Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Thanks Mamaw & Papaw

for the adorable bunny backpack you sent me for preschool this year.

I have already tried it out and I have several important notes inside.

I really like her fluffy tail, and I can't wait to show my friends at school.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

I guess this is about as much drama as you will find in the Shipley home, so if you are looking for more action, you will have to tune in to another blog :)

Poor Gracie wants so much to be a big girl. She is already mostly there, but it bothers her so much that she still has to wear diapers at night.

We have explained to her that when her body is ready, then she can wear her undies to bed. The goal is 6 dry nights in a row before we attempt that feat.

We were going strong Monday morning as we put a third Ariel stamp on her calendar, but then this morning we discovered that her little body isn't ready yet. And, to add insult to injury, Gracie took a wonderfully long nap this afternoon, but woke up with wet sheets and dress.

Garren and I NEVER make a big deal about accidents, this poor child worries plenty with out adding more to it--plus, it really is no big deal. She seemed to take her step back in stride. When I asked this morning if she had a dry night, she said "no, but when my body gets bigger I will wear my undies to bed." As for the nap accident she simply said "it's okay though, I will pick out a new dress." I reassured her that it was in fact okay, and she helped me change her sheets and she picked out a new outfit.

I am guessing this little dance will go on for a while longer, but in a way I am not in a huge hurry for her to go to bed with undies; buying diapers is all I have left of my Baby Gracie.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Hair Trauma

The hair trauma in this house has been going on for at least 2 years now. The princess Grace doesn't like having her hair washed, her hair brushed, or her hair trimmed.

I have known some sensitive-headed children in my time, but Gracie takes the cake. As a matter of fact I am not convinced that it hurts at all when I brush her hair. This child pulls out real tears and heartbreaking shouts like a pro. And, we go through this everyday.

Now, we are aware that one of the easier ways to maintain tangle-free hair is to wash it more often, as our daughter gets all of her meals in the ends of her hair. Washing the hair is also a trauma. If you remember I can't even tell her she is getting a bath, or she will worry about it all day. She is terrified of having water dumped on her head to rinse and wash her hair. Water never goes on her face and we have come up with a painless ritual that involves small cups, her folding her ears and her head tipped back. Regardless, she still panics when it is time to wash the royal scalp.

I have no idea what started all of this, but I am willing to admit I am losing my patience on this topic. It is an everyday battle over her hair, and I will also admit she doesn't get a bath as often as she should because that is yet another battle and at the end of the day, and I am all out of ammo.

My hope is that last night's trim will at least put the hair screams at bay for a week or so. She wasn't thrilled with the idea of trimming her hair, and I definitely got a taste of what a groomer must go through--but it is straight and shorter and hopefully will give us a break for a while. At this length, she will have to try even harder to get her meals on the ends of her mane, and maybe it will be easier and less painful to brush. Although, I some how doubt that my drama queen will give up her hair fits.

Today's Quote

"I'm Grandpa and I am building a new house, you be Grandma and help me, okay?"

Monday, July 21, 2008

Friday, July 18, 2008

Ready To Read!

After working on letter sounds, the light is coming on inside that little four year old brain.

Today we worked on "at" words (bat, cat, fat, hat, mat, pat, rat, sat ). We have done this before, but it was frustrating for the both of us. So, after walking away and doing more with the basics, I decided to pull those words out again.

I made cards with pictures I cut out from a magazine. "Fat" was particularly hard since I don't want to associate anything bad with that word, especially since Mommy is I found a piece of meat from a grocery circular and explained that fat was found on meat--that should buy me a few years, right ;)

Anyway, I used these nifty post-its for teachers and wrote the words on them and then she matched the words to the pictures.

As and added incentive, she got a bite of cake for each one she got right. She wanted dessert after lunch, as Mallory's cake is still sitting there tempting her, so I made this sweet deal to help her "concentration."

The first time through she was able to sound things out and get 5 out of the 8. When we did it again she got all but one (ironically, she couldn't get "fat" both times). She was so proud and I made the biggest deal out of it. We will have to show daddy what she can do when he gets home.

After our game, we read and colored a printable book also using the "at" words (I love She was so excited and was reading the words as I pointed to them.

Things are finally clicking!

I am also working on her Kindergarten site word list. So, hopefully each day, or every other day we will have a new word to work on. Today's word: "jump." As you can see there is also a yellow word--this would be a word she wanted to learn to read, she choose "popcorn."

Hooray for reading!

**She holds her ears after getting one of her words right, as apparently I was sqealing! You would squeal too if your preschooler was learning to read :) **

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Yea For DJ & Ryan

Our nephews (and Gracie's cousins) DJ & Ryan won first place in the McHenry Baseball Classic this past weekend. There is a picture on this page, and it lists their names. We are so very happy for them and know their mom and dad are bursting with pride!

