The Kids

The Kids

Monday, December 2, 2013

Molly Rosenfeldt

I am simply amazed at how much Molly is like my children.

(Yes, I realize that I have become one of those people who writes about her dog like the dog is a human.  I dare you to adopt a dog and not do the exact same thing.)

1)  Molly is like all of my children because she loves food.  Like seriously loves food.

When she sees me reach for her dish, she licks her lips, wags her tail and practically knocks me over trying to get a taste.

Just like my kids do.  Caleb literally licks his lips when he sees food that he likes.  I have seen actual drool come out of his mouth upon hearing we are having chicken alfredo for dinner.  I have witnessed Abby panting for her food and Noah almost tearing it out of my hands before it reaches the table.

No, I do not starve my children, no matter what they may lead you to believe.  They are savages, I tell you.

2)  Molly is like my children because she leaves messes behind, but is not concerned with who has to clean it up.

I love the dog-honestly.  But, black dog hair on my floor...and furniture...and clothes?  Not a fan.  If she came with a built in vacuum that followed her around, that would be simply marvelous.

Kind of like my kids-puzzles, games, toys, doll clothes, stuffed never ends.  Just put the stuff away when you are done with is NOT an impossible idea.

3)  Molly is not above eating off of the floor.

First of all-LOVE that she cleans up the floor after our dinner.  I will say it again-LOVE IT.  Gone are the days where I had to sweep under the table three times a day.  Spaghetti for dinner?  No worries-Miss Molly is on the job.  And she knows exactly where to sit-at Noah's feet.  She's a smart dog, that one.

You may wonder how this relates to my children.  Let's go back a few years ago...we were eating at a Chick-Fil-A and Caleb went under the table for something.  He came up and we caught him eating a piece of pizza.

In a CHICK-Fil-A.  Pizza.  Off the floor.  With no explanation for its origin.

I have no more words on that subject.

4)  Molly finds it her right to have what I have.

If I am anywhere near the kitchen, she is immediately right there with me, waiting for any kind of crumb to drop.  Flour from baking?  Sure.  A stray veggie that falls?  Delicious.

When my kids are around, it is impossible to eat without hearing "Can I have that?" from three different mouths.  I have learned to eat my lunch during Noah's nap time.  Problem is-Molly does not understand that it should be her nap time as well-she believes it is "sit by my beloved owner and help her eat her lunch" time.

5)  Molly loves unconditionally.

I do not know what kind of home she came from, but she has found her place here.  She loves and trusts us and fits right in.  Not only with our immediate family, but also the extended family.  She feels at home at Nick's parent's house and had a delightful time at my parent's house.
Molly with cousin Rocky

My kids may fight and argue, but underneath it all, they do love each other and trust each other.  I pray that always remains true.

Two months with us and it is hard to remember life before our Molly.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

My Three-Year Old

My baby is now three years old.

I refuse to believe that.  He is still my baby and that will never change.

Oh wait-is this how it starts?  Is this how the youngest child develops "youngest child syndrome?"  In that case, let me start rejoicing that Noah is growing up.

This baby-excuse me-child of mine is one crazy boy.  He is full of energy (all. the. time.) and loves attention.  I have heard that most comedians are the youngest sibling so it looks like he is well on his way to that career choice.  He will do anything for a laugh.

Noah has a lot of toys (he should, he is the third kid), yet he never seems to play with them.  He will do puzzles all day long and try and sneak the kindle when I am not looking, but other than that, he just likes to make messes.

How does a kid who does not play with toys make messes?  Well, he leaves puzzles everywhere, builds blocks and makes them fall and leaves them everywhere and opens up markers, leaves the caps off and walks away.  Oh, and he does get out the occasional toy, but only to stack it on top of something and then walk away.

When Abby was little, I made sure she always put her toys away when she was done playing.  We cleaned up before nap time and before bed.  When Caleb was little, we never made it to cleaning up before nap time, but we cleaned up before bed.

With Noah, I am lucky if the house is somewhat clean by the weekend.

My little tornado is quite something, though.  He never ceases to surprise me with the things that he says or does.  Here comes my bragging moment-the kid is smart.  Really smart.  He does not miss a beat, puts together huge puzzles, kicks my butt at Memory and has amazing language skills.

To keep it humble, he still has not figured out that he can unzip his coat instead of trying to take it off over his head and getting it stuck.

Noah loves his friends and I was so happy at his party this year that he had his own guests and not just his older sibling's friends.  He talks about Lucian and Grant and Rosie and Austin all the time and I am so thankful that he gets to go to preschool with most of them next year.

Noah-you came into this world in a flash on 10/10/10 and you have not stopped surprising me.  I love you so much and look forward to seeing who you grow up to be.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

You Did WHAT In The Loft?

Well, life is a little interesting with a dog.

Molly is awesome-so sweet, great with the kids, house broken.

Um, mostly house broken.

The first night that we had her, she must have been nervous because her farts were out of control.  I mean, yes, I live with three male species so I am used to a plethora of odors, but these were ridiculous.  We gave her plenty of opportunity to use the facilities of our backyard, but she never went.

As I went to bed that night, exhausted from a day of throwing a birthday party and adopting a dog, I heard Nick say from the hallway, "Um, Tammy, I think we have a problem."

Miss Molly had pooped in the loft.  And not just one poop-multiple poops in many places.  And they we were NOT solid.  Oh, and did I mention that the kids had not cleaned up their toys before bed that night?  Yep, Molly was not choosy about where her poop landed.

As I scooped it all up and Nick followed behind with the carpet cleaner and paper towels, I questioned whether we were cut out for this whole pet thing.  I heard Nick behind me, gagging and saying, "What on earth did we get ourselves into?"

Poor Molly saw us cleaning up her mess and she was so embarrassed.  She kept hiding and putting her tail between her legs.  At least the girl felt shame.

Thankfully, she has become more relaxed and that has not happened again.

(Actually, she has pooped in the loft a couple of times since, but she was kind enough to keep them solid and it always happened when we left her for too long.  Lesson learned for this week-take the dog on a walk before leaving the house for hours.)

Life is messy, I suppose-I just hope it does not always stay quite THIS messy.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Our New Family Member

So, this happened to our family...

Yep.  I figured it was too calm and clean in our house and we needed another creature to clean up after.

I am very wise.

It all started two days before the kid's birthday party when Nick said to me, "What about a dog for their birthday?"  Um, okay.  We have talked about it for years so why not look into it?  Maybe not go buy a dog that second, but at least consider the idea.

So, I did what everyone else does in this day and age-I consulted facebook land.

I asked my local friends where the best place to get a dog would be and was blessed with many answers.  I learned more than I ever thought I needed to know by posting that question.  Then, the answer that brought about the face you see above.  A mom friend from school saw that a friend of a friend had found a lost dog and she needed a home.  No tags, took her to the vet and no ID-just a loving dog who needed a family.  And they found her about 12 minutes from our house.

We always planned on getting a puppy that would grow up with the kids, but seeing this dog (and hearing that she was already house trained-hello!) changed our hearts.  I went to meet her the night before their party and knew pretty quickly that she belonged with our family.

So, after the kid's birthday party, we piled into the car and told them that we were going to get one last present that was for all three of them.  We pulled up to the house and imagine their confusion when we were standing in a stranger's front yard, looking at a strange dog.  It took Abby about a second to exclaim, "We're getting a dog?!"

The family who had found her and had kept her for a week were so kind.  They gave us a card that their daughter had written in, that told us all about what the dog liked.  I could tell that they would have loved to keep her, if not for allergies.

Once we got home, the discussion began on what to name our new family member.  The family who had taken care of her had called her "Princess" and "Shadow," but we decided on "Molly."

