Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

ABC's Of Blessings

A few days after the start of November I found the most amazing idea, and adapted it. Since there are 25 days in November until Thanksgiving, and 26 letters in the alphabet, I thought it would be neat for the kids to come up with blessings for each letter.

Below are what the kids are thankful for in alphabetical order (Gracie obviously decided what Thomas was thankful for :)


Ability to work & play
Aunt Ruth
(Miss) Anderson
Aunt Dawn


Baby Brothers
(Uncle) Brian


(our) Children
(Mrs) Colette
(Mrs) Christine


Darling Children






(Uncle) George


Hands To Hold


Ice Cream




(Ms) Karen


Lunch Time




Night Time


(Miss) Orndorff




Quilts (to keep us warm)




(Big) Sisters
(Ms) Stephanie


(Mr) Tom








eXtraordinary people :)
eXtra special friends :)



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gracie's First School Project

Gracie brought home instructions for her first ever school project a few weeks ago, and we had it finished last week--but since it wasn't due until today we didn't take it in.

Gracie and her classmates are learning about past, present, and future as well as time lines. Their project was to create a time line of their lives from the year they were born until now. And, we mommies got to help!

Mommy got a big poster board and some fun scrap booking sheets, and ribbon and buttons...(yes, I had as much fun as she did!) I thought it would look cute to make her background look like a baby blanket. I am not sure we pulled that off, but it looked very pretty anyway.

Now, the kids could have used photos or drawings. I kept my mouth shut about the photos (although I thought it would have coordinated better ;) and Gracie drew the pictures of the milestones she chose for each year.

Thank goodness I have all of her pictures of her life on this computer! It made it some much easier to scroll through the months and write down milestones and important activities for each year. I made a list of 5-10 things for each year and she chose which one.

She was very proud of her project when we were finished. Yesterday I told her that I would take it with me when I went in for the the Thanksgiving Feast so she wouldn't have to take it on the bus. So, I snapped a picture of her with it, and I am so glad she wanted to make a video postcard for Aunt Ruth before she left for the bus stop (even though we were tight on time!) Since the kids have to present their projects during school I won't get to see her do it--but now I have a glimpse of what she will say...and I will share it with you.

Aren't you proud!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

First GradeThanksgiving Feast

My Gracie was too cute this afternoon at her First Grade Thanksgiving Feast!

About 11 other kids parents and I all showed around 11am with arm loads of food for the kids feast. This mommy made mashed potatoes (at Gracie's request) and pilgrim hat cookies.

Once I dropped my food off at the buffet table in the hallway, I went inside the classroom and began to get my darling pilgrim ready for her feast.

Okay, so you all know I am an over the top mom--and despite the cookies taking until after 10opm last night--I just HAD to make her a bonnet, square collar and apron to wear. She is only in first grade once--and I get inspired at the oddest times (which is never with more than enough time to pull it off ;).

So, I stayed up until well past midnight making the accessories that would neatly fit over her dress. And let me say it was well worth it! Not only did she look cute--the other kids made the biggest fuss over her as I "dressed" her up.

Yep--I am the cool mom :)

Miss. Anderson attempted to keep the kids calm and orderly--but they were all too excited. Once the food was put out the kids read us parents a poem and then Miss Anderson read us a book.

It was time for the feast.

I jumped in and helped the kids who didn't have a parent present, and they all ate the food like they were starving (reminded me of my house!).

The kids got seconds and even dessert. And, besides the ridiculous heat in that room--it was such a special day to share with my Gracie!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Parenting Peace Of Mind

Tonight after changing Gracie's sheets for the second time, I decided to just look and see what I could find out about the viruses going around these days.

I like to think I am an old pro when it comes to a sick child. I still worry over my kids, despite their ages, but I have learned not to panic, and to not freak out. And, after I clean up the child, the room in which they were sick, and myself, most of my thoughts are "please don't let the rest of us get it!" Of course we have a house now with three bathrooms, so that takes some pressure off ;)

But, to my point..

I stumbled across the BEST website I have ever seen on child vomiting!

Most websites have you all panicked and finding the number for your local hospital by the time they are done with the "you should contact your pediatrician..." clauses they put to save their be-hinds.

