Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Our Family Christmas Card

I've never been very good at sending out Christmas cards. I enjoy receiving them and want to keep in touch with folks, but Christmas cards never seem to make it on my to do list. Maybe it's sheer laziness, maybe it's the environmentalist in me not wanting to contribute to more paper use, maybe it's my inner scrooge...I don't really have a good reason why. It's nothing personal, it's just not something I typically do.

So instead I've pulled together a collage of holiday photos that would be great for our Christmas mailer (if one actually existed).

Happy holidays from our house to yours!

Michael, Lindsay, Grayson & Roxy

Monday, December 22, 2008

Our Chameleon

Grayson's eyes have started changing color over the last week. We're anxious to see if he'll become brown-eyed like Michael, a hazel/green like me, or something totally different. Guess we'll just have to watch and see.

Perfect Timing

Grayson has begun teething just in time for all our family Christmas parties and house full of overnight guests. At first, I was hoping his increase in drooling and addiction to gnawing on his hands was the natural progression of development for his age, but we've now moved beyond that to decreased appetite, increased fussiness that at times seems inconsolable, and a love for chilled teething rings and pacifiers.

Over the weekend, Grayson was more interested in chewing on his bottles than actually eating which I'm told is also a sign of gum soreness, so I'd say we're officially into teething. Just shy of four months old, Grayson is on the early side for this milestone which I'm really hoping means he'll cut teeth early (instead of us having to endure this phase for months on end until his first tooth finally pops through at 8-12 months).

Michael and I can feel two places on his upper and lower gums that seem swollen and a little harder like they are anticipating the arrival of teeth, but no tips poking through just yet. I can now identify with my friend and fellow blogging mama Cara that All I Want for Christmas are Two Front Teeth!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Al Gore

Grayson has been very vocal lately and loves when you mimic his sounds. He looks at  you like you're having a real conversation and he understands every word. 

Other vocalizations include fake crying and coughing which is so obvious he laughs or smiles afterward if you call him out on it. He's also said his first word and it was actually two words, "Al Gore." 

I tried to explain to Michael that this was probably just a version of "ah gooh" but he's convinced it was really a reference to our Nobel Prize-winning former VP. You be the judge.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sick Day

Today marks Grayson's first sick day. A parent never wants this day to come, but I honestly thought it would happen sooner than it did since he's been in daycare for more than a month. 

He's had some nasal congestion practically since birth, but over the last day or so it's gotten slightly worse and added some sneezing and coughing. After a bit of a restless night, he woke up this morning with a fever of 101. Even though his eyes revealed he wasn't 100 percent, he managed to crack a few heart-melting smiles.

The pediatrician prescribed amoxicillin for the cold symptoms and also found the beginning of an ear infection in Grayson's right ear. Apparently our son is a serious ear wax producer, but after the doctor removed some relatively large pieces of wax, he said Grayson's right ear canal was slightly inflamed and the build up looked a little infected. So we are now giving him ear drops three times a day as well. 

He seems to still be eating and napping as normal, which I hope continues into tonight. I'm just thankful we were able to get in to the doctor quickly so he can begin his road to recovery. 

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Our Forgotten One

I just realized I haven't written about Miss Roxy in a while. It's so bad I didn't even take the time to upload a new picture of her. Instead, I just used an old one that was already on our computer. So sad. 

To be honest, I'm not quite sure how Roxy is doing these days. She always wants to be near the baby or anyone holding the baby, but then she gets bent out of shape when Grayson flails his limbs and accidentally hits her. 

If we have company, Roxy gets super excited and refuses to stop bouncing around until the guests give her a proper greeting. I try to provide ample love and petting, but she isn't interested in what I have to offer. 

If she could talk, I think she would tell of a plight similar to a human teenager. Trying to play coy yet secretly seeking attention to reaffirm the fact that she is loved. Luckily, she isn't acting out in defiance at this point but I wouldn't be surprised if that were in our future. 

I'm not sure what to do. No matter how much we try to love on her she seems to still hold a grudge against us, while at the same time showing affection toward Grayson and even being a little protective of him. Maybe this is just the natural process for grieving the loss of her only child status. It's hard to live the life of a diva when someone else demands your parents' attention. 

Friday, December 12, 2008

New Grayson Pictures

Thanks to Popper (aka Michael's dad) there are lots of new pictures posted in the photo gallery (see link in left margin). Most are from our Houston trip over Thanksgiving. They sort of have a "Where's Waldo?" effect in that Grayson can be spotted in every picture, even if someone different may be holding him.

