Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Thomas Talks Chicken

Thomas and I LOVED week two of toddler story time. This week we had the librarian who does Mother Goose, so Thomas was even more relaxed with a familiar face.

This weeks theme was chickens. I just love the theme ideas!

The kids heard two stories, and sang some songs, and then they made their own hen. Too cute!

When they were done with their hen, they got some "eggs" for her to sit on. Of course, it took only seconds before my son figured out the eggs were edible. So, the jelly bean babies didn't last long--but I loved the idea!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Gracie On Display

Aunt Ruth & Uncle George are going to be on display at the Hanover County Arts & Science festival next weekend. Well, their house is anyway.

When I got home from the field trip today I found an email in my inbox from Gracie's teacher letting me know that she wanted to put Gracie's spring map project on display.

Now, I had already gotten a special letter from her art teacher telling me that she wanted to hang up Gracie's art work at the same festival.

As if I weren't beaming enough already!

How proud are we of our Gracie! She will have an art and a school project out for all to see..and admire. Including us, because I plan to be there to see our Gracie shine.

Now, thankfully I snapped pictures of Gracie's project before she turned it in. I meant to scan it in, but ran out of time. So, I am putting them in a slide show and putting it on "slow" so you can see it if you want.

And, yes, I did help Gracie with her project--you still get to do that in First Grade. I made up the book template for her to use, but she wrote and illustrated it all. She also came up with all the places she wanted to include. Each city got 4 things she had done. However, we included Richmond since we live here now, but we included 4 things we *want* to do.

Really Cold Field Trip

Oh my goodness, we have a busy week this week! But, a fun one.

Gracie's First Grade class had their second (and last) field trip of the year today--and mommy got to be a chaperone (thanks to Grandma).

The classes rode the bus to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens this morning, while I, and many other parents attempted to follow behind them.

I had a super bag packed--prepared for just about anything--except the freezing temperatures!

Okay, I am sure it wasn't 30 degrees, but it was super cold.

When the kids arrived they were divided by classes, and the classes divided into smaller groups with either the teacher or parent volunteers.

I had Gracie, her best friend Lilly, Nicky & Matt in my group.

We had to go off and explore for quite a while until it was Miss. Anderson's classes turn to get their plant lesson from the garden staff.

My group was...umm...rowdy. The kids were great, seriously, but those boys didn't stop long enough to look at their feet moving a mile a minute--much less a plant! I attempted to get them to examine all of the things around them, but mostly my direction included: "stop running," "please don't be so loud," "another picture!" "stop running, please!" Most of these "directions" were met with giggles and they would slow down for a few minutes...well, seconds. At one point I asked Nicky (the most active) "Nicky, do you wear your mother out?" He just gave me the boy look I am learning to recognize and casually said "yep."

We made our way to the observatory, and let me say "wow!!" It was so beautiful in there--what I was able to see of it. The boys were not impressed, but they were starting to get more used to stopping for me to snap pictures.

And, not only was the observatory breath taking--it was warm in there!

After rushing through the most beautiful plants I have ever seen, and promising Gracie we would definitely come back another time--without boys--we were back out in the cold again.

We managed to see more trails and stay busy with the kids favorite spot--jumping the large stone rocks that went over the water. (Yes, my group finds this gem of a spot within the first 5 minutes we are exploring, and I use this activity to bribe them to behave and see other parts of the gardens..."if you will quietly and slowly go through this trail we haven't seen, we will go back to your favorite spot before we go "x.")

We were late getting back to for the lesson, oops. But, I don't think they missed much. The garden volunteer had the kids do all sorts of things that got their hands dirty. I had to laugh and laugh about how most of Gracie's class freaked out about this. Seriously! Most of them refused to dig up a plant (what we would call a weed) in a large open grassy area. They didn't get away with not participating, and I made a comment that I had wipes. Well, I held back my laughter when I was rushed by several kids hands open!!

The volunteer disappointed them all when she said they weren't done getting dirty yet, and to wait.

