Monday, February 25, 2013

New Jobs

Not for daddy and mommy, but for Thomas and Gracie.

Gracie, age 8 (days away from 9) has valiantly (and dramatically) endured her household chores for the nine months.

Yes, I said the past nine months.

Yup, I am the mama who only required her first child to keep her room clean until I realized what a bad idea it was to do it all myself.

Well, actually, I realized that I was in fact punishing my kids by not giving them any responsibility.

Ever heard the quote:

When I came across these words, I realized that my Type A personality was going to have to sit by the wayside or my children would not know how to function outside of this home.

So, I came up with a plan of chores for Gracie.

Almost a year later she is still complaining that Thomas never has to do anything, and she still doesn't get all of her chores done that I have laid out.

So, frustration led to bad moods, and bad moods led to a battle of wills, and the battle of wills led to mommy finding a different solution.

Why on earth does is take me so long to just realize that things need to change to get better?  Well, maybe because I am as stubborn as my father--and if you knew him--you would understand.

Anyway, we have a NEW system, and now Thomas (age 4 now!) has chores to do as well.

In addition to keeping her room and bathroom clean, Gracie has to make her bed before school, lay her clothes out for the next day, vacuum twice a week and continue to unload the dishwasher.  There are some other small daily tasks as well.

I added a few chores, and moved a few to Thomas' plate, and I added incentives.

As for Thomas, he will make his bed, clean his room, set the dinner table, wipe the bathroom counter, and wipe the kitchen table after dinner.  He also gets to get the mail.

Thomas is thrilled to he has chores now.  Not sure how long that will last, but I will take it.

Here's hoping that the new chore charts will work their magic and life around here will be a lot cleaner and with less hassle, tantrums, and stomping. A mom can't hope can't she?! ;)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Rackin' Them Up

Thomas bowled for the first time today (in an actual bowling alley), and I was surprised and proud to say he knocked the other 4 year olds out of the water.

Of course I have no idea where he got his athletic four year old prowess, but I will take it.

Today we celebrated Bryce's 4th birthday with him at Hanover Lanes.  It is a HUGE bowling alley literally up the road from us. 

We have talked a million times about going and taking the kids, but in the now 3 years we have lived here--not once have we stepped foot inside.  Until today.

It was just Thomas and I, but wow was it impressive.

Bryce's mom divided the children into lanes, and Thomas bowled with preschool buddies Matt & Eli, while the girls from their class there in the lane next door.

Being the helicopter mom I am, I was sure to carry the ball and help him line it up. 

I couldn't help but cheer as he knocked down pin and after pin and proudly proclaim "I win!!"

(Silly screen went like this as I snapped a photo, but that is Thomas at the bottom with a 90!!)

I did get a little better, and I realized he could carry the ball, so after a few rounds, I simply walked down the lane with him and cheered him on.  Yes (Candice) the other parents sat back and watched their kids from the seats, but hey... I am working on it :)

Too bad his daddy didn't get to see him, but our Thomas really dominated the lanes.  Not that I am not always proud--but I was a walking a little taller by the end of the party.

The party was a great success and Thomas loved playing with all of his friends. And, of course now I think we will have to take both kid and daddy back to the bowling alley for a family outing.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Mommy's Birthday Buddy

This is how I got to spend my birthday morning...watching that cute face run all over the playground!

The sky was clear and the temperatures warm to ring in my new year.

And if you think it can't get much better than that, I got a hair cut!.  Yep, first time in 5 years I paid someone to do it (I usually trim it myself.  Not a professional, just crazy cheap!).

The husband and kids also took me to Red Robin, my favorite, for dinner, and I got precious and sweet cards in the mail this week and from my husband and kids today.

It was a good day.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Heart Day Quote

Thomas: "Gracie stop kissing me!!!"

Daddy: "Son, you are going to have to suck it up and deal with this holiday like all the other men of the world."

He is So Cute!!

..and mommy's littlest sweetheart...

So, I can't help but take even more Valentine's pictures of him!!

Happy Valentine's Day

From our family to yours!!

Barbara, Garren, Gracie & Thomas Shipley

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Picture Of The Day (Maybe Year!)

Thomas was looking cool as he looked out the sunroof on Mommy's car this morning in the preschool drop off line.

He is too cool for words ;)

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Birthday Thanks

Thank You...

and Candice & Elliott!!
(blurry, but he loved it!)

