Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I finished the goldfish costume just in the nick of time. Grayson was able to wear it to school today for their Halloween party. It was the only handmade costume in his class (which gave me a gold star with his teacher), but I must say some of the other kiddos were pretty cute in their own right.

Here are a couple of his friends. Spiderman is one of Gray's best buds, Ethan.

This is Gray's other BFF Baxter. They were born five days apart. Baxter was a dragon and his older brother was a knight. Pretty cute.

Other than the costumes, it was all about snack time. Michael and I both managed to make it for the party where I always enjoy watching how Grayson interacts with his friends and teachers. I learned something very interesting about my son today...

It all began like any normal party. The kids gathered around and were excited about the snacks. Grayson went for the grapes before the cheese puffs and cookies which made my heart happy.

One by one the kids got distracted and left the table to go play. Meanwhile, Grayson decided his costume was getting in the way of his snacking ability and asked that we take off his hoodie.

Cut to 10 minutes later and all the kids have been up playing for a while and Gray is still eating.

Finally, about 15 minutes after the party was over (and Grayson was still eating) we decided to take the plate away so he would actually eat a little dinner. I couldn't believe he sat there for so long totally content while all the other kids ran around on a sugar high. This kid is a bottomless pit.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Elmo's Homecoming

Elmo recently came to live with us. I'm not talking about a DVD, book or small doll, I mean a life-sized Elmo is now part of our family.

Michael's Aunt Karen and Uncle Steve sent Elmo by way of Nana and Popper last weekend and our lives will be forever changed. Grayson goes to sleep smiling with Elmo lying next to him. He tucks Elmo in for a nap whenever we leave the house, and gives Elmo lots of rides in his "race car."

He first tried the through-the-arm method for dragging Elmo around the house.

But that became a bit cumbersome after a while since Gray couldn't lift his arms so Nana quickly came up with a better solution of just tucking Elmo's arms straight into Gray's shirt. As you can tell from the pictures, this delighted Grayson to no end.

The two buds are now inseparable. Thank you Aunt Karen and Uncle Steve for bringing such joy to your great-nephew's life.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ride 'em cowboy

Nana and Popper came for a visit this past weekend which meant we spent a little time out at their new house. When Michael, Grayson and I arrived at the property, Popper was busy setting up a surprise for Gray -- a horse swing made out of a recycled car tire.

Grayson loved the horse swing when we went to TG Farms recently, and Nana and Popper found the same kind of swing at a nearby farm and home store. I would normally describe the jubilation on Grayson's face once he realized he was going to have his very own horsey, but I think this photo below captures his excitement quite nicely.

He ran around like a wild man he was so excited and then hopped on for a ride a few short minutes later.

Nana and Popper also picked up some kid-sized work gloves which Grayson refused to take off the entire afternoon while we were there.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

More Pumpkin Fun

This weekend my cousin Suzanne and her son Luke had a Halloween party where we painted pumpkins and decorated Halloween cookies. She and her husband have just built a beautiful new home and Suz was smart keep the festivities (and 10 or so small children) contained to the garage.

It was a lesson in controlled chaos, but we had a blast. Here are a few shots from the party:

I didn't have Gray's goldfish costume completed yet, so he wore his skeleton hoodie instead.

Since Grayson has become quite the skilled pumpkin painter this year, he was first to step up to the table with paintbrush in hand. I think this picture demonstrates the difference between girls and boys. The little girl next to Gray is only about two weeks younger, but would never dream of getting paint on her OU cheerleader outfit. Meanwhile, I came prepared with a smock since I knew where this was headed.

Here is our host Luke, the cutest mini-OU football player ever!

While he was busy painting his pumpkin, Luke's little cousin Gray did what any pesky cousin would do. He stole his football helmet and ran around the driveway with glee.

Gray was also infatuated with Luke's scooter which meant Nana got a workout pushing him around the long driveway. Grayson hasn't quite caught on to the idea of pedaling (or keeping his eyes open in the wind).

After a quick lunch the fun resumed with cookie decorating.

Gray also discovered the joy of candy corns and grabbed them by the fistful while giving me a look like, "Mom, how come you didn't tell me I could eat these while you were making your wreath."

It was such a fun party and was a great way to entertain kids from 18 months up to tweens.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Just call me Martha Stewart

Meet my new friend Mr. Glue Gun...

Well maybe friend is too strong of a word, but we've been spending a lot of time together lately. This may come as a shock to those of you who know me well since all of the artistic genes seemed to go to my sisters.

An alien recently (and briefly) took over my body as I was flipping through a few magazines and became inspired to make a Halloween wreath and costume for Grayson. Here are a few shots of the wreath which is basically a circle form wrapped in black duct tape with candy corn glued in alternating circles all over it.

The concept isn't complicated, but it did take quite a bit of patience and an eagle eye on the candy bags since my husband tends to consume candy corn at record speed.

As you know, Michael can be a bit OCD and his graphic design eye is quite critical, but the final product managed to win his approval and several compliments despite his unnatural distaste for wreathes.

Next I tackled the Halloween costume. I was going to buy a hilarious garden gnome costume from a Target mailer, but after finding an adorable and quite simple (i.e. no sewing required) goldfish costume in a magazine, I decided to pull out the glue gun once again and take my chances.

