The Kids

The Kids

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Jesus And The Wii

The kids favorite thing to do while playing Wii, lately, is to create a bunch of Miis.

Let me explain for the non-Wii readers...a Mii is the character that you create for yourself on Wii.  I thought it was a simple case of each player has their own Mii, but you can actually create as many as you want and make them move around the "room" in funny ways.  Hilarious, if you are a kid. 

Okay, so I find it kind of funny, too.

Anyway, the kids have been making lots of Miis.  Most of them are names of their friends.  Caleb has made numerous Noahs-some on behalf of his little brother and the others named after his friend at school.  He has also made many Calebs.  Shocking, I know.

The other day I heard this conversation while they were eating dinner and plotting out their next adventure in Mii Land...

Caleb:  "I'm going to be a bad character."
Abby:  "But, you can't be the bad character-you are being the king.  Kings are good."
Caleb:  "Well, what about King Harold?  I'm going to be King Harold.  He was bad."
Me (finally chiming in):  "You mean King Herod?"
Caleb:  "Yeah, that's what I said."

From that point on, the conversation somehow got to them discussing how to make a Jesus Wii and how they always wanted Jesus on their team because He's the best and would make them win every game.

Perhaps they should talk with Tim Tebow about that theory.

Seriously, though, I love their never-ending series of thoughts.  I love that they see Jesus as the winner of all.  True, He most likely does not care too much about who wins a game, but He does care about each individual player.  Just as He cares for Abby and Caleb and their attitudes toward how the game is played.

Not too long after this conversation, I heard Caleb say, "Look at my team!  We just won!  I played with Jesus, Noah, and Mommy!"

Sounds like a pretty terrific team.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Store Trip

I told my mom that she should just run into the store while the kids and I waited in the car.

She did not believe me.

So, we ran into the store, in the pouring rain, to grab "a few things."

I decided to put Noah in the fun cart where he could "drive" himself around.  Caleb insisted that he could sit next to him and still fit.  As I finally gave in and put him next to his brother, he looked at me and said, "See-I can fit."

He said this while his knees were squished up to his chin, but whatever.  He made sure that he was right.

Abby then insisted on pushing the cart.  Sure.  Why not?  We only knocked over a few displays.

My pro shoppers started scoping out the place for samples.  The older two enjoyed some juice, while Noah reached for the cup of cereal.  I handed it to him, but kept the spoon.  Well, you would think that I was keeping his lovey from him.  He cried with much drama until I handed him the spoon.  But, genius mom that I am, I took away the cereal.  You see, I understand that Noah trying to use a spoon equals a mess.

Apparently, not holding his precious cereal was a tragedy, so I gave in and let him hold it.  About two seconds later, it all fell on the floor.

I refrained from saying, "I told you so," simply because he would not understand a word that I was saying.

The best was when Noah started crying and I realized that he had unbuckled his seatbelt (no idea how), turned over and his feet were stuck in the bottom of the cart.  I had to remove Caleb first in order to have room to move Noah.  While pulling Caleb out, his shoe got stuck and fell off.

Really? 

I found myself standing in the middle of the aisle, one kid crying and stuck backwards, with the other kid laying on the floor without a shoe.  A man walked by and I could see him laughing.

I gave up and started laughing, too.

I finally unstuck Noah and sat him properly in his seat.  Went to check-out and who do I see but my junior high home-ec teacher.  Perfect timing.  Clearly, the scene that I had just created showed that I did not listen well in her class.

Finished off the trip by running outside in the rain with Noah continually taking off his hood to drink the rain.

Next time, we are staying in the car.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Thoughts

I have a pile of cookies to make, a ton of laundry to wash, and my house is a disaster after Abby's playdate with the girls in her class yesterday.  But, I need to write!

This busy week and the fact that I am still getting over a never-ending cold has not left me with very much time to just sit and think. 

Oh, and of course I have had to spend way too many minutes of my life updating my Facebook pictures before this whole Timeline thing goes public.  Brilliant idea-let's pick the one week of the year where everyone is running around like crazy, trying to get last minute things done, and pressure them to have their profile updated before Christmas Eve.

I know.  Such priorities that I have in my life.  Such problems.

Anyway, today's topic is The Elf on the Shelf.

Whose bright idea was this?

I never heard of the idea until this year.  Apparently, this lovely tradition involves moving an elf around the house, so that he is found in a different place every day.  The elf is Santa's helper and reports back to him on if everyone is behaving.

Kind of creepy, if you ask me, but I can see the fun in it.  Judging from the numerous Facebook pictures that friends have posted, Mr. Elf can find himself in some pretty interesting places.

So, clearly, my children do not know much about the elf.  But, their neighbor does.  The other day, Abby was playing at their house and said something about not thinking the elf is real.  To keep their five-year old innocent for a little while longer, the mom pulled Abby aside and nicely asked her not to say things like that in front of her daughter, which I completely understand. 

All this time, I was worried about Abby having the magic stolen on the playground by some classmate that has older siblings.  I never thought that she would be the one stealing it from others.

Between her scepticism and her amazing reading skills (she read the teeny-tiny return address on the American Girl Store package that was on the porch when she got home from school-way to ring the bell, delivery guy), it is getting harder and harder to fool her.  I am thinking it almost easier to just tell her the truth to avoid further complications.

If she comes out and asks about Santa again, I will tell her the truth.  The thing is, I could totally see her thinking it is awesome that she knows something that Caleb does not know.

Even in the midst of the this Santa and Elf business, I love that my kids are still excited about the actual reason that we celebrate this holiday.  The birth of our Savior. 

There have been times that we have missed an actual dinner together, especially when Nick is working games at the school.  But, my kids still get out the advent stuff and read the latest page in the book.  They love hearing the story of Jesus' birth and wait for me to light the candle.  They quickly open the calendar to see what picture is next.

It probably helps that my mom gave them an advent book that has a piece of chocolate for every day, but I think that it is their love of Christ that drives them to remember...

Anyway, only a few more days until the big event.  All of the planning and baking and buying will come together.

And in the middle of all of that, a baby was born, changing us forever.

Monday, December 19, 2011

If You Give Me A Muffin

I have lots of thoughts to write about, but as this is the first day that I have felt somewhat healthy, I need time to catch up.

In the meantime, I found this on a friend's facebook page today and thought it was perfect.  I believe it was written by someone named Kathy Fictorie and is based on the "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" and such books by Laura Numeroff.

IF YOU GIVE A MOM A MUFFIN

If you give a mom a muffin, she'll want a cup of coffee to go with it. She'll pour herself some. Her three-year-old will spill the coffee. She'll wipe it up. Wiping the floor, she will find dirty socks. She'll remember she has to do laundry. When she puts the laundry in the washer, she'll trip over boots and bump into the freezer. Bumping into the freezer will remind her she has to plan supper. She will get out a pound of hamburger. She'll look for her cookbook. (101 Things To Make With A Pound Of Hamburger.) The cookbook is sitting under a pile of mail. She will see the phone bill, which is due tomorrow. She will look for her checkbook. The checkbook is in her purse that is being dumped out by her two-year-old. She'll smell something funny. She'll change the two-year-old. While she is changing the two-year-old the phone will ring. Her five-year-old will answer and hang up. She'll remember that she wants to phone a friend to come for coffee. Thinking of coffee will remind her that she was going to have a cup. She will pour herself some. And chances are, if she has a cup of coffee, her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.

Yep.  That about sums up my days.  Add on a terrible cold that I am just now getting over and you will understand my exhaustion.

 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Magic Might Be Gone

While Abby was "helping" Nick hang up Christmas lights a couple of weeks ago, she started having the dreaded conversation. 

No, not that one.  She is only seven. 

She told Nick that sometimes she does not think that Santa Claus is real and that we just buy all of the presents. 

Crap.  The magic is ending.

Nick never confirmed that she was correct, but simply said, "Talk to your mom about it."

Thanks partner.

Thankfully, Abby never brought it up again.  I am hoping that if she does bring it up, that she chooses not to do so in front of Caleb.  At least let him keep the magic a little longer.  In the meantime, she keeps talking about when Santa is coming, made reindeer food to sprinkle on the lawn, and was just this morning asking me what the reindeer's names were.

I remember being very skeptical as a child about the whole thing.  I stopped believing at a rather young age, but kept up appearances to humor my parents.  My life was never shattered by the whole experience-I just grew up.

My brother found out in a fun way.  He wrote his letter to Santa, which my mom said that she mailed.  A few weeks later, he was reaching for something on top of the fridge (don't ask my why or how he was doing this) and found the letter.  My mom tried to cover up by explaining that it was another letter that he wrote and that she really did send the original.

