Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Perfect Birthday

Gracie Likes Daddy's Cake!

Happy Birthday Daddy

Happy birthday Daddy, I love you very much.
I can't wait until you get home becuase mommy says we are going to have cake, and I get to help! Have a good day at work daddy, I will see you when you get home.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Wow Its Almost Like Spring!

Another warm day here in Northern VA. I decided to take Gracie out for a walk today in downtown Strasburg. (Its historic and scenic in our downtown, not scary and creepy) We didn't even need jackets! It was 65 degrees at 3pm and it was likely warmer during early afternoon. Gracie and I both enjoyed the weather, and I got an extra dose of exercise. We even made a stop in my favorite second hand store and found a Franklin video (Gracie's new favorite). Franklin things are very hard to find, especially the videos, so if any of you find Franklin merchandise would you please let me know.

I have no idea how long these spring-like temperatures are going to stick around, but I am all for an early spring. Although Garren isn't happy about winter being cut short--he loves the snow!

Anyway, tomorrow is Garren's birthday, so we are excited to celebrate the big 2-8. He has asked for carrot cake (as usual), so I am sure Gracie and I will have fun baking and making things nice for Daddy.

I wanted to update Gracie's growing intellect. Two days ago she surprised me twice with how much she has retained. There was a piece of provalone cheese on the table that I had just pulled apart, and she looked down at it and said "crescent." I couldn't believe it, the cheese actually looked like a crescent shape. Later that day she showed me how to sing and play "Ring-Around The Rosie," she was so cute, and she even demonstrated the "all fall down part!" I guess she learned that from a Barney video or episode, but I was very impressed. Last night Gracie brought me a Clifford book. It was a word book that had lots of little pictures in a scene all labeled. So, I decided to see what she could find. I asked her "can you find the doll, bear, cake, etc." She found nearly every one! I was so proud. I am pretty sure that being able to find things on a page cluttered with objects is really good for a 22 month old! My smart baby!

I think you likely all have enough of a cavity from this entry so I will leave it be. Have a great week, and let us know how you are doing!!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Taco Night

Tonight was taco night...thought the picture was cute. I continue to enjoy my new camera, but I am still trying to figure out how to take the best pictures with it. Garren got his birthday present early yesterday as he purchased the MP3 player Nano thingy he wanted. He is in music heaven!

Spring In January

Today was another warm sunny January day. The sixth or seventh this month where temperatures got above 60. We had planned an adventure to the IHOP this morning, since I told Garren how much Gracie loved it the time we went in Lynchburg. We also caught up on library time by grabbing 20 or so books. It has been a couple of weeks since we went. It was nice to be back. Since it was so pretty and warm we went to the park after the library. Gracie had a wonderful time, as did half of Strasburg! Everyone decided to take a trip out of their homes and into some warm sun this afternoon. We played and ran and took a walk to the creek and back, and had a fun time. The picture above is from the walk--I thought it was neat and showed our family the way it was meant to be! Have a good weekend.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Saying I Love You

I don't pretend to be a wise person in any way, but I wanted to share my thoughts on a subject that has been on mind for the past two days. So often we use the excuse "out of sight, out of mind" when it comes long distance relationships with family. Take it from someone who knows...it is important to let the people you love and care about know that you are thinking of them, especially children. Don't let hundreds of miles keep those people from knowing that you care and you are interested in their lives. Here are a few ideas:

*Email a short note with a story about what happened to you that day, or a story from long ago that you want to pass on to the next generation

*Send a card out of the blue, just because you wanted to send your love. It doesn't have to be an expensive one, Wal Mart makes tons of adorable .48 cards that say just what you need.

*Mail a letter that sends love and a sense of caring. Cover in in stickers or sketches or just put it on fun paper. Even a piece of notebook paper will do, all you need is to share that you are thinking about them.

*Make a phone call. Call just to see how they are doing....no agenda, not on the regular day you call, and not to talk about yourself--make the conversation just about them.

