The Kids

The Kids

Saturday, May 31, 2008


While I am writing this, Abby is dressed up as Cinderella and dancing with Nick. This is a regular occurence in our home. She dresses up, intructs Nick what to do as the prince, and then they reenact the beloved fairy tale. He bows and asks, "May I please have this dance?" while she bows back and says, "Of course." They continue to dance in circles, holding hands, and then Abby suddenly yells, "Oh no! It's midnight! I have to go!" She runs away, while Nick stands there yelling, "Wait! Come back! I don't even know your name!" She then proceeds to "lose" her glass slipper (or whatever shoe she finds closest to her) and has Nick try the slipper on the step-sisters (usually myself and Caleb if we are in the room) and of course the slipper fits her foot perfectly (even if it's my shoe). Then they get married.

If you have ever heard the song "Cinderella" by Steven Curtis Chapman, you can see why this song brings tears to my eyes. Usually I am not the sucker for cheesy songs, but this one always makes me smile for obvious reasons. When did I go from preparing for my wedding day and being emotional over leaving my daddy to already thinking of Nick walking Abby down the aisle?

Recently, Chapman has experienced a huge loss. His daughter was struck and killed by a vehicle in their driveway, driven by her older brother. You can read more about it here I cannot imagine the grief this family is going through. Usually fathers think of their daughters leaving them when they are grown up and moving on in their lives. No dad wants to think of his daughter leaving him at such a young age. While she is safe in Heaven, it is still a tremendous loss for the family left behind. My thoughts and prayers are with this family while they deal with this tragedy.

We have no guarantees in this life. We have the hope of eternal life in Heaven, which is what I pray my children grow up always having hope in. Until that day when Jesus calls us Home, we continue on with our daily lives. For today, that means Nick playing "Pretty, Pretty Princess" with his daughter.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Unconditional Friendship

For the past couple of years, Abby has been eyeing our neighbor's swingset. We can see their backyard from ours and even though there is a fence around their backyard, we can still see through it to gaze upon the wonder that is that swingset. At first she thought it was a playground all in itself. I can understand the perspective coming from a two-year old. This spring, however, my outgoing daughter finally went over and made friends with the owner of that swingset and now visits quite often.

Last week she was playing with her new friend, five-year old Trinity, along with a few other neighborhood kids. I was inside making dinner (I can see the swingset from my kitchen) and suddenly noticed Abby was crying. It is amazing that a mother can see her child in pain from two houses over. I ran over and she had peed her pants. For those of you with three-year olds, you understand this is a common thing to deal with. Abby has had her share of accidents, but this is the first time it happened in front of peers.

Trinity's dad was very kind to her, telling her it was no problem. He picked her up and handed her over the fence to me so we could continue back to the house to clean up. Even though he was telling her it was okay and I was comforting her with the same words, she still felt bad. Then, little Trinity spoke up and said, "It's okay, Abby. It happens to everyone." Abby immediately stopped crying and said, "Okay! I'll be right back!"

Many thoughts popped into my head at that moment. First of all, I cannot believe my daughter is already old enough to believe her peers over her mother. Secondly, once a grown man becomes a dad, picking up a kid who has just peed herself is no big deal. And thirdly, and most importantly, I was reminded of the unconditional love of friends.

Trinity was so kind to her and once Abby came back over, she held her hand the entire time they played together. What age is it when we start judging our friends for their mistakes? I remember classmates being made fun of in elementary school for the most ridiculous reasons-their clothes, hair color, lack of skill on the playground...the list goes on and on. It only gets worse as teenagers and then as adults. Why do we do this? When our peers make mistakes, instead of critizing them and thinking we could do better, why aren't we loving them? This was a great reminder that the next time a friend has made a mistake (even if it is against me) that my response should be "It's okay. It happens to everyone."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Feeling Eight Years Younger

I have not posted in a few days because I have an amazing husband who took care of the kids while I went out of town with friends. Without too much complaining, he stayed home with the kids while I spent four days with my college roommates in Washington DC. It was an amazing weekend full of much needed girl conversation and laughter. In light of my inspiring weekend, I'm taking a break from talking about the kids and focusing on the blessing of these women in my life.
I met Rebekah my freshmen year when God put us together in an aerobics class. This faithful, true and dedicated friend was truly a gift. She held me accountable, shared secrets and nursed me back to health after suffering from food poisoning (if you are a Geneva grad who got sick from Sheetz, you know what I mean). It felt like we were still living together this weekend while staying up late and talking.

