Thursday, August 29, 2013

Kaitlyn & Patrick

I'm so proud of my niece and nephew! They started 2nd and 4th grades this year.
I'm praying for a great year for both of them where they learn new things, make new friends, enjoy old friends, make good choices and most importantly, where they experience more of the love of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The other day when we were playing outside, we found a bush covered in caterpillars. They were very intriguing to me, so I looked them up. I work at a library. It's what I do. :)
Here are some pictures of my kids holding and looking at a Black Swallowtail caterpillar. I saw at least two chrysalides (this is the plural of chrysalis...I had to look it up. You can listen to the pronunciation here) so I'm sure we'll see some black swallowtails flying around here in a few days!

For the record, I was the one who plucked this caterpillar off the bush and held it for my children. It crawled all over my hands and theirs, too. My husband would not touch it. I thought that was funny.

*No caterpillars were harmed in the making of this blog post.

Kids update

This is Amelia Jayne wearing a pair of Xander's boxer briefs that she put on all by herself. Because she needed to "do it, too."

Amelia Jayne
It's been too long since I've written about my little princess. (There's a lady at work that asks me every time I see her -"How's the little princess?" It's fitting.)

Oh my goodness how can I describe her?
She is beautiful and funny and charming and full of life and passionate and determined and sweet and loving and a joy to be around.

She will not be left behind. She is very determined to do the same things her brother does. For that reason, I often feel like she is much older than she actually is. She's very brave and tries new things all the time. Contrasted with her brother who is very cautious and needs to observe new things.

This girl loves her brother. She always has, but he truly is her world! She follows him everywhere. She needs to do (and eat and go and be) the same things that he is. Oh my goodness. Their love is strong. It's a beautiful thing.

They've started playing so much more together these days. They pretend together, laugh together and squabble together. Xander mimics her baby talk. Amelia Jayne climbs and jumps and carries out silly antics just like he does. It's cute and endearing and annoying and pure love all at once.

She talks all the time. She went from barely saying any words to speaking full-on sentences. It's hilarious. Xander is such a talker that I didn't know if there would be room for her little voice once she started talking. Room or not, she also needs to be heard. I often hear, "I want that, too," "I need that, too," or "I do that, too." Almost every one of her sentences ends in "too."

She knows lots of colors and I just love asking her about them when we're reading because in her little language...well, it's so darn adorable!
peent = pink
geen = green
boo = blue
urnj = orange
poopul = purple
lellow = yellow
She knows most of her animals and their sounds. The way she says "meow" and "ribbit" still melt my heart. :)

She named her blanket. I thought we were going to get rid of it, but instead she named it - Nonny. I guess that disgusting little pink-starred blanket will be with us for the long-haul. Who am I kidding? Despite the smell and the dirt and the grossness that is my child sucking on a blanket that is smelly and dirty and gross, I will miss that little Nonny one day. So today I will cherish her Nonny almost as much as she does.
And I will wash it.
Now that we have a front load washer and dryer, AJ stands in front of them and cries and calls out for her Nonny. Sometimes I can distract her, other times she is determined to stand there and pine after her beloved. Luckily there is a "speed wash" that gets it done in 15 minutes, so her pining is minimal. And on an even more positive note, Xander now helps me transfer the clothes. He's become quite the helper. See the "Xander" section below. :)

She loves to sing and dance. One of my favorite things right now is putting her down for bed. I'll rock her and start singing a song. She'll shake her head "no" and say "uh uh" until I get to a song that she wants. Then she'll lay her head down on my chest and snuggle with me while I sing. Be still my heart.

She is so spirited and fun-loving. I enjoy her addition to our family more and more each day.

Xander has become quite the little helper. At four and a half, I can ask him to do lots of things and he complies. He cleans his place after meals. He puts leftovers in the fridge. He can get his own water (and milk, if it's already poured, sitting in the fridge) and can get snacks out of the pantry. He straightens his room, vacuums and dusts. The other day he even helped me load the dishwasher and wipe down the table. He picks out his own clothes, dresses himself, and does his potty business by himself. He can even wash in the bath and brush his own teeth (though I still help him do both of those things, per doctor and dentist's recommendations). And as mentioned above, he thoroughly enjoys helping me switch the loads of laundry over.

