Thursday, April 29, 2010

Proud Big Sister!

Cheer Along With Gracie

Here is this weeks new cheer.

Well, actually it was last weeks, but Gracie had to miss practice since she came down with a nasty cold. We made her stay at home from school and rest. So, when you see it you can tell she is a little uneasy with it. But, she will have it in no time.

Tooth #13

He is only 14 months, and number 13 has popped through. Can you believe it?!! I have never heard of a child so young with so many teeth. And the poor thing still has 3 more trying to come in as well. Not to mention that those molars are not all the way "done" yet.

It is no wonder he is so fussy and doesn't like to sleep.

Yea, the all nighter only happened twice for us. He will go back to sleep pretty easily, but he is back to his old habits of waking up crying at least once a night.

C'est la vie.

When I can get a picture of his very full mouth, I will be sure to share it. Maybe it will be one of a grin and not a scream :)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Queen Of Quotes

Just when I thought the things that came out of her mouth couldn't be more adorable...she wows me again.

On the way to the car for choir practice..

"Whew, its hard work being a big sister!"

In the car...

"I can do it mommy. I am a genius you know!"

Tonight during the story she was reading..

(from book) "Dinosaurs lived millions of years ago." (Gracie interjects) "Yea mom--like back in 1980!"

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Missing Aunt Ruth

(and Uncle George too!)

I am not sure who has missed whom more--her or them!

Since Wednesday night's choir practice was canceled this past week, and since we missed church last Sunday for our trip to Richmond, it had been 1.5 weeks since she was able to spoil them rotten.

Aunt Ruth & Uncle George missed church services this morning for a fun day on Skyline Drive, and Thomas was quite aware that they were gone. He kept walking to the piano and her seat and looking at me.

But, I guess they couldn't stand the wait any longer, because they came over to see their favorite (well, in my opinion any way :) kids this evening.

I let them both stay up past their bedtimes so they could have a nice long play visit with Aunt Ruth & Uncle George. Then a very large, and very loud storm allowed them to stay even longer to catch up on missed time.

I am sure that we won't go this long without seeing them again. Well, for as long as we can anyway.

One of my Facebook friends reminded me so well this morning: you can work on your "to-do" lists and "want to do lists" any old time, but spending moments with family that you love is far more important...and more rewarding. So, if you have people you adore in your life as much as we do--take the time to go and visit, other things can wait. You will be glad you did :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Moment From My Crazy Life

God has a sense of humor--I am convinced of it!

While I am still on my high of a full nights sleep for my precious baby boy, I will chuckle and show you what he is like whether he has slept or not!!

This is just a few moments of my typical day with Thomas. I have my hands full! I have told so many that this little boy has opened up a whole new adventure for me.

I pulled out the camera to take a video of him anyway, I have so few since I spend most of my time chasing him. It was then that he grabbed the remote. And, I thought, what a better video than a clip of my daily battle with that onry little stinker.

He of course is not allowed to have the remote. And while the audio is awful on it, watch his little face and see how he knows what he is doing and is proud of it. He manages to not only get the remote, but turn it to the soaps (like I need more drama!) and get the menu to some how come on.

Well...just watch!

Thanks To The Lord!

I thank God everyday for many things in my life including my family, what is left of my sanity, a wonderful town to live in, amazing teachers, and loving friends.

This morning I praise him for my son's ability to finally sleep through the night!!!

After 14 MONTHS & 2 WEEKS, Thomas made it through the night last night without so much as a peep!

I still struggle myself a bit. I am waking up many, many times a night. I think it is because I am programmed to. It is like I am waiting for him to wake up screaming. I did the same thing the ONE night I got off baby duty when mom and dad kept him last Saturday night. So, hopefully my sleep will improve soon as well, and thus my energy level and attitude.

I can't imagine that this long is "normal" for a child, in fact I am sure it is pretty rare. And, the truth is I probably could have made him "cry it out" many months ago. I have just never been a fan of this method.

The things you do your your children out of love. It was never about the convenience of sleep for me--it was out of devotion to him.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Crib

We were just waiting for it to happen.

