This past weekend, Deputy Dave and I babysat our two year old grand nephew and six year old grand niece. These two children belong to my husband's nephew, which means they also belong to me!
|Ava, Jace, Brice and Stefie hanging out.|
It's been so long since we've had a two year old running around our house and everyone knows that once you get beyond that phase of raising kids...your house is no longer prepped for a two year old's presence. We did our best to prepare, but the weekend was full of running around and finding the next thing that was within his finger's reach that we had to handle. With our diligence and constant rearranging, he was safe and sound, but we were exhausted!
|Jace wearing my flip flops!|
It makes me realize that I had better lay-out our country cabin design and furnishings to simply be ready for our future grand-children. That way, we'll be ready and not need to constantly adjust to toddler mode.
As always, part of our purpose with spending time with precious children in the family is to be supportive to our family members so they will know their kids are loved and in good care while the parents are able to have a few kid-free hours. I am blessed to have a wonderful Uncle. I did not have a multitude of aunts and uncles while growing up, I had ONE uncle, that was it, but he was all I ever needed...nurturing goodness rolled into one awesome Uncle package is all I needed. My uncle was so good to me; we still are very close.
My mother's brother is a man I look up to with great respect and love. So, I KNOW how important it is to have respectable and trustworthy aunts and uncles. An aunt or an uncle can make a marked difference in a child's life. My uncle gave me a very valuable gift...he taught me another side to men...that they can be able to do it ALL and still be a MAN. He could cook, be a master carpenter, a plumber, he can clean house, do the yard, he served in the military AND was always loyal and tender to those he loves while working a life-time in a rough environment at a Texas refinery. Plus, my uncle contracted Polio along with my mother when they were children, but he did not get the crippling kind; however, it still impacted his health, hugely. To this day, he has times of having trouble breathing and my mother, when she was alive, always knew it was related to his Polio, but he won't hardly mention it.
|I'm getting to read my daughter's treasured|
books to the young ones.
We keep these books carefully stored on the bookshelves
for future generations to enjoy, with supervision.
I suppose that any time a family member needs us to help with the kids, they know that we are fiercely protective of the kids in the family, so they will do their part to help build relationships; we're there for them and are willing to meet them more than half way!
Another reason for trying to make a difference in the lives of children is to honor my husband's Aunt Virginia. She was the first person we trusted (besides my mother) to take our kids for an ENTIRE week! Every summer my daughters would stay one week with their Aunt Virginia and those weeks were full of fun and tremendous memories that they will hold dear to their hearts until the day they meet their aunt in Heaven. Aunt Virginia died of cancer six months before my mother died from cancer. I had loved Virginia with every part of my being, we were extremely close and spoke every week on the phone for hours, we wrote long letters and emails to each other, read the same books, went on long walks together when we were in town with each other and just connected on a deep level.
Aunt Virginia was related to my husband's family by marriage. She always made you feel as if you were the center of her universe. She knew how to listen; She was always excited about things going on in our lives and she was so interesting...always learning something new and sharing it with us. My husband had grown up with his Aunt Virginia loving him dearly; she even confided to him that he was her favorite nephew and that he often felt as if he were a son to her. She provided a true motherly touch and a nurturing heart for him...which he needed and she knew it. They loved each other and held great respect for each other.
So, I had made a vow upon her death to be as good to our nieces and nephews as she had been to my husband, to me and to our children. There are just some people in your life who bring light into your lives and she was one of these people. She is greatly missed. But, I have decided to honor her by being loving, supportive and fun to the little ones in the family. Deputy Dave usually has this mindset as well, as long as he's not sitting in front of the television engrossed in a football game, needing duct-tape over his mouth after an interception by the other team.
Another reason we enjoy spending time with the kids is so that we can introduce them to the world of CHICKENS! I've found that most city adults are absolutely terrified of chickens. I mean T-E-R-R-I-F-I-E-D! However, children will be initially cautious, but they warm up to the chickens very fast. Usually the kids will warm up TOO MUCH to the chickens and will need to be told to either stop chasing the chickens or to quit trying to pick them up because it might hurt them. Somehow, over a short amount of time, their fear dissipates. My main goal is to keep trying to close the gap between today's kids only knowing about food sources as a grocery store product with a price tag to farm raised animals and home-grown crops ending up on the plate at dinner.
Letting the kids take part in searching the coop for new nests is always a delight. Their little expressions look bland as they check each empty nest, but those expressions turn to pure delight as they find their first egg. Each time, we show the kids how to gently rinse the eggs at the kitchen faucet and then set the egg on a kitchen towel to dry. Once the eggs are dry, we have egg cartons in the fridge ready to hold the eggs and we put the eggs in a certain order --- going by most recent egg laid to be set as last in the carton so we can be sure to go through our eggs in the right order.
|Checking for eggs.|
Often, we cook eggs with the kids. It's amazing how kids will say they don't like eggs, then they cook their own egg and find that it is scrumptious. I also keep the eggshells - rinsed out and ready to go into the garden to add calcium back into the soil --- the eggshells need to be crushed and the kids LOVE to crush eggshells. It's as if they are getting permission to do a big NO-NO.
|Ava is doing her best to pet every chicken in the yard!|
Anyway, we keep the kids busy from sun-up to sun-down. We had forgotten how much we dislike changing diapers. Yuk!
On Sunday, we did some yard work and let the kids play outside. Our street is always so busy that we can't even let the kids go near the sidewalk next to the street...one wrong step and the street congestion and traffic may be disastrous. So, the kiddos had to stick next to us like green on grass.
By the time Sunday evening rolled around, we were ready for a vacation and the parents were on their way to the house after spending a weekend on a mission church trip with their two older children. My husband's nephew is a youth leader for his church and that was a huge reason we agreed to watch the two younger children over the weekend. We wanted to be fully supportive in their endeavor to make a difference and to always be searching for a better life for themselves.
|Side-walk chalk...oh the memories!|
My "chalk" was left over sheet-rock pieces.
I guess the next time we're babysitting, the television cannot display any sporting event with a ball. He can watch...hmmmm...no sports.
|The sweetest moment with a two-year old!!!|