Thursday, August 30, 2012


These past few weeks have just about done me in. I've had enough pity parties, good cries, too long to-do lists, and plain old guilt to last me a long, long time. This week in particular hasn't been pretty. Terrell's been in more pain than ever before. Austin started the week at the doctor and still isn't completely well. We had to miss Garrison's first soccer practice. I've been working non-stop. And things around here just haven't been so great.

Sometimes I wonder if it's just me. Surely normal people handle change and long to-do lists and exhaustion better than this. For the life of me I cannot figure out how to just go with the flow. Roll with the punches. Be laid back and carefree. I think this whole adjustment period of going back to work and the start of the school year have been difficult and overwhelming because it's me. Boo. It's like I'm not cut out to be the wife/mom/teacher/jeweler who does it all. As in, somewhere along the way, somebody or something gets the short end of me. Somebody or something is sacrificed. I can do/be a couple of things well, but not all of them well. And especially not all of them well at the same time. Boohoohoo!

Okay, the record number of pity parties has got to stop. Gracious.

In some ways the adjustment period we're experiencing as a family has been exactly what I expected. I knew I'd be behind on laundry going back to work. I knew I'd be especially tired on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons. I knew I'd feel guilty working my part-time day job plus my Premier job. I knew getting out the door on the mornings I had to work would be crazy and busy. All of those things were expected and have been dealt with in a somewhat normal manner. Thank goodness.

What I didn't expect or prepare myself for is what I haven't handled so well. Austin getting sick the second week of school. Putting the kids to bed at night and then having to work on my class newsletter or lesson plans or Premier stuff or making lunches or ironing clothes or getting ready for Austin's birthday party (the list goes on and on...). Terrell having to take off work with Austin not once but twice. Terrell having to take Austin to the doctor instead of me. Having to miss Garrison's first soccer practice because I had a Premier show and Austin was sick. Having no desire or energy to cook on Monday or Wednesday evenings. Feeling pulled in 5 different directions and my family suffering because of it. Those are the things that are making me crazy. Those things along with the fact that we're getting ready for a big 1st birthday party on Saturday and my husband is still having pain/issues from his back problems. We've been dealing with doctors and insurance people and clinical assistants all the while trying to get some answers and relief plus working on a baby book and party planning and preschool stuff and Premier shows.

I totally underestimated the "outside" work time that comes with being a preschool teacher. Even though I do love my job. I love my 15 three year olds. I love the fact that I only work 3 days a week. I love the fact that the job itself is stress free and rewarding. And I love that my co-teacher and I are sharing responsibilities. However, planning takes place at home. Preparing for crafts takes place at home. Writing up a newsletter takes place at home. And that's what I'm struggling with. I've got to find a balance. Lord, help me find a balance. Every night this week I've been working from the time the kids go to bed until the time I go to bed. And it hasn't been fun. The last time I worked this much in the evenings was before kids when I was teaching 2nd grade. Ahhhhh. I. am. TIRED.

Guess the pity party wasn't quite over yet.

I know lots of moms do all this stuff and more. And even more are tired just like me. You just do what you have to do. Life is busy and crazy and definitely not fair, you just make the best of it and keep pushing through. It's just what you do. Except I don't do it well when I'm overworked and overwhelmed. And it frustrates me and makes me feel guilty and makes me unload on my husband. Bless his heart.

I just want things to calm down. And to find a balance so my family doesn't suffer. And not have pity parties and a looming bad attitude. Sigh.

The first month of school has been a whirlwind of work and fun, sickness and craziness. Instead of growing pains we've had adjustment pains. Ugh. Praying about my lack of balance and having my quiet time in the mornings and cutting myself some slack have helped. A long weekend, moving on to celebrating my baby boy's 1st birthday, and putting this month behind us will be a big help too. But reading this helped most of all.

Trusting. Following. Peaceful despite my circumstances. (Which really aren't that bad! Thank you Jesus!)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Weekend Funnies

After the rough start to our week (ugh) and my not so great attitude and mood this morning, I'm in need of a reminder of our funnies from this weekend. Maybe they'll help change my mood.

Saturday morning one of our neighbors stopped by for my Premier Open House and invited Garrison to go back over to her house to play for a little bit. Her and her husband have become Garrison's adopted grandparents in Covington. He love them and they love him. Anyway, he didn't want to leave their house when it was time to go and sort of threw his baseball bat down in a less than respectful way. Gracious. So later when Terrell and Garrison were alone Terrell told him what a great job he had done over at the Knights' house and how he was so glad he had fun and listened, etc. but, how he was disappointed in how he threw his bat down when it was time to go and how that wasn't nice and he doesn't need to do that again, etc. Throughout "the talk" Garrison remained silent. So afterwards Terrell said, Yes sir? And Garrison repsonded with, It's always something. Wow. That was priceless... and used correctly by my 3 year old. Oh dear. Terrell was left speechless.

Saturday night we went out to eat with my parents and Anna and Frankie for Terrell's birthday. We had such a good time and both of the boys ate well and did a really good job. Things were going perfect until I picked up Austin from his highchair and realized we had a problem. A big one. Possibly a blow-out. We were on our way out anyway, so we took Austin to the car and changed him in the back of the jeep. And it took every last wipe we had. Yuck. And my parents and sister and Frankie were lucky enough to witness the whole thing. Meanwhile Garrison was already strapped in his carseat waiting patiently for us to finish whatever it was we were doing (which we were just about done with) when he said What's dat smellll??

Sunday morning at church (which was wondeful by the way) we finished our last song before the preaching... except our pastor was missing. It was so funny because no one knew what to do. Our music minister had to wing it and decided we'd sing another song while 3 deacons jumped up and left the sanctuary going different directions in search of Brother Garth. It was pretty dramatic... and funny. When the deacons reappeared with him we all started clapping right in the middle of our song. And we all had a chuckle too. 

