Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Level Three!

This is the third day in a row that our daughter has astounded us by reading a level 3 reader nearly all by herself.

Gracie picked out three Aurthur books on library day at school. When she picked the first one on Monday to read for bedtime, I asked her if she wanted me to read it because it was a "3". She told me "I will read it and you can help me with any of the words I need."

I happily agreed, and my jaw nearly dropped as she went through page after page of paragraphs! I would get ready to help her with a difficult word and before I could help her sound it out, she was already saying it out loud!

We continue to be amazed at Gracie's skill level when it comes to reading, and apprently we have ample reason to. Her report card came home Friday and listed her as reading in a "Level G." Included in her folder for the day was a reminder sheet that the kids needed to be reading at a "Level A" by the end of the 4th six weeks, a "Level B" by the end of the 5th six weeks, and "Level C" by the end of the year. My Gracie is at level G and climbing! We couldn't be more excited...or more proud!

**Above is the book she read last night, which was kind of neat since they had a fire drill at school today! :) **

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Molar Woes

Did you know you could be miserable, and still look adorable?! I don't know how he pulls it off--but he can.

Tooth #12 popped through his sore and swollen gums today, also known as molar #4. Tooth #11 (AKA molar #3) came through yesterday.

Poor little guy is so miserable. His sleeping habits are back to the way they were and he is up several times a night. He doesn't want milk, just to be comforted. I hate to keep giving him Tylenol, but I practically have him on a "drip," and I am sure to give it to him as often as I can, and as often as he seems to need it.

Garren asked this morning when I saw #12 had finally reached the surface "so, he's done now right?"

Silly daddy!

Not only does he have plenty more teeth to grow, these molars are only starting their torture. They have broken the surface, but the gums are still swollen and painful and will remain that way until they push all the way through. His bottom left molar looks the worst. You can see tooth protruding from the top, and through BOTH sides of the gum. It looks awful, and I plan to keep a close watch on it. I have never seen a tooth grow this way. It is kind of like you were trying to wrap a toy in a box that wouldn't fit so eventually it just burst through the sides and top, but there is still wrapping paper covering the edges. If I can I may try to get a picture of it so maybe I can get some "expert" advice on it.

In the meantime, I was able to snap this adorable picture of him yesterday afternoon before we ran a quick errand in town. This was Gracie's old Pooh "suit." I have a Tigger one too. I can remember buying them with mom when I was pregnant with Gracie (not knowing her gender at that time) and finding tons of baby clothes on clearance at K-Mart. My how time flies!

Oh and Gracie thought he was too adorable too. His juice looks like honey, so she decided it was his honey pot. Of course then she wanted her own "honey" as well.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Cake Contest

Well, I didn't enter the cake decorating contest this weekend through the Parks & Rec Department as we just had too much going on this week. But, imagine my excitement when a Facebook friend told me about a contest online through Family Fun magazine!

I thought I couldn't possibly chicken out of this one--so I submitted my photo. The contest ends April 5th. Grand prize is a Kitchen Aid mixer.

You can vote for me by clicking this link. I decided to go with the doll cake I made for Gracie's birthday since it seemed to differ from the other cakes represented (and there are A LOT!)

There are several ways to win including most votes. But, the real winner is chosen by the website. I don't think I have much of a chance, but hey, it was fun to push myself to enter.

I am very upfront about the fact that I am not a professional, and as much as I would like, I have never had the chance to take a class. I just make them for fun.

I get great feedback on my cakes, and even if it is people just "being nice," it gives me a great esteem boost!

I have a large folder of cakes on Facebook, but as my mother often reminds me: not everyone is on Facebook, so I submit the following folder for the rest of you to view.


Oh, and I just noticed a downside to voting for me. You have to register with the site. If you have the time that will be all it "costs" you--but I can understand not to have to login. If you do register you can vote once a day until the 5th upping my totals. :)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Egg-citing Hunt

Well, it was for Gracie. Thomas just kind of stood there.

You could tell he was thinking "Mommy's an idiot! She is standing there and making big smiles and funny faces and trying to get me to do another silly thing--just like when she put me in this outfit!"

Thomas watched all of the other "little ones" and their parents, who were also having to do a lot of coaxing.

They made a separate area for the small ones (kindergarten and under), which was so smart!

