Sunday, June 27, 2010

(Grand)mothers know best

Last night my Mom and Stepdad kept Grayson for the night. I didn't realize how much we could use a break until she made the offer. Guess she could tell it was needed which makes me even more thankful.

Michael and I were able to attend the wedding of a family friend sans-kiddo and enjoyed taking our time catching up with old friends. We ended up having to leave the reception a bit early because Gray decided to randomly throw up at my mom's.

We drove to her house and found him sleepy and slightly feverish, but by the time we were going to load him up to go home he was running around like his usual self, playing and laughing. She bravely decided to keep him anyway and luckily it was an isolated incident, so they were able to enjoy the rest of his stay.

Michael and I spent the rest of the evening hanging out with friends and we actually managed to sleep in until 10:40 a.m. this morning. I can't even remember the last time I slept that late. It was lavish and wonderful.

Thanks, Mom, for knowing what we needed even before we did.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Stream of Consciousness

I'm back at work this week despite my sister, niece, nephew and dad still staying with us. We've been packing a lot into our time together, leaving no time to even think about posting updates.

There are lots of moments I want to capture, but honestly I'm so tired and distracted that I don't really have the energy to cleverly record everything. Here are a few updates in no particular order:
  • Grayson is beginning to say a lot of two-word sentences. His current favorite is "Go daddy go!" which probably means Michael drives too fast. Most of the time we hear this phrase while stopped at a stoplight or exiting the interstate and making the roundabout.
  • My sister took my 8-year-old niece Kayla on a tour of the OU campus today. Amy told her about dorm life and how the rooms are shared and Kayla said no thanks...she plans on living with us when attending OU. While I hope that she does become a Sooner when the time comes and I'd love for her to stay with us, I doubt she'll still want to live with her boring old aunt and uncle.
  • My nephew Holten is a blue-eyed, laid back kiddo, but I've also discovered he's a stubborn faker just like his mama. He loves to cruise around the room, but refuses to take any unassisted steps. He's strong enough and capable, but when you try to get him to walk from one person to another his legs suddenly become noodles and he acts like he doesn't even know how to stand. Just like his mama, he's going to do things on his own terms (but he's so cute and cuddly that I'm forced to play along and hold him).
  • Earlier this week Grayson passed an elevator at his school and curiously pushed the button. The doors immediately opened and he was so scared by it that he ran to the closest teacher (in the nursery) to take cover. The other nearby teachers had a good laugh for the rest of the day.
  • Last night Grayson woke up at 2:30 a.m. crying and saying "mine!" When I went in to check on him he was reaching for a plastic blow-up lion toy that sits in the corner of his room. He wanted it in his crib, but since it's big and plastic there was no way I was going to allow that. After letting him get down and give the lion a hug, I quickly collected a few nearby stuffed animals he could cuddle up next to. The down side to him being able to verbally communicate is that when we don't give in to his requests, a meltdown usually ensues (particularly in the middle of the night). Fun times.
  • Gray loves to sit on his little potty. We have yet to commit to actual potty training (we're in the self-imposed "learning about the potty" stage), but he likes to sit on it in the mornings when we get ready for work. I probably should mention he's fully clothed while doing this. I know this is yet another sign that he's ready to get serious about training, I just can't seem to get my mind wrapped around the idea.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cousins' Club

In our family, bonds between cousins are like bonds between siblings. Since Holten and Kayla are in town from North Carolina, we've been spending a lot of time hanging out with cousins.

Here are a few shots of the family fun:

Holten, Luke & Grayson (aka the Three Amigos)

Kayla (the lone girl and our little fish) swam for nearly 12 hours straight on Saturday. She's so good with the boys and likes to take care of them and gives plenty of hugs.

Luke taking a break to catch some rays

Luke & Grayson getting a talkin' to about running in the restaurant (and Gray saying "cheeeese" instead of listening)

Grayson showing Holten how all his fun toys work

My favorite quote from the weekend came from Suzanne (my cousin) telling her three-year-old son Luke (who was whining about Grayson being his constant shadow)..."Grayson is your cousin. That means you're best friends. Get over it. Embrace it. And move on." So Luke did embrace it and by Sunday he was actually asking where Gray was when there came a rare moment he wasn't right by his side.

A Son's Love

Happy Father's Day to a dad who plays with me, comforts me, and always makes time to sit and listen.
Love, Grayson

Friday, June 18, 2010

Summer Rental

This week we've been on vacation and it has been a whirlwind of fun. It kicked off last weekend with a visit from Michael's parents and then we left Monday for a trip to Lake Tenkiller with sixteen friends and family members.

The group represented four states and three generations. My dad's childhood friend (also named Steve) drove in from Colorado with his family (wife Nancy, and grown children Michael, Carol & Jennifer whom my sister and I grew up vacationing with every few years) and we were able to introduce the next generation of the Matli/Schultz clans to one another.

