Thursday, January 31, 2008

Daddy's Birthday

Garren had quite the day today. He woke up to a surprise McDonald's breakfast in bed this morning. I was able to pick up his favorites after dropping Gracie off at school.

After work, we met Colette, Tom and Mallory at Outback Steakhouse for dinner. We had a wonderful steak dinner, and laughed at how long it had been since we had been to a restaurant where they don't offer fries with your meal.

Garren did get sung to by the wait staff. While, I thought this was hilarious because he hates stuff like that--to me the funniest part was that he was the 8th table that night to be sung to!!! I am not kidding, 7 others celebrated birthdays before us.

We all came back to the apartment where Gracie and I had set up a mini party. I made him a football cake, and Gracie and I made a banner. We sang and ate a little cake (we were all stuffed). Gracie and I got him a new blue shirt, and then he had his gift to himself; a new DVD player with the HD cable thingy.

We had a good night, and I think he knows just how blessed he is to be able to celebrate with such wonderful and true people.

If you want to see the pictures, click here.

Messy, Sugary Day

Gracie apparently had a very sweet day at preschool today. She and her class got to fingerpaint with chocolate pudding. Then, they got to have some for snack. She has been bouncing around ever since! But, I have to admit the classroom smelled yummy.

Gracie colored a picture today, finger painted, and brought home her mitten that she made for the window display.

She didn't mention much else, I think the sugar will have to wear off first!

I did get a February calendar, and they are having a valentine's party and a valentine's exchange. They sent home a list of names. Earlier this week I saw that McDonald's was selling valentine coupons for a $1. I got two packs of 12, and each "Valentine" is good for a treat. I think the kids will love these included in the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse valentines Gracie picked out.

So, what do you think of her dress today? I made it!!! Well, mom sewed it together, but I cut it out, made and sewed on the appliqué, and attached the Velcro to the straps. I also hemmed the dress, but it looks so awful I am not sure I want to take credit for that.

In case you haven't figured it out--it is hot chocolate! Gracie was very proud to show it off today.

Happy Birthday Daddy!



Today is Daddy's birthday, and if you want to give him a birthday wish you can in the comments. We have fun things planned for today, so I will post much more later!

Happy Birthday Garren!
Happy Birthday Daddy!

Not As Bad As I Thought

We got our church directory picture in the mail sometime while Gracie and I were in Lynchburg, and it isn't as bad as I remember.

The night we took it, Garren forgot and I had to take his clothes to his office and sprint to the church, Gracie decided to be shy and nearly cried, and I picked out (and ironed) a dress I hadn't worn since Gracie was a newborn and of course it was too tight!

I do remember leaving the church nearly in tears at how awful I looked in those pictures--vowing never to eat again.

But, now that it is here, I am pleased. It is an awesome picture of Garren. Save this one folks--he hates having his picture taken and never smiles. This is our first and ONLY professional family photo. He refuses to get one taken!

I am not sure when we will get the directory. I feel very privileged, this is also the first time we have attended a church as a family (or a married couple) so faithfully.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Birthday Anticipation

Gracie is in full birthday-excitement mode these days. Though she has no concept of time, she realizes that she will turn four soon. It could be that so many classmates are having birthdays, or because to curb her Christmas greed, we told her that maybe she could request a few things for her birthday. Either way, she is super ready. Here are a few of the things she chattered about for the most of the morning:

"Are you going to use that to make my pony cake?" (pointing to the new Wilton castle cake set on the table

"Are you going to make it when I am sleeping?" (the cake)

"Do you know how to make it right?" (the cake)

"My birthday is tomorrow." No, Gracie, you have more than a month. "Yeah, in two weeks!" No, Gracie it is more like 6 weeks. "Yeah, that's right."

She is too cute. I am glad she is excited about turning four. I find myself unable to think about her ending another year, and me so close to the big 3-0.

Lilypie 4th Birthday Ticker

Catching Up

I know it is unlike me to go for so long without blogging--but it was a busy weekend in Lynchburg. We are back now, and I have most everything put away. I will work to catch you all up on our adventures now that Gracie is down for a nap.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Rainy Day

Gracie had another fun day at preschool today. While it rained outside (but was quite warm), she did all sorts of fun things.