Mamaw & Papaw
for the awesome tractor!

and Grandma & Grandpa

Thomas' First Bicycle

Mommy and daddy couldn't resist giving the birthday boy his first big boy bike for his birthday!

He of course picked out the one he wanted, but he didn't see it assembled and ready until today.

Thomas wanted the Hot Wheels bike and mommy made sure he had a helmet and pads to complement the bikes colors and scheme ;)

He is pretty good for his first run!

Happy Birthday Big Boy!!

He's 4!!

Happy Birthday to our precious Big Boy!  
Mommy & Daddy love you so much!


How do you like this year's cake?

I am super proud of it!!


Friday, February 08, 2013

Last Night Of 3

My precious baby boy will be 4 tomorrow. 

Tonight he goes to bed 3, tomorrow he wakes up a whole year older.

He seems a lot more "psyched" about the whole ordeal than I.

Happy Birthday Eve buddy!!

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Birthday Boy & Me

Many thanks to Eli & Matt's mom for capturing this for me.  I miss out on so many keepsakes like this one because I am always the one taking the pictures!

Thomas' First (Friend) Birthday Party

Gracie got her first (a-hem, and last) friend birthday party when she turned 5.  All of her preschool friends were there to celebrate Ariel-style.  Thomas is getting a year head start--he partied with his preschool friends today Jake & The Neverland Pirates style.

Okay, so I kind of cheated.  We did a birthday lunch party at Stevie B's (a pizza buffet with games) and I didn't have to do anything but invitations and goody bags!

He had a great time, and all of his friends were there (with the obvious exception of Preston, his bestest friend who moved away a few weeks ago :(

The restaurant has large windows and flourescent lighting wich really messes with my camera--but he had a such a good time.

His friends ate and played and seemed to leave very happy.  

Preschool Birthday Snack

So, Thomas is having a very  busy birthday this year..snack with his friends at school, lunch with his friends for a party after school, and of course cake, presents and Grandma & Grandpa on Saturday.

That is a lot of birthday for one little boy.

And, while I love the family time--I have always looked forward to the school special birthday "snacks."  Especially in preschool!  Getting to celebrate your child with their friends is just something so special.

Thomas got a birthday hat (just like Gracie did at his age, only she proudly wore hers and I bribed him for at least 1 photo with him in it!!) and mommy brought in cupcakes and special plates and napkins and party hats.

And, yep, I made him a birthday tie--30 minutes before we left for preschool.  (Don't roll your eyes, are you  really surprised?!!)

Isn't he precious!!

Mommy's birthday boy!!

Principals List!

I am so proud of my Gracie!

As you know that it isn't until 3rd grade that kids get graded on all subjects--so this is the first year with a full report card.

Last 9 weeks she brought home all A's and 1 B, and this time she pushed her B in math up to an A, giving her Principal's List!

We are so very proud.

As I mentioned yesterday, I had to miss the awards ceremony (well most of it, I got there and they were 2/3 of the way done and Gracie had already gotten her awards), but I got to sit with her for the remainder of the assembly and take plenty of pictures.

Thankfully daddy made a video for mommy!!

Wanna see?!!

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

One Mommy, Two Kids!

..and two special days!!!

This is the first time since Thomas has been born that the kids both had something special going on on the same day!

I have never felt so pulled... and so guilty.

I expressed my panic on Facebook and I was overwhelmed with lack of sympathy (not that I was looking for it) and the comments about how "this won't be the last time", and "welcome to the world of motherhood", and "imagine having 3+.."

Maybe it won't be the last time (okay it won't), but it is the first time I felt I had to choose between my children. 

It was gut wrenching.

Now, before you point out the obvious: there is a father who lives her too, you have to know that daddy's schedule is not ordinarily flexible, and this time of year it is nearly impossible for it to bend at all.

Garren and I sat down and looked at  all the events for tomorrow:

8:45am: Gracie's awards ceremony for her 1st ever Principals List (all A's!!!) and a special award for academic improvement

9:00am: Drop Thomas off at preschool for his special day

10:00 am: Thomas' special birthday snack for me to bring in and share with the class

12:00 noon: Pick up Thomas from preschool

12:30pm: Thomas' birthday lunch party with his friends at Stevie B's

2:45pm: Gracie is home from school

I am eternally thankful that Garren can catch Gracie's awards ceremony, but I am bummed too. I want to see her walk across that stage.