After the "digging" the kids examined the plants they got, and moved on to learning how to pick a flower. They took their flower and removed parts and learned about bees and pollen and seeds and such. We went on to talk about what parts of plants we eat, and how each plant is different, and then the kids each planted an onion bulb (more dirt).

After planting they got to take part of a plant and use it as a clipping. Each child brought home their clipping in a little tube of water to watch it grow roots.

Finally it was lunch. I say finally, because all of the kids kept asking when lunch would be and saying how hungry they were. Not that it seemed to matter, because those kids scarfed their food down in seconds!

After lunch our groups went out to do more exploring before they could return to the kids area for play time.

This of course was the favorite time of the trip--the play time. The gardens have a HUGE tree house, a large mulberry tree for climbing, a sand box, and so much more.

The kids ran from one spot to the next. But, they were gracious enough for me to snap some group pictures without too much fuss.

I think I was the only parent with a camera, so I am glad I took as many as I did. I will have to put them all together for the teacher, and other moms and dads who may want them.

The kids got about 30 minutes to play and then they had to load up the bus.

That's when the warm sun came out.

Typical, huh?

It was a fun trip, and I am so glad that Grandma came in to help me this week. Thomas would not have done well for the trip, and it was way too cold. So, I would have missed out on all the fun.

Friday, March 25, 2011

She Did It

Gracie ran a full marathon!

It took her over a month, but she did it one mile, and some times 2 miles at a time.

It has been cold this week, and we hadn't been out to get as many miles as I had hoped, so daddy decided to take her out to run the remaining two miles on her chart.

While daddy and Gracie were out running, mommy set up a surprise for her when she got back.
I wrapped crepe paper around the mail box and found an "inventive" way to hold up the otherside.

It was very cold, and I was inside with Thomas, camera in hand. I keep looking out the window, but wouldn't you know they came up the drive before I could get the camera on and going.

So, I didn't get the video I was hoping for, but I did snap some pictures.

Video or not, we couldn't be prouder of our First Grader. What a big accomplishment, running 26 miles!!

Now, she will take on her FIRST race! Gracie will participate in the kids 1 mile run on Saturday here in Richmond.

I will be sure to video that one!!!

Happy Birthday Grandma!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Big Boy Story Time

Well, okay, "bigger boy" story time.

We had been going faithfully each Tuesday to Mother Goose story time at the local library. That group is meant for 6months to 24 months. And even though the lady always says the kids can keep going as long as they are comfortable--I thought we could give the next group a try.

Wednesdays and Thursdays they have toddler story time, which is for 2 year olds. This is a more traditional story time with reading of books, a few songs and a craft. The Mother Goose was rhymes and songs with one story and usually one movement activity.

I knew Thomas wouldn't react well to the change, and he was shy for the first activity which was a get up and move (before you have to sit down). But, once the new librarian starting reading he was completely into it. After the first book came songs. She started with "The Wheels On The Bus" which is his FAVORITE. I figured he would burrow himself back in my shoulder bone like he did for the "exercise," but no, he grinned his biggest grin and did the motions too!

They sang several more kids songs, most of which he knew, and then she read another story.

He started to get a little impatient, but the books of course are short, so it wasn't long before it was time for a craft.

Thomas loves crafts here at home--especially glue--so he loved making his own "cake." Mommy helped him with the cut out pieces, and then he added "sprinkles" all over the top. They had pie pans filled with all sorts of small items to be sprinkles. He especially liked the buttons.

Once he finished his craft he was ready to go. He headed to the door, but the lady was able to coax him over to show her his picture. He babbled on about it, and he very excitedly picked out a sticker from her sheet and got a coloring page.

I think the new group will be good for him.

The Mother Goose was so big that we had to move in to a conference room. There was easily 20+ kids the last week we went. This group is much smaller and more his age. Although, it is very noticeable how verbally behind he is. But, I am not thinking about that!

The Peculiar Mr. Shipley

Bedtime routine

I often call Thomas my "little old man," because if ever there was a poster child for "routine" it is my Thomas. But, he doesn't just have to keep things the same--he has to keep them EXACTLY the same, or he can't handle it.

