Tuesday, July 11, 2017

California or Bust

I will start by saying that we made it to Mountain View, CA! 5 days of travel and 4 days of driving. It was an epic adventure for our little family.

Day 1 Was spent driving from Our home to Carlsbad, NM. We stayed there overnight and went to see the caverns the next morning. I had been to the caverns as a teenager, but I had forgotten how truly breathtaking and enormous the caverns are. Mark and I were both a little uneasy as we took our girls down 700+ feet into the earth. When you look around and see all the fallen limestone and consider the way the caverns were formed, it makes you feel more than a little at the mercy of God and nature.

Mark has most of the pictures from the caverns. I will eventually come back and post more. But there are a few from that quick venture. In fact, it may take a while for me to get pictures up at all. I'm without a computer here and blogging from my phone is a little difficult. On that note, forgive my typos...phone typing is hazardous.

Day 2 - We went to explore the caverns in the morning. We were finished by about 10:30, so we drove to Phoenix by way of El Paso and Tucson. That wasn't a very exciting day, but it went quick until we got to Phoenix. We didn't get there until after the sun went down. Driving through an unknown city at dark isn't every much fun.

Day 3 - We drove from Phoenix to Las Vegas. It was the shortest drive of our entire trip. It was only about 5 hours, but it felt so long. There is nothing....NOTHING between Vegas and Phoenix. It's desert...Joshua Trees and Cactus. We ran across two gas stations in the same "city." It was so crowded...I image they make a killing. I'm glad we filled up before we hit the road. Haha. I'm kidding mom. We never even considered leaving a city without putting gas in the car...we were aware that we would be driving through desolate areas.

We arrive fairly early in Vegas where we stayed at Circus Circus. I DO NOT recommend that place. The amusement park was fantastic and the employees are great, but the hotel hasn't been renovated since 1996 and it shows. The carpet was filthy, the bathroom only had scalding hot water and the hotel is about a mile from anything else. Hey, it was a free room...thank you credit card points! We just won't be back.

We spent two nights in Vegas. The first night we ate pizza, went to the pool (which was salty and I'm pretty sure it wasn't a salt water pool...yuck!) and then walked down to watch the volcano show at the Mirage.

The next day we went to the amusement park inside Circus Circus. That was a blast! Chloe went on her first double loop roller coaster! MJ went on the carousel and hated the frog hopper bouncer. We put her up there because she was begging to go. As soon as it went up in the air, I regretted letting her go. I knew she was going to flip out because she hates swings when they go too high. I suspect she doesn't like having her stomach drop. Anyway, she completely melts down. Screaming, crying and shaking. We could only watch and hope it ended soon. We spent the rest of the day working through that experience.

After the amusement park, we took a cab down to Flamingo so we could have lunch at Margaritaville. Then we walked over to Bellagio so we could watch the fountains. The girls loved that! They even got to watch some baby ducks swim around the fountain. We rested a while a Ceasars Palace and then took a cab back to our hotel. We went on a few more rides and then called it a night.

Day 5 - It was a long haul to Mountain View. It was about an 8 hours drive. We were all ready to done driving, but the girls did great. They didn't ask if we were there yet or whine much. They were a little upset that we forgot to charge their tabs. That was a bummer.

Coming soon...our temporary home.

Monday, July 3, 2017

A little over 3 years ago...

It's been a little over 3 years since I last posted. I can hardly believe it.

Leaving the blog was intentional. I didn't announce my departure because this blog was for our family records and not an audience; although, the blog friends I made along the way were a nice little bonus. It was fun to see other people's families adventures and growth.

I've realized in the past 3 years that our family's best kept records are via social media...Facebook and Instagram provide a great space for our highlight reel, but it doesn't allow much of a platform in the way of details. Sometimes the details, funny stories and emotions of the moment matter. I don't want to forget the all the nuances of our little life. The blog has the best format for the detail and I don't feel like I'm annoying our friends with lengthy posts.

