Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hunting Season

We're fresh off the first of 567 many Easter egg hunts of the season and all is right in the Clifford house again. There are no fewer than six chocolate stains on the furniture and I went out and bought a new tub of Oxy Clean to combat the chocolate stained clothes that are sure to follow.

On a positive note, someone on the egg hunt committee at preschool put Skittles in the plastic eggs! I may or may have not been doing random egg shake tests to determine which eggs the Skittles are concealed in. You know you're a good candy detector when you can discern the difference between Skittles and M&Ms by a jangle of the egg. It's sad, I know, but yummy nonetheless!

Happy Hunting!

*These pictures were all taken with my phone because I didn't want to lug around my camera while sweating and chasing after four kids trying to get pictures. I still have approximately 566 egg hunts before Easter to get some better shots, so please excuse any blurriness or lighting issues!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Out Like A Lamb

Can you believe that it's March and this is what I see outside in my backyard?

I'm all for a warm spring, but it feels like we have jumped headfirst into early summer with the weather we've been having. High temperatures have caused all the daffodils to already bloom and our pear tree has already had its pretty white blooms turn scarlet.

We have been spending every waking moment outside these last few weeks. The kids come home from school and race outside to get a little swinging in before lunch. Then they're back outside as soon as they wake up from naps. We even brought out the water table and the hose, things that usually don't make their grand entrance until June.

Even though I'm enjoying the warmth, I kinda miss those early spring days where it's warm enough to play outside, but still cool enough to need a light jacket. Hopefully we'll have a few more of those days before full blown summer hits us.

But for now we're enjoying the things that warm days bring - shorts, the first scraped knees of the season, meals outside, popsicles, freeze tag, and mischief disguised in the form of a hose and slide.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Picture of the Week - March 25

Triplets + Hammers = ???

At least they made it out with all of their fingers. I'm glad I wasn't there to flinch with every swing of the hammer!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Wow, y'all.

I've heard a lot of sad stories this week and it's really made me take a time out and think. Sometimes we get so insulated in our little bubbles that we start to forget about all the not-so-nice things out there in the world. Things like hunger, cancer, and depression. I've been hit head on with a few of these thing this week, so I thought it would be good to share. Because bad things can happen to anyone, not just to bad people. But like I said in a previous post, it's not really about what happens to you, it's about the reaction. Whether or not you decide to react with hope and love. Whether or not you decide to fight. Whether or not you decide to glorify God in the midst of your battles.

So I wanted to break out of the bubble and share a bit. I'm not going to name names, these people (and those who love them) know who they are and what they are up against. But it does help to give just a bit of perspective on what encompasses life and compassion, and how we can pray for and help others in their very urgent times of need.

A woman in my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group has a younger sister. She's 22 years old and she has melanoma. She has tumors on her liver, brain, and numerous other places. Her prognosis is not good. In essence, her family is sending her to doctor after doctor to "buy her time" ... to help her live a little longer so that they can celebrate her life and all that she is. Just think about what you were doing when you were 22 and replace that with fighting an everyday battle with a cancer that you know will eventually take your much too short life.

The woman in my MOPS group educated our entire group on the risks and seriousness of melanoma. It was scary and frightening and made me scared for my kids and my entire family. BUT ... it is something that can be prevented if we take the time to do it. Please watch this video (the girl in the blue cardigan and glasses is the one I referred to above) and share it.

Next, there is a sweet family who goes to our church. They also have their kids in preschool at the same school that my kids attend. I'll admit that I don't know them that well, but our lives share many of the same places, so I think we probably know each other better than we think. Today I made (ok, I bought half of it) their family a meal. Their family has been getting meals from our church and preschool for over 2 months. The outpouring of support for them has been amazing. It has shown what a community can do if they rise up around another family in crisis. It has given me hope.

Their daughter, their sweet little two year old daughter, was diagnosed with leukemia a couple months ago. Their daughter who is the same age as Luke. Their daughter who plays with Luke in the church nursery and on the same playground as he does at school. Their daughter whose father is an oncologist, someone who knows the ins and outs of what her battle will entail. Their family is amazing and an inspiration to me. I cannot fathom what they are going through, but they are doing it with grace and love from a community that is caring for them.

