Thursday, June 28, 2012

Reflections of a Stay at Home Mom

I just finished reading a book my mom gave me a couple of weeks ago.  The book, Beyond Bath Time, is about a woman's call to be a mom.  The book talks about how honorable we think it is when someone feels called to be a pastor or a missionary.  We praise their work efforts, their heart, their sacrifice.  But when a woman says she feels called to be a mom society questions her.  We make her feel like she's making a bad choice.  She's giving up too much.  The benefits don't outweigh the sacrifices.  Children are not seen as a blessing anymore.  They're seen as something that gets in the way.  Little people who stop you from having a career.  Noisy things that make it difficult for you to enjoy a bubble bath, a quiet dinner, or a good book.  Obstacles that require you to tote them around all day, forgetting about what you want to do.

But the truth is that's not how God sees children.  In Mark 10, parents were bringing their children to be blessed by Jesus, but the disciples saw the children as annoyances and tried to keep them away from him.  Jesus saw what they were doing and stopped them.  He said, "Let the little children come to me."  Children are important to Jesus.  They matter to him.  Not only did he want to spend time with the children, but he explained to the disciples that they are very important in God's kingdom.  He even said the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like children!  If children are so important to Jesus, then shouldn't those who care for children really have the most important job?  Shouldn't we see that as just as much of a calling as being a pastor or a missionary?

When I resigned from my teaching position everyone asked me what I was going to do.  At first we didn't know I was pregnant so I figured I would have to look for another job.  But as soon as we found out I was pregnant, the job search was over.  People questioned me all the time.  I'd only been teaching for three years, didn't I want to continue?  I had also just finished my masters degree.  People thought I was wasting my education by not continuing to teach.  They wanted to know how I justify the money spent on my education when I wasn't going to "use" it.  None of that mattered to me, though, because I knew even then that I was leaving my job as a teacher to focus on the most important job I will ever have: mom.  I have always seen my "job" as a mom as a calling.  I have only a small understanding of how great an impact I have on my children, but I do know.  I know that my children already look to me.  Micah mimics so much of what I do.  He counts on me to teach him right from wrong, to start him off with good habits so that they're like second nature to him, not work. 

I have a calling, too.  My calling might not be to teach hundreds of children in Africa.  But I am teaching two little boys who matter just as much to God as any of those children in Africa.  My calling might not be to write wonderful sermons for thousands of people to hear.  But every day I have the chance to give life lessons to my boys.  I can help my 19-month-old make connections with the Bible.  I can teach him to pray about everything.  My calling might not be to lead people in worship, but I can worship with my little boy while we're making dinner together.  My calling is just as important, and I believe that.  Every day I have to live like that.  I have to remember the importance of my calling, even if society doesn't find it very important.  I know the truth.  And all that matters is that I do make a difference in the lives of those two little boys.  Because that is what I've been entrusted with.

My calling.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Super Dad

Father's Day has come and gone, but this is the first opportunity I've had to blog and I really didn't want to miss a chance to brag about the wonderful dad that Micah and Judah have.

Seriously, Brad is a natural.  He is so good with both of our boys.  Brad loves playing with Micah.  For months, Brad had been talking about wanting Micah to do swim lessons.  I just didn't think it was going to work out, though--how could I get in the pool with Micah while I have a newborn baby?  And Brad's work schedule changes all the time, there's no way he could commit to any kind of regular activity.  Then, the week Judah was born, Brad was offered a regular position.  This means a regular schedule.  One of the first things he did once he found out his new schedule was look up swim lessons.  He told me that the one thing he really wanted to do this summer was take Micah to swim lessons.  And that's what he did.  This week and next he and Micah are taking swim lessons together.  Brad wakes up excited every morning, eager to get Micah in his swim suit and head out to the pool.  And they come home, and he wants to tell me all about what they did.

