Humming the music of 80's hair bands
Tuesday, July 31, 2007




We're taking the church kids roller skating today. I have two goals in mind:
1.) Somehow remain injury free.
2.) Convince Jonathan to do a "couple's skate" with me. (Just kidding honey.)


I'm already humming "Every Rose Has It's Thorn" and "Pour Some Sugar On Me" - the songs that played incessantly at the roller rink when I was in elementary school.








Humorous Misrepresentation
Monday, July 30, 2007


Dylan says to me, "Mommy, me and Lauryn are playing 'Mommy and Daddy'." Then he turns to Lauryn, points to a washcloth and says, "Pick up that rag and clean the window."

HuH??? This totally cracked me up. For one, Jonathan has never told me to "pick up a rag and clean anything", and secondly, Dylan rarely, if ever, has seen me clean the windows! Window cleaning is low priority on the domestic responsibility list.

Funny kids. Maybe he wasn't giving her that command as the "Daddy"; maybe he was just trying to help her get into character before they started their role-playing!

Perhaps the funniest thing is, Lauryn picked up the washcloth and promptly started "cleaning" the glass on the back door.









Boy + Mud = Fun!
Saturday, July 28, 2007



Read how this muddy adventure unfolded here.








Love All Around
Friday, July 27, 2007


me: "Lauryn, can you say 'I love you'?"

Lauryn: "I love me!"








Naked Sam
Thursday, July 26, 2007

"Sam" is my three year old's favorite non-living companion. Sam started out as a soccer player doll, but about 2 years ago he was undressed and his soccer uniform was eternally lost. So now he is just a rather pitiful, naked little doll that Dylan loves and wants to take everywhere we go.

I've always been a bit embarrassed about Sam in the company of people outside our immediate family. We've all gotten used to Sam's nudist condition, but it could be shocking to outsiders.


I do own a sewing machine...but I'm not confident I could sew Sam an outfit even if I had the ambition to try.


So today, while Dylan was talking about taking Sam on our upcoming trip to Oklahoma, I asked, "Hey Dylan, can Mommy draw some pants on Sam?" Dylan was thrilled with this idea, so out came the Sharpie marker.


I'm not sure Sam's appearance is much improved. Now he looks like a little old man that hitches his pants up way too high.










Cool

I discovered "The Junky Car Club" today on evotional.com:

The Junky Car Club is a car club whose members are learning to live with less so we can give more. We're a bunch of happy drivers that are politely rebelling against consumerism by driving junky cars. We encourage our members to use their dough to support social justice causes instead of making fat car payments. Junky Car Club members sponsor kids who live in poverty through Compassion International and help other great organizations. We believe in environmental stewardship and hangin onto things a little longer.

...established in the spring of 2006 when the president of our club Mike, decided to sell his fully loaded Infiniti G35 sports car to drive a junky 1993 Toyota Camry. In an act of rebellion against consumerism and the desire to give more to worthy causes, Mike began to enlist his friends and associates to join him in this experiment of driving with less and giving more.








Childhood Ambitions
Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I just read a post from a friend about going to see "Oklahoma!" the musical.

Going to see
Oklahoma! with my family was possibly the highlight of every summer in Elementary School. My dream was to grow up and play Ado Annie at Discoveryland in Sand Springs, OK. It never occurred to me at the time that Ado Annie was the "floozy" of the musical...I just knew she got lots of laughs from the audience...got to kiss a cute boy... and sang a lot of fun songs! (One of which I loved to sing along with was titled "I'm Just a Girl Who Can't Say No." It strikes me now that's pretty hysterical when sung by a nine year old.)

I had a cassette tape with the songs from the musical and had every one of them memorized. I feel sorry for the people who had to sit around me during the show.


In fourth grade, I convinced a cute boy in my class to play the part of Will Parker and sing the duet "All Er' Nothin" with me in our city's Hometown Talent Show and again in our school talent show. I must have had incredible nerve and powers of persuasion back then. It wasn't too long after fourth grade that cute boys began to terribly intimidate me. (I got over it a few short years later!)


I can't remember exactly how old I was when I moved on from my dream of playing Ado Annie when I grew up....but it was a dream steadfastly held until at least Jr. High.


So....what did you want to be when you grew up?








For Proud Minivan Owners Like Me








The Name Game
Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Ryan: "Mommy, there was a little boy in my class today with a star on his shirt. He couldn't believe that was your name! I kept telling him, 'My Mom's name is Starr!', but he just would not believe that was your real name!"

