The Kids

The Kids

Monday, September 28, 2009

An Ode to Nick and the Mariemont Starbucks

I would like to take this moment and thank my beloved husband and the Mariemont Starbucks for making my 32nd birthday truly special.

Let me first explain that last year on the 24th, I happened to stop the Mariemont Starbucks (three minutes from Abby's school) and asked if they do any discounts for birthdays. They immediately smiled and said "Free Drink!" Okay, twist my arm. As I enjoyed my grande (that's right-grande) Caramel Apple Spice, I was filled with warm thoughts of the future years of friendship with this business.

So, you can understand my dismay when on the eve of my birthday, Abby developed an ear infection with a fever. Yes, I was concerned for her, but sad to say, one of my first thoughts was, "I won't be able to take her to school tomorrow and get my free drink!"

Okay, so I won't be winning any mother of the year award.

You have to understand-I had been spending the week watching our neighbor's 16th month old girl, which included when I had to take Abby to the doctor for her ear infection. Three kids, in the rain, one in pain, the other two dragged into the car again (Caleb being awoken from his nap), at a doctor's office-fun times. After a week of three kids when I am used to two, I was really, really counting on that free drink.

Anyway, Abby was fine by my birthday, but of course had to stay home having had a fever the night before. All those H1N1 scares and all. After a long day of three kids in the house on another rainy day, I finally had a break-my wonderful husband was taking me out for a date! He had wanted to surprise me, but could not find our movie coupons anywhere, which were of course in my purse-where else would they be? I should have known to leave them in the miscellaneous pile on the kitchen counter.

So, the day of sick and complaining kids behind me, we set out for a date. We ate at Max and Erma's for dinner. Not fancy, but perfect-did you know they bring you free chocolate chip cookies on your birthday? And their pretzel appetizer makes my day. I think I ordered an actual meal, but the appetizer and desert is what I remember.

Then we went to the movies and saw Julie and Julia. Was not sure what to expect, but the biggest surprise to me was how much Nick enjoyed the movie. It was actually really good and who could go wrong with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams? The only catch was how much food one ends up seeing in this movie. Between my "healthy" dinner, the free popcorn and drink from our coupons, and the calories I gained just by watching the movie about Julia Child-I felt like I was going to explode. Totally worth it.

The only thing to damper my spirits was the fact that no other Starbucks seemed to honor the free drink on your birthday code. I tried a couple of places while we were out and they looked at me like I was crazy. I ended up with that infamous Starbucks smell on my clothes and for what? Disappointment.

However, the next day restored my faith in the chain. I dropped Abby off at school, ran some errands with Caleb and just happened to try the Mariemont Starbucks. I went in, completely raved to the woman about how much I enjoy their store (I really do-they are always smiling and joking around with everyone) and asked if they would offer me the free drink even though it was the day after my birthday. She smiled and said, "Of course."

It was not just the fact that my grande (yes, grande) Caramel Apple Spice was free; it is that is was absolutely delicious. I have never had another Starbucks make that drink as well as this particular store does.

So, this is my thank you to my wonderful husband who gave me the break I so long desired and to the Mariemont Starbucks who extended my birthday by a few hours.

32 never felt so good.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday Morning

This morning, Abby wandered into our room at the usual 7:00 a.m. (gotta love their internal clocks). As she snuggled with us, we heard Caleb calling from his room. As I debated in my mind whether or not to get up and get him or guilt Nick into waking up, the obvious helper next to me came to mind. After Abby ran in and got her little brother out of bed, they raced back into our room and what used to be snuggling quickly turned into a tickle fight.

Let me point out that tickle fights between our kids are fun for them. However, they are a combination of physical abuse and torture for the two adults who are still hanging on to precious moments of sleep. Jabs into the ribs, stomach and legs are not unheard of. One would think a king-sized bed would give them plenty of room to move, but no-they manage to stay within the exact area in which we are attempting to rest.

Today Abby decided to start naming Caleb's body parts and was comparing them to our bodies and telling him what they are used for.

(Don't worry-the story is not going toward the body part that Caleb most likes to talk about.)

This is the stream of sentences I heard from Abby...

"These are your arms and they are the smoothest...this is your head and it's the biggest...these are your legs and they are the most ticklish...these are your ears and they are for hearing...these are your eyes and they are for seeing...these are your nipples (I was suddenly wide awake at this point) and they are for-touching!"

Well, what else would they be for?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Moments Of Wonder

Caleb was sitting on the ground at Abby's soccer practice today, playing cars and trucks with some of the other little brothers. He randomly looked up at me and asked, "What's that song about? I can't remember it...the one about 'this is the day that the Lord has made?'"

Sparing all of the watching parents of my singing, I told him we would sing it in the car. A few minutes later, he commented, "God made the grass and the trees." When I agreed, he added, "And He made the cars."

Well, we covered the most important things to him-grass, trees and cars.

It was really sweet to watch him wonder, especially in front of so many people. He had no embarrassment in his questions and showed pride in what God has made. As we drove home, I taught him the song he requested and he sang so sweetly that I wondered why I ever find myself frustrated with him.

Then I remembered that he and Abby spent an entire 20 minutes fighting over a chair today and it brought me back to reality.

He did continue on with picking up his children's Bible to read before bedtime. When I started the beginning part about creation, he kept interrupting and saying, "But, He made the earth, make sure you read about the earth." When I finally got to that sentence, he said, "Yes-the earth! You read about Him making the earth!"

