Saturday, December 25, 2004

Gracie's First Christmas

(From Personal Journal)
Gracie’s first Christmas. Gracie got up early at 8:30am. We let her crawl in to the living room. Much to our dismay, she stopped to play with her old toys behind Garren’s chair. After some re-direction, she headed for the tree. Her first stop was the Peak-A-Blocks.
After a morning nap, we realized she was hot and had a high fever. It’s likely her teeth. She had fun playing, but was still fussy.
Big news today—Gracie walked behind her new hippo toy! Garren and I couldn’t believe it! We were so excited we called relatives and set up the webcam.
Dinner was a disaster, but we ended up having fun eating turkey, rolls and potatoes in bed! A neat picnic for Christmas!

Gracie’s Gifts:
*Toy train, stacking activity blocks, yellow dress w/matching pants—Aunt Lou
*Peak-A-Block Hippo, pink pajamas, red sleeper, ornament—Mamaw & Papaw
*Pink crocheted sweater jacket with hood—Sharon
*Refrigerator magnets, Baby’s First photo album, 2 board books, blanket backpack, ladybug hair clips—Mommy & Daddy
*Baby photo album, Pippity Pop Elephant, PAB Giraffe, PAB Dump truck, Baby’s first Bible Stories, Books, dresses, overalls, sweaters, plush bear, draft monkey, Leap Frog Piano—Grandma & Grandpa
*Rock-N-Roll trike, Puffalump baby, Wish Bear, board books, PAB Ark, Underwater PAB, plush dog, socks, ABC & number magnets—Santa

We got Christmas cards from: Grandma & Grandpa; Mark Reynolds; Heather, Kenny, DJ, Ryan & Casey Walsh; Linda & AD Kennedy; Shannon & GW McCarthy; Katie & Matt Waters; Donnie, Karen, Tina & Heather Sager; Elaine Summers; Allyson Hatfield; Phyllis & Eddie Hicks; Raybet Construction (Ruth); Connie, Gene & Bud Hensley; Dennis & Sharon Bowers; Lou Nash; Sara & Dean Howard; Betty & Tommy Wooldridge; Kathy, Katie & Brett Ashwell; Don & Mary Ellen Shriver; Charles Fletcher; Erica Walczak

Gracie's Letter To Santa

Dear Santa:

My name is Gracie. This is my first Christmas and I am very excited about your visit tonight. Mommy and Daddy took me to see you at the mall--but I was too shy to sit on your lap, so my cousin Mariah said I should email you a letter. I have been a very good girl this year, all nine months! I would like some more Peak-A-Blocks, and some new books because they are my favorite. Thank you for reading my letter, be sure to taste the cookies I helped mommy make for you, and share with the reindeer. Love,Gracie


Santa's Reply: Merry Christmas!!We are heading out on our flight now since it is Christmas in some parts of the world, however one of the elves is helping and relaying any last minute requests! (Aren't computers great!) love,
Santa, Mrs. Claus, the elves, and the reindeer

You can help your little one email santa via: santaclaus@santaclaus.com
The picture above is of Gracie sneaking the cookies meant for Santa, this was not posed, I was trying to get a cute picture of the letter we left, but she wanted the cookies!!

Friday, December 24, 2004

Gracie's First Christmas Eve


(From Personal Journal)
Gracie’s first Christmas Eve. I made chicken casserole for dinner and dressed Gracie in an adorable green/blue plaid dress. We surprised Gracie with a Christmas tree earlier in the week. Still curious, Gracie continues to pull at the tree and lights.
I emailed Santa for Gracie and we emailed photos to family. Gracie took a sip (and later a full cup) of Gingeraile. Other firsts included: drinking from her pumpkin sipper and tasting a candy cane.
Other fun things: we wrote Santa a letter and left him cookies and milk and 2 carrots for the reindeer. To close the evening Garren read the Christmas story from the Bible.
Other fun pre-Christmas events:
*I made Gracie’s first stocking (Holly Hobbie)
*Garren, Gracie and I made Neman Marcus cookies together
*Watching Rankin/Bass Christmas specials together on TV
*Seeing Santa twice, though neither time would she sit on his lap alone.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Ready For Christmas


From family email December 8, 2004:
Dear Friends & Family:

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is nearly here--but even harder to believe that our baby Gracie is 9 months old! 2 more teeth have popped through, making the grand total to 4. And she is cruising every where and is talking up a storm. (She's just like her momma!!!) It doesn't matter to us that the rest of the world can't understand her-- we know she is sharing tons of interesting facts.
Garren and I are getting excited about the holidays. We have decorated the apartment--except the tree, we figure the fewer days for our little tot to get into the tree--the better!!!
The three of us will travel to Lynchburg for Christmas with Grandma & Grandpa the weekend of the 19th. And we'll be spending Christmas day and eve here in Strasburg for our first Christmas together. Gracie has already seen Santa Claus once (I am sending the picture, that's her cousin Mariah with her), and this weekend we plan to take her to see a local Christmas parade and to a park where the have a walking lights tour. Don't worry we have tons of warm bunting to wrap her up in!!!
Well I had to share this adorable picture of Gracie in her Christmas pajamas--and to wish all of you a happy holiday (I plan to get Christmas cards done soon.) And I will be sure to share pictures from Christmas morning.

Happy Holidays and All Our Love,
Barbara, Garren & Gracie

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Nine Whole Months!