*Send silly or fun gifts that don't cost very much but let that person know you know them. Like a book about birds if the person loves birds, or a t-shirt that says "adorable!" The price of the gift doesn't matter, just the thought of saying "I am thinking about you and I love you!"

*Make an audio tape or video tape with a special message. Those can be priceless in days and years to come

*Email or send by mail pictures that you took on a special holiday when you were apart, include captions on the back and tell how much you wished the person was there.

*Mail a postcard from your city. You can find these in most Walmarts (look towards the ends of the checkout stands near the customer/returns center). It will be neat to see a picture of where you live. Write on it anything you like. Be sure to include hugs and kisses.

These are just a few simple things to let someone know you haven't forgotten about them, and that you miss and love them very much. Don't let miles and hours come between your relationships...you don't know how much it will mean when they realize they haven't been forgotten---especially when it comes to the children.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Gracie's Christmas Picture

Here is Gracie's Christmas picture as promised. I love the grin on her face!

I don't know if any of you use JC Penney's for your photographic needs, but the one here is excellent--they really take the time to work with your child, and if you use the coupons you really get wonderful pictures for a good price. Especially if you buy the "smile saver" card or whatever its called. Its a one time deal that lasts for 2 years and its worth every penny. However--I hate that they order extra pictures and try to get you to buy them when you pick up your order. The heartbreaking thing is that if you don't buy them, they go in the trash! I think when I take her back in March for birthday pictures I will ask them not to do that because it is heartbreaking, and I have a set picture budget and use every dollar when I order the first time.

Not One Of Those Mothers!

Dear Lord help me, I think I am becoming one of those mothers; the ones who compare themselves to other moms, and their children to other children. I realized I was on the downward spiral last week while in Lynchburg. We were all sitting in Cracker Barrel and a family sat down near ours with a toddler Gracie’s size. I suspect she was a little older since Gracie looks bigger than her age, but I digress. Anyway, her mother was having her show off the words she could say for the grandmother that was sitting with them, and they were clapping for her as she used her fork and spoon. And here I am sitting there thinking: “Gracie can do that, maybe she isn’t as advanced as I thought.” The little girl started naming parts of the body like Gracie does, and I began to panic: “what if this little girl knows more than Gracie, I have to step up my at-home training!”

I am terrified of becoming one of those mothers. Occasionally I notice myself mentally sticking up my nose at other mothers who let their children run around crazy in Wal Mart, or cringe at the parents who scold or spank their children in public, or smile with pride a little when a child older than Gracie can’t do the things she can.

I am horribly ashamed of myself! How do I stop this from becoming the parent who touts about her child to every other parent in her child’s pre-school?!! Somehow Gracie’s success and intelligence has become linked to my skills as a parent. If she fails at a task, I fail, if she goes above and beyond I worry that another child may be working harder to surpass her.

I was like this before kids though. In school it killed me if I didn’t have the highest grade or got the best remarks on a project. But, how do I keep this from happening to Gracie, and keep from being an embarrassment as a mom? Help! I am hoping that a little bit of competitiveness goes along with becoming a mom, but I want to find away to keep it just that—a little competitive! Lord, help me, I don’t want to be one of those moms!!!

A New Beginning

I started back at Curves today after being out for a month or more. With everything that happened before Christmas and the flu and more traveling, I have seriously neglected my workout. I was glad to be back, I really enjoy the people and the workout. But, I was sad to learn that my favorite employee is leaving. I think having someone else in my life leave was more than I could handle. I was able to actually cry a little (when I got home). Many of you have probably already figured out that I have still not dealt with my aunt's death yet. It is easier for me to blink back tears and think about and talk about something else when the memories pop in my mind. I am well aware that this is not healthy and I have to find a way to deal with it. I have no idea how I am supposed to do that--but I am sure that time will heal. The pain will likely never completely go away, but I am sure once I can deal with it--it will get easier day by day. Right now, it is harder and harder.

