Friday, March 30, 2012


I was close to tears the other day as I read this article. It absolutely changed my thoughts on motherhood. Far too often I count the minutes and the hours without really appreciating things in the moment. Time does stand still when you stop counting the hours.

About AJ - Four and Five months

I kind of missed out on Amelia Jayne's four month post, so I decided to combine months four and five. She was five months on Saturday - can you believe it?!?! Me neither!

Amelia Jayne turned 4 months old on Xander's birthday, February 24. She had another doctor's appointment this month where she again got two shots and took an oral vaccine. I find the whole immunization scene to be much easier this time around. I guess I know it's for her own good and I've seen her brother go through it and survive. She really did well - she's such a trooper. Best.Baby.Ever. :)

Here are her four-month stats:

Weight - 15 pounds, 6 ounces (63%)
Length - 25.75 inches (78%)
Head Circumference - 16 inches (20%)

As compared to Xander's at four months:

Weight -  14 pounds, 1 ounce (34%)
Length -  25 inches (55%)
Head Circumference -  17 inches (76%)

She still has a petite little head! Oh, if only she had come first, perhaps a c-section could have been avoided. Oh well. :)

What's new with her? Well, she's a roller now. She's been rolling over for two months, but there was a period of time when I thought she'd forgotten that she could do it! It's not unusual now for me to go in her room after nap or in the mornings and find her on her stomach or laying sideways in the crib. She also likes to reach for things on her activity mat and will roll over or kick her little legs until she moves to get what she wants. I've left the room and come back to find her inches from where I left her. Mobility, here we come!

She's starting to sit now. Her bottom is still pretty round (as my mom would say) but she can keep her balance for about 15 seconds or so. I usually keep the boppy pillow (or C-pillow as Xander calls it) around her to cushion her fall when she tumbles over. :)

EVERYTHING goes in her mouth. Except a pacifier. She still won't take one of those. But she loves to suck on her hands, toys, blankets, your fingers, chin, shirt...pretty much anything she can get her hands on. Xander wasn't as much like that, so this could be interesting. :) She actually prefers to suck on fabric. And she loves to have her blanket up by her face when she sleeps. Oh and watch out - she loves to give kisses, the sloppy kind. :)

She is still nursing well with no need to supplement formula. We started her on cereal this past Sunday. I'll post the video soon. :) She also has her first tooth! She went through a little fussy period last week and then Monday I felt in her mouth and there it was! The second one isn't far behind. She has a pretty massive bump in there just waiting to break through.

She still loves to watch Xander. She smiles when he comes in the room. Sometimes his loud shrieks and outbursts startle her, but it doesn't seem to bother her too much. He can make her laugh like nobody else.  It's so cute.

Just this week she's started really preferring me to anyone else. Even when David holds her, she looks around the room until she finds me. She won't take her eyes off of me if I'm in the same room with her. She also doesn't like me to leave the room. She'll cry now if I leave, even if nothing's wrong. I feel it..I know it's coming...the "separation anxiety" stage...aka, "Mommy can never have a moment alone" stage, lol.

Her hair is really starting to grow. She has a lot more than Xander did at this age. It's lightening up, too. Of course, I've posted enough about hair recently. :)

She's still an absolute delight! I just love her to pieces and I feel so blessed to have such a sweet girl!!

Sucking on that bottom lip

A new friend from GG.

I like to sit!!

Daddy just walked in and grabbed her attention.

She loves her daddy!!! 
Oh boy!! It's Daddy!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Library stories

These videos share great stories about the Charlotte Mecklenburg library and what we're doing to make a difference in our community.

What great stories can you share about your library and library experiences?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Work - Every Child Ready to Read (a new version)

Remember this post...and this one...and this one...and this one...and this one...and this one...and this one? Ha! Well, it's still going!! The grant was for 3 years and we're now in our 4th of 6 sessions. I've had two childcare centers each 6 months, so I'm now with my 7th and 8th centers. It has proven to be an amazing program and I'm so honored to be a part of it. I love giving 15 books to each child and 50 books to each childcare center when the program ends. It is a wonderful feeling!

