Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gracie Has Homework

Kindergarten is stepping it up a bit.

From here on out homework will come home in a folder on Thursdays to be returned by Wednesday of the following week.

Gracie and I being the overachievers we are, decided to send it back early.

Gracie worked on her homework sheet this evening at the table while Lambie looked on.

I really love when she gets to bring things home. It gives me a chance to see how much progress she is making, plus, I get to be involved a little more in her education.

Gracie did the sheet in no time flat and had zero problems with the answers. We fixed a few letters so they looked a little better, but that was it.

Score yet another star for my little prodigy :)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Life Goes On

I know my mother is complaining somewhere about how I never update the blog. The truth this week is that there hasn't been much to blog about. Last week we had a ton of things going on, this one is a little more relaxed. Well relaxed for the kids--me, not so much. I was hoping this would be a better week, but I have to say I continue to struggle. Hopefully when spring comes life won't be so...hmmm...difficult for me.

As for the kids; Thomas walked across the living room this morning, from the couch to the wall. Gracie got to go to the school store yesterday. They opened it up this week for kids to learn math and social skills. She bought a pink highlighter and you would have thought she purchased a new car. She gets to go on a field trip to see a play later this month and is bummed because there is no room for chaperones so mommy can't go. Thomas has his 12 month pediatrician appointment on Monday, Gracie turns 6 on Friday and will have some sort of special snack at school. She will have a party at the house on Saturday. I am finished smocking her birthday dress, but haven't begun to sew it together and hope I can get most of it finished this weekend.

Garren stays busy between the home office and his trips to Richmond. He seems to be on call 24/7, but says he still likes his new job. Gracie is definitely feeling out her independence, and so is her brother. Thomas is babbling A LOT and seems to be taking after Gracie in the talking department. And, me, well I am just fried.

So, hang on, I am sure there will be plenty more to write about in coming days, and definitely next week with all of the birthday excitement for our favorite 6 year old.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mommy Gets To Help Again

I got to go back to Kindergarten this morning! I just love being given the opportunity to spend some time with Gracie at school--even if it is only for an hour.

Ms. Orndorff needed extra help today for reading groups as her assistant was out.

The kids rotated between "stations" again today, and I helped them 4-5 at a time with sight words.

The kids seem to be (in my opinion) divided up by reading skill level. And, as you can imagine my Gracie was in the "top" group. Pictured above, Gracie's group breezed through the worksheet I gave them and had no problem reading and writing the sight words on the page. So, of course I was super proud to have such a gifted child in the classroom ;)

After groups I said my goodbyes and they gathered to do a craft. I wish so much I could do more, but with Thomas, my time is limited--but not my spirit. Hopefully I can go in and participate and help with even more activities as the Kindergarten year progresses.

And, I should announce, that all the Kindergarten classes will be putting on a play on April 15th at the school. Gracie's class are ducks, and I have been asked to help with costumes (talk about a boost to my ego!) and she seems very excited about it. I of course will have tons of pictures and videos to share with our friends and family out of town. I guess this will be Garren's and my inaugural school performance. I am sure there will be tons more to come for both children.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

He Took His First Steps!!!!

Thomas' Party

How awful am I!!! A week later I am finally getting around to blogging about my son's FIRST BIRTHDAY!!! I have to say this has been such a good & horrible week. Can you have both? Why yes you can! Since I am very particular about having all of my events in their proper order, you will find the blog entry on the froggy party under Saturday, Feb 13th. You can click here, or scroll down.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Don't Step On My New Shoes

Daddy needed a new cell Thomas got his first pair of shoes.

Do you have any idea how long it takes to get a new cell phone? If you did, you would understand why I took our two small children and walked around the mall while he attempted to "close the deal."

We went in every girly store before I got the bright idea to get Thomas a pair of "walkers." I figured he was so close to walking, maybe the new shoes would inspire him.

Thomas has several pair of just for fun shoes, and he is not a fan of having them on his feet, so I wasn't sure how this was going to go.

Thankfully though he let me put them on him and tie them up without much fuss. He complained a little and tried to get them off. But, letting him out of the stroller to "try them out" seemed to do the trick. He seemed intrigued by them, and decided to ask the other baby what he thought.