Gracie will hopefully start a new beginning today as well. She and I went to Food Lion this morning to pick up lunch, and we got Clifford Training Pants. They are the Food Lion brand, but as you know she adores Clifford--so I am hoping that it will help with the potty training process. I will let you know how it goes. I think we will start trying after nap. A diaper is always best for nap and bedtimes.

I get Gracie's Christmas portraits back tonight, so I will post them on here tonight or tomorrow. I hope they come out as cute as the computer showed. To recap, with everything that happened I had Gracie's Christmas pictures taken the second week in January.

I think that is all for now. Have a good afternoon!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Toy Recall

The Laugh and Learn musical chair that Gracie got for Christmas has been recalled. I wanted to let you know incase any of you got the same chair for your little one. Apparently babies were getting their necks stuck between the chair and the little side table that has the lamp on it. Gracie's melon head couldn't possibly even fit between there--but there is a danger for smaller ones. We ordered the repair kit and will fix it, just incase we give it to someone else or if we have more children...not to mention it would make me rest easier. If you have the chair at home (pictured) click here to get your free repair kit.

We're Back

Gracie and I returned to Strasburg Monday evening to a much relieved Daddy. Garren never has been able to live with us gone very well :)

I would like to say we did tons of interesting things while we were visiting Grandma and Grandpa, but this trip was mostly work. Gracie, however, got her fair share of spoiling from the grandparents and got to play with cousin Mariah.

My new camera came last Monday morning as I was loading the car to go to mom and dads. I took some pictures while we were there, but none of them are spectacular. I will have to practice with it some more, several of them were blurry.

Gracie and I mostly rested yesterday and unpacked the boxes and bags full of things that we brought back. Today has been pretty laid back as well. I found that I had exhausted myself more than I realized. Although, Gracie has been anything but laid back. She has been so excited to be back she has practically run for two days straight! She has played with every toy in the house, and I have no idea where her energy has come from. She has been wonderful since we got back. At mom and dads she was getting into everything and hanging on me and whining the whole time I was there. But, I think she sensed the heaviness of the visit and responded the only way she knew how. Her angelic behavior did take a short break this morning though as I was taking a shower. I came out to find a box of Fruit Loops on her bedroom floor, an overflowing bowl of them and even more scattered around. Apparently she decided to pour herself another bowl while I was busy. The look on her face when I caught her was priceless. I grabbed the camera, but she wouldn't go back in her room--she knew what she had done. I did take a picture of the mess though!

That's all for now, I will get back in to the blogging habit ASAP. I really enjoy writing about my daily trial and tribulations with the princess Grace.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Happy Birthday Grandpa

Happy Birthday Grandpa!
I am glad that Mariah and I could be with you on your birthday, and I am especially sorry that there wasn't any cake! But, I know you enjoyed your birthday breakfast.
Love You!
**Picture from December 2005 when we visited grandpa just before Christmas. He loves both his girls!***

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Sunday Morning

The wind is still ragin out there, but we three Shipley's braved it all for our first Sunday morning in church for 2006. We had to miss the last two due to the flu, and I am sure the entire congregation thanks us for that! I love to coordinate all of our Sunday morning attire, and this morning I made the brood stop for a picture before we went. I thought it turned out well. Have a great week!

***Gracie and I will be traveling tomorrow to Lynchburg, hopefully I will still find some time while I am there to update the blog.***

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Warm Out...Cold Wind In

Today has been kind of a lazy day for us. Garren is healing from his sinus infection (went to the doctor yesterday and got some antibiotics), and we all just kind of took it easy and watched the snow and rain.

For the third day in a row Gracie has given us a hard time with nap, so like yesterday, it was 4:00 before she finally went to sleep. She slept until 6:15! Then, Garren got the brilliant idea to get out of the house. Let me set the scene for you: it is cold (32 degrees), dark, and we have 40 mile an hour winds (really, I looked it up). Anyway, we went along with daddy and headed to Woodstock and got some dinner. We went to the Ponderosa...no they aren't all extinct. Gracie had a good time though, and ate very well, including much of mommy's steak. She also had cookies and ice cream for desert.