My sister Amy also drove in from North Carolina with her husband Ben and their children Kayla and Holten. Between Grayson, Holt, and Carol's son Zachary, we had three boys under age three, plus Kayla and Michael's daughter Aaliyah who were both around eight. (Are you keeping all of this straight?)

It all added up to many different schedules (since we all came from different time zones), but it was so much fun catching up and reliving our many adventures with these two families.

I will admit, I wasn't very good about taking pictures. Grayson was all over the place exploring and my camera never seemed to be handy. We even took a group shot the final day, but I didn't get one on my camera. Here are the few snapshots I managed to capture:

(My) Michael, Dad, Grayson & Aaliyah next to our boat

Grayson taking us for a spin

Ben swimming with Holten and Carol with Grayson. The babies LOVED the water!

Holt & Gray enjoying a bath
Holten eating some grub (he's 8.5 months younger than Gray but wears the same size clothes and is several pounds heavier. I can't get enough of this kid's cute!)
Nancy, Gray, Dad & Jennifer
After the Matli's left to make their long drive home, my Aunt Karen & Uncle Bill drove over for the day with my cousin Suzanne and her son Luke. I actually did managed to get in on the group shot this time around.

After spending the week in the sun and the water, we came home and Roxy was so excited to see us she sprained one of her back legs. She's now limping very badly and Michael took her to the vet to get it all checked out. They said it will just take time to heal and gave her some pain meds to help in the meantime.

Our pool had also been opened while we were gone, but a breaker for the pump switched off so the water wasn't clearing up. Our garage door is also not working, so we have several issues to deal with now that we're home. So much for rest and relaxation!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Here We Go

Michael and I are begrudgingly getting on the potty training bandwagon. Nana and Popper (Michael's parents) were in town over the weekend and helped us pick out two potty-related books.

Since Grayson is so into books and Elmo, the book Potty Time with Elmo seemed like a perfect fit.

We also brought the small training potty out of the closet and gave it a few test runs over the weekend. He never actually did anything in it, but seems to enjoy sitting on it.

After telling me he needed to pee pee, I sat him on the real toilet one time and had a total mommy moment with my little baby smiling up at me. I told him I can't believe he's so big and we're already at this phase of life. I knew he had actually just gone in his diaper, but I figured we still needed to go through the motions in the name of education.

I'm sure this will be a very, very long process, but after making a point to watch for the signs of potty training readiness over the last week, we realized he is showing most, if not all, of them and it was his parents that were the hold up.

Wish us luck on this endeavor. I'm really, really not looking forward to this.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Breakfast Burrito with a side of Benadryl

We found out (the hard way) on Grayson's first birthday that he is allergic to eggs. We made homemade ice cream to go along with the cupcakes and he ended his party puking and getting an impromptu bath.

We thought maybe he was just allergic to the eggs because they were raw in the ice cream and there was a high concentration of them. He's always been able to eat foods with eggs baked into them (such as cookies and other desserts), but when they fed him quiche at school one time shortly after his birthday, his egg allergy was confirmed once again (in another very messy way).

Since it's somewhat common for kids to have egg allergies, I was hoping this was something he'd outgrow, but after giving him a small amount of eggs this morning we confirmed once again that he's still allergic. He didn't puke, but he did break out in hives all over his face and was constantly itching his ears.

I quickly gave him Benadryl at the first signs of puffiness, so it kicked in before things got too bad. I guess he could still outgrow the allergy over the next few years, but I've got a hunch that this is one reaction that may stick with him for life.

I think it stems from Michael's allergy to chicken (and all poultry), even though he can eat eggs without incident. Michael's mom (aka Nana) also tested positive for a poultry allergy a while back, but she can eat it (and eggs) without having any reactions.

All-in-all I think they've got some kind of hereditary gene against poultry and eggs that manifests itself differently over each generation. For now, we'll keep the Benadryl close and the eggs off our regular menu.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Signal Congruence

Families all have their own special language or word associations that evolve over the years and my family's language happens to include many words that either have dual meaning or words that are made up altogether.

My little sister Emily was very good at this skill as a child and coined many terms which we still use today. Over the last 10 years, Michael has learned these words and integrated them into his own vocabulary which is the equivalent of some strange passage and acceptance as part of our immediate family.

Lately, I've come to realize that Michael and Grayson also like to coin words and phrases. The inspiration for my blog title actually came from a conversation I recently had with Mike. Something sparked a discussion about why we are compatible as a couple and he said we were "signal congruent" as in we understand each others thoughts and emotions, both expressed and implied. Sounds just like a Hallmark card, right?

