Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Through The Years

click to enlarge and enjoy (I know I did!!!).

Happy Halloween

Gracie and Thomas both had a fun night as we took them Trick Or Treating for the first time in OUR very own neighborhood.

Now, living in a very large community of townhouses I was expecting 200+ kids, and was surprised that we maybe got 50 total!

I was also surprised to see that very few houses had their lights on and were giving out candy.

We live in a very large subdivision filled with mostly commuters (to DC), but it was a weekend and I thought there would be more participation.

But, that didn't stop us fromm having fun, or stop Gracie from getting a HUGE load of candy and other treats.

Since this was Thomas' first Halloween and he is so small, Daddy and Gracie took him to houses along our street and one other street and brought him back to hand out candy with mommy.

While I LOVE doing things with the kids, Halloween and Trick Or Treating has always been one of daddy's favorite things to share with Gracie, so I stayed behind--but got tons of pictures.

Meanwhile, Thomas and I hung out on the stoop and gave away candy to lots of cute little beggars.

He wasn't the least bit scared of any of them. In fact he loved watching all of the people come up to the door. He would bounce in his exercauser and say "hey" and "hi!" These are his signature words and has been able to say them since about 3 months. Although, I am not sure he knows the meaning. But, it was appropriate tonight.

Around 7:00 (Gracie, Daddy, and church friend Mackenzie and her mom started out around 6:30), my princess was back with a bag she could barely handle!

So, we hopped in the car and headed over to see Aunt Ruth & Uncle George. They have a HUGE neighborhood and it reminds me a lot of mom & dad's. In fact Aunt Ruth ran out of candy while we were there visiting.

We stayed with them and chatted for a while (and hopefully Uncle George will email the pictures he took there) before I took my Princess and her Frog back home.

But, the night wasn't over.

After dumping out her mounds of candy, she (and Thomas) opened their treat bags from Aunt Ruth & Uncle George, cards from Mommy & Daddy, and treats from Grandma & Grandpa.

Let's just say it was a good night for my two little pumpkins!

We hope that the rest of you enjoyed your Halloween evening with your little ones. It really is such a wonderful memory to make as a family.

Thomas' First Halloween

Happy 1st Halloween to our little Frog Prince!

You may not remember tonight, but mommy & daddy always will.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pajama Day

Gracie was very proud to go off to school this morning decked out in her new princess jammies.

She even got to take a flashlight to school. I was sure to pack her Tinkerbell one. I only hope the batteries last. I am not sure when they get to have them.

I am sure that she and her Kindergarten friends will have a great Pajama Party Day, and I am sure I will hear all about it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Pumpkin Tradition Carries On

For the past 3 years our family and the Mozingo's have made a very messy (but fun) tradition of carving pumpkins and eating chili.

Even though we don't live next door anymore, I was bound and determined to keep this tradition!

We had a great time as usual.

Gracie was a little more cranky as she gets more and more exhausted as the school week continues, and of course we had a new set of very active hands this year.

Thomas couldn't be left out. He had to see all of the action, and he got very up close and personal with his pumpkin. He is definitely not the little primrose his sister is. He grabbed his pumpkin, stuck his hand in it and loved it. But, he didn't stop there. He reached in again and got a fist full of goo and put it to his mouth. At that point we all squealed, which I thought would scare him. Nope! He grinned this HUGE grin and opened his mouth and stuck in the goo.

Yep--that's my boy!

We got the gourds carved up and looking nice around 9pm, which was way past Gracie's bedtime, but this was a fun exception.

And, also according to tradition, Mr. Tom always gets the hardest one to do.

I had printed off the kids pumpkin stencils: Ariel for Gracie, and Thomas The Tank Engine for Thomas. But, when I came across the Mount Rushmore stencil, I knew Tom would have to do that one.

And he did--and as you can see it is very impressive!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Go Forth And Multiply

Okay, I hadn't thought about this Biblical reference when picking out the kids costumes for tonight's church Halloween party, but it came to me as people reveled in our adorableness. Of course, others seemed to be thinking the same thing.

