The Kids

The Kids

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Never say Never

While driving home the other day, I noticed a mini-van parked on the side of the highway, with a mom standing in the grass, trying hard to go unnoticed. After looking closer, I realized she was standing in front of her child and saw a stream of liquid coming from him. Clearly her son could not wait to stop at a rest stop. If I was not a parent of a toddler, I would most likely be judging her. However, I have some experience in traveling with this age and have actually done this with Abby before. Granted, I try to find a place a little more private (not right before an exit, as in the case of this family), but when a child has to go, they have to go. That is actually how I find out if Abby really has to go or if she is just looking for an excuse to get out of the car. If she thinks she has to go on the side of the road, suddenly she can hold it for a little while longer.

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

Random, Silly Sentences in our House

Abby: "Feel my body!"
(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

Joy in the House

When I first went into youth ministry, I was a little hesitant. I thought I might not be going into the right field since I'm not typically one of those crazy youth pastor types. By that I mean, the ones who are always doing something zany and putting themselves out there in a loud way. It took a couple of years of volunteering with a staff of youth workers to realize not every youth director has to be that way.

While working with my first youth group during college, our volunteer staff had many of the crazy types I just described, which was great for most of the students. But, I also noticed a few of them preferred time spent with me because I listened more than talked. Both personalities are important and none better than the other-both are reaching different students on the level they desire.

I am always reminded of how we work together as the body of Christ while at camp. Our entire volunteer staff is full of different personalities that all come together for a greater purpose. Some are quiet and gentle, some are loud and crazy, and others fall somewhere in the middle. Some are gifted at planning activities, some at Bible studies, and others with one-on-one time with campers. We have leaders and followers. Athletic and observant. Yet, in all these ways, we are making up the body of Christ.

It makes me laugh to think of everyone on earth having the same personality-how obnoxious would that be? Or if everyone wanted to be in charge of the same type of job-who would take care of the rest of the tasks? If everyone is preaching, who is spending time in the "real world," witnessing to the non-churched?

What an amazing place Heaven will be-all of the different people that God has created with a purpose, all worshiping Him together. Each person bringing something to offer that no one else can. I cannot wait to hear the joy in His house for eternity.

Monday, July 21, 2008

It's a Good Thing

One of the songs from our musical at camp was titled "Good Thing." It spoke of how it is a good thing to sing praises to Jesus' name, that the earth is full of His glory, and that we tell of His love. That pretty much sums up what music camp is all about. No matter the staff, the campers, the weather, or choice of songs, it always comes down to praising God and sharing His love.

This year felt a little different for some of us veteran counselors. We were missing more than a few regular staff members, including our volunteer director. I was also disappointed to arrive at camp right as a huge downpour hit the area. Instead of casually unpacking the van, playing a little cornhole and relaxing on our porches, we were rushing to avoid getting our supplies wet and stayed inside for the rest of the afternoon. Losing our electricity right as it was nearing evening was a bonus as well. (I still laugh thinking of Cheryl attempting a shower in the dark, creepy bathhouse!)

In the midst of these unexpected changes, I saw God working. To cover the loss of those counselors, the staff (both old and new) stepped it up and filled in where we were lacking. I never heard one complaint from anyone who had to take on a new role or do the random jobs that never get noticed. Not being able to be active outside that first day let the counselors have more intimate conversations. And losing the power Saturday evening kept us up at the campfire longer, enjoying only the stars for light (and the ridiculous sized flashlights of some of the guys).

Just to note, the power came back on in the middle of the night, the rain paused during our campfire, and completely stopped about an hour before the campers began arriving. We never had another drop the rest of the week. The storm from Saturday brought us the perfect temperature for most of the week.

This all has me thinking about change and how it is a good thing. Ideally, I always thought I would like the same staff each year because we work well together and they are my friends. But, that would mean that most of the people we were blessed with this past week never would have been there, including my husband. And the campers would be stuck with a bunch of pushing 30 year-olds (and those of us who are already there and beyond), who might not have as much energy as the newbies. In my mind, I love arriving at camp on a beautiful day, walking down to Lake Erie and taking in God's creation. This year, I was reminded His creation is not only in the great lake, but in the thunderstorms and in the clouds.

Each year that I go back, something is always slightly different. However, the one constant always remains-we are there to praise our Lord and spread His love.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Back Home

We returned from music camp last night and my mind is still racing with all the memories of the week. It is hard to adjust to being back in the real world and out of the "Lambec Bubble." In the next few posts, I will most likely be sharing thoughts of the week and the ways that I saw God working in the lives of other people's children.

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

A Quote by Lisa in 2001

Do you remember...

