Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Naptime Shenanigans

Over the past few months, Garrison's naptime routine and ritual has changed a little. It has now become more of a "big boy rest time" than an actual "naptime". He's about to turn 4 and he's finally reached a point where he doesn't fall asleep during naptime very often. Which is probably normal and to be expected. His average used to be 1-2 times a week that he'd actually fall asleep during naptime, but over the past month it's become 1-2 times every 2 weeks or so. Still occasionally but not too often.

However, naptime at our house is required. Every afternoon after lunch (or after school) we get settled down and rest. All of us. Even though my rest time always involves me doing something, it's done in the quiet, on my own terms. Sometimes I do what I want to do, other times I'm more productive. Either way it's a much needed "break" for me.

I've been blessed because both of my boys have always been great sleepers and nappers. And we've always stuck to the naptime routine pretty strictly (except on weekends) and I think that's part of what's made it so "successful" and easy. And even as Garrison's naptime has morphed into more of a "rest time" it's still been fairly predictable and simple. After putting Austin to bed we go into his room, read some books, turn on music, and then he "rests". He can't get out of his bed without permission so once he's rested for at least 30 minutes or so, if he's still awake, he can play quietly in his room for another 30 minutes or so coloring, playing puzzles, playing his Mobi Go, etc. Then if he's ready to come out he can watch a 30 minute show/movie in the living room and after that rest time is over. No major hiccups. Very little to no drama. Pretty easy breezy and smooth sailing.

I will admit that it took me a while to figure out a new system on days he didn't fall asleep. But once I found something that worked for both of us we stuck to it with almost zero issues. Until yesterday...

Yesterday was interesting and scary. Let me elaborate...

After leaving his room he was fairly quiet but I could hear that he was still awake. He sleeps with books and flashlights in his bed so I could hear pages turning and flashlights clicking and a little boy rummaging around. Then, several minutes later he was quiet. It was very similar to the day before when he'd fallen asleep during naptime. He started off playing/reading in bed and eventually fell asleep. So I assumed on yesterday that he was probably asleep and went about doing some stuff I needed to get done.

When 3:00 arrived and it was time to go wake him up I discovered him awake already. I was kind of shocked but then again he's played super quietly in his room before so I knew it was possible he'd been awake the whole time. I told him he could come out of his room to play, watch a show, or have a snack, etc. And that's when I noticed. Oh. My. Goodness.

*Disclaimer: We do not use the top bunk just yet, therefore we don't use a ladder. We also don't currently have the top bunk "made up" because we washed the comforter and sheets recently after they'd collected a layer of dust. So please excuse the top bunk mess.

Back to my discovery. If you look closely at the picture below you will see Garrison's naptime "decorations" from a naptime past. He lined up several of his markers, crayons, and blocks along the edge of the top bunk. They've remained there ever since... unless a specific marker is needed of course. No harm done. No need to make a fuss. Yesterday, however, something was there that wasn't there before.... something was added... WAY UP HIGH.... in a place he shouldn't be able to reach...ever.

Do you see what I see?? It's silver and high and the farthest object in the picture.

Somehow, some way, there is a flashlight standing on top of the tip, top corner post of the top bunk. And my almost 4 year old put it there. By himself. Unsupervised. By climbing like a monkey.
After blinking to make sure my eyes weren't playing tricks on me and letting the shock wear off, I investigated. I couldn't get the flashlight down without climbing and possibly putting myself (or the bed!) in danger. Oh my gracious. So I had a talk with him about never, ever, ever doing that again. I asked him how he got it up there and he couldn't/wouldn't (not sure which) remember/tell me so I let it go momentarily. Then I sent Terrell a picture. I think he was proud and terrified at the same time.

When daddy got home he stood close by and asked Garrison to show him exactly how he got it up there. It was not a pretty sight for this mama to see. There was climbing, balancing, and reaching as high as he could involved. And that was with daddy standing right beside him ready to catch him! Praise Jesus he didn't fall and break his neck doing it during naptime!

We both had talks with him about the dangers of putting a flashlight on the tip top of the top bunk. And also discussed what to do the next time we have an idea while we're bored during naptime... call mama first!

After yesterday's naptime shenanigans... 2 words.... VIDEO MONITOR. At the very least once Austin moves in!

Monday, January 28, 2013

It's a Date!

For the past few years Terrell and I have a scheduled a much needed date sometime during the month of January. January usually comes with cabin fever and lots of built up energy and new toys everywhere and a worn out mama and daddy... in other words, perfect timing for a date and a little time away from the house. Our annual January date starts around lunch time and wraps up with dinner that night. Perfect indeed. =) 

This year there weren't any movies out we wanted to see so we decided to skip a movie and spend all our time shopping. My hubby is the best! I've been attempting a semi living room makeover lately so we focused our energy on accomplishing some things for the house.

