Friday, August 27, 2010

Best Friends Forever


I thought the picture above speaks louder than words to describe this day!

You can not imagine the excitement my Gracie felt when I told her that her bestest friend Rebecca was coming to her house today.

Rebecca's mom and I planned this over a week ago.

She was taking Rebecca to Kings Dominion for her birthday, and since we were so close, she was going to bring Rebecca over.

I decided it would be wise to wait until the last possible minute to tell Gracie. Especially since they weren't coming to our new house until their last day of their vacation.

You wouldn't have thought so much as moment had passed since these two girls had last seen each other. But, I guess that is what it is like with real friends (yes, I heard you Ruth!).

Rebecca brought Gracie the prettiest stuffed horse with a purple bow (for Strasburg of course), and a set of best friend necklaces!

Gracie didn't quite get the concept of it, and I told her how my best friend Helen and I had those when we were in school.

Of course hers and Rebecca's necklaces have pink on them which is much better I am sure.

The day was wonderful and the girls played and played in the play room and Gracie's room and outside and everywhere in between.

Once Thomas was up from his nap we went to lunch and they were just as tight there.

They ordered the same lunch and colored together, and then told secrets! It brought tears of joy to watch my daughter and her best friend play and share.


After lunch we took the girls to Gracie's new school and they played for a while on the playground. But good Lord was it hot! So, we didn't stay long.

We came back to the house and the girls got to play some more before the inevitable heartache began....Rebecca had to go home.

I have to say I was rather impressed that Gracie didn't completely lose it. She was VERY sad to see her go and begged and begged me to let her come back again. And Rebecca even asked her mom if they could come to visit every Friday!

But, what a wonderful day for two very special friends. I still get so happy and smiley thinking about their reunion.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Social Butterfly

Well, she wasn't exactly that tonight, but I watched in amazement at how excited my six year old was to go to an event where she didn't know anyone at her new school.

I guess more is gone than the sweet...it seems the "shy" is also leaving.

Tonight was one of the pre-school activities at Gracie's new school. They hosted an ice cream social for the kids. We didn't get to really see the school, or meet teachers (since I couldn't tell a teacher from a parent anyway). But, it was a second, and cooler, look at the place.

Gracie picked out an ice cream cup from the several selections and we sat at a picnic area in the school yard. She gobbled her ice cream up with out so much as a shy whine or bashful hiding of her face in my arm or side.
Once she ate her ice cream, I told her "lets go look around." It only took a few feet before we saw where all the kids were headed.

Gracie ran up the hill of stairs attempting to be patient with her much slower mommy, then she let me go and ran off to play with the dozens and dozens of other kids.
I let her play for a good long while until I noticed that her cheeks were bright pink and she was out of breath and sweaty.

It was 7pm, but it was still rather warm out there!

I took some pictures, and a video for Aunt Ruth, and we headed home before the storm came.

So, most of me is really glad that Gracie seems to be so well adjusted. Of course I am surprised--my once shy flower used to have to be coaxed (and sometimes bribed) in to doing anything new or uncertain. Now, she is running off with kids she doesn't even know!

The other part of me? Well, it feels lonely now that I don't have any one to be sad with me any more. Kind of pathetic that it is just the mommy who can't seem to find her way out of her "loss" and mopes around the house. Although, in my defense, I hadn't had time to feel depressed between moving and packing and unloading, and putting away. Now that the chaos has subsided, the tears aren't staying away.

What's worse: now Gracie pats me on the shoulder and says "it's okay mommy. You will meet new friends and have a good time. Don't you just love our new house? And, they will visit, I promise."

Of course, I guess that isn't all bad. Clearly all my pep talks and hugs and reassurances helped her. And, while she can really be difficult to be around, it is a sign that her very big heart is still in there.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Stranger In My House

While it sounds like a great title for a horror movie, and sometimes I feel like it is (and I am starring it!)--it's not.

This stranger sits across the breakfast table from me. She always seems to wear pink. She is around 4 feet tall, and is missing a tooth.

And, the tooth isn't the only thing that is missing. So, are her manners, her happy mood, and her respect.

I know it sounds like I am making a joke, but I was telling Garren the other day: "I don't even know this child any more."

And, I don't.

