We've moved!
Sunday, June 29, 2008

We've moved. But we're no where close to being unpacked!

It's my personal belief that when I force items to live together in small tightly packed boxes, they begin to breed, and reproduce themselves.

That's the only explanation for how I could have this much stuff.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I've been experimenting with Google's picture organization and sharing program, Picasa. So far I like it. Once you download Picasa onto your computer, it's easy to upload albums to your web account. The albums load quickly, and the look of the online album is clean and sharp.

It also allows you to make fun collages like the one above, which I made in about 1 minute just experimenting with what it allows you to do.

(The water-tee ball sprinkler was a birthday gift for Ryan from Uncle Michael and Aunt Stephanie. Thanks guys! It's a lot of fun!)

I think I'll be making the switch from DotPhoto to Picasa.

Posted by Picasa

Makes his Sports Illustrated subscription worth it.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Image from NY Times

I always thumb through Jonathan's Sports Illustrated, searching for the human interest stories. Occasionally, one of those sports writers (who generally write things containing so many statistics and so much sports lingo that I might as well be reading a foreign language) pens a story that absolutely makes me weep. This month's magazine had just such a story. I encourage you to take a few minutes and check it out.

I read it days ago and I've been thinking about it ever since. What makes some people see injustices and heartache, and actually do something real about it, while other people simply shake their heads and think briefly about what a shame it is? I pray I am the former kind of person. Someone who isn't scared to get involved and give of myself. Someone who believes that the Lord will provide what I need to help another. Someone who can risk being hurt and experiencing heartache to help someone else. Help me Lord.

Just Like Dad
Monday, June 23, 2008

For about six months now, anytime someone asks Dylan "What do you want to be when you grow up?", he always answers "A Daddy."

(Which just totally warms my heart by the way. I've heard someone say "When deciding who to marry, choose someone that you would be pleased if your children turned out just like him." I totally butchered that quote, but you get the idea. If that's a standard for a great spouse then I hit the jackpot. I pray that Ryan and Dylan turn into men like their Dad. But I digress....)

Dylan takes his training for his future role of Daddy pretty seriously.

Jonathan is pretty safety conscious, so I think it takes him twice as long to mow when Dylan is following him around. He's always looking behind him, making sure he knows the location of his little shadow.

Generally by the time they finish, Dylan has worked up a sweat just like Dad has. He persists with his 'mowing' even in the dead heat of summer. He's a devoted little helper.

For the last few laps today, Dylan upgraded to the real deal. (With some help from Dad of course.)

This was the last time they'll be mowing this yard -- only five days away from the big move! (And a much bigger yard for my two landscapers to tackle!)

The joy of at home haircuts.

I was finished buzzing Dylan's hair and he ran off to play.

I said, "Okay Ryan. Your turn."

He looked at Dylan....sighed...and said with disgust, "OH. GREAT. Am I gonna look like that?", as he pointed his finger scornfully at Dylan.

"Um....Just like that actually. That's the one and only haircut I know how to give."

Oh well. I think they're a couple of cutie-pies.

Headed to a wedding this evening.
Sunday, June 22, 2008

Jonathan is officiating the ceremony. This afternoon, he sat down with the kids, showed them the wedding invitation, and talked about what it means to get married. (I piped in concerning the importance of being quiet and respectful, since I'll be sitting with all three of them at a wedding that starts at 8:00pm. Prime whining hour.)

Jonathan said, "I'll be the minister at the ceremony, do you guys know what that means?"

Ryan says, "Yes. It means you are the one who says 'You may now kiss the bride!'" Then he just grinned.

Too funny.


Me and the minister:

Me and the rugrats:

It was a gorgeous wedding! With a picture perfect, gorgeous bride. (Not that I've ever seen a bride who doesn't look stunning.) Matthew and Emily work with us in the kids' ministry at church and are an incredible young couple. It was great to be a part of their wedding.

I guess he's noticed a few convertibles.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"Mom, when I'm about twenty-two, can I please have a car with no ceiling?"


"Mommy, take our picture!"
Saturday, June 14, 2008

I guess I've been slowing down on my normally excessive picture taking.

Tonight Dylan gathered everyone up on the couch and said,

"Mommy! Take our picture! Take our picture! Take our picture! Quick! Before Lauryn gets up!"

