Monday, April 29, 2013

Everyday Life Lately

As I just mentioned yesterday, I read a lot of blogs. Sometimes reading other blogs turns into my nightly reading before bed. Especially if it's been a super busy day and I haven't had a chance to read my faves that morning before the kids wake up. I am addicted. It's a fact. But I'm working to keep my blog reading limited to either early morning, after the kids are in bed, or naptime. Being on the computer while they're awake is something I've really worked hard to keep at a minimum.
Anyway, I got completely sidetracked....
As I've been reading I've noticed a new trend is making a picture everyday of just regular day to day happenings. They're usually taken with iphones and are sometimes completely random or only special to that particular mama but such a great way to document everyday life. And even though I sometimes skim those posts or even skip over them altogether when I'm busy, I really like the idea. Because in the end everyone who blogs is doing it for them- their kids, their family, their memories. So I wanted to start doing it too. I just love stealing ideas. =) I'm not committing to a picture a day I just want to post the pictures I do make that are special, funny, meaningful, or cute to have them here in our family scrapbook.
So here's a couple weeks worth of pictures that capture everyday life lately at the Selph household.
Austin will finally pose for a few seconds to have his picture made and this is one of my favorites of my boys.
Garrison's team picture. (He's on the bottom row second from the left.) Go Braves!
One morning while I was doing laundry they decided to cram themselves into the laundry basket together. It didn't last long. Ha!
My big boy getting ready to hit the ball! He looks so small to me in this picture yet so old, like he's growing up so fast. He was SO proud to have Nana and Pops there for this game. If you look closely you can see my father-in-law and Austin pretty good in the background.
We went to Chick-Fil-A last Thursday morning for a little outing and the boys had so much fun. Austin can climb to the top now just like big brother. He couldn't figure out how to slide down on his bottom at first so he just held onto Garrison for dear life while he slid on his tummy. =)

My baby got the game ball Thursday night at his game! He loved having Granna, Papa, and AnAn there to watch him and show off the game ball.
Austin decided to close himself in the pantry on Friday afternoon and make a mess with the Cheez-its. Gracious.
My first attempt ever to make a picture of me and the boys together. It was tough! Austin was so sleepy and wanted his pass (paci) which may have been why I had such a hard time. Look at that tired face. Bless it.

The boys and I had a date Saturday afternoon of shopping! They did AMAZING. Of course we had our moments of pulling on clothes or laying on the floor under a rack of clothes, but all in all they were wonderful. And of course they got to ride any and every little ride available. Mama came prepared with change. Garrison loved riding, Austin loved watching. I am so, so thankful for all I got accomplished with my 2 little men in tow.
Both Saturday and Sunday morning Garrison slept until 8:45. 8:45!!! So Austin and I had some alone time on our hands. And keeping baby boy from busting into his brother's room like he does every school morning was hard work. He couldn't wait for Garrison to get up!
He was so cute in his little slippers that were handed down from Garrison. Seeing him walk around the house in these is like turning back time. =)

And there you have a whole bunch of random pictures that capture everyday life lately. Yay. =)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

3 Years of Blogging

Today is my blog's birthday! =) Three years ago today I finally gathered up my courage along with my love for journaling to publish my first ever post, start my little family blog, and begin the journey of recording our memories and everyday life on the world wide web. It was a little scary and intimidating at first but once I got started I fell in love and have never looked back. It has been SUCH a blessing to me.

I started when Garrison was almost 15 months old because I knew I wanted a way to document and essentially scrapbook his little milestones along with family holidays, vacations, and even everyday adventures... without all the cutting, paper, stickers, and everything else you need to make a traditional scrapbook.

Blogging has been the perfect way to do just that. Perfect. I highly recommend it.

Life has changed lots since April 28, 2010. Garrison, my sweet little 15 month old, is now 4. He plays baseball and knows his letters and is a big brother to my second baby boy who loves to be read to and play with puzzles and do whatever his big brother is doing. Our home is a little more full. Our lives are a tad busier. I am no longer a full time stay at home mom, I'm a part-time preschool teacher/part-time stay at home mom. My husband doesn't commute to Elberton, GA three times a week anymore and our weekends include more time at home than ever before. Life is different but it is good. Not always easy, but good nontheless.

One of my favorite things about blogging has been being able to look back and read and remember life over the past 3 years. Having my memories in writing to go along with the pictures is priceless to me. I LOVE it. I can even appreciate the tougher times we've expereinced because when I read back I can see firsthand God's faithfulness along the way. I can see His hand in all the decisions, parenting challenges, day to day craziness, everything.