Gracie was the first to capture her allotment of eggs. And, Thomas continued to stand there and try to make sense of it all.

The fact that he had no interest in scrambling for eggs was made up for by the AWESOME pictures I got.

Until this morning I have hated my new camera. It is so technological and I can't figure it out. It is all "automatic" so I don't have to change settings and such. But, it automatically takes nothing but blurry pictures! That is until today. I am so impressed with how these came out!

I did manage to get Thomas to put a few eggs (that I handed him) in the basket (that I held in front of him)--so he got some of the experience. He used his remainder of "the hunt" to chew on the plastic eggs and just look adorable.

After all of the eggs were found, we got out of the quickly cooling weather and went inside for more fun.

The kids got to decorate cookies and have several treats, after opening up their eggs and getting all the goodies inside of course!

Thomas didn't wait to decorate his cookie--he just dove in. But my artistic Kindergartner put a lot of time and effort and creativity into hers.

I think both of mommy's baby bunnies had a great afternoon, and thankfully the torrential downpours waited until the festivities were over.

Palm Sunday

Oh my Gracie did a fantastic job singing this morning! She looked so beautiful up there in front of the church.

In fact, all of the combined choirs did an amazing job with that opening song.

I am one VERY proud mommy!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

An Afternoon With Aunt Ruth

And mommy too, but when Aunt Ruth is around mommy doesn't count (as far as either one of my children are concerned! ;)

Gracie has been bouncing off the walls all week waiting for this afternoon. And, the last 24 hours have practically been unbearable as we awaited the "Cinderella play."

Aunt Ruth came and picked both of us up around 1pm to take us to the performance that was part of Gracie's birthday gift from Ruth & George.

The play started at 2 at Shenandoah University (in Winchester). After a half hour drive an a rousing game of car bingo, we found the theater and our seats.

I was intrigued by the small space and the open stage. They called it a "theater in the round." I hadn't seen one of those since my college days (and extra credit for seeing a play at the Clarence Brown Theater).

I let Gracie sit next to Aunt Ruth, a decision I am sure Aunt Ruth was regretting by the end of the first act!

Gracie is such a girl--and a very animated one at that. It is hard to describe, but when she gets excited or nervous she gets clingy and fidgety...and very giggly! She buries her head in my arm, or wraps her arms around mine and practically pulls you down. I am used to this--Aunt Ruth wasn't. But as you can imagine, it was more fun to watch Gracie watching the play, than watching the performance itself.

Although, the performance was wonderful! These college students are very talented, and I thoroughly enjoyed the play.

The story was of Cinderella, but how it is told in three different countries. They started with China, then went to Russia, and later how it is known in the Native American culture. This was such a neat thing to see as they were all different versions, but carried a similar theme.

Meanwhile the Cinderella most girls have come to know and love, narrated the stories and popped in between the others. Her story progressed as well. She introduced herself in the beginning. At the end of the first act she was going to the ball, the end of the second act she was home but back in rags, and the end of the third she was going to marry the prince.

I have to say the actress who did the traditional Cinderella was by far my favorite. She was truly talented and as Ruth mentioned later; she could have gotten a job at Disney on the spot!

When the play was finished the girls (and a few boys) got to see the actors & actresses outside. Gracie was quite nervous and clinged to Ruth, but I did manage to talk her into taking a picture with Cinderella.

These young men and women were so wonderful to the children as they left, just as personable as they were on the stage. They thoroughly thanked them all for coming and were so gracious and seemed very happy to bring so many smiles.

Even though the play was over, Aunt Ruth had another surprise up her sleeve. The three of us made a stop at Stone Cold Creamery before we headed back to Strasburg.

It was quite the fairy tale afternoon....just us girls.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Three More Cheers For Gracie

Mommy still remains "not a fan" of cheer leading class, while Gracie remains ecstatic about it.

I have nothing against cheer leading, in fact I was an adorable cheerleader myself in 5th grade. I just don't like how the class is being taught or structured.

I won't bore you with my many complaints on the class, including that I firmly believe if you teach a class, you should be able to do that which you are teaching!

Instead, I will let you watch Gracie do her first real cheer! Last week they showed them some movements. This week they showed them the whole thing. Gracie was in the back this time since we were a few minutes behind, but I zoomed in so you can see her--and the beaming pride that is on her face!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Acentuate The Positive

I have decided that I will focus on the positive of the past few days, it makes the springtime in this house a little sunnier.

