Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday Favorites: Happy Halloween!

This week has been a busy one! We've had another teacher's sweet baby to join our crew, soccer (practice, games, and a party), homework, a playground accident, choir, lots of errands in preparation of Terrell being out of town all of next week, disappointing house news (again), and some Halloween fun! And now I'm especially thankful to have made it to Friday!

Here are my favorite happening from our week...

*Last Friday afternoon I was able to make it to Garrison's Fall Fun Day/Field Day at school... Yay! It was a big deal getting to run and play on Trojan Field for my big boy (and his 3 year old brother!) and it was also a pretty special "first" for me as a mama that I'm thankful I didn't have to miss.  

*My big boys realized a dream this past week... they got to ride with daddy on the lawnmower!
*Pumpkin carving fun with with all my boys

*Austin and I were able to squeeze in a little Halloween fun during our school time this week. I'm still trying to figure out the new routine with the babies I'm keeping a few days a week, but I am determined to maintain some one-on-one time with my middle during the school day.

*Speaking of one-on-one time... Terrell took the big boys to soccer practice on Tuesday night so I could have some time to unwind with this sweet boy. We loved spending a quiet evening together just the 2 of us after our crazy day. =)
*Garrison wrote a Halloween song/poem this week. I don't think you can read the words in the picture so I'll translate. Please read in a slow, sweet, sing-song, choir voice... because that's the way he sings it. Where is the ghost? Where is the witch? Where is the spider? Where is the pumpkin? Boo boo boo boo. I see you. The big boys take turns singing this every night at bedtime and sound quite angelic despite the lyrics. =)
*Pumpkin seed math!
*I can't wait to see this cutie dressed up for Halloween tonight! So blessed I get to experience another 1st Halloween with another precious baby boy!!

*Favorite not pictured moment: Soccer fun last night with friends and our entire family as the temperatures dropped and our village really helped us keep up with our 3 little men during 2 soccer games and 1 soccer party!

Happy Halloween and Happy Weekend!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Change of Plans

So about a week and a half ago we got some bad news concerning closing our house and having it officially sold. Nooooooo!

To make a long story short, there was a delay and "glitch" of sorts with the buyer's loan and we were looking at having to postpone the closing until January. It was SO discouraging and disappointing to hear. We were both on the verge of tears. We were so close and so ready to have it sold and start house hunting here and have that finanacial burden lifted and to just MOVE ON.

Even though living in the hometown is amazing, living in the rental house for this unknown stretch of time has made us feel as though our lives are kind of on hold. We don't have all of our stuff here... furniture, toys, decor, kitchen items, you name it. Half of our house, things that really make a house a home, are in boxes in the basement. Plus we aren't truly comfortable and at home here in this house. It's just been a challenge and has definitely come with some sacrifices. So to find out we couldn't close on schedule was really, really disappointing.

But we had hope. We had hope of renting our house to our buyer until we could officially close sometime in late January. It wasn't totally ideal but it was something we were hopeful about working out. Starting back at square one with our house on the market again is something we were trying very hard to avoid.

But then the buyer backed out... and starting over at square one became a reality... again. Insert lots and lots of tears.

We already had one contract on our house shortly after we listed that fell through. It didn't last long, but was still disappointing. So this made our second contract to fall through. Our second buyer to slip away. SO defeating.

Last Tuesday is when the buyer backed out and the contract was terminated. Talk about a tough day. Especially since I was flying solo that day and couldn't cry on Terrell's shoulder over how disappointed I was. The weekend before, when we found out the closing would have to be postponed until January, I had been a little emotional over my nerves and concerns and worries... but on Tuesday I just wanted to cry the ugly cry and have a meltdown and freak out over all the "bad" that could come from this. The financial burden, the being stuck here in the rental house, the keeping our lives on hold, the possibility of not being able to sell until next Spring, the limits and challenges it causes for my job (I'm now keeping 2 sweet babies multiple times a week), the FINANCIAL BURDEN. My mind was going crazy with doubts and fear and discouragement. But as a busy mama on my own that day, I let myself cry for like 2 minutes and then tried to get over it so I could focus on the boys and getting through the rest of the night in "thrival mode" instead of survival mode. Ha. Thankfully we had a pretty good night and they were a big distraction for me.

