Friday, March 30, 2007

Hungry Big Girl

"Speaking of jelly sandwiches, I'm kinda hungry."

I swear this is what my 3 year old said to me this afternoon, I laughed so hard I snorted! Then I asked if I made it, would she eat it. She said "yes."

Why would I ask?

Here's what she has eaten today (by 2pm):
*1 granola bar
*1 bag fruities
*1 fried egg
*1 1/2 pieces of bread with egg
*1 whole grapefruit
*2 snack cups applesauce
*6 peanut butter crackers
*1/2 of MY cucumber
*handful of chips
*most of a PB&J

This past week has been kind of crazy with Emma here, so I haven't been as much on my "food police" patrol--but healthy or not, that is a lot of food for 5 hours!!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Big Helper

Gracie helped make dinner tonight, so I had to snap this picture and share.

I found this recipe (I think I mentioned it in an earlier entry) that the family likes. You take refrigerated pizza dough, or frozen bread dough thawed (that's what I use). You roll it out and on one half you add thinly sliced ham. On top of that shredded cheese mixed with a little Miracle Whip. Then you fold it over and brush the top with egg, and bake.

Gracie really liked the brushing the egg on. I let her use a clean paintbrush, because I don't have on of those basting brushes. But hey, I am a working girl now--maybe I will splurge and get me one :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Early Morning Stroll

I thought it would be a neat idea to take the girls for a walk this morning--and it was. It was pretty warm out despite the overcast sky, so I dusted off Gracie's old Graco stroller and loaded up the girls for a walk around the apartment complexes.

At first there was a little scuffle because Gracie wanted to ride in the stroller, but after a few explanations of all the "big girl" things she could do on the walk, she caved.

Now, our apartment isn't that big, but there is enough parking lot for all 4 buildings to make a nice little stroll. Add in the stop to see the goats, and the 20 minute pretend game of mailman while at the mailbox and it was a fun 45 minutes or so in the fresh air.

I snapped several pictures, but the one above of Gracie pushing Emma shows how she is attempting to adjust to sharing the mommy.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Toddler Yoga

I have never been a trendy person-- in to the holistic way of life...and now I know why! Do you have any idea what its like to swing a 40 pound child in your arms?!!

I picked up this neat DVD at the library on Saturday entitled: Baby And Toddler Yoga. When Gracie was a baby I yearned for something like this to do with her. I popped the DVD in. After several minutes of health warnings there was another 6 minutes of explanation by a very, shall we say "earthy" woman with a thick accent.

When we finally did get to the movements, I convinced Gracie to try with me. She would do a few of the movements and then go play, but before long she was really getting in to it. She would say "mommy can I do that!!!!"

Things were going well until the lifting came into play. I love my girl, but holding her inches above my pelvis and swinging her body back in forth was only fun for one of us!

The longer the video went on though, the more Gracie got in to it. I snapped a few pictures as the lady showed the kids how to stretch by being a seed and growing up nice and tall.

Already Gracie is begging me to the video again. I think my back needs a slight vacation, but finally there is something that we can share...even if it is 3 years late. I think maybe when the video goes back I will pull out the Sweatin' To The Oldies VHS I have. Wouldn't Gracie love to dance along with Richard Simmons! :)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Happy Birthday Grandma!

Happy 26th Birthday Grandma! ;)

I hope you had a fun day, I am making a cake for you in my kitchen--you'll love it!

Love you!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Fun-Do Night

I don't know about the guys, but I sure had fun tonight!

The neighbor's had gotten me a fondue pot for my birthday since I had mentioned that it looked like so much fun. So, tonight they came over and we had a fondue fun night.

I fixed the cheese (it is not as simple as melting cheese by the way!!!), and Colette handled the chocolate. Since we each have a pot now, we had cheese and chocolate at the same time.

What a load of fun. I chopped up veggies and some meat and made a loaf of bread to go with the cheese while Colette had marshmallows, orange slices, banana chunks and pound cake for the chocolate.