Until last night I had only planned to dress the kids up as baby and sister bunnies. But, Aunt Ruth decided the adults were supposed to dress up too. So, I put on my white shirt and added some bunny ears making me the "mommy bunny."

Gracie and Thomas were definitely too cute tonight, and Gracie even donned a white basket with big carrots for her, and a jar of baby food carrots for her brother.

Thanks to the many willing church ladies, Thomas was passed around and spoiled for the hour or so party so I could play with Gracie.

And boy did we play! Gracie and I had a great time playing a popcorn game and a candy toss, and even making crafts.

And, my pumpkin cake seemed to be a hit as well.

So the kids wore themselves (and me) out this evening, and we get to do it all again Saturday night. Only, they won't be bunnies. They are going as the Princess and the Frog. Too cute, huh?!!

Hat Day

It was "Hat Day" at Sandy Hook today. And of course my Gracie looked simply beautiful in her Tinkerbell flower wreath headband.

Mommy was sure to fasten it with many clips, and surprisingly she came home with it still (but barely) attached.

Thanks to a late start I didn't get a picture of her Monday dressed all in red for well, "Red Day."

Tomorrow is "Silly Socks Day," and then Friday will be a "Pajama Party Day" for the Kindergartners. They are getting the special day to reward them for all the hard work they put into their PALS testing.

Gracie is of course thrilled since we found, what else, but Princess pajamas at Costco yesterday!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thomas' "Check Up"

Doctor Gracie did and excellent job, and her patient was as good as gold. He definitely should have gotten a sticker ;)

The "Firsts" Keep On Coming

Thomas doesn't want his train of glory to end any time soon.

Today he picked up his first food with fingers, and ate his first "puffs." He also got several sips out of his sippy cup (which he has refused to do in the past). And, he pulled up in his crib.

Whew! When he decides it is time to do something new he doesn't waste any time!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tennessee Firsts

The four of us Shipley's spent a long weekend with the other 3 Shipley's for a kind of last minute trip. But, Thomas was sure to make it eventful!

We crammed in a lot of visiting time, plenty of football, and some out door adventures....but what I thought was most interesting were the many firsts in Thomas' life over the past 72 hours.

1. Thomas' longest car ride (yea, that was fun!!!)
2. Thomas' first trip out of state
3. Thomas' first trip to Tennessee
4. Thomas first hugs from: Candice, Aunt Gail, Papaw Charles, Aunt Sharon, Uncle Bobby and Uncle Joe
5. Thomas' first tastes of: BBQ, grilled steak and cheesecake (unfortunately! Thanks to daddy!)
6. Thomas' first encounter with a cat. (He was completely indifferent. Could have cared less about the massive felines that live in Mamaw & Papaw's house.)
7. Thomas' first escape, which lead to...
8. Thomas' first fall out of bed. (He climbed out of the bassinet on the pack-n- play on to the bed and then fell off the bed. Needless to say we took off the bassinet part and he slept in the playpen part of the pack-n-play for the rest of the visit. And, after I picked him up and hugged him following his fall--he looked so proud of himself! Seriously, he was grinning!!!)
9. Thomas' first football game with all of the Shipley "men." (It was at home, but was very cute to watch all of them watching and cheering--and yelling at the TV)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Doesn't Play Well With Others

My mother would agree with that statement. Well, maybe not about me as a child, but about me as a mother.

When Gracie, Thomas and I went in this weekend to Lynchburg we discussed a mother who wouldn't let the baby's paternal grandmother see the child for any length of time. I sympathized with this woman I didn't even know, because I remember those days after Gracie was born, and for more than a year later where I couldn't physically let her go. I didn't let anyone else hold her, or care for her. And, while I shared pictures and emails--that was about all I shared. Visiting family was painful for me, because they kept trying to take her and hold her. Some asked, some just reached for her and took her from my arms. And I was even told/threatened before that I had to let her be held by them. Those were incredibly painful times for me.

Now that I am a mother of two, things aren't as hard as they once were, but I still remember the nightmares I would have about someone (usually someone I knew) coming and taking Gracie away from me. I wondered if I would have the same debilitating nightmares after have Thomas. I was relieved that I didn't. But, I felt for another friend who recently gave birth that was now dealing with those nightmares. I wish I had known 5 years ago that they were "normal," and that I wasn't the only woman to go through that. And, I hope that I was able to help that new mother in the way no one could help me.

