Thursday, February 28, 2013

This & That

*Today we finally had Garrison's 4 year well check. And it was a big one.... not just because he had to get multiple shots but because he had to take a hearing test, vision test, perform a few physical feats, and answer a few questions. Mama had to answer some questions as well. Wow. Those things can be intimidating!

He weighed 34.6 pounds and was 40 inches tall. He is right at 50% in both categories and the epitome of an average sized 4 year old. He did really good with the shots (he only had to have 2, plus a finger prick) and was loaded up with goodies afterwards... 1 blue popsicle, 1 spiderman sticker, and 1 cool bouncy ball from the treasure chest. There was more drama in the car as we were leaving reliving the whole experience of being "pinched" than there was at the doctor's office. The dramatics continued this afternoon as well. Bless his heart. No idea where he gets that from. =) We are SO thankful for our healthy, growing boy!!

*We stayed up to watch Duck Dynasty last night. Sooo funny. I am definitely hooked... and totally fascinated by the Robertson's and their family life.

*We're also really getting into Survivor again this season. Drama, drama, drama. Of course I really like the Favorites and would love to see one of them at the end, but I also always have a soft spot for the underdog... which appears would be the Fans at this point. We'll have to wait and see how it plays out and who I'm rooting for in the end.

*I'm getting excited about Dancing with the Stars coming back on (or as my husband says when he's making fun of my wanting to watch every week... DWTS!)

*Speaking of my hubby, we're in the middle of trying to plan our anniversary weekend away in June. Let's just say it's been a tad challenging. At first we were thinking of going to Helen and leaving on a Friday morning, staying 2 nights, and returning Sunday afternoon. But, after much discussion (and even stressing), we decided we're not really at the point where we want to leave our 2 small kids for that long while spending a sizeable amount of money. Maybe we'll be at that point in a few years, but for now, we're on a pretty tight budget and therefore don't want to spend too much, plus we don't want to leave the kids for too long. Sooo we started looking into other places that would be fairly close by but that we could arrive at on a Friday night or Saturday morning. We stressed so much over the Helen trip that we sort of moved on from it and now we can't decide where to go or what to do. In a way it's exciting, in a way it makes you crazy. Guess we'll keep looking and hopefully make a decision soon.

*This weekend we've scheduled the boys Easter pics (a mini session just like last year) and it's going to be cold! What to do, what to do?? Since we're thinking it shouldn't take that long, Terrell wants to go for it. I'm a little more nervous because I'm hoping for good pictures and don't want the weather to ruin things. Or for the boys to be shivering and miserable, and therefore uncooperative. Hmmm...I'm thinking we'll stick with it though....

*Spring Training for the Braves is in full swing! Yay for baseball!! My oldest little man is loving watching it on TV. I'm excited for him to get to play starting in a week or two. I'm sure it will be overwhelming at first trying to find a good routine (week night practices tend to give me just a teensy bit of anxiety) but we survived soccer last Fall so hopefully baseball will be just as fun!

*That's all the little updates I can think of... Happy Friday and first day of March tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What I've Learned...

There have a been a ton of great posts on marriage lately. Almost everybody is writing one. And they're so good. And true. And encouraging. And make you feel normal. So I had to join in. I needed my writing fix and figured I'm jump on the "marriage blog post" bandwagon.

I am definitely no expert. I am selfish. We fight. Things aren't always wonderful. But here's a list of some of the things I've learned after 7.5 years of marriage that have definitely made a difference:

*Compromise is KEY. This became apparent right from the start with us and is still so true to this day. Sharing your life with another person who has different habits and opinions and preferences than you means you will have to compromise. Regularly. Oh my was this a toughie for me. Sometimes it still is. Everybody wants their own way, right?? I think my husband would say we've both gotten better at the art of compromising over the years. And only by God's grace. 

*Being a team is important. Marriage is about being teammates and facing everything together. On the same side. It's about sharing responsibilities. Sharing a home. Sharing money and bills. Sharing material things. Sharing feelings. It's just a whole lot of sharing. And things work so much smoother when you're doing it together as a team. Terrell and I have gotten into the habit of high fiving or fist pumping and saying Team Selph! after tackling something tough together... a wild and crazy bath and bedtime, a hectic shopping outing, getting out of the house in record time on school days. It's corny but it's our thing and we always feel proud after accomplishing something "tough" together. I love my teammate and sharing life with him.

*There will be ups and downs. Marriages have ups and downs. It's just a fact. You don't feel "in love" every single day. (And after dating for 5.5 years before getting married this wasn't a shocker for us.) There are even some days (or parts of days) you don't even really like each other. Some days you're more like roommates. Some days you're madly in love. Making each other a priority and simply making an effort get you through the ups and downs.

