Thursday, November 29, 2012

Little Updates...

*It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at our house... finally! Yay. =) The tree is up and still standing. The wreath is on the front door. The Nativity Scene is out... although it's been rearranged multiple times by my firstborn. And the boys' trees are up in their rooms. The only thing that still feels incomplete is the mantle. But I think I say that every year. We had a crazy start to the Christmas season but I think it's finally underway at our house.

*The Selph household has had a rough time of it since Thanksgiving. We've all been sick with something or under the weather at the least and now we have yet another doctor's appointment today. Plus we've all been sleeping less. (That's the one that's got me in a fog and just not myself.) Austin has been waking up at least once a night since we got home. Sometimes he's coughing, sometimes he's crying and we have to go in and give him his paci, and sometimes he just wants be to held for a minute. He has pretty much always been a GREAT sleeper, so these new sleeping habits are stressing me out. Added to that, I can't seem to fall into a deep, dreamless sleep lately. And it is taking it's toll. Big time. I keep telling myself, you've done this before. You have 2 babies. You can do sleep-deprived. But this time it's just making me anxious. I can't enjoy my family because I'm anxious or tired or stressed or just not myself. And I'm sooo ready to snap out of it!

I hate to come across like I'm complaining and ungrateful. I've already given myself a guilt trip about being blah about little bitty stuff. I know people are facing WAY worse than me and I know I have TONS to be grateful for. But I want to be real and honest and true to myself on the blog. This is our family journal and I don't want to "pretend". The fact is this week hasn't been fun. It's been rough. I've been blah and down and tired. Everyone's just been "off". My attitude hasn't been the best. But, I am ready to snap out of it and I am working on my attitude. Promise.

*Enough about my issues... moving onto the issue of Christmas. After Thanksgiving was such a doozie for everybody we've been seriously considering/contemplating/weighing pros and cons of what exactly is best for our family when it comes to Christmas. And we are SO torn. We have traditions in place we want to maintain... for us and our parents but also for our kids. However, spending the night away for 3 nights at 2 houses (which is exactly what we did for Thanksgiving) just doesn't seem to be the best idea. It has taken us almost an entire week to get back to normal after Thanksgiving. Who am I kidding? We still aren't back to normal. Sleeping habits are crazy. My big boy has had some behavior issues that seem to occur only after a trip to B'ville. We're definitely not back into the swing of things with school yet. And mama is just barely hanging on.

Soooo, it's a tough dilemma. Tough. We know we'll be in the hometown the 23rd, 24th, and 25th but how much driving back and forth for the sake of sleeping in our own beds and holding onto our sanity do we do? At what point is it crazy to try to come back home? At what point is it crazy to try to spend the night? I just have no idea. I want to do what's best for our family as a whole. Whatever will be the easiest, most fun, least stressful, most normal- that's what I want. Does it even exist? It's probably unlikely...

*I really didn't mean for this to turn into a complaining session so I'm going to move onto something positive... Last year for Christmas I got a magnetic Advent calendar. I love it! Each day you add a magnetic piece to the Nativity scene (plus I'm adding a Scripture from the Christmas story to read each day). I am so excited to get started! I know Garrison will love it and it will be such a good way for us to remember the real meaning of Christmas on a daily basis this season. I'm excited about doing it for years to come too. =)

*Something else new I want to do this year is to pray over the families of the Christmas cards we receive. I heard about this last year and want to try it out this year. In the past we've had some days we get mulitple cards in the mail and some days we don't get any so I'm not sure of the system just yet. I'm thinking we'll pray over one card before supper every night and then I'll add them to the Christmas card display afterwards. Then I'd like to let them know we prayed for them. Hmmm, I still have some finalizing to do with this one but I'm excited about it.

*Those are my updates for now. Time to get ready for the doctor...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Our Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 2012 was a whirlwind and a doozie. It was wild and crazy and challenging. And don't forget exhausting. BUT, despite all the craziness and the fact that things didn't go as planned and my babies didn't sleep well or behave well, we had fun and enjoyed our holiday with family. We were together and we were grateful. And in the end, that's all that matters anyway. Thanksgiving Day itself was a success. We ate wonderful food, visited with lots of family, and enjoyed the day with people we love. 

Everything else about the holiday on the other hand wasn't so wonderful. Boo...

The boys, Bailey, and I arrived in town on Wednesday afternoon like always and Terrell got there right after work. We got everything set up at the grandparents' houses since we'd be spending the night both places before heading to town for supper and the annual Illumination Service. The "Lighting of the Trees" is a tradition I always enjoy and look forward to... and while it was still enjoyable, this year, we were left wondering if it was worth it in the end. We kept Austin up waaaay past his bedtime so he lost interest pretty fast. Baby boy wasn't impressed at all. He never had a meltdown but he was tired and ready to go from the start. Garrison did great and seemed to have fun except the most exciting part for him would be seeing all the lights... but we couldn't really see them because of where we were. Ahhhh. Then, Santa came riding in and my big boy just isn't a fan of the man in red. He likes him from a distance but that's about it. Soooo, both boys went to bed way late and both boys had rough nights. Which means mama did not sleep. (And hasn't since. Errr.) But moving onto the positive...