She told me Mary Dean got to do her Show and Tell today since she has been out sick for several days. She brought in a large plastic horse named "Dot."

Gracie colored a playground picture and decorated her shape of the month; the rectangle. Today they got to play with musical instruments. She said they marched in a line to "parade" music. She told me she got pom-poms as her instrument. They apparently got to make a trade. She traded with Jackie for her maracas.

She told me they sang songs and had round crackers for snack. Today's story was about a rainy day. Very appropriate.

Later this afternoon she sang me the hot chocolate song. Too cute!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Grandpa's Birthday--Part 2


Gracie and Mariah had a great time celebrating Grandpa's birthday4 days later.

We picked up ribblets from Applebee's for dinner and got an ice cream cake for desert. We all sang and Grandma got this amazing picture.

Happy Birthday Grandpa, again!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Hot Chocolate Fun

Gracie had a very wintry warm day at preschool today, which I can imagine was hard to do since it was very cold outside.

Gracie came home with a very cute handmade hot chocolate mug complete with cotton ball marshmallows.

She said they even sang a song about hot chocolate today. She couldn't remember the story, but she colored a picture and had crackers for snack.

I didn't get too much detail since she is very excited about going to Grandma's this afternoon.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Show And Tell Success

Gracie finally got to show Sunny Daze to her class!

Ms. Stephanie was so kind to take plenty of pictures today as the remainder of the class got to show off their favorite things. Gracie even got a certificate to commemorate the occasion.

When I asked her what she told every one about Sunny Daze, she wouldn't answer. I asked probing questions like "Did you tell everyone her name?" "Yeah." "Did you tell them she was a My Little Pony?" "Yeah." "Did you tell them she sleeps with you? "Yep."

Cringing, I ask: "Did you tell them where you got Sunny Daze?" "Yeah, from the frift store."

Looking at the pictures she looks like she was her usual bashful self, and even a little nervous. I asked if she was nervous for Show and Tell, but she said "no, I wasn't nerbous."

Other fun activities today included singing a song about hot chocolate, coloring yet another Barbie picture, and having crackers for snack.

Oh, and it was Morgan who brought in her pet this time. She brought in "Puddles" her puppy. See all of the pictures in the Preschool album here. And, I am sure Gracie would love to hear what a good job she did for show and tell, so leave her some comments and I will read them to her after nap. I am sure that will boost her confidence.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Grandpa!

Since Grandpa is in Lynchburg and Gracie is in Strasburg, we couldn't celebrate with him--so we celebrated for him.

Gracie hosted her own party just for Grandpa and invited all of her friends to attend. Here are the highlights. (Warning, this about 2 minutes long)

Her Name



Gracie is really getting good at writing her letters. Over the past week or so she has been writing all the time. She has gone from squiggly lines indicating writing, to the letters she knows best. She is really good at: E, R, I, T, C, G, M and the number 2. She is getting pretty good at: S, A, N and the numbers 3 & 4.

Today during school work I had her work on her name. We are just beginning to work on recognizing lowercase letters, so she needed some help--but look at that baby "e!!"

Sunday, January 20, 2008

One Of Those Days

Ever have one of those days where you are just fed up with trying to explain yourself to a toddler? I had one of those days. It was a constant barrage of "why," "Mommy, I need," "Mommy I want!" It had taken such a toll on me that when she demanded to go outside and play with chalk on the deck at 7pm last night in 22 degree weather I said "fine."

Sometimes they just need to learn things on her own.

She went out in her sock feet, I closed the glass door and tried to wipe the grin off my face. I looked at Garren and counted "5, 4, 3...." That was as far as I got. She opened the door and said "it's too cold." From there she burst into tears as the sheer betrayal.

While I would like to say this ended the tortuous night, I can't. Thank goodness bedtime was in an hour. And, there is one less thing she will throw a temper tantrum over not being able to do. Score one for mommy!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Fun Continues

Gracie is warming up with some hot chocolate (sugar-free), and a My Little Pony book. We just got in after an hour outside. We got soaking wet, but had a great time.

