Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sunday Play Date

The kids have (of course) been having fun here in Lynchburg this holiday weekend.

We picked Gracie up from the bus stop and kept on rolling to Grandma's through storm after storm after storm.

Mommy is struggling with the heat and the humidity here, but Gracie and Thomas have found many ways to keep cool and entertained.

Mom has set up a kiddie pool on the back deck and the kids have been in and out for 2 days now.

We saw Aunt Dawn and the "cous-its" for a while yesterday. We have gotten in some bargain shopping, and today we had a play date!

My high school friends (and sisters) Amy & Heather were in for the weekend for their brother's wedding. They brought their combined 6 children over to play with my 2 kids.

I had yet to meet Heather's baby: Nina. I was so excited to not only get to see her, but to hold her as well.

What a beautiful little darling she is! We had the best time watching her play in the little pool.

And, Amy brought all 4 of her boys (and her little girl) which I hadn't seen in a year and a half. They have grown bigger, and more polite. At one point she told them calmly to all "sit." And they sat! All of them! At one time! Without being asked twice! Without a loud tone!!!

I have decided to send Thomas to Amy's house for a few weeks of Schwartz boot camp!!

And Carrington, the little doll that Thomas had such fun with at our last play date. She is as cute, and as active as ever.

The little kids amused themselves by getting in and out, and in and out, and in and out of the water. And then there was the sandbox, and later popsicles.

The big boys had fun on Grandma's swing set, and dad made them all bamboo flutes to take home.

5 kids, 4 bamboo instruments, in one car?! She may never bring them back! But, I hope they all visit again this summer when we are in too.

Amy and her family live in Blacksburg, and Heather and her family live in New Jersey. Maybe when they come in again the kids can all get in the big pool!

It was a hot, but a very nice visit. I have now met the other two 2009 babies in our little group. Yep, three out of the five of us high school friends had babies last year. We met baby Elliott back in January, and now baby Nina.

What fun it is to share motherhood with friends!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

More Cheer Leading Fun

The small class of girls continued to practice their basics and cheers today.

This marks their second to last class.

And, with such a small group, the instructors were able to have everyone participate in making the pyramids.

Notice, I said "participate."

Poor Gracie. I hate to tell her, but she will likely always be at the bottom of stunts, should she pursue cheer leading any farther.

If you know her, and have seen her at all in her short 6 years; you know she is not fat, she is one very solid little girl. Of course she is also tall, and now that she weighs in at nearly 60 pounds, she is a force to be reckoned with.

Maybe she should look into football ;)

Nah, she is too girly. And, I am thinking about making a cheer leading skirt for her to wear for her last practice next week--just for my girly girl cheer leader.

Lessons For Mommies & Daddies

It is so easy for us to take the time to remind our children of the lessons that we find so important for them to learn--but the irony is we forget those lessons ourselves.

I want to be sure everyday that Gracie and Thomas know they are loved.

There hasn't been a day that has gone by in their lives that I haven't told them how much I love them. In fact, they hear it multiple times a day.

I want Gracie to know as a girl, she can be anything she wants to be, and her gender can't stop her. Of course for now I leave out the "gender" part of the equation, no need to make her resent men or history without a need. All she needs to know is she can do anything she wants to because she is great no matter what.

I want Thomas to know he will not get a free pass because he is a boy. He won't get treated worse--but certainly not "better" because of his gender. He will be loved as much as Gracie, and he too can do anything he wants. But, he will learn to behave like a proper young gentleman.

The kids will also know what is wrong and what is right. We will do out best to keep political swayings out of their young impressionable minds. They will know you don't hit, you don't curse, you don't get the idea.

We each have different lessons for our kids that are important. Yours may be about saving the Earth or guns or never having bangs. But, I think knowing that you are loved and wanted is almost universal.

So, now I get to the point of my blog post...

I found a very nice Max Lucado book at the thrift store yesterday and had to get it for $.25. I am sure we have that title, but it was just such a nice edition, I thought we could give it to another child.

I know I hve read Gracie either that story or another one starring his fictional characters called "the Wemmicks." Aunt Ruth even gave her a beautiful story of them for Christmas. But, while I was reading it to her, making sure she understood the message--I seemed to have lost it myself.

