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.

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

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

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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Rubyisms | HAPPY 5th BIRTHDAY!

IMG_0965Ruby Dawn (aka RubyDoo, The Rubester, Rubykins, Snicklefritz) is 5 years old. She loves sparkles and princess dresses as much as digging in the dirt or collecting bugs. She’s never met a person who she didn’t want to be friends with and will talk to anyone with a pair of ears. I love seeing her interests develop and especially enjoy her growing appreciation for true artists like Shel Silverstein and Jimmy FallonIMG_1626

To celebrate her birthday Ryan and I told her she could have a “yes” day at the zoo. Basically that meant she could ride the carousel, get her face painted, and eat Dippin’ Dots, which are all things we typically say “no” to. She absolutely LOVED her “yes” day. She took full advantage of the situation and added a $7 Camel Ride to her requests. ha!photo-99

Clara LOVED getting her face painted too.

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Ruby spends time each afternoon being “quiet and alone” while Charlie and Clara take their naps. Her “quiet and alone” time took a turn for the worst a few weeks ago when I found her in the bathroom trying to wash hot pink marker off of her arms. She thought she could get it off before I knew what had happened… but she was wrong. One thing is for sure, she is very thorough… and very right-handed.

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The night before Ruby’s last day of preschool she asked me to make her a checklist so she wouldn’t forget to say goodbye to anyone in her class. She loved preschool and is ridiculously excited to be a kindergartener in the fall! IMG_1514

I can’t post this update without mentioning that Ruby is friends with all the monkeys at our zoo. They seem to think she is one of them. Most days we are there at least one monkey will come sit by her or look at her or interact with her in some way. Its hilarious. Here are a few examples from recent weeks:IMG_0841IMG_0080 IMG_0279 IMG_0727 And of course, the most recent Rubyisms for your (and my) enjoyment.

  • “Ugh! All of this noise is destroying me!”
  • Proof that commercials work: “Mom, we should get Clorox. It really really really works! Even for muddy socks! It just gets out the stains! Isn’t that awesome?!?”
  • “I just won’t forget because I’ll use my brain as a thinking cap and it will just pop into my head but I can’t feel it when it pops into my head.”
  • Driving distances are typically measured by how many “Dora The Explorer” shows it will take to get where we are going. “But how much looooonger until we get there?!?!?” “Only 2 and a half more Dora the Explorers, Ruby.”
  • “I love you mom, I love you so bad!!”
  • When Ryan gets home from work Ruby often asks him, “Did you have any good cases today daddy?”
  • “Mom, I’m going over here if you please.”
  • “I have a hundred and forty five two germs. How much is that?”
  • When we go to new places where Ruby hasn’t been before she often wonders who will be there, specifically teenagers. “But mom, will there be teens there?”
  • “Thanks mom! You’re such a good cooker.” (I defrost Chicken Nuggets like a pro!)
  • “Mom, when we move to our new house are we gonna love it …or list it?” (I obviously watch too much HGTV during the kids nap times. ha!)
  • “Can horses have spots? Stripes? Pentagons? Squaragons?”
  • Ryan loves teaching her specific things that specific organs do. If you ask her what the liver does she responds, “It metabolizes drugs, makes clotting factors and makes bile.”
  • This afternoon she said to me, “Mommy, you look sooooo nice with your dress on. Isn’t that a nice thing to say?” Yes Ruby. That’s a nice thing to say.
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  • “This is God’s Holy Marble. It’s what makes Gods Holy Wind. It makes Gods wind cold and snow cold.”
  • “Mom, lets talk about something.”
  • “I love pink and every single body who loves me.”
  • “Mommy, you’re just destroying my fun!”
  • “I’m drawing a blue-horned cat.”
  • “That’s the town of Potbelly’s!!” (sometimes we go to Potbelly’s after church on Sunday’s and the girls always dance and talk to Darby, the girl who plays her guitar and sings.)IMG_0061
  • “I think my brother is sad because he doesn’t really have any friends.”
  • “I can’t go hiking today because it makes me so homesick!”
  • What started as “I’m blazin’ hot!” has been applied in many other circumstances including “It’s blazin’ rain!”
  • “I was like losing my mind when daddy took me to the Disney Store. I like lost my mind.” Ryan verified that yes, she did indeed nearly lose her mind in the Disney Store.
  • “Daddy, is Charlie old enough to eat Salmon?”
  • “Don’t worry Clara, tooth fairys are like soooo quiet. They’re like quieter than ever. You don’t even notice when they get your tooth.”

