Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summertime Blues?

Yesterday was loooong. Our first real, true day of summer and everything about it tested my patience and made me tired. I fell asleep at 8:30 last night. 8:30! Then I woke up around 9ish, did my getting ready for bed routine, read a little, and then went back to sleep around 9:40. I think it's safe to say, Mama was TIRED.

It rained off and on most of the day yesterday so I determined we'd stay in and just hang out at home. Garrison watched an episode of Mickey Mouse while I put Austin down for his morning nap and then I did a few things around the house before the little man was ready for my full attention. Which was fine except that we had TONS of time on our hands. Like the whole day since I'd planned for us to stay in. And for some reason that's way more intimidating when you don't really have much of anything planned and it's raining so you can't go outside and baby brother is into everything and mama is already tired from our busy long weekend.

I ended up making Garrison a tent/fort under the dining room table. He loved it. He brought his pillow and animals and books and camped out.... for about 5 seconds before he wanted a playmate. And I didn't fit so well. Ha. But I read him his books in the "tent" and we had some play time together before Austin woke up and joined in on the fun.

They are going to love doing this when they're older. I'm so excited about them playing together and entertaining each other in the future. Sibling play time is the best! I'm sure they will get along perfectly and share all their toys and play together quietly for hours on end. =)

After our adventures in the tent we had more time on our hands before lunch. And when it comes to my boys, time on our hands equals trouble. It's hard for us to be lazy and relaxed around here. Correction: It's hard for Garrison and Austin to be lazy and relaxed. We like to go and do and have plans, even if we are at home (as long as it's not naptime). So I lost my patience and got frustrated and pulled my hair out, etc. Because I didn't have enough "planned" to keep us occupied. My fault all the way. Ahhhh.

When Terrell came home for lunch I admitted that this summer might be tough. It's busier with 2 little guys of course, but we're also a little limited in what we can do. I can't take them to the pool by myself for safety purposes. Garrison and I still have the whole morning at home together because we save our outings for after Austin's morning nap... which I plan to hang onto as long as possible. And it's just not realistic to go to certain places by myself with a preschooler and baby.

By the time naptime rolled around yesterday, I was determined to get out of the house and waste some time doing something once they woke up. So I decided we should go to Wal-Mart to pick up a wedding shower gift. Even though it started pouring down raining about that time. I sent Terrell a text that said We will be going to my least favorite place this afternoon rain or shine! (I reeeally don't care for Wal-Mart.) So we went and picked up a gift, came home, then let daddy take over with the boys while I cooked supper. I was spent. The first day of summer and I was spent. Oh. Dear.

Soooo, this summer might be more of a challenge than I realized. Which I feel totally guilty about. It almost made me really get down on myself. Shouldn't I be soaking up all this unlimited time with my babies before I'm away from them more than I've ever been before starting in August? Shouldn't we be having a low-key relaxing summer like everyone else is talking about and doing? Shouldn't this be a "break" for all of us?

I'm thinking this summer will be far from relaxing and anything resembling a break. BUT, it will be an opportunity of unlimited time with my boys before we all start back to school in August. I have to enjoy every minute. Or try to enjoy most of them at least.

Today was better. I was prepared... Garrison and I cleaned my bathroom while Austin napped and Garrison did great with some independent play time (it's so crazy how some days he's right up under me and other days he's Mr. Independent) then we all went to Chick-Fil-A and the rest of the afternoon was easy breezy until they both woke up and the adventure started over. But with less drama than yesterday. Whew.

I know things will get better and easier and more fun if I stay prepared... which will probably require some creativity. But I want this to be a fun summer full of great memories, not one of survival mode and crankiness and an impatient, worn out mama. So I better get a start on planning. Because no more summertime blues allowed!!


Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend 2012

Our long weekend has been busy, relaxing, fun, exhausting, and wonderful all put together. Terrell and I are WORN out, but we're so thankful for all we were able to do this weekend together as a family. And especially thankful for a certain baby boy who hadn't made his appearence yet last year. What a blessing to kick off the summer and enjoy SO many freedoms and so much fun on Memorial Day weekend!

My parents came over Saturday morning to contribute to the paint project once again. We would never get anything accomplished if it weren't for our parents coming over to help us out! They have already gone above and beyond with all their help and we aren't even finished yet!

This time around me and the boys stayed at home so I could help out a little too. We put Garrison's pool nearby and while Austin napped Saturday morning I hung out with Garrison and painted a tad when I could. Garrison had a ball. Getting in and out of the pool was enough to occupy him for hours.

After lunch while both boys napped, all 4 of us were outside painting away like crazy people because we finally saw an end in sight! Then my littlest man got to join in on the fun after he woke up. I decided against putting him in the grass-filled pool though.