Gracie was coloring, and Thomas was napping, and I was just plain exhausted from a day of grocery shopping.

I pulled my treasures out of my bag from the thrift store one by one. When I got to the book, I pulled it out and started to read it.

It is a short story with a beautiful message, and when I got to the line that reads

"Remember," Eli said as the Wemmick walked out the door, "you are special because I made you. And I don't make mistakes."

I found myself near tears.

How had I missed that passage all these times? How had I missed that message?!

I want so much for Gracie and Thomas to know they were wanted and loved not only by me but by God, and yet I have never believed that about myself.
A fictional (yet not really) book for children to help them understand God's love finally "got" to me.

I guess when we reach adulthood, or parenthood or a mixture of both, we forget that we too will have lessons to learn, and maybe even re-learn.

So, don't be surprised when you are blindsided yourself one of these days, when realize you are teaching your kids something that is so important, but forgot yourself somewhere along the way.

And, if you have kids find yourself a copy of one of the books about the Wemmicks, or check them out in the library. It makes the very special lesson about God's love and acceptance so much easier to understand. You may even find yourself being reminded too.

Book Titles
  • If I Only Had A Green Nose
  • You Are Mine
  • You Are Special *the one that "got" to me

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

We Recycled

Okay I recycled.... much to Garren's dismay.

Besides Garren loathing of all things "hippie," we never did our part to save the Earth because of (sadly) convenience.

1. Keeping up with used cans, bottles, paper, etc is a hassle. I have a million jobs to do around here everyday, and I didn't want another one.

2. There is not enough space for storing all of those things. Recycling day comes but once a week just like trash day and it is gross enough to store trash in this house for a week, and adding recycling--yuck!

3. It's gross! It is just something else for Thomas to get in to or Gracie to knock over. Thomas already got into the pile several times this week and I had to clean up drops of soft drink off the floor.

Okay, that's pretty sad, but you have to admit--that's probably why you don't recycle either.

Well, with three of us* now drinking out of cans, I noticed how huge the pile was getting in the trash can and decided to do a little "experiment."

I asked the guys to put their cans in a box I left downstairs. Of course I had to go back and pull cans back out of the trash because Garren didn't want to participate. But, I as the days went on I was aghast at 1. how much those boys (and I) drink in a day!!! and 2. how much trash we were saving by pulling these things out.

We also go through a lot of milk thanks to Thomas, so I thought I would add the milk cartons, and Gracie's flavored water bottles (sugar & caffeine free! Love those things!!), as well as our water bottles to the pile.

Today I took out a laundry basket FULL of things to the curb. I felt kinda proud. Garren grimaced, and Luke just laughed at us both.

I don't know how much longer we will participate faithfully, but I intend to give it a try.

*I think I kind of forgot to blog that Luke (Garren's brother) was staying with us for a month or two this summer. He is interning with Garren's office, so they work together in the home office and twice a week they go to Richmond. If you know these boys, you know what it is like when they get together--but so far they have kept their adolescent antics downstairs, and Gracie and Thomas have loved having added attention.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Moment To Gather Myself!

On a Sunday like this one, I need all the Heavenly help I can get.

I found myself so frustrated with Thomas and his inability to behave appropriately at church-- or any time it seems.

Everyone wants to give him a "free pass" for being a boy and I refuse to do so. My expectations are high, I can admit that. But, as I pointed out this morning: our children are a reflection of ourselves, and today I am truly embarrassed!

Yes, Gracie was angel as a baby and a toddler, and preschooler, etc. And while she has her moments, she remains my sweet wonderful very well behaved little girl. And, I can't compare Thomas to his sister, or he will end up even more messed up. But, I can expect great things from my kids, and I intend to.

No he didn't bite anyone today, nor did he explode a diaper. He refused to sit still during church and play quietly with his toys and cookies and milk. He took off during the children's message and got the whole congregation's attention. He walked across the isle to his Aunt Ruth, but was not entertained for long enough apparently and made a bee line back too mommy--only he deviated his course with a very deliberate and sly look on his face and made his way to the front of the sanctuary before being caught and scooped up by mommy. Thwarted in his effort to do what he wanted he threw a temper tantrum and had to be removed from the room. He got left in the nursery. When I went to retrieve him some 10 minutes later at the end of the service, he was being held and was crying.

