Friday, December 31, 2010

Family Pics

I have been waiting for more than two months to share these pictures with you! We had a family photo shoot on the OU campus in late-October and surprised our family with the portraits for Christmas.

The very talented Candi Coffman was our photographer and it was extremely difficult not to post the photos until everyone opened their gifts. Here are a few of my favorites and a link to a larger slideshow with more candid shots.







A slideshow of more pictures can be viewed here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Cousin Christmas

This year we celebrated Christmas for three weeks across two states which meant we were able to enjoy time with our very extended family. I loved watching Gray bond with his cousins and am kicking myself for only remembering to take out my camera a few times.

And yes, before you say anything, Grayson is sporting the same two Christmas sweaters in almost every picture. I'd say I totally got my money's worth!

 
Gray and his cousin Maddy from Michael's dad's side of the family which celebrated in Cleburne, TX this year. Even though Maddy is holding a Texas Longhorns bobble-head, we still love her (and Gray made us proud by running around repeatedly shouting Boomer Sooner to counteract all of the longhorn fans in attendance).

 
This is part of my generation of cousins with their spouses and offspring from my step-dad's side of the family. We celebrated in Muskogee, OK this year. We had six "great grands" there which quickly made me appreciate my grandparents' patience from when I was a child and all 11 of us grand kids would come over for sleepovers and basically turn their house into total chaos. 

 This is Gray with his cousin Luke from my dad's side of the family. We hosted this Christmas Eve celebration at our house this year. This time next year we'll also have baby Jack joining these two rowdy boys (and hopefully my nephew Holten from North Carolina as well, hint hint).

Another shot of the boys with their new "pillow pets." So cute.

Our holiday season ended down in Houston with Michael's mom's side of the family. Here's Gray with his big cousin Blayne and new arrival Rhyann. She is such a good (and adorable) baby, it was so much fun to meet her in person after three long weeks of waiting.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday with you and yours!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A man of many words

This week, Gray has added a few new words and phrases to his vocabulary and they are keeping us on our toes.

Oh my gosh -- this isn't in conversation or in reference to anything, it's used randomly like when he's looking out the car window, and he makes sure to enunciate each word.

It's funny! -- this is typically used after Gray has done something questionable, such as throwing a toy for example, then Michael or I give him a stern look and he says in his best comedian voice, "It's funny!" and then giggles wildly. The problem is, it is funny but we can't show him that we're laughing inside.

I don't like it -- it comes out more along the lines of "I don't yike it" but you get the point. This is used on everything from toys that don't meet his expectations to food he doesn't want to eat. I'm not a fan. 

Why? -- yes, the dreaded question is upon us. We heard it several times over the weekend (most often directed at Michael, thank goodness) and I'm already ready for this to pass. So far he has stopped after asking why? once, but I'm sure he will quickly become insatiable.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Birthday Roxy!

Today "Good Girl" turns six! She remains crotchety for her age, but since it's her birthday we'll let that slide.

When we told Grayson that today was Roxy's birthday he began singing "Happy Birthday" and we all joined in. Roxy looked up from the shoes and clothes she was guarding in Mike's closet long enough to give us a look like we were crazy.

Even if we are a little nuts, I'm sure she won't mind a few extra treats tonight.

Friday, December 17, 2010

And the Tony goes to...

Grayson's Christmas program was this afternoon and I think he may have stolen the show. The twos, threes and four-year-olds all came up on stage in the church's fellowship hall and took their marks.

I was surprised to see Grayson positioned on the front row near the center and was hoping that meant maybe he had done well in practice. As we would come to find out, practice does not always make perfect.

Before the teachers even kicked off the first song, Grayson was crying. And I don't mean a little stage fright, I'm talking wailing, "I want my mommy!!!" over and over and over. I was toward the back of the room and thought he may calm down once the singing started so I stayed where I was. Classic rookie mom mistake.

The wailing continued and grew louder so I went up close to the stage hoping that if he saw me there doing some of the hand motions he would get back into the performance. No good. He was having none of it and despite his teacher also trying every trick in the book to salvage his singing, Grayson managed to cry through the ENTIRE performance. All. Five. Songs.