But, back to sharing. I have blogged before about how I don't allow other people to take care of my children. If we visit friends or family I always feed, or dress, or bathe, change, burp, etc my children. Apparently this hurt my mother's feelings, though she didn't tell me until this visit! Other places we go no one asks to or wants to, so as far as I know I haven't insulted anyone else. Honestly, this is not due to my lack of sharing. This is another of my many "issues." I just don't think people should have to take care of, or clean up after my children. They are solely my responsibility.

Now I find myself kind of back in those days of not wanting to let go of my Gracie. I feel like I have let go of so much in the past few days and months. I had to let go of my responsibilities as Gracie's sole caretaker when I went in to the hospital to have Thomas. I had to rely on someone else to take care of my precious child. Then, I had to let go of all of the fun things I did on a daily basis with Gracie. With a newborn and severe pain that lasted for so many months I was limited in my abilities and my energy. Then I had to let someone else provide for her safety and transportation as she boarded a school bus. And, then the pain of letting my daughter go for 8 hours a day and leaving her sole care and well being in the hands of strangers!

I have let go of a lot this year, and I find myself being very selfish with my moments, my pictures, and my time with my children. I don't blog as much, hoarding all of those many wonderful moments to myself. I don't post pictures any more, unwilling to share their smiles and their accomplishments and how much they have grown. I am tired of sharing. I give and give to my family, and I would like to think I give to my friends and neighbors. But, I am going through a time where I don't want to let anything else go. Those are my smiles, and my songs, and my achievements.

My mom is none to happy about my new selfish phase. She gets to see her grand babies so rarely, and now I haven't even sent pictures for a while. She adores them, and despite my "temper tantrum," she still calls them, and writes to them, and sings to them, and even visits. It will take a lot more than irregular blog posts to ever sever the devotion she and my father have to my children. But, the guilt has gotten to me.

I am vowing to do better. I am not making promises, but will try my best to share.

My Thomas lights up so many faces on a daily basis and he needs to be shared with those who can't see him everyday. And my little angel is growing up more and more beautiful inside and out, and she needs to shine in the hearts and eyes of those who don't see her everyday either.

So, I will try. I am not ready to allow my husband the request of taking our infant son 6 hours away for 5 day by himself, but I will work on my many issues. In the meantime, think of me as the cute cuddly mommy bear who loves her cubs to pieces. You can come and visit and take lots of pictures and you may even get me to let you pet one of their heads, but don't dare try to reach up and snatch either of them from my arms!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Brought To Tears

I am I having an emotional couple of months or what!!

Gracie came home from school today, and as usual she washed her hands (mommy's rule!) while I went through the papers in her backpack.

I sorted through the usual 2-3 letters home about various things from the school in general, and then I found some completed school work, and even a beautifully drawn picture.

It was the last page that got me for some reason.

There was this white paper where she had written all of her upper and lower case letters. There were no erase marks and I couldn't hold back my pride--or my beaming smile--or a few tears of joy.

I asked Gracie if she did this on her own, or if the teacher asked her. She said they were each given a paper and told to write them.

I knew they were having PALS testing this week and next, and this was likely something that was included.

I knew she knew her letters and how to write them. She even knows her letter sounds and many words by sight, or sounding them out. But, there was something about having them all written together on that paper that made me so proud.

I was proud of her, and I was proud of myself for helping her learn all of those letters. I know she is learning a ton in school, but I really feel like I had a hand in this one. We have worked on so many things over the past 3 years and I am so proud of how smart she is.

And to brag a little more, Gracie and I have been working on time (top of the hours, and half past the hour), as well as addition with 0's and 1's. She has caught on so quickly. And she continues to astound me in reading. She knows so many words now!

I am including a video below of a pumpkin book that she made as part of her missed work from last week. The teacher told me to point to the words as I read it to her. She could do most of the words herself, so I just let her read it. This is the second time she read it as she was too nervous the first time for me to video it. But, she got very little help the first time around as well.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Never Say Never

This morning I crossed the line. I did yet another thing from my list of "things I will never do when I have a child."

