Thursday, June 27, 2013

Vacation Prep

Vacation prep is in full swing around here. Groceries have been bought. Checklists have been made. Outfits have been determined. Puppy dogs have been groomed. And a load of big, important, bulky things have been sent to B'ville by way of my sister to be stuffed into our nifty storage bag in the back of Frankie's truck bright and early Saturday morning when we meet the fam at my parents' house before hitting the road. Phew. Longest sentence ever.

Oh yes, we are definitely getting ready for our week at the beach and the vacation we've been looking forward to since January. It's been fun and exhausting, lazy and busy. We've been busy cleaning (so we don't come back to a messy, dirty house), busy doing laundry, busy buying all the things we'll need, busy making sure the yard is nice and trim, and busy planning and organizing.

Yet in spite of the busyness the boys and I have still found ourselves with time on our hands... which is usually a bad thing. We have to stay busy and active around here or things tend to go downhill. The good thing about this down time is that I've actually given myself permission to lay down, rest, and relax during naptime. SO nice. The bad thing about the down time is that things tend to go downhill. Haha. Thankfully the boys love to play together and they entertain each other really, really well most of the time. Of course yesterday while AnAn was here she got to witness fighting and screaming and time-out and drama. Why does that always happen? Whenever there is an audience the love and sweetness just sort of disappear. Ahhh.

The other bad thing about all the down time is that this week is crawling by. We've been doing the countdown on our chalkboard and today we've finally reached the number 2. Feels like it's taken us forever to get here. Hopefully that's good news for next week though. =)

Now is the time when the stress factor settles in too. We're 2 days away, there's much to be done, and I'm a planner. With 2 small kids. A definite recipe for a bit of stress. Since having babies there has always been a slight measure of stress associated with traveling and vacationing. But there's also double the excitement and fun because of the kiddos. I wouldn't have it any other way.

This year I'm mainly nervous/concerned about my baby boy's sleeping habits. For the past week or so he's had a hard time going to sleep each night and he's woken up during the night almost every night. It's been sort of strange and something we can't quite put on finger on. Nothing has changed with his routine so we're thinking it's either teething related or the fact that his matress isn't elevated anymore.

(He attempted to climb out recently so we had to make it flat again. He's slept on an elevated matress for quite a while though so it's definitely possible that's related to his lack of good sleep.)

We're hoping he'll be so tired on vacation that he'll sleep good no matter what. But then there's the fact that he'll be sleeping in a pack n play... which he hasn't done in FOREVER. Soooo, I'm nervous about that too.

The other thing I'm really trying to plan for and be prepared for is the actual traveling part. My boys typcially do great on road trips. Such a blessing! (And we are probably the ONLY parents out there who don't use a portable DVD player on road trips.) But this trip, Austin is older and may sleep a little less, and the anticipation of arriving and starting our vacation is super high this year. Maybe the highest ever. Garrison is soooo excited and ready I'm afraid he'll ask when we'll be there about 5, 000 times. Sooo, I'm planning to pack 3 goodie bags each for both boys. They'll be filled with a small snack and a few toys or books. I'm hoping they work. I did something similar going to Gatlinburg and last year's trip to the beach and both times they've worked wonders til the very last we're almost there stretch. Then it's just survival mode.

Today I'm focusing on getting a good start on our packing...which means I'll spend a TON of time staring at the clothes in my closet and eventually trying things on and then staring some more and then weighing the pros and cons of each outfit and then maybe, hopefully, eventually making a final decision. I'm also going to be labeling the boys clothes for easier prep time each night we're going out. They're going to be adorable. But I may be just a tad biased. =)

We can't wait to get our once a year summer vacay under way! We're praying for safety, good health, good weather, and lots of fun family time for a whole week at one of our favorite places ever. =)

Monday, June 24, 2013

5 Things

1. We had a great weekend! I had a girls day on Saturday and went with my mom and sister to try on wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses. I'm now thinking my sister may be even more indecisive than me. Who knew that was even possible? But, these were pretty big decisions so I guess 3 hours plus in David's Bridal is to be expected. Anna's dress is gorgeous and I'm in love with the bridemaid dresses she chose. All the indecisiveness was worth it! I'm so excited about the big day!!
2. Terrell and the boys had a fun day together while I was away and went shopping for Austin some new shoes, Terrell a new swim suit, and made a stop by Chuck E. Chesse. He is such a good daddy. He sent me this picture Saturday morning. I am so blessed!