Several other kids also sobbed here and there, but managed to pull it together for at least part of the performance. After it was all over, the kids left the stage and the parents stuck around to have snacks with them. Grayson kept running from our table up onto the stage like he couldn't get enough of it. Really?

One of the dads of another kid in Gray's class came over and said, "That was the greatest thing I've ever seen. Great job Grayson." And I have to admit it was pretty entertaining, just not in the way I was expecting.

To top it off, he sang most of the way home in the car. Nice touch, son.

Here are a few videos if you can stand the wailing. Grayson's on the right side in a green sweater. Even if you can't see him, you'll be able to hear him above all of the other 24 kids.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What day is it?

Maybe it's just me, but I feel like the entire month of December is whizzing by in a blur. Between weekend trips for early family Christmas parties to celebrations throughout the week, our holiday season seems to be in overdrive this year.

Just when things start to get out of hand, Grayson finds a way to keep us laughing and reminds me to relax and enjoy the moment. I was going through some pictures and came across this one which captures one of his many recent moments of silliness when Gray scooped up his buddy Liam's hat and ran around singing in his reindeer footie pajamas.

This picture helps me remember to steal a few silly moments to enjoy during the rush of the season and I hope you can do the same.

Monday, December 13, 2010

What It's All About

This Friday is Gray's Christmas program at school and I must admit I think it's going to be a train wreck. That said, I'm sure it's going to be very entertaining all the same.

Gray's teachers sent home lyrics to the songs they've been learning and when I try to get him to practice he either sings about every other word or he insists on me singing while he does the dance moves.

Below is a video from tonight's rehearsal of Reindeer Pokey. You'll notice I'm the only one singing except for the end of a verse when Gray yells out, "POKEY!" as loud as he can. Hopefully the older kids at school will take care of the singing while our son flails about.

I'll do my best to capture video of the real performance in between fits of laughter, but for now please enjoy the latest dance craze, Reindeer Pokey:

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Doggy Discipline

Tonight we witnessed one of the funniest conversations Grayson has had to date. It was between him and Roxy and was quite serious.

Roxy doesn't like anyone within a four-foot radius of her food and water bowls while she's eating. If you get within this zone she starts growling under her breath and protecting her food.

This evening Grayson finished his dinner before Michael and I so he got out of his seat to practice the Christmas songs they've been learning at school for their upcoming program. Well, right in the middle of his rendition of Reindeer Pokey (set to the music of Hokey Pokey) Roxy started growling because he was too close to her food bowl.

Grayson immediately stopped singing and dancing, got very serious, pointed his finger and said, "no growling, Good Girl." When she kept on doing it he continued, "no growling, time out, house" (which means he was threatening to put her in her crate for a timeout).

Michael and I were cracking up at how serious he was and how much he sounded like a reflection of ourselves when we get on to him. Luckily for Roxy we intervened before he attempted to pick her up and take her to timeout.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hearding Cats

Last weekend our friends Rob and Michelle set up a photo shoot for The Three Amigos (Liam, Cora & Grayson) which I unfortunately had to miss because of a board retreat. Thankfully, Michael took some video in the brief moment that Grayson was sitting still. Cora on the other hand wasn't having any of it.

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It's amazing to me how big Gray looks compared to Liam and Cora even though the are less than a year apart. I guess it shows how much they change and grow during the toddler stage.

According to Michael and all the other parents, it was entertaining to watch the crazy camera guy try to wrangle and prompt three toddlers in an effort to capture all of their attention and smiles at the exact same moment. He probably should have gotten paid overtime for this bunch.

Somehow, the photographer managed to snap a few Kodak moments. Here are some of the highlights:



Monday, December 6, 2010

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

I'm very happy to report we put our tree up over the weekend and Grayson is starting to catch on to the whole idea of Christmas.

Topping the tree with a boost from daddy

Looks like we may need a little more help from daddy in the straightening department, but not bad for Gray's first try.

Part of what I love about Christmas is unwrapping the mismatched, hand-crafted ornaments and sentimental decorations that we've collected over the years. We made a hand print ornament with Grayson last year and it was fun to see how much his hand has grown.

