Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hard News

As of last night, we were scheduled to get Grace in June or July. We have been planning, prepping, making packing lists, checking in to visas, and most importantly, trying to prep Grant.

But, then, this morning, bad news hit. Thanks to the swine flu, China is halting international adoptions until the scare ends. SARS halted adoptions for five months, which, should the current scare follow the same path, would have us getting Grace in September or October.

We're trying to have perspective, to recognize that God has a plan and a time (and a specific baby girl), but right now, today, it's just hard. We're bummed. It looks like it might take over four years of "pregnancy" to bring Gracie home. I think people think it must be easy to wait, as we're not physically pregnant, but there is no end to our love for Gracie, and we have loved her, just as we would a bio baby, from the moment we knew she was a reality. This isn't easy for us, but we believe that our good God will deliver us a good gift in Gracie Hawkins, and she will be the child we were meant to raise.

Bret just thinks that God is sparing me the really hot temps that July would have offered. I think God just wants me to have to endure several more months with that blasted personal trainer.

Either way, Grace will sure be a sight for sore eyes when she comes.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Action Figures

Grant has a Moses action figure. I have no idea why, or where he got it. He's smiling, has flowing gray hair, a staff and two stone tablets containing, presumably, the Ten Commandments.

Grant enjoys playing with Moses in tandem with Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story, and let me tell you, those stone tablets are no match for Buzz's ability to fly. Buzz frequently introduces himself, gives his signature "To infinity and beyond!" and then tramples over Moses during takeoff. Poor Moses.

You know you're a mother when... Part 2

You catch vomit in your hand... because it's easier to catch it than clean it up. The croup continues!

Friday, April 24, 2009


This morning, Grant looked at me and asked, "Daddy, when I was younger, did we go to Disney World?"

"Yes, Grant. That was about three weeks ago."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Croup... again

You know you're a mother when your child coughs so hard (thank you, croup) that he vomits all over himself (four different times), his carseat, and the minivan, and here's the kicker: you're not phased. At all. You pull into the am/pm, take some towels, clean up the vomit, undress the boy down to his Buzz Lightyear undies, put him back in half dressed (only had an extra pair of pants), buy a super big gulp cup (39 cent rip off) should he need to vomit again, and continue on your merry way. I've crossed the threshold (especially after fecal foot matter incident), and these kind of things are just the everyday part of life.

After confirmation from the doctor this morning, Grant has a bad case of croup (worse than last time), and he had to have a steroid shot in hopes of reducing airway swelling. If it doesn't work in 12 hours, we're off to the ER for some special breathing treatment. Right now, he's resting peacefully thanks to some cough suppressant with codeine. Better living through chemistry, people.

Please pray for our little guy because the doctor put him on strict bed rest (yeah, right; he's two), so we're taking in lots and lots of Thomas the Tank Engine today.

Monday, April 20, 2009

15 seconds with Grant

I took a picture a second, and this is what transpired:

He wears his emotions on his sleeves, eh?

Friday, April 17, 2009

It's Me, It's Me, It's...

As some of our faithful readers may have noticed, all of our blog posts over the past few years have been signed simply "side of fries." That's because I was simply too lazy to create my own account when I hijacked Erin's family-friendly blog and turned it into the den of debauchery that you see before you now.

But have no fear, I have now rectified that situation. I have created my own account, so now you will see each post signed as "bret" or "erin" to denote its authorship. I have done this primarily to save Erin the professional embarrassment associated with me using words like "fart," "poop," "penis," and "giggle" on a regular basis in my posts. (Now that I read it, shouldn't that be a new cartoon character someplace? Mr. Fartpoop Penisgiggle? I like it.)

Anyway, I hope you'll continue to enjoy reading our blog, and that you won't use this new distinction to filter out all posts written by yours truly.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

One Good Thing; One Bad Thing

I realize that these Grant posts are only interesting to a few, as they are neither insightful nor funny, but we keep this blog as more of a baby journal, so... enough said.

Good thing: Potty training is a hit!
It took about a week in total, but Grant is completely potty trained (even through the night). After the first day, we had one terrible (almost made Mommy cry... okay, did make Mommy cry) accident that led to him (too much information is about to follow) smearing fecal matter around our kitchen with his feet. Yes, his feet. (As a side note, I was a second away from cutting the offending clothes off of him and throwing them away.) But, then, it's been smooth sailing. Really, really smooth sailing. Well, until today when I picked Grant up at school, and Grant's teacher informed me that the school might have to get new drywall after she tried to get Grant to stand to pee. He normally sits, but she didn't think his aim was much better while sitting, so she thought she'd try the standing approach. Urine soaked after a minute, she regretted her decision. I think Starbucks gift cards are in order for that saint of a teacher.

