A cute picture of the girls taking a juice break. This is the first time that Emma would take her own cup. She loves to drink the juice but only from Gracie's cup, not a bottle, or her own sippy cup. This time I gave each of them a juice at the same time.
PS: Tonight's family time was another success. She drew "card games," from the bowl and we played Sesame Street Uno, Go Fish and Memory. Gracie won Uno twice, I won Go Fish, and Daddy won Memory. It was a great time. When I told her it was time to clean up, she said "bed time," and went straight into our room to get dressed and get her story!
Jill's borrowed suggestion went very well tonight!
I put the small slips of paper with family activities on them in a small cup and let Gracie pick one out at 7pm for family time. She thought this was pretty neat, but was ecstatic when she realised we would do whatever the paper said. She drew the paper that said: "board games." I explained that we would play board games until 7:45. She picked her new Dora ABC game first, and then we played Candyland. I must note that Daddy won. This is because he claims he has never won Candyland.
Things got a little hairy when it was time for bed, but her tears dried up quickly when we reminded her that family time would be every night and she would have to be a good girl and get ready for bed or we wouldn't have as much fun.
On the whole Gracie was a little easier to deal with today. I pre-packaged school work sheets for the rest of the week after Emma went down for a very early morning nap. I had her breakfast ready and on the table for when she got up, we did school work together and found time for a craft. It was the cutest bunny purse you make out of foamies.
The only problem we had came after lunch. I had invited the girls over to taste the veggies from the garden, but no one but Colette and Mallory showed. Anyway, after lunch Mallory played with Gracie who was eating up the attention. When I announced it was nap time, Gracie threw a fit. I hate when she does that when we have company over!!! I told her she would have to stop fussing and find a book. This didn't happen, so I threatened to take away her story before nap. This is when she angrily announced "I don't want story time!" So, I followed through. She spent the next hour crying and fussing from my bed. I talked to her an hour later and she calmed down. She had to remain in bed for rest time.
I haven't done well with updating my blog, and I miss it. Gracie has been, well...rather less than prefect lately, and it ties up most of my time.
It has become clear to me that all the extra time I use to take care of baby Emma is really starting to wear on Gracie. I will be the first to admit that by the time Emma heads for home I am so exhausted from the two of them I actually have to catch my breath (and extra energy) before starting dinner. My lack of one on one time, during the day as well as the evenings, with Gracie is hurting the both of us. I really miss my time with Gracie, and she has become even more outspoken about the lack of "Gracie time."
My toddler has become almost impossible these days. She throws temper tantrums, she pouts, she is irritable and cranky most of the day. I am starting to wonder if I can get my little angel back at all.
I know what she needs. She needs more time from me, more family time with just the three of us, and a nice little weekend where Grandma and Grandpa can dote on her profusely. She will get her weekend of spoiling starting this Friday as we head to Lynchburg. As for the other parts, I will have to plan my days even better making sure that there is more scheduled time for Gracie and mommy to do things. I am thinking of re-making the schedule, only this time a little less structured. Last time I had a minute by minute time frame and we just couldn't stick to it. As for family time, I am thinking of borrowing an idea from Jill, who borrowed it from someone else. On the days when she has deserved it, she will get to draw an activity from a jar for the 3 of us to do for family time. I have made squares of paper that say "Go For A Walk," "Puzzles," "Board Games," etc. At the end of the day she can draw, and that's what we will do. I think this will help as she will get to pick and we are hers for some of her favorite activities.
In another turn of events to deal with, picking Monsters Inc for family movie night=bad idea!! With Kathy's topsy turvy schedule this past week, there wasn't any time to go to the library, so we didn't have a pre-picked movie. We let her choose from the cabinet. After saying no to Baby Einstein I suggested Monsters Inc. We made it through the first 5 minutes I think. She kept telling us she wanted to do something else. We tried to encourage her and we held her. But after the 5 minutes I told Garren that I thought she was really scared and we should watch something else. We picked Disney's Robin Hood. That was not the end of it though. She woke up around midnight and needed to be cuddled. At 3 am she was in the bed with us. The remainder of the weekend she kept talking about ink monsters. It took me a while to get she was trying to say Monsters Inc.
