Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas 2012~ Part 2

After wrapping things up at the Selph's we drove 10 minutes across town (yay for being from the same hometown!) to my parents' house to spend the remainder of the holiday. I fed the boys lunch and put them down for naps. So thankful no meltdowns from exhaustion occurred!!

The remainder of Christmas Eve was low key and laid back. My sister and I delivered presents to her boyfriend Frankie. Garrison and I made a M&M wreath and then ate part of it. We hung around the house watching whatever Christmas movie was on ABC Family and snacking on cookies. And then we enjoyed a Christmas Eve Garrison family tradition of chili and hotdogs for supper. Yum, yum.

Before bed Garrison put out food for Santa's reindeer (a gift from his teachers at school). It was SO foggy Christmas Eve. Glad Santa had Rudolph to guide his sleigh!   
After putting out food for the reindeer, the boys opened their Christmas Eve gift from AnAn... Christmas pajamas! A pair for Christmas Eve and a pair for Christmas night. =) And they looked oh so cute in the pair Garrison picked out for them to wear. Best of all, both boys went to bed on time and slept all night long. Such a blessing... and a such a difference from last year!

During the night while A Christmas Story played on TV, Santa visited and left a load of goodies. Garrison's stash from Santa included a bike and helmet, magna tiles, a new puzzle, new shoes, and a Scooby Doo van (plus safari animals and a firetruck tent to share with Austin).
Austin's stash from Santa included a new riding toy, new bath toy, ball, puzzle, hammer toy, shapes toy, "Pop Pop" (at least that's what we call it) that Granna and Papa had Santa deliver along with the safari animals and tent to share with Garrison.
Quick Disclaimer: The wrapped presents in the pictures were gifts from us, Granna and Papa, and AnAn and Frankie. We don't go that overboard. (They do, but not us. Ha!)

Christmas morning was super fun. Terrell and I woke up and waited and waited for one of the boys to wake up. Finally, around 7:30, Garrison woke up very anxious to see what Santa brought him... so we got Austin up and made our way into the living room...

Garrison's first reaction to his bike was That bike is too big for me, with a frown on his face I might add. Thankfully he grew to love it. Austin didn't really know what was going on but he was definitely excited and enjoyed his new toys.
AnAn and Frankie joined us for Christmas morning too!
The morning was full of fun for everyone. We opened presents, played with toys, laughed, opened more presents, played with more toys, ate a delicious breakfast, and then ran around like crazy trying to get ready for our next Christmas gathering.

I know I say this every year, but my parents are SO generous and truly embrace the spirit of giving. And, they go above and beyond with the decorations and the food and everything at Christmastime. There's nothing like it. They've set the bar high I tell you. Way high. But by next year I'm hoping they cut down the boys gifts to 1 thing they want, 1 thing they need, 1 thing to wear, and 1 thing to read. =) They were just a little off this year. Haha! Thanks mama and daddy!!

For Christmas lunch we went over to my Nanny's to celebrate with my dad's side of the family. And we were so blessed to have a new family member join us this year. My cousin's baby boy who was only 4 days old Christmas Day made an appearance. We were thrilled! We had a great lunch, enjoyed loving on sweet baby Cecil, opened presents, and even got in this picture with Nanny and her grandchildren. Anna and Frankie had to leave by that point and 2 of my cousins weren't there, but that's almost all of us...

After leaving Nanny's we went back to my parents to get settled in for the rest of the day/night. We put Austin down for a short nap and gave Garrison some down time before we enjoyed our Christmas dinner. Papa grilled out steaks and Granna made yummy sides. Other than being super tired and my children stressing me out during the dinner it was wonderful. And having Frankie join us made it even more fun. He is so good with my boys and fits in so, so well that when he's around things seem a little more laid back. The Selph family is thankful for Frankie. =)

After dinner the boys got dressed in their other new pair of pj's and we got ready to open stockings... a Christmas night tradition for our family. They were both excited and loved their new treats. Garrison was especially tickled he had dessert (translation: Skittles, a fun size Snickers, and a fun size Twix) in his. And, you won't believe it, but BOTH of my boys slept great again on Christmas night! Praise the Lord! After our tough Thanksgiving I was prepared for the worst. The Lord blessed us with good sleep this Christmas! 

