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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Establishing Physical Boundaries

I wrote this as a guest post awhile back and thought it'd be an appropriate time to share it since it's something I've been working hard on with Britt here lately!


As a child becomes more mobile, boundaries become so important. Toddlerwise (pg 30) states "Boundaries are important for a toddler's development, and in the period between 14 and 20 months, boundaries take on two forms. Physical boundaries, of course are obvious necessities. How far can little feet travel, and how much can little hands touch? Physical boundaries play a role in matters of health and safety. What you allow your child to touch, and where you allow him freedoms to play, are often based on safety concerns first, and learning second."

In my personal view, setting physical boundaries begins prior to age 14 months. As soon as my babies are mobile (even crawling) I begin to train them in what they are allowed to touch and where they are allowed to go. Setting physical boundaries are so important, especially on a daily basis in the home. The more consistent you are in establishing the rules for your home, the smoother the household will run.

In our home, we don't allow our children to touch certain things. Our phones, remote controls, indoor plants, decorative items, door stoppers, etc. From around nine months old we begin training our children and help condition them to understand not to touch these things. We do personally believe in spanking and will give a warning instruction (such as "no ma'am no touching the remote") and remove them from the object. If they choose to do it again we will usually warn again (depending on their age) and this time say "no ma'am if you touch the remote again you will get a spanking" and show the spank stick. If they choose to do it again we do a light tap on the hand, reprimand ("no ma'am, no touching the remote") then comfort instantly ("you are a good girl but you have to make good choices!") and remove from the situation. I know not everyone feels comfortable using this form of discipline and whatever method is used doesn't matter as much as the consistency of that method!

Once my children are toddlers they already understand many of the physical boundaries we have established, but once they start walking it becomes a whole new ball game! At home I am mindful to give them a limited area to play in and if we are sitting down to do an activity I will put the toddler in a highchair etc so they are confined to a given space. Even during video time my toddler sits in a buckled toddler chair to enjoy the movie and is not allowed to freely roam the room. My son is four and is allowed to sit on the couch during movie time and knows not to get up and never moves from his spot because he has been trained to remain seated. Establishing these rules and boundaries will benefit them once in school as they will be required to sit in their seats at their desks for so much of the day!

Buckled in for video time (with several "friends" of course!)

It is amazing what children understand and often times I think we tend not to give them enough credit. At 19 months old I can show my daughter a physical boundary (such as a line on the driveway) and say "do not cross this line" and she will understand my instruction and know that choosing to cross that line is being disobedient and will result in a consequence. Being a toddler means that often she chooses to disobey! She is becoming independent and testing those limits and how far I will allow her to go. I have watched her walk up to a physical boundary that I have established, look at me, then put her little toe directly over the line. She will watch me the entire time to see my reaction. 

Consistency is so important with a toddler, as is always having a watchful eye. I am mindful when I set a physical boundary for her to always keep an eye on it and make sure she stays within it. I believe that having established independent playtime in our daily routine from an early age as allowed my children to understand and accept physical boundaries easier because they are content in a given space. I wish I had the patience to work on blanket time as I totally think that would be a huge help as well! 

19 months old and still content to play happily in the pack and play for independent playtime!

When getting into and out of the car I work a lot on physical boundaries with both of my children. I can  tell my son to stand still and not move and he will not budge at all. This allows me to get my toddler out of the car, put her in the car, load the stroller, etc and not worry about him running off or disobeying. He is able to stand still so well because I began working on that skill early on. Now that my daughter is mobile, I am working with her on this. I will tell her to "stay stay stay" and she does! I make sure when working on this that I'm not distracted in anyway (as I wouldn't want to risk her running off in a busy parking lot!) but I will place her in a spot beside the car and have her look me in the eyes and then say "stand still." I will then continually repeat over and over again "stay stay stay stay stay" until I'm ready to allow her to move and then I will shower her with praise! It is a blessing to have the older sibling with us as he will help congratulate her and make her feel proud for obeying!

