Thursday, December 31, 2009

Year In Review 2009

What an exciting year this has been for the Shipley's! We have a new baby, a new place to call home, Gracie started Kindergarten...the list goes on. But, it was also a special year for so many friends and family! We were excited and felt blessed to be included in your special moments as well.

Babies

Jack Thomas Shipley
born to mommy & daddy
February 9, 2009

Stella Kate Waters
born to Katie & Matt
April 14, 2009

Ella Reichard
born to Kelly & Dan
April 15, 2009

Piper Claire Himelright
born to Amy & Chris
May 26, 2009

Elliott Franklin Kaye
born to Becky & Mike
June 30, 2009

Nina Xuxubelle Perez
born to Heather & Fredy
August 27, 2009

Sally Caroline Prince
born to Angie & Dan
November 16, 2009

Stuart Tyson McFerrin
born to Ty & Shannon Crews McFerrin
December 4, 2009

Graduations

Luke Shipley
from the University Of Tennessee
May 8, 2009

Gracie Shipley
from Grasshopper Green Preschool
May 20, 2009

Jaxon Diamond
Kindergarten
May 28, 2009

Ethan Estep
Kindergarten
May 29, 2009

Emily Gacek
Kindergarten
June 3, 2009


Weddings

Katie Ashwell to John Lowder
September 26, 2009
Charlotte, NC

Meredyth Censuello & Paul Frameli
October 7, 2009

Rebecca Berry & Stacey Witaker
October 10, 2009

New Year's Countdown



Gracie and daddy countdown to the 2010 (around 9pm and during half time of the UT game).

We hope that all of you had a wonderful 2009,
and will continue to be blessed in 2010!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Quote Of The Day

Gracie on a pretend phone conversation...

"I'll call you back, I have to finish reading the Bible."

later she "read" this passage in said Bible...

"My favorite color is pink. It is the color of princesses and ponies."

I bet you missed that part the last time you were in church ;)

Thomas Meets Elliott


Things have a very neat way of working out...and thanks to the snow, it worked out that Gracie, Thomas and I all got to meet Baby Elliott while we were in Lynchburg.

As luck would have it, three out of the five us very close high school friends (who still very much stay in touch) had babies this year! Thomas was born in February, Elliott in June, and Nina in August.

We missed out on seeing Nina and mommy Heather, but we were thrilled to get to spend plenty of fun time with little E.

Thomas was embarrassingly enough a little rough with the baby. He being a baby himself, I am not sure if he thought Elliott was a toy or not. Thomas would swipe at his face and take the toys he was slobbering on.

Of course the boys exchanged several drool covered items, but I was less than thrilled with my boy's manners!

We got several good pictures, and few videos, and it was a very nice visit. Becky's husband Mike even entertained Gracie. The two of them got very energetic over a preschool game of charades.

I am thrilled to have gotten to meet Elliott, and of course see Becky and Mike. While we are all very much still friends, we see each other very rarely, and it is wonderful when we can get together and share. Of course now we have a new thing to share: motherhood!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

To Lynchburg....Finally

Gracie is quite happy today, as is her Grandma. And while I am exhausted from running around trying to get us packed and 3 hours down the road--I am happy--and relieved.

Gracie (and Grandma) hasn't stopped talking about missing out on family Christmas last weekend.

The snow kept us from traveling, and I haven't heard the end of it since.

Father Winter seems to have put on the breaks...at least for a while, so we decided we better go now before school starts back and any more snow decides to fall.

We plan to be back in Strasburg on Wednesday.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Princess Watches A Princess


Mommy and Gracie had a very nice evening out tonight when we went to the movies to see "The Princess and The Frog."

The boys stayed at home, and we girls caught the late movie in Woodstock. We even got popcorn and a drink to share.

While I wasn't really expecting to enjoy the movie, just my one on one time with Gracie, I was pleasantly surprised. It was a fantastic movie!