After dinner, we decided to go walk off our dinner and just look around at the Wal Mart. Sounds sad I know, but we are all cooped up in this house for a week at a time most of the time. We weren't in Wal Mart 10 minutes before the power went out. Gracie was fine until the fire alarm went off. I guess that is just a precaution. We braved the wind and headed back to the car. Most of Woodstock and Strasburg are without power, but we live in a new building with underground power lines, so we are set.

Gracie and Daddy are currently sitting in the floor watching Baby Einstein: Baby Noah right now, I just snapped the picture above a few minutes ago. You will be happy to know we are all snuggled in nice and tight and warm. I guess we will read and work on trying to put our little monkey to bed in a few minutes. It is late, but Gracie has only been up from nap for less than 3 hours!!

The forecast is calling for snow tonight, and the cable is still out, so Garren and I will probably go to bed early as well. On Monday, Gracie and I will be heading to Lynchburg to see grandma and grandpa and so I can go through some things from my aunt Lou's. So, that leaves Garren alone for another week. But, I promise I have left him a week's worth of microwavable food and waffles, so he should be fine. Oh, and I did finally get Gracie's Christmas pictures taken last night at Penney's. With everything that happened this holiday I never made it over there, but they were happy to pull there Christmas props out. I will post the picture here when I get them back.

If you are somewhere in Virginia tonight you proably have the same temperatures and wind we have...but even if you don't...snuggle up close with your family and read a good book together!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Happy Birthday Dean!

We hope your 28th is filled with lots of love, plenty of celebration...and tons of junk food! Hope you had a wonderful birthday. Our love to you and Sara as you celebrate another exciting milestone together!

Barbara, Garren & Gracie Shipley

***Picture from fall 2003, but its the best one I have! Hint, Hint, send me a new one!!***

Gracie's Credentials

Look Daddy I am important too!

Gracie was fascinated this morning by the credentials that her daddy had around his neck from his Richmond trip. So, mommy decided to make some for her. She loves it--hasn't taken it off yet! It has her picture (the one on the blog from yesterday), and it reads: Gracie Shipley, ADORABLE TODDLER, expires March 5, 2010. As you can see from the picture she is very proud.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Great Day To Go Outside

It was another warm and beautiful day here today. I would say it got up to 65 at least. A perfect day for getting out!

This morning, we girls spent the morning playing in our pajamas and eating Froot Loops. But by afternoon, I decided it was so warm and pretty it would be a shame to stay cooped up in the house, so we went out to lunch. Gracie and I dined on a delicious McDonald's meal..inside the restaurant. After lunch we took in some shopping at our favorite second hand store. It was there that I got 8 books, a crib bumper that has farm animals on it (perfect for her room!), a cute red dress perfect for Valentine's Day, and a small stuffed Franklin; all for $6.86. Sometimes I even amaze myself!

After her nap, we went for a walk. We just went to the mailbox though, because the sun was going down and it was really starting to cool off!

I really hope these temperatures stay up! Even though it's January, it's a real God send for stay at home mom's like me who are looking to get some fresh air. If it was warm in your area today, I hope you took advantage of it!

Note: Gracie and I had been on our own since early yesterday morning after Garren left for an overnight work trip to Richmond to cover his first ever VA General Assembly. He is home now, and Gracie is very happy to have daddy back.

Tour Gracie's Room

Curious about Gracie's nursery? I have put a few pictures on snapfish, so you can get a sneak peak. As you can tell she is a very blessed toddler! She has plenty of toys and things to learn and see and play and do. So, Grandma--please note that there isn't any more space!!! No more stuff!!! She has plenty!!!!

PS: I have updated the snapfish photos to include where I put the site words up for Gracie to learn. I am hoping that this will boost her reading ability even faster!

As I have touted before: laundry baskets were my answer to having a small apartment! Each laundry basket you see under Gracie's crib is full of toys. One is stuffies, one is pretend food and dishes, etc, the other is assorted small toys that used to be in the livingroom. I also use laundry baskets in her closet for blankets and large stuffed animals. Plus, the baskets are easy for her to slide out from under the crib and play!