Establishing physical boundaries are so important for the safety of our children and for our own peace of mind. As they get older, their boundaries will change and more freedoms will become available to them as they can handle it. The better they are able to obey, the more you can trust them to do so and the easier physical boundaries become to establish. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Flashback Friday: A Tribute to Corey Smith

I had another Flashback Friday post planned for this week but then I got a message on FB from a friend asking me about this video. I had COMPLETELY forgotten about this and with this weekend being the kick-off to college football...I figured it was a good time to share it :)

Growing up Zach was always a Florida State fan. I'm not exactly sure why since his dad is such a hardcore UGA fan but I'm thankful for it since I'm a Seminole Girl myself. ;) While in college I started listening to Corey Smith a decent bit and it always annoyed Zach. He's never been a fan of that sound in music and especially loves to mock country music. He went to visit Austin when he was at Georgia Tech and they made this video together. I don't get half the jokes b/c I know very, very little about football and absolutely nothing about UGA football ;) But let it be said that we in no way dislike UGA or their fans at all. We're neutral with UGA b/c we both hate UF right? ;) It was just two cousins and good friends having fun together. It's a Saturday Night Live type skit and not meant to bash anyone or anything like that. I'm thankful we have this video and thought others might enjoy it as well. It brought a smile to my face today for sure and I know Zach was happy for the opportunity to see it again. 

Speaking of Austin, our local paper re-ran a beautiful article that was written by a paper out in Montana. It is such a well written piece and really does answer any questions anyone may have about what happened to Austin and gives a very wonderful picture of the young man he was. It's a tough read for the family...I don't think that Zach has even read it yet. It's just a little too soon for something with so many details. The wound starts to heal a little and then it's like something else happens to reopen it ya know? I do think it's something I want to keep and put up and someday get down to have him read and will be a great thing to have for the kids to read when they are much older and have questions. I wanted to share it here. I know so many of you are keeping Austin's family in your prayers and I hope that you continue to do so in the days ahead. Something like this isn't ever going to stop hurting or become less painful. I hope, with time, we're all about to talk about Austin without getting tears in our eyes. Be able to share stories (I know I'd love to hear more since I didn't get to experience many with him myself!) and be able to remember him and who he was. I know this video is a great thing for Zach and I to have and to cherish. 

Thank you again for the prayers and I hope everyone has a great weekend enjoying some college football (Yeah...I mean I won't be watching any football myself but I know many others will enjoy it!). 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Library and Brusters Fun

With two kids, lots of free time, and not much spending money there aren't a ton of options around for things to do! I decided one morning to take the kids up to the library. Kye and I have been to the library a couple times but have never actually checked out any books. Is that horrible? Now that Zach and I are Parks and Rec people I kinda felt like a trader walking to the horrible library. Haha. 

Anyways...I have a library card, why not put it to use? So we enjoyed browsing the book selection (Which might I add was pretty sad...most of the books I saw had torn pages or crayon drawings. I mean  just because you are able to borrow the book doesn't give you the right to destroy it!!!) and I let the kids each choose a few to bring home with us. It was a GREAT experience! It's not something I will probably do regularly for two reasons: 1. I was so concerned that we'd accidentally put the books away with our books and forget to return them and 2. pretty much all the books we brought home were so worn that I was scared we'd accidentally damage them!

Kye LOVED getting to choose books and also picked out several for Britt!
Britt was more concerned with following her brother around than she was with any reading :)

I saw this book ON DISPLAY and was really shocked. I mean what is our world coming to that we need books like these? And especially that there is a need for them so strongly that it's on display? So so sad. I didn't read the book but it is good that stuff like this is available for children who need it :( We are all so blessed huh? I'm so thankful that this is something my own children won't experience (at least they better not!!!). 

After we finished up at the library I was in a great mood and just wanted to SPOIL my babies :) So we hit up Bruster's on the way home! I lucked out because even though Kye is right at 40 inches tall now he somehow still measured a little below it by their standards. So he still qualified for the FREE "baby cone!" Library = FREE and then Brusters = FREE! (And yes, I'm proud of myself for resisting the temptation to buy myself a treat!). 

It was Britt's first time ever getting an ice cream cone and she was SO excited! Unlike Kye's first time I didn't come prepared at all. No bib. Not even any wipes haha. Living on the wild side ;)

Don't hate on Kye's awesome watch! It's his Cow watch from CFA. I'm telling you...I was in total "cool mom" mode that day. I let him wear that and wear his Toy Story flip flops!