(My makeover does not include new furniture so it's subtle, inexpensive changes that won't break the bank yet provide some change. Looking at almost the exact same decor I've had since we got married was starting to wear on my nerves.)

My parents came over to keep the boys and we went out to lunch and then spent lots of time in Hobby Lobby, Target, TJ Maxx, Kirklands... it was wonderful. We didn't make purchases at every store but I browsed and took my time and got ideas so it was definitely a success.

*All pictures were taken with my phone...

Here's one of our purchases... my "dramatic" S. It's big and bold and dramatic but I like it. =)  The other S's I found were waaay smaller and we have really high ceilings so this is the one that fit the spot the best.

The other purchase we made was this little chalkboard frame. It was half-off (LOVE Hobby Lobby!) and something I'd been thinking about for a while. I put it on the wall just before going into my kitchen. And I stole a line from a sign I saw in Hobby Lobby... plus added a family picture. I'm going to love writing little messages on it.
Our other purchases were a few more things for Garrison's birthday party we needed. I think we're finally ready to celebrate in a couple weeks! The rest of our time was spent looking. I'm trying my best to figure out what to do with my mantle. Such a tough one. But it was nice to have so much time to just look and talk and enjoy each other's company.  
Another decorative change included in our makeover is new pillows... they arrived Friday night and I am really liking them. It changes the look of our couches and even the room. 
After wrapping up all our shopping we went out to eat using a gift card we got for Christmas. Double yay! We had the best time together. And my boys had lots of fun too. So much fun that Garrison actually fell asleep during nap time for the first time in about 2 weeks. He was worn out pretty soon after they got there I guess! They also got to go out to eat and order dessert with Granna and Papa. What a treat!

When we got home Austin was in the bed asleep and my mom was putting Garrison to bed. The timing worked out great because then we watched a movie we rented on our way home. It is rare for us to have a chance to watch a movie together so it was a great way to wrap up our date. Thanks so much Granna and Papa!!!

Yesterday morning when Garrison called for me because he was awake and ready to get up I went in and got a big hug from him. Then mid-embrace he said I'm so glad you're back. Melt. my. heart. It was the sweetest thing ever. AndI'llneverleaveyouagainbaby. =) And people wonder why it's hard for me to be away... seeing them after time apart is the best!

Yesterday afternoon I spent lots of time working on stuff for school. We do crafts every week, but the coming weeks are even busier because of Valentine's Day. Being a teacher makes the holidays even more fun.

I also spent lots of time with my boys... and they spent lots of time playing in the box the pillows came in. =)
Our date was one of the best and so was our weekend! Happy Monday everybody!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Never Before Seen Photos

The title sounds like a tabloid headline... but I assure you, these pictures are not scandalous. =) I just happened to come across these pretty random photos when I was looking back through the pics on my camera and decided I wanted to share. They didn't really fit into a blog post but they are funny and/or precious so therefore blog worthy.

This was the 2nd picture my mom took of us on Sunday after church... right before bribing Garrison with a quarter. Isn't this just how it goes? For every semi-perfect (cause I'm not sure perfect even exists) family photo you have at least 5 of these. Gracious.

One of Austin's favorite things to do in his room is empty his entire basket of books and "read". So precious. These pictures were taken before Christmas one night before bath time. He just had to get in a little reading first.
Then it was time to survey the damage... baby boy knows that messes must be put away...
Possibly the same night before Christmas but after bath time, my big boy requested daddy take his picture in his lion towel. Love that handsome boy and his adorable smile.

At Covington's Christmas parade Terrell and I were taking turns making pictures of each other and the boys before the parade started when a nice, older man offered to make a picture of all of us. Austin almost didn't make it in. Oh well. It was really bright and sunny that morning. Ha!

This is one of the outtakes of the "cousin" pictures on Christmas Eve, Eve. It's the tale of 4 cousins...all expressing slightly different emotions. Too funny.

A couple of weeks ago I let the boys, both boys, play with ice. Garrison loved doing this from the time he was almost 2 until Austin became a mobile baby and we neglected it for a while. But for some reason I gave in and tried it out recently. It didn't go terrible but it also didn't last long. The floor was getting pretty wet and so was Austin. And I definitely didn't want to relive this episode so we cleaned up quick-like. We'll try it again in a couple months.

A few nights ago Austin experienced his first ever bubble bath! Since the boys started taking a bath together 2-3 months ago we put away the bubbles until the other night. Austin wasn't impressed. Once the bubbles started growing he decided to stand up for his entire bath. At least he was still happy! Although his bath was pretty short that night. He never could relax and play and enjoy himself with those strange bubbles in his water.  
And that's a wrap on Never Before Seen Photos. =)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fun Filled Long Weekend!