Gracie also enjoys playing in her "barn." Her pretend oven and musical chair are in there, along with puppets. The sides of the bard are open and are great for puppet shows. This is the barn that I told you took 4 hours to sew and I had no idea it would look as good as it does (especially since I was just using my imagination as a pattern!!!).

In the crib are her favorite things: Clifford of course, on the end right to left: "Bunny" (that was my bunny from when I was born), "Nutch" (Garren's childhood lovey), and "Lamby" (Gracie's baby lovey).

I hope you enjoy the tour.

Gracie's room

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Meet Gracie

This year one of our families resolutions is to get to know our family and friends better, I mean more than just the outer layer. So, to be fair, I thought that perhaps we should let you know more about us. Garren will never go along with this, so, I will start with Gracie.

Meet Tabitha Grace Shipley, "Gracie" for short

born: March 5, 2004, she is 22 months
hair: brown
eyes: brown (so far)
best friend: a giant stuffed Clifford
favorite tv show: toss up between Barney and Clifford
favorite book: "Don't Wake The Baby" by Dawn Apperly (we are desperately trying to find it so we can buy it for her birthday, we usually just check it out from the library once a month)
favorite movie: Baby Einstein's Baby Noah
favorite food: spaghetti/ice cream

Gracie is an adorable toddler who loves to smile and laugh. Her favorite pastimes include: playing in the sandbox, being the engineer with her new train, as well as reading anything and everything. She is an accomplished xylophonist, but she also moonlights as a fashion consultant. She can show you the best in play jewelry or let you try on an array of hats and glasses. She is an expert tickler, and she secretly loves to give hugs, although you have to catch yours quick because she will be off in a flash to the next fun activity. She is very creative and loves to color. She and mommy have a great time making crafts together. (Today we made a mobile of stars and beads and the moon and hung it up--she just giggled, and giggled!!!)

Gracie's hero's include her daddy, and she is still young enough to know that a kiss will make a boo-boo stop hurting. She has her addictions though; life with out gi-gi (her pacifier) would be really tough, and she still can't give up diapers, but she is trying hard to quit :)

Her favorite games are peak-a-boo, and hide and seek. She is a quick learner and a wonderful singer. Her favorite tunes are "Twinkle Twinkle," and "Old Mac Donald."

That is just a little bit about our "little bit," I hope that this gives you a peak in to the life and times of Gracie.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Finally, all three Shipley's are on the mend. It took a week for each of us to really feel better, even though we all still have those after-illness effects like a runny nose and cough. Thank you to all of you who called and emailed your get-well wishes, they were much appreciated.

I decided to test my energy level yesterday by getting back in the swing of things. I made 6 trips to the basement storage unit to put up Christmas decorations and various baby things, did 4 loads of laundry, cooked and cleaned up from lunch and dinner, gave Gracie a bath, vacuumed twice, caught up on the pile of dishes we had accumulated while we were sick, straightened up the house, mopped the floors, went to the post office, and I still found the energy to color and do shapes with Gracie. Its good to be back!

The weather here has been beautiful for the past two days. Yesterday it was sunny and 70, today sunny and 60 or so. Gracie and I took a walk to the mailbox this afternoon, a trip we haven't taken in several months because of the cold or bad weather. Gracie was so excited to see outside--she took off running for the mailbox and wasn't excited about having to come in. I wish I had taken my camera with us--oh well. It is supposed to be pretty the rest of the week, so maybe we can return to the great outdoors again tomorrow.

Besides our "walk," Gracie and I spent the afternoon learning words. I printed off 27 site-words for her room and glued them to bright orange paper and taped them to items around her room. They included: crib, book, shelf, TV, window, diapers, blocks, puzzles, puppets, wipes...you get the idea. I am hoping that she will start associating the written word for the object. Gracie already loves to "read." Each night after we read to her for bedtime, she reads the book back to us. Besides being precious, she really gets a grasp of the story. She can tell you a few distinguishable words about each page. I can't wait until my camera finally gets here so I can video it!

