Friday, July 31, 2009

Dear Tooth Fairy

...we are ready!

Sometimes I amaze myself. I got Gracie's tooth fairy pillow and even added a welcome sign to hang on her door when she looses another tooth. And it probably isn't a moment to soon because that tooth beside the missing one is barely hanging on!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Anniversary....Of Sorts

My first blog post was 4 years ago. Since then my baby has grown up and become a big sister, and my life has gone from "all about Gracie" to the mommy of two adorable children. We have a new place to live, we've joined the church, and we have had countless adventures in parenthood.

Thank you all for caring so much about us, and for finding our lives, and our family interesting enough to read about. In the past 4 years we have had over 28, 000 hits to my blog and while I am not sure how many (or if any) people are continuing to read, I have decided to keep up with this blog. I know someday I will look back on it and revel in the all too fleeting childhood moments.

Thank you for reading!

And, feel free to comment--we love those, And you don't have to sign up, just click on "name/url" and let us know who you are.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Happy Anniversary Candice & Elliott

We are so excited for you as you celebrate 7 years together. And, here is a look back at your wedding--through Gracie's eyes! :)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday Performance

My Gracie was more than ready to belt out her Bible School song this morning in church. She even went back with the other kids without me, and came into the service beaming! My shy wall flower is all but gone! The video was nearly 2 minutes long, but I have cut it down to 35 seconds. And, it is shaky as Thomas was jumping along to it and I was trying to video with one hand and hold him with the other!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Long Day Of Church Fun

It has been a long day!

Gracie and I started out this very warm Saturday at 8:30am getting ready for Bible School. When we arrived, I volunteered to help if I could since Garren had Thomas.

I figured they would have me help with lunch or projects or even with Gracie's group--but since other volunteers didn't show, I got my own group!

It took me by surprise, but having been a camp counselor, baby sitter, preschool helper, etc--I managed just fine ;) My kids were ages 7 & 8 with a few 9's thrown in. And, let me say, I thought 5 was tough! Although, I think it has a lot to do with kids being in large numbers that seems to bring the "sugar" out.

We had a fun day, and I missed seeing everything Gracie did, but I saw her at lunch and in passing her group a few times and you could tell she was tired but having a great time.

Our church does a one day Bible School (proably since we are so small), so we finished the day at 3pm.

Of course my plan was for her to get a short nap before we headed to the Town Park for the church picnic--but you can imagine how that went!

I got everyone ready, and we were all too cute in navy shorts and white tops (you know how much I love to coordinate our outfits), and we were ready to head out when a HUGE thunderstorm came through town.

We went to the park anyway, and so did many other families. And, let me tell you I was relieved. I had spent the 2 hours in between Bible School and the picnic preparing deviled eggs and a huge 7 layer salad and I didn't want to take it all home!

There was supposed to be a pool party afterwards for the church members, but with the rain it looked unlikely. Luckily for the kids the rain stopped for a while, and Garren rushed Gracie to the water so she could get some time in. Unfortunately in the rush I didn't get a picture of our family dressed so cute! But, Gracie got a little while in the pool before it started to pour again.

Thomas and I hung out at the pavilion with other church members, because I knew it was going to storm again, and there was no sense in getting him out just to have to come back.

Gracie was obviously bummed about her lack of swimming time, but I think getting doted on by Mrs. Ruth and tons of other people helped.

By the time we headed home it was late, we were water logged and exhausted!

I have put my pictures in the church folder (start here) , but I don't have very many of Gracie since she was in a different group. I am hoping the others who snapped pictures today will share.

Oh, and on a side note, if you notice the 2 picture down, at the close of Bible School Reverend Ed called all the kids up to explain and do communion. I tried to get pictures of Gracie doing this, but with so many kids, I didn't get the best shots. Now, Garren and I both agree that Gracie is too young for Communion. We think she should know what she is taking part in before she participates. I was brought up to not take Communion until I went through Confirmation class around age 11 or so. But, now the water is muddy so to speak, so we will have to revisit the idea. But, it was very special to watch her participate and she was thrilled that she got to do it. It made her feel so grown up.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Tooth Fairy Visits

When Gracie finally wound down enough last night she put her very first tooth under the pillow.

