Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Nick: "Hey, I have these two CDs that are really good. Listen to them, tell me which one you like the best, and I'll copy it for you."
Oh, he gave me some candy as well.
Since then, he has improved a bit. Some Mother's Days I receive gift certificates for the spa. My 30th birthday included a party and a night in a fancy hotel. However, usually for Christmas we are not very romantic. We usually decide what expensive purchase we are both longing for and just buy it together. My personal favorite example of this was our DVR. I was trying to surprise Nick and get it for him and when he found out, he said, "Great! Let's get it for each other and call it even."
I promise, the man is really a wonderful husband who is usually very thoughtful.
This year, I thought it might be another bust. He began by giving me a toaster.
Oh, I'm really not kidding.
I was pleased to see it and gave a good smile, but when he said, "I got this for you because I know we really need it," I knew something was up. He proved me right when he had Abby give me the actual present-a really, really nice hair straightener. I am not usually a fussy woman, but I do have high maintenance hair so this gift was really thoughtful. In my opinion, he totally made up for that first Christmas.
I mean, could it really get worse than "tell me which one and I'll copy it for you?"
Monday, December 22, 2008
Is this why my children are constantly asking for my attention while I am too busy baking cookies, wrapping presents, sending cards and running errands?
Is this why I always feel I need something more, even though our house is fully decorated in Christmas mode and our tree will be full of presents in a few days?
Is this why my daughter just found one of my receipts and said, "Look, it's from Target!" because she saw the infamous logo?
I love giving gifts to our loved ones and would never feel guilty about money spent on them. I do, however, feel a bit guilty over the random things I have purchased all in the name of the holidays. And I take this a step further, thinking of all the purchases I have made all year on myself.
Every time I think I need something, I eventually get it, then realize something else I "need." 31 years later and I am just now learning that I will never be content with just "one more thing."
Now that I have these two little souls following everything that I do, I am suddenly aware how my priorities become their priorities. My attitude becomes their attitude.
During our advent reading at dinner tonight, Nick asked Abby why Jesus was born and she answered, "to save us." I pray she continues to give that answer as an adult and that it means something to her-more than just the correct answer.
I pray that for all of us.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
And so it begins. A woman's obsession with chocolate. All at the age of four.
I would like to point out a story that justifies our passion for chocolate. A dear friend of ours passed away a few years ago from cancer. While he was still going through treatment, one of the medicines he was put on was female hormone pills. Immediately, he began craving chocolate, namely Hershey kisses. Anyone who made a visit knew to bring along these tasty treats to brighten his day.
Ever since, I have come to realize that it is not our fault. We were made this way. Every woman reading this can now feel 100% better about their last chocolate splurge.
Mine was about an hour ago and I feel great.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
I know both of my children enjoy those moments, but I wonder if they really understand how much I do love them?
Any time I have watched movies or read books about a parent losing their child, I always felt bad, but never really understood the depth of their pain. From the moment I met Abigail, everything changed. My entire view of priorities changed. And it continued to change when Caleb arrived. My life suddenly became not just about me (or Nick), but about taking care of these two little ones that God had blessed us with. My first reaction is to try and take their pain away. If it came to it, I would clearly die for them.
Which leads me to appreciate what God did for us in a whole new realm. He gave up His Son for all of our mistakes. One little moment of my children's pain makes me want to yell out and scream for mercy. Yet, God allowed His Son to suffer and actually die-all for other people. All of my years of knowing His love has been completely magnified since becoming a parent.
My Savior loves me so much that He stretched His arms open wide on the cross. I long for the day when I meet Him face to face and can fall into His arms for that hug.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Perhaps I should teaching her a little bit about teamwork and patience?
My sister-in-law recently came over to watch the kids and did not receive the usual greeting from her nephew. Caleb walked up to her, reached in his diaper to pull something out, and said, "Look Amy! It's my _____(insert the proper anatomy here)!"
So, maybe, with him, I should be working on manners and what is proper?
I swear-I really do try to be a good parent.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
My best guy friend called me at my college dorm and asked to take a walk with me. We walked the streets of Beaver Falls and eventually ended up at the gazebo across the street from Sheetz. Our conversation led to us discussing that we both were interested in becoming "more than friends." He kissed me that night, thus changing our lives forever.
Eight years ago today...
I cooked dinner for this same man while he gave me a beautiful necklace. I then went to my job as a youth director while he snuck back to my parent's house and asked their permission to marry me. (They then sat down and watched Jeopardy together, waiting for me to arrive.) I came home to a dark house, hearing music playing in my room (the music I would one day walk down the aisle to). When entering the room, I was greeted with candles and this man on his knee, ring in hand. He said amazing things that I swore I would remember word for word, but to this day all I remember is "Will you marry me?" I immediately said yes, celebrated the excitement with my family who were hiding down the hall, and called my best friend, Lisa.
Six years and eleven months ago today...
I married my best friend. We celebrated our day with family and friends. A wonderful collaboration of pictures were taken showing all these people from different parts of life, together.
Four years (and exactly two months) ago today...
Our daughter, Abigail Grace, was born.
Two years (and pretty much two months) ago today...
Our son, Caleb Paul, was born.
After months of a wonderful friendship (where I actually used the phrase, "We will never get married-we would kill each other!" to a friend who suggested otherwise), almost seven years of marriage, ups and downs, two states, numerous jobs, and two children-I am very glad I took that walk.
Monday, December 1, 2008
My two-year old little boy was so exhausted and tramatized after his eight hours of abuse, that I believe he started having flashbacks while visiting his great-grandma in the nursing home a few days later. The poor kid cried anytime he saw someone in scrubs, fearing he would be poked and prodded with needles up his nose, up his backside, in his mouth, and (worst of all) in his most private of areas. I do not blame him. After four catheters, I would be having war-like flashbacks and running for the door.
The entire time our little guy endured the trauma, I kept wishing I could take the pain for him. As he cried during each procedure, I held him and kept telling him I loved him. If only his young mind could understand that the short amount of pain was for his own good and would help him grow stronger.