Nice try, Mom.  Billy played along for a little while longer, but the damage was done.  The magic was gone.

If Abby really does pick this year to stop believing, I hope that she is not the kid at school that every parent dreads.  The one who tells all of their precious children that there is no Santa Claus.

Well, I knew this day would come, but I was hoping it would hold out a little longer.  And if Abby finds out, it is only a matter of time before Caleb figures it out, too.

Poor Noah.  He does not stand a chance.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Carseats

In order to help my loving husband out this morning, I agreed to take the kids to school.  He had an early meeting and lots of grading to do, so I skipped my normally slow Monday morning and hustled to get everyone ready on time.

Caleb was a pure delight.  Three of us were wearing coats and shoes when I realized that he was still eating breakfast in his pajamas.  After "patiently" motivating him to get ready, we finally all walked outside to the already running van.  You see, I was smart and started the van earlier so that it was warm and defrosted for us.

Somehow, when I ran out to start it, I neglected to glance at the backseats. 

As I opened the door with all three kids around me, I realized that I was missing something.  Noah's carseat.

Hmm.

I quickly ran through my options.  Not take the kids to school?  No way.  My head was already spinning from their volumn level.  Borrow another seat from a neighbor?  Perhaps.

Everyone had already gone to school, except for my next door neighbor.  I hesitantly rang his bell, knowing that he was probably asleep since he tends to work at night.  He never answered, so either he was really, really asleep or else he chose to ignore whoever might be crazy enough to ring the bell at 7:52 a.m. 

Then I regretted even drawing his attention to look out the window.  Since I was about to put Noah in the car without a carseat, did I really want my policeman neighbor seeing me in the act of the crime?

Looking around like a criminal, I handed Noah to Abby, who was sitting in the very backseat, and she carefully pulled her seatbelt over herself and her baby brother.  I cautiously drove my kids five minutes down the road to my carpool friend's house to grab their extra carseat.

Why not just ask them to pick up the kids in the first place?  Because they were all home sick with the flu.  Yep.

Finally got a state-certified carseat in my car, got the kids to school, then stoppped at Nick's school to get Noah's carseat from his car.  Oh yeah, did I not mention that is where the carseat was? 

The only consolation to my guilt as I drove Noah for five minutes without the proper safety seat was that for years, no one ever used carseats.  And somehow, babies survived.  So, that makes it okay what I did today, right?

Sorry Noah, you are such the third kid.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Christmas Season

Whew.  I am finally sitting down to write on here after a ridiculously busy week. 

Why does everything have to happen in December?  Yes, it's Christmas, but must we pile everything into this month?

I am not complaining-all of the things that have occupied our time have been great.  Going to the Andrew Peterson concert.  Writing out Christmas cards.  Buying gifts.  Going to Nick's work party.

I should clarify Nick's work party.  Because he teaches for a school that the late Carl Lindner helped to start, every year we get invited to the huge Lindner Christmas party.  It is our one night a year where we can pretend that we live a luxurious life.

We also had our annual Christmas party last night.  We started hosting it the year after those of us who left our former church suddenly found ourselves banned from the original friend Christmas party.  Apparently, when you stop attending a church, you are no longer allowed to be friends with people who go there.  Sure.  That sounds like the body of Christ.

Anyway, I love opening up our home to our friends and family to celebrate this season.  I love the Christmas lights, the candles, the laughter, the food, the traditions.

With still many things to get done and attend before Christmas morning arrives, my heart is still full thinking of why we are celebrating this holiday.  Even if the perfect gifts are not bought or if sick kids mess up our plans, we will still celebrate because our Savior was born.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Irony Of Dates

Our family has always had fun with dates.

On my side, my grandma, my mom, my brother and I all have our birthdays on the 24th of a month. My dad and my grandpa were born on the 19th of a month.  My parents were born in '55, I was born in '77 and my brother was born in '88, all double digit years. 

On Nick's side, he and his mom were born on the 13th of a month, while his dad and sister were born on the 5th of a month.

And, of course, there are our children.  All born the same week of October.  Add on Noah being born on 10/10/10, and we are pretty much some kind of freak show.

Even our child who we lost had a special due date.  July 10th.  That was the first day of camp that year and also a due date of a friend of mine.  Even though we never got to meet that child, Noah arrived exactly three months after the due date.

All of this leads me to not be surprised at today's date.  Exactly two years ago, we lost our third child.  Tonight, we went to the Andrew Peterson Christmas concert that we attend every year.  Ironically, the first time that I heard Andrew Peterson sing was when he opened for Caedmon's Call at Grove City College about thirteen years ago.  He sang a song called, "Lullaby" about the child that he and his wife had recently lost.  I remember thinking, "How awful.  I cannot imagine going through something like that."

Little did I know that that song would someday be a comfort to me. 

Tonight was a comfort to me as well.  In the midst of a sad day, I was able to celebrate the amazing love story of Christ, the hero who came to save us.  The prince who has rescued his lost love.  He makes all things new and I long to see Him and our child someday.
We took Abby to the concert this year, which she greatly enjoyed.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Noah Update

Is it possible that a fourteen-month old could already be in the terrible-twos stage?

No?  It is only going to get worse?  Terrific.

Noah apparently thinks that he deserves everything that he sees.  That includes anything hooked up to an outlet, everyone's food, every cleaning product under the sink, my laptop, every remote and all of the buttons on the side of the tv.  When I say no and squeeze his hand, it then becomes a fun challenge.

And I would love to know when the screeching will end.  I am seriously thinking of investing in a set of earplugs. 

Noah has developed this method of screeching to get my attention, then speaking sweetly when I look at him.  If he just spoke sweetly to begin with, I would be a much nicer mommy.  Instead, the screeching turns me into a person who wants to throw her precious son out the window.

Noah does have his good moments, though.  He is a super happy kid who loves to smile and laugh.  He eats anything put in front of him.  He goes with the flow of our busy life and was very laid back about spending time out of town last week.  I could have lived without the screeching on the 300 mile car ride, but oh well...

He is also becoming quite the little talker.  His favorite thing to say?  "What's that?"  Over and over and over again.  He also says, "I touch."  He says that line with a devious look as he watches my reaction. 

And when my reaction is "No," as it often is, the screeching starts again.

Now that he is such a professional walker, Noah seems to have developed this independent attitude.  When I am picking up Caleb from school or listening to Abby's class recite their memory verses, he thinks that he can walk anywhere in the school and touch anything that he pleases.  My apologies to any student who might have found their class work that was hanging in the hallway suddenly destroyed.   Even when I am holding him, his feet are constantly going.

At least he is understanding us a lot more now.  When I tell him to get something, he does it.  When he is asked what a dog says, he replies, "Ruff."  Of course, that is what every animal says according to Noah.  When I tell him "No," he understands enough to grin at me before going back to whatever trouble he was in.

I am so very tired.

Still, in the midst of the never-ending chaos that my little tornado brings to our home, he is still a treasure.  He is almost fourteen-months old and I cannot believe how quickly that has happened.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Decorating

Well, we put up the fake tree.

I did miss the tradition of dragging the real tree in, leaving the house smelling of pine.

I did not miss clogging my vacuum with pine needles and cutting my arms with branches.

It was kind of uneventful putting up the tree.  I decided to do it alone while everyone was at school, so that the fun part of putting on decorations could be ready when they all got home.

Oh, but wait.  Noah was home all day.  He was fun.

Apparently, my one-year old thought that I needed his help.  He decided that he was best needed by walking in circles around the tree, climbing over me as I adjusted the branches.  He also found it helpful to bite and scratch my legs while I stood on a chair to build the top.  Oh, and he loved taking out every possible item in the house while my attention was on the tree.

Still, I managed to get it done and ready for my family.  With Mannheim Steamroller playing on the ipod, we hung up our ornaments with care.  Nick and I smiled at the ornaments that were wedding gifts and reminisced over the ones that were from trips that we have taken.  The kids got excited over their personal ornaments and we carefully hung up the homemade ones out of Noah's reach.

We all placed the angel that represents our lost baby on the top and center of the tree.

Noah managed to break only two bulbs and knock down just a few off the bottom.  The top seven feet of our tree are decorated beautifully while the lower two are simply covered with lights.  Mr. Noah simply does not understand the words, "Don't touch!"

Actually, I think he understands them perfectly, but also understands how to smile sweetly and look innocent about it.

So, here we are, all decorated and ready for Christmas.  For some reason my heart is really in the Christmas spirit this year.  Two years ago, I was mourning the loss of our baby.  Last year, I was sleep-deprieved from baby Noah.  But, this year, I am ready to enjoy the holiday with my crazy family.

