Thursday, July 9, 2015

My little Jedi


SW-ReadsPICON


Xander is totally into everything Star Wars right now.
He has a couple of Star Wars Lego kits and plays a video game on the computer that's also Lego Star Wars. He loves Angry Birds Star Wars and really anything Star Wars at this point! It's tough to find age-appropriate things for him, but I'm doing my best. Any advice anyone has on this, please let me know!
 
I have been able to find some awesome books for him, though we haven't read them yet. I put them on hold at the library and hope to get them in the next couple of days so that he can find enjoyment through those for the rest of the summer. A couple, like the Jedi Academy (chapter book) and DK readers (easy readers) will probably keep him occupied for hours.

Image result for star wars books for elementary


Image result for star wars books for elementary

He's watched Episodes IV, V, VI, I and part of II. He wants to watch Episode III, but it's rated PG-13. I can't remember why it's rated PG-13, so I need to preview it again first. I suspect we'll be waiting a bit before we watch that one. And he desperately wants to see episode VII that comes out at Christmas, but I just don't think that's gonna happen either. We'll see. I have to admit that I love watching my boys geek out together over Star Wars, though. It's pretty much one of the most awesome things in my life right now. :)

May the force be with us...you. I mean you. But send some of it my way, 'kay?


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Interesting articles and random websites

Sarah Bessey always says things in a way that touches my heart and blesses me immensely. This article fascinated me and reflects so many of my own thoughts.


This is obviously a hot topic since the Supreme Court ruling came out a couple of weeks ago legalizing gay marriage. This article and this one express my thoughts and love so much more clearly than I can.


I am so very proud of our babysitter, Erin. She is interning at a nonprofit called Promising Pages. She's pictured at the top of this article. We love Erin!


Fantastic! Read to your kids - all ages!! I fully expect to continue reading with my kids long after they can read well for themselves. Xander likes to do most of the reading now, but I still sneak a book or two in each night. :)


This is a great list - 100 acts of Kindness. My favorite is number 96. ;) And beware - if you do number 7 then it will probably get thrown out.


I turn 35 this year, so this 35 year old woman's advice on what she wishes she'd known in high school intrigued me. I agree. I want to save this list for my kids.


Y'all know what it's like to live with a threenager. And if you don't here's an article that will give you a peek into my life.





I haven't had a chance to download this app yet, but I can't wait! People are so funny when it comes to my kids - some folks think Xander is a spitting image of David (I happen to agree mostly - I think Xander looks like his Grandma with red hair) and others see the hair and think he looks like me. Others think AJ looks just like David (but if you look at my little girl pics you'll see AJ everywhere!) - I want to see what the experts think. ;)


I found this article very interesting! I love personality tests and I love reading so this was a great combo. I'm an ENFP, so my recommended book was Bridget Jones's Diary. Though I didn't care for the movie, I thought I might at least attempt the book. We'll see how far I get...


I read this article, and this one too, both having similar themes about over-parenting. There are so many things we do as parents that we think are helping, but are actually hindering our children. Let's "be instead of brag" and stop the helicopter parenting!


I am nowhere near being a professional blogger (nor do I want to be) but I heard about this ebook recently and thought it might be interesting to take a peek into.


My life lately....
"Sometimes sometimes sometimes it’s easy to lose us and our happy in the midst of this crazy life journey with twenty plus years of motherhood tucked in the middle. Tears. You’re not alone, sweet mother, if you’ve ever felt this way.  Listen, please, please, please. You are not the only mom who has ever stood in the kitchen with kids running around and dishes piled high and loud noises and tears have filled your eyes as you wondered what happened to happy.  It’s okay. For real. I know those moments hurt and can make you feel like you just want to throw your hands in the air and that sometimes you just want a break and sometimes just a hug or to be loved and told you matter. 
So listen.
It is okay. You are a good mom. Even in all those moments."

Monday, July 6, 2015

Sweet summertime

I haven't posted much lately. Lots of different reasons surrounding that, but honestly it just hasn't been a priority.
This summer has been filled with ups and downs. And I'm not handling all of them very well.

Early in June David's check engine light came on in his car (which is 12 years old). He took it in to have it checked out and they told us that it would cost $4,000+ to have it fixed - and the car is only worth $3,000-$4,000. We just funneled a ton of money into that car last fall when my stepdad backed into it. And we just couldn't justify spending that much money on something that will most likely need more work in the coming year. So David got a new car. And though I feel like we got a good deal and it was the right choice, it takes a toll going through that experience and making those kinds of decisions. So David now drives a white 2013 VW Jetta TDI, manual drive. I hope it lasts us a long time. I despise buying cars.

The following week my check engine light came on. We took it in and it needed over $1500 worth of love and attention. More financial stress.

