Logsdons Blog

Learning As We Grow

   May 24

Clara is FOUR!

Alrighty then.  Boy does time have a way of disappearing quickly!  I have been putting off and putting off doing the blog, and it’s because I have over FOUR HUNDRED pictures just from the past two months.  I’ve created a monster and I didn’t know how to get back up on top!  
So…instead of doing a full month recap, I’m going to do “shorter” (ha) posts on specific things that were big in our lives lately.  This one gets to be all about Clara.
 The festivities started the Saturday before her birthday.  Nathan and I took Clara to TPAC to see “Before the People Came” – it was a really cool play about sharing, and Clara loved it so much she had to get an autograph from all the characters!  (I love this picture of Clara with her Daddy)
Yes, our little girl is now FOUR!
(Her early morning birthday picture.  If only we all looked this cute when we first woke up)
With the craziness of Easter being right at birthday time, Clara had the birthday party that just kept going…and going…and going….
Clara is holding her gift from her great-aunt and great-uncle Nate and Vi…they were soooo thoughtful in giving her some pins of my Grandmother Clara…a little cross-stitch C is on one of them.  Always gets me choked up thinking about her.  Clara loved the pins and wore one of them to school on her birthday. 

We started with her birthday celebration at school and created butterfly cakepops.  Oh yes, it’s a cakepop cult world. I’m slowly getting the hang of how to make them.  Not only are they fairly easy, it’s a great way to get rid of leftover cake!
Her teacher, Ms Holly, is the coolest teacher around.  She really takes the time to get to know her students, and she sent Clara home with a bag of goodies, including a little bunny that is now “Mr. Butter’s little sister.”  For those of you not in the know, “Mr. Butter” is Clara’s bunny that she has slept with since she came home from the hospital.
 

Next up, “Princess Clara” had to pay tribute to Crunkles Jared and Auntie Ilea in Africa.  She ran around the house in her cape and her KEZA beads.
This is Crunkles Jared. 
So we fudged a bit.  Instead of celebrating on her birthday, and then trying to explain that her party wasn’t for another day, we just celebrated her birthday on the 22nd instead this year.  First thing in the morning, guess where our little treat-fiend wanted to go…yep, Krispy Kreme.  She wore her kickin new outfit from her Aunt Rhoda – love it!

After playing around in the morning, we high-tailed it back to make Clara’s birthday cake.  She decided she wanted to do it this year, and she told me she wanted a rainbow.  However, once she got immersed in her creation, the creative juices started to flow and her rainbow became a man.  With a yellow head and purple neck.  And huge marshmallow hands. 

In discussing birthday parties, Clara was adamant from the get-go that she wanted her birthday party at Grammy and Poppa D’s.  Thankfully they were cool with that, and the family descended to celebrate all things Clara. She’s one stinkin cute little girl, if I do say so myself.

 

All the doting grandparents with the birthday girl.  We feasted on Clara’s requested menu: Salad, Macaroni & Cheese, and Salmon and veggies.  For some inexplicable reason Clara loves cauliflower. 

How cute is this?
Surprisingly, we got away with a whole birthday and Clara didn’t have one bite of her birthday cake.  Ellie, however, decided to take not only her piece, but Clara’s as well.
 
Gift time was so fun seeing her reactions to toys…and she hit the jackpot with perfect toys from everyone – she has played and played with all of them!
Oh yes, not one, but TWO Tinkerbell costumes.  Technically, Tinkerbell and Silvermist.  Perfection. 
The biggest gift (literally) also just so happened to have a gazillion little pieces.  For Christmas Grammy/Poppa D got Clara a PlayMobil Zoofari set that Clara played with non-stop for months (ummm, come to think of it, she never stopped).  So they got her a zoo set for her birthday and yep, she’s in heaven.  It is ridiculous to set up, tons of tiny pieces, and makes my little girl go off for hours playing in an imaginary world with her safari/zoo animals.  I love it and it’s worth all the time these sweet gentlemen spent on putting it together.  🙂 
Next day, Earth Day.  Guess what she wore to the Earth Day Celebration.  Oh yes.  


Instead of figuring out who to invite for a friends party (she waffled too much on who would come – all girls, all but one girl from school, three from school and two random ones, some boys, and then resorted to just listing family members).  So instead of forcing a big party, I opted for inviting just her best friend from school to go to Sweet CeCe’s with us.
 

That’s Ella and her Mommy who just so happens to also share my name.  She also just so happens to be a kickin’ photographer with absolutely beautiful kids.  You’ll see quite a few shots of her cuties and many others at her Dogwoods & Dragonflies Photography page.

BFFs Ella and Clara.  So sweet!

Now we’ve narrowed it down to only 350 pictures left to go through.  
Happy birthday my beautiful Clara – you continue to amaze me with your brilliant wit, negotiating powers and ability to stump anyone with your logic.  I love love love you most!
Peace out.

   Mar 31

February Sweethearts go year round…


Because apparently I missed this month entirely for the family blog!  Is is really the END of March already??  Wow–time flies when you’re having fun.  Right?  Agh!  We’ve been running a million miles an hour.  Thankfully, though, we are really have a great time in the process.  This year has been an ongoing process of creating the life we want…I’d been writing about our family mission statement on the Mama Says Namaste blog, and commenting about various things in our lives in the Mama Says Namaste group on www.48Days.net. 

Sundays are no-tech days, where we just enjoy each other as a family minus computers, since our daily lives involve so much online work.  Both kids are tech-savvy, and the whole family relishes a day without it.  (Okay, I lie.  The kids want movies.  And sometimes we cheat and do a family movie.  But all in all, it’s more of an outside day).

And oh yeah, we’re addicted to “Lost.”  We’re behind the times and don’t have cable, but have discovered Netflix through the Wii and are watching through the series…on Season 3, which was 2006, I think?  But hey, we were able to help out with KEZA some and get some necklaces done for Jared and Ilea:

Jared and Ilea are actually headed back to Rwanda at the end of this week (sniff, sniff).  We are definitely going to miss them–they’ve been here for a long visit, and we’ve really enjoyed having them close by.  The girls adore them!

Clara is definitely in the funny stage with things she says…here are few of the latest:

When riding in the van with Poppa D and Grammy, who had just informed her that she couldn’t watch a movie…
(long pause)
“Grammy?”
   “Yes?”
(long pause, spark of realization/discovery)
“Do you know why there is a movie in the car?”
(long pause)
“So we can PLAY it!”

A few of our favorite words she says:
“Preckles” (freckles)
“Nickels” (yes, she ticked Daddy’s nipples)
“Bines” (bones, as in “hey mommy, when you have lots of bines it looks like a stelaton!”)
“Hush down” (hey, it’s better than shut up, right?)
“HOUSE CAKE!!”  (absolutely no clue where this came from, but she loves to scream it)
“Run fast, Mommy!  Fast as a carrot!”  (they’re speedy.  I had no idea)

Ellie’s favorite sentence is still “hea-go” and “dea-go”, although she’s fully capable of many, many words and even a few sentences at this point.  So Clara has decided it’s great to mimic her with her own finesse:
“Hea-go….ZERO!!”  (again, no clue)

Ellie is signing like a champ and is very interested, as is Clara–I love seeing that and how they sign and say all kinds of words and work together on it.

