Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Kick Off

Our Halloween was kicked off yesterday with a busy but fun day. It started with our Halloween parade at school. My Freddie Freeman and cuddly lion were both present and adorable.

My babies lined up ready to walk the perimeter of the church/school for the parade.

The parade was a success and we had great weather! A tad too warm for late October if you ask me, but since we've already had some super cold days I won't complain. My class of 3 year olds also had our class Halloween party. Our class moms really went overboard and the kids loved it. I was pretty wiped out afterwards... but we got to leave a little early because everyone signed their babies out following the parade. How nice!

Our afternoon was pretty laid back until we made a sort of last minute decision that we would attend the Fall Festival at our church. I was back and forth because of being tired and knowing we're having a big night on tonight, etc. but finally decided against being selfish and to just go and let the boys have fun.

(I later regretted this decision when Terrell got home late and I was feeding everybody, dressing everybody, and wrangling everybody on my own. In the end, it was worth it though.)

Austin couldn't do everything they had to offer at the Fall Festival but I still think he enjoyed himself. After we finished all the games we decided to have some popcorn and red koolaid. A big hit for 2 little guys. And both boys came home with bags full of fun size candy. It was short and sweet and perfect for our kiddos.
Today I'm helping throw Garrison's Halloween party at school and then we're off to B'ville for supper and our first traditional trick-or-treating experience... with the grandparents of course. Happy Halloween!!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

24 Weeks!

Today marks 24 weeks for Layton and I... and he is definitely making himself known. We've had a little bit of a crazy time pregnancy wise, but baby boy is healthy and mama is getting there so that's all good news. As we get closer and closer to meeting our newest little love I'm becoming a little more overwhelmed at what we've got to get done (specifically moving his big brother into his biggest brother's room so he'll have a nursery when he arrives) and a lot more excited about being introduced!
Pregnancy Highlights
How Far Along: 24 Weeks

Size of Baby: 11-12 inches and about 1.5 lbs... about the size of an ear of corn.

Total Weight Gained/Loss: I've gained 15 lbs total (I had my check up this morning so that number is 100% accurate.) Right now I'm totally content with my weight gain and I think I'll be okay with it from here on out as long my dress fits for my sister's wedding.

Maternity Clothes: Mostly. Although I recently discovered that bigger non-maternity sizes in tops actually fit better than anything. 

Gender: It's a boy!

Movement: He has become super active. It's not around the clock or anything it's just that when he's awake he's letting me know and all over the place. I am loving it.

Food Cravings: Food. Haha. I'm not having any specific cravings I just reeally like to eat and I'm hungry a lot.

What I Miss: Just the usual of being able to get around or up and down easily and quickly without feeling out of breath or uncomfortable.

Sleep: I'm doing much better in the sleep department and feeling back on track. Yay!

Symptons: Morning sickness is back. Yuck. Last Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday mornings I've thrown up. SO strange. The feeling has come over me super fast and then I go get sick and feel better and move on like nothing ever happened. I've also been sick with a sore throat and allergy issues. Not fun at all but not sure I can blame it on Layton either.  

Best Moment This Week: Feeling my baby boy move around and Garrison feeling him once too!

What I'm Looking Forward To: Getting me and Austin well (Austin has had a terrible cold) and trick-or-treating with family. =)
*Austin's update at 24 weeks

Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween Fun Day

Saturday was a day dedicated to Halloween fun... almost all day long! And it didn't even involve elaborate crafts or baking or anything crazy and over the top. It was plain, simple, Halloween-related/themed fun... in their pjs!

We started the day with cinnamon rolls for breakfast, which are always a special treat and great way to kick off a fun day, and then the boys did a simple Halloween project with me while daddy went grocery shopping. We were only interrupted 7-10 times with a phone call from daddy (ha!) but we were so thankful he went without us we didn't mind one bit. He's the best.

My parents sent the boys Halloween cards in the mail that contained a little something for their banks and lots and lots of fun Halloween stickers... one of their favorite things ever. So, we decided to put all those stickers to good use at one time and complete a simple little craft.... filling up construction paper pumpkins with Halloween stickers. So simple, yet perfect for both of them! I peeled off Austin's stickers for him (and Garrison helped too), but he put them on all by himself.
They got some glow in the dark stickers that we decided to put on a black pumpkin. We went to the bathroom to see them in action and even display them in Garrison's room at bedtime. Super cool.

After completing a total of 4 sticker-filled pumpkins each, it was time to move on to oreo spiders... an annual Halloween tradition at our house. The spiders consist of oreo cookies with stick pretzels for legs and m & m's for eyes. We use peanut butter or vanilla frosting for our "glue" for the legs and eyes. This year we did peanut butter because it's what we had in the pantry.

