Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fall Is Here!

It is so funny how the seasons work in this part of the world! Fall seems to have started just as abruptly as summer ended.

This afternoon Thomas and I about got blown away from the very cool winds while we waited for Gracie to get off of the bus.

Usually Strasburg is so pretty in the fall. Then again it is my favorite season and to me just about any place is pretty. But, it has been so dry for weeks that the leaves have turned brown and crumpled instead of turning those pretty reds, oranges & yellows that I love to see. Which made Gracie's homework rather difficult this afternoon.

Inside Gracie's backpack was a request for examples of fall. This was her first homework assignment and since we live in a townhouse with very few trees, we had to drive to the park. I figured we would have better luck there, but as I said it has been so dry.

We found a few leaves that had changed color and Gracie found some acorns. We also put some berries and a pine cone in the Ziplock bag for her to return to school tomorrow. It didn't take too long to gather all of the items, but it took a while to find signs of fall in this very crispy town.

Gracie of course wanted to stay and play, but it was chilly outside and Thomas still has a runny nose, and our favorite guest was coming over for dinner. So, we gathered the fall things and headed back.

And, while there aren't a lot of color changes to see, mommy felt fall in the air today and opened all the windows in the house and even made homemade vegetable soup.

I LOVE this season!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Military Man

I captured a video of Thomas' mobility. And, as you will see it is not technically crawling, and he CAN get to wherever he wants to go.

If you have ever seen a new clip or even a movie where the solider crawls through the mud during drills...well, just watch and see!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

NCIS: Crayola

The crime scene was gruesome. At least from the carpet's perspective.

A green amoeba-looking car shape was drawn on the carpet, immediately beside where Gracie was drawing with her magic markers on Sunday morning.

I was livid. Not only was this out of character for my Gracie, it was a breach of trust. Gracie gets to have markers in the living room, but on the explicit condition that she not draw on anything but paper. And we've never had a problem until now.

"Did you draw on the carpet?!" I half-yelled, hearing my father's voice come out of my mouth. "No," Gracie replied, looking me right in the eye. "You didn't draw on the carpet with a magic marker?" Barbara continued.

"No," said Gracie.

Since Thomas was nowhere to be seen (and he's yet to show any artistic inclination) this was an open and shut case. Still, I was absolutely bound and determined not to falsely accuse my child of doing something wrong.

So, we did a little forensic investigation of the crime scene.

My first exculpatory theory was that she could have drawn something on a piece of paper on top of the carpet, and the green marker just bled through. "Gracie, I need to see everything you've drawn today," I said. She responded by handing over a pile of drawings.

Lots of trees, lots of princesses. But not one of them had a green amoeba/car shape anywhere on the paper. Not good.

"So how did this happen?" I asked. "I dropped it, and it made that mark," she said, looking dead at me again. I doubted that a dropped magic marker could draw an amoeba shape, but just to be sure, we put caps on several markers and ran some tests.

"Drop this marker just like you dropped the green one," I ordered. She dropped it. It bounced, plainly NOT tracing out an amoeba shape on the carpet. "Hmm, that didn't make a round shape. Try this one."

She dropped it again, this time imparting a bit of spin to the marker on the way down, getting it to move in somewhat of a small circle when it hit. Still no amoeba shape, though.

"Still not right. Try this one." Seven markers (and some pretty nifty, elaborate wrist-flipping drops) later, still no amoeba shape.

"Gracie, you drew on the carpet, and then you lied to me about," I said angrily. "Haven't I told you, 'It's not the crime, it's the cover-up?'" She held fast. "I didn't draw on the carpet."

The jury of mommy and daddy was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt, though. "Gracie, you lose you magic markers for one day for drawing on the carpet, and two days for lying about it," Barbara said. Gracie looked like she'd just been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

But, having been convicted and the chief prosecutor out of the room, the defendant confessed. "Did you just want to see what would happen?" Barbara asked, as I stood allegedly out of earshot.