Gotta say, "Shadow," is a more appropriate name as she loves to follow us all around the house.  But, she is definitely a "Molly" and is just a barrel of fun.

There will be more stories to come of our Molly girl, but I must go now-she is chewing on a squeaky toy and begging for me to play with her.

And it begins...

Sunday, October 6, 2013

9 Years Old

My little Abby turned 9 years old today.  What?  Yep, I know.

I swear I was just driving home from work in 2004, suddenly feeling contractions three minutes apart as I dealt with ridiculous traffic on 275.  Yet, here we are and she is nine.  The last age of single digits.

Crap, I need a tissue.

My not-so-little Abby is just an amazing girl.  She is so smart-usually smarter than me, sadly.  I try to help her with her math homework and have to pull out my calculator.  I never dreamed a child of mine would be in accelerated math.  I was the girl in the high reading class and low math class (man, the things they do to us in school) so the fact that Abby does both so well is just plain awesome.

Speaking of reading-she still loves it.  I feel like I am cheating when I write down the minutes that she reads every night, but it is all true.  Yes, we have to ban the Harry Potter books from time to time because she loves to reread them, but hey-she has good taste in literature.

I may complain about being a soccer mom, but I truly love watching her play.  I love cheering her on and watching her get excited over a great play.  She works hard at everything and is very determined.

Abby's heart is so sweet.  She loves her friends and treats them well.  Even better, she is kind to those who are not always the easiest to be kind to.  Okay, so maybe she could be kinder to Caleb, but let's focus on the positive things in this post.

It is starting to make me nervous to see how quickly she is growing up.  Our parents always said how quickly it goes by, but that is so easy to shrug off during the baby years, when life is just trying to survive from day to day.  But, I swear it is true-I blinked and she is suddenly nine.

I love you so much, Abigail Grace, and love seeing who you are growing up to be.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Happy Birthday 7 Year Old

So, this happened.

Caleb turned 7 today.  7!  Yes, I know-shocking.

I just love this kid so much.  He is never boring and I am so proud of who he is growing up to be.

Caleb loves sports.  All sports.  He runs around at soccer practice for 90 minutes, then the moment his coach says they are done, he grabs a football and starts throwing with his teammates.  He goes to Reds and Bengals games with his dad and is much better company than I could ever be.  You know-because he actually gets the games and knows every detail where as I enjoy people watching and cheering at big moments of the games.

He is also a pretty smart kid.  He loves reading, which I am so thankful for.  Every night, when I check on my boys before going to sleep, he is sprawled out in bed, surrounded by books.  (And surrounded by stuffed animals...and football/baseball/soccer guys...)  I actually had another mom from school tell me that her son keeps working hard at reading because he wants to catch up to Caleb.  What an amazing thing to be told.

Something that I love about Caleb is how kind he is to his friends.  Sure, he can totally be a typical boy and wrestle them to the ground (even if it's at church and the friend has no idea it is coming), but he loves his friends and talks about them a lot.

He is also super patient with Noah.  Probably more patient than I am, honestly.  I know that patience comes from this little trick-the moment Caleb gets home from school, he goes directly to his room to change his clothes and he locks himself in his room for awhile.  He takes some time to just play by himself, uninterrupted by his little brother.  As long as he has that time, he is great for the rest of the evening.  If he does not get that time, Lord help us all.

It is actually a good lesson-we all need some quiet time to make it through the day.

Happy Birthday to my amazing and "growing up too quickly" Caleb Paul.  I love you more than you can ever imagine.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Caleb's Prayers

I was tucking in the boys the other night and doing so in a rushed kind of way.  It was a soccer practice night, which meant a late night to bed, on a school night.

As I started to leave their room, I remembered and asked, "Did you pray, yet?"  Caleb answered, "I already prayed in the shower."

Now, as one who does the same thing (hey, it is the only time where I will not be interrupted) I was impressed. I asked him what he prayed about.

This is where I am so glad that I took the time to ask him this question.

Caleb started telling me, "Well, you know, I thanked him for saving me and I prayed for other people to be okay.  You know, He really saved us, Mom.  And He didn't come to do that because we are perfect, but because we are sinful.  I kind of get shy about saying all this in front of people, but I just thanked Him for saving me."

As my eyes were filling with tears, I asked him, "So, you asked Jesus in your heart?" to which he said, "Yeah," as if there was any question.

When I asked if he prayed for anything else, he said, "Well, I was going to, but that's when you walked in and told me the Reds score and interrupted me."


I then asked him where he learned all of this, thinking it was obviously his parents.  After all, I have a degree in ministry and teach the kid's class in church.  He replied, "School."


I have to add that this kid is the same kid who woke up grumpy the next morning and snapped at all of us.  But, hey, he did tell me that we are all sinful so it happens, right?

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Kindness Of A Stranger

Not too long ago, I was at the store, buying groceries and wondering how on earth I was going to pay for them.

I had my calculator in hand, keeping track to the cent so that I did not go over my little budget (can you tell it was right before payday?).  I went to the check-out, the cashier swiped it all and then it was time to pay.

I opened my purse and realized that my wallet was not in there.

This coming from the girl who sells bags and wallets for a living.  Yes, the irony.

It dawned on me that I had taken just my wallet into the post office prior to my grocery shopping trip, meaning it was most likely sitting in my van, all by its lonesome.

I looked at the cashier, looked at the lady in line behind me, and looked at my three children and said, "You will not believe this, but I think my wallet is in the car.  Can I run and get it and you can cancel my order until I get back so the lady behind me can check out?"

The lady behind me, who had every right to roll her eyes, huff and puff and complain, did the exact opposite.

She smiled and said, "Oh, just put it on my order-I'll pay for it."

Um, what?

It is hard to say whose jaw dropped further-mine or the cashier's, but once I recovered, I argued that she could not do that.  After all, my total was over $60.  She just waved me off and insisted on paying.  By insisting, I mean she was already having her items scanned and pulling out her wallet.  She said, "It will be my nice deed for the day."

As I walked away, still shocked, I was overwhelmed by her act of kindness.  She had no idea how tight we were on money and what an amazing blessing that was.  And my kids were able to witness the kindness of a stranger, which is a lesson that has to be seen, not simply told.

Not only that, but it was a blessing from God.  I have lost track of the amount of times that He has provided in the most random ways, with it having nothing to do with our actions.  Money from an anonymous person in the mail, extra income, a gift card in the never ceases to amaze me when it happens.

I look forward to passing it on to the next person.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wants It All

Noah just wants to be a part of everything.

Yes, typical third kid.  Just trying to keep up and not miss anything.

Yesterday, as Caleb was lying on the couch, recovering from strep throat (that is a whole other post coming your way soon), I decided to give him another popsicle.  Before I pulled it out of the freezer, I said to my other children, "Okay guys, I'm giving Caleb something right now because he's sick, but you can both have one after dinner."

Immediately, Noah ran over to me and said, "I want one!  Me, too!"

I looked at him and said, "Do you even know what he is eating?"

Noah simply replied, "I really want one, too!"

So I answered him, "It's cow poop, Noah.  Do you really want cow poop?"

Noah, the brilliant child that he is, nodded his head.  Then he ran to the stairway and yelled upstairs, "Abby!  Cow poop!" with so much excitement that I thought he was going to fall over in anticipation.

As we all burst out laughing, he joined in, absolutely thrilled that all three of us were looking at him and only him for a small moment in time.

A little while later, Caleb randomly said to me, "I've never been on a plane, Mom, can you take me on one?

Noah chimed in, "Me, too!  I want one!"

I asked him what he wanted and he said, "A plane."

