Friday, May 30, 2014

Preschool days

I was feeling nostalgic and wanted to see how my babies have grown over the years… :)

Around the first day of school for Xander - September 2011

Around the first day of school for Amelia Jayne - January 2012

Last day of school May 2012

First day of school September 2012

Last day of school May 2013

First day of school September 2013

Last day of school May 2014
And something else I learned while looking through these pictures:
I like to dress my son in blue!!

Last day of school

Xander and Amelia Jayne had their last day of preschool last week. It was bittersweet. Of course, my Xander-boo is going to kindergarten in the fall, so his preschool graduation was the end of an era. But Amelia Jayne will not be going back to this preschool in the fall. It was a difficult decision for us because we love that preschool very much. However, with the times that they offer, it's just not enough for me to get my hours in at work and allow David to get home at a decent time in the evening. So, though it is hard to say goodbye to preschool and hello to kindergarten, it is also difficult to say goodbye to a preschool we have loved over the years. I entrusted my kids to some amazing people and was beyond thrilled with the care, love and knowledge they received.

I am happy to say that we have found another daycare for Amelia Jayne. One that I know and trust. It will be exciting to see her bloom while she's with Mrs. Joy.
First Day 2014

Last Day 2014


This transition into summer thing is hard. I don't like it. This is the third year in a row that we've done it (Xander started preschool in 2011) and it's the third year that I have struggled. Partly because trying to figure out summer schedules (read: babysitters) is trying for me, and because our fairly consistent routine is completely thrown off. If I ever wondered where Xander's need for routine and stability came from I just need to look in a mirror.

I looked back over the past few years and was surprised to find that I haven't blogged about this before.  I'd like to say it's easier this year, but I don't know about that. I guess it's been a tad bit easier since I am aware of my own difficulties transitioning and anticipate the changes in my kids' moods, behaviors and attitudes. But that certainly doesn't make it fun.

Once summer fully starts things will calm down a bit. I'm excited to have our teenage neighbor, who babysits for us regularly, start coming three days a week to hang with the kiddos. Hopefully the kids will have some time with Mimi and Grandma (which the kids absolutely miss when they don't have it), and with the few beach/lake/grandparent trips we have planned, we'll enjoy this summer.

That's my goal this year. I want to enjoy my kids and the time I have with them. I want to love them the best I can. And I want to give all my anxieties to the One who will take care of me.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Swim lessons

Xander finishes up swim lessons today. We'll probably sign up for another round later in the summer, but we'll be gone for two weeks in June, so it didn't make sense to sign him up again now. He has LOVED it!

Amelia Jayne and I giving Xander "thumbs-up"

AJ didn't go swimming - she's that sweaty!

The sweetest of looks...

Moments in May

I had the privilege of joining Xander on his school field trip to ImaginOn (my stomping grounds) to see the play "The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark." He and I had read the story beforehand (one of our first chapter books) so it was fun for us to see the play together.
The Children's Theater of Charlotte did a great job with this production! All the kids and adults who went on the field trip enjoyed it immensely!

One day I walked into the living room to see that Amelia Jayne had found a pack of her stickers. There were over 50 stickers (see pic below) in the book and I'm pretty sure every single one of them made their way to her body! :)

 Another trip to Discovery Place Kids. I'm sure we'll go many times this summer!

The kids and I went to visit Granddaddy and Nana a couple of weeks ago. Xander had a great time flying the plane! Granddaddy is so much fun and just made Xander's day when he let him take control of the wheel.

 A fun treat one evening when Daddy had to work late. Frozen yogurt makes everyone happy!

Amelia Jayne came running downstairs the other day decked out in her play clothes. But she insisted on keeping her glasses on for most of the morning. She said she wanted to be like mommy. :)


Amelia Jayne has gotten in trouble a lot recently at school for pushing and hitting. After a few days of picking her up from school and learning that she had been doing these things, I talked to her teacher. I asked if something or someone was provoking the pushing or if she was doing it maliciously. The teacher assured me that she was not doing it maliciously and that there were three of them in the class who push and hit each other. Two boys have a tendency to get in Amelia Jayne's space, so she pushes them away. They've learned how to push her buttons and now do it to aggravate her often. The teacher had said she is learning to remove herself from the situation when they're in her space, for which I am very proud of her. But there are also many days that she is provoking it or joining in.

