Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Gracie's Neighborhood

Gracie and I were talking about our new home today, and about the old apartment. I pulled out some things to do "crafts" with, and began to make this picture as we talked. Gracie helped with the ideas as I created a construction paper neighborhood. When I was finished I let her decide who lived inside. As you can see we live in the brown tall building. Candice & Elliott live to our left, and Grandma and Grandpa (and Mariah) live in the sunny yellow home.

Are we home today? Look and see!

So, our completed art work got me to thinking about what Gracie would want for her dream neighborhood. Here are her answers (which I wrote on the back of the picture to save, because they are priceless!)

What state would you live in? FLORIDA

What city would you live in? ORLANDO (where Mickey lives!)

What color would your house be? PINK

What is the name of the street you live on? PINKVILLE

Who would live with you? GRANDMA & GRANDPA

Who would live next door? MOMMY, DADDY & THOMAS

What fun things would there be at your house? PONIES (PINK) TO RIDE ON

Who would come over to play at your house? CARSON

Monday, April 27, 2009


After I dropped Gracie off at school this morning, I went over to the apartment to finish up the very few things that were left to do over there.

I simply had to clean out the fridge, and go through some things in storage. It didn't take too long, and after I went back and picked Gracie up from school I started thinking: that wasn't so hard. Not the labor, well that wasn't so hard either; but leaving that empty apartment.

We lived in those walls for 6 years. Garren started his first day his new job there, we brought both our babies home from the hospital there, I waddled around pregnant on those floors for 18 months there, we had countless fights and countless kisses there, we celebrated 6 anniversaries there, our parents visited us there, Gracie got bumps and bruises there. And still, I walked away without a tear. Me, who cries at just about everything. Me, who hates change. Me who is less than 3 months post pardum and very hormonal!

When I asked Garren about this he simply smiled, and for one of the few times I accepted his answer without question.

Those empty walls didn't make me cry because they weren't our home. Our home went with us.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Gracie Prays

We pray with Gracie every night, and we are working on reading stories from her child's Bible, but I had no idea how much was sinking in until church this morning.

I have often said that it seems like nothing is getting through that big old head of hers, and then out of no where she proves that she has picked up more than we knew.

This morning, it was so unbearably hot in the sanctuary, and we lost our usual pew, so we were further back (which means more people, which means even more body heat). But, I digress.

Gracie was laying on daddy and he was fanning her. We were praying for people in the congregation and she had her hands folded even though she was laying across his lap. At the end of the prayer we recite The Lord's Prayer.

I couldn't hold back tears as I heard my daughter recite each word loud enough for me to hear. Garren looked and me, and I looked back at him in amazement. Had she been doing this all along and I just hadn't heard her since her head is usually down? I can't tell you just how special that moment was. She is becoming such a big girl, and nightly I pray that I can raise her to be a good little girl who will know God. I guess I am doing a good job after all, or more likely He has answered my prayers.

Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come; thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.

Mommy's Big Boy

Thomas has officially graduated from size one diapers to size two. And, from 0-3 clothes to 3-6 months outfits. Thankfully a few of the former still fit--but not very many. Which, puts me in a race to get him into each of his outfits before he can't squeeze in them any more. He has had some pretty adorable little things to wear and thus I will have to show off a little fashion show!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Water Fun

We are loving our new townhouse, although I must admit not everything is still put where I want it. We have a few things still in containers and there are several piles around the house that need to be sorted threw, and then there is the "decorating." But all this comes with the territory of moving. Or at least when you move with 2 small children.

I have been working on Thomas' room some more and I need to make Gracie a new bedspread and matching curtains (even though I made her some less than a year ago!) as she wants her room ALL pink. I have a few more ideas for the kitchen and living room, and I am hoping that Grandpa will help make some bookshelves for our library/office.

All that being said, this week was very neat as most things are settled and Gracie has gotten to spend quite a bit of time outside. We also got a ton of cards in the mail and we are so thankful to everyone who sent them! It was such a great feeling when we finally got the keys to our new mailbox and there was a pile of love from friends and family.

