The Kids

The Kids

Friday, June 29, 2012

My New Project

So, I got to thinking...

I am not at all busy with three kids, all of their activities, being a wife, cleaning a few houses and selling Mary Kay.  Why not add on one more project?

I decided to become a Thirty-One consultant.

What is that, you may ask?  Well, if you have not seen the numerous bags popping up all over the place (seriously saw half of the moms at King's Island with them the other day), the company makes awesome bags.

Not just purses.  But organizational type bags.

Music to my ears.

If these existed during the "Friends" era, Monica would have had her apartment filled with them.

I went to a party this past winter, not knowing a lot about the company.  After falling in love with the selection, I limited myself to one bag and made a note to host a party in the future, thus earning free stuff.

My spring party was fun and I got to pick out $90 of free bags.  Not too shabby.  My thoughts then went toward becoming a consultant.

After thinking and praying about it for awhile, I finally gave in and signed up last week.

Already loving it.

The support of the other girls who already do this is awesome.  I appreciate how the business is run and I already have friends and family booking summer parties. 

If you want to check out the bags, my website is  You can order right on the website.  Or, if you are like me and want free stuff, you can host a party (even a catalog party) and earn free bags. 

Okay, shamelss plug is over.  I will return later this week with more fun stories of my insane children.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

My Dancing Queen

Abby wanted to take a dance class this summer.

She took ballet and tumbling last spring in place of soccer.  She decided to never do that again.  Learning the same dance over and over again in preparation for an expensive recital while she could have been playing soccer?  Yeah, my girl was smart enough to not do that again.

Abby wanted to take a tap class.  A week before it started, they told us that there were not enough kids signed up (seriously, parents, it is a summer class with no recital-what's wrong with you?) and switched her over to a tween mix of jazz, ballet and tap.

She was a good sport about it and after she missed the first practice (due to being in SC last week) she was super excited to go to practice this week.

I watched her from outside the room.  I watched as she giggled with the other girls.  I watched as the teacher led them in stretching.  I watched as my long-legged girl stretched to the point of pain because she was comparing herself to the girl next to her who had just come from an hour and a half gymnastics class.

I continued to watch as she held back tears at her lack of doing a split (which none of them could do, but that did not matter to my perfectionist daughter).  I watched her try to keep up with some dance moves that the girls learned the week before (which, again, they were all struggling with, but that did not matter).  By the time the first two parts were over, she could not hold it in anymore. 

I watched my little girl try so hard to wipe away tears and hide them away from everyone else.  With every correction her teacher made, her face fell more and more.

One girl fell and laughed about it.  Another girl had to do the same move over and over again until she got it right and she smiled with every attempt.

Abby was told to straighten her leg a bit and she teared up.

The girls took a break before tap to change shoes.  Abby came out into the hallway, in tears, and said that she was not going back in.  Nothing that I said mattered.  Even one of the girls asking her to come back in did nothing. 

I quietly explained to the teacher that she is my perfectionist, that most things come easy to her and when they don't, she cries.  I also mentioned that she had not taken a dance class in a year since she plays soccer.

Which made her teacher say the magic words...

"Abby you play soccer?  That is soooo much harder than dance!  I don't know how you do that!"

My little girl decided to go back in and finish the class.  And she loved every bit of the tap part.

Until she accidently stepped on her own toe and hurt herself.  But, other than that...

After seven years of it, I am still surprised when she reacts like this.  We do not pressure her, we tell her to relax and just have fun, we tell her how proud we are of her...yet, the girl still wants to be perfect.

I never realized how hard the parenting gets as the child grows up.  The diapers and sleepless nights are supposed to be the worst part, right?  What is all this emotional drama about?  I thought that there is supposed to be a few easy years somewhere in the middle of childhood.

One thing I know for sure-it is never boring.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Large Round Head

While eating dinner last night, I was telling the family how a t-ball mom had mentioned how good-looking Caleb is.  She had said how she could see how he would look when he grows up.

Abby said, "Like you, Daddy!  He'll look like you!"

Nick mumbled something about not being good looking and Abby exclaimed, "You are handsome, Daddy!"

We all agreed and then Caleb said, "Your head is different."

I do not know if it was the way that he said it (like Nick's head is odd and different from everyone else) or what, but we all cracked up.  Nick almost chocked on his bite of chicken, Abby almost spit out her milk and I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard.  Noah, wanting to join in, let out a laugh as well.

Caleb went on to say, "Your head is more round" while he made the motion with his hands.  It kind of looked like he was doing the motions for "He's got the whole world in His hands."

Which of course led to the famous quote from a Charlie Brown movie, "He is the gentleman with the large round head."  Caleb kept saying it over and over again since he was getting many laughs from us.

What I found amusing in all of this was the fact that the judging of Nick's head was coming from Caleb himself.  I mean, come on-check out the noggin on this kid when he was little...

Who is he to talk?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Our Drive Home

Drove to Cheraw, South Carolina.  Then drove home a few days later.  And the exciting thing that happened was...wait for it...


