Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Our boys

It's amazing to me how God could gift us with two children that are entirely different from one another. Peanut butter and jelly really. It's a blessing to be at home with them and so intimately familiar with their growing personalities. When I'm not too distracted with lesser things, it's easy to see just how fearfully and wonderfully made they are. Of course, at their tender ages of 2 and 4 these differences are the source of many tears and bring out the referee mom in me daily. Someday though, I know they'll make for the perfect partners in crime. After all, it takes all types to make the world go round, and how good is peanut butter without jelly anyway?
At 4 years old, Evan is my silly, wiggly boy. He is sweet and still very tender hearted. One of our MOPS topics this year was connecting with your kids and their personalities. I did the assessments on both of my boys and surprise-they were pretty much opposite! Evan came out as "Amiable" which I definitely agree with. Laid back, content, happy go lucky....There was a joke made in the video we watched that amiable kids are the ones with the attitude of "why stand when you can sit, why sit when you can lay down." Of course, we all got a good laugh, and all I could picture in my laughter was Evan laying at the top of the stairs pleading "I can't move, my legs are broken...caarrryyy meeee pwease." I did appreciate the point of our talk though, that we can get so wrapped up in stand out negatives that we eclipse the good and miss the great potential to be wielded from those very special personalities. For example, while amiable people are the ones who will usually go for the path of least resistance, they are also the peacemakers. Often times I worry that Evan is sensitive to a fault, but every now and then I'll get a glimpse of this real empathy for others that he has, and think what a compassionate person he is going to be. So maybe being sensitive isn't so bad after all-so long as we can get a grip on the whining that is...

Another interesting facet of his personality I'm seeing lately is his love language-acts of service. He appreciates things I do for him, and I mean REALLY appreciates and notices them. He is quick to offer above and beyond thanks for even the smallest of every day things. It should be said here that I expect my kids to be polite and well mannered but I don't make them say thank you for every little thing. Evan will hug his freshly laundered, warm sheets close to his chest and say with a smile "thank you for washing my sheets mommy." Routine snacks elicit great levels of excitement and wide eyes..."oh thank you for my getting my animal crackers mommy." After cleaning his room... "WOW you're the best cleaner in the whole world." And this to boot, from a mother's day worksheet he filled in at school- "I love my mommy because...she takes me to school." Yes, it's the little, practical things that are big to him-they make me feel pretty big too.
Other things I love about Evan at this age...his HUGE monster laugh, how he says "hey" to most everyone and perpetually mispronounces words like strawberries("Strawbabies") and invention(conventions...as in, "look at my conventions!"). I love his conventions-he continues to be pretty "enginer-y." And, he is really the most friendly thing. I am blown away at how well he's thrived in preschool this past year.

Things we're working on-eye contact, pencil grip, and grumpy mood swings-the last of which I'm convinced is due to his sleeping patterns, either from waking WAY too early in the morning or napping too long/late in the afternoon.

And now, for my fierce and funny Valentine...
I can't imagine our lives without Bennett. He adds so much volume and spice to this house! Oh my B-bear. I think this child will always be my baby. He is a total cheeseball and continually keeps us on our toes. And those blond curls? I melt. Yes, it's safe to say he get's away with murder around here.
As I said before, these brothers are so different! If Evan is my sleeper, then Bennett is my eater. You would never know it looking at his small and mighty frame, but this boy can pack away some food. And, he's no discriminator of food either-I'm praying this sticks! Another stand out difference in my boys is that Evan tends to be more inward and thoughtful(of course, he is 4 and can certainly ham it up with the best of them!), while Bennett is almost always full of expression and all show. And, where Evan prefers his mischief veiled in silence, Bennett has nothing to hide. He is definitely more stubborn and strong willed and fits well into the "Driver" category of the afor mentioned personality assessments. Again I need to remind myself of awesome potential here-leader!

This little one's love language is quality time...which gives me basically no time to do anything alone. One day I 'll miss it. One day I'll miss it. One day I'll miss it...this is the mantra that gets me through unloading the dishwasher with a 27 pound child attached to my leg.

Funny Bennett-isms...he's gotten pretty good at Frozen ballads and loves to give "warm hugs" like Olaf the snowman. He adds an hard "g" ending to most words, making me "Ma-gi" and Chris "Da-gi." Though he doesn't watch much tv for any amount of time, "Despicable Me" is his favorite movie and loves to get down with Yo Gabba Gabba gang. I should add that in spite of his more rough and tumble personality he has a very soft and nurturing side. He's been known to cart around a doll or two outside of this house, and never fails to come out of his room(from waking up) without a stuffed animal. He loves his big brother, and copies his every move-and word. I'm not sure when it happened but it seems like overnight Bennett has started talking in full sentences, and parrots Evan constantly.

