Monday, December 8, 2008

Making Christmas Memories!

Friday we went to Santa's Workshop at Bass Pro Shop but, um, Santa wasn't there. However, we got to write him a letter and color some pictures for him. We were able to play in the workshop and still have some fun. We will have to try to catch Santa another time. Friday evening Gracie and I made some applesauce ornaments. She had fun doing this! She's going to give them as gifts to some family members. Zade and I have a date to do this soon while Gracie is at school. I love doing things like this with the kids! It's going to get even more fun as they get older!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Decorating the Christmas Tree



Boy, was that fun! Zade kept trying to take out the red ball ornaments and throwing them like balls. He eventually got a spanking - he's kind of stubborn! Gracie was able for the first time actually hang the ornaments. They had fun!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Day

We had a great Thanksgiving this year. We first had lunch with Matt's family at Grandma Darters. After lunch we walked down to the school and the guys played football (some too old to play - no names - Danny!) and the kids played on the playground. While there Zade found interesting ways to slide down the slide. He refused to sit down and tried to walk down which put him on his head going down and he decided that was a blast and kept on!

Just as the Cowboys started playing we got in the car and headed south to my Nanny and Grandad's house. Zade immediately fell asleep and Gracie refused since she had a drink to keep her occupied. Just as we entered Godley city limits Zade woke up and Gracie dozed off. My mom, Nanny, and Uncle Doug had the food all ready to go so we pigged out! My Nanny makes THE BEST stuffing ever - it was so good. The guys ate in the back watching the Cowboys. After dinner Crystal and I played Uno w/Tristan and Kennedy then Nanny and Mom brought us all the ads so we could make our Black Friday Strategy. After those plans were settled we piled in the living room to watch the Longhorns beat the Aggies (Woo-hoo! Hook 'em!) while Zade came in periodically to show off and entertain us. He's such a ham these days! By the time the game was over we were all so very exhausted. Matt and the kids and I headed to my parents to spend the night. Mom and I got up at 4a and were out the door to pick up Nanny and Crystal for our traditional shopping adventure. We got lots of stuff and stayed gone until 1p. It was fun and exhausting as usual. By the time my family made it back home - we were all pooped. I love my family traditions!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Birthday!

I can't believe my baby girl is 4 years old! It's completely throwing me off. She's a big girl now! How weird is that?

Today's plans consist of doing whatever Gracie wants to do. She's played cook, dress-up, blocks, babies and is now watching the Dora marathon that apparently Nick Jr. planned just for her! We had her fav for breakfast, pancakes and for lunch we're going to McDonalds for a Happy Meal and to of course, play a while. Happy birthday, Gracie!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Top 10 Ways the Lord has blessed me in 2008....

10. A nice house, that although it seems as if it's falling apart around me and is in constant need of cleaning...it's nice, it belongs to us, and it is sufficent for my family. It has seen Matt and I get married, go through Matt's career changes and struggles, bring home 2 brand new babies and watched them grow. It's our home and will always be. Thank you, Lord.

9. For the opportunity to be somewhat of a stay at home Mom. I love spending time with my kids. I begged the Lord for this job as soon as I got married and 4 yrs. ago He saw fit to give it to me. It's a lot harder than I ever thought it would be. I never knew the constant work that it involved but I'm so privileged to do it.

8. A part-time job that I sooooo love. I love teaching preschool. I've always wanted to be a teacher and this job helps me scratch that itch. It's taught me so many lessons and afforded me the ability to make some lifelong friends.

7. The fact that my kids get to go to preschool with me - for free! That's a huge blessing. They learn so much from at the preschool. They've had so many wonderful and caring teachers and made tons of friends.

6. Gracie's school! I have no idea where she would be without it. I'm so thankful there is a program like PPCD in this great state of Texas that allows young children go to school and get the help they need to develop properly and prepare for Kindergarten.

5. Gracie's awesome, sweet, and loving teacher! I'm thankful for her loving attitude she has and that she realizes that children learn best when they feel loved and comforted. She is a great teacher to Gracie and a huge part of my support system. I couldn't have picked a better person for this role in our lives. Thanks, Ruth!

4. Zade's "too-big for his britches" personality. With his independent attitude - it allows Gracie and I to have some one on one time to work on things she's trying to learn. His low maintenance makes up for Gracie's not quite as low maintenance.

3. Gracie's major sucesses this year. My previous posts have explained all of her progress but it bears repeating. She is growing up so fast before my eyes that it pains me to think about it. I'm so proud of all the hard work she's put in to get where she's at now. One day all of these learning struggles will be a distant memory but the work ethic she's developing will last a lifetime.