Poor Ellie was sick with a fever of 100-104 for three days recently…and typical Ellie, she still would laugh in her sleep.  We went in to check on her one night and I thought she was asleep and then she goes “UMPH” and scared the tar outta me.  Then she giggled and started snoring.

Here is an interesting one from Clara…another Grammy story.  When she was walking alongside Grammy one day, she declared out of the blue, “I don’t need Jesus by my side; I have my Daddy.”  When Grammy asked if they both could walk with her, she replied “that’d be okay, sometimes”.    She’s been very interested in Jesus lately, as talk at her Baptist preschool is focused on Easter.  It’s funny to hear the understanding from a 3 year old who is trying to grasp the literal concepts of this man she can’t see.  She did let me know, though, that “if you be in my heart, then you might see Jesus, too!”

Clara is having fun with new friends lately–has a best friend at her school, one in our playgroup, and another from across the street–so fun having kids the same age in the neighborhood!


Although, her bestest friend is still her little sister.  Awwww…

Ellie tries to be like her:

We’re big on swinging, and Nathan has rigged up some pretty cool stuff in our tree for the girls (and for us.  What can I say, swinging is fun for anyone!)  Here are the girls in their “flying machines”:



Playing in the “zookeeper house”…

It is so much fun seeing Ellie’s character come out.  She is a high “I” if there ever was one.  On top of stopping to say hello to everyone she sees, she loves to dress up.  The kicker is she will wear hats and gloves all day in the house, but God forbid I try to put some on her when we go out somewhere–no way!

 Wonderful Miller family dinner when my favorite Aunt and Uncle were in town….

 Clara loves her Uncles…and is spoiled by the pop-in visits all the time from Uncle Clay and Cuckoo Bill…

The weather has been GORGEOUS here.  I love spring!!

And yes, there are way too many pictures I love, so I’m throwing them all in collages.  So sue me. 

 I had to get creative so Ellie could accomplish all the things she wanted to do at the same time–multi-tasking starts at a young age…

Grammy and Poppa D are so perfectly posed for the camera.  Unfortunately, “The Jungle Book” was playing right behind me on the TV, so a little hard to keep the girls’ attention…


This is an absolutely incredible picture by Matt Ridley, owner of WordTraits.  I am absolutely blown away by his work.  He knows us through 48 Days and emailed my dad asking for some descriptive words that came to mind when he thought of Clara.  What you see below is the end result.  Again, absolutely amazed by this–how incredible!  Definitely check out his site.  I’d love to get one of Ellie as well. 

Alrighty, we have a ton of great video clips, but Nathan has a fancy shmancy Apple computer now and he’s having a blast making cool videos (check out the video at the top of www.48Days.net — that’s my honey’s handywork!)   So, since I’m two months overdue on the blog, and we haven’t had time to get all the video stuff compiled, that’ll have to wait for another day.  For now, here is our wonderful family update.  We love you all– ta ta for now!



   Feb 10

What happened to January?

Wow…is it really almost Valentine’s Day already?  Where in the world did January go?? This is the busiest time for 48 Days, and now that Nathan and I are both working, it seems like we have jumped in headfirst and haven’t fully come up for air yet.  First off, let me say that I’m completely spoiled.  I love, love, love having Nathan home.  It’s amazing what it’s done for our family–what it’s done for our marriage, for the girls with having him just as involved…with our dreams and how we have limitless ideas…
I definitely dealt with the honeymoon phase and took advantage of the fact that not only is he an incredible Daddy and husband, he also happens to be an incredible cook and can organize like the best of them.  This takes the term “handyman” to a whole new level.  However, that phase didn’t last long before we both realized he needed more to his sense of purpose than cooking kickin’ meals and caring for the kids while I became a workaholic (okay, he realized it faster than I did).
At this point, I have to say the biggest thing is that we are a team.  Through and through, the life of an entrepreneur has it’s ups and downs…and it has stress and uncertainty along with freedom and peace.  But Nathan is my partner 150%.  So much so that we have our own legal business partnership now: Life-Focus-Management.  We are our own entity…and our sole client is 48 Days, LLC, and managing the business so Dad can focus on his writing/speaking/coaching.
It’s been fun and crazy and we’re still learning.  But each day brings a new challenge that we actually get excited about tackling.  I’ve heard things come out of Nathan’s mouth like “I’ve sat on my butt for three hours working on the computer but I feel like time has flown by” or “I’ve got a great idea for this..” or “ahhh…this is the life.”  
Our biggest thing is figuring out how to work from home, be successful entrepreneurs, and have two small children in the home at the same time!  Clara and Ellie have been so patient with us while we figure out work.  Clara, especially, has just exploded to a world of her own imagination and it’s really fascinating just to listen to her sometimes and the conversations she has with all her safari animals and fairy friends.  We try to tag-team and make sure one of us is fully present for the kids as much as possible, so we schedule hours for work and hours for play.  It’s still a work in progress, but we’re getting there!
I have a lot of pictures from Christmas and before.  Yep, it’s crazy, but life is busy.  I left my camera in Kentucky on Christmas Eve and apparently never took pictures off until now.  Wow.  So, here are some from December:
YiaYia’s birthday party:
 Clara checking out Ellie’s tantrum…um….which she is now a professional at.  I’ll tell you, we have some girls that are the epitome of the “…and when she was good, she was very very good…and when she was bad, she was horrid.”  Ellie is usually happy.  And loud.  Yep, you’ve heard that before.  She is getting better and better at communicating, though…and she has figured out exactly how to communicate when she’s not happy. It’s bloodcurdling screams for a long time.  She unfortunately has the memory of an elephant and can dramatize her hurt over what seems like hours.  Oh yes…a drama queen.  Oh, the fun we’re going to have.  🙂
Ellie tries so hard to be like her big sister…however, instead of using markers on paper, she usually enjoys them in her mouth instead.  
 Christmas Eve, like I said in the last post, we went up to Kentucky to visit the Logsdon family–Papa D’s sisters and father.  Here are a few shots from that.  Clara with her wonderful “cuckoo Bill”…
 All the fine Logsdon men…
 Family shot (minus aunts and their families)…
Clara helping Gramps open his presents….
I just love the expressions here…
Now back to January…(although it’s actually February now–yikes).  
Clara loving on Ellie before we head out to play in the snow.  Yes, I said snow.  Although we are in Tennessee, apparently God’s decided to mess with us and bring some Northern weather our way.  It snows, then hits the high 60s.  Then snows, then warms up.  Then snows again.  Here in TN, that means the world is over, all the milk and toilet paper is gone from the grocery store, and every school for every age is completely shut down two days before the snow ever hits.  
Notice the marker.  Is it on paper?  Of course not.  It goes much better on Ellie’s face. 
This little girl is sittin’ pretty.  Have I mentioned that Ellie is growing like a weed?  Teeth are popping up left and right (which hopefully is what explains the complete Jekyl/Hyde personality we sometimes see in her).  She loves to dance and be social–she’s basically the life of the party until she’s ready to sleep. At that point, you better not mess with her–sleep is a serious thing, and if she’s really tired and ready to go, she’s been known to actually lunge for the bed and laugh out loud in relief as her head hits her pillow.  Oh yes, sleep is good.
Clara hit the jackpot of all doll house furniture from her cousins and aunt in Colorado.  Aunt Teri and cousins Autumn and Eliza spent a lot of time assembling an open doll house with the coolest wooden furniture.  Now my lame Popsicle beds and almond milk carton fairy houses pale in comparison.  Check out this furniture–Eliza has got a new business here!
Even Papa had to get in on the doll playing:
Here Ellie’s hat is a little big…however, it’s so stinkin cute, and nothing stops her when she’s on a mission.  She’s talking up a storm as well. We can’t always understand it, but her all time favorite is “hera-go” and “dera-go”….(here you go and there you go)…these are repeated at least 263+ times a day as a substitute for “I’m hungry”, “I’m bored,” “I’m excited,” “I’m sleepy,” “pay attention to me,” etc.  She is capable of other words such as “cack-er”, “juus”, “cookie” (pronounced perfectly for that one, of course), “mama”, “dada”, “yiayia”, “papa”, “goggy” (doggy), etc. 
Those are some sweet sisters with our snow that has shut down middle Tennessee.  (yes, I know you can still see grass. hush). 
 