Gracie has been going through a scared phase for a while now. She has no problem telling you she is scared, and she even pretends to be scared sometimes to get extra snuggles. She runs up to you nearly laughing and says "I am scared momma, hold me!" Other things she is terrified of: having her face covered up (" Don't cover me dark!!!!!!!!"), water on the face (although she is getting better at it), and now Monsters Inc. And, for the record, when she starts talking about monsters now and before I always tell her that monsters don't have to be scary. We talk about Elmo and Grover and cookie monster and all the funny things they do. This does help.
On the lighter side of my week, I have even more veggies spouting about. I fixed my first ever squash from the garden Wednesday for dinner, yum! I now have 2 more squash, a baby carrot (very tiny), and strawberries. I plan to show the girls and give them each a taste today around 12:30. I have invited them up from a little taste-and-tell. I will hopefully post about that later today.
I had the best idea for a tea party last month, and let me say it worked out beautifully. In fact, I would say this was one of the best tea parties we have had over the past year and a half.
I found out that all of the other girls who attend our get togethers have summer birthdays. That combined with the fact that my daughter celebrates a birthday nearly daily (she loves to pretend its someones birthday and have pretend gifts and pretend cake), I came up with an "UnBirthday Party."
If you have ever seen Alice In Wonderland you will remember the tea party she has with the Mad Hatter and they sing "A Very Merry UnBirthday To You!" I ran with it.
I didn't tell any of the girls what the party's theme was. I even covered Gracie's eyes and took her out in to the hall with the other girls after I put her party dress on (I had decorated while she was pretending to take a nap). They were so surprised.
The party went very well. We played games of Mickey Bingo, Pin The Tale on the Donkey, Musical Chairs, and guess the candy. Gracie wouldn't do the donkey game because she freaked out at the blindfold, so I let her put her tail on uncovered. Then she started crying after30 seconds of musical chairs. I think she got overwhelmed and embarrassed or something. Anyway, Mallory went on to win musical chairs and I gave a tie to Mallory and Leelou for Pin The Tale on the Donkey. Gracie won one game of Mickey Bingo as did Kathy. Kathy actually won all 4 of the guess the candy jars, but she shared and every family got something.
As the girls won the games they got to pick a prize from the basket. I had prizes for the range of ages there, so it worked out well. Each girl also got to pick out a prize just because it was their birthday.
After games I gave each of the girls a plain cake and a cup of icing along with tons of candies and sprinkles and food coloring. This was by far their favorite part. Each one got to decorate their very own birthday cake. Gracie had so much fun. She wanted her icing green, and she dumped so many sprinkles on top I am not sure you could actually see the green icing.
The big finale was each girl sitting in the special seat and being sung Happy Birthday to. I collected all of their cakes and they were given them back one by one with a lit candle. Gracie loved this part--she sang Happy Birthday at the top of her lungs each time!
This was really a great party for the end of spring. We will likely start the tea parties back up in the fall, but since the summer is so hectic, I thought I would take a break like I did last year. The only downfall to today's celebration was that Shyla wasn't there. She's away at 4-H camp, but I have a cake and fun things for her when she gets back.
If you want to see the great pictures click here. Scroll down for the videos. I put one for each girl. They are great!'
A very happy birthday to Mamaw in Tennessee. We are sorry we aren't there to celebrate with you, but we will be in for a nice long visit in a few weeks. Have a wonderful birthday full of love.Barbara, Garren & Gracie
What an interesting day for mommy! I am one exhausted lady.
Emma started the whole thing ;) She ended up bringing a cold in to the house last week. By Friday Gracie had it, and yesterday guess who else got it---yep, Garren. Now I don't need to tell any of you married women what it is like to have a sick husband, and if you have a husband and kids you are likely to know what it was like.
Emma was the worst I had seen her. She slept and cuddled most of the day barely eating a bowl of baby cereal. And, if you know Emma you would know this is NOT like her. Gracie was much better, but my child would limp on a broken leg to play. You just can't tell with her. The other one stayed home from work and commiserated in the bed with his laptop for the day.
It was an interesting, and very long day, to say the least.
What a fun day with Gracie at the pool. Our little fish really got water logged on her first trip to the pool this summer.
She went back and forth from the big pool to the kiddie pool and had a grand old time. She even made a few swimming friends while she was at it. I am so happy to see her starting to come out of her shell.