I could blog about Thomas' first ever temper tantrum on Monday, where he threw himself on the floor literally kicking and screaming and throwing everything in sight.

I could blog about how the past several nights have been quite terrible. And, I could chalk both of those things up to the new molars that are attempting to reach the surface through Thomas' very swollen gums.

I could list the many, many things we have going on this week, or the never ending jobs needed to be done in and around the house.

But, I won't.

Instead I will show you the absolute cuteness that is my one year old. (You will get Gracie cuteness tomorrow since she will be having cheer leading practice and I will want to show off her new "skills" :)

Mommy's boy was WONDERFUL today. He was all smiles and hugs and simply lovable! He and Chewy spent the morning together sipping milk and toddling from toy to toy.

When I got him dressed we went to the post office and later waited for Gracie to get off the school bus.

And, as usual at choir practice tonight he was there to give smiles and giggles to all in attendance.

Today is one of those days it is fun to be a mommy. Well, it is always wonderful, but it is days like this that it seems like a breeze and you decide you want more.

To add to his cuteness this week, he has added two new words to his slowly forming vocabulary. On Monday I noticed he was saying "ch" for Chewy. He loves it when I hug Chewy and say "Hi Chewy!!!" So he would toddle over to me and offer his best friend (not letting go though!) and say "Hi Ch!"

Today he added a name. He wanted his Uncle George to take him at choir practice, but George needed to concentrate at this particular moment. Thomas yelled out (with binki in) "Uh-Gee." I thought he was grunting until he did it again, this time with his hands out for Uncle George to take him, "Uh-Gee!" So, now Uncle George is apparently "Uh-Gee."

Wonder how he is going to get out "Ruth"? :)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Playdate For Thomas

How thrilled was I that Amy and Carrington were in Lynchburg the same time we were this weekend!!

Amy's little girl Carrington is 17 months, and too cute! She was the baby that Gracie got to hold at her Big Sister Party just before Thomas was born.

Amy hadn't gotten a chance to meet my Thomas, and I was thrilled to get to see just how big that little girl had gotten.

Those two were so cute playing together at the Halpin's house this afternoon. Carrington was fascinated by Thomas, and by Gracie. Apparently she loves big girls. As for Thomas, she decided he could be like her baby doll. She wanted to much to put the bottle and his binky in his mouth. Thomas wasn't quite as willing to play along with the game. But, they were simply precious to watch as they sized each other up and interacted.

This is the first time Thomas has been around someone his own size. His last play date (and his first) was with the infant Elliott, and he was embarrassingly rough with him! This time the two toddlers just kind of chased each other and giggled.

It was such a wonderful afternoon and I am so glad that we got a chance to share our children, and our time & conversation (in between keeping those two in check! :). I hope we can do it again soon!!

Boys Are GROSS!

What is that he is eating? Play sand!

Did he like it you ask? A lot! In fact this is a photo of his 5th or 6th helping!

**The above sand, while grossing out his mommy, was safe non-toxic play sand in the covered turtle sandbox on Grandma's deck. Otherwise I would have been doing more than trying not to loose my lunch and snapping pictures! **

A Visit With The Bunny

This is the second precious picture I have of my two little darlings and the furry bunny. Of course this bunny was waiting for adorable tots in Lynchburg, while last year's bunny was holding my newborn and new big sister in Strasburg.

Gracie quickly returned to her fearful personality when we approached the surprisingly short line at the mall.

She was excited about riding the train, but not so thrilled with the 6 foot tall rabbit.

She knew it was someone dressed up and not the "real" Easter Bunny, but that argument didn't sway her. She finally begrudgingly agreed to stand beside the bunny while he held Thomas.

Thomas' reaction was completely the opposite of his sisters (which is usual). He loved the soft bunny and had no desire to get down.

After I paid the extortion fee, I got my children and they were rewarded with another ride on the train with Grandma.

I am rather pleased with the photo that I got.

So how much does a moment with the stuffed bunny run you these days? $20!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Mommy's Beach Baby Returns

The Hawiian shirts are back out!

My little man looks so good in his "beach wear" and I am so glad that I have some in his size for this summer.

In fact, I was pulling out the 18 month clothes I have stored at mom's and found so many wonderful summer prints!!

