Logsdons Blog

Learning As We Grow

   Mar 15

Clara’s New Spelling Word!

Already breezing through March, so time for another family update.  The girls made some rockin Valentines for their classmates – Clara signed every one and put her friends names on them – she loves to write!  I found the idea on Pinterest…and apparently a few other moms at school did, too!
Grammy and Poppa D got the girls some cute valentines blankets and pillows – they love them!
I think last time I wrote about Pfunky Griddle and taking Clara there…so we had to have a special Ellie date as well – this place is great!
Clara also went on another lunch date with me to visit with Carla.  Carla got a kick out of the menu Clara chose to browse through. 
This is about the extent of winter here in Nashville.  As I’m writing this, it’s sunny and 63 degrees out.  Not much of a winter, and I’m not complaining!
Love this shot of Ellie at Dragon Park!
Oh, the tunnel.  This is at Dragon Park as well, and I love Clara’s song:
Yay!  They found another tunnel!  (This one was a tad too small for them to climb in – too many spiders!
What is it about dads and always having to try for that elusive toy in these things?  I remember my Daddy doing the same thing for me!
On another awesome Daddy night, we made the brilliant decision to bypass dinner altogether and simply go to Sweet CeCe’s since we were in Franklin and had a Groupon. Smart move number two, since the first one entailed leaving the diaper bag of our “mostly” potty-trained daughter at home. Here is the result:
This is Mars, Jupiter and the Moon.  Incredible.
And this, my friends, is trampoline static.
Here’s little Ellie-belly, doing what she does best – entertaining everyone around her:
Nathan was laying on the floor the other day, thinking the girls were lovingly scratching his back.  He had no clue they had markers in their hands.  Brilliant.
Speaking of brilliant, here are a few Clara quotes:
Clara: “I want to be a mommy when I grow up”
Me: Oh really?  Do you want lots of babies?
Clara: “No, I don’t want any kids.  It’s just that mommies never get into trouble.”
This one was related by Grammy:
“Grammy, boys are like dogs.  They both have tails.  But dogs have tails in the back, and boys have them in the front.  And some of them are longer than others.”  (this could be concerning…however, she may have been thinking of an early morning Daddy with boxers on vs. a “normal” daddy.  Awkward). 
Moving on…  homemade strawberry muffins and hot chocolate..yum.  Stinkin Betty Crocker, I am.  
Speaking of Betty Crocker, I just have to share these.  These are by far the best brownies I’ve ever tasted.  I’m in heaven:

Papa reading to the girls…
Clara doing her diva thing.
These are when Clara gets ahold of the camera – I love the pictures she ends up taking.  And no, I don’t love the amount of drawing/glitter on the table (thank you, Ellie).
See her little reflection in the mirror?
I think last month I talked about the incredible Dorsey McHugh and the art class Clara, YiaYia and I am taking with her.  Here is  my final first painting – I laid it out so you can see the process…it was so much fun, and I simply created it as I went.  The final painting has glitter and gemstones on it – so fun!  I just completed another one for baby Angaza….can’t wait to share!
Clara has decided she wants to be an artist when she grows up.  However, she already is!
Here is what she wrote about her pictures:
The top one with the flowers:
I like flowers, and the colors are rain colors so I made them the rain. There’s a puddle because the rains make puddles.  The vase is full of water.  I wrote “mommy” because it’s her picture – from me to her. I like the picture and I like my mommy.  That’s why it’s for her.  I mixed the colors because I watched the other grownups and I tried it.”

(yes, I melted a little when she did this picture)
And the bottom unicorn picture:
The name of this picture is “Princessland.” It has a unicorn, a tree, the sun, a sky, and sparkles.  When you touch a unicorn’s head and make a wish, the wish comes true.  I like this because we can make our best wishes come true.”

I got my picture in the show as well:
This is my first painting with Dorsey McHugh, and it developed unlike any other. With Dorsey, the focus wasn’t on painting an exact image; it was about truly feeling the process.  When I started, I imagined a daylight picture filled with poppies and my little girls playing in the field.  As I “felt” the paint and the process, the moonlit sky and the whimsical features became more and more prominent.  This painting was incredibly freeing to do, as I let my mind wander and painted out of pure calm enjoyment vs. trying to accomplish a certain vision.  My daughter, Clara, helped me decide on the “fairy wings” and created a dialogue of what she and her sister are saying.  She helped me with colored dyes to stain the pink dresses.  The gemstones really made the picture come to life for both of us!