I gave him a popsicle as a compromise.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

So Long Soccer Ball

If I have not mentioned it before, Noah is a little bit crazy.

I suppose it is the typical third kid syndrome, but wow-he is just full of energy and opinions, much more than the other two.  Maybe it is because we are older as he goes through the two-year old phase, but sometimes I just look at him and wonder what on earth possessed him to do what he just did.

I wonder this when I see him standing upstairs in the loft...on the top edge of the recliner...close to falling over the railing.  I wonder this when he flat out disobeys us even though he knows what will be coming to him.  I wonder this when he runs out the front door, toward the street, laughing hysterically the whole way, as I chase him in my pajamas.

I really wondered this last night.  We were at Abby's soccer game and as they were warming up, the boys were playing on an empty field.  As Caleb walked over to watch the game start, I went to get Noah, who was preoccupied.  As I got closer, I saw him standing right by a drain pipe than ran into the hillside, like a tunnel.

As I wondered why he was just standing there, it dawned on me that he was just playing with Caleb's soccer ball.  And I did not see the soccer ball anywhere in sight.

When I asked him what he did, he said, "The ball is in there!" pointing to the dark tunnel.  Awesome.

I got down on my hands and knees and looked in, but could not see anything.  I suppose I could have stuck my head in further, but yeah, no, that was not going to happen.

I went back and told Caleb the bad news.  He and Nick checked it out and took along a golf club (from Nick's trunk) to see if they could reach it. Caleb, of course, could see the ball (because he has no fear about sticking his head in a dark drain pipe, which should probably concern me) and kept telling Nick that he was so close to reaching it.

They finally gave up and asked me to try, since my arms are longer.  I went back at halftime (because we wanted to watch the game, the actual reason we were there) and I could finally see the ball, but it was waaaaaay back in there.  I tried in vain, but that bright orange soccer ball was going to stay in the drain pipe.  Maybe someday it will lose air and be swept out to the pond, but for now, its home is there.

What is ridiculous is that Noah has no clue that he did something wrong.  It is not like I can say, "The new ball we have to buy is coming out of your allowance" to a two-year old.

He is actually quite proud of what he did.  A stranger walked by as we were trying to get the ball out and when she looked at us with a questioning look (what, you have never seen a grown woman, laying flat on the ground with her arm in a drain pipe, holding a golf club?), I quickly said we were getting a soccer ball out.  Noah yelled out proudly, "I put it there!  Me!"

The kid is never boring.  I could write more about him, but I have to go rescue him.  He turned a laundry basket upside down, stood on it to reach the basket of fruit and is now stuck, hanging on the side of the counter.

Two soccer games to watch today-let's see what kind of adventures we can find today.

Friday, August 16, 2013

A New Title

Last June I signed up to sell bags and totes with Thirty-One Gifts.  I knew I liked the products, I knew that I wanted more for free, and figured, "Why not give it a try?"

So, flash forward a year and two months and I find myself a Director with the company.

Um, what?  This stay at home mommy is a director of something?

Apparently.  And I absolutely love my job.  I still get to be home with my kids, but then go out and have my "me" time with my job.  And did I mention that my job is going to parties where women talk about bags?  Pretty sweet.

It is still hitting me that this is what I do.  When I am introduced to new people and someone asks me what I do, I have to catch myself from saying, "I stay home," and can now say, "I'm a director with Thirty-One."

NOT that saying, "I stay home" is anything to be ashamed of.  Hello-my entire blog is based on how thankful I am that I get to stay home while my kids are young.  But, I have to admit, it is fun to state that I do something else as well.

Maybe it is because I have felt lost during the past nine years-lost of who I used to be.  I used to be fun and felt like I made a difference in people's lives.  I had more adventures and ideas.  I look at my pictures from college and our first couple of years of marriage and I think, "Wow, where did that woman go?"

Yes, I know how important my past nine years have been-taking care of my children and spending quality time with them is more important than how I feel about myself.  I know that shaping them into the people that they are becoming is a thousand times more important than my ego.  And I would never trade it for anything.  The sacrifices have been worth it.

I just really appreciate being able to interact with other women and help them reach their goals.  And setting my own goals and working hard to reach them (this is when my stubborn personality helps me succeed).  And I love being able to contribute financially to our family budget.  It has been a blessing to work for a company that lets me set my own hours, gives me chances to move up and earn more, all while allowing me to stay home with my kids during these precious few years.

So, this mom will continue to change diapers (really need to get on potty training Noah, right?), clean the house, make meals, carpool to school and soccer and baseball, discipline, do laundry, pay bills, and generally keep our crazy family of five somewhat sane.  But, this mom will also schedule parties, keep up with customers, train a team of fabulous women, and sell bags and totes to anyone who is interested.

And will have fun doing both things at the same time.  Bring on the chaos.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Cherish My Time

Since I have so many things to catch you all up on, the following posts will be in no particular order.  I shall write today, try again later this week and so on.  Forgive my lack of things in the chronological order, but I will start with what is on my heart right now.

This summer, our school community lost two women in a tragic way.

One woman was Julie Willard.  She was a mom of two boys, one already grown and one still in high school.  I was blessed to know her because Nick taught her boys and she heard that I was a Thirty-One consultant.  She opened up her home last fall and hosted a party, in which I was able to meet many of her friends.

What I noticed about Julie at that party was that she was always making sure that everyone was comfortable and happy.  As I got to know her more and hear others mention her, I realized that she was a very charitable person who always gave of her time to step up and help anyone in need.

This summer, Julie passed away suddenly.  And by suddenly, I mean she was texting a friend about a random thing one minute and 15 minutes later her son found her unconscious on her bed.  She never woke up.

I cannot imagine the pain her family is still going through.  No chance to say good-bye, words let unsaid, future plans left unmade.  She will not see her boys get married or have children or see them find their dreams.

The second woman was Lisa Heath.  From the moment that I met her, I always loved her name because my best friend's maiden name was Lisa Heathcote.  Lisa Heath had battled cancer for a few years so her death was not a surprise, but rather a long, drawn out tragedy that still left the same results-she will never see her kids graduate, get married, have is unfathomable to me.

Last summer, Lisa was told she wouldn't live much longer, but was miraculously healed.  She was able to have another year with her family.  She knew the cancer was back this past spring and just a few weeks ago, she went into liver failure.  Yes, she had that extra year, but it was never enough.

I missed both of their funerals.  Julie died on July 4th and her funeral took place while we were at camp the following week.  Lisa died on July 26th and her funeral was while we were on our family vacation.  I received the text from her best friend (also my good friend) while I was in the midst of the Thirty-One Conference.  Everyone was around me, "Woo Hooing" about the new purse line and I looked at my phone and read, "She is in Heaven now in the arms of Jesus."

Have you ever been in one of those moments where your world stops while everyone else's keeps going?  I sat there, stunned, tears rolling down my face while 16,000 other women kept laughing and smiling over bags with their friends.

I tried to get out.  I left the room and tried to find a space where I could be alone to call my friend, but everywhere I looked there were people.  In those moments, it suddenly becomes a mystery to how everyone can be so happy and not realize that you are screaming inside.

My heart is still hurting for her husband, who lost his partner in life.  And especially for her kids, twins, who are in Abby's grade.  They are too young to lose their mom.  Although, is there ever an age where we are old enough?

I have no explanation for why these things happen.  All I know is that it makes me appreciate the time that I do have with my family right now.  So when I am getting frustrated because I have been interrupted ALL DAY while trying to write this (seriously, every time I sit down to type this, I get about a sentence in and one of my children needs something-and this is the girl who wrote two 10 page papers in one night in college and received awesome grades on them), I need to keep my attitude in check.