The catalyst in all this is a grand adventure for our little crew and one I don't want to forget. We are embarking on a trip to California...not for vacation and not for a permanent residence change. What else is there? I guess I will call it a 'workcation.' My husband's company is based in Australia, but one of their main offices is in Mountain View, CA. We will be joining him for nearly a month in Mountain View while he works more closely with some managers out there. We will be staying in an Apartment while we are out there...2 bedroom, 2 bath. It's not big, but I'm thankful we aren't in a hotel for the 2.5 weeks in Cali.

The rest of our almost-month-long trip will be spent driving. Yes, driving. We will be traveling over 1700 miles across the western half of the United States with two children, ages 4 and 7. This isn't going to be easy folks, but we are going to embrace the chaos and crappy moods.

The first leg of our trip will be a 7ish hour trek to Carlsbad, NM. We are going to take a very quick tour of the caverns with the kiddos. Stay tuned for "Grantham's Go West: New Mexico."

This is us now...3 years later.
The Granthamaniacs.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mackenzie - 11 Months


It's May 11, 2014 (Mother's Day) and you are 11 months old today.

 Your personality grows with every milestone you hit. You really came out of your shell when you started crawling and pulling up on things. You have stood up a few times without hands. I think you are a few months away from walking.
Chloe showed you how to play the piano

You are talking a little. You say "uh-oh," "hi" and "up." You tried to say ball and you are so close to ma-ma and da-da in the correct context.

You love to look at pictures of yourself. There is a 8x10 in the hall of you and we have to point at it and talk about it every time we walk past it. You laugh when we tell you, "That's Mackenzie. That's you!"

You still take two naps a day. You are so sleepy...you go to bed around 6 or 7 and don't wake up until 7 the next morning. All that sleep and you still take long naps. Every now and then you'll skip your second nap.

You adore Chloe and you enjoy chasing her around the house. Most of the time Chloe enjoys it, too. You love being outside and bounce and wave your arms like mad when I raise the garage so we can go for a walk. It's difficult to have you outside because you want to be on the ground crawling. That's fine, but you also like to eat everything you find on the ground and we have too many acorns and leaves for that to be safe.
first spaghetti dinner

Your favorite foods are broccoli and bananas. You are doing well with your sippy cup but you really don't want your formula in it at all. Only water. Not sure how well this transition from the bottle is going to go next month.

love those legs
We took you to the church nursery a few weeks ago and you were hyperventilating from being so upset. You really are quite cautious of strangers. Your separation anxiety is going away, but VERY slowly.

your father's daughter
You are wearing 9-12 month clothing and size 4 diapers. You are wearing a size 2 shoe. You're hair is getting blonder by the day and your dimples are still so adorable! :)

new swim cap we found shopping with Shorty

We love you Mackenzie Jewel!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Mackenzie - 10 Months


Today is April 11, 2014 and you are 10 months old!

You started pulling up to stand yesterday. I think you are a little late, but once you started pulling up you were a pro...like most things you do.

using everything you can to pull up

You are eating two and sometimes three solids meals a day. You are drinking out of your sippy cup like a pro. I need to start switching your formula to the sippy cup with your meals.

Your favorite things are still your sister and bathtime. You really enjoy being outdoors, but it's a challenge for me since you want to eat the leaves.

You laugh a lot these days...mostly at Chloe. You girls are really great together.


You are saying mama, dada and baba. But I still don't think you are using them for any particular reason. I swear you've said "up" and "hi" a few times. It's a bit early, but Chloe talked early, too. I have my listening ears on now every time I'm with you to see if what I think I'm hearing is real.

my Texas girls in the bluebonnets
You can clap and wave now. You really only wave if we say "bye-bye." You are also pointing. The other night at dinner you thought it was funny to point at dad while you were eating. You guys spent a few minutes pointing at each other and amusing yourselves.

You are about to celebrate your first Easter! Shorty made these two dresses for you and Chloe.

Sisters - Easter 2014

I can't believe we will be celebrating your first birthday in two short months!

We love you, MJ!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Chloe at 3 1/2

I haven't shared much about Chloe lately. She has always been such a light in our lives. Every single day she gets funnier, cuter and more brilliant. This post will be a little all-over-the-place, but it goes with Chloe's personality. 

