Sunday, February 27, 2011

Big Green Tractor

Look what I found Thomas today at the goodwill in Lynchburg!!!! Isn't it great?!!!



Only one little problem...it took all I had to get it in the trunk...oops. I believe this is the third time I have bought something that didn't fit well in my car.

Thank goodness Grandma and Grandpa are coming down this weekend to celebrate Gracie's birthday...and they have a Blazer.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Happy Birthday Aunt Dawn


Well her birthday isn't until Monday, but Uncle Brian invited us all to Danville to celebrate Aunt Dawn's xx birthday :) (Yes, I know how many, but consider this my extra gift to her :)

I made her a birthday cake to pay homage to the awesome gift he got: her won bathroom and a jacuzzi tub! As a mother of 6, step mom to 1, grandma to 2, and someone who does more than 5 women put together--she completely deserves this gift!!

Thomas and Gracie really liked her gift...as did the 4 kids that still live at home. I am hoping Uncle Brian got a lock for that door!

The kids had a good time at the cookout and party for Aunt Dawn, mostly playing with their cous-its.

We hope Aunt Dawn had a fun day, and hope she has a great day on Monday!

Friday, February 25, 2011

100th Day Of School

Today marks 100 days as a First Grader for Gracie.

It was such a monumental occasion, I decided she needed special attire!

I made her a shirt that reads "100 reasons my mommy loves me." Can you think of a better way to count to 100?!!

I also made a matching skirt. Okay, actually, I used fabric from the skirt I made to make the shirt...so which ever.

She loved her surprise outfit this morning, but I have to say, besides the shirt, I was less than thrilled with the skirt. It is definitely too long. But, Gracie tells me all the First Grade teachers made a fuss over her. They rotated rooms today, with each teacher doing a different 100 day activity.

I did NOT get good pictures of Gracie today! It was pouring this morning, and we were running behind--so I don't have a good morning one. And, this afternoon she posed in front of the kitchen window so those are blurry (but, I am posting it anyway).

But, lack of pictures aside, she had a great 100 day. And, she got an awesome treat: a trip to Grandma's. I wonder if this is our 100th car trip there? Hmmm.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Potty Sucess!


Three cheers for Thomas!

He went potty today!

Of course I am not sure he even knows he did it, nor am I sure he had any idea why I was making such a HUGE fuss.

But, that's the life and mind of a toddler I guess.

We had bought him a potty last week thinking that we might start to introduce him to the concept.

I was a little leary, but Garren was so sure he was ready. But, you can't blame me for being gun-shy (no pun intended), Gracie was THREE before she finally decided to use the potty. And we started her out at a year and a half!

Well, Thomas LOVED the potty. He would hit on it and scoot it around. And he LOVED even more getting naked. Just like a boy I guess. So, while I would chase Gracie to get her to sit on the potty--I now chase Thomas from running all over the house naked *after* sitting on the potty. He would live his life "free as a bird" if I let him. Of course I would live my life cleaning the carpet from my bird too!

This evening I sat him on it (in front of the TV, that is the only way he will sit on it for more than a minute--he is too busy!) and we sang songs and he watched Sprout.

My oven beeped for dinner, so I told Gracie to read to him while I quickly got dinner out of the oven.

I hear Gracie reading and I thank her. And she says "your welcome, but he isn't sitting on the potty any more."

I run to the living room to find my joyful toddler hopping around the living room naked from the waist down.

I hurry to grab a diaper (which I should have gotten before I started! It has been a long day). I go to move the potty so I can lay him down to put it on him and I see he had gone piddle.

We jumped and cheered and he joined in!

I let him flush the big potty after I dumped his little one (he LOVED that!), I let him put a sticker on the chart I made him (he wanted to put more on), I gave him an M&M (he really loved that, and really wanted more), and I kept praising him over and over.

He loved all the excitement, but I am almost positive he has no clue what it was about. But, he got a sticker, and candy, so he is good.

