The Kids

The Kids

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Task Before Us

Abby found a new favorite thing to do. She runs around on the beach, picking up seashells and throwing them back into the ocean. She finds this task very important and does it with all her strength. It does not matter that the seashells immediately wash up in the waves she is throwing them into. She is only doing the work that she thinks she needs to do.

While this was great fun to watch, particularly for me because she was entertaining herself, it was also a fun little lesson. Sometimes we do not see the fruit of our work, but we continue to do it anyway because we are commanded to. It may seem everything we are doing is pointless, but there is a purpose behind it all. Those seashells may have come right back to the beach, but perhaps where they landed was right for another child to find who would take them as a treasure.

I long for Heaven when we get to see the big picture of all the little things we do daily.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Vacation Begins

Our family has traveled to North Myrtle Beach today for a week of vacation. Since being a part of Nick's family, I have been on this trip for a few years now and it is always full of lots of memories.

I fondly remember the first year I attended this trip as a Rosenfeldt. Nick and I had been married for six months and stayed in this little (a place for a bed and shower little) room while we really visited and dined with everyone else. It was perfect for us. We just went along with the flow and enjoyed every moment.

Then we had Abby. Suddenly, we needed more room and started to have opinions on where we went and at what time. Our time was not our own. Our happiness was no longer about things we wanted to do, but about the joy of watching our daughter experience the ocean for the first time. Somehow, though, it was as great a trip as any others.

Now we have Caleb. This is his first trip to the ocean (even though I was always aware of him during our trip when I was pregnant). We were worried about the long trip, but he has been amazing. He is so flexible and loving every minute of being somewhere new. The biggest challenge so far was having the kids sleep in the same room and even that is going well (so far). I am amazed.

I know I will have many fun stories of what these kids come up with this week, but so far, here are a couple of funny lines...

Abby talking to my friend Jodie (who I will write about later): She was telling a story and then said in the middle, "And the funny part was..." and then later said, "But the sad part was..." I just found it humorous.

Everything we ask of Caleb, his answer is, "Okay!" And he repeats absolutely everything his big sister says. For example, while sleeping in the same room last night, Abby said, "Mommy, I have to go potty!" and immediately Caleb yelled, "Baba, I have to potty!"

I look forward to this week of memories and sharing them all soon!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Story Time

While eating dinner tonight, Abby decided to tell me stories. One story was her version of Little Red Riding Hood, in which the wolf is nice in the end and everyone lives happily ever after. She also told me the following story that she made up...

"There once was a little girl named Abby. She was sleeping and then woke up. She went outside and then she got scared because she saw a dragon. But, then the dragon was nice and they became friends and she wasn't scared anymore. And they lived happily ever after. The end."

I love that she is making up stories. She loves to "write" in her princess journal (thank you Miss Jessica W for that gift!) and is always coming up with creative things to do. I am amazed at the energy that she wakes up with each morning. At what age do we start to lose that passion for life?

Another thing I enjoy about Abby's stories is that they end "happily ever after." I guess this is because every show she watches and every story that she reads ends in this manner. And in her mind, why would anything have a sad ending?

I love being the parent of a toddler who sees the world in this way. I know someday (not too far in the future) she will start to see the world in a different way and it breaks my heart. If only I could protect her from all the pain and hurt she will experience someday. It makes me sad to know not everyone will turn out like her wolf and dragon and not turn "good." But, I know she will go through these difficult times for a reason, just like we do as adults. I pray in the midst of anything that she faces, that she will always know God is faithful.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My Own Way

Recently the kids and I were playing tea party. It was obviously Abby's idea, but her tough brother went along with it. While Abby poured "tea" and mixed in "sugar and honey," Caleb went about trying to use another kettle to pour his own version of tea. This particular kettle had a lid on it that would fall off every time he tried to pour his imaginary beverage. For about ten minutes, I watched this cycle happen...

Caleb would try to pour the drink, the lid would fall off, crashing onto the table, he would pick it up, attempt to put it back together, then walk over to me and say, "Put on?" After I fixed it, he would walk back to the other side of the table and start the entire process again. It did not matter that I said, "Caleb, do not pour with the lid on-it will fall off." His response was "No!" and he kept trying it his way instead. Eventually, a miracle happened and he finally learned how to replace the lid on his own. After that was accomplished, he got bored and found something else to do.

How often do I do that with God? I work and work at something that clearly is not going to turn out right by my own ways, yet I still continue to ignore God's advice. I have a problem, try to fix it my own way, then run to Him when it does not work. After He gently helps me, I then continue on in my own way of doing things. All the signs could be there as to why I am wrong, but my stubborn self still keeps going. And, if by some miracle, things work out, I run off to my next situation without even taking time to thank Him.

