Friday, September 29, 2006

A Typical Day with Two Little Ones

This is what a typical day is like for us.

I try to wake up around 6:30 or 7:00. If there is time and Andrew hasn't already left for work, we might try to squeeze in a quick breakfast together. Then I have my time alone with the Lord and nurse the baby. Afterwards, I take a shower.

A.J. wakes at 8:30 or so. I change his diaper and bring him to the kitchen to give him his breakfast and give Gracie her cereal (she just started eating solids a few weeks ago). It takes a long time usually for A.J. to eat his breakfast.

Around 9:30 or 10:00 is when I read to the children and play with them. We might have a snack.

At 11:00 A.J. has time to play alone so that he can work on his focusing skills. He's doing really really well with that. It's taken awhile, but he's really got the hang of it now. I choose a basketful of toys to play with and some of the books I've been reading to them for him to look at. You should see when I read to him Erik Carle's From Head to Toe. Each page, there's an animal that does a different thing. So for the first page, a seal turns his head. The second page a giraffe bends its neck. If you turn the pages for A.J. and read it fast, A.J. will shake his head, then nod, then shrug his shoulders, then wave his arms, then shake his hips. It's the funniest thing!

While A.J. has alone play time for forty-five minutes, I bring Gracie down to the living room where she plays quietly on a play mat in front of me. It's her version of alone time, where she doesn't see me behind her but I can see her. Then, I let her play either in her little car or with other toys, but she can see me. She smiles and stares at me. During this forty-five minutes, I get to write.

If we need to go to Costco or run an errand, I usually will take them after "alone play time," and just bring lunch with us.

At noon, we have lunch either outside if it's a beautiful sunny day (need to make the most of those here) or in the dining room. I nurse the baby again and feed her her cereal. After lunch, we might play outside or in their room.

At 2pm, the children take a two-hour nap. This is when I try to throw in a load of laundry and catch up on housework and take my lunch break. I already ate lunch somehow amidst helping A.J. with his lunch and feeding the baby, but it was by no means a break. I recently stopped giving myself a break and just tried to catch up on my never ending list of to-do's and cleaning, but after a few weeks, my body felt like it was breaking apart into little pieces, and one afternoon, Andrew had to send me away to take a break, upon which I fell onto the bed and wasn't sure if I had enough energy to take another breath. I suppose skipping my "lunch break" for several weeks caught up eventually.

At 4:00, the children wake up. I nurse Gracie in A.J.'s room, while he plays. Then I feed her her cereal. We go downstairs where the kids can play and I can fold laundry. Then, I might take them for a walk.

I prepare dinner, while A.J. might color, while sitting at his little table in the dining room, or I'll put him in his high chair next to me with some toys so he can watch me.

At 6pm we eat all together as a family.

Whenever we finish dinner, I put the dishes in the dishwasher and clean up the kitchen.

The evening are like this: on Mondays, we have a prayer meeting at our house at 7 p.m. People usually leave around 9. Every other Tuesday night is date night, and we have a babysitter for the kids. Every other Thursday, a couple we meet with comes over. Friday night is Bible study, Saturday is family day, and Sunday night we have evening service. In the midst of that, I feed the baby. If no one is over and we are home, Andrew plays with the kids while I clean up. He usually is the one who gets them ready for bed. The children go down for the night at 8:30 p.m. or so.

By the time people leave our house or we get home, it is past 9 or 10pm. If there's time, I try to straighten up the house. I shoot for 10:30 and when I get the chance, I collapse on the bed and go to sleep.

Basically, in the midst of taking care of the children's basic needs and all the chores, the real point of the whole day is training up the children in the nurture and discipline of the Lord. This is why I am at home with them. We really believe raising our children is such a weighty thing in this life. For instance, by the time a child is 5 years old, his personality is pretty much set for life. Emotional stability, an adult's vocabulary potential, and total muscle control are all established before age four or younger. Few impact a person more than their parents, whether for good or for bad; whether we give them the love and nurture they need or neglect them.

