Friday, June 28, 2013

Like Mother, Like Son

When I was a child I used to play with my belly button or my ear lobe subconsciously while watching TV or trying to go to sleep. We have a 4D ultrasound photo of Gray cupping his ear with his hand in utero and I've noticed that he still does it even today when he's going to sleep.

This afternoon, I picked Gray up early from school and after getting an Icee treat we watched a little Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood to get past the heat of the day so we could swim. I just happened to look over and realize that while watching TV, Gray was playing with his belly button.

We've never talked about that being an old habit of mine and I've never seen him do it before. Guess it's in his DNA just like he gets his nighttime nail biting habit from his daddy. There's no denying, he's our boy!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fishing with Daddy

Michael and Grayson have been having some father and son time once a week by going fishing together. They always politely invite me to come along, but it's usually hot and involves touching worms, so I'm happy to let them have their fun without me.

So far Gray has only had a nibble, but he's always excited to tell me about their adventures when they return home. Fishing is something Michael loves and could do for hours, so it's fun to see Gray enjoy it too. I think it's teaching both of them about patience but in different ways.

Their latest fishing adventure was out at Lake Thunderbird. Gray only got a nibble and then his pole went in the water. Luckily daddy was nearby to save it. 

Check out the little fisherman's power stance

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Growing Up

I've been a little sentimental lately about Grayson and how he amazes us daily with signs that he's getting older. Maybe it's because we've been around so many babies lately, but it makes the contrast even more dramatic. 

I really love this phase we're in at the moment and wish we could stay like this forever. He's somewhat self-sufficient, yet still loves to cuddle, hold my hand and asks for help when needed.

In addition to the fact that he's growing like a weed, he's maturing in other ways too. He's informed us that he no longer wants to take baths and insists on showers instead (which makes me thankful for our adjustable shower sprayer since otherwise I'd get soaked trying to assist him from outside the shower stall). 

He also informed Michael this week that he no longer wants daddy to wake him up in the mornings. Instead, he wants to set his Yoda alarm clock and have that wake him up. Michael lovingly obliged, but Gray is 2 for 2 in sleeping right through the alarm this week (a trait he gets from his father), so I think he may still need daddy as a back-up for a bit. 

The other day we were getting ready to swim and I had Gray's swimsuit and shirt ready to put on. He took them from me and went behind something to change. I asked what he was doing and he said, "I need to change back here so you can't see my privates." He's starting to want privacy, yet who do you think he calls for when he needs assistance on the potty? Funny how that works. 

Yes, our little boy is growing up. I better get some kisses and snuggles in while I can!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Everyday Moments

This weekend has been a perfect example of why I love summer. We enjoyed celebrating our friend Liam's fourth birthday, made plans to meet up with friends at our local Jazz in June concert and fit in spontaneous swims in-between all the fun.

I'm really getting bad about not remembering my camera to capture our daily memories, and my cellphone camera has a small crack in the lens, but I did manage a couple of snapshots along the way.

I wish I could bottle up these kinds of relaxing weekends and keep them forever. Here are a few of the highlights:

Liam's party was an OKC Thunder theme and included lots of backyard games for the kiddos. Liam's mom Michelle is super creative and had stations set up around the backyard for everyone to play and they got a sticker after completing each one. Nothing keeps these kids motivated like stickers, it was brilliant!

Here's Gray playing "pin the horns on Rumble." And yes, Michelle painted this picture of Rumble herself...I wasn't joking when I said she was super creative.

Here's Cora giving it a try.

Next up, Gray and Cora ducked inside the tent that was set up to read picture books about basketball. What a simple and clever idea!

Here are Michael and Liam, our birthday boy, trying their hand at a beanbag toss game.

The kiddos also painted shirts with fabric paint and stamps and also tried dunking on a kid-sized basketball goal before enjoying cake and snacks. 

This one is a blinking shot, but as you can see, Gray loved the blue icing and how it turned his teeth and tongue blue too.

 Claire may have enjoyed the cupcakes too. So adorable!

All that fun requires a little rest time

Daddy and Gray relaxing after our bike ride, waiting for the jazz music to start

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Summertime & the livin' is easy

We've been busy enjoying summertime over the last few weeks with spontaneous playdates in the swimming pool, grilling and dining al fresco most evenings and even fitting in a trip to the lake.

We spent last weekend at Lake Tenkiller with our family celebrating an early Father's Day with Pappa and Susu. I didn't manage to take one picture the entire weekend, but luckily my cousin Suzanne sent me a few she snapped of the boys. These four cousins have so much fun together and I can't get enough of them. They all play so well together and even Jack is getting big enough to get in on the action.

