Clara

IMG_1958Clara Girl is going to be 5 in a couple of months and I can’t quite get my mind around it. She’ll be starting all day everyday Kindergarten in the Fall. It’s crazy! When she isn’t watching herself dance in the reflection of the oven door, she’s playing games with Charlie, singing songs, drawing pictures and picking out outfits to wear. Preschool days are her favorite days. She loves to help me set the table and loves to make-believe that she’s a hostess at a restaurant. IMG_3753

Here are some recent Clara-isms

  • “I’m gonna sing ‘Go Tell it on a Mountain’ but a jazzy one.”
  • “When I’m at the dentist can you just go away from me? I can do it alone. I’m a big girl.”
  • “When I grow up I want to be a doctor …actually, I want to be a ribbon dancer.”IMG_1631
  • I asked how old she thinks I am, she replied, “Mom, you’re twenty big.”
  • I was helping Ruby with her homework and Clara wanted me to watch her dance, so she said, “I’m gonna do a BIIIIG twirl. This time can you say, ‘WOAH!’?”
  • We told the kids we were going to stay at a hotel for a night and Clara got a dreamy look on her face and said, “At hotels I dream about ponies, rainbows, Jesus, movie theaters…” she loves hotels.IMG_4930
  • “Hey, why are you taking a picture of me?” because I can’t help myself Clara.
  • The girls and I were talking about being mommies and Clara interrupted, “Wait. Mom. When me and Ruby are mommies we’re gonna get smooched by a dad?!?!”
  • A mo-hawk in the bathtub is known as a “bow hog” to Clara. She loves Bow Hogs.IMG_3162
  • She loves playing “kitchen” or “restaurant” and the other day I asked her what’s for dinner. She replied, “Just a piece of cake of cheese mom, just a piece of cake of cheese.”
  • Ruby taught Clara how to say “Hello” in Spanish. Clara ran into the kitchen and yelled to me, “I’m speaking cursive! Ruby teached me how to speak cursive!!”
  • Clara loves her friends Blakely, Emmi and Taylor. They’re just the cutest little buddies.IMG_1140

My Clara Girl, with her flower headband accessories and Punky Brewster street style, her sweet smile and loud laugh, reserved around crowds but a comedian around those closest to her. She’s really something special. I’m so glad I get to be her mommy.IMG_2158

Rubyisms

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Ruby Dawn is everything wonderful about six year olds. She’s losing teeth all the time, she is “livin’ the first grade life” as she says, she has been getting more confident as a reader, loves science, writes her ideas and thoughts in a journal and loves people. I want to keep her little, but she keeps saying things like, “I totally don’t like princesses mom, I’m not a baby.” and “Oh mom, not pigtail braids! Those are for babies!” Then the other day she made this face with a peace sign in our picture and I realized she’s pretty much all grown up.IMG_7044

Since time is flying so fast, the best thing I could think of to do was get some new Rubyisms on the blog.

  • “I’m starting a new lifetime right now. From now on, wherever I go I will wear the perfect thing. If I go to a bike race, I’ll wear my shirt that has a bike on it. On the 4th of July, my shirt with fireworks on it. Tomorrow to church, my beautiful church dress.”
  • “They didn’t have the words on the screen at church because they were having traffical difficulties.”
  • Ruby chose to be a “Ballerina/Ninja/Cat” for Halloween this year.IMG_3220
  • We were eating lunch and I was saying how much I love Costco pizza, she responded, “But Costco pizza doesn’t matter more than families.”
  • I heard a big sigh from the backseat, “It’s the first grade life.”
  • While I was explaining to the girls why it’s important to let your pee out regularly, “I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but Dad knows more about bladders than you because he’s a doctor.”IMG_1982
  • On the playground after school, “I think I’m ok. Whew! The good news is that now I know what it feels like to fall off the monkey bars!”
  • We had quite a time getting her first front tooth out – she didn’t want to pull it so it dangled like this for way too many days in a row before she finally pulled it out herself during writing center time at school. Thanks to all the friends and family who prayed for me during those days when I couldn’t look my own daughter in the face without feeling queazy.IMG_6169
  • Wile driving home from school, “I reeeeealy want to retire.”
  • “No one can come in my room except me and Clara …and Charlie, mom and dad, grammy and papa, nana and papa, all our family, some of our friends …actually anyone who’s our friend mom. But that’s only who can come in my room.”IMG_7170
  • About her “I love God” sign, “I wrote it in Sharpie so it can’t change.”
  • “Do we have to get consequences every time we want to do something fun??”
  • “Clara! If our mom and dad got related then we would grow up to be sisters!!”IMG_7329
  • “Dear mom, Are you tired of me being bored before dinner? I have the perfect solution, a hot tub. I could relax. I could warm up. I could get in whenever. I could flip underwater. I could have alone time in it. Love, Your Poor Daughter, Ruby”

