Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween From The Shipleys!

Look at my precious angel and handsome delivery man!

Halloween 2013 was a great success, and a busy night.

We borrowed Bryce's neighborhood for Trick Or Treating fun since ours has MASSIVE hills and few kids. And, what a great neighborhood they have! I have wanted to move in there the first time I went to their house (and got turned around/lost)--and after the husband walked along with our kids on the flat roads filled with happy families and tons of kids--he wants to move there too! Yea!!!

We originally planned to let them do a few houses, then try and get Gracie's school (which is in walking distance to this neighborhood!) and then to Bryce's church where he and his family were participating in their Trunk OR Treat.  Well the kids (and daddy) were having so much fun, and loading up on candy, that we did a ton of houses.  And, boy did Thomas get doted on and made a fuss over.  (I was a very proud crafty mama as they went on and on about his costume and his treat box.)  His treat "box" was the biggest hit as I had covered a box in brown paper and added Velcro to the top so he could open and close it to add candy.

So, we skipped the school and took Thomas to see his best buddy Bryce at their church. (Which is less than a mile down the same road).

Thomas and Bryce had tons of fun going from car to car and table to table collecting goodies.  Gracie was a good sport and she walked along several paces behind the boys as they were nearly running.  Gracie mostly wanted to hang out with adorable Emmy who was dressed as a mermaid.  Gracie thinks she is just the cutest thing ever.

We left and headed home a little before 8 and the kids unloaded their loot.

I KNOW that this is the most candy these kids have ever collected on Halloween.  What a haul!

Costume Parade

We had already planned to come to Story Time today since it was Thursday, but Mrs. Caroline told the kids they could dress up, so it was even more exciting. And, we invited Bryce and Emmy to dress up and come too!  And, since preschool friend Paige goes on Thursday's too--it was like a Kitty's Kids Halloween reunion special.

Mrs. Caroline apparently had a cold today, so we didn't get to see her, but were super surprised to find that there would be a costume parade through the library in addition to stories and a craft.

So cute!!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dress Up At School

This is likely Thomas' last chance to wear his costume to school, as the "big school" is NOT a fan of Halloween activities at all, especially costumes.  Poor Gracie was heartbroken when she went to Kindergarten to find that she couldn't wear her princess costume to school.  I somehow don't think Thomas will be as upset, or maybe even at all, but I am kind of sad that this is the last costume fun at school for mommy.

This year, just like last, Thomas made his mind up early about his Halloween request, and did not waver.

He told me "I am a delivery truck driver."

Well, okay then. 

I had the shirt, I found a cheap pair of brown pants at Walmart, and I had him wear his church shoes to school so he would match.

The hardest part of his ensemble was the hat.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a brown baseball hat?!  Hard!

I got lucky and found one last night at Marshall's (for more than I wanted to pay, in fact, more than the rest of his costume cost) minutes before bedtime, and hours before preschool.

I "cheated" and printed out the UPS logo on sticker paper, being sure to print and cut out extras for when they started to peel off.

Thomas loved his costume, and he loved sharing this special school day with his friends.

They were all so cute, and SO excited!!

We parents got to watch as they played games, made crafts, did songs and then had a special lunch/snack that we all contributed to.

Such a fun day to share with Thomas and his friends.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mommy's Little Pumpkins

We carved pumpkins on Saturday, but it was too dark by the time we finished, so I had the kids go outside today and let me snap a photo of them with their art work.  

They came out so cute.  This has been a yearly tradition since Gracie was 3.  Well, we always did pumpkins even when she was a baby, but the more difficult carving techniques didn't appear until daddy had to do an article on pumpkin carving for the paper. Well, was just so much fun, and I love and art project--so, each year it seems like we try to make it harder and harder!

This year is the second year Gracie attempted to do hers solo. She did about 90% of it, and we are super proud of her for sticking it out.  These stencils are fun, but are very tricky--even for adults. Just ask Tom, we made him to Mount Rushmore one year!

Want to see them lit up?!

The pumpkins that it, not the kids!

Gracie did Pinkie Pie from My Little Pony.  Thomas picked Daniel Tiger, so mommy did that one, and Daddy did the Tardis from Doctor Who.