Interestingly, though, in the middle of this grant, the model we've been using changed. "Every Child Ready to Read" no longer uses the 6 pre-reading skills they originally taught (see the posts above) but has changed it to the 5 simple practices to help children get ready to read. My department posted about this a couple of weeks ago on our outreach blog.

We will continue to use ECRR first edition because that's what the grant states we will use. I'm excited to learn more about the practices in the second edition, though. I'll try to post more about them as I learn them - very exciting!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Xander Update - 3 years

Not much has changed since last year. Okay, a lot has changed. :) Xander, however, remains fairly consistent. His little personality is very clear.

He's quite the perfectionist. He gets that from his daddy, for sure. There was a time when he wanted an adult to do everything for him because he wasn't satisfied with what he could do, i.e. coloring, making things out of play dough, etc. He's gotten over that somewhat, now that he's in preschool and sees other kids work. He still likes for us to do things with him, but I now think it's so he can have one-on-one time with us.

He can get easily frustrated if he can't do something or something doesn't work out the way he anticipated. Right now we're working on channeling his frustration to other things besides the object or other people. He used to hit on occasion if he became frustrated. He's much better about that now, but we do have to redirect him at times.

One of Xander's love languages is quality time. He loves to play with his toys and is a very good independent player. However, he also loves to play with us, too, and will use any excuse to get us to spend time with him. I probably give in more than I should. :) He often comes up to me and in a sweet, sing-songy little voice says, "Mommy? Wanna snuggle with me on the couch?" It's very hard to resist. :)

Xander is very sensitive, like me. He easily gets his feelings hurt. He doesn't like to be chastised and can burst into tears if you tell him not to do something. It pains me sometimes to see how sensitive he is, mainly because I know exactly what he's feeling. We're working on toughening him up a little bit. :) I kind of expected to have a sensitive child, I just didn't realize it would be my son!

Xander continues to enjoy the company of adults, especially "his people" (people he is accustomed to and knows well). He still does not care for the company of other children. He's fine when they're around and he'll even talk about them once we're home, but he's not the social butterfly I thought he might be when he was a baby. However, he has a very outgoing personality and will talk to any adult when we're out and about.

He still has red hair!! I'm so excited about this! My hair was red when I was little, but by the time I was three my hair had turned blonde. I kept expecting Xander's to do the same. It still could, but for now it's a beautiful strawberry blonde. And I love it. Apparently other people do, too, because they are constantly stopping to tell him how much they like it. This is when Xander gets into long conversations with total strangers.

He is extremely neat for a 3 year old. He actually asks for a napkin, will wipe his own face and hands, cleans up the table, puts his dishes in the sink, throws away anything I ask him to, and has gotten in the habit of going directly to the bathroom to wash his hands after he eats. He's less willing to clean up his toys, but I think that's because he goes back and forth between different toys and likes having options.

He can play with toys for hours on end. He is very focused and attentive in his play. Lately he has started playing board games like "Hi, Ho, Cherry-o" and "Memory." He plays by the rules and is incredibly good at them.

He still LOVES preschool. He has never had a problem at drop-off and just waltzes right in. He's very confident and comfortable there. He loves his teacher, Ms. Jean, and she loves him. They're a great fit for each other. I'll be sad when she is no longer his teacher next year.

He continues to amaze me with how smart he is. He has an incredible memory. He often tries out new words or phrases he's learned. I love it when he doesn't really know the meaning of a word, but tries it out anyway. Like when he told me, "Mommy, that's too fake for me." I think we were talking about a song. I can always tell when he's trying out a new word because he looks at me out of the corner of his eye when he says it like he's wanting to read my reaction to his usage of the word.

I got an idea from pinterest a few months ago. "Interview" your child each year (with the same questions) starting at age 3. When they turn 18, make a book for them with all of the interviews. I hope to be consistent about doing this because I think it would make a really sweet keepsake. I had to explain a few of the questions or concepts, but he answered each one all by himself. Here was the interview this year:

Favorites -
TV Show - Curious George
Movie - Cars
Song - Party Rockers in the House Tonight
Musician - The Avett Brothers and Ms. Jean (his teacher :))
Food - Peanut butter sandwich (He said, "Mmm, mmm...that's delicious.")
Candy - purple candy hearts (we just finished up Valentine's Day...normally I think he would say M&M's)
Toy - cars
Activity - coloring/reading stories/ride the train
Cereal - Chocolate yums/Daddy's own cereal (that's what he calls chocolate frosted mini wheats and quaker oatmeal squares)
Vegetable - carrots
Drink - Milk
Game - Cars Memory
Book - Curious George and the Dump Truck
Restaurant - the burger place and Chick-fil-A
Holiday - Christmas
Animal - a puppy named Scout
Color - blue
Vacation - to the beach
If you could change your name to anything, what would it be? X
If you could have anything you want this year, what would it be? Lightning McQueen
What do you love most about Mommy? She can clap.
What do you love most about Daddy? He can clap, too.
What do you love most about Amelia Jayne? to be happy

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I love my son's hair! I pretty much love everything about it - color, texture, thickness, etc. His hair has the same texture and thickness as mine (one of the few things Xander got from me - funny to see a little boy who looks so much like David but who has my skin tone and hair). He has the same color hair that his Mimi, my mom, had when she was younger (she also has our same hair texture and thickness...and skin color for that matter).

Can you see the red tint? I know, there's not much hair there yet.

That's a better shot - of course, he's much older.
Summer 2011 - look how much blonder it gets in the summer.
As long as I can remember I hoped my kids would have red hair. Xander's is so unique, being true strawberry blonde. And I guess other people recognize how unusual it is, too. Everywhere we go people stop and tell me how much they love his hair. Not only is it a unique color, but it's got great body. He has some natural curl which gives it good volume. I just love it!

I added this one because I loved his 3-month pics...he was so darn happy!
Plus, look at my coppery red hair!

His hair color is really starting to show up in these.

A good top-of-the-head shot.

I don't think Amelia Jayne will have the same color hair. Stranger things have happened, but I don't see her hair changing that much. It was dark brown when she was born, but it's started lightening up some, so we'll see. Xander's hair was red when he was born and hasn't waivered. My hair was red when I was a baby, but by the time I turned three it had changed to very blonde. Then it continually got darker and darker until it was a brownish auburn. I can't even tell you what my natural color is now. I've colored it off and on in college and have consistently colored it for over 8 years. I can tell you that the majority of my hair is gray now. Yes, I know. Gray. It's hereditary, I suppose, seeing as my dad and mom were mostly gray by the time they were in their thirties. Though I don't know the exact true color, my roots don't lie. And my hairdresser started using a special kind of hair color that covers gray. Not too many things make me feel old. That does.

This is my natural curl. And baby bump.
Hi, Amelia Jayne!

Just another one of my colors.
I'll share a secret - my mom and sister color their hair, too. :)

I hope Amelia Jayne's hair has as much volume and thickness as Xander's, even if she doesn't have his same color. It's far more important that a girl's hair be voluminous like that. :) Her hair is getting lighter, though. Maybe it'll be in the red family, too, one day. I would love for us gingers to outnumber that awesome brown-headed daddy. :)

One of the latest pics...Xander's hair seems to be staying this color. Yay!

According to this chart Xander's hair is ginger blonde. Amelia Jayne's hair is probably chestnut right now, moving to golden walnut or buttered toast, though it's hard to tell at this time with as little as she has. "My" hair color goes between glazed strawberry, ginger blonde, ginger brown, dark copper, and dark auburn or a combination, as it is right now. David's hair is chestnut.

I would call this glazed strawberry with a
hint of "swedish blonde" at the temples. Ha! :)
Time to re-color!

Monday, March 12, 2012


This post resonated with me today.
I, also, affectionately refer to my son as the blanket hoarder, or the blanket thief, depending on my mood. He steals all of my blankets. As soon as I pull one out, I look over and he's curled up in it. I don't know how this happens. Right now he has 5 blankets on his bed, not including his comforter. Only one of them is mine. Because I took the others back. It's a game we like to play. Well, he likes to play. He steals my blankets. I steal them back when he's not looking. He's becoming very savvy to this game though. He's starting to notice when they're gone or when I've replaced them with others.
There is one brown blanket that I have on my bed. It stays on my bed except for when I go out of town and then it usually comes with me. He knows better than to steal that one. All others are up for grabs, though. David used to make fun of me for owning so many blankets. Little did he know that we would have a very good reason to have so many. If for nothing more than to make my little boy happy :).
At night, when I tuck Xander into bed, I always ask him what blankets he wants. He almost never waivers from this - "I want my ball blanket, Xander's blue blanket and Mommy's blue blanket." I think if I gave him my sweater he'd sleep with it, too. I'll remember to only do that with sweaters I don't want returned. :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Chicken Dance

It's just an arrested-development-chicken-dance kind of day.