We woke up Thanksgiving morning at Terrell's parents' house and enjoyed a big, delicious breakfast. Talk about being spoiled getting to enjoy a yummy breakfast on Thanksgiving Day! Garrison got to help in the kitchen and the boys both enjoyed lots of play time. And, we were able to get our family Thanksgiving Day picture... plus one with Nana and Pops. A family Thanksgiving Day picture is a must-have for this mama. I love looking back at those every year. Unfortunately after breakfast Austin refused to take a morning nap even though he didn't sleep well the night before, and my firstborn started with cold-like symptons. Ugh.
We arrived at my parents house for lunch and enjoyed another huge, delicious feast. The cooks in my family are ah-mazing. It was soooo good. And we got to eat again for supper! My boys got lots of attention, lots of play time, and even both took naps on Thursday. I think they were worn out from everything. Plus not feeling their best

Terrell had to work half a day on Friday so he headed home late Thanksgiving night while me and the boys stayed with my parents. Cue another rough night. My littlest man had a hard time sleeping away from home. He was also just fussy in general and not feeling his best. Garrison slept better Thursday night but just wasn't a very good listener. And he wasn't very nice to Austin. It was sooo discouraging. We feel like nobody really gets to see him being a kind, helpful, sharing big brother like he is at home 90% of the time. I could have cried I was so frustrated.  

Friday afternoon we all went out to pick out our Christmas tree together. Garrison was SO into it this year. He helped daddy and Papa with everything and loved decorating my parents tree. He has totally embraced the Christmas spirit. It's been fun already seeing his excitement and awe at everything Christmas. It should be a fun season.

Unfortunately things went downhill fast on Saturday once we got home. Everyone was sleep deprived and a disaster with the tree occurred. A big one. One that left me crying over several broken ornaments and devastated at a huge mess. Things went from bad to worse with no end in sight... and our house and tree still aren't decorated for Christmas like I'm used to every year. Honestly it's been a little depressing and hard to snap out of. It's been a rough few days to say the least. I've definitely had to learn a lesson in being thankful in all circumstances. Cause this pity party could go on and on. But things are just things. It's sad to lose them but the most important part of Christmas is my family and the meaning of Christmas. The other stuff is just an extra bonus. Even though I've been discouraged and sad, I've also been reminded to constantly give thanks for my healthy babies, my wonderful husband, and the gift of Christmas, Jesus Christ. Those are who matter most. And above all else, we are blessed.

Thanksgiving 2012 was a doozie, but it was ours. Our memories and our craziness. One day we'll remember it with a smile. I hope. =)


I had to go super light on pictures from our holiday because my "picasa web album" is full. I'm trying to figure out how to create more space to get through the year before I move on to a permanent solution. Soooo, the pictures might be light for awhile. We'll see...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Garrison is Thankful and So Are We!

One of our Thanksgiving projects this year has been having Garrison tell me what he's thankful for everyday as we countdown to Thanksgiving. Then, as a sometimes bonus (when we remembered) he got a piece of candy from his Halloween stash. The neat thing about this little project was how well he embraced it. He actually enjoyed telling me what he was thankful for and reminded me to ask if I forgot. There was absolutely no prompting from me so I was able to write down his exact words everyday... which I'll will definitely be keeping. And of course seeing things through his eyes is such a blessing anyway. So here's his list... plus a short list from Terrell, Austin, and I.

Garrison Is Thankful
1. That the man came to spray all the bugs (we weren't infested, just had a one time treatment)
2. For all our family
3. That we got to go outside
4. For my Granna & Papa and Nana & Pops
5. That I love Austin
6. That I got to go to Shannon's birthday party
7. For my mama and my daddy and my Austin
8. That I been good that other day (referring to a day at school that he was especially good)
9. For my breakfast
10. That it's my last game of soccer practice (referring to his last game)
11. For the colorful leaves
12. That me and Gray are best friends and we get the trucks (their favorite toys on the playground at school)
13. That Nana is coming over
14. That I get to work at my tool table
15. That I share with Austin
16. That I love Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood
17. For my breakfast and having cinnamon rolls 3 days (when daddy has the day off we make cinnamon rolls for breakfast... 3 times in a week is a record!)
18. That we got to go to Granna and Papa's house and see all the people we love
19. That we get to go to Granna and Papa's 2 times (referring to going back for Thanksgiving)
20. That we can go to the doctor (surprisingly he was thankful he could go to the doctor for a flu shot, for his 1 year follow up after tubes, and for me going to the doctor so I could feel better)

Austin Is Thankful

*For mama and daddy and Garrison
*For mealtimes
*For books
*For his rocking horse
*For Garrison sharing
*For shoulders to lay his head on

Terrell/Daddy is Thankful

*For a healthy family
*For an awesome wife that is an awesome mom
*That family is so important in our life
*That the boys like to play outside and enjoy sports
*That the Trojans, Bulldogs, and Falcons are doing good
*For my Savior Jesus and our church in Barnesville

I Am Thankful

*For a sensitive, loving, supportive, and hard working husband who still knows how to make me laugh
*For my boys playing together and sharing
*That both of my boys love books and being read to
*That I was finally able to go to the doctor and get some meds for my cold/sinus infection/whatever
*That we get to spend Thanksgiving with family
*For Jesus. And that like the Chris Tomlin song says The One who reigns forever, He is a Friend of mine, The God of angel armies is always by my side

We have sooo much to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Operation Christmas Child: The Experience

This morning we dropped off our "shoebox" at our hometown church and concluded our first experience with Operation Christmas Child with Garrison. Our first year having a child old enough to participate and pick out toys and understand what it means to buy Christmas presents for someone else. I decided to write about it because I want to remember the shopping, the questions, the excitement and joy of giving, the prayers, and the way he made it so much more personal for his mama than ever before.