The day after Christmas was a little crazy trying to load up and pack up but somehow my super-packer of a husband figured out a way to fit everything into (or on top of!) our Jeep. Yay! And, my big boy got to ride his bike outside. Finally. Christmas Day was rainy so he had to be super patient. His riding buddy, Granna, also got a bike for Christmas. I think Granna getting a new bike and being able to ride with him made a big difference in the little man's comfort level. They talked, practiced, and figured things out together. Before we left Wednesday, he was a pro. =)

I think that concludes Part 2. Christmas with little ones (and spending the night away from home) always brings challenges and adventures... but it's what memories are made of. In the moment I don't always appreciate it... because I'm typically stressing or ready to pull my hair out or feeling like I'm going to go crazy, but looking back I kind of do... cause like I said, it's what memories are made of. I had an "aha" moment Christmas night when I felt on the brink of a meltdown due to the "craziness" and my sister said, "What's crazy?" like I was the crazy one. What feels crazy to me isn't necessarily crazy and stressful to everybody else. Sometimes mama just needs to take a chill pill. In the end it's hectic and wild and loud, but it's okay. It's even fun if I'll let myself enjoy it. =)

We had a GREAT Christmas this year. We enjoyed lots of family time, lots of fun, and lots of gifts as we celebrated the greatest Gift of all, Jesus Christ. We were together. We were healthy. We welcomed new family members. Yes, it was great. Hectic, wild, loud, sometimes stressful, and GREAT.

Now to clean up and start party planning. A little boy at my house will be 4 soon!

Here's the recap of Christmas 2011~ Part 2

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas 2012~ Part 1

Christmas Recap Part 1...
Our yearly Christmas tradition with family started on Sunday the 23rd when we went back to B'ville for Christmas with the Selph's. We made a stop by my parents' house Sunday morning to drop off some presents and deliver Bailey to her home away from home before going to church. I love being in church at Christmastime. The music, the sermon, decorations, you name it are wonderful. And my babies are loved on so much at our hometown church. Their Sunday School teachers are just the best! Our family of 4 loved being "home" for Christmas.
After church we had a wild and crazy restaurant lunch (that threatened to turn me into a Scrooge, haha) before going over to my in-laws for an afternoon and evening of Christmas family fun. While Austin took a short afternoon nap, the older cousins played together and made some Christmas treats with Nana...

Then, once Austin woke up, we gave all the kiddos baths so we could have them out of the way since we had to plans to go look at Christmas lights that evening. After baths, Nana read the Christmas story to the grands before it was time to open presents. While Austin wandered around the living room, the 3 older cousins were very attentive this year...
Allison, Garrison, and Shannon loved handing out presents to everybody (almost as much as opening their presents)! Handing them out has to be just as fun. Both boys loved their new toys and couldn't wait to play. =)

After we all finished opening gifts and the mess was cleared away we enjoyed a yummy supper. Thankfully my children were better behaved and ate lots more than at lunchtime so our meal was way less stressful. It's the little things..

After supper we got everyone dressed in their matching Mickey Mouse Christmas pajamas from Nana and Pops. I just love matching kiddos. The 4 cousins were so cute! 
This Christmas Garrison and Allison were almost inseparable. They played and shared and talked and had so much fun together. Such a sweet picture.
After pictures we went to the Rock Ranch to see all their Christmas lights before getting everyone settled in for the night. Garrison and Allison shared a room again this year and all in all things went well. They talked a lot and took a while to fall asleep but once they did they slept good. Allison wakes up way earlier than Garrison so he was up earlier than normal, but this year we were able to make sure he stayed in bed and went back to sleep for a little bit. And Austin slept good too! (Again, it's the little things.)

Christmas Eve morning we got ready for the Selph's annual Christmas Eve Breakfast. It was fun to see family friends and catch up, and everything was sooo delicious. Austin was actually napping while we ate and Garrison did great at the kids table so things were pretty laid back for us. Before things wrapped up we got in some family pictures... and I have a feeling one of these will make it's way into my Christmas collection that I put out every year.

Selph~ Party of 4  =) 
Nana and Pops with the grands
The whole clan

That's a wrap- The first half of our Christmas 2012. We were all present, all healthy, and all had fun enjoying traditions with family. God has blessed us tremendously and we are so thankful He sent His Son.

Coming up next- Part 2!

And just for fun... Christmas 2011~ Part 1

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Let the Christmas Festivities Begin!

Christmas is officially in full swing for the Selph's. =) And before I get way behind on blogging about our Christmas fun I had to go ahead and hit on the highlights of what we've been up to before things get really crazy.
My last day of school was Wednesday and we had the cutest little party for our preschoolers. We have great parents and they were so generous to me! They really made me feel special and loved. Then, Garrison's last day of school was the next day on Thursday. I helped with his party that included Christmas Bingo with m&m's, a book exchange, and yummy food and treats. It was a fun couple of days. =)

On the first day of our break the boys and I had a laid back day at home. (Not sure you can call any day with 2 busy boys laid back, but it was as laid back as we could get...) Garrison and I made oreo balls and the 3 of us had lots of play time. Plus we did laundry and started packing.