It didn't look like the snow was going to stop anytime soon, and I didn't want to wait until after her nap when it might be dark and even colder.

The other kids from the apartment were also out and loving the very cold stuff. Gracie wanted to make a manger, and I helped, but then a snowball fight got started. She was off and in the middle of it.

I brought out the laundry basket later since she wanted to go for a ride, but was too scared to use Leelou's snow dish (death contraption if you ask me!! I was glad Gracie wouldn't go down with her when she asked). I took her on a few pulls around the parking lot and later down a very small hill. She yelled "wheeeee!" So, I think she enjoyed herself.

I put a lot of pictures in a Picasa folder: 1) because Candice didn't get any and we want to send her at least pictures of snow. 2) because clearly Grandpa doesn't know what you are supposed to do in the snow--so here are a few ideas! :)

Oh, and we are up to 3 inches at 2:15pm, and it is still coming down hard!

...and if you didn't get any snow, but you are a huge fan like Candice...you can watch it fall outside our back deck.

Indoor Snow Fun


This is the only way to play in the snow!!! I have gathered several large bowls full of snow and Gracie is having a blast playing with it in the bathroom sink. She has brought out her miniatures and they are having snowball fights, and making snow friends. I made her wear her gloves, but it is warm in the house so she isn't soaking wet and cold and her nose isn't running. I love it!


I doubt I will be able to get out of going outside all together--but until the snow is a little thicker and isn't falling as hard, it's a nice compromise.

Okay, So It's Snowing....Alot!


That doesn't negate Gracie's very sour mood this morning. She is bummed about missing school, and now she is getting upset about everything. She wants to go out and make a snow baby Jesus. Actually, she wants to make the whole manger scene out of snow. Yea, I have no idea--except to say that she remains very upset that all of the Christmas stuff is gone and she refuses to accept that Christmas is over.

The snow is coming down hard, but there isn't enough to play in yet. So, she's not happy and is tromping around this apartment in a snit. I am keeping her as occupied as I can. Right now she had a Kipper video and goldfish crackers.

Garren had the great idea of letting her have her own snow. I have the huge UT bowl outside and I am letting it fill with snow. I will bring it in and let her play with it in the sink or something with her gloves on. I think she will love that idea.

Snow-schmow!

I think Gracie is taking it better than I am this morning. Although, she may get more upset as the day goes on.

I knew they were calling for snow today, but as the forecast changes here every 5 minutes, and the last one I heard was snow after 12 noon.

I got Gracie up and and gave her breakfast. I turned on the computer. Gracie was finishing up brushing her teeth when I found the school cancellation email. Now, if you look outside our apartment--there is nothing! No snow, no sign of snow, no nothing.

So now Gracie is missing show and tell once again, and there is nothing to show for it. I told Gracie that school was canceled. She has told Sunny Daze, and I am not sure that she took it so well. I told Gracie that she would be able to take Sunny on Tuesday. I doubt they would skip over half the class in order to stay on schedule.

So we are bummed here at the Shipley house, and we better get a blizzard--my baby missed show and tell again!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Cute Conversation

Gracie painting

Mommy: "Oh, Gracie that looks just like a caterpillar!"

Gracie: "I wish a caterpillar would come in to this house."

Mommy: "Oh, really, what would you do with a caterpillar?"

Gracie: "I would teach him how to play, and take care of him, and take him for a walk."

Gracie: "I wish I could get a puppy this year. A pet called a puppy."


nice segway don't you think! Gotta love her imagination...and her bargaining skills!

Christmas Cutie!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

"No Go" For Show And Tell


Poor Gracie will have to wait to show off Sunny Daze to all of her friends. Ms. Stephanie met me at the door when I went to pick up Gracie from school today. She told me that they ran out of time and that Gracie would go on Thursday. She seemed okay when I picked her up, but the more we got our stuff together and walked to the car, the more I could tell she was upset. She told me that she had to wait because we were late. I felt awful, we were only a minute late this morning. I reassured her that it was not her fault and it had nothing to do with being late, they just didn't have enough time for all of the kids.

