Thursday, September 29, 2011

Crafty Wife's Anniversary

This is what you get for your anniversary when you have a crafty wife...


(the sock bouquet in the middle. And, PS: thanks mom & dad and Jack & Cheryl for the anniversary cards!)

And, when you live no where near friends or family you go out to dinner and find the most romantic booth...for four.

But, hey we went out!

Happy 11th Anniversary to my beloved husband. While it is quite an achievement, we have reached the Huxtables level of marriage safety "we have to band together to combat the kids!"

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Disney On Ice--Part 2


Gracie has been counting down the days until "On Ice" as she calls it. I had known about the show coming for months, but had no plans of telling her. However, glossy marketing let the cat out of the bag for me!

Since we attended Princesses on Ice back in December, we are on their mailing list, and new and shiny color invite to Dreams Come True On Ice arrived in August. Gracie did her best begging and pleading and bargaining. Even when I told her I had planned all along to take her--the constant chatter didn't stop.

So, finally tonight was the night.

This time I got better seats and got a bargain for attending opening night. Now, the downfall was that it is a school night, but she promised and promised to get up in the morning.

Now, I have to say, Disney knows what it is doing. The show was as impressive as the last--maybe more. I think I actually enjoyed this one better than the winter show.

Gracie of course, loved every second and she only took breaks to breathe as she blindly shoved over priced popcorn in her mouth.

The price of admission was worth it to see my daughter mesmerized.

Mommy kind of enjoyed all the ice dancing fun too...well, maybe more than kind of.


Back To School Night


Second Grade seems to be going pretty well for Gracie and her classmates, and the teacher seems to think so too.

Gracie, Thomas and I all went with Gracie to get a better look at her classroom and meet her friends and teacher. Of course we met Mrs. Hayden at "Meet Your Teacher Night" before school started, but it was rushed and chaotic. Tonight she got to tell us about the class and rules and what she expects.

Thankfully for Thomas, daddy came about 5 minutes into it and took him home. He was already squirmy and it was quite a lengthy talk.

Gracie went off to play with her friends and the toys while I sat in her small, uncomfortable school chair.

I was pleasantly surprised to see many parents there tonight. Last year there was a total of FOUR of us parents at the event. It is good to see more parents wanting to be involved this year (and yes, I know that just because you aren't there for an event doesn't mean you aren't involved--but it makes a statement).

Oh, and Gracie was right--Mrs. Hayden will be their teacher for 2nd and 3rd grade. I forgot what they called it: loop teaching? Anyway, they already do it with 4th and 5th graders, and now they are starting it with 2nd & 3rd. They will have the same teacher and the same classmates again next year. I have to admit I am kind of stumped as to why this is beneficial--but we will go with it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Peculiar Mr. Shipley


While I try to be even, I know I focus on Gracie when it comes to this blog, so I thought a good post about how Thomas is doing would be a good thing.

Well, he's still...Thomas

At age 2.5, his vocabulary is growing, but still very limited. While I like to get excited about new words, his two newest aren't exactly my favorites. Maybe because they are all I hear from my father. Thomas' new vocabulary consists almost solely of "yep" and "nope." Add in a very strong southern drawl for both.

He still doesn't eat well. He practically doesn't eat at all. He lives off of all things liquid. Seriously, the child will drink anything and everything. His health doesn't seem to be impeded by his vary sparse diet. I think mostly because I have found a sneaky and awesome way to get good food in. Sesame Street has these veggies/fruit juices that has all of those good things in them hidden by cute little packages with Big Bird, Elmo and Cookie Monster. Love them!

He doesn't like to be dirty! And I add the exclamation point because it is not a sometimes kind of thing--he does NOT like to be dirty, messy, or otherwise soiled. The picture above speaks a thousand words. He wanted to play outside, but found his feet messy with the grass clippings from where daddy mowed the weekend before. I had to go and get him a towel. He freaked out and held his feet up saying desperately "messy! messy!" Now, once he is cleaned up, he will go back to whatever it was he was doing. And, that isn't limited to being wiped off. If his shirt or pants are dirty or damp he will start yanking them off. There is no persuading him. He would rather run around naked than be messy.

Still a big "nope" on the potty train ride. He can use the potty, he just doesn't want to anymore. So, I think it is time to be a little more firm. We have just let him go back to diapers so as not to push him, but I think we need to up the ante.

He is still small...but growing. I have started to notice that his 24 months clothes are fitting more snug and are a little short. In fact, Sunday I went through 3 pairs of dress pants before I found one that fit. He outgrew the 18 months and the 24 months. He fits well in 2T. I am hoping that he will go into 3T when he hits 3, but we will wait and see. I have stopped buying 2T clothes--mostly because he has a ton and I would rather invest in the next size.

But, as I said he is growing. He went up a 1/2 shoe size and had to get new ones right before Gracie started school.

