Friday, December 7, 2007

Wal-Mart (aka. The Devil)

Here is a letter I have sent to Wal-Mart. Better known as the devil.

Dear Wal-Mart,

I had never really shopped at Wal-Mart before a couple of years ago. The store near us was so large I decided I would try their photo center. It was the worst customer service experience I have ever had. I swore I would never go back. I called friends and family and told them what had happened. Well, a couple days ago I was talking about paint with my brother. He told me about the Kilz paint. You can get it at Wal-Mart he said. Now I had a dilemma. Good cheap paint and break my boycotting vow or expensive paint at a store I know cares about my business? I decided to give Wal-Mart another chance. I have to say, I have had exactly the same experience. I had to wait 30 minutes in the paint department to get a person. Do you know who I got? Dan from the pet department, Nicole from grocery and Trish from goodness knows where. Apparently, there was no one for the paint department and no manager that knew the area either. So, between the 3 they helped me out. I left the store 1 hour later with 1 quart of paint and nothing else on my list. I have trouble patronizing a store that treats the customers in such an off-handed fashion. Do you know I had sales associates tell me there should be someone in paint and walk away from me when I asked for help? I had other associates avoid eye contact when I tried to get their attention. Some went so far as to walk to the other side of the dividing isle when they had to pass me multiple times and didn't know how to help. I didn't scream or yell, cuss or throw a fit. I thanked Dan, Nicole and Trish for their willingness to help. But how can a store the size of a small town not care about those customers that helped it to grow so big. Here is an analogy for you.

A person walks into the store and the little glutton in all of us jumps for joy. There is food to eat and chairs to sit on while you are eating it. You can buy a TV to watch or any kind of stereo you need if you like movies or music with your food. While you are enjoying life's better indulgences you can have the tires on you truck fixed and by your new eye-glasses to help you see better on the way home. Lonely? You can buy a pet at your local Wal-Mart. Allergic to your new pet? Stop buy the pharmacy to pick-up some medication to clear you right up. Yes, Wal-Mart has every thing you could ever hope to need. Mecca for shoppers. Until you begin to feel sick and you drop to your knees in the middle of the isle. Then they just walk on by trying not to make eye contact as you lay gasping for breath on the cold floor. After all, there are shelves to fill for the living. As you take your last breath you realize that while Wal-Mart can give you a lot they are not really there when you need them. In fact, they tend not to notice you until you begin to stink. At which point Dan from pets, Nicole from grocery, and Trish from where ever come dutifully with shovels to scoop your rotted remains out the door. Thanks for nothing Wal-Mart. This corpse is going to Target.

Heather Grayson

Saturday, November 24, 2007


One day, when the girls were at pre-school, I decided Ashton and I should have some fun.

"Let's get your shoes on and go to the park!" I told Ash. Well, he RAN to the closet and got his shoes. We put them on and then he RAN to the back door. (Just a little FYI for those of you who have not seen our house, the back door does not lead to the park.) There could have been a couple reasons for this confusion. One, it is possible that Ashton did not hear a word I said after the word "shoe". Ashton loves his shoes. They mean the world to him. Or, at the very least, they mean the following 3 things.

1) he is not going to have to go to bed
2) he is not going have to stay in the house
3) he is not going to have to go to bed

Or, it is very possible that Ashton does not know what "park" means yet. Both of these reasons are equally viable and, after careful consideration, I realized neither matter at all. Let's face it, the kid was happy in the backyard and I didn't have to strap him into the car and haul his bum to the park. It was a win-win situation, why debate the reasons.

So I cheerfully opened the backdoor and out we went into the wondrous world of our backyard. The weather was beautiful. The birds sang and the butterflies ... well the butterflies did what all butterflies do - they flew around. But, they were pretty and I enjoyed them immensely. It was not too hot (hallelujah after the summer we had) but the sun shone and all was right with the world.

**A little side note. As I sit at my computer Ashton is laying on the floor next to me with his shirt pulled up, drumming on his tummy. Ahhhh, life’s little pleasures.

Anyway, back to my story. It was a nice day and Ashton and I took advantage of it. We ran and played with balls and played in the little playhouse. Picture perfect moment really. And then it happened. Ashton noticed the sandbox. Now, the sandbox is an enigma for Ashton. On one hand, it seems to be a fun place to be. Certainly, the girls seem to enjoy themselves. On the other hand, when he touches the aforementioned sand it sticks to him in a rather irritating fashion. What to do, what to do? There was something different about this day though. Dare I say magical? Ok, not really magical more along the lines of mommies undivided attention. So off to the sand box we went. We touched. We realized, with mommies help that sand is ok. So - dramatic pause here - we got in. Let me tell you, this is when the fun really started. Ashton could get his hands and his toes involved in the digging. He would grab fists full of sand and let it run out his chubby little fingers. He would shove his hands as deep in the sand as they would go. He would kick his feet through the sand and look at the tracks his heels made. Wow! Did we have fun! And then it happened. I showed him the shovel. Well, if the sand was fun before it was nothing compared to what he was now experiencing. Sheer delight that only a child can find in a toy that, for all intensive purposes, only digs. But, man could it dig! We scooped and dumped, scooped and dumped. Beautiful. I began to give him large scoopfuls of sand to dump. He was in little boy sandbox heaven.