Another thing I've come to love about blogging (that I honestly never knew about before) is being able to read about and get to know and even become "friends" with other bloggers who are in similar stages of life. I really, really enjoy and appreciate being able to read about other moms I can relate to. It's a little addicting so I have to be careful just how much I'm reading. Haha! But it makes me feel normal, gives me ideas, encourages me, and makes me laugh to read about other other moms. It's pretty wonderful if you ask me. =)

Blogging has become my outlet and my "thing". It's something I enjoy doing for myself (even though it's technically for more than just me) and something that's become quite sentimental to me. This blog is not only my favorite hobby but a snapshot of us and our life. And I love that. It doesn't reflect us perfectly or include every single detail but it does capture a lot. Which is perfect for the grandparents and pretty special for my children to have when they're older. I'm thankful for one of my oldest friend's encourgement and help to get started, thankful for a supportive husband who understands and appreciates my need to put our memories in writing, and especially thankful for an always faithful God who has blessed me with my family to write about. I'm looking forward to lots more writing and lots more blog birthdays. =)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Change in the Routine: Preparing for Summer

Summer is almost upon us. Almost. Yaaay! For our household it will be here shortly after Mother's Day. =) Which means we are officially counting down. Not because I don't enjoy my job or can't wait to be done with the school year. I'm really going to miss my little preschool students. It will be bittersweet to see them graduate from my room and move on. *Tear. But I am ready for and excited about a change in our routine. A break from making lunches every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday night. A break from planning, crafting, and newsletter writing. I'm looking forward to staying home full time and planning for my own babies. I'm looking forward to sleeping a tad later and having lazy evenings with my hubby since the pace will slow down and I won't have so much to do. Oh, and our summer vacation to the beach. THE BEACH! (That was me smiling really big.) A trip to the beach is something we look forward to all year.

Summer isn't my very favorite season... because it gets super hot and has been to known to make me miserable and my husband has to cut grass and work in the yard a ton when we'd much rather him be doing fun stuff with us. And sometimes the days get really long with so much free time. But those are minor things for the most part. Summer definitely has it's perks, and that's what I'm really looking forward to. The perks. Oh, the perks of sweet summertime.

So now that we're nearing our almost 3 month break it's time to get some things in order and for our routine to change just a little.

The first change in our routine has occurred already and is courtesy of Austin Selph. He is finally down to 1 nap a day. I would have held on to that morning nap for longer if I could've but it was interfering with his afternoon nap so it was time for it to go. Garrison kept his for a little over 18 months and Austin kept his for a little over 19 months. Such a blessing. It was a good run but it was time.

Soooo, now I've got 2 little men on my hands for a long stretch in the mornings. Which means our morning routine (on the days we're home- Tuesdays and Thursdays) has evolved. And so far I'm thinking it's a good thing. They sleep later on those days because I don't have to wake them up for school and they are always ready for breakfast the second they get up. So now that Austin doesn't nap in the morning I've made some morning-time changes. After breakfast the boys play together (at least that's what they're supposed to do) while I clean up breakfast, empty or load the dishwasher, start a load of laundry, and hopefully go make my bed (a habit I've definitely fallen out of since working). Then, we take care of brushing teeth, changing out of pj's, getting dressed, and getting ready for our day. We've had the new routine for a few days and so far it's going great.

After our morning routine it's time for me to devote some time and attention to my little loves... or they will get into much trouble. I've discovered they can't play by themselves for too, too long or they'll fight or not share or get into things they're not supposed to. So after everyone is dressed and ready we either play together, go on a kid-friendly outing, or run an errand.

(Our "outings" this summer will probably include the library, Chick-Fil-A, Chuck E. Cheese, playing outside in the sprinkler or kiddie pool, possibly swim lessons, and probably a visit or two to the hometown too.)

This summer I plan to mix in some "table time" a couple of days a week where we do something fun and educational at the table either right before our outing/errand or right after we get back. I'll have to play it by ear and see how it goes. Garrison is great at doing things with me at the table when it's just us. Not sure what Austin will think about it. We may introduce him to play doh and a mini sensory box. And of course some days we just need some good ole on the floor play time with no educational agenda from mama.

I'm going to plan for lunch to be at home everyday (just like we already do) then let them play together while I clean up the kitchen, possibly fold clothes, etc. Then we'll have naptime, snack time, and clean up time. I'm thinking about trying to pick up, dust, vacuum, etc right before lunch or supper each day. It may not work because of time or the kids "interference" or me just getting too hot and sweaty between cleaning and cooking... But I'm really hoping to eat supper early so we can have lots of family time after supper before baths and bedtime. We want to go for walks, go out for ice cream, and just spend quality time together.