While mommy didn't have time to make a special pillow for the tooth, she did have time to make a very nice sign welcoming the very busy fairy to our home.

When Gracie woke up this morning (at 7:15am!!!) she bounded in to our room to show what she found under her pillow. The tooth fairy had taken her tooth and left a shiny gold dollar in its place.

Gracie was thrilled with her special gift and has shown it to everyone, even Thomas. She has coveted the coin, and quite frankly it is hilarious to watch as she treats it like the most valuable thing in the world. Too cute!

The coin is in a special place in her room, and I don't think it will be long before the fairy visits again. I thought there was one more loose tooth--but apparently she has 2 more VERY loose teeth. So mommy better get started on that pillow.

Thank you to so many of you who left comments and sweet replies. She feels so special and loved. It may seem silly to many of you, but here we celebrate everything Gracie, and now everything Thomas!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

First Lost Tooth

My baby has lost her first baby tooth!

This development took me by surprise this afternoon as she was talking to me and I noticed a hole. I must have looked surprised because she started to look nervous. I asked her to come closer and she took off and hid in the playroom crying. I tried to coax her out and I kept asking her what was wrong. I knew that she had figured out I saw the missing tooth.

This has happened before. She gets so embarrassed or nervous or something.

She was crying and I had to physically pick her up. I told her it was okay and it was an exciting thing to lose her first tooth. She wouldn't open her mouth and kept crying and I was comforting her and beaming at the same time.

When she calmed down she revealed that she had lost it during nap time, and that she had already put it under her pillow, and she begged me not to tell Garren.

I was able to talk her into a picture while Daddy was putting Thomas in the car. But, her mouth remained shut (which as you know is a miracle!).

Eventually her father was able to catch a glimpse of the missing tooth ( a little birdie must have whispered in his ear) and it didn't take long before her fear turned in to absolute pride.

She talked on and on about her tooth and the tooth fairy and how she couldn't wait to see the quarter she was going to get (my baby aims low!). She was still talking when we got to Winchester, and still talking when she went to bed.

Mommy didn't have enough time to make her a special Tooth Fairy pillow, but I was able to home-make a special little envelope for her very first baby tooth. I will pull my sewing stuff out tomorrow though, because the one next to it, is loose as well!!

Gracie got ice cream as a special treat and we read loose tooth stories including Arthur Tricks The Tooth Fairy, and Clifford's Loose Tooth. I found 2 more stories about teeth, but it had been a long night and we will save them for tomorrow.

You will have to come back and see what Gracie got from the tooth fairy.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Reading Trail

It seems like it has taken forever for Gracie to learn to read. Then again, it seemed like forever for her to use the potty too. And, as I learned with potty training--kids will catch on to things on their time--and not mommy's.

I have been working with Gracie since she was 3 years old on "school work" as we call it. We practice letters and numbers and shapes and then we moved on to letter sounds, and addition and rhyming. Gracie and I have both enjoyed our school time, and I love to watch her learn. I know she will be more than ready for Kindergarten, but I would love for her to know how to read--at least a little-before she gets there.

Garren and I were both reading at ages 4 and 5 (I was 4!), and that mommy competitive streak kicks in every once in a while and I feel the need to push my 5 year old to know more, faster.

This clearly is a bad idea, and will likely land her in even more therapy. So, I have plodded along with her while she refused to even try to read or sound out words. But, still loving story time and her nightly book(s) with mommy and daddy. Thankfully my nudging didn't quash her love of books!

