Friday, June 27, 2008


Our friends Tony and Jennie just welcomed baby Oscar into the world! They got Grant this little outfit for Grant's homecoming, so we'll have to find something of similar insult.

Click here for their blog.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


We're in the middle of a full blown language explosion over here. Grant is language crazy! I have a beautiful scrapbook that chronicled the first year of Grant's life, and I had hoped to keep it up for a record of things like expanding vocabulary. But, life is busy, so, for now, this blog will have act as some sort of baby book.

Grant talks constantly, and it is starting to get easier and easier to understand him. At first, I thought he was just repeating words. I'd say zebra, he'd repeat it, but I didn't think he fully understood. But now, he's starting to use those repeated words all on his own.

Just today, Grant (at the zoo) walked up to a group of daycamp kids waving, and he said, "Hi, guys." I about died at the cuteness. He does the same thing with everything. "Hi, Dad." "Hi, ducks." "Hi, zebra."

But, it doesn't stop there. I thought I might try to chronicle his words, but there are just too many: zip, all done, shoe, milk, amen, truck, car, Grant (which he pronounces Nant)... it just keeps going.

And he knows every sound I can think of: snake, owl, dog, lion, chicken, truck (beep beep), etc, but three of my new favorites include frog, train and santa claus (ho ho ho). He also pulls his tongue in and out to imitate a lizard.

It's just amazing to watch and to listen to Grant become a boy. It melts my heart to hear his little voice make meaning.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Life of a Mother

I knew it would happen eventually. Every mother warns you that it will happen, so it didn't quite sneak up on me, but still the same, it marked a moment in time when you realize what exactly being Mommy to Grant means.

The other night, Grant did something he never had done prior. He pooped in the tub. Bret was watching Grant play as I put away clothes, and I heard Bret squeal. Upon my hasty return to the tub, I saw several "pieces" floating in the tub. Bret's exact words at this moment: "I'm out of here."

I couldn't keep Grant in the tub, but I couldn't trust him to stand by, dripping wet, as I cleaned out and disinfected the tub. So, I moved him to the tub in the master bedroom, put some warm water in it, ordered Bret to stand watch, and I returned to Grant's bathroom to clean. Not fun.

But as luck would have it, I heard another squeal. Grant decided to do another "big job" in the second tub.

It was a long night: another parenting hurdle crossed.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


I jumped out of bed this morning with a list of projects for the day. I put in my contacts, threw on some clothes, and walked into the office where our computer hums quietly day and night.

As I walked in, I noticed that the computer wasn't really humming. It was more or less groaning, much as one might do if they'd eaten some bad tuna. GRRR...grrr...GRRRR...grr... Erin noted that it had been doing this for a while, so I decided that it would become my first chore of the day to repair my poor PC.

After dragging the thing out from under the desk, disconnecting the mere 75 cables attached to it, and opening it up, I discovered the offending fan that was going out. It wasn't a particularly necessary component, so I disconnected it. I also decided to clean the rest of the box out, removing several years of dust.

I was seated on the floor of the office with the computer open in front of me. At one point, I reached across the machine and tried to pull up on a component on the far side. As I did this, I had what felt like a bolt of lightning shoot across the small of my back. I yelled (some might say, "Screamed like a small child") and fell over on my side and then my back. I lay there moaning, at which point Erin came running up the stairs.

When she arrived, she immediately looked disappointed. "I thought you'd cut your arm off or been electrocuted."

Sorry to disappoint you, dear. Immobilization isn't enough to warrant my cries?

I've had back problems for the last 15 years, but today was something special. It took me an hour to get off the floor of the office. I couldn't sit up, I couldn't stand, I couldn't move. At one point there was discussion of implementing a "pee jar."

Luckily, after a fist full of medication, I was able to move myself over the course of 10 minutes into my recliner in the bedroom. A couple of hours passed, and I was able to slowly walk around the house and do basic things. I told Erin, and this is no exaggeration, that other than the pain I experienced when I broke my arm in the infamous horseback riding incident, the first fifteen minutes this morning was the most excruciating pain I'd ever been in.

To make matters worse, the doctor keeps telling me to strengthen my "core" to make these episodes less likely. Apparently "strengthen," in medical terms, does not mean "fill to capacity frequently," which is more or less how I treat my "core." Erin angrily informed me this afternoon that I needed to start getting in shape. Alas, I think she may be right. I'd better eat like I just escaped from prison tonight...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Friendly Little Dude

Grant might not win the most athletic award in high school. Or the best looking (though I don't see why not). Or the most likely to succeed. But, I am going all in with this bet: the boy will win the "friendliest" award. Hands down.

