Friday, December 30, 2011

Our Christmas Recap

We're still recovering from Christmas, but I wanted to share some of the highlights from last weekend.

We hosted Christmas Eve (Eve) Friday night with my dad's side of the family and enjoyed a houseful of some of our favorite people.

Cousins Jack, Luke and Gray ready to get the party started!

A short while later, my sister Amy and nephew Holten arrived from their two-day trip all the way from North Carolina.The cousins' club was finally complete! Unfortunately, we got a lot of pictures like the one above...and only one half-way decent one like the one below, before meltdowns ensued.


After what seemed like F-O-R-E-V-E-R to the boys, we opened presents. Pappa (my dad) got a mini-Foosball table in our dirty Santa swap and the boys (young and old) went crazy over it.


On Saturday, we enjoyed a lazy day around the house with two sets of grandparents and made some cookies for Santa.  




Mmmm...Santa told me they tasted as good as they looked!
After the cookies were ready, we headed to an evening candlelight service at our church.  We took advantage of the fact that we were all out of our pajamas to take some family pics.

With Nana and Popper (Michael's parents)

 With Pappa and Susu (my parents)...nice matching shirts Pappa & Gray!

Gray leaving his cookies for Santa.

On Christmas morning, we had to wake Grayson up so we could do Santa and our presents before heading to my mom's for brunch with her side of the family. Although Gray has been extremely focused on getting a basketball goal from Santa, it was the last thing he noticed in all the excitement.

Michael took a few videos (which I debated about sharing since I make a cameo in my mismatched pajamas) to capture the moment.

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Later that morning, we enjoyed more time with family. 

Gray "driving" Holten in an imaginary boat.

A sister reunion: Emily, me and Amy

It was a whirlwind weekend and we had so much fun. We are truly blessed to have such an amazing family. We missed seeing all of our Texas family, but hope to make a trip that way soon. Now if I could just find a home for all of Gray's new toys...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pearly Whites

Gray had his first solo visit with the dentist this week. He's been with me a couple of times in the past to get used to the dentist office/instruments so he would be comfortable when it was time to sit in the chair. This week, it was his turn to be a big boy for Dr. Pat. 

After sitting on my lap during my teeth cleaning (and asking no less than 75 questions to the dental hygienist Ms. Marty throughout the process), Grayson was ready to get his own check up.

He got to pick out some sunglasses so the light wouldn't shine in his eyes. I thought he might freak out when Dr. Pat put the instruments in his mouth, but Grayson did great. He held his mouth open wide and sat very still. Next time we're going to try an actual polishing. We'll see how that goes.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sweet memories

The three amigos recently decorated some holiday cookies with their buddy Emma (aka our future babysitting rockstar). It doesn't matter how old you are, cookies and icing are sure to please.

Prepping the icing for sprinkles

Here is Grayson's approach to adding the sprinkles. Deliberate and clean (just like his daddy)

Cora took a slightly different approach. She cut right to the chase and dumped the entire jar of sprinkles on her cookie. I promise there is a cookie under there somewhere. 

I love Gray's expression in this picture. He's so focused on eating that cookie!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Birthday Roxy Claus

We're getting in the holiday spirit, but unfortunately I can't say the same for Roxy. She tolerated her Santa outfit just long enough for me to get a couple of pictures (then she tried to bite my finger off as I undressed her).

Guess I shouldn't pester her so much on her birthday. She's now seven and as crotchety as ever.

Despite her scrooge moment, doesn't she look festive? Merry Christmas from Roxy Claus!

Sooner Born & Sooner Bred

One night last week Gray and I were on our own for dinner so daddy could take care of some Christmas shopping. I called up our friends for an impromptu dinner playdate and we took the kiddos to the OU student union.

After eating dinner, we took the kids on a tour of the union so they could learn about their future alma mater.