This isn't the little girl I gave birth to, and nurtured these past 6 years. Where did my baby go? And, I don't mean where did the time go--I mean literally, where did she go.

She must have crept out in the middle of the night sometime when I wasn't looking. She too was probably scared of this "back-talking, rude, fibbing, foot-stamping, some times down right hateful" stranger.

Back when I was pregnant with Thomas I shared my fears about the possibility of having a boy. And, apparently I was the only one who did--or at least the only one who said anything (which made me feel GREAT by the way!!). Comment after comment was about how boys were so much better than girls. I was told that if they had the girl first they never would have had more, and wait until she gets to be a teen and pre-teen. Then of course, were the moms with aged 8-10 year old girls who warned me about those phases too.

Of course I scoffed at them. I had a precious little girl who loved her mommy more than anything, and we were "bestest friends." No other mother surely had such a wonderful little princess.

And then one day I woke up and I stared at my child and wondered what had happened.

I tricked myself in to believing that it was Kindergarten. Then of course it was the jealousy over Thomas. I think I stopped trying to lie to myself after I blamed it on "the move." After all it has been almost a year since my "little girl" went missing. It couldn't have been all of those things.

Now, I just sit back and wonder how much longer until I get her back? Will I ever get her back? So many moms seem to joke how it all works out by the time they are away from home and in college or after. Do they really think that is funny? Because it might be the saddest, most depressing thing I have ever heard. And, I am still reeling from walking away from the closest "family" I have ever had now three weeks ago.

I want my baby back, and I will stop at nothing to rescue the sweet and wonderful child that this new stranger in our house ate for lunch!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Happy Waffle Day



If you have a young child at home, and you have Sprout, then you KNOW it is "Waffle Day." Especially since they have been talking about this day non-stop for the entire month of August.

And, if your child is as peppy as mine, you were awoken (well re-awoken) to the bounce on the bed and the greeting "Happy Waffle Day Mama!"

We hope you had a great waffle day wherever you were. We celebrated with the entire family at the breakfast table (a rare occurrence) and we all had waffles--of course!

Monday, August 23, 2010

First Day In Our New Backyard

Yes, we have been living here for 3 weeks now, and yes, this is the first opportunity we have had to enjoy our first back yard!

It has been so miserably hot since we moved in. It is even too hot and humid early in the mornings to really enjoy any play time.

But, it was nice enough today to get out there!

Gracie wanted to do the Clifford sprinkler that mommy scored from a thrift store not long before we moved. And, while it was nicer outside, it was still plenty hot for water fun.

Thomas was not as much of a fan of the sprinkler, so mommy helped him find a different water activity that was a little more his pace.

The kids had a blast getting soaking wet this afternoon.

We stayed out for a little over an hour and then I think they were both over being wet and sticky with freshly cut grass.

While I am still terribly "home-sick," the joys that this large fenced in yard will bring does my heart good.

We hope you are all enjoying the last days of summer, if you have them! Many friends and their kids have already returned to the classroom. I know Gracie is anxious and ready to go back to school, but I am glad that we don't start until September here. I would much rather Gracie go until mid-June, than have to be on that bus and at recess in the horrible temperatures we have been having.

But, if you have already started school--maybe you could still get out the water toys when you get off the bus.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Thinking About Babies

Remembering the first few days and weeks and months of my babies tonight. :) Can't tell you why yet.....(and NO we aren't expecting another one...yet :) he he


Our Gracie




Our Thomas


Saturday, August 21, 2010

One More On The List

Today was the church picnic at the Town Park. We missed it. I guess we can now add that to the rather long list of things we miss this week.

Thursday I made an album of pictures and added it to my Facebook account. It was a collection of all the things we are pining for these days. Not that we aren't making a good attempt at finding peace here in Mechanicsville, but Friday was a particularly sad day for mommy. Nothing "happened" to note, I just missed home.

And, today, while daddy attempted to take our minds of off what we were missing, I secretly added another to the pile.

We Miss...




Click on the "X" to close out that annoying "Pets" banner thing so you can read the captions!

For Candice's Baby


Dear Baby J:

Look what I found today! You have to get your daddy to get one for you, it is pink and perfect. Your mommy and daddy have both taken me for rides on the one at your house, and it was super fun!

