Sunday, July 31, 2011

Rewind: Julie's Going Away Party

One year ago today, I drove to the airport to pick up a pretty Danish girl from the airport. I hardly knew much about her, but was so excited to spent the year getting to know her. It's crazy to look back and think it's only been a year because I just can't really imagine my life without her!

It's been almost two months since Julie left, but we had a big going away party before she did! Tons of people came, of course- because Julie is just super fun person and so many people enjoyed having her in their lives this past year. We all wanted to make sure that she felt tons of love here in the states as she traveled back home to the people who loved her first. It's about time I finally get around to posting about it!

There were lots of friends:

Lots of food:

and lots of fun!

She had two delicious cakes

And we gave her a hard time about choosing to eat from the Danish flag!

I can’t believe Julie has been gone for almost 8 weeks now. We miss her like crazy, but she’s been having a blast back home. We Skype and email to keep in touch. She spent a week in Italy at the beach with friends earlier this month and is currently in Paris with her mom, so I’d say she’s having lots of fun adjusting to home life! She does have plane tickets to come visit in October-YAY!! Super excited.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

My week at camp!

So, this is all about my week as summer camp! We were at Lost Canyon, which is located in Williams, AZ. We were up in the mountains and it was beautiful. The weather was fantastic. 

This is my childcare team. We're all from the 
Kansas City area-ish, even though I hadn't met them before! 

This is the view of camp and the mountains. It was so pretty!

There were 150 teen moms, 50 leaders, 130 babies, and  95 childcare workers. Wow!

These are the mommies (and leaders) from my area

Our schedule was as follows: 

Childcare after breakfast until almost lunch time. This was our "pod" and we had eight 3-6 month babies from all over the country!

We had childcare in the cabin at night (not our cabin, but our assigned cabin). This was the cabin for the girls from our area. There were nine kiddos ranging from 5 months to 2 years. Nighttime childcare was about 3-4ish hours while the mommies went to club (chapel), cabin (reflection) time, and had fun activities.

On most afternoons we had some form of childcare, mostly with the cabin group. We'd take the kids for walks, out to play, and of course we'd enjoy some cheerios on the patio.

This is my buddy. Well, she was *my* buddy. I was her worst nightmare. We would hang out and play while her Mama was gone; I was her BFF. But this little girl loves her mommy and never wanted her to leave. Whenever she would see me, even if it wasn't actually time for childcare, she would burst into tears and cling to her Mama. Every single time. It never failed. But once her mommy would leave, it'd only take a few minutes to settle down and then she was my shadow, 100%. Check out those dimples! Super cute.

I have been to camps of all shapes, sizes, and scenery. But to be at a camp with moms and their babies was a site unseen. Pack and plays next to bunk beds. Herds of strollers. High chairs at tables. Car seats stored under bathroom sinks. Baby gates guarding cabin doors. Camp literally changed overnight (really, a childless camp was taking place just the day before and began again the day after we left!) with an downpour of baby items EVERYWHERE.
And whose idea was it to serve dirt dessert to toddlers?! The clean-up crew worked extra, extra hard this week!

There were a few days when we were clocking almost 9 hours of childcare in one day. Whew! But there was still time for fun!
I ziplined with my camp buddy, Hannah. She landed so gracefully into the water; I did not. I was achy the next day.

*not pictured: the blob. I did actually do it, but it took me forever to jump off. But I did actually do it. And then, when I was the blob-ee, I had no warning and just went flying into the air and landed flat on my back. ooooouch! Not sure it was worth the hype!

The giant swing. Hannah, Kay, and I went on the big swing together. Super fun.

And then I rock-climbed. Austin was my buddy. He was my zip-line guy and my rock-climbing guy. Also, an interior designer. Never would have pegged that one! And just for my pride, let's pretend that there isn't an 8 year-old little guy way at the top while I'm still only half way up.

Going to camp was such a great experience, albeit very exhausting, but great nonetheless! I really enjoyed getting to know the moms from my area. They are such great girls, great moms! And really, it was so touching to be able to see the lives touched this week. Seriously, this week was life-changing

This is the New Believers walk- all of the girls who became new believers in Jesus Christ this week, got up early and walked around camp with people cheering them on all the way.

And the very last thing before everyone headed back on the buses to go home was the "Say so" when everyone who made a decision got in front of all of the campers, leaders, staff, and everyone crammed into the room to proclaim it. So, *so* touching to see them up there with their babies knowing those little lives were going to be changed too.

It's no surprise that I am so passionate about this ministry. You should totally check into seeing if you have a local chapter in your area. If not, start one! If so, contact for ways to get involved. You can become a mentor mom, provide childcare for monthly meetings, donate your used baby clothes, gear, or toys, help raise money for camp. The opportunities are endless. Above all else, we need to love on these girls. They have chosen life. They have so much going on in their lives. They are all great mommies. And they just need support- just like the rest of us mommies out there!


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Rewind: Royals Game

From the time when Julie first got here (almost exactly one year ago!) I had wanted to take her to a Royals game- being that baseball is America’s sport and all. We attempted a game last fall, but it got rained out and so we squeezed in a game in the week before she flew home. I love going to Royals games! We all had a good time.

Julie invited her friend Katie and Derek’s parents came too!

Jackson got to meet slugger (though he wasn’t very interested)

But he did like getting a close up view of the game.

So, as it sometimes happens, the Royals weren’t doing so great and the game got kind of boring, so we went exploring! Who knew that KC had its own Statue of Liberty!?

Jackson had fun on the playground

Our tickets included all of the kid ride/activities, so we wanted to make sure to take advantage (because you can be assured I won’t ever purchase tickets to do these things otherwise). We rode the carousel at least three times.