*Communicate Often. You can't read each other's minds. I am STILL learning this.

*Speak One Another's Love Language. This goes a long way in having a happy marriage.

*Compliments are Important. Whether "words of affirmation" is your love language or not everybody needs to hear they're appreciated, loved, supported, attractive, etc. Not just wives... husbands too.

*Keep Christ at the Center. Sometimes this is the easiest and most natural thing to do. Other times it's forgotten. And sometimes it's just tough. Seek Him regularly. Rely on Him daily. Pray for each other. Pray with each other. Seek His will for your marriage and relationship.

*Make each other a priority. Life is full of busyness, problems, careers, children, each other's families, commitments, etc, but in the midst of everything try your hardest to prioritize each other. We've found we have to be very intentional about setting aside time to hang out. Go out. Talk. Watch TV together. It's crazy but you can both get lost in the busyness and craziness of everyday life if you're not careful.

*Make laughing together a regular thing. One of my favorite bloggers recently wrote that she thinks "sense of humor ranks in the top 3 important things in marriage". It may or may not be in the top 3 but it is definitely important (at least in my opinion). Laughing together keeps you best friends. Laughing together makes you feel better. Laughing together means you have fun together. Laughing together makes hard days easier. I am so thankful I have a husband who makes me laugh all the time... and who laughs with me and sometimes at me regularly. =)

And just in case you're interested... here are just a few of the great and honest posts on marriage I've read lately:

marriage is work. and work is worship.


Nagging vs. Communicating

Monday, February 25, 2013

Winter Break Recap

This past week we enjoyed our Winter Break from school. It was SO nice to have a little break and to not have to worry about making lunches and picking out clothes the night before and waking up the kids every morning. We definitely enjoyed ourselves... and because this blog serves as our family journal (and so I don't forget) I wanted to do a quick recap of the week's events and challenges.

Monday- This was President's Day so Terrell had the day off and we hung out around the house, did a little laundry, and played outside. It was a relaxing and fun day... especially for the boys.

Tuesday- Tuesday was rainy so we stayed in all day except for Austin's follow-up appointment with the ENT. This was his first appointment since getting tubes and while the left ear looked great the right ear still had some issues. We were given more ear drops and have to go back in a few weeks for another follow-up and a hearing test. By late afternoon the weather was super nice so we were able to play outside for just a little while before supper.

Wednesday- This was the wild and crazy day at the Georgia Aquarium. Plus Terrell had to work late. It was a special day since we got to go on a special outing... but it was also super draining.

Thursday- On Wednesday night/Thursday morning Garrison woke up a couple of times during the middle of the night with an ear ache and some kind of fluid/discharge coming out of his right ear. Soooo, we made an appointment on Thursday morning and went to the doctor only to discover he had a cold that included strep throat. Which was part of the reason he was having issues with his ear. Yuck. He laid around the rest of the day Thursday but starting feeling better as bedtime approached. Thankfully he slept all night and he is much better now.

Friday- Friday was another rainy, cold day so we stayed home most of the day playing inside and doing laundry. Since Garrison still wasn't 100% and Austin and I both were a little under the weather from colds we can't kick, it worked out for the best to stay home. Terrell got off early so we could go out to eat and do just a little shopping on Friday night. It was nice to finally get out after a messy day stuck inside.

While our week wasn't spectacular or exciting or filled with lots of fun outings, I think we were all (even the boys) thankful for the break. It was fairly low-key and stress-free. Almost. (But don't forget about the Aquarium...)

But we also had some challenges. And this was probably my first break from school that I've faced these challenges. Which was different for me. I'm used to things being easier and more laid back when we don't have school. I'm used to feeling more at ease and in my element... home with the boys, taking care of the house and our errands, and just in my preferred role.

For documentation purposes, here are some of the challenges faced:

Lack of routine: While a break in the routine was so super nice and I loved every second of not making lunches and ironing and waking up at 5:40 (I like to have time for my quiet time and to read/write blogs before the boys wake up), it was a little challenging. For the first time ever I think, I found myself saying I sorta, almost, maybe just a tad get how some working moms say they could never be stay at home moms after having a long break from work (and their routine). I've never gotten it before. Ever. (Just because I've always loved being home.) But this week was tough having unlimited time at home without a whole lot planned. It threw me off a little. We still had the meals and naptime routine in place, but other than that we had lots of time on our hands. A part of me wanted to be lazy and a part of me wanted to tackle everything under the sun.

We didn't plan a lot because of doctor's appointments, the weather, being sick, etc. And it made for some interesting days. Half the time the boys were angels and getting along perfect and entertaining each other and the best of friends. (LOVE). The other half was spent breaking up fights and teaching lessons on sharing and trying to make Austin understand that hitting is a no-no and trying to make Garrison understand that he is expected to listen and obey the first time he's told. I am thankful that they are at the point where they really play together though. It was precious to watch and hear... until the crying/yelling/chasing/whining began. Haha.

