Monday, August 31, 2015

A Birthday Tradition

On yesterday the 5 Selph's ventured out together for Austin's special birthday outing! This is a tradition we started the year Garrison turned 3 and it's one we plan to keep year after year for each birthday boy. A birthday trip/outing/experience is our main gift to each of our boys on their birthdays and has become such a fun tradition for them and something they are excited about and look forward to every single year. Garrison is already talking about where he might want to go come February. =) 

We either surprise them with a special outing or let them pick some place special they'd like to go... and for now either take the whole fam or just the big boys. One day this tradition may include a best bud, but for now it's perfect as is. And this year Austin chose Six Flags. It worked out perfect because that was sort of our idea all along. =)

 We had the best time celebrating our middle man and spending time together as a family having lots of fun!

The weather almost threatened to interfere with our plans but we pressed on... and are so glad we did! It was raining up a storm when we left our house and continued to POUR on us almost the entire way. We eventually got off the interstate because it didn't feel safe to continue driving in the downpour. We made a pit stop for breakfast and a little play time, finally saw a slight break in the clouds, and the rain finally eased up. 

By the time we parked and got everyone out of the car at Six Flags, the rain had stopped completely! A birthday outing miracle!! We went straight for Bugs Bunny World and rode the first ride we came to. Even Layton got to ride this one. =) He was a fan at first, and a little terrified later. Haha.

Thanks to the weather we just about had the whole place to ourselves. It was wonderful! No lines, no crowds, no waiting! Such a treat for our birthday boy and the whole fam. =)

Garrison got to ride the Mine Train roller coaster twice and loved every second. He's our thrill seeker while Austin is our cautious child. The jury is still out on Layton. We cracked up watching the faces of the big boys on various rides. Garrison's face was lit up and smiling and having the best time. Austin's face was usually serious, a little nervous, and concentrating on surviving the ride. Hahaha. It was so funny! 

Garrison also loves the real life characters while Austin always chooses to keep his distance.

The carousel was a big hit for all of us! We rode it more than once since it was a fun ride everybody could enjoy.

All my boys. =)

The Carrot Patch may have been Austin's favorite part of the whole trip. That and driving me around in the old fashioned car. =) The big boys loved running around hitting and dodging carrots. We stopped by the patch twice and they played and played and played. We had to time them because they would've stayed in there all day. I'm sure getting to run around and hit, punch, swing, and dodge without getting in trouble is like a little boy's dream or something. Ha!

We let Austin choose the last couple of rides for the day and one thing he really wanted to do was ride the train. I promise he loved it! Even though you can't tell from the picture. Haha! He also chose to ride the cars again and this time he drove me around and we had so much fun! We laughed and laughed at his driving. It was such a fun way to wrap up our birthday tradition. And pretty special for me to get to experience the last ride of the day with my birthday boy. I was thankful he didn't ditch me for daddy. =)

We are officially on countdown to our middle man's 4th birthday! We have plans for our traditional celebration with him on Thursday and are looking forward to his party on Saturday. He is so excited and so are we!

Another fun birthday tradition is in the books. Happy Birthday week Austin Selph!!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday Favorites: August Whirlwind Edition

This week has been a whirlwind and we are super thankful it's Friday! Whew! August gets to us every year. *Big sigh* Between a busy week, a paint project, financial decisions, pool decisions, party prep, working late almost every night, and half the house getting over being sick, we're all pretty exhausted. Especially mama and daddy. But we've made it to the weekend and can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel on some of our August woes... which are mainly, at the core, blessings.

Though life doesn't always fit nicely into a neat little schedule, all the things I have to do are evidence of blessings. If I'd just look at life a little more from this perspective, everything would seem so much sweeter. ~Lysa TerKeurst

Yes. Amen. Repeat as needed. Daily. =)

Here's a look at my favorites from our whirlwind of a week...

*Last Friday Garrison was chosen as "Trojan of the Week" by his PE teacher! Garrison was so proud. And so were we! Only one student per class was chosen and it was given to someone who pays attention, cooperates well with others, keeps personal space, is eager to learn and participate, and does what is asked of them. Yay for doing a great job and standing out in PE! (Shortly after this picture was taken we were off to the doctor... again. Thankfully Dr. Swatts came to our rescue! =))

*We also celebrated Terrell's birthday with my side of the fam on Saturday night. We went out to eat together and then had everybody over for cake, ice cream, and presents. Love how much my boys love their daddy... and anybody's birthday. =)

*Sunday afternoon Layton and I ran a couple of errands while the big boys made paper airplanes with daddy and then tested them out. They had so much fun. It really is the little things. (Those little flags all over our backyard are marking our septic lines... pool decisions are on the brain. Mainly the location and whether or not to move forward now or sometime in the future. Another post for another day.)

