Friday, December 31, 2010

Family Pics

I have been waiting for more than two months to share these pictures with you! We had a family photo shoot on the OU campus in late-October and surprised our family with the portraits for Christmas.

The very talented Candi Coffman was our photographer and it was extremely difficult not to post the photos until everyone opened their gifts. Here are a few of my favorites and a link to a larger slideshow with more candid shots.







A slideshow of more pictures can be viewed here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Cousin Christmas

This year we celebrated Christmas for three weeks across two states which meant we were able to enjoy time with our very extended family. I loved watching Gray bond with his cousins and am kicking myself for only remembering to take out my camera a few times.

And yes, before you say anything, Grayson is sporting the same two Christmas sweaters in almost every picture. I'd say I totally got my money's worth!

 
Gray and his cousin Maddy from Michael's dad's side of the family which celebrated in Cleburne, TX this year. Even though Maddy is holding a Texas Longhorns bobble-head, we still love her (and Gray made us proud by running around repeatedly shouting Boomer Sooner to counteract all of the longhorn fans in attendance).

 
This is part of my generation of cousins with their spouses and offspring from my step-dad's side of the family. We celebrated in Muskogee, OK this year. We had six "great grands" there which quickly made me appreciate my grandparents' patience from when I was a child and all 11 of us grand kids would come over for sleepovers and basically turn their house into total chaos. 

 This is Gray with his cousin Luke from my dad's side of the family. We hosted this Christmas Eve celebration at our house this year. This time next year we'll also have baby Jack joining these two rowdy boys (and hopefully my nephew Holten from North Carolina as well, hint hint).

Another shot of the boys with their new "pillow pets." So cute.

Our holiday season ended down in Houston with Michael's mom's side of the family. Here's Gray with his big cousin Blayne and new arrival Rhyann. She is such a good (and adorable) baby, it was so much fun to meet her in person after three long weeks of waiting.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday with you and yours!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A man of many words

This week, Gray has added a few new words and phrases to his vocabulary and they are keeping us on our toes.

Oh my gosh -- this isn't in conversation or in reference to anything, it's used randomly like when he's looking out the car window, and he makes sure to enunciate each word.

It's funny! -- this is typically used after Gray has done something questionable, such as throwing a toy for example, then Michael or I give him a stern look and he says in his best comedian voice, "It's funny!" and then giggles wildly. The problem is, it is funny but we can't show him that we're laughing inside.

I don't like it -- it comes out more along the lines of "I don't yike it" but you get the point. This is used on everything from toys that don't meet his expectations to food he doesn't want to eat. I'm not a fan. 

Why? -- yes, the dreaded question is upon us. We heard it several times over the weekend (most often directed at Michael, thank goodness) and I'm already ready for this to pass. So far he has stopped after asking why? once, but I'm sure he will quickly become insatiable.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Birthday Roxy!

Today "Good Girl" turns six! She remains crotchety for her age, but since it's her birthday we'll let that slide.

When we told Grayson that today was Roxy's birthday he began singing "Happy Birthday" and we all joined in. Roxy looked up from the shoes and clothes she was guarding in Mike's closet long enough to give us a look like we were crazy.

Even if we are a little nuts, I'm sure she won't mind a few extra treats tonight.

Friday, December 17, 2010

And the Tony goes to...

Grayson's Christmas program was this afternoon and I think he may have stolen the show. The twos, threes and four-year-olds all came up on stage in the church's fellowship hall and took their marks.

I was surprised to see Grayson positioned on the front row near the center and was hoping that meant maybe he had done well in practice. As we would come to find out, practice does not always make perfect.

Before the teachers even kicked off the first song, Grayson was crying. And I don't mean a little stage fright, I'm talking wailing, "I want my mommy!!!" over and over and over. I was toward the back of the room and thought he may calm down once the singing started so I stayed where I was. Classic rookie mom mistake.

The wailing continued and grew louder so I went up close to the stage hoping that if he saw me there doing some of the hand motions he would get back into the performance. No good. He was having none of it and despite his teacher also trying every trick in the book to salvage his singing, Grayson managed to cry through the ENTIRE performance. All. Five. Songs.