First, under NO circumstances can a battery be low in seahorse or star player. If the two bedtime "friends" don't work, the world will end, but if they sound like the batteries are running down at all--you can forget about him sleeping.

Next, bedtime will NOT happen with out: Chewey, blankie, seahorse, binki, milk & star player. If you are missing even one of these items you are in for a very upset little boy.

Now, I am sure you are thinking "most kids like their routines, and their bedtime friends." But, I can assure you it is far more intense than that! We have to get ready for bed in a certain order. We have to start specifically at 7:00. And I am not joking! If I get behind I find a VERY fussy toddler starting to emerge by 7:05. Seriously!

And, bedtime isn't the only routine he must keep. Until a few months ago, he had to have a milk and a baby breakfast bar in order to start his day. Both of which he had with him on the sofa with Chewey and the Sunny Side Up Show.

I finally broke the breakfast bar habit, not just because they were expensive, but because he would eat one bite and waste the rest. He was out of sorts for days without this combo I tell you!

If you put shoes on his feet you better be ready to go. Do not go to the bathroom, look for your sunglasses, put your shoes the door and go, or you will listen to him jump and holler and turn the knob--he is ready!

These are the most intense of his little old man habits, but I can assure you there are many more!

Lining Up His Toys

At first, it was just his vehicles, but now it is almost any toy he plays with. At some point during his play with them he will line them up in the most perfect row, one behind the other until he runs out of toys. I was sure Gracie had showed him this when I first found all of his toy vehicles lined this way in his room. She tells me she didn't show him, and he just started doing it while they were playing.

I have no idea what goes through that little mind that makes him want to do such a thing, and I will admit it unnerves me a little. Not sure why--but it does.


Thomas hates socks. He can say "sock" and if you manage to get a sock on his foot, you better stick a shoe on so it will stay there. Of course, if you put a shoe on his foot you will have to put him in the car because he is ready to go. And, if you put him in the car, you will have to turn on his CD, and your inside car lights...I could keep's kind of like Giving a Mouse A Cookie!

But, unless that sock is securely in place it WILL come off in a matter of minutes, or nap time, which ever comes first.

Now, I am used to pulling dirty socks out of his crib (although they usually aren't that dirty, since they spend such a little time on his foot)! But, I had been noticing the last few weeks that there weren't socks in his bed anymore. And, when I asked Gracie to help me by getting his socks out of his bed since we were running low (I had been putting a new pair on him), she said she couldn't find any. I did figure she was being lazy and I went and checked myself. Sure enough--no socks--but I KNEW he had them on for nap. The next day I was moving his crib looking for a lost bink, and I found his unwanted sock stash. No wonder we were getting so low on baby socks! There had to be more than a weeks worth in that pile!


There is something about that bratty Canadian character that mesmerizes my child. I will take hours of Barney over that kid! Although, I must admit, they have changed him a lot since Gracie watched it. I guess enough parents complained about what a bad role model he was for their kids.

Anyway, nothing happens while Calliou is on--nothing! I am not sure he even breathes. He stands there in front of the TV like a statue. He doesn't eat, he doesn't drink, and he can't hear you. I thought he was just ignoring me, but nope, he is so zoned in, he can't hear anything. When Calliou goes off, Thomas jumps right back in to "Thomas mode." He will eat some more, or find his cup. Of course, unfortunately for him, when Calliou is off--it is nap time.

All Things Liquid

My son won't eat. Well, he eats, but barely. He won't try new things, and he half the time won't eat anything but snack foods (crackers, fruities, etc). Of course all he really wants is JUNK FOOD and drinks.

Now the little man has always had a preference for the bottle/cup. When he was a baby all he wanted was his milk ALL THE TIME. We started him on baby food--nope, he wants his milk. He gets table food--a few nibbles, but he wants his milk. It got so bad that we were having to measure to the last drop to make sure he didn't get any more (or less!) than 24 ounces a day. The pediatrician told us that was a MUST since he didn't eat well.

Even today, I still have to be careful he doesn't go over 24 ounces of milk. But when he isn't drinking milk, he wants anything else in that cup.