I get so many comments about how adorable he is in his wild shirts and sandals.

Of course I get many comments about how cute he is in general. But, there is something about his personality, blue eyes and blonde hair that just pop when he is decked out like a Beach Boy.

Of course the fact that I am a Beach Boys fan helps.

I think he looks most like Mike Love. Don't you?!

Now, maybe he can learn to sing like them--that would be cool. He could take some lessons from Uncle George!

Sleep Drama, Day 5

We seem to be in a rut. Things are still going well, but we are also still up twice a night, almost like clockwork. I was hoping the water-only wake up around 4/5 am would cease. No such luck. But, I still can't complain, we are down to two middle of the night alarms.

8:00 am: attempt to put a very tired and very upset baby to bed all while getting Gracie in the shower. It was a late night with cheer leading, and then Thomas was most upset about having to leave Aunt Ruth's house. He screamed the whole way home. He wanted to stay and play with Curry (their dog). He fusses on and off until around 8:45pm.

12:00 midnight: Up and crying. I go ahead and give him his one bottle for the night. He goes down well and is back asleep before I have him covered up.

4:00 am: up and crying. I wait a few minutes to see if he will try and put himself back to sleep. No such luck. He keeps reaching for me, so I hold him for a minute by his crib. I find his binki, and Chewy. I offer him the water but he smacks it away. I put him back down and cover him up. He cries for a few minutes and is back asleep. Thankfully so am I!

6:45 am: Up for the day. He has been waking up earlier and earlier as we progress. Not sure I am liking that trend!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Oh No, We Are Going To Have To Get A Dog

Nope, not for Gracie--for Thomas!

As you know Thomas is attached (and I do mean attached) to the stuffed dog we named Chewy that Aunt Ruth & Uncle George gave him for Christmas. And, now his affection for the stuffed pup has spread to all dogs.

Any time he sees a dog on TV (real or cartoon) he stops what he is doing hurries to the TV, grins, and starts "barking."

That child's face lights up whenever he sees a four legged canine.

Pictures in books, dogs in cars, dogs out for a walk--they all make his day.

This evening after cheer leading I dropped off a cake at Ruth & George's house. She was outside with Curry their old, and lovable dog. If you could have seen Thomas! Thomas has met Curry before, but he was much smaller, and less enamored with the animals.

I finally caved and let Thomas (and Gracie) out of his carseat. We were just going to stop for a minute, but they both wanted to "play" with Curry.

My son squealed and squealed over that dog--who very much deserved a WHOLE bag of treats after letting Thomas pull and poke at him. He was so kind and just kind of sat there and took all of the love and attention Thomas had for him.

When I put him back in his car seat and he couldn't see the "ooof-oof" any more, he was very upset with mommy. In fact he screamed the whole way home. He wanted to take that doggy home and carry him around like he does his Chewy.

As I listened to my son, I dropped my head and thought "Oh Lord! We are going to end up getting a dog."

**Above: Thomas with Chewy just last week, and Thomas & Curry back in January**

Gracie's First Cheerleading Practice

I say practice, but really it is a class offered by the Parks & Rec Department. I thought it would be good for her, and she has been so excited to get started. She practically bounced off the walls until time to leave this evening.

The class is once a week and she LOVED it! I was a little less impressed as there were nearly 30 girls, and only 2 instructors. It was chaotic, but of course it is for K-2, so what should I have expected?

Thomas and I sat and watched our Gracie beam as they went through warm ups, and stretches, and movements, and even jumps.

She mostly stayed beside preschool pal Carson. Actually, I noticed several Grasshopper Green girls in the group.

Clearly she is going to have a great time this spring!

Sleep Drama, Day 4

It's only getting better! I could not have asked for a better result, and of course I am kicking myself for not trying it sooner.

Last night he slept until 1am!

1:00 am: he took 3 ounces of a 4 ounce bottle. Got a diaper change and went back to sleep easily.

4:30 am: woke up screaming and shaking (can babies have bad dreams?) I held him next to the crib, but didn't take him out the room. He was so bad I knew he needed to be touched and comforted. He gulped down the water from the water bottle. I found his binki, gave him Chewy and covered him up again. He fussed for a minute or two and then was back to sleep. Again though I laid there for an hour unable to go back to sleep myself. Now, I just need to work on me :)

He stayed down until he was up for the day.