Here are a few of my favorites from the gallery:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Dusty Baby Book

In yet another mommy confessional, I must admit I have been lax about keeping up with Grayson's baby book. I guess since I capture timely anecdotes in this blog I get them off my mind and move on before capturing it in his baby book.

I've decided that since we're not really doing Christmas gifts for Grayson this year (because he won't really know the difference), I'm going to give him the gift of memories instead by taking the time to catch up on recording his milestones and experiences.

I may even get motivated to complete the family tree section of the book which is a challenge considering he has six sides of family between Michael and myself. They just don't make enough branches on those things to accurately capture our family.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Christmas Miracle

...okay, that title may be a bit dramatic, but I do have good news. A spot finally opened up at the downtown daycare we've been waiting on so Grayson will be starting a new school for the New Year.

This may seem like no big deal, but it really is an answered prayer for us. I like the teachers at his current daycare, however it is so incredibly difficult to get from downtown OKC to Norman by 6 p.m. during rush hour. We cut it close every day with literally less than five minutes to spare.

On top of the challenge that rush hour alone poses, the University of Oklahoma basketball pre-season has begun, making traffic even more ridiculous. Our daycare is located just north of the Lloyd Noble Center parking lot where the games take place.

I'm sure making the switch will include a few hiccups, but right now I'm enjoying basking in the thought of cutting an extra 40 minutes off our commute and less stress all around.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Formula Experiment

Today is Day 1 of Grayson's introduction to baby formula. This day arrived a few weeks earlier than I had hoped, but is necessary due to a recent growth spurt Grayson is experiencing.

My personal goal for breast feeding was originally 6 months. Then, when I started back to work and realized how difficult that would be with the travel my job will soon require, I reduced my goal to four months which would be January 1.

I've been on track to reach the four month mark until this past week. All of a sudden Grayson's appetite has blossomed. He went from eating 4.5 ounces per feeding to 6 ounces practically overnight. Needless to say my milk supply was quite overwhelmed and could not meet this immediate demand. I thought my body would adjust after a few days, but I'm still barely able to keep up with a 5 ounce per feeding capacity.

After much thought, I've decided it's time to introduce Grayson to formula now so I can do it slowly and deliberately just in case my milk supply suddenly takes a nose dive. I'm planning to give him one feeding a day with formula for several days and, if that goes well, will increase it to two feedings and so on.

His first-ever formula meal was this morning at 10:30 a.m. He gulped it up like a champ and so far hasn't seemed to have any allergies or digestive issues as a result. Fingers crossed this continues. I did notice he wasn't as hungry at his next scheduled feeding which I think is probably typical because formula babies tend to be able to go longer between feedings than breast-fed ones.

With this plan, I'll continue breast feeding for several more weeks (if not longer as needed), but am proud to have sustained our son solely on food I've produced for 15 weeks while he's doubled in weight. It really is amazing what our bodies are capable of doing.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I'm not a fan of the term work/life balance. To me, they are one in the same. Not in a way that means your work is your life, but more like your life includes your work as well as other things you choose such as family, hobbies, etc.

Now that I'm learning my new work/wife/mom/individual interest balance that makes up my life, I've been thinking about long-term goals. Part of my individual interests include environmental issues and even before I became a mom and a wife I sought out opportunities to stay connected with the environmental community and find ways to use my skills to try and make an impact.

My involvement with a group called Sustainable OKC recently got me to thinking about if my current life pace is sustainable. Not necessarily in a "green" way (although that is important), but more along the lines of, "Can I balance all the areas of my life without causing burn out over time?"

I think this is important because when you stop making time to nourish your passions, it tends to impact other areas of your life. While I realize that life's balance is an ever-changing target, the attempt is just as important as the end result.

So I'm hoping you will hold me accountable to stay committed to my personal interests like my book club, blogging or cooking classes, even when I may not have the energy after working all day and taking care of an infant at night. In the end, these hobbies feed my brain and life in different ways and ultimately energize me so I can be a better mom and wife. Hopefully, they will some day also provide an example for Grayson as well.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

You've GOT to be Kidding Me

There is apparently a new labor trend that I missed out on when I gave birth to Grayson...the designer hospital gown.

Yes, I realize the words designer and hospital gown do not go together, but I've recently discovered an entire industry dedicated to "making mom feel chic" during labor and delivery.