There is nothing like the horror you feel when you hear a loud "thud," a pause, and the crying screams from your baby.

I have to remind myself that I am not a bad mother, and likely all of them have heard that awful sound and go rushing in to the rescue.

My son had apparently decided he didn't want to take a morning nap. He tried to climb out of his crib. Of course the only place he got to go, was the floor beside the crib.

I have no idea what went through his mind, and I probably never will.

It is unlikely that he fell out since the rails are still pretty high on his body when he stands. So, I am pretty sure he decided to go "over the wall"

Time to lower the floor of the crib.

But, you mark my words. When a child is that determined to get out, a few inches won't stop him!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Passing The Torch

Gracie picked out one of her library books from school for a bedtime story tonight.

It seems like only yesterday I would snuggle up with her and read her one of her favorites: The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

She would giggle at the list of all the things the fuzzy bug would eat and she would gasp while still clutching her binki in her mouth when he would turn into the butterfly.

Tonight she read me the beautifully illustrated book.

I tried not to be too loud when I gasped at the end of the book--for she read the whole story without missing a word.

Talk about turning into a beautiful butterfly. My little girl has really spread her wings, and continues to show me every day how high she can soar.

Sleeping Baby

Well, who would have thought?!!!

Thomas slept through the night last night!!

Well, mostly.

He woke up at his regularly scheduled "feeding freebie" around 1am. But, I wasn't going to give in. Of course in order to "give in," I would have had to have been more conscious than I was. I was out like light last night.

Garren found his binki and gave it to him.


15 minutes later he is fussing again, but not too badly.

I close the door so I can be stronger by not hearing the crying too loudly. He must have stopped pretty quickly, because I was sound asleep in no time.

The next thing I know it is 4am. I have Garren open the door while he was up.

My good little boy stays asleep soundly until 6:45am!!

I fix him a bottle as a reward, and he snuggles in my arms and sleeps lightly until around 7:10am--just in time to get Gracie up and ready.

Please, oh, please don't let this be a fluke! Of course after 14 months, I am pretty sure I have earned an easy transition to "sleeping through the night."

We shall see if it sticks.

I am usually weepy when a phase in my children's lives are over. I think I would rather jump for joy on this one!

Monday, April 19, 2010

7 Years

We will start... and end... our 7th year in Strasburg this year. In fact, the 7th wonderful year here in the Shenandoah Valley began earlier this month.

Is it possible to miss a place when you haven't even left?

I have been taking Thomas on walk every other day or so, just to get out of the house. And, it has been a God-send. We aren't out long, but what a new outlook I have just taking those few minutes and getting out of this house and into the sunshine!

On our walks we talk about all of the things we see. Occasionally, we go into a thrift store or watch the creek or birds.

I had my camera in the diaper bag. I have been taking pictures around town for sentimental reasons, and today I started to remember some of the places I have pictures of Gracie when we went on these same walks when she was little.

I made a conscious effort to place Thomas in some spots and and I got a few snapshots.

It made me a sad. But, I pressed on not allowing it to steal the good moods that these walks produce.
This afternoon I decided to take the kids to the playground to play. And boy did they enjoyed themselves. I realised it was only Thomas' third trip to the park. He is walking around now and attempting to climb on the equipment.

My mind started to wander and I couldn't seem to stop it. What if we can't find such a good place to live? Will there be a safe and family-oriented playground? Will we find a church and get involved? Thomas is going to miss out on so much.

I have to snap out of this, or I will miss out on the next couple of months. I miss Strasburg and we haven't even left yet!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Gracie's Quote Of The Trip

"You can always count on me Thomas!"

( to her little brother after helping him reach a toy on our very long trip home.)

Richmond Fun

Before we got down to business and toured outlying communities, we surprised Gracie with a lot of fun!

I can not adequately describe her face when she found out we were taking her to Kings Dominion.

We arrived a little before noon and it was a great day to be inside the amusement park! The weather was perfect: we had the warm sun and the cool breeze the whole day.

If you were like me and you were raised in Lynchburg you went to Kings Dominion about once a year with some group or another. But, trust me--it is nothing like it used to be.