And it is not just the decorations, gifts and feelings, which are all wonderful.  I just keep thinking about how much the Creator of the universe loves me.  He became a human being to save me.  And I have done absolutely nothing to deserve it.  Nothing.

God became man.  Not only man, but He came as a baby in a barn.  I grew up on a dairy farm.  Trust me, there is nothing glamorous about it.  He came here because He actually loves me.  Amazing.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Christmas Tree

I have always been a firm believer in having a real Christmas tree. 

I love the smell of the pine and the tradition of going out into the woods to cut down the perfect tree. 

And by perfect, I mean a tree that, once in the house, has to be cut a few more times to fit the stand evenly and has to be pruned to keep the branches from breaking through the windows.

The last few years, our tradition has been to buy a Christmas tree while in PA for Thanksgiving.  Why buy a tree five hours away?  For the price.  You know-we save money on a tree here only to double our gas cost carrying it home on top of the van.

And look like the Griswolds while driving home.

However, this year I have become lazy.  As much as I love the tradition of bundling up in the cold to walk through the mud and tie that sappy tree to the top of the van, I have given in to buying a fake tree.

If it makes it any better, Noah and I listened to Christmas music while driving to the store to pick out our tree. 

My laziness comes from not wanting to clean up pine needles on a daily basis, especially with Noah around.  And from not wanting to tear down our tree right after the kids open their presents as we pack up to visit my family. 

Part of me feels like a cheater.  We are going to miss out on the joy of dragging the tree into the house, cleaning up the needles that fall onto the driveway, sidewalk, porch, and living room floor.  And the fun of trying to position the tree exactly right while laying under the tree, getting covered in sap and ending up with scraped up arms and hands.

Oh well-maybe someday I will go back to it.  In the meantime, I will enjoy this holiday season mess free.

Except for the mess that Noah will inevitably make by taking the ornaments off the branches every day.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Our Home

This past week, Abby brought home a paper that she wrote at school with the subject title, "I am so thankful!"  This is what she wrote...

I am so thankful for blessings.  One time my brother Caleb told me he was going to give a suprise.  He said he was going to give it to me in three days.  Shure unoth (enough) in three days he gave me a Rapunzel doll.  That was a blessing of love to me from my brother.  I love him very much.  Thou he is nice sometimes he can be mean to.  He can be funny and loveing to me to.  I am also thankful for haveing a cozy house.  It is so good to have a cozy house.  In the liveing room everybody tells about what they did that day.  Once me and Caleb were playing Wii, with mom and dad.  I like doing that in my cozy house.  But only sometimes we can do that all together.  Ushley (usually) its only me and Caleb.  I like haveing a cozy house.  I am thankful for love.  Once Noah headbuted me in the nose.  But I never do it back to Noah.  It's fun to have brothers even thou they can sometimes be annoying.  I love both of them.  They are both very nice to me.  I have so much to be thankful for.

Two things struck me while reading this.  One being that I need to work on teaching Abby to drop her "e" when adding "ing."  Secondly, and most importantly, my daughter has the luxury of feeling safe and loved in her "cozy house." 

I look around my house and think things like, "I wish I had more storage space," "I wish I had an entire room just for toys," "I wish I had a guest bedroom," "I wish my dining room was bigger" and "I wish everyone would just put their stuff away when they are done with it."

Abby looks around her house and thinks, "I love my house because we are all together" and "I love my family and everything that comes with them."

Many children in this world are not feeling safe.  Their homes are not "cozy."  Their idea of love has been distorted.  Consistency is not a word that they understand. 

The next time I look around my house and see chaos (which will be in about a minute when I look up from this screen), I will try to see it through my daughter's eyes and see love.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Abby And The Boy

Abby is only seven, right?  She did not suddenly turn into a teenager and I missed it?

The other day, she was doodling on a piece of paper and I saw what it said.  She wrote "Abby loves Andrew."

Um, excuse me?  I have looked around and her father and brothers are not named Andrew so who exactly is this boy that she is loving?

He is a boy in her class and she thinks he is pretty nice.  I have met him many times and yes, he is nice.  But, she loves him?

When I asked her why she wrote that, she replied, "Well, you wrote that you loved a boy in that book!"

Whoops.  Apparently, in one of the books that has been passed on to Abby from my youth (thank to my mom for saving them), I wrote, "I love ....."  Okay, so there was an actual name written there, but given the age of social networking, I would not be thrilled about my crush of the 6th grade finding out that I "loved" him.

Sadly, on the same page, I also wrote not nice things about the other girl who liked him.  We are friends on facebook so I believe I will keep her nameless as well.

I have been trying to remember my feelings in the 1st grade and I really do not remember "loving" boys.  Sure, they were fun to play with at recess, but loving them?  Not so much.  I do remember being in the 3rd grade and one of my boy friends explaining that he liked me and two other girls.  It was not exactly the romance of the century.

So it begins.  My daughter has discovered that boys are different (well, she does have two brothers so she has known that for awhile now) and apparently worth noticing.  Lord help us.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Typical Rosenfeldt

We were in the car today and heard Abby throwing a fit about something.  When asked what was wrong, she went on a rant about how the clip would not stay in her doll's hair, even though it did work before, but now it kept falling out and her hair was all crazy without it.

I know.  Real problems.

I told her to slow down and relax.  I also mentioned that yelling about it will not make it work any better. 

As usual, I was responded with silence.  You know, the silence that every kid gives their parent when they do not want to admit that they might possibly be right.

When we reached our destination, she was getting out of the car and suddenly had a gloating look on her face.  She held up her doll, who had her hair perfectly pulled back in a clip, and declared, "See, yelling does work!"

I give up.  As Nick and I unsuccessfully tried to hold back our laughter, he said, "She really is a Rosenfeldt.  We yell until it gets better." 

Sometimes there are teachable moments.  Then there are moments like this when you just have to laugh and realize that your children are guaranteed to pick up the not-so-lovely traits that you possess. 

I just wish that they would pick up my "desire to have everything put away" trait.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Worship Of Sports

Let me start by saying that I love to watch a good game.  I am competitive and you can always hear me cheering on my kids when they are playing soccer.  I get chills at the end of Remember the Titans, I cried the first time that I watched Hoosiers, and I even get a little emotional during the final basketball game in Teen Wolf.

However, I am having a tough time understanding the worship of sports.  How does a game impact so many emotions and actually ruin someone's day by its outcome?

As I woke up this morning and checked my facebook newsfeed, it was flooded by complaining, cursing of the refs, and bitter jabs at other fans.  Why?  Because a football team lost.

Yes, a team.  A bunch of guys who play a game just happened to lose one.

I get it.  I am married to a huge football fan.  When he was watching his own team lose in the beginning of their game yesterday, he became angry.  Then he was dancing around with the kids by the end of the game.  My confusion is why must so much emotion be invested in a game?  I mentioned to him that he was wasting energy (which he was) over a team that might win in the end (which they did).  He said that I was right, but I have a feeling that it was just one of those responses to keep me quiet.

Thankfully having our kids around has kept his emotions in check when it comes to watching football together.  After all, we do have slightly competitive children who need to learn lessons from us.

That being said, I will not be watching next week's Bengal's game against the Steelers.  I am staying far away from my husband that day.

I guess I am just struggling with why a game is so important.  And why we worship athletes.  Why are they getting paid millions of dollars to play a game?  I get the challenge of it all and how hard they work.  But, why are we not idolizing educators, farmers, missionaries, and public service workers?  Where are their millions of dollars signing bonuses when they decide to take on their jobs?

I also wonder what this world would look like if all of the passion and concern for a team was suddenly devoted to what is going on in the real world.  What if facebook was flooded by people who were outraged over the water problem in third world countries instead of the bad play calls of their team?  What if all of the anger over the bad calls of the refs was directed at the injustices going on all around us? 

I am not trying to put myself above this-I definitely have my own idols that I follow (getting more excited over watching an episode of LOST than going to church, for example), but I am just trying to understand what is going on.  How has it reached the point where the outcome of a sporting event controls our lives?

It is a game.  Games are supposed to be fun.  They should not determine our happiness.

I suppose I am a rare person to be thinking this.  Perhaps I will just avoid facebook on Sundays.  And Monday nights.  And Thursdays.  And Saturdays.

Or I will just join the social networking world when there is a day of the year that there are no sports on.  Oh, wait...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

AHG

There is a reason that I have a degree in working with high school students and not elementary. 

My lack of patience.

