Saturday, September 26, 2009

Life Without Your Best Friend

It's been almost eight days since my best friend - Dana, of course - and Karter left for Indiana. That's eight days of quiet time...but it has gotten to be too lonely!!! There are some benefits of short-term bachelorhood:

1. No bed-making (no point)...and my clothes can be strewn across the floor. Not like I make the bed in the first place or keep my clothes picked up...but I could do it this week, and am choosing not to. :-)

2. No cleaning up to do in the living room. When no one uses it, it remains as clean as a whistle! The living room has been this clean since Dana left - so I can keep a clean house if I want to.

3. No doing dishes every night. Now...usually, Dana does the dishes each night after Karter goes to bed while I clean up all of Karter's toys and things. But...since I'm now in charge, dishes can be done on a semi-weekly basis.

However, with all of these benefits, there is the biggest downfall --- loneliness. Sometimes, life without your best friend is okay with slightly less responsibility. But...I miss our evening dinners together, watching Wheel of Fortune together, taking our evening walk, and just enjoying conversation and company. I miss my best friend.

Well...only a few more days of this before Karter and Dana come home. For me, it couldn't be soon enough!

Don't Lose a Bet

I'm fairly new to being a boss at work, but I have to say - after about three months on the job, I've learned a few lessons on what not to do. Perhaps the biggest lesson came just this week: don't lose a bet to your team.

I bet my team that if we got to a certain inventory level for Halloween last week (by far our biggest season of the year), I would do something to embarrass myself. Little did I know, that this became a motivating factor for my team...and they EASILY reached this goal. Quite possibly, I underestimated my motivational skills :-) ...but needless to say, there were some ground rules we agreed upon beforehand.

1. I only had to do this while on our floor or at my desk. Yes...I did have one meeting on Friday on our floor - fairly embarrassing.

2. I could get short-term relief during bathroom breaks and lunch.

3. There had to be a picture taken - bonus if it was with upper management. (Obviously my team's rule...not mine...)

And so it happened...on Friday, from 8:00am to around 3:30pm at work, I did the following:

Yes, that's me...wearing our top-selling men's Halloween costume this year - a BANANA SUIT! And yes, that's me...posing with my Divisional in her office (the "upper management" alluded to at the beginning of this post). Keep in mind that she is just three "rungs" below our CEO - not too shabby - but pretty embarrassing for me.

As a side note, one of our guests at Target said that this costume was "provocative." I don't know what's provocative about it...but we thought that was a fairly funny complaint!

So...lesson learned. As a boss, when you do the right things to motivate your team, you can get some pretty fantastic results. It's all about choosing the right "carrot and stick"...or "banana suit and boss"... Anyway...have a great weekend!!! (There will also be a post check back!)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Baking with Karter

Before Karter and I leave tomorrow, we have several things to get done. Two top things on that list are 1) use up our old bananas and 2) make sure daddy has food to eat while we are gone. To kill two birds with one stone, Karter and I decided to bake some banana chocolate chip muffins together yesterday. He loves to sit on the stool and watch the mixer spin.

He was a very trusty assistant and made sure I was getting the measurements correctly.

He saw me use the spoons to measure something into the bowl, so he was convinced they must have something good on them. Sorry buddy, I was just measuring out salt.

He was very good at helping me get the paper cups out, but got a little mad when we actually had to put them in the muffin tin!

While the muffins were baking, I gave Karter the spatula (that only had mashed up bananas on it) to lick, being the giver that he is he wanted to share with Rascal. Don't worry Grandma...I took it away from him after Rascal licked it.

His favorite part was snacking on chocolate chips while the muffins baked. Being a Gray man he lacks patience and couldn't wait for them to come out of the oven!

He couldn't get enough of them. He must of gotten his love for chocolate from his daddy, definitely not me!

Karter was a very good helper in the kitchen, except for when it was time to clean up, he conveniently found other things to play with by then...that trait, he probaby got from me!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Videos of Karter

This video is just mainly of Karter acting goofy! I was trying to get him to showoff a little, but he doesn't like to perform when we ask him too.

We tried again that night when Daddy got home, but ended up with the same result!

