Friday, June 24, 2011

The Great Mommy

"Mommy you are the best lasagna chef in the world!"

"Mommy you must be the smartest mommy ever!"

"You are the best mommy!"

Are you taking notes?

Cleaning Service

Gotta love Gracie's ingenuity. I guess her father is succeeding at raising a little capitalist ;)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Letter Writing Project

One of my many bright ideas to keep Gracie going this summer seems to be a hit. I thought now that she can write, she can practice her skills and send letters.

I decided that 30 would be a good ambitious number for summer. So, this summer you may get a letter from Gracie.

I made her a list of people she might want to write to and a paper to tally up those she has already written too.

Her only restriction: she can't write them all to Grandma. She has to choose 30 different people. She can write more than 30 if she wants and she has been told she can write to Miss. Anderson (who gave all of her class her address) as many times as she wants--but we are only writing her name down once.

So, today she got started--and sorry ladies--she choose her first letter to go to Mallory!

So watch your mailboxes, and if you happen to get one--think on writing her back. And we are still excited about our postcard project, so keep those coming, we have already gotten 3 since I asked (thanks Sara & Abby!)!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Daddy's Father's Day

Look familiar?

We have matching Mother's & Father's Day pictures. How sweet!

Happy Papa's Day!

A very Happy Father's Day this day to daddy and Grandpa and all those other "dads" we love very much.

First Time Daddies

Daddy to Jolee

Seasoned Daddies

Daddy to Tyler & Preston

Daddy to Jonas, Mason, Van, Taylor & Carrington

Uncle Brian
Daddy to Isaac, Sue-Anna, Mark, Matthew & Mariah

Uncle George
Daddy to Logan & Zachary

Daddy to Mallory

Daddy to Nina and Baby Perez #2

Daddy to Luke & Claire

Daddy to Elliott

Daddy to Stella


Daddy to Mommy & Uncle Brian

Daddy to Daddy, Aunt Heather & Uncle Luke

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Take Home Project

I found Thomas this morning standing on his bed and calling for me at 6:30am. He was standing with his arms up like he does in the morning from his crib. It was actually kind of funny. Well, it would have been if it wasn't 6:30am! He has been known to stir around this time, but usually soothes himself back to sleep. I figured he woke up and it was different and he couldn't fall back asleep. So, I tried cuddling him in my bed. Nope!

I say that-- to say-- the special Home Depot kids workshop this morning didn't go well. Actually, it didn't really go at all.

We went around 10:30 and I guess Mr. Early Riser was too sleepy and too TWO to join in the festivities.

The long and short of it. I drove the kids there. He stared tantrums in the car when he saw where we are. He continued tantrums as I signed the kids in and got the projects. He tried to run away from me twice when we found a spot to build. I apologized profusely to Gracie and loaded the kids and the undone projects in the car.

Daddy helped Gracie build her adorable tool box when we got home. Thomas was forced down for a nap.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Big Boy Bed

Okay, I have to admit I kind of caved to the pressure. Garren has been talking about putting him in a toddler bed since he turned 2. I looked at him like he was crazy.

And, it isn't because I want to keep "my baby" a "baby" for longer---I just want to keep him jailed up longer.

This child--don't get me started! Lets just say that when he is in his crib it is the few times a day I don't have to panic when I can't hear him. I know he isn't getting out of there!

Well, after hearing several other parents announcing their child (younger than mine!) was in a big bed, I guess I kind of felt the pressure.

But, oh well. Garren and I figured summer was the best time to give it a try since I won't have to worry over getting Gracie on the bus and we would have more energy if we had a rough transition.

Now, Garren said he would put the bed up and leave the crib. That's not exactly what happened. He put the bed up, and took the crib apart and put it in the attic.

Well, it was all or nothing now.

Thomas had a rough transition last night I guess you could say. He liked the big bed, but not so much the idea of sleeping in. Jumping: yes. Laying down: no!