Sweet Clara is such a big girl now–I have mixed feelings sometimes about how quickly she is leaving the toddler phase and love when she wants to just cuddle with me.  Most of the time she’s doing things herself–she loves to paint and trace her name or any letters, she’s big on learning signs for everything (and knows a ton of them already), she loves to negotiate everything and she’s perfectly happy being the boss of everything.  Works pretty well right now, as Ellie just adores her and will follow her around.  They do very well playing together now, and it’s the best sound in the world to hear them in their rooms giggling together and playing so nicely.  
Speaking of rooms, Clara officially has her own big-girl room.  After much debate, we moved her into what was our room, and we’ve taken over the old playroom.  We’ve partitioned it off with curtains so one side is our bedroom and the other is the back entry/office.  We love it, and Clara loves having her own room next to Ellie.  The first night, she went to sleep like a saint, got up in the morning and quietly read two books in bed, then went to the bathroom.  All by herself.  We crept in to the bathroom wondering who this was and what had she done with our little baby??
Here is her room now:
For Crunkle Jared’s birthday (finally–something in February I have a picture of)–one of his gifts was an exercise band.  Clara had to test it out.  It works.  
Ellie kinda liked his birthday “cake”…

Insert random pictures here…
Pay no attention to the dog behind the curtain….  (she’s figured out who the jackpot is for dropping food on the floor).
The girls, Nathan, and Papa hanging around “Aristotle” the eagle at The Sanctuary.
Clara has loved having Auntie Ilea and Crunkles Jared around…
Nathan completely surprised me with an awesome date last month…dinner out, and then ice skating!  I had no clue, and we had so much fun!
So…that’s our life in a very small (but ridiculously long blog) nutshell.  My big proud thing for January…I’m doing a weekly blog now–it’s the old “ashley articles” but now it goes by a new name, and I’m blogging about our family creed right now: www.MamaSaysNamaste.com   Check it out, leave a comment or two, and if you really want to get in on some family dialogue, make sure you join our Mama Says Namaste Group on 48Days.net. 
I hope you and yours are bringing in the new year right, and Happy Valentines from the Little Logsdon Family!

   Jan 05

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas from the Logsdon crew!  This has been an insanely busy and fun time for us–so many changes now that we have Nathan home with us all the time!

So here are our family photos….song in honor of Clara….

Ton of pics, as usual, so I’ll try to intersperse stuff sporadically.  Clara–the ultimate kid in a candy shop…

Speaking of sweets…this little master negotiator has become quite an addict.  We’ve had to call a halt to a lot of it and focus on getting her to eat her meals–she can be quite persistent with holding out for sweets, or negotiating every tiny bite (I need to have two bites because I have two eyes).


Nathan’s co-workers at BB&T all took us out to Urban Flats for a “Wine Down Wednesday.”  Had a lot of fun with everyone, and what the heck were they thinking letting people “sample” EIGHT glasses of wine??  It was nice hanging with all of the BB&T crew and reminiscing about crazy times as Nathan learned the ropes of being a banker.  
This picture was our celebration night in honor of Nathan’s last official day at the bank.  48 Days, here he comes!

Since I started writing this post, Ellie has changed a ton–walking, talking…it’s amazing how much she’s grown in just a few short weeks!  Here is her morning routine, though–her big giraffe and a bottle of almond milk.  I want to remember the little day-to-day things…

She has gone from this….

to this….

Okay, this is completely random, but this just killed me.  This was a very loved gift for Clara from her Uncle Clay–incredibly thoughtful considering it was on Ellie’s birthday.  It was perfect and she loves it…but I just need to point this out:

Oh yes–he said it. Every time! Thankfully it goes right over Clara’s head, but I find Nathan and me mumbling it from those subliminal messages all the time…

Going back to the whole thoughtful uncle thing, though…check out what fun Clara has with her daddy and uncles:

This year, YiaYia and I took Clara to see her very first Nutcracker.  Harpeth Hall does a “mini-Nutcracker” to introduce kids to dance and the full performance.  It was perfect–just enough for her.  We of course had to start it out with taking her to the Cheesecake Factory–strawberries and whipped cream as the appetizer.

Yeah, yeah, there was a meal in between.  Clara picked out the cheesecake she wanted–Chocolate Chip Cookie dough.  

So we get home, all excited to tell Daddy…and was it all the pretty ballet she wanted to talk about?  Nope…

On to Christmas parties with the Hip Mamas…

Christmas with her best friend “little Kate”–playing dress-up and decorating a not-so-tiny gingerbread man…

All Ellie wanted for Christmas was her two front teeth.  Got ’em. 
Even Kenya got into the Christmas spirit. Kind of. 

Clara got the camera and took a ton of pictures one day–of our tree, ornaments, Nathan’s computer screen, etc.  I love this shot she took:

We definitely built up to the day we would go see Santa.  FYI, Santa lives at Dave Ramsey’s office, just in case you didn’t know.  We visit “Santa’s house” throughout the year, but he only appears there one time a year!  This day, Clara was determined.  She walked right up, sat on his lap, and told him all about what she wanted.  No fear.  Ellie, on the other hand, was pretty certain that Satan had just appeared before her eyes and was going to tear her into bite-sized pieces.  

