Saturday, February 28, 2009

Analyze This

The other night I had a dream. I don't usually remember my dreams, partly because they're frequently interrupted by Grant screaming or Erin griping that I've stolen something from her (the electric blanket, the comforter, her dignity, etc). But the other night, I had a dream so vivid that I've been thinking about it ever since.

It started with my entire family on my dad's side sitting in a room debating. It wasn't clear what they were debating, at first, but my dad and uncle were obviously very bothered about the whole thing. Eventually they came to a consensus, at which point they came over to explain the situation to Erin and I.

Apparently, in my dream, you could bring someone back from the grave, but only for a relatively short amount of time. The ongoing debate between my dad and uncle surrounded the individual our family had chosen to revive -- my great grandfather, Dewey.

Anyone that has known me for any length of time has heard at least one Dewey story. He was eccentric, possibly to the point of being what one might call "disturbed." He had a parrot that he fed coffee and bacon to in the morning. He had an organ in the family room of his house, but he'd only play the black keys. He believed you could heal burns by saying a poem -- something about "blow out fire, blow in frost." He was one card short of a full deck, you might say.

Anyway, apparently we had decided, for whatever reason, to bring back Dewey. Part of the revival procedure involved riding with the coffin through a series of conveyor belts and mazes. But you actually started in the ground at the grave site. So Erin and I rode with the coffin, which was terrifying. The entire journey you could see Dewey's feet sticking out of the bottom of the coffin, and he was angrily kicking at the lid complaining that we weren't moving fast enough at getting him unpacked.

Once we returned to the first room, we unboxed Dewey. He was in a burial suit and was a bit musty, but otherwise in tact. We immediately began grilling him with questions about our family history. At first he obliged, but he quickly became agitated -- true to his living character.

Meanwhile, my mom searched around the room for a pad of paper and pencil to write down what he was telling us. Nobody could believe that we were so ill prepared for the experience of reviving this dude, but seeing my mom scampering around looking for something to write with seems pretty true to form.

Eventually I awoke to the sound of Grant screaming. I immediately began wondering why we hadn't chosen more intriguing questions to ask my great grandfather, like why he used to throw live wires in the sink while you washed dishes, or how he'd manage to spew crazy genes throughout our family tree. But alas, I'll have to wait until we dig him up again to ask the tougher questions.

I need a drink.

Friday, February 27, 2009


Click on the picture for a closeup...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Grandma and Gracie

Maybe my mom just couldn't pass up a good deal; maybe she knew Gracie's arrival was imminent. Either way, my mom dropped by yesterday (her birthday) with a load full of new clothes (even loads of Ralph Lauren stuff... including the cutest little Ralph Lauren dress for Gracie) for Grant and Gracie. I'm talking three shirts and three dresses for Gracie and three pairs of pants and two shirts for Grant. She did get a whopper of a deal at Kohl's (the most expensive item was like three bucks), but it's no wonder that I don't have to buy clothes for these kids the way their grandparents spoil them.

We did hear some more news about Gracie today. The CCAA (the agency in charge of adoptions in China) has referred through March 6. Again, it's like the DMV, so our number is March 15, and each month we inch closer. Now, with some certainty (cough, cough), we can assume to get Gracie's referral at the beginning of May or the beginning of June. May would be ideal... please pray for MAY!!! I've got to see this little girl. It's just killing me to think that we've been in pursuit of her for 3.5 years!!!

Either way, we know one thing: she's going to be dressed like a fashionista!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Grant's Prayer

Tonight's Prayer (no joke):

Mommy: Grant, do you want to pray?
Grant: Yes.
Mommy: Go ahead.
Grant (covering eyes with hands): Dear Jesus, be with Gracie. She lives in China. I don't want her to be my family.

He's got it half right. Grant tells us daily that he doesn't want to be a brother, but I've got some news for him: the train has left the station.

We'll have a Grace update soon. This next week will tell us a lot about when we'll be heading to China.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Some Pictures

He's just too cute... and he's not lacking in the personality department either. Oh, and these are a bit old; Grant lost his afro a few weeks ago, but I haven't recovered enough from the trauma of that outing to even post about it yet. Time heals all wounds, right?

Friday, February 20, 2009

"Hey look, it's Grant's parents!"

The other night at WalMart, our designated spot for birthdays, anniversaries, and all special occasions, we were shopping in the Health and Beauty section of the megastore. To be more precise, we were giggling like middle school kids at the variety of colors, shapes, and sizes of, shall we say, preventatives, when we heard a voice declare, "Awww look, it's Grant!"

There's some amount of trepidation involved when anyone sees you shopping for such things, even as an adult (or a taller, heavier juvenile, in my case). I'm still prone to sliding anything even remotely "Birds and Bees"-y (preventatives, home pregnancy tests, hemorrhoid cream) under my bread and roast beef in the shopping cart to prevent speculation on the part of my fellow shoppers as to my intentions later in the evening.