One of the best parts about this new space is the yard. It may not be much, but it is ours and Gracie has found plenty of time and energy to use it. She is also sharing with Daddy who has used our small space to fix us 2 grilled meals this week which were super yummy.

Thomas got his first stint in the backyard this afternoon. It is unbelievably hot here and I told Gracie we could do water table (as I found 2 empty containers). She loved splashing in the water, and so did he!! I don't have but the one picture that Gracie snapped for me, but he really liked putting his hand in the water and grabbing at the boats. Which is funny since he still screams his head off for a bath.

It is supposed to be hot again tomorrow, so I will likely let them go back out and play with the water toys again. Oohhhh, maybe this year we can let them have a small plastic pool to play in!!!

Oh, the joys of a yard. It may sound simple to all of you--but it is heaven to us :)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Picnic At The Park

It was Thomas' first trip to the park, and his first picnic. He didn't seem to thrilled, but my big girl was!

It is so hot today, and I couldn't waste such a nice Friday, so we changed Gracie's school clothes and packed a nice lunch (added by 2 hot dogs and M&M cookies we stopped and got from the 7-11).

Gracie decided to eat first, but like most kids she didn't get much down before she was off to play.

As for Thomas he had his lunch too, and then he kind of laid around. Although, it wasn't without its excitement since he reached and grabbed one of the toys in front of him. Believe it or not that is a skill and I am super proud of him.

While Thomas was finding his toys, Gracie found some school friends. While we were there Kendall was also there with his little sister. Gracie played with him for a long time until he had to go. Then she made some new friends until she saw Jackson who is also from her class.

After an hour and a half her cheeks were so red, and I didn't have to convince her too hard that it was time to go.

I am glad we went, and I hope that we will make several more trips. I have noticed that I have been leery of doing all those fun things I loved doing with Gracie with both of them. I am not scared of Thomas getting hurt or anything, it is just such a chore to take both of them anywhere, even the store! And since I am planning to take both of them by myself next weekend to Lynchburg, here is hoping that I find some extra energy, strength, and tolerance :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gracie The Photographer

Yep, I let my 5 year old use my digital camera this morning--and it isn't the first time. And that is one of her masterpieces!

I figured she couldn't hurt it any more than I already have. Although the flash is working again..for now any way.

She loves to play photographer and I just downloaded 120 pictures of the carpet, shows on TV, random toys, and other blurry objects I can't identify. I shouldn't be surprised, I heard her giggling all morning and then I would see a flash.

If you like the one above, you are going to love herself portrait!

As for me? The kids were too cute dressed them alike, so I couldn't help have my turn as photographer 9which made Gracie want to do it).

How do you like my blue jean babies?!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Gracie Goes To Kindergarten

I know I have been avoiding the "K" word for at least 2 years, and now I know why. I can't believe that my baby is going to be walking the halls of this huge school with out holding mommy's hand. Can you believe these people think I am going to willingly drop of my most precious cargo and "assume" that they will take care of her as well as I do! They must be nuts! I gave my mother a 14 page manual to watch her for 3 days, and they think I can just walk away and put my child's life in the hands of a bunch of strangers!!

Home schooling here we come!

Well, that would be ridiculous now wouldn't it. And, Gracie would be crushed since she is so looking forward to going to Sandy Hook.

She and I, along with all the other parents and kids got an hour tour of the school today. Gracie was very curious, and very nervous. My hands got sweaty as she never let go.

I know she will do well, but it is just so big, and she is so little.

We saw the 9 kindergarten classrooms. (I am hoping they will be smart and pair several of the children together in each class from Grasshopper Green.( I didn't see all of the teachers, but the ones we did "visit" were very nice. They allowed our large group to walk through their rooms and see what activities they were doing.

As we walked along the hallways outside of their classrooms I noticed student artwork that included sentences by kindergartners. I better get on the ball--she isn't ready to write words yet, much less sentences. I think we will be busy this summer getting her ready.