Happy nineth month birthday Gracie! You have reached another exciting milestone. You have come so far...teeth, crawling, pulling yourself up, stading up...next thing you know you will be headed to kindergarten! I am so proud of you. Mommy and Daddy love you!!!

Friday, November 05, 2004

Gracie's First Halloween


From Family email November 5, 2004:
Our adorable Gracie topped all expectations by becoming the world’s cutest little giraffe this Halloween (as if you didn’t already know that!) Garren and I took her to the Pumpkin Patch in Lynchburg on Saturday with her cousin Mariah (age 6), and she had a blast. Then on Sunday night we took her house to house begging for candy. She loved it, probably because she got to sit in the stroller while Garren and I pushed her around the neighborhood! We couldn’t have been prouder parents last weekend! I didn’t make her costume (I am not that crafty yet), but I did make her first Halloween treat bag.
It took nearly 8 months but Gracie finally has teeth. Just two of them, but she is proud as pie of them! She’s growing so fast!!!
I can hardly believe Christmas is already here—it seems just like yesterday we brought her home from the hospital! My big girl is already wearing 12 to 18 month clothes and she’s an expert at pulling herself up to a standing position. She can even cruise along sturdy objects when she wants.
Life here is hectic but wonderful. We still haven’t decided about Thanksgiving yet, but as promised we will let family and friends in TN know when we plan to visit.Our love to all of you, please write back if you get a chance!
Barbara, Garren & Gracie

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Gracie's Big Day


From family email sent October 10, 2004
Gracie has had a big week—but an even bigger day today (October 10, 2004). I didn’t think that my seven month old could melt my heart even more than she already does—but today she said “momma!” I think that might be the best word in the English language!!! Also today, Gracie surprised us by standing on her own. She braces herself with her hands—but she can stand there unassisted. It won’t be long before she’s walking I bet. And to think I was thrilled that she finally learned to crawl on Thursday. Garren and I were at Wal-Mart and while we were in the toy isle, we started thinking about Christmas and what would be best for her—needless to stay we will have to change our lists!!! But we couldn’t be more excited—although it’s also depressing that she is growing up so fast. Gracie has already made her local news debut as Garren used her picture for a story on childhood immunizations. True to form Gracie modeled for the photographer (she is such a ham! Although it’s my fault since I get so excited when she poses). Her first Halloween is coming up soon—she is going to be an adorable giraffe. I even made her trick or treat bag. We plan to go to Lynchburg for Halloween where we have family and friends, so her first one is special. This weekend we took Gracie to a local Pumpkin Patch. It was adorable, there were goats and cows and a horse. She had a blast. She’s just getting over her first cold! I am not sure who was more miserable—me or her! She had never been sick before and it was hard watching her sneeze and cough. But she is much better. We plan to visit Tennessee sometime this winter—likely sometime after Thanksgiving. We will let all of our friends and family in the Volunteer state, know when we are coming.I have droned on too long. I hope all of you have a great week.All our love,Barbara, Garren & Gracie

Friday, September 10, 2004

Six Months Old


From Email September 10, 2004:

Gracie is nearly six months old...and cute as a button. (not to mention a handful!) It's been a while since I have been on the computer--chasing her around the house is a full time job!
She's growing so fast--I know all of you warned us--but we weren't prepared for her to grow this fast. She has been eating solid foods for a month now (and will eat anything!) The hard part is trying to smile while you dish up the most disgusting looking, smelling things to your baby, who waits open-mouthed!!
Gracie also loves her walker. She has been shuffling around the living room and kitchen for several weeks now and loves being mobile. Her smile still hasn't faded and her laugh is only louder and more contagious. She's also our little fish! We visited mom and dad again last weekend and she got to get back in the pool--and had even more fun than the last time. She loves to splash and kick. Mom got her an infant boat and somehow she figured out how to kick and make it go forward like her walker. She never ceases to amaze us everyday!
A few weeks ago we got to go to the fair here. She had a great time looking at all of the animals and lights and other kids. She got to see pigs, rabbits, goats, and sheep for the first time. There were so many things we wanted her to see--but as I am sure many parents before us have learned--she was more fascinated by moving cars--and people walking past her. Oh well, there is plenty of time for her to see things I guess.
Many of you haven't seen her in a while--and if you could you would be amazed at how big she is. She looks like she's 4! She's going to be sooo tall. Her eyes are still blue--but they are like mine and my father's, which change colors depending on what we're wearing and the season. Her new loves are Clifford, Dragon Tales, and her stack of rings.
She's so cute and wonderful I can't possibly tell you everything. But we hope that you'll visit or write or see us the next time we are where you are!
Have a great week.

Love,
Barbara, Garren and Gracie

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Happy 6th Month Birthday


Gracie, I can hardly belive that you have been mine for 6 months! What a lucky mommy I am. You are growing and growing everyday and I love to watch you learn. Happy 6th month birthday baby Gracie!

***Gracie and her favorite stuffed friend, "Brownie." Brownie has his own song (one I made up and makes her giggle) "Hello my name is Brownie, your momma bought me, to make you happy!"

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Sending A Smile Your Way

Letter To Her Grandparents


From email July 10, 2004:

Dear Grandma, Grandpa, Mamaw & Papaw:
I am growing up so fast! I am sending you an email of pictures of all the new things I am doing! My tooth is also peeking through—but you can’t see it yet (Mommy will take another picture when you can).
Love,
Gracie

*Gracie sits up (for short period of time, but still a milestone); Gracie swinging on the playground for the first time; and a cute picture of Gracie laughing—she’s trying to squeal, but hasn’t quite gotten there yet. Right now it sounds like a sick seal; Gracie grabbing her toes (a new favorite pastime, right after sucking her fingers!)