They look so neat all lit up!

God Loves Cars Too

Thomas looking at a Star Wars board book in Goodwill.

"This is the Bible."
No it isn't Thomas.
"Just pretend mom!"
Oh, okay.
"It says: God loves all the cars, all the time."

Technically God does love all of creation, and He loves us who drive, I think he may have something there. Wonder if he loves tow trucks and tow truck drivers extra special

Monday, October 28, 2013

Cold Weather Cutie

It got cold here--fast.

But, it was finally cold enough to dress Thomas in his letter jacket!  My mother in law bought the coat for Thomas after I fell madly in love with it.

Doesn't it look perfect with those orange shoes I love?!!

Can't tell?

Me either, getting a good picture of him is usually much easier. Never fails.

How about this one?

The sun kind of messed with the photo.

 I took it Friday when he went to Show And Tell, but it warmed up on the way to school, so he didn't wear it long.

And, now I vow to get an even better picture of that handsome boy in his preppy jacket and shoes. Thanks again Cheryl!

 Who says it isn't fun to dress boys (oh, yeah, that was me 4.5 years ago when I was so sure my days of dressing up my babies were over)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Saturday Club

As if I didn't already love this year's fourth grade teacher, she goes and makes us parents like her ever more.

She and the other teachers for this grade level have created a "Saturday Club," where students and their families can meet around Richmond and do an additional learning/fun activity!

Today we met at Belle Isle.

(And Grace is wondering if I got lost getting there.)

Short answer: yes! But, I only had to turn around once which is a huge accomplishment for me.

So I can now add Belle Isle to my list of places I have gotten lost trying to find while living in/around looks something like this:

*Botanical Gardens (getting home, I followed the bus there!)
*Children's Museum Of Richmond
*Canal Walk/Brown Island
*Kings Charter
*Belle Isle

( I am sure there are several more on this list, these are just the ones that stand out the most. Especially since the phone told me to jump off the interstate bridge with both the Canal Walk and Belle Isle! "Your destination is on the right" Yeah, 100 feet down!)

Back to the club.

I was expecting more parents since all 6 4th Grade teachers were there, but I would estimate about 30 people total. So 10 kids.

Lucky Gracie had both best friends Ashley and Clara to spend the morning with, so she probably didn't notice the lack of other classmates.

I had never been to Belle Isle before, and if you have a problem with heights this is NOT your place.  You can park on solid ground, but you will walk a half mile over a suspended bridge that hangs over the James River and under the Interstate Bridge.  Not cool if you are not prepared for it. But, breathtaking on a fall day.

In fact, the whole trip was beautiful to see.

I am very glad we went, and we may go again as a family.

And, if the morning weren't awesome enough, Clara's mom invited us to lunch.  We went to Bottom's Up Pizza, and it was good.  The kids had a great time sharing lunch, and the pizza was super yummy!

I am excited to see what it planned for the next Saturday Club!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Racing With A New Edge

Everyone knows a real racer needs a great car, sponsors...and a fire suit!

Look what mommy grabbed at Goodwill today for $3!  Isn't this too precious!

Now, my little race car driver can drive and win in style.

His favorite driver is Jeff Gordon, which you probably figured out already, but mostly likely it is *his* favorite because he is *daddy's* favorite.

Either way he is too precious, and too excited about this jumpsuit!

Thomas has been pretending his trike is a race car for many months now, so I went and made him some play flags for outside.  I thought they would be fun since I am usually the flag man and I pretend to wave the right flag. Now, he and Gracie can play NASCAR all they want.

I just used scrap fabric and found some craft wooden dowels.  I didn't have checkered material, and I couldn't find any at the store, so I used black gingham. It worked.  Then, a few weeks ago, also at Goodwill, I snagged two of those flags you clip to your car.  One was checkered with the NASCAR logo and one was Jeff Gordon.  I took them off of their plastic poles and now we have a whole array of fun things to play racin'!

But it was Gracie who put the icing on the cake. As if the flags and the fire suit weren't enough, she ran upstairs and got her summer reading trophy to present to Thomas as the Winston Cup.