Also on the tour we were told that the kids would rotate between art, music, library and computer. Plus, they will have PE every other day.

We were guided by the assistant principal who was super nice and constantly assured us that our little ones would be nurtured and protected at all times. In fact for the first several weeks they will wait for them at the buses, take them to the different activities and even eat lunch with them. Oh, and they have bathrooms inside the classes. I hadn't even thought of my 5 year old having to get a hall pass and find a potty!

We saw the the gym (all 3 of them), the computer lab, the music classroom, the library, and the cafeteria. That's where I was not the only parent to panic. You should have seen all of our eyes when we walked in to this very noisy room packed full of kids. It was like feeding time at the zoo. That's when he told us the teachers would help them through the line and eat lunch with them. I had already planned to pack Gracie's lunch (along with a note each day!), and this is another good reason for that. Although, when we got to the parking lot Gracie told me she wanted to pick out her lunch, which surprised me beacuse the kids were as scared to see the cafeteria as us adults! I told her I would pack her lunch, and she said we should do a "pattern." So, I guess at some point I will get brave and let her buy some lunch.

As I said Gracie was very interested in everything she saw. And, it helped to see some familiar faces. We saw Malaci (from church) in gym class doing warm ups. We saw Leelou in her classroom doing school work. We saw Ms. Karen's (from church) classroom and later saw her as she got her lunch from the cafeteria. I recognized several other kids from church, but can't place their names. So, it was nice for Gracie to know she isn't alone. And, we parents were told we could come in any time. I may have my hands full with Thomas when she is in school, but I won't hesitate to check in on her, even if she doesn't see me.

I can't believe I toured an elementary school today. I can't believe my daughter is going to be a kindergartener. I have known the joys of being a mommy, and now I know the pain.

**I didn't know the policy of cameras in the school, and I also figured it wouldn't be polite. So I just snapped this picture of a very excited Gracie as we were signing in outside the school's main entrance. **

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Back On Line

I am back at the computer, and surprisingly I have 3 in bed and have a few minutes to edit pictures and blog. Not that I would have had time, but in the move, my computer was out of service for several days.

This week Mamaw & Papaw visited and helped move the rest of our things in the new house. When I get everything organized and looking good I will take some pictures and share. We are pretty proud of the new space, and I am super happy that I never have to save quarters again! Garren's parents generously gave us their old washer and drier which is a Godsend. I have done so many loads it isn't funny.

This house is much bigger than the small apartment and we are having to make adjustments. Plus not everything has been put away and things are in different places, so it takes awhile to find things.

But there are lots of bonuses! I get to have a flag pole. Dumb huh?! I always wanted to have those decorative flags that hung outside the house. Back in my day only the rich fancy families had those. So, when my dad put in a holder and mom gave me her flag collection I was soaring. Garren has perks too. He got to grill out today after church. His parents also gave us their old grill, and we feasted on grilled chicken sandwiches and hot dogs.

As for Gracie, we hung pictures in her room this afternoon and her space is really coming together. And, it is very pink of course. She also has the benefit of a play room. Once I get that finished it will be a great space for play, crafts, school work, and so much more.

Thomas' room isn't done, and really not even started, but I have some time. His crib is in there, but since he still sleeps with us it hasn't gotten much use. Although, I have gotten him to sleep in there for the first 4 hours at night, two nights in a row!

Life is getting a little more settled and we can't wait to share more with you soon.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Big Girl, Big Boy

Mommy's big girl.

I can't believe she will be ready for kindergarten in a few short months. She is loving her new bedroom and adores the new house. She mostly likes to play downstairs in our play room. She is the best big sister and will run to him when ever he cries, and most of the time she gets there before me! She could read now if she would only do it, and she is so smart in other areas it scares me. She is still oblivious though. You can ask her to get something that is in plain sight and it will take her 10 minutes to find it. Then she grins and says "ohhh!"

My big boy.