I signed Abby up for American Heritage Girls at school.  They were looking for leaders for the thousands (okay, not thousands, but many) 1st graders that signed up.  My response was, "I cannot be a leader, but I will help out sometimes, especially with the camping trips."  Soon after, I received an email that said, "Thank you for volunteering to be a leader."

What?

Apparently, another mom received the same email after sending the same kind of email that I had sent, and now we have found ourselves the leaders of the 1st grade squad.

Nick has asked me why I just did not say no.  I really have no good answer-it was like magic how we got conned into doing this.  It was a bit of guilt mixed in with obligation so that our girls could be a part of this organization.

Anyway, once we met a few times (with our younger boys running around and crying for our attention i.e. the reason that we did not want to be leaders) ideas started to come together and we found ourselves somewhat organized.  Somewhat.

We just met this past week for the first meeting.  And had our butts kicked.

Actually, most of the girls are sweet and were excited to do whatever we had planned.  There was one girl, however, that had nothing but attitude to every idea.  I should have expected it-she was in Abby's class last year and gave everyone attitude the entire year.  I honestly do not think she knows how to smile.  Which is really sad-most 1st graders should be smiling all of the time.

I introduced a get-to-know-you game...attitude girl said, "Oh, I hate this game!  I had to do it this summer."

The girls sat down to have a snack.  Attitude girl did not get to sit with her favorite friend so she slouched in her chair, folded her arms, and frowned.

After having a snack, attitude girl kept saying how she was still hungry and wanted more to eat.  She actually sat out of the final game because she was "too hungry."

Honestly, if it was not for attitude girl, I do not think I would have felt so deflated.  The rest of the girls seemed to have a good time, even though their energy was through the roof and I am not sure they heard a word that we tried to teach them.

I have a new found respect for elementary teachers.  Absolutely no idea how they do it every day.

So, now I feel like I am in survival mode for the rest of the school year.  Sending out emails to parents about meetings and snack lists while Noah attempts to type on my laptop with me.  Waking up the boys from naps to meet Nick at the high school so that I do not have to have them with me while I round up 16 1st graders and attempt to lead them.  Praying for these girls, especially attitude girl, and spending time organizing their year.

I know the joys will far outweigh the work, but in the meantime, I am reminded why I love to teach high school kids.

Funny enough, every elementary teacher reading this is thinking, "I have no idea how high school teachers/youth directors do it."

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Caleb And His Wives

It has been a long week of stuff.  Everytime I find myself on the computer, it is to send emails about meetings for school or to reply to questions for kid stuff, or to work on Mary Kay orders.  I have not had time to just write and reflect, leaving me to have all of these thoughts swirling around in my head, anxiously waiting to come out.

One would think that I have time tonight to write about everything, given the fall back and all.  But, as every parent knows, young children do not quite get the fall back rules and will still get up at the usual time.  In other words, as I sit here at 11:05/10:05, Noah will wake up at 7:00/6:00 tomorrow morning.

So, I will leave you all with the latest conversation with Caleb...

Caleb:  "Someday, I'm going to marry Aunt Karen."
Nick:  "Which one?" (Caleb has two Aunt Karens)
Caleb:  "All of them!"

You know both of you Aunt Karens are laughing right now.

Caleb:  (holding up ten fingers) "I'm going to have ten husbands."
Nick:  "You mean wives?"
Caleb:  "Oh yeah, I mean wifes."

Yes, the spelling is correct.  Caleb wants ten wifes.

He is just too much sometimes.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Boys' Room

Boys are kind of gross.

Every morning, when I open the door to Caleb and Noah's room, I am greeted by an overwhelming scent of urine.  Sometimes, Noah gives me an extra treat by adding a poopy diaper to the mix.

Seriously, what is up with the smells?  Even when Abby was in diapers, I do not remember her room stinking like that.

It does not help that Caleb still wears pull-ups to bed.  The child physically cannot wake up to anything, especially his own bladder.  Between him and Noah, I do not know how they both tend to sleep in-doesn't the smell wake them up in the middle of the night?

Even without the stench, their room is always a mess, too.  Okay, so that is mostly Caleb's fault.  After all, the one-year old is not exactly playing in there every afternoon.  Every morning, I risk my life to attempt to walk into their closet to seek out clothes.  I never know what I am going to fall over on my way in.

Not only is it stinky and messy, it is also a little scary.  Caleb keeps collecting these fake spiders.  Thanks to trick-or-treating at King's Island and goodie bags at parties and soccer, he has quite a group of fake insects.  I would not mind so much if he put them away when he was done, but, as I mentioned before, he is not known for picking up his toys very well.  I cannot keep track of how many near heart attacks I have suffered thinking that I was about to step on a real spider.

Do they have to make them look so real?

As an added bonus, he left one on the stairs the other night.  Yep, almost fell down the entire flight of stairs trying to escape the rubber insect.

I love my boys, but I will admit that I prefer walking into Abby's room-it is the color of lilacs and has dolls and pretty pillows and jewerly.  Even when she leaves things out, it is still comforting somehow.

Oh well.  I guess the smiles that I receive from my boys in the morning make the bad smells worth it.

Usually.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bathtime

For those parents thinking of having a third child.  Take a glimpse at my night of bathing my children.

I followed the boys up the stairs to their bathroom, pausing to catch Noah as he almost stumbled at the top step.  We went into the bathroom where Caleb promptly removed his pants to pee.  I grabbed Noah to keep him from touching the stream of urine, tripping over a stray bath toy that somehow left its home in the basket.  I took Noah out of the bathroom to change an extremely smelly diaper, leaving Caleb to start the bath water.  I returned to find Caleb just standing around, naked, with no bath water started.  Noah started to open the toilet lid so I placed the bath toy basket on top of it to keep it weighted down.  I leaned over the tub to start the water when I saw Caleb removing the basket because he had to pee again.

Sure, the kid has no problem wetting his pants when he is too busy placing Wii (ironic name of a game system given the current topic) to stop and use the bathroom.  But, in the chaos of three people in a small bathroom, he is all about going again.

Before I could stop him, Noah immediately reached his hand into the toilet.  The toilet that had yet to be flushed.  I ran his hand under water and put him into the tub.  I had finished bathing Noah and had just started on Caleb when I heard a cry from downstairs.  Apparently, Abby slipped on the steps and had fallen down.

Not wanting to leave Noah in the tub without my watchful eye, I quickly wrapped him up and went to inspect the damange.  After all, the girl currently has an ankle sprain so why not add a broken arm to it?  Abby was laying on the floor, crying just enough to get my attention, but at least it was not a serious injury.  I encouraged her to get up and come upstairs while I continued to hold a wet, naked Noah.

After getting Noah dressed and leaving him with Abby in her room, I finally finished bathing a then shivering Caleb.  I managed to get him into his room, just in time to remember that his sheets were in the dryer.  You know, because he wet the bed last night.

I took Noah from Abby so that she could start her bath.  Normally, she is the easy child who takes her own showers.  But, since her foot is currently wrapped up for her sprain, she needed a bath in which she could not get her foot wet.

Cue more chaos.  I kept Noah with me since I cannot trust him alone with Caleb and his tiny chokable toys.  While Abby kept her left leg over the side of the tub and I attempted to wash her thick hair with a cup, Noah took a toy and kept throwing it into the tub.  He would then scream to get it back, but then immediately throw it in again.  At one point, Caleb tried to come into the bathroom, left when I yelled at him to give Abby some privacy, but did not shut the door all of the way.  Next thing I knew, Noah was out the door and crawling toward the top of the stairs.  I raced over, grabbed him, just in time to stop him from tumbling headfirst down the stairs.

Miraculously, I finally finished bathing Abby, sent her on her way to get ready for bed, then settled down to relax Noah with a bottle.  That was when Nick returned to find our house a peaceful place.

If he only knew.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Journaling

Abby's class regularly writes journal-like thoughts in class.  Her teacher gives them a theme to write about and lets them be creative.  The following is what she brought home this week.  The topic-"Why I can't go to bed right now." 

I will be writing this exactly as Abby wrote it so good luck reading the kid writing.