Grayson & Cora checking out the Sooner Schooner

Visiting the Seed Sower (he sows the seeds of knowledge)

As we were walking down the hall I told Gray he needed to hold someone's hand. I should have known he'd choose Cora. So sweet. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Here Lately

Since I no longer write monthly updates about Grayson's age and milestone development, I forget to capture the things I love (and could do without) at whatever stage he's in at the moment.

Here's a list of what I hope will soon pass:
  • Gray has been in trouble several times at school lately for "sword fighting" and playing Power Rangers with his buddy Kolby. When he gets in trouble, he's not allowed to watch Arthur on TV when we get home (which is what he usually does while I cook dinner and we're waiting for daddy to get home). So far the punishment has been very effective and I'm hopeful Arthur will continue to wield power in our household. 
  • When we tell Gray no or not to do something, we've been met with a few dirty looks. Gray squints his eyes, crinkles his nose and shoots us a mean look. This is likely the equivalent of the teenage eye-roll that I'm sure we'll see soon enough. It annoys me so much that I've started putting him in timeout for it, but I can already tell this boy has an attitude. 
  • Everywhere we go he asks, "Does this place have a bathroom?" and then we often have to visit it. I've asked Santa for more hand sanitizer because I can't seem to keep enough in my purse. 
Luckily, Gray is overall a very good and sweet boy so the list of things I love at this stage is longer than the other list.
  • I love when he crawls into our bed on Saturday mornings and he puts his little arm around me and pats me, just like I do to him.
  • We've taught him the "wake-up song" that Michael's parents sang to him as a child. Gray now loves singing it to daddy to get him out of bed on the weekends. I need to try and record it one of these days because he's added a big finale.
  • I love how he insists on saying two prayers for blessing our dinner -- "God is Great" and "For all we eat" (my family's meal blessing). After saying the prayers at dinner one night last week, he asked us, "Who is God?" I stumbled through a response that a three-year-old could understand as daddy looked on in amusement. Thanks, daddy. I'll remember that when it's time for the birds and the bees talk.
  • Good manners are becoming natural for him and he says please and thank you without prompting most of the time. We're also working on "may I" instead of "can I." 
  • He spontaneously tells us how much he loves us. Out of nowhere he'll say, "I love you to the moon and back." Then it becomes a competition to see who can think of the furthest place to demonstrate our love. He comes up with some pretty funny ways to express his love.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Crafty Christmas

This week we've been busy attending holiday parties, wrapping presents and crafting it up! If your jaw just hit the floor, I don't blame you. I realize I'm not known for my craftiness, but I found a really cute gift idea on Pinterest (my new obsession) and am making several gifts this year. Fingers crossed it all turns out well (and gets finished in time!).

Since I can't show you what I'm making, I'll show one of Gray's recent crafts (thanks, Aunt Brenda!). He wears his reindeer antlers everywhere!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Is it Christmas yet?

This year, Gray is REALLY into Christmas. He helped decorate the tree, asks endless questions about the wrapped presents and excitedly counts down the days with our Advent calendar. I've learned not to ask him what he wants anymore because it changes minute-to-minute (and Santa has already finished shopping).

We bought him a book about the Christmas story to try and explain why we celebrate the holiday and exchange gifts. He remembers the names for Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus, but the story ends up leading to more questions about when he was a baby in my belly (as he puts it).

We go through the same conversation about why Jesus was born in a stable instead of a hospital like he was, and how Mary is Jesus' mommy and I'm his mommy. For now, I'm able to answer everything but I don't even want to think about the questions he'll ask when he gets old enough to hear about immaculate conception.

At any rate, he's soaking up some meaning behind the season and even helped us clean out his old toys to make room for the new ones. We talked about how some kids don't get anything for Christmas and how lucky he is to have so much. As we went to Goodwill to donate the box of toys he asked, "Do you think the babies will like playing with these toys?"