No flat tires, no puking of chocolate milkshakes, no traumatic tears over letting a bug fly free. 

At one point I wondered if I was traveling with the wrong family.

We even filled up for $2.99/gallon in the Carolinas, which leads me to believe that Ohio is getting royally screwed in the gas department.

We did have some family members get a speeding ticket on their way home from the funeral.  We figured someone should in honor of Grandpa and his numerous speeding tickets.

It was a nice weekend.  Even though the reason for the reunion was sudden and sad, it was still lovely to spend time with family.  We already miss our California and Carolina families.

Caleb told me to take a picture of the sunset on the way home and this is what I captured. 

I think it is a beautiful shot of how I felt about the weekend.  The ending of something beautiful, with the road stretched out to future memories.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Grandpa Joe

Nick, his sister Amy and their grandparents
We had planned on going down to visit Nick's grandparents in South Carolina in a few weeks.  Nick wanted to take some time to talk with his grandpa about his story.  His life story, his war story-everything.  It had been on his heart to find out more about him before it was too late.  With everything that we know of him, it would make one fascinating book.

We were a few weeks too late.

The call came this past Wednesday.  We were getting the kids ready to head out the door for t-ball practice when Nick's aunt called.  I think I knew what the call was about the moment that I saw her name come up on my phone.  It was the same feeling that I had when my friend, Cheryl, called to tell me that our friend Deb passed away.  I just knew that something was not right.

At their 50th Wedding Anniversary
After 89 years of life on this earth, Grandpa had quietly passed away.

I feel blessed to have spent time with him in the years that I have been part of this family.  Even though they lived far away, we still got to see Nick's grandparents at least once a year.  I can still hear his kind voice.  The way he would get emotional over special events and his voice would crack into a cry.  The way that he said his daughter's name, Christi, in his Austrian accent.

I even had the privilege of riding in his car.  It was a short ride, just down the street to a restaurant.  But, very memorable, as I feared for my life with his crazy driving.  I heard that he was known for getting a speeding ticket every time that he drove to Cincinnati.

Grandpa was very kind to our kids.  He always had a hug and a smile and a kiss on the cheek.  He immediately made me feel welcomed into the family.
Last summer at Myrtle Beach
The next few days will be emotional.  We are in South Carolina, enjoying our time with family from all over the country, while wishing it was for a happier reason.  While I mourn the loss of a nice man, the rest of the family is mourning the loss of a grandfather, a father and a husband.

"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."  Revelation 21:4

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Stranger

It is fun living in Goshen. 

There are all sorts of interesting people in this area.  Our little cul-de-sac often talks about how we have all lucked out having each other for neighbors.  None of us quite fit the Goshen stereotype.

Yep, I see what I wrote and I sound like a complete snob. 

However, I grew up on a dairy farm, and I can tell the difference between country folk (a good thing) and, well, there are no words for who I am trying to describe.

I say all of this to prepare you for this story.

We were driving home from Abby's end of the year soccer party yesterday and as we entered our neighborhood, we saw a woman walking out of the neighborhood, in tears, carrying a toddler.  My heart immediately hurt for her and that baby because something terrible must have happened to have her walking away in the heat with nothing but her purse.

And this is why I love my husband.  He was already turning around to find out how we could help.

We slowed down and Nick asked if we could do anything.  She shook her head, wiped away her tears, and kept going.  He turned the van around so that I was on the same side of the street and she finally stopped and talked.

She began giving us a story about how she was at her sister's house, but that her sister was letting her boyfriend stay there, who they found out was a registered sex offender.

I was so glad that the kids were in the backseat not hearing her words.

She had no plan.  She had just grabbed her baby and started walking.  She explained that her keys were in the house, but that she did not want to go back and get them while he was there. 

We convinced her to get in the car so that we could take her somewhere.  Now mind you, I am not someone who would normally pick up a stranger, especially while my kids are in the car.  But, I just kept looking at that little boy, in the hot sun, with no protection, and knew that we could not let her hitchhike her way somewhere.

She decided to go back to the house and told her story along the way.  Since the drive was a whole 45 seconds, she stayed in the car and kept talking while we sat in the stranger's driveway.  Part of me was expecting an angry man to come out with a gun and I almost dialed our policeman neighbor just in case.

She started going on about this guy (to which Nick turned the radio on in the back speakers to drown out her words for the kids) and her story got more bizzare with every minute.  Somehow her keys were in their house, but her car had a flat tire somewhere else.  She said her cell phone was dead and the charger was with the car.  She claimed that she lived on the other side of the city and then she threw out the important information that she is bipolar and manic.


All the while, her sweet baby was walking around in our van, smiling at our kids. 

Once we realized that she just needed to cool down, she got out, grabbed her baby and her bag and headed for the house.  We were at a loss at what to do. Call the police?  Nothing had actually happened for us to report.  Go to the door and get involved?  Uh, no. 

So, we left.

As soon as we pulled into our driveway, Abby found the woman's cell phone in the back.  Just out of curiousity, Nick looked to see if it was truly dead, as she had said.

It had four bars and 37 text messages.