If you’d like to read more “Rubyisms” just type “Rubyisms” into the search box in the top right corner of my blog and all the past Rubyism posts will show up.IMG_9053

Happy Birthday Ruby Dawn. Clara, Charlie, Daddy and I love you so much and are so excited to have a front row seat to all the happenings in your life. Your smile makes everyone around you want to smile too and your enthusiasm for EVERYTHING brings so much joy to our family everyday. We love all the hilarious questions you ask and hope you’ll always continue talking to us about everything running through that active mind of yours. If “sparkly” could be used to describe a person, I’d say you’re the most sparkly person I know.

Happy Happy Happy 5th Birthday Sweet Girl.
Love, Mama.

Clara is Three Years Old!

IMG_0983Our Amazing Clara Dawn turned 3 on May 5th. She does all the ridiculously cute things that most toddlers do. We were outside the other day and she spent a good chunk of time trying to kick off her shadow. It was awesome. IMG_1147

Clara is bonkers about Charlie. She just can’t get enough of him. They play together all day – one of her favorite games to play with him is “chase” where she runs toward him then past him as he squeals with delight and crawls after her, then she runs back the other way and he “chases” her again. She told me that Charlie is her best friend. I love how she always says, “Hey Bud” to him and wants to be wherever he is.IMG_1302

She’s 35 lbs, 3 feet tall, and full of fire and ice. She has me scratching my head on a daily basis, searching for answers on how to parent her effectively, tearing through books with titles like, “Raising Your Spirited Child” and sighing with relief as I collapse on the couch at night after getting her tucked into bed for the 12th time each evening. IMG_0702

…but then she comes in to greet me each morning with this face and all is right with the world again.

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Clara is becoming a bit of a ham. She loves asking, “Have you seen this face?” then makes a funny face. At her 3-year checkup the pediatrician asked her to stand up straight, so Clara hunched over and chuckled quietly to herself. Then some nurses laughed, so Clara just stayed hunched over with a goofy smile on her face. Eventually she popped up straight enough for the nurse to get her height. I enjoyed seeing her realize she was funny.IMG_0671

I’ve never done anything more difficult that try to teach Clara to blow her nose. I know she will figure it out eventually, but for now, she just constantly sniffs and snuffs and asks “I need a tissue” very regularly. Once I give her the tissue she just wipes it on her nose, eye or cheek then throws it away. I try to get her to blow and basically she does the valsalva maneuver really hard until I think she might hurt herself. I don’t know why this is so frustrating to me, but it keeps me up at night. The good news is she will be really good at snorkeling in the deep water someday because she’ll be a champ at equalizing her ear pressure.

IMG_9766Clara is very particular about what she wears and the only way to get her clothed is if she thinks it was her idea. I can’t tell you the epic battles that have ensued over my desire for her to wear pants during the Polar Vortex and her desire to wear nothing at all. Now that it’s warmer outside, most days I just say,”pick out something to wear. I’m excited to see what you chose.” then I bite my tongue when she comes out of her room with some amazing ensemble. Thankfully, “beautiful princess dresses” are almost always ok with her – so we look like we just got off the pageant bus while we are strolling around Target.
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She’s a future foodie. Anything Ryan is eating, Clara says she loves. She will eat anything he gives her including sushi, spicy bbq chips, and anything she can dip in ketchup or ranch. If you ask her, “Do you like that Clara?” she typically responds, “I do. Really much.”IMG_9664

Clara loves her daddy so much. She lights up when Ryan gets home from work each day. She tells him all sorts of stories, sings for him, draws pictures for him, builds and feeds him Lego cakes, shows him her most recent dance moves, tells him jokes, and follows him around the house chatting away. She talks more to Ryan than anyone else. She says more in the hour he gets home than she does the whole rest of the day combined. It’s amazing. I love hearing her bubbly little voice when she talks to him.

