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!!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Soccer and a life lesson

Xander started soccer last week. I got information about games this week, so I sent an email to grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins...ya know - everyone we know who might possibly want to come see my kid play soccer.

This is part of the email I sent out:
"He is LOVING practice!!! We just need to work on kicking the ball in the right direction, not stealing from teammates and not cowering when the ball comes his way.
Can't wait for the game. :)"

I was basically being snarky, because I can just imagine what this first game is going to be like. However, my mom immediately replied saying, "What a great life lesson, right? We could all learn from this - kick the ball in the right direction, don't steal the ball from the kids on your own team, and don't shy away when the ball comes at you."

I pondered this for days after she said it. My mom. She's so insightful and awesome. :)

And she's right.

How often do I go in the completely wrong direction? I get so caught up in "playing" that I don't always think to look where I'm going. Looking to the future and having a goal (pun possibly intended) will help me plan the here and now more accurately and intentionally.

Or what about when I want to be recognized or have my turn with "the ball?" Why not just take over and take control of something that isn't even meant for me? Just bully my way in to get it done. Sometimes it's so much easier to do it myself than to work with teammates, but we all have teammates we must learn to work with, whether it be family, co-workers, church family or neighbors. We have to be considerate of them. And who knows? They may just be better suited for that job than we are at the moment.

And finally, let's be brave. The ball is gonna come at you sometimes. Don't shy away - stand up and give it a header if you have to. :)

Man, who knew I could learn so much from soccer. :)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

For your Thursday

I LOVE fall! Here are some great ideas for things to do this fall. I know we'll be doing lots of them at our house!

If you've ever listened to Andy Stanley before, you'll appreciate this video. I seriously laughed out loud. :)

Mecklenburg County is doing a challenge with their employees right now called "Live Healthy." My department has decided to take part in this - and they've named me the Captain! Ha! The goals are to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night, eat your veggies and fruits, keep stress low, drink 64 oz of water and do at least 20 minutes of exercise per day. I'm doing okay on most of them - just need to up my sleep and get more consistent exercise. They send out great articles and tips weekly. Here's the one from this week - a great resource for how to store your produce.

I'm back to drinking lemon water every morning again. There are so many benefits...and I can totally feel them!

This blog is so inspiring. I haven't delved as deeply as I plan to, but what I've read so far is great.

Oh my goodness. My aunt Karen told me about this amazing blog, Brain Pickings. My words will fail me if I even try to explain this site to you. Just go check it out. There is so much information there that I think my brain might explode!

As someone who reads to kids for my job, I heartily agree with this article. I can totally see the differences in the kids I read to + my own kids when I made these changes. It's much harder to point out the text to a large group of kids, but if you're one-on-one or in a small group, or the text is very large with few words to the page, this is the way to go.

I made this for my mom and sister for Mother's Day (which I am well aware was over 4 months ago, but I never shared the idea - and I think it's worth it!). It turned out so cute! My sister had been wanting a succulent garden and this just seemed right up her alley. I decided my mom would probably love one, too. Here's another option if you liked the other.

I still love those silly quizzes...and this one is no exception. Plus, I liked the outcome - that's so me! :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Circles, not rows

Ridge church has a saying, "We do life better in circles, not rows." What they mean by that is that, sure you can come to service on a Sunday morning and sit in a row and learn about Jesus, but if you really want to live life with people and see Jesus lived out through other people's lives then it's better to be in a connection group.
David and I went to Grouplink Sunday night which is where you meet people who will potentially be in your group. We had a very promising experience. I'm excited to start up next week.
I've made some really great friends through small group. I am so excited that some of my closest friends are in this small group, too.
I have so many prayers going into this group. I pray for God to grow authentic relationships where He is glorified and we gain better and more significant understanding of who He is. I pray that my kids will see that their dad and I make getting together with other couples a priority - and that we do it together as a couple. I pray that our lives, as well as others in the group, are changed for the better. I hope we can all share our burdens, our excitement, our struggles and our joys with one another.
This is gonna be a great year!

Bonus: Erin, the kids' favorite babysitter (who lives just down the road!), will be watching the kids each week while we attend group. I'm so thankful for her!! God has provided so many wonderful things through this girl!

Monday, September 15, 2014


I have really come to love Mondays.
They're almost my favorite day now (besides Saturdays when Daddy's home and we can be together as a family).
Amelia Jayne and I spend Mondays together. I signed her up for dance lessons (a simple Mommy & Me dance, nothing too stressful) that meet on Mondays, so we went to the Y this morning. After dance my dear friend, Crystal, brought her kids to child watch and I left AJ there with them while Crystal and I walked and talked. We got about 2.5 miles in while we were talking - two things I really enjoy: visiting with friends and getting something done (in this case exercise). And it was SO beautiful outside that we used the outdoor track. Fall is almost here, my friends. :)
AJ and I watched Sophia the First while we ate lunch. I had leftovers from my date with David last night, she had string cheese and an apple. I'm thinking I should go on her diet! Ha!
She's so funny because she never lets me get away with reading a book or looking at my phone when we have alone time together. She'll look at me and say, "You wanna watch with me?" Which is her sweet way of telling me to put aside my distractions and really spend time with her. I can never pass up that requested time.
She's down for a nap right now - which she basically did on her own. That kid amazes me. She wanted to lay in her bed while I read her a story and then she got under her covers, told me it was time for me to go, and now she's fast asleep (and has been for almost 2 hours).
I'm relishing these couple of hours to myself while I wait on Xander's bus to get here. Time to myself (when I'm not working) is scarce these days.
And I've learned that time to myself helps me to enjoy those special people in my life so much more. I'm rejuvenated and energized by a little alone time. Who is this person? I used to think I could NEVER have too many people around. Ha! Now I know better. :)
And now it's time to go get my oldest baby from the bus…
Happy Monday, y'all!


