The Kids

The Kids

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Caleb's View Of Us

Something that Caleb brought home from school recently...

What You Don't Know About Other Parents
(As told by their child)
How tall is your dad?
I don't know
How old is your dad?
How strong is your dad?
He can lift up a dog and he can lift me up, too
What color hair does your dad have?
Same color as Mom's (black?)
What is special about your dad?
I don't really know-he just works all day!
What does your mom look like?
She has black hair, blue eyes, I think, light skin
How old is your mom?
What does your mom do while you're at school?
Takes my brother to the park or cleans
What is your mom good at?
She's good at watching over us and Noah
What is special about your mom?
She just takes care of crazy Noah
Oh Caleb.
While I do appreciate that you made me a year younger, it is kind of sad that the only thing special about me is that I take care of "crazy Noah."
Maybe it is not sad.  He could have said, "She yells like crazy, gets frustrated with us and our messes and is a completely failure as a parent."
I suppose that since I am special enough to take care of "crazy Noah" and that I am good at watching over them then I should be grateful.  I am glad that Caleb sees me like that.
And that he thinks I am a year younger than I actually am.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


A few of you have mentioned how I am lacking in my posts, lately.  It is a rather simple explanation, really.

Everyone is home from school.

It is amazing how limited my quiet/thinking time is when everyone is home.  At least when it is just Noah and myself, I get nap time.  Nap time for him, sanity refreshing for me.

I love having everyone home, but with all of the constant noise and needs, you understand why I have not been writing as much.

I have lots of thoughts swirling around to share with you all, but let us just start today's post with a rant about packing for a trip.

How has is become the unspoken rule that the mom has to pack for the entire family?

Before leaving for PA this week, I washed six loads of laundry, packed a bag for Noah and a bag for Abby and Caleb combined, packed all of the toiletries, diapers and sippy cups, filled the cooler with drinks and a bag with snacks, emptied the fridge, packed the laptops and every flippin' charger that could possibly be needed for a week trip, took the garbage out, made the beds, packed my Thirty-One bags (lots of family wanted to see the new spring line), Christmas presents, the car bag for the kids, Christmas gifts...the list NEVER ENDS.

Nick packed his bag.

Which I repacked so that it could actually hold his toiletry bag and actually zip closed.

I love my husband.  I really do.  He has so many amazing qualities and talents.

Packing is just not one of them.

So after remembering a thousand and one things for our family of five, I knew I would forget at least one thing.

Turns out it was three things.

Forgot to leave fish food in the tank that feeds them for the week (love my neighbor who ran over and did it for me).  Forgot the baby wipes (I know exactly where they are sitting on my living room couch, though).  And I forgot some Thirty-One supplies in case anyone wants to order something.

My favorite reaction to every thing that I forget is, "How could you forget that?"

Really?  I mean, really?

Of course this husband of mine also just gave me a gift card to the spa, started driving at 5:00 this morning so that I could arrive in time to see my little brother before he left for work, and spends hours playing with our kids.

I suppose I could keep packing the bags with less bitterness.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My Christmas List

I subscribe to a daily email called "Mikey's Funnies" (which has actually put some of my writings on its emails from time to time).  The other day, the following letter to Santa was on the email.  Since the author seemed to be my clone, I thought I would share it on here...

Dear Santa,

I've been a good mom all year. I've fed, cleaned, and cuddled my two children on demand, visited the doctor's office more than my doctor, sold sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree on the school playground and figured out how to attach nine patches onto my daughter's girl scout sash with staples and a glue gun.

I was hoping you could spread my list out over several Christmases, since I had to write this letter with my son's red crayon, on the back of a receipt in the laundry room between cycles, and who knows when I'll find anymore free time in the next 18 years.

Here are my Christmas wishes:

I'd like a pair of legs that don't ache after a day of chasing kids (in any color, except purple, which I already have) and arms that don't flap in the breeze, but are strong enough to carry a screaming toddler out of the candy aisle in the grocery store.

I'd also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month of my last pregnancy.

If you're hauling big ticket items this year I'd like a car with fingerprint resistant windows and a radio that only plays big-people music; a television that doesn't broadcast any programs containing talking animals; and a refrigerator with a secret compartment behind the crisper where I can hide to talk on the phone.

On the practical side, I could use a talking daughter doll that says, "Yes, Mommy" to boost my parental confidence, along with one potty-trained toddler, two kids who don't fight, and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the use of power tools. I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting, "Don't eat in the living room" and "Take your hands off your brother," because my voice seems to be just out of my children's hearing range and can only be heard by the dog.

And please don't forget the Play-doh Travel Pack, the hottest stocking stuffer this year for mothers of preschoolers. It comes in three fluorescent colors and is guaranteed to crumble on any carpet making the in-laws' house seem just like mine.

If it's too late to find any of these products, I'd settle for enough time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being served in a Styrofoam container.

If you don't mind I could also use a few Christmas miracles to brighten the holiday season. Would it be too much trouble to declare ketchup a vegetable? It would clear my conscience immensely. It would be helpful if you could coerce my children to help around the house without demanding payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family; or if my toddler didn't look so cute sneaking downstairs in his pajamas to eat contraband ice cream at midnight.

Well, Santa, the buzzer on the dryer is ringing and my son saw my feet under the laundry room door. I think he wants his crayon back. Have a safe trip and remember to leave your wet boots by the chimney and come in and dry off by the fire so you don't catch cold. Help yourself to cookies on the table, but don't eat too many or leave crumbs on the carpet.

Your's Always,

P.S. One more thing: You can cancel all my requests if you can keep my children young...

Friday, December 14, 2012


I had planned on writing tonight about my frustrating week.

This post was going to be full of rants about the misbehavior of my children (they did have a rather ridiculous fight yesterday that I promise to eventually come back to in a later post), the messy destruction of my house, and the general feeling of not being appreciated.

Then today happened.

Years later, when I look back on these old posts, remembering my children's youth, I will remember this day as seeing pure evil happen in our country.

Children, elementary children, were killed in their school today.  They were the ages of my children now.  Hearing that the gunman specifically targeted a kindergarten class brought me to my knees.  That's Caleb.  Hearing that the kids who survived were being escorted out of the building with their eyes covered to avoid seeing their friends lying there made me shudder.  Watching the President and all of the news anchors choke on their words brought a lump to my throat.

Why?  Why did this happen?

My kids came home from school today and I would not let them go.  As they rambled on about their days with excitement, I kept thinking about the parents who would not be hearing their children's voices tonight.  Or tomorrow.  Or ever again.

My heart hurts.

I put aside my work, let the living room stay messy and just listened to them. 

And hugged them. 

And cried for the parents who are grieving tonight.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Abby And The Magic

Well, the secret is out.  The innocence is gone.  We no longer have to keep up the charade.

Abby knows the truth about Santa Claus.

It was only a matter of time.  She already figured out the Easter Bunny, which led her to question the Tooth Fairy.  I was actually surprised that she waited this long to really ask about Santa.  Something tells me that she was slightly fearful that if she stopped believing, the presents would stop.

Regardless, something made her ask Nick and I the truth.  She waited until the boys were not around (which was kind of her) and because it would be a flat out lie to keep on pretending, we were honest with her. 

I asked her how she felt now that she knew the truth.  Did it make her sad?  She responded, "At first I felt kind of funny, but now I feel okay."

This was said about one minute after finding out the truth.  I think she is over it.

Out of all the possible questions or comments to make after finding out such a revelation, she looked at us and said, "But how did you get my Felicity doll?"

Years later and she is wondering that?  Not the Barbie dreamhouse or the vanity, but the doll?  I suppose that is because she bought one of her American Girl Dolls by saving her money and she saw how long that took (excellent lesson for any young girl, by the way).

Does she really think that we are so poor that we could not afford her Christmas gift?  Nick and I better watch how we talk about money in front of her from now on.  The girl is a sponge and takes on every worry or concern from those around her.

Anyway, once I shared with some friends that Abby knew the truth, they admitted their daughters also knew so now they can all giggle about it together.  From the beginning of the creation of womankind, we ladies always enjoy knowing something that someone else does not know and giggling about it behind their backs.

Because of her life being threatened if she spills the beans, she has taken it upon herself to be the official keeper of the magic for her brothers.  Sometimes I need to stop her because she is almost going overboard in reminding Caleb about Santa.

