Saturday, July 28, 2007

Happy Birthday, Gracie Madelyn!

Happy 7th birthday to our sweet girl, Gracie Madelyn!


I love you and am so proud of the young lady you are becoming! I love the way you want to follow the rules and do what's right. Of course, being 7 years old you don't always make all the right choices but you have the desire to do the right thing and that is important. I love the sincere way you ask questions and desire to know the answers-especially about God, Jesus & the Bible. I love to watch you read and draw. I love watching you love school! I love hearing you & Katie play together and knowing that you will always be sisters and what a gift that is to both of you. I love thinking about the kind of woman you will grow up to be. I love to spend time with you and I feel so blessed that God chose me to be your Mommy!
I love you!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

baby Caroline

Dear God,

Please wrap your arms around sweet baby Caroline today & give her comfort & healing. Grant peace & comfort to her Mommy & Daddy-Will & Wanda. Give the doctors & nurses the knowledge & skill they need to correct her problems and make her well. We know it is all because of You that they have the ability to perform such wonderful procedures that can make a person well and we thank You for giving them the knowledge & skill they need. You are the healer and we give You the praise for that.

Give all of the family peace, comfort & strength. Please. Thank you.

In Jesus Name,

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

7 going on 17

Is she about to turn "7" or "17"?!?!?! Here is my baby "gabbing" on the phone to her best girlfriend about her upcoming sleepover birthday party. They had to talk so they could make sure LA was bringing everything she was supposed to bring. So fun for her to have a best girlfriend!

Monday, July 23, 2007

She walked on the wild side!

Gracie started art camp today and LOVED it! She was very expressive in telling me what they did and just really seemed to have a great time! I'm so happy and hope she'll enjoy the rest of the week as well.
I took both girls back to the doctor this morning based on the fact that it's been 2 weeks since things have been completely normal for them when they go potty. I won't go into all the details but the doctor said he didn't think it was contagious and Gracie could still go to art camp and have her birthday party. He seems to think maybe it's dietary and to cut out their sugar. I don't know that he meant that he thought they were both all of a sudden allergic to something but maybe just meant that their little tummies were still sensitive from having a virus awhile back and they needed bland things for awhile more. I'm really not sure.

He did have me take a "sample" (lovely!) to the lab to check for some things which I did around 9:00 tonight. At least he only had me take Gracie's. I guess he figures if anything tests positive for Gracie then Katie has it too, and if it tests negative for Gracie then Katie doesn't have it either.

If you have a minute, please send up a prayer for them. They feel GREAT and have been eating GREAT. They just need a little help with their tummies and "output." It's stressful to me to not know what is going on but know something isn't quite right and have it last so long. I am thankful that they feel good and the doctor did give me at least a moment's peace of mind when he said Gracie could follow through with her plans for this week. I'm just praying that the tests don't reveal something that makes him change his mind!

When checking on the girls before I went to bed, I found them sleeping together so sweetly. I couldn't resist taking a picture to forever record this moment. I love the way Katie has her arm around Gracie. I'm surprised the flash didn't wake them up!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Why you say thank you for THAT?!??!

recent quotes from Katie:

"Why you say thank you for poo poos?"

"I can't stop laughing!"

"No, that's not right. It's Reese & Bailey!"