I have to admit, I didn't really think he understood what we were doing. To think that he hopes the toys bring joy to other kids makes my heart smile.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day Jobs

Grayson's class is learning about occupations right now and the teacher tries to relate this big word to their lives in several ways. She asked each kid what they want to do when they grow up and recorded their answers on the bulletin board.

At the time, Gray responded "be a firefighter, " so the teacher wrote that next to his name. Later on, I asked him the same question and he said he wanted to be an astronaut.

This week, the teacher asked each kid what their parents do for their occupations. Grayson's response for daddy was, "He dresses up." I thought that was hilarious. He couldn't come up with an answer for my job. I told him that's okay, neither can daddy.

Trying to help his teacher out, tonight I tried to explain that daddy draws pictures at his job and mommy writes stories. It will be interesting to see how that gets translated tomorrow at school.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Teacher's Pet

Grayson school has restuctured their staff a bit and he has a new teacher in his classroom. I've been getting to know her bit by bit when I pick him up each evening, and although she's fresh out of college, she's great with the kids and seems passionate about her job. His long-time teacher (which we really like) is still there too.

I am happy about the change and since the new teacher is with Gray from 9:30 a.m. through the end of the day, she usually has a detailed report of his day or a funny story to share.

Yesterday she told me that Gray asked her how old she was. The teacher told him she was 21, to which he replied, "When I get to be that old, I'll be in the home."

I have no idea where he got this, but luckily she cracked up laughing. She said she even went home and told her family the story. I think we need to work with Gray on how to make a good first impression. Telling a woman she's old is probably not the best approach.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

We just got home from visiting Michael's family in Houston and we had such a fun time catching up with everyone. We were able to celebrate Thanksgiving and the birthdays of two cousins while we were there, making it a busy and very memorable trip. Here are a few of the highlights:

Miss Rhyann sporting the cutest turkey shirt ever. Her mama Jennifer made the adorable feathers out of ribbons, so clever!

Gray showing Rhyann how to pump your legs to get more height. Unfortunately, I think I had lulled Rhyann nearly to sleep from the swinging motion.

Gray burning off some sugar after Turkey Day nap time.

One of many wrestle/tickle sessions with Uncle Andrew.

Celebrating Rhyann's first birthday!

We also celebrated Blayne's 10th birthday.  I think he may have had a messier face than his baby sister in the end.

Gray having fun on the bouncy at the birthday party. He now wants to ask Santa for a castle bouncy house.

Daddy couldn't pass up the fun, although he said he went in to make sure Gray didn't get hurt. Yeah, right.

Cousins Grayson, Blayne & Rhyann


On our way home from Houston, we took a slight detour off of I-35 and went through the Festival of Lights in Ardmore, OK. We've passed by this holiday light display many times from the interstate, but decided it was worth a tour this year and amazingly enough, it's free! I definitely recommend it if you're in the area. Here were a few of my favorite displays:



Some volunteers handed out candy canes at the end and Grayson thought he won the lottery.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thankfulness A.D.D.

Grayson has been so focused on Christmas that we have to keep reminding him that Thanksgiving comes first. In an effort to get him excited about giving thanks, we also told him we're going to see Nana and Popper.

Now every morning and night he asks about them and if it's Thanksgiving yet. I'll be so relieved when it's finally here and the rapid-fire questioning ceases.

When I ask him what he's thankful for he lists anything and everything that comes to mind. His response usually includes whatever we're doing at the moment...eating, playing, reading, etc. 

At school, his teacher made a poster with a list of everything each student is thankful for. Next to Gray's name it lists, "food, my mommy and daddy." At least he managed to get his priorities in order for the teacher, even if food did rank before his loving parents.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Full of Surprises

These days Grayson is constantly surprising us. From busting out new vocabulary (in context) to playing computer games, our boy is three going on 13.

Today, I arrived at Gray's school to find him sitting at the computer, mouse in hand, playing a computer game. I've noticed the computer in his classroom before, but it's never been on when I'm there so I didn't think he ever played with it.