Austin took the cookies apart for us and decided on the "eye" color. And other than munching on everything, that was pretty much all he could do. Garrison actually assembled the spiders without much help at all this year. We fill up a plate full and then call it quits because it can become tedious and tiring after a while... especially when you add up 8 legs per spider. Although they love the finished product.

After the spiders were done and we cleaned up our mess and put away groceries daddy brought home (and mama had a chance to sit down and rest), we were ready to carve our pumpkin. The boys were super excited.
Austin decided to reach in with one hand just a few times to help out, but Garrison did the heavy duty cleaning out this year.

Then it was time to carve! They loved this part and both got to help. A great team effort by all the boys.
Finished product... Selph Family Jack-O-Lantern
After we carved our pumpkin it was time for lunch and naps. Garrison "rested" for a little bit and then made and decorated a couple of bats out of construction paper before we got everybody in the bath tub and prepared for Family Pictures 2013.
Thankfully everything went really well and I think we're going to have some good ones. I can't wait to see them! They will probably all include Austin's "cheese face", but that's just him right now. Pictures with an accurate reflection of personalities and life at this point in time is pretty priceless.
Garrison had a few "moments" and Austin was easily distracted by any and everything outside, BUT we prepared well for these little episodes with our secret weapon... cupcake bribery! It worked wonders and I never regretted using it. A little bribery is necessary for motivation, smiles, and good attitudes during a family photo session. And singing some of their favorite songs when it was time for their individual pics was a big help too.
I never let them have a whole cupcake but Saturday afternoon was an exception. They did good for pictures so they were rewarded with yumminess. Which they both inhaled. =) Mama and daddy enjoyed one too for all our hard work. Thanks for sharing AnAn!

We wrapped up our day by eating out at one of our fav Mexican restaurants. It was a Halloween fun-filled day topped off with family pictures and yummy food. It was pretty close to perfect if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Holiday Happenings

The holiday season is almost officially upon us. If you count Halloween as part of the "season", it's already here. We have big plans for a fun "Halloween" Saturday, a Halloween parade and Fall Festival the day before Halloween, and trick-or-treating in the hometown the day of... all right around the corner! Combine all those plans with the fact that Christmas lists from us and the boys have been requested and we've already discussed and somewhat finalized Thanksgiving festivities, and I'd say that the holiday season is most definitely here. In our midst. Yay! I just love this time of year.

However, it always comes with stresses and concerns. Every single year. Praise God our stresses and concerns are minor. They aren't real problems, just little inconveniences and issues that leave us discussing how we'll spend our time (and where) and what in the world is best for our children to receive as gifts, for hours on end. Seriously. This time every year Terrell and I talk and talk and discuss a little further what is best and why. Oh the analyzation and pros and cons are endless. Until we're eventually tired of talking about it and both slightly stressed and testy.

This year we're making a sort of tough decision to cut down on our Thanksgiving holiday with family. It was a tough decision to make initially because we want as much time with our parents, grandparents, siblings, and family as possible. That's what makes the holidays special and memorable and fun for us. However, after last year's Thanksgiving experience we realized doing things the same way we always have isn't best or fair for us and our kiddos. So that made it a sort of easy decision that we're at peace with.

For the first time in years and years (or ever maybe) we're going to miss our hometown's "Lighting of the Trees" on Thanksgiving Eve. This year, we won't be arriving in the hometown until Thanksgiving morning. Gasp! It's a big, big deal. We're sacrificing a tradition in the name of sleep and keeping our sanity.

Last year the boys just couldn't fully enjoy and appreciate the Lighting of the Trees because they were out too late and didn't really understand all that was going on, and then we couldn't go home to our own beds because we were spending the night with family. Plus, on top of the late night and exhausted boys we had a long, FULL day the next day. All of that combined meant a rough night for mama and daddy and 2 boys who were tired and overstimulated before Thanksgiving Day even began. By the time we got home on Saturday we were drained and exhausted... and determined there had to be a better way.  

Even though I'm going to miss eating supper Wednesday night with our parents and seeing old friends and singing Christmas carols with the people and community I love so much, it's for the best. It is necessary. For sure. One day, hopefully, when we live 5 minutes away and can go home to our own beds the tradition will be back in order.

This year for Thanksgiving we're also only going to spend Thursday night away. We'll still see both sides of the family and get to spend Thanksgiving Day with both of our parents, which is a HUGE blessing, but then it's time to head home on Friday. Saturday will be dedicated to decorating our tree, decorating the boys' trees, decorating our house, and officially kicking off the Christmas season, something we've intended to do every year but something that has never quite worked out because of spending that extra night in B'ville.

