The Kids

The Kids

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Caleb received a Fisher Price IXL game system for Christmas.  It is perfect for his age-full of games, coloring, music, photos, etc.  He already has boundaries for how long he can play on it at a time-otherwise, he would keep his head buried in it and never join a real conversation.

The game system is perfect for Abby's dance practice time.  If Nick is around, he takes her.  If not, I sit there for an hour with my boys, watching a flurry of pink run around the narrow hallways with limited seating. 

At least soccer practice is outside with places for a four-year old boy to play.

So, Caleb keeps his IXL with him and entertains himself.  The first week, he was the popular guy.  A few other boys were there with nothing to do, so they all circled around him, watching his every move.  The following week, there were more game systems around.

This past week, the batteries died on his system right before practice.  He grabbed his Thomas computer (that he has pretty much mastered and knows what is going to happen) as a back-up.  When we got there, for the first time there were a few older boys waiting for their sisters to get done with practice.  In their hands, they all held game systems. 

After a few attempts at "Hey, can I play, too?" only to be ignored by the boys with their noses buried in their hands, he came over and sadly sat next to me.  I said, "Here's your Thomas computer."  He looked at it and said, "That's boring."

Really?  The computer game that you have played with forever and have loved is now boring?  Hmm.  Funny enough, once we were home and not comparing, he immediately picked up his Thomas computer and happily played it for awhile.

So, we are comparing at age four?  Terrific.

While on the subject, Abby did what every girl does at some point-compared herself to someone in a magazine.  Awesome.  She was looking at one of my Mary Kay catalogs (shameless plug here-let me know if you need to order anything!) and said, "Wow, she's pretty.  I wish I looked like her."

My heart sunk as the thing that I have dreaded for the future actually came to be much earlier than I expected.  I thought I had until at least junior high for such comparisons.  Instead, I have a gorgeous six-year old wishing she looked like someone else.

Being a parent is so not easy.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Jesus Storybook Bible

We have a variety of children's Bibles in our house (namely thanks to my mom, who likes to buy them for the kids), but my personal favorite is The Jesus Storybook Bible.  It is written in such a way that even adults can learn from it.  Allow me to share the the opening section, titled "The Story and The Song."

God wrote "I love you"-He wrote it in the sky, and on the earth, and under the sea.  He wrote His message everywhere!  Because God created everything in His world to reflect Him like a mirror-to show us what He is like, to help us know Him, to make our hearts sing.

The way a kitten chases her tail.  The way red poppies grow wild.  The way a dolphin swims.

And God put it into words, too, and wrote it in a book called "The Bible."

Now, some people think the Bible is a book of rules, telling you what you should and shouldn't do.  The Bible certainly does have some rules in it.  They show you how life works best.  But the Bible isn't mainly about you and what you should be doing.  It's about God and what He has done.

Other people think the Bible is a book of heroes, showing you people you should copy.  The Bible does have some heroes in it, but (as you'll soon find out) most of the people in the Bible aren't heroes at all.  They make some big mistakes (sometimes on purpose).  They get afraid and run away.  At times they are downright mean. 

No, the Bible isn't a book of rules, or a book of heroes.  The Bible is most of all a Story.  It's an adventure story about a young hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure.  It's a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne-everything-to rescue the one he loves.  It's like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life!

You see, the best thing about this Story is-it's true.

There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all of the stories are telling one Big Story.  The Story of how God loves His children and comes to rescue them.

It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story.  And at the center of the Story, there is a baby.  Every Story in the Bible whispers His name.  He is like the missing piece in a puzzle-the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.

And this is no ordinary baby.  This is the Child upon whom everything would depend.  This is the Child who would one day-but wait.  Our Story starts where all good stories start.  Right at the very beginning...

It then goes on to Genesis and begins to tell the stories we all know, each pointing to Jesus.  It is beautifully written and brings up things that I never realized before, even in my four years of taking Bible classes in college. 

Abby has read it cover to cover a couple of times already.  When she "preaches" to us (like this morning, since Nick and I are too sick to take them to church today), she always refers to this Bible.  I strongly recommend this version to anyone with kids, or even for those of you without children-it's a lovely devotional to keep with your "grown-up" Bible.

Thanks for reading my little book plug.  I will return soon with more stories about how my kids (and their parents)are examples of those fallen heroes who need their prince to come and rescue them.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Caleb is never boring.  Here are the latest quotes...