From Saturday (when we found out the closing would have to be postponed), til Tuesday (when we found out the contract was being terminated), I found myself whispering We trust You, Lord. We're so disappointed but we know this did not come as a surprise to You. We know You have a plan and we're trusting You, over and over again. And deep down I really meant every word. But on the surface I was struggling with my doubts and discouragement and anxiety big time. Ugh. Not fun.

So this past weekend when we went back to the house in Covington one final time (we hope), we said a prayer as a family standing there in our former home. We prayed God would send buyers soon. A family, couple, or individual who would love our house and whose needs would be met through our house. We're praying specifically for God to bring us a buyer before Christmas. The end of the year has always been our mental goal, however, we know the real estate market slows down significantly during the months of November, December, and January... so we also know our goal might not be totally realistic. But that's where our faith comes in.

Things aren't working out according to OUR plan, but they are working out according to God's plan. He has orchestrated every single detail and is not panicked or flustered or nervous. He has the whole situation under His complete and sovereign control and we are trusting Him.

Even though we're super disappointed and bummed and even confused about why things aren't working out just like we've hoped and prayed for, we know He is faithful.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and mind in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12

These are the verses I keep thinking about. When fear and doubt and worry creep in, the Holy Spirit puts these verses on my heart and in my mind.

This change of plans is not what we wanted. Especially since we had our eye on a house here that may be too late for us to make an offer on. (Cue another huge disappointment! Ugh.) It's definitely discouraging and most certainly creates some issues and challenges for us, but it's not anything God can't handle and work out for our good and His glory. And we know this. Despite our discouragement and disppointment and occasional pity parties we KNOW God has a plan and that it's all going to work out. He provided the great job, He provided a way for us to move before selling our house, He provided the rental house, He provided me with a way to bring in an income while staying home, He provided us with the opportunity to raise our family HERE like we've always wanted. He is faithful and He will provide a buyer and then a new home here. God is good, all the time.

In the meantime, we wait and we trust until we know the new plan. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Pumpkin Carving!

Yesterday afternoon we enjoyed another fun Fall tradition and carved our pumpkins! This was our first year to carve 2 and man was it a lot of work. Ha! My parents gave us one pumpkin at the very beginning of the Fall season and we picked out one at the pumpkin patch, so both big boys got to choose their very own jack-o-lantern faces. And as it turned out, at least one boy loved the pumpkin carving process, at least one boy thought it was fun from a distance, and at least one boy wasn't impressed at all. Pumpkin carving with our crew is always an adventure!

(And of course a warm front came through and we were able to do everything outside in shorts. The weather here has been crazy. I think this is our last warm front of the year. We better not be in shorts at the Christmas tree farm.)

The boy who loved every second...
The boy who kept his distance but still enjoyed himself...
The boy who pretty much hated the whole thing...

***I decided to dress Layton in the cutest little overalls that both of his big brothers wore as babies for the big occassion. I really wanted some great pictures of my littlest. Unfortunately he was having none of it. None. I sure hope he cooperates come time for our family pictures next weekend. Gracious.

Garrison was daddy's big helper from start to finish while Austin touched just a few seeds before deciding cleaning out pumpkins wasn't really his thing.  

Austin carving his pumpkin...
And Garrison carving his...
I present to you The Selph Family Jack-O-Lanterns plus 3 little men!
Oh, memories.
My big boys beside their freshly carved pumpkins. They were pretty thrilled with the finished products. 
Yay for Fall traditions and fun jack-o-lanterns. I think we're almost ready for Halloween!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Favorites: Roller Coaster Week

This week has been sort of like a roller coaster. We've just been all over the place with highs and lows. We've had disappointment, we've had crazy, we've had laid back, we've had normal. Such an unpredictable week. I'm so thankful for the laid back and normal we experienced this week in the midst of the low moments. Here are my favorites...

*First, here's a "Flashback Friday" (haha)... 2 weekends ago Terrell's sister and her family were in town so we enjoyed some extra time with the cousins. So fun!