While this year will be slightly different for us it will look very similar to the way my childhood holidays looked... which is why I know it'll be okay. I grew up in the same town as practically my whole family and got to see both sets of grandparents every holiday... and we never had to spend the night with them or see them everyday for a whole week to make it special. So even though it'll be different, I know it'll be okay.

As for Christmas, plans and traditions will pretty much stay the same for at least 1 more year... although we know if we don't move soon change is on the horizon. But for now, we think we have Christmas plans settled...

And now it's time for final decisions to be made about Christmas gifts for the boys. Ahhhh. This one is a toughie. We have the budget to keep in mind. We have space and storage to keep in mind. (We are adding another little person to the family shortly after Christmas. We can't house a toy store inside our home. It's impossible.) We also have the "overboard" and "spoiled" factor to consider. We don't want our kids to get/have so much that they're materialistic or forget the true meaning of Christmas or just have so much that they aren't appreciative and can't even play with it all.

Sooo, all of that makes Christmas lists and decisions about what Santa will bring, what we'll give them, and what family members will give them a big huge challenge. We always give them an "experience" or special outing for their birthdays so I'd rather not use that again at Christmas. I'd just like to cut back. Just do less across the board. That's what the budget wants us to do too. And don't forget that's what the space in our house prefers as well.

So, as we make out their lists for them this year and consider the gifts they'll receive from everyone (us and Santa included), things will be kept to a minimum. The whole list will not consist of toys. And the whole list will not be a mile long. We're going to go for quality versus quantity with a few needed and practical gifts thrown in. They'll still have a generous Christmas but we are determined it won't be overboard. Something we need to be in much prayer about. Christmas isn't all about the lists and gifts anyway.

So there you have it. Our holiday happenings in the works. Plans can definitely change. Christmas lists will probably for sure change, especially as we struggle to keep things simple and somewhat smaller this year. But the most important parts of the holidays for us is faith and family. We want Christ to be at the center and family to be close. We want to share traditions as a family of almost 5, and share traditions with the whole fam. We want good memories and fun times and to give back in some way.

Every year we stress and get a little too worked up over the details (because they are a big part of enjoying the holidays and keeping our sanity), but if we keep our focus on faith and family, and align our priorities accordingly, we know we'll be fine and we will in fact survive the craziness of the holidays and spending the night away and driving up and down Highway 36 fifty thousand times and having a crazy, busy, fun time with our families. We always say every year, this is a good problem to have. Because it is. We are blessed with lots and lots of holiday happenings. God is good and we are grateful.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Up To Lately

*My baby played his last flag football game of the season on Saturday. He had so much fun and loved just about every second. He was so proud of his trophy at the awards ceremony after his game. Next Fall's sporting avenue is still to be determined. I would love for him to play football again... but maybe in a different "league" so that he's not playing with kids twice his size and years older. We'll have to wait and see. Spring is dedicated to baseball so Fall is also the only opportunity for soccer. Decisions, decisions. We have a while so I guess there's no need to think about it now. Mama is happy he had fun and excited we don't have any other sporting commitments til 2014!

*The boys are becoming THE best friends. And it makes my heart so happy! They love to play together and want to be together all the time. They do fight and have rifts and arguments... and you better believe everything has to be equal and even at all times, but they just adore one another. I'm so thankful they have such a special friendship. I'm praying the bond between all my boys is always strong.

*Speaking of the boys... they are loving my new ABC Scripture Cards. Terrell got them for me for my birthday and they have become a regular part of our morning routine. Right now we're just going through the alphabet and changing to a new letter and verse every morning (Garrison's decision)... but once we make it all the way through the alphabet I'm thinking we'll start over and take a whole week to focus on a verse. Austin loves trying to recognize the big letter on the card and Garrison loves saying it with me and then talking about what it means. This is the exact reason I wanted them so I'm excited they're enjoying them so much!

*My big boy changed his mind about being Superman for Halloween. We bought the costume, brought it home, tried it on a few days later, annnd it was a no-go. He didn't like the cape. It had a velcro closer and scratched his neck, plus made him feel like he was choking. Soooo, after going back and forth he finally decided he wanted to be Freddie Freeman. We are huge Freddie Freeman fans so this was fine with us... even though he was Chipper last year (which was totally our suggestion that he agreed to), but this year he made the choice 100% all by himself so that's what we're going with. Austin is still going to be a lion and we hope he agrees to wear the mane the night of. Cause that's sort of what makes the costume. Maybe we'll be able to make it through Halloween with no drama... but I doubt it. (Garrison tried on this costume right after he woke up one morning... and his cow lick has never been so tall and out of control... I'm sure he'll appreciate that I captured it on camera one day. Haha.)

