The Kids

The Kids

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


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


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."


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.