Now it is pretty much a large space for roller coaster junkies. So, Garren was in heaven. Gracie and I had a harder time finding things we wanted to do, but we managed just fine and had a great day.

Gracie drove one of the old fashioned cars, we took several spins around the carousel and the ferris wheel, she rode 2 roller coasters with daddy, and even got brave enough to do the one ride mommy wanted to do: the log ride.

I have several great pictures from the day, and in general a great memory that will last for a long time.

I love my Thomas, but I have to admit spending that day solely focused on Gracie was wonderful. She is getting so big and so grown up and we depend on her to do so many things for herself. I feel like I have missed out on so many moments with her.

Today I think I made up for it.

And, I know she will remember this trip for a long time.

Richmond Tour

I am not sure you could call this weekend a "success," but that's only because I am not exactly sure what we hoped to accomplish.

We dropped Thomas off with Grandma & Grandpa in Lynchburg, and we three remaining Shipley's ventured to the greater Richmond area in the hopes of getting ourselves more familiar with the place.

I was supposed to be checking out the locations, seeing all there is to do, but I couldn't help but see all the things that weren't there.

But, I managed to suck it up the best I could, and I have to say it wasn't at all like I had imagined. I am not sure what I thought I would find, but I know that I am officially a "towney."

Everything was so big and so spread out. There were tons of restaurants and stores and the main roads seemed to go on for miles. I didn't exactly have a panic attack, but I became so overwhelmed with it all. How would I find everything? How many thousands of people live here? How many kids will be on her school bus? Can we really afford to live here?

We didn't ride around too long. We looked at Ashland and Mechanicsville, along with the many miles in either direction. But, it wasn't until we were on our way back to Lynchburg that I finally found a place that peeked my interest.

It was a small space about an hour outside of Richmond called Powhatan.

It looked like a small, quaint, pretty place to live.

This of course lead to the accusation by my loving husband that I am a hippie straight off the commune.

I can't help it. I love this small town and I don't want to leave. But, since I have to, I want to keep the town-sized traditions I have grown to love. I want a Main Street to take the kids for a walk on. I want to have festivals and watch parades. I want to be able to walk from the Post Office to the library. I want all of the traffic to stay on the Interstate.

Now, if I can just find that a little closer to Richmond. An hour is too much for Garren to commute.

So back to the drawing board.

We got a pretty good look at the place we will call home, but now we just have to find a home we can all love.

Easy, right?!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Gracie's Kindergarten Play

My little angel was the best, and cutest duck on the stage!

Gracie and her class were a flock of ducks for their Kindergarten play "E-I-E-I Oops!"

She tells me it is about a cow who has lost her "moo."

The eight other Kindergarten classes were in the performance too. They were each classes of different barnyard animals (sheep, horses, bunnies, cats...etc)

I got Gracie to her classroom where they were supposed to meet. The teachers seemed to have it under control, but I helped her into her costume any way. They had made yellow hand prints on yellow t-shirts to look like a duck body with feathers. They each had a duck hat, and orange felt webbed feet cut outs to go over their shoes.

She looked too precious--as did the other kids in her class.

I snapped picture after picture, before I hurried to find Garren in the cafeteria/gym where the performance was held.

After switching cameras twice (yep I took 3 cameras, 2 camera cards, and an extra battery!!) I was finally able to zoom in on her section of the stage. I watched her when I could, and was so proud to see her singing along with songs and really getting in to it.

The performance was about 20 minutes long, and we waited for the kids to file back out before we could go and pick them up.

When I arrived at her classroom I found them all lined up in the front of the room with parents snapping group pictures. I quickly found a spot and snapped as many as I could, hoping to get one with everyone facing forward.

My poor little duck looked so overheated! I tried to convince her to take off her hat and cool off a bit, but she was too proud of it.

I snapped a few more pictures including ones with her teacher and her "best friend" Rebecca.

Before I signed her out, the teachers gave me a gift! The prettiest bunch of potted daisies. It was a thank you for dyeing the kids t-shirts, which of course wasn't necessary--I love being able to help in any way I can.

It was a while before we were able to get out of the school parking lot, but I gave Gracie a special "congratulations" card from mommy and daddy to read while we waited.