Does my Heavenly Father look at me like that? While going through (in hindsight) short times of pain, does He try to comfort me and remind me that each trial will help me grow stronger? Am I looking at Him during the entire procedure and pleading for relief, or am I trying to remain strong and in control? Do I let my tears pour down? Do I cling to Him when it is all over? And will I ever mature enough to trust Him more the next time a trial appears?
Eventually, the doctors ruled his sickness to be a small virus/bug. It was good we took him in (I might change my mind if they bill us for the ER instead of Urgent Care) because they gave him fluids and medicine. I know he will not remember the details to that day, even though it caused him so much pain and frustration. But, I will always recall the emotions as his parent, wanting to take the pain away. Although I was seeing the big picture the entire time, my heart was constantly hurting for him.
I ask again: Does my Heavenly Father see me that way? I know He does. I wonder when I will reach the age that I finally accept it?
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
An example would be a few months ago when Abby put a bead up her nose. I had a stream of thoughts run through my mind in about a second, with the first being, "I need my mom to fix this." Then I remembered I was the mom and had to fix the problem. After receiving the divinely inspired answer of having her blow her nose, the bead popped out and she was safe.
(This was actually a very helpful experience for the incident of Caleb putting peas up his nose the other day, but I will let Nick share that fun story-what is wrong with our children?)
This feeling of panic happened again the other night. I was on my way to bed around midnight after finishing some laundry and packing for our trip to my parent's house. I heard a cough from Caleb's room, followed by a loud cry. I walked in there and found him covered in vomit.
Oh, it gets better.
He was covered in his dinner all over his face, his pajamas, his pillow, his blanket, his sheet, and (most unfortunately) his lovey. I do not think I can ever eat peas and carrots again (and it is possible he will not, either).
I took one look at him and immediately wished for my mom to take care of it. However, something kicks in when one is a parent. Some magical thing happens that takes away the smell (well, some of the smell-let's be honest-it was pretty bad) and the love for the child overcomes the natural reaction to walk away.
After cleaning him and collecting the vomit covered articles, I began to wonder where his dad went to. I seemed to remember him passing by the room, groaning in agony, and walking away. Fortunately (okay, fortunately for me), Caleb found him in bed, went to snuggle, and immediately threw up again all over his dad.
I was downstairs, starting the washing machine, when I heard my name being called in extreme panic. I thought someone was dying.
After cleaning up the second mess (and finding myself believing in karma), Caleb finally calmed down and went to sleep. As I finally drifted off to sleep, I kept wondering how I got to this part of life. It feels like yesterday that I was the child who was sick and being comforted and cleaned up by my mom. My life is suddenly not my own and my priorities are for things I never dreamed they would be for.
Yet, somehow, I find it all worth it.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I fought the urge to respond with "really old" and just said, "someday." I also explained how I was 24 when I got married. She said, "I think I'll be 21 or 20 something." When I nodded and smiled she decided, "I think I'll be 21."
In some ways it is nice to hear her talk about marriage-Nick and I must be doing something right to make it look desirable. In other ways, the thought of her growing up is so strange to me. She has been little for so long that my mind cannot comprehend her being at an age where she could become a wife. I do pray for her future husband, but I guess I have been keeping the image of her actually marrying this unknown man tucked away in my mind for another day.
She is only four-years old, but conversations like this bring the "someday" closer and closer.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
In this case, while Caleb was singing his song in celebration of a flame, Abby decided to make a wish on the candle (my kids are clearly in need of entertainment). This was her wish: "I wish to go to Heaven." She also mumbled a few more lines so quietly that I could not hear her (between her and God, I suppose), but just that line by itself broke my heart. I asked her why that was her wish and her response was, "I really want to go there because we haven't been there in a long time." Of course I immediately asked her when she had been there before, but she could not remember at the time.
What had me laughing last night was at bedtime. Our routine is to put Caleb in bed first, while we pray as a family and then we take Abby to bed. Usually Abby prays and Caleb tried to copy her. He manages to say every third word in attempting to keep up with his sister, who rattles off her prayer pretty quickly. Last night we were trying to get Caleb to pray on his own, but our stubborn daughter yelled, "No! No! I'm doing it-not Caleb!" As she was finishing this ridiculous rant, Caleb bowed his head and firmly said, "Amen!" Just the timing of it had us in tears with laughter.
Monday, November 10, 2008
I have really been trying to work on my patience, particularly when driving. I could blame my bad attitude on growing up in the country where the occasional Amish buggy might get in the way. I could say that I am still getting used to city driving. (And then I could admit that I have lived here for five years now and realize I am full of it.)
Just when I think I have come a long way, today happened. I was driving home from Abby's school, going through a series of lights not too far before our house. The last light before a two mile stretch of nothing brings two lanes down to one. Technically there are two lanes going through the light, but immediately it comes down to one after crossing through.
So, I am sitting at the next to the last light, leading the line (my competitive spirit loves when that happens) when I see this little blue car sneaking out of the line behind me to park himself next to me at the soon to be non-existent lane. There is a chance he wants to turn onto another road or pull into a business, but I know this type. He honestly thinks he is going to pass me, in my really cool mini-van.
This little voice inside of me (I think it is called a conscience) is telling me to relax and just drive normal. But, the sinful part of me (which won today) floored it the second that light turned green. Never mind the cost of gas and how that was really wasteful. Never mind the sounds of my kids in the back, saying "Whoa!" and the stroller in the back crashing against the side of the van. I was determined.
Unfortunately, Mr. Blue Car decided to floor it as well. I had one of two choices-slow down and suck up my pride or keep going.
I kept going.
And I won.
But, did I really? Yes, there was a huge satisfaction to seeing that little blue car get behind me in humiliation. Getting smoked by a mini-van should teach him a lesson. However, what did I really prove? What if that guy was really late for something important? What if he was having a bad day and I just become the icing on the cake? And what if my kids decide to follow my behavior and think of themselves first in every situation?
I need to remember this the next time I am encountered with this situation-which should be around the same time tomorrow when I am driving home again.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
This house is a good mess
It's the proof of life
No way would I trade jobs
But it don't pay overtime
I'll get to the laundry
I don't know when
I'm saying a prayer tonight
'Cause tomorrow it starts again
Could it be that everything is sacred?