As we make the transition to summer I know there will be challenges and craziness along the way, but so far things are going smoothly. We've tested out our "new" routine 3 days (except for the table time stuff) and we're all happy with it. So I'm going to take that as a good sign for things to come. Keeping the boys busy and engaged is the key... with a good afternoon nap/rest/quiet time thrown in of course. =)

Summer is approaching and we are ready!!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Workin' at the Car Wash

We had another really good weekend. It was great actually. Weekends like this are such a blessing and I just treasure them. We're blessed to enjoy extra time together as a family and a little extra rest too.

*We were also blessed with Terrell Selph this weekend. I hope our kiddos always appreciate how great he is. And I hope I do too. Having a husband and daddy who wants to be with his family and play with his boys and shop with his wife is priceless. I just couldn't leave out how special he makes our weekends. =)

We were able to sleep late, spend lots of time outside together, grill out twice, hang out, and wash our cars. This, Garrison declared, was his favorite part of the weekend. Workin at the Car Wash (couldn't resist) and having Granna and Papa stop by last night with gifts from their weekend in Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge were the best. We kept Emma (their dog) for them while they were away with my sister and Frankie and the boys loved having her here.

This afternoon the weather was beautiful so Terrell decided to let the boys help wash the car. Austin was apprehensive (and a little afraid of the water hose) at first but it didn't take him long to join in the fun with daddy and Garrison. It also didn't take him long to become soaking wet and covered in suds. =)

Garrison's favorite part was spraying and rinsing.
My loves... working together and having a ball.

I hung out and watched for the most part. So nice. Austin took a few breaks with me.
Then he stole my chair... but only for about 10 seconds.
Then he lost interest in washing the car and decided to play in the soapy water instead. He was drenched. Shoes squeaking with water, clothes stuck to him, drenched.
Garrison couldn't miss out on that fun so he decided to get drenched too. They had such a good time.
They both stripped down in the garage before coming in and going straight to the bath tub. We decided that the next time they help wash the cars they should be in bathing suits. We thought it was a little too cool for bathing suits this time but it turned out to be pretty warm when there wasn't a breeze because the sun was so bright. We had a fun Sunday afternoon workin at the car wash and an even better weekend. =)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Different Kind of Naptime

A while back I wrote about some of our naptime and bedtime struggles with Garrison that we were having a hard time figuring out. It was one of those things we couldn't quite put our finger on and it was becoming frustrating for all of us. Now that we've hopefully reached a really good solution, I wanted to update. I'll probably never go through this with Austin because of him being the 2nd born and him having to adjust to an older sibling's schedule, but I still wanted to document just in case.

Garrison has always been a great sleeper in general and has always taken an afternoon nap... until we got closer to age 4. Then he'd only fall asleep once a week or so. Then we had a stretch where he fell asleep every other day. Then he couldn't fall asleep at night on the days he napped. Then we decided if he did fall asleep during naptime I needed to make sure he only slept 45 minutes to an hour. Not a minute over an hour or it would effect him going to sleep at bedtime.

Throughout our stretch with various "issues", naptime itself remained the same and remained important. We all needed a quiet, by ourself time each afternoon. It gave everyone a chance to rest and get rejuvenated. It gave me a chance to do things around the house, take care of some school related things, or just take a few minutes to do something for myself. And it gave the boys a chance to rest. Austin still clearly needs a nap, but for Garrison he just needs time to rest and be alone. He has pretty much always needed this time so I'm going to keep it up as long as I can.

Once we determined naps were interfering with bedtime I changed things up and had him rest in his bed for a stretch and then if he didn't fall asleep I would let him get up and play in his room or come to the living room to watch a show. That worked really well for weeks. Except almost every time he fell asleep during naptime, no matter how short the nap was, he had a hard time going to sleep that night. Ugh. But the fact that he still fell asleep occasionally during naptime had me convinced he still needed to nap on those days. Obviously he was tired and needed that sleep and rest. Right??

Then came last month. The month we found ourselves engaged in a bedtime battle every single night. Stalling was at an all time high. Calling for us after we left his room and told him goodnight was at an all time high. Him not wanting us to leave his room was becoming a regular thing. It was just out of control. Translation: We felt like we weren't in control anymore and it was driving us crazy!

I think we've always had really good bedtime routine, and I've always enjoyed it. I love reading to him and praying with him, and we've even started a little "talking time" where we talk about a couple of things that happened that day or a couple of things we're looking forward to the next day. I treasure all of it and think it's pretty important. I know one day my big boy isn't going to sit in my lap and let me read to him at bedtime. I know it's a special time, and I try really hard not to rush through it. But I'm also tired by the end of the day and truly believe bedtime shouldn't last 30 minutes (or longer!) night after night after night. He also shouldn't need to call for us because of not being able to fall asleep or needing a sip of drink or needing to go potty every single night.

