Thursday, May 29, 2008

Last day of 2nd grade

Today was Gracie's last day of 2nd grade. She likes to say that she's now a 3rd grader. However, Chris says he isn't ready for that and that he'll call her a "2nd & a half grader!" Here is a picture of the first day of 2nd grade in Aiken and then a picture of her today. I forgot to take her picture this morning so this picture is from after school. It was about 2000% humidity at the time this picture was taken (or maybe that was just the 35 weeks of my pregnancy talking!!!) but it was hot, humid, & bright out-as you can probably tell from the squinting.

I had so much anxiety about choosing her school for these last few weeks of school (28 days to be exact) but I don't know that she could have done much better! She made the transition so well, and we're so proud of her and thankful to God for his leading, protection, & provision. She left today with a smile on her face and a straight A report card! I spoke with one of the PE teachers yesterday and she said Gracie seems to have found her 'niche' there. We feel so blessed that things went so well for her.

I was at the school yesterday because they were having 'talent day' in music class. Gracie had talked for weeks about wanting to play the violin for this. After a little confusion, we discovered that 'talent day' was yesterday so I took her violin to the school then Katie & I went back later in the day to watch her. She did good. Did she play every note correctly? BUT, I was impressed with her courage & confidence in wanting to do this (there were 2 classes combined to watch). Her music teacher conversed with her in such a way that allowed her to show what she knew beyond just playing her short rendition of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," and I thought that was good. The pictures turned out horrible-our camera can't zoom due to 'technical difficulties,' so I wasn't able to get too many good ones since I was also trying to video at the same time. I was really impressed that the teacher had each child, after their performance, choose 3 or so students to give compliments and she worked with them to make it relate specifically to what the child had done for their talent. I thought that was sweet. Let's see if this video works (I encourage you to watch past her actual playing of the song. It needs some work, but I like how the teacher gave her an opportunity to show other things she has learned.):

Today Chris took off part day and came with Katie & I to school to watch Gracie perform in her 'Reader's Theater.' Again, it was 2 classes combined since she switched each day to have 1 teacher for Language Arts and 1 teacher as her 'main' teacher. It was hot, crowded, and my knees were killing me by the time I got up off the little kid chair BUT so worth it to watch her be in her little play. :-) I really do love going to all these kinds of school activities and it would take something pretty big to make me miss any of them! She did really well-spoke up loudly and with feeling. I'm going to try to load a You Tube video of it. I guess there were a total of 8 different skits and each were based on things the counselor had talked to the kids about as far as conflict resolution type problems-things they could do rather than just going to an adult (choosing a different activity, walking away to cool off, talking it out, etc.)
Here is the You Tube I'm hoping will work:

After her skit, we were able to get her report card, some test results, the last school newsletter, a thank you note from one of her teachers for her little end-of-the-year gift, and be on our way! Another school year down! Here she is with one of her friends who also happens to go to our church.
Here are my 2 sweet girls loving on each other. Katie is very excited that today was Gracie's last day of school for awhile. She looks forward to having her home more often and truth be told, so do I!
Here is my sweet Katie Boo posing for a pic and one of the girls next to a really pretty carousel we found inside one of the local malls.
I'm about to head to bed. I've had a bit of a sore throat the past 2 days, along with congestion & headache, etc. I called the doctor's office today to see what I can take and was told to watch for fever 'cause they'd want to know if it was strep. I don't think it is-I really think it's sore from drainage junk. I am feeling better than earlier today so that's good.
We have a fun weekend planned, so I'm sure I'll post with lots of great pictures soon! Baby seems to be doing well by the way!!!!!!! Moving all around most of the time! Won't be long until these posts consist of lots of pictures of her!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

proud to be Gracie's mommy!

One bad thing about moving to Houston when we did is that we missed this special ceremony celebrating Gracie's good character. (Her school was named Millbrook Elementary, and the schools are in alphabetical order, so if you look down for the school name you will see her name.)We are so proud of her! Mrs. Zimmerman is supposed to be sending us a copy of what she wrote about her, and I look forward to receiving it to have as a keepsake. Gracie encourages me to strive to be a better person sometimes just by the way she acts, and I am BLESSED and PROUD that God chose me to be her Mommy!

Monday, May 26, 2008

last week of 2nd grade

Tomorrow (or maybe today by the time I get finished writing this post) starts the beginning of Gracie's last week of 2nd grade! I am so happy that she's enjoyed her new school as well as she has and look forward to going Thursday to watch her perform in a "Reader's Theater" her Language Arts class has invited the parents to come see. Chris is taking the afternoon off to come watch, too. I am looking foward to having her home with me for the summer. Such a big summer this is going to be with the baby coming; I'm glad she'll be arriving when Gracie has time off from school!