Out of it came something that, to me, is magical.  It’s the beauty of the moonlight, the fantasies of children, and the whimsy of nature being something more magical than merely a bush or field.  When the full moon is out, “Enchantment” happens. 
 YiaYia has two incredible pieces in it as well – I am amazed at her paintings, especially her “Africa” ones – I love them!  And, by the way, I am WAY proud of my Mama – she has lost 33 pounds so far and is looking (and feeling) better than ever!
For Valentine’s day, we got a free entree if we kissed at Qdoba.  Hey, we kiss anyway, why not get free food while we’re at it!
And last but not least, here is the latest (and greatest) of the goings-on in the Logsdon home:

   Feb 09

Artsy Fartsy, Radnor Lake, and 5Ks

January has been a busy month (what month isn’t these days?)  The girls are growing and so much fun.  Ellie is officially potty-trained (yay)…that is said loosely, since she’s decided that when she does poop in her diaper at naptime, the decent thing is to take her diaper off.  Poop and all.  If it’s hidden under blankets, pillows, and lovies, no one sees it and she’s clean, right?  Riiiiiight.  We curbed that issue quickly.
Clara loves her weekly art class with YiaYia and is so proud of her creations – 

We got a membership to the Adventure Science Center, and the favorite room is the shadow room – you pose against a wall and it takes a picture of your shadow!

Here are some fun mobile photos I’ve taken lately.  Clara is pointing out where Crunkles Jared, Auntie Ilea, and Francois are living…we  miss them!
My little Diva – always accessorizing.

Sometimes with whatever “accessory” is lying around…

Sweet Clara cuddling with me.  Tonight, we were sitting at dinner and she said “People are like Matryoshka dolls.  You have a baby, and that baby can grow up and have a baby.  Do you think we are God’s Matroyshka dolls?”  Wow – she is incredible.  

The girls play beautifully together most of the time.  Unfortunately, below is how well they play together.  Insert chaos.  Thank God our house is so small – it’s easy to clean!

Clara is all about writing lately – she loves to copy letters and draw us little notes – I hate to throw any away!  My ultra crafty side wants to take a picture of it all and compile it in a scrapbook.  Maybe?

We went on a walk to Radnor lake with Uncle Clay – had a great time, and Clara posed all along the way for pictures so we can write a book/story about her adventures.

They found owl scat.  And dissected it to get all the mouse bones.  Which are now in a jar tucked away in a far corner in Clara’s closet in hopes I never have to touch them. 

 Back to art, Clara, YiaYia and I are taking art classes by an absolutely fantabulous painter, Dorsey McHugh.  Even her name sounds fancy!  I adore her – she captures the essence of creativity – that it’s not about “right” and “wrong” but about grasping the true heart of your soul and laying it out on canvas (or plywood, or anything else you want).  It’s been so freeing to be in her class and just play with ideas.  I’ve been working on the same painting for so long now – each time I go I get a different idea for what to do with it.  You have got to check out her website – the first picture on the site I love…and it’s all out of paper!   Her artwork is gorgeous – and you can tell she has so much fun with her creations!
There are little gemstones in the stars – how fun is that?

I need to take some more pictures of all the things Clara has painted.  Today she painted “Pixie Hollow”.  She paints at least one canvas painting each week, and then spends the rest of her time making little notes for Mom and me.  She told me today that she really is an “artist.”  I agree 100%!

Nathan and I have found the place to take the girls when it’s cold and rainy.  We love going to the Opryland Hotel and it’s so nice and clean since it’s been renovated!

As you can see here, once again, poor Ellie faceplanted and her nose got the brunt of the hit.  I swear, if this child isn’t scabbed over, she has a concussion.  (Which, by the way, she DID just recover from.   A 10-lb piggy bank fell on her head.  Spent the night throwing up and then was a-ok, but freaked us out quite a bit!)

Can this girl be any cuter?  Reminds me of this blog post by my favorite funny blogger.  Some ages are easy to get pictures of.  Ellie is never still for a picture.  While you’re at it, you’ll have to read this one.  This is SO CLARA. 

 Ellie wore these glasses for two straight days.  Love it.  Then they broke.  And extreme sadness ensued.

 We decided to run the Nashville Zoo Run-Run this year- it’s a 5k through the zoo – behind the scenes and throughout the zoo.  This year they brought in over $85,000 because of this 5k fundraiser!