Now, you might ask why I don't just dump him in the nursery every Sunday?

1. I am a firm believer that is my SOLE job to care for my children. No one else should be responsible for them. If this means missing out on things, it means missing out. They are our joy and our burden and no one elses. We asked to be parents, and that comes with a 24/7 obligation.

2. There are so many new babies and young kids back there, the constant nursery worker and the weekly volunteer have their hands full! They don't need an extra handful to keep up with.

3. I am terrified of what he will do when I am not around! I have seen what he is capable of when I am standing right there next to him! I am so embarrassed of his behavior (that I am unsuccessfully trying to correct), I don't want to add more oil to the fire!

4. How is he, or any child, supposed to learn how to behave in situations if they are removed from them? He needs to learn to be reverent, quiet and somewhat still in church. He will have to learn how to behave in public, and in school, and at home. How else do you learn that to be taught in those situations?

So why is this Sunday getting to me worse than others? I mean he isn't exactly a prince on Sunday mornings, and sadly it is only getting worse. This isn't the first time I have had to take him to the back of the sanctuary or have had to take him to the nursery.

I think I am just starting to think about how we are not going to be able to find a church home in Richmond.

I mean all of these people know what a little demon child my son is, and they love him anyway. They make funny faces at him to get him to stop crying, and if they are on the end of a isle they know they could have to catch him at a moments notice (and many have had to!!!). A new church would be appalled at how I could possibly allow my son to act! I know I am!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

No Boys Allowed

Gracie and mommy spent this Saturday evening together--no boys allowed!

We left Daddy, Thomas & Uncle Luke behind for a special surprise outing.

I had gotten tickets to Strasburg High School's production of Cinderella earlier in the week. I didn't even know about the performance until some others were talking about it on Facebook.

I thought it would be a great chance for Gracie to get some one on one attention. It has been so long since it was just the two of us. And, that is the way it was for 5 years!

I let Gracie get very dressed up and didn't tell her where we were going. She was very surprised when we pulled up in the high school parking lot.

Then she got very nervous. She kept telling me it was a big school and she had never been inside before. Kids from her bus get dropped off in the mornings and picked up in the afternoons, but she had never set foot on the grounds.

She seemed to warm up a little once we were seated inside the old gym.

It didn't take long for her to get all "girly" on me. She would squeal whenever the cute parts of the play would be acted out, and of course she was thrilled to see "horses" pulling Cinderella along the gym floor in her "carriage."

After the play Gracie went over and gave Kayla (who goes to church with us, and who was Gracie's Bible School leader last summer) a hug and told her she did a good job. We also saw other little girls that Gracie knew from church or school and they too were out with their moms for a girls night out.

We left the school and decided to get some dinner.

We had a fancy feast at the local Chinese buffet restaurant.

Sounds simple, and maybe a little silly, but we had a great time. And, it was so nice to spend time "just the two of us." I haven't forgotten those days, and I surely do miss them. But, I didn't tonight, and I hope we will find more time and more activities like this one to share together--no boys allowed.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bottom Of The Pyramid

There is no new cheer to show you today from cheer leading class, but the kids were bouncing off the walls anyway!

The coaches split the kids into two groups and let them practice teamwork by building human pyramids.

Well, little ones anyway.

Poor Gracie, as adorable as she is, is as solid as a rock, and they were very smart to put her on the bottom. She of course was disappointed that she didn't get a turn to stand on top--but I thought to myself that there was no way those tiny girls could hold her on their legs. In fact, very few girls actually had the balance and the coordination to stand up top anyway. But, they were so cute, and so excited to try.

I can't wait to see what they have in store for next week...cannon ball tosses?!!!

Isn't She Lovely?!

I was so amazed when I downloaded this picture today! I snapped it before we went to the bus stop and she just kind of stood like that since the first picture was blurry. I have to admit it took me aback when I saw it. She get more and more beautiful each day!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

This Weeks Story

Usually Gracie gets to read her story that comes home in her reading bag to Aunt Ruth after choir. But, since we didn't have choir today she had to settle for mommy.