Daddy has promised to video it--but it isn't quite the same.

I will take what I can get, and I will be grateful that I am not a single mom, because that would be impossible to pull off.  But, I do not look forward to the next time my children both need me--the pain of missing either one of them is unbearable.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Magic Show

There are some moments in Motherhood that just leave you speechless, some that leave you wondering...and others that put you in stitches.  I had those moments today.  And, I have to share.

Ready to see some magic?!!

Want to see more?!!

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Sunday Dress

Dear Tom,

It is Super Bowl Sunday, but you likely know that, even though your beloved RedSkins aren't playing.  I guess I know it too even though there isn't a Manning to be seen.

Gracie and Thomas were watching for a while, then the chips ran low.  He needed to go to bed anyway.

Tomorrow is a school night, but Gracie begged to stay up and watch the half time show.  We bargained and were persuaded, and eventually we found a plan that would work, and we told her yes.

I didn't think it was such an bad request. After all, there is only one Super Bowl a year, and I remember it being exciting when I was a kid.

She got her shower done and her pajamas on and she excitedly sat in the middle of the living room floor to watch what she was sure would be the coolest show on earth.

I have no idea how "cool" it was in New Orleans this Sunday evening, but I am guessing the young lady on the stage clearly forgot it was winter...or a public space....with video cameras....and young persons watching...and how to move her body in an appropriate manner.

To say I was shocked within seconds of the half time show beginning was an understatement.

I am not exactly sure all that came out of my mouth, but I think the word "inappropriate' was used a record time for me in 2 minutes.

I am not a "cool mom." I am not a "cool," "hip," "progressive," "laid back" any thing. I know that. I also know I seriously resisted the urge to rush to my daughters side and cover her eyes.

Garren told me to hush.  I doubt he found it appropriate either, but he is a dad, not a mom.  And, he was making the point that I was making the issue in to an issue by constantly drawing attention to it.

Two minutes passed and this young singer was bouncing herself all over the stage for what seemed like an eternity.

Gracie was clearly no longer excited by the action on TV.  I doubt she found it "inappropriate," she thought there was going to be something more fun.

I quickly offered to read her any book she wanted and we could go upstairs.  She had no problem with that, telling me "I am not interested in this anyway."

I read my impressionable 8 year old several chapters from a coveted American Girl book and I looked at her.

Here was the hard part.  How to I explain why Mommy was so uncomfortable downstairs?

I made broad generalizations about how mommy doesn't think that wearing such revealing clothes on TV, or anywhere is appropriate.  

She understood mommies thoughts on the matter, and told me as I tucked her in "Mommy, even if I am 35 I will wear my dresses down to here!"  She points at below he knee.

I smile.  But, as I shut the door I know that in years to come she and I will argue over what clothes she can and can't wear.  We will disagree on lengths and styles and how much has to be covered.  And while all of those clothes battles are raging on, I need her to know why it is important.  Why it is importantly to cover herself.  Why it is important that I hold my ground on what she wears and why.  Why she needs to choose carefully how the world sees her outwardly.  It is a job that terrifies me with its importance.

How do I get from censoring what she watches, to what she wears, to how she behaves at age 8 to turning her into the self confident lady of God that your beautiful Mallory is?

I remember seeing your Mal when she was about Gracie's age now.  Her hair pulled back in a pony tail sitting at your kitchen table with her feet not even touching the floor. She was hard at work on her school work.  She had the shyest smile and the most innocent face.

And I see her now, poised, confident and a young lady sure of her self and her place her Heavenly Father's eyes.

It seems like a flash of time.  Mere seconds from one to the other.  And yet you and Colette groomed and made her into the young lady that still flashes that shy smile. 

I should have studied you more.  Watched you both more closely, for now I am at the edge of young lady-hood and I am unsteady and unsure how to walk.  I guess the saying is true: if you can not stand, kneel.

Perhaps you will kneel with me and beside me.

How I wish you were here. How I wish I was there.  How I pray that I can be half the parents you are to Mallory. You are truly gifts from God, and I am blessed to have you in mine and my children's lives.  Here's hoping you rubbed off on all of us before we left.

My Sunday Best

Look at my darlings!  Don't you just want to snatch them up?!!