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Clarke Clan: April Fool’s Day 2015

April Fool’s Day

Last year was the first year that I did anything, and since it was such a success I thought I’d try it again.

In all fairness, I don’t actually play tricks on my kids (I’m waiting till they get a little older and develop a sense of humor) usually I make a silly meal for dinner. Also I don’t always get my April Fool’s prank pulled off right on April 1. My kids have no concept of time, so I can get away with doing it a few days after April 1 if need be.

Silly Egg Breakfast

Honora huffing over her yogurt and peach

Honora huffing over her yogurt and peach “egg” breakfast

If you can’t tell, it’s just a peach in yogurt. Honora was not amused that I called it an egg. Little literalist.

Dinner: Calamari with Broccoli and cauliflower and chocolate chip cookies.

April Fool's dinner: Hot dog octopuses, mashed potato black bean

April Fool’s dinner: Hot dog octopuses, mashed potato black bean “cookies,” peas and carrots Jelly Bellies.

Ok so I wasn’t Calamari; it was spaghetti noodle and hot dog octopuses.

And they weren’t actually chocolate chip cookies; they were mashed potatoes and black beans cooked in a cookie shape. Honora also insisted on calling them hot dogs with noodles instead of octopuses. Way to spoil the fun.

For dessert we had peas and carrots: Jelly Belly peas and carrots that is. The peas and carrots were the best part of the meal, and poor Auntie Anna had her peas and carrots confiscated too.

Rosalyn enjoying her meal

Rosalyn enjoying her meal

The meal was enjoyed by all; especially since Mama and Papa went out for a dinner date afterward.

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Clarke Clan: Rambling Thoughts on Being Pregnant…Again

The latter part of the winter, I usually find dreary, and being nauseas and fatigued doesn’t make it any cheerier.
This is the third winter wherein I’ve been pregnant, and the first trimester gets reeeeaaaaal old after a while.
Pregnancy is not on my top 10 favorite things to do for just a few reasons:
1. The food aversions: just thinking about chicken, quinoa, fish makes me want to throw up; let’s not even talk about their sight or heaven forbid smell.
2. Heightened sense of smell: while we’re on the subject, let’s talk about smells. Any smell, every smell is either weird or gaggable (especially any artificial scents).
3. The fatigue: I just want to sleep all the time….zzzz….except at night.
4. Nausea: last but most certainly not least, the incessant nausea. Thankfully there is Diclegus for that, but it doesn’t really help with the other three.

Now, I’m not using this as a platform to complain about pregnancy (ok maybe just a tad). My point is it’s hard and not always enjoyable (although some women have wonderful pregnancies). So why do I–why do women in general–go through pregnancy and birth? Is it because I love torturing myself, or I can’t figure out how to use birth control? Ah, no, not at all. As I lay on my couch thinking for the hundredth time is this really worth it? I see my little ladies running around playing their little games, laughing, crying fighting, and I know, from experience, this momentary suffering is worth so much more than I can ever imagine.

Honora and Rosalyn in their parents boots

Honora and Rosalyn in their parents boots

It is because I love my little souls. My goals and ambitions righteous as they may be will not last forever like these little souls will. Their are no other people that I can impact for good like I can impact my girls. Their potential goes beyond mine; they will make the world better and through them, I can touch the future. Through them, I learn to be just a little less selfish and a little more loving.

A mentor of mine once said, “Pregnancy and birth is an awesome gift for it is a tangible way that women can experience ‘laying’ down their lives for another person in the way that Christ did for his family.” He gave up His glory to come to earth to live in obscurity and poverty then die for people who did not love Him or can help Him in any way. So I choose to give up my body, in a sense, to be inhabited by a little person who cannot help or better him or herself (let alone me) in any way. I learn how to selflessly love, the way I am loved by Christ. It is good.

While pregnancy is a momentarily discomfort to my body, its lessons are good for my soul.

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Clarke Clan: 2015 Addition

May 2014, was the month of my last blog post for 2014; it was also the month that Honora swore off naps forever. I thought it was time for an update and some cute pictures…

Let me start out by saying, basically my girls are crazy.

I tried so hard to get some cute pictures of the cuties. But alas all I got where these (see below).

2015 is the year I am totally getting a real camera and learning how to use it. I promise myself.