She got another surprise when we got home. I had gotten her a bunch of flowers, but was unable to get them in the car without her seeing them. But, she was thrilled to get them at home.

She had a good night, and she was exhausted! I can only imagine trying to get her up for school in the morning!

My Little Ducky

I edited a small video clip where you can see Gracie. Although it isn't in focus, at least there aren't any other heads in it. But you will hear the noise from the room.

Look for the cutest duck in the bunch. Or, the 4th duck from the end (start left) on the top row.

I Am NOT Going To Make It

Also known as the prequel to "Gracie's Kindergarten Play"....

I am going to have a heart attack before she graduates High School--I just know it!

If you could have seen me last night--you probably would have laughed. Although, Garren was sitting beside me, and he wasn't laughing. He didn't understand why I was the way I was...but he sure wasn't enjoying my short fuse.

I was a mommy scorned!

I had waited weeks for this moment. My daughter's first school play. I helped the teacher dye all of the shirts, I made her a special hair bow to wear (even though I knew they were wearing a hat as as apart of their costume), I got a special babysitter (thanks Mallory!) for Thomas so I could focus on her, and I was sure to get to the school 40 minutes before the start of the play.

Now, if you have already been through your child's first performance, you will get a chuckle out of this because I am assuming that all of us "first timers" get all worked up over such things.

I sent Garren to get us a seat and I took Gracie to her classroom. I snapped a ton of pictures after helping her into her costume. I was so proud and I kissed her for good luck.

That was the end of my happy mommy mood.

I found Garren at the way back of the cafeteria/gym. He had managed to get an end seat, but it was so far back and I was already discouraged.

My mental state did NOT improve as I watched parent after parent and sibling after sibling walk up the isle and block the view for me, and many, many others.

This continued to happen through out the performance, and everyone was talking behind me and in front of me, I have no idea what the kids were saying.

I was about to boil over!! I had planned to video the entire performance for those who weren't there to see it later. Not only were we so far back that the zoom could barely get her (and it is NOT in focus because she was so far away), there are countless numbers of people who walk in front of me.

They had asked that everyone stay seated, which did not happen!!

Are you laughing at me yet? Because I was moments away from going postal!

This was MY child's first play. That was MY baby on that stage! And thanks to countless people who had no respect for me, or quite frankly for the child they came to see--I missed out on it.

I took as many pictures and small video clips as I could, and I couldn't help but start to get angrier. I knew this was going to happen at her Kindergarten graduation. And if they thought I was mad now--missing my child get her diploma would in fact send me over the edge.

I thought the evening couldn't have gone worse, although I was sure to put back on my "prouder than pie" face when I went to get Gracie from her classroom. Of course I didn't have to "pretend" but for a few minutes. I missed practically the whole thing--but I was just a pile of mush when I got to my baby.

But, the evening did get worse.

Apparently it was library day and I forgot again to send in her books. She told me how she had to sit at the table and not get up. I fought back tears the rest of the night. But, it wasn't just that....there is no Kindergarten graduation.

Apparently there are too many kids to try and have a ceremony.

I am completely crushed!

Now, scroll up and hear all the wonderful things about my Gracie's first play!!!!

Nope, Still Not Sleeping

Okay, that's pretty bad...but you have to laugh about it--or you'll pull your hair out!

It is time to take drastic measures.

No, we aren't giving him away! But, 14 months without a full night sleep is too much.

I had gotten him down to being up just once a night--but that didn't last long. He is now back to screaming 3-4 times a night, despite the fact he only gets ONE feeding (and it has been consistent that way for a month!) a night.

I am just going to have to let him cry it out. I only hope it is for just a night or two--you have no idea how stubborn he is. Oh, and he doesn't cry...he does this high pitched pterodactyl scream and he will go on for 20 minutes or longer if you make him wait it out.

So, unless Grandma performs a miracle when we drop him off in Lynchburg this weekend, he will be a very unhappy baby for a few nights when we return home. Of course that means I will have even less sleep--but if it will help him sleep through the night, it will be worth it.

Won't it?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I Had No Idea

I had no idea people read the blog. Seriously!