He got stories in his bed from mommy, and we made a huge fuss over the bed, and he grinned. Until I walked out. Garren and I took turns laying in the floor beside him and it worked. When it was my turn he announced "more!" and handed me his milk cup. I poured him another half a cup and took it to him and walked back out of the room. Not a peep since!

So, we will smile big and proud and share the picture of his first night in his big boy bed. And, I will likely blog later about his many escape attempts.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Our Second Grader

I knew the reaction wasn't going to be good this morning, and I wasn't surprised by the tears as we tried to get dressed and out the door this morning.

I wanted to make this day a fun and exciting day instead of a sad one, and I knew she would perk up during school hours with her friends, so I focused on the morning and afternoon.

This morning I showed her the tee-shirt I had painted for her to wear on her last day of First Grade. She loved it.

This afternoon I decorated the outside of the house with balloons and a sign and banner and Hawaiian leis. She was so excited when she got off the bus and saw it.

And just to keep the boost going I took her and brother bear to Ci-Ci's for a late lunch. I was afraid she wouldn't eat her packed lunch with all the sadness, but she apparently ate every bite. But, that didn't matter since she scarfed down 2 bowls of pasta and many bread sticks at lunch with us.

It is going to take quite an adjustment for all of us now that school is out--but we will manage, and I have our week days scheduled just like school to keep both kids busy and active all day long. So, I think that will help a lot.

Congratulations to our Second Grader!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

School Picnic Lunch With Gracie

I was hoping that I could go in for bubble or chalk day, but the man came to fix my car today--and I am not going to waste an opportunity.

Thomas and I dressed and were in the car less than a half hour after they replaced my car window.

When we arrived the kids weren't in the classroom. Thomas was quite distraught that Gracie wasn't in her room. Luckily we just had to wait a few minutes before Miss. Anderson walked Thomas to the art classroom to pick her up and her classmates.

The substitute art teacher wasn't quite finished with them yet, so Thomas and I got to see the kids talking about their pictures.

Thomas was the line leader on the way back down the hall, and you could tell how proud he was!

But, he went from excited to bored quickly while the kids teamed up to play more puzzles and games. So, he played in the water fountain.

I knew this wasn't going to work, so I asked Miss. Anderson about the rest of her day. I had forgotten the kids would get to go outside for a picnic lunch, so I promised Gracie we would return for that.

Thomas ate a few bites of his Wendy's lunch and then ran off to play with the big kids. That was pretty much what all the kids did--but they had fun and that was the point.

By the time lunch was over there was only time left for packing up their belongings (it was an early dismissal day), so we just took Gracie home with us.

It was a good day and I am very glad I got to spend it with her at school.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Last Week Of First Grade

It's the last week of school here in Hanover County, and while 99.9% of the entire student body is excitedly counting down the days to "no more teachers, no more books," my Gracie is walking around like she lost her best friend.

Poor Gracie, she is like her mommy. She loves school and her teacher so much. She told me "and if we had a vote, I wouldn't win because everyone wants school to be over!"

Miss. Anderson is doing her best to make these last days memorable and fun.

Today was chalk day. The kids got to bring in chalk to school and they had extra fun outside making pictures on the sidewalks. I sent in a TON of chalk with Gracie and she was sure to share with all of her friends. It was also "favorite book day." Gracie took in Chester. She said it was the first book Miss. Anderson choose to read to the class.

Tuesday is bubble and movie day. I have bought a large collection of bubble supplies from the Dollar Store, and while I was at Walmart I found Fern Gully in the $5 bin. Gracie was having a hard time picking out a movie to take in since it can NOT be Disney. I don't know why--it is the school's policy. It also has to be G (which I understand), but I was shocked to find that Happy Feet was PG!

Wednesday is games and puzzles day.

Thursday will be another movie day and they will have Popsicles.

I hope to get to go in for at least one of the fun days. I am kind of waiting on the man to fix my car first.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Happy Graduation!

Congratulations to all of our friends and family with little ones (and big ones) who are making big steps to a new adventure.
Way to go class of 2011!

High School

5th Grade


Congratulations Mallory!

