The Kids

The Kids

Monday, November 29, 2010

Traveling Home

Ah, another adventure driving across the great state of Ohio.

We started in Pennsylvania with the high hopes of making it back to Cincinnati before dark. The "before dark" part was very important for two main reasons-1) To keep the sleepy infant awake as much as possible so as to not have a long night of awakeness and 2) We were carrying our freshly cut Christmas tree on top of the van and were hoping for sunlight as we unloaded it.

Alas, our plan of being home within five hours was not meant to be. Seven hours turned out to be the magic number.

It started with not getting on the road until an hour later than I had planned. I blame my mother and her amazing cooking. If not for her delicious breakfast that kept us at the table for seconds (and thirds), we could have left earlier.

Then, we hit some traffic. It was because of an accident so it was hard to complain when those involved were clearly having a worse day than us.

Nick still managed to make good time, even with the traffic and the weight of the tree slowing us down. He kept on going to make it to our favorite exit. Yes, we have a favorite interstate exit. The gas is usually cheap (well, cheaper than most, anyway), they have a Starbucks and the family bathrooms are always clean. You parents of young children know the value of the family bathroom-wonderful invention.

Anyway, we were nearing our exit when the gas light came on. Nick checked the mileage count and figured we had enough to make it to our exit. A little over a mile before the exit, with Abby in the back announcing she needed the bathroom and the clock showing it was almost time for Noah to eat lunch, the van ran out of gas.

Now, I have heard of such a thing happening to other people and was always confused on how it could actually occur. Who runs out of gas? When it gets low, you fill it up-not too complicated. Most vehicles, like ours, even give you a big warning sign as you near the empty point.

Apparently, our van was not giving the resistance of the tree enough credit. It clearly drained our gas in a quicker time than anticipated, thus leaving us stranded.

Fortunately, we were within a half a mile from our exit and even better, a driver going 88 mph got pulled over by the police right near that same exit. (Warning to all Interstate 71 drivers-they clock you from the air.) After I offered to run up to the police car to get some help and after Nick gave me a "Are you crazy?" look at my idea, he then left us and ran up to the car. The kids thought it was hilarious. Abby even saw the bright side when she said, "Daddy's getting some exercise!"

The police officer gladly drove Nick the rest of the way where he purchased a ridiculously expensive gas can, filled it up, then caught his ride back to the van. As I watched them take the turn around in our rearview mirror, I could imagine Nick's feeling of power as the cruiser turned on its lights and merged into traffic. It was fun for me to watch the drivers go past with a look of panic upon their faces, thinking they were about to get a ticket.

We finally reached our exit and filled up (along with every other person driving home that holiday weekend). As Caleb had already relieved himself on the side of the road during our wait, Abby and I used the bathroom (love that family bathroom since it kept us from waiting in a long line), I fed a screaming Noah, and over an hour later, we were on our way.

Three accidents and traffic jams later, we gave in and pulled over again. Little Noah just did not understand that he was supposed to wait more than three hours to eat and the kids were getting restless from sitting for so long. Nick pulled into a McDonald's parking lot, toward the back and away from everyone else, giving me some nursing privacy. He took the kids in while I had some alone time with Noah.

Our peace was interrupted by the roaring engine of a pick-up truck. Of all the parking spaces in the lot, these two men decided to back up right next to our van. I am sure they both enjoyed a lovely shot of my boob while they parked the truck and had a great view from up high. It must have affected the driver because as he was backing into his spot, he managed to knock over the garbage can on the sidewalk. You know, the really big, cement cans they have connected to the ground? Yep, he pushed one over with his truck.

I have to give the guy credit-he at least took a glancing look at the back as he got out to see what he hit. Then he walked into the restaurant, bought his super healthy food, then got back on the truck and drove away without another thought about the mess he left.

Wow, what a classy guy.

We finally made it home without another incident. Even managed to bring the tree in without too much of a mess. Cereal for dinner, baths for all three kids, and we were finally able to sit down and relax. Yes, our house looked like a tornado hit it, but oh well-at least we finally made it home.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Recipes

Here is another treat from Caleb's preschool class. If anyone is looking for a pumpkin pie recipe, you are more than welcome to try these out. I do not think any of them would be edible, but it is worth a read...

PK 3's Recipes for Pumpkin Pie

-We put sprinkles in it, lots of sprinkles! We put in seeds, lots of seeds! We mix it with the dough. We mix it into pie. We cook it every day. It takes two times. Then we eat it!

-You put in pumpkin and mash it. You don't put anything else in. You cook it for ten minutes or nine minutes. And then you make the table pretty and put lots of food on the table and then we'll put the pie on the table. And then I'm done!

-Get a pumpkin, put some salt and sugar. And then stir it. You put it in the oven. Cook it for ten minutes and then eat it!

-I put apples and some pumpkins in it. I mix it up and then it's a pumpkin pie!

-I help my mommy to make pumpkin pie. I put in sauce and salt. I stir it and I mash it. I bake it in the oven. Then you look at it but don't eat it!

-I put sugar in and salt, not anything else. I stir it with a mix and stir it in a bowl. Then you cook it in the oven. It's done and we eat it!

-We put it in a bowl. We put in watermelon and oranges and blueberries and strawberries. We stir it five times. We cook it in the oven for five times. My dad puts little sprinkles on it. We eat it and it's good!

-First I celebrate my birthday. Then I put in pumpkin, then something yummy like yogurt. Then I try it!

-You just mash the pumpkin and then you put in sugar and some skittles candy. Then you stir it up. Then you put one cherry on top. Then you cook it for 45 minutes. Take it out and eat it!

