IMG_8155Ruby is four and a half, loves her preschool teachers and is under the unfortunate assumption that if she squeezes cottage cheese, ranch dressing comes out. She could play in the bitter cold and snow for hours after everyone else has perished from frostbite on their internal organs. I think she’ll do just fine growing up in Michigan.IMG_6158

Here are a few funny things she’s said lately. I keep a list going on my phone because I want to have a word-for-word record of exactly how she says things. Hope you smile as much as I did as I was transferring my list into this post.

  • “When I’m a mom, can you give me directions to Toys R Us? Because I don’t know how to get there.”
  • At dinner one night, “Clara just nails ranch.” Yes Ruby, yes she does.
  • As soon as we get home from wherever we go each morning, she immediately strips off her clothes and puts on her princess dress. And “princesses do NOT wear socks mom!” no matter how cold the Polar Vortex is making our house.
  • “Penny Penny” has been her horse for years. A couple of weeks ago she renamed him “Torlight Sparkle” and only rides him side-saddle now.
  • “A somersault takes you places you haven’t been before!”
  • She saw a commercial and told me, “You need to get Charlie some headphones so he can rock too.”
  • “Mom, let’s play a guessing game. What am I about to say?” I never win at this game.
  • “Mommy, where do magicians sleep when its nighttime?”
  • She counted to 188 this morning, but she skipped 31-99. I figured she’d do the same thing once she got to 130, but then she kept going 131, 132, 133 all the way to 188 and stopped. They must teach her things at preschool… or maybe it’s the iPad? It’s certainly not me.IMG_7744
  • One of the things we are working on is doing whatever the preschool teachers have planned instead of telling the teachers what the class should do each day. It’s been difficult for her. “But mom, we just didn’t make bracelets today!”
  • “I just can’t wait to grow up and read sentences!”
  • “Mom! Clara thinks termites are good for your body! UGH!!!”
  • “Mom, is Charlie a human?”IMG_6189
  • One thing that has helped me discipline Ruby lately is simply asking her “who’s in charge?” and helping her listen to and obey whoever is in charge. This is great when Ryan and I go on dates and I tell her “Caitlin the babysitter is in charge tonight.” or “Your teachers are in charge so you need to do whatever they say.” The other day on the way to church she told me, “Mom, you can do whatever you want today. I’m putting you in charge.” This is her twisted way of feeling like she’s in charge of who’s in charge.
  • “That good smell is just blocking my view.” From her car seat the new air freshener in the van was hanging in front of the Garmin. I had no idea she was looking at the map while we drive places. ha!
  • At the mall play place one day she was perching herself on top of all the planets and crazily peering down at kids below. I couldn’t figure out what she was doing, but after a while she came over and told me, “Mom, I saw two boys and I was watching over them because I am an angel!”
  • After preschool one day she said, “My friend Ryosei is Japanese. His family was made in Japan!”IMG_8281
  • Ruby is very much aware of what her siblings shouldn’t be doing. “Clara! Stop rubbing your string cheese all over the table!”
  • “You mean Heaven will be more beautiful than our house? But where will the mermaids be? What what will I wear in Heaven? Where can I swim? Can I bring some of my legos to Heaven? Mama, now lets talk about something else.
  • “Mom, Clara thinks termites are good for your body!”
  • “Look at me mommy! I look like a pickle!!”
  • “Mom, I just can’t handle my sister! Things are just not going my way today.”IMG_8299
  • The “Post Officer” is the person behind the desk at the post office.
  • Every time we drive somewhere, “Put your seat buckles on. Daddy, are your lights on?”
  • A “hanger” is anything you hold onto. The banister on the stairs, the handle on the stroller, my hair… etc.
  • “But 4th grade is for big kids, like giants.”
  • She has been praying out loud at night and it’s my favorite thing. “Thank you Jesus for all the things and everyone in the world and all the animals you have made and I just love what you have done. And I always will love what you have done here and I love you more than anything in the world. Thank you Jesus. I love you. Amen.IMG_8243
  • “Mom! Charlie put his own food in his mouth! He’s such a big magician!”
  • “I bet Charlie will know his name when he grows up!” She loves her Charlie Boy so much.