I knew that my mother read it, and often complained because I didn't update it enough. Mom, Candice and occasionally Ruth were all that seemed to ever comment. I figured a few out of town/state relatives and maybe a friend or two stopped by to see what was going on in our lives every once in a while--but that was it.

You can imagine my surprise, and later incredible embarrassment when comment after comment, and email after email, and phone call after phone call came in. I am very warmed by the outpouring of concern--and so very embarrassed! I had no idea that so many people would read my words on a very "drama queen" kind of a day!

First of all: I am okay.

I have felt pretty low since the birth of Thomas, and to be honest it has only gotten worse.

There are days I am fine, and then there are days when I can't see my way out.

Saturday was one of the worst I have ever been through.

I woke up feeling like I couldn't be any worse to my myself and especially others. I was a big fat failure and it made it hard to breathe. And, then I realize later that I can feel more like a failure.

The comment made that sent me over the edge was "what should we be doing?" Yep, that was it. No one insulted me, no one criticized me or my children. It was nearly an observation they were making about their life. But, that innocent sentence just stuck with me like acidic glue.

Let's rewind....

The past several months I have been battling a case of the "mommy blues" (sounds cute huh?!). I am severely sleep deprived since Thomas is STILL up 2-3 times a night (and has been for 14 months straight now!). I don't eat well, or at all. And, I am just plain run down.

Everyone seemed to have a solution on how to solve this small problem in my life, except me. Garren's solution: stop doing extra's like smocking, sewing, decorating cakes & making hair bows--the few things I do that aren't taking care of the children or this house. The "Experts" solution: take time for your self--when do I have time to take time for myself? Three level house, kindergarten, a husband & 2 kids are what is overwhelming me, I can't add in anything else. Solution offered by several friends: get a babysitter and go out with Garren. 1. Garren works ALL THE Time 2. I can't leave Thomas with anyone, he is too poorly behaved.

I couldn't see any of these as a viable option, nor could I face the idea of seeing a doctor and being prescribed medication I would never get to stop taking, or talk to a counselor (see the above mentioned NO FREE TIME!) So, I just thought about it. In fact, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it for months. But now it was running through my mind like a tape recorder. And the phrase "what are we supposed to be doing?" was on a terrible loop. The sentence that sent me over the edge couldn't stop repeating itself. So, I started to try an answer it...what was I supposed to be doing?

I haven't figured everything out, but I have learned a few things in my days of soul searching. 1. If I cut out blogging and Facebook and other selfish activities, I actually almost get everything done that I need to get done in a day. And 2. I always thought that spending time with my kids was far more important than keeping a clean house, I never thought about the fact that absolute cleanliness might be more important to others.

I have spent the past several days making sure this house was spotless. And you know what? Everyone seems happier. Garren can find all of the clothes he is looking for, his office space is nearly devoid of childrens toys, and the rest of the house is as well. I am no longer the "forgetful mommy" to Gracie since I make sure I am organized, and she can play and read in a neat and tidy space at all times. They are both very appreciative that I get what should be done--done.

As for Thomas, it is more clean surfaces to dirty up. I can imagine the evil laughter that goes through his mind watching me run around making sure everything is spic and span.

Now, I am very proud of my home, and we didn't live in squalor, but I didn't fret over the small things and used my energy for all sorts of "mommy and child" time.

Since Gracie is in school now and has very little time for all of the fun activities and crafts we used to fill our days with, and since Thomas is too small and too energetic to pick up where she left off--I can devote my days to my daily list of "to do's"

Before you feel sorry for me--don't. I have always believed that this time in my life was for my family. I chose to be a stay at home mom, and that isn't a job for everyone. And, if my body can last for another 18 years, then I will have a new crisis to go through: what do to now that my children are grown?

Of course I don't do this job for free. I get paid in smiles and hugs and time that will never come again.

This is what I wanted, I just needed to be reminded that this is what I am "supposed to be doing."

And, I miss blogging. My life is devoted to my children, and I want to show off those precious faces. So, I will return...and I should return. It may take a while to get things up on the blog since my list of daily chores has only gotten longer, but hang in there I will keep you posted on Thomas and Gracie.

