Monday, November 29, 2010

Turkey Day Recap

We ended up having a great Thanksgiving spending the weekend down the road in Charlotte with family. I think Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it's centered on family, there is no stress over buying presents for everyone, and the focus is FOOD! Plus, I'm a sucker for a good old fashioned parade. Seems like every town with a population of 50 or more has a parade on Thanksgiving and Charlotte was no exception. Luckily, the parade route passed just outside Bogey and Marmee's house (code names for grandparents, in case you were confused), so we braved the misty rain and headed outside to watch.

As you could probably gather from the towels above, the rain eventually started to come down and we had to hightail it back inside. No problem though. Since Bogey lives six floors up, we had the perfect spot to watch the parade through the rain.

Of course we finished the day off with a great feast. The kids were a bit skeptical about some of the new dishes on their plate, but were fairly willing to try them. Cranberries proved to be a hit. The adults enjoyed their food as well. Basically, it was all about the food!

I know Luke is old enough to wear clothes and eat at the same time, but this just proves easier for me in the long run. My washer and dryer will thank me later.

Hope you all enjoyed your respective Thanksgivings with your loved ones. Any good stories to share? Holiday mishaps are usually the funniest! More to come later with Christmas on the horizon ...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Picture of the Week - November 28

I wanted to try and start a tradition of capturing and posting a "picture of the week" on this blog. I want this picture to simply be a moment or emotion that I want to remember from the week. Something that made me or someone in my family feel something significant, a facial expression I don't want to forget, or an image I want to remember forever. The images don't necessarily have to be monumental, they just have to elicit emotions and memories that I don't want to forget.

Thanksgiving was rainy and cool - ideal conditions for the holiday if you ask my dad. But not so ideal conditions for watching the Thanksgiving parade. Good thing we scored some good indoor seats to watch it from above ...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


There are so many things that I am thankful for at Thanksgiving. Funny how as you get older the holiday is less about the meal and the Christmas countdown and more about the time spent with loved ones. We've all been looking forward to Turkey Day for some time and I think the kids have fashioned turkeys out of any and every paper product ever created (where do preschools get all the ideas for this stuff?). Anyway, in the spirit of the holiday, I thought I'd share what I'm most thankful for in my very type-A fashion ... a list! So here's what I'm feeling thankful for this holiday season, both big and small, and in no particular order:

*My Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ
*My loving, faithful, hard working husband
*My four beautiful and healthy kiddos
*All my family and friends
*The best dog in the world, Wilson
*Duke basketball - yeah, I said it - Go Devils!
*Gator football (said not as enthusiastically as Duke basketball due to their not too stellar season. Still love 'em)
*Glee (and mostly Matthew Morrison)
*Kids who can (most of the time) put on their own shoes 
*Free childcare at the Y
*BBQ Pork Quesadillas (types of food could take up a lot of my list, but I'll abstain)
*WHITE Christmas lights (don't get me started colored lights people)
*Big bear hugs around my neck from my littlest man
*Nicknames - Peanut, Bear, Muscle Man, Boogs ... and the list goes on
*Living somewhere where leaves turn beautiful golds, reds, and oranges in the fall
*Lawn service (to clean up all those beautiful leaves)
*Trader Joe's (come to Winston ... please???)
*$1 Sweet Tea at McDonald's
*"Kids Eat Free" nights at ANY restaurant
*Coupons - especially online coupon codes, Groupons, and Gymbucks
*A good glass of much needed wine
*COSTCO - All I can say is, Buy Bulk!
*Milk Duds (technically, this is candy, not food ... so I'm making good on my promise of no more food on the list)
*The blue eyes of my triplets and the hazel eyes of my little man
*Toms (
*Sweat pants
*Something I'd never thought I'd say ... skinny jeans!
*Jim Halpert and Dwight Schrute
*Davidson College, Go Cats!
*Only ONE child in diapers, woohoo!
*Sleeping babies
*The smell of freshly shampooed baby hair
*Words With Friends (one word - addictive)
*Great in-laws (Is there something on my nose?)
*Fires in the fireplace and in the fire pit
*Fleece (pants, pullover ... I'm not partial)
*Bargain websites (Totsy, Mama Bargains, Kid Steals, Zulily, Gilt ... I love them all!)
*A turkey, cranberry, AND dressing sandwich on the night of Thanksgiving. Gotta have a little gravy on top too!