To my surprise, Gray was pretty good at maneuvering the mouse and was able to click on various shapes and drag them over to the sandbox and arrange them (which was the point of the exercise). When it was time to go, he clicked on "stop" and then turned off the screen like he does it everyday.

I don't think he's on email yet, but I fully expect a message any day now proving me otherwise.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Daddy's helper

Last Sunday we took a drive after church so we could enjoy the gorgeous weather, fall foliage and also check on Nana and Popper's lake house.

They recently got a deer feeder to train the deer to come back around so we can hopefully catch some sightings. Michael took care of filling it with corn as Gray supervised.

Supervising is hard work, so you'll see he's eating an apple to keep his energy up.

Two thumbs up...good job, Daddy!

After the chores were done, it was time for a little hike. Nothing like tromping around in the mud wearing your church clothes. The day was too nice to say no.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pass the Kleenex...and the soup

I think I got Gray's cold, which started in my chest and has now moved to my head. My major accomplishments from Saturday through Monday included moving from one couch to another, then back to the bed. I did manage to pull it together enough to go back to work on Tuesday, but it's been a rough week.

Luckily, I have two sweet guys to take care of me. Michael keeps me fed and hydrated, while Gray cuddles up under my blanket on the opposite end of the couch and "reads" me stories.

We haven't been doing much this week (since I've been going to bed earlier than Gray some nights), but I hope to have more updates on our silly boy for you soon. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

TV reality check

Have any of you recently received a blank TV diary in the mail from Nielsen Research asking you to log your TV time for a week? We started ours last Thursday and it's been interesting to look back and see what we watch.

We usually let Gray watch 30-60 minutes of PBS in the evening while I'm fixing dinner and we're waiting on daddy to get home. Other than that, he doesn't watch TV until the weekend when we let him watch a few additional PBS shows like Sesame Street.

Michael and I have always tried to limit Gray's TV time, and when he does get to watch TV it's always PBS or something educational (except for the OU football game last Saturday). This diary exercise makes me wonder about other families and what is "normal" viewing time for kids. Part of me feels like he should probably watch less, and then on the flip-side I don't really care what everyone else does or thinks.

I love PBS because they don't play commercials, so Grayson isn't bombarded by the latest toys, sugary cereal, etc. Plus, each show has some kind of educational component like learning letters or vocabulary words.

I'm probably justifying his TV time a little too much, but I have to say, I think it's pretty balanced with everything else Gray does throughout the day. He would always watch more if we'd let him (and doesn't hesitate to ask), but I think we're all pretty content with the current arrangement.

All that said, I would love to see the results of the Nielsen data once everything is collected and compiled. Is there any national correlation between households with kids who love PBS, men who love NOVA/science shows and women who love House Hunters or Bravo! shows? Or are we a TV viewing phenomenon?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Shaken Up

We've been getting a lot of calls and texts from friends and family checking on us after last night's record earthquake. We're doing fine and don't have any noticeable damage to our house or property.

A little before 11 p.m., central Oklahoma experienced a 5.6 magnitude earthquake, the largest ever recorded in the state. Less than 24 hours before, there was a 4.7 magnitude quake, but we were sleeping and didn't feel it. This time, even if we had been asleep, the shaking was strong enough to have woken us up.

Michael and I were in the living room watching TV when the house started swaying and the rumbling began. Nothing came off the walls, but the blinds were shaking and you could feel the entire house moving side to side. Pretty crazy.

We got up and stood under the doorway to our kitchen (which we later realized is underneath the AC unit in the attic, so probably not the best place to stand). Since it wasn't enough to shake things off the shelves, we didn't get Gray out of bed, but went in to check on him and he was sound asleep.