And, he loves a good bow-tie.
I love these precious boys so much! They are both so awesome in their own right, and I'm beyond grateful to call them mine. :-)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Picture Rewind-Easter and Evan's Birthday

In true four year old fashion, Evan's birthday turned into a bit of a marathon this year. I'm not sure how that keeps happening-but oh well, there's plenty of birthday love to go around! A quick recap...
First he had a fun little celebration at his preschool, where the parents bring in a birthday snack and the class sings happy birthday. Unlike the great majority of his class though, Evan was adamant that we ditch the cupcakes and bring" apples" for his friends instead. This boy is a fruit monster, and takes his apple a day prescription very serious. Anywho, I obliged(because I'm supermom) and dressed up apple slices with some sprinkled yogurt dip to make it a bit more festive. I was a teeny bit worried the kids wouldn't respond well to apples over cake, but it was a big hit with his school friends! Yay!
That weekend we celebrated the actual day of his birthday in Goldsboro with my Gigi and Poppi. It was a fun afternoon full of Chucky Cheese, pizza and banana pudding(again, his request) topped off with family presents and a quick trip to the park.  
His "friend party" was the next week at our local strawberry patch. It was especially nice that grandma could make it down from PA for a visit to celebrate with us. This was definitly a casual affair but so much fun! It was really more of a birthday themed "playdate" that slowly but surely snowballed into a full blown party. It started with some friends, strawberries, picnic and the park. Out of no where Evan started asking about his "cake"-I should have known it was coming! He decided he was having an R2-D2 cake, which was perfect since I snagged some awesome star wars party supplies 70% off at Target in the weeks before. And then came the pinata talk. I was going to skip over this detail hoping he wouldn't notice but literally the day before he was very sweetly reminding me of it and well, you know the rest of the story. Just in case you're wondering, it's beyond difficult to find a star wars themed pinata in a small town like Wilson on short notice. We ended up finding a pretty generic one at 5 below(score!) and tapping one of the star wars plates on it. Ghetto? Sure. Four year old approved? Yes-and that's all that matters!

We asked his friends to bring donations for the Wilson Pregnancy Center in lieu of presents-nonetheless he still got some awesome presents. We are blessed to have some pretty amazing friends!
Gigi came through with the most amazing-and delicious-cake ever!

All in all it was a wonderful (week) of celebrating Evan. We have some pretty amazing friends and family. I don't have any pictures of his biggest present-his first ever big boy blue bike- but rest assured they will come.  Now, let's back up a few weeks earlier to Easter...
We enjoy celebrating the death and resurrection of our Jesus all year long, but Easter Sunday gives us special pause to reflect and encourage one another in that truth. And, it may be the only time of the year we get a family picture. Three out of four, not bad at all.
On a last note, my mom and I contined our Easter dress shopping tradition this year and I am madly in love with these new shoes. Thanks for keeping me stylish mama! Now that I'm caught up on April, it's time to jump into May-suncreen, bug spray and all.
 And since this was an Evan heavy post...here's some Bennett love!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Here's to Summer...

Spring has painted us green with pollen and sprung a busy season upon us. In Sesame Street style, April is brought to us by the letter "B" and "Busy" is the word of month. Baseball, birthdays and baby showers. A Raleigh refinance, adding a part-time job, and Easter oh my! Oh. my. Wait, is it May already?!

If I'm honest with myself, I tend to glorify being "busy." I love myself a full and colorful calendar. Penning playdates, mops meetings and this or that appointment on my beloved dry erase board gives me joy and dare I say...pride? Somewhere along the road in this stay at home mom life I think I confused "busy" with "important." As if a mommy and me gymnastics practice or a junior women's club meeting gave my day to day life more meaning...validation even. Lie. Enter the glorification of busy. I have so many thoughts here, and could go on for a while but I digress...the point being, that when so many peripheral things fill up our schedule, the most important things tend to get pushed to the side. Quality time with my family for one. And I'm pretty sure that's my love language-quality time.

Tickling and chasing and spinning the morning away in our pajamas, rather than rushing out the door in a tizzy dressed down in wrinkled shirts and grumpy faces. Time spent teaching and loving and snuggling my boys who are growing way too fast. Time spent face to face at the kitchen table, talking and teaching table manners- not rushed through the "Old McDonald had a farm's" drive through on the way to this or that. How about freshly laundered clothes that get washed, dried AND put away in the same day(okay, that last one may be a bit ambitious-crazy talk even-laundry will never be my top priority lol!).  All that to say, it's easy to become busy with the wrong things, and loose sight of the most important thing. My continued prayer in this season is that the Lord would give us wisdom to be busy about the things that do matter, to truly treasure the gifts He's given us and cut away those things that waste our time and energy. Lately I've been feeling a little overwhelmed with all we've got going on this month, and as a result I'm sure have not been the very best wife and mom I could be. In this place, I am thankful for grace and new mornings-and the promise of summer on the horizon.
Not that I'm putting all of my eggs in the summer basket, but yes, I'm putting some pressure on this next season. I'm not one to be lazy at all, but can I just tell you how much I'm looking forward to those proverbial lazy days of summer. Practically I think it will be a slower couple of months for us. For one, work is settling into a nice rhythm now that I'm mostly over the learning curve, and our refinance is now behind us-whew! Baseball will soon come to an end, MOPS and church activities will take a break. If ever we needed to rest, I feel the weight of it now-and how perfect, summer to the rescue!

I pray summer leaves us refocused, re-energized, content in all things and-a little less busy. And not to mention, gorgeously tan...

Okay, that last one was Olaf speaking-I'll go ahead and date stamp this post with a nod to "Frozen.";-)