There's so many more things I could list but it would take all night (and no one would read it anyway!). Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving filled with friends, family, good food and fun. Happy Turkey Day!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Picture of the Week - November 21

I wanted to try and start a tradition of capturing and posting a "picture of the week" on this blog. I want this picture to simply be a moment or emotion that I want to remember from the week. Something that made me or someone in my family feel something significant, a facial expression I don't want to forget, or an image I want to remember forever. The images don't necessarily have to be monumental, they just have to elicit emotions and memories that I don't want to forget.

My girls really love to "read" their books. I was a big book reader myself (and still try to be, when there's time!), so I love to see them showing a strong interest as well. I also love the leg pose!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Diary of a Crazy Afternoon

Setting: The afternoon of Thursday, November 18
Place: Clifford family home

Stage Directions: Enter mom, stage right. She is actually showered and dressed and has accomplished many things this past morning, mainly surviving a dentist appointment for all 4 children. She looks calm, refreshed, anything but what you'd expect a mom with four kids under 3 to be. The following time line ensues:

All 4 kids are in bed for their naps and quiet. Mom pops a batch of scratch-made (ok, ok, they're from a box) brownies in the oven and settles in for some peace and solitude.

Brownies are done and the house smells wonderful. Mom enjoys a warm brownie ... perfection (way to go Duncan Hines). Mom hears baby start to cry. She rushes into room and pops pacifier back into his mouth. He drifts back to sleep without waking up older brother. Crisis averted. Mom rewards herself with another brownie.

Mom hears baby fussing again. She waits to go in to see if he will put himself back to sleep. He doesn't. She enters room and older brother is also awake. She goes to comfort baby and is horrified at what she sees. Baby and bed are covered in vomit. Lovely. Somehow baby is still sucking on pacifier, making mom wonder how all the vomit got out of his mouth. Baby is still crying and older brother is now running around house.

Mom removes baby from crib and places him in tub. She manages to remove all his clothing and tosses it in the sink. Baby is still crying. She starts a bath for baby. Older brother is still running around. Mom tells older brother to go wake up his sisters from their nap as well. Mom finds vomit in baby's ears.

All 4 children are now crowded into bathroom with mom. One older sister starts crying because it's not bath time yet. Meltdown ensues. Mom tries to get all 3 older siblings to go to the potty while still bathing baby.

Older brother informs mom that he has had an accident. Luckily it is contained to the pants, so mom tells him to go change his underwear. He runs off. Mom realizes that baby's vomit-covered clothes are no longer in sink. She finds dog licking them in the kitchen. Mom almost vomits herself.

Baby is clean and stops crying. Mom dries him off and puts new clothes on him. She sees older boy run past in the new pair of underwear he has put on. They are inside-out. And they are Dora the Explorer underwear. Mom doesn't care.

Snack time. Kids fight over what they want for snack until mom decides. Baby doesn't want snack, but drinks an entire cup of juice.

Kids entertaining themselves with books and toys. Baby seems better and in good spirits. Mom thinks maybe he just ate something bad. Baby comes over to mom to be picked up and vomits all over her shoes. Mom takes deep breath and counts to ten.

Mom removes baby's clothes and puts on new clothes. Luckily most of the vomit got on the floor and he doesn't require another bath. When mom goes to clean up vomit on floor, she finds older sister "skating" through it while dog is simultaneously licking up the vomit. Older sister runs, creating vomit footprints throughout the house. Baby refuses to let mom put him down.

Mom finally finishes cleaning up vomit-prints and notices a foul smell. Figures it's just the baby (who still refuses to be put down) with a lingering smell of vomit on his skin.

