December 30, 2008

Back To Grandmas

Ashton received two new guitars for Christmas this year (OK, one is technically a ukulele) bringing his total for band instruments to 2 guitars, 1 ukulele, 1 drum set, 1 bongo drum, 1 flute recorder, 1 xylophone, and most important - 1 gigantic set of lungs. Our family dance parties are truly a sight to see as Ash grabs one of our hands, gives us a chosen instrument and proceeds to drag us around the house bouncing up and down while "singing" and playing our instruments. This can last a few minutes or nearly an hour depending on his mood, but almost always involves multiple instrument changes and a new dance routine every now and then.

So, tonight Ash picks up his new ukulele and instead of handing us our instruments he just swung it over his back and waved while repeating, "bye bye, bye bye". And he was off. To grandmas I think but am still not 100% sure. He was strumming the strings and swaying back and forth and everything, and when he reached the kitchen he took just a moment to repeat once more, "bye bye, bye bye". Evidently one day back in NY was enough, he's headed back to grandmas for another round of MN Nice.

(Note to fellow moms who must promise not to judge me, otherwise please just don't read this note. Heading back to MN Nice after the day he had didn't sound like such a bad idea. NO NAP, two hour scream fest leading up to dinner (no doubt due to the lack of nap) and he's got the runs to beat the band, 4 pairs of pants in one day. Thank goodness we ended the evening with a fabulous dance party where he did eventually include mom and dad after realizing that the next plane to MN didn't leave for a few hours, so he decided he could wait. Then we were off to a very nice bottle-free bedtime. Yup, he's done with the bottle. Was today really only 24 hours? Seemed like so much more...)

Offline, For Real

So apparently Christmas with a one year old means actually being able to be totally, completely, and 100% OFFLINE for an entire week. OK, I checked in once or twice and of course there's that pesky blackberry in my pocket at all times but for the most part I had a laptop free lap for the entire week, and am still alive to talk (er, type...) about it. The week was packed full of family visits: 3 great grandmas, 1 great grandpa, 3 grandmas, 3 grandpas, loads of uncles, aunts, and extra loads of cousins. Quite a week, quite a child, and quite a smile!

December 20, 2008

Babysitting Crisis #1 & The Gambler

In case you can't quite make him out from this high quality iphone shot, that's The Gambler himself, Kenny Rogers smack dab in the center of the stage. Let me restate that. What I meant to say was that's 70 year old Kenny Rogers, father to two identical FOUR AND A HALF YEAR OLD twins smack dab in the center of the stage. Yes, my husband and I celebrated a Saturday night out with two highly sought after tickets to the Kenny Rogers Greatest Hits/Holiday Concert and I'm admitting it in public, on the internet, and my cheeks aren't even red. It was such a blast.

A blast, of course, once we overcame a few obsticles. I bought the tickets back in September (you never know when the 3,000 seat farmhouse is going to sell out when one of the greats comes to town) and knowing the concert was the weekend before Christmas decided to play it safe and book a babysitter at the same time. Then I reconfirmed the sitter this week. Then I called her at 6:10PM when she was already 10 minutes late to make sure she was OK. And you KNOW your plans are going to change when the babysitter answers the phone and after hearing your voice can only say "oh my God oh my God oh my God". Yup, she completely forgot, and we found ourselves ditched with two tickets and no sitter.

Let me just say right now to the whole universe, Thank the Gods for college students heading home for the holidays. We're lucky enough to have one next door who just happened to be free and was happy to earn a few bucks while home from school (and also happens to have house sat for us before so knew the ropes of Casa McGregor, and Ashton seemed to LOVE her when she came over). So, all was once again right with the world and babysitting disaster #1 was quickly overted and we were on our way to groove with The Gambler and a scrumptious meal to boot. It was just a little later and a bit more rushed than initially planned.