I've been having variations of that conversation my entire life!








From Center Stage to Back Stage
Monday, July 23, 2007

The following post is long and cathartic for me, but likely boring to you.

In my previous life, before becoming the wife of a Children's Pastor, I spent a lot of time center stage. As a teenager I was very involved in choir and drama... in college I helped lead praise and worship at our church and
Campus Christian Fellowship...I've served in churches as the leader of drama teams and vocal teams...basically I felt right at home in the spotlight.

When Jonathan first started working as a Children's Pastor, we knew we wanted to work together as a team. I dove in head first and started teaching preschool classes, organizing Vacation Bible School, learning about crafts
(I had touched a glue stick less than 5 times before the age of 25), and generally being the all-around go to gal for anything dealing with preschoolers. That left no time for my previous pursuits on stage. WOW. I have learned so many hard and humbling lessons about myself.

I never realized how much I depended upon the "praises of men" until I stopped holding a microphone and started holding glitter and glue.


Ask anyone on a praise and worship team; after singing on stage, it's not uncommon to hear "Oh, that song was such a blessing!" or "Service was so great today. Praise and worship was so moving!" or even just a simple "Thank you so much. Great job today."

But when you work for 2 hours on a Sunday morning with 25 four year olds, the praises don't flow quite so freely. I'm not really angry or upset about this fact; I have never in my life gushed to a children's worker, "Oh Wow! What a fabulous job you did this morning! You are so talented! Praise God for your gift!" People don't "experience" children's ministry in the same way that the ministry of praise and worship is experienced. I get it.

However...after working with kids for a short time, I was shocked at my own need to be recognized for the job I was doing! After working so hard all week preparing a lesson, arriving at church early to set up my classroom, teaching a rowdy group of preschoolers, I began to get a little upset when there were days I didn't get so much as a "thank you" from anyone. My pride was revealed. "How can they just pick up their kid from my class without so much as a thank you? How can people leave me here with their child for half an hour after service while they chat with their friends? How can these parents never volunteer to help me when they can see that I'm dealing with 30 kids all by myself?"

The extent of my bitterness was revealed when I was asked to sing a special during a Sunday morning service. After I sang, people were lovingly complimentary. People were graciously saying things like "I was so blessed by that song; you are really talented." I accepted their praises with a smile, but inside I was screaming, "WHAT?!? I teach your kids every week for hours upon hours, and I've never gotten so much as a smile from you! All I did was sing a simple little song for three minutes -- working week after week with your kid is immeasurably harder!"

Then, slowly and ever so gently, the Holy Spirit started to reveal my heart to me. On more than one occasion I heard him ask "Why are you teaching this class? Is it for your glory, or for Mine?"

I realized that if I were truly teaching out of love for Jesus, because I desired to teach kids about living for His glory, then I could go my whole life without so much as a "Thank You" and be perfectly content, and even joyful.

Then I begin to wonder why I previously got so much joy out of leading praise and worship. Was it truly just because I loved serving God in that way? Or was it because I loved being recognized for my "gift"? I suppose now I must admit that it was some of both, although I never would have know it if not for my time spent out of the spotlight with preschoolers.

Vacation Bible School is happening at our church right now. There were several roles I could have played. If I had wanted, I probably could have signed up to lead praise and worship time. I decided instead to work in the craft room. God is still teaching me lessons back stage.






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Biscuit Pizzas

When I was about Ryan's age, my mom was the leader of my "Little Sparks" troop. (At least I think I was Ryan's age, and I think the group was called "Little Sparks"; I definitely remember that our t-shirts were bright red with a smiling flame on it.) For one cooking project we made "biscuit pizzas", and I remember all of us thinking it was so cool.


My kids love making them too!





Smash a biscuit, pile on some spaghetti sauce, cheese, and pepperoni.


Not for those with sophisticated palates. High on fun; low on yum.








Interesting Imagination
Friday, July 20, 2007

Overheard at the park between two little boys, who I would guess to be about six years old:

"Hey, hey! Chase me around and pretend you're really mad at me!"

"Why am I mad at you?"


"Because! I stole your woman!"

Oh my.








Walking Stick Wound
Wednesday, July 18, 2007


A couple nights ago I took an evening walk. I spotted what I thought would be a nice walking stick, and picked it up mid-stride. Apparently, I underestimated the length of the stick, so as I swung it back down, I jammed one end of the stick into the ground and the other end into my hand. Embarrassing. And kinda painful.