It still smells. Mom looks around to investigate. Mom realizes she never took the vomit covered sheets off of baby's bed. Mom now removes sheets and goes outside to try and shake encrusted vomit off of sheets. Doesn't really work. Mom just leaves sheet outside.

Time to start dinner. Mom corrals kids into playroom and tries to think of something easy for dinner. Baby seems happy for now, but mom is wary. Mom pops some biscuits in the oven to cook and lets dog outside.

Mom goes to let dog inside and finds him eating encrusted vomit off of the sheets she left out there (seriously, dog). She yells at dog to stop and ushers him inside. Kids have escaped the playroom and have unraveled entire roll of toilet paper. There is poop in the potty, but Mom doesn't know who put it there. She inspects three bottoms to find out who the perpetrator is. Skid marks give away the offender.

Dinner is almost done and kids are getting restless. Timer goes off for biscuits and mom gets potholder to remove baking sheet. While pulling biscuits from oven, baking sheet slips from mom's hand and she goes to save it with her other non-potholder-protected hand. Cursing follows.

Dad walks in from work to find mom standing with her hand under cold running water at the sink. Children are screaming in the background. Dad turns around and walks out (just kidding). Dad finishes dinner while mom nurses her hand. The wild banshees are released from their prison.

Dinnertime. Kids are happy. Baby gleefully eats entire meal without protest. Mom second-guesses her choice of serving broccoli when she realizes that it may come back up in 10 minutes. Blisters are starting to form on Mom's burned hand.

Kids are fed, bathed, and teeth brushed. Baby has kept meal down (so far). Mom and Dad put children to bed and kiss them goodnight. Mom collapses onto couch with pitcher of ice water to soak her hand in. She eats another brownie and hopes that tomorrow afternoon will work out a bit better than today did.

Lights fade out to spotlight on Mom, sitting on the couch with her maimed hand and a glass of wine. As the lights finally dim to black, we hear crying and retching from the baby's room in the distant background ...


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I'm getting old ...

So I'm not usually a Debbie Downer about many things (I'm a realist, okay?), but I have had a recent revelation in the past few weeks that I cannot ignore. It kinda jump started with Halloween and has just snowballed from there. The fact is ... I am getting old people! Not in the way that you think of your cute grandma with her home baked pies and analog TV set, no, this is old in a different way. I realized that I'm the same age my mom was when I was 5 years old. What?!?! I mean, I remember being 5 years old and definitely have some solid and concrete memories of that year. And, for your information, my mom was OLD in those memories (sorry mom). Again, not old like wrinkly, but old like a real adult. The type of adult that I'm not sure I embody just yet. For justification purposes, here are some things that have occurred recently that have led to said epiphany.

1. My bedtime habits
Let's just say that my husband counts it as a good day if I don't fall asleep on the sofa by 9pm. I know I should just not give in to the supine position that ultimately leads to my demise, but I can't help it. Chasing around 4 hyper energetic kids all day wears me down. It's all I can do to make it to the couch after they go to bed, much less stay awake. Add to the mix me in my PJs and slippers by 8pm and you have one geriatric 31 (there, I said it) year old. Count in the fact that I can't remember the last time I slept past 8am and you have one crotchety old woman on your hands.

2. My TV show selection
All the hip TV watchers today are watching things like Mad Men and True Blood. At least I've heard of these shows. I shamefully admit that some of my favorite shows are 20/20 and 48 Hours Mystery. These shows air on Friday and Saturday nights, so the writing is on the wall about how young and hip the viewers of these shows must be (I'm going with zilch). Let's just say while all you party goers are out there living it up on the weekends, I'm enjoying my yet to be solved murder mystery from the comforts of my own home.

3. Music choice (or lack thereof)
Now this is an area where my husband's oldness may outshine mine. I am soooo not up to date with the newest songs and artists that it's pitiful. I literally just heard "Teenage Dream" by Katy Perry the other day and apparently this song is "sooooo old school" (said with teenage angst and dramatic eye roll). And supposedly this Rihanna chick (yes, I just had to look up how to even spell her name) is pretty popular. I couldn't pick her out of a lineup if my life depended on it. My tunes today mainly consist of cartoon show theme songs and the Bare Naked Ladies kids' album (which is pretty "hip" if you ask me).