Sunday afternoon after lunch Garrison was telling my grandparents about going to the Braves game a couple of weeks ago and he ended up singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame for them. Precious. Then, we got him to sing the National Anthem for them too. I was singing it with Garrison to help him remember the words when my dad chimed in. And before we knew it half the family was sining the National Anthem in my parents living room. Then, Austin, who was sitting with my mom and resting on her shoulder, sat up and started clapping for us mid-song just as serious as he could be. It was hilarious. Just like a scene from Christmas Vacation. Too funny!

Even though I'm not feeling very cheerful today, I'm so thankful for good times and lots of laughter with family! Just remembering all our little funnies made me smile. =)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Our Story~ Part 1

I was inspired to do this around Valentine's Day when I read lots of other couples' "stories" about how they met, dated, fell in love, got married, etc. and thought it was a really neat idea. It made me remember and reflect and smile on our own story and how much we've grown and changed and matured... and aged. Haha.

As the years go by memories do start to blur and fade just a little so I knew it would be special to at least have a summary of our love story written down. And since this is our family scrapbook, this is the place to do it. It's been several years already since our story began so I made the decision to get started... except it takes a long time to search for pictures... and find the time to search for pictures... and find the time to actually sit down and write a pretty long summary. So that's my excuse for why we're months and months away from Valentine's and I'm just now "publishing".

My original goal was the week of our anniversary (June 4). But, since that's when Terrell's back went out and life was turned upside down for a bit and I totally underestimated just how long this little summary would take, I had to scratch that plan. So the timing of this isn't anything special I just finally finished part 1. It was a long-term project that took a loooong time. But it was worth it. It's more for us and our kiddos than for anyone else but I still hope that others who read it will enjoy it and write down their stories too!

Our Story~ Part 1

Where do I begin?? Our story started sooo long ago I'm not sure where to start. Do I start with how our families went to the same church and our moms were in a Bible study group together and prayed for me together before I was born? Do I start with our parents being neighbors and friends? Do I start with us growing up in the same church and being part of the same youth group? Or do I start with being best friends to not one, but two of Terrell's previous girlfriends therefore making me the go between and middle man in young, budding romances... twice? Ha! I'm confident our story started a long, long time ago with God as the Author, but for now I'll start with how we became best friends...

Which I thinks begins with the previous girlfriends who were also 2 of my closest friends. They were actually a big part of the reason Terrell and I got to know each other really well. It's how we started hanging out and spending time together and talking on the phone and developing a friendship. I was the one who talked to my best friends about him (separately of course because he didn't go out with them at the same time!) and the one who talked to him about my best friends. That's just how it was done back in 8th and 9th grade. I was also the one who was present almost every single time they were together. I was the best friend and I was always included and invited. I was also the one who offered words of advice and wisdom and condolence after the break-ups occurred. I only thought I was wise and mature at 16. Oh my. 

I guess you could say I was just always there. And we continued to get closer and remained friends well after the break-ups. He came over occasionally. We went out occasionally. (He is 2 years older so he had a driver's license waaaay before me in itfeelslikeI'llnevergetmylicense times.) We did youth group stuff together. We talked on the phone regularly. However, we remained "just friends" through and through. I cared about him as my friend but didn't "like" him or see him as anything more than a friend. He felt the same. We may have developed a strange reputation and not dated other people during that time but we truly didn't see each other as anything more than a close friend. He walked me to class, took me to my orthodontist appointments, and even helped me baby-sit. But that was it. Just friends. Period.


The summer of '99. Chicago, Illinois. His very last youth choir trip. My very last youth choir trip with him. Sigh.

I won't say I woke up one morning and all of the sudden felt different and out of the blue developed more than friends feelings for him, but this trip sealed the deal for me. I was no longer confused or questioning or wondering or pondering. Our last youth choir trip together is when I realized and knew for a fact and admitted to myself that I actually liked him and wanted to be more than friends. I knew I didn't want him to ever have another girlfriend. I wanted to be the one. (That sounds possessive, haha.)

So after months of growing closer and giving hugs when we told each other bye and going out together and joking about how they say you marry your best friend... yada, yada, yada.... he kissed me. Finally. Yay! And then we both knew. Awwww. November 24, 1999~ our true anniversary. Whoa. Twelve and a half years. We've been together a loooong time.

He went out of town with his family for Thanksgiving later that night or the next morning and I immediately started wondering if things would be the same when he got back or if we'd both pretend like nothing had happened. We had been "just friends" for a reeeally long time and that one little kiss changed everything.  Ohh, young love. Thankfully we both felt the same way when he returned home and we both knew we loved each other and that we were going to get married one day.

*Disclaimer: I KNOW that sounds crazy coming from a 16 year old and 18 year old. I know this. I wouldn't (translation: don't) even want to hear it from my own children as teenagers. But it was true. We both knew at that point we would always be together. It was probably crazy of us to think that way as babies (cause that's what we were) but we both felt it and both knew. Promise!

Before going "public" with our new relationship we decided to keep things on the DL for a while. Do people still say DL? Anyway, I think we were both sort of nervous that if our parents found out we were "dating" and more than friends that they wouldn't approve or would forbid us to see each other again. To this day we aren't sure why we felt that way. Anyway, after the new year we came clean to our parents, who already suspected what was going on, and they were both happy and supportive and surprisingly did not forbid us from seeing each other again.

Other than being hopelessly in love, not much changed about our relationship. Which we thought was the coolest thing ever! We were already so comfortable spending time together and hanging out and talking on the phone that everything felt totally natural and just like it should be. My favorite memories from the "early days" are how much we liked to talk. We could spend the entire day together but still talk for 2 hours on the phone that night. We had SO much to talk about. We talked about our days, school, college, part time jobs, our families, the future, our friends, our weekend plans, church, our faith, sports. You name it and we probably talked about it. We talked on the phone every single night. Who knows how we filled up hours upon hours with conversation? It was just our thing and to this day we communicate really well over the phone. Every time we argue or disagree we just need to get on the phone and talk it out!