A few notes on the concert. I've never been to one where there were so many concert goers with oxygen tanks in tow. I've never seen so many christmas sweaters (complete with blinking lights) than I did tonight. And I grew up in MN... And last but not least, I admit, I knew (and happily sang along with) most of the songs. Granted they're all 1 1/2 minutes or less and every third word is either bourbon, lady, or whiskey, but come on, it's Kenny! Granted they have to be 1 1/2 minutes or less or else poor Kenny would probably tip over for good right there on stage, but he didn't. And I have so much respect for the man for that. 8th best selling artist in the world, 70 years old with 4 1/2 year old twins, and still performing in the country's longest running holiday show. 2008 marks it's 26th year. Pretty freaking cool. There are two sides to me, the upstate NY country me and the NYC Brooklyn me. The Brooklyn me is somewhere upstairs hiding in the closet not quite sure of what to think of tonight, but the upstate NY country me doesn't really care because she had So Much Fun!

You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when youre sittin at the table.
Therell be time enough for countin when the dealins done.

December 19, 2008

Snow Day!

We were supposed to make the trek into the city today for my office holiday kid party. I'll let the pictures that follow tell the story of why we decided to stay put and heat up some hot chocolate instead...

December 13, 2008

Musical Munchkining, Saturday Love

Picture a beautiful guitar strumming woman absolutely captivating the 12-24 month old tots in the room with lovely tunes and musical instruments for an entire 60 minutes and you have a picture of Musical Munchkins. Today was only our 2nd class but I have to say, we will NOT be missing this amazing Saturday morning party anytime soon.

Thanks to the ridiculous ice storms in the NE this week we couldn't spend much time outdoors today, so we opted for some fun He-Man & Skeletor time. Yes, Grandma and Grandpa brought Daddy's original collection with them when they visited for Thanksgiving. And, although Ash LOVES playing with them, since we revealed that we're owners of Castle Greyskull and the entire original He-Man & Skeletor collection we have received an odd amount of requests from fellow fathers requesting play dates. I knew we were a bit geeky and and had geeky friends, but I never thought our New Years Eve plans would involve a bidding war for who gets to play with Castle Greyskull...

And some pre-ice storm pics (the fog was intensely beautiful)

And just a bit more for fun. A whole lot of over the top I can't believe I'm this lucky kind of fun.

December 10, 2008

He Gets It

Ashton has taken to cuddling lately, so much so that he actually comes running into our bedroom after breakfast and can't wait to read a story together in bed. And then in the evening after his bath he is so excited to cuddle on the couch with a good book as long as he has a share of the blanket. I might be a tad bit bias but it really is the most adorable thing ever. So, tonight he and I were nestled in together when dad came around with tonight's advent calendar gift (his grandmas made sure he was covered for advent calendars this year so the poor boy has to suffer through opening multiple chocolate/toy windows each night...) and the photos that follow tell the story. He totally gets it.

Mom and Ashton cuddling while opening tonight's advent gift

Ashton finding the perfect place on the tree for his gift

This spot looks perfect

Ashton's first ornament, hung all by himself

And just in case you missed it:
*Go here to join the our Mocha Club Team and contribute $7/month, the cost of just two mochas, to efforts supporting orphan care in Africa.

December 9, 2008

Yes, I'm Re-Posting

I posted this video last week along with lots of other bloggers, but I'm not convinced that the intended message penetrated our audiences as much as we had hoped. So, I'm posting it again. Along with another invite to join our team for the cause, or create your own team to join the cause, or if this isn't the charity for your perhaps there's another one out there that's more your style in need of donations, whatever you feel comfortable with. Click Here to join our team, or follow the links to create your own. Do more than watch the video, please get involved. If you didn't watch the video in it's entirety on the first post, I sincerely hope you take a moment to watch it now, and would be thrilled if you found yourself moved to join the conversation.

December 6, 2008

When 19 Months Thinks Outside Of The Box

Sometimes he thinks he has a better idea of how certain things should work...

December 5, 2008


I first saw this video on Cloverlandfarm, then again on Mocha Club's homepage, and then I joined. Click here if you're interested in learning more about Mocha Club or would like to join our team by giving up two mochas a month ($7) to support orphan care in Africa. The video below is worth watching - enjoy!

And a few fav fotos for Friday!