We definitely recommend it for all the young princesses out there!

This marks Gracie's 5th movie at the theater. We have done about one a year since she was 2. Movies are so ridiculously expensive these days, so we save them for rare treats. This was definitely one of my favorites since we started taking her.

Happy Feet, Nov 06 (age 2); Ratatouille, July 07 (age 3); Kung Fu Panda, June 08 (age 4), Desperaux, Dec 08 (age 4), and now Princess And The Frog, Dec 09 (age 5)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Morning



A few pictures from this morning. I had so many that it seemed easier to put them in a slide show.

The kids had a great morning and got everything opened in a matter of seconds. And, then spent the rest of the day playing and being noisy.

All in all it was a good Christmas, and we hope your family had a great Christmas too!

Christmas Morning Excitement

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas!


Merry Christmas
from our family to yours!

First Christmas Eve With Two

It's our first Christmas, and first Christmas Eve as a family of four.

I won't lie and tell you it was this picture perfect Holy night--because it was far from it. But, when all is said and done we had a special evening just the four of us...and several good friends.

Gracie sang beautifully tonight in the children's choir at Christmas Eve services. Church wasn't quite the same since we had to once again gather in the Social Hall, but the people and the music made it special, despite the location.

When we got home we cheated a little and ordered Chinese food for dinner. Mommy and Daddy were just too exhausted, and it was delicious!

We watched Christmas specials while we ate, and Thomas napped.

Then, Gracie and I headed in to the kitchen to make some special cookies for Santa. An old friend of mine sent me the cutest idea for reindeer cookies, and they came out super adorable!

We put a few on a plate for Santa, and of course we got plenty of carrots for the reindeer.

Gracie wrote the note for Santa, which was so neat. Thomas wore the Christmas pajamas Gracie wore her first Christmas, and I took millions of pictures.


Daddy and Gracie tracked Santa on NORAD and Gracie got so excited at the idea that the man in red would be here soon.

What a special night Garren and I got to spend with our two little angels.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

An All Dressed Up Kind Of Night

I promised Gracie that if the weather was nice we would go and hear Ms. Karen (her choir teacher at church) sing tonight.

Ms. Karen, Mr. David, Mr. Willy, and Mr. Gary all sing in a group from our church called the AOJ's. Their Christmas concert was supposed to be last weekend when we planned to be in Lynchburg. The concert and our trip got canceled, so when they rescheduled for tonight I thought it would be something Gracie would enjoy.

We decided to get her all dressed up since she picked out the very sparkly dress I picked up for her last month (at a thrift store for $3!!!) She donned matching pink tights and a very pink head band to finish off the ensemble.

We left Thomas and daddy at home and enjoyed an evening just us girls. Our duo became a trio when we sat with Aunt Ruth at the concert. Gracie of course enjoyed hearing Ms. Karen sing, watching Mr. David jump around, and Aunt Ruth holding her and snuggling her while she watched the aforementioned.

As if her night couldn't get any better, Karen gave Gracie her corsage to wear and take home! Talk about walking around like a princess.

Oh, and did I mention their were refreshments?!

Gracie had a VERY good night out on the town.

One Of Today's Many "Mommy Moments"


Gracie yells from the top of the stairs...


"Mommy!!! Thomas is in the Christmas presents!!!!!"

He sure was, and he surely seemed quite proud of himself. Luckily it was one of his presents he ripped open. And, even more luckily we only had a few under the tree at the time.

Thank you Candice & Elliott for the helicopter. He loved the paper you wrapped it in :)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree


The Christmas tree (that daddy bought yesterday) is up, mostly dry, and now decorated beautifuly by our 5 year old artistic genius.

We may have waited until the last minute, but it was well worth it! :)

Thomas And Gracie Visit Santa


Gracie gave Santa her letter she wrote in Kindergarten class. Thomas gave Santa big smiles, and then probably a headache when he decided he was ready to get down.