So finally I made the executive decision to do away with naps. To put a stop to them altogether. It was a tough decision because I feel guilty trying to keep him from napping when some days I knew he was tired enough to fall asleep. But I eventually started to realize the root of all our bedtime issues came down to him not being able to fall asleep at night. He was never fully settled at bedtime even after reading 2 books, praying, talking, getting something drink, etc. He was still restless. So it was time and it was best to do away with napping during naptime.

Now Garrison has a different kind of naptime. (Because everybody having some alone time and quiet time is still required.) Now, we still read a few books in his bed and get all comfy, BUT, he doesn't have to stay in his bed after we finish reading. I still give him the option to lay down for a while if he's feeling tired, and he actually did fall asleep the day he felt the worst when he had strep, but every other day he always gets out of bed and chooses things to do.

Everyday I give him options of things he can play with in his room for his "quiet time". He can color/draw, play with stickers, put puzzles together, play with play doh, build with magnets, or read books. After he's done one of those things he can play his mobigo if it's still not time for him to come out of his room. I think there's only been one day that he's played with the mobigo so I've been really happy that his other options are so engaging.

This new way of doing things has worked great! The only thing we've had to adjust to is him calling for me if he needs help with a puzzle or wants to know how to draw something or wants to give me the picture he made of stickers. So we're still working on him not calling me every 10 minutes. The other thing is cleaning up. There's always a bit of a mess when I go in to tell him rest time/quiet time is over... and so he always asks me to help him clean it up. He's a really good cleaner-upper so I can't complain except that I'd really like the clean up to be his responsibility. Then if it isn't perfect or exactly like I want it, I can go behind him later. I don't know... maybe that's asking too much. I'll probably test it out and see how it goes soon.

The best part is the change we've noticed at bedtime. The bedtime battles have decreased dramatically. Praise the Lord! We still have our occasional issue but for the most part every single night has gone so much smoother since starting the different naptime. He doesn't stall as much. He rarely calls for us after we leave his room. He's just way more settled and ready for bed which means he's falling asleep way faster. That has been the biggest blessing!

We are so thankful for our new and improved naptime!

Now if we could just get him to bed at a decent hour after baseball...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Road to Getting Fit: Progress & Setbacks

So I've been attempting to travel the road to getting fit. It's been a short journey so far but I honestly do want to have a healthier and more active lifestyle, so I've made some changes and taken some baby steps to hopefully achieve just that.

But first a little background...

You should know that I am not educated or in the know about anything health/fitness/exercise related. I am also not extreme about anything fitness related. I have never been a member of a gym or exercise class. I have (almost) never attempted any type of dieting fad. And I've never researched anything to do with getting in shape. The only somewhat extreme exercise/diet related thing I've done in my adult life is P90X... or P45X as we renamed it. Terrell and I did it together shortly after I recovered from giving birth to my firstborn. It definitely worked and was definitely effective, but was definitely not realistic. Working out 6 days a week for an hour plus just isn't going to happen here in the Selph household. Neither is maintaining a diet like the one we strived for while suffering through P90X.

Sooo, having said all that, I've always had a very simple, everything in moderation, nothing crazy- extreme type mentality when it comes to eating and exercise. And above all else it must be realistic. In my opinion it will not last unless it realistically fits into my lifestyle, routine, cooking abilities, grocery budget, etc. Will not. So I pretty much never do anything drastic or make any huge changes. Maybe that's the problem. Ha!

What I do try to do on a somewhat regular basis, and always work harder to do when I'm being especially conscious of my waist line or how my clothes are fitting (we don't own a scale), is to watch my portions, drink water at every meal except breakfast, snack healthy (granola bars, grapes, almonds), seldom order fries, eat a healthy cereal every morning, control the sweet tooth, and cook fairly healthy meals. As far as "activity" goes I've always just counted chasing after the boys or taking family walks as good enough exercise. Which isn't that much exercise at all. Which leads me to my progress and setbacks after one month of making a conscious effort to become fit.

Progress: For 3 weeks leading up to Spring Break I worked out (doing my Fitness At Home) at least twice a week. I found a realistic routine that I loved which included working out during naptime on Tuesdays and Thursdays and once on the weekends. My Tuesday/Thursday naptime workout was going great. We didn't have anywhere to be on those nights so it was okay for me to look a mess afterwards. I was able to workout while the boys were napping or while Garrison watched a show. And, I was truly making progress with the workout... going through it faster, completing the routine 3 times, and improving on my wall-sit. =) I was almost to the point of becoming addicted like everyone talks about. Yay! I was also doing better with my eating habits because I was motivated to keep calories burned from coming back.