Picture one: Dylan and Ryan slam heads together, as Dylan tries to pose everyone for the picture.

Picture two: Apparently the head slamming is causing some brain damage in the form of ocular trauma; Ryan's eyes are nearly bulging out of his head.

Picture three: Sorta cute. Especially Dylan's tonsils. Geesh kid, can you open that mouth any wider?

Two, four, and six years old. Never a dull moment!

I'm lovin' this.

Jonathan taught Ryan how to run the vacuum cleaner.

Right now, Ryan still thinks it's fun, and my living room is getting vacuumed every time he notices the tiniest crumb.


Santa Fe, you seem like a lovely town. But we were not meant to be.
Thursday, June 12, 2008

Synopsis of our 10 year Anniversary trip to Santa Fe, NM (not for the faint of heart) :

Leave Lubbock Wednesday around lunch.

Arrive at our Bed and Breakfast in Santa Fe five and a half hours later.

Eat Dinner. Catch a movie. Talk about how we'll spend the next day exploring Santa Fe: Shopping for a print to hang over the fireplace in the new house, purchasing some jewelry made by local artists, and visiting the Georgia O'Keeffe museum are on the agenda.

Late Thursday, we call to check on the kids, who are back in Lubbock staying with friends. Get a report that Ryan has been thowing up. Repeatedly.

Go to sleep, agreeing with the sitter that the worst is over and he'll feel better by morning.

He doesn't feel better by morning. He's still throwing up, and our daughter has started in with the same symptoms.

Leave Santa Fe Thursday morning, after arriving a mere 18 hours earlier on Wednesday evening. Artwork, jewelry, and Georgia O'Keeffe will have to wait until next time. We're disappointed. And a little grumpy. (And honestly, we feel as bad or worse for our friends who've been cleaning up after our kids. Throw-up is never fun, but it's so much worse when it's not even your own kid! We owe them big. SO. BIG.)

Total time in the car: 11 hours
Total time in Santa Fe: 18 hours

Better luck next year. The next time our anniversary falls on Friday the 13th, I might be hesitant to plan a trip out of town. Ha!

The silver lining is that after 10 years, I'm more in love with Jonathan than I ever have been, and I know we have many, many more anniversaries yet to come. And...it's not like our vacation was a "great escape" from a stressful existence. We came back home to a life we love. Great jobs, great church, and some of the best friends I've ever had.

Santa Fe - we hope to see you again soon. Under much happier circumstances!

Superheros are dropping like flies.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Can the man of steel manage to re-attach his decapitated head? Doubtful.

These villains are to be feared. Superman is but their latest victim.

They've already taken out Batman, Sharkboy, and Robin. The Barbie dolls are trembling with fear.

Can the evil duo (rumored to be small boys, 4 and 6 years old) be stopped???


You might live in West Texas if...
Sunday, June 8, 2008

1. When you clean your ears, you often have actual dirt on the Q-tips. Gross, but true.
(Dust + Non-stop Wind = Dirty Ears)

2. You're not even phased when the sky is an apocalyptic shade of brown instead of blue.

3. Your children often choose the brown crayon when coloring a picture of the sky.

4. You don't even attempt to have picnics. You have learned that picnics in this wind are impossible. A "picnic" is merely spending 10 minutes attempting to keep plates, cups and food from blowing away, until finally giving up and retreating to the car.

5. As you leave West Texas to drive to any surrounding area, your children see a tiny hill or a small cluster of trees, and yell "Look at the mountains! Look at the forest! It's so beautiful!"

6. Instead of the usual "summer, spring, winter, and fall", you judge the passing of the year based on the planting, growing, and picking of cotton.

7. You don't really "dust" your house, as much as you just sweep up piles of actual dirt off every surface. Daily.

8. You've seen fire ants be picked up off the ground and flung through the air by the wind.

9. In spite of your best efforts, your children become fascinated with all thing Texas Tech.

10. You say things like "It's flat and windy and dusty....but the people are great." And that's the reason that in spite of the wind, dust, and incredible shortage of trees, you love it here anyway.

It starts with buying a few new towels...
Saturday, June 7, 2008

...but before you know it, you want a new bath mat to match those towels. And then you just must have a new shower curtain. And then that new shower curtain makes your old trashcan look rather pitiful. Then the new shiny trashcan you purchased makes the soap dispenser look shabby. And now that everything else is so nice, you really need something decorative for the walls. And ON AND ON IT GOES PEOPLE.