*These two are turning into pretty good playmates! A little game of indoor baseball is Austin's favorite.. and it's pretty fun for Layton too! Too bad Layton recently discovered how to climb all the way up the bunk bed ladder to Garrison's bed and has now been pretty much banned from the big boy room. Gracious. 

*Working our brain muscles with a game of memory. =)

*Our 2nd ever game night was another huge success! Austin chose Yahtzee just like Garrison did last week, so we've yet to try out a different game as a family... but Yahtzee is a safe choice and crowd favorite. =) The big boys are loving our new tradition. And we are too!

*Austin's 1st day of school is coming up right after Labor Day so we worked on some handwriting practice this week and shape recognition. His summer break is wrapping up so it's time to get back in gear. =) He's going to do great and I'm so excited for him to start school! 

*My littles who keep me on my toes during the day (it's always an adventure around here!), but also play together well and independently and every now and then allow me to get things done around the house. =)

*Today is College Colors Day for Garrison at school. So we're all participating in supporting mama and daddy's alma mater. =) Layton was still in bed for these pics but he's wearing his Georgia red today too. 

This weekend we're looking forward to finishing up our paint project, a little extra rest for the whole fam, a family get together, and a fun birthday outing for Austin. So thankful we almost made it to the weekend! Happy, happy Friday!! =)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Better Together

Better Together. 

This is the name of the new "series" our Sunday School teacher is doing with our class. We just started a couple of weeks ago and we are loving it so far. It's been such a good reminder for us and such an amazing confirmation straight from the Lord that we're on the right path when it comes to family life. 

The overall theme of the series is that we, as married couples, are better together and that our families are worth fighting for. We've talked about giving our children both roots and wings and the importance of flexibility, firmness, fairness, and FUN in our families. 

The main verses we've focused on are Hebrews 10:24-25, And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another- and all the more as you see the Day approaching. We've discussed it mainly in the context of family life. Spurring one another on and not giving up meeting together. Not giving up family dinners, family devotionals, (family game nights =)), family time at home, bringing your family to church, date nights, time set aside for each other, praying together, being together as both a family and a couple. 

We also looked at Matthew 12:25, Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. It is so, so important to be on the same page as much as possible in our marriages. I've touched on it some here on the blog, but this has always been a big one for us in our marriage. I think most of it stems from us being such opposites because from the start there were a few things we weren't exactly on the same page about. And we struggled with them a lot in the beginning. And still do struggle with some newbies from time to time. But we've found if we can communicate well, compromise well, and seek His will, we will always find ourselves on the same page! We are better together and seeking to figure things out together. Our marriage and our family is our most precious possession and we have to fight to keep Satan from dividing us.

I honestly didn't realize how much I needed this confirmation and encouragement until I received it. And it has been such a blessing! I am a homebody and family girl by nature. I've never had a busy, hoppin' social life and never been one to feel totally comfortable in bigger social gatherings/settings. I'm definitely more of an introvert so they're always just a tad outside my comfort zone. Big family gatherings, no problem. Going out with besties, my favorite. Dream Team reunion, the best. Double dates, so fun. But going out with larger groups that I don't know so well is a stretch for me. It's always easier for me to just be home (or out) with my little family. 

And I think some of our decisions to miss out on bigger social get-togethers... whether church related, kid related, school related, etc, have made me feel a little self-conscious. I've questioned whether it's truly best for our family or if at times just comes down to Terrell and I being selfish. I've even questioned if I'm truly giving my kiddos wings. I'm pretty confident about the roots... the wings are a different story. I don't want to shelter them and keep them home so much that they're afraid of independence or using their wings. I don't want to ever hinder their growth or hold them back from great things. 

We don't participate in summer camps... yet. We don't sign our kids up for everything under the sun that comes along. We aren't able to go to every party or get-together we're invited to. And so far, we're committed to only one sport per kid in the Fall and one sport per kid in the Spring. That's it. Firm rule straight from mama. =) These decisions are both financially based and what's best for the whole family versus just one member of the family based. But sometimes I wonder if we should do more. If we should offer our kids more opportunities. If we should sign them up for more and participate in more and do more.... more, more, more. Sigh.

But through our Sunday School series we've both been reminded that at this season and this stage for our family... one full of soccer, homework, school, choir, birthday parties, and other fun outings, we need to prioritize and fight for time together. Not just a routine of passing in the night as a couple. Not just dividing and conquering so the whole family is always going separate directions. Not being involved in everything around us that's offered just because it's offered and available to us and/or our kids. At this point in time, what is best for our family is to be together more than we're apart. And together at home as much as possible during this busy season of school starting back and extracurriculars picking up. And while it's challenging and tough at times we both know this is what's best for us as a couple, for our boys, and for our family as a whole. 

