Sunday, May 30, 2010

Home Improvement Mikey-style

Swapping out a few post lamps. Seems fairly straightforward and simple, right? Of course not.

Here's one of three old post lights we were replacing. (I forgot to take "before" pictures when they were actually on the posts)

But before I can get to the "after" pictures we had one giant dead branch standing in the way. It died in the ice storm two years ago and still has yet to fall. The problem is that if it ever decided to fall on its own, it would likely land right on top of one of our new post lamps which means Michael had to figure out a way to get it down prior to installing the new light.

Here he is assessing the situation. The dead branch cluster is technically in our neighbor's tree, but it hangs over our property line and they are out of town so it is now our problem.

This video shows Michael's first attempt at pulling the branch down. It involved standing on top of the column and yanking randomly.
video

Then he did a lot of pulling from ground level. That helped get down a majority of the branches one of which did manage to fall right on the spot where the post lamp would have been.

And finally, when all else fails he decides to get on the roof with the extended saw thingy. I was standing by to either ship the footage off to America's Funniest Home Videos or call the ambulance, whichever came first.

I'm happy to say the crazy tactics worked and he managed to muscle the entire dead area down. Once that happened, installing the new lights took only a matter of minutes. What do you think?

Traditional versus Mid-Century


Next up, changing out the brown porch posts for more mid-century ones custom designed by Michael and inspired by the square pattern in our rod iron courtyard fence. But first he's trying to convince me we need to buy a table saw. Always something!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Trying Something Different

This afternoon Grayson decided he wasn't going to take his normal two-hour nap. This made for a long day for his parents so Michael's philosophy was if the boy wasn't going to sleep, then it was time to burn some energy at the park.

I wasn't a fan of this plan for a number of reasons, mostly because it was over 90 degrees today and they departed right in the heat of the day. The silver lining was that it did allow for me to get a few things done I had planned for naptime, so in the end I gave in and sent them on their way with lots of water.





By the time they were done playing, they were both so hot that Michael poured water all over Gray. They also decided it was time to come home and eat popsicles.
"Honk, Honk" (this is Grayson doing the "honk your horn" sign Michael taught him for semi-trucks)

Although it appears the boys had fun, tomorrow I think we'll give naptime another try.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Investment Tip

I wish we owned stock in Kleenex. I'm not even sure if they are publicly traded, but we should own some kind of share with the amount of Kleenex we've burned through in the 20+ months that Grayson has been alive.

His nose is a constant faucet which makes it difficult to spot ear infections and colds since his nose drips even when he's not sick. Case in point, this morning's commute.

Grayson fussed and cried -- and I mean FUSSED and CRIED -- nearly the entire 30 minute car ride. Even his favorite books seemed to cause mass hysteria, making it a terrible way to start the day.

Later at work I began thinking that his fussiness may not be a toddler phase issue but instead may be caused from lack of sleep the last several nights. His usual nasal drainage has been on overdrive the last week or so and recently turned into a nighttime cough once we lay him down.

I ended up taking him to the doctor this afternoon and learned that in fact he does have a sinus infection. We've started our first dose of antibiotics and I'm praying they kick in quickly.

While we were waiting at Target to get the prescription filled, I walked over to the shoe section to see if they had any shoes that might stay on his feet. We tried on some crocks and when I went to put them back he had a total meltdown. Not in a tantrum kind of way, but more emotional like they were his favorite blankey or something.

Before you even ask...yes, I ended up buying them and I must say I'm not ashamed to admit it. With the entertainment they've given him this evening alone they were worth the $8 investment, plus they are going to be darn cute with his bathing suit this summer.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Buddies

It's been a while since I've posted an update about Grayson and his best buds Liam and Cora. Most often, we see each other on impromptu walks or everyday cookouts, so I don't think to grab my camera. Since both Liam and Cora are approaching their one-year birthdays, I thought it was time for a few updated snapshots.

One thing you may notice is it looks like they all go to the same barber. Apparently, the caesar/buzz cut is the ticket to being "in" with this threesome.

Pajama parties are always popular with this crowd, but they do prefer to sleep in their own cribs and pack-n-plays. I'm sure someday soon we'll be creating big floor pallets for the kiddos.

Cora is a jumping bean, but doesn't mind taking a quick break for hugs.


Grayson still seams so big and burly compared to the two youngsters, but Liam is quickly building his mobility skills and is sure to take his first unassisted steps any day.

This picture makes me flash forward a few years when they can all talk and scheme against us...

Scheming? What? Not these angels...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Zoo-mania

Today Grayson had his first visit to the Oklahoma City Zoo. We are lucky to have a great zoo here and my mom and I were excited to watch him discover the animals.

We only planned to explore the new children's zoo area and maybe see a few other exhibits, but Gray did so well we were able to see nearly the entire zoo. We were all hot, hungry and worn out by the time it was over. Tonight it was all he could do to finish his dinner, bathe and was in bed before 7 p.m. (something that hasn't happened in a long time).