And all this time
Everything I've dreamed of
Has been right before my eyes
The children are sleeping
But they're running through my mind
The sun makes them happy
And the music makes them unwind
My cup runneth over
And I worry about the stain
Teach me to run to You
Like they run to me for every little thing
When I forget to drink from You
I can feel the banks harden
Lord, make me like a stream
To fill the garden
Wake up little sleeper
The Lord God Almighty
Made your mama keeper
So rise and shine, rise and shine
Rise and shine, cause...
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Our 4-year old daughter, noticing our surprise and loving the attention, immediately said it again, showing off her skill. Caleb, sitting with us and noticing our focus on his sister, promptly lifted his leg and let out a fart.
And that was Caleb's contribution to our conversation.
(I did speak with Abby's teacher, asking for her trick to teaching the students their phone numbers. She said Abby must be a visual learner and had memorized it quickly just from pasting the numbers on a paper once.)
Monday, October 27, 2008
The plane had barely touched down
She was taking photos for the friends back home
This was always where she felt her heart belonged
And she was finally here
The sky was bright and clear
Two weeks....and we all can feel the calling
Two weeks...to make the world a little smaller
And so a girl got on a plane for two weeks in Africa
Johannesburg to Houston
She came home on a mountain
But school was starting, things kept moving on
Before you knew it, seven years had gone
She found a picture of her standing, smiling arms around the starving kids
She swore to not forget
She swore to not forget
And if we follow our dear sun to where the stars are not familiar…
Faces turn to numbers
Numbers fall like manna from the sky
Why, oh why? Oh Father, why?
One village in Malawi now has water running pure and clean
One church alive in Kenya’s full of truth and love and medicine
We put the walls up, but Jesus keeps them standing
He doesn’t need us, but He lets us put our hands in
So we can see
His love is bigger than you and me
I have been feeling discontent with my life. Not unhappy or thinking I deserve more, but rather that I need to be doing more. I understand my calling in life right now is to be a wife and mother, but sometimes that truth reinforces why I am so unsettled. I have this fear of my children growing up so content in their American life that they forget we are living for a greater world.
When I am truly honest with myself, I have that desire to keep it simple-raise my children in a nice home, in a good school district so that they can be involved in activities and get into a good college. I want them to be well-liked, yet kind to others. I want our home to be welcoming and roomy. None of these things are bad, yet I feel I am ignoring this deep calling for something more.
Are Nick and I being called to another country? I do not have the answer to that, but if I even think "yes, " I immediately come up with excuses for why that could not happen. Money, wanting to be near family, the ages of our kids. Are we being called to another part of the states? Again, the same answers come to mind. Even the idea of being called back into ministry (as in a job-we as Christians are always "in ministry") makes me hesitant at times. Working the job of ministry often determines where to attend church and, let's be honest, how many people in ministry do you know that stay in the same place for twenty years? I want my children having the same luxury I did of staying in the same school district all through school-ministry does not guarantee this.
Even as I am writing all of this, I am seeing my selfishness shine through.
Maybe all these thoughts are coming from my recent trip down memory lane. I was scanning old pictures from college and posting them on my facebook page (yes, I am a nerd). I kept seeing myself on mission trips and pretty much fulfilling the second verse of the song above. Anyone who has been on a mission trip knows the feeling-mountain top experience where you think you will never be the same, but eventually falling right back into your routine. I do not believe it is the mountain top experience I am seeking, but the passion that I used to have for other people.
Regardless of where God places our family, I need to find that passion again. Whether across the world or staying in our neighborhood, I need to be about my Father's business and always praying my children will learn to do the same.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
She enjoys being outside and notices the littlest things. On our walks on the bike trail, I hear this: "Mommy, look! A squirrel! Mommy, look! A dog! Mommy, look! The water!" Sometimes she looks up at the clouds and describes the shapes she sees. Lately, though, her passion has been for the starry nights.
During one of her many trips out of her room when she is supposed to be sleeping, she will come to the top of the stairs and ask us if we looked outside at the stars. Then she describes how beautiful they are. A few minutes later she will return, checking to see if we looked at how beautiful they are.
Perhaps it is just another stalling method, but it is hard to get mad at a little girl in her pajamas asking us if we took the time to look at God's creation.
I used to be like that. I took the time to just sit and look at the stars. I stopped what I was doing to watch the sunset. I stretched out on a blanket and figured out the shapes in the clouds. Now, I glance at the stars when walking from the car to the house. I see glimpses of a sunset over the houses in our neighborhood, while cleaning up from dinner. And the only time I look for shapes in the clouds is when my four-year old is telling me to.
When did I become too old to appreciate the beautiful creation God has put right in front of me? And why do we adults insist on being so busy that we are missing it?
Friday, October 24, 2008
Abby-"Mommy, my tiger sometimes smells a mouse in his nose in my room, but don't worry-I don't get mouses in my nose and my tiger is just pretending."
Abby-"Oh Mommy-you're silly."
(Thank you Uncle John and Aunt Mary for the stuffed tiger she is referring to-evidently he sleeps her in bed and protects her from "the mouses.")
Monday, October 20, 2008
"Mommy, it's good morning time!" (sometimes an hour before normal)
"Mommy, I want to get out-now!"
"Mommy, I peed in my bed!"
-Breakfast involves getting everyone their food, in the particular way they desire it made, taking a few seconds to swallow something yourself, sometimes accidently pouring your orange juice over your cereal instead of milk (true story), cleaning everyone up and quickly cleaning up the table before the youngest one dumps the leftover food on the floor.
-You find it a great day when one child is at school so that you can run errands with only one
-What used to be cuddle time with a baby now becomes a cross between wrestling and fighting
over who can tackle you the best.
-No matter your degree, you are suddenly a doctor, teacher, pastor, house cleaner, personal
shopper, and chef.
-Noggin and PBS Kids are your favorite channels.
-You laugh when you hear non-parents say they will never let their children watch tv or eat
-You use the same laughter when reading parenting books that lecture not to use snacks as a
distraction while shopping.
-Lunch time consists of preparing all of the favorite things they like to eat so that when you sit
down and attempt to eat your meal, you can hear the never-ending question of, "Can I have
-You know that naptime is a God-given gift and that you are among the truly blessed if more
than one child naps at the same time.