While I try to stick with just juice, he wants it all. He LOVES gingerale, Gracie's Seirra Mist, and anything else colored or bubbly. If I am not careful he will take off with my can of Dt. Pepsi, or just crawl over and drink it out of my straw at a restaurant. Grandpa gives him Mountain Dew and anything else he wants! That child can drink, and I often worry about his college days.

But, the little old man has gotten worse in his old age. Regardless of what drink (besides milk) he gets in his cup--mommy waters it down. He gets 1/3 to 1/2 of the drink added to 2/3 or 1/2 water.

Well, lately he has been taking a sip, and he comes running to me "more! more!" while making the sign with his hands.

At first I found it frustrating and I was trying to convince him that I had just filled it up. When that got no where I would pour a very small amount in the cup (he only took a sip there wasn't much room) and he would run off. It took me awhile, but I realized he was unhappy with the percentage of actual "drink" in the cup! He was complaining about how much I was diluting it.

There are a million other peculiar little parts of his personality I could share, like how he will only eat a banana if you break it into 2 pieces and put on in each hand....but there isn't enough time or space on this blog.

I love him dearly, but there is some serious obsessive compulsive starting to show in his little toddler mannerisms. It's cute...for now.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Peep Peeps

We went to see the "peep peeps" today!

The Tractor Supply store has live chicks now, and I have been wanting to take the kids since I first found out.

Now, I have to admit, I want a baby duck. Yep--a baby duck! They are so cute! I have wanted one ever since Garren and I were dating and he took me to a county fair and they had baby ducks in a tub for $1 a piece. I begged him to let me buy one and for him to keep it in his bathtub. He refused...and for some odd reason kept on dating me!

Well, Garren's mind hasn't changed about NOT wanting a duck. He thinks the two kids we have are messy enough.

Since daddy is also convinced that we would get the bird flu if we so much as looked at the baby chicks, I took the kids by myself.

I was disappointed that the store didn't have any baby ducks for the kids to see, but the salesman said they should have more tomorrow along with baby rabbits. So, we will have to come back.

But, boy did Thomas love watching the baby chicks.

Now, growing up in Strasburg, Gracie has had many chances to see animals, but this was Thomas first "wildlife" experience.

They couldn't hold the chicks, or even touch them. This was for the animals safety as well as the kids--but they still loved watching them. In fact, we got to watch the man open a box full of chicks and put them inside the large trough. He told us they were only 3 weeks old. (I hope they hadn't been in that box for 3 weeks!)

I asked another lady there if it was okay to take pictures and she said yes--and I even got a video!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Gracie Wants To Blog

Gracie actually mentioned this yesterday, and I told her she could put something on my blog whenever she wanted too.

Well, she tells me she wants her own blog.

Now, I don't have a problem with Gracie blogging, but I know my daughter well, and she gets all excited about things and does them for a while, and then she is "over it."

So, if she continues to be interested in blogging, and she actually continues to post here, I will let her start her own.

So, stayed tuned for more rambling thoughts from a very chatty seven year old. :)

A Post From Gracie

I had this drem I could fly!I cant bleive it was a drem!I had rainbow wings and a skirt!
love barbie.

Friday, March 18, 2011

First Ice Cream Truck Perchase Of The Year

(and maybe the last unless I want to take out a loan! Those people have a real racket going there! Have you bought from the ice cream truck in the past year?! Whew!)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Park To Play In

Daddy found the kids a new play ground to play in.

This playground is huge compared the one we are used to in Strasburg. And with "large area" comes "large amounts of children."

The kids had a great time, but I must admit that I was a nervous wreck trying to keep an eye on Thomas. It was like playing "Where's Waldo" with all the equipment, the tons of kids, and the sun at the worst possible place in the sky (which ends up being right in your eyes wherever you turn).

While I am glad we found a park where we can play, I am not so sure about taking the kids to this one by myself. At least not yet.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Helping Make Daddy's Lunch

And by help I mean "snag the bread from one of the sandwiches I was making!"

I had daddy grab the camera and snap this picture, I wasn't about to leave him more than an arm length away.

This isn't the most clear picture, but you can clearly see his mischievous grin!