You see, I've filled shoeboxes in the past. I'm familar with Operation Christmas Child. I've bought the gifts. I've filled the boxes. I've prayed for the children who'd receive them. I've done it all multiple times. But this time was different. This time, my own child made it personal in a very real way. He made me think about that precious child we'll never meet and imagine him with his gifts. He made me think about the person who would hand this child our box. He made me think about what this little boy's name might be... not some random little boy but the little boy who would receive our box. He made me think about the exact age of this little boy. He made me question and wonder about this child's likes and interests. He made me love this child who'll receive our box. Whoa. I could tear up just thinking about it. Seeing and experiencing this shoebox filling process through my firstborn's eyes opened my eyes. And boy was I blessed.

The day we went shopping I tried to explain to Garrison that we were going Christmas shopping for another little boy who lived really far away. I also told him we didn't know the little boy but he was probably about the same age as him. Then, I explained (or tried to) that his family couldn't buy any Christmas presents for him so we were going to send him some presents and that most of all we wanted him to know that Jesus loves him. Immediately he had questions.

Where does he live? Why can't he have any presents? How old is he? Do you think he is 3 like me or 4? What is his name? Do you think it is Garrison? But we don't know where he lives so how will we give him his presents? What do you think he likes? Who is giving him the presents?

I answered them the best I could and we talked about him living very far away and his family maybe not having money or stores nearby with toys and how people at our church would make sure he got the present because they knew where he lived and how he might be almost 3 or almost 4. Garrison decided he was probably 3 just like him and he might have a birthday after Christmas just like him and he could possibly be named Garrison, just like him. =) Things I never would've thought about mattered to him. Things I just would have assumed or taken for granted, he genuinely cared about. Whereas in the past I'd prepared a shoebox for a little boy or a little girl in a certain age range, this year we were preparing a box for the little boy who would receive it. Because God had already decided and knew who would receive our box.

And then we shopped and shopped. And little man was just as indecisive as his mama. After much contemplation and discussion over what he would like best we picked out a small stuffed animal, a small baseball, a small basketball, crayons, markers, a coloring book, 2 small pictures books, 2 hotwheels, a small toy jeep, a toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, plus a flashlight I'd already purchased... I think that's everything. Some things were "automatics" that I picked out because I knew I wanted them included, but the toys were very important gifts to Garrison. As we shopped, he was really concerned about what the little boy liked. Do you think he will like this mama? I think he likes cars like me. I think he will like the baseball. Let's get him these markers cause they are big. I think he will like to color the animals. Every little comment made me want to grab him up and give him a hug and tell him how much I loved him and how much this little boy was going to enjoy all his goodies. Until we took forever at the store and I had wrap things up fast so we could get home to daddy and Austin. Ha!

Later that night we talked more about our box and the little boy who would get it. He asked more of the same questions but seemed to understand a little more too. He was starting to get it... the purpose of the box and giving to someone who didn't have a lot. And he started to get excited about it. And I thought my heart would explode.

For the next week we packed the box and talked more about the little boy and prayed for the little boy. We prayed for the little boy to know that Jesus loves him and that Jesus is God. Garrison always wanted me to include the part about Jesus being God. I'm not sure why because mid-prayer I didn't want to stop and question him, but we prayed that he would know that Jesus is God and that He loves him and will take care of him and that he would have fun playing with his presents.

And today was the day we turned it in and dropped it off so it will eventually make it into the hands of a special little boy. Garrison wasn't as into it as I thought he'd be but we were in a hurry getting to church and he was slightly distracted by grandparents. Still, I know he'll bring up the box and the presents and the little boy again in the future. And we'll keep praying for him and thinking about him. And next year we're definitely tracking our box. We were too late this year but have decided to do it next year for sure.

I loved experiencing this new tradition with my big boy and I'm grateful he made it personal for me and taught me to think about the little things. The little boy who receives our box is so special and important to us because of Garrison's thoughtfulness and curiosity and concern. His faith and innocence was priceless. And his mama was blessed. Thank you sweet boy.


And just because we haven't been taking a whole lot of pictures lately with me being sick... here's one of both boys... Rub a dub dub, 2 Selph's in a Tub!   

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Our Story~ Part 2

Well, it's finally time to pick up where we left off as I share Part 2 of our love story which continues to present day. Which means this is super long... and I thought you should know before you start reading. =) Even though it is really, really long I'm so glad I did it for us and for our babies... and our future family. Plus we have the blog to keep up with our continued story. I love that. So for those of you who have time...

(Read here to catch up on Part 1.)

Our Story~ Part 2

After Terrell's creative and romantic proposal on June 12, 2004 we jumped right into wedding planning mode. We shared our engagement and wedding date with everyone. I immediately looked into colors for the wedding. Terrell immediately looked into honeymoon costs. We wanted to take care of booking all the big stuff before I left for Athens at the end of the summer. We booked the church, the Civic Center where our reception would be held, our photographer, caterer, wedding director, and honeymoon. And I got my dress! Yay!! It was a relief to have all that done but boy was it stressful doing all that while preparing to move away and start classes at UGA. Talk about an up and down summer. Part of me was excited about my new adventure at UGA and part of me was terrified and heart broken about leaving my fiance' behind for a whole school year. What an emotional roller coaster!