Really? Is this a joke or what? How will mom EVER feel chic while pushing out something the size of a watermelon after enduring hours of contractions and sweating? Not to mention if you have to have a C-section. Seriously, this is so ridiculous my fingers cannot seem to type fast enough for my brain.

There's a reason they haven't shown the "after" picture of this mom. I doubt she's looking chic after more than a dozen hours of labor. But wait, it gets better. Check out these catchy slogans the labor gown marketing folks have come up with to sell their posh product:

"Look chic when family and friends come to visit." WeberWear

"Having a baby is an extraordinary experience - why wear an ordinary hospital gown?" Amazon

B.Y.O.G. (you guessed it, Bring Your Own Gown), offers mommies-to-be "a stylish hospital gown that will make you look great no matter how your body feels."

"Why feel frumpy after your delivery?" Dear Johnnies Maternity

Too bad beauty doesn't come cheap. These gowns range from $60 to even $100 for something you'll wear once and probably get dirty if you really wear it during labor. I guess you could put it on afterward to receive visitors, but trust me, nobody is looking at the mama. They only have eyes for the baby.

I'm sorry if I've offended someone who has used one of these (that is certainly not my intent), but I just can't keep quiet about this idea. I thought the baby products industry had gotten out of hand, yet I only knew the half of it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy Three Month Birthday!

Dear Grayson,

Today you turn three months old! You have changed in so many ways since we brought you home from the hospital. There are physical changes like nearly doubling your birth weight at just over 12 lbs., while also adding more than five inches in length. Plus there are personality changes like smiling and chatting so much these days.

You've already become a very good traveler, making the trip to Houston for Thanksgiving to meet all of your Texas family. You charmed them with your captivating smile and fun little personality.

Now that mommy is back at work you seem to be adjusting well to our morning routine and your school. Daddy is in charge of dressing you for the day and has fun getting you all bundled up in one of your many jackets. Your teachers have gotten to know you and report on how much you love to swing and look around at the other infants. You don't even use your pacifier that much anymore except to help you go to sleep.

Your Grandmother Carol thinks you're going to be rolling over soon since you're so strong and active. I think you may be showing early signs of teething because you've started chewing on your pacifier more than sucking it and you really enjoy biting on cold pacifiers or teething rings. Teeth are probably still a ways off, so we'll have to become pros at soothing your aching gums.

Other favorite hobbies include lying on your changing table smiling up at the picture above, kicking in general, and watching the little ladybug on your bouncer chair light up and play music. These activities seem to entertain you for hours.

Your parents have changed a lot in these last three months as well. In the beginning, Daddy was nervous about carrying you and supporting your head. I was worried that breast feeding wouldn't go well. Now we've both become pros at toting you around, feeding you, and changing your diaper in a flash. Together, we give you a bath and get you ready for bed. Your furry sister Roxy is also adapting well. She is always close by and tries to kiss your head when mommy and daddy aren't looking.

Overall, we just love you to pieces and are so thankful for your health and happiness. The months seem to fly by. Daddy is already planning his 15-year car project for when you're able to drive. It will be here before we know it, but for now I'm enjoying the toothless grins and babbling conversations.

Your mom

Friday, November 28, 2008

That New Office Supply Smell

Throughout life, there are scents that evoke happiness. For some it's a new car, or the smell of gasoline (which I personally despise), leather or fabric softener...but I prefer the smell of office supplies. Yes, I'm a weirdo, but opening a pack of sticky notes or stepping in to Office Max brings me great joy.

Even as a child I loved the start of each school year and the promise of fresh pencils, trapper keepers, and notebook paper. Some may read into this as signifying new beginnings. While that's very profound, I really think I just like the order and organization that school/office supplies represent. I know this is strange, but I simply can't help it.

As a new parent I've discovered I love Grayson's scent too. Not just the typical "baby smell" like Johnson & Johnson shampoo, but even oddball things like his breath. It may sound crazy, but it brings me such comfort and joy to smell his milky breath. I'm sure it has something to do with pheromones or a similar DNA source, but I just love it.

Yes, I know this is abnormal and I've probably scared off half my readers, but I don't care. Chalk it up to being a crazy mom.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Michael's parents were sorting through some old family pictures recently to see if Grayson resembled Michael as a baby. While they do have some strong similarities, it was revealed that Grayson actually favors Michael's dad (aka Popper).

Here are a few of Popper's baby pictures. It's kinda spooky:

Judging from Grayson's eyes and length, I do think he'll eventually show DNA from my side of the family, but there's no denying he's a Vidrine.