Garren snapped this picture, which is actually better than the one I paid $17 for!!

Since Grandma usually handles the visit with Santa, and always buys the picture, I had no idea how much they went for these days. I was shocked that $17 was the smallest package, which only included two 5x7 prints.

Merry Christmas capitalism ;)

But, they looked cute, and I wouldn't have missed out on taking them to see Santa.

Gracie was nervous at first, but I reminded her she was the big sister and she would be there with Thomas--which helped a great deal.

She told Santa she wanted a "lizard of Oz book (Wizard Of Oz), a dress up Silvernist (Silvermist, Tinkerbell character), and a fairy tree house."

I think she has been pretty good this year, so I am sure Santa will grant her wishes.

She was going to tell Santa Thomas wanted things to chew on, so I am sure they will both get what they want for Christmas. I know I have: a precious girl, and new baby boy!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow Fun

Thomas enjoys his "sleigh" ride..



Gracie attempts to use her snow pan (AKA Snow Death Trap)....



Snow falling this morning....

Friday, December 18, 2009

Snowflake Fun

Since it is going to snow a ton tonight and keep us from Grandma's, I figured we might as well have some snow fun.

To help take Gracie's mind of off her very bad day, I found some snowflake crafts and ideas that came out AMAZING!

You will have to try these at home when it is cold and snowy and you are looking for something to do.

They would be great in January or February as well. And you just need household products!


Toilet Paper Snowflakes:


Paint toilet paper tubes and add glitter. Let dry and then cut in to 1" strips. glue together in various snowflake patterns, and hang from ribbon.

I had no idea that this would turn out so neat! I am so glad I found this idea on line.


while your paint/glue is drying...

Happy snowflakes


Use snowflake template and cut out of foam material (I used paper plates). Add eyes, pink cheeks and a smile. I did a smaller version and placed them on the window so we would think happy thoughts about the snow--not sad.

Click to enlarge and see our happy snow window from tonight.

Snowflake Tortillas
(AWESOME IDEA!!!!)


Warm flour tortillas in the microwave to make them pliable. Fold in half, and half again. Use scissors to cut out snowflake patterns (like you would with paper or doilies). Fry in hot oil. Remove when crisp and brown and sprinkle on cinnamon and sugar. What a yummy idea for snow snacks!!!

Gracie's Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day


We can't go to Grandma's. The big snow storm is on it's way and Lynchburg is already closing down just about everything.

School here decided to close and 2pm.

The weather is just not going to cooperate.

As if missing Grandma's was bad enough, mommy didn't calculate the right time for the bus to be here and panicked when she heard the kids outside. I rushed out with Thomas and no shoes and found her at the top of the hill looking confused. I grabbed her and picked her up and hugged her profusely! The bus was waiting, and apparently "Bob" (the driver) told Gracie he would call me if he needed to.

Once we were home, the first thing she asked was about going to grandma's. After I broke the news she cried for 30 minutes. Several of those tearful minutes were in my lap with her head on my chest.

Poor thing.

Later in the afternoon she tells me "This is the worstest day ever! No grandma's, and I didn't get to do my favorite special (computer)!"

I guess it was her "worstest" day ever.

***Above: daddy tries to explain why we can't get to Grandma's***

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mommy's Artist

Tonight was another chance for parents to get a glimpse in to what our kindergartners are doing.

Sandy Hook hosted a Kindergarten through second grade art show in the library.

I was hoping for more examples of the art my Gracie had done, but we got to see her self portrait in construction paper--and let me tell you it was award worthy.

But Daddy, Thomas and I weren't the only ones who got to share the proud evening with Gracie.

Aunt Ruth and Uncle George came tonight to see her work as well. They also got an elaborate tour of the school, a peak in her classroom, and a look at several other things she had made in school that were outside her class door.

My cheeks burned when I got home from grinning so hard. She drug those two everywhere and they were so proud of her and listened and responded to every thing they told her and showed her.