I am here right now.  I am with my children.  I am seeing them grow and reach milestones.  I do not know how long I have left, but I want to cherish it all.  We are given a sliver of our time here compared to what lies ahead.

And what lies ahead will be oh, so glorious.  Julie and Lisa already know.  They are not asking the questions or wondering, "Why God?"  They are with their beloved, waiting for everyone else to taste what they now know.

To quote from one of my favorite passages in the Jesus Storybook Bible (not just for kids, people), "And the King says, 'Look! God and his children are together again.  No more running away.  Or hiding.  No more crying or being lonely or afraid.  No more being sick or dying.  Because all those things are gone.  Yes, they're gone forever.  Everything sad has come untrue.  And see-I have wiped away every tear from every eye!'"  And then a deep, beautiful voice that sounded like thunder in the sky says, 'Look, I am making everything new!'"

Monday, August 5, 2013

Busy Much?

Oh.  My.  Word.

I used to be a blogger.  When I had thoughts about something, I wrote them down.  When my kids said something funny or profound, I wrote it down.  If I had a brilliant picture of something, I shared it.

What on earth happened?

Um, summer.

It is amazing how little time I have to myself when everyone is home from school.  You know all of those moms who home school their children and have time to write about it?  I swear they write in place of sleeping.

I cannot blame it all on the presence of my children (and husband) being home.  I have gradually been increasing my hours with Thirty-One.  I never dreamed this little job "selling bags" would turn into an actual career.  Not only has my calendar stayed full of parties, but I keep adding team members.  Out of nowhere.  I actually just promoted to Director this month, which is just amazing to me.  God has truly blessed this and I love every part of my job.

So, between the constant chaos of my house (I can literally hear the boys fighting in their room when they are supposed to be sleeping-wish I was kidding), my job taking off, and the constant traveling in July, I am justifying my lack of blogging based on all of these excuses.

However, after numerous complaints over the lack of my writing (did not realize there were so many of you readers out there), I am determined to keep up.  Prepare yourselves for stories of humor (mostly from the kids that I usually claim are mine), sadness (our school lost two dear women this summer), and encouragement (after all, I work for a company that loves to "Woo Hoo!" each other).

I would write more now, but Noah screams are now reaching a level to which the neighbors might be calling the police on us.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Two-Year Old Perspective

Our family has gold passes to King's Island.  For the non-Cincinnati folks, KI is an amusement park, which is conveniently 20 minutes from our house.  The beauty of these passes is being able to go over for a couple of hours, ride a few rides and head home for my-I mean Noah's-nap time.

While everyone was still in school, I took Noah for his first trip of the season.

He had a blast.

Sure, the rides were fun.  But, his favorite thing to do?  Splash in puddles.

As I called his name to get in line for the next ride, he kept running toward the signs and the puddles.  All he wanted was signs and puddles.  He was perfectly content to stand next to a sign and splash in a puddle.

It took me back to the day when we went to KI when Abby was a toddler (in our pre-gold pass days, where we felt we had to stay the entire day to make it worth our money).  While everyone was impatient, waiting in lines for rides as the rain fell, she loved it.

I could use that lesson quite often in my own life.  While I keep waiting for the next best thing, and being impatient with my current circumstances, I should just stop and enjoy what is around me.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Silence Is Not Golden

Why silence is not golden in my house...

If I am home with Noah and it is suddenly too quiet, I know something is wrong.

While putting away laundry today, I noticed that my shadow was not right next to me and that I did not hear him playing downstairs.  When I found him, he had taken all of the toilet paper rolls out of the new package of toilet paper and was tearing them apart.

My frustration was split evenly between the mess and the money going down the drain on what I paid for the 2 ply necessity.

By the way, if you come to my house and use the downstairs bathroom in the next few days, you will see a mound of toilet paper scraps sitting on the shelf.  It will be used up and will not be thrown away.

Yesterday, after changing Noah's dirty diaper in the evening, I let him be diaperless for a few minutes.  After all, it was almost bath time so why waste a diaper?

Um, yeah, I should have wasted a diaper.

It only took a few minutes for me to hear, "Mommy, my finger is wet with poop."  Excuse me?

I found him upstairs, standing near my desk, with poop on his fingers.  My eyes then drifted to my desk chair, where there was a pile of soft feces.

I wanted to scream and run out the door, and never come back.

Instead, I pulled it together and cleaned up the little monster.  And my desk chair.

Tonight was a memorable one.  Noah came out of his room, saying something about having to use the bathroom.  Because he never means it and because I was distracted helping Abby finish up her final book report (last 2nd grade report-hooray!), I did not really pay attention.  Within seconds I heard a crash, followed by a scream.  Then I heard Caleb yell, "Mom, Noah slammed the toilet seat on his penis!"

Are you freaking kidding me?

Images of blood and tips being broken off and a life with no grandchildren filled my mind as I raced up the stairs.  My poor little guy was in so much pain (no kidding) and it was not a pretty sight.  After much calming down and a little ice, I think he is okay.  Time will tell how he heals.

I really hope this does not affect his future potty training issues.

Oh Noah, life is never boring with you.
After he broke the blinds on the back door

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Anyone who has a boy will love this story from W. Bruce Cameron...

Someone once asked me, "if you could be any person in the world, who would it be?"  To which I responded without hesitation, "my eleven-year-old son." 

My boy's life is one where the less pleasant elements of reality rarely intrude.  His eyes unfocused, his mouth emitting sound effects, he drifts around in serene oblivion, almost never concerned about anything. 

Last Saturday I interrupted his reverie and asked him to check to see if the mail had arrived.  He responded agreeably enough, though it took several reminders before he actually was out the door.  I went to the window to observe his progress.  He made a strong start, striding purposefully toward the mailbox at the end of our driveway.  Then something caught his eye and he stopped, frowning.  He bent over and picked it up:  a stick.  It fit into his hand like a Colt pistol, and he swiveled, eyeing the trees for enemies.  He spotted a couple and dove for cover, firing as he rolled.  Airplanes swooped down and he switched to ground-to-air mode, jubilating when the missiles hit their targets.  He spoke into his radio and did something to his forehead, probably putting on his night vision goggles.  I lost sight of him as he snaked around the corner of the house. 

Half an hour later he tromped in, exuberant over his military victory.  I stopped him in the hallway.  "Did you get the mail?" 

He stared at me blankly, and I wondered whether he even knew who I was.  "You were going out to get the mail," I reminded him. 

His focus cleared.  "Oh, yeah." 

"Did you get it?" 

His expression indicated he wasn't sure. 

"Why don't you try again," I suggested. 

Back out the door.  I winced as he glanced at a tree branch, but he didn't appear tempted.  His eyes acquired radar lock on the mailbox, and I sighed in relief. 

Lying next to the mailbox was a football which had drifted there at the end of a neighborhood game a few weeks ago.  He scooped the ball up in his arms and swerved, dodging tackles.  Touchdown!  I put my hands on my hips and watched him toss the ball into the air, calling for a fair catch.  First down.  He took the ball, fading back, out of the pocket and in trouble.  I shook my head as I was treated to the spectacle of my son sacking himself for an eight-yard loss.  He jumped up and shook his finger, urging his blockers to stop the blitz.  They seemed to heed his admonitions*on the next play he rolled left and threw right, a fantastic pass which found him wide open thirty yards downfield.  He trotted into the end zone and gave the crowd a mile-high salute. 