Kristan is the most kind person I know. Even if she has something negative to say, she says it with the sweetest voice that could never cause anger. She can easily be underestimated because of her calm mannerism, but she is strong and smart. She notices the little things and has compassion on those around her.

I have never had a boring conversation with Brandie. The life she brings to each story is inspiring and her passion for everything in life brings a smile to my face. When she laughs, it's with her whole being. She is not afraid to show every emotion she is feeling, even if she has just met you. No matter how small or big the situation, you can count on Brandie praying about it.

Christi opened up her home for us this weekend and that is an accurate example of who she is as a friend. She continually puts others before her, listens without judging, and is trustworthy. I miss our weekly chipwhich walks around the streets of Beaver Falls.

This past weekend was so refreshing. As the one with the most kids, I appropriately arrived first and left last. We spent the weekend doing tourist DC things, shopping, laying out in the sun, even going to an amusement park. But, when I look back on this time, those are not the things I will really remember.

I will fondly recall staying up late, eating chocolate, and laughing until my sides hurt. I will smile when thinking of inside jokes, random tears, and complete honesty. Most of all, I will appreciate the feeling of being known. As we get older, it is much easier to be on the surface with those we befriend. Is it because we have less time than we did in college? Probably. Is it because we are too tired to start over again? Maybe. Or is it because we are so busy trying to be like those around us that we have forgotten who we were? I don't know. But, after spending time with four women who know me all too well and still choose to be around me, I feel unconditionally loved and valued.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Out of the Mouth of Toddlers

Just some humorous quotes from recent talks with a three year old...

The following is a conversation at dinner tonight...

Abby: I want a big brother since I already have a big sister.
Nick: You don't have a big sister, you are a big sister.
Abby: Right, that's what I meant.
Nick: Do you want another little brother or little sister?
Abby: Oh yes! I would love a baby sister!
Nick: Well, maybe God will give you another brother or sister someday. Do you remember where you and Caleb first came from?
Abby: Mommy's belly. And then I came out of her butt!
Nick: Well, you were in Mommy's belly.
Abby: But, there isn't a hole in Mommy's belly so I came out of her butt!

A quote by Abby in the bath with her brother...
"Look Mommy! Caleb's playing with his peanut!"
(Use your imagination to figure out what she was talking about)

Monday, May 19, 2008

It's Over, Mommy

Have you ever had one of those moments where something happens that changes everything?

Over a month ago, our family experienced one of those moments. It was a moment that will never leave my mind.

It happened on a normal evening, close to the kid's bathtime. The usual was happening-Nick was sitting on the living room chair giving the five minute warning to bathtime, I was sitting on the couch most likely on the laptop or with a book, Caleb was quietly playing, and Abby was refusing to admit it was time to go upstairs and get ready for bed.
I should take this moment to explain something about the wonderful daughter God has blessed us with. She is stubborn and always wants to win. I have no idea where she gets it from (perhaps her parents who are the same way, but we really try not to be like that in front of her). One example of this behavior is her need to beat everyone up the stairs, including her little brother, who at this point was still mastering the skill of climbing the stairs without falling.

So, here we were, Nick finally saying it is bathtime and time to head up stairs. Caleb immediately starts climbing, faithfully taking one step at a time. Abby immediately starts running around the living room shouting, "I'm not tired! I'm not tired!" Nick decides to use the line that will forever be in our minds, "Look, Caleb is beating you up the stairs!"

Looking back, we should have seen it coming.

As I was sitting on the couch, preparing myself to get up and start cleaning up the toy covered living room, I heard the pounding of her little feet up those stairs and could almost feel the moment about to happen. But, there was nothing I could do to stop it. It was one of those moments where you want to move, but just cannot move quick enough.

I think I saw Nick leap from his chair before I actually realized what terrifying event was happening. Our daughter, upon realizing her little brother was on the top step, raced to the top and yelled, "No, I win" and pushed him out of the way. He fell down all thirteen steps to land on the living room floor.

