Dear David

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Dear David,

I remember the day I fought out I was pregnant with you. I read the test wrong, didn’t think I was, and then took a second look. I was thrilled and scared.

I remember having an ultrasound on my gall bladder, and asking the tech to look and see if she could tell the gender of my baby. She was 90% sure it was a boy. Even though I’d always thought I would only have girls, I had felt since the start you were a boy. I was thrilled and scared. 


I remember your birth: the crazy pain of my only unmedicated labor and delivery. I tried to give up and go home, but you came anyway, fiercely and fast, tearing up my body and my heart. Your little head was so round and covered with dark hair. I was thrilled and scared.

I remember all the sleepless nights, how I nursed you for so long, how I put you in Mother’s Day Out at barely a year because I was so tired, depressed, and shaken. I hope you don’t remember me from then; our life was a little in shambles and I didn’t know where to go. 

I remember your putting together a 60-piece puzzle at two-and-a-half and knowing life with you was going to be wild. You told me at age 4 you couldn’t read, you could just sound out words. I love that you help your friends, read to them on the bus, and have no idea how brilliant you are. I am always, always thrilled and also scared that I am doing the wrong things or holding you back. 

I remember knowing how ready you were for kindergarten but how unready I felt to let you go. 

And this morning, I crawled into your bed and held you before you got up. I kissed and smelled your head. It’s your last day of kindergarten and I am crying because growing pains are hard for Mama. 

I asked you if you were ready for first grade, and in your typical, no-nonsense way, you just answered, “Yes.”

Not surprisingly, I am thrilled and scared. 

The Big List of Star Wars Songs for Kids

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Star Wars Playlist for Kids

My 5-year-old son, David, is obsessed with Star Wars. I mean, obsessed. Seen every movie, including number 7 on opening night (his birthday present). It’s basically all he talks about. He probably has more toys than is healthy and a Star Wars shirt for almost every day of the week. (When spring came, he was sad he didn’t have any short sleeve shirts. So we got this, this, this, and this from Amazon, because at the time they were all $3-5. Gotta love some Amazon.)

My greatest endeavor, however, was finding all the kid-appropriate Star Wars songs that I could. He and his 3-year-old brother ask to listen to this playlist constantly and have every song memorized. Since tomorrow is Star Wars Day (May 4th), I thought if you, too, were searching for this, I could help you out!


I think you can find these all under the “Star Wars Kids” list on Spotify under Jessica Weaver. But if you’re not a Spotify person, there are links to find the songs elsewhere, too.

  • “Yoda” – Weird Al – (Amazon / album on iTunes)
  • “The Saga Begins” – Weird Al (Amazon / album on iTunes)
  • “Oh, Lando” – Recess Monkey (Amazon / album on iTunes)
  • “Tatooine” – Phineas & Ferb Star Wars (Amazon / album on iTunes)
  • “Sith-inator” – Phineas & Ferb Star Wars (Amazon / album on iTunes)
  • “Star Wars Disco” – Little Apple Band (Amazon / album on iTunes)
  • “Star Wars” – The One World Ensemble (Amazon) (Just the theme played by someone else)
  • “Star Wars: A Capella Strikes Back” – BYU Noteworthy (Amazon / iTunes)
  • “Why Is Dad So Mad?” – The Board of Education (Amazon / iTunes)
  • “When I Was a Boy” – Drew Worthley (Amazon / album on iTunes) – Not strictly a Star Wars song, but it has a verse about it and is generally just a sweet song.
  • “The Greatest Story Ever Told” – Good Clean Fun (Amazon) – This is a punk rock song, and I don’t think there is any foul language in this song … but I can’t find the lyrics anywhere. My kids think it’s hilarious, and the chorus is fun, but here is your warning.
  • “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band” – Meco (Amazon / album on iTunes)
  • “The Empire Strikes Back (Medley)” – Meco (Amazon / album on iTunes)
  • “Lightspeed” – Joel Henriques (Amazon / iTunes) – This one isn’t available on Spotify, but we’ve heard it on Kids’ Place Live on SiriusXM.

Let me know if you’ve run across any kid-appropriate Star Wars songs that we’ve missed! Do you have a mini-Jedi at home?

The Wonder of Time

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Tree Grows in Brooklyn quote

I just got a giant box of back issues of ParentLife in the mail. Something had been messed up with their contributor copy system, so it’d be more than a year since I got any physical copies. I flipped through each issue, glancing at my own articles, remembering how and when I wrote them.

