Happy Birthday Claire

Dear Claire,

Happy Birthday!  Today you turn eight... and I truly couldn't be more proud of the girl you are and the sweet little lady you are becoming.  I know I could probably write that in every letter to you, but it is true!  You are so kindhearted, loving, imaginative, competitive, silly, smart, and beautiful!  There are so many things about your personality that make you so uniquely YOU and YOU are truly an amazing kid!

One of my favorite things about you at this age is how imaginative you are!  I love finding little notes, photos, and stories around the house.  You are also amazing at making birthday cards for everyone in the family and making them feel special with the funny things your write to them.  We often wonder where you are when we haven't seen you in awhile, and find you in your room playing Barbie, with your Build-a-Bears (Miranda, T-Bone, and Aaliyah), or sitting at your desk creating. We like to call it "Claire time" because it's just you and your imagination, and we just love that about you.

You are involved in quite a few activities these days... in the past year you have gone from one gymnastics class per week to two...adding in a back handspring class.  We are always amazed by what you can do, mainly because no one else in the family is nearly as flexible or agile as you are. You also take a jazz (musical theater) dance class and played basketball, softball, and swimming. Then, just this week you did a cheer camp and I think you really enjoyed that as well.  I know you will succeed in anything you choose in the future, but for now I am loving watching you discover all the choices and opportunities we are so lucky to have.

In school you have truly excelled and Daddy and I couldn't be more proud.  You work hard, period. You were selected to be in an advanced reading group and you earned all A's throughout the school year!  You were also blessed to have the same amazing teacher for two years in a row and I know she was so proud to see your growth in the classroom as well.

There are so many fun things to remember from the past year!  We did a summer bucket list last summer and went on several adventures to the beach, a few trips to Tahoe (bungee trampoline!), and to Yuba City to camp (glamp) and celebrate Greg's birthday.  Then, over Christmas break we went to San Luis Obispo to celebrate New Years with the Debbas family.  While we were there you learned to ice skate for the first time.  Those, along with many adventures here near home have really made for a fun year.  I hope you remember these adventures and the fun we have together as a family!

There are so many reasons eight is really, really great... and one of them is that YOU are eight!  I am so incredibly lucky that God gave us you as our daughter, Claire.  You make me laugh, and your heart warms my heart.  You challenge me to live just a little bit outside my comfort zone because you already understand how important that is.  Thank you for being the amazing little girl you are!

I can't wait to see what this year, and many many more have in store for you!

I love you!




Basketball Season 2014-Claire

This is Claire's first year doing basketball and I have to say we were all impressed with her "go get 'em" spirit.  The girl runs fast, works hard, and plays aggressively!

We weren't surprised when she earned the "Hustle" award in her third week of playing!!  So, so proud of this girl!!


Basketball Season 2014 - Hannah

This year we decided to try out the Clovis East "little hoopsters" program.  Both girls are on a team and really enjoying themselves, but last week Hannah earned Player of the Game!  We were so thrilled that she was recognized for a great effort and attitude!
Hannah has scored a basket in each of the games so far and is showing some great improvements since playing last year.  I love watching the girls play, such an awesome feeling of seeing the look in your child's face when they make a basket!!
Han and Avery... Such sweet friends :)


New Years Selfie

I'm not a huge fan of the "selfie"... I honestly am so critical of what I see when I turn the camera on myself, it's just best usually to direct the camera at others.  Well, one of the things on the long list of projects (both inward and outward) I want to work on this year is being in front of the camera and documenting our life more on a daily basis.  I follow several people on Instagram that set the timer on their phone (app necessary) and see what it captures.  Hello real, raw, unedited LIFE! So, here it is.  I walked outside and took a "selfie"... Next up, using my phone camera for good (documenting life) and not evil (stalking Pinterest, Facebook, etc).  
Hello 2014!  I have high hopes for some pretty wonderful, positive, happy things this year, I hope you all do to!  



Merry Christmas

This was our little Instagram/Facebook post for Christmas!  I love that Toby looks so depressed and is keeping the hat on as if he knows that I am taking a self-timer photo and he needs to stand like a statue...hehe :)

Can't believe it's already gone, Merry Christmas!!


First Day | Back to School 2013

It is that time of year, time to head back to school!!  To say the girls were excited would be quite an understatement.  We felt like we had successfully "done" summer (hopefully some updates on that coming soon) and the last few weeks were pretty lazy... just like summer days should be!  But, as the teacher assignments came in and the school supplies started showing up at Target, the conversation turned to excitement over which friends would be in their classes, what would be different about this year and last year, and the little things about school that they have missed over the summer.

Thankfully, I have two incredible girls that truly LOVE to learn and enjoy school!

Hannah is starting third grade.  She is looking forward to learning to write in cursive, go on several field trips, and to having the same teacher that she did last year!  She has set some personal goals for herself of getting straight A's all year and finishing all of her Math Facts by the end of the first quarter... With this being her 4th year at the same school, she feels pretty confident in knowing the routine and expectations.  In her words, this is going to be a great year!

Claire is starting first grade.  She is looking forward to being at school all day and all the fun things that come along with that... two recesses, eating lunch at school, recess with the second graders!  She doesn't quite understand what all she will be expected to do in the classroom, but is eager to learn, and I have a feeling she will enjoy all of the first grade work as much as her sister did!  I am kind of nervous for her about the adjustment of being at school for 7 hours, but she has always been fairly easy at adapting and going with the flow.  Once we get back on a good bedtime schedule, I think the longer day will be awesome for her!

Having two kids in school ALL DAY will be an adjustment for me as well.  I am so used to picking Claire up from school mid-day and having her around as my lunch buddy or to bug me in the afternoon about when we would be picking up her sister.  While I know many parents (myself included) count down the days until they will be able to have chunk of time to themselves, it is also a transition to a completely different season of life and in some ways is bittersweet.

I will update on the first day/week of school soon, Happy FIRST DAY to all!


Aruba - Part Three

When we found out we were going to go to this beautiful place I of course did a little Pinterest research.  While I found amazing photos of beautiful Caribbean beaches, what intrigued me most were these Dutch inspired buildings in the bright colors.  It became my mission to find these buildings!  Thankfully, they weren't too tough to track down and we were able to spend a few hours exploring the shopping and city of Oranjestad while I snapped a few photos for myself.