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Here's My Cutie


From family email July 8, 2004

I couldn't resist sending this adorable picture of Gracie that I took the other day! I also wanted to send you the link to our updated website. It was very hard to pick just a few pictures--but I plan to update when I can. I also put several on Snapfish.com and there is a link to those on the website as well. Snapfish is much easier to upload to--so I will let you know when I put more on there.

Gracie had fun on her first Fourth of July. It rained here, but the clouds parted just in time for her to watch her first fireworks! As we expected our little pyro was entranced. She loved them. And when we got home, she had more fun watching them on TV. All in all it was a wonderful family moment! And of course a Kodak moment as well!

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Gracie's First Trip To Tennessee


From family email sent July 1, 2004:
It's been a busy month ( June 2004) for Garren, Gracie and I, but we have enjoyed it. Mid-month we went to Tennessee where Gracie saw many of her relatives for the very first time including her Uncle Luke, Aunt Heather and cousins; DJ, Ryan and Casey. It seems that they all adored her (but then again why shouldn't they!) We also had a chance to catch up with my former co-workers at WJHL and that was wonderful. Everyone welcomed me as if I had never left--a feeling I appreciated, and really needed. The weekend after that we traveled to Lynchburg for Gracie's Christening. It was a beautiful ceremony--and we were very proud parents. Mom and Dad hosted a party afterwards and there were tons of people and food and the baby got passed around and smothered with hugs and kisses. Gracie is teething already, she has been for about a month now--it's difficult because I hate to see her in discomfort (the drool is a bit messy too!) She's still a wonderfully happy baby. She is smiling all the time and babbling--and thankfully sleeping through the night--although I have a feeling she'll pay us back by being a terror when she’s 13 or so! This weekend we plan to take her to see the fireworks. We know we might have to leave after the first bang--but we want her to experience the fourth of July anyway. It was really wonderful getting to see so many family and friends--and we all hope that you will stay in touch and keep writing--we love to get emails! Happy Fourth of July to All, Love, Barbara, Garren & Gracie

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Eleven Weeks Old


From family email May 22, 2004:
Dear friends & family:

Baby Gracie is 11 weeks old now, and she's already outgrown her 0-3 month clothes (well most of them). I try not to cry over this too much. Everyone told me "they grow up too fast," and now I know!! But she's still wonderful. She smiles a lot, especially for the camera, because she knows that momma gets excited when she gets a good picture. I am sending a few new photos to clog your email boxes.
Next month we’ll be taking our first "big" trip. We're going to Tennessee the weekend of June 19th, and stay for a few days, and we really hope that we can catch up with some old friends there along with family. Garren and I have planned her Christening for June 27th (were working to schedule that). So if you are in Lynchburg that weekend we would love to see you. She'll be christened at Chestnut Hill UMC during the regular church service. I can give more details if you want to come.
It looks like our little one is already teething! I can't believe it, she's so little, but she has 80% of the teething symptoms from the parenting books we read. She doesn't appear to be in any discomfort (thank goodness!). And because we have the best baby in the world, she is sleeping 8 hours a night, taking a bottle, sleeping another 3! I also get a 2-3 hour nap a day and a 30-40 minute nap a day from Gracie! This has been wonderful for the past 3 weeks!!! I certainly hope it continues.
Well I am sure you are all getting a cavity from my mommy-email, so I will let you get back to work, family, home...ect.
Please keep in touch with us.

Love,
Barbara, Garren, & Gracie

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

New May Photo Session


From family email May 11, 2004:
Hello Family & Friends:

I was able to get some great shots of Gracie today, and couldn't wait to share them! I hope you all aren't bored yet of our little angel--because we love sharing her with all of you. Her doctor's appointment went well, although I am not sure who the shots hurt worse her or Garren and I. Thank you for your emails or support, I really needed them!!!
Have a wonderful week and know that we are thinking of all of you!

Love,
Barbara, Garren & Gracie

Monday, May 03, 2004

Gracie Smiles

From family email May 3, 2004:
Hello to all family and friends:

I hadn't planned to send a picture out today. But I put this adorable smocked pink dress on Gracie today that mom gave me, and as usual I propped her up for our photo session...but this time she gave me the cutest smile, and I just had to share it with everyone.
Gracie is doing well, she's babbling and cooing and has a HUGE smile that practically takes up her whole face. She is 8 weeks old now and of course she's precious. She has her 2 month doctor visit this week, so please think of me and send me any strength you may have (or a tranquilizer), since she will receive her first shots at this visit.
We all hope that you have a wonderful week, and please stay in touch.