Other Thomas loves: cars, trucks, fire trucks, bulldozers...you get the idea. Calliou!! Calliou!! Fireman Sam, Super Why (yeah, I have no idea, but he freaks out when this comes on), the book the Very Hungry Caterpillar (is read nearly every night), Biscuit (the dog) books, his chalkboard, and of course Chewey!! (and blankie and binky--nope, we aren't off the bink yet :(

Academically he knows all of his colors, his ABC's and now we are working on numbers and shapes. He can count to 10, but I am working on recognizing the numbers on paper.

So, there in a rather small nutshell is my little boy. Not much has changed about him. His personality shines through more every day and little by little his words are emerging, but he is still WAY below where he should be verbally.

He seems to just be a peculiar little man with his adorable quirks. We will take him just the way he is.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Our First Mechanicsville Football Game

We have been talking about things we want to do as a family this fall, and I thought about going to a local football game.

Well, good thing I struck quickly, I forget that high schoolers only have a limited number of home games.

I saw that tonight was one--so we went.

Our goal was to make it through halftime and we did! Actually we made it half way through the 3rd quarter.

Thomas was to antsy to stay any longer even though daddy and Gracie would have liked to see the end of the game.

Next time we will do like we did for Thomas' first football game and take separate cars so I can take little man home and daddy can enjoy the game with Gracie.

We treated the kids to a Sonic late night snack after the game, but mostly because we were hungry. The kids had already been spoiled with cotton candy! Yep, Thomas got his first cotton candy. But, that wasn't the plan! I took him to get popcorn. What high school football concession stand doesn't sell popcorn?!! We came back with one pink and one blue swirls of sugar on a paper cone.

Did he like it? My junk food junkie? He LOVED it!

He loved the band too--he just thought they were loud :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Milkshake Day


Actually I didn't know it was National Milkshake Day until someone posted it on Facebook--what better excuse to make milkshakes?!! Thankfully I had just enough ice cream and milk left.

Gracie wanted to drink hers from a crazy straw--so then Thomas wanted one too. She got the red one (close enough to pink) and he got his favorite color: purple.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Friday, September 09, 2011

Not Much Of A Suprise

Gracie had to fill a small brown lunch sack this week with 3-4 things that would help show who she was. The activity was entitled "mystery bags" and all of the students would do this and bring them in making sure no one saw the contents. The teacher would choose one and show the class what was inside and they would have to guess to whom it belonged.

They did Gracie's today. She put on a long face when I asked her about it. She says "everyone knew it was mine!"

Let's see if you would know it was Gracie's bag too. In her mystery bag there was:

1. a ballet Barbie doll (she says "becuase I want to be a famous ballerina when I grow up)
2. a Kelly Doll's dress (she loves dresses--she choose this--I didn't say a word about what to put in there!!!)
3. a pink crayon (because she likes to draw and her favorite color is pink)

Thomas And The Vroom, Vrooms

I thought "why not?"

It is not often that I get so brave--but I did today.

Thomas and I were loading up in the car to take daddy's suit to the dry cleaners, and you could hear the NASCAR drivers warming up around the track. Yep, you can hear the cars from our house they are so loud!

So, I thought "why not take him to the track? Maybe he could see something."

And boy could he. I finally found an entrance (with the hundred of others) and I parked (with the hundreds of others) and we walked right on in to the racing fun.

Now, we didn't go inside the staduim even though the tickets were $10 to see them practice, because you would have to have ear plugs and he wouldn't have lasted 2 seconds with all that noise.

So, we settled for looking around at all of the vendors and car displays and trucks and so so much more. He got a free toy race car and free nuts (which I didn't let him have--choking hazard!) and mama even bought him an overpriced drink.

He had a blast!

Now he did cover his ears for almost all of it as he usually does for noise and new situations, but his eyes were panning and zooming up a storm. He would break for a moment and point and shout "car!"

I had no idea that the track offered a free space for race fans and toddlers--but they do and I am so glad that I got brave and just went! I didn't plan, call ahead, or even Google it--I just went--and we just had a great time!!

Wanna hear how loud it is?


Wednesday, September 07, 2011

And Then It Was Over

...just like that my days as a mommy as I knew them were over. And it was all thanks to a tee-shirt. A stupid, Wal-mart special, everyone has one, tacky tee-shirt!

I am well aware how dramatic I can be--and it's my blog so I can complain if I want to!

Gracie had told me she wanted to wear her 2nd Grader t-shirt I had made her for the 2nd day of school. She was supposed to be getting her clothes out and ready for the school day (today) and I was downstairs finishing up.

Minutes later daddy comes down the stairs with Gracie in tow asking about her Kermit the Frog t-shirt.

I won't get into the drama and the "discussion" and my fountain of tears that followed--I will simply say that at the end of the night her daddy told her she could start wearing whatever she wants to to school.

I know she is a "big girl" and I have to give her some freedom--I get that--but I wasn't ready for this one. She wants to look like everyone else, I want her to look nice, clean, respectable and to shine. Not stand out in a finger pointing way--but for her to stand out in a glimmering sort of way. Any child can wear a raggedy old t-shirt!