But now, she seems to not only be catching on but really enjoying it. She has been able to do letter sounds for some time now, but bashfulness or just plain laziness kept her from putting those sounds together to form words. Eventually she would read the words I would write, but then she would be over it and we would start all over again. Now, she is reading words from her books and sounding things out and I could jump for joy!

Today we did more schoolwork, and on the last page Thomas started shrieking. I left her the page and gave her the directions to cut out the words and paste them next to the right picture. When I came back down this is what she had done, all by herself.

I am super proud, and hoping that she will be reading more and more in the next few weeks. She'll have a head start for Kindergarten, and will hopefully develop the love of reading that her father and I have.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Mommy Made Pickles

Okay, I am super proud of myself for making these very simple pickles. But, you've gotta love your June Cleaver moments--well I do.

I can't take all the credit. Colette made these a few months back and they were awesome. Since we have been grilling out I have been craving them for my hamburgers. So, I asked for the recipe and less than an hour later I had fresh pickles!

Well, I guess I have to thank Rachel Ray too since this was one of her recipes ;) This is the second one of Rachel Ray's recipes I have used, and both have come out awesome!

Want the recipe?


  • 1/2 cup white vinegar, eyeball it
  • 2 rounded teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 clove cracked garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill or 2 tablespoons fresh dill leaves, chopped or snipped (I used dill weed from a jar--spices are expensive!!!)
  • 1 bay leaf (I totally thought I had bay leaves, but couldn't find them, and it still came out good!)
  • 4 kirby cucumbers, cut into 1-inch slices on an angle (I used Walmart cukes and cut into rounds)
  • Oh, and I had to go back and make another pot of the liquid as I had too many cucumbers. You will likely have to do that too as you can get over zealous! Don't forget to double the dill weed (and Bay leaf if you have it) too.


Heat small saucepan over medium high heat. Add vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, salt, and garlic to the pan and cook until it begins to simmer and sugar dissolves. Toss the dill, bay leaf, and sliced cucumbers together in a heat-proof bowl. (I had saved an old pickle jar, worked awesome!) Pour the simmering liquid over the cucumbers and stir to evenly coat. Allow to cool to room temperature or chill before serving

Saturday, July 18, 2009


You've gotta love Ms. Ruth (both my kids do!!). She came up with another fun idea for the kids at church. Well, her church circle sponsored it--but we gave her full credit.

Kids Bingo night was tonight, and it was supposed to be a mom's night out affair; but if you know me, you know I don't drop my babies and go anywhere. And, I am glad I stuck around--it has been a long time since Gracie and I have had one on one time. Plus, I totally didn't think about the fact she doesn't know all the numbers from 1-100. Of course there were plenty of wonderful people there, but mommy helped with the numbers and the cheering.

The kids were served a great dinner and my bottomless pit ate a hot dog, mac n cheese, apple slices, grapes and chips. This is before I let her get in to the bowls of M& M's the ladies had put on the table for the kids to snack on (there are some downsides to having mommy there.)

After dinner things were going well, until game after game Gracie would come up short. We would have another pep talk and I would remind her to be a good sport and that there were lots of prizes left and I was sure she would get a chance to win.

She kept trying and trying and eventually she was the only child who hadn't won at least one prize. So, all of the kids and adults started cheering for her. She got bashful, but loved this! As luck would have it all of the cheering helped, because she got the next Bingo. Everyone cheered so loud, and she was so excited to pick her prize (a magnetic stuffy with make your own bead kid.)

They broke up the games with some out door time and a craft, but Gracie would go on to win 2 more times, making her a winner 3 times in a row! She got very nice prizes as well as more sugar. In addition to the M & M's that I was having a hard time keeping track of, she got cake, red cool aid, and a red popscicle.

Bingo night was a huge success and Gracie really had a blast. And, Mommy had so much fun too. I really got to dote on Gracie and I got a break from baby duty. And, of course it was just neat to watch all of the wonderful ladies and kids from church interact.