Oh, and a family member from California (who we love very much) decided to send us an Elf on the Shelf.  I had never heard of this idea when Abby was younger, but in the last few years, Facebook has exploded with pictures of where this watchdog of Santa's likes to hide.  Apparently, he checks in on the kids and finds himself in hilarious positions.

Since I did not want to introduce yet another lie to the Christmas story, I just ignored the Elf game.  When we received the Elf, I figured it could be a play toy and they could do whatever they wanted with it.  I never dreamed that Abby would take on the role that she has...

She keeps hiding the Elf or putting him out in funny scenarios.  In the bathroom with a helicopter.  In the Christmas tree.  On the counter, eating marshmallows with Barbie (I think that was just so she could sneak a few marshmallows for herself).

What is hilarious to me is that Caleb is completely taking it all in.  For the first time in three years, I do not have to drag him out of bed in the morning.  He practically leaps up so he can go and discover what that crazy Elf is up to.

Hmm, perhaps the Elf will be hanging around all year...

So, even though the magic of Santa is gone for Abby, the role of "I know something that you don't know" has become even more fun.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Working Moms

Oh.  My.  Goodness.

Moms who work full time-I salute you.  Absolutely no idea how you do it.

Sure, I worked full time my entire adult life before Miss Abby entered the world.  But to do that while feeling the demands of home?  No idea how you survive.

As a Thirty-One Consultant, I set my own hours and can be as busy or as not busy as I please.  However, this is the busiest time of the year for most direct sales type people.  Everyone is Christmas shopping, everyone is looking for deals and there are craft fairs galore.

I warned Nick.  I told him about this past weekend and this coming weekend and all of the chaos that it brings months ago.  Seriously, I signed up for one of these events in August.  August.  That is a big enough heads up, right?

I still managed to get the deer in the headlights look from him when I reminded him of my schedule.

Anyway, two craft fairs down, one more to go and two more parties to go, all before my Christmas deadline of the 10th and I will be done.

For a couple of weeks, and then it is back to partying in January.

I know that standing around, talking about bags with women does not seem like hard work.  It really isn't.  But, I have found myself exhausted each night after these events.  I have been mentally tired.  And while I am at these events, my mind is constantly thinking about what is going on at home.  Are the kids driving Nick crazy?  Is he able to get his grading done with Noah running around?  What kind of mess am I going to come home to?

Again, women who go through this on a daily basis-good for you.  I do not have that strength.

It has taken me three days to kind of get caught up on housework.  I can now see my living room floor, so that is progress.  Caleb will no longer have to wear pants that are too big for him as I finally washed his clothes.  Abby's homework has finally made its way into her backpack, only a day late.

I am sure if I worked like this all of the time, I would have a better system.  I would have a nanny and someone to clean my house.  I would split some of these daily chores with Nick. 

But, the thing is, I like being the person who runs the show.

Call me a 1950s housewife, but I like taking care of things at home and doing it well.  I want my husband to come home to dinner on the table and things under control (okay, that is hilarious-it is never under control in this house).  I want to be home when the kids get home from school.  I want Noah to be with me for most of the day and not another provider. 

If I had to live every day like this past weekend looked like, it would make me so sad.  To come home just as exhausted as my husband and then be expected to still make dinner, wash clothes and take care of everyone's stuff?  Where does that energy come from?  How could I help Abby with her homework, listen to Caleb's many stories and game plans and sit and read with Noah if I was that tired?

Again, moms who work-no idea how you do it.  You must never sleep.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Car Ride

I really miss our van.

We finally fixed the window that fell down (previously mentioned in an older post) and then three other things went wrong.  The starter, the battery and some pipe thing that was leaking.  Our guy took the van and said he would need the week to fix it.

That was the day before we were scheduled to leave for PA for Thanksgiving. 

So, we loaded up the car (which thankfully, had a lot of trunk space) and squeezed in for the 300 mile drive.

I know people rode like this before the wonderful invention of mini-vans, but I have no idea how they did it.  The fighting that happens over the littlest is quite ridiculous.

Actually, Abby and Caleb were not too bad.  That might have something to do with the fact that they could play with the ipad and kindle and they both had lots of books to read.  Now Noah, on the other hand-he was struggling.

The poor kid just wanted something to do.  His books only entertained him for so long, he was too young to play the Alphabet car ride game with us and he did not understand why he was strapped down for so long in that blasted car seat.

He entertained himself by pulling Abby's hair and whining.  It was delightful.

To all of the parents who drove cars without leg room and without DVD players before the blessed mini-van, I salute you.  You are amazing and have the patience of a saint.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Abby's Prayer

I was cleaning (I know, a rarity in my house these days) and found a small piece of paper, folded up between two books.  On it was written a note to myself of something that I would eventually share on here.

I have no idea how long ago it was (judging from the level of dust on the bookshelf and the lack of correct spelling, probably sometime last year), but Abby had written the following prayer...

Dear God,

Thank you for bing my dad.  Thank you also for giveing me never-ending love.  I love you more then anything in the wold.  In your name I pray,


In a week of the van not starting (and the window breaking) and Noah being sick, I really needed to find this paper today.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How I Failed Today

Ever have those days where you completely fail as a parent?  In more ways than one?

If your answer is no, then stop reading because you will be judging me.  If your answer is yes, then feel free to read on and make yourself feel better.

Let me back up to yesterday to set the picture...

After defrosting the van, I piled the kids into the car, backed out of the driveway and started to head to school.  A little bit of the frost was still dripping down my window, so I pressed the button to roll down the window.  Immediately, I heard a grinding sound and the glass quickly slid down.  Thankfully, I grabbed it before it disappeared out of sight. 

So, there we were, driving to school, freezing our little butts off, while I held on to the window with one frost bitten hand and drove with the other.  Eventually (thanks to non-moving traffic) I was able to mess with it a little bit and pull it back up.  I still held on and once it seemed that it would stay, I let go.

Yeah, that lasted about two minutes.  I hit one little bump and, crap, there it went.  Out of sight.  No way to pull up the window.


On to today...

Nick, being the amazing husband that he is, drove the van to school today so that the kids and I could ride in comfort in the cadillac.

By comfort, I mean all the kids crammed together in the back like sardines, but-we had heat!

After dropping everyone off at school, I ran some errands.  I stopped at Once Upon a Child to drop off some items (had to make some money to pay for that broken window).  Now, these were my two options:  Take Noah out of the car, chase him around the parking lot while I struggled to carry two large totes of stuff OR leave him in the locked car while I took the totes into the store.

Come on, moms-what would you do?

I need to point out that I was parked right by the door, could see him the entire time and I was in the store for less than 30 seconds.

As I started to walk out, a women came in and said to me, "Excuse me, is that your child in the car?  He is all alone and awake!"

I had no response, but "Okay" as I continued out to the car.

I chose not to respond with what I wanted to say to her, which was, "Excuse me, why are you bringing in your newborn baby with no extra layers on and not carrying him in a pumpkin seat with blankets?"

Okay, so chalk up my "leaving my kid in the car alone" to another way that I fail as a parent.  And add that to "driving in 30 degree weather with no window" and I was on my way to winning parent of the year.

But, oh, it gets better.

As I drove home from being reprimanded by that super awesome mom who knew everything, I had to quickly pull over for an ambulance.  As I did that, I heard a "Whoa, fall!" from Noah.  I looked back and his carseat was completely sideways while he hung there, frantic.

What the...?

As I used my super human strength that moms tend to get in cases like this and pushed him back up, I pulled into the nearest gas station and got out to help him.  It was then that I discovered that he had unbuckled the seatbelt that was holding in his carseat.

Seriously, Noah?  Since when did you learn how to do that?

And this is where I point out how much I love my mini van and the lack of damage that Noah can do in it.

So, where does that leave us?  Freezing my kids in the car, leaving them alone, and letting them go seatbeat free. 

I would try and defend myself, but Noah is currently standing on top of a toy that has wheels trying to grab the Halloween candy bowl.  I should probably try and stop him.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Noah Update

Noah has been pretty busy, lately, so I figured that it was time for an update.

The kid talks.  A lot.  I know, shocking in this family, right?  I thought Abby was a talker because she was a girl.  Then I figured Caleb was a talker because he wanted to keep up with Abby.  Apparently, Noah is a talker because he feels the need to be heard in the midst of the chaos.