The first picture below was taken January 2000 and the second was taken before my Junior Prom the spring of 2001. Good times.

After seeing each other 2-3 times a week plus every single weekend, not to mention talking on the phone a TON, the dreaded time approached for Terrell to move to Athens to finish his degree at UGA. Boohoohoo! I was so proud of him but knew it was going to be devestating to say goodbye... cause he'd be leaving the country for 2 years and I'd never get to see him or talk to him and even though we were still planning to get married one day he'd probably forget all about me. Okay, so that's probably an exaggeration, but I definitely knew how to be dramatic... back then... ahem.

He told me bye the morning of my first day of my senior year of high school. He came over to my house and we hugged a lot and cried a little. It was an emotional goodbye for us. He left for Athens and I left for my first day of school as a senior. Crazy. We knew we'd still talk everyday and see each other most weekends but we also knew things would change. And they did, but thankfully we survived 2 years (an eternity it felt like) of a long distance relationship. We had some trying times during that stretch but I think it made us stronger. I missed him like crazy! Absence really does make the heart grow fonder. One of my favorite memories during that stretch was him coming home for the weekend of my 18th birthday. We went to the Perry Fair, watched Georgia beat Tennessee at the last second, and saw Kenny Chesney in concert. It was the best birthday ever!

The first picture is Senior Prom spring 2002 and the second is a picture of us from Terrell's college days taken late 2002 or early 2003.

Terrell graduated from Georgia in August of 2003 and moved home. Yay! I was overjoyed and so proud of him!! And we had a whole year of living in the same town again before it would be my turn to move to Athens. Terrell got a job and worked hard to save lots of money. I worked on finishing my 2nd year at Gordon College and made plans for starting the Early Childhood Education program at UGA. And all the while we spent lots of time together. Maybe not every single day, but almost. We definitely talked on the phone every single day. That year (from August to August) was a really great year full of lots of great memories.

And the marriage talks continued and increased in frequency. When should we get engaged? When should we get married? Should we wait until I finished school? Should we plan a wedding before I finished school? Could we afford to be married while I finished my degree? The questions were endless and we were both really torn. We wanted to get married as soon as possible. Like, immediately. That part was a no brainer. But we also wanted to be realistic and make a smart decision financially cause unfortunately it's kind of hard to live on love and nothing else.

Finally, we became friends with an older lady in our church that we both came to love and respect deeply. Her and Terrell got to know each other better because of being on the prayer wall at church together. She called him every Thursday night when it was his turn to pray. They always talked about us and our relationship, her and her grown children, grandchildren, and late husband, and just shared lots of stories every week. So a special friendship formed pretty quickly. I got to know her better through her long conversations with Terrell and absolutely adored her. She was one special lady.

One night when Terrell and Mrs. Dede were talking he shared a little about our dilemma with her and how we just really weren't sure what to do about the timing of getting married and me not being done with school and us having to live on one income, etc, and she gave us shocking yet brillant advice... Go for it. She didn't believe in wasting time or waiting until you thought you had enough money or trying to make sure the timing was perfect. She believed in going for it and even told him a story about her and her husband only having a dime to their name when they got married. After that conversation with Mrs. Dede we both knew God has used her to help us make our decision. An engagement would be coming soon! Yaaaay!

We looked at rings together in January of 2004 but I had no idea when he would purchase the ring or propose. It was so exciting. I knew it was coming but it would still be a total surprise... perfect!

Finally, months later, the day arrived. June 12, 2004. Oh the memories.

Terrell had the whole day planned. He told me we were going to a bank function in Athens and that it was semi-formal and we would have dinner and socialize, etc. (I wasn't exactly looking forward to this little "function" but wanted to be supportive and would have felt terrible sending him by himself.) He also threw in that he needed to drop something off at the UGA real estate office so we'd have to make a stop by the campus. I never questioned or suspected a thing.
Here's a picture my parents made of us when he came by to pick me up. I should've known then something was up.

Getting ready to leave for Athens and this bank function was stressful. And had me in a mood. I was uptight and feeling self-conscious and nervous and uncomfortable. I was honestly regretting my decision to tag along. Then, to make matters worse, when we finally got on the road we reached a BIG detour. A waaay out of the way detour that totally stressed me out and made me worried we would be late and everyone would look at us when we walked in and would see how over or under dressed I was and we'd be so embarrassed and it would be awful. (See how dramatic I used to be? Glad I'm not like that anymore... haha) So Terrell made a phone call to a co-worker and she said that they pushed back the start time of the function because of the detour. Phew. Thank goodness.

(I would find out later that the phone call was completely fake. Wow.)

We finally got to Athens and stopped by the campus first cause we had time to spare since the start of the function got pushed back and all (can't believe I fell for that). And Terrell stopped me at our tree. A tree on North Campus that became our favorite tree because we'd had our picture taken there once upon a time and it had a wonderful fat, low branch perfect for sitting.

When he stopped me I think I might have rolled my eyes and said in a very much whiny tone, "We're in a hurry, we don't have time to stop here. I don't want to be late." He said something about his mom wanting another picture of us and how we were all dressed up and everything... blah blah blah. I was growing impatient by the second. Then he told me the spot to stand right by the tree so he could take my picture first. Cue a dramatic sigh.

Then, time stood still. Perfectly still. Because the craziest, most shocking thing happened. The thing I never suspected. The thing that didn't cross my mind even once.

