The Kids

The Kids

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Adventures In Traveling

I drove to Pennsylvania yesterday to visit my family and some friends. Usually, the trip is pretty uneventful-yawn through the boring stretch from Cincy to Columbus (seriously, nothing to look at but flat land), stop at least twice for bathroom breaks (not just for the children, but for this pregnant lady as well) and eventually make it to that familiar Hubbard exit that takes me home.

This particular trip let us experience three adventures in our 4 1/2 hour drive. One scary, one victorious, and one just plain delightful.

I will begin with the scary, since that clearly is the one that wants to be heard first.

We were only a short distance outside of Cincinnati, driving in the right lane and going a steady 70 mph (which was a safe speed considering everyone else was flying past me). I was determined not to get a speeding ticket on this holiday weekend, knowing that the police would be everywhere. As I was driving in the right lane, a car that was sitting on the side of the road suddenly began to merge onto the highway. Not a merge like one would expect-there was no gradual building up speed on the side or even waiting for a clear lane before joining traffic. No, this lady decided to pull out right in front of me-you know, the woman driving a bright red van and going 70.

I slammed on my brakes (picture the kids lurching forward and all of our luggage flying from the back to the front) and actually had to go onto to the side of the highway so that I was right next to her in order to avoid crashing. I managed to punch my horn in anger at her just in case she did not happen to see me next to her (since she clearly did not see me before). And what did she do?

Nothing. No wave of apology. No looking in her rearview mirror with a look of guilt. She simply picked up her speed and took off.

I merged back onto the highway (the proper way) and never could catch up to her. I finally saw her ahead of me, taking an exit. It took every bit of restraint to keep from following her and getting her license, but one never knows what kind of nut job one could be following.

After our narrowing brush with death, a more satisfying story came along. I was driving through a construction zone, not going the 55 posted speed, but also not overly speeding (again, for fear of those police tickets). Some moron behind me decides that I am not moving fast enough and started tailing me. When I was finally able to move over to the right lane, he flew past, passionately talking on his cell phone.

We have all been there. We see the rude driver who deserves the ticket, but never seems to get caught. But, I have hope to share-a few miles later, I saw this driver get pulled over for speeding! Oh, the joy that my heart felt. I began to stick up my hand to wave at my friend, but stopped that reaction for fear of my own ticket.

Finally, my favorite tale of them all. I pulled into a gas station for another bathroom break (I so love being pregnant) and as I pulled into a parking space and got out of the van, a police officer approached me.

My first thought was, "Seriously? After avoiding all of those police officers on the road, I just parked in a handicap spot?" However, this nice man explained to the kids and I that it was "Click it or ticket" day and because we all had on our seatbelts, we got to go inside and get a free cookie.

I do not know who was more excited-the kids for their cookies or me for not being in trouble.

The kids also received a badge and a ruler (or, as Caleb turned it into, a sword). Such fun for them.

After near death, judgmental victory, and free cookies, I can call it a successful trip. I cannot wait to see what happens when I leave in a few days.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Latest Quotes

Just a few of the latest Abby and Caleb quotes that keep my days interesting...

*Abby: "Daddy, what's that bone on the inside of your head?"
Nick: "It's called your skull."
Abby: "Oh, you mean like where Jesus died? You know, the Skull of Golgotha."
Nick: "Where did you learn that?"
Abby: "The Bible."
Nick: "Did your teacher tell you that?"
Abby: "No, I read it."

*Caleb: "Mom, what's for dinner?"
Me: "Spaghetti."
Caleb: "Oh, mom, I love pasgetti! And some broccoli! My favorite!"
(If only everyone in the house reacted this way to the meals that I choose.)

*While driving in the car with Caleb the other day, I heard a very long and loud fart. I asked, "Caleb, are you farting?"

Caleb's response: "No, mom-I'm just making music."

*On the way home today, Caleb announced, "When I get in the house, I'm going to take out my penis and scare everyone!"

As I swerved the van back into the correct lane to keep from crashing into oncoming traffic, I asked him to repeat his statement. He said the same thing again, causing his sister to find him the funniest person in the world.

Should I be concerned about my farting, flashing son?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Cost Of May

Why May is more expensive than December...

-End of the year teacher gifts
-End of the soccer season coach gifts
-Registration fees for fall soccer sign-ups
-Membership fees for anything related to summer fun
-Buying summer clothes and shoes
-Extra laundry because clothes get filthy outside
-Buying plants and flowers
-Yard Sale shopping

I could go on, but I am getting more depressed as I type this. Bye-bye money. It was nice watching you pass from hardwork to this list without staying for a visit. Feel free to stay longer next time.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mini-Van Mom

Our van has been making a dinging sound while in drive. If it is in drive, but at a complete stop, it dings like a door is open and the key is in the ignition. Once the van begins to move, however, the noise gets faster and more annoying.