And, then something unexpected happened. I handed Ashton a shovel full of sand and Ashton dumped it (as he had been doing) into his gaping, baby bird type mouth. Well, to be honest I didn't see it coming. I watched in horror but I didn't move. I didn't twitch. I didn't even think, NOOOOOOOOO!" No, I sat there in stunned disbelief. Well, immediately after I jumped into action. Perhaps to make up for my complete lack of any sort of response whatsoever, I grabbed his little head and thrust it towards the sand.

**Another little side note here. Notice I said "towards" the sand. I did NOT shove his face in the sand. That would be wrong.

Anyway....... As I was saying, I grabbed his head, thrust it TOWARDS the sand, mouth down to dump out the offensive sand and shook it. Slightly. Needless to say, Ashton didn't like it. Not one bit of it. He didn't like the sand in his mouth and he didn't like the thrust and shake maneuver that I was beginning to feel completely redeemed me from my previous failure.

Now, let me take a minute to explain to you what this looks like. I wasn't taking small shovelfuls of sand. Ashton could do that on his own. Oh, no. I was taking large, heaping, full to the brim shovelfuls of sand. Because of the sheer amount of sand Ashton, in my opinion, was in grave danger (is there any other kind?) of suffocating himself. So if I thrust and shook with a bit more gusto than was actually required, it is perfectly understandable.

Once I had poured the dry sand out of his mouth, noticed that he made a fairly decent sand pile himself, I again took charge as only a mother could do. First things first I told myself. I need to get the sand off the body before I take him in the house. Of course, you don't want to track sand into the house, never mind that your son just had a near death experience. So, because the shaking of the head had worked so well for me, I shook the body as well. Amazing how mach sand children can accumulate from just sitting and eating isn't it? Anyway, I shook and then I carried him into the house and cleaned him up.

After relating our day to a friend she said, "At least you know he won’t do it again". Well, to be honest I didn't know any such thing. And as I predicted, a couple months later he did it again. This time I was much quicker on the draw. Not nearly as much sand was ingested.

Here is our most recent picture of Ashton. Dad is responsible.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

First Day of School

Well, the day has finally arrived. The girls have started pre-school. I had thought that once both girls were in school I would magically have all this extra time to get stuff done around the house. This is not true. I now have more to do. Now I have to drive them to and from school AND while they are gone I have only one child at home.

I would just like to take this time to apologize to all those mothers out there who only have one child. I have to admit I thought my job was harder. I thought, "One. How easy! Come on, what do they have to complain about!" Well, as it usually goes, now that I have walked in your shoes I know how easy it is not. One child means no playmates but mom. One child means no toys matter but mom. One child means no one to fight with, laugh with, cry with - but mom. One child means (yea, I get it) no one and nothing but mom. So much for all that work I was going to get done. Perhaps I should have sat Ashton down and explained my plans to him. That way we could have both been on the same page. i.e. he would have laughed in my face and told me I was dreaming. Oh well.

The girls LOVE school. They get all of their stuff ready the night before. Their bookbags go by the door (just like daddies briefcase). They pick out our cloths (mom usually gets it wrong). And they imagine what they might be doing the next day. They currently have every (and I do mean EVERY) piece of school project "stuff" on the walls. Pre-school is over at noon so once I put Ashton down for his nap the girls eat lunch and describe in detail their days, breathing only when absolutely necessary, each talking louder and faster than the other in order to be the one to "tell" mom what happened during the day. They relate who played with whom. What Miss Debbie's dogs did. And who got to bring snack for the class. They have even begun to color their pictures yellow because that is Miss Debbie's favorite color.

Here are some pictures of their first day.

Ashton is feeling very important as well.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007




When the girls have gotten on my one and only, last nerve I will sometimes say, "Will you stop! You're irritating me!" Well, I wasn't sure they knew what irritating meant until one day Liv was having a hard time. I had finally had enough. I was in my bedroom at the time and I told her she had to leave if she was going to whine. She couldn't do it in my room. "It hurts my ears", I told her. She walked out crying, I walked away in a tiff. Ellie was sitting by me and was quiet for a time. Then she turned to me and asked, "Mommy, you irritating?"

They do have a way with words don't they?

Friday, June 1, 2007

Ashton finds his tongue

While I was going through video of Ashton walking I found this. It is one of his favorite games.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Asthon walks

Bill Cosby used to do this joke about fathers and mothers. Fathers, he would say, spend all their time teaching their sons to play "ball". They work countless hours coaching fundamentals, going to practices, and cheering at games. This they do throughout their son's childhood so the boys can go on to play "professional ball" one day. Then (dramatic pause here) that day comes. The father sits proudly in the stands cheering his boy on with every bit and particle of his soul. At the end of the game they want an interview with his boy, his son. The cameras position themselves, the interviewer stands poised, his son looks into the camera, smiles, waves and says, "Hi mom!" Now, Mr. Cosby's version was much funnier than mine. My intention was not to be funny but to make a point.
It does not just happen to fathers.