I took tons of pictures and besides the ones that are posted here, you can see more in the church Picasa folder. Start here.

Friday, July 17, 2009

He Said It!

Thomas said "Ma-Ma!" It was very clear and the sweetest two syllables in the English language!

He had been saying "Muh-Muh" for a few days and I knew he wanted me, so you can imagine how thrilled I am when I went to get him from his crib and he cried out "Ma-ma." He was hungry and I scooped him up and cuddled him reveled in the moment.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Better Than Hudini

Thomas has been able to do this trick for several weeks, and I got a chance to video it. Videos with Thomas are hard since he is so attracted to the light on the camera I can't catch him in the moment. But, I got this one!

What else can Thomas do?

*He can grab his toes (last weeks or so, late 4 months)
*He can roll over front to back and back to front (4 months)
*He has a distinct -"Meh-Meh" and is clearly wanting his Ma-Ma! (5 months)
*He will hold his arms out for someone to take him (4 months)
*He can grab and hold various toys (early 4 months)
*Has learned to vibrate his lips for that mouth sound with spit (5 months)
*LOVES to bounce, even when he is not in the Jumparoo he will bounce himself on your legs while you hold him upright (5 months)
*Can hold his own bottle for several minutes, or until distracted (5 months)
*Is the ticklish littlest thing you ever saw! :)
*And, Happiest baby on the planet until you make him mad, and then he becomes the angriest baby on the planet turning red, holding breath, screaming, shaking--whew!

...oh and he is starting that worm movement and can get pretty far across the floor! I will have to video that too. While he wants to be mobile, he wants even more to talk. He gets so frustrated that words wont come out. In the meantime he babbles, and babbles, and babbles--I guess he has been around Gracie too much ;)

Kindergarten Physical

I assure all moms out there that there is something worse than watching as a pediatrician gives your newborn shots in the thighs...watching or knowing that the pediatrician is giving your 5 year old shots.

A newborn or infant will cry, and you can pick them up and soothe them and they likely fall asleep and will never remember the incodent. Taking a preschooler to the doctor is far more traumatic for both of you. For starters the child knows it is coming and can look at you with those eyes of betrayal. And it will be a long time before they forget--if ever, and they will never look at the doctor the same way.

I only warn you as a public service. Many of my friends have given birth to their first babies this year, and though Garren took Gracie and I stayed at home, booster shots for Gracie was far worse than anything we have had to do to our children.

When he got home Garren told me that it was the most brutal thing he has ever had to do and told me I wouldn't have made it.

Poor Gracie milked her bad day for a while, but seemed to come out of the process not to badly scathed.

Daddy said she didn't cry until the shots, four of them to be exact. I was relieved about the crying since the last time we saw a doctor (for her preschool physical) she screamed from the time the doctor came in, until we got in the car.

Gracie has only been to the doctor once besides wellness visits (thank goodness!), so we knew she would be nervous. We talked to her about it last night and reassured her this morning before she left. I don't know if it helped, but when she got home she stormed up to me and said "it hurt!" and walked away. I felt so bad for her, but knew it was for her benefit.

She got ice cream and stickers and she told all of her woes to Grandma, who I am sure made a big fuss over all of it. She seems to be fine, although she will think about it every so often and mention that her legs hurt. I don't think they do, she just sees the band aids (which she treats like glass and won't let anyone look at and definitely not touch).

Besides the shots, she got checked out and weighed and she is in great health, and is a giant! She is 46.5 inches, which puts her in the 99th percentile in height, and she is 51.2 pounds, which is the 97th percentile! What a big girl!

So, our Gracie is now one step closer to Kindergarten. I guess I will have to stop trying NOT to use that word, it is inevitable.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Haircut

I didn't want to do it, but daddy and Gracie came to me and gently asked if she could get shorter hair. Hair washing, hair brushing, hair pulling back is always a great war in this house thanks to tangles, fear of water on the face, and in general drama-queenitis.