2. My friends! I have the greatest friends ever! They keep me sane and grounded. I don't know what I would do without them. I love you girls!

1. My wonderful, awesome, sweet, and handsome hunk of burnin' love, Matt! He is such an awesome support to me. He keeps me on track when I need it and throws me off track when I need to loosen up! He's a great Daddy to our babies and loves his kids so much. He's a hard worker and dedicated to his job. I love him more and more each day.



Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gracie's Birthday Fun!


This weekend we celebrated Gracie's birthday even though her birthday isn't until Wednesday. Her cousin Kennedy's birthday is two days after hers so we took them both to Build-A-Bear on Saturday. We had so much fun. Gracie was very insistent on her choices and what and how she wanted things done. She named her bear "Gacie" which is how she pronounces her own name.

On Sunday we had our annual Thanksgiving stew lunch at Matt's parent's house and had birthday cake for Gracie. Her and her cousin Levi hadn't seen each other in quite a while and were unusually sweet to one another.

Happy Birthday, Gracie! I love you!

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Wild Adventures of Matt and Gracie

This story has to be published! Ok, so every other Wednesday Matt works only an 8hr. shift rather than his normal 12hr. So on that Thursday since he doesn't have to sleep as late he picks Gracie up from the elementary school and instead of her going to preschool they have a Daddy Day. This past Thursday they went to eat lunch w/his parents (Ma-maw and Pa-paw) then came home got Big (our Rottweiller) and headed to the park. Matt was smart and made sure Gracie went potty before they left. However, while playing hard, Gracie runs up to Matt and says, "I gotta go poo-poo!" He said it looked really urgent cause she had this panic look in her eyes and was holding her rear. The park they were at didn't have a restroom so he took her to a nearby bush pulled down her pants and held on to her legs while she squat and did her business! He didn't have anything to wipe her with so he took his sock off and wiped her with it, then used the sock to pick up her poop and throw it and the sock in the trash! Gracie happily went back on with their business, Matt and Big sat in shock - grossed out by what had just happened. He called me at work to tell me all about it. I couldn't stop laughing!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Gracie Update

Today we had Gracie's annual ARD (Admissions, Review and Dismissal) meeting at her school. She mastered all but one item on her original IEP (individual education plan) and got a brand spankin' new one. Her progress has been remarkable within her first year in PPCD. Her teacher is so proud of her as well as (of course) Matt and I are.
We're getting excited about the upcoming holidays and Gracie's 4th bday! I can't believe I'm about to be the mom of a 4 yr. old! I teach 4 yr. olds! It just blows my mind. But, I'm a proud mama!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Halloween 2008!











Halloween was so much fun this year. In fact, it lasted a couple of days for us. The kids were able to dress up in their costumes at preschool for the Fall Festival on Thursday. Gracie was a Swashbuclking Sassy Pirate and Zade was a rockstar. Then on Friday Gracie dresses up for her school. After school both kids were sure to get a nap to rest up for the fun to come. After naps we re-dressed and headed to Ma-maw and Pa-paw's and then we went with Matt to his off-duty job. After that we headed to a friends house for a fun Halloween Party. The kids had such blast running all over the place playing with their friends. Needless to say, by the time we got home they were both tuckered plum out. Here's some pics!




Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Turning Point.....

