Monthly Archives: April 2012



I keep telling myself that once we get past the STAAR test (we’re DONE for the year this Wednesday!) that things will get back to “normal.” Except I don’t know what “normal” I’m talking about. Normal before we had Ava? Normal before we had Briggs? Normal before I was pregnant with Briggs? Normal before Shawn started his company? Normal before the STAAR test?  I seem to keep saying, “Once (fill in the blank), things will be normal again,” but I need to come to the realization that our since of “normal” will always be changing, and I just don’t know if life will ever be “normal” again. There’s always a new stage filled with things that come easier and new challenges.

Speaking of new stages, Briggs is changing every day, and every day he is getting closer to outgrowing the “baby” stage. Just typing those words, I have tears in my eyes. Don’t get me wrong, I am excited to see him growing up, and I am excited for the new adventures we will get to have with the kids as they are getting older and we’re able to do more things with them, but I am sad to see the baby stage go. It is such a short time in our life span, but so incredibly special. Ava’s only 3, and at times I feel like I’ve forgotten parts of her first year. We both love to relive it when we look through her Shutterfly photo book.

Back to Briggs, though, he turned 11 months old on April 16. He is everywhere he can be (and everywhere he’s not supposed to be). He crawls and pulls up on everything. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will be long before he takes his first steps (I’m hoping we still have a couple of months). I’m not really ready for him to start walking, but the boy weighs so much, that I don’t know how much longer I can physically carry him. He weighs about 25 pounds (Ava weighs 33), and he’s a solid 25 pounds. When I carry him just from school to the car, my biceps are burning (maybe that’s just a sign that I need to work out more :p). Speaking of weight – he LOVES to eat. Don’t plan on eating anything in front of him that you don’t plan on sharing. And when I say in front of him, I mean in his general vicinity. The other day, we had just gotten home from school, and Ava wanted some Dora cereal for a snack. I didn’t want Briggs to have any because he was about to eat his dinner. He was in the living room playing, which I thought was pretty safe as long as he didn’t see me pouring it. Leaving the pantry door open (so I could hide what I was doing behind it), I quickly slid myself the 6 inches over to the island keeping the box of cereal below the waist. I poured the cereal into Ava’s bowl all below the island. I’m thinking, “Oh yeah, I’m good.” Then all the sudden Briggs starts screaming, looking at me, and doing the sign for “milk” which he uses for anything he wants to put in his mouth. There was no way he could have seen me with the cereal, so I can only conclude that he knew what I was doing when he heard the crinkling of the cereal bag. Crazy!

11 months old! Playing Peek-A-Boo with Mommy - one of his favorite games!

I haven’t updated our weekly letter activities in a while. As I mentioned last time, the week of Easter was a “review” week (really just a review day) for the letters F, A, Q, and Y. Ava did a word sort with the four letters, she did very well with it, but she is so strong-willed. She was first upset that I wrote the letters on the page – she wanted to do it. And then she was upset that she couldn’t glue the words where she wanted them. I tried to explain to her that they needed to go in a certain spot in the box so they would all fit. She figured it out after a couple of times, then enjoyed it much more 🙂 So did Mommy!


Finished with her word sort!

The next letter she chose was O!

Ava chose O because of the octopus picture, so that was the picture she chose to color.

O is for Octopus!

Thursday night she glued little o’s (cheerios) onto a big O.

Gluing on the cheerios

I forgot to take a “finished” picture, but it’s still hanging on our wall, so I’ll have to add that in on my next post 🙂

Friday night she wrote practiced writing the letter O with shaving cream…she had fun with that!


My hands are dirty!

Drawing an octopus

We didn’t get to do anything Saturday night because she and Briggs went to Honey and Bumpy’s. Sunday night was when we eat our letter food. We didn’t make anything, but Ava ate olives with her dinner, and she got to have an Oreo after dinner – she was happy! Monday night we read a book and pointed out all the letter O’s, but I didn’t get a picture, nor do I even remember what book we read – oops.

Tuesday night we did what was probably her favorite, we made an Octopus out of the letter O.

Painting the O for the octopus's body

O is for Octopus!

Of course, the octopus HAD to have glitter on it. According to Ava, it’s not over until you sprinkle some sparkle! This was our last activity for the letter O. She chose the letter G next (we are half way through letter G, but I am saving it for my next post). As I mentioned earlier, the STAAR test is upon us again (math and reading this time) and Shawn will be out of town for meetings, etc, so this week will promise to be another hectic one. I’m starting to think that’s our “normal.” Oh well…wouldn’t have it any other way! Hope you all have a week full of blessings and sleep!