Yep, I licked my thumb and rubbed dried toothpaste off my daughters cheek--at the bus stop!

I couldn't let her go to school like that, and while I am usually prepared, I didn't have a wipe or tissue on me as we has rushed out of the door to catch the bus.

As soon as I saw the white mess on her face, I knew what I had to do. I didn't even think about her embarrassment, or the grossness of using spit to erase dried gunk on my 5 year old's face. I just did it. And that has how mothers through time have been forced to do the same thing without even thinking (at least this is what I chose to believe).

So, after joking about it on Facebook this morning I thought it would be interesting to pull out all of those other "I will never's..." and see just how many of them I have broken.

Barbara's List Of
I Will Never (fill in the blank) when I have a child!

1. My child will never grab at objects in a store (did it)
2. My child will never throw a fit when he/she doesn't get what they want (did it)
3. Let my child run around in just a diaper. (so far so good)
4. Resort to bribery. (failed miserably! But, for very rare occasions)
5. Pay my child for good grades
6. Give my child money for doing chores around the house (they should be helping out! Extra chores to earn money is great, and I don't believe in an "allowance" either--but Garren and I are still arguing over that one)
7. Say "If you don't behave I will turn this car around" (did it)
8. Say "Stop or you will poke an eye out" (did it)
9. Drive my child to school. The school bus was good enough for me. (It was only through tears that I didn't break this one--I would have in a heart beat!)
10. Spit on my thumb and wipe off whatever from my child's face. (did it)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Brief Glimpse

I got a very brief glimpse into Gracie's weekday world today when I drove to the school to pick up her classwork from the week she has missed.

I would like to say it was enlightening, or that it made me feel content and happy--but actually I left with a very "empty" feeling.

I am starting to think that the lack of adjustment to Gracie's new schedule isn't just physical. It might just be mental too.

I may not have cried all day on Gracie's first day of school, but I think deep down I still am having a a very hard time letting go, and we are on week 6 in to her very first school year.

It was pouring down rain and very cold outside when I attempted to get inside the school. I say attempted because I was trapped in the drop off line for parents. Now, I completely see why the school staff was pushing parents to let their kids ride the bus!

When I was able to park the car I walked past several teachers holding umbrellas and shivering, but with big smiles on their faces as they greeted bus kids and drop off kids to school for the morning.

I went inside and stopped at the usual desk (I have dropped off things before, but never went any further). I signed the paper and got a "guest"sticker and headed to Ms. Orndorff's room.

On my way I passed by the table with 3rd graders that were selling apples. I could instantly imagine Gracie standing excited in line getting her apple before class each morning. (She didn't hesitate to ask us for quarters so she could get one each day. The apple "stand" started last week.)

I walked past noisy kids and walked in to Gracie's room. There were kids around their tables coloring pages. They were quiet and busily working, and probably trying to warm up from the unseasonable weather. I couldn't look at them too long as my mind would start to wander to the fact that I have no idea what my child is doing all day.

Ms. Orndorff, who is absolutely wonderful, had gotten Gracie's papers together and went over them for me.

Some sort of buzz came over an intercom and the kids called out to their teachers that it was time for "morning announcements."

Inside that classroom, with those two very wonderful ladies, was a whole world that I would never know, and one that I would never be apart of.

I left the school as quickly as I could, remembering to sign out.

I walked to my car hurriedly in the rain and felt an overwhelming amount of sadness.

I had my daughter everyday this week in the comfort of our home. I knew what she was doing, and I was caring for her 24 hours a day like it used to be. And suddenly, I didn't want to let her go again.

She will have to go back to school on Monday. And, I will have to find a way to deal with it. In the meantime, I will be praying a lot for some sort of peace to go with all of this. I have 8 more months, and 12 more years of this. Not to mention letting go of another child. That's far too long to feel so empty.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mommy's Little Piggy

Yep, mommy's little darling turned in to a wee little piggy Friday night.

While the pediatrician on call at 3am Saturday morning was sure Gracie had Swine Flu, I wasn't convinced. What I did know was that I have never been so scared in my life. Your child with a 104 degree fever will do that to a person!