Friday, November 21, 2008

What Grayson Has Been Up To Lately

Hanging out with my new friend Mr. Sock Monkey

Locked and loaded ready to go to school

Smiling and talking on my changing table

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Baby Boom!

Let me start by saying, no we are NOT pregnant again...I have even better news. In a few months, Grayson will have a cousin (via my sister Amy & brother-in-law Ben), in addition to five new playmates through other couples we know. That's a total of SIX babies!! WhoHoo!

We only know the gender of one so far...Miss Kate who is expected to make her debut this coming Friday if not before (hang in there, Nicole!). The other five babies are still too early to know their sex, but they are all due between May and July 2009.

This baby boom is quite exciting for our household and will be so much fun for Grayson to have friends so close in age. I have all kinds of baby shower and gift ideas floating through my head. It will be difficult to restrain myself!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mr. Sniffles

Since birth Grayson has battled nasal congestion that never seems to completely go away. It's usually pretty minor and doesn't seem to bother him so we don't worry much about it.

That all changed two nights ago when we noticed his nose seemed more "stuffed up" than usual, so we brought him back into our bedroom to sleep just to make sure he was breathing okay. We've tried all sorts of things for relieving the congestion -- suctioning his nostrils, saline spray, even a humidifier -- but nothing seems to help.

He's not running a fever, so maybe it's just the weather change or the dryness of our house now that the heater is running. Whatever the cause, it's definitely upsetting him and leads to fussiness and difficulty sleeping at times. He doesn't seem to be eating quite as well as he normally does either.

I don't think it's bad enough to warrant a doctor's visit, but I am open to any other home remedies for clearing up his tiny nasal passages. It may be kinda cute when he snores like an old man, but it can also be scary to think of him not being able to breathe clearly.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Survival Guide

After my recent submersion back into the workforce, I've picked up the following tips to help me try to get a handle on our new schedule.

1. Preparation is key. The more I can do in the evenings helps me be less crazy the next morning. This includes preparing Grayson's bottles, cleaning and preparing all of my nursing pump equipment, packing my lunch, and even thinking about what I'm going to cook for dinner or wear the next day.

2. Stay hydrated. It feels like I'm constantly thirsty due to all of the water that goes to my milk supply, so I try to carry around a large nalgene bottle at all times.

3. Anticipate a mid-afternoon slump. By 3 p.m. I'm in desperate need of some caffeine or sugar so instead of heading for the vending machine I'm trying to stash somewhat healthy snacks at work to give me a much-needed energy boost.

4. Don't sweat the small stuff. This includes things like leaving the dinner dishes for a bit to go play with my family or not micro-managing Michael as he dresses Grayson in the morning.

5. Remember this too shall pass (and quickly). It's amazing how much Grayson has changed in only 12 weeks which makes me try to savor everything he does -- even the not so fun stuff. 

So those are the life lessons I've learned this week. Right when I seem to get things figured out they change, but such is life. 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Post With No Name

We've now completed two full days of me being back at work and Grayson attending daycare. I'm not gonna lie -- I'm exhausted. I don't even have the mental capacity to think up a clever title for this blog post. 

Last night I got in bed at 9 p.m. and would have slept til morning if I didn't have to get up to feed Grayson one more time. The only reason I even made it to the bed was because Michael saw my eyes glazed over and walked me from the couch to our room. 

Today is a little better, but I'm thankful I decided to start back mid-way through the week instead of tackling a five day work week right off the bat. 

Grayson still seems to be adjusting well to daycare. He's learning little tricks of independence like holding his pacifier in with his hand. I guess he realizes if it falls out it may not get put back in right away so best to just hold it there. 

He still isn't napping very well each day so I'm trying to put him to bed earlier. This is difficult for two reasons: 1) because my milk supply isn't used to such a long night and 2) an earlier bedtime means less time we get to spend together. 

The best part of my day is walking in to daycare to pick Grayson up and seeing how his day went. I have to seriously restrain myself from kissing him too much or constantly holding him. I'm looking forward to our weekend together, although Nana and Popper are coming up from Houston so I'll have to share.

I'll close for now by expressing my joy for the simple pleasure of casual Fridays. Wearing jeans to work tomorrow will allow me one less thing think about which makes me so very happy. 

Monday, November 10, 2008

We Survived

Well Day 1 is over and I'm happy to report that Grayson and I both made it through without too much emotional damage.

