Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Uncle Ben Would Be Proud

Gray received a t-ball set for his birthday from his Aunt Amy, Uncle Ben and cousins Kayla and Holten. To say my brother-in-law Ben loves baseball is a serious understatement, so this gift was a natural fit.

Ben loves a lot of sports but I think baseball may be his favorite and I'm sure he secretly hopes this gift will spark a love of the game for his little nephew. It's a little early to tell if Grayson will have a lifelong appreciation for America's favorite pastime, but I'd say this gift is a hit (pun intended).

We're still working on a few concepts such as dropping the bat before you run, swinging with both hands every time, and realizing that knocking over the tee is not part of the game. I have noticed that Gray is pretty accurate on both sides of the tee, so maybe he'll be a switch hitter when he goes to play for the St. Louis Cardinals.

The little slugger in action

Becoming one with the bat.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Great State Fair of Oklahoma

Forget what I said about being rested and refreshed. After an outing to the state fair I'm now back to being worn out, but the weather was gorgeous and we had a good time.

We actually had to pull the jackets out for the first time in a very long time today, as well as jeans which I could tell Grayson took a little getting used to since he's been running around in comfy cotton shorts all summer. Here's the little rocker boy ready to go see some barnyard animals:

There was quite an extravagant goat exhibit in the Agtropolis building

Gray insisted he sit on top of one of these "balls"

This horse statue caught Grayson's attention more than the live horses. We walked over to see the nearby Clydesdales thinking they would surely impress our son, but all he could do was point and say "peepee" (and he didn't mean urine). Classy.

Then we rounded a corner and came upon a cow. Gray didn't quite know what to think.

Mommy & Gray taking in the action.

And, of course, we managed to find the row of vintage tractors. I thought the "student driver" sign on this one was perfect for a Grayson photo op.

I also took a video of Grayson as we walked through the row of tractors and managed to capture his little "happy dance" as he realized he was surrounded by the big, wonderful machines.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

It Takes a Village

Michael and I are very lucky to have so many hands-on grandparents to help care for Grayson and give his parents a break. The last several weekends we've hosted Michael's parents as well as my dad and Susan, all of which provide lots of entertainment and love for their grandson.

Then my mom and Carl kept Grayson overnight last night so that Michael and I could have a proper date night and actually sleep in for the first time in a very long time. At first we were slightly paralyzed by the freedom of a child-free Friday evening, but we managed to have fun and we were beyond excited by the idea of sleeping in on Saturday morning.

We are now rested and ready to tackle the state fair tomorrow afternoon. Thank you to our family for giving us the much-needed breaks! They definitely help make us better parents and we get the added benefit of our son not only bonding with, but adoring his grandparents.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Rude Awakening

There have been a couple of nights recently where Grayson cried out (after being asleep for hours) with what I think may be night terrors.

The latest one happened last night about 11 p.m. and when I went in to comfort him I noticed his eyes were still closed and he appeared to be sleeping, although fitfully. Naturally I picked him up to try and comfort him but he wrestled loose and crawled back in bed, still seeming to be asleep.

I stayed in there for a few more minutes until he calmed down and then did a little online research that pointed to night terrors which can be common in toddlers around his age. I also learned that trying to hold or comfort him during a terror is the wrong thing to do, as often times it makes the child panic and feel like their being attacked.

It's really hard to see Grayson appear scared and tell myself not to try and reach out to comfort him. Hopefully this will be a quickly passing phase. From what I could find, night terrors are often linked to things such as an expanding imagination, sleep deprivation or developmental milestones.

He's still taking really good naps and sleeping well at night overall, so I don't think the cause is sleep deprivation. I'm hoping we just need to get through some developmental stage and the episodes will go away. I try to tell myself maybe the developmental stage is getting ready for real potty training. That would totally be worth it! One can hope, right?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Lake House

Now that Nana and Popper are officially landowners in Oklahoma, we spent most of the day at their new place which is only about 15-20 minutes from our house. Grayson helped Popper change the locks on the doors and then he got distracted and decided to take advantage of their five acres to do some running around.