As part of Grayson's vocabulary development, I find it interesting to see the meaning he attaches to various words (which actually mean something else). Here's a short list of examples:
  • Bubbles = water (like from a hose or sprinkler)
  • Good girl = his name for Roxy (though she's been far from good lately, but that's a story for a different post)
  • Hot = don't touch (even if it's not something hot like the oven)
I can only imagine the words that will be added to our family vocabulary as Grayson grows up. I just hope I will remember to capture them along the way.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Two Peas in a Pod

Grayson and his big cousin Luke had a swimming play date over the weekend. Now that Gray is getting big enough to hang with Luke, it's so much fun to watch them interact.

According to his mom, Luke doesn't like to share his special chair with anyone (and she means ANYONE!). I think he loves his little cousin a lot.

Gray pretty much spent the entire time trying to keep up with Luke and act like a big kid.

The boys and their dinosaurs.

Here Luke is "watering" Grayson so he will grow. It's so funny how kid's minds work.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Just a little off the top

This weekend I decided it was time to trim up Grayson's hair. He doesn't really have enough hair to justify a professional haircut, but it was getting a little unruly so I decided to take matters into my own hands.

Michael was pretty skeptical about the whole thing, so he was quick to grab the camera and document the recipe for disaster.

First off, it was all about the set-up. We covered Gray with a towel and propped him up with a snack and Elmo DVD...he wasn't going to move a muscle.

Here's a before shot:

Michael had me pretty nervous from his lack of confidence. I can't imagine why he thought it wouldn't turn out well. Just because I can't cut a straight line to save my life is beside the point.

Here's the after...not a drastic change, but cleaned up around the neck and ears.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Crib Streaker

Like his shoes, Grayson has learned to take off his clothes and (unfortunately) his diaper. Usually, this isn't a big deal because he does it in preparation for a bath or to change into his pajamas. That was, until tonight.

I put Gray down for bed using our normal routine and after laying him down in his crib, left the room without him making a peep. He was quiet for about 15 minutes and then all of a sudden began crying. I thought it may have been because our neighbor had just begun mowing his lawn which is close to Grayson's bedroom.

The cries turned quickly into a more desperate sounding scream and I rushed in the room to find him sans pajama pants and diaper. Once I turned on the light I realized he had pooped which is probably why he took off his diaper in the first place, but since he's not the most careful clothing-taker-offer he had created quite a mess.

I think he was crying because he didn't know what to do. He knew he wasn't supposed to take all of that off, but he also couldn't go to sleep that way. I didn't get on to him since he seemed scared enough by not being able to fix the situation so I changed the sheets, got him a new diaper and pajamas, and rocked him a little to settle him back down.

I feel like this whole diaper situation is the latest step in his fascination with the toilet and going potty. We weren't planning to move into potty training mode until the end of the year, but I'm wondering if all of this is a sign that he's ready to begin or is it just a development stage. He loves supervising Michael and I using the bathroom and likes to wave bye to the toilet after its flushed.

We've begun associating words with the potty and with whatever happens in his diaper, but I'm still not sure he is at the point where he would "get it" proactively before he needs to go.

Any thoughts from those of you potty training experts out there? Help!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Grayson at 21 months

I feel like there is so much to say about how Grayson has changed this last month.

He is such a little boy now, full of energy and emotion and silliness.

His current favorite things include books and Elmo (still), swinging in our backyard, giving full body hugs and kisses, and testing the line between minding and getting disciplined.

It's been a rough month in terms of allergies, teething on his final two teeth and recovering from a sinus infection. The health issues have made him considerably fussy which seems more pronounced since that's not his usual nature.

The silver lining to all of this is that because of his expanded vocabulary, most of the time he can communicate what is wrong. That said, he does sometimes get his words confused, like the other night when we were eating dinner and he started bawling. He kept saying, "hot, hot" but the food wasn't hot. We later realized he was meaning hurt or ouch because it was hurting to chew his food since he has two bottom teeth trying to cut through.

He has also started putting together two-word sentences and sometimes asks "what?" as he points to something if he doesn't know the word.

The best part of this age is his genuine and uninhibited displays of affection. Grayson is not shy about giving out hugs and lately he's begun hugging us tightly with his little chubby arms around our neck. He will also hold my face in his hands when he wants a kiss. This is one phase I don't ever want to pass!

Another trait I've noticed more lately has more to do with Michael and I than with Grayson -- the ability to improvise. Grayson is interacting with us on a more intelligent level emotionally and verbally which means the old standby tricks don't always entertain him these days, as he isn't as easily distracted.

On the weekends, we're having to come up with new activities and more complex ways to stimulate Grayson both mentally and physically. Before, I knew he was building a vocabulary, but it was more about identifying things and pairing them with the right word. Now, he seems to be actually interacting with us and thinking things through in a more critical way. No wonder two-year-olds are so tricky to discipline!

Speaking of are two short videos of how we entertained Grayson while Michael and I got a little yard work done over the weekend. Who knew a bucket of water could be so much fun?!