Honora and Rosalyn wearing Big Sister Little Sister shirts

Honora and Rosalyn wearing Big Sister Little Sister shirts

Smiling so sweetly

Smiling so sweetly

Board of the picture taking!

Board of the picture taking!

Yes, they are adorable.

In these pictures below, Rosalyn INSITSED on wearing this stupid monkey hat. I tried every trick in the book to get it away from her, but she screamed and hollered until I gave it back.

Yeah, not really the look I was trying to capture.

Are we done with the pictures yet!

Are we done with the pictures yet!

I will now substitute the monkey hat face for my own.

I will now substitute the monkey hat face for my own.

Honora and Rosalyn wearing Big Sister shirts

Honora and Rosalyn wearing Big Sister shirts

Oh and both girls insisted on holding their stuffed animals. We can’t have a cute sister picture without about 1,000 stuffed animals. Thankfully, I talked them into one each.

Suffice it to say, Life with these little girlies is never dull and usually adorable.

That’s why God said, YOU NEED ANOTHER, so Ryan and I are adding another cute kid to the clan sometime around Oct. 1, 2015

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Clarke Clan: The Legend of Matt Burke

*This is a post I wrote in the Summer of 2013 but forgot to post*

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What you’ve never heard of Matt Burke!? Well, he is a veritable legend around our house. About on par with Santa Clause (if Santa Clause was an organic farmer with a slightly Amish beard).

But if you are 2 year-old Honora Jane, Matt Burke can give you anything not just organic eggs from happy hens who have been tucked into bed each night and sung a lullabies until they fall asleep, but anything your little heart might desire. As per this conversation.

Honora: “Mommy, I need tea.”
Me: “What kind of tea?”
Honora: “Chai tea from Matt Burke.”
Me: Honora, I make my own Chai from scratch. It’s pretty delish, and I do not get it from Matt Burke.

Like I said, even though Matt Burke grows and sells a delicious variety of fruits, veggies, chickens, and eggs, we mainly just get nutritious eggs from him. Sometimes Ryan picks up our eggs before work. How Honora knows this is beyond me, but she does. Here is just one of our morning conversations as I get her out of bed.

Honora: “Papa is gone.”
Me: “Yup, he went to work.”
Honora: “He went to get Eggs from Matt Burke.”
Me: “Yes, Honora, yes he did.”

And so that is how Matt Burke has reached the realm of “legend” (at least in the Clarke home), and I think that’s how it should be because Honora is learning that real food is grown by real people and doesn’t magically appear in a box on a shelf. And let’s all admit it, growing real food (that you can actually sell to other people) does take just a tiny bit of magic.

So if you like tasty food, go hug a farmer or at the very least buy some zucchini or eggs from him.

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Book Review: The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance by John Trent, PH.D. and Gary Smalley

Published by Thomas Nelson 1986, 1993, 2011.

I got this book complementary from Thomas Nelson Publishers through their BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. Although I got this book free, the review is still very much my own opinion.

This book is broken up into four parts:

Part 1, Why blessing are important for children (and people in general);

Part 2, What actually the blessing is. It’s not saying “God bless you” when your kid sneezes. The blessing consists of five parts: meaningful physical touch, a spoken message, attaching high value to the child, picturing a special future, and an active commitment from parents to help their children achieve that future. Dr. Trent goes into each of these topics in detail giving stories of meaningful ways parents have blessed their children as well as practical steps parents can take to implement blessing their children.

Part 3, What to do if you feel like you never received a blessing like this from your parents. This section is for those people who felt like their parents imparted a curse instead of a blessing to them (which happens most often than not). The authors gives practical, biblical ways that a person can break from this curse cycle, find healing, and bless their children.

Part 4, Living out the blessing. This book in mainly written for parents with children, but the authors do take time to mention how we can bless other people in our lives like our spouses, coworkers, and friends especially if those people have never had meaningful blessing from their parents.

In a few weeks I will be expecting our first child. That’s what got me so interested in this book. This is not what I’d call a “child raising book”, but the information in here I found crucial in helping me as I formulate my own child raising philosophy. The authors use a lot of scriptural references from how Isaac and Jacob blessed their sons to showing how Jesus implemented all five aspects of the blessing with people he encountered in his ministry. The authors incorporated many personal stories from their own lives and the lives of people they had counseled over the years as well as side boxes with thought provoking questions and links to video messages from the authors. A read that I not only enjoyed but found very thought provoking as well.