The Kids

The Kids

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

An Improvement Of Gifts

Ten years ago, when Nick and I just started dating, this is what he gave me for Christmas:

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."

No joke.

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

Advent Conspiracy

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

A True Woman

As Abby sat down to drink her milk, she realized I added chocolate syrup to it and exclaimed, "I love chocolate milk! I love chocolate-it's my favorite kind of milk! I love all things chocolate! I love chocolate dessert! Thank you, thank you, Mommy!"

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 Love You This Much

Caleb and I have this game where we ask each other "How much do I love you?" Our answer is to stretch our arms open wide, say "This much," and give each other a huge hug. It is always a special moment (particularly when Abby is around and has to get in on the action).

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

Lessons I Might Want To Teach My Children

Abby was playing soccer in the house the other day, going up against her dad. When Nick managed to score a goal on her (i.e. kicking the ball against our front door), she yelled, "No, I'm supposed to score the goals-not you! I quit!" Then she stomped off into another room to sulk.

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

This Many Years Ago Today

Ten years ago today...
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

Taking The Pain

While visiting my family in PA this past week, Caleb had to spend a day at the hospital. He had a high fever with vomiting and would not eat or drink anything. We took him to Urgent Care and because of his age, they decided to run every possible test on him, "just in case."

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?