This weekend was full of fun for the Selph household! And we loved almost every single minute. The only part that wasn't fun was the Falcons heartbreaking loss. Boohoo! We took it hard. It was so sad to be that close once again and come up short. Can you say reliving Georgia's loss to Alabama in the final seconds? When will one of our teams win the big game?? Ahhhhh. I can't dwell on it. I've done enough of that already...So moving on to our fun filled long weekend...

Saturday we headed to the hometown to get the boys' hair cuts, spend time with family, and celebrate my Nanny's birthday with my dad's side of the family. Saturday was fun. (Except for when we got everybody and everything loaded up ready to go Saturday morning and our car wouldn't crank. Thank you Lord that jumping it off worked!)

Both of my boys loved spending the weekend in Barnesville. We hadn't been "home" since Christmas so they were ready to have time with the grandparents and just a new place to play. They especially loved Nanny's party. And cake is always the highlight.

Garrison's new thing is playing with his hair... he did this when he was a baby and the habit is back... which explains why he's holding onto his hair as he helps Nanny blow out her candles. Silly boy.

Sunday morning we went to church and I decided when we got home to have my mom take a few pictures of us all dressed up. I always think all my boys look so handsome on Sunday mornings but we never get any pictures all spiffed up. So this time I made a point to make it happen. Out of the 10 my mom took, these 2 were the best. Family pictures are hard work!

Then yesterday we had a super fun time at Snow Mountain! Yay!! I love family outings and this one ranked pretty high on the fun and special scale. We got there a little after 12 and went straight to the snow play area. Austin was pretty apprehensive at first but it didn't take him long before he was ready to play and digging in the snow just like brother and daddy. We had perfect weather and that made our experience even more enjoyable.

We spent the first several minutes there just digging and playing. The snow is fake, so it's pretty hard... which means we couldn't ever make a snowman. I was amazed when I saw other people had accomplished the feat. Thankfully Garrison could've cared less about a snowman. He just liked scooping and digging.
After playing in the snow I talked Garrison into going over and checking out the tubing slide. He wanted no part of it. My firstborn takes a while to warm up to things. So I went down with Austin a couple of times first. Austin didn't know what to think our first time down, then decided he wasn't a big fan.
Once Garrison saw I held onto Austin and kept him safe and secure, he was ready. And he loved it! Now, I was the only grown-up who did the kiddie slide, BUT, there were some kids there as big as me so I thought it was safe. We went down over and over again and he never agreed to do it by himself. But we had a ball doing it together!

After leaving the kiddie slide it was time to take on the big "family tube". Since Austin couldn't ride, I stayed with him and watched Terrell and Garrison go. We were both afraid it would scare Garrison but he loved it and was ready to go again as soon as he got off. My baby was in the middle tube right beside Terrell in the gray and black jacket.
While Terrell and Garrison rode the big tube a few more times I took Austin back to play in the snow and tried to keep him entertained. Baby boy was getting tired and giving mama a workout... but he was a trooper and hung in there with all of us the whole time! 
Terrell and I switched places eventually so I could ride down on the big tube with Garrison and have a little break from Austin who was wearing me out. But then Garrison gave me a workout because he was tiring out and wanting to be held a lot too. Gracious. The ride was SO fun! Garrison was smiling and screaming all the way down... just like his mama. =) We're on the middle tube and if you click on the second picture you can see my little man sitting beside me. After that ride our 2 hour limit for the tubing was up so we went back to the play area for even more fun.
Once we were back at the play area we tubed down the little hill a few more times before discovering a "ride" Garrison could do all by himself... sledding in a little "boat" as he called it. He loved doing this. Terrell was at the top and pushed him down over and over and over again. We finally had to wrap it up because Austin was exhuasted and Garrison was too... he just didn't know it. They both had to be carried back to the car.
We had such a good time and are looking forward to going back when Austin's older. Family outings are one of my favorite things ever.

We wrapped up the day with leftovers my mom sent home with us and poop in the bath tub. Ha! Our first time ever to experience poop in the bath tub. We'd experienced everything else but that I think. Garrison could not understand why Austin would do such a thing. Haha. We loved our long weekend and are grateful for an extra day to recuperate before going back to school tomorrow!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Yesterday's Happenings...

Bright and early yesterday morning I quietly crept into my baby boy's room to get him up, change his diaper, and put him in the car to head to the hospital for his surgery/procedure/tubes. Bless his heart. He was confused but he was calm and relaxed the whole time. Terrell stayed home to get Garrison up and ready for school and so he wouldn't have to miss work. It was a tough decision for me to go solo with Austin for his surgery but we knew it wouldn't take long and that it'd probably be crazy to ask one of our parents to wake up in the middle of the night to come over (or spend the night on our couch!) so we could arrive at the hospital before the crack of dawn. Plus, I felt pretty confident Austin's experience would be easier than Garrison's just because he's so much younger than Garrison was when he got tubes. And I was right. Whew. Thank you Lord!