Then, Friday night we had a family date night at one of our fav restaurants. We had never been there as a family of 4 before... only for date nights or special occasions with other friends/family. Austin made things interesting but we enjoyed every bite nonetheless. After our delicious dinner we went to make a quick picture of the boys in "Santa's Chair" on the square. Garrison has been fascinated with this chair and talking about it for days. So even though it was frigid out, we braved the cold for pictures. Precious.
After approximately 10 seconds in Santa's chair we decided to quickly move over to the sweet little sleigh... except Austin decided he was frozen and wanted no part of it. Ha!
But Garrison was a trooper and forced a smile even though he was going numb from the cold... 
Until approximately 3 seconds later when he decided he was COLD and ready to be done. So we hurried back to the car to thaw out!
Today we went down to Barnesville for the Piper Family Christmas gathering at my parents house. It was a lot of fun and we enjoyed tons of good food. We had what felt like hundreds of appetizer style foods... it was a treat! And we loved celebrating and catching up with family. My boys had a ball!
We got in a family picture too. =) We had a few missing but most of the gang was there. (Terrell took this picture since it was with our camera... but he was in other ones!)
Austin got to have just a little play time outside but the temperature seemed to drop fast so he had to come in early. It was fun while it lasted though! Garrison was too busy playing with the big boys to have his picture taken. (And can I just say.. big boys are rough! I am NOT ready for all that in my future. But I'm guessing I don't have a choice...)
And of course we opened presents and enjoyed more play time. We had such a fun day! And the best part is that we were able to come home at a decent time and get settled in at home. Yay!

Tomorrow the real craziness of Christmas begins. We'll head back to the hometown for church and Christmas with the Selph's. We'll spend the night with Terrell's family tomorrow night and wake up to a Christmas Eve breakfast with family and friends before heading across town to spend the night with my parents. We're very excited about all the upcoming festivities, but it's been oh so nice to be home tonight with a chance to relax and take a deep breath before we dive into everything tomorrow. Let the Christmas festivities (and craziness) begin!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

From Our Family to Yours...

Every year since Garrison's first Christmas we've committed to having a family picture on our Christmas card along with a line from a Christmas song/carol. It's a fun tradition that we (translation: I) enjoy every year. =) My sweet and talented friend, Megan, designed our card for us again this year... and she is amazing. We love you Megan!! We also went with a classic line from one of our favorite, classic Christmas carols. Our card turned out perfect. (And I think we already know the line for next year's card based on one of Garrison's favorite Christmas carols this year... which has led to much discussion about baby Jesus.)

So from our family to yours...

And I just had to include a few special pictures that didn't make the cut when I ran out of photo space...

A couple more precious pictures of the boys and Santa. These are just too sweet and funny to me. 

Two more from our "traditions" weekend before we loaded up to look at Christmas lights...

And a few from Blue Willow where we saw another Santa. The boys were given candy canes and a jingle bell in an effort to get them on Santa's lap. Garrison would have none of it. He'd paid his dues the day before he decided.  
Austin was having none of it as well... until a family member decided to give it a try just in case. Nope. Not even a candy cane and jingle bell could make the experience better.
Then, Santa insisted my Granny sit in his lap. Hmmmm...I'm not so sure about that Santa. As my sister would say, "He gets a strike for that." Ha!

I'm planning to blog again before Christmas but just in case things get too wild and crazy I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas enjoying traditions, time with family, and all your many blessings as you celebrate the birth of Jesus! (And that everyone stays well!!)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Worst Sick Season Ever

It's been awhile, but we're still here. I started having blogging withdrawals because I'd been away and hadn't had the chance to write in so long. Two sentences in and I'm feeling better already. =)

Gracious. We have had a time of it. My babies (all 3 of them) have been sick. Very sick. As soon as one gets over something, another comes down with something different. Or the same one comes down with something different. It's been wild. And stressful. And exhausting. BUT, as of tonight we are planning/expecting/have every intention to all go to school and work tomorrow. We'll see what the morning brings, but as of tonight, tomorrow's plans are a go. We'll be holding our breath til then though.