Each week the kids bring home the book they are working on on Wednesday afternoon. They have to "practice" the story at home for someone and return it Thursday morning.

Since Gracie's level is far above the classroom's average, she breezed through it and I videoed it foe Aunt Ruth to hear later.

***I just noticed my piles of clean laundry in the background waiting for the "magic folding fairy"--please ignore these!!!! ***

Kindergarten Journal

Her PALS test scores weren't the only thing that came home in her backpack today. The teacher sent home the journals they had been working on since the beginning of school.

Not only can you see just how much progress she has made, you can get a very small sneak peek into her little mind.

She is too cute for words!

Staying Humble...But.....

I know I said I was going to try my hardest to take the emphasis off grades, and I will...but first please note the PERFECT SCORE Gracie got on her Kindergarten PALS test. I think this is the Kindergarten version of the SOL's.

She took the test back in the fall, and actually was 3 points ahead of passing the thing all together. This time she took it and recieved the hightest score possible: 102! Kindergarten students must get an 81 to pass for the year.

How excited are we?!! But, we didn't make a big deal out of it to her, but told her she did a great job and that we were proud of her.

And, I am sure several other students aced the test as well--but we are excited anyway. But, as I promised, I will hold off on the college applications for a while :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Last Show And Tell

Well, they call it the "Mystery Bag," but I figure it will be her last chance to get to take in something before the school year ends.

She quickly decided on her Webkins unicorn and came up with the clues herself. I wrote them down on a separate piece of paper since she wanted to write them on the car herself. She did a great job and added the title.

She will present the unicorn tomorrow and the kids will try and guess what is in the mystery bag from the clues she supplied. Do you think you could figure it out? ;)

Mommy Lesson

We all have to mess up our children somehow...otherwise what will they tell their shrinks in 15-20 years?

Yesterday I was the proudest Kindergarten mama in the school. My daughter was reading on a Level "K." Each child in her grade level must be reading on a Level "C" in order to pass Kindergarten. I don't know much about the reading levels, but I know K is very far past C in the alphabet.

I told everyone, I even published it here on the blog.

And, in my own sickness, my heart faded a few moments ago when Gracie was eating her dinner and told me that the little boy (who constantly torments her) is going around telling everyone he is reading at level "L."

I am not a genius, but L is past K in the alphabet.

That horrible part of me that wants my child to be the best started raging inside my head.

Gracie continued "J says he is the best reader in the class, the teacher said so."

I tune out my inner competitive mommy.

"Gracie, everyone reads and does different things at different levels. And, someone will always be better than you are at something."

Gracie doesn't seem that upset that "J" is a better reader, just that he is telling her and everyone else. So, why is it bothering me?!!

Probably for the same reason it bothered me when I was in school. If I didn't get "A" on everything I turned in, it would really mess with me. I tied myself up in knots before a test or a quiz or a project.

I didn't feel the need to be the best, at least not in high school. In grade school I was always in the top percentage of students, but in high school there were so many, many kids who were smarter than me, I knew I couldn't keep up, and I didn't try to. But, I still obsessed about my grades.

I am sure there is some sort of reason to be pinpointed around this issue. Maybe because I got positive attention from teachers, or maybe because I needed to prove that I was worthy, maybe I was just screwed up. Who knows? And who cares? My school days are over, and I can't turn Gracie into a little me. I think she worries too much now--I can't imagine adding another neuroses to her long list!

So why does MY child have to be the smartest?

Competition is just a part of human nature, but I shouldn't have gotten sick to my stomach upon hearing that not just one child, but several were ahead of her in reading.

I have taken a few minutes to try and think this out, and the only thing I can come up with is that I have always worked very hard at excelling. I did it in school, in college, in my career (when I had one). And now I do it as a mother.

These days I don't get sticker at the top of my work paper, there aren't any report cards with words of praise, and there is no GPA to compare or a promotion to be celebrated. So, I have sent my child out there as my term project, and she has come home with an A- and I feel "small" inside.

I have never been the "best" at anything. Oh, I have some talents, and I do things pretty well, but I don't have any ribbons or trophies that tout "first place" or "best" at anything. Not that I did a lot of things that would give out such awards, but I was never REALLY good at anything.