So we got settled at the hospital and had a longer wait than anticipated in "pre-op" because we were actually second on the schedule even though we'd been told we were first. No biggie though. Austin did great. He had a few crazy, out of the blue crying spells before going back (side effect of the medicine they gave him) but was very calm when they rolled him back. I teared up but felt waaay more at peace about things having been through it with Garrison.

They put me in a waiting room by myself right outside of pre-op where I waited and prayed and texted Terrell minute by minute updates. I could tell pretty quickly it was taking longer than it should and I started getting uncomfortable. But I kept right on praying and a few minutes later the doctor came out and told me Austin did fine... but that his left ear was super inflamed (more than he realized) and that it took him a while to get the tube in that ear.... but all was well. The good news is that it was confirmed we made the right decision by going ahead with the tubes versus trying to continue to treat the infections.

I had to wait a little longer while they monitored him and then once he woke up they brought him to me. I could hear him screaming long before I could see him. Thankfully the second they handed him to me he relaxed and laid his head on my shoulder. He had a few bad crying spells while we waited to be released... he would fall asleep, wake up crying and throwing a fit, then fall back asleep, then suck down a ton of apple juice, then cry, then sleep. He was WAY easier than big brother though. Another huge praise. As soon as I got him home I put him to bed and he slept until lunch time. Baby boy was wiped out.

After his long nap, he was good to go. Back to normal and just being Austin. In the meantime it had been a bit of an emotional and draining morning for me. I was sort of all over the place. THEN, my husband arrived with my big boy from school and I knew right away that Garrison was in trouble and didn't have a good day.

Oh no. As a parent and teacher (double whammie) a bad day at school is sort of devestating. It's disappointing. It's stressful. It's embarrassing. It's awful.  

Apparently my firstborn had gotten into trouble multiple times at school for being too rough, not keeping his hands to himself, not listening, etc. He even had to have a time-out away from his class. Gasp! Needless to say, I was pretty upset. Not angry, just disappointed and shocked and sad. (And wishing I would've gone with my "gut instinct" to have Terrell keep him home and then go into work once I got home with Austin. Things at school have been cuh-razy with no outside time this week,)

Terrell told him in the car on the way home that he couldn't have his usual after-school snack and that there would be no play time before naptime. I added to that... no dessert and no Letter Factory (his daily "movie") for the remainder of the day. Garrison was very remorseful and sorry. He sounded so sincere and sad when he said he didn't know why he had a bad day and why he didn't listen and that he was sorry. And he never protested his consequences. Almost broke my heart. In a good way. I think.

So the afternoon was yet another emotional roller coaster for me. THEN, Terrell had a Chamber of Commerce thing to go to last night so we were on our own without daddy. Thankfully, for the most part, things went pretty smoothly and we all survived. Mama was drained.. physically and mentally... but I survived!

And today has been good. We're all home from school because of Austin and just taking it easy. I plan on giving Garrison a good long break from school (with the long weekend we don't have to go back until Wednesday) and trying to work on an apology to his teachers... without nagging and re-hashing and making a bigger deal out of things than necessary. We don't know if he had a rough day because of built up energy... or if he was acting out because of me and Austin not being home when he woke up and that throwing him off/adding stress... or if it was just a matter of poor self-control and bad choices. Whatever it was, we want to learn from it and move on. No reason to obsess over it. Or stress over it. (Preaching to myself here...)

Anyway... it was an eventful day. And while it definitely wasn't stress-free, it was a gift. One that I'm grateful for. I'm grateful for the tubes and a speedy recovery. I'm grateful for a remorseful almost 4 year old admitting to his mistakes. I'm grateful for a supportive husband and the extra long weekend we're looking forward to.

God is good all the time. Giving thanks in everything isn't easy, but it is doable. Just takes practice. (#1,000 Gifts...)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


This past weekend was a little wild for us. Terrell had a work party on Friday night and got home after I was in bed. Then Austin woke up around 4:00 that morning and Terrell got him back to sleep since my alarm would be going off shortly after. I had a Premier Rally to be at bright and early Saturday... but not before getting lost in downtown Atlanta. (Not fun.) The Rally lasted all day long. We were scattered and going different directions and pretty much worn out the entire first half of the weekend.

