Sunday, September 16, 2007

Emmys

I am not a big fan of award shows, but I'm up waiting for Jim to return home from Karl & Heather's wedding and learned that I somehow missed the fact that Don Herbert died this summer. I seem to remember that my inspirational high school physics teacher (a.k.a. the one who shaped my college path and professional career towards science and engineering) was tapped to replaced him as Mr. Wizard back in the 80's. As one thing usually leads to another when surfing the web, I discovered that my former teacher co-authored a book. I think there are more than a few years to go before Spencer will read this, but I've tagged it to remember later.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Labor Day

For the long Labor Day weekend we got in a lot of family time, some social time with friends and a lot of cleaning up projects around the house. We toyed with going to Splashtown, but with the ongoing threat of rain (and plenty on our 'to do' lists) we ended up not making the trip. Today, Spencer informed me that "the reason we didn't go to Splashtown yesterday was because it was Labor Day. Labor means work, and Splashtown is lots and lots of fun, so that's why we didn't go there."

Friday, August 17, 2007

finger food

On Tuesday, Spencer had a fun dinner and got to try a few new foods with his hands. He had a chicken drumstick for the first time and really enjoyed trying to figure out how to eat around the bone. Afterwards, we shared a steamed artichoke and also thought that was great, learning how to pull of the leaves, dip them in melted butter with lemon, and scrape off the tasty part with his teeth. Now that he has gotten to the point of using proper table manners on a regular basis, it was a fun change of pace to encourage him to get messy eating with his hands.

Friday, August 10, 2007

singer, songwriter & scientist

I have always loved listening to Spencer sing, it is so darn cute. Especially when he goes for those high notes without fear!

Last week he made up a song on the ride home from school with Jim. He entered the house and started singing to me, to the tune of Beethoven's Fifth: "Hel-lo Ma-maaaaa.... I miss you much.... I want to go... to Tot Shabbat... It's at the teh-em-ple!"

Last night we were singing from a book of nursery rhymes that he has recently rediscovered (after not reading it for ~two years.) He giggled the whole way through Itsy Bitsy Spider and decided to change the last verse: "out came the sun and dried up all the rain, and then all of the water was evaporated!" Oh brother.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

the blue tube

The blue tube is what Jim was handed during the Rice commencement ceremony in early May, and the actual diploma was only ready about a week ago.

This past spring, Spencer became more tuned in to the fact that Jim was spending long days finishing up his MBA program. As graduation approached, we talked up the fact that Jim was almost done and wouldn't have to go to Rice University all the time any longer. Spencer asked quietly from the back seat "and then he'll be home more?" "Yes," I told him. And he cautiously asked "will you still be here too, mommy?" "Yes, baby, we're all going to be together." And he smiled big and looked out the window.

After Jim's last class, we explained to Spencer that daddy was going to go back two more times "so they could tell him 'Good Job!'" And Spencer took pride in the presence of the blue tube that appeared at the end of the day.

This Monday, a large envelope arrived from the business school with a class photo of everyone dressed in cap and gown. Spencer took one look at it and asked "is that from when you went to get the blue tube?" Our jaws dropped. He had seen the graduation gown hanging in the closet, but never even seen it worn. How he knew to tie those symbols together was a bit of a mystery.

And last night made me frown in sadness. Jim left for hockey after tucking Spencer in bed. But about 20 minutes later, Spencer was upset about something and when I told him daddy was out he cried "I thought that daddy didn't have to leave any more now that he got his blue tube!!" :( I guess that made much more of an impression on him than we realized...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

another swim day?

I think we should have accepted the fact that Sunday was supposed to be the only swim day this month for Spencer and me. Yesterday on the ride home from school he asked if we could go swimming, so today I sprinted home from work and packed up our swim bag before picking him up. I started to get a bad feeling watching the outside temp from the car display start to tick down 90-89-88-87 during the time it took to get to the Y. While we got changed in the locker room, the temps kept falling and the sun disapppeared. It was windy as we stepped into the pool, and a mere three minutes later we heard the lifeguard's long whistle telling everyone to get out. Spencer was so sad and ran over to Jim who had just arrived to relay the disappointing news. We changed gears and went out for a family dinner. But I wonder when, or if, we'll get to go swimming again this summer...

Monday, July 23, 2007

swimming!

It has been well over a month since Spencer and I have gone swimming due to the ridiculous amount of rain in Houston during June and July. So when temps hit 90 and the sun peeked out a little yesterday afternoon, we quickly put on our swimsuits and dashed off the the YMCA. It even rained during our short drive there, but was sunny again when we arrived. It felt great just to relax and enjoy the water and the sunshine. We played together in the deeper water, and I watched him entertain himself in the shallower kiddie area - where I needed to keep reminding him to pull his swimsuit back up after standing under the waterfall! He went on the slides, and I asked as we waited on line if he wanted me to go down first so I would be there when he got down. He turned around and said "Well, here's the thing. I'm in front of you in line, so that means I go before you do." Duh, mommy.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Happy 4th

Luckily, the morning rain didn't prevent Spencer from having a blast swimming with friends in the afternoon. He helped decorate some chocolate haystack firework cookies to bring to the party. They were tasty & festive. It was the first year Spencer was old enough to stay up until dark to watch fireworks, and he was impressed and amazed.

I thought of a few more recent conversations with Spencer that made me laugh out load.

The set up: driving to school one morning Spencer asked "where are the dust fans on that truck?" I kept repeating "dust fans?" to make sure I heard correctly. "Yes," he insisted "dust fans." I was completely at a loss, until he continued, "you know, so that they don't get other cars dirty." And then the lightbulb went on for me. "Ohhh, Spencer, you mean 'mud flaps?'"

The set up: For now anyhow, Spencer loves helping out out trash days. Full cans are a bit heavy, but he insists on bringing the empty ones back to the garage in the afternoon. One morning, the can was already at the curb and I sent him down with a small bag containing his overnight pull-up. As he opened the lid to toss it in he announced "trash sure is smelly!"

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

"Did you hear what Spencer said?"

The set up: Jim and Spencer were playing in the living room with an inflatable ball. Jim sent the ball over his head, and Spencer explained that was not the correct way to pass it to him. He exclaimed, "No, no, no, no, NEGATIVE!"

The set up: at the end of a fairly typical weekday, we were all having dinner together and Spencer was running his mouth non-stop. It was humorous as he told stories and probed for answers (why? what does that mean? is tomorrow splash day?) Suddenly, he stopped and announced "I'm sure asking a