Let me explain these quotes.
My girls are still struggling with tummy issues. They generally feel good and Chris & I have been thinking that they're not really sick but just having a hard time getting their systems back to normal. Anyway, sorry if that's all TMI but it helps the story make more sense.
When they were going to bed tonight, I was holding Gracie and asking her how her tummy felt and she said better. I hugged her and said I wanted it to be all better soon. She said, "It will soon I think." I'm glad she is positive about it! I said a prayer for them and concentrated a lot of praying for both of their tummies and mentioning what a fun week Gracie has planned for next week (art camp + her birthday sleepover party). I prayed that God would help their tummies & their poo poos to be better soon. When I finished praying Katie looked at me and asked, "Why you say thank you for poo poos?" Gracie & I had a good laugh over that one! I explained to Katie that I hadn't said thank you for them but had asked God to help them be better. It was so funny!
We went to the circus tonight. The 'Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey' circus was nearby and we'd really wanted to go. I had looked into buying tickets but had just this week decided not to go after balancing our checkbook. *sniff sniff* I was actually proud of us for making the choice not to go since sometimes we overstretch ourselves a bit but we really didn't need to spend the money on the tickets. With Gracie's birthday next week we needed to spend money on other things.
Yesterday Chris called me from work and said, "You won't believe what just happened!" A guy he works with had offered him 4 FREE tickets to the circus! We were so excited! We all enjoyed it although I was a little sad about the lack of big animals. There was an act with horses which was actually quite good and an act with some dogs. Those were the only animal acts. There was an elephant, but it was too big to come into the building-too funny! He (or she?) was set up outside where people could go look at him aftewards, but that's not really quite the same thing. We did have a good time though. I have to admit (for the sake of recording what my children are really like) that both of my girls-and especially Katie-probably laughed the most at the clown whose main source of humor was making "tooting" sounds. He also had an act with a fake baby who burped a lot and "peed" on the clown. Yes, my sweet 3 year old girl laughed & laughed at this! At one point she looked at me & Gracie and said, "I can't stop laughing!" It was so cute the way she said it! I kept trying to take a picture of her but it was too dark to come out well.
I blame their daddy for the fact that they think tooting sounds are so funny!
On a side note: there is a sweet couple at church-Mr. Malcolm & Miss Julee-who have taken quite a liking to our girls-especially Katie. They love her even when she snubs them-she's quite moody sometimes so that can be often. She really does love them both but she has an especially soft spot in her heart for Mr. Malcolm. He called Chris at work yesterday and asked if he & Julee could take the girls to the circus last night. I thought that was so sweet!!!!! We already had plans to go spend time with our friends who are moving + we had tickets for tonight so they didn't go but I thought it was so nice of them to offer!
When we were leaving I was asking Chris if it was "Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey" or Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey." Katie said "No. That's not right" very emphatically. I was amused that she seemed to think she knew the answer, so I questioned her as to which it was was. She said it was "Reese & Bailey." She has some friends who are sisters and those are their names. I thought that was so funny!
On a more somber note, my friend Alissa is leaving town tomorrow for a new adventure in her family's life. A group of us went out to dinner last night and helped them with some of their packing. It doesn't seem quite real yet that she won't be at playgroup each week. I feel certain that God is pleased with their decision to serve Him through this new job and I pray that they will be happy. I'm thankful for blogs, email & phone calls! Here is Gracie with 2 of her children, Aidan & Alora. Here is her other precious little girl, Aralyn. She was drawing and had done a really good job of a face for a 2 year old. I made the "mistake" of expressing my delight in her artwork. For quite awhile after that, I heard "Wook! Wook!" as she pointed at many other faces she had drawn. She wouldn't stop saying "Wook!" until I acknowledged that I had indeed "wooked!" So cute!
Baby Caroline's surgery is this next Wednesday. PLEASE say a prayer for this sweet baby and her family. I know her mommy, Wanda, would appreciate a note of support if you have the time to check out her CaringBridge site.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Edventure Children's Museum

Today the girls & I went to the children's museum where they had a really good time. I had been wanting to go for awhile and since their tummies seemed to be feeling better I decided today was the day! Towards the end of the day, the virus showed that it has yet to go away completely but I feel confident (& hopeful!) that it will be gone soon.

They had fun playing with all the things the museum has to offer. I'll put some captions with the pictures and let them tell most of the story. It was a fun day!
You can see Gracie up near the top in the pink shirt. Katie wanted to go, but I was too scared to let her. I did let her go up to where the slide was and come down. She enjoyed that and seemed satisfied!

This is always a favorite area for the kids. Playing with water and getting soaked with regular clothes on. What's more fun than that?!!? We did this right before we left.
Katie trying to make bubbles.
The girls role playing as anchorwomen, along with a little boy who jumped in. See the guy in the white behind them at the weather map? I think that's the one I had to have a little "chat" with. They have these big weather symbols that you can move around and Gracie & Katie were playing with them. I saw Gracie move the tornado and the boy reached down and moved it back. I thought, "hmmm, I'll have to keep an eye on this." Gracie moved away as if she just didn't want to play with it anymore. I encouraged her to keep playing and said kind of loudly that it was okay for her to play with it too. She again moved the tornado to a different place. It's not like she took it away from the kid. There were lots of symbols on the map....she was just trying to play. He reached down and moved it again and said, "DON'T!" really loud to her. Excuse me?!?!! For one thing, she's a petite little not quite 7 year old and he's probably 12! For another thing, I don't care how old he is. He doesn't need to talk to my baby like that! I stepped in and told him that she deserved to have a turn just as much as he did and I think I may have said something about how he shouldn't talk to her like that. I definitely had the "Mrs. Shanks-teacher" voice! I looked around a little sheepishly for a mother who was about to jump down my throat for getting on to her son but saw no one who seemed to be with him. A few minutes later this man poked his head in and said something about how he could stay there but he was going to be in another section with another child. BTW, the kid gave me not a very nice look when I reprimanded him. We try to get Gracie to be more aggressive...not in a mean way but just in a "stick up for herself" kind of way. I told her that she didn't need to let people talk to her that way and she should just say that she could play with it too. Ever see "7th Heaven" and watch the way 'Ruthie' was??? I loved the spunk that character had. She didn't take nothin' from nobody while usually not being too mean about it. Anyway, I felt the need to stick up for my baby and I did!
One of the special exhibits was on West Africa. They had lots of neat things there.
Here are the girls "riding" on a camel.
Here they're in a boat "fishing." They had nets in the boat you could use to "fish."
I liked this one. I think it was supposed to be a suspension bridge that was built high up in the trees.
If you look at the television screen, you can see the girls dancing & playing along with natives. If you look at the picture below, you see the reality of it. Dancing in front of the green wall makes it look they're in the t.v. Pretty cool!