Here are some of the day's highlights:


Hello there!


Hugs for Mr. Giraffe

In a nod to my sister Amy, we got Grayson his first animal mold-a-rama (aka a plastic animal shape that is molded as you watch). This oddball contraption was one of our childhood favorites. We decided on a lion since Gray seemed to like that exhibit and likes to ROAR!


Sometimes you gotta let a bit of silly out


Just to prove all the animals weren't bronze statues, here's an animal I discovered for the first time today and must say, I think is on my list of favorites. Business in the front (solid brown like a deer), party in the back (like a zebra).



Grayson also really loved the bird exhibits. He likes watching a Cardinal family in our backyard and the colorful combinations he saw today really seemed to impress him.






Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Superstition

As you've probably seen in the news recently, our area has had several rounds of tornadoes and severe weather. Tonight was yet another day of storm outbreaks, but we (and our house) got through it unscathed.

Growing up in Oklahoma, I pay attention to the weather coverage but don't get overly worked up about it. Now that we have an extremely anxious dog and small child to also protect, I will admit I've cleaned out the interior hall closet in case we need to take quick cover.

Tonight I realized something about myself when it comes to tornado alerts -- I've subconsciously developed a superstitious routine. If I'm barefoot I always put on shoes (and always the same pair of sneakers) and I place some pillows in the hallway. We have yet to actually "take cover" in the hall, but somehow going through this routine makes me feel like it will keep the tornadoes at bay.

Hopefully by writing this down I'm not jinxing our house. I share this in case it's the secret recipe for redirecting severe weather. Feel free to give it a try.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Shoes

Grayson's trick of the week is undoing the velcro on his shoes and taking them off only to get frustrated when he can't get them back on exactly the same way. Yesterday when we picked him up from school he was barefoot because he had taken his shoes off so many times that his teachers finally just left them off.

Today when we arrived he had his shoes on, but was sitting in the timeout chair because of taking them off over and over again.

He knows he's not supposed to do this, but apparently can't resist even if it lands him in timeout. The reason I know he knows it's wrong is because when he brings his shoes to you to help put them back on he does so regretfully like he knows a timeout is coming, but he's resigned himself to that fact as long as it means putting his shoes back on.

If any of you have tips for nipping this in the bud, I'm all ears.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Man of Extremes

Another Sunday evening rolls around too soon, but we had a very full and fun weekend. We spent lots of time working on the house, hanging with friends, playing outside, going on bike rides and eating great food.

Grayson is becoming a man of extremes as he works through new emotions and skills. He's starting to initiate hugs and kisses which basically turn my heart into mush, while at the other end of the spectrum he is also pushing the boundaries of discipline.

We've had a record number of time outs this weekend and a record number of hugs. It's not that Grayson doesn't mind, it's more like he goes from doing something he's not supposed to, then minds when you get on to him, then a minute later turns around and does something completely different he's not supposed to do. Of course, we try to be consistent in our discipline which means we wind up feeling like an enforcer constantly on alert.

I keep telling myself that we're getting our bluff in now to lay the groundwork for the rest of his childhood so it's worth it to stay the course, but sometimes I really get tired of having to dish out the discipline. I know Michael feels the same and it would be so much easier if we just had to deal with hugs all day, but I guess that's not what toddlerhood is all about.

If this is the worst of the terrible twos we'll pray for patience and move on, but something tells me it may get worse before getting better.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday Holten!

Just wanted to give a quick shout out to my favorite nephew Holt who turns the big ONE today! Happy birthday big guy! We can't wait to celebrate with you in person next month!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Street Cred

Several years ago before Grayson was even a glimmer in our eyes, I gave a speech for work at a Mothers of Preschoolers (aka MOPS) group. This gathering of young mothers was held in a local church and I very distinctly remember going in thinking I would have all kinds of things in common with these women who were, after all, around my age. Quite the opposite happened and I left feeling like I was from a different planet.

It wasn't that the ladies weren't welcoming, it was just that once they found out I wasn't a mother (and at the time wasn't even considering having children other than Roxy) the conversation seemed to wane. As they swapped child-related stories, I listened intently but had nothing significant to contribute back to the conversation. I dutifully gave my speech and they were an attentive audience, but I still felt like I briefly entered into an alternate universe.

I had never really experienced a situation where my personal life impacted my professional life in terms of perception, but it was eye opening to say the least.

Fast forward two plus years and I was invited to speak at a different MOPS group which took place this morning. I was looking forward to it now that I could do the secret mommy handshake and despite being a full-time working mom, felt I would be more relatable with the group. I'm happy to report that I didn't leave feeling like an alien. I'm still quite intrigued by the whole social experiment aspect of the mom/non-mom and working in-home/out-of-home dynamic. I may make a career out of researching this in my next life.

