Thursday, July 29, 2010

I'm with the Band

Some dads push their kids into sports at a very young age. Not Grayson's dad. Michael is obsessed with the idea of Grayson playing the piano. Michael owns two keyboards, but ironically does not know how to play (traditionally) or read music. He is currently using the keyboards to introduce Grayson to the fun of the piano (as a toy) in hopes that it will take root.

As a former musician myself, I would love it if Gray took to music at some point in his life, I just find it amusing that Michael is so fixated on it. Do you think I could get a discount if both of them took piano lessons?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hiya Cuz!

My cousin Stuart is in town from NYC and met Grayson for the first time at my Uncle Paul's birthday dinner on Monday. I grew up seeing Stuart so often that it's hard to imagine my son not sharing the same connection.

Despite the two never meeting, Grayson ran into Stuart's arms the moment he saw him and couldn't stop hugging him. I guess he knows good people when he sees them.

I think Gray also liked Stuart's facial hair since it's quite different than the few whiskers his daddy can grow. Hopefully the two will hang out again before Gray is able to grow a beard.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Eat Your Vegetables

Several nights back we had a dinner of linguine with roasted pine nuts, garlic and zucchini. As we were eating our meal, I realized that Grayson was picking the bits of zucchini out of his bowl and eating them first.

My sisters and I grew up as very picky eaters and never in a million years did I imagine having a toddler who eats zucchini. I realize this may not last forever, but for now he has what I would consider a well-versed palate for a child.

Grayson loves tomatoes, strawberries, bananas, grapes, apples, corn, hummus, beans, potatoes, avocado and seafood while also tolerating zucchini, squash, green beans, cucumbers and pickles. He is satisfied with applesauce for dessert and can't seem to get enough milk.

I think a big part of him liking so many different foods is that we fed him mostly homemade baby food versus the jarred foods. Anyone who has ever smelled (much less tasted) jarred baby food can testify to how much better the real, pureed stuff is on the taste buds.

As Grayson grows, I really hope he continues to love and try a wide variety of foods. Next summer I think he'll be ready to be my garden helper and I'm already planning the fun foods I want him to see grow from a vine instead of thinking they only come from a store. With the way this kid gobbles up tomatoes, several cherry tomato plants are definitely in order.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Reclaiming our domain

While recently cleaning our master bedroom, I gathered this pile of Grayson's stuff that had migrated into our room and never left. I am now pledging to do better at making sure his toys no longer dominate our bedroom decor. We'll see how long this lasts.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Mamamama!

This evening we celebrated my mom's birthday (amazingly she's turning 29 just like me). Grayson can't quite say grandmother so he calls her his ma-ma-ma-ma. Always four syllables worth of mama.

My stepdad was in charge of the birthday pound cake (my mom's favorite). He got a little artistic with the presentation:
My Grandmama Solomon also joined the party and Gray enjoyed her sporty walker and showing her his "muscles."

Happy birthday Mom! We love you!

Stuck in a Bucket

This pretty much sums up the week. It's been quite the emotional rollercoaster. From my uncle's sudden passing to Mike waking up with his eye swollen shut from infection on my 29th birthday to celebrating my mom's birthday to the unexpected delay of Mike's parents closing on some land and a house in Norman, so many peaks and valleys.

Luckily we are blessed with an amazing family and close group of friends that keep things in perspective and provide some much-needed distractions at a moment's notice.

Grayson is taking the opportunity to enjoy the extra grandparent attention (all six will be in town at some point this week) and we are too.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Until We Meet Again

Today we said goodbye to my Uncle Bill. He passed away very unexpectedly on Friday morning leaving our family shocked and heart-broken, but filled with memories and love from one special man.

I'm lucky to have lots and lots of fond memories of time spent with him over my lifetime, but two stand out in particular. One is when he and my Aunt Karen came to watch me play softball. I was in fifth or sixth grade and not a particularly great softball player, but nevertheless he yelled support from the bleachers like I was a starter for the Sooners (his favorite team ever), and there was no mistaking his voice.

I didn't realize they were making the long drive to come and watch my game, but once I heard him in the stands I made sure and gave an extra effort so he would be proud. My Uncle Bill had that effect on people, always providing the right amount of encouragement to bring out the best in someone.

The second memory that has been top of mind for me lately is when he and my aunt came to visit Michael and I in St. Louis. We were walking to a restaurant to eat dinner and a homeless person stopped us to ask for spare change. I was fairly used to it and quickly said something like "I'm sorry" and walked on, but my uncle not only stopped to give him some money, but also gave him a small business card with a few encouraging words about walking with Christ.

He didn't make a big deal about it, but used the opportunity to better someone's life (in more ways than one) without jumping on a soapbox. In the moment I thought to myself, what are the chances he'd happen to have one of those little cards with him when someone asked for money. Then I realized that's the point. He always carried a few with him so he would be prepared to serve Christ, however subtly, at a moment's notice.