*This past weekend my big boys got to go to a nearby jubilee with my parents. They had a ball and came home as Flash and Pirate Austin. =)

*Any school work that involves Do-a-Dot markers is a big hit for this little man. He really is the best student!

*My big boy officially has a new hobby. This week he discovered a pecan tree in our yard and he now collects them daily and has a HUGE, heavy bag full. He even took his choir teachers one on Wednesday. If you're ever in need of any pecans, I know someone who can hook you up. =)
*My boys are loving Storytime at the library this year. Layton is becoming more and more curious and engaged and happy about it every week.

*Girlfriend got a good grooming this week. Waaay overdue. She is now nice and trim, sweet-smelling, festive, and show worthy. Yay.

*I almost NEVER have to go in Layton's room to wake him up. We always let him sleep for his naps til he wakes up (which is always a reaonable amount of time) and he always wakes up on his own every morning, so it's rare I get a glimpse of my sleeping baby boy. But this week I did. It was actually the day of Bailey's appointment to be groomed. Presh. Be still my heart.
*Speaking of my baby... he has thoroughly enjoyed strolling around outside while his big brothers play and ride cars around and collect pecans. I just can't get enough of him!
*Friday morning matching cuteness! Love my boys!!

*Favorite not-pictured moment(s): I was on my own 2 nights this week and we thrived! Ha! Things went really well and I never had to resort to survival mode. Yay. I took the boys outside both afternoons and we stayed out until I was ready to make our supper. I didn't really cook either night but I did make us something at home so we wouldn't have to go get fast food. The big boys played inside together while I made our supper and then they got to play and clean up while I put Layton in the bath and got him in the bed. Then it was their turn. Things were still busy and crazy at times. Nothing was totally perfect. I was worn out and drained come Wednesday. BUT, it went so much better the previous week's survival mode craziness. And I am SO thankful!!

*My other favorite not-pictured moment: Hanging out with my hubby watching our shows in the evenings! We are taking full advantage of our opportunities to spend time together since he has to be away so much!

Happy Friday and Happy Weekend!!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Weekend Fun

This weekend was almost totally fun-filled and happy...I'll save the not so good for another day... for now I'm focusing on the happy. We kicked things off by taking Garrison to our high school's Homecoming Game. He had soo much fun and loved every second. He was a huge fan of watching our Trojans, was very impressed with seeing the Queen crowned, and he even went and played with some of his friends for a while during the game... where we could see him of course. (Terrell and I both took note of the fact that he left us for his friends and he's in KINDERGARTEN. Gracious.)

My mom came over and hung out at our house for the night and put Austin and Layton to bed for us... thankfully Austin was spared the disturbing experience this time. Bless his heart. He does NOT like loud football games. Maybe he'll be ready to try it out again next year. We feel like Friday night's game may be our last of the season just because of it getting colder and because the whole family can't go and due to the fact that it makes for a very late night for our biggest. I have to say though that the 2 games we went to we really enjoyed! (And how cool is it to KNOW the Homecoming Queen?! We were thrilled for her and her family!)

Saturday morning was full of soccer. Both boys had games bright and early and this time I focused on trying to get some pictures of Austin in action. He has really taken well to soccer and is definitely in the zone come game time. =) The pictures I got aren't the best, but I'm still thankful I captured a few shots of his first year.

He's really good at dribbling down field and scoring goals. I think practicing at home with his big brother and daddy gives him an advantage. =)
About to score! And ready to give high fives to his fan club afterwards. My boys have quite the showing of support for their games.
Leading the herd! We sure are proud of our #9. =)
My favorite soccer players!
And here's what Layton thought about soccer on Saturday morning. Bor-ing! Haha.
Saturday afternoon Garrison and I went to his first "friend" birthday party in B'ville! He was pretty nervous and apprehensive about going but had a ball once we got there and loved playing and celebrating with friends. And I loved being a part of the celebration too! With friends I've known for years. Living here is just the best. =)

The rest of Saturday was sort of a whirlwind. Feeding Layton, grocery shopping, getting all the boys out of the house as fast I could so Terrell could watch the Georgia game in peace, playing on the neighborhood playground at my parents' subdivision, visiting with Granna and Papa a little, feeding Layton again, and then late night pizza for supper. It was crazy but turned out to be a pretty fun night.