Oh Arrested Development, how I miss you.
I'm excited for next year when we'll meet again - woo hoo!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mother's milk

I am 4 months and 12 days into breastfeeding Amelia Jayne and loving every minute. I'm so proud and feel so accomplished in this area of my life, one of the few where I do right now. At this point with Xander I was having to supplement one or two bottles of formula per day. I never could quite keep up with his demand, but I now know it was because I did not pump enough or store enough milk while I was on maternity leave. AJ is actually bigger than he was at this same age, so I know she requires more milk, and yet I'm producing enough.

I was so upset when I came to the conclusion that I was not producing enough milk for little Xander and that he would require formula. This was the one thing I alone was supposed to be able to do as his mommy, and I couldn't do it. I stressed over it. I cried about it. David tried so hard to be supportive and loving, but in reality he was completely baffled by my reaction. And then, I just kind of got over it - God gave me peace. I nursed him when I could and I gave him formula when I was away from him. He thrived and I was fine. By the time he was 7 months old I was down to nursing him only in the morning and at night before bed. All other feedings in between were formula. Later that month I got sick and needed to take an antibiotic. The doctor told me not to nurse while I was taking it, so that ended up being the end of my breastfeeding days with Xander. (fyi - the lactation consultant I had when in the hospital with AJ said that most antibiotics are safe to take while breastfeeding - be sure to talk to your lactation consultant before you just stop or pump and dump. I'll do that this time around if needed.)

I cried. I was depressed. I thought it was too early, and too abrupt. I wasn't able to make the decision, it was forced on me. And I had no time to let the whole situation sink in before it was just done. Oh how sad I was during those next couple of weeks. Xander, on the other hand, was fine. He didn't seem to miss it. He wasn't getting much actual milk from me at that point anyway, and he was fine to just snuggle, not needing the breast to pacify him. For that I am very thankful. It would have made part of me die inside if I had taken away something that he longed for, too.

My experience this time around has been so different. Amelia Jayne was so good at the beginning - she latched on immediately when I offered to nurse her the first time (minutes after my c-section, while in the recovery room). She was a lazy eater for the first couple of weeks, meaning she would fall asleep at the breast every time I tried to feed her and I would have to keep her awake (rubbing, massaging, undressing her, putting my cold hands on her, etc) to get her to eat. My milk came in much quicker this time around, after just 3 days when it took 5 days with Xander. However, AJ lost enough weight in her first few days of life that the pediatrician wanted me to supplement her with pumped breastmilk. I pumped while still at the hospital and then, once I was home, I pumped after she ate...every.single.time. That was fairly exhausting, but she gained weight and my milk supply shot up. She started sleeping 6 hours at night after just a few weeks, so I would wake up ready to burst. I would feed her, but she wouldn't drain enough, so I would pump. That's how I was able to build my stockpile of milk in the freezer.

I exclusively nurse Amelia Jayne on my days off and I typically pump once per day when I'm home. On the days I work, I typically pump as much, if not more, milk than she intakes at home. My freezer is full of milk, for which I'm very thankful. I'm sure I will need to dig into those reserves at some point, but right now it's just a safety net and we're at least "breaking even" each day.

To wrap up this crazy post that has gotten ridiculously long, I love breastfeeding! I love nourishing my children and I love having that amazing bond with my kids that no one else can have. God made me to provide food for my children. I don't condemn anyone who chooses not to breastfeed (afterall we live in a world and culture where you do have a choice) and I certainly empathize with those moms who can't breastfeed. I won't do it forever (I would like to make it to one year, though), but while it's still an option I'm thankful for it. And oh so thankful for the closeness between my baby and me.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Funnies from the little man - Part 2

Remember this post from last year? Lately, I have been typing some of Xander's funniest sayings/comments/sentences into my phone. I love looking back at them!! Sometimes I have no idea where he comes up with these things. Sometimes I know all too well...