Gracie and Thomas are so lucky to have people that love them that much right here in town!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gingerbread Project

Mommy and Gracie got to do a school project together this afternoon, and I am not sure who had more fun!

Each child was sent home a gingerbread template and told to cut it out and use household products to decorate the person with a parent(s).

The home work project is due tomorrow.

I got so excited (even though I forgot to do it with her this weekend), I pulled out all sorts of things from my craft room and had them ready on the kitchen table when she got home from school.

I suggested to Gracie that maybe we could make our gingerbread an "angel." I was thrilled when she thought it was a good idea, because I had already fond the perfect items :)

She picked out the fabric she wanted for the angel's dress. Then, I drew some wings and let her cut those out and add glitter.

By the time the angel was done we had added ribbon, jingle bells, lace, and a halo.

She is very pretty, and Gracie and I are quite proud of the work we did together.

Of course why stop at just one craft?! Gracie was more than willing to use the "scraps" from the gingerangel to make all sorts of other things while I cooked dinner.

I LOVE when they let us parents get involved!!

Christmas Memories

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Too Cute Quote

After making cookies with Aunt Ruth, we start putting some in a container for her to take home. I tell Gracie to pick one out especially for Uncle George, she asks Ruth...


Gracie: "What does Uncle George like best on Christmas morning?"

Aunt Ruth: "Me!"

Gracie: "Okay, you take the angel since he likes you the best."

Christmas Cookies

If I could have bottled the excitement from my five year old as she waited the hour and a half after church for Aunt Ruth to come over and make cookies with us--I could sell it for a fortune!!

She bounced around and looked out the window every five minutes until Ruth got here.

And, when she did arrive we didn't waste any time.

Gracie and Ruth mixed the cookie dough and we rolled it out and got the Christmas cookie cutters going.

I lost count at how many batches actually went in to the oven, but lets just say you are welcome to come over and get a handful.

Of course the favorite part of the cookie process is the decorating.


Gracie sprinkled about half, and was thrilled when I pulled out a icing bag for her to decorate the others.

I don't usually do icing on top of cookies just because she makes enough mess with the sprinkles! But, this was a special occasion...and she is 5. Not that it lessened the mess, but she had a great time spreading icing on already cooked dough and making more artful designs on top.

Aunt Ruth was a great sport in all of this, and seemed to have a good time as well. Ruth has grown boys of her own and missed out on girly things, and after the mess we made, she may not be quite as wistful about them any more ;)

Yes Candice, she got to eat some. And, if you saw how much sugar was on top of the sugar cookie she picked (the largest one of course) you would know it was equal to 4 cookies!

We girls had a fantastic afternoon and I know Gracie can not wait until Aunt Ruth comes over to play again soon. I hope she gets plenty of rest before the next time she visits, my little ball of sugar is a lot to handle--but she is definitely worth it!

Children's Choir Sunday

We had to mix things up a bit at church this morning. Thanks to a broken furnace over the weekend services were held in our small social hall.

But, I was super impressed at how every one handled the change. You would think we did that all the time.

And, Gracie, who was slightly unnerved by the last minute change handled things like a champ.

As always I took videos of her songs. And we thank Uncle George for holding Thomas while I videoed Gracie's wonderful performance.





Children's Choir Sunday

We had to mix things up a bit at church this morning. Thanks to a broken furnace over the weekend, services were held in our small social hall.

But, I was super impressed at how every one handled the change. You would think we did that all the time.

And, Gracie, who was slightly unnerved by the last minute change handled things like a champ.

As always I took videos of her songs. And we thank Uncle George for holding Thomas while I videoed Gracie's wonderful performance.




**The second song they sang is too long and will not load. I will work to shorten it later this evening or tomorrow. **

Friday, December 11, 2009

Gracie's First Report Card!

Who's the smartest Kindergartner of all?

Gracie, of course!