In August of 2004 I moved into an apartment in Athens with 3 other girls. One of the girls was a childhood friend who was already attending UGA and the other 2 were friends of my friend. Terrell came along with my family to help me get moved and somewhat settled and it was sooo hard saying goodbye and almost immediately I realized I was in a totally different place in my life than my 3 roommates. I was planning my wedding, preparing for my future, and constantly missing my fiance' and best friend. I was there to finish my degree... and get the year over with so I could get married! 

During our engagement and my time spent away in Athens I learned a few things about myself. Or maybe a LOT. I discovered that I loved my small town and being surrounded by family more and more. Being a little fish in a big pond wasn't my thing. I liked going places and seeing people I knew. I liked knowing my way around. I liked having friends and family close. I liked less traffic and less opportunities for getting lost. I liked my small, safe, familar pond. I liked home. Butwe knew we'd be starting our life in Athens or somewhere close no matter what because I'd still have a year of college plus student teaching to go after we got married... which made our first year of marriage pretty interesting. But more on that later.

In the meantime Terrell got a job with the Boy Scouts as a District Executive in March of 2005... which meant we would be starting our life together in Gainesville, Georgia (one of the job requirements). And because we'd need to live on the outskirts of town so my commute to Athens could be kept to an hour, we had to buy a house in the country... crazy! We never had any intentions of starting our marriage in our very own house but there were no apartments anywhere near where we needed to live. Sooo, as a young (we were only 21 and 23!) engaged couple we found ourselves signing on the dotted line and purchasing our first home. Wow.

Finally I completed my oh so long year living in Athens and moved back home with my parents for exactly 1 month before our wedding. We finalized all the details for the ceremony, reception, rehearsal dinner, honeymoon, you name it and couldn't wait to become husband and wife! June 4, 2005 was a beautiful day and the day I became Mrs. Terrell Selph. Squeal!!

We enjoyed an amazing honeymoon to Hawaii for a blissful 8 days. It was so beautiful there- take your breath away beautiful- we talk about going back all the time. (But of course we'll need some money... and the kids will have to go with us... or be grown ups.) We flew into Honolulu and spent 3 nights there before flying over to Maui to spend the remainder of our honeymoon. It really was wonderful. We visited Pearl Harbor, went on a sunset dinner cruise, enjoyed a luau, and even went parasailing in Maui with gorgeous mountains as our backdrop. And of course we enjoyed the amazing beaches and pools to the fullest! Everything was done with a budget in mind because my hard working hubby had saved TONS for our honeymoon and the last thing we wanted was to go completely crazy and start our marriage in major debt. Still, even on a budget, it was wonderful.

We returned from our honeymoon to real life. And unfortunately it wasn't all that wonderful. Real life sort of slapped us in the face.

Following a crazy 2 weeks after returning from our honeymoon we finally were able to move into our house... which didn't feel like home at all. I was hoping it would immediately feel comfortable and homey and wonderful... but it didn't. Not even close. Boo. We were in a predominant hispanic neighborhood (with great neighbors... they just didn't speak our language... which was kinda uncomfortable) in the country in a brand new town where we didn't know a soul and where I had a teensy fear of leaving the house because I just knew I would get lost and have a panic attack. Terrell worked crazy hours with the Boy Scouts and I was by myself a lot. I seriously felt like I had moved thousands of miles away. It was so lonely and I found myself homesick a lot. Poor hubby. I tried to keep myself busy with making our house a home and learning how to cook more and more, but I was sort of miserable. Our first year of marriage was tough. Between adjusting to being married and living together, plus feeling homesick and lonely, I was an emotional, unhappy mess (not all the time but a lot of it). And Terrell was frustrated and confused and couldn't figure out how to snap me out of it. Ha! Definitely not how you want to start off your happily ever after.

Thankfully we were able to go home a good bit, I had a sweet and patient husband, and I found a good group of girlfriends at UGA when school started back. My time was occupied and I slowly but surely adjusted to living far away in a lonely country subdivision. Ha!

Then, near the very end of my college career, Terrell was offered a job much closer to home in a smaller city/town than Gainesville and would be making a career change and working a regular 8-5 job. We were so excited!! We moved into an apartment in Covington right after my graduation from Georgia in December of 2006. We didn't even get a Christmas tree that year... which was sad but we spent most of the holidays in Barnesville so it wasn't too bad. Immediately following the holidays I got a job and started my teaching career.

I felt waaaay more at home in Covington. Almost right away. Going to Barnesville required a 45 minute to an hour drive down rural Highway 36 versus a 2 hour drive (with no traffic) down several interstates from Gainesville. Covington was smaller and I found my way around really easily. I made friends at my school and best of all my hubby was home when I was! Yay!!

We bought our (current) house in the Spring of 2007 and finally settled in as a family and felt a little more at home. My teaching career was in full swing, we got a dog, we started talking about starting a family, and we went to Disney World! Our 2 year anniversary present to each other and our 2nd honeymoon. =) Going to Disney World as a couple without kids was a blast. We had SO. MUCH. FUN!
After returning from Disney World, we enjoyed the rest of our summer to the fullest and treated our new, sweet puppy Bailey like our first child. She really was our first baby afterall. We had a great summer!