At that point we made the very hard decision to divide up our children. Well, Garren made the decision and I cried-- a lot.

Gracie couldn't come in contact with Thomas or mommy. If it was Swine Flu, it could be very dangerous for her 8 month old brother and since he demands 24 hour care from me I was off limits too. So, mommy had to sit on the sidelines and let Daddy take care of her eldest baby.

Garren took Gracie to Urgent Care on Saturday as the doctor had suggested (since the pediatrician is closed on weekends) to get her tested for the piggy flu. They refused to test her claiming the test was up to 20 percent inaccurate. They also told Garren that even if she were to test "positive," they would not write out a Tamaflu prescription since the CDC has said that symptoms are not that bad here in Virginia.

The pediatrician had told Garren he would write out a prescription and I went to pick it up at Walmart. But as I waited, and waited for them to run our health insurance, I had a chance to talk to the pharmacist--and I made the decision not to have it filled.

It wasn't just because it was $70! I didn't even know that is what she had and I did not like the idea of giving her a medication for an illness she may not have. I also learned that it only cuts back the illness by 1 day and it wouldn't protect Thomas as he was likely already exposed.

I was shocked and relieved when so many other people applauded my decision. I felt like a bad mother for not doing everything in my power to help my child. She wasn't acting sick at all, and if it weren't for the high fevers (100-102) you would never have known she was sick. But, I had a chance to give her medication to ease any possible suffering she may get in the future.

Gracie's fever went up and down from Saturday until Monday, and only reaching "normal" for a few hours Monday. But, by Sunday night I knew that the doctor was right (although I still think he guessed). Gracie developed the very distinguishable "barking cough" that goes along with Swine Flu.

Obviously we kept her out of school, and she was loving the TV that daddy brought up and hooked up to her portable DVD player. That is until Monday morning. Now, she was tired of being quarantined. We had to make her stay in her room to lessen the spread of germs. We promised her once she went a whole day and night without a fever she could come out.

She was able to leave her prison today. This made her happy, and Thomas too. They missed each other.

She still has the cough and we are SUPER diligent about making sure she covers her mouth, sanitizes after every cough, and stays out of the baby's face.

Going by the school rules she wouldn't be illegible to return to school until Friday (48 hour fever policy), but we have decided to keep her out the whole week as the last thing she needs is to pick up a cold or something with her weak immune system.

So, that is where we are. Crossing our fingers that Thomas, nor the rest of us, get this dreaded Swine Flu all while taking care of a very demanding and bored 5 year old.

I knew there was another reason I didn't want to send her to Kindergarten! Oh the diseases she will find.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

It Was Bound To Happen

I knew that her very noticeable raccoon eyes were not going to be the only downfall of my Gracie's severe exhaustion.

I noticed yesterday at the field trip that she just wasn't herself. On the wagon ride she curled up on me and wrapped her arms around my neck and laid her head down.

I knew she was tired, but didn't think much of it. After all she ditched me and stayed to finish out school.

Then, when she came home and laid on a pillow bed she made and watched her TV show, I knew she was super tired and vowed to get her ready for bed as soon as possible after choir practice.

Then she looked like a droopy doll as she sang for her choir practice. But she sang and did exactly what she was supposed to. It was when she came back to the pews with me and laid down beside me that I started to get concerned. I knew she was beyond tired.

When we got in the car, I told her we would change plans and she was to go straight upstairs and get ready for bed and I would bring her milk and a sandwich. I figured I could hand wash in her in the morning and she would be fine for one day.

By the time I got Thomas in side I found her laying on the carpet at the bottom of the steps where we take our shoes off. Now, I was really getting concerned.

I took her shoes off and helped her upstairs (and carried Thomas too!). I put the baby in his exersaucer and helped her in to her pajamas. Actually, she sat like a limp doll while I undressed and dressed her.

I told her I would be back up with a sandwich and milk and she was to sit on her bed. When I got back upstairs she was in her bed, covers over her, and her eyes were closed.

She took a sip of her milk, but told me she was too tired to eat.

Now, I was really worried about her.