Gracie came home with her first ever report card. They are print outs of a computerized system. I remember when ours were on a cardboard folded booklet! They even had several different colored inks for grades depending on how many teachers you had!! Even in high school it was a very primitive computer print out.

But, despite the look of it (and the several minutes it took me to figure it all out), Gracie got all 3's...which as far as I can tell is all A's.

So, clearly we are super proud!

She even got an "outstanding" in art. She got a "Satisfactory" in all of her other specials (gym, computer & music), but clearly she excels in art class. And we can't wait to see just how much next week at her art show.

Clearly she takes after her mommy :)

Lucie Goes To Kindergarten

Today was Gracie's second chance to bring in the Mystery Bag to school.

This time she didn't have as much trouble deciding what to take to her show and tell.

It was between her "Lucie" dog (named after Candice's Lucie whom the stuffy looks so much like), and her Tinkerbell lantern that so many kids loved at the Christmas party.

After very little debate she took Lucie.

Lucie had a good day at school. She didn't get passed around, so she came home mostly germ free.

Gracie also had no problem coming up with her clues...

1. It has a tail

2. It barks

3. It is in a carrier

Apparently the clues were pretty easy for the class, because she says they all guessed "dog." What a smart bunch of kids ;)

And, I am hoping that her carrying case and her thick fur kept Lucie warm in Gracie's backpack today--because it was freezing! Mommy was sure to bundle up Gracie for the short trip to school. Mornings are getting less and less "fun" as the weather continues to go downhill.

Neither rain nor snow nor gloom of night will keep me from getting my kindergartner to her bus on time. For I am Super Mommy!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

10 Months


I didn't get a chance to take a picture yesterday when he "technically" turned 10 months, but since he is still 10 months today, I figure I am okay. (Actually I feel so guilty about missing it--but I am trying to stay positive!)

What a wonderful, and eventful 10 months you have given us Thomas!
You are loved!

Instinct-less

I used to be really good at this mommy thing. Not great, not super, but pretty good.

I am not a panicker, I am not a spanker, I am not a shouter, I am not a loose-control-kind-of-mom, and I have never told my children to shut up.

And, I am still that kind of mom, but I seem to have lost my way.

I find it hard to function as a mother of two. I am constantly in a haze. I am disorganized and forgetful. I find it hard to concentrate in busy situations and I get frazzled at the drop of a hat.

I am not sure if it is having two kids, or being old--but I am sure it's not them, it's me.

I was telling Garren a few weeks ago that I just haven't felt like myself since I was pregnant with my now 10 month old Thomas. And, I don't mean just physically, I mean mentally.

Can you forget how to be a parent to an infant?

My father insists that since he has had two children of his own he "knows what he is doing." And, I figured that it would be like riding a bike all over again.

I find myself so frazzled (not upset, just "lost") that I can't or don't trust my instincts any more. Like today.

Thomas has been super (and I mean SUPER) fussy for a few days now. He has also developed a rash on his cheeks (not from the cold), he has a low grade fever, and in the past 24 hours I can't get him to eat and he is pulling hard at his ear.

With Gracie I would have waited it out a little longer, given her some Tylenol and worked on soothing her. But, since Gracie had an ear infection last week I was sure that he had one too. I called the pediatrician and they let me come right over. He doesn't have an ear infection, and they were sure to make me feel like as much of an idiot as I felt.

I really don't know what I am doing any more.

I am really having a hard time lately, and it is showing in my blog posts and Facebook accounts.

So, while I attempt to explain what is going on, I will also apologize for being such a "downer" and a "drama queen" lately.

Thankfully my children are young enough not to be scared by my...hmmm...lack of skills lately. And, I am thankful that they have two parents, so the other can step in as I continue to lose my mind.

I doubt I am the only mother who has ever felt this way--but since I have always prided myself on my mothering skills with Gracie, this is taking a HUGE toll on me, and my self esteem. Being a mother is the top of my priority list. It IS my job, and like any one else who is failing at their job--I feel like I am failing to.