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Other than when she’s talking to Ryan, these are her most frequent sayings:

  • Don’t say that!
  • Don’t dance by me!
  • Stop doing that!
  • Where’s Charlie?
  • Ruby is not being kind!
  • I need a tissue!
  • Where’s Daddy?

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I love you with all of my heart Clara Dawn. You challenge me to dig deep into motherhood and have expanded my heart in all sorts of ways I didn’t expect. You remind me of your Great Grandma Wandah Beeson in all the best ways. You make me smile and laugh everyday. I’m so thankful I get to be your mommy and I pray that you’ll discover all sorts of wonderful ways to honor God with your determination, drive, and hilarious personality.IMG_9287

10 Month Old Charlie AKA “Mr. Busy Pants”

IMG_9866I’ve carved out a few minutes to quickly update you on my Charlie boy. He is currently contained in his crib, which is the only reason I am able to write this post. Since Charlie became mobile my life has clicked into warp-speed. I took these pictures of A Polar Bear checking him out at the Columbus Zoo the day before he started crawling around. If it had been the next day, he may not have sat there so nicely for me.  IMG_8955

Charlie is into everything he shouldn’t be. Today I saved him from the small space between the couch and the table where he was trying to gnaw through the lamp cord. This morning he explored the bathroom trash can, the pantry, and spent a good amount of time trying to get under the fridge.photo-98

Everything is interesting. Everything is worth getting to. Nothing could be more amazing than whatever it is that could be hiding behind the toilet.photo-97

Ryan (my hero) saved Charlie’s life with the Heimlich Maneuver a few weeks ago when he choked on a puff during lunch at COSI. This kid would rather feed himself a burrito than have me spoon-feed him some baby food. The other night after dinner Ruby exclaimed, “Mommy, Charlie is a good helper because he eats everything off of the floor!” Yes Ruby. Yes he does.IMG_0336

Don’t tell the girls, but I’ve thrown away every Polly Pocket outfit that their dolls used to have – because he wants to eat them all. I’ve trained Ruby and Clara to help me know if Charlie has something in his mouth. The good news is that within the past couple of days he is doing less “swallowing” of things and more “carrying things around in his mouth like a dog would.” For example, we usually play on the playground at Ruby’s school after picking her up. It’s covered in bark – he will find a big chunk, put it in his mouth, and happily carry it around the playground for as long as we are there. That same, big, slobbery piece of bark is removed when we leave the park and everyone is happy. There may or may not be bark in his mouth in this pic.  IMG_0029

He’s the loudest of all my children. He happily squeals at a pitch that could break glass. I hope no one is talking to me right now because I am deaf and can’t hear them anyway.
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Charlie loves to pull up on everything and thinks its fun to stand by the stairs… until that one time he climbed up to the 2nd step and then dove head-first back to the floor. I put up a baby gate up that afternoon and experienced approximately 1.25 days of peace before he figured out how to open it. He thinks the gate is a fun toy I gave him; a puzzle of sorts.
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I did more “house-proofing the babies” than “baby-proofing the house” with Ruby and Clara… but I’ve been changing my tune now that I’ve got a small explorer – inspector – detective on my floors.IMG_0035

At his 9-month appointment (a month ago) he was 17.5 pounds, but my biceps and back are telling me that he’s at least three times heavier than that now.IMG_9001

I know he loves me so much – except for when I’m trying to change his diaper, then he wants to get as far away from me as possible.IMG_0462

Charlie is totally the guy everyone wants to have around. His sisters adore him. He’s fun. He’s happy to do whatever everyone is doing. He doesn’t complain much. All the ladies who volunteer in the nursery at church always want to take him home with them. I’m so happy I’m the one who gets to take him home.

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