They had cheese balls for snack, and she told me she colored and played blocks with Madelyn. Apparently Show and Tell went well today. Gracie told me that they tossed friends around. It seems most of the kids brought in stuffies and they had fun tossing them to each other.

I left my camera and Ms. Stephanie got some good pictures. One of the kids actually brought in his pet bunny. I asked Gracie who the kid was, but she says she doesn't know. (We have now figured out it was Kendall--process of elimation based on the names on today's calendar for show and tell) I am putting the pictures from today in the Picasa Preschool folder.

**Ms. Stephanie gets a picture of Gracie watching the others during show and tell. Notice the little circles they sit on? How cute! **

Show And Tell Excitement

Well Gracie is off to school and very excited about show and tell. She decided almost instantly to take her new stuffed Sunny Daze My Little Pony that we found at the thrift store this weekend. That friend instantly became her favorite companion. Each morning when she crawls in our bed after she wakes up, she brings in Sunny. It is too cute!

We practiced yesterday so she would feel more comfortable, and would know what to say. We were doing fine until I blurted out "Where did you get Sunny Daze?" I wasn't thinking about the fact everyone else would be listening. She beamed and proudly announced "from the frift store!"

I left my camera (well, Cheryl's camera. She was so kind to let me borrow hers until I get a new one!) at Preschool today so they could take plenty of pictures. Hopefully they will get one or two of each of the kids doing show and tell. I will definitely post.

Sunny Daze is snug inside her Clifford canvas bag in the top of her cubby. I reminded her that Sunny had to stay there until the teachers told her it was time for show and tell. She seemed so excited when she gave me a hug and kiss and ran off to color. I am nervous for her, but I think as excited as she is, she just might open up and tell all of her little friends about her new favorite toy.

Cross your fingers for us! :)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Gracie Cuts

Even I was amazed at how well Gracie can use scissors. Grandma gave her a pair of "My First Scissors" about a year ago, and she loves to use them. But, I noticed they mainly tear paper and make a mess, so when I need her to help me cut things, or she is being very supervised, I let her use real scissors in a child's size.

Anyway, today I put one of the cutting exercises in Gracie's school work packet. (I make these packets out of worksheets that I find in workbooks from the dollar and thrift stores. Cheryl got her a super nice Pre-K book and I want to make copies from it soon. It is way too nice to just tear out the pages and use.)

Here is how well she did. This is the first time she has ever cut along a line. I think they are excellent!!!



**I put an orange piece of construction paper behind her paper and cut off excess so you could see how well she cut along the line!**

It's Really Getting Cold Here



Saturday, January 12, 2008

Tah-Dah!


What do you think? I got the shams done tonight and I just love the colors together. I am so proud of accomplishing this. Yea for me!

New Favorite Toy!


I found one the cutest toys ever today--guess where?!

A thrift store.

Oh come on, you had to see that coming!

Gracie and I negotiated one thrift store stop today during other errands and stops around Winchester with Daddy today. I found tons of other bargains like pillows for $2 each for Gracie's bedroom...a new sheet set also for her bed $5. We got those deals at Gabriel Brothers. We also went to Costco, Wal-mart and the library. But, I was able to squeeze in a trip to Goodwill. Daddy of course stayed in the car.

At first, Gracie and I found a huge stack of super nice books that we didn't have. We found no new dresses; but when we got to the toy isle my eyes bugged out when I found this Playskool sewing machine shoved to the back of a shelf. It is a toy machine and I payed a lot more for it than I would ordinarily pay for a toy. It was $4, but I had to have it!!!

When I got home I pulled it out of the box to find it was made in 1989, and it had all of it's peices. I made a quick trip to Dollar General for some $1 "C" batteries and Gracie and I tried it out.

It is a super cute idea. You see the things that look like spools of thread on top? Under the "spools" is a colored marker of sorts. You place the marker you want and snap in the "bobbin" design you want, press the pink pad and it makes colorful design stitches.