Perspective is a powerful thing. Just when you lose it, something otften hits you upside the head to make you  turn around and remember that you're not alone. Other are hurting, others are fighting, so what are you going to do to help?

Wear sunscreen. Hug your babies tight. Love someone who is hurting.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Dancin' Machine

It's too bad he turned into Mr. Shy once I tried to take a video. Boy's got some MOVES, y'all. I'll have to catch him one day on the sly.

As you can see, the boombox is still the gift that keeps on giving. Now can anyone suggest some upbeat kids' music? We have about worn out the Fresh Beat Band (meaning I can't stand to listen to it anymore). Anyone know any other music of a similar flavor (or is it flava)?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Picture of the Week - March 18

Breakfast for dinner ...

Best. Meal. Ever.

(and I'm sorry if you don't like looking at raw pieces of meat).

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ode to Sunshine

Temperatures in the 80's ...

... means lunch AND dinner can be eaten outside.

And this makes me happy ...

because there's now less to clean up in the kitchen!

Now get outside and enjoy early spring!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


My kids love books, but my Adah lives for books. She would never put them down if she could and I'm so looking forward to the day when she can actually read the words on the pages. We have so many books in our house that we are just out of places to put them. The girls have a book shelf in their room and we have a book bin in the playroom, but the extras end up getting stored in the built-in shelves in our playroom.

The playroom bookshelves are too high for the kids to reach, so Adah often drags me into the room to get her a book off of the shelf. She has a hard time telling which book is which just by their spines, so she usually resorts to commands like, "I want the yellow one" or "The one with the fishies!". It sometimes takes me a while to figure out the one she is referring to (it's not as clear cut as it sounds with some of the descriptions she gives), but usually we figure it out and she goes on her merry bookworm way. Recently though, I was a bit thrown by one of her descriptions ...

Adah: "Mom! Can I get a book from the shelf please?"

Me: "Sure, I'm coming."

Adah, pointing: "I want that one right there!"

Me: "Ok, I'm gonna need a little more guidance than that. Which one? What color is it?"

Adah: "It's that one right THERE! The caboose one!"

Me: "The caboose one? Is it red? I don't see a book with trains on it."

Adah: "No! The CABOOSE one! That one right there!"

Me, noticing she's pointing to the last book on the shelf: "This one?? But this doesn't have anything about trains."

Adah: "I know Mom, but it IS the caboose book because it's the one on the end, see?

Ahhhhh, we already have a Ms. Smarty Pants in our house. She's throwing out the metaphors at the ripe old age of four.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Picture of the Week - March 11

I am currently recovering from the plague, so this is the only picture I could muster up this week.

The first thing to note is that I was apparently woozy from the cold meds when I thought it would be a good idea to take the kids out in public while in the state of health I was in that day. And second, the people who placed this over sized chair here must have thought it would make for a funny photo op. The girls bought into the ploy but you can see that the boys weren't fooled.  Sir Weeps-a-lot and Mr. Disinterested-In-Anything-But-Myself would have preferred to be someplace else.

Hope everyone had a super (plague-free) weekend!

Thursday, March 8, 2012


I have four kids. Those four little beings sucked the life out of me for 30 months (yes, I'm counting the triplet pregnancy as seven months times three). I've done things like drink whole milk (gag) to gain pregnancy weight and clean up vomit footprints throughout our house just for them. So, I figure I'm due a little compensation, just not of the monetary variety. Let's face it, you know my kids' concept of money is limited when they routinely mistake dollar bills for small scraps of wrapping paper. So I've decided my cash-challenged charges should pay me back in other ways.

Therefore I give you: Ways to Mooch of of Your Children

1. I am responsible for making my kids' food every night. So that means I have to sit there and smell the chicken nuggets and mac 'n cheese with my stomach loudly grumbling during the process. The solution? Mooch. Just toss a few extra nuggets on the tray to heat up and Voila! Kids' dinner becomes my appetizer as well. I figure I'm not getting cash tips, so a few Mickey Mouse nuggets will have to suffice.

