Monday, March 31, 2008

Mommy Help

Uh, this one is a new one for me...but it is too funny not to tell.

I went next door to talk to Colette about her trip to Richmond. When ever I go next door I always leave our door open and her door open so Gracie can find me.

I chatted with her for a few minutes and borrowed two eggs....and then I hear a very loud "Mommy, I need help wiping!"

I giggle and hurry next door to find my daughter buck naked down to her feet where her feet-y pajamas are attached and flowing behind her, holding a crumpled up piece of toilet paper in the kitchen, smack in front of our open front door. She has a huge grin on her face, and I hurry and set the eggs down and help her waddle back in to the bathroom.

This is my crazy life. You never know what will come next!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Quote Of The Week

Daddy let Gracie stay up a little later tonight (even though she didn't take a nap!!!) to watch the first game of the season for the Washington Nationals. Anyway, she loved this little daddy daughter time...that is until the popcorn ran out.

She found a puzzle and was working it when Daddy decided to explain some sort of baseball action that had happened. As daddy is prone to do, he gives a very wordy explanation. Clearly ignoring what he said, or at least not interested, her next words were priceless.

"Wow Daddy, that was a lot of words you just said."

I couldn't hold it in! I think that a lot, I just don't say it out loud. Thank goodness he doesn't give pop quizzes on all of these things he wants to tell us. :)

Daddy Sings

What a morning for Daddy. We actually got to church on time, and he gets asked to join the men's least for the day.

Ms. Ruth came to our pew and told Garren that the men were singing this morning and asked if he would join. I was holding my smirk back figuring that he would decline, so you can imagine my surprise when he agreed!

Daddy walked to the back of the church and lined up with the other men.

I did notice that there we a few other guys that I don't think were in the choir either.

Gracie and I sat together and watched Daddy sing, and he remained in the choir loft for the rest of the service. And it must have been fate that the camera was still in Gracie's backpack from our day out yesterday, so I got a video!!!

2 stars to Garren for going against his shyness, and singing. For those of you who may not know, Garren has a beautiful voice and received a lot of recognition for that in high school and college.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Little Trim

Well it may have seemed like a little trim to me, but it was a life or death situation for Gracie. That's how it seemed anyway.

Just like the last time I gave her a trim (nearly a year ago), she screamed and cried, only this time she told me why she was worried. She kept saying "it's gonna hurt!" This poor child was in tears and had been afraid since we mentioned trimming her hair last week--that she was going to lose a body part or something. I tried to convince her that it wouldn't hurt and that mommy would NEVER do anything to hurt Gracie. It seemed to help when i cut a snipit of my hair off, but it wasn't until I took the first clip of hers that she was okay. She had been sobbing and after I snipped the scissors, she began to giggle. I reminded her that I told her it wouldn't hurt, and then we talked about how silly she was.

I was able to take off about 2 inches. Her hair was long and I loved it, but hair bushings were getting worse and the tangles we taking over. Plus, everything gets in her hair from cereal in the morning to paint to dinner at night.

After I had finished and was brushing and fluffing, she really got in to it. She showed me places to cut more. I snipped a little bit to humor her, but then she wanted me to cut it really short (almost a bob!!) and I of course begged off!!

So, another trama down the drain. And, her hair looks cute to boot!

Migraine Annoyance

I am usually super faithful about my blog, and I hate that I can't seem to keep it updated everyday. For the past few weeks headaches and fatigue have kept me from being loyal to my computer--and it seems that allergies are to blame.

Clearly this is yet another terror of getting old. I have never had problems with allergies before, but taking medicines from Garren's stash seems to be the only relief I get. So, I guess from here on out I will have to take a daily allergy medicine. Yuck! I hate being dependent on medicine, but I guess I will have to manage, or continue to deal with the debilitating headaches.

So, hang in there with me!

Guess Who Dressed Me Today!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Day Out With Mommy

I snapped this picture today as Gracie and I had lunch together at the Olive Garden. We had a left over gift card from family dinner out a few weeks ago, so we treated ourselves.

We also had Easter pictures taken, and I got her birthday pictures back. They came out pretty well, so I am happy. The Easter pictures will be back sometime next month. Gracie is off the hook for more pictures until summer. Since her birthday, Easter, and Christmas are so close together, I try and have a summer and even a fall picture taken so I can see the different stages throughout the year.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Rainbow Day

The theme at preschool today was rainbows. They made the cutest pictures and glued froot loops to make the colors of the rainbow. The project stayed at school to dry, but I will have to snap a picture when it comes home.