I was thinking I would just do one more night with milk, and then I remembered we are going to Lynchburg this weekend where he will be in a different environment. I will cut off the milk when we get back. But, I do plan to keep the same schedule as at home--1 milk a night, the rest water.

Wish us luck!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I was hoping to get a picture of both kids in green, but our afternoon got very hectic, very quickly. I had also planned a "green" dinner, but daddy needed us to do a long distance errand. Hopefully I can do it tomorrow.

In the meantime, enjoy my smiling emerald princess!

Sleep Drama, Day 3

After 13 months of being up all night, and barely getting 3 hours of sleep at a stretch, I have decided to take matters in to my own hands.

I really thought that as he got bigger, he would sleep longer, and better. Apparently he loves his nightly snuggles with a half asleep mommy.

So, the milk breaks have to go.

Since he was getting 3-4 bottles a night, and taking various amounts each time, I have decided not to cut him off cold turkey. I will reduce the bottles to ONE per night and then once we tolerate that, take the milk away completely. I also plan to do the water suggestion that the pediatrician recommended. I figure he sleeps for roughly 12 hours a night. He can have one milk at 6 hours into the evening. So, roughly around 1am.

I have to say, while I am still up at night, things are going pretty well.

The Milk Log:

Day 1 (Sunday night into Monday morning)

Disasterous! I don't think milk had anything to do with it, but he was up ALL night.

9pm: up crying (screaming) Found his bink, put him back down. Cries a little more before falling back to sleep.

10:30 pm: up crying again. Found his binky, gave him a little water, put him back down. Residual crying until back to sleep.

11:45pm: up crying. Change his diaper. Find bink, give him Chewy, put him back down. Residual crying until back to sleep.

12:50pm: Figure the 10 minute difference wouldn't be that big of a deal. Give him 4 ounces of milk. He goes down easy--no residual crying.

4:45 am: Up and screaming. Try to give him water, he smacks the bottle. Give him bink and cover him back up. He continues to cry and fuss for the next HOUR!!!

6:00am: I cave, give him a bottle so I can get 45 minutes of sleep before I have to get up and get Gracie ready for school. He goes back to sleep easily.

8:15 am: He is up for the day.

Day 2 (Monday night into Tuesday morning)

***He sleeps from the time I put him down until 2 am!!! This is a HUGE victory. I don't know if denying him milk had anything to do with it, but I will take it!! ***

2:00am: Fix him 4 ounces of milk, he only takes 2! Goes back to sleep easily.

5:00 am: Up and crying. He continues to fuss off and on for an hour. Seems like a trend is forming!

6:00 am: back to sleep

9:00 am: up for the day

Day 3 (Tuesday night into Wednesday morning)

10:45 pm: Crying. Give him a bink and a sip of water. He grabs Chewy and rolls over and goes back to sleep! No residual crying! Another HUGE victory!

1:00 am (almost on the nose!) Cries. Takes 2 ounces of the 4 ounces of milk I fixed him. Goes back to sleep easily.

5:00 am: crying. Refuses water. Give him his bink. He fusses a for a minute and then goes back to sleep. Too bad I didn't! I was preparing to hear him for his usual hour of screams, and got too awake apparently.

So, it is going okay. I am hoping that tonight will be even better than last night, and the next, and the next. I am thinking since he is now not even taking all of his milk, I can wean the bottles out completely in another day or two.

Keep your fingers crossed for us!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Thomas' First Haircut

Apparently no one was a fan of me pulling out Gracie's old hair clips and pulling it back. And, it was getting in his eyes, nose, food, and much much more.

It was way past time.

I knew it had to be done, but considering how he responds to people touching him, I knew taking him somewhere wasn't an option.

Ruth and I talked about double teaming and I hold him while she clipped. And, that was the original plan. But, while he was in the tub tonight I started to wonder if I could just trim it by myself. I knew Ruth was busy and it is pouring down rain. So, I took a shot at it. And, I am surprised at how well it came out. I kept imagining what Brian's hair looked like after he decided to cut it when he was 3! I just knew Thomas was going to jerk his head and it would be lopsided, or end up in a buzz cut.

We managed to make it out of the process with minimal fussing from either of us, and I have a little baggy of blonde curls to show for it.