Gracie rock climbing.
Gracie listening to the notes.
Gracie the librarian.
Gracie the dentist. I'm not sure if Katie will make it through dentistry school since she's using the tool in his hair! Just to reminisce a little, here is a picture of Gracie from September 2004 doing the same thing. How she's grown!
Posing during craft time. When Katie does that with her hands, apparently she's pretending they're "beanoculars." (spelled the way she says it!)
The funny thing about Gracie holding her hand out to Katie is that Gracie was too scared to walk across this thing. It is very high up off the ground. She took another route to get to the other side.
However, since Katie did it, Gracie decided she could try it coming back over!
I love looking at Katie in the mirror here!
Katie could barely walk in the fireman shoes.

my little farm girls
She now has experience for her resume when she applies to work at Kroger one day!

Gracie from Sept. '04. Another throwback in time.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

My 3 year old is braver than my almost 7 year old!

Yesterday, Chris said he was going to mow the front yard and that he wanted to take the girls on a "date" later. Fine by me-I went to run errands. One of those included going to the library where I saw that they were having a free showing of "The Last Mimzy" at 2:00. I called Chris to let him know and he said he might take the girls to it. They went to Moe's to eat then headed to the library to watch the movie together. I wasn't sure how Katie would do since she can be quite wiggly during a movie but it's a pretty relaxed atmosphere so I hoped she would do okay. Well, they ended up leaving early but not because of Katie. While Katie said the movie was funny, Gracie apparently thought it was scary. Yes, my 3 year old thought it was funny while my almost 7 year old thought it was scary. Oh well!

While I was at the library, I checked out "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit." We all relaxed during the afternoon and ended up eating a rather late dinner then we all sat down to watch. After Gracie's experience with the other movie, I wasn't sure if she'd survive this one, but she did great with it. It's a strange-but cute-movie. Chris left a little early to meet a few friends to go out to the movies.

When I was out yesterday, I also went to the Dollar Tree and picked up a new 'Scribble Pad' and pad of construction paper for the girls. They each got their own along with a pack of computer paper to share. You would have thought I'd given them gold! They have been cutting & gluing and creating ever since! I LOVE the Dollar Tree!!!!!

I'm about to take Gracie back out to the mall to try on a few things I saw on sale yesterday. The GAP was having a good sale as was Penney's. Maybe I can get her some things for school. She'll be able to wear the Spring/Summer things for a long time still since it won't get cool here for quite awhile.

The girls' tummies are doing better although still not perfect. Chris has arranged it so that I can go to church tomorrow and he'll stay home with them if he needs to. Things are looking up for Gracie and Katie is getting there so hopefully we'll all be able to just depends on how the rest of the day goes. Viruses are so strange!

Speaking of strange: this is how I found the girls yesterday with one of their art boxes. Gracie was bringing it to me to organize since they had their new paper pads to put in. Why in the world they both had on winter hats is beyond me! I'm just happy that they felt like being silly and have such fun together!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

interview with a young lady

I copied this idea from Malia: an interview with my daughter.