So, there is nothing more to do than pick myself up and try again. And, I continue to do that day to day, week to week, month to month. And in the meantime, I will try and keep my negative "energy" off the world wide web.

And, rest assured that if my children aren't getting the appropriate amount of "doting" from their frazzled mother, there are a few people I can think of who will swoop in and give them some extra.

I guess now I know what life was like for all those mom's who hated me for "having it all together" when it was just Gracie and I. I don't like it--and to those of you who may have doubted it--I am human too, and I am very much feeling it today!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Little Mommy Encouragement

Gracie to Thomas (who is screaming in the backseat with her)

"Mommy can't help you right now, she is trying to drive and keep us safe. She can't do it right now, it's okay, sometimes that happens to me to......You're not in trouble, I'm just telling you, it's okay."

This was far more precious as you hear her tell him this in her calm "mommy voice." Encouragements like this lasted all the way home, and while his fussing was killing my head, I couldn't help but smile. What an amazing little girl I am raising.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Gracie Quote Of The Day

"I'll color the church blue.
It will be like God had a baby blanket."

Bah Hum Bug

Well, I am not that bad, but as I begrudgingly pulled out box after box of Christmas decorations from our small storage closet I started to realize that I dread this holiday each year.

Psychologist would probably tell you it is "grief," since I lost Lou at Christmas 4 years ago now--but after thinking that maybe that was my problem, I remembered that I have been dragging my feet for Christmas for many years before that.

Each year I watch as people put up their trees earlier and earlier. I get a Christmas card from someone by the first week in December. People get excited, and this year many many Facebook friends can't stop talking about the impending holiday.

But, like in year's past I am never ready for December.

I always seem to wait sometimes weeks in to this cold month to find the energy to get the decorations out. When I do hang the stockings and such I don't put on festive music or make a day out of it. In fact, yesterday I put the things up while Gracie was at school and Thomas was down for a nap. Not to surprise them, but so I could get it done without little hands "helping" me unwrap breakables.

There was absolutely nothing festive about the afternoon. And, to be honest, the only reason I put the things up was because I had pulled all of the boxes out to find the Fisher Price Nativity scene to take to the church party, and the boxes were getting on my nerves.

We MAY get a tree in a few weeks. This year we will wait later than in years past so there is less days of "Thomas, don't touch."

I don't hate Christmas. I so enjoy doing all of the fun family things with Gracie and watching her have so much fun. We remember the real reason for the season in our house, and we light an Advent candle each week.

I'm just never in hurry to get to Christmas, and I wait as long as possible before I "cave in" to it's inevitability.

After much internal debate and reflection I think there are a few factors that get me this way each year.

I don't want to get to Christmas, because Christmas is the end of the year. When the tree comes out another year is soon over, and that means another year with my small children is again behind me. Another 12 months of laughs and cries and firsts and growing is all over. They will be another year older in a few months, and time flies by as we start our "birthday season" just after the holidays.

And, with a family on a budget the worries aren't far behind when the holidays approach. There is planning for trips out of town, making sure that extras can be afforded like the tree and cookie making and gifts for the kids and others. ( I know I am not alone in this one. Any one with children and a budget knows what this is like, and it can dampen the Christmas spirit.)

While I find it hard to start the holiday, and the stress of making it all work can get to me quite often, I am sure that my children enjoy every day of this season. The excitement and magic and solemness of Christmas is wonderful to see through a child's eyes. I will plan crafts and activities and take millions of pictures and I will enjoy all of my time with family and friends.

I just have a hard time getting started. But, I will find the resolve at some point. Gracie and I will make cookies, we will get a tree and trim it with the millions of ornaments we have. I will find the time and stamps and send out Christmas cards. The kids will see Santa and leave a note for him. We will attend Christmas Eve services and Gracie will sing in the choir and I will probably cry. I will video the kids as they tear in to the living room on Christmas morning. And I will love the time I have shared with them.

