Snow! In Texas! (sorta)
Wednesday, January 31, 2007

We had a small adventure this morning. Ryan was just telling me, for the hundredth time, that he wishes we could live in Oklahoma so that we could play in the snow. We've had this conversation pretty much daily ever since his Papaw emailed pictures of the deep snow they received earlier this winter.

Well, about ten minutes after our conversation, he got his wish for some snow in Texas! Kinda....It was more of a "wintry mix" of sleet, frozen rain, and maybe a few teeny flurries of snow. But Ryan and Dylan were both excited!

Can you see the flurries? If you look carefully or click on the picture to enlarge, you can also see a little girl standing in the doorway, extremely irate about not being brought outside.

Ryan is showing off the snowflake (sleet?) that he caught. Yes, Ryan is wearing two different gloves. We were in a hurry to get outside. It's a good thing we didn't stop to find the matching glove, because the whole "snowing event" was over in less than five minutes!

Can you see the teeny white fleck on Dylan's jacket?

A Vision of the Future
Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I'm washing Lauryn's coat today, so when we went to pick up Ryan from preschool I put her in one of the boys' old jackets. It's a size 2T so it's a little big, but functional.

When I got it all zipped up, I suddenly had an image of Lauryn 15 years or so from now, strutting around wearing some boyfriend's oversized jacket.
(If her daddy is reading this, I of course meant to say 25 years from now.)

Oh my.

Exercise Humor

It's been one month since I started my New Years Resolution to exercise at least 3 to 4 times a week. I've kept it up for 4 weeks now, which is about 3 weeks and 6 days longer that I made it last year.


I wish I could get half as excited about something as my children do about everyday, mundane things. Children are so....exuberant!

We had a few boxes of cereal that were close to being empty, so Jonathan mixed together the Kix and the CocoPuffs and put them in one canister. This event was beyond thrilling to Ryan. This morning when he ate it, he couldn't stop talking about it.

"This. Is. Awesome."

"I CAN'T BELIEVE Daddy mixed up the cereal!"

"Dylan, come sit down! Our cereal is white AND black! It's Kix WITH CocoPuffs! Can you believe it?!?" [insert hysterical laughter from both of them]

Lunchtime Adventures
Friday, January 26, 2007

I have everything moved out of my kitchen today, because a friend is coming over with a floor buffer to try and clean the floor. The kitchen tile is an absolute nightmare....the tiles are small and they are placed too far apart, and the grout is white (or at least used to be - now it's a lovely grayish brown color). Right off our patio we have a huge patch of dirt that refuses to grow grass. Combine that with a dog and two little boys constantly running in and out, and my floor doesn't stand a chance. The fact that I don't mop very frequently probably contributes a little also. Or more than a little. Whatever.

So since the table is now in my living room, the boys asked if they could eat their lunch under the table. Why not? Lauryn was thrilled to join them.

Bikini Photos!
Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Ryan came sauntering into the living room this morning, with Lauryn's little bikini swimsuit top around his head. He just strolled in as casual as could be. I think maybe he had forgotten he had put it on that way. When he finally noticed me looking at him, we both cracked up for a solid five minutes.

I told him to keep it on while I went to get the camera. He got engrossed in a cartoon I turned on, which is why he looks so serious in these pictures. Which makes it that much funnier to me!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

My husband had a great post today on his blog: LittlePastor.

I'm so thankful my kids have such a great daddy who really loves to spend time with them. My kids are just toddlers, but they have developed a true respect and love for him.

Seeing how he loves them has given me a new understanding of having my own Heavenly "Father." He is of course not perfect as God is perfect, but he certainly gives the best that he has to his children and wife; seeing a good father in action every day makes Matthew 7:11 more of a reality.

And he also LOVES to change diapers...and give them baths...and clean them up after dinner...and watch them while his wife goes shopping and to get a manicure. (Just a little subliminal message for him in case he reads this.)

"When I Grow Up..."
Sunday, January 21, 2007

Ryan is going to be incredibly busy with all these occupations.

I love how Ryan clarifies for us the two different types of racing he wants to do.

Dylan...well...Dylan is going to be even busier, given that he will need to develop the technology to morph into a couple of different species. I'm sure he's up for the task.

The split second look he gives the camera at the very end of that video is classic Dylan. To know him is to love him!

The Sun Shines Again

We finally had a sunny day! The backyard was incredibly muddy, but the kids were able to play on the patio. Lauryn's goal the entire time we were outside was to sneak past me and get to the mud.

Ryan and Dylan made some chalk drawings. Ryan said, "Hey Mom, come take a picture. I drew our whole family." I was expecting the typical stick person renderings, but he meant he had written all our names. For a second I was a bit confused as to who "Daddylan" was...until Ryan excitedly explained he had found a way to combine Daddy and Dylan.

