Tuesday, September 25, 2012

2012 Mountain State Fair

A trip full of firsts! My first work trip. My first time being away from Husband and Grant at the same time. My first time being away from Grant for more than one night. My first time to the NC Mountain State Fair. My first (and second) time seeing a cow give birth.I could continue...but I won't. It was rather an adventure for me. And if I'm being honest, not an unpleasant one (aside from missing my family like crazy).

It was a gorgeous day for a drive!
I was there from Thursday the 13th to Sunday afternoon on the 16th. My first day was rather uneventful. I barely had time to put my stuff in my hotel room before I had to be at the fairgrounds. I didn't do too much exploring that day. I was tired from driving and about 6:30 my boss told me I could go so I did. And had a yummy dinner with some co-workers afterward!

So the very next morning at 9:00 am found me at the fairgrounds once again. My booth was located in the Farm Adventure Tent and I had this little gal as my neighbor:

Isn't she cute? One of our animal health techs had given me a ride to my "office" in a golf cart so she could check on the animals. So I asked if I could go visit the calf for some pictures. And she let me!

I asked if she had a name. She didn't. So we called her Elsie.

Elsie was very friendly.

 Some other folks in the Farm Adventure Tent:

There was a mama pig and bunch of little piglets. I think this
one wanted to come home with me :)

 And a couple of feeder pigs.

A couple of sheep (nosy!). But I steered clear of those.
They looked very dirty and smelly.

Typically I avoid anything in the horse family. But this
mini donkey was a ham and loved it when I
tried to take his picture!
 There were some baby ducks and chicks too but their fencing didn't allow me any good picture opportunities. The chicks were cute...but the baby ducks were so soft and fluffy looking. I wanted to hold one but since I got to hang out with the calf, I didn't want to press my luck.

One of my favorite things about the Mountain State Fair that the Raleigh state fair doesn't have was the chair lift. It goes the whole length of the fair. It works out well if you ride right before lunch...you can check out all your options :) But you also get a fantastic view:

That's my kind of Fair ride.
I did get to walk around to see the other animals some and explore the fair a bit. I found the Hertitage building where people sell their crafts (or as Husband calls it, their homemade crap) and I found the most adorable hat for Grant. Then I found the building full of vendors and got him the most amazing book. And myself some maple cotton candy. 

For Grant: Mama in a giant tractor wheel

Of all my random animal pics, I decided to post this one.
Not sure if it's a him or her but it's cute and sleepy either way :)

 Oh yeah...I got to see a guy get shot out of a cannon too.

I was rather excited to catch this one.
So that pretty much sums up my first business trip! Aside from missing my family, it was a great trip. I've never taken a trip alone before so it was a needed adventure. But I was very glad to get home, hug my baby (I got home just in time to give him his present and read him a bedtime story), and sleep in my own bed!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Moo-ternity Ward

Remember in my last post about the NC Mountain State Fair when I said it was my first time seeing a cow give birth? The MSF has an exhibit called the Moo-ternity Ward and it was directly across the walkway from the Farm Adventure Tent where my booth was set up.

They bring in a bunch of pregnant cows that could go into labor any time and keep their fingers crossed that they do and that it's during fair hours. Last year (the first year of this exhibit) one was born during fair hours. This year they had nine! Maybe ten, I can't remember. Anyway, Saturday morning my boss came by my booth to check on things and got a call that one of the cows was delivering. He asked if I wanted to go watch. I, of course, asked if it was yucky. He rolled his eyes at me but I went anyway and I'm so glad I did!

The mama cow is put in that pen (lined with plexiglass) so
everyone can watch the process.

That morning the calf was about half way out when I got there and the mama cow was a seasoned pro. It wasn't too long before she had pushed that calf out and was cleaning her up (see above; that was just a few minutes after delivery).

It's a girl :)
This is the little calf a few hours later all cleaned up and adorable.

So the very next morning, when my boss was coming by to check on things he got another call about a cow in labor and this one had just started to deliver. This time I said "Can I go watch?!" When I got there, there were just two feet out. It was the mama cow's first baby and the poor thing had to do it with an audience. But it was great to see how interested people were. It was a longer process than the first one I'd watched but when the little calf slid out everybody cheered for the mama. It was an awesome process to watch.
Since it was her first she wasn't sure what to do. One of
the "helpers" nearby went in the pen and brought the little
guy over to the mama so she could clean him up. She
got the hang of it in a minute.
Already trying to stand up and not even 30 minutes old!
Like with the first one I saw, I went back a few hours later to see what he looked like.
Look at that little guy! So cute.
So, it turned out not to be yucky at all. Amazing, really. Lesson learned. I was surprised at the amount of parents standing there with small children explaining the process to them. It was a great thing for them to be able to witness. I'm definitely glad I didn't let the image in my head hold me back from going over there to see it too.

