On Being a Foster Mom part 1
Wednesday, March 30, 2011

After months of praying, assessing our mental health, taking classes, consenting to home studies and fire marshal inspections, and then finally (FINALLY!) getting the necessary and proper license, Jonathan and I (and the kids) entered the world of foster care this year.

We're total newbies here in this strange and different world.  So far we've had a grand total of 3 foster kids in and out of our home.  First a sibling group, and currently a 1 year old little boy. In this adventure, we've met other families who have been fostering for longer than we've been alive, and who've welcomed literally hundreds of children into their homes and hearts.  So to think that I could offer up any kind of real "wisdom" on what it means to be a foster parent, or what it means to take care of foster children, is laughable.  I don't have enough experience under my belt for that kind of conversation.  I'm still just figuring out how to keep my head above water.  But I have learned some things about myself (and re-learned some things about toddlers) in this short time that I thought I'd share:

1.  My own kids are now 8, 7, and 5.  In a few short years, I had totally forgotten how useful baby wipes can be!  Not only do they efficiently clean dirty butts, but they wipe down dirty faces as well.  (Be sure to use a new wipe.) In a pinch they can be used as a hair product, calming unruly toddler bed head.  Beyond use on the actual child, they are handy around the house: Wipe down counters.  Dust the TV stand. Take stains out of clothing.  Clean the high chair.  You get the idea.  WHY did I ever stop buying those things?!? ALL HAIL THE POWER OF THE BABY WIPE!

2.  I had also managed to forget what toddlers eat. That information flew from my brain as soon as my kids' could feed themselves table food. Our first placement was a 2 year old girl and 1 year old boy.  I was completely flummoxed as to what to feed them that first day.  (I may have been slightly overwhelmed with the fact they were here; my brain, therefore, not functioning at full capacity.)  Luckily some very kind friends came to my aid, bringing me toddler friendly food as well as an appliance to grind up my own.  I got the groove back now, people.  I'm pureeing squash like nobodies business.

3.  Two-year-olds may not be physically large. They may look cute. Steal your heart with their giggles.  But they can inflict bodily harm when they feel it's needed.  A kicking, thrashing, screaming, biting, clawing 2 year old will surprise you with their hulk-like transformation and strength.

4.  With a bad diaper, a 12 month old can nearly bring a 35 year old man to tears with the stench.  And the smell lingers regardless of how fast you get the dirty diaper out of the house.  (If you only THINK you got it out of the house, but in reality you got distracted and left it in a Wal-Mart bag on the bathroom counter, it will take a while for your family to forgive you. I speak from experience.)

5.  Bibs protect the kid's shirt but not much else.  There is no bib that helps when a 12 month old decides to rub peas in his hair.

6.  Allow extra time in your schedule for hair-washing/pea removal.

7.  There is nothing like finding the routine that makes a baby laugh.  I mean really laugh - that wonderful, hearty, belly laugh that makes the whole room join in.  Will it be peek-a-boo?  Pretending their feet stink?  Getting their belly?  Making funny faces? Blowing raspberries? Tickling their toes?  You sometimes have to make a fool of yourself before you stumble on the right routine, but it's so worth it.  So worth it when you find it.  That my kids have now discovered the pleasure of making babies laugh brings me infinite joy.

Check back for "Part two" , wherein I will try to answer the question I'm asked nearly daily:  "How will you ever handle it when you have to give the kids back?"

We have looked everywhere.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Please Help
Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dear Lost in Laundry Readers,

If you've been hanging out around this website long, you've heard me make mention of my dear friend Lisa who lives in Japan with her husband Keith and their four children.  I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Japan 3 years ago and spend her 30th birthday with her.

As you know the situation in Japan has become very precarious.  The time has come for Lisa and the kids to return to the states; the safety and emotional well-being of the four Cash kids is weighing heavily on the hearts and minds of all of us who know and love the Cash family.  Keith will remain in Japan for the time being.  The cost for Lisa and her four kids to fly to Tulsa is over $12,000 dollars.  I am humbly asking my readers to consider making a donation of any amount to help.

Make a tax-deductible donation at www.breakingborders.com via Paypal, or donate directly through Paypal to cashclan@gmail.com.

Thank you for your prayers and donations in any amount, large or small.  


UPDATE 3-17-2011 Lisa and her four kids are en route to the states!  Word is that the military base where her husband works as a special education teacher is also being evacuated, and Keith will likely be joining his family in the states very soon.  So thankful! 

Latest Efforts at Craftiness
Monday, March 14, 2011

I have found that I enjoy sewing/crafting projects that last no more than one afternoon.  That's my niche. Ha!  I don't have a sewing space, so when using the kitchen table I want to be able to drag all my sewing stuff out, finish up a project in a couple hours, then be done with it.

