Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick Or Treat

Okay, I wasn't going to post these pictures, but after positive feedback from friends on Facebook, I decided I should.

I spent A LOT of hours handmaking Thomas' sheep costume. I went through 5 scenes of yarn, 30 or more glue sticks, 12+ accumulated hours and many burns to produce the costume.

Then, I tried it on him.

He screamed.

It was so big, and so bulky, and so hot. So, I sheared the sheep. I trimmed the costume about an inch all over, which added about another hour or work and a HUGE mess to my floor.

A day later I re-tried it on him.

He screamed.

I was shocked to see that it was still so big and bulky and hot. And with this unseasonably warm weather I was afraid he would over heat. So, I got out the scissors and sheared another inch.

By this time I was obsessing over the costume, and it appeared to have so many bare spots. So, I got more hot glue sticks and started filling in the spots. But, I still wasn't happy with it. But, I had to walk away because it was consuming me.

So, I turned my focus to Gracie. I made her a hat. I bought the straw hat, but I covered it with fabric and I added ribbons and bows. Then I made her a treat bag from a plain canvas bag and added the yard clippings and some felt to make a sheep on her bag. Then I added ribbon to a candy cane Christmas yard decoration that Grandma donated to the Halloween cause. And, now Gracie was set.

I then added a jingle bell to the red ribbon that matched Gracie's accessories and Thomas had a bell for his neck. But, he didn't have a cute treat bag. So, I got the great idea to cover a Halloween bucket with green construction paper strips and make it look like grass! What do sheep eat? Grass of course!

Well, I don't think anyone noticed the grass idea--but no one seemed to notice the bad job on the costume in the dark either.

The neighbors just went to pieces over Little Bo Peep and her sheep! They got so many compliments, and they raved over Gracie, and when they saw Thomas toddle behind her they all just gushed and gushed over the combo.

The idea was completely Gracie's. Last year's princess and frog idea was hers too. I love how she includes him in her creativity, and of course I love not having to do commercial characters.

The sheep made it to about 5 houses, and he loved Trick or Treating! He of course cried and cried over getting the costume on, and once it was on, but when we went outside and started walking he got curious.

The first house we went to, he held out his hand since the man had given something to Gracie. The man gave him the treat (cookies) and Thomas put it in his grass bucket himself. I cheered for him and gave him a high-five. He then wanted Gracie to high-five him, and then reached his little hand to the man for one as well. This of course made the elderly man's day and he high five-d the proud little sheep.

We headed to the next house and he was an expert on the idea by now.

He wasn't the least bit shy or scared (like his sister until age 5!!!), and he proudly toddled to each porch and waited for his treat, and gave high-fives and then open and closed his little hand and said "bye."

What an impression my children made.

After house #5, or maybe it was #6, the sheep was ready for pasture.

Gracie and daddy continued on and mommy shepherded the tired little lamb to his bed.

Gracie and daddy came back about 45 minutes later with quite a haul.

Gracie (being completely her momma's child) sorted her candy by type, and then we let her choose two to have before getting ready for bed.

What a night my two characters had.

It was one of those better than usual nights to be a mommy.

We hope all of your little darlings had a great Halloween as well!!

Happy First Halloween!

Happy FIRST Halloween



Charlie, Devon, little Ty, Ryson and Haley

Pumpkins, Round #2

So, Linus, Barney and Tink all rotted!

The very hot and humid weather we have been having made my creations melt/rot in just a few days!

They were so bad I had Garren hail them to the dump on Thursday. I had just carved them the Saturday before!

Gracie, of course, was crushed, so I told her I would get some new pumpkins. I didn't promise her we would carve them, but we would at least have them for Halloween on the porch.

Since the kids had way too much energy to burn off today waiting for Trick Or Treating (I am NOT a fan of Halloween on a weekend!!!), I was looking for anything to keep them occupied.

So, I got the things ready to carve the new pumpkins (Walmart marked them down to $2, not bad for replacement pumpkins!). But Thomas went off to play in the back yard in the warm sun, and Gracie was entertaining herself on the computer.

But, I had everything ready--so I did them myself.

They came out very well, and I was very pleased with my art work.

I did a Tiana (Disney movie The Princess and The Frog) pumpkin for Gracie, and a Kermit pumpkin for Thomas.