There are some spots that don't look quite "perfect," but I think I will be happy with what I got done. I was able to trim about 1.5 inches off the top (which needed it the worst), and about an inch from the back (he was starting to look like a little girl).

I think he is as handsome as ever now. And, he will look wonderful for church tomorrow as he watches his sister sing in the choir loft.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Am I Supposed To Stop Counting Now?

I don't know whether or not I am, but each month on the 9th I am reminded of what a special little man I have in my life.

Today he is 13 months old.

You probably stop keeping track of these things at 12 months, but I have never been your average mommy. And I certainly wouldn't stop keeping track of all the great things he is doing!

Thomas is walking up a storm. He doesn't really stop. He will crawl for only a few paces until he finds something to pull up on, and then he is off again. And, he is getting fast!

He has some pretty swollen gums, and is quite miserable. So, more teeth are in our not so distant future. I just hope this one (these) don't take as long to pop through as #8!

He loves his juice and his milk. He has mastered the sippy cup quite well, but I still have some bottles in play. Really though, it is just because I need to get some more sippy cups.

He is still up 2-3 times a night, and I admit I have ignored the doctor. He is just so small, and I worry about him. I know he is hungry and I am still giving him formula at night. We will work on getting rid of that--I know it has to be done, I am just not looking forward to the several nights of listening to him scream it out.

Yeah, he doesn't really cry--he screams. But, when he is not screaming (and those fits are VERY rare) he is the happiest baby ever. I get stopped and told that all the time. He just always has a grin or a smile on his face and he makes other people smile--which in turn makes me smile. I love being the mother of someone who has touched so many lives. If I had a dime for every person that has told me how much brighter Thomas made their day...well, I would be very rich. And, clearly by having him as a son, I am indeed very rich.

He babbles a lot, and he is very definite in his conversations. He knows what he is saying and he is very sure of himself. Eventually I will be able to understand him. We don't have a whole lot of new words, and while his development is miles ahead, his verbal & language skills seem very "behind" to me. I am not worried over it, but he doesn't say much. But, he smiles plenty.

Let's see...

Thomas' Vocabulary

*Da-Da: daddy
*Da-dee: Daddy
*Ma-Ma: Mommy
*Gay-ee: Gracie
*Uff-Uff (barking): Chewy usually, or if he sees another dog
*All-gon: all gone
*All-dun: all done
*C-ap: clap (and then he claps his hands)

That's pretty much it. He can gesture and let us know what he wants, but he doesn't say much, unless it is his babbling. We will get there, and I am sure he will be as chatty as his sister. Well, maybe not, she may not let him get a word in edge wise ;)

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Mommy Makes A Dress

My first attempt ever at smocking and dress making came out pretty well if I do say so myself.

Actually I am thrilled that she is even wearing it! I have so little free time and even less energy and I just about tossed the whole project until Ruth decided to give me the kick in the b...I mean encouraging boost I needed.

I am hoping to make another one for her soon so I won't forget how I did it! I learned so much along the way, and I have an understanding of what to do better/different next time.

I am very thankful to Mrs. Halpin for taking the time to show me how to smock! I have wanted to learn for so long and made up my mind to figure it out now that finding smocked dresses for Gracie in her size is nearly impossible.

Oh, and not only did I find time to make a dress (it took 4-5 days), but I also found the left over material (and time) to make her a matching purse and hair bow. She looked so cute for church.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Barbie Party

You know how special your child is from the day they are born, and you can't imagine loving them anymore than you did in that moment. But you will. Trust me you will!

And, you will never know how much your child is loved by others until you have a day like I had.

Today marks the second time in 2 weeks that I have felt so blessed. What a wonderful afternoon. Friends and family at our home, (willingly!) to celebrate the anniversary of our daughter's birth.

Gracie was all decked out in pink, and she sure was the belle of the ball.

We had a candy necklace craft to do, Barbie writing activities, cake, and presents too.

Our home looked like a bubble gum factory had exploded, but it was a wonderful setting for such a princess-y day.

And a special guest also came to the party just to see her. Her teacher! If you could have seen the look on her face when Ms. Orndorff arrived. She was thrilled to show her everything, and I mean everything.

Everyone was a good sport with all of the Barbie activities, and Gracie just beamed the whole time.