My sweet boyfriend of 4 and a half years got down on one knee, flashed a gorgeous ring and said something like, "Meggie Garrison, will you marry me?" My eyes opened wide, my jaw dropped, my heart skipped a beat, and my mouth said Oh my... oh my gosh...Terrell?? And before I knew it he was slipping the ring, my ring, on my finger and all I could do was stare and feel shocked and speechless and my eyes starting to water. He snapped me out of it by saying, Meg, are you gonna say yes? How could I forget!? Yes... YES!

I think I may have floated all the way back to the car. And tripped a few times because I was staring at my beautiful ring instead of paying attention to where I was walking. I felt wonderful... and a tad guilty because of my bad attitude... so I apologized... to my finance'. After we got back to the car he spilled his whole plan and all the little fibs he'd told. I couldn't believe he'd been so sneaky and creative... and all for me! I just about melted.  

Then, he told me he had another surprise and whisked me away to a surprise restaurant. As we approached downtown Atlanta I knew he was taking me to the Sundial at the top of the Westin Hotel. (This was where we ate before my Senior Prom except we couldn't see anything because it was so foggy that night.) This time, we enjoyed our view and our dinner and the whole experience was so special. I stared at my ring most of the evening and made sure my left hand was always in sight so I could admire my always and forever favorite piece of jewelry.  
On the way home I called our entire families to share our big news. I was so excited! Then when we got back to my house we had to tell my parents all about it. Of course they were in on the plan, but we still filled them in on the detour and Terrell's quick thinking and fake phone call and my ridiculous moodiness. Oh my. How embarrassing! 
It was a wonderful night and the date was set. June 4, 2005 would be the day we said I do!! We had a wedding to plan! Squeal!!
Part 2 coming soon....
Hopefully before Christmas!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Reality Discipline: A Summary & What it Looks Like at Our House

I've mentioned more than once that I finally purchased a parenting book and that it was one that I loved and that I would probably blog about when I finally finished. Well, the time has come. I finally finished it. And I want to write about how it's changed things around here... for my own personal memory and record but also for anyone else who's curious or wants/needs a change or approach to discipline in their house. But, I'm going to preface this post by saying that I don't have all the answers or feel that reality discipline is the only way or even the best way all the time, it's just what works for us and our family... most of the time anyway. There will always be exceptions.

The book I read was Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours by Dr. Kevin Leman. It's Christian based and an easy read with lots of real life examples. But it still occassionally makes things seem a little too easy than real life actually is. However, I did love the book and highly recommend it.

The book (and reality discipline) is based on verses from Ephesians:

Children, obey your parents; this is the right thing to do because God has placed them in authority over you. Honor your father and mother. This is the first of God's Ten Commandments that ends with a promise. And this is the promise: that if you honor your father and mother, yours will be a long life, full of blessing.

And now a word to you parents. Don't keep on scolding and nagging your children, making them angry and resentful. Rather, bring them up with the loving discipline the Lord himself approves, with suggestions and godly advice.  Ephesians 6:1-4  (The Living Bible)

I love that.

The book is all about natural and logical consequences that hold children accountable and responsible for their own actions/choices. And, as Dr. Leman says, "The keynote of reality discipline is love." It's about doing everything in love (not anger or stress or frustration).... having a healthy authority over your children, holding them accountable, letting reality be the teacher, using actions more than words, and loving unconditionally. Sounds easy enough, but it's tougher than you think. It's all about that middle ground between authoritarianism and permissiveness.

We were already implementing some reality discipline around here and didn't even realize it. For example, if Garrison threw a toy or used it to bang on the table, etc then he was given a warning and if it happened again the toy was taken away. If you can't play nicely with the toy, we have to put it up. That's the logical consequence. And it's a form of discipline and a way to teach him, not just a punishment. Another example is when Garrison was first moved into his big boy room and bed and tried to play throughout his entire naptime. I told him that if he used his naptime to play (at a time when he without a doubt needed a nap) then he would have to go back to his room to rest after his afternoon snack. If you use naptime to play then during play time you will rest. It's holding him accountable for his own choice. Thankfully the threat alone worked!

One of the mistakes we were making however, was using words more than actions and then eventually losing our tempers. Asking him 5 times to clean up, 7 times to get ready to take a bath, 6 times to get ready to eat, you get the idea. He'd always eventually do it but by then our patience was gone and we were beyond frustrated, not to mention the occassions that led to meltdowns and time-out. Not fun.

Another mistake was forcing or demanding he do something our way versus giving him a choice. (Choices aren't always possible but when they are they're really powerful.) Choices are big when it comes to reality discipline and they promote independence and responsibility and mutual respect. The example Dr. Leman gives in the book is that while we want our children to be well behaved we do not want them to be like "puppies who are submissive, palatable, and easy to lead." We want them "ready to move into adolescence" and able to "be responsible and mature and to think for themselves". I love that too. There was a lot about the book I loved. It's not about controlling them with threats and punishments, it's about helping them make choices and take responsibility for those choices.

Now, we're much more action oriented and willing to offer choices. And it's made a BIG difference. I focus on telling Garrison things to do once or twice and then it's time to "take action". We don't ask over and over and over again all the while losing patience and our tempers. And I always try to offer him a choice (if at all possible). The new way of doing things has really helped me keep my cool. A lot. I'm not constantly losing my patience with him because it rarely gets that far anymore. Of course, we still have our moments but they're just fewer and farther between than ever before.

*Quick disclaimer: Our terrible two's started around 2 and a half and lasted until a few months after he turned 3. If we'd implemented some of these strategies back then, it's hard to say if it would've made a difference or not. Back then, we'd just have moments or even days when we couldn't do anything right in the eyes of our firstborn. Tantrums were thrown and ugliness occurred... regularly. I'd like to think we could've done better had we known then what we know now, but I also know there were times back then when pretty much anything we tried would've failed. Sooo, I guess I'm hoping and praying things are smooth sailing with Austin because we've learned a new approach!

