The Kids

The Kids

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I thought about avoiding this whole topic and pretending this never happened. But, if I can tell stories about my husband and children, then I suppose I have to be willing to share my own tales.

Last week, Nick mentioned that he had a service at school that would require him to be wearing his gown (as in the faculty gown that he wears for graduation every spring). I shelved that detail in the back of my mind, never to be thought of again. This past Saturday, he mentioned it again to which I swear it was the first time he had told me about it. I figured I would take care of it on Sunday before he left for the service. After all, I had all day to pull it out of the closet and iron it.

Came home from church, plugged in the iron, and went to the closet to retrieve the gown. The problem was, it was no longer there. I usually keep it in the same basket so that every May, I know exactly where it is. However, in the midst of my nesting/making our house look show worthy, I had moved that basket to another place for a more practical purpose.

"No problem," I reassured Nick, "It has to be in an easy place to find." I checked the obvious places like the rest of the closet, the linen closet, even the kids' closets. Then I bent down (not easy at eight months pregnant) to look under the bed. I even ventured into the garage, thinking it might have been moved out with some of the boxes labled, "Nick's stuff." Nope. No gown anywhere.

Now, if you do not know us well, I must explain our personalities. I am a very organized person who likes everything in its place. It doesn't always look like that in our house since I live with three other people who do not share my obsession, but I do my best. Nick, on the other hand, has piles. There is a pile on the kitchen counter of "things to go through that are important so do not throw them out." There is a pile under the bed of similar things. There are boxes in the garage filled with memories and trophies. And there is his car, which I do not even go near.

Can you understand why my searching felt in vain? I kept looking in the most absurd places for this precious gown, all the while thinking, "I know he left it at school or in his car and it has never been brought to me. Otherwise, it would be in a practical place in this house."

Nick was having similar thoughts. Accept his were in anger that I could misplace something so important.

You can see why our Sunday was not the best of days.

He eventually found an extra gown at the school moments before the service. I received an apologetic text, claiming his error in anger and how it was probably his fault anyway. I appreciated him finally realizing the truth and owning up to his disorganization. After all, it could never be my fault when I am so on top of things.

Well, I began cleaning out the garage today. I had a few boxes to move around to make room for our new freezer and as I was moving one particular bin, I opened it up to remind myself what was in it.

Yep. There it was.

My first reaction was to throw it out and pretend I never saw it. Nick could go on thinking he lost it, eventually get a replacement, and no one would be any the wiser.

Then, as I realized he would see it in the garbage while taking it out tomorrow, I tried to think of how I could sneak it into his car or somewhere at school so that he would find it and realize he had been the one to misplace it. (Friends fans, think of the episode where they are up all night and Rachel puts the forms back into Tag's desk-that is exactly where my mind was.)

As I realized I do not live in a sitcom and instead of being funny, it would be pretty wrong of me, I picked up my phone and sent the text that I never thought I would send. I told my loving husband what I had found.

Thankfully, he was sweet about and did not gloat too much. Maybe he is saving it for when he gets home. I even asked him not to tell anyone it was my fault, but here I am, finally feeling guilty enough to confess on my own.

Ah, humility. We can talk about how we want to be humble, but when it actually happens, it is not a pretty thing. I could just blame all of this on pregnancy brain (which I swear really exists), but in this case, I just have to suck it up and admit my fault.

Have to get back to cleaning out that garage-should be fun to see what else I find.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

First Week Of School

Well, it is official. My babies are both in school and I have my mornings free-how did that happen? I feel like I was just at the hospital giving birth to them. For the last six years I have never had a day at home where I did not have someone following me around.

You want to know what I have done the past few mornings? Anything I want.

I have cleaned out the van without constantly turning around to see which child is running into the street. I have taken showers without having anyone sneak in with a complaint. I have even dried my hair without having to turn off my hair dryer to break up a fight.

I have been able to eat bagels in the mid-morning without hearing, "Can I have a bite?" I have turned on the television (but, not a lot out of fear of not moving from my relaxation) and watched anything that was not on Noggin, Nick Jr. or PBS Kids. I enjoyed a walk without a stroller or without anyone on a scooter saying, "I'm tired and I don't want to walk anymore." I have started laundry and finished it, instead of having to use the dewrinkle cycle hours later.