I have countless wonderful memories of summer weekends at the lake growing up. It makes my heart happy to see the next generation of cousins also loving so many of the things that we enjoyed. We are very blessed!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Enough Already!

Okay, I promise this is my last Yellowstone-related post. In my defense, when you're there a week it's a lot to take in and capture and these posts are just the tip of the iceberg. Everyone should put Yellowstone on their bucket list!

The luxury of staying in the park and spending a week there is that you can really take the time to see and do everything. We enjoyed hikes and site seeing one day and then would drive to a different corner of the park the next day on day-long wildlife viewing adventures. It was nice to have the variety and the time to leisurely explore and stop on a whim.

Here's a random sampling of some of the photos from our hikes and scenic stops along the way.

Nana and Popper making their way up to Outlook Point to see Old Faithful

Gray and I at Outlook Point waiting patiently for Old Faithful's water show

Sometimes when you're waiting, you get hungry and need to refuel with a PB&J

Gray loved the log bridges we came across and treated them like balance beams every time. 

Until our next adventure...The End

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Grand Tetons

We took one day of our trip and drove through the Grand Tetons which share Yellowstone's southern border. Unfortunately, right as we entered the park it started getting cloudy and the rain moved through. We still had a great time, but the pictures didn't turn out as nicely as they would have been with blue skies.

While both areas are managed by the National Parks Service, it's immediately apparent that the Grand Tetons are operated with a recreational philosophy while Yellowstone is all about conservation and minimal human impact.

The Tetons are full of outdoor recreational opportunities and there are several beautiful lakes (if you don't mind frigid water temps).

Jackson Lake in the Grand Tetons

Gray spotting his first rainbow ever in-person while in the park

I've never heard of Frost Heaves before, but apparently it's a thing and is a problem in the Tetons. I later Googled it to see what this sign was even talking about. You can check out the explanation here if you're interested.

Once you drive through the Tetons you get to Jackson, WY on the southern edge. It is quite the touristy hot spot, but was fun to walk around the town square.

I loved the antler arches at each corner of the town square.

Senior pic pose...This kid cracks me up.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Wildlife Viewing

Another one of Yellowstone's up-close-and-personal views of nature is its wildlife. We went at a great time of year when a lot of animals are moving out of hibernation and traveling to grassy valleys in the park.

We saw bison, elk, a black mama bear and two cubs, male and female grizzly bears, a wolf, a coyote, a chipmunk, a groundhog, a beaver house (with no beaver sighting) and a moose. Unfortunately, I missed out on the moose sighting, but did get to see all of the rest.

I realized when we downloaded our photos that most of the wildlife shots were taken on Popper's camera. Here's a small sampling of what we had on our camera:

Mr. Bison taking his sweet time crossing the road. This was one of several bison-related traffic jams we encountered during the week.

A mama and her baby. We learned they call the baby bison "red dogs" since their first coats are red instead of brown.

An elk eating a snack

A beaver house

Hello there chipmunk 

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Waterfalls of Yellowstone

One of my favorite parts of the trip was seeing all of the waterfalls throughout Yellowstone. There are hundreds of them and only a handful are accessible by roads, but they are all beautiful in their own way.

This is Gibbon Falls. I wish I had captured a video of the rushing sound from this spot. It was so relaxing and wonderful. While these falls were nice, I particularly enjoyed the view of the valley which the water was flowing down into (see below). 

One afternoon, Michael and I decided to take a longer hike to see the Mystic Falls. This was a photo taken right before the trail head. We were so excited and optimistic...then we walked back to the trail head and found a "trail closed" sign. It's apparently in a bear management area that was still closed for spring when the bears come out from hibernation. Drats!

We consulted our map and decided to take a different hike to a place called Cascade Falls. We walked through a forest that had been burned in a wildfire several decades ago and thousands of trees were in varying states of decomposition. It made for some wicked patterns and tree stumps like the one below.

Once we got to the peak, we rested and had our small picnic near the falls. It's not much to look at compared to the Upper and Lower Falls of Yellowstone, but it was interesting to see what happens when nature is left completely on its own without human intervention.

Feel free to insert your own joke here about what happens when a tree falls 
in a forest and nobody is around. This is Cascade Falls, by the way.

Since nobody was around to take our picture at the top of the mountain we just did it ourselves.

Ironically, this hike was also the best cell service of the entire trip. We walked right by this cell tower which was the only one I saw the entire trip.

Toward the end of our trip we decided to visit the Lower and Upper Falls which are the iconic waterfalls of the park. It was probably best that we saved these for last because the are so spectacular. 

Upper Falls (the smaller of the two)

View looking the opposite direction into the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

The Lower Falls and Yellowstone river

Nana and her boy

Nana and Popper