Monday, December 13, 2010

My Dad

My Dad is Florida-bound; his dream is finally coming true. I think we started watching informational videos on The Villages about 15 years ago, but at the time none of us were sure if we were humoring my Dad or if he was serious. Now we know. My Dad is retiring this week. He is moving to The Villages. Even though I have known this move has been coming for months (years actually), it still took my breath when the time came.

My maker of chicken pie...the one who is always on my side and thinks I am hilarious, the one who thinks I am great even when I am wrong and is always proud of can he be leaving? Who will tell me how to make dressing or give me directions on random SC roads (yes, he will have a phone in Florida; I am being dramatic, but I am overly emotional and that is how I respond to things).

So I spent a lot time thinking-searching my heart for why I felt pain. I have gone back to so many summer memories. My dad would always be out in the yard cleaning the pool, piddling with plants, and messing in the garden in the lot next door. Saying that I helped would be untrue, I basically walked along "over-seeing" his work and talking incessantly. I learned to play cards and shag and learned the lyrics to just about every beach song that came on the radio. I did gymnastics in the front yard and back flips off the diving board (sorry for the gray hairs that caused). It really does not seem like very long ago.

So I think I put my finger on it. The moving away doesn't hurt nearly as bad as the aging does. It's just unbelievable to me that my Dad is old enough to retire and move to a retirement community. Life really is just a vapor.

My dad started watching videos years ago and knew what he wanted to do. He planned and he achieved his goal! Now I am the proud one!
For 50 years my Dad has been working.
I do not remember him taking a sick day.
I don't even remember him sleeping late.
Now he gets to spend his days filled with golf, messing around in the yard, and socializing with friends...all the things he loves.

I want him to know how much I love him and how HAPPY I am that he gets to have his days in the Florida sun.
Now I'm going to go out and plant my garden...and I'll call for directions on how deep to bury the plants! Like my Dad, I have over-seers who will be happy to talk my ear off while I do all the work.

What Do I See?

Hey, who's that cutie wearing glasses? ANDY!

Our first stop after getting the glasses was the Zoo Lights. When we got there Andy said, "whoa, I can see so many things at one time!"
I am so thankful that we discovered that our little bear needed glasses before he started school. The only cuter than his glasses is his smile!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


The background of this post is that the big boys are learning their address and phone number in preschool this year.

Yesterday on the way to church we had the following conversation:
Me: "Boys, y'all have to remind me to call Rachel's Mom tonight to RSVP to her birthday party."
JD: "Why don't you call her now, Mama? Their number is 808.---- (but he said the numbers)"

I verified with Ms. Ashley that he had the number right!

Apparently John is learning his phone number, as well as everyone else's in the class too!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Still holding hands

Sweet John...he's the caregiver of the bunch. He always wants to make sure that his brothers are ok. And he loves to hold hands...

Go Green Cobras!

This year we introduced the boys to the world of organized sports. Thankfully my friend Kimmy was kind enough to give me the low down on signing up for soccer. She is my go-to person for all things Lexington sports related. So she sent me the link weeks in advance, told me how to request a specific team (Andy and John wanted to be on their friend Cole's team) and then left the rest to me.
Of course that meant that I spent my lunch hour (and then some) getting copies of the boys' birth certificates from DHEC on the last possible day to register, then the better part of the afternoon tracking down the email address of the League President so that I could email him scanned copies since I could not mail them in by the deadline...(Ashley if you are reading this right now, I know you are shaking your head!)...but alas(!) we made it in by the deadline; praise God for technology.

And so our first season of sports began! Team Mexico AKA "The Green Cobras" have had quite a season. We have won several games. (They might not keep official score, but when you are a competitive person, you know)! John and Andrew have enjoyed it immensely and Ashley and I have enjoyed getting to know the other parents on our team as well. Thanks to our parents, The Gilfillan Duo has had a cheering section every game! It's amazing how far these two have already come in life. We are so lucky that they are out on that field running and kicking.

This Sunday we play our last game of the season and then plan to celebrate with an "End of the Season" party to include TROPHIES!! I am so excited for the boys. They will be beside themselves over getting trophies.

Next up on the sports agenda....t-ball!!? (I see, this is where Kimmy comes in).

Andrew and John were in the game together- both on the right.


This was our first Halloween in our new house, so we decided to go trick-or-treating around the neighborhood. It's amazing how fast our Spiderman, Batman and Diego could walk in the beginning of the night but as the night wore on, Ashley and I did most of the work. Our neighborhood is big, so we brought the wagon along thinking Wyatt could ride home in that. As it turned out, Andy and John rode home in the wagon and Ashley and I took turns carrying Wyatt. We left a note at home for trick-or-treaters asking them to take a few pieces of candy.

(The next day I decided that the definition of lame is being sore from trick-or-treating.)