Some of her favorite things are donuts, ice cream and watermelon slush from Sonic (we limit these things). She loves spending time with any and all of her friends. Her favorite movies right now are Ghostbusters, The Nightmare Before Christmas (she calls it ChristmasHalloween) and Cars. Although, we recently added Frozen to the favorites list. (Hooray a chick movie!) Her favorite toys are her cars. She enjoys coloring and riding her new bike.

new big girl bike!

such a happy girl

She cracks me up. If she doesn't like what I tell her she says, "Mom, you are making me VERY serious." I really should write down every funny thing she says. Yesterday she told me that she is going to marry me when she gets older. I told her I was already married to Mark and I could only be married to one person. She said, "that's ok. I'll marry you when I'm bigger." 

We are in a big "Why" stage. Everything that happens she asks us why. If Mark and I are together, she will ask us both almost like she doesn't believe what the other one says.

She has also started telling fibs and lies. We had to explain the difference between the truth and a lie. I think she is starting to understand. 

We had a parent/teacher conference a few months ago. Her teachers are pleased with her development. Where she really shines is in her physical abilities. They said she is advanced with her gross motor skills like jumping, climbing ladders and standing one one foot. They also said that she does an excellent job at concentrating on her work and will work diligently to finish any school work. Circle time is another story. When she doesn't have something to do with her hands she finds it very difficult to focus. 

she drew a picture of a "ghostbuster and a slutty ghost"
She meant slimmy, but she keeps saying slutty and I think it's hilarious!

With her physical abilities in mind, we put her in a soccer camp that started this past Monday, March 17, 2014. She had a choice between soccer, ballet and gymnastics. It was no surprise she chose soccer. It's really the only thing she knew. We play with her soccer ball at the park and in the front yard quite a bit. I have to say she really is a natural. I'm impressed by how much control she has at 3. 

She's writing her name well. She can spell her name, mom and dad. She knows her alphabet and can write all her letters. She knows the sounds the letters make and we are working on some phonics books so she can start learning to read. She has memorized several books and can 'read' one particular book (Just a Little Luck...A little critter book) word-for-word. I love hearing her sweet little voice tell me the story.

Dr. Seuss Day at school...she dressed up as Fox in Socks

I let her get on the computer twice now. The first time I showed her how to use the mouse and the second time she was an expert. It amazes me how fast these little ones absorb information. The only reason I even let her on the computer was because she kept asking me to "watch PBS kids dot org." I tried to explain that it wasn't something to watch, but rather a website. So I took her to the computer and showed her what PBSkids.org is.

Crazy Hair Day - Fauxhawk

Her dislocated elbow. The doctor at the ER gave her a wrist brace.
That helped a lot

She had to go to the Emergency room in January. She fell off the couch an dislocated her elbow. I thought she had broken her wrist. But apparently a nursemaid elbow does funny things to your nerves and was making her think it was her wrist when it was actually her elbow that hurt. Anyway, the doctor at the hospital was no help. They gave her a wrist brace and some Tylenol. That night she kept waking up screaming. She said, "Mommy, my arm isn't being very nice." I took her to the pediatrician on Monday (two days later) and they immediately realized the problem and reset her elbow. 20 minutes later she was pain free. I love our pediatrician and all the staff! ***Just to be clear. We went to the doctor two days later because it was a weekend and they were closed...not because I was ignoring my daughter's pain.***

She has also had two ear infections. We went 3 1/2 years without any and then had two in 2 months time.

picture from Chloe's teacher. She put her coat on upside down.
Miss Caitlynn thought it was funny because it looks like a bustle. 

riding go-carts with daddy
Chloe loves race cars!
Chloe also loves to sing. She loves Roar by Katy Perry and Let It Go from Frozen. She's also been singing Happy by Pharrell Williams. She dances a lot and it's really funny. I need to get it on video, but I doubt she would let me.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Mackenzie - 9 Months

Mackenzie Jewel,

It's March 11, 2014 and you are 9 months old today. I remember this time last year. We were at the rodeo and you weren't due for another 3 months. Now you are here with us!