I can't believe it has been 2 months already. Clearly time doesn't move any slower with your second. When he is happy (which isn't often) he loves to make these HUGE grins. He coos and tries to talk to us, but especially to Gracie. He knows when she is in the room and watches her every second. She gets far more smiles and grins than any of us. He LOVES his big sister. He also says "hey" and "hi." At least that's what it sounds like. Since he isn't as big as Gracie was we are still holding on to 0-3 month clothes at nearly 10 weeks, but I feel sure we will be tapping in to the next box pretty soon.

Friday At School

Gracie had a good day at school today, and we are starting to get the hang of getting ready in the new house.

Today snack was cheeseballs and orange drink. They got to water paint, which is always exciting. She told me they sang the Bunny Ballad song again...which she can never remember the words to.

The kids are looking forward to Monday as we will be going on another field trip! This time to Sandy Hook Elementary school to get a tour. The kids will be attending Kindergarten there this fall.

Kindergarten!!! Already!!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009


2009 may be the year of the babies! Well at least for my friends.

Congratulations to

Katie who had Stella on April 14


Kelly who had Ella on April 15

Monday, April 13, 2009

Nine Week Big Ole Boy!

He is in pretty good spirits in this picture, but I assure you it has been a long and tearful day for little Thomas.

Well, not so little!

Today was his 2 month check up at the pediatrician, and that meant shots! He got 3 injections and an oral vaccine. I was doing pretty well since I am now a seasoned parent. That is until he gushed blood. I have never seen blood squirt out from the injection site before--but it happens. The nurse felt awful because it got all over his onsie. She said that can happen when they tense their legs.

He made it out okay, and while he may look like his daddy he is apparently going to be built like me: short and chunky.

He was 12 pounds, 12 ounces which is in the 75th percentile. He was 23 inches long, which is only in the 50th percentile. He looks bigger than that, as the pedatrician pointed out. But, she checked it twice and came up with the same numbers. His big head was 16 inches and that is also in the 75th percentile.

Even though Mamaw & Papaw are here to help daddy move and they haven't seen him in a month, mommy couldn't let him go today. Poor thing was miserable all day and I had to give him two doses of Tylenol. He has bruises on his legs as well. Gracie never needed Tylenol and after the shots she was just fine. I told you--these kids are night and day!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Morning

The computer is over at the old apartment, and I am supposed to be packing some things while Garren has the kids, but I wanted to post some pictures for Candice and the Grandparents (the rest of you too, but they really nag me ;)

We had a fun but exhausting day. The Easter bunny arrived early this morning and left plenty of goodies for both kids. We made it to church on time and enjoyed the service. Gracie picked out an Easter Lily as mommy and daddy had one bought in honor of them. We made it to Denny's for lunch and Gracie got to hunt eggs in her new back yard.

Busy, but exciting...and very exhausting day. And, I need to hurry, so I will post pictures from today in this slide show. I will add more to Picasa at a later time.

We hope that all of you have had a blessed Easter!

Much love from the Shipley's!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

First Night

She's a little excited, and a little nervous; but she loves her new room. I snapped a picture of her cuddled up in her pink room for her first night at the new house.

Yea, I am cheesy, but we love to celebrate all sorts of things around here! By the way, did you notice her busted lip! Just in time for Easter and tons of Easter pictures ;)

Easter Ready

We are ready for the bunny!

Tonight we dyed eggs for the second time this season. These came out amazing! We just used a standard Paas kit, but I don't remember my eggs ever being this bright when I was a kid. Gracie was pretty wowed by the colors too. She made one of each color. (I don't remember getting 12 of those color tablets either!)

Tonight we also made cookies, and set out the baskets for the Easter bunny to fill.

It was a good end to the our first night in our new home. Daddy spent all day (with a little help from Mr. Tom) bringing over the beds and other furniture and assembling it. So, when we wake up we will celebrate our first Easter at the new house.

How exciting!

Friday, April 10, 2009

So Behind

I know I am so behind on blogging!! With trying to move in to a new home, sleepless nights, a chronically fussy baby and a five year old who doesn't know what to do with herself--I am beyond overwhelmed!