Lauryn was impressed with herself when she managed to swipe both Ryan and Dylan's juice boxes. She's getting pretty swift and sneaky.

Dylan was just thrilled to finally be outside!

Rain, Rain GO AWAY
Saturday, January 20, 2007

This rainy, cold, dreary weather is getting very tiresome. I feel a bit pouty like the cartoon above. (Although, that cartoon is not really a good representation of me, since I never, ever have an umbrella when I need it.)

My husband is cooking homemade chili right now that should be ready in a couple hours. I think a great big bowl of chili will make me feel better.

Sorry to all of you in Oklahoma suffering through the sleet, ice, and snow. I guess if I lived there I would REALLY be cranky!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Goodbyes are hard.

It seems that in ministry, one becomes accustomed to saying "goodbye" rather frequently. My best friend is currently serving the Lord in Japan, and my husbands best friend is moving his family to Brazil this week. We also moved away from our families (although a distance of five hours is admittedly quite different than another continent) when we moved to Dallas. We have friends we met while in Bible college that are serving all over the US and in remote parts of the world.

"Parting is such sweet sorrow"; I am so thankful that these dear friends are answering God's call to serve, but I also sometimes miss them terribly and wish I could be with them more frequently.

Today we said "goodbye" to another family who is moving from the Dallas area (.4 miles away from me to be exact) to Rhode Island. They are moving to be closer to family as well as pursue new job opportunities. I am so excited to see what God has for their future, but they will be greatly missed.

Their youngest son Brendan came over to play for an hour or so today. Brendan, Ryan, and Dylan have become "The Three Amigos", and I'm sure that Brendan's absence at church will be immediately noticed. (The "time out bench" in my preschool classroom might grow a bit lonely and cold as well....just teasing! Sorta. Gotta love that sweet, sweet, ornery kid!)

Good luck to Brendan's family! We love you!

"The steps of the godly are directed by the Lord. He delights in every detail of their lives."
Psalm 37:23


Thanks Granny
Wednesday, January 17, 2007

For Christmas this year, the boys got a cool art book from my mom called "Hand Art." We are stuck inside today because of nasty weather, and we entertained ourselves for a good part of the morning creating our masterpieces!

The photos of the pictures didn't turn out great, but we wanted to share them anyway.

Dylan's Sea Monster

Dylan's Cat

Ryan's Octupus

Ryan's Bat

Ryan's dragon is my personal favorite. He added the boy and the fire coming from the dragon's mouth and asked me to draw the castle in the background. (Yes - that's a castle. My four year old wasn't impressed either.)

Short is Good
Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Conversation at Breakfast:

"Mom, I'm so glad my name is Ryan."

"Good, I'm glad you like your name."

"Yeah, I only have to write four letters. Madelaine's name (a friend at school) is SOOOO LOOONG! She has to write a LOT of letters."

Dessert Talk
Monday, January 15, 2007

Ryan finished his pork chops and potatoes tonight, and was given some chocolate pudding for dessert.

Dylan eyes the pudding, then pushes his full plate away and announces: "I'm full."

Me: "If you're full then you must not have any room for pudding."

Dylan, smiling and shaking his head slowly: "Mommmmy....! Don't be mean."

Me: "Just eat some of your dinner then you can have chocolate pudding."

Five minutes and one bite of pork chop later:

Dylan, struggling to lift his ten ton fork and leaning his heavy head over his plate: "I'm tooooo tired to eat this." (Fork drops dramatically.) Perks up and says with much enthusiasm, "But I think I can eat chocolate pudding!"

I go get him the pudding. It's been a long day and this kid is just too cute.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

A couple who is involved in the Children's Ministry at our church had a new baby boy last week. The husband teaches the 3rd - 5th graders on Wednesday nights, and the class made him a big "Congratulations" card. Some of my favorite well-wishes included:

"Yea. Have a grate time with your baby."

"Don't forget to wash you hands a lot."

"Spend a lot of time with him and be a good dad."

and my personal favorite....

"I hope your baby don't grow up and be bad."

Busy Day
Friday, January 12, 2007

Don't worry grandparents....if I drop something in the middle of all this juggling it's usually not one of the kids!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Yesterday morning I was in the living room folding laundry and watching a documentary called "True Pirates of the Caribbean." Ryan and Dylan were playing all over the house with their dinosaurs, occasionally running through the living room. The show I was watching was mostly interviews with historians, with an occasional re-enacted scene on a pirate ship.

On one of his passes through the living room Ryan says:

"Mom, I think you need to turn this show off. It might give me nightmares."

I thought the show was a little too mild for him to be concerned, but I still turned off the TV. As soon as the TV is turned off, Ryan asks:

"Hey mom, can I watch TV?"