But, next December will roll around and I will dread it once more. I will feel sorry for myself for a while, and move on to celebrating with my family.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Another Note To Aunt Ruth

b h n bnx euyntrhunuimjl;inmj b hgc vc v n nm nf we 121wq`tyyy65rfvgtjhyinmjhhvyyrdgrdhg bn b bnucty n n nty5 nmyuc veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetc c b b vtgvtyunjhyuyhtyyjtxtytyy

Love,
Thomas


Apparently he wasn't finished "talking" to her in the email I sent a few moments ago. So, he continues to let her know what is going on.

I am sure only Aunt Ruth can understand...and I am sure he is tattling on me ;)

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Advent Week 2


Lighting the Advent wreath has been a tradition in our house since Gracie was very small. Now, Thomas will get to enjoy the family tradition.

As, as is also family tradition, we don't get started until week 2. By the time mommy finds the Advent wreath, and gets candles...well, we get a week behind, but our spirits celebrate on time.














2005 & 2006

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Thomas' First Snow

We got about 5 inches here in Strasburg and I know several others got plenty of the white stuff as well.

No comments on my over-protective instincts and the laundry basket! But, you will be glad to know that Gracie has officially outgrown the basket and I will have to cave on some sort of other SAFE snow device.

Thomas seemed indifferent to the snow, but he LOVED being outside.

It was very close to his nap time so it wasn't the Kodak moment I was looking for. But, I did pull him along the sidewalk in his mommy approved "sled," and he seemed to enjoy it.

Gracie spent her time trying to make snow tracks and attempted a snowman, but she was bundled up so much that she really had a hard time moving at all.

We didn't stay out long, and Thomas wanted to crawl around through the yard, so I took them both in to warm up.

While the snow rained on my parade today--literally--I do hope we get to share some more snow fun with our two kids.

Gracie's Pittiful Quote Of The Day

At the dinner table with a very sad face...


"Mommy do you miss Grandma as much as I do?"

Gracie Builds

I have been looking forward to this morning for over a month now, so you can imagine how bummed I was when I woke up to tons of snow on the ground and more still falling.

Candice would lecture me on the wonders of snow, but I had such a day planned! Gracie I were going to Home Depot to do our first ever Kids Workshop, and then this afternoon was the town Christmas Parade and tree lighting. It would be the first for Thomas, and the 4th (maybe?) for Gracie.

I figured they would cancel the parade (and they did), but I wasn't going to let the snow keep us from getting to do one of our exciting things today.

Gracie and I braved a not so smoothe Interstate all the way to Winchester, which houses our only Home Depot.

The workshops are from 9am to 12 noon. By the time I made up my mind and we got ready, and we drove very slowly the 20 miles there...we arrived at 11:30.

But, that was okay. There were other kids there and the whole project took about 30 minutes to make.

We had a FANTASTIC time!! This was the neatest idea and we thank my friend Heather and her son Tyler for letting me know about it. (Tyler at age 2 is an old pro at these workshops and has 6 pins to prove it :)

These workshops are once a month and are completely free! They give each child a project kit to make in the store, a nifty orange apron, a pin, and a certificate.

Today Gracie made a wooden wagon. I helped a little by getting the nails started, but she really did most of the work--and LOVED every minute.

I was beaming of course and snapping lots of pictures. And, I have to say I felt very proud of myself as there were several dads who "took over" the projects for their kids because they weren't doing it right. They didn't say that out loud, but you could tell, and the child (who was clearly old enough) kept saying "let me do it dad!"

Gracie polished off her new wagon with Christmas stickers and I was one proud mommy. Well, I always am, but I really enjoyed my one on one time with Gracie. We don't get that too often. And, I better enjoy it. Next month she tells me "I want Uncle George to take me."

I am looking forward to seeing what new projects they offer each month, and letting her collect her pins to add to her apron.