I asked my daddy if I could have the pink one, but he said "no." You are littler and cuter, so you might get a "yes!"

Love,Gracie
PS: I can't wait to see you when you get out!

November 2006


March 2007

March 2007

***Gracie loved visiting Candice & Elliott anyway, but fun rides on their 4 wheeler made it extra fun! ***

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Countdown Is On


Not that I am in a hurry for summer to be over. Well, I am in a hurry for this horrible heat to go away. But, the end of the summer is another end to time at home with Gracie.

Yes, she will be here in the afternoons and evenings, but it isn't the same. I know that I only have so much time with her before she no longer wants time with mommy.

But, she is so excited for school, and very bummed that she has to wait so long. So, I made her a countdown calendar to help her stay focused on the time she has remaining--and give her a little something to look forward to each day.

Gracie has always loved the countdown calendars I have made, and you can't imagine the excitement each day to pull off a number. Gotta love that both of my kids are so easily amused!

As of today, she still has 21 days (exactly 3 weeks) until the school bus rolls here in Mechanicsville.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Sign Of The Times


Our second attempt to enroll Gracie into the closest elementary school was a success.

I was so impressed, and relived, to see what a friendly staff they have there. The ladies gushed and gushed over how beautiful Gracie was and how pretty her dress and matching bow were (my kind of ladies!), and of course they all couldn't stop commenting on Thomas and what a good big sister he had.

I say "second attempt" becuase we went last week with all the papers we needed, but they were renovating, and the office ladies had been booted out and sent to use the library where their paper work wasn't. They were super friendly and apologetic at that visit too and told us to come today.

Gracie attempted to help keep Thomas quiet while I filled out a novels worth of paper work for my first grader to enter school.

I am used to paper work, although it seemed like a double helping compared to last year. I am guessing because she was a transfer student--who knows. But, it was more of the questions and information requests that made up that paperwork that kind of stunned me.

I don't have any clue what my parents had to fill out, but I doubt it was things like: race (very precise options by the way), proof of state residency, proof of US citizenship, a box to mark if you child is homeless..

Seriously, it was a rather in-depth portion for homelessness. It asked you to check a box for where you "resided" in a homeless manner. I only skimmed it, but it gave like 6 options including "a vehicle," and "a shelter." I shouldn't make light of this, but I was completely taken off guard by this and several other portions of the paper work. And no, I didn't see "cardboard box" as an option.

There as an ENTIRE page dedicated to custody. Seriously, a whole 8.5 x 11 that listed at least 10 options of to whom your child was in custody.

I started to wonder how many parents were able to check the first, and least descriptive box that said something along the lines of "married, no custody paperwork."

I remember last year thinking and wondering how much Gracie was in a minority for having a traditional, well maybe a better word is old-fashioned, nuclear family with both parents at home. Not only does she live with both parents, there are no steps and halves and former, and ex anything in her life. What used to be the norm, is now the exception and I don't really know how to process it. It isn't something I am really proud of or anything, I guess my best feeling is one of "thankfulness" and "blessed." It kind of makes this move seem small when it comes to the "upsets" that other kids face in their lives.

So, after I did all but give a blood sample, our Gracie was added to the pile of registered Mechanicsville Elementary School students.

I was given a page with some dates for open house and other pre-school activities. As well as a school list.

At first I was really almost angry at the large (and what I perceived as ridiculous) amount of items. But, then I took Gracie to get said items at Walmart and we spent less than $30, so I really can't complain about that.

So, Gracie is enrolled, she has her school supplies and snagged a Princess backpack earlier this month. She is one very excited first grader.

You'll have to stay tuned for more excitement and adventures from school, which starts September 7th by the way. And, she seems okay that she will be a "Cardinal" now since red is one of her favorite colors. But, she is sure to say (as I have reminded her over the past few months) "I will always be a Ram!"

Guess Who Can Tie Her Shoes?!

My Gracie--that's who!

Okay, maybe kids know how do this long before the start of First Grade, but I am super proud none the less.
Although, as much as I would like to, I can't take credit for it.

We have been talking about teaching her to tie her own shoes for nearly a year now, and I (ashamedly) hadn't stopped to take the time to do so.

