I really like my kids right now.
Monday, June 29, 2009

Can I just go on record and say that 7, 5, and 3 are great ages? These guys are so much fun right now.

No more endless crying that defies explanation. They still get upset, but they all have words! They can USE LANGUAGE to tell me what's wrong! Granted, sometimes what's wrong is that someone touched them or looked at them weird, but at least they can tell me.

No more diapers. Enough said.

Ryan and Dylan are learning to be truly grateful for things like family vacation. They really get it that it's special when the five of us get to spend time together.

They all sing in the car. Loud. I love it.

Lauryn loves to "just talk". She will often ask me or her Dad, "Come lay down with me, and let's just talk!" Recent conversation: "Let's talk Mommy." "Okay, what do you wanna talk about?" "God." "Okay, what do you know about God?" "I know he made pine cones and he lives in my heart." The child manages to work pine cones into any conversation lately.

For about 40% of the day, they truly enjoy each other. The other 60% of the day they either tolerate each other, irritate each other, or are generally indifferent to each other. But that 40% sure is sweet.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

We're having a great time in Ruidoso. Our young West Texans are
totally impressed with the mountains. And trees. And water. Hope to
make this trip a tradition!

Frogs. Good friends. And green chile.
Monday, June 22, 2009

Poor little toad. Who knew their skin was so stretchy?

My friend Cheri took the above picture. She watched the kids for three days while Jonathan and I went to Santa Fe to try and redeem the 10-yr anniversary trip that was not to be.

(Can I just take this time to give Cheri a round of applause? She volunteered to take the kids for three days so Jonathan and I could take a leisurely trip to NM. Our three days and her three days probably could not have looked more different. Praise the Lord for great friends.)

We had an amazing time in Santa Fe. I am totally smitten with that city. Completely charming and wonderful.

Eleven years with this guy!

If you ask for your burger "smothered" with green chiles, they take you seriously.

Obligatory photo taken with the camera propped up on a trash can, using the self-timer.

St. Francis Cathedral, located on The Plaza.

Me, immediately after eating way too much wonderful food at Cafe Pasqual's. Propping myself up for a rest, while acting as though I'm merely posing for a picture.

See ya next time Santa Fe!

Family Night: India
Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tonight we had some friends over for a "Co-Family Night."
Check Spelling
Jayton and Anne Z. work with us in Kidsplace - they teach from the stage, as well as lead a third grade small group. (Might I also mention here that all on their own they have planned a get together at the park this weekend with their 3rd graders and their parents! LOVE THAT!) Anne is also one of my Thursday night coffee buddies.

Coincidentally, within the last couple of months both of our families have started sponsoring a child through Compassion International. Also coincidentally, both children live in India.

Thus, "India Family Night" was born.

Our family sponsors Manuu, the child on the left. The Z. family sponsors Rahit, the child on the right.

We decorated our mantle with an Indian flag and some prints of popular rangoli patterns.

For dinner we had Indian cuisine: Chicken Tikka Masala, Naan, and Basmati Rice. DELICIOUS. Let me say that again - DE-LI-CIOUS! Anne bought and prepared the entire meal!! I didn't do one stinkin' thing. I'm not sure how it worked out that way (sorry Anne!), but I'm so glad it did. She did an amazing job. I'm trying to contrive a way to get her to cook more international cuisine for 9 people, and let me enjoy it without lifting a finger. I'm sure I'll come up with something.

For dessert - mango slices served over mango ice cream. (This was my one contribution to the meal. The effort involved included opening the freezer door and spooning out the ice cream. I even made Anne help me slice the mangoes. Shameful...and yet I have no shame.)

We played a few traditional Indian games. The first was called Uffangali and involved trying to scatter a pile of beans by blowing on the pile. It got big laughs from the kids and adults alike.

Next we played a simple game called "Chidiya Ud", which provided bigger laughs than I ever could have guessed.

When you sponsor a child, Compassion International sends you a short biography; Rahit's information included the fact that one of his chores includes carrying buckets of water for his family. So we talked about that with our kids, and then let them have a little fun racing to fill up a kiddie pool with buckets of water.

We ended the night letting each child pray aloud for Rahit and Manuu, and we made picture frames to display their pictures.

Thanks Z. family for a great night!

Interested in sponsoring a child through Compassion International? Click Here!

Sponsoring a child was my Mother's Day Gift this year. Father's Day will be here soon! Sponsorship of a child might just be an awesome gift!


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Kidsplace Family Fun Day Video
Saturday, June 13, 2009

Jonathan arguably has the best job in the world. So by extension, I get to do a lot of fun stuff too.

Last Tuesday, with the help of his incredible staff, we took 191 people to Trinity Family Fun Day at Joyland, the little amusement park in Lubbock. Love seeing families having fun together!