I had to share the new art, because I was just so proud.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fall Snack At School

It is not a party, and it is not celebrating Halloween.

Ah, school rules, I am very quickly becoming acquainted with the politics of our education system.

But, either way I got to make goodies and go in to her classroom and help!

And--I got to home-make the sweet treats!

I decided on graham cracker owls, and candy coated marshmallow pumpkins.

They were both a big hit with the first graders in Gracie's class, and so was the candy corn outfit I made her.

I had found the craft idea for the candy corn shirt, and the lady who posted the idea made her daughter a skirt to match as an extra. Well I loved the skirt more than the shirt--and I just had to do both. Of course I made a bow (ribbons) to match as well.

Gracie's fall snack was almost before time for the kids to go home for the day, so I didn't stay too long in the room--but I loved helping!

Each of Gracie's little classmates were so sweet and cute. Many of them had very good manners, and were so appreciative.

I took pictures of the room, and the treats and each of the four groups of tables that are in the room. The kids loved posing for the pictures and seeing them on the camera after they said cheese.

I spent about 15 minutes with the kids and I helped pass out the goodies, and take pictures, and clean up a little.

I said goodbye and they all said a group "thank you!"

But, the best part had to have been when one kid asked if he could hug me a thank you, and the teacher said "sure." Moments later I got a hug, followed by 15 more. Well, actually it was one big hug with 16 pairs of arms. And, it was the sweetest moment. Once the teacher pried the sweet children off of me, I got hug #17. She said "because you are my mama."

I gave that child an extra squeeze and a kiss, and left the classroom practically floating.

I can't wait to "volunteer" again.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lights Out


The big storms that you likely endured today or yesterday made their way here to Mechanicsville. And, they kept throwing around the big "T" word! This of course made mommy secretly very nervous, and Gracie outwardly very nervous. Thomas of course had no clue and kept on playing. That is until the power went out.

He didn't care that the lights went out. He didn't care that the TV was off. He didn't seem to notice Gracie's freak out, or mommy constant checking outside the window for said "t" word.

But, he topped us both when he saw that the fan was off!




This shout and still point at the ceiling was on a constant loop for at least 20 minutes. There was no reasoning with him, and though I felt for him--it was at some points almost comical. Then of course it was frustrating, and later annoying.

Gracie and I kept reassuring him that mommy could not turn the fan back on.

He was not convinced.

The power went out around 5:00, and it was still plenty light outside to function. I had the kids help finish cleaning up to keep them occupied and to listen the foot injuries should the power remain off when it got dark outside.

Of course the power did remain off when the sun went down.

We ate dinner by candlelight and I have never been so glad that I picked pot roast tonight. It had been cooking all day in the crock pot so it was warm and ready at dinner time. I would have just started to cook around 5:30 for the evenings dinner, and obviously we would have really struggled.

When daddy came home around 6:20 he ate and then took Gracie to the Walmart to get more flashlights and candles. He had learned that the power was out thanks to a tree that fell on our substation. We had no idea when the lights would be back on, and it could be a long night.

Daddy and Gracie left for the store, and Thomas and I went upstairs to get him ready for bed--in the dark.

I was smart and I had put all of their pajamas and other bed needs out and on my bed for easy access. I knew it would be hard to rummage with limited light to get the kids ready.

I had Thomas' star player that he uses for bedtime (and puts a light show on the ceiling), in the bed along with his light up sea horse. He didn't seem to mind the dark at all with his two companions lighting the way.

We used Gracie's Tinkerbell flashlight to light the bathroom and he brushed his teeth. Then, we used the same flashlight to read his bedtime story.

He found all of this amusing.

He was down and quiet in no time at all.

With no sound, no noisy kids, and no way to do housework I wasn't sure what to do with myself.... at first.

I lay down across my bed and listened to the silence.

Ah, blissful silence! I reveled in it. I enjoyed it. I used it to take deep cleansing breaths.

I did this for about 15-20 minutes...and the the hum of electronics jolted me from my peace (and near slumber).

I called Garren to let him know the power had been restored. Perfect timing since he had just checked out with an armful of flashlights and candles that we no longer needed.

Oh well--they will be there for next time.

We hope that if you got the storm you and your loved ones and homes were as unscathed as ours.

**The pictures above were from Thomas' bedtime routine in the dark. The first was (obviously) with the flash, and the second was out in the dark story time.**

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Difference Between Mommy & Daddy

Daddy: "My kids look like they belong on the front of a 1980 Sear's catalog!"

