Thursday, December 24, 2009

All I Want for Christmas... to the Mom's

Dear Santa,

I've been a good mom all year. I've fed, cleaned and cuddled my children on demand, visited the doctor's office more than my doctor and sold sixty-two cases of cookies to raise money for Audrey's cheer. I was hoping you could spread my list out over several Christmases, since I had to write this letter with my son's red crayon, on the back of a receipt in the laundry room between cycles, and who knows when I'll find anymore free time in the next 18 years.

Here are my Christmas wishes:

I'd like a pair of legs that don't ache (in any color, except purple,which I already have) and arms that don't hurt or flap in the breeze,but are strong enough to pull my screaming child out of the candy aisle
in the grocery store.

I'd also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month of my last pregnancy with Ben. HA!

If you're hauling big ticket items this year I'd like fingerprint
resistant windows and a radio that only plays adult music, a television that doesn't broadcast any programs containing talking animals, and a refrigerator with a secret compartment behind the crisper where I can hide to talk on the phone.

On the practical side, I could use a talking doll that says, "Yes, Mommy" to boost my parental confidence, along with two kids who don't fight and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the
use of power tools.

I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting "Don't eat in the living room" and "Take your hands off your brother," because my voice
seems to be just out of my childrens hearing range and can only be heard by the dog.

If it's too late to find any of these products, I'd settle for enough time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being
served in a Styrofoam container.

If you don't mind, I could also use a few Christmas miracles to brighten the holiday season. Would it be too much trouble to declare ketchup a
vegetable? It will clear my conscience immensely. It would be helpful if you could coerce my children to help around the house without demanding
payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family.

Well, Santa, the buzzer on the dryer is calling and my son saw my feet under the laundry room door. I think he wants his crayon back. Have a safe trip and remember to leave your wet boots by the door and come in and dry off so you don't catch cold.

Help yourself to cookies on the table but don't eat too many or leave crumbs on the carpet.

Yours Always,


P.S. One more can cancel all my requests if you can keep my children young enough to believe in Santa:o)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Eating Tips...

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the holiday spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they’re serving some real food.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It’s rare. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It’s not as if you’re going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It’s a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It’s later than you think. It’s Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That’s the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they’re made with skim milk or whole milk. If it’s skim, pass. Why bother? It’s like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a holiday party is to eat other people’s food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year’s. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you’ll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don’t budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They’re like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you’re never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don’t like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it’s loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don’t feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven’t been paying attention. Re-read tips, start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember this motto to live by:

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO, HOO, what a ride!”

Have a Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Political Statement for 2009

It is remarkable that the press can find every woman with whom Tiger has had an affair in the last few years with photos, text messages, recorded phone calls, etc. They know not only the cause of the family fight, but they even know it was a wedge from his golf bag that she used to break out the windows in the Escalade. Not only that, they know WHICH wedge !

The is the same press (or is it?) that cannot locate Obama's birth certificate . . . or any of his papers while in college.

Truly remarkable !

Monday, December 14, 2009

Twas the Night Before Christmas

As I have ordered 50 Christmas Cards to send out and put addresses on them I then decided that I will never make it to the mailbox and get the letters to my dear friends and family. There is snow on the ground and I am from Southern California and strongly believe in the philosophy that if it is not sunny outside, you don't go outside. SO here you go... here is a recap of my little family in the year 2009.

Tyler is currently working as a police officer and loving it. I think he just likes to carry his gun and hand cuffs with him wherever he goes... but that might just be my opinion. I can't see that being very comfortable when we go to the movies. He is now home 3 days of the week, all day. No complaints here (Ok, so seriously if you are talking to me I would be complaining cause he messes with my groove when he is home, but...) only because him and Emma are the bestest of friends in the world and she makes him laugh as hard as he makes her laugh. I think really over this last year, Tyler has become a true "Dad" and really has shown this family how important he is and how much we need him. Don't tell him, but I am so in love with him.

I am working 2 jobs, no pressure. This next year I would like to swim with the dolphins in Mexico and visit my long lost relatives in Hawaii... wish me luck. We will be hitting our 10 year mark in April. PHEW! Who knew that we would last this long? I have to mention that I got bangs this year and I look totally hot!

Benjamin Stewart Cluff- 7
My little baby Benjamin will be baptized this April and can't wait to go on a mission. He is the best example to our family. I was talking to Audrey and she told me that Ben has been reading the scriptures to her when I leave for work. I asked him if he did that and he said "we'll somebody had to... you keep forgetting". He LOVES LOVES LOVES BYU football and playing with his best friend, Gabe (who has the same personality). Right now he is into GI Joe and Lego's Halo (whatever that is, thanks Jenna). I don't know how I could survive without this kid. He does the dishes, the laundry, feeds the dog, and always has a smile on his face. He holds a record in our house for not having missed a spelling work yet in 2nd grade! Really, where did this kid come from? He is so kind to his sisters and every morning gets up and pours a bowl of cereal for all 3 kids. He wants his hair like Justin Timberlake, which would work out fine because he has so many cow licks (Yes, Kayley it is called a cow lick).