Before I knew anything about why Amelia Jayne was pushing, I had a conversation with her. It went something like this:

Me: Amelia Jayne, we don't push or hit our friends. We need to learn to use our words instead of our hands when we're angry or frustrated. If you don't like something, tell the other children or tell your teacher, but don't push or hit. Remember our Bible verse?
AJ: 17:17
Xander: No, it's "A friend loves at all times." Proverbs 17:17.
Me: Yes, and are we loving our friends if we push them?
Both: Nooo.
Me: That's right. We're not loving our friends if we're pushing them. And because Jesus lives in our hearts, when we push our friends it's like we're pushing God or Jesus.
AJ: I not push my friends anymo. I NOT push God!

This girl cracks me up! But unfortunately it hasn't kept her from pushing...

On that note, I hesitate to keep her from defending herself. I'm actually pretty proud that she stands up for herself! She can certainly hold her own and I don't want to squash that, yet I also want her to be kind to her friends and talk it out instead of resorting to violence. I know she's only two, but still. If you have any experience or advice with this, do share!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mother's Day weekend

My family and I went to Johnson City for the weekend. Mainly, we wanted to be with David's mom since this was her first Mother's Day without her own mom. It was a nice weekend in a lot of ways and a hard one, too. The family was going through Gigi's house, cleaning and taking out items that are precious to us. They're going to have an estate sale in a few weeks, so wanted to make sure family had a chance to claim the items that hold memories and love.

It was nice to visit with everyone and to see how much the kids have grown. You can see that my kids are giants compared to the others!! Of course, they're older, so there's that. And that sweet Avery is a tiny little thing!!
From left to right:
Ethan (16 months), Amelia Jayne (2 years 6 months), Xander (5 years 2 months), Avery (13 months), and Emory (18 months).
So fun!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Holly Wobby

I LOVE the way preschoolers talk. I love how honest they are and their pronunciations of things.
Here's a conversation we had in my car the other day:

Me: Hey guys, we're going to Hobby Lobby and I need you to listen and behave while we're there.
AJ: Okay, Mommy.
X: What's Hobby Lobby?
Me: It's a store where we're going to pick up some crafty things to make for your teachers for teacher appreciation week.
AJ: What Holly Wobby?
X: What did you say?
AJ: Holly Wobby.
Giggling ensues from both me and Xander.
X: Holly Bobby?
AJ: No, Holly Wobby.
Me: Hobby Dobby?
X: Hobby Dolly?
AJ: No! Holly Wobby!
etc., etc.

You get the idea. We had so much fun laughing and playing with the words. Sometimes Amelia Jayne gets frustrated when we don't understand her. On this occasion, she giggled along with us and made up new words, too.

Xander was always so articulate that I didn't have much trouble understanding him. Amelia Jayne is so different. She has difficulty with a lot of words, but the good thing is that she continues to try them out. It certainly doesn't keep her from talking!!

Oh, and her new thing is "okay."

"Mommy, I need some mo strawbewwies, okay?"
"I go over der and get my baby. You stay right der, okay?"

And if I don't hear her (or don't respond) it becomes, "Okay, Mommy? Okay? Okay?"


Mother's Day 2014 - Legacies continued

Do you remember this interview from last year? I treasure the words that my mother gave me when I asked her these questions, so I decided I wanted my kids to have this knowledge about themselves and about me. I love the idea of passing down information from generation to generation. Now my children can know more about their Mimi and their mother, which in turn will help them know and understand themselves. Some of the questions were difficult for me to answer since my own children are still so young, however, I answered them as honestly as I can at this stage of life. I hope to come back to it in a few years to see how things have changed.

How has motherhood changed you?

Although my kids are still very tiny, I have to say that motherhood has opened my eyes to the world. I’m less selfish (and more selfish at the same time- I know, confusing to me, too), more worried, and more fulfilled than ever before. I want to do more for others, because I can’t imagine what it must be like to have to do without. I want to help single mothers because the thought of having to do all of this on my own is terrifying. I want to help young, helpless children because it’s only by God’s grace that mine aren’t among those. I never knew love so strong before I had children. I’ve loved many people, but there’s something different about the love you have for your own children. It has opened my eyes to God’s love in a whole new way.

What ages were your favorites?