Following the summer, school started back and I began the craziest, most stressful, roughest, toughest year of teaching ever. And I am not exaggerating. It was Bad with a capital B. I will not go into details about it all because BAD MEMORIES, but I will say that during and after that particular school year I felt "the call" to stay home more than ever... with a sense of urgency. I knew without a doubt that God was leading me away from full-time teaching. And not just because I'd had a tough year but because I felt led to something more... ah hem....I caught baby fever more than ever! I wanted to be a mama more than anything and couldn't wait to start the journey and adventure of parenthood. Sooo... we talked and prayed and argued (just being honest here) before Terrell finally agreed he was ready. Sort of. I guess you're never fully ready. Anyway, we got pregnant right away the spring of 2008. Yay!!

Shortly after finding out our wonderful news we took our last before-kids trip... a cruise to The Bahamas. The trip was already planned and scheduled long before we knew we were expecting and thankfully I had no morning sickness so we were able to fully enjoy ourselves. Even though we discovered cruising isn't our favorite way to vacation, we still had a fun trip, made some memories, and got to visit Atlantis. Yay!!
I used the rest of the summer to rest and relax. It was wonderful to be lazy with a good excuse! And my pregnancy went wonderful. I was constantly exhausted and had moments of wanting to gag, but I was blessed with a really smooth and easy pregnancy.

Once school started back I had the BEST class ever. Thank you Lord!! Each and every one of my students were sweet and precious. I think the entire school and especially my administration knew I earned a wonderful class after the previous year's experience. I am soooo thankful God blessed me with that particular class the year I was pregnant. It was as stress-free as could be.

Throughout the pregnancy Terrell prepared and planned and saved and budgeted to make sure I'd be able to stay home after our baby boy made his debut. He drove me crazy along the way but I really am thankful he's so money-conscious and money-smart because anyone else would've probably said it'd be impossible for me to stay home. Thanks babe- I've never regretted a day!

Garrison Cade Selph arrived February 5, 2009. (Here's his birth story) He made us parents and changed our lives forever. After welcoming him to our family we were given a true glimpse at God's love for us. Talk about being wowed!

I took off 11 weeks of maternity leave from school before returning to my precious class of 2nd graders to finish the last month of school before summer break and my first "retirement" from teaching. Between my mom, mother-in-law, and a sweet college student we always had a "nanny" at our house during the day and I had peace of mind about my baby boy while I was at work.

Once summer break started I immediately started looking for something I could do from home to bring in an income. And, by the end of the summer, I was blessed with an opportunity with Premier Designs. A huge answered prayer! I loved staying home with Garrison (and knew I was exactly where God wanted me) and loved bringing in an income through Premier. Life wasn't always easy but I was truly living my dream and we have lots of precious memories of our little family of 3.

Then, a little ways into 2010, we prepared for baby #2 because I just knew my kids should and would be about 2 years apart. And I had a whole list of reasons for why. Only God had other plans. So we waited. And waited. And in God's perfect timing we welcomed our 2nd baby boy, Austin Carson Selph, to the family on September 3, 2011. (Here's his birth story) Our lives were changed once again and our hearts filled to the brim with love. Now I'm out-numbered by boys that I love more than words can say and I'm beyond thankful for every single one!

I continued staying home after Austin arrived while also doing Premier for 11 months before we made the super tough decision for me to return to teaching... only this time around teaching preschool part time. While it has been an adjustment and I do miss being home every day, I actually am enjoying teaching preschool. It's fun, laid back, rewarding, and light. This job was another huge answered prayer. Plus I still have Premier. God is good and always faithful! And my husband has been the biggest supporter and right-hand along the way. I love and appreciate you Terrell Selph!!

And there you have our story to present day. =) It's definitely not perfect...cause everyday isn't lovey dovey or super wonderful or happily ever after.We're two different people with different personalities, opinions, habits, and ways of doing things, afterall. And sometimes all of that clashes. And we drive each other crazy. And bicker and fight. But, at the end of the day, we're a team. We love each other and we're committed to each other. And more than that, above all else, we are blessed and SO thankful for all God has done for us. He has authored our story from the beginning and He gets all the glory. 

Love isn't perfect. It isn't a fairytale or storybook and it doesn't always come easy. Love is overcoming obstacles, facing challenges, fighting to be together, holding on and never letting go. It is a short word, easy to spell, difficult to define, and impossible to live without. Love is work, but most of all it is realizing that every hour, every minute, every second was worth it because you did it together.

Happy 13th anniversary Terrell! I love you!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Just the Two of Us

Yesterday Terrell had the day off so we had the rare opportunity to get away for the whole afternoon and part of the evening. By ourselves. Just the two of us. Neither one of us could remember the last time we'd had a date. Sad but true. It's just tough getting away. Even more so since I started working. Plus we're just busy and don't have a lot of opportunities to even think about getting a baby-sitter. So yesterday was a special treat. (Thanks Nana!)

We went out to lunch... just to Taco Bell but special nonetheless! Taco Bell was a regular stop for us waaaay back in the day when Terrell would take me to my orthodontist appointments or I would go with him to his. Ha! So we reminisced over burritos and tacos. And carried on a totally uninterrupted conversation. It's the little things.

Then we went Christmas shopping. Can I just say it's sooo much easier and way more fun going Christmas shopping on a random Tuesday afternoon before Thanksgiving than any other time? Cause it was. No crowds. No lines. No crazies. Perfect. Although a teensy, tiny part of me did miss the hustle and bustle that just screams Christmastime is here! But just a teensy part. I know I'll get to experience all that soon enough. Because while lots of progress was made, we still aren't finished.

