Friday, November 30, 2007

End Of Another Season

Fall has come and gone. If you took a hard look at the weather around these parts, fall never really stayed long. Summer extended her stay well into October, and then old man winter got to the party very early and blew in very cold temperatures by the beginning of November.

This is really quite a shame since Fall is my favorite season of all. But, the Shipley family did get to do some wonderful things together. Gracie and I accomplished most of our fall wish list, and I am proud to say there were only a few things we didn't get done!

I have had this fall list on the left hand side of the blog since September, but for those who didn't notice, I thought I would share our accomplishments.

30 Things To Do With Gracie This Fall

Its time to start on a new list, this one for Christmas. It may seem very...uh...uptight, to make lists, but it is fun to have goals. And, if you notice our lists are fun things to do--not chores. Look on the left hand side of this blog to see the season's new fun ideas!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Beary Fun Day

Gracie learned all about bears today in preschool. She was more talkative after school today than I ever remember her being.

She told me that bears eat fish and honey and they live in holes and they sleep during the winter. I was very proud. You can see her worksheet about bear and their food below.

Snack today was graham crackers. They did the tea pot song and played Mother May I. Her story today was also about a bear: Lucky Bear.

She played with Joanna as usual, along with the wooden blocks. I did notice when I dropped her off, she headed for the coloring table, but instead made a bee line for the other kids playing on the floor. She choose a Little People toy and seemed quite content.

Oh, and apparently Mason (the handful) is not sick, he is going to a different school now. The teacher must have told the kids, because Gracie announced this information to me.

By the way she looked super cute (and appropriate) in her brown bear dress. Grandma made the dress for Mariah when she was in Kindergarten for brown day. Yes, I said Kindergarten, Gracie is a giant! Gracie was super proud to wear this dress since Mariah had gotten to wear it too. I contributed a matching bow. I was so excited when I looked on her calendar and saw today's theme. I had been looking for a chance for her to wear the super cute dress!

We also got the window and classroom decorations from November, plus a calendar for December. They are working on winter and the holidays. And, they will be having a Christmas party on the last day of school: December 20th. More fun to look forward to!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Show Off

Gracie shows off her "moves' before tumble tots gets underway this afternoon. The class was very small today, which is very nice since 20 very loud preschoolers in a cavernous gym can give anyone and instant headache. Plus, they have to wait so long for their turn.

A new twist today; warm-ups with balloons. Gracie loved this. The batted the balloon while stretching arms, and later kicking the balloon with stretched legs. All of the kids had a ball!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

My Child's Cry From The Bathroom

(amongst tears since we told her no books in the bathroom tonight because we knew she was stalling for bedtime by saying she had to poop.)

"I can't poopie without books!"

Shipley Budget Tips

A few weeks ago a friend of mine asked for budgeting ideas, and I am ashamed to say that I never did get time to email her a few. I was thinking that there may be a few more families out there that might be more than a little curious on how we make it through with a growing child and only one income.

Here's how we do it....

1. Don't be a snob, shop at Walmart. Regardless of your opinions about the corporation, many families like ours wouldn't be able to make it without Walmart. You will save large amounts of money on groceries and other products. If you are anti-Walmart, sign up for your grocer's savings card. Yes, you have to give info, but you get their savings. And, stock up when something you want is on sale, and freeze what you can.

2. Buy the off-brands. This is not always the tastiest choice, but for the most part, the Walmart or other off-brands taste the same as the more expensive brands. For example; flour, sugar, and most baking needs are perfect replicas. However: ketchup, macaroni and cheese and a few others are a HUGE disappointment. (See list below for more) Try less expensive items in off- brand. You may not like it, but at least you will know, and if you do like it- you will save anywhere from .50 to a $1.00 every time you buy that product. If you are wondering about a certain item ask us, I am sure we have tried the off-brand and we can give you an idea of taste and quality.

3. Coupons are only good if you use them. I clip them, but most of the time I get so caught up in trying to check out I forget to hand them over. Or if I do remember, I pull them out to find they have expired. My advise: if you have the time, clip them and keep them in your purse. You never know when you might use them. And, on big items like a new Swiffer, or a DVD or something, look online and print off the coupon-- and remember to use it. Most of the time you will save several dollars!

