Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Wow! What a busy and wonderful time of year.  This is the first year that I feel like the kids are really understanding the Christmas season.  It is so fun to do things for them that builds that Christmas spirit.

And this little guy is kind of enjoyable sometimes now.  Three was rough for all of us but being four years old has brought some much needed maturity. Thank goodness.  This day we had a Jackson and Mommy date for ice cream.
Our Thanksgiving was spent in Texas. We flew Wednesday after work and it was great! The kids loved it and it seemed so easy compared to our other experiences flying with them.  Such a relief!
We all had a blast in Texas.  It was so warm and wonderful to be with family! 

The only thing that didn't go as well was sleeping.  But the didn't make that Go the F to Sleep book for no reason.  Sometimes they don't sleep at our house either.  It made for some tired kids on the way back but again, it was totally manageable!  Jackson fell asleep in the stroller and Charley was so confused.  "Buddy sleeping?" she asked. 
This week we are all trying to get back on a schedule. The kids were happy to go to our Wednesday night dinner of Civi's Pizza.  We go every Wednesday.  The kids love it but I am so done.
Hopefully they'll find a new favorite soon.
The best part of the week has been having fun with Andy, our Elf.  I put the kids to bed tonight and then "Andy" made pancakes and put out decorations for the kids to put on their pancakes in the morning. It's just two short school weeks until Christmas!!!!

Thursday, November 6, 2014


***This post was written in several stages across a week.  I wrote the part about Charley being sick the day before she was admitted to the hospital.  I'll share that story soon.***

This fall has been SO busy!  I guess they're all going to be that way though.  These are some photos from a couple different places we like to visit.  We did them a long time ago but I'm just now finding the time to update!

Charley is really sick so we're huddled in the bathroom letting the steam break up the gunk in her chest.  She can't go 10 minutes without coughing.  Poor baby.

Anyway, Charley loved running up and down the ramps to these ships.
Jackson was having such a good time playing peekaboo with daddy and pretending.

We love visiting the animals at Kellers. They are so loud and Charley was a little unsure.  She loved climbing the ladder though.
The kids were done by this point but we had to stop and get a family photo.
A couple weekends later we went to Sonny Acres. It was a little underwhelming this year as the weather was crummy and Jackson wasn't interested in riding the rides.  We stayed for a bit, took our annual photos and then went on our way.
This smile was short lived.  The petting zoo animals were quite aggressive and even scared me!

Fall is the favorite season of the Clark house. It's so fun to have these traditions!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Quick, Before He's Closer To Five!

Well, Jackson turned four in July and I don't think I ever did a post for him.  Here are some recent photos and a list of his favorites from August.


You are momma's passionate boy.  You know just what you want and will go after it!  While I struggle to deal with your strong will and stubborn personality, I am certain you will use them as strengths in your future.

You are a musical boy and quite theatrical.  You love to dance and sing in the mirror and especially love to sign.  I keep thinking you will lose interest but I often find you signing the whole alphabet in selfies on your phone.  It looks like that passion is here to stay.

Your teachers love you and always tell Mommy how smart you are. You can count to 100, do simple addition, and can recognize many sight words.  You can even write the color words and most days of the week independently.  You are quite studious.

You are terrified of loud noises.  Taking you to a sporting event ends in disaster every time. You spend half of a parade with your ears covered and sometimes even a restaurant can be too loud for you.

You say so many cute and funny things.  Momma's favorite is "lasteryear" which you apply to anything in the past.  Although you'll be embarrassed by this as a teen, I know you'll appreciate the humor as an adult.  So, your most recent funny saying was this as we were driving in the car:

Jackson: Mommy, do you know what I'm feeling?
Mommy: No Jackson, what are you feeling? (I thought we were about to have a good conversation)
Jackson:  It's my penis.  I'm feeling my penis right now.

Thanks for always keeping us laughing.  
We love you!