It probably helps that every time he says something brilliant (like stringing two or more words together) we applaud him.  Hey, I would perform more if everyone clapped for me all the time, too.  Applause for a great dinner, a clean house and laundry actually put away on time?  Bring it on!

No matter what word Noah says, he says the word "the" before it.  However, his "the" sounds like "zah" so bascially everything he says sounds French. 

"Zah ball," "Zah phone," "Zah book."

He is a cute little Frenchman.

Noah also likes to rattle off his ABC's.  And count to ten.  Both of these things always surprise me, consideirng I do not spend as much time teaching him things as I did with the older two.  Thank you, Super Why.  I owe you.

I must point out how much this kid mimics his big brother.  Everything, and I mean everything, that Caleb does-Noah does as well.  Caleb takes his shirt off to play football in the house, Noah runs up to me begging for me to take off his shirt.  Caleb makes any kind of gesture at the table during dinner, Noah repeats it.  Caleb runs around and throws himself on the floor, Noah is right there with him.

Sometimes it is a nice thingc like when I find them both curled up together reading books.  Other times, not  so much, like when I find them both jumping on the bed.

I love that even though he is quickly becoming his own little person and wanting to do things on his own, he is still content to curl up with me and snuggle.  Sometimes, when I find myself needing to get up and get a thousand other things done, I stop myself and realize how short this time is.

I love my little tornado and savor this precious time with him.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election Day

So, election day.  Fun times.

I am kicking myself for looking at facebook this morning.  Actually, I looked at it in the middle of the night.  I had gone to bed before finding out who had won and when I woke up for no reason what so ever, I figured I could either walk downstairs and turn on the television or simply roll over and check facebook on my phone.

After reading all of the terribly mean comments, it is a wonder that I even fell back asleep.

Regardless of anyone's political background, it just makes me sad to see how we all treat each other over our political views.  We are allowed to have different opinions, right?

Now, for my friends who simply said, "Yay!" or "Too bad," I have no problem with that.  But, for the friends who made comments all day about defriending anyone who disagrees with them...seriously?  What could you possibly be thinking?

I actually saw someone post, "If you even think of voting for Romney, just defriend yourself now."  Another person wrote how he was defriending people left and right because they voted for Obama. 

Fine, go ahead.  It is your freedom to be friends with whoever you want, especially in facebook land, where you really do not hear from most friends until it is your birthday.  But, I ask this:  For people who complain about the government and parties never getting along, what do we expect?  We as citizens are hating each other because we disagree politically-can we expect the actual officials to be any different?

My own personal facebook status yesterday was this:  ""Just voted.  No matter the outcome, I am grateful for a sovereign God and that my permanent home is with Him."

That is pretty much how I am feeling this morning.  I would be feeling this way no matter who won.  Whatever decisions this president and government make, no matter which direction our country goes, no matter what happens to my family's heathcare, no matter what taxes we face, no matter what the future holds for my children-I have peace because I know our ultimate future is all about Him.  This is our temporary home.

Our temporary home.

I think I will spend it remaining friends with those who I disagree with, since we still have an eternity to be around each other.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Carpool Talk

The pumpkin patch, soccer parties, and Halloween-many fun stories to come from those events this past week.  For now, I give you another fun conversation overheard during the adventures in carpooling...

Abby (while talking about wearing a boot and using crutches):  "Yeah, it's a big, fat bummer."

Izzy (kindergartener carpool friend):  "Why does she have a big fat bum?"

My apologies to her mom.  Between conversations like this and the kids singing along to "Call Me Maybe," I may lose my carpool privileges. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

My Booking Blitz

Wow.  So many thoughts this week and no time to write them down.

For those of you who I have not called/texted/facebook messaged/emailed this week about hosting a Thirty-One party (there may be one or two of you out there), our team director issued a challenge this week:  A Booking Blitz.  We had to book as many parties as we could in one week. 

My first thought was, "Seriously?  I already have six parties scheduled in November!  Couldn't those count toward something?"

Then I reminded myself that the contest is all in good fun and what is the worst that can happen?  I book more parties?  Oh darn.

Now, I am usually a casual party booker.  I mention it to my friends and family and give them time to think about it.  This week, however, I may have gone a little overboard.  If someone happened to mention in the past few months that they would like to book a party at some point, I totally called them on it this week.  I spoke with school moms, family members, neighbors, church friends and facebook pals.  My phone has run out of charge before the end of the day multiple times.

After all of this, I have come to two conclusions:

1-doing a booking blitz every now and then is brilliant.  I spent a lot of time doing it, but am done for awhile.  Having parties on the calendar and a somewhat consistent paycheck for the next few months is rewarding.

2-I just got pushed way out of my comfort zone.

I realized that I like to hide behind texts and messages and emails.  They are safe and casual.  When I had to pick up the phone and actually call people, I felt a mix of emotions.  Unease.  Nervousness.  Fear of rejection.  Guilt for bothering people. 

Oh, and annoyed with Noah for consistently screaming and whining every time a person actually answered the phone and wanted to talk with me.

What I found surprising however, was that for every person who said, "no," there was someone else who said, "yes" that I was completely shocked by.  I reconnected with friends that I have not spoken with in awhile simple because I picked up the phone instead of sending an quick email.

Remember life before the internet?  Yeah, me neither. 

Actually, I do recall being at my cousin's house and seeing him send an email on the computer to a friend who lived down the street.  I found it simply amazing that she would be able to read that message the second that it was sent. 

Okay, call me old.  35 does feel pretty ancient sometimes.

As much as I love the safety of my emails and texts, it was rather refreshing to use the actual phone and hear voices.  So, watch out people-you may be getting actual phone calls from me more often.

Just try to ignore the screaming, whining two-year old in the background. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ready For Worship

Our new church had its first official worship with the public yesterday. 

I was so excited to take in every part of it.  I planned on getting there early to help set up for the dinner that would be taking place after worship.  I did not want to miss a thing.

Yeah, so that didn't happen.

First of all, Caleb had one of his random Sunday soccer games.  At least it was at 2:00 and church does not start until 5:30.  But, I also had a random Thirty-One meeting at 3:00, but it was right up the road from the soccer field so again, I figured it would not be a problem.  We did not plan on missing Caleb's soccer game and these meetings are only once every other month.  Considering the last meeting was only an hour, I figured it would all work out fine.

Then I noticed that the meeting was advertised as two hours.  Seriously?

Okay, new plan.  We would drive both cars to soccer, I would go to my meeting, everyone else would come home, Nick would take the dinner that I had already made to the church along with the kids while I met them there, and completely failing at my role as a part of the hospitality team at church.

Everyone piled into the van, I walked around to the driver's side and noticed that the back tire was flat.

Again, seriously?

With no time to spare (hee hee, spare, spare tire?), we threw a carseat into Nick's car, piled in and left our kind neighbor and his air compresser to pump it up while we hurried to soccer.  My very kind mother-in-law took me to my meeting, which I was late for since there was all kinds of traffic of families driving to the pumpkin patch right near the home where the meeting was held.  Nick and his dad checked out the tire and found a nail as the guilty culprit of our demise. 

As I sat in my meeting, learning exciting details of what is to come in the next few months of Thirty-One, I kept getting texts from Nick about the nail in the tire and how he was coming to get me and we would go straight to church.  As I smiled and tried to look like I was paying attention, I secretly texted him directions to where I was and kindly reminded him to bring the dinner.

He finally picked me up a little after 5:00 and we hurried to church, making it there by 5:33.  My favorite line of his was, "I got everyone ready at 4:45 and before I knew it, it was 5:00!  How did that happen?"

Yes, welcome to my world.

I say all of this because I know that it is important to have our hearts prepared for worship.  After an afternoon like that, my mind was completely scattered and not at all ready to truly listen.  You all know what I mean, especially parents.  Even when church is on its normal Sunday morning time slot, there are still so many things on our minds as we hurry the family out the door.

How is it possible to be in a worshipful mood when our last thoughts as we push everyone out the door are, "Did I grab the diaper bag?  Does everyone have their Bibles?  Did my son really brush his teeth?  Is the crockpot turned on?  Kids, stop fighting!  Oops, never took the clothes out of the dryer-hopefully no one will notice that this is wrinkled.  Did I bring all the snacks and lunches and sippy cups?"