Santa has gone completely techy now, and he actually sent personalized messages to the girls–check this out:
Clara:
Ellie:
Clara and I had plenty of fun making Christmas goodies this year…and she was the number one taste-tester ever:
I can’t believe we actually woke up to a white Christmas–and then on New Years it was a high of 67.  The weather here.  Insanity. 
We went to KY for Christmas Eve to celebrate Gramps’ 90th birthday–had a wonderful time with the whole Logsdon crew (congrats, Katie, on your engagement!).  We had a nice trip that had to end abruptly as the banshee that lives inside of Clara reared it’s ugly head and she was officially peopled out.  Unfortunately, in the rush, I left my camera–so the rest of the pictures are on my iPhone, and Christmas day pics are on Grammy and YiaYia’s cameras!
Christmas morning at our house and Grammy, Poppa D, Uncle Clay, Cuckoo Bill and Great-Grandma Bit all came for Christmas breakfast–had a great time, and Santa brought all kinds of goodies:
Ellie was DUN before we even left to go to YiaYia and Papa’s for the second round:
Clara was content to play with her ultimate favorite gift–her Safari set from Grammy/Poppa D.  We actually went to Costco before Christmas and she saw it and she told me “mommy, I don’t want anyfing else but a SAFARTI set”.  
Ellie chose to snuggle up with Auntie Ilea…
And…this is why it’s scary having a live tree in your house:
So I heard the girls playing so nicely in the playroom together, and Clara saying something about Ellie being a tiger… my artiste was at work.  By the time I realized it, Ellie was a full-on tiger.  So what the heck–I let Clara do it to herself as well, and then we went grocery shopping.  Clara was a star. 
We then put her markers to better use creating our Family Rules:

She’s been doing really well with them, and knows how to sign every one!
We mad popcorn and grape garlands for the birds…we’ve got a lot of popcorn and grapes.

Uncle Gray, Aunt Suzanne and cousin Anna hit the jackpot with sending us a ton of Dr. Seuss books…which just so happens to be a favorite of Clara’s.  Here she is winking, just like how it says on the page (I can read with my eyes shut…)

New Year’s Eve we spent all day out at Yia Yia and Papa’s–with a HUGE bonfire. 
Started it at 10am and it was still smoldering with red embers the next morning after a full rain during the night.  

Ellie checked out the tractor….
And I got this from Mom: This is a pretty interesting picture of Clara.  On New Year’s Eve day she is in front of the big bonfire with a cross made by Crunkles (Uncle Jared). She carted it around and “danced” with it then she “planted” it in the ground and talked to it.  Just like her encounters with “talking to Jesus” you have to wonder what is going through her mind and what she is saying to the cross.

 This blog has gone on way too long–gotta stop the picture craziness.  I’ll end with some of my latest facebook updates.  Love my kids:

  • My 14-month-old just pooped on the potty. I’m in shock. (the ultimate FB update)
  • Great quote I just came across: “Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.” ~Anonymous
  • Check out Moolala, great daily deals and an amazing rewards program. Make sure to click this link so I get credit http://www.moolala.com/r/1HCJ9P2  (seriously, check it out and sign up–you’ll love it)
  • It’s five pm and I’m watching Miracle on 34th Street with Clara fast asleep in my arms. Gotta rest up for the festivities coming up!!
  • Clara’s quote the the day: “But mommy, I want it to be all about ME.”
  • Clara’s tip of the day: “you never ever say water buffalo!”

Three shopping trips in one hour alone with two children during Christmas rush= a long hot bath
And, the kicker….

  • Clara just told me that she thinks her listening ears just fell down the toilet. She informed me she’ll get them later.


Hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday season.  2011 is going to be AWESOME!


   Dec 01

Happy Turkey Day

I can’t believe I’m sitting here looking at our Christmas tree already!  I’m so excited for the holidays–it’s already been an amazing time of reflecting and remembering what all the holidays are about.   On November 15th in the wee hours of the morning, my dear Grandpa Ray Miller passed away.  Although it’s always sad when you lose someone, this was also a great opportunity to connect with my family and relive the sweet memories we have of our grandparents.  Grandpa was 97 years old–he lived a good long life and was ready to be at peace.  He wasn’t perfect by any means, but wow–the impact he has made on us all–with his unwavering faith, his thirst for knowledge, his work ethic…I see even more now the value he had and the legacy he has left behind.  I’m so, so glad I was able to talk to him and say my last goodbyes, and my promise to him was to pass on the stories to my children…the integrity, the values, the work ethic…
Here are all the sibs (minus sis-in-law Teri plus kiddos)
Auntie Ilea and Clara-belle
Although it’s never fun for a funeral to be what brings a family together, it really was incredible to be able to spend time with all of the family like we did. At least person from all five children of grandpa’s came–we had children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren there, and were able to just hang out and remember fun times.  We ended up making it a Thanksgiving reunion–all of us gathered for Thanksgiving meal and went through gobs of old pictures of all the family that had accumulated in Grandpa’s room.  
“Aunt” Rhoda…Clara likes to navigate.
Walking down memory lane…literally
It was a perfect evening for a stroll–the farm is way off in the sunset.
The spot where Dad proposed to Mom 42 years ago…
The result from that proposal.
The outhouse.  Yep, Dad upgraded a bit.
Sweet Uncle Nate and my Daddy–standing in front of the silos they used to fill with feed.
And my brother testing out the cow milker thingies. Nice.
All in all, it was a sweet trip, and my grandpa is finally at peace.  It was a long and productive life and his legacy lives on.  Clara was only vaguely interested in “that man that was Papa’s friend that was dead.” It was open casket and she checked it out but then decided the toys in the little nursery area were more interesting and that was that. The girls were very good–despite runny noses, fevers, and overall yuckiness, they were amazing travelers for the 8 hour trip to and from Ohio.  
After being cooped up in the car forever, apparently it wasn’t enough for Ms. Clara–she, Mr. Butter, and “Mr. Butter’s Mommy” all had to spend some time in Kenya’s crate.