I hope you will forgive me, but just typing this entry made me almost ill. Those who know me, know how VERY private I am, and I hate to have any one read about problems I am having--so I will not be updating my journey to be "what a mom should be."

Yes, I know I am not alone in this, and I know many other women have been through it, or are going through it--but I would prefer to go it alone. But, that won't stop me from thanking the many, many of you who made me feel good that they would miss hearing and seeing my children.

Thanks for continuing to read.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Time To Pause And Reflect

Well, maybe not "Then End," but at least "on hold."

I have decided to take a much needed break from blogging and Facebook and focus on...well, I am not sure. There seems to be so many things. I look at the mirror and I don't like who I see. I have never liked how I looked physically, but for more than a year now, it has been so much more than my physical appearance.

I think the final straw for me was the realization that I am not happy with the "mother" that I am.

This blog is my way of showing off my children to the world. The only problem is, when you start putting your children at the center of attention, you had better take a closer look at what you are so proudly showing off.

In the beginning I took all sort of critism on how I parented Gracie. I coddled her too much, no child should have that many dresses, what an embarrassment for any child to have that many toys....the list goes on. I took all of those digs at my ability to parent, and while I would like to say they "bounced off" I would be lying. But, it was easier then to roll my eyes and keep going. She was little and cute and I was proud as a mother could me.

But, now my role as a parent is no longer what foods I let them have, how I handle bedtimes and if I shelter them too much. Now, my Gracie is becoming quite a young lady, and I have to teach her how to be the best person she can be.

I look at her with so much love in my eyes, and with blinders of pride. Now, I start to notice in so many ways how I have failed her.

Bragging about the many talents and accomplishments of my children doesn't do any thing for anyone, but me. I was so proud of all the things that she did, I wasn't looking at what I should have been doing to be a better mother.

To say that this past 14+ months have been a roller coaster is an understatement. I am struggling internally so much, and I have decided I have to take time and a long hard look at myself and figure out what I am going to do for the next 12+ years of my life.

This morning I looked in the mirror as usual with a HUGE helping of self-doubt. And by the afternoon a simple sentence from someone else made me look at myself with a whole new level of that self doubt. A level that finally implored me to stop and figure it out.

Until a year ago, I was sure that my purpose in life was to be a mommy. I was certain that was what I was meant to do and to be, and to be the best I could at it. Now, I wonder.

Not about being a mommy, that has been the best gift I could have ever been given. But, what am I supposed to do with that "gift?" Where do I go from here? How can I change this emptiness inside of me?

I have a lot of things to think over. And glossing over all of that turmoil with sappy stories about Gracie and Thomas, which clearly lack the reality that not everything is happy and perfect, is not helping anyone. Least of all those who matter most: Gracie & Thomas.

So, I thank you for reading, and hopefully someday when I figure it all out, I can come back to my blog happy and healthy.

In the meantime, don't panic I am not crawling in a hole somewhere and dying. I will continue to check my email since the school uses that to communicate with me, as do most family and friends.

I am starting to like the idea of moving to Richmond in a few months. It will be nice to start all over again. I can't erase everything that has happened up until now--and I don't want to. But, to be able to walk in where no one knows me--that has great appeal to me now.

Thank you again for caring so much to keep reading, and commenting and just being interested in our lives.

Much Love,

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Gracie's New Cheer

Watch and clap along with Gracie as she shows off her newest cheer from today's cheer leading practice.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Whiz Kid!

This week the kids at school are bringing home the reading books they are working on in class. The idea is for them to read to us to get more practice, and I would hope so that we can get a better idea of where they are in their reading ability.

Of course you all know I am a big believer in parent involvement in our children's education. I have been working with Gracie since she was 2. My girl was able to do addition before she even stepped foot inside her Kindergarten classroom (which is neat because they are just now getting to that and Gracie just beams since she can do it so well).

This afternoon Gracie brought home her reader and after catching up on some missed schoolwork from Monday (she was home with an ear infection), I had her read me the book.

I knew that Ms. Orndorff had specifically found a book on Gracie's reading level (Level G by the way!!), but what I didn't know, was how quickly she would breeze through the pages!