The end of last month Gracie's shoe was untied while we were with Aunt Ruth & Uncle George for a (farewell) ice cream treat. Ruth, thinking better on her feet than I, took the time to show Gracie how to tie those pesky laces.

I had once gone over the idea of the loops and bows and such and Ruth showed her the way she taught her kids (one loop), and then the way I learned (2 bunny ears). It was hot and Gracie knew that we would be moving in a matter of days and was very out of sorts, so she ended up getting frustrated at the situation that day. But, apparently she remembered the lesson and was practicing on her own.

Yesterday she announced to her daddy that she could tie her own shoe. I didn't think much of it, except to feel super guilty that more time had passed and I hadn't sat down and worked and worked with her. My child could do math at age 4, but I hadn't taken the time to help her with her own laces!!!

This morning she told me she could tie her own shoes. I said "let's see!" and I handed her the wooden shoe that Grandma had given her year ago that helps kids practice.

Low and behold she tied it up nice and tight!!!

I am so proud!!

So, please be sure to cheer along with me for Gracie. Being able to tie your shoes is a very big accomplishment, and it is another step towards independence (okay, so I don't like that part s much).

Way to go Gracie!


video

Scenes from the move

After a long day of moving, I sat down among the boxes on the couch, opened a Vault, and turned on the TV. "Enemy at the Gates" was on HBO. Gracie landed beside me and said, "I hope this is appropriate for me."

In the car, headed back from the dump, we stopped off for Slush Puppies. I slurped one sip too far, got a brain freeze. "Ouch!" "What's wrong, Daddy?" "Brain freeze." **blow, blow, blow** A warm, slighly damp hand grabs my forehead. "It's OK, Daddy, I'll warm it up."

Using a broom is not intuitive for a 6 year old. I asked Gracie to sweep off the walk after I mowed. I turned around to see her doing her best ninja warrior impression with the broom as she tried to bludgeon the grass off the walk.

Gracie does not like ants. I sent her to sweep under the table with a hand broom and dustpan. **Sweep, sweep, sweep... WHACK, WHACK, WHACK, WHACK** "What was that, Gracie?" "There was a ant, and I had to squish it." Gracie thinks squish=terminate with extreme prejudice.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Spunky Kindergartener


Have you ever read the Junie B. Jones series?

If you have a preschool/kindergarten age little girl it is a must! Of course you could read it with a boy, but I don't think he would get as much out of it.

We inherited Mariah's collection of the series and Grandma had gotten her all of the books, so we are working our way through them half a book a night.

They are simple reads with a few illustrations. They were written for older elementary school kids, and so mommy reads the funny chapter books to Gracie who giggles and giggles. I have to say they are even humorous enough to make mommy and daddy laugh out loud at this 5 year old's antics.

Tonight we finished up Junie B. Jones and Sneaky Peaky Spying.

Junie (at this point in the series) is a first time Kindergartner--and a hand full! Picture the complete opposite of my Gracie. The fictional girl is quite feisty, spunky, and always seems to get herself in a jam.

My original idea was to read them to Gracie before and during her Kindergarten year, but as I have blogged before, that year was so hectic and overwhelming for me with Thomas. And, while it may have helped hearing about another child's kindergarten adventures, and how Junie also becomes a big sister at age 5--I am kind of glad I waited. Junie is such a handful and I wouldn't want to temp Gracie into doing some of the same things this young character does!

Junie will be in first grade in a few books, and we should get to those before Gracie starts back, so it will be a nice tie in still.

Plus, the great part about these books is that mommy gets to read them to her now, and she can go back and read them again in a few years when she is ready for more challenging chapter books.

Tomorrow night we start Junie B. Jones and The Yucky, Blucky Fruitcake. Sounds like a fun Christmas with this scheming 5 year old...and of course fun for this mommy and her favorite almost first grader.

Friday, August 13, 2010

There IS Such A Thing As "Magic"

Conversation at lunch while I was cutting up some of the cherry tomatoes from our garden for my salad.

Mommy: "That tomato plant is growing more tomatoes than I can keep up with!"

Gracie: "Maybe it is a magic tomato plant!"