*We had our Fall Festival at school on Friday night. The boys seemed to have a great time. I had to work in my room the whole time but they dropped by to see me more than once and even delivered my supper to me. Terrell is such a great dad. He fed them (there at school) by himself and did the all the games with them solo and everything. I think I'll keep him... he's the best.

*We have our annual family pictures coming up this weekend! Even though family pictures are a LOT of work and they never turn out perfect like you want, I still love having them done. It's always worth it. And we always choose a family picture for our Christmas card every year from this annual session. We went shopping yesterday after church trying to find me something to wear that will coordinate/match everybody else. Man, shopping maternity as a petite girl is tough. Maternity pants fit but maternity tops do not. They are just way too long and too broad across the shoulders and basically look ridiculous on me. Sooo, after buying some maternity pants I went and bought a regular shirt from one of my favorite "regular" stores in a bigger size... and it looks great. Go figure. On the way home, both boys begged for phones... Garrison wanted to watch Angry Birds videoes on Terrell's phone and Austin wanted to look at all the pictures I have stored on my phone. He also decided to make quite a few. This one turned out pretty good!
*Today was fun at school because my class, the other 3 year old class, and Garrison's Pre-K class all got to go on a field trip together to the pumpkin patch. Garrison had really good time... daddy made an appearance and I even got to spend a little time with him on this trip too. A win-win. =)

*The rest of the day hasn't been too fun. Bailey, our puppy dog, is sick and has to go to the vet this afternoon the second Terrell walks in the door. I'll spare you the details of the surprises she left for us in the house. I'm losing my voice (it's been going away all weekend but now I'm really tired of it and wondering if I'll have to see a doctor). I want ice cream... and the house to clean up itself. Happy Monday!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pumpkin Patch Fun

After naps on Saturday afternoon we loaded up the fam and went over to a local farm/corn maze. (It technically wasn't a pumpkin patch at all... although we did see at least one person carrying a pumpkin around so we know they were there somewhere. But what else do you call it?)

Anyway, it was small, not too crowded, a bright and sunny day, and just perfect for us and our boys. They had a ball. We probably would've stayed longer if supper time wasn't upon us and mama wasn't feeling quite so pregnant. Wow. My first time feeling really heavy and worn out was carrying Layton around that farm. Gracious.

I LOVE this picture because they are smiling big at their mama being totally crazy trying to keep Austin from doing his cheese face. Family pictures should be interesting this year.

One of Garrison's favorite things was the big slide. He rode it multiple times with daddy and then a few times by himself. Austin finally decided to go with daddy too. He liked it but didn't ask to do it again. Ha!

They had a bounce house there so of course they loved that... plus they had it mostly to themselves for a while.

And a cow train. Garrison rode twice... Austin rode the second time. He reminds me so much of Garrison needing time to warm up to things. They both enjoyed it.

Then we went on a hayride! It was long and slow but we saw cows, corn, other "crops" I didn't recognize, and beautiful scenery. I enjoyed being able to sit down but by the time we finished I was uncomfortable and ready to get up... except I wasn't quite sure how. Haha.

The boys also played on the playground there for quite a bit, plus watched a little bit of a special bird show they had going on. They had different types of owls and hawks who flew around and did tricks and listened to their trainer. It was really cool... although I think Terrell and I were more impressed than the boys. They just wanted to slide or play on the playground.

After leaving the farm it was finally time to go to a regular ole pumpkin patch with nothing but pumpkins. We looked all over and finally found "the one" plus they both got to pick out a tiny one for their room.... and we had to make a few pics. These 2 were the best.  

We wrapped up the night with Chick-Fil-A take-out and baths and bedtime. The boys were worn out (so was mama) and did great sleeping in the same room. It was definitely a fun-filled family outing. Now we're looking forward to carving our pumpkin and turning him into a jack-o-lantern. =)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

22 Weeks!

Today marks 22 weeks for me and baby Layton. I am so excited to meet my newest baby boy... only 18 weeks to go!
Pregnancy Highlights

How Far Along: 22 weeks

Size of Baby: 11 inches and weighs about 1 pound... about the size of spaghetti squash.

Total Weight Gained/Loss: At my last appointment almost 2 weeks ago I had gained 11 pounds, soooo I'm going to guess I'm closer to 15 by now. Clearly mama is growing fast.