Us Parkers know how to CHOW DOWN on some ice cream! Both kids ate every bite: cone and all. And the mess wasn't too bad either! We got home and ate lunch (Yes, ice cream before lunch. Ya gotta live it up once in awhile right?) and I was shocked that they both still ate well for their lunch food! I guess it's true what they say "dessert doesn't fill you up" ;) 

I could NOT resist closing out the post with my favorite picture from when Kye first got Bruster's. This picture was a favorite of mine for so long and it still makes my heart smile! My babies are my joy :)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Monster Day!

I got home from Memphis at 2 am on a Saturday morning (June 22nd if anyone was wondering just how far behind I am!). Thankfully my sweet husband let me sleep a little later than our usual 7 am wake up time. Even though I was tired, I was itching to see the kids! Zach took them down to the golf course to hit some balls (and, yes, he dressed them too...) and then we agreed I'd meet up with them at Lowe's for Build and Grow!
Britt's face = PRICELESS
That weekend was when the new Disney Pixar movie, Monsters University, came out in theaters. Zach and I planned on having to kids participate in the Monsters themed Build and Grow and then surprise them that afternoon with going to the movie! Good plan huh?
Britt was more into "reading" the directions than actually building. 
Her Mama's child...she will give the directions and let the boys do the legit work haha

Finished products!
Yes, I wore the exact same outfit as the day prior. Don't judge ;)
The movie was playing at 4 which worked out great for their schedules. We got them up from naps and headed to the theater! I snuck in their dinners to give them something to do while watching and hoped that Britt would be quiet enough during the movie. Our first family movie experience was at the dollar theater and it went GREAT but this was an entirely different game. Mega popular movie on the weekend it was first released AND at the "new" theater. The place was packed full of people and it did not go as smoothly as our first movie experience!

Britt struggled sitting still and being quiet during the movie. Zach actually took her out multiple times. And she yelled out several times too. She kept saying random words SUPER loud. She wasn't fussy really, just LOUD. Like she would say "Papa papa papa!" even though Mr Rusty wasn't there with us. I was mortified. I know it was very expensive for our family to do such an outing and that everyone else in the theater spent good money to be there as well so we did our best to keep her as quiet as possible! 

Luckily no one said anything to us about it and there were a TON of kids there too so I'm sure she wasn't the only one being disruptive (it just feels like that sometimes though doesn't it? Like at church if she's fussy I feel like EVERYONE is staring at us haha). She did keep rubbing the guy's head who was sitting in front of us and it was so funny! She's def not shy at all!

The movie was FABULOUS. I really, really have a hatred for Cars 2. We were SO disappointed with it and I was nervous about Monsters University as well. It being set in college I knew there was potential for a lot of inappropriate adult humor. Partying scenes. Drinking. Etc. Basically what society often views as "the college experience." I did my homework before we went so I'd be prepared as to what we'd be seeing. I like to go into a movie we haven't seen before prepared to talk to the kids about anything they see that isn't okay or doesn't follow our value system for our family. I wish I had done the same thing before we saw Cars 2 but that was a good lesson for me and now I ALWAYS check out the site pluggedin before letting the kids see a movie I haven't already seen myself!

Zach and I both REALLY enjoyed the movie. It had a great storyline that kept us all watching (well...not so much Britt but I mean she's not even two yet haha) and wanting more. I can already bet that both this movie as well as Wreck-It Ralph will be under the Christmas tree this year!

After the movie Kye wanted a picture in front of some of the movie posters at the theater. I let him get one in front of this Turbo poster even though he will not be seeing the movie. I mean we are Disney people to the core and I'm not about to spend money on a non-Disney movie. Duh :) I mean it's just a knock-off of the Cars franchise anyway right?
Roaring like a monster which is our new favorite "animal sound" around here!
If your family hasn't seen Monsters University yet then I HIGHLY recommend it! Very family friendly. Not the least bit scary at ALL and a solid storyline that any age can pretty much follow :) 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Our last day in Memphis and the day I'd been waiting for!!! GRACELAND DAY!!! Whooohooo!!!!