We still don't have it all figured out. We still question what we should be doing versus what we should pass on doing. I'm definitely guilty of comparing what our family does or doesn't do to what other friends and moms in our "circle" do. Never a good thing by the way. Comparing ourselves to others is straight from Satan. Ugh. 

It's easy to look around at other families and to then question decisions we're making for our family. Because they may look very different. And sometimes this leads to jealousy and other times it leads to pride. I think what I'm learning as we parent and raise our family alongside friends is that all families are different and all families, for the most part, are doing what they think and feel and believe to be best for their family. And it could be totally different than what is best for our family. And that's okay! In fact it's very likely. We feel different quite a bit. In the minority. The only ones not doing such and such. The only ones choosing not to do fill in the blank. But if we're at peace about it and we're following God's direction for our family, then that's all that matters. 

I'm so thankful for the encouragement and confirmation and even conviction I've experienced through our little series. We are better together. And not just during this season but for always. My favorite verse from last Sunday was Psalm 34:3, Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. As a couple and as a family that's what we should be doing. Glorifying the Lord and exalting his name together. 

Prioritize your family time. Prioritize your couple time. Fight for your family. You are always better together. =)

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Favorites: TGIF!!!!

Oh my goodness am I happy to see Friday!! This week has been a doozy. We've been sick... and still are. Terrell had to go out of town overnight. Garrison had to miss a day of school. I had to make a trip to the doctor with all 3 of my little men in tow. I got very little sleep the night Terrell was away... not because of the boy but because of being sick. It was just a challenging week. So we are very thankful it's Friday and reeally looking forward to the weekend. Praise Jesus for 2 days off. 

Even though it's been a bit of a rough week, we've enjoyed some sweet moments too. We kicked off a new weekly tradition, my babies took great care of me, and we celebrated daddy's birthday. Here are my favorites, short and sweet, from this crazy week...

*Saturday night walking into the Braves game, Terrell noticed this couple and their awesome shirts! So I hung back so I could snap a picture. I love it! And really want some for me and Terrell. =) #TogetherSince1999

 *This sweet boy loves to play board games and card games. It's his favorite way to pass the time while Garrison is at school. This week we got in a few games of Uno. =)

*And if baby brother is awake, he wants to sit at the table and participate too. So we have to give him the pieces we aren't using and hope that satisfies him. Haha.

*Garrison practiced soccer on Monday night just before the monsoon arrived. Watching him play is already fun and games haven't even started yet!

*Tuesday was a tough day. I had to pick Garrison up early from school. Then I took him to the doctor because Terrell was leaving to go out of town the next day, Baby A was coming the next day, and none of the grandparents were available in case of emergency. This was also the day I felt the worst. So being trapped in an exam room with my 3 little men, one of whom felt bad, one of whom is in to everything, and one of whom felt great but became stir crazy super fast, was really, really hard. Once I got back to the car I sort of fell apart. My nerves were shot and I was feeling worse and worse. After getting home I tried getting in the bed and just letting the boys play and take over the house. Of course that didn't go exactly as planned. And my sweet Garrison felt sorry for me and was determined to try to help me feel better. So him and Austin made me the sweetest cards and offered me water and did their best to make me better. Melt my heart.

*Even though I wasn't feeling my best we still managed to get in our new weekly tradition... Family Game Night. =) This school year, so far, Tuesday night is our only free and open night during the week. So we decided to try something new and totally family centered. It's really important to us to maintain some quality family time... especially on our free night together and at home, and games are a big time favorite so game night was an easy choice! It was Garrison's day so he got to choose the game. Yahtzee was a hit! And it was a great way to talk about and encourage good sportsmanship and making sure we have fun even though there can only be one winner. Our first round went perfect!! No hurt feelings, pouting, or drama. =) Austin's excited about picking the game for this coming Tuesday!

*My little sidekick may be my shadow for most of the day but he's also my biggest helper. =)

*Garrison received this super sweet note from his teacher in the mail yesterday! He was soo proud. And what a great impression this made on all of us! We are just loving 1st grade and Mrs. Clements so much!!

*Yesterday we also celebrated daddy coming home from his overnight trip AND his birthday!! Terrell was able to get home just in time to take the big boys to soccer while I made him spaghetti... his birthday dinner request. After soccer and supper we enjoyed homemade cookies (if you know me, you know I'm not a baker and this is a big deal, haha), plus vanilla ice cream, cool whip, and chocolate syrup. It was a pretty yummy birthday dessert. Then, after all the boys had baths, we gave daddy his presents. It was a fun night celebrating the birthday boy. =) 

*Favorite read this week... 25 Unforgettable Lessons From 25 Years of Marriage. After 10 years of marriage I can say from experience that these are really, really true. I'm so thankful for Terrell Selph and the marriage God has blessed us with. We don't have it all figured out but we're learning and getting better and better. And thankfully most of these lessons we've already learned. =)

TGIF!! Tonight Terrell and I are looking forward to a date night for Terrell's birthday! =) Then Saturday and Sunday should be laid back. We'll celebrate Terrell's birthday with my side of the family tomorrow and hopefully enjoy the weekend good and healthy! Happy Friday!!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Weekend of Good Times

This weekend was full of good times for us. Some of the best times. Fun weekends spent together as a family are such a blessing! Especially when they involve some extra rest too. =)

Friday night was super low-key. We got Mexican take-out and the big boys watched their movie while Terrell cut the grass and I put Layton to bed before joining my bigs on the couch.

