Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas 2010: Dec 25 and 26

Here are all the details and happenings of Christmas Day and the day after. (I don't think I'll be able to document like this every year. It's taking forever! This may be a record for my longest post ever. You might just want to skim through...)

Terrell and I woke up on our own Christmas morning around 7:00 and waited... and waited... and waited a little longer for the little man to wake up. Finally we decided to go ahead and get him up since it was almost 8:00 and our family had to "do" Christmas, plus have breakfast, plus get everyone ready to go over to my Nanny's for lunch. Terrell had the video camera out and we were so excited. =)

AnAn?? Time to wake up! Mama and Daddy told me Santa Claus brought me some toys!!

Look at all those new toys!

I think at first Garrison was a little overwhelmed. For just a second he wasn't sure what to do. (Just so I'll be able to remember, Santa Claus brought him a Thomas the Train "Follow the Light", Chuck 'n Friends dump truck, lots of Sesame Street characters, a new bouncy ball, puzzles, a Little People raceway, and golf clubs that Granna and Papa made sure Santa delivered)

Playing golf with daddy

So proud of his monogrammed bean bag from Granna and Papa

We basically introduced Garrison to all of his toys and then let him play with each of them to get acquainted. Then, AnAn brought in his present from her. His very own basketball goal! He loved it and started playing with it right away. =)

After he had a chance to play with some of his toys, we let him open his presents from everyone. We decided to wrap a few presents from us because we thought he'd really enjoy the unwrapping part this year and my parents had wrapped a few things and my sister gave him one gift to unwrap. I think he had his fill of unwrapping by the time he finished! He got some bath toys, books, a Tickle Me Elmo, Leapfrog laptop, a shapes and colors Elmo toy, a new bookbag and lunch box, an outfit, and his very first Bible.

After Garrison finished opening his presents we all opened presents from each other. We made a huge mess! I don't think you could see the floor. We all had so much fun! I don't think you're ever too old to be excited about opening presents on Christmas morning. We were blessed tremendously with so much this year! My parents are extremely generous throughout the year and always do too much for us at Christmas, but this year they totally and completely spoiled us!! Of course they didn't want to hear any fuss about how they did too much, but they most certainly did TOO much! One day I'm going to think of a way to return their genorosity. Terrell, Anna, and I will put our heads together and figure something out. =)

After cleaning up the Christmas morning mess (somewhat), we all had breakfast and then got ready to go over to Nanny's for lunch. We've been going over to my Nanny's house on Christmas day for lunch since I can remember and I'm so glad that Garrison can experience the tradition now too. The picture below is of all of Nanny's grandchildren, including her great-grandchild, Garrison Cade. We took tons of pictures and I think in every one of them someone isn't smiling or we're all looking at different cameras, since at least 5 people were making the picture at once, but this is one of the best we got.

Enjoying his Christmas lunch

The kids opened presents after lunch and once Garrison opened his last one we heard a bell ringing... and in walks my Nanny with this antique, Radio Flyer tricycle. Those who could see the little man's face said he was smiling as big as can be. We didn't know she was getting him this gift so it was a surprise to us too. He loved it! His feet don't quite reach the pedals but that didn't stop him from hopping on and going for a ride. Just about everybody pushed him around the porch at some point.

After a fun family Christmas get together with the Garrison side of the family the 3 of us headed over to Terrell's parents' house later that afternoon for a Christmas day visist with them. A few minutes later my parents came over since they hadn't seen the Selph's since Terrell's dad had surgery. We had a fun time visiting with them and were able to make some Christmas day family pictures.

After we left the Selph's house we went back to my parents' house for our Christmas dinner of steaks, baked potatos, corn on the cob, green beans, and salad. We started the tradition last year when the Piper side of the family decided to get together the day after Christmas. Everything went great last year so we made it a new tradition. We enjoyed a candle-lit, delicious meal and then had the rest of the night to open our stockings (another tradition we started last year) and relax. Papa did a great job on the steaks and Granna did a great job on everything else. I definitely felt spoiled once again!