I can't go to bed becuse baby Noah is sick and I want to help get him better.  I can't sleep becuse Caleb is making a raccet and it's LOUD!  I have to finish my book mom!  If I clean up can I stay up?  Im waching a cute movie and it's almost done, two minits!  Noah is screming so loud that none can sleep thou it it's so loud.  Can I have a bedtime snack?  Mom, Caleb wreseling with me so much that I can't move a tiny bit and I can't berth (breathe) either.  Mom Noah headbutted me in the nose and it's bleeding.  Felicity came over, can me and Caleb go over to play with her pese just this one time?  I can't sleep Mom, becuse dad is yelling so loud that you coud hear it for miels.  Im so exsidid for tomorer I can't sleep a bit, not even a tiny bit.  Can I have just one more cookie, just one more plese?  Mom I'm in the midil of a troble game.  Mom, my best frend Sidney's on the phone and she asked to have a sleepover tonite and stay up late, can I go?  (This is where my voice is apparently heard)  As long as you don't stay up late, that's fine with me.

Before anyone goes calling social services on us, I would like to defend my family and make sure the truth is told that Nick does not yell all of the time, Noah does not headbutt on purpose, and Caleb is smaller than Abby and does not really pin her down to the point of passing out.

What fun to be an elementary teacher and read these thoughts.  No wonder I sometimes get strange looks from her teacher.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Caleb And The Girls

Caleb has great friendships with girls.

I think it is because he has an older sister.  And because he has always been outnumbered on our street by girls.  There was hope when little Cody moved in across the street, but then he moved away this summer, much to Caleb's dismay.  Now, he has to wait around for Noah and little Daniel across the street to grow up.

In the meantime, I have heard some fun conversations from Caleb and his ladies, lately.

While walking out of school the other day, I listened in on a talk that Caleb was having with his carpool friend, Izzy.  For some reason, they were talking about marriage.

Caleb:  "Boys marry girls and girls marry boys."
Izzy:  "What about boys marry boys and girls marry girls?"
Caleb:  (laughing) "Oh, Izzy, that's silly.  Boys don't marry boys and girls don't marry girls!"
(Thank you private school)
Izzy:  "Okay, so girls marry boys and boys marry girls.  Just like my mommy married my daddy!"
Caleb:  "I could marry you someday."
Izzy:  "Okay!  That would be okay because I'm a girl!"

Love it.

As I am typing this, Caleb is playing with his neighbor, Felicity, who I am watching for a little while.  They were playing with a toy and then Felicity said, "Let's pretend it's at a store and we are shopping for it!"

Caleb, being the understanding brother that he is, agreed.

They used Noah's shopping cart to walk around the living room, shopping for toys.  This is what I heard...

Felicity:  "Oh look, those are so cute!"
Caleb:  "Yes, they are cute!"
(My son will make a great husband if he can understand that women say "cute" quite often while shopping.)
Felicity:  "Let's go pay for it."
Caleb:  "Look, it says it's a million dollars."
Felicity:  "That's okay, I have a million dollars.
Caleb:  "Me too!"

Really?  Would you two like to share some of that money with your parents?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Healing Power Of A Fry


Not feeling well during Abby's soccer game
 So, apparently Noah does not do well with shots.

He had his one-year check-up this past week.  The night before his appointment, he woke up in the middle of the night with a fever.  Good timing-at least we already had an appointment lined up.

The fever was from an ear infection (following in the footsteps of his siblings with their constant ear infections).  He went through the torture or being examined by the doctor, received his shots, then dealt with stopping for meds to make him feel better.

Sometimes I wish the doctors had pharmacies right in their office so that we do not have to run another errand with a sick child.

Anyway, I figured Noah would sleep better that night from his meds.  After all, my other three always did.

Nope.  Up a lot, just wanting to be held and still running a fever.

He perked up a bit on Saturday, just long enough for us to go to the soccer games.  However, by night time (why is it always night time when they bring on their true colors?) he was not feeling well again.  By Sunday morning, his temperature was 104.1.

Yes, I panicked.

The doctor saw him that morning and sent him over to Children's for blood work.  As if the kid had not been
through enough already.  Drawing blood from a sick one-year old...not fun.  I felt my eye make-up running a bit while I held back tears for his pain.

Thankfully, the blood work proved that he was okay and that the fever was simply the result of a reaction to his shots.  Seriously?  I have him get shots to prevent getting sick, only to have sick child who will not eat, drink or leave my arms?

Two days later and he is finally getting back to his usual self.  He is still a bit clingy, but at least he is eating and drinking. 

I must admit, I did enjoy the closeness while he was sick.  He just wanted to cuddle and sleep in my arms.  It has been a long while since he has wanted to do that. 

Of course, he was a bit spoiled during that time, so now he still thinks he has to be in my arms all of the time.  Sorry buddy.  You are one of three kids.

My favorite part of this entire experience was the turning point.  Sunday night, Abby and I got home from a birthday party just in time for dinner, which Nick was not able to make because Noah would not leave his arms, leaving us to get some fast food.  Noah sat there, watching us eat, and the moment he saw the french fries, he smiled and reached for one.

I promise, the kid has maybe had one fry in his life.

He ate that fry and enjoyed every bit of it.  Then another.  Then another.

Hey, after not eating for two days, I had no problem with it.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

More Quotes

-Abby was in the car with Nick and started talking about her dating life.

She said, "I can't wait until I'm ten!"

Nick asked why and she explained, "Because then I can find a boyfriend and date him!"

She then went on to explain that she would get married at age eleven.

I don't think so sweetheart.

-Abby was trying to figure out today's date and she asked, "Is it the 13th?"  Caleb replied, "No!  It's the 14th!"

When I corrected him and said, "Actually, it's the 15th," he shook his head and explained, "I'm just all mixed up today!"

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Conspiracy Of Birthdays

I would like to know where the tradition of birthday parties started.

More specifically, the tradition of celebrating the person who did nothing but enter the world via the work of his or her mother.

Let me see if I have this straight.  The mother goes through nine months of pregnancy, goes through painful labor, and takes another few weeks to heal from the torture that has occurred to her body.  She then has to celebrate those memories each year by spending money on a party for her child.  She has to bake, clean, cook, plan, and put on her happiest face for her child on his or her "special day."  She watches her child have a great time, thanking all of his or her friends for their gifts, but never actually thanking the person who did all of the work.

Does that sound like a conspiracy to you?

I believe it is time for tradition to change.  When it is a child's birthday, all of the gifts and love should be showered on the mother.  Balloons should be replaced with flowers, cheesecake should be served instead of birthday cake, and pinatas should be filled with chocolates and spa coupons instead of candy and stickers.

If only this was true already.  I just celebrated all three of my children's birthdays this past week.  If it was all about the mom, I could be basking in some great gifts right now.  Perhaps instead of this look of exhaustion and defeat that has been on my face all week, I could have a radiant glow from a day at the spa.  Instead of still waiting for a thank you from any of my kids, I could be in a blissful mood from all of the kind words that were spoken to me on my special days.

Sadly, this tradition will never change.  For one thing, we moms are outnumbered.  Our kids will never go for it and something tells me that our husbands will not, either. 

Secondly, and most importantly, something happened at the birth of our children.  Seeing their joy became more important than our own happiness.  Watching them celebrate with their friends and family is like forgetting the pain of labor when we see their newborn faces.

Someday we will get our thank you.  You know, when our children become parents and realize what they just took for granted all of their lives.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday, Noah!

A year ago today, I went into super fast labor and had baby Noah two hours later.  No drugs.  No calm breathing.  Just chaos.

Funny that a year later, he is still bringing on the chaos.

Noah is hilarious.  Anytime anyone is laughing, he has to be a part of it.  He giggles at everything and finds himself rather amusing.  Now that he is walking around, he looks around expecting us to applaud him everytime.  In fact, he looks a bit insulted if we fail to acknowledge his great accomplishment.

He is also into everything.  He has piles of toys, but for some reason, he is determined to get that bottle of Resolve out from under the sink.  He still finds the dishwasher fascinating and loves to watch the spin cycle on the washing machine.

This year has flown by and I cannot believe my Noah Michael is a one-year old.  Simply amazing.  I love him so much and find myself just watching him in awe.  Perhaps because he is our baby and I want to savor every moment of this time. 

Or because he is so stinkin' cute and fun to watch.

Either way, he is a wonderful blessing in our lives and I cannot imagine our family without him.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Some Abby And Calebisms

-Caleb was picking on his sister while eating dinner and I said, "Caleb, stop being such a bum."  He replied, "For the record, I am not a bum."

Oh.  Well, excuse me.  I thought we were off the record.

-While riding home from his soccer game, Caleb was talking about a particular play in his game.  He explained what he saw and said, "It was unbelievable!"

Hearing his excitment over a three-on-three boy's soccer game where the boys do more laughing than playing was pretty cute.

-Nick was teasing Abby about how toys really come alive while we are gone.  She argued that they did not, but Nick kept insisting that they did.  Abby said to him, "Daddy, if you really think that happens and you are 32 years old, then you are insane."