Grant's First Aquarium & Beach Trip

A couple weekends ago (yup, behind again) we decided to take a  day trip down to the Carolina Beach area to take Grant to the aquarium there and maybe spend some time on the beach if we had time. We'd been talking all summer about a trip like this but the truth is...we're not beach people, really. And it just didn't happen. So we waited until after labor day to do it when the crowds would be way less than during the "summer season".

The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher was our first stop. We were really excited about taking Grant there. When we took him to the science museum back in February, he loved all the fish and turtles swimming around so we knew he'd love the aquarium.

I tried to get him to pose with Husband but Grant was ready to explore.
There was lots of pointing. He loved the fish.

The turtles were another favorite of Grant's
An albino alligator! They had some regular (and HUGE) alligators
in another area but they made Grant a little nervous and
he wasn't willing to pose for a picture.
Still not willing to stop for pictures.
Posing in the crab. I had to crawl in with him so I could
hold him up to the face hole.

And Husband had the camera...

It turns out they've got a great playground area outside. Grant played
for a bit and then we all had a late lunch of very tasty snow cones.
We were exhausted when we left there. The aquarium was unbelievably humid and Grant was the only one of us that didn't seem to care. If Husband had said he wasn't up for an hour or two on the beach, I would not have been heartbroken. But he didn't. He wanted to go. So we stopped at the beach, changed, and trudged out on the sand. The ocean was feeling very tsunami-ish that day so we didn't take Grant out far. But he went in far enough to know he loved it.

Beach boy.
First time the ocean hit those little feet
Hanging out like Daddy.

Of course, the monster trucks had to come too.
That's Crushstation. Fitting, yes?
Easily my favorite picture of the day!
 So stopping at the beach turned out to be a good idea. We both had lots of fun playing the water and sand with Grant. But by the time we got home...holy crap were we tired! But it does make me look forward to doing it next year. (I'll just make sure we're much better prepared...like maybe bring towels next time. Because we forgot this time)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Happy Birthday Sister!

Today is my sister's 29th birthday. Her real 29th birthday not one of these "oh you're 29 again" type birthdays. So this one is all about her. I communicate with her mostly through text (as does everyone else in her life) so a few of these pictures came to me that way. You may see some and think "OMG she's going to kill you for that!" She won't. She has no shame and it is extremely difficult to embarrass her. And love her :)

One of my favorites

Uh...yeah. She went through a Davey Crockett wannabe phase.
(And apparently I was in the middle of one of several awkward phases)
Christmas 2011
Dealing with the deaths of both our parents has made us closer. I see her a lot more than I used to because she likes to come visit as often as she can. It probably helps that we have Grant now and she misses him a lot...and he misses her lots too. Christmas of 2010 she came to spend Grant's first Christmas with us (also our first without Mom) and then came again this past year. I loooove having her here for Christmas! And she visits for Mother's Day!

Now, when I said she doesn't embarrass easily and has no shame. This is what I mean. These are the kinds of things she texts me.

I think this one was for Grant.

This one was probably to show me how hard she was working that day.

And my favorite. Demonstrating how she passed the time
between games at her softball tournament.

You've lost all respect for her, haven't you? It's ok. Happens to me all the time. But seriously, she's kinda awesome. Just ask Grant. She easily made his list of top five favorite people and even though he doesn't see her as often as she would like, he remembers her. He asks for her, pretends to call her on his play phones, and most recently asks for her to "come home". When she visits - or we go visit her - he runs to her and doesn't want to leave her side for a minute (which makes her very happy). He definitely loves her...and I'm going to go out on a limb here and say she's probably his favorite Auntie :)

Meeting for the first time.

She'll eat anything he gives to her (it's kinda yucky).
Auntie Horsey

She's a great sister but she's also one of my best friends. Cliche, I know, but it's true. She's supportive but she is also very honest with me when I'm being a butt head and need to be told. She does a lot of stuff that makes me shake my head (uh...hello...see above pictures) like calling me while she's pooping - I've been at work for some of these - because she didn't want to do it alone but the truth is that if she stopped doing it I'd miss her quirky silliness. We've had our spats, of course, but nothing unforgivable. She really is pretty awesome.

Happy Birthday Shauna! I hope you have a great day! And maybe next year you'll be celebrating your 30th as a resident of North Carolina :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Not Thrilled with Thriller

Looks like another year without that "Mother of the Year" award.