He says "hi" to everything and everyone. At the park, every child gets a personal greeting. His toys, the same. The mailbox as we're walking. The butterfly that flies by. Even last night as I put on his pjs: "What's that?" asked Grant. I replied, "Those are your pajamas, sweetheart." "Hi," stammered Grant. He's on a friendly basis with his night clothes.

This kid is super social, and he's going to teach his introverted parents a great deal.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

New Blog Addition

The Taylor family has decided to get it in gear and start a blog! Yeah! After their recent addition of baby Brakston into the family, I've been waiting and waiting and waiting, and now, I can stalk them everyday to see if there are any new photos of Brakston! Grant and Brakston are going to be great friends (and cousins) as they grow up, so it's exciting to be connected (even if it's cyber connected). Click here for their blog.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Six Great Years

Bret and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary tonight. Our actual anniversary was on Sunday, but with Father's Day and all that jazz, we opted for a mid-week night out. We went to Mama Carollas, a local Italian eatery and then to the Illinois Food Emporium for dessert (which was the place that "catered" (if you came to our wedding, you know why "catered" is in quotation marks) the desserts for our wedding). It was a great evening.

But even better than the evening have been the last six years. There have been some hard times, some sad times, some angry times, but more than anything, there have been great times. Bret and I were talking tonight about how blessed we feel to have each other. Our marriage has been a wonderful gift.

Now, off to make him watch the video of our wedding.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again

Well, we're finally back from jet-setting (read: sheer exhaustion) around the United States, and Grant is successfully back on East Coast time. He's sleeping like a champ, eating even better, and loving being back among his toys. Today, we ventured out to the park and to the library, and after lunch, he was asking to go to bed. He's sacked out as I type this.

I'm almost caught up on emails, and I am tackling the chores that have lay dormant for a month now. I've got notes to write, bathrooms to clean, and this afternoon's task of cleaning the carpets. Summer fun.

Our California trip, while exhausting in some regards, was loads of fun, and Grant loved hanging out with family. We cannot thank our family members enough for loving us through their hospitality.

I cannot even begin to express how much Grant has changed in the last few weeks. He mimics every word and every sound (Daddy is on strict orders to think before he speaks); he's toddling everywhere, and he has grasped (finally!) the concept of "no-no" (which he says back to me while wagging a finger). What he can say is slowly growing, but it is very clear that he understands a great deal more than he can verbalize. Bret and I have taken to spelling certain words, and Grant responds to entire sentence commands: "Grant, pick up the rollercat toy and take it to your Grandpa." I feel like he is (sadly in some ways) out of the baby stage and on to full-fledged boyhood.

Here are some pics from our trip:

The stuffed toy I WON GRANT!! There's something sweet about winning against young children.

Our Reno family: my sister Deanna and nieces Ashley and Samantha

Grandma HAD to bring that boat all the way from Indiana, so after finding refuge in Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Richard's pool (after being kicked out of another one), we blew it up for Grant to enjoy.

Uncle Richard and Aunt Bonnie!!
Grant's great Grandmother.
I can put that whole thing in my mouth; I just know it!
Grant's cousins (kid heaven for Grant). Check out their blogs: Holdridge and Ramones. Cousin Brady was already snoozing.
Here's cousin Brady! Boys!
Cousin Christina knows the way to Grant's heart: Elmo.
Give me that fondue you're eating, Mommy. My mom and I ended the trip with a great evening strolling Santana Row in San Jose. We ate at a French restaurant called Left Bank. I had fondue because I have a slight addiction to all things cheese.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Piano Lesson

I took piano lessons as a kid from second grade through my freshman year of high school. With such a long term commitment to a single instrument, one would think I would be a moderately proficient piano player. Instead, it's merely a chance to be embarrased every time someone says, "Oh, you took piano lessons for 7 years, you must be able to play --insert song I can't play here --." I can't even play Christmas carols well. That little Zuzu chick on "It's A Wonderful Life" looks like Beethoven next to me. I can't hold a candle to Liberace (snarf snarf).

Anyway, the point is that none of this was the fault of my two fine instructors. The first was a family friend who bailed out in disgust around fifth grade, and the second was an elderly lady named Myrta Tilson. Both possessed excellent piano teaching skills, but they had a student who would sooner spend time wishing he knew how to play the piano than actually practice playing the thing.

In an effort to keep me interested, my first teacher actually allowed me to play Duran Duran sheet music rather than her standard repertoire of classical pieces. (Remember, this was 1982. Duran Duran was so rad.) If you're sitting there thinking, "Hmmm...'Hungry Like the Wolf' doesn't contain a piano part that I can remember," you'd be correct. It was horrific. It was like playing "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" on a pedal steel guitar. Awful.