Speaking of Charlie, 9 times out of 10 when we drop Ruby off at school, she introduces Charlie to her teachers Mrs. Bailey and Mrs. Jacobson, “Would you like to meet my brother Charlie? He’s right here!” She also introduces us to all the new friends she makes at the mall play place every time we go there. Every few minutes she brings a new kid over to where I am sitting and she says, “I made another new friend named _____. This is my brother Charlie and this is my mom. Okay! Bye!” she says as she runs back into the mayhem.

IMG_5593Ruby Dawn is genuine and friendly and delightful. I’m so thankful I get to be her mommy and pray everyday that she’ll keep those qualities as she grows up.


IMG_6142Sweet Clara Dawn is 2 and a half, loves to sing and dance, twirl in circles, taunt her older sister, hug her little brother, get ticked, act older than she is, collect tiny things, loves Doc McStuffins and giving people “a checkup.” She’s sweet as pie and super feisty and mischievous all rolled into one. Just look at her face!IMG_7823

She adores Ryan. Follows him around, talks to him all the time, asks about him every morning when she wakes up, and gets all excited every night when he comes home from work. Here she is helping her daddy make pancakes on Saturday morningIMG_6420

  • She has the absolute cutest way of saying “my brother ‘Cholly'” when she talks about “Charlie.”
  • She pushes Ruby over then asks, “are you OK Ruby?” Ruby is so dramatic, a tiny push from Clara becomes a full on fainting roll to the floor with sobbing and flailing of limbs. No wonder Clara likes to push her!
  • After I tuck her in at night and say prayers she always wants a kiss and a high-five. If I forget to give her a high-five she will come downstairs and request that I come up and give her a high-five. Once she’s had a high five she can go to sleep. Not so funny at 2am when she’s breathing on my face quietly requesting a high-five.IMG_5760
  • One Saturday we went to the mall so I could do some shopping while Ryan stayed at the play place with the kids. Apparently Clara walked around the whole time crying, “Where is my mother?” and, “I need my mother” over and over. This led to a number of parents being concerned that he mother had left her alone in there. Little did they know, Ryan was standing right there beside her the whole time she was crying for her mother.
  • “If we get wain in ouw jammies, that will take forever. When it wains, we can wear our wainjackets. When the sun goes up it will go up! Just a second! The sun is gonna go up!”
  • “I think my brother likes to sit on the table.”
  • She refused to sit in a booster seat, but loved to stand on it, so we switched her to a full size chair. She likes it.IMG_5820
  • “I have a pocket!” One of the best discoveries in any outfit she is wearing. Unfortunately, she also refuses to get dressed in anything other than jammies or her princess dress lately.
  • Daily questions, “Is it night time? Is it going to wain today? Is it getting dark outside?”
  • “Crackers are good for your body!”
  • “Look at she!”
  • “He is so tall! I can kick really tall!”
  • She always says, “Thanks mom!” for all sorts of funny reasons.
  • During dinner the other night she said, “We have strong muscles to get noodles into our bodies, but you have to chew it up.”
  • During our last drive to Michigan we stopped at a gas station and I let the girls stretch their legs… in the van since it was sleeting and freezing out. Clara loved being out of her seat. It’s the little things.IMG_7844
  • Her hair is still amazing. The sides grow like wildfire and the back has never been trimmed. It’s like a swirly, curly, crazy new hairdo every morning. I still haven’t figured out which direction to comb it.
  • Clara talks more to Ryan when he gets home from work than she talks the whole rest of the day. It’s amazing. It’s like she stores it all up for him and tells him stories non-stop for as long as he will listen. Ryan, of course, loves it. I think she already realizes that she and her daddy are basically the same personality. I’m glad she feels “understood” by him because I certainly can’t give that feeling to her.
  • Lastly, she is always “ice skating” around our house on the rings from Charlie’s toy. She told me, “bye-bye mommy, I’m just ice skating to the pool.”IMG_8088