Enter Spring Break.

Setbacks: Spring Break was a whirlwind for us. Super busy and super crazy. We traveled a ton and then I got sick. Talk about a momentum changer. And a bummer. Once our break was over I was forced to focus on getting well, recuperating from all our traveling, teaching/working/the regular routine, and Garrison's baseball schedule. So I missed 2 weeks of working out and my eating habits have been all over the place. While I was sick I ate very little, then when I felt better there was tons of Easter candy left for me to consume. I don't crave candy. Ever. Until it's in my face. I've been eating tons of little chocolate candies and/or Skittles ever since.

But this week I'm getting back on track and determined to change the momentum back for the better! I'm working out again and the Easter candy is almost gone!

Moving forward I will have to make some adjustments. Specifically every week I'll have to check Garrison's baseball schedule before I can plan for my workout days. I just can't go to practice or games looking like I do when I finish a workout. And by that point in the afternoon there is no time for a shower. The boys need my attention and so does supper. But no matter what our schedule is like I'm really going to try to make it a priority to exercise and complete my workout at least twice a week. Baby steps. That's all I can do at this point. Eventually I'm sure I'll need to change the workout itself to keep myself challenged and moving forward. The disadvantage of working out at home by myself is not having that challenge and encouragement from someone else. There's nobody here to push me but me. But for now it's progress and it's a step in the right direction.

And, don't forget portion control and smart eating. Progress begins and ends at the table. I think. At least that's my opinion. =)

Yay for already working out and exercising more in 2013 than I did in 2012! 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Monday Tidbits

*We had another great weekend this weekend. What a blessing! We started with Garrison's team baseball pictures on Friday night, then enjoyed an afternoon fish fry/birthday celebration with my mom's side of the family Saturday, then had a productive but laid back day yesterday hanging out together, cleaning out closets, and watching the Braves and the Masters. I am so, so thankful for weekend fun together as a family.

*I am happy to report that there was almost zero parenting on display at the fish fry! Yaaaaay!! Garrison was busy playing with his cousins the whole time and did a really good job listening when it was time to eat, time to go, etc. And Austin was totally laid back and chill the whole time. It was such a blessing to enjoy a family gathering drama free. As I reflected back on our super smooth experience I realized there were a few key factors that contributed to our fun, drama free time. First, there were a LOT of people there. My babies just blended in with the crowd. Ha! Second, everything was outside (except the eating part) so there was no worrying over getting into trouble inside with limited space to play. Third, we made it a day trip. It was soo much easier to visit, play, eat, have fun with lots of family, and then go home... so that we were in our own home, our own beds, and our own bedtime routine. And the boys were very well behaved so that was a big part of our great time too. We were blessed with such a good, fun day with family!

*Cleaning out closets and changing over clothes from Fall/Winter to Spring/Summer is so refreshing. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and organization in the boys' rooms. Now we don't have clothes laid out everywhere that don't fit or don't have a place to go. Yay! I also can see clearly now what the boys still might need clothes-wise because everything is in it's place and all nice and neat.

*This week we're gearing up for more baseball and craziness in our schedule. I am really having to adjust to being a baseball mom. I am so attached to our evening routine on normal week nights that it's hard when we have to change things up. I love eating together as a family, the boys having some play time with daddy, our tag team effort with bath and bedtime, and Terrell and I having some time to watch a show or two in the evenings. Clearly I am spoiled. Sigh. But having team pictures for 4 year olds on a Friday night at 7:00 was just bizarre to me. We're in a big baseball town though so scheduling is going to be crazy I guess. I'm learning to accept my newest role slowly but surely.

This week we don't have any games but we do have practice on Tuesday and Thursday so Terrell is planning to take Garrison to both of those while Austin and I stay home. We're planning for Wednesday to be Terrell's work in the yard night so the boys and I will be on our own. Then Friday night is my big art auction/fundraiser for school so Terrell will be home with the boys while I'm working. Craziness ahead for sure. But I'm working on being more laid back and go with the flow. I think having that kind of attitude makes things waay easier... on me and the people who have to live with me. =)

*Anniversary Trip Update: Drum roll please.........We have booked our stay in Savannah for 2 nights in June!! It took me forever to decide on a place and be okay with leaving the boys and figure out how long we should stay and how much money we should spend, but I did it. With much love, support, and encouragement from my hubby and my mom. We still haven't finalized much else about our trip (including our departure time on the day we leave), but we are getting really excited about our time away. I'm choosing to make my marriage and our annual anniversary weekend away a priority... even though it's been stressful and a little nerve wracking. I am trusting God and know this is something He wants for us. (I realize I'm making this sound like we'll be out of the country for several weeks. Sometimes it feels that way. Haha. It really is a big deal.) Yay for a getaway coming soon!