Since costumes were encouraged, Nathan decided last minute to go as the “Gibbon Exhibit.”  It was a hoot – he won first place in the costume contest and got a $50 gift card to a sports store (he just said he needed new shoes – nice!)

Nathan finished in 27:22 and came in 24th in his category, and I finished at 27:29 and came in 10th in my category.  It was a tough one on us – went off-road running on gravel and poor Nathan pushing a double stroller the whole way!

The dinosaur in the background is for a new exhibit they are doing – it roared and scared the tar out of Clara right before this picture was taken.  

That’s out life for January…looking forward to sharing all kinds of fun things in February!

   Jan 14

Nothing like a little respite in Southern Georgia

Ahh, yes.  The sweetness of  a trip with no technology, just relaxation and FUN!  And, beautiful sunsets.
But first, I had a few leftover pictures from Christmas – in all the festivities, I didn’t include any from when we got to YiaYia and Papa’s on Christmas day.  As you can see here, it wasn’t just us that showed up.  There are over thirty turkeys that have taken up residence at Mom and Dad’s – Dad tends to “accidentally” spill corn out all over the ground around the bird feeders, and what started with two wild turkeys then became turkeys with babies, and now apparently everyone has gotten the memo and has set up camp on the Miller property.  They are so tame they literally will walk up to the front of the office doors and peck on the door for Dad to give them more food.
Mom’s big gift this year was a Wii from Dad and a Wii Fit from us.  She is melting away with Weight Watchers and looks (and feels) better than she has in years.  I’m so proud of her – she looks awesome, and is all about doing things like the Wii Fit to keep her energized. 

We had a Christmas meal with my Grandma Polly as well…and her boyfriend Bob joined us – still baffles me that she has a boyfriend, since she’s hated men for as long as I’ve been around, but they are a great pair!
The day after Christmas, we booked it down to the lakehouse in Fort Gaines, literally begging Grammy and Poppa D to join us and help with the kiddos.  So, so glad they did – we had a wonderful time doing nothing but relaxing and taking a break from technology and daily obligations. 

The very first thing the girls did was run down to the lake…and strip all their clothes off.  These are the ones before they got completely naked, but yes, I assure you, they were naked, and that water was not warm. 

Yes, those are mittens she’s wearing below.  I’ll say again, the lake water was not warm.

We visited with all the Colemans and got to meet cousin Scott’s firstborn, little Scott Daniel Coleman – baby Daniel was adorable and we all ooohed and aaaahed over him!

We also visited Aunt Carol and Aunt Arger – Aunt Arger was so delighted to see the girls and was doing really well despite her “youth”!

This picture is just classic.  I really can’t say much else.

Sweet Uncle Steve came out and helped with the fire.  We had done s’mores at the Coleman house the night before, and so us ladies talked about all meeting out in the woods for s’mores the next day.  The guys’ responsibility?  Bring s’mores fixins and get the fire going.  We arrived to no s’mores and no matches. Not the best campfire.  Thankfully, I put my mommy eyes on, walked right in the cabin and found the big can of matches right at eye level.  I guess it pays to be short – no one else looked low enough!

I’m about 99% sure the girls were “negotiating” about something in this picture…

 Kenya found a hole and almost disappeared in it.

Grammy loving on a very tired little girl!

This is some sort of blind Clay and Will made, and the girls loved playing in it – they played “house” a ton in it.  Their big thing right now is to call each other “mom.”  That’s typically the gist of it.  They go “mom?” “mom!” “moooooooom!” “aww, mom!”  Not annoying in the least, I swear.

Yes, Nathan actually taught Clara how to shoot – she exploded a can of beans on the second try.  I hate guns with a passion and have not been thrilled about it, however, the girls will know not only how to use a gun, but how to respect a gun and that is not a toy…so that’s good.  And she was a way better shot than I was.  And…she’s very clear that she will shoot cans, but never animals.  That’s my girl.

Admiring “baby Daniel” once again.  When Clara came home, she spent the night with YiaYia and found one of my old boy dolls – she instantly named him “Baby Daniel” and took care of him for a full day – so cute!

Nathan showing the girls what “fat lighter” is.

Clara is the best “pipe-rope walker” ever.  She made sure to let us know and show us on every. single. fallen. tree. This is the cat’s meow, though. Uncle John, this goes to you. When she is pipe-roping, make sure you call her “John Hubird”  

We had to ensure kids didn’t walk barefoot around this: This moss is pretty cool – and considering fairies dance on this stuff, Clara was in absolute heaven here.