Cox Family Christmas

We arrived in Grand Rapids late Friday night after driving through some serious fog and rain. Saturday morning the girls woke up SO EXCITED to see their cousins Ellen and Abigail. Clara LOVED helping to feed “the baby cousins” and Kyle took these fist two pictures with his fancy new camera.12-28-2013 Vacation to Florida-44 12-28-2013 Vacation to Florida-103

We woke up the next morning to the beautiful sight of everything outside covered in a layer of ice. Then we realized the ice storm had knocked out the power at Ryan’s parents house. It was really beautiful… and a little bit chilly, but we survived a couple of days living pioneer style. (pioneers got to go out for pizza, right?)IMG_7262 Thankfully, we were all ready for the adventure and had friendly neighbors who used their camping stove to make a pot of coffee for Ryan, Chris and Dad. Sarah fed the babies over candlelight.IMG_7234IMG_7233 IMG_7247

The ice storm didn’t stop us from venturing downtown to get some MadCap coffee with Chris and his friend Josh who had flown home from Malawi to surprise his parents. So fun.IMG_7242

Isn’t East Grand Rapids so lovely? Look at the way those trees are holding hands over the street. Love it.


One day we went to Breton Village Mall to see the train set. The girls were mostly interested in these goldfish. Can you tell by Ruby’s hand that she was calling them to her?


Our friends Bryant and Becky were in town visiting Becky’s family and had a couple of hours to meet us for lunch at Cherry Deli. It’s always so fun to catch up with our Hope College friends. If you’ve ever heard Bryant or Ryan laugh, you’ll know it’s quite a treat to be there when they are cracking up about something.

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We saw our friends Lana and Hans from Columbus at the Christmas Eve service. My friend Lacey’s in-laws live in Grand Rapids. So fun to see her over break.


After the Christmas Eve services at church we drove down the “Woods” streets that are always lined with paper lanterns on the night before Christmas. It’s so beautiful. I keep thinking the kids will be old enough to love it, but mostly Ruby just continually asked from the backseat why were were on the wrong road and “this isn’t the way to Nana’s house!” and “But we are going the wrong way!” Ha.


Christmas day included a delicious ham which Ryan carved for us and custom mugs Ryan gave to his dad and brothers.


Everyone thinks Charlie looks like his Papa Cox. I can’t disagree. Genes are crazy.


Nana gave Ruby a lovely little tea set. Ryan was happy to oblige her request to join her for tea. One of my favorite, most heart melting parts of my life is watching Ryan as a dad. Our kids truly adore him and it’s not a wonder why.


Chris and Ryan took the girls sledding. It was SO COLD that all of their cheeks were rosy and frozen when they got home, but they had a good time. Ruby loves taking it to the hills. She seems to be quite adventurous and is becoming more confident and fearless with every passing month.


My wonderful Mother-In-Law is amazing at wrangling children. I was so thankful to have her help for a few days. Such a great Christmas.  It was wonderful to be in Michigan and we were so excited that Ryan had so many days off in a row. So thankful that we would get to see both sides of our family in one vacation. We love our family.IMG_7312


IMG_4605It’s due time for a new batch of Rubyisms. She is almost 4 and a half, loves to learn, and loves to talk. Sometimes if there is a moment of silence, she’ll just say, “Mom, let’s talk about something. Hmmmm. What should we talk about?” Then I’ll ask her what she wants to talk about and she will say something like, “Let’s talk about our favorite planets” or, “Lets talk about what babies like to eat.”photo-95