The first time I was published in ParentLife it was almost a scandal. I still worked at LifeWay, although I was on the brink of leaving. My friend Jodi asked me if I would write something for them – I think it was about being a working mom. And I wrote it. And then my manager came in and told me they wouldn’t allow internal freelancing. He made me feel like I was about 5 years old. This was my dream, period. It was finally coming to fruition. And I felt it go splat on the carpet. I’m pretty sure I cried heaving sobs once he left.


After he found out that I’d actually already written the article, before he even knew or spoke to me, he let them publish it. I would have done it without the payment, though. For me, it was all about the byline. The actual being-in-print. Seeing my words sitting there in a magazine and knowing people might actually read them.

When I first started working from home and freelancing for the magazines, I scanned each article that I wrote, so I would be sure to have a digital copy in case I lost the magazine. For my “portfolio.” I laugh a little bit now at this 2009 Jessie.

I’ll admit that now I glance at the articles. I make sure they haven’t edited me so much that I no longer sound like myself. (This has never happened, but you never know.) I am glad for the paychecks but it’s longer glamorous to have my name in type. It just is. I love to write, and I am so thankful that someone pays me to do so. But it’s not the same level of excitement it once was.

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Parenting feels the same way, for me. When we had just one child, everything was a big stinking deal. Decorating. Doing the right thing when she was sick or eating or sleeping. Every moment was new, and it was exciting. I remember asking my mom, when Libbie started grasping at toys, if it was as fun when your subsequent children did the same thing. Would I still be enthralled? She looked doubtful.

In some ways, I am. I am still tipsy with love when each child learns to totter around, talk, give kisses. It’s not less special just because I have experienced it three times. But in some ways, it is less of a high. Those long days they talk about can turn everything into monotony. Yes, Joshua narrated everything I brought home from the grocery store. David did a 48-piece puzzle … again. Libbie read me a chapter book. Can I go to bed now?

Joshua will be two in a little more than a month. (Let’s not talk about that, OK? It makes me cry.) For Libbie’s second birthday, we had a big old Dr. Seuss-themed party in our rental home’s backyard. For David’s second, we had some friends, mostly adults, come over and ate appetizers and failed to take a single picture. And for Joshua’s second birthday? Ummm … maybe some cake at home? He’s only going to be TWO, right? It’s not like he’ll remember!

Times change.

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I’d like to remember to get down and experience some of that wonder every day. This involves closing the laptop and ignoring the dishes. (Because I don’t totally ignore the dishes anyway …) It means I actually get down on a child’s level and listen to him or her talk. I wonder at the magnificence of their tiny voices, of David’s precise coloring skills, of Joshua’s curly blonde head, of Libbie’s sensitive heart as she talks about interactions with her classmates. I don’t try to multitask. I just am, there, with them.

“Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.” – Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn 

David’s Outer Space Birthday Party

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Space Party Food

Tomorrow is David’s 4th birthday! How can that be? In a way I feel like it’s been a million years since his birth (AKA the most painful day of my life AKA my only natural birth). In other ways I just don’t know how this tiny boy is 4 years old. Parenting David has been a ride, lots of ups and downs, but we are thrilled with the boy he is becoming. He is a completely different creature than his sister and brother. And that’s awesome.

David has never had a “friends” birthday party, and I felt kind of guilty about it since Libbie had one for her second, third, AND fourth birthdays! But her birthday is not five days before Christmas … About two weeks ago, I decided to just plan a little shindig. And if no one came, whatever.


I’ll admit that David wanted a Cars theme, but I was stuck on space. Sorry, dude. We shopped at Party City and found they really only have character-themed items. But we were able to find some gold and silver disposable items, some plates with stars, silver stars, and star garland. We also picked up Toy Story tattoos, some Buzz Lightyear light-up thingamajiggys on clearance for 50 cents each, and Toy Story alien streamers.

alien cupcakes

I decorated with the streamers and Joshua’s Green Toys rocket and astronauts set.

For the cupcakes, I made a red velvet box mix with homemade buttercream frosting tinted green. The candy eyes I got at ALDI around Halloween, and I used purple gel frosting for the mouths. I wanted to use green sour straw candy for antennae, but I wasn’t able to find it anywhere!

(Usually I am pretty anti-food coloring, but around Christmas I have just given up. C’est la vie.)

We also had “rocket dogs,” hot dogs on a skewer wrapped with crescent roll dough. I don’t recommend trying this, as most of my crescent roll stayed on the baking sheet and it just frustrated me to death! I stuck a triangle of cheese on the end of each one after they baked.

Rocket Hot Dogs

We finished out the menu with tropical fruits on skewers, popcorn, and “astronaut fuel,” also known as applesauce pouches from ALDI.