We started off that morning by taking our time getting up and ready for the day and enjoying a free breakfast with all the other Elvis fans staying at the hotel. It was neat to instantly have a common bond with every single person there! We even met a couple from Brazil who were visiting America for a short time and considered Graceland to be a "must see" place. Kinda funny to me? But I guess Elvis is about as American as they come huh?

We had a short walk over to the entrance and passed over a cute bridge covered in signatures on the way. Duh...we had to add our names to the bunch :)
Wait...Elvis is still alive?!?!
Tickets! This is LEGIT!
On the shuttle ride over we were, as expected, the youngest ones there. An older couple even commented on how nice it was to see a younger generation with an appreciation for The King. Um DUH. Who doesn't love Elvis?!?! I was pretty much brainwashed from birth and didn't actually realized just how much I know about him until that day. I have all this random Elvis knowledge tucked away to bust out as needed. I totally need to get some kind of Elvis trivia game b/c I'd win that beast for sure!!!

It was an awesome moment to arrive at Graceland. I loved how normal his home looks and thought the entire thing was done so well. Seriously! It was just enough Elvis to satisfy the hardcore fans but it wasn't too much either where it became boring. Casey knew very little about Elvis but enjoyed the entire thing and left wanting to learn more about him which I think is the way you'd want a tour to be! Leave 'em wanting more :)

It's set up as a self guided audio tour. They only shuttle over a certain amount of people at a time so it's not crowded and it all ran super smoothly. I took a good amount of pictures (no flash allowed so sorry for the blurry ones) and really we walked through the whole house in under an hour I think? It was a quick thing but SUPER awesome!!! It reminded me a lot of the Biltmore House (which we visited when I was freshly pregnant with Kye...preblogging days!) but it was a quicker tour which was a good thing. After awhile the Biltmore House gets a little boring!

Here's some photos of The King's Home:

Lisa Marie totally favors Britt a little :) Maybe we share the Presley bloodline!
Carpet in the kitchen!
Old school security system

Something I never remembered learning about Elvis was this whole TCB thing ("taking care of business"). I don't remember ever knowing that term but Casey and I became obsessed with it. I mean it's pretty dang awesome right? It only makes Elvis even COOLER!!!
The house was NOT what I'd expected. I was picturing it looking so classy and elegant and everything would be gold or fancy or something. Instead it was straight up vintage 1970s style! It was an awesome surprise!!!
Shag Carpet on the walls!

Everyone needs a pink waterfall in their house right?
Lisa Marie's playset

I really enjoyed seeing all of his records, awards, and memorabilia 

I think it's my first time seeing a Grammy in real life?

I LOVE his paisley tux! So cool...totally wish Zach had rocked one like it for our wedding

I thought this was so precious, how he carried the award with him!

"Before anyone did anything...Elvis did everything"
It was a little disappointing that they don't allow people to go upstairs in the home and see his room. There was VERY little mention at all about his death or what all had occurred during that time when he passed. I think it was very respectful to not focus on all of that and the audio guide said they didn't allow people upstairs because Elvis didn't like company to go upstairs. He would always greet people at the front door so that's how they want it to be kept. I also think it would be difficult not to discuss his death in more detail if they allowed people upstairs since it is where he died, ya know?

I also think it's neat that they had him moved to a final resting place at Graceland. He loved his home and he loved his family and it's beautiful that they are all together. 
His twin brother who was stillborn at birth
It was sad to see that his grandmother out lived so much of her family. Her children and her grandson as well. It's a blessing to live a long life like she did but it's also sad that she endured such pain to lose so many that she loved. 
Our platinum tickets included the car museum 

Duh, my favorite
Casey's fav b/c she always has to be different haha

I totally think Casey and I need to rock some matching TCB tattoos like Brody Jenner has...don't you think?
Had to resist the temptation to buy this! I was a hardcore Barbie collector back in the day!
We did a good bit of shopping. I found a Christmas ornament for our tree and bought the kids an adorable book called 10 Little Elvi. I also got Mrs. Charlotte a little something for watching the kids for me so we could go on the trip :) I didn't get Zach a prize b/c he's 0% an Elvis fan haha I really, really wanted to buy myself some awesome Elvis pjs that looked like his Vegas outfit. But with a $50 price tag I resisted :)

For lunch we just stayed at Graceland and got to eat inside an old car! Pretty cool! We chatted it up with a nice lesbian couple and their children. We are SO sheltered down here in South Georgia b/c it took us both a LONG time to realize the two women were in a relationship and not just two friends haha. We wonder if they thought we were in a relationship too?!?! 

