it so it won’t be ripped.”
  • I tell the kids to wash “fronts and backs and in the cracks” during bath time and Clara regularly chimes in, “because bottoms are just privacy”IMG_0759
  • It’s a daily battle for Clara to let me do her hair. She doesn’t want me to comb it, braid it, or even put it in a clip or ponytail. It’s usually hanging in her eyes and she spends all of her time flipping it out of her face with one hand. On the days she decides to let me do it, she loves it and tells me “I want a braid everyday mom. I love it.” but the next day she says, “I don’t really want you to do my hair!” while thrashing around so I can’t fix it. IMG_0325
  • “Mommy, when I’m at the dentist can you just go away from me? I can do it alone, like a big girl.”
  • She’s always ready to strike a pose for the camera. I wish I could be more sneaky and catch more candid moments of her life – but for now, these moments will be just fine.IMG_0554
  • She was curled up in a little sad heap on the couch so I asked her what was wrong. She replied, “I’m just so sad.” I asked her why and she told me, “Because I don’t like Father’s Day very much.”
  • Clara has a great imagination. She loves to play dress up, and changes clothes many times each day. I’ll say, Clara please put those clothes back in your drawer.” and she will reply, “I’m not Clara, I’m Elsa.” (or whoever she is pretending to be at the moment.)IMG_8447
  • “It’s good for our bodies to get energy. God made us to get energy. When we go to the playground we get energy, when we slide we get energy, I could just get energy all day”
  • While I was changing Charlie’s diaper Clara came into the room plugging her nose, “My toy Elsa doesn’t smell it because she’s just a toy.”IMG_9262
  • Ruby: “Awe, can I hold one? Clara: “EWWW! What’s that smell?!?!”
  • “Did you know that all cars have shapes?”
  • “And you always always have to take naps every time because it’s good for our bodies to rest. Our bodies can play, play, play and God wants our bodies to rest and everyone in our family can rest their heads down.”IMG_8185

Clara Dawn, I am so excited for you to start school again. After spending all day every day all summer together, you are quite ready for some time away from your siblings and I.  You’re so good at doing things by yourself and discovering how to do things without my help. You’re so creative and always willing to jump into any crafty activity happening – including “sharpening the colored pencils” which is the “craft” you’re currently working on since I am at the end of my “activities to survive the summer” stash.

I love getting to be your mommy and I’m so proud of the way you’re making your mark in this world, little one. Our family and our lives wouldn’t be complete without our “middlest child.” Daddy and I love you SO much!

Heart,
MamaIMG_8657

Rubyisms

IMG_8745Ruby turned 6 in June and will be starting first grade in just a few short weeks. She had her 6-year old birthday party at Chuck E Cheese with all the girls in her Kindergarten class. They’re terrible at SkeeBall, but they sure are cute!

These Rubyisms will give you a glimpse into the mind of my Ruby girl, and writing them down will help me remember her and all of her sweet idiosyncrasies at this age. The older she gets, the more reasonable/logical/smart she becomes… I am starting to realize how fleeting these years are with my littles! IMG_0286

Give me just a minute to have a good cry.

…ok, I’m back.