Gracie wasn't exactly in to the dipping part, but she loved the finger food size of everything. She ate several pieces of veggies until she spotted the corn chips, and then she decided to sour cream.

After our fun dinner I pulled out the Family Feud game I scored earlier this month and have been dying to play!

The guys were less than thrilled since there was a Mythbusters marathon on, but they at least muted it and pretended to be interested.

The game was so much fun. Mallory was the host and we had fun trying to come up with answers from 1984 since that was when the game was from. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time!

We had a blast and I hope that we can do it again, although Garren promised Tom that he would hide the game. I guess we will let the guys pick the entertainment next time--as long as it isn't watching a marathon of Dirty Jobs!

**Above: Mallory really gets in to her host job, while we Shipley's have a good time. I don't remember anyone taking this picture, but its pretty good. Notice the muted TV in the background!**

Friday, March 23, 2007

Big Girl Gracie

Emma went home a little earlier today than usual (and I got my first paycheck in over 3 years) so, I decided to take Gracie out and reward her for being such a big helper this week.

Despite Gracie's somewhat sour mood today, I took her to the local thrift store to let her pick out a toy or some books. Yes, I know I could have taken her to Toys R US or something like that--but to her the second hand store is just as much fun and she can get more.

Gracie found a few books, and a Fisher Price Little People Eddie doll. I also found a pair of short overalls and a sailor-themed dress for her too.

After shopping I took her to McDonald's for some ice cream.

It has been a busy and exhausting week, but so far, so good. Gracie is really showing me what a big helper, and a big girl she can be. Let's hope she keeps it up! :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Thanks For The Concern

I want to thank the many of you who were very concerned about my blog and email absence this past two weeks.

I have not fallen off the face of the planet, but I am thrilled that so many people at least notice my emails and blog entries.

Garren, Gracie and I were in TN last week and this week I have started a new “job.” I am keeping 8 month old Emma during the week. It’s a new challenge for Gracie and I, and so far we are making it work very well.

I kept a log of things I wanted to write about while I was in TN, so I have several entries to catch all of you up to date. Ordinarily, I would have updated while away, but blogger wanted me to switch over to their new version and I didn’t want to. Ended up having to when I got home anyway.

So, start at the bottom of this page and make your way up. Oh, and pictures are on Picasa too. So, enjoy!

TN Pictures
Gracie’s TN Birthday Party
Gracie & Emma

Adventures In BabySitting--Day 3

Even better. Emma is really getting the routine down and has taken two long naps today, drank 7 ounces of formula and a half jar of baby food.

Gracie is pretty needy today, but I’m finding time to give her extra attention.

By 3pm, mommy-power is on my side—both kids asleep in the same room. Gracie on the bed, Emma in the pack-n-play at the foot of the bed. I celebrate with a brownie and ice cream.

And, I have to share this story: Emma was so sleepy, but really fussy early this afternoon, so I put her down in the pack and play to nap and covered her up. Apparently Gracie could feel Emma’s pain, because she comes over and starts sobbing and screaming at me “her blanket, fix her blanket!!!!” Emma was crying and kicking and had kicked off her blanket. It was so pitiful to watch Gracie sobbing, and I mean crying hard because Emma was upset! I covered up Emma and picked Gracie up and left the room reassuring her that Emma was okay, she just didn’t want to take her nap.

**Isn't that the best picture! Gracie helps give Emma her bottle. Gracie loves being the big helper, even though today she was pretty needy. I am sure to always let Gracie know she is mommy's big girl, and she will always be my girl! ***

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Adventures In BabySitting--Day 2

Emma is really starting to get used to her new routine. She slept today and ate much more. She and Gracie are really becoming pals and it is neat to watch them interact. Gracie gives Emma lots of hugs and kisses and tells her “I wuv you!” and “She likes you momma!” Emma of course makes kissing sounds for Gracie and just lights up when they play.