After dinner and dessert we let Garrison open his stocking so we could get him ready for bed. It was filled with a Grover, books, socks, bibs, new ornaments, hot wheels, and a Sesame Street DVD. I think I'm remembering everything...

Did I get it all?

What a great Christmas I've had!! (And special thanks to AnAn for making so many pictures for mama and daddy so we could all enjoy my Christmas together! They turned out great!)
Once the little man was sound asleep, Terrell, Anna, and I opened our stockings. They were filled with the best goodies!! Terrell and I helped fill each other's stockings this year and then my parents surprised us with other stuff. After opening my stocking, I started feeling spoiled-rotten guilty. I received so much this year that I'm so grateful for, but man did I feel spoiled. Next year I think everyone needs to take it down a notch... especially Granna and Papa. =)
That night while we watched the news and waited and hoped for snow (and it did snow a light dusting for us!) and played the new card game my hubby got me, we also wondered about our plans for the next day. We were supposed to go have brunch with my mom's side of the family at my cousin Kelly's house in Gainesville. But... my grandparents, aunt and uncle, and Kelly's family were all at my uncle Terry's house in Suches enjoying 8 inches of snow. And, all of the vehicles were at the bottom of his driveway. It was finally determined that a decision would be made the next morning. We all had a feeling there was no way they could leave, but knowing Terry he would find a way, even if he had to take everyone down his driveway one at a time on a four-wheeler... including my 80 plus year old grandparents.

The next morning we woke up and had breakfast and took our time getting ready because we hadn't heard from the fam in the mountains. Finally they called and said we could still attempt to get together that day, just later in the day, or we could postpone it a week until New Year's Day. After much discussion with both households (the one in B'ville and the one in Suches) it was decided we would stick with the original plan and Terry would transport everyone down his 8 inch deep in snow driveway one at a time including luggage on his fourwheeler. Seriously!? I was shocked my Granny agreed to it. I quickly said a silent prayer for everyone's safety. We all started getting ready and finally heard from them that they were on the main road and everyone was safe and sound. Terrell packed up our car earlier and took Bailey and went to Covington to drop off our load of goodies and then met us at Kelly's. Once we arrived it took the little man a few minutes to warm up to everyone, plus wake up from his 20 minute nap in the car.

Sitting with AnAn enjoying watermelon waiting for the 3:00 brunch to get started

Playing with his cousins... I love this! They are so sweet to him and he loves them playing with him. He actually attached himself to Haley the entire time we were there.

Playing Santa Claus again and handing out presents

Petting "Bark Bark" with Uncle Terry

Opening his Christmas present from Kelly, Mike, and the kids. It was the "2 feet tall" Little People Raceway! They always get him the best gifts. =)
After eating lots of yummy brunch food and opening presents and just having a good time together, we realized the snow was coming down pretty good and we all had better get on the road and head home. It was so neat to be at a Christmas gathering and watch it snowing outside. I loved it. I'll take a white Christmas every year. Anyway, once we all started gathering our belongings and getting ready to leave, things went a little crazy. As Terrell described it, it was pandemonium. It seemed like everyone was rushing around and people were in and out of the house, grabbing presents and cakes (a gift for everyone from Rich), and waiting for the bathroom, and hugging each other, and tracking down family members (we lost Garrison for a second but of course he was with Haley in a different room). We said it was like on Home Alone when they realized they over-slept and had to leave for the airport in such a rush. Crazy. I also think my aunt Marie was a little nervous about getting back home to Suches. They were planning to park at the end of their driveway and ride the fourwheeler up to the house. I would be nervous too. I quickly made a few pictures off of Kelly's back deck while it snowed. So pretty!

We finally made it home around 6:30 on Sunday night while it snowed on us most of the way. Snow was actually covering most of the ground at our house. I think that counts as a semi-white Christmas. =) We were all pretty worn out from all the Christmas get-togethers and festivities of the past few days but we also felt really, really blessed. We were able to spend the holidays with both of our families, plus extended family, and had the best time together while we caught up, ate, gave and received gifts, and celebrated the birth of Jesus. Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Now we're looking forward to entering a brand new year and making lots of new memories. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas 2010: Dec 23 and 24

Christmas for our family is extra special every year. We always spend it with both sides of our family, plus extended family, and enjoy celebrating the Lord's birth together. This year was even more special because we found out on Wednesday the 14th that Terrell's dad would need open heart surgery on the 16th... a week before Christmas Eve. It was a huge blessing that they found out about his blockage in time. Praise the Lord! Thankfully the surgery went great and he is making awesome progress in his recovery. God has been faithful every step of the way. We had to make a few changes to our "Selph Family Christmas" tradition, but the important part was that we were all together just like every other year. More to come on that...