I left the shoes on his feet as we checked out and they managed to remain on his tootsies until time for bed.

And for those of you who are laughing....I always have my camera on me, and I wasn't going to miss out on this exciting "first" without proper photo documentation.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Three Cranky Shipley's

Be glad you aren't in this house tonight. I've got one little girl with a very bad ear infection who has been miserable since she came home from school yesterday. A baby whose 8th tooth FINALLY came in and is really suffering. And, a mommy who is afraid she is getting sick!

Poor Gracie was eating her snack and mentions to me that her ear hurt around 4:20 yesterday afternoon. As you might guess, pediatrician's offices close around 4:30/5, and there was no way I was going to get her in. But, I managed to get someone on the phone and get an appointment for 9 this morning.

This is her SECOND ear infection in 2 months...and ever! Only this time she seems to be in much more pain. Oh, and she is throwing up too.

The doctor said not to be too concerned about the frequency as it is probably just a case of
"bad luck." And as for the vomiting, it is likely the pressure in her ear and the pain. She should be feeling better in about three days and can go back to school tomorrow. (And on a side note: my chunky monkey weighed in at a whopping 58 pounds! You wouldn't know that to look at her, but just try lifting her!!)

As for Thomas, that pesky tooth has been trying to pop through for months now. I noticed this afternoon after nap that the jagged white "spear" was just noticeable above the gum line. And, I noticed he was EXTRA moody. He has been super clingy for several days now and screams when I leave his sight for a moment. I was afraid he was getting sick, but I guess it was just that nasty ole' tooth.

I have spent the day zoning in and out of consciousness in Garren's recliner while Gracie goes through Barbie DVD after Barbie DVD. I am hoping it is just exhaustion, because the last thing we need around here is a sick servant...I mean mommy.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Another Awesome Report Card

Is she a genius or what?!!

**Click to enlarge and become as proud as I am..well almost as proud! **

Monday, February 15, 2010

Kudos For Gracie

Even Gracie's Kindergarten teacher is so very proud of her for learning all of her sight words. She was the first in her class to complete the entire 13 lists. The other students are on list 6 or 7. This afternoon she came home with a very special certificate and book as a reward from Ms. Orndorff.

Mommy's Present

What a wonderful treat for my birthday, that I got to spend an hour with Gracie at Kindergarten!

Garren was off work today, and he managed to rearrange all the things he had planned to do today in order to watch Thomas so I could go.

I got to help the kids, as they came to my table in groups, make Valentine bags to put all of their goodies in.

Ms. Orndorff had decided that the kids would have a party and do the holiday activities when ever they returned to school.

It was a fun time and Gracie was very excited to see me in her classroom.

I also brought in Gracie's Valentine's to give out and some treats for the "party" they would have at the end of the day. But, once again the snow rained on their parade. Around 1:30 the phone rang with the announcement that school would let out at 2:30. I had a feeling when the snow was falling as I left the building after helping out today.

Gracie tells me they couldn't have the party and they got fruit snacks instead. But, they did get to take home their valentines. I counted 15 in Gracie's bag, so she may get more tomorrow as a few students probably forgot theirs at home.

I rarely get to help out like I used to at preschool, so any time I get to volunteer I revel in it! Happy Birthday to me! :)

**And I was thrilled to see that Gracie's information was still on the bulletin board from when she was Star Student of the Week--wow, they have been out for a long time! But, that meant I got to see it and take a picture! ***

Sunday, February 14, 2010

You've Got To Be Kidding Me!!


Mostly Cloudy
Lo 20 °F

Snow Chance for Measurable Precipitation 100%

Hi 34 °F

Chance Snow Chance for Measurable Precipitation 30%
Lo 20 °F

Partly Sunny
Hi 35 °F

Mostly Cloudy
Lo 19 °F

Partly Sunny
Hi 38 °F

Mostly Cloudy
Lo 18 °F

Partly Sunny
Hi 40 °F

Partly Cloudy
Lo 20 °F

I am supposed to help Gracie's Kindergarten class tomorrow! Garren is going to watch Thomas and everything. Oh, and we have PLENTY of snow still on the ground, we don't need any more thanks!