Love,
Barbara, Garren, and Gracie

Monday, April 05, 2004

Happy One Month Birthday

Gracie, you are so beautiful
and you have been mine for one whole month!
Daddy and I love youso much.
Happy one month birthday
baby Gracie!
*****
First Month Excitement:
Was welcomed into the world; her cord stump fell off; got her first bath; she outgrew newborn diapers; went for her very first family outing (To Chili's for dinner); gets her first taste of coke; meets Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Lou, Uncle Brian and Mariah and later Mamaw & Papaw.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Beautiful Baby, One Month Old

From family email April 3, 2004:
Friends & Family:

Garren and I wanted to update you on our newest arrival. Gracie is nearly a month old now (born March 5), and she is a real delight. She is such a happy baby, and besides being sleep deprived Garren and I are adjusting well. I am a full time mom and loving it. I must admit staying in your pajamas all day is a great perk--but on the downside, I never know what day it is.
Gracie was born with some jaundice, but rest assured that it is gone, and she is very healthy and growing so fast!! Garren and I can't believe how big she has gotten in just one month. She's already smiling at us and can't stand that she is too little to walk or talk. She is definitely trying to talk, and the poor little thing gets so frustrated that she starts to cry. Not that it's much of a cry; we were blessed with a "squeaker." Meaning she doesn't really cry, she makes more of a squeaking sound.
I am very excited about Easter. The things that thrill me these days!! I can't wait to put together her Easter basket. Don't worry she will get plenty of goodies.
We all three want to thank you for the sweet cards and gifts and emails we have received since she was born. You were all so thoughtful. I will get caught up on those thank you notes as soon as possible, I promise.
I am sending two new photos of her taken this weekend. I hope that you enjoy them. And, please keep in touch and let us know how your lives are going.
All our Love,
Barbara, Garren, & Gracie

Northern VA Daily Announcement

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Our Bundle Of Joy


From family email March 14, 2004:

Dear friends and family:
Garren and I couldn’t wait to show you pictures of our newest addition. Gracie is wonderful and we are so happy to have her home. We are sorry you had to wait so long for photos; we know that everyone wants to see her. But, I am sure you can understand that life around here is a little busy.
Thank you all for your sweet emails and cards. We appreciate all of you and will try to keep you updated, and send more pictures.
Tabitha Grace Shipley was born March 5, 2004. She weighed in at 7lbs, 11oz, 22 in. We’re all home and on the mend. Hope you enjoy these photos.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Gracie Birth Announcement


from Winchester News Online (March 2004)

Tabitha Grace Shipley
Barbara and Garren Shipley of Strasburg, Virginia, proudly announce the birth of their daughter, Tabitha Grace, on March 5, 2004, at the Winchester Medical Center.
Tabitha weighed 7 pounds 11 ounces and measured 21 inches.
Tabitha is the couple's firstborn.
Grandparents are Dennis and Jean Miller of Lynchburg, Virginia, and Jack and Cheryl Shipley of Limestone, Tennessee.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Gracie Is Born


***All Comments in the comments section are from congratulations emails we recieved following the announcement of Gracie's birth. ***

Monday, February 02, 2004

Pregnancy Journal


May thru September 2003

(1-4 Months of pregnancy)

Notable Symptoms
Headaches, migraines at times; fatigue; sore muscles; lower abdominal pain (4th month); dizziness; hunger, and then lack of hunger sometimes for days at a time (1 day can’t eat enough, next don’t want to); thirst.

Cravings
Nutrageous candy bars; Mexican food; fruits & vegetables; movie butter popcorn

Our First OBGYN visit
We got to hear the baby’s heart beat for the first time (August 21, 2003). It was very exciting. Baby’s due date is February 26, 2004.

We First Found Out
June 19, 2003 with a pregnancy test. We celebrated by going to dinner at “Red, Hot & Blues,” a barbeque place in Winchester. Then we went baby shopping at Wal-Mart, where the news finally “hit” Garren.

During my first months of pregnancy I worked cleaning houses. I was able to keep excess weight off, and I got plenty of exercise, but I was absolutely exhausted! A couple of times I got dizzy on the job, but I was okay.
I never experienced “morning sickness,” and so far I have no food aversions. But, my sense of smell has increased 10-fold!
I am only showing a little, but Garren swears he’s seen a difference for a while. He loves to rub my belly. No maternity clothes yet, I think I still have a while to go before I’ll need new clothes.

Gifts
Garren’s parents bought the first gifts for “peanut,” after taking us to JC Penney’s. They bought a cute green robe with a frog hood; a squeaky frog bib; green & blue booties; a pale green receiving blanket; and a bear “softie” with a green cloth attached. My parents bought a girl gift set and a boy “Precious Moments” softie when we visited them in August, they also paid for some cute outfits I found on clearance at Kmart.
At this point we still don’t know what the baby is, but I have a strong feeling it’s a boy.

Who We Told
The first to find out were Sara Diamond, my former co-worker, who I shared pregnancy hopes with; and Garren’s co-worker Jamie, who noticed the HUGE smile on his face the day I told him. I had to tell Garren over the phone, because he knew something was going on and wouldn’t wait for me to tell him in person.
We told my parents July 4th weekend. We went to Texas Roadhouse, and Garren and I had them open some orange gift bags I had fixed for them. Each got a bottle and a bib (one said Grandma, the other Grandpa). They were very surprised! Mom got very happy, Dad just sat there, stunned I guess.
We told his parents on the phone on our car ride from Lynchburg to Strasburg.
Others we told early on: Shannon & GW; Sara & Dean; Becky; Heather; Lou; WJHL Staff; Garren’s office; my co-workers at CCS; Heather Walsh; Brian; Erica.

Congratulations
We got special cards of congratulations from Heather Walsh and Sara Howard.

Illnesses
In month 3, I got strep throat, and later mono! I was very sick for about 3 weeks and had to stay home from work for a week. Mono made me break out in a rash from head to toe.

Other
Sometimes I have a hard time sleeping, and I still go to the bathroom frequently, but still mild symptoms as far as I can tell.