Several other kids also sobbed here and there, but managed to pull it together for at least part of the performance. After it was all over, the kids left the stage and the parents stuck around to have snacks with them. Grayson kept running from our table up onto the stage like he couldn't get enough of it. Really?

One of the dads of another kid in Gray's class came over and said, "That was the greatest thing I've ever seen. Great job Grayson." And I have to admit it was pretty entertaining, just not in the way I was expecting.

To top it off, he sang most of the way home in the car. Nice touch, son.

Here are a few videos if you can stand the wailing. Grayson's on the right side in a green sweater. Even if you can't see him, you'll be able to hear him above all of the other 24 kids.

video







Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What day is it?

Maybe it's just me, but I feel like the entire month of December is whizzing by in a blur. Between weekend trips for early family Christmas parties to celebrations throughout the week, our holiday season seems to be in overdrive this year.

Just when things start to get out of hand, Grayson finds a way to keep us laughing and reminds me to relax and enjoy the moment. I was going through some pictures and came across this one which captures one of his many recent moments of silliness when Gray scooped up his buddy Liam's hat and ran around singing in his reindeer footie pajamas.

This picture helps me remember to steal a few silly moments to enjoy during the rush of the season and I hope you can do the same.

Monday, December 13, 2010

What It's All About

This Friday is Gray's Christmas program at school and I must admit I think it's going to be a train wreck. That said, I'm sure it's going to be very entertaining all the same.

Gray's teachers sent home lyrics to the songs they've been learning and when I try to get him to practice he either sings about every other word or he insists on me singing while he does the dance moves.

Below is a video from tonight's rehearsal of Reindeer Pokey. You'll notice I'm the only one singing except for the end of a verse when Gray yells out, "POKEY!" as loud as he can. Hopefully the older kids at school will take care of the singing while our son flails about.

I'll do my best to capture video of the real performance in between fits of laughter, but for now please enjoy the latest dance craze, Reindeer Pokey:

video

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Doggy Discipline

Tonight we witnessed one of the funniest conversations Grayson has had to date. It was between him and Roxy and was quite serious.

Roxy doesn't like anyone within a four-foot radius of her food and water bowls while she's eating. If you get within this zone she starts growling under her breath and protecting her food.

This evening Grayson finished his dinner before Michael and I so he got out of his seat to practice the Christmas songs they've been learning at school for their upcoming program. Well, right in the middle of his rendition of Reindeer Pokey (set to the music of Hokey Pokey) Roxy started growling because he was too close to her food bowl.

Grayson immediately stopped singing and dancing, got very serious, pointed his finger and said, "no growling, Good Girl." When she kept on doing it he continued, "no growling, time out, house" (which means he was threatening to put her in her crate for a timeout).

Michael and I were cracking up at how serious he was and how much he sounded like a reflection of ourselves when we get on to him. Luckily for Roxy we intervened before he attempted to pick her up and take her to timeout.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hearding Cats

Last weekend our friends Rob and Michelle set up a photo shoot for The Three Amigos (Liam, Cora & Grayson) which I unfortunately had to miss because of a board retreat. Thankfully, Michael took some video in the brief moment that Grayson was sitting still. Cora on the other hand wasn't having any of it.

video

It's amazing to me how big Gray looks compared to Liam and Cora even though the are less than a year apart. I guess it shows how much they change and grow during the toddler stage.

According to Michael and all the other parents, it was entertaining to watch the crazy camera guy try to wrangle and prompt three toddlers in an effort to capture all of their attention and smiles at the exact same moment. He probably should have gotten paid overtime for this bunch.

Somehow, the photographer managed to snap a few Kodak moments. Here are some of the highlights:



Monday, December 6, 2010

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

I'm very happy to report we put our tree up over the weekend and Grayson is starting to catch on to the whole idea of Christmas.

Topping the tree with a boost from daddy

Looks like we may need a little more help from daddy in the straightening department, but not bad for Gray's first try.

