Wednesday, June 26, 2013

bump into us // Danville, VA

We are spending the week in the Danville, VA area and having a great time getting to see some of Lesley's family, some dear friends, and getting a chance to connect with people in the area that are interested in hearing more about the ministry we will be doing in Honduras!

The precious southern porch where we get to sip morning coffee  in Danville.
Though we are only midway through the week, we have already gotten the chance to explore one of the family farms that Lesley grew up playing on when she was little. Jamey had previously been able to see some of it, but this time we both, along with Lesley's siblings, climbed into her Papa's old farm truck and went off‐road exploring! We did not get to see everything because some parts are unused & grown up with trees now, but we did get really dirty, had a lot of fun, and even saved a tiny kitten out of a huge prickly tree! Woo hoo! Next on the agenda is for Jamey to finally get a chance to meet Lesley's oldest friend, Caitlin, who she has been best friends with for 19 years! They used to do everything together all through school, especially in high school, but our lives now have put us in different areas for the last several years. We are SO excited for this to happen now that we have the opportunity!!!

A quick picture of the mountain range view from the farm.
We wanted to extend the invitation once again to anyone in the area ‐‐ we would love to meet up with and see you! Please feel free to call, text or email us if you would like to get together. Our contact information is available on the Contacts tab above for those who do not have it. To hear about how our ministry is going, or just to hang out!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

bump into us // Richmond, VA

The lake view near Gail and Curtis' house!
We are back in the Richmond area for the week!! We are so excited to now have the opportunity during this summer to visit different places during the week days and for more than just two days at a time, rather than only on the weekends when we were working our other full-time jobs before. It is just so wonderful!

We are going to be meeting with people and pastors to share our about ministry this week, as well as visiting friends in the area because this could potentially be the last time we are in the Richmond area before we leave! We are also going to be hanging out with our wedding photographer, Sara Tyer, because we seriously adore her so much. (More on that later.)

The beautiful lake view in the picture above is near where we are so blessed to be staying while we are here! A huge thank you goes out to Gail and Curtis Rice (and our dear friend Candice Foldenauer) for having us, and for being so welcoming and hospitable!

If you'd like to catch up with us this week, please text or email us! We would love to see you!

Jamey & Lesley

Monday, June 17, 2013

personal // my last day with the babies.

I had my last day with the family I was nannying for exactly three weeks ago. And you know what?

It's really hard to say goodbye to little ones. 

They don't understand distance (especially the distance of being in another country), how long a year is (or four), what goodbye means, or why you absolutely have to leave & not be their nanny anymore. What do you say to a three year old that says "Wessie, can you stay more pwease? I so much wuv you."

See this precious baby girl? I met Aspen when she was just 9 months old, when she was just starting to explore solid foods and only crawling. Now she is 18 months old, and one amazing little baby girl who runs, uses sign language to communicate, understands everything you say, puts on her own shoes (and even picks out matching ones!), and, well, tries to do and eat everything her siblings do. She still stops crying every time her brother and sister sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star"... that hasn't changed over the past year.

Aspen suddenly goes from baby to TODDLER!
This rambunctious little man is Chase. Chase has learned so much about being a big kid over our time together -- he's learned how to count, he can color in the lines better than anyone else in the house, and I potty-trained this kiddo. He now loves to show that he can put clothes in his dresser & make his bed all by himself AND he can pitch a baseball to himself to hit it every time!! My favorite thing about him, though, is that he breaks out into song randomly all the time (I'm a Little Teapot, some Bruno Mars, or even a little Call Me "Baby"), and that when an idea is super exciting to him, his "yeah!" comes out "CHEEEEEAHHH!".

See Chase grow!

My beautiful little lady, Scarlett, is certainly one of the brightest children I have ever met. She practically absorbs knowledge through osmosis or something. When I met this darlin', she was struggling a little with the big cross-country move her family had to make and she would cry at any time something upset her. She could name and recognize all of her ABC's and desperately wanted to learn more things, like how to read. Now, she is so mature and very well settled, and literally helps anyone with everything. Helping is like a favorite hobby to her. She also in the time I was with her, learned to read, write, spell, and do math at a first grade level... and she's never even been to preschool! She blew my mind every day, and taught me a lot about remembering everyone and being thoughtful.

Sweet Scarlett. 

The big sister Taylor is a special girl who completed the 3rd grade in her first school year in Virginia this year. This was a big adjustment for her because she is old enough to remember all of the things she loved about her previous home. She was not used to wearing a big winter coat in February, still wearing jeans in April, or the pool not being open yet. Definitely a warm weather girl, and a kid who judges what she will wear based on how well she can run in it! She spent a lot of time asking me all about Virginia, about what she called "funny farm accents", and about my wedding. I also taught her how to make her first apple pie from scratch!
Taylor with her pie!
The kids grew so much over the time I was with them... more than I probably ever could have imagined or expected. Children are AMAZING. Their ability to learn, and grow, and grasp new things, and acquire knowledge that wasn't even taught directly to them is so awesome. And the crazy thing I know is that the baby will be going to kindergarten when we get back! It's funny because I think she (and each of them) is so grown right now, but in four more years.... just imagine how awesome they'll be! There will be so many changes in all this time, and sometimes I can't believe I won't be there to see it. That also made goodbye hard.

This sweet family sent me off so well. We played and snuggled all day, then we went out for a second of two photo shoots in the back yard, shot by Scarlett, Taylor, and sometimes the self-timer on my camera (that they are in love with). We had a mini-party when their mom got home complete with cheesecake, where they gave me beautiful flowers, kid drawings, and a new scarf (they know me so well!). There were tears from almost everyone. Taylor was the most comfortable with everything because she was happy to know I could video call her like her far-away relatives. Scarlett had two full tearful meltdowns as I was leaving because that's when it set in for her. Chase was the comforter, who told me "Wessie, no more being sad, you have FLOWERS!"