3. Saturday evening when I got home Terrell took us out to Chili's for supper. We don't eat at Chili's (or many other slow food restaurants) that often but when we do it's always so good. We did the 2 for $20 deal and were able to take home leftovers to have yesterday after church. I'm thinking we should go there more often. I definitely enjoyed my date with 3 handsome boys very much.

4. Yesterday afternoon the whole fam loaded up and went on a big ole shopping trip for groceries... to get us through this week AND for vacation. We are only 5 days away now!! Technically 4.5. =)
5. This morning the boys and I made one more shopping trip to Target... and the boys behaved terrible. It was a record. A very bad one. There was hitting, fighting, crying, and yelling involved. Much threatening and warning was done the second we got back in the car. Gracious. They are usually so good in public. I guess I was due a bad experience. But the good news is that we are now officially ready to go and start our vacation in 4.5 days! Yay!!! We may have drove people crazy in Target but mama was determined and we got what we needed, drama and all. As soon as we got back home the boys went into Garrison's room, sat down at his table together, and read books and played with stickers like perfect little angels and the best of friends right up until I called them for lunch. I least I know they love each other... even if the people in Target don't.

***And just in case you're in need of one more bit of good news... We have made a final decision about Austin's birthday party. Mickey Mouse it is. I made one teensy little purchase for the party decor today so there's no turning back now! It was reeeally tough to get going with the planning but now that I've finally made some progress I think I'm going to have fun with it and it's going to be perfect. Best of all, my littlest man should love it. =)
Happy Monday!!  

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Visit to Braves Country

Technically we live in Braves Country, because the SOUTHEAST, but now when you go to a game at Turner Field you are entering the heart and soul of Braves Country. It's kind of a big deal. We were welcomed to Braves Country numerous times upon arriving and my boys were immediately given "We're here to Chop" stickers and showered with quite a few compliments from strangers. =)

We knew a trip to a Braves game was a defnite this summer. For sure. My big boy loves the Braves. He has also mentioned, regularly, going to a game since mama and daddy went without him a few weeks ago. So the decision was made.

And then another decision was made that baby boy would have to go with us. I just couldn't stand the thought of leaving him behind and worrying about baby-sitting arrangements and him missing out. So we took a risk and the whole family went...

The results are in and fun was had by all!!

After stopping for supper at Chick-Fil-A we arrived and realized we had to sit on the opposite side of the field from where we'd planned. The opposite side from the shade.... in the sun. The bright, blazing, massive, hot sun. Bummer. Austin did not like that one bit. He started crying as soon as we sat down. I think he was overwhelmed with the National Anthem too...and the mini fireworks they shoot off and all the clapping and hollering afterward. My big boy on the other hand sang loud and proud and loved every second of our National Anthem and the game.

I ended up taking Austin into the air conditioning (the only benefit to our seats) and hanging out with him for a while. We passed John Schurholtz in the hall, made eye contact, and smiled. Squeal!

It ended up working out perfect and we joined up with Terrell and Garrison half an inning later before taking the boys to do some fun stuff.
They absolutely loved "running the bases". We did this mulitple times and they might have stayed there all night if they could've.

After that we went over to make pictures in the big Coke seats before going back to run the bases some more. Doing the fun, interactive stuff at the beginning worked out great.
After all our fun we decided to try changing seats and moving to the shade. The nice usher didn't ask to see our tickets and it wasn't very crowded so we were able to enjoy a back row seat in the shade with a breeze the rest of the night. And the boys did really good!
I packed lots of snacks... cereal, yogurt melts, animal crackers, a granola bar, freeze dried fruit, and bottled water... and the snacks did the trick. Especially for Austin who has a super short attention span.
They clapped, cheered, did the Chop, and even participated in The Wave while we were there. Hearing Go Baves! from Austin brought back memories from Garrison's first ever game. We were WAY more comfortable this time around though!
After leaving our seats one last time for ice cream to get us through we were able to stay until the 7th inning stretch so we could sing Take Me Out to the Ball Game. It was so precious. Garrison sang his heart out and even though Austin was pretty exhausted and spent by that point he loved it too. As we were gathering all our things to leave an elderly couple sitting behind us made a point to tell us how good our boys were. That just about made my night. It was so sweet!
Once we got back to the car we changed the boys into pj's and hit the road. Shockingly neither one of them fell asleep on the way home, but I think it took them less than 30 seconds to fall asleep once their heads hit the pillow. They both slept late this morning and woke up talking about the game.