On Sunday we were all playing outside and Kristoffer had the sprinkler running. Karter was playing over by the water spout and when he turned around we realized that he was soaking wet. Then he thought it would be fun to play with Daddy in the sprinkler...with his clothes on!

Sunday Karter was having a lot of meltdowns, especially when we would tell him no. This was right after dinner and we decided he needed to go to bed already. This is a trick he does all the time. Whenever he is acting tired, I just ask him if he is ready for bed and he runs right in!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Buzz Cut

This past weekend it was time for Karter to have another haircut. His hair grows so fast and is super cute when it is long, but he runs around so much he gets all sweaty.

He was so good throughout the whole thing...well as long as he had his popsicle! Daddy occupied him while I cut his hair. With this being our second time, I think we did a much better job!

Karter was a HUGE mess when it was all over, he had popsicle drippings all over his body with hair stuck to it. Luckily it was bath time right after!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Family Fun

I like to refer to Saturday's as family day. It is usually the only day of the week when we don't really have to get anything done. This Saturday, we took advantage of the beautiful weather and went to a local apple orchard.

We thought it would be fun to pack a lunch and eat outside. Both of my boys are too focused on eating to even bother looking at the camera!

After our picnic, Karter was ready for some fun! (Note: We are not the only people there, we just parked far away so we could picnic.)

First stop was the petting zoo! Of course, Karter loved to point out all of the animals and even helped mama feed a goat.

I love farm animals, but cannot stand goats! Not sure why I chose to feed one then, but Karter thought my reaction was hilarious!

He wasn't so sure about the camel, but did end up helping daddy feed it.

After feeding the animals (and mommy making sure we sanitized our hands!), it was off to the playground to burn off some energy! This isn't the best picture, but it is the only one that I have of him on the swing smiling. He was laughing the whole time, but I just wasn't able to capture it quick enough.

He thought the the big tubes were cool, but didn't want to actually crawl through.

His favorite thing was the steering wheel! He kept turning the wheel and saying "whoo, whoo" (that is his noise for any kind of horn).

While waiting for the hayride, we decided to check Karter's height. He liked to point to the apple, but didn't like standing still so we could measure him!

After all of that fun, it was time for the main picking! It is still pretty early in the season, so there were only a few varieties to pick. Karter was a great apple picker...

...but his favorite thing to do was eat them! After we were done picking, he had probably eaten an entire apple...that is a lot of fresh fruit for his little system to handle!
All in all it was a great day to spend outside doing something we enjoy together! I'll be gone for our next two family days, so we'll have to come up with something super fun for when I get back!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

20 Weeks

Friday was a big day for our family. It started off with all of us meeting at the hospital in the afternoon, and Karter watching intently as mommy got her 20 week ultrasound.

The 20 week u/s is such a great experience, because we get to watch our little baby for an hour as the tech takes all of its measurements. It is pretty amazing to see things like this for an hour...

That's a profile shot of Baby Gray #2. Ultrasound pictures aren't the best to look at if you don't know what you are suppose to be looking for. This is a profile shot of the babe, with its hand up by its forehead and legs pointed up. Besides being able to watch our baby move around, we were also able to find out that everything is developing how and where it should...always reassuring to hear as a parent! The baby's heartbeat was a strong 144bpm. The 20 week u/s is also an exciting time, because you get to find out if the babe is a boy or a girl. As per our tradition (is it a tradition if you've only done it twice?), we didn't want to find out at the hospital, so we had her put the picture in a card to open at dinner.

(Another profile shot with a little fist up by its chin.)

After the u/s we went out to our favorite Japanese Steakhouse for dinner. After a very eventful dinner, we opened our card to find out that we are having a BOY!! We are both very excited that our boys are going to be so close together, but honestly we are also very shocked. This pregnancy has been so different we were both convinced that it was going to be a girl. Now that we know Baby Gray #2 is a boy, we just have to think of a name. Since we thought it was going to be a girl, we don't have any boy names picked out. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, but remember it has to start with a K!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saturday Morning

What else is there to do on a Saturday morning, besides lay on the couch and watch College GameDay with your Dad?

Boy do I love these two!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Goofing Off

What kind of new tricks could this cute, bright eyed boy be up to?

Well, trying to stand on his head of course!

He was doing this all day yesterday, and he would just wait for me to notice and then start giggling!