It's been a bust week for Aunt Heather and Uncle Kenny. Besides the baseball win, Casey (the youngest Walsh boy) turned 9 on Tuesday.

I bet the family is still beaming!!

**Click the picture to enlarge, You will see the boys are both second from the end in the bottom and middle rows. Their smiles are precious!!!***

Better Late, Than Never

We finally got a chance to celebrate Mallory's 15th birthday today, with a very sophisticated lunch.

Gracie was beyond excited as she was dying for Mallory to see the cake I had made for her. With their busy schedules we were able to find some time today to get together.

I pulled out all of my best and fanciest tableware and we had a very fancy lunch of...taco salads. Well, it was fun to put all the fancy things on the table anyway, even if it was just a fun lunch.

Mallory and Colette both seemed impressed by the cake, and that made me very happy. Gracie was very happy that she finally got to eat some of it.

We had a nice lunch and Mallory was such a sport and played with a very sugary Gracie. Now that Mallory's birthday-palooza is finally at an end--they are off again. This time to a camp in New York!

You can see my cake up close and personal by clicking here (it's the last cake in the folder).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Early Start

I am getting a pretty early start on fall, already. No, I am not wishing time to go by faster--it all ready goes fast enough, and I have a pile of outgrown clothes to prove it.

I decided to go through Gracie's dresses and pull out things I know are too short and too small. By the time I finished that up I had a better idea of what she has and needs for school.

Gracie will be starting her second year of preschool, and of course she has to be ready. So, I am thinking I am pretty covered for school dresses through fall. I have a few winter things that I feel she will still be able to wear (knock on wood) and some larger things that I stocked away on trips to the thrift store.

So, my list isn't too bad. She needs school socks. If anyone sees knee socks (the old fashioned looking kind--pictured above) PLEASE let me know where you found them. I am searching without much luck for these. I haven't tried Target yet, and mom thinks she may have gotten Mariah a few pair from there. Also, new saddle shoes. I think her backpack is perfect for her and those small child ones are super hard to find. But, this year I think I will also make her a homemade tote bag to carry. The problem is her backpack is short and small and doesn't hold her papers and things without bending them. This way, she will have two to choose from. We are covered in dress I am thinking besides that nasty preschool physical we are ready for school to start. Well, I mean supply wise--I will continue to savor every last summer minute with my baby, after all when preschool is over I have to face Kindergarten ---AHHHHHHHH!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

All About Grandma

All I have heard about all day is Grandma!

"My grandma does...."
"My grandma and I...."
"When I was a baby, Grandma...."
"Grandma likes to..."

When I say all day--I mean ALL DAY!

I have heard conversations she had with Grandma, I have heard make believe stories and facts about Grandma, she has even had pretend conversations with Grandma.

You think she might miss her grandma?

Luckily we will go and see Grandma in a few weeks.

I never knew so many things about my own mother. Did you know"when Grandma was a baby she cried for shower thingy, I had to hold her, yeah!"

(You can see she uses her own fears here--she is scared to death of the shower head and the only way we can rinse her hair is with a cup.)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Been There, Done That!

I can't count how many stages Gracie has been through in her short four years. Some of them good, plenty of them less than great; but I am surprised that one of her grossest stages has reared its ugly head--again.

Babies learn by putting things in their mouths. I find it nasty, but tried not to keep my precious infant from exploring the world around her...but boy was I glad when that particularly long phase of development was over. Or at least I thought it was over.

Now, at age 4 it seems like it has started all over again! I have noticed over the past month or longer, that Gracie is always putting something in her mouth; the clothes she is wearing, a blanket or towel, Lambie, paper, and especially her fingers!

I have tried not to make a huge deal out of it...but it is gross, and trust me I know where those fingers have been!

Garren and I have asked her time and time again if her teeth hurt or if her mouth is uncomfortable. She insists that she is fine and has no explanation of why she is chewing on her fingers or anything else.

My worst fear is this is yet another nervous tick. She has quite a few. She is so painfully shy and worries all the time. Its hard to believe, but it is inherited. Garren's whole family worries constantly over the smallest of things. I have done so much to be sure that this doesn't happen to her, but it doesn't seem to be helping. I encourage her, I am overly optimistic about everything and we talk about "no worries" and "no big deal," and when there is a mess or accident I ALWAYS tell her "it's okay!" and we clean it up together. But, she will still worry. She can't be around the news when it is on, if can't tell her she will be getting a bath until I start the water or she will think about it all day (hates to have her hair washed), she will even worry that the store we are going to might be closed. This is just one of those obstacles that we as a family have learned to deal with and we pray for the best. I don't want her to be a child or an adult who can't cope with life.

So, I am actually hoping that the everything in the mouth is just more molars coming in and she isn't aware of why she is doing it. She already has her 5 year molars (she got those last year), so I guess that last set maybe popping through? I told you she grows very fast, she always has--and she remains literally off the chart in her height and weight!