Again, seriously?  Does that seem like a worshipful spirit to you?

I am so extremely thankful that God meets us where we are.  That He stoops down to us and our busy minds and reminds us that He is there.  That He is more important than games and meetings and flat tires.  Yet, He is there in the games and meetings and flat tires. 

As I stood there, worshipping with people of so many backgrounds and in different languages, I slowly let the stress of the afternoon melt away as we joined together to sing praises to our Lord.  It was a beautiful thing.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My Future

If you faithfully read this blog, you know that I spend many days dreaming of the time when my children will be older and more independent.  Pretty much because I am tired of wiping their behinds (yes, just for Noah at this point, don't worry).

Last night, however, I saw a glimpse of my future and realized that I am perfectly content to be where I am right now.

I had a Thirty-One party at a school mom's house.  She is someone who I do not know well, but Nick has taught her kids as well as all of her guest's kids.  After the initial love fest of my husband and what a wonderful teacher and human being that he is, their conversations flew from one thing to the next.

All of which revolved around their high school/college-aged children.

As they had their wine and I attempted to rein them in to hear my little presentation, I heard of every college that they are visiting with their kids, of every college that the others have already sent their kids to, of every detail of Homecoming and all of its drama, of their opinions on the football and tennis teams and their seasons, and of all of the personal drama that is going on with their children (mostly the ones with daughters, of course). 

I left exhausted.

And not just because the party went until after 10:30 (ahem, past my bedtime by 30 minutes), but because I was tired thinking about my future.

I may be tired of wiping butts, picking up toys, and teaching my kids everything, but I better appreciate it, too.  Before I know it, they will turn into these strange creatures called teenagers and I will be begging for the innocence of their current age.

So as my day begins soon with changing a diaper, making breakfasts, packing lunches and snacks, laying out clothes, dressing one of them, making sure that everyone has their folders and backpacks and perhaps somewhere in there remembering to get myself ready-I will think of my future that is quickly approaching and pause to appreciate where I am right now.

Monday, October 15, 2012


I noticed something the other day.  My life is almost completely void of silence.

Maybe when I am sleeping, it is quiet, but even then I keep the fan running on my face.

Even as I sit here in the early morning while everyone is still asleep, desperate for some quiet time, I can hear things constantly running.  The slight drip of the water running through the filter of the fish tank, the hum of the DVD player (which one of my lovely children must have left on), the furnace kicking on and off, the hum of the fridge, even the far off sound of a siren going down the road.

As I cleaned someone's house yesterday and realized that I had forgotten my Ipod (the horror!), I thought, "Well, at least I will have some time to just think."

Of course, then their smoke alarm started beeping and that plan was suddenly gone.

But, before the obnoxious reminder of needing a new battery broke my peace, it was kind of nice to clean and let my mind wander.  It wandered to the most random of places, but it was freeing.

How often in my day do I just let my mind relax and be quiet?  Not very much.  It is usually goes something like this...

What's on the lunch menu at school today?  Who has gym and needs tennis shoes?  Are their uniforms clean?  Do we need jackets today?  You still have homework to finish, Abby?!  Why won't Caleb get out of bed?  What does Nick have after school today?  Who is picking up the kids?  Did I put snacks in their backpacks?  Why did Noah get naked already?  Crap, I forgot to buy the right cereal that Caleb has been begging for.  Why is my dishwasher smelling funny every morning?  Did I put everything in my "run errands" bag for the morning?  Is Abby ready for her memory verse check?  Who has library books due today?

And that is just from 7:00-8:00 a.m.

Hence why I get up at 5:30 a.m. every day.

I suppose there is no way to stop the noise, but perhaps I could make the most of the time when I do get a glimpse of the quiet.  Perhaps not always have the radio on in the car, not turn the television on during nap time, not feel the need to check my email and facebook first thing in the morning...

In any retreat or conference that I have attended in the past, one of my favorite moments always tends to be when we are instructed to go out on our own and be quiet.  To just sit there and pray and listen to God.  Listen to Him?  Not just fill the time with me telling Him stuff? 

Interesting how I always felt refreshed after those moments.

If Jesus could take time out of his busy schedule of saving the world to step away and be alone with His father (which He did A LOT), then what the heck is my problem?  Are all of the things that I am doing with my time really so important that I never have time for being quiet?

My DVR of television shows and my many apps on my phone suggest otherwise.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Abby And Her Injury

I kept meaning to write about this when it happened two weeks ago, but life has been a little, shall we say, hectic? 

Again, what were we thinking having all three kids born the same week of October?

So, Abby was complaining about her ankle hurting her a few weeks ago.  Because she mentioned it while we were hiking on my birthday and that resulted in her getting a piggy back ride from her daddy, we figured she was just milking it.  Once she kept complaining, however, we then figured it was a sprain.  After all, she had a sprain on her other ankle during spring soccer so it could happen again.

I took her to the doctor, thinking that the x-rays would confirm my diagnosis, that they would wrap her ankle and she could continue on with soccer.

Well, the x-rays proved me wrong and instead showed a small crack on her ankle, near her growth plate.  Oh, so that is why she kept complaining.  Hmm.

For the last two weeks, she has had to wear a boot and use crutches.  When the doctor first mentioned the crutches, her eyes lit up.  After all, every child at school that uses crutches gets ALL of the attention so it was finally HER turn.

Then she used the crutches for a few minutes and quickly got over her excitement.

She got tired of not being able to run ahead, of the feeling of the crutches in her arms, of the fact that everyone had to do everything for her and of course, of sitting on the sidelines of her soccer games and not being able to play.

The poor girl is completely restless.

Tomorrow, we go back to find out if it is healed.  I really, really, really, really hope that it is because this girl is ready to run.

The silver lining is that for her next book report, she is supposed to dress up like the character.  She is choosing the latest American Girl Doll who gets injured and has to use crutches.  It just happens to be the doll that she received for her birthday.

I love that my daughter sees the good in something not so good.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Look Who is 862!

I believe I am sitting down for the first time in a few days thanks to these crazy kids and their birthdays.  Whose idea was it to have them all born during the same week of the month? 

Oh wait, I suppose Nick and I had something to do with that.

Anyway, the annual birthday bash was a success.  God answered my prayers (truly, on my knees all week, begging for sunny skies) and blessed the day with sun and warmer than expected weather.  It was a perfect fall day, the kids ran around and had fun, and my children celebrated another year.

As they sat in line for their cake, one party guest innocently asked, "Who is 862?"  Oh sweetie, that would be Abby turning 8, Caleb turning 6 and Noah turning 2. 

All of which are ages that are shocking to me.

Abby is eight years old?  Really?  And since when did Caleb get so tall and become six?  And Noah will be two this week?  Are you kidding me?

I miss my babies.

I saw a friend with her baby during the party and heard the sweet coos coming from her mouth.  It made me yearn for the baby phase again.

Then, a few minutes later, the parents were frustrated because the park did not have warm water for the bottle and the baby was screaming and one of them had to leave to find hot water and...

...I was good with my eight, six and two year olds.

I am enjoying the ages that they are at so much right now.  All of the things that Abby and Caleb are learning at school, the friendships that they are building, their sense of humor, watching them play sports-it is all a blessing.  And Noah-that little character is reaching the age where he just cracks us all up.  Every day brings a new surprise of what one of these kids will do or say.

Happy Birthday to my kids!  I love you so much!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Thanks For Plants

Abby wrote the following essay about plants...

Dear God,

Thank you for plants.  Plants give us food and mom couldn't make her delicious cookies.  Her cookies are the best!  Plants also give us paper and if it isn't for paper, no books!  That would be awful!  Plants also give air to breathe.  I bet plants are thankful too, for us!  They also give us beuty.  Flowers are the most beutiful thing in the world.  God, thank you for giving us plants.


Enjoy your day of appreciating plants!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Time To Potty Train

Noah is a couple of weeks shy of being two, but I am thinking that he might need to be potty trained.

The boy and his poop are completely getting in my way of peaceful days.

I was on the phone with Direct TV the other day, upstairs in my room, troubleshooting why our box kept freezing up and not working.  I left Noah downstairs, happily watching his beloved Super Why.  The next thing I know, he comes into the room, naked from the waist down, holding his diaper in his hand and saying, "Dirty."