He continues to be very responsible and helpful, especially where Amelia Jayne is concerned. The other day the three of us were in the car when Xander said, "Mommy! Pull over right now!" When I asked why in the world we needed to do that, he proceeded to tell me that Amelia Jayne had unbuckled her seat belt and that she was being dangerous. He was very adamant that we needed to be safe and that Amelia Jayne would not be safe until we pulled the car over and fixed her seat belt.
He also cried the other night when it was very late and I told him to go directly to bed, "But Mommy, we forgot to brush our teeth. We NEED to brush our teeth!" Haha! What kid says that?!?

He's mostly given up naps. He plays quietly in his room most afternoons and will occasionally take an hour or so nap, but that's very rare these days.

He can ride his bicycle with training wheels, though his tendency for caution keeps him from gaining a whole lot of skill in this area. In fact, since the move I haven't been able to find his helmet, and, well, we just cannot ride a bicycle without a helmet. Per Xander's orders, "It's dangerous."

My boy starts real preschool this year. It's such a bittersweet time for me. I'm so happy that he's such a well-adjusted, self-sufficient, smart little boy, yet I also want to hold on to him as a little guy. I cherish those rare naps when I can lay with him and hold him, knowing that they're numbered. He often asks me, "Mommy, am I your baby?" And my reply is consistently, "You'll always be my baby."

I love his squeezy hugs and his desire to be close to me. And though I complain about it at times, I love that he still chooses me to lay with him at night even though I've been with him all day. And I love that he still "needs" me...he still often says this, though it's becoming less and less of a daily occurrence. He has such a sweet heart and an old soul.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

30 Days of Blogging: Day Eight

Day 8: What are 3 passions you have?

Definition of passion (n)

Bing Dictionary
 [ pásh'n ]   

  1. intense emotion: intense or overpowering emotion such as love, joy, hatred, or anger
  2. strong sexual desire: strong sexual desire and excitement
  3. intense enthusiasm: a strong liking or enthusiasm for a subject or activity
Synonyms: fervor, ardor, obsession, infatuation, excitement, enthusiasm, zeal, craze, delight, fervidness, emotion, fervency

1) My family.
Y'all, I can't even begin to tell you how much I love those two little people who call me "Mommy."
And that husband of mine? He's a keeper for sure. (See definition #2 :))
I'm incredibly blessed by my family - both immediate and extended. I am incredibly thankful for these people and would give anything for them.

(Check out the series "Future Family" and let me know what you think. I've only listened to the first two sermons, but I'm definitely hooked.)

2) Women and children who are hurt, suffering, poor and abused.
Lately, I have become especially soft-hearted toward this population who are often oppressed, victimized, and unable to leave their situations. At work I see many children who cannot afford food, much less books (which is the whole reason I'm there). They may not get the things that all children need - love, care and attention. I hate to see women and children who have been victims of human trafficking and sex crimes. I pray for them often.
Read this article.
Check out this site to support survivors of sex trafficking.
Consider sponsoring a child through Compassion International or another agency.
Consider supporting the artisans of JOYN India.
There are so many ways to help. Please consider helping in a small way.

3) Jesus
I know the proverbial answer for a Christian woman is - "Jesus."

And that's going to be the final and greatest passion that I reveal here.

I'm not just a "Christian" but a disciple of Jesus Christ.
(Check out the series "Christian" by Andy Stanley - it might just change your life. Absolutely fantastic.)
My desire is to follow Him, no matter where He might lead;
worship Him, no matter what the circumstances;
reveal His glory, no matter what the cost.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Beach Trip 2013

So it took my littlest bundle about 5 days to warm up to her Texas family. And then we left 2 days later. Her cousins wanted so badly to play with her, but it just took her a little while to get to that point. She had the fortune to spend some extra time with all the kids since they stayed with Mimi an extra week on either end of the beach trip. She now has names for almost all the kids.
She's been saying her version of Kaitlyn and Patrick for a couple of months now.
Kaitlyn - Kate Kate
Patrick - Pat Pat
Ryder - Ry Ry
(Notice a pattern here? She also has Mimi and Papa and Nay-Nay, etc.)
Carson tried to get her to call him CC. She never did say his name.
Kennedy - Ken-D
Cole - Cole
Dalton - D
Xander had a great time. This was the first year that he was really able to play well with his cousins. Ryder, who is 13, just loves Xander. They played a lot. He is so good with Xander. It brought tears to my eyes watching the two of them play. I mean, what 13-year old boy wants to play with a 4-year old?? Be still my heart. He's going to make a great husband and father one day.
Xander had lots of fun in the water and on the beach this year. He jumped waves and tried to ride them. He swam with goggles and started swimming underwater for the first time. He even swam underwater without his floaties! He's come a long way in the past year.