Here's some of our real life examples:

*If Garrison's playing too rough with Austin or not being careful or sharing, he has to go to his room or sit on the couch for awhile. He can't play where Austin is if he's not going to be gentle or share. Sometimes he doesn't like it but we all stay calm and I usually give him a choice of a new place to play for awhile or a choice of what he would like to share with Austin. This approach works lots better than making him go to time out or us telling him 10 times to share or be gentle.
*If he's stalling big time before bed we have to remind him that we won't be able to read 2 books and sing a song because we won't have time. It will be too late since he's taking so long getting ready for bed. We're giving him a choice versus controlling him and then he accepts responsibility for his choice. Sometimes he chooses to hurry up and sometimes he chooses another minute of play time or whatever he's doing but us only reading one book.

(Side note about bedtime: In the book Dr. Leman highly recommends that you not rush through bedtime. He talks about how bedtime is a great opportunity to talk about the events of the day, pray with your child, and just communicate with them. I have been very guilty of rushing through bedtime in the past. Garrison always wants me to put him to bed and I'm usually so tired and ready for me time and a break that it's really easy to hurry through our whole routine. Now that I'm taking my time with him and we're talking more and I'm not rushing out of his room, bedtime goes smoother and he settles down easier and goes to sleep quicker... most nights.)

*We ask once or twice to get ready for bathtime. If he doesn't listen and obey we remind him that he'll have to take a "fast bath" (no toys, bubbles, playtime, etc. just a bath and that's it) if he's not prepared to listen and speed it up. If we have to enforce the fast bath, there could very well be a meltdown, however, we can usually reach a compromise based on choices (which involves a very limited amount of play time and the timer being set). But if a compromise can't be reached, a fast bath it is.

*Speaking of meltdowns... if he's having a meltdown or tantrum over not getting his way we immediately remove him from the family. He goes to his room until he's done crying, acting ugly, etc. and he's gotten himself together. This is becoming more and more rare for us to implement because he "gets it together" pretty fast. We always say it's okay to be upset/sad/disappointed BUT it's not okay to scream/yell/throw yourself on the floor/have a meltdown or tantrum over it.

*If supper is ready and he's not telling us what he wants to eat (besides what we've already decided he will eat) or putting off coming to the table, we remind him that we are starting to eat and want him to join us, however, if he doesn't he will have less time to eat. When supper is over it's over whether he's finished eating or not or whether he's had a little something for dessert or not. We also remind him that he'll have to eat what we've put on his plate and nothing else since he isn't picking out his fruit or other sides. Thankfully, he really likes to eat so one reminder is usually all it takes. Dr. Leman is hard core about supper time battles.

*When it's time to clean up, Garrison usually cooperates and does a good job. But he's not perfect and we do have our moments. If he isn't listening and cleaning up like we've asked, he sits on the couch doing nothing until he's ready to clean up. No more play time, no joining us for lunch or supper, no nothing until the mess is cleaned up. This is very effective for us. Occassionally choices are offered like cleaning up this pile now and this pile later versus doing it all at once, having someone help him clean up versus doing it my himself, etc. Choices are good and can head off a meltdown quick.

*If he talks back or uses an "ugly" voice or is disrepectful he immediately goes to his room for a time out. Dr. Leman recommends a time out for you or your child so that you don't "fight back" and lose your temper, which is very easy to do if you've just been disrespected. Haha. But, talking back is never acceptable and must have a consequence... isolation for a brief period, a spanking, etc. With Garrison we always go in his room and talk about it afterwards. It gives us time to cool off and to communicate in love instead of anger.

Those are all the examples I can think of that we have to deal with on a somewhat regular basis at our house. I'm sure I'm forgetting some but these are the main ones. We always discuss grocery store/Chick-Fil-A/library behavior expectations before we go and I remind him of consequences as well. But the main focus is a reminder of appropriate behavior and how I know he'll do a good job and be a good listener/helper. 

The next thing I'm tackling is implementing reality discipline at the grandparents' houses. Garrison tries to get away with any and everything when we're spending the weekend with the grandparents, and I'm way more leniet because I'm trying to avoid an embarrassing meltdown with witnesses. Sooo, we'll see how things go this coming weekend.

I really did love the book and will refer back to it often I'm sure. It's not always easy to let reality be the teacher. Sometimes it even breaks your heart. But it does work and it is done in love. I know it's changed things around here for the better and we are especially thankful!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Selph Household Happenings

*Today is my wonderful husband's birthday! He's officially in his thirties now... 31! Even though his birthday is on a Monday this year, we're still trying to make it a special day. This morning I made cinnamon rolls (from the can of course), something we only have occasionally on weekends, and we all sang happy birthday to him before we ate. Plus, Garrison played his little Mickey Mouse doll that sings happy birthday for daddy. Later today we'll give him his presents and tonight we have a date! Terrell's mom is coming to keep the boys so we can go out to eat. What a treat! Unfortunately we'll have to stay pretty close by because my babies are sick.... ugh.

*Austin started with something Friday and was congested and coughing and just not feeling good all weekend long. And it's only the 2nd week of school!! Soooo frustrating. Yesterday I mentioned to Terrell that since it was only the 2nd week of school it might be best for him to stay home with Austin and then if he needed to he could go into work once Garrison and I got home from school. It was the perfect plan and worked for everybody... except Terrell. He had to go into work today, at least for the morning, and had no way out of it. Boo. So the new plan would be for Austin to spend an hour or two at work with Terrell until he'd be able to get away and take Austin home until we got home from school. It wasn't our first choice, but it would have to work. Except Austin woke up sounding terrible and Garrison woke up coughing. We decided at the last minute for me to stay home with both of them.