Now, lets hope for more successes.

Oh, and let's hope that Gracie doesn't demand more M&M's when she goes potty from now on. Seriously--when is the jealousy over!!! (Daddy caved and gave her one and told her what a good girl she was in a baby voice thinking it would deter her. Mommy knew it would only make her beam. I was right. )

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mommy's Best Birthday Present

Can you guess what I wanted more than anything for my birthday this year?

To go home!

...but, you probably already guessed that.

I planned to get the kids up early this morning and load them in the car for the 2.5 hour drive to Strasburg, but they surprised me by getting up way before I the clock went off!

The kids happily amused themselves in the backseat of the car for *most* of the drive down. We arrived "home" with just enough time for me to change the kids into their Sunday best, and to receive and give tons of hugs as we entered the church doors.

Apparently, my excitement over my present didn't surprise Ruth, but she was still quite happy to see the kids...and maybe me too ;)

It was so wonderful to sit in our seat and to see all of the love that poured from these wonderful people. I don't exaggerate when I say "it felt like I was home again."

Ruth & George wanted the kids and I to join them for their weekly tradition of Sunday lunch at Mrs. Hoffman's house (Gertrude is George's mom), and any other time I would have politely declined (and then been badgered by Ruth for being a ridiculous)--because I wouldn't want to intrude on their family time, or to have my kids destroy/damage/stain/etc things in her nice house. But, I don't think I even put up a polite refusal--I couldn't think of anything I wanted more this afternoon.

The kids we ridiculously spoiled and pampered and doted on while at Mrs. Hoffman's (where they have been several times, and have always been the center of attention--some things never change!!).

We did go to the park with Ruth, but only for a short while. While we had been enjoying the unseasonably wonderful weather the past few days--it had turned quite windy and cold for this trip.

Ruth, who clearly knew we were coming (even though I didn't tell her!) surprised the kids..and myself, with gifts (which were in her car!).

Thomas got a tool puzzle/book for his birthday present, and she gave me a new pan to make new and fun cakes with. Gracie got some princess silly bands to keep the green-eyed monster at bay ;)

It was getting late in the afternoon, and none of us wanted to leave, but I kept the fact that I wanted to leave the least to myself. Children aren't so tactful.

They were given hugs and kisses and we loaded up in the car with just enough time to make one more stop.

We hadn't seen the Mozingo's since we left home in August!!! Way too long. And, I wasn't even sure if they would be home since they are so busy with church activities on Sunday. But, as Colette put it "God planned it" for them to be home only moments before I pulled in their driveway.

I think all three of them were so pleasantly surprised, and it was also a wonderful (and tearful) reunion.

We didn't stay long, but they got a good look at the kids who have grown so much in the past 6 months, and Gracie got to try on Mallory's tiara.

Yep, our Mallory was crowned Homecoming Queen last month--and we were all so happy for her. Of course we are always proud of her--but this was something extra special to cheer about!

We gave and received more hugs, and my kids waved for the longest time as we pulled out of their driveway and neighborhood.

The last time I went home was in October, and I remember fighting back tears. Not to say that I don't want anything more than to go home and stay home--but this trip was easier. I felt more "refreshed" than sad. And, I am determined now that holidays and bad weather are behind us (mostly) that I will visit far more often.

The kids and I are definitely coming back for Mayfest, and Garren is talking about wanting to be there for the Fourth of July, and I would love to be home for Easter. Christmas was so heartbreaking without my family.

I thank all of the friends and family we saw today for sharing my birthday present. There wasn't anything I wanted more!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Big Sister Duty



**and no, he shouldn't have had the bink, but I promised her we would go for a walk as soon as Thomas was up from a nap, so the poor thing barely had time to wake up before she was helping get the stroller ready!**

Mileage Help


Gracie is really getting into the ongoing racing competition among her classmates. She has been bummed that "everyone has colored more squares than me!"

I promised her that once the weather is nice and Thomas sniffles are gone, we would go in the afternoon's and add on more miles.

