Thursday, December 31, 2015

What A Year

I don't typically wish away time, and I guess it really isn't wishing it away since I am pretty sure this past 12 months lasted 4x longer than typical spans of time.  And, no, not because I was pregnant.

2015 was by far the hardest year ever for us Shipley's.  We had more ups and downs than a mega roller coaster.  But, we survived.  And, we continue to survive despite the downward although roughly level slope we continue on as 2016  begins.

Recounting the past year serves as a way to continue to be thankful to the Lord for getting us through, a chance to remember that we held tighter to each other, and that we endured more than we thought possible.

Compared to other families, I am sure that our year was merely a "Drop in the bucket," but for us, it was the hardest 12 months the four of us have ever dealt with. And, perhaps a time will come that will be harder. But, I think we the practice we were given in faith in 2015 will likely at least prepare us for any all future struggles.

2015 Recap

Daddy needs a new job--fast!

Daddy has a new job! Yea!

We have to move to Virginia Beach.

 No more Middle School for Gracie

We are staying in Mechanicsville

We are going to have a baby! 

 Kids leave mommy for first time to stay solo in a whole other state!

We joined the church.

It's a Boy!

Thomas starts 1st Grade without his best friend.

Gracie starts Middle School--the hardest chapter of her life so far. 

Daddy needs a new job--faster!

Daddy gets a new job.

Welcome James Tobias Shipley.

I think that the statement that most defines me, and us this year is this: " I will praise Him in this storm."

2015 gave way to many, many storms in our life, and I would like to think that we held on to our faith, our God and each other; although not always with absolute grace and nobility--through all the storms that we passed through.

New Year's Tradiation Lives On

I can't tell you how much I needed this evening.

I have been so convinced for months that adding another family member would mean sacrificing so much for so many, and I assumed that the Whitlock/Shipley annual New Year's Eve Countdown would be one of the things to go.

Well, after I lost out on what I wanted for Christmas Eve, I decided not to let NYE go too! And, I was so thrilled that Grace had no problem keeping our "date" even if it added a little extra crying.

Our kids always have a good time together, and tonight was no exception.

I told Grace that my goal was not for it to be perfect, but for it to be enjoyed, and I truly did.  I didn't pull out all the stops like I typically do, but there was plenty of fun activities, food and tons of laughs. I didn't sweat a single "small thing," and enjoyed watching the kids and our guests have a great celebration.

Here's to the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016.  May we all still be friends for another year to come--and many, many more after that.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Another Christmas Surprise Visit!

Look who stopped by to visit us!!!

We were so excited that Aunt Ruth & Uncle George would take a detour from their holiday vacation in Virginia Beach to visit us, and see our new addition!

While, the visit was absolutely wonderful and I loved that they got to spread some love on our newest Shipley--I loved even more how no one could even tell that we haven't seen them in more months than I care to count.

That's how family works people, love knows no time or distance.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Mommy's Sweet Face

***The blogging of Gracie & Thomas has not, and will not stop, but I think you can understand the onslaught of Tobias pics. He's new and I want to savor all these moments because they are fleeting, and with my lack of sleep, I may not remember them.***

 Happy 2 weeks Tobias!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Emmy Feeds Tobias

What a sweet capture.

I think she might be coming around to him.  She wasn't so sure at first--probably because she is the littlest..and the most circles within which she travels :)

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Bathtime, Attempt #2

I promise I won't blog about his every bath, because the way he spits up, that would be more blogging than I have time to do.

But, I got Gracie to take some pictures with my phone this go round to sort of make up for missing pictures of his first bath.

Our First Outing

It was a picture perfect Sunday, and the weather was too wonderful to pass up the opportunity for our first outing.

I figure this might be our last chance this winter. After all, it's December 27th and it is warm enough that we are going for a walk and to the park!

Richmond weather is really weird, and this doesn't surprise us at all after our 5th "winter" here. Of course, we will pay for these very late fall temperatures come January or February.

But, in the meantime, mommy is feeling well enough to put on shoes and see how a brisk walk will be handled by both her body and her baby.

Since we live in a VERY sloped neighborhood, I figured it would be best for all of us to borrow Grace's nice flt neighborhood for our first outing, and I am glad we did.

Not only was it easier on my post-op body, but we got to see some warm and happy faces.

Thomas' teacher Mrs. Tapper lives in that neighborhood and he was thrilled that we ran into her along our walk. I think she might have enjoyed meeting Tobias and getting to see Thomas as well.

Of course the Whitlock's got another peek at our bundle since we borrowed the parking space in front of their house (they didn't seem to mind).

And, since the walk went so well, we decided to head on out to Pole Green Park.  We were all ready for some sunshine and some exercise (i.e a chance for the kids to get some energy out!!!).

Besides the rough at times wind, Tobias seemed to enjoy his outing as well. He couldn't play with the big kids, but he did get a "picnic lunch."

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Time With Mamaw & Papaw

Time with Mamaw & Papaw was exceedingly short, but they managed to get in as many snuggles as possible in their 48 hour visit.

All three kids were pleased that they were willing to travel the 6+ hours from East Tennessee to visit and share Christmas with us.

Star Wars Movie

Daddy has been waiting for this day since he head there was a new Star Wars movie coming out, and getting to take his kids AND his dad made the event even more epic.

I don't get it--but I don't have to.  They all came home happy.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Tobias' First Christmas Photos

Baby's First Christmas

Despite only being 10 days old, Tobias was well gifted at Christmas as well.  Of course, he slept through 90% of the festivities--but his brother & sister were sure to remember his first Christmas ever.


He was just a little bit spoiled, don't you think?! ;)

Christmas Morning At The Shipley House

Have I mentioned I love my camera!

In my exhausted haze I got some amazing shots this morning of all the Christmas excitement.

Usually the Christmas unwrapping is over in less than a half hour, but this year we had more gifts under the tree than EVER. 

Typically things are spread out, and we do Christmas with my family the weekend before Christmas, and we do an early Christmas with Mamaw & Papaw while we are in TN for Thanksgiving. But, thanks to our little almost Christmas baby, mommy couldn't travel (and I just gave birth on the day of Miller family Christmas)--so everyone brought Christmas to us.

Also Christmas Day is typically just the four of us, but this year, Mamaw & Papaw decided to visit and share the holiday with us, so they got to see all the mornings excitement.

**Thomas & Gracie's pajamas were also courtesy of Mamaw & Papaw, they got special ones to wear to bed last night and stay warm in while they played today **