Me: "Yea! That's what I was going for." (content sigh from mommy)

Irritated sigh from daddy.

He just doesn't get it.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pumpkins 2010

I don't think either daddy or I were really in the "mood" to carve pumpkins tonight, but we had planned it for the kids and it was a nice evening, and we put forth our best smiles and energy.

Gracie chose a short round pumpkin and a Tinkerbell carving template. I had chosen a tall pumpkin to match a Barney template for Thomas.

Since I didn't have the printouts done *before* we carved, I had to go back the store and buy another one for Thomas, since Gracie's Tink wouldn't fit on her pumpkin.

Thomas wasn't interested in the pumpkin at all, so he went off to play, and I left Daddy and Gracie to get started on theirs.

I did decide that since we have a deck and a nice patio set, it would likely be smarter to carve outside. So, when the pumpkin goo goes everywhere I can just get the hose out. Pretty smart, huh?!

When I returned from buying a new tall pumpkin, Gracie and daddy had already scooped theirs out and were working on punching the pattern holes.

Gracie, who this year decided she loved to scoop out the ick, let daddy do the hard part on Tink, and scooped out Thomas' pumpkin.

Thomas got interested for a few moments, and I got some cute shots. Then, as usual, he was off to do something else.

Daddy and Gracie got Tinkerbell done in no time, but Barney was a little more involved.

Garren took Thomas to bed, and Gracie stayed outside with me as I finished the purple (well orange) dinosaur. Since we had an extra pumpkin, and Gracie had already scooped it out as well, I went ahead and started in on a pattern for Garren.

He is always saying that I don't let him pick a pattern and I concentrate on the kid(s), so when I found the Linus in the pumpkin patch pattern I knew it would be perfect for him. Daddy LOVES Charlie Brown. Now, I found Yoda, and some other Star Wars ideas, but I thought that the Charlie Brown one was classic and would appeal to the whole family.

Now, as has been our tradition in the past--Mr. Tom always got the hardest pattern. Let me tell you, if he had been here tonight (and boy would I have loved that!) he would have ended up with the Charlie Brown one--whew!

After an hour or more I got it done.

I had sent Gracie to get her shower while I was still working on pumpkin #3, but I had them all outside and arranged and lit up on the front porch by the time she was done.

They all looked so happy--and I felt a little better about the experience.

Family Visit

I am trying to figure out how to sum up this afternoon--but I am at a loss for words.

Aunt Ruth & Uncle George drove from Strasburg to our new house to spend time with the kids.

They were attending a wedding in Richmond this afternoon, but they didn't have to leave 3 hours early and spend the time with us.

But, boy are we glad they did.

I don't even think I can list everything...but they played ponies, they did crafts & coloring, they gave millions of hugs and kisses, laughed and ran around with my small pints of energy, they got a tour of the house.... It was a fun filled few hours.

No one was happy when they had to leave, but we will skip that part and just remember how fun of a visit it was--and how much it meant for them to drive so far to see us.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Papaw

Now watch it again, and listen to Thomas--I think he says "Happy Birthday" at the end!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wiggles Junior Has Left The Mouth

Tooth number 5 is finally out and in the Tooth Fairy pillow! And not be outdone by teeth 1-4, this tricky tooth made sure he exited with plenty of drama.

"Wiggles Junior" as he was named (I am guessing the son of Mr. & Mrs. Wiggles) had been laying almost flat in Gracie's mouth for several days.

I had been checking it a few times a day, well, because loose teeth seem to drive me crazy.

Tonight I checked it and pushed a little flatter to see how loose it was, and it started to come out.

Gracie of course flips out.

I will spare you the dramatics, and hysterics, and gushing that occurred over the next half hour, and simply inform you that Gracie pulled him out (finally!).

He has been carefully wrapped up for the tooth fairy to take to wherever it is she takes children's teeth, and Gracie has a matching hole in her mouth for Mrs. Wiggles vacant space.

Cardinal Pride

Gracie brought home her "cardinals" t-shirt from school today. She was very proud of it, so we snapped a picture to show her MES pride.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pumpkin Tradition

I bought pumpkins today in anticipation of carving them this weekend with the kids. It should have been a fun occasion, especially since we have already picked the kids patterns, but it kind of made me sad (a little anyway).