2. I hate taking a multivitamin. I don't really know why, but I always forget to take one and it's just not fun to swallow a pill in the morning that is roughly the size of of 2 year old's head. I think my bottle of multivitamins has been sitting on our windowsill for over 4 years. We haven't even LIVED in this house for 4 years. Maybe it was already here when we arrived ...

Anyway ... the solution to choking down the horse pill from H-E-double hockey sticks?? Mooch! That's right, I now get my daily dose of vitamins by stealing the kids gummy vitamins we feed them every morning. Who doesn't like to start the day with a little HAIRBO action, right? The best days are when I draw the red/orange bear combo ...

3. Nourishment. It's something I'm constantly trying to find time for everyday. As most moms know, finding time to eat is a hard task when caring for a gaggle of kids. As soon as you get their lunch ready, the rapid machine gun fire of requests begins:

"Can I have more milk?"
"But I wanted the crusts cut oooooffffffffff!"
"Peyton has my plate!"
"Mommy, someting is floating in my milk."
"But I wanted the crusts onnnnnnnnn!"
"I want more grapes!"
"I want the skin of the apple cut ooooooffffff!"

And so it goes.

So my solution to not getting to eat at normal eating times? You guessed it, mooch. Don't want your crusts? Fine, I'll eat them off for you. Weird thing floating in your milk? Let me get it out for you by drinking the entire glass myself. Skin on your apple? Let me try to get it off with my teeth ... oops, I accidentally ate the whole slice. Hey, you gotta get it when you can. Momma's gotta eat!

4. One thing I have learned with kids is that every single holiday has some sort of candy marketing campaign. And this goes beyond Halloween or Easter ... I'm talking every. single. holiday. So we have to purchase candy in bulk quantities in order to keep up with the holiday of the week. I readily admit to only buying my kids candy that I like so that I can eat it once I give it to them. Heck, sometimes I even buy them candy that I know they don't like so I can be all, "Ohhh, you don't like those cinnamon laced Hot Tamales?? Well I guess I'll just have to get rid of them for you!"

Most of the time I dole the candy out to them and save the rest of it high up in the cabinet for me (hey, what they don't know won't hurt them). But there are definitely times of weakness where I have stolen directly from Easter baskets or Christmas stockings. I know, the shame. I'm just waiting for the day when my candy cabinet is discovered as one of the kids opens it and stares at me in shock as waves of Reece's Pieces, Sour Patch Kids, and Milk Duds come cascading down like a waterfall on his/her head.

So there you go, I'm a mooch. And I'm proud of it. I've gotta get a few benefits out of this deal too. And if that meals a stolen sip of apple juice here and a couple "vitamin-packed" gummy bears there, so be it. I'm sure I can't be the only one who does things like this, right? Please, someone tell me I'm not alone (if so, I may need some professional help)!

And here's a cute picture ... because what's a post without one?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

In Like A Lion

March stayed true to form and came in cold and windy this weekend with a few sprinkles thrown in. So we took some time to hang around the house and have some fun. Here's a bit of our weekend in pictures.

Flowers from a sweet husband to start the weekend ...

We brought Home Depot home and held our own personal kids' workshop ...

We ate too much of this ...

And had a lot of fun making some of these ...

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Oops, We Did It Again

*This blog is running today on Triad Moms on Main. Be sure to check it out on their awesome site!

All I remember is that it was hot. It was August in Florida and I was just struggling to stay cool while it was 95 degrees outside. I was also waist deep in laundry, diapers, and bottles - the by-products of eight months of caring for my recently born triplets. I was happy, but exhausted. With the triplets being eight months old, I finally felt like I could see a light at the end of the tunnel. I was exiting the baby haze brought on by newborns and was starting to finally feel confident and sure about my family's future and what it would hold. I was starting to feel normal again and then ...


That's right, I'm that woman who got pregnant when her triplets were not even a year old. My world was turned upside down when I learned that I was pregnant once again. I remember feeling such a large range of emotions when that pee-stained stick registered a plus sign. Denial. Fear. Foolishness. How could this have happened? We weren't ready for another baby, yet there we were. The triplets would only be 16 months old when this "oops" baby would be brought into the world and change our lives forever.  