"Yeah," said Gracie. She apologized, and all was well. Carpet cleaner removed the green amoeba with no problem, and the impounded markers are stored on top of the fridge until Wednesday morning.

It was decidedly unpleasant, but I think we managed to teach her a lesson. And she still has a box of crayons while she's doing her hard time.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Mommy & Daddy Go Out

For the first time in 6 years, Garren and I celebrated our anniversary with a dinner out. Yep, now that I type it out--it is clearly sad.

Now, I have a husband who doesn't "forget" the date of our anniversary, we just never do anything to celebrate. Having kids seems to suck the energy, life, and money out of a couple and we just never found the opportunity to get out of the house with out kids and remember why we got married.

Now, technically our anniversary isn't until Tuesday, but we got an early 9th anniversary gift from Aunt Ruth and Uncle George. They insisted on keeping BOTH of my kiddos for the evening so we could enjoy each others company.

Seeing how we rarely get to go out to eat, and when we do my food is usually cold because I have to cut up someonelse's portions, take someone to the potty 5 times, wipes faces, feed bottles...etc; I can't imagine why I hesitated on taking them up on this offer.

Well, I do know why. I am one of those people (I might be the only one), who think that my children are my problem (and joy). No one else should have to take care of them, listen to them, be annoyed by them, dress them, feed them..etc. It is solely my burden to bear. After all, I choose to have them.

In our younger days (before kids), Garren and I would get disgusted at the couples who would take their small ones to restaurants and act oblivious to them throwing food, throwing temper tantrums, crawling under tables...you get the idea. And now that I have children, I still don't think anyone else should have to hear them. We would leave if either ever made a scene, and I thoroughly clean the table, get down on the floor and pick up any dropped food or napkins, stack all plates, and wipe the table off before we leave a restaurant (which embarrasses the snot out of my husband!). No one should have to clean up after them either.

So, perhaps now the fact that Gracie was 4 before she got her first babysitter (and that was only so Garren could go with me to see our new baby on the ultrasound) might make a little more sense.

Even when it comes to family, I hesitate in letting them do anything. I have always fed, changed, clothed, and put my babies to bed at our families homes when we visit. They may be grandparents, but it isn't their responsibility to do any of those things, and I feel very awkward should they try (and I NEVER ask anyone too).

So back to my dilemma: to let these wonderful people keep our well behaved kids and worry that they will run screaming from our home and we will never see them again. Or, have some faith and let myself have a night off.

I really didn't get a chance to choose. Garren did all but sky write "YES!"

So, we went out.

It wasn't for long, and we sadly laughed about the fact that we ended up talking about the kids. But, hey, you have to start somewhere.

When we returned home not quite 3 hours later, we found our babies sound asleep, the house quiet, and no one ran away.

In fact they had so much fun, I know that Gracie is going to beg us to leave her with Aunt Ruth & Uncle George more often.

Wow, look what happens when mommy lightens up!

...don't get used to it. I was born uptight! ;)

**TOP: Uncle George starts to feed Thomas before we leave. Aunt Ruth snapped the bottom picture while we were gone. Apparently Thomas was quite comfy and fell asleep with Uncle George rocking him. From what I hear he also got sang to, and cuddled all night long! As for Gracie, Aunt Ruth & Uncle George each had to read her a story, and she told them all about school and even added to the mural with Aunt Ruth.**

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Honeymoon Is Over!

My children are acting a little more normal these days, which while is a relief, is also very annoying.

In the beginning Thomas and Gracie adored each other. She took to him far better than most siblings take new a new baby that will surely invade their space and attention. And, for months the adoration continued. People would ask how she was doing and I was thrilled to tell them that she adored her brother, and he clearly adored her. I was a proud mother, but in the back of my mind I kept thinking--"this is too good to be true."

At 7 months, I think the "honeymoon period is over." No longer does Thomas tolerate anything his sister does to him. And, no longer does Gracie find all of his actions oh so cute.