She also went on and said, "You know that's for kids, right?"

Funny that she is so above the Toy Story idea, considering this is the same girl who rings the bell and knocks on the door before we get in our house, to warn the toys to go back to their places.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Happy 7th Birthday

Seven years?  My Abby has really been around for seven years?

Seven is one of those ages that has always seemed to mark a significant point in life.  No longer a baby or a toddler or a pre-schooler, but an actual kid.  Abby is not just a cute little girl, but a kid.  I cannot think of another word to describe the age, but "kid." 

Eventually, she will grow into a more detailed age.  Pre-teen.  Not looking forward to that.  Or the teen years.

But, I am skipping ahead.  Today, my little Abby turned seven-years old and I love her more every day.

She is doing so well in 1st grade.  She enjoys her friends and has such a heart for people.  Her favorite things to do when she gets home is to play with her dolls, especially her American Girl dolls, and to read.  Gone are the days of reading little books.  She flies through her American Girl chapter books and her library books.  She has been working on my collection of Little House on the Prairie books.  She keeps asking to read Harry Potter.  Sorry, Abby, in a few more years.

The girl is also loving soccer.  I know it is early in her career, but I see her as a great mid-fielder.  She already talks about wanting to play in the World Cup. 

Abby is also really sweet with her brothers.  Okay, I will be honest.  She is really sweet with Noah.  She tolerates Caleb.  I do not have the heart to break it to her that Noah will eventually bug her just like Caleb does.  I will enjoy her tender heart toward Noah as long as I can.

I have been blessed with such a dear, little girl.  Happy 7th Birthday, Abigail Grace.  I love you, sweet girl.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Caleb's 5th Birthday

My little boy is five-years old.  Little Caleb Paul, who is loving life, is actually five.

He got to start his day by having Fruit Loops for breakfast.  Not exactly the breakfast of champions, but a treat that helped him out of bed.  The words "fruit loops" actually motivated his usually tired and grumpy self out of bed with me only having to call his name three times instead of ten.

I stopped by his pre-school class to deliver his birthday treat.  His entire class was very excited about their pumpkin shaped cookies and I am sure his teachers were even more thrilled about the sugar.  A bunch of four-year olds hyped up on sugar-sounds perfect.

He also had another surprise in store.  His daddy picked him up from school.  Not only that, his daddy then took him to meet me at LaRosa's for lunch.  He was pretty excited.

Dinner was of his choosing so of course he chose the dinner of champions-hot dogs.  Anything in the world to eat and that is what he chose.  Sounds perfect.

Add on some Wii, some outdoor baseball, and extra dessert, and I do believe that he had a great day.

Words cannot express how much I love this boy.  He has his irrational moments (especially in competitve situations), but who doesn't?  He is full of energy and love.  He will swing the baseball bat around the house one moment, then sit and draw a picture for me in the next moment.  He is a wonderful big brother to Noah and loyal to his friends.  He is so close to reading, does better math than I do, and loves to learn.

And all of my faithful readers love his Calebisms.  The child is never boring.

Happy Birthday, sweet Caleb.  You have blessed my life is more ways than you will ever know.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Run On Sentence Kind Of Day

It is amazing how one little decison can set off the entire day.

At 5:30 this morning, Nick tapped me on the shoulder and whispered, "I really need to go to school early to get some grading done-would you mind taking them to school?"

Such sweet pillow talk.

That decision basically flip-flopped my entire day around.  My morning was like a run-on sentence...

Stay awake since 5:30, pack lunches, empty and load the dishwasher, get everyone ready, pick up preschool carpool friend (at least I made her mom's day!), take the kids to school, load the huge box of a blow-up bouncing castle that a friend is letting me borrow for the party into my van, go to the bank, go to the store for birthday party supplies, stop at my mother-in-law's work i.e. my old workplace to get a Mary Kay order, stop at the bank again, drive around for a few minutes so that Noah can fall asleep (which he did not), go back to the school to listen to Abby's classmates tell me their memory verses, pick up Caleb and our preschool carpool friend, take her home, load their camera case into the van since mine is getting repaired, race to my hair salon to get my hair fixed (my haircut last week was not good enough for my high maintenance hair) while driving through the drive-thru at Chick-Fil-A since I forgot to pack Caleb's lunch, sit in the salon with Noah in the stroller who is watching me as I throw food at him, while my pregnant stylist quietly judges me (she will not judge me in two months when she has her own child), piled everyone into the van, finished feeding Noah his yogurt, got into my seat only to see that the Chick-Fil-A water had spilled everywhere, filling to the brim of two cup holders while I hear Caleb in the back saying, "I thought I heard a spilling sound," raced home behind moronic drivers, while I barely could see out of my side window because of the huge bouncy castle box, got home, changed Noah and put him to bed (while he sighed with relief), helped Caleb open yet another birthday package that was left on the porch, put him in his room for some quiet time, unloaded the van full of groceries, pinatas, the camera bag, the empty Chick-Fil-a cup, the diaper bag and my purse, cleaned up the spilled water, put the groceries away, then sat down.

It was 1:00.

I then made the mistake of opening the living room blinds, only to see that the wind had blown our gazebo over.  I could see the tear in the canvas cover and the metal bars were bent.  So, I did the only thing I could do at that point. 

I closed the blinds.

Add on making dinner, cleaning the floors, the bathrooms, helping with homework, and playing Wii with the kids, and that about sums up my day.

So, when Nick comes home tonight after broadcasting the school's football game online and wonders why I am passed out on the couch, drooling, perhaps he will read this and know why.

At least it is the weekend-every mom's break, right?  Oh wait...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Thirty-Something

I turned 34 yesterday.  Yep.

Birthdays used to be fun.  Getting another year older was greeted with excitement and everyone gathered around to celebrate the milestone.  I looked forward to receiving gifts and being treated great all day.

Now, my only request for a gift was that each child would not complain, not cry and clean their rooms.

Not one of them listened.

Caleb fell apart during his soccer game (again), Noah whined a bunch (still in the screeching phase, too), and Abby ended the day by crying because she was not allowed to have a sleepover at her grandma's house.

Thanks kids.

Oh well.  Such is the life of a mother.  I would rather have my kids and all their faults then not having them at all.  They did get me some very pretty, scented candles :)

For some reason, I am really feeling my age this time around.  I just keep seeing 40 growing closer and closer.  It sounds old, but now that I have many friends who are 40 and over, it does not seem that old at all.  I still feel like I am in college and I am pretty sure they feel the same way.

Makes me wonder if my grandparents feel that age, too.

Anyway, it was a nice day, in the midst of typical children.  I got to sleep in until 8:30 (that really was a big deal for me), followed by breakfast in bed.  I went grocery shopping-alone.  We went out to eat after the soccer games were over and I received a free dessert complete with the restaurant staff singing to me.  Very loudly.

We also had cake and ice cream at the house.  Candles were forgotten, so after searching my cupboards, the only candles I could find were old number candles from the kids' past birthday parties.  However, the only numbers I could find were "3" and "1."  So, I blew out candles that said I was "31."

I had absolutely no problem with that.

Now life is moving on, I am another day older, and I am too busy planning the kids' birthday bash to even really remember that I just had my birthday.

Such is life.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Walking Man

Well, it is official.  Noah is now a walking man.

That is, if you count taking four or five steps and then tumbling over as walking.  Which I do.

He has randomly taken a step here or there, but then immediately fallen to his kness, because, let's face it-crawling is faster for an eleven-month old.  However, yesterday, while playing with his toys in the living room, he stopped to walk to me.  Then he did it again.  And again.  True, he fell pretty quickly, but I blame it on the shouts of excitment that came from Caleb and me as we celebrated this huge accomplishment. 

I think he could have kept going, but the doorbell rang, ending our moment.  I answered it, thinking it was one of the neighbors coming to play.  Nope.  Mormons.

Now, any other time I would have loved to have chatted with them, firmly, but lovingly, defending my faith.  However, Noah's shining moment had then become a screaming fit because I dared to walk more than two feet away from him.  Sorry, Mormon guys-my screaming baby was not going to help me show the patience that my faith teaches me to have.

Regardless of the interruption, Noah continued to perform and entertain the whole family.  He thinks he is quite the stuff. 

I would have to agree.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Outcome

Since when did being a parent become so hard?

Nick planned on taking Abby and Caleb to the Reds game tonight.  It was the last chance to take them to a game for this season that was not on a school night.  The only thing the kids had to do was not cry if they lost their soccer games and pick up their stuff around the house.

Simple, right?

