Sunday, March 31, 2013

Thursday, March 28, 2013


March Madness has hit the Clifford house full force and it would be an understatement to say that the kids are hooked. The boys eat, sleep, and breathe basketball right now. They know the names of all the players on their favorite teams and I am constantly "coaching" make-believe basketball games outside. So far the only advice they heed is when I tell them to shoot more!

Running with this new found passion, Matt decided to print out brackets for all of the kids to fill out this year. Before the games began he sat down and (somewhat painstakingly) took the time to fill out the bracket with each kid. It took a while, but eventually they finished! We finally just resorted to just having them choose by mascot ("The Ducks or the Cowboys?"). More on that later.

Matt and I also filled out brackets and away we went! I'm not exaggerating when I say that the boys watched at least three games that first day (the girls ... not so much). In between games and during halftimes they went outside and played their own games.

After the first round of games on Thursday and Friday, I was feeling pretty good. I had a comfortable lead on the group with my picks and it looked like my strategies of picking minor upsets and staying with mostly top seeds was going to pan out in my favor. BUT ... BUT ... then Saturday and Sunday hit and my bracket was shattered to pieces. Suddenly, cool mascots like the Ducks and the Shockers were trumping my more mundane choices of Bulldogs and Tigers. And as of right now, I'm sitting shakily in third place with an almost 4-year-old hot on my heels!

After this weekend's games, I'm going to be lucky to still be in the game. I contemplated changing my bracket when no one was around, but then I forgot that I made the first cardinal sin when aiming to cheat in family basketball bracket competitions ... I used pen! So now, I'm simply resigned to my fate. Every day Sam lets me know how many checks (correct picks) I have and how many he has. And every day I wonder just how much basketball knowledge do I actually have? Does fours years of college basketball and two years of coaching give me no advantage? What is wrong with me?

The moral of this story is that no matter how hard you try, you are never going to beat the mascot philosophy of picking teams to win the NCAA tournament. You can analyze stats and look at RPI all you want (Matt did and he's STILL losing to a 5 year old) but it simply does. not. matter. Because, when it comes down to it, the Explorers are just cooler than the plain old Wildcats ... and every 5 year old in the world knows it.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


In the triplets' Pre-K class, they learn about a new letter each week. Their teacher always comes up with cute and inventive ways for helping them remember the sounds each letter makes. For example, she introduced the letter A by teaching them that the letter A is always being chased by a monster, causing her to run away screaming, "Ahhhhhhh!" A few weeks ago they had a wedding ceremony for letters Q and U (since they're always together) complete with wedding veils and bow ties.

Last week they learned about the letter V. They're always excited to get into the car and tell me the new letter and everything they learned about it that day.

Me: "Hey guys! How was school?"

Sam: "Good, Mom! We learned about the letter V!"

Me: "Awesome. What did you learn about V?"

Sam: "We learned about volcanoes and we saw a video about them. Did you know that before it comes out of the volcano it is called megma (translation: magma) and then it comes out the throat ... did you know volcanoes have throats? ... and then it comes out the throat and it is lava!"

Me: "That's great! Did you learn about what sound the letter V makes?"

Sam: "Yeah, Mom. The V says Vvvvvvvvvv, just likes the sound something makes when it vibernates!"

Hmmmm, I'm wondering if they were learning about the winter habits of bears this week as well?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Picture of the Week - March 25

Rainy and cold means Easter egg hunts must move indoors ...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


This past weekend my mom and sister came in town for a visit. We had a lot of fun with them and spent a lot of time outside since it was a great spring weekend. On Friday, we decided to go to the NC Zoo, somewhere we've been meaning to go but have never gotten around to until now.

The kids were ready to go after the drive and anxious to see some animals, especially the "rah-tahn-er-rous" (translation of Lukese: rhinoceros).

We started off with the alligators and reptiles. The kids love turtles ever since the Creature Teacher at school brought one in to show them. They were quizzing me about what kind it was and I had to fudge my turtle knowledge a bit. I'm only familiar with the teenage-mutant genus of turtles myself.

We managed to catch the feeding time for the seals, which the kids thought was really great. They also thought it was gross that the trainer was feeding the seals raw fish with her hands (I concurred). Then we got to view the seals  at the underground view tank. It was pretty neat and the kids loved that the seals would swim right up to the glass.

The zoo also had a garden themed playground we played at and a 4D movie theater, carousel, and train rides (that were all closed until April, bummer). Oh, and it also had walking. Lots and lots of walking. This is a BIG zoo and while having lots of land for the animals is great, it is not so great for little kids legs. They did great though and only struggled at the very end of the day when we had to walk back to the entrance.

As usual, things other than the main attraction (the animals) proved to be the biggest hits:

Pretend-eggs that they could pretend-hatch out of - Entertainment value: 20 minutes.

Statues of bison because the bison were lounging too far away to see - Entertainment value: 15 minutes (could have been more but we rushed away when Peyton began questioning and touching the bison statue's nether regions).

Playing with the binoculars that required a quarter to use (we had no quarters, rendering them useless) - Entertainment value: 25 minutes, and we still had to drag them away.

Overall, the zoo was a success. Next time we'll be sure to make the walking more manageable (more breaks and/or tram rides), but the weather was awesome. I'm against being within the immediate vicinity of wild animals if the temperature is above 70 degrees (heat + wild animals = stench I'd rather avoid), so we lucked out with it being cool and sunny.

As for now, our visitors are gone, I have pretty flowered plants on my porch, and my nose is itchy and stuffed up. Spring is in the air!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

We have guests coming and a busy weekend planned, so pictures will have to suffice for today. We've been busy lately and can't believe that spring is (finally) coming!


Monday, March 11, 2013

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


I've decided that all preschoolers go through phases of obsession. They get locked on to something and then they are hooked. Sometimes it lasts a few days and sometimes it can be months and months. Each of my kids has an obsession as of late and I thought it would be fun to share them so that they can see what they were so smitten with in a few years time.

Obsession: Star Wars and (still) airplanes

Sam still likes his Luke Skywalker and can often be found running around outside with Luke fending off Darth Vader. He even has gone so far as to construct Start Wars paraphernalia from his blocks (see the Walker above). Even though his love of airplanes is not as feverishly focused as before, they are still a regular topic of conversation and he still wants to be a pilot when he grows up.

Obsession: Ballet, Singing, Performing

Peyton is definitely obsessed with singing and dancing. She told me the other day that she "just didn't know why God decided to make her such a good dancer and singer." Obviously modesty is not one of her current obsessions. She regularly holds concerts in the bathtub and always counts down the days until the next ballet class.

Obsession: Stuffed animals and their "habitats"

Adah has the imagination of ten children combined and you can often find her putting it to use with her stuffed animals. She is particularly fond of dogs and when left to her owns devices I will often come upon something like what you see in the pictures above. She creates homes, play structures, restaurants, etc. for all of her animals that somehow find a way to use every available toy at her disposal. The elaborateness of the scenes is crazy. She loves her "pets" and I always find them perched on the chair beside her at snack time or lined up in height order on the couch.

Obsession: Basketball, basketball, and basketball

Luke is definitely our most obsessed child at the moment. The kid lives, breathes, and eats basketball. He willingly sits and watches games on TV (he doesn't care who is playing) and will brave below freezing temperatures to go outside and "shoot the hoop". The kid has even snuck a basketball jersey on under his coat to wear to school without me noticing. Of course we feed this obsession since we are big basketball fans ourselves, so hopefully it sticks around for a while.

Watching the kids discover new things that excite them is so much fun. I love seeing how different they are and am always wondering what the next obsession will be. My next obsession is warm weather. Come on spring!