Today I discovered that the stick deposited a splinter in my hand.


Problem: The splinter is in the palm of my left hand. I'm left-handed. My right hand is proving woefully inadequate at splinter removal.


I'll have to ask Jonathan if he's up for minor hand surgery. Maybe I'll be a better patient than
Ryan.








Hungry, Hungry, Human



Ryan's most frequently asked question: "Can I have a snack please?"

I have heard other moms say that once boy's reach a certain age they can clear the pantry in an afternoon; I just didn't expect it would be at the tender age of five.








One of a Kind
Monday, July 16, 2007

"Today you are you, that is truer than true.
There is no one alive who is youer than you."
-Dr. Seuss

When Dylan was born we thought, "This child is a complete opposite of his brother Ryan."

Then when Lauryn was born we thought, "This child is a complete opposite of both her brothers."


But wait...how can there be
three opposites? I don't know, but my children have proven it's entirely possible.

My challenge is to learn how to parent each of these distinct personalities.


Parenting Miss Lauryn through the toddler years is proving to be a different beast altogether. We have a lot of learning to do together.











Palo Duro Canyon
Friday, July 13, 2007





We took a two hour drive North today to Palo Duro Canyon, and it was well worth every minute. We were somewhat shocked that this big beautiful canyon sits right in the middle of the plains of West Texas.

I was a little worried that the kids might not have a fun day, riding in the car that long to look at some rocks; but they all seemed to genuinely enjoy it! Even Lauryn exclaimed "Whoa!" we we first walked out onto the scenic overlook.

Jonathan took Dylan on a little hike up the canyon wall; can you find them in the picture below? (click on image to enlarge)



After they came back down it was Ryan's turn. Here's a shot of Ryan and Jonathan when they reached the top:


After we left Palo Duro, we drove into Amarillo and went to the zoo. There is no admission charge, and considering it's free it was quite lovely! My battery on the camera was dead by that time, as I had taken pictures of the canyon from every possible angle. I wanted to remember it upon returning to the all-consuming flatness of Lubbock.

Quote of the day:

"Ryan, did you have fun at the canyon today?"


[looks at me and sighs] "Mommy, stop calling it a 'canyon.' A canyon is something you put black heavy balls into and then shoot."

I would have thought he would be more familiar with a "canyon" than a "cannon", but apparently not.

update: click here to see our set of pictures from the Canyon








Embracing my Lubbock-ness
Thursday, July 12, 2007





I finally gave up my old Dallas cell phone number for a new Lubbock number. I traded in the (214) for an (806).

It was hard to say goodbye [sniffle].


Dallas Friends - Please don't banish me from your cell phones now that our area codes are no longer related!








Brotherly Love?

"Ryan, why are you crying?"

"Because... [sob, and suck in an inordinate amount of air] Dylan kicked me!"

"Dylan, why did you kick Ryan?"

[perfectly calm] "Because. He hugged me."









O Peaceful Afternoon, How I Miss Thee!
Wednesday, July 11, 2007

There are many "job perks" of being a stay at home mom. One of these little perks is that wonderful time in the afternoon when all the kids are taking a nap. This peaceful little hour and half should probably be filled with useful endeavors (laundry anyone?), but it's much more gratifying spent with a book, a phone call with a friend, or a nap of my own.

But alas, my two boys have finally abandoned the afternoon nap. There are times, like today, when I try and force it upon them but it's a useless effort. Their will to stay awake is incredibly strong.


I am slowly accepting that this little hour and half of peace is gone forever, but I will mourn it for quite some time!

I'm sure that in four short years when all the kids are in school all day, I will long for the days when all three of them were running loudly around the house in the afternoons. But right now I just long for my quiet time! (Did I mention I have a headache today? Maybe that's affecting my viewpoint!)

"Think what a better world it wold be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about
three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap."

- Robert Fulgham


Being silly - Lauyrn thinks it's hysterical when they all squeeze in her teeny bed.








No Interpretation Needed!
Monday, July 9, 2007

I had a new friend over to the house today. Every time Dylan would talk to her, "Come look at my bunk bed!", or "See my swimsuit? It has Cars on it!", I would start to interpret for him. (See previous posts here and here about his somewhat unclear speech, making me feel I was losing my credibility as a Speech Pathologist.) But before I could begin to clarify what he said, she would respond to him, "Okay, I'd love to see your bunk bed!" or "Oh cool! I like the movie Cars!" Her child is only 16 month old, and she doesn't spend a lot time around kids, so I was so impressed that she understood him so well.