This one is great. I encourage my mommy friends to read it over and book mark it!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Our First Leaf Pile

Garren had been talking about what a huge job it would be to rake all of the leaves from our backyard. But, I didn't even notice how long it took--I just kept raking and smiling while I watched my fall babies jumping in and out and have a great time in our very first leaf our very first back yard.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Boy Quiz For Moms (of Boys)

Okay, so I am starting to get the hang of the boy things in life. I still need to improve on my vehicle an odd animal sounds, and I am failing "wras-lin," but I think I have passed my "things that go vroom final."

Okay boy moms see how you do on the following Boy SOL.

If you are a veteran boy mom you should have gotten a 80%, preschool boy moms I would say should have gotten a 95%, and if you are like me and just starting out in the world of all things "blue and messy," you better study hard ;)

Ready for extra credit?

How did you do on these?

Thomas is in full "vroom-vroom" mode and his life is all about cars and trucks and anything else with wheels--so I am soaking it all in, as fast as I can.

Let's see how you did...

Scroll down for the answers :)

**So there isn't a real "test" out there, but I sure do wish there was a study guide for moms with boys! Hey, maybe I will make one someday! I made the above "tests" after finding the very neat clip art on line--it does make a pretty good study guide though. Click to make the images larger. Hope you passed ;) ***

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

First First Grade Field Trip

I wasn't sure how today's field trip was going to work since they were calling for 100% chance of rain (did I mention it was all outside?!), but I was sure that I couldn't wait to share the experience with Gracie.

I know how thankful I need to be (and am!) that Garren's job can be flexible when needed. Many other mom's and dad's don't have that luxury.

Since the elections are over, and I begged almost a month in advance, daddy stayed at home with Thomas, and mommy went with Gracie on her first First Grade field trip.

I arrived at the school early and was glad, since they were already changing plans. Since it was so wet they decided to come back to the school to have lunch in the classroom. This also meant crossing off the playtime as well.

I took pictures of the kids getting on the bus, and then I followed the bus to the Meadow Farm Museum in Glen Allen. Since I don't know where anything is--I followed very closely! Not that it was that hard. We were on 295 which has 4-5 lanes and the bus was being followed by 8 parents in cars, all of us doing 55 (the speed limit is 70, but if you have ever been behind a bus you know they go pretty slow and safe) in the slow lane. I am sure it was quite a sight to see from other morning commuters.

The kids were obviously excited as they got off the bus and we attempted to make some order of them. I got 3 kids in my "group," and the three other volunteers and Miss. Anderson got 3-4 as well.

The kids first saw a video about the family who lived on the Meadow Farm, and then our class went with one historically dressed tour guide, and the other class went with the other dressed guide. (How refreshing that only 2 classes went. Last year there were 9 Kindergarten classes all together on the field trip!)

Our class looked at all of the animals first. They saw and pet hens, sheep, pigs, the biggest cow I have ever seen, and a horse. We also saw the garden, and the barn.

Thankfully the rain held off. It was cool outside, but not cold. Many of the kids were getting over-heated in their coats. And it was wet and the leaves made things a little slippery, but I was thankful there wasn't mud everywhere.

When we finished with the animals the tour guides switched groups and it was our turn to see inside the house. The kids were on their best behavior, and thankfully so, since they couldn't touch anything in the house, and the little house behind the big house--including the walls!

Inside the house (in the basement, which was called the "warming kitchen") the kids sat down at the end of the tour and were told about the family's 9 children and how they did things like get baths, played, ate, etc.

This field trip was reinforcing their lessons on past, present, and future and time lines and such.

We saw the small house which was used for a Dr.'s office by the man who owned the property. They never used the word plantation--but I think that is the best way to describe it.

The tour was over and after every child was sure they couldn't wait to go to the bathroom before returning to school, the kids loaded the bus again.

Since I had picked up Subway sandwiches for Gracie and I to share at the field trip, I dropped her sandwich off at the school before heading home to return to "Thomas duty."

I asked Gracie if she had a good time, and she said a very loud "yes."

Since the kids didn't get to choose souvenirs or spend any time in the gift shop (which was planned that way), I thought it would be neat to make Gracie a souvenir. One of the guides showed the kids handkerchief dolls that the littlest girls would have until they learned to make their own dolls. So, while Thomas was down for a nap--I made her one as a surprise for when she got home from school.