Bad thing: First real fall
Today has been gorgeous. We've been cooped up with unseasonably cold temps, so when the sunshine and nice temps made an appearance today, Grant and I headed for the neighborhood park. I encouraged Grant to try this ladder thingy, a thingy that is high and dangerous looking, but after he traversed it a dozen times without incident, my fears were placated. Then, of course, it happened. Grant fell from about six feet up, right onto his arm. I was surprisingly calm, calculating how long we'd be in the ER with a broken bone, half impressed that it happened before the age of 3. But, after a minute of hard crying, Grant looked up through tears and told me he wasn't "paying attention." A cut and scraped up arm, which Grant wore with pride the rest of the evening, is the only apparent battle wound. I was a little worried about a concussion, but after some very thorough--and no doubt incredibly accurate--Web MD internet searching, I think he'll make it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Misunderstandings, Part 4

For several months now, Grant has been making a mistake in his language skills that Bret and I are unwilling to correct. We're not the grammar police, but I think there is a time and a place for teaching your kids the correct way to say and to do things, but here's the thing: Grant's mistake is both smart and cute, so I'm going to leave it for as long as I can.

You see, Grant has developed two new contractions. He says didn't, couldn't and other such common phrases. But, have you ever heard willn't and amn't? If you haven't, just stop by our house as Grant uses them constantly.

This is the how the conversation goes:

Mommy: Grant, you are funny.
Grant: No, I amn't.
Mommy: See, that's funny.


Mommy: Grant, you will go to school tomorrow.
Grant: No, I willn't.

I think Grant's contraction construction shows real smarts. He obviously gets how to form a contraction, and he thinks these contraction rules can be applied to a variety of words. There's an innocence to his mistakes, as we all know that rules don't always make sense, shouldn't always apply, and aren't always fair.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Misunderstandings, Part 3

My favorite thing as of late is listening to Grant sing. He sings about 20 songs or so, and he seems to learn a new song each week. This week, he's interested in a song he heard while at Disney, but the cute part is that it takes Grant several days to get it right.

"The Ballad of Davey Crockett"

Day 1: Davey, Davey Crocket, king of my wife and steer.
Day 2: Davey, Davey Crocket, king of my oil frontier.

It only took two days to get the refrain of this old classic right, but "Rock of Ages" is going to take some time.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Misunderstandings, Part 2: The Easter Edition

I wanted to make sure Grant was properly prepared for church this morning, so I taught him how to say, "Happy Easter," to anyone who even looked at him.

And to make sure he understood the importance of Easter to us, I taught him to say, "Jesus is alive," which he said with vigor, throwing his hands into the air.

But, it was not until I saw it play out to a bunch of strangers that I realized we had a problem. Grant had no problem with "Happy Easter," but when he got to the "Jesus is alive" part, we had a bit of a horrendous problem.

You see, there's only one consonant difference between "Jesus is alive" and "Jesus is a lie," the latter which poses some serious problems.

Needless to say, I think people graciously smiled as they knew what he was trying to say, but it'll be an Easter message for the books.

So, to all our friends, family, and any other faithful readers, we hope you have a had a joyous, hope-filled Easter. We, here in the Hawkins family, are so thankful for God's love!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Misunderstandings, Part 1

Yesterday, as Grant was winding down for bed, I was telling him about Easter, specifically what Good Friday is and why we celebrate it.

I started the story with baby Jesus, a figure he remembered from Christmas. I proceed to tell the story about Jesus growing up, a short, toddler version of His ministry on earth, and then, I got to the hard part.

Mommy: Some people were very, very mad at Jesus. They did not like Him.
Grant: They didn't like Him?
Mommy: No, they were very angry with Him.
Grant: Why? Did he poop his pants?

Hmmm... not quite the Good Friday message I had intended...

Several more Grantisms to follow in the coming days.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

More Scarring

I happened to notice tonight while Erin was readying Grant for bed that he was wearing a pair of pull-ups to coincide with his current potty training. This seems like a good idea, but then I noticed they were pink Dora the Explorer underpants. What mother puts her son in pink underpants?