We actually splashed and played in the water for 4 hours. When we got home we were so exhausted. We picked up subway on the way there and we ate and rested until time to put Gracie to bed. I hope that we will get another chance this week or weekend to take Gracie back. As far as swimming she is getting used to the water again and panics if her face gets wet, but I feel sure she won't take long to try on her own the more we get out there. In the kiddie pool she would just walk and splash all over the place. Picking up an inflatable ring at the Dollar General was worth it too, it clearly gave her a lot more confidence.
To all of you red fathers, blue fathers, old fathers, new fathers. Big fathers, Small fathers, crazy tall fathers.
Happy Fathers Day!
Hugs and kisses to Daddy, Grandpa & Papaw, Uncle Brian, Uncle Kenny Mr. Tom,GW, Steven, ....and Elliott (becuase when we were listing daddies in our family she kept saying "and Elliott." I tried to explain that Elliott wasn't a daddy, but she didn't get the concept--so she wanted to send hugs and kisses to him too. She is so cute!
Daddy was very well treated. After breakfast Gracie gave him the red Washington Nationals hat she picked out and a tootsie roll bank (his favorite candy), the book Hop On Pop, and a cute card.
Our shopping success started this morning when I went to the bank. I left Gracie with Garren with promises that we would go to Winchester today while daddy worked. I had completely forgotten that the church yard sale was today. So, after my brief errand I took a look. I found a great deal of bargains and yummy bake sale goods. I got puzzles and books and a pair of child in line skates complete with pads. Gracie was thrilled when I got home, she just had to try them on.
After getting Gracie ready we headed to Winchester where we had a day full of bargains and fun. The shopping trip was centered around my need for a new swimsuit. I haven't bought one since I was married, and let me tell you in 7 years bathing suits are twice as expensive and half as much material!
I had found very few options in my size at Walmart last week, so I decided to try the mall. I finally found what I was looking for in Sears. Gracie was a very good girl and patient while I tried on swimsuits. She even put in her 2 cents worth. I ended up with a black one that is a swim dress. That was exactly what I wanted. Thinking back I should have gotten 2. Maybe they will have a similar sale next week.
After lunch and the mall we went thrift store shopping. Oh how I love to hunt for bargains, but all of you surely know that by now.
Gracie and I ended up staying out most of the day and having a great time. I had forgotten what mommy daughter time was like. I plan to make more time for Gracie and I together outside of this house.
Mommy: Super Shopper!
Church Yard Sale 5 puzzles 12 books in line skates cute stationary ___$5_____
Sears Bathing suit (reg price $80) ____$40____
Lunch At Country Cooking (With coupon) ___$3.75 with tip!___ Gabrielle Brothers (Discount retailer like Value City) 2 pair shorts for mommy Dora Stampers Candy for Wednesday Party Tootsie Roll Bank For Daddy Wooden Puzzle _____$15______ Goodwill Peak A Block Activity center (Fisher Price $60!!) Little Tikes Mail Box Learning Clock 16 Books Jean Overalls For Gracie ____$12_____
Salvation Army Thrift Red Sailor Dress 8 Books 1 Peak-A-Block Cailliou Video ____$5_______
I had to snap a picture today of these Father's Day projects that Gracie and Emma worked on for their daddies.
I sort of made up the idea, and it came out super cute.
Finding a picture of a construction worker was pretty easy, finding a reporter not nearly as easy. I had to improvise by using the paint program. Either way it came out great. Click on the picture to enlarge so you can see the wording and such.
Gracie was very proud of hers and could hardly wait for Daddy to get home. She then showed the picture to him and told about all of the projects around his picture.
On a different topic, I apologize to my loyal readers for not blogging well this week. It has rained very hard for most of the week, Emma had a cold and Gracie seems to have caught it as well. So, life has been rather hectic and their hasn't been much to blog about. I will do better. ;)
This plump red fruit had been getting bigger and bigger and redder and redder. Garren suggested we pick it before it got eaten by an animal or got knocked off.
I figured since this family did all of the work in the garden these past 6 weeks, we should be the first to taste (plus, the girls saw the strawberry last week and it was big and red).