While Gracie still loves her little brother, Thomas finds her hugs and her face in his face not so wonderful anymore. She wants to constantly squish him, and he will let out a "mommy she is touching me!" fuss in a matter of seconds. Of course she looks very innocent and replies "I was just trying to hug him." And then when he cries she decides to soothe him with a "song." A-top-of-the-lungs-shouting-in-his-face with words she made up "song." Which, of course makes him cry louder and then a shouting match ensues.

As for Thomas, he is mobile now (although still not technically crawling he can get where he wants) and he finds all the things she leaves on the floor. You would think that you tore off the head of her favorite doll when she sees him touching her things. Her backpack is the worst culprit. Then of course are her papers or drawings that she "forgets" to put up. He looks at you so very innocent, but there is this tiny little speck of "ha! I told you to stop squishing me!!"

It doesn't take long before they "make up," and they are best friends again, but the proverbial line in the sand is likely not too far off.

All of this behavior is normal, in fact the way those two were before was more in the "uncommon" behavior category. I figure they will have a mix of what Garren and I had. My brother was my baby and he and I were amazingly close all of our lives. Garren tells me he and his sister nearly killed each other on many occasions. So, lets hope for somewhere in between.

But, they are still quite adorable together. He lights up when she gets off the bus, and he tries to wake her up in the morning (by squealing) so she will come and play. She still loves to give him hugs and show him off to everyone. They clearly adore each other--but now they are starting to need some boundaries from each other.

It only gets easier...right? ;)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cuddly Bear

You have heard the term "his bark is worse than his bite." Well, that can be said for Thomas as well.

I often let it slip just how "active" my little man is. And, he is in fact a handful, but unless you have met him in person, you will never know just what a cuddle bear he is.

He is far more cuddly than his sister ever was (at any age), and I am LOVING all of the snuggle times that I get with him.

Besides being a cuddler, Thomas is also one of the happiest babies on the planet. You would think he had been born at Disney World!

His smile seems to be contagious. With Gracie, I hardly ever let her go, but he makes people so happy, that I can't help but share him. On Sunday mornings he goes from arms to arms and it is so amazing to watch these people light up around him.

People often comment on just how happy he seems and want to know if he is like that all the time. The short answer: yes! He has his moments, and extremes. While he is super happy most of the time, you do NOT want to see him upset. It is amazing how much noise and temper can come out of such a small body.

But like I said, his bark is worse than his bite. And, I (and many others) are storing away those amazing hugs and cuddles that he likes to give out.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Writing On The Walls

You've gotta love my ideas!

Actually, this one came from Olivia. Olivia is a cantankerous pig from the best selling stories by Ian Falconer that has been made in to a Nick Jr. (& Noggin) show.

Well, last week Olivia wants to be a painter and paint a mural after visting a museum with her parents. She doesn't have a piece of paper big enough, but she eventually completes her masterpiece.

This gave me a great idea, and Gracie was so excited when I showed her our surprise activity after school.

She saw the lines of paper I had taped to the wall and shouted "yea it's a miracle!" To which I softly replied "No honey, it's a mural."

It took her no time at all to get started on her paper. She drew and colored an extra large princess, and went on to create several other "princess" themed drawings. She even let mommy help. I got to make the castle.

This has been a fun project that has taken up most of the afternoon and I think will take up the rest of the week. She is having so much fun, and I am thrilled that we are getting back some of that mommy & Gracie time I miss so much now that she is at school.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Future Tennessee Vols?

...well, future fans anyway. Daddy loved the outfits and I even snapped a picture of all three of them dressed in their UT Orange. While daddy is the Tennessee football fan, for all of those taking notes--mommy is the one who attended and graduated from there ;)

Click to enlarge.

Friday, September 18, 2009

His New Face!

Thomas pulls the face out constantly lately! It is a cross between Yoda & little old man. It is a hilarious face, once you get used to it. Oh, and he snorts too--just like his Uncle Brian used to!

