Monday, November 29, 2010

Our Thanksgiving Holiday: Friday and Saturday

Before I go on to write about the happenings of our days on Friday and Saturday, I had to include just a few pics of us last year on Thanksgiving. The picture below is of the three of us on Thanksgiving morning. The little man was 9 and a half months old and oh so cute.

This one was taken at the tree farm the day after Thanksgiving last year.

And this one was taken on the Saturday after Thanksgiving as we prepared to decorate our tree.

Okay, back to the present.

On Friday morning after sleeping in just a little later than normal we had breakfast with my mom... I can't believe she cooked us breakfast the morning after Thanksgiving. We are so spoiled! Then my mom and I headed over to my sister's apartment to help her put up and decorate her tree. While the girls did that, Terrell took the little man over to his parents house so they could spend some more time together. My sister's tree came together quite nicely and fit in the space she had perfectly. She also had plenty of ornaments and by the time we left around noon, it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas. =)

We met Terrell and Garrison back at my parents house and my dad was done with work by then so we all enjoyed leftovers for lunch. Then we attempted another nap for Garrison. Unfortunately, he fell asleep in the car on the way back from Terrell's parents'. Stink! Those power naps provide a second wind for the little man and there is usually no hope for a nap after that. We still tried and gave it our best effort but a nap just wasn't meant to be. (Make that 3 days in a row without a good 2 hour nap. Oh dear.)
Later that afternoon my parents put in their Christmas tree and we got busy with decorating. Garrison was fascinated with having a tree inside the house and became Papa's shadow while he got it situated in the stand and started putting the lights on.

He also enjoyed climbing the first step on the ladder...

AnAn and Garrison hanging the very first ornament on Granna and Papa's tree.

Attempting to hang another ornament

Checking things out while Papa waters the tree

Friday night we got take-out for supper and finished decorating the tree after Garrison went to bed. It turned out beautiful! And, we actually all made it to bed at a decent hour.

Saturday morning we woke up and had breakfast before starting to pack up everything to head home. We also made sure to let Garrison fully enjoy the Choo Choo Train around Granna and Papa's tree. They didn't have any batteries the night before, so the little man woke up asking for batteries for the choo choo. He loved the train so much that Terrell and I thought we were going to have to go out and buy one. Now we're thinking it will just be a special treat at his grandparents' houses since Terrell's parents have one around their tree too.

After heading out late morning with the Christmas tree on top of the Jeep and everything, the little man was asleep 5 minutes into the drive... and he slept all the way home. And our hopes of an afternoon nap went right out the window. We still tried a late nap just in case, but it didn't work. And I was just about ready to panic.

Anyway, we always use the Saturday after Thanksgiving once we're back at home to decorate our tree and house for Christmas. This year things got a little crazy when our tree wouldn't fit securely in the tree stand. Terrell worked and worked and worked (and almost lost his patience more than once) with it but it was always leaning or about to fall. At one point we thought we had it "fixed" so we went ahead and put the lights on. Well, putting the angel on top threw everything off and it just about fell over. Finally Terrell decided we just needed to prop it up against the wall while he went out to buy a new tree stand. Thankfully the new stand was just what we needed and we actually managed to hang ornaments later that night.
Garrison trying his best to hang an ornament.

His all time favorite decoration... a merry-go-round that plays Christmas carols. He loves it.

After an exhausting day we actually managed to finish all of our decorating Saturday night except for Garrison's room. Now we can't wait to enjoy this season with him. He is way more aware of things this year and I know it's going to be so fun to experience everything with our little man!

This is Garrison in front of our tree Sunday after we got home from church. (And we praised the Lord when he took a good long nap Sunday afternoon!)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Our Thanksgiving Holiday: Wednesday and Thursday

Every year since we've been married, our Thanksgiving holiday typically begins on Wednesday and wraps up around Saturday or Sunday; therefore I decided to break things up into 2 parts so that I wouldn't have such an extra LONG post. This one is probably going to be long enough so I'm glad I'm doing it this way.

Wednesday: Garrison, Bailey, and I headed down to Barnesville Wednesday morning to get settled in and start helping my sister with the cooking and baking. After we arrived and unloaded half of our house from the car we worked on making the macaroni salad and started on Anna's famous red velvet cake. The little man is all about helping out so he was the third chef in the kitchen this year. He helped pour, stir, and sift ingredients and we only managed to lose a teeny bit of flour to the floor once.

Helping AnAn pour in dry ingredients for red velvet cake

Sifting the flour... his definite favorite part I would say. AnAn added a touch of flour to his face for good measure (and pictures).