Usually pumpkin carving is a "family" event and the Mozingo's come over and we make chili and a huge mess. Colette somehow avoids all of the pumpkin goo and either Gracie or Mallory get grossed out, and Tom gets the hardest pattern somehow and we all laugh and laugh. At the end of the night we take a group picture of our masterpieces and their carvers.

It looks something like this...

(click to enlarge)

Pumpkin carving won't be the same this weekend with out the rest of our family, but I am going to try and be a trooper. I have two pumpkins to make adorable for two simply adorable little pun'kins!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Annual Tradition

(Click to enlarge)

How neat is this?!! I have to continue this tradition--what a neat keepsake!

Home Is Where The Apples Are

...and our family,

...and our friends,

...and all of our fall memories with the kids.

I had planned to go "home" last weekend for Aunt Ruth's birthday, but Gracie ended up getting more germs from her little first grade friends, and we had to post pone.

I told Garren I wanted to go this weekend, and he decided to come along since I longed to not only see my "family," but to let Thomas and Gracie pick apples as well. (Daddy is a sucker for the apple orchard!)

Since Daddy drove this time things seemed to go smoother. He of course could concentrate just on the long drive, while I dealt with the kids. But, to be honest, they were great on the way there and back!

We arrived 15 minutes before the start of church, and thanks to a potty stop in Front Royal, I had the kids dressed and ready.

I wasn't planning to surprise anyone, but I also didn't say we were coming, because I didn't know if we would actually make it. I didn't want to get anyone's hopes up, or disappoint if we couldn't get there.

We enjoyed our very missed church service, and church extended family. And, we got bonuses this morning since Ryson was being baptized, and Gracie's Kindergarten teacher (who usually attends the 8am service) was there as well.

Thomas still remembered his favorite people and gave Aunt Ruth & Uncle George plenty of hugs and snuggles. He also remembered to turn on the fan before the service, and to con someone in to letting him turn it on and off after the service.

We said our goodbyes and headed to Winchester to pick apples.

The temperature wasn't that bad today, but the sun was of the of blazing/burning variety today. So, we were all a little hot, and thirsty, and some of us were cranky.

But, we managed to have a great time anyway.

I couldn't see a thing, but I pointed my camera and clicked, and came out with some amazing pictures from our day in the orchard!!

Besides picking apples, the kids played on the playground, Gracie got to ride the cow train, and daddy got his apple donuts he loves so much.

It was like so many other fall afternoons that I remembered. I wanted desperately to drive past the exit to 66 and go to our Strasburg home. I think Garren thought that for a minute too, but it was because he wanted to take a nap. As he often reminds me, he is happy here.

We did get a big lunch/dinner at Olive Garden before we headed back. Too bad Thomas didn't get any kind of nap before or after the meal! But, for a 20 month old without a nap--he was great!

I guess "refreshed" is the best word to use for me after being back "home." Of course, I am hoping that will last for a few weeks until I can manage another visit.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Thomas' First Haircut*

*well, real haircut, with a person who knows what she is doing anyway.

Now, I didn't have any grand delusions about things going perfectly well, and he being transformed from a toddler to a little gentleman with a few snips.

However, (as usual) I didn't quite prepare myself for the all-out scream fest that would in fact occur in the adorable (and trendy) kids hair salon.

I saw pictures several months back of Mason (Laura's little boy, born just 6 weeks before Thomas) sitting in this adorable little car getting his first haircut. Since Gracie was a girl, and I just trimmed hers myself, I had never gone through this parental rite-or-passage, and I just had to take him to sit in the cute little cars for his first haircut!

Laura told me about the place, Pigtails and Crewcuts (isn't that the cutest name for a kids place?!!), and wrote down the directions and went.

When we walked in, it was as cute as it looked in Laura's pictures, and on their website. They had two HUGE Thomas the Tank Engine wooden train tables filled with cars and trains to play with. They had a display of toys you could buy, three cars for kids to sit in, several monitors playing the Curious George DVD, and so much else to look at!

Thomas went right over and started playing while I filled out the little questionnaire.

I thought sure he would want to sit in the cars since he loves "vroom, vrooms." I figured the panic would come several minutes later after the lady put on the cape thing.

Nope, he freaked at even the idea of getting in one of the cars.