Long Week

It has been a long second week of school here in Shipley house. Gracie has done well and Thomas and I are adjusting better. I am finding that getting up at the crack of dawn leads to a lot more things getting done around the house, and Thomas is find more peace with his sister gone--well, actually I think he is loving the constant 1 on 1 attention and will fuss if I turn my head away from his direction!

This week Gracie did music, computer & library in between gym days. She told me they did songs for music, and not much for computer. I told her that they would have to learn about the computers first.

In her classroom they worked on letters A-E, to which she did very well. They also made the cutest crafts with Nursery Rhyme themes. They also studied the life of the butterfly and got to watch "The Very Hungry Caterpillar."

It rained on Thursday, but not much. I asked her what they did for recess, but she couldn't remember--just that they didn't get to go outside.

She picked out snacks for her classroom when we went grocery shopping on Wednesday, so I dropped them off Thursday morning at her school. I just went to the front desk and didn't go to her classroom. But, I got a lovely thank you note from her teacher saying the kids loved the Fruit Roll Ups and she appreciated them since they aren't messy.

The bus seems to be still going well for Gracie, and the little friend she made at the bus stop has the same recess time her class does, so they get to play together every day. And she is making more new friends. Last week her "new best school friend" was a little girl named Morgan. This week she was moved to a different table (I have already panicked, emailed the teacher, and received nothing but praises about Gracie and was told she was moved to positively influence other kids), and now she has a new friend. 3 friends in the first 2 weeks of school was more than I could hope for. She is clearly thriving and doing well and I couldn't be more proud.

This new schedule has really kicked all of our tooshy's and Gracie ended up with a slight cold last weekend, which she was so generous to share with Thomas and I. We both woke up with it Tuesday morning. While the kids seemed to get over it pretty quickly, it really lingered with me. But, I think exhaustion from being up all night with Thomas, and then up before 7am with Gracie and then not getting to bed until way too late really wore my body's defenses down. So, there was a great lack in updates; a problem I hope to rectify next week!

**Above: Thomas waits for Gracie to get off the bus***


Mommy to Daddy "What time does the festival start tomorrow? (we are thinking of going with him since he has to cover it for Saturday duty)

Daddy to Mommy "well the P-A-R-A-D-E starts at 1pm"

Gracie: "Daddy what does that spell?"

Mommy: "Sound it out."

Daddy writes the letters on a piece of paper. "Sound it out and you can go"

Literally 2 seconds later

Gracie "parade!"

Parents gasp and freeze with shock and pride, Gracie looks slightly embarrassed, we catch our breath and praise her endlessly.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gracie Reads To Thomas

I caught this adorable video of Gracie reading the story she made at school to her little brother. Too precious not to share!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Look What Gracie Made Me

Sending her to school is much easier when you find this in her backpack when she gets home. She tells me it is a picture of her at her school desk that she made during writing center.

More Independace

Daddy is feeling my pain tonight. Gracie leaving for Kindergarten didn't break his heart, telling him she no longer needed help in the shower did.

Daddy has almost always taken care of bathing Gracie.

In the beginning it hurt my back to lean over the tub and help her get clean, and then when she needed to do showers (and you may remember the terror over washing her hair!!!) I couldn't reach the shower head without having to stand on the side of the tub. This being dangerous, Daddy kept on "bath" duty.

In the past few months we have made great strides at getting Gracie over her fear of "shower thingy" (the shower head) and she has really been proud of being able to get her hair wet.

And now, she can shampoo and rinse by herself.

So, when daddy went to help her tonight...she didn't need him. She turned the water on herself, found the right temperature, washed, rinsed, got out, and got ready all by herself.