  • “Remember last year when we went to the Apple Portrait? I just love going to the apple portrait.”
  • “Mommy! I’m not acting like a baby. I don’t even have a baby hat!”
  • “When I go to Heaven I’m so excited for all the golden streets and magic beanstalks!”
  • The other day during Ruby’s quiet and alone time she came out of her room and told me, “Mom, I saw an adult named John!” I was alarmed… she went on to tell me, “He told me his name.” I asked her where John was and she said he was working outside but “he could hear me out the window!” Yep, she was talking out her bedroom window to a lawn guy working at the neighbors house. Obviously alone time is not her favorite thing.
  • “That one is Neptune. It’s the cold one. Brrrr. It’s cold because it’s filled with water. It’s no place for a picnic!”
  • I’ve been talking to her about honesty, I said, “Don’t lie Ruby. We always want to be honest with one another. We always tell the truth, no lying.” to which she responded, “But mommy! When I’m lying down I’m just tired!”IMG_4783
  • “I’m just going to go in this meadow to find a collection.”
  • “Keep your eye out for Giant Eagle because that means we’re close to our house!” (that’s the name of our grocery store)
  • I asked what she did at school today, “Well I learned about caterpillars and had a nice snack.”
  • This weekend Ruby asked Ryan, “Daddy, what planet is Disneyland on?”
  • We had some friends over for dinner Saturday night and Ruby asked my friend Liz what state she lives in. When Liz replied, “Ohio” Ruby was so excited, “I LIVE IN OHIO TOO! WE LIVE IN THE SAME STATE!!”
  • “Mom, did you know that only daddy and papa can argue with snakes? Because snakes can be dangerous so only daddy and papa can argue with them.”IMG_4245

Preschool Drop Off: The Bane of My Existence

Hello! I’m back! After researching my options and talking to some really smart people I’m back to blogging and couldn’t be more happy about it. I’ve realized again why I do this. I love sharing our life with you, it makes me happy to record the daily happenings of our life this way. If I didn’t write down the funny little stuff that happens on a daily basis, I wouldn’t be able to look back in a few years and remember those things.

Let me tell you a little story about today, for example: There are few things in my life that cause more stress than dropping Ruby off at Preschool. We can’t leave some kids in the car while we take one inside, which is unfortunate. Ruby’s classroom is down a flight of stairs, which is also unfortunate because I can’t take my stroller. Picture me parking my van, climbing into the back seat to unbuckle Ruby and Clara then getting Charlie’s huge car seat out of the other side of the van. I’ve got Charlie’s seat in the crook of my left elbow while I hold Clara’s hand with my right hand. Ruby holds Clara’s other hand… except that Clara is 2, so she doesn’t want to hold anyone’s hand… so I’m mostly dragging her by one arm across the parking lot into the school gate.

Once we are through the gate (which Clara opened and closed for us “I want to do it myself!!”) we have to walk through the playground to the door of the preschool. Clara is 2, so she wants to play, not “pass” the playground. The dragging by one arm continues except now you can add a high-pitched and extremely loud and continuous scream to the equation. (Clara screams equally loud if her finger gets cut off or if you make her put the lid back on her marker.)

Once we make it past the playground and thru the door we walk down the hall, down a flight of stairs, then down to the end of another hall to get to Ruby’s classroom. Clara is so excited to see all the fun activities set out on the tables in Ruby’s class. I don’t blame her for wanting to stay and play, but she’s not in preschool yet so she has to go home with me. Ruby hangs up her backpack and puts her attendance name tag on the wall. This is the part where you’d think the story was over. Ruby is in her classroom, right? Wrong. The 4 year olds start their day back upstairs and outside on the playground.

The arm dragging/screaming continues as the 4 of us slowly make our way back out in the hall, up the stairs down another hall and out the door to the playground. You can add to Clara’s screaming some confused crying from Charlie, who by this point cannot figure out what in the world is taking so long and why so much screaming is happening. Ruby meets her teacher on the playground and I drag Clara with my right hand while I carry Charlie’s car seat (which seems to be 10 pounds heavier since we got out of the van) back thru the gate, across the parking lot and back into the van.

It’s exhausting. I do not look forward to the days when pouring rain, driving snow, and bitter cold weather is added to the process.

How was your morning?

See? In a few years I’ll probably get a kick our of remembering how difficult it was to drop of my kid at preschool. If I didn’t blog it, I wouldn’t remember it as well and you wouldn’t get to chuckle at my ridiculousness.