Well, we are still in the process of getting an appointment with the Child Study Center to have Gracie evaluated for ADD. I'm not 100% sure this is something she has but I want to make sure I stay on top of things so that she gets all the appropriate help she needs. However, with her 4th birthday only a month away we have been seeing some very positive and encouraging changes in her and I thought I'd share them.
I've decided to start having her say her own bedtime prayers at night and here's how it went the first night. "God.....God.......God......God.......God......God........God......." I'm grinning from ear to ear at this point." God......God.....God....A-nen!" So sweet! A few nights later we were into a routine...I thought. I knelt by her bed while she sat up in it and said "God" multiple times. But instead, she got out of her bed and knelt by the bed next to me and folded her hands - so I asked her to say "Thank you for mommy and daddy" and she did. Then we started going down the list of loved ones - she even remembered one of her friends then proudly said "A-nen!" That was one of those moments I was sure to soak up because I don't ever want to forget it.
Another new thing that Gracie has been doing is getting herself out of the bath tub. One night she was in there alone while I scurried around the house getting some stuff done and I walked by the bathroom and saw Gracie, dripping wet, trying to reach a towel. My first reaction was to get mad at her for soaking up the bathroom floor until I looked at the tub and saw she had taken the time to put her toys all up and drain the water. That's when I realized she was just trying to take care of herself. Again, I was a proud Mama! She's been doing this every night since.
Speaking of attention.....at our preschool we had the Fire Department come to visit and the whole school assembled in the courtyard for them to give a presentation before each class got a turn to go see the Fire Truck. I looked around the room for Gracie because I was sure she was playing or talking but I couldn't find her. I asked my friend Courtney if she saw her and she pointed her out to me....she was listening. I know that doesn't seem like a big deal to most but for Gracie - that is huge. She was so interested and aware of what was going on. I almost cried.
Saturday Matt played in an ALL DAY LONG softball tournament. My friend's husband was playing also and so she came to hang out and watch the games with her little girl Ava who is about a year or so younger than Gracie. Those girls played together all day. Up until now Gracie hasn't really played with other children real well. She would play amongst others but not cooperatively with them. But she was sharing and they were running in the grass together and "talking" to each other. It was such a blessing for me to see. I had, just a day or two before, said I was looking forward to when Gracie would be able to better interact with kids her age. I think having Zade around and going to preschool where there are a gillion kids her age is helping in the social aspect of things. When it was time to leave the girls hugged, kissed and told each other that they loved each other. I almost teared up...again! On the way to the car Gracie said "I want A.D" (translation: Ava). I'm so glad she's starting to see what it feels like to have friends.
All in all, we're starting to see some real encouraging changes in Gracie and we couldn't be happier about it. I'm so thankful for all that we've gone through with Gracie. We've learned a very valuable lesson through it all and that's to "Be still and know" that He is God. He doesn't expect me to fix these problems...that's why he's God!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pics of the kiddos!

Gracie lookin' cute in her dad's hat!



Zade wearing his hat - gettin' ready to go to Daddy's baseball tournament!


Gracie and her friend Ava - (a.k.a - "A.D") playing in the grass at the ball field.


Gracie looooooves her daddy!




Batman!





Oh! That face!






Lovely bed time hair!







Climbing all over Daddy is fun!









My little reader!









Havin' a little snack and watching cartoons after school!










Stackin' cans while playing grocery store!










They're starting to play together! It's so cute to me!













There's only a few fights - which I'm sure is inevitable!













Sunday, October 19, 2008

Zade is rotten and here's the proof!

He seems so proud of himself!
Ooops! Busted!
Gracie just got out of the bath and Zade decided to get in. And yes, there's still a little water in the tub!

Everyone is always telling me how good Zade is and never believes me when I tell them what a stinker he really is. So here's proof!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Gracie's doctor appointment.....

Gracie's doctor appointment with the psychiatrist was today. She was there to be evaluated for ADD. I'm not real happy about it and still milling it all over in my head so I won't go into much detail. My main frustration is he didn't evaluate her at all. He asked Matt and I a few questions, tried to ask Gracie a few and then after only about 10 minutes said she's a normal 3yr. old. If this is actually the case - then great! But - he has no clue what Gracie is like since he did nothing with her to see how she functions. So - that being said - there is another place that I've heard lots of good things about that specialize in children's needs that I will probably try.
Ok, it's been long day and the kids are EXTREMELY grouchy and so am I so - I'm out for now. I'll have pics later this weekend of our church family retreat.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Today could have been a really crumby day. To start off, my co-teacher wasn't able to come to school today since her little boy was sick. I hate being by myself - for one, Courtney and I like to have fun and be goofy - so if she's not there - there goes all my fun. We keep each other sane despite a classroom of 19 4yr.olds (no offense, kids!) But the day turned out pretty good. The kids behaved really well. Those who nomally have a hard time leaving their folks had great days and my sub was very helpful. But then just as it's time to go home it starts pouring down buckets outside! "Oh, great!", I'm thinking. I have to carry Zade (cause we ain't waitin' around on him to walk when it's raining cats and dogs!), my purse, my lunch, my school bag, and Zade's backpack and hang on to Gracie to make sure she stays focused on our end destination. By the time we got to the truck we were all completely drenched and I still had to get both kids piled into the truck and buckled in while still getting rained on. But - I thought - oh well, so I look and smell like a wet dog - who cares! Once we got home and into dry clothes, we had a really nice dinner w/Matt. He helped me clean up the kitchen as he usually does and then he made sure I did my workout. The kids played nicely in their room and neither of them hurt the other while I was busy doing it. After Matt left for work I gave the kids baths and then they just both crashed and fell right to sleep. All on their own - an hour early! So - I took a bubble bath and read my book. Now, I just got done reading my Bible and came across the verse above. I love it when the Lord speaks right to me and my needs at the time. I spend so much time worrying and wondering why and how this are going to work out - and here God is telling me He has a plan! It's funny, too, because when the kids at school ask me where are we going or what are we going to do now I tell them to sit back and ride. Gee, do you think God is making me eat my words? He takes care of so well, even in the little things. I'm so thankful for my relationship with Him. I'm learning to slow down and make time for myself, not for my sake only but for Matt's sake and Gracie and Zade's sake. They deserve a wife and mother who takes care of herself and is mentally and physically intact. It's a lesson that has been hard to learn but - well worth it. Well, off to read and relax some more! Night, night!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

What a busy weekend!