And then I became a mommy. It was like I was always meant to do this job! And the older Gracie got, and the more I submersed myself in it, I realized I was pretty good at it. I didn't do it to compete with anyone. Not that there wasn't anyone to compete with. I was the first of my friends to have kids and Gracie and I lived a hermit of a lifestyle.

And while I never thought of Gracie as some sort of reflection of my mothering skills in the beginning--I see now that she has become my desperate plea for acceptance as a "good mother," and maybe even a "superior mother."

Yep, I gotta change that.

So, Gracie isn't the best in her class. It doesn't make me love her any less. It just brings out the part of me that loves me less. And, while that too needs to be fixed, making sure that the first statement is always what Gracie feels is the most important. We love our children, and we want to save them from our mistakes. This is a HUGE one that I want to save her from. Life is too short and too full to worry over grades and acceptance academically. I wasted far too many years with that obsession, and now it has come back to haunt me again.

Another mother lesson recognized...another lesson to be learned. (This one might take a while, (sigh))

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sleeping Baby (So Far)

Shhhh! No body "jinx" me...but Thomas has slept through the night, THREE nights in a row!!

You may be thinking..."but, Barbara, you told us he slept through the night back in April."

You would be correct, and since April 23rd (at 14 months old!!!!) he has slept through the night maybe 4 times total! Yep, that's 4 times in almost a whole MONTH.

So, you can imagine my careful and cautious celebration. Here is hoping that the trend continues.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Gracie's Name

Our choir sang this song this morning during our church service, and it reminded me of my 6 year old.

I had told her before, but the green eyed monster reared its ugly head in an unsual way last week. She told me that Thomas was special because he was named for one of Jesus desciples. She tells me she wished she were named for Jesus, and that it seemed like Thomas was more special than she was, even though "I know he isn't."

The jealous streak has become more and more pronounced lately and usually I sigh and try not to loose my patience with my daughter. But not this time. This time I smiled and reminded her again...

"Gracie your name is very special. Do you know why I named you Grace? I wanted you so badly that I prayed and prayed to God to send me a baby that I could love and take care of. It took a long time before my prayer was answered, and when it was I couldn't imagine a better gift from God than you. You see, the best gift God ever gave all of us is His grace. And, the best gift He ever gave me was you. So, I had to name you Grace. And, that is how you became mommy's Gracie."

My daughter beamed at me and told me she had "forgotten." She looked like she could have floated out the window and she was so full of pride and love.

I never get tired of telling her the story of her name--because I still believe she is the best heavenly gift I have personally ever recieved.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Parades Are More Fun With Aunt Ruth & Uncle George

Well aren't most things?! :)

Mommy packed many heavy folding chairs and even found a shady spot along King Street (our Main Street) to set them up. But, my kids spent most of the parade standing (or being held) with Aunt Ruth & Uncle George.

But, they all had a great time and that is what matters. Plus, mommy got a little bit of a break.

Not that the whole day was without it's setbacks though. Thomas soaked TWO diapers during the two hour parade. Unfortunately he got Uncle George a little wet for the second one. He got me with the first very full diaper--but I am used to it!

And, of course it was ridiculously hot, so Gracie got a little whiny, but to be honest I was getting whiny myself--I just didn't say it out loud.

We had plenty of water and juice (which likely led to the two leaky diapers) and sunscreen, so we were well equipped and the kids really enjoyed seeing the floats and bands (we actually had two this year!) and all of the princesses come down the road.

Before the parade Gracie got to do a lot of the fun kids activities like the bounce houses, so by the time the extra long parade was over--we were ready to head home.

Gracie wasn't as thrilled with this idea, but we promised her mommy would bring her and Thomas back after church tomorrow for day 3 of Mayfest fun.

Daddy Runs, Gracie Cheers

Daddy came in 34th in this morning's Mayfest 5K and we are very proud of him!

Gracie was ready and waiting with her Strasburg pom-poms. She even cheered on other racers, but when we saw daddy I told her to go closer to the roadway so he could hear and see her. It was windy so the audio isn't the best, but you have to love her spirit!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Our Final Mayfest

Well, as Strasburgians any way.

I have a feeling we will be back this time each year for a visit.