Here's my latest efforts:

A couple of diaper clutches
for my friend Stacie's baby girl Maddie, 
who will be making her entrance into the world soon:

And February was "National Embroidery Month" (yes, it's nerdy that I know that), so my late contribution was a kitschy magnet I made for a friend who loves owls:

And lastly, this cute Monster Tooth Pillow. 
It gobbles up teeth, and spits out money! 
Found the pattern here


Thursday, March 10, 2011

I'm feeling......

...lucky that my kids and I share a special gift:  we both have grandparents who find nearly everything we do genius and delightful. (Well, mine did back when I was a kid!)

...happy that a friend told me that dill pickles are nearly calorie-free.  Yay for dill pickles.

...confused as to why I'm growing my hair out.  Looked in the mirror and I kinda hate it.  But I refuse to cut it, because just once I want to have truly long hair.  Have a few more inches to go before reaching truly long hair status.

...conflicted because I nearly posted "Do everything without complaining" Phil 2:14 as my facebook status.  But then I didn't, because I realized I would only be doing so as a passive-aggressive compliant against all the people whose use facebook to incessantly complain about their life.  And that would just be wrong in a judgmental, circular kinda way.

...nervous because I have to speak in front of a large group of people very soon.  I'm not nervous about speaking.  I'm nervous about choosing an outfit.  I stink at choosing outfits. (Or that could just be some transference and I really am nervous about speaking.  Likely.)

...melancholy because I miss my friend Lisa who lives all the way in Japan. That's a long way.

...hungry, because I've limited my diet to nothing but dill pickles.  Just kiddin'.

I'm so glad I found my weirdo.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dr. Seuss' view on love:

if the shoe fits?
Saturday, March 5, 2011

My fabulous sister-in-law Stephanie has started a blog!  You're gonna love it.

Stephanie and my brother-in-law Michael are new parents to my sweet and perfect nephew Alex.  She's chronicling her experiences as a new mom (as well as full-time professional executive) and you will love her point of view.  Check it out, and leave her some comment love.  Don't you love her blog header with the teddy bear and briefcase? (And in true Stephanie form, HIGH HEELS of course!)

Her web address is www.balancinginhighheels.com.  How fun is that?

It's a girl thing.
Friday, March 4, 2011

It happens to all of femalekind.  We think we want a drastic hair cut.  We're quite sure of it. Confident right up to the minute of the first snip....and then that confidence shatters.

Turns out,  5 year olds are not immune to this particular drama...

Fade to last Tuesday:

Stylist:  Okay, now show me again.  How short do you want it?

Lauryn:  Right here. [touches her cheek below her ear]

Stylist:  Does your Daddy know you're cutting off all this blond hair?  Show me again.

Lauryn:  Right here! [repeat gesture]

Stylist:  Okay, I'm about to cut it.  Are you sure baby?

Lauryn:  [enthusiastic nod with a huge smile plastered on her face]

The stylist makes that first snip....and cue the waterworks.  A pitiful chorus of "I look terrible.  I don't like it.  I don't look good!"  Lauryn was crying. The stylist was crying. And I'm just shaking my head at the entire female gender, remember how many times I was in her same shoes, holding in the tears by sheer force of will and pride.  Crazy.

She would barely consent to me snapping a picture to send to Daddy, in spite of many reassurances that she looks adorable.

Love that girl so much.  Short hair or long. I'm confident we have many, many more hair related dramas to live through together!

That faint whiff of vinegar following me...
Wednesday, March 2, 2011

....would be because my daughter Lauryn apparently needed a good spot to store a half-eaten dill pickle.  She decided my purse was just the place!  I found it after it lived there a couple of days.  (Yes, my purse is a black hole.  A dill pickle is merely a sampling of the things I've found in its depths.)

In other Lauryn news, please say a prayer for her today as she is getting tubes in her ears, and her tonsils and adenoids removed.  We appreciate prayers for a quick recovery!

There's the patient, posing with one of the many pajamas that her Gigi mailed her so she could 
rest and recover in style!  Thanks Gigi! (aka great-grandma) 

Should Be a Fun Month
Tuesday, March 1, 2011

It should be a fun month over at Prize31.com! All the authors are sharing real-life stories of the funny or embarrassing variety:

"What had happened was...." 

Your's truly is up first with a post entitled "She got to know the real me real quick."  Click on over and check it out.... 

Cliff Familyt

I'm Starr Cliff. A domestically-challenged mom, climbing over mountains of laundry to bring you my stray observations and amusing stories about my kids. (more)



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