Helping mama with macaroni salad

After a lunch break at El Durango, we came home and I got the little man ready for a nap so Anna and I could focus on making chicken pot pie and finishing up the cake. Garrison wanted no part of a nap because we could hear him talking and playing the whole time. It worked out okay because he had fallen asleep on the way to Barnesville and he wasn't really ill or anything. Thankfully we also had a chance to do what we needed to in the kitchen before getting him up.

After cleaning up the kitchen and everyone changing clothes, we got ready to head downtown to eat supper at Pastime before walking outside for the "Lighting of the Trees/Illumination Service".

Garrison and AnAn

Terrell's parents met us at Pastime and Garrison seemed to be really excited to have his whole family eating together. He was actually a little hyper while we ate. Afterwards I attempted a few pictures of the little man with Granna and Nana and this is the only one that didn't blur. I have got to work on my photographing skills.

Granna and Garrison waiting on everything to get started. We didn't think we were going to make it for a while there because they were having technical difficulties and the little man's attention span was wearing thin.

Garrison and Papa... precious!

Yay!! They turned the lights on! Garrison actually noticed the lights this year and clapped and everything. =)

Our family after the Lighting of the Trees before going back to my parents house.

Thursday: Thursday morning we woke up to the best smells coming from the kitchen. My parents have had Thanksgiving at their house every year since before I was born and the smells from the kitchen on Thanksgiving morning are a favorite childhood memory for me. We had plans to have breakfast with Terrell's parents so we made a quick family picture before heading over to their house.

At Terrell's parents house we watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade while Garrison played and then we ate a delicious breakfast. His parents made pancakes, bacon, sausage, and some type of potato/hashbrown casserole that was extra yummy. Garrison had a ball playing with his grandparents and became even more wound up than before we left my parents. It was like he knew things were different and it was a special day so he was super excited.
Sweet picture of Garrison and Pops
After spending the morning with Terrell's parents, we headed back over to my parents right around lunch time. For the past several years my parents have welcomed around 30 family members into their home for Thanksgiving, but this year was a little smaller than normal. My aunt, uncle, cousins, and Nanny went to New York City for Thanksgiving... we were just a tad jealous (although I don't think I'd want to miss a major holiday to go to New York, just any other time of year). Anyway, I was thinking this year would be sort of small and quiet and just different than years past. Wrong. We still had 21 people total for Thanksgiving and it felt like it always does... fun, loud, and busy until everyone eats and half of us pass out. =) It was neat the way our tradition stayed the same and Garrison got to experience it all and was way more aware of everything this year. He ate a really good Thanksgiving dinner and had tons of fun playing with Meghan and Carter (my little cousins who are now big enough to play with my little man and essentially baby-sit while Terrell and I relax for a few minutes). A few times throughout the day I'd "lose" Garrison only to discover him playing away with Meghan and Carter.

Late that afternoon (after Garrison didn't take a nap AGAIN), we decided to go get our Christmas tree since there was a high chance of rain for the next day. Our tradition is to get our tree the day after Thanksgiving, but this year the weather caused us to change things up. So, we left a handful of people at my parents' house watching football while we headed to the tree farm.
Helping Granna and Papa pick out a tree

Standing beside the one we picked out. (Thank goodness Granna, Papa, and AnAn helped us keep up with him at the tree farm. He was a wild man!)

The three of us in front of our tree

Garrison and AnAn rocking outside of the Christmas Store at the tree farm.

After taking forever to pick out our trees, we finally made it back home in time to have leftovers for supper. De-lish! I'm always too full to eat all the leftovers I want on Thanksgiving night, but I feel like it's such a blessing to enjoy all that good food more than once! After supper and giving the little man a bath everyone started to leave and Garrison went to sleep and slept all night. We on the other hand stayed up until almost 1:00 in the morning watching Erin Brockovich. I never stay up that late. I seriously don't know how I did it. I was probably a teenager the last time I stayed up that late on purpose. Thankfully we were able to sleep in a little bit Friday morning. Thanksgiving day was filled with family, food, and fun and I'm so thankful we were all able to be together. God is good!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Blessed Beyond Measure and SO Thankful!

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done!

With Thanksgiving soon approaching (and knowing we'll be extremely busy just about all of next week), I wanted to go ahead and count my blessings and write about what I'm thankful for. I know that after Thanksgiving I'll be eager to write about our holiday and time with family, and of course post pictures, so this is my opportunity to write about what Thanksgiving is really all about~ counting my blessings and giving thanks.