For a small town, we sure can put on a rather impressive festival!

Tonight was day 1 of Mayfest, and Garren and took the kids to the carnival. Poor Thomas was really to little to do much of anything, but we found at least one activity his size!

Actually, Garren had the idea, and Thomas loved fishing for his duck. Well, really he just splashed and put his hand in the big pool of water.

But, after some coaxing from daddy he got a ducky out of the water and picked his prize: a ducky to take home! I am so glad I was able to capture the look of pride on his little face. He loved that duck. Of course he kept wanting to go back to the little pool to play some more and was terribly unhappy that we wouldn't let him.

As for Gracie, our brave little carnival goer rode the rides...BY HERSELF!

She climbed on and off of the carousel horses without help. She rode the ride and waved to us as we looked on. And, if that wasn't impressive enough, she went into a FUN HOUSE! Yep, my little chicken went inside a play house type thing just for kids! She wasn't so sure standing in line, but then she watched one of her Kindergarten classmates come down the slide at the end and got excited.

I am not exactly holding my breath that all of this bravery will stick around, but it sure was fun to watch for one night.

Once we were sufficiently pooped out, we took the very excited and very tired kids home to rest for tomorrow's long day of festival fun.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A New Cheer, And A New Fan

Here's this weeks new cheer. And mommy's little cheerleader had a cheer-leader of her own today while she practiced: Aunt Ruth!

Gracie had been wanting Aunt Ruth to come and see her at cheer practice, and it was quite a surprise when she walked in while Gracie was doing "groups."

Today they mostly worked on their jumps, but I was pleasantly surprised to see the instructors stop and help the girls with their technique. This was one of "disappointments" in the beginning for me, as they seemed to skip over the kids who couldn't do certain things, especially my Gracie! I am hoping it was because there were so many girls. At the first "practice" there had to have been 30+ girls, and each week it dwindles. Today there were 10 girls total and they really got that much needed attention to detail.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Thomas Loves His New Sandbox

**The video is kind of long (1 minute) , and I thought about editing it down--but I left it so that those who haven't seen Thomas in awhile could enjoy every second. If you love him, but get bored, just hit the "stop" or "pause" buttons on the video whenever. No hard feelings :) ***

Did I mention that I found the kids a sandbox? Where you might ask....(all together now) the thrift store!

Although, many of you will be amazed at the deal.

Gracie has always had a sand "box," it was just a Rubbermaid container with sand and a few toys. Since we didn't have a yard in the apartment it worked really well on our very small "deck." But, now that Thomas is more active, I was looking for something a little bigger.

Do you have any idea how much sandboxes are these days? $40-$100, and up!! The cute turtle ones will run you about $40, the adorable ladybug ones are $70 ish, and the nice sand tables can run you up to $100 and more!!

I really loved the idea of the sand table because it was off the ground and the kids couldn't sit in it. I figure the kids walking in it and sitting on it would put more wear and tear on the plastic. But, I wasn't about to shell out that kind of money for it, so I resolved to stick with the container. (Yep, Garren makes more money, and I am still super cheap!)

So, imagine my thrill when Thomas and I stopped by our favorite thrift store last week and found a Step 2 sand table for (drum roll please)...$12!!!

The kids love it!

This was the first day I had it cleaned up and ready. Thomas played in it all morning until I made him come in, and Gracie played with him in it all afternoon.

It is a hit...and it was a bargain!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

More Mother's Day Goodies

I wanted to share the card that Gracie made for me in Kindergarten class this week. I almost teared up when I opened it.

If you are a mom with school aged children, or had them at one time--you know what that feeling is like. It wasn't just the handmade craft, it was what was written inside.

(You can click to enlarge)

It reads: Dear Mom, I love you. Thank you for making my favorite food, spaghetti. Love, Gracie

I also scanned in my beautiful corsage that Gracie made me, and I wore with pride to church this morning. I was the talk of the congregation. Everyone noticed my flowers!

Sunday Morning Mother's Day Gift daughters sweet voice raised in song!

Isn't she beautiful?

Every month when these kids sing, and I see my daughter proudly smiling at me from the front row, I have to choke back the tears. Thankfully trying to hold the camera still and wrangle Thomas keeps my tear ducts occupied.