Ms. Stephanie pulled me aside as I was leaving and raved over Gracie playing with Tinsa today. She said that they played well and happily for quite a while, she even heard Gracie call her by name. This is actually a big step, as playing is difficult, and communicating with other kids even more of a challenge for my shy girl.

Snack was froot loops, and they got to play with the parachute which all of the kids adore. The story today was about a whale in a bathtub.

I haven't gotten next month's calendar, but I am excited to see what else is in store for spring!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Less Than Thrilled

I have been to several restaurants (or restrunks as Gracie pronounces it) in my lifetime that have made me feel uncomfortable. Usually, it is the less than savory places that make you wonder what their health score is, that make me feel like leaving. But, today it was a place that made me feel like I was white trash, that left me with out an appetite.

I have been drug to several places in my years that were far more upscale than I was. The most prominent one that comes to mind was Spring Break junior year when Katie Jones and I went to Wilmington, NC. Her favorite show was Dawson's Creek and she found out that the cast hung out at this restaurant. When we arrived they were serving "brunch." Not being able to figure anything on the menu out, I went for a salad. This extremely over priced small bowl of yard trimmings arrived at my place a little while later. I made Katie swear we could go to McDonald's after. We didn't see any cast members, but we were sitting behind the show's producers and writers. How do I know? I asked one of them where he got the hat he was wearing. Anyway, back to the subject at hand...the fact that I am just a plain ole country girl I guess.

When I was a kid the Red Lobster was a big fancy restaurant. Yes, I said Red Lobster. We went mabye twice growing up, and that was a HUGE deal. Clearly, we were not a family of means, and being simple folk, a place that had cloth napkins was out of our reach. Times have changed, and restaurants are more accessible and affordable to most families. Being on a very tight budget we rarely eat out, but we are making a point to go out as a family once every two weeks. But, back in the day before kids, better known as "when we had money," we ate out all the time. My waist line is proof. Garren and I were no strangers to sit down places, but I guess we frequented those places that cater to the middle of the road crowd.

I have many friends that enjoy fancy restaurants and fine wines, but that just isn't me. I guess I am some where between the French food and the family buffet. But, I had no idea that my bottom line would ever determine how comfortable I felt at a place. We weren't in a situation trying to figure out how to pay...we had gift cards that we had bought when I got groceries last week. And we weren't in a super snobby place either...we were in a Ruby Tuesday's for goodness sakes!

Anyway, we noticed right away they had made a great deal of changes since we were there last. The place was much fancier and it looked like something you would see in a much bigger and nicer city than Winchester. When we sat down with our rambunctious 4 year old, the feeling of "out of place" began to set in. We opened the menu and for me it hit even harder. I am sure many, if not all of you, have been to a Ruby Tuesday's. They're just like most other nice restaurant chains out there. They run a gamut of foods and were reasonably priced; somewhere above the Quarter Pounder meal and a Lobster dinner. Not any more. Now there menu is printed in a fancy font, and for that you pay 5-10 dollars more per plate! I couldn't find anything in the menu that justified the price, and despite the fact we had plenty on the gift cards, I opted to pay $8 for a salad bar and a so called "soup." To make matters more upscale, they brought the food on square chic plates. When I asked for ketchup when the cheese fries appetizer arrived, I was given a look, and she served it in two silver cups!!!!

I couldn't have gotten out of there faster. Poor Gracie ordered the mac and cheese, and it was served on the signature square, very classy, and extremely breakable plates. She barely ate it. I decided to give it a taste. It was whole grain pasta and some fancy cheese. It didn't taste very good--but I am sure it was super classy and organic.

Now, I am thankful to have friends from so many walks of life, but I have to wonder, how many of you would have felt comfortable sitting there with the fancy art work, and chic plates eating an $8 salad full of things you would weed-eat from your yard (seriously, there were spinach leaves, and dandelion leaves, and I think actual sweet grass!)? Is it our upbringing, our bottom line, or our class (or lack of) that makes us feel so uncomfortable? How do I make Gracie feel like she is worthy of any place she can eat? I know my very low self esteem adds to this problem, but it was a Ruby Tuesday's for goodness sakes!!!!!! What chain will go yuppy next? Will all middle America have to choose from are McDonald's and Taco Bell? I am all for cutting quantity, but cut the price too, and round plates are just fine!

PS: If I offended your favorite restaurant I am sorry. Clearly you are one who feels more comfortable in their own skin than I. And, have you ordered the soup? I had to cut the broccoli in the soup bowl in order to eat it!!! It's soup--there shouldn't be a knife involved!