She slept from that point on (7:15), until around 2am. I heard the baby and went to get him, only to find Garren stripping Gracie's bed. He told me he had heard her cough about 45 minutes before and didn't think anything of it. She had apparently thrown up and gone back to sleep. He heard her get up again, and was helping her out of her jammies and dirty sheets. She had a temperature of 102.

I took care of the baby and he finished with her and she went back to sleep. While the thought that she was sick was in the back of my mind, I knew it was lack of sleep.

Gracie has done this countless times before. She gets so exhausted that she makes herself sick. It comes with a fever for a few hours, she throws up once and then she is over it.

I was right. She woke up this morning and was fine, but we still weren't sending her to school.

So, she is here with Mommy and Thomas today and I intend for her to get as much sleep and rest as possible.

As for the solution. I have no idea. We don't run around all over the place like some of these poor soccer moms. We have one activity and it is only a 30 minute choir practice once a week. She just plain and simple doesn't get enough sleep. Naps during the week are impossible. We make her have a nap time on the weekends, but she never sleeps.

So, I don't really have any other choice than to let her poor little body get used to it. But, let me tell you--it is extremely hard to watch your child so miserable tired and have to push her to get ready for school, and watch her go to bed hungry because she is too tired to eat.

I knew there was more than separation anxiety (and those nasty germs) to be expected from Kindergarten!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Gracie's First Kindergarten Field Trip

Gracie and 17 of her little friends battled 30 mile per hour winds (seriously) to enjoy their first field trip at the apple orchard.

When I arrived at Marker Miller at 9:30am, I was really concerned. It was a beautiful day, but I battled my car the whole way there. Then, as I waited for the bus to arrive I watched as the it blew apples off the trees, wagons out of the "pen,"and mums down the porch. It was some serious wind!

The wind must have also effected the kids bus ride to the orchard as I (along with some other moms & dads) waited until 10:20 for them to arrive (they left at 9:15 and it is only a 25-30 minute ride!!!!)

But, the weather must have known how cute all of these kids were, because almost like magic it seemed to die down not long after we got started.

The kids lined up with their teachers once off the bus. There were 3 classes of Kindergarteners for today's trip (3 classes tomorrow, and the last 3 classes Friday), and there were 3 volunteers from the orchard, so it worked out nicely.

We rotated through the activities. Ms. Orndorff's class started at the apple trees. Since not all of the kids had a parent, they divided up the remaining kids with those adults that were there. Nathan joined Gracie and I for the day. (Although, it was not easy to keep Nathan with our little group! Whew!!)

The kids got to pick 5 apples. Gracie picked 3 red ones, and 2 yellow ones. Nathan got 4 red ones and 1 yellow one. Sounds like a math lesson huh?!

After the apples the kids put their bags in a wagon, and we headed to the pumpkin patch.

The orchard was smart and cut the pumpkins and placed them creatively around the patch for each child to pick one. Of course my child picks the one still attached to the vine. Mommy twisted a little and it came off thankfully.

After picking pumpkins we loaded up on the wagon. There wasn't much space so Gracie ended up on my lap, like most of the kids and their parents. I actually enjoyed holding her. I don't seem to get that option very often anymore.

The kids complained slightly as we bumped along, each asking and asking "where are the pigs?!" Our driver Farmer Brown (yep, seriously!), told the kids they would see cows, and apples, and pumpkins, and pigs. They weren't impressed with the produce and only slightly interested in the cows. "Where are the pigs?!"

We finally got to the pig sty and he stopped the wagon. All of the kids rushed to the side and were thrilled to watch Farmer Brown throw some apples to some pink pigs. Then they all got excited when this VERY large pink pig came out of the woods. I thought I had never seen such a large pig, that is until an even LARGER black pig came out when the farmer threw in a pumpkin. The kids laughed and laughed as the pig got the pumpkin stuck on his nose, and when the 2 pigs started to fight over said pumpkin. Seeing how huge they were, I was relieved when Farmer Brown threw another pumpkin in.

We got back in our seats and finished the ride. Ms. Orndorff wanted a class picutre so we attempted one on the wagon--no dice.

