The Kids

The Kids

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Terror Soccer Mom

I remember when I had a life.  When I had time to write on here.  Then soccer season started.

Caleb just played his last game of the season.  Abby just finished up this past weekend.  Praise the Lord.  Now, just a few t-ball games to get through and we are free!

Actually, I love watching them play.  As much as I do not want to admit it, I enjoy being the soccer mom who packs up the van with folding chairs and a stroller.  I like cheering them on and bonding with the other parents.  It brings me joy to see them having fun and developing their skills.

I do not, however, enjoy the terror soccer moms that one hears about.  You all know who I mean.  The mom who screams at her child, complains about the coach and could pretty much do everything better if it were up to her.

We had one of those this season.

At first, I kind of liked her.  She sought me out to discuss the soccer futures of our daughters (since our girls were the oldest and most skilled players).  We bonded as we discussed past coaches that our girls both had.

Then, it began.  The yelling.  The complaining.  The attitude.

Her daughter is really good.  She has a natural gift to take the ball and score.  But, like the rest of the team, she is still a kid and is human.  For some reason, her mom has forgotten this.  All I heard from her section of the sidelines was, "Move!  Run!  Make a move!  Stop standing there and go!  What are you doing?  Come on!"

Most parents yell, "Great job!  Good try!  Keep going!" in an encouraging way.  And without a mean undertone.  That makes sense to me.

This terror soccer mom despised the coach.  If her daughter was told to pass, it was a problem.  If she was told to run, it was a problem.  Basically, anything that the coach yelled out, the mom disagreed with (even though she had most likely just screamed the same instructions to her daughter ten seconds before).  If her daughter made a mistake, it was because of the coach, not natural human error.

What makes me hurt the most is the way she talked to and about her daughter.  It was never encouraging.  If I were her daughter, I would feel that I was never living up to my mother's expectations.

It is just soccer.  A sport.  For fun.

The sad thing is, that talented girl just might learn to hate the sport if she is constantly put down about her skills.

I love being a soccer mom.  I hold the position with care because I know that my attitude will forever affect the attitude of my children.  I want them to see me as an encourager.  I want them to know that they can make mistakes.  I want them to know that my love is unconditional.

I want them to have fun playing the game.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Kindergarten Musings

Abby's classroom is in the same hallway as the kindergarten classes.  I noticed one of their bulletin boards covered with writings about what they learned this year.  Most of them talked about Jesus and knowing how much He loves them.  There were a few that stuck out to me that I wanted to share...

I learned that God brought down His son to die for sort of makes me cry.

That God is nice to people.  He created a farm so we can get our food.

And my personal favorite...

I learned that God laid down His life for me.  Before that, I just thought He died.

Love it.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Getting Higher?

There has been a song on the radio, lately, that I really enjoy.  It is called "We are Young" by the band Fun.

No, it is not a Christian song.  It is basically about friends partying together and promising to carry each other home if they are too drunk.

Pretty classy, I know.

It is the music that I enjoy.  And the chorus.  With the rock anthem sound and the words, "Tonight, we are young, so let's set the world on fire, we can burn brighter than the sun," it just makes me feel like a kid who feels like she can do anything in a world of great possibility. 

Anyway, whenever the song comes on the radio, I turn it up.  It is usually just Noah in the car with me so I know he is not listening to the words.  Actually, when he hears even a second of the song, he starts smiling, laughing and clapping.  Even little Noah appreciates a good tune.

Unfortunately, while listening to it in the car the other day with the older two in the car, I realized that they do not miss a thing.  During the line, "My friends are in the bathroom getting higher than the Empire State" (like I said, classy), I specifically turned the music down and started talking over it.  Yet, somehow, those little stinkers heard every word.

At the exact same time, Caleb commented, "My friends are in the bathroom?" and Abby asked, "What does getting higher mean?"


I just said they were silly words and changed the subject.  Why dwell on such things?  I also vowed to not leave that song on in the car with those two monkeys again.

Here is the dilemma:  Christian music is truly lacking in the creative department.  Yes, there are some great songs and musicians out there.  I already bought tickets to see The City Harmonic in a few weeks.  I own every Caedmon's Call and Andrew Peterson album ever made.  But, honestly, when I leave on the one of three Christian stations that my van picks up, it is usually the same stuff coming from the speakers.  Whining voices, predictable lyrics and not a lot of creative musicianship going on.