Sunday was filled with church for the whole fam, a fun shopping date for Terrell, Layton, and I in which I got to spend some bday money (yay!), and a fun afternoon for my big boys with Granna and Papa. Then we grilled out with my parents and AnAn and Frankie for supper. On a Sunday night! And last Sunday night we spent with Terrell's family! It's amazing how much we can do and be a part of living here. While I could definitely do without the meltdowns leaving the grandparents' houses, I just love, love, LOVE being here.

That was the biggest blessing I was reminded of this weekend. Despite discouragement, disappointment, hiccups to our plans, and Sunday night meltdowns, experiencing life here is just a big, huge blessing. There's no where else I'd rather do life. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Favorites: Homecoming Week

This week has been Homecoming Week for us (since we live in a 1 high school town, all the schools get to enjoy Homecoming festivities together) and it's made the return to school after a week off a lot more bearable. My biggest was dreading going back something serious so I'm thankful this week turned out to be pretty fun for him.

Going all the way back to last Friday night, here are my faves from the week...

*Terrell got home from his trip away last Friday afternoon so we loaded up the kiddos for the fair as a fun surprise and treat. Garrison LOVED it and Austin loved the idea of it. Poor Austin wasn't tall enough to ride anything on his own, so whatever he rode had to be something that he was tall enough to ride with an adult. And after riding on the fastest carousel in the world, those rides just weren't that appealing to my middle.

He actually made up his mind to ride the helicopters with me but after having to sit there and wait for everyone else to load up and get strapped in, he changed his mind and started to panic... so we ended up getting off. Poor baby. Better luck next year hopefully.

*This sweet boy makes me smile every time I feed him. He loves to eat. =)

*Last Saturday afternoon Terrell surprised me and asked me out on a last-minute date! Terrell's parents were able to keep the boys for us for a couple of hours and we ended up buying groceries together and then enjoyed a quiet, uninterrrupted, conversation-filled meal together. So fun!

*Garrison's giraffe, Tall Legs, busted his head open over the weekend. I was never totally clear on the details of how this happened. If you look closely you can see his bandaid. I'm happy to report that Garrison took great care of him and and he has now made a full recovery. =)

*Austin did some "reading" this week during school. I have some small little books I put together of very simple "emergent reader" text so he was able to read sentences like "A zebra. A tiger. A giraffe.", with picture clues to help. He was soo proud of himself! I was pretty proud too. =)

*Terrell found the boys their first ever pair of boots this week for Boots Day at school. They've never been interested in boots before so we've never purchased any until now. Fireman rain boots are a pretty big hit!

*My baby learned a new trick this week... He can now roll all the way over in his swing. And then he just looks around like it's completely normal and he's just hanging out. He now has to be strapped in every single time... and I'm thinking an upgrade to something more age appropriate may be in our future.
*Outside time this week has been fun!

*Yesterday we enjoyed our very first Homecoming Parade since over 10 years ago. The boys had a ball! And thank goodness AnAn and Frankie were there as my back-up because keeping an eye on 2 busy big boys plus a baby was a little challenging.

*I just love this picture. It gives me a glimpse at the future. So thankful for my boys' sweet friends.

*Even Elmo made an appearance! Garrison got a hug and Austin got out of there! Ha! (Austin doesn't do live characters. He is clearly my saftey first, extra cautious child. =))

We've had a pretty great week (other than my survival mode episode on Wednesday night when Terrell was out of town... eesh) and now we're looking forward to a pretty fun Fall weekend. Soccer, a birthday party, shopping, and a little down time are all on the agenda. Yay. Happy Friday!!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Goodbye Survival Mode

Survival Mode: The point at which you do whatever possible or absolutely necessary to survive. To make it through. To keep everyone alive and mostly well. To keep your sanity somewhat intact. To just survive.

