Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Xander's birthday interview - 2015

Birthday 3
Birthday 4
Birthday 5
And now here we are, BIRTHDAY SIX!!

Favorites:
TV show - Peep and the Big Wide World
Movie - Despicable Me 2
Song - Sing (by Ed Sheeran)
Musician - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (or as he said, "The guy who sings 'Can't Hold Us'")
Food - pancakes
Candy - M&M's (lovingly called emmys)
Toy - soccer ball
Activity - art
Cereal - cocoa puffs
Vegetable - peas
Drink - tea water
Game - Mexican train
Book - The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog! by Mo Willems
Restaurant - Chick-Fil-A
Holiday - Valentine's Day
Animal - monkey
Color - blue
Vacation - beach
Sport - soccer

If you could change your name to anything, what would it be? Landon Donovan
If you could have anything you want this year, what would it be? a toy lawnmower 
(whew, we really struggled with this one! I don't think he really gets the concept of wanting something unattainable...)
What do you love most about Mommy? When she helps me draw stuff.
What do you love most about Daddy? When he cooks pancakes for us.
What do you love most about Amelia Jayne? When she plays with me. 

Bonus - favorite story read by the birthday boy :)

Now We Are Six

When I was One,
I had just begun.


When I was Two,
I was nearly new.

When I was Three,
I was hardly Me.

When I was Four,
I was not much more.

When I was Five,
I was just alive.

But now I am Six, I'm as clever as clever.
So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever.

from "Now We Are Six"
by A.A. Milne


"Clever as clever" perfectly describes my boy. :)
And how in the world does time keep flying by so quickly?
Six...
In some ways I do wish he could be six forever and ever, but that would get old, too. Each stage brings its own challenges and delights.

Right now I am delighting in my son's independence, his desire to be just like his daddy and do everything his daddy does, his interest in sports, his evident desire and aptitude for school, his sweet hugs (and sometimes tackles) for his sister, his obvious love for his family, and his darling heart that longs to please.

As that sweet boy grows, my love for him grows, too. We were talking the other day and he was fascinated by the fact that he was the one who made me a mommy. He asked me if I'd always wanted to be a mommy and I told him that I always had and that he's the person who allowed me to be just what I'd always wanted. He pondered that for quite awhile.

This morning we got more snow and school was canceled. Although it messed with our plans to have lunch together at school and bring cupcakes to his friends, we're both happier hanging out together at home. :)

My movie-watching, snuggle buddy, birthday boy!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Winter

David and Xander had Monday off from work and school, so we decided to go to the beach last weekend for Valentine's Day and the long weekend. It was COLD! We had a good time watching movies and playing games, but unfortunately all the things we're used to doing at the beach (putt putt, playing in the sand, shopping at the outdoor outlets, etc) weren't an option due to the cold. Even the indoor pool was too chilly for me and Amelia Jayne. We also had to travel outside to get to the indoor pool (crazy!) which was difficult to handle, as well. And would you believe that the only bowling alley was closed for renovations!? The resort had free movie rentals, so we were able to see a couple of movies that we hadn't seen yet (Book of Life was really cute!) but even the theaters don't have any kid-friendly movies out right now. Oh well. It was definitely nice to get away, especially with what was in store for the rest of the week...

Xander and David braved the cold and went out to the beach to play some  "beach soccer." AJ and I just couldn't hang with the cold wind coming off the ocean.
Aaand…we're now on day 4 of being home from school. We got a fairly severe ice storm on Monday night (after we got home, thankfully) which resulted in us not being able to go to school all week. We live in somewhat of a rural town, so there are lots of back roads that aren't safe for busses to travel on yet. The library was closed on Tuesday, as well, and I took the day off on Wednesday. On Thursday Xander was able to go to school with AJ as a drop-in which they both thoroughly enjoyed (and which allowed me to get some work done at the library).  I'm typically off on Fridays anyway, so that allowed me to be home with the kiddos today.

Tuesday: Amelia Jayne "ice skating."

Tuesday: Xander and David playing soccer in the "snow."