So many times it easy to forget just how blessed I am. I get caught up in complaining, comparing myself (and my life) to others, thinking about and longing for how I want things to be some day... when we have another baby, or move back to Barnesville, or have a bigger house, or aren't on a strict budget, etc., etc. (Living in the now and focusing on the present is another topic for another day though.) I can throw a pity party with the best of 'em! I don't like that about myself, but unfortunately it's true. I am a big time planner and when things don't work out like I'd planned, little things or big things, I tend to pout or start feeling sorry for myself. Thankfully, the Lord is SO patient with me and always reminds me of #1: Just how blessed I am, and #2: That I will never be perfectly content or satisfied on this Earth and He doesn't want me to be. Now, having said all that and admitting some not-so pleasant tendancies I have, I'm ready to count my blessings and name them one by one!

*My Heavenly Father. Without Him, I can't imagine where my life would be. His love and grace sustain me everyday and because He sent His Son, I have assurance of my salvation and hope for the future. Everything I've been blessed with is because of Him, therefore I try to always remember to turn every blessing He pours out back to praise.
Every good and perfect gift is from above. James 1:17.
Oh give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! Psalm 105:1.

*My husband and best friend. I am so grateful for Terrell. He is a loving, supportive, hard working husband and a great provider for his family. I feel like this is always how I describe him, but it really sums him up. He has always been loving/sweet/caring since I've known him, but being married to him and facing challenges with him and the ups and downs of life together, I've been on the receiving end of his support more times than I can count or remember and I'm extra thankful for it. God knew I would need someone who could make me feel better and laugh and balance out my "Type A" personality on a regular basis, and Terrell does just that. He's also an extremely hard worker and does whatever needs to be done to make sure his family is provided for. I am SO thankful that he's willing to work as hard as he does to make sure I can continue to stay home and have my own business through Premier.

*My little man. I think after having a baby, you get to experience a little taste of how much God really loves you... and your parents too. Garrison Cade fills my heart with joy and I can't imagine anyone loving anyone or anything as much as I love him. He is such a blessing to us and we love watching him grow. Words can't express how thankful I am for him.

*My family. I am so, so thankful for my parents, sister, grandparents, and in-laws. I'm especially thankful for my grandparents because they helped shape and mold my parents... which directly benefited me! I'm thankful for the homes my parents came from and the way in which they were raised. I'm thankful that because of their parents and the homes they came from, my sister and I grew up in a loving, Christian home. I'm thankful that our family is so close and loves each other so much and makes each other a priority. I'm thankful that I was blessed with a great sister who is a close friend to me, like a sister to Terrell, and an amazing aunt to Garrison. I'm thankful for the relationship we've always had and the confidence I have that we'll always be best friends. I'm thankful for really great in-laws. I'm so grateful for Terrell's parents and that he grew up in a Christian home as well. I'm thankful they decided to attend First Baptist Church many, many years ago because that is where the Lord brought Terrell and I together. I'm thankful that Terrell's family has always accepted me and welcomed me as part of their family and for a great sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and two sweet nieces. When it comes to being thankful for family, I think one of the things I am most thankful for is the family my little man was born into. I am beyond grateful that he will grow up surrounded by such wonderful family members on both sides who will love him and pray for him and support him as he grows.

*Premier/Being a stay at home & work at home mom. Premier was an answererd prayer after we had Garrison and I didn't sign a contract to return to teaching. We knew we could make it financially on one income for a while, but we really wanted to find something I could do to bring in extra money while staying home. After all of my ideas basically falling through, God opened the door for Premier and it has been exactly what we prayed for. Because of Premier, I am able to stay home with Garrison every single day and I only have to be away for "work"/shows once or twice a week. I'm still able to make a great income but I'm also able to be at home and experience everything with Garrison on a daily basis. I haven't missed a single milestone and I don't have to worry about getting him up early every morning and being away from him all day, and then coming home to him exhausted from work. The Lord knew I wouldn't handle being a mom and a teacher very well, so I am extremely thankful He provided Premier! (I'm also extra thankful for my Premier "mom", all of the ladies I've met and become friends with through Premier, and the fact that Premier is a biblically based company).