She didn't miss a single word!

Of course I am always proud, but I was so extra proud that I had her do it again so I could video it and share it with all of you.

Are you getting a cavity yet?!!

Backyard Fun

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Not that anyone has really asked lately, but the sleep battle rages on here in the Shipley house.

For every good night we have, we have two or more "bad ones."

On Monday night into Tuesday our Thomas slept like a dream! He woke up once at 4am, got some milk and was back down until 7:30ish. Last night he was up what seemed like ALL night screaming (11pm, 11:45pm, 12:30am, 3:30am).

He will be 14 months Friday. So, I am sure you can imagine my frustration. That is a LONG time to go with little or broken sleep.

I continue to be firm with the one bottle a night. I had hoped to even cut that out but he returned to being up and screaming multiple times again and a bottle was my only chance for a few hours of rest.

The pediatrician didn't exactly give us a wealth of information, so I believe I will have to do some research on my own.

Here's hoping it won't be too much longer and we can all finally get some sleep around here!!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Dress Up Fun

You know I was sure that it wasn't going to be any fun to dress my little boy.

Boy was I wrong!!

Thomas may actually have more clothes than Gracie did, and most of you know that was a ton! I have found so many cute things to doll up my little, well, "doll!"

Of course I have a preference for little sweater vests and khakis. I love little suits, and I am totally in to bow ties, even though I can't find any more anywhere!! (Let me know if you know where I can buy him some more!) And, I am addicted to sailor outfits. Gracie has worn over 30 different sailor dresses, and Thomas' already has quite a collection.

Above is a sneak peek into his adorable wardrobe.

But Gracie still is the queen of cute. I know I won't get to put her in these oh so precious dresses for much longer. Not only is she getting so big that I am having a VERY hard time finding them, but soon will come the day when she doesn't want to be mommy's adorable little girl any more. She will want to be her own person. And, I will eventually let her do it. But, if her "person" wants expensive name brand attire, her "person" will be out of luck, unless she wants to save her money and buy it herself.

Do you think 30 is a good age to start letting her dress herself? I can sew now, so I figure she can wear smocking until she is at least 21. :)

Sunday, April 04, 2010

New Word

We have the cutest new word from Thomas!

Daddy decided to grill out for Easter dinner (which was more than fine by me). Thomas kept going to the door and watching his daddy cook on the grill.

Thomas would whine and fuss when his daddy would go in and out and not take him too. I guess he had enough, because when daddy went out and came back in after dinner he looked at me and said "ow-side!"

It was the cutest little thing!

We were done with dinner, so I let him go out in his onsie and bare feet. It was still plenty warm, so I knew he would be fine.

Of course he just smiled and stood there frozen with his feet firmly planted in the grass. He did that when we took him on the picnic as well. It is like he doesn't know how to walk or interact with a floor that isn't carpet or linoleum.

I don't usually share pictures of my kids in just onsies, of course I NEVER let them out of the house like that either--but I had to snap one of him "ow-side!"

Happy Easter

Happy Easter
From our family to yours!

Easter Sunday Voices

Friday, April 02, 2010

Eggs Of Many Colors

Easter has always been one of my most looked forward to times of year with my children. I love the springtime activities, the many colors, and the joyful time of year.

When you have kids you just have to color Easter eggs. It may even be a parenting law somewhere :)

Thomas got his first chance to color eggs tonight. While Gracie is an old pro at dyeing eggs, Thomas was merely a spectator last year for his very first Easter.

Since egg dye and toddlers don't really mix, I had the brilliant idea to let him color with water colors. This was a messy and yet hilarious adventure in our annual festivities.

Actually his egg came out very colorful and so did he! I had thought earlier in the week that having him do thumbprints on the eggs would give him a chance to decorate eggs like his big sister. I was able to get 5 eggs with a usable colored fingerprint. (I did the 6th one that has the caterpillar on it)

After they dried I used a thin lined marker and made his fingerprints into animals. I added a few lines, a few cute words, and in some places a little more color with a small dot of egg dye. I think they look adorable!

