Friday, September 28, 2012



These past two weeks have been FULL to the brim.  In some ways I love it….the fall fun, the activities, being busy with the kids.  There is also a part of me that craves normal weeks.  Five dinners cooked at home, long bubble baths, reading three books before bed, instead of ONLY two, or NO BOOKS just get your bum in bed.  I thrive in both spaces, but lately things have just been really, really busy.  I am headed off for a girls weekend tomorrow, and after that I think things will slow down a bit….maybe….

Bradley and I went on his school field trip yesterday to the apple orchard.  This is our picture from the hay ride.  He is adjusting much better to school, finding his rhythm, making new friends, and seems quite happy.

He is blossoming before our eyes.  Last night we were able to take some extra time with bedtime stories.  He wanted to read with Ellie first and then read some books in his room too.  We said no problem.  I had picked out “Ten Apples Up On Top” by Dr Suess to read with Ellie.  He got all excited and said, “I can read this book mommy.”  Chris and I just looked at each other.  I have seen lots of kids learn how to read, as a first grade teacher.  Bradley has been reading short, little books.  But, he sat down on the bed and read the book almost the whole way through.  Chris and I were floored.  I just kept looking from Chris to Bradley and saying, “Can you believe this.” 

Amazing little man.  I love you!


We got to go see “The Fresh Beat Band” this week.  AMAZING!!  More of than coming later, but I am in the process now of putting together Fresh Beat Band Costumes for Halloween.  Can we say, excited???!!


Both girls have had nasty, nasty sinus infections.  Yummy green stuff dripping down for days.  Of course our pediatrician is out of town, so we had to go to Urgent Care.  It took forever, Grace played on the yucky floor for over an hour and half while we waited on docs and prescriptions.  Fun times.

They are both better now.  I guess it was worth it.


I got the chance last week to go to karaoke with some fun ladies from the neighborhood.  Things got a bit wild and crazy, so I will stick with the posed pictures for the blog.  It was a great, great night.


Brandi even brought some of her kids instruments from home to liven things up.  hilarious!!


Chris has been working like crazy the past week to finish up our cubby area.  I dreamed it up and he made it happen.  One side a cork board wall, the other is a magnetic, chalkboard wall.  It turned out great!  The cork board side will be used to hang up all of the kids projects from school.  The magnetic chalkboard will be a calendar on the top and a place for the kids to play or draw on the bottom. 


Speaking of Chris, I think he is working for father of the year lately.  He has been awesome about helping me with projects around the house.  Letting me go to a girls weekend this weekend, and to JAMAICA for five days in November with Cali!!!!!!!!!  (more on that later!)

He came with me on Ellie’s Field trip to the apple orchard.  It was so much fun, and so neat to see her playing around with her little buddies from school.  It was great to have him there, because the apples are on a mountain and it is definitely not kid friendly when you have two little ones.  I almost fell down the mountain while carrying Grace in the Ergo.  Ellie had a ball though.


In other fun news, I bought a new fangled sewing machine.  You know I have been using my grandma’s old 1950s Singer for two years now.  I have made curtains, pillows, and pretty much anything else that just needs to sew in a straight line.  I am so excited about the sewing machine and I have been staying up late to make these this week…


I didn’t even take pictures of my projects, just these horrible iPhone pics to send them to my mom.  I will show you them in better lighting soon, but I am SO thrilled to have a real, live sewing machine.  The possibilities for projects are endless, get ready for some crafty, craftiness coming soon!!!

That was a lot of stuff smashed into one post.  Kind of feels like my life right now!  Love, Clare

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I Love You Little One


All of these pictures were taken by Amy Benoit, an amazing photographer in our area.  Please visit her here!

You are my little-ist one with the sparkling blue eyes.  You have truly blessed our home in so many ways.  I have tried to capture the moments, love on you, sing to you before bed, and just try to be the best mama to you that I can.  It is hard with two other siblings running around, calling for me, and needing me too. 


I hope you know how truly special you are to Daddy and I.  We could never of dreamed that a baby so sweet and so perfect would be a part of our family.  See a long time ago I prayed for you, I cried for you before I even met you.  You were wanted 1,000 times over.  Four years ago when our home just had one little boy, all I wanted was a sibling for him.  A brother or a sister to play with, laugh and giggle with, and drive him crazy all at the same time.  I wanted a second chance to be a mommy, nurse a baby, and feel little feet kicking me throughout the night.  Now looking back on those prayers I can see that they were answered.  Answered beyond belief.  I would never of thought four years ago that  Bradley would have one little sister, let along two little sisters to play with, laugh and giggle with, and drive him crazy too!

Sometimes I still get the chills at night when I flip through the baby monitor, clicking on the picture of each bedroom and checking on each child.  Chris and I are always laughing at the funny way you all are sleeping, on your sides, on your bellies, pacis hanging this way and that, or stuck under your necks, little feet wedged up next to the crib bumper, peaceful bellies rising up and down.  All of you are here.  In our home.  Healthy and safe.  How did I get so lucky?? 