But in this case, it was slightly more horrifying than usual. Erin and I turned to see one of Grant's pre-school teachers from a local church standing there with open arms to greet Grant and his two shameful parents. We quickly turned our backs to the display shelves in an effort to prevent her from noticing what we were looking at, but I don't think it helped. We talked to her for a few minutes, and afterwards, I'm fairly certain she winked at me.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Way back on December 3 I made mentioned of having done some "home surgery" on this funny looking spot that developed on my neck. My face has always been prone to these types of things. Shaving frequently leaves me in need of a blood transfusion.

In any case, regarding the funny looking spot on my neck -- sumbitch is still there.

I took another crack at figuring out why this weird spot isn't healing last night, but only left the wound looking refreshed. In any case, this morning after I got out of the shower, Erin informed me that I needed to "cover that thing up. It looks hideous."

When I got downstairs to eat my Cheerios (a delicious and healthy way to start ANY day...I'm looking for some General Mills sponsorship love here), I found a little powder brush and some makeup on the counter, courtesy of Erin.

So just before throwing Grant in the car for the ride to school, I dipped into the bathroom to pretty myself. Grant entered soon after to find me dabbing some natural colored concealer onto my wound, and as he always does, asked "What are you doing, Daddy?"

I immediately started having images of that dude in "Silence of the Lambs" and Robin Williams as Mrs. Doubtfire. There's no conceivable way that you aren't scarring your two year old son when you say, "Daddy's putting on his makeup, Grant." I have failed him yet again.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What's In a Name?

This weekend, Grant said one of the funniest things ever! First, you should know that Grant has entered the stage that other people refer to as the "terrible twos," but there's nothing remotely terrible about Grant, so I just like to call it the "trying twos," as, at the most, his fits and his attitude are a bit trying.

On Sunday, I was asking Grant about his name. I asked him his first name. That's an easy pitch. Then, his middle name, and he responded, "Grant Nicholas." Now, please keep in mind that Grant knows his last name and has said it often, but I guess the last several weeks, as we have been part of that "trying twos" fun, he's heard a different name because when I asked him about his last name, he said, "Grant Nicholas Come Here." I guess I better stop barking orders for my toddler to "come here," as he's starting to get the wrong idea.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Birthday, Erin!

Grant and I would like to wish our wonderful mother and wife (singularly accurate for Grant, and somewhat accurate in both senses for me) a happy, happy birthday and Valentine's Day! We've started the day with homemade pancakes, cards, and in Erin's case, a large dose of Grey's Anatomy.

I'm down with the pancakes, but there's nothing about the show or the term "grey anatomy" that does anything for me.

Hope you have a wonderful day, Honey!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

and so it begins

"And so it begins" was Bret's response last night when, for the first time, Grant started asking "why?," only to be followed up with another "why," then another. A classic toddler conversation.

Another classic conversation happened on the way home from preschool when I opened one of Grant's valentines (since when have valentines had candy?) and let him eat some of the gummy bears. I told him "this is your last one," as he had already finished the rest, and his response was a classic move in toddler manipulation: "just one more" followed quickly but not too quickly with a "please." A classic trick that has worked on many a parent.

Oh, and don't ask why Grant's shirt has a skiing wolf. I bought it for a dollar at WalMart.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Since Grant is now an ardent fan of Bob the Builder, I find myself singing things like, "Can you reach it? Yes, you can!" while in the shower each morning. (I have some theories about Bob, Wendy, and their separate trailers. Ask me about them some time.)

I'm glad Grant enjoys programs like Bob and Thomas the Tank Engine, but I've noticed that the values presented in these shows are a far cry from the cartoons Erin and I grew up with.

For example, Bob the Builder visits "the recycling yard" during almost every episode. Plus one of the characters lives in a yurt. What the heck? Is this thing written by Greenpeace? How many tons of coal do you think Sherman and Peabody used to power that time machine? It probably took 50 gallons of gas and a herd of baby seals to even START that thing.

I've also noticed that in Bob the Builder, everyone always makes peace with each other by the end of the episode. At least on Sodor, the trains occasionally bash into each other leaving irreparable wounds that last at least through the next story. Not in Bob the Builder. Everyone returns to their state of blissful, Marxist ignorance by the end of each episode. Did you ever see the Coyote shake hands with the Roadrunner after his Acme Endangered Species Killer blew up in his face? I think not.

And since when was it a requirement that all cartoon characters be bilingual? Grant now runs up to me and says things which make absolutely no sense to me, and it's not because he's a jabbering toddler, it's because it's in Spanish. "Handy Manny said...yo quero...blah blah Cinco de Mayo....blah blah..." My own kid is making me feel like I got dropped off in Juárez without a passport. This isn't the world I grew up in...

Monday, February 09, 2009


So, in the name of keeping up with the chilly month of January, here's some blog housekeeping:

Grant's Birthday
Post some of Grant's B-day pics. For his little party with Bret's family, he received presents that screamed "male child lives here": a soccer ball, a football, a basketball (two actually), a t-ball set and baseball, golf clubs, not to mention Thomas stuff galore. He was one happy kid. Again, he wasn't remotely interested in his cake, but like last year, his favorite part: everybody singing happy birthday!

This picture is the new "Tiger Who?"-two handed, two-clubbed golf swing.

