Monday, October 20, 2014

My loves

Amelia Jayne

We went through a really tough time with Amelia Jayne at the beginning of the school year. She was having a very difficult time at drop-off, crying and screaming for me to stay with her. It wouldn't take her long to settle down and she loves her school, so I know it wasn't anything there that was a problem. Plus, she was doing it everywhere - school, church, the Y. She just didn't want me to leave her and she was making sure I knew it. BUT, we've turned a corner! I developed a sticker chart so that every time she had a good drop-off she earned a sticker. After 10 stickers she got a prize. It worked! She did so well for 10 whole days and after she earned her prize she hasn't needed the sticker chart again!

She is completely potty trained. No more diapers, no more pull-ups. She had been waking up dry so much that I finally decided to just cut out the nighttime pull-ups, too. We did that about two months ago and haven't gone back. Since my last update on the kiddos she's really gotten the hang of all things potty.

We just finished up her dance class which she loved. I think she loved spending time with me in class more than anything, but I'll take that. I'm looking forward to putting her in a class that is a little more structured and organized so that she may actually learn some tap and ballet skills. I'm putting her in a trial class soon, so we'll see. I'll be finding something else to do with her, though, since quality time is an obvious love language of hers. Mine, too, so that works out well for both of us. :)

I am seeing so much independence from her now that she's at Joyland. She's the "big girl" of the group with 2 - 18-month olds and 2 babies completing the group. She's a great helper for Mrs. Joy, and those 18-month old girls look up to her so much! They constantly have this look of adoration and awe when they watch Amelia Jayne. It is so good for her, seeing as she is the baby everywhere else we go. She's super-sweet with the girls and the babies; she's helpful, while also learning compassion, care and love with children younger than her.

She has such a fun imagination. She pretends so many things - through dress-up, her dolls, books and TV shows. She also laughs out loud at the best moments. She doesn't hold back when she thinks something is funny, which is incredibly cute...and infectious! I often find myself laughing along with her because she's so animated and excitable. She also has this little Sheldon laugh that makes me crack up every time.

She is incredibly excited about her birthday and wakes up most mornings asking if today is the day. Basically anytime anyone says October, she says, "Today's my birthday??" I'm pretty sure she's afraid we'll forget. :)

Xander

That boy was made for school. He loves everything about it. He comes home eager to do his homework and talks non-stop about what they do each day. Since he's a rule kind of guy it's been a bit difficult to help him understand that there are some rules we don't have to keep at home that he must keep at school - like writing with a pen. He's not allowed to write with a pen at school, but I told him it's okay for him to use one at home when he's practicing. Oh no. Not acceptable.
Ooo-kay. We'll just stick with school rules from now on.

The end of his first quarter is Friday (Amelia Jayne's birthday). David and I will be attending his parent/teacher conference next week. I'm looking forward to hearing all about what he's been doing.

That kid amazes me every single day. He still loves flags, countries, and soccer. The other day David was telling him about a soccer game between Estonia and Spain. I didn't know where Estonia was, so Xander was explaining it to me. (near Finland and beside Russia, he said).
We were having another conversation about Turkey one day - he insisted that Turkey is in Europe AND Asia...when we looked it up, he was right.
I now just default to him. He knows his geography, folks.

I've heard him "announcing" soccer games while he plays. He sounds so authentic! It's pretty funny to hear. He also plays soccer games and pretends they're between different companies or schools.
Costco vs. Walmart
ImaginOn vs. Shook Kelley (David's old work)
Cox Mill Elementary (his school) often plays ImaginOn (my work)...Cox Mill always wins. :)

He loves Sophia the First about as much as Amelia Jayne. He sings the whole intro so often that it gets stuck in my head and we start singing it as a family...it's pretty ridiculous, really.

There are a few similarities between my kids, but overall they are incredibly different. It's fun to see their unique personalities, strengths, weaknesses, abilities, and desires. And one of the things I love the most is how much they compliment one another. If one struggles with something, the other steps in and helps out. Xander is so literal and Amelia Jayne helps him see things with a bit more imagination. Amelia Jayne tends to get right in there and often throws caution to the wind...in which Xander immediately grabs it and tucks it away for both himself and his sister. He's one of the most cautious kids I've ever met. But she helps him loosen up a little bit and he helps keep her grounded. They're a great team!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Changes

In my 34 years on this earth I have learned that changes are inevitable. They are happening constantly and continuously. There is no escaping them, so better to embrace them and be flexible.

In my family we'll go through a spell of seemingly unending change and then it will slow down to where I think things are getting into quite a groove, just for things to flip upside down again. And I'm kind of starting to accept this. "Kind of" being the operative phrase there.

I tell you this because David started a new job this week. Yes, he had just changed jobs back in April and now he's at it again! But this time I am so very excited for him. He's been waiting for this opportunity for a long time. He started interviewing at Gensler a little over a year ago and got an offer just a few short weeks ago. Gensler is one of the largest architecture firms in the world. There are many opportunities for David to learn, grow professionally, mentor and be mentored, learn new things, share his own knowledge of the experiences he's had, travel, and help build the Charlotte office. Gensler thinks David will be a good fit with them, but I know that David is a good fit wherever he goes. There are many things I love so dearly about my husband - he's easygoing, hardworking, a team player, loyal and honest. He's good at what he does which is evident by the experiences and opportunities he's had. I am so proud of him.