Before going any further in writing about the details of our Christmas I want to take a moment to acknowledge the "reason for the season", the birth of our Savior. I've always known the Christmas story from the Bible, but as I get older it seems to become more and more real to me. I imagine Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem and I think about how physically uncomfortable that journey must have been for her. I think of how overwhelmed they both must have been at the thought of raising the King of kings. I try to imagine His birth, Him as a toddler, and Him as a little boy. And he was here! He walked this Earth! He lived a human life and experienced everything we do except He was completely perfect and holy. I am amazed God sent him here for us. Holding my own son, I couldn't imagine the love it would require to give him up for everyone else. I could cry at the thought of it. But God so loved the world, and I'm so thankful he sent His Son. It is my prayer that at Christmas time I am able to keep Christ at the center amid all the hustle and bustle of the season. It can be quite a challenge once you get caught up in decorating and shopping and wrapping and Santa Claus, but I really pray that I can always remember and acknowledge that Jesus is the true gift of Christmas and the reason we all celebrate and enjoy such a wonderful time of year. And most importantly I pray that I am able to set a good example for my little man. Now... I'm ready to add to our "scrapbook" the details of our Christmas celebration 2010 (Thursday the 23rd and Friday the 24th).

We woke up in Barnesville on Thursday morning and immediately got ready and prepared for the day with the Selph's. (We arrived in Barnesville late Wednesday afternoon and had supper with my parents and did some grocery shopping so we could cook dinner for Terrell's entire family on Thursday night.) Terrell's family gets together for Christmas on the 23rd every year and then we all spend the night with his parents and wake up and have a Christmas Eve breakfast with lots of family friends. This year the breakfast was canceled due to Terrell's dad's recovery so we decided to do a dinner like normal on the 23rd (except Terrell and I were the chefs, ha!) and then we would have a simple breakfast on the 24th and open presents that morning.

Here are a few pictures from the 23rd....

Terrell holding Garrison and baby Shannon

Watching the choo choo with Nana and Elijah

Playing with Allison. Once they warmed up to each other they had so much fun playing together! This was their favorite game... throwing the ball.

Thursday night Terrell and I cooked supper for the entire family and everything turned out really well. It was definitely a tad stressful cooking a Christmas dinner for the entire family. I was just so thankful that nothing was burnt or turned out terrible. We had roast, red potatos, and carrots in the crock pot, plus butterpeas, creamed corn, biscuits, and dessert. Terrell helped SO much and I know there's no way I could have done it all myself. We made great partners in the kitchen! =)
The next morning we all woke up and got ready before having Hardee's for breakfast and then opening gifts. Of course we had to attempt a few pictures first. This is about the best one we got of all three of the cousins. Shannon looks like a baby doll propped up by Garrison.

After taking a few pictures, Garrison and Allison got to play Santa Claus and pass out all the gifts to everyone. I could tell that the little man was just beaming as he handed out gifts. He looked so happy. It just made my Christmas Eve to see him so excited and having so much fun as he helped give out the presents.

Once everyone had their presents we decided to let Garrison and Allison go first. Garrison opened his GeoTrax choo choo train from Nana and Pops first and absolutely loved it.

He also loved the Sesame Street wrapping paper...

We almost had a bit of an issue since he opened this one first... He didn't want to open anything else! He just wanted to play with the choo choo. Thankfully we were able to distract him with other presents.

A Tonka dump truck from Uncle Denny and Aunt Kara!

He decided he'd like to ride in it. =)

After everyone opened presents and we cleaned up the huge mess, I held Shannon while Garrison and Allison played and Kara and Denny tried to gather up all of their things so they could get on the road.