But Gracie's! Her's are gorgeous don't you think! She's no amateur ;)

As usual she loved the very messy festivities, although I must say she gets neater and neater each year.

Daddy helped Gracie while I battled a very excited and very sleepy Thomas. They did all sort of egg-speriments with colors and wrappers and stickers with their eggs. The results are simply dazzling!

We hope that all of you have a great time doing this with your kids. It may be messy, but it makes for a wonderful memory, and a great tradition that you will grow to love and look forward to year after year :)

A Picnic Lunch With Aunt Ruth

Can you believe she had to work today? ;)

Of course she may have been the only one, traffic has been a nightmare no matter where we were today.

Since Gracie was out of school and it was absolutely gorgeous outside, we took Aunt Ruth on a picnic for her lunch break this afternoon.

This was Thomas' first picnic as a participating party. His first official picnic was last April, and he just kind of laid there like an adorable lump. This afternoon he enjoyed the sunshine, the food, and especially the company!

Aunt Ruth, Gracie, Thomas and I enjoyed Easter shaped sandwiches, baby chick shaped cheese, carrot sticks, strawberries, Easter cookies & sweet tea.

After lunch we had a few minutes to play on the playground. I think I had more fun watching Aunt Ruth play than I did the kids! What an amazing "Aunt" she is to my two children. Oh, how I am going to miss such special times like this--and so are the kids.

Much to Gracie's disappointment we returned Aunt Ruth to her office.

But, what she doesn't know yet, is that she will see Aunt Ruth & Uncle George in the morning when they come and get her to take her to the Home Depot Kids Workshop.

My temperamental camera worked again for me this afternoon and I have some amazing pictures and videos as keepsakes of this wonderful time together.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Easter Fun At Kindergarten

Mommy got to go to Kindergarten again!

I was so thrilled to be asked, and even more thrilled that Garren re-arranged his schedule so he could watch Thomas while I went in to help with the kids and their Easter Egg Hunt.

I got to the classroom a little early, so I was also able to help the kids with their group work. When they were done they were treated to a story and another parent volunteer, the teacher's aid and I all went out to hide 100 eggs.

Each child could find 5 eggs that we had hidden in a nearby playground.

As you can imagine they were all very wound up and very excited. They marched down the hall (not so quietly) with their bags and lined up outside ready to pounce!

I got the best picture as I happened to snap it when Ms. Orndorff said "go!"

Gracie was among the first to find her 5 eggs, and I couldn't help but giggle as the kids searched and searched and then would proudly announce " I got one!"

Easter festivities have been one of my favorite things to plan and do with Gracie, and now I am getting the same enjoyment watching Thomas take part in Easter traditions. It is such a happy time of year. So, watching 20 kids with that same wonderful excitement was so fulfilling for me.

After the hunt there were a few minutes left, and I was thrilled that Ms. Orndorff went with my request for a class picture! I am still very frustrated with my camera as I snapped 10 pictures of the kids and only 2 came out not completely blurry! In fact only half of everything I took today was usable. I hope I get it down pat quickly, I can't afford to miss so many once in a lifetime opportunities!

Since it was half day for the kids the Kindergartners ate their lunch early. I stayed around to eat with Gracie. She and I were so excited as we walked with the class to the cafeteria. After about 10 minutes I was growing much less excited. The best word I can use to describe the scene was "chaos." Or at least that was what I thought. When the lunch monitors began to dismiss the classes from their tables I got a whole new definition for "chaos!" It was like Lord Of The Flies or something. Kids walking with trays, food spilling, lines not forming for dumping food and lining up. At one point I actually held Gracie up against me as kids darted through her line with food dripping and spilling from their hands and trays.

Needless to say, I have no desire to eat lunch with her again. I had felt so guilty for not having the time (well babysitting) to go and do this with her before. I can now cross that guilt and goal off of my list!

I helped get the class back to their room and I even helped get the kids folders ready before I headed home. Gracie stayed behind and finished out her day which included lots of sugary snacks and a special Easter video.

Despite the lunch "experience," it was a wonderful day. I really love those chances I get to be apart of Gracie's day. Especially when it is and extra "special" kind of day.