Some of our backyard photos. :)

My heart hurts to know that I can no longer see them all the time because they were constantly a source of joy! But I know that God put me in this place to learn a lot, and I'm so thankful for this time I've had to spend an extended amount of time to truly getting to know just how little kids tick. I know that this will be so great for me when ministering to the children in Danli, Honduras! I can hardly wait to see what other little ones I completely fall head over heels for (again). 


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

personal // the job, so far, where I've learned the most.

Though I would never have guessed this a year ago, I worked as a nanny over the past ten & half months during our time living in Northern Virginia. (Those of you who know my degree and background are in theatre also know that a theatre job would have been complete opposite hours than my hubby!). I worked for a family with four children, each with their very own personality, (three of whom are under 5 years old!) and every day was a new adventure. I have been so thankful for how this job has served me over this transitional time in our lives where we were also raising support full time and, more importantly, I've been grateful for how much it has taught me about kids, one day being a parent, relationships, and just plain ol' life.

here's just some of the things that I learned from these sweet kids:

  1. There is absolutely no laugh that is funnier and more heart-warming than a baby's laugh.

    This is Aspen finding her own bellybutton to tickle it. 

  2. Kids grow REALLY FAST. 

    Especially babies. If I came back from a long three day weekend, man, I better expect a whole new kid. That's when I could really see it. Suddenly, when I wasn't looking, Chase's ability to form a complete sentence was far improved and he was eager to help do everything around the house instead of the Chase who, last I had checked, couldn't sit still long enough to eat his lunch. Amazing!
  3. Power Ranger Chase helps around the house by protecting you from bad guys.

  4. Their reactions to when parents get home is how I should feel about getting time alone with the Lord.
    With little ones, knowing when they will see someone next is very important. It's something that gets asked about many times a day. What if I got that excited once I finally got to spend time with God? Like the "my mom is finally home!!! let me run around and scream my head off and show her everything I did today!" effect, instead of the attitude that can sometimes creep up on us like "oh no, there is so little time in a day. I should probably make the time to hang out with God again...".
  5. Learning how to wake up everyday new. 

    Ever woke up grumpy because the FIRST thing that pops in your mind is what bad thing happened the day before? Well kids never do that! Days feel like weeks to them, and well, for anyone it's hard to remember every little bump in the road that happened weeks ago. The kiddos live a more simple life, where they live every day like they've never done any of these things before. It's the "YES! I have a pink heart-shaped bowl to eat my breakfast in! Oh my gosh, YAY we get to play Candyland after nap!! NO WAY, I get to go to the store with you!??" effect.

    Wish this was how bright-eyed and bushy-tailed I spent each new morning!

    PS. They also forgive within minutes of someone offending them in some way. Whew, I should try practicing that one more often!
  6. Your priority should always be time spent with those that mean the most to you.

    Have you noticed how little kids can't remember a lot of specific details from days or weeks past because everything gets kind of mixed up? Like, for example, they can remember that at some point in the last three days they had spaghetti for dinner, but they really couldn't tell you which one of those days it was. BUT you know what they can most certainly remember? Special time spent having fun with someone important to them. If Grandma comes to visit from far away, you better believe they will be able to recount to you everything super fun she did with them, including whose bed she slept in with them, who got to be the only one to go somewhere with her, how many times they got to sit beside her at dinner and who got to cuddle with her during family movie time.

    This is all to say that what I learned from watching them interact with their loved ones is that it really didn't matter what they did, but spending time with the people they love, getting personal attention and affirmation from them, is something that sticks out so much that they remember it forever. And remembering anything a year from when it happened is a BIG deal for a 3 year old. They would rather have that than anything else in the world. If they can figure out priorities in life, I think we should be able to do the same. God didn't create us to have lives where we just make ourselves busy; he created us as relational beings who need one another. No matter how "busy" you are, remember to let others know how much you need them.
  7. It's incredible how early in their lives you can build a child up to have big dreams, confidence in themselves, and a big heart with concern for others.

    Scarlett, age 4, never forgets anyone. No one tells her "while you're making Valentine's cards, you should make one for your great-grandpa too". But she thinks to do things like that! She sincerely loves, cares for, and remembers people that she may not even have seen more than once or in over a year. You know what else? She, for as long as I have known her, believes that she can work hard enough to do anything. She just turned four and had never been to preschool? So what. She was determined to learn how to read like her big sister, so she worked at it every day without stopping and learned to read and write within two months. She wants to learn how to cook? Well, okay, "I'll just watch you closely every time you're in the kitchen until I feel like I can ask to try it myself" she thinks. Adults love the baby so much that they take time to teach her things? She stops everything she is doing and explains things slowly to the baby. Like if the baby cries because she fell, Scarlett stops, leans down to her, and says "Aspen, where's your boo boo? Where is it? Is your finger hurt? Is your arm hurt? Next time don't run fast, okay?". And no one taught her this! She figured out all on her own how to be her own person and to be a caring and motivated one. Imagine if the world had more children who were encouraged to be this genuine and thoughtful. 

This is definitely not a comprehensive list at all, but it's so hard to even put into words what this experience has taught me. I loved these kids like no kid I've loved before! How could you not when spending 50 hours a week together, watching them learn and grow!

What have you seen differently through the eyes of a child?


P.S. Taylor, Scarlett, Chase and Aspen: I love you and miss you guys every day! Hugs and kisses!!