I found some scrap material and Gracie "sewed" for over and hour until bedtime. I looked on Ebay and other places, but no refills are anywhere to be found. But, I am thinking that if I can find markers about that width, we can use it for a very long time.

Anyway, this near the top of my list of "Coolest Toys Ever!" The Fisher Price stage is still my all time favorite.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Another Step Closer


Well, it has taken me nearly a year; but I am finally on my way to getting Gracie's big girl room the way I had imagined it.

This week I found the gingham material I wanted at Wal Mart on clearance for $1 a yard. I bought all they had of the prettiest blue and yellow. I decided to be bold and make a yellow comforter, and thanks to my unsureness of how much I would need--she ended up with matching curtains!

I made the bedspread from an old blanket and worn sheet and this sunny material. I didn't know I had it in me--but I made that--all by myself. It looks great don't you think?! When I saw how much material was left over I crossed my fingers, and sure enough I thought it would be long enough to cover our enormously long windows.

This weekend I hope to make 4 shams for 4 pillows I plan to buy (also this weekend). The one one the bed is the sham I made way earlier this year, so I know I can do it. Look at the darker blue gingham I used as tie backs for the curtains. That is the color I bought for the shams.

Gracie loves her new comforter and she was enthralled watching me measure and pin and cut and painstakingly feed through the machine.

Can you tell how proud I am of myself. There may even be enough yellow left over for a jumper! After the shams I may make that my next project!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Waiting For Our Babies


I snapped this picture this morning as I along with many other parents wait patiently to pick up our toddlers. As you can see even 5 minutes early I am clearly not the first in line.

Gracie brought home the cutest bunny she made at school today with cotton balls. The calendar says it is a "snow bunny," so I am thinking they were talking about winter animals.

Snack today was cupcakes since it was Dylan's birthday. I saw his grandmother bring in the orange iced cupcakes this morning, and he had the biggest grin on his face. Gracie said they sang Happy Birthday to him. I can't wait until it is her turn to have her birthday at school. Thanks to the leap year, her birthday is on a Wednesday--so we pick which day to take treats to school. I am thinking of doing something different.

Anyway, she said they sang songs like Winter Is Coming and the Tea Pot song. They also got to play a game with bubble wrap. She says they popped the bubbles to music. That sounds like fun to me! :)

Gracie got a smiley face thumb and she also brought home 2 coloring pages of Ariel. Next week Show And Tell!!


When Gracie got home we ran some errands, ate lunch and did some school work of our own. We really enjoy doing our worksheets together. I have made more of an effort to make and do worksheet packets everyday. She seems to be getting a lot out of it as well. It is amazing her new skills. Today we worked on addition and continued with letter sounds. She can write most of her numbers and letters. I am super proud. And, I am really hoping all of this extra work at home will have her ready for Kindergarten. We only have a year and a half left to get her ready!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Our January Walk



Gracie tells you all about our warm walk around town today. This is the third day in a row we have been able to enjoy the sunshine and very warm temperatures. It was 71 degrees while we were out this afternoon.

Oh, and the wind sounds worse than it was on the video, and the "waterfalls" she is talking about are water fountains in people's yards. I keep having to explain they are off for winter even though it is warm outside.

Warm Sunny School Day...In January

It was so warm this morning that Gracie went to school without wearing so much as a jacket. She sported her newly acquired kitty dress that I got for $2 last week. It looks too cute. You can't tell, but there are more kittens on the pocket on the right hand side at the bottom.

Today at school they played "What's In The Box?" She said that there was hair comb and a lollipop in the box. She seemed excited, so I guess this game was very fun for all of the kids. For snack they had animal crackers and grape juice. She colored 2 pictures today. One of Barbie, the other of Big Bird. She asked me to scan in her Barbie picture so Grandma could see it. So, you will find it added to this entry.

Also in arts and crafts, they made mittens for their window decorations. Gracie said she colored hers blue and purple and green with crayons. Maybe they will be up when we take our walk today so I can get a sneak peek!