While putting on my best pretend "everything is great" voice with the customer service rep, I quickly ran downstairs to grab the baby wipes.  By the time I got back upstairs, Noah was standing there, holding the actual chunk of poop in his hand, saying, "Hot."


Thankfully, at this point, I was on hold while the rep attempted to fix the problem with the tv.  We deposited the poop, washed our hands over and over and over again, and covered his naked butt with a new diaper.  While I waited for the rep to come back, I realized that she had hung up on me. 

I was later told that it was a mistake, but I beg to differ.  Pretty sure she heard part of Noah and I's discussion about his feces and ran for her life.

As if that was not bad enough, I was making dinner the next day and everyone came home from school.  At that same moment, Noah woke up from his nap and started talking.  He was only left to be awake by himself for about three minutes, but by the time Nick went in there, it was pretty ugly.

As my hands were mixing food together, I heard Nick groan with shock and disgust.  Apparently, our little prince had taken off his poopy diaper and had taken the poop out so that he could throw it away. 

Use your imagination to picture what that would have looked like.

Nick put him directly into the bathtub while I finished preparing our food.  I mean, really, did anyone want me cleaning up the Noah mess while making dinner?  I eventually threw the sheet, the blankets, the pillow case, the lovey and his clothes into the wash, as they were all victims of the poop.

Okay, Noah, we are taking the hint.  You want to start using the potty.  Please stop sending these type of signs.  We just cannot take them anymore.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

My 35th Birthday

I have a very sweet husband.

The day before my 35th birthday, he arranged to go hiking with the four of us (no Noah-sorry buddy, did not feel like carrying you and fishing you out of every pond that you most certainly would fall into)...on a Sunday afternoon...during the Bengals game.


Okay, so we have a DVR and it is a lovely thing.  But, still, my husband has come a looooong way.  This never would have happened a few years ago.  Heck, even last year.

We had a lovely time and I loved our time in the fresh air, in nature, with two kids and a husband who made me believe they loved it, too. 

Favorite line of the day, by Caleb:  "Wow, this is a lot of walking!  It's like walking at King's Island, but there are never any rides, just more walking!"

We went out to eat that night with family and I chose Max and Erma's, simply because they bring you warm chocolate chip cookies for free on your birthday.  Between the eight free cookies (yes, I shared...some) and the delicious pretzel appetizer (um, I think I ate an actual meal somewhere in there, but all I remember are the pretzels and the cookies), it was a lovely evening.

I figured Nick was done, since my actual birthday was on a Monday, in which real life came back.  School, carpool, cleaning, work, soccer, golf...

However, he had yet another plan.

He canceled his golf practice and brought the kids home from school.  He kept texting me while at school, telling me to go get a massage.  The poor guy just does not understand the concept of needing to book an appointment way in advance for such a thing.  I came to realize that he was trying to get me out of the house because he had invited a few friends over to surprise me.

Such a sweet idea.  There were a few hick-ups in the plan.

#1-I had already put dinner in the crockpot for dinner, along with making pepperoni puffs.  I had even texted him earlier in the day saying what I was making (just hinting to see if I was really expected to cook dinner on my birthday) and he said that was fine.  Actually, he only saw the words "pepperoni puffs" and thought, "Great!  Our guests can eat them!"

#2-The house was still in disrray from the weekend.  Every mom knows that when everyone is home for the weekend, the house quickly falls apart.  Once they all head back to school and work, Monday is recovery day.

#3-Because I usually host the parties while Nick enjoys them, there were no party food preparations on hand.

You know what?  Who cares?  My husband just invited some friends over to celebrate me and it was a very sweet idea.  And all of those "problems" listed above had solutions.

#1-I put dinner in the fridge and we ate it the next day.  And the pepperoni puffs were a hit and were quickly eaten up by our guests.

#2-Everyone that came over has been in my house enough to have seen it at its worst.  And they all brought kids who further destroyed it anyway.

#3-The boys made a beer run, my neighbor brought over some wine, Nick bought a cake and ice cream and we all survived.

It was a lovely time of turning 35, an age that I was really not looking forward to.  There is something about that number 35 and how close it is to 40...

Enough about the age-I have an amazing husband and three pretty awesome kids.  And I still feel 22 in my heart.  Looking forward to what this coming year brings.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Moment To Brag

Okay, so I am going to be one of those moms today.  The ones who write about how amazing their children are and how proud of them they are.

I figured since I usually write about the fighting, whining, messes and bowel movements, I can take a day and brag about the good stuff.

I will start with Abby.  Sweet, perfectionist Abby.  She is now in 2nd grade (which still floors me) and is loving school.  She is part of the top 20 of 2nd grade to make it into math enrichment.  While part of me wonders why there should be a top 20 of a class in math in SECOND GRADE, the other part of me is super proud of her and happy that she is happy.  Clearly, her excitement over this comes from her dad because her mom is NOT a math person.

Next we have Caleb.  Sweet, perfectionist Caleb. 

Wait, isn't that how I described Abby?  Hmm.

Caleb is in kindergarten and went into it already reading.  Because of that, he gets to go to reading enrichment, which he thinks is pretty cool.  When his teacher asked him his sight words the week before school started, he knew all of them.  All of them.  His teacher was shocked and said, "Okay, start having him learn to spell them."  Which he also finds pretty cool.  Until he gets one wrong.

Let me take a minute and promise you all that I do not do anything to force reading on these kids.  True, Nick and I can both be found with a book in front of us quite often.  But, never have I made them sit down to read and forced learning on them.  They just love it.  Abby was an early reader and I think Caleb just wanted to keep up.

Now, we have Noah.  Let me start by saying that I am an awful mom to him.  While the older two were able to sit and read me with often and do art projects and color together, poor Noah is left to fend on his own.  I have two kids with homework and soccer practices and two direct sales jobs that keep me online and on the phone during the day. 

Yet, sweet Noah is turning out to be pretty smart.  He knows a lot of his letters and likes to read them every chance that he gets.  While I was wearing my "Love and be loved" t-shirt the other day (Music Camp people get that), he pointed at the correct letters and said, "O, E, B, D."

Um, what?  How did you learn that?

Oh, that's right.  Your favorite show is Super Why.  Where they look at letters the entire show.

Thank you PBS Kids.

Should I be concerned that my 23 month old is learning more from tv than from his mom?  I watched the show with him a couple of weeks ago and when they asked which word was "soft," he actually pointed to it and knew which one.  Either this kid is a genuis or he has seen that particular episode before.

Most likely it was the latter.

Regardless, I am so glad that they all love to read.  When I check on them before I go to bed each night, I find all three of them passed out with a book near their head.  Awesome.

Okay, enough bragging.  I am sure with my next post I will bring my faithful readers more stories of fighting, whining, messes and bowel movements.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Not As I Do

Sometimes kids are a real pain in the rear to have around.

Wow, I am full of Mother of the Year comments this week.

I am just not thrilled with how they bring such accountability to my life.

For example, I was driving to our church plant meeting tonight, running late (because of blessed soccer games) and was driving a little fast.  Actually, I was stuck behind really slow drivers (you know, the kind who go a whole two miles an hour under the speed limit-I mean, come on-who does that?) and every chance that I got, I sped up.

At one point, while driving down what could be a really fun road if we were in the country (but, alas, we are in the suburbs) I had a breakaway.  Someone finally turned right and got out of my way!  I picked up speed, loving every bit of my one mile of freedom (until the next row of cars at the next red light), but then I heard Caleb.

I heard his little voice from the back seat say, "Mom, you are really speeding!  What's the speed limit here?"

My response was something along the lines of , "Oh, I don't know, and I'm only going fast for a short time and we are late and I have this hot dinner here in the car that gets colder by the minute and I don't want to get there so late that no one gets to eat it."

Seriously-I was trying to get to a church meeting!  That's a worthy excuse, right?

I followed up my lame excuses with, "But you guys will never drive like this someday-always obey the speed limit."

Do as I say and not as I do.

I think that just might be every adult's favorite line.

Do not speed.  Do not talk about people behind their backs.  Do not eat dessert before dinner.  Go to bed on time.  Do not stare at the computer/tv for so long.  Eat healthy.  Exercise.  Share.  Get along with your friends.  Be kind to your family.  Pray for your enemies. 