Name Ideas
Tabitha Grace; Jack Thomas; Charles Bryant; Amanda Hope

Second OBGYN visit September 16, 2003
Dr. Davis/ultrasound. We got to see the baby for the first time. The pictures were fuzzy, but the best one was of “peanut” trying to suck his/her thumb.
Still don’t know a gender yet, but heat and other organs were fine. The baby was moving around a lot, but I still can’t feel it yet. Baby’s heart rate:140
I’ve lost 3 pounds, I am not at 204 pounds. Garren is concerned, but the doctor says things are fine since I am eating good foods and drinking plenty.
Frequency of bathroom visits is okay; apparently rare pregnant women get a condition that makes them have to go a lot.
Due date remains February 26th, next appointment is October 16th.
We celebrated seeing our baby for the first time by going to La Carretta Mexican Restaurant in Winchester.
October & November 2003

(Months 5 & 6)

In the past few days and weeks I have felt “peanut” moving. It kind of feels like a goldfish in my belly—but, I secretly love it! Most of the time “she” seems to be most active at night while I am trying to sleep. Although, now I truly believe that “she” knows her Daddy’s voice; when Garren talks “she” kicks and moves very excitedly. My appetite is increasing 10-fold, but I am nervous that I will gain excess weight.

3rd OBGYN Visit October 16, 2003
We continue to see Dr. Wade. Not much to share. I gained a pound, but no one is concerned. Our next and last (ended up not being our last) sonogram is set for next month, November 11th.

Registering
To celebrate our 3rd doctor visit we had lunch at Pizza Hut for lunch, and later that night we went to Toy’s R US and Target to register for baby gifts. Garren had lots of fun with the “gun” they give you to use.

Clothes
I can still fit in to my clothes—thankfully! But, over the past 24 hours (October 20th), my belly is getting huge! Mom is making me some maternity clothes for when I need them.

***this is where my journal stops, I wish I had kept up with it, but after Gracie was born I added a few extras that I remembered****

*October 2003: I feel Gracie kick for the first time.
*Having sciatica very bad for the last trimester
*Had high blood pressure last trimester
*Started to really show about 7 months
*Breasts didn’t leak until 9th month
*terrified about the delivery!
*I gained 18 pounds total and lost it all after the baby was born.
*we found out Gracie was a girl during our 8th month at a sonogram, but the nurse said to hold on to receipts for girls clothing because she couldn’t be absolutely certain.
* I was 1cm dilated for the last 3 weeks or so of pregnancy
*Gracie loved music while in my belly!

Sunday, February 01, 2004

My Personal Baby Journal

Wednesday, March 3, 2004
We went to the hospital at 8am to be induced, seven days after baby was due. There wasn’t enough room for us, so after a non-stress test, we left the hospital, had lunch at Shoney’s and came back.
Dr. Reese put me on a 12-hour medication to start labor. Garren and I played cards and watched TV while my (very mild) contractions went on until 4am. We didn’t get much sleep that night.

Thursday, March 4, 2004

Grandma, Grandpa, and Aunt Lou came to visit me in the hospital around noon. Dr. Reese had started me on another medicine to start labor around 11am. But, the medicine didn’t work. So, around 6pm Dr. Reese decided to force my cervix to dilate. It worked! A process that should have taken 1-2 hours, took 5 minutes. The process made me very sick! It didn’t take long for the anesthesiologist to come and give me an epidural. The doctors told me to rest and wait to dilate some more. We thought we would have time to sleep, but I was 10cm within another hour. Karen broke my water, and they had me pushing around 11:30pm.
After 3-4 hours of pushing, nothing was happening, and I was in a lot of pain and throwing up.
Garren was wonderful throughout the night. He held my hand and encouraged me and kept me cook with a rag and ice chips. But, we were both getting scared. I was in a lot of pain, and there wasn’t much progress made.

Friday March 5, 2004
I was given more medicine and told to rest. I feel asleep. Around 5am Dr. Reese told us we would have to have a C-Section. After signing some paper work, I was given more powerful medicine and Garren was told to put on scrubs. They took me in first and got me ready. Then, they brought Garren in. He held my hand the whole time.
They pulled Gracie out at 6:34am. She was beautiful. We didn’t get to hold her, but the nurses cleaned her up and took Polaroid’s, and let us see her.
They took Garren out of the OR and put me to sleep. I woke up 3 hours later. There had been some complications with my bladder and uterus, but the doctors fixed me up. Garren called Grandma and Grandpa around 7am to let them know what had happened. They were staying with Aunt Lou at our house and had visited the hospital again before I was in labor. Garren had them call his parents to let them also know what happened.
I was moved to a new room and Grandma, Grandpa and Aunt Lou came to visit. Garren went to the nursery and got Gracie. Everybody got to hold her and we took plenty of pictures. After they left Garren and I got some rest, and the baby stayed in the nursery.
The nurses also took me to have an MRI. They wanted to make sure everything from the surgery was okay.
The nurses helped me cleaned up and did everything they could to make me feel comfortable. That night Garren and I slept for the first time since Monday night!


Saturday March 6, 2004

The nurses brought Gracie to us first thing in the morning. We got to feed her for the first time (Garren went first). Garren also got to change her diaper several times.
Mamaw, Papaw, and Luke sent us flowers and they were beautiful. I got to eat solid foods and take a shower for the first time since Tuesday! We called both sets of grandparents, and Garren went to work to send pictures to his family. When he came back he brought me pink roses (baby roses) and a sweet card.
We decided to keep Gracie in our room for the night, so we could get used to it. Since she slept most of the day, it was a long night! Garren and I were up most of the night holding her and feeding her. We were very exhausted. Around 5am I was very concerned that she was so fussy, and I called the nurses to get her.


