Nearly every evening I get home from work, and hope to have a chance to blog about the hilariously entertaining, all-around fun kids I get to spend my afternoons with. It's hard to believe only a little more than 4 months ago I had never met them. We've gotten to know each other very quickly, and have lots and lots of memories.
Maura is a quiet and sensitive, all-girl (except she doesn't like pink), and kind-hearted. Her name is Irish for Mary. She was named after Mary the mother of Jesus, and her maternal grandmother, Mary, who is Irish. On a good day she is slightly goofy, likes to incorporates her little brother in her projects, games and ideas, has fun dressing herself to the nines with multi-colored leggings, socks, skirts, shirts and headbands, and loves her puppy, Isabelle. She likes to be praised and share quality one-on-one time, dislikes correction, is easily hurt (physically and emotionally). She is finally warming up to physical affection-- I was so happy when she voluntarily held my hand for the first time.
The words to describe Michael are harder to find. Loud, funny, goofy, rough, and high-energy are a few. He is all boy, I guess. He is slowly learning his limits, and recently learned what patience and self-control mean-- though practicing them are still a challenge. He can always make us laugh, even when we shouldn't. He has lots and lots of questions. He likes to talk (they both do). He likes to climb on top of the Expedition, the banister, the couch, the counter top-- anything higher than the ground-- and see how long it takes me to notice. He has a sweet side, too, that is appreciated. With a little coaxing he will quietly snuggle up with me on the couch to read books.
Over their two week Christmas break we had a lot of fun. Before break we made a list of all the fun things we would like to do, and then we coordinated with their mom to work out days to do it all. We hit Chuck E. Cheese one afternoon with Daniel, went ice skating twice, went swimming at the YMCA, had friends over to play, made play dough, went to the park (some days its still mild here in Charlotte) and did little crafts and games to fill up at-home time.
|Horseback Riding at Latta Plantation|
|Ice Skating- Michael spent a lot of time ON the ice|
|Lazy 5 Ranch|
Many days I especially enjoy the 20 minute car ride home from school (granted, sometimes it's the hardest part of the day), because it allows us to just talk. They ask questions, tell stories, ask me about my family, and tell me about their day. One day Michael and I were talking about missionaries. He was curious about what they did. I explained that usually missionaries would go into different countries to share Jesus with the people there. He was excited about that and said, "I think when I grow up I'll be a missionary. That is a good thing to do for the Lord." I, of course, encouraged him, but laughed a little to myself. After a short pause (where he was obviously thinking), he began again, "Or, maybe, Ashlee, I'll be a saint. Then I would spend all day praying."
Near the begin of my time with them he started calling me Ashlee Presley. I have no idea why. Maura has caught on now too. His latest nickname, though, is Ashlee Wells-Fargo. ???
Being with kids for a good part of the day allows for some great conversations. I've already briefly mentioned the car rides. There are so many stories I could tell. One afternoon Michael bumped into a very difficult topic. "Ashlee, did you know if you try hard enough you could be perfect?" I turned to face him, still grasping what he'd said. A Gospel opportunity presented itself, and a big-blue-eyed kiddo and I got to talk about whether or not we thought that really was possible, and since it wasn't, Who could help us. Those are the moments I remember. I hope they do too.
|Making "worms" and learning about polymers|
|Playing with a Basset Hound at the Puppy Store|
|At Chuck E. Cheese|
|They both love Daniel|
My husband has been a topic of conversation from the very first day. Michael soon realized if I'm married to Daniel the same way his mom is married to his dad, then we must go, as he puts it, "Kissy-kissy." Soon it became a daily game on the way home from school to get the windows up and locked before he shouted out to the passing cars, "Ashlee and Daniel sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G..." But then I began telling them about Daniel. How he's funny. He loves to read. He loves pizza. And a whole bunch of other things. The evening we went to see the nativity Michael asked Daniel if he liked something, and when Daniel answered yes, Michael burst with excitement, "We are so alike!!"
|Evie and Maura making play-dough|
|Michael and Nate - silly faces|
All in all it's been fun. A challenge at times, but then, whenever was working with kids a breeze? At the end of the day I know I'm blessed, and certain I am being sanctified. And I'm thankful. Thankful that somehow, in someway I'm at least planting a seed in the hearts of these children, in hopes that someday they'll love Jesus, too. And having fun, too.