So, cheers to David and his new endeavors! And here's to the changes that are inevitable.
Makes life interesting, eh? ;)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Contemplative

Our small group watched a super-cheesy video about personality types and working together in a group. Although I hope to never be subjected to that video again, there was an interesting test that went along with it. It basically shows your style of worship - which I love because so often we (Christians) get hung up on the "right way" to worship. There are so many different ways! God is good and He created us in His image. We're all so different and yet so similar. I truly believe that each of us reflect God's character - but often times different parts of his character. The fact that we can have different worship styles or tendencies just goes to show how amazingly huge our God really is. 

Here are the categories:
Naturalist:
Naturalists Draw near to God through nature.

Sensate:
Sensates draw near to God through the senses.

Traditionalist:
Traditionalists draw near to God through ritual and symbol.

Ascetics:
Ascetics draw near to God through solitude and simplicity.

Activists:
Activists draw near to God through bringing about social 
change.

Caregiver:
Caregivers draw near to God through caring for and 
serving others.

Enthusiast:
Enthusiasts draw near to God through celebration and mystery.

Contemplative:
Contemplatives draw near to God through personal adoration
and heartfelt devotion.

Intellectual:
Intellectuals draw near to God through their minds.

Here are my results:
1. Contemplative
2. Enthusiast

3. Naturalist

I decided to look up contemplative in the dictionary to get 
a better understanding. 
And I have to say that this fits me to a "T." 
con·tem·pla·tive
kənˈtemplədiv/
adjective
adjective: contemplative
  1. 1
    expressing or involving prolonged thought.
    "she regarded me with a contemplative eye"
    synonyms:thoughtfulpensivereflectivemeditativemusing,
    ruminative, introspectivebrooding
    deep/lost in thought, in a brown study
    "a peaceful, contemplative mood"
    • involving or given to deep silent prayer or religious meditation.
      "contemplative knowledge of God"

noun
noun: contemplative; plural noun: contemplatives
  1. 1
    a person whose life is devoted primarily to prayer, especially
    in a monastery or convent.

I think about things way too much, but perhaps this is just 
my way of worship? 
God created me to be a thinker, to meditate and be pensive.

Enthusiast was a close second, to which I say - yep. 
If there's something I can get into, it's celebration! :) 
And I just marvel (and think, ha!) about the mysteries 
of our God and how incredibly creative He is. 
The world and all that is in it is a masterpiece.

And naturalist? I'm somewhat surprised at this, but also not at all. 
I do love the beauty of this earth and all that God has created. 
In fact, I took this picture on my birthday to remind me of the 
beauty and ultimate Artist that is God.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

For your Wednesday

If you've got girls who love Hello Kitty, check out this website. Apparently Hello Kitty is celebrating its 40th anniversary! See if there's a bookstore or library near you that's hosting an event. Fun times!

Writing about Hello Kitty reminds me of this time I was in Costco with Xander. He was about 3 years old. We were walking by the toy aisle when he said to me, "Mommy! Let's go down that aisle. I see toys. And there's even something Amelia Jayne will like - it's Hi Cat!" I could not hold back the uproarious laughter that spilled out of me. So, be sure to celebrate "Hi Cat!" at the end of the month. :)

I admire and respect someone who can own who she is and allow God to work through her with modern medicine. Take a look at this article and be encouraged.

I find myself in the drift quite often...especially as of late. I have been overwhelmed with certain choices I've made, scheduling conflicts, guilt-induced decisions, and on and on. Most of them aren't bad, but I need to prioritize.

Gosh, I feel old even mentioning this article, but I just couldn't help it. It is so good! I'm not quite old enough to understand all of these, but I can imagine them to be true. Gave me lots of ideas for my bucket list...

I love Jimmy Fallon and, of course, the library is close to my heart. This video made me laugh and smile and think of Jimmy Fallon and books and I laughed and smiled some more. :)

There is probably a whole blog post that will be dedicated to this in the future, but for now just take a look at this article if you do struggle or have ever struggled with emotional eating.

I've been looking for some new, healthy recipe ideas and came across this site. I haven't made anything from it yet, but I'm excited to try.

I feel like I rarely write about work anymore on here, but it's still very much a part of my life. :) Here's an initiative that we've just begun. It has so much potential and I'm very excited to be a part of this great work. So much about my outside-the-home job is incredibly fulfilling.

Here's a great article by Tasha Via about the way we speak and act toward our children - it made me stop to think how my actions come across and if I'm exemplifying the grace and love that I so often talk about and attempt to teach my children.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Birthday love

Today is my birthday! I am so blessed. Mondays are super-busy at our house, so David, the kids and I celebrated yesterday. It was a gorgeous fall day, so we built a fire in the outdoor fireplace, roasted marshmallows for s'mores and enjoyed the afternoon lounging and playing games outside.
It was perfect. 

