Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bikes, bikes, bikes!

Lately Grayson has been obsessed with bikes. Daddy's bike, mommy's bike...bike, bike bikes!

We ordered him his very own mini-bicycle a few weeks ago and have been hiding it in various places around the house until we were ready for the big reveal.

We could hardly stand it and decided to give it to him early so his grandparents could enjoy the moment with us. Here's a video of daddy bringing the bike out of hiding.

video

He was so excited and immediately hopped on despite being barefoot. Below are a few more shots of Gray checking out his new ride.



Practicing with daddy


video

Cut to the next morning and Grayson was still enjoying wearing the bike helmet. He wore it eating breakfast, playing around the house and also sat on his bike in the living room to watch a little Elmo. I'd say it was a hit!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Elmo Extravaganza

Let me just start by saying, I'm not really in to themes. When it comes to having a child, everything from nursery decor to clothing and toys to birthday parties seem to all come in over-the-top themes.

Michael and I have done a somewhat decent job (until now) of not getting sucked in to the hype, but that all changed this weekend. After last year's Vidrine Boys' Birthday Bash, I decided to forgo the house party that was so large I couldn't even visit with everyone, in favor of a small dinner with the grandparents and my sister.

As the time came closer to celebrate, I started having guilt about not making a bigger deal of both Michael and Gray's birthdays, so on short notice I invited a small group of friends for an impromptu swim party on Saturday.

Grayson and I went to Party Galaxy on Friday night to pick up a few paper goods for the party. I was planning to beeline it back to the plain colored plates and cups, but they've strategically planned the store so that you have to pass all the other character themes to get there. Of course, we fell right into the trap and Gray lit up as he spotted the Elmo section.

After seeing the happiness on his face, I had a moment of weakness and loaded up my cart with a healthy dose of Elmo party stuff. We got the plates, hats, napkins, even a stick-the-nose-on-Elmo game.

Trying to savor a little pride, Michael and I were determined to make an Elmo cake instead of ordering one of the many available designs at our local bakery. Since Grayson is allergic to eggs, we chose a egg-free chocolate cake recipe that turned out a little dry, but won enough style points to make up for the taste. Here's the final product:

We used strawberries for the fur, a modified twinkie for the nose, and whipped cream and blueberries for the eyes. The birthday boys enjoying the party hats and cake.

The Green Family with Cora also sporting a lovely Elmo accessory

Adam & Emma on the left and Liam & Rob on the right. Luckily, I didn't make the dad's wear hats, but Emma was a good sport.

Grayson got the first try at sticking the nose on Elmo

Here's Cora's try...can you see the absolute glee on Gray's face in the background. That was pretty much his mood all day.
After Cora walked away, Grayson took it upon himself to restick her nose closer to the right spot. OCD much? (but that's a different post)

Overall it was a fun day. As expected, Michael's birthday got overshadowed by Grayson's at the party but we made up for it this morning by showering daddy with gifts when he woke up (today is Mike's actual b-day).

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mr. Fix It

My father has been patiently reminding me to make good on my promise to post before and after pictures of our kitchen and bathroom countertop remodels. I was procrastinating downloading and sorting through all of the pictures, but finally ran out of excuses this evening.

It seemed like a very long process at the time, but looking back I'd say it was all worth it. Mike handled the demo of our existing kitchen countertops and two bathroom vanities, and let me just tell you there's nothing like a little home demo to bring out the testosterone in a man.

Note to self: Don't mess with a man wearing flannel pj pants and carrying a crowbar

You can practically hear the grunting.
The menagerie of tools

We uncovered a small bit of the original gray and raspberry boomerang laminate counters in the kitchen. Ironically, these 1950s-style patterns are back in style now.

Here are before pictures of our hallway powder room and the kitchen. I forgot to take a before picture of our other guest bath vanity, but they both had the same boring laminate countertop, one in gray the other in white. Both bathrooms and the kitchen were redone in the mid-to-late 70s.




Here's a close-up of the charcoal quartz we used to replace all three countertops. It's hard to show the depth and color variation in a photograph, but there are flakes of white and black mixed in with the gray.

The two bathrooms were relatively easy since we used the quartz as a backsplash as well (which was professionally installed). This meant Michael just had to wrestle with hooking up the new stainless steel sinks and doing a little creative plumbing work since they are undermount sinks where before we had overmount ones.

The guest bath

The hallway powder room

The kitchen was a little more mess since we did the quartz backsplash around the sink, but handled our own tiling behind the stove. After many, many web searches we finally settled on some stainless steel hexagon tile since it was in keeping with our mid-century house, but with a modern twist.


