I was talking to my friend Kelsey this morning at the gym about our concern that our children are outgrowing our means for keeping them challenged and entertained. For instance, Clara has figured out twelve different ways to play with the wooden stackable donuts that she’s had since she was six months old. Lately, her favorite toys are the coffee table, the refrigerator door, mom’s shirts, and the drain for the bathtub.

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That’s the main thing motherhood has taught me: how to live in constant change. I used to have schedules I could honor, to-do lists I could finish, and junk email I could read. When your life revolves around your child, as 80% of mine does (with 20% revolving around other people’s children), you are subjected to the impossibly fast rate at which they change.

Okay, I’m not saying anything new here, but, for real, this is so real for me. I think it’s because Clara has suddenly stopped napping. I try to take her sleeping little sweet self from the car to the crib and she wails as soon as she feels space between us. I pull out all my best tricks—abundant nursing, rocking galore, a ventriloquized Hadley the Lovey who says, “Please take a nap with me, Clara, my best friend!” Nope. She looks up with wide-awake eyes, points at the door, and says, “Ute!” (Out).  She’s in a great mood the rest of the day and going to sleep earlier than ever, but still, I have structured my life in such a way that it depends on two hours of uninterrupted time in the afternoon to grade discussion board posts and answer student emails.

Now, I’m whining a little, which is something I like to do occasionally. Every day I tell Aaron my life is hard. It is a little hard, and I should have been making lots of money and accomplishing lots of important things with all that time I had before Clara, but she’s my little helper and there is one thing that’s always stayed the same—she loves to be around us. She eats up love like it’s that good bacon Dad slips her at breakfast.

Clara has been hanging out with her sweet friend Bekah and like everyone else I know, Mandy takes better pictures of my daughter than I do. Brooke, you should recognize all the clothes in these pictures:)

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Usually, we have very good manners in the Lohmeyer household . . .

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I could just stare at this one all night.

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