When I dropped him off this morning, there was another infant starting daycare for the first time and it reassured me to see how crazy that mom was compared to me. Both the mom and dad were there with their 10 month old son and I could tell the father did not get what the big deal was. She was slightly over the top, which gave me some perspective and actually calmed me down a bit.

There are currently two teachers in the infant room and six kids -- all boys and one girl. All are between 2-6 months except for the other new boy who is already walking and probably ready to move up to the next room soon.

When I left, Grayson was sleeping like a log in one of the teacher's arms and didn't seemed bothered by any of the other baby cries or noises. I totally held it together until I got in the car and called Michael. Once I started talking about Grayson waking up without me there the tears came and I had to cut the conversation short so I wouldn't become a road hazard.

Before I dropped Grayson off, I set a personal goal to only call and check in one time and try to not pick him up until 3 p.m. Surprisingly, I was able to accomplish this in large part because I power shopped at the mall as a distraction. I knew if I stayed at home I wouldn't last very long before I broke down and went back to pick him up.

Shopping may have proven to be a bad choice though because I think I single-handedly boosted national retail sales for the fourth quarter. I'm not joking. People were gawking at all the bags I was carrying by the time I left. Here is just part of my loot to show you the ridiculousness:

On a positive note, I'm about halfway done with my Christmas shopping and that's saying a lot since we have about 40 people to buy for just family alone. (Yes, I know this is crazy but Mike and I have six sides of family combined and most of those even draw names!)

When I picked Grayson up his teachers told me all about his day. He seemed to do well overall. His feeding and napping schedule are a little off from our normal routine at home, but only by about an hour which I honestly thought would be worse.

He didn't seem to nap as well as usual due to the new environment and flurry of activity from the other infants. It sounds like he spent a majority of the day looking around in amazement, taking in the new people and surroundings.

When we got home Grayson and I sat and talked to each other for a while. He was really smiling and chatting like he wanted to tell me all about his day. He is holding his head and neck up for a really long time now with a good deal of control and seems like such a big boy now that he's been to "school."

I think he's glad to be home though, because as I laid him down to take a nap his eyes closed before I could even get him tucked in his crib.

As difficult as it is to let someone else care for him, I realize that doing so makes me really appreciate and value the time we have together instead of it feeling like a job. While I was at the mall I passed by the children's play area and took notice of the moms who were sitting and watching their kids. Some seemed so worn out and just thankful to get a break that it reaffirmed that this decision is right for me.

The interaction and educational activities Grayson will participate in at daycare will also be great in the long run as well, particularly since he's an only child.

All-in-all this roller coaster of a day has gone well which helps me mentally prepare for going back to work. Thanks to all of you who called, texted or sent positive thoughts our way. It helped us survive!

Like Father, Like Son

I caught this moment on Sunday morning after Grayson had his first feeding. I left him awake in the bed with dad as I went to bake banana nut muffins. When I came back I found them both snoozing away with all of their arms up by their heads. So adorable.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Facing the Inevitable

The moment of truth is nearing...D-day (as in daycare day) is almost upon us. I don't officially go back to work until Wednesday, but Grayson starts his transition into daycare tomorrow morning. 

As I explained in my last post, I've been focused on getting Grayson's things in order for this big day, but I've overlooked one major component -- what am I going to do with myself while he's there? 

I'm going to have to make some kind of plan to keep myself busy so that I don't get emotional. Maybe I can distract myself with some Christmas shopping. 

On a related note, how am I going to work in the hundreds of kisses I give him throughout the day in less than half the time? I guess I'll need a strategy for that as well. So many things to plan for, so little time!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Property of GV

I've been getting everything in order for Grayson's daycare debut next Monday. This means completing a packet of paperwork, getting his pediatrician to fill out some medical background forms, and labeling all of Grayson's stuff so it doesn't get lost or accidentally sent home with other kids. 

We definitely won't be traveling lightly when we go to drop him off. We have to bring his paperwork and shot records, two back up sets of clothes, diapers/wipes, ready-made bottles for the whole day, and a few blankets. All of this has to be clearly labeled with his name or initials. True to form, I've already started a list of things I want to be sure and not forget. 

As I sat down to label the clothes in Grayson's dresser, I realized it's already time to clean out a few things he's outgrown. It seems like just yesterday my mom and I were putting the tiny newborn shirts, socks and onesies into that drawer and now he's already too big for them. These are the same onesies that swallowed his little body when we first brought him home from the hospital two short months ago. I guess packing on more than four pounds and several inches will do that to you. 