During that week we decided to take Amelia Jayne out of her current daycare. It was emotional and stressful for me for many reasons, but mostly because I have a hard time with change and I have a personal relationship with Mrs. Joy. We chose to take her out because it was expensive, I had found a place I liked closer to home that was more affordable, and because I would have to continue to pay  Mrs. Joy even when we were on vacation to hold AJ's spot - which would end up being almost $500 over the course of the summer.

We were at the beach with David's family for a week in June - David only got to stay for half the week, but it was a nice time. There are certainly stressors there that I don't have at home, but most of them are very manageable and even fun. Then on Wednesday night, David got to the house which had no AC working upstairs. Thankfully we have two systems, so the downstairs is still fine, but we still haven't gotten that worked out yet. They finally came today and fixed it - a fairly easy fix, thank goodness. Dealing with service providers and home warranty companies are also last on my list of things I want to do.

David's been crazy-busy at work with deadlines and multiple projects going at once. Because of that he's been somewhat distant at home. This is definitely something I'm not dealing with very well. After a meltdown or two from me, we've been able to work a few things out and I feel much better at home. His big deadline is this Friday, so I'm doing my best to give him as much grace as possible and take care of myself in the meantime.

Xander started summer camp after school was out, which he seems to love. It's at a local church near our home. It's been convenient for me and exciting for him. He's met lots of new kids and had opportunities to go on field trips, have in-house field trips, do arts & crafts, sing and dance, and over all enjoy life. This is the one thing I feel has gone exceptionally well this summer.


Amelia Jayne started summer camp with Xander. When I decided to put Amelia Jayne in her new school in the fall, there wasn't a lot of reason to keep her at Mrs. Joy's when I could put her in the same camp as Xander. They're not in the same class or anything, but they still get to see each other in the hall and at praise break. I enjoy hearing them talk about the different activities they're doing since they do participate in a lot of the same things. BUT with this change has also come some stress. Amelia Jayne doesn't do very well with change either. She's excited and interested until the actual time comes. She did great the week or so leading up to her starting camp and she was excited that very morning, but then her anxiety and emotions crept in. She's cried (only slightly which is good) most mornings when I drop her off and then she has cried each afternoon when I've picked her up. She doesn't want to leave me in the mornings and doesn't want to leave her friends in the afternoons. It is a constant struggle with that one. I love her dearly, but she wears me out! Kind of like Olivia. Oh how that one reminds me of Olivia. :)



And then there's me.
I don't really know what to say except my emotions have been wild lately. I've had a couple of days that I just had to cry and rest and take a break from life. One day I called into work and took the day off just to deal with my emotions and take care of me. I started seeing a counselor which has been a wonderful, calming and eye-opening experience. I've been more vulnerable with friends, which I think is helpful, too. Some days are just fine and others are almost unbearable. I'm doing my best to keep a positive attitude and enjoy what God has given me - to remember to look on the bright side of life. :)

Friday, June 12, 2015

Funnies from the littlest Littles - April/May 2015

AJ wanted to sing me a bedtime story the other night, so she sang "Baa, Baa Black Sheep."
You know the one that goes like this:
Baa, baa black sheep have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full
One for my master and one for my dame
One for my little boy who lives down the lame.

At least that's how AJ sings it. And then she proceeded to tell me an elaborate story about these people. The little boy is lost and doesn't know where his mommy is. A dame is a girl, and that's the little boy's mommy. The master tried to help the little boy find his mommy but the little boy didn't have his space suit and the mommy was in space.
And on and on and on this went.

I contribute much of this story to the movie, "Home."





I saw this strange book while in the doctor's office waiting for the doctor to give Xander his well check-up. AJ saw the adenoids and asked what they were. I told her they were adenoids and that we have them in our noses. She said, "I don't have add-a-nodes in my nose. I just have bogies."

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Besties

My best friend is coming to visit tonight. TONIGHT, people!! I am so very excited! I just can't contain myself!!!

We have been friends for almost 20 years, folks. What?!?! We met in August of 1995, the year my family moved to Texas and I started 10th grade.

I haven't seen her in three years...how is that even possible? We have great intentions of getting together, but life just gets in the way. I'm so thankful to her for making it happen this time.

It's funny to me that in our 20-year friendship we have only lived in the same town for 2 years. I was in 10th grade when we met and she was in 11th. She went off to college after two short years and I went off to a different college the next. She was at college in Dallas, and stayed in Dallas for a few years after graduating. She married and has lived in Gainesville, Valley View, and now lives in Denton. I transferred to Tennessee and ended up in Mocksville after I graduated. She and I both married our husbands in 2004. I moved to Charlotte in 2005 and then to Huntersville in 2013.

As I was thinking about how long it's been since we've seen each other it dawned on me that there are a lot of things that we don't know about each other because we don't "live life" together on a daily basis.