It has been quite fun.

After leaving my van at the dealership for a day, they never heard the sound. The next morning as I left for Abby's school, it began dinging again. Funny.

Now my van has been in the shop for a week, while I have been driving around a brand new car off the lot. Well, it was brand new. After leaving it with me for a week, it has now gained over 200 more miles on it. Hey-it was their decision to lend it to me and take an entire week to fix a dinging noise. Can I help the drives to soccer games, practice, church, school, family stuff, etc.?

This has led me to a comparison in the great debate over van vs. car. I know people who refuse to ever drive a mini-van. Women for fear that they are now the typical "soccer mom" and men for fear that they just lost whatever sense of freedom they thought they had.

Trust me-Nick and I have both had these thoughts. I feel the loss when I remember my days of driving my cute, little two-door car. Nick feels it when he sees a Jeep Cherokee on the road, resembling his old friend.

So, after a week of going back to a car, here are my comparison results:

Pros of the Car
Good on gas
Drives smoothly (granted, it is brand new)
More fun to drive

Cons of the Car
More blindspots (especially with all the for sale signs on the back windows)
Not as much room
Can easily speed (hence the more fun to drive comment from above)
My children sit way too close to each other and fight the entire time (picture yesterday-Caleb had a balloon from getting his hair cut and the whole way home, all I saw was the balloon being used as a weapon between my darling children.)
Harder to get in and out of while pregnant
Cannot see too far in front of me (especially while behind a big truck who constantly hits the brakes)

Pros of the Van
Lots of room
Built in DVD player
The kids sit far enough away from each other to avoid any permanent, physical damage
Easier to get in and out of while pregnant
Not as many blindspots
Can see above the traffic
Receive some pity from other drivers if I make a driving error because they (correctly) assume that I am driving a vehicle of chaos

Cons of the Van
Not as good on gas
Look like a tired cliche of a mom behind the wheel of a bus

Well, it appears I am in favor of the van. My daily updates from the dealership have informed me that I should get it back today or tomorrow (even though they never once heard a dinging noise). I am looking forward to my mini-van of chaos with leg room and separation for my kids.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

If you have not had the chance to watch "The Middle," please do. The show is hilarious. It is a show about a family in Indiana-that's it. They do not live in either NYC or LA, there are no clever neighbors in which they converse with, they do have a fancy home or luxurious lifestyles-they are simply a family getting by. It may not sound like a funny scenario, but their family interactions are so believable, one cannot help but relate to almost every episode.

This past week's episode was one of my favorites. It was about Mother's Day. To sum up 22 minutes of constant laughable scenes, the mom is woken up at 6:30 a.m. on Mother's Day because her teenage children are yelling at each other and breaking things while preparing for her the perfect breakfast in bed. No, it is not edible. Yes, the teenage boy spills it all over her. Her breakfast is complete with her husband leaving her to bond with her beloved children while he watches Sportscenter in the living room.

After all-it's her day.

Her day continues in the same manner, complete with an inflatable footbath as her gift (the family clearly forgot to buy a gift and it was the only thing they could find at the drug store), no peace while she simply tries to sit and read her People magazine, and her family forgetting her coveted peach pie that she waited all day for.

The best part of the entire episode is the comparing she does with past Father's Day celebrations for her husband. Picture a combination of him sleeping in until 10:30 a.m., a delicious breakfast in bed, a gift of floorboard from the Hoosiers' basketball court, and a day of relaxing while watching sports.

The difference stems from the fact that her Mother's Day comes from the kids and his Father's Day comes from her.

Nick and I could not stop laughing the entire episode.

So, imagine my thoughts when, on this Mother's Day, I was slightly awoken at 6:30 a.m. (I am not kidding) to Abby's whispers to her dad. They quietly left and I knew what was going on. I did my best fake sleep as they came back 30 minutes later with homemade cards and my lovely breakfast in bed. Thankfully, Nick made it so it was edible, and the only spilling was a little bit of juice when Caleb decided to start jumping on the bed.

I went downstairs to find a balloon, flowers and a People magazine on the table.

My husband is the best.

Now, this is where I am such a bad mom. I was not entirely sad that both kids were still not feeling well and had to miss church because I got to go without any distractions and enjoy my drive in the car without constant chattering. It secretly added some bliss to know that Nick had to deal with two sick kids all morning-why is that? Is it wrong that my Mother's Day was nice because my husband had to do the work? Yes, I am a terrible person.

Anyway, I got home just in time to see Nick finishing giving them a bath and putting them down for a nap. He's awesome. We enjoyed an afternoon of catching up on our shows and then had a nice dinner out with family. If Caleb could have managed to be good all day instead of the terror that he was, the day would have been perfect.