How about the sounds of the refrigerator doors slamming shut after stealing a piece of cake or the cooler shutting after sneaking apples?
The sounds of pebbles crunching under your feet as you walk on the path near the dining hall? The door of McLaren shutting and the thud of someone stepping in the living room?
The cabin doors slamming shut?
The hobart running and the ice spilling over into the salad bar?
How about the grass hopper cutting the grass or the sound of the tractor hauling branches?
The benches in the dining hall being knocked around and the squeek of the mop bucket?
The sounds of the thunder and the rain hitting the hot dirt road?
The fire crackling?
How about the sounds of the frogs croaking at the pond or the birds chirping?
The waves lapping on the shore?
The noise of the water from the shower hitting the concrete walls?
The sound of the camp truck speeding past on the dirt road as it squeaked at every bump?
The pianos playing?
The echo of kids playing in the field till it was just about dark out?
The noise of the fans coming from the kitchen?
Guitars playing?
Singing across the field?
Tennis balls bouncing off of the cement walls in the evening?
The sound of God's voice whispering through the breeze?
The squeaking of the chains from the swings in the playground?
How about the crunching of leaves under our feet walking between the cabins or the wind blowing through the trees?
I miss our home!
Do you have a happy thought?
I sure do.

My Favorite Place

When I was ten years old, my parents sent me to Music Camp at Camp Lambec. It is a Christian camp that our church helped to sponsor. We picked the music week because, at that point, I had an entire year of clarinet experience.

That summer, even though the camp was only for one week, was a huge part of shaping who I am today. I continued attending each summer and that week became a refuge where I could be myself and speak of Christ openly. Many of those friends I made my first few years are still close friends today. It is hard to explain how that works-we saw each other once a year in our pre-driving days and not even too often after that. We all attended different colleges and settled in various areas. Yet, when we are together at the annual New Years parties, weddings, and random get-togethers, we fall into our respective roles like family.

This explains why many of us are still volunteer counselors for the same music week. I always thought someday we would move on, yet we still keep coming. Some of us are now married, some have kids, some have moved states away for jobs-yet, we still keep making that trip to Lambec.

It is not just a nostalgic thing, because Nick understands it, too. My city-boy husband went as a counselor one year and after the first day, he looked at me and said, "So, this is why you all keep coming back."

We leave tomorrow morning for this wonderful place and I know I will have lots of stories to tell when I get back. There will be funny incidents, never-ending inside jokes, but most importantly, there will be stories of God's provision over the entire week. He is the One who makes the week come together the way it does. I will try and journal on paper the specific ways I see this happen and will be sharing this with you all when we return.

I also want to post something my best friend, Lisa, wrote to me in 2001. We worked on staff together for two summers and I will post her memories for all of you who know Lambec. You will know exactly what she is writing about, so enjoy!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Our Shadows

There is a chain reaction in our home. Whatever Nick and I say gets repeated by Abby, who in turn is teaching Caleb to say it. Usually, I find this helpful because our kids are learning quickly and I enjoy being able to communicate with them. Somedays, it is exhausting.

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.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Friends in Faith

While on vacation, I got to meet up with a former college roommate of mine. Jodie lives in NC, where we stayed for a night at Nick's uncle's house. So, through the wonder of facebook, we figured out we were 20 minutes away from each other and met for breakfast.
We were roommates our freshman year, along with two other girls. You could not put together four more different people in one room! We had a great year and I am very thankful for the friendships we developed back then. All four of us went on to live in different buildings and Jodie and I actually had not seen each other since our junior year. Thanks to the internet, we started emailing these past few months and it is like we are picking up where we left off.

I had such a wonderful time visiting with her and we could have talked for hours if not for the rest of my family being ready to drive to the beach. Even though our lives are so different from where we first started off, our hearts are still the same. Jodie is still such a strong woman of faith with a very compassionate heart. No matter what life has handed her, she keeps trusting in God and seeking His purpose in her life.

What is it about friendships like this? Not speaking for almost ten years and still our conversation just flows. There is a familiarity that brings us comfort. It makes me excited for Heaven and how amazing it will be to see our brothers and sisters in Christ. It will not matter how much time has passed or what anger we used to hold in hearts-it will be familiar, yet perfect.

Heaven should interrupt my selfish thoughts and consume all of my relationships.

Monday, July 7, 2008


Sometimes I forget that my kids are not as old as they pretend to be and do not quite understand "sayings." For example...

Abby: "Can I please have a snack before bedtime?"
Me: "No, because you had snacks left and right at the softball game tonight."
Abby: "Was the popcorn on the left and the pretzels on the right?"

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Have you ever noticed that the home you might seem discontent with is suddenly so wonderful when you have been away for awhile? We got home from vacation last night around 11:00 p.m. and I was so happy to step inside our house. The thoughts of what I want to change about it or the fact that we have it on the market to sell never crossed my mind. All I thought about was how grateful I was to relax and be settled.