My cousin Kathy tagged me to go to my fourth picture folder and put up my fourth picture and tell about it. Anyone else who blogs, it's a fun little exercise you should try. This folder was all about Grant's new room, a blog I never wrote and probably never will. Grant moved to his "big boy bed" without incident, all in one evening. But, poor thing, Grant essentially lived in the office until I could get the room repainted and redecorated. Now, Grant lives in pale blue/steel grayish room full of trains, dump trucks, airplanes and more. This is Grant's "wardrobe" as the closet in his room is full of office stuff. It's nothing more than garage shelving, but I found the wallpaper decals on sale for 5 bucks and added them for a little bit of little boy flair.

Growing Up Quickly

Grant reminds us daily that he is all boy. He loves to grunt, play, push, and tackle. We've started some tentative steps toward potty training, and he can drink from an open cup without incident. He still has plenty of sensory issues (tags in his shirts are starting to be a problem), and so food continues to be a big challenge. He eats spinach dip until he's practically green, so at least we're getting some veggies in him. He's finally eating most meats, but he's still pretty picky. And despite my most persistent parenting measures, I can't get Grant to cover his mouth when he sneezes or coughs, a skill I find some of my own high school students have failed to grasp.

He still talks a blue streak, and he loves to sing. He sings everything from "Jesus Loves Me" to "Frosty the Snowman," but he's also got a special place in his heart for hymns. Bret sings hymns to Grant nightly, and Grant's favorite is "Trust and Obey," a song he'll sing for you if he likes you. I fancy myself something of a jingle writer, and Grant actually think there's a song for everything. For example, he'll say, "sing the bulldozer song, Mommy," but we all know there's no such thing. And, I'll tell Grant that I don't know a bulldozer song. But, he knows his Mommy's soft spot for thinking herself creative, and he'll ask me to "make one." I now have entire songs for Bob the Builder, every engine on the Island of Sodor, songs about letters in the alphabet, and of course, songs about Grant. They are terrible, but Grant loves them, and in the end, that's all that matters.

Grant can count to 20, sing his ABCs (though "I" through "L" are sketchy, and I'm pretty sure he thinks LMNOP is said "elmo pees"), identifies most letters, colors and shapes. To be silly, I thought I'd teach Grant some "adult" words, but they've stuck, which now just makes him weird. For example, Grant uses the word cantankerous in common conversation. Or, triceratops. Or, frigid. I'm done now. I swear. I don't want "the strange kid." We'll put his memorization skills to better use... maybe the Greek Alphabet. Just kidding. Kind of. I think Grant is smart, but what I think he can do with amazing ability is remember; that kid's memory is a steel trap. He remembers what the presents people got him for Christmas. I don't even remember that. But, before you think he's too smart, he still chews on his socks.

My favorite thing of recent is Grant's imaginative play. When he plays with his trains now, they talk to each other. But the best part is that he talks like he is reading a book (actual conversation with his trains): "'Look at that mountain,' Percy groaned. 'I'll try it,' Percy huffed." I could die it's so cute. Or, sometimes, he breaks into Thomas speak in the most un-Thomas of places. You know your son is a Thomas fan when he's playing at the park and yells, "Cinders and ashes, I fell," or "Bust my buffers, mommy" in the grocery store.

More to come... just give us time.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I Am...Hurting...

I realize I posted a while back about shoveling our driveway, back pain, etc. But in the days since, I've come to the conclusion that a) I'm really in a lot of pain and b) I'm not really doing anything to help it.

I've tried icing it, but that just leaves me with a large red splotch on my back and a numbness that might normally suggest I've been on the toilet for too long. I've tried pharmaceuticals, which seemed to work briefly but are now failing me. And I've even tried stretching, which if you know me, is just ugly. Nothing on my body stretches properly, except for my gut, and it is only partially involved in this current issue.

To make matters worse, I continue to engage in behaviors that are detrimental to the health of my lower back and leg -- the source of my current pain. This Sunday, I helped out with the 4 and 5 year olds at church. This group provides a somewhat ominous view of my next few years. These are some weird little people.

Unfortunately for me, it's not the girls who are so weird -- it's the little boys. One kid wore a seaman's hat, like the Captain in Captain and Tennille the whole morning. Another one wandered around with a protective hand down his shorts all morning. Another one would just occasionally yell "Blaaaaaah" and kick whatever object was nearest. It was crazy. I looked at Grant when I got home and wondered how I would protect my well mannered son from himself in the coming years.

The other detrimental behavior I keep engaging in is sitting around on my rear. My doctor keeps telling me "Don't sit any more than you have to!" But I've gotta tell you, this dude requires quite a bit of sitting. For one, my job requires me to sit at least half the day (3/4 if you count time in the john). I also quite enjoy watching movies at home or listening to music or reading books, none of which can be done while standing. (Don't you people with treadmills open your traps. I said I "enjoy" these things, not torture myself while doing them.) And finally, we just booked a vacation to drive to Florida over the course of 2 days each way. Perhaps they'll let me in the handicap lines at Disney World by the time I get there.