Gracie told me Joanna wasn't there today, but she played with Cameron. I asked her if she played with Kendall, and she said "yes." She and Cameron played with the blocks.

We are still talking about what to take for Show and Tell. I have a feeling it will be a pony. Her day is next Tuesday. I plan to leave my camera, so hopefully I will get some photos of show and tell!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Bad Day

Sick and tired of my cavity filled blogs and emails like so many others? Here's an ear full: Not that I have gotten a lot of sympathy for my awful day, but I have crawled down off the ledge.

1. My storage unit is covered in mouse poop...and I do mean covered. The nasty little vermin ate Gracie's clothes, toys, blankets, and much more. I have called my landlord and she has always been good to us, I am sure the problem will be fixed immediately.

2. There are still Christmas decorations in piles in my living room because I don't want to take more stuff downstairs to get ruined.

3. It's 1:30 and I still haven't been able to get a shower. I have showered, and the day looks much better.

4. I HATE laundry. I understand the definition of laundry means it is never done. There is never enough time, enough quarters, and it never ends. I don't think I have seen the bottom of the hamper in months. I don't have my own washer and I have to share the one washer and dryer with 9 other families. Around 5pm I was able to squeeze in a load of laundry.

5. Its hot in here!!! I am burning up. It is a beautiful day and I will not waste money by turning on the air conditioner. All of the windows and doors are open, but it isn't cooling off fast enough--it is 77 degrees in here. Garren came home early (apparently he thought I was on the brink of self-destruct. Come on guys, we have bad days just like you do. It doesn't mean we are going to jump!) and turned on the AC as it never got below 75 degrees in here.

6. My apartment smells like smoke. I can't even open said windows and glass door for fresh air and cool breezes. Why? Because every 15 minutes someone has to go outside and light up their cancer-sticks. Everything smells like cigarette smoke. My home, the hallways thanks to the lady who thinks it is too cold to go outside and smoke, so she smokes in the hallways. Our coats and clothes since we all have to enter through the front door where the 2 chain smokers sit to inhale their nicotine. I can't do anything about this. That stinks.

7. Gracie keeps jumping, stomping, running. I have told her nearly 20 times to stop. We live in an apartment, she can't make noise in here!!!

8. Gracie has told me all day she is hungry. I have fed her all day and I am about to pull my hair out as every hour she says "mommy I am hungry" and I feel worthless for not keeping her fed, and near tears because it is always something. Gracie was in fact hungry an hour later. I bought her a packet of salted nuts after our walk. That filled her until dinner.

9. The froot loops I gave her this morning (dry because we are out of milk), are all over the carpet in every room! Vacuuming is a daily, sometimes twice daily, event. I would like to be able to step on my floor one of these days without hearing a "crunch!" Garren vacuumed when he got home.

10. We are out of milk, and several other things. Grocery day is Wednesday.

11. I swear the dirty dishes multiply! I did 2 sink fulls yesterday, and now they are spread out all over the counter again! I did the dishes, and feeling nasty from the thought of the mice, I scrubbed every inch of my kitchen. The walls, the floor, the cabinets, behind the refrigerator. I got started and I couldn't stop. You should see the kitchen though: shinning like a new penny! I did this while Gracie took a nap.

12. We have no forks, well clean ones anyway. Again, I did 2 sink loads of dishes yesterday and there are clean dishes in the dishwasher. No forks! I did the dishes and we had forks for dinner.

13. Gracie ate my lunch. I made spaghetti, the most belly filling meal I could think of. I made enough for 2. She ate 3 bowls full including mine. Thankfully she is full now, at least for an hour.

14. It is 1:39 and I still haven't gotten a shower Amazing what a shower can do!

15. There is a TV sitting in my bedroom floor and I can't open the closet because of it. That would be our old one and I can't take it down stairs (see #1)

16. Garren is out of clean pants. The washer is in use. Garren now has clean pants. I got one load of laundry done. I will do more tomorrow while Gracie is at school.