Hallelujah!! Slightly over half-way DONE!

Sunday we went down to the pool for our first official swim of the season. And it was determined I will not be able to take both boys by myself to the pool this summer. Boo. Guess we'll settle for the baby pool until daddy or AnAn can go with us.

Austin did great and was very "chill" about the water. Haha. He kicked his little feet and splashed a little and was way laid back about the whole experience. He spent the majority of his time in Garrison's old turtle float, however since we both had our hands full (literally), we didn't get any pictures after we finished the firsttimeinthepool pics and put down the camera. Poor Austin. More pictures next time for sure! 

Sunday afternoon Terrell's parents came over to visit for a little bit and take us out to eat, so we got a family Memorial Day picture. Just like we did 2 years ago. =) We had a fun time with the Selph's and enjoyed a surprise supper from Outback... AND my oldest was very well behaved and did not disown mama and daddy! Yay!! Is it premature to feel hopeful that we're done with that little phase??

This picture turned out really good... except for both of the boys having the creepy red eyes. I know when we print these we can do the red-eye reduction feature but this makes me reeallly want a new camera. Really bad.

After saying bye to Nana and Pops and getting back to Covington we went to the square and walked around and let the boys play some before going to Scoops for ice cream. We've lived here 5.5 years and have never done that. And I really don't know why because it was so nice and fun. We definitely have to take advantage of the square (and Scoops!) more often.

This morning after Austin's nap, we all went to Turner Lake to walk around and feed the ducks and let Garrison play. And the boys had SO much fun, which means mama and daddy did too. Believe it or not, we stay so busy that it's rare for the 4 of us to get to do special things together away from the house. But this weekend we made it a priority and Terrell and I loved it just as much as they did. We've even vowed to plan more special outings this summer on regular old week nights since our summer weekends fill up so fast.

After naps, Garrison and daddy worked in the yard together before grilling out and playing baseball. Daddy had a shadow all afternoon. =) Mama had one too, inside. Another reason I'm worn out.

We had a great weekend and I've enjoyed spending time with my 3 boys so much. I could get emotional about how thankful I am for my little family and the ways God has blessed me, but I think I'm too tired. I'm just so, so grateful for the country I live in and the freedom I enjoy thanks to the sacrifices of so many and my loving Savior. Happy Memorial Day!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Decision

***** You'll need some time on your hands before you read this. Longestpostever. *****

It's finally time for me to write about the decision. The decision that was talked about and prayed about and thought about tons. The decison to go back to work.

For almost as long as I can remember I've wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. It was my dream even before we got married and had kids. I knew that it would be a long shot more than likely, but I always felt really strongly about it and always communicated that to Terrell. Especially after we got married and I started teaching. Especially then.

Because after teaching for a few years I knew I wanted to stay home. I never wanted to choose between my students and my children, my job and my family. But most importantly, I also felt and believed that being at home with my (at the time) future children was my true calling.

That's when my hard working, money managing husband went to work. We saved a lot of money. We found something I could do to bring in an income while staying home. (Thank you Lord for Premier!) And we became super frugal.

A lot of sacrifices have been made so that I could be home the past 3 years. My husband has worked extra hard to make sure we've always had enough and that we could even save some money during my time at home. He has been amazing and supportive and the best financial advisor ever.

During my time at home we started planning our grocery list around what was on sale. And watching our thermostat. And being okay with hand-me-downs and consignment shop clothes for the boys. And rarely shopping for ourselves. And doing "staycations" versus weekend getaways. And choosing our out-to-eat places wisely. And watching almost every dollar (I would say penny, but I don't think we've been that frugal). And every single sacrifice and tight month and cute outfit I did without were SO worth it.

I have LOVED being home with my boys. The past 3 years have been the happiest, most stress-free years of my life (that I can remember anyway!). They have been wonderful. I've had tough days and I've been frustrated and boy have I been tired, but I've never dreaded a Monday. (Except for maybe the Mondays after getting back from our vacations to the beach for a week.)

I've enjoyed letting them sleep til they wake up. I've enjoyed going to the grocery store on Monday mornings. I've enjoyed automatically being home with them when they're sick. I've enjoyed witnessing every little milestone. I've enjoyed unlimited play time. I've enjoyed being their first teacher. I've enjoyed it all SO much and feel extremely blessed that I've had this opportunity. it comes.... this past Fall, we reached a point of realizing it would be extremely hard to continue to make ends meet on the income we have coming in. Our frugality might not be enough for the long haul. We could get by using money from our savings occasionally (something we hadn't had to do at all over the past 3 years). We could get by as long as no unexpected expenses came up. (That's crazy talk. Of course unexpected expenses will come up). We could get by until we needed a new car. Or decided to have baby #3. But in addition to things being "tight" we'd also be at risk for having to regularly dip into our savings or go into some possible credit card debt. Gasp!