Sunday, March 7, 2004

The pediatrician tested Gracie for Jaundice again, and we found out she has a slight case, so we have to stay another day so they can test her again. Dr. Davis removed my staples and I got another shower. We had Gracie all day starting at 7:30am. We both got chances to feed her and change her. She got a bath in the nursery. Her temperature went down early in the afternoon, but we put a sleeper on her and she warmed up.
Grandma called today. She and Grandpa and Mariah plan to visit this Saturday.
We decided since tonight was our last night to sleep, we will let the nurses take Peanut to the nursery.


Monday, March 8, 2004

We get to go home today. The nurses cleared Gracie to go home since her Jaundice hasn’t gone up by much. But, we’ll have to have her blood drawn again tomorrow.
It’s snowing and 30 something degrees-a definite change from sunny and 70 degree weather we had when we came to the hospital.
Garren and I packed up all of our stuff and dressed Gracie in her pink JC Penney outfit for pictures. By 11am we were wheeled downstairs for our first car trip home.
It was fun to have her home, all 3 of us spent the day in bed resting-and we ordered pizza from Ciro’s for dinner to celebrate.

Tuesday, March 9, 2004
Today was a very bust day! Garren and I took Gracie to get her blood test done. Then, we went to the pediatrician. The doctor says her jaundice is not enough to ne concerned about and otherwise she is very healthy.
My ear is really bothering me today. After the pediatrician we head to do other errands. Garren and I realize that Gracie can only stay out for so long before she gets miserable.
Tonight, we ordered in, and Gracie got her first taste of Coke from Garren’s finger.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004
We spent another day out. Garren had to take me to Urgent Care because of my painful ear. Three hours later I came out to a very frustrated husband, and a baby who had been waiting in the car (for fear of germs).
For a second day in a row, my hormones are out of control. I definitely have the “baby blues.”

Thursday, March 11, 2004
Me ear is infected, and my antibiotics are starting to work. By afternoon, I am feeling very bad. I have a temperature of 102 and the chills. By 9pm, Garren decides to call the doctor on call. We head to the ER with baby.
Dr. Davis meets us there. She decides the problem is my ear, even after a very thorough exam. I had to wait for an IV of glucose and antibiotics. We didn’t get home until 3am. But, the baby did well to wait for 5 hours in the hospital.

Friday, March 12, 2004
Garren takes Gracie back to the hospital for another scheduled blood test for jaundice. I stayed home.
The doctor’s office called several hours later, her jaundice is practically gone!
The three of us rest for the remainder of the day. Uncle Brian stops by for a visit.

Saturday, March 13, 2004
Grandma, Grandpa and Mariah come to visit. Mariah gets to hold Gracie and see her for the first time. Grandma and Grandpa spoil her rotten, and Grandpa got to babysit while the rest of us go to the mall. When we got back we all went to dinner. We went to Chilis and Gracie did well at her very first dinner out.

Sunday, March 14, 2004
Gracie had a very big day today. Her umbilical cord stump fell off. Garren and I also realized she is too big for newborn diapers. We are now putting her in ones.


Monday, March 15, 2004
It was my first day home alone with Gracie while Garren was at work. I am starting to get used to no sleep, or at least very little sleep.
Our day was fairly slow. Garren wasn’t gone long, and when he came home, we all 3 took a nap.
That night, we gave Gracie her first real bath. She wasn’t much for it. We took pictures, but she was not a happy camper until we got her dressed.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Another day as a full time mom. Gracie has been extra fussy today. I have noticed that white has formed on her tongue, cheeks, and the roof of her mouth. It looks like thrush. Hopefully, the pediatrician will treat it when we see him Friday.
Gracie fought sleep most of the day. Garren and I took turns trying to calm her. Looks like she has definitely figured out how to cry.

April 25, 2004
Gracie’s first Easter was also her first trip anywhere outside of Shenandoah County.
We got to Lynchburg late Friday night. Mariah got to see and hold her before she had to go home. Mom and Dad gave Gracie a travel swing that night for an early Easter gift.
People who saw Gracie for the first time: Shannon and GW, Heather Halpin, Helen Tyree, Vicki & Tim& Kristin & Nick, Melanie & Debra & Gerald.
Mom and Lou and I went shopping on Saturday at the mall. It was fun looking for dresses and running from store to store with Lou.
Gracie wore a very old blue/green smocked dress Easter Sunday. Dad made a big announcement during the beginning of the Easter service to announce Gracie and Garren held her up. Dad later took her up for the children’s sermon.


October 7, 2004:
After several days of scooting around the living room floor and our bed, Gracie has finally learned to crawl. She went from her pad in the middle of the living room floor to her toy train behind daddy’s chair.

October 10, 2004:
Gracie can stand up without help! And, just as excitingly she can say “momma!” The day started as Gracie and I sat outside as Garren changed the oil in both cars. Gracie had been making the “mmm” sound, but today it was definitely “mama.”
We decided to go to Wal-Mart that night, and after we finished shopping Garren went to get a drink, and I put Gracie on the Bob the Builder mechanical toy. She was playing with the steering wheel and I noticed she was slipping off the seat slowly. I had my hand on her back to guide her and then, I noticed she was standing up holding on to the steering wheel. I moved my hand, and she stood there smiling! When we got home we decided to try again. Sure enough, she stood there holding on to the couch!