I am sure you can imagine the next 10 minutes. I held him tightly to keep his arms from moving and listened to him scream in my ear.

This woman was awesome though! On their website they say they are specially skilled at cutting kids hair, and that was even more motivation for me to choose them.

She did an excellent job and as she snipped and we played ring around the Thomas (I would have to move sides so she could get the other side...etc), I could see his haircut emerging.

When it was all over I tried to snap a picture, and you can see just how hard he was crying if you look at his pink cheeks. She on the other hand was not only good at cutting his hair while he screamed and fought, but she managed to get a picture of him looking not only calm, but somewhat happy (it was an illusion--but kudos to her!)

I got him out of the seat and he was fine. As he played some more with the train set, I got a good look at his hair. It was more gone than I was expecting, but it was simply precious. He looked like an adorable little boy instead of Luke Skywalker (which is what it was starting to look like!).

Of course, the length was my fault. She asked me how I wanted it, and I know I looked like a deer in headlights, because I felt like one. I had no idea! I never had a boy before. I just looked at her and said "I have no idea, just make him look like a cute little boy." She did ask other questions, something about over the ears and the back, and again, I had no idea. She smiled and got to work and I am in LOVE with the final look.

Before we left she gave us a keepsake "folder" for his first haircut, with the picture she took and a little baggie of his hair. He got a "prize" out of the treasure chest, and the nice lady got a rather large tip from mommy. She probably also got some Tylenol from her stash after we left as well :)

So, what do you think of our handsome little boy!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

In Your Face Fundraiser People

When she was three years old, Garren talked to her about school fund raising, and now that is has reared it's ugly head again, he said I should make shirt like this to send her to school in.

Gracie has been at school for 6 weeks now. Just 6 weeks, and this is the second fundraiser to be sent home, and that isn't counting the school picture forms that they say also help the school (I certainly hope so, in this day and age pictures DO NOT cost that much to print!). In addition to the fundraisers, and the school picture forms, we have also been asked for an "art fee," had to pay $5 to join the PTA (seriously?!), asked for money for school t-shirts and other apparel, book orders (which I can't complain about because I love), and now a field trip.

I know schools need money to run, and I am not quite as "stingy" as Garren when it comes to giving Gracie money for certain things at school--but the fundraisers make my blood boil.

Maybe it is because they gather all the kids in a central location and get them all excited about selling their stuff in exchange for these great prizes (that no kid could earn unless their daddy worked at GE or something).

Maybe it is because of the cheesy prizes that promise "if you just sell 1 or 2 things."

Maybe it is because they are using my daughter to sell their merchandise for free, saving the cost of real employees!!!

Maybe it is because it results in competition among kids and teachers and classrooms.

Maybe because the whole idea of giving out our family and friends personal information is just plain rude, unethical, and wrong!! (this fundraiser wanted addresses to earn the dinky prizes. They would then use our poor unsuspecting relatives & friends to advertise or pander to.)

I guess all in all, I hate the idea of asking our kids to go out and sell products or information.

If your school needs money that badly, come up with some better ideas. Bake sales, kids carnivals, whatever--but stop sending the other crud home!

So, why am I on my bandwagon today?

Gacie walked up the driveway after getting off the bus and she started crying and yelling at me all at the same time.

"I didn't get a duck today, and they were so cute, because you didn't sign my paper!"

I knew immediately what the issue was about.

Gracie brought home her second fundraiser of the year yesterday from school and pulled it out and started getting super excited about it and telling me all the things she could get.

I rolled my eyes (when she wasn't looking), reminded her about how her daddy and I felt about fundraisers (which didn't quash her lust for a ballerina duck), and laid the heavy packet aside.

She begged me to sign something through out the afternoon. And, I will be honest, I didn't even look at the stupid thing. At bedtime she told me "it has to be turned in tomorrow!" I told her I was sure you were given more than one day to sell the stuff.

I didn't think about the packet again.

Gracie was so angry with me, I felt like I really needed daddy to back me up. I was going to have us both sit down and talk to her when he got home, but since the election is around the corner he has been working very late these past few weeks.

So, he had me put her on Skype.

Daddy talked to her about the fundraiser, something we have done multiple times (kindergarten & preschool were not exempt from pushing products through our very young daughter).