So, I grungengly caved and started to trim her hair after her shower tonight. Everytime I do this (which is not often at all, this might only be the third time in her 5 years), I swear I will never do it again. That, and it always seems so short!

She held still, but it was still a little shorter than I was going for. But after it dried and I fluffed it, it made her look pretty cute. Maybe even a little younger looking--or at least her age. (Go with me on this one!)

So, the before and after. She seems happier and hopefully it will stay out of her breakfast, lunch, dinner and any messy snacks in between!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Thomas' Clock

This thumbnail is very small. Click on the picture to see how much my baby has grown!

5 Years And 5 Months

Thomas is five months old today. Time flies by too fast..soon he will be as big as his sister. But, I don't plan to think about that anymore today. For now, I will enjoy my little frog prince.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Thomas Loves To Bounce!

..and bounce and bounce.

He bounces while his sister sings,

He bounces while she dances round in rings.

He bounces while he laughs,

He bounces while he passes gas!

He bounces for mommy, daddy and sisters,

But the more he bounces, the more he slobbers!

This Too Shall Pass

A woman who was also shopping in my favorite thrift store this afternoon, apparently got quite a kick out of listening to my 5 year old. Anyone who knows Gracie at all, or has spent more than an hour with her knows that she doesn't stop talking. This little body has the biggest mouth and it goes from the time she wakes up until the time she goes to bed. She says everything that pops in her mind, and asks a million questions.

So, this very nice lady comes up to me with this huge smile and tells me that she remembers those days. I blushed and said that she never stops. She had been rambling on and on about all of us starting a rock band. She had picked out a pretend guitar for her treat from the store and was talking a mile a minute about it while I searched through baby clothes.

The woman went on to tell me that it gets better and if it was any consolation it was a sign of high intelligence. I smiled and joked that I hoped something good came of it. She told me her daughter was the same way asking questions and never stopped talking. She is grown now and graduated as valedictorian of her high school class. She also said her husband could barely stand it and would beg her to send her somewhere else. I smiled knowingly, and Gracie kept on talking to me unaware of the woman who talked softly so as not to hurt her feelings. She walked away still smiling.

I had to smile too. While Gracie can gab, and gab, and it can wear on the nerves; I don't know what I would do without it. We talk about everything and she and I both learn so much from each other. And, I know there will likely be a day when she won't want to talk to her mom anymore. So, I think I will enjoy it while it lasts. Although, if she got laryngitis for just 24 hours I wouldn't complain! :)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Happy Birthday Candice

We had a party for you, and you had lots of friends to come over and celebrate. Your cake was yummy, and you got plenty of presents--including a puppy!

The idea just kind of flowed when we were playing Kelly dolls and we found the one in the center and Gracie said it looked like Candice. I told her today was Candice's birthday, so a party followed.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Hanging On To Anything I Can

I know she is 5, but I will take any remnants of childhood that I can. Our little babies grow up so fast, and I still have moments of sadness when I see my very big Gracie who hardly resembles the cuddly baby, or lovable toddler I once knew.

So, when it comes to her little quirks, like those words she still mispronounces, I don't plan to correct her at all. She will be reciting Shakespeare soon enough!

Gracie's Adorable Vocabulary:

*Buh-sketti (spaghetti) n. her favorite meal ever!

*Res-tru-nk (restaurant) n. a place to eat. Among her favs Famous Anthony's, Applebee's & Olive Garden

*Thru-store (thrift store) n. Mommy's favorite places, and a treasure trove for both of us.

*Pepsi-Diet (Diet Pepsi) n. Mommy's drink. She has called it this for years and thinks all soft drinks are this. She knows it is sugar free.

*Cous-its (Cousins) n. Isaac, Sue Anna, Mark and Mathew who came into our lives last year when Uncle Brian married Aunt Dawn. Also: Mariah, DJ, Ryan & Casey

*Some-fin (Something) n. Something interesting usually. Usually follows "or." "....or some-fin like that."