Monday, November 3, 2008

All in how you look at it

I consider myself an optimist which has been coming in handy lately since there seems to be a lot of good news/bad news situations arising. I should preface this by saying the bad news isn't life-changing or even incredibly horrible, it's really just a bit of a wrinkle after something great happens (is that an optimistic PR spin or what?). 

For example, a wonderful milestone was reached today in the wardrobe arena. I was able to wear some of my pre-pregnancy jeans (and yes, I could actually breathe). This fact did not go unnoticed by my cousin which I very much appreciated. The bad news, you ask? Grayson christened them with a leaky diaper of some really stinky nastiness oozing out the side onto my leg so I couldn't enjoy this small victory for the whole day. 

On a related note, I'm only three pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight which is very exciting. The only problem is my hips and stomach skin may never return to where they once were so my body still looks different that what I'm used to. Hopefully as time goes on things will continue to shift back to their old self. 

In other news, Grayson's peely cradle cap is getting a lot better (thanks to Erin & Jen for the suggestions. We did both!). The bad news is that his hair is now falling out in strange patches. I don't think this is related to the ointment we applied, I think it is just the natural progression of a baby's hair falling out but it's funny looking. There is a bald stripe on the lower backside of Grayson's head where he lays down and the hair surrounding it is oddly long in comparison. Oh well.  

After many phone calls and stressful days, I'm finally getting our daycare situation in order. We have a spot secured at a place in Norman which I like, but we'd prefer to use a downtown OKC daycare that's only four blocks from my office and much easier to get to before they close at 6 p.m. The downtown place hasn't had any openings, but I've learned today that one may become available by next week. Just in case, I went to pick up the paperwork at the Norman daycare so we'd at least have something lined up. All of this is great, but when I got back in the car after picking up the paperwork a wave of emotion came over me that was a mixture of panic and apprehension. I started to tear up thinking about leaving Grayson with someone else and I had to call my cousin (who is an amazing working mom) so she could talk some sense into me. 

On the good news front, Grayson slept through the night last night for seven hours straight. Whohoo! The two prior nights had been very challenging so it was good that we all got some much needed sleep. He's been off his feeding and napping schedule a little today which I think may be due to a growth spurt, or the fact that he's catching up on calories from missing his nighttime meal. Either way, I'm keeping my fingers crossed he now has enough meat on his bones to sleep longer at night. 

Well, Mr. Grayson is waking up from his nap so that's all of the time I have for now. Hope everyone has a great start to their week! 

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Results Are In!

I know you have been up all night in anticipation of the Halloween 2008 Pumpkin Design winner. The election was tight and by a margin of only one vote, I'm pleased to announce that Boo! received the most votes. (And no I didn't rig the voting because that was the pumpkin Mike and I did) Guess this proves that every vote counts!

Regardless of winning, I have to admit it was a lot of fun just getting together and carving pumpkins. I think Grayson had a fun time as well. As I was scooping out the goop from inside our pumpkin, it made me think that next year Grayson will likely be having even more fun playing in all of the mess.

The evening also reminded me of how blessed we are to be surrounded by great friends and family, particularly with the upcoming holiday season. It's a lot of fun to celebrate Grayson's "firsts" with everyone. Although he doesn't realize it yet, Grayson has so many wonderful people that he can turn to and will influence his life during times when his parents seem like squares.

Another blessing is the diversity of the people in this support system. This is evident in how some of our friends chose to plan (or not plan) their pumpkin design. Take for example the Carr family. Rob and Michelle shared a pumpkin and combed through stencil books strategically selecting their skeleton design.

The Clays went a different route. Matt and Gina came with Obama stencils in hand, but decided to each carve a pumpkin so they could do their own thing.

Hosts Rob and Courtney Green also went the two pumpkin route. Courtney was so busy entertaining us that she quickly selected the scary skeleton stencil and got to work. Rob on the other hand focused on proper protection like a plastic bag smock and gloves to execute his intricately planned pumpkin diorama complete with an octopus, seahorse, dry ice and more. Although he didn't finish it that evening, I have no doubt it will be a masterpiece.
Then there is Michael and myself. We elected to share a pumpkin as well. I took on the job of cleaning out the insides and Michael was in charge of the design. He freehanded the Boo! without a stencil and also did the carving work. Regardless of the approach, all of the pumpkins came out great and we had a blast.
(FYI: No, my husband is not capable of taking a normal picture)

I hope you've all enjoyed this behind-the-scenes look at the 2008 Halloween Pumpkin election. Let it serve as a reminder to get out and vote next week!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cast Your (Pumpkin) Vote!