Valentine's Reading

It has been a while since a book has made me want to blog...but we recommend this book to all moms & dads!

This mom and dad were giggling wright along with their soon-to-be 6 year old as read this book for bedtime. Which was perfect since today is Valentine's Day!

If you find this one at the library, the store, or at a thrift store (where I found my copy this week for $.25)--you've just got to pick it up.

We hope you all had a great Valentine's Day!

Mommy's Valentines

Lots, and lots of LOVE to all of our friends and family out there. We hope that your home is filled with as much love as ours.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Froggy Prince Celebrates

I have to say today has to be on the list of one of my favorite celebrations ever!

Our home has never been so full of friends and family and so much love and laughter. What a wonderful celebration we had for our beautiful baby boy.

I went with a "frog prince" themed party, since many of you know he became my frog prince soon after bringing him home. It was something about the way his hands turned in when I would pick him up, and later how he stuck his tongue out all the time. He was so much like a little frog. And since we already had a princess, we needed a prince to go along with her.

The afternoon didn't start off well as he only managed a 45 minute nap. I knew that wouldn't work, so I let him cry it out until he went back to sleep for a more decent amount of time.

After an hour he was up and I had him in the tub. He was soon squeaky clean and dressed in his best frog outfit. I tossed around dressing up as usual, and then I thought about cake and him crawling around for presents, and decided to put him in the frog romper I had found. I put a pair of jeans over top and he looked cute as can be.

Our usually VERY outgoing little man became very shy and clingy as the guests started to arrive. But, after some snacks and contraband chips from Gracie, he definitely perked up.

Our guests enjoyed frog and swamp themed snacks while the little prince got used to everyone, and then we let him tear in to the gifts. After he managed to get the first gift open (with a little help from sister) he was done. We actually had to hide the first gift that he loved so much so he would pay attention to the others. This was quite hilarious, and Gracie of course got to help distract him and start the paper on the others.

After we had a pile of paper and several unhappy volunteers who were attempting to get said gifts out of the packaging we got ready for cake.

Learning from my first baby, I stripped Thomas down to his onsie and put him in his seat. We sang and he got the biggest kick out of that! Mommy helped him blow out his candle and he proceeded to pick at his cake.

He loved the taste, but was kind of a killjoy as he barely touched it to get pieces. My Gracie did all but go head first in to the sugar.

Thomas ate up the cake...and the attention before getting a sink bath and thanking his many doting guests.

We thank those of you who were here so much. What a special day you made for us and our little one year old. He may not remember today--but I ALWAYS will.

There are so many good pictures that I decided to put them in a slideshow album. Enjoy, and thank you to so many who sent us wonderful birthday wishes for Thomas.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Thanks Daddy!

Gracie (and mommy) got a wonderful surprise today!

Flowers were delivered, car side, to us from Daddy.

We were on our way out when the delivery man stopped us before we could head out. He handed me mine after I stepped out the car, and opened Gracie's door and handed them to her in her car seat. You could have knocked her over with a feather!

What a wonderful surprise, and early Valentine's Day gift! She felt like such a big girl. What a sweet daddy we have :)

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

12 Months Of Wonderful

It hasn't always seemed like it, but this past year with Thomas in our lives, has been completely wonderful.

Oh, we have had our share of "downs," but this precious boy has brought more to our lives than we could ever imagine.

I think back to about those days fearful of not being able to love another child as much as I love my Gracie. As most of you promised me, there was more than enough room in my heart for Thomas, and he has given back to me 10 fold. And, then to think that I was so scared of a boy. My life had been all about a wonderful little girl for 5 long years. While everything about him is different, I couldn't love him any more, and he is definitely mommy's boy.

Sibling Rivalry
In the past 12 months we have seen a few moments of pure jealousy on Gracie's part, but on the whole it has been amazing to see our children bond. They have their moments, but are amazingly protective of each other, and oh so loving. I have no doubt that the next few years will bring challenges, but I have to say that we were blessed to have a fairly easy first year with "brother bear" and "sister bear" (that's what I call them, and they call each other, I don't care for the terms "sissy" and "bubba.").

