The Kids

The Kids

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

True Self

Why is it that children can be perfect angels in any setting except for their own home?

We had parent teacher conferences this past week and sat through two meetings of total praise of our kids. Really? Perhaps they were thinking of someone else's pride and joy?

Apparently, both Abby and Caleb are leaders in their class who are kind and considerate of others. They both share, listen and follow directions. And, my personal favorite, exercise self-control.

(Considering self-control is always the last star they earn on their chart at home, I found this particularly amusing.)

We heard examples of how sweet they are to their classmates. I am proud of them, but I am a bit confused on why this behavior is such a rare occurence in our house. These are the same kids who consistenly fight, argue, tease and hit each other. They are so competitve that it becomes a race to see who can get to the bathroom and wash their hands first. Abby constantly leaves Caleb behind and Caleb constantly screams in frustration at being left behind. When we have company, it gets worse. Any chance of self-control gets thrown out the window.

Yet, here I sit with two progress reports full of praise for these little humans we are attempting to raise. What happened?

I guess this is normal. We give our best to the public and save our true nature for those who will never leave us. Those of you who are married know exactly what I mean. Raise your hand if you have ever been in the middle of arguing with your spouse, only to have to answer the phone in a sweet voice that reflects nothing but peace on your side of the line. Or, one of my favorites, you are mad at each other in the car, but put on a happy face when you reach your destination. This is especially fun when your destination is church.

Who actually answers honestly when asked the question, "How are you today?" I think we give the generic "Good" with a smile and head nod because we know our true answer would terrify the one asking the question into never wanting to talk to us again.

We feel safe in our own homes to be ourselves and let all the ugly hang out. I suppose it is a good thing that my kids can be their true, sinful selves with each other-that tells me that they feel safe and know that nothing they do will make us love them less.

It would just be nice if they could show a little bit of their school selves at home from time to time...

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Caleb's preschool class took some time last week to guess what was inside a pumpkin. His teacher passed on their predictions, which I found pretty funny. Enjoy...

-Little people...friends!
-Bells...quiet bells
-An apple
-A star
-An apple is stuck in there
-A princess and butterfly
-I don't know?
-Maybe a star
-Goo and maybe another pumpkin (that would be Caleb's guess)
-Maybe a ball
-Maybe seeds
-I think it's a princess and her name is Sophia (said a girl named Sophia)
-A star
-I think a brownie
-A star

What fun three and four-year olds. I can imagine a few of them were disappointed when their predictions did not come true. Finding a star or princess inside would be much more exciting than seeds and goo.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Time With Caleb

Everyone has been asking me how Abby and Caleb are adjusting to life with Noah. For the most part, not too much has changed. Abby is old enough to understand what is going on and has not shown any jealousy. Caleb has done well, too, but at times I see him get angry over the simplest thing and it seems he is looking for extra attention.

He has become the middle child.

It is rough because our times of being home together in the afternoon while Abby is at school has now changed. Half of the time I am nursing Noah and when I am not, I am still holding or changing him. This will get easier as Noah grows, but for now, I know it is hard for Caleb to quite understand how one little baby can take up so much of his mommy's time.

The other day, I left a well-fed Noah at home with Nick and Abby and took Caleb to the store. He needed new underwear so we made a special trip so he could pick out his favorite pairs. On the way home, he said, "Mommy, I love you. You are my best friend."

My heart melted.

This son of mine is not asking for special attention. He is just missing the normal attention that he usually gets. I did not need to take him somewhere exciting or fun. Just a trip to the store to buy underwear.

After all, who doesn't get excited about new underwear?

Monday, October 18, 2010


Caleb has been full of fun quotes ever since his brother was born. These are some of my favorites...

-When meeting Noah for the first time, he asked three important questions:

"Can he walk, yet?"
"Can he do backflips?"
"Is he coming home with us?"

-When first watching Noah nurse, he asked if his brother was drinking from my belly button. I explained it was my nipple and he said, "I want to suck on that, too."