My favorite thing to look forward to? Grocery day tomorrow. I will have three hours by myself to get my groceries. Go ahead moms of younger children-go ahead and cry with jealousy.

Okay, back to reality. Yes, I know I have a newborn quickly making his way here in seven weeks. In the meantime, I am going to enjoy this new found freedom and not take it for granted.

As for the kids (who I actually do miss during the morning), they are both loving school. Abby's first comment about kindergarten was "It's exhausting!" For the girl who still takes naps for me, this all day thing is a new experience. However, she reassured me she would survive-"Don't worry, Mom, I just have to get used to it and then I'll be fine." Her favorite part of school so far? Lunch. That's my girl.

Caleb is really enjoying preschool so far. Okay, so maybe I have to drag his butt out of bed every morning and constantly urge him along to get ready in time, but eventually he will get the hang of going to sleep on time and will have the energy to bound out of bed every morning like his sister.

Or, he might really be just like his dad and I am in for a long road of battles every morning.

Regardless, he really has been great with this whole new part of life. He happily goes into his classroom and yells, "Bye!" as he heads for the car section (shocking, I know). He is gradually remembering his new friends' names. He never remembers what he learned each day, but I do get to hear the specifics on what the snack was and what he did a recess.
I keep thinking how strange this would feel if I did not have another child on the way. My babies would be in school, I would be working somewhere in the mornings and our lives would suddenly be looking very different. It is odd to be starting all over again, four years later. Financially, we are crazy. But, I prefer the word blessed.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My Baby Boy

What would I do without Caleb and his thoughts?
-The other day, I noticed that he was farting a lot, but not taking the initiative to use the bathroom. I told him to go and he said he did not have to. It was almost bedtime and trying to avoid him coming out of his room in the evening with the bathroom excuse, I said, "Caleb, if you go poop right now I will give you a cookie."

His response? "Oh yes! I do want a cookie!" in his squeaky voice as he ran to the bathroom. Bribery? Sure. So hilarious that Nick and I had tears in our eyes while laughing-you betcha. And, most importantly, it worked.

(Okay, so it backfired when he expected candy the next day for the same task, but oh well.)

Usually during bedtime or mealtime prayers, Caleb says the same thing. It is a run-on sentence of thanking God for his cousins, parents, grandparents, cows, and sometimes his baby brother (never his sister-hmm). Last night, he said an actual prayer, where he paused and thought about his words. It was so precious and surprised us all. The new prayer included...

"Dear God, thank you for giving me to Daddy. And thank you for all of my friends at school."

It was simple, but because it was so thoughtful and not just the same routine, it meant the world to us.

As my little man prepares for his first week at preschool, I am amazed at how old he suddenly seems. What happened to my baby? As he informs me when I am cuddling with him and calling him my baby, "Mom, you're so silly. I'm not a baby-I'm a boy!"

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I took a little vacation with Nick and my inspiring thoughts did as well. Perhaps that is because I left my inspiration with my parents for a few days-I am sure they are full of fun stories and thought provoking lessons.

I know of one my dad would love to share. Caleb clogged his toilet again. For my faithful readers, you might remember this happening awhile back when he was going through his "fearful of the toilet phase" and held it in so long that when he finally went, he broke the toilet. Well, no fear this time-probably just too many days of "Can I eat that Grammy, please?"

Apparently, this particular movement clogged it enough that my dad had to take the toilet apart (again) and powerwash the substance out. Yep-that is my son. I do appreciate the helpful solution that my dad observed-"They could have stopped that oil leak in the gulf by just having Caleb take a crap in it."

You may laugh (I know I did), but I seriously might have to suggest that to the government if that happens again.

As for my getaway from the kids, it was lovely. Nick and I spent three and a half days in Denver, CO. He spent his days at a conference (where he learned a lot about teaching English as a second language) and I spent mine doing whatever I was glorious. I was able to shop at the mall-alone. I spent time at the hotel pool-alone. I watched tv, did puzzles and read-alone.

I forgot that it was possible to have thoughts about subjects other than breaking up fights, potty training, back-to-school shopping, and Nick Jr.