Caleb:  "Mommy, I think there is a bunch of skin just floating around in Heaven."
Me:  "Why would you say that?"
Caleb:  "Because we get new bodies in Heaven.  We must get skin from other people."

I really had no answer for that logic.

Caleb:  "Did you know that the penis is really important?  Those two things (pointing down) are very important."
Me: "Why is that?"
Caleb:  "Because they save up food for when you're older."
Me:  "How do you get the food out?" (I could not help myself-I wanted to see where this was going)
Caleb:  "Through a hole.  I think a big hole just appears and the food comes out."

Oh dear.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Life With Government Insurance

Last summer, we found out (without seeking it out) that the kids and I qualified for Medicaid.  Nothing like having two college degrees, a husband working a professional job and still qualifying for government insurance.  It was because of Noah on the way-our third child pushed us over the edge.

I have found pros and cons in my experience with this insurance.  Pros obviously being no co-pays and a free delivery of Noah.  The cons, however, have more to do with attitude.

I used to work for a doctor's practice so I know the assumptions that can come when a patient hands over their Medicaid card.  Some of the doctors in our practice even refused to see patients who had it because they knew that they would not get a lot of money.  For some reason, if you have Medicaid, then you must be someone who made some mistakes in life and the little money you do manage to scrape together is spent on more mistakes. 

Not true.  I know that is not true of our family, yet I still felt embarrassed bringing in my change of insurance to the pediatrician's office.  I felt like a statistic of "one of those families."

It was quite an experience switching doctors in the middle of my pregnancy with Noah.  I went from the practice that I have seen for seven years to "the clinic."  Oh, the clinic.  It is everything that you are picturing in your mind right now.  The waiting room was full of women who were yelling at their other children, who smelled of smoke, who did not speak English and who wore clothes that resembled pajamas.  They fed into the stereotype that comes with having government insurance.

I noticed that I was treated differently at the clinic.  The women working at the front desk were not friendly and it was as if they were expecting me to be a jerk.  When I smiled and spoke kindly, they looked surprised.  I noticed the same thing at the WIC office (yep, qualify for that right now, too).  I imagine I would be kind of mean, too, if I worked in a drab government office.  Still, I went from wonderful treatment with my former OB to feeling like I was in the way of the residents who were just hurrying on to the next patient.

My favorite story was when I went back for my six week check-up after having Noah.  No woman actually enjoys these exams, but it was even worse at the clinic.  For one thing, the tables are so not comfortable.  There are no reclining backs-just a flat table.  There are no stirrups with soft padding on them.  No nice pictures to look at while you try to distract yourself.  Secondly, it is a teaching place.  So, not only did I have super cute resident examining me, but he was teaching super cute student what to do.  While doing the check-up, he noticed I was due for a yearly exam and asked if the student could do it. 

Sure, why not?  Whatever shame I had left was thrown out when I delivered Noah in front of a bunch of residents anyway.  Sure, have a student give me an exam for his first time.  That's what I am here for. 

As I approach my final weeks of  being on Medicaid (the kids remain, but I only do if I am pregnant again-no thank you!), I look forward to being treated with a little bit of respect again.  Isn't that sad?  Being judged by the type of insurance one has? 

Try not to judge the person at the doctor paying with Medicaid or the person using food stamps at the store-it does not define who they are.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Another Night In Our House

Today, Abby randomly said, "I love Santa."

Great.  Thanks for sharing.

She continued on with "Well, I love God, too."  She said it in such a way as to cover her tracks.  It was pretty funny.

Caleb chimed in with, "I love God, too.   And I love Jesus."  He continued, "I love all of the nice people in the world, even the ones who I don't know."  Then he looked right at me and asked, "Isn't that nice of me?"

As I wiped away my tears of laughter, Abby asked me, "Are you going to put that on facebook?"

As I wiped away even more tears, I asked her what facebook was.  She said, "You know, when you go and write down the things we say on the computer!"

Oh, Miss Abby, you know me too well.

Tonight was also fun when they kept fighting as I was making dinner.  I yelled out to them, "Why have I not heard anything nice come out of your mouths since you got home?"  Silence, then Caleb said loudly, "I love you, Mommy!"

It would have been sweet if it was not followed by another punch to his sister and her yells of pain.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Grow Up

Abby had her first dance class this week.  It was pretty cute to watch-little girls in their dance outfits, living out their dream.  Abby learned a little ballet and then went to tumbling, both of which she loved.