-At church this past Sunday, a friend who was teaching Caleb's Sunday School class told me of the following conversation. The lesson was on things that are hard to do in life (the Bible lesson being on David as a shepherd). When asked for examples, Caleb volunteered his story-his mom had to do a really hard thing when she pushed out his new baby brother.

-That same Sunday at church, someone said to him, "Wow, Caleb, you look so much bigger to me. Are you a big brother now?" He replied, "Nope, I'm four now."

-Caleb asked his dad if he was thirsty and wanted some milk. He then lifted his shirt and pointed to his nipple.
Oh Caleb, you are never boring.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Postpartum Bliss

I remember thinking while pregnant with Abby that once she came out, everything would feel "normal" again. In other words, all of the pain of pregnancy and labor would be worth it, because my body would feel great again.

The laughter at my total ignorance is bubbling out of me as I type this.

It seems women are made aware of every possible pain and inconvenience of the pregnancy months. Most are even told of the endless possibilities of things to occur during labor that might be embarrassing. But, it seems no one talks about the first few weeks of postpartum bliss.

For those of you who have gone through or are going through this experience, this is for you to not feel alone. For those who have not yet experienced this joyous time, please do not let it scare you from future pregnancies.

Here are my "favorite" parts of the first few weeks of motherhood...

1) No matter your birthing story, your body will feel like it has been through a war. And it will look like it. Stretch marks, stitches, hemrrhoids, sore nipples, stretched out skin...need I go on?

2) Some women (and their husbands) think it is great to have larger breasts during the nursing time. Too bad that the sore nipples and engorgement take away any desire for them to be touched.

3) Taking a shower (when you actually get the chance every three days or so) starts out pleasant, until you face toward the water with full breasts-ouch.

4) I have heard for men to understand labor, it would be like them pushing a watermelon out of know. Picturing that kind of trauma should tell you how everything feels for a woman after giving birth.

5) Going to the bathroom during those first few days is an event. It requires extra time and lots of supplies. The best is when your husband comes to check on why it is taking you so long. Please try and keep your patience with him.

6) It has been said that nursing is a great way to lose weight because of all of the calories being taken from your body. However, the truth is that you are constantly hungry as this little creature drains the life out of you. Get ready to eat-a lot.

7) Babies do not know their nights from days for awhile. It makes sense-while in the womb, they tend to sleep during the day because of their mother's constant motion. Understanding this concept during the day is easy to accept. Seeing the logic in the middle of the night when the sweet child continues to interrupt your needed sleep is another thing.

8) At first, the baby eating every three hours seems like it would give you enough time inbetween to get things done and to rest. Then, you realize that after the baby eats for 30-45 minutes, after you burp and change him or her, then keep him or her awake (to learn night from day) and finally put him or her back down to sleep-you are left with about 15 minutes of "me" time.

To be fair, there are many lovely advantages to this time as well. For me, I love the fact that we are blessed with meals from friends for the next month. It is also nice to have an excuse to just stay home and rest-no one expects much from a new mom during those first few weeks. After watching you give birth, your husband has a newfound respect for you. This respect gets greater the more dramatic the birth (mine thinks I am a hero right now).

And, of course, the blessing of a new child that has made all of the drama worth it. I will gladly suffer through the pain and tiredness as I get to know this new little one in my life. Noah, you are worth it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Noah Michael

Well, he has arrived. I kept wondering how he would make his entrance into the world-painful, but then calm like Abby or nice and easy like Caleb.

Turned out, Noah had his own special way of coming into our lives.

I woke up Sunday morning, 10/10/10, a little before 2 a.m. with slight contractions. I thought it might be due to eating a root beer float not long before going to bed (really smart) and since they were not terribly painful, I waited to see if they were for real. By 3 a.m., we called Nick's mom to come and stay with the kids and started packing a bag. Somewhere in the midst of that, the contractions suddenly became very real and I wondered why on earth I ever waited for a second to leave for the hospital.

By the time we left the house, my contractions were two minutes apart. Yes, two minutes. I seem to recall them being that close together when I was almost ready to delivery my first two children. Funny.