Katie & I went to story time this week, and she did better with sitting with the group and not clinging to my leg as much. She may be my little crazy one, but she can sure be clingy when she wants to be-especially with this move! I'm sooooo glad she's not in school yet-and won't be for another full year-because I don't know that she would be making the transition to a new school as well as Gracie has. I still haven't decided about preschool/MDO yet-mainly b/c I'm not sure where we'll be living next school year. HOPEFULLY our house in Aiken will sell and we'll be buying a house here in Houston, but we still don't know which suburb we'll be in, although we have some ideas.

I took the girls to "Craft Time" again this week one day after Gracie got out of school. We just went straight from school and the girls got to choose books and Katie colored. They also had some computer time before craft time began. They both enjoy craft time, and I think it's such a great~FREE~thing the library offers. I was so impressed when the girls sat down at one of the tables and I heard Gracie say, "My name's Gracie. What's yours?" She used to never do that, and I'd 'encourage' her to be bolder and find out people's names. She is coming out of her shell and "growing up" right before my eyes just a little bit more every day. Scary, yet fulfilling all at the same time!

We took the girls to Chuck E. Cheese one night this week. *ugh* That was seriously barely tolerable. Gracie's school seems to have 'fundraisers' at restaurants all over town and one night was Chuck E. Cheese. They had both been talking about going forever, so we figured why not. The pizza was okay, the breadsticks were icky, the place was soooo crowded. Seriously, sometimes I think I'm just getting waaaay tooooo old b/c all of those kids were getting on my nerves, BUT the girls had a great time and we can now put off going again for a VERY long time!

After we left Chuck E. Cheese, we went to Target and bought the car seat/stroller combo for the new baby! How fun! Our wonderful friends in Aiken had given us a very generous gift card before we left, and we were able to combine that with one Chris's old work friends had given us to almost cover the entire thing. It is so cute, and Katie already loves pushing it around the apartment with her stuffed animals in it. She also loves pushing the baby swing with stuffed animals in it! We've had to restrict her from messing with the stroller for awhile b/c she almost broke it once, and we've had to remind her not to push the 'real' baby in the swing unless we give her permission and not to push it so fast. She'll have her teddy bear going fast as the wind!

Saturday, I didn't leave the apartment the whole day which was actually quite nice. Chris took the girls to bike ride for a bit and he found some of our baby things and put things together-the stroller, swing, & bouncy seat. We worked in the baby's room a little bit trying to get things a little more put together. I look at some of the things and wonder if I'm really capable of 'starting over,' but I know it should all come back to me once she's here! It was nice to just stay in the apartment, and I could tell a difference in my ankles-they weren't near as swollen so it was nice to take it kinda easy but still have Chris here to 'entertain' the girls.

Last Friday was Chris's Friday to work, but since he had today off he still had a 3-day weekend which is nice. Friday night we didn't do a whole lot exciting-he & the kids went swimming then back home. He did "have" to make a "craving run" later in the night to find me some chocolate + ice cream. He was very successful even though Outback did forget to include the raspberry sauce in the dessert he picked up. Still good though-Friday night & again when I had the leftovers Saturday afternoon!

Sunday was church and a great nap! I think all of us napped this time. After church that night we were invited to someone's house where a large group of us ate dinner and celebrated the birthday of one of the ladies. The girls had fun playing with the other kids who were there-running around being pretty crazy-but having fun. They were by far the youngest ones there, but they didn't seem to mind too much. Our new church does promotion June 1st, so Gracie will technically be a "3rd grader" on Sunday. So big, so fast! I think on Sundays she will still be in a 3rd grade only class, but on Wednesdays will be in a class with 3rd-5th grade. Seems so weird to me in some ways, but in other ways is kind of exciting. I was talking to the lady who will be teaching her class on Wed. nights and she seems really organized and 'goal oriented' (and her 2 boys will be in there) so I was glad to hear that she will have high expectations. (I will fully admit to having some "control issues" with this kind of thing. ugh-it's a curse!) I think it will be a large class (and a lot of older boys!) but Gracie will do great. I keep thinking that this group of kids will be her teen youth group in the not so distant future, so it's really kind of neat that she'll get this kind of "intro" time with them.

Chris volunteered to help with a 3rd-5th grade "Leadership Lock-In" that will be in June. I saw it in the bulletin and talked to the children's coordinator about it to get more of an idea of what they did. I wasn't sure I was ready to let her do that (even though I'm sure she'd do just fine!) so Chris kind of read my mind and suggested that he could chaperone. So, if we don't have a baby that day, they'll probably be doing that together. There are some neat activities planned during the summer for the kids, so it's fun to look at them and see which ones will fit with our family.