But, all is quiet--for the moment. So, I have updated as much as I can. I haven't taken nearly as many pictures as I would like. Things are crazy busy, but also my camera's flash has died again and I know they won't come out.

But, you can enjoy some that have. Besides blogging I have added pictures to my Picasa albums. Enjoy--and thanks for being patient! Hopefully I can post Easter entries and pictures this weekend and the grandparents won't have to wait.

Gracie's preschool pictures (scroll to the bottom)

Thomas (scroll to the bottom)

Easter Fun

Pictures Of The New House

Spring 2009

Gracie & Thomas

Easter Specials

Where are all the specials on TV?!! I remember when I was a kid there were several (mostly Rankin/Bass), but you can't find them now!

Luckily this week while moving stuff to the new place I found some old VHS tapes that mom sent with Gracie months ago. Among them were 2 of the specials I remember.

So, this week we have been having several family movie nights.

I DVR'd It's The Easter Beagle Charlie Brown as it was on ABS Tuesday night.

Since it was a school night and she has been a pill with everything going on, I wasn't about to let her stay up late. So, we enjoyed it Wednesday night.

Last night (Thursday) we watched Here Comes Peter Cottontail with Danny Kaye. It is so neat how much I remembere,d and then how fun it was to see it again like it was the first time. Gracie loved it and we looked for other Easter specials on You Tube. We only found a few clips, but I remembered all of them.

I need to write the networks and tell them to re air them. I mean ABC Family spends 25 days in Decemeber running and re-running Rankin/Bass specials.

Tonight we watched Peter And The Magic Egg. You know those cute animals on the Paas egg kits you get at the store? They made a movie out of them way back when I was a kid. Again, it all came back as the story pressed on. Gracie seemed to enjoy it too.

As you can see we are getting excited about Easter around here...are you?!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Carrot Day

I got to pull out this awesome dress for Gracie to wear to preschool again this year. Did I mention that I made it all by myself? ;)

Today the kids at school did carrot races. Apparently it involved a real carrot.

You would think they would have had carrots for snack, but they had cheese and crackers instead. Gracie has also mentioned some new spring songs, but she can never remember them.

I know I haven't been good at keeping up with blogging about her school days (or anything at all really). This month they are taking about spring, and they are getting jobs. Grandma and I heard all about how she was the paper towel girl on Friday. Different kids got jobs today and you can tell just how important and grown up it makes them feel.

Graduation is just around the corner, and I got her school pictures back as well. Also this month they will be taking a field trip to tour the elementary school. Oh, and the sunflowers they planted a few weeks ago are really growing. I have no idea where I am going to put hers, but we will figure it out.

8 Weeks

Mommy's little Frog Prince is 8 weeks old today. I wish I had a better picture, but the flash is gone on my camera again!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

First Family Picture

I just had to get a picture of all of us dressed up, and since mom will be gone after today I knew it was unlikely I would get an Easter Sunday picture...so I settled for a Palm Sunday one. Plus, I had her take it in front of our new home so I have a two-for.

Because the sun was in our eyes this is the best of several pictures. But, it is our first family-of-four picture so I love it. Well, not counting the one in the hospital anyway.

We hope all of you had a change to celebrate Palm Sunday in your church. And, I hope your child didn't whack anyone in the pew in front of you with a palm!

Eggstra Quick Egg Fun

We kind of ran out of time last night to dye eggs, but I did have them boiled. So, Gracie settled for coloring eggs with Grandma before church.

She got up plenty early and we waited until after she dyed the eggs to get her dressed. Plus, she got to do it with Grandma so everything was super fine.

We plan to dye the rest of the eggs next week with mommy and daddy, but this gave her another fun thing to do with Grandma (whom I am certain is her most favorite person in the world.) Hopefully she won't be thinking about the fact Grandma has to go home tonight. That is always so heart breaking!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Hunting Eggs In 40 Mile An Hour Winds

Sounds like fun huh?!

Actually Gracie was rather wind blown, but had a great time along with what had to be 50-60 other 3 to 5 year olds.