Grayson also dubbed their new home "the lake house" since it's right by Lake Thunderbird and it's something he can pronounce. Nana and Popper have big changes in mind for the small house and the property, but even in its current state I know we're going to make many memories there over the rest of our lives.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Milestone Moments

Today has been a very big day for our family. My Grandma Schultz turned 90 years young (and has never looked better) and Michael's parents closed on a house and five acres near Lake Thunderbird in Norman.

It's nice to have so many things to celebrate!

I've now decided I need to take better care of myself since I come from such good genes. Just like my Grandma, I want to be able to still live on my own and drive myself when I'm her age. It will be difficult to live up to the amazing and beautiful example she's set for our family.

As for the rest of the weekend, I'm sure we'll spend it tromping around on Nana and Popper's new land and dreaming up big plans for updating the house, scheming the best site for building a garage/car workshop/mancave, and trying to manage Mike Sr. and Jr.'s potential spending spree on things like a tractor, a four-wheeler and many other "necessities."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What are you lookin' at?

One lesson I've learned as a parent is to let go of whatever "normal" used to mean in our daily lives. For example, it is now completely normal for bowling pins to be strewn about the house and for my son to walk around with his Elmo backpack on even though we aren't going anywhere anytime soon. He's not carrying anything in it, he just likes to wear it.

Michael and I don't question these things (or even hardly notice them anymore).

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fun at the County Fair

One of Grayson's favorite books is about a county fair coming to Merriweather Farm and the John Deere tractors helping get ready for the event. This weekend we checked out the Cleveland County Fair and lived the story ourselves.

The small county fairgrounds are just a few miles from our house and showcase everything from carnival rides to livestock to the state's oldest farmers' market, oh and of course, TRACTORS!

The fair isn't as big or busy as the state fair which comes to OKC next week, but it's a nice and entertaining event especially for kids, and best of all it's free. So we loaded up the car, and Pappa too, and headed to the county fair.

We walked through the livestock arena and got up close and personal with cows, roosters, goats and many other animals. There's also a small petting zoo where Gray checked out a miniature horse, but he was more interested in visiting the row of tractors.

There were vintage red tractors:

There were modern green tractors:
There were huge tractors with wheels bigger than Grayson:
And it was all we could do to keep the boy off of each of them:
Luckily for us, there was some kind of local tractor club (who knew those existed here?) that was giving free barrel rides behind a tractor (aka riding lawn mower). I thought Gray might be a little scared by the whole thing since we couldn't ride with him, but once he saw the riding lawn mower pulling the barrels he hopped right in.

Here are a couple of quick videos of his trip around the parking lot.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Little Dinner Conversation

Last night on the commute home from school/work, I polled my guys to see if they had any inspiration for dinner. Here's how it went:

Me: Grayson, what do you want for dinner?

Grayson: Mommy cook. Daddy eat. Grayson eat.

Michael: Can Mommy eat?

Grayson: No, Mommy cook.

Nice to know where I stand with the boy. On a matter of principle, Michael cooked. And in case you're curious, we had his specialty...pancakes -- the perfect comfort food for the chilly, rainy day we were having.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Grayson's Two-year Check-up

Today has been a whirlwind of a day, but I wanted to be sure and take a moment to capture Gray's latest stats from his two-year wellness check-up. His growth continues about the same pace -- just over 36 inches in height and 26.2 lbs. in weight. He's actually a little skinnier than at his 18 month visit due to his recent stomach bug (which has hung on for five days now, yikes! but we think it has finally run its course).

If he continues at the same rate of growth, the pediatrician estimates he'll be around 6'1 as an adult, but who knows how accurate that will be in the long run. He does seem taller than most of his classmates right now, which could always slow down as he gets older.

As far as development, the doctor feels Grayson is right on track and he was pleased with his vocabulary. He asked Gray all about his birthday party and what he received. When he didn't respond Michael prompted, "Did you get a bike?" to which Grayson responded, "helmet." I think that won a few points with the doctor for safety and gave him a chuckle.

We also discussed getting an allergy panel test done for Grayson's food allergies. He's still a little young for this, but the doctor referred us to a clinic in OKC that has some allergists which specialize in pediatric testing. I need to look into it a bit more, but I've really been thinking about it a lot lately and would feel better speaking to an allergist about Gray's reactions and the family history of food allergies.

Thankfully, Grayson got the last two of his vaccination shots until he's nearly school-aged, so I'm glad we won't have to deal with that for a while. We declined getting the flu shot since Michael is allergic to it and we didn't know if Gray would have a reaction as well.