*One of my worst fears about going back to work was what I'd do when one of my babies got sick. I've never had to be away from them when they're sick, which I'm so grateful for, but that little fact made this morning heart breaking. I felt terrible about having to miss work the second week of school but even more terrible about forcing Austin to sit at the bank with Terrell and Garrison to spend the whole day at school. Finally Terrell made the decision for me. Now we have 2 days to get over these colds or whatever they are and hopefully I won't have to miss another day of work for a while!

*Austin is officially walking!! He stills crawls a lot, but walks about 5 steps at a time all over the place. He's still unsteady and loses his balance pretty easily, but he takes those 5 steps at a time about 25 times a day. =) Nothing much has changed though. He was already into everything and already getting wherever he wanted to go so other than watching those cute and chubby little legs and feet takes steps, things around here are pretty much the same. We've yet to capture any pictures of him so we need to get on that soon. He is the cutest thing ever toddling around!

*Wednesday morning before work I got a call from my Nanny saying that my cousin Elom had been in an accident and broken his back and that we needed to pray for him. He had feeling in his arms and legs but was in a lot of pain and they still didn't know how serious it was. Two hospitals, one 6 hour back surgery, and several days of pain later, he is recovering and actually walking around. Praise God from Whom all blessing flow! Wednesday morning through Friday night when the surgery was finally over were a very anxious and stressful few days. We had plans of going to visit him on Saturday but he had a really tough day that first day after surgery and was in so much pain he just wasn't up for visitors. He has a long recovery ahead of him, about 4 months to be exact, but we are beyond grateful that this recovery is possible. Please pray for him as he endures a lot of hard work, therapy, and pain towards making a miraculous full recovery.

Happy Birthday again to my best friend and wonderful husband! I love you and am so thankful to share another birthday with you!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

My Baby the Braves Fan

A few weeks ago when Garrison found out that Terrell and I were going on a date to a Braves game without him he was pretty disappointed and declared that he wanted to go to da Braves game nex time. And how could we resist that? We even felt a little guilty about our date to watch his favorite team play. Garrison loves baseball and loves the Braves so we just had to make it happen, because sadly he doesn't remember much about his first visit to Turner Field.

So we (Terrell) went to work searching for a game we could go to. It had to be at night because it's just too hot for an afternoon game with a hot natured mama 3 year old in tow. It had to be on a Wednesday night because our weekends are full and that meant the next day we could sleep late and recover from our late night since we don't have school on Thursdays. And it had to be against a team who isn't very good/popular so we could get cheap tickets and it wouldn't be too crowded. Check, check, and check!

My mom came over yesterday afternoon to keep Austin and the 3 of us headed out to Chick-Fil-A for supper and then on to the Braves game. My little man was so excited. All he'd been talking about was cheering for ChippaJones and hoping the Braves would hit it to the fence.
We made pictures and walked around the entire stadium (which we didn't mean to do, however I made eye contact with Brian Jordan preparing for the pre-game and he waved and smiled!! So it was worth it) before finally arriving at our seats and getting settled in. The bad news was that ChippaJones wasn't in the line up, the good news was that Garrison didn't even notice. He was too focused on the baseball mans on the field.

Garrison watched just about every pitch at the start of the game and wanted every player, including the Padres players, to hit it to the fence. Then by the end of the 2nd inning he was digging through our book bag for a snack. Oh goodness. We had to pace him with the snacks or he probably would've made himself sick. The snacks were key to our fun night however.
I think his favorite parts of the game were when we all stood up and cheered for Dan Uggla's home run and Jason Heyward's RBI double, and whenever we did the tomahawk chop. Oh, and when we all stood up to sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame. Cutest. Thing. Ever. He knows all the words and sang right along with everybody else. It was precious. He had moments of being bored and restless, and even let out a big ole yawn around 8:30, but overall he did great. We left after the 7th inning and he went to bed around 11:00 because he had to spend a few minutes with Granna before she went home and it took him just a bit to get settled. Memories were made and fun was had by all. And we won! Now we're excited about taking Austin one day too! =)

Monday, August 13, 2012

First Day of School 2012

The first day of school is over and we all survived! Yay!!! I think we're all exhausted and ready to pass out, but we all had a really good day and are loving our new home away from home.

Terrell and I both woke up bright and early this morning so we'd have plenty of time to get ourselves ready before waking the boys up and getting them fed, dressed, out the door, pictures made, loaded up in the car, and to school on time. Whew! Our morning was a little crazy, but we made it to school on time and daddy was even too early for work so he came to help us get all 50 of our bags and lunch boxes inside. (A perk to having daddy working 2 seconds away!)

Here's our back to school first day pics...

They both looked so handsome and cute this morning. And I know on the last day of school I'll look back at these pictures and be amazed at how much they've grown!

Our first day was a really big success. And I am so thankful!

(Although I can already tell it's going to be interesting having them both in my room every morning before school starts while I'm trying to get things done and they're making messes and getting into stuff...)

All the little things went well....

*Both boys went to bed early last night.
*Austin woke up right at 7:00 so I didn't have to wake him up... which I would've felt totally guilty about.
*Neither one of the boys cried when they went to their rooms. (I wasn't too worried about Garrison but had prepared myself for Austin to shed lots of tears.)
*Austin took an hour nap from 10:00-11:00! This was a total shock to me! He's used to a morning nap but has a hard time napping when there's lots going on. I was thrilled and so thankful!
*Garrison walked by my room and waved and told me hey and made my day.
*Not one of my 15 students cried or had any major issues with the first day.

I am SO grateful for the day we all had. It wasn't perfect but it was pretty close. God has been so gracious to us today and if I had more energy right now I could probably cry because I had prepared myself for things to go much worse... especially with Austin.

Hopefully the rest of the week will go just as well. Now I'm going to rest awhile before the boys get up!