So, I suggested we have the kids line up in front of the pumpkins to try again. Have you ever lined up 18 Kindergarteners? It is like lining up 18 puppies. I stepped in and physically lined them up, but it didn't stay long. I am hoping some other parents got them all in their view finders, because when I got home it was clear that the kids on the end got chopped off.

After the picture we went inside for story time. The kids sat very well behaved and listened to a story about Johnny Appleseed, and then they talked about how an apple grows.

Gracie was much relieved when they announced it was lunch time. She had been complaining about being hungry to me all morning.

This is when mommy gets ditched for the first time. The kids could sit with their parents for lunch. I asked Gracie if she wanted to sit with me or her friends. She said "with my friends."

I sat behind her and ate my lunch in the matching bag I had made for her. I made thumbprint apple trees and hers said "Gracie" and mine said "mommy." She did love that part.

The kids all but choked down their food since the teacher announced that they could go and play after they threw away their trash.

She also told us we could take our kids home with us, but had to sign them out. So, I asked Gracie if she wanted to go home with me, or go back to school and ride the bus home. She wanted to stay. I was crushed and proud all at the same time.

I snapped a few pictures and walked back to my car. Garren was working from home and watching Thomas so I could go with Gracie.

She has grown so much in the few weeks she has been at school. I am so proud, but I am secretly hoping that there are at least a few moments in her day that she misses me at least have as much as I miss her.

Mommy had a great time on the field trip with her Kindergartner.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Lunch Love Notes

I love to send little notes to Gracie in her lunchbox to let her know I love her and I miss her during the day. Now, you can promise to give on to your child and Lunchables will share a lunch with a child who needs one. Couldn't pass up this opportunity--hope you will too!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Message From Baby Nina

I was thrilled to get this in my inbox this evening. My mom videoed it for me, and I have to say it made my day.

My good friend from high school Heather just had her baby just a little over a month ago and she was in Lynchburg this weekend. Unfortunately she didn't decide to go until a few days earlier and we didn't have to time to change our plans and come in and see the new baby.

And boy was I bummed!

Not only was I missing out, but mom would get to see and hold baby Nina when Heather brought her over to pick up some clothes that I was handing down.

And to double the insult, she got to see and play with Carrington (daughter to Amy, Heather's sister) who will be a year old in 2 weeks, whom I haven't seen since January.

So, my mom gets all the fun. But, I begged her to take pictures and a video for me. And, my friends Heather and Amy were very gracious and took time to do so.

Pictures of friends and all the new and exciting things that happen to them is wonderful. I can't imagine being able to stay so close without technology. But, I have to say that having that video makes both girls so much more adorable, and was really a treat for me.

Fun Day With Friends Old And New

Daddy, Thomas and I accompanied Gracie on her first Fall Fun Day at school. This fundraiser for Sandy Hook was very well done, and Gracie had a great time. And while we walked around the school (inside and out), I was very impressed with how my little girl has become quite the social butterfly!

From the time we arrived, until the time we left Gracie found many, many friends. Some from Grasshopper Green, and some new friends from school. Every time I turned around she was saying "hello" to someone.

I met her new school best friends Rebecca and Morgan. And, while these are her new best buds, she is still far closer to her preschool friends. While she said hello to these new girls, when she saw old friends like Mia, Emma, Regan, Madelyn, and Carson--they got big hugs.

It is so cute to watch my daughter interact with others. It may not seem like such a big deal to most parents, but when you have struggled with a child who was literally afraid of other children, cling to her new buddies--it is such a wonderful feeling. Plus, whenever I see them together it reminds me of childhood school friends and how we used to play and talk together and be the best of friends.

On the activities front, Gracie jumped in bouncy houses, did simple games and even made candy art. It was basically edible sand art. And, we all had a good time. Even Thomas who was mesmerized by all the people, sights and sounds.

I guess we are officially "school parents," now that we have endured our first school fundraiser and fun day ;)

**Top: Gracie & GG pal Carson. Below we caught up with more GG pals at Candy Art (L-R) Madelyn, Emma & Regan. ***

For Candice

Thomas makes a four legged friend today at the Fall Fun Day at Gracie's school. While the picture is cute, I know you will be the most excited and will start begging for a dog for my kids.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

A Self Defined Cutie

So Many Dilemma's...Not Enough Di-lemmonade

Gracie's new school schedule continues to take a toll on everyone in the house. You would think after a month of classes that we would be used to it by now, but we continue to struggle.