December 3, 2008


"The Routine" has been a bit out of the norm over the past couple weeks due to the holiday, family visiting, and just our general things-tend-to-change style of life, but this week included an unexpected turn worthy of mention. My boy now rocks to sleep vertical instead of horizontal, and I admit I've never been so emotional over such a seemingly minor development in my entire life.

Prior to this week the bedtime routine included lotion/oiling, a few ounces of milk, and several bedtime stories. But his head was always in the nook of my arm as I cradled him to comfort and then slowly laid him down for the night. This week, however, his head made it's way to my chest slowly finding a new comfortable nook more parallel to myself, more "big boy" positioning, more vertical.

It's amazing to me how much a week holds. I wish I could duct tape myself to him and be a part of every millisecond of his being.

December 2, 2008

As If You Needed A Great Reason To Buy Shoes...

For every pair purchased TOMS will give a pair of shoes to a child in need. One for One.

Help Build Wells

charity: water
"100% of your donation this holiday season will directly fund sustainable water projects in developing nations. Each $20 can give one person clean, safe drinking water for 20 years."

December 1, 2008

Gratitude Tag

I was tagged a bit back by the folks over at Moe Better for a Gratitude Post (started by Stacie), and although we're long past Thanksgiving I'm going to finally make good on the tag. So without further adieu here are 10 things I'm grateful for:

1) A great red wine - something bold and scrumptious
2) Any food that melts in my mouth so perfectly the moment is savored for days
3) A good cuddle
4) Passion
5) Challenge
6) Laughter
7) Tears
8) Love
9) Sweat
10) Life

I'll admit that I was tempted to add an explanation to numbers 4-10, but decided that the whole reason I'm thankful for these things is because in my own mind they need no explanation. They're just things that have motivated my life and pushed me to be who I am. Many people have motivated the presence of these, and I'm grateful to all of them. Thankful they made me a passionate person anxious to embrace challenge while laughing my way through the tears that may come from love and may come from sweat, but are all derived from life.

November 28, 2008

A Seriously Family Holiday

Both my husband and I grew up in families very dedicated to making the holidays special, but until this year never had to wrap our heads around the seasons holistically. There were always family holidays, but this year it was a seriously family holiday. This year's Thanksgiving came complete with every excuse in the book to get down and dirty with all of the kid-fantastic holiday traditions, to name a few: Grandma, Grandpa, Mom, Dad, Child, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Christmas Tree Hunting, Christmas Tree Decorating, and all of the other official leadings-in to the holiday season. Yes, this Thanksgiving was exactly what I was hoping it would be when I dreamed about it last Thanksgiving. And if I had to venture a guess, Christmas is going to totally rock.

Dad and Ash at The parade - Snoopy in the background

The family at The parade

Christmas Tree 2008

Grandma and Grandpa

The Cuteness that is Thanksgiving 2008

November 24, 2008

A Story Of Shoes And The Feet That Walk In Them

This is the 300th post for The McGregor Journey, one I've been eying towards for a few weeks pondering how to make it extra special. I knew what I wanted to share but wasn't exactly sure how or when, until post #300 conveniently fell on the week of Thanksgiving. Then it crystallized. Last year we were thankful for many things - a nearly completed dossier about to be sent off to Ethiopia, a network friends and family and blogger-buddies who had put up with us throughout the paperchasing process, and a warm and healthy home complete with a nervous little vibe that ran through our spines daily reminding us that in the coming year we would become mom and dad. We were thankful then, but this year brings a new level of thanks to the McGregor household. There's an African Proverb that states, "Only a fool tests the depth of water with both feet." Well, this year we jumped in with both feet, and didn't immediately sink to the bottom. Sure, we've bobbed up and down a few times but for the most part it's been one gigantic breath of fresh air, the kind you can feel only when you know what it's like to gasp.

This year, we're thankful for shoes, and the feet that have walked in them. Let me explain...