-Your DVR has more episodes of Dora, Diego and Thomas recorded than it does of actual adult
-You no longer judge other parents when their children are out of control in public.
-You fondly remember the days of doing laundry and putting it away the same day.
-Your heart melts when your child runs from school, arms stretched out, yelling, "Mommy!
-Instead of negotiating important deals or making life-threatening decisions, you are constantly
playing referee to the vital battles over toys.
-You work hard on preparing dinner that will not only taste good, but sustain your family with
the nutrients they need to grow healthly and strong, only to hear "Can we have chicken
fingers or pizza?" every night.
-Your husband wonders why you no longer drop everything to greet him at the door when he
arrives home from work, which is difficult to do while making dinner, changing a poopy
diaper, and answering the phone all at the same time.
-You actually enjoy picking up the toys at the end of the day while your husband gives the kids
their bath because it counts as alone time.
-You can recall the days of college where you were just starting your night at 11 pm, while you
put your pajamas on before the kids are asleep.
-You always check on your kids before going to bed.
-You try to stay up late, watching mindless tv, just so you can feel like your own person, but
eventually give in and go to sleep, because this will all start again tomorrow.
Friday, October 17, 2008
(She had no explanation for where that question came from. Just wanted to ask me "because.")
Without becoming too theologically in depth for my four-year old, I told her God is God. He is not really a man or woman like us, but if we had to pick one, He is a he. We call Him Father so I guess that makes Him a man. I also tried to explain how Jesus is God, but also man and I think I lost her. I was just not prepared to discuss the trinity at that point-thought I had a few more years until these kind of talks.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
(Instead of using the classmates names, I will stick with friend #1 and friend #2.)
Apparently friend #1 whispered to her, "You're not friends with friend #2, right?" Abby said, "Yes I am." Friend #1 responded, "You are friends with me, but you can't be friends with her." Abby (thankfully) did not agree. She told me "I should love all of my friends, right?"
Yes, Abby, yes.
She also told me that friend #1 hates friend #2. It saddened my heart that she knows the word "hate." I explained that it is not a nice word to use. Abby replied, "It's not nice that friend #1 hates friend #2. We should all be friends."
This is preschool. Not even grade school, yet, where I expected these kind of stories. What can possibly happen in preschool to cause children to speak this way about each other? And I know as a mother of a girl, it will only get worse. We women start young and just get worse about how we treat each other. Gossip, slander and judging increases with age.
I am thankful that Abby chose not to join her friend in the hatred and I pray it continues to stay that way. I know her little sinful heart will eventually hurt a friend, but I hope she has the compassion to realize it and fix the relationship.
In the meantime, watching four-year olds speak this way about each other is being used as a huge conviction on my own behavior. Why is it so difficult to treat others the way we want to be treated?
Monday, October 13, 2008
So, I prepared myself for today's naptime, fulling expecting the battle of the wills. With Abby, it was a couple day battle between her wanting to get out of bed and play and me needing her to sleep for my own sanity. At least this time I was mentally prepared to not get rest. However, after a couple of arguments over him staying in his bed, an unexpected thing happened.
I heard him crying at the door and when I walked in, he kept crying, "No more, no more." So, I put the side back on the crib and he immediately curled up and fell asleep in minutes.
Now, he was in no danger of falling out of his bed. If he did roll out, he would have landed on his soft, Elmo couch right next to his bed and (knowing how my son sleeps) probably would not have woken up. But, for some reason, the fear overtook him and he begged for his safety net to be attached.
I believe Caleb's behavior is a great example of human nature. We fight and fight for independence, but when we actually receive it, we can be terrified. Afraid of falling, afraid of failure, afraid our safety net will never return.
Think of the first time of leaving home to start one's life without parental control. And the first time one signs their life away to buy a house. The first time one holds their newborn baby in their arms and realizes they are responsible for this little one's entire life.
Think of Adam and Eve, searching for independence, and feeling they lost everything in one moment.
What a gracious God we know who always remains the same, no matter our decisions of indepence. We can fall and fail, but His love is always constant. Just as little Caleb will realize someday that his "big boy bed" will keep him safe, I pray someday he trusts in the true safety of his savior.
Friday, October 10, 2008
With this love of music that my children are developing comes this desire they have to listen to "My favorite songs." Now, it has been so long since we have had this cd that I forget the actual title, but when Abby (and now Caleb) ask to listen to "my favorite songs," I know to insert the blue, hymns for kids cd into the player and give up.
Usually when I hear the request for this cd, I tend to roll my eyes (to myself, of course) and have selfish thoughts about giving up what I'm listening to at that moment. Who wouldn't rather listen to Coldplay, U2 or Caedmon's Call? However, from the second that music starts, their reaction makes it all worth it.
The first song is "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus." Abby sings every word so sweetly. And now Caleb sings it as well. Well, his version is "I cided...follow Jesus." A few more songs in and I get to hear "This Little Light of Mine," to which they both faithfully hold their fingers up to show their light. Caleb's favorite verse of that song is the one about hiding it under a bushel because he gets to yell "No!" very loudly. Abby's request is always to sing "Amazing Grace." My mind boggles over the fact that she knows every word to every verse of this song. And one must not forget "I'm in the Lord's Army."
I know that my children do not really understand the words they are singing-at least not Caleb. But, on the other hand, we are to have faith like a child so perhaps they understand more than we give them credit for. All I know is that the sweetest sound in the world to me is hearing their little voices sing praises to God.
(A special thank you to their Grammy for the cd.)
Monday, October 6, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Abby: "Mommy, I really want this princess cake for my birthday! Can you make it?"
Me: "Well, I have never made one like this before, but I can try."
Abby: "That's okay-Grammy will know how to make it."
Abby: "Mommy, can you throw a grape up in the air and catch it in your mouth?"
Me: (After trying and failing) "No."
Abby: "Well, my Grandma can do it!"
Okay, so I am just not as good as my mom and mother-in-law. I guess I will just have to accept this and do my best. Maybe someday Abby's children will hold me on such a pedestal.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
So, it comes as no surprise that my daughter has already picked up the gift for spotting a yard sale. Sometimes she spots them before I do-"Look Mommy! A yard sale!" My response is either to drive right to it or reply, "No Abby, that's just a messy yard," depending on if I have cash or not.