Clara was very excited about taking this picture to show YiaYia – they are working on a fairy garden and this moss was just too cool.

Clara is writing all the time now – she’s getting better and better at it.  She’s not as interested in reading, but wants to draw out letters all the time.  I’m pretty convinced she’ll be reading by the end of the year!

We brought Kenya down with us and she did amazing.  She is a stinkin good dog.

That’s my hunny there.  I love him mucho.

Here is amazing Dad creating turkeys in the sand with leaves.

And here he is helping Ellie take care of business.  A girls’ gotta do what a girls’ gotta do.

This mushroom was so cool looking – it looked fake!

This is her asking “ooooh, can I touch it?”

Yay!  I actually made it in a shot.  Okay, two.  Apparently I was doing yoga most of the time. 

This is just cool.  There are bald eagles all around this lake, and we found a bald eagle nest – we watched them for a while.


“oooh. Can I hold it?”
“oooh.  Can I touch it?”
“You coopy-dat” (stupid-head or poopy head, both of which she isn’t supposed to say.)
She also has a tendency to make sure she lets you know exactly where you are supposed to be at all times. And that is…focused on her:

Papa wrote:   Clara spent the day with us on Tuesday.  That evening we were going to dinner before taking her home.  She asked me to “go fast” which is a common request and to which I responded immediately.  YiaYia proceeded to tell Clara that there are laws about going too fast and there are policemen that will stop you if you go too fast.  Clara responded, “Well, they have to see us.”  Obviously, I laughed and goosed it again.  After a pregnant pause – a little voice came softly from the back seat – “I think we could win.”   That’s my granddaughter! 

We took the girls to Humane Society the other day to play with the animals, and by the time we left, Clara was gung-ho on getting a puppy – she fell in love with a little one named Ashley -ha.  Puppy, cat, whatever – she wants a little cuddly animal.  Anyway, I was texting Mom and telling her the conversation I was having with Clara.  The things she comes up with is a hoot.  When we explained how you have to pay for a pet and how they are big responsibility, she said she had loads of money in her piggy bank, so that was no problem.  As for chores, well, she could clean in the kitchen and…read on (I laughed out loud when I saw Mom’s response):

Biggest accomplishment in the new year:
Ellie is officially potty trained!  We worked and worked….no, we didn’t.  It was a breeze.  We pushed it off and pushed it off thinking it would be a lot of work, and finally Ellie just said she was done with them – wanted to wear panties and that was that.  We’ve had maybe four accidents in the past two weeks.  And those were our fault for running errands and forgetting about tiny bladders. All in all, she’s a pure genius.  
That’s life in a nutshell.  These kids are great.  My husband is incredible.  I am one happy mama. 

   Dec 26

Merry Christmas!

Yes, it is the morning after Christmas, and I’m actually ready to post Christmas pictures!   I have to say, I’m pretty impressed with myself.  All caught up!  So, here are all the festivities leading up to Christmas!

These are some great shots our awesome babysitter Jami Carswell took – love ’em!

Ellie got into the Christmas spirit with her Greek yogurt…

We went to a Christmas dinner at Grandma Bit’s retirement home – love this picture of Cuckoo Bill and Clara!

We went to Lampo to visit Santa – we do this every year, and any time we go to Ramsey’s, Clara says “We’re at Santa’s house!”

Nice walk at Radnor Lake…

 Ellie definitely got in the Christmas spirit…and made sure everyone at Radnor Lake heard as well:

Since Mom’s birthday is on the 22nd, I wanted to do something fun for her…so we did a surprise lunch at the Cheesecake Factory for her and all her friends – she had no idea!  It was such a fun surprise for her!

Christmas Eve day we let the girls open up most of their gifts so we could space things out a bit…Ellie got a snuggly lamb pillow and blanket…

I made a pumpkin roll for Christmas Eve dinner – pretty yummy!


A gift Clara got from her Daddy was this pretty purple dress-up dress with a cat tail and purple cat ears.  She loved it and wanted to wear it and do a black nose.  So, what the heck- this was her Christmas Eve outfit.  Note to self, when you say yes to painting a nose black, make sure she doesn’t grab a sharpie.  Thanks to Dr. Bronner’s magical soap, the permanent marker came off in a flash and Daddy did a new nose with washable marker.

We all gathered around the piano for Christmas carols…

Clara checking out all the desserts…

 They LOVED their cardboard box house from Grandma Bit – these houses have gotten pretty elaborate!