Happy Monday afternoon!!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Parenting on Display

While our Spring Break and time away last week was definitely a blessing and mostly fun filled and wonderful, we were also faced with our fair share of challenges...and not just with sickness but with parenting... with witnesses. Gasp! Hopefully I'm not the only mama familar with and even very much afraid of these. I mean challenges are tough when we're on our own as a family of 4 in the privacy of our own home, but they can be crazy scary when we're away from home, in a new/different environment, and surrounded by lots of family.

(You'd almost think it'd be the opposite. That being away and having a break from the normal routine and lots of help from family would mean challenges would be kept to a minimum and handled right away. Not so much for us I'm afraid.)

I found myself extremely self-conscious throughout our break when it came to my kiddos and their personalities, behaviors, eating habits, "weaknesses", you name it. Specifically with my firstborn. I think Austin is still at an age where (almost) everything he does is considered cute and he sort of has everyone wrapped around his finger. I guess you could say he's still in the "baby" category. Although his eating habits, or lack there of, made me pretty uncomfortable while we were away. Garrison on the other hand is at an age that comes with much higher expectations. Expectations that aren't always met.

Garrison's "moments", or unmet behavior expectations, always seem to be magnified when we're with family or there are witnesses involved. Whether it's because I'm afraid it's a poor reflection of me and my parenting when he isn't on his best behavior or my fear of being judged when the time comes for an intervention or disciplinary action, (which I realize is more about me and my insecurities than anyone else), parenting put on display is NOT fun. It is hard. At least for me. Especially when things aren't going perfectly.

Four has been a bit of a crazy age for us. We've seen Garrison mature. We've seen him become an amazing playmate and teacher to Austin. We've seen him grow smarter and learn SO many new things. But... we've also seen him struggle with self control, and bedtime, and immediate obedience. We've had to go back to the drawing board several times trying to figure out what works. And like I mentioned before, when we're away everything seems to be magnified. He's always a little more excited and rowdy which sometimes leads to lack of self control. He's always a little more rough with Austin or has nothing to do with him because he's too busy playing with his cousins or grandparents. His appetite is usually off. Bedtime takes even longer. He pushes the limits a tad more. And the combination of it all leads to much parenting on display and dealing with issues that aren't always typical at home.

At the very end of our week I confessed my insecurites and disappointments to Terrell... who was pretty much totally unaware. Really? How that's possible I'll never know. Actually I do know because I know him and I know he's laid back and things like this don't bother him or get to him or even occur to him sometimes. Our conversation was another reminder to me how important communication is in a marriage.

Anyway, as a parent you always want your child to be at their best, especially when you're away from home. You want everyone else to see what you see at home most of the time. Not all the time... cause that ain't always pretty...but most of the time. You want them to see your child use manners. And demonstrate patience and love to his little brother. And maintain some self control. And have a big appetite and eat all his fruits and veggies. And go to bed without any stalling, complaining, or drama. You want them to see the best in your child because that's what you see.

If only it were that simple.

After a teensy bit of soul searching I've come to relunctantly accept that the issue is with me. Didn't take long to figure it out either. I'm the one who feels insecure when something goes wrong in front of an audience. I'm the one who cringes when I sense/see/hear disapproval of my child(ren)'s behavoir. I'm the one who is really self-conscious when it comes to parenting on display. No one has forced or made me feel this way, I just do all on my own.

God has been reminding me a lot lately that I am not in control and that I need to trust Him with every detail of my life. Every. single. one. Including those not so fun moments of parenting on display. I just read this morning in my Jesus Calling devotional to Be careful not to complain about anything since I am the Author of your circumstances. And, The best way to handle unwanted situations is to thank Me for them. This act of faith frees you from resentment and frees Me to work My ways into the situation, so that good emerges from it.

Part of me REALLY wants to learn to let go. Let go of crazy expectations when we're away from home. Let go of the fear that my parenting could be questioned or judged. Let go of the pressure that I put on myself to make sure my children are perfectly behaved at all times in the presence of others.

I'm convinced letting go does have a place in this little situation of mine, but I think more than letting go it's about trusting God. Trusting Him with my children. Trusting Him with my parenting. Trusting Him in every detail. God Himself orchestrates every moment of my little life. Even the wild and crazy ones that occur with our kiddos with witnesses present. Once I'm able to trust Him and thank Him for it all, after that, I think I'll learn to let go.