After being featured on the JumboTron, Jackson got to bat at the Little K! He did pretty well hitting, but when it came time to run the bases, he kind of just ran everywhere. He’s practice the running bases part, so if he did it now, he’d be a pro!

He did a few more activities, and then we did go back to watch the rest of the game, but we did enjoy watching it from the outfield for while first.

We had a really good time at the game. The weather was perfect and I was glad Julie got to experience it; even though I’m sure she thought it was boring, which it kind of was. But the company was good! I’m headed back for Ladies’ Night at the K the day after I get home from camp. Can’t wait!


Saturday, July 16, 2011

I'm spending the week at summer camp!

I am currently en route to summer camp! I kissed my family goodbye last night (which was hard when Jackson kept saying, "but i want mommy to stay home!") and I am headed to Lost Canyon camp close to Williams, Arizona for the week.

This isn't the typical teenage summer camp. Sure there are cabins, water slides, and the blob, but this camp is for teen moms and their babies. I will be providing childcare each day for the activities that the mommies do by themselves.

Over the past several months, I have been blessed to serve in a ministry called YoungLives, which is a part of the popular high school ministry organization, YoungLife. YoungLives is a much needed ministry for a very unique set of teenagers- teen moms! 

The Belton YoungLives chapter is the fist of its kind in the Kansas City area. Some come from 20 miles away just to be a part of the group. The girls meet once a month for a meal, activities, (both with and without kiddos) and a devotional time while other care for the babies.

I have been passionate about this ministry from the get go. I think it's derived from being in a similar stage of life- motherhood of young kids! I love being a mommy, but there are times when it is just downright hard and times when I just feel so overwhelmed! I cannot even imagine doing this motherhood thing as a teenager. I am so blessed to have an amazing support system and I just felt the Lord calling me to be a part of the support system for these girls.

So, while it was really hard to leave my own children last night, I just know that this is where I am supposed to be. In the busy lives these girls lead with schoolwork, jobs, relationships and babies, these girls deserve some fun. But its really more than just having fun. Camp is an opportunity for the moms and their babies to be surrounded by the love of Christ for an entire week. This could be one of the very first times for these teen moms to hear the gospel! And for a mom to decide to follow Christ will go on to impact the young child. How amazing would it be if all of these moms left camp feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and committed to raising their children in a Godly home?!

So I ask for your prayers this week for the moms, children, and volunteers. Pray that it would be a week of growth and enjoyment, and that the Lord will work in the all the lives of the people at camp!


Friday, July 15, 2011

Five Months

This is a few days early, but I will be out of town on her actual "birthday" so I wanted to go ahead and post! Belle is five months this month! It seems that she is growing faster than Jackson did, but I am sure it's because we are just busier now so time seems to fly by! 

I just took her in earlier this week for her 4 month check up so here are her stats:
Height: 24 in. (25th %)
Weight: 14.5 ilb (40%)
Head circumference: 16.5 inches (50%)

This is one of Belle's favorite things! Keeps her entertained for hours.

Her other favorite thing-- her playmat. Sometimes I just want to hold her and she gets fussy because she'd rather be down playing.

She's not quite crawling yet, but this girl isn't staying in one place. Belle is quite the roller/scooter/wiggler to get where she wants to go.

My little girl is getting all big and can sit up all by herself (for a few seconds anyway)

Dear Belle,

You are just SO much fun right now! You are old enough to want to play with toys and occupy yourself for little bits of time, but you're still my sweet little baby. You are a very social baby, giving away smiles to anyone who may look at your direction. You are the cutest little thing ever and I think you know it too. Last week, three different people, all from different places, told me that you are cuter than the Gerber baby. (Maybe Gerber will read this and hire you on the spot.)

You are wearing 3-6 month clothes and they are finally fitting better! You have so many cute clothes thanks to Chacey and Victoria. You should thank them someday. You are wearing size 1 diapers, but could stand to move up to size 2. You have to finish the ones from a huge box I opened awhile ago because I just can't let all of those diapers go to waste. 

You are the wiggliest. thing. ever. Seriously. You haven't stopped wiggling since I first felt you move when I was 12 weeks pregnant. I can't really sit and cuddle you, unless you're sleepy, because you just kick those legs and flail those arms all about!! I have to say, I'm a bit nervous about how this level of activity will play out in the next few months! Let's not be too crazy, k? Oh, and it is impossible for you to lay on your back without your feet up in the air. It just doesn't happen. I put one down and it will fly back up as soon as I let go. Sometimes it's a funny game for Mommy to play. 

Just this past week, you slept ALL NIGHT long for a few nights. But that was just a tease, because now you're back to waking up for a night feeding again. I plan meticulously to stuff you full before bed and if I do it right, you'll sleep really well. But if naps and schedules don't align, I will see your smiling face around 3am. Eating solid foods isn't something you love to do. You seem to like the taste, but every single spoonful I put in your mouth takes about 5 actual steps of scooping up what you spit out and re-trying. There's progress with every bite, but it is a time consuming and very messy task. And you'll only eat about half of a stage 1 baby food thing at a time before you're just mad about having to eat. You'd much rather just have a bottle. But when you have that bottle, you don't want to be held laying down... you want to be sat up so you can eat and check out the world at the same time. Silly girl.

Jackson is so affectionate towards you and you just gaze at his every move. I pray that you will grow up to be close friends, just like me and Uncle Phil. We never fought. (just like I never disobeyed and I didn't start dating until I was 25. You'll be sure to follow in these footsteps!)

I can't believe I am going to to be away from you for a whole week starting tomorrow. I am going to miss your smiles, babbles, and baby lovin' soooooo much! Don't grow up to fast! Love, Mommy



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