Mommy: "No, that's how tomato plants work, they keep producing the vegetable even after you pick them"

Gracie: "Maybe it is a magic plant and it will keep on growing and growing and growing!"

Mommy: "Nah, it will stop around fall. Vegetable plants mostly start in the spring when we plant them and then go until it is too cool for them anymore, usually fall"

Gracie (who is in that phase where she not only knows everything, can't lose an argument or conversation) "It is a magic plant mommy."

Mommy: "You know, you are right, it is the magic of God's plan. He made the plants to grow food for us to eat. It is a lot like magic and it is also a gift."

[Silence from Gracie. And, not because I "stumped" her, but because she got it.]

Gracie: "Yeah!"

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"Are You All Moved In Yet?"

This is the most frequently asked question from the few people who have called or emailed or Facebooked me since the big "move."

And, in a word: no!

Although, I hope I have conveyed the complete frustration over my inability to get this place unpacked and organized, in a much more polite way.

If I had written this post 48 hours ago it would have been a lot more dramatic as I was sure that this place was NEVER going to come together. But in the light of day #11 I am hoping that we can get it all done by Christmas.

I will not be sharing pictures of the new place any time soon, not that many people have asked, but I would really rather share this place in a good light and not full of piles and boxes and bags.

Well, there aren't boxes really any more, but there are piles everywhere--and things constantly falling over. There isn't as much room here in the new house as there was in the old one (which makes sense since it was a 3 story townhome), so I am attempting to find as many ways to organize and fit all of our treasures as possible.

Of course there is only so much I can squeeze in. We left a truck load at least at the old house (we literally couldn't fit any thing else in the UHAUL!) and some very wonderful members of the church picked those things up for the church yard sale next month. Garren has taken a full car load to Goodwill already this week, and we have another load and a half possibly to go this week. And while getting rid of things is hard, clearly it was long over due, and we could stand a down sizing.

So, that's the update on the "move." In the coming weeks I will try and move on from this very difficult time in our lives and return the focus to the kids and all the exciting and new things that they are doing. An email will be sent out today or tomorrow with our new email address, and a repeat of our new information for all those interested.

Thanks again for all of your support and prayers.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Life Goes On

If you ever want a visual representation of how much life goes on while you are lost in your own drama, or funk, or sadness, or whatever....check out Facebook.

I never expected life to stop these past 8 days, but it was almost like it did.

Like I was frozen in time or I had exchanged lives with someone else.

In the time that I have been without the computer and/or the time to get on said computer friends have announced the expectancy of babies, anniversaries were remembered, birthdays were celebrated, school started for some teachers and parents.

If you are expecting an upbeat account of the past week, or even a positive spin on our new life here in Mechanicsville, you'd better stop reading and maybe come back in a week or two.

We are "here" and I know I am supposed to say "well," but I wouldn't really mean it.

Garren is loving his 20 minute commute and the fact that anything and everything is a 5-10 minute drive. Gracie is finding more contentment and her excitement level is through the roof as she finds things that mommy "hid" at the old house in boxes and bags as they get opened.

As for Thomas and I, well we are kind of in the same boat. We are both fussy, uncomfortable, restless, and just plain out of sorts.

For different reasons of course, but it is kind of like he feels my pain.

In the past 8 days...

I have worked harder that I have ever had in my life as I worked along side my husband and the two of us loaded and unloaded every item we own (with the exception of the couch--thanks Logan!).

I moved in to a house without power or water (long story, the 1st was on a weekend!!!) and used the last hours of our truck rental to unload the final boxes into the house with my headlights to guide me.

I have driven or ridden from Strasburg to Mechanicsville (the big move), then Mechanicsville to Lynchburg (no water or power had to stay the night at mom's until power was turned on Monday morning), then Lynchburg to Mechanicsville (had to unpack the tons of boxes), then Mechanicsville to Lynchburg (get the kids and mom) then back to Mechanicsville, then Mechanicsville to Louisa County (to meet dad to drop mom half way so kids would be less upset) and back again.

Gracie lost her tooth at 55 miles an hour in the backseat.

Thomas got the croup and scared me to death for the FIRST NIGHT IN OUR NEW HOUSE WITH THE KIDS!

Thomas' croup turns to cold that lingers for a few days and he only wants me to hold him and I can't get anything unpacked.

