The day to day, comical happenings and sweet moments from my life as a nanny.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Being a nanny can be a tough job. I mean, I'm 24 and it's easier sometimes to have a discussion about the latest parenting fads, the most recent news on the American Pediatric Association, and the best discipline tactics then it is to have a "normal" conversation with someone my own age.  I spend the majority of my time waltzing around with a baby on my hip and several kiddos in tow looking like a young single mom.

And It's sort of a running joke around here that with the perfume of baby barf, the beautiful accent of baby food down my shirt and hair that has been pulled out of it's ponytail holder several times makes me a real guy magnet....especially when you have all that going on for you AND you're driving a mini-van full of kids singing Justin Bieber.

Some people say I live a glamorous life.

and when they say that I laugh.

Is being sneezed on, resulting in a mouth full of pureed sweet potatoes going in every direction (mostly targeting my face and hair), glamorous? On first thought I laugh and think...absolutely not. But then....

 I looked up the definition of the word "Glamorous"
1. Full of glamour; charmingly or fascinatingly attractive, esp. in a mysterious or magical way.
2. Full of excitement, adventure, and unusual activity

Well if we are looking at the dictionary definition and not society's couldn't be a more fitting description of my job.

Speaking of charmingly attractive, full of excitement and unusual activity...does she not have the most adorable guilty face or what?

SO despite the fact that my mind is constantly spinning with the songs from Dora, or when on rare occasion I go out with friends I accidentally drop a pacifier out of my purse...I adore my Glamorous, exciting, adventure filled, very unusual life as a nanny. 

Also....HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my amazing, beautiful, fabulous boss and dear friend Angie Smith....andddd HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my sweet, snuggle bug, Charlotte. I'll post more on that tonight once I have photos to show you :)

Saturday, May 14, 2011


It feels good to be home. To sit back and breathe.  Sweet baby C is babbling in her highchair, a hot cup of coffee is sitting next to me and my computer is back in front of me (sad I know, but still comforting). I love normalcy.
Well...actually...I love a good adventure and switching things up. But then I like to come home to what is "normal".
I'm one of those weird people who thrives on change. I get a little ancy when things start feeling monotonous which is why it's a good thing that I have the jobs that I do.
Never a dull moment.

For the past almost six days I've been hanging out in Florence, KY...well let's just say Cincinnati because that sounds way more exciting. It was a nice shift in schedule and pace and I'm not going to lie...I needed a to get away....even if it was still for work.

It's so easy to get caught up in the daily lists and the feeling of always being behind. It's hard to focus and truly enjoy the sweet simple moments throughout the day that comes with working with kids. You start missing the triumphs and the fun times and replacing it with the guilt and stress that there is a sink overflowing with dishes, toys that need to be picked up and maybe some attitudes that need adjusting. I'm an all or nothing type and I have a really hard time sitting down if I know that I haven't gotten something done or that I may be missing something that I am supposed to be doing...especially when it comes to my jobs. Then when I do step back and allow myself to breathe I start to see that the needed attitude adjustments are somewhat in response to my stress and the sink really isn't THAT full....but still sometimes it just takes getting away.

To spend a week in a hotel having someone else make my bed and clean my bathroom (shallow, I know) was a breath of fresh air. My only job was to entertain a baby.
We had so much fun just wandering the town and I pulled out my camera, which has been gathering dust lately and stopped to just enjoy the simple moments.

Like swinging and baby toes...

Silly goats...

Colorful peacocks...
 fluffy monkeys...
 thoughtful gorillas...

and especially this sweet face...

It was a wonderful reminder of why I love working with kids and why I love photography. Even though I am all about capturing candid still takes focus to really stop...zoom in on the moment and capture it forever. It slows me down...which is maybe why God gave me that passion...knowing I'm a full-speed ahead type.

speaking of full-speed ahead...this kid started walking on our trip...and I'll soon be running behind her as she takes off sprinting

I'm so lucky to have this as my view everyday...

And to have had such a fun city-exploring buddy
I even stopped and pulled out the camera to capture this cute little family crossing the parking lot

It was pretty much an uneventful trip, which is quite unusual for me. We did have an interesting stop at KFC...let's just say we were the most exciting thing to happen in that town for who knows how long....oh and I DID get to go to Ikea which is pretty much like an amusement park for me...but over-all I don't have any grand lessons learned or anything too exciting to say.  I am so glad to be home (still so sweet to call this home now) and be ready to jump back into the hectic life having been reminded to breath and stop for those precious simple moments....