We had a brief snowstorm on Wednesday. The kids enjoyed playing outside while it was snowing. Fun!
With our backyard being super-shady and on the northeast side of the house, coupled with the below freezing temps we've been continuing to have for our highs this week, that means the ice has not melted much. Xander is outside playing more ice soccer, even as I type this. :)

We've had hot chocolate galore, played Mexican train and watched more movies than I can count, which has been incredibly fun…but I'm ready for school to start back next week! And regain some "normalcy" in my life. Ha!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Nicknames

I'm not exactly sure why, but I have about a gazillion nicknames for Amelia Jayne. I don't know if it's because her name is so long and I'm lazy about saying it correctly (I rarely ever pronounce each of the syllables) or if it's because her personality lends so well to nicknames.
(Xander has always been very precise about his name and wanted everyone to say it correctly...even though it's technically a nickname...
A quick aside: when Amelia Jayne started saying Xander's name, she called him Xenon or Denon and sometimes it even sounded like Ding Dong. He never got upset with her for mispronouncing his name. I always thought that was very sweet.)


Even when I do say her name, it typically comes out like this:
Mia Jayne
Me-Jayne


Nicknames I call my daughter:
Cutie
Cutie-girl
Cutes
Sweet pea
Sweetie Petie
Sweets
Love
My Love
Love bug
Baby
Baby girl
Tiny
Tiny tot
Little one
Beautiful
Beauty


She's so funny about these names because if I slip up and call Xander one of these, she'll say, "He's not _________. That's my name!" I try to tell her that he's "my love" and my "baby" too, but she doesn't accept that. Ha!


And funny enough, I never call her Amelia or Jayne. I'm fairly certain that's because those are her grandmothers' names. And though I write, type and text "AJ" sometimes, I never call her AJ, either.





Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Life in the medium lane

I won't say things have been hectic lately, but we have been a bit busier than usual. We've laughed and played in the evenings, struggled to get up most mornings, and truly enjoyed each other over the past few weeks.

Xander's homework has gotten more involved. He now has to read two stories per week, write at least one sentence about each, draw pictures for each, write the titles and his name. He has four word problems for math each week where he must read the problem, write the equation, answer the equation and draw a picture depicting the problem. This doesn't seem like much when I look back over it, but he's in kindergarten, people! He's reading level F books (not that I even know what that means). Each book has about 4 or 5 sentences per page. I'm very impressed with his reading skills. He's kind of kept his abilities to himself, which is typical for him. He tends to not want to share anything until he's mastered it. Thus, waiting to read aloud until he actually can.
He is still obsessed with soccer. And most recently he's been loving some football. I have to say that whatever he's into at any given time is a direct reflection of his father. :)
As I type this he is telling me about four teams that he made up (the Carolina Olafs, Atlanta Elsas, New England Annas and Seattle Kristoffs), their standings, who's winning, who got knocked out and who's in the finals. And every. single. play. Phew. Everything is about sports these days. I love his intense passion and drive. :)

Amelia Jayne is so fun to me. She is dramatic and spontaneous and easygoing and charming and bossy and sweet. She can turn on you in a second. And she can be the most darling and lovable little thing around, too. She loves to be read to and to "read" by herself. She loves to tell stories and act them out. Her favorite thing right now is playing pretend. She has quite the imagination and can come up with some pretty funny things! She enjoys doing her "homework" while Xander does his. She has a little preschool pack with dry erase flash cards that have numbers and letters, crayons and coloring pages, stickers and workbooks. I'm pretty impressed with some of the things she can do, like tracing her letters and numbers and doing one-to-one correspondence.

The kids and I are LOVING Mo Willems books right now. When they fell in love with Knuffle Bunny, I decided to bring a few other Mo Willems books home. I've always loved the Piggie and Elephant books, so when I brought them home and the kids absolutely died laughing over them, I was thrilled. We've read almost all of them now. And since they were so in love with those I decided to bring home some Pigeon books, Hooray for Amanda and Her Alligator, Knuffle Bunny Too, and a few others. Xander often reads them to me, too.

As for my man, David is doing really well. He is absolutely loving his job. He enjoys the people he works with and the projects he's a part of. Right now he's working on a couple of skyscrapers in Greenville, SC. He has some super-secret projects coming up that are exciting prospects. ;)
He and I have had some good and challenging discussions as a result of reading the Eldredge book Love & War. We're enjoying small group and really feel that these people are family. It's so nice to get together with such great people each week.
He is an amazing father and truly loves our kids. I am so thankful for his wisdom and counsel. He helps ground me...and I need that more often than not.