While our lack of routine made me a little stir crazy because of having too much time on our hands, I have to say that staying home full time is still my first love. Because when I'm home all the time we do have a routine and a plan for everyday. Occassionally sicknesss and the weather throw things off but for the most part our routine is there and things are good. We have the perfect mix of getting out and staying home and it works for everybody involved. Hopefully I'll get back in that groove this summer.

Unlimited Playtime: Because we were home a lot last week and weren't in our usual routine, there were several stretches of unlimited playtime. Lots and lots of time to play. And eventually all that playtime started to wear on me. Because eventually all I heard were requests for mama to play. Which means the house was a disaster and I felt like I didn't have 2 seconds to myself.

If I'm being totally honest, sometimes it's hard for me to stop and play. Sometimes it's easier for me to do chores around the house while they play (or to take a break while they play). I enjoy playing with my boys on the floor when I know there's some sort of time limit and/or purpose. Playing with blocks and helping Austin say his colors until it's time for lunch... I'm good. Playing ball in the hallway for 15 minutes to get out energy until daddy gets home... I can do it. Sitting down to play with an unlimited amount of time to play... gets kind of tough. (At least for me.) We all get bored. I feel like I need some kind of lesson plan so we're learning or being productive. Ha! And when you're playing with a 4 year old and an almost 18 month old there's only so much you can all do together. Which is why sometimes it's easier when they're playing together doing something only they can do... riding their toys around, pushing dump trucks, etc. Or when I'm playing with them one-on-one.

I'm hoping the challenge was more about our routine being off and us having a little too much time at home rather than the possibility I may not be good at playing for long stretches. Sigh.

Angry Birds: My firstborn is officially addicted. Oh my gracious. He was exposed a while back and this week he discovered he's in love with the game on daddy's phone. (We're rethinking the decision to download it now.) The first few days he drove us crazy asking to play. He was literally borderline obsessed. Angry Birds was seriously one of my "challenges" of the week. I'm just not a huge fan of tons of technology for kiddos and this really made me question our parenting more than once. (I know that sounds dramatic but when your 4 year old is revolving everything around a game on a phone... it makes you question.) We've now decided he gets 2 times per day to play and that's it. Knowing his limit has helped a lot... and saved our sanity. And hopefully he'll move right on out of this phase soon. If not, Angry Birds may be deleted. So sad.

*This weekend we wrapped up our break by going Easter shopping and spending lots of time outside yesterday. A family walk of the neighborhood was wonderful. Then today we had a good day back at school and are hopefully all getting well. Austin had an appointment this afternoon and I have one tomorrow. We're praying we're past the sick stuff soon and can enjoy our regular ole routine to the fullest. Baseball is right around the corner afterall!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Adventure at the Aquarium

This week is our Winter Break from school so today I ventured out on my own with both boys in tow to the Georgia Aquarium. We went back in September as a family and have been on their email list ever since. When we recently got an email about a special Mommy and Me date where you could get tickets super cheap (including free parking) as long as you went on a Monday-Thursday between the dates of February something and March something...I decided to go for it. And we had a great time! And made it home safely!! But not before we experienced one adventure after another.

(Let me preface the remainder of this post by saying I don't know why I am the way I am. I don't know why weird things happen to me but not to my husband. I don't know why I'm directionally challenged, high maintenance, and make things harder than necessary. It's just a joy of being me! Ha!)

Had to turn the flash to auto on my phone after this crazy pic
We left the house just before 9 this morning and made great time. My goal was to get there when it opened at 10:00 and spend our morning and lunch there before heading home early afternoonish. I had the Aquarium's address programmed into my GPS, plus a plan to get to the parking deck nearby even though that particular address was not programmed in my GPS. BUT, I found the Aquarium and drove right into the first parking deck that said Georgia Aquarium plus a few other places. I knew as soon as I pulled in I had never parked there before when going to the Aquarium... but there was no way I was leaving. How does that work anyway? Do you say you made a mistake and beg them to let you leave without paying?

Anyway, the MAIN reason I wasn't leaving was because I had no idea how to get to another parking deck without getting lost and wasting all our time and having a mini panic attack in the process. So we stayed put.

We made it all the way to the elevator of the parking deck before seeing the sign that said you needed your parking ticket with you. So we turned around to head back to the car to grab the parking ticket. (Which why would I need that if my parking was free?) As soon as I put the key in my car my alarm/panic thing went off. Horn blowing, lights flashing, everything going crazy. LOUDLY. Ughhhhh.

(My automatic lock/unlock thing on my key no longer works and for some reason inserting the key... which is the only way to unlock the door... makes the alarm go off. This has happened to me before....)