All we seem to hear about these days are the presidential campaigns, so in honor of the upcoming election I've decided to host a vote of my own. Check out the poll on the left margin of this blog and cast your vote for favorite pumpkin design of Halloween 2008.

Voting will close tomorrow at noon so come back to find out the winner and see pictures of our friends throughout the carving process. Here are the worthy candidates:


Scary Skeleton

Boo! (freehanded without a stencil might I add)


Obama head

Octopus diorama (not totally finished, but detailed plans include a seahorse and dry ice)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Grayson's World at Two Months

This Saturday Grayson will be two months old so I thought it would be a good time to note what he's up to these days. Overall, he is a very sweet baby and seems to have a laid back personality. He does get fussy around 5:30-6 p.m. everyday (just in time for daddy to walk through the door to a crying baby), but I'd take this over a colicky baby that screams all night and day (not that you can choose these things).     

He still loves to cup his ear in comfort. Either side will do, he doesn't seem to have a preference. Other favorite pastimes include lying on the changing table and smiling up at the picture hanging above, watching the mobiles over his swing or crib, "talking" to us, and taking a bath. 

Tummy time continues to involve a lot of crying when done on the floor, but if you lay him on his stomach on your chest he exercises his little heart out. His neck is really getting strong and he can partially roll over on his side. 

During his waking hours, Grayson's arms and legs seem to be moving constantly. He can't always control what they are doing, but that doesn't stop him from wiggling and kicking all over the place. Roxy has been on the receiving end of some of that movement and suffice it to say she's not a fan. 

Like his mama and his Pappa Steve, Grayson never misses a meal and is doing pretty well sticking to a schedule. He eats every three hours and goes 7 1/2 hours at night between meals. This sounds like he's sleeping through the night, but although it's getting a lot better, this isn't the case just yet. He typically wakes up around 4 a.m. wanting you to stick the pacifier in his mouth and he falls right back to sleep. He wakes up again around 6:15 a.m. due to gas and usually just fusses for a few minutes and then falls back to sleep until our "official" wake up time of 7 a.m. I've tried giving him gas drops before bed to help him sleep more comfortably, but that doesn't seem to make a difference. 

His latest new trick is to start crying when you go to burp him. I think this is because he's in a little pain until the air is burped out, but what he doesn't realize is that it takes longer to get relief if you're busy crying instead of burping. Of course, I've explained this to him logically several times to no avail. Imagine that! Fingers crossed this phase passes soon. 

In other news, Grayson's baby acne has cleared up and now he has a peely scalp instead which I think is cradle cap. There's really nothing you can do to treat it other than wait for it to clear up on its own. Luckily, he enjoys wearing hats so that's in our favor. 

Looking ahead it's hard to believe that in two weeks I'll be back to work and he'll be adjusting to a new routine at daycare. Between the time change this weekend and then starting daycare, I think we're in for some disrupted schedules and nights over the next few weeks. Guess we'll just hang on for the ride and see what happens. 

For now, I'm focused on enjoying the time I have with Grayson and the short naps I get to sneak in here and there. My job may be flexible for new moms, but I doubt they accommodate a mid-morning nap. 

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Test Kitchen

One of my favorite pastimes is reading food magazines and trying out new recipes, particularly desserts (mmm) but really I'm up for anything as long as I can pronounce all of the ingredients. Michael is typically a good sport about it as long as the meal doesn't contain things he's allergic to (chicken/turkey/all poultry) or something he really doesn't like (such as raw tomatoes or onions).

Part of why I love searching out new meals is because it can be challenging to find new variations on beef and pork since he can't eat poultry. We do like seafood, but really great, fresh seafood can be hard to come by at times in a landlocked state. We have dabbled in the vegetarian world of soy/meat substitutes a little just to change it up a bit.

Well this hobby has been "kicked up a notch" (as Emeril would say) now that I have more time to plan and cook meals instead of rushing home from work in a mood to just get dinner over with as soon as possible. Recently I've made a corn casserole that was a bit odd but tasty nonetheless and breaded pork chops with spinach fritters.