4. Shop for at least a week at a time. We shop for 2 weeks at a time, but I am sure that isn't practical for everyone. Make it a goal to get everything you need without having to make small runs to the store. Make out a menu for 7 days. Include dinners, lunches and breakfast. Then break down each meal to ingredients that will be needed. Be sure to include everything down to syrup for the pancakes. Add to the list household items like laundry detergent, dishwasher tabs, deodorant, etc. Check your list twice and take a look around your pantry for low spices and cleaners.

5. Take advantage of buy one get ones, especially on things you use frequently. For example, you can get Oscar Mayer hotdogs BOGO several times a year. Put one set in the fridge and freeze the others. This is great for unexpected company, or if you just need an extra lunch.

6. This also works buying in bulk. Well, not exactly bulk. You can buy 5 or 6 pounds of hamburger at a time usually for several cents to a dollar cheaper. You put a pound each in a freezer bag and you have handy meals for the rest of the week or month. Just remember to freeze extra beef and thaw it in time! Another tip: it isn't as attractive, but buy the larger tubs of butter instead of those cute little tubs. If you like the size of the little ones, save one of the containers and then fill it up from the big one for something that looks nicer on the table. As for brands, we get one of the cheapest: Blue Bonnet, and it bakes and spreads, and of course tastes just like the pricer brands.

7. Warehouse items and bulk items that you don't use a lot of, don't always save you money. We love going to Costco, but I have found we actually spend more money. We do eat better, as far as more tasty and different entrees, but we actually added about $75 to our grocery budget every 2 weeks. If you don't already have a warehouse membership, I don't recommend one unless you have a very large family. It doesn't hurt to look around though. Most places will let you look around the store before getting a membership. But, remember to look at prices and see if you will really save money on the products you would buy. Also keep in mind that you will be paying around $50 a year to shop there.

8. At Walmart, or other grocery stores: don't buy large containers of foods that you will waste. For example: I noticed that we were throwing out over a half a gallon of milk when the expiration date arrived, so now we only buy half gallons and we don't waste hardly any. Another example: I am bad about buying the larger container of sour cream and then wasting it because I don't have enough meals that call for it. Get smaller containers of things that you will waste. You may save more per ounce or pound for the larger versions, but if you are throwing it out you will waste money! The exception to this rule would be things that wouldn't go bad. I am talking about things that expire like dairy and fruit and vegetables...etc.

9. Around the house. Off brand cleaners or low cost products work just as well...for the most part. We use Joy detergent to wash random dishes and its great...but because we have a crappy dishwasher we buy Electrosol with gel balls or something like that. Off brand laundry detergent will leave you frustrated--trust me! We get by just fine with ALL. You don't really need Tide unless you have super stains. I use a stain stick to help with dirtier laundry and my cheaper detergent works just fine. Off brand furniture polish, glass cleaner, sponges, and paper towels work great.

10. Baby care. This is a sensitive subject, since I was like many moms who didn't want to settle when it came to my precious bundle. I bought Pampers and special wipes, but then as Gracie turned 1 I started to realize that I was pampering my baby what ever I used. Back in the day (when Gracie was in diapers), Walmart brands seriously lacked! Their diapers were like tissue paper and you had to wring out there wipes. This is no longer the case. Kathy used Walmart brand (Parent Choice) diapers and wipes for Emma, and I noticed the HUGE improvement. thus, we went to PC for Gracie's night time diapers. We have always used Parents Choice baby soap, lotion, and now we use the wipes. These products are just as good as Johnson and Johnson, and they have the several varieties like the much needed "bedtime bath" scents. When you look at it, there is such a huge price difference (up to $10 in diapers, $4 for wipes, $2-$3 for lotions and soaps), and in reality it is literally going down the drain. After you use up your baby shower gifts, give it a try. You may really be pleased with the savings and quality. And if you have issues with other people seeing what you use, get the travel packs of Pampers or Huggies wipes, and those travel bottles of JJ shampoo and soap, plus keep a few of the name brand diapers in your diaper bag for outings. Although, I bet you would be surprised to learn just how many moms are using Parents Choice! Now, after much deliberation (and crying) I did switch Gracie from Enfamil to Parents Choice formula. At the time it was a $10 difference per can, and we checked ingredient for ingredient and it matched exactly, with the exception of palm oil versus some other kind of oil. We checked with our pediatrician, and made the switch with out any problems. Parents Choice has a formula that matches Enfamil's DHA/ARA.

