Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Xander Update - 4 years

As you know, my boy is four years old. He has been for a month...and that's about how long I've been working on this post. Life has gotten a tad crazy up in here!

I love this kid. Here are some things he's up to now:

He goes to preschool three days a week. And loves it. He has friends there. I love to see their smiling faces and hearty waves when he walks in the classroom and I love to see them hugging each other goodbye when we leave. It's such a treasure for me to see my son interacting with other kids.

Some of the kids in his class are teaching him some not-so-nice behavior and responses. He talks back a lot. We've had to have many, many conversations about that.

He definitely still prefers the friendships of adults and older kids. At church, I often see him playing with a couple of the middle school boys who help out in his class. He also loves his small group leader, Mr. Chad. But the most fun I see him having is with his cousin, Patrick.

He wants to be a chef when he grows up. How cute is that? He really does love helping me in the kitchen.

He's gotten to that dreaded, whiny, yet demanding 4 year old stage. One instant he's demanding I do something and the next he's whining about it.

He's testing his boundaries. Constantly.

The "why" questions are quite overwhelming at times. And I love to talk, so I can't imagine how overwhelming it must be for someone like my husband. I'm thankful for his curiosity, though, and how he wants to know everything. I'm glad he likes to learn and that he's willing to ask questions. I hope that never changes.

He started soccer practice about a month ago. It lasts for 10 weeks. He absolutely loves it. His coach is quite enthusiastic and that helps Xander get excited, too. Not that he needs it - he LOVES soccer! He's learning how to follow directions, pay attention, and submit to authority; discipline, teamwork, and soccer skills. Amelia Jayne and I love standing on the sidelines cheering him on.

Sometimes his emotions remind me so much of me that I want to cry. He is so sensitive. Just the other night he got in trouble, so I took the iPad away. He cried. When I told him gently that he couldn't have it back until tomorrow - he'd lost the privilege - he bawled. And it wasn't until I knelt down and looked in his eyes, told him why he lost the privilege and that tomorrow is a new day to try again, he layed his head on my shoulder while I held him, and I knew. I knew exactly how he felt and I loved him all the more for it. I felt that familiar feeling of my heart tugging inside me because I know I did the right thing, but it can be oh-so-hard at times. I love that boy with all my heart and I would give him anything! But one of the most important things I can teach him is discipline and respect.

He and his sister play pretty well together. They love to chase each other around the house, ride bikes, slide, and chill together.

He's a big boy now. He's growing up so quickly.

His doctor's appointment proved that he's big - 43 lbs and 42 inches! He's gained three inches and three pounds since last year.

This year I felt compelled to write Xander a letter. Here it is:

My dearest Xander,
You, my boy, are growing up so fast! Four years old! It's been a big year for you. I'm so proud of you. Proud of the person you are and the person you're becoming.

You challenge me. You're so like me in many ways. You're outgoing, verbal and emotional. Yet, you're lots like your daddy, too. You're a perfectionist, cautious, and so smart.

I love that you "need me" so much. That's what you always say, "Mommy, I need you!" And though those words can sometimes sound all-too familiar and elicit an eye roll from me, I know I'm going to miss it when you don't say it anymore.

I love when Daddy takes you to sporting events. And anywhere, really, when it's just the two of you. You come home so excited and ready to tell me every single detail of what happened. I like being alone with you, too. We need to be better about going on some mother/son dates and hanging out, just the two of us. I'll work on that during this upcoming year.

I love the way you play with your sister. You don't really know how to play together yet, but you're learning. Sometimes you get too rough and she cries, and sometimes you forget to share which also leads to tears. But you, more than anyone else, can elicit giggles and laughter from her like no other. Every giggle that erupts from her encourages more silliness from you. I know you two will have lots of fun in the future, playing together and teaching each other.

You've done so well at school this year. You're so bright, but that's always been evident. This year you have come out of your shell socially. I love seeing you play with your friends and learn how to interact with other people. You adapt well to situations that are unfamiliar to you. I didn't always think this would be the case. However, as you have done many times since you were born, you've surprised me.

I love you, Xander-boo. I look forward to all the adventures we'll have this year!

Love always,

You may remember this interview from last year. Here's this year's version. :)

TV show - Curious George
Movie - Cars
Song - "Call Me Maybe" or as he calls it "Here's My Llama"
Musician - Fun.
Food - Waffles
Candy - M&Ms
Toy - Big Lightning car at Mimi's
Activity - Making a cake
Cereal - Yums (Shredded Wheat)
Vegetable - Peas
Drink - Milk
Game - Puzzles
Book - "New book I got for Christmas" - Disney/Pixar's 5 Minute Bedtime stories
Restaurant - Chick-Fil-A
Holiday - Christmas
Animal - Cow (Not sure where he came up with that one!)
Color - Blue
Vacation - "I like to go to Mimi's and the beach where the aquarium is."