Sooo, we started discussing our options and what was best for our family. And let me tell you, it is HARD determining what's best for your family when you're deciding between things you believe are equally important. Talk about stressing me out! And making me cry. It wasn't fun trying to figure out what we should do and where God was leading us. We had to trust Him big time and let go of control (and our own dreams/desires) before we finally reached a decision we were both at peace with.

The first step would be me hopefully finding a job teaching preschool so I wouldn't be working full time and so I could be on the same schedule as the boys. I sent my resume to the 3 "big" preschools in Covington, desperately hoping that I would get a job at Garrison's school working in Austin's classroom for the upcoming year. (Being away from Austin was one of my biggest concerns and Satan has continued to attack me when it comes to feeling guilty about time away from my youngest).

After waiting it out and almost hitting the panic button, God opened the door at a different school with a great reputation where we already knew a few families, where I would make more per hour than at Garrison's current school, and where the boys would go for FREE. Plus I'll be paid for trainings I attend, any homework I have, etc. Plus our school year is also 2 weeks shorter than Newton County's but we still follow their calendar and get all the breaks. Double yay!!

I'll be teaching 3 year olds on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and Garrison will be in a (different) 5 day a week 3 year old class with the option of attending 3, 4, or 5 days. Which means I'll have some flexibility when it comes to finding some one-on-one time with Austin. There are just so many perks and rewards to this "job" that we are very excited about and have a huge peace about our decision.

Life is going to change though. Me working, even if it is only 15 hours a week, will be a big ole change for our household. No more letting them sleep til they wake up. No more running errands whenever I want. No more having unlimited time for scheduling doctor appointments... and going to Chick-Fil-A to play, and doing laundry, and visiting the library, and vacuuming, and shopping for family members' birthdays and Christmas gifts. Things we've really grown accustomed to. Plus I'll also be doing Premier. One because we need the income it brings in and two because I'd be crazy to give it up. How amazing is it to go out to "work" for a few hours one evening and come home with an average of $200 that same night? Pretty amazing. =)

But it is going to be overwhleming at first. There will be an adjustment period. We'll all have to figure out a brand new normal. (Which of course I've already been thinking about and planning for so things will go just like I want them to. Haha.)

Even though I'm tempted to stress and worry and feel guilty (which I've already done enough of)about this decision and the upcoming changes that will most definitely occur come August, I'm trying instead to focus on being grateful for the opportunity to go to work part time with my children.
Go to work. Part time. With my children.
That alone is enough to put my anxieties to rest. What a huge blessing. What an answered prayer.

Now I'm going to soak up this summer with my babies before a brand new adventure begins.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Last Day of School

SCHOOL'S OUT FOR THE SUMMER!! (Hmmm... I appreciated that line WAY more when I was teaching...)

Yesterday was Garrison's last day of school so Austin and I went to his little pizza and ice cream party and to say goodbye to everyone. It was bittersweet. When I think about the fact that another school year has past and my little man is another year older it makes me really want time to slow down. But, when I think about the first day of school and how Austin wasn't even here yet, it seems like August was forever ago and that this has been a slow school year. Garrison has grown and changed a lot since his first day. It's official. He's growing up. But I already knew that... his last day of school just reminded me.

He was so busy eating once he got his pizza and fruit I couldn't get him to slow down long enough for a picture. So here he is with a mouth full. He loves to eat!

Here he is with one of his best friends Riley. Her mom has joked more than once that wouldn't it be sweet if they got married one day. She is adorable. And it really would be sweet. But I can't think about that right now. Talk about time moving too fast!!

Little brother loved taking in everything the big boys and girls were doing. He grinned and smiled and stared in awe the whole time.

Here's Garrison with another best friend, Beckett. We're really going to miss all the friends we've made!

Sweet brothers

Garrison and Mrs. Heather. His other teacher, Mrs. Kimberly, had to leave early because her son was having surgery. (Is that chocolate from his ice cream sandwich I see on his teeth? Too funny.)

And here's a picture of him from the 1st day of school. He looks like such a baby. A toddler still. Now he's full-grown big boy. *Tear.

I think I said the same thing last year on the last day of school when I looked back at pictures from his first day. Next year I'm vowing to soak up the way he looks on his first day and to see him as my baby because he'll definitely look (and be) bigger and older and more grown up on the last day.

We had another great experience this year at First Baptist and we're going to miss the friends we've made the most. He'll miss his classmates and I'll miss their moms.

