Saturday, December 7, 2013

Whipple Christmas Update 2013

Oh, hey there! Welcome to our neglected little blog. Corky and I were both shocked when we realized the last time we added to it was last Christmas. I have been a realist when it comes to blogging by not pressuring myself to keeping up with it. My priorities have shifted for the time being, but if I had to blame something for killing my blogging enthusiasm, I blame Instagram!

So, onto our family update that will probably sound like I take life way too seriously...

2013 has been another great year for our family. Nothing monumental to really talk about but our lives continue being crazy busy and we don’t see it slowing down….like, ever!

Gracey (9 years old) has had a great year participating in soccer, swim team, softball, and her most recent discovery, basketball. This year she chose to try out gymnastics rather than continuing dance classes and that has been a really great fit for her. She is very strong and athletic and we enjoy watching her develop her athletic abilities. She also participated in the summer theater program here in Independence. She really enjoys that outlet as well. It’s a good thing most of her sport and theater seasons are scattered throughout the year because I am not sure she would be able to decide which one she likes most just yet. She loves being busy! 

Emily (7 years old) also participated in the usual sport seasons doing soccer, swim team and softball. She likes working hard and being part of those teams, but it is in her dance classes and performances that she really shines! She loves anything to do with music and movement and we see her bustin’ a move anywhere she can. This Christmas she is doing a ballet performance to the Nutcracker’s Sugar Plum Fairies song and she is very excited!  On top of being a natural performer, Emily is proving to be quite the comedian. Her one-liners and impeccable timing have us all laughing often.

Janie (almost 2) is the boss of the family! Her older sisters continue to dote on her as they always have and she takes full advantage. She looks for them every morning and is thrilled if she is able to see them before they head off to school. Some of Janie’s favorite things are boops (books), o-dirt (yogurt), and Emmo (Elmo)! She is getting so big and certainly testing her boundaries as far as behavior. Most of the time we must turn our heads to laugh when she throws one of her many tantrums, but they are just too darn funny.

Corky and I have had a couple of opportunities this year to take some great trips. This summer we took our yearly trip out west and saw a lot of family in Arizona and Utah. Our girls loved seeing so many cousins and we love catching up with our families. In September Corky and I took a weekend trip to Boston. We got to see some good friends, eat great food, and attend a Red Sox vs. Yankees game! In October, we took all three of our girls back to New York to attend Corky’s 10 year class reunion at West Point. We had a great time! We saw all the landmarks in New York City, visited where I used to live in Connecticut, and became nostalgic as we roamed around the West Point campus. We had been planning this trip for almost 5 years and I must say, everything went as smooth as we could have asked for. 

Thanks for stopping by and reading of our highlights of 2013. This year was certainly filled with craziness, laughter, heartbreak, and excitement! Of all the things we have been blessed with this year, the most important continues to be the love of our Heavenly Father. We know that we have been lifted up during the hard times and strengthened. Many times, the blessings that have been given to us have come from our dear friends and family. Thank you for being part of our joy and happiness. We wish all of our family much love at this Christmas time. 

The Whipples

Corky, Morgan, Gracey, Emily, and Janie.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Christmas 2012

I am pretty sure I have said this every year for the past couple of years, but I think this may have been our best Christmas yet. We did not over-do it, the girls had a particularly longer break from school, Corky had an unusually easy schedule and break from work, and we just enjoyed being together, the 5 of us.

Santa Claus brought the older girls each a pair of roller blades while Janie received a scooter/walker/music maker (what it's really called is still up for debate).  Oh yeah, and Buster got a bone.

I think that I am finally learning that sometimes the best, most memory-filled times, are when things are not overly planned out. I had to laugh Christmas morning when I looked at my living room, at our "simple" Christmas, and it was full of torn wrapping paper and shiny new gifts. We each were beyond spoiled by each other and our families. It was one of the many moments I recognized how blessed we are, and not just because of the presets.

Ralph, our Christmas elf, was able to stay and watch us open our gifts. He also wrote a letter to us that said the girls could give him a hug one last time without him losing his magic, but that night he would be going back to the north pole.

We invited a couple of other families in our ward over for dinner that did not travel for Christmas. We had the most delicious smoked turkey, sides, and desserts. We decided to take a timed photo of the adults just before eating, which is usually never super great. I had to include the picture though because it shows Janie digging right into the Maja Blanca (a filipino dessert brought by our friend Roda, on the left!) 

The Tortosa's (left), Whipples (center), and the Hintons (right)

Snow Fall

*In an effort to get more on top of my journaling, I have decided to not allow myself to feel the pressure of writing down every. little. thing. I found that by becoming overwhelmed and feeling like I would never catch up, it prevented me from writing down even the most important things. Here is the beginning of what will hopefully be more consistency. Whether the quality is good or bad, at least it will be something.

We finally had a snowfall about a week ago. I say finally because my girls have been dying to play. Gracey has checked our home's security panel every single day since being on Christmas break, just hoping (and even praying at night) that it would snow.

Well, her prayers were answered and on December 31, 2012, we all suited up to play in the snow. It took us nearly 30 minutes to bundle up properly and get our boots on before we could go outside. Unfortunately though, Janie really hated her snowsuit. I don't blame her. She reminded me of Randy from "The Christmas Story" movie. She "couldn't put her arms down!"

