The Kids

The Kids

Monday, April 27, 2009

If Only

If only I had not made that turn.
If only I had paid attention.
If only I had asked the right questions.
If only...

I was driving home from Abby's school this past Friday when I decided to make a random turn. I actually thought out loud, "Should I turn here or the next road? Oh, I'll go here since the bank is closer this way." You see, I needed to get smaller bills for our cul-de-sac yard sale. This was the biggest thing on my mind at that point.

So, I slowed down to make my left turn when I suddenly saw a truck come flying up over the hill in front of me. He turned on his right blinker for the same road causing me to slam on my brakes so as not to turn into him. Everything on my front seat went flying forward, including my purse, which of course fell upside down, spilling its contents all over the floor.

After I made my turn and was straightening out, I reached down for one second for my phone, which was in the chaos on the floor. I heard a scraping sound and suddenly the van felt crooked.

I should probably point out that the first part of the road I turned onto was a bridge.

Once I realized Caleb was fine (he sits on the passenger side), I got out, expecting to see the siding of the van scratched. Instead, to my initial relief, it was just a flat tire. And when I say flat, I mean really, really flat. Like, completely gone with the rim missing pieces. (Well, the pieces were not really missing-one can still see them hanging on the side of the bridge railing.)

Knowing my limited experience in changing tires (like learning when I was 16 years old and have never done it since), I called the tow guy and a mere 30 minutes later, he arrived. Thankfully, it was a beautiful day and the kids saw they needed to behave when Mommy was in tears. Considering he had a tough time changing it (he actually had to use WD40 to get the spare out), I did not feel so bad and knew I made the right decision.

During my lovely wait, I talked with our dealership where I had just purchased my new tires in November. Considering the lifetime warranty on these expensive items and my pleasant conversation with the representative, I was thrilled to know I could get to their building, get a new tire, and be home at a reasonable time.

One can understand my confusion two hours later when I was still in the waiting room, smelling the remains of my children's McDonalds lunch, hearing the same rep tell me the cost would be over $700 (plus tax). Excuse me? Oh, but then I was informed that if I wanted a rim that did not match, it could get down to $443 (plus tax). Oh really? Could you do that for me, please?

Apparently, my lifetime warranty only covers if the tire just brakes on its on for manufactory reasons. I never purchased the Road Hazard extended warranty at only $20 a tire. Also, if I wanted to set up my order for this, it would not be ready until Tuesday. And of course, since Caleb sits in a built-in carseat, I would have to drive home, pick up his old carseat, drive back and then rent a car from them.

As fun as all that sounded, I went home (slowly of course, on my little spare tire) and started calling used auto places. With the help of my father-in-law and the internet, I learned that finding a 17 inch tire is not easy. Most places kind of laughed at me and some just said, "Huh?" So, I did the only thing I could think of-complain and blame someone else.

In the privacy of my kitchen while the kids were napping, I called the manager at the dealership and went off. I asked why I was not given an option to purchase the hazard warranty and his answer was (I am not kidding) that people tended not to buy the tires when they heard it was more money. Really. When asked why that is my fault he agreed it was not and finally told me I could get my tire for half of what I paid for it. That was, "the best he could do for me."

Since I have heard that line before (like when we bought our van from them years ago and they kept saying that with each additional offer, especially when we started to walk away), I decided to keep looking around.

Lots of details later, they now have my van, I am driving a very nice, brand new Chevy Impala (it's white, which really cracks me up when they know I have two messy kids) and I keep getting calls on what it might cost. What is amazing to me is even after they broke down the prices, they are still telling me a higher price than what that adds up to be-do they think I cannot do math?

So, here I sit, waiting for yet another phone call where we can negotiate some more numbers. If only I had not made that turn. If only I had paid attention. If only I had asked the right questions on the first phone call.

But, if I didn't-I would not have such a fun story to share! Ah, lessons learned.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Make New Friends

My daughter might be the friendliest person I know (that is, when she is in the mood-God help you all when she is grumpy). Everywhere we go, she has been making "friends." It does not matter where or for how long we are somewhere-if there is another child around her age, he or she is instantly her friend.

For example-we were visiting one of my college roommates and her kids the other day. Abby has met two-year old Noah before, but it has been awhile (thanks to our children consistently being sick when we try and make plans). It did not matter. By the end of the short play date, they were hugging and smiling together for pictures. Not only did they bond that day, but Abby introduced herself to a girl we did not know at the park and was asking for me to take their pictures together.

