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a day in my life (march)

Project day was a snow day this time. (Yes!) I’m glad it was, or I’m not sure I would have braved the sheets of ice while sporting my husband’s boots. I have a prominent fear of falling on the ice which has been perpetuated by falling on the ice. But the risk was well worth it to see the kids merrily sledding and the drippy ice twinkling.

I invite you to check out my brilliant friend Andrea’s blog and continue around our circle.

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March 24, 2014 - 8:06 am

Kristina Knight - What a fab day – and fab pictures, Clair! We’ve had our share of snow days, too, but most have also been too cold for sledding. :( At least it’s pretty to look at, right?

March 24, 2014 - 8:24 am

andrea - the kids look like they’re having a blast. you crack me up with your fear of falling on ice comment.

March 24, 2014 - 9:35 am

Ella - I love all the pictures but that top one is spectacular!

March 24, 2014 - 11:11 am

sara - That the so cold but so very fun!! The pictures are beautiful!

a day in my life (february)

Had a bit of trouble finding my mojo for the project this month.  But Presidents day came, and Dave was home, and the kids were home, and we left our home and got outside!  It was just what we all needed– some fresh air and exercise on a nearby trail.  I was the slow poke, lollygagging behind the crowd taking photos with my iphone.  The brave boys went all the way to AND across the bridge, while the girls and I called getting to the bridge “far enough.”  It was a great day for the soul- all of them.

I’m sure the rain held off for as long as it could.  Only the lollygaggers of our bunch got a little wet as we packed back into the Suburban and headed for home.

Please visit my sweet friend Tara’s blog, Confessions of an Armadillo, for another interpretation of “a day in my life.”


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February 24, 2014 - 8:30 am

andrea - I love your pictures! You even do amazing work with a phone cam. Great eye.

We need an outdoor adventure over here as well. The winter blahs have set in under these gray PNW skies. Thanks for the inspiration!

February 24, 2014 - 10:54 am

Kaleena - I love that very first photo with the barn!
Kaleena recently posted…a heart.My Profile

March 3, 2014 - 4:18 pm

Marlene Griner - I love your photography. You see the world in a beautiful way. Love, Mom

saying “yes” on Valentine’s Day

I’m not known for getting too festive, but this Valentine’s Day I did a little more than nothing.

Each child got a gift to their liking;  Olivia- a pair of comfy Marvel socks and ear phones, Paul- a Pokemon XY card set, Faith- the Frozen CD (and no I don’t regret it, yet) and Seth- Super Buddies DVD ( I couldn’t resist the golden retriever puppies dressed in capes and masks. )  Dave and I exchanged treats too with him getting extra points for chocolate covered strawberries.

Anyway, Valentine’s Day fell on a Friday this year and it was a teacher workday, so no school for the kids.  When I realized this I knew I needed a plan… what could I do with the kids on this holiday?  Make sugar cookies?  No, I don’t like to make sugar cookies…  Wait, Clair… this is about the kids, not you.  The question is not, “what would you like to do?” but “how could you show the kids love on this Valentine’s Day?”   Make sugar cookies?  Yep. This would be the real gift to them.  Isn’t the true spirit of giving best demonstrated when one sacrifices her own wants/comfort for the happiness of another?  (Ah… light bulbs are going off and decades of church attendance are paying off.) You see, I almost never make sugar cookies because it seems to be such a time-consuming and tedious process (not to mention messy— flour all over the table and sprinkles that you will be sweeping up for days after you thought you had already gotten the last of them.) Anyway, whenever someone suggests it, I usually say “no.”

I’ve recently read some great articles about “saying yes.”  Samantha Hines’ “Say Yes” piece from The Creative Mama really struck a chord with me last year, and I’ve recently been given the gift to reflect on the topic some more after reading “Saying Yes More Often” by Ginger Unzueta.  While the kids didn’t actually ask to make sugar cookies (surely, they had given up hope long ago,) I still felt like initiating this project was a way for me to say “yes,” and that is what I wanted to do.  Yes, I would rather see the kids smiling and talking with each other rather than staring at a screen of some sort.   Yes, I would like to spend 7 hours making cookies that will be gone in a couple of days, because I want to spend that time with my children who are growing up oh-so-quickly.  Yes, I’ll let go of the worry about the mess because we will be making a memory which lasts longer than messes.  ”Remember that one Valentine’s Day when we made the heart shaped sugar cookies and everyone was getting all creative, especially Dad who made stripes with the frosting and even got into a little sgraffito action?”  ”Remember when we learned that purple wasn’t the easiest color to make with frosting and we ended up with more of a gray?”  ”Remember the day after Valentine’s Day when we subsisted on sugar cookies and leftover pizza?”  (Wait… that last memory is one I’d rather forget.)

So here’s to saying “yes” more, and bon appetit!

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February 19, 2014 - 2:19 pm

Ella - When I say yes to sugar cookies I also say yes to pillsbury refrigerated dough. ;) they look great! Fun day!