We study the Bible, read lots and lots of books, get lots of advice from godly people whose children bear the fruit of their parents' efforts, and listen to sermons on parenting to equip us for this overwhelming responsibility.

My greatest passion and desire for my children is to know and love the Lord with all of their heart, mind, soul, and strength; and to not waste their lives but to live it all for His glory. This is my continual and constant prayer for them, as I ask the Lord to bless my efforts, to make the water into wine.

All day long is training opportunity. Right now, we are laying the foundation. So, for A.J., we are always trying to teach him to obey our authority and have self-control. This is totally counter to what society preaches, which has such low expectations for the abilities of children. Self-control is the basic necessity that they will need in every area of life for the rest of their lives. It won't matter if they are the most talented people in the world if they have no self-control to apply themselves. Additionally, we do not want our children to be an excuse for not being able to minister to others. We want to be able to carry on conversations with people without being continually interrupted and distracted. Our desire is for our children to be a blessing to others. This is the process we are currently in. And I always need prayer to be consistent with them, which is a struggle for me.

I also need to take care of them physically. Feeding them takes a large part of the day. Currently, I am reading a book a friend gave me about how to feed my children healthy foods, such as whole grains, organic foods, lots of fruit and vegetables, nuts, etc. My children are forcing me to learn how to eat more healthy.

My next priority is helping them develop intellectually. I try to read to them everyday, play classical music, and give them toys that will help their coordination, creativity, and teach them to recognize shapes, colors, and letters. I feel that as their mother it is my responsibility to help them become the most enhanced versions of what God has created them to be. I want them to be all that God has called them to be and glorify Him with every ability and personality trait that He has given them.

Amidst all of this, it's so important to us to bathe all of this training in love, affection, and encouragement, lest we crush their delicate fruit.

Everyday I beg the Lord for His help and wisdom to be able honor Him with this. This will only be by a miracle of God in their hearts, but at the same time, God works through means. And He has not given us commands ("Train up a child in the way He should go," among many others) that He cannot give us the grace and the wisdom how to obey. In fact, He promises to provide it it if we ask.

My old college pastor, Rick Holland, used to say: "You guys think you're busy now? You don't have a clue what busy is until you have a family and children." He was not kidding (and all the parents out there know exactly what I'm talking about). I would say that as long as 3 days took to pass pre-kids is about how long 6 months feels post-kids. So it feels like it's only been 6 days when a year has passed. Once recently, Andrew said to me, "The baby is like four or five weeks old, right?" She was six months old. If I hadn't been calculating her age a few days earilier, I might have asked him the same thing.

Though it's an overwhelming task and very busy, I love being a mom! I love the challenge, I love the privilege of this responsibility, and I love the opportunity that God has given me to serve Him through this. Additionally, the Lord uses parenting to break me of all my pride and selfishness. Though I often complain in the midst of that, I am always so grateful in retrospect. And most of all, these children are the funnest things in the whole world! They bring joy, constant laughter, and sweetness to our lives. Please do pray for us!

5 comments:

  1. praise the Lord! that's a wonderfully structured day... i'm sure the Lord will bless your desire to be diligent and your whole family will reap the benefits. i'm just catching up with your past year... what a ride! God is good! :)

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  2. Wow! You're quite a busy mom! I agree with everything you said about how you guys raise the kids. It's nice to know I'll have a kindred spirit when it comes to that. it can be hard to find other couples who are committed to raising their children in that way.

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  3. Hi Grace!
    Glad to hear that Em made it out to see you!
    Thanks for sharing about your desire to raise your kids in the ways of the Lord...very encouraging (even for us w/no kids :) ).
    I'll let you know when I make my way up to Seattle to see Em.

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  4. Andrew! I'm so glad to hear that you and the family are doing well! Happy Holidays- Take care & God bless! -joyce

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  5. hey gracie,
    i finally checked out your blog...it was great seeing you guys over the holidays...we're praying for you and your family...we just put a family blog together its www.zepedasplash.blogspot.com

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