Incidentally, her reaction to the possibility of me wearing a pair of underpants featuring the image of a Latina cartoon character on the rear was much less positive. (And trust me, even if you're just trying to write a funny blog entry, never search for "men underpants mexican girl" on Google...EVER...)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Disney: An Experience in Photos

We had a exhausting magical time at Disney, and we laughed hard at our son. He is growing into such a funny, conversational, opinionated, stubborn, and sweet boy. With the commencement of potty training this Monday (oh, and what fun it is), it's growing more and more apparent that he is no longer a baby, but he's a card carrying member of the little boy club. But, that's a good club too.

We learned a lot during our time at Disney (a lot about what we would do again... and what we wouldn't). We're not scheduling another trip for a few more years, but the first trip was a memorable one, indeed. Here are a few pictures from our last days at Disney.

At the pool

Watching Thomas the Tank Engine (Mickey, who?) before bed

Before our "all you can drink Milkshake night" (Mommy abstained, fyi) at the Wilderness Lodge (which I think is Mommy's favorite of all the resorts)

Waiting patiently outside of the Rockin' Rollercoaster while Mommy and Daddy tried one adult ride

Waiting in line to meet Woody and Buzz Lightyear. Grant has never seen the movies, but he is an all-out Buzz Lightyear fan.

The moment came, and it turned out Grant was a little freaked.

Minnie proved to be Grant's favorite. He would not let her go...

But Goofy was a different story...

Here's my favorite picture of the whole entire trip. I positioned the camera, and Bret said, "Grant, look who is coming!" Grant looked at Donald Duck, heading our way, and here's his reaction. Pure joy.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Whine, whine, whine...

Upon returning to Indiana, I have been informed by an unnamed reader of our blog who goes by the code name of "my mother" that I should not have posted that "more pictures would be coming" if more were not, indeed, on the way. Apparently my observations on life are no substitute for pictures of a grandchild enjoying Disney World, so let me explain why no pictures have showed up.

Disney does not have "free Internet" at their resorts. In fact, they don't even have "cheap Internet." They have $10 per day Internet. Therefore one must choose when and how to use the Internet, which for yours truly meant that I would only purchase two days worth and try to do what I could.

The other side of the coin is that for whatever reason, Erin and I stopped taking pictures midway through our trip. We have some more to post, but I'll let Erin handle that between cleaning our poor neglected house and potty training Grant.

To finish our travelogue, we left Orlando on Friday and drove to visit family in Birmingham for the weekend. We had a very nice visit, and Grant couldn't have been happier to see his cousins and "Aunt Keh-when and Unco Biww" (that's toddler speak for Karen and Bill). Amazingly, for the second year in a row in Birmingham, I ran into the same friend from high school who has relocated to Alabama. What are the chances?

After stuffing what valuables we could find into our pockets, we left my aunt and uncle's house on Sunday morning and headed for home. We stopped at our favorite Nashville area restaurant, Vittles, on Sunday for lunch and made it home around 7:00pm.

Today it's snowing here in Indianapolis. So I'll repeat the question to my wife and extended family -- Why do we continue to live here?

More pictures to come...really...some day...

Thursday, April 02, 2009

You must be joking, Mickey...

Yesterday, we started our Disney Day at the same character breakfast buffet that we indulged in on Monday. I ate approximately five pounds of eggs, bacon, sausage, waffles, and cream laden bread pudding.

After lounging around for the day, we made our way to the Whispering Canyon Cafe at Disney's Wilderness Lodge. The cafe is notable for several reasons. First, they have an all-you-can-eat BBQ skillet featuring ribs, brisket, pulled pork, and chicken. As if this wasn't heart stopping enough, they also offer unlimited milk shakes. If this place existed in Indianapolis, there would be an ABC special when they have to cut a wall out of our house to wheel my bed onto the back of a truck to take me to the doctor.

In addition to the all you can eat grub, the Whispering Canyon features some small hostilities. For example, if you're the first guy in the room to ask for ketchup, they deliver 30 bottles of Heinz to your table. When the next guy asks for ketchup, you dump all the bottles on him. Similarly, if a kid asks for a crayon, every table delivers one to him. The kids love it, and I didn't mind it because it never required me to come up for air from my barbecue.

After eating ourselves sick, we made our way to the Boardwalk, where Erin and I share fond memories of eating donuts that looked a lot like icing covered inner tubes. We entered the bakery, and immediately I noticed the lack of donuts. They had whole grain muffins and some carrot cake, but not a donut in sight. I figured that perhaps they were only available in the mornings.