Spring Has Sprung

From Email sent 3/26/08

Family & Friends:

I haven't sent an email out since Christmas, but I am not surprised as life seems to be on fast forward. The beginning of the year is so super busy for us. After Christmas comes all of our birthdays and more holidays, and it seems like the fiesta never ends.
While it is technically Spring, the weather here isn't quite so convinced. We had a warm and sunny Easter, but the weather has again cooled off and we even saw snow on Monday! Since not all of you frequent my blog, and enjoy updates, I will try and catch you up on the most exciting events of the past 3 months...

Gracie continues to do well in preschool. She has made great progress with her social skills, and her closet continues to expand as Grandma makes more and more dresses to match every occasion. I have even gotten in on the sewing and made two dresses myself, one for winter, and one for spring.

Working at home with Gracie is also paying off. She continues to blossom with school work that we do together. She is so close to reading, and I am looking forward to "the light turning on" soon. She knows all of her letters, and the letter sounds. We are working on math as well. That is a little slower going, but she seems to be getting it. She has mastered cutting lines, and is really getting good at writing and drawing just about anything. Clearly I am a super proud mommy, so I will stop bragging! :)

Gracie's fourth birthday went very well. She had several celebrations and she knows just how blessed she is. Garren and I made her actual birthday super special with dinner, ice cream, and even some flowers. She had an adorable "celebration" at preschool the day after with ice cream that I brought in for snack. She even got a birthday hat and name tag. She was a very happy little girl. And, to round up the week long celebration, she got a My Little Pony party here at the house. It was just family and our wonderful neighbors, but she had a great time. Grandma and Grandpa even drove up all the way from Lynchburg. I felt guilty for a few brief moments that she didn't get a party with her friends since several at school have had parties, but I remembered that she was only 4 and we have such a small apartment. Besides in a few years I doubt I will be able to keep things small any more, so I better hang on while I can! Plus, I made the best cake I have made thus far!! (Oh, and PS, for those of you who were so wonderful and remembered Gracie on her birthday, thank you notes will be on the way soon!)

Easter was nice. We went to Grandma and Grandpa's as has become tradition. It wasn't a picturesque weekend as Gracie wasn't always in the best of moods, but we got through and hopefully found some true happiness of the season. Gracie looked beautiful in her Cinderella dress and pink sweater. I even convinced Garren to wear a pink tie so we coordinated as a family. I like it, though he swears he will never wear it again. The Easter bunny was very good to Gracie, but Grandma and Grandpa were better. And, since we weren't able to take Gracie to an egg hunt this year, we created our own in the front yard. Gracie was thrilled as she hunted and ran all over the yard looking for her bounty. About 20 minutes later she was able to find all 31. I am not sure which was more fun: finding the eggs, or opening them to see what was inside!

So, our lives continue here in Strasburg, and it looks like it will stay that way for a while. We are hoping that we will finally be able to have our own home some time this fall. Of course with the housing market nothing is definate--but we have our fingers crossed for being in our very own home by Christmas! So, say some extra prayers for us if you can.

Since this email is already sugary sweet enough, I should add that Garren also got some applause. He finally won a first place from the Virginia Press Association for one of his stories. Each year he brings home several awards, but this is his first "First Place," so we are all very proud.

I hope that each of you are having a wonderful spring, and if you find the time; let us know how you are. In the meantime I continue to update our blog and I even have a photoblog as well where I try to put a picture a day that is something different from the blog.

Lots of Love,
Barbara, Garren & Gracie Shipley

More Pictures And Such:
Winter 2008
Gracie's 4th Birthday
Easter 2008

All of our Videos Online at You Tube
Other Picture Folders On Picasa

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Signs Of Spring

Well, you definitely can't tell by the temperature here today that it is already spring--but it is. We had such a warm trip to Lynchburg for the Easter weekend, and as soon as it was over, snow reared it's cold facade.

It's not snowing today, but it is very chilly out here. But, spring is springing in Gracie's preschool room. The kids planted seeds today and will watch them grow. I think the seeds were "surprise" seeds, as Gracie didn't know what she planted. When I asked her what would grow from her seed she said "You never know! We will have to watch and see!" It is really weird to hear all of my phrases come out of her mouth!!!! :)

Gracie was dressed for spring planting today. She wore the prettiest dress that Grandma made for her (although I get credit for picking out the material the last time I was in, and I made a matching bow). I love this one, she looked so sunny.

The teachers read a bird book and the snack was cheese balls. They sang some songs, but she can't remember which ones. I think she had a pretty good day, and it got a even better.

