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.


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
  • 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


  • 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 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.


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.

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.


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?


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

Ruby Dawn is 4 Years Old!


4 years ago, a tiny little girl named Ruby changed our lives forever! I can’t believe how quickly 4 years have passed and how much life she has lived already. I’m so thankful I get to be her mama and so excited for the joy, light and happiness she brings to everyone she encounters. We started the tradition of recoding a birthday interview last year when Ruby turned 3. Here’s Ruby’s 4-year old Birthday Interview

Here are a few recent Rubyisms:

  • “Did you know this is enchanted dinosaur food, Mommy?”
  • “Do you like that chicken daddy? Do you like it really much?”
  • While looking VERY closely into my eyes, “Mommy! I can see myself in your eyes! Your eyes are like a mirror!”
  • Ryan’s proudest moment as a gastroenterologist and a father was the other day when Ruby mentioned a symptom and 2 medications from the bathroom. “Mommy, my poop didn’t hurt! Did you put some miralax in my pediasure?
  • “When we are in Heaven, we are going to be with Jesus ALL NIGHT!!!”
  • “girls, girls, girls.” She said this to a group of my friends at SideBySide who were all laughing and talking together the same way I say it to Ruby and Clara when they’re acting too silly and need to calm down.”

Clara’s 2nd Birthday

IMG_1250May 5th we celebrated our little Clara girl’s 2nd birthday. I can’t believe how fast the first 2 years of her life flew by. She came into this world a bit skeptical…IMG_1234

…but with every passing year she has become a silly, giggly, joyful, mischievous, caring little person. IMG_1236

Her birthday started with a whole bag of balloons. I spent three nap-times before her birthday in my closet, secretly blowing up balloons. When she came downstairs for breakfast the morning of her birthday, she was SO EXCITED about the balloons.IMG_1244

Ruby and I sang the Happy Birthday song to Clara a few times, and she would sing it back to herself, “Happy You You You You!” She sang it all day. When Ryan came home from being on call we had cupcakes and opened gifts. Here she is at the end of the day watching Milo and Otis, wearing her new fish glasses, sitting on her new potty with her new dolly, next to her new sleeping bag. This picture pretty much sums up the birthday shenanigans.IMG_1274

A few more things about Clara: The other day we were sitting on the porch while a thunderstorm rolled in. This was her face listening to thunder.IMG_1280

She has been saying a lot lately – and I can understand about 70% of it! Once she gets excited it’s harder to understand her because she talks so fast and has so much to say all at once. Here are some Claraisms:

  • “I’m all done Mommy.” (already climbing out of the bath when she still has shampoo in her hair. She always says she’s all done before she actually is.)
  • “See ya later! Bye! See ya! Bye! See ya later! Bye!” (while waving with both hands.)
  • “Paci! Blankie! Lambie! Glasses!” (These are the items she hoards on long car rides. If any one of these items is missing, it’s a bad situation for everyone in the car.)
  • “See the kids?” (whenever we are going to church, side-by-side, or the Y)
  • “Daddy’s car!” (she is always so excited when Ryan comes home)
  • “Here I come Beebee!” (she still calls Ruby “Beebee”)
  • “BALLOONS!! PLAYPLACE!! ZOOOOO!!” (depending on where we are going each day.)
  • She is super ticklish and loves playing chasing games, hide and seek, and spinning in circles until she falls down.
  • Her favorite shows are Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Max and Ruby, and Bubble Guppies. She sings along with all the theme songs.
  • She loves to play with whatever Ruby is currently playing with… which causes many sisterly disputes. Clara enjoys getting a rise out of Ruby and Ruby enjoys getting Clara in trouble, which is why we’ve been doing some “double time-outs” lately.IMG_1288

I love you Clara Girl. I’m so thankful I get to be your mommy. “Happy You You You You!”IMG_1214

Clara’s First Birthday

Our precious Clara Dawn turned 1 on May 5th. We were in Grand Rapids for the weekend and got to celebrate her first year of life with the Cox family. Here she is being a sweetie to her Nana.

Clara is the sweetest little babe. She laughs and smiles and loves getting tickled. I can’t even wipe her chin off after meals without her thinking I’m trying to tickle her neck. It’s so funny. She has a sing-songy little voice that calls out to her “dada” whenever she hears the front door of our house open. She kicks her legs and gets super excited about everything from music to food to Ruby coming into sight. She loves music and bops around to any song she hears. She can point to her nose and head and finds other people’s noses quite interesting as well. My favorite thing is going into her room in the mornings and after naps to get her out of her crib. She goes nuts with happiness. I need to get a video of it soon because it’s just so great.

Back to her birthday party! After opening some gifts (with plenty of help from her sister) she got to indulge in her first piece of cake. Let’s just say there wasn’t a single crumble left on her tray.

Let’s just say there wasn’t a single crumble left on her tray.

Immediately following the last bite, the sugar buzz began and she started laughing, squealing, pounding her hands on her tray and kicking her legs. It was a good thing she was buckled into her seat!






We love you Clara Beara and are blessed by your life everyday. I love being your Mama and I love seeing you becoming the little person who God created you to be.

Happy Birthday Aaron!

Today my little brother turns 30! He’s an amazingly incredible man, and has been an incredible brother and friend to me since we were tots.

I love you Aaron and I’m so thankful that I got to “grow up” with you and be your sister, I’m thankful that Ryan gets to be your brother-in-law and I’m thankful that Ruby and Clara get to have you as their Uncle. I couldn’t be prouder. Also, you’re a really great fisherman/outdoorsman/hunter/field expert/adventurer.