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  • From the backseat I heard her say, “Mom! I found the perfect place to keep my lucky penny handy!”
  • While watching squirrels in the back yard I told Ruby she should never get too close to a wild squirrel. She replied, “He’s not wild. He’s neighborhoodish.”IMG_7534
  • Even though she’s 6, she was thrilled and amazed to realize she still fits in a bucket.
  • She loves her sister and brother and every night she prays, “Thank you Jesus for the butterflies and the rainbows and my mom and dad and brother and sister…”
  • This was the first time I ever saw all three of them holding hands. IMG_8114
  • Continuing the sibling love theme, Ruby often talks about how she is choosing to do nice things for Clara and Charlie because they’re littler than she is. “Charlie is just a baby, so I’ll let him have my pony because he just doesn’t know how to share yet.”
  • A friend of all animals – “Mom, these goats just love when I pet them.”IMG_0383
  • Signs that she’s feeling settled in our new groove in Grand Rapids, I asked her what she was thinking about, “My name is official and daddy’s hospital is official and our family is just official!”
  • She thinks we live on “Leaning Tree Lane” because of the trees near our house. Hopefully she never gets lost because that’s not the name of our street.IMG_9475
  • Hey girls! “Hey mom, We’re just having a beach out!”
  • At the beginning of summer we took the kids to the cottage. The water looks really cold, but it was warmer than the air and the kids never wanted to get back into the boat. Pure Michigan.IMG_8795
  • As much as Ruby and Clara love each other they’ve been bickering, tattling and squabbling more than I’d like to admit. Ruby makes bold statements about what Clara may or may not be doing. “What she’s trying to do is put me to work and never make me stop!” or, “Clara told me she never wants to be my sister or ever talk to me or ever look at me or be my sister ever again!”  – d.r.a.m.a.
  • While driving around running errands one morning, “Mommy, when I see Krispy Kreme I’ll yell, ‘KRISPY KREME’ and you stop at it.”IMG_7978
  • I couple of weeks ago our church hosted SpringHill Day Camp so I let Ruby go all week, when I picked her up the first day she had lost her water bottle, her swimming suit and her underwear. How does someone lose their underwear? One of life’s greatest mysteries.
  • At the pediatrician for their 4 and 6-year-old checkup Clara and Ruby were discussing whether or not they’d get any shots. IMG_8972
  • At the zoo the other day we were looking at some wallaby’s and Ruby asked, “are these real or are these robotic?”
  • “Mom, at six five central there’s a new movie on just for kids! It’s at six five central!”
  • “Mommy, I truly truly love you.” I truly love you too Ruby Dawn.IMG_8697
  • While passing a classic car show, “Woah! Look at those crazy locomotives!”
  • “Mom, your hands are probably the size of a baby gorilla’s.”
  • I found the girls working hard in their notebooks and when I asked them what they were working on Ruby responded, “We are just doing some observating mommy.”IMG_8034
  • I’ve been reading the Little House books to the girls this summer at bedtime. Ruby loves to listen to the stories – She’s been reading “Bob Books” this summer and is so proud of herself when she sounds out words and reads “really long ones!”
  • Ruby is an adventurer. She is fearless and brave and loves exploring. This photo of Ruby exploring the shores of Lake Michigan is one of my all-time favorite pictures I’ve taken of her.IMG_0192
  • Ruby and Clara have been taking swimming lessons all summer. Ruby’s instructor said she has very good breath control. She loves being in the water and seriously believes she can do the backstroke. She can’t. This is a picture she drew of Mr. Zach teaching her how to swim. I’m sure he’s got it hanging in his dorm room.IMG_8910
  • Ruby is the most optimistic person I know (other than my Aunt Becky.) While writing a note to her friend Mason she spelled his name Masin. I told her to change the ‘i’ to ‘o’ so she did, and then noticed there was a leftover ‘i’ dot on top of the ‘o’. She proclaimed, “It’s a beautiful oops mom, Dot’s on top! Ill put dots on top of all the letters!”IMG_8862

Ruby Dawn, I’m so thankful God made me your mommy. Your love for people and your joyful demeanor inspire me to not become jaded and old. I want to live lighthearted – like you do. We have quite a bit in common – I usually know why you do the things you do and exactly how you feel about things that happen, but you’re certainly your own person – striving to be the biggest and growing up too fast for my liking. Here’s to a new season – FIRST GRADE!! I’m thanking God in advance for all you will learn and grow this year. You’re gonna change the world my sweet.

Daddy and I love you so much.
Heart, Mama

First visit to DISNEY! | Spring Break 2015

After a glorious day spent at New Smyrna Beach we got up early and took the kids to Disney’s Magic Kingdom for the day. It was amazing. Aaron and Tracy have been there a bunch of times so they helped us make a game plan and get fast-passes ahead of time to skip some lines. They really are incredibly amazing to have around. We started strong with a visit to Belle’s Cottage where Ryan was chosen to play the part of a Knight in the play. He took his part very seriously. I can’t handle how hilarious he is.

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Ruby and Clara absolutely lost themselves in the magic of meeting Disney Princesses in person, starting with Belle. Clara was so smitten by Belle that after coyly standing beside her for a photo she ran into Belle’s arms and held on for an extended period of time.

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Next up was the Dumbo Ride, which Charlie couldn’t have hated more. He screamed and cried and gave himself hives from fury. Ryan, on the other hand, thoroughly enjoyed every minute flying over the crowd and laughing with Ruby and Clara. My brother Aaron took this picture, which has become one of my all-time favorites of Ryan.

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Aaron and Tracy are the best! They helped navigate the ridiculous Spring Break crowds like locals… because they are. I’m so glad for the 2 extra sets of hands they offered during the hours upon hours of lines we stood in.IMG_6423

Ariel was a big hit. Ruby told her everything about everything during their brief moment sitting in Ariel’s clamshell.

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We lucked out at lunchtime and got to eat in the Ballroom at Belle’s Castle even though we didn’t have a reservation. We tried the gray stuff and it was, indeed, delicious.

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Next up was the Character Parade down Main Street. The kids were pretty much spent at this point, but Ryan and Aaron found some lemon-ice drinks that really got us through. Also, Ryan spotted an old friend from high school who now plays Belle. She waved at us… but she waved at everyone else too, so I don’t know if it counts.

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Tracy arranged a “Fast Pass” for Tinkerbell so the girls and I jetted over to her tiny woodland home and didn’t have to stand in line for too long before meeting her. Ruby introduced everyone, “I’m Ruby and this is my little sister Clara and my mom and Aunt Tracy are over there.” Clara truly believed that we had all shrunk to fairy-size and was enamored by all the huge plants and flowers everywhere. Ruby knew better, but still loved chatting with Tink.