Rock A Bye Your Bear

If you have a child, you have heard of the Wiggles. And, you may recognize the song below. Thomas is too cute doing the little hand motions that go with this very catchy kids song, so one day I recorded the Wiggles song from Sprout on the DVR, and I played it back for him today--having my camera ready of course!

Well, my camera is lousy with audio, so I have put the music from their CD behind the video I took.

Gotta love it!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Bow Tie Just In Time

I whipped this little yellow bow tie up in the thirty minutes we had before time to leave for story time at the library.

I just love that sweater vest, and the combo was just screaming for a bow tie. I would say that this craft was a world record, but I have made things with minutes to spare before. But, I am still super proud.

Thomas' springy yellow bow tie is made from felt and it was hand stitched.

Oh, and I got several compliments at story time. He is quite the "ladies man" already, and the bow tie just knocked the binkies right out of their mouths ;)

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Birthday Thank You's!

I am very behind on many things...including my birthday thank you cards! I am a firm believer in sending out a thank you--because we are so blessed! So, many wonderful people spoil my children and our family, and we are truly grateful.

Well, I am also behind on pictures (and the blog too, I know mom!). I haven't taken Gracie or Thomas to Penney's yet.

So, my idea was to a have a candid picture taken and send out thank yous from both of them. So, please be patient with me.

But, in the meantime, I thank those of you who sent Gracie birthday cards. Her Tangled card display was a hit--and she loved adding the cards to the garland. Mommy found a tutorial on how to make the lanterns like the ones that are in the movie. They turned out great and I made some big ones to put on the birthday table with batter operated lights.

(Left to Right) Mamaw & Papaw (princesses), Candice, Elliott & Jolee (doggie with #7), Thomas (flowers), Mommy & Daddy (Rapunzel), Grandma & Grandpa (possibly the biggest and heaviest card ever!), Aunt Sharon & Uncle Denny (hot pink one hanging), Uncle Brian, Aunt Dawn & cous-its (Belle), and Abby, Jamie, Colton, Dorie & Ryson (unicorn --you should have heard the squeals over that one in the mail!)

PS: See how the pink one is hanging from the clothespin hung by the cord? Well, they all did that, but they twist and turn and I wanted you to be able to see them all in the picture, so I climbed back up and stuck them all to the top line so they would stay straight.

Birthday Blahs

Our poor seven year old is not having a good birthday. I was hoping yesterday's "incident" at school was exhaustion and too much excitement and sugar.

But, it is obviously a stomach bug.

She was up several times last night getting sick, and spent the rest of the time trying to sleep in our room.

I mulled over what to do with today, but the truth is, it is out of my hands. So, I decided...

1. not to make her cake. What good would it do anyway, she can't eat it and that is just torture.

2. go ahead and let Grandma & Grandpa come down to see her. She doesn't have a fever, and she had been waiting for this for days.

3. let her open her presents. Presents are better than pushing the celebration back completely.

4. try not to get upset over my baby missing out on her birthday.

Okay, the last one I can't exactly cross off the list. You know how much I love to celebrate my children in every way--and their birthdays are the biggest celebration since that is the day they made me a mommy!

I did take some pictures today, but I have deciding against posting them since she looks so rough.

And, we thank you all for the get well wishes you have sent via email and Facebook. And, of course you know we will have a very big celebration for our birthday girl as soon as she is better!

Happy Birthday Beautiful Girl

Friday, March 04, 2011

Birthday Fun (Sort Of) At School

**You will learn in later posts that it was a "rotten" birthday weekend for Gracie, but I will at least post some of the pros here***

Gracie was so excited about celebrating her birthday at school today (a day early), that she was up and starting at me from the side of MY bed long before the alarm clock went off.

I fixed her cereal, and made her a snack before I headed back up stairs to wait for her to get dressed.

I had stayed up until too late last night finishing off her birthday dress for school. When I mentioned to her that I was going to try and get it done, she wanted to wear her dress shoes to be fancy. Well, I really didn't want her to be stuck in those shoes all day, so I took out her unused pair of canvas shoes and pulled the laces out. Then I re-laced them with purple ribbons hoping that these would convince her not to wear the dress ones for the day.