Friday, October 3, 2014


This week has been nuts!  I'm currently updating from the van while we are headed to KC.   We've been in the car for 8 hours and it's rained for about 7 of those.  We're in the home stretch though.  

I am completely exhausted from the week.  This year I am teaching 5th grade and we took the kids to Outdoor Ed. Unfortunately it was a Tuesday/Wednesday trip this year because they pass around the opportunity for the glorious Thursday/Friday trip.  We left from school at 8:30 Tuesday morning.  
The fun started with an hour long bus ride on the back of the bus. Once we arrived the kids immediately start their first session.  We split the kids into 8 groups with about 14 in each group.  Only 3 of my kids were from my class.
We had dirt boarding and forest study before lunch.  The kids loved dirt boarding.  What's not to love?  They had a blast going down the hill.  After lunch we had team building, disc golf, and fishing.  The kids were so tired by dinner. We finished the night with a campfire and songs.  

Then the worst part.  Loading kids on the busses for the LOUD drive back to school.  You'd think they would be too tired to function.  They were not.
The parents had to be at school to get the kids at 8pm and by 8:30 on Wednesday we were back on the road to camp.  Day 2 was much shorter.  We had archery, orienteering, and tree climbing.  
We all loved tree climbing but man did that harness hurt.  The kids were getting so high!

Luckily the second day the kids really were too tired to be loud.  We got back to school with just a few minutes to spare before the kids went home like they would on any day.  

The experience was fun but sucked the energy right out of me.  Thursday was spent regrouping from two days out if the classroom and getting sub plans ready.

Saturday is Baileys wedding and Jackson is the ring bearer.  Maybe I'll sleep for Christmas break!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Super Spartan - A Guest Post from Bryan!

Even though the blog says it is published by "Bryan and Leslie Clark," we all know Leslie is really the one behind it.  But not this time -- I'm taking over to tell you all about the Chicago Super Spartan 2014, which I ran last Saturday in Marseilles, Illinois.  I had a great time running with Team Chicago Spartan and meeting some new people.  The course was 7.8 miles, with 24 obstacles.  My official time was 3:02:14.  Here's what I looked like afterward:

If you want to see what the course was like (and think I was awesome at tackling the obstacles), you can check out this video:


But nobody is perfect.  So here are some, uh, less flattering moments on the course:


Already looking forward to my next Spartan Race.  But first -- the New York City Marathon!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Oh, Hey!

Man, oh man. I think that was the longest blog break yet! School started and things got nuts.  I promised myself I would post tonight and not let more time slip by.

I'm not sure how long it's been so we'll go way back.  I started school again in the middle of August.  It's been a much easier transition back than last time.
It has been the season for birthdays.  Between August 9 and Sept 27 there has only been two weekends with no birthday parties.  Two weekends even had two parties.  The kids are having a blast and think every weekend involves cake and piƱatas.
I did the ice bucket challenge and then we dumped water on the kids last.
Mimi came and stayed with us over Labor Day.  The kids always love having another audience member.  Charley started her first round of sickness this year.

Naperville always has this giant carnival called The Last Fling.  The kids found the Legos right away and enjoyed going to all the different expo booths.  Jackson's favorite was "breaking" aboard with a punch at the Karate booth.
School has been really busy but the kids enjoyed being with me for one of the late nights.  They were so well behaved for the ice cream social and got lots of compliments.
Charley is still making slow and steady progress with her speech and physical therapy.  I'm pretty bummed that her speech hasn't taken off more with her tubes.  She's really hesitant to do much at her therapy sessions which is really frustrating for everyone.

Jackson on the other hand- he's really taken on a new love for writing and spelling.  He's so good at it and gets lots of compliments from his pre-k teachers.
We just finished a pretty rotten weekend with Charley having Strep throat.  Hopefully we can all stay healthy for a while.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Meet Jeremy!