The kids had a karaoke night and Amelia Jayne wanted to be involved. We all tried to get her to sing, but as soon as we all started singing "Twinkle Twinkle" she burst into tears. Not sure if she didn't like the help or the attention. Or maybe she was just tired and fed up with everyone by then. :)

Aunt Jill learned one of AJ's favorite things - dice. This made them both very happy.

She finally stopped looking at Sean like he had a third eye. She was very wary of him for the first few girl.
I love Aunt Rob in the background. :)

This little waterbug really started loving the water during this trip! She's always hated being splashed or going under prior to our beach trip, but since then she's been fine with it! She's still somewhat sensitive about getting water in her eyes, but overall she loves it...and asks for the "poo" on a daily basis. :)
A sweet trip to Sweet Frog. Always a hit with the kiddos...and adults. :)

One of the highlights of Xander's trip was putt-putting. Aunt B was kind enough to keep Amelia Jayne so we didn't have to chase her all over the course. With clubs. :)

Of course my social daughter and niece would make new friends. :)

Aunt B is so good with the kiddos. They love her!

Goodbye, beach! Until next year.

Look what I found...

I heard the kids playing upstairs while I was on the phone with my mom. Amelia Jayne wasn't awake when I called my mom, but I soon heard her chatting and singing over the monitor. Xander heard it too and went upstairs to "entertain her" until I could make my way up there. Apparently this is what he meant by that - put every stuffed animal possible inside her crib and then climb inside and act silly to make her laugh.

Oh my goodness how they love each other!

*Notice her pajamas - one of Xander's old t-shirts with Curious George on it. Her new favorite pajamas are Xander's old t-shirts!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

30 Days of Blogging: Day Seven

Day 7: What is your dream job, and why?

I'm too inconsistent, have too many interests and am too spacy to have only one job that I dream about. I did find it interesting thinking back through the different jobs I've had over the years. When I was really little (around 3 or 4) and you asked me what I wanted to be I would say, "A mom."
My standard response circa 1991 was, "I want to work in my Mom's store when I turn 16, and then in a video store during colelge, then I want to be a teacher and a mom and maybe when I get old I'll be a librarian."
No joke! Ha!

I had great ambitions, right?!
My mom's store...they retired that business about 20 years ago. Long before I was old enough to get paid for working.
Netflix and Hulu and the like have all but made video rental stores disappear.

{As a random aside: Did you know that my mom and my mother-in-law ran a business together? They had a store called Especially For You where they sold gift baskets full of goodies that you could pick out personally. My mom would put the baskets together and make 'em look purty. She also did the window displays and the product displays in the store. My MIL did more of the business end.
They're best friends, ran a business together, share much of the same family now, go on vacations together, have two of the same grandchildren, and are still best friends. I don't know about y'all, but that's very impressive to me, folks.}

My first official job was as a Resident Assistant at UT.
I babysat when I was a teenager and young adult.
I worked as a camp counselor at some summer day camps.
I was a deaf educator.
I worked as a FitLinxx instructor at the YMCA.
I am a mom (in which ALL of my previous skills come in handy).
Hopefully I'm not considered too old, but I now work in a library.

Anyway, the next goal I have in life, career-wise, is to go back to school to be a speech pathologist. I should've made that my major in college. While at SFA my minor was speech pathology. I have over 18 hours of speech pathology classes on my transcipt. I loved those courses and did very well in them. I'm not exactly sure how this is going to pan out. I don't have a time frame or anything planned, but I'm pretty sure that's what I want to do next.

Either that or I want to be a Christian counselor.

Or a chef.

Or a taste tester.
Is that a real job?

I think your dream job is anything you can do that doesn't feel like "work" but is something you get to do. My current jobs are a bit like that. There are days when the library and mommyhood definitely feel like "work" but there are other days when I wake up excited for the day's adventures and I couldn't imagine doing anything else but what I'm doing right now.