Hmmm....did I just get duped by my four year old? As we sat and watched The Upside Down Show for the next half hour, I couldn't help but feel I had been conned!

Little Brother gets to be Big Brother
Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Ryan went back to preschool today for the first time after Christmas Break. He attends two days per week, and when Ryan goes to school it's always an interesting time for Dylan. He gives Ryan a hearty goodbye, waves as the car drives down the street, and then it's party time! No one to fight with over who gets to play with a favorite toy (at least until Lauryn gets a little older)...he gets to decide what he wants to watch on TV...he gets to help mom prepare lunch and load the dishwasher (strangely, a favorite activity)...and he has to share mom's attention with one less person.

This morning almost as soon as Ryan had left, Dylan crawled up to the top bunk (Ryan's bed) and looked all around his room, surveying his kingdom. Funny. He decided he would like to play with his farm set, and when I got it out for him he immediately began telling Lauryn which animal she should play with. (Generally it's Ryan telling Dylan.)

All of this revelry ususally lasts for a couple hours. Then it hits Dylan that life without his brother isn't quite as fun as life with him, and he starts asking repeatedly, "Can we go pick up Bubba?"

Motherhood Mission Statement
Sunday, January 7, 2007

Serious thoughts from the Laundry Lady...

A good friend of mine shared that she was working on creating a "Motherhood Mission Statement." Mission Statements have of course been around in the business world and church world for many years. If you Google "What is a mission statement?", one definition is "an organization’s description of itself. The declaration of values, goals, and aspirations that authoritative groups agree upon as being the central account of the organization’s unique sense of direction."

I was challenged by this idea of creating a mission statement for my work as a mother, because honestly way too many of my days sail by almost haphazardly. If I am not careful, I fall into a mindset of thinking"Just let me get through this day with my sanity somewhat in tact!" Instead of doing anything with purpose and a goal in mind, I spend my time putting out fires. "Don't take that toy away!" "PLEASE pee-pee in the potty and not in the trashcan." (long story)"It's not nice to hit your brother!" "Don't put that in your ear." "Stop picking your nose!" "Elbows off the table!" and on and on it goes. But in reality, I have goals and dreams for my children that go beyond them having good table manners and not causing bodily harm to themselves or their siblings. I want my children to lead lives that reflect the glory of God. I want them to seek His plan and will for their lives. I want them to consider others over themselves. (I asked Ryan yesterday, "What is the golden rule?" His response: "Treat your friends like ya want to." Ummm....close, but not quite getting the spirit of it!) I want them to believe they can accomplish any goal they set for themselves. I want them to see God at work in the world around them. I want them to be blessed, yes, but more than that to be a blessing to others.

So, to create my mission statement I have looked at the definition above and asked myself: "What values, goals, and aspirations do I want to purposefully instill in my children? What is the unique direction I want to take this family? What is my central purpose?"

I am still working on creating a nice succinct statement that encapsulates my goals as a mother, but for now this is what I've come up with:

"To create a home environment where my children can give and receive the love of God daily, and are inspired to become fully devoted followers of Christ."

Thoughts? If you create your own mission statement or just have thoughts on the subject, be sure to share them!

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Some Cliches Are True. They Do Grow Up Too Fast.
Saturday, January 6, 2007

Reader alert: If mothers who go on and on about their children bore you, then you should probably avoid this blog. This posting in particular. Grandparents - read on!

I am often tempted to treat Lauyrn like a baby because...well...because she is my baby. But she's nearly 16 months old now and quickly reaching the "toddler" designation. Today she impressed us all (brothers included) with her pretending: acting like she's feeding her baby doll with her play dishes (and occasionally having a pretend bite for herself of course), and putting her baby doll to sleep and covering it up with a blanket.

She also loves to carry around bags with handles, so today I finally dug out an old purse to let her play with. Check her out with her Daddy's watch (a big no-no - we're not sure how she got her hands on it!) and my purse on her arm.

Mealtimes have been a bit trying with Lauryn lately. Yelling and squealing in an insanely irritating tone is her main form of communication once she is put in her highchair. So we decided we would buy another chair for the dinner table and get her a booster seat. She thinks she is hot stuff.

In other Lauryn news, she is continuing her streak of falling asleep anywhere, anytime. Yesterday after lunch it was the highchair. If you click on the following picture to enlarge it and look carefully, you may be able to see the big red streak across her forehead caused by her head crashing down onto the rim of her highchair when she zonked out.

And finally, and few quick shots to let you share in the adventure of trying to take a close up picture of a 1 year old. I tried to get a picture of her feeding her doll, but I was within "camera grabbing" range and it proved impossible.