At our house it looks a lot like fast food, skipping baths, lots of TV time, a stressed-out mama, off the chain boys, a hungry dog who is not only waiting on supper but also on the opportunity to go out and do her business, a messy house, 1 or more boys being slightly neglected while I take care of 1 or more other boys, etc, etc, etc. I'm sure I could think of more survival mode examples but I think I'll stop there and just let you use your imagination. To sum it up, it's desparate. It's out of energy and ideas and good parenting skills. It's just surviving and getting by and not much else.

(I know I sound dramatic and extreme, but given I just experienced full-blown survival mode last night, I think I'm coming from a sincere and pretty accurate place.)

For our family survival mode typcially occurs when Terrell or I (or both) are sick, OR, when Terrell has to work really late. That's when things get crazy and we just do what we have to do to make it to bedtime because sometimes that's all you can do. Sometimes you have to feed the kids McDonald's while the house remains a disaster zone and the dog barks and begs for supper and a potty break and the kids either skip a bath or give themselves a bath (hahaha) and bedtime is a 3 ring circus act (literallly, one act for each boy), before they're finally asleep and you think you've made it... only to realize the dog still hasn't been tended to and neither has the McDonald's trash. Ahhhhhh. The craziness of it all is overwhelming. 

However, thankfully for us, survival mode has always been a sort of rare occurrence. We aren't sick that often, Terrell's back doesn't go out too regularly, and Terrell typically doesn't have after hours meetings/obligations with work or much travel.

Until now.

I may have mentioned my husband's going to be working and/or traveling quite a bit this Fall. He's basically going to be away traveling or working late at least once a week and up to a whole week every week until the week of Thanksgiving. (And then again in January, I just can't think about that right now) And up until last night I've tried my best not to be dramatic about it. I've remained supportive and confident in my abilities to hold down the fort and very go with the flow about it all. We even made it through his first traveling dates last week with no issues. Praise the Lord!

Unfortunately last night just wasn't so good. My survival mode tendancies came out and I barely made it to bedtime. The boys were fine (at least I hope they aren't scarred), me not so much. There was drama and yelling and exhaustion and craziness. Ughhh. By the time I made it to bedtime I was worn out and defeated and determined to find a better way. Because survival mode is okay every once in a while. It's fine and necessary for those rare occasions when you just have to do what you have to do. But every single time daddy is away this Fall? That's not okay. Last night is not how I want the boys to experience half of our Fall season.

So I'm going to be changing my approach. I'm going to prepare and plan for and do my best to implement some normalcy while I'm on my own in the coming weeks. I know I will have some nights like last night. It's probably inevitable. Survival mode isn't always a bad thing, it's just a bad thing for me to resort to over and over and over again during the next month and a half.

It's so funny to me how during the day I'm totally fine going at it solo and being way out-numbered. It's just my thing. I still have moments when I lose my cool and yell and make mistakes, but I never panic and I never go into survival mode (unless I'm sick I guess). But in the evenings when it comes to feeding everybody, bathing everybody, taking care of everybody, and getting everybody to bed all on my own, things get crazy (and ugly) and tend to fall apart. And that's what I really want to change. That, and the fast food, too much TV, lack of good hygiene, and drama-filled wildness that usually occurs.

I want to be able to cook for my boys, let them play, manage to have a somewhat normal bathtime, and keep our usual bedtime routine intact. I want things to feel relaxed and predictable for them. I don't want to be on such a short fuse just because I'm by myself that they get in trouble for every little thing and then finally just start acting out like crazy little people because they're feeding off of my flustered, panic-mode lack of confidence and consistency. I want a realistic game plan that works for everybody and I want to enjoy my time with them. I don't want to just wish away all this time I'll be on my own with Terrell out of town or working late. I know I'll have help from the grandparents some days and I'm so grateful to be here in the hometown where I can call back-up anytime, I just want to be prepared for the days and nights when I'll have to be on my own or when it's best for me to be on my own.

The biggest thing I'm going to focus on is getting out of the house in the afternoon after homework is done. If the weather is nice I want to take advantage and just get them outdoors to move and run and play hard. I also want to plan some simple meals. And I think I'm going to start focusing totally on Layton first at bathtime/bedtime, and then once he's in bed take care of the big boys. Who knows if any of this will work or how it will go, but I have to start somewhere. I'm sure it's going to be trial and error for a while, but I'm determined to find a better way. Survival mode is supposed to be a last resort, rare thing so I'm making it my goal to keep it that way.

