Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Catch-Up

I know, I know...I am so behind! And there was/is so much to share.

I have most of it blogged now...I am just trying to find the mall picture of Santa to complete everything I believe you missed.

So, scroll down and enjoy!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Gum Drop The Elf Photo Album

So, Gracie did very well blogging about her adventures with Gum Drop and where and how she found him each morning, but then we all got busy with the holidays and poor Gum Drop's adventure's ceased...on blogger anyway! He had many more adventures before he left with Santa Christmas Eve.


Here are the days we got to share with Gum Drop.

Don't worry, he will be back again next year!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

2011 Shipley Family Christmas Awards

  • Earliest to Rise: Thomas, although not as early as I was 7 am something
  • Fastest Gift Opener: Gracie, hands down the winner in *maybe* 6 minutes to get through EVERYTHING under the tree!
  • Lamest Gift: Mommy has to take that prize. Thomas was visibly UN-impressed with the Clifford sleeping bag I got him. Hello, they don't have to all be toys, and *we* like practical!
  • Most Difficult Packaging: Santa for the Rapunzel hair braider for Gracie
  • Green Eyed Monster Award: surprisingly Thomas. Although, a big award to Gracie for sharing her toys (and by "sharing" I mean not screaming her head off when he touched something of hers)
  • Biggest "Hit" Gift(s): Santa with the ice cream play dough sets. Each child got a set of different ice cream parts/makers and played for over an HOUR *TOGETHER!!!**
  • Favorite Toy: Thomas: Fire Truck floor (very large) puzzle. Gracie: Sqinkie mall/amusement park (thank you Mamaw & Papaw)
  • Most Played with Toy: Gracie: Barbie Pet Vet dog. Thomas: Cars Race Car Track
  • Loudest Scream: Gracie when she got to the tree and saw the Hello Kitty Sewing Machine
  • Cutest Moment: Thomas finding Hot Wheels hanging on the tree a few at a time at random moments through out the morning (Santa hung Hot Wheels packages all over the tree like ornaments--isn't he cleaver?!!) "Car!! Ano-der one!!!"
  • Most Grinch Like: sorry honey, but you used at least 2 lines from the movie ;)
  • Broken Toy Award: Gracie's nutcracker (we can fix it) she blames Thomas, he looks innocent. Thankfully, the only toy requiring surgery.
  • Most Annoying Toy: Santa! Zhu Zhu pets for Gracie. Lord have mercy!!! I should be thankful he waited this long to give them to her. NO ONE ELSE BUY HER ANY--THEY ARE OBNOXIOUS AND MAY POSSIBLY GET "LOST" AS THEY ARE RODENTS, AND NO ONE SHOULD WILLINGLY KEEP RODENTS!
  • Mommy "Wow" Moments On Gifts (For the Kids): Thomas: Melissa & Doug puzzle set (which he LOVED) from Aunt Ruth & Uncle George. Gracie: Embroidered lunch box from Aunt Sharon (thank you!)
  • Noisiest Gift-Giver: Mamaw & Papaw...not one, but two of the loudest toys in the house today..of course as you know, the louder they are the more they love the gift ;) Thomas: race track with shakable cars, Gracie: Squinkie Ferris wheel.
  • Biggest Smile: Thomas as he climbed in the inflatable car ball pit from Candice & Elliott (that I blew up myself--*without* a pump! Whew!)
  • Most sugar consumption: this might be a toss up..Thomas started by finishing the crumbs Santa left behind on the plate, ate at least 2 pieces of candy after he snuck another one when we told him "only one." Gracie had her once piece of candy, but *had* to have another when Thomas pilfered his second one...ate *7* blueberry muffins while I wasn't looking...and asked CONSTANTLY for other deserts and/or sugary substances the rest of the day! (Neither child got any more!)
  • Longest In PJ's: well, I am still in mine, and Gracie went to bed in hers. Thomas changed a few times...but that's becuase he can't hold his "liquids" and he likes to take his clothes off ;)
  • Most Spoiled Children on Christmas Day: mine!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Gracie's First Communion

It wasn't planned. In fact, Gracie has always been so shy when it came to even thinking about going to the front of the church and taking communion with daddy and I.

Garren would always encourage her, and he knew how I felt about it. I didn't believe a child should do something that important until they completely understood. I didn't tell her not to, but I always reminded him not to push her too hard because she is so very timid.