Part of what I love about Christmas is unwrapping the mismatched, hand-crafted ornaments and sentimental decorations that we've collected over the years. We made a hand print ornament with Grayson last year and it was fun to see how much his hand has grown.

We are also lucky enough to have some pretty crafty relatives who've created decorations including this poinsettia tree that lights from within which was made by Michael's great aunt Margaret. It was on display at Michael's grandma's house for years and now warms up our living room.

I also have a wooden Santa that my grandmother made. I'm glad it's kid-friendly because Grayson has taken a liking to it and every time I turn around it's on display in a different part of our house.

When I was a child, my Aunt Karen made this Santa doll for me and I loved on it year-round. It makes me so happy to see Grayson enjoying it now. He carries Santa around saying, "Ho ho ho!"

Once we got all the ornaments on the tree, Michael and I were packing up the boxes when we turned around to find Grayson (and the Santa doll) enjoying the tree lights from below. The look on his face was pure joy and it's a great reminder of what's important during a season when it's easy to get wrapped up in over-the-top expectations and unneeded stress.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cooking Up Some Fun

Grayson is all about helping these days so I recruited him for cooking duty this weekend. We made homemade pizza and caesar salad which both turned out pretty well. He very much enjoyed shaking the Parmesan cheese (you really can't ever have enough) and also taste testing the ingredients along the way.


Conducting a little quality control taste test of the salad. Not sure why a flashlight was also involved, but to each his own.

My proud little sous chef ready to pop his creation in the oven (FYI: despite his love of the oven mitt, I still handled that part)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Storytime

video

Michael took this video on his phone from a while back and it gives us a good laugh when we watch it so I thought I would share it with you.

One of Gray's favorite books is the old classic, The Fire Engine Book. We've read it so many times that he has practically memorized what happens on each page.

In the video he's reading the book out loud as he flips the pages. Even though he is going from the back to the front, it doesn't seem to dampen his enthusiasm.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Baby Rhyann is Here!

I am so excited to announce that Michael's cousin Jennifer had her baby girl today! Baby Rhyann came earlier than expected, but all is well. She weighed in at 7 lbs 8 oz and was born at 2:11 p.m.

Since we're hundreds of miles away and cannot hold this sweet baby ourselves just yet, I stole these pictures off of Facebook (thanks, Lindy!). I swear the smirk on Rhyann's face reminds me of Michael's Grandma.

Here's one of the proud big brother Blayne. This picture makes me happy for many reasons, but most notably because he was wearing an OU shirt during this special occasion while living in a sea of UT and Texas A&M fans. I'm already eyeing an OU cheerleader outfit for Rhyann once she gets a little bigger. You gotta start 'em young, right?

Our love goes out to Jennifer, Robbie, Blayne and Miss Rhyann on this very special day. We love you guys!

What Happens In Texas...Stays in Texas

During our visit to Houston we attended a birthday party for Blayne, Grayson's big cousin who turned nine. I'm pretty sure Blayne owns every Nerf gun and toy ever made so needless to say all the kids at the party stayed quite entertained.

Grayson's dad and cousin Andrew got a kick out of getting Gray ready for battle with this little number complete with bandoleer. Gray didn't really know what to do since the gun was bigger than he was so he posed for a picture and then promptly took it off, returning to the cars and legos. That's my boy.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Neglected

Apologies for the shortage of posts lately, it's not from lack of material but lack of time. We enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving in Houston but got back late Sunday and still seem to be playing catch-up from the trip.

We came home to a street filled with lights on the houses and Christmas trees in the windows, but our house remains sadly dark.

One of the things I love most about Christmas is lighting the tree every evening when we get home from work. Well, the tree is still boxed up in the attic since we haven't been home to put it up and our evenings have been spent catching up on laundry, house chores and the like. I'm hopeful this weekend we'll be able to find our Christmas spirit.

I promise more updates will come soon. Grayson has been put on the official potty training track at school (he wears pull-ups now, not diapers at his teacher's request) and we get daily reports from our son as to the goings on in the bathroom. It's quite entertaining and for as observant as he is, you'd think he would be catching on a little faster to this whole thing. More on that later.