Thursday, July 31, 2008

All Boy


Grant doesn't "mother" his stuffed animals. Sure, he gives them hugs from time to time, but he usually yanks them by the face and throws them as far as he can. He's a boy.

In this same regard, Grant knows the names of his body parts (head, nose, eyes, toes), even his boy parts. We have never called them by some alternate, cutsie name; we've always just called "it" by its scientific name.

Grant can now call it by name as well, but in his pre-polished speech, it doesn't come out quite right. So, instead of calling it by its official moniker, he pronounces it as "pieces," which I guess also applies.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Talking Fool

Here's Grant on our way out on vacation. He talks non-stop and repeats himself constantly. In addition, my new favorite thing he does is when you ask him (what do you want?), he'll look around and go "um" like he is really sizing up his options. If you listen closely, you'll catch it.

video

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Snorin' Man

Here's a video from our vacation of Grant "sleeping." You need to turn the volume up full throttle to get the idea of how bad it is. While seeing the doctor yesterday for his 18 month check up, we decided that Grant should go see an ENT doc, just to make sure everything is okay. He has had issues breathing since birth (the hour after his birth, the nurses called doctors down because they were concerned about his breathing). So, we'll see.


video



Grant weighed in at 26 pounds (50th percentile) and was 33.5 inches long (85th percentile), and his head was in the 90th percentile. Long, skinny with a big head... and utterly adorable.

More videos to come.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Back Home

Here are some pics from our vacation! We had so much fun just hanging out with Grant away from cell phones and emails all week.

Bret, who has to leave for work during the days, was really excited to see Mr. Personality in action. It's hard when he only gets weekends and evenings to really see how much Grant is growing and changing.

Of course, Grant kept us entertained with all his antics, including serious poops in the pool. A lot of his new words deal with the pool: pool, swim, rope, jump, buoy. He also says "ready" all the time (which he says and then proceeds to stand by the door), and thanks to a dvd (which he pronounces dd) left by some very smart mother and found by Grant in the condo, he says "bop" all the time (which refers to those blasted Canadian doodlebops). Bops is not to be confused with Bob, which is the name of the tomato on Veggie Tales. He likes and says both of them equally.

He also starting calling Grandpa, PaPoo, which I don't quite get. He calls Grandma, Na Na, and he's got a mangled version of Mamaw and Papaw too.

In the end, I was right about that campy Dixie Stampede. Grant loved it. I have never, ever seen him that excited and engrossed. It was worth every penny... and having to eat with my hands just to see him so thrilled.






We've got some really cute vids from the week; I'll try to get those up soon.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Packing In

So here we are on our last full day in Branson. I'm happy to report that we've had a couple of good meals courtesy of Landry's and the Outback (a local restaurant that was supposedly the inspiration for the chain). We've enjoyed the Titanic museum and Shanghai acrobats, and Grant got to ride some more amusement park rides at a little kiddy amusement park. All in all, a good time has been had.

Tonight we are venturing out to the Dixie Stampede. Erin is convinced that Grant will find this highly entertaining. We shall see.

Once we get back to Indy, we'll post a more complete report. In the mean time, I'm off to the pool with Grant. Later!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Branson Monday

First off, I'm sorry that I don't have any pictures to post. As with many resorts, the Internet connection here consists of a single cable modem for approximately 5000 people, so it's dog slow. When we return to reality, we'll post some pictures.

Yesterday was hot. I mean REALLY hot. Heat index put us well over 100. So what do you do when the pavement is slowly melting the Goodyear's off your minivan? You go to an amusement park!

For whatever reason, we decided that Monday was the day to visit Celebration City. It was a lot of fun. Grant got to ride his first merry-go-round and ferris wheel. I was fine on the merry-go-round, despite my disdain for all things equine. The ferris wheel left me shaky. I'm okay with roller coasters at this point, but being suspended at a height at low speed doesn't do much for me. (Erin will assuredly post that I quivered like a little girl. So be it.)

Today we're taking it easy and planning to see the New Shanghai Circus this afternoon. Chinese acrobats won the "what show should we see first" battle. I've been lobbying to see this Shoji character that is so heavily advertised down here. I figure with all these World War II vets down here enjoying their retirements, a Japanese guy on stage with only a violin for protection has to be entertaining.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Branson Part 1

Branson has proven, thus far, to be an interesting experience. In some ways, it's not at all what I expected. In other ways, it's exactly what I expected.

First off, our accomodations are generally very nice. The condo is plenty large, and features a very nice kitchen. In other ways, this place is in dire need of updating. They have a putt-putt course which was built probably 10 years ago and hasn't been touched since. They've got VCRs in all the rooms, but not DVD players. I went to the front desk to "reserve" a DVD player, and they gave me one with the caveat that "the remote was lost." That makes selecting "Play Movie" on the DVD rather tricky. All in all though, the resort has been fine.