Yes, I am a music snob.

I am not trying to bash music that probably works wonders for other people.  When I think back on some of the stuff that was popular when I was growing up (that leaves us with Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant, people), that music really helped me, even though I now hear a completely cheesy sound from it.  I just get frustrated when so many musicians settle for what is expected in the Christian music scene-mediocrity. 

It is not just Christian music-the secular stations drive me crazy as well.  Every beat sounds the same after awhile (wow, I am sounding so old), which is why a song like the one mentioned above brings about new life to what is normally R&B monotony.

Okay, enough of my bandwagon.  Lesson learned-be careful of questionable lyrics when driving with young kids, while still trying to teach them the value of good music.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Loss Of The Tortoise

My gramma sent the kids a package for Easter full of candy and trinkets.  It was a hit.  After digging through the loot, Caleb found his favorite item.

A tortoise that grows in water.

My boy faithfully watered his tortoise every day and checked on him pretty much on the hour.  I had to clean up many spills in his bedroom because he kept sneaking the water-covered tortoise into his room.

Finally, Mr. Tortoise grew to the size of Caleb's liking and he kept him as a dry pet.  He took him to school, kept him in his bed and played with him all of the time.

Sadly, we have this child in our family named Noah who likes to destroy things that are precious to us. 

I heard the scream from the top of the stairs.  Caleb was standing at the top, looking down at Noah, who was sitting at the bottom, holding the tortoise in his hands.

Actually, he was holding the body of the tortoise in one hand and the head of the tortoise in the other hand.

Caleb sobbed in my arms as he mourned his loss.  It was not just a cry over a broken toy, but he cried like he had lost his best friend.

Noah, meanwhile, just looked at us like, "What happened?"

Good question.  How does a 19 month-old behead a rubber tortoise so easily?

Between the tortoise's torture and the dying of his tiger fish, Caleb needs a stream of good luck these days.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Select What?

I thought soccer was supposed to be fun and perhaps more competitive when the kids got older.

Then I was introduced to the strange world of Select Soccer.

I was happily going to renew Abby for the fall season of our simple SAY soccer league.  She has been playing her best season ever and has made friends with the girls on her team.  As one of the oldest girls (some are still turning six!), she has stepped up as a leader and has enjoyed it.

Then, one of the other soccer moms asked me if Abby was going to try out for select.  My ignorance led me to ask, "What's that?"  Apparently, for strong players, they get the chance to try out and play with other strong players in a more competitive league.  It is more money and more time and more traveling.

Um, yeah, I am already worn out from two practices a week at a field that is ten minutes from my house.

What is amazing is the pressure that I started to feel.  I heard that this soccer mom's daughter would be trying out (she and Abby have been the strongest players on their team so far) and two of Abby's former teammates (from her fall team that went to the state tournament) would be trying out.  It made me wonder if I was missing something.

What happens if we miss our chance to try out?  What if it becomes more difficult to get in when she is older?  Does this affect her soccer skills?  Do select coaches really know how to teach them better than the current parent volunteers?  Will she be bored staying where she is?

Then, like a slap in the face, Abby mentioned today, "I don't really want to try out for select.  I haven't really wanted to do that ever since it was first talked about."

Thank you, sweet girl.  Thank you for being honest and for bringing this soccer mom back to reality.

Abby is seven years old.  Seven.  She is not playing for a college scholarship.  She is not playing for income.  She is playing to have fun.  And every time she saves a goal as goalie, kicks strongly as a defender or scores a goal on offense, she does a little skip and cheers with her teammates.

That sounds like a perfect way to spend our fall season.

Friday, May 18, 2012


Abby's most recent writing assignment was to write a letter as the Wolf, addressed to the Three Little Pigs.  The wolf is out of jail and wants to be friends with the pig who still lives in the neighborhood.

Because that is how life works, right?

Dear Al,

You can tell him you weren't trying to hurt him and you just needed a cup of sugar.  Ask him to be your friend.  Tell him that you had a cold and you didn't try to blow his brother's houses.  Say you had a cold and the pigs had built their houses poorly so when you sneezed, it blew the houses down.  When the houses blew down, the pigs were just sitting there, so they would be rotten if he left them.  Promise that you won't play pranks or eat him.