I got some beautiful surprises from David and the kids - some new rugs, a tablecloth, kitchen towels, and lanterns for the pergola outside. AND I got a food processor! I've never had a food processor and I am so excited!! 
Adult life is so weird.

AJ and I went to her dance class this morning, had lunch with my dad and then visited a market selling pumpkins just up the road from our house.

I pick up Xander in a few minutes. The kids can't wait to have cupcakes and I'm looking forward to hanging out with them this afternoon. Our small group is tonight, so I look forward to those fun times, too!

Here are some pics from my special day(s):

















Thursday, September 25, 2014

Banned Books week

In the library world, it's banned books week.
What is that, you say? It's basically celebrating our freedom to read whatever we want!

Out of the top 10 banned books of 2013 I've read over half. Honestly, I think I'd enjoy reading a couple more of them, although I have to say that I cannot bring myself to read 50 Shades of Gray. If you want my opinion on that one, message me privately.

*Captain Underpants - Silly and stupid, but so appealing to kids. Especially boys. And this is a good way to get your reluctant reader to read. Sometimes the fact that a kid is reading is more important than what they're reading. We can work on content later, right?
*13 Reasons Why - This book fascinated me. The interactions of people, the way we can positively and negatively effect people,
*And Tango Makes Three - I worked in the children's department of one of our libraries when this book came out and a parent complained about it. We DID NOT pull it from the shelf.
*The Kite Runner - y'all remember how I feel about this book?
*Looking for Alaska - oh how I love John Green. This was a great book.
*Scary Stories 3 - I loved all of these books when I was a kid. See below.

I've been pretty surprised in the past that there are so many banned books...and that I've read a ton of them! Here are a few that I love or have loved in the past...

I LOVED The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney when I was in junior high. I know I read it at least 4 times.

Another junior high fave? Forever by Judy Blume. I got that one taken away by my stepmom, but I managed to sneak it back and take it home. Where I proceeded to learn about Ralph and all kinds of mysterious things twelve year olds don't know anything about...

I get that the witchcraft thing in Harry Potter might be offensive to some, but to ban it? I live in a different world than those people, man. I love me some Harry Potter.

I can remember being so scared of Scary Stories to tell in the dark by Alvin Schwartz, but I kept going back to it over and over. I even got my own copy at some point in my middle school years.

To Kill A Mockingbird will always be a favorite of mine.

Gone With the Wind
A Wrinkle in Time
Flowers for Algernon
Bridge to Terabithia
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret
Of Mice and Men
A Separate Peace

So many of these I remember, loved and helped form me into who I am today!
Thank goodness we have the freedom to read what we want!
Happy Banned Books Week, everyone!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

For your Wednesday

10 year anniversary - mine and David's is coming up in only 2 short months! This article is true, true, true. If I could write as eloquently, I would have said the same things. ;)
Speaking of marriage, I found this article with several suggestions of blogs for married couples to read. I haven't read many of them, but plan to peruse them over the next few months.

This is a great resource for at-home dates. I do and have done every single thing she listed. At-homes have been some of my favorite dates and we can certainly do them more often that not-at-home dates.
Rachael's blog is pretty awesome, y'all. Check it out, if you haven't yet. (Did I mention that her husband is our worship leader?) (AND did I mention that they have 6 kids together…4 of them under 5?? Their house…I can't even imagine.)

Do you know Donald Miller? He wrote Blue Like Jazz which is definitely on my list of favorite books. Anyway, he has a blog that I find fascinating.

This is a great site to look over if you're planning to take meals to a friend in need - whether it be a new baby, a rough day, or an illness that's making it difficult for them to prepare their own meal, any of these would be nice to receive!

And speaking of gifts - check out a couple of great sites here and here and here for homemade goodies - nice for friends, teachers, grandparents, Sunday school teachers, or whomever!
(Do people still say whomever? It felt appropriate…)

Oh my goodness gracious. I wish I was a better hostess. If I could pull it off, I would totally do this!! I just love pretty things…and cutesy, girly things, too!! If AJ had a spring birthday, this would be fantastic. I may just do it when she gets a bit older - have a tea party for her girlfriends (with Mimi's expert hostessing skills to help me out, of course) not for a birthday, but just for fun.
That reminds me of when I was in high school. My friends and I used to have themed birthday parties. I'm sure there were tons, but the ones I remember were: my 16th birthday was an '80's party, complete with blue eyeshadow, crazy big hairstyles, and Michael Jackson; Isabel's 17th birthday was a tea party complete with fancy China, tea cakes, and us with dresses, hats and gloves; Mati's 20th birthday was a coffee house - fancy coffee choices, us in berets wearing all black, and poems & quotes hung up all around the room. If I can find pics of these things, I will post them on here. What fun we had!!

This is a great blog to peruse if you're looking for healthier options of meals for your family.

I am not that crafty, but if you are or if you want to be, be sure to go to this website. There are so many options on craftiness, I don't even know where to begin!!