And our family gatherings, trips, and holidays in the future can all be a little more relaxing and fun... in spite of hiccups and drama and parenting on display. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

1st Game!

Last night was Garrison's first ever baseball/tee ball/wee ball game. We're calling it baseball though because that's what little man refers to it as and believes with all his heart it is. And as I struggled to make his too big uniform (including pants, jersey, socks, and belt) fit, he questioned, Mama, does ChippaJones wear these? Bless his heart even he had become skeptical.

He was just adorable walking to the field.  
Before the game started he played with dirt and emptied his hand of it just before I snapped the picture.

I tried to get a video of his first at bat but it proved to be somewhat difficult. First there was the part about not letting Austin fall head first off the bleechers. Then there was the part about trying to watch my baby at his first at bat and feeling nervous for him. Then there was the part about that our pitcher not being the best so I really didn't capture him hitting at all. (Everyone on our team required the tee so I'm thinking the pitcher was the problem.) Oh well. At least Terrell got this good one of him in the field.
Baseball was different than soccer. There is a lot more waiting in baseball. You wait your turn to bat then you wait for your teammates to finish batting then you wait for a ball to go after when you're in the field. Garrison did really good though and was very patient. I think he was taking it all in.

Terrell and I were exhausted after the first game. Ha! Keeping up with Austin, getting home late, eating late, finishing up bath and bedtime late, making lunches and laying out clothes late... whew! We've (okay more me than Terrell) decided we knew a new system for game nights. It's possible changing it up and trying something new won't make much of a difference. It's possible we'll still do everything late and feel exhausted afterwards. But we've got to try. There's just got to be a better way to be a baseball mom without feeling ragged and frazzled and worn out. (And that was all before we left the house! Gracious.)

Exhaustion and all I am so proud of my big boy!! GO BRAVES!!!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Birthday Weekend

Thursday was my mom's 60th birthday so this weekend was her official birthday weekend... and leg 3 of our Spring Break. We had a fun weekend and hope she did too!

We tried to do a few little things to make the weekend extra special but overall we just had a good time together. She made it known a while back that she did not want a surprise party or huge gathering for her birthday this year (even though it's a big one) but that she really just wanted "us" (her children and grandchildren) to go out and celebrate and to have extra time with our immediate family. And the birthday girl gets the final say. =)

We went out to eat at Outback (Yum-O!) and had someone make a family picture of us outside. Everyone gets to be the picture because a nice stranger is the one taking it, and everyone is "picture ready" because we're going out to eat. It's a double win!

*Part of my mom's birthday weekend included an updated family picture to frame. I hope to get this printed soon.

Of course the boys had a great time celebrating Granna's birthday. They loved all the dessert they got to have and they really loved helping blow out candles. It's a big deal!
They loved helping open Granna's presents before bed too. And yes, they are still in Christmas pjs. It's the only "cold weather" ones we have that fit. I'm thinking we can officially bring out some Spring pjs this week though.
Great pic of AnAn and Frankie!

Sunday morning all 3 of my boys went to church without me. I hated to miss church but I just didn't feel good at all Sunday morning. Again. Thankfully I can tell I'm getting better and better it's just been a really slow process. Hopefully I'll be back to 100% very soon!

Melt my heart
My parents grilled out Sunday for lunch before it was time for us to head home... but not before both boys got to sit in Frankie's big truck. They were both a little afraid of it at first but finally warmed up. You can tell how tired Austin is in the last picture! Bless his heart. Both boys fell asleep within about 5 minutes of us being in the car headed home!
We had a great weekend celebrating my mom's birthday and are so thankful for her!! We're looking forward to an even bigger celebration with extended family soon!


Friday, April 5, 2013

Spring Break Part 2~ Gatlinburg

This year's trip to Gatlinburg with the Selph side of the family was different in more ways than one. Way different... especially for me. But more on that later. Thankfully we all survived and the kids had tons of fun. Praise the Lord for that!!

We left from my parents house mid-morning on Monday and finally arrived in Gburg around 5:45 that evening. But not before we had to stop at a middle of nowhere gas station to change a blow out diaper... which the diaper didn't hold... which got on his car seat and clothes. Yuck. It was a crazy scene for anyone riding by. We had the suitcase opened on the ground by the car, wipes and plastic bags everywhere, and a half naked little boy sitting in the driver's seat. Oh my. Once we got his seat cleaned and new clothes on him he was happy as could be.

After we arrived and unloaded, we had delicious homemade lasagna prepared by my mother-in-law and the grands all got their Easter goodies from Nana and Pops. Garrison was SO excited. I think Austin was pretty excited too. We had a really good first night.