4. Appearance
Now I'm going to defend myself and say that I don't think I'm very vain (just as much as the average woman who's been through a couple pregnancies is), but I do care about my appearance. I'm not in many pictures these days becasue I'm usually the one taking the picture. Therefore, when I do happen to get in a picture, I can't help but notice the "differences" that have taken place in the last few years. What are those little lines in the corners of my eyes and why do my hands look so, well, old? I've decided that I just need to start being in more pictures so that the change isn't so drastically obvious!

Again, I'm not trying to be negative, I'm just trying to reveal some recent thoughts about myself. The positive part is that I don't think my kids have realized it yet. Sure, they categorize me as a "big kid" (they have three categories of people - babies (Luke), little kids (the trips), and big kids (anyone taller than them)), and I'm ok with that. When I have them guess my age, it's usually in the 3-6 year old range, which I will take any day. I guess, when I think about it, my memories of my parents really didn't have to do with what they looked like or how old they were. It had to do with how old they acted. I figure as long as I am still rolling around on the floor, playing pretend "haircut store" (our new favorite game), and dancing along with the Bare Naked Ladies, I can still be lumped into the "big kid" category - regardless of the crow's feet and impending sagging that is sure to follow.

So, I guess I'm not as old as I sometimes think I am - what a relief. Hearing aides and bifocals may be in my future, just not quite yet. I guess I should go and cancel my scheduled tour of the retirement home that's down the street. That's ok, it was on a Friday night anyway and I was going to have to miss 48 Hours Mystery ...

Young'uns no more ... but at least I have photographic proof of what used to be!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Picture of the Week - November 14

I wanted to try and start a tradition of capturing and posting a "picture of the week" on this blog. I want this picture to simply be a moment or emotion that I want to remember from the week. Something that made me or someone in my family feel something significant, a facial expression I don't want to forget, or an image I want to remember forever. The images don't necessarily have to be monumental, they just have to elicit emotions and memories that I don't want to forget.

This picture is one to treasure because I have so few of them ... a picture of all six of us! All of us being in a picture requires having some help (mainly, someone to actually take the picture), so thanks to my mom for taking this for us.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Afternoon Delight

We spent the better part of our afternoon today up to our eyes in these...

The kids couldn't resist the gargantuan pile of leaves in our front yard. They had so much fun just being kids. I'm always amazed how something like a pile of leaves can provide so much entertainment. Thank goodness for imagination! The permission to throw something definitely contributed to their elated state ...

Yes, I am aware that they are wearing their PJs outside in the middle of the afternoon. I am also aware that they are Christmas PJs and it is November 10. Don't judge. It was worth the confused looks by passersby to witness unbridled joy in progress ...

If you're feeling a little down today, go jump in a pile of leaves. I guarantee that you'll feel better when you're done!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Picture of the Week - November 7

I wanted to try and start a tradition of capturing and posting a "picture of the week" on this blog. I want this picture to simply be a moment or emotion that I want to remember from the week. Something that made me or someone in my family feel something significant, a facial expression I don't want to forget, or an image I want to remember forever. The images don't necessarily have to be monumental, they just have to elicit emotions and memories that I don't want to forget.

Brothers ...

... and sisters.
I'm so glad each of my boys has a brother and each of my girls has a sister. Now let the ganging up begin!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Teach Them What's Already True

One of my favorite authors is Donald Miller. He's written several books, one of which will be made into a movie soon (Blue Like Jazz). I enjoy his unabashed approach to writing and telling the truth about his journey to becoming a Christian. He has a raw and unfiltered air to his books that I find pretty refreshing. Anyway, if you'd like to see more about him, check out his blog HERE.