Today we went to the grocery store (H-E-B...LOVE that store!). Guess who I saw?!?! Beth Moore! I KNOW it was her! I soooo should have spoken to her, but I didn't. So exciting. My little mini celebrity sighting!

We spent part of our day watching "Jon & Kate plus Eight." All of us (including Chris) like that show! Later this afternoon, we had been invited over to the home of some people from church, along with another family, so we went over there. It was a really nice time, and I enjoyed it. We felt very comfortable, and the kids had a good time too. They both attended ACU (although quite a bit behind us) and it was fun to sit around and just talk & laugh.
I told Chris I'm trying to figure out where we fit in. We do have an "older" child-Gracie finishing up 2nd grade, but we also have a 4 year old and one on the way. Soooo, do we fit in with the preschool/baby age children families (in their late 20's-mid 30's age parents) or the school age children families (early 30's-early 40's age parents)? WE ourselves are mid-30's and he is almost past even that point! He assures me we can be friends with both. I guess I shouldn't worry about it; I guess I'm just analying it a little too much. It's nice to know people in both areas of life and I'm feeling blessed to be included in different activities with different people. We even had to turn down a "go out to dinner" invitation last night which I hated to do, but we'd already been invited to a different activity. I am soooo not complaining about anything....just thinking out loud really. I am so thankful for meeting all of these new people!

Tomorrow, Katie & I have a playdate with 2 moms from church and their 4 year old daughters, so I'm really looking forward to that! I know Katie will enjoy it a lot and I will too. Chris is going to take the afternoon off to meet me at the doctor for my appointment. I'm anxious to see if he has anything interesting to say or if he just says, "Things look good. See you in 2 weeks." I'm thinking at this point he may at least put me coming every week, but I'm not sure. I did go pre-register at the hospital Friday so I got that out of the way. I need to choose a pediatrician next. Mom comes on the 4th, so I get to drive to the airport. I'm getting to be a pro at Houston traffic, so I'm not too concerned! :-) I know I'm going to relax a little once she's here!

I want to put a link to this post that I thought was so timely for me to read last week. Such a good writer this girl is!

Here are some random pics from the week:
How fun to be 4 years old!
Houston heat calls for popsicles!
my poor swollen feet-you can see where my sandals were!
I'm no sure why I'm posting this, but here is ONE pregnancy pic of me! Enjoy it while it lasts b/c I may delete it soon!

We have plans to eat dinner this Friday with one of my ACU friends (my maid of honor to be more precise!) and then our friends the Bronniman's come visit Saturday for an overnight stay!!!!!! I can't wait to see them!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

another weekend in H-town

Another weekend has come & gone and tomorrow starts yet another work/school week.

I went to the doctor last week and had an u/s. Surprisingly, the u/s apparently put me about a week further along than I thought I was, so I got a little nervous since my babies tend to come early anyway. Mom was going to come June 11th, but she has graciously agreed to come about a week earlier now. I know ultrasounds can be wrong, but I think I'll just feel better once she's here knowing that she can help with the girls whenever the baby comes. The baby will for sure be here June 24th because that is my scheduled c-section date, but the doctor said I probably won't make it to that point. It's kind of confusing because people keep asking when I'm due, and I'm not really sure what to say!

All I know is this.....a.) my feet are swollen almost every night-last night I couldn't even slip my sandals on all the way although this morning they were better. b.) I have to go to the bathroom A LOT and sometimes it's like she sits down HARD making me have to go even worse. Yes, you read that right....sits down. c.) Yes, she is breech. 'Frank breech' to be more exact meaning not only is she bottom down but also facing my back. Because of her position, the doctor said her legs will probably be sticking up for the first few days! The u/s technician couldn't get a picture of her face at all because of her position. d.) She also said she is around 5 lbs. 2 oz. Considering Gracie was only 5 lbs. 11 oz. when she was born, I think that's pretty big! Again, I know ultrasounds can be wrong, but that's what she said. e.) It is hard to cross my legs! f.) I am out of breath frequently. g.) I have fairly frequent Braxton Hicks. h.) She 'balls up' on one side alot making it hard to get up off the couch and bend over. Oh, the joys of being pregnant, right?!!? But don't get me wrong....I'm excited and happy and all that.....just keepin' it real!

I HAD to buy a dress yesterday. I hated to do it with so little time left, but Chris & I had started joking about how often I was wearing the other dress I'd been wearing to church. It was funny last week when Katie said, "I like your new dress you're wearing." It was like the 4th week in a row that I'd worn it! Good thing was that we'd been visiting churches so the same people (besides my family) hadn't been seeing it 4 weeks in a row! Of course, apparently Katie hadn't noticed it anyway!