You can see the magazine version in the top left corner of the picture below. It originally called for using orange cupcake papers as the gills and then hot gluing them to an oversized orange hoodie and adding tall orange socks to complete the look. Seemed simple enough, but after not finding plain orange paper liners at any store in a 30-mile radius we came up with plan B.

While in Hobby Lobby, Michael had a brilliant idea to use the crinkle paper that teachers use for bulletin boards. We found some in the right shade of orange and we were in business. I still need to glue the eyes on the hood, but I think Grayson is going to make a pretty cute goldfish (and he'll stay warm too!).

Now I just need to sell Grayson on the goldfish idea. I've been working on it, but every time I ask him what he wants to be for Halloween his answer changes. First he was set on being a train (as in Thomas the Train); however I personally find Thomas a bit boring and didn't have the heart to purchase the costume.

Gray's latest desire is to be a hammer (thanks to the wooden tool puzzle he's currently obsessed with). I probably could have pulled that costume off somehow, but I had already put in lots of man hours searching for the goldfish materials so we were committed.

I'll post more pictures of our little goldfish once the transformation is complete. For now, I need to go rest my index finger because it's cramping up from all of the hot gluing.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pumpkin Picasso

My sister Emily and brother-in-law Levi invited Grayson over for what has become an annual pumpkin painting party. You can check out all the fun they had on her blog post here.

I've been a little MIA lately due to a work conference, but I had a few moments with Grayson this morning and asked him what he's been up to. He immediately told me painting pumpkins and said Em & Levi's names which is a pretty good memory considering it was two days ago.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pumpkin Time!

Every year we take Gray to nearby TG Farms for pumpkin picking and to tromp around the fields. I love to look back at the pictures and see how much he has changed. You can see our 2008 visit here (when Gray was about five weeks old) and then last year's visit here (when he refused to smile the entire time).

The farm adds new activities every time we go so it's fun to explore the new things. This year, Grayson enjoyed the hay bale slide and the John Deere tricycles (despite not being able to fully reach the pedals). He would have been content playing in those two areas all day, but we tried to turn his focus to the petting zoo, hay bale maze and pumpkin patch.

Unfortunately all that fresh air and hay kicked my sinuses into overdrive, but it was still worth it for the memories.

Checking out the crazy pumpkin stems

Saying hello to the scarecrow

Giggling after the goat licked his hand

Navigating the hay bale maze

Playing cowboy

He LOVED climbing the hay bales and going down the various slides.

After all that it was time to take our pumpkins and go home!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Picnic at the Park

Last Sunday we met up with my dad's side of the family for a picnic at Bumpass Park. This is a park that I've spent many an afternoon in as a child playing with my sister and cousins.

We always loved this worm climbing toy and I was happy to see it is still there to enjoy.

Luke was better at scaling the high points and the worm's head, but after giving Gray a boost he enjoyed the view from above as well.

Grayson also loved the teeter-toter made up of different animals.

Meanwhile, Luke mastered the super tall slide.

Three-and-a-half hours later we headed home. Worn out from a fun-filled day with our family.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bike Maintenance 101

Michael recently switched out the tires on my cruiser and he found himself with an audience. It was the perfect opportunity for what I'm sure will be many lessons in the art of fixing things.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pajama Party

It's been a while since I posted anything about The Three Amigos, so I thought you might enjoy this picture from a recent gathering. It just doesn't get any cuter than Cora, Grayson and Liam in their PJs.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

What Counts

This past week something has clicked in Grayson when it comes to counting. Before, the extent of his counting was, "1, 2, go!" or something along those lines.

Then out of (what seemed like) nowhere he started putting numbers together all the way to 10. Michael captured this video one morning and now proudly shows it to everyone on his phone.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Chatty Cathy

Last night while we were eating dinner Michael and I were having a conversation when out of nowhere Grayson says, "no talking, daddy."

A few minutes later he got on to me and said, "no talking, mommy." We've never said this to him so I guessed it was something he had been told at school (which also means he's been chatting when he shouldn't be).

We tried to explain that you don't tell mommy and daddy not to talk, but that didn't really take. It's kind of a confusing concept for a two-year-old to grasp.

This morning when we dropped him off at school I asked the teacher if he's been a little too talkative lately. She said he tends to want to talk (non-stop) when it's time for everyone to be napping. I didn't have the heart to tell her that we hear him talk himself to sleep nearly every night over the monitor.

I have a feeling this won't be the last teacher to get on to him for talking.

Monday, October 4, 2010


We've been enjoying the gorgeous weather lately by taking lots of extra walks, playing baseball or in the sandbox out back, and visiting the playground at the elementary school just down the street.

In addition to a great slide, the school also has a big soccer field perfect for burning off lots of toddler energy.

It was kind of windy when I took the camera on Sunday, but I managed to get a couple of videos. Grayson couldn't get up to the curly-q slide fast enough. Last year at this time I had to go up the steps with him, but this fall he's Mr. Independent.

I don't know what this piece of playground equipment is called, but it bounces as you jump and totally cracked me up to see Gray's little legs try to keep up with the motion.