Gracie Madelyn Shanks age 6, almost 7

Who’s your favorite person? God
What’s your favorite thing to eat? pizza
Where’s your favorite place to go? church
Favorite color? red
Favorite sport to play? soccer
Favorite shirt? this one (the one she's wearing!)
Favorite dress? that dress that I wore to my birthday tea party (her 5th birthday)
Favorite toy? horses!
Favorite craft time activity? just coloring
What do you like to do with Daddy? go out on dates
Favorite place to visit? all my grandparents' houses
Favorite thing to do with Mommy? play
What do you love to do outside? climb on my swingset
What do you like to draw pictures of? horses
What do you like to do with Katie? play with her
Favorite movie? Spirit
Favorite tv show? Little House on the Prairie
Favorite book? Bible
What do you want to be when you grow up? art teacher & someone who takes care of horses
Favorite room in the house? my room
What’s your favorite animal to see at the zoo? giraffe because it starts with "g"
Favorite thing to do at school? read
Favorite thing about summer? we get to play outside a lot
What’s your favorite thing about God? everything
What do you talk to God about? I just like to talk to Him about a lot of stuff.
What is your favorite Bible story? Jonah
Who is your best friend? Hunter (boy) Leigh Ann (girl)
What do you think will be your favorite part of going to art camp? drawing; making stuff
We ventured out to Target this morning. It was good to be out in the world again, although I did come home with a headache. I think it will linger for awhile. I did get out last night for about an hour. Mrs. Stauffer came to get the letter today that I'd written for her. Gracie-and Katie-thought it was very cool for Gracie's teacher to be at our house and get to see their bedrooms and toys, etc.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The attack of the princess lamp!

I put in my contacts today!

Chris took both girls to the doctor this morning. Katie ended up having more of the *ahem* potty issues, so he took her along with Gracie. Of course, you know what they said......."it's probably viral." I really didn't expect anything different to be said, but it always makes me feel better to have them checked out. They didn't actually get to see our regular doctor because he was out, but honestly they like this other doctor that they saw better. He has always had a better rapport with the girls. I don't think they'll let us switch to another doctor within the same practice so I guess we'll stick with the other one-which is fine-but we're never too disappointed if we "have" to see the other one. We just have to ride out the virus. Poor things. Katie acts like she feels fine, but when she needs to go she really needs to go! Gracie is just kind of puny. Hopefully it'll all go through their systems soon. No pun intended! Good news: my almost 7 year old is almost 40 lbs! 39.1! We've been looking forward to the 40 lb. day! Here they are smiling despite having a virus. They really are sweet sisters!

I am feeling much better today! Like I said above, I even put in my contacts! No makeup yet, but I put on ironed clothes & made up the bed too so things are looking up! I was thinking maybe I could go to church tonight and let Chris stay home with the girls, but alas he has a meeting before and after church and is supposed to lead part of the service too. So, I will stay home again. He said when he got home from work I could head out for about an hour before he needs to leave so I will probably hit Target. It's been way too long! LOL I am so hoping the girls will be better by Sunday so we can get out!

Here's a funny Katie story: Like I said yesterday, I am supposed to write a letter for Mrs. Stauffer and she should be coming to pick it up tomorrow. The girls were helping me put clean sheets on their beds and I said something to Katie about her "princess lamp." I asked if we could put it back in her room. She didn't think this was a good idea. You see, she is afraid of her princess lamp. It has different settings. You can turn it on and the princesses glow like a nightlight or you can turn it so that the actual lightbulb and the princesses are on and I think you can turn it so just the lightbulb is on but not the princesses. She asked Chris one time, "what if the princesses come out to get me?" He assured her that they wouldn't. She then asked, "what if I pretend they do?" He said, "Well...I can't argue with that!"

I had to actually take the lamp out of her room the other day because she was scared of it. Chris then switched her lamp with Gracie's lamp. The problem is that Katie's room is pink & green. Gracie's room is red. The lamps don't match in the other rooms. I asked about moving her princess lamp back to her room and I mentioned that if Mrs. Stauffer wanted to see their bedrooms, the lamps wouldn't match. Katie didn't really care if Mrs. Stauffer saw lamps that matched their rooms or not. She thought putting the princess lamp in the den was a good idea!

Gracie sometimes uses the funniest "proper." When we were talking about all of this, she said something like, "If Mrs. Stauffer is going to see my room, we'd better tidy it up a little." tidy it up?!?!? I don't talk like that and Chris sure doesn't! Last night we were watching "Facing the Giants" together. I think it was after the scene where the doctor told him that they couldn't have a baby that she said something like, "Why can't they have a child?" a child?!? I would have just said, "a baby." It just sounds so prim & proper. Maybe from all the reading she does. They say children get a lot of their vocabulary that way and she has been reading the "American Girls" series where I imagine that type of vocabulary is used. If Katie had made a comment about the movie at Gracie's age, she probably would have just said, "Why can't they have no kid?!?!" LOL

Another funny Katie thing right now is that her new favorite lunch is peanut butter & jelly cracker sandwiches. Peanut butter & jelly on saltine crackers! I think I offered it to her once because we were out of bread and now she prefers it over bread. Just a little quirky thing I want to remember about her!

Baby Caroline's surgery is scheduled for July 25th. Please keep them in your prayers! She updates her website regularly if you'd like to keep up to date on what all is going on.