I have millions of pictures, and I decided it was best to do like I did for Thomas' party. Enjoy the album. It doesn't compare to the real thing, but you will get a pretty good idea of how much she was celebrated today.

Morning Out

As if her birthday weekend couldn't get any better!

Gracie and Aunt Ruth & Uncle George spent the morning before her party together. Poor Logan went along too and sacrificed his first Saturday home from college to spend with our favorite 6 year old.

They took her to the Home Depot Kids Workshop. This time they made the cutest little birdhouse shaped rain gauge. And Uncle George seems to have all of his fingers intact after the experience.

Gracie proudly showed off her new pins on her Home Depot apron, and even got to bring home the project from last month which was snowed out.

And, her fun didn't end there.

She was taken to breakfast and even out shopping.

Her day is already shaping up to be a great one!

And, mommy especially thanks them all for taking her so she could get party preparations done, and she really, really thanks them for taking pictures!!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Birthday Dinner

Daddy got his dinner with Gracie last night, thanks to a very fussy Thomas--but I was sure to get my turn tonight with the birthday girl.

Daddy was in Richmond today, but I braved a Friday night out with my two little munchkins and we celebrated Gracie's big day...again :)

Gracie picked Applebees (surprise, surprise) and the excitement was too much. She couldn't even eat her dinner, and she barely touched her desert. But, she was all smiles.

I gave her an early gift bag full of goodies, and of course along with desert came a chorus of waiters to sing to my newly crowned 6 year old.

During dinner Gracie got birthday calls from Mamaw, Daddy, Grandma & Grandpa, and Candice. She is one little loved lady. Add those calls to the one she got from Aunt Ruth this morning, the birthday bonanza at school, and the tons of people wishing her well via email and she is one little popular lady.

She has had a good day, and is now in bed where a birthday princess should be. After all, she needs her beauty sleep for her big Barbie party tomorrow. :

Birthday School Surprise

I don't guess it was much of a surprise since Gracie knew Thomas and I were coming to her classroom today to deliver a special snack, but you couldn't tell it by the look on her face when she saw us.

Actually, everyone seemed to be excited by our arrival. I take that back, every one was excited by Thomas' arrival.

As Thomas and I waited to get to Gracie's classroom, a massive line of 5th graders were exiting the cafeteria. We waited for the line to pass which has many kids from the church in it. But they weren't the only ones making a huge fuss over my baby. Other kids, teachers, parents, staff, etc all loved to watch his little face light up at all the attention.

When we got to the classroom he got ever more attention.

I did let him out of the stroller briefly and he found toys to occupy his time.

When the kids came back from music, we were waiting. I let him down to go and give Gracie a hug. He smiled at the line of kids and then made a bee line for the toys he was playing with.

I scooped him up and he gave his sister a big sloppy slobbery finger to the face, and I attempted to keep him out of trouble as class resumed.

Gracie got to see the cupcake "cake" that I brought in, and she was thrilled with its Barbie theme. She was so proud to help handout the cupcake snacks, all while donning her "Happy Birthday" hat she had apparently gotten that morning.

Only two kids passed on the snack. Gracie happily licked all of the frosting off of hers, and was nice enough to share some bites with her brother--which of course was too cute!

We didn't stay too much longer as he was being a handful and I knew the teacher would likely want to restore order for the rest of her day.

We kissed the birthday girl goodbye and headed out. We will have more fun with sister bear later.

The Birthday Girl Is Off

Gracie practically floated out of the house this morning to get on the bus. Ah, I remember the days when your birthday was something so special. And, I am thrilled that she feels so loved and so special that her birthday makes her feel wonderful.

Of course getting a birthday phone call, complete with song, from Aunt Ruth this morning likely helped!

My 6 year old even woke herself up this morning and came in to my room to get me. She had a huge smile on her face and said "I was too excited to sleep in!"

She looks lovely this morning in her yellow dress and tights and Mary Janes. We don't usually get that dressed up for school, but she wanted to wear something special and I was happy to oblige.

I am sure my birthday girl is going to have a great day at school. And, Thomas and I will get to share a little bit of it with her. He and I will deliver her special birthday school snack around 2pm today. I will definitely post pictures :)

**Okay, I am really not liking this new camera! I think I will take the old one to school today so I don't chance missing such a special moment! This picture (along with almost all I took yesterday at her school are blurry!!! And, this one is dark too! **

Thursday, March 04, 2010

100th Day Of School

100 days already!