My friend, Tasha, had a brilliant idea. She takes 5 minutes here and there and just writes. No looking over, editing, mulling over, changing, adding pics or links. I'm going to start doing that on occasion, I think. Seems like such an easy thing. And who doesn't have 5 minutes here or there? Sometimes they're hard to come by, but usually I can find 5 minutes. So be looking for these types of posts to pop up here or there...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

My firstborn child

I often have thoughts of my firstborn with sighs and wistful glances and ooey gooey feelings, where tears spring to my eyes when I think of how fast he's growing up. I think of how often, when he was a baby, I would just sit and watch him, similar to this article Ree Drummond wrote a while back about her firstborn.

And I think about now, when I have another little one to watch, and so many things vying for my attention, and distractions coming out the whazoo. And sometimes I don't like my interactions with him.

I am easily put-out, irritated and frustrated.

I read this article and shouted to the rooftops!
YES! I am not alone. And I am not a terrible parent. I am an actual parent with limits.

So when Xander tells me about the imaginary soccer game going on in his head for the 8,346th time OR he quotes his favorite lines from a show over and over and over OR he sings that blasted theme song again OR he whines about having to go outside OR he argues incessantly about the most trivial things...
I now feel the freedom to go to the other room. Or lock myself in the bathroom. Or simply ask him to tell me about it later because right now Mommy has no more patience and needs a moment of quiet.

I came across this article the other day. The title felt a bit harsh for my purposes (but honest, nonetheless). It's titled "Sometimes I don't Like My Child."
I mean, if I were honest? Sometimes I don't. I absolutely love my children - to the moon and back - but there are times when they are not likeable. There were some fantastic tips and opportunities for introspection in that article. If you have kids, take a look at it. Even if you always like your kids. :)

Here's an article I read about raising the older child.
These words captured my attention and formed a lump in my throat:
"Our precious first baby, the one we make the most mistakes with, we worry the most over, and set the most restrictions and expectations on. When they are born we look into their eyes and make plans to raise the perfect child. We see ourselves reflected in their actions, their words and their achievements. We are so proud of their first steps, first words, first everything. They are the bearers of all our plans, hopes and dreams and the result is an overachiever that aims to please."

My boy is 5 years old, but that is him. He is an overachiever that aims to please. That can serve him well, but can also get us all into a lot of trouble. I expect so much from him!
It is true, as the older child, that he gets the harder Mommy. He gets the high-expectation Mommy. He gets the "how many times do I have to tell you" Mommy.

However, these words from that same article made my heart smile:
"It isn't easy to be the oldest, middle or youngest, each birth order has their own issues to deal with. As long as you parent with love, understanding and compassion you will never go wrong. Take time with your child, listen to them, teach them and most of all live as an example to them."

And hey, maybe one day he'll be an astronaut. ;)

Simple Pleasures

I love hearing about things people are doing - books being read, movies being watched, music listened to, TV enjoyed, etc.
Sarah Bessey does a post every once in a while highlighting the things she's been up to. In that vein, I think I'll do something similar. Minus the books. You can see what books I have read over the last few months here.
Despite the "no books" thing, I wanted to share this link. I found it pretty fascinating to see what Facebook and amazon users are reading. I've read many of the books on those lists, but I also found many to add to my forever-long-list of books on my to-read list.

So, without further ado, here are some simple pleasures I've enjoyed lately...

Guardians of the Galaxy - David and I went to see this in the theater for a date night last month. I was not thrilled to see it, but David really wanted to so I agreed to go. I LOVED it!! It was so funny and sweet and ridiculous and heart-warming. Go see it. You'll thank me later.

For an at-home-date-night we rented The Amazing Spider-Man 2. It was alright.

At the beginning of the summer (like in May) we watched Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I loved that one, too. I really like the Avengers and most of their movies. I'm definitely partial to Captain America, but Thor is a close runner-up. We've obviously been in a superhero/graphic-novel-in-movie-form phase lately. But that's what's out and big right now. For the most part, I've loved it!

A couple of months ago we watched The Fault in Our Stars. It was really good and held up well to the book's awesomeness. David actually loved the movie, which I was pleasantly surprised by. He had taken me because he knew how much I liked the book. I was so glad that he liked the movie, too.