When I was growing up you didn't take communion until you finished confirmation class. I want to say we were in 4th or 5th grade.

I don't think many churches do that anymore, and our Gracie knows what communion is. But, I have to say after the shock wore off when Garren mouthed to me "Gracie is going to go up with us..." the tears were hard to hold back.

I was so proud, and awed, and so many other things.

In all my emotion, I knew that I had to capture this moment. I pulled the camera out of the diaper bag, and turned it to video. I knew I would have a better chance than with a picture, and I didn't want to bother others with the flash.

The lady giving Gracie communion is her Sunday School teacher--and maybe that is what made her feel so comfortable. She is clearly a loving woman. She spoke tonight and shared the sanctuary with the youth pastor. (There were 5 Christmas Eve services, so they spaced them out so the main pastor didn't have to do them all).

What a special moment for me as a mom. And for her as a child of God.

Christmas Eve 2011

I didn't get a family photo, I couldn't even get the kids to stand together for a picture either. Well, I tried, and Thomas is the stinker--but you probably already guessed that.

Despite my lack of photos, we did have a nice Christmas Eve.

We went to services at 4pm. That one was specifically for families, and it was packed! Plus, there were so many kids, and they geared it more for the younger crowd. They played a home-made movie about the pieces of the Nativity and all of the bulletins had a coloring page on the front and they gave everyone crayons.

For the adults there was plenty of traditional. We sang the carols and took communion. It really was a good mix.

Speaking of...Gracie took her first communion! (I will blog about that separately!!)

We hope all of you had special evenings with your families this Christmas Eve. This day has always been my favorite of the whole holiday season.

And...we hope you had a yummy meal together--we did--we got Chinese!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Look Who I Got!

Isn't she precious?

This is Zoe. She is Nina's little sister and my friend Heather's 6 week old daughter. I was thrilled to not only get to see her, but to hold her as well.

Heather and her sisters and brothers (all 5 of them total) came in for Christmas in Lynchburg and we were invited over last night for an open house.

We went, and had a good time, but it was very busy and hard to really chat--so we came back over this morning for a play date! Fun!

Gracie played Barbie with Carrington (Amy's daughter) and Thomas kind of ran around, but he attempted to play cars with Nina and baby Zoe too!

I got a few pictures today, and I was thankful that I caught Heather for a few seconds last night and her husband Fredy snapped a picture of us (well, minus the baby who was being shared :)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Family Christmas

Shoot! We didn't take a family picture--AGAIN!

Thomas, Gracie and I came to Grandma and Grandpa's for the weekend for our annual Christmas get-together. My parents always claim the weekend before Christmas so that we can spend the actual 25th with our immediate families.

Brian and Dawn came in as well and brought 4 of their 7.

The kids were beyond spoiled and all of them had a great time playing together and doing projects and such.

We don't get to see Brian and his kids often, but they always seem to pick right back up where they left off. It is really neat to see them all together--even though they are very, very loud! ;) Although, they wouldn't have been so loud if Uncle Brian hadn't given Thomas his first Monster Truck! Thanks a million dear brother!

Yearly Santa Picture

How many Shipley children can you see?

Hmm...wait, I thought there were supposed to be 2?

And another year without a Thomas & Santa photo for the scrapbooking album.

Well, almost!

I engineered a sneaky little photo op, and I am pretty sure the mall Santa understood what I was trying to do (especially since he had witnessed the tantrum moments before.)

Well, you get what you can :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

How Thomas Spent MOST Of His Time At Grandma & Grandpa's

Yep...that's a TALL cup.

Yep...that's a straw inside.

Yep...that's MOUNTAIN DEW!!!

Yep...his Grandpa fixed that cup, and the half a dozen or more after it!

Winter Party At School

Mommy got to plan, execute, and volunteer for today's second grade party. Can you tell I am proud? I was even named: Room Mom (the things that thrill me at age 30 something!).

And even though I sent out the invites and coordinating the food and snacks and came in an set up...I still had to make Gracie a special dress for the ococcasion.

It wasn't until THIS morning I decided I *had* to make Thomas a matching outfit too.

Yeah, I am a little nutty.

Gracie had a great time and way too much sugar with her friends today. I was seriously feeling ill watching these kids shove so much down their little gullets! Ick! And Gracie had to ride in the car for 2.5 hours after!