Your friend,
Abigail Rosenfeldt

Apart from the fact that she missed the whole point of writing the letter and just said what she would write, this letter made me laugh.  Excuses, excuses, excuses. 

Yet, I find myself writing letters just like this every day.  They are called emails and they get sent to those who I am making excuses to.  My excuses are not quite about having a cold and knocking over someone's house, but more about forgetting to turn something in, or pay something, or remember an appointment.

My excuses usually fall on the same person (ahem, Noah), but really, I need to stop blaming that little guy.  I am human, I make mistakes and I need to own up to them.

And I need to have some grace with those who make mistakes to me.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Curse Of The Angry Birds

Caleb has had bad luck with his Angry Birds.

Let us go back a year ago to when he was given his first Angry Bird.  We were on vacation when I gave in and bought one at a local store that was completely over-pricing them because they knew how crazy kids are on vacation and how tired the parents are.  Anyway, if you missed this gem of a story, please read

That lovely chocolate milkshake that landed everywhere in the car landed right on Caleb's new Angry Bird.  Oh, and Abby's favorite hat, but that part of the story is for another time.

Flash forward to this past week.  Caleb won (actually won) two new Angry Birds at King's Island.  Yes, those games that I always so no to because they are a scam.  The kid spent $2 and won two birds.  Pretty awesome.  Even the strangers that were watching were impressed.

The next day, we were in the car with Caleb's two new friends right at his feet.  He started coughing and complaining that he needed water.  I reminded him that we were close to our destination and to just relax.  Moments later, he stopped coughing.  So that he could throw up.  All over the floor, the booster seat, and the blanket on the floor.

Oh, and all over the new Angry Birds.

Seriously?  Again?

Note to parents of these stuffed animals-they do make it through the washing machine in one piece.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

When Abby got home from watching her uncle become a state trooper, she wrote the following...



By Abby Rosenfeldt

Students graduate from police acadamy in West Virgina!  From 56-53 (That means that it starts at 56 and ends at 53) is one of the highest scores in West Virgina.  My Uncle is one of the gratuates so of course I was there.  It was so exciting!  My Uncle actually gets to be on T.V.!  At first we had to sit inside for four hours waiting for everyone to talk and to get deplomas and awards-and so on.  After that, Everyone goes to a school yard and the almost policepeople (because there is a woman) sing a really, really, really long song.  After that, they congratuate each other and then they come to their family members.  That's when he got interviewed.  He was on fox 11 May 4th, 2012!  Next, Uncle Billy showed us around his school.  There were even some parts that you wern't allowed to step on!  That was because they were supposed to sign to the policepeople and should be respected. 

Love, Abby Rosenfeldt

I love her memory.

Okay, so she kind of mixed up a few details.  She combined her memory of how many students make it through the program with the speaker telling us how well their test scores were.  And I guess it felt like four hours since we arrived two hours early for decent seats.  Other than that, she remembered more than my tired brain did.

My daughter, the journalist.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My Little Brother

I am so proud of my "little" brother.

Now that he just graduated from the West Virginia State Police Academy, he is not so little anymore.

After months of hard work (picture military boot camp) and sacrifices, he did it.  Hundreds of applicants all narrowed down to Billy and fifty-some other men (and one brave woman) who accomplished this amazing feat.

Early morning to wake up to for the graduation

I took Abby and Caleb to see his graduation.  With three hours each way and a stay at a hotel, I figured it would be much easier to leave Noah at home.  Sorry, little guy-I love you, but some things are just easier when you stay home :)

Enjoy some pictures of our family's proud day.

Proud Parents

So proud of their Uncle Billy

Billy and his proud girlfriend, Brittany
My dad putting the badge on Billy
Their gifts from Billy-a Trooper bear for Abby and a Trooper shirt for Caleb (which he wants to wear every day)
Congratulations Billy!  We love you!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Abby's Book

Oh my.  So many things to write about and so little time.  I have all of these thoughts and stories swirling around in my head and have yet to find the time to write them down.  For now, I will start with the precious book that Abby wrote for me.

She brought the book home from school the other day, but last night informed me that she was supposed to wait to give it to me.  Apparently, it was her Mother's Day gift to me and it should have been presented on Sunday.  However, she could not keep the excitement to herself.

And you know, considering that Mother's Day is on a day where I still have to get up early to get everyone ready for church and it is not really a day off (do those exist?) I am perfectly okay accepting my gift early.