I cut the strawberry in to 3 pieces and I think we were all surprised at just how bitter it was. I think it probably needed to be on the plant a little longer.
I am so happy with the apparent success of the garden. Besides the strawberry, we have plump green tomatoes and 4 small yellow squashes. I am very glad I thought this idea up. Besides a learning experience for the girls, it has been a great way for our family to work hard together.
I realize I haven't really updated my readers about our garden lately. Since we planted early May we have really gotten some great results. Despite a deer invasion, we have blooms and some veggies starting to get big.
A deer came along last week or so and ruined my peppers and cucumbers, not to mention eating the leaves off my precious strawberry plants. The strawberries are fine, in fact I have 6-7 little white ones and one big reddening one. One of the strawberry plants is even trying to spread! The cucumbers plants were gobbled up. They were very small since they were planted later on, but I put out new seeds tonight, so maybe they will be up and growing soon. As for the peppers, I think the deer's snack on the jalapenos has kept him from returning. The peppers are attempting to bounce back, but those too may need to be replaced.
The rest of the plants are booming. The corn is getting pretty big. I have a huge squash plant that now has 4 little squash bulbs. I have 2-3 small green tomatoes on all but one of my plants (the one got attacked by a groundhog, but is bouncing back nicely). We ended up with 2 potatoes bushes. Garren planted a whole row, but that is all that "took." We planted carrots, but the rocky soil didn't seem to help them much, so we re-dug and Garren planted okra, which is really blossoming. We do have 3 or 4 carrots that we will be able to pick later in the summer.
I am so proud of the garden and it's success. Gracie has really gotten a lot out of it, and that was the point. We may even get a basketful of veggies. I noticed tonight while I was weeding and replanting pumpkins (birds ate the seeds I think) and cucumber (deer), we have a lot of left over space in the garden. I am thinking about adding some more plants that might be fun. Earlier today I saw a cantaloupe set in Walmart. Some fun plants like that might be interesting to watch. I'll work on it this week.
The top picture was taken Wednesday by Colette when I took the girls out to get a new look at how things were growing. The bottom 3 are pictures from tonight. I am quite proud!
Gracie is really obsessed with what life was like when she was a baby. Well, that and Shoney's--thanks a lot Grandma & Grandpa.
It is probably a combination of things, like giving up gi-gi and getting a new bed along with Emma and all the things she does and is learning to do.
Everyday the question gets asked again, "momma when I was a baby, what did I dude?' (I love "dude!!!" (do)) We talk about things like drinking from a bottle, and wearing diapers, and eating baby food. That usually appeases her. Then, we compare Emma who is a baby to Gracie who is a big girl.
That's not usually the end of the discussion though, she goes on to point out that she doesn't need diapers anymore when I change Emma. She reminds me that she drank milky when she was a baby too whenever I feed Emma. She always has to know the flavors of the baby food I give Emma.
She is very smart, and she is starting to figure out the differences in people. (She has mastered boy and girl by the way.) I am so proud. I also think she may need to be reminded that she is mommy's girl and that mommy did all the things she does for Emma; for her.
I am hoping this little slide show will help, plus all you can get a little blast from the past as well.
If you have a few moments write Gracie a note in the comments section about something you remember she did when she was a baby. She will love to hear from others that they saw her when she was little too! (Gracie loves hearing the comments!)
"My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me." - Henry Ford
I was friends or best friends wilh all of you at one time. On this Best Friends day I wanted to be sure that you knew I still remember all that we shared and all that we did together- as friends. Time has forced many of us to drift slowly away, but friendships like ours can't be forgotten or broken. Thanks for being there when I needed you. I hope that time will find us back together again soon.
When is the last time you talked to your best friend? I called Candice on Monday or maybe she called me, anyway we talk at least once a week for hours.
Today is best friends day and since I have a blog I wanted to tell everyone how awesome she is and embarrass her needlessly! :) That's what friends are for, right!
I also went back and found some pictures of friends and best friends all along the journey of my life. I am not sure why those friendships fizzled, but I think that is apart of life. You grow as a person and that means growing a way from people you love and care about. But, life has a funny way of bringing you back together again. If you haven't already, you'll see what I mean.
I am so thankful for all of my friends past and present and I just wanted to say thank you for being there--you are loved and in many cases...missed.