The Park and Rec department hosted an Easter Egg hunt at the county park this morning at a rousing 10am. I knew it was windy as the very harsh winds kept me up (along with Thomas) most of the night. I was ready to cancel and stay at home worried that it would be too much. But, of course the egg hunt was all Gracie could talk about, so we braved it.

We made our way to the roped off area and saw the "bunny" arrive in the county EMS truck. I was starting to worry whether there were enough eggs as parents and kids piled in, and piled in. Then I started to visualize trampled kids and busted heads and toppled tots. But, when the man announced each kid could collect 10 eggs and he started the hunt, I was pleasantly surprised to see no collisions. I was also thrilled that Gracie took off in search of the plastic treasure. She has come so far in the past 2 years. I never would have been able to take her to something like this and get her to participate. Today, she didn't even wait for my hand.

It took about 5 minutes before each child had 10 eggs, and then they let them get more. By the time it was all done Gracie walked away with 16 eggs and plenty of sugary goodies that were inside.

We didn't doddle at the park as the wind would not let up. But, we didn't let our fun end. We went.....thrift store shopping! After all Garren had Thomas and you know how much I love my thrift stores. And boy did I get some bargains.

Egg dyeing is planned for tonight with Grandma. So, our Easter fun continues.

You can see all of our Easter Fun in pictures in this Picasa folder. I will keep adding more until the big day.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Grandma Gets Gracie

You've got to love this picture I snapped of Grandma walking Gracie to the car after picking her up form preschool. Gracie loves having Grandma in town and she hasn't stopped talking since she got here, and will likely not stop until she leaves.

Another HUGE "to-do" list for today. Whose idea was it to move with a 5 year old and a 7 month old?!!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Early Easter Festivities

I made an appointment for Thomas and Gracie to have Easter pictures taken at Penny's today. I figured with mom in to help it would be a lot easier. So, now adding to the list: new baby, move stuff from old house to new house, have kids pictures taken, visit the Easter Bunny. Sounds simple, huh?!

Well there pictures look great. This will be the first professional picture of the two of them together. Usually I wait until after the holiday to get pictures done as a) I run out of time and b) there isn't a line. But, we lucked out. Since Easter is next weekend the good parents already had their kids pictures done. Gracie was a trooper and Thomas was well....7 weeks.

After the pictures we took the kids to see the Easter Bunny. Gracie was, not surprisingly, leary of the 6 foot bunny (which she totally knew was someone dressed up). She waved to him and was very chatty, until time to get close enough for a picture. I wasn't going to press it and at least have Thomas' picture taken, but Grandma wins the day and convinces her to sit near him. The bunny then pulls Gracie on his lap and she looks startled, but then was okay.

After Grandma payed out the extortion for 2 5x7's we left and headed back to do more moving.

We have more Easter fun planned this week before Grandma heads home. Our county has an Easter Egg hunt on Saturday, and I promised Gracie we would dye eggs with Grandma.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Moving In

It's official--the townhouse is ours. We are moving in slowly but surely--in the rain!

Gracie is thrilled with the new house, but clearly more thrilled that Grandma is here to keep her "entertained."

Garren and I loaded up several containers full of things and moved them across the street to our new place. So as Garren put it "the great exodus has begun."

Since we don't have a truck, and Garren can only move the heavy bins after work, it's going to take awhile, but we will get it done eventually.

I snapped this adorable picture at the new house after picking Gracie up from preschool. We want to be sure she is involved in the process and she gets familiar with the new place and is as comfortable with the change as a 5 year old who hates change can be.

We returned to the house this evening after Garren and I unloaded 2 cars full of bins, and we had our first meal at our new place. We picked up hot sandwiches from the local pizza place and had a picnic in what will be the kids playroom.

I am beyond exhausted as I get very little sleep at night, and now I am packing and moving and finding only a few minutes a day to breathe. So, the blog entries may struggle for a while, but we are still alive and kicking and looking forward to being all settled in to our new home.