I mean, let’s be honest. I haven’t lived through many ages of my own children yet. I can tell you that four is NOT my favorite. I love my son, but his whininess and persistence made me weary at times. He's really starting to outgrow some of that. Thank you five. But what's that I hear? Amelia Jayne still has to be four? Pray for me.
I do love babies and I even love toddlerhood. And though 4 isn’t my favorite, I’m sure I’ll look back with many fond memories and thoughts of him at that age. Like the cute things he says, the sweet hugs and kisses he freely distributes, and his amazing ability to focus (which I would dare say most 4 year olds do NOT have).
Do you miss having kids in the house?
Not Applicable at this time...can I be honest and say that sometimes I wish they weren't in the house? Ha!

What was the most difficult part of being a mom for you?

Again, these aren’t really fair questions since I’m just not that far into this thing. However, I will say that the hardest part of being a mom of preschoolers is feeling like I’m a failure 90% of the time. Children are unpredictable. I’ve never been a mom before and my 5 years experience has certainly not made me an expert. I have to continue to remind myself that I’m doing the best I can. I love my kids and I want what’s best for them which is why I’m so hard on myself to be the best mom I can be for them.

What was the most rewarding part?

The most rewarding part of being the parent of a preschooler is seeing the innocence and amazement in their eyes. They’re still so little and everything is new and exciting to them. I love teaching them something or watching them experience something for the first time. Oftentimes it’s not just the first time, either. Children are so beautiful in that they can do things over and over, and many times the excitement never fades. I also love to see the abilities that God has given them emerge right before my eyes. I can see that Xander is focused and intent on details. I love Amelia Jayne’s spirit and energy. I can tell that God has great plans for them because he’s given these gifts. I’m continuing to see their gifts and purpose bloom right in front of me. It’s a miracle and a blessing.

Tell me the story of my birth.

Oh, Xander. Your birth was a bit complicated. You were 5 days late, so my doctor decided to induce labor. Daddy and I woke up at 4:30 in the morning on Monday, February 23rd to get to the hospital before 6. Once there, they hooked me up to monitors and tubes and wires. The contractions were very small and inconsistent. I was anxious to get this show on the road, but I was so thankful to have Daddy, Mimi, and Erin there to visit with me. Around 9am, Dr. Ward came in and broke my water which caused the labor to intensify. Around noon I got an epidural which seemed to slow labor down again. Grandma arrived and the group of us all just sat around and visited. Granddaddy, Nana, and Papa all came to visit, too. As the contractions got worse, everyone left except Daddy, Mimi and Erin. I was so glad to have them there. I’ll leave out some of the details, but after many hours of intense labor, back labor, an epidural that didn’t work right, and an hour of pushing, the doctor came in and told me that I could continue to push, but that it didn’t look like my little baby’s head was going to crown. They asked if I’d like to do a c-section. I was terrified. I didn’t know what to do or what to say. The doctor recommended I do a c-section, so I decided to go with her advice. I remember Daddy leaving to prep for surgery and I remember being scared to death. As they wheeled me out of the room toward surgery, I remember asking Mimi to pray for me. Once in the operating room, I remember Daddy coming in all decked out in his surgical costume. I was completely out of it. They kept asking me questions about my epidural and I remember continuing to tell them that I didn’t think it was working right, so they gave me more drugs which made me pretty loopy. You were born at 3:10am on February 24th. I remember hearing your first cry and asking Daddy if that was our little boy. They quickly handed you to Daddy who immediately brought you over to me so that I could look into your face. Then Daddy took you to the nurses to get you cleaned up. Apparently I was exhausted because Daddy said I fell asleep and snored through the rest of the procedure. Once they wheeled me into recovery I got to hold you for the first time. It was a beautiful moment. It was just you, me and Daddy. We tried nursing but you weren’t very interested, so we just snuggled together. You were so sweet and little. We had an hour in recovery all to ourselves. Then Daddy took you out just before me to introduce you to your family. By the time we got back to our room it was around 5am. We were all exhausted so we slept for a couple of hours. They brought you back to me around 7 or 8 to nurse again. And I remember looking at your little bruised head and thinking how thankful I was that I didn’t continue to try pushing! But overall, it didn’t matter how you got here, just that you were here. And I was so thankful for the little boy lying in my arms.

