Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hitting the Trail

Last Saturday, I attended an all-day board retreat so the boys were left to their own devices. It was a gorgeous day, so Michael decided to take Grayson out to Lake Thunderbird State Park for a little fresh air and some "off-road" bicycling.

Lake Thunderbird has a great system of trails which Michael has spent many an hour mountain biking over the years. This time it was Gray's turn to ride and Daddy was armed with his camera.

Entering the trail head Daddy's already having a hard time keeping up on foot with our little speed racer. 

Evaluating the course ahead 

 And we're off!

 Stopping to smell the roses...I mean check out the birds.

Time to focus on shredding some trail 

As you can see from the bike wheels at the top of this picture, there were a lot of other cyclists out that day. All of them got a huge kick out of seeing Gray ride up from the trail. And Daddy was happy.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tour de Driveway

Grayson has been doing well learning how to balance on his bike without pedals or training wheels. I can't remember if I've posted before about strider bikes, but it's a really neat concept for teaching young kids how to balance so they can ride without training wheels.

We took Gray's pedals and training wheels off a few months back and I think he'll be ready to put the pedals back on sometime this spring or summer. As you can see, he loves his bike which makes his daddy happy to no end.

(Disclaimer: I took these videos with Michael's phone and should have turned it horizontal. Apologies for the operator malfunction!)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wholehearted Gratefulness

When I was pregnant, Michael and I would daydream about what our child would be like and wonder about everything from his hair color to hobbies to disposition. Now that he's here, we know he has my eyes and everything else of Michael's, likes music, cars and sports and may end up being a lefty.

But more than his looks and interests, we wanted our son to be kind, considerate, affectionate and thoughtful. As any parent will tell you, manners are a journey, not a destination, but I had a proud mama moment yesterday evening during our regular after-school routine.

When Gray and I arrive home, we check the mailbox together and he looks forward to opening the envelopes. Yesterday we came home to a surprise. He spotted a padded envelope sticking out of the mailbox and got very excited to see what it was. Gray immediately asked if it was car parts for daddy (what does that tell you), but I showed him the front of the envelope and he recognized his name and got even more excited.

He asked who it was from and I said, "Aunt Karen and Uncle Steve from Houston, Texas." To which he replied, "Ohhh! We'll have to tell them thank you the next time we're in Houston, Texas."

He didn't even know what was inside, yet he was immediately thankful. He kept talking about how we needed to be sure and thank our aunt and uncle, it made my heart happy. Then he opened the package and discovered Lightening McQueen!

Thank you Aunt Karen and Uncle Steve for the sweet surprise! I for one am thankful to have such thoughtful relatives!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Random Updates

  • The picture above is from Gray's music class at the library. Not only does he love learning words and hand motions to new songs, he also gets a super-cool name tag. Who knew a piece of paper and tape could make someone so happy?
  • Great-grandmama gave Gray a toy dog for Christmas that walks, sits and responds to commands. When I asked what his puppy's name was, he said "Rudolph." I asked if Rudolph was a boy or a girl and he told me "dog." Duh, mom.
  • After much consideration, Michael has decided he's going to sell Blauhai. He broke the news to his BMW car club at a meet-up last week and is working on posting it online. I know he has mixed emotions about selling it, so we'll see what happens. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cooking up some fun

We spent some time at our friend Cora's house this weekend and I'm always amazed at how much Gray plays with her toy kitchen. He has one in his bedroom that doesn't see a lot of action, but the second we step in Cora's house, he starts cooking up a storm.

It helps that she recently added a toy microwave which was a Christmas gift and she has a lot more pretend condiments, spices and food accessories than Gray's kitchen set-up. Oh, and did I mention fairy wings? I guess that's the girl version of a superhero cape...a must for any gourmet chef.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy Birthday Jack!

I can't believe baby Jack is one! We celebrated with him this weekend at his Elmo-themed birthday bash.

While opening his presents, Jack stood up on his own several times and looked around at all of us cheering like, "What's the big deal?" Of course, I didn't have my camera ready. He'll be walking (and running!) in the blink of an eye.

Big brother Luke will celebrate his 5th birthday next month.

Suzanne had the cutest table decorations and party bags, complete with candy necklaces which were a mega hit! The sugar took about 4.5 seconds to kick in. Luckily, it was a gorgeous day so we could send the kiddos outside to burn off their sugar highs.  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Fill in the Caption

Hope this picture makes you laugh as much as it does us! Michael and I were rolling laughing coming up with a caption for this photo, but instead of using one of ours, we thought it might be fun for you all to write a caption instead. Leave your best material in the comments section and the one we love the most will  get a super awesome prize (in addition to bragging rights).