Thursday, Katie & I enjoyed Gracie's field day which I blogged about earlier. I felt bad b/c some of the parents apparently went back to the classroom and sat with their children while they ate lunch then went back out to finish watching field day once the thunder stopped. Katie & I had just left once the thunder started. I think Gracie was a little disappointed, but I didn't know I could have gone back to the classroom. Oh well! After school and Gracie did her homework, I took the girls to the library for craft time which they both enjoyed. They also enjoyed picking out new books & playing on the computer. It helps to pass the time until Chris gets home on Thursdays.

Friday, I was blessed to be invited over to a new friend's house to hang out with some other moms & their preschool aged children! This new friend is one of the ones who helped us so much when we were moving here (her aunt went to church with us in Aiken.) She was having some moms from her church over to plan activities for the summer and for a short devo. It was nice to hang out in that setting, and we'll be happy to join in some of the activities if the "baby timing" permits! Katie enjoyed playing around other kids, although she was the only girl there. Do you think she cared?????

Chris was off Friday, and he spent a large portion of the day hanging out at the DMV! That's right, both of our cars (we switched at one point in the day) now have Texas license plates (sniff! sniff!) and Chris has a Texas driver's license. I don't have mine yet but will soon I suppose. I stopped in at some random place and got a pedicure that afternoon! It was sooo nice! The lady wanted to look at my stomach then said, "It girl!" If she had said boy would I have trusted her or the u/s?!?! :-) Friday night was spent here at home eating Little Caesar's pizza (so good yet cheap!) and watching a movie. There was also some bike riding for the girls and ice cream eating done.

Saturday, we spent some time at IKEA which is a fun store to visit. We then drove down to explore another part of Houston that Chris was impressed with. I think it'll be a little too far to drive to the church we've decided to go to, but it was a nice part of the city. (We were close to you, Lara!!!!!! Nice neighborhood!!!!!) We spent some time in Super Target choosing some things for the baby which was fun yet a little stressful to try to remember what all we need. It's been awhile! We needed to buy Katie a dresser, so we used some of her birthday money to do that so that the baby can take over her old one. It's the perfect height to use the top of it as a changing table, so I wanted to use Katie's old one for the baby. We ate lunch/dinner at Pappasitos which has quickly become one of our favorites!

We went to church this morning, ate lunch, then I napped ALL afternoon while poor Chris spent time putting together the new dresser. We then went back to church tonight and ate at Pei Wei afterwards with some new friends. It was good to be in that setting with a few of the families we're getting to know. It's hard to find where we fit in, but I'm confident we will. I think both of us enjoy the atmosphere after church when people stand around visiting outside while the kids play on the playground and under the beautiful trees surrounding the building. I just keep praying that we'll find those good friends, and I think we're beginning to.

Gracie only has 8 more days of 2nd grade!!!!!! This week and then 3 days next week. Chris will have off for Memorial Day as will she. The next weekend, some of our "OLD" friends are coming to visit us, and we are really excited for that! Mom will come the week after that and we'll start getting lots closer to the baby coming!!!!! I can hardly believe she's coming so soon!

Here is a Katie funny: she talks a lot about what she wants to be when she grows up. One thing she has mentioned is a doctor. However, she has tweaked that a little bit and said she'd like to be the person at the doctor's office who calls the people's names! She doesn't want to give shots though because she says she doesn't want to hear any of that crying. Funny girl!

Here are some random pics of the girls from H-town:

Occasionally, they really are sweet to each other!
Gracie is getting really good at riding her bike!
a little cheesy perhaps but cute!
Katie Boo being silly!
stylin' in the car
Katie can't be left out of the fashion show!
playing at IKEA-what a neat store
all that shopping & exploring wore her out!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Texas Field Day 2008

Today was Gracie's field day at school-her first Texas field day! She seemed to really have a great time, and it was fun to watch her perform her events and interact with her classmates. Unfortunately, it started sprinkling which would have been okay, but then it started thundering so they had to call it quits about an hour early. I guess they got 4 events finished before having to quit: the obstacle course, the 'scrambled eggs' event, the running relay race, & the water balloon relay-that was a mess!

Gracie worked really hard at her events and seemed to have fun!

Gracie & Ms. Miller-her 'main' teacher
Gracie & Ms. Rampersad-her Language Arts teacher
Katie waiting for something exciting to happen.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

I just posted Saturday night but wanted to update on my Mother's Day. The girls came in to wish me "Happy Mother's Day" while Chris worked on cooking us omelettes for breakfast. I got to read my cards from Chris & the girls as well as a cute poem that Gracie had done at school. I also got to open up a pretty necklace from 'James Avery' that Chris had chosen.