Terrell double checked it this morning and everything. But of course it would never happen to him. So both of my kids got horrified and startled looks on their faces before their lips started quivering. Which made me want to cry. I finally got the car to be quiet before we made our way to the Aquarium in the frigid cold... only to try to follow a school group in the back entrance (which is a no-no for people like us who aren't with a school group) and having to walk miles around steps to get to ramps (since I had the stroller) and eventually the main entrance. We were frozen.

The good news is, once we were inside and thawed out, things went great! The boys loved seeing all the fish and alligators and otters and whales and penguins. Austin people watched if he was bored and Garrison just told me when he was ready to move on. It was super easy and I started feeling a little more like super-mom tackling this special outing solo. We all enjoyed ourselves and had a fun time. We even made it to Dolphin Tales! Garrison loved it once again and Austin was way more entertained this time. He whined a few times but nothing major. Success!

Our biggest adventures inside the Aquarium were cramming into a handicap bathroom. And I do mean cramming. We barely fit. Plus trying to "do" lunch. Holding onto a tray, picking out food, pushing a stroller, keeping one eye on my 4 year old at all times, and paying... while holding the tray, pushing the stroller, and keeping one eye on my 4 year old... Phew! At least things went smoothly once we finally sat down to eat.

Once we had seen and done everything and it was time to go we retraced our steps back to the parking deck and directly to our car with no issues. Yay! Unfortunately things went downhill from there. First of all I had to pay for parking. It was supposed to be included in my ticket but of course I didn't park in the right deck. Which made me feel horrible since this was supposed to be a cheap outing. Supposedly I can be refunded... we'll see.

Then, the GPS quit working. It had a mind of it's own and was absolutely zero help. Nooooo. I followed a sign to 75 (as long as I could get on the interstate I knew I'd be fine) but there was literally no interstate in sight. Anywhere. So I was officially lost. And driving farther and farther away from the city (and the interstate I'm sure).

I tried really hard not to panic but I was on the verge of tears and feeling super unnerved. I didn't recognize a thing. Only railroad tracks and trains. I definitely wasn't in downtown or midtown or whatever anymore. Finally I managed to turn around, get back to the city, and search for signs for 75 again. I prayed the whole time. Austin went to sleep right away but poor Garrison knew something was wrong. And I'm terrible at hiding things from him. After a good 15 (or 45) minutes, I saw a sign (a reliable one this time) and made it onto the interstate. As soon as Garrison knew mama wasn't lost anymore he fell alseep too. My nerves were shot but I was SO thankful to be on the interstate heading home! 
The rest of the day has been a blur. I've been out of it. Plus exhausted. Our adventure of a day wore me out! Even though I'm not ready to attempt anything like it again in the near future, we all had fun and all made it home safe. I may have had a crazier day than necessary what with parking in the wrong spot and setting off the alarm because I was retrieving a parking ticket I didn't need and then with getting lost... but memories were made! (That's what I always say when things go crazy. It's like my famous line.) And the boys and I actually did enjoy the Aquarium. Thank you Jesus for keeping us safe and getting us home! Sigh. Time for bed...

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Date with Garrison & Other Weekend Happenings

We have had a really fun and long weekend this President's Day weekend. Having an extra day with daddy home as we kick off our Winter Break from school has been wonderful. Saturday was jam packed and then yesterday and today have been super low key. It's been a good combination of busy and fun but still relaxing.

We kicked things off on Saturday when we took Garrison to the circus. This was part of his birthday present from us and something we were all really excited about... that is until Friday night when he realized for sure that Austin wouldn't be going with us. I was putting him to bed and he kept saying things like, But I'm gonna miss him. Austin likes animals doing tricks. He really likes dat. But I wish he could go. I'm gonna miss him. Then I tried explaining that this was a special birthday present for Garrison- sort of like a date with mama and daddy, and that for Austin's birthday we would have a date with just him and he (Garrison) would stay home with somebody. So that led to, but I'm gonna miss ya'll. I'm gonna be sad when I can't go. I'm gonna really miss Austin. Which led to me questioning the whole idea of the birthday date for each individual child and sort of broke my heart.

Terrell and I talked about it and my laid back/whatever/totally chill of a husband said it was no big deal, we would play it by ear with each child each birthday. So there. Problem solved. According to Terrell. It still sort of had me in turmoil while analyzing the whole thing and hoping neither of my boys will be scarred from this little plan of ours...

Thankfully Garrison woke up super excited Saturday morning and even told Austin where we were going and that he couldn't go. Guess his sympathy only lasted so long. I do have to say though he was very informative and helpful giving Granna lots of tips and instructions on Austin's routine, toys, food, etc. He made sure Austin would be well taken care of. It was very sweet and big brotherly of him.
Ready for our day of fun!