Well, Caleb was doing okay.  He was playing soccer really well and was keeping a good attitude.  All of a sudden, the other team had the nerve to stop him from running the ball down and scoring again, and he just stopped in the middle of the field.  We assumed it was because he was tired since he had been in the entire game at that point.  He took a break and we thought he was going to go back in.

Nope.  For no logical reason, Caleb decided to not play the rest of the game.  No matter what we said or what his coach said, he refused.

And he refused with loud crying.

While we all watched his team lose the lead and get destroyed (I am clearly not bragging since I am admitting his terrible attitude, but he is the best player on the team so far), our confusion grew.  Who was this kid?  Certainly not ours-we are better parents than that, right? 

After shutting down his arguments and excuses, Caleb finally admitted he was wrong and apologized.  He knows he is going to apologize to his coach and if he ever does that again, soccer is over.  It is not about winning or losing the game-it is about quitting.  He needs to know that he cannot quit the game just because he is mad at how it is going. 

He is almost five-years old.  Shouldn't he know all of these life lessons, yet?

Anyway, as much as Nick wanted to take him to the Reds game tonight, he knew he had to say no. 

It really sucks when their punishment messes up our plans.

Since Abby was a dream today (played a great game with only one sub, she got a cramp and stopped for a few minutes, got over it, ran back in and scored a goal, helping to win the game) and helped out at home without complaining, I took her to the movies.

Caleb stayed home and cleaned his room.

I really want my kids to be happy and do fun things.  Yet, I do not want them to get whatever they want after not earning it and to be spoiled brats.

Again, when did this parenting thing become so hard?

Consistency. 

It is just so exhausting.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

11 Months

Noah turned 11 months old the other day.  Yep, he is getting old.

He knows how to walk, but just does not want to.  He likes to take a step toward me and then fall into my arms.  He stands around a lot so I know he knows how to walk, but life seems much easier for him when he crawls.  His speed is ridiculous.  Within seconds, he crawls to exactly where I do not want him to crawl.

This little guy has also mastered the stairs.  He never practiced on them, but the other day, I found him halfway up the stairs.  After I recovered from my stroke, I carefully walked down toward him, so as not to scare him into falling.

(If you are new to this blog and never read about Caleb's fall, go back to beginning and check out why I have such a fear of kids and stairs.)

So, now that my super fast boy thinks the stairs are fun, we have officially moved the ottoman to the bottom of the staircase to block him from going up.  Yes, I have heard of gates, but the ottoman does not ruin my walls like the gate did.  I do let Noah climb all the way up when I am following him and once he reaches the top, he raises his hands in celebration and then claps.

He is pretty proud of himself.

Something I could live without-screeching.  He can communicate words like, "Mommy, Daddy, Uh-Oh, Thank you," and other sweet sounding words.  So I am confused on why he thinks he needs to screech at a high pitched sound to get my attention.  My head is literally aching every night.

I guess it is one of those things that we parents like to forget about.  Kind of like how a mother forgets the pain of childbirth (kind of) enough to want to go through it again.  We must forget irritating stages (like screeching) and remember all of the sweet moments.  Otherwise, all families would consist of one child.

Noah loves food.  All kinds of food.  He tolerates me feeding him yogurt, but other than that, he wants to be feeding himself.  He eats food like his brother does-he shovels it.  Sometimes I see the look on Abby's face when she is sitting between her brothers at dinnertime-it is a look combined of disgust and "How did I get here?"

video
He is a lot of fun to play with now.  Caleb crawls around and Noah chases him.  The kids also love to push him in the dumptruck as you can see on this video. 

He is such the third kid.

Noah continues to be really attached to me, which is sometimes frustrating, but usually very sweet.  Before I know it, he will be too busy for me.  I want to enjoy this cuddling baby as long as I can.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Name Association

Caleb has a teammate on his soccer team named Nick.  Very easy to remember, for obvious reasons.

Over breakfast today, Caleb randomly said, "If Daddy dies, I will always remember him because of Nick on my team."

Okay.  So that is the one reason he will remember his dad?  Interesting.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years Ago...

Many people on facebook are talking about where they were ten years ago.  9/11 is now one of those days that is similar to the JFK assasination...everyone seems to know exactly where they were when the event occurred.

10 years ago today I woke up, never turned on the television or checked the internet, and went to work.  It was my second job, waitressing at a local restaurant, so that I could earn extra money for our upcoming wedding.

I arrived at work, walked into the kitchen, and was confused as to where everyone was.  I walked out into the dinning room and saw my co-workers glued to the television.  I joined them and watched in horror at what I was seeing unfold in front of me.

As reports came in of other crashes, I began to wonder who was next?  A plane crashed in rural Pennsylvania and my immediate thoughts were going out to anyone that I knew who lived near there. 

By the time the restaurant opened for lunch, we were slammed with customers who just wanted a place to watch television during their lunch hour.  No one really cared what they ordered-they just numbly sat there, staring at the news reports.  Business men sat with construction workers.  No one complained about their food or the wait on their order (since I was the only waitress on a normally slow Tuesday).  They just sat there and stared.

Nick was student teaching and called me at work.  My mom was at a church meeting and also called me.  I called my best friend who lived not too far from the Pennsylvania crash.  We all just wanted to hear each other's voices in the midst of the chaos. 

Things changed that day.  In some ways, it feels like it just happened.  In other ways, I have a tough time remembering life before the event. 

After awhile, life continued to go on.  We got married a few months later and celebrated without a care in the world.  We got on a plane and flew to our honeymoon destination, only pausing to complain about the length of time it took to go through security. 

But, I think about those people who lost someone that day.  They do not need it to be the actual day to remember all of the heartache and loss.  They remember it every second of every day.  My prayers go out to them.  I cannot imagine losing someone in such a vicious way and having to be reminded of the details of it with every news report.

To the victims of 9/11, may we never forget.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Beetle

Sometimes I forget how different boys are. 

Then Caleb makes friends with a beetle and I am suddenly reminded that I have no idea what goes on in their heads.

As we were getting ready to leave my parent's house yesterday, he found a beetle.  He carefully put it in a box for the trip home and when I asked him the beetle's name and he looked at me like I was stupid and said, "Joey Votto."

Of course.  What else would his name be?  Since one of our fish and most of Caleb's stuff animals are named after his favorite Reds player, of course the beetle's name would follow suit.

As we started our trip, it was suggested that Caleb let Votto go on the side of the road, since chances were slim that he would survive the five hour drive.  As Caleb thought about his choice, I saw his face begin to crumble.  He had to either let the bug go and save his life, or keep his new friend for a little longer, risking his end.

The sobs began and we finally agreed to let Votto continue on our journey a little longer.  Caleb let the beetle crawl all over him and talked very sweetly with him.  My favorite line of the trip was "I just kissed him!"

Great.  Remind me not to kiss you before your bath tonight.

True to family pet tradition, Caleb passed out into a blissful nap on the way home while Nick and I took turns checking on the bug.  We made sure he was still alive and not escaping.  Finally, about an hour from home, Caleb finally agreed that his "moving slower than before" friend needed to breathe the open air and leave us.

We pulled over, Caleb said his tearful (and I mean tearful) good-bye to Joey Votto, and I released him into the wild.  We talked about how he would find a wife and start a family and be happy.  As we pulled away, Caleb sobbed and stared out the back window.

Yes, I teared up, too.  What have these children done to me?

All of this over a beetle.

I love Caleb's tender heart.  And his imagination.  He truly believes in his heart that this beetle and his new family will find their way to our house someday. 

Both kids are now talking about wanting a dog and a cat.  Lord, help me.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Maggie

I came across an article today about this upcoming book.  The book is titled, "Maggie Goes on a Diet."

Wow.

I do not know which was worse to read-the summary of the book or the yahoo users opinions typed below the article.

Apparently, this book is geared toward kids ages 8 and up (Maggie is 14), but because of the written style, ages 4 and up will be targeted.

The cover alone makes me angry.  Let us take a young girl, full of emotions that are out of control, put her in front of a mirror and have her long for the skinny look.  Best part of the book is that she loses a ton of weight in a short time, becomes pretty and popular and has guys interested in her. 

I am all about kids being healthy and exercising and eating the right foods.  However, throw the word "diet" in front of little girls, and you are practically forcing the eating disorder to start early.  Abby is six-years old and is already starting to compare herself to others (which deeply saddens me).  The last thing these young girls need is to have a book geared toward their age, telling them that they need to look like this ideal.