Now if I could just figure out a way to get the senior citizen groups I speak with to stop referencing my age it would be a home run. Guess that will have to come with time and a few more gray hairs.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Eating our Words

We just returned from a long weekend in Houston. After flying with Grayson last summer to North Carolina, we came back promising not to fly with him again until he was much, much older. While I wouldn't consider 20 months much older, we decided to bite the bullet and fly instead of drive so we could spend more time with family.

This time around we had a secret weapon: Elmo DVDs! Again, we had to eat our words that we wouldn't plop Grayson in front of a portable DVD player when traveling, but that's exactly what we did and it kept him still the better part of the flight.

It was fun to watch Grayson take in the planes, baggage carts, 30,000-foot view and much more. He was busy observing it all and enjoyed making new friends at every turn.

This is probably the last time we'll get away with flying and not buying Gray his own seat and I must say I'm glad we did it. An unanticipated benefit to flying was that it put us home before the tornadoes hit our area this evening. We were alarmingly close to where one touched down, but am happy to report we got home safely and without damage. So far we still even managed to keep our power, but are being told to conserve water because a pump at Lake Thunderbird (our city's water source) was damaged.

As many of you have probably seen on the news, it could have been much worse, so we're snuggled in at home counting our blessings (Elmo DVDs included).




Friday, May 7, 2010

Changing of the Seasons

I read a quote in a newspaper article this week comparing life to the changing seasons. It wasn't referring to aging necessarily, but more like looking at daily life as an ebb and flow that is constantly evolving and therefore we should learn to roll along with it by anticipating and embracing change, even if it means embracing the unknown. The quote was timely since this weekend marks several life changing occasions for us.

Of course, the obvious is Mother's Day for which I have found new and special meaning these last few years. Not only am I even more grateful for my mother, step-mother, mother-in-law and numerous aunts, grandmothers and great-aunts/grandmothers that have influenced my life, but I am also blessed to have many wonderful friends that are mothers and confidants beside me.

This weekend also marks a couple of other life changes in our house, two of which fell on the same weekend six years ago to the day. Saturday is our sixth wedding anniversary (and tenth year together) and Sunday is the six year "anniversary" of when we learned of my father's cancer. Not wanting to ruin our wedding day (which happened to be a surprise ceremony for our friends and family), my dad waited until the next day to surprise us with the news that he was beginning cancer treatment the following week.

Thankfully, my dad has been in remission for several years now but this time of year always reminds me of life's ebbs and flows which can take us from joy to fear to a whole range of emotions which hopefully eventually lead back to joy again.

Whatever season you may be experiencing in your life at the moment, I hope you will embrace it -- maybe even take time to celebrate it -- and learn from it what you can. Since we cannot control the weather, all we can focus on is our ability to adapt. And maybe dress in layers.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Honk Honk

On the commute home tonight, Michael taught Grayson how to signal semi-truck drivers to honk their horn. One actually responded in the middle of rush hour traffic and I couldn't believe it.

Grayson didn't seem to care much about the honking, he was more entertained by mimicking his daddy and saying "honk, honk!"

Then the plan backfired a little when we got home and proceeded to hear "honk, honk" throughout dinner. Whoops!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Grayson at 20 months

I just realized that I never posted a 19-month update for Grayson. Oops! Guess time got away from me.

These days, Gray continues to be a vocal busy-body that entertains us one minute and challenges our parental skills the next. We've had one throw-your-body-on-the-floor meltdown and I have a feeling the closer we get to two, the more we may see.

The tantrum was over the strangest thing. His sippy cup of milk had gotten dirty so Michael took it away and was washing it. I was going to get him a clean one, but before I could he threw himself down on our kitchen floor and was crying hysterically. Michael and I were both shocked and a little caught off guard.

We all managed to somehow survive but I'm still in disbelief that we're already entering the "terrible two" phase.

He also has a seemingly constant runny nose that we are attributing to allergies. I'll be happy when spring is behind us and his nose isn't in need of wiping.

On a much brighter note, Grayson's current hobbies include swinging and sliding whenever possible, eating like a bottomless pit, and reading books over and over and over.

We've introduced him to several Sesame Street podcasts and he's now working on saying a lot of the characters' names. Before, he only cared about MoMo (Elmo), but now he also recognizes Grover, Grouch (Oscar the Grouch), Bert and Big Bird.

Counting is another skill he's working on, but he doesn't seem to be interested in colors yet. If he turns out to be colorblind his daddy's heart may break a little.

He's doing better with saying "thank you" unprompted and will even give hugs and kisses bye upon departure. He's been able to see a lot of all of his grandparents lately and loves them all to no end. He barely gives his parents the time of day when they are around.

Soon we'll be in Houston showing off all of Grayson's new skills to Michael's extended family. They haven't seen him in person since just after Christmas, so he'll be full of party tricks.