And this is just the trouble you can find yourself in one little bathroom. If you could blow that kind of un-budgeted money in an impromptu shopping spree for the bathroom, then what kind of damage could you do to your wallet if you started in on the kitchen??? Imagine how the budget would be busted if you decided to buy a new set of dishes...that can eventually lead all the way up to needing to buy new coordinating drapes for cryin' out loud.

Jonathan and I are moving into a brand spankin' new house in three weeks. We've watched it's creation from the ground up. As of today all the shiny new appliances have been installed...the countertops are in...the light fixtures are hung...and everything is new and sparkly and wonderful. So you see how my old dingy towels would start to beg to be put out of their misery?!?! They are crying out to be replaced!

BUT - I have promised myself I will remember that an old slightly faded towel (in the dated forest green color that was oh-so-popular when I got married) functions at drying me off just as well as a new towel in a trendier color would. I have vowed to move into this house and be content filling it with my old things. Yea, my budget demands it of me. And yet...there are so many ways to trick yourself out of sticking to a silly ol' budget...


On a serious note, I am going to use this time to think about if I really know what it means to be content. Ahh...the land of contentment. That ever elusive place so few American's seem to be able to find for themselves, if our collective amount of debt is any indication.

Buying this new house has solidified for me that contentment will never, ever come from stuff. This new house is way nicer than anywhere I have ever lived. And when we first started the building process, I was filled with gratitude that the Lord has blessed us and brought us to a place we're able to build this house. My heart was full. And yet, as our move in date gets closer, instead of being continually grateful for such a huge blessing...my thoughts have slowly changed to wishing for the money to fill the new house with new stuff...a bigger TV...better furnishings....beautiful artwork....

So I'm making a choice to stop that nonsense. It's all a choice - I get to chose what I focus on. What a concept, huh? I am incredibly grateful for this new house. And beyond that, I'm even incredibly grateful for my abundance of old stuff. I am blessed beyond measure. Old forest green towels included.

And I know where true contentment comes from. The shiny new appliances just temporarily blurred my vision.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

Hebrews 13:5

It's the little things that make me love him.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Yesterday by dinner I was pretty grumpy.

I had a long day of running errands, which meant a lot of car seat strapping and unstrapping, cries of boredom from the kids, and enduring 100 degree heat walking through busy parking lots. I guess I just decided I had the right to be a grump.

At dinner the kids were pretty quiet. They were probably fearful of incurring my wrath. There had been an incident earlier when Dylan blew an incredibly shrill whistle one too many times (one foot away from me and my headache, when I had asked him to please take it to his room) and I may or may not have taken it directly out of his mouth and put it in the trash. I know. I'm an ogre.

So at dinner, Jonathan mentioned how we were all acting pretty tired.

The he started mimicking us, pretending to be tired. Yawning...stretching...closing his eyes...

Then he started to act really, really tired. And then he pretended that he was so tired that he fell asleep at the table. And he pretended he was so tired that when he fell asleep at the table, his face fell directly into his plate of food.

Except you can't really "pretend" to do that so much as "actually" do it. Purposefully, his nose landed right in his barbecue chicken. When he lifted his head back up with a nose completely covered in barbecue sauce, all the kids absolutely erupted in laughter. I thought Ryan might pee his pants he was laughing so hard.

I think a good session of family hilarity is what I needed. And I've been a in a good mood ever since.

New Ministry Adventure
Sunday, June 1, 2008

Trinity Church Storytime

The first Thursday of each month at 10:30

Open to children 6 years old and younger with their caregiver.
(Older siblings welcome.)

Held in the Trinity Church Chapel
7002 Canton Ave

Lubbock, TX

I'll be kicking off a brand new StoryTime at the church this week! I'm excited about this new ministry, and hope it will be a fun and encouraging time for preschoolers and the grown-ups who love them.

We'll have songs, stories, crafts and snacks. Sure to be loud, fun, yummy, and possibly messy. Everything preschoolers love!

I invite all my Lubbock readers with preschoolers to come and join us! If you have questions, click on the "Contact Me" label at the top of this page and shoot me an email.

I would appreciate your prayers , and if you have any fun StoryTime activities send them my way! (I know I have some homeschooling readers who should be able to hook me up with some good resources...)

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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