Kids. They keep you humble.
Sunday, March 25, 2012

I curled my hair for church today.  I thought I achieved the soft, loose curls that I was going for, but when I walked out of my bedroom my daughter reacted as if I looked like this:

Oh well.  At least she noticed.  Acknowledgment without apparent horror would have been a more desirable response but I guess I'll take what I can get.

Springtime in OK
Sunday, March 18, 2012

Just got back home to Lubbock after a great, if quick, trip to OK to celebrate my friend Amy's wedding and spend a bit of time with family.  The kids got to drive a bulldozer and were given a coyote skull all in one afternoon.  Yep.  Must be the greatest state in the union.

Here are a few of the best pictures capturing time with cute cousins, and exploring rural Oklahoma with Granny!

Breeding Rattlers
Wednesday, March 14, 2012

At a rest stop in the Panhandle of Texas:

Lauryn, studying the sign: "WHAT does that say?!?"

Ryan: "It says watch out for snakes, and you better be extra careful because it's breeding season and that makes them aggressive."

Me: [give Ryan a raised eyebrow]

Ryan: "Okay yeah...I totally just made that up to freak out Lauryn."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A lifelong friend is a rare treasure. This weekend, I have the pleasure of celebrating with my most lifelong-ist.  Tears of joy are coming this Saturday, as I will watch my beautiful friend Amy Rudy walk down the aisle and say "I do."

Amy has been in my life since the 3 year old preschool class at Broadway Baptist Church in Sand Springs, OK.  In preschool she was a whole head taller than me, and having three older sisters she had wrangled with her whole life, she was a tough cookie.  I remember Amy and our friend Michelle (also a tough cookie with older sisters of her own) locking me in the bathroom at preschool one day. (I probably don't remember the actual event, but with the repeated telling of it over the years it seems like I do.)  They thought it was hilarious and fun I'm sure, but I thought it was traumatic.  Through that year and the next in the four year old class, I decided they were both mean bullies and I was relieved when I discovered they were not in my Kindergarten class.

By the time 1st grade came around, Amy was back in my class.  We shared the same teacher from 1st - 6th grade, and would remain close friends and classmates until we gradated from High School and beyond.  Amy could not be further from a bully, but instead was a dear and true friend with an always empathetic and tender heart.  When we went to the top of the Williams Tower in downtown Tulsa on a 2nd grade field trip, we were "buddied up" with admonishments from Mrs. Hooper to stay together for safety.  That trip earned me the nickname of "Starr's Buddy" from Amy's dad....and no one is really sure why he's still calling me my own buddy some 30 years later.

Oh how I love my "Amy Rdot" (another nickname bestowed by her Dad, after a customized shirt reading "AMY R." down the sleeve) , or just "Rdot" as she is known to those of us who know her best.  She is the friend whose laugh will always be better than the joke. I could identify an Amy Rudy laugh across a crowded room, I'm sure of it.

Thru elementary school we had sleepovers most weekends at her house, "swimming" in the hot tub and peeing off the deck, giggling as our little 8 year old hineys mooned the Tulsa skyline. We had mud fights and caught tadpoles in coke bottles at my grandparents' lake house.  We whispered and giggled our first elementary school crushes to each other.   When I told Amy I thought some boy was cute, I was sure it was safe with her.  She would never tell.  And she didn't. Thru one traumatic experience in 6th grade that left me almost friendless through the last half of the year, among the members of Mr. McAlester's class only Amy Rudy remained loyal.  I will never forget her sitting by me at lunch on a field trip to Woolaroc Museum, while the rest of the class seemingly ignored me.  Still my buddy, still staying with me.  And then when the summer passed and 7th grade hit, it was Amy that through a series of note-passings in Mr. Bear's English class helped me reconcile with my other friends once more.

Thru Jr. High we attended every country music concert that came through Tulsa, OK.  We usually had other friends along for the ride, but it was Amy and I who knew every word to every song and sang along with melodramatic tears in our eyes at the sheer joy of having a seat on the floor at a Garth Brooks concert.  We commiserated over silly boys who broke our sillier hearts, and cried yet again as we sat in her parents bed and watched the final concert of The Judds on pay-per-view.

In High School we had fun on out of town choir trips, and we drove to lunch together with our friend Lisa nearly every day.  You could be sure that Lisa and I, still car-less, would be left standing on the curb outside the choir room waiting for Amy to pick us up for longer than necessary...she was always delayed several minutes because she was finding a good song on the radio.  It was annoying and endearing all at once.

After high school Amy was Colorado bound, off to college in that hippy-friendly, yet strangely conservative, Colorado Springs.  I was married a couple years later, living in Dallas, and Amy was leaving Colorado, embracing her "Southern Baptist Girl" roots at Baylor.  We got to see each other off and on over all those years, and I fretted for her as mean boys broke her heart, boys who were never worthy of it in the first place.  I cried and prayed for her, and I worried she had lost her first love, but God was still writing her story.

This Saturday she will marry her true love Skyler, and it will be sweet indeed.  It was worth the wait for both of them, as two more unique hearts have possibly never been woven together.  I could not be more excited to bear witness to my lifelong friend entering this new, sweet season of life.  Her last name may be changing, but she will always by my Rdot.

I'll take the label.
Monday, March 12, 2012

I have a confession.

I have a bit of pridefulness that my kids can keep their act together for the most part in public.  No loud tantrums on playgrounds.  They share with other kids, and don't hit them. They don't even ask for toys or treats in the grocery store, let alone throw a fit when refused.  They don't run wildly through restaurants screaming that they hate it and they want to go to McDonalds instead.

Enter a four year old foster child, who exhibits all of the above behavior plus more.  Goodbye, pride.  I am suddenly the mom receiving "the look" from the other good moms whose children are sitting nicely and using proper decorum.

It's my pride that makes me want to whisper "He's a foster kid" when passing by their table.  It's my pride that makes me want to explain, "So sorry, he's a foster child" when apologizing for a stolen toy at the playground.  It's my pride that makes me want to explain, "He's not mine, okay!?! I've only  known him a week!" when he's screaming loud protests in public.

But alas....he's four with a tender heart, and he's looking for acceptance.  I won't put a label on him.  Yes, he's a foster kid.  But to name him as such to strangers...I just won't do it.  He would hear the explanations and the whispers of "He's a foster child" and I know that would be damaging to him in some way. I can't explain it really....except I just know that for that label..."foster kid"... to follow him everywhere we go would be wounding, and not healing.

So.  I'll take the judgmental looks.  Go ahead.  Slap the label of "bad mom" on me.  I can take it.  (Gulp.)  I don't like it, and I don't like the pride it exposes in me that I feel the need to explain his behavior in order to justify myself.  But I won't give in to that need.  Better I wear a label than him.  

(And I'm going to start pretending those looks are just looks of empathy and not judgement....)

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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