Of course, Gracie was so excited over her day that the squeals over her dress and shoes just kind of mixed in with the bouncing she was already doing.

I got her on the bus and promised to see her later with cupcakes for her classmates.

When I arrived at the classroom around 1:20, the kids were excited to see me and the sugar in the box. Gracie was beaming (and flushed). The kids were finishing up cleaning their desks, and then they lined up to wash their hands.

Gracie told me about being called to the office this morning to get her birthday hat and book, and she showed me the birthday princess pencil she picked out from Miss. Anderson's stash.

So, we are ready to pass out the cupcakes, I put them on the plates I brought and Gracie starts taking them to her friends.

She is about 3 cupcakes in and runs to me and whispers "mommy, can I go to the bathroom?" I looked at her confused, and said "sure." The teacher and I continued to pass out the treats...and that's when I heard it.

I found the restroom and poor Gracie on the floor leaned over the toilet.

I helped her get cleaned up and her teacher and I both figured it was from all of the excitement, the sugary lunch, and the treats the kids had already had that day *before* the cupcakes.

Gracie looked better, but I told her she better not eat a cupcake until later.

When I walked back in the classroom with Gracie, the kids yelled "surpirse" and started singing to her before I can even get the camera on.

This made Gracie's day, and she started to perk up.

The kids all thanked me and told Gracie "Happy Birthday," and we loaded up her things and headed home.

Except for the puking part, she had a very fun and exciting pre-birthday at school.

Oh, and the teachers raved and raved about her dress. Apparently Miss. Anderson took her around to show her dress off to the other first grade teachers. :)

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Half Way There!

We made it--half way!

Gracie has reached HALF of her marathon goal!! We are so proud!!

Garren took her out running & walking this evening since Thomas took such a long nap and we didn't get out earlier. When I filled in their mile I realized the significance.

Cheer Gracie on as she tries to get 26 miles by the end of the month, and then as she participates in her first ever race on April 2nd!!

Cute As Button!!

Could he be any cuter?!!!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

T Is For Thomas

This week is "letters week" on Sprout, so I have been doing the letters T, H, O, M, A, and S with my little guy. He thinks it is fun to dip his pointer finger in paint and "write" the letter of the day.

Well, anyway, I thought I would be clever and send his picture and a note about the letter "T" into the Sunny Side Up Show.

They didn't find it as clever, but in retrospect it was clearly written by his mommy and not from his mouth, so I can't blame them.

But, I thought I would jazz it up, and share it with you. Because, well, I think it is quite cute.

Above is the picture I sent with him holding a construction letter "T," and below is the message I included. I decided to make it more memorable and made it "reader" style in my paint program.

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Gracie and Thomas both got Seussical filled days today. Gracie celebrated Dr. Seuss' birthday at school with her classmates. But, mommy helped ;) I sent in all sorts of Seuss treats for lunch like Pink Yink Ink to drink, red fish blue fish crackers, green eggs and ham, cheese trees and Who-Pudding. I also made Thing 1 & Thing 2 pencils for her to use today.

Now, my original plan was to make the kids matching Thing 1 & Thing 2 t-shirts today, but my energy and the hours in the day can't seem to keep up with my imagination.

Here at home, Thomas and I made a Seuss book with hand and foot prints, and when I find the time I will be sure to post my creations on my craft blog :Play With Me.

Both kids were treated to Cat In The Hat ice cream treats for after school, and a Horton spaghetti dinner tonight. (More things to put on that crafty blog ;)

And, if you didn't know it was Dr. Seuss birthday today, we hope you had a fun day anyway and remembered:

"Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You."

Waiting For The Mail

It has been the same dance for days now..."mama! I am going to the mail box!!"

I remember those days, rushing to see if anyone remembered my birthday. Since she has only gotten one card since she started the great mailbox rush, most days are filled with disapointment. But, I am very thankful to Candice that her card was in the box today! Whew!

Knowing that she would rush to the box, I had to capture her excitement on the camera.

Of course she now has even more reason to be excited about cards...I made her a very Tangled way to display them as they come in.