I would ask for ideas for keeping things out of her mouth, but I haven't gotten desperate enough yet. Vinegar might work though and would be super funny--but knowing her, she would like it!

Friday, July 11, 2008


Thanks Aunt Heather, we got your postcard from Minnesota on Friday! Gracie loved the kissing moose, and she got to put another paw print on the map! :)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thanks For Writing!

A big thank you to Katie & Matt, Sara, and Heather for sending Gracie postcards over the past month or so--we LOVE getting them. Then, of course we get to find the places you have been and plot them on the map and talk about what is in the pictures.

We love our collection and we are up to 30 postcards from 14 states, and 3 countries!!! Please keep them coming. My goal of course is to get one from each state. We have a lot of new blog readers thanks to finding old and new friends on Facebook and MySpace, so we are hoping you will send us mail too!

If you don't have our address email me at and I will send it to you--obviously I wouldn't post our address online.

Take a look at our postcard map here. (There is a permanent link on the left hand top side of this blog as well)

Some of the easier states we need are:
South Carolina
West Virginia

There are plenty more states to fill in as well, and we LOVE getting them from other countries. Some of our more well traveled friends pick them up for us and then mail them back in the states when they are a little more rested.

Keep traveling!

View Larger Map

Monday, July 07, 2008

Favorite Book

Gracie loved this book, and if you have a child who loves roller coasters and amusement parks as much as Gracie I highly recommend it.

I knew we had to take the books back to the library tomorrow, so this left a last chance to read it.

It was cute and simple and had great illustrations. Gracie read it several times to herself after her nap--I think it is a winner!!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Early Services

Well, early for us anyway. We Methodist are used to traveling the less than half a mile down the road and getting to church by 11am. But, today we got up extra early, for some extra special people.

We went to Tom, Colette & Mallory's church this morning that started at a whopping 9:30 am! But, I just couldn't miss Tom singing!!! I didn't know a thing about it until Thursday evening when we saw them. As if this family isn't busy enough, they decided to start a choir at their church! Tom had a solo. In fact, Tom ran most of the service.

Gracie and I have been to see Tom preach several times before, but to hear him sing was an even bigger treat (and if you have ever heard him preach, it would be hard to top!).

I videoed their performance and put it on the blog I created for them. If you want to hear his voice and see his family behind him, you will have to check it out!!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Soggy Fourth

Ugh, after I invite mom, dad, and Mariah up for the weekend to enjoy our small town's HUGE Fourth of July celebration, what does it do? Pour rain the whole day!!!

There for a while I didn't think we were even going to get to see any fireworks tonight. It rained and rained. At one point we gathered the girls during a break in the weather. We thought we could get to the park and let them do the inflatable bouncers, pony rides, etc before another storm front blew in.

We made it to the bottom door...then it poured so hard it was like sheets of rain and you could barely see.

Plan B. We went ahead and got in the cars and headed to Winchester to take the girls to Fun Expedition. This was actually a success. They played for nearly two hours, and we loaded back up and headed for Strasburg with our fingers crossed.

Apparently the rain had stopped here about 30 minutes before, because it was packed. We walked the mile to the park from our parking spot, and settled in. The ground was soaked, and it was muggy and foggy--but we were determined to see something catch on fire!

Gracie seemed to be okay for the fireworks, but got nervous as Mariah got nervous, and then I see dad covering her ears. We asked her several times if she wanted Daddy to hold her. She said "no" and seemed to enjoy having her grandpa hover over her and hold her ears closed while munching on kettle corn and snuggling up in a towel to watch the fireworks.

About 10 minutes in to the firework "show" things got a little hairy. The fireworks were actually landing in the sea of people watching them!! Luckily we were pretty far back, but people are jumping up and screaming!!! At this point I am ready to grab my baby and run, but no one seemed to be leaving. After that section of fireworks went off, everyone sat back down. I don't know if it was the wind or they had them too close, but it was the first time that has ever happened to us. We also noticed that the fireworks were so close that you had to lean back to see them, and ashes keep falling on me. I am hoping some one else will be in charge next year.

Despite the rain and the long walk back to the car, the girls seemed to have fun. And then of course Daddy had some more fireworks to put off in the parking they got 2 shows, and a very late bedtime!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

We're Baaaack!

We are back from the beach and Sara's house and truly sand covered and exhausted...but of course we are ready to go back if anyone should ask :)

We had an eventful, hot, exhausting, but super fun week in Virginia Beach. We went to the zoo (loved it!!!), we collected shells, chased the waves, walked the pier, rode the double decker carousel 11 times (no kidding!!), made a Build-A-Bear (turtle named Jackie), had fun at the amusement park on the boardwalk, rented one of those bikes to ride along the beach (will never do that again!!), built sandcastles, had way too much ice cream, made huge messes everywhere, and had the time of our lives.

You can check out the pictures here!!