When I checked back at half-time to see who was winning, mankind was on the brink.  The football was jammed up inside his shirt, and he was struggling forward on his knees, looking like a soldier crawling through the desert.  He had pulled the lawn mower out of the garage, and as he fell toward it, gasping, he pulled the sacred pigskin from his shirt and, with the last reserves of his strength, touched it to the engine.  He died, but civilization was saved by his heroic efforts. 

No word on whether, with this triumph, mail would be delivered. 

I met him at the door, pierced through his fog, and asked him to get the mail.  He agreed in such as fashion as to indicate this was the first he'd heard of the subject.  There was a skip in his step as he headed down he driveway, and he was making so much progress so quickly I felt my hopes growing, particularly when he reached out and actually touched the mailbox. 

Alas, he was only stopping to talk to it.  Conferring in low tones, he nodded, squinting into the distance.  He raised the mail flag, igniting the retrorockets strapped to his back.  He throttled to full power and then dropped the flag, firing off into space with his arms outstretched like Superman. 

He was nowhere in sight when, half an hour later, I went out to get the mail.

This is totally my Caleb.  Whether the task is to get up, get dressed, eat a meal, get your backpack ready, get your baseball bag ready, get your shoes on, clean up your mess...there are so many adventures between what I say and when he actually does it.  After reading this, I no longer feel like I am raising a child that ignores me or will be lazy-he is simply a little boy.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

My Life As A Single Mom

No, Nick did not leave me.

I honestly think he has had his moments, because that is the reality of eleven years of marriage-eventually you WILL annoy the other person at some point.  Thankfully, my husband still likes me enough to stick around.

I only feel like a single mom these days.  The reason?  It is baseball season.

No, I am not a baseball widow because my husband likes to watch the Reds every day (oh wait, he does), but because he is a baseball coach, I am left on my own most days.

He has been the assistant junior high coach for years, so I have been used to it.  However, this year, he was offered the JV head coach position.  Awesome promotion and fun for him-exhaustion for me.

I suppose it would not be so bad if I did not have the perfect storm of kids playing spring sports at the same time.  My week usually looks like this...

Kids come home from school, I make dinner that most people on AARP would find too early, then we go to whatever practice comes first.  Sometimes I feed and drive extra kids.  At least twice a week, I am dropping off Abby and possible teammate, then going to Caleb's practice, while another mom brings Abby to me or keeps her until we come home.

Carpooling is, without a doubt, one of the best things ever thought of in the world.  Without it, I would be lost and possibly insane.

Again, I was used to this in the evenings as Nick has been a coach for years.  However, this year, there are more games AND Abby is playing select soccer, which means that the schedule constantly changes.  This organized, lives by her calendar, mom does not appreciate that.

Another added bonus of the JV job is Saturday games.  Nick is now missing most of Caleb's soccer games and some of Abby's soccer games.  As much as I am exhausted, going to all their games by myself and chasing Noah on the sidelines the entire time, I know that it is killing him to miss their games.  Yet, it comes with the job.

I think I reached my breaking point the other day.

Abby had a tournament on the west side of the city.  For those not familiar with Cincinnati, the east side and the west side are like different countries.  You just do not cross them very often.  I do not quite understand it, but after eleven years of living here, I have come to accept it.

Regardless of this rule, many of Abby's games and tournaments are over there so I have been navigating my way around new places.  Between this particular tournament and Caleb's own game back on our side of the city, I found myself driving all three kids to the west side for Abby's first game, racing back to the east side for Caleb's game, then hurrying back over to Abby's second game on the west side.

I really wish I could find a way to write off all this mileage on my taxes.

I never thought I would be one of those parents who kept their kids busy.  We try hard not to be that way-they can (usually) only participate in one activity at a time, we lay low during the summer and winter months, and on our days of no games, we make a point to stay home.  When I think about the busy schedule we have right now, I have come to realize that only I am the one who is tired.  Abby's going to her thing, Caleb's going to his thing, Noah's having fun wherever he is and I am the one trying to be everywhere at once, while chasing the fun-loving Noah.

I want to cry sometimes and ask, "What has happened to my life?"  Then I see the look on Caleb's face when he scores a goal and the fist bump that he gives his teammates when they do well.  I see the little skip and grin that Abby has every time she defends the ball well.  I see them having fun and running around outside.

I see how happy Nick is when he is coaching the game that he loves.

And it makes it all worth it.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Typical Friday Morning

It has been one of those mornings again.

Our van is with our guy who fixes things for the weekend.  Nick's dad hooked us up with a rental from where he works, but only Nick is allowed to drive it.  So, Nick gets to drive the roomy mini van around while I squeeze all the kids into the cadddy.

Left for school this morning in the typical fashion-Abby ready on time and playing "Heart and Soul" over and over again on the piano, Noah stopping to play with toys instead of getting his shoes on, and Caleb taking his sweet time getting ready.  Finally got everyone out the door, started to put Noah's carseat buckle on and realized he was soaking wet.  Apparently, in my rush to grab stuff at the last minute, I forgot to put the stopper in his sippy cup.  So, one pair of pants covered in apple juice and no time to change-oh well.  He'll survive.

We continued on and picked up our carpool friend.  Now, these kids all know not to touch the back windows.  For some reason, they will randomly slip down, but as long as we do not touch them, we can slide them back up again when we stop the car.

Sweet kindergartener carpool friend seemed to forget about this rule today.

I saw her window down a little bit and warned to not touch it because it cannot slip down further.  A little while later, I looked back and saw it half way down.  At this point, my voice was raised higher than she had ever heard it.  Even so, a couple of minutes later, I heard a "uh oh" and realized the window was ALL the way down.


Oh, should I mention that it is cold and rainy today?

After dropping off some stuff with Nick at school that he forgot and neither of us being able to fix it (should mention that when he saw the window he gave me a "what the?" look and I returned his gaze with a "don't get me started" look), I gave up and continued on to drop the kids off.  I tried to fix it in the parking lot of the elementary school and even a passing dad tried to help, but there was no getting that window up.

At this point, the rain was starting to pick up, as was the cold wind.  So, I pulled into a dealership down the road, praying they would have something to quickly pick up the window.

I did not appreciate the strange and unwelcoming looks that I received there.  I'm sorry-is the cold and tired mom with a freezing two-year old in the backseat inconvenient for you?  They did not even attempt to help, but thankfully put some plastic on it as a temporary fix.

The yellow plastic looks absolutely smashing on the caddy.

They also gave me the number of their glass guy, but after hearing the $85 estimate fee, I passed.  One broken car at a time, please.

Managed to make it home only to discover that Noah had taken off his shoes.  Normally, I do not care-just walk into the house without them.  But, as I mentioned, it was raining.  So, I carried him (and his lovey and blanket and second lovey) into the house, came back out for my purse, his shoes and my one grocery bag.  As I walked back to the house, I found Noah standing in the rain in his white socks.

Why, child?  Why?

Then he had the nerve to cry because I put him back into the house.  Because that is totally worth crying over, right?

Took off his socks and pants (because, remember, they were covered in apple juice) and replaced him with clean clothes.  A bowl of goldfish and Dora on the television and he is now done with the crying fit.

After all of this, I looked at the clock and it was only 9:30.

Can I go back to bed?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Electronic Adventures

We left for church this morning in a hurry.  I threw Abby's soccer bag in the trunk, along with my tote full of stuff to keep at the soccer game, made sure we had everything for church, while Nick wrestled Noah into the car.

As we left our neighborhood, someone coming the opposite way honked their horn at us.  As Nick had not made any errors in driving, we figured it was for someone else and continued on our way.

Turns out, the guy was honking at us.

As Nick started down the main road and picked up speed, we suddenly saw something fly up at the front window and bounce off.  Within a second Nick yelled, "My ipad and my Bible!"