We are so thankful for the good experience and fun time we had for Austin's first game. God blessed us with safety, air conditioning, shade, fun, and a Braves win! We will definitely be making this a summer tradition. =)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dates, A Countdown, & Party Planning

*I had a lunch date with these 2 cuties today. One of our favorite Mexican restaurants has a special almost every Tuesday during lunch when they have tacos for $1.00. Yes please! We ordered 4 and paid around $6.00 for our lunch. (Terrell would've loved to join us but he has a Rotary meeting every Tuesday for lunch.) My dates did great... except for the part when Austin somehow punctured his cup of water and caused a fast moving leak. Other than that we were drama and incident free. I see a few more "Taco Tuesdays" in our future this summer.

*Then tonight my hubby grilled up some delicious pork chops for his family... in the pouring rain. He's a good man. They were so yummy and we were so appreciative. We enjoyed a nice family date at home.

*The countdown for the beach is on. We're almost to single digits! Yaaaaay!! Terrell and I are especially excited about this year's trip because it should be a little easier and even more fun than last year's trip. We don't have to worry about a feeding schedule, bottles, or a morning nap. Austin will still need an afternoon nap and both boys will still need to go to bed at a decent hour every night, but our days on the beach should be lighter, more carefree, and lots of fun. On Father's Day we made our big grocery list and divided up what everyone would bring and decided on evening meals/restaurants for every night. It's getting closer and closer. We are all excited. Garrison can't stop talking about it. =)

*Party planning is underway for Austin's 2nd birthday. Sort of. Because his birthday is September 3rd and there is SO much going on with the start of the new school year leading up to September 3rd (and last year's party planning paired with the start of the school year stressed me out big time), I've vowed to try to have his party completely planned before the first day of school. Which means we've gotta get a move on. I'm just really torn at this point about what theme to go with. And you can't do much planning until you have a theme. Sigh.

The dilemma with this year's party is the fact that Austin likes several things... trucks, trains, balls, Elmo, Mater. But he truly loves one thing... Mickey Mouse.

The thing is, mama is sort of over Mickey Mouse. Terrible I know. It's just that we already did a Mickey Mouse party for Garrison when he turned 3 and I don't want a repeat of what we already did. At this point I'm completely out of new Mickey Mouse ideas. There are none. Zero.

I reeeally want to pick something else. Really and truly. But if Austin understood he had a birthday coming up and we'd be celebrating with a party and he could decide for himself what theme he wanted for it, I think he would choose Mouse. Ahhhhh. What to do, what to do? For some reason, character parties are just harder for me. I guess because they typcially aren't unique and original. One way or another a final decision must be made about this theme. In some ways I think I should just go with Mickey Mouse and try to make the best of it. In other ways I want to be selfish and decide what I think would be best, cutest, more unique, more fun, etc, etc. and pick something different. I am extremely indecisive so this could take a while...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Father's Day Weekend

We had a great Father's Day weekend! It was one of my favorite ever... but since it's not about me I hope my husband, daddy, and father-in-law enjoyed their weekend as much as I did. =)

We kicked things off Saturday morning with family pictures. They are all frame worthy so I'm excited to get them printed soon. I'm not sure why the coloring/lighting is different in the picture I made. Gracious. My photography skills definitely need some work, but I'm still in love. It doesn't get much better than a sweet picture of all my boys. 

After our little photo shoot we got on the road to meet Terrell's family for an early lunch. We had such a good time catching up and eating good food. And we made a few more pictures. =)

After lunch Terrell's parents came back to Covington with us and we had ice cream on the Square. The boys LOVED every second of that special treat.