And voila! Now we just have to settle the debate over whether or not to keep the wood scallops over the stove and sink. Michael hates them, but something about them seems really charming to me next to such modern finishes.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Pretty Girl

Roxy got a WAY overdue haircut today and she's smellin' so good and lookin' so cute, I just had to snap her picture. She had been shaggy for such a long time that I forgot how skinny she actually is.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Piano Man Jr.'s World Premier

Michael recently found the adapter to his keyboard (yes, all this time our son enjoyed playing with a mute keyboard) and it thrilled Grayson to no end to learn that the piano made noise. He was so excited I'd say the moment ranked a close second to when Gray found out Elmo was a dancing, singing friend instead of only a 2D character found in books.

The keyboard has endless options in terms of sounds, styles and back-up beats (think 80s techno) which means there are lots of fun buttons to push as Grayson explores them all.

Without further adieu… Ladies and Gentlemen: Live from his parents' bed… Mr. Grayson Mark!

video

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Little Swimmers

The three amigos (Liam, Cora and Gray) have become quite the water babies compared to last summer.

Here's a recent video of the younger two jumping (aka leaning) into the water off the side of the pool. Meanwhile, Grayson is in the background practicing his kicking. It's amazing the progress he's made just this summer alone, but we're not quite ready to take off the life jacket yet.

video

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Chillaxin'

My kind of Saturday morning.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Of course

Grayson's vocabulary is really starting to "click" and this week he went beyond his two word phrases to a three-word sentence.

Michael and I were getting ready for work yesterday morning and Gray came into the living room to watch TV. Television is not part of our typical weekday morning routine, so after hearing he was able to get the TV on with the remote, I wandered in to see what he was up to.

He had managed to turn the channel a few times and was glued to C-SPAN (guess it could have been worse). When I asked him what he was doing he calmly replied, "I'm watching Elmo."

Should have known his first actual sentence would have something to do with Elmo.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Pappa Turns How Many?

Today's my dad's (BIG) birthday and I happened to run across this photo on my phone this morning when someone asked to see a picture of Grayson. This is pretty much what I envision when I think of my dad's "happy place" -- driving his boat with his family at Lake Tenkiller.

Even though we can't all be on the lake together today (eating cold ham and tomato sandwiches..mmm), I hope you have a great birthday, Dad/Pappa!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Mr. Manners

The other night Michael was finishing up grilling dinner and Grayson was VERY hungry, so I went ahead and gave him half of a hamburger bun to get started. He still sits in the highchair for meals, but after receiving the food he shimmied up to the table and (to my surprise) put the napkin on his lap like a little gentleman.

We don't teach him that in the highchair, so I'm not sure if he picked it up from school or from watching Michael and I sit down. Either way, it was too cute and quite the pleasant surprise.



I love this last look, like "what's the big deal, mom?"

Monday, August 2, 2010

Big Boy Bed Update

Overall Gray has been doing well with the transition to a toddler bed. That said, Michael went in his room last night after hearing some mysterious noises on the monitor only to find Grayson in his bed surrounded by 10 small toys, a throw pillow and a quilt we keep draped over his rocking chair.

His bed was so full of stuff that Michael said he was barely able to lay down (there are already about half a dozen stuffed animals and two small blankets he sleeps with regularly). After removing all of the stuff, Grayson later got up and retrieved a book to put in his bed. The only problem is he chose one that makes froggy croaking sounds when you read it so he was busted again. Amateur...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Another milestone bites the dust

This weekend we bit the bullet and converted Grayson's crib to a toddler bed. He has gotten so tall lately that he could have easily scaled over the side and fallen, so we figured it was time to admit he's too big for his crib.

I had purchased a side rail to help keep him from rolling out of the bed, but upon installation we realized it is only made for twin beds, not small toddler beds because the mattress isn't heavy enough. That meant we had to go cold turkey with no side or rail and I figured Gray would quickly realize he could get out of bed on his own.

Luckily for us, he's used to sleeping in a cot for naptime at school and I guess his teachers have trained him to stay on the cot until he's told to get up. That paid off in dividends for us, as both mornings and naps he's called my name when he's awake but has yet to actually get out of bed until we come get him.

That said, we did hit a little snag the first night around 11:30 p.m. when we heard a clunk and a short cry. I rushed in to find Gray curled up in a ball, still fully asleep next to his crib. He had fallen out, but apparently it wasn't enough of a drop to wake him. After putting him back in his bed and repositioning stuffed animals along the edge, he stayed put.

We'll see how long it takes before he realizes he can get up and play with his toys in the middle of the night. I'm skeptical this transition will be so easy.