So, today we did.

Aren't you loving this spring like February weather?!!

Gracie added another mile to her chart, and now we have one at home that we can use to keep track of how she is doing!

I made the chart today, and I am quite proud of how it came out. Plus, by making the chart I quickly realized that there are only 7 weeks until the end of the challenge instead of the 10 that the paper listed! So, that's 4 miles a week! But, we can do it.


And, Gracie is now saying she wants to do the kids race. She apparently thought she had to run a marathon for it ;) She was relived, and now excited to know it is only a mile. In her words "I can do that!"

Cheer Gracie on as she attempts to get 26 miles, and a medal before April, and when she runs her first race on April 2nd!

You can keep track of her progress with the ticker I made and added to the top right hand side of the blog.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

2 Year Check Up

The big boy and I went to his first pediatrician visit since we moved this morning. I feel so blessed to have such healthy children. Gracie didn't see a doctor for a non-wellness visit until she was 5. Thomas hasn't been for one yet!

But, today he had to go--for a check up.

He of course screamed his head off, but in between screams (and during) his blood was tested for anemia (apparently a standard for 2 year olds now) and he was fine, he was tested for autism (also apparently a new standard for 24 months) and he passed that with flying colors. He got 2 shots, and the wonderful doctor chatted with me about his progress.

He still remains below the 50th percentile in weight, and the 25th percentile in height. I am trying not to let this get to me. He is clearly growing at his own pace. (Mommy never was very good or graceful for getting less than 92 percent--an "A" on anything!)

We talked about his speech, and our options. She didn't seem concerned, but picked up on my concerns. Her benchmark is that he can put 2 words together. He does that some, but not a lot. She also said as long as he can communicate with us, he is doing okay.

He is so far ahead in all other ways of growth. He can physically do more at his age than other kids, and more than Gracie did (jump, throw and catch a ball, stomp, climb, etc..)--he just lacks the speech. And, she was pleased to hear how hard I was working on it. He and I do flashcards, and word books, and finger plays and oh so much more. And, I told her how thankful we were for baby sign language! I don't think I could have made it without having that as an outlet for the both of us!

So, my little stinker is doing well, and we will keep hammering away at it.

Garren attempts to soothe me and tell me that Thomas is the same way he was as a child. And, while I get that it is supposed to make me feel better--again, I don't do well when I am not getting an "A." Besides, I don't want him to be like daddy...or mommy either..I want him and his sister--to be better!

The Countdown Is On

With the green-eyed monster rearing its ugly head since Thomas' birthday...things around here have been very unsettled, and very pouty lately where big sister is concerned.

If I had a dime for every time she asked me "how many more days until my birthday?!"

So, being the creative me, I made her a countdown calendar. And, it is likely the most elaborate countdown ever!

She loved the movie "Tangled" (it's about Rapunzel), and so going with that theme, I had the great idea to countdown the days on her super long hair. But, to make it more fun, she can cut the braid at the end of each day until there is one left.

I braided many, many strands of yellow yarn, and and added rubber bands along the braid. Then, I cut dollar store flowers off of a tiny pot arrangement and added numbers. I then glued the flowers in her hair at the rubber bands.

Let me just say that Gracie LOVES it!

She cut of the hair tonight, and you could see her grin in outer space I am sure!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Best Present Ever


I do not have very good pictures of the best present ever--but that is only because I couldn't get my very excited toddler to stop long enough to get the camera to focus!

So, let's start at the beginning.

Thomas was sent some birthday money from Candice & Aunt Sharon. Since he has every Fisher Price toy from our local Walmart, I got brave and found the closest Toys R Us.

Well, I found the same problem there I found else where: there aren't many options for boys his age. He can't have toys that aren't rated for his age (like I did with Gracie), because you never know what he will do with it (stick it up his nose, flush it...etc). So, that leaves baby toys (which won't teach him things, or grow with him), and a very limited amount of toys for boys for his level.