We made sure to set out milk and cookies for Santa…

Clara’s favorite gift from Santa – a princess castle clock – Cinderella and Prince Charming dance to music, it lights up, tells stories, and basically puts your children to bed for you.

New tradition is brunch at our place on Christmas morning…we have bagels and lox, and I do cinnamon rolls.  This year, I googled “best cinnamon rolls ever” and found this recipe.  I have to say, Google was right.  These were amazing.  The white is cream cheese rolled into the dough.  YUM.  And yes, you could have just stuck these straight on your ass, they are that good (and healthy).


Uncle Clay and Cuckoo Bill getting in the Christmas Spirit…

The girls opening up new books from Aunt Kathy and Uncle Rod – they love Llama Llama!

I love this picture of Grammy and Clara.  Grammy has been an incredible help to us this past month, picking up the girls and whisking them away to special “Grammy times” so we can get work done and try to un-frazzle ourselves with the chaos of working from home and prepping for the holidays.  We are so, so, thankful to have family close-by, and Grammy and Poppa D never hesitate to grab the girls and give us a break – THANK YOU!!

These teeth were from the girls, and I have to say, it’s kinda scary how authentic they look!

We got a photo book of our Roan Mountain vacation for David and Caroline – as you can tell by their faces, it was a hit!

I’m still missing pictures from Mom and Dad’s – we went to their house in the afternoon for a wonderful Christmas dinner, plus opening gifts from Crunkles Jared and Aunti Ilea and new cousin Francois and the whole CO Miller family – great Christmas time connecting with everyone through Skype!

Overall, Christmas was so sweet this year…such a difference from the children we had last year…I truly believe the age of four is magical…and three….not so much.  Both girls are not only sweet and entertaining, they are genuinely likable girls – we love them to bits, and are so, so grateful for the family we have – extended included!

Merry Christmas to everyone!

   Dec 21

December Sweetness

December…it’s time for a wrap-up on the girls.  First and foremost, they are adorable.  We are blessed.  These little angels are saints.  They always play together, never fight, not only listen to what we ask the first time, but do things without us even asking…
Ha.  Who am I kidding.  Again, they are TWO and FOUR.  Precocious, fun, and emotionally unstable.  
There are times like this:
And times like this: 
Times like this:
And times like this:
There are times, yes, where Clara asks us if we will please sell her sister.  Or lets us know she didn’t actually ask for a sister – she wants a dog or a cat or even a bird, but no sister.  
Sweet Ellie.  She is adorable.  She loves attention.  And if you don’t give it to her, she will make sure you hear her anyway.  Some of her favorite things to do right now…
When I say “I love you, Ellie” she responds with “I love you most, Mama”.  Talk about a heart-melter. 
She is talking up a storm.  She repeats everything Clara does or says.  She is very opinionated about what she wants to wear – and loves to accessorize with certain shoes and hats.  Do not cross her by taking her hat off without permission.  She’s been on a sunglasses kick – and will wear them ALL DAY LONG.  It’s hilarious – she’s our diva, through and through. 
Clara is hilarious.  Man, so hard to get on her case about anything when she’s so stinkin funny!  She can manipulate like no other, and it’s so brilliant we don’t know whether to discipline or be in awe of her intelligence.  Her imagination is wild, and she is forever hiding in little spaces and creating her own magical world.
A few Christmas related ones…
She informed Nathan at the grocery store that she was a teenager.  And that she was pregnant.  Yep, our 4-year-old has decided that she’s a pregnant teenager now.  Why?  Thank you, virgin Mary.  This is what happens when Baptist preschool tries to teach the Nativity story to her.  What kid would come to this conclusion??
We are big on the elves – they have invaded our house since Thanksgiving, and they have been watching the girls.  So far, they have made cut-outs of themselves with paper, left popcorn kernels all over the couch, hidden surprises in boots, dropped off Christmas books, and TP’d the Christmas tree.  Oh yes.
When I put her to bed the other night, and she was being a just a wee bit argumentative, I cautioned her that the elves were watching.  Okay, wee bit is an extreme understatement.  I had had it up to HERE with kids that evening, and I was desperate for silence.  Let’s just say my patience was pretty nonexistent by this point. 
Clara’s response to me saying the elves were watching?  “You know what?  The elves are watching you, too, Mommy, and you are having some bad behavior.”  Oh yes, nothing like being called out by a four-year-old.  She was actually right, and I apologized.  Humble pie for one, please. 
She is beautiful inside and out – and is so stinkin photogenic.  I love this shot:
Ellie lounging at the Christmas Open House…yes, we pulled out the iPhone as the ultimate ammo to keep her occupied!
Ever since I was little, tradition in the family has been that Mom and Dad put the star on the top of the tree and kiss.  This has resulted in many a half-torn-down tree and lots of funny pictures, and I love the tradition. Nathan and I carry it on, as do my oldest brother and sis-in-law! (Clara took this picture)
Clara and I made some awesome little snowmen, if I do say so myself.  These were so easy to do – simply oreos dipped in white chocolate and mini chocolate chips and candy corn for decoration.  Of course, Clara opted for the red holiday oreos so it looks like blood on the inside.  Awesome.  
Clara carefully wrote out the names of every one of her classmates on her’s – she is big into writing right now!
These dresses are actually from when I was a little girl – my godmother Janice made them, and they were the ultimate in frilly girly dresses – complete with bells in the bustles so I jingled when I walked.  The girls loved trying them on!
In yet another art class with YiaYia, Clara made some jingle bell earrings – she’s showing them off here. 
Sweet Elllie Rose outside trying to get that perfect Christmas Picture shot…
Ahh, there it is!
Random note…I’m obsessed with ThredUp and just applied to be a Super Thredder because I’ve gotten good ratings.  These are all the clothes we just got from our last box – basically, instead of hassling with consignment, I just post a box of clothes/toys/etc on here, someone picks it, and I get credit to get my own box.  At most, I spend $16 for a box of over 16 outfits, so even if I didn’t have swap credits, I still score some great clothes for a great price!