Ashton is an average size boy. He has always been about 50th percentile for all those measurements that matter - height, weight, head circumference. But as the mother of very skinny girls - weight challenged to be politically correct - he is huge. enormous. gigantic. A big ball of baby weight that I have to lug around all the daylong. So, I made it my goal to teach him to walk. My goal, not his. The thought behind this was as follows; I didn't work at all with the girls. I figured they would walk when they were ready. But, if I had worked, I mean really worked, surely they would have walked sooner. Surely this was true. So I worked with Ashton. I let him walk holding my finger. He did great. I removed the finger. He sat down. I walked with him holding one end of a toy (or towel or washcloth or whatever) and I would hold the other end. He did great. I let go. He sat down. I have a friend who had a daughter a week before I had Ashton. Her little girl (and I stress the word LITTLE) walked at 9 months. She was barely 9 months. My behemoth? Not interested. 10 months came. Nothing. 11 months. This was it I thought. Nothing. Until one day, I had been out doing some errands and Brock's parents were watching the kids.

"Ashton walked from the chair to the couch." Bobby told me. "Oh", I said. "Really? Let's see if he'll walk for me?" I stood him up. Nothing. Hmmm, I thought. Maybe they are exaggerating a bit. Maybe he fell from the couch to the chair. - Now, in the interest of full disclosure my couch and my chair are not really close enough for a baby to fall from one to the other but the idea made me feel better. - I am sure I didn't miss much.

The next day dawned bright and beautiful. I left the kids with grandma and grandpa again and went to finish some of the errands I wasn't able to accomplish the day before. When I got home Bobby began to wax poetic about how Ashton had walked back and forth, back and forth from the chair to the couch all day long with nary a care in the world. Well, this is ridiculous I thought. I want to see. So I stood Ashton in front of me and tried with all my mommy might to get him to walk to me. He sat. I stood him up again and urged, cajoled, praised, and made an utter fool of myself. He sat. I stood him up. He sat. Stand. Sit. Stand. Sit. Nothing. Days went by. Nothing. Brock's parents left and more days went by. Nothing.

And then it did happen. I was cooking in the kitchen with Ashton at my feet. He got up and walked across the kitchen. The whole kitchen and my kitchen is not small. I just stopped and looked at him. This was not the stumbling, bumbling one step here a couple steps there, totter of a beginner but the drunken sailor walk of an intermediate toddler. I knew he could do it, he just.......didn't. And then, as if that were not enough, he got back up on his feet and walked, WALKED(!), out of the room.

Well, despite my obvious irritation over the matter I am glad the boy is now walking. So, to celebrate here is some video of his first steps. Enjoy.

P.S. Look at the area around Ashton. When I say he walked out of the room what I mean I mean is, he walked out of the kitchen, through the dining area, turned a corner, walked down the hall, and out of the room.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Lambie Song

You know........ There are days I just don't want to be a mom anymore. Days that are tough before 7am. I called Brock the other day almost in tears. "You take them. I don't want them anymore. You come home and take them to work."

"Oh." Brock said. "That doesn't sound good. Is it take your children to work day today?" He was trying to be sympathetic but we both knew that they had been so difficult he didn't want them either.

"Yes." I told him. "It is take your children to work but they don't say anything about bringing them back. You keep them there."

Ahhhhh, the joys of motherhood.

And then there are other days. Brock and I just went to Vegas and were able to see Phantom of the Opera. It was great, the hotel was great and we got to sleep in until 6. We were only gone a day but I started to miss my kids. When I got home I gave kisses and hugs and loved them even-though they were still not all that pleasant. What is that saying? Absence makes the heart grow fonder? Whoever said that must have been talking about their 3 year olds.

Anyway, in my musings I remembered this clip and it brought a smile to my face. It is an old video. The girls are only 2-1/2 but they are cute! Click below to see them sing a soulful rendition of Mary Had a Little Lamb (aka. The Lambie song) with gestures.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Our first swim

Livvy is our fish. She LOVES the water. You can't keep her out of the pool. She will be turning blue, teeth chattering, and trembling just short of convulsions but she will not get out of the water. "Aren't you getting cold", we ask. "No." Is the answer as she fights to stand on shaky legs all the while waiting for you to be in position to catch her as she jumps in for the hundredth time. Force is often necessary to remove her.

Elle loves to swim as well but she is her mother's child. Her love of the water is tempered by her dislike of being cold. Thankfully the temperature here is close to 100 now (thankfully?) and the water temperature is above 85. She can swim forever and never get cold.

This was taken when Ashton was about 10 months old. He screamed the first time I took him in the pool. Of course, he screamed when the girls went in the pool as well. He screamed when I would try to sit down and dangle my feet in the water or when I would - heaven forbid - attempt to walk anywhere near the pool. Although he now loves to be in the water he is currently enrolled in swimming lessons and is not happy about it.

Our first post

This is our first official Grayson Family post. I hope this web site will allow us to better share our "daily doings" with those we love. I will try to post funny anecdotes, accomplishments, and activities on a somewhat weekly basis. There will be pictures every once in awhile and links to videos we have taken. Maybe we can make the world a little smaller. With love, the Grayson’s.