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  • She called from the upstairs bathroom, “Mommy! This is the first time I peed in a cup at our house!” Horrified I ran upstairs and found that indeed, she had peed in a cup she found on the bathroom countertop. Apparently she remembered me trying to get a urine sample from her at the pediatricians office.
  • While looking very closely into my eyes, “Mommy! I can see myself in your eyes! Your eyes are like a mirror!”
  • “Do you know what kind of good we eat at Halloween? Macaroni and marshmallows and also watermelon! They’re good for you too!”


  • “When it’s dark outside it’s ominous.”
  • Ryan: “I’m gonna watch the Tour.” Ruby: “Well that’s unsettling.”
  • “Hold on, hold on. Let’s see what’s going on here.”
  • “Aaaarrrgggg! There’s corn everywhere!”
  • “Mommy, we have eyes to see so we can see treasures.”
  • After accidentally head-butting me in the face, “It’s ok mommy. God makes our bodies heal.”
  • “Mommy, if I see a clue then I can totally pick it up!”
  • On a long drive back to Michigan Ryan and I switched seats so I could drive for a while, Ruby told Ryan, “Daddy, thank you for sharing the steering wheel! That’s so nice when you share with Mommy.”
  • I took her to the splash park and instead of playing in the fountains she spent an hour putting mud puddle water into sandwich baggies.IMG_3515
  • “These apple slices are exquisite!”
  • “Is tomorrow not a far day?” She has no concept of how long any length of time is. I’m hoping to figure out a way to help her understand this soon… which could be a long tome or a short time from now.
  • “What’s the big holdup? It’s taking so so so so so looooong! It’s taking FOREVER!!”
  • “Digestive juices help our bodies stay healthy. That’s why we have digestive juices. Every kind of kid and every kind of baby and every kind of mom and dad have digestive juices. Isn’t that great news mommy?!?”
  • When I pulled off her band-aid I told her it wouldn’t hurt too bad. After it was over she said, “It felt good like a blanket!”
  • She asks everyone, “What are you trying to prove??”
  • On the drive home from church, “We learned about praying. We find a quiet place to pray… like how I always go in my closet to pray.” I had no idea she was praying in there. ha!
  • “…and butterflies use their tongue as a straw!”
  • During an intense moment after Ryan and I couldn’t get her to let us get the splinter out of her foot, Ryan told her if it gets infected her foot could fall off. She looked at him with sternly and replied, “But daddy, my foot has bones in it! God made our bodies not to fall apart!!!!” IMG_3482

I am so excited for Ruby to FINALLY start school again. She went 2 mornings a week last year, and starting Sept 9th she will be going to preschool 3 mornings a week. YAY! She went to the dentist and the eye doctor to get all ready for school. Both appointments were the highlight of the week. She loves going to the doctor. ha!IMG_3335 IMG_3391

Papa Beeson

My dad is quite simply the best. I got this picture of him this morning while he was pointing out some ants on a tree while walking back from the meadow with my girls. RMB Ruby Clara 051913 1

Ruby and Clara love their Papa. I’m thankful they have grandparents who love them enough to stop along the way for teachable moments.

Here are a few more things he talked to them about as we walked:

  • he showed them a path through the meadow where the deer have worn down the grass and dirt from walking the same route so often
  • he took them all the way to the back corner of the meadow to find a honeysuckle bush blooming with sweet-smelling flowers they could pick to take back home for Grammy
  • he encouraged them as the went “up, up, up” and “down, down, down” the grassy hill.
  • he pointed out little white butterflies to chase as they flew up from underfoot
  • he answered questions about which path was the one back to Grammy and Papa’s house and which paths went other places
  • he helped Ruby stay on the path so she wouldn’t get poison ivy
  • he explained why we wear bug spray on our socks when we’re in the woods

Theres a lot to learn, and I’m so happy that my dad imparts wisdom along the way.

Caribbean Cove

Last weekend was random and hilarious. We decided to meet up with our friends Bryan and Michelle and their boys Elliot and Bennett. They were coming from Chicago and we discovered that Indianapolis was a 3 hour drive from both Columbus and Chicago. PERFECT! The destination had been decided.