As for Gracie, the transition has been easier than I expected. There are times when she needs to be reassured, and she comes and gets hugs and kisses. But, aside from being slightly more demanding than usual, she seems to be okay with the new arrangement. I hope it lasts!

***Emma is 8 months old and is ready to run! Too bad when she tries to crawl she only scoots backwards! :) ***

Monday, March 19, 2007

Adventures In BabySitting--Day 1

Well for starters I can’t remember the last time I saw 7am on purpose, but I didn’t this morning. While Kathy is in training for her new job, she will be dropping little Emma off around 7:30.

The day actually went rather well. Emma cried a bit when her mom left, and she didn’t nap or eat much solid foods, but it will take a while to get used to new routines. She and Gracie loved each other though. Emma has been over plenty of times before, but now Big Girl Gracie is getting to be a big helper. Gracie loves having someone to play with, and Emma just babbles and squeaks whenever Gracie is in the room.

By the time Emma left today she was exhausted but happy. We even made a craft out of Emma’s handprints for her mommy, who is understandably having a very hard time with out baby. I am so glad that I never had to go through that, and I have a very real and new understanding for women who did have to. I am so blessed.

PS: For four glorious moments today I was “Super Mommy,” as I had both kids asleep! Emma woke up after being down for about a half hour and we played while Gracie slept for an hour and a half!

***Gracie plays with the new sit & spin she got at a thrift store in TN, while Emma bounces around in her exersaucer***

Sunday, March 18, 2007

New Adventure

Well we are back, and now Gracie and I will be gearing up for a different adeventure. Kathy called this week while we were in Tennessee to let me know she had gotten a job.

A few of you may have known that Colette told me about Kathy, and that she was looking for someone to watch her infant when she returned to work.

Gracie and I wanted to get to know them both, so they have been over several times and are regulars at our tea parties.

Now, babysitting isn’t something I sought out; but I know what a gift and a blessing it is that I get to be a stay home mom, so I decided that I would like to help another mom not have to worry about her child and the trials of daycare. Plus, this is a great opportunity to test my multiple baby skills and see how Gracie might do with a sibling. So, keep us in your prayers as I tackle a new and exciting challenge. Another baby is just what this place needs… isn’t it! ;)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Week In Tennessee

It has been a warm and wonderful week. I won’t bore you with all the details, but we had a great time.

On Monday we stayed outside most of the day. Gracie and I found an old wagon in the basement and we took many, many rides around the neighborhood. Apparently Mamaw & Papaw had gotten the wagon for Heather’s boys when they were much younger.

On Tuesday I squeezed in some thrift store shopping. You know how much I love that!! I got several good deals; a couple of dresses, some books, and Gracie got an adorable DW doll. (DW is from the Arthur series) Plus, Garren took Gracie and I to Hardin Park to play. It was the neatest park I had ever seen.

On Wednesday we cooked hamburgers on the grill for dinner, and Jack and Cheryl bought Gracie this huge bubble wand—which she had hours of enjoyment with.

On Thursday Garren, Luke, Gracie and I headed for a day on the town. We had lunch at Cheddars, one of Garren’s and my favorite restaurants in TN. Then we hit a used book store and took Gracie on ETSU’s campus. I told her it was Daddy’s school and she kept asking about the school bus! ;) Gracie also gave several pretend checkups with her new doctor's kit.

On Friday we met Aunt Sharon for lunch.

On Saturday we went to an awesome parenting fair, got to do more thrift shopping, yeah! (You know Garren was thrilled!) and Papaw & Mamaw took us to dinner at the Golden Corral.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Fun Outdoors!

What a Sunday Gracie had!

We started off the day by having an outdoor picnic at Mamaw & Papaw’s house. Oh, how I love this spring Tennessee weather! We left Strasburg with snow still on the ground, and now we are here with blooming flowers!

Gracie adored the picnic, and then she went several rounds in the swing before we loaded up to meet Grandma and Grandpa and head over to Candice & Elliott’s.