I encourage all of my readers (as few as they may be) to call or write or email your best friend from any stage of your life. I can't imagine my life without any of those amazing friendships I have had. I am so thankful for them all. Friends are God's gift to us, cherish them.
**I looked and looked and I don't have a single picture of Candice and I anywhere! We will have to fox that this summer. The above picture is from last summer. I have plenty of more recent pictures, but this one is my favorite--that and Candice HATES to have her picture taken so I can't catch a good one!!! :)
Many thanks to my friend Heather for inspiring such a neat family project.
Her challenge was for several of her friends to mark all the counties in the US where they had visited. My being geographically challenged; I chose an easier way to mark our adventures and teach Gracie a little about where she has been, and where we want to go.
I found a blank US map online and printed it out and we sat down as a family and colored in the states that we had visited. Gracie really enjoyed this project.
Rather than scan them all in, I saved a map and used Microsoft paint to show you our project.
Mommy's MapGracie's Map Daddy's Map
Gracie has already chosen several more states to visit. The first one she filled in was Nebraska followed by Texas.
Life has been so hectic around here that I really haven't done justice to updating all the changes and exciting new accomplishments in both the girls lives. Allow me to rectify that.
* Emma got her 2nd tooth in on May 29th. She now has some pretty good chompers for getting to that all important table food. She hasn't wanted baby food for a while now, and the challenge remains getting some past her mouth. She gets table food at her house, and Gracie shares quite a bit here. In the meantime we have found a great compromise in veggie puffs. They are like Cheerios, only they dissolve quickly so she doesn't choke. Other favorites: any kind of bread, shredded cheese, cracker bits, and pasta of any kind.
*Emma is also working her way toward running around the house. She took her first "real" steps on Memorial Day at her house. Now she can take 5-6 steps before she either gives up and crawls, or she falls over. She is pretty proud of herself, and as soon as she develops a little more balance and a lot more patience she will be up and running!
*Emma is becoming a real chatterbox like Gracie. She has several words, but despite her limited vocabulary she can babble on with the best of them. A few of her words: yeah, bye, stop, no, da-da, ma-ma.
*Emma can also wave good bye and blow kisses. She even dances when there is music on, and gives the sweetest hugs and kisses! Recently she began to hold her own bottle and she has been self feeding small bites (like the puffs & bread) for several weeks now.
*Gracie has been "off the bink" now for 4 days and counting. Monday and Tuesday she even took naps (actually sleeping for 2+ hours!) during the afternoon without gi-gi and without mommy cuddling her! She has been taking big girl naps (without mommy) for several weeks now, but they are usually unsuccessful as far as sleep goes, but at least she gets some rest.
*The potty is going super well. We have had very few accidents since her graduation. Garren bought her a Dora potty seat for the big potty and she has been using it. Now, she doesn't even tell me she has to go, I hear a flush and see a proud Gracie emerging from the bathroom. She is so good. We are now working on toilet paper conservation. I can't tell you how thankful I am that the potty training experience has been so smooth. And to think I worried so much about it and so many people told me she was so far behind.
*Gracie's super big girl room has really opened up a new way to play. The storage area under the bed allows her access to many toys that were kept in the closet or unavoidably out of reach. She has taken to her new room and her new independence. She loves to sit on her day bed and read, and use the empty table for projects and tea parties. I have noticed a lot more solo playing, where as before she wouldn't play by herself for very long and someone had to be in the same room with her.
*Reading and words are next on my agenda. She is very ready. The Clifford reading game has made huge improvements in letter recognition and phonics. She still pretends to read her own books and she recognizes a few words. At the very least she can tell you the story based on the pictures.
*Lastly, we will now have to learn to share the computer. Last night she used the mouse and clicked on what she wanted. It all happened unsupervised. I was busy in the kitchen and she wanted to watch another video on Playhouse Disney, so she moved the cursor and clicked. I am not sure who was more proud. From there she navigated to different pages (characters), and watched even more videos. It scares me sometimes how easily she picks up things!
With all this stuff that Grandma and Grandpa had brought with them, plus the new bed and the old bed--it was going to take some really hard work to get this apartment back in to shape.