Our tickets also included a tour of Elvis' planes!

Learning so much about Elvis that day really made me like him more! He has this image of being so full of himself and of living a wild life, but really that's not who he was at all. He was shy and kept to himself and wasn't even wild! In fact, he didn't like alcohol and instead wanted his plane always stocked with Gatorade!!! 

We had a LOT of time to kill so what better to do than get some ice cream? Casey's face in the first one is hilarious!

Goodbye Graceland, we love you!

It was a REALLY great tour and something I would possibly do again someday. I mean I don't have a desire to really go back but if someone wanted to go I'd def be down! I think we were both glad to have seen it as Elvis is so much a part of American culture!!! 

We got back to the hotel and straight up CHILLED for like an hour before getting our ride to the airport. The news was on and we had to watch the whole Paula Dean scandal news on repeat over and over again while we waited. Our ride to the airport was pretty classic. The dude who drove us is really into the underground music scene and basically was trying to sound all cool about some random music genre I've never even heard of. I tried to play along to seem like I was cooler than I am and then once we got to the airport Casey said she was doing the same thing haha. We're lame. And we're okay with it :) 

At the airport we were EXHAUSTED. Our flight didn't leave until 6 so we got some dinner and Sparked it UP! 
"I neeeed my Spark!!!" haha
Of course our flight was delayed. I mean that's how stuff always goes right? We ate dinner and chilled and just waited to be able to board the plane. This lady had her dog waiting to board and we were all praying not to be seated near her with that little yipper barking the whole time. I personally would rather have a baby on a plane than a dog. When I see a baby I think "aw they are giving the baby an experience by taking it on a trip with them!" But when I see a dog? I think "why they heck didn't you just kennel that dog?!?!" Guess I'm not a dog traveler type person...

When we FINALLY got to Atl we were so thankful we didn't check any luggage!!! We had to wait for the shuttle to take us to our parking spot and on the ride to the car there was some mild shady dude stuff going on. One guy was obviously a businessman and was basically trying to hit on us and another one was just being creeperish. So I asked the driver to drop us off directly at our car and wait for us to get in. Whatever, I have NO SHAME in asking for some help when I feel uncomfortable or nervous about safety. I know Casey may think it's lame but also deep down she loves it about me ;)
Once we got to our car we had a lovely 3 hour drive home. We stopped through a McDonald's to get some iced coffees and OF COURSE their machines were off for the night. Casey got crunk on them which was hilarious. But I mean aren't their machines ALWAYS off?!?!? I rarely even ever get McDonald's but when I do it seems like that's the case! So annoying!!!

We got home at around 2 am. It was a LONG 3 days but it was SO SO SO fun. I'm so thankful Casey was down to go on this little girl trip getaway with me. We, legit, never ran out of stuff to talk about the entire time. And, in fact, we both got home and said we had forgotten to talk about several things haha. I knew the very first time I met Casey that I would like her and that we would click. It took us a few years to finally start jelling but now that we do I don't see it EVER changing!!! I'm so, so thankful for our friendship. It really is something I know that is very rare. Our husbands are best friends. I adore Jordan. Zach obviously loves Casey since they are siblings. And I consider Casey a best friend. I mean it doesn't get more perfect than that!!! 

While I'm SO glad I got to go on this trip and got to cross "Visit Graceland" off my bucket list, a part of me was pretty sad that Dad wasn't there with me. Learning more about Elvis really made me feel a closer connection with my Dad, even though he wasn't there! I got home and sent him this little picture collage of my trip and I also mailed him an Elvis postcard in the mail!
I sent him a text of the photo collage and his response is AWESOME. Growing up my brother and I were always convinced my dad was a mafia member or a CIA agent (neither were least I don't think? haha) but after this trip I've decided my dad is TOTALLY Elvis :) 
I'm hoping this was just the first of MANY girls' trips to come with Casey in the future! TCB for LIFE BABY!!!
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