Every time I see my kids being stubborn in thinking they are right (which happens at least ten times a day-each), may it be a reminder of my own sinful self and my need for God's patience and grace.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Too Much Information

While walking along with a friend of ours who was helping her nephew ride his bike, Abby decided to make a comment that still has us laughing. Our friend, Angie, was saying, "Go Micah! Push! Push!" to encourage him on pushing the pedals. Abby joined in and said how strong she is and that she pushes all the time. She finished this thought with, "I even push my poop out!"

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Specific Prayers

Abby tends to say the same prayer each time it is "her turn" to pray. We could be sitting down for dinner or praying before bedtime, but her prayer will always go something along these lines:

"Thank you God for this day. Thank you for this day. Thank you for Mommy and Daddy and Caleb. Thank you for Grandma and Grandpa and Amy and Kevin. Thank you for Grammie (she stresses it to show the difference in grandmas) and Grandpa and Uncle Billy. Thank you for all my friends and family. Thank you for everything. Amen."

The last couple of days she has been throwing in new lines, which always surprises us. Last night, while eating dinner with friends, she made sure she thanked God "for Mike and Mrs. Woods." Tonight, while praying at bedtime, she decided to express her deep appreciation for Grandpa's cows (even though she thinks they are quite large and smelly when she is actually around them). My favorite was earlier this week when she prayed for God to heal my eye (which felt better by the next morning).

Even though these are just small sentences, they mean the world to me. It shows me she is starting to understand prayer. Instead of sticking with her normal routine of what to thank God for, she is actually thinking about specific things and people while talking with God. It is a nice reminder to me, who as an adult, easily gets caught up in the routine of my daily faith. May I remember to thank God for all the details and not just the big things I always speak of.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Attack of the Cicadas

I believe cicadas only come out of the ground in various areas every 13 or 17 years, depending on their type. So, you would think the odds of actually having to deal with them is every 13 or 17 years. Unless you are like me and just happen to move every few years exactly where they are popping up next. I have had to deal with them in Pennsylvania and Ohio. This year they decided to come out of the ground in our backyard.

If you have not had to deal with them, lucky you. They are so loud you can hear them all through the house, even with the windows shut, the air conditioner running, and two loud toddlers running around the house. I can even deal with the sounds-one just gets used to them. After awhile, however, they become brave and start creeping closer and closer to the house so that while we are playing in the backyard, we start getting attacked. They are not harmful, but it is quite annoying to have them get stuck in your hair and start buzzing.

So, you can understand Abby's frustration yesterday when they decided to take over her favorite park. I ran on the bike trail while pushing them in the stroller yesterday and thought, "Wow, they aren't too bad today." Then we approached the park and the festation began. The kids tried to climb up the playground, pushing cicadas out of the way. They attempted to go down the slides while moms used sticks to clean them out of the way. Finally, my daughter, who absolutely loves the park, said to me, "It's time to go home, mommy."

While walking back to the car, we passed a memorial that is dedicated to firefighters. I told her what is was, so I can see why within a few minutes of walking all over the dead cicadas on the bike trail, she said to me, "Those brave firefighters have to get to work and kill the rest of the cicadas."

I usually try not to talk about the subject of killing in front of my daughter, but in this case, I had to agree with her.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Through Sickness and Health

For the last few weeks, I have felt like there was something in my left eye, like an eyelash caught in my eyelid. It finally became really painful Sunday night and unbearable Monday morning. I found out from the doctor that I have a Recurrent Corneal Erosion. At the time, all I could think was how glad I did not have pinkeye with two kids in the house.

So, the doctor taped up my eye, leaving me to drive home with one eye. It was not too bad at first-I stumbled out of the doctor's office (receiving many sympathy nods from strangers who I know were laughing at me afterwards), somehow found my car and managed to start driving home. Have you ever tried to drive with one eye? I do not recommend trying it for fear of being responsible for an accident. I only came close to an accident twice and the worst thing to happen was missing an exit to the highway-I did not see the signs since they were on the left side of the road.

The second I parked the car in the driveway, the pain started. It was like God spared me the agony of driving home feeling like that (funny enough, He let me drive home from work in labor three and a half years ago, but that's for another post). For the rest of the day and most of today, the only time my eye was not in constant pain was when I was sleeping or watching tv (honestly, it was the doctor's orders to watch tv).

My husband is amazing. He never complained, but just worked really hard at keeping me from working. I had full possession of the remote control, made myself at home in the comfortable chair with the ottoman, and was not allowed to help with anything. He cooked dinner (and I mean made chicken with all the sides-no ordering out), took Abby and raced off to his softball game, came home and immediately cleaned up the toys that I did not finish picking up, gave our dirt-covered daughter a bath, put her to bed, and then asked if I needed anything. This morning, he helped with the kids, left to tutor high school students, came home and went right back to helping.