I am busy, as usual, but loving it (for the most part). :)
Work has been especially rewarding lately as I'm starting a few new projects: doing workshops for preschool teachers, starting some reading buddies with an afterschool program, and helping to coordinate Dia de los Ninos.
Church is a refuge for me. I enjoy serving each Sunday - talking to parents, playing with kids and visiting with friends. Though Sundays are busy, they're one of my favorite days of the week.
Finding a good balance at home is a struggle at times - being healthy through food and exercise, playing with my kids, parenting them the best way, making and maintaining friendships and spending quality time with my husband - but I try to take it a day at a time, living life moment to moment and making the most of it.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Loving my babies

“Point your kids in the right direction – when they’re old they won’t be lost.”
Proverbs 22:6 (MSG)

I read this fantastic article by Tasha Via a couple of months ago and have been sitting on it.
I also read this article recently when I was looking up information to help me with my almost-six-year-old.
We've had some excellent conversations in our small group since the majority of us have similar-aged kids. Conversations about how to help our kids, how to discipline our kids, and how to avoid letting our frustrations with our children bleed into our marriages.

I find myself at a loss on many days as to how to respond (not react) and how to love my babies in the best way possible - for them. I can love them the way I need to be loved or the way I think they need to be loved, but I want to be sensitive and attentive to their needs. I have to continually ask myself, "What's the best way they need for me to love them?"

I ran across this article the other day and it has expanded my prayers for my babies. I am striving to be more intentional in my prayers and more aware - I'm also trying to pray at least daily for those little blessings.


I had so many conversations with Xander this past week that were challenging for me. Challenging due to his persistent nature (and maybe due to some whining thrown in there), because of his sensitive heart, and because of difficult topics.

From Xander -
a) (Through tears) "I do not agree that Peyton Manning is the best quarterback. I think Cam Newton is the best."
b) "My friend, Nandhana, isn't a Christian, so she doesn't celebrate Christmas."
c) "I want a snack right now. I can't wait 15 minutes until lunchtime."
d) "What did Martin Luther King, Jr do? How come he died? Who killed him? Can I see what they look like?"

And my responses -
a) "You're entitled to your opinion. This is nothing to cry over. We don't have to agree on who the best quarterback is." (insert rolling of eyes here)
b) "There are lots of people in the world who aren't Christians and don't celebrate Christmas. We should pray for Nandhana. Maybe one day she'll have a relationship with Jesus just like you do!"
c) "There are many children who only get to eat once per day or even not at all. You've already eaten twice today and will probably eat a couple of more times! You need to be patient and wait for your lunch." (insert clenched fists and jaw here)
d) "Martin Luther King, Jr helped people to see that everyone is created equal - that all people deserve to be valued and respected. He died because someone disagreed with him and chose to kill him. James Earl Ray killed him - he assassinated him. Here, we can look up pictures of what they looked like." (insert tears here)


Sometimes I feel like everything that comes out of my mouth has to be a "teachable moment" kind of conversation. This makes everyday conversation difficult. I mainly want to make sure I'm not alienating my children because of my need to teach them. I want to have a good relationship with them and I don't know if I can do that if they only see me as "teacher." But then again, I know that being "teacher" is one of the biggest parts of my job as their mother.
This is an opportunity to go back to James 1:19. I pray that God would give me the wisdom to know when to listen much, speak little, and not get angry with my kids. And I need to rely on Him - the Master Teacher.

As I've been pondering these thoughts for a few days, and tweaking this blog post, I visited one of my favorite blogs that I haven't read in awhile.
Y'all.
I read this article and was blown away.
My dilemma is exactly what she is talking about! My kids are little so teachable moments are important and necessary, but some of the best moments come from just being with your kids. (Did you get my emphases there? Did I use enough italics?)
And that's what I want to cultivate and embrace with my children. Now it's time to just be.

"School is good and necessary, but in my heart I long for home."

Monday, January 12, 2015

Peace - 2015

I know we're a couple of weeks into the new year. 
My legalistic nature says it's too late to write about my new word for the new year. 
My procrastinator/free-spirited/creative side says to do it anyway. 
I'm going with the latter.
I am not bound by rules.

This is the word I've decided on:

PEACE.

I have felt peace this year. I have felt Christ's peace, and it's addictive. I want more of it. I have felt peace in making decisions, in certain relationships, and in many life experiences. But there is so much more. I know God wants me to have peace and to be confident in who I am as a parent, as a friend, as a wife, as a daughter. These are areas that I often second-guess myself or live in a state of discontentment and disappointment. I am excited to seek God this year and ask him for more of his "peace, which surpasses all understanding."
Some verses that I want to keep in my mind and heart this year:




Philippians 4:4-9
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Proverbs 14:30
A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.

John 16:33
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Proverbs 12:20

Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy.

I'd love to hear about your word, if you have such a thing. What are your thoughts on this and the coming year?

Happy New Year, friends.

Peace,
Em