So, frustrated, I made another round through the store. We came to the outdoor play toys area, and I saw this box with a clearance sticker on it. It was a turtle inflatable pool looking thing, and I almost dismissed it out of hand, but then I saw on the side that it was a 3-in-1 toy and it came with balls.

How cool would that be--to have your own ball pit?!!

But, only 10 balls? We needed more!

I asked the sales lady where and if they sold extra balls, and she pointed me in the direction of the sports equipment.

Thomas didn't seem that interested in the square boxes, but he had no idea the fun in store. He did pick out another (overpriced!) car, and he happily played with it as I found these other two goodies.

It was long past nap time when we got home, so he didn't get it right away.

But, shortly before I knew he would wake up, I blew it up and Gracie helped me add all of the 110 balls.

Words can not express the fun my son has had with this ball pit. Of course words can not express the tantrums that his sister had either because I forbade her to get inside the turtle (she is too big and would pop it--but she is allowed to play with the balls and with him in it).

So, a big thank you to Aunt Sharon & Candice for Thomas' best present ever--he loves it!!

Gracie Runs

Gracie came home from school today and announced “I ran a half mile today.” She said it kind of casually. I figured it was some sort of fitness test for PE, but she said it was during recess. I made a big fuss over her and told her how proud I was, and that daddy would be so excited to hear it as well.

Later when I went through her backpack I found the information on the days run. For the next month and a half the kids will be given the option to run a mile (or in lower grades a half mile) during recess. They will get to color in a “brick” on their individual charts for each mile they run.

The objective is to run a marathon (26 miles) by April, counting down to the Monument Avenue Marathon in Richmond.

I think it is a pretty good idea for kids, and I am sure it is to combat the obesity so-called “epidemic,” but it is good for kids to get exercise. At this school Gracie only has PE once a week. At Sandy Hook they had it every other day!

So, as the kids collect miles, they also collect “prizes” at five mile increments. Now, clearly the kids won’t be able to get it all done at school, so they are encouraging parents to walk/run with their kids at home to add on extra miles.

I have told Gracie, that as soon as Thomas is over his sniffles, and as long as the weather is fair, that we will walk with the stroller for a half mile, and maybe even a whole mile in the afternoons after school. The extra exercise would all do us some good, and I am all for parent participation.

If she completes 26 miles she will receive a gold medal.

They are also encouraging the kids to run/walk in the kid’s portion of the marathon in April. Gracie doesn’t seem to keen on the idea, but I told her to think about it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Mommy's Valentines

A very happy Valentine's Day to all of our friends and family. And, a very big thank you to those who sent Gracie and Thomas cards in the mail, and who sent them a greeting through the blog. They had SO MANY in their bags. What a treat it was for them to receive cards from so many loving people!

They were spoiled today too! In addition to Gracie's school party, Thomas' hand made shirt, and all the cards you sent them...mommy and daddy made sure they knew they were extra loved by us too.

We hope you all had a wonderful heart day!

And special FIRST Valentine's Hugs & Kisses to...

Jolee
Preston
Charlie
Devon
Holden
&
Ryson!

Mommy's Love Bug

When I get an idea..I just can't let it go!

Here's the t-shirt I made for Thomas to wear today. I love the phrase "love bug," and we made some last week (after I racked my brain and the internet for boy-friendly Valentine's craft ideas)...and the Twiddlebugs (whom I LOVED!) popped in my head.

I love it. How about you?!!

Too bad I couldn't get my model to hold still for a better shot :)

Valentine's Day In First Grade


Thomas got to share Valentine's Day with his big sister...and 16 other first graders today.

With daddy doing duty with the General Assembly, I didn't have someone to watch Thomas while I took in goodies to Gracie's class today.

I had made candy airplanes for her and her classmates, and Thomas and I brought them to class.

The kids instantly fawned all over Gracie's little brother. Thomas wasn't so sure about the hoards of "big kids" that started to surround him. But, as long as I was holding him--he was okay.