Your little personality is unfolding day by day.  You are unsure of strangers right now, anyone other than mommy isn’t good enough.  I am sure that will change with time, but you have given a few babysitters a run for their money lately.  You have taken to crying so hard when Daddy and I go out to dinner that you throw up your bottle all over your bedroom, or cry for 45 minutes after the babysitter puts you down for bed.  Your strong will is starting to show itself.  The sweet nursery workers had to come and get me out of church because you were inconsolable.  Even though your big sister is playing right next to you…you are not. going. to. have. it. 

Between you and Bradley I have a full plate of crying, whining, siblings. 


Good thing I am so in love with all of you!  I know these struggles will pass and we will be moving onto the next phase soon enough.  It is also kind of sweet to see your crying suddenly stop and your face light up the second I come back for you.  I’m not going to lie.


You seem to be in such a hurry to grow up.  You already have more teeth than your older siblings combined at this age.  Four on the top and four on the bottom!!  Every time I turn around you have another tooth popping through.  You were playing with Daddy’s foot the other day and bit down on his toe so hard.  We better watch out for those chompers! 

You have been “army crawling” for months, and I thought you were going to try to “really crawl” this summer.  You surprised me by just rocking back and forth for days on end, but continuing to army crawl even into the fall.  Luckily for me you aren’t the fastest crawler, and it is easy for me to keep an eye on you.  Just this week, at almost 11 months you started to pull up on everything.  Your toys, the tables, the couch, and lots of things that can’t hold you.  I have heard you bonk your head from the other room, and I come running in to find you upside down, crying, and wondering what just happened?!


You love…

your family

your big brother, you laugh, giggle, and stare at him the second he enters the room

your big sister, she visits you after each nap, helps me “wake you up” and is showing you the ropes

your paci

sleeping on your belly

shoes, shoes, and more shoes, you will crawl from across the room to get your little fingers on a nice pair of sneakers, rain boots, or anything with some laces, it is hilarious!

getting into the kitchen cabinets and pulling out the dishes (what baby doesn’t love this?)

swinging on the swing set

chewing on your toes

cottage cheese, grilled cheese, Cheerios, French fries, and all of the other forbidden foods that I didn’t give Bradley and Ellie at your age

getting carried around the house on my hip while I clean up, put away, or do chores…you are really good at overseeing these tasks

chasing balls around the house

playing with random objects, cardboard boxes, paper towel tubes, spoons, pretty much anything that isn’t a toy will keep you entertained

hearing your lullaby at night before bed, the moment I break out in song you start smiling

I love you little one


I guess it seems only fitting that after three children I should finally do a photo shoot with one of them.  I will forever treasure these pictures that the AMAZINGLY talented photographer Amy Benoit took in August.  It is so special to have these pictures of Grace and pictures of us together.  I am always behind the lens snapping away, and these pictures are so magical.  Thank you Amy!!


What more can I say to you little one.  I am in disbelief that we are planning your first birthday.  I have little pangs of guilt for not capturing enough of the moments from your first year.  I hope you will forgive me, I was one busy lady.  I keep thinking back to last fall, and all of our preparations for your arrival, and now it is hard to imagine you not a part of our family.

I love you little Grace.  I loved you before you were mine, thank you for letting me be your mama.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

School Round Two

I am happy to report that all is well in our little world.  Bradley is super happy at school now.  He proudly announced to his buddy on the bus that he wasn’t crying anymore because he “liked school and he liked his parents too.”  After two weeks of meltdowns I am so happy that we have turned the corner.  Bradley likes structure, order, and knowing what’s ahead.  He takes pleasure in telling us Sunday night, that Monday is “Art and PE at school.  I love Art mom!”  “Tuesday, I head to the library”  I hear him chanting out his schedule each night.  I think this gives him comfort and allows him to be excited for the next day. 


Now this little mama is fearless, fancy free, and doesn’t have a concern about leaving home with or without me.  She started preschool this fall too!  I have been so wrapped up in Bradley’s worries that I haven’t even mentioned how adorable her first day was, and her excitement about being in “MS GRETCHEN’S CLASS!!!!!”  That is pretty much how she says it, all while throwing her fist up in the air and waving it around for punctuate her happiness.  She has also been going to drop off and pick up Bradley for two years, so she is pretty confident with the preschool.


No worries here.  Just happiness, smiles, and giddy about carrying a backpack.  She looks so grown up, but I know she is still just a babe.  Preschool wears her out, she comes home either quiet as a mouse, or tantrum like a crazy girl, wolfs down enormous amounts of food, and then begs to “go night night.” 


She requested that I take a picture of her new backpack on the first day.  This little girl has been around the block, she knows how to do the first day of school rituals.  Then it was off to find her teacher and class out on the playground.  Could the sandbox be any bigger?  She has had to have a quick shower almost every day because I find sand in every crevice of her body.  Her teacher said that she was taking the shovel and dumping sand on her head on the first day.  That’s a good way to make friends Ellie!!  Go girl!


The littlest baby is turning ONE next month.  I really can’t wrap my head around it!  She is pulling up on everything, but much more to come on her later!