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Ryan mentioned “getting our money’s worth and blasting it from the time the park opens until it closes,” or something silly like that. Little did I know we would actually accomplish his goal. I’m the one who would plan a day at Disney based on nap schedules and bedtimes. Who have I become?!?!

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Near the end of the day I got all crazy and made the decision to forgo bedtime and stay long enough to wait in just ONE MORE LINE to meet Elsa and Anna from Frozen. I knew I would regret it if we didn’t meet the girls favorite characters from their favorite movie. Tracy offered to wait in the three-hour line with the kids and I while Ryan and Aaron went to Space Mountain and stood in that line for 2 hours and 45 minutes. Tracy took this photo 49 minutes in as I was deeply regretting my decision to get in this line with three tiny kids.

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Tracy was a champion. She helped me continue vision casting and reminding the girls what we were in line for. She also helped me carry Charlie who only wanted to be held. This is what the pic looked like after I said, “Hey everybody smile! Yay!”

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This is how everyone really felt.

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Miracle of Miracles Elsa and Anna were wonderful and the girls really did love the time they spent with them. When we came around the corner and the princesses were in view Charlie started saying “Elsa! Elsa!” which just goes to show how many times my children have watched that movie. Clara was very proper meeting Elsa. She was basically stoic – which might be because it was three hours past her bedtime, or maybe because she thought she had actually become Elsa. I don’t know, but I love everything this picture says about her in her 3.5 year-old glory.

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Ruby told Anna that she could teach her to dance if she wanted. Anna happily agreed that she would love Ruby to give her a lesson. The three of them danced and giggled for a bit then hugged and posed for a picture. It really was worth the three hours of life lost in line.

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When we exited Frozen it was night-time and the firework show was just beginning. The crowds were impassable and we couldn’t even make it to where our stroller was parked, let alone to where we thought we would meet back up with Ryan and Aaron, so we just stood there by the exit and watched the sky light up. Ruby and Clara loved it. Charlie was terrified. I am deaf from it all.

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By 11pm we had reunited with our men and the stroller and were headed back to the parking lot. The following photos were taken before we were out of the Disney parking lot. I’d say it was a successful first visit to Disney! Hooray for making memories!

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Backyard Happiness | Spring Break 2015

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Our first day in Florida was spent recovering from our drive by spending a relaxing day at Aaron and Tracy’s house – My brother Aaron taught Ruby how to catch chameleons, which kept her occupied for most of the week.

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On Sunday we had Jeremiah’s Italian Ice and celebrated Easter at Summit Church. The worship band played what has since become my favorite song, “You Brought Me Back To Life” by Citizens and Saints. Also loved running into so many of my Floridian friends at church.

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Aaron has an amazingly beautiful Kampfer Tree in his backyard. He hung swings and created the most magical backyard imaginable. I wish I was there right now swinging the day away.

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Tracy and Aaron’s backyard was the perfect location for an easter egg hunt. This was the first year Charlie was old enough to run around collecting eggs in his basket. He loved it!

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Clara loves her Aunt Tracy.

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This inflatable pool was the perfect hangout for the kids. Little did they know that after they were in bed Aaron, Tracy, Ryan and I parked ourselves out there in the corners of that pool for hours.

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On Driving to Far Away Places. | Spring Break 2015

Remember 119 days ago when everyone went on Spring Break? Well, we took a little trip too! I’m just now blogging about it – because, life. But seriously, it was a week I want to remember and since my brain has been totally overtaken by all things motherhood I’ll continue to rely on this blog to do my remembering for me.

Dear internet, please don’t ever go away.

Ryan and I are always up for an adventure… which is why we thought we’d drive from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Orlando, Florida in a van filled with 1, 3 and 5 year olds. Here we are right before pulling out of our driveway. Looking good! Ready for family fun times! Wahoo!IMG_5889

Just north of Indianapolis we decided that we would never ever ever attempt such a feat ever again. Thankfully my Aunt Linda and Uncle Matt let us crash at their house in Louisville for the night. Yay! Relatives!

Here’s a bit of free advice for you: Rerouting through Savannah to avoid Atlanta traffic is a terrible idea. Here’s more free advice; I highly recommend stopping somewhere near a Waffle House to let your kids risk their lives by an icy stream.IMG_5928 IMG_5931

The last leg of the drive Ryan and I switched seats quite regularly in an effort to stay awake and restore our friendship. We’d do some deep knee bends, high leg kicks, give each other pep-talks and high-fives in front of the van as we crossed paths to and from the driver’s seat. “We can do this! We are going to make it! Just 9.5 more hours! I love you. Let’s hug it out. Ooh Rah!”

By the grace of God we made it safely, I’m not much of a crier, but tears were rolling down my cheeks as we pulled into Aaron and Tracy’s driveway around 2am.

I’ve never started a vacation so exhausted. Which is one of the reasons, this “vacation” qualified more as a “trip”.

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.