Saturday morning we all slept late and then I went out to buy groceries solo (woohoo!) while Terrell took the boys to the little neighborhood park that's right down the street. Garrison's passenger in the dune racer on the way to the park was Layton... his first ever ride... which he wasn't sure he was a fan of (wish we could've gotten a picture!), and Austin's passengers was Layton's cup, plus 3 gatorades. Haha! They had a fun morning with daddy. =)

Then my mom surprised us by coming over and working and helping us tame the flowers and landscaping we inherited. Terrell grilled hotdogs for us for lunch and then it was rest time for everybody before heading out for the Braves game!!

Since we had the opportunity to take the big boys to another game, and it was on a Saturday, and they really wanted a ball last time but we weren't able to make it happen... we decided to go super early in time for batting practice. 

We arrived before 5:00 shortly after the gates opened to a mostly empty Turner Field, the Braves taking batting practice, and HOT temps. Whew! The outfield filled up quickly with lots and lots of kiddos requesting balls. So many that we wondered if we might miss out. After staying there for what felt like hours with no luck, our biggest was getting down and discouraged. We were all sweaty and losing hope fast. BUT, a Diamondback relief pitcher (we think) came to our rescue and gave us a ball!!!

It was a dream come true for Garrison Cade. =) Austin was pretty excited too... even though earlier he may have declared he didn't want a ball anymore. He was melting from the heat and tired of rejection. So technically he didn't know what he was saying. =)

We were thrilled after all of our failed attempts at getting players' attention and begging for a ball and saying things like WE DON'T HAVE ONE!! THEY NEED A BALL (POINTING AT MY CHILDREN)!! OVER HERE! HEY!!!!! It was pretty hard core. But alas that sweet player had mercy on us. Bless him. =) Then, a few minutes later while we were still basking in our proud owner of an official Major League baseball glory, another Diamondback relief pitcher (we think) offered us a ball. And I didn't even have to yell like a crazy person. Haha! But then he asked if we already had one... so we did the right thing and told the truth and shared with another kiddo. Such a sweet memory with my boys. 

After finally getting a ball we decided to go grab something to eat. Pizza in the shade was just what we needed. Then we were off to the tip top of the field for the Coca Cola seats and running the bases. It was military appreciation day so we also had a really cool view of some military guys parachuting onto the field. The boys were in awe. Us too!

The boys loved running down the base line... Austin eventually tried... after watching Garrison and making sure it was safe...

And then we moved on to the big coke seats. =)

Pretty great view of the city from the top!

We finally made it to our seats in time for the game to start and almost witnessed a home run from our first batter of the game! Soo close!

Oh my cotton candy... =)

The boys tired out pretty quickly this game. Getting there so early made the night long. Plus we were there on a Saturday night and it was a lot more crowded than what we're used to since we typically try going on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday night during the summer with a lighter crowd. Plus we were losing the whole game. Ha. 

But we did stay until the 7th inning stretch to hear Timothy Miller sing God Bless America. That was worth it. =)

 Right after God Bless America we sang Take Me Out to the Ballgame. Then we watched the bottom of the 7th inning until the Diamondbacks changed pitchers and we decided to head out. 

We had a fun night with our big boys! Til next year, Turner Field. =)

Meanwhile Layton enjoyed a fun afternoon and evening with Granna and Papa and was peacefully sleeping once we made it home sometime before 11:00 Saturday night. Thanks again for keeping our littlest man!!

Then yesterday was pretty amazing. We had a great morning at church, a simple lunch at home, and then I took the big boys back to church for Water and Watermelon Day. They had a ball. =) Love my church family and sweet friends we get to do life with!

Then we came home, watched the Braves win in extra innings, and had tons of fun with daddy and Layton. =)

This is what Layton thought about it being someone else's turn. Bless it.

We got take-out for supper last night and got things ready for our upcoming week. Terrell's birthday is this week and he's going out of town for one night, and we have our usuals of soccer, choir, and homework. We had a touch of the blues this morning but are hoping for a great 3rd week of school and fun birthday week with daddy! Happy Monday afternoon! =)