29 and Holding!


Today I entered the last year of my 20s…AAAHHHH!!! I did have a wonderful day, though! Shawn did an excellent job in making sure my day was extra special. He woke up this morning to give me my birthday present…a brand new (super cute) Chi! It is a cute spring paisley pattern (my old one had gotten QUITE pathetic). Good job Hubs! He then went out and got breakfast for me…Slovacek and cheese kolaches from Kolache Rolf’s – yummy!

I then continued getting dressed for school in my fabulous birthday shoes that Ryan and Calli got me for my birthday! With Easter being the weekend before my birthday, I spent the last week or so getting ready for Easter and shopping for my kids which meant I never got a chance to get my birthday shoes…so they got them for me! I was so excited!!

Birthday shoes!

I loved them and have never been so comfortable in 5 inch heels…I wore them for 13 hours (okay, now I’m sounding like an old lady)! I had a great day at school – lots of “Happy Birthdays” from my students, although I did get several “You’re older than my mom!” from a few kids…first time that’s happened. My co-teachers gave me the BEST birthday card ever!

Best. Birthday. Card. Ever.

And so true! After school I was hoping to get a massage and maybe go shopping (but I forgot to schedule an appointment, I had to stay getting a few things done at school). But…I did go shopping. At Wal-Mart because I remembered that Briggs needed formula at school and diapers at home. Motherhood doesn’t stop for anyone’s birthday!

After school, we went to pick the kids up and go to dinner at La Bodega. When we picked up Briggs, he was wearing only his onesie (because his shorts got dirty at lunch), so we had to go back home to get pants for him. We finally got to go to dinner and had a great time at La Bodega (as great of a time you can have with 3 kids getting pretty close to bed time).

Yummy La Bodega! Luke, Madison, and Joseph

Julie and Me!

My Loves! Shawn trying to get a pic with the kids who were a tad over-stimulated

Jack and Ava watching the birds

Sweet Jack!

Briggs LOVED La Bodega also! He chowed down on half a burger, fries, and tons of black beans!

I also finally got to open my presents from the kids. Ava actually wrote my name on the card herself! Shawn told her to draw mountains for the M’s…she can draw O’s, but she wanted 2 of them, so Mom became Moom…

I've never been so proud to be a Moom!

I don’t worry, I remembered to tell her and Briggs thank you for the card 🙂 I opened my present from them, and apparently, the kids think getting closer to 3o makes me ashy…I got 6 bottles of lotion.

Shawn said Bath and Body Works had a buy 3 get 3 sale…gotta love him 🙂 After presents were opened, food was eaten, Ava got her head bumped by Shawn’s chair, and Briggs let us know (quite vocally) that it was getting close to his bedtime, we headed home…typical night! I am one lucky lady, and I look forward to my next 29th birthday!

Me and my 2 greatest accomplishments in my 29 years!
And once it's past bedtime, this is as good of a picture as you get 🙂

Hoppy Easter! Allelujah!


He is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Allelujah! We had an exciting Easter weekend bunny hoppin’ around! We kicked it off Thursday night by heading to Montgomery to spend Easter with Shawn’s family. Friday evening the rest of the Clark clan joined us, and we all had a blast! Ava and Briggs LOVED being with their cousins!

Clark Cousins! Kylie, Katherine, Landon, Ava, Briggs, Michael, and Haden
(Two sets of twins - Kylie, Ava, and Briggs are the only non-twins!)

I have a feeling these Clark boys will be getting into lots of trouble together!

Ava loves her Ky-Ky!

Ava also loves playing dress up!

Saturday morning we left Montgomery and headed to Huntsville to spend the rest of Easter with my family and my cousins, the Dierkers, from Ft. Worth. It’s the only time all year we get to see them, and we always have so much fun! The guys played golf Saturday morning. Once I got the kids napping (and Ben ‘babysitting’ while the kids napped – thanks Ben!), the ladies headed off to get our annual pedicures. Saturday evening, we had a crawfish boil – lots of fun. Shawn convinced Ava to hold one…eek!

Look Mommy!

Yes, she is wearing her bicycle helmet – she wore it all day (after riding on her bike).

Ava getting a "pedicure" by Aunt Kathy since she was napping when we got ours

Showing off her green fingers and toes!

Hanging with my handsome Briggsy-Bear!

My little stud taking a wagon ride

Ava showing off her new swim suit from Uncle Ryan and Aunt Calli!

Playing water hop-scotch with Shiner

Briggs checking it out...he was not a fan of sitting right in it. It was a little cold!