We are so proud of you, and we are thrilled to have been apart of your big day!

Hugs and kisses!!

Day With The Big Boys

We had a VERY busy day today, and while Gracie, Garren and I were celebrating the accomplishments of Mallory; Thomas was hanging out with his favorite people.

I snapped these amazing pictures after we came back from the graduation and I was so very pleased when I downloaded them to my computer. And as luck would have it, they were sequential and I had to make this little artsy photo collage.

I have heard many tales of Thomas' day with Aunt Ruth, Uncle George, Zachary and Logan. Apparently he was wonderful. He got to ride in the race car carts at Lowes and he was carried around almost the entire time (of course that was mostly because this terrible mommy remembered to leave everything before we left except my son's shoes!!!) He took a 10 minute nap in the car on the ride back to their house, Ruth couldn't figure out how to put the car seat in so Zachary did it--and by the time I arrived he was having a good ole' time playing with Curry and the big boys.

Is this a bad time to point out that my son could be having these wonderful experiences and I could get a break every once in a while if we still lived at home? Yep? Okay. So, just enjoy this awesome picture!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The First Harvest

I love this picture! Gracie and I (well all of us) went out to check on the garden. Daddy was mowing this morning and reported that there were a lot of beans ready for picking. We have done a garden almost every year since Gracie was 3. We did skip the year Thomas was born--I didn't have the energy, and there was no place for one in the townhouse.

In all those years we never did beans. It was likely because Garren hates beans. Not just eating them (he doesn't eat any vegetables), but because he was forced to pick them as a child. If I had a dime for everything my husband won't do because his mama made him do it...well...I would be a VERY wealthy woman!

So despite daddy disappointment and ardent refusal to pick a single bean when they grew--Gracie and I decided to be adventurous and give them a try.

The green beans and the peas (which we never have grown either) are the first fruits of our labor.

Gracie had fun picking them, and then I let Thomas give it a try. Well, he loved it--too bad there weren't many left.

We can't wait to see what else our garden will provide this year! Maybe we can sneak a veggie into daddy's "delicate" palate :)

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Way To Go First Grader!

Gracie we are so proud of you always, and these awards you received today are just icing on the cake.

Congratulations on your awards!

Mommy, Daddy & Thomas too!

First Grade Awards Day

My Gracie looked as pretty as the sunshine today--which was fitting because it was unbelievably hot outside, and it was First Grade awards assembly day.

I knew she had to have a special dress for the occasion so I made the one she is wearing Monday. Well, I hated it. It looked awful. I mulled over it for 2 days and decided against trying to rush an make a new one. And then it hit me! It reminded me of the sun, so I was a sewing rebel and I took a sharpie permanent marker and wrote the lyrics to "You are my sunshine" in the hem. I LOVED it! Now, I needed something for the collar. Well, I decided on her inital. Monogramming and embroidering are big now, and I kind of liked the look. Well now the dress looks awesome and I love it and so did she!

Back to the awards. Each first grader got at least 2 awards. Gracie got a "Super Reader" award and another citizenship award. She was also given an award for having her artwork on display at the county arts & sciences festival.

It didn't matter how many awards she walked away with--mommy is always super proud of her first grader!

This morning I left Thomas at home with daddy. We talked to Gracie about this and she was okay with leaving brother at home. I told her it was just so hard for us to focus on her and he has such a hard time sitting still for something so quiet and important. I figure I will take him with me next week for one of her fun days at school.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

After School Activities

We can't count down to the end of the school year. Poor Gracie can't bear to think about how many days are left. I love that she loves school, but time of year is hard on her.

She still has until NEXT Thursday, but the teacher has ended reading groups and homework, so now after school she doesn't know what to do with herself.

After yesterday, I knew I had to do something before I went nuts! I had seen a cute idea to have the days of the week bags and activities in it for your child(ren) for the summer. Woah! You make a bag per child for every day for the summer! Nope. (I have made a summer schedule though and I will have to blog about it another time). But the bags and hanging them with clothes pins was too cute. So, I altered the idea and made bags for the next 8 days. One for every day until the end of the school year.

