Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday Rob and Diedre!!! Hope you guys have/had a great day. We love and miss you!
The Jon Gray clan

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


The kid just keeps growing! Here's a few videos and pictures of the cute guy.

This is a Douglas kiss. He won't close his mouth, so they end up being very slobbery.

I couldn't get him to stop pointing at the camera. :)

This was actually taken a month ago while Jonathan was talking to his dad. Douglas evidently had a lot to say too.

He's WALKING!!! Well, he can walk. Crawling is still his main source of getting around. His brother's move too fast for him to keep up with his walking. Crawling still gets the job done faster. But I'm sure it's only a matter of time before he's confident enough to cut the crawling out.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Jon's vacation

I'm impatient. I should probably wait until everything is done, but I can't. Besides, we don't know when we'll get around to finishing it now that Jonathan's back to work this week.

We loved having Jonathan home this last week! Not just because we got a new kitchen, but because we got to see him so much. Douglas is feeling his absence now. :( He LOVES his daddy. Gets so excited when he see him and many times prefers him to me.

As you can see, we got a lot done.

There's still a lot to do though. No that is not the actual countertop. We wanted to wait until everything was installed to get an exact measurement before ordering the counter. I'm not living without a sink for the next 3 weeks, so we got a piece of wood and just set the sink in it so we can still have a somewhat functional kitchen until the counters come in. Can you imagine cooking Thanksgiving dinner with no sink or counters of any sort? Yeah, me either.
There's also a lot of little things that need to be done. Like finish installing the knobs, baseboards, finish hanging that last shelf next to the microwave, cover the supports for the microwave with fascia, etc. But I think it's looking pretty darn good. Thanks honey for all your hard work!!! (and a thank you to one of Jon's co-workers, Chris, who spent all day Saturday helping Jonathan out)



Another thing we did this week was cut down a bunch of the bushes around the yard. Our entire front yard was surrounded by bushes. They made a nice barrier between the front yard and the sidewalk/street, but they weren't taken very good care of for awhile and have slowly started taking over our neighbors driveway and the front sidewalk. So when we decided to do the kitchen we thought it'd be a good idea to take advantage of having to get a dumpster and take out the bushes too. So when ordering the dumpster we tried to guess how much more room we'd need for the bushes. We guessed wrong. We got this dumpster,

but severely underestimated how many and how much room each of these suckers takes up (even cut into smaller pieces)(we ended up taking out 18 bushes and have probably 20 more to do). We decided we'd start with the side bushes to give our neighbor her driveway back. After finishing that row we realized that only 3 or more bushes would end up fitting. So we took out a few right infront of the house and had to call it good. There are still bushes all along the sidewalk, but we'll have to do those another time. Sorry to all those that can't fit on the sidewalk when walking by our house. Someday...someday.
Before we took out the bushes in front

After the bushes were hacked down

Before the side bushes got the axe


Just thought I'd throw that one in there for fun. :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

More Tricks than Treats

I should have had these up a few days ago, but this is what we've been up to here at our house. Jonathan took this picture of all the 'sickies' but maybe he shouldn't have laughed when he did so. He only doomed himself to getting it, which he did yesterday. (Notice the beautiful new windows in the backround) :) (Don't notice the blue curtain being held together by a velcro strip in an effort for some privacy since none of our old blinds now fit in the windows) :(

Halloween was a little different this year. It was our first year being completely on our own (my mom was still around from Douglas' birth last year). And to top it all off, Jonathan was on call for both the ward trunk or treat party as well as Halloween night. Both Douglas and Cooper got runny noses the day before the Trunk or Treat party, but I figured it would be ok. Then just as we're sitting down to a quick dinner of hotdogs I noticed Cooper's eye's didn't look too good. And sure enough he had a fever. So I was in a pickle. Jackson had been looking forward to this party all week long and was crushed when I told him we probably shouldn't go since Cooper had a slight fever. Jon was still at the hospital so it wasn't an option to leave Cooper home with him while I took Jackson. Ugh! So I decided we'd bundle everyone up really good, show up alittle late (so the candy was already being handed out), run around to a few cars, so Jackson could have his fun, and then leave. We got ready and Jonathan was able to met us at the church and walk around with us. (Grateful for little miracles) Oh and did I mention it was FREEZING! Glad we didn't stay long.