The boys had such a good time, but Ashley and I had just as much fun as they did just watching their excitement.

I can remember going trick-or-treating with my brother as a young child; I have no idea what either of us dressed up as, but I will never forget how excited I was to walk around the neighborhood with him. It was so awesome to see that bond between Andrew and John as they settled on who would ring the doorbell at each house.

When we got home and I was rocking Wyatt before bed he said, "Mama, this was the best Halloween EVER!" I agree.

SC State Fair

John on the motorcycles
Andrew and Wyatt riding together Getting ready to feed the animals
Cotton candy!!
Andy on the race cars!!
The fair was a huge hit this year...we all had a blast! John and Andrew are not afraid to ride anything. Wyatt would not be either, if only he were tall enough. This is how we kicked off fall! What a wonderful start to the season.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Our first home was a patio home in Chapin. Ashley and I were so happy to buy our first little place. It was brand new with new carpet and white walls. I have memories of watching "friends" and jogging around the neighborhood, Ashley always five feet in front of me. We had dinners for two. Life was simple.

In no time we wanted to move. We found a cute little house in Earlewood that we loved. It was old. Original hardwood floors. Bright walls. Tons of character. We re-did the kitchen together. We got two dogs. And a cat. We wished for kids. We realized we wanted something safer, so decided to move again.

We decided to build in Irmo. We loved our floor plan. We chose tile and granite, fixtures and grout. We hoped and prayed for a baby. We got two!!! Less than two years later, we got another baby!!! Our cat ran away. Our babies learned to walk. The days passed by...filled with noise and tears and smiles.

Here we go again. I still can't believe that we are moving, even though a month of packing should be enough to make it sink in. Next week we are heading for Lexington. Another older home this time (this seems to be a pattern). The week after we move we will celebrate our anniversary.

9 years
4 houses
3 boys
2 dogs
1 happy life

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Happy 4th of July!!!

We celebrated the 4th by going to a water park for the day. We thought we were going to Nana and Papa's house for a cookout, but when we got there...THIS was waiting in the backyard.

The weather could not have been better and the boys had a WONDERFUL time playing on the water slide that Nana and Papa got them!! It is so awesome and will bring hours of enjoyment this summer. What an awesome day...

June Wrap Up

June was a big month for our family for several reasons:

June 16th- my birthday was wonderful thanks to my wonderful family and friends. I got so many nice cards, phone calls and gifts! Everyone made me feel very special. While I appreciate all the well wishes, next year it won't hurt my feelings if no one notices. I have decided that getting older is for the birds.

June 17th- My Dad's birthday...this was a milestone for him because he turned 65! The countdown to retirement has officially begun.

June 18th- Father's Day...we did not do much to celebrate but don't confuse the lack of celebration for lack of appreciation and love for the awesome Dad's in my life! I love you Ashley, Dad, Kenny, Granddaddy TE and David!

June 24th...My mom and Kenny's wedding anniversary. At 12 I was slightly self centered and more concerned with how moving was going to impact my life. The real impact on my life has been having a great step-dad who loves me and has always done everything he could to help me.

June 26th- Nana's birthday...we celebrated with a party at my mom's house. It was a wonderful night complete with good food, good cake and good company.

June was good...did I mention swimming??!?!?

The boys went on a field trip to Saluda Shoals and had a ball! They get to swim almost every day at school and are having the best time!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Little Signs

Turn up your sound and watch what JD has learned at school. Ashley and I are so proud of him!!!

Happy Birthday Granny Meg!

May 31st we celebrated a special lady. My brother and I put our heads together and planned a birthday get-together for our family at his house in Chapel Hill. Since her birthday fell on a holiday weekend, it was a great time for us to take a little road trip. So, one mom, two kids, and six grandchildren got to spend some quality time together.

My brother made an amazing birthday meal for my mom and she had fun opening presents.

The cake was definitely a hit with the kids! 39 looks great on Granny Meg!

Happy Birthday Mom! I love you and hope that you have a wonderful year.

Gilfillan Family Vacation

Typically we do not go on vacation until August. Ashley and I got married in August so for the past 8 years we have coordinated our vacations around our anniversary. This year, thanks to planning by Sandra and Will, we went on vacation early!

We had such a wonderful time; the weather was gorgeous- not too hot (as it often is in August) and the sun was out every day. We hung out at the pool, at the beach, at the playground and the Veteran's Memorial park. The week went by faster than we wanted it to, but we were so happy to get to spend a week with the boys and Ashley's parents relaxing (sort of) and having fun.

The boys are ready to go back!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Complimentary Competition

Twins = competition. A and J constantly compete over who can run faster, talk louder, get dressed first, turn off the light first, walk down the stairs get the picture. So yea, there is a lot of free competition around here.
But that's not what I'm talking about.
I'm talking about compliment mama competition- my favorite!!!