Here are a few:

Me: Xander, let's put your shirt on.
Xander: I can't! I only have two hands!

Xander (Talking about one of his cars): This one is little, in fact.

Xander (As Daddy was bringing AJ downstairs): There's Amelia Jayne! There's that cutie pie.

Me (as we were leaving my mom's house): Tell Mimi thank you.
Xander: No, I can't. I'm crying right now.

Xander, crying because he doesn't want to go to bed.
David: Xander, it's time for bed now.
Xander (in a pitiful little voice): Wait. I need a tissue to wipe my tears.

Xander (out of the blue): I love you very much, Mommy. Did you know that?

Someone posted this on facebook and I thought it was pretty cute. :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Exersaucer time!

Amelia Jayne turned 4 months old on Xander's birthday. I'll be posting her 4 month post soon. Here are some pictures of her newest adventures!

Saturday, March 3, 2012


We love to play airplane!! At least, Xander does. AJ looks kind of scared. Ha!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Xander - 3 years

Warning - this is a long post. :)

My boy is three!
Oh my goodness how time flies. :) He is a big boy. A big, big boy.
What a day weekend we had!
He turned three last Friday.

We started out the celebration at his preschool on Thursday. David, Mimi and I took cupcakes to his class and got to share in the birthday celebration.

He, Amelia Jayne and I spent Friday, his actual birthday, together doing things that he loves. He was allowed to open one present from Mommy and Daddy when he first woke up. 
A new Scout movie
He's really too old for this movie now, but he still loves Scout...and loves the movie because Scout's in it!

I made pancakes for him (this was not on my list of things to do, but he asked and I couldn't refuse him on his birthday :)). Then we drove uptown to the library where we took the train to the arena. There we stopped in to the Charlotte Bobcats team store and got him a basketball and Bobcats T-shirt. He is very proud of that shirt. :) It looked like a tornado might hit at any minute with the wind picking up and the sky getting eerily dark, so we decided to take the train back to the library. 

I carried Amelia Jayne in the baby carrier - she did fantastic!
Waiting on the train
On the train

Looking at the Arena from the platform
Watching the clouds roll in

We went into the library for a bit, saw some of my co-workers, played with the train table and some toys there, then headed over to Chick-fil-A where we picked up lunch and drove to Daddy's office for a fun lunch date with him.
Playing with the toys at the library

We had lunch together as a family, chatted and played some ball with David's co-workers, and then headed home for a much-needed nap.

When David got home from work, Xander opened his presents from us.

His new favorite game - Cars Memory!

After opening some gifts, we drove to Concord Mills to visit the Disney store. Xander got some money from his GG, great aunt Karen and great uncle EC, so we told him he could pick out a toy there. Of course he got some race cars from his favorite movie, Cars - Nigel Gearsley, Max Schnell, Raoule Caroule, and Lightning McQueen - and yes, I know all the names of all the race cars in the movie and I'm pretty proud of it :). After that we ate some dinner at McAlister's and then drove on to Mimi's where we spent the night.

The next day was his party and boy, did we have fun! We decided just to invite family again this year. Xander isn't too excited about little ones his own age yet. He loves his family though, especially his big cousins (and Aunt B). He had a Cars pinata, Cars tattoos, Cars decorations, even a Cars cake (made by yours truly and Mimi). The kids decorated goodie bags for the treats from the pinata and they even played a Cars game. It was tons of fun!

Decorating goodie bags

We had waffles for lunch (one of Xander's favorite foods) with all kinds of fillings/toppings. They were yummy!

Proudly displaying his Bobcats t-shirt and birthday hat.

Aunt B

Kaitlyn, Ee-oo and Aunt B

The decorations

The cake!


He wanted to drive the cars on the cake - it didn't work too well on the oreo road!
We went home that evening. Xander fell asleep when we were about 5 minutes from home. David carried him up to bed and held him while I stripped off his clothes and put new ones on him. He never even woke up. He was exhausted. :)

I call it a successful birthday. Oh how I love that boy!