We only stayed for a few minutes, and Gracie passed out her airplanes. But, I did manage to snap a class picture for Miss. Anderson.

You can see just how super proud and happy Gracie was to have her mom and baby brother in the classroom. And, I was proud too. I have to say there is something pretty special when you walk in to a classroom and hear several kids say "it's Gracie's mom!"

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Gem From Gracie

"Daddy, sometimes there are things in life we just don't understand."

Priceless!!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Birthday Kisses


Thomas has been covered in birthday hugs and kisses today. So many people wished him a Happy Birthday, I wanted to keep track of them all. So I printed a picture of him and hung it on the wall next to his seat at the table. And, I added hugs and kisses from everyone who wished him a happy birthday on the computer, or called, or sent him a card.

Well, I think I got everybody--it has been a super crazy day :)

Thank you all so much for thinking of my little munchkin. He had a pretty good day. He started with a birthday phone call from Aunt Ruth, and ended the day with car cookies mommy made for his special day. He also got open several cards that came in the mail this week that I saved for today.

If he could express himself, or even know that it was his birthday...he would say thank you!

Birthday Card On Sprout

Thomas' homemade birthday card made the "cut" on this morning's Sunny Side Up show on PBS Sprout.

If your life isn't Sprout 24/7 (like mine!), then you probably didn't know you can submit a card that you made and they will wish your child a Happy Birthday.

I did this for Gracie back when she turned 4. We didn't even get Sprout then, but Grandma did, and she recorded the video from the TV at her house and sent it to me. (I need to find that one).

So, if you weren't watching this morning, here's a chance for you to see it.

NOTE: the volume is very low on the video. My camera didn't pick up as much of it as I thought, so turn up your speakers. But, don't forget to turn them back down when you are done. :)

Happy Second Birthday To Mommy's Beautiful Boy

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Well Wishes


I want to thank the many of you who wished Gracie well as she recovers from the flu.

I decided to use your get well wishes to perk her up a little. She is sad about missing school, and the possibility of missing her Valentine's party, and she hates being couped up in her room.

So, I found some Get Well cards online and printed them off. I sent her a "feel better Popsicle" from everyone who was so sweet to think of her yesterday.

She LOVED the surprise inside the freezer. I let her out of her room for a moment to choose her flavor Popsicle and she smiled for the first time in days.

Thank you so much to all of you who care so much about my little girl...and my children in general!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Wuv You!

Tonight you told me you loved me.

Your sweet words spoken from those darling little chubby cheeks were the most wonderful surprise.

I doubt that you know what those words mean, but I don't mind. You know that when mommy says it to you she looks at you in awe and nuzzles your cheeks and covers you in kisses. So, you know what those words feel like. So, to hear you say them to me means all the world.

I wasn't expecting my first "wuv you" tonight, in fact I don't think I would blame you if you never said it to me.

Oh, how I have failed over and over again in these nearly 2 years trying to be your mother. I couldn't feed you the way they said I should, I couldn't comfort you for most of your newborn months, I couldn't soothe you to sleep, I can't get you to eat healthy, I haven't had your picture professionally done since you were 12 months and even then it was only the third time in your life. I let a woman cut all of your beautiful blond locks off, I spend more time telling you "no," than "yes." I find I little energy, patience, and calm left at the end, and sometimes beginning of the day for you.

Oh, how want to erase the many, many mistakes that haunt me, and yet I never find any peace with them...until tonight. In those two precious syllables you washed away the overwhelming weight that I carry with me.

I think I could have floated out of your room tonight. What a precious little boy you are to let your mommy know that you love her even though she doesn't always love herself. That you love me even with a bad haircut, and with few professional pictures in the album. That you love me despite my constant frustration over your energetic ways.

You said more in two words, than many could have said in a lifetime to me.

Thank you my dear sweet boy for loving me.

Mommy loves you too.

The Flu Strikes

Our poor Gracie has been bitten by the flu bug.