I got to spend one day with a dear, old friend (we have known each other since we were ten years old), Krista, who lives there. She took me to some beautiful sights in the mountains. It would have been nice to hike places, but out of fear of a preterm delivery, she drove me everywhere. I had absolutely no problem with that, since I was out of breath every time I walked more than ten minutes.

Nick and I got to enjoy evenings out without kids (we love you, Abby and Caleb, but someday you will understand). Went out with Nick's lifelong friend, Chris, who also lives there. Went to a movie and had an afternoon/evening of just driving around and looking at sights. Could have done without the red-eye flight home, but that just adds to the fun of traveling. Sticking out my pregnant belly as far as possible, I managed to score us some extra leg room seats on three out of the four flights, so I cannot complain.

Now it is back to the routine of parenthood. This week has been full of kindergarten parties, soccer practice, doctor appointments, softball games, preschool parties and birthday parties. While I miss having the chance to just sit and be alone, I look around and cannot imagine life looking any different.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Changing My Name

There are days when I just want to be called something else besides "Mommy."

This summer has been great, but if I have to break up one more fight and listen to "Mom, he hit me," and "Mom, she's being mean to me," I just might lose my mind. Of course I will hear these comments again so it is inevitable that my mind will be gone in the near future. I am so sorry, sweet little one growing inside of me-your mom used to be sane.

As I was attempting to take a moment to brush my teeth and somewhat fix my hair this morning, I heard the all too familiar whine, "Mommy" coming from downstairs. I yelled back, "I'm changing my name-I will not answer to 'Mommy' anymore." There was a pause and then I heard, "Tammy."

Are you kidding me?

While I am ranting, I might as well ask the question, "Why am I the only one in this house to clean up after myself?" Seriously, why? I love my dear husband and he does a good job on things like not leaving a mess after shaving, taking out the garbage, and telling the kids to take their plates to the sink. But, I am curious to why other tasks are so difficult for him.

Such as, putting his dirty clothes in the laundry basket-it is a foot away from the pile that he forms on the bedroom floor so why can't they make it all the way in? And why stack the dishes in the sink (if they make it that far) when the dishwasher is right there waiting to be filled? Why do we have a closet in the entryway of our house if the dining room chairs are the perfect place to drape coats? And putting things in piles (particularly on my kitchen counter) is not actually considered putting them away.

Still, he works all day, provides for us and I can look the other way (most of the time). I have to admit, he has helped me a lot during this pregnancy with the household duties that I really just want to avoid.

However, my children have no excuse. Okay, so they are five and three. Big deal. If they have enough energy to take out all of their toys and books, then they should have the energy to put them away. My absolute biggest pet peeve to hear at the moment is, "But, there's so much to pick up that I can't do it."

Excuse me? Am I supposed to muster up some sympathy for you based on that comment? So, if you have too many possessions, I should give you a break? You have the wrong audience, dear one.

My personal favorite frustration was today. We are going out of town tomorrow and the day we get back, we will be meeting with a realtor about putting our house on the market. My plan is to have the house perfect when we leave tomorrow so that when we get back, it will be all ready for our guest. I spent the morning cleaning up and decluttering the closets. After naptime (which was a joke for a certain young man), I went into Caleb's room-big mistake.

Somehow, he had snuck the scissors into his room (please don't judge me for my lack of seeing it) and decided to give his Diego doll a hair cut. I never knew that one little doll could have so much hair. His entire floor, bed, chair, and train table was covered in brown fuzzies. Not only that, but he also had found time to empty the drawers of his train table, clear out of all his books from the shelf, place his drumset on top of his bed, and empty more toys than I can count onto his floor.

For those of you living near Cincinnati, I apologize for the volumn of my screams.

After realizing he was in grave danger, Caleb did his best to clean up without complaining. Abby caught on and picked up her room as well. Over an hour later, their rooms were slightly presentable and I was a sweaty mess. Perhaps from all the cleaning or maybe from my fuming-either way, the energy I had for cleaning the rest of the house was gone.

I tried to explain to my beloved children that I would love to spend my days reading with them, doing puzzles, playing games, etc., but that because they make messes and walk away, I have to spend all day cleaning up after everyone. Here is a novel concept-when you are done with something, PUT IT AWAY!