I know lots of men don't enjoy shopping, but my husband is a great shopping partner! He has a system and he's on a mission... while also being patient with me and my tendancy to be indecisive. And it's just fun to shop and buy presents for family and the kiddos when it's just the two of us. It's so easy. We talked. We laughed. We searched. We spent a loooong time in Toys R Us. And most importantly, we got a lot accomplished which was the goal from the beginning.

After our full and sort of exhausting afternoon of shopping (that stretch in Toys R Us took it out of me) we finally used an Olive Garden gift card we've had for forever. Yay! We love Olive Garden and it's perfect for a date night. Especially when it's free! While we enjoyed our delicious Italian dinner we almost couldn't think of anything to talk about. We'd had so much alone time and opportunities to talk throughout the afternoon we ran out of things to say. Which I'm thinking means we're approaching old married couple status. But that's okay. I think being comfortable not talking (at least occassionally) is a good thing.

I only became antsy once (or twice at the most) about getting back home to see the boys before bedtime. Being away from them the majority of the day plus knowing today was a school day I was anxious to have some time with them. My hubby was very understanding. And they topped off my night when they smiled so big and were SO happy to see me when we got home. Time away-just the two of us- was wonderful. But so was coming home. =)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Garrison Funnies

Since I've been sick with a yucky cold the past few days and we've been laying low, I don't have a whole lot to blog about lately. But I still want to write because I enjoy it and I miss it when I don't. Sooo, this seemed like a perfect time to "journal" some of the funnies Garrison has come up with lately. I haven't done this in a while because these little funnies have become a little more rare. Little man is growing up. 

From the mouth of my 3.5 year old....

*One day Garrison was standing on his bathroom stool brushing his teeth at my parents' house when Austin sneezed on him. So Garrison "tattled" and said... Austin bless you'd on my knee. Mama, he blessed you'd on me. On my knee. It cracked me up.

*One night when I had a Premier show Terrell took the boys to the Chick-Fil-A drive-thru for supper. On the way, Garrison talked daddy into ordering a cookie. (He is his mother's child. Yum-O.) After they got the food and were heading home he said, Since I was da one who wanted da cookie, I will split it up when we get home. Oh my. He's a smart one.

*We have a little book of Bible verses that sits on our kitchen counter, and every few days Garrison will ask me to turn the page and read him the new one. One day, the new verse was Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a Light unto my path, Psalm 119:105. Garrison's response to that verse was, I don't like a lamp to my feet. That is not nice. It was SO funny. But I had some explaining to do...

*Recently Garrison overheard us talking about taking Emma (my parents/sister's dog) to the mountains when she was a puppy. After processing everything he said, On da way to da mountains when Emma was a puppy, was she 1? We said no, she wasn't even 1 yet. So he responded, Was she in somebody's tummy? (Implying AnAn's or Granna's or another person's.) Oh gracious.

*Garrison's work/tool table is in our office and he works and plays with that thing every single day. And more than once he's told me, I'm jus gonna be in da office workin mama. Too cute.

*One day during lunch Austin was being super demanding and super dramatic. And it was wearing on me. So I told him I couldn't handle him being so dramatic. Then Garrison chimed in with, Mama, I'm not being so 'matic. Thanks buddy. It's rough dealing with 2 being dramatic at the same time.

*A few weeks ago I was on the phone with my mom asking her what my dad wanted for his birthday and right on cue Garrison yells from the backseat, CAKE! Duh. That's what everybody wants for their birthday.

*Little man can negotiate like nobody's business. It's crazy. He usually negotiates over things like dessert and play time before bed. And our strategy is to always negotiate 1 less than we're willing to give. It gives us the upperhand. Here's an example:

One day Garrison was asking for animal crackers or some kind of snack after supper and requested 4 (of whatever it was).
Terrell: How bout 2?
Garrison: 4
Terrell: 2
Garrison: 4 
Terrell: 1
Garrison: 3
Terrell: Sounds good.
How crazy is that!? Or maybe we're the crazy ones for negotiating with our 3 year old child. Oh dear.

He keeps us on our toes and he keeps us laughing. Before we know it Austin will have his own funnies and keep us cracking up too. I just love our laughter filled home.

***P.S. I've been working on "Our Story- Part 2", and I'm just about finished. Yay! I'll be posting later this week in honor of our first anniversary... which is actually November 24, 1999... but that's like 2 days after Thanksgiving when I'll have lots of other stuff to post about. So I guess I'll be posting in honor of our first anniversary month. It's coming soon..... =)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

On My Mind

*I'm going to go ahead and get it over with. If I don't I'll feel like it's the big elephant in the room/on the blog post. Haha. The Presidential Election did not go as I had hoped or prayed it would. I was disappointed. Big time. The majority of my family, friends, and red state were. It was/is a tough pill to swallow. It's even kind of scary. However, I refuse to be depressed or devastated or worried sick over this outcome the way so many are. It stinks and I don't like it, BUT, God is still Sovereign and still in control. And no election results changes that. I will continue to vote my beliefs and convictions. I will continue to (hopefully) do my best to love and serve and live as Christ has called me to. AND, I will continue to pray for our country and for our President. We should always stand up and speak out for what we believe in, but we're called to do so in love, not hate. And that's all I'm gonna say about that. Unless you want to read these really good blog posts on the topic: When you don't get your way and Simply the same? Okay, now I'm done. Onto more pleasant things...