We noticed she was fevered yesterday afternoon, and she didn't sleep last night, so we kept her home from school.

I figured she was getting the cold that her father and I are currently suffering through. But, when her fever spiked to 103 I knew it was more.

I had the pediatrician's office squeeze us in before they closed at 5pm. I was assuming it was another ear infection.

But the nurse, who took one look at my sick baby, knew otherwise.

She told me she looked very sick and she wanted to test her for the flu.

I didn't think anything of it until she mentioned that it was running rampant around Mechanicsville.

I had noticed the mass amounts of kids and parents in the waiting room, and I noticed the handmade construction paper "envelope" stapled to the wall labeled in marker "flu swabs."

As we waited the doctor came in and checked her ears and said they were fine.

Moments later she returned to tell us Gracie's flu test was positive.

She went on to say that this version of the flu is lasting 3-4 days and to make her comfortable. Tamiflu wasn't really necessary since I am a stay at home mom, but she did write out a preventive prescription for Thomas. But, we decided against it. We are keeping her quarintined in her room and keeping him far away.

Garren has put the extra TV in her room, and the DVD player too. She has stacks of girl movies and plenty of "special drink" (Dt. Sierra Mist).

She is being plenty pampered and taken care of while she recovers. As if you were worried ;)

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Thomas' Second Birthday Celebration

His birthday isn't until Wednesday, but we decided to do the cake and presents today. Partly because daddy works so late during the week now that the General Assembly is in session, and partly because Grandma and Grandpa wanted to be able to celebrate with him in person.

We didn't have a party, I just made the cake, and I made him a shirt that came out super cute! And, you know me...I make all celebrations for my kids extra "special," so I did print out a few decorations and such.

The kids had a wonderful time with Grandma and Grandpa and they got taken out for Happy Meals and ice cream.

Later in the evening we opened gifts and cards and Thomas had a grand time finding truck after truck after car after plane...you get the idea ;)

I took several pictures of him in front of the cake, but I am bummed to say that most of the ones I am sharing are blurred.

I am only posting pictures of Thomas in his hat--but I have to say it really makes the picture complete.

**Here's where mommy leaves out just how stressful the day was with a SUPER jealous big sister. See how I didn't even mention that? See how I didn't even say that she drove me crazy all day and whined because she wanted a balloon too? Extra sticker for mommy!**

Home Depot Valentine's Project

Gracie did a great job this morning on her heart shelf, and now she is super excited to paint it and find a wonderful place to display this months work of art.

My little builder is becoming quite the expert with that hammer these days.

If you haven't taken your child yet--take them! The first Saturday of each month from 9am to noon. They have a new FREE project each time, and the kids get to build and take home the project as well as a certificate and a pin!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Hack Job

I don't want to talk about. In fact, I don't want to even think about it. But, I can't stop thinking about it...and crying about it....and getting upset about it.

So here is the very short of it....

Thomas needed a haircut.

I tried to save money and time and took him to Walmart to get it done.

She scalped my baby.

I have cried all day long.

No one will be seeing pictures of my precious poor little boy for several weeks until it can grow out.

Valentine's Love


I have several ideas planned for the kids this month, and you can help share the love with my two Valentine's.

I made them valentine "mail bags" after I saw the cutest craft idea inspired by chair-back mail bags sold in Pottery Barn.

I think they came out super cute!

So, now I (we) need to fill them!

I have other special ways to show the kids how much I love them and I will show those in different posts, but for now you can send the kids Valentine's and I will put them in their mail bags.

We LOVE mail, so if you want to send the kids Valentine's through the post office we would love to get them, but if you are out of stamps and don't have the time....pick on below!

I made a sheet of Valentine's for each child, and labeled them with numbers. In the comment section, pick a number and write the inscription you would want on it--and I will print it out (did I mention I got a new printer?!) and put it in their mail bags.

(click on the images to make them bigger so you can see the cards and their corresponding numbers)