If my scanner was working (my printer/scanner is one of those items that Mr. Noah has recently broken), or my camera was here to take a picture of it (shipped off to replace the lens) then I would show you all what it looks like.  But, for now, you are left with the beautiful words of my Abby.

The cover says, "We're Very Good Friends, My Mother and I by Abby Rosenfeldt."

(I am going to remind her of this book when she is a teenager.)

First page, with a drawn picture of us with cameras in our hands and snow falling outside.
I like to take pictures with mom.  I was at my grammy's house when it was snowing.  With so many trees, it was so pretty!  Mom had her camera and we went outside.  We even took some pictures of just the snow falling.  It was so pretty all by itself that day. 

Second page, with a drawn picture of  us holding a book together, in our living room.
Once my mother and I were reading Little House on the Prairie together.  (Well, it was mostly her reading because I couldn't read that well yet.)  Now I have read all of those books because she helped me with that first really really long chapter book.  I love reading with Mom.

Third page, with a drawn picture of us grocery shopping.
Once my mother and I went shopping.  (Without the boys, which was good.)  It was so fun even though it was only groceries that we were buying!  We laughed and talked and sometimes we just walked and smiled at each other.  We had fun all by ourselfs without the boys so they didn't destroy everything.

Fourth page, with a drawn picture of us laying on the couch, watching television.
My mother and I have fun just cuddling together.  It is very fun just curling up and watching movies.  One cold day we got warm by cuddling and curling.  We had warm popcorn and hot chocolate.  We had a very warm and cozy time together.  We were happy that day.  I am happy we can have fun just cuddling up.

Fifth page, with a drawn picture of us putting cookies in the oven.
I love baking cookies with mom.  It is so fun baking her cookies because her cookies are the best, of course!  My favorite part is putting in the chocolate chips.  I even get to eat some!  Mom's cookies are so good they've become famous.  My favorite part is just doing that because it is enough.

The back cover says, "And I know in my heart she's the best mom of all.  So I guess in the end, loves the best reason why we're very good friends, my mother and I!"

Wow.  This girl took the most simple things that we do together and shared them as her favorite times together.  Reading, grocery shopping, taking pictures, watching tv, baking cookies.

Funny how I saw no mention of King's Island, the beach or any other grand fun day that we plan for our children.

All they want is us and our time.

Am I giving it to them?  Abby remembered those times with fondness.  What were my thoughts?  Probably something like, "Don't get your feet wet in the snow," "Only one more chapter of this book because I have stuff to do," "We're going in and out of the store quick and don't ask me for anything," "This is a great kid movie to watch, but I have people to email right now," "You can help with a couple of parts of the baking, but I am in a hurry and need to make them quick."

They just want us and our time.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Noah And His Pants

Noah has been having trouble with keeping his hands out of his pants.

As he put a hand down there during his most recent doctor appointment, the doctor just smiled and said, "He's just making sure everything is okay down there."

Well, it is becoming a problem for two reasons. 

Every time that I change a poopy diaper, it has become a game to see who gets to touch the poop.  Will it be me, with a proper wipe?  Or will it be Mr. Noah, with his bare hands?  When the older two kids are home, they have taken it upon themselves to be the official "Noah hand holders."  They take position near his head, hold his arms over his head, and hold on for dear life while I clean his bottom.

Love those kids.

The second problem occurs at bedtime.  Noah has been taking off his pajama bottoms.  Fine, no big deal, but when he starts to take his diaper off after that, then we have a problem.  Thankfully, Caleb is usually awake when Noah starts this routine and yells from their room, "Mom, Noah is taking off his pants again!"  Then I go upstairs, put on my meanest face and attempt to recloth him. 

It is really hard to keep one's meanest face when the object of one's meanest face giggles and looks pretty cute.

Last night, I went to check on the kids before I went to bed (a normal routine for any mom) and I found my Noah lying on his stomach, without pants.  At least the diaper was on, right?

Kind of.

As I put his pants back on (not sure why I ever tiptoe around the kid when he is sleeping since he was completely out as I put his pants on), I realized that something was not quite right.  It turns out that he must have fallen asleep with his hands in his pants, because the front of his diaper was just low enough for a certain body part to be sticking out.

Yep.  He was asleep on his stomach, with his favorite body part hanging out.

He certainly woke up when I fixed that problem.