Hey Santa, Won’t you Bring me Something Sweet…

December 24, 2010

A Christmas Tradition for me and my sister while growing up was to help my Mom bake “Christmas cookies”.   Although these included several different kinds of cookies, to me, there was only one type of true Christmas cookie…the anise cookies.

You see, these were the cut-out cookies which were so much fun to make and so delicious.  The very special thing about these particular cookies was that they were the ones which Santa would eat.  I can remember carefully decorating the cookies I chose for Santa…the cookies I spent extra time in decorating and carefully placed the many sprinkles and colorful icing.

I decided to  start this cookie-making tradition with Clare this year.  Once we finally found the anise extract (after going to 3 different stores) we were ready to give it a try.   We have only two Christmas cookie-cutter shapes but Clare happily chose to use her Halloween cookie-cutters as well.   Her favorite part of baking the cookies was tossing the flour on the counter (and the kitchen floor, and her clothes etc…).  😉

After making cookies for the first tray to go in the oven, my helper was ready to quit.  We’ll see if she can have the patience to bake these cookies next year.  In the meantime…’Mommy’ had fun making them (and testing the homemade icing)!  😉

Cookie Cutter Clare

Ta Da! A Christmas Star in the perfect shape.

Carefully Cutting out the Cookie Shapes

Carefully Cutting out Circle Shaped Cookies

My Little Baking Assistant

My Little Baking Assistant (covered in flour)!

Christmas Cookies

The Finished Product...Cookies for Christmas

Which cookie for Santa?  Clare chose a big snowman shaped cookie.  We put in the freezer so “it wouldn’t get old” (in Clare-speak) before Christmas arrived.   😉

Merry Christmas to all!


Today, An Artist

December 17, 2010

As all parents do, we often wonder what our children will grow up to be.  I don’t know about the future, but I do know the present.   Today, Clare is my Artist.

Her masterpiece

Her Masterpiece

"Christmas Trees"

"Christmas Trees"

Flowers for Mommy

"Flowers for Mommy"

A Big Day

December 9, 2010

Today was Clare’s annual well visit at the Pediatrician’s office.  We all know that what that means …booster shots!

Clare really does enjoy going to the “Cough Doctor” as she calls him, much more so than the “Needle Doctor” (AKA the Allergist).  Well, after today, I’m wondering if she’ll have a different name for the “Cough Doctor”.

We hyped this day up for Clare.  She went to bed last night wondering if she would weigh in at 38 pounds as she stepped on the scale (“the scale with the Elmo sticker on it!”).  We read the book “The Bernstein Bears Go to the Doctor” so Clare could see how well sister Bear did with her booster shot.

Clare was quite happy as we arrived at the Pediatricians.  The scale she was asked to use this time had Thomas stickers on it…we love Thomas the Train.  She kept watching the numbers edge just slightly above 37 and finally stop at 37.2 pounds.  No jump for joy as she would have had it hit the big 38 mark, but all was just fine.

They checked her eyesight and hearing which she liked a lot.  Then, once in the exam room, the nurse gave Clare a little paper sheet with teddy bears on it to cover herself up in.  That hit home with me how grown up she is getting!

The doctor came in and while talking about the booster shots which Clare would be getting, he made the comment about how this visit is usually tough for 4 year olds.  Keep in mind that for her 3 year shots, she didn’t cry at all.  Then as the doctor was looking over Clare’s info, an unpromising look came across his face as he realized Clare would need to get 5 shots.  Note to self…this may result in an unhappy child.

I held Clare down on the table while the nurse jabbed those little legs with the shots.  Our big girl yelled and cried SO hard.  Of course I could not stop the tears from rolling down my cheeks as I was holding her down.  The nurse made a comment under her breath about Clare being a strong one.   Once the shots were done, thankfully, Clare stopped crying immediately.  Shew!

The three of us went about our day.  I dropped Clare off at school before Robert and I both headed back to work.  As I was working, around 4:00, I got a picture message of Clare eating a gingerbread cookie.  I knew exactly where she was…Sweet Loralee’s Bakery at the Factory!  Which meant she probably had been to the Jumpin’ Bean.  A huge smile was instantly on my face.  Robert left the office early to pick up Clare (yes, Clare has the coolest Daddy!!) and took her to one of her favorite spots to spend a couple hours with Daddy.  Why?  “Because she had a big day.”