I won't get into clothing, because this is another place many people don't want to skimp. We buy Gracie's clothes at thrift stores for style reasons and because she grows so fast. We also buy clothes at Walmart and she gets many from Grandma. As for Garren and I, we have no problems wearing Walmart clothes. We wear New Balance shoes, which are just as comfortable as Nike's.

Now there are few things this family doesn't skimp on. Toilet paper for example. Garren would be just fine to use a roll of .89 Scott, but I need something more than tissue paper! I indulge in Cottonelle. But, I use coupons and buy the larger packages so I can buy once a month.

A few other tips:

*We don't have left overs in this house, but if there are only 2 of you, when fixing a meal like a casserole, divide it in two. Freeze half, and bake the other half. Now you have 2 meals for the price of one!

*Looking for a quick meal that you won't have to cook--forget the expensive take out, pick up a rotissary chicken! These are super yummy, and you can pick up some potato salad or mac salad to go with it in the deli. Plus, any left overs make a yummy chicken salad for lunch the next day.

*Don't order a large pizza and waste! Get a medium and enjoy the savings and the fact that there isn't any for the trash. The next time you order out see how much you waste, and cut back next time.

*On that topic, we don't eat out but once every two weeks. This maybe hard on you, try making a steady eat-out night like a Saturday. Resist temptation to order out during the week saving you money. Plus, you will look forward to your night without cooking. Our eat out night is grocery night (Wednesdays), only because it is so late by the time we get home and unpack we need to eat without hassle.

I hope this helps my friend, and any others of you who also looking for ways to cut costs. I would love to hear your ideas. You never know, it may help someone else. Please fill up the comment section with your budget busters!!!

Off brands List (Walmart)

Thumbs Up!
Contact Solution
Pain Relievers (adult & child)
Baby Wipes
Baby Lotions, soaps...etc
Baking Soda
Flour, Salt, Sugar, spices
Frozen chicken
Instant Rice
Shredded cheese
Sour Cream
Paper Towels
Aluminum foil, wraps, sandwich/freezer baggies
Taco& chili Seasonings
Dish detergent
Loaf Bread/buns
Cooking Spray & Oils
Canned fruit and veggies
Canned soup--but only for cooking. Not so tasty for eating plain!
Juices, water, cool aid
Jello mix, pudding mix, marshmallows
Malt-O-Meal cereals
Ricotta, Cottage cheeses

Thumbs Down!
Feminine needs
Diaper cream
Cake mix & icing
Mac & Cheese
Spaghetti sauce
Parmesian cheese
american singles
pop tarts
salad dressing

Back To School

Gracie returned to school today after a week off, and was very excited. Apparently so were all the other kids. After the holiday these kids were full of energy. They were jumping and barely staying near their seats, much less in them when I came to pick Gracie up.

Gracie made a bird feeder today. It is 8 or so Froot Loops on an orange piece of yarn. We will have to find a nearby tree to hang it on. She also brought her collage home.

Snack today was pretzels, and apparently Froot Loops. I didn't get much more info. She said she and Joanna played today. I saw the book "Where Did That Baby Come From," was out, and she said that it was read for story time. She colored a Bob The Builder coloring page after I dropped her off. And, they decided today's weather was "cold." That's about it!

When I picked her up she had a smiley face thumb and a sticker on her dress that said "Welcome back Gracie, we missed you!" Those teachers are so sweet!!!

Collage is from November 15th.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Festivities

...and exhaustion!

I am sorry to the remaining family members and friends who so regularly check our blog, for not keeping up.

Thanksgiving lunch/dinner was nice here at Mamaw & Papaw's and we felt very blessed. Gracie made adorable crafts to help decorate the festivities, including a potato turkey. While watching PBS Spout one morning, we saw the idea. We took a potato and added feathers that listed what we were thankful for. It turned out super cute. And yes, it had 4 feet. It was the only way I could get it to stand up on the table. The other craft is a headband. She was somewhat sad about missing school on Tuesday because the teacher had told the class they would be making headbands. Forecasting this, I packed construction paper. We made a headband to match our potato turkey.

Gracie also got to help mommy make pumpkin pie. She was super proud (and cute) as she helped mix the ingredients together. She even got to crack an egg!

I dressed her in the fall dress that Grandma made her, and a matching bow that I had made. She was all dolled up as we gathered together for our family meal with Mamaw, Papaw, Uncle Luke, Papaw Charles, Daddy, Mommy and of course Gracie.

Gracie enjoyed the food. She tasted some of everything, but asked for 2 extra "doubled eggs." And, when she saw that Papaw had gravy, she too wanted "sauce for her turkey."