Much better! He loved to play in the spraying water...and laugh at his crazy sister running through it

After everyone ate, they decided to have a crawfish peeling party for the leftovers (there was a total of 70 pounds). My dad will make a delish crawfish etouffee with it. I supervised (and took pictures).

Ava, Bumpy, and crawfish!

Joey and Aunt Kathy peeling away

Ashley and I supervised and cheered on the crawfish peelers

Calli and her sister Chelsea (aka Pug)

Ava and Alfred went on a butterfly 'catching' adventure

Trying to catch one!

Saturday night was a blast, and we had so much fun seeing everyone! Before we knew it, it was time for Easter Sunday. The kids woke up early (Briggs woke up super early…he must have been so excited about the Easter Bunny coming :p). The morning was quite hectic doing Easter baskets, breakfast, and getting ready for church – so no pictures. Ava wanted to take her Easter bunny to church, so she asked my mom (Honey) and Aunt Kathy. They told her she needed to ask her mommy or daddy. She said, “I’ll go ask Daddy.” I bet that will change when she starts asking to go on dates! Back to Easter Sunday – church was beautiful! It is one of my very favorite services as we are reminded of the awesome love we are all so very blessed with! A longer church service with a teething ten month old, though, isn’t always easy. After church, we rushed home to get family pictures so we could get Briggs fed and down for a nap!

Our little family - SO blessed!

Shawn and me with Joey and Ashley
And mine and Joey's 29th Easter together!
Briggs had to partake - he was cutting a tooth, needed lunch, needed a nap, and therefore, very clingy!

Ava and Aunt Ashley!

Half of the Dierker crew
Uncle Charlie, Aunt Kathy Joey, Ashley, and Ben
Missing Caroline, Andrew, and John

Half of the Dretke crew (minus Ryan & Calli)
This was one of the last pictures, so the kids were getting difficult. Ava was being silly, and Briggs was intrigued.

Aaaaaand the last picture!
Ava couldn't stay focused, and Briggs was just, well...pissed.
Sorry grandparents! It made for a pretty comical photo op, though 🙂

This picture represents those missing from our Easter gathering:
Ryan & Calli (they were there on Saturday, but Ryan had to work Sunday), John (he attends the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut), and Caroline & Andrew (They are living in Amman, Jordan while Caroline works at the US Embassy there)

Ava and Ben! Can't wait for him to come to A&M next fall!

After pictures and lunch (and Briggs got put down for a nap…sheesh!), Ava was ready to go play outside. She loved her Easter dress and shoes, so she insisted on wearing them all day! Honey got Ava a butterfly catching net, and it was a huge hit. Ava spent the afternoon chasing butterflies.

I love these pictures! After catching butterflies, she decided it was time for a joy-ride on her pink Harley.

Watch out world!

"Look, Mom! A butterfly! Oopsy."
Women drivers....

And Easter would not have been complete without a ride on the tractor.

We had such a beautiful Easter, and we are so blessed with our families! What a way to celebrate our Lord’s sacrifice for us!

Whew! What a week!


This past week has been quite an exhausting one, so our letter of the week activities have been a little off. Wednesday night was our first night with Q,  my second day of giving my students the STAAR writing test, and Briggs’s third day being home sick. We were doing well just to get our typical Wednesday night activity accomplished – no pictures, though…sorry!

Thursday night I was flying solo with the kids while Shawn attended a Chamber event, and since I was still recovering from an exhausting week at school, Briggs being sick (and sleeping HORRIBLY – I only got about 4 hours of sleep for at least 2 nights), we did not do our Q craft 😦 I did have an interesting convo with Ava on the way home from school, though. When I pick her up, she NEVER wants to go home (she knows going home leads to dinner, which then leads to bath, which ultimately leads to her having to go to bed). She gets in the car every day and asks where we’re going. If the answer is home, she cries about not wanting to go home. Thursday evening, she wanted to go to a restaurant. I told her we couldn’t eat at a restaurant every day (we had that week – as I mentioned – crazy week). She of course, asked why. I told her that eating at a restaurant every night costs too much money, and it is unhealthy. To help her understand what unhealthy meant, I told her eating unhealthy foods (gave her examples), would make her grow the wrong way. She didn’t like the idea of growing the wrong way, and seemed to be satisfied that we were heading home now. End of the conversation…so I thought.