Since Thanksgiving my boys have had one bug or virus after another. Especially Garrison. Poor baby has caught everything there is to catch. The week after Thanksgiving we made it to school one day before he came down with strep. The week after that he didn't make it a single day because he came down with the flu. Then, this week he made it 3 days before coming down with the stomach bug. He has not had a fun 3 weeks... at all. I have felt so sorry for him. He's been pitiful. And every time we think he's over whatever he has, he comes down with something else. Hence the reason we'll be holding our breath tonight.

Then, in the midst of Garrison's tough time, Austin came down with an ear infection, pink eye, and diarrhea. So sad. Poor baby had a hard time going to sleep and couldn't get comfortable and just didn't feel good. It broke my heart to see my babies so miserable. Not to mention my frustration at the fact that we couldn't seem to get well and stay well.

Sooo, we pretty much moved in over at our pediatrician's office. Seriously. They have seen me and one of my children at least once a week the past 3 weeks. Not fun. And we started our Christmas break from a school a little early because I haven't been able to go to work but a few days since Thanksgiving break. Thankfully my father-in-law was able to come over one day to stay with Austin so Garrison and I could go. But then the next day is when Garrison started throwing up. Sigh.

The day that Garrison came down with stomach bug, Terrell also started feeling sick. Really sick. So sick we felt pretty confident he had the flu. And so sick that I slept on the couch in an effort to protect myself. Long story short, he ended up going to our urgent care place on Friday morning and they determined he did NOT have the flu (Thank you Lord) but that he did have a virus and infection combination. And it was pretty serious because he fainted in the waiting room on his way out and had to be given IV fluids for dehydration. Thankfully, Terrell's mom came over and was with him (because he couldn't drive himself and I was home trying to take care of sick boys). We are SO grateful she was here. She waited with him while he got 2 bags of fluids. She picked up groceries for us. She dropped off and picked up his prescriptions. And, she brought him home safe and sound.

By the time he got home we had made the decision for me and the boys to pack up and head to Barnesville so I could have some help and so we could give Terrell a chance to get better without us being "exposed". It was stressful to pack up and leave... and my nerves were shot, but it was the right decision.

My parents were wonderful. They cooked for us and fed us every meal. They helped with bath and bedtime. My dad kept Garrison while my mom, Austin, and I did some Christmas shopping. My mom kept Austin while Garrison and I went to see my dad and Terrell's mom in the Christmas program at church. They played with the boys and kept them entertained the whole weekend. My parents and my in-laws saved the day multiple days. Big time. We are so blessed and so thankful.

This sick season has been tough on us. Tough. We've never been this sick. It hasn't been easy or fun and I'm pretty sure it hasn't brought out the best in this mama. It's made me emotional and sleep deprived and drained and stressed out. And it's taken away from our Christmas season a little. Boo. But, we're all here and we're all okay. We're getting better slowly but surely. We're still celebrating Christmas even if it's going a little differently than we expected. In this mean and crazy world that is not our home, we're together as a family. Together. And that keeps everything in perspective for me. This "sick season" stinks but we're enduring it together. And despite the yuckiness and stress and hot mess that we've been lately, I am SO grateful.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Family Pictures 2012

I can finally share my favorites from our family pictures because my Christmas cards are in the hands of those we love. Yay! And I just couldn't spoil the Christmas card so I had to hold off on posting these favs even though we had them done way before Thanksgiving.
Family pictures this year were a tad crazy. We were battling a 14 month old who wasn't interested in being still long enough to pose for any pictures and a 3.5 year old who started off great but lost interest quickly... which led to many a fake smile. (And that's not even counting all the drama that occurred before we got out the door to have them done!) Nevertheless, these pictures are priceless to me. I love them all for different reasons and I'm so glad we prioritize family pics every Fall. They are always special even if they aren't perfect.
 This one was our best family picture which therefore ended up being our Christmas card pic. (Which I'll be sharing soon.) Everyone's looking and everyone's smiling. Success!

And I just LOVE this one. Austin's expression cracks me up. Everyone else looks cheerful and happy, but not Mr. Austin. No way, no how. He is letting Ms. Danielle know he's over it. Ha!

This was my favorite of all my boys. First because it's of all my boys. Second because my husband looks so handsome. And third because my babies are smiling and laughing at me. Triple love.
This one was our favorite of me and the boys. It was near the end of our session so it was really hit or miss at that point. So not perfect but still special...

These last 3 are our favorites of the boys together. The first one just really captures this point in time... Garrison smiling as he does something Austin doesn't like. Haha. The other 2 just show real smiles and real amazement/wonder as they watched leaves fall. Precious.