-Put in banana. Lots of pumpkin, two or three pumpkins. And fish. Cook it and eat it for dinner!

-Put in carrots and pumpkin. That's it. I just stir it and then I put it in the oven and then I eat it!

-I mix up pumpkin and sugar in that bowl and I hold it. It cooks all by itself and then I eat it all!

-Get a fork and spoon and then I get a knife. I put beans in it and rice and corn and M&Ms. I stir it and put cookies in it and bake it in the baking area for eight minutes. I put lolly pops on it and eat it!

-I put in Reese cups then pumpkin. I put it in a bowl and stir it and put bacon on it and I cook it for five. That's all!

-I put in banana and an orange and a lemon and soup and stir it in a bowl and I cook it for ten. Take it out and eat it!

And, from my own personal Chef Caleb...

-I first start with ice cream. Next I think seeds and then maybe like jelly. Then grapes, oranges, apples and chicken. I put whipped cream in too and put it in the oven. I cook it for five minutes. Then I eat it and share it!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Proposal

There is a boy in Abby's class who simply finds her fascinating. Mr. Joshua continues to make comments about how they are boyfriend and girlfriend, to which Abby just laughs off. She thinks it is funny and claims they are "just friends."

Of course you are "just friends," sweet Abby. You are six years old.

The other day, Nick dropped Abby off at school a little early, which meant she went down to the gym with other students where they wait for the bell to ring to start their day. She ran ahead to join her friends and before Nick could catch up with her, Joshua announced to Abby, "I want to marry you!"

Later on, we asked her what her response was, to which she claimed she could not remember. However, Nick's point of view did not look good. She looked at him approaching and said, "Bye Daddy!"

Great. She is already listening to sweet words from boys and waving off her dad. And this is only kindergarten.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Caleb's Prayers

Caleb has been known to find every reason in the world to leave his room at bedtime. Sometimes he is dying of thirst and needs numerous drinks of water. Other times he is suddenly filled with a deep love for his sister and wants to give her "just one more hug and kiss." Or, he has a terrible stomachache that requires a Tums.

Last night, he came up with a whole new scheme.

He came out of his room and started the following conversation with his dad...
Caleb: "I'm praying a lot, Daddy. I'm praying to God and He gives me what I want."
Nick: "Caleb, you need to get back in your room before you get in trouble."
Caleb: "Daddy, I'm praying that you don't raise your voice."
Nick: "Okay. And I am praying that you go back into your room."

Caleb went back into his room for a whole thirty seconds before coming out again. This time, Nick spoke with a "raised voice."
Nick: "Get back into your room, Caleb!"
Caleb: "You can't raise your voice, Daddy, remember?"
Nick: "You better not talk that way, Caleb, or I will have to come up and spank you."

At this point, Caleb bowed his head and prayed out loud, "Please God, take away Daddy's arms so he can't spank me."

Imagine his surprise when God did not answer his prayers.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Our Long Week

I believe there is a quote somewhere that goes along the lines of "Man plans...God laughs." So goes this past week.

After finally adjusting to life as a mom who does not get enough sleep and is totally outnumbered by three children, I had plans this week of tackling my to-do list. Errands to run, thank-you notes to finish writing and mail, gift cards to spend, closets to clean, clothes to organize...the list went on and on.

Nick had a decent to-do list as well. Actually, as an English teacher who coaches, runs the yearbook and school newspaper and tutors, he always has an ongoing to-do list. Add on the weekend retreat he is in charge of in the winter, and you can imagine how much he is juggling at one time.

Here is the part where God laughs...

Monday, Nick and the kids got in his car to leave for school and work, while Noah and I got in the van to make an appointment on time. As Nick backed the car into the street, it decided to stay in reverse. For some reason, the car would not shift into any other gear. He finally shifted it enough so that we could push it back into the driveway (which the kids found really cool), we all piled into the van and I raced to get them to school on time, while attempting to not be too late for my own appointment.

Tuesday arrived and God kept on laughing. I woke up with a high fever and many aches and pains. Nick stayed home from work to help me take care of Noah and eventually the rest of the kids as they gradually came home from school. I basically fed Noah every three hours and slept the rest of the day.

Wednesday was a lot like Tuesday.

Finally, a little relief on Thursday with my temperature at a less scary number and the pain not so bad. Nick returned to work and I attempted to clean up the house. It is simply amazing how out of control this place gets when I am out of commission for two lousy days.

Friday brought a little more comfort and the house was slightly better. I could almost see the kitchen counter after going through one of the many stacks of "stuff." (Funny how none of the "stuff" was mine.) Nick finally got back to figuring out what was wrong with the car (yes, still with one vehicle this entire week) and was able to make a dent in his to-do list.

And here we are on Saturday. I was ready to wake-up and really get everything put away once and for all. After all, how bad could our little house get?

Pretty bad.

The problem has been that whenever I go to put something away, I realize the area where each item belongs is such a mess that I have to start with cleaning the area first. It is a never-ending battle.

I believe my favorite part of the entire week was hearing Nick say, "I have no idea how you do it, Tammy. How do you get anything done with these kids around?"

Thank you, beloved husband. Thank you. That is all I need to hear from time to time to feel like what I do has some value. I may not make money doing this and everything I do each day is undone by the next day. The results of my hardwork are not easily seen. But, to hear my husband say "How do you do it?" brings a little bit of worth to my labors.

And yes, I know God is not really laughing at my sickness or our broken car (still getting fixed, by the way), but I should really learn that my plans will never work out exactly how I think they should. And that's okay. If not for my two days off, I might not have heard Nick's expression of appreciation.

Husbands, take note and go thank your wives right now. It will make their week.