Apparently, he had set them both on the car, but had forgotten about them.  The Bible must have fallen off in our neighborhood because as we turned around to go find everything, we saw the same stranger who had honked at us, waving Nick's Bible out the window.

It must have been a fun sight for strangers who were driving by to see the two of us taking a side of the road to look for the lost ipad.  Oh, and while our three kids stared out the windows from the car, with the Les Miserable soundtrack blasting from the cd player.

We are just so cool.

I finally spotted the precious item across the street, the case wide open, inches from the road where cars were flying by.  Whatever case Nick purchased for that ipad must be the best ever.  Not a single scratch on the ipad.  Nothing.

The case has seen better days, but amazingly, it still holds the ipad just fine.  Even the keyboard was left untouched.

I must back up in this story to explain what happened 15 minutes before this event.  Nick had the ipad in the shower with him.

I know-seriously?

As he listened to his sports talk, I heard a crash and thought he passed out in the shower or something.  Nope-the ipad had fallen, thankfully on the bathroom floor and not in the shower itself.  Again, awesome case.

Now I will skip ahead to the afternoon.  We were at Abby's soccer game and as I went to use the porta potty (always fun, right?), I had my phone in my pant's pocket.

Oh yeah, I'm going there.

When I stood up, I heard the sound of something falling next to me.  I did not even look-I just closed my eyes and prayed, "Please, Lord, don't let my phone be in the toilet."  I mean, if it was, I could have easily reached it since the waste was almost up to the lid, but really?

Amazingly enough, it landed in the urinal.  Never in my life did I think I would be grateful to find my phone in a urinal.  A DRY urinal, that is.

So, here I sit on my laptop, safely away from toilets and roads.  Although, I do have a Noah attempting to tackle me with sticky fingers and I think I smell a dirty diaper.

I better close this laptop now.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Bunk Beds

The boys are now in bunk beds.


No more jumping through an obstacle course to get past the crib and bed in one room to retrieve an item.  No more Noah jumping in his crib that has gone through three kids and was literally about to fall apart as he stood there.  No more complaining of not enough space.

The bunk beds are in and my two boys are very happy.

Along with the bunk beds came the task of making Noah stay in his bed.  With the older two, they were a bit challenging so considering Noah is a complete crazy child, I figured that I had my work cut out for me.

Before the first nap time in his big boy bed, I explained to him that he could not get out of his bed.  If he did, he would get a spanking.

(Note to those who do not know me well-spankings are given in our house for complete disobedience and, at this point in time, are usually for Noah and his well cushioned, diaper-covered butt.)

He knew the consequences, he knew what to do and he went to bed, promising to stay in it.

I positioned myself near the top of the stairs, where I could lean down and see under the door.  Within thirty seconds, I saw little feet walking around in the room.

I immediately opened the door and he was in trouble.  We repeated this a few times, until he finally stayed in his bed.  However, he took two hours to fall asleep and had eventually emptied the entire bookshelf.  Awesome.

After that long afternoon and his complete grumpiness, he finally agreed that my way was better and has stayed in bed and taken awesome naps ever since then.

Seriously, it only took one day?  Mr. Noah surprised me.

The downfall to this method of mine is that every time he talks about his new bed, he follows it up by saying, "I get out of bed and Mommy spanks my butt."

Yes, he says this in public.  He said it in the waiting room of the podiatrist while Abby had an appointment.  He said this in chapel at the elementary school.  He says it to everyone he meets.

Noah, I love you, but hush, child.

Getting ready for naptime

Promising to stay in

Finally asleep right when it was time to get up

Friday, March 22, 2013

Go Ahead And Judge

Not sure why we thought having three kids would be a good idea. 

When one of them has something to do, the other two have to go along for the ride.  Sports, activities, doctor name it.

Abby had soccer practice this past Monday evening.  Because of issues with when the field was available this week, she practiced with extra girls, meaning there were lots of parents around that I had never met.

This is important to know before I continue.

So, Abby was practicing with her team in the ridiculously cold weather (someone please shoot that blessed groundhog), while I chased the boys.  Correction-I chased Noah while Caleb was actually being pretty good.

I chased Noah around the track, I chased him away from the parking lot, I chased him up the bleachers...I was pretty tired.  Amazingly, he was not.

It only took a second.

He went under the bleachers, which he has done before, but then he usually sees a dead end and comes back.  I noticed that he did not come back right away this time, and when I bent over to look for him, I could not see that little blond head anywhere.

You parents all know the strike of panic that hits you in the gut and sends all sort of irrational fears to your mind?  Yeah, I know you know it.

I quickly followed the bleachers to the end, while telling Caleb to not go under the bleachers, but to stand still.  I found precious Noah, on the other side of the bleachers, through a fence that was open, standing in the middle of a huge puddle.

Puddle is too kind of a word.  More like a pond.

As that child of mine waded back to me (remember-ridiculously cold weather), I grabbed him and got back to the front of the bleachers.  That is when I looked over and saw Caleb in tears.

This is where I got frustrated, because he was standing near a pile of adults, crying and holding a hand to his nose, and not one of them looked his way.  No one.

Apparently, he did not hear me say to NOT go under the bleachers, so he went, trying to help find Noah.  Somehow (because he is a boy) he managed to hit his nose on the bleachers when standing back up.

He is quite talented that way.

So, I took him over to the sidelines to grab Abby's water bottle, which contained ice (sure, ice water for a ridiculously cold day-why not?) and while I attempted to stop the swelling, I realized that Noah had not followed us.


I left Caleb on the sidelines, holding a water bottle to his head, and went in search of that crazy son of mine.  After a few minutes of not finding him, the real panic began to set in.  Did a stranger take him?  Did he go out to the parking lot?  Did he fall down somewhere?

I asked a dad who was standing nearby if he saw a little two-year old go by and he just looked at me with perhaps a bit of sympathy, but mostly confusion.  I know parents heard me ask that question, yet no one stopped their conversations to help a scared mom find her little boy.

Finally, one mom (who I already met the previous week and she is awesome) came by and started looking.  We then heard the footsteps above us and I found Noah walking along the top bleachers.  I had even looked there a second before, but he must have been laying down on them.

After retrieving the little monkey and checking on the bruised guy on the sidelines, Abby suddenly came up to me, in tears, because her heel hurt.

Again, seriously?

Thankfully, Nick arrived then and stayed at practice so that I could take the monsters home.  But, not without a few looks my way from the strangers as I drug my crying six-year old away as he was whining for his dad and holding his bruised nose and while I had a crying, wet two-year old in my arms, who just wanted to run straight into the busy parking lot.

Go ahead and judge, perfect parents.  Or, is it more like go ahead and ignore?  Perhaps they have served their time and do not feel the need to help out a mom that is clearly in need of aid.

As a mom who is writing this at 1:00 a.m. because she is waiting for the second load of puked on clothes to get done in the dryer because of a sick kid, go easy on those moms that you see in public.  The ones who are raising their voices and have bags under their eyes.  You have no idea the kind of day they just had and chances are, many days repeat the same.

Oh good, the dyer is dinging at me.  Now I can go to bed and start it all over again in a few hours.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Ego

Remember the days when I posted something every few days instead of every few weeks?

Something tells me that the older my kids get, the more I will find myself running around for them instead of writing about how I am running around for them.

Abby started select soccer this week.  Yep, we gave in and said good-bye to any extra (does that exist?) money that we had and gave it to a club with a trainer.  Should be fun.

I am curious to how my little perfectionist daughter is going to do with it.  She has been used to being a leader on her team and feeling pretty good about herself.  Now that she will be competing with girls just like her, I am praying that she learns and does not let her ego get in the way.