October 16, 2004:
Late tonight I changed Gracie’s diaper and left her to throw it away and wash my hands. When I came back, she was standing up in her crib holding on to the rail.

October 18, 2004:
Gracie has a tooth! She woke me up this morning by sucking on my finger and I felt a very sharp tooth on the bottom center (left). When you look at her gums though, you can see there are 2 teeth on the bottom center, but only one has broken the gum line.


December 24, 2004:
Gracie’s first Christmas Eve. I made chicken casserole for dinner and dressed Gracie in an adorable green/blue plaid dress. We surprised Gracie with a Christmas tree earlier in the week. Still curious, Gracie continues to pull at the tree and lights.
I emailed Santa for Gracie and we emailed photos to family. Gracie took a sip (and later a full cup) of Gingeraile. Other firsts included: drinking from her pumpkin sipper and tasting a candy cane.
Other fun things: we wrote Santa a letter and left him cookies and milk and 2 carrots for the reindeer. To close the evening Garren read the Christmas story from the Bible.
Other fun pre-Christmas events:
*I made Gracie’s first stocking (Holly Hobbie)
*Garren, Gracie and I made Neman Marcus cookies together
*Watching Rankin/Bass Christmas specials together on TV
*Seeing Santa twice, though neither time would she sit on his lap alone.

December 25, 2004:
Gracie’s first Christmas. Gracie got up early at 8:30am. We let her crawl in to the living room. Much to our dismay, she stopped to play with her old toys behind Garren’s chair. After some re-direction, she headed for the tree. Her first stop was the Peak-A-Blocks.
After a morning nap, we realized she was hot and had a high fever. It’s likely her teeth. She had fun playing, but was still fussy.
Big news today—Gracie walked behind her new hippo toy! Garren and I couldn’t believe it! We were so excited we called relatives and set up the webcam.
Dinner was a disaster, but we ended up having fun eating turkey, rolls and potatoes in bed! A neat picnic for Christmas!

Gracie’s Gifts:
*Toy train, stacking activity blocks, yellow dress w/matching pants—Aunt Lou
*Peak-A-Block Hippo, pink pajamas, red sleeper, ornament—Mamaw & Papaw
*Pink crocheted sweater jacket with hood—Sharon
*Refrigerator magnets, Baby’s First photo album, 2 board books, blanket backpack, ladybug hair clips—Mommy & Daddy
*Baby photo album, Pippity Pop Elephant, PAB Giraffe, PAB Dump truck, Baby’s first Bible Stories, Books, dresses, overalls, sweaters, plush bear, draft monkey, Leap Frog Piano—Grandma & Grandpa
*Rock-N-Roll trike, Puffalump baby, Wish Bear, board books, PAB Ark, Underwater PAB, plush dog, socks, ABC & number magnets—Santa

We got Christmas cards from: Grandma & Grandpa; Mark Reynolds; Heather, Kenny, DJ, Ryan & Casey Walsh; Linda & AD Kennedy; Shannon & GW McCarthy; Katie & Matt Waters; Donnie, Karen, Tina & Heather Sager; Elaine Summers; Allyson Hatfield; Phyllis & Eddie Hicks; Raybet Construction (Ruth); Connie, Gene & Bud Hensley; Dennis & Sharon Bowers; Lou Nash; Sara & Dean Howard; Betty & Tommy Wooldridge; Kathy, Katie & Brett Ashwell; Don & Mary Ellen Shriver; Charles Fletcher; Erica Walczak

January 7, 2005:
After several weeks of working with her, Gracie claps her hands together! She’s so proud of herself, she keeps going and laughing.
*Updated Food she is feeding herself now: Cheerios * first food she feed herself (12/25/04); Chex Cereal; pinches of bread; peas (1/22/05); Fig Newton Bars (2/8/05); Shredded Wheat (3/05)
Gracie has been holding her own sippy cup for awhile (past month), but has really mastered it by now. However, she has trouble when the juice in the cup is low. Juices she drinks: apple & white grape.

January 17, 2005:
Things we learned at Grandmas: saying Grandma “ah-ma” (1/20/05); saying Grandpa “ah-pa” (1/22/05); saying uh-oh “uh” (1/19/05); brushing her hair (1/23/05); Barney is “eeee” figured that out; barking for Clifford “uphf, uphf” (1/21/05); eating and liking real peas (1/17/05); bathing without her baby tub (1/18/05)

February 1, 2005:
Gracie’s 5th tooth broke through the gum line. Looking at her, it’s the top right, next to the two already in. Gracie has also started walking like a spider. She began crawling on her toes, but up, since Monday (1/31/05)
Today we made homemade Valentine’s for: DJ, Ryan, Casey, Mariah, Grandma & Grandpa, Mamaw & Papaw, Aunt Sharon, Lou, Daddy, Candice & Elliott, Ethan Estep, Jaxon Diamond, Elijah Smith, Luke Wagers.

February 2, 2005:
Gracie is still walking like a spider. But, today she was so excited to see Barney that she stood in the living room clapping with both hands! It looks like she’ll be walking any day!
Gracie’s other favorites (besides Barney): Clifford, Dragon Tales, Elmo and Backyardagains.

February 5, 2005:
Gracie is 11 months old now. We spent the day running errands. We had lunch at McDonalds where she said her name, twice. Something like “G-cee.” She continues to be defiant about feeding herself—she doesn’t want to be feed. She clearly likes her new found independence.