I will admit the whole thing was surreal and Michael and I were a bit stunned by the situation. Growing up in Oklahoma, I've gone through countless tornado drills and don't think twice about the tornado sirens being tested every Saturday at noon. I've never been in an earthquake or even gone through a safety drill. Probably time to double check our homeowners insurance to see if we even have coverage.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Our Local Hero

We are celebrating for Uncle Levi who this week was offered his dream job with the Norman fire department. You can read more about the journey on my sister Emily's blog here.

Grayson was already smitten with his uncle for many reasons...he lets Gray climb all over him, he'll play anything his nephew requests and his current day job is driving an ambulance (which Gray watches for every time we're on the road).

When I learned the news about Levi's new job, I told Grayson and immediately regretted not video taping his reaction. He gasped in excitement and said, "Uncle Levi's going to ride on a fire truck?!"

After talking about it for a minute, we dropped the subject and went on about our day. Then thirty minutes later Gray brought it up again like he was still processing the fact that he would know a real-life fireman. I think he may be the one person in the world more excited than Levi himself.

I'd say Uncle Levi's pedestal just got a little taller to a certain three year-old.

Congratulations Uncle Levi! We're so proud of you and can't wait to come visit at the fire station!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Going Batty

Michael and I went to a Halloween party last weekend and had to come up with two costumes in less than 24 hours. We needed something quick and easy that wouldn't cost a fortune. I ran across a no-sew bat costume online which used black clothes we already owned and had instructions for rigging umbrellas as the bat wings. Pretty clever.

We ended up only having to buy two $5 umbrellas and two black masks, which meant we made both costumes for around $15 total. It does help to have a handy husband who likes trouble-shooting.


When we dropped Gray off at my parent's house he asked to be in the picture and told us he wanted to be a bat instead of a robot for Halloween. Too late for that, buddy!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Grayson stayed home from school today with a fever and cough, but he rallied enough to trick-or-treat to a few houses on our block. Despite practicing saying "trick-or-treat!" he wouldn't speak once people came to the door. He did manage to say "thank you" once they handed him the candy.

Here's a slide show as he got into character as "Grayson robot:"




 The circle panel actually lit up and the first time Gray saw it he said, "Daddy, I'm a real robot!" The letters and serial number are his initials and birthday. So clever, Daddy!

Approaching the first house we realized stairs were going to be a bit of a challenge, but he managed to navigate everything without falling.


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He kept saying, "I-am Gray-son ro-bot" in his best robot voice.

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Once we got home, you can see he was pretty tuckered out. We only went to about seven houses, but his cold has really taken it out of him. It was enough to get a good candy stash and make some memories.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pumpkin Patch 2011

Do you ever try to cram too many activities into one day? We did that on Saturday and then Gray came down with a fever on Sunday so we're paying the price.

It all started with a trip to the pumpkin patch. We went to TG Farms, the same place we go every year and, as always, they've added new activities to enjoy.

 Snoopy looking over our shoulder.
Coming down the hay bale slide. 

This was the first year Gray was old enough to go through the corn maze. Unfortunately, the summer's historic heat wave took a toll on the corn so it was a bit short in spots. Once you got into the middle of the maze the corn got taller and it ended up being more of a challenge.

Which way do we go?



They had some "hay livestock" set up for roping, so Daddy took the opportunity to let his inner cowboy out. His Uncle Steve would be proud.


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We had the hayride all to ourselves.

The hayride took us past the "squarecrow" as Grayson calls him.

Out of all the activities, Grayson loved riding the John Deere tricycles the most.

After the pumpkin patch, Gray took a nap and then went over to Aunt Emily and Uncle Levi's for their 3rd Annual Pumpkin Painting Party. You can read more about that on her blog here. Then we went to an OU football watch party and cookout. After that, we headed up to Edmond and dropped Gray off to spend the night with my parents while Michael and I went to a costume party.

It was a crazy busy day, but we had lots of fun. I just hope Grayson can shake his fever in time to trick-or-treat on Monday. Daddy spent way too many hours on his robot costume to not enjoy it.