To make us feel better she came downstairs and said "I still love you even when though I don't need you anymore." She had a huge smile on her face, and I think sensing that was the biggest knife in our collective chests, she corrected herself. "Well, I will still need you for grown up things,"

We will take what we can get. And, I hope this is it for awhile, I don't know if I can handle any more separation. And, finally, I don't think Daddy can either.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Grandparents Day

Well Grandma and Grandpa got what they wanted for Grandparents day...they got to see their babies! Well, 2 of them anyway.

Mom and Dad surprised Gracie by showing up for church this morning to hear her sing. Yep, they drove 3 hours just to hear her sing a total of 3 minutes, but I am sure they would tell you it was the best 3 minutes ever.

After church they even took all of us to lunch at Denny's and let Gracie get cake after her pancake breakfast. And, no they didn't even ask us about--they just let her order it!

Gracie was very heartbroken to see them go this afternoon, but we were glad they could spend the day. Hopefully Gracie's crockodile tears didn't take away from their very nice visit.

And to all of the other grandparents out there who have their grandbabies near by or far away...

Happy Grandparents Day!

My Choir Angel

My little angel did a wonderful job this morning! It took me forever to download these videos, but I hope you enjoy listening to her sing as much as I did. I was one proud mama!

I should have mentioned that Gracie is the little one on the front row. I didn't realize how small the video boxes were. She is the third from the left. The choir director is Ms. Karen, and Aunt Ruth plays the piano! :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thomas' First Football Game

Thomas didn't have to wait until he was 5 years old to cheer for our Rams, he is already a purple fan at 7 months old.

Being the hermit crabs that we are, we waited until we had lived here for more than 5 years to go and watch the local high school football team. Well, we had so much fun with Gracie last year, that we decided to go again this year. And, hopefully we will see several more before the end of the season.

Thomas made it all the way through the halftime show before the tired crankies set in. I was so glad that he finally napped well today (for the first time this week!), so he could stay up and see all the colors and people. We took separate cars so that Gracie could stay later and enjoy more of the game.

Gracie, of course, had a great time cheering for the team and sported last years pom poms.

While watching the cheerleaders, and band, and the game was fun--clearly getting to sit with their favorite person in the world made the game much more fun. Nope, not mommy..."Aunt Ruth." We have decided to call her that now that she is one of the family.

Our minister also sat with us tonight and thanks to him each of my children have a purple mini Strasburg football. For a man who never played childhood sports--he can catch a ball in the stands :) He also got Gracie a purple cushion seat, so she was spoiled all night long!

We had a great family night, and I can't tell you how wonderful it was to share the experience with friends. I was thinking as I took a very sleepy Thomas home, that I don't feel so alone any more, and it is a great feeling. We have people who care about us and are glad to be in our lives --and we care about them. Who could ask for anything more?!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Gracie Finds A Friend

On her first day of school I tried to get her to sit with the other little boy in her class that we found at the bus stop--but they got seperated in all the hustle and bustle.

But, on her ride home that day she told me she sat next to a little girl.

I didn't think much of it, except how glad I was to have her home and that she was in one piece and fine. But, apparently she and this little girl (whom I found out this morning is also a Kindergartner) are now best bus buddies.

Yesterday (day #2) when we got to the top of the hill she walked over and grabbed this little girl's hand and they climbed the bus steps together. It was too cute, but it took me by surprise and I didn't have my camera ready. Well, apparently they found each other after school and rode home together as well.

This morning (day #3) we had to make a mad dash for the bus. Yep, I haven't run for the bus in over 15 years, but Gracie and I ran up the hill since the bus was nearly 8 minutes early!

(Thank goodness there are 30+ kids at this (the only) stop, we bought time as they took several minutes to filter on!)

After I reached the top and stopped panicking, Gracie saw her friend and they ran and gave each other hugs. Once I caught my breath I got the camera out and grabbed a picture of the two friends.

They were the last ones on the bus, but found a seat up front and seemed to be very happy as they made their way to school.

Tomorrow, we leave at 7:35, who knows how early he will be and I am too old to make a mad dash for the bus with a 5 year old in tow! :)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Thomas Is 7 Months Today!

