Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Happy 4th Birthday my little one!

Sweet Clare, you are so incredibly big and I am so incredibly proud of the little girl you are!  You are such a bright light to everyone you meet and you bring so much joy into our home!
Your sweet laugh is so infectious and your energy and zest for life warms my heart! 

I cannot believe you started school this year and put an end to your years just hanging at home with mommy.  I love seeing your excitement for making friends, learning new things and the freedom you have with the short days you are at school. Your confidence is something that brings me great joy!

I am so excited about the year ahead and all God has in store for your little life, but my heart wants you to stay right in your sweet, innocent, 4 year old self so you do not have to grow and face the troubles this world offers. 

I love the way you are a big sister to Elle and though you would never admit it, she is already your very best friend.  My prayer is the two of you learn to trust each other and lean on each other in every situation life throws at you.  The two of you bring out such happiness in each other and your laughter together is the best noise in our home.

Thank you sweet girl for allowing me to be your mommy, even on days I'm not so good at it.

Thank you for teaching me that God's grace is perfect and that in him no perfection is needed.  You and I are two peas in a pod and cut from the same mold.  I have no doubt that difficult days lie ahead only because we are so similar.

But one thing is certain.  You will always be my sweet little girl and I will always love you with all of my heart.

I love you sweet Clare!  Happy Birthday! xo

Out wildest adventure yet!

I truly cannot believe we did it.  On Friday morning we woke the girls up at 5:30.  (Actually, true story, Clare woke up at 4:30 crying because she could not understand why we had not started our adventure yet.)  But...at 6am our car was loaded and we were off for a whirlwind trip!!!
Clare rode in the way back of the van by herself and I rode in the middle, which we decided made traveling so much better on everyone.

When we finally stopped for lunch at the park Elle was out cold...of course!

And when we got to my parents around 5:30pm we fit a LOT into our Friday evening.  My dad had the tractor all ready for a ride around the farm.

And it is a perfect time of year in Michigan.  The trees are just beginning to change color, but you don't need more than a light jacket to be outside.

Then before we ate dinner we had to get in a little fishing.

Notice Clare's car hair do.  Her hair is always a HUGE knot after riding for hours in the car and I didn't even attempt fixing it before bed.

Elle and Clare both love being outside at Grammie and Papa's, but this picture is just a perfect picture of fall in Michigan.

Daddy helped Elle catch her first fish.  They honestly cast and within 2 minutes got a fish, which made it perfect for my very busy little girl.

AND...oh my heavens...best treat of the trip!! My parents have a barn cat and this is her second litter.  She actually brings my parents a kitten and drops it on the porch when she has them and they are a few weeks old.  So my parents keep them in the bathroom and every morning "mama cat" (which is really the name they gave her) comes in, feeds the kittens and goes back outside til night, when she comes in to feed them one more time.  It's crazy!!  These 5 kittens are 4 weeks old and ready to be given away, but since we were coming to town my mom kept them for the weekend.  They were a HUGE hit!

After a good nights rest we had a princess party to get ready for.  Saturday morning we had both mine and LD's families over to my parents for a joint birthday party for the girls.

There were about 25 of us, with a few missing in our immediate combined families.  I always grew up having a family birthday party until the year we moved to Charlotte.  I LOVED the my girls got to have a birthday party with their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

Jayden brought his little jeep, and....

my mom borrowed one from a friend!  Notice Elle isn't wearing her princess dress.  Saturday morning I tried to put jeans on Clare and she cried because girls don't wear jeans to parties.  So, we gave them their princess dresses and within minutes Elle was begging to get hers off. Yes, they are very different :)

My mom and cousin Emily also made this awesome castle.  It was too chilly to play outside in it or eat lunch, but I'm sure my mom will hold onto it for summer.  It was so cute!

Here are all the grandkids minus my nephew Matt, who had homecoming.

This sweet little kitten Clare named Izzy just like our neighbor cat and he was my favorite too.  He would just snuggle and let you hold him...so sweet.
Saturday night, LD and his dad headed to the Michigan vs. Notre Dame game, which made a late and disappointing night for them with Michigan's loss.

THEN (are you tired yet???), Sunday morning the girls and I went to church with my dad, before heading to....

Yes, it was crazy, but it was so fun.  It was a 2 1/2 hour drive to Grand Rapids, but there were 18 of us that went and we had such a great time!!!

Each of the girls had a cousin close to their age go with us, which added to the fun!

And it was a great show!!

I cannot believe it, but Elle never batted an eye in the car, so it was her first official day with no nap what-so-ever and she really hung in there!

The next morning, we headed home bright and early!  I don't know that we will do many more crazy trips like that, but it really was such a great time!!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Kick off to fall!

LD and I decided this would be a perfect weekend to kick off fall with a fun activity, even though its been close to 85 every afternoon!  Next weekend we are heading to Michigan for a very big weekend, so spending a calm day as a family sounded perfect!
We started the day off with pumpkin waffles and apple cider syrup, and I have to admit, I was incredibly proud of my morning culinary skills!  They were a huge hit! 
Then we headed to Aw, Shucks! pumpkin patch and corn maze.  We haven't been there before, but had heard great things, and its only about 20 minutes from our house.