Here is from Clara’s creative bedtime routine poster we made for her room so we ensure we go in the right order.  The process is important to her…so now we have a chart to make sure nothing is missed!
Brush teeth: check
Drink Water: check
Go Potty: check
Put on jammies: check
Go to sleep: check!
Some sweet videos for you…

Kisses from our family to yours…next up are pictures of the Christmas festivities!

   Dec 21

November Wrap-Up

November was a busy time for us…it seems each time we say “it’s going to slow down after…” we add something new to the mix.  In November we had our first ever “8 Hours with Dan: Eagle’s Club Intensive” as well as our 2nd Annual Christmas Open House.  They were both a lot of work and a major hit, so at least we saw good results!  
In the news…
Clara takes a weekly art class with YiaYia.  During art, “Ms. Joanne” shows her all kinds of great techniques, learning about mixing colors, texture, mediums, etc.  She has painted with sugar, mixed colors with milk, made earrings, glued buttons on canvas…this child LOVES art and eagerly anticipates art every week.  I love that she gets this on a regular basis, and we definitely see her implementing the things she learns throughout the week. This is what I think about when we say we want to school our own kids – having family and friends involved in the lessons! 
Sometimes art class expands to creating flowerbeds outside…
 This was Clara’s Thanksgiving Open House.  The kids did a little performance and Clara showed off all her awesome artwork.
 Clara with her sweet teacher Ms Amy – we love her!
 And yes, Ellie needed her own picture with Ms. Amy.
This is just a hoot.  For my all girly doesn’t like boy stuff little girl, what does her self-portrait say?  I sure wasn’t looking at this one thinking it was her!
Since when does Clara know how to cook a turkey?  I had no idea that’s what you do.
Clara and her best friend Ella.  Love reading these.  By the way, YiaYia, note that her favorite book is “I Wanna Be Me.”
 Love the 3-D hot air balloon.
 Ah-hah.  The turkey’s name is ASHLEY.  Brilliant.
Oh yes, actually a picture of Ellie somewhat still and looking adorable!
On the day of Clara’s Open House at school, she got out early.  Instead of picking up Ellie then, too, we took Clara out on a date just with us.  We went to this awesome store called the “Curious Heart Emporium“.  This store has so many cool trinkets and fun things!
We also took her to this place we’ve heard about called the Pfunky Griddle.  Yep, it’s not only the name that’s cool.  This place rocks.  It has a griddle in the middle of your table – you can grill up pancakes, french toast, hashbrowns, eggs, grilled cheese, etc.  You get a limitless supply of batter and can choose from all kinds of crazy toppings.  Clara opted for M&Ms, I got blueberries, and Nathan got some yummy apricot spread.  All that with either whole-grain or buttermilk pancakes you can cook in front of you…yum.  Clara was in heaven (especially with no crazy sisters and her parents all to herself).  
Finally, we celebrated Poppa D’s birthday.  Clara got him an ornament that was a huge piece of pie, because Poppa D is a “pie guy.”  Needless to say, we had some awesome coconut cream pie for birthday dinner.  
Not sure if this video is actually allowed, as I’ve been told not to put any videos up of Nathan singing…however, this is just too cute and sweet.  Nathan sings and plays the guitar on a daily basis – we all sing and dance along, and it’s one of our sweetest family habits.  He’s gotten pretty good with being able to figure out new songs, and we’ve got all kinds of fun ones on our list now.  