Like right now...

 Oh how I missed that face while I was gone

I can't believe she is going to be ONE this week!  Where did the time go? How is she growing up so fast?
Now I'm going to go enjoy the beautiful four girls that I missed so much this week.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Mother’s Day.

A day when every woman who has “mothered” a child should be honored and appreciated. A day when Mother’s rejoice over the honor of having a child and grieve over an empty cradle and longing arms. 
I am always joking around with the moms that I work with that I pretty much just play the role of a single mom, however I have yet to understand the true feeling of of calling a child my own.  I DO have a great appreciation for the role of Mothers because of my daily time spent caring for and helping raise kids.

I especially have an appreciation for my own mom. I was quite the strong-willed, imaginative, persistent, odd child and having nannied now for numerous families…I can honestly say it takes a lot of patience, humor and understanding to guide and raise that type of child.  
She even humored me when I insisted on shoving those tiny green Mr. Potato glasses on my chubby face and waltzing down the church aisle…or when I decided it would be a great idea to jump off our 12 foot deck into the snow below…pretty sure that will be the closest she will ever get to having a heart attack. 

She put up with day long tantrums and the threats to run away…although usually I only went as far as packing my American girl clothes and heading towards the door…one time she offered to make my favorite egg rolls and I was talked in to staying.  

She put up with me humiliating her and probably my whole family as I walked around after watching Robin Hood….saying “Alms for the poor, Alms for the poor” in my best actress, poor person voice.  She also thankfully saw my activities as me being very imaginative and never wondered about my mental state when I would spend hours in my swimming suit, swimming in the living room, or out wandering around the woods making “stew” and sitting in forts waiting for the wounded soldiers (played by my brothers of course) to come home.  I was a high energy, camera ham kid and can’t imagine how tired my mom must have been at the end of every day.

My own mom was an artist and therefore she only has herself to blame that she had to put up with me turning my entire room into a maze of forts and tunnels all made out of cardboard boxes, making all sorts of “creations” in the kitchen, and being a trend-setter (or trying to be).  I remind myself of that now when I find myself cringing at the sight of the kids making a mess, that I know I will have to help clean up, while they make up recipes, art projects and test out different “fashions”….I stop and remember all the days my mom put up with the same thing and how that creativity is now what drives me in my passions and are the positive things about who I am.

The things that probably annoyed her the most and tested her the most are the things that made me the strong person that I am. This comes as an encouragement to me as I walk that path with so many of the kids that I have or have had the opportunity to care for.
I can’t imagine the worry she went through when the travel bug kicked in and I was hopping from country to country at a young age…or the thoughts that would go through her head when I would announce over and over that I was moving to this place or that place….but she has always supported me and encouraged me to follow where I feel God is leading…never getting in the way. That is hard as a mom.
So Mom…if you are reading this…thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there to support, encourage, humor my shenanigans and allowing me to create. I wouldn’t be who I am today without that patience, encouragement and your blessing through it all.

Now I try to stop and breathe…to guide but not suffocate, smile proudly when I’m in public with a fashionista who decided to wear rain boots, shorts, a tutu, a princess sweater, and red furry penguin mittens, instead of being concerned with put together outfits. I’m learning to encourage exploration and creativity, to harness the strength and strong-willed spirit but not kill it.

Moms work the hardest job I can think of, they are always on the job…even when they are away. They’re constantly concerned about their child’s well-being and up-bringing. They proudly wear baby food on their shirts, go out with no make-up, trip over toys, trade in a trendy car for a toy and trash filled mini-van, listen to repetitive questions, songs, noise toys, and sounds all day long, and cover their fridge with un-recognizable art-work.
A mom gives up so much of herself…for the pure love of another human being.
SO to all you amazing mothers out there….Happy Mother’s Day. This is a day to celebrate, appreciate and honor you.

Whether you have biological children, adopted children, whether they are young or older, or if you have lost a child…you have been placed in an amazing and special category of people.
I pray that someday I will take what I have seen and learned from the amazing moms around me and be someone my kids are proud to call me mom. 
Sending all my love to my mom and all the moms out there who work day in and day out...loving their kids and embracing everything that goes with it. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Life is Precious

My heart has been so heavy.