Austin and Granna- his play mate for the day

We left around 9:00 Saturday morning, drove to the nearest Marta station, froze while we waited for our train, and then rode all the way into Atlanta to Philips Arena. Garrison loved the train ride but wasn't nearly as impressed as last year. It was a still a fun part of our day though.

Granna had given him money for a souvenir from the circus and that was the first thing he wanted to do. We thought he'd pick out one of the overpriced glow in the dark swords or spinning things that every other kid had but he chose a fourwheeler and race car. Nothing to do with the circus but what he wanted without a doubt!
He loved the circus... especially all the animals. He was also pretty wowed by the motocycles. His favorite parts were the elephants and tigers... and picking out 2 toys! It lasted 2 hours so by the time it wrapped up he was hungry (very hungry) and super tired. We braved the crowds at the CNN Center and ate our lunch on the floor. That place was crazy packed. There were cheerleaders everywhere. And circus go-ers. We left there and got back on the train as soon as we could. We had a really fun day together... and Austin had a good day too!

Saturday night we headed down to Griffin to meet my mom's side of the family for dinner at a nice restaurant to celebrate my Paw Paw's 87th birthday. We're so glad we got to go. It was fun for the kids and nice to be able to celebrate with Paw Paw and the rest of the family.

Yesterday we slept in, bought groceries, went out for ice cream (even though it was freezing!), and made a quick trip to Wal-Mart. Today's been more of the same except we're mainly hanging out at home. The boys have loved having daddy here to play with them. And I've enjoyed a break in the routine! Now I'm looking forward to some fun outings with the boys this week as we enjoy our break!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine's Day 2013

We had a fun Valentine's Day yesterday. It was really laid back yet still special for the whole fam. Celebrating with 2 little boys made it even more fun.

Can you tell I'm loving my new chalkboard? I'm enjoying writing little messages on it so much. I'm thinking I need a bigger one in the future though.  

Garrison went to school yesterday specifically because it was Valentine's Day and so he wouldn't miss out on his class party. Terrell and I stayed up late Tuesday night making his and Austin's little Valentines to pass out. Austin's class celebrated on Wednesday since his class doesn't meet on Thursdays. These are the same ones I did for Garrison last year and he insisted he wanted them again. About halfway through making 30 of these I was wondering why I didn't pick some up from Wal-Mart. Maybe next year I can figure out something cutesy but EASY.

Austin and I joined Garrison for his party. Baby boy got to sit at the table and eat a Valentine cookie just like big brother.
After we got home and Garrison went through all his goodies and everyone had naps, we had a little play time outside. It was a tad chilly but so pretty after the rainy week we've had that we just couldn't stay in. They loved getting outside.

Terrell and I decided to give them their Valentine stuff from us right before heading out the door to pick up our take-out and dessert. They opened their cards (Garrison's had stickers and Austin's had a talking Elmo)...

Then they opened their bag of snacks. (Plus Garrison got a pack of stickers.) They both got a heart full of candy plus some healthy snacks. They were pretty excited. =)
Then they opened their other cards and goodies. Pops and Nana had given them a little tin of goodies, plus they got cards in the mail from Granna and Papa and Nanny.
We told them they are 2 very special and very LOVED little boys. 
After we made the mad rush to get our fancy take-out and dessert we all got settled and ate together. Our food was delicious. Terrell and I both ate way too much. It was SO good. Then we gave the boys dessert because we were way too full to eat another bite.

While the boys had dessert we decided to read our hearts from our "I love you because" jar. Garrison did the honors of taking out the hearts one at a time and telling us who they were from. We read Austin's first, then Garrison's, then Terrell's, then mine. It was sweet and special and everyone enjoyed it. Even Austin smiled proudly when we read his.

It would take forever for me to list out what all 32 hearts said so I'll just do a couple...

Austin's Favorites:
I love you because you give me hugs. -Garrison
I love you because you like me to read to you. -Mama
I love you because you always come and check on me in the mornings. -Daddy

Garrison's Favorites:
I love you because you are the best paci finder! -Austin
I love you because you love to play sports outside with me. -Daddy
I love you because you are such a good big brother. -Mama

Daddy's Favorites:
I love you because you still know how to make me laugh. -Meggie
I love you because you play with me. -Garrison
I love you because you hold me and let me climb on you. -Austin

Mama's Favorites...they were actually ALL my favorites but here are just a few:
I love you because you make me a better person. -Terrell
I love you because you take care of me. -Garrison
I love you because you read me my favorite books everyday. -Austin

After we got cleaned up from dinner we got the kids in the bath, made lunches, laid out clothes, and put them to bed. Plus they made a few thank you phone calls. Terrell and I had made plans to watch a movie... which almost didn't happen because both boys seemed to be on sugar highs or something... but we finally did! We watched Taken 2 (and ate our dessert!) We both really liked it. Can't go wrong with a suspenseful, action-packed movie with a good ending. And that's what Valentine's Day 2013 looked like at our house. =)

Here's what we were up to last year.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Project I Love You Because...