A treat with Daddy after a big day

A Treat with Daddy

The Making of a Jack-O’-lantern

October 30, 2010

Step One:  Find the perfect pumpkin(s)…

Pumpkin Pickin'

Somebody found her some pumpkins

Step Two:  Enjoy the Pumpkin Patch (a must!)…

My favorite pumpkin of all

My Pumpkin

Fun times at the Pumpkin Patch

Fun times at the Pumpkin Patch

Step Three:  Get Paint (thank you to my partner-in-crime for battling Walmart on a Saturday!)

Step Four:  Prep the Pumpkins…

Prepare to Paint!

Prepare to paint!

Step Five:  Begin to Paint!

Our Little Artist

The Rainbow Pumpkin

Our little Artist

Decorating the pumpkin just right!

...putting on the finishing touches

Putting on the finishing touches

Operation Pumpkin Painting

Operation Pumpkin Painting

Step Six:  Make the True Jack-O’-Lantern…

Jack-O'Lantern, Complete!

Hello Jack-O'-Lantern!

Step Seven:  Display the Masterpieces and Get Ready for Halloween!

Ready for Halloween!


No, she did not just say that?

August 14, 2010

This week brought a few more than usual moments where Robert and I had to turn our heads after hearing Clare voice some hilarious comments…

Clare’s comment from one night this week…“But, but, I promise I won’t care if my teeth fall out, I just realllly don’t want to brush my teeth.”  Can you tell that brushing teeth can sometimes be a trying task for Clare?

While getting Clare ready for bed (post-swim lessons) and taking her braid out of her hair (yes…she actually let me braid it!!), she saw herself in the mirror and as serious as can be she said, “I don’t look so good….my hair???!”  She then covered her head with a towel.  Wow…one of the few times she sees some curl to her hair, she does not like it. I was able to quickly capture this Kodak moment! It amazes me that one can be self-conscious at such a wee age!

Someone did not like her curls

Then, the next morning while getting ready for school she spots her little toy mirror.  She picks up her mirror and (again as serious as can be) says “let’s see if I look stylish?” Stylish?  Already?  Such a big word for a three year old’s vocabulary.

And…saving the best gasp for last…as the three of us are eating dinner tonight at our favorite local Mexican restaurant (Las Palmas), Clare is playing at the table with her fun calculator and begins to press down on some of the numbers…next thing we hear (oh so quietly) is, “D@$X&T!” and then again, “D@$X&T!”.  Wow…Robert and I had tears in our eyes from holding back our laughter while trying so hard not to make too much of a big deal about it (worried she would proclaim this lovely word even more so!).

Of course this last Clare-Comment was all “Mommy”.  Allow me to vent for one moment…there was a crazy 45 minutes last weekend when Clare and I were completely stuck in a traffic stand-still at the Tangier Outlets in N. Myrtle Beach.  While attempting to leave the outlets (and go meet up with Mimi and PopPop, Kaitlyn and Isabella for dinner) we quickly got right in the middle of a HUGE parking lot traffic gridlock.  It was one of the craziest traffic experiences I’ve been in a LONG time.  No one was moving for literally 40 minutes…of course by minute 30, Clare tells me she has to go to the bathroom.

Without even thinking (or realizing it), I barked at some of the cars with a lovely “D@$X&T, car!” remark.  Well, as we were FINALLY making progress and approaching the long awaited exit to the parking lot, Clare asked me (while pointing to a car), “Mommy, is that a D@$&XT car?”  It then dawned on me that I clearly barked just a bit too loud.  So, trying to be swift, I made her think I was saying “Jammed in Cars”.  Nothing ever came up again until …tonight.  😉  Lesson learned…I must seriously watch what comes out of mouth at all times.  And…never again visit the Tangier Outlets during a tax-free shopping weekend!  😉

Purple and Pink

August 1, 2010

A Sunday afternoon with just Clare and Mommy—say no more.

Clare  gave an emphatic “Yes” when I asked her last night if she would like to go get her toes painted today.  “I know, Mommy, how about I get purple and you get pink?!”

This is only the second time I’ve taken her to the nail salon and the first time I’ve actually gotten my nails done with her.  Clare picked out our colors and propped herself in the spa chair as if she knew exactly what to do.