Halloween night came and there weren't any fevers, but lots of snotty noses. Cooper didn't want to dress up and I frankly wasn't going to argue with a sick cranky boy about it. So I convinced him to atleast wear a Superman cape and we called it good. It was a much warmer night (another little miracle). We started out our night driving over to our old apartment complex to see some friends. The boys made out like bandits at Donna's house and they loved it!! Thanks Donna! Then we came back to the house and decided to atleast go down our own street. I was amazed at the chaos!! I had bought candy to hand out, but only as much as I remember my parents usually got. Which usually isn't a ton since most people seem to only go to people they know. And since we're new to the area and don't know anyone yet, I figured we'd be good with our one extra large mixing bowl full. Then Jonathan got stuck at the hospital and I started thinking that we were going to get stuck with a bunch of candy since no one was there to hand it out. But as we drove up our street after visiting our friends I became concerned. It was CRAZY!!! In the time it took me to get the kids out of the car, and get our double stroller set up and us out the door, we had already gone through half of the bowl! We made our way up and down the street, and the boys loved it! Jonathan got home just as we finished up our last two houses, and by the time we walked up the driveway of our house, Jonathan had handed out the rest of the candy in our bowl! We don't live in the ghetto by any means, but there is still a lot lower income families in the area. These people travel in herds. On average 12-18 kids at a time at the door (plus their parents). And the street was packed with them. No joke. The kids are screaming because they're tired and want to go home and the mothers are saying (in their inner city east coast accents) 'I don't care what you want, we're not done yet.' No joke that was a direct quote from a mother to her 7 year old daughter who would stand on the sidewalk as her mother would go up and collect more candy at each house. hahah There were even adults walking around collecting candy. I mean 30+ year olds saying trick or treat at our door. But anyway, now we know for next year, to expect at least 150+ trick or treaters. Does anyone want to donate to our Halloween candy 2009 budget? I have a feeling it's going to cost us a pretty penny to not run out in 20 minutes next year. :)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

We Voted Today!

One the of the great things about living in Ohio is that it is a major swing state in national elections. On the flip side, on of the real problems of living in Ohio is that it is a major swing state in national elections.

What with this election turning out to be a historic election (just like the last one...and the one before that...and the one before that), with voters turning out in record numbers, Mindy working 45 minutes away from our polling place, and seeing as how we live in a community that is predominantly African-American, we decided that it might just be wise to try and vote early since lines at the polls on Tuesday might be quite long and we might not be able to vote then.

Luckily the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections (or BoE) is have special hours for early voting. We couldn't go yesterday (see the Clambake post), we decided that today after church would be a good time. Voting on Sunday? you might gasp?? Keep in mind the previous paragraph and that not only is our duty and right as citizens to vote, but we are highly encouraged by the Brethren to do so.

We checked with the BoE's website to see what the hours were for today (1pm - 5pm) and thought, "Great! We'll just head there after we get home from church (around 12:30)."

So we drive downtown and everything's great...until we got about 1/2 mile away from the BoE. Then we saw all the traffic.

Once we found a place to park, we went to go get in line...and what a line! The line went out the door, down the sidewalk (on Euclid Ave)to the corner, around the corner, down the sidewalk (of East 30th) to the next street (Chester Ave), across and back up the other side of the street (East 30th), and around the corner, then further down the street (Euclid Ave)...

Here's a picture from when you first get on East 30th (towards the back of the line):

And here's a look once you go down E. 30th, and cross to the other side to go back up E. 30th:

Here's a quick time-line of how our voting went:

12:40 pm -- Leave home
1:00 pm -- Board of Elections opens for voting
1:05 pm -- Park
1:20 pm -- Enter back of line to vote (on Euclid Ave)
1:30 pm -- Round corner and now on East 30th St.
1:48 pm -- Stomach starts grumbling...maybe shouldn't have done this on a fast Sunday
2:25 pm -- Reach Chester Ave. Cross to other side of East 30th St. and head back toward Euclid Ave
3:30 pm -- Finally get into Board of Elections building
3:31 pm -- See that the line isn't over.
4:15 pm -- Follow line down stairs to basement...see another fun line awaiting.
4:36 pm -- Get clip-boards with ballot envelopes to fill out
4:54 pm -- Sit down with Board of Elections worker who verifies voter registration
4:58 pm -- Receive ballot and begin voting
5:03 pm -- Seal ballot and put in blue ballot box
5:04 pm -- "I Voted!"