Our next wellness visit isn't until the three-year mark which seems so far away. Fingers crossed we'll be able to report to the doctor that he's potty trained by then!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Happy Birthday Grandpa!

Today is my grandpa's 92nd birthday. He passed away on Thursday so he didn't quite make it to celebrate the day with us, but I have no doubt that he's having quite the party in heaven with his four brothers, old war buddies, my Uncle Bill, and many others.

I will always remember my grandpa for his warm hugs, constant tinkering (and ability to fix anything), cut-up humor, endless stories, and the unconditional love he had for his family and my grandma, his wife of 68 amazing years.

He lived quite the life and feisty spirit in his 92 years and I can only hope that Michael and I will share the enduring love that my grandparents have shared.

As I was shuffling through pictures for one to post, I specifically remembered one of him reading a book to me when I was around Grayson's age. I ended up coming across this one unexpectedly and although it's from a while ago as well (that's me standing next to my grandpa in my unfortunate high school days), the photo was taken at a typical family cook-out gathering. A moment that was very common, but still very special to all four of the cousins/grandkids and the grandparents we love so dearly.

Luckily for us, they loved and tolerated us despite being our "cool" teenage selves.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Cuddle Bunny

This picture pretty much sums up the last 48 hours at our house. Gray has been sick with a fever and nasty stomach bug, meanwhile the phone has been ringing off the hook because we were headed to Houston this weekend for a long overdue visit before the illness hit and my grandpa passed away. It's a reminder that just when you think you're in control of your plans, life has a way of showing you better.

It's been a rough few days but I must say the extra cuddle time with Grayson is the silver lining.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Cousins' Club (part 2)

I know I write a lot about how much we want Grayson to bond with his cousins, but Michael and I both grew up very close with cousins from all sides and we really want that for our son as well.

We were raised around very large extended families, and although we don't see the out-of-town relatives as much as we'd like, the childhood memories and connections never diminish.

There's nothing like family when it comes to celebrating life's ups and working through the downs. We've had both this week, and it's meant lots of special time with family.

For Gray's birthday on Wednesday night we met up with some of the family on my dad's side for dinner and celebration at (where else) McDonald's. Grayson's big cousin Luke helped show him the ropes on the play place and Mike was able to snap a few pictures that capture the love and unique connection that can only be explained as cousins.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Grayson Turns Two!

The BIG day has finally arrived and our baby is now officially a little boy. It's exciting and sentimental and a whirlwind all at the same time.

I feel like two-years-old is all about extremes. His emotions and his actions can go from one extreme to another in a flash. Overall he's still a very happy kid, but when he wants to meltdown just get ready for the waterworks and a full show. We still know the ways to easily distract him most of the time, but I'm sure he'll catch on to that any day now.

Grayson is currently obsessed with bikes (but you already knew that), tractors, boats, the piano/keyboard, trains, and of course Elmo and books. Thanks to some birthday presents, he's recently discovered the joy of Playdoh and jumbo crayons/coloring books. He's also starting to really like more active games like playing ball, bowling with his little toy set, and literally running everywhere he goes. Luckily, the summer heat is starting to break a little so we're able to extend most of these to the backyard.

This week at school he began transitioning up to the next class (with 2-3 year-olds) and so far he's done great! The teacher was surprised at how well he listens, so that made us proud (and I secretly said a little prayer that it continues).

Other things I want to remember about him now:
  • He says "bless you" when you sneeze
  • When a camera appears, he squints his eyes and says "cheeeeeeeeeeese" and then "see, see" so you'll show him the picture
  • The even cadence of his feet running around the house
  • The way he squeezes your neck for the best hugs ever
  • How he says "stinky, shewy" when you start taking off his socks and shoes
  • If you ask him what color something is he ALWAYS responds "white," but if you ask him to point to a specific color he can
Grayson's vocabulary continues to amaze us and he's picking up new words and phrases at an incredible rate. He's also picked up on some simple counting since we practice saying, "one, two, three jump" when we're swimming.

I wish I could bottle up the unbridled joy and happiness I see in our son right now. It provides me with a refreshing perspective on life and I hope he never completely loses his infectious, sunny disposition and zest for life.