One of the songs played at today's service was Heaven Was Needing A Hero and I have no doubt they now have one of the best.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Gentle Giants

We have been in mourning the last week over the loss of our beautiful backyard. I know it sounds dramatic and superficial, but we had two amazing oak trees that provided shade and beauty in the middle of the city. We may have cursed them at times when it came time to pick up their bountiful leaves in the Fall, but thanks to our electric company, OG+E, we will no longer have that problem.

This is what we came home to last week after not even being told that they were going to be trimming the easement along the powerlines.




The back half of both trees are literally gone, along with shade that kept Grayson's swing cool all day, cover that kept our shade tolerant landscaping and grass alive, and habitats for many families of cardinals, blue jays and squirrels (all of which haven't been around in the last week).

Our thick foliage view has now been replaced with sad looking trees and a wonderful view of the powerlines. I realize that trimming maintenance is necessary to enjoy the comforts of electricity, but the extent at which our trees were damaged is beyond words.

Mike and I came home and were literally in shock and sick about this. It's not like you can just call up the company and ask them to make the trees whole again. What took decades to grow was nearly killed in a few hours.

I do know that the company contracted to do the trimming was ABC Tree Trimming Service, so if you ever have a need for tree trimming you may want to stay far away from them. If you see their trucks around your neighborhood, I'd recommend staying home and supervising the trimming even though you won't get much notice. If only we had known...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

My Happy Place

We spent the weekend at Lake Tenkiller with my cousin Suzanne, her husband Jimmy and their son Luke. It was so much fun that we all left with dreams of buying lake cabins and new boats (after winning the lottery, of course).

This is the lake Suzanne and I grew up going to with my dad, sister Amy and usually dozens of our camping group friends who also had boats and loved Lake Tenkiller. We have so many wonderful memories there and were excited to pass that along to our children.

It was great to see Luke and Grayson playing together and enjoying the lake. Luke was a non-stop swimming and jumping machine. He is such a fish in the water which is amazing since he's never had a day of swim lessons in his life.

Luke taking an after-dinner swim.

Daddy & Gray saying cheeeese

At night when we needed the boys to stop running around and start relaxing we popped in an Elmo DVD and they snuggled in with their pillows and favorite stuffed animals. So adorable.

There was also plenty of time for bonding with Uncle Mikey and the rest of the gang. Here's a little storytime moment that entertained the boys for a solid twenty minutes.


I also managed to capture a few videos of the fun. The first is Luke when he got his guts up to jump off the front of the boat which is higher than the back platform.

video

Meanwhile, Grayson preferred to stick behind the wheel and check out all the gauges.

video

Saturday night we ate at one of the floating marina restaurants and then the boys enjoyed throwing leftover french fries and crackers to the fish off the dock. I'm not sure if you can tell from this video, but Gray like the throw a fry, eat a fry approach.

video

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tricky

I've come to the conclusion that Grayson is reaching the age where he's too smart for his own good. I didn't think this would hit until the tween years, but we're nearly there.

The last several nights as I've been putting him to sleep he has finished his milk and then said, "poo poo." Of course the first night I got all excited and rushed him in to sit on the potty. After reading him another book while on the toilet (and nothing happening potty-wise) I went on to tuck him in.

Then tonight as I was going to lay him in his crib he said "poo poo" again. Now I know full well that he had already done his business for the day and I think that now he just knows that saying he needs to potty means he gets to delay going in his bed.

I don't want to make a habit of ignoring him when he says he needs to potty (since he is finally starting to proactively say it), but in this context I knew he was creating a diversion. Oh that boy. How can he be so smart already?

Monday, July 5, 2010

OCD Jr.

I've caught Grayson lining things up a lot lately. He particularly likes pulling his toy cars into a row and then moving sideways from one to the other. He'll park the cars just so, only to decide he wants them in a different location and he begins the process again. This keeps him entertained for a good 20 minutes.


When he stayed with Grandmother and Granddaddy recently, my parents found a set of Sesame Street beanie babies for him. He hasn't really been into playing with stuffed animals or dolls (except for snuggling at night), but he had a blast making the characters talk, go to sleep (i.e. laying them on their stomachs) and, of course, lining them up in a row all around the house.

If only Michael's OCD was this cute when it rears it's ugly head...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Potty Training Bootcamp: Game Off (for now)

After a roller coaster weekend, we've decided to back off on potty training for now. Our trial run did result in some progress and learning for everyone, but after much consideration Michael and I think Grayson needs a little more maturing before he's fully ready.

We knew going in to this weekend that he was a bit young, but all the signs were there to at least give it a try. Gray had several successes going on the big toilet, but they were likely due to good timing on our part, not his proactive ability to get to the potty in time.

We celebrated his victories and talked through what he had accomplished, but he still doesn't seem to fully grasp how to listen to his body and get to the potty before needing to go. While I would typically just keep trying as long as he was showing interest in attempting to keep his underwear dry, he seems to care less about hanging out in wet undies much less preventing them from getting wet in the first place.