I say this because I have seen it happening in her math class this year.  Abby is in an accelerated math class and has not been enjoying it.  I could say, "That's my girl," since I have never been a math genius, but she grew to love it in first grade.  Her reason for not liking it could be one of many-not liking the way it is taught, thinking it is too difficult, not wanting to miss out on what is going on her in regular class...but, after hearing her talk about it enough, I think it really does come down to ego.

The reason that I think it is ego?  She came home last week and talked about how great math was that day.  When I asked why, she went on and on about how well she did at something, how her teacher complimented her and how all of the students wanted to know how she did what she did.

Yep, ego.

So, soccer should be fun.  As much as I want my daughter to take off and soar in everything that she does, I still want her to not always be the best or the smartest.  I want her to realize that there is more to life than being the leader.  I want her to just enjoy what she is doing because she loves it, not because it is all about her.

This parenting thing can be quite tricky.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Mom's Cannot Be Sick

Oh.  My.  Word.

Mothers should NOT be allowed to get sick.  Ever.

My flu test was negative (whatever-I think it was wrong), but whatever I had kept me down for days.

Do you know what a house looks like when mom is sick for days?

It is not pretty.

I kept wanting to write while I was sick, but I did not even have the energy to open my laptop and form a thought.  My days were a blur of sleeping and taking medicine.  At one point, I really felt like death was knocking on my door.

Thankfully, I have an amazing husband who took care of things over the weekend so that I could sleep.  It is a good thing that I slept a lot, because come Sunday night, I was at the ER all night with Noah.

Yes, still sick and spending hours at the ER with the two-year old.  It was fun.

Noah caught whatever I had, but his airway was too small to handle it, causing a croup attack.  Normally, croup hits the other kids (always in the middle of the night) and a quick trip out into the cold air or some time in the steamy bathroom does the trick.

Not with Noah.  No, he had to be special and just keep coughing and gagging and throwing up.  So, after watching the ridiculously late Oscars, and hearing him have another attack, I took him to the ER.  Nick would have gone, but I figured since I was coughing so much, I would not be getting a good night of sleep anyway so I might as well go.

Thankfully the breathing treatments and steroid shot did the trick and he was safe for awhile.  Still had to go to the doctor a couple of days later to get more breathing treatments and a steroid prescription to really heal him.

Anyway, over a week later and I am FINALLY feeling a little normal.  I am catching up on emails that I should have responded to forever ago, I am paying bills that were forgotten (hello second soccer payment for Abby-whoops), I am communicating with the outside world again-it feels good.

And now I have to tackle this house.  It has never needed a deep clean as much as it does right now.  Thankfully, I have Noah to help me.

Oh, wait...yep, he does the opposite.  Never mind.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


My cousin, David, would have been 36 today.  I wish his boys were not growing up without their dad, that his brother was not without him, that his mom did not lose her child...yet, I take comfort in knowing where he is.  Someday we will see him again.

Me and David a LONG time ago

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Facebook Comfort

I believe that facebook has changed the moods of stay at home moms nationwide.

When my children are behaving badly or when I have (again) failed as a parent, I find myself turning to facebook.  From the moment that I click on the status button and express my feelings, I take comfort in seeing how many likes or comments I will receive from the other moms who are going through the same thing.

It makes me feel less alone.

This week was a great example.  Noah had an explosion two nights ago.  You all know what I mean.  The kind where the diaper fails to hold it all in, it ends up on the pajamas, the sheets, the stuffed animals, the pillow, the actual crib...just so awesome.

As I placed the little culprit in the tub and stripped him down in order to spray off the chunks (I told you-so awesome), I thought about how comforting this would be to write about on facebook later.  Instead of feeling alone (Nick was working late...because that is when these things happen...when Nick is working late), I knew other moms would feel my pain in facebook land.

Same thing happened last night.  I was getting ready to check on Abby before going to bed when I heard her crying in her room.  I walked in and saw vomit-everywhere.  On the bed, the side of the bed, the floor, on her American Girl doll, on a handmade scarf, on another doll, on some toys...shall I go on?

As I carried each item to the tub to rinse off, I thought, "I am not alone-other moms have to do this-I will share my misery with them in the morning in facebook land."  While my husband comforted our little girl (funny how that was his job and mine was to take chunks of puke off of stuff), I had to find the humor in it and keep on going. 

Not only did I find camaraderie in other moms in the same boat, but I also found helpful hints on how to get the stink out and how to clean certain items.

What did moms do before facebook?  Seriously?  I would have been so lonely.

In fact, I was.  I went through the sleepless, newborn nights with Abby long before I heard of this online social networking place.  And I felt alone.  Yes, I had some mom friends at our former church, but I often felt left out and on my own.  We lived in an apartment and I was lacking the kind neighbors that I am now blessed with.  I was very tired, very discouraged, and had no idea what I was doing.

I am not saying that facebook saves the day in all cases.  But, I am saying it is a comfort to know that other people are going through the same struggles and joys on a daily basis, no matter how far away they are.

To my friends on facebook that are not in the same stage of life as me, my apologies-you probably do not want to hear about poopy diapers, vomit, and day to day frustrations from mommyland.  But, please keep in mind that other moms do want to hear about it-it makes them feel less alone, too.

Say what you will about facebook ruining the way that we communicate.  For this mom who can never finish a conversation on the phone while children are nearby, it has been a blessing.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

What Did You Say?

Anyone who has toddlers knows this popular game...

It is called, "What did you say?"

The rules are:  The toddler says something, the parent tries to figure out what he or she is saying, the parent guesses, and the toddler either nods in agreement or screams with frustration.  The volume of the scream determines exactly how quickly the parent hurries to win the game.

We currently play this game a lot in our house.

The other day at breakfast, Noah kept asking for "nix."  I could not for the life of me figure out what "nix" was so I kind of ignored him while I packed the older two kid's backpacks for school.  After his screams of "nix" got louder, Abby guessed, "mix?" to which Noah nodded.  Okay, so that was no help.  What did he want me to mix?  After more screams and frustration, I finally guessed, "Kix?" to which he excitedly nodded and smiled.

The kid just wanted a second helping of Kix. 

This morning, while Caleb was playing Wii, Noah kept yelling "My nuts!  My nuts!"

Um, what?

I thought perhaps he was asking for the nunchucks (we humor him by letting him think he is playing with the nunchucks that are not on).  Caleb handed him one and he threw it down, yelling, "My nuts!  My nuts!"

Tell us how you really feel, Noah.

Finally, Caleb realized that Noah was asking for a stuffed monkey.  He gave it to him and made his little brother very happy.  Apparently, the name of the monkey is Coconut and that is what Noah was trying to say.  Not monkey, but Coconut.


What made it even more awesome was when he hugged and monkey and said, "My nuts!  My nuts!" with a big smile on his face.

You cannot make this stuff up.

Someday, Noah will be able to communicate with clear and precise words, but for now, the game continues.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Another Noah Update

Noah has been a lot of fun, lately.  I kept meaning to write about him on here, but between Nick being out of town and my obvious lack of being in a good mood, I just did not get motivated.

And that really does not make sense, because I usually find writing therapeutic.  It is kind of like knowing I need to pray, but not feeling like it, even though I will feel better when I actually do it.

Anyway, this kid is a trip.

The other day, I was eating dinner with the kids (while their dad was asleep in China) and while the older two kids had finished their dinner, Mr. Noah was taking his sweet time and being picky.  As he saw his siblings get dessert, he started to whine for his share.  I told him, "Noah, look at their plates.  They are empty so they get dessert."

He thought for a second and then promptly pushed all of his food off of his plate and onto the table.  Then he just looked at me as if to say, "Well?  Where's my dessert?"