While pulling into our neighborhood the other day, she spotted one and begged to stop. I got out first to scope it out before letting her decide that she had to get something. In the midst of a variety of items, there it was-the box of Barbie dolls, 25 cents each. It was a gold mine. I let her out, she quickly looked through them and found the mother lode-the one that looked like Cinderella that lit up. In the store, maybe $10-$20 bucks. At the yard sale, in almost perfect condition-25 cents.
I love yard sales.
All this being said, her reaction was what got me thinking a bit deeper than just a great bargain. She was so excited and immediately wanted to introduce her new prize to the others waiting at home. The new doll ate dinner with us, read a bedtime story with us, and slept in Abby's bed. By the end of the day, it dawned on me that Abby never really said, "thank you." However, it did not bother me. Her reaction was good enough. I knew she was thankful because of her response to the gift.
Does our Heavenly Father feel the same way? How many times do I just take a gift and never actually thank Him? When something amazing happens, I would like to think I immediately thank Him. But, what about the little things that He daily blesses me with? I do not remember saying "thank you" for the sunshine, but does being outside with my kids, laughing and playing together, count as appreciation? I may not thank Him for the rain, but when I am enjoying my flowers or eating vegetables that grew from the rain, does that count? And really, do I ever thank Him for the trials? Perhaps watching me grow closer to my husband with each trial we face is reward enough.
All these thoughts from a simple yard sale. I guess I should be thankful for those as well.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
While showing off her skill, she finally said to me, "Mommy, can you keep walking in front of me so I can see where I'm going?" Immediately, my thoughts went to the image of Jesus lighting my path, showing me where to go.
I think I am more like Abby in that I usually am walking backwards, thinking that is the easier way to handle life. I have the faith that I'm protected by Someone greater who will warn me when I am about to fall. This does not stop a tremendous amount of stumbles along the way. And with each stumble, I wonder why I was not warned ahead of time.
Perhaps, like Abby, I should face forward and deal with the hard work it takes to pull the wagon. I should be walking side by side with Jesus and not just rely on Him to keep me from getting hurt. Even facing forward, there will be stumbles, but at least I will be looking ahead, focused on the same destination as my Savior.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Nick: "What was it like in Mommy's belly?"
Abby: "It was warm!"
Nick: "What was it like when you came out?"
Abby: "I didn't like it and I wanted to go back in."
Nick: "Why didn't you like it?"
Abby: "Because I was crying."
I always wondered for how long kids remembered the whole birthing experience. Who knows if Abby really remembers this or not, but it's certainly an entertaining view that had us in tears laughing.
Friday, September 19, 2008
However, it happened this past Sunday. Nick was at the Bengals game (not enjoying himself), the kids were napping, and I was enjoying having the tv all to myself. Thanks to the magic of the DVR and a free movie channel weekend, I was catching up on one of the numerous movies we saved. I kept getting annoyed because the Direct TV would randomly go out. I heard a little wind and figured that had something to do with it. A few hours later, I would gladly have that be my biggest problem.
Eventually the winds picked up, sending everything in our backyard to the front of our neighbor's house. Almost half of the houses in our neighborhood lost siding and I kept hearing the continual sound of nearby sirens. We lost all power and I thought, "It won't be too long until it comes back on." This foolish thought came from experience of losing power with any bit of wind and it usually being returned in a timely manner.
Well, that was Sunday afternoon. We received our power on Wednesday afternoon.
I really cannot complain about this. First of all, just losing power is not really that big of a deal. Many people suffered house damage, injuries and even a few deaths. Secondly, we have family nearby so we were able to store and save our food at their house. Also, the weather was absolutely perfect. Not too hot and not too cold-just keeping the windows open at night was lovely.
What is ironic is that I found more contentment this week during the outage than when the power came back on. True, it is a bit of a challenge not having power with two children. I never realized until this week how much I take advantage of the Noggin channel to keep sanity in our house. And it does become a challenge coming up with healthy lunches that are not from the fridge. However, we did play many (and I stress the word many) games of Candyland, Pretty Pretty Princess, soccer, hide and seek, and my personal favorite, Flash.
(Flash is a game that Abby made up. She runs as fast as she can across the house and we are instructed to say, "What was that flash? I didn't even see anyone, they were so fast!" Caleb is also a fan. We, of course, are fans because it requires us to sit in one place while they wear themselves out.)
This blackout also gave us fun times with our neighbors. If you live in a neighborhood, you know what a bonding experience events like these can be. Gone are the judgments of loud cars, odd lawn cutting hours, and age differences. A blackout brings people together. We were all bonded together in unity against the wind who dared to take away our luxuries. Instead of watching football on the new HDTV that sits in our living room, Nick had a better time watching it on a tiny, tiny tv our neighbors had hooked up to their car. And in place of watching mindless tv, I had a great talk with all the women about the most random things that would never come up in our usual "Hi, how are you's?"
My personal favorite thing of this week was reading by candlelight/flashlight while the wind blew gently through our house. The sound of the wind in the trees always reminds me of being at camp, which is about the closest thing to Heaven I have found.
All this being said, my thoughts are with those who are still without power and who have suffered much worse. And my thoughts are also with those who have never gone without electricity-it's a lesson worth experiencing.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
She had been in bed for about an hour, still reading and changing her clothes numerous times. I usually do not mind this ritual-as long as she is in her room and I am enjoying the freedom of both kids in bed, I'm fine. Tonight, however, I heard a slight whimper, quickly turned into a strong cry. I ran upstairs and found her crying, saying something about a bee in her nose? Then she clarified, "I have a bead in my nose!"
My mind flashed to the movie "One Fine Day, " where George Clooney has to take the boy to the emergency room to remove an object from his nose. As I was home alone, with Caleb sleeping, I was really trying to avoid that scenario. She told me she could reach it with her finger, but not get it out. I thought about tweezers, but even that made me nervous. Finally, (and I swear this thought must have been God-inspired) I told her to pretend to blow her nose. After a couple of messy tries, the bead popped out.
So, here is a lesson for anyone who finds themselves in this situation-the simple solution is usually the best.
(And never assume your child is too old to do something stupid.)