   Dec 21

Happy Thanksgiving!

So, yes, we celebrated Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving day.  However, it is now the week of Christmas and I’m just getting it up.  Sorry.  We had a sweet Thanksgiving week celebrating with the Friesemas, who returned for Noah’s 6-month checkup and got an “all clear” report!  They got to spend Thanksgiving with us, and we had a wonderful day down at the Miller home.  

Thanksgiving week was a big one at Clara’s school and I got to help serve at the party they threw – it’s always fun helping out in her class and seeing how she interacts with all the other kids.  There is one boy in her class that is an absolute hoot.

Back to Thanksgiving Day…Clara made placecards for everyone using homemade glitter (salt with food coloring).  Great, in theory.  Note to self – salt dissolves.  Glitter does not.  So, if you want to use salt as “glitter,” make sure you don’t use much glue (ie liquid) or you end up with a runny mess. 

My incredible hubby smoked a turkey.  I have been vegetarian for around twenty years now.  However, I humored him and tasted the turkey.  I’ve never liked turkey.  However…he almost made me a convert.  It was seriously THAT good.  My man can COOK!

Clara and Kezi buddied up again – she loves her!

And Clara was YiaYia’s little helper as usual.

I tested out some new recipes as well.  These are Sweet Potatoes with Sage and Buttercrumb Topping.  Doesn’t that sound delish?  It is.  It was.  Even cooler…used the leftovers in a kickin’ potato soup – yum!

This…this was incredible.  Seriously – this is heaven meets heaven.  Upside-down Apple Pecan Pie.  Yes, the two greats have collided into one mess of yumminess.  This is a piece of cake (um, pie) to make, and I actually just did my regular apple pie recipe but with this pecan pie topping added.  Very, very yummy.
(By the way, these links are to my whole Pinterest board with Thanksgiving/Christmas dish ideas.  Yes, I’m a Pinterest Addict and proud of it – I have gotten all kinds of brilliance from it)!

After we ate, we walked down to my dream home…it’s literally two houses down from The Sanctuary, and backs up to Dad’s property.  The owners are really sweet, and Mick buys some crazy new animal or toy or renovation weekly.  Newest additions are two Alpacas and some really cool looking chickens!

That was the extent of our Thanksgiving…how about yours?

   Nov 22

Cheekwood in the fall

We took a family day and went to Cheekwood Botanical Garden recently… the train exhibit was pretty incredible:
The girls had a blast. Yes, Clara dressed herself.  I’m finding out that most of her clothes are getting a little short on her!
 How great is this – a big picture frame you can turn around to have any kind of backdrop!
Like I said before, Clara is fascinated by skeletons.  Of all the scarecrows, this one, of course, was her favorite. 
These little sister scarecrows were pretty cute, though!
Just thought I’d share a fun day for us!

   Nov 22

Happy Halloween!