Garren ordered me a camera for Christmas from Dell almost a month ago. They have lost it twice, not re-ordered it once...and I am still not sure what is going on.

Anyway, Gracie and I are happy to be up and moving again. She seems to have more energy than ever before. She talks a mile-a-minute and doesn't stop going! On the positive side, she is sleeping very well, taking a good nap, and is for the most part very well behaved.

We wish you all a very happy week. Let us know what is going on in your lives!

***Picture from yesterday. Gracie enjoyed our brief trip outside as we went to get stamps and mail thank you's at the Strasburg post office. I thought she really dressed for the occassion!****

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

A huge Thank You to our neighbor Steven who gave us the best Christmas present ever--his kitchen table. As many of you may know Steven lent us the table and 6 chairs for Thanksgiving as we had so many family in. Since he never uses it and he has a busy schedule, it kind of found a home here. Garren, Gracie and I enjoyed the table so much. Gracie was able to sit and eat with us, without a high chair. We ate as a family much more often, and we had room to do projects, and crafts. Our old table was small, and we only had 2 chairs that were circa 1950 something-- and were falling apart. Steven gave us the table to keep last week and we won't ever be able to thank him enough for his generosity!

***the picture is from last month when we ordered pizza. Gracie really enjoys sitting up like a big girl and eating with the family. And mommy enjoyes all of the family time we have spend around that table--and will spend in the future***

Saturday, January 07, 2006

What A Week!

Any mom will tell you, that once you have children, there is no longer such a thing as "sick days." Sick days simply mean that you have to carry on doing everything that you always do--only while you are sick. I think I will have to ask for a raise :)

Believe it or not, we are all still not over this illness, that I have decided is likely the flu. I have lost my voice (stop laughing!), and Garren has had multiple migraines a day. Gracie is doing better, but still not completely over it yet.

So with Garren too sick to work all week, plus a sick mommy and baby, you may be wondering what we have done all week. Well, not much. Most of the time we spent cuddled up together with tissues and the TV in mommy and daddy's room. We haven't had a TV in our room for well over a year now, but it was helpful to bring it in while we are sick. But, it goes right back in the top of the closet after we are all well!

Other interesting activities; taking down the Christmas decorations and tree, during which Gracie cried. Apparently she had gotten attatched to the ornaments and other decorations, especially the red dressed angel. We also did puzzles, watched hours of Baby Einstein, read books, colored, played in Gracie's room, made our list of resolutions, took lots of warm baths and showers, built towers of blocks, wrote Christmas thank you notes, worked on Gracie's scrapbook, and had a craft time where we made a caterpillar. You will find a picture of Gracie's caterpillar and a list of our resolutions underneath this blog entry.

Things around here are improving, but I think we will still be under the weather for a few more days. The good news is I was able to sit at this computer long enough to write three blog entries and add pictures.

Garren and I have fallen behind in emails and phone calls. We aren't ignoring you--we just don't have the energy to check the computer and dial! Thank you all for the get well wishes. We hope that none of you are struck with this flu, we love you too much!

**The picture above is of Gracie playing with her train set, on Thursday, that Grandma & Grandpa got her for Christmas. I put the track together, but I found her a few minutes later after she had put the hat on and was controlling the train herself. It didn't take her long t figure out how to make it stop and go!***

Gracie's Caterpillar

I was looking for something fun to do with Gracie, so I came up with making a caterpillar. I just found things around the house to use. I used a straw to put the caterpillar on, cut straw pieces for the antenne, and colored cotton balls with markers for the body (I need to buy some pom poms!). We added beads for the eyes, and sparkly sequins to add flair!

Goals For 2006

Garren, Gracie and I all sat down and came up with a list of the things that we wanted to do or see or accomplish for this coming year. Family is so important to all of us, so you'll see that many of our goals are for the family to do together.