With Valentine's Day coming up tomorrow I thought I'd share something new our family is doing this year. It's sort of like a project but more about just being intentional with telling each other why we love each other. I got the idea after reading a blog post from one of my favorite "educational" type blogs ( which led me to this post. (My husband just loves when I act on these ideas I with sarcasm), Garrison on the other hand was thrilled with the idea right from the start. =)

I already had a similar idea of making a homemade card for Terrell and listing some of the reasons I love him on cutesy little construction paper hearts. Then, when I read the post mentioned above, I decided to make it a family affair. I changed and tweaked it just a little but the jist of it is to write down "I love you because" notes to each family member leading up to Valentine's Day. (We just started on Sunday but technically you could start whenever). Then we'll read them aloud around the table tomorrow night. I'm thinking I would really love for this to become a tradition... cause I'm slightly obsessed with traditions.

I decided to go with a color coded system to make it less confusing and perfectly equal right from the start. I cut out construction paper hearts in each family member's chosen color (8 each to be exact because that's how it worked out with the paper I had) and found a plastic jar that's actually supposed to be Christmas-themed I think but could pass for winter-y.

It doesn't really matter what you put your hearts or slips of paper in... I just wanted mine to be something clear so we could see it filling up. Mainly for Garrison.... okay, for me too.

So each family member writes a little "I love you because..." note on other family members hearts. If Garrison wants to write something to daddy, we grab a red heart (Terrell's hearts are red) and he tells me what it should say, then I write it down and sign his name. If I want to write something to Austin, I grab a dark blue heart because that's his color, jot down "I love you because..." and sign my name. Then we fold it up and drop it in the jar. Garrison wrote his little love notes all at once on day one. I've done mine throughout the week. Austin has done his when I do mine. (I'm pretty sure I know why he loves each family member for all different reasons.)

Most of the pink hearts (which are mine) were last to go in. BUT, in Terrell's defense, he was at a slight disadvantage because he doesn't have very much time at all when he's alone with the kids in the evenings. Or when I'm not around in general. Whereas I'm home without him all the time. Nonetheless, my loving hubs made sure my pink hearts were dropped in the jar on Valentine's Eve from him and the boys. =)

I'm looking forward to our take-out, fancy dessert, and reading of I love you because notes tomorrow night. I'm sure it will be fun and interesting and nothing like we expect. It's always an adventure around here!

*And I had to share just one more thing. A Valentine post all about showing love to your kids in different ways. It's full of great ideas and reminders that I definitely agree with and strive to implement already... or hope to in the future. Happy Valentine's Day tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Valentine Program

Yesterday Garrison participated in his first ever "performance". And he did great!! I was such a proud mama.

Our preschool puts on a Valentine program every year and each class (except Austin's- the 1 year olds) participates and sings a few songs, recites a poem or two, and then the whole school sings together at the end. My class performed with Garrison's class (since they're both 3 year old classes) so I knew each and every song and got to be front and center when it was time for the performance.

This is a picture of Garrison once he spotted daddy. Precious. (I had to crop and zoom big time because my co-teacher and I were up positioning kiddos and our backsides were captured perfectly in the photo. Gracious.)
Here's a shot of our combined classes getting ready to perform.
Garrison was quite the focused performer and did such a good job!
Singing their little hearts out
Taking a bow and accepting applause
Here's a shot of the whole school ready to sing. As you can see, the paparazzi flooded the aisle at this point. My little man is on the left side, 2nd row (from the bottom).  
I was so proud of Garrison (and my class!). The program was very entertaining and all in all a success. And I just have to brag on my second born. Austin did amazing throughout the entire performance! Terrell said he was perfectly relaxed and chill the whole time. I never once heard a peep out of him. I was very proud of my littlest man too! Talk about an impressive job by the Selph boys!

After the program we went out to eat with Terrell's parents and my mom. And that's when Garrison became all out of sorts. All the focus and self-control was left at the church. Ha! Thankfully we survived the meal and got the boys in bed at a somewhat decent hour....

