No cause for panic.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I thought I had arrived at that moment when I discovered that Lauryn
had cut her own hair.

Isn't that a rite of passage that every kid (and mom) must go through?
I have been anticipating that someday it will happen - I'll discover
my blond headed little girly girl has given herself a crew cut.

But today, much to my relief, she had not cut her own hair, but had
given a blond Barbie a little trim.

Negotiation Tactics.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Lauryn has abandoned the traditional "question and answer" form of communication common between moms and daughters.

She's trying out new techniques.

Already this morning, she's said:

"I know I can't play the Will this early in the morning, so I'll take some candy instead."

Then she seemed genuinely baffled that this reasoning didn't immediately propel me off the couch to fill her mouth with jelly beans.

One hour later, she approaches boldly, looks me hypnotically in the eye and states:

"We're going to McDonald's for lunch." Then calmly turns and walks to her room.

What? When she decide that sentences that should clearly be interrogatives she would just oh-so-easily transform into declaratives?

She'll be mighty sad around noon when she finds out she's being served a plain ol' PB&J for lunch instead of a happy meal.

The cheese grater that inspired a road trip.
Thursday, September 17, 2009

I picked up this cheese grater at a garage sale for $.25 cents.

I love it. The grater fits on top of the container, and it has a separate lid for storage. Genius.

After using it for a month or so, I noticed that this little-grater-that-could was made by IKEA. Of course it was!!!!

"IKEA is the best. I love that place." I thought.

"Wish I could go." I thought.

"Wish I could go with my friends." I thought.

And so that's what I did.

After a few rounds of emails, miraculously, seven of us agreed on a weekend that we were all free.


Last Friday we loaded up and headed to Dallas. After a quick stop at Starbucks of course.

It was awesome. We took my friend Anne's GMC Yukon, and the seven of us hit the road together. We stopped for a generous amount of time for lunch, stopped whenever we needed to pee (no husbands with us, rationing our stops!), and took about seven hours to get to Dallas. We enjoyed every minute of those 7 hours. And may I also add at this point that my friend Anne has mad driving skills. The rain...the music...the laughing...the crazy stories...the Dallas rush hour traffic...none of it phased her.

You can not believe how much activity we stuffed into our short trip. We arrived around 6:00pm on Friday night, ate dinner, watched a movie, spent the night at a hotel, shopped and ate all day Saturday, left Dallas after dinner, sang really bad yet really beloved 80's songs most of the way home, and got back to Lubbock at 2:30am to squeeze in a few hours sleep before church Sunday. Whew.

Turns out, a GMC Yukon can hold the luggage of seven women, plus all their IKEA/Sam Moon/Anthropologie/Anne Taylor/etc. purchases. Awesome.

So in conclusion, dear readers, YOU MUST TAKE A ROAD TRIP WITH YOUR GIRLFRIENDS. Please, please put this on your to-do list and make it happen. So, so fun.

(Sadly, a couple Lubbock-ites wanted to go and their schedules didn't allow time girls!!! We missed ya!)

Sidenote: We played "two truths and a lie" on the way to Dallas. You can discover some very interesting facts about your friends with this game. Here are my three:

1. I am a pretty good water skiier.

2. I once jumped a horse over a fence.

3. I was in a pageant in H.S. and I won.

They all agreed that #3 was the lie. Evil giggle...I always win 2 truths and a lie with that one! I am searching for photographic evidence that I was indeed Miss Striped Bass, as they all remained incredulous even after I told them that was indeed not the lie. Brace yourself girls, pictures of me in a sash and sequined dress are headed your way. I will try to find the one of me handing out trophies at a fishing tournament, as it really captures the essence of that particular title.

(Oh, and I can barely ride a horse, let alone jump over a fence on one. I would jump off the horse before I would try and go over.)

Check out my friend Tina's account of the trip by clicking here.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"...if grace is an ocean, we're all sinking...."

-lyrics from How He Loves Us, performed by Kim Walker / JesusCulture

I ran a stop sign yesterday.