Sleepless Nights
That hasn't changed. I haven't gotten more than 3 hours of sleep at a time since the weeks before he was born. Exhaustion has played a huge role in my recovery, my health, my mood, my energy level, and my stress. I am sorry to say that I have struggled a great deal with all of those things these past 12 months, and not all due to lack of sleep. But, I will be glad when he can make it through the night without a milk break. Since Gracie was sleeping all night by this time, this is new territory for me, and I am not of the "let them cry it out camp." But, we clearly have to do something, as I need some sleep!

So Many Smiles
They haven't stopped. I think back to those first 7 weeks of his life when I was sure he hated being born to this family. Our baby never stopped crying, he was unhappy 24/7. You would never know it now.

I get comments constantly about what a happy baby he is. And, you can see by the millions of pictures I take--he is one happy baby. Now, when he isn't happy--he is really unhappy. But those moments are few and short lived. It takes very little to put the very big, and very contagious smile back on his chubby little face. We of course are hoping that things stay that way. He is more clingy these days, and can get pretty fussy, but in coming teeth can do that to you!

So Big
There are so many milestones he has crossed this past year, far too many list. And, as I have mentioned before I am amazed daily at how fast he seems to reach those big steps. I have heard from many other mommy's with several children that second and third babies learn quicker because they have someone closer to their size to mimic.

We have reached a great deal of "goals," but we are still lacking in the "walking" department. He is cruising every where and if he would just get brave we are sure he could glide across the floor with ease. He will walk behind his "Hippo" toy, and we have even caught him taking a step, but that is all before be purposely sits down.

For fun this week, I will list the many other milestones he has reached on the left hand side of the blog.

So Much Love
And finally, we couldn't have asked for more love for our baby boy. We know that Gracie is loved, but thanks to being forced out of our purposeful seclusion, we have met and grown so close to so many people. Thomas has so many loving new friends and family in his life, it has been more than we could have ever asked for. To have people share in all of these moments, to be there for firsts and all of the "baby" times has been amazing. We didn't have that with Gracie, and now I see how much we missed out on by not sharing her.

We can't thank you enough for being apart of his life, for being apart of all of our lives. For caring about us, praying for us, spending time with us.

Despite so many struggles for me internally, and externally over the past 12 months (and for longer I am sure)--I can proudly say "life is good."

Happy Birthday Brother Bear

A very sweet Happy Birthday from Gracie to Thomas on his very special day!

Mommy's Baby Is ONE!

As of 8:08 am this morning, mommy's froggy prince is officially a year old. And, he was wide awake to see it.

He has no idea that it is a special day---but the rest of us do!

Mommy is so blessed to have you as her son, and what a wonderful year we have had. I look forward to many more years of those wonderful smiles of yours, and those full and warm hugs you love to give me.

Happy Birthday Baby Boy, mommy loves you!!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Thomas' Milestones

  • Feb 9 (2009) First Peek At The World
  • March 6 (2009) -First Birthday Party (Gracie Turns 5)
  • 1 MONTH (March 9)
  • March 16 (2009) First Smile
  • April 8 (2009) Rolls Over Tummy To Back
  • 2 MONTHS (April 9)
  • April 12--First Easter
  • 3 MONTHS (May 9)
  • June 7 (2009) First Rice Cereal Bites
  • 4 MONTHS (June 9)
  • June 10 (2009) First Baby Food
  • June 14 (2009) Rolls Over (Back To Tummy)
  • June 21 (2009) Christening
  • 5 MONTHS (July 9)
  • July 17 (2009) First Word ("Ma-Ma")
  • July 29 (2009) Sits Up
  • 6 MONTHS (Aug 9)
  • Sept 3 (2009) First Babysitter (Aunt Ruth)
  • 7 MONTHS (Sept 9)
  • Sept 11 (2009) First Football Game (Strasburg HS)
  • Sept 15 (2009) Says "Da-Da"
  • 8 MONTHS (Oct 9)
  • Oct 22 (2009) First Trip To TN/First Trip Out Of State
  • Oct 26 (2009) Pulls Up
  • Oct 26 (2009) Picks Up Food With Fingers
  • Oct 31 (2009) First Hallowen
  • Nov 2 (2009) Teeth 3, 4 & 5 Come Through
  • Nov 3 (2009) First Election
  • 9 MONTHS (Nov 9)
  • Nov 9 (2009) Claps Hands
  • Nov 15 (2009) Climbs The Stairs
  • Nov 16 (2009) Tooth #6
  • Nov 26 (2009) First Thanksgiving
  • Nov 26 (2009) First Taste Of Turkey & Pumpkin Pie
  • Nov 29 (2009) First Tooth Brushing
  • Dec 5 (2009) First Snow
  • 10 MONTHS (Dec 9)
  • Dec 25 (2009) First Christmas
  • 11 MONTHS (Jan 9, 2010)
  • Jan 25 (2010) First Whole Milk
  • Feb 2 (2010) First Juice
  • 12 MONTHS (Feb 9, 2010)
  • Feb 9 (2010) Uses Spoon To Feed Himself!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