This week I tried out teriyaki burgers with a grilled corn and scallion relish, as well as homemade french onion soup. I've come to realize if I balance out the experimental recipes with traditional ones throughout the week Michael doesn't seem as concerned when he sits down at the table. For example, Monday night I made the teriyaki burgers which meant Tuesday required a familiar dish -- spaghetti. You get the idea.

Although he's come to admit liking several of the new meals, I think Michael is ready for me to go back to work so he can get back to eating comfort food. Lucky for me I still have several more weeks of testing out meals from my large stack of recipes I've torn out of magazines. If one happens to bomb, I'll just pull out the frozen pizza I have stashed as plan B and no one will go hungry.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Mommy Confession

I've discovered an area of motherhood where I could use some serious improvement. (Only one, you're thinking?) It's stain removal. I know this seems random, but Grayson has had several diaper blowouts which require wardrobe changes. I've tried a few different stain treatments, but the onesies still come out of the washer with light mustard-like stains.

I feel like a lot of moms, and females in general, have some kind of stain fighting DNA that I lack. This is a problem I don't think will be going away anytime soon since having a boy means stains are inevitable, so I need help building an arsenal of stain fighting tactics.

Any advice is more than welcome because at this rate, Grayson is either going to look like the dirty kid in class or I won't be able to pass down any of his clothes to other babies because they will all be stained. Help!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Two Month Check up

Today, Grayson and I paid a visit to the pediatrician for a check up and next round of immunizations. He's technically not quite two months old yet, but the doctor will be out of town then so we went early.

I ran into a girl from our child birth class in the waiting room. She was bringing her daughter Ella in for her check up as well. For only being three days older than Grayson she is quite the chunker, weighing in close to 12 lbs. She was really cute (of course, not as cute as our baby) but I have to admit I was jealous when the mom said she consistently sleeps 7 hours at night and sometimes as many as 9 hours. Since Grayson is a bit on the smaller side I don't expect him to sleep through the night just yet, but it would be nice to get more than 4-5 hours.

Once they called us back, I undressed Grayson and he proceeded to go to the bathroom on each and every surface he touched -- the exam table, the scales, the table again a second time, etc. Several diapers and another outfit later, the doctor came in and said that Grayson now weighs 9 lbs 11.2 oz and is 22 1/2 inches long.

His weight is a little small (in the 15-20th percentile), but his percentage of weight gain since birth is great. He is in the 50th percentile for length and the doctor was pleased at how Grayson is thriving. Then came the not-so-fun part...the immunizations.

Grayson had to have one by mouth and three shots in his legs. He gulped up the liquid like a champ, but his cries during the shots made my heart break. As Michael can attest, I've always been a baby about shots for Roxy and this was worse not only because of the cries, but also the bright red face and tiny little tears.

I've never heard Grayson let out a cry of pain before and it sounds so completely different than his other cries. Next time I'm going to make Michael go with me so there is someone to comfort me afterward.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Waking up on the Right Side of the Bed

For the last 6+ weeks, I've been anxiously awaiting a sign that Grayson has taken after me in some way, even if it's small. He looks so much like Michael overall and we've matched other characteristics to our family members:

Face: mostly Michael
Eyes/long lashes: Grandmother Carol (my mom)
Long fingers/nails: Michael's maternal grandfather
Strong burping ability: Aunt Amy (my sister...sorry Aim-O but it's true, you should hear how this kid can belch. It reminds me of you right after drinking a Coke. You would be proud.)
Long, skinny limbs: Pappa Steve (my dad)

You get the idea. Lots of traits...nothing from mama. It's a good thing I carried the child, because otherwise I might question if he's mine. But that all changed this morning when I got a little glimpse of me.

As a baby and toddler, I woke up from naps with a smile and in a generally happy mood. This morning Grayson not only woke up happy and stretching, but he flashed his first real smile. The smile alone melted my heart, and now I am also clinging to the hope that he'll have my sunny disposition. I wanted so badly to capture his adorable stretches and cooing on video, but I couldn't risk running into the living room to get the camera and miss the fleeting moment.

So I've spent the rest of today trying to at least capture a smile on camera. This has resulted in a lot of weird, close-up pictures (like the one above where Grayson is thinking to himself, "what is this crazy woman doing?"), none of which accurately capture his new expression.

I'll keep the camera handy and continue to work on recreating the moment, but for now you get to enjoy today's unsuccessful paparazzi-fest.
P.S. There are more new pictures uploaded on the Grayson photo website. See the link in the left margin. Be sure to scroll through both pages because they didn't get posted in order for some reason.