I'm also so grateful for his teachers. They loved my little man and introduced him to new things and provided him with a lot of fun experiences. They even made a little laminated book of pictures of him and his classmates throughout the year plus some little crafts they did. I'll keep that forever. It was so special.

I think yesterday would have been waaay more sad and emotional for me if I weren't so at peace about our move to another preschool next year. I feel confident that God is placing us at a wonderful school for next year and I'm excited about the friends we'll make there. (A blog about that decision is coming soon.)

Now it's time to make the most of our summer vacation and unlimited time together before school starts back in August. I made my list of summer ideas/outings/plans this morning so hopefully we'll have a wonderful summer break!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Trip to the Zoo

The paint project continued Saturday even though I asked Terrell multiple times if we could please hire someone to finish the job. (Which I knew was unrealistic so I rephrased and asked if we could please hire someone to help us out. I still haven't gotten an answer I'm satisfied with.) It's taking WAY longer than either of us predicted and we almost regret the decision to start this little project in the first place. Oh well. We've started it so now we have to finish. Plus we're not quitters. Plus the new paint job looks great so far. Plus it will be worth it in the end. We hope.

Terrell's dad came over and they spent the whole day painting in the hot sun. And they have the sunburn to prove it. Bless their hearts. Painting is tough work. We're going to need to plan a paint party to celebrate when we finally finish. Preferably before Halloween. Sigh.

So anyway, I decided I had to get away with the boys for a special outing that would take up the majority of the day, so I planned a trip to the zoo. I was planning to take them by myself because I don't want to ask family members to drop what they're doing or planned to do every time the paint project continues, but once my mom and sister found out about it they wanted to go too. And boy am I glad they did!

Mental note: do not attempt to take 2 kiddos, including one that can't walk yet, to the zoo by yourself on a beautiful Spring Saturday morning. You will lose your mind. And possibly one of your kiddos.

We arrived at zoo around 10:30 and had the best time. Garrison loved seeing all the animals and was impressed and fascinated by the whole experience I think. He doesn't remember his first ever trip to the zoo, so this one was a special treat. And Austin was a trooper. He hung in there with us and went right along with whatever we did. He never had a meltdown and he even fell asleep for a little while after lunch. The boys were both very well behaved.

One of Garrison's favorite things at the zoo was feeding the birds. Even Austin enjoyed it!
Mama, Austin, and Willie B (Garrison declined having his picture made with big statue... I think he was afraid it might be real)

Garrison and AnAn enjoyed storytime...

And by lunch time my oldest was just about give out! He had even started requested to ride in the stroller. So him and Austin took turns getting rides... and we took turns carrying around Austin and occasionally Garrison too. How would I have survived by myself??

Garrison's other favorite part of the trip was the petting zoo. He loved touching the sheep and goats.

While Austin was napping away, Garrison had a ball riding the zoo carousel. This was his other favorite part. Granna insisted he have an armband for unlimited rides. At first I thought it was completely unnecessary, but later realized I was super thankful I wouldn't have to disappoint him by telling him he couldn't ride the carousel or train! Granna is awesome.

One of the last things we did was ride the train. Granna and AnAn stayed back with Austin while Garrison and I took a little train trip. He loved it because he loves trains and tunnels and seeing more animals. I loved it because he loved it and it was just the 2 of us.

Like I said, we had the best time. And both of the boys came home with a stuffed animal courtesy of Granna and Papa. Garrison picked out a panda bear for himself and a baby lion for Austin (but it's actually a baby tiger I think).

Garrison loved everything about the zoo and thankfully I had help pushing the stroller through the crowds, changing diapers, keeping up with Garrison, taking a bathroom break, eating lunch and making sure both boys were fed, and unloading and reloading the car. If I ever attempt to take them by myself it will need to be for a couple of hours on a weekday morning... during the school year. In other words we'll practically need the zoo to ourselves. Haha.

I also really enjoyed our trip because Garrison wasn't disrespectful and ugly to me even though Granna and AnAn were with us. It was such a blessing! Anytime he acted out (which was rare) he would have anyway whether Granna and AnAn were with us or not. I think it really helped that we all took turns with him. Sometimes I held his hand and showed him the animals, sometimes Granna and AnAn did. Sometimes I held him, sometimes they did. Sometimes I watched him on the playground, sometimes they did. Everything was really balanced out. And we didn't even plan it that way it just worked out that way... and was so nice! I came home and told Terrell all about it. Maybe we have some sort of solution or plan now. Only time will tell.

I'm so thankful for our fun trip to the zoo and especially thankful to Granna and AnAn for coming along with us and spoiling my babies!!