I got to the intersection milliseconds before an oncoming SUV that had the right of way and no stop sign. I caused him to hit me on my passenger side.

My fault. Entirely my fault. I was driving Jonathan's car, which is likely totaled.

Gratefully, myself and the man driving the SUV both both walked away from the accident. Also gratefully, neither of us had any passengers with us. I suspect his back and neck feel just as sore as mine do today, and I hate that I caused someone else that pain. That hurts more than my neck and back do.

As soon as I realized I had run the stop sign, I felt sick. Ashamed and disappointed in myself. Painfully aware of my guilt.

I called Jonathan, and he arrived on the scene within minutes. I was braced and ready for him to take in the details, make sure I was really okay, then sigh and shake his head in disappointment at the financial upheaval and inconvenience I caused. I was ready for that reaction because that's what I deserved. But the sighing and the shaking of the head I knew I deserved and had been waiting on....never came. He just hugged me, held me, and repeatedly told me how glad he was I was okay. That it was just an accident. That we would get through it.

But his kind words and love and forgiveness weren't landing well. I didn't want love and forgiveness. I was so upset at myself that I wanted him to be angry, because that's what I deserved.

Then the messages from my friends and family started rolling in. Each one brought new tears. Not tears of gratefulness so much as tears of disbelief. Why are they sending me these encouraging messages? Don't they know what an idiot I am? That this wreck was my fault? I ran a stop sign! I destroyed my car and caused serious damage to another! Because of me a man is without his car, and probably in a good deal of pain! The only message I wanted was one telling me I needed to start being more careful. I didn't want encouragement because I didn't deserve it; I wanted a little old fashion chastisement...someone to agree with my opinion of myself at the time.

Then it just got worse.

A sweet dear friend brought me flowers and my favorite candy. Her beautiful little boys gave me big hugs and told me they were glad I was okay.

That was too much. Too much to take. I should not be surrounded with beautiful flowers and love --- the wreck was MY FAULT! I was being loved and embraced as if I had been the victim of a reckless driver, when in reality it was the other way around.

It was as my friend left, and I was feeling shame and embarrassment every time I looked at the bouquet, that my Father first whispered into my spirit.....grace. I couldn't escape the whisper of that word. Grace. This is grace. This is what it looks like. This is what it feels like. This is grace.

Moments later yet another friend rang the doorbell, and came in the door with dinner for my entire family.

As she left, tears of disbelief once again began to flow.

Again God began to whisper to my spirit. I'm showing you my grace. This is the kind of grace you live with every day. This undeserved love and unconditional acceptance is what you receive from me every day you live and breathe on this planet.

And I know it's true. I don't run stop signs and cause accidents every day. But every day, I plow through life, reckless with my words. Reckless with my time. Reckless with my thoughts. And God's grace is there in abundance in spite of myself.

His grace is always an ocean. Yesterday I just felt the depth of it more intensely. And instead of being embraced by the gentle waves, I fought and splashed and nearly drowned in its vastness.

So today my prayer is one of insane gratitude. I'm in awe of the way He has brought amazing friends and an amazing husband into my life. People who love me, and who carry His heartbeat in such a way they can love me in spite of myself, and extend His grace in a tangible way.

The gifts I received yesterday were hard to accept because I didn't deserve them. My prayer is that through this situation, I will remember that I live every single day with the gift of grace that I certainly don't deserve. I pray for an acute awareness of the grace of God, being careful not to be reckless with His gift.

I received love and gifts yesterday with much humility and amazement, and a keen sense that I was getting what I didn't deserve; I pray I receive His love, mercy, and forgiveness in much the same way.


This is a little embarrassing.
Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bow Chicka Wow Wow.

Can someone please explain to me why my children are obsessed with this phrase?

It's beginning to be a little embarrassing. Lauryn, especially, is a big fan of the phrase. I think she just likes the way it rolls off the tongue.