Saturday afternoon while Austin napped and Terrell stayed home with him, Garrison and I headed out to the pool to practice swimming. He did SO good on Friday at his little swim performance at Ms. Glenda's house. We couldn't believe how much he learned! One of the last things she told the parents though was that we have to take our kiddos swimming this summer- LOTS, or they'll forget everything they learned. Sooo, we went off to practice the first chance we got. He did really good. He's got the basics of swimming down so now all he truly needs is more and more practice to become a good swimmer. Yay!!

Saturday night Terrell chose Mellow Mushroom for supper. Yum!! But before we left he got to open presents. The boys were super excited. Especially Garrison.

Sunday we drove to Barnesville to go to church and spend the day with my family. We got to enjoy a huge, delicious lunch with my dad and PawPaw and then spent the afternoon hanging out and relaxing. Terrell especially enjoyed the relaxing part. I think his nap was longer than Austin's. Haha. Plus we got in a walk and bike ride before the boys put more miles on the jeep. Then, my parents grilled for us for supper. We even had a Happy Father's Day cookie cake for dessert. The food we consumed this weekend was soooo good. (Work-outs coming soon.) It was such a fun day trip and we enjoyed every second.

Father's Day weekend was definitely a blessing and I am so thankful my boys have such a special daddy, Pops, Papa, and PawPaw to look up to!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Blessed with the Best

These 2 are blessed with the best daddy ever. I hope they always know that and appreciate God's gift to them in the form of their daddy. 
I remember way back in middle school and possibly into high school... 7th, 8th, 9th grade... when I prayed regularly for my future husband and had a whole list of qualities I wanted him to possess. My list was probably a little immature and idealistic, but one of the biggies- one of the really important and realistic ones- was that he would want kids and that he would be a great dad. Specifically, an involved, hands-on, patient, fun, great dad.

Well God answered that prayer in a big way, and I'm reminded of it regularly.

He plays with the boys every single day after work. They always know extra play time is coming when daddy gets home because he makes a point to play with them daily.

He lets them be his helpers... lots. =)

He runs through sprinklers with them and isn't afraid of getting dirty, messy, or wet with them.
He sets a great example for them by helping in the kitchen every night, taking care of my least favorite chores, and even doing laundry occassionally!  
He is a hard worker and great provider for his family.
He even takes the boys on fun wagon rides or trips for ice cream or just outside to play so I can have a few minutes to myself.
We are so thankful for daddy and the way he loves us and takes care of us. We have definitely been blessed with the best, and we're looking forward to celebrating him this weekend along with all the other important dads in our life. Happy Father's Day weekend!! 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Big News and Important Updates

This week is wearing me out! I think I'm about to have to enter survival mode. Between grocery shopping, Father's Day shopping, a doctor's appointment, catching up on laundry, swim lessons everyday, being up and down with a coughing baby last night, and the usual preparing of meals and chasing down boys, mama is exhausted. And it's only Wednesday. Sigh.
BUT, I'm SO excited and happy and overjoyed to share some BIG news and important updates....
*My sister and her boyfriend of a year plus, Frankie.... are ENGAGED!!!
We are sooooo happy and excited for them and praise God for bringing them together in His perfect way and His perfect timing!! Frankie has fit into our family and been such a blessing to us from day one. He loves my boys and they adore him. (Something we all noticed and were super impressed with from the start.) But more importantly, he loves my sister and treats her wonderful. This is what we've all waited on, especially her. Yay!!! We are so excited to plan and celebrate and officially welcome him to the family on November 16th. =)

*My big boy (who now loves to watch Pioneer Woman or that cooking show in my bed while he waits for Austin to wake up) is taking swim lesson this week... and doing amazing!! We are so proud and relieved!!
He goes every day for an hour this whole week and on Friday parents are invited to stay and watch what their kids have learned. We've been told he will be swimming by Friday. Wow. Fingers crossed!! 
His first day he was definitely nervous and a little scared (and admitted that he cried for me once... mama's aren't allowed to stay in the pool area), but yesterday and today he did GREAT. So far he can go under water to get a toy off the bottom, go under playing Ring Around the Rosie, jump in with someone right beside and go under, and is just beginning to kick and swim a little. He doesn't even want to leave when it's time to go!