The littlest Valentines

Faith and Seth both had fun with Valentine related school activities.  The traditional making of the Valentine’s mailbox made for a creative evening.  Seth was very vocal about what he wanted his to look like. His pattern would be “red heart, green heart, card…” all around the bucket.  He also asked requested that heart on the top of the bucket be cut to look like a broken heart which could doubled as a cracking dinosaur egg.  Only trouble was that on the weekend after the school party, we found the Valentines Seth was to give to his classmates still in his bucket.  I asked what he was doing when the other kids were passing their cards out, and he just wasn’t sure.

In order to cover up a “Dr. Scholls” logo on her box, Faith found some Christmas duct tape.  Here’s to originality.  Maybe it’s sort of like dressing up as Santa Claus for Halloween (which is pretty genius.)

Now I have to add my two cents worth on the new trend at school for the distribution of Valentines. Why are teachers telling the kids NOT to address the cards and to only sign their name? Hello!!! The whole fun of the entire Valentine exchange is picking out the perfect card for each of your friends and crushes and then analyzing every card you receive until you are satisfied with the deeper meaning you’ve extracted from words such as “I hope you will BEE mine.”  So I must say, I feel a little bad for Faith who is totally at the age to get into that.  She could have had at least 3 hours of fun plotting her “tos” and explaining her “froms.”

After school it was time to cut up the rug, AKA the gymnasium floor. The elementary school always sponsors a dance near Valentine’s Day. When I first heard about this tradition, I thought it outrageously inappropriate for their age level, but I have come to see it for what it is… a big party with music and cupcakes and pizza and a little dancing.

It was at one of these Valentine’s Day dances two years ago that I first saw Seth dance… I mean REALLY dance. I was shocked. I had no idea that this three year old’s interpretation of dancing was to get on the floor and bounce from hand to foot, twirl around, and repeat. I never taught him this, nor did his dad nor older siblings. I’m guessing he must have watched a break dancing movie from the 80s or something.  Nevertheless, THIS is how he dances.

After the dance, I was talking about how I couldn’t quite capture Seth’s moves on my iphone.  One of the kids asked me why I didn’t video tape it.  Hmmm… it didn’t occur to me!  I’m still getting use to the iphone and will try to remember it has a video camera next time.

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February 21, 2014 - 4:05 pm

Ella - This post is so awesome. Jane got to address her cards this year. She spent a long time on it! But I never noticed the post analysis. Maybe next year. Too bad for faith. Hilarious about Seth’s dance moves.

February 28, 2014 - 3:48 pm

Paul - I am leaving a comment to prove I am reading your blog. Clair, you are so talented. Mom and I love reading about you and your sweet family. Wish I could have been there to partake of some of those great looking sugar cookies. Love, Dad.

The Biggest Loser Finale Controversy

Okay, Twitter was on fire last night with comments like “get the girl a sandwich” and “I wonder how the The Biggest Loser PR team is gonna handle this one.”  See before/after photo here.

During the season 15 finale, an aspiring young athlete and person with human challenges (just like the rest of us) won the show at an astonishingly low weight.  Rachel Frederickson weighed in at 105 lbs for her 5′ 4″ frame. Glimpses of the trainers showed “shock” and the hostess even commented on the uncomfortable whispering that flooded the venue while Rachel took her spot on the scale for the final weigh in.

I have to admit I felt a little smug, sitting on my couch in my too tight at the waist pants while finishing off my youngest son’s bedtime snack that he had left uneaten.  See?!  It’s okay to be overweight because the opposite (being underweight) is just as bad.  It’s a lose, lose situation… so eat, drink and be fat.  Now I know in my mind that those thoughts are hogwash, but it was a moment that I wanted to use to make myself feel less accountable for my own poor choices.  The truth is, there is a place of ultimate health for every body and my struggle to want it badly enough will continue.

But I just wanted to share two points that have come to mind since the initial “OMGosh!” moment…

1) I feel bad for her experiencing two unhealthy extremes, but it makes sense.  Whatever addictive and neglectful behaviors led her to gaining too much weight, could have very likely contributed to her loosing too much weight.  There is an emotional, mental factor at play, and I have no idea what The Biggest Loser does to address it other than the once-in-awhile heart to heart conversations that one of the contestants will have with Bob, Jillian, or Dolvett.  I don’t know if there is professional counseling offered.  As a viewer we pretty much see numbers and that is how the show measures success.

2)  What would you do for $250,000?  That’s a lot of money.  That much money could make a significant difference in my family’s life.  I don’t think any of us can really say we would never do something like “that” (ie harmful to our bodies) for the sake of money.  In fact, I eat junk and skip workouts and no one pays me a dime.  If the show is based solely on numbers (or percentages,) which I think it is, then “not loosing too much weight” is the real “temptation” that a finalist is faces.  Turning down a few cupcakes is not quite the same as turning down a quarter of a million dollars.

So, I wanted to throw those ideas out there.  I feel sad for Rachel and the finger pointing and mocking that she is now facing.  I hope that she will rise above it and continue to share her journey as I think a lot of people could learn from it.  If every cloud has a silver lining, maybe this incident will be an opportunity to raise awareness for eating disorders of all kinds and that as a people we can turn our focus toward health and strength instead of numbers on the scale and pant size.

PS. I love Bob.

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February 5, 2014 - 12:04 pm

Jo - Beautifully said