In addition to the treats, the kids also made an edible Christmas tree--so extra fun and extra sugar.

As for baby brother--whew! He was all over the place and had his hands in everything! I have to keep a constant eye on him, but it is so much harder when he is vying for the attention and unwatched plates of 17 other kids! He was a usual handful, but enjoyed being with his sister and all of those girls who couldn't get enough of him.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gum Drop The Elf: Day 14

by: Gracie

Did you know that elf,s could go on dates with Barbies in a car?Well if you dident know they do!Today Gum Drop with Barbie.p.s. isent romatec?Well today,s addventer.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Gum Drop The Elf: Day 13

by: Gracie
Today Gum Drop hade a iland of his oun.He hade a privet iland just for himself.The sand was a mixter of baby oil and foulower mixd together.He used fishier price and littelest pet shop.Well thats todays addventer.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Gum Drop The Elf: Day 12

by: Gracie
Gum Drop has some delishes addventers.Today he made a snow angel out of suger.I trid some but mommy dinent like that.Well that,s today,s addventer.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gum Drop The Elf: Day 11

By: Gracie

Today Gum Drop a sleep over on my barbie bed and used my kelly clock.I bet he felt relaxt ond cozy.The best part obout it is that he was near the crismas tree and beacase he hung the bell I gave him.Well thats todays adventer.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gum Drop The Elf: Day 10

Today has been a very busy and kind of crazy, I am going to post today's Gum Drop picture and maybe Gracie can find time to blog about today's adventure and tomorrow's after school.

Gracie's First 5K

Our Gracie ran her first ever 5K today! We are so proud of her! (well, we always are, but now we are extra-proud :)

Daddy ran the race with Gracie and they did 8 minutes better than the last time they ran it around the neighborhood.

And, of course they accomplished daddy's 3 goals:

1. Don't die
2. Finish
3. Don't finish last

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Gum Drop The Elf: Day 9

by: Gracie

Today Gum Drop tok a bath in marshmellow,s beacase he has done a lot of things with marshmellows.He has made snowmen with them and roasted them.Today I ate a marshmellow form his bath mommy thot it was grose I did not.Itold her she would fly but she still did not eat one.Well thats today,s addventer.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Gum Drop The Elf: Day 8

by: Gracie Elfs like music beacase Gum Drop lisend to my ipod .I dont how he did becase it wasent on! I dont even know what song he was.Well thats toodays addventer.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Gum Drop The Elf: Day 7

by: Gracie.

Today Gum Drop made snow men out of marsh mellwllows.He had a small sharpie in his hand and i,m suprisd becase there were lots of other colers like blue and oringeand also he dident have tooth piks when he yosd them.I think Gum Drop is cute and some times he,s funny but he allways has good addventes.Well thats today,s addventer and check out the other Gum Drop addventers.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Gum Drop The Elf: Day 6

by: Gracie

Toaday I found Gum Drop in a ball pit.I bet he felt like he was in a spa of balls.All of the balls were colers of the rainbow.They were all store bot.Well thats,s todays addventer.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Gum Drop The Elf: Day 5

by: Gracie

Did you know that elf,s know how to plat music if you dident they do.The smornig he playd my ucalaly.I was not ewar that elf,s new how to play music.Well thats todays addventer.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Gum Drop The Elf: Day 4

by: Gracie

Aparentle elf,s love fish becase awr,s does.Gum Drop fishd gold fish out of a fishing pond made out of paper.It was on the kichen tabel.Today I askt mommy how Gum Drop eat,s she say,s he eat,s with santa and come,s bak to have a snak here.That,s today,s adventur.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

An Honest Chat

...about books.

I have noticed lately that Gracie doesn't want to read. In fact she makes a huge deal out of her 10 minute required reading for homework (she makes a HUGE deal out of everything these days...but that is a rant for later), and when I suggest she go read on the weekends--well, you would have thought I told her to paint the house.

So, tonight at dinner, we had a chat.

I asked her why she didn't seem to like reading anymore. I started the discussion by telling her I noticed that she didn't seem to be enjoying school anymore, or reading. I had told her in the past week how grandma used to beg me to go out and play, but my nose was either stuck in a book or I was playing in my own world by myself in my room.

I want her to have a love for reading--and it was there! It was! I don't know where it went...but I won't let her walk away. Not completely anyway. If I push her it will only make her drag her feet more.