Actually, it seems more like a million when your first born is gone all day. But, the certificate is true: she really is 100 days smarter.

It has been amazing to watch her grow socially and intellectually. I am so proud of her!

The class was asked to bring in 100 of something. After making a short list of ideas we decided on 100 beads. She and I counted them out yesterday afternoon and made the lovely necklace that she wore to school today.

Mommy also got to help Gracie and her class celebrate. I got a chance to volunteer for the early morning hour once again. I helped the kids make a 100th day of school snack. They counted by 10's and added 10 of 10 things. We had Cherrios, Goldfish crackers, M&M's, raisins, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, marshmallows, CoCo Puffs cereal, peanuts, & pretzel sticks.

I chuckled to myself as the same responses were in each group "I'm hungry!" "Can we have some now?!" "I don't like (fill in the blank)!"

All but one group finished up before time was up, and then Ms. Orndorff gave me a book to read to them: The Night Before The 100th Day Of School. It was an adorable book and I loved reading it to all of those eager faces. They are still at the age where they listen intently to a story.

Gracie bounced off the bus this afternoon and apparently had a great rest of the day after I left. Of course, her birthday is tomorrow, so she is having a pretty good week so far!

Happy 100 Days Of School Gracie!
We Are So Proud Of You!!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Watch Him Go!

The last video I shared was of his first steps. See him now!

I took this video this evening while Gracie was at choir practice. Apparently I was somehow covering up the mic that is on this new camera from time to time. I better learn this thing quickly before I miss anymore precious audio!!

Monday, March 01, 2010

He Feels So Much Heavier!

22 pounds? Seriously? Maybe we should weigh him again, he feels like so much more. On second thought, never mind--that means I have to get on the scale again!

My usually happy baby was happy while waiting for his 12 month pediatrician's appointment. He was significantly less happy when someone attempted to touch him. And, do you know what happens when your child won't stand on the big scale, or sit on the baby scale? They make the mommy stand on the big scale and hold the baby. Then, she has to stand alone and stare at her weight before they subtract. That was a nice self esteem boost for mommy! :(

After a very long wait (they were extra busy they said) we got a chance to see the doctor. He screamed his head off as she had the audacity to touch him. But moments later the drama, and the tears were over. Little did he know of course that the worst part was to come.

Thomas is a healthy boy, but he remains below the 50th percentile for height and weight. This of course makes me worry as I have never had an average baby. Gracie was in the 90th percentile for her whole growth until she literally fell off the charts. So, to have a baby that is so small (on paper) is difficult for me to deal with. But, the doctor was insistent that he was fine.

She also said he should be sleeping through the night. I am not sure if he was listening, but when I repeated it to him she laughed. I like this pediatrician so much more than Gracie's. She knew he should be staying asleep all night, but also knew that babies are different and they don't automatically follow the rules. She did suggest I cut off night time feedings. If he wants a bottle give him water instead of milk. We will see how this works--but I am doubtful.

He is now on whole milk, and eats everything he can get his hands on and his slightly below average weight is likely due to his over-activity.

He weighed in at 22 pounds, and as I said he is just below the 50th percentile for height and weight.

His size is the only thing average on him though. His big ole head is in the 75th percentile! She says he must have a big brain in there ;) And, he is at a 17 month developmental level! Of course having an older sibling is helping that, but I can't help but be proud.

Outside of the check up, Thomas went from his first steps to walking just about everywhere. He didn't slow down and rarely falls over. He LOVES bananas and can eat a whole one himself. He prefers to eat it out of the peel, and I have found it is actually safer because when he has pieces cut up he tends to put 4-5 in his mouth at once!

As for words besides "mama" and "dada" : "all gone," "gay-e" (Gracie), "ooof-oof" (he barks for Chewy and when he sees a picture of another dog). He doesn't talk a lot, but he makes sure we know what he wants. He can point, he does a few signs, and when we ask about an object he will look towards it. But, he is by no means quiet! Gracie taught him to squeal, and it is a very high pitched cross between a girl and a pterodactyl!

He of course loves to laugh and clap his hands and play peek-a-boo and patty-cake. And now he dances to music. He is just generally a very happy and healthy baby boy.