J: "Mom, I love your shirt!"
A: "I love your shirt and your shorts!"
J: "well I love your shirt. And your shorts. And your hair!"
A: "I love you shirt. And your shorts. And your hair. And your whole face.
J: "I love your whole self!!"

This is one sibling rivalry that I love hearing. The sweet compliments the boys give me are so sincere and innocent. Makes me feel so loved.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

This year I celebrated my fourth Mother's Day!! Ashley and the boys made me feel so special. I am so lucky to be a mom, but also to have my mom, grandmother, mother-in-law, and grandmother-in-law all so close by and so actively involved in my life and in the lives of my boys.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bald is Beautiful

Andrew was helping me put away laundry and here's how the conversation went:

"why doesn't Daddy have hair?"
"well sometimes when people grow up they lose their hair."
"and then they cut it?"
"well daddy shaves his entire head now but he lost his hair."
"but not me and you, right mama?"
"not me but I'm not sure about your hair, honey. your hair might fall out like daddy's when you grow up."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Nasty Dirty

My boys go to a preschool/daycare where they believe that "kids should be kids". For my three boys, that translates to playing in/sitting in/rolling in/eating (?)/pretending to swim in dirt. When I pick them up in the afternoons they are so dirty that you literally can not tell what color they are wearing. They are NASTY DIRTY.
Tonight I had to let the water out of the tub and start over not once, not twice, but THREE times.

So that left me wondering, how young is too young to shower??

Then I had a great idea for an invention!! A plastic shower curtain that has two arm openings/sleeves for a mom to stick her hands through to wash her kids.

Happy Birthday Boys

April 10th we celebrated two very special boys! Believe it or not, Andy and John are 4!!!!

I wonder if their birthday will ever roll around when I do not think about the way these boys came into the world. I will probably always be that embarrassing mom crying at their birthday party when my memory takes me back to the day they were born. Beautiful then, so tiny and fragile. Beautiful now, so vibrant and energetic. I can not wait to see what the next year has in store for these two!

They have come so far..

Monday, March 29, 2010

The worst thing about boys... cleaning the bathrooms. I honestly think the boys must stand facing away from the potty. That's all I can come up with.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Handsome Boys

Here the boys are modeling their new Easter clothes. John and Andrew were a little more cooperative than Wyatt...but you get the idea! :)

So Thankful

Last week my dear friend sent me this forward. Very few email forwards touch my heart. I don't dislike forwards, but they typically don't move me to tears either. That's not the case for this forward. If you are a mother, and you are feeling at all emotional, don't keep reading. If you are feeling stable (or if you are a glutton for punishment) read on:

(Author unknown)

For the first time in a very long time, I am neither pregnant nor mothering a baby. My "baby" is now two years old. And with a certainty that takes my breath away, I suddenly understand why wise women always told me that the time would go so quickly. To be sure, I've had more "baby time" than most women. My first baby will be 16 in a few days. I still think it's over much too soon.This column is for mothers of infants and toddlers. I am going to attempt to do something I never thought I'd do: I'm going to empathize while not in your situation. My hope is that it is all so fresh in my memory that I can have both perspective and relevance.What you are doing, what you are living, is very difficult. It is physically exhausting. It is emotionally and spiritually challenging. An infant is dependent on you for everything. It doesn't get much more daunting: there is another human being who needs you for his very life. Your life is not your own at all. You must answer the call (the cry) of that baby, regardless of what you have planned. This is dying to self in a very pure sense of the phrase. And you want to be with him. You ache for him. When he is not with you, a certain sense of restlessness edges its way into your consciousness,and you are not at complete peace.If you are so blessed that you have a toddler at the same time, you wrestle with your emotions. Your former baby seems so big and, as you settle to nurse your baby and enjoy some quiet gazing time, you try desperately to push away the feeling that the great, lumbering toddler barreling her way toward you is an intruder. Your gaze shifts to her eyes, and there you see the baby she was and still is, and you know that you are being stretched in ways you never could have imagined.This all might be challenge enough if you could just hunker down in your own home and take care of your children for the next three years; but society requires that you go out - at least into the marketplace. So you juggle nap schedules and feeding schedules and snowsuits and car seats. Just an aside about car seats: I have literally had nightmares about installing car seats.These were not dreams that I had done it wrong or that there had been some tragedy. In my dreams I am simply exhausted, struggling with getting the thing latched into the seat of the car and then getting my baby latched into the car seat. I'm fairly certain anyone else who has ever had four of these mechanical challenges lined up in her van has had similar dreams. It's the details that overwhelm you, drain you, distract you from the nobility of it all.You will survive. And here is the promise: if you pray your way through this time, if you implore the Lord at every turn, if you ask Him to take this day and this time and help you to give Him something beautiful, you will grow in ways unimagined. And the day will come when no one is under two years old.You will - with no one on your lap - look at your children playing contentedly together without you. And you will sigh. Maybe, like me, you will feel your arms are uncomfortably empty, and you will pray that you can hold a baby just once more. Or maybe, you will sense that you are ready to pass with your children to the next stage.This is the place where nearly two decades of mothering babies grants me the indulgence of sharing what I would have done differently. I would have had far fewer obligations outside my home. Now, I see that there is plenty of time for those, and that it is much simpler to pursue outside interests without a baby at my breast. I wish I'd spent a little more time just sitting with that baby instead of trying to "do it all."I wish I'd quieted the voices telling me that my house had to look a certain way. I look around now and I recognize that those houses that have "that look" don't have these children. Rarely are there a perfectly-kept house and a baby and a toddler under one roof. Don't listen to the voices that tell you that it can be done. It should not be done. I wish I hadn't spent 16years apologizing for the mess. Just shoot for "good enough." Cling to lower standards and higher goals. I wish I'd taken more pictures, shot more video and kept better journals. I console myself with the knowledge that my children have these columns to read. They'll know at least as much about their childhoods as you do. I wish I could have recognized that I would not be so tired forever, that I would not be standing in the shallow end of the pool every summer for the rest of my life, that I would not always have a baby in my bed (or my bath or my lap). If I could have seen how short this season is (even if mine was relatively long), I would have savored it all the more. And I wish I had thanked Him more. I prayed so hard. I asked for help. But I didn't thank Him nearly enough. I didn't thank Him often enough for the sweet smell of a newborn, for the dimples around pudgy elbows and wrists,for the softening of my heart, for the stretching of my patience, for the paradoxical simplicity of it all. A baby is a pure, innocent, beautiful embodiment of love. And his mother has the distinct privilege, the unparalleled joy, of watching love grow. Don't blink. You'll miss it.