Thanks to the lack of sleep we have all had colds and the ickies. Poor Thomas continues to struggle with a runny nose. Gracie seems to be nearly over her weeks long cold, but still has a cough. And, while I am germ free (for now), I still remain exhausted after all night baby duty and then up at dawn to battle with my Kindergartner to get ready for school.

So, that brings me to dilemma #2 (#1 being SEVERE lack of sleep and rest for all 4 of us!). Gracie's body has not adjusted to the new demands either. Her lack of enough sleep and rest have made her almost unbearable at times. She hits her peak of crankiness right around dinner time. It is clear that her fatigue is the cause, and most nights she is just too tired to eat. So, with the crankies and her exhaustion, getting her to bed in a timely fashion creates more of a problem for us. She can't seem to push herself to go any faster than a slow moving worm, and we need her to get into bed and have her eyes closed by 8pm in order to get a minimum of sleep. So, in lies the vicious cycle. She is too tired to get things done, eat, shower, and get ready for bed by 8pm, which gives her less sleep at night, which makes her even more tired the next day.

Night time is not the only struggle we face thanks to exhaustion.

Dilemma #3: Trying to get Gracie up for school is a nightmare. Garren took a stab at it this morning and let me tell you it was not pretty. She is so tired that she doesn't want to get up, and then her crankies rear their ugly head and she starts shouting at me "I am too tired! It is too early! This is the LAST time I am getting up early!" You get the idea. Now, once she is up it is an anxiety filled morning as I try to prod her to get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, etc, all before the bus arrives. Now, we can't see the bus from our house and it is a rather large uphill hike to get to the stop. And, with him arriving earlier and earlier we can not leave the house later than 7:30am. So, do I wake her up earlier insuring less sleep and a harder battle in the morning, or continue with the very hurried pace that leads to rushed mornings and mommy having to be a drill sergeant before she sends her baby off to school for the whole day ( I am not liking the tone in which I spend my few moments with her before I lose her for 8 hours)?!

Once Gracie is up and moving Mommy finds herself in dilemma #4: finding clothes. With the fall season here (thank goodness!!!) the weather is very unpredictable and swings wildly. Though it is cool in the mornings I have been putting her in shorts for her PE days, because it gets super hot during the day. But, this week that seems to be changing. The cool weather is sticking around all day. And the beginning of October is a bad time for mommy to realize that Gracie outgrew all of her pants (another reason I LOVE dresses!). Now, Garren didn't tell me her height, but between her Kindergarten physical at the end of July and the doctor's visit Monday (2 months time span), Gracie gained more than 2 pounds, and apparently several inches, as we can't zip up her pants, and they stop at mid calf. And to top it off, the pants I bought her for school are too big in the waist. She is so skinny that they fall off. So, I need to find size 7 pants (nearly impossible!) and lots of them. I got a few pairs yesterday at the thrift store that I am hoping will fit. And, yes I know that there are such things as retail stores and I will likely have to resort to that option as I need them fast.

But it doesn't stop there. Nope dilemma #5: Gracie's new attitude. This is likely to be blamed on #1 (SEVERE lack of sleep). She just isn't herself. She is talking back, she is getting mad and storming off. She is telling us what she will and won't do.

Now, I am sure that some of this goes with growing up, and even more goes to this new sense of independence now that she is in school. But, there is so much more. This just isn't my little girl, and I am so exhausted and worn out that I am not handling it well and it shows. Thomas demands so much attention and I find myself sniping at her when she snips at me. If you know me at all, you know this is NOT my parenting style. I am always the calm parent that finds a creative way to solve my child's problem, I don't say things in haste and with a brusk tone.

So, we have a LOT of things to work out here in this house, and I know we will. I just want to figure it all out before we kill each other, and more importantly, before we say or do things that might hurt each other and will take a long time to heal.

So, here's hoping we can find enough sugar to make some of that di-lemmonade very soon!