Usually mommy handles most of the issues of the house, but I have to say, daddy gets a gold star for this one. He handled it beautifully and in a way I couldn't have. The best I could do was just tell her that the prizes were just silly little ducks.

Daddy had her explain what happened, but he kept asking more and more questions and eventually she started to see the fundraiser and its prizes for what they were.

Gracie: "They had ducks, and they were so cute and you clipped them on, and they had a queen one!"

Daddy: " Oh, so they were really big nice ducks? Were they made out of something special like leather?"

Gracie: "No, they were little, and just regular ducks...and you got candy."

Daddy: "Oh, did they give out a whole candy bar?!"

Gracie: "no, it was a piece of sour grape."

You see where his logic was going, and so did she. He wasn't rough with her, and he talked to her for quite a while about the issue, and did it like she really may have missed out on something big.

Ordinarily we would reward such tantrum-like behavior, but I think it really made a point.

Gracie got an entire package of Starbursts, and later at the Dollar Store I bought her a $1 duck on a key chain that lights up and quacks.

We explained that now she had much more candy, a way cooler duck to put on her back pack (apparently the others were just flat duck-shaped clip ons that went around a lanyard around your neck), and she didn't have to do free work for a company or give away our family and friends addresses.

This is a HUGE and rather complicated concept for kids to learn. I remember sitting in an auditorium and some fund-raising pusher trying to convince us that we could win a brand new bike. Of course they never mentioned how much we had to sell to get the bike. And, I remember wanting to win the prizes and going door to door and maybe selling 1 item for several days worth of work.

I am very involved in Gracie's education, and her school and her teachers and her classroom are all very important to me. I want to see that she gets the best education she can. But, I know that selling anything isn't going to improve her learning. And, I am hoping Gracie can see that as well.

You can thank us for not giving our your personal information later.

Thomas' New Wheels

He isn't even 2 years old yet and he already has two cars.

This one mommy picked up for only $2 more than she paid for his last set of wheels. It has become one of the only good thrift store finds I have found since we moved here.

Thomas loved it so much, and when I saw the price I couldn't pass it up. I let him ride in it and Gracie pushed him through the store, while I had the shopping cart. When we checked out we let him ride to the car.

He looks like a real "stud muffin" doesn't he?!!

The price for that smile you ask? $6.25!

And, yes, I know he really, really needs a haircut!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gracie's First SOL

I have to admit, I know nothing about the SOL's, but I know they are a big deal.

Anyway, Gracie took her first one Friday. She got the graded test back today in her Tuesday folder.

Mommy & Daddy are very proud! It is 4 page test (front and back=8 pages!) and she only missed one!

Based on her answer, I think she may have been confused with the question--but it really doesn't matter any way, she did an excellent job!

This isn't her first test this year. She has had a "Geometry Test (shapes), and a spelling test a week for the past 3 weeks--all of which she has done and excellent job on!

They don't give out grades this year. They do "S" for 85%-100% and Gracie gets all "S's" and check pluses. I will have to look back, but I think there is an "N" for mid range, and maybe a "P" for low range.

We are super proud of our excellent student...and we are sure you are too!

Girly...Or Not?!

I got so tickled at watching the comments pile up on my Facebook page, that I just had to share this one on the blog.

I pulled out this one piece dressy overalls set with a train on it for Thomas to wear to Story Time this morning.

It was an 18 months, and I knew it would be snug, but since it was supposed to be cooler today, I thought I might have a chance to put him in it at least once before I had to box it up.

Well, Garren doesn't usually comment about the kids clothes that I put them in (although, I get more comments about Thomas' apparel that I ever did with Gracie), but he was none to happy with this ensemble.

I thought he looked adorable. Garren thought it made him look like a girl. But, the outfit was on and we headed to story time anyway (of course to be honest, I don't usually change their clothes anyway, picking out their clothes is one of the funniest parts of being the mommy).

So later I posted a picture of Thomas in said outfit and made a joke about it, and seriously wondered about the outfit (again, not that it mattered, I still think he looked adorable!)

9 people commented. Of those, 8 were mothers. Of those moms, 6 are moms to at least one boy. 5.5 (1 hinted, but didn't come right out and say "girly") of the responses took Garren's side! I have to say I was shocked, but amused.