My stomach still hurts when I think about it.

I did not see him fall, which is probably something God knew I could not handle. Nick saw it, but still cannot believe how it played out. Somehow, our son flew down those stairs and remained unharmed. He did some back-flips and managed to touch the steps from time to time, but basically something kept him in the air so that he did not end up with any major bruises. Even the books I had piled on one of the bottom steps (to take upstairs the next time I went up) actually helped slow him down so that he landed safely on the carpet on his side.

While we fussed over him and he clung tightly in my arms, screaming, little Abby took off for her room and slammed the door. She knew what was coming next. All I could think was if this had happened differently, how life changing this would be for her. If he had landed on his neck and could never walk again or worse...she would immediately be changed for the rest of her life.

Instead, after a miraculous landing, the crying over after ten minutes, a laughing Caleb in the tub, a punishment to Abby going quickly-it's over. And even though I still think about it every time Caleb climbs the stairs (which he has completely mastered now), I am reminded it is over.

I was telling this story within that week to a family member, not realizing that Abby was listening. When I was done, Abby spoke up in this small voice, saying, "Mommy, it's over. I said I was sorry so I'm forgiven. Let's move on."

Once again, God uses this little creature to humble me and bring me back to grace. I often think I can forgive others more easily than I can forgive myself. Then I see this little girl (who now walks carefully behind Caleb up the stairs, holding an arm behind him) understanding forgiveness and moving on. May I learn from her example.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Longing for Heaven

While spending time with Abby a few months ago, she randomly says to me, “Mommy, where does God live?” Thinking I would hear questions like this years from now, I paused and gave the practical answer of “In Heaven.” She thought on this for a few minutes and then continued with “Well, I want to go there.” I told her, “Someday you will,” and she immediately replied with, “But, I want to go there now!”

I am always humbled by moments like these. Why does it take a three year old to get my attention to the longing we should have for Heaven? Abby does not have any idea of what Heaven is or why she should long for it, but her response was quick, without even thinking about it.

Now, I should point out that Abby is one to want to do something especially if I tell her she cannot do it, so perhaps I should not look into her reaction to deeply. However, I believe God uses moments like this to give us gentle reminders of what is important.

Why are my recent thoughts and desires focused so much on earthly things? I wish we could sell our house so that we could live in a different neighborhood with more privacy. I wish we could sell and move soon so that we can feel settled. I always wanted my kids to feel they grew up in the same place so that when they were older, they had a place to come home to. I want to know where we are going to move and start a new life there. I want to feel that I belong somewhere and that I make a difference wherever we end up. I want and feel and I feel and want…

Maybe this desire to always feel not quite settled is my inner longing for Heaven. This is not our permanent home. It does not matter if Nick and I find the “perfect” home to fit our family “needs.” Something will always stir in my heart that this is not quite it. As much as I want my children to feel at home and safe, I pray they always have that stirring in their hearts for something greater.

The Beginning

After watching my husband get his thoughts out through his blog, I am finally inspired to create my own. While he writes about whatever subject is on his mind and often creates lots of discussion, I thought I would be a little more light-hearted and share lessons that I learn from home.

I have been staying at home since the birth of my daughter a few years ago. When I first left the work force and stayed home with her, I thought my moments of learning new things would be on hold for a few years. Obviously I was learning all about being a new mother-changing diapers, keeping a feeding and napping schedule, what these little creatures do week by week, etc. But, as far as life lessons and thought provoking moments, I thought I was done. Then, my daughter began forming words and a whole new world of lessons began.

If you have not met my daughter, Abby, let me describe this sweet child. She is now 3 ½ years old, curly blond hair and shining blue eyes. She has more energy in the first five minutes she is awake each day that I could ever dream of having on my best day. She never stops talking, thinking and noticing absolutely everything that is going on around her. I am exhausted at the end of each day, but am usually left humbled as well.

Now my son, Caleb, is starting to form words and so far is doing a good job of following in his sister’s footsteps. He is almost 20 months old and can understand pretty much everything we tell him. He now says many words and considers himself quite the character. Between these two children, my life has been blessed with daily lessons of God's provisions and character. On moments when I feel inspired, I will share the stories from our home.