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:
Gracie's 4th Birthday
All of our Videos Online at You Tube
Other Picture Folders On Picasa