Astronaut Applesauce Fruit kebabs

For drinks, we had Capri Suns, Coke and Diet Coke, and Dawn Camp’s spiced apple cider (“wassail”), which was crazy delicious!

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David wore his astronaut costume, which was a big hit. My mom and Dad got it at the NASA place in Texas for him a few years ago.

I wanted to make this a big play date. We put out our dress-ups, our train set, and some Little People play things. We also played Toy Story on the TV and had coloring pages of an astronaut and an alien. One of David’s friends REALLY liked the dress-ups!

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David had a wonderful time with his friends, they all played and ate happily, and he got some fun gifts. And best of all, I didn’t stress out. I haven’t even attempted a party since Libbie’s Beauty and the Beast one in 2012. It was crazy, I did way too much, and it burnt me out on parties. I think I finally figured out how much I can take on without going nuts with this one.

(I didn’t even do goody bags or favors of any kind. I kind of figure right before Christmas the last thing parents want is one more junky toy. At least that’s the last thing I want!)

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My friend Tiffany and her sweet girls.

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I tried to take a picture of David, which Libbie interpreted as “jump in the picture, pose, and try to get David to do the same.”

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Thanks for coming to our party!

P.S. Having this room on campus (which we also used for the Beauty & the Beast party and my sister’s engagement party) to use for free so that I don’t have to clean up my whole apartment and try to stuff a bunch of people in it … SO AWESOME.

Boy Mom

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I’m great at being a girl mom. I have the skills for crafting, coloring giant princess pictures (one of Libbie’s favorite bonding times), fixing hair, and painting toenails.

This boy thing, though. It’s foreign to me. I grew up without brothers. I had some male cousins, but I lived pretty far away from my relatives and I didn’t see them too much.

sillydavid


 

I’ve spent a lot of time with this fella since August. His sister is in pre-school three days a week, so it’s just Joshua, David, and me 15 hours a week. And Joshua usually naps a lot of that time.

David can be both very mellow and incredibly insane. As far as little boys go, he’s not destructive or reckless. He will play in his room for 2 hours by himself (although those times are getting much less frequent). He adores fire engines and trains and Lightning McQueen. And then there are those times he pops out something that just seems so BOY – something I can’t imagine Libbie ever, ever saying.

Me: “Let’s go find Sissy now!”
David: “Yeah! Let’s go kill her!”

Me: “Are you talking to your chocolate milk?”
David: “I am talking to it. And now I am drinking its blood. Mmmmm.”

I’m never quite sure whether to be shocked and appalled by these matter-of-fact statements or just accept them as three-year-old boyisms.

I never pictured myself as a boy mom. But right now, even in the midst of the Torturous Threes,  I have a lot of fun with my David-man.

How can you not giggle when your child says, “If your chocwate miwk is squishy, you should frow it in the twash.” Or, “My favwite kind of dinosaur is TEE WEX! RROOOOOOOAAARRR. And I wike dinosaurs that are dark gween and light gween and dark wed and light wed and dark bwack and light bwack.”

I can only imagine the adventures of this boy mom-hood as Joshua gets old enough to talk and play too!

Do any other boy-moms have advice to share?

I (Heart) Their Faces

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I found this post hanging out in my drafts folder Friday. I think I never published it because I wasn’t sure it was complete or I was afraid I might be chastised. Three plus years later … it’s interesting to reflect on.

Some days I still have trouble telling people I’m a stay-at-home mom. But as the years have gone by, I’ve realized it’s by far the greatest gift I’ve ever been given! For our family, it works out well.

Some days I fantasize about going back to work just so I can sit still without anyone climbing on me for a few hours. But truly, I love being with my little people and don’t have any desire to ever go back to a 40-hour workweek.


I wrote this January 3, 2011.

____________

Libbieface30910

From the beginning of 2010 to the end, this sweet little face has been my job, my every day.

One year ago today was my last day at my much-loved job in Nashville. While I don’t miss the hierarchy of working for a big company, the meetings, or the 7:30 a.m. start time, I do miss my coworkers and the ministry-work I did.

I still feel that loss of identity that comes with no longer working full-time some days. I introduce myself as a freelance writer and editor and almost never as a stay-at-home mom. Despite the fact that it is all I ever wanted to do, my entire life.

Fifteen days ago, I got to see another face for the first time.

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Oh, I love these precious faces of my babies.

In 2011, I hope they will continue to humble me to the point where I don’t care what people think when I say I stay at home.

This post inspired by I Heart Faces.