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
As we were driving home, she told me, "My dad is going to be so excited and happy when he sees the leaves I picked for him!" In the midst of my daughter's innocent excitement, I was suddenly struck by the image of what we present to God. Even our greatest sacrifices are still so small in comparison to how holy He is. We come as children, so excited about what we think we can offer, even though He does not need any of it. Yet, our Father loves us so much that He delights in these offerings because they are from our hearts for Him.
Nick's reaction to the leaves was perfect. He heard the excitement in her voice and praised her for such a wonderful present. His reaction made her smile with pride and love for the daddy she worships.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Today she looked for him, but never found him. She was so concerned that she insisted we find out what happened. So, very stalker-like, I called Mrs. Theisens to get to the bottom of this mystery. She explained that he was sick all night, that the family did not get very much sleep, but that he was okay at the moment. I passed this information on to Abby and she was calmed by the fact that he would be at school on Wednesday.
Tonight, while saying her prayers in her brother's room, she said her usual thank yous to God and then threw in a little "And help my friend Caleb feel better" before saying "Amen." What I love about this simple sentence is that no one told her to say it. We had not talked about Caleb since this morning, yet she was still concerned for her friend at the end of the day.
I take comfort in the fact that she is confident in asking God for help, even if she does not completely understand the concept (do any of us?). It leads me to wonder if she sees her parents modeling the same faith.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Caleb (who is 23 months old): "I need to go potty."
Silence from all of us and then laughter.
Me: "Do you want to come with me and use the potty?"
Caleb: "No thank you."
Abby: "Mommy, I ate my lunch so I think I should get some M&Ms."
Caleb: "Me too! I want some MMs."
The next morning at breakfast, after Caleb finishes his cereal...
Caleb: "Ba Ba, MMs please!"
Me: "No, Caleb. We do not eat M&Ms in the morning."
*How does every child learn to say "please" this way?
Abby, after coming back from the bathroom: "I pooped!"
Me: "That's great, Abby. We shouldn't talk about bathroom stuff while eating at the table."
Abby, clearly not listening: "Wouldn't it be funny if napkins pooped? Or my plate? Wouldn't that be funny, Mommy?"
Caleb: "That's funny, Ba Ba!"
I suppose my children need to learn table manners.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
September 3rd, 2008
I decided to sleep in this morning, which normally Mommy loves, but today she seemed rushed. Instead of sitting in my chair and eating breakfast, she threw my cereal in a bag and made me eat it in the car. It was a strange way to start the day.
While we were getting ready to leave, she started taking pictures of Abby. I do not know why since she was just wearing clothes and carrying her backpack. I just thought she was playing school like she usually does. I kept looking for Daddy who usually pretends to be the teacher. Anyway, since Mommy had the camera out, I knew I had to stand next to Abby and smile-that is what she always wants me to do. So, I did my best to get in the picture and make my Mommy and sister laugh.
I was so excited when we arrived at our destination. It was the building with all the fun toys outside and lots of exciting things to do inside. Last time we were here, I got to color and build things with other kids, who all seemed about the same size as my sister. So, you can imagine my frustration when my Mommy held me the entire time and did not let me get into anything. I watched Abby hang up her backpack and talk to other kids and then, suddenly, we were leaving. I struggled to get down and join my sister, but Mommy would not let me.
We got into the car, I looked at Abby's empty seat and asked where she was. Mommy explained that she was at school and we would pick her up soon. I listened, but then quickly asked where she was over and over again, hoping for a different answer.
The nice thing about this day was that we went to the park-I always enjoy these trips! And this time it was even more fun because Mommy gave me all her attention! When I went down the slide by myself and ran to her to tell her what I did, she actually listened and wasn't distracted by someone else. I could get used to this attention!
Every now and then I missed my sister. I would see a girl who looked like her and call her name and was sad when I realized it was not her. Then I heard a little girl laugh and immediately called to her, but again, realized it was someone else. So, when Mommy finally said it was time to get Abby, I ran to the car, excited to see her again.
This time, Abby came out to us and hugged us. I was so happy when she got in the car and came home with us. It sounded like she had fun at this place called school, but I prefer it when she is home. I hope she doesn't have to leave again.
But, if she does, it is rather nice to have Mommy's full attention and all the toys to myself.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
"Caleb, can you say 'Lucifer?'"
After I nearly dropped the high chair tray I was carrying to the sink, it finally dawned on me she was referring to the cat in the story.
Who names these characters?
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Now, if you know my daughter, she does get a bit emotional at the drop of a hat (no idea where she gets it-it's not like her parents are sensitive or anything). I just assumed she was upset over a minor thing.
I ran over and heard the scoop. Abby's version (while sobbing) was, "Trinity said I have to go home!" The two friends spoke up and said that Trinity was being mean and saying Abby had to leave just because they decided they were going home. Trinity's version was, "I'm just done playing outside now."
Seriously? I thought I would have to deal with this girl drama when Abby became a teenager.
I took Abby home, we played in the front yard with Caleb (who was thrilled with this arrangement, seeing as he cried for her when she left him an entire 20 minutes earlier), and she calmed down. Eventually the kids moved toward the backyard and guess who was playing in her yard? Yes-Trinity. I thought I was in for more tears from Abby, but her reaction? She smiled and said, "Look! It's Trinity! Can I go play with her?"
What? Doesn't this girl understand that when a friend hurts you, you stay mad for awhile? Give her the cold shoulder, maybe talk about her to other friends? What is this about moving on and forgiving so quickly?
I walked Abby over (much to Caleb's dismay) and she played with Trinity again. At one point I heard her asking Trinity, "Are you sorry?" and Trinity replied, "Yes." Then they moved on and it was never brought up again.
At what point during our growing up do we decide to take longer on our forgiveness? My guess is after so many years of getting hurt, we become guarded and almost expect the hurt to come. Instead of running to a friend who has hurt us and not even waiting on the apology to come first, it becomes easier to stay mad and ignore the person.
Ironically, as I am typing this, Caleb is playing with the toy ipod that is currently playing "Make New Friends." The lyrics are: Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold. A circle is round-it has no end. That's how long I'll be your friend.
Okay, okay. I'm starting to get the point, kids.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Caleb: "I pooped."