I am not sure how she squeezed in pumpkin pie, but she did. Actually, I am not sure how everyone put down as much as they did. I will take that as a compliment, as I was the day's chef. :)

We have other fun things planned for the remainder of the week. Today we went to Candice & Elliott's. Gracie had tons of fun playing with Lucie. They chased each other around the sofa. She and Candice played games and play dough, while she and Elliott built stables for her ponies out of Jenga blocks. It was tons of fun for all of us. We even got to take a peek at the Sassie & Nellie (their goats) before we left. It was far too cold to stay out there long, but Gracie feed them some branches and leaves.

Tonight we are hoping to go to the Bristol Motor Speedway for Fantasy in Lights. Gracie had a wonderful time when we went last year, and we are expecting plenty of excitement again this time.

I have put some pictures in a Picasa folder. It takes so long to upload them though, so I will have to go back and add more when I get home.

We hope all of you have had a wonderful holiday!! Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Tennessee Visit

Well our trip here was mostly uneventful, but we are having somewhat of a rough start to our week-long holiday retreat at Mamaw & Papaw's. Garren has a nasty cold, brought on I am sure by the frigid temperatures he endured Saturday night at the UT football game. I have had headaches for at least a week now, and Gracie's nose continues to run. Hopefully, we will mend quickly so we can enjoy Thanksgiving and visiting Candice.

Most of the time so far has been as the picture above shows: watching football and eating popcorn with Daddy and Papaw. As I right this, I have given Gracie her "10 minute" warning for bed. Monday night football rages on.

Gracie has been super good this weekend though. For the third day in a row she has slept 12 hours at night and taken a 2 hour nap. Today she took a 3 hour nap, thus a later bedtime. I too have been indulging in a daily nap.

We haven't been out much, but Gracie has been having fun playing with Tilly, Mawmaw and Papaw's recently adopted cat. Poor cat, he had no idea what he was in for when Gracie showed up. I am sure he will breathe a sigh of relief when we leave.

I will try to keep posting. Thanks goodness for Daddy's laptop!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Gracie's Day

Its been a busy day today for Gracie, which is not very good for her sniffles; but there is so much to be done.

Gracie had a good school day. She got her smiley face thumb, and she was very glad to see that Joanna was back. She told me they played today. She also played blocks with Kendall.

Snack was goldfish crackers and apple juice. The story was about Mrs. Boo. I have no idea. They sang songs about turkeys and scarecrows. But, the best part of the day (for Gracie), was that they made collages. They were pretty neat looking. I couldn't find Gracie's, but she told me all about gluing all sorts of stuff to her "pollage."

We will miss school on Tuesday, but I don't think Gracie will mind too much since I am sure we will find plenty of fun things to do in Tennessee. We will have to see her collage when we get back.

She brought home her marshmallow painting. I scanned it in and added it to Tuesday's blog entry.

Too Cute

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sniffles And Commericals

Its official, despite Candice's plea for us not to get Gracie's cold....we all have a touch of something.

Gracie has spent the morning in our bed. Actually, she spent most of the night in our bed.

Our conundrum: we close Gracie's door at night to keep out noise. If we leave her door closed she stays in her own bed all night, but she won't get up and tell us when she wakes up in the morning, leading to diaper leaks, and feelings of neglect on my part. If I open her door after we go to bed, she is in our bedroom on and off all night. Last night, knowing she was sick, I couldn't bear to leave her door closed. Thus, she was in the bed with us at 12:45am, 5:30am, and from 6:00am on. I let her stay for a few moments and then carry her back to her bed. At 6am I gave up. But, on the plus side she slept in until 10:30!

She is taking medicine, and she seems just fine, but I told her she had to stay on the bed until Tumble Tots. She doesn't have a fever, and I will decide in a few minutes if she is well enough to go.

I decided that I was tired of my baby getting sick, and in an effort to do anything...I Lysol'ed her room. I was afraid I had been neglecting my germ-killing duties, but I really only found a little dust. I feel better anyway, and her room smells lemon fresh.

While I cleaned around my toddler today, I found my germ frustration moving over to retailers. Its not even Thanksgiving yet, but they are already cramming the airwaves with ads for every toy in America!