She loved her doll and named her Lacey. Mommy was sure to make one for Miss. Anderson too.

I love days like this! Even in First Grade, I still miss my Gracie very much when she is at school--and getting to go and help out and see her with her little friends makes my day!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Gracie's Very First Report Card

We are so proud of our Gracie!

Well, we always are, but we have even more reason to celebrate today--she brought home her first report card.

In Kindergarten they gave us a printed progress report, and called it an" interim report." So, this is technically her first actual "report card." They don't give out grades in first grade, and I have no idea when that starts, but her "A's" leaped off the page any way.

There were a lot of "checks" and "plus" signs representing what they called "mastery" in each subject. Of course you would expect such marks when they fill in the bubble that says "above grade level" on EACH of the subjects they evaluate in her grade!!

Miss. Anderson went on to write (type) that Gracie had received a 100% in math, 100% in reading, and 100% in science.

I knew my daughter was excelling in school, but to see it in black and white just made me that more proud...and excited.

We will definitely celebrate.

And while I am bragging, I will tell you that Gracie is currently reading at a level "K." First graders have to read at level "I" by the END of the school year. So, something else to cheer about.

Feel free to cheer for Gracie in the comments section.

***Since I don't have a printer/scanner any more, I had to take a picture of her report card, and it didn't come out so well--which I didn't notice until after I had signed it and returned it to school. But, I think with all of my touting you get the idea :) ***

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Scary Day For Mommy

If you are a mom, you know, that nothing hurts worse than your child in pain, nothing is more nerve-racking than your child scared, and nothing can make you cry more inside than seeing your child's tears roll down their cheeks.

My children (thank God!) have always been the picture of health--especially Gracie. She has been to the Dr. only twice with non-wellness visits, and she is 6! She takes after my father (and me somewhat) in that department.

So, facing a new doctor, in a new place, with your 6 year old on the ridiculously high table--everything imaginable enters your mind. Well, it does after you are asked 20 questions and then 20 more with puzzled looks on faces.

First, let me say that NEVER have I been in the room with more skilled, confident, reassuring and down right wonderful medical professionals! Gracie has been through 2 pediatricians, and Thomas just had 1. I didn't have issues with the pediatrician they shared in Strasburg, but I was definitely not a fan of Gracie's infant one in Winchester. But, anyway, I had no idea what children doctor's and nurses could be like. Garren says it is because we are in a bigger area and there is more competition. I don't care. They took their time, the were so nice to me and Gracie, they looked and acted genuinely concerned, they answered all of my questions, and they explained things to me in a kind and understandable way (without the medical jargon).

Let me back up.

Gracie has always struggled with allergies, so when we moved and got a house with a back yard for her to play in (our first), and we were still cleaning up the dog hair (and everything else!) from the former owners, and we attempted to adjust to a different climate--we expected her allergies (and every one else's) to go haywire.

If you have a child with allergies you probably notice the clearing of their throat, the watery eyes, scratchy voice early in the morning, and sometimes a dry cough.

Gracie had developed a slight cough in the mornings and at night going on 2 months ago. We gave her some cough medicine when the cough got more persistent at night, and then we gave her a dose before school when the morning cough got worse and we prepared ourselves for another first grade illness.

But, she never did get a cold. But her cough seemed a lot more persistent. It was going for longer periods in the morning and longer at night, and now it was keeping her up at night.

Garren and I talked about the Dr., but just off -hand. We are firm believers in not rushing to the doctor's office over every little sniffle! But, when the cough became a bark, I knew that we had to go in.

Thankfully, I had asked Heather about pediatricians in the area when we moved here and she suggested hers. So, I had a place to start. I called and got an appointment (after an hour or so of updating/re-listing/and blah, blah, blah, our insurance and primary what-ever).

I had to pick Gracie up from school in order to get her to the appointment on time, and she was at first thrilled to be picked up, and then very less than thrilled to learn the reason.

We were in the office for 1.5 hours. Now, at first the situation was from a broken computer and we were new and had tons to fill out and have entered in said computer, but even when we went back we in there for over an hour. Ordinarily this would be a terrible thing--but that is how long they worked with us to be sure that we got the proper care. Wow!