I never thought I would see the day my girl would be in front of any group. And now I have gotten to watch her perform over and over again. And--it never gets old!

Happy Mother's Day

Mommy and her two precious gifts this special Sunday.

We wish the many other moms and mommies we know a very blessed and full day as well!

Mommy Family & Friends

Mommy to Mommy & Brian

Aunt Dawn
Mommy to Jacob, Emily, Isaac, Sue-Anna, Mark & Mathew & Mariah too

Aunt Heather
Mommy to DJ, Ryan, Casey & soon to be "Baby Walsh"

(Aunt) Ruth
Mommy to Zachary & Logan

Mommy to Mallory

Mommy to Heather, Daddy & Luke

Mommies To-Be

Mommy to "baby GeFellers"

New Mommies

Mommy to Colton & Baby Ryson

Mommy to Stella

Mommy to Elliott

Mommy to Nina

Mommy to Mason

Mommy to Ty

Seasoned Mommies

Mommy to Mason, Taylor, Jonas, Van & Carrington

Mommy to Luke & Claire

Mommy To Logan & Ella

Mommy to Bryson & Braylee

Mommy to Nyah & Jaeden

Mommy to Josh, Sarah & Sam

Mommy to Tyler

Mommy to Jaxon & Maddie

Mommy to Mason, Mikaela & Madelynn

Friday, May 07, 2010

Peek A Boo!

Farm Day At Kindergarten

I got a chance to go to Kindergarten again today!

I was so thrilled that Garren agreed to change his Richmond day so that I could help out for "farm day" with Gracie's class.

All of the classes have been talking about farming and animals and animal babies these past few weeks. So, they decided to bring the farm to Sandy Hook.

I helped Gracie dress the part in a red gingham dress and two braids in her hair. Oh, we got so many comments on how precious she looked. (Mommy really gets into themes :)

It was unbelievably hot outside this afternoon, and I remembered to sunscreen Gracie before she left for school. Too bad I forgot to do it to myself! I took home quite an uncomfortable sunburn when the afternoon was done.

The nine classes took turns at the farming "stations." The kids saw animals, talked about feed, plants, and even fish. I think all of the kids liked the "horse" station the best when they each got to sit on a saddle and pet a rather large brown mare.

Well, I take that back. At the "feed" station the boys there got a few words out and then let the kids run and run through the simple hay bale maze. We parents just stood back and watched in amazement at our kids unending drip of energy.

The stations were mostly lead by FFA students from a high school from Star Tannery area. They were very nice students and most of them attempted to talk to these kids on a 6 year old level.

The out door fun took around 2 hours and the kids were treated with ice cream sandwiches at the "dairy" station.

Gracie was plenty hot and tired, as were the rest of the kids, but they were patient enough to go back out in the field to the "tractor" station so a few of us parents could snap a class picture.

There was about a half hour of school left, but I took Gracie on home with me. This seemed to make her feel very special, and of course I had drinks in the car.

It was a hot, but fun day with my Kindergartner! I feel so blessed when I get a chance to help out at school. Her days in school are becoming more and more limited, and I am so glad that I have gotten as many opportunities as I have to see what goes on during her day.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

A New Cheer

My little cheerleader has learned a new one. Above is this weeks cheer. Since they just learned it you can see some of the kids struggle a little, but I love to see the determination on Gracie's face!

I asked the "coaches" about the last class. I wanted to know if they were doing any thing special like have class outside or a "performance" of some sort. She told me she hadn't thought that far ahead. I was asking, because Gracie wants Aunt Ruth & Mallory to see her cheer. Since she won't be in any games this fall, I want to be sure they get that chance.

They did tell me, though, that they are extending the class until June since one was canceled for personal reasons--so we have 4 weeks of cheerleading fun remaining.

Also in today's practice, they got to do handstands. Of all days that I forget to check to make sure Gracie has on shorts!! But that UT outfit is so snug she didn't show as much as she could have. And, Gracie was beaming after her turn at the handstands.

She is definitely not the most coordinated child in the class (or at all), and I probably gave her the most inappropriate name--but she sure does love being a little cheer leader!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

There Goes Another One!