Now, as I go back to a day of laundry, dishes, cooking and the rest of my responsibilities, I am thankful for my day of feeling appreciated. That really is all we moms want for Mother's Day-to feel like what we do is noticed. My daughter coming up with the idea of breakfast in bed all by herself was better than all the gifts in the world that she could have bought me.

And to my own mother, who I could not see on Mother's Day, you are very much valued, loved and appreciated. I may not express it enough, but you taught me what it is to be a good mom and I love you very much.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Taking The Test

I find it interesting to hear how women tell their men that they are pregnant. Whether it is a huge surprise told over a candlelit dinner or just in casual conversation, it is never boring.

I always thought that I would find out on my own and surprise Nick in some awesome way. However, after a couple of years of marriage, I realized it does not always work out that way. For one thing, it is hard to keep secrets from the one person you share everything with. For another thing, it is way too hard to hide any feelings regarding something so important.

After a month of "let's see what happens without birth control," we both knew something was up when that expected week came and went. No way was I able to hide that from Nick because we were both so sensitive to the possibility of becoming new parents. I remember taking the test in our apartment and waiting together to find out the results. We looked together at the test and were confused. There was a line, but it was very faint. Should we be excited? What did this mean?

I started calling the 800 number on the box (yes, I am that person) and while I was listening to an automated voice telling me that a line means pregnancy no matter how faint or dark, I heard Nick call from the other room, "It's getting darker!"

And that is when life completely changed for us. Abby arrived on her due date months later.

I love my Caleb story. I was just late enough to possibly consider a test so I made up some excuse to run to Kroger and picked up the test. I came home, thankful that Nick was upstairs giving Abby a bath, and took the test downstairs. When the result proved that my instincts were correct, I decided to share the news.

Picture this setting: Nick was giving a screaming 16-month old girl a bath while she splashed and aruged with him. I just stood there, test in hand, grinning like a crazy woman. He finally looked up, saw what I held in my possession and said, "Are you kidding me?"

Nope. Our insanity was about to double.

Once the shock wore off, we grinned like idiots and hugged and cried while Abby just watched with not a clue of what was to come.

Our little baby that we lost in December was a story of the tech age. I was late, did not tell Nick, took a test while he was at work and was thrilled with the news. When I realized my due date was the first day of camp, I sent him a text and said, "Looks like we won't be going to camp this year." He caught on and texted back to make sure he was not jumping to conclusions. We finally got to celebrate when he got home.

With this child, it was a little different. I was at my friend Becky's house and made a comment how I was a few days late. I thought it could be explained away as my body getting used to things after our miscarriage. After all, Nick was in South Africa that month for two weeks-what were the odds that I got pregnant?

Apparently pretty good.

Becky (who is also pregnant and due in July) helpfully mentioned that she still had an extra test if I wanted to use it. I shrugged it off and said, "Don't worry about it-it's probably nothing." Of course, by then, it was like the elephant in the room. I could not think of anything else but that test. I lasted about twenty minutes before saying, "Oh, what the heck, I'll take it."

As this was a generic test with no instructions, I had no idea what the results meant. Becky took one look and said, "Yep, you're pregnant!"

I drove home in shock and even bought another test just to make sure. When that result proved the first right, I did everything I could to stop myself from calling Nick to share the news. I left both tests on our bathroom counter and let him find them when he got home.

When he finally went upstairs, I quietly followed him and waited to see his reaction. And what was he starting at in the bathroom? The new razors that I had bought him...sitting right next to the tests. He finally saw them when he caught me staring at him with a goofy grin on my face. His shock matched mine and so did his tears of joy.

Feel free to comment and share your stories-every one of them different from the next, but just as joyful.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Selective Hearing

My kids have a special gift of selective hearing. It really is quite a talent. Here are a few of my favorite sentences that they conveniently do not hear...

"Clean your room."
"Pick up the toys in the living room."
"It's nap time-go upstairs now."
"Stop hitting each other."

Just when I think they are losing their hearing, they manage to pick up any conversation between Nick and I. Here are the most recent whispers we have shared that they heard from two rooms away...

"Maybe we could stop for ice cream after the soccer game."
"You should put on a television show for them."
"There is a chance we could go to the beach this summer."
"Do you want some popcorn later?"

Oh, and they always hear the opening of a bag of chips or any similar snack. It is very much like a dog or a cat running to the sound of a can opener. I bet I could create something that sounds like a bag opening to bribe them to do whatever I need them to do. I could make a fortune.

The other day, I actually had this exact conversation with Caleb:

Me: "Caleb, put your shoes on."
Caleb: silence.
Me: "Hey Caleb, it's time to put your shoes on."
Caleb: silence.
Me: "Caleb, did you hear me? Put your shoes on!"
Caleb: silence.
Me: "Ice cream, King's Island, cars, planes..."
Caleb (looking up within seconds): "Yes mom?"

Like I said-it is truly a gift.