A babysitter even sent us a text one night: "Your children love to say 'bow chicka wow wow.'" What could we do, but explain that Jonathan and I routinely sing that phrase to each other as we do laundry, load the dishwasher, and drive to soccer practice, and the kids have obviously picked it up from us. Or not.

This new obsession at least provided Jonathan and I with side splitting, tears rolling down the cheeks laughter a few nights ago....

The kids have pretty much appropriated my iPhone and consider it theirs. They aren't allowed to go online using it, but they can play with some of the games and apps.

We discovered a couple nights ago that Lauryn had used the voice recorder to record herself singing about 47 (wish I was exaggerating) different renditions of Bow Chicka Wow Wow. Nice.

Click here then push the big yellow play button if you wish to hear one such example. My daughter, performing bow chicka wow wow. (If anyone knows a way to upload audio files directly to blogger, please enlighten me.)

Her first recorded performance. I'm so proud.

I know some people might find this phrase offensive, but my kids just think it's a fun thing to say and I'm trying to just make light of it. But if you are one of those people who find it inappropriate, you might want to keep your kids away from the Cliff children for a few weeks! I'll let you know when they move on to another phrase. Ha!

So Long, Buzz
Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Buzz, you were a constant companion and mighty super hero.

But alas, how the mighty have fallen.

My hope for you is that your odd little deformed toy friends from your
movie can find you in your new life (city dump) and make you whole

Sledding and Snowball Fights in September
Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Lawn sledding. And snowball fights with snowballs purchased from a store. Who knew you could buy snowballs!?! FUN!

It has cooled off a wee little bit in the last couple days. But weather cool enough for actual snowfall is still months away. (If, that is, we even get any snow - last year a light dusting, here and gone in minutes, was the only winter weather we saw.)

So we hurried up the cool weather a bit with a "Winter" theme for Family night.

We started out making snowflakes. I hadn't made paper snowflakes in years. After a quick reminder about how to fold the paper (Google to the rescue!), we were off and cutting.

For dinner, we ate beef stroganoff that had simmered in the crock pot all day. I thought it was kinda winter-y. The kids were mighty unimpressed. I tried to tell them it was like brown spaghetti. (Why would I think that would make it appetizing?) They weren't buying it.

Next up ----- SNOWBALL FIGHT!!!!!!! My friend Angela told me last week that Bahama Bucks Shaved Ice sells snowballs. 24 for $5.99. So worth it.

We had to ration out the snowballs obviously, or Dylan would have hurled all $5.99 worth at his brother in a matter of seconds. Which would have been fun for me to see, but not really fair.

No mercy for the cute little sister. She took one square in the back:

Ryan's pretty quick, but not quick enough to escape Dad's missiles:

Retribution was swift:

Possibly the best snowball fight ever. If I was a rich woman I would have bought about 5 more boxes.

"Lawn Sledding" came next. Dragging the kids around the yard on a beach towel? Turns out, crazy fun. Mom and Dad's arms gave out after a while; but things didn't go so well when they tried to drag each other, as this short video demonstrates. I happen to love this 5 seconds. It features one of my kids falling over, and Dylan giggling. Two of my favorite things.

Please, do yourself a favor and immediately go drag your kids around the yard on a towel. The faster you drag, the better! Your arms and back will be a little sore the next day, but the laughs are totally worth it.

We had a special guest for Family Night - I was babysitting the cutest little toddler you have ever seen. Oh my he's cute. And sweet. And smart. And fun. I think I'm in love.

He mostly just observed us all night, obviously wondering what kind of crazy people his parents left him with. Lauryn finally coerced him onto a towel. (By coerced, I mean grabbed his hand and jerked him into her lap.)

Fun night. Dad was worn out after all the "sledding" (he had to go and show off, dragging around both boys at the same time); the kids never pass up on this opportunity:

We're really enjoying have a (semi)weekly Family Night - it's all about being deliberate about enjoying each other. And I especially enjoy pelting my kids in the head with frozen shaved ice.

Many thanks to Angela who sparked this idea last week when I asked for Family Night suggestions via twitter comments!!


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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