Friday after school, I picked up the kids and we hung out at a co-teacher’s house to relax and say sayonara to one helluva week. South College Station just got a brand new Chick-Fil-A, so I figured I would swing by and pick dinner up for the kids. After we picked up the food, Ava gets her nuggets and her fries, and declares that she will only eat 3 fries because she doesn’t want to grow the wrong way. For those of you who don’t know Ava, she is a french fry fanatic…she orders sides for her french fries, not the other way around. She proceeds to not want to eat hardly any of her dinner because is worried she will grow the wrong way. I started freaking out a little bit that she wasn’t going to want to eat, so I had to reassure her that Mommy and Daddy’s job is to make sure she grows the right way, and if we tell her she can eat something, that it’s okay. I also had to assure her that eating unhealthy foods like french fries is okay every now and then, just not every day. That seemed to appease her, and it hasn’t been much of an issue since….Sheesh!

Friday evening, we did get around to writing the Letter Q.

She writes Q pretty well. She really struggles with the letters that have slanted lines.

Saturday was another eventful day. We went to Temple to celebrate Connor’s 4th birthday. His mommy, April and I are college besties. Our lives have changed quite a bit in the last 7 years… going from wild and crazy Thursday nights in College Station to wild and crazy Saturday afternoons chasing our kids around at a park. A little bit different kind of wild and crazy, though 🙂

Lily (Connor's sister) L-O-V-E-D her cupcake!

Briggs going after an older lady...sweet Brynlie 🙂 I think he found her head injury attractive (poor girl took a tumble down the stairs and got a pretty good battle wound)

Ava and Connor playing in an old steam engine train

Lily and Briggs...he can't stay away from those older ladies 🙂

Shawn swinging Ava and Connor


Connor, Ava, Lily, Brynlie, and Briggs
Not too bad for 5 kids 4 and under!

We had an amazing time, and when we got in the car to leave, Ava cried, “I want Connor to have another birthday party!” I don’t think I need to include that we didn’t get to our letter of the week activity today.

We were able to get back to our letter activities Sunday evening. We switched up the days, though, and we read a book Sunday night that started with Q.

Please enjoy this picture for several minutes. In order to get her to take this smiling picture while holding her book so the camera could see it, I had to call Dora on the phone. Dora told me how "Quack! Quack!" was her favorite book, and she would love it if Ava took a picture with it. Ava didn't buy it until I had to call Dora back to tell her Ava didn't want to take the picture. Ava did NOT want Dora to be sad, so this is what I got. Again, please enjoy this picture for a few minutes. I'll wait....

Our bedtime stories have changed a bit lately. I no longer get to curl up in bed with my sweet little girl and read her a story while she loves on Mommy (who am I kidding – it was never like that! It’s usually a fight over who gets to turn the pages, when to turn the pages, “Mommy! We skipped a page!, etc.) Still it has changed – I am no longer doing the reading. Ava now prefers to sit on her stool, be the teacher, and she “reads” the story to me. It is quite entertaining to listen to her make up a story based on prior knowledge (teacher word :p) and the picture she sees on the page. I sit on the floor, and listen intently…if I talk, I get shushed (and a lecture on how we don’t talk while the teacher is reading a story).

"Mommy, we don't take pictures while the teacher reads."

Pointing to a Q

And yes, she is wearing Christmas jammies. Briggs still wears Christmas jammies because he wears what fits him (big boy!). Ava still wears Christmas jammies because they are her favorite!

Monday night we made food that starts with Q. Thank goodness for Mexican food (or Hexagon food as Ava calls it)…we made queso and quesadillas. I was going to make a quiche, but I needed to do that on the weekend, and it just didn’t happen. I know there are a couple other Q foods we could have made, but this was the easiest (and yummiest – in my opinion). Ava helped me cut up the queso, and I made the quesadillas. Her attention span and mood isn’t at its peak on a Monday evening (that’s a nice way of putting it), so she wasn’t too in to helping cook. I didn’t complain too much, though, because we had a hungry Briggs who was wanting food quickly!

Eating her 'Q'uesadilla with 'q'ueso!

Tuesday night we finally got around to making the Q craft – Q is for queen!

Painting the lips pink...
"Her lips are pink like my lips are pink!"

The queen HAD to have a green scepter

And the green scepter HAD to have green glitter
(excuse the bbq sauce on the face...saving for later :p)

Q is for Queen!

I think we will be taking a hiatus from our letter of the week activities this week. I had been planning on doing a review every 4 letters, so this week will be a review week. That works out perfectly with it being Easter, as we will be quite busy. I would love to say that I planned it that way 🙂

Someone also recommended to me that I make a separate page on my blog for Ava-isms. I thought that was a great idea, so I might start working on that. Thanks April Walker 🙂

If I don’t blog again before Easter, I hope you have a blessed one!