17. It is a beautiful day outside, and I haven't even seen it! I want to take Gracie for a walk, but I haven't showered, she still isn't dressed, and this house is still not up to my standards! We went for a nice walk after my shower. I left everything else behind and enjoyed the gorgeous weather and 71 degree weather. We had a wonderful walk, and despite a little tantrum before nap--we had a very nice rest of the day.

ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

18. Upset husband by announcing to the world that we are out of milk and clean pants.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

What A Beautiful Day!

It was 64 degrees, sunny and warm. Did you go outside?! We did. We had a lovely walk around town after church and Garren even fired up the grill for dinner. What a nice vacation from January!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Day With Mommy

Gracie and I had a great day today out and about together; thanks to a generous, but late Christmas gift we got in the mail yesterday.

Gracie and I started the day at a thrift store (of course!). We found 2 dresses for Gracie, one of them a sailor dress, and 28 books. At $.10 a piece for the kids books--we got a steal.

Next, we headed for lunch. Since daddy was at work, we went for one of our favorites (and his least favorite) : Mexican. Gracie and I took our time and indulged in chips and salsa and very yummy entres. Gracie took her sweet time and devoured her cheese quesdialia and Spanish rice.

We just had to hit the thrift store next door to the restaurant (I mean its right there!) before we picked daddy up something to eat. There we got 2 more dresses, 20 books, and a super nice canvas bag for mommy (tags still on it!!).

We took a few minutes and got Daddy some lunch and delivered it to his office, then we were back out again. I need new pajama pants, so we stopped by Gabriel Brothers (our version of Value City, a place where big name stores send the stuff they can't sell), and I found 2 complete sets of flannel pj's for $5 each!! I also got cloth napkins for .25 each (when I pulled the tag off at home, they were $3 each and from Penny's!). Plus, Gracie got a Cat In the Hat board game for $5. We did very well.

Exhausted, we made one last stop--the library. We made a mad dash for books as they closed at 5 and it was 4:40. But, we were sure to pick up a movie for tonight's family movie night: 101 Dalmatians. I love our special days together!!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Back To School

Gracie was up and ready to head back to school this morning around 8am. This was quite a nice surprise since I usually have to go and wake her up around 8:20 to get ready for school.

We talked about what she might do today, but seemed nervous. She doesn't like it when there isn't a calendar to look at. Each month we get a new calendar that tells us what the kids will do each day (as far as big activities). Gracie likes knowing what they will do. I think this takes some of the nervousness out of the day. At the beginning of the month though, we may not get the calendar until the end of the first class--so she can be much more timid.

When I picked Gracie up from preschool today, she was pretty closed mouthed about her day. After some prying she did tell me they had cheesy crackers for snack and sang the tea pot song. She wouldn't really tell me about who she played with today, so I am thinking she played alone. She did color a picture and brought home a shape worksheet that the whole class did.

When I looked at the calendar I asked her what "snowman drop" was. She got more excited and explained the game. Apparently they held a sheet like a parachute and took turns throwing the snowman in and shaking him very hard. I am sure Gracie loved this as she loves playing with the parachute at Tumble Tots.

Some more exciting news: this month they start "Show and Tell." They have divided the kids up on two days and they each get to bring something in on their assigned day. We have been thinking about what Gracie could take in. She of course thought of a pony. While I am not trilled with that--she knows everything about ponies and might be more inclined to talk about it. If she took something else like a souvineer from a trip, or a household item--she will probably clam up. So, we will think some more.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Masterpieces!

Gracie the artist has been on a roll today! She has created many, many, many works of art I just know you are going to love! She is in to portraits these days and you just may be shocked to see you are in them.

Click here

2008 Resolutions

Resolutions are so hard to keep, and most of the time we make things that are so very unachievable. So, this year I want to make realistic goals for myself and this family.

My Resolutions:
1. More Family Time
2. Visit Grandma & Grandpa Once A Month (if possible!)
3. Send more cards and letters
4. Get more involved at church
5. Help Gracie learn to read
6. Find a house or a new place to live!!
7. Make new friends
8. Control my portions
9. Finish (catch up) Gracie's scrapbook
10. A picture a day


See the best pictures from 2007 on my Picasa page. I have cleaned things up and deleted all but December '07 pictures. I have made a folder full of my favorite pictures and moments of the past year. Check it out!