Amelia Jayne-
Your birth was a breeze compared to your brother’s! Since I’d had him by c-section I decided to do the same for you. (I didn’t want to go through the same experience of many hours of labor just to end up with another c-section!) Again, Daddy and I got up very early on the morning of October 24, 2011. We drove to the hospital and they hooked me up to some monitors where we sat in a room for about an hour. Then they prepped me for surgery and Daddy donned his surgical costume again. Dr. Ward walked with us to the “holding room” where we waited for about 15 minutes. We were so nervous, yet soooo excited to meet you. They wheeled me into the operating room where Dr. Ward held my hand while I got the epidural. It really wasn’t that bad. Then Daddy came in and they started the process. I was wide awake, lucid and not pumped full of so many drugs that I didn’t know what was going on. I was thankful for that. We joked with the anesthesiologist and nurses and doctors. It was a happy atmosphere; a very different experience from my previous one. The surgery was scheduled for 7:15am and you were born at 7:27am. Once you were born they handed you to Daddy who, just like he did with Xander, held you up in front of me so I could see you. I remember looking into your eyes and seeing your beautiful face. I was in love. Daddy and the nurses took you to clean you up while the doctors finished up with me. I was so anxious for them to finish so I could hold you in my arms! Then they wheeled me into the recovery room where I got to hold you for the first time. You nursed right away and you were so sweet, right from the beginning. Your Daddy and I just sat there looking at each other and looking at you. They wheeled us to our room after about 30 minutes and we sat and stared at you. About an hour later Mimi and Erin came to visit. You had lots of visitors on that first day - Papa, Grandma, Grandpa, Granddaddy, Nana. Even Kaitlyn, Patrick and Nathan came up that evening. Aunt B came. Grandma and Grandpa brought Xander to meet you. It was very sweet to see him look at you and hold you. I felt so good after my surgery that I was able to get up and move around by that afternoon. I was so happy to feel good and to have a happy, healthy baby girl. I just loved to hold you and look into your eyes. From the very first time I looked into your eyes, there was a connection. It was like I’d known you forever.

How did you choose my name?
(Check out this post from a few years ago.)

Xander – I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit this, but Daddy and I first heard the name on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. We both loved the name - Xander, short for Alexander. I love the meanings of names. Alexander is such a strong name. It means “defender of mankind.” That struck a chord with me. I wanted my son to be a defender of people. And the middle name David was an obvious choice. I knew if I was going to have a son that I would name him after his Daddy. He’s such a humble, gentle and loving man that I would be so proud to call my son by his father’s name. Daddy and I never argued about this name. We both just agreed. It was meant to be. J
And I love that your name means Beloved, Defender of Mankind.

Amelia Jayne – it’s kind of funny because we had a girl’s name picked out if Xander was a girl – Grace Elizabeth. Grace after me and Elizabeth because we liked it – it means God is my oath. However, when we found out we were having a girl this time around, somehow the name didn’t seem to fit anymore. I couldn’t really understand why I wanted a different name until the name came to me. One day I looked at David and said, “What would you think about naming the baby after our moms? What about Amelia Jayne?” He loved it. His only concern was if my mom would be upset that she got the middle name. I told him I didn’t think it would matter because I loved the idea of a double name. I still continue to call you Amelia Jayne, as do most people around us. Some family and friends shorten your name to Amelia or AJ. Keira even calls you Jayne. But somehow I think you’ll always be Amelia Jayne to me. I was thrilled when we decided to go with this name. I was elated to name my daughter after two of the most wonderful, caring, loving and amazing women I know. Your name means Industrious, God is gracious.

Thursday, May 1, 2014


You know the game telephone? Where one person whispers something to another person who has to pass it down until it gets to the end of the line, then the one at the end repeats what was said? And it rarely comes out exactly like the beginning statement.

The other day I was reminded of this game. I was sitting in the office at the computer and the kids were playing in the living room. Amelia Jayne would run back and forth between the two rooms.
At one point I heard Xander say, "Tell mommy that I want her to come see the picture I drew."
Amelia Jayne ran as hard as she could to me and said, "Mommy, Xenon want you to come watch TV with him."
I asked her if she was sure that's what he said so she ran back to the living room. "What you say Xenon?"
"Please tell Mommy I want her to come here and see my picture."
After running back to me full-speed (this girl doesn't know anything except full-speed) she says, "Xenon want you to get him some food."
Hmmm...I think she might have been changing his words up a bit! And using him as an excuse to get something she wanted. Haha!