I stopped at the thrift store here in town after my workout and before I picked her up. They had the cutest Little Tikes grocery store outside for sale. I know we don't have much room--but this was so unique and I knew we would have hours of fun. And we have!!! This little set has made a great addition to our home, and it helps display all of her neat wooden play food.

So, it has been a great cool spring day--I hope it gets warmer this week and we can get outside some more!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

A very warm and blessed Easter Sunday from our family to yours!

Barbara, Garren & Gracie Shipley

More Easter pictures are on Picasa. Click here.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

As Close As She Would Get

Well, she's 4 and still won't go too close to that unusually large bunny. We were able to convince her to stand at his feet. The picture (though extremely overpriced), is not bad at all.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Making Time

It is just me, or does life seem to be in fast forward??!!! As soon as Christmas over, then we headed in to a new year, and birthdays, and more holidays....and now March isn't even over and here comes Easter; ready or not.

I have really gotten behind in my blogging, but things are well on our end of things. After I finish this little computer break, I will go back to packing for our weekend in Lynchburg. We will leave when Daddy gets home from work.

I have so many things I want to blog about. Gracie continues to grow and flourish, but I have more parenting issues on my mind these days, and I need to get them off of my mind and down on "paper."

But, while life is kind of crazy lately--we will always make time for friends! Colette and Mallory came over today for lunch and egg painting and just an afternoon of girl talk and laughs and wonderful time together!

A safe and Happy Easter to all of you. Hopefully, I can blog while in Lynchburg and I can share plenty of fun Easter pictures.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What Makes Gracie Happy

Today was school picture day and the kids colored this picture and thought about what makes them smile. I asked Gracie if she thought about her answer when it was her turn to have her picture taken. She said "yes." They had a class picture taken too. I can't wait to see them!!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Daddy Takes First!!

After 4 years at the Northern Virginia Daily, Garren finally takes home a first place prize from the Virginia Press Association. We are so proud. We have plenty of second and third place certificates around the house, but this is an achievement he has been waiting for. Hooray for Daddy!!!

Great "Green Day"

Gracie and I are having a great time making all things green today. She picked out her green smocked dress to wear, and of course her shamrock hair bow to match the days festivities. Plus, she made a necklace and a bracelet out of green froot loops to match her outfit.

We had a green lunch complete with cold peas, cucumbers, broccoli, green bean casserole, baked potatoes (not green, but very Irish), green lemonade, and shamrock cookies for dessert. I made green Jello too, but it didn't gel in time.

She has been in a great mood today, and I am hoping it keeps up!!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Let's Go Fly A Kite!

What a great and windy afternoon Gracie and I had in Strasburg park!

This afternoon was our church's annual kite flying day, and it was too pretty outside to miss it. After we changed out of our church clothes, we got on some warmer play clothes, put together her My Little Pony kite and headed outdoors.

Now, while the sunny was warm and friendly, his friend "Wind" was not so welcoming. It was an interesting afternoon as the wind was very cold, but so strong that it helped the kites go extremely high up and stay up.

There were about 20 or more families who came out and flew kites. The flying apparatuses ranged from ones like Gracie's Dollar Store special to these elaborate contraptions.

Gracie loved watching Cheerilee float higher and higher up in the sky, and she guided her quite a bit. But, with all of the other colors and fun going on she was just as interested in watching everyone else.

We stayed an hour and a half, but I was really concerned about her cold fingers, cheeks and nose, I packed us up. As you can imagine Gracie was no longer a happy tot--she cried the whole way home. But, the kite flying and crying episode left her so tired that I was able to cuddle her to sleep in about 2 minutes.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bunny Day

Well, it wasn't exactly called bunny day...but there was clearly a theme. For movement they did the bunny hop, and they made a bunny with colored tissue paper for a craft, and then of course a bunny song is one of this months songs as well.

Gracie looked darling in this pink gingham dress fit for spring...and preschool bunny days. Grandma actually found this one at a consignment shop.

Gracie seemed fine at school today, but she did pause as I gave her hugs this morning and said "we forgot snack." Her face fell, and I tried not to over react. I reminded her that we had the snack she had picked out (she had picked out a special snack from Walmart for today to thank her friends for making her feel better. They were adorable bug shaped graham crackers.) She told me she meant a snack just for her. I told her she could have a snack when she got home. I have no idea what that was all about. I think she got nervous again at school, and used the snack excuse again.

She had a good day though. She came home with a smiley thumb and chatted all about her craft and sharing the snack she brought in.