Clara and Ellie are becoming more and more sister-like.  It’s a love-hate relationship–Ellie is starting to understand button-pushing and takes it to a whole new level.  She loves to come up and swat or pull her sister’s hair just to see what reaction comes of it.  And it completely eggs her on when Clara’s reaction is either complete lack of acknowledgment, screaming, or giggling and tackling her.
Clara giving her sis a ride while wearing YiaYia’s glasses.
Clara tried on Nathan’s leather shirt he had made when he was 8 from a deer hide…and yes, he tried it on right after and actually fit into it.  Wow. 
Ellie and Uncle Clay

This has been a hectic past few months with work changes, kids, and family health.  Grandma Bit has moved back up to Nashville to be closer to family after suffering a heart attack, and there have been many weeks with family going back and forth from Ft. Gaines to help out and get her all moved in.  For Thanksgiving all of Caroline’s family came in to spend it with Grandma and see her new place.  It was so nice to have all the family around…and the food was incredible!
Clara’s buddy Anna…pretty much inseparable while she was here!
I love this picture of the Logsdon men!
 Grammy spending quality time playing the piano–I love that she’s instilled such a love for music with them!
I can’t believe these girls were 7 and 10 when I came into the family–they are beautiful young women now!  Both of them celebrated their birthday around this week–Happy Birthday Anna and Abby!
I’m starting some fun traditions for our family, and this is one I got from my brother Kevin’s family–every year we will make cards that say what we’re thankful for that year…and we’ve added a twist for the older crew–what we’ve learned this year.  As the cards accumulate, we’ll all read through ones from past years and see how things change.  
Clara practicing what to do on her card…
Her final piece of work:
Nathan’s poignant lesson learned this year…”I don’t have to know how to raise my kids…I need to know how to love them.”
I’m thankful for past holidays with family, new adventures, and a solid marriage to my absolute best friend and other half…
We all tried to guess what Ellie is thankful for…
Clara checking out the candle thingamajig at YiaYias–I remember always being fascinated by it when I was little, too.  She is definitely into Christmas this year!
Sweet Elle’s Belles….look at those eyes!
Showing off her newest teeth:

And Clara taking her turn to pose for the camera:

We took gobs of Christmas pictures–had the brilliant idea to trade with another family so we both get Christmas shots without paying for a photo shoot.  We spent a few hours at the park with Kate and Ryan Blocher and I came home with over 400 pictures of our families!  I’d say we’ve got a few to choose from.

Clara just loves tea parties.  She’s ultra sneaky, though.  I think she really just loves to eat cookies.  Which, of course, always have to accompany a tea party.

Notice her pinkie up in this one–she really tries hard on that.

I’ll leave you with a video each of our girls–captures the personality of both–the fun, being in the spotlight, and the happiness that pumps out of them 90% of the time (that other 10%…watch out).  I’m so thankful for these girls, my husband, our families, our friends!  Thanks for being with us on this incredible journey called life.


   Oct 30

Lenomade, Basteks, and Dreaming the tub

Yay–fall is here–my favorite time of the year!  I’m loving the vivid fall colors in the leaves and just so thankful I get to live this life.  Logsdon Living definitely keeps me going, but it’s worth every second and I’m honored to get a chance to share it with all of you.
So Clara and Ellie completely dug Halloween this year.  Clara was a Flamenco (or as she says it, Flamingo) Dancer and Ellie was the famous hula cow. We went to a mom’s group party first, and then trick or treating on Halloween night.  Notice that the craft they did included writing your name–I dot out the letters and Clara “writes” her name now!  She’s getting pretty good, and I’m so proud of her for working hard on it.
We went to a great pumpkin patch…
And promptly forgot about the pumpkins in the car until the day after Halloween.  Yep, still not carved.
We had a big neighborhood party for the kids complete with inflatables and stops along the way with games, etc.  It was so much fun–we’re going to hopefully do it every year!
Of course Nathan and I had to get involved as well…I was a butterfly and he was “Old McDonald” (with a hint of his Jim Morrison costume…back in the land before children we were Jim Morrison and his peyote butterfly.  Little different now, and I opted out of wearing the fishnets). 
Yes, the very first house we go to had a stinkin’ Flamenco Dancer!  Seriously?! The girl immediately said Clara must’ve stolen her idea.  I let her know that Clara’s dress was a real-deal flamenco dress from Spain, so top that.  Aunt Dani, we are so spoiled….
Our neighbor Kendall stole a ride for a bit…

The older Clara gets, the more hilarious things she comes up with.  As much as Clara gives us a run for our money and bucks the system, she is such a joy to be around and always keeps us on our toes.  I thought it’d be nice to state some of her latest…

Let’s start out with some great Clara-isms:


When talking about a prank that Nathan and Clara pulled on Uncle Clay and Cuckoo Bill where they made fake “people” sleeping in their beds:

“We skeered the crack outta dem!”
When she wants me to hold her and rock her like a little baby:

“Mama, hold me like a rock baby!”
Patch: anything to do with matching or hatching, as in:

“We patched ’em togeder!
“De birdie sits on de eggs and den dey patch outta dere”
Clara’s favorite magnet is a red lobster, or, in her case “It’s a lob-spur, Mommy!”
She likes my granola “energy” bars from Costco, although she calls them “injury bars”.  Obviously based on the title of the post, some others are “Lenomade”, “Basteks” (baskets), and when she wants to drain the bathtub, it’s time to “dream” the tub.

Clara came home from pre-k today so excited because she got a “unicorn”…come to find out, it was a “kindness coin” for sharing with her friends.

When we went to visit Nathan at work, Clara noticed that the maintenance guy had a bit of a beer gut.  I could see the wheels turning and was just praying he would be out of earshot before she said anything.  As he was walking out the door, Clara started giggling and said “That man looks like he has a baby in his belly!”
Um, along those same lines, we were at a party and Clara stated she didn’t want to sit next to someone because he was “old.”  The more we prompted, I’m starting to figure out that was she thinks is “old” is when people have a belly!  We’re gonna need to work on that….

I forgot to share this story at Christmas-time…
Clara and Uncle Jared were running around outside, and Clara was riding in her little red wagon.  She decided to get a little feisty with Uncle Jared and, right after he put all the sides back on the wagon, she grabbed each side and threw them down on the ground and told Jared “you put them on”.  Uncle Jared said “I just put those back on”…her response “I don’t care.”  Hmm.  Jared: “that’s not cool—now you get out and pick up every one of those and put them back on.”  Which she proceeded to look up at him with shock and say “you know the answers just like mommy does!”  (and then picked every piece up and put them back on again!)

And….yep, we’re in the “potty talk” phase.  And yes, this was the beginning of it, and right after the video we had a nice chat about how potty talk is only allowed in the bathroom.  But it’s pretty funny watching her realize it’s fun to sing about…

Like I shared last month, Clara has been very frustrated with Ellie and was border-line scared of her, freaking out every time she came close.  After a particularly bad moment where she shoved her foot in Ellie’s face for trying to climb up on a stool next to her, I lost my cool and yelled at Clara to go to her room.  I went in and talked to her after consoling poor Ellie with the footprint on her face and then had a talk with Clara.  I apologized for losing my temper and then asked her how she would feel if I kicked her in the face.  I was feeling bad about being short with her already, and then she answers with this “It’s okay, Mommy.  If you kicked-ed me in de face, I’d just run back to you again.”  Yes, I melted.
Incidentally, after that awful day where Clara threw the mother of all tantrums and I took her beloved fairies away for the rest of the afternoon (shear devastation followed), she has been a pure saint.  No arguing with me, not just tolerating or being nice to Ellie, but actually playing and laughing with her–genuinely enjoying her!  I’m still in shock–it’s a complete turnaround with Clara and I’m loving it.