*On a happy note, Terrell's Saturday was sort of like a regular day for me. He got the kids up, fed them breakfast, got them dressed, played with them, got Austin down for his nap, did laundry, got Austin up from his nap, went grocery shopping with both boys in tow (yay for super dad!), unloaded and put away groceries, and fed everyone lunch... all before naptime! He sent me a text once he had both boys in bed that said he was spent and asking how I do it. Made me smile SO BIG. Always feels good to be appreciated. =)

While I was away on Saturday with several other moms I noticed how different we all are. Especially me. Ha! While everyone else was enjoying their time "away" (from the kids, responsibilities, chores, etc) and just relaxing and having a good time, I was texting my husband checking on the kids and watching the clock so I could get home to my family. All in all I was antsy.

And it made me feel kinda weird. Maybe cause I am... haha. I know for a fact some of it is owed to my Type A personality and the fact that I'm just not a super laid back person. I want to know what my kids are doing and how they're doing and that everything's okay. I also prefer to be with my family versus away from my family. My kids rarely spend the night away from home. And my husband and I enjoy each other's company...99% of the time anyway. =) We just all like being together.

Don't get me wrong, breaks are needed and necessary. Date nights are extremely important. Naptime is required at my house. I count down the minutes til Terrell Selph comes home pretty much everyday. Most nights bedtime can't come soon enough because I'm so tired and so ready to relax and sit down. But, on Saturday, I just couldn't fully enjoy myself being away all. day. long. I left before the boys were up and before carrying on a conversation with my husband. Not my favorite thing to do. (Thankfully my hubby kept me informed of all the happenings of the day and all 3 of my boys had a good time together.)

I just couldn't help but notice that I appeared to be the "different" one in our group. There very well could've been others who were checking in on their kids and itching to get home to their families like me... come to think of it, there was one other mom I bonded with over this very topic. However, we were the minority it seemed. And sometimes it's so tempting to judge when you have a different opinion or lifestyle than others.

Personally, I just really want to savor my children's childhoods... because they're flying by. I want to experience things with them and make memories and pass on traditions. It's just not my thing to constantly plan time away. We plan an anniversary weekend getaway every year. We try to plan dates fairly regularly. I get together with girlfriends every now and then. But for the most part we're always together. And I like it that way. It's home. It's comfortable. It's us.

Several of the girls in our group made plans to go out to dinner after the Rally to catch up more and hang out, but I just had no interest. I wanted to go home to see my family and be with them after missing them all day. Plus I was tired. (I get tired early these days...gracious.)

Then God opened my eyes to see things from a new perspective when one of the girls said to me, Come eat with us. You eat with your family every night.

Wow. Never looked at it that way before. I see it as being away from my family all day and missing them and ready to get home to see them. Others (not necessarily all others, but some others) see it as a rare opportunity to do something different. For yourself and your friends.


The moral of the story: Even though I chose to go home (because that was in fact doing something for me and we'd already made family dinner plans), I was able to see things from a different perspective. Other people, people I consider friends, have a different perspective and do things different than I would sometimes. And that's okay. There's no reason to feel guilty. There's no reason to feel defensive or judgmental or superior (gulp)... or anything. We're all a little different and that's okay. We parent differently. We choose our time away differently. We do things differently.

The next time I'm faced with a similar situation I'm going to try my best to view things from both perspectives so that instead of being tempted to feel the emotions mentioned above I'll choose to feel supportive... of both ways of doing things. There is no right or wrong, only what works for you and your family. And for that, I am thankful.  

My littlest man is getting tubes in his ears first thing tomorrow morning. Please keep him in your prayers. His mama appreciates it!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Christmas Present Fun!

Last year after Christmas I had the idea of making pictures of the boys with their Christmas presents and turning it into a blog post so the grandparents and aunts and uncles could see them playing with all their goodies. This year I decided to do the same thing as a way to say THANK YOU. My boys were spoiled lots at Christmas and have enjoyed their new toys so much. These pictures don't capture the boys with every single present... but almost. Thanks so much Granna, Papa, AnAn, Frankie, Nana, Pops, Kara, and Denny!!

Disclaimer: We rock Christmas pj's at our house throughout the Winter... or as long as the temperatures are Winter-like. =)

My cuddle-bug right after bath time getting ready for bed.
My big boy the tow truck driver/mechanic

Austin with his brand new dump truck like brother's... filled to the max with safari animals... courtesy of brother
This one gets the award for favorite book! It's the kind that has buttons to push for different noises/sound effects, including the Disney song on the title. They love it. And we sing It's a Small World about 17 times a day. See Austin clapping to the music? Presh.
The boys love pushing around their dump trucks together. Garrison got his for Christmas a couple of years ago and Austin got his very own this Christmas 

There's my little mechanic again. =)
Here's Austin pushing around his "pop-pop" and playing with his farm. He's at the age where he plays with something independently (without Garrison) for about 30 seconds before moving on. So both pictures below were snapped within approximately 90 seconds of each other.
Garrison with his "Dream Lite" ready for bed and playing his Mobi Go. Two big hits at our house.