So, I am guessing she is doing okay; but I am still watching!

PS: More great pictures from today on my PhotoBlog!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Birthday Pictures

Gracie and I went out for the day, and among our errands were heading to Penney's for birthday pictures.

Gracie did a wonderful job posing, and we had several to choose from. These are the ones I picked. They will be in later in the month.

(Click to view larger)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Carrot Day

(I am sorry that I didn't blog this on Tuesday, but I spent all of my time playing and talking with Gracie in an attempt to find out what on earth happened, so I didn't want to waste any time on the computer)

When I picked Gracie up today from school, she seemed to be fine. The teachers told me she cried for a while, and sat at the table with a pile of tissues while her friends colored pictures to make her feel better. I have a tall stack of coloring pages from several friends that she brought home.

She had a smiley thumb and she game a hug and a smile of her own when it was my turn in line. I put on her coat and gathered her things. When we got outside I talked to her a little bit about missing her. I told her I was so sad to leave her crying. I asked her why she thought she cried, and she told me she wanted to go home with me, and she missed me. I told her I missed her to. Then, she tells me she was upset because we forgot something. I asked her what. She told me her snack. She said she wanted a granooda bar before she went to school.

Now, this child had 2 bowls of fruit loops before she left for school, so I think she doesn't know what upset her, and she was making something up.

I didn't push it, but poor Garren was so upset when he read the blog. I spent the day playing with her and talking and she seemed okay. When Daddy got home he insisted that we go out for dinner and spend family time together. He sat in the back seat of the car with her and I drove us to Applebee's. She didn't say anything that would lead us to a better clue, but I think she felt more at ease knowing we were there and it was family time.

What ever it was, it was something down deep. The past 2 days have been very uncharacteristically Gracie. We aren't sure what is going on--but we are watching her even more closely than before.

As for her day at school; she wore the carrot dress I made for her and matching bow. They did carrot painting (painting with an actual carrot) and used orange paint. I have scanned in her masterpiece. Snack was carrots and ranch dressing, and they sang a song about a bunny.

Bunny day is Thursday, so I will have to find an equally cute dress for that day of fun!

**The above picture was snapped just before school--as you can see, she seemed to be fine.***


I left my Gracie at preschool--crying! This is the first time I have ever dropped her off and she didn't want me to go. I can not describe how painful it was to pry her off of me and let Ms. Christine pick her up and carry her away sobbing.

We had a very bad day yesterday, but she seemed fine this morning. Well, except she didn't want to wear her pretty red dress coat. But, that didn't seem like the end of the world. We were a few minutes late by the time we got there. I took off her coat and her teachers raved over her carrot dress and bow. I hung things up and gave her a big hug. That's when I realized she wasn't letting go. I walked her over to where the kids were playing--no luck. I gave her more kisses and talked about how fun carrot painting would be today--still gripping. I didn't know what else to do. I told her I had to go, and Ms. Christine actually had to pry her off of me.

It has been a long morning, and I can barely wait to pick her up. I have been to the gym and even stopped at the thrift store to take up some time. The minutes seem to be ticking by at a very slow pace.

I am sure she is fine, and we will snuggle and talk about it when she gets home. I do so worry about her. Not because of this one incident--but she is so painfully nervous and shy all the time. She clings to me for comfort and safety. I hate to see her so uncomfortable and sad.

45 more minutes until I can go and scoop her up.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


This is kind of like when Gracie and I have this conversation:

"Gracie, what are you doing....I don't hear anything."


"Are you sure?"


Saturday, March 08, 2008

Great Picture From Fun Adventure

She was in heaven with a night full of Grandma and Grandpa spoilage.

Gracie's Pony Party

The week long birthday bonanza for our new 4 year old is coming to an end. Well, at least after Grandma and Grandpa go home tomorrow anyway.

Gracie's actual birthday party was this afternoon, and despite being in a VERY shy mood, she seemed to have a very good time. Since her current favorite thing in the world is My Little Pony, we threw her a pony party. I had pink streamers, pink balloons, pink plates and much more. My home was very pink.

We decided to keep this year's party small, and it was just family and our wonderful neighbors. Grandma and Grandpa drove all the way from Lynchburg, and Gracie could hardly wait until they got here. We also had some other special guests. My Aunt Karen, cousin Angie and her daughter Brooke came to celebrate with us.

We had dainty snacks and some ice cream in fancy dishes before we broke into the cake. As you can read below I am happy with the way it came out. We all sang and she blew out her number four candle and I started doling out the massive castle. I still have plenty if anyone wants to stop by for a hunk of it!