Maternity Clothes: Almost everything is maternity at this point. I can still wear a few "comfy" clothes that aren't but even they're becoming not so comfortable.

Gender: Another boy!

Movement: I still feel him best when I'm sitting but he's starting to get active every night while we watch TV or while I lay in bed going to sleep. So precious. I'm even starting to feel him above my belly button now. Mama isn't the only one growing. =)

Food Cravings: No specific cravings just hungry all the time. I'm loving salty, sweet, and anything in between... which is why I'm growing so fast.

What I Miss: Being able to get up and down easily. Between playing with the boys and taking Austin to the potty, I'm up and down a lot and it's becoming more and more of an effort. Thankfully I remember feeling this way during Austin's pregnancy and wondering how I would make it to the end without being totally miserable, but I did and it wasn't even that bad!

Sleep: Sleep has become interesting lately. I usually can't breathe good when I go to bed so I wake up from that plus any sound the boys make and then it always takes me a while to go back to sleep. Maybe good, deep sleep will return soon.
Symptons: A really big appetite, congestion at bedtime, and just feeling heavy. Haha.

Best Moment This Week: Terrell being able to feel Layton move!

What I'm Looking Forward To: Just time with my family during one of my favorite seasons of the year and enjoying the 2nd trimester.
Austin's update at 22 weeks

Monday, October 14, 2013

Weekend of Celebrations

Our weekend was full of fun and celebrations. Even though this Fall is SO busy that sometimes I wonder how I'll get to everything or fit it all in, our weekends have been wonderful. I'm so thankful for the blessing of fun weekends in the midst of a crazy, busy season.

We kicked off our weekend by meeting my in-laws on Friday night to celebrate my birthday and my brother-in-law's birthday. We had a great time catching up and the cousins loved seeing each other. Our meal times with 4 kiddos are finally calming down a little. Even Austin did great! We enjoyed a delicious meal and then my in-laws surprised me by having my blog posts from 2012 published. I was so excited! It's no secret that I love this blog and treasure all the memories it holds, so having it published is super special. Now I have a published book of every year but this one. Turning 30 has been very good to me. =)

Saturday morning we went to Garrison's football game and had another little celebration... he didn't get to run the ball this time but he did get to play center quite a bit AND he finally got an opposing team member's flag! He was SO excited and we were too! All season he's wanted to get another player's flag but he's sort of the baby on the team and one of the smallest so it's hard to get flags when you factor in size and playing 6 on 6... so this was a BIG deal. He was beaming. I think he wanted to keep that flag forever.

After the game the boys stayed home while mama went grocery shopping solo and then we had lunch, naps, and visited the pumpkin patch! Everyone had fun... success! A separate blog post is coming soon on the details of our Saturday afternoon and evening full of Fall fun.

We also celebrated again on Saturday night because my boys slept together in the same room again and did great!

*Quick "Move In" Update: Austin has been napping in Garrison's room every single day since last Monday. Totally his choice. He just wants to nap in the big boy bed and has done GREAT. Like, no issues at all with naptime. I've been soo proud. Then, on Thursday night he decided he wanted to go to sleep for bedtime in the big boy bed. So Garrison slept on the top bunk and Austin was on the bottom and after 2 warnings to stop talking/playing and to go to sleep... they did! And slept til 7:00 the next morning. We were so thankful for how well they did. Unfortunately it didn't work out so well on Friday night. Austin asked to sleep in the big boy bed but later cried and asked to go sleep in his crib. (Then Garrison cried because he was lonely without Austin and missed him. Bless his heart. They are both trying so hard to adjust.) Since we're not pushing him or forcing him to sleep in Garrison's room we immediately put him to bed in his crib and wondered if Thursday night was just a fluke. But then on Saturday night he slept in Garrison's room again and they didn't wake up until 7:35 on Sunday morning. Yaaaay! So far the pattern is every other night but we'll take it. After our diaster that first night/morning, we're just thankful for progress.

On Sunday after church the whole fam loaded up to head to B'ville for the afternoon. My sister had her 2nd bridal shower and Terrell took the boys to play at his parents' house while I went to the shower. The boys had a ball with their grandparents and I had a ball at the shower!

Emily (our cousin's wife who threw the shower) is the ultimate hostess. I love her attention to detail and the way she makes everything so special and personalized. She seriously thinks of everything is so crafty and talented. We had the best time celebrating with family and just laughing and catching up.

Anna and Frankie have definitely been showered with lots of special gifts for their new home and I am just so happy and excited for them. The big day is only about a month away!!

We survived our first day back at school today... even though daddy had the day off... and are trying to get back in the swing of things. Happy Columbus Day Monday!