I have been following Kelly's Korner blog for several years and have seen many of these Singles Days come and go.  Each time I had an urge to write about our friend Jeremy and each time I didn't.  I finally decided this was the year!  So far EIGHT couples have gotten married from her link up parties!  So, without further ado...

Meet Jeremy!

Jeremy is 32 years old and lives in NYC.  He is originally from Ohio and he went Otterbein College.  He has his own Public Relations company and is a co-owner of a restaurant in NYC.
 My husband and Jeremy have known each other since Junior High!  Jeremy's father was the pastor at the church.  He is very close with his family and is a great friend.  The below picture is Jeremy running the Chicago Marathon with Bryan in 2012.  He's a natural athlete.
 My kids call him Uncle Jeremy and they are so excited when they get to see him.  He's a natural with kids.  He offers help, plays so well with them, and doesn't want to run away after spending a weekend with our kids. :)
 Please email me at leslie.clark@hotmail.com if you would like to be in contact with Jeremy!  Thanks for stopping by!  Please leave a comment to let me know you came!  Good luck, everyone!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Kansas City Trip

Two weekends ago I decided to brave a solo trip with the kids to KC.  Bryan needed to stay and work and I didn't want to miss the opportunity before school started back up.  We left Thursday evening and headed West!

We stopped in Springfield for dinner and since Bryan wasn't there, I decided on Long John Silvers for dinner.  I told Jackson it was a special pirate restaurant.  He loved it!  I changed the kids into pajamas and we drive all the way to KC.

Friday morning we got up and met Grandpa, Robin, and Cole for breakfast and then did some shopping.  The kids were tired and therefore pretty naughty for my visit with my friend Julie that evening.

Saturday we went to Worlds of Fun.  My dad and I got to ride a couple roller coasters and my mom and the kids enjoyed the rides in Planet Snoopy.
Jackson's favorite part was Dinosaurs Alive.  It put the traveling exhibit that was at our zoo to shame.  It was great and JJ learned so much.
Charley slept through the whole dinosaur walk.
Saturday night we went to our friends' house and the kids LOVED playing in the dirt with their friends.
Sunday morning we woke up to a rainstorm!  The radar looked like it would move out by mid morning so we headed to the donut shop! So, so good!
The girl loves her donuts.
The weather didn't cooperate until around 1:00 but when it did, it was perfect.  Everyone else had moved on with other plans which left Oceans of Fun  with no crowds at all!!

The kids had a blast!  Jackson loved the wave pool and the lazy river.  He just paddled and paddled all over and was grinning from ear to ear the whole time.  Charley liked splashing too and was happy to go wherever we took her.  Jackson even went on a couple water slides in the kids part. 
We were there for 4 hours and then we HAD to go.  The kids were completely exhausted.  I woke her up somewhat panicking because she was SO unresponsive.  She was up with a few good shakes.
Monday was our trip back and the beginning of the recovery.  We were so, so tired after our awesome trip!! We'll see you in a couple months, Kansas City!

Monday, July 28, 2014

This is What Eight Looks Like

Today Bryan and I have been married 8 years.  We dated for 5 years before that.  Making this collage was such a fun way to look back.  We have moved three times, added a dog and two kids, and lost an incredible father and three grandparents.  The transition to parenthood is hard but I can't imagine a better partner on the journey. 

Bryan and I met at Summer Welcome at Mizzou.  He had some cheesy pick up line about marching band but it did get us talking.  We had so much fun the first day and said goodbye at the end of the night.  The next morning I got up early to take my Spanish placement test and I looked up and he was sitting at the computer across from me.  We laughed about it and said bye again.  A couple hours later I arrived to the bookstore to get my ID to find that Bryan and his parents were the last people in line.  We talked some more in line and said goodbye again.  After some other stops along campus and lunch we went to the dorm I would be living in to see the sample room.  Guess who was in there!!  We walked in the dorm room and there he was again.  We said goodbye for the final time and he went back to Cincinnati and I went to Blue Springs.  On Move In Day in August we were waiting for the elevator to check in the dorm and, of course, Bryan and his parents were in there when the doors open.  Needless to say, I knew there was something special there.  We were officially dating a couple months later.  I love that part of our story!