Me: "Abby, why did you lie to me and say you ate your chicken, but you really did not eat it?"
Abby: "Because I wanted a marshmallow."
Abby (looking at the Disney on Ice ad in the mail pile): "Is that the Lion King?"
Me: "Yes, when he was a baby lion."
Abby: "Is he smiling?"
Abby: "Does he still smile when he becomes a big lion?"
Abby: "Does he talk like he smiles?"
Abby: "You know-he is nice when he is older?"
In the car while being stuck behind someone who was going too slow, then decided to speed through a yellow light while I was forced to stop...
Me: "What is wrong with you?"
Caleb: "What's wrong, Ba Ba?"
Me: "Nothing, Caleb. Just a crazy person in front of me who cannot drive."
Caleb: "It's okay, Ba Ba."
Me: "You're right, Caleb, you are very right."
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Me: "Abby, do you need to go to the potty?"
Me: "Does your belly hurt?"
Me: "Is that a little piece of chocolate on your face?"
Abby (nodding in tears): "Yes."
Once I figured out that she had stuck her finger in the cake to sneak a taste, I was about to discipline her, but she took care of that herself. She started crying, hard, and looked like her entire body hurt. She came to me and said, "I'm so sorry I sneaked, Mommy." At this point, I was almost laughing and trying to make her feel better, but she just kept sobbing.
She went over to Nick and said, "I hurt my own feelings." (How does one not laugh at this point?)
Where does this strong feeling of guilt come from? Sometimes she says she is sorry out of fear of punishment or even out of habit. But, in this case, she actually felt pain over her guilt.
I cannot remember the last time I actually felt this convicted of my sin. When was the last time I cried over my impatience, my attitude or my laziness? When have I wept over how I have treated others? How long has it been since I have fell on my knees in awe of the forgiveness that God has granted me?
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
I thought I would use this post to describe 29 reasons why I love Nick. Totally cheesy, I know, but even if it's only for Nick to read, so be it.
(These are in no particular order of importance)
29. He loves Jesus Christ.
28. He understands the importance of changing the radio station to good music and not just
listening to whatever is on.
27. He is an excellent teacher (not just in the classroom).
26. He loves his children.
25. He makes me laugh.
24. From the first time we met, we could immediately talk for hours.
23. He is well rounded-loves music, sports, reading, art...and really appreciates each thing for what it is.
22. He is who he is and will not change for anyone else.
21. He pretends to be the prince for his daughter while acting out the Cinderella story.
20. He has a passion for people.
19. We never played the dating game with each other-we were always ourselves from the beginning.
18. He is honest.
17. He really knows me and still chooses to be around me.
16. He challenges me to think past my first reaction to things.
15. He works hard to provide for our family.
14. Money is not the most important thing to him.
13. He loves spending time with friends.
12. He is a city boy who loves to attend Camp Lambec.
11. He is good to his family.
10. He thinks about things and does not just follow what everyone else says.
9. He can still be like a little kid on Christmas day when opening things like his Bengals tickets and the new tv.
8. He plays guitar (may sound random, but I always hoped for a husband who played guitar).
7. He happily drives whatever car we have paid off that is falling apart while I get the good vehicle.
6. He will spend time, money or whatever is needed to help a friend.
5. He is so knowledgeable about so many things.
4. He knows how to admit when he is wrong and apologizes quickly.
3. He makes me feel like a good wife and mom.
2. He knows he is a sinner and needs God's grace.
1. He is the one God blessed me with.
Happy Birthday, Nicholas Paul-my life was blessed when I met you ten years ago.
Monday, August 11, 2008
So, I should not be surprised at what he just said to me while reading a book together. It was a picture book, where he points to various items and tells me what they are. He looked at a ball and called it a ball. He pointed to a ladybug and called it an "adybug." Then, he pointed to a dress and called it a "petty Abby."
I cannot wait to share this with him when he is older.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
It started with our arrival at church this morning. While walking in, she saw her friend Lucy and not only did Lucy smile and run to her, but they held hands all the way into the building and continued to play together in their class.
At the end of worship, she got to see Mrs. Woods and Mike (as they are called since Abby could talk) and received lots of hugs from them.
After taking a decent nap, I took her to our park for some bike riding and playing. I biked for about an hour, pulling her behind me (once again, like a princess) on the Loveland bike trail, which is basically like biking through the woods (which makes a delightful day for me as well). After this bike ride, she was allowed to have chocolate ice cream with sprinkles and then played at the playground, making a couple of new friends along the way.
For dinner, I scrambled together "breakfast for dinner," which happens to be one of her favorite meals (who doesn't like pancakes for dinner?).
I think my favorite part of watching her enjoy this day is that none of it was planned. It was great timing running into people she loves at church, it was the absolutely beautiful weather that inspired me to go to the park, it was her brother sleeping longer that made the afternoon all about her, and it was my lack of preparing dinner ahead of time that resulted in her beloved pancakes.
I think as parents in this culture we tend to try and plan way too many things for our kids to have good days and good lives. But, when I look back on my kid's experiences so far, they seem to remember the simple things a lot more than the big things. The fact that Abby had my full attention all afternoon just made her day more than any event or tv show could do.
And honestly, it was a good day for me, too.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
I am glad I am married to an honest man who tells me when my thoughts are selfish. He has been so challenged in his own walk and immaturity that he has been seeing the big picture and pointing it out to me as well. A few things have happened recently and my first reaction is anger or revenge, but he stops me and reminds me that we need to move on. It is not that he is perfect and beyond these feelings-he is simply growing up and trying to drag me along.
When I am really honest with myself, I feel no more mature in my faith than when I was a naive college student. I know I have learned new things and God has been leading me, but so often I find myself acting as though I have lost hope. I get more frustrated and easily angered over things that I have no control over. I can blame this on my surroundings and the tiredness that comes with being a mom. I can also claim that my reactions are the result of not being in the workforce and being around other adults for conversation. But, honestly, it is my sinful nature. I can blame no one else but myself.
I have been given little reminders of how ridiculous I am when I see others doing the same things I would normally do. When I see a driver getting mad at a red light because they now have to wait an extra 30 seconds to reach their destination. When I see my children arguing over a toy that they will forget about within the minute. When I see grown men get angry over a softball game when what they are mad about does not affect the end result of the game. When I see people getting angry waiting in line.