We really haven't watched many movies lately, which is kind of odd for us. I would still like to see Boyhood and Lucy, though.

Fall is the season when all the shows start back. Since there were no new ones I was interested in watching over the summer, I took David's recommendation and started watching a USA show called Suits. David re-watched seasons 1 & 2 with me and we just finished watching season 3 together. It was really good!

I am so addicted to The Tonight show starring Jimmy Fallon. I've watched every single episode (on Hulu - I certainly can't stay up to watch it!). It's become my treadmill show. And, let me be honest, I am a Jimmy Fallon fan all the way - he TOTALLY makes the show. He is so funny, sweet, good-natured, likable, and just downright adorable! I love that show!!

I'm looking forward to our shows coming back! Here's my list:
Big Bang Theory Sept 22
Downton Abbey Jan 4 in America (but I'm sure my hubby will find the British version which comes out very soon)
Homeland Oct 5
The Mindy Project Sep 16
Modern Family Sep 24
New Girl Sep 16
my fave, Parenthood Sep 25
Parks & Rec ??
The Voice Sep 22
If you're wondering where I got my information, look no further.
Most of these shows I'll have to catch up with later in the season. I just don't have the time to watch TV like I used to.

I've really been enjoying Ed Sheeran's newest album X, especially the songs "Tenerife Sea" and "Sing."
Hillsong United's song "Oceans" has stuck with me for months now, throughout the whole spring and summer. I cannot get enough of it.
Still loving Coldplay's album, Ghost Stories, especially "A Sky Full of Stars."
Haven't purchased Maroon 5's newest - V - but plan to soon.

Things I'm loving:
Pumpkin Spice lattes are back, y'all! I've only had one, but I'm so happy about it!

In that same vein, I pulled out my fall decorations and fall scents - air fresheners and candles. I am in 7th heaven!! Even Amelia Jayne got into it, exclaiming over every decoration and candle -"It's so beautiful!" and "Everything is lovely!" and my favorite "I LOVE fall day!" It was the cutest thing. And I am right there with her!

I picked up some beautiful stationary a couple of weeks ago at Target. Mara Mi is the company. The exact stationery I got is no longer available, but I think it's just lovely - half is coral chevron and and the other half is navy with cream dots. I just love pretty things. :)

Monday, September 1, 2014

August funnies from the littlest Littles

While reading a book together:
AJ: Awww, he sad. Him not have a friend to play with.
Me: Would you like to play with a friend?
AJ: I not need a friend right now. I have you!
(Such a sweetheart!!)

Some of my aunts and uncles from TX and OK were coming to visit, so Xander and I were talking about it.
Me: Do you remember my Aunt Sylvia, Uncle Bobby, Uncle Bill and Aunt Rae?
X: Yeah, I remember them, but I always remember big Papa the most.
(Big Papa was what the kids called my grandfather, my mom's dad. Xander was only 20 months old when he died, but we have videos of them together, so he watches those. So sweet to know that my Papa, "Big Papa," is remembered.)

I had been saying nursery rhymes with the kids earlier in the day. That night, when I put Amelia Jayne to bed, she said, "I want you sing 'Diddle, Diddle, Cat.'"
(aka Hey, Diddle Diddle) :)

David told Xander he could watch highlights of the soccer game and Amelia Jayne piped up,
"I wanna watch starlights!!"

David has had shingles twice this summer. After the most recent bout with them, Xander said this in his prayers one night:
"And please make Daddy's shimmers go away."

I was talking to Amelia Jayne about her new school and some of the new friends she'll have there.
Me: Amelia Jayne, you're going to have new friends at school - Spivey and Eloisa.
AJ: (excitedly, drawing in a deep breath) They my best friends, right??
(I wish I could convey the emotion and excitement she had in her voice. It was almost as if this was the best news she had ever heard. She gets so excited!!)
Then she says, "I give them some of my panties that not fit anymore. The little ones? They pretty panties."
(In her defense, we had been talking about panties just previous to this conversation.)

David was putting Xander to bed one night and this is the conversation they had.
X: Are we going to have another baby?
David: I don't think so.
X: Oh, well, we can ask for one for Christmas.

Xander told me the other day that he didn't want to get his haircut because he's growing it out like David Luis.
This is a pic of David Luis.
Good luck with that, sweetie. :)
I personally don't mind if he grows his hair out (or really care what he wants to do with it) but I don't think his hair will ever look like David Luis's. We'll see what he ends up with.

And speaking of hair...
My kids have this app on the iPad called Endless Alphabet. They love it! It really is a great app for kids and gets a stellar review on Horn Book. I love the unusual vocabulary words they introduce, the great descriptions they have for the words, that the kids have to match the letter and put it in the right place to create the words, and that the monsters make it super-fun.
But I digress.
Amelia Jayne was playing the game one day and called me over.
"Mommy!" she said. "Look! Watch this with me."
I did.
She was on the word 'fluffy.'
And this was the picture:

At the end of the demonstration she said, 
"See, it's like your hair!!" 
Wait. What?
Gee thanks, kid.