Shall I go on?

Those dang kids and their watching of our every move.  What the heck?  I want to do what I want to do without accountability.

Who knew they would be so much trouble?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Just Another Day

Take a seat everyone-here is another picture of the Rosenfeldt house on a typical evening...

I think I will start with the scene before everyone came home from school.  Noah had just woken up, I was finishing some online work and it was quite peaceful.


They came home.

As my carpool friend drove away, waving and saying, "Good luck!" I could tell that I was going to be in for it.  Abby and Caleb were in their typical end of the day moods, in which they decide to fight about everything.  Apparently, all of the good behavior that their teachers rave about has to burst at some point and so it does-at home.

After hearing Abby whine to Caleb about how he was in her way while she was trying to do cartwheels for the hundreth time, I finally said, "Abby-he knows he is getting to you.  Ignore him and he will find something else to do!"

She chose to ignore me instead.

While I prepared dinner, here is what I heard from the living room...

"Caleb-stop getting in my way!"
"Hee hee hee."
"Caleb-STOP IT!"
"Hee hee hee."
"Come on Caleb, get out of my way!"
"Hee hee hee."

I have to admit, at this point, I was laughing to myself, too.  I would gladly have gone in to break it up if she had just at least tried to listen to my advice.  Sorry, girlie, you thought you knew better.

As Noah stood near me in the kitchen, pointing at them and saying, "Uh oh," I listened as I heard the arguing get louder.  Eventually there were some fist poundings, but considering Caleb was still "hee hee heeing" through his beating, I figured they were fine.

I know-call me mom of the year.

As the screams grew louder, I finally gave in and went to break it up.  They were both in trouble, both separated and both left to pout on their own couches while I went back to making dinner.

You know, the dinner that I was preparing for my precious children.

When I had left the kitchen to break up the fight of my children, I had just taken a pot of boiling chicken off the stove and after emptying the chicken, I had left the dry pot on a cool burner.  When I went back to cooking, I needed to take dinner out of the oven and moved the pot to its former burner, which I figured was cool enough by then.

I served dinner to the kids, went to make my plate and noticed that the light was still lit on the stove, meaning that the burner was on.  In the chaos of my children, I had forgotten to turn off the burner and the completely empty pot was smoking.


At this point, all of my burners were in use or had just been used so I grabbed a pot holder, set it on the counter and placed the pot on it.

Not the smartest decision I have ever made in my life.

As I attempted to sit down for dinner, Caleb said, "Mom, that pan is still on fire."
I looked over and smoke was rising from under it.  As I picked it up, the potholder stuck to it and was completely black. 

The scene was complete with the most horrible smell I have ever smelled in my life.

No, it was not Noah's diaper.  It was the smell of the potholder burning on the pot.

Not exactly the best made potholder.

Finally got that all cleaned up and opened up every window around me (remembering, as I opened it, that there was still a rip in the screen of the kitchen window-please, come on in bugs), still attempted to sit down to eat my by then cold dinner and Caleb started asking for seconds.

After he received The Look from me and wised up, I ate a few bites, cleaned up Noah, got Abby motivated to get dressed for soocer and started cleaning up the kitchen.  Caleb, my beloved slowpoke when it comes to meals, was still eating and suddenly I heard, "Uh mom-it was an accident."

While part of me longed to jump out of the torn window, the part of me living in reality turned around and saw that his entire drink had spilled.  All over the table, the chair, the floor and into the slit of the table that holds the center extension part.

I kind of wanted to cry at this point.  I really wanted to yell.  But, those blasted windows were open and my neighbors all live inches away so I chose to quietly yell through gritted teeth.  For the first time in his life, Caleb noticed the mood of the room and left it.

As I grabbed towels and started to clean up the drink, I looked at Caleb and he was sitting on the couch, watching television.  In my anger, I said, "Caleb, stop watching tv!"  I looked over a second later and he was still sitting there, with his hands over his eyes.

I guess that was all he could do.  His mom was yelling at him to stay out of the kitchen and yelling at him to not watch what was going on in the next room.

Finally made it through his meal, rushed around to get Abby ready for soccer and my precious daughter, who is ALWAYS ready and listening comes downstairs without her socks, without her brush and without her rubber band.

Seriously, Abby?  You chose this night to walk around in la la land?

I took her next door to our neighbor who was awesome and offered to take her to practice and we were talking about how both of our girls have Wednesday night games this week.  I mentioned how the 5:30 game is really hard to get to, especially for people who work.  Abby chimed in and said, "Yeah, it's a good thing that you don't work, Mom."

Uh, what?

My neighbor heard her words and very quickly said, "Yeah, your mom takes care of you and your brothers and that's work."

Abby said, "Yeah, you know what I mean.  Like a real job that you go to and work at."

I reminded myself that she is seven years old, went inside and went back to my cooking.  Oh yes, more cooking to go.  My loving husband was hoping to have pepperoni puffs and buffalo chicken dip with chips for his Monday night football watching event.

I recently just started getting the smell of the burnt pan out of the house, thanks to open windows, lysol and a candle.  As I was sitting here typing this, I looked over at the buffalo chicken dip that I had pulled out of the oven and noticed that it was still bubbling.  I found that odd, since it should have been cooling.  Upon inspection, I realized that I had left a burner on and promptly placed the cooling dish on that burner.

I wish I was kidding.

Thankfully, I think I saved the requested meal.  Nick just gave me a look of, "What the heck are you doing?" and I almost decked him.  He, like Caleb, took the hint and went into the living room.

As I look back on my day of laundry, cooking, carpooling, errands, online work for Thirty-One and Mary Kay, changing diapers, planning stuff for American Heritage Girls, changing sheets, cleaning...I guess it is a good thing that I do not have a real job.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Noah Growing Up

I am so glad that Noah is finally finding ways to communicate besides screeching.

Don't get me wrong-the kid still likes to screech. 

But, thankfully, he is finally finding his words and telling us things.  I get to hear "drop" a lot, which is better than screeching.  And I hear "water" and "snack," which is better than screeching.  I also get to hear "done," which, again, is better than screeching.

Can you tell that I have slowly been losing it with the screeching?

Noah cracks me up.  He has started calling me, "Mom" instead of "Mama."  I think it is because he hears the older two call me that and he thinks he is pretty cool when he says it like them.  It was super cool to hear during our church plant meeting tonight.  We adults were sitting inside having our meeting while I could hear Noah outside the window, looking for me, saying, "mom, mom, mom" over and over again.

I should mention that we do have childcare and that he was not outside alone.

He is starting to become pretty independent.  He likes to get himself ready and help everyone else get ready by bringing them their shoes.  He gets in and out of seats alone, throws away his diapers, and reads himself books.

Okay, so maybe that last one is not quite true.  But, he is pretty content to look at books for a long time and I do hear him use his voice like he is reading.

My favorite thing is that he has completely mastered the stairs.  Well, he probably mastered them a long time ago, but I as the mom have finally reached the point where I do not fear for his life everytime that he goes up and down by himself.  I just took the baby gates down and even though I have some spackling and painting to do, it is a relief to have them out of the way.

Funny, but I still find myself extending my leg out as if I am stepping over the gate.  Someday that will pass, right?

As Noah approaches his second birthday, I am excited for him, but kind of sad to officially leave the baby phase.

Then I think of the screeching and the sadness just melts away.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The First Day Poem

For all of my friends sending their kids off to school this year, particularly the ones who are sending their kindergartener...

Caleb's teacher had the following poem handed to us as we left our little ones on the first day.

The First Day
I gave you a smile and said a prayer
As you entered my room today
For I know how hard it is to leave
And know your child must stay.
You've been with him for five years now
And have been a loving guide,
But now, alas, the time has come
To leave him at my side.
Just know that as you drive away
And tears down your cheeks may flow
I'll love him as I would my own
And help him learn and grow.
For as a parent, I too know
How quickly the years do pass
So please put your mind at ease
And cry those tears no more
For I will love him and take him in
When you leave him at my door.
I should mention that she had this poem in a bag with two Hershey's chocolate kisses and a couple of tissues.  Smart lady.
And thanks to that poem, I was using both.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Loving My Job

I am totally loving being a Thirty-One consultant.

Yes, this is another shameless plug kind of post.