So what should we do in Indy with 4 kids under 4? An indoor water park at a hotel was the obvious choice. After some googling, Michelle and I decided that we didn’t love the hotel where the water park was, so we checked into a hotel down the street and drove over to Caribbean Cove on Saturday morning after a delicious hotel breakfast. Elliot and Ruby were fascinated by the fountain in the hotel lobby. I’m still amazed no one fell in.IMG_1299

Clara was fascinated by the phone in our room. She’d never seen one with a cord before.IMG_1297

From the outside, Caribbean Cove looks mighty bootleg, but once we were inside, it was pretty great and the kids had an amazing time splashing around and climbing on the pirate ship playground. I tried to get some pics, but the elements were against me. My lens was foggy, there were only windows on one side of the room, so the kids had to be facing exactly the right direction for a good pic and so much water was splashing and sloshing on my camera that I’m not even sure how it survived the day.IMG_3742 IMG_3732

Ruby and Elliot weren’t tall enough for the water slides, and pregnant people aren’t allowed either… but Ryan and Bryan took to the slides and were pleasantly surprised by how intense they were. Apparently they were pitch black inside and took so many twists, sudden turns and drops that both guys claimed they screamed like little girls. IMG_3748 IMG_3745

In addition to tickets into the park, our family pass included lunch and money for the arcade. We took a pizza and breadsticks break for lunch and to my delight it was a classic; Noble Romans! People from Indiana know about Noble Romans, but apparently no one else does.IMG_1300

After lunch we let the kiddos play in the arcade while their food digested. Ruby and Elliot played ski-ball and whack-a-mole. Clara just wanted to drive the car the whole time. Ryan and Bryan played air hockey and Bryan and Elliot played Big Buck Hunter.IMG_1311 IMG_1325 IMG_1335

Saturday from 4-6 our hotel hosted a “Manager’s Reception” in the lobby with snacks and drinks, so of course, we hit that up before heading out to dinner. The kids loved eating popcorn, chips and dip – and (based on how much she ate) Clara seems to like spicy salsa.IMG_1342

After pretty much filling up at the Manager’s Reception, we enjoyed a delicious dinner out at Granite City followed by lots of laughs and storytelling over a game of Euchre back at the hotel.IMG_1356

Also, we ordered room-service (ice cream shooters). Ryan and Bryan went to pick up our treats and the guy downstairs said, “That’s a lot of shooters!” which turned into an ongoing joke throughout the rest of our time together. We couldn’t finish them – it truly was a lot of shooters.IMG_1357

And of course, Ryan and Bryan had a daily coffee routine at the hotel just like they had when we lived in the same house in Chicago. IMG_1359

Such a fun weekend. We love having friends who will do silly stuff like randomly meet at a hotel water park in Indy. Hooray for friendships that last throughout the years in different states! We love Bryan and Michelle!

Hello 3rd Trimester!

Well, we’re closing in on the finish line now that I’ve entered the third trimester. Ryan and I still haven’t figured out a name for our little boy… that’s right up at the top of my ever-growing “to-do” list. IMG_0904

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I told you about beginning the transition process getting Clara out of the crib and into a twin bed in Ruby’s room? Well I seriously don’t know what I was thinking. It never even crossed my mind that this transition wouldn’t go smoothly. I figured she would lay down in her new big girl bed, we’d say prayers, I’d walk away and she’d just go to sleep… which is not what happened at all!

As soon as I’d get her to lay down, we’d say prayers and she would jump out of bed, run across the hall into the nursery, and stand by the crib saying “Nighty night.” She just doesn’t understand what we are doing here. I was so surprised that I literally had to take a step back, spend time over the next few days devising a new transition plan and will be attempting it next week. So that’s how that’s going. Here she is “pretending” to sleep in Ruby’s bed with her.


I’m feeling good – doing a lot of walking at the zoo and thankful that the weather is finally nice enough to get outside each day with the girls. Here are a few recent pics from the zoo!IMG_0799 IMG_0800

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