Audrey Jean Cluff- 5
Audrey is the most perfect child. She is kind and loving and always smiling, even when she is coloring on the walls or gluing her fingers together. She is now writing novels... did I mention she doesn't know how to read yet. I guess she is just phonetic like her mother. Lol. She just finished in 3rd place for her cheer competition and might qualify for nationals in January... HOLY CRAP! That would be so super amazing. I have totally seen "Bring It On" like a million times! Audrey is the girl that everyone in the neighboorhood will take anywhere without hesitation because she is SO EASY GOING (I can say that is not the Roberts side of her). She has also decided she is going to hyphenate her name to Roberts-Cluff (why does it seem my kids keep doing this and I don't?). She is the artist in the family and if you come over you will see that (I mean really see it... she hangs pictures up on the wall in the office and writes us all love notes) I can't talk about Audrey without mentioning her hair. DANG, she has the best hair that will do anything that you want it to! Right now, she wants to get the bop it to make it puffy in the back.

Emma Rae Cluff- 3

Can you believe that my baby is 3!! About Emma... enough said. She is a spit ball of fire. I keep asking my mom how and why with this child and it is always the same answer "she is you". She is the funniest girld I have ever met whether she is beating up her older brother or rubbing my head. I had to cut her hair last week because every morning I would say "Emma, we have to brush your hair" and she would say "I already did it yesterday". Makes sense. She loves that she is the only person in the family that has blue eyes. I don't think a day can go buy that she will not bust out a song and dance. Also, not a day goes by that she doesn't ask for a Diet Coke, my downfall of parenting I must confess. She is in school at Challenger and LOVES IT. In fact, when we were at my parents house for Thanksgiving she stood up and said in front of everyone "My name is Emma and I am a Challenger student". She just got her alphabet crown, meaning at 3 she knows all her letters and sounds. Genius, I am telling you.

I have to mention the dog, Ben said. His name is Mac and I really like him.

Overall, we are happy and excited for the Christmas Holiday. Ben said he didn't need presents for Christmas this year because all he wanted was a happy family. The next day when we were driving to school he said that we had already given him his present just by being us. I hope we can all have that same attitude this year! Merry Christmas

Love, The Cluff Family

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Little bit of Sunshine in December

As always, there is snow on the ground, in the trees, and in my doorway in December, but at our house we have a little bit of sunshine that makes the dreary cold days warmer....

Here is Audrey's latest design that brought a smile to my face as I walked up the stairs to find that she had turned her bed into a drive through (Did I mention that I was out with the ladies in the neighborhood and Tyler had been on bedtime duty. ALSO, Emma had taken the entire bottle of lip gloss, the kind that is pure baby oil and has a little ball at the end, and dumped it on her head) .... I mean, what parent wouldn't just beam with happiness that her daughter is sounding words out. I can translate (she does things like this alot):
French Fries
Chicken Nuggets
Translation: Drinks Soda Lemonade Coke Diet Pepsi

And then the happiest moments of my day, that really brings a true warmness to my heart... they are sleeping, that means they are not talking to me (and hopefully can't make a mess, but you never know with my kids)! It reminds me why I had kids.

I once read somewhere that nothing is more beautiful than a child's dream in Santa Claus and I have to agree. I have been know to use it as my main parenting tactic...Smile or you don't get presents. Do the dishes or Santa might only bring coal. Let me say, that is just a little bit of sunshine in December in itself.

Then there is this little ray of sunshine... Can ya hear me laughing in the background.... I swear she is my mini twin. Remember, time spent laughing is time spent with God.


Well, I hope your days are as warm as mine in the upcoming month! All in all, you only need to have Faith, Trust, and a little pixie dust.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hasn't this happened to ALL of Us or is it just me?

How I learned to mind my own business

I was walking past the convalescent hospital the other day,
And all the patients were shouting, '13....13....13.'

The fence was too high to see over, but I saw a
Little gap in the planks, so I looked through to see
What was going on.....

And someone poked me in the eye with a stick!

Then they all started shouting '14.....14....14'...

Monday, November 23, 2009

The True Meaning of Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving draws near, we are very much aware of the arrangements that must be made for the celebration. Grocery shopping, guests to be invited, travel arrangements to be confirmed, calculations on the cooking of the bird. For most of us the machinery of Thanksgiving has already been set into motion, and in just a few days we will sit down to share a Thanksgiving supper. But what is the inner meaning of this holiday? What is the fitting symbol of Thanksgiving?

As visitor to America from outer space in late November might conclude that we worship the turkey goddess. So what is the deeper meaning of this holiday?