Gracie, as usual, had a wonderful time playing with Lucie and riding the 4-wheeler over and over again. And this time, Candice pulled out her old tricycle and let Gracie ride around the car port.

As you can imagine it was very busy and fun day outside. I doubt we would have been able to do that at home! Then again, we couldn’t even compare with their beautiful yard and home anyway ;)

Tennessee pictures are on Picasa, click here.

***Above: The Shipley family enjoys a chicken picnic; Below:Candice takes Gracie on a ride around their huge yard on the 4-wheeler. Gracie rode 3 seperate times and even Grandma rode once!**

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Toe Tapping Good Time

Okay, the last entry was a little over dramatic. Gracie had a wonderful time at her Happy Feet party.

No kids meant that the big “kids” (Daddy, Elliott, Uncle Luke & Jimmy) got lots of tokens to spend. At one moment Garren actually asked me “Can I go and play?” They were kind of cute.

Gracie played with Grandma and Grandpa while the big boys made fools of themselves at the air hockey table for a little while, and then we cut the cake.

I had this awesome idea to hand-make Gracie’s cake and use cool whip to make icebergs, blue Jello for the icy ocean, and mini marshmallows to make igloos. I had Happy Feet miniatures characters to put on top. The idea was good in theory, but not in practice. By the time I got to Johnson City the whole thing was a melting gooey mess! It didn’t seem to bother too many people, but you know me!

After cake Gracie had a mountain of birthday gifts to open. She was plenty spoiled. A few of them included: Little People birthday set and airplane, Happy Feet costume and piano, books, an awesome cool aid purse that DeAnna made her, a retro penguin toy, Clifford blocks, her first Cabbage Patch baby, and much more. My mother also rose to the occasion by hand-making Gracie a birthday dress from smocked pieces Lou had done.

All of the “kids” got more tokens and played until time to go home. Since I was planning on 10 kids, I got a package that gave us 160 tokens, and since each game took 1-2 tokens, every one got plenty of game time, not to mention tickets.

When we left Fun Adventure we took Gracie to dinner at Ruby Tuesday’s with both sets of grandparents.

We ended the very long day by taking Gracie to Toys R Us to get her balloon, crown & use her gift card. (If you haven’t signed your child up for Geoffrey’s Birthday Club—you should!)

Birthday pictures have been downloaded to Picasa and you can see them here.

***Above, Gracie plays one of her favorite games at Fun Adventure where you knock over ducks. She is very proud of herself and all of the tickets she is getting!***

Pity Party

Imagine throwing a party, and no one came.

I know it was too much to expect for all the kids I invited to come to Gracie’s party, but for none of them to show up! The only kids were Cody and Cory (cousins) and I owe them a great deal of gratitude considering they are much older than 3. I am sure the huge pot of game tokens helped though. So, now I guess I am throwing a pity party for myself—to which I am sure no one will come either.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Reason Today Was Pretty Good

1. I got a shower

2. Had lunch with the "girls"

3. Watched the snow fall in a Christmas-Card perfection sort of way all afternoon

4. Made a keepsake of Gracie's handprint

5. Tried a new dinner recipe and the family liked it

6. Gracie and I feel asleep together at naptime

7. Had a nice afternoon chat with a wonderful neighbor

8. The new (but used) freezer we got for free, works

9. Listened to Gracie read stories to me

10. Splurged on some Breyers

Monday, March 05, 2007

Gracie Got Picked

Yea! I talked Grandma through putting the video on YouTube so now you all can see the card I made for Gracie. Grandma was kind enough to use her digital camera and video the TV screen when the Birthday show came on. Scroll down to watch!

PS Gracie was so excited to see herself on TV. How neat! Oh, and Kevin is obviously not from the South. Sorry Mamaw & Papaw! :)

If you have PBS Sprout tune in at 4:30pm and/or 7:40pm for "The Birthday Show." Gracie's card got picked and I am so excited!!! The card will be showed both times.