Each bag is filled with activities for her to do. I have a HUGE supply of crafts and workbooks and all sorts of things for the kids I have collected for years now, so it wasn't that hard to find enough to fill a lunch bag.

She opened her bag this afternoon and loved it! It kept her busy and engaged for hours and it made for a much easier afternoon!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Clothing Rules

Okay, so my last blog post sparked quite a discussion amongst my Facebook friends, and one of them said she had over heard other moms saying "I wouldn't let my son wear that" and they were talking about her child! Why we women tear each other down I will never understand.

Anyway, it got me to thinking. I do not need to justify my clothing choices, but I thought I would tell you how I make my attire rules.

For both kids:

I said I would not let my child run around in just a diaper, and that was one "I swear" that I made happen. Now, that doesn't count the few times they escaped me as toddlers when I was trying to dress them--but you will likely not find a single picture posted anywhere with out my children in at least a onsie. I don't care how hot it is--I just don't want my kids in nothing but diapers.

For Gracie:
She doesn't have to wear dresses. She happens to like them! Yes, I put them on her for most of her little life, but when she was old enough to get interested in dressing herself she wanted the dresses too! She loves to see the ones mommy finds for her at thrift stores, and the ones I make. Now, she does own pants and shorts. I have made no secret about the fact that I don't like denim, but she does have some. When it comes to shorts, I buy her boy shorts because she will not leave this house with short shorts on unless a dress is over top.

1. no shorts shorter than an inch to 2 inches above her knee. That's not a measured law, that's just about my mental measurement.

2. She always wears shorts or pants under her dress. She has never left he house post age 4 without them.

3. no printed tee-shirts for school. She has them for around the house, but I don't like her to wear them to school. She wears plain shirts or dressy shirts, and of course she can wear her MES t-shirt.

4. She wears sensible shoes! My child is not allowed to wear flip flops out of the backyard. (And she wouldn't have them at all unless grandma hadn't bought her some!) She has never owned or worn sandals or slip on shoes. We will not buy her trendy tennis shoes either. She can pick her colors and designs from good brands that we approve of. This comes from her want for Sketchers. No way! They are not good supportive shoes and she just wants them because they have a commercial targeting kids!

5. She will look like a 7 year old, or as close as I can get. I am very careful as to hem lines, length, shoulder straps, etc. As you can imagine I don't find much at all in a store for her! Most of the things I purchase are from the thrift store--because those are the clothes that meet my standards.

6. We don't buy trendy labels either. I was once asked what I was going to do when Gracie got to Kindergarten and wanted to wear what the other kids were wearing. I believe the person who asked that was floored when I said "we don't do that in our house." Meaning, we don't get clothes and other items just becuase someone else has them. I will instil that value into our children. They need to be who they are and be liked, not try to be someone else. Now, Garren and I have discussed that when they want the trendy clothes they can have them--they will just be paying for them themselves!

7. As for swimwear--this mama doesn't allow 2 pieces! I think Gracie has owned ONE two piece in her life (that I can remember), and it was when she was less than a year old at our first trip to the beach. I had gotten some swimsuits from a yard sale and was pleased to find them so cheap as we had very little money! You know I still shiver when I see the picture of her in it. I really don't like it on her at all. She is still adorable mind you--but I just don't like the way it looks. And yes, a one piece is a nightmare for potty training. But, you deal.

For Thomas:

Well, I don't really have that many "rules" yet--and no it isn't because he is a boy--he just isn't old enough to be interested in his own clothes, so I can buy and dress him in whatever I want. I will tell you though I hate colored tennis shoes! I can't find a pair of white shoes for him to save my life! Yuck!

Oh, and I don't do camouflage. Nope--just not happening on my baby boy. I won't do guns or hunting or fishing tee-shirts either, so don't buy them for him. I will thank you and then shove them in the back of a drawer and they will never see the light of day.