She sat as still as could be as she watched her toes undergo their pedicure.  😉

Clare's Pedicure

The nail tech was awesome…when finished, she lifted Clare out of the chair and carried her over to the “drying” table.  I sat beside Clare and she looked down at my toes and made the comment of how beautiful our toes were but she REALLY liked her purple toes better than my pink toes.  😉

"Look at our Beautiful Toes!"

She discovered the candy bowl sitting on the table and asked me if she could have a lollipop.  As I gave it to her, she asked if this was one that had gum inside…how she knew what a Blow Pop was, I have no idea?!  Sure enough, there was gum inside (except she got tired of it before she got to the good part).

Somebody found the candy bowl!

She waited patiently for her toes to dry and made the comment that I should have brought my own flip flops like she did—“that way you could wear them home like me!”.

As we walked out the door of the Nail Salon she said “Ahhh, I can’t wait to show Daddy our beautiful toes!”.

Another wonderful Sunday.

A Carefree Sunday

July 25, 2010

As typical for July in North Carolina—it is  piping hot.  This weekend was no exception with 103 degree days both Saturday and Sunday.

Clare LOVES her park outings on the weekends; we headed out super early both days in an attempt to beat this intense heat.  The hot sunshine didn’t seem to slow Clare down in the least bit.  She rode her bike, swung on the swings and actually took off running with Robert and me on the greenway trails.  When we got back home this morning, she wanted to play in the yard with her Sprinkler Ball (thank you, Baby Will!). Talk about FUN—she had a ball!

It’s no surprise that she napped afterward (albeit 45 minutes).  Last weekend, Clare and her Daddy went to the local ice cream shop where Clare had her very first ice-cream cone (it’s always been in a bowl)!  She woke up this morning asking if we could go get ice-cream today (“but, pleeeease?”).   The deal was that if she napped, we would take her to  get ice-cream.  Easy to guess how this story ends, huh?!  😉

Wordless Wednesday

July 7, 2010

America the Beautiful

Almost Four!

May 14, 2010

Clare is now 3 ½ !  She seems to grow taller and taller every week.  I don’t always notice it but when I peek in on her before going to bed and I see those long legs it so often makes me pause.  Growing up before our eyes…indeed she is.

She is weighing in at 35 pounds although each week Robert and I swear she is nearing 40 pounds—unbelievably heavy!  How tall is she?  Well, that’s a great question!  I will update this post with that info as I can never find that tape measure when I need it.  😉

The three’s have been challenging as she is certainly ever so eager to explore the vast world in front of her.  Her independence shines though every day.  Her teacher pulled me aside a few months ago to tell me that Clare is one who knows what she wants.  I thought to myself, oh dear…shades of bossiness coming though?!  My sister tells me that is an inherent trait with the first born child.   I’m thinking that is sister’s way of telling me…payback time!  😉

Clare  goes through her phases but at the moment she is all about wearing dresses (every day) and her play necklaces.  She is very nurturing—loves to squeeze her kitty cats and tell them how much she loves them.  Her baby dolls are given the best care…she changes their diapers and makes them ‘pretend’ breakfast.

Empathy…to our amazement, she discovered this shortly before turning 3.  While watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse one morning, tears fell down her cheeks as she watched a sad Goofy.  So sensitive yet so determined.

Methodical and systematic are two other traits I would use to describe Clare.  I’ll save the fun details for another post but safe to say, we recognized these traits in her as early as 9 months of age.

Clare’s vocabulary has exploded since turning 3.  I try to take note of the many times when she says something and Robert and I have to do a double-take.  Here’s a sample of some of those Clare-isms and words that are unique to only Clare (“clare-speak” as we call it).


  • LaMote = Remote
  • Toomanno = Tomorrow
  • Lellllow = Yellow
  • Hewba Loop:  Hoola Hoop
  • Hanitizer = Hand Sanitizer
  • Automagically = Automatically (this comes from the public restrooms—she cannot tolerate the toilets that flush automatically…too loud for her ears.  Yes, road trips are always an adventure with Clare).
  • Marshmallow = Mushroom (she has finally started calling them mushrooms…loves them on her pizza and loves to eat them at PopPop’s house).
  • Nornado = Tornado
  • The Reest = The Priest
  • The EBS Truck!  = The UPS truck (Clare LOVES to spot the UPS truck!  Only recently, she asked me “Mommy, why is the EBS man always wearing the same clothes?”  That’s my girl!)
  • The little Frank = Franklin, one her kitty cats
  • WaWa = Wyeth, her other kitty cat
  • Wonderland = Disney World “Where Mickey lives”
  • Deesh = Drink (now this one she stopped saying probably around 5 months ago, but she still occasionally uses her clare-speak when talking about my or Robert’s drink).