On a side note, I went to a Sam Moon store for the first time today. They will DEFINITELY be getting more of my hard earned money! That place is awesome. (My husband deserves the credit for my great Sam Moon experience...he took the kids to a nearby Toys'R'Us for a solid half hour so I could shop in peace. Yea husband!)

Thursday, January 4, 2007

It's funny - our first born would not fall asleep ANYWHERE except his crib. I think he was used to having pristine sleeping conditions. A nice cozy bed and nice quiet house. the time you have baby number three, there is no nice quiet house. Ever.

So Lauryn, our third born, is honing her ability to conk out just about anywhere. Yesterday after lunch she fell asleep in her high chair. Today I found her snoozing in the middle of the living room, while both her older brothers sang and danced all around her while watching "Go Diego Go" on television.

I guess yesterday's late night of pretend camping out wore her out.

Now if I could just get the boys to take a nap at the same time as Lauryn....ahh...a distant and far away dream. I'll keep hoping.

Making the Most of Our Evening
Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Tonight I got all three kids bundled up, packed the diaper bag, packed up my curriculum for the preschool class I teach at church, and loaded the kids in the van (in the rain.) I turned the key and...nothing but a little clackety-clack-clack. I'm pretty sure that the battery just needs a jump. Unfortunately, my husband stayed at work late today and planned to meet us at the church tonight. So...he's not here with his car to jump the van battery, and I'm too embarrassed to go ask a neighbor to come help me in the pouring rain.

I called a good friend to ask her to cover my class tonight (anyone willing to teach twenty 3 and 4 year olds on half an hour notice is a VERY good friend indeed) , and the kids and I made our way back in the house.

We decided to fight the rainy day blahs by putting up the boys' tent in the living room and having a pretend camp-out. Lauryn and Zack (family dog) got in on the action.

When we got back in the house tonight, Ryan exclaimed, "Oh no Mommy! Now we can't celebrate Jesus!" We had a talk about how we celebrate Jesus with our life and our attitude, not just by going to church. Then I decided that concept might be a little over his head, so we all sang some favorite church songs just for good measure.

Work-Out Partners

Have you noticed all the diet and weight loss ads on TV? Have you noticed that all the work-out equipment has been moved from obscurity in the back of the stores, and pulled right out to be showcased in front? I'm sure this is due to the millions upon millions who have once again made weight loss their primary New Year's Resolution. Count me in as one of the millions!

To meet my goal I have been Tivo'ing the Denice Austin Daily Workout. That women is way too chipper to be greeting me first thing in the morning, but it's free and easily available to a stay-at-home mom. Not easy getting to the gym with three wee ones.

So yesterday, I started my work out and before long Ryan had put on his little jogging suit and was right under my feet exercising along with me. Then Dylan joined in for the stretching portion of the workout. (Nothing makes you feel quite so stiff as watching a three year old effortlessly stretch out to reach his toes.)

As the workout was ending and I was laying on the floor (doing the ab portion of the workout, not passed out from exhaustion; that was later), Lauryn suddenly sees me on the floor and must have thought, "Hey! She's on the floor like Daddy is when he plays with us! Must be time to wrestle!" I was unprepared for the full body slam that I received.

I guess I could get up early and exercise before they wake up to avoid this madness. But what fun would that be?

I May Never Be Late Again

My oldest son Ryan got a watch for Christmas. It's a red and blue velcro Spiderman watch that looks huge but very cute on his little wrist. When we bought the watch, I thought it would be more like a toy for him, rather than an actual useful item used to constantly and very loudly announce the time of day. "It's 10:32!" "Now it's 11:12!" "Hey mom, it's 12:07!" All indications are that he will always be punctual like his daddy.

When he first got the watch, he would confuse the digital number "2" and "5". He often had me worried that I had really let the time get away from me, when he would announce "It's 10:55", when in reality it was only 10:22.

The fun of the time announcing went up a notch yesterday, when out of the blue my three year old Dylan said, "Mommy, it's 62." Sixty-two of course isn't really a measure of time, but we all knew exactly what he meant. Monkey see, monkey do!


I'm starting this blog mostly to chronicle the amusing, sweet, sometimes confusing, and always entertaining things my three children do. I want to have a record of these things so I won't forget them, and I also want to be able to share the stories of their childhood with their grandparents who live far from us. Random observations from my overloaded brain are also fair game. Meet the stars of this blog: Dylan is 3, Lauryn is 1, and Ryan is 4. Here they are on the couch at their grandparents house, waiting to be told they can tear into their Christmas presents.

Lauryn was pretty much as unimpressed with Christmas morning as she looks here. She spent most of the morning playing by herself while her brothers gladly opened her presents for her.

Cliff Familyt

I'm Starr Cliff. A domestically-challenged mom, climbing over mountains of laundry to bring you my stray observations and amusing stories about my kids. (more)



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