Several day ago he blogged about how children learned that they matter. I thought his description of how this occurs was convicting for me and made me put a lot of things in a different perspective. Sometimes, when you're caught up in the day to day activities of your family, you forget to think about the lifelong impact your words and actions are having on your children. I thought I would re-post Don's blog here because it impacted me so greatly. A copy of it is now pasted on out refrigerator to hopefully remind me every day that God is communicating to my children through me ... and I need to be up to the task.

Children Don't Learn They Matter From The Bible. They Learn It From You. 
Young men and young women really do want the same things; to know they are important, to know they matter, to know they can impact the world, to know they are wanted and so on. Of course, these desires are expressed in different ways, but children of both sexes gain early on a confidence that they are on the earth for a reason and not as a mistake. And they don’t learn this from a book, not even from the Bible. The idea we matter is more important to learn in childhood than in any other stage. And they learn from adults, from whether or not they get off the phone, make eye contact, get mad too quickly, love them enough to stay married to their mom, love them enough to protect them from danger, even from themselves. The message God wants to communicate to children is entrusted to you, to the way you look at them or celebrate them when they walk into a room. If they get that message, the Bible will confirm it for the rest of their lives. And if they don’t, they’ll struggle to believe the overwhelming obviousness of God’s love.

The acclaimed poet Maya Angelou, when asked how she had become such a great poet, responded by saying she’d become a great poet because when she was a little girl, her father’s eyes lit up when she walked into the room.

Love your sons. Love your daughters. Teach them what’s already true; that they are delightful.

*Taken from, October 27, 2010 post*

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween in Pictures, Take Two

Today was pretty low-key with the main Halloween event being pumpkin carving! The kids and I helped Matt clean out the pumpkins and he did the majority of the carving himself. Sam gave him some help on our polka-dot pumpkin (solely because a drill was involved). I think that may have been the easiest pumpkin we've ever carved. Matt made up for it though with the stellar job he did on our pumpkin face. I gave him a design I liked and he made it ever better than I thought possible!

Preparing to get dirty ... They liked dressing as "ghosts" and "angels."

What is it about boys and power tools? I could not pull the boys away from the drill. Meanwhile, the girls were using acorn tops as tea cups ...

Matt working hard on the pumpkins.

The finished product!

Well, after the weeks of hoopla, the big day finally arrived. The kids had a blast trick or treating and I must say that four kids definitely bring in a lot of candy! Everyone got to have some candy before bed and they were so worn out that they fell straight asleep. Now I just have to figure out how to ration this candy out so that we don't have a bunch of hyped up kids on our hands!

Hope everyone else had a great Halloween as well. Time to start planning next year's costumes! Any ideas???

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween in Pictures

I can't get over how many events revolve around Halloween. I thought kids only wore their Halloween costumes on the actual holiday, but I was gravely mistaken. I think it's the result of parents wanting to get their money's worth out of a costume. Therefore, any type of event that occurs in October automatically qualifies itself as a costume-wearing opportunity. At least my kids liked wearing their costumes this year and they were easy to get on and off!

Because we had so many Halloween events, I've just compiled a few (well, a lot) of my favorite pictures together to sum up this past Halloween week. Yup, the fun started on Thursday with Project Pumpkin at Wake Forest, continued on Friday with a hay ride and pumpkin picking (again, I know) at Tanglewood, right on in to Saturday with pumpkin carving, and finally ending on Sunday with the actual holiday and trick or treating itself. I am exhausted ... and so is my camera. I may have to break all the pictures up into two posts so your scrolling fingers will have a chance to rest!


Checking out the huge lion ...

Trying out the new wand ...

Playing some games ...

M&M break ...

I think Luke ate five lollipops while we were there. Cavities anyone??

Today we went on a hay ride to a pumpkin patch to pick out another pumpkin. Every family needs more than one pumpkin to carve, so we set off to add to our pumpkin family. The hay ride was lots of fun, especially since we got to see a lot of the Chirstmas lights that Tanglewood is ALREADY putting up. What happened to Thanksgiving? Anyway, we got to add to my the kids' candy stash when we did some trunk or treating after the hay ride. The M&M's and Hershey Kiss were a hit!

Back tomorrow with pumpkin carving and trick or treating pictures!