  • Yesterday:  the time that lapses between today and “yesterday”.  She’ll remember a story that occurred 6 months ago and say, “remember, yesterday, when I was two…”
  • When you do things on accident, its okay, but you don’t do it on purpose.  “But, but, I didn’t do it on purpose!”
  • Whenever we see a bird, Clare always says (quite emphatically), “No…it’s not a bird, it’s an EAGLE…a BALD Eagle, Mommy!!”
  • “Hey, do you have a baby in your belly?”  I was flabbergasted when I heard that sentence leave her mouth at hhgregg back In January when the sales associate (MALE sales associate) was helping us buy a washer and dryer.  Talk about thinking fast…I immediately tried to talk over Clare in hopes the nice gentleman didn’t hear her.
  • “Read like me, Mommy”:  She LOVES to read books and lately, she tires her hardest to instruct me to read like her (can you tell she enjoys playing the teacher role?!)
  • “Don’t stare, Mommy!”—We explain to her it’s not polite to stare at people and one time when we were at a restaurant, out of the blue, Clare made this comment to me.

And lastly, we so often get a “Did you know…?” when picking her up from school.  It really amazes us how much a toddlers mind can learn, retain and then act on.  I’ll have to scan some of her drawings…she has gone from scribbling lines to forming letters to spelling her name to now drawing tangible objects.  Today, she drew a sunflower (she had to make sure she had brown paint) with “dark green” grass, a rainbow (don’t forget there’s purple too) rain drops and a bird.  Our little artist-in-the-making.

Did you Know…?

  • “Jupiter is the largest planet”
  • “Saturn is the planet with rings”
  • “You need to take a rocket ship to get to outer space”
  • “A Nornado looks like a carrot”  That would be ‘tornado”.
  • “Yoga helps get the wiggles out”
  • “The white stuff in a fish tank is algae” (we were at a restaurant and Clare made this comment while checking out the fish tank)

Her loves include Little Einsteins, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Tigger and Pooh and Thomas the Train…Her bike, her blocks (building towers is one of her passions), the park(s), the beach, painting, Ruff and Fig (her stuffed animals) and most importantly, her family, her many friends and amazing teachers at The Goddard School!

Thank you, God for blessing us with this gift—such an incredible and precious daughter.

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For Mom–Thank you

May 9, 2010

On this Mother’s Day I am once again reminded of how truly blessed I am to have such an amazing Mother.  I read a quote that really hits home with me, “the older I get, the more I see, the power of that young woman, my mother.”  Now as a Mother myself, I find myself appreciating everything (from big to small) my Mom did for me as I was growing up—and all that she still does for me.

My hope is that I will pass these same values onto my own daughter and help her grow, one day at a time, into all that she can be.  I’m a true believer that so much is learned by example.  I thought by writing down some of these values and gifts I learned from my Mom, it would help me not to lose sight of them as I still find my way in this crazy world.

Thank you, Mom for…

  • Holding my hand, but not too tight
  • Catching me when I fall (and showing me how to get back up on my own)
  • Being my confidant
  • Guiding me to find my individuality and teaching me not to push it aside as I take on my role as a wife and mother
  • Teaching me to love unconditionally.  I may not have been listening to you, but I learned by your actions—you’re right, giving is better than receiving
  • Teaching me at an early age the importance of gratitude by making me write my own thank you notes
  • Letting me know there is always a silver lining and more importantly, how to find it
  • Being patient and instilling that virtue within me
  • Teaching me to embrace change
  • Nurturing my imagination and never appearing to get tired of my antics
  • Encouraging me to reach for the stars (Your unending pursuit of education and career advancement is such an inspiration to me)
  • Reminding me to save time for myself
  • Making me stop and smell the roses (every day)
  • Indulging my creative side (although I didn’t turn out to be an artist, I vividly remember my art classes you and Dad sent me too)
  • Teaching me how to look my best (“what is rouge?”)
  • Showing me how contagious a smile can be
  • Showing me the value of pursuing my career while still being a wife and a mom
  • Always emphasizing the magnitude of family and being there no matter what
  • Retail Therapy
  • I’m saving the best for last…Giving me a sister!

I love you, Mom.  Happy Mother’s Day!