I did have to chuckle when I visited the resort "activities center." It was chock full of middle school kids whose parents were off attending the timeshare sales pitch. They were miserable. Luckily they had all bonded together to play various card games. I overheard one kid ask about "Nintendos or other games." He was pointed to a checkerboard and a deck of cards. Another asked about videos and was handed a list of VCR tapes. "There's nothing too recent on the list." No kidding. Another kid inquired about playing the game "Operation." The attendent (i.e. babysitter) offered it to him, but the batteries were dead. "Do you have new batteries?" Noooope. Note to self: Never, ever do this to Grant.

Mornings have been spent at the pool, given that it's been in the 90's every day so far. Grant has mastered jumping off the side into the water, and I hear that last night he managed to master pooping in the pool. The swim diaper prevented us from being escorted from the grounds.

Our only struggle at the moment is finding that memorable restaurant for the trip. Last night we ate at a steakhouse which was very mediocre. This morning we had breakfast which featured more hair than food. I'm doing some research as I type this, and hopefully tonight will be more successful.

I guess the thing I'm most surprised by is the fact that Branson truly is about the shows. There's no big walking district like Gatlinburg, and it's been too hot to really want to be outside. Therefore tonight we may venture out to one of the shows. I'll keep you posted...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Vacationing

Sometimes I lose a battle in our house. I know this is hard to believe, but it's true. Sometimes the loss has a bigger impact than others. A few weeks ago, such a travesty occurred.

We were discussing where to take a "do-over" vacation following our debacle in Key West. Several places were on the list, but we wanted to follow two primary rules. First, the place had to be within driving distance. The second was that it needed to be relatively cheap, given the amount we spent at Taco Bell and the hospital in Key West.

In the end, Erin won this battle, and I now find myself sitting in Branson, MO.

"But you're not over the age of 80" you say. Agreed.
"And country music really isn't your bag" you say. True, true.
"And you don't drive a Buick or carry your own oxygen" you say. Again, all true.

But the fact is that Branson is in the Ozarks, and it is near a very large lake. And it is cheap, and it does have lots of restaurants. And it does have a wide assortment of fake Elvis's and "Jamboree" style shows featuring men dressed as women, all staples of the vacationing experience for me.

I'll keep you posted on how the week progresses. I heard they're giving away handicapped parking tags in the lobby tonight. Gotta get me one of those...

P.S. To my grandparents who dearly love Branson, please take no offense. I'm sure we're going to have a wonderful time, and we look forward to sharing our pictures with you when we return...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hmmm

Grant just tried to put one of those plastic pronged outlet cover thingys in my nose. He wasn't joking. I'm sure he thought: "I have a two pronged plastic device, and she has two holes right there in her nose. Maybe if I stick this in there, she'll stop kissing me all the time."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

And...

I told you my favorite words, but Grant's favorite words for the week are Elmo (Al-mo) and hold which he says all day as he points to everything.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sprinkler Fun and WWW 3

Grant had his first sprinkler experience a few weeks ago (I've got to convert video now that we have a different camera, so videos are slow in the making), and I think the jury is still out. We have a pool in our neighborhood, but since Grant naps for three hours in the middle of the day, we haven't found time to visit. I'll make sure I grab some video of Grant in the kiddie pool; I hope he's less hesitant than he was with the sprinkler. In his defense, though, the water was freezing!
video

Here's another sprinkler incident. The zoo (we have a year pass) put in a new sprinkler park. I think it is supposed to be used when really hot outside, not at 10am in the morning on a mild day. Go figure. Grant loved walking around, but when the cold, cold water came out, it wasn't his favorite.
video

And now, for Wonder Word Wednesday. It's so hard to narrow the field to my favorites because every new word is so cute! It's amazing to me watch Grant pick up language every day; it's mind-blowing to think about his little sponge brain.

So, this week: see ya (which he says after saying good bye); there you go (which he says when asked to put something back in its place); go dog (which he says when he hands you the book Go, Dogs, Go.); bite (just imagine Mommy eating a cookie); read (which English teacher Mommy loves).

But my favorite is when you ask Grant to count: One (which he pronounces "n-one"), six, eight. The same works for ABCs: A, M, O, Z. Too cute!

We're off tomorrow on a Key West make-up vacation. We'll be posting throughout the week, so stay tuned.

The Knot is Tied

A big congratulations to our dear friends Micah and Carter on their recent wedding. We met the couple when Bret and I helped out at their pre-marital retreat at church, and they are so special. We are so psyched for them. Check out their blog here, and if you have time, check out their wedding pictures. They're my favorite (really, of all time!). We love you guys!