Brooke was a great present helper and card reader, and Gracie seemed to be just as excited as she opened each gift. She is a very blessed little girl and now our home is many, many, many My Little Ponies fuller. I will have to make a list of everything she got--but as you can imagine most of it was pink. Oh, and Candice--she got that baby pony with the little carrier that she wanted so badly and I said "no." I believe as Angie put it "people did it to me, and now I have someone to do it to." So, I guess in the future I get to give gifts with small pieces and loud parts to other moms! :)

All in all her pony party was a success, and Grandma and Grandpa are staying over--so she still has plenty of fun things left to do. Including dinner and Fun Expedition tonight!

To see more birthday pictures, click here.

Gracie's Birthday Cake

This would be my second attempt. The first draft and all of it's layers ended up in the trash around 11pm. After a small pity party for myself, I started again. I took the new cakes out of the oven around 1am. When I got up extra early this morning I started this masterpiece. Actually, I am pretty proud of it. It was clearly too hard of a cake design for a novice to accomplish--but Gracie was impressed, and that's all that really matters.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Learning To Share

This is not a lesson for is one for me. I found myself being in a moral delema of sorts this afternoon. Since it was so beautiful, I put Gracie's jacket on her and we went outside to draw with her brand new sidewalk chalk. Before we even got out of the big door at the bottom of the steps, we found ourselves with a shadow. One of the kids from the apartment, who was bored and couldn't find any other kids, decided to tag a long without being invited.

I found Gracie and I a sunny spot at the end of the parking lot. Thinking selfishly that the little boy would go and play somewhere else. As all of the younger kids in the complex are lacking any sort of manners, he just sits down with us and starts taking Gracie's chalk out of the box and drawing his own creation. While, I wanted time just the two of us, I put on my best manners and dealt with it.

I knew Gracie didn't want to go upstairs, so I watched as this little boy used her chalk down to nubbins. What do you say to a child in this instance? If I tell the little boy he can't play, then I am showing an example to my daughter about not sharing. Plus, I am far too polite and introverted of a person to ever say that to anyone. But, by allowing the little boy to not only play but just take what he wants without being asked and to use her toys until they are of no use, aren't I encouraging her to be a bully-magnet?!

I just waited the situation out. I sat there and encouraged Gracie as she drew her fireworks with lots of colors and vowed to get her a new box of sidewalk chalk. I had also brought her bubbles downstairs, and she wanted to blow those as well. I did keep the little boy from taking those away from her by telling him that she was learning to blow bubbles and to let her try. I was doing fine, even though inside I wanted to scream as he jumped around very close to her popping her bubbles. I lost it when he popped one on her face. I told him "don't do that--that's not nice." Knowing that what I said didn't matter, I just decided I was "getting cold" and it was time to go back inside. I fixed Gracie hot dogs for dinner. I am not sure what kind of example I set today--but I hope it wasn't a bad one.

As for me, can you guess what I drew on the parking lot? A brick house with a white picket fence. A tree and a swing set in the yard.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

School Birthday Fun

Gracie felt very special today as she celebrated her birthday with her school friends.

When I dropped her off this morning in her yellow birthday dress and birthday bow Ms. Stephanie told her Happy Birthday, and several other moms made a fuss over her. I gave her kisses and reminded her I would be back with a birthday surprise.

When I got back to the school, the kids were waiting for me and were very excited. They had no idea what I had brought but they knew it was Gracie's birthday and I would have a treat. I couldn't help but snicker as the kids crowded around me and made "mmmmm" sounds. It could have been dirt for all they knew.

The kids took turns washing up, and then I helped set out the ice cream cups as they listened to a story. Gracie got a candle in her ice cream cup and they even lit it for her and the whole class sang the Happy Birthday song. This was a surprise to me, but apparently each kid gets this treatment. She also had a special name tag on and got to wear a birthday crown. I was so happy. As you can tell from above, I couldn't get the camera to go as fast as I wanted, but I still got some of the song and her blowing out her candle.

The other kids were thrilled that they got ice cream. Then when we came around with so many toppings--it made things even better. Believe it or not there were 2 kids who insisted on plain ice cream, and one kid who didn't want ice cream at all!! I was shocked. Of course each one was different. Some wanted all the toppings from chocolate chips, nuts, whip cream, chocolate syrup, sprinkles, and a cherry (like Gracie); and some wanted just a few. While Gracie finished off every bite, most of the kids threw theirs away after they ate the toppings off. The teachers were adamant that they only got one round of toppings, otherwise they would be going the whole snack time.