That's just one example of how much Brad enjoys spending time with our boys.  He truly wants to.  It's hard for him to leave for work every day because it means having to say goodbye.  Brad is like another one of the kids sometimes.  He loves teaching Micah new things.  Things only a dad can teach a son.  Like how to jump in mud puddles, that it is absolutely necessary to carry a stick when you go on a walk, how to pick up bugs, how to wrestle, how to make all kinds of different noises, and the list goes on.  He has so much fun just being a boy with Micah.

He's so good with Judah, too.  He loves to just hold him and look at him.  He sits on the couch with Judah in his lap and talks to him all the time.  He's so good at getting him to laugh.  Just like with Micah, he has no problem getting up with Judah.  He'll change his diaper and bring him in to me.  If Judah doesn't go right to sleep, Brad will walk with him for a little while, cuddling him.  I love watching Brad with his sons.  He's so loving.

But, most importantly, Brad is teaching them how to be men of God.  In the mornings, when Brad and Micah have breakfast together Brad talks to Micah about God.  They pray together and Brad tries to make a connection between God and Micah's day (i.e. "we're going to cousin Joey's birthday party today...what a blessing God gave us in cousin Joey).  When Brad puts Micah to bed, they read the Bible together.  He is setting an example because he knows that even at 1 year old these habits are important and Micah is watching him and mimicing him all the time.  Brad leads by example when he treats me with respect and shows Micah how to do the same.  But it's not just in front of the boys that Brad is doing this.  Brad prays for the boys, too.  He knows that he cannot be a good father without guidance from God.  He knows that he needs God's strength daily and he asks for it.  He truly is a father who seeks God's heart and wants to guide his sons to do the same.  I am so thankful that he is my husband and the father of our children.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Strawberry Picking

Part of being a June Cleaver wannabe (see this post) is wanting to make homemade jelly.  I love the idea of picking fresh fruit and turning it into yummy food.  Even though I don't like jelly I want to make for the boys.  So, last week we went strawberry picking. 

When I was little, my mom used to take us and then we made jelly.  So, I invited my mom to come with us this time.  We found a place not far from home and had lots of fun picking.  Micah was a great help.  He got right down there and knew what to do.  Of course, he didn't know not to pick the green ones, but he still did a great job.  Sometimes I would turn around and find the box gone.  Micah would pick it up and walk a little further down the aisle so that he could pick the strawberries down there.  It was the cutest thing.  When we were done, we didn't have enough to make jelly so I just froze a bunch and saved some for us for right now.  The strawberries were delicious in a smoothie!

I think we're going to try to go back and pick raspberries and blueberries this summer, too.  Plus, my parents have a small strawberry patch in their backyard so I'm hoping we'll be able to freeze some more strawberries for the winter.  Even though we weren't able to make jelly, we had a blast picking.  And I still feel like June Cleaver. :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

1 Month

 I cannot believe that Judah is 1 month already! Time really does fly. He's not a newborn anymore, he's a little baby. He looks so different from when he was born. Milestones are a little harder to see at this age, but there are still a lot!
*Judah's one month check-up isn't for another 2 weeks so it's been a while since he was weighed/measured, but at his last appointment he was 8lbs. 2oz. and 20 3/4in.
*He is getting really strong and starting to hold his head up for longer periods of time.                   *He has slept through the night twice already. Typically he only wakes up once a night, sometime between 3 and 4am. We're very thankful for that!
*Judah has his first trip to the beach this past weekend. He was pretty oblivious to it all.           *Judah also took his first trip to the zoo yesterday. Brad and I took turns wearing him in the carrier. He was really good the whole time we were there--slept almost the entire time!                            *He's such a good sleeper, but we're starting to get one good awake period during the day, typically 2-3 hours.
 *He's a great eater, too, loves Mommy's milk! :)
 And now I will leave you with some pictures from Judah's first month: Going for his first walk in the double stroller. Judah's first bath. In the swing. Judah seems to really like it! First bath in the big tub!

 First trip to the zoo.