We are also lucky enough to have some pretty crafty relatives who've created decorations including this poinsettia tree that lights from within which was made by Michael's great aunt Margaret. It was on display at Michael's grandma's house for years and now warms up our living room.

I also have a wooden Santa that my grandmother made. I'm glad it's kid-friendly because Grayson has taken a liking to it and every time I turn around it's on display in a different part of our house.

When I was a child, my Aunt Karen made this Santa doll for me and I loved on it year-round. It makes me so happy to see Grayson enjoying it now. He carries Santa around saying, "Ho ho ho!"

Once we got all the ornaments on the tree, Michael and I were packing up the boxes when we turned around to find Grayson (and the Santa doll) enjoying the tree lights from below. The look on his face was pure joy and it's a great reminder of what's important during a season when it's easy to get wrapped up in over-the-top expectations and unneeded stress.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cooking Up Some Fun

Grayson is all about helping these days so I recruited him for cooking duty this weekend. We made homemade pizza and caesar salad which both turned out pretty well. He very much enjoyed shaking the Parmesan cheese (you really can't ever have enough) and also taste testing the ingredients along the way.


Conducting a little quality control taste test of the salad. Not sure why a flashlight was also involved, but to each his own.

My proud little sous chef ready to pop his creation in the oven (FYI: despite his love of the oven mitt, I still handled that part)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Storytime

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Michael took this video on his phone from a while back and it gives us a good laugh when we watch it so I thought I would share it with you.

One of Gray's favorite books is the old classic, The Fire Engine Book. We've read it so many times that he has practically memorized what happens on each page.

In the video he's reading the book out loud as he flips the pages. Even though he is going from the back to the front, it doesn't seem to dampen his enthusiasm.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Baby Rhyann is Here!

I am so excited to announce that Michael's cousin Jennifer had her baby girl today! Baby Rhyann came earlier than expected, but all is well. She weighed in at 7 lbs 8 oz and was born at 2:11 p.m.

Since we're hundreds of miles away and cannot hold this sweet baby ourselves just yet, I stole these pictures off of Facebook (thanks, Lindy!). I swear the smirk on Rhyann's face reminds me of Michael's Grandma.

Here's one of the proud big brother Blayne. This picture makes me happy for many reasons, but most notably because he was wearing an OU shirt during this special occasion while living in a sea of UT and Texas A&M fans. I'm already eyeing an OU cheerleader outfit for Rhyann once she gets a little bigger. You gotta start 'em young, right?

Our love goes out to Jennifer, Robbie, Blayne and Miss Rhyann on this very special day. We love you guys!

What Happens In Texas...Stays in Texas

During our visit to Houston we attended a birthday party for Blayne, Grayson's big cousin who turned nine. I'm pretty sure Blayne owns every Nerf gun and toy ever made so needless to say all the kids at the party stayed quite entertained.

Grayson's dad and cousin Andrew got a kick out of getting Gray ready for battle with this little number complete with bandoleer. Gray didn't really know what to do since the gun was bigger than he was so he posed for a picture and then promptly took it off, returning to the cars and legos. That's my boy.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Neglected

Apologies for the shortage of posts lately, it's not from lack of material but lack of time. We enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving in Houston but got back late Sunday and still seem to be playing catch-up from the trip.

We came home to a street filled with lights on the houses and Christmas trees in the windows, but our house remains sadly dark.

One of the things I love most about Christmas is lighting the tree every evening when we get home from work. Well, the tree is still boxed up in the attic since we haven't been home to put it up and our evenings have been spent catching up on laundry, house chores and the like. I'm hopeful this weekend we'll be able to find our Christmas spirit.

I promise more updates will come soon. Grayson has been put on the official potty training track at school (he wears pull-ups now, not diapers at his teacher's request) and we get daily reports from our son as to the goings on in the bathroom. It's quite entertaining and for as observant as he is, you'd think he would be catching on a little faster to this whole thing. More on that later.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Don't you just love fall?

This weekend we took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather to tackle the first round of leaves in our yard. In addition to the three large oaks we have on our property, there's also another tree that hangs over our driveway but is technically our neighbor's.

