Thursday, March 31, 2011

Love. Joy. Children.

To start off, I must include a tidbit I typed up a couple Fridays ago, after my first few days with just me taking care of Justin [20 months] & Miles [2 months] (with Kameron popping in and out, of course, as his office is in the basement :-)).
Well the great news this week is that I am more than surviving nannying both boys with mama Heather back at work after maternity leave! It has gone very well! I am certainly more tired, but we are getting into the swing of things and I feel confident in caring for both boys by myself - yay!! It's also quite the workout... bonus? ;-)

Reading back through those four sentences, I have to say things continue in the same manner... except I would include a few more words such as love, joy, and smiles. Many times throughout the day, despite sometimes feeling tired... okay, exhausted... I still get to experience such great love, joy, and I smile. A lot. I could go on with many more words than you feel like sitting and reading right now with stories that would make you smile and laugh, but I'll just choose a few highlights!
Hard to tell, but me, Justin & Miles snuggling together in the rocker - putting Miles to sleep and reading to Justin :-) {I took a picture of us on the video monitor}

Some of the simple things that bring me such great joy definitely include working on learning new words and how to do new things with Justin. My favorite word right now? Definitely my name! Justin's way of mixing "Yee" and "Lee" into one word to get my attention or point to and define something as mine is SOO fun to hear! I also really love how much Justin uses "please." And how, if he's using a very whiny tone of voice, you can ask him to use a nice tone of voice and his tone changes completely (so glad his mom started that when the whiny voice was getting a little overwhelming during the beginning weeks of caring for both boys!) I also find great joy in holding the phone up to his ear to say "hi" or "buh bye" to Josh - and Josh likes it too :-)

I also find joy in Justin's love for trucks, cars, and the "vroom" sound. He can "vroom" his toys around for a long time, and it's a great reminder to me to find joy in the simple things in life - to not overlook being entertained with simplicity as children are.

Lastly, I find joy and absolutely love seeing Justin and Miles smile. I love doing things that make Justin smile, and I love when he does something, then looks toward me with that smile that says, "Look what I did! Awesome!" Often followed by his childlike, "Wow!" :-) Justin's hugs and kisses are not far behind, either!!

Okay, I was going through pictures and must include one specific thing this week that brought me great joy. Justin watches me tuck Miles into the swing daily, and yesterday Justin got my attention in the kitchen and was pointing and saying "Mi, Mi..." Since Miles was upstairs sleeping, I was wondering what item of Miles' he was referring to. But, instead, I walked in the dining room and there was Justin's bear, tucked into the swing just the way I do it, and he walked over and turned on the swing and music for his "Mi." He was so proud of himself, and I was so proud of him. So precious.

Justin has really upped his level and success in imitating lately, and it's awesome to teach him new things! It's also a great reminder of the "sponge" minds of children and how I need to be conscious of my actions because he will imitate them. Smell a lesson? Me too - even when I'm not with impressionable children, I must be conscious of my actions, living in a way for Christ that others will want to imitate... and not trying to proclaim Christ yet not follow with action.

Josh opening his gift :)
Okay, last thoughts for tonight... Josh's birthday was this week, and I successfully surprised him with his gift of NFL Training Camp for the Wii. I LOVE when I successfully surprise him! I also am loving the playfulness and joy that seems to be growing between us as we grow closer as we expect our first child. We are experiencing new discussions and new fears as we take our Labor and Delivery class. But, we are growing as a couple, as husband and wife, as soon-to-be mommy and daddy. I am so glad that we are doing things to grow closer, I feel that's important at any time during a marriage, but especially as the marriage experiences new trials! More on that in another post :-)

Josh's cake from the youth group leaders
Time for bed - just got back home a little bit ago as I took brownies and mini muffins to the church as it was Josh's week to provide snack for choir practice!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Word of the Week: Choices

We never go through a day without making a choice, in fact many choices, but I am not always thinking, "Okay, what choice am I going to make here?" This week, though, I thought a lot about the word itself and what it means to make good choices in many different capacities.

The first set of major choices came with thinking through registries and deciding on brand choices for some of the more major purchases for our son. Sometimes I wish I could take choices like this a little more lightly as I have spent SOOO much time researching and deciding already, and we're not done yet. But, I feel comfortable and confident with the fact that I am doing it not just for my peace of mind (because that's part of it, of course) but because I want to make the wisest choice for any big purchase, especially when it concerns our child. With all the options available for every type of product today, I feel it is important to be wise in choosing products.

That brings me to the next major choice on my mind this week: food. When it comes to our family's diet... well, we're not the most healthy. And though I could come up with many excuses as to why not, it really comes down to lack of knowledge on my part. Although I was much aware of this before, I am much more aware of it now as I have more choices to make when it comes to choosing food for Justin when I'm nannying during the week. When I cared for him this summer, I had some choices to make, but my choices were always supplemented by some baby food as well. Now he does not need to be eating such simple baby food all the time and so I need to make the best choice for him nutritionally. I know that learning this now will benefit us in the future as Josh and I seek to become healthier people, and of course, want to raise healthy children. I love the positive inspiration I have in this area as my family have become very healthy eaters and the family I nanny for are very healthy eaters as well.
An email from my brother at the beginning of last month said, " Our culture has inundated us with super-sized and fast-food meals and most kids today don't know the first thing about healthy eating.  I know this probably sounds preachy, but my true hope is that you will all raise your kids differently and teach them, while leading by example, about nutritional eating and living a healthy and active lifestyle.  Knowledge is power.  Just like you can't expect to live a very good Christian lifestyle if you never read the Bible, you can't expect to live a healthy and nutritious lifestyle if you never spend any time learning about it." Exactly. So my current goal is to not be overwhelmed by gaining knowledge about healthy eating, but to make the wisest choice to work to gain knowledge slowly but surely. My hope: Eventually making wise choices for our health may come naturally!

More major choices on my mind this week? Yep. Two more. The first came with working together with Josh to formulate a lesson plan for his college course on 2 Cor. 5:16- 6:2. Basically he sought to teach about the dire importance of making the choice to have a sense of urgency in ministry. Of knowing that the choices we make each day in how we live, how we minister, have an affect on the people around us and we can be the difference between someone "seeing" Jesus and having a positive view of Christianity or not. A lot of times we choose to live as Christians, but not as a Christ-follower. The difference? Our active faith and the way we understand the urgency of letting those around us know about Christ. As Paul put it in this passage in 2 Corinthians, "Today is the day of salvation." Don't overlook the important choice of literally choosing to live for Christ each moment of each day.

The last choice brings me back to children. I am learning so much about making wise choices for our children and teaching them to make wise choices as I nanny for Kameron and Heather. This week they got me the book Parenting with Love and Logic to read, so that we can all be on the same page when it comes to caring for their 2 sons. I definitely desire to be on this same page, and am excited to learn more. Already from reading the beginning of the book and spending some time in prayer, I know that teaching children to make wise choices when they are young will prepare them for "real life" when they will encounter many opportunities to make choices for themselves. They'll encounter these situations no matter what, and training them to make wise choices is very important!

So. Having all these thoughts in my mind, I wanted to share. I just pray that these thoughts on choices will get you thinking about the choices you make as it has for me. We are praying that we make the wisest choices in every area of life, which definitely stems from being a person of wisdom, which of course comes from getting to know our Heavenly Father. Maybe that's what my mind is bringing this down to - being a person of wisdom in order to make wise choices comes from not just spending time researching to find the "best" answer based on peoples' research and experience, but spending time researching God's Word to become a person of Godly wisdom.