Unfortunately we don't get PBS Sprout, but mom and dad do and so they taped it for me. Mamaw and Aunt Heather have also seen it as well. Oh how I wish we had this channel. I am still begging for it to be added to our line up. It is the perfect channel for toddlers. Gracie loves it so much, that mom records 6 hours at a time and sends them with us to take back to our house.

Happy Birthday Gracie!

It seems like only yesterday daddy and I brought you home from the hospital, and now here you are already 3 whole years!

You are such a wonderful and special little girl and you mean everything to us. You are going to be an amazing person and so many people love and care about you. You are so blessed, and we are so blessed to have you in our lives.

Happy Birthday Gracie!

Mommy & Daddy

Sunday, March 04, 2007

A New Game

Tonight we decided to teach Gracie how to play a new game. I was able to get a "My First Uno" game for next to nothing at a second hand store and it was in very good condition with Sesame Street characters.

We piled up on the bed and started by letting Gracie share daddy's hand. She got quite a kick out of making mommy draw cards, and the bold colors and numbers made it easy for her to catch on to the concept of the game. We played a couple of hands this way before letting her have her own set of cards. This went well, and she was doing okay and only needed help spreading the cards out so she could see them; that is until the game started to drag on. I am sure all of you have played those card games that seem to last forever. Well, she lost interest and we got ready for bed. But, I think she did well for a toddler and a somewhat complicated game. Way to go Gracie!!!!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Doggone Good Birthday!

Gracie had a Clifford-riffic birthday tea party this afternoon!

We invited the usual ladies over for a small party, and I went completely overboard with the theme--but, it was just too cute!

I copied the front of Gracie's Clifford books and decorated the walls. I also colored many, many red pawprints to add some color and further the theme. As for treats, I made bone-shaped sugar cookies, put chex mix in doggie dishes, and designed a red-velvet Clifford's dog house cake complete with Oreo shingles!

Each of our guests seem to have a great time. Gracie was decked out in red, and I made a special hairbow just for the occasion. We played doggie themed games like Clifford Bingo and "Cat, Cat, Dog" (our version of Duck, Duck, Goose). Gracie started to get the hang of the Bingo game, but she was completely lost at Cat, Cat, Dog. Although, the older girls got a kick out of trying to show her by example! As for the prizes, I took candy bars and created my own labels that said "Tummy Yummy." Those were a HUGE hit.

As if all the sugar, and games and attention weren't enough; Gracie was also showered with plenty of wonderful and thoughtful gifts. She received a doll baby complete with clothes and a handmade bed, an Ariel ballet outfit, Dora school house play set, Dora easel, Clifford DVD, coloring book, and plush white teddy bear. (Mommy and Daddy gave her a few things early like Aquadoodle sheets, Thomas the Tank Engine View Master Reels, and a pink ballerina hat.)

Each of the girls got a Clifford placemat, party program, coloring page and a goodie "bowl" made up of doggie dishes, flavored water, Big Red gum, Clifford bookmark, Clifford story book, fruities, and a granola bar that I covered with a white construction paper bone cutout.

Boy, when I find a theme I like--I really stick to it :)

My description doubtfully does this festive party justice, but Gracie had such a wonderful time with all of her pals, and all of the girls really seemed to have a lot of fun, even though they are much older than 3. I am so glad that Gracie and I are blessed with such caring and loving people to be surrounded by!

I took tons of pictures, you will have to check them out here!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

New Favorites

Gracie, Garren and I have a new favorite series of books that you just have to check out!

The books are about Boo and Baa and all of the funny thins they get in to. The stories are short and the illustrations speak volumes. Each page has one sentence, so it is great for short attention spans.

We started off with "Boo and Baa In A Party Mood," and I recommend that one first. Since we discovered the hilarious duo we have already checked out two more of there books. I looked on line and apparently there are many titles. We can't wait to read them all.

So far we have read "Boo and Baa In A Party Mood," "Boo and Baa In Windy Weather," and "Boo and Baa On A Cleaning Spree."

Boo and Baa are stories created by Olof and Lena Landstrom.