My favorite thing about all of this was that he never complained. He kept a great attitude with the kids and never mentioned that he was tired. It made me realize how much I complain on a daily basis because these are my normal days, but complaining does not make anything better. Maybe if I try and keep a better attitude, my kids and my husband will notice and most likely be in a better mood as well.

So, here I am, patch free and full of drugs on my eye, finally able to look at the computer without crying in pain. I am not sure why this infection had to happen (just one of those things, according to the doctor), but perhaps part of it was for this lesson to be learned.

And for the reminder of the wonderful husband I have that still holds true to his marriage vows.

Friday, June 13, 2008

An Ode to My Dad

I have been blessed with growing up in a Christian home by parents who never made me doubt their love for me. I could write pages on what an amazing mother I have, but in honor of Father's Day, today I am going to dedicate some words specifically to my dad.

When my mom met my dad, she was a single mom (for the very few of you who do not know that back story, it is a story of how amazing my mom is, saved for another time). They talked and talked the first time they met and were married within the year. The older I get, the more I am amazed at my dad. He loved my mom so much that his love extended to me and he took us both as his family. I believe after they were pronounced man and wife at their wedding, I said quite loudly, "Can I call him Daddy now?"

I legally became his within a short time, but was always his daughter from the beginning. He taught me how to ride a bike, how to drive a tractor during hay season, and played countless games of basketball with me. He built me a swingset, was the highlight of any birthday party (particularly when he bounced across the yard when the tire swing broke), and taught me to drive. He met my dates, gave me honest opinions on boyfriends and gave me away at my wedding. No matter the situation, he has stood by me and loved me.

My dad is the definition of a provider. As a farmer, the only days I can remember him being able to take off work were for our yearly day trips to the mountains, our graduations, my wedding day and the birth of my kids. He has a tough job, that gets harder each year. Yet, he consistently works hard and taught us the value of a dollar. I know the reason my brother and I are such hard workers and have always been reliable are because of him.

I know he does not always feel important and sometimes feels like he has wasted his life with farming. It is one of those professions that is easily taken for granted and never paid according to what it should be. However, I am grateful for the upbringing I had as a farmer's daughter. I learned not to take things for granted and have always had a love for the outdoors. And today, my kids love going to Grandpa's house and staying at the farm.

Happy Father's Day to a man who will never know how much he is truly valued by his little girl. Words can never express what he has done for his family and how much he is honored and loved.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Peer Pressure

Abby was playing in the sprinkler today with her neighbor, Trinity. Although my daughter has a very strong personality and knows what she wants, she tends to be a little tentative when trying new things. So while Trinity ran full force into the sprinkler and sometimes even stood on top of it, Abby was content to run around in circles and just get slightly wet. Trinity kept telling her, "Run right through it, Abby! Come on, it's more fun that just standing over there! Look how easy it is!"

I saw the look of mixed emotions on Abby's face. She was scared of running right into the sprinkler, yet felt like she should listen to her friend. Finally, she said loudly, "I'm just not ready, yet. I have to get used to the sprinkler first."

I know it's such a small thing, but I was so proud of her for not giving into her first moment of peer pressure. Don't get me wrong-there are many times we make her do things so that she gets over her fears. But, in this case I was glad she did not try something just because someone else was doing it. It also made me hurt to see how she struggled with not appearing brave enough to run into the sprinkler.

Nick mentioned the other day how he physically hurts with love for our kids. I never understood until actually having children how much parents want to protect their kids. I do not want to see them feel pain or get embarrassed, yet, this will happen in their lives and more than once. The pain and embarrassment are necessary to their growth. It helps them become the people they will be someday.

Which leads me to thinking about God as my Father. If I empathize with my children on every emotion, how much more does God feel for me in every thought? He knows my innermost pain and loves me because I am His child. Yet, He does not take away the pain because He knows it is necessary for who I am to become.

I pray that every time I feel that knot in my stomach when my children are hurt, it serves as a reminder to me of God's continuing providence and love over me, His little child.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Boy and His Grandpa

Now that Caleb is starting to talk, I can finally share stories of the funny things he says. One of the humorous things he has started doing this week is singing "Old MacDonald Had a Farm." To be exact, the three of us start singing it and then, right on cue, Caleb bursts out with the "E-I-E-I-O" line. It makes us laugh, which leads him to laugh, which causes us to laugh even harder.

He also loves to make animal noises and play with his toy tractors. I'd like to think that this is all because of his grandpa's influence on him. Granted, these are all things most 20 month-old boys would be interested in, but I think it's fun to see this "city boy" son of mine enjoying the farming life.

Our most recent trip to visit my parents in PA was such a joy. Not only because it was a nice visit with family and friends, but because it was one of the first times Caleb seemed to really know where he was and was sad to leave. Watching him with my dad was one of my favorite parts of the visit. He always wanted to sit with him and follow him around. I'm pretty sure the highlight of Caleb's visit was riding the tractor with his grandpa.