Showcasing the adorable outfit that “Aunt” Rhoda sent that yes, indeed, fits both girls (Rhoda, I love it–Thank you!)

I’m learning a lot about the girls’ personalities, and understanding more and more the things I can do to get the positive behavior.  Clara needs the accolades.  She needs the recognition that she’s awesome, and she needs to be in control.  The more I do this for her and have her involved in the decision making process, set up challenges that she can excel in, and push her toward doing things independently, the happier she is (which makes me pretty happy as well).  She’s such a hoot and so fun to be around.  She’s like the old poem..there was a little girl who had a little curl…  I guess that could be said about both girls.

Anyone who has been around me lately has heard me rave about Deb Ingino and her My Wired Style company–she helps parents to understand the personality styles of their children–not just why your kid is acting up, but to understand how they are uniquely wired.  Wow–here’s a hint into Clara’s personality tendencies:
Moving on to “Ell’s Belles”…

Ellie.  Sweet Ellie. Man, she is definitely the social butterfly, and can be very stubborn when she wants something, but I’m thinking she is a little Nathan.  She’s got a great sense of humor and loves to laugh over and over again.  She is always smiling.  And when she doesn’t get her way or gets hurt, it takes a long time to recover!  I think she needs me to acknowledge and sympathize with her while she dramatizes the point…um, kinda like when Nathan feels bad.  Even her pediatrician was blown away by the lungs on her–and no tears–it was just because she was mad!

Her first birthday has come and gone–and she took her first steps the day after!!  It was just a few steps–to Uncle Clay.  We’ve decided he must be the baby whisperer since she’s the third baby to take their first steps to him!  Although she’s still not officially walking, she climbs EVERYWHERE.  Her favorite is to climb up on Clara’s stools to reach the countertop.  And yes, she’s busted, and no, it doesn’t stop her.

I love love love to hear her laugh!
With everything going on lately (including my best friend getting married at my parent’s house!!), we were partied out, so for Ellie’s first, we just had family over.  Clara and I made a huge “cupcake” cake, and Ellie dove right in:
Clara was ready to dive in before the cake came out of the oven…but evidence shows she tested out the icing while she waited.
She was such a hoot with her toys, too–loved playing with them all almost as much as Clara did!
Yes…my best friend is hitched!  It was a gorgeous wedding and so fun!  Clara was one of the FIVE flower girls, and Amber Beckham was the kickin’ photographer:
Another cake endeavor–flowers and ribbon are my new favorites!
Moving on to Nathan.  There is so much to tell right now!  Nathan hates for me to brag on him, so I’ll try to keep this as painless possible for him while still letting ya’ll know how proud I am of him.  This quarter is a time of major change and transition.  After 6 years with BB&T, Nathan has given his notice and is coming to work with 48 Days!  Dad and I are so excited we can’t see straight.  Nathan has thought about this for a while, yet his time with the bank has been so valuable–he’s created some great relationships and learned so much about the banking industry.  He has been committed to working with the bank to help establish the middle TN area, and the time with this company is something that Nathan will always hold as an integral period in his life.  However, we all know Nathan is a family man–and the opportunities with 48 Days where we need someone just like him, plus the knowledge that working with us means being able to watch his kids grow up and have the flexibility to travel and have family first–everything finally converged to where now is a good time to leave the banking industry while things are still good.   Although we have the “security” of insurance and a steady paycheck with the bank, all of you that understand the 48 Days principles of aligning your work with the life you love know that there is no replacement for being in a job that truly lines up with everything you believe in, are passionate about, and is just one part of the wheel of our lives.  Instead of career being the center of our lives, we have the opportunity to align it with the rest of our priorities–family, spiritual, emotional, and physical development, finances, and our social lives.  How fun that we now get the chance to create a life that isn’t dictated by how many vacation days we have left or the other things that come from life in the corporate world?  I think one thing Nathan is most excited about (other than waking up to play with his girls every morning) is not having to wear a suit again!  He’s definitely set for every wedding and funeral…and I think that’s the only time you’re going to catch him in a suit ever again.
Here is what Nathan would rather be doing:
Oh yes, this is the latest “fairy house.” Scott, Clay and Will: Nathan still knows how to build them.  This is the coolest, and was pretty natural!
Nathan’s last full week is next week—then he’ll work part-time for the month of November, which is a perfect transition for him to ease from the corporate world to that of an entrepreneur.  This also helps the bank to get a replacement–Nathan has continually amazed me with his high level of integrity with this company–and for him to just up and walk away at a busy/crazy time just isn’t in his makeup. The relationships both with clients and coworkers that he’s made are something he values–so he will stick it out and be as honest and reliable as the day he first started.  Man, I could go on and on about him through this process–it’s just incredible.  I’ve seen such patience, integrity, humility, compassion, and empowering leadership in him that just blows me away.  

We met with the Andy Andrews team to learn about how their business works, and the whole crew was amazing.  We came home with a whole collection of books–what an incredible and generous group–you should definitely check out what Andy Andrews is all about!  I sent a thank you card to Robert (Andy’s perfect assistant and our newest mentor) showing our (and Ellie’s) excitement about the books:




Additionally, Nathan and Clay trained for and ran their first “triathlon.”  Instead of swimming, this one was 3 miles of canoeing, 8 miles of mountain biking and a 2 1/2 mile run. The guys really worked hard to train and I was amazed at how well they did.  Their category (team male: male) was the most competitive with professionals who have been doing triathlons regularly, and they made it in 16th place!  The girls and I went to cheer them on:
We’re in a changing season and gearing up for an incredible 2011 that we’re both so excited about.  We’re moving toward the life we dreamed about and we’re ready to get going!

   Sep 21

August Breezes

On to August. Ellie is officially into everything now.  Clara is progressively getting more and more annoyed with this fact.  Did I mention Ellie’s loudness?  And no, she’s not deaf.  I’ve had people ask.  She just likes to be that loud.  
But look at these smiles-at least she’s happy all the time!

What’s really amazing, though, is that Ellie’s vocalizations sounds so much like what we say!  She mimics sounds like crazy and I swear she’s said “thank you,” “hi,” and “more” along with the typical “dada” and “mama”.  She’s standing on her own and may be walking soon.  Maybe she’ll be walking and talking before her first birthday!
We are loving that Papa D is officially retired.  He’s been able to go with us to the zoo and take Clara on special dates during the day…other than his golf days each week.  It’s a tough life, but someone’s gotta do it.  🙂 

We went to the Williamson County Fair with Mom this year–wow–this was by far the best fair I’ve ever been to.  It was so nice, kid-friendly, and just clean and fun–not the trashy fairs I remember with the big city deals.  This was really a great event–the girls loved it, although it was hot.
Afterward we met Nathan and Dad for lunch.  The girls had to chill out a bit with their iPhones.  Wow.  Do I really have a picture of this??