Zade crashing with Uncle Ashley!
Gracie devouring a cupcake at Ramsey's birthday party!



This is a busy month for us - especially this past weekend. On Friday, Matt and I celebrated our 10th anniversary a week early. The kids went to spend the night with my sister and brother- in- law and Matt and I stayed at the Worthington in downtown Fort Worth. It was nice to get away and just relax. Saturday morning we got up, ate breakfast, and headed back out to my sisters where we watched the Texas/OU game with the rest of my family. After leaving there we headed back to our side of town to our friends' house for a BBQ for their son's 1st b-day! We had a great time kicking back and visiting while all the kids played. By the time we got home the kids were completely exhausted! Sunday we had church in the morning then a much needed nap for everyone - me included! Then Gracie and I headed to another bday party at Chuck E Cheese, then back to church! Thank goodness Gracie doesn't have school today so we can chill out! This coming weekend will be busy all over again. It never stops and I actually like it that way.


Gracie has her appointment with a child psychologist on Thursday. They will be evaluating her for ADD. Her PPCD teacher is also having her evaluated by the Occupational Therapist (OT) to see if she needs occupational therapy. It seems sometimes as if Gracie is not aware of her body and might need help reinforcing her joints. I'm so thankful that Gracie is getting the help that she needs - early! God has richly blessed us with all of these resources! Last night after taking her bath Gracie put her underwear on all by herself! This may sound like a small accomplishment to you but if you could've seen the huge smile on her face you would know how proud she was of herself! I love to see her proud of her accomplishments. I'm always proud of her but I want her to be proud of herself.

I also want to thank everyone for their comments and emails of concern and interest in my blogs about Gracie. I hope you all know I in no way am looking for sympathy or attention. I am proud of who Gracie is and wouldn't change our life for anything. My point in telling people is so that she knows I'm not ashamed of who she is - neither the good nor the bad. So many times in life we tend to sweep things under the rug to help our image that we're trying to create. But my motto in life these days is, "It is what it is"..so why try to pretend its something else.

Anyways, here's some pics of our busy weekend. Y'all have a great week! Happy Columbus Day!













Gracie's fieldtrip .....

Gracie- totally bored out of her mind!
At the duck pond!
Digging for worms!
"Fancy Chickens!"

"Wee" -ing!

On Wednesday Gracie went on a field trip with her school. Man, what a day that was. The whole trip was a disaster just waiting to happen. To start the trip off there was a mix - up with the buses. After that was finally resolved we stopped off at Johnson Park to play and have lunch! Then we were off to an "apple orchard". Once there - it was determined that there was a mix up in a money issue (long story). The kids seeemed to have had a good time. The presentations were a little long and somewhat over their heads - but all in all - I think they liked it!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Gracie is sick


It's so sad to see your kids sick. Gracie woke up Sunday morning with a cough that sounds like a dog barking. So I took her in to the doc this morning and it turn out she has strep throat. She's so exhausted from not being able to rest well. Zade so far is okay - just a runny nose. I'm having real bad allergies. We're all just so tuckered out!

Friday, October 3, 2008

"Haaaapy Bir, bir!" to Matt!





Yesterday was Matt's 31st birthday! He's such an old man, now! Unlike myself! :) He got off early the evening before so he was able to wake up early and pick Gracie up from school as he does every other Thursday and they have "Daddy Day". So he was glad to spend his b-day with his baby girl. They had lunch at chick -fil - a and went shopping at Sports Authority. When Zade and I made it home from preschool I went to TACO CASA (his fav) to get him some dinner. Then he had to go to his off-duty job. So, while he was gone the kids and I went to the store to get him a birthday cake. Now usually I make him a homemade cake but when I mentioned it a few weeks ago he said he didn't want one. But while eating dinner he asked where his cake was and had no recollection of ever saying he didn't want one. So, the kids and I got him a store-bought cake and candles and had it ready for him when he got home. Even though it was store-bought - it was yummy. And - the kids LOVED it. On Saturday I will be taking Matt out on a date for his birthday. But all in all I think he had a good day.....I hope.





Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My Gracie is sufficent for me!

A lot of you know vaguely about the struggles that Gracie has encountered as a toddler. But most don't know the specific details and some think they do but really don't. I want to clear the air and use this blog as an update on Gracie's progress so that others can share in our experience and use it as a learning experience along with us. So, here's the real scoop on Gracie.



Long before Gracie turned 2 we started to begin to notice her delay in development. Mainly in her speech and but also in other areas. I spent a lot of time worrying about it and thinking I was totally screwing this kid up somehow. One day I was driving home from my doctor appointment while pregnant with Zade and saw a sign for a Speech Therapist. I emailed them inquiring about their fees and whether or not they are covered by insurance. As it turns out, the lady who replied told me how the public school system offers "free" (school taxes) speech therapy for those who needed it.

So, after Zade was born and that whole NICU part of our lives was over, I got on the phone and got Gracie scheduled for an evaluation with Keller ISD. Once they evaluated her they informed me she is eligible and would greatly benefit from what is called PPCD - which stands for Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities. They did not specifically diagnose her with any one specific disability. She was enrolled at the elementary school half a mile from our house and began on her 3rd birthday. Gracie has a WONDERFUL teacher there and is so loved. Twice a week she goes to speech therapy with an awesome speech therapist. Before she began Matt and I met with the diagnosticians, vice principal, speech therapist and her teacher to set up what is called an IEP (individual education plan). This is a plan that is custom-made to Gracie's needs. She attends Monday thru Friday for 3hrs. a day. On Tuesdays and Thursdays she rides the bus from her school to our preschool.

She has been attending PPCD for almost a year now and the progress she has made is remarkable. Matt and I are so proud of her and so is her teacher. She went from not even ever attempting to speak to now spontaneously speaking. Her articulation is still a work in progress but we will take whatever we can get!

It has since been determined that Gracie does have what most people identify with as a learning disability however, those with any intelligence at all will understand that it is not a disability at all. Gracie is behind developmentally - but she is in no way dumb. She learns differently than most people. We refer to her condition as a learning difference (LD).

At this time, we do not know in what ways her life will be effected by LD -but it has so far impacted her life in various ways and ours as well. Well-meaning people treat her differently than others her age. Even other children treat her differently. This I know is something that we will have to work through and teach her to deal with as she gets older. But for now, as her mom, it hurts.

I know there have been rumors of her having other issues - like autism. So to clear the air - we do not feel that Gracis is autistic. We are, however, having her evaluated in a few weeks for ADD (attention deficit disorder) so be in prayer about that. There are some signs we are seeing that have caused us to suspect ADD -mainly, her lack of focus. Gracie is a very busy girl and easily distracted. This made potty-training difficult and other milestone - type lessons.

Throw all of this on top of toddlerism and a new baby and parenting has been the lesson of a lifetime! I have spent a lot of hours crying, praying, and strategizing...trying to find ways to teach Gracie all the things that a mom is supposed to teach their child. It's hard to find the fine line between helping your child and enabling your child.

I've said all of this to say - we are doing our very best. I know that when you're on the outside looking in it's easy to say how you would handle things. I know before we had kids Matt and I used to watch other parents and criticize. But now, we realize we probably didn't know all the facts. I know God has a plan for our family, for Matt and I as parents, and for Gracie's future. He's taught us priceless lessons through Gracie. I know Gracie is going to be a better person for all the struggles she will go through. I myself have learned to be patient with other children. Being a preschool teacher, I try to understand the parents' side of things more.

I'm thankful for the road that God is leading us down. I know there are mothers out there that have children with more severe disabilities than Gracie's and they are my heroes. It takes strong women to raise those children and I realize that now. God gives grace to us all....huh - I guess that's why we call her Gracie!







HCP Olympic Play Day!







Our preschool had an Olympic Play Day last Thursday. Each class got a turn to go to the courtyard and play different Olympic-type games. They had a good time. When it was over each kid recieved a gold medal. Gracie and Zade are still wearing theirs around the house!

So.....Gracie got a little bored one day......




Gracie Mae loooooves to do art projects. One day last week she decided Zade needed some decorating so - she stamped him.

Monday, September 29, 2008

To blog or not to blog.....

Well, I've decided to start my own blog. I'm hoping to figure out how to digitally scrapbook so that it will be cute. But for now, this is what you get. I'm not promising anything earth shattering here but, maybe someone will find it interesting! For now, I must go to bed and get my beauty rest before a busy day at preschool tomorrow.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Tuesday, January 1, 2008