This was Mindy's first time ever voting...I can honestly say that I don't think she'll ever forget her first voting experience! And for me, boy, did I take for granted the ease of voting back in Woods Cross, UT. In and out in 5 minutes (and a complimentary donut!).

Another thing that is great at first, but then turns really annoying, is all the political ads on TV/in the mail. Every other commercial break on TV is all political ads, one after another. It really drives Mindy nuts. And to be honest, some of them are really freaky/disturbing, but not in the way the makers of the ad intended. Here's another picture of some of the ads we've gotten. Most of what is in the picture we got today while waiting in the line to vote:

Clam Bake!

Yesterday was Mindy's office Clambake! It was fun and Dave got to meet many of Mindy's co-workers. We were some of the first to arrive and as things were still getting set up. We decided to play a little Corn Hole. Now, for those of you not in Ohio, Corn Hole is like the State past-time here. Everyone plays it, young and old. Not only is if fun for the kids, but for work parties too! Unfortunately, if you don't grow up playing it, you are at a great disadvantage when you play the native Ohioans. But it's still fun. Essentially, Corn hole is a lot like horseshoes, except you throw bean bags onto a wood board with a hole in it. Scoring is three points if the bag goes in the hole, one if it stays on the board. Here's a pic of a Corn hole board (and if you'll notice, it's even painted like the Ohio state flag):

The food was also great. First there was the best clam chowder ever, followed by some great BBQ chicken, sides, and of course, clams. Neither one of us had ever been to a clambake before, so it was an interesting experience. But the clams were good, despite the few gritty bites.

Oh, and the office also hired a card magician. He's a local guy named Rick Smith, Jr. and he's pretty amazing. He holds the world record for throwing a playing card the farthest (and fastest) at over 216 feet (and 92 mph). He also did some other great magic stuff for the kids, but his card throwing was the coolest part. We found a video on YouTube of him so you can see what we mean. He demonstrated the produce slicing for need for a knife! Just have a deck of cards handy.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Spiderman duo! Caleb is the King of Trick-O-Treating; he could not wait for Jonah and Jonathon to get to Granny's house and just had to get out there and start knocking. Peter was excited to go but was not as enthused as Caleb. Caleb was at least a house or 2 ahead of Peter the whole way. Then J & J came and the boys continued their haunting. :) It was fun!And here is the spider, he was great. I was worried that he would get cold but nope. Although there was a slight wind and small rain drops it was nice weather. Not too good for the Spiderman duo, I made them wear thermals and an extra shirt under that costume. By the time Caleb got back to Granny's house he was rosy cheeked and panting. :)And did you know that we have LARGE trees in our front yard? Yes, that is a lot of leaves and unfortunately only half of those fit in our green waste garbage can. So, we have two more weeks worth of leaves lying on our lawn and still more in the tree waiting to fall. But boy to these boys enjoy the leaves. Sometimes I am so glad they have each other. You are wondering about those other times, aren't you? Those times of fighting yelling and friskiness can be forgotten for the moment. There were occasions today when these boys were so good with each other. This morning when they were paying transformers in a small tent/fort was great. The fact that the two of them could be in that small space together and not having issues was wonderful. Then they had a blast with the leaves. They built themselves another fort and had a heyday. Pretending they were fish in the ocean or monkeys in the jungle or; oh, I cannot remember all the things they were telling me. Just, keep the leaves coming mom! And then tonight they were filling up the wagon with leaves, giving each other rides in the wagon and working as a team. Can you imagine? Tackle/attack Peter working as a team with his brother. I know, crazy. And can you also imagine Peter pulling Caleb in the wagon? It was so cute and funny. I could see Caleb thinking, "could you go a little faster, please." But he didn't, he was a patient and good brother. I love these boys, thank heavens for these good moments. -Diedre