When we would ask him if his underwear was wet he always says no (even when we can tell it is wet). If I have him touch his undies to feel that they are wet, it doesn't seem to bother him so he doesn't ask to be changed like he used to do in his diapers.

We had more success with him proactively going #2 versus #1, so we'll keep working on that even though he's back in diapers and maybe it will help him learn the feeling of needing to go.

I didn't expect him to totally "get it" after only two days of training, but it was enough time to show us we may have better success by waiting a bit longer.

For now, it's time to load up the diaper bag and enjoy what is left of this long weekend!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Potty Training Bootcamp: And so it begins...

We were planning on beginning our potty training bootcamp Saturday morning, but ambitiously decided to sneak in a little training after work this evening. We basically only really had three hours before Grayson's bedtime, but we all actually learned a lot in that short amount of time.

Our initial plan included replacing Gray's diaper with big boy underwear covered by pull-up training pants so that he would feel wet when he had an accident (and would hopefully not like it), yet we wouldn't have a mess everywhere. Our plan also included pumping him full of liquids so we'd have lots of opportunity to practice and setting him on the potty every 30 minutes.

Here are a few shots he's going to regret when he's a teenager:

We also stocked up with books next to the potty so he would relax and get comfortable.

Of course, he couldn't help cheesing it up a little for the camera...

After three hours of training we learned:
  • This is going to be a very, very long weekend.
  • While Gray loves sitting on his training potty, he expressed that he REALLY wants to go in the real toilet. Unfortunately, we were not set up to put him on the big toilet (without constantly holding him), so I had to make a run to the store after he was in bed to get an insert so he can sit on the real toilet without falling in or needing to be held.
  • He doesn't seem to mind his underwear being wet (darn!), so I also had to pick up a different kind of training pants that turn cold once they get wet. Hopefully that will make him a little more uncomfortable tomorrow so he'll be motivated to stay dry.
  • I think it's going to be easier to train him to go #2 than #1. Tonight he dribbled urine twice in the potty only to stand up a few minutes later and urinate all over the bathroom floor. That said, he rushed from his room to the bathroom yelling "poo poo" prior to actually doing it, so I thought that was positive. He ended up only having a little gas, but since he's just now learning the feeling of having to "go" I gave him an Elmo sticker.
We burned through six pair of big boy underwear in a three hour period. Wowser. I'm washing that stash as well as an additional package we picked up so that we'll be ready to go again tomorrow.
Even though we unexpectedly started out with a mini-training tonight, I think it may have been the best way to start. We all got a taste of what was to come (and were all exhausted by it), but it wasn't a full day of training. And I must admit, even though this is all very tiring, he is pretty stinkin' cute in his big boy underwear. Just check out those muscles...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Grayson at 22 Months

It's hard to believe there are only two months left until Gray reaches the two-year mark and I no longer keep track of his monthly birthdays. Lately, the moments of Grayson "the baby" are few and far between. They have been replaced by moments of silliness, learning, exploring, and emotion all from a little boy.

Grayson's vocabulary is growing leaps and bounds, as is his repertoire of facial expressions. He is constantly naming everything in sight and when he comes across something where he doesn't know the word he either asks you or assigns it a somewhat related name that's already in his vocabulary. I have a feeling when he starts kindergarten he'll likely get in trouble for talking too much.

This kid's facial expressions have also recently blossomed. He's always been smiley and expressive, but now he has the full-body silliness to go with it.

We're also running everywhere these days. And I mean literally running. He doesn't walk much unless he's holding someone's hand. If he's cruising around the house it's at a full-steam running pace. I love to watch his little chubby legs go. They are really starting to thin out, but for now I'm enjoying the last few rolls before muscle takes over.

He's doing very well at following instructions and minding (of course, now that I say that I've totally jinxed us). He is also still obsessed with all things Elmo, books and playing outside.

I think we're beginning to enter the pretend phase because I've noticed lately he's staring to use his imagination more to make stuffed animals talk and cook/serve "food" from his toy restaurant.

This weekend we've decided to bite the bullet and officially start potty training -- boot-camp style. It will no-doubt be a tiring, messy process for us all, but if nothing else we'll see if he's actually ready to catch on or if we need to hold off a few more months. I'm exhausted just thinking about it (which is why I keep putting it off).

We probably need to convert his crib to a toddler bed soon, but I don't want to throw too many changes at him at once. He's still content in his crib and hasn't tried climbing out, so we're going to put that off a little longer. Lately he has been wanting to hoard things in his crib. We gave him a real pillow in addition to the small round pillow he was already using. There's also two blankets (each with different textures) and four stuffed animals. Let's just say he likes things cozy.

I love tucking him in because he gets all nestled in among his animals and likes to be fully covered up with his arms and feet also tightly covered. This may be the result of swaddling him as a baby, or maybe I'm just grasping at straws for signs he's still my little 6 lb. 11 oz. bundle of joy. Either way, when I ask him --Where is mama's baby? -- he points to himself, so as long as he still knows it that's all that matters.