February 8, 2005:
Gracie played “patycake” by herself. We were singing it earlier today, and tonight after her bath, I saw her doing it while I was trying to dress her—its so cute! She is also waving to me when I wave to her. She’s been doing that for a couple of weeks now. More teeth are definitely coming in—drool is everywhere! Oh yeah, and she likes Fig Newtons.

February 12, 2005:
Another tooth has broken the gum line. Looking at her, it’s the top left, second from center. Watching Gracie play these days is so neat. She seems to be learning and reacting instead of banging on things and chewing on them. In the store tonight she took to the baby dolls. She talked to the baby the rest of the shopping trip.

February 22, 2005:
Gracie took her first step! She walked (stepped) to me at the computer. Later in the day she stepped several times. She went from Hippo to TV and toy box to TV, and inside her garden. We are so proud! She had her doctor’s appointment yesterday. She is a healthy 30 inches tall, 22 pounds and 11oz. She feels a lot heavier! A 7th tooth has popped through in the last week—her 8th will likely come in any day now. Gracie’s new thing these days is whispering “hi,” and waving. She even greeted strangers at Shoney’s yesterday. Its so cute!


May 4, 2005:
Two more teeth have come in. The molars are definitely the worst. She has been miserable for weeks. Her new food loves are waffles, and frosted mini wheats. We are letting her feed herself at lunch and dinner now using a fork and spoon. It’s a very messy process that ends in a bath—but she’s proud. She spends much of her day playing, but she’s still under foot. Bed time is going better, but she up 2-3 times a night. We’ve been brushing her teeth before bed for several weeks now. We take a walk practically everyday to the mailbox and back. She can stack her rings and can get ¼ of her shapes through the shape sorter. She’s really in to musical things (her piano, alphabet pal, Nemo book) and anything that makes sound (doll house, castle, link-a-do’s, plastic potato with stuff inside). She remains very curious. Downside, she has ruined several books by chewing on them.
Gracie has learned to color. I decided to show her how one afternoon, and she sat there for 40 minutes coloring several Barney pictures I had printed off the computer.
One of the cutest things she does now is “talk” on the phone. She likes to play with my cell phone and her play phones and say “oh?” (hello)
She’s pretending a lot now. She pretends to feed different dolls/bears and has pretend conversations on the phone and plays with her doll house. She’s growing into quite a precious and intelligent little girl!

May 8, 2005:
My second Mother’s Day. Gracie and Garren both gave me cards. We went to church while in Lynchburg and Grandpa took her up for “children’s time,” where they handed each of the kids flowers to take to their mothers.
Gracie had a blast as Garren and Grandpa let her ride on her first Power Wheels.
Gracie finally learned to drink through a straw. We stopped at McDonald’s on the way back home from Lynchburg, and she wanted some of my drink. She got it thru the straw on the first try.

May 13, 2005:
Gracie learns to blow a kiss—trip to TN


August 31, 2005:
Gracie at 17 months: she can count to 10 and is actually putting numbers with objects. She loves to color and go outside. She feeds herself every well, even with a spoon and fork. She has been sleeping through the night for over a month now, and its wonderful. Naptime can be a battle though. Gracie still adores Barney. She’s very mischievous and tests her limits on a daily basis.
She started saying “please” yesterday. She is very polite, she often says “thank you” when you hand her something or help her. She loves to put on shoes, anyone’s!
She seemed to be having teething trouble today.

Daddy's Version of What Happened

(Personal Journal)
Garren’s version of what happened….
3/5/04, 11:47pm.
I am not really sure what I writing for…but regardless here’s what happened.
The baby was over due by about a week, so the folks at Blue Ridge OBGYN set an induction date of March 3. We arrived early at 8am to wait: labor and delivery was full, so we went to lunch. Mom had a salad; dad, a burger at Shoney’s. At 1:30pm, an IV was started, along with an insert of synthetic prostaglandin. 12 hours later, regular contractions were going, then came synthetic oxytocin at 8am (Thursday). And, the contractions stopped… after a very restless night (and night before), mom and dad were frustrated and tired. Oxytocin started at 6ml and hour…went as high as 84ml an hour, out of a diluted solution, 10mg/1l saline.
Still no dilation, so Dr., Reese tried using an angioplasty-like technique. It worked to well…mom was in agony, accomplishing in 15 minutes, what should have taken a full day. That let to a quick epidural, manual rupture of membranes, and RAPID progress.
At 8pm we were ready for active labor…it started 3 hours later. That’s where the real trouble started. Mom pushed like a pro, turning purple each time. There were lots of tears, pep talks, and painful minutes. But nothing happened, baby was stuck. So, at 6am after a 30 hour sleepless induction and labor, Dr. Reese ordered an emergency c-section.
Dad was scared…mom was stoned…she had some good drugs in place for the 45 minute procedure. 3 ½ hours later, Dad still had no news…and was preparing the malpractice lawsuits in his head, all while preparing to storm the OR to save mom.
As it turns out, mom was too much of a pro when it came to pushing. She torn all 3 baby places badly and needed repair. Baby, whom dad didn’t recognize at first, was a 100% okay, mom was okay too, but needed several says to recover.
Oh, almost forgot…baby had scrapes on head from mom’s pushing.
Once dad got a nap, things were better. Gracie came to a “meet mommy session” in the early afternoon, as did Grandma, Grandpa and Aunt Lou. Mamaw and Papaw send there love, but couldn’t come because of Luke’s flu bug.
Saturday 3/6/04 is planned to be a “get to know a well rested mommy and daddy” day.