Garren spent the morning putting together Mallory's old bed in Gracie's room. Then I spent even more time trying to rearrange everything and make it fit. Believe it or not all but one thing fit back neatly. Although it took many, many courses of rearranging to get it right.
I am pretty happy with the result. I do want to get Gracie a bed spread and I think I will have to make it. I really want yellow or blue gingham. I may even get creative and make some matching curtains. We also need a bed skirt. And for the red table, I was thinking how cute would it be to have a checker board and pieces for it!
I think with the new layout you get an even bigger picture of her farm theme. It looks great. I took pictures so you can see how everything fits. The one thing that didn't go was the stage. I still have it sitting in the hallway, because I hate to see it go downstairs. Gracie loves this toy, and it really seems to boost her self esteem and confidence as she puts on performance after performance. So, I am going to have to work on that one. Maybe I can find a way to store it in the closet.
And after all that organizing we had to get groceries. Before the long trek to Wal Mart we did take Gracie to the mall to get several new pairs of shoes as Grandpa had insisted. She ended up getting a Hello Kitty pair of water shoes for the pool and river, white lace ups for everyday wear, white patten leather for church, and later at Wal Mart she got a pair of white canvas play shoes. (I may go back and get a few more pair of these in different colors. They were only $6)
PS: Gi-Gi detox went a little easier tonight. When I tucked her in to bed she said "mommy, I miss gi-gi." I talked to her for a few minutes to reassure her. She went on yelling "I am not a BIG girl" for a little while tonight before passing out from exhaustion. Say your prayers that she keeps adjusting well.
Grandma and Grandpa's visit wasn't just about seeing Gracie, it was also to deliver the all important "super big girl" mattress.
For a while now, poor Gracie (the size of a 7 year old) has been falling out of her toddler bed because she is too big and it is too small. Conveniently, Mallory next door is looking to get a new bed and was thrilled that Gracie could have her childhood day bed. (Mommy is very jealous, I always wanted a day bed when I was a little girl!!!)
The Mozingo's plan to bring over the bed at some point this weekend, but for now we have the mattress to kind of practice with.
I left the mattress in the floor and Gracie was very excited. She jumped on it for what seemed like hours, and then after I put the sheets on it. She snuggled in and got used to the feel. I was thrilled that the transition seemed to be going well.
Garren took apart the toddler bed and we moved the mattress in to the floor of Gracie's room.
Things were going well until she discovered the rest of our plan. Now that she is a super big girl, and she has a super big girl bed--she doesn't need gi-gi any more.
Garren and I tucked her in to her "bed," read her 2 stories, and gave her tons of kisses and left the room with fingers crossed.
Here's how the rest of the night went.
7:30 pm: night nights to Gracie 7:31 pm: Gracie asks for gi-gi, Mommy goes in an explains that she is a big girl and doesn't need on any more. She isn't convinced. 7:45 pm: Gracie begins to yell "I am NOT a big girl!!" over and over again. 7:50 pm: the crying starts 8:25 pm: a break in the tears. Mommy goes in a lays with Gracie for a little while and she talks about everything under the sun. 8:35 pm: Daddy wants a turn to snuggle and listen to the rambling Gracie. 8:41 pm: Another round of good nights. 8:42 pm: Another round of "I am NOT a big girl!!!" 9:00 pm: Gracie is sound asleep. 3:15am: Gracie climbs in to bed with us asking for gi-gi hazily. 3:30 am: Mommy puts Gracie back in to her bed. She falls right back to sleep. 8:30am: Gracie back in our bed, again asking for gi-gi. Mommy snuggles her for a while, and then we get up.
All in all it wasn't a bad break. I was preparing for a night full of crying and screaming. Hopefully, she will be able to transition well. She was so attached to that pacifier. It is very hard as a parent to take away such a security from your child, even though you know it is the best thing for them.
Grandma and Grandpa were back in Strasburg this weekend...at least for a few hours.
Mom and Dad decided to attend the Miller Family Reunion in Wardensville today, and they took Gracie and I with them.
Gracie had a wonderful time playing with Grandpa on the playground, in the creek, and in the massive mound of river sand. She was completely covered in just about everything when we left, but she had a good time. Unfortunately Grandma and Grandpa left shortly after they dropped us at the house. The decided to catch a gospel concert in Harrisonburg before they headed back to Lynchburg.