The Kids

The Kids

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Yard Sale

I love yard sales. It does not matter if my garage is overflowing with things I need to get rid of-whenever I see those neon signs pointing to a yard sale, I put my turn signal on and follow the arrows. I pride myself on being able to just glance and not get out of the car if nothing catches my eye-I do not feel the need to buy each time. However, when I do spot something, I will most likely buy it. Then the game becomes about how I can justify the purchase to my husband. I usually begin with how much it was worth and what I got it for, to which he replies, "Sure, whatever."

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

31st Birthday

So I turned 31 yesterday. It is not one of those exciting birthdays, like the big 3-0. Now I'm just in my 30s. The next one to look forward to is 40, but really-does one really look forward to that age?

I spent the morning with Caleb at the park and library, while Abby was at school. It was a beautiful day and I really enjoyed our time together. While walking back to the car, I decided to stop at Starbucks and see if they give any kind of deal for birthdays. Turns out, it was worth asking about because I received a free drink! I of course ordered the largest one, a strawberry and cream frapachino, and shared it with Caleb (who thought that was the best thing ever). I thought that pretty much made my day.

I changed my mind within 20 minutes.

While driving home with the kids, Abby told me how they prayed at the flag pole. Being as I am not currently in youth ministry, I completely forgot See You At The Pole was yesterday. She was telling me all about it and when I asked her what she prayed for, she said, "You." I asked her why and she said, "Because I love you." Regardless of what she was after, I took her to be sincere and that officially made my day :)

(And eating dinner at Montgomery Inn for free with gift cards helped it to be a pretty special day as well!)

*Abby's teacher passed on a few pictures from yesterday and this is one of them-little Abby with her head bowed brought tears to my eyes. She's on the side facing the camera, on the end.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Facing Foward

We were taking a walk around the neighborhood the other day in the wagon. I was pulling both kids (except for the few times when Abby would jump out to show me how fast she can run-it's actually a bit faster than I can run these days), when Abby decided to take a turn pulling Caleb. After a few minutes of trying to pull him while facing foward, she realized it was easier to turn around and pull him, walking backwards.

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

Quite a Memory

While driving home tonight, Abby informed us that she remembered living in my belly. This is the conversation that followed from that statement:

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

The Hurricane of Cincinnati

I never thought I would see the day that the news reports a hurricane hitting Cincinnati. That is one of the advantages to living in such a random, middle of land kind of place. One does not expect strong winds coming in and destroying everything.

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

The Simple Answer

I have always considered Abby to be a pretty smart girl for her age. Many people tell me how impressed they are with her memory and skills and I tend to believe them. Which is why I was confused on the ridiculous thing she did this evening.

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

An Offering

My in-laws watched the kids tonight while I was cleaning a house (I do that for income, which is a whole other post in itself) and Abby decided to pick leaves for her daddy. I knew nothing about it, but as soon as we were about to drive away she frantically yelled, "No! My leaves! My leaves!" Thankfully her grandma understood the request and retrieved them for us.

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

Abby's Prayer

One of Abby's favorite times of the school day is saying hello to her friend, Caleb. They are not in the same class, but attend school at the same time. So, we usually see them while entering the building and try to say good-bye on our way out.

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

The Things We Hear At The Dinning Room Table

In the midst of eating with family and talking about random things...
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."
Caleb: "Puh-lease?!"
*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

Caleb's Perspective

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


We just returned from a weekend in PA, visiting family and friends. I am full of little stories that were inspired by the kids during this trip, which I will share soon. For now, though, I just want to comment on how I cannot believe how time flies.

My little girl, Abigail Grace, is starting pre-school tomorrow.

Okay, so it is not kindergarden or even first grade. But, to me, this is a huge deal. I am actually going to drop her off at school for an entire 2 1/2 hours, leaving her with another adult who will be responsible for her. I do this almost every Sunday at church, but I am still in the same building. This will be odd to actually drive away and let someone else teach her things.

It never really hit me until last week, while attending the pre-school Open House. The teacher was showing us where to pick up our children. Everything was fine until she said this sentence: "You can pick up your kids at this door, where they will be waiting in a line with their backpacks on." Just that simple image struck me in a way that I cannot competely explain. My baby girl is going to be standing in a line with other kids with a backpack? She is not that old!

Thankfully, Abby is not in the same shock as I am. She is very excited and very matter of fact about it. She tells everyone she sees (including cashiers and strangers in the store) that she is starting school. When we were at the Open House, she joined right in and told me all about the friends she made.

I pray this excitement and innocence stays with her as long as possible. I do not look forward to the days of hurt feelings, lack of energy, and feelings of being left out. I long for her attitude in my own be excited about the next thing, even though it might not be familiar.

My thoughts are with all the other parents who are starting this new adventure with their own children!