Thanks to the strong northerly wind this past week, the bags and bags of leaves we raked were actually from our neighbor's tree. Ours still has most of its leaves attached. Awesome.

Anyway, the silver lining to all this hard work is watching Grayson discover the joy in romping around the piles of leaves. He even managed to help us rake a little without causing too much extra work.




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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Never a dull moment

Now that Grayson is more vocal I find myself saying things and having conversations I never thought I would have.

For example, this morning Grayson woke up at the crack of dawn (as usual) and came into our room to play tractor. Trying to hold on to a few more moments of sleep, I told him, "Keep the tractor on the ground please, no more driving on mommy's face."

Then this evening we were playing after dinner when he found a piece of paper on the coffee table. I asked him to go throw it in the trash and he excitedly obliged. Moments later I hear him crunching on a piece of apple which had been thrown away after dinner. This led me to explain that we don't eat food out of the trash can and that it's yucky.

There are too many of these oddball conversations in a day to try and remember. I can only imagine what is to come when we have to respond to the "why?" phase.

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's starting to sink in...

We've had a little progress on the potty front. Last week we had two successes at home and then tonight we were out to eat when Grayson said he needed to go potty.

This usually means he has just gone potty in his diaper, but we went through the routine anyway and I took him to the bathroom. He managed to dribble a little in the potty and I made a fool of myself praising him.

After washing his hands in the big sink (his favorite part of the whole thing) we went back out to the table to tell daddy. Before we got there, Grayson had to tell every table that we passed about his accomplishment. every. single. table.

So I walked through the entire restaurant with my son pointing to his crotch saying "pee pee potty" and everyone smiled and praised him (which only made him continue the behavior to the next table).

I'm hoping the whole potty training thing is starting to sink in a little. My goal was to get serious about big boy underpants during Christmas break, so fingers crossed we're on the right track!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mothers' Day Out


This afternoon I enjoyed quite a treat! My friend Michelle, aka Liam's mom, had an extra ticket to the OU vs. Texas Tech game so I jumped at the chance to join her.

Before we entered the stadium we stopped by the O Club which is a special tailgating area set up for alumni athletes/lettermen. Michelle was part of the OU women's gymnastics team which granted us access to the VIP event. While there we also learned that Michael is also on the O Club's list since he lettered in track and cross country while attending OU. Good to know! This is definitely a perk we'll be taking advantage of for future home games. Even if we don't have tickets, it's a fun place to tailgate and watch the game on huge screens while surrounded by lots of great Sooner fans.

After fueling up on some burgers we headed in to the stadium. As much as I hate to admit it, I haven't been to the OU stadium since I was in college. Despite living less than two miles from it, Michael and I haven't gone to any football games since we moved back from St. Louis four years ago.

Since my last visit, the university has added on two more upper decks, sky boxes, plus two super-sized jumbotron screens in each end zone. It's pretty spectacular.

I always find it interesting to be surrounded by so many people (approximately 85,000) and not see anyone I know. It's a humbling reminder of how big the world really is, even in a somewhat small town and state.

In addition to watching some great football, I always enjoy seeing the marching band. Like me, Michelle was also in marching band throughout high school so we could appreciate the experience together. The OU marching band sounded fantastic as always. Below is a shot of the drummajor and drumline which lead the band out for pregame.

I didn't manage to get any pictures of the new stadium additions, but below are some videos of the marching band. They are both from the pre-game show which got us fired up for OU's 45 to 7 victory over the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Boomer Sooner!

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Cars versus cartoons

Saturday mornings are one of the only times during the week that Gray watches TV. We usually let him watch Sesame Street and maybe Bob the Builder or whatever is on PBS.

This morning Michael took the opportunity to "redirect" Grayson's TV preferences to car shows. Gray and I were sitting on the couch as he was eating his oatmeal and (very strategically) Michael asked Gray if he'd like to watch car shows (before Gray could think to ask to watch Elmo).

Here's how it all went down:

Michael: Grayson, do you want to watch car shows?! (said in a very enthusiastic voice)

Gray: Yes! Car shows!