It would be a good idea to just print and carry this in my pocket and re-read it every time my patience wears thin or I look around at the absolute disaster also known as my den. A little reminder to take it all in.

One of my current "favorite things" is the reaction I get from my boys when I pick them up at the end of the day. I know the day will come where they are "too cool" to run to Mama, but now when they see my car, they drop what they are doing, forget their friends and yell for me with such excitement that it practically brings tears to my eyes. What a feeling! I am so thankful.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Let it Snow

The boys finally got the chance to play in snow, however Ashley and I were in Charleston celebrating Valentine's Day like two adults! Thankfully, the boys got to enjoy the snow and we got pictures from Granny Meg and Pop (who kept the boys while we went out of town)! Wyatt was the only one who did not love the snow. Maybe next year? (Or next time it snows again...which may be when he's in middle school).

Blogger's Block??

I am not sure what has caused my blogger's block, but it has been a long time since I have taken the time to post anything new about what's been going on around here. It's definitely not been from lack of material. Since my last post we had snow, my baby turned 2, we've attended several fun birthday parties and the boys just sang in big church this past Sunday.

The hardest thing for me to believe is that P is actually 2. That's even harder to believe than the 6 inches of snow that fell on Columbia. Where in the world does the time go? Almost all the fat is gone from his thighs now. He speaks in sentences and rides a tricycle. It just seems like this summer when I put him in his pack-n-play with a few toys and he was content while the big boys played in the yard. Now he keeps up with them. Here's my little prince on his big day with "Daddy Terry"...

Look how much he changed since last year! (John has changed a lot too)!!

I hope the next year goes a little more slowly. I am not ready for the baby in the house to turn into a little boy....although I know it's coming.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

(Smashing) Pumpkins

When I was a little girl, I danced with my dad to Four Tops and Temptations. My boys rock out with their dad to something a little harder, but they have just as much fun!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Birthday Boy

1. Awesome sense of humor
2. Beautiful smile
3. Gorgeous eyes
4. Good listener
5. Leader of our family
6. Hard Worker
7. Back rubber
8. Wyatt Rocker
9. Heart of Gold
10. Caring friend
11. Laughs at my jokes
12. Tickles us (literally)
13. Dances in the den with me
14. Takes the boys to breakfast
15. Bill payer
16. Mouse trapper
17. stress reliever
18. Winks at his family
19. Calls me at work
20. Stays up late with me
21. Always drives
22. Feeds the dogs
23. Puts together toys for the boys
24. Cleans the house
25. Irons
26. Holds my hand at the movies
27. Makes me CDs
28. Pumps gas
29. Thanks me for dinner ( if it's good or not)
30. Gave me three beautiful sons
31. Taught me to budget (I try)
32. Sits on the beach with me even though he really doesn't want to
33. Gives the best hugs
34. Shares his dreams with me

Those are just a few things I love about Ashley (in no particular order).
Happy 34th, New Year's Baby!