Those were all the "biggies" but I'd also like to mention a few other things I'm extremely thankful for... my huge extended family, my health and the health of my family, the rights and freedoms I enjoy as an American and those who have and are fighting for our country, church in Barnesville, our home and material blessings, good neighbors, my puppy dog Bailey, Garrison's preschool, old and new friends, and last but not least~ the huge blessing and opportunity to be with both of our families as we celebrate the upcoming holidays. I have SO much to be thankful for... Praise God from whom all blessings flow!! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

No More "Pie-Pie"

Well, the little man has officially been without his "pie-pie" (what he calls his paci.... no idea how he came up with the name since we never once referred to it as a pie pie) for the past 3 and a half days! It's crazy how the whole "weaning" process came about because it certainly wasn't in our plans... at least not yet.

The story begins Saturday morning. After having our family pictures made in Covington, we came home and packed really fast so we could head to Barnesville to have lunch with Terrell's parents and spend the weekend in the hometown. I knew we were rushing as we packed, but I mentally went down my checklist of must haves: make-up, hair dryer, church clothes, etc. (Notice everything on my mental checklist related to me.) Several miles down Highway 36, we discovered that we left both paci's at home. Oh no. At that point it was too late to turn back and I decided we could always buy him one anyway so it wasn't that big of a deal. Terrell's mom actually found a Gerber "Nuk" paci at Ingles and we decided we'd give that a try since we were pretty sure we wouldn't be able to duplicate his Avent brand paci that he was used to taking.

The first test came at naptime. He was already sort of wound up/excited (which typically happens when we arrive in Barnesville and he sees his grandparents, so no shocker there) so I knew it would take him a while to settle down for a nap. He first requested his pie-pie once we were about to start reading a few books. I offered him the Gerber paci and he took a look at it, felt of it, and took a quick sample in his mouth before promptly removing it and frowning at it. From that point forward as we prepared for his nap, he continued to ask for his paci but was satisfied to hold the new one each time I told him that was all I had to offer. To make a long story short, he didn't take a nap that afternoon, however, he also didn't scream his head off begging for his pie-pie the entire time either. I considered this a small success and Terrell and I held our breath until bedtime. Just kidding. Although Terrell was definitely sweating a little.

When bedtime arrived, we went through our normal routine and when he asked for his pie-pie I gave him the new one and he would hold onto it or lay it down where he could see it while we read our books and sang our songs. When I laid him down in the crib he put the new paci on his pillow and actually let me leave the room without crying. That night he cried out a couple of times, but I only had to go in and hold him once. Again, the next morning we considered our first night without a paci a success.

Sunday afternoon we spent with my parents and sister and Garrison once again refused a nap. I guess he thought he would most definitely miss something if he let himself fall asleep even for a minute. But once again, he was talking and playing just about the entire time he was in his crib instead of screaming and crying... so things could have been worse, therefore it was another teeny tiny success.

Sunday night after arriving home we prepared for our first true challenge. We knew he would expect things to be back to normal at home and he would certainly expect his good old normal pie-pie. It did take him longer to fall asleep Sunday night and I did have to stay in his room with him for several minutes after laying him down, but thankfully we didn't have a major meltdown. He woke up once during the night and I had to go in and hold him for a few minutes, but other than that the night went great.

Monday afternoon I stayed in the room with him just until he dozed off and he took a nice long nap. Last night we had a little trouble getting him settled but he eventually got comfortable with the new Gerber paci in the crib with him (not in his mouth) and went to sleep and slept all night. Yay! So far, I am very pleased with how well things are going, especially since we had no intentions of taking the paci away just yet. I was actually thinking about staging a way to give Garrison's paci's to Shannon at some point since I've heard of people doing that with their toddlers. God had another, simpler plan in mind though and we couldn't have planned it better! We know we're not out of the woods yet, but right now it looks like my little man is done with the pie-pie and has taken another step in the big boy direction!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Shannon Lucille

Terrell and I now have a new little niece! Shannon Lucille Reding was born bright and early last Tuesday morning and barely gave her parents enough time to get to the hospital! We were able to go visit them later that afternoon and loved hearing Kara and Denny's story of Shannon's arrival. They had been at the hospital about an hour and a half when Shannon decided to come... therefore Kara had a nice, quick, (but still painful!) natural childbirth experience because there was no time for an epidural. Shannon weighed 7 lbs 10 oz. and was 20 inches long. Terrell and I both got to hold her and we couldn't believe how tiny she was. Garrison seemed huge after holding her! We're thrilled to welcome this precious baby girl to the family and praise God for her safe arrival!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween... and Happy Birthday Papa!

This weekend was really busy for us as we squeezed in Halloween festivities and my dad's birthday! His birthday is actually on the 30th... which is the day our home town designated for Halloween, so we sort of had to switch things around. We went to "Trunk or Treat" at our church on the 30th, and celebrated Papa's birthday on the 31st.