So, now you can see and decide for yourself. Not that it matters, he wore it, looked adorable and I took his picture. Because, I am the mommy! :) Of course his ridiculously long hair may contribute to the girly look quite a bit. I plan to take him for his first real haircut this week/end. Laura, who lives here in the Richmond area told me about the place she took her son for his first cut. It is so cute with little cars to sit in and the whole nine yards!

Saturday, October 09, 2010


Of course we planned to get a little farther in our expedition to the pumpkin patch today.

Heather told us about Ashland Berry Farm and said it was wonderful, so we packed up and took the kids. Only, we should have left yesterday!

We were not prepared for the amount of cars in the massive parking lot, or for the 30 minute wait to get on the hayride that takes you to the pumpkin patch.

So...we bribed the kids and told them we would get ice cream instead, and try again another day.

The place closed at 5pm, and since we were in line at 3:45, we would have had very little time to take in all of the sights.

Luckily for us though, the entrance is decorated with the most beautiful gardens complete with waterfalls and fish, and gorgeous plants.

There is also a gift shop and the place where you actually buy your pumpkins.

The kids were great and I took several beautiful pictures before we headed back down the rather long road.

We will have to do it again, and next time we will start earlier in the day. Clearly it is a wonderful experience since there were easily 100 people in the long winding line in front of us.

(click to enlarge my collage)

20 Months

Every ninth day of the month I still think back.

Here's mommy's big boy now!

Thomas has added a few new words to his vocabulary, and I am attempting to not be concerned or obsessive about his lack of verbal skills.

He becomes more and more active everyday and seems to not have any sort of energy limits. I have no idea how he supplies his endless activity, especially since he still hardly eats. He is offered many types of food, but will not touch anything he doesn't want. He only wants "junk," but rarely gets it. He seems to live off of bananas, milk, cheese, and bread. He will eat most fruits, but not a single vegetable that I can think of. He is starch and sugar kind of boy.

He put puzzle pieces in a puzzle tray the other day and I went nuts with excitement. That was also the same day he touched his ear and said "ear." He had been touching his ear and saying "eye," but after several facial feature lessons he seems to have "ear" down pat.

He is as handsome, and as flirtatious as ever! Wherever we go at least one person will comment on either 1. his "blond, blond, hair!" 2. how adorable he is, or 3. his fake "shy" routine. He especially gets the ladies attention. They fawn all over him wherever we are, and he eats it up!! Boy does he love it.

Now, he loves the attention, but he is still going through his "mommy only" period. It isn't as bad as it has been over the past month or so, but he won't go to anyone else, and only wants me to hold him. Now exceptions have been made for Aunt Ruth & Uncle George, and Grandpa, but his list is small.

While he doesn't eat much, he can feed himself, but not very well with a fork or spoon. I have decided NOT to look this up and see where he should be. In fact, I am deciding to not look any "scheduled milestones" because it just makes me worry more over his development. He will in fact develop at his own pace, and that is something I will continue to struggle with accepting--but I know in my heart it is true.

He is in size 24 months clothing, but it is still big on him. 18 months was getting snug, and of course we changed seasons and I figured why bring back clothes for fall and winter only to pack them up in a few weeks/month when he can't fit them. He is in size 5 or 6 shoes. I thought boys sized things would be more consistent--but nope, just like little girls things all clothes and shoes fit differently. Of course I also thought dressing a boy wouldn't be fun either--and I have had just as much fun dressing him to a "T!"

Friday, October 08, 2010

Gracie Feeds The Birds

Gracie came home from school in a great mood today.

In fact, most of the week has been that way.

On Wednesday her book order arrived, on Thursday she got a popcorn party and a piece of candy with her special group for new kids at the school, and today she brought home a bird feeder they had made in class.

She was very excited of course to hang it in our back yard.

Mommy got out the step stool, but I had to help her quite a bit to get it all the way in the tree. She didn't seem to mind too much.

Now, we will wait for the birds to come and dine on what I am sure is a very delicious treat--made with love of course.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

First School Report

We used to get a "report card" every 6 weeks, but here and at Sandy Hook, Gracie has brought home what they dub an "Interim Report." I guess they are the same, but I remember ours being hard paper folded in thirds and each teacher had to literally write in a grade and comments. Now, they just print off the grades and send them home on a 8.5 x 11 paper.

Of course in first grade, she doesn't seem to be getting "grades" yet. I am not sure when that happens. Does it happen? Do kids get A's and B's and such anymore?