If you have a Home Depot close by, TAKE YOUR KIDS! The workshops are the first Saturday of each month from 9am to 12 noon in ALL Home Depot stores. And don't forget to have fun--and let your child build their own project ;)

Friday, December 04, 2009

Church Christmas Party

Today may have been the busiest day of my life. Well, probably not, but it felt like it!

It all started when I went to wake Gracie up for school and she was already awake. She told me her ear hurt. I knew this couldn't be good.

Apparently it started hurting some time during the night and she put water on it thinking it would help. She never came and got me, and we discussed the fact that she can ALWAYS come and get mommy or daddy any time she needs us. She told me she just wanted to go back to sleep.

I gave her some Tylenol and decided to keep her home. She went back to bed and slept until after 10, and I called and got the only open Dr. appointment of the day: 4pm!

While Thomas was down for his morning nap and she was cuddled on the couch watching Tinkerbell for the one millionth time, I got started on cake attempt number 2.

This time the icing stayed put and I was very pleased with how it looked.

Now, to get the kitchen cleaned up, pack the car for tonight's party/caroling adventure, get the kids dressed and ready, take her to the Dr., and get to the church by 5:30.

Somehow I accomplished all of these things, and the doctor confirmed that she did have a left ear infection. I take the blame on this one since the last time I took Thomas in (a few weeks ago) I asked about ear infections since all of my friends with new babies were saying their infants had one or were getting over one. Since I had never had this problem with Gracie, I asked her for warning signs. I remember saying "my children don't get ear infections, but..." The pediatrician laughed at me when I reminded her and agreed it was my fault.

We picked up Gracie's medicine and headed to the church. I asked her over and over again if she felt like going, that we could go home and just rest. She was adamant about going. She wanted to see Aunt Ruth & Uncle George, and was so excited that her teacher (who also goes to our church) would be there as well.

The kids had pizza, but Gracie didn't eat much. Then they watched the Nativity movie and we bundled up to go caroling.

She seemed to be having a great time, and I constantly checked on her and hugged her (the ear infection really scared me, Gracie has never hurt before!). She reassured me she was fine, but you can tell in the pictures she wasn't feeling the best.

As for my son. Well, he spent the evening flirting with EVERYONE, and in the arms of two of his favorite people, who of course snuggled him to sleep and carried him around most of the evening.

He did however perk up and spent some time with mommy when we went down to our town's main street and sang. He LOVED this part, and sang right along. The freezing temperatures didn't seem to bother him. Of course I had 4 blankets covering him when he didn't find his way out of them.

After singing the kids were treated to cookies and hot chocolate. And, then we lit my cake and sang "Happy Birthday" to Jesus. I don't know that the idea was a hit with everyone, but it was really geared for the younger children who don't have such a great understanding of The Christmas Story.

We got home around 9pm and Garren helped me get the kids to bed. I followed along not much later.

It was a busy day with a very warm and wonderful evening.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Who Me?!

Thomas decided he was not going to wait until his first birthday to get a taste of cake icing.

Now, this is not COMPLETELY his fault, as mommy was frantically trying to make a cake for tomorrow's Christmas party at the church, and missed some icing that dripped on the floor.

While I was cleaning up another puddle of colored icing off the floor (I am messy in the kitchen), Gracie screams "he is getting the icing!!!"

I go around to the other side of the kitchen island to find my 9 month old boy's mouth covered in yellow icing and this HUGE grin on his face.

He looked like a little boy trying to look innocent and thinking that whatever he had done was far worth the punishment.

Of course I got the camera before I cleaned him up.

Wipes didn't do the trick, so he headed straight for the bath,

He seemed quite pleased with himself.

As for mommy...she learned Thomas too breaks out from food coloring as his whole mouth was full of red splotches just like Gracie's after her first birthday party. And, all of the icing on my cake (that took hours to pipe and make) slid off the cake and on to the counter.