Things we don't know about each other right now:

We don't know of some of the crazy haircuts and colors we've had. (though we do tend to text pics of the crazier ones)
She hasn't seen my new house.
I haven't seen hers.
She has barely seen my littlest beauty who was only 9 months old when she was last here.
(Of course she's seen pics...we do live in a world of technology, for goodness sake.)
Both our boys are practically grown since we last saw each other - they've both started school.
I don't know what car she drives.
I don't know what make-up she uses, what her favorite flavor of ice cream still is, her favorite band, what her favorite pastime is, or how she relaxes at night.
I don't even know her favorite drink from Starbucks!
She doesn't know that I drink a green smoothie every morning, that I cried when I saw my baby dance on stage for the first time, that my kids and I like to play freeze tag outside, or that I lay on the couch almost every night snuggled up against my hubby and fall asleep to whatever show we're watching.

But we have such an amazing history. We know the important things from long ago and we still talk often enough to share the important stuff in our present. I am so incredibly blessed to have such a friend as her. Even though she lives so very far away and we haven't seen each other in sooooo long, we are still the best of friends.

Here are some old pics I stole off of FB. I'll have new ones to share after this weekend! ;)

A road trip I made after college to see her in Dallas. circa 2003

My bachelorette party
My rehearsal dinner




Friday, May 8, 2015

Loving him well

My man.
I love him so.
I am learning how to love him well.
Because real love is a choice.
This is a continuous learning process.
I'll never fully comprehend it, but I am committed to finding out as much as I can about loving that man for however long it takes, which I'm betting will be the rest of my life.
And that's okay with me.

We are learning to live with and love what we have.
We are praying together more regularly.
We are enjoying each other and the time we have together.
We are delighting in our children - the little creations that we made together.


I have to remind myself of these verses from 1 Corinthians so often:




Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.


When I can't think of anything else to do? Love. That's always the answer.


We had a great discussion at our small group a few weeks ago. The question was posed, "What causes the most conflict in your marriage?" Most of us (with one exception) have been married at least 5 years. So…we've definitely experienced conflict. And we all know that "thing" that keeps creeping back up.

There were a lot of answers ranging from "he doesn't lead our household" to "sex" to "communication" to "security" to "finances"…we pretty much discussed the whole gamut.  

When it was mine and David's turn to talk, we shared that communication is our number one issue. That's the thing that always crops back up. I LOVE to communicate. David, not so much. I am an over-communicator, if you will. I have a lot of thoughts, issues, ideas and interests floating around in my head that I'm constantly mulling over. And I like to communicate these things. I like to talk. David just doesn't. I like to ask questions, mull things over, discuss scenarios and options. David doesn't. His thought processes are pretty simple overall. And I don't say that to mean he's not smart - he's way smarter than I am - we just think about different things and we think about things differently.


If there's anything I've learned in these last 10+ years of marriage to my complete and total opposite, it's this: being different is beautiful, a blessing really, though it doesn't seem like it at times. But it has afforded me the opportunity to grow and change and learn in ways I never would have been able to do on my own. And learning to accept and embrace his differences has brought me an incredible amount of joy.

Though marriage is inevitably challenging and downright hard, it is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling roles I will ever have in this lifetime. I can't imagine being married to anyone else and I am exorbitantly grateful that God gave me that man of mine.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

What you do matters.

Sometimes it's hard to remember that we're important in this world. It can be difficult to remember that we matter and that we're making a difference. What a sweet moment when we're reminded of that.
Mrs. Joy sent me this text of one of her student's essays. She's in 3rd grade now, so she hasn't been to Joy's in over 4 years. I am so proud of this little girl and how the things that Mrs. Joy has taught her have stayed with her. I'm so thankful that she took my joy of reading with her and that it left an impression on her. 

Today the library had a festival called Storyvine. Storytellers from all over the county went to 60 different schools and performed traditional storytelling. I remember very few things from my school experiences in childhood, but that is one thing that I remember - storytellers. How wonderful it was to give back in this way. I hope that children across the county were able to hold onto their storyteller's love of stories and reading and will carry it in their hearts for years to come.


Not only do I need to remind myself that I matter in my career, but I also need to be reminded of the amazing role and responsibility I have in raising my own children. That's my other "job" and certainly the most important one.

I must say that though my children are at the very tip-top of my priority list, I realize that my love for them is beyond compare - and there are children out there who may never experience the love and attention they need to succeed in this world. I think about that when I go to work and I look into those little faces with those bright eyes and hopeful smiles. Even when I'm away from my babies, I know that what I do matters. If they are able to see even a glimpse of Jesus through me, then my job here is done. I hope to empower them to be the best version of them that they can be in this world.