Christmas Eve 2012

What might have turned into a new Christmas tradition, Corky built the girls the most amazing blanket fort any of us have ever seen. Using the girls bunk beds, chairs, and clothespins, it was like being in a 2-story building!

Using a leftover box, Gracey built a door to the fort that even us parents had to use. That only happened one time. We hated to spoil the fun but us old people don't move like we use to, so that was a challenge.

Beds were made in there

We read our scriptures and Christmas stories in there.

And Buster stood guard....but mainly snoozed in there.

This fort stood the test of time, lasting nearly a week before Corky and I decided we needed our dining room chairs back.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Emily got her ears pierced!

*In an effort to get more on top of my journaling, I have decided to not allow myself to feel the pressure of writing down every. little. thing. I found that by becoming overwhelmed and feeling like I would never catch up, it prevented me from writing down even the most important things. Here is the beginning of what will hopefully be more consistency. Whether the quality is good or bad, at least it will be something.

When my girls were real young I was sure that I wanted to wait until they were 8 years old to let them get their ears pierced. When Gracey was turning 6 years old (2 years ago) she really wanted her ears pierced and I kind of reevaluated my reasons for waiting until they were 8. The only valid reason that I could think of for wanting them to wait was because that is how old I was. That was all. So with that, 6 years is now the golden age of getting ears pierced IF the girls want. And Emily wanted...

Her birthday itself was somewhat low-key. Corky took her to breakfast, she played at a friends house, and then we went down to Bartlesville, Oklahoma where there is a Claire's in the "Hall" (tiny mall that is literally a hall!)

Emily was so nervous that she was shaking, but trying so hard to be brave at the same time. I kept reminding her that nobody was making her do it and if she wanted to change her mind that would be fine. No deal, she was determined, even when the grumpy employee informed us that we would have to do one ear at a time since she was the only employee working. 

After a few minute of filling out paperwork, drawing dots on Emily's ears, and me trying my very hardest to bite my tongue and not rip off the head the employee (seriously, Corky thought I was going to start clawing), it was time to pierce. 

It was easy! Once it was done and Emily realized it didn't hurt, she just started laughing and was totally ready for the other ear to be done, no problem.

We celebrated with dinner at the Golden Corral, Emily's choice (gag!), then drove home to have a late night of birthday cake and presents!

I love seeing my kids be nervous about something, put on a brave face anyway, and just go for it! Emily can be such a feisty little thing, but is also so determined, tender hearted, and sensitive that it just melts my heart. I love my little 6 year old!

Gracey's Baptism

*In an effort to get more on top of my journaling, I have decided to not allow myself to feel the pressure of writing down every. little. thing. I found that by becoming overwhelmed and feeling like I would never catch up, it prevented me from writing down even the most important things. Here is the beginning of what will hopefully be more consistency. Whether the quality is good or bad, at least it will be something.

On November 23rd, Miss Gracey Mae Whipple was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This was something that she has been preparing for and anticipating for a while, especially this past year.

A few months ago we gave Gracey the option of doing it in her home ward in Independence, KS, surrounded my her ward family and friends, and whatever extended family would be able to join us. Or she could choose to be baptized in St. George where we knew there would be a greater amount of family in attendance. She thought about it for a few weeks and decided to do it in St. George.

It was a gorgeous day all around. It was a small, intimate setting, and Gracey was surrounded by family and cousins that love her so much.

Grandma Joyce and her Aunt Bailey each gave a little talk on baptism and the Holy Ghost, and Gracey and Emily sang a special hymn, "I Am a Child of God," accompanied by myself.

She was baptized and confirmed by her dad, Corky, while Grandpa Scott, Grandpa Ron, Great-Grandpa Madsen, Uncle Jared, and Uncle Skyler stood in the circle for her confirmation.

It was a special day for everyone, but most importantly for Gracey. She was grinning from ear to ear and on the drive to Grandma's house from the church she told us how good she felt.

We sure do love our Gracey-girl. She has some beautiful things in store for her as she continues to make right choices in her life. She touches so many people and is a kind and loving friend. We are proud of her and hope that she remembers this day forever.

A few weeks before her baptism, Gracey had some portraits taken. Here a few of our favorites from that session.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Just me and the little one

I thought it would be fun to ask Janie the same questions that I asked Gracey and Emily. 

 Since it is just me and Janie (and Buster) during the day, everyday, we have a lot of time to discuss these things in length.

Food: Mom's milk
Game: Any game with Mom
Toy: Mom's hair clips, brushes...pretty much anything that Mom has
Thing to do:  Play with Mom
Book:  That one book Mom reads me
Color: Whatever Mom likes
Movie: Baby Einstein (I only say that because my mom desperately wants me to happily watch it while she folds laundry)
Song: "My Heavenly Father Loves Me," Mom sings it all the time
Primary Song: see above

My best friend is: Mom (occasionally Dad, but mostly Mom)
Other friends I like to play with: nope
Things I like to do with my friends: nope, just want to play with Mom
What is your pet's name?  Buster
What do you love most about him?  He lets me pull his cheek and fur
What people like about me:  They love my dimples, but I mostly only show them if my mom is holding me and I am happy.
Things I can do really well: Get my way with Mom

As you can tell she is a little attached...but I absolutely adore her.