9 months old
You are crawling now and starting to pull up. You haven't made it onto your feet yet, but you are getting on your knees and getting pretty close. You have a bruise on your cheek where you crashed trying to pull up on the wall.

inspecting the grass. probably watching your sister.

Your favorite things are: your sister, being outside and bath time. You dislike: being fed, having your nose wiped and when we take something away from you.

You have 5 teeth. You are starting to use your pincer grasp to feed yourself. You have refused to eat baby food the past week and only want things you can pick up yourself. I'm still not able to get you to use a sippy cup very well. We have three months to get it done. 

You are always pretty serious. Seriously cute.

You love any attention from your big sister.

You are still sleeping from 6:00pm to 6:30am. Thankfully time changed so now it's more like 7-7:30. Your 6pm bedtime made it hard to do anything in the evening. You take 2-3 naps. Usually only 2.

You are saying baba, dada and mama. Just the sounds. You aren't associating them with anything.

eating the grass
 You love being outside in the grass. If we open the door, you crawl as fast as you can towards it. Sometimes we get some tears when you don't make it before we shut the door.

This brings me to my next point. I've always said you were our chill baby. That's still true. BUT, you can throw fits like I've never seen a baby do before. Case in point is the video below. You like to rock on the rocking frog. See what happens when you don't get your way in .2 seconds.

I think we have a new drama queen in the making.

an attempt at a good sister pic

snot face wants to see the camera.
You are wearing a size 4 diaper and 12 month clothing. We go to the doctor on Thursday to see how long and chunky you are...kidding. You really aren't that chubby of a baby. You are perfect and squishy!

pulling up to your knees

playing with the cute baby in the mirror. I adore this picture.

feeding yourself. a morning ritual.

snot faced and swinging in the backyard

Chloe likes to push you in the swing.

We sure do love you, Mackenzie.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Mackenzie - 8 Months


Today is February 11, 2014 and you are 8 months old today! It's been a rough month for you little girl. You have kept an ear infection through one round of antibiotics and are currently on a second round. You were sick most most of your entire 7th month.

On top of that, you are getting your top teeth. I'm pretty sure all four are trying to come in at the same time. You already have two lower teeth. Considering all the pain that you're in, you've been a pretty happy baby. You are fussier than normal the last week or so though. I think it's mostly teeth because we never even knew your ears were bothering you. We only found out you had an ear infection because we took Chloe to the doctor and they heard you coughing so they wanted to look in your ears.

8 Months old

You can get yourself into a sitting position now and you started crawling today. You don't crawl very far, but you will be zooming around soon. Chloe's pretty excited about it. But I suspect her tune will change once she realizes that it's more difficult to keep you away from her things. She's pretty good at sharing, but on her terms.

You babble a lot now. Lots of da-da-da and ba-ba-ba. We are trying to get you to clap and wave. 

You are much more interested in eating now. You like carrots, sweet potatoes and oatmeal with pears. You don't really like any of the meats...pureed meat sounds disgusting.

Your favorite toy is a squeaky monkey teether.

You love to cuddle. As much as you like to be alone in your room for quiet time, you like to be near someone when you are with us. You prefer that someone to be Chloe, but you settle for mom or dad.
Chloe dressed MJ up in her best

You can still fit into 9 month clothes, but are quickly outgrowing the onesies because you are so long. You are wearing a size 3 diaper, but I think we are about to move up to 4. 
Chloe is always asking to take pictures with her sister.

You take two naps a day and you are champ at putting yourself to sleep for naps and bed.
love these girls

You love, love, love bath time! We are letting you and Chloe take baths together because you sit up so well now. It makes bath time so much easier on this mom. haha. Plus, you girls like to splash together. 
bath time prep

You still look like you are going to be our little blondie and you have just as much (if not more) hair than Chloe did. It's harder to see your hair because it's lighter than hers was, but there is a lot of it. You have a bit of a reverse mullet. It's longer at the front, top of your head. We used to style it into a faux hawk, but it's too long to stand up now.

see my teeth?

We are enjoying getting to know you, MJ, Kenzie Kenz.