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

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

Give me just a minute to have a good cry.

…ok, I’m back.


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

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

Daddy and I love you so much.
Heart, Mama


First visit to DISNEY! | Spring Break 2015

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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



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


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


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


This is how everyone really felt.


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


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


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


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

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Backyard Happiness | Spring Break 2015


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


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


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

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

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Clara loves her Aunt Tracy.


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


On Driving to Far Away Places. | Spring Break 2015

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

Dear internet, please don’t ever go away.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Blogging Shenanigans

I thought the internet was endless, but my hopes were recently dashed to bits. Apparently I have blogged more than is humanly allowed. WordPress won’t let me add any new pictures until I pay them for more space or delete pictures from previous posts. I’m not happy with either of those options, so I just wanted you to know why I’ve been missing from the blogosphere for the last couple of weeks. Hoping to figure out a solution soon. Until then, if anyone has advice, I’d love to hear it.

(If I could, this is where I’d insert a photo of me making a sad face… )

(…and this is where I’d insert a picture of Ryan holding up a beautiful salmon he caught while fishing in Lake Michigan. It has nothing to do with this post, but I was so excited about his fish I can’t wait to tell you all about it.)

Remember when I used to make videos…

Yep, pretty much my video-making hobby completely stopped when I got my iPhone last September. Ironic, I know. You’d think all that technology would have made it even easier for me to make my movies, but alas, something was weird with my settings and I couldn’t get any footage to load into iMovie from my iPhone.

My friend Katie is a Mac Genius… literally – she came for a visit and fixed all my problems while she was here. Thanks to Katie there is a good chance I’ll have a few more videos on the ol’ blog again in the future.

Starting with this one!