Other than pushing around dump trucks together, one of the boys most favorite things to play with/in is the fire truck tent that my parents had Santa deliver. Huge hit. They love to get inside of it with all their little treasures and play or wrestle or lean over and make the tent collapse on them. (Actually Austin is the only one who does that on purpose.) But they love getting into trouble in the tent. And the best part is that we can fold it up and put it away super easy. Double yay!
On this particular day they had a picnic inside the tent. Melt my heart.
Thank you SO much everybody for blessing my boys this Christmas!!  They are becoming better and better playmates and I have loved witnessing them playing together and asking for each other and wanting the other to wake up or come into the same room so they can play together. All of their goodies have been hits... including new clothes which aren't pictured! Thanks a ton!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

January Randoms

*Several of my favorite bloggers have come up with a "theme word" for 2013... for them personally and/or their family. Sooo, it got me thinking about what our theme word should be. (This is when my husband tells me I have too much time on my hands. Haha.) It wasn't easy coming up with one word to hopefully describe 2013 for the Selph household, but one finally came to me and sort of stuck... NEW. This year we're hoping, praying, and planning for lots of things new. New experiences and paths and changes. (Except I think all changes are new because that's the definition of change...) But, as we've learned time and time again, God is in control and He will ultimately decide the theme of our year. Still, I'm excited about the new God has planned.

*Speaking of new... Call us tech-savvy, hip, and finally in cause my husband and I are the proud new owners of.... drum roll please.... iphones! Yay for moving out of the 90s. Haha! We've never been able to justify spending oodles of money on new phones or increasing our monthly budget by too much for the sake of a data plan when we already pay for internet on our trusty laptop. Sooo, we never drank the koolaid. Never really even wanted to. But, after some new developments arose my husband felt the need to at least look into it. More for him than me, but since we come as a package deal and it's typically cheaper to purchase in pairs, we both got one! My awesome, money saving husband got our phones for FREE and made sure that the ole data plan wouldn't add too much to the monthly budget. Yay!! I'm not fully devoted or sold or in love just yet, BUT, I am excited. =)

*Planning our summer vacation to the beach this year was rough. And we're all still collectively holding our breath because it isn't technically official until the deposit (which was mailed today) is received. The whole process of the search was time consuming and stress inducing like you wouldn't believe. Seriously. It felt like round the clock search mode around here. Then we'd set our sights on one only to have it snatched away. I have no idea why this year was so tough. For one thing it seems like people booked early. Real early. Some places we looked into had the whole summer booked already. I don't remember that being the case in previous years. Then I guess you could say our "requirements" played a teensy role. There are vacation days to be considered (because despite the fact that my sister and I have a long summer break, everyone else in the family works a normal job). Then there's the fact that our pets travel with us. We are dog people. They are members of our family. Where we go, they go. Then there's the issue of bedrooms and bathrooms cause we stay for a whole week and we all need a place to eat, sleep, and sit down. Then there's the fact that we prefer being directly on the beach. Call us greedy. Then there's the fact that as a general rule we aren't made of money. Soooo, combine all that with the fact that places booked up early and you've got yourself a stressful, time consuming situation. Good gracious. We think we have the one though! Praise the Lord the search and phone calls and emails and weighing of pros and cons appears to be over!

*Garrison Cade is loving his new Bible he got for Christmas. It is so precious. He loved the short and simple Bible stories from his "old" Bible, but his new one with longer, detailed stories has made him even more impressed and curious and intrigued. So far we've read several new Bible stories that weren't included in his old Bible and David and Goliath and Jonah and the Big Fish multiple times. He even brings it to the table with him for breakfast so I can read to him. Love!

*Speaking of my firstborn, he now has homework! Part of me loves it, part of me... not so much. Adding one more thing to our afternoons/evenings doesn't always sound appealing. But this homework is given on Monday and due on Friday and it's something fun we can do together. (I don't have to do it for him.) His class is working on letter sounds and each week he'll bring home 2 letters to fill up with pictures, stickers, drawings, etc of things that start with those letters. A and B were a huge hit. I found the items or stickers and he cut and pasted/peeled and stuck. Then we discussed the sounds of those letters. And after supper last night he requested to watch the Letter Factory movie AnAn gave him for Christmas. Yay for learning letter sounds!

*My baby boy has had a bit of a rough time of it lately. Poor baby just can't kick those nasty ear infections. The pediatrician's office has been our home away from home for quite some time now. Sooo, we're heading to the ENT soon. Thankfully he doesn't let it keep him down. He sleeps great, eats great, and loves keeping up with Garrison. Those 2 are playing together more and more. I love it... especially when Garrison is gentle and sharing versus too rough and not sharing. Haha. I'm just thankful they love playing together so much! 