I have been amazed at how receptive he's been to learning and getting water in his face and going under. Little man has ALWAYS hated having water in his face, but 2 days with Ms. Glenda and he seems cured. That and his mama's prayers. You better believe I've been praying my baby would have a good experience. The last thing I wanted was for swim lessons to give him a fear of the water. We are super excited about all he's learned!
*In other news related to my big boy, we had a follow up with the ENT about possible tonsil removal yesterday morning. At this point we've decided to hold off. He hasn't had strep in over a month (since we got out of school) so we're going to try to wait out the summer to see if we can remain strep free for 2-3 months. If he eventually starts back with the almost once a month pattern of coming down with it, we'll re-evaluate the situation then. We just aren't ready to put him through the surgery if there's a chance it won't be an issue forever. Soooo, we're going to wait. And pray that strep stays away!

*In baby boy related news, we're moving right along with our introduction to the potty. He goes every night before bath time and once or twice during the day. He's even told me a couple of times when he has to go. Once things slow down for us I'm going to move forward with some consistent training just in case he's ready.... which I'm thinking he is.

*Everyday during swim lessons Austin gets to sit up front with me and we eat our lunch together. So far it's working out pretty good although I think we're both over the same old lunches everyday. We may be hitting up Chick-Fil-A tomorrow. =)
*And one more picture thrown in just because... 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Anniversary Weekend 2013: Savannah

The four of us are all home and under the same roof again. And we are so thankful for the great weekend we all enjoyed! My hubby and I had a wonderful time in Savannah celebrating our 8th anniversary and my boys (and puppy dog) had a super fun weekend with my parents. Double yay!!
As you know, it's always been a struggle for me to be away from my kiddos overnight. It doesn't come natural for me and I always have anxiety about it. However, once a year on our anniversary is something we've committed to and this year I just prayed about it a whole, whole lot. I am so thankful for God's faithfulness and the peace He supplied so I could truly focus on spending time alone with my husband and enjoying our weekend together. We declared this anniversary getaway the best ever since having babies! (Our all time favorite is still Disney World back in 2007.)
We started our morning Friday by packing up and going out to breakfast as a family... which we never do, so this was a special treat. It was a great start to our day before we got on the road to B'ville to drop off the 3 babies. Once everybody was settled in we gave hugs and kisses and hit the road. It was still hard to leave them (even though I knew they were in great hands, it just makes me sad everytime), and I may have almost cried once we were in the car, but the rest of the trip I did great. I didn't even call and check in every other hour! 
We arrived in Savannah shortly before 3:00 Friday afternoon and were able to check into our hotel right away. Once our car was parked it stayed in the same place until we were ready to check out. We did lots of walking all weekend. The first place we went was River Street. We shopped around, went in almost every single store, ate ice cream, shopped some more, ate a delicious supper, and then made our way up to the squares for more ice cream! We had such a fun day!!
After ice cream at Leopold's we were both feeling tired of walking so we went back to the hotel for a little while before venturing out to River Street again just in case we could see fireworks. Turns out they only do fireworks the first weekend of every month. It was still fun being out at night. The bridge and water were so pretty!
On Saturday morning we started our day with a tour of Savannah. Which we loved! It was very interesting and entertaining. We chose an "on/off" tour so we could ride around and get off and then back on the trolley/bus whenever we wanted. This turned out to be our transportation around the city on Saturday and worked out perfect.
We spent most of our time Saturday (when we weren't on the trolley/bus) at City Market. It was so much fun and such a neat place! We did more shopping, visited Paula Deen's store, ate at an outdoor pizza cafe, and did lots of people watching. We also rode the tour bus back to River Street and then eventually back to our hotel.   
We had a little bit of a lazy afternoon before getting ready for our dinner reservations at the Olde Pink House on Saturday night. It was wonderful! We took a pedicab there... a bicycle that actually served as our taxi. So fun and unique!

Dinner on Saturday night was probably my favorite part of our whole trip. I am such a sucker for fancy restaurants (as long as I can recognize what's on the menu). I LOVE getting dressed up and going somewhere romantic, special, and a little fancy. Such a treat!!
Our food was delicious and I loved the atmosphere. It truly was an old pink house! And our waitress filled us in on lots of history from the house. Plus we learned on our tour that the Olde Pink House was the only building in Savannah that survived all 3 of Savannah's fires.