Our Family, by Gracie Shipley


Daddy, Mommy & Gracie

She is becoming quite the little artist. We have colored and drawn pictures hanging all over the house. And I am not a preschool drawing expert--but these look pretty good for a 3 year old!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy 2008

From Email to family & Friends:



Another year has come and gone, and if you are like me you are still stunned and counting your fingers to try and figure out how that happened. Despite my best efforts it is January, and in two short months my little Boo will be four.

We had a very busy, but nice holiday and we hope as much for all of you. Well, maybe not the busy part anyway. We tried to take time out and remember the reason for the season and to freeze those warm family moments in our minds forever.

Gracie and I had so many crafts and projects this month, we just had a great time. We thank all of you who sent Christmas cards to us and for participating in our card map. We sent out about 50 cards this year (as usual), and we got back 18 or so. We have made a Google map (check on the left hand side to make sure Christmas card map is checked only) to mark the places where the cards came from. We also took time to talk about the sender and how they are related to us, and what they mean to our family. This was a lot of fun for Gracie.

Gracie had plenty of winter and Christmas fun at school as well. She made peppermint play dough, plenty of crafts, and even a surprise Christmas present for Mommy and Daddy that we got to open on Christmas morning. She had a party at her school, and we brought plenty of goodies to share.

We spent a weekend in Lynchburg and celebrated with Grandma and Grandpa where Gracie was more than spoiled. Two days later Santa opened his bag and left even more goodies for the very excited Gracie. For Gracie Christmas was Pony-Palooza. My Little Pony has exploded all over house this year. Gracie became very interested in ponies after last Christmas when Mariah got ponies and the pony castle. I thought that it was fad and she would move on. Oh no! We are now up to 50 ponies and many many accessories. You would think that a child couldn't play with that many, but she does. Each pony takes her turn doing whatever it is that Gracie comes up with. She knows each pony by name, and can tell you the names of ponies she doesn't even have. Daddy attempts to play with Gracie and her ponies and they have invented several interesting games like "pony football" and "launching pony brushes." And speaking of Daddy, he and Gracie have watched more than their fair share of football games this season. And that's a lot of popcorn!!! Now, Daddy and Gracie are watching football in HD.

Tennessee is playing football today and we have already watched the parade. We are well on our way to a very festive New Years, as I have plenty of fun activities planned for later this evening. You'll have to check out our blog! We would love to hear from all of you. Let us know how you are doing and what you are planning for the new year. We send lots of love to all of you, and we wish we could be celebrating with you. But, since we are so far apart, we will have make a resolution to stay more in touch!

We hope all of you had a very special Christmas and that you will have a blessed New Year.
Happy New Year from the Shipley family!

And if you didn't get our Christmas gift to you--click here to save your copy.


New Year Fun

Well if you read the below post then you know that our New Year's Eve celebration was put on hold, until tonight.

Mommy went all out and made many yummy treats for our afternoon buffet. I fixed mini-homemade pizzas, pigs in a blanket, fruit kabobs, chips and salsa, some of the best tasting lemon punch ever, and much more.

Gracie, still not understanding the concept of time or even the holiday, thought that it was super cool to watch football all day, eat treats in the living room and later explode confetti everywhere!

She and I made "poppers" yesterday. I found the idea on a preschool kids website. You take a toilet paper roll, cover it with tissue paper, tie one end and fill the roll with confetti. Tie off the other end. When you are ready: pull both ends at the same time and...voila! I didn't have toilet paper rolls, but I had 2 nearly empty paper towel rolls, so I cut them up into smaller peices.

Tonight after her bath Gracie got to pop the poppers. She thought this was super fun. She shouted "Happy New Year!" and pulled. She didn't quite get the explosiveness that Daddy did, but loved watching all the mess fall to the floor.

Our not so little on is in bed now, and hopefully she will be asleep soon. Here's wishing her and all of our family sweet dreams for 2008!

Happy New Year From Gracie