(First day last year)

Friday, August 10, 2012

For Garrison

Sunday August 5th, Garrison officially turned 3 and a half. Where is the time going? After reading about mamas who've been totally emotional over their babies starting Kindergarten, I've decided I will do my absolute best to soak up everyday with my oldest little man before I become one of those totally emotional mamas. It's gonna happen. Ohhh man. There's no doubt in my mind that I will be that mama. But enough about that. For now my baby is only 3 and a half.

Garrison Cade, here's a peek into your life at 3 and a half...

You Love:
*Playing baseball with daddy
*Your grandparents
*Driving around your car or jeep
*Being read to
*Being outside
*Austin (and being a big brother)
*Mama putting you to bed
*Fruit Jammers
*Mickey Mouse
*The Braves
*Bubble baths
*Chick Fil A

You do Not Love:
*Austin getting into your toys
*Going to bed early
*Water in your face
*Mama (or daddy) leaving your room at bedtime when you still have things to say
*Loud thunder
*Playing at Chick Fil A when it's crowded

Your Daily Routine:
You wake up between 7:15 and 8:00 every morning by calling Ohhh Maaaama!
Next, it's time for breakfast- your favorite meal of the day most days.
After breakfast we clean up and you and Austin play together for a little bit before Austin's nap.
Then you watch Mickey Mouse while I get Austin down for his nap.
After Mickey Mouse goes off you're ready for my attention and some one-on-one time.
We like playing together most days but some days you help mama dust or clean the bathrooms
Once Austin wakes up we usually get out and run errands or visit the library or Chick-Fil-A.
Next comes lunch, clean up from lunch and toys, quiet play time, and then naptime.
(You typically nap from 1:40ish to 3:00 everyday.)
After naptime is a snack and playtime with Austin (and mama) til daddy gets home.
You love playing with daddy until supper is ready and love bubble baths after supper.
Your bedtime is 7:45 or 8:00 every night and you enjoy having extra playtime after Austin goes to bed.

Your Personality
*Loving and affectionate- you love to give and receive hugs and kisses and just have a BIG heart
*Smart- you soak up everything, catch on quickly, and have an amazing memory
*Compassionate- you are concerned any time you see someone else upset or hurt and always want to make it better. You are extremely thoughtful!
*Curious- you love to ask questions and always want to be in the "know"
*Strong-willed- you're only strong-willed occasionally, but you definitely have a stubborn streak
*Loud- boy oh boy are you LOUD. We're thinking that comes from Papa and the Garrison side of the family... how fitting!
*Athletic- you love every sport you've been exposed to and have great large motor skills

Garrison we are so BLESSED to be your parents and love you so much more than you'll ever know. We are so proud of you, so thankful for you, and are loving watching you grow. We know God has great plans for you and are excited about His work in your life. We love you little man!!

 The LORD bless you
and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

First Week Challenges

This week is our first, first week of school. This is the week of preplanning for me... getting the room ready, getting materials and supplies organized, attending trainings, preparing for Open House, planning for the first few days, etc. And the first week for my kiddos to experience having a working mama, going to work with mama, and being super tired right along with their mama. Next week will begin our second, first week of school when my babies will start and go to their own classes and my new little students will come. It's exciting and scary at the same time!

This week has been less challenging than I predicted in some ways and lots more challenging in other ways. Lots more. I guess it's just been really different than expected but still a big ole adjustment just like I knew it would be.

Our mornings have been better than expected. Yay! Terrell has been a huge help with the morning routine and so far we haven't been rushing around like crazy or struggling to get to work/school on time. The boys have been pretty cooperative and the start of our day has gone fairly smoothly.

Our afternoons have been tougher than expected. I am exhausted. Worn out. Drained. Sleepy. And so are the boys. I guess you can tell we aren't used to getting up and being away for 5 hours straight. And poor Austin is really worn out because he's used to a morning nap. Bless his heart. We're all ready to crash once we get home and the last thing on my mind is cooking. Both Monday and Tuesday we did simple meals that required no cooking for me. My poor family. I'm thinking they'll survive though.

Our days at work/school have been easier and harder than expected. Monday was great! The boys did really good, I was able to accomplish a lot, and things were easy for the most part. Today on the other hand was pretty awful. Austin was into everything. It was kind of like a nightmare. I think he pulled off the border from our bulletin board no less than 5 times and I think I removed him from something he couldn't have/get near no less than 20 times. (My back hurts.) Garrison had his own issues too... he had trouble sharing with my co-teacher's 4 year old which led to a meltdown and had trouble listening and obeying. They were just a handful and made it very difficult for me to get things done. At one point I wanted to cut my losses and get out of there. That or just have a meltdown right along with them. But now it's a thing of the past so that's where we'll leave it. =) Thankfully tomorrow we're only going in for a little bit to take care of some last minute stuff before Open House on Friday. I'm praying things go much better than today!

My evenings have been sort of rough too because I'm trying to prepare for the next day by making lunches and ironing clothes and working on newsletters, but I'm also trying to cram in Premier stuff that I'm used to taking care of during the day. So that's been an adjustment and made things kind of crazy. I haven't been spending much time with my husband or watching my shows or the Olympics or even reading my favorite blogs. Hopefully things will calm down once we have a good routine and once we're only going to school on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. On a day, off a day. Yes, that will be much better. On a good note, I am sleeping all night. Yay! I used to really struggle with that when I was teaching 2nd grade because I always had a ton on my mind and a to-do list a mile long... which is pretty accurate this time around too, except that this time I'm still sleeping. Thank you Lord!