*We had our annual Fall family pictures done on Sunday afternoon. And this year, having a 14 month old in the mix, well let's just say it was an adventure. We got the pictures back yesterday and are in LOVE with several of them. Danielle really captured some precious ones of the boys, some sweet ones of the whole fam, and some really funny ones of all of us at one point or another. I'm dying to share them but don't won't to ruin the Christmas card surprise.

The thing about this year's family pictures is that just about every single one includes somebody (aka: one of the kiddos) who isn't looking, smiling, or smiling a real and normal smile. Sigh. It's just the season we're in. While Garrison is very photogenic right now, after about the 3rd picture, he has a strong tendency to give a big ole fake smile OR a teeth touching teeth smile. Oh my. And Austin isn't old enough to really get it and therefore isn't interested. Baby boy is just too busy to stop and pose and smile on cue. But I love our memories captured in time. I would love if I had photography skills. *Deep sigh.

*Speaking of my boys, they are getting along and playing together more and more. Yay!! I can't tell you how happy and full my heart is when they laugh and play and share. We still have moments (that occur on a somewhat regular basis) when they bicker and fuss and both have a death grip on the same toy, but them playing together and getting along and sharing has started to outweigh everything else. Thank you Lord! They've even started taking baths together. One night last week I put Austin in the bath while Garrison was still playing with daddy and out of blue Garrison said he wanted to get in the tub with Austin and play. And every single night since they've had a bath together. They have had the best time. They laugh and squeal and play together so well. It's been fun watching their friendship grow and I am SO thankful for this answered prayer.

*I'm liking the shorter days so far. It just fits with the season. The weather is cooler, the holidays are approaching, and it's so nice to curl up with a blanket a little earlier than normal because it  feels a little later. It's usually dark or almost dark when we're eating supper and the house just feels more cozy. We're all together inside in the evenings, and while I'm sure we'll get tired of it eventually, for now we're enjoying it. And the sun shining in the mornings helps me get going and started with my day a little easier.

*I've been reading through the Old Testament off and on for a while now, but lately I've gotten into a groove and routine of reading a couple of chapters before bed every night. Normally I read a fictional book before bed but I haven't had a book to read in about a month so I've been reading my Bible. The Old Testament is so good. I started with Genesis a long time ago and have just gone in order. I just finished Ruth and now I'm into 1st Samuel. I love that they aren't just fascinating stories, they're true stories that actually happened years and year ago. I'm also still loving my Jesus Calling devotional every morning. Soo good. It would make a great Christmas gift for just about anybody on your list this year.

*Speaking of Christmas gifts, I've got to hurry up and get the boys' lists finalized for the grandparents. Speaking of the boys, I hear them. It appears naptime is over. Preparing myself for the 2nd half of the day solo since daddy has to work late. Chick-Fil-A supper and play time is in my future. =)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thanksgiving Projects

We're starting a couple of new Thanksgiving/November traditions this year at our house that I hope will continue for years to come... or at least through our first try! A quote that I read somewhere that has always stood out to me because of it's overwhelming truth in my own life and memories is "The cornerstone of your child's memories of their own childhood will revolve around holiday traditions and family vacations." That is SO true in my life. Which is why I think traditions are so important to me. And why I'm obsessed with them and love passing them along (new and old) to my kids.

Soooo, after Halloween came and went and we were left with tons of candy and a 3 year old who wanted to consume it all within 2 days, I decided to "control" the candy while putting it to good use. Which means I kind of stole ideas from various blogs and added my own little tweaks so it would work for us. And what I came up with was our first ever "Thanksgiving Project". It's sort of like an advent calendar and countdown to Thanksgiving. Sort of. Everyday (or almost everyday) I've been asking Garrison what he's thankful for and writing it down... so that I can keep it and frame it or add it to a binder or something year after year. I usually ask him in the morning during breakfast or as soon as Austin is down for his morning nap on the days we don't have school. Then, a little later in the day, he gets to pick out 1 piece of Halloween candy to eat. That's the part that's like an advent calendar. We're not technically counting down to Thanksgiving, we're just being intentional about being thankful on a daily basis plus having a little discussion and sometimes a quick prayer. It literally takes less than 2 minutes but Garrison is already looking forward to it and reminding me to ask him what he's thankful for. And, he doesn't even ask for the candy!

Of course we try our best to thank God for various blessings on a regular basis, not just during the month of November, but this is a neat way to remind us all as a family to be thankful. Daily. And I LOVE hearing what my big boy is thankful for. I will most definitely have to share his list at the end of the month which he has come up with 100% on his own. There has been absolutely no prompting from mama or daddy. I just love seeing life through the eyes of my child. Most of the time, haha.

Our other new tradition/project is one that isn't new to Terrell and I but new to us as a family with our kiddos. For the first time in a few years we're filling a shoebox and participating in Samaritan's Purse, Operation Christmas Child. The deadline almost always sneaks up on us so we usally miss out. But this year we're prepared and ready and determined to make it happen. Garrison is going to fill a shoebox for a boy in the 2-4 age range just like him. I've already purchased a few things for the box but we haven't done our official shopping trip for everything yet. Once we go on our shopping trip, I'm thinking Garrison will become really involved because he's going to help me shop for presents for another little boy the same age as him. A little boy he doesn't know but that he'll be sending a Christmas present to and praying for and giving the opportunity to hear about Jesus and His love. I'm excited just thinking about it.