Me: Oh, man. Are you sure you want to watch car shows? (not very enthusiastic about learning to rebuild hot rods)

Gray: Yay, car shows!

Michael: Well, mama I guess you're out numbered (smiling with glee)

Then Grayson goes and settles in to the chair with daddy to watch car shows, but as Michael turns on the TV Gray says, "Boomer Sooner ball?" (i.e. OU football). Luckily for daddy the game is not on until this afternoon when he will then be out numbered.

And so it begins. I have a feeling I better get used to car shows.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Random Updates

We've had lots of blog-worthy moments this week but there isn't really a way to tie them all together, so I'll just throw them out stream-of-consciousness style.

The time change seemed to work in our favor while traveling to Houston last weekend, but has come back to bite us a little each morning since then. Grayson has been waking up progressively earlier and earlier every day this week. We try telling him it's still nighttime, yet the early bird is so "bright eyed and bushy tailed" (as my mom would say) that it's kind of funny. Michael, of course, doesn't see the humor since he's such a night owl and has just gone to bed a few hours before this all takes place.

Yesterday morning (after waking up in the five o-clock hour) Grayson was unusually fussy and would cry at the drop of a hat. I chalked it up to a long week of early mornings finally catching up to him. Later that day I had a dentist appointment and it occurred to me that he may be getting his two-year molars. Last night I felt in the back of his mouth and two large mounds have popped up on his bottom gumline. No wonder he's been cranky! Fingers crossed they come in quickly.

Gray's vocabulary continues to amaze and entertain us. Michael and I will be talking about something at dinner when we notice there seems to be an echo. We're so used to being able to vent to each other on our commute home or over dinner that I'm realizing we probably need to use more discretion since he's soaking so much up.

One of my favorite parts of the day is tucking Grayson in at night. He typically goes down very well and gives great goodnight hugs. Sometimes he'll say "talking mommy" which means he wants to talk a little before I leave. We talk about his day or I make up a story and then I say "Good night, I love you, sweet dreams" and he echos "night night, mommy" in his sweet little boy voice. It's something so simple, but it makes me smile and I enjoy seeing him catch on and also love our bedtime routine.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

An A.D.D. Concert

Lately Grayson has been enjoying singing. He'll burst into song at the most random times. Usually it's the A, B, Cs, but he also likes the Itsy Bitsy Spider and If You're Happy & You Know It.

Of course, when I try to capture any of it on camera he clams up or turns around. I finally managed to get half of a song out before he got distracted by a shiny object. I'm not joking. He was singing and then suddenly took an interest in the floor lamp that was on behind me.

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Farmer Grayson

During our trip to Houston we stopped by to see Aunt Karen and Uncle Steve's newly remodeled house and Gray got the surprise of his life...driving a tractor! As you can see, we're not talking about a glorified riding lawnmower, I mean a real tractor with a bucket lifter thingy and all.

Michael's cousin Andrew rode along and showed Gray how to work all the levers, including how to move the bucket and honk the horn.

Grayson was pretty much in shock throughout the entire experience. He woke up Sunday morning with a new love for Bob the Builder when it came on PBS. Normally that show doesn't hold his attention, but after driving a tractor, Grayson couldn't take his eyes off of the characters (which are talking/moving construction equipment like tractors and bulldozers).

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Road Warriors

We just returned from a very quick two-day trip to Houston and I've never been more thankful to gain an hour of sleep than I am this weekend.

While there we celebrated the upcoming arrival of Rhyann (the first girl in Grayson's generation of cousins) with a very pink baby shower. I've never seen so many adorable little girl clothes. It's funny how different shower gifts are for baby girls versus boys. Nobody can resist those tiny bows and adorable socks that look like mary jane's!

As an added bonus to the shower, we were able to catch up with most of the extended family on Michael's mom's side which was long over-due and is always so much fun. Our trip also got me in the holiday spirit since my favorite part is seeing all of our many sides of family and watching Gray interact with everyone.

Of course, when the gang's all together we have to take some party pics. Here are Michael's cousins with their significant others and offspring.