(in no particular order)

1. Get Gracie Potty Trained
2. Get Gracie Off The Binki
3. Go To The National Zoo In Washington, DC
4. Write & Mail More Cards & Letters
5. Visit Family More
6. Take More Pictures
7. Continue To Go To Church Regularly and Get Involved
8. Spend More Time Outside
9. Find More Family Time
10. Give More Hugs & Kisses
11. Continue To Eat Meals At The Table
12. Make More Friends
13. Keep Up With Friends & Family
14. Finish Gracie's Scrapbook

You can help us teach Gracie more about goals and things that are important to you buy adding a few of your goals/resolutions for 2006 in the comments section. This will also help Gracie get a better understanding of her family and friends and what makes them so special!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

When Will It End?!

Long time...no update. Here's the update: we all have Gracie's disease that she brought home likely from some other toddler looking for revenge on her parents.

This has to be the worst cold any of us have EVER had! I came down with symptoms New Years Eve. Garren that night. We are still miserable, sore, and about out of tissues. I am sure you will all be thankful that I have not included a picture with this blog--trust me if you saw this family you would run in fear!!

We hope all of you are happy and healthy. Hopefully we will get back in the swing of things as soon as we can breathe out of both nostrils at the same time!!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Things You Do For A Sick Baby

1. Let her play with the tissues
2. Give pretend medicine to teddy bears
3. Order McDonald's for lunch
4. Put the TV back in your bedroom so she can cuddle and be entertained
5. Let her wear her pajamas for 48 hours
6. Let her play extra long in a warm tub
7. Suction her nose every half hour!
8. Tickle her belly to get her to open her mouth and take medicine
9. Stack up pillows in her crib so she can watch Barney videos and rest
10. Let her eat 6 flavor ices for dinner... in your bed
11. Let her do just about anything she wants
12. Give her 3 sippy cups of gingerale to get her to drink
13. Plenty of back and foot rubs
14. Give tons of hugs and kisses!

Gracie ended up with just a bad cold instead of the flu, but her consistent fever and runny nose are making her pretty pitiful. Thank you all of you who sent get well wishes. We are sure she will be fine in a few days.

Happy 2006

From email 1/1/06:

Family & Friends:

Garren, Gracie and I would like to wish you all a very happy and healthy 2006. 2005 for the Shipley family was full of adventures, heartaches, fun and parental trial-by-error...and of course love. And, this next year will likely have the same to offer.

Our little Gracie isn't quite so little any more. The 5th of January she will turn 22 months. Only a few more months before her second birthday. These days our princess looks more like a four year old. She is in 4t clothes, size 6 diapers, and size 8 shoes! She is absolutely beautiful too. We have been working on potty training, and she has the concept--but apparently not the time to take away from playing :) Gracie's newest things are dressing herself and "reading." She can put her shirts on with very little help, and as she demonstrated tonight: can put her pants on with little to no help. She also likes to complete her outfits with several layers of colorful jewelry.

She has already read one book. It was a board book with one sentence per page. She read it to herself (the exact sentence on each page) earlier this month while I was in the room. She probably memorized it--but I am proud anyway. We always read books before bedtime and for the past week, she insits on "reading" the books to us after we have finished. It sounds like garble with a few words snuck in. But, the neat part is the words that you can understand, go along with that particular page! We are so proud of her and smart she continues to be. I think our weekly treks to the library have really paid off.

I am sending some of my favorite pictures from December. I hope you enjoy them. I have plenty more pictures, and day to day goings on of Gracie on our blog http://allaboutgracie.blogspot.com/. Feel free to visit anytime and leave a comment so we know you were there.

Anyway, we wish you all the best for 2006, and we hope that you will stay in touch with us. We want this year to be full of family and friends.

Our love to you all,
Barbara, Garren & Gracie Shipley

PS: We would love to know what you and your families want to do in 2006, you can email us or post it on the blog. It will be fun to tell Gracie what other people want to do this year as we make our list. I was going to make it tonight, but Gracie is still getting over a bad cold that she has passed on to Garren & I. Since Garren is off tomorrow maybe we will make it then. And, of course I will post it. ***(Please post to this blog entry)***