Since it has just opened yesterday it looks like we were the only ones there and that is pretty close to accurate.  There were not many people and at all and it ended up being a great time!

Clare got to pick our first activity and chose a hay ride, which was Elle's very first hay ride!

We were the only ones on the ride and took the time to grab some pics.

I am always complaining that I am never in pics with the girls since I am always the one holding the camera, so I made sure we got some today!!

And of course some with daddy too!!

Next stop, the animal barn

where we fed all sorts of little farm animals.

As expected Elle was much less fearful of the animals than Clare.  Notice her, "I'm really not so sure about this face."

I was really excited for the corn maze, but it was HUGE.  Six acres and a super complicated maze.

So even though we started off great, it only was a matter of minutes before the girls were really over it.  LD did a great job of keeping out hike short, so we got the experience but didn't have complete meltdowns.
The little hike really wore the girls out.  They were exhausted! (side note: I want these swings at my house!!)
We had a yummy picnic lunch before we headed on to do more exploring!

This is one of the coolest slides I have ever seen.  Clare walked right up, no big deal, but by time she got to the bottom her eyes were so wide and she kept saying "I really don't want to do that again."  LD went down with Elle, who immediately jumped up and said "AGAIN!"

There were all sorts of unique, but simple things to play on like hay bales,

and tree stumps!

And there was a really tall tree house.  Clare was such a great big sister walking Elle up so she could play too!

I wasn't too thrilled of the tree house with Elle up there, so it was a quick play time before we moved on.

We had such a fun family day at Aw Shucks, and I have no doubt we will visit again before the end of the season!  Of course the day was ended with a Michigan football victory, dinner and a trip to Cook-out for ice cream.  Love, love, love these great Saturdays!!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

What are little boys made of?

Yesterday was a big day in our household!!  I hit the halfway point in my pregnancy, my mom had a special birthday and...we found out the gender of our third sweet child!!! 

I have been very anxious about this appointment for one big reason: I was really struggling to feel much movement from this baby.  At 15 and 17 weeks I felt the girls move and all of my preggo friends were feeling their babies, and I didn't have much, if anything, to work with!  At night I would drink a big glass of cranberry juice and just wait...nothing!  Of course I had worked myself into a little bit of an anxious mess and was just ready to see our sweet child!

LD had also convinced himself 100% that it was a girl and I knew 100% that it was a boy!  LD guessed the first two pregnancies right and was very confident, and I was the one who wouldn't commit to my "gut."  This time, I just knew it was a little boy!

Within seconds of the nurse pulling up his little picture she knew it was a boy :)  And we got some great profile pics and pics of him sucking his thumb.  But above all...HE IS HEALTHY!!

I have a frontal placenta, just meaning the placenta is between my belly and my sweet son, so there is extra padding causing me not to feel much.  The nurse assured me I will feel more as he grows.

Yesterday was an extremely happy day.  The girls are thrilled about having a brother and I am so excited to begin cleaning out all my girl clothes and passing them along to friends, so I will be able to fill a closet with blue!

My heart is so incredibly full and I am in awe of another sweet miracle God provided to our family!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


I have no desire to be a complete and utter sap about how big my little baby has gotten and all the other cliques about the first day of school....but seriously....there is just no fighting it!!  Clare will be four at the end of this month, but due to her late birthday she is in a 3 year old class...which I love.  That said, she was BEYOND ready for this day to arrive. 
As you can tell she was all smiles as soon as she opened her eyes this morning!  It helps a ton that she is going to preschool at our church and knows a lot of the staff.  I mean, she talked non-stop about what she was going to do on her first day!

If I wasn't working so hard to get us all out the door by 8:30, I may have been a little more teary eyed, but it is a lot of work and there was no time to spare!  My mom had bought Elle a sweet little backpack and she was so excited to wear her new backpack to school too.

Clare kept telling Elle to get out of her pictures because she was not going to school...you know, sweet sister stuff!  Clare will go 9 - 1 Tuesday-Thursday.  That is TWELVE hours a week.  That is a lot of time away from her mama!!

She looked so sweet in her larger than life backpack :)

Jayden and Lelia are old pros at preschool and in the four year old class.  But it was so fun to see sweet friends heading into school too!

And that was it.  A quick good bye hug and kiss and away she went!  She had a wonderful first day, and talked the whole way home about how after one more night, she needed to do it again.

And then me and this little peanut got in the car and I thought...ONE?!? I only have one baby!!  Elle rode around in Clare's car seat instead of her own and read Clare's books in the car.  She knows exactly how this thing works. I have 5 months to spoil this sweet soon to be middle child before she is no longer my only child on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings.
As if today was not exciting enough, tomorrow we find out if a boy or girl is joining the Jackson clan.  I mean how much can this mama take in two days?!?