Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Happy 12th Birthday, Gracie!

Our sweet Gracie turned 12 on July 28, the day after we got home from San Diego!  We love our sweet Gracie.  Although not perfect (who is?) she is pretty much a dream child.  I LOVE when people take the time to truly get to know her because then they usually LOVE her.  People who don't take the time sometimes miss out on what a jewel she is.  She's quiet and not quick to answer questions sometimes, so sometimes people tend to get frustrated & move on to someone else.  People who take the time to invest in her love her, and it always warms my heart when someone shows how much they like her.  The best thing about this particular last year with her is witnessing her be baptized & commit her life to Christ.  THAT was amazing and surely the most important thing she's ever done.  What a joy!

Dear Gracie,

Thank you for being who you are, someone who is looked upon as a sweet girl.  Someone dependable.  Someone who will follow the rules and not cause trouble.  Thank you for working so hard at school and keeping straight A's through your 6th grade year.  We hope it continues, BUT we want you to know that our love for you doesn't depend on that...or on how many rules you follow.  We love you because you're you and God chose you to be our daughter.  Don't get me wrong...we love the A's and look forward to some scholarships one day!  :) 

I would say that your best friends right now are Krista, Emily, Sydney, & Reyna, with others being well loved & well liked as well.  When I ask you, hypothetically, who your bridesmaids would be if you had to choose RIGHT NOW, just for fun, I love that you usually include Leigh Ann-your original best friend from Aiken that we moved away from when you were 7.  Very sweet.  I like that you were invited to 2 birthday parties of girls from school this summer who aren't in your usual small "bff" circle because it means you're expanding to meet other people.  You tend to be quiet, so sometimes I wonder if you're leaving yourself open to creating new friendships, and apparently you are! 

I would say your favorite class in school is orchestra.  We look forward to seeing you play in the Symphony this year, the highest level of your school's orchestras.  I remember the joy when you texted me to tell me you had made it!  I knew you were so excited, and we were SO proud of you!  You are looking forward to being in Art this year as well.  You'll continue in PreAP math (1/2 of 7th & all of 8th grade math), which should prove to be quite the challenge as last year's math caused you some stress, but you kept your A, proving you're not afraid of hard work & a challenge.  You'll have GT Language Arts & GT Science, along with PreAP Social Studies.  A heavy load, but you're so self motivated & self disciplined, what a blessing.  You've also decided to run track in the Spring which we're anxious to witness, and you've tried out for the Science Olympiad team.  We'll find out if you make that after school starts.  Today, you mentioned trying out for volleyball. much as I LOVE that you want to try so many things, we explained that you can't do it ALL, so I think volleyball won't be something you pursue this year.  Let's stick with church, school, and your other extras...violin, perhaps Science Olympiad, & track.  We'll see about volleyball another time.

You are such a beautiful example of a good big sister to Ellie.  She adores you and cherishes the time you spend together.  You're like a 2nd mom to her.  Katie adores you too, BUT the 2 of you do tend to butt heads more often. :)  We've started letting you stay home alone with them a little bit which you LOVE.  This one is hard for me, but slowly it is getting easier.

Your daddy adores you...and does his best to embarrass you which...well, embarrasses you!  lol  I hope you realize how blessed you are with him as your daddy.  You really couldn't get any better...even with all of the embarrassment he causes.  :)  I'm so proud to be your mommy.  I love that you like to watch The Waltons & Little House on the Prairie with me.  We also enjoy Secret Millionaire and Next Food Network Star.  I just introduced you to Mr. Holland's Opus as well.

You got contacts this week, and you have amazed me with how well you put them in & take them out!  You're doing much better than I did when I started!  

Most of all, we are so proud of your decision in this last year to become a Christian.  When you were baptized, it was the happiest moment of mine & your daddy's lives.  I'll never forget you coming to me and saying that you thought you wanted to be baptized.  After studying some more with Mr. Mike & then your daddy & me, we knew you were ready.  It was amazing.

We love you, Gracie Madelyn Shanks!

Mommy & Daddy

Not to embarrass Gracie, but this blog is my family's journal, so here are her 12 year stats:
72 lbs (9th percentile) & 4'10 1/4" (31st percentile)

Below are pictures from her day.  Grammer was still here, so she did the cooking that day!  Yummy! 

 Her activity choice of the day was to go to our neighborhood's water park.  Fine by us!  :)

Daddy isn't known for his diving style!

Katie has improved in her swimming so much, and jumped into the 9 ft area and swam to the side by herself.  Yippee!!!!

 Houston summer days definitely call for SONIC!

Gracie is all about teal & black with zebra right now.  We re-did her room in this style also, but that will have to be another post. 


She requested Grammer's roast...yummy!

Katie was proud to sing her a song with her Paper Jamz guitar!

 Katie wrote her a story. 

Ellie liked the cake!

VBS: Daniel AND San Diego!

We all enjoyed VBS back in July.  The theme was Daniel, and many people worked really hard to put together the nightly play as well as putting together the curriculum for teaching, etc.  It was a tiring, but fun, week!

More VBS pictures later in the post.  They got out of order, and it'd take way too long to reorganize them.....sorry.

A couple of days after VBS, Grammer (my mom) came to visit because Chris & I were going to San Diego!  He had a work conference, so I tagged along.  It was wonderful!  

I like to take pictures of food...shrimp tacos.  First meal in San Diego.
This sign made me laugh!  Yes, my hubby is a Geogeek...and not ashamed to admit it!  :)
We love San Diego!  This was our 4th (?) time to go because of this same conference.  The weather is just so beautiful!  I do think that perhaps I've lived in Houston a bit too long though because I was COLD a lot while there!  :)

The tall building was our hotel. 
Our location was great!  This is the view from our hotel room, looking at the conference center where the convention was held.
San Diego is BeAuTiFuL!!!!!

We went in this submarine the last time we came. NEVER again.  *shudder*

What a gloriously blue sky!

Getting ready to ride the ferry over to Coronado Island. 
view of San Diego from the ferry
Hotel Del Coronado....amazing.

Love this goofy man!
My view from breakfast one morning!

We stayed right by this area which has lots of great restaurants.
View of San Diego from Coronado Island.  We rode the ferry over one afternoon and caught a cab to the hotel & beach.  I went again by myself one morning and walked to the hotel.  You know the weather was great because it was about a mile!
Such a picturesque view while walking!

Pacific Ocean is COLD.

 Chris & I ate dinner here our last night.

Our view from dinner our last night.

Oh no!  I'm reading by the pool, and he's telling me we have to go to the airport!  :( are some more VBS pictures...

 Ellie loved getting a picture with the queen!

 Katie loved having a friend come to VBS with her