Whether you acknowledge it or not, a large portion of babies born each year are "oops" babies. They're born to teenagers, single mothers, and married mothers. They're the babies who weren't planned or scheduled. I remember being scared not knowing what this baby's future would hold or how he would affect the dynamics of our family. But slowly, slowly, I remember coming to an amazing realization: Unplanned does not mean unwanted. My husband and I had thought we would like a fourth child, just not right then. But there we were, unexpectedly pregnant and left with a choice. We could choose to embrace our new normal or we could wallow in what might have been. I am so, so glad that we chose the former of those two options.   

Today, I have four beautiful, healthy children that I could not imagine my life without. That "oops" baby's first word was (fittingly) "uh-oh!" and he is now his older brother's sidekick. I am so happy that they both have a brother so very close in age to grow up with. His presence has taught me to let go and let life happen, to stop trying to control everything in my path. Ultimately, we cannot control what happens to us, but we CAN control our reaction to what happens. I have happily chosen to embrace it. Hopefully my little "oops" baby will continue to grow into a confident, happy, and well-adjusted man ... and when he finally leaves the house and starts a life of his own, I'll remember that it was no mistake. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thursday Bullets

As is the norm for this time of the week, my thoughts are completely scattered and randomly placed. I think a list of completely unrelated bullet points are in order.
  • We are nearing one of my least favorite times of year. Don't get me wrong, I love the warmer weather, but I'm not a huge fan of the toll it puts on my daily shower routine. That's right, I'm talking about shaving my legs. I hate doing this. I have definitely been known to skip many weeks days between shaving during the pants-dominant season of winter. But now we're slowly creeping up on shorts season and Ill be forced to dust off my trusty razor. I figure if people are going to be blinded by the whiteness of my legs, they should at least get a hair-free show.
  • I have noticed the Scholastic Book Fair signs going up around town at the elementary schools. This makes me extremely excited in a weird, "does this make me a complete dork?" kind of way. I vividly remember quivering with excitement when the book fair would come to my school and I would get to choose from the hundreds of books lining the walls. I'm not ready for the kids to go to elementary school just yet, but the book fair will surely be my saving grace during that transitional time period.
  • My allergies have decided to make an early return this year. It must be all of the warm weather we're having lately. I've been suffering from allergies for almost 15 years, and I still have no idea what I'm allergic to. I never had allergies when I lived in Florida, so it must be something in North Carolina that causes me to sneeze incessantly for days once spring makes its appearance. I keep saying I'll go to an allergist, but it never happens. Anyone have any idea what would be making me a fountain of mucus these days? My doctor self has diagnosed my allergy as tree pollen, but I'm not really schooled in medicine so feel free to give your own diagnosis as well.
  • Luke looks like a victim of child abuse. I don't mean that in a joking way, he really does. The boy has bruises up and down his forearms, on his legs, on his little booty ... they're everywhere. Sadly, he seems to have inherited my touch-me-with-pressure-harder-than-a-light-tap-and-I-will-bruise syndrome. I cannot remember the last time I was bruise-free and Luke seems to be doomed to the same fate. It doesn't help that he's a daredevil and will willingly throw himself down a flight of stairs for a PBJ or a box of raisins, so I'm guessing they'll just become part of his wardrobe throughout his childhood.
  • Since when did under eye circle become a permanent fixture in my daily wardrobe? I used to be able to chalk it up to non-sleeping children, but that's no longer the case. My theory is that they were there for such an extended amount of time that they have now been forever affixed upon my face. Does anyone have recommendations for under eye cream that takes the circles away? I can't believe I'm already having to ask about this. Vanity is a hard, hard pill to swallow.
  • I think our cordless phones (is that what they're still called?) are on their last leg. I keep being scared by loud beeping noises they randomly make throughout the day. It's like they're saying, "Help, put me out of my misery and send me back to the 20th century! I can't keep up with Siri and her friends!" But the question is, should I get a new set to replace them or just use our cell phones as our main phone line? I've always liked having a land line, but maybe it's useless at this point. What do you think? Any cordless phone recommendations or arguments against my insistence upon having a land line? 
Wow, now I feel better! Thanks for allowing the brain dump. Any and all ideas and recommendations on the quandary that is my Thursday bullet list will be greatly appreciated. Enjoy the start of March!