While trying to get a toothy shot of Thomas' #13, I notice that #14 has popped through over night!

My poor little man! He has a mouth full these days...and he still is only 14 months!

Have you ever heard of a baby at 14 months with 14 teeth?!!

Thank goodness he seems to be over his "biting" phase!

The picture is blurry, but you can see the small white starts of tooth 13 and 14 coming in between the molars and the four front teeth on top. The bottom of his mouth matches the top--with the exception of the two new ones of course. But, it won't be long--those areas are swollen as well.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Teacher Appreciation Week

It is teacher appreciation week at Gracie's school this week. It might be a national thing, but we are celebrating our two favorites each day.

Garren and I couldn't count ourselves more blessed that Gracie got the teachers she did for this very important year in her education.

Of course all years are important, but this was a first for all of us, and I am sure God heard my prayers for Divine intervention. How relieved and thrilled I have been that he sent us Miss. Orndorff. She has been everything we could have asked for, and more.

Gracie also loves Mrs. Kupeski. I am not sure if it is fair to call her a "teacher's helper," but whatever her title, she is the sweetest lady and the kids really love her.

The school asked the students to remember how great their teachers were this week. Monday they were "the greatest in the morning," and we gave them a personalized cup for their morning coffee or tea. Tuesday the teachers got a welcomed day off, but they continue to be recognized throughout the week. And, we have surprises for them each day as well.

Of course we have other teachers that we love as well!!!

We love...

4th grade teacher

Ms. Karen
1st Grade, and choir "teacher"

Ms. Christine & Ms. Stephanie
Gracie's Preschool teachers

And then there is...

Amy (preschool), Elliott (HS), Sara (HS), Jonathan (HS), Helen (preschool), Ameka, Kim, Elizabeth, and many more :)

Level K!!!

My Gracie is now reading at "Level K!"

Yeah, I have no idea what that means, except to say that the Kindergarten class has to be reading at a level "C" by the end of the year. She tested at level "H" just last month.

She takes after her mommy! :)

Way to go MY Gracie!!! We are so proud of you!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Thomas' First Circus

Watching Thomas watch the circus was more fun that the actual performances!

I can not describe to you the heat that was in that tent tonight. You could not adequately understand the level of discomfort that we all went through. It was an unusually hot day and it reached 91 or so degrees outside. So, pack hundreds of people and animals in a large enclosed tent and you have somewhere along the lines of a sweat box!

I am pretty sure I sweated off about 10 pounds--but it was worth it! My Thomas' head was on a swivel. He was watching anything and everything. He especially loved the animals, but when they brought the motorcycles and 4-wheelers in--he was so excited!

It has been 2 years since we took Gracie to the circus, and this is only her 3rd chance to go. I have to say this one was my favorite. Maybe because we knew what to expect, or because the performances were so exciting to watch. But, we all had a good time. Nope, not Garren, he doesn't do clowns, and hay--we took Aunt Ruth! Which of course made it that much more fun. Apparently she makes everything more fun according to my kids.

While watching the show Ruth and I took turns dousing the kids with water. I had brought along 3 large bottles of water because I knew it would be hot and the drinks would be ridiculously expensive. But, I wasn't prepared for it to be that hot. I could just imagine Gracie passing out or throwing up. But, we kept them cool and mommy popped for snow cones which also seemed to help the comfort level.

Now, I did take a few pictures, but they aren't pretty. We weren't super close, but close enough to enjoy the show. But, that wasn't the issue. We were all so hot and red and sweaty! So, I won't be sharing many, and Ruth would kill me if I did!

We really did have a great time, and after the circus Daddy and Uncle George joined us for dinner at Denny's which was also fun--and much, much cooler!

I know that there are many people out there who have very strong opinions about the circus, and I have to say I am kind of indifferent. I have no doubt that the laws in our country protect those animals. And quite frankly, I think every child should have a chance to go and see a circus. It is just one of those "life experiences" we should all have. I still remember my first circus--or at least one of the few times I went. I remember sitting and watching with my Aunt Lou and Uncle Hubert. These days it is sadly on the expensive side. But, put some away and take your kids. You will be hot--but you will have a memory that will last longer than the discomfort of heat and the loss of your money.