Monday, March 30, 2009

Reclaiming the Illusion of Control

I've decided to declare April as Take Back The Fun month for our household and my life specifically. March flew by in a whirlwind and I felt like I was barely treading water the entire month. I found myself grocery shopping at 9 p.m. once I was off work and Grayson was in bed, prematurely breaking into my summer wardrobe just to get by without doing the laundry, and don't even get me started on cleaning (or lack thereof) the house. 

So, this week marks a new beginning. I've taken Monday and Tuesday off of work to get caught up on life. All of our clothes are washed, the pantry is stocked (for a week at least), the bills are paid, I finally made a long-overdue trip to the dry cleaners and I'm tackling the house cleaning. I may even venture to bake something for our new neighbors (and I use the term new loosely, as they've been there a month and I have yet to go over and meet them). While none of this is technically part of Take Back the Fun month, it is a necessary precursor to reclaiming our social lives. 

I can't even remember the last time we've seen our friends (besides running into the Brooks family at Target, which technically doesn't count as a social life). I'm happy to say, we have several social engagements lined up this week and I'm ready to catch up and relax with our friends. 

Next on my list is to find someone to clean our house. After much debate, Michael has agreed to try out having someone come clean our house every other week. I'm not a very extravagant person...no mani/pedis, hair coloring, or even many shopping excursions, so I feel like a little housekeeping help isn't too much to ask. All I need is help doing the basics so that I have more time for our family and don't have to be such a nag whenever we get a spare moment. Fingers crossed we can find a good person to fit the bill. 

Now, join me in a collective sigh of relief. I think April is going to be a very enjoyable month.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Strike a Pose

In yet another mommy confession, I must admit I'm not very good about having Grayson's picture taken professionally. I finally got around to scheduling a portrait sitting for his 6 month milestone, but then had to push it back three more weeks because of all the recent travel to Houston and my work trips. 

We finally had his picture taken last Sunday and I realized it's a good thing we waited. Every picture came out so stinkin' cute we walked out spending a lot of money. Oh well, I think it was worth it. I could stare at the pictures and smile all day long. Hope you enjoy this small sampling from the photo shoot. 






Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Simple Pleasures

Forget all the light-up toys, books and other store bought paraphernalia. Grayson is quite content playing with a sippy cup like it's the best toy ever.

Everything about the sippy cup entertains him. He enjoys a refreshing drink, holding both handles, going single-handed, shaking it like a rattle and anything else you can think of.

If only something this simple would keep him occupied for months to come. I have a feeling this won't be the case.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Work-Life Dilemma

I know you are tired of hearing me complain about traveling for work and missing my boys. Although I fly out again tomorrow for another trip, this post is not about that. Instead it's about a conference that seems months away.

I just found out that one of the best conferences I attend all year is happening Aug. 30-Sept. 1 in Lake Tahoe. Now, you're first reaction may be, Tahoe...what's the problem? And I agree it's a great place, but the problem lies in the dates of the trip.

August 30th is Michael's birthday and Sept. 1 happens to be Grayson's birthday. There is no way I can miss both of these important days, but if I stay home the work side of me will feel like I'm missing out on a professional opportunity as well.

So, I've decided to begin a campaign to lobby for Michael and Grayson to join me on my trip. I would appreciate any arguments that could help me convince my husband that it's worth toting a 12 month old and all his gear on a plane, while spending money he'd rather use for car projects or other things, in addition to having to entertain Grayson while I'm in workshops for two days. I don't think bribing him with homemade strawberry cake upon our return is compelling enough to win him over.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

One Drooly Rolly Pollie

While I was away Grayson was basically focused on two things -- 1) rolling as a mode of transportation and 2) teething on any and every surface. Michael took some pictures and video to capture the excitement.
Why play with the toys when you can stick them in your mouth?

Tummy time is better with finger foods.
Our little multi-tasker. Rolling and teething at the same time.

video
We already knew it was time to baby proof, but this video pretty much seals the deal.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Absentee Mama

I've been in Austin, TX since last Friday and am counting down the hours until I'm back home with my two boys (and Roxy of course). I fly back to OKC Tuesday evening, but unfortunately don't arrive until after Grayson's bedtime. 

I can't wait to see him (and smell him...yes, I'm strange) and look at how much he's changed over the last five days. I did get to do one video chat to see Grayson, but it just made me want to hold him even more. 

Tonight feels like Christmas Eve. The anticipation of going home is welling up inside me and I hope I'll be able to sleep tonight. 

Change of Heart

After thinking about it a little more, I've decided to take the ads off my blog. I'm not blogging as a source of income, I really just want to keep our friends and family in the loop on Grayson and our lives. 

So, apologies for the temporary display of commercialism. I'll try to not let it happen again. 