Keeping Gracie still is quite a chore, so I let her watch Nick Jr. as she played ponies on our bed. Every 10 minutes I heard another round of "I want that momma!" Some new and shiny toy was on a commercial and she just couldn't imagine anything better. That is until :30 later when a new toy was being played with on TV by smiling happy different kids.

So much for the days when Gracie was too young to go through the "I want, I want" stage. It is here and in full force. And to think, since it is almost Christmas they are only going to be more and more and more commercials all promising the perfect toy, suitable for any toddler with parents who love them enough to buy it.

Argh! To make matters more difficult, we are supposed to leave Friday for Tennessee. I am not exactly sure how I am going to accomplish all of this since I have a splitting headache and ache every where else, and Garren's head remains swimming. We may have to put off our trip for a couple of days, but we will see what tomorrow brings.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Marshmallow Fun

Gracie apparently had a fun day with the fluffy sweets today. She told me they painted with marshmallows, and then they played a game with them. I am thinking that they tossed them in to the box after they were finished painting with them, but this was so much fun it was like a game for the kids.

Marshmallows were apparently snack today too. I am not sure if that was all she had, but this is what Gracie tells me.

She told me she had orange and blue paint. I am not sure what it was they painted. I was distracted trying to be sure her oder form was turned in, so I didn't notice the pictures drying.

She couldn't remember the story for today, but they did sing I'm A Little Teapot."

Joanna was still not there today. She hasn't been there since the Halloween party. Gracie, I think, is concerned. Joanna was the only child she would mention that she played with. With Joanna gone, she tells me she plays with Madelyn.

Gracie seems to have yet another cold. I can't imagine where she caught it, but she woke up with a runny nose this morning. I didn't worry because I figured it was allergies. It is 69 degrees here and muggy. And, like her father, when ever the weather changes drastically, it really messes with her allergies. I dismissed that idea when I picked her up and she was super stuffy. Garren has given her cold medicine and I am hoping that she will actually sleep during nap time today. It might explain her extremely difficult behavior over the past several days.

Gracie's Marshmallow Painting:

Happy Birthday Colette!

I certainly hope she had a special day. I know we had a special dinner and evening with her and her wonderful family.

I fixed Quesadilla burgers and fries. This is Colette's traditional birthday dinner, well burgers and fries anyway. She says this has been her birthday dinner since she was a kid. I didn't know this until she told me as they were leaving tonight. I told you we are really in sync!

...And for dessert--cake attempt #2. I think it came out very nicely. And, those are sugar paste strawberries, I made them myself.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Strasburg, Va: Through Gracie's Eyes

We took a brisk fall walk as a family this afternoon, and enjoyed the sun. I had Gracie bring along her camera so she could capture fall. It ended up more like a pictorial of our town, since she was too excited about the project just to focus on fall. But, she did a great job! All of the pictures were taken by Gracie on her Fisher Price camera.

Click the picture to enlarge, but keep in mind its only a 1 mega pixel camera.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Gracie Watches Mallory On Stage

Gracie was very excited to see Mallory in her first play of her Freshman year. Mallory is still home schooled, but the local Christian private school offers home schoolers a chance to take one or more classes at their facility. Mallory chose drama.

Mallory's performance tonight was in Happy Valley High. She was the character "Betty' and she did a great job. Gracie squealed with delight as she watched Mallory pretend to be a cheerleader. She was subsequently bored when Mallory wasn't on stage and would ask "where is Mallory?"

The play was performed in the school's chapel instead of a stage, so there weren't any curtains. They would turn all of the lights off for scene changes. At one of these changes, Gracie asked "are they changing?" And I told her "yes." She wanted to know if they were changing to "rainbows and unicorns." Tom and Colette found this quite funny.

She was pretty fidgety and she kept asking if it was over yet. But, the free kettle corn at the intermission perked her up.

Garren says I can't take her to see the Nutcracker. He thinks she isn't ready yet...but, I plan to look in to tickets anyway! :)

This is a small clip of Mallory in the musical. You will see her move center stage at -:49. She is wearing the hot pink poodle skirt and has a long pony tail. More pictures are in the November Picasa folder.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Busy Couple Of Months

(1)Sept 4 (rules) First Day Of School
(2)Sept 6/Make Grasshoppers
(3)Sept 11 (circles) Paper Cookies

(1)Sept 16/Make Binoculars/Star Student Award
(2)Sept 20 /Make Apple Trees/Apple Toss
(3)Sept 25/ Decorate A Leaf/Twirl Like Leaves