Now, many of these other moms I was talking with warned me to enjoy dressing the kids now because they will do it themselves in a few years. And, yes that will likely happen--but there will still be some serious rules about what is appropriate at school, home and church!

Boys Fashion

I am apparently VERY behind in my graduation cards, because in the past 2 years I missed many many graduations from the fashion police academy!

I have been bothered by this for months, and wanted to blog about it--but my son--who is the subject of such scrutiny keeps me rather busy.

Now, I don't know what is so compelling about a little boy for friends, random strangers, and especially family to comment on his appearance--but I guess it is an impulse that inflicts the inability to keep ones mouth closed.

I have had many hateful and rude remarks made to me about how I raise Gracie, but when it came to what I put her in, the numbers were few. Oh, I got a few. They range from innocent joking "does she actually own pants?!" to hateful "no child should own that many dresses!" But, the judgement over my parenting was pretty limited in the fashion department. I will say however that many people loved the outfits I would put her in....when she was small.

But along came the boy. Suddenly fewer people have a problem with how I am raising this child. I guess because he has boy parts he will magically be fine despite my efforts. Who knows. But, Lord do I get an ear full on his appearance.

Seriously? You think that because I put him in a bow tie he is going to be warped for life? His hair gets longish and he will instantly become a hippie?!

So it's okay to dress a toddler girl in a mini-skirt and a crop top and say she is "too cute," but if a toddler boy doesn't sustain a "manly" attire at all times he will be what...? I am not stupid, I know what every one thinks he will be--I just won't type it because Gracie sometimes reads this blog, and I so don't want to have that discussion.

I sat back and took the insults poorly disguised as "two-cents" when it was just Gracie, but I am bit more confident ( or maybe my fuse is shorter) now and I find the backwards comments about how I dress my kid ridiculous.

I like smocked things--even for a boy. I like dressing them alike. He won't smother in a bow tie, he won't shrivel up in gingham, he won't pull it back in a pony tail if his hair gets a little long, a button up shirt and a vest are quite dapper and will not seep through and make him "soft."

Here's the long and short of it. You got/get to dress your kids in anything you like. This is one of the cool parts about being a mom. You dress your kid, I will dress mine. I will NOT be critiquing his or her style and I would appreciate the same from you.

Seriously--he's two! And too too cute. They are all just so jealous!

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Home Depot With Both Kids

What was I thinking?!

Actually, Thomas was pretty good. He wasn't really interested in the project but for a minute or two at a time. He would hammer a little, but mostly just play with the nails.

The kids came out with a pretty nice looking valet holder set though. Thomas wasn't as pretty since mommy had to do most of the work--but hey, we got it done!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

What Child Is This?!

Left: her first day of school. Right: this morning!

In the past nine months I think Gracie has grown more and faster than ever in her life. I am sure that isn't technically true, and Garren could go on and on and on about how scientifically impossible that it--but it sure seems like it.

I have never seen such a change in my child in one school year--physically, emotionally, inside & out...and we survived 2 years of preschool and kindergarten!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


What is so special about these letters?

My Thomas knows them!

It all started with the letter "B" last week. He pointed it out on the keyboard, and he could find it in the refrigerator magnets. I figured it was a fluke.

Today he brought me a magnet and said "R!" And sure enough it was the letter "R." I got so excited, and he giggled at mommy's happy dance.

Tonight he crawled in his daddy's lap begging to play "game! game!" on his laptop. We play the games on Fisher, and he can do the alphabet zoo one himself and push a letter and an animal pops up. Well, he hasn't been doing that game for long--but it is working!!

So, daddy didn't want to turn the "game" on, but Thomas started pointing to letters on the laptop to try and further communicate that he wanted the game to come up. I listened proudly and intently as he said more and more letters with daddy replying "yes! that's the letter (fill in the blank)!"

Okay, so a "normal mom" response would be to smile proudly and take it all in stride. My response: Facebook about it, blog about it and make a run to the Dollar Store for alphabet flash cards.

Hey, I am who I am :)