In all of these cases, the anger is not worth it. Life goes on and honestly-do we really remember these moments? Does that driver really think about the red light later that day? Do my children really remember the toy they fought for by the time they go to bed? Do the angry athletes really look back on their season and only think of that one moment in one game and base their happiness and friendships on it? Do people really go home from the store and cry about waiting in line for the items they purchased?
I pray that God tugs at my heart every time I find myself falling into the temptation of self (which means He will be tugging all day long!). I need to concentrate on the big picture.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
I know it's not really true, but deep down I kept thinking they would grow out of this phase. I was reminded of my ignorance when I taught Sunday School this morning.
My job was to tell the story of Joseph and then have the 4th grade students act out the scenes. Overall they were pretty good, but there are always those few that stand out. If you have ever attempted to teach a class, you know exactly what I'm talking about. The few I am thinking of today are the ones who had to answer every question (even if I did not call on them), volunteer to act every part, and then ad lib to every scene, usually with physical punching and running around to add to the fun.
What sticks in my mind from this morning is that I actually heard the phrases, "But, Just and In a minute" come out of their mouths when given instructions they did not want to follow. They always had an excuse for why they were disobeying and they really thought they knew better.
My experience is usually working with teenagers and now I am remembering they say the same excuses and really think they know better. It is as if we are all sinful, thinking we know better than our elders, until we become them and have to deal with the next generation.
I know my parents are laughing at me (and any person who ever attempted to instruct me) because revenge is theirs. Just like I will smile with sympathy, yet laugh inside, when my children discover this truth in 20 years.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Yes, I really just said that.
So, imagine my delight when the infection came back again this week. I thought it might be returning but kept in denial for the first day. I had followed the doctor's instructions, used all the meds and was still applying the gel at night like I was told to. But, the pain finally got bad enough that I had to return to the doctor. I now sit here with the beloved patch on my eye, counting the hours until I can remove it, and have an appointment with the specialist on Tuesday. Because it came back again, this means some sort of surgerical thing has to happen, which does not sound fun to me.
I do not know why these things happens-what is the point? I suppose in this case it was a great chance to slow down. I was in the middle of leading music for our church's VBS and basically had to give that up on the final day and just let go. I have a messy house that has random things around it thanks to the installation of the new tv and HD hook-up (totally Nick's desire to have this, but since my doctor's instructions are to just sit and watch tv, I'm not minding it so much this week). I just keep sitting here, looking at the millions of things I have to accomplish and yet I am helpless.
I am so thankful for a wonderful husband who just steps up and takes over everything so that I do not have to feel guilty for resting. And even though this came at a busy week, it could have worse if it came during camp.
In the meantime, I need to follow doctor's orders and not look at the computer screen (had to cheat for a few minutes and get my thoughts out) and try and enjoy the unexpected rest.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
This got me to thinking of all the things I swore I would never do as a parent before actually having kids. I'll list a few now and to all the other parents reading this, feel free to add on!
I will never feed my children fast food.
I will not allow my kids to have a temper tantrum in a public place.
My kids will never have sugar before dinner.
I will always have patience and not lose my temper with my kids.
I will not allow my children to disrupt a church service.
My kids will always be well groomed in public.
I will not use food as a way to distract my kids while shopping.
I will not bargain with my children to get them to do something.
Any other humbling thoughts?
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
(Seriously, no story with this-just a comment out of her mouth)
Abby: "It's silly to put your underwear on your head!"
(While she was putting her underwear on her head)
Abby: "Daddy, look at my butt!"
(While bending over and spreading her legs to show him it was a little red)
I think we need to have a little talk with our daughter about modesty.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
For now, I will keep it simple and just share a few thoughts on Abby and Caleb and their big adventure being away for the week. They stayed at my parent's house while Nick and I were volunteer camp counselors. I do not know if they will ever realize how much we appreciated them taking both kids at the same time-not an easy task. And as my mom pointed out, much more difficult for grandparents than for young parents. Thankfully both kids were fairly good and healthy (with the exception of Abby having a fever by the end of the week). They loved their time with Papa, Grammy, Uncle Bill (who was teaching Abby how to juggle-that's all she can tell me about the week), and the cows.
Now that we are home, here are a few lines from their mouths that remind me I'm officially home and back into my role as a mom...
Abby: "Mommy, we need to stop soon so I can poop and Daddy can drive the rest of the way."
(Said while driving home and Nick was still in the car ahead of us with our friend, Mark, who lives in Columbus)
Caleb: "Ba Ba-I'm up!"
(Over and over again this morning while I stayed in bed, ignoring him for awhile)
Abby: "I really missed you guys this week, but I was okay without you guys."
Caleb: "Ba Ba-I pooped!"
And many Uh-ohs, whining, hugs and kisses from both.
How good it is to sing praises to our Lord. And how good it is to be home with these little blessings.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Because this is a family friendly blog, I won't repeat the exact words that have come out of their mouths, but trust me that any little swear word, even in a joking manner to other adults, can and will be used by toddlers. Enough said on that matter.
My favorite line of the week was when Abby yelled from the bathroom, "Mommy, I pooped!" and Caleb quickly followed up with, "Ba Ba, Abby pooped!" I love how he thinks he is helping, just in case I (and the rest of the neighborhood for that matter) did not hear his sister the first time.
Not only are words repeated, but so are actions. Once again, I love this in many ways. Nick and I have books in every room and both of the kids are huge readers. I often find them in their rooms, just sitting in a big pile of books, content as can be. Abby memorizes everything and reads it almost word for word, while Caleb points out everything he sees.
However, I also see the downside to this shadowing. I have to see my own sin thrown back at me every day. When I see Abby react to something in anger or frustration, I know she sees that in me. When I ask her to do something and she gives me the line, "Just a minute" or "I just have to do this thing first," I hear my own voice. It is quite humbling.
Sometimes I think one of the hidden gifts of having children is a way for God to make us aware of our deep need for Him. Just when we think we are doing okay, He has one of those little blessings say and do things to make us stop and have an amazing appreciation of grace.