So….little late on the Halloween deal, but whatever.  We had a blast.  First, this is the first year my little girl was dead-set on a costume.  What did she choose?  A unicorn.  Oh goodie.  It was actually very fun creating the costume with her.  As you can tell, she thought she looked pretty awesome.  I think she did, too:
We started out the Halloween Hoopla by grabbing some friends and heading to the Logsdon’s home – had to squeeze in a few pictures and have Grammy and Poppa D be the first official “trick or treat” house…
Ellie’s little friend Ehren wins the award for best meshing of holidays.  Santa Claus?  I’d never have thought that up – it was awesome.  
Since we have vast almost acre lots in our neighborhood we scaled it back a bit and went to a tiny little neighborhood in Belle Meade.  Ha.  It’s like the hipster neighborhood dream – tucked in a prestigious area, there is this little triangle of streets with gorgeous homes that actually have unique character and fun families that do it up right for Halloween.  I’m not sure if it was more about catering to the kids or to the grown-ups, as about every other house was throwing a grown-up party as well.  
 My sweet friend Kristen lives there, and I love her costume – what a hoot!  Little Olive was a cowgirl… We saw some incredible costumes…a little “Billie Jean” Michael Jackson, Mrs. Bo-Peep with her baby lamp, Jim Henson with Muppets hanging off of him….
The girls loved it – ran all over the place, racked up on candy, and raved and raved about the outfits.  Clara is on quite the skeleton kick right now – she loves everything about them and is very big on reading books and watching videos about the skeletal system – so Halloween was just perfect for her – she loved seeing skeletons everywhere!
 Clara had her first pixie stick.  She wasn’t quite sure about the cloud of sugar landing in her mouth, but decided she enjoyed it immensely.
 Ellie was content to devour everything in front of her, as usual.  No sharing with daddy, uh-uh!
What to do with all this wonderful Halloween candy?  My favorite funny blogger has her own thoughts here for how to be a good parent for Halloween.  I came up with another idea.  Elf Houses.  Brilliant.  We will take all the Halloween loot and craft them into little elf houses.  I have decided the whole Elf on a Shelf deal is a consumer crock, I know it is MUCH more convincing if said elves stay hidden.  What kind of elf sits around looking like a doll all the time?  My elves run around and leave traces of cookie crumbs through the house.  
So…we made homes for them to live in.  Where they stay hidden.  But…

Clara has informed me that these houses are way to small for elves to live in.  Shoot.  I try again “maybe their pets live here!”  A quick analysis by her identifies only little bugs would be able to live there, and elves don’t have bugs as pets.
Right when I’m ready to relinquish my clever mommy idea, she throws me a curve ball. “Mommy, I just know the elves would love to eat on these houses!”

So, that’s what they did.  Piece by piece, little by little, night after night.  Those messy elves stayed off of my shelves and instead, invaded my countertop with cookie crumbs and nibbled on candies.  They’ve had their sugar high and are ready for some serious work now.

   Nov 15

Our Crazy Life

 I just had to do a few funny stories while I’m thinking of them.  These all just happened over the last few days, and I thought I’d share…
Kenya the dog is having a horrible, horrible itching problem, and it’s my mission to get her to stop.  So…the other night I was washing her down with some medicated soap, and Clara came in.  She said “Mommy, when I grow up, I want to be just like you.”  Awww, melt my heart.  I stupidly asked why.  To which she replied, “So then I can wear fun gloves and wash Kenya with yucky medicine shampoo.”  Awesome.  So glad I have such great things to aspire to.

Ellie is “kindof” potty training.  Fact of the matter is, we’re failing miserably.  We haven’t wanted to deal with “potty boot camp” so we keep putting it off.  But she loves to wear panties and pullups, so we let her wear those a ton.  And we sit her on the potty a ton.  Oh so conveniently, she is able to hold all pee and poop until the one random time we throw a diaper back on her.  Oh, if only we’d done that before nap today.  Instead, we kept her in a pullup.  Which we know darn well she likes to take on and off.  
We came in to quite a site after nap.  Poop everywhere.  I mean everywhere.  Piles of it.  Seriously.  That child is impressive.  The way I find out is because I hear poor Nathan dry-heaving from the other end of the house…and knew instantly what happened.  I grabbed Ellie and put her in the shower, and while I handled picking up the soiled sheets, lovies, stuffed animals, pillows and clothes, Nathan commenced to direct Ellie on how to bathe herself by “stand under the shower and touch your toes” while he stood at the door.  
 My husband does a lot of things that really make him an incredible daddy.  Vomit and poop…that’s where he has to draw the line.  Maybe it’s a medical condition, but his stomach flat can’t take it.
Clara and Ellie are a hoot together – they love to play and actually ask for each other now.  Shocker!  There are definitely still moments where Clara asks me to sell Ellie, but they are not quite as often now that Ellie is talking pretty well.  And singing….man, she loves to sing!

This is pretty impressive!
Today at lunch Clara said, “Mommy, if you want to give me some water right now, you can.  Just sayin.”  Seriously??

Is this girl a poser or what?  She knows how to get what she wants…
Right.  In your dreams, chica. 
Tonight Clara called me back to her bedroom after I put her to bed.  Why?  
“I wanted you to ask me one more thing.”
“What’s that, Clara?”
“I want you to say ‘Do you need anything else?”
Humoring her, I say, “do you need anything else?”
“Goodnight, Clara.”
“Goodnight, Mommy.”

Onward and upward. These kids are a riot.