I was hesitant about getting involved with it, since I already sell Mary Kay, but it has been nothing but a blessing since I signed on.

Because of the number of parties that I have had in less than 90 days, I have earned hundreds of dollars of free bags and purses and supplies.  All of which are great to show at parties, but of course I am using most of them for myself as well.

Apart from the free stuff (which is just plain awesome), I have an amazing group of women on our team to consult with for questions and ideas.  While we are all over the country, our little facebook group page has been wonderful.  I have felt such support and have been given such great ideas to help my business-simply a blessing.

Even Nick is coming around to this.  He is watching me actually make money and has been pleasantly surprised.

If any of my faithful readers out there (okay, so the women readers) are ever interested in joining our team, please let me know.  You get to spend time with women talking about bags-and you get paid to do it.  I know.  Fun job.

Monday, August 27, 2012

You Are Awesome

While in the car, I told Nick about a hypothetical question that I heard on the radio. 

"If you had the choice, would you be the worst player on a winning team or the best player on a losing team?"

Selfishly, we both opted for the latter.  Maybe not every time, but there is something ego-boosting about being the best on a team, no matter the talent of the rest of the players.  It was more fun watching Abby be a leader on her team of much younger girls this past spring than to watch her be an average player on a team that went to the state championship last fall.

I know-not a very good team mentality and we would never teach our kids to think that way.  We were just being honest with each other.

Apparently, Caleb was listening from the back seat.

This kid cannot hear me say to pick up his toys, get dressed or brush his teeth when I am standing right next to him.  But, he heard our private conversation from the very back of the van with the radio blaring.

As we were talking we heard this little voice say, "I would say...sorry, I was listening to you guys...I wouldn't say what you guys said, I would say the other thing."

When we asked him why, he said, "If my team played yours, I would win.  The other guys on my team would win because I have better players than your team."  He went on to talk about how he would not mind being the worst player because the team would still be the best.

I shall remind my competitve boy of this conversation the next time he gets upset on the field.

Nick told Caleb that he was proud of him and how he is growing up to be a better man than himself. 

Caleb responded, "Dad, you are awesome!  You are both awesome.  you are both the same."

As we smiled at his reaction, he went on to say, "You guys should be saying this stuff, not I."

Not I?

Apart from his hilarious grammar, he was correct in his thoughts.  Nick and I should be telling each other how awesome we are more often.  Not because we think so highly of ourselves, but because we think so highly of each other.  Somewhere in the midst of kids, work, carpool, errands, and general life-telling each other how awesome we find each other tends to get lost.

Nick, after 14 years of knowing you, you are still pretty awesome.  I am so glad that I get to spend this life with my best friend.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

First Week Of School

Oh, the first day of school.

For Abby, she was up early.  By early I mean that as I got out of the shower at 6:00 am and took a load of laundry downstairs, I saw her light on. 

Don't worry-that only happened the first day.  After having soccer practice that night, I had to wake her up for day two.  Still, it only takes a second for her to wake up, then smile and go on about her day.

Now Caleb on the other hand.

Oh, sweet Caleb.  The poor kid still has not learned to fall asleep earlier.  His body is on summer time and he keeps staying up late and goofing off.  Since the boys share a room, this means Noah keeps staying up late and goofing off.

On the first day, I opened the door quietly and Noah looked up at me with an expression that said, "What the...?"  Caleb did not budge.  After turning off the fan, opening up the blinds and finally talking right in his ear, he opened one eye and said, "But, I only had 6 words in my dream."

Um, okay.  I am assuming he meant that he had just started dreaming when I woke him up.

Apart from the task of dragging Caleb's tired butt out of bed every morning, school is going well so far.  Abby loves it, of course.  And Caleb seems to be enjoying it as well.  He keeps talking about his friends and all of the things that they are doing in class. 

Noah is not as thrilled as they are.

The first couple of days I had to walk Caleb into the building and to his class.  Each time, Noah made himself at home, sitting at the desk and grabbing markers.  He had been quite bothered by me since I kept taking him away from all the fun.  During the day, he just walks around, looking for everyone.  When Abby came home the first day, Noah followed her around everywhere and sat right next to her every chance that he got.

It was pretty sweet to watch.

I miss my kids already.  Simply unbelievable to me that I have a 2nd grader and kindergartener this year.

It is also simply unbelievable to me that I have a quiet house in the afternoon.  No middle of the day pick-ups from preschool.  No thousands of questions from Caleb all afternoon when he is supposed to be resting.  Just Noah napping.  And quiet.

I could get used to this.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Break My Heart For What Breaks Yours

I have been thinking about this Chick-Fil-A thing for awhile now.

Yep, it is one of those posts.

I feel that both sides of the story have failed.

Someone asked the CEO of Chick-Fil-A his thoughts on gay marriage.  Big shocker that he is against it.  Was anyone really surprised?  The guy owns a company that closes on Sunday (on a day where I suddenly crave it for some reason) because of his religious beliefs so why would anyone be surprised that he is against gay marriage? 

For the people who reacted with such hatred against him-I am confused.  He answered a question and used his constitutional right of freedom of speech.  If you no longer want to support his company, fine.  But, why all the hatred?

Now here is where I take on the other side.  While I was glad to see so many people come out and support Chick-Fil-A, I am not sure they all came out for the same reason.  Was it to support a man expressing his freedom of speech?  Or was it in support of the hatred of homosexuals?

Judging from what I read on facebook and twitter, it was the latter.

I am a Christian.  I believe the Bible to be true and I believe that it says pretty clearly in scripture that homosexuality is a sin.  Not just in the Old Testament where some things are left to culture differences, but also in the New Testament.  It says it flat out in Romans 1 that it is wrong.


Before we get on our high horse and say, "See-I told you!" it also goes on to mention the people who "have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity."  The ones who "are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice."  The "gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful."  The ones who "are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless." 

Funny enough, after all of those descriptions (which I am completely guilty of), it says, "you, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself because you who pass judgment do the same thing."

I could keep going with quoting that section of scripture, but I would pretty much keep typing all of Romans.  Open up your Bible, your Kindle, your app and read it.  Pretty humbling stuff.

Every time I hear the following song, it brings me to my knees in embarrassment of my behavior.  For those who do not have the time to listen to it (which I suggest you take the time to do so), I have also written out the lyrics below.

Jesus, friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in Your name, but the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth's become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You, but they're tripping over me
Always looking around, but never looking up, I'm so double minded
A plank-eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided

Oh, Jesus, friend of sinners, open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy, help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh, Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks Yours

Jesus, friend of sinners, the one whose writing in the sand, made the righteous turn away
And the stone fall from their hands
Help us to remember we are all the least of these, let the memory of Your mercy
Bring Your people to their knees
Nobody knows what we're for only what we're against when we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs, cross over the lines and loved like You did?

You love every lost cause, you reach for the outcast
For the leper and the lame, they're the reason that you came
Lord I was that lost cause and I was the outcast
But You died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet

Cause You are good, You are good and Your love endures forever

I keep struggling with finding the fine line between holding strong to my beliefs and knowing the truth, but also loving the people around me.  Finding compassion for them instead of judgment.

I am completely the lost cause and the outcast.  Somewhere in my little bubble world, I tend to forget that.  Compared to others, I am doing pretty well.  So well, in fact, that I forget the ugly mess that God saw before Jesus saved me.

When Jesus met those lost causes in scripture, He met their needs and then told them to leave their life of sin.  Why would anyone who is lost want to listen to anything that we say if all they see are our pointing fingers?  And better yet, when they see all of the sins that we are committing to each other without apologizing?

My soul is still hurt from how I was treated at my home church from lies and gossip and slander.  Why were those sins never addressed?  Why is everyone stopping traffic to line up to buy chicken in support of their beliefs, but not lining up at the soup kitchen downtown?

I really do not have the answers.  I just keep praying that my heart breaks for what breaks God's heart.  That it dislikes the sin, but loves the sinner.  That the huge plank in my eye reminds me where I started.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Our Yearly Reunion

Ah, relaxing with my college girls.  Simply lovely.

For our annual get together, we flew down to Jacksonville, FL to hang out at Brandie's new home.  She married a Navy pilot so we got to enjoy the private Naval beach and hear pretty cool stories from her pretty cool husband. 