So, after our discussion I came away with these facts:

1. she is lazy. Not an epiphany here--I have noticed this for months now and it is driving me insane!!

2. She isn't interested in the books she has.

Okay, I can deal with the second one.

So, we went to her room and started sorting the books. This gave me a chance to see what she was interested in, and it gave her a chance to see what she had.

I have collected so many books for her--so many, she couldn't remember what she had. So, by weeding out the "boring" ones, we had a better (and less full) shelf to choose from.

I doubt that my battle with reading is over, but I hope this helps her some. And, since I plan to encourage her to read even when she doesn't have to, I now know what to buy to pique her interest.

What does she like?

*Rainbow Magic Fairies
*Magic Tree House

...really, were you surprised?

She tells me she is over Junie B. (becuase she is in 2nd grade and Junie is only in first--duh mommy!), she didn't care for Judy Moody or Geronimo Stilton...or frankly any of the books I found interesting. So, basically, I continue to "pay the mouse" as Garren would say. Um, when does the princess thing wear off?!!

Mechanicsville Parade

It isn't it isn't the same (not remotely!)...but it is hard to pass up a parade when you have two excitable kids.

So, Thomas (not having a nap since the parade started at 3pm), Gracie and I loaded up the car with blankets and chairs and we headed for her elementary school to find our spots.

Thomas was super excited about the parade, but was not so excited that we were at the end of the route and he had to wait a rather long time for the fun to begin.

Thank goodness, daddy talked me into an IPod thingy. Well, actually, he gave me his old phone (2 phones back I think) and showed me how to use it. Typical mommy, put things on it for the kids. And, it works!!

So, while Thomas passed the time with a great car/truck app I found, Gracie practiced waving at all the people lining up.

It was a nice parade, and MUCH warmer than last year. It was a nightmare with the wind and temperature! Thomas was a bit cranky, but we managed and he loved the marching bands and fire trucks and ambulances.

Gracie, of course, loved the princesses and floats.

It may not be the same (ever!), but we had a fun family time...the same as we would have had anywhere else.

Gum Drop The Elf: Day 3

by: Gracie

Today I found GumDrop with my barbie sofa my barbie cup and my tea cup fild with pop corn!when I turnd on the the tv I found it was on the crismas chanl .he was listening to crismas songs.well thats toadays addventer.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Home Depot--December

Well, I completely forgot!

I was so sure I would be able to be super-mom and do everything and then some even with daddy gone for a week--but I just plain ole' forgot. But, Gracie remembered, and we made it to Home Depot to make December's project with 30 minutes to spare.

Gracie was a trooper and got her picture taken with Santa, and then she made her absolutely adorable snowman napkin holder. She finished the project quickly and with great precision and she got stockings with treats for herself and her brother.

What did Thomas do?

What he usually does, supervises while he chows down on the chips and drinks the people give him. We will do his project together sometime this week--when he doesn't have a mouth full of chips.

PS: don't even ask about his reaction to having a picture taken with Santa. Just use your Thomas-imagination!

Gum Drop The Elf: Day 2

by: Gracie
Have you ever wonderd if a elf new how to roast marshmellow`s?well ares we found Gum drop roasting marshmellows in the loundry room.I coudent find him but mommy weird is that.I cant beilve he was roasting marshmellows.Thats the funnyest thing a elf woud do.Well thats todays addventur.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Gum Drop The Elf: Day 1

By: Gracie

meet Gum Drop the adoruble elf.Today he was on the top of the sink.Thats were he was anyway.yester day he was bot (bought) .and thats todays advendtur .

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Meet "Gum Drop"

We have our very own elf. He came from Santa's workshop to keep an eye on Gracie and Thomas. As you can imagine Santa is very busy this time of year.

His name is "Gum Drop." Since Gracie is the oldest, she got to name the elf that will visit us each Christmas. (He goes back with Santa on Christmas Eve).

Gum Drop will hang around the house all day, and then at night when the kids are sleeping he will report back to Santa.

We never know where he will land when he gets back from flying, so the kids will have to hunt and find him. But, they can't touch Gum Drop--he may lose his magic.

I thought it might be fun for Gracie to show you where Gum Drop lands each day. So, I am going to have her take a picture when she finds him in the mornings, and then blog about it after homework in the afternoon.