We inquired about the donuts, already planning to return in the AM, and the girl behind the counter informed us that they no longer serve the beautiful donuts because "Disney has gone no trans-fats."

You must be joking.

There was a cart not 10 feet away serving elephant ears covered with powdered sugar, and Disney just offered me unlimited beef, pork, and chocolate milk shakes for dinner. Not to mention the fact that in the parks, virtually every lunch spot serves a small heap of fried fish and chicken nuggets. But you can't serve me a freaking donut?

I have to believe this was decided in a board room with a conversation that went something like this:

"So what can we eliminate from our dining options that doesn't impact our offerings very much, but makes Disney look like they're doing the socially responsible thing?"

"Umm, sir, how about we eliminate one of the 65 buffets on the property?"

"Poppycock, Wilson. Those buffets are keeping our scooter rental business afloat!"

"How about we eliminate the giant Goofy candy dispensers that allow kids to fill a tube the size of a whiffle ball bat with pure flavored sugar?"

"Hogwash, Jones! Daffy's On-site Dental Care fills 2000 cavities per week because of those sugar sticks!"

"What about eliminating trans-fats? I don't know what a trans-fat is, but we did a study, and all we have to ditch are those donuts at the Boardwalk Bakery. Plus CNN talks about trans-fats every day, as though they carry Bubonic plague!"

"Excellent idea, Smith! Make it happen. And here's a free 3-day Hopper Pass for you and the misses for your hard work."

I feel like I've been had.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Sounds of Disney

Here is a short list of things I've heard at list a million times since we arrived at Disney World:

1. "Come on, Grant!" Grant cannot simply walk from location A to location B. He has to look at or play with every object between those two points, frequently attempting to injure them.

2. Inanimate objects playing Disney tunes. Disney has spent a fortune making trees, rocks, and sidewalks play their library of cartoon hits. Virtually everywhere you walk, "Zip A Dee Doo Dah" is humming quietly in the background from what appears to be a fern.

3. "If you don't RIGHT NOW, I'm going to beat the out of you!" Disney brings out the best, and worst, of parents. Grant has never heard these words, of course.

4. "AAAAGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!" Similar to #3, Disney seems to alternate between a chorus of the most pleasant and inviting sounds known to man, alternating occasionally with a toddler scream that sounds as if it came from the shock therapy ward of a mental institution.

5. "Welcome home!" The gate keeper at the entrance to our resort greets us this way when we return from outings. I always want to ask, "Can I take a weed eater to Goofy's head over there, or perhaps do some ultimately unsuccessful home improvement projects on my room? If not, I'm not home. But this is a lovely substitute."

6. "That was pretty good, but I bet you can do better!!!" Apparently the non-Disney universe is clapping and/or greeting deficient. I have not once clapped or yelled "Good morning, Mickey!" in a satisfactory manner on my first attempt. Frequently my second attempt contains a muted expletive, just out of spite.

7. "I want to ride another ride!" Grant began saying this at about 10am at the Magic Kingdom. He was still muttering it in his sleep at 3am the next morning.

8. "That'll be ." Disney is not cheap. We got a good deal on our trip, but I pity the folks who did not. I have seen multiple parents sobbing at the checkout lines of the various giftshops as Junior slurped away on a $10 lollipop. "M-I-C-K-E-Y...Give me your money!"

9. "Do they have Thomas or Percy here?" Grant nearly got a beat down from Goofy while waiting for breakfast this morning. He was gleefully reading a Thomas the Tank Engine book WITHIN THE DISNEY GROUNDS. Mickey's been trying to knock that cheeky little engine off the rails since his inception. I suspect one day Thomas might end up sporting mouse ears.

10. And finally, "Can someone give me a push?" This is the request made by one of the thousands of people now riding around Disney in power chairs after the battery starts to die. I find it distressing that SO MANY people, mostly American, require mobility assistance, and in at least 75% of the cases here, it's due to simple obesity. I'm a big dude, but I've already told Erin that if I can't walk on my own two feet for a trip to Disney World when I'm old, I do NOT deserve to be issued a power scooter. It's my own fault. I should've backed off the burritos long before I cracked the sidewalk at the entrance to the Magic Kingdom.

More pictures to come from Disney's Hollywood Studios tomorrow.