When I went back later and picked her up, Gracie told me that she had a great birthday at school. I was so happy. Then she told me thank you for bringing the ice cream. She is such a doll!

Besides the ice cream, I did give each kid a small bottle of bubbles with a note saying "Thank You For Sharing My Special Day! Gracie" I found these in 6 packs at Walmart, and thought they would be a nice thing to share, especially since Gracie isn't have a party with friends this year. Many of the kids told Gracie thank you for the bubbles, and had them open and blowing by the time they got outside. So, I would consider today a success!

I have put the pictures from her school party in the birthday folder. And, I will add more from her pony party (just family) on Saturday.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

My Baby...Not So Much A Baby Anymore

The Day Continues....

The picture above clearly captures the mood of the day. Gracie has had a very exciting, very fulfilling 4th birthday.

She took and excellent nap, and true to my promise (and despite daddy's hunger) I let her try out her new pony computer game. She loved it. After a few minutes of creating quite the pony masterpieces, Daddy convinced her to get ready to go out for birthday dinner. We headed to the Olive Garden and had a wonderful meal. This is the restaurant she choose by the way. We gave her several options, and she LOVES buh-sketti, so this is what she wanted. She ate so well, but true to Gracie form, she was ready for her ice cream. Garren and I chuckled, and then took her to the Cold Stone Creamery in the same shopping center. We ordered her a very small one, and still had to bring home the remainder--but she loved it.

When we got home it was late, but I had set out her presents from mommy and daddy on the kitchen table when Daddy took her to the car for dinner. She was very excited to see the pile of pony wrapped gifts on the table. She tore through them all, but I caught the best expression when she opened her My Little Pony card. It was one of those musical cards, and Pinkie Pie tells her Happy Birthday when she opens it. The look on her face was priceless!

Again I promised her she could play another round on her computer game, and I did. But, she didn't get long since it was already 8:40! She will have plenty more time to play the game and play with her new ponies and floor sized MLP coloring book tomorrow.

She has had such a wonderful day, and now she is warm in her footey jammies and hopefully she will be asleep soon. She has another sugar filled day tomorrow!

You can find all things birthday in this Picasa folder.

What A Day!!!

As you can see my birthday girl is taking a rest from all of today's fun activities.

Gracie is having a great 4th birthday, and is in a wonderful mood. I was worried since she was so cranky yesterday, hasn't had a nap or slept well in a week, and she got up at 7:50 this morning. But, so far so good.

Gracie got her usual cuddle in the mommy and daddy bed this morning, and then daddy made her blueberry muffins for breakfast. This is her favorite, and usually saved for Saturday's. But today, as you know, is a special day. We even stuck a candle in one of the blueberry muffins and sang. She thought this was great.

I had to get our usual bi-monthly grocery shopping done, and I didn't want to spend all of Gracie's birthday in Walmart, so I headed out early and left Gracie and Daddy to play.

When I got back, I brought her some pretty pink tulips. She was so thrilled, you could tell it made her feel super special.

After quickly putting the groceries away, we let her open one of her gifts from us before Daddy had to leave for work. She got a View Master Projector. We spent much of the day playing movie theater with it and going through her massive collection of reels. We took a break though at noon when Mallory and Colette came over for lunch. We had chicken nugget salads, and the fruit and veggie trays I picked up this morning. And, then of course came more presents. The Mozingo's gave her the prettiest white lace shirt and headband. She loved it so much, she had to try it on.

After they left, we played some more, and then I let her open Mamaw and Papaw's gift and Candice's. Mamaw and Papaw gave her the nicest collection on hardback books and CD's to go along with it. She loved pulling book after book out of the bag. When it came to Candice's gift, I realized I should have turned the camera to video. So, I did--and she was thrilled to see the My Little Pony card and computer game.

We have so much more fun in the works for this evening. Right now she is getting good sleep to power up for her birthday evening. She picked Olive Garden for her birthday dinner, and if there is time (and energy) we want to take her to Fun Expedition. All this and the preschool party tomorrow and her pony party Saturday. What more could a four year old ask for?! ;)

Oh, and we let Gracie open the cards she got in the mail as well. She squealed at her Disney princess card from Mamaw and Papaw, and even made me scan it in on the computer. When she opened Katie and Matt's card and found the My Little Pony stickers she actually started jumping up and down! She had me open them immediately and she started to work on some creation. Thank you so much to all of you who have remembered her. And, we read the emails to her and let her see the e-cards as well. She is a very lucky little girl.