*Gl-ubs (gloves) n. Some-fin you wear on your hands during the winter.

*Roller-poster (roller coaster) n. An amusement park ride which daddy not only rides, but takes Gracie with him!

Other Awesome Things About Gracie:

*Never stops talking

*Thinks 100 is the biggest number ever

*Has an imaginary friend named "Hello Kitty" and will tell you she is imaginary

*Is as stubborn as her mother

*Thinks the funniest joke is one she made up
G: "Knock, Knock!"
M: "Who's There?"
G: "Orange!"
M: "Orange Who?!"
G: (shouts) "YOU!!)
Ridiculous amounts of laughter

*Loves princesses and knows all about them

*Favorite colors are pink, pink, & pink

*Fears "shower thingy" (shower head and getting hair washed), "fuzzies" those plastic balls with hair (I could shoot the person that invented them because she won't go in stores or out of the house for fear she will see them!!!), and doctors (even though she hasn't seen one in 2 years).

*Can con you into just about anything

Saturday, July 04, 2009

A Happy Fourth

My camera crapped out on me again. Well, the flash did anyway. So, I didn't get as many pictures as I would have liked. But still we had a great time and Thomas enjoyed his second set of fireworks this week.

The weather was overcast and cool, and perfect! I would rather have that than to be dripping with sweat. Although, by carrying our two ton monkey around from bouncy house to bouncy house, poor Daddy was dripping and exhausted. I guess I got lucky and just had to hold the one ton froggy as he got a power nap before the festivities.

We hope that all of you had a great Fourth of July as well!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Attatchment Issues

I am still amazed at the way my son has attached himself to his Grandpa. You have never seen two closer buddies.

From the time Thomas was a few weeks old he seemed to recognize dad's voice. And at a few months old he would grin so big at him. Last month when we visited, Grandpa taught Thomas to growl, only he would only growl at dad and no one else. Now he kicks his feet and reaches out for his Grandpa.

Don't get me wrong, he still loves his mommy and I swear he has a word very close to "ma-ma," But, when he hears that booming voice, or that annoying whistle thing dad does, he gets so excited.

Each night at mom and dad's for the past few visits, Thomas has snuggled with his larger than life teddy bear and fallen asleep on his shoulder. He takes milk better from him, he gives him more smiles and giggles, and if you are holding him and his Grandpa comes home from work--look out because he will try to wiggle out of you arms and in to his.

This attatchment is new to me, because Gracie never attatched herself to anyone as a baby--except me. That's probably because I was so attatched to her that I rarely let anyone else get close. (Yeah, yeah I am sure I will have a HUGE therapy bill to pay one of these days...but I digress) So, now that I am a seasoned mommy and a little less obsessive (and annoying) I can really enjoy watching my children interact with others.

Gracie became attached to Grandma in her later years, and somewhat attached to Candice (my best friend in TN). Despite the fact that we haven't seen Candice in a year she talks about her all the time and has even called her on the phone, made her pictures, and sent her emails all without prompting. As for Grandma she is so attached to her that it makes it hard to visit, because by the second or third day she is already thinking and worrying about having to go home. She has her bad days when she misses her so much that she gets mad and wants to know why we don't live closer, and on her not so bad days she wants to call her, or send her a card or wants to know how many days until we visit.

While I am thrilled that my children are so attached to their grandparents (you couldn't blame them, to mom and dad their grand kids are EVERYTHING, and I mean everything, you would think Brian and I were after thoughts!)--I hate that their time with them is limited. But, in a way, it is a good thing. You can take things for granted that you have anytime you want them. Grandma and Grandpa are even more special because time with them is rare and abbreviated.

***Even though I am making the effort to visit at least once a month mom--it's the best I can do, so you will just have to wait and cross of your calendar just like Gracie!****