Anyway, as you can see from the above document, my Gracie is excelling in First Grade, just like she did in Kindergarten. A rough start to school, and A LOT of changes don't seem to be standing in her way.

Now this year is very different from Kindergarten!

  • They send home a homework folder every Monday. Inside is a weeks' worth of assignments that we are to spread out over 4 nights and then return on Friday mornings; including the week's spelling words.
  • Spelling tests are each Friday. So far Gracie has taken one, she will have another tomorrow.
  • SOL's have begun. This teacher sent home review material for us to go over with her. I "quizzed" her on the info and she knew it hands down. This SOL is on Animal Behavior. (I also quizzed her on her spelling words)
  • They have to be able to read and identify 150 site words. (I asked the teacher if we could have a copy of the whole list. She sent home the first set this week, and she included them all for me. We went through them tonight and she knew all 150 :)
  • Class time is 90 percent of their day. The only breaks they get are for: lunch, recess, and one special (PE, Art, Music, Library) a day. Friday's they do not have specials at all.
  • Behavior is extremely pounded. Each day she had a number 1-5 written on a calendar (5 being the best) and I have to initial it each night.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Thomas Does A Puzzle

I am so thrilled at this "milestone."

Of course you know he loves all things that go, so I am not surprised that he picked this puzzle to do.

He can put the pieces in the tray that have the matching pictures on the bottom. Now, they don't always go in the tray smoothly and then of course he gets angry at the pieces and attempts to "bang" them in to place. But, hey its a start!!

Mommy is so proud of you big boy!!!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Mother Goose, A Month Later

Well, mommy is still loving Mother Goose story time at the library, and as I suspected--Thomas seems to be really enjoying it too.

Although, I am starting to notice he is one of the only boys in the growing (rapidly!) group. Hmmnm, wonder why?!! Maybe it is because those cute little girls are much like my Gracie and they sit there in their cute little outfits and LISTEN to the story and the story teller?!!

The group has grown so much in fact, that they moved us today to the conference room. All the parents and "babies" couldn't fit in the room set aside for story times.

Of course my son loved having all of the extra room to run around and be...well...himself.

No one seems to mind. It's not like he goes around punching out the girls or anything, he is just active. There are a few other active ones in the group as well, and are all mingling a little more in the middle of the circle, while the cute well behaved kids watch on and probably "tsk, tsk" in their heads.

Now, he is getting something out of it. Not only is he socializing (some) with other kids (something poor Gracie was deprived of), but he will stop and listen to the story, and there are times he will play along to the songs. It isn't much of the thirty minutes when he is paying close attention--but he only 19 months, I can't expect him to be perfect...or Gracie...or any one else, but his rambunctious sweet little self.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Goodbye Mrs. Wiggles

Tooth number four made it's overly dramatic exit this afternoon--again in the car!

The pesky top tooth dubbed "Mrs. Wiggles," since she was found to be loose only hours after the high speed interstate exit of "Mr. Wiggles" with a cheese doodle.

Now "Mrs. Wiggles" had been grossing me out for weeks. In fact I would often kid Gracie and tell her "just yank that tooth out!" Well, I guess the tooth got the message, because thanks to all of Gracie's wiggling "she" decided to become very loose today.

I put Thomas and Gracie in the car to run a few errands and while buckling Gracie announces "my tooth is bleeding."

Boy, she wasn't kidding. I won't gross you out any farther, but let me tell you it didn't stop for about a half hour, even after the tooth was out!

As it is custom with my daughter, the drama ensues. I give her tissues and plead with her to pull it out before she swallows it. Keep in mind we are in the driveway still in the car. And Thomas is getting a great kick out of it let me tell you!

Finally mommy "helps" it out after she tries to pull without luck. I show her tooth #4 and all the drama melts away.

Tonight she put her tooth in her Tooth Fairy pillow I made her, and hung her welcome sign on her bedroom door.

She is extra excited because we just finished "Junie B. Jones, Toothless Wonder" a few nights ago. Those books are just super hilarious, and I recommend them to any parent of a little girl, or to a 3rd-5th grader for whom these books were written (at their level of reading anyway).

Of course she is also excited to show Miss. Anderson in the morning and get her name on the tooth chart in the classroom. If you remember Gracie was so upset that she never lost a tooth during Kindergarten and never got her name on that chart. Oh the things 6 year olds strive for!