Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I've been preparing myself for about five years now, that eventually I would have to go camping with my boys. As a mother, I know little guys (and big guys, too) desperately want and need this experience. Their sense of adventure naturally includes sleeping under the stars and cooking over a campfire. My sense of adventure however is better described as going to a movie spontaneously late at night. I'm wild and daring, I know.
I postponed this experience as long as possible, but recently my in-laws purchased an airstream trailer and the begging from all three of my guys, ensued. I finally gave in and prepared myself as best I could to make the most of this experience to make a memory with my kids.
We left Friday afternoon, a little too late. We arrived at Roman Nose in time to set up our campsite and start dinner. My first trial began when I discovered that the only pot in the trailer wasn't even big enough to hold the can of beans for my homemade chili. I had asked Jon to make sure the camper had a pot to cook our chili...he didn't. Luckily, Jon had packed his cast iron skillet and we cooked our chili in this. It worked just fine. We did not however pack bowls to eat our chili in, so we used red Solo cups. Again...it was fine, just annoying to me.
We sat by the campfire, ate our hot dogs and chili and then roasted marshmallows and made smores. That was really enjoyable. I had a lot of laughs with my kids and Jon. I must say that I love these guys, but what is better is that I truly "like" them. I enjoy their company. These guys are my best friends. There's no one I'd rather spend my time with.

We put the fire out and went in for a good night's sleep, right? Uh...no. An airstream fold out bed may be better than sleeping in a sleeping bag on the ground, but not much. Cole woke at 5:30 saying his tummy hurt and he proceeded to to have diarrhea in the camper bathroom. Let's just say that sound as well as odor travels quickly through all 50 square feet. Thankfully he went back to sleep after his business. We all woke up and made a good country breakfast, again making due with what kitchen supplies I had. Pretty quickly after breakfast Jon and I made eye contact with a look that seemed to say, "I'm ready to go if you are." Sadly, looking back, I feel like all we did was eat, but everyone seemed happy enough, so who cares, right? As Jon was loading the trailer up, the boys and I did a little exploring and found an awesome treasure there by the water. We found an empty tortoise shell. Now I have a little souvenir to remember the trip by.
The best part of the trip was as we were leaving, Cole says to me, "Mommy, can we go to Starbucks now?" I guess I'm not the only one who loves the conveniences of modern technology. Thank God for a stationary roof over our heads, indoor plumbing, a comfortable bed, and Starbucks.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I'm His Girl

Lately Cole has been very vocal in telling me his feelings. A few of his go-to phrases are, "I beary mad.", "Yar mean!", and my personal favorite, "I ignorin jew." But the other day, sweetness graced the lips of this baby and he told me, "Mom, jew my gurl." I looked at him and asked, "I'm your girl?" to make sure I heard him correctly, and he says, "Esss, jew my best gurl."
Cole, you will never know what that does to me when you call me your girl. It makes me weak in the knees and want to burst into tears and spontaneous laughter at the same time. I'm crazy about you.

Holy Halloween, Batman!

We've been making the boys hit the gym. That's right, we got tired of having wussy babies!

Happy Halloween from Batman and Robin!

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Verdict Is...

...fractured tailbone. Went to the doctor today and took xrays and she said tailbone is definitely fractured. So, I guess that picture Jon took proved to be not so funny after all. Let me refresh your memory.

I think I might keep bringing that up for the rest of our marriage. You know...the part about how he laughed and took pictures as I winced and moaned in excruciating pain. Yeah...I'm seeing a little compensation in my future.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

First Day of School

I'm really behind on a lot of things that I wanted to blog about, but this is important and better late than never, right?
This year was the first year that my boys were in school together. It's not quite school, but Mother's Day Out. Last year Cole would just cry when we would take Jack to school. He wanted so badly to go along and play with all the toys. Well, this year, he got his wish. And mommy got hers...silence.