Anyway, Ms. Tilson was slightly less prone to bending to my desires to play New Wave hits on her piano. She was an excellent pianist in her own right, and she had other people lined up to be her student, so my inability to commit to practicing irritated her beyond belief. In the end, I quit taking piano lessons from her, although I did mow her grass and trim her shrubs occasionally, as a sort of apology for being such a crap student.

The point of all of this is that I did some research this week and found out that Ms. Tilson now lives in an assisted care facility here in town, and apparently she's still playing the piano with gusto. I'm going to make an effort to go see her soon, in an effort to learn more about her and appease my guilty conscience over wasting so many hour long sessions with her over the years. (Although she did still get paid, so perhaps I should apologize to my parents for having them pay for Ms. Tilson's hour long Marlboro break for 5 years...oh well...)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Sleeping with Grant

Since night one in our home, Grant has slept in his crib. It's just the path we decided on, and he seemed to acclimate just fine.

This vacation, because we are staying with family and are cribless, I've been sleeping in the same bed with Grant. With the bed pushed against the wall and my body acting as a barrier, little Grant has been tossing and turning next to Mommy.

A couple of observations for his future wife:
1. He snores like mad. We've known this for some time, as we can hear him snore from our bedroom down the hall, but when you're sleeping in the same room--much less the same bed--it's deafening. I remember listening to my Grandpa snore through the wall when staying the night. Grandpa is one thing. My 16 month old... well, it just ain't right.

2. He's a spooner. I wrap him up. I place him against the far wall. I put pillows between his body and mine. Give it 10 minutes max; he's got his face in my neck. Snoring. Or he's got his back pressed up against my back. Or he's got his arm thrown over my eyes. This kid wants to be close, and he'll roll the width of queen size bed to make sure of it.

3. Somehow, even though he weighs just 25 lbs and I weigh... well a bit more than that, Grant owns the bed. He easily takes up 3/4 of the bed, and I'm left hanging off the side. I don't get it.

4. He's Houdini. Really. I wrapped him up tonight in a sheet, the classic burrito fold. My thinking was that when he fell asleep, I could leave without fear of him getting out or rolling off the bed. Ha. Not only could he get out (which he has done several times on this trip), but he is not opposed to using his teeth. Smart cookie. Scary, smart cookie.

More on our travels later.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Never Say Never

I don't want to make some declaration that I later have to rescind, but as of right now, I am never, ever, ever going to take a child on a cross country plane trip without his or her own seat. Ever. Thank goodness Grandma was there because Grant was A LOT of work. Plus, when he decided to gag himself (as he does when he's trying to help the teething process), he spit up all over Grandma. We hadn't taken off from Denver yet. Ouch.

After a quick trip to Reno, NV to visit with my sister and family, we are now sitting pretty in Elk Grove, CA. We went swimming at Grandma's pool today, but that only lasted 15 minutes or so because we were informed that children who are not potty trained are not allowed to swim in the pool, special diapers or not. I almost said he was potty trained. Almost.

So far, aside from family, the highlight of the trip was our stay at Circus Circus in Reno. There was an extensive midway and serious circus acts. I won Grant a giraffe on the camel races, and he thought the midway (and the trapeze artist) was the greatest thing on earth.

We're going to stay mellow here in Sacramento for a bit. Relaxation time. Plus, I play cards with my grandparents all day. I'm going to take them for some cash. I mean, at a dollar a game, it does add up.

We love you and miss you, Daddy!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Slow Posts

So let's see, we went to Key West, Grant was sick, we came home, then what?

Grant healed. As of Monday night, there was virtually no trace of the previous week's illness. His mad walking skills were progressing quickly, as he hurriedly rushed between objects in our living room. It was good to see the little dude back in action.

On Tuesday, Grant, Erin, and the Grandma headed for the west coast to bless those members of our family who still choose not to live in Indiana with a visit from Grant. We hope they enjoy his presence. We bill by the hour.

On Tuesday night, yours truly began quickly dismantling the dash to my Sonata in an effort to replace the no-longer-working CD player. This was one of those "why don't you wait and do that while I'm out in California projects" which means that Erin doesn't want to wait in the ER.

I managed to perform this task without doing the following:

a) breaking any portion of the dash
b) breaking the new stereo
c) dripping hot solder on any fleshy parts

My only error in judgment was that I needed to punch a hole for the iPod connector in the back of the plastic tray that the new stereo fit into. Rather than approach this like a sane person (or better yet, an engineer), I decided to just poke a hole with my soldering iron and burn outward until it was large enough for my iPod connector.

I'm fairly certain I will be unable to get the stench of burnt plastic out of my clothes or lungs any time soon. And I think my right eye is starting to droop. You can start divying my stuff up as soon as you like.