Gracie's Second Day

Gracie's second day seemed to have been a success as well. I meant to record her reactions yesterday, but with all that was going on I just got pictures. But, here's a little clip of her getting off the bus and telling about her day.

And my many thanks again to so many people who showed their support through the past 48 hours!!!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

She's Officially A Kindergartener

email to family & friends 9/8/09

She's officially a Kindergartner, and officially away from home. Well, at least for 8 hours a day, which is far more than she has ever been away from me.

Her first day seemed to be a success as she didn't get lost or cry--which is more than I can say for mommy. Although, I did hold off on the tears until I got back to our front door. Putting Gracie on that bus was both proud and heartbreaking. But she was a true champion and waved to me and looked so happy she could burst.

She had a great day and loved the lunch I packed her (complete with PB&J and a special note from mommy). She came home with two certificates from school and a HUGE grin on her face. And, we do it all again tomorrow.

We hope that if your child started school today they had a fantastic day! And mommy thanks the many, many, many people who thought about us and prayed for me this morning as I struggled with what might be the hardest thing I have had to do (thus far) in my parental life. We made it through (although mommy not so gracefully) and I am pretty sure I earned the biggest parenting sticker ever, the one that signifies "letting go."

You can see pictures and read more about Gracie's day on our blog.

Lots of Love to you all,
Barbara, Garren, Gracie & Thomas

She's Home!

She was 40 minutes late, but she is home safe and sound!

I was prepared for the bus to be late, as I noticed other mom's who blogged about back to school, mentioned they waited sometimes and hour for the bus on that first day.

I am proud to say I didn't panic as the dad next to me told me it was 4:00. They were supposed to be dropped off at 3:29. Nope, I waited until I saw that the bus that pulled up was #1 and not #14--and then I panicked!!

Of course Gracie got off the bus and you could see she was proud. She gave me the biggest hug and kiss and I told her how much I missed her.

I asked her about the bus number and she said "just for today!"

That was about all the conversation I got in. My motor mouth hasn't stopped yet, although you can clearly see how tired she is from her big day.

Today was library day and she proudly showed me the Clifford book she checked out. She ate most of her lunch, and she had a sticker on her dress for being good. In her backpack was a first day of school certificate, and a good napper certificate.

Mommy made a her a little card and baked her some bus cookies. I had planned on chocolate chip, but when we saw those Pilsbury Ready To Make cookies with buses on them--we had to get them! So she had her milk and cookies for snack.

And, I am not the only one glad to have her home. Thomas has been the biggest fuss-pot today. I know our schedule is off, but I really think he missed her. You have to love the look on his face when his sister got off the bus.

So, all in all she had a great day, and now it is off to finish our day and start all over again tomorrow.

Thank you so much for all of the friends and family who have sent me supportive emails and comments over the past few days, and for all of the prayers I know were said for Gracie and I. You will never know how much I appreciate them!

Oh, and I have added more pictures to her Kindergarten photo album from today. Click here.

She's Gone

Gracie is off to school, and while I have no idea at this very moment where my oldest child is--I am trying hard not to think about it.

I made it until she climbed the stairs of the bus, and then I had to bite my lip (HARD) not to cry in front of the other kids and parents.

Gracie got up easily this morning at 7am, but commented "I didn't know my room was so dark at 7 in the morning." I had to laugh, but reassured her she would get used to it. I also noted to myself that it wouldn't always be this easy to get her up and going.

My excited girl ate her breakfast and brushed her teeth and even got dressed in record time. In fact we had about 10 minutes to burn before it was time to leave the house, so she played with Thomas.

I took millions of pictures and we left the house. We watched as many other parents took millions of pictures of their kids (including Dylan down the street--who doesn't ride the bus). We walked up the hill and saw the massive amounts of kids waiting along the road where the bus stops. I didn't count them, my nerves couldn't have taken it.