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Winter Gala

Grayson's school hosted a "Winter Gala" tonight where several classes performed a medley of songs. We were afraid we'd see a repeat of last year's tragic concert performance, but what a difference a year makes.

This year, instead of being frightened by the crowd, Gray went up in front of everyone (early) and stood next to the school director as she was welcoming everyone. We had to tell him it wasn't his turn yet so he wouldn't stand up there while the younger classes performed.

When it was finally his turn, Gray sang loudly and did all the hand motions. We were very entertained and proud of our boy.

Monday, January 9, 2012

You Just Thought Christmas Was Over

On Saturday we celebrated the last of our family Christmases with my step-dad's side of the family. A lot of this family lives several hours away from us, so it's always fun to be together and catch up.

There were only about half of the great-grandchildren's generation there, but we managed to get a picture of the handsome boys. I love that Grayson is holding hands with his big cousin.

Ladd, Van and Grayson

After a few hours of playing and bonding, Grayson said, "I want to be best friends with those boys, mama." I told him they were even better than best friends, they were cousins and that means you're friends for life. His eyes and smile got wide and he was satisfied. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Showing Daddy How it's Done

For Christmas, Grayson received a Buzz Lightyear and Woody shaving set, complete with berry shaving cream, a mirror and a plastic razor.

Even though Michael uses an electric shaver and Gray has never seen him use a real razor, somehow he knows how it all works. I'm guessing he's watched his Pappa shave during one of his visits. Pretty cute.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Impromptu Picnic

So we've been making good on some of our resolutions and last weekend decided to go exploring at our local park. We packed up for an impromptu picnic because the day before had been sunny and warm. 

Unfortunately, the day we went a cold front was rolling through which put a kink in our plans. As you can see below, it's so cold, Michael can't even open his mouth all the way to smile. Burrr...

We decided to take our picnic to the car and enjoyed finishing our lunch out of the wind.

Once we were full, we headed to a nearby field to fly a kite. It may have been too windy to enjoy a winter picnic, but we're all about the glass being half full, so we used the wind to our advantage for kite flying.

Gray wasn't super entertained by the kite since there was an awesome playground in sight, so we headed over to check it out.

As another make-good on our resolution list, we attended a children's music class this week at our local library. We all had fun learning new songs, dancing and meeting new friends. The class meets weekly and we're going to try and make as many as we can. Michael was the only daddy in attendance and it made me thankful to have a partner that doesn't mind singing and making a fool of himself in public. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Ringing in 2012

We hosted a small "fun-due" (fondue) party for New Year's Eve and took advantage of the gathering to take an annual snapshot of our group's kiddos. I love seeing each child grow from year to year, not to mention the number of kids has grown by two this year as well.

From left to right: Cora, Emma, Liam, Bea, Claire and Grayson

Future best friends: Baby Bea and Baby Claire

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year, New Possibilities

After a rough start to 2011 and some other unexpected pitfalls throughout the year, I am looking forward to saying goodbye to the past and start fresh. That said, I did accomplish my goals of getting off crutches and potty training Gray (both of which seemed nearly impossible last January).

Lately, I've been thinking about what I want to accomplish in 2012. Not just for myself, but for our family. After consulting with my cohorts (Michael and Gray), we've come up with the following list.
  • Enjoy Gray's last year of not being tied down by an elementary school calendar (2013 and kindergarten will be here before we know it!). That leads us to the next one...
  • Take more day trips and weekend getaways. We've got such busy schedules during the week, it's easy to spend our weekends catching up on laundry, errands, etc. and forget to have some fun. We need to make more time for adventure and spontaneous exploration.
  • Break out of our usual dinner lineup. I'll admit, I'm stuck in a meal planning rut. Limited winter produce doesn't help, but I'm thankful that Gray is a pretty open-minded eater and I'd like to expand our culinary repertoire.
  • Tackle some of the major home improvement projects we've been talking about for years. I want our home to inspire and re-energize us, not be a stressful reminder of what needs to be done.
  • Make specific plans to nurture our passions and hobbies:
    • Michael: furniture making/upholstery, mountain biking, art
    • Lindsay: writing, tennis
    • Gray: music, soccer
We realize this is a pretty ambitious list, but we have to at least put it out there and try. One thing is certain...2012 will no doubt bring change both in and out of our control. I hope you all will help us stay on track and make the coming year one of adventure, accomplishment and continual learning.