PS: Daddy dressed her today, she has a very pretty birthday dress for tonight. And for those of you who doubted: proof that she owns a pair of pants ;)

Today Gracie Is 4!!!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Perfect In Green

Okay, I loved this velvet jumper when I found it--but doesn't it look so good on her. Well, I love that color, it makes her kind of sparkle!

Gracie actually had a very green day today. Besides her jumper and the hairbow I made with shamrocks, Gracie mixed blue and yellow to make green window decorations. They also sang a song about finding shamrocks. This time it was all coincidence. I didn't get the March calendar until today--but there are several cute days perfect for coordination like her Easter party, carrot day, and bunny hop day. It brings out the creative in me!! :)

Ms. Stephanie made Gracie's day today by remembering that her birthday is tomorrow. She told us she could wait until Thursday for her school celebration. I am so lucky that she has teachers that are so enthusiastic and care so much. Gracie decided she wanted to be surprised as to what treat I am taking on Thursday--so my lips are sealed. Since she can't read yet I will tell all of you that I plan to bring in those little ice cream cups along with chocolate syrup, sprinkles, whip cream, and cherries. Plenty of goodies for each child to make their own sundaes!! You know me, I like to think outside of the box.

Today is so nice. Well, not as nice as yesterday as the clouds are out and it looks like it will pour at any moment. But, it is warm and breezy. I am so ready for spring! Yesterday we went out and did sidewalk chalk and bubbles and such, but today we are having to make do with enjoying the breezes with the screen door open.

The picture on the right she brought home from school today. She told me it was mommy and daddy standing on her pony birthday cake. Can you tell she is excited about her big day! She knows I will be making her a pony cake for Saturday.

One Day Till Gracie's 4th Birthday

Monday, March 03, 2008

Another Chapter

Another chapter is coming to an end. A more optimistic person would say that a new chapter is beginning. Oh, how amazingly optimistic I was in my 20's. Can you tell I am still dealing with my own aging process as well as my baby's?!!

Gracie made her hand and footprint today in a very neat book that I got at a thrift store a long time back. It is a very dated Sesame Street book about your child's year. We had the best time filling it in last week. All that was left was the hand and footprint. Since she had plenty of paint on herself, I made a copy for me to keep and scan in. Look how big she has gotten!!!

April 2004

2 Days Till Gracie's Birthday

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Gracie's First Birthday Party

Gracie attended her first birthday part today...well, the first that wasn't hers anyway. Today Jackie celebrated her 4th birthday at The Little Gym in Winchester.

Gracie wore the prettiest pink dress with white lace pinafore and her Mary Jane's. She looked picture perfect. We had created a play dough cake as a gift for Jackie, and it was neat. The day was shaping up to be...well...perfect.

Gracie had been super excited for the past several days, and now she was practically bouncing out of her car seat until time for Jackie's party.

When we got there, about 8 other kids were running around this facility having a great time. I took off Gracie's dress where she was wearing her pink leotard. Things went swimmingly as she too went from equipment to equipment never letting go of my hand. Then, it was time for group activities. In true Gracie fashion, she not only freezed at the idea of doing the fun games, she broke out into full on tears.

I can't say I am surprised by this, and apparently neither were Gracie's classmates. The first group activity was to go around the circle and say your name, your age, and your favorite color. When they got to Gracie she hid her face in her knees. One of the little boys, clearly used to my daughters extreme shyness piped up "That's Grace!" He wasn't mocking her at all, he was just telling the "teacher" who she was. It was kind of cute, and it gave me a bigger glimpse in to what may be happening at school. I plan to check with her teachers on Tuesday. There is nothing I can do, just try and boost her self confidence, but I want a better idea of whether she is participating at school.

Anyway, the group broke away and did fun on the equipment every so many minutes, and then would go back to the circle. Gracie would have a blast on the mats and beams and such, but would clam up and cling to me for the other. She did get more and more relaxed as time went on. By the end, she was having a great time. Of course that was just in time to line up and go in to the party room for cake.

This part was the best. She felt at ease with her school friends, she had her dress back on, and of course there was plenty of sugar. Gracie smiled and giggled with the other girls and I was able to breathe for a minute. As you can imagine, I was the only parent in the gym with their child. The rest watched behind a Plexiglas window made for parents of the gym students.

Jackie's party was very cute. She had a Tinker Bell theme. The boys weren't left out either, they got pirate hats and patches as if they were Captain Hook. The party ended not long after cake and ice cream, and our adorable hostess gave each child a party favor bag complete with balloon.

Gracie is still talking about the party, and I have earned a gold star for surviving my child's first birthday party.