Having to take Thomas with us and attempt to keep him still or at least somewhat still made the trip difficult, but these people were so patient and wonderful.

Here's where the "worried mom" comes in to play.

They asked a million questions and started to ask about the diagnosis I had been worried about since yesterday--asthma. I was terrified that she would have such a difficult illness that would require so much medicine and her not being able to be as active as she is.

An hour later and after listening to her lungs, which were clear, the Dr. came to the conclusion of allergy induced asthma.

So there was the "a" word I was dreading, but it wasn't as limiting as I was afraid of. She prescribed an inhaler just until the cough subsided. And, she gave her a more powerful allergy medicine (which I was hoping for!).

Combined we are hoping this will help get rid of that cough, and keep her allergies more in check.

We left the Doctor's office and got the prescription.

It wasn't until tonight when we had to "help" our six year old use and inhaler that mommy about lost it. I waited until the drama (and I am not exaggerating here!) was over, but I lost it. My beautiful baby was having to pump/spray medicine in to her body to help her breathe better.

I know there are moms out there that have had to go through so much worse, and I am sure that there is "worse" to come. But, for right now this is the scariest thing I have had to deal with as a mommy.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

21 Months

Mommy's big boy is 21 months old today.

He is such a handsome little man. He still doesn't have a large vocabulary, but boy is he a flirt, and a ham, and a cleaver little devil!

Thomas loves anything on wheels, and he still loves to yell "vroom, vroom." He will point out any truck or large vehicle we encounter with an emphatic "ruck!! ruck!!!" I don't know how his little brain knew to be and love and do all things boy--but it did. He is as much "all boy," as Gracie is "all girl." What polar opposites my children are!

I am putting him in mostly 24 months and 2T clothes. They are a little big on him, and while he is growing, he still seems to be smaller than most kids his age. And, I have gotten better about comparing him (but, I only did because I was so worried about how small he was. I have only raised a giant, so "average" and below "average" weight and height sounded off every mother bell in my head!) but I notice the difference when he is around other kids.

Thomas and mommy still go to story time once a week. Besides all of the cars and trucks we have, and the books about cars and trucks, and the shows/videos we have about cars and trucks--his best friend is still Chewey.

I am working on putting up the "bink" during non-sleeping hours, but it isn't going well. He is very attached like Gracie was (well, you can mark that down as one of the very FEW ways they are/have been alike!).

He has gotten his first hair cut, he loves to run and play and bounce and be a complete daredevil. However he is scared of real airplanes thanks to those loud military jets that practiced the day of the Richmond race (we live under the incoming and outgoing path for the airport, so that makes it hard!), and of cats. Yep, my daredevil is scared of those nasty, lazy, self-righteous felines!

Of course Thomas is far more intricate that just these few paragraphs, but gives you a little glimpse into the very special man in our lives.

Fall, In A Place Far Away

Just when I think I have become "well adjusted," I find myself coloring the leaves purple.

Fall is by far my most favorite season of the year. Garren loves Winter for the ice and snow, Gracie says she loves summer because of the beach and swimming, and Thomas isn't really sure about his favorite yet ;) But mommy loves fall. I have more fall decorations than I have Christmas. I can't pass up those oranges and golds and reds. Most of my clothes are fall season, and I come up with a million crafts and ideas and activities for this time of year.

It has always been a busy and exciting season for me, and that didn't change when we moved here. It was just a little less busy, and less exciting.

The ridiculous heat that lasted through the end of October had some to do with it. But really, thinking of all of the fall things the kids and I would be doing "if we were at home," got the better of me.

I was doing okay until the weekend when Ruth and George visited in mid-October. We of course were excited for their visit, and we had been to Strasburg the weekend before and had a great time picking apples. But when we had to say goodbye I thought about how long it would be before the kids and I saw them again.

This sadness was compounded by the fact that I promised the kids we would carve pumpkins that same night.

We always carved pumpkins with the Mozingo's and made it into a fun family night.

Let's just say the ball kept rolling. The next day was Sunday and I find myself dreading going to this new church. Not because there is anything wrong with the church--except it isn't the one that I belong to.