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Charlie Boy

IMG_7352Charlie! He’s just the best little guy. I wish all of you could spend a day hanging out with him. He’s getting quite funny at the ripe old age of two and a half. He loves to laugh, talks all the time, is extremely expressive and opinionated, loves trucks, trains, tigers, dinosaurs, dirt, super heroes, pirates, sticks, and is the sweetest most cuddly, loving and empathetic tiny person I’ve ever met. He does ridiculous boyish things like run while shaking his head back and forth until he falls down or crashes into something. He animates his actions with sounds. He believes he is the biggest, the fastest, the best climber, the highest jumper there was, is, or ever will be. When I open a door to let him through, I can’t prevent the voice in my head from announcing “Release the Kraken!”IMG_4172

Here are some things I want to remember about my Charlie Boy at this age:

  • He’s either running full-speed or stubbornly not walking at all depending on the opposite thing I’ve asked him to do. If we need to hurry – he requires being dragged, when we’ve got all the time in the world, he’s running as fast as he can.
  • He loves telling everyone about his new shoes. They’re not new, there the same shoes he’s had for months.
  • You should see the way he hugs his sisters when they cry or when they’re sad. He gets behind them and hugs their back and pats them with his little hand. It’s the sweetest.
  • The other night I had a pirate at my dinner table. We are still working on manners – obviously.IMG_6806
  • After being rough and rowdy he asks, “you ok mom?” which is very thoughtful.
  • There’s nothing he hates more than riding in elevators. He’s got some spacial awareness thing going on that terrifies him when he feels himself going up or down.
  • Many friends are greeted with a roar or a growl, based on their reactions bigger roars and growls will follow.
  • His ears are tuned to hear planes, sirens, helicopters, trains, or big trucks …sounds he hears that I wasn’t aware of until he points them out.
  • High fives and fist bumps are his favorite greeting/closing move.IMG_4142
  • If I’m carrying him he’s yelling, “Me want to walk!” and if he’s walking he steps in front of my feet and says, “Me want to hold you, mom!”
  • Similar to his sister Ruby, he is extremely organized. He lines up his trucks at night and makes sure all the dinosaurs are lined up in their places as well.
  • I love the way he puts both feet on a seat before he sits down in it
  • His favorite books are “Goodnight Construction Site” and “Little Blue Truck.” He would let me read books to him all day.
  • One time after a run-in with a pair of Ruby’s scissors I took him in for a haircut and he came out looking’ like Lloyd ChristmasIMG_4204

Here are some recent Charlie-isms.