Later in the day I mentioned that she understood his speech very well, and she said "Really? He just sounds like a normal three year old to me." Hallelujah! Maybe we are making some progress!


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Every girl loves new shoes


In the mail today, Lauryn got a pair of black patent leather flip flops from her grandparents. She's so proud of them. She keeps pointing at them saying "Shoes! Shoes!", and thrusting her foot toward her brothers to demand their admiration.








Sticky Sticky
Sunday, July 8, 2007


After Dylan finished his waffles this morning, he decided to lean over and lick the remaining syrup off his plate. Lauryn must have thought "What a fabulous idea!" When she leaned over to lick her plate, her hair fell forward and the tips got drenched with syrup. I was across the room and couldn't get to her fast enough to stop the fun. I combed her hair out, but there was no time for a second bath before church; I hope her nursery workers appreciated her sugary sweet scent today!








Ruidoso, NM
Saturday, July 7, 2007


A future road trip for the Cliff family will be to Ruidoso, NM. When someone told me about this popular vacation spot for West Texans, I was so excited. Who would believe that mountains, trees, and lakes can be found a mere four and a half hours from Lubbock? My brain has become so accustomed to flat and treeless farmland, it's becoming difficult for me to believe that mountains actually exist in the world!








Connor in his first parade
Thursday, July 5, 2007

My nephew Connor participated in his first parade for Independence Day. He was a pro at riding in the wagon and showing that charming smile - I see a future Grand Marshal.


"Hi Mom! I see you! Aren't I cute?"



This achievement of Connor, of riding in the parade, is extra impressive to me. I've never been able to get Lauryn to sit in a wagon for five seconds. I'm not sure why she finds it so offensive, but there's no way she would submit to being pulled in wagon all the way through a parade.








Independence Day

Yesterday started with Ryan tripping in the kitchen, and breaking the fall with his forehead. After dealing with the egg size bump on his head and determining he was okay, we all went to the "4th on Broadway Festival" in downtown Lubbock.

Then we had some friends over for the obligatory hamburgers, potato salad, and watermelon.


After that I managed to sweet-talk my husband into keeping the kids up
hours past their bed time to take them to a local fireworks show. (Two of the three kids didn't wake up until after 8:30 today; I consider it a small miracle if they sleep much past 7:00.) Lubbock is a great place to watch fireworks - it's so flat that you can see fireworks for miles in any direction you look.









SharkBoy - a loyal friend
Tuesday, July 3, 2007

A month or so ago, Batman went on an adventure down the toilet. [link] His friend SharkBoy, unknowing that Batman had been recovered and sent to the city dump, apparently undertook a rescue mission today. He attempted to infiltrate the sewer system via the bathtub faucet:



Unfortunately, his head got stuck. Really stuck.

You might think that if a child could easily wedge a toy into a bathtub faucet, then an adult could easily pull it back out. You would be mistaken. Somehow SharkBoy's little jointed head got moved around in such a way that it took a nice long effort to retrieve him. Geesh. (You also now have visual evidence of why the boys are not allowed to play with Lauryn's Barbie Dolls. Ha!)

What lies ahead for the other superheros in the Cliff house? Stay tuned. Knowing the authors of these little adventures, I'm sure there is more excitement ahead.








Middle Age Barbies
Sunday, July 1, 2007

My mom saved the Barbie Dolls she had when she was a little girl, along with a carrying case and several outfits, and she gave them to Lauryn (to play with, not just to save). Considering these ladies are nearing fifty years old, they look pretty great.





The boys have strict instructions not to touch them; the dolls wouldn't last a day if subjected to their rough housing.

I don't remember actually playing with these dolls, but I do remember using them to my advantage in Jr. High. They were kept in the attic at my grandparents house. I used to ask my Grandma if I could get up in the attic to get the Barbies and show my friends....but I really only wanted up there because my Grandparents bought toilet paper in bulk and kept some up in the attic. (Not sure why they did that...it suddenly strikes me as odd.) I just wanted in the attic to swipe the toilet paper to go TP'ing. That was the worst, if not the only, transgression against my grandparents growing up - and they probably would have just given it to me if I had asked!










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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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