This is my little man last year on Halloween in front of the hay, pumpkins, and mums at Granna and Papa's house.

My little monkey, ready for Trunk or Treat.

We got into town around 10:00 Saturday morning and took Garrison to get his hair cut. It wasn't such a pleasant experience this time. He knew exactly where we were and he was not happy about having to sit and let Emily use scissors on his hair. He calmed down every time she used the clippers and cried his little eyes out every time she used the comb and scissors. Go figure. Somehow we've got to be better prepared next time and create a positive association with having his hair cut. One of my fears is that when he's 8 he'll still cry over having his hair cut, and then everybody will talk about how I don't have control over my child. =( Hopefully, it will never come to that.... although you do hear those stories occasionally.

After the haircut, we went to my parents house and let Garrison play until lunch. He enjoyed being outside while Papa grilled hamburgers for lunch and especially enjoyed riding around outside on his new car that Granna found at a neighbor's yard sale. He doesn't have an outside riding toy at our house, so he was loving the chance to ride outside. We actually couldn't walk outside without him getting on his car. He also liked Granna and Papa's new waterfall and fish pond. The pictures below are a little foggy because of the smoke from the grill blowing over, but they still turned out good.

After lunch, Garrison took a nap and we had a chance to relax and talk and watch TV. After about a 2 hour nap, he woke up and we started getting ready for Trunk or Treat. To make a long story short, we had to make a last minute change to his costume. Originally he was going to be a skeleton but Friday I realized it was too small and exchanged it for a lion (the only choice). Okay, SO thankful that worked out just fine. Now, on to our preparations for Trunk or Treat. I bought face paint so that Garrison's face could at least look a little lion-like, just in case he refused to wear the head piece. He did GREAT having his face painted. I couldn't believe how still and patient he was. AnAn did an amazing job and I'm extra thankful she took on the daunting task!

First look at himself in the mirror... "what have they done to me?"

Just a few more touch-ups before leaving the house.

My precious, cuddly lion!

Our family =)

You can see us a little better in this one since it's zoomed.

Just arrived at church. The little paws were off and on all night.
Fascinated with the dancing skeleton. (I think fascinated pretty much sums up the whole experience for him. He was dazed and amazed by everything going on around him the entire time we were there.)

Waiting for candy

Garrison completely adored baby Elijah Meadows. He couldn't take his eyes off of him and specifically asked for hugs and kisses from the baby. We actually had a hard time getting him away from Elijah. I think he's going to be a great big brother whenever the time comes.

After we left the church, we went to El Durango for supper. All the excitement had made the little man extra hungry, because he chowed down while we were there. Supper was delicious and I loved that both of our families could share in Garrison's 2nd Halloween. I don't know what we'll do next year when it falls on a Monday. I don't want to think that far ahead but it clearly creates a dilemma for us. Pooh.

Sunday morning we went to church and loved being back at home/FBC. We hadn't been there in about 2 months and boy had we missed it! The music was amazing and the entire service was great. After church we went to J. Henry's for lunch to celebrate my dad's birthday. Garrison did pretty good... he didn't have a meltdown or let out a crazy scream or anything, but he was a bit of a handful. I don't want to complain too much though, because we pretty much take him out to eat whenever we want and have never had to avoid going out or a particular restaurant because of his behavior.

After lunch, we attempted a nap at my parent's house but Garrison Cade had other ideas. He flat out would not go to sleep. He should have been exhausted but somehow he was wide awake and played and talked in the crib the whole time. Finally we gave up and let him join in the fun of Papa's birthday celebration.
Helping Papa open gifts

In this picture, we're all singing happy birthday to Papa, but somehow everyone is looking at Garrison. He helped blow out the candles too and loved Papa's cookie cake.

After enjoying cake and ice cream, we went over to Terrell's parents to spend the rest of the afternoon and eat supper before going home. Garrison played outside and loved swinging in the swing with Nana and Pops and playing with and chasing hula hoops. He also played inside with Nana while we talked to Terrell's dad about Garrison's big boy bed (that his dad is building).

Garrison definitely had a super fun filled weekend and loved having time with his grandparents and AnAn. We discovered he actually preferred them over us the whole weekend. That will definitely take some getting used to. Terrell actually noticed it Saturday when he didn't want to get in the car with us unless AnAn or my parents were riding with us. I guess we'll just have to start getting used it. =)
Garrison with Nana and Pops on the "swing"

Happy Halloween and Happy Birthday Papa! Now the countdown begins to Thanksgiving!