Every year we meet somewhere different, but honestly, we could stay at a hotel in the middle of nowhere and be perfectly content.  All we do is talk...and talk...and talk some more.  Sleep no longer becomes important because the talking is what matters.

Okay, so when I slept in until 11:30 a.m. one morning because of all of the previous night's talking, I guess it did matter a little bit.  Have not slept that late since, well, college.

There are some differences in our times together since our college days twelve years ago.  We tend to wear hats and cover up with 50 spf while in the sun.  Many of our conversations are about our children, husbands and careers.  Not every time can we all meet because of having babies and nursing and life (sweet Kristan missed this trip because of the arrival of her new baby).  We feel our age a little bit more each year.

But, the important things still stay the same.

We still fall into our roles.  Within seconds of being in the same room together, we all know who will say what and we communicate with a steady flow of conversation that never seems to end.  We understand each other and can always be honest and upfront about anything.

And I mean anything.  If you could only hear the topics we hit on and the details to which they are discussed...

...sorry, that is between me and my girls.

What a blessing that God brought these women into my life so many years ago.  I rolled my eyes at my assigned aerobics class my freshman year, but without that class, I never would have met Rebekah.  Without her, I would not have met Brandie, Christi, and Kristan.  Without Christi, Shannon never would have transferred to Geneva and met us. 

Since 1996, God has woven our lives together and has given us years of laughter, tears and sisterhood.  We are blessed.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Little Sisters

I opened the mail today and found a lovely picture of my friend Kristan's new baby.

As my kids heard my "Ahh, how cute" line come out of my mouth, they ran to see who it was.  I explained how their friend, Noah, now had two little sisters.

Caleb said, "Wow, I wish I had two sisters!"

Both Abby and I looked at each in confusion and finally Abby asked, "Why would you want another sister?"

Before he could respond, Abby said, "Oh wait-I know!  So that you can bother her and annoy her."

Caleb smiled and said, "Yep, that is correct."

Such honesty.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Couple Of Calebisms

Sometimes Caleb really surprises me.

He can go from being a typical five-year old boy whose room is always a mess, who does not hear half the things that I say to him, to only thinking of himself... this...

"I think I know why Jesus died for us.  To take us to Heaven.  He made Heaven for us!"

He randomly said this while walking up the stairs to voluntarily clean his room.

While voluntarily cleaning his room, he said, "I just feel like cleaning my room.  Some days I don't feel like it, but today I do!"

Okay Caleb.  Clean away. 

Of course this is also the same kid who said the other day, "I'm sorry, Abby" for something he did wrong to her.  When I asked, "Are you ever going to do that again?" he replied, "Maybe."

At least he is honest.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Nick and I have a habit of talking with each other and forgetting that little ears are hearing absolutely every word.

Particularly Abby's ears.

We were discussing the pros to Nick scheduling a certain surgery that would prevent us from having more children.  As much as we love our children, we would like to send them to college someday and eventually get out of debt, which requires me working at some point.

Remember when a family could live on one salary?  Yeah, me neither.

Anyway, as we were discussing it, Abby (from two rooms away) asked, "Why do you have to have surgery, Daddy?"

We looked at each other, I gave him the look and yet he still said, "So we don't have any more kids."

Crap.  Here we go. 

Abby:  "But, daddys don't have the kids, the mommys do."
Nick:  "Well, daddys love mommys and put a baby in the mommy's belly."
Abby:  "How does a daddy get a baby into a mommy?"

And that is why I gave him the look.

Nick:  "Well, when daddys love mommys, they can have kids together."
Abby:  "So, you won't love mommy anymore?"


Once we finally dug ourselves out of the hole that Nick put us in, we somehow changed the subject to something that Abby would be distracted by.  It was probably something about dancing or soccer or books.

Which is probably what we should have done after she asked the first question.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Conversations In The Car

I have been watching a friend of mine's children this summer.  Just a couple of times a week for the summer.  Our kids are friends and they are the same age so it has been fun for everyone.

Okay, so exhausting for me.  There is a reason that I do not watch a lot of kids for a living.  Some people are blessed with that patience.  I am not.

Anyway, due to the super healthy appetite that the five-year old boy has, I decided to get pizza for lunch today (it was either that or go buy more groceries tomorrow).  I called it in and was told it would be another hour until it was ready. 

Um, yeah.  Five kids, with hunger pains, and a tired Noah to top it all off.  Clearly, I decided to pick it up on my own.

Five kids piled into the car and we were off.  My first laughable moment was when the boy asked, "Can we watch a movie?"  The pizza place is five minutes away, buddy.

Have you ever ridden in a car with two seven-year olds, two five-year olds and a one-year old?  It is pretty fun.  A headache, but fun.  Here are some of the statements that I heard from the backseat...

"This one time, I pooped in my dad's truck."
"This one time, I puked on my dad's lap."
(The scene from American Pie kept coming to mind, "This one time, at band camp...")
"This one time, my dad held me up and his mouth was open and I puked into his mouth!"
"This one time, Caleb puked in the car, all over his Angry Bird.  That's why we call it the 'curse of the angry birds!'"
"This one time, Noah pooped up his back and up his front."
"This one time, I pooped all through my clothes and Mommy forgot the diaper bag."

As each story topped the next, I was just thankful that they weren't fighting.

One poopy diaper from Noah and a few farts from the boy later, I am so over hearing about poop.

Yet, I have two boys.  Something tells me that I will never stop hearing about poop.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Noah The Monkey

Noah takes his afternoon nap in our room.  The pack-n-play is nicely set up in there (okay, so Nick has to trip over it to get to bed each night, but oh well-he survives) and that way Caleb gets rest in his room, Noah gets rest in our room, and I get rest.

Which is very important to the balance of our family.

The other day, however, I heard Noah wake up from his nap and start talking quietly.  I gave him a few minutes to finish waking up when I suddenly realized that I was hearing his voice not through the monitor, but at the top of the stairs.

The little booger somehow got himself out of the pack-n-play.


When I put him down for a nap today, I did not really think about him getting out.  I mean, that was three days ago and I actually forgot about it.  So, I put him down and went downstairs to enjoy a quiet Sunday afternoon with Nick and the Olympics.

It was only a few minutes later when we heard a noise at the top of the stairs.  We yelled, "Who's out of their room?" but heard nothing in reply.  As I was about to yell, "Who is ignoring us?" I saw a toy fall down the stairs.  I walked to the staircase and there he was.  Mr. Noah, almost to the bottom of the stairs.

My emotions were mixed with relief that he did not tumble down the stairs (as he now thinks that he is too cool to climb down on his belly) and diappointment that the pack-n-play was no longer an option for a peaceful afternoon.  I took him back upstairs, arranged the pack-n-play so that it was not near our bed (figured that was how he was crawling out) and tried again.

A few minutes later, I heard our toilet lid slam down.  I went up and there he was, in our bathroom, holding our toothbrushes.

At least the toilet lid was shut.

No idea how the monkey got out of the pack-n-play, but apparently we are done with napping in it.

My third child is always so much fun.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Camp Reflections

Someone commented on here that I need to talk about camp.  Thank you for reminding me.  How quickly I get caught up in life here and let that one amazing week fade into precious memories.

Camp was amazing.  I could say that every year (and probably do), but each year I am always amazed at how it is still powerful and surprising and fresh.  One would think that the routine could get boring.  Seriously-the daily schedule is still the same from when I was a camper in 1988.  True, we actually had F.O.B. then (Flat/Feet On Bunk-naptime after lunch), but it is still on the schedule to this day, just in case. 

The routine may stay the same, but the freshness of the people and the world around us keeps learning.  Actually, I would have to say that it is the Holy Spirit that keeps us learning and renewed.  Without that presence, we are just a bunch of kids and grown-ups (who pretend we are kids) running around on a beautiful piece of property, kind of having fun.

These memories are fun...

And these memories are precious...

I also love how our whole staff works so well together.  It is a beautiful picture of why God makes us different with our own unique qualities.  We need the goofy counselors who keep kids laughing.  We need the quieter ones who listen well to the quieter campers.  We need the dreamers and the organizers.  We need the young ones who are full of energy and the older ones who are full of wisdom.  Somehow, in the midst of this group of random people, God creates something beautiful for His work.

Fun times were had, friendships were made, and spiritual walks were renewed.  Most importantly, the gospel was presented many times through words and music and love.