We went to church this morning where we placed membership. We've visited a few different churches since being here and felt that this one was the best fit. Since we decided to move to Houston, we had anticipated where we would decide to attend church and enlarge our Christian family. Well, I guess these Christians have already been a part of our Christian family, we just haven't known them yet. Our church in Aiken will always have a special place in our hearts and will always be a part of our Christian family; it's just that now we're beginning to get to know more members of this extended family. I am a 'creature of habit,' so it will take time to adjust to a new congregation and figure out exactly where we fit in, but we feel good about making this decision and look forward to getting involved.

One thing I really like about this church is the activities available for the children. From what I've seen so far, I like the classes offered for Gracie and Katie. For the elementary children, they have a really neat Sunday morning Bible Class program that hits on all sorts of different learning styles while also emphasizing memory verses & daily Bible reading. I'm still trying to get used to everything, but it looks good from what I've seen. I also picked up some pamphlets this morning that told about an 'art camp' for K-5th grade they'll be having this summer that will focus on art activities based on Bible stories. This sounds like something WONDERFUL for Gracie to do! However, I was thinking it would be kind of hard to drop off Gracie for that and not Katie because I knew Katie would be upset. Then I read the next pamphlet I'd picked up that told about a mini day camp called 'Creation Station' for ages 2-5 that will be held the same week! Both are reasonably priced and something I really hope the girls will be able to participate in. The only problem is the timing. When they are holding these camps, our new little baby won't be very old and with having a c-section, I'm not sure I'll be cleared to be driving yet at that time. So, it really remains to be seen whether or not they'll be able to attend, but I'm hoping to work something out because I know they would both LOVE them! I don't know if it's going to work out for them to attend VBS at our new church because it will probably be very soon after the new baby-and it's at night which is when it takes the longest to get there-so this other thing would be really great for them to attend. The children's coordinator asked me for my email address tonight because she said she usually sends out a Monday morning email with updates about any children's activities-it's neat to feel a part of this new family! I met the lady who is in charge of the nursery also, and she was eager to find out we're expecting and explained about the classes for the baby. We were also happy to see that starting in June they will have a parenting class on Sunday mornings-maybe we can learn a few new tricks!

We had a little excitement this morning after church when we LOST Gracie! I was trying so hard not to panic, but I'll admit that I was a little bit. Right before church was over I noticed she was kind of "bouncing" which usually means she has to go to the bathroom. Sure enough, as soon as it was over, she said she had to go. I told her to go straight out that door to the bathroom and come straight back and we'd wait right there. Well, after about a minute I decided I'd go too and figured I'd meet her in the bathroom or on her way back. I told Chris that I'd told her we'd wait there for her. When I got into the bathroom, I noticed she wasn't in there and I hadn't passed her. I thought it was strange but figured I'd just missed her or she'd maybe gone to a different one. I came out and Chris was standing in the hall but didn't have her. That's when I really started getting nervous. Do you notice that I said Chris was standing in the hall---which was NOT where I'd told him that I'd told her we would wait?!

So we went back into the auditorium but she wasn't there. I started walking faster, looking all around for her. I knew she wouldn't wander far, but this is a large church building and there were probably 700+ people there and I'm imagining all the people who could walk in off the street and grab her. (paranoid I know!) I checked the other bathroom and didn't see her. I was really getting panicked now. Chris went back into the auditorium again. Finally, I hear her call me and turn around to see her coming in from outside. Lots of people-including us usually-congregate outside in the courtyard. The preacher's wife (who had been in her class that morning) was with her and had been helping her find us. I guess she had gone back to where I'd told her we'd wait for her (remember Chris didn't stay there!) and we weren't there and she got a little scared. *sheesh* The preacher's wife (I forgot her name) was really nice and said she understood how I felt. I'll admit to giving Chris a hard time about this one! :-)

After that, we left and had lunch at Macaroni Grill. It was a PERFECT meal! Seriously, it was so good and I look forward to eating the leftovers tomorrow. Once we got home, I slept the majority of the afternoon and then we went back to church tonight. I am finishing off my night watching "Deliver Me" on Discovery Health. It makes me cry-I'm sure it has a lot to do with my hormones! I need to NOT watch the c-sections though; some things just need to be left to my imagination!

Tomorrow starts another work/school week. Gracie has Field Day this week, and I look forward to seeing her do this with her class. I go back to the doctor for an u/s & visit later this week too.

Here is a picture of my 2 sweet girls!