I could not wait to get out of the house because all I wanted to do was scream, but did not want to wake up my first two blessings. As soon as I got in the van, I started yelling and punching the dashboard. My apologies to the neighbors. And my apologies to mother-in-law for whatever foul language I was expressing to her son while he stopped to record his precious sporting events of the day.

As Nick was pulling out of our neighborhood, he actually asked me, "Which is the quickest way, do you think?" Are you kidding me? Through my painful gasps, I managed to remind him that the highway was the way to go and to not stop for anything.

He smartly stopped at our first red light to watch for oncoming traffic, then went through it and thankfully, God blessed us with green lights the rest of the way. No cops on the highway (even though I know Nick was secretly wanting to get pulled over just so he could use the excuse, "My wife is in labor"), but as soon as we took the exit, we pulled up behind a police car. Seriously? Less than a mile from the hospital and now we had to start following the rules?

We got caught at a red light, still behind the cop and apparently my words to Nick were, "Just flash your lights and go around him-he'll see that you're going to the emergency entrance and he'll understand."

For some reason, my husband chose not to listen to his rational wife.

Miraculously, the light changed twenty seconds later (which felt like twenty minutes) and the cop turned off the road (Nick thinks the officer was scared by the sound of my screams and the pounding of the dashboard). All I could think was how badly I wanted to stand up because sitting was miserable with each contraction.

We pulled into the emergency entrance, I jumped out of the car and started yelling. I really did not mean to frighten the entire hospital staff who heard me from inside, but it was the only thing I could do to deal with the pain.

I was wheeled up to the labor and delivery floor, scribbled a couple of signatures on some paperwork and just kept yelling. I heard someone say, "Get her straight to delivery" and for the first time that night, the thought occurred to me that I might not get my desired epidural.

I held on to Nick and walked to the delivery room (because, again, sitting was unbelievably uncomfortable), stopping every few seconds to deal with another contraction. Got into the room and started changing into my gown. They asked me if my water broke, to which I said no and that it never does on its own. The words were barely out of my mouth when I felt the huge gush. That was interesting.

They helped me onto the table, checked me and within a couple of seconds I heard, "You're 10 cm-go ahead and push."

This was where I was completely torn with emotions. I still had this little voice inside of me yelling, "No, where's my epidural?" while the rest of me was thinking, "Thank the good Lord that I can finally push." Within a minute or two, Noah came right out. Born at 3:57 a.m. Two hours after starting contractions.

It was the most surreal experience that I have ever had. Because there was no waiting around time to think about him coming, it took me a few minutes to truly comprehend that he was really there, sitting on my stomach, staring at me with wide eyes. Simply amazing.

Once we were calm and put back together, Noah nursed really well. He was very alert for such a long time and Nick and I got to enjoy such precious moments together with our new son. He weighed 8 lb 3 1/2 oz and was 21 1/4 inches long. Because of the heat this summer, this was my most unactive pregnancy and somehow I delivered my smallest baby.

Abby and Caleb have already given me days of quotes and stories to share with you all, but for now I will end with how sweet they are with their new brother. They are still fighting and aruging with one another, but they are dear with Noah. I will enjoy these moments as long as I can.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

6th Birthday

Happy 6th Birthday to my sweet Abigail Grace.

You are such a kind and sweet girl. I love your compassion for other people, even for those who you do not know.

It has been a joy watching you learn and grow this year. When you started reading not too long after your 5th birthday, I could not believe it. Now, as I watch you read Charlotte's Web and The Wizard of Oz by yourself, I am still in shock. I love seeing you get excited about school and homework every day. (It will be fun to see how long that lasts!)

Even though you and Caleb argue a lot, I am so proud of you when you take time to play with him and try to teach him things. You are such a nice big sister to him and will be to Noah as well.

Your joy of knowing Jesus is amazing to me. I love your faith and excitement over everything you learn from reading your Bible. I pray that passion always continues to grow.