We experienced a very cool thing in our house.  Clara loves bugs and has a bug box–she found some caterpillars and put them in there.  In less than a week, we had five cocoons!  It was really neat to watch the whole process.  We had four swallowtail butterflies (this is it below), and then one white moth.  We have another chrysalis right now–not sure what it is yet!

Ellie loves her sister and watches her every move.  Clara loves Ellie every other third Thursday.  
We went to Beersheba Springs again this year with all of the Logsdon crew plus friends.  Great time of relaxing–I love those swings!
Reid had a long day.  Tree stuck up his toe didn’t make it any better.

Cuckoo Bill and Ellie chillin’

Clara’s avocado pit

Here is the order of hierarchy…Ellie looks up to Clara, Clara looks up to Kate (although she still tries to boss her around some as well…
Tea Party time…










After tea party when the sugar-rush hits…

Is this a great ad or what… “Even a baby knows you need to find the work you love.”  Come on Dad, this needs to go somewhere on the site right?
Clara actually did make it in a blog “Have a little talk with Jesus” here:

Wrapped around her little finger….

Alright…I’m up to speed now since we’re not through September yet.  I have so many great videos but it just takes too long to get them up here!  I may just start sending people to a YouTube channel.
Speaking of that, I’m at the point where I’m getting close to reaching capacity with picture storage on blogspot.  I’m debating on switching to a new blog site–one where I can download more than one picture at a time.  Any thoughts on that? You all know I’m picture and video-crazy…what is the best blog out there for me to do this easily?  Let me know, and if there is any way possible to convert this one over?


   Sep 21

July flew by!

So it’s 5:30am and I’m thinking about how this summer has breezed on past and that I’m now three months overdue with updating the blog.  Because I’m so picture-happy, I merely have over three hundred pictures to weed through each month.  Talk about overwhelming for doing a blog.  Add in videos, and the procrastination begins!
I’ll space these out to make it a little more feasible.  First up, July.  Nathan and I got to dress up and go out on a hot date, and actually got some shots of us without kids.  Craziness, I know. 

Ellie is our little sunshine.  She is by far the loudest child God has ever created.  The lungs on her are incredible, but it’s more than just that–she doesn’t fully understand the concept of talking.  To her, if you’re going to be heard, then be heard at the loudest you can!
Dinnertime, especially, is Ellie’s time to shine.  Having peace and quiet at the dinner table…ahh, those were the days…El will literally destroy/eat anything in her grasp, and in between bites she’ll make sure you know she’s doing it!

Clara-belle is cute as ever, becoming more precocious and sweet as she enters in those pre-K years.  She become especially close with Auntie Ilea over the summer, who worked with her on learning how to swim!

It was very nice this summer having both Crunkles Jared and Auntie Ilea close-by.  They were here most of the summer and really got to play and get close with the girls.  We’re so lucky to have so much family close-by–these girls are so well-loved by so many people, and we’ve had such an incredible support system.  It really does take a village to raise a child, and thankfully, we’ve got a great one.

The zoo is still a favorite for us, and Clara can tell you the names of just about every animal now.  The new flamingo exhibit is up now, which is very cool!

Speaking of family, my nephew Caleb and niece Eliza came and visited for ten days this summer.  We celebrated Caleb’s 15th birthday…so crazy.  I was 14 when he was born!  Eliza, Clara and I made cakes–since he’s into playing the guitar, we tried our hand at a guitar cake…apple spice cake with penuche frosting.  Had a big birthday party and with ten of us, we only ate the neck of the cake. I had a LOTTA cake left over!
While they were here, Dad took all of us to a “Tractor” pull.  I use that term VERY loosely.  Dad remembered when he was a kid going to the county fairs after a day of working in the fields.  Everyone would drive their tractors over and then hook them one at a time to a big trailer.  As the trailer would go past, people would hop on to the back of it, making it heavier and heavier.  The winning tractor is the one that went the furthest.  
Um, they’ve gone a bit more high-tech now.  The tractors you see in the “Tractor” pull now are not ones that would ever be in the fields.  We didn’t realize it, but we went to the Lion’s Super Pull of the South…the largest tractor pull in the nation.  These puppies were insane–and tractors were just the beginning.  We saw hot rods, monster trucks, and crazy power machines with 6 and 8 engines.  It was ridiculous.  And absolutely deafening.  It was so loud when they would pull the weights it would rattle your core.  Needless to say, we got ear plugs immediately!  Clara thought it was cool other than the smoke–she definitely has issues with smoke, especially when it’s a big black polluted cloud shooting up in front of her. I understand.  My future environmentalist.  So proud.
  

The Miller Family reunion is every three years and this time was in Harrisonburg, VA.  Nathan and I left early with the girls to get in some visiting time with my cousins Rhoda and Kate, who both live there.  It was a nice reunion hanging with the cousins, and we’ve decided we need to do one with just the Ray Miller family more often than every three years!  This reunion is based on my grandfather’s siblings, so it’s eight siblings (I think thats right? He was one of 13 and 8 lived to adulthood?  Can’t remember–need to refresh my family history memory!)
Anyway, it’s fun, but hard to keep track of all the very extended family:

Nathan and Jared were their typical stoic selves…
My favorite great-aunts, Nora and Cora.  They are the sweetest ladies in the world.  I was listening to them talk and Nora (left) said “Cora, you can’t be over 105 pounds!” and Cora looked at Nora with a sly grin and said “103.”  They are just too cute!

Clara had an incredible teacher for her summer mother’s day out program at Judson.  Ms. Ploy was very artsy and I swear every picture Clara came home with was frame-worthy!  So frame-worthy, we have a wall just for hanging all of them in her room!

Clara tuckered out during one of our walks to get veggies from the neighbors down at Yia Yia and Papa’s house.  She’s in this in-between stage where she doesn’t always need a nap, but she can’t fully go without them all the time, either….

We went to the Hatcher Family Dairy for a dairy tour with Kate and Hudson.  It was great–I’ve known the Hatchers for a while–we take our pets there to their vet clinic, and they make the best milk at the Farmer’s market.  We had fun on our little tour, although I don’t think it could have been any hotter that day…

So this is July… I’ll break it up before I move on to August…

   Jul 31

St George’s Island Trip

This is way overdue–our beach vacation in May was a blast and I got so many great pictures I made it into a kickin’ picture book through MyPublisher.com.  But, never posted them on the blog.  I still haven’t gotten any of July up, either, so I’ll attempt another blog update in the next week or so.

 So…here are the best shots:

My favorite beach shot taken by Grammy:

Doesn’t he look Rico Suave

Cuckoo Bill caught a fish…

Poppa D eased Clara into golf by using the club as a pencil…
Then moved on to the swing…

And then time for some shut-eye.  It’s tough vacationing.