If you could change your name to anything, what would it be? Peter
If you could have anything you want this year, what would it be? "I'd like to have a real truck."
What do you love most about Mommy? "I like reading with Mommy."
What do you love most about Daddy? "I like carving pumpkins with him."
What do you love most about Amelia Jayne? "I like to play with her princesses."

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dear Me

Dear Me:
A Letter to my Sixteen-Year-Old Self
by Joseph Galliano

I read this book and thought, "What a great idea! I want to write a letter to my sixteen-year-old self, too."

So here it is.

Dear Em,

You're gonna be okay.

Remember last year when you moved to Texas? Remember how hard it was to do things all by yourself? Remember how Erin went with you to that first youth group just so you wouldn't have to go alone? She was going off to college in a completely different state and certainly didn't have to go with you! Continue to be grateful for her even when you feel far apart.

Even though going to that first youth group and starting a brand new school was scary and hard, you made it, right? And you will make it through many more scary and hard things.

I know you're overweight. I know you don't feel like you fit in. Just be yourself. Don't conform to others and do what they're doing. Be your own person and appreciate who God made you to be. Don't worry so much about being "weird." Weird is actually pretty cool. :)

Some of your friends will stay with you forever (Isabel will forever call you Emily-girl), keep those friends close. Some of them will seem like the biggest part of your life, but will only be with you a short season. Don't fret over those friendships. They were with you when you both needed it most.

You will get married (I won't tell you who he is, but you've already met him!! Crazy, right?). You will have a beautiful family. That's not as easy as you thought it would be either - being a mother. It's amazing and wonderful and the best job in the world, but nothing about it is easy.

You will learn more about love through your husband and children than you ever thought possible. And love doesn't always look the way you think it does. Sometimes it's glamorous and happily-ever-after. Most of the time it's not. But it's still amazing.

You'll learn the value of being alone. It doesn't feel too great right now, but one day you'll look back and wonder what that really felt like. And then you'll be thankful that God allowed you to go through so many periods of feeling alone. Only to bring you people-gifts just when you needed them most.

Mom is still one of your best friends. Treat her right. Love on her and give her props. She totally deserves it. She will be there for you more times than you can count. Appreciate her. Tell her that you appreciate her.

You've got a lot of people in your corner, kid. The world can be a rough place, but you, my friend, you have been blessed beyond measure. Thank God for that. Give back. Be kind and friendly. Love people no matter what. Love wins. Don't forget that. Love always wins.

Forever and always,

Thursday, March 14, 2013


I love Words with Friends.
I might have a slight obsession.
I think my obsession is better than it used to be.
I do my best to stick to the "once a day" rule I set up for myself.

I've gotten pretty good at this game, I'll admit.
But this is the best score I've ever gotten.
And it was against my sister! Bonus!
There is never any sibling rivalry between us. Never.

Bless the Lord

I love the song "10,000 Reasons" by Matt Redman. I've posted the lyrics below. 
I hope this song reflects my life. My desire is to ALWAYS bless the Lord. Always. In everything I do and say. Forever. Here and now. In this world and the next. 

I hope that's what people say about me when I die - "That girl sure blessed the Lord."
Even better, I hope that's what people say about me now - "That girl sure blesses the Lord."

Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

May I always be singing when the evening comes.

"10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)"

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

You're rich in love, and You're slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore

[Chorus x2]
Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

Jesus, I'll worship Your holy name
Lord, I'll worship Your holy name

Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name
Jesus, I'll worship Your holy name
I'll worship Your holy name

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Funnies from the Little man - Part 5

And....they're back :). Check out some of Xander's other funnies here.

Me: Xander, it's time for bed. Close your eyes and go to sleep.
X: I have a really hard time closing my eyes. I'm not very good at that.
Me: Sure you are. Just close your eyes. Watch me.
X: (sigh) No, I'm just really not very good at that.

X: Do you like the way my face is made?

Daddy: You're so tired, Xander.
X: I am not so tired! I'm exhausted!
Me: Do you know what exhausted means, Xander?
X: What?
Daddy & I together: So tired!!

X: Do my teeth look white?
Me: Weellll...we need to brush them.
X: (after a moment of thought) Are they rotten?

X:I have an issue with my throat.
Me. What's the issue?
X: It has a bloob in it.
Me: What's a bloob?
X: A blood infection that makes me not feel very good.

X: Make sure not to lay on my pillow cuz it'll make your hair be crazy.

Me to Xander: Why do you have such a cute little nose?
X: Because God made me. And that's the way He made me...with a cute nose.