Tuesday morning we decided to change our plans and head to the Aquarium so we could be inside and stay warm. It was freezing. This was the first year ever we had to change our plans to make sure we were inside and avoiding 30 something degree weather. Crazy.

Everybody really enjoyed the aquarium. Austin was a sleepy head the whole time and finally did nap while we strolled him around but it was a lot of fun for the older kids. I was very impressed too!
I think Garrison's favorite part of the whole aquarium was the dinosaur exhibit. (With the sharks as a close 2nd.) It was so good. It was one of our favorite parts too. He got to search for fossils with daddy and see and hear dinosaurs up close and personal. The T-Rex was even a little loud and scary. And big. He finally decided it was safe to have his picture made with it. Then he wanted a picture with mama and the T-Rex. Then Nana. Then daddy. Then Pops. The one with daddy turned out the best. =)

Garrison also really liked the penguins. He posed with about 5 different penguin displays. My photogenic little man. Precious. This one was my favorite.
After leaving the aquarium we walked over to a nearby restaurant for a yummy lunch. And that's when we knew Pops was sick. Cause he didn't eat a thing. And that's when I knew I might be sick too. Cause it hurt real bad to swallow. Ugh. So disappointing. I thought my sore throat might possibly be allergy related but it just kept getting worse and worse with no relief in sight. Thankfully we headed home after lunch and had naps. Including me. Terrell's dad stayed secluded at their condo while we grilled hamburgers for supper and stayed in the rest of the day. The boys had lots of play time with their cousins and we enjoyed time with Kara and Denny after the kiddos went to bed.

Unfortunately that's when my fun ended. I didn't sleep much at all on Tuesday night and just felt pretty miserable. My throat was painfully sore plus I felt achy, uncomfortable, cold, etc. Then I woke up with stomach issues on Wednesday morning. They didn't last but my sore throat and achiness did. Soooo, we made the decision for me to stay home Wednesday while the rest of the fam went out to breakfast and spent the day at the Nascar Speedpark. It was the right decision. I spent the morning in bed and got up and ate soup for lunch then spent the afternoon watching reruns of shows like Full House and Everybody Loves Raymond. I even made myself a doctor's appointment for the following afternoon as soon as we'd be home. I was thankful for the rest and the quiet and the medicine that provided a little relief. But I was especially thankful that my boys were feeling great and having a wonderful time. Big, big thanks to my amazing husband and sweet in-laws for helping take care of me and the boys!
According to Terrell, Garrison loved everything about the "speedpark". Yay! And Austin had fun too, he just stayed inside the majority of the day playing on the indoor playground. He was too little for the rides anyway. I'm thinking I'll get to go there one day since it was super popular with the kiddos.

My boys came to pick me up just before supper so I could go out to eat with the rest of the family. They were happy to see me and I was happy to see them! Unfortunately I couldn't really enjoy myself at dinner because it hurt so bad to eat. This has seriously been the worst sore throat I can ever remember. And I am sooo over it. I did enjoy getting out though and being with everyone else.

When we got back to the house we celebrated Pops' birthday (a couple weeks early) with presents and cards. I thought this picture turned out pretty great! 

Unfortunately (again), things went downhill for the Selph household Wednesday night. I had an awful night with my throat. I almost couldn't swallow. At all. I slept very little. And then I woke up with what I thought was the stomach bug on Thursday morning, our departure day... and so did Terrell. Nooooooooo. We were both ready to panic. All I could see were multiple stops on the way home at sketchy gas stations and us not getting home til some reeeally late hour. But I kept praying. I think I may have been in a constant state of prayer throughout Thursday morning.

By God's grace we were able to leave on time and make it home without a single stop. I loaded up on medicine and water and Terrell was feeling great by the time we got on the road. God is so faithful. It was seriously a miracle we made it home as soon as we did without having to make one single stop. And the boys did great. They read books, held hands, talked, played with hotwheels, and slept! We were SO thankful.

I made it to the doctor and got antibiotics for an upper respiratory infection. I'm praying they're effective. Terrell went to work today (vacation days are too important to waste), so the boys and I have been laying low at home together. We did all our laundry yesterday and have been packing today. Leg 3 of our break starts tomorrow as we travel home for my mom's 60th birthday weekend.

This year's trip to Gatlinburg may have been different from years past but it was still full of fun and laughter and memories for everyone involved... at least at some point or another. =) We enjoyed getting away, we had fun catching up with Kara and Denny, and we loved seeing our boys have a ball. Thanks to Nana and Pops for making it happen! The Selph family appreciates all you did for us on our trip!!