The week has been filled with ups and downs and lots and lots of challenges, but we're on the downhill stretch and I know we'll settle in and get adjusted and life will feel normal again soon. Or at least I hope so! I'm sad that I don't handle all of this newness and busyness and craziness better and that it's been confirmed yet again that I am not super woman. But, I am excited about meeting my "students" and their parents and getting the boys on a new, consistent routine and just getting the year started. It will be fun and stress free soon enough. Until then, Terrell Selph is just going to have to put up with me. =)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

11 Months Old

My baby boy turned 11 months old Friday. Wow. Almost one! Double wow. Time flies when you're having fun... and chasing down two busy boys. Even though we're smack dab in the middle of planning the big first birthday party we still plan on soaking up every bit of our 11 month old baby.

This month Austin kept me running almost constantly. I should defnitely be in shape now! I only thought he kept me on my toes before. This month has been wild. He's been into everything you can think of and there is never a dull moment when he's awake. He is busy, he is fast, and he is brave. Talk about a combination. He definitely makes life exciting and fun and we are absolutely crazy about him. =)

The lion pictures were a little easier this month... but not much. Haha.

Here's my firstborn at 11 months. I think they still favor a lot.

Stats and Happenings This Month:

*I'm estimating you weigh around 20 pounds, but I have no idea how long you are...
*You still wear size 4 diapers and mostly 12-18 months clothes.
*This month you decided you weren't that interested in your bottles anymore. But since you're still supposed to have at least 16 ounces of fluid a day we try our best to get you to take 5 ounces per bottle plus a little bit of water with every meal. Sometimes you're just too busy to be still and take a whole bottle!
*You've tried a good bit of table food this month. So far you're liking very small amounts of potatoes, bread, teeny bites of spaghetti meat, and fruit. You also really like apple cinnamon puffs.
*You are still taking about and hour and a half morning nap, two hour afternoon nap, and sleeping about 12 hours at night. Such a blessing!
*You had your first haircut this month and look adorable!
*You are still all about your mama and constantly say ma-ma, MA-MA! You also say bye-bye all the time. We're trying to get you to say Garrison, but since that's a hard one we're thinking you'll say brother first instead.
*You are pulling up more than ever AND standing up all by yourself all the time! You love pushing Garrison around on his train and love to walk around holding onto the table or couch or wall. We know your first steps are right around corner!
*Even though you love pulling up and walking around holding onto something, you're still fastest when you crawl. And when you know we're chasing you down you start to speed crawl like your life depends on it. It is so funny!
*You love playing with Garrison's toys and trying to keep up with your big brother. And Garrison is starting to play with you more and more and he's even becoming more patient with you. I am loving watching your relationship and friendship grow. It makes my heart happy!
*You are one of our greatest blessings and we can't get enough of our sweet baby boy! Happy birthday to my littlest man!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Summer in Review

Sweet summertime wasn't all sweet this year, but it sure was adventurous.

My first summer with 2 boys on my hands and nothing but time.

My first summer I wasn't able to go to the pool whenever I wanted.

My first summer that began with my husband flat on his back and in lots of pain. Wait a second... make that my second summer to begin that way.

My first summer in 3 years that included a countdown to the start of the school year and me teaching. Eeek!

Even though our summer was totally wild and crazy most of the time, it was also full of fun and laughter and adventures. And I'm so thankful for the memories we made and the blessings we enjoyed. Here are the highlights from the Selph Family Summer 2012~

We kicked off the summer with an amazing Memorial Day weekend full of quality time together as a family. One of my favorite long weekends ever.

Then June started on a rough note with an interrupted anniversary weekend and Terrell having major back issues. But the Lord was faithful and Terrell is much better and I survived double duty just fine. Okay, maybe not just fine, but I managed.

One day (early in the summer when it wasn't 100 degrees out) the boys and I pulled out the baby pool and just had fun cooling off in the backyard. Garrison swam while Austin napped and then Austin woke up and got to join in on the fun.

We squeezed in some outside time (again before the temperatures became unbearable) and both boys enjoyed themselves. Maybe cooler temps will arrive eventually and we'll be able to play outside again.

We made a few trips to the library... mainly just to hang out, look for books, and read a little bit. Storytime at our library is right at the start of naptime so we went to Storytime at the library in Madison with some friends once this summer. I think I burned calories that day trying to keep Austin in my lap. Gracious.

Garrison went to his first ever Bible School! It took him a while to warm up but he ended up loving Amazing Wonders Aviation! I was very proud of him for doing such a great job.

Austin got in the big bathtub with Garrison for the first time ever. It was pretty stressful. That's why we're keeping wiggle worm in the baby bathtub for as long as he'll fit!

We got to go swimming with AnAn... plus enjoy some free swimming lessons!

We enjoyed a wonderful vacation to the beach. We didn't relax a whole lot but we sure did have a lot of fun! 

We celebrated America's birthday and enjoyed our yearly traditions.

We made a few trips to Chick-Fil-A. Austin posed for a picture on the slide and played in "Toddler Town" for the first time ever.

Austin discovered just how much fun it is to empty out his diaper stacker... and flee the scene like nobody's business. That boy is into everything!

This summer really was a lot of fun. It was only crazy when Terrell's back went out and when my schedule became insanely busy. On the normal, regular days it was actually pretty great. Thank you Lord!

At the beginning of the summer I thought I was going to be scrambling for things to do everyday to keep us busy and entertained. I truly thought I'd be at Chuck E. Cheese and Chick-Fil-A every other day. But between vacation and errands and Bible School and trips to Barnesville we kept pretty busy and got out of the house plenty. We only went to Chuck E. Cheese twice this summer. We had a routine and a system that worked for everybody. And even though I did lose my mind a few times (especially here recently), I think I learned to embrace all the craziness and to remain grateful no matter what. Going back to work has been a really good reminder for me to enjoy this summer, craziness and all.

These two, my biggest blessings, have made the ups and downs of summer so worth it. There was never a dull moment during the Summer of 2012!

Now it's time for a brand new adventure. Ready or not, we're all going back to school! HELP!! Just kidding. =)