We are under a tornado warning & watch!

I still have to make arrangements for Gracie to enroll in a new school.

And, it's been 8 days since we unloaded the truck and things are still not done yet, and far from done to boot.



Truth is...I wanna go home.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Many Thanks For The Mail




We can not thank the many people who have thought of our Gracie this week, enough!

She has gotten a card almost every day since she arrived back from Grandma's.

She beams each time daddy brings in the mail and there is something for her. It honestly makes her feel so special and she grins from ear to ear.

She is also in a hurry for mommy to get everything unpacked so we can find the paper, pencils, envelopes, stamps and address book so she can write you back!

Thank you again so much! Your time and effort made this move and change that much easier on our little girl, and we are truly grateful!

And many thanks to Ruth, George & the boys for making me feel so wonderful in a particularly low time in my life. You have no idea what your gesture meant to me! And, they are still beautiful!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

The Tooth Fairy Forwads


Thank goodness the Tooth Fairy got the new address.

Gracie's very wiggly tooth that she has been "fiddling" with for the past several MONTHS finally decided to make its gory exit in the most "exciting" way possible.

I won't even blog about the past few days, because I neither have the energy nor the writing prowess to allow to completely picture the events that took place as my husband and I single handedly (yep, just the two of us literally!) moved us and all of our possessions out of a THREE STORY TOWN HOME and into a two level single home without water or power.

But, back to Gracie's tooth.

I was driving Gracie and Thomas back to the new home with Grandma in tow for added child distraction when "Mr. Wiggles," as we had dubbed the pesky tooth, decided that this would be his grand "moment."

So, at an already stressful 55 miles an hour, in the back seat, my child lost her tooth while eating Cheese Doodles.

Gracie announces shortly after the second (or maybe it was third) stop, and well into an hour of a fussing baby's cries that her Cheese Doodle was "bloody."

I look in the review mirror and notice that the tooth is bloody, and is hanging low in her mouth.

[This is where my mother informs me that I scared her and possibly made the situation far more dramatic]
I tell Gracie "your tooth is about to fall out, grab a tissue."

My concern was not for the blood or the bag of Cheese Doodles she was scarfing down--but the fear of her swallowing her tooth.

As if the constant wiggling, and the noise it makes, and the blood and blue/purple color it turns weren't bad enough--the thought of my child swallowing her tooth freaks me out! Each time she has had a loose one I think I may obsess over it more than she does. I don't think it will hurt her to swallow it, but the idea turns my stomach. And now, typing the very notion, my stomach churns!

So, she becomes instant drama queen and whines in her "panic" whine and she touches the tissue (finally!) to the top of her mouth and instantly the tooth falls in to the tissue.

Grandma heroically takes the bloody tissue and saves the pain-in-the-toshy tooth and hands her more and more tissues, because it is in fact "a bleeder"--ew!!

Gracie is proud that the tooth is gone and her constant talking resumes for the remainder of the trip. But, it takes a little of the stress away since the large hole in her mouth now makes her talk funny. Of course she can't hold in the excitement and uses my phone to share the big news.

The tooth fairy was sure to visit Gracie on her first night in her new house last night and left her a shiny gold coin in place of "Mr. Wiggles."

I think she will be back sooner rather than later though. "Mrs. Wiggles" is missing her friend and is as equally wiggly. Lets hope she isn't as stubborn, and doesn't make as dramatic of an exit.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Gone, But Not Forgetting


I avoided people I loved today.

I purposely made sure that I wouldn't see their faces, or their eyes. I took longer routes to sidestep certain neighborhoods and roads.

Yesterday, I purposely took longer at the Food Lion because I knew there was someone at my house. Someone I didn't want to say "goodbye" to.

I may not have saw their faces, or looked in to their eyes. I may not have driven down their roads, or neighborhoods, or passed by the church...

But, it didn't keep me from barely being able to see out of my front windshield, as I drove my over loaded car out of the town that built me.

I just couldn't tell them goodbye.

As Garren has pointed out countless times "we aren't moving to Mars!" But, his words fall deaf to my very much breaking heart.

This may be the hardest and most difficult "challenge" I have ever faced.

But, I guess all "challenges" are like that...at the time.