Just before a surprise arrived on my doorstep via UPS. Sparkly Green Earrings!! Squeal!! My mom surprised me with me it. Big time! I told Terrell we have to learn how to be like that when we grow up. How to know when our grown children would like a certain something and how to act on it... and have it mailed to them... immediately! He agreed. We want to be like that. =)

**Huge thanks to Pops, Nana, and Granna for coming over in the rain to see our baby in his first performance. Being on a Monday night with an early start time an hour away from B'ville we weren't sure if anyone would be able to make it. So we really, really appreciate ya'll being here! (Thankfully Terrell recorded the whole thing so other family members could see it too. =)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Garrison's 4th Birthday Party

We celebrated Garrison's 4th birthday yesterday with his first ever "friend party". It was so much fun and my little man enjoyed every second. Yaaaay!! We decided that the 4th birthday party (probably for each of our children) will be the first party they get to invite friends from school and have it somewhere other than home (or Granna and Papa's). This past November Garrison attended his first ever birthday party for a friend who was turning 4 and there were a few friends at Garrison's party yesterday attending their first ever friend party. So it seems to be the going age.  
Anyway, because Garrison's birthday is in February and it's a very real possibility the weather could be freezing cold or rainy or even snowy, we can't plan for anything outdoors. It's just too risky. And since they're aren't a whole lot of birthday party "on location" options around here, we went with one of Garrison's favorite places ever, Chick-Fil-A! And we are so glad we did. Everything was pretty perfect. =)
We chose a baseball theme and the invitations turned out ADORABLE! My wonderful, talented friend Megan designed them. She is the best!! I LOVE the way she makes all of her invitations so personalized and unique to you and what you want. She is just amazing. I highly recommend her!

Speaking of amazing... so is Chick-Fil-A! They did a great job with our party and all the kids loved the play area, loved the food, and loved the ice dream cup they got with their cake. =)

This was the gift/party favor table. Unfortunately I didn't make this picture until the party was wrapping up because the second I got it set up our guests arrived and presents piled up. We did tee-balls and a box of cracker jacks for favors. I think they were a hit... especially with all the boys.

Here is Garrison's adorable jersey cake. It turned out so cute! Terrell "designed" the cake himself... it's the back of a home Braves jersey except with Garrison's name and the number 4. =) We also grabbed a cookie cake so we'd have plenty to share...and because I know from experience some kids prefer "cookie" over cake.

Garrison had the BEST time playing with his friends and cousins. They were wild and crazy going 90 miles an hour! I think everyone had a lot of fun. And no one was hurt. (That's always my fear when a bunch of kids get together in the same space going wide open.) Thank you Lord!

The eating portion of the party went great too. All the kids sat down and ate and enjoyed their kids meals and were very well mannered. And once they finished I gave them the option of going back to play for a little bit or having cake and ice cream... they wanted the sweets!
Austin enjoyed himself some chicken nuggets too. =)
A great picture of my sister (AnAn) and Frankie!

Garrison listening to everyone sing Happy Birthday. Precious.
Blowing out his candle!

After everyone finished cake and ice cream they went back to the play area to play again. Wouldn't you know my child was the last one to leave the table. He's never been one to let food go to waste. Haha.

After another good stretch of play time and once a few of the kids had to get ready to leave, Garrison opened his presents. He was very excited and impressed with his new goodies.
Before leaving Chick-Fil-A I just had to get in a family picture. We were all sort of spent by the end of the party but my family obliged...despite their exhausted state. 
Once we left Chick-Fil-A, my parents, Terrell's parents, and my sister and Frankie came back over to our house to eat supper with us and so Garrison could open presents from them. He loved his gifts and wanted to play with every single thing at the same time.

One of the last presents he opened was a gift from us... a box of animal crackers to go along with tickets to the circus. We're taking him on his annual birthday outing/date with mama and daddy next weekend to the circus. And we're riding a train to get there. Double yay!
We had such a fun day. It was most definitely exhausting but everything went so well. We are especially thankful to our moms and sisters for all of their help! This was our first party to truly be in charge of and it was a lot of work. Way more than I realized! We appreciate all the help with our kids, party supplies, cutting and passing out of cake, presents, clean up, etc. They made things go so much smoother. And we absolutely loved wrapping up the party by eating with family around our dining room table. That made it even more special. Thanks to everyone who helped us celebrate our little man's 4th birthday!! We're pretty sure he LOVED every single thing about it!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Two Bright Spots

Today was not my best day. My big boy started the day in a bad mood. Then my littlest man was in. to. everything. Not that that's anything new, it just got to me more today and stressed me out.

(Have you ever tried vacuuming while a 17 month old is right up under you and pulling pieces off the vacuum and handing them to you and right in your path the entire time?)

We're just smack dab in the middle of Operation Birthday Party is in 1.5 days. Things are just a tad crazy as we clean, shop, prepare, wrap, and finalize last minute details.

So mama just felt impatient and snappy all day. Plus it was cold and rainy so I couldn't even send all the boys outside while daddy grilled tonight.