The Blizzard Of 2010

I should probably be more impressed. But, as I mentioned earlier, I am indifferent to the snow. And, it was only a few weeks ago that we got 20 something inches.

We didn't measure this go round, but it seems we did hit the 30 inch mark.

Garren was out several times last night shoveling the areas around our cars and the sidewalk. He tells me "it is easier to shovel 6 inches 4 times, than 24 inches once."

The snow was falling about 2 inches an hour, so it didn't take long for the nice pathways he had cleared to fill in.

It is done now, and we let the kids go out and play in it.

Thomas wasn't that interested, and when I put him down in it for a few pictures he would fuss. I don't think it was the cold or the snow, he is teething and he only wants to be held. But, as long as I was holding him, he was enjoying watching daddy shovel, and Gracie and her friend Dylan climb the very tall "snow mountain" that has been created in our median.

Gracie is becoming very brave in the snow, and she even stayed out after Thomas and I went in. She climbed and climbed that mountain even though she got stuck a few times. I have to say I am very impressed with my otherwise "chicken headed' daughter.

Garren has stayed on top of shoveling the snow, and the main roads are clear, so this Blizzard doesn't seem to be hindering, at least *us,* that much.

We do hope though, that if you are under several inches as well and can't (or don't plan) to get out, you stay plenty warm. Just stay inside and enjoy the view.

Friday, February 05, 2010

It's Only Just Begun

Snow has been falling since around 9:30 this morning, but it is only now (around 3pm) that it is starting to stick.

School was canceled for today, and we are expecting 30 inches or more.

While I am definitely over winter, snow doesn't really affect me personally. I am stuck in this house if it snows, I am stuck in this house if it doesn't snow. But, now that they are calling for another round to blow through our area on Tuesday, I am getting annoyed. And, if this white stuff forces me to cancel my baby's 1st birthday party--I am going to be one grouchy mommy bear!

Now, having a February birthday myself, I know what it is like to hardly ever have a party because it always snows on your birthday. But, this is different. This is his FIRST birthday, and it is important.

But, back to the impending "blizzard." We will continue to watch and add the inches up as they fall.

As long as the power holds out, we have plenty of food and drinks, and activities to keep us busy.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

All Done!

Our Gracie has completed all 13 sets of sight words! We are so proud of her!

Today is the first, and likely only, day she has been to school this week. And, it was a big day. She took in a new stuffed friend "Hugs" to show and tell, she got the last stickers for her last two sets of sight words, brought in her book order form, and 20 cups of Jello for snack.

As you have likely seen, the sight words have made a HUGE difference in her reading ability. It bolsters your confidence to know so many words on the page without having to sound them out.

She is now doing the reading at nap time story times and bedtime as well.

And, yes, I still make my 5 year old take a "nap" on the days she is out of school. She doesn't usually sleep, but we BOTH need that "down time."

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Look At Her Go!

If the kids ever find their way back to school--Gracie will be finished with her sight word list. Yep, 13 sets of words, and she knows them all.

The last two sets were by far the hardest to get down pat, but she knows them well and I am sure she will receive her last two stickers.

I hate to brag (ha!), but we couldn't be more proud of our start student. And, as if my cheeks weren't burning enough from the Gracie read a book tonight for bed time!