Grant is not what I pictured to be a "typical toddler". And I love it. Where so many kids prefer cartoons, he wants to see monster trucks crashing through mobile homes and what-not. Where so many kids sleep with teddy bears, he sleeps with a stuffed Grave Digger that has skulls and a graveyard printed all over it. He's hysterically himself.

I was feeling like doo-doo last night and stretched out on the couch. Husband had...uh...some business to attend to so Grant came and laid with me. There was football on TV (no thank you) and the remote was MIA. It's starting to feel like fall which makes me feel all Halloweeny AND my little guy loves to listen to some Michael Jackson. My phone was nearby so I found the Thriller video on YouTube for us to watch. I thought he'd like the music but I figured he'd really like the dancing. SO WRONG. It starts and Grant's watching...and watching. Then MJ starts to turn into the werewolf. So I say "Look Buddy, he's turning into a werewolf! Cool, huh?" He whimpered. I look. And his bottom lip is poking out so far he could trip over it. "No, no, it's ok! It's not real." Yeah, because he really understood.

He starts crying, pushes the phone away and doesn't really want me to hug him.

Geez, I don't know why he didn't like it.
So I found some Octonauts for us to watch (again on my phone because I was still too lazy to get up for the remote). All was good. We cuddled and watched Captain Barnacles save the Octopod from being carried off by...crabs.

Bed time. Story: check. Brush teeth: check. Hugs & kisses: check. Grant gets in his big boy bed and we think all is well. 10 minutes later he opens his door and runs out crying. Husband takes him back in and lays on the floor next to his bed and he goes back to sleep. Fast forward to about 2:15 when Husband wakes up to find Grant sleeping in his arms. He had gotten out of bed and come quietly into our room, climbed in our bed and laid down with Nate. He had no idea how long he'd been there. He got him back in bed and he came out crying again around 5:00 and then again a little after 6:00.

He never mentioned anything about being scared, about monsters, or werewolves...but I think it's going to be a while before I try that again. Way to go, Mama.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Conversations With My Toddler

Grant likes to alert us to his bodily functions (which is part of why I think he is so ready for real potty training...he just won't). Like when he's grunting then looks up at us and says "I poopin'". Yeah...we know. But when he's done sometimes he lies about it because changing his diaper would mean 2-5 minutes away from tearing through the house like a madman.

One night last week this happened.

*Grant grunting*
Grant: Oh...I poopin.
Nate: Yeah. You ok, buddy?
Grant: Eeeee...yeah.
Nate: Grant, are you done pooping?
Grant: No.
Nate: I think you are. Can I change your diaper?
Grant: Yea.

*two minutes later Grant comes running in at warp speed*

Grant: MAMA! I did poop! I have new diaper.

He kills me.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Big Boy Bed

Or, as Grant will proudly tell you, "Big bed! I sleep there!" Ok so it sounds more like I seep dere but the point is, he's rather proud of his new sleeping arrangement.

On Monday, I got a wild hair and decided to convert the crib. Husband was outside mowing so he had no idea what I was doing until it was about half finished. I would have had it done sooner except I had to tear the house apart looking for the right size allen wrench. So he caught me, rolled his eyes at me, and went back outside.

Grant sat by my side for the whole process. Trying to "help" by putting all the screws I took out of their holes back into their holes. I couldn't even be mad about it because it was too stinking cute. He also brought me monster trucks for help :) I don't think it took me more than 20 minutes. Much easier than I thought it would be.

Done! Grant's checking things out. (Please note the pile
of "helpful" monster trucks next to the bed.)
 He loved it immediately. He kept saying "I get in bed" and then would crawl up or "I way down" and would pull the covers over him. He seemed very proud of it, especially when I told him it was for big guys.

"I way down."

I showed him how comfy it is to read in bed. (He told
Grave Digger and Bear to "Way down!")
Then it comes time for bed.

Brodie was checking for monsters.
We read books like normal. Brush teeth like normal. But now getting into bed isn't normal. Husband and I both tucked him in for the first night and the poor little man looked petrified. I almost lost it right in front of him. He didn't want to stay in bed (he told me, but didn't make and attempt to get up), he wanted his crib back, he wanted Daddy. Everything. It took about an hour and half to get him settled, the he was O-U-T. I, of course, slept awful waiting for him to wake up screaming any minute.

He didn't. He slept great and has ever since then. He sleeps with a pillow now, too, and looks so grown up and adorable. That first night I was really second guessing my decision to do this but now I know it was right. I guess he was ready!

My big guy :)
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