One of our favorite parts of dinner was at the end when they surprised us by bringing us a candle and a special "Happy Anniversary" gift... chocolate, fruit, and whipped cream. Yum!!
After our delicious dinner we walked around a few of the squares (I can't keep up with them all!) and sat and listened to whoever was playing their instruments in the middle of the squares. I thought it was pretty romantic. I especially loved the man playing Just a Closer Walk with Thee on the flute. It was so good.

Then, we stepped waaay out of our comfort zone and went to a jazz bar. Jazz'd Tapas Bar to be exact. Our waitress recommended it and we had a great time. It was very upscale "nightclubish." As if I'd even know what that's like since I've never been to one, BUT, if I had, I imagine it would be just like this one. We loved the music. Very upbeat and jazzy. We sat and talked and listened to good music and just enjoyed ourselves. It was something really new and different for us but we really liked it so we decided we'll have to step out of comfort zones more often.
After sleeping late Sunday morning we enjoyed a late breakfast in City Market that was delicious. Pancakes, grits, and bacon. Yum-O. Once we were good and full we headed home to see our babies. By Sunday I was starting to really miss them!!

We got to my parents house about 2:30 yesterday afternoon while Austin was napping. Both boys gave us big hugs and huge smiles when they saw us. Priceless. I told Terrell I knew they had a great time though because they weren't ready to leave the second they saw us. In fact Garrison definitely would've stayed longer. And I think that's a good thing.

They loved going out to eat, visiting the zoo, going to church, and getting lots of extra love and play time with Granna and Papa. My parents sent us these 2 pictures from the zoo on Saturday afternoon.
We are so thankful to Granna and Papa for taking care of the boys and Bailey and for both of our parents for their generous anniversary gifts. We planned our trip with a pretty tight budget in mind and then our wonderful parents surprised us with "gifts" that allowed us to truly experience Savannah without worrying too much about the budget. It was wonderful and we are so appreciative!! This year's trip was definitely one of the best!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Everyday Life Lately

Lately we've had some fun days and busy days with a few lazy not enough to do days mixed in. Here's a peek into what I've captured the past few days...
Last week we pulled out the sidewalk chalk again. It's always a big hit. The sweltering late afternoon heat, not so much. (Which is what led to so many water days.)
We had to make a quick trip to Wal-Mart. I definitely prefer Target but when I need something fast Wal-Mart is closer so Wal-Mart it is.
We conducted our second craft of the summer last week. It was actually more like an experiment. I'm not sure whether it was totally successful or not though. We did fireworks in a jar. The "fireworks" only lasted 5 seconds though. Oh well. At least the boys were entertained.
Since the "fireworks" thing was over in about 30 seconds we decided to make an ocean in a bottle. Even Austin could participate. Yay! We put in small seashells, water, and blue food coloring.
Success! Austin's fake smile kills me. SO funny and SO cute. At least to his mama. 

We enjoyed our first trip to Chuck E. Cheese of the summer. We went nice and early and moved out as soon as the crowds came in. Perfection.
My big boy was super brave and rode in the huge monster truck. The past few times we've been he's wanted no part of it. He held on tight this time and did great.
This was the only ride Austin rode (with it "going") and was okay with. He didn't mind sitting on the rides but he did NOT want them moving. Haha!
Terrell won Braves tickets on the radio for last Thursday night!! We enjoyed our date night and a great game. Huge thanks to Nana and Pops for coming over and spending a late night with the kiddos!
Saturday night while I attended the wedding of one of my bestie's from high school, Terrell and the boys went to Garrison's baseball party. We are so thankful for the great season and first experience he had!
My littlest man learned how to drive AND steer Mater around all by himself this week! He is so cute driving all over the house. And if he ever gets stuck, big brother is right there to help out. =)
Last night as an anniversary treat we went out for ice cream after supper. Austin sampled everyone's and Garrison is always great about sharing with him.

Now we're getting ready for Father's Day shopping and our weekend trip to Savannah! Yay!!