  • Whenever we’re driving, “Me lookin’ for horsies. Me see one! Me see a biiiig, biiiig one!”
  • “I tell you a question, Mom! I tell you a question.”
  • In the morning Clara loves to wake him up, but if he wakes up first I hear, “I awake! Mom? Where are you? I awake!”
  • This is what his rowdy face looks like. He will likely spontaneously combust if I don’t let him run around outside or jump on the mini-tramplone in our basement everyday.IMG_7037
  • Many nights around 4am I hear his quiet voice from down the hall, “My tears. Wipe my tears. Wipe my tears, mom.”
  • The next morning telling me about his night, “I crying. I sad. I crying and crying.”
  • Christmas lights never get old. He screams out, “Chrissas Lights!!”
  • On trying a bite of a pickle, “I no like it. That’s too, too tasty.”
  • “Lay up” is the opposite of “Lay down”
  • Anytime he’s working on something, “I havin’ a little trouble here.”IMG_4180
  • He’s a professional stick collector. Charlie’s never encountered a stick he doesn’t like.
  • When I discipline him he says to me, “Stop talking! Don’t say that!” but then after he’s done in time out and has a “happy heart” again he says, “I ok mom. Sorry mom.”
  • We took him to a Monster Truck Rally last week and he absolutely lost his mind with excitement.IMG_7304

Amazingly, my littlest buddy will be off to preschool for a couple mornings a week starting this Fall. He’s growing so fast and changing so much right now. I’m trying to soak in every moment… also, I’ve adapted as a boy mom and now I have eyes in the back of my head.IMG_6268

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

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.

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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!"

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  • 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

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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.

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

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

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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Week at Cox Cottage

IMG_4161Last month was awesome. Ryan finished his job in Columbus at the end of June and didn’t  start his new job in Grand Rapids until August – so we pretty much had the time of our lives together in July. It was a daily decision each morning whether we should work on unpacking boxes and getting our new house in order or if we should have fun with the kids… and we decided to just have fun. Even though I’m currently typing this blog among unpacked boxes I know we will never regret the fun times we had making memories together as a family.IMG_3707

The beginning of our week at Cox Cottage was a tad brisk, so we spent the mornings bundled up, taking walks and riding bikes. Clara refused to wear sweatshirts and jackets because “princesses don’t wear those.” Ha! By the afternoons the sun was shining and we were on the water.

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One of our favorite things about the lake is parking the pontoon on the sandbar and floating around. Charlie has never been happier than when Ryan was swishing him around in the water. IMG_3681This was the first year the girls were old enough (and brave enough) to get out and walk around by themselves. Clara was cracking me up seeing how far away from the boat she could walk.IMG_3934

Ruby is the queen of collections. She worked very hard everyday adding to her collection, which included shells, dragonfly exoskeletons, snails, seaweed, bugs, algae slime, leaves, lilly pads, rocks and even some peanut shells. It was a very smelly collection by the end of the week. Thankfully her nose agreed and she did not request that we take it home in the van.

IMG_3972One afternoon Ruby and Clara were exploring the shallow water near the dock, the “swamp water” as they called it, and Ruby found a bluegill. She meticulously stalked closer and closer to it until she was close enough to reach out to touch it. SHE DID! She was so excited that she touched it, she thought she’d see if she could hold it. Of course, I was happy to let her try. A few minutes later I heard screaming and saw out of the corner of my eye that she had indeed grabbed it with her hands. It flipped out and poked her in the leg with its fin, which turned her excited squeals into terrified screams of horror, “IT GOT ME! IT BIT ME ON THE LEG!!!!” After she calmed down I explained that it probably thought she was a predator. She said, “ok mom. I’ll just work on my collection instead.”
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Clara explored under the dock and I had to pull more leaches off her legs than I’d like to share with you. I want my blog to be mostly good memories you know.  😉

IMG_3957IMG_3633IMG_4094 IMG_4131More scooter and bike riding, some Twister, and a bath in the sink for Mr. Charlie Boy.IMG_3638IMG_3642IMG_3662IMG_3961

We went out for pizza one night and on the way home we drove past a massive Paul Bunyon statue. We were laughing so hard we had to stop and take a pic. When we got back in the van Ruby exclaimed, “THAT WAS THE BIGGEST ADVENTURE OF MY LIFE!”IMG_3914

Going places as a family seems to get more fun every year that the kids get older. I like going places and doing things. My favorite thing in the whole world is getting to spend time with Ryan. So thankful for our week together at Cox Cottage.IMG_4087

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