These were Ashton's first sneakers. They're a perfect example of how naive I was (and likely still am...) as to what this whole parenting thing entails. I was all set to send him to his first day of daycare in his firetruck Robeez until a kind woman pointed out that my walking-almost-running one year old should probably have a more supportive pair of shoes. Off to Target to buy his first pair of kicks! Thank goodness for the "been there done that" crowd willing to share advice with the novice mom.

Then his feet grew, and the only pair of shoes we had in the house that seemed to fit were these. Could have been worse I guess, but again, I'm thankful to the "been there done that" crowd for understanding why my son wore rain boots to daycare on a sunny September morning.

Friends. I'm SO thankful for friends. One of my girlfriends from university sent these to us when we arrived home with Ashton, and it's just one of those gifts that reminds you that no matter how far apart you are or how long it's been since you've seen each other, friends are friends, and they'll always "get" what needs to be gotten. The Rocky Mountain West will always have a place near and dear to our hearts, and we're so thankful for our friends out West.

And now things are, well, they're on a roll. It's taken us almost 6 months, but I think we finally "get" our son's feet. We have no idea where they sat or crawled or scooted for the first 11 months of his life, and very little information on the 2 months that followed. But I'm pretty sure I've memorized every single motion, step, stride, and climb over the last nearly 6 months, and I'm so thankful to have been a part of it and can't wait for another year of being thankful for his adorable little feet.

And then there's this. These feet, these shoes, this woman. Had it not been for these things the last 6 months would have been so utterly different I can't even imagine. From the absolute core of my soul I will be thankful to her always - the soles of her shoes that supported her while working to provide nourishment for her Wondemu and the soul of her heart that must have been absolutely shattered the day she knew he would be traveling to the other side of the planet to become Ashton. Same boy, same feet, very different shoes. I wish I had a way of letting her know that we will absolutely make sure he knows about all of the shoes he's walked in, his first mother's, his forever mommy's, those that carried him and those that pushed him to walk. But we're thankful to have experienced as many moments as we have. Thankful for the moment when we were face to face, foot to foot, with this stunning woman. It's not possible to be more thankful for one single person than we are to her.

We're going to continue to jump in with both feet, because that's what this kind of ride calls for. We're going to continue bobbing up and down moving from moments of sunny fresh air to those filled with gasps for oxygen. And our feet will be our wittness, her wittness, his wittness, to the life he lives and how thankful we are for it.
"In life as in dance: Grace glides on blistered feet."
~Alice Abrams

November 23, 2008

The Mommy/Son Shoe Experience - I'm Training Him Well

I can now officially say that Ashton's feet have been three different sizes in ONE MONTH. He started November as a size 4, quickly moved into a 5, and as of 4PM yesterday is now mere millimeters away from being a size 6, which in "kid shoes" terms means buy size 6 now because your size 5's wont fit in the morning. So, what to do when your child's feet are growing like weeds? I'll admit it was tough but I was FORCED to go shoe shopping. Forced I say. I had absolutely no other choice.

We found ourselves in a convennient neighborhood in Brooklyn (by pure coincidence I swear) for the mother son shoe-shopping duo and managed to pick up a crazy cute pair of rainbow Adidas kicks. The only downside is that now dad is jealous that he doesn't have a pair... And to top the experience off we found that Ash finally fits into the pair of monster fuzzy slippers that grandma gave him few weeks back - a great weekend for shoes!

November 21, 2008

This Time Last Year...

We were celebrating my birthday with two special gifts. The gift of a fabulous day planned by my loving husband, and the gift of a very important necklace. (For a quick walk down memory lane the post is here.)

I knew that this year's birthday was going to be infinitely better for very obvious reasons, and so far the day has definitely not disappointed. Two more gifts, but this year's totally kick last year's butt. Totally.

Only good things come in these boxes...

And by far the best of the two, the only face I consider to be a "gift" to be woken up by in the wee hours of the morning (sorry babe, I love your face but to get to "gift" status at 6:30AM it needs to come bearing a cup of coffee. Which, this morning it did, alongside heart shaped waffles and raspberries. I love ya hun). The best part of waking up is Folgers-in-your-cup-carried-by-this-little-guy-and-his-dad. Followed by a visit from Marc Jacobs, of course...