When we arrived at the top of the hill I noticed a little boy with a Kindergarten tag like Gracie's. I asked his mom if he was a Kindergartner too. He was, and he is in Gracie's class!! I felt so much relief. I asked him if Gracie could sit next to him on the bus. He didn't answer, but it seemed okay.

Then the bus arrived. The 30 or more kids made a bee line for the doors, but had to step back when the driver announced "Sandy Hook." He was making sure the little kids got on first. Gracie was the last in line, but she stepped up proudly and waved to me. Jacob (the other Kindergartner) got on several kids before her, and I don't think they ended up together. But, I am hopeful that maybe they will on the ride home.

That's when I about lost it. She turned the corner to walk down the isle and I couldn't see her anymore. I tried to find her in the window but couldn't. So I walked around the other side and finally got a glimpse of a shadow of her hair bow. So, I know she was on there and sitting down. I wish I could have seen her, and she could have watched me wave to her one more time. But, she is in God's hands now. Well, His and a million other adults that will herd my child through her first day.

The bus pulled out on to the main street and I walked as quickly as I could back to the house, determined not to let the other parents see me cry. I saved the boo-hooing for when I got inside.

She is going to have a fun day, and she is so excited. This is just one of those rites of passage for parents and kids, and I will make it though. But, I am doubtful as to how graceful it will be.

She should be at school now, sitting at her desk making new friends, and doing all of those fun school things.

Now, I focus on my actual baby and wait for my first "baby" to come home.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Check List

School dress ironed...
(Adorable checkered old fashioned dress with school house applique!!)

Hair bow to match dress made...
(blue ribbon with school bus)

New shoes bought and laid out...
(she picked out pink (of course!) Nike's)

Backpack packed and ready...
(folder for teacher with all the signed paperwork)

Hugs & Kisses bag made and put in backpack.....
(I made her one for preschool and told her I filled it with hugs and kisses and whenever she missed me she could pull one out. So, I had to make one to send to Kindergarten with her--she might need them there too!)

Lunch made...
(except the sandwich, I will wait until morning)

Note from mommy in lunchbox....

Kindergartner showered and blow dried...
(thanks to Daddy!)

Stories about first day of Kindergarten read...
(We Like Kindergarten (my favorite as a child!!), Tucker's Best School Day, Giraffe Goes To School, & Arthur's Back To School Surprise)

Kindergartner in bed...
(after snapping a picture of her last night before school)

Mommy calm cool and collected....................

He's Mobile!

Just as I am having to watch my first born leave the nest...now I am having to watch my not-quite-7-month old get along fine without me as well.

Well, it's not that dramatic, and he isn't technically crawling--but he can get to anywhere, and any THING he wants.

He doesn't use his hands, but scoots along with his legs and belly. It's kind of like a seal getting around out of water. But, don't turn your back because he is quicker than you think.

I fear that since he can get around with out much trouble this will delay him using his hands and actually crawling, but I am sure he will figure it out eventually.

I looked back and Gracie crawled when she was 7 months and 5 days. He is a few days shy of 7 months, so they seem to be about the same in this milestone.

And, if getting nearly crawling weren't enough--he has decided he wants his own cup. I had been having trouble getting him to take his bottle ever since we started him on solid foods. So, today in a fit of "well fine--if you don't want your bottle you can have a cup." Well, that made him happy. So, I guess it is off to the store to get those sippy cups with the two side handles.

What is it with my kids and them growing up so fast!!! This kiddo better slow down, I can't handle another Kindergartner yet.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Family Fun At The Orchard

It was way too hot, but we decided to enjoy what while likely be our first of many trips to the orchard this fall.

Thomas slept through most of our outing, but I have the most precious pictures of his first trip to the apple groves.

Gracie of course loved it, but the crankies spilled out as the heat really set in. She was most thrilled though because HER FATHER gave her a pocket knife to keep in her overall pocket for the orchard. This happened while I was getting Thomas dressed, and was not quite as thrilled as she was. Her daddy helped her use it though, and they sliced off a sampling of two different kinds of apples to taste.