The kids felt the same gratitude and expressed it in the following ways...
Caleb walked into the house and yelled, "Abby's house!"
Abby ran inside and into every corner of the downstairs yelling, "It's my light! It's my drumset! It's my toys!"
Then they both sat down and started building a tower with blocks, pretty much right in the middle of the living room where we were trying to walk and put down luggage.

I love that my kids are happy to be home. They had a great time on vacation, but I could tell by the end, they were ready for their own beds and the place where they felt the most safe. I felt the same way. I know this house is temporary and so are all the items inside, but there is something comfortable about being here. I have to remind myself of this every time I feel discontent about the little things.

Friday, July 4, 2008

A Little Bravery

My daughter never ceases to surprise me. We were walking through an outdoor shopping area this evening when Abby spotted a trampoline place for kids her age. I immediately thought she would keep on walking because it looked scary, but she begged to go on it. She watched other kids jump, saw them get harnessed in, and still wanted to go. We paid the money, took her to the guy in charge, and she suited up. All of the sudden, panic took over and she was afraid to jump. I had a feeling that would happen, but I was still so proud of her for trying it out. The picture posted is when she was still feeling brave and getting her harness on.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Happy Thoughts

When I worked on the permanent staff at Camp Lambec, my best friend/roommate Lisa always told me to have happy thoughts before falling asleep. It became a tradition for us that I have passed on to college roommates and youth group students. Two nights ago, Abby had a terrible night of sleep, having bad dreams that caused her to toss and turn. So, last night, I decided to past on the tradition of sharing happy thoughts before heading off to sleep.

We went out on the balcony, away from the insane volume of our family, and just sat and talked about things that made us happy. She listed her many thoughts, namely recent things of this week, like Uncle Tony's house, the beach, ice cream...but, also the typical things like her house, her toys, and going to Grammy's house. Needless to say, she slept great. The kids even slept in until 8:00 a.m. (trust me, that is wonderful to us).

It has been a great reminder to me to think such thoughts before falling asleep. Nick and I try to keep the "not going to bed angry" policy, but have failed from time to time (pretty much because we are both stubborn people). I always notice a difference in my sleep and bad dreams on those nights. If I have a lot of tasks ahead of me the next day or had just finished an exhausting day, I usually do not sleep well. Perhaps if I just took those few minutes before falling asleep to be thankful to God, I would notice a change in my sleep and my attitude the following day.

Leading me to the huge reminder of spending quiet time with God. This week has been a challenge because it always seems there is no where to go to have that precious time. When it was just Nick and myself on vacation, I still found time to be quiet and rest in God's presence. With kids it is a little different. Even when they are napping, it is in our room. It is just part of vacation and I have seen God at work in so many other things that I am always learning. But, I also notice a change in my attitude when that time is lacking. Even Jesus took time to pray and be alone, especially right before and right after performing miracles. Why is it easier to avoid quiet time, thinking we do not have time, when it is clearly so beneficial to every part of our being?

I would like to note that tonight, after Abby put on her pajamas and had her hair combed, she went to the balcony door and said, "Come on, Mommy! It's time to sit and talk about our happy day."

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

My Little German Children

With our ancestry names being Rosenfeldt, Loesch, Feist, and Herrmann, we are clearly a German family. So, while Nick's grandparents are visiting us at the beach, they took us out to eat at Horst Gasthaus, a German restaurant (obviously).

The food was great and it reminded me of any get together with my family. The smell of the food brought back memories and I could almost hear my family conversations running through my head.

While we ate dinner, we had live music. We were expecting Nick's dad to put on his ladenhosen and dance around for us (watch National Lampoon's European Vacation if you are not getting the reference), but sadly he decided against it for tonight. However, the musicians had the kids get involved. Abby went up front with a few other German children in the crowd, to clap her hands and get a prize. Then they spoke into the microphone their name and where they were from. Little Abby spoke clear as could be, "I'm Abby and I'm from Cincinnati."

The night got better when they called any children up again to sing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and Abby quickly volunteered, pretty much because she wanted to win another prize. She stood at the microphone and sang the song with all her might, just to win a second, plastic toy.

Caleb had to get involved. First, he laughed and clapped from his highchair. Then he held a tambourine the band loaned him and found many ways to entertain himself with that. Finally, he walked up to the stage (while his mom and dad were trying in vain to eat a few bites of their dinner) and started looking for prizes.

All in all, it was a fun night for the kids and adults alike. Thank you Great Grandpa and Great Grandma for a memorable dinner.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Joke of the Week

Abby's favorite joke of the week:

"I can pick my nose. I can pick my friends. But, I can't pick my friend's nose!"

Thank you Aunt Amy for your wise instruction in my daughter's life :)