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Selling Out

You may have noticed a few changes on the left-hand margin of my blog. You can now subscribe to this blog and be notified of new posts and/or comments. You can also become a "follower" which gets your lovely profile picture listed on my blog and tells me I'm loved. 

The third change is a Google banner ad. Yes, I've sold out and decided to experiment with advertising on this blog. It is a simple formula:

You click the ad + I get paid depending on how many people click on the ads = Grayson gets to go to college

Well, I doubt the ad revenue will be rolling in quite that heavily but seriously, click on the ad and then we can cash in for ice cream or something. Nowhere in the aforementioned formula does it matter if you even remotely care about whatever is being advertised. Just click it, otherwise Roxy may not get to eat tonight. Just kidding, but I'm not above bribing. I'll share my ice cream with you, so click your little heart out. Thank you.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Supertechnology

I am currently in Austin, TX attending an interactive conference that is basically all about social media on steroids. It's where the world's bloggers, video gamers, animators, web developers, twitter-founders, and other tech geeks come to set the trends for Web 2.0. Basically, the things discussed at this year's conference will become mainstream in about two years, that's how ahead of the curve these folks are. 

The whole experience basically blows my mind (especially since I'm not a tech geek, I don't even own an iPod other than Michael's first generation hand-me-down). 

But this post isn't about the technology trends of tomorrow, what I'm really trying to wrap my brain around is how Grayson's childhood and entire life will be impacted by technology. Things we don't even know of today, will become second nature to him (probably before he even starts kindergarden). Will he learn to type before he can sign his own name? Will he be able to draw animals and images or just create and animate them on the computer? 

The speed at which all of this technology has changed our lives even in the last five years makes it mind blowing to think about how far it will advance over Grayson's lifetime. And while I'm open and willing to adapt, I do cringe at the thought of kids relying too much on technology like spell check or GPS instead of learning to spell words or use a map on their own. 

Michael and I have discussed this topic several times, and we agree that it's important for us as parents to find a balance between Grayson using and understanding technology without letting him become totally reliant on it. Technology makes life easier in so many ways but when it's not working or hits a glitch, only the human brain can come up with a solution and I want to make sure Grayson can think beyond gadgets to solve problems and live everyday life.

This parenting goal is going to be no small feat, but we're determined to overcome the challenge. Just don't tell any of these conference attendees I posted any of this. They would pull out a modern day tar and feather mob scene ... I don't mean physically, I'm talking about a reputation-ruining viral campaign that would sweep across the internet so fast there would be smoke coming off their keyboards.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dragging My Feet

Once again I'm writing a blog post as a means of procrastination. Tomorrow morning I depart for a five day business trip and although I have a long list of to dos, all I really want to do is sit and rock Grayson for the rest of the night. 

I don't know how I'm going to make it so long without my little man. By the time my plane lands on Tuesday evening, he'll already be asleep which means he won't really know I'm home until Wednesday morning. 

Luckily Michael agreed to video chat with me regularly so I can see the baby while I'm gone. The only problem is my conference lasts all day and has evening receptions every night so I may not get back to my hotel room until after Grayson's in bed. Oh well, I can't think about that right now. The only way I can force myself to pack and get on that plane is with the optimistic hope that I'll still see Gray daily via web cam. 

It's amazing how one drooly, bald, wiggly, chubby squirt can make you content to never step foot out of the house again. 

Monday, March 9, 2009

Stickers & Artwork: Building A Childhood Time Capsule

As a parent, nothing thrills me more than 1) reading Grayson's daily school report to see how his day went, and 2) receiving art he's created at school. The school report has sections for his feeding, napping and diaper schedule, plus sections for what activities he enjoyed that day and then an open space for teacher comments. 

Friday's report was particularly fun because the teachers added a sticker and smiley face to the note and in the comments wrote, "Thanks for bringing such a happy boy today." Usually they write, "Grayson had a great day." While every parent likes to hear positive things about their child, knowing he's been good for them and that he enjoys his time at school gives me both relief and happiness. 

These reports also make me think ahead to the future and wonder about what his report cards will say about him. Will he be the class clown, a chatty cathy, mathlete or bully? While we were in Houston this weekend, we went through several family photo albums and Michael's baby book. We found two report cards from early elementary where two separate teachers noted, "Michael needs to pay more attention when directions are given." 

I find it funny that of all the report cards he ever received, these were the two that made it in the baby book as a keepsake. Ironically, those comments are equally true today as they probably were in first and second grade. Also in the baby book were various art projects Michael created during his years in school. They are so much fun to look through and some he even remembers making. While I know we can't keep every piece of art Grayson brings home, we have kept his first two (a valentine and an "abstract" piece with brightly colored shapes glued on it). 