Right before going to bed each night, Caleb likes to look at a picture we have of my dad and Abby that is our screensaver on our computer. He looks at it and says, "Ga Night, Papa" and waves to his grandpa. It makes me happy and breaks my heart all at the same time.

No matter the distance between Caleb and his "grandpa with the cows," they have a bond that I look forward to seeing grow with each year.

Friday, June 6, 2008

More Thoughts on Heaven

I just finished putting Abby to bed tonight and she brought up the Heaven subject again. What is ironic is that she can go the entire day without talking about these deep thoughts, but always has much to express right at bed time. One would think she doesn't want to go to sleep and she's stalling.

This time she asked me (since it was Nick she asked last time and she had to double check with her mom) where God is. I said in Heaven and that His son, Jesus, lives in our hearts. She looked at me as if this was impossible (a lot of adults have given me the same look when hearing this statement). I tried to explain it to the best of my ability, but finally said, "It's hard to understand, but just trust me."

After accepting this answer, she then went on to, "Where is Heaven?" I told her it is a place we can't get to until it's our time to go there. She asked if it was really high in the sky, to which I said, "Sort of." I read her next thoughts and immediately told her that even airplanes can't reach Heaven. She thought about that and then got really excited about her next idea...

"Mommy! Jaguars jump really high! I bet they can jump up and get us to Heaven!"

Thank you Go Diego Go and all the lessons about Baby Jaguar :)
(If you don't have toddlers who watch the show, trust me-they pay attention to everything about it.)

Finally, after some more discussion about Heaven and how we will live there forever someday, she ended with this last question: "When I go there, does that mean I can never go home again?"

It's not just the question that broke my heart, but the very concerned tone to which it was asked. I told her that everyone we know and love will be there, too, and it will be home to all of us.

In the midst of an exhausting day where all I was longing for was a shower and to finish some last minute things, my daughter stopped me in my tracks on what is important. These little desires for earthly things seem so important right now, but it is nothing compared to the longing we have deep inside us for something even greater-eternity with our Father.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Faith Like a Child

The other night Nick was putting Abby to bed and after finishing their bedtime prayer, they had a rather interesting conversation. She asked him, "Where is God?" Nick answered "In Heaven, but also in your heart." Of course this confused her greatly and she said, "But, I want to see Him! How do I see him if He's in my heart? How do I get in there?"

Good question. Sometimes it is so hard to keep believing when we are not physically seeing God. We rely on faith, which in itself is not the easiest thing to put our trust in. I used to think it would be so much easier to always trust God if I lived back in the Old Testament time, where God physically talked to His people. Yet, seeing the lack of faith in the Israelites even then is an example of how I really would have behaved. God continues to provide me with my daily "needs," yet I still continue to look for more.

Abby settled for the "You will see Him someday" answer and has not brought it up since. If I asked her right now about God, she would tell me everything she knows without a hint of doubt. Even though she has no idea where Heaven is, she knows God is there and she will join Him there someday. No wonder we are told to have faith like a child.

Monday, June 2, 2008

A Tribute to Nick

In the midst of focusing on my life as a stay at home mom and stories of the children, I need to take a moment and show my appreciation for my husband.

He wakes up early, teaches rich, high school students who think they know it all, and on occasion coaches random sports throughout the year. It is easy for me to forget that he is working hard all day because I can be so focused on my own tiredness from the kids. I have heard other moms say this as well. Many days I treat him like a relief pitcher who can start playing with the kids the second he comes home so that I can get back to my list of things to accomplish.

Some days he reminds me that I'm treating him like this, to which I completely deny.

But, most days, he accepts this role in his life, like today. He came home after finishing his final work for the school year, listened to a bunch of people talking at him all day, and instead of going away to be alone (which is what I would want), he sat down to play with the kids. Here are some of the phrases I heard from their conversations...

Abby: "Daddy! Daddy! You make Diego hide in the dollhouse, I'll count to ten and find him!"
Abby counts to ten. Caleb hears and joins in on his own version of counting, "One, Two, Ten!"

Caleb's climbing all over Nick and suddenly I hear from him, "Oh Caleb! What did you do in that diaper? Oh, that's awful! And now it's on my finger! Is it up your back? Where is this coming from? Did you get it on you feet? What did you do?"

Abby from the bathroom while Nick is changing the diaper, "Daddy! I pooped!"

What an amazing man to not only put up with this on a daily basis, but to love me as well. Six and a half years ago I never imagined it would be days like this that would strengthen my love for my husband. I'm blessed to be his bride.

A Funny Sentence

Last night Abby was getting dressed after her bath and pointed to her underwear and said, "This is my highness." She of course meant "privates," but her little three-year old mind thought all this time we were calling that area "her highness." No wonder she is so proud to run around naked all the time!