Nice try, buddy.

He has grown attached to many stuffed animals.  So much so that he keeps adding "must haves" to his collection of what stays in his crib with him.  Between his new friends and his ever growing body, he is almost begging for a big boy bed.

Now, I would love to accommodate his wishes.  Having the boys move to bunk beds would give them more room and make this disliker of clutter mom very happy.  However, this is Noah we are talking about.  Very busy Noah.  While the older two fought me for a very short time in staying in their bed, they very quickly learned what's what.  I have a feeling that it will not be so simple with this crazy boy of mine.

People who see me on a regular basis will now when I have made the switch.  I will look like I have not slept in days and my voice will be hoarse from yelling at him.  There is your official warning.  Please do not judge.

Noah has also been talking a lot.  A lot.  Can I stress a lot?  He comes up with new things to chatter about every day and gets more than frustrated when I cannot understand the latest words in his vocabulary.  He spent 15 minutes today saying "Sayso" over and over again until his face was read until I finally figured out that he wanted a pretzel. 

He repeats everything that his siblings say, including songs.  The other day, Caleb started singing part of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" (they heard it on the Chipmunks movie-I swear that I do not encourage Gaga in our car rides) and Noah finished the lyric for him.

Oh dear.

Noah continues to entertain and exhaust us daily and we cannot imagine life without him.

Monday, January 14, 2013

My Thank You Speech

I have not been feeling up to writing much this past week.

Of course, I have also been running around like a crazy person taking care of three kids and all of their activities and driving back and forth to PA for the funeral, and closing out Thirty-One parties, all while Nick is in China-so that could have something to do with it as well.

I just wanted to take a moment and thank a few people.

Wow, I sound like I am accepting an award.  I guess that is what I get for watching the Golden Globes last night.  Hey, it was fun to leave this reality for a couple of hours and watch people who do not live in the real world congratulate each other over their acting skills.


My friend, Stephanie, has been amazing this past week.  Not only did she keep up with her carpooling responsibilities, but she came to my house at 5:00 a.m. (AM!) on Thursday so that I could drive to PA for Tom's funeral.  She then got my kids ready for school (that is quite a feat, I must admit) and proceeded to keep Noah for the entire day.  Oh, and that is not all-she also watched Noah the following afternoon (and then Caleb) while I led Abby's AHG group.


I also have to thank my mother-in-law.  She spent three evenings in a row at my house last week.  One night she bathed the boys and got them to bed while I had a Thirty-One open house.  The next evening, she fed and watched the kids while I drove home from the funeral.  And the next evening she stayed with the boys while I took Abby to indoor soccer.  I was actually able to sit and watch her play and NOT have to chase Noah around the building.  It was a lovely thing.

Next I have to thank my sister-in-law.  She gave up her Saturday night to watch the kids so that I could work.  Without complaining about it.  Even though the boys kept goofing off in their room at bedtime and my precious Abby threw a fit that was worthly of junior high attitude.

I also have to thank these really lovely friends of mine-Rebekah and Laura.  With all of our husbands either out of town or working late hours this past week, we decided it was more fun to take on the chaos of our children together.  We ate pizza together while the kids ran around, destroying Laura's basement.  Laura was even so cool as to yell at us when we tried to clean up aftewards.

Finally, there is my mom.  She attended Tom's funeral with me, she cried with me, and she sent me home with homemade chicken noodle soup, homemade bread and the soundtrack to Les Miserables.

Okay, so perhaps sending me with a depressing soundtrack on the day of a funeral was not the wisest thing, but I still loved it.

I could not have gotten this award-oh, excuse me...I could not have gotten through this week without these amazing people.  No wonder God knew it was not good for man to be alone-He knew we needed helpers.

Friday, January 4, 2013

A Loss

I lost someone in my family this week.

It is a difficult loss in that so many emotions are running through me and I cannot explain them all very well.

My biological dad passed away Wednesday.

For my readers who know my story, you know why my emotions are difficult to explain.  For those who have never heard of this man named Tom, I will sum up.

My mom was married to Tom and while she was pregnant with me, he announced that he was gay.  These days, this might be common.  In 1977, not so much.  Obviously, their marriage did not last.  I have absolutely no idea how my mom raised me by herself for those first few years-it comes from a strength that she still has.

My mom got remarried when I was four-years old and apparently I was so excited that at their wedding, I asked out loud, "Can I call him Daddy, yet?"  Nothing has changed.  I have been blessed beyond words with my daddy.  I eventually took his name and it was official.

I am not sure what Tom was thinking about when he gave me up.  It might have been for selfish reasons or it might have been for my greater good.  Perhaps both. 

From that point on, I saw him on holidays and birthdays and still saw his side of the family.  At one point, my mom told me the truth about him and like a typical adolescent, I was angry.  I refused to see him.  For years. 

God finally reminded me of the grace that was given to me and by my senior year of high school, I sent him a letter apologizing for my attitude.  We then continued our visits a few times a year and life went on. 

My wedding day came and he sat in the crowd and watched my dad walk me down the aisle.  I often wonder what he was thinking about that day.  What were his thoughts as I danced with my dad at the reception?

Thanks to email, we have kept in touch between our every now and then visits and I know he was a reader of this blog.  He told me of his cancer, of his surgery on his leg and his effort to recover from it all.

That is the last thing that I heard from him.  All I knew was that he was recovering.

This past Monday, we were on our way to see him and that side of the family when my grandma told me that he was about to die.  She told me this on the phone as I was struggling to shut the van door.  I just stood there, pressing the button over and over again and desperately trying to process what she just said.

When I went inside to tell my parents, that is when it all hit me and tears flowed.  For some reason, when I hear bad news, I do not usually cry.  But, once I start to share it with someone else, it suddenly becomes real and I completely lose it.

We decided to stop and see him on our way back home the next day.  We drove up to Cleveland, Nick dropped me off and headed to a drive-thru with the kids.  There was no reason for them to see him like that.

When I first saw him, I thought I was in the wrong room.  For the man who was obsessed with his appearance, it was shocking to see that there was nothing left of him.  He just laid there, gasping for breath.

When he heard my voice, he turned to look at me.  Even though his eyes were barely open and were glossy, I think he saw me.  Many times he just stared at me, watching my eyes overflow with tears.

Never in my life have I talked with someone on their death bed.  That only happens in the movies and in books, right?

I told him how sorry I was that he was going through this.  I told him to imagine what Heaven would be like and how much better it will be there instead of here.  I told him how wonderful it would be to see Jesus.  I thanked him for giving me up so that I could have the life that I did.

Sometimes I was just quiet and we just looked at each other.  I kept praying for his salvation and was desperately hoping that he thought about his life and what was to come as he laid there.

I finally said good-bye and went downstairs.  While I sat in the car, staring at my fast food that looked like cardboard, Nick went up and said good-bye.  He gave him his Christmas present-a photo book of the kids.  He showed it to him and anytime that he went too fast, he saw Tom's eyes strain to see better.  He thanked him for me and he shared kind words with him as well.  I am grateful that he did that, because I had no idea how to explain what that experience was like and am thankful that he understands what I saw.

I spent a lot of time in tears the rest of the way across Ohio.  I grieved for how his life was ending, I grieved for time wasted and I kept thinking about what was to come for him.

We got the call Wednesday evening.  Even though I was waiting on it, fresh tears found me again.  He was actually gone from this earth.

Like I said, it is a wide range of emotions that I am feeling right now.  I am not grieving him as I would be if it were my parents, but it is still a lot of pain that I cannot explain.  He was a part of my story.  A part of my life.  And now he is gone.