Playing again, but this time with "Mulan". She insisted we call her that after she decided to wear her Christmas gift, a Mulan outfit.

Holding sweet baby Shannon =)

Garrison wanted to "pet" the baby. So sweet! I love that he's so fascinated with babies and never seems to get jealous or panic if Terrell or I hold a baby.

Family picture time! The only way we could get Garrison in the picture was if he could sit on his dump truck.

Denny, Kara, Allison, and Shannon

Pops and Nana

Pops and Nana with the little man, plus the dump truck

After Kara and Denny and girls left to head back to Suwanee, we just hung out for a while before getting ready to leave ourselves. Even though the tradition changed up a little this year, we still had a great Selph Family Christmas and fun was had by all! I know my little man had a ball opening his first Christmas presents and playing with his cousin, and once again I was reminded how thankful I am that we are so close to our families and that we all get to be together for the holidays.

After leaving the Selph's, we headed across town to my parents' house. A definite perk to being from the same home town! We tried to get Garrison to take a nap shortly after we got there, but I guess he knew it was Christmas Eve and was just too excited to go to sleep. Our Christmas Eve tradition with my family typically consists of attending the Christmas Eve Family Lord's Supper at our church with Terrell's parents, and then going back to my parents' house to enjoy chili before settling down for the evening. This year Terrell's parents decided to stay home after all the busy happenings at their house the past couple of days and my sister invited all of us over to her apartment for chili and hot dogs.
Our family picture before going to church on Christmas Eve

Granna and Papa with Garrison on Christmas Eve before church

We met Anna at the church and Garrison did really good while we waited our turn to go down and have the Lord's Supper together as a family with Brother Garth and Ms. Suzanne. There is something very intimate and special about being in our church on Christmas Eve. The lights are dim, candles are lit in the windows, and Christmas music is playing softly. Plus you get to see other families who are there together and it's sort of like seeing your extended family briefly on Christmas Eve because you're all part of the same church family. I also love participating in the Lord's supper and having Brother Garth pray for our family. It's just a special tradition. After leaving the church we went over to Gordon to have dinner at my sister's apartment. Everything turned out great and it was neat to be there at her place on Christmas Eve.

The 3 guys at AnAn's

Enjoying dessert with Granna

After eating way too much we loaded up my sister's presents and all got in one car to go look at Christmas lights. Growing up we really enjoyed riding around and seeing all the lights and I thought it would be neat for Garrison to enjoy it since he could actually see out the window to look at them this year. We drove to the Rock Ranch and rode through enjoying all of their lights. I think this is the first year they did a light display and it was really, really good. Of course the little man fell asleep on the way home and wasn't too happy when he woke up. Finally he settled down and went to sleep and we all enjoyed watching "A Christmas Story" marathon on TBS.

Then, late Christmas Eve night, Santa Claus came and delivered lots of goodies for the little man at Granna and Papa's house because he was such a good boy this year!

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Few Pictures from Our Christmas Season

Since this blog has become our family scrapbook and photo album I wanted to include pictures from our Christmas season so far...

We participated in a "Santa Session" with Brandi Hodges (Three E Photography) and are SO glad we did. She took several pictures and really worked hard to get some good ones. These were taken on Nov. 30th. As you can tell, the little man took just a little while to warm up to Santa Claus. Although from a distance he absolutely loved him and couldn't quit saying, "Ho Ho, Oh, Ho!"

Garrison's tree made up of Terrell's sports ornaments. =)

Our Christmas card this year

Watching the "Choo Choo" go around the tree with Granna. One of the highlights of the season for the little man this Christmas has been watching the choo choo trains at his grandparents' houses.

Garrison and Papa after the Christmas program at church (which Papa was in), and by the way was amazing. Now, the Christmas program at FBC is one of the highlights of my Christmas season. It is always sooo good and really puts you in the spirit, but is also such a great reminder of the true meaning of Christmas.

The two of us before my Premier Christmas party

The four of us before the Christmas party...Terrell's mom came over to baby-sit and this is our only family picture in front of our tree this year. =)