I took approximately 27 (it might have been 5) trips down the log ride. I asked my five year old co-rider Dakota, "Did that ride take your tummy?" He looked down, lifted his shirt up, and replied, "Nope! It's still there." Love preschoolers.

Video taken from www.trinitykidsplace.com

The phrase most uttered by kids across the nation.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"Can I have a snack?"

My friends assure me that I am not the only mother who hears this phrase approximately 1,273 times per day.

If we could only harness the energy expended by the millions of children across America as they jump up and down, tugging on their mom's weary bodies, repeating ad nauseum "Can I have a snack? Can I have a snack? Can I have a snack?"

I have experimented with ways to cut down on the snack requests.

"You want a sixth bowl of cereal this morning? Sure! Have at it!"

It doesn't really matter. If they finish the sixth bowl of cereal at 8:30, they'll still be asking for a snack no later than 9:00.

Apples, oranges, bananas, string cheese, pretzels, goldfish crackers, granola bars....we burn through those particular foods at a rate I could have never believed possible before becoming a mother.

What are the go-to snacks in your house?

A new super hero in town.
Monday, June 8, 2009

After years of cape-wearing practice, my two boys have nearly perfected their Super Hero skills. Jumping off couches, chasing the villian (the dog) at lightening speed, and flying off tables is near second nature. Now, little sister is getting her chance.

Watch out boys. There's a new hero in town.

Thus far, her powers include giggling, flipping her hair, and smiling coyly. She is also known for her transformation powers, as the cape frequently turns into a princess robe. From Super Hero to Princess! Instantly! (Totally should have seen that one coming.)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The instructions for making the cape can be found at The Long Thread.

My grandma sent me loads of random fabrics a couple months ago, and I thought this star print would be fun for the Super Hero Cape.

Thus far, I've been trying to teach myself to sew via the power of Google, but I have a lesson with a real life human tomorrow!

I bought a dress pattern today. To watch me try to understand patterns and navigate a fabric store is apparently high comedy. If the sweet little ladies who work in fabric stores laugh at you, it's pretty bad.

Regardless, I have high hopes that I will emerge from my lesson tomorrow night with a summer dress for Lauryn. Fingers crossed people, fingers crossed.


Great-grandparents, avert your eyes.
Friday, June 5, 2009

Don't worry, I'll buzz it off in a week or so. But in the meantime, has a 1 inch mohawk ever looked better? Ha!

Lubbock Wildlife
Tuesday, June 2, 2009

What's that the boys are gathered around? A glass jar with a lid? That can mean only one thing. They've caught some kind of varmint.

Actually, I don't know if this qualifies as a "varmint."

Is a salamander a varmint?

n.: one that is considered obnoxious or troublesome.

Nope. A salamander's not a varmint. But I do have a new nickname for some young rascals I know. (Kidding, kidding.)

She totally reminds me of Randall Boggs. (From Monsters Inc. Anyone trackin' with me?)

I guess technically Randall is supposed to look more like a chameleon, since he morphs into different colors and all that. But Randall reminds me of Sally. (Sally - that's what we named our salamander. For the 5 minutes we kept her before letting her go. If indeed it was a "her".)

Lauryn was cool with Sally's presence at first.

She stayed cool until we decided it was time to release it. Then she screamed, ran in the house, and didn't come back out until she had put on her pink cowboy boots. Apparently the boots provided a level of protection in the event the beast should charge at her feet.

See ya later Sally! Thanks for providing my concrete loving kids some wildlife excitement. I'm forever grateful.

What in the world does that mean?
Monday, June 1, 2009

Lauryn came home from Parents Day Out singing "I'm in the Lord's Army."

I may never march in the infantry, Ride in the cavalry, Shoot the Artillery,
I may never fly o'er the enemy, But I'm in the Lord's army! Yes sir!

Flashback: Early to Mid 1980's, my non-churched self attending Vacation Bible School at Olivet Baptist Church near my grandparents house, singing this song at the top of my lungs, belting out the words and doing the motions with gusto, and having NO CLUE what in the world the song meant.

Why are we singing about marching and shooting?

I vividly remember patiently waiting for an explanation. Alas, it never came.

"I've Got the Joy" and "This Little Light of Mine" caused similar issues.

Huh? Sit on a a tack? What does that even mean?

And what exactly IS this little light of mine? Why is it represented by my thumb? And whatever it is, can Satan really 'pffft' it out? A
nd what in the world is a bushel?

Ahhh...the deep theological issues raised by these confusing preschool songs of days gone by.

This little flashback to VBS (complete with the remembrance of the smell of orange drink, stale cookies, and Elmer's glue) was a good reminder for me. As I teach kids at church every week, they could be jumping right in with their whole heart, and if I'm not careful still not have the faintest idea what I'm talking about.

Help me be relevant Lord!

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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