I love you, Miss Abby, and am so thankful to have you in my life.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

4th Birthday

Happy 4th Birthday to my sweet Caleb Paul.

Seriously, four years old? How did that happen?

This has been a joyous year watching you grow. You can gone from a boy in his "terrible three's" to a happy preschooler. Every time I watch you leave for school proudly carrying your backpack, I am amazed at how easily you adjust to new surroundings. My little man who always loved to stay home (and still does, for the most part) goes to school every morning and enjoys every bit of it.

I am told by your teacher that you are very kind to your friends. You share and help them and always listen. Even though I would appreciate it even more if you showed some of that attitude toward your sister, I am so proud to hear what kind of boy you have become.

Your energy sometimes exhausts me, but it is so fun to see you enjoy life. Your love of baseball makes your Daddy proud (so does your tendency for throwing, batting, and kicking as a lefty) and it makes all the nicks in the walls from your indoor sporting practices worth it.

I am looking forward to seeing you as a big brother any day now. Your love for the baby that you have not met, yet, is so sweet. I know you will take care of him and not gang up on your sister...right?

I love you, my dear Caleb, and am blessed beyond belief to have you in my life. Happy Birthday.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Reds Game

We took the kids to their first Cincinnati Reds game this past weekend. I know, I know-six years of Abby being around and this was her first game? In my defense, we meant to go earlier this season, but would anyone really want to see a pregnant woman sweating it out in the nose bleed section with two crazy kids? That would be a no.

It ended up being the perfect night to go. Actually, let me rephrase-the perfect weather night. As for other circumstances, not so much.

We bought our cheap tickets and headed for the top section. This is where I am torn as a parent. The top section means no chance of a line drive hitting my child in the head. But, it does make me dizzy and in constant fear that they could slip on a step and go hurdling down onto the section below.

Yes, I am a mom.

Of course the kids were excited about our seats in peanut heaven. To them, that was the best place to be. They happily settled down in their seats, lasted about two minutes before begging for cotton candy, and excitedly watched their surroundings.

Our seats actually had a pretty good view-right behind home plate (well, behind and up a bit). On an aisle so this pregnant lady did not have to make people move with every bathroom trip. I even said to Nick, "These are great seats because we will be able to see everything really well." Okay, so I guess I jinxed us.

Turns out it was Boy Scout night. And, it turns out, most of the Boy Scouts just happened to be in our section. Now, these are not your polite, mature, older Boy Scouts-these were little kids who did not have any idea on how to sit still through a baseball game. Heck, they could not sit still through an inning. Okay, not even one at bat.

Between the crazy scouts who kept running up and down the stairs (while their parents ignored them and watched the game) and the drunk guys in the next section over who got escorted out, I am not sure I watched too much of the actual game. Oh, and let us not forget the other spectators in our row...

Here is a lesson for all of you who do not know how to sit down at a game:

-You look at your ticket and find your section.
-Before heading up or down the stairs in that particular section, take another look at your ticket and find your seat number. If it looks like your seat is closer to the other side of the row, start on that side. Does it really make sense to enter your row from the side that is furthest from your seat?
-If you really cannot handle the above lesson and still make your entire row stand up for you to cross through with all of your food and bags, can you not give the nine month pregnant woman a dirty look for not giving you enough room?
-Make a decision about where you are going before standing in front of an entire section of people who paid to watch a game and not your behind.

Once the drunk guys were thrown out, people stopped arriving to our section and the boy scouts settled down (because one little boy bumped his head and a genius adult finally said, "You guys need to settle down!") it was the seventh inning. We stretched and sang our song, then left with the kids who were hitting their exhaustion point. Ice cream in hand, we walked the six blocks uphill to our car (waiting for me to go into labor at any point) and headed home.

The kids were asleep before we crossed the first bridge out of the city.

As I started to drift off as well, an image from the movie Parenthood popped into my mind. It is the opening credit scene in which the family of five is walking back to their mini-van from the baseball game with all of their gear and exhausted children. That scene always made me tired and now it just makes me smile.