(And, my other favs are the ones I added to the sidebar. It only took me like 9 months to update those pictures.)  
We would like to thank Danielle once again for a great job on our family pictures. And don't forget her patience. And her fast turn around time! We absolutely love them!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Weekend Full of Christmas Traditions

The Selph household had a weekend crammed full of Christmas traditions. Yay!! It did us good to get out, celebrate Christmas traditions, and have lots of family time after the trying 2 weeks we've had around here. Not every single thing about our weekend went exactly as planned but all in all we had a good, fun, memory-making time.

I mentioned the pancake breakfast with Santa to Garrison late Friday afternoon and he was all about it. He was actually excited! I was shocked. Who knew?? Despite the fact that he had a little anxiety over it at bedtime Friday night we made the decision to go ahead with the breakfast and take our chances on a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad experience. Haha.

We arrived at the breakfast, spotted Santa, held our breath... and then exhaled. Little man was so excited. He was amazed and wowed... from a distance. Austin could care less, he just wanted to be fed, but my firstborn was star struck. It was pretty precious. While we enjoyed our pancakes Garrison had the opportunity to warm up, get used to the idea of sitting with Santa, observe him from a distance, and even watch other kiddos sit up in his lap. Perfect.

When the time came he was a little shy and apprehensive but smiling and happy. (And it helped when Santa said Garrison, I didn't know you were gonna be here!) So I took that opportunity to hand Austin to Mrs. Claus (against his will) and put Garrison right up in Santa's lap. Austin cried his eyes out the whole time while Garrison was smiling away posing for the picture. It was hilarious.

Then I switched places with Mrs. Claus and all was right in the world again. Sort of. I guess you could say Austin wasn't impressed. At all.
After Terrell snapped a few pictures we told Santa bye and got ready to leave. Garrison never told him what he wanted for Christmas... which I think he was fine with. There was another family waiting on us to finish up and after Austin's crying/screaming episode we were trying to get out of there kind of fast. Even though Garrison didn't carry on a conversation with Santa it was still a huge success to mama and daddy. Yay!

Saturday night we planned for our second annual "viewing of neighborhood Christmas lights and making a stop for ice cream". =) Last year our experience did not live up to expectations. And it didn't this year either. Sigh. I'm thinking it needs some tweaking.

The night started with an early supper, baths immediately following, and pictures in front of the tree. (They've grown sooo much.)
Then we hopped in the car in search of Christmas lights. After seeing approximately 3 houses decorated with lights Garrison started complaining and asking for his drink and wanting to know when we were getting ice cream. Ahhh. It was kind of like deja vu... but without the screaming infant. Then we were disappointed at the lack of "decked out" houses. There just weren't very many. It was a bummer. On a happy note we saw one really impressive house on our way back home that was everybody's favorite. It brightened the mood of the whole car. And then we enjoyed ice cream at home before bedtime. That helped the mood too. =)  

One Friday night coming up we're thinking about taking the kids to Scoops on the square for ice cream before walking around the square and checking out all the lights in town. Up close and personal. Then, we can look at lights from the car on the way home too. I'm thinking ice cream first might be the key. Plus being able to get out of the car. Guess we'll see.

On Sunday we enjoyed yet another tradition... a huge, delicious lunch at The Blue Willow Inn! We invited both sets of grandparents, my sister and Frankie, and the great-grandparents to join us. It's a tradition that started back in 2007... our first true Christmas in Covington, but we had missed the past 2 years and were able to do it again this year. The food never disappoints. Delish! It was a little crazy with the boys but nothing disastrous occurred so I guess we can call it a success. My favorite part was having my family back over to our house for a little bit. Having people over at Christmas time is special, and this is our only opportunity for family to come to us so it was nice. It made my 3 year old a wild man but I guess that's to be expected. Everyone went to bed early last night! 
A new tradition we continued was our Advent Nativity. Garrison is loving it. It is the first thing he asks for every single morning. We aren't always able to do it as a family because there are days when we're waking up at different times but my oldest little man is so excited about it and enjoying it so much. He can't wait to open up the number to see what's inside and to read the Bible verse. It's been a great way for us remember the Christmas story daily and I'm so thankful to have it.

I think that recaps our weekend of traditions. Unfortunately I had to go waaay light on the pictures because I'm out of space again. Ugh. And in the process of trying to create more space I've deleted at least one picture from the blog. Boo. Blogger hasn't been my friend lately. At this point I'm planning to upgrade as a temporary fix because this blog has become our family photo album and around the holidays there are more photos than ever. Sooo, unless someone else has another idea, that's the plan. Later this month I'll post more pictures from our weekend because those Santa pictures are just priceless. And so are the ones in front of the tree. And they can't be left out... grandparents want to see!