(1)Sept 27 (circles) /Make A tamborine
(2)October 2 /Footprint Ghosts
(3)October 4/"Smile Or Frown"

(1)October 9 (Squares) /Make Owls
(2)October 11 /Owl Mask
(3)October 16/Decorate A Square

(1)October 18 (spiders) /Make A Spider Web (Shape)
(2)October 23 /Pumpkin Playdough
(3)October 25/Goody Bags

(1)October 30 /Halloween Party!!
(2) November 6/Paint A Leaf
(3)November 8 (Triangle)/Decorate A Triangle

September; Shape--Circle, Songs--"Grasshopper Green Is My Preschool," "Won't You Be A Friend Of Mine." Colors--red, green, orange and yellow.

October: Shape--square, Songs--"So Sleepy," "Round Little Pumpkin."

November: Shape--Triangle, songs--"I'm A Little Scarecrow," "Whoo-Whoo."

Anyone else notice?! No, not that she hasn't worn the same dress to school once (although that is so neat!!!), but how much she has grown!! She has outgrown her school shoes that Grandma bought her Labor Day weekend, and I have another trash bag of clothes she can't wear since September!! If she keeps up this rate she will be a giant by age 6! Back to the shoe store. I am good on dresses thanks to thrift stores and Grandma and Mamaw.

BTW: She missed Sept 13 while we were at the beach, and Nov1 I didn't have my camera with me!

Just measured her, she is 42.5 inches tall....that's a whole inch taller than when she had her physical done the last week in Sept (6 weeks ago)!!!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Look What She Can Do!

I noticed this past weekend while waiting at a restaurant, that Gracie had really been picking up what I am teaching her. I asked her to show Grandma her "A." Then, we started naming other letters and watching in amazement as she continued to make something close to the called out letter. I wanted some letters to keep, so we practiced tonight on small squares of paper. I put the letters of her name together to show you.

I am beaming with pride!!!

Triangles Today

Gracie's class is focusing on triangles this month. Gracie brought the below masterpiece home today. She was clearly very proud of her work.

Again, not much detail from her. She told me Joanna wasn't there again today, neither was Mason (he wasn't there on Tuesday). I hope there isn't something gross going around--that's the last thing we need!!!

She played blocks with Madeline. They made the triangles. Snack was cheese balls. I could tell this when I picked her up since the corners of her mouth were orange! Ms. Christine read The House That Jack Built, which was one of the books I dropped off on Tuesday. Grandma went through her books and any extras I gave to the book drive and to Gracie's preschool.

That's about all I got out of her. She said they decided today was "cold." They sang the Good Morning and Goodbye songs.

I know they do more than that, but I will just have to come to terms that I will have no choice but to miss 5 hours of her life a week.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Tumble Tot Hoops

The kids got a fun treat at Tumble Tots today. Since the furnace was broken, and it was super cold in the gym--they wanted the kids to keep moving. So, they laid out hoola hoops and made up the best activities.

Gracie loved playing with the hoop and all of the fun things they did with them. She even got the hang of using the hoop to jump, like you would jump a rope. Oh, and for the first time since we started this program, Gracie learned to land on her feet when doing the frog jumps and mule kicks. I was super proud.

In the end, they did work on rolls on the mats. They were true to their word though, the kids never stood still for very long! And, you will notice that I didn't take Gracie's outfit off today, it was too cold to wear just her leotard.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Election Day Breakfast

What a full day we had today. Gracie had fun at school, though she shared very few details about her activities. They painted leaves, and the story was about a farmer. There were Mickey crackers for snack, and Johanna wasn't there again today.

Garren and I both picked Gracie up from school. The voting location was moved to our church's social hall this year, so we just walked around the building and headed to the polls. Most of you know what a big deal elections are in this house. Long before Garren was a political reporter, I was dragged to every primary, general, and special election there was. Now, Gracie gets to go too. Daddy is big on our duty to cast a ballot, and he wants to instill this mindset into Gracie as well.

Garren, as usual, took Gracie with him to vote. He choose the one electronic machine our town has. Apparently, Gracie really loved touching the screen. I could hear her giggling as I filled out my paper ballot.

We all got stickers and headed for another Shipley election day tradition--a big breakfast. We drove to Winchester and had our fill at IHOP, one of Gracie's most favorite places to eat.

We lost Daddy for the rest of the day. Well, actually, he didn't come home until 1:30 am. But, Gracie and I managed to have a full day, including a much needed nap!