Which he did not read.  He quickly put the phone down, got us our of the car, and headed back to give her the phone.

I paced the entire minute he was gone.

She had still been standing outside, having a smoke, so he handed her the phone and kept driving.

All of this leaves us to wonder-was any of the story true?  Something had scared her enough to start walking with no plan.  Was she on something?

Honestly, I will never know the truth, but I do know that my heart is still hurting for that little child.  He just walked around our van, smiling and enjoying the kids, not knowing the awful situation he was in the middle of. 

Once we were in our house, Nick looked at me and said, "My life is not so bad, is it?"  We just hugged and looked at how lucky we are.

And why are we?  Because we had great parents who raised us with morals and loved us unconditionally.  Because we know of God's grace that we do not deserve. 

I just look at my children and wonder if they will ever truly understand how lucky they are.  To be born into a family full of love. 

Then I think about that little boy and pray that he is shown that same kind of love.  That he is kept out of harm and that his innocence stays around a long time.

I am not sure what we accomplished yesterday by driving her back to that house.  Maybe it kept them from hitchhiking with the wrong person.  Maybe it kept her from passing out in the heat.  Maybe it just reminded me to be praying for people that I do not even know.

Either way, my heart still aches for them.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Seeing God

Caleb randomly asked me, "Mom, did you ever see God?"

Um, fun question.

I responded, "I haven't actually seen His face, but I know He is there and I can talk to him when I pray."

That was not good enough.  He asked, "What about at the hospital?  Was Jesus there when you were in the hospital?"

At first I did not know which hospital trip he meant.  Was it when I was born?  When I had the kids?  When I lost our third baby?

He continued, "Daddy said that Jesus was there when we were born, telling you to name me Caleb.  And to pick the name Abby."

Oh.  Now we were getting somewhere.

I said something like, "God told us your names with a feeling that we were supposed to name you Abby and Caleb, kind of like the Holy Spirit being that feeling that tells us right from wrong, you know what I mean?"

He just looked at me.  Then he said, "Daddy said that Jesus said, 'You will name the child Caleb.'"

Talk about a Biblical command.

Sadly, my feeble attempt at explaining how God communicates with us did nothing but make Caleb think that his dad was making something up.  He later said to Nick, "Mom said that you lied."


Word of advice to parents-when explaining the mysteries of life to your children, double check on how you are both explaining it to them.  It is nice to be on the same page.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Abby's Award

After all of my posts about my children driving me crazy, every now and then I have to brag.

During the never ending Memorial Tournament that Abby played in (95 degree weather, people), each of those games had a special treat for one girl from the team.  When each game was over, each team would select one girl from the opposing team to give the Sportsmanship Award badge to.  During one of those games, the team picked Abby.

The look on her face was priceless.  She was so excited and could not stop smiling.

I will shamelessly say that I think she earned it.  As her Aunt Amy calls her, she is "the wall" on defense.  That girl would not let anyone past her.  When she played goalie for awhile, she threw herself on that ball without a shred of fear.

If that were me in the goalie box, I would be jumping out of the way of the ball being kicked by a bunch of six and seven-year olds in cleats.

I am really proud of her.  She could have easily been frustrated with this season, as she was one of the oldest girls and had a little more experience than some of them.  But, she became such a good leader, made friends and most importantly, had fun.

Her underdog team (who was asked ahead of time if they were really sure that they wanted to enter the tournament based on their not so winning record) made it to the championship game.  Even though they lost the last game, they still earned a huge trophy and were pretty proud of their tired selves.

So ends another soccer season.  It will be fall before we know it.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sleeping With The Octopus

Noah is my good sleeper.  He takes super long naps.  He sleeps all night, even when his older brother stays up late, reading by his closet light.

Which is why it gets quite frustrating when he decides to change from this routine and mess up my life.

We are currently in PA, staying at my parent's house, where Noah normally sleeps fine.  I have no idea why, but this time, he keeps waking up in the middle of the night, scared because he does not know where he is.

The kid has been taking awesome naps here, but suddenly he is scared at night when he cannot even see that the room is different?  Sure, why not.

Because I could not let him cry it out (and wake up the rest of the household), I had to bring him to bed last night.  Nick is already back home so it was just me and the king sized bed.  Plenty of room for me and Noah, right?

Not exactly.

I moved to one side of the bed, put Noah in the middle, and propped up some pillows on the other side of him so that he did not roll off the bed.  Apparently, my son moves around in his sleep a lot more than I ever thought. 

That sweet child kept me up all night.  He kept sitting up in his sleep, then would throw himself down to a new position.  He landed on his stomach, on his side, on his back.  At one point, he threw out his legs and kicked over a lamp (still have no idea how he reached that far).  Sometimes his head was pressed up against my side, while other times I felt feet kicking my back.

It explains a lot of the wiggling that I felt when he was in my belly.

The best part was when he woke up just enough to stretch.  And fart.


So, here I sit, eyes drooping while I pray for a peaceful sleep tonight.  Otherwise, Abby will have to drive us home tomorrow while I nap in the backseat.