With the passing of my Aunt Carol and the memories of my grandmother present, I have decided to explain the true meaning of Thanksgiving as I have to my children. Now, I am not talking about the pilgrims and the Indians, but instead a day where we can unconditionally be thankful and just that. This is the day where no expectations of gifts are cast and people are just so dang thankful that you came over to their house that they make you a giant feast. Nobody’s feelings are hurt because you only spent $10 on a present instead of $50, couldn’t get a hold of the ZuZu pet, didn’t pick up a present from an in-law, etc. Instead a calm demeanor is present as bellies are full and people are sleepy while visions of peacan pie and mashed potatoes jump through their heads. Plays are presented to the family without the “oh so ever” fight of who gets to play Mary and Joseph… nobody cares if you are a pilgrim or an Indian, heck be a turkey. Truly, thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction and is a time, once a year that we can say we are thankful for something whether it be the job your husband just got or the magical resurrection of the XBOX 360 from the red ring of death. Thanksgiving is the forgotten holiday that not only fills our bellies, but our hearts.

So I found some great thanksgiving quotes from people who just seem to explain how to be thankful for something just oh so much better than me.

An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day.
--Irv Kupcinet

Thanksgiving 8000 calorie poem

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
and your pies take the prize,
and may your Thanksgiving dinner
stay off your thighs!

The pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts … nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.
--H. W. Westermayer

Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.
--Erma Bombeck

Thanksgiving, man! Not a good day to be my pants.
--Kevin James

Friday, November 13, 2009

My Motto

"Seize the moment. Think of all those women on the Titantic who waved off the dessert cart."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Vinger: Friend for All

Here are some of my favorite uses for vinegar:

* cleaning out my washing machine. Ever notice how there sometimes gets to be a film on the inside of the machine? Or it might just smell a little? Well, fill the washer with hot water, pour in about 3/4 c. vinegar and let agitate for several minutes. Then let sit overnight. In the morning, let agitate again for several minutes, then rinse well.

* cleaning the shower. Stop spending money on those 'clean shower' sprays! Use a mixture of vinegar and water after you shower and it keeps the mildew away. Also, spraying full strength vinegar on your shower doors and letting it sit before spraying it off will help get off water deposits.

* cleaning windows. I pour water into an empty spray bottle, add a few Tbl of vinegar and mix well. It does a great job cleaning my windows.

* making my own buttermilk. I never buy buttermilk...I always make my own! Mix in 1 Tbl vinegar to 1 cup milk, and let it sit for at least 5 minutes. Whalla...Buttermilk! I always use this in recipes and no one can tell the difference.

* cleaning the microwave. To make cleaning your microwave easy, get a bowl of water, mix in a few Tbl of vinegar and put in the microwave for about 1 minute on high. The hot water will steam up the caked-on food, and wipe up will be a breeze...not to mention having a fresher smelling microwave!

There are still places in my house I like to use disinfectants on, but vinegar can do it for many other spots for me. What do you use vinegar for?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Arrest Me Please!

As a wife of a police officer, I must admit that I commit a few parental misdemeanors. I also immerse myself daily in the confessions of these acts to others -- so I can keep things in perspective and don't feel so alone, guilty or crazy for my missteps. But I think after 7 years of being a mom, it is official. I have and will continue to commit the crimes of all mothers and in return my kids will think of my acts as a “mother”. Now stick with me, while I give the top 10 reasons I should be arrested for my behavior!

1. Yesterday, I was tired and I threw in all the kids’ clothes in the laundry. Red, Yellow, White, whatever they needed to be cleaned. AND REALLY, does the washing machine ever stop running and is it bad that I dance to the rhythm of the wash cycle?

2. I then counted the sprinkles on each kid's cupcake to make sure they're equal. Wouldn’t want Emma to get only 14 sprinkles instead of the 20. Seriously, that is a misdemeanor in itself.

3. We wore our Halloween costumes (which, by the way, are all white. Who does that!) and I found myself yelling “NOT in your white clothes” while they were playing. I then spray and washed the death out of them when we got home. Hello, they are costumes.

4. I found myself hiding in the bathroom to be alone (Why don’t they install more locks on doors in other rooms of the house these days?)

5. Honestly, I hope ketchup is a vegetable, since it's the only one my kids are eating (do you think Ranch dressing would count? For some reason I think it should).

6. I can remove chewing gum from just about anything. Really, anything.

7. I was walking in the kitchen and my feet stick to the kitchen floor, and I don't care. Then I start to wonder why I am the only one that will clean that up when I KNOW 4 other feet have passed this same spot.

8. I get more excited about my new toilet seat that I bought (it is the cushy one that grandmas have) than getting new jewelry.

9. I have clung to the high moral ground on toy weapons; but boys will be boys and Ben can make a weapon out of anything. Once he chewed his toast into the shape of a gun. With Tyler being a police officer, that high ground went out the door. Whatever.

10. Finally, I have found that I feel incomplete when I go out without my children.

I think overall, I raise my children to be independent, but secretly want them to always come back to me. Is that really a crime?