Show And Tell Letter "F"

F is for

Fire Truck!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Happy Birthday Hailey

You got the FIRST preschool party of the school year.  (Henry had the first birthday), but you celebrated BIG with lots and lots and LOTS of bounce!

Thanks for inviting us. We had tons of fun!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Afternoon Activities

It is a good day for doing homework on the porch today.

In fact, the weather has been fairly nice all week and Gracie has opted to do her homework, including 20 minutes of reading out in the fall air.

Gracie typically has word study, reading, and maybe a worksheet or studying to do each night. Not bad for fourth grade.  She had even less in third grade as Mrs. Joyner did not believe in giving homework unless necessary.  Both years are a great improvement from first grade and second grade. We spent about 30 minutes-1 hour on homework a night in first, and 30-45 minutes in second grade.  So, while she complains (often) about her work load--it is pretty easy breezy mac-n-cheesy :)

And while Gracie reads her brother...

...races his cars.

Yesterday the cozy coupe was an ice cream truck and he charged me $50 for a Buddy Nutty, but today he was Jeff Gordon on his Rock N Roll trike.

Both of my kids have great imaginations.  I think they get that from me, and I am proud. I don't have a great deal to give them--but my imagination has been one of my greatest friends throughout life.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Thomas' First *Official* Field Trip

For those of you playing along a home, you know that I initiated, planned, and executed a three year old "unofficial" field trip last spring--because well, they didn't get an official one!

There is something about pumpkin patches and preschoolers. They just go well together, and Thomas had a wonderful time with all of his friends today at the Hanover Vegetable Farm for his first field trip!

There is plenty to say, but really, you just want to see the pictures.

They did the typical things like going for a hayride and picking a pumpkin, but this place also had a corn sandbox, animals, a parachute, and gigantic ball.  So, there was a lot more fun to be had.

And, while the field trip was fun. The best and favorite part for my son was....riding the bus. Of course you knew that.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Sleep Is Its Own Reward...For SOME Of Us

If you have an infant, or child under the age of three--do not read on.

You so don't want to know that those sleepless nights may not end.  And, you really don't want to know that it took until age 4.5 and my son STILL doesn't sleep through the night.

Yep, I said "still."

Since he came home from the hospital, Thomas has been up at least once a night nearly every night for 56 months.

When he was 14 months he slept through the night for the first time ever. I was so happy, I cried. I cried and cried, because 14 months without a single full night of sleep is torture. Torture!

I thought that was it. He was good now. He would sleep like Gracie sleeps.

 Pipe dream people, pipe dream!

Clearly my body has gotten used to being awoke at some point through the night, and clearly he has had a night or two every few months where I can sleep all 8 hours, but enough is a enough.

I don't do bribery.

I want SLEEP! A WHOLE night of it people!!

You would think that the toddler bed would have helped. Nope.

Oh, but he got a big boy bed.  NOPE!

Every night he comes in to our room at least once.

If I am lucid enough I send him back to his room, but he has woken me up, so my sleep is still broken.  If I am out of it, I either instinctively pick him up and put him in bed, or he pushes me over and crawls in himself.  This adds kicking and dead arms to the mix increasing the number of times I wake up at night, including carrying him back to his bed.

Garren's consistent solution is "close the door!" I can't do that. I wouldn't sleep for fear I couldn't hear my kids if they really needed me. Plus, he could fall down the stairs in the dark after he bounces off the now closed door.

Of course the wake ups don't usually affect daddy, because it is not just with infants that the dad doesn't wake up with "babies" cry or  call or whimper, or moan, or sleepy "mama, I scared."

Back to the solution.


"Thomas you will get a sticker for every night you stay in your bed all night. When you get 5 stickers you get a treat."

3 of the 5 nights he came in the room, but I sent him back with a kiss and he did not get in the bed. I considered this a win.

Today he picked out his treat.  I figured $5 was a good amount, and leave
it to Thomas to pick out 5 cars!

He gets cars, I get a continuous night of sleep. We all win!

***Update 10/23/13: since the reward chart Thomas isn't even coming in the room at all any more!  It worked, it worked! Now, don't jinx it!! ***

Gracie Blogs

Daddy has told Gracie time and time again she can be anything she wants to be in life...except a writer!

I think he might be in trouble.

What a creative mind our daughter has. She gets that from me!