For those of you who are new to reading my blog (I had an old one here if you want to read more back stories from me) I also work with our incredible youth group when I am not playing the role of nanny. Our youth are just amazing and we finish up every week by meeting in small groups and we dive into each other's lives.

 My wonderful roommate and best friend, Jenna (you're sure to hear more about her later)  is my co-leader and we have a girl in our group whose family has been walking a very hard path. Their 12 year old son was battling a brain tumor and as we got to hear their story and walk alongside his older sister, Alyssa, we were constantly being inspired and challenged to be living life with more purpose everyday.
    You see, her brother Matt was one of the most selfless people I have ever had the honor of hearing about. He was a twelve year old child...who had to go in and be poked, prodded and put through things no human being should ever go through...but instead of taking pity on himself (which he had every right to) he would make baked goods for the nurses, spread his sense of humor and share his radiant smile. (Go here to get a glimpse at his contagious humor-

     As a youth leader you can show emotion, but for the most part you have to hold it together for the sake of the students you are leading and be strong for them...but I cannot tell you how many nights I would go home having heard Alyssa share the stories about her brother and her family and ask myself, "What am I doing with my life?" "How am I showing love to those around me?" "How many times have I complained about stupid little things...just today?"  It has been a humbling journey and although Jenna and I have had the honor of walking this journey with her...Alyssa and her family will never fully know how much of an impact they have left on my life...simply by sharing their story and sharing sweet Miracle Matt's story.

About a month ago Matt faced the last length of his race. He won...but not in the way that everyone here wanted him to win. Nonetheless....he won his race.

It is a night I will not forget, for many reasons.

     I will say that the next few days and the weeks since then, I have been challenged and amazed, hearing Matt's story and watching as his sweet family tries to process life without him here on earth...their faith and raw hurt. As outsiders looking in,  we are all changed forever, touched, and inspired by the life Matt lived...but I cannot imagine never hugging my little brother again. It's one of those moments where you want to trust God and know that He has a greater plan...but you wonder...why?  why a twelve year old little boy?

Life is precious.
No one is promised tomorrow.
What are you doing with your life here on earth?

   On Tuesday I received some shocking news that a young girl that used to be in the dance class I taught for several years, was killed in a car accident.

She was only 17 years old.

She was a joy to everyone and lived a life full of encouragement and optimism. I haven't had contact with her since I graduated High School and headed out to college, but I look back and can't remember a moment that she didn't make me smile....even when she was goofing off in class....she just had a gift for touching people's lives with her joy and humor. From hearing stories in the last few days from her friends...things didn't change...she is remembered as a light and a joy.  I still remember the first time I met her and her little sister...I was tagging along with my friend while she babysat...Lizzie was only four years old and even then I remember her as a spunky, joyful girl.

She has left behind so many questioning why such a young, outgoing girl would be given such a short life here on earth...she has left behind a family grieving with empty arms. A girl who no longer has her big sister to turn to. Why?

Life is precious.
No one is promised tomorrow.
What are you doing with your life here on earth?

I cannot give an fact I ask these same questions...Why him God? Why that family? Why her? Why just driving around her home town? 

I could say the same thing for so many of my sweet friends here who are left with an empty cradle or a gap in their family....It's something that I feel there are no set answers to...I can say..."trust that God is in control"..."it's all in His will"....which it is...but that doesn't take away the hurt.

We may not be able to take away the hurt or answer the hard questions, but we can make sure that those short lives were not in vain. It is through hurt that we know how to love.  I've really been learning this watching our sweet group of girls in youth group. It's through their stories of hurt and their willingness to share with each other that they have started discovering raw community and purpose in their individual journeys.

   Matt lived more life and loved more people in his short life than most people who live to die of old age. That kid touched lives across the world...he touched my life...

We can simply remember them and know that they lived and loved well...OR we can be challenged...

Life is precious.
We are not promised tomorrow.
What are you doing today?
How did you treat the lady at Starbucks this morning?
Did you share a smile with your cashier at the grocery store?
Are you someone people describe as joyful? Loving well?
Are you giving life to those around you....or draining it?