It was time for story and she brought in a book and declared "mommy, I can read the first sentence of this book." Very excited for her listened as she read the sentence. I looked at the book--it was word for word. So, we kept going. Page after page she read on and on. By the time she finished the book (30+ pages), I was holding back the tears of joy and realizing I had only helped her with maybe 10 words in the whole book.

Tonight, our fabulous five year old read "Morris The Moose."

Gracie was already getting the hang of reading even before Kindergarten, but those sight words have made the biggest difference.

Tomorrow, my goal is to record a video of a few pages so you can all be just as proud as I am.

Congratulations Gracie, you read your first book!!

Milk Monster

We've Got Milk!

Technically Thomas isn't a year old yet, but last Monday I decided to give him a little taste of "big boy milk." Let's say he is a fan! In fact, he seems to prefer the whole milk.

Thomas drank quite a few bottles and sippy cups full of milk this past weekend at Grandma & Grandpa's and it seems that his little body is doing just fine with it.

For now, I am trying to give him whole milk during the day, and leaving formula for before naps and bedtime. Switching between the two seems to be doing okay as well.

So, once we get the final "okay" from his pediatrician, we will make the switch--and save a TON of money.

Being a second time mom, I have found that kids can handle quite a bit. With Gracie I made myself a nervous wreck over everything--this time I just relax (a little any way), and try things.

Milk was a hit, and now so is juice. I gave him a watered down ounce or so of Gerber apple juice tonight and he loved that as well. I think he is going to really like all of the new things being a one year old can offer.

And, no we haven't been in for his one year check up yet--but like I said, things are easier this go round, and I know my baby well enough to know that a little milk...and a little juice won't hurt him!

The Queen's Quotes Of The Day

Gracie (in a very dramatically royal tone):
"I am the queen of everything!"

(To Thomas)
"I Proclaim you the Frog Prince of Slobber!"
She taps his shoulder with the new scepter she picked out at Walmart today.

Happy Groundhog Day!

Well, it may not be such a happy occasion at your house--I heard we are in for 6 more weeks of winter.

I would believe it. Gracie is home for the second day in a row due to snow, and I am watching it fall outside the window as I type.

Since Gracie and her Kindergarten class have been talking about shadows and Groundhogs, I thought it might be fun to "capture" her shadow.

I have been trying to get her silhouette done for years now, but you can NOT do this with a child who won't sit still. So, how did I manage to get Gracie's? It wasn't easy, and you will notice like in real life--her shadow's mouth is WIDE open!

After I drew her shadow we had fun taking pictures of her making different shadows on the wall.

She really got in to this idea and was doing all sorts of different poses and laughing at herself. This is a great way to have a little fun, and maybe learn a little something a long the way.

We hope where ever you live that you are enjoying the cold and the snow, because it looks like it will stick around for a while.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Birthday Months

The Shipley family Birthday Bonanza is off and running!

Daddy celebrated his 32nd birthday yesterday, and enjoyed a nice evening out with his wife while Aunt Ruth & Uncle George braved an evening with their favorite kids ;)

Garren's birthday marks the start of our birthday months, and Gracie ends the celebration at the BEGINNING of March!


We come right off the holidays to start in with more parties and goodies and planning.

Thomas will celebrate his FIRST birthday on February 9th. I have decided on a "Frog" themed party and I hope that the snow doesn't rain...well, snow...on our parade! This is such a special event in his life, and ours. Although, I have to admit I feel so guilty about not planning sooner and making such a huge fuss over planning and preparations for this milestone! Poor Thomas is the second baby and I can't do for him what I did for Gracie. But, I can (and will) throw him a great party full of friends and family that love and adore him!

And, after his party, mommy turns 30-something, and we skip past it to make a HUGE celebration for our soon to be 6 year old!

Gracie wants a Barbie themed party this year. Funny thing I was worried about finding things to fit her chosen theme, and I have actually found more supplies for hers, and I am still struggling to find things for Thomas'!!!!

So, in the next few weeks we have a lot of celebrating to do. And, then maybe we can rest for a while. Although, Easter isn't far off the birthday horizon. Then we can rest....right?