Nick and I will be in Denver for a few days (he has a conference and I am just tagging along for a break before the next child arrives) and I am really looking forward to it. It will be great to see the beauty of Colorado, visit some old friends and possibly sleep in. But, my favorite part? I will be staying in a hotel where I will not have to clean up after anyone! No fights to break up! No whining to listen to! It sounds like a dream.

Of course, the beauty of getting away will make me homesick for my children and all of the chaos that comes with it. At some point, during my little getaway, I will miss being called, "Mommy." What a blessing to have a break so I can remember that this is all worth it.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Theological Questions

I was going through video footage in order to download skits and dramas from camp. While searching for what I needed, I came across the Christmas pageant from church, called "Angel Alert." Immediately, the kids heard the familiar tunes and sat down to watch.

At one point during the show, one of the lines says something about Lucifer. After all those practices of Abby hearing that line, it suddenly dawned on her that she had no idea who that was. So, she asked, "Who's Lucifer?"

Wow. What a fun can of worms to open.

I started with the simplest of explanations by saying, "Lucifer is Satan." As she continued to stare blankly at me, I realized I actually had to continue. I explained how Lucifer was a beautiful angel in Heaven who thought he knew better than God and how he was kicked out of Heaven and now lives in Hell. Which, of course, brought the question, "What's hell?"

Yippee-the conversation had to keep going.

I told her that Hell is where Satan lives and that it is a terrible place because God does not exist there. Then I reassured her that she did not need to worry about it because everyone who believes in Jesus goes to Heaven and never has to go to Hell. Of course my constantly thinking girl asked, "Then what happens to the people who do not believe in Jesus? Do they go to Hell?"

I really wish I could have sugar coated the truth, but there was nothing I could say but, "Yes, they do. But that is why it is important for us to always tell people about Jesus so they can go to Heaven, too."

That seemed to satisfy her for a moment and then she asked, "So, is Satan the serpent in the garden?" When I told her yes, she asked, "Then how did he look like a serpent? Was it a costume?"

Well, the fun continued. I explained how Satan is powerful, too, and can make himself look like other things. But, no matter how powerful he is, we know how everything will end-God will win the battle. She seemed happy with that and opened her Bible to the chapter about the Garden of Eden titled, "The terrible lie." She said, "Some of my other Bibles just say it was a serpent, but this one says it was Satan and that he was lying-I wonder why the other ones don't say that?"

I wonder why, too. Perhaps because they are written for children and do not want to scare them or confuse them. But, this particular Bible, "The Jesus Storybook Bible," writes the truth and always brings the reader back to the love story of Jesus. (Warning: Book plug here) Here is an excerpt from the first chapter...

"...The Bible isn't a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a Story. It's an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It's a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne-everything-to rescue the one he loves. It's like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life! You see, the best thing about this Story is-it's true."

I used to dread the kinds of questions that Abby just asked, but after the year we have had, I have come to realize that every difficult situation presents an opportunity to show the gospel. Telling the kids that we lost their brother or sister last December was not something I wanted to do, but instead of them questioning God, they talked about how they will meet him or her in Heaven someday. Instead of Abby questioning the existence of a place called Hell, she is learning about the grace of God that rescues us from such a terrible place.

Everything that has happened since the beginning of time has been woven together by this amazing artist we call our Father. I am excited to see the pattern He has laid out for my children and how I can be a part of it.

Monday, August 2, 2010

More Sayings Of My Children

-Caleb's Sunday School teacher told me yesterday that when the question was asked, "What did you learn from the lesson today?" that Caleb gave a fun response. He announced, "I learned that I wear underwear to bed at naptime and not a pull-up!"

Okay, so I might be able to relate that to a story about Moses...somehow...nope, sorry, can't do it.

-As I sat down and sighed an exhausted sigh, Abby sat next to me, rubbed my belly and said, "I know, Mommy, I know. I know what it's like to be pregnant."

Oh really, my five-year old? You know what it is like to be pregnant? Yikes. It really was a sweet thing to say and I know what she meant-just a really funny thing to hear my innocent daughter say.