Carter and Micah: Let's get together ASAP!

Monday, July 14, 2008

It was fun until...

Bret and I tried our first camping trip as a married couple this weekend. That's right; we have yet to attempt the outdoor living experience. Bret's not a big camper, as his idea of roughing it is a Super 8. With that said, we plopped the kid at Grandma and Grandpa's house and head out with some friends from church to Kickapoo State Park in Illinois. With plans for a long canoe trip on Saturday and plenty of smores thrown in for good measure, we were excited.

And all was good, even through the violent thunderstorms that lasted for hours through the early hours of morning... We were good until after breakfast when, plauged by some "get me out drizzling rain" stomach bug, Bret got sick. And sick again. And sick again. Last time Bret went to camp, in the fifth grade, he had a similar issue, but that time, at least a handful of chili dogs were involved.

So, we packed up (in the pouring rain) a day early and headed home. As it turns out, the rest of our friends were not far behind as there was so much rain that flash flood warnings were issued for the state park.

We'll try again in the fall. If that trip doesn't go as planned, I think our tent might show up for sale at the next garage sale.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Mine


That's right. Grant has learned the dreaded word known the toddler world over. I thought it would come with siblings or daycare, but no, Grant has learned it, uses it, and uses it emphatically.

Grant does not like to be told something is... in fact... not his. He throws a royal conniption. Needless to say, it's been a long morning of retrieving from his grasp things that are not his. Hard lesson, a lesson complete with tears, theatrics and full blown wailing. Got to learn the lesson some time.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

WWW 2


Welcome back for another installment of Wonder Word Wednesday!

This week, my favorite of Grant's words or sounds include: tick tock (which he says while pointing at the clock), eyes and nose (which he likes to point to ON ME when I'm trying to get him TO SLEEP, and moon. I also love his "what does a rabbit (or kangaroo) do": he says "hop, hop, hop," but his jumping doesn't leave the ground (it's more the bended knee version of a jump). He also says "boo" for a ghost, and just this morning he said, "juice, please."

But the greatest of all is his word "boz." Now, I know you're thinking that you're not familiar with this word. Well, let me help. Boz is a green bear that lives inside the DVD player and sings and dances from time to time. Well, Grant stands at the DVD player and says "Boz" 50,000 times a day. Most of the time, I have to tell him "no, not right now," which leads to all kinds of tears and objections.

So, there you have it. The life and speech of an 18 month old.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Pee-Yew

For the past couple of years, we've had a brood of rabbits living under our deck. (I don't know the official term for a collection of rabbits. A pack? A flock? A harem?) The rabbits haven't really caused me any concern, other than the bare patch they've chewed into my otherwise crap-tacular lawn. But at a recent neighborhood block party, a couple of my neighbors swore under their breath at me regarding the slow destruction of their backyard gardens at the hands (paws?) of my furry footed friends.

So last week I purchased a product that claimed to repel rabbits, raccoons, and various other sorts of small vermin. It came in a spray bottle of the sort that might contain window cleaner or countertop disinfectant.

After mowing the lawn, I quickly read the directions which indicated that you merely spray the perimeter of the area where the small animals have been congregating, taking special care to soak any areas where they feed.

I also took note of the fact that the product claimed to be "all natural" and would not harm pets or Grants. This pleased me greatly, as I don't need Grant growing a set of horns or an extra leg because I used a toxic rabit repellant on the yard.

I began spraying the area around our deck, carefully soaking the bare spots in the grass where the rabbits chose to lunch. Things were going very smoothly, and I was pleased that the product was so easy to use. Since the product was not toxic, I was not paying much attention to whether it was getting onto my hands or clothing. I also decided that since it wasn't toxic, more product around the deck would be better than less, so I sprayed until my hand cramped from squeezing the trigger.

Just as I began to consider heading in for an iced tea and a shower, I began to notice a rather foul stench. As I began to investigate the source, the stench became unbearable. Literally, I was having trouble containing my lunch as I tried to figure out what I had done wrong.

I grabbed the bottle and began reading the fine print. As it turns out, the reason this product apparently is effective is because it is designed to smell like the urine of various animals large enough to eat rabbits and raccoons. At this point, I noted that I was somewhat soaked in the product. It was on my hands and arms, as well as my shorts.

Nearly overcome, I dropped the bottle and ran inside to strip down for a shower. Unfortunately, I carried the pee perfume indoors with me. I ran into Erin as I went upstairs, and before I could even explain, she began gagging uncontrollably. It was awful. The more time that passed, the more I smelled like the product of a moose on a bender.

Luckily I was able to get rid of the smell with a shower, and the product no longer smells after drying on the lawn. But the sheer memory of the smell made Erin and I somewhat ill for the rest of the night.