While I was there, Noah kept with his usual impeccable timing and filled his diaper.  I was changing him in the tiny bathroom when another mom and her two kids came in.  Now, I am not one to judge other moms, because once one becomes a mom, she understands the frustrations that come with trying to maintain control in public.  However, this particular mom must have been having quite a day.

She was in the stall, attempting to help her little girl into her dance costume.  Picture pulling up tights on a little kid in a tiny stall, then add on her even younger boy trying to sneak out of the bathroom and you can feel the frustrations of this woman.  What I found sad, though, is what she said to her little girl...

"Would you please just grow up?  You are five years old so stop acting like a baby!"

Would you please grow are five years old.  Hmm. 

As I watched Abby in her class, I felt the opposite.  She suddenly looked so old to me (probably because she is the tallest girl in the class) and I suddenly felt the need to stop time to keep her from growing up.  She is no longer a baby or a toddler, but a little girl.  Before I know it, she will be a teenager, then off to college.  Seriously, time flies by way too fast. 

As much as I want her to "grow up" and "stop acting like a baby, " I also want her to stay young and innocent.  Perhaps I should be happy when she cries over little things or fights with her brother because it shows she is still six-years old.

Okay, so maybe not be happy, but appreciate it a little bit more.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Nine Years

Nick and I celebrated our ninth anniversary this past week.  Nine years.  Unbelievable.

And how did we celebrate?  It was a day of taking the kids to school and picking them up, making dinner, doing laundry, still unpacking from our PA trip the week before, taking down Christmas decorations, putting the kids to bed, and passing out in front of the television before the kids were probably asleep.

Talk about romantic.

At one point I thought there was hope for a slight bit of romance when he was late getting home from picking up Caleb from school.  I figured the reason might involve stopping somewhere for flowers.  Nope.  He had stopped somewhere, but it was to buy potato chips.  When I mentioned my thoughts, he asked if he should go out and get some flowers.  Hmm.  Not quite the same when I have to ask for them, dear husband.  In his defense, he added, "I did just buy you a new washer and dryer this week."

Yep, nine years.

Seriously, though, I am not one who needs a bunch of romantic gestures to know I am loved and to feel the value of such a day.  I am blessed beyond anything I can imagine because I got to marry my best friend.  Nine years and we still have not run out of things to talk about or have yet to stop learning new things about each other.  In some ways, the time has flown by and in other ways, I cannot remember life before knowing him.

We do have nice dinner reservations for this weekend (thank you Carl Lindner and your Christmas gift certificates-you always make our anniversary dinner delicious) so that is something to look forward to.  We will dress nice for an evening downtown, pretending we belong with the wealthy folks who eat at the fancy restaurant regularly, and enjoy an evening without kids.

Honestly, we could be eating at McDonald's and it would still be a celebration.  Thank you for marrying me, Nicholas Paul.  I cannot imagine life without you.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Queen Of Freak Accidents

Nick calls me "The Queen of Freak Accidents."  And rightfully so.

I suppose it started when I was a child and ran into my mom in the kitchen while she was holding boiling water.  I still have a scar on my arm from that one.

Falling over the hurdles running high school track still leaves me with a bad knee.  Next time I will not compete while sick with pneumonia.

While waiting tables, I managed to burn my arm (conveniently not the same arm as from before) while serving a sizzling steak.  That one hurt for awhile and I still have a lovely scar to prove it.

One of my favorites occurred right after I had Caleb.  I slipped on our driveway while getting the mail.  Okay, so perhaps wearing flip-flops in the rain on cement was not the most genius idea, but who new it could be so bad?  I fell in such a way that I sprained my arm (terrific timing while nursing and changing a newborn) and scraped the top of my foot.  It took forever to heal and yes, there is still a scar.

Just last week, I was carrying Abby out of a friend's house and tripped on a slight step in the driveway.  My natural instinct as a mom forced me to keep my arms around my daughter so that the full force of the fall landed on my knees.  Yep-black and blue bruises on my knees.

Which leads to this past weekend.  I was opening the mail, was looking at a Christmas card, went to scratch an itch on my nose and the card went directly into my eye. 

Okay, so I guess I really do deserve the title Nick has given me.

After a painful night of no sleep, I went to the ER in the morning and found out that it was true-I had a lovely cut in the middle of my eye.  I was told some vicotin would help with the pain while my eye healed-too bad I am nursing a twelve-week old who might object to that in his system.

And now here I sit, finally a little pain free, yet still quite scary looking with my blurry, red eye.  I cannot wait to find out what happens next.

Actually, I can wait.