She picks the most interesting way to tell a story. She gets that from her daddy!

You will have to read her blog posts and give her some great feedback.

I told you before that Mrs. Mullenaux's class has a blog. Well, each student has their own blog on that blog.

Gracie has written a whopping 7 stories already! She never seems to run out of things to talk about. (Daddy again ;)

Now, stories will come and go on her blog as her teacher is helping her and the other students make their punctuation, spelling, and grammar better along with improving their writing style. So, at any time there may not be all of her writing for viewing. So, please check back every so often, maybe once a week and find a new story she has written and give her some feedback.

These blogs are very well protected, and comments have to be approved by the teacher. While I have no doubt that your reviews will be positive and wonderful, she may not publish because you give too much info on your name.  I leave my comments under the name "Barbara S., Gracie's Mom." Be creative and use maybe first name and Gracie's Grandma, Mamaw, cousin, friend..etc.  I know she will love reading what you have to say!

Ready to read?

Click here to give it a start!

Thomas' First Run

I am not sure if Thomas will like running as much as his sister, but in his experience of four years he has been VERY jealous that he can't run too.

Until now!

The 100 yard dash at the MES Miler at Gracie's school is for Preschoolers thru 2nd grade. So, Thomas got to run his very first "race."

He was so excited he could participate too!

And we are very proud of our little runners...both of them!

Wanna see him?!! Oh, yeah you do!!

Another Rainy Run

Gracie has the worst luck with races!  Not that she doesn't do well--she always does and we are super proud of her!!  But, the rain seems to loom over a majority of her run days! And, today was no exception.

Once again our girl ran through the sprinkles to the finish line.

Today's 1 mile Kids Fun Run marks the 11th race of her racing "career," the third time she has run the MES (Mechanicsville Elementary School) Miler on her school grounds.

Gracie finished her mile in 12:02, which isn't bad considering how little she trained thanks to bad weather...oh, and a broken arm!

Way to go Gracie we are so proud of you always!

Race #2: MES Miler (2011)    
Race #4: VA 529 Kids Run, 1 Mile (2012)
Race #6: MES Miler (2012)
Race #7: Junior Marathon, 2 miles (2012)
Race #9: VA 529 Kids Run, 1 Mile (2013)
Race #10: AshCreek 5K

Friday, October 18, 2013

Firefighters..Show & Tell...AND a PIcnic

..and a new car seat (long story)!

What a day for a preschooler!

Daddy took Thomas to preschool today, so I missed the morning routine, but I was bound and determined to get back to school in time for the firefighters to arrive and talk to the kids.

I made it.

Thomas was surprised and quite happy that mommy was going to see the firefighters too.  The kids anxiously listened to four volunteer firefighters from our closest station: number 7 as they talked about 9-1-1 and Stop, Drop & Roll. 

Of course being 3 & 4, the kids answer for everything was "fire!" and then the topic kept changing to Halloween costumes.

Not the best attention spans.

But, they looked cute in their hats!

The three year old class got to go down and outside to see the fire truck first, and the two 4 year old class teachers attempted to keep the kids busy and entertained.  Maybe 8-10 minutes later, Shayna, the school's director comes in to tell us all that the firefighters got an emergency call and had to leave.

It took a good 1-2 minutes for their little minds to wrap around the news, and there was a collective "awe!!!"  I snapped the best picture to sum up the mood of the room with Grace's son Bryce.

I asked Mrs. Tammy if we could make an attempt at a group picture anyway since I had planned on one outside, and then I walked with Thomas and his disappointed friends back to the classroom.

I had already planned to stay longer and I had the hung out for a little while longer.

I was privileged to see circle time with calendar and the pledge and Show and Tell!!

I am sure I was more excited to get to share this moment with my son and his classmates than they were to show off what they brought in that started with the letter "E."

After Show and Tell I ran home, and then to Target to get a car seat (such a long story!), but I made it back in time for pick up line.

While I was in the school listening to the firefighters, Grace texted me about maybe a picnic for the boys after school.

Why not?!

So, Thomas and I stopped off at Subway and got lunch and met Grace and Bryce and Emmy at Pole Green Park for lunch and play time.

What a day!