X: I want to be a chef when I grow up.
Daddy: Cool! I like to cook.
X: Yeah, me too.
Daddy: Can I cook with you sometime?
Mommy (with a mischievous grin): Hey Xander, tell Daddy he can be your sous chef.
Xander: Daddy, you can be my shoe chef.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Learning myself

I feel like I've really been learning a lot about myself lately.

Last week I met with the Waumba leadership team. Whitney gave us each a book, Strengths Finder by Tom Rath, and asked if we would take the test to find our strengths. The idea is that this will help us work together, help each other, and work to our full potential by using our strengths, thus making us an efficient and stronger team.

I took the test and here are my results:

1. Input - basically means I'm curious and I like to know stuff.

2. Developer - I see the potential in others and I'm drawn to people for this very reason.

3. Connectedness - Things happen for a reason. We are part of something larger than ourselves.

4. Learner - I love to learn. The process is more important than the outcome.

5. Empathy - I can sense the emotions of those around me. I can feel what they are feeling as though their feelings are my own.

For some reason I feel like I just put my weight up's so personal. Ha! I had to do some reading and digging to see how accurate I thought they were. Turns out they're pretty spot on!

I never really thought of myself as being such a nerd! Ha! Well, I did, but now I have proof. I know that I can start researching something on the internet and go down little rabbit trails until I look up and it's been three hours and I'm so far from my original reason from researching in the first place. I'm that person who, when someone asks a question, is pulling my phone out to look it up. I work at a library, for goodness' sake!! :) I love people and tend to have a "Pollyanna-esque" outlook on life. I certainly sense emotions and very much feel people's pain (or joy or anxiety or passion or frustrations).

I've always enjoyed taking personality tests and similar tests, but this was different than those. It's good to know my strengths in every area of my life (work, home, church, etc.) so that I can use those strengths and be intentional with the work I do. It's good to know and understand weaknesses, but knowing your strengths will really help you get somewhere.


In other news, this is something else I've been pondering and meditating on over the last few weeks:

I'm special and I'm chosen. 

But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.
2 Thessalonians 2:13

The Lord has chosen you to be His treasured possession. Deuteronomy 14:12

God chose you, too. I want those words to speak to you for a minute. Like a good friend. A confidante. Let those words ring true in your heart as you meditate on this amazing truth.
God chose you.
You are redeemed.
You are His.


I realized just the other day how much I truly do need and enjoy having women in my life with whom I can connect. I've had quite a few opportunities lately to hang with some ladies that I truly enjoy being with. I admire them, respect them and appreciate their friendship.
I am so thankful for friends.

Old friends.
New friends.
Work friends.
Church friends.
And those few friends who cross-over all boundaries into my everyday friends.
There aren't many of those, you know?

I've just been learning myself all over the place lately. :)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday Favorites

A great article of encouragement for all those moms out there who sometimes feel like the work they do is mundane or unimportant.

An acquaintance of mine from college started a new blog. Claire was the Resident Director of Humes Hall at UT and hired me to be a Resident Assistant my junior year. She also majored in deaf education, so we had a lot in common at the time. She was recently diagnosed with colon cancer. She's decided to keep an account of her experience. Check out her blog - and say prayers for her!

This lady makes me laugh. I hope you find enjoyment from her blog posts, as I do. Plus, I'm planning to use some of her writing prompts from her Writer's Workshop. Should make for some fun blog posts in the future!

Staggering information on the gap between rich and poor kids and their vocabulary skills. An excerpt from the article: "a seminal study in 1995 found that children whose families were on welfare heard on average 616 words per hour, while children from wealthier families heard 2,153 words per hour." Wow. Makes me feel very validated in the work I do through the library...and at home.

I've been doing some research lately on healthy eating and I ran across this article about gluten. Good information to have and know, I think. I will certainly not be going gluten-free anytime soon, unless my health changes and I need to, of course.

Along the eating healthy lines, I checked out The 17 Day Diet by Mike Moreno. He has some good tips and advice on how to lose weight and keep it off. I plan to look further into it.

Our IQs are getting higher, but "talent is universal and opportunity is not." An interesting article about this smart world we live in. Let's not forget to give others some opportunity, too.

I know I reference Tasha Via on here a lot. I just love reading her blog and hearing her stories and being encouraged by her words of wisdom and insight. This post that she wrote recently really hit home to me. Let us be encouraging with our words and not bring people down!

Precious wisdom and advice from a dad to moms on raising boys.

The birthday boy

Guess who turned 4 last Sunday?? This guy!!

We had a great time. Ten kids under the age of 4. Xander's cousins, Kaitlyn and Patrick, who are 7 and (almost) 9. Four grandparents, an aunt and a handful of other parents.
Frozen yogurt.
Face painting.
A special visitor.
It was a fantastic experience. :)
If there's a Menchie's in your area, I highly recommend it.

"Face" painting turned into arm painting for the boys.

Partying will wear a girl out. :)