Each time I go through Grayson's dresser to pack away clothes he's outgrown I set a few things aside for memories and hope he someday enjoys these keepsakes as much as I do. Many items from Michael's childhood have been preserved in his mother's hope chest (which I incessantly tease her for when she pulls out items like nearly every pair of track shorts he's ever owned), so I know how fun it can be looking back at those itty bitty booties or the cap he wore home from the hospital.   

It's challenging to self-edit the items I choose to keep or pass along but I know we have a long way to go so I need to discriminate between sentimental items and those that are simply cute. Someday Grayson may look back through the things I chose to keep and wonder why in the heck is a green piece of construction paper with random shapes glued on it sentimental, but I'll smile to myself and insist it doesn't get thrown away. 

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Do you ever feel like this?

It's 10 p.m. and I'm just now sitting down to semi-relax for the first time after coming home from work. Lately, our evenings have become a blur and when I finally get a moment to breathe it's bedtime.

On tonight's agenda:

-- 6:30 arrive home from work and feed Grayson solids
-- cooking/eating dinner for Mike and I
-- playing with Grayson for about 45 minutes
-- putting up his clothes and starting a new load of his laundry
-- fully unpacking his bag from last weekend's stay at my parent's house and repacking it for this weekend's trip
-- feed Grayson his last bottle and put him to bed
-- make baby food (squash, pineapple, avocado, and some other fruits I can't remember because my brain is fried)
-- put clothes in dryer
-- tie up a few loose ends on work email
-- hook up work laptop to projector and make sure it works for my speech tomorrow
-- write a blog post instead of figuring out what I'm going to wear for speech tomorrow

These crazy evenings lead me to drastic measures like deciding once and for all that I'm no longer committed to keeping my house plants alive. The wilting mass shown above is a peace lily that is currently sitting on our fireplace ledge. I've decided I cannot take care of one more thing in my life so the plant is dying a slow waterless death. I'm sure the aloe vera plant in the kitchen is not far behind.

I must be signing off now so I can go pack myself for our whirlwind weekend trip to Houston.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Grayson stats at 6 months

I'm happy to report there were no major meltdowns (by baby or mama) this weekend during our trip to Medicine Park. I'm working on getting some trip pictures up soon, but in the meantime I wanted to recap Grayson's 6 month check up from this morning.

He weighed in at 16 lbs. 8 oz. and is 27.25 inches long. Although our appointment was right in the middle of Grayson's morning nap, he was in good spirits for the doctor. Despite the poking and prodding, he flashed several gummy smiles and demonstrated his new favorite rolling and sitting tricks. The doctor saw him pull his legs up underneath himself and predicted he'll be crawling (and maybe in the early stages of walking) by the 9 month visit.

Between that discussion and talking about getting a different car seat once Gray reaches the 20 lb. mark, I'm both excited and a bit sad about what lies ahead. It's fun to watch him grow, but pretty soon he'll be constantly on the go with no desire to cuddle up in my lap. I have several 4-5 day work trips coming up this month so I know the time will fly by and I'll return home to what seems like a "big" boy.

He already didn't require very much comforting after his immunization shots. We barely had him dressed and back in his carrier before he was cooing and laughing. Must have been the Charlie Brown bandaids. They make everything better.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The halfway mark

When I was little I remember always wanting to seem as old as possible so I used the half to signify my "status." I may not have been 6, but 5 1/2 seemed way better than just 5. At 6 months Grayson is now plain old half, yet again it seems like a status symbol.

His personality comes out more everyday and he's becoming such a fun little guy. Rarely do you see him without a smile on his face or legs rapidly kicking in glee. Favorite pastimes include playing peekaboo, rolling over and over and over, eating anything and everything, drinking from a real cup or sippy cup, and spending time in the jumperoo.

This week his teachers remarked that for being the smallest kid in the class, he eats the most. Probably because he's constantly on the move. Now that he's a rolling aficionado, he has been trying to get his legs up underneath himself. His teachers think he'll be crawling shortly (even before a fellow classmate that's 9 months old!). We'll see how things progress, but he sure seems to be working hard on gaining mobility.

His taste in toys and entertainment is getting more "sophisticated" and we're having to come up with new ways to keep him occupied as we get ready in the morning. Lately, he's been pleased with sitting in his Bumbo chair on the bathroom counter so he can look in the surrounding mirrors. I'm sure this will become boring soon enough and we'll have to come up with a new tactic.

The peach fuzz on his head is starting to turn into an actual head of hair. I'm so used to his bald head and gummy smile it is difficult to picture him with a full head of hair and teeth. For now, I'm enjoying this Gerber baby stage but have to admit seeing him with "bed head" will be pretty darn cute too.

We go back to the doctor for his 6 month check up on Monday and I'm excited to see his weight and length measurements. Judging from all the clothes he's outgrown in the last week, I'd say he's had a growth spurt.