Jennifer (Michael's cousin that's expecting) also has a son Blayne. He's nine and way cooler than Grayson, but he muddles through the matching shirts his mother buys and somehow musters up a smile for our cameras. Meanwhile, Grayson thinks it's the coolest thing ever to match his big cousin and we couldn't get him to stop smiling (or stop saying cheeeeese) if we tried.


These two pictures crack me up. The one above shows Blayne's forced smile and the one below shows how Gray can't seem to get enough of his big cousin.

The boys did manage to find some common ground...race cars. Uncle Steve brought over a jar full of cars and a mat with roads on it which led to hours of entertainment for the whole family.

P.S. I thought you might want to know that Roxy made the trip home with us. I'll keep you posted on all that drama as it unfolds.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Houston, We Have A Problem

I haven't written about Roxy in a while and it's probably because she hasn't been on my good side in quite some time. Realizing this (and the resulting relocation assistance that was about to become Roxy's reality), Michael stepped in and has been working with her to resolve some of her doggy issues.

Miss Roxy has always had a tendency to guard things. I'm talking about weird things like throw pillows that fall on the living room floor, Gray's stuffed animals that end up all over our house, socks and so on. We used to keep some small blankets folded up in a corner of our living room, but she would "protect" them and growl or lunge at you whenever you got within a three-foot radius of her.

Every morning before we go to work we go through the same routine of trying to not get bitten as we pick her up to crate her since she's over protecting something in the living room.

The protective behavior has become increasingly aggressive over the last several months and I'm afraid that Grayson will be on the receiving end of it. He's very good about staying away when she growls, but I don't want him to grow up being afraid of dogs.

I used to believe that Roxy would never bite, but now that she's older (and crotchety) I know that's not true.

Roxy has many other quirks that add to the list of annoyances and I had come to the end of my rope last weekend and was ready to relocate Roxy to Nana and Popper's house in Houston or any stranger who may be interested. Michael, being the ever-patient and loving pet owner, did additional online research (more than he ever read up on pregnancy or parenting by the way) and has implemented some changes which seemed to have helped Roxy's behavior.

She still has a long way to go (in my book) but I can see a few signs of improvement. Time will tell if it sticks and if she stays. I know there would be a void in our house without her and part of me would be heartbroken to see her go, but the practical side of me is wearing thin.

Oh how far we've come from the days of sweet little Rox-star being our furry child. And as if she knows what I'm saying about her, she just released a horrible gas bomb while lying next to me as I type this. Yet another tick mark in the adoption column.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Gray's Anatomy

Grayson has recently taken an interest in giving himself a "bath" after we give him the official scrub down in the tub. He takes great care in washing his face and body.

This is how the conversation unfolded tonight once daddy handed over the washcloth to Grayson.

Me: Grayson, did you be sure and wash your toes?

Gray: Yes, piggies.

Me: Did you wash your knees and elbows?

Gray: Yes, knees and elmos.

Me: Do you mean your ell-bbbows?

Gray: Yes, EL-MOS.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I finished the goldfish costume just in the nick of time. Grayson was able to wear it to school today for their Halloween party. It was the only handmade costume in his class (which gave me a gold star with his teacher), but I must say some of the other kiddos were pretty cute in their own right.

Here are a couple of his friends. Spiderman is one of Gray's best buds, Ethan.

This is Gray's other BFF Baxter. They were born five days apart. Baxter was a dragon and his older brother was a knight. Pretty cute.

Other than the costumes, it was all about snack time. Michael and I both managed to make it for the party where I always enjoy watching how Grayson interacts with his friends and teachers. I learned something very interesting about my son today...

It all began like any normal party. The kids gathered around and were excited about the snacks. Grayson went for the grapes before the cheese puffs and cookies which made my heart happy.

One by one the kids got distracted and left the table to go play. Meanwhile, Grayson decided his costume was getting in the way of his snacking ability and asked that we take off his hoodie.

Cut to 10 minutes later and all the kids have been up playing for a while and Gray is still eating.

Finally, about 15 minutes after the party was over (and Grayson was still eating) we decided to take the plate away so he would actually eat a little dinner. I couldn't believe he sat there for so long totally content while all the other kids ran around on a sugar high. This kid is a bottomless pit.