I’m off to order some first birthday invites!!  Love, Clare

Sunday, September 9, 2012

From the Homefront


We have survived the first two weeks of school.  The tears are slowly starting to dry up, new friends are being mentioned at the dinner table, and I think that we might actually be beginning to “like” school.  I found these adorable free printables for lunch box notes online and printed them out.  I have been putting different ones in his lunch box each day.  A lot of times he gets off the bus and hands them to me.  He carries them around after lunch to make him feel better.

Oh I love this little boy.  I hope his love for his family and his two adoring little sisters never wanes.


As a little reward he came home the first week of school to find some new angry bird toys on his placemat.  He has been overly excited about them and sleeping with them at night.  Good work mommy, they were a hit!  The second week of school he got on the bus Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday without ANY tears!  We were so so proud of him.  The girls and I visited him for lunch and brought him some of his favorite Oreo cookies to surprise him.  He seemed so happy, sitting with his buddies.  He introduced me to them and they were all excited to meet his sisters.  They seemed like a great little group of kids.


I am still trying to wrap my brain around the amount of prep work I do daily now that school is in full swing.  Not only getting dinner fixed and cleaned up (which is a huge daily chore).  But now I have the added lunch box packing, preschool prepping, and work out preparing to do nightly.  It sure does make for a busy week.  Cleaning out the lunch box, checking the backpack, signing, completing, and returning papers.  I can only imagine the amount of time I will have to dedicate to this chore when all three children are in school. 

I have learned that good evening prep makes for a much, much smoother morning routine!


The lunches are shoved in the frig, Bradley and Chris’, along with my water for the gym.  Anything I can do to make my morning faster is a good plan!

The weather is absolutely gorgeous here, it is really beginning to feel like fall.  I can’t wait to enjoy it with the kids, lots of playing outside is in store for us!  Love, Clare

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Rough Start


Well to say that Kindergarten got off to a rough start would be an underestimate.  We have had LOTS and LOTS of tears this past week!  Talk about ripping out Mommy’s heart!

Bradley was very excited the first day of school, but as the second full week of school wore on he became more and more tired, whiny, and weepy.

Tuesday night I got an email from his teacher that he walked into the classroom and started bawling.  And he had other crying fits throughout the day.  We wrote back and forth about some different ideas to help with the transition and we are currently trying some things at home to make it better for everyone.

Wednesday we seemed to make a bit of progress, but Thursday morning was absolute torture.  While we were waiting for the bus at the bus stop, he could see the bus coming through the neighborhood and Bradley slowly started to panic.  He was crying so hard that we were worried that we were going to have a full on backlash about getting on the bus.  He got on.  Barely.


The tears don’t seem to be related to riding the bus, he has a little bus buddy and he loves the bus.  He has said that he feels like the days are REALLY long (which I am sure it feels that way), and that he misses us terribly.  He feels like I am still home with Ellie and Gracie and he wishes he was home with us too.  He wants me to come to lunch, pick him up for lunch like last year, and come home for the afternoon.  Basically he wants to stay in preschool.  I don’t blame him.  I do too buddy. 

Growing pains are never easy, and this little guy is just such a home body that it has been rough.  I have been trying to pack awesome and fun lunches with little surprises for him, notes from home, and fun things.  I also gave him a little heart rock that he holds when he is feeling sad. 

He seems excited for school this week.  He says it is only four days and he will be fine.  Ummm, we have about 170 left.  Let’s hope it gets better from here.  Ellie starts preschool this week, so I think that will help.  The routine will set in and he will adjust to the longer days.  For now I will be positive, pack fun lunches, write silly notes, and keep praying that it will work itself out.  I also wanted to forever remember these moments, especially when he is 16 and doesn’t ever come home and our conversations consist of grunts and groans. 

DSC_0526  He has such a kind and tender heart, I hope that never changes.  I love you little boy.  You will get through this and learn to love school.  I promise!

Fitness Journey Update!!!


On a totally different note I have been working out so much and running A LOT.  I have been looking around for some different races in my town that might interest me this fall or next spring.  I was just feeling like I needed a goal or something to work towards.  Especially with my running.  So, I am going to sign up for three different races in the next six months….

Real Girls Run 10K on October 6th ~  I am so excited about this first race, all women, flat course, and a chance to try out a race again, the first time in many, many years!!!

Boars Head Inn Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day 5K ~  Chris and I are going to run in this together…well I am going to run it, and he is going to push the kids in the stroller.  We’ll see how it turns out!  I would love to make it a little family tradition though!

Charlottesville Half Marathon on April 6th 2013 ~  I am SO SO excited about this race too!  I have suckered Cali and Kim to run with me!!  It just feels great to get some new fitness goals.

So in the spirit of running I decided I would run for 90 minutes this weekend jus to see what my pace was like and how my endurance was.  I felt great!!  The first part of the run was through the rain and I thought I was going to get rained out, but then it cleared up.  Here are my splits from Run Keeper:

Mile Pace
1 9:05
2 9:15
3 8:06
4 9:05
5 9:11
6 9:26
7 9:08
8 9:41
9 9:53
10 9:43

My pace definitely dropped of in miles 8-10, but hopefully with some training I can bring it closer to a 9 minute mile throughout!! 

Happy Monday!!