I haven't told Erin yet, but you're supposed to apply the product once a week for the first few weeks. I'm not sure I can bear it.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Busy. Weekend. Now. Tired.

Whew!! That was a weekend.

I took one picture and one video on the actual fourth of July (bad mom! bad mom!). The video is when my mom stopped by to give Grant the most precious (and annoying) toy ever: the duck that does the chicken dance. Here's a short clip of Grant's new favorite toy.

video

The picture: Grant eating a cookie in the car. Riveting, I know.

But, the weekend only got crazier. We had a huge family reunion down in Bedford on Saturday in honor of Bret's uncle's 80th birthday. I thought there might be about 30 people there, but the place was packed. I don't know a 150 people to call my family (or maybe even my friends), but Bret's uncle Vic had people flying and driving in from all over the country. It was a special time. Grant loved seeing everyone! Here are a few pictures: Grant with his grandfather (Bret's dad who is called Papaw) Grant with his cousin Kate But, the fun was just starting. On Sunday, as part of my dad's birthday present, Bret, Grant and I took my mom and dad to a baseball game. The Indianapolis Indians, our minor league team in town, are fun to watch, and Sports Illustrated even decided that our ballpark is the #1 minor league park in the nation. We had great seats, and Grant loved watching people, eating ice cream and popcorn, and wandering around like a drunken man (he's still so unsteady when he walks; Bret says it looks like he's "had a few."). The game went into extra innings, but we left with one tired baby at the top of the ninth.

Here are some pics from Grant's first baseball game (it was free visor day when you get to that pic). Congrats are also in order to our friends Matt and Amy Tenney who welcomed baby Grace into the world! Baby Grace was early and her delivery was not without complications, but she and Mom are both troopers, and we are so grateful that she's here. Bret and I will visit the Tenney family in the NICU tonight. Here's their blog if interested.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

New Tradition


In hopes that I can do a better job of chronicling the life of Grant, I'm going to start Wonder Word Wednesday (www). Each Wednesday, I'll try to post a little something funny Grant has said or new words or sounds he's mastering. It's more for my sake than yours, but if you're interested, you can follow along at home.

July 2: He thumps his chest to act like a gorilla, strums imaginary strings when asked to play the guitar, and says "come on" to everyone, everywhere. He's also mastered the word outside (said: ow-sigh) as he stands at the back sliding glass door.

One phrase he has not mastered but Mommy has is the phrase "hit and run." That's right: this morning I was victim to a classic hit and run. I got hit pretty hard (about 40 mph or so), but I'm doing okay (except for some real neck stiffness). The cops said it was unlikely to catch the guy without a license number, so if anyone sees a gold Lexus with a hood that looks like an accordian trolling the streets of NW Indianapolis, please give me a call.

Teething!


Grant has three new teeth, and he's got a big one coming in any day. His gums are swollen, and they have turned black and blue. I read a book that said teething doesn't hurt kids, but when I look at those gums, I beg to differ.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Busy Weekend

The summer whirlwind is in full effect these days, and this weekend was no exception.

On Friday night, we took a trip out to the latest in family fun entertainment in central Indiana -- the Indiana Live Casino. This has been touted as being "just like Vegas" but I have a sneaking suspicion that no casino in Vegas has ever opened in a pole barn until the real casino is built.

We had family from California visiting, and the casino did provide for a couple of hours of entertainment, mostly watching my mother-in-law shuffle nickels and pennies into a slot machine and then squeal like they were $50's when she'd win $2 or $3.

I did take note of the fact that there were an inordinate number of people wheeling their oxygen tanks behind them throughout the casino. As if watching people toss their pension away one slot pull at a time isn't nerve wracking enough, waiting for the place to blow when Gramps decides it's time for a Camel with an oxygen chaser left me feeling strangely unsettled.

Having gotten our fill of Vegas in a cornfield, we moved across the street to Indiana Downs to blow more cash on the ponies. I will say that I generally enjoy watching the horses more than I do the slot machines. I can sit outside in the cool summer breeze, beer in hand, breathing in the horse-pucky-scented air. It's delightful. My father-in-law was the big winner of the night, hitting a $35 jackpot on the final race. Enjoy those six free gallons of gas, Dave!

On Sunday we ventured to Nashville, Indiana. If you've ever had a hankering for a scented candle or a sculpture made out of leftover car parts, Nashville might just be your place. Grant relished the opportunity to show off his recently acquired walking skills all over town. Once he got tired, he would stick his arms out and request to be airlifted out of having to walk any further by saying, "Up up!" It must be nice to immediately have at least four people clamoring to relieve your stress by simply saying, "Up up!" I repeatedly informed everyone that I too was tired but got shunned like a fat kid when picking teams. Such is life...