We have been so blessed as a couple and we are looking forward to so many more years together.  I love you, Bryan!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Caroline Jane ~ Twenty Four Months

I'm not really sure why I never posted Charley's final monthly update.  This is the last of FOUR years of monthly updates between the two kids.  I know I will be so glad to have these to look back on in several years when all of this is a blur.  Now it's just updates every 6 months.
Caroline Jane, at twenty four months you:
  • weigh 28 pounds and 9 ounces which is the 83rd percentile.
  • are 34.5 inches tall which is the 62nd percentile.
  • wear a size 6 shoe, 2T clothes, and a size 4 diaper.
  • have developed quite the personality.  You let everyone know if you aren't happy and have developed quite high standards for what makes you happy.
  • love playing with Jackson and copying him.  You don't love sharing with him and have no shame in blaming him for every little thing.
  • call Jackson "shaksie."
  • have become a much better communicator after your tubes were placed. 
  • wake up talking about your friends at school, Holly and Thaddeus.  You said, "Holly,  Fun.  Thaddeus, Fun."
  • are still an incredible eater.  You eat so many fruits and vegetables.  You really aren't much for sweets which is okay with mommy.
  • mostly want white milk and water.  You don't like most juices or chocolate milk.
  • have started showing a lot of interested in potty training.  You have even had several successes in the toilet.  You like watching everyone and you want to be fully naked to sit on your little frog potty.
  • are such a snuggler and have the squishiest, most kissable cheeks!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Zoo Day

Last Tuesday was a perfect day for a zoo trip. It was only going to be 63 degrees at noon so we even got to take cozy sweatshirts!  The kids had a blast!
We went with our friends Andrea, Jacob, and Tessa.   Jackson and Jacob loved running around together.
It was a fun day at the Sea Lion exhibit because the trainers were there.  The kids thought it was great to watch the sea lions play with their ball and eat fish from the pail.
The boys were excited to ride the wolf.
All of the animals were so active because of the cool weather.  The kids were exhausted by this point and were happy to have the rail to lean against.
We have season passes so I am hoping to get to the zoo at least a couple more times before school starts.  The summer will be over before we know it.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Birthdays For Both!

Summer has been busy, busy, busy!  In the nearly 3 weeks it's been since the last post, both kids had their birthdays.  Charley turned two on June 22 but that day was spent in the car driving home from Nebraska.  Since the kids birthdays are only a couple weeks apart we to do a combo birthday party.  Throw the Fourth of July in there and we had a busy weekend!  We have gone to the pool every Fourth since I was pregnant with Jackson so it's a fun tradition to continue.  It was great to have an extra set (or three) of hands so Bryan and I could ride some slides.

 The kids both love their Puddle Jumpers.  These are so great because there is more support than just arm floaties give but it's not as cumbersome as a life jacket. 
 Even with sunscreen this girl started getting a little pink so we headed home for naps.
 After nap time we had our neighbors over for a practice run with our new inflatable water slide before we used it for the birthday party.  We had hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill as well. 

 The next day was party time.  We had about 10 families over and the kids had a blast.

 This is as excited as the kids got for their cakes.  I was so excited for them and even during the whole song, these were their faces.  Oh kids.
 On Jackson's actual birthday we had a packed day.  I felt bad about spending Charley's whole birthday in the car so we went all out for Jackson's.  We got donuts when we woke up, then met friends at the small zoo near our house, and after naps we went to the pool.  They were exhausted by the end of the day.

As I was sitting across from them as we ate at "the restaurant" I couldn't believe how big my kids are now.  I have a TWO and FOUR year old.  Whaaaat??