These are the questions I have been asking myself more lately as I grieve with these families...and I'm sad to say...most of the time I am too easily caught up in the petty frustrations of the day. The person in front of me is driving too slow, the lady at the gas station was too snotty, the kids were about to make me pull my hair out today...etc.  Instead of stepping out of my own tiny, selfish world and stopping to can I serve this person? What are THEY going through? How would me putting a smile on and acting out of gentleness change the entire aspect of this situation?
What impact am I leaving?
Am I loving well?
Am I serving?
Not just serving when I go on mission trips or I truly, selflessly, serving the people I come in contact with every day?

I want to be more like Miracle Matt. I want to have the joy that Lizzie spread. I want to share my story like Alyssa. I want to use my story like my youth girls do.

I don't want to live the life I have been given in vain.

What are you doing?
What legacy are you leaving?
How are you going to be remembered?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The other side of me

So I love kids and the majority of my time is spent changing diapers, trying to wipe sweet potatoes and peas of my clothes, making heart shaped peanut butter and jelly, driving around in the mini-van, watching Praise Baby, and trying to find the source of the "baby poop/spit-up smell" that seems to follow me....BUT...when I am not doing that (well, I'll admit, sometimes I try to multi-task) I love me some D.I.Y. projects and photography.

I spend my "spare" time lusting over Anthropology, Wisteria, Flea Market and the Do It Yourself magazines, tearing out pages and gathering inspiration.   I then go hit up the local Goodwill and try to find a better way to create something than going and spending hundreds of dollars buying an item already made. I do this for photography shoots, as well as for decorating my house....and sometimes I have to help decorate Angie's house cause I run out of space and have limits with living in a rental ;)

Here is just a glimpse at one of my current projects and obsessions


This simple arrangement makes a great center piece or decoration for a mantel. Total cost was $5.  The wooden platter I actually picked up in Guatemala for $3, but with some creative searching you can find something similar at a thrift store or the flea market. The flowers I made out of pages from an old book. I looked at Goodwill for some books that looked older and had some yellowing of the pages' edges. The book cost $1.99. You could probably get it much cheaper even or you could use older newspapers that you have around the house.

These little buds reminded me of the story about the cherry blossoms and Audrey...again it would make a great center piece or side table decoration. The vintage looking jar was $2 at Goodwill and the well, the stick was free in the backyard. The little blossoms are made from the same book pages that I used to make the large blossoms above. We are actually working on making some more to put in different unique jars to combine with the arrangement above as well. I'll post a picture when it's all done. 



So you will most definitely hear lots of nanny stories here...but you'll also get to see my love to create come out here and there...speaking of...I'll be posting photos soon of my most recent photo shoot that I had the honor of doing of some very, very precious girls so keep checking back.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


      One of my very favorite things about what I do is that I am constantly being reminded of simple concepts and learning spiritual lessons through the innocence of children. Most of the time it's very humbling and I kick myself for needing such reminders.

One such incident happened the other day...

     As usual we were rushing to get out the door, it was late in the afternoon and as we started driving I realized just how late in the afternoon it really was....and the nanny guilt hit...I had yet to feed them   So I did what any sane nanny would do and headed towards the golden arches to fill their tummies with some healthy fast food.

      As I was trying to drive and direct food to the back of the mini van one of the girls kept asking me to open her toy for her and I kept trying to explain to her that "Miss Kelsey is trying to drive and it would be dangerous to reach back and try to get the toy and then try to get all the ridiculous packaging off the little plastic toy ( I may have said it nicer than that)". After that explanation didn't work I told her that she had to eat all her food first before she could have her toy and that when we got to where we were heading we would open it. Looking in the rear view mirror at her sweet face, she asked me to take it and hold it for her and I again responded that she could hold onto it.
Then.... with the most innocent, sweet, look.... she says, "But Miss Kelsey, I might open it and I'm not supposed to open it, so I really need you to hold it for me." to which, without even thinking I said, "Well that would be disobeying, so you need to hold onto it, eat your food and wait patiently."


That's when 1 Corinthians 10:13 came to mind (well not actually the reference but the verse...I'm horrible at references).
 "The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure."

God will always show you a way out of temptation. 

We are supposed to run from temptation.    


   Here was a 5 yr old, fully aware that she would be tempted to open her toy and that it would lead to disobedience. She saw a way out and instead of allowing that out, I thought I would teach her a lesson in patience.

 God used what I thought was going to be a teaching moment for a child and instead used a child as a teaching moment for me.

I am daily reminded that our eyes must be opened to seeing God in every moment and every situation.