*Garrison's 4th birthday party is almost completely planned. We have a few purchases to make, including his gift, but all the details are finalized and ready to go. While the party is 99% planned, a few other details aren't yet. I want to do something special on his actual birthday, which falls on a Tuesday this year. I'm not sure how much or little to do. A special breakfast? Letting him decide school or no school... or is that a bad habit? Planning a fun day if he decides not to go to school? Letting him decide on his dinner... cooked by me or out at a restaurant? Hmmmm. Then there's the matter of that special something he wants to do just with mama and daddy. Last year we decided we'd plan a special outing with just us and the birthday kid for each of our kids as a new tradition. We didn't do it with Austin for his 1st birthday so it may start at the 2nd or 3rd birthday. Garrison has mentioned another train ride but we can't decide if we should encourage something new and different. Guess we'll think on it and then let him make the final decision? Hmmm.

*This weekend is the first one in a loooong time I'm not really looking forward to. Terrell has a work party Friday night and I have a Premier thing all day long Saturday. I guess there's Sunday to look forward to. I'm just going to miss us all being together. I'm definitely looking forward to next weekend being a long one with everyone together in the same place. =)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Back in the Swing of Things

Today was our first day back to school after an almost 2.5 week break. The break was long and needed and glorious. We enjoyed the holidays to the fullest and had lots of family time. We slept later than normal, had unlimited play time, had more time with daddy, and had just enough cabin fever to make us appreciate a place to be this morning. 

Before having my babies, going back to school after breaks was always hard. I dreaded going back, felt anxious and nervous, and never slept good the night before. But I have to say, returning to school after this break, it wasn't too bad. Other than dreaming about  pet-friendly condos and townhomes and the pros and cons of every possible vacation rental we've researched (another post possibly coming soon), the night before went great. Things felt pretty normal. We made lunches, laid out everyone's clothes, got the boys bathed and in bed, and stressed out over booking our family vacation. Ahhhh. Can you tell I'm slightly obsessed with the whole topic of vacation? Next year we will be prepared. No more waiting til the last minute of the first of January to book our summer vacation. Gracious.

Anyway, enough about that. I think what makes "going back" so much easier this time around is that we all go together.... to preschool. While my boys being at school with me before and after the school day can drive me crazy on a regular basis, it's nice to all be at the same place. I see them both throughout the day and can check on them whenever I want. Then, there's the fact that I only work half a day, 3 days a week. Plus, I really enjoy my job. Thank you Lord!

Over the break it was really tempting to start to feel blah about having to work. Being home was nice. Things felt simpler. Like they should. Terrell went to work stress-free every morning. I ran errands, got things done around the house, and had lots of quality time with my boys. If someone wasn't feeling well I was home. No need for anyone to take off. No need to call one of the grandparents to ask them to take off. Being home just felt right.

Don't get me wrong, we had our challenges. It's been freezing cold lately and being stuck inside made for some loooong days. We all celebrated the minute daddy walked in the door. We had some brotherly squabbles. We had some trouble listening and obeying mama. Things weren't easy-breezy. But they were normal. And made me have a teensy longing to be home full time. Cue the temptation to feel discontent and have a pity party.

But I fought the temptation hard. Because feeling discontent really doesn't help matters any. At all. Honestly, it makes me feel worse. So I focused on the positive. The fact that I only work part time and that I work at a really great preschool. The fact that I have a job. The fact that I'm there with my children and we're all on the same schedule. The fact that because of my job, I just enjoyed a 2.5 week break. The positives are numerous. And choosing to have an attitude of thanksgiving and gratefulness made me feel lots better. I need to apply this same way of thinking to a few other areas I struggle with and get worked up about.

Our day back today was good. The boys had a good day. I had a good day. Even daddy had a good day- AND woke up earlier to make sure we could all get out the door on time. Now if we can just get this vacation booked, we'll all have an even better day. Ha!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Memories, Challenges, & Goals

When I first sat down to write this post I intended a heart-felt, detailed, paragraph filled post of memories, challenges, and goals for the new year. But then I got writer's block. Or felt like I didn't have time to put everything into detailed, paragraph form and just went with lists instead. So I had to include just a few links that include heart-felt, detailed, paragraphs. =)