Now, if you are new here, I am very strict about what my kids wear--especially in public (i.e church and school and social events). I have a long list of "do not wear," but the rule in question was "no printed t-shirts to school." Obviously her school t-shirt was the exception.

I could go on and on about my feelings about how my kids dress. But now, that I have had time to brood and cry and pout and cry some more, I think the bigger question is "what's next?" What rules am I going to have to give up next? What will she go behind my back and talk to her daddy about instead of me? What more independence will she demand?

And more importantly...how do I mother this child? She clearly needs a whole new parenting style.

I am good at preschool and younger. In fact, I am awesome at it! I can help you learn your colors, shapes, ABC's. I will make up fun games and crafts and songs. I have no idea how to be a mother to a 7 year old. The preschool method can't possibly work anymore, and I haven't the slightest idea how to do it. I have to move past colors and counting and move on to self esteem and choices.

I don't guess any mother is prepared for this transition. Then again, most mothers realized they needed to transition long before 7. Of course, there was a time when 7 was 7...and not going on 17!

This all started with a shirt. A stupid, common, printed character t-shirt. I now hate that shirt, and all of them like it in her drawer.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

National Read A Book Day


Yep, look it up :)

Actually, I didn't know it until late today...and tomorrow is National Buy A Book Day. Since you know how much I love to read with my kids you shouldn't be surprised by my excitement. Anytime I can share a book with them is pure joy for me.

Tonight I had to pick a special one (and a favorite) since Gracie is now in the big world of 2nd Grade, and Thomas is getting to busy to sit still on mommy's lap.

I don't think Sam McBratney's "Guess How Much I Love You" will ever get old for me!

Soggy Start To Second Grade

But the rain didn't wash out her spirits!

My Gracie bounded out of bed this morning ready to face the school day with her new teacher, new classroom, new classmates, new backpack...and new back to school dress made by mommy. (You can imagine my thrill when Gracie asked me to make her a back to school dress for this occasion! I finished it last night ;)

Gracie barely ate her breakfast and she got dressed and I braided her hair.

We made the damp walk under the umbrella to the bus stop that has been vacant for 3 months.

I snapped some pictures and she was off.

Thomas wasn't exactly bouncing off the walls like she was for the start of school--but he seemed to enjoy having mommy all to himself. Although, he did ask several times "Gee-cee?" I told him she was at school and he would grin and shout "skool!"

Thomas and I waited in the rain for the bus to return and she bounced off the bus as happy as she got on. And, she chatted about her school day ALL AFTERNOON and evening until finally we put her to bed.

She seems to have had a good first day of second grade. I certainly hope the rest of the year is just as good.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Workin', Supervising, Eating

I know Gracie is really the reason we go to these Home Depot workshops and she did an excellent job on her wipe board, but I caught the cutest pictures of Thomas (when he was actually helping!) and I had to make something cutesy with it.

I am sure Grandpa (Thomas calls him Pa-Pa!!!!!!!--just like that with all of those exclamation marks) can't wait to take him on the job site with him--but I hope he isn't counting on Thomas getting much work done. He is more of a supervisor who takes a lingering snack break ;)

Thursday, September 01, 2011

2nd Grade Introductions

Gracie has a new classroom...and a new teacher...and new classmates...and a new backpack...and...well, you get the idea. And, she is super excited about Second Grade!

Gracie has been counting down the days until school starts since, um, the last day of school!

Her new teacher, Mrs. Hayden, seems very nice. She is a new teacher at MES, but not new to teaching. She seems happy and perky, so I think she will do well--at least for me. I seem to do better with the excited ones. I like that they are excited about teaching my child. We will get along just fine.

Since this is a returning year for Gracie most things were typed up and we just had to check everything--which was nice! So, I got to bypass the mountain of forms. Gracie put her supplies where they belonged and we said our goodbyes, and went to say a brief hello to Miss. Anderson. The were both excited to see each other and Gracie gave her big hugs before we left.

It seems like a good start to the year. Here's hoping!

Beach Babies

I keep harping on the fact that it was our first vacation in 4 years, but it was well worth it. And, sorry folks, I don't consider stays with family to be vacation ;) Of course, if you are family its going to be a long while until you see us again. I have ZERO plans of getting back in the car and traveling more than 20 minutes with my son! Yep, we will see you when he is 3.5...3 if you are super lucky!!!

But, back to the vacation, it was wonderful! We were only gone a few days thanks to Irene--but we enjoyed the time we spent. And, I have never seen my husband so relaxed. That kind of made the 5.5 hours worth it! (For those of you playing along at home, the original vacation plans were for NC, which would have only been 3 hours at the most, but when Irene pooped all over the Outer Banks, she pooped on our vacation--and so when Brian changed his location, we went along too!)

I won't blog about every detail, but I will show you pictures!
(Lets see if this works)

Relaxation Vacation

Pictures of Brian's Family for Grandma