(My husband insisted on grilling our pork chops because that's what was on the menu and they're just better grilled. They were delish if I do say so myself)

Anyway the two bright spots in my day came after naptime. Austin is getting close to being ready to give up his morning nap. But this morning Garrison and I were trying to clean bathrooms during his morning nap so we needed him to go on to sleep for a little bit. He finally did and this is what I discovered when I went in to wake him up. Somebody's had some naptime shenanigans of his own. =)

Then, after naptime was over for my big boy this afternoon I walked in to discover this: Garrison asleep at the foot of his bed wedged between 2 pillows... with Woody peeking over at him. Haha! It cracked me up so I had to run and grab my phone again.

Shortly after, I heard Austin waking up and getting fussy. His afternoon nap was way shorter than it should have been. I tried to wait it out but baby boy was not going back to sleep. I'm thinking a poo poo diaper might have had something to do with that...

Anyway, I walked in to discover this: He'd been at it again!  And he was making a face at me letting me know how he really felt about the situation. Oh my.

Tonight Terrell tried to get that sheet and mattress cover on as fitted and tight as he could. Goodness gracious. At least I didn't walk in to discover him stripped down or anything.

They are a handful and they most definitely try me and wear me out and make me crazy sometimes, but they're also my bright spots in any rough day. I appreciated all my naptime surprises. They made me smile despite my moodiness. =)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Birthday Recap

Yesterday we celebrated Garrison's 4th birthday as a family. Things didn't go exactly as planned due to Austin not feeling good, BUT, Garrison still seemed to love everything about his special day and that was our goal from the beginning. All in all it turned out pretty great.
The birthday boy woke up around 7:30 and was greeted by mama and daddy wishing him a happy birthday and a trail of balloons leading to the kitchen. Breakfast is the first thing on both of my boys' minds the second they wake up. 
Gathering up most of his balloons. The balloons were a big hit! This may have to become a tradition...
His next surprise of the morning was breakfast... Daddy got doughnuts the night before and yesterday morning Garrison got to pick out the one he wanted for breakfast. Chocolate with sprinkles please!Then we put candles in it and sang happy birthday to him. His expression while we sang was precious. LOVE!
Then he blew out the candles and enjoyed his first ever whole doughnut. It took a while to consume but he made sure to finish every bite and crumb. 
And declared it good. =)
Before daddy left for work and Austin woke up the 3 of us played with balloons together and tried not to let them touch the floor. Garrison loved it. =)

Once Austin woke up and finished breakfast I decided he wasn't feeling his best and that we'd need to stay close to home and try to let him take a good morning nap. But before Austin's nap I asked Garrison what he wanted to do. His only request, I want to play with you and Austin today. So sweet. And play is what we did. A lot. Huge messes were made... as displayed below. We had to have a major clean-up time before afternoon naps.
After Austin decided not to take much of a morning nap (he was congested and just couldn't get comfortable and settled) and after an unfortunate incident with a poo poo diaper that left me cleaning it up off the floor, I was starting to feel super guilty. And like Garrison wasn't having a special day at all. Thank goodness I came to my senses and snapped out of it pretty quick. The Lord reminded me that the day was about Garrison, not me and my expectations. He was having fun. He was getting to do the one thing he requested and he was happy. He didn't care about poop on the floor or anything. Ha!

After a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up what we'd need for his birthday supper request (spaghetti), I let him choose any "drive-thru" he wanted for lunch. Taco Bell it is! We had a good lunch and early naps before heading out to run one more errand. And apparently all the birthday celebrating had worn out the little man. I was shocked he fell asleep in the car... especially since he'd just finished "rest time".

After we got home he just wanted to go outside and play. And thankfully the weather was nice so we were able to enjoy lots of time of outside. He was super photogenic and cooperative with having his picture made because I told him I needed lots of pictures of my big 4 year old. =)

Normally when we play outside in the afternoons the mail is delivered so we always walk down and get it together. Yesterday when we checked the mail there was a special delivery for Garrison... a "sticker card" from Granna and Papa. Garrison was thrilled. He immediately ran up the driveway, sat down in his car, and got to work on those stickers. It was so funny. 

Garrison also got several phone calls yesterday... from his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, and even from AnAn's class at big school! Her whole class sang him happy birthday. I think he felt pretty special with all the extra attention. He didn't know what to think talking on the phone all day!
He enjoyed all his special meals, lots of play time, the balloons, the phone calls, the card. He had a really fun day.

It's hard to believe my baby is 4. (Do all moms view their big kids or even grown kids as their baby still? Ha) I was having flashbacks all day yesterday of what I was doing 4 years ago. Waiting for him to arrive, his tough delivery, holding him, introducing him to family. It was definitely (and always will be) a very special day.

Now we're getting ready to celebrate again this weekend with his first ever "friend" party. It should be lots of fun! (Which means I need to go get busy crossing things off my to-do list!)