Favorite Memories from 2012:
*Capturing my boys becoming smitten with each other in January. Biggest blessing ever!
*Celebrating my big boy's birthday in February and his first ever "train trip".
*A fun Spring! Celebrating Austin's first Easter with our families, enjoying a mountain getaway, and celebrating my sister completing her Master's degree.
*Summer vacation in June!! (We're in planning mode for this year's week at the beach already!)
*Austin's 1st haircut and catching up with my besties from high school in July.
*Austin's 1st birthday in September! (Part 1 & Part 2)
*Our trips to the Zoo and Georgia Aquarium
*Soccer with Garrison in the Fall.
*Another mountain getaway in October.
*The holidays with my family! (Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas)
Biggest Challenges in 2012:
*The Decision to go back to work and the adjustments and growing pains that occurred when I did.
*Terrell's back and leg issues last summer.
*The worst sick season ever.  
(While at the time these challenges seemed tough, looking over the list I'd say we were very blessed last year. Our challenges weren't terrible. God was faithful. We survived them all. Yes, God has definitely been good to us.) 
I don't love New Year's resolutions and I typically don't love change (which usually goes right along with the resolutions) but I do love finding ways to improve and do better... personally, as a wife, as a mom, with our home, etc. So here goes...
Goals for 2013:
*To continue with my daily quiet time at the start of my day. I finally found a routine I love that works on a daily basis and I want to keep it up.
*To continue reading the Word. I am loving the Old Testament. It's even become my nightly reading before bed most nights. The stories of God's faithfulness and love and power are amazing. And, they're true stories. Wow. Plus, I found a chronological reading plan to follow. Yay. It's less confusing to read things in order. =)
*To limit my time online. 2012 was a year that left me addicted to blogs and facebook. Big time. Yikes. While I do love keeping up with other people and learning from them and being able to relate to them, I have to be present for my own family first. I haven't figured out a for sure plan to follow to hold me accountable to this new goal, but it's got to be top priority. Which leads me to my next goal...
*To spend more quality time with my kiddos. Thankfully I'm able to multi-task pretty easily with my boys. They run around playing while I vacuum. They like to help with little chores like emptying the dishwasher and laundry. They play together really well together most of the time. BUT, if I get too ambitious, things go south. I have to keep balance around here. I can't sacrifice my time with them in the name of getting things done or doing what I want to do. Gulp. A little less multi-tasking and a little more balance is the key. I think. Maybe? Parenting is a never-ending learning process.  
*Trusting God with our future and being thankful and content while we wait. (I think I mentioned something like this last January.)
I think that concludes my lists and official "New Year's" post... just a few days late. Time for full-blown party planning to kick into gear and to book our summer vacation. =)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Wrapping Up 2012 & Entering 2013

Before the year came to a close we had one last Christmas gathering with Terrell's family on Saturday at his sister's house. It was freezing cold, a little "misty" and "sleety", and felt just like the week between Christmas and New Year's should. We had fun seeing Terrell's Granny and most of his cousins, plus eating lots of good food.

Garrison with "Granny in Cartersville" as he likes to call her. =)
Granny in Cartersville with 4 of her 5 grandchildren
Granny with 6 of her 9 great-grandchildren. 

And here's our attempt at a family picture with Granny...Oops, can't see Granny...

Hmmm... Austin's falling over, Garrison's catching him with one hand, and I'm not looking...
Oh boy. I don't know what's going on with my children in this one. Oh well. We tried. Ha!
After a long ride home that evening Terrell and I got the boys in bed and did a little more "putting away of Christmas". And by Sunday we were pretty much done. It's always a relief to get things mostly back in order and I'm so thankful for a husband who feels the same!

With New Year's Eve being on a Monday this year and my husband having to work, we decided not to go to the hometown for New Year's. For the first time ever we think. It was a tough decision but we decided it was best. Instead we got together with my family on Sunday night for dinner. We met up at Buffalo's with my parents, sister, and Frankie and enjoyed a wild and crazy evening. My littlest man was off. the. chain. He was a wild man. We still have no idea what got him so wound up and crazy but thankfully we survived the meal without anyone having to cut their meal short due to bad behavior by Austin Selph. So glad the place was hoppin' and loud and Austin remained in his highchair til it was time to go. Gracious. Can you say never a dull moment?

My boys with Granna and Papa

My big boy (who insisted on one more picture) and Papa
New Year's Eve was sort of strange for us. It didn't feel like NYE at all. Terrell went to work. I stayed home with the boys. Austin was sick with a cold. I dusted and tried to finish decluttering and getting things back in order while reminding myself to get excited because it's NYE. Haha. It was sort of blah having no plans and not celebrating with family like we have every other year. It just felt weird. But we did get Mexican take-out for supper and made homemade laundry detergent! We also realized pretty fast into the evening it was best we were at home... Austin wasn't feeling good so it was definitely best he got to sleep in his own bed, and for some reason Garrison had a hard time falling asleep. Being home was a good thing even if it did feel kind of weird and boring.  

Today we've enjoyed having daddy home with us and have been hanging out around the house, eating more take-out (I am cooking a big meal tonight though!), and watching football. It's been a lazy day at home. We are thankful for God's blessings in 2012 and looking forward to what God has in store for our family in 2013. And I'm hoping to write a "New Year's" post soon about my hopes for this year and my memories from last year. We'll see. Happy New Year everybody!!