The tradition we're starting will be for each of our kids to fill a shoebox (eventually using some of their own money) for another child of the same age. We're going to pray for the child who will receive our box together and talk about giving to others and being a blessing to others. I'll have to prepare myself for deep discussions about the whole process I'm sure. Knowing my inquisitive child, he'll have lots of questions about why we're sending this present and why this little boy doesn't get presents at Christmas. I better start praying now about how to answer his questions and the words to say to my curious and compassionate 3.5 year old. I'm going to try to involve Austin a tad this year, but he'll get to fill a shoebox next year when he's 2. =)

So those are our Thanksgiving projects that I'm hoping become yearly traditions. Nothing major or over the top but fun and easy projects that remind us to be thankful and to be a blessing to others. They've already been a blessing to me and we're only 6 days in. I'm praying these projects are a blessing to my babies this year too.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Halloween Wrap Up

I have one more post on Halloween and then we're calling it a wrap. Bring on Thanksgiving! 

I started a tradition with Garrison his first Halloween of making oreo spiders together, and we've done it every single year since. And it's always been fun and something I've looked forward to. But for some reason, this year I wasn't as prepared... or I was just too busy... or I didn't prioritize like I should have... (this is where I could tell you all about how I really love my job but don't exactly enjoy working... but I'll avoid the pity party and save that post for later.)

Anyway, this year we didn't make oreo spiders (that turn out wonderful and cutesy) , we made whateverwehaveinthehouse spiders (that turn out less than wonderful and cutesy). We ended up using a pack of mini chocolate doughnuts, pretzel sticks, and cherrios. Oh well. We continued the tradition, (sort of) and made memories with what we had. Garrison had fun and both boys loved the special snack they got to eat, so that's all that matters anyway I guess.     

Our poor, pitiful spiders...
At least Austin deemed them edible
And good


A brand new Halloween tradition we started this year was participating in our school's annual Halloween parade. This was our first experience with the parade and I thought everything went great. Everyone wears their costumes to school and the parents line up around the whole church while we parade the perimeter. It was fun for the kids and teachers and the parents LOVED it. I dressed my boys in costumes from the past because I knew they would get their lunch or party food on the real costumes if I didn't. Austin went as a monkey (Garrison's very first costume ever) and Garrison went as a pirate (his costume he barely fit into from last year). I went as a crazy lady in pink, including a pink wig (because I was forced to along with all the other teachers- ha!). Terrell came to watch the parade and made a couple of pictures for me. After the parade everyone took their kids home early. A nice Halloween treat for the teachers. =)

I think that concludes our Halloween festivities and my documentation of them. We're counting down to Thanksgiving now. 2 weeks til the Break!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Trick or Treat 2012

We had a fun filled Halloween last night! Terrell got off work a little early so we could "do" Halloween and trick-or-treat in Barnesville. Call us crazy but we just prefer spending holidays with family and people who know and love our babies almost as much as we do.

We ate supper with my parents and sister and Frankie before rushing around totally wild trying to get the boys ready and into costume. We had a little bit of drama getting ready but once we were ready, we were good to go for the night.

My firstborn decided to be ChippaJones this year. He loves baseball, loves the Braves, and loves Chipper Jones so it was perfect. He was the cutest Chipper Jones I've ever seen.

My little one decided to be Tigger. When it comes to choices for 1 year olds, they're going to look cute in pretty much anything... so you go with whatever you can find fast (if you're last minute with Halloween like we somehow always end up being). My parents actually found the costume for a deal and since we weren't in love with anything else we went with it. Thanks Granna and Papa! My adorable Tigger melted my heart.
After we got everyone ready, we all went to Trunk or Treat at our church and met Terrell's parents there. It's always fun, quick, and painless, plus everyone knows us so that makes it even better. Garrison was SO much more sociable and polite this year. And mama was so thankful. Last year he was really unsure about it all and it came across as being rude and ungrateful. This year was much more fun for him. He was super polite and friendly, loved getting candy in his pumpkin, and loved playing the little games. (The bean bag toss was his favorite... cause he plays by his own rules...)

And Austin had a ball! He started off in the stroller and then we decided to give him some freedom and let him walk around the rest of the evening. He loved every minute! For the most part our kiddos went separate directions all night but we had both sets of grandparents there so it was really fun and easy.

After we finished at Trunk-or-Treat we went back to my parents' subdivion to trick-or-treat some more and then get the boys in their pj's so we could head home. Once we got there, Garrison got a little intimidated and decided to just trick or treat at Granna and Papa's house instead of at all the other ones. It had gotten dark by that point and there were lots of other little trick-or-treaters out and about so he changed his mind. He'd technically never walked up to a house to ring the doorbell and trick or treat before... but he loved ringing the doorbell at my parents' house and he even got to answer the door and put candy in other kids' bags too. I'm thinking our new tradition might be going around to trick or treat early at houses in their neighborhood and then giving out candy back at their house. He loved that part!

We enjoyed our ride home following the full moon which Garrison was fascinated by and finally both boys fell asleep in the car. They went straight to bed once we got home. It was heavenly! Today we've been hanging out around the house recuperating from our busy day of fun yesterday. I am especially thankful for Thursdays today!!

And just in case anyone wants to see how much my babies have grown, here's a flashback to Halloween 2011. =)