Her friendliness has come in handy in our neighborhood. I do not know if I would have gotten to know some of our neighbors if it were not for Abby. Sometimes I enjoy the safety of being behind a locked door, enjoying my own privacy. But, thanks to my daughter, we now can count people on our street as friends and not just acquaintances. Kids come knocking on our door, asking to play with Abby, which she just loves.

(I must take a moment here and say that we pray for a little boy around Caleb's age to move here soon-the poor child has to play with girls every day. Not that he minds-he just picks on them in typical little brother fashion.)

Perhaps I should be learning from Abby's example. This girl holds no predetermined ideas of who someone might be-she just sees someone her age to befriend. She does not wonder if the relationship will end in hurt or tears, but only thinks of the joys of that day together.

The older I get, the more skeptical I have become about people. Not that I am any better than them-I know how bad of a friend I can be. I think the hurt of betrayal or of being forgotten has scarred my heart into not believing anyone would really want to be my friend. It is much more simpler to stick with my already existing friends (even though so many of them live in other states) than to really put myself out there and make new friends.

I am so thankful for the people that have recently come into our lives (mostly because of Abby and her playdates, but also because Nick and I can actually talk to others without scaring them off right away!). As easy as it is to stay in one's bubble of life, imagine how boring it would be to not meet new people!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Never Miss An Opportunity

Abby was sitting on my lap in Caleb's room and looked out at her neighbor's house. She noticed they took their plastic bunny down from the porch and the following conversation came from that observation...

Abby: " Why did they take the Easter Bunny down?"
Me: "Because Easter is over. But, we should always celebrate it all year."
Abby: "Is it Easter every day?!"
Me: "Well, we celebrate it once a year, but we should always be thinking of what Christ did for us on the cross."
Abby: "You mean how He died for our sins?"
Me: "Yes, Abby."
Abby: "We keep sinning every day, don't we?"
Me: "Yes we do. Abby, does Jesus live in your heart?"
Abby: "No-how could He do that?"
Me: "When you believe that He died for your sins and want to live your life for Him, it means He lives in your heart."
Abby: "I believe that. The leaders who put Him on the cross must not have had Him in their hearts since they didn't believe Him."
Me: "Probably not, but maybe they changed their minds later. Even without the leaders who didn't believe Him, He still would have died for our sins. Even if you were the only one to sin, He would have died for you. That's how much He loves you."

At this point, a song was playing on the computer in the background and she heard the words, "raise it up on Holy ground."

Abby: "Were Jesus' feet on the ground when He hung on the cross?"
Me: "No. They put nails through His hands and feet that kept Him on the cross."
Abby: "Does He still have boo-boos on His hands and feet?"
Me: "Maybe."
Abby: "I bet when we go to Heaven we'll see if He still has boo-boos."

Then she looked around and studied the house for awhile.

Abby: "Will we still go to Heaven if we move to a different house?"
Me: "Abby, we could live anywhere on this earth and still be able to go to Heaven."
Abby: "Jesus is there, preparing a wonderful home for us."
Me: "Who told you that?"
Abby: "The Bible. Mom, I'll miss this little house when we go to Heaven."

I could plan lessons and projects to teach her about the good news, but it is the moments like this that matter. Just by sitting down and stopping my busy day, I was blessed with this conversation.

Who Taught You?

Last summer, I worked really hard with Abby on how to swing. I showed her how to pump her legs and move with the swing. She tried, but the result always ended with her giving up and me pushing her.

This year, we gave up the idea of ever moving from this house and purchased a swingset for the backyard. So far, it has been the best thing we have ever bought for our family! Right away, Abby began trying out the swings and once again, I had to push her.

Then, her neighbor, Trinity, came over to play.

(Let me sidetrack for a moment. Trinity is the one with the really cool swingset in the background of the picture. The fact that everyone wants to play on ours more than hers goes to show that you do not have to buy the expensive set! Our on sale, with a coupon, metal set works just fine.)

So, after spending time with her friend, Abby suddenly starts swinging on her own. I looked in the backyard and she was out there, just pumping away like she had been doing it for years. I ran out, so excited for her, and expressed my pride in her accomplishment.

Her reaction? She said, "Look Mom! Trinity taught me how to swing!"

Okay. So months of hard work on my part resulted in her learning from five minutes with a friend. So it begins. The time where she starts listening to her friends more than her mom. I have now become the mom that she will actually trust and believe when she herself becomes a mom. I thought I had a few more years of the innocence, but she has figured it out.