We came back with a peck full of mostly sour apples for a yummy pie, and some eatin' apples to share and for Gracie's lunches.

And, we can't forget the cow train. It is back this year and Gracie got a ride first thing. I can only imagine next fall when both of my kids will be scrambling for a seat on the train.

I did get some amazing pictures, and you can see them here.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Thomas' First Babysitter

Meanwhile back at the house, Thomas couldn't have cared less that we were gone! He was with one of his most favorite people on earth--Mrs. Ruth, which we may have to start calling Aunt Ruth since she is practically one of the family now!

Apparently he was a gem while we were gone, and he got fed and changed and was sound asleep when we got home.

Kindergarten Orientation

Well, I made it through it, and I even did it without crying. I had a million things to do today, I ended up with a migraine, her school was a 1,000 degrees, and I have a million papers to look over and sign before she gets to school next week--so, who had time to cry!

Actually, now that the day has settled down I am finding myself much more calm about the whole thing. I am still going to miss her like crazy--but somehow I have found some peace.

Maybe it was seeing her classroom, or meeting her teacher, or watching her beam on the bus; but what ever it was--it I am so thankful (as is Garren, I know he was getting tired of my crying night after night!).

The evening went pretty well. The parents and kids gathered in the gym, which was so packed there weren't enough chairs and we had to stand. The Principal said a little welcome and then they instructed the kids to come forward when their teachers we called. The teachers would take the kids and put them on the bus and they would take a little ride as a class.

At this point, Gracie is clutched to me and hiding behind my legs. I reassure her that I will walk her up the (very long and packed) isle. This helps a little, but you can tell she is panicking.

Now, I was one of the only parents to walk my kid to the front. Some kids walked nicely, others ran or bounced, and then there were the parents who literally pushed their terrified kids in to the isle and walked away. These kids ended up crying the whole time. I decided I would rather be the "over protective" parent than have my daughter's first memory of school be one of terror.

I helped her into her line and I moved back. She would turn around with that scared look on her face, but I would just smile. I got in front of the line and waited in the hallway so she would see me when she passed. And then I went outside behind her group, being sure to stay many feet away. She would turn around every once in a while and I would smile and wave.

They loaded the kids on the bus and she had a window seat. I walked around to the other side of the bus and started snapping pictures. She looked so excited! And, later she told me she couldn't wait to ride the bus again!

I went back inside to the gym where Garren and the other non "over protective" parents were and listened to the remainder of the speakers and rules...etc. Then we were dismissed to our children's rooms.

When Garren and I got to Miss. Orndorff's room (#408) there was Gracie and the rest of her classmates happily coloring a picture of a school bus.

The teacher went through some other information on a power point presentation, and then allowed us to discover the room with our kids. She had set up Blue's Clue's paw prints around the room and had a worksheet to go with it. The kids had to find the objects around the room (coat rack, mailbox, teacher's desk, bathroom, etc) which were designated by the paw prints. A very cute idea! Despite the stifling heat Gracie was excited to find all of the paw prints and she got a prize from the teacher; a new pencil. We filled out some more paperwork and put her supplies in her "mailbox" (a shoebox container), and we headed home.

I am pretty sure I earned another mommy sticker for tonight. It sure wasn't easy, but it made our daughter even more excited about school--and that is ALL that matters. Of course she wants to go tomorrow--but I have informed her that mommy has 4 days left, and I won't share them. She smiled at me and said "I guess that will be okay."

You can see all of tonight's pictures, and I will add more to it as the year goes on--in this folder. Wish us luck for next week, and we would love some added prayers for both mommy & Gracie.

Big Sisters

Gracie and her "best school friend" Emma, with their new babies: Piper & Thomas. I just had to share this precious photo from a very wonderful play date this morning.