We went digging for Claras.  Found one!



Awesome beach house we stayed at—pool on the bottom porch, hot tub on the top overlooking the sea….perfect!






Sleeping on the beach–so nice!

Clara and “Mr. Butter”





Poor Ellie was really sick for a lot of the trip.  Very congested.  We almost took her to the ER.  We spent a lot of time in a steamy shower, though, and it did wonders.

Doting Grandparents….





Notice all the people on the beach with me…
Early morning sunrise when I got up at 4am with poor croupy Ellie…
Love all the Clara/Daddy pictures…



Awww…can I go back now??

On our way home…

And…in Alabama.  ’nuff said:
(okay, really..trying to be nice, but these are just too good)
even the ice cream truck is a short bus??
And my favorite–thanks Grammy for giving me the heads up on this one:
Final shots of Ellie just ’cause they’re cute…


   Jun 26

House Renovations and Crafty Momma

Alright, although we’ve done most of these renovations a long time ago, I’ve kept putting the updates off because I’ve always had something to add–just one more thing to do…
But at this point almost everything is done–we just want to add some doors at some point, and next year we’ll play around with the back yard some.  So…I’ve compiled some fun before/after shots of what all we’ve done…
First off, here is our latest endeavor–the front–gotta have that curb appeal!  I’ll say, nothing motivates a man to get outside and do some work when they get a $400 quote to remove a sidewalk.  Nathan and his brothers went out and in under an hour had the whole concrete sidewalk removed and laid out as a new parking area for our Trooper.   The whole layout was all Nathan’s idea–he did the sidewalk and the shutters himself, and we had a blast laying out all the plants.  We’re really excited with how it turned out!

Moving to the inside…front room, we closed up two entries and then made a big entry in the middle instead to open it up–refinished the floors and took out some half-walls…

Next is the biggest renovation–the kitchen.  We stripped it down to the sub floors. Note to self: that would have been the best time to upgrade the plumbing.  Not now.  Now it’s a royal pain in the butt.  Lesson learned.  Nathan decided to humor me with my Craigslist obsession and let me sell the junk in the kitchen.  I did and was $650 richer.  Got to deck out the house in all the knick-knacks I wanted. 🙂

Moving on to the hallway and first bath.  We are the third owners…and at some point the first owners decided to renovate the garage and convert it into another room.  When they did that they also converted a hall closet into a bathroom.  Now…the garage room has plumbing set up for a laundry room already.  Why oh why did they not put a bath on that side of the house?  Instead, the opted to take a completely minuscule hall closet and turn it into a bathroom.  You have to turn sideways to use the stinkin’ toilet.  And the kicker–it’s right next door to the other bathroom.  Nice.  We opted not to spend our money upgrading the bathrooms yet-we have full plans to tear out the bathrooms and create a master bedroom/bath…maybe…one day….
 
The main bathroom and hallway…notice the pictures on the wall–it’s all of our family that doesn’t live right here in TN, so the girls get to know the faces of everyone important in our lives!

I have to add in the latest gift from Melissa–she created this awesome family tree for us!  Updated all the way down to Nekoda, so from 1913-2010-how cool is that??!!

Moving on to the bedrooms–Ellie’s room was awful originally-not only the awful blue walls, but this horrible dark gray ceiling that had bumps all in it–which John was so kind enough to scrape off for me.  The joys of being the tallest guy I know.  
Poor Ellie’s room is exactly identical to how it was when it was Clara’s…except for the picture above the crib-instead of Nathan’s hands fingerspelling Clara it’s Clara’s hand fingerspelling Ellie, with a rose at the end–turned out so cute!

Master bedroom–nasty salmon color.  Need I say more?

Last room, Clara’s new room.  This is what was originally a garage and then converted to a playroom.  The ceiling was really low–about 4 inches below the windows–very odd.  We raised the ceiling and expanded out the laundry room (which was awful, by the way. 101 Dalmation border wallpaper print…).  We had fun with this room:

This is what I just did in Clara’s room for her birthday.  This is all made from scrapbook paper–I have enough paper to cover her whole room and it cost me $15 vs. the $45 kit that is identical to this that I found in a vinyl cling kit.  I’d love to get a laminator and laminate it so she can move the animals around–she likes to hide the hedgehog behind the tree.  

On to the back yard, which is constantly changing.  Nathan strung up curtains and fun paper lights which make for a great place to hang at night when the mosquitoes aren’t awful.  I did a garden on the side that has gone wild at this point–all kinds of great veggies and herbs–I love it. 
We’ll also eventually paint the garage, but debating on putting garage doors on it first.  We’ll see!  The work never ends when you own your own place, but boy is it fun!

So, there’s the whole place–you’ve taken the official tour!
Final extras…I’ve gotten crafty–made some more mai-tai wraps…I love these things–you can use it for a tiny baby all the way up o a four year old (like anyone wants to carry a four year old).  And yes, Ellie can see out of this–she just liked hiding her head in it because she was sleepy.  You can wear them on the front, back or side.  I’ve made six this week!
I’m working on crafts for our Miller Family Reunion auction–we have a family reunion every 3 years, and we have a big auction with all kinds of homeade/sentimental goodies.  All the money raised goes toward the next reunion and pays for the kids under 18 so it’s affordable for everyone to go.

Along with the wrap, I’ve made paci clips and bib clips (you clip a cloth napkin to them a restaurants so you don’t have to lug around a dirty bib)…

And my new favorite, taggies!  I got this idea from my friend Kate, and then went crazy adding fun textures–all kinds of great ribbons, and they all have a little Velcro hole in a corner to stick a grocery bag inside–for the fun crinkle sound if you want them to make noise (and take it out when you don’t, or you’re lacking a bag–so convenient).  

Another great idea from Kate–a towel hoodie made from a washcloth and towel!

And yes, I’m loving my photo collages.  You’ll be seeing more of them now.
For the fourth of July we went to a friend’s house–combo birthday party for Beth and retirement party for Papa D–he’s officially retired now!  First thing he did on his first day retired…took Clara to the zoo, a picnic with Grammy and to the farmer’s market–how sweet of a Papa is that??!  Anyway, here is “the legend” living it up with some of his favorite women….

See how Ellie adores him–who doesn’t??  Seriously, Papa D, you deserve this–we’re so happy this day has finally come and you can do all the things that having a 8-5er (or in your case a 4:30am-er) kept you from doing.  Congrats!
I’ve not only been crafty, but I’ve had fun baking as well.  So for the party I took Grandma’s Applesauce Spice cake and Penuche frosting and added my favorite icing ever to it for a golfer cake for David, and a Kahlua cake with a rich Kahlua glaze for a cake for Beth.  And yes, I did use a whole bottle of Kahlua.  Yum.  

Final notes…I wrote another blog about discipline here.
And ending with a cutie patootie pic of the girls.  Have to throw that in there as well…