Several weeks later I find myself making leaf rubbings with the kids and coloring mine purple, and wishing that we were doing our craft in Strasburg.

I know many of you have to be just rolling your eyes at me still "whining" about this move 3 months later, but as hard as I am trying, I find myself (clearly) still struggling.

This is all new to me. Not just the new place and new house, but this pitiful sad woman routine. I was raised extremely independent. My father's motto was "if you want it done right, do it yourself." We didn't dare ask for help, we didn't lean on people, we didn't hug, we didn't say "I Love You" all the time. I had no problem going to college 6 hours away from home, I didn't even notice really that I came home from college 2-3 times a year--tops. I spent 2 of my summers working in Tennessee between semesters.

It doesn't mean we didn't love each other, we were just independent people. We didn't have an extended family that we were close to. It was just the four of us, and I inherited my father's work ethic and I poured myself in to my job and did 10 to 12 hour days and was very dedicated and determined.

Then we moved to Strasburg, and I had Gracie and my life changed. It changed a lot. But, I still wasn't close to people. I never needed people before, I didn't know how to need them, or to let them help me, or to be close to others. We didn't have friends and family in Strasburg, but my secluded life with Gracie wasn't really that different from the past 25 years. I had friends and co-workers and such, but I never saw those people outside of school or work. I didn't go out or socialize after hours--so I didn't think I was missing anything.

Years went by and somehow I started talking to our neighbor (one of the many we shared walls with), and slowly we became very good and dear friends. We watched each others daughter's grow up (far too quickly!) and we found time to do things together like tea parties, and bowling (by the way NEVER go bowling with Tom! ;), and pumpkin carving.

The Mozingo's were our only friends for many more years. It wasn't until it was time for Gracie to start preschool that I even associated with anyone outside of Colette, Tom & Mallory. Gracie and I stayed in that very small apartment day in and out.

When she started school, there was no way to avoid connecting with other people. Gracie made friends at school, we started taking her to church regularly, we met parents of school friends, and people in the church, she did Bible School, and then we did more and more and more things.

Most of our activities seemed to be with the church and school--so I wouldn't say we became social butterflies, but we started to get comfortable. Strasburg was a place we wanted to stay. It was no longer just a bump in the road of Garren's career.

Over the next 3 years we went from "comfortable" to "home." People we would meet would show us such amazing kindness and sincerity. Of course I had no idea what to do with this sort of action, but then there were more people, and more people--and I really started to like the feeling. It was something I can't ever remember having. Kind of like something missing--that I didn't even know I needed.

And then there was Ruth & George. We had met them, and saw them various time at church activities, but with her very outgoing personality, Ruth captured my daughter. Gracie was so very shy and took a very long time to warm up to people--but with Ruth she just attached herself. And when Thomas came along--he did the exact same thing.

So thanks to my kids, we now had friends, amazing little friends and their moms, wonderful and loving people in our lives, and now people that they found themselves so close to, they considered them family.

So, now maybe you can understand why I colored my leaves purple. I had something that was so warm and wonderful and felt like all of those Hallmark commercials I have watched (and cried over) for decades--and I had to leave it behind.

I would guess most people my age have moved countless times by now, and you probably got it out of your system when you left home for college--but I am just now dealing. And, I am not just sad for myself, I am sad for my kids. It took so long for me to share them, and then I did and I realized how wonderful that was too.

Garren, and many others keep saying "go make new friends." But, they don't realize that it took 6 years to get to where I was in Strasburg, I don't think I can be expected to ever duplicate that--and especially not in 3 months.

So, for now, my leaves will be purple. You will have to check back in on me next fall, and hopefully then I will have my red, and orange, and yellow crayons back out of the box. But until then, know that I can be sad from time to time, and I miss the people and the places and the closeness like crazy--but I am not holed up in a corner somewhere, I am not begging Garren to move us back, and I am not ignoring my kids or responsibilities around here. I will be fine, I will just complain to all of you blog readers, and be little more weepy than usual. But, I doubt you'd notice. ;)

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Home Depot Project With Gracie

Look what Gracie made!

She is very proud of her spice rack--that we turned into a craft supply rack, that she made at Home Depot this morning.

Gracie glued and hammered her project together with very little help from mommy. And, thus she earned a certificate and another pin to go on her apron.