I am just not as cool or smart as her friends.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter

Today Abby said to me, "I'm so happy that Jesus died for me." That's it. Nothing else leading up to that statement or any other words following it. I guess hearing the Easter story at school, in Sunday School and from our talks is somehow making a difference.

In the past couple of weeks, she has been more aware of what Jesus did for her than ever before. She keeps singing the song, "Hosanna" (think back to the song from your youth-"Ho-ho-ho-hosanna, He-he-he-he saved me, Ha-ha-hallelujah, I've got the joy of the Lord") and even noticed that the electric poles on the road look like crosses. Then she noticed a clover the other day and said, "Look, it's like the three things God is! The Father, Son and Holy Spirit!"

(Seriously, I am not teaching her this stuff all day long. I am very much in appreciation to her preschool and Sunday School class!)

I know she is noticing these things because of all the Easter talk this time of year. I am curious to see if it lasts after the holiday is over. Will it last for me? Sure, I am more aware of the tremendous amount of grace given to me while I think through Easter and what Christ did on the cross. It is easy to concentrate on this during the extra church services and beautiful music. But, will it last once I go back to my normal routine?

My children follow my example and attitude, whether I like it or not. I pray my passion for living my life in awe of what Christ has done for me is evident to them on a daily basis-not just during the Holy week.

May you all have a blessed Easter, celebrating the One who saved us before we even came into this world.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Cool And Pretty

The other night, Nick was talking with Abby about Tinker Bell (you can tell you are a dad to a little girl based on this type of conversation).

Nick: "Tinker Bell is cool."
Abby: "Daddy, girls are not cool-they are pretty!"
Nick: "I thought they could be cool, too."
Abby: "Daddy-you are cool and I am pretty. That's how it works."

Well, that explains that. It will be nice to read this when she is a teenager, just to remember a time when she thought her dad was cool.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Andrew Peterson is one of those songwriters who can create lyrics which express exactly what I am going through in my Christian walk. His latest album, Resurrection Letters Vol II, has this beautiful song, "Hosanna," which you can listen to on his website (Just click on the Music Player on the top, right corner)

I would write more, but he pretty much sums up how I am feeling during this Easter week.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Yes, They Are Different

Examples from today on how boys and girls are definitely different...

-While playing outside, Abby was watering the grass to make the flowers (i.e. dandelions) grow. Caleb immediately ran over and yelled, "Mud!" and began stopping around in it.

(I am still cleaning the mud off his new sandels that he was convienently wearing.)

-I was watching Abby play on the swingset and heard Caleb mention something about a worm. Before I knew it, he brought the alive and wiggling creature right up to my face and yelled, "Look Mom-a worm!"

My standing up suddenly reaction caused him to drop it, thus bringing the innocent worm to its demise. Abby ran over to see what the commotion was about, took a step back and said, "Eww, a worm. That's gross!"

Without telling them what to do, how to act or what to feel, my kids pretty much sum up the typical girl and boy!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Important Prayers

Our bedtime routine is to put Caleb in bed and then pray together as a family. Abby is usually the one who wants to pray so we basically hear the same prayer every night (and every meal, come to think of it).

Dear God. Thank you for this day. Thank you today. Thank you for Mommy and Daddy and Caleb. Thank you for Grandma and Grandpa and Amy and Kevin. Thank you for Grammy and Grandpa and Uncle Billy. Thank you for all the cows. And thank you for all my friends and family. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Last night she was going through her usual words and right after saying, "Amen," she stopped short and said, "Oh no!" When asked what was wrong, she answered, "I forgot to say a very important prayer! We have to go pray in my room now so I can say it!"

It turned out that one of her classmates was not in school today, most likely from being sick, and she knew she had to pray for him to feel better. Her teacher does such a wonderful job of having the students pray in class and tells them to pray at home for each other.

Seeing her passion for remembering that prayer request made me feel pretty small. When is the last time that I stopped short in mid-sentence because of a prayer concern? When did all other priorities suddenly become tiny in comparison to the need to commune with God?

Abby was so intent on saying that prayer, that she forgot to beg her Daddy for piggy-back rides and being thrown into bed (which involves something along the lines of him swinging her in the air three times before landing safely in bed). What was usually the only thing on her mind at that time of day was replaced with the need to pray for her friend.

Once again-God teaching me through these little ones.