He is such a goofy boy, but super cute too!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New Toy

I discovered last week why Karter wanted to pull all the laundry out of the basket so badly...

...he just wanted to fill it up with his toys...

...and push it around the living room. It is his new favorite toy!

New Toy

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bottomless Pit

When Karter was sick for a week, his diet consisted of nothing but crackers, toast and water/Gatorade. For the past week and a half, he has been making up for the calories he missed out a whole lot more!! These days he never seems to get full.

He eats three big meals a day and a lot of snacks in between. On this particular day he had an entire NutriGrain bar and a cup of applesauce as a snack. For a snack on our recent trip to KC, he ate an entire grilled turkey and cheese one day. He is a big eater lately.

He also drinks milk like it is his job!! When he was sick he wasn't suppose to have milk for a whole week (we caved after about 5 days) and he wasn't happy about it, so now he drinks as much as possible just in case we deprive him of it again! I'm sure he will even out when this little growth spurt is over, but in the mean time we are left wondering about our grocery bills when he is a teenager!!

Here is a little video of Karter feeding himself lunch the other day...don't worry, we've stopped giving him his lunch in our good dishes!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Labor Day Weekend Trip

For the long weekend, we loaded up our family and headed south to Kansas City, MO to visit Kristoffer's brother, Kamaron, and his wife, Anique. We made it into town around lunch time on Saturday, and were eager to start our tour of KC.

Anique had to work on Saturday, so Kamaron was our tour guide. We started off with a stop by Hallmark, to check out where he works.

It was neat for us to check out Hallmark's headquarters, because we have only been to Target and 3M...and Hallmark is completely different than both of those.

As with any company, Hallmark is very proud of their company and have Gold Crowns just about everywhere. These are pretty neat looking chandeliers!

Next we stopped by the Crown Center and checked out a cool art exhibit where everything was made of Lego's.

Next on our walking tour of downtown was Union Station. It is such a big and beautiful building that you can just imagine back in the day was booming with travelers.

Karter enjoyed being able to get out of his carrier for awhile and stretch his legs. Of course, his favorite part was pointing out all the trains he saw!

This was just some random thing by the farmers market we went to, but it was too cute not to post!

After exploring downtown, we went to visit Anique at work, The Arabia Steamboat Museum.
She just recently started working at the museum as a tour guide and we were all anxious to hear the story.

We had a little bit of time to kill before our tour, so Karterman started acting goofy with a coon skin cap!

Anique is a fantastic tour guide and the story is so fascinating, but I don't want to share much for those of you who have yet to see the museum in person!

The tour was too much for Karterman and he passed out!

The amount of things that were found on the Arabia is fascinating, here is just a small section of the dinnerware that was found.

We both thought the craziest thing was the amount of shoes that were discovered.

No trip to KC is complete without some Kansas City BBQ. Kamaron said the best place for BBQ is Oklahoma Joe's and the original is in a gas station. We tried to eat at the original, but the line out the door made us want to try a different place. You know it has to be good when the line is that long!

Luckily for us, there is a second location. This one is a little bigger and more of a sit down restaurant, and located a little further out in the suburbs in Olathe, Kansas. We still had to wait in line for probably 20 minutes, but was hands down the best BBQ we have ever had!

We stayed in a hotel just a few miles away from their apartment, and our Sunday started off with my boys watching SportsCenter in bed!

Kamaron and Anique fixed us a delicious breakfast and then it was off to church. They have already found a new church home and have started to make a lot of friends there. Unfortunately, I can't tell you how most of the service was, because I spent most of it in the nursery with a restless Karter!

Sunday after church we went to the church's annual picnic. It was at a very nice park not far from their apartment, and Karter loved playing frisbee with Uncle Kamaron! We spent Sunday afternoon relaxing at their place and then went out for pizza and ice cream.

On Monday Anique had to work again, and we wanted to see a few more things before we left, so Kamaron took us down to The Plaza to walk around a little bit.

Karter was such a trooper all weekend and was completely worn out by the end of the trip. Unfortunately for us, he didn't sleep very much on the way home, but he is making up for the lack of sleep today! We had such a great trip, spending time with Kamaron and Anique. Thank you so much for having us!