My kids eat healthy because I give them their food.  They even get to have cookies and ice cream and candy-all within reason.  So far, they all seem to be "good enough" for the standard by which our society says is beautiful.  For kids who have more freedom to eat anything they want, then perhaps weight problems can arise, but is that their fault?  Even if the author is writing this for a 14-year-old, I highly doubt most 14-year-olds are cooking for themselves.  Write a book for parents.

Oh wait.  Those have been written.

Does this author honestly believe that by writing a book about a junior high girl dieting to be popular, he is going to convince young girls to eat healthy?  If anything, it will just force them to feel even more bad about their already fragile selves and take more drastic measures to achieve the ideal.

People who support the book are responding to "anti-little girls dieting" opinions by saying, "All you fatties do is complain and eat!  Oink, oink, oink."

That was actually one of the more mature responses that I read.

Well, I am not a fattie, I do not eat and complain all day.  Neither do my children.  But, as a mother of an impressionable little girl, I do object.

I do not live in a dream world.  I know that their are many obese children who need to understand healthy eating and exercise habits.  However, their parents are 99% part of that outcome.  If the parents do not care enough to feed their children properly, they certainly will not care enough to buy them a book about dieting.  The ones who read the book will most likely be the kids who have nothing to worry about.

But, then they will worry.

Weight problems, even with children, all stem from something else.  Ask anyone who has struggled with either over-eating or any kind of eating disorder...it never goes away.  This Maggie will still be the same person inside no matter what size she shrinks down to.   Her insecurities will remain the same.  And her beauty. 

Since I will be one of the ones avoiding this book in the library, I suppose I am one of those "fatties who eats and complains."  Because, there is no other logical explanation to object to this book, right?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Yes, It Breaks

I have heard the quote "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."  After this morning, I am thinking that is fairly accurate.

My day started great.  Woke up at 5:45 to work-out, read my Bible and started my routine of packing lunches, backpacks, and making a bottle.  Woke everyone up and then I made my first mistake.  I told Caleb to use the potty right away.

I do not know what I was thinking.

To clarify, he still wears a pull-up at night.  The boy cannot wake up to use the bathroom no matter what we have done.  I am told this is still normal for a lot of boys and since they still make pull-ups for his size, I have not been too worried.  However, I am trying to stress going right before bed and right when he gets up.

Well, apparently, Mr. Sunshine was not awake enough to agree with me that he needed to go.  First argument of the morning.  Add on fighting with his sister, being a complete slowpoke getting dressed, and again refusing to use the bathroom-well, my voice was not the quietest.

It seems that when I begin a bad mood, then everyone has to follow suit.  Suddenly, all attitudes were negative and everything that could go wrong, did.  Not finding items needed for school that day, realizing Caleb had wet his bed (even with a pull-up?) and above all of those things, Noah following me around and whining the entire time.

I think my favorite part was after everyone left, door slamming behind them, I dared to empty the dishwasher.  As I put the silverware away (figuring I should do that first, since Noah could grab a knife and hurt himself) I heard a crash.  Somehow, my 10 month old grabbed a Corelware bowl and dropped it on the floor, causing it to shatter in a thousand pieces.

The reason we have Corelware and not nice dishes is because of children-it is not supposed to break!

Well, evidently, it does.  You know...from the fierce strength of a baby.

Even as I type this, my normally content baby is screaming in his crib like someone is torturing him.  (Do not worry, I checked on him and he is fine-I am not that bad of a parent.)

Sometimes I think my day could be a lot easier if I just stopped after the work-out and quiet time.  But, how boring would that be?

Even on mornings like this, I know I am supposed to strive to be the Proverbs wife.  You know-the one none of us moms like to think about.  Thank God for his grace because I continue to fail miserably in the role He has called me to.

The crabby baby is finally starting to fall asleep so I will attempt to take a shower.  I am a little hesitant to find out what catastrophe occurs while I take five minutes for myself.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Competitive Caleb

According to Nick, God is laughing at him right now.

Mr. Competitive now has a son who is just like him.  Caleb played his first soccer game yesterday.  He did really well and scored a bunch of goals.  However, the rest of his team were like typical four-year olds and spent most of their time on the field, waving at their moms and laughing.

Not our son.  Once he saw the other team score twice in a row, he was determined that would never happen on his watch.  Whether he was on the sidelines or on the field, every time the other team scored, I saw his face fall a little bit more.  As he watched his teammates dance around the ball, not really going anywhere with it, I could see him thinking, "What are they doing?!" 

During the entire game, I was proud of him.  If he fell, he got right back up.  Even though he was keeping score, he did not cry or complain-he just got out on the field and did his best.  He even passed the ball when his coach told him to.  Which is why when the last whistle blew, I was blown away by his reaction.

As the parents lined up to make a tunnel for the kids to run through, I heard a terrible scream.  Was someone hurt?  Was someone being attacked?  Nope.  It was Caleb.  On the sidelines.  Crying because they lost.

Crap.

I have never seen anything like it.  It was not just a few tears, but screaming and sobbing.  Part of me was feeling his pain (I have been told I am also a little competitive), while the other part of me was embarrassed to admit he was my child.  I mean, come on...if I saw someone's child behaving that way, I would strongly question their parenting skills.

As I am sure all of those other parents were doing.

Eventually, he calmed down and by the time he was eating lunch in the car (super smart timing by the way-let's schedule the youngest kids to play at lunch time), he realized how ridiculous his behavior was.  We talked a lot about good sportsmanship and he promised to never react that way again.

Let's hope that is true, since it looks like it is going to be a long season.

Part of the problem is, Caleb has watched his sister play soccer for two years.  During her first year, her team never lost a game and she continually scored goals without hardly trying.  He also loves watching sports with his dad and knows how to keep score.  Plus, his sister's team played right before him and won.

Add all of that up, plus hunger and the heat, and it was a disaster waiting to happen.  Excuses aside, though, Caleb is learning the important lesson of losing gracefully.

I just pray he learns it quickly.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Nice Words

After listening to Abby and Caleb argue with each other while I was making dinner, I came up with the perfect solution to stop them.

I announced, "From now on, you have to really think about what you are about to say before the words come out of your mouth."

I thought it sounded like the perfect thing to say.  You know, because kids always listen to their parents.

Abby was quiet and chose her words carefully throughout dinner.  Caleb was thoughtful, too.  I saw him staring off into space and then gradually grinning.  He said (half to himself, but half to us), "No, I can't say that."  Then he continued to think and grinned again and said, "Nope, can't say that, either."

Somehow, I do not think I made my lesson stick very well as I could not stop laughing.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

1st Grade and Preschool

School started today.

Did you hear the shouts of praise coming from my house?

Okay, so I do not want to be one of those moms who longs for school days to get rid of the kids.  I love my children.  I love having them around and I miss them when they are gone.  However, I could do without the fighting.  And the whining.  Apparently, they are angels for other people so why not bless others with their company?

My baby Abby started 1st Grade today.  I seriously have no idea how that happened.  She hurried along the halls this morning, saying hello to her friends, anxious to get settled in her new classroom.  No long hugs good-bye or tears of fear.  I stood in the hall, waiting for some sort of acknowledgement of a farewell, but she was completely embracing her six-year old academic life.

When I was debriefed on her day that afternoon, she loved it.  I heard stories of recess ("It is not as long as last year, Mom!"), lunch ("I did not get a cookie with my lunch!") and friends ("I saw my old friends at lunch and recess!").  Apparently, everything worth mentioning involves the playground or food.

My little Caleb started his second year of preschool.  Just like his sister, he ran into his classroom and I never had that hug or tearful regret.  It helped that all of his buddies were there.  They encouraged each other so well that the need for moms was long forgotten.

Breaks my heart a little bit.

Caleb's summary of the morning?  "The snacks were good-Teddy Grahams...There are new bikes on the playground...Noah, Ollie, Marc Hayden and I played with puppets...we went to the library."

That was actually more information than I ever received last year, so I guess that is something.  I still have no idea what he learned, but I did receive some fun answers to my questions...




Me:  "Did you play with any of the girls?"
Caleb:  "Uh, no, I guess not.  I don't talk to them much."
Me:  "Did you have any accidents?"
Caleb (with surprise in his voice):  "Actually, I did not!"
Me:  "What did you learn today?"
Caleb:  "Uh, I don't remember."

Glad to see our tuition money is going to good use.

All in all, a good first day.  It ended with the two of them picking on each other, Abby in tears over some girl drama and Noah getting crabby.  I personally think he was spoiled by the quiet all morning and then was mad it did not last long.

Oh wait.  That was me.

Seriously, though, I miss my babies when someone else is taking care of them.  Part of me already misses the summer.

And the other part of me loves the fact that I got to finish my book today.