Keep that excitement, Caleb-it too quickly gets lost in the midst of our lives.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mornings with Caleb

It has been fun bonding with Caleb while Abby is at school. We get to talk without being interrupted and he actually has my full attention when we play together. It has also allowed me a couple of fun stories to cherish from this past week...

1) I am not usually a paranoid parent who is worried about germs. However, with the whole H1N1 fiasco, I am a bit more careful. I make sure we all wash our hands when we come home from anywhere, I keep hand sanitizer in my purse, and always have wipes with me. Which is why what Caleb did yesterday made me realize my attempts at keeping the germs away are in vain.

This precious child was playing on the park slide and enjoying every minute of it. So much so that the second time he went down (meaning he already walked up it twice) he went down on his belly with his mouth wide open, kissing it the entire way down. Yep-gross. The beauty of it was that he immediately gave me a big kiss when he was done.

And I wonder why I did not receive my normal kiss from Nick when he came home yesterday.

2) On the way home from school this week, Caleb was sitting in a pull-up without his pants on because he had gotten them wet at the park. He randomly asked his sister, "Abby, do you have a penis?"

As my foot slipped from the brake pedal and I almost bumped into the person in front of me at the red light, I heard her reply very matter of factly, "No Caleb. Only boys have penises." To which Caleb asked her, "Do you want to see my penis?"

When I noticed him pulling his diaper away from his special area, I immediately reminded him that his penis and butt are his private areas and that he should not be showing them to anyone else. So of course he turned to Abby and said, "Abby, do you have a butt?"

As Abby continued to explain to her little brother that everyone has butts but not penises, I smiled and was grateful that my life is never boring.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Busy Already?

I always swore I would not be one of those parents who keeps their kids busy. Yet, it still happened, without much warning.

First I wanted to blame it on Abby. If she was not so excited about soccer, I would not have signed her up. Of course she has to make it worth it with all her goals and huge smiles during the entire game. Okay, I get it-you love playing soccer. And of course it is her school schedule that makes us leave the house every morning by 8:00 a.m. She just has to have that October birthday that keeps her in preschool for another year, instead of getting on the bus for kindergarden.

Which leads me to realize it is technically my fault. I delivered her in October on her due date instead of trying to get her out early (since we all know that is completely in our control). And come to think of it, I did purchase her first soccer ball when she was barely running.

Regardless, I feel bad for Caleb. The poor kid just wants to stay home, play with his trains and be content. Instead, he is sometimes dragged out of bed so that we can get his sister to school on time, made to run errands with his mom during the short time Abby is away, then finally comes home just in time for lunch and naps. I really try to do fun things in the morning, like playing at the park or going to the library (which used to open at 9:00 a.m. before budget cuts-now it opens as I need to leave to pick up Abby), but even those activities get cut short because of our schedule.

I have a feeling it will just get worse as they get older. I already see Caleb loving sports and asking when he can play. I suppose there is no way to end the madness, but to limit how crazy it could become.

Even at age four, I see parents sending their kids to so many activities that I do no understand how they handle it. Some of Abby's teammates are also involved in dance, gymnastics-you name it. When do they have time to simply play? I was never involved in so many things at that age and I never remember feeling bored.

Do parents sign their children up for every possible thing because they truly want them to experience different parts of life? Or do they do it because society says to? Why is it popular to be busy? Why do so many people I know constantly talk about their busy schedules, with a little bit of pride in their tone?

And when did I become one of these people?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Good Memory

The other day, Abby did the motion with her hands that means Jesus. She pointed one index finger to her palm and then the other index finger to the opposite palm. She knew it meant Jesus (thank to the songs with motions that she has learned at church and school), but did not understand why.

I explained to her that when Jesus died on the cross for our sins, He had nails put through His hands and feet to keep Him on the cross. When we point to our palms, we remember what He went through for us.

She thought about that for a moment and then said, "But Jesus was so strong that He couldn't stay on the cross." She went on to say that her teacher told her that and how Jesus is alive. Then she said, "I just like to think about that memory-it makes me feel good."

How often do I just stop and think about what Jesus has done? Am I so busy doing things for Him that I forget to simply thank Him? How do I let myself get so dragged down by the daily stresses of life when I actually know the Savior of the world and get to spend eternity with Him?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Take Time To Pray

Our family was having a busy morning. Nick was trying to get his bag packed for the weekend before leaving for work, Caleb had just gotten up and had to quickly eat his breakfast, Abby had just finished getting dressed and I was getting my stuff together to clean a house. We all needed to be out of the house at a certain time and we were coming close to failing.

In the midst of everything, Abby stopped in the middle of the living room and said, "Wait! I need to stop for a minute and pray."

While we watched in amazement, she stood there quietly, closed her eyes and bowed head. We did not hear everything she said, but there was something about, "Please give us a safe trip to Pennsylvania..." When she finished, she looked up and finished getting ready.

Some lessons God teaches me through these children are more obvious than others. In this case, it was pretty clear.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Careful With The Sun

A most recent conversation I overheard in the car...

Abby: "You know, Caleb, Jesus has it all in His hands. The sun, the stars, the earth-everything!"
Caleb: "And the moon!"
Abby: "Yes, and the moon! I hope He's careful with the sun, though-it gets really hot! I hope He doesn't burn His hands."