Like the Casting Crowns song says It's time for us to more than just survive, we were made to thrive.

And that's exactly what I intend to do. Gulp. It's a tall order and lofty goal but I have to try my best for my boys. Time to start praying and seeking wisdom and patience and strength and energy. Goodbye survival mode!

(Until I'm really desparate.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

8 Months Old

Layton turned 8 months old on Sunday and I find myself feeling torn between sadness over my baby being 8 months old ALREADY and gratefulness that he's still VERY much my baby. He's still a baby-baby, still itty bitty, still our littlest little man. And then it hit me that I'll always view him as my baby. (Garrison and Austin too, but even more so with Layton.) He'll always be young in my eyes. I know a few moms who still view their last baby as "the baby" even though they're full-blown big boys and just as old or older than my biggest boy. There's just something about the last baby that makes you always see them as a little smaller, a little younger, a little more baby than they really are. And I think I'm finally starting to get that now. While I don't plan on spoiling Layton more than his big brothers or letting him get away with whatever he wants or "baby-ing" him forever, I do see the temptation and challenge that last bundle of joy presents. But oh how I'm loving experiencing all things baby again. The blessing of this baby is priceless and I'm going to soak up his babyhood and savor it for as long as I can. =)

Monkey pics!
Layton is the first Selph boy who has really paid a lot of attention to his animal...

Garrison at 8 months...
Austin at 8 months...
8 Months Stats & Happenings...
*You weigh 15 pounds 10 ounces (we just went to the doctor today so this should be accurate) and are somewhere over 26 inches long. I think. We probably won't figure out your correct length until we go back for your 9 month appointment. This month we decided to add a bottle of formula to your feedings in addition to me nursing you 4 times a day. So far, so good! Yay!!
*You are still wearing a size 3 in diapers and 6-9 or 6-12 months clothes... so no changes there but we are so thankful you've gained weight and keep right on growing!
*You still have a huge appetite and are doing great with solids! As soon as you get some teeth I'm thinking you'll be ready to try some finger foods. You never turn down food!
*Speaking of teeth, you have 2 on the bottom that are almost ready to break through! Yaaay! Hopefully once that happens (and you finish your antibiotic for another little ear infection) we can get rid of this never-ending cold and congestion and crud you've had.
*You still aren't super impressed with the sippy cup but I think you'll get better and better about taking it and be ready to give up the bottle by your 1st birthday.
*You still go to bed around 7:30 every night and are still waking up about once a night almost every night. Once every week or so you'll decide to sleep throught the night but still nothing consistent like you used to. I know all your congestion isn't making it easy on you though! Thankfully you usually just need your paci and you go right back to sleep on your own. You're still a bit of an early bird but most mornings we can get you to go back to sleep for a little while before you're up for the day around 7:00.
*Your naps have suffered a little this month too... mainly because of being sick. However, you are easy to put down for naps so I'm thankful for that and that we've managed to hold onto our routine despite our busy household and big school schedule.
*You are starting to sit up just a little more! You still aren't a huge fan of it, but you will sit by yourself without help for a few seconds at a time now. Your big brothers are super impressed. =)
*You are slowly but surely becoming more mobile. You haven't mastered a scoot or anything yet, but you spin around and roll around and reach, grab, and stretch all the time...indicating a scoot is possibly coming soon. It's becoming very rare for you to stay in one spot. You are reminding me a lot of Garrison when he was baby... content and laid back and in no real hurry. =) Austin had already pulled up for the first time by 8 months. Ha.
*You LOVE watching your big brothers and are pretty curious about what they're up to. And you are always happy to see them first thing in the morning and right after you wake up from your naps. You love giving them a big ole smile that they just can't get enough of.
*You don't love... waiting to be fed, getting cleaned up after eating, Austin pulling on you or being a little too hands on with you, and your big brothers being in your face, space, or area for too long.
*We are loving watching you grow and celebrating all the new things you're learning and doing. We love you LOTS! Happy Birthday to our sweet littlest man!!