My Mother's Child

Lately, I've been realizing how much like my mom, I am. In the first real challenges of marriage and motherhood it started to show vaguely. As typical for a woman entering into my own "life", I've told myself over and over how I would never be like her. I would never do things like she did. Although she and I are very different people and very different parents, my mom has taught me a lot of really good things. Some of them she didn't even really "teach" me, more like I inherited them or I was just born with them being ingrained in me. Many of them didn't develop until later in life. Too many times I think I've dwelled on what my mother has done that was wrong...areas she failed me. In a lot of ways, that could be so. But also, in a lot of ways, she has taught me a lot of things. I really began to notice this while Jon and I went on a trip to New England last week. The older I get, the more in love with nature, I become. As a teenager, my parents took me camping...once. Once because frankly, my dad hates camping. Another because it was a miserable trip. We woke up lying in three inches of rain water and we all crammed into the car to sleep the last few hours til it was light enough to drive home. At that point in my life, I hated the outdoors. The bugs, the heat, the simplicity. I did not appreciate the beauty or peacefulness.
We landed in Boston late Wednesday afternoon. We hadn't eaten since that morning, so we headed out to an early dinner. We stopped at this little Italian restaurant called Bocelli's. The waitress came over to our table and asked us, in her strong Boston accent, what we would like to drink. Out of complete shock, I started to giggle. She looked at me bewildered and seemed to ask what I was laughing at. I couldn't help it! I've only heard people talk like that in the movies...but these people really exist! Like my mother, I tend to laugh when it's really inappropriate. For almost the entire rest of the trip, Jon and I only talked in our best "Jersey Shore" accents!

We drove up the coast to make our way to Maine and New Hampshire. Our first stop was the beach. It was completely amazing. The only beach I've seen was when Jon and I went to Cancun for our honeymoon and then to Playa del Carmen a couple years later. I've never seen the beaches here. I was like a kid in a candy store. I squealed like a little girl...I dug through the sand searching for "treasures" of dead crabs, shells, and beach stones. I took off my heels and put my feet in the freezing water. I loved every minute of it. Much to my misfortune, in my slick, wet feet, I fell while climbing the huge rocks along the shoreline. I don't mean fell...that would've been fine. I busted it so hard, I cried out a long, horrific moan from the pain. I laid there thinking, "Jon is going to have to take me to the hospital...here in Maine...on our vacation. We haven't had a vacation in so long! Steph...suck it up."

Jon took a picture and laughed as I hobbled in agony the rest of the week. I'm still really hurting six days later. I think I might have to make a doctor appointment to make sure I didn't crack my tailbone.
Jon sifted through my treasures and made me wean a lot out because he said the dead crab would start to stink, and the shell wouldn't hold up through the plane ride...but I snuck one in my pocket that I didn't want him taking. Later in the week, Jon found a tiny mussel, I had stashed away in there from the beach. He just looked at me and shook his head and smiled. "You fell because you were trying to pry that little sucker off the rock, weren't you!"
I gave a sheepish look. He totally figured me out. "But, I got it! It may have been a Robyn Clifton kind of thing to do, but I wanted that mussel and I was gonna get the dang thing!" Jon says, "Well...I didn't say it, you did." He just shakes his head and laughs. Bruised and limping, I realized...my mom totally would've done something like that.

Looking at all the foliage, I was amazed. Amazed that trees do not look like that here in Oklahoma and amazed at how much God must love us to create this for us. It makes me feel really small. I am in awe of nature...just like my mother.

Later, we are driving through the White Mountains in Maine. It seems like I'm asking Jon to pull over every quarter mile so I can take a picture. It was just so beautiful, I couldn't take it all in. Meanwhile, I'm picking up acorns, leaves, rocks, birch with moss on it, and berries and trying to shove them into the car without anyone seeing. It's frowned upon in a national forest, you know.
I look at these things and wonder how people can think we aren't here because of a creator. Like my mother, I see beauty in simplistic detail.

We had heard about this restaurant in Vermont called Simon Pearce, from Food Network. Simon Pearce is a five-star upscale restaurant and glass-blowing factory. It is very "green" also and makes enough hydroelectric energy to power the entire restaurant and factory. They also only use organic, quality produce and meats from local farmers. It was fabulous...and very expensive. As Jon is looking at the check with his eyeballs hanging out, I say, "It's just money." Like my mother, I like to splurge sometimes and not think about the cost.

A couple days after we got home, the boys are playing in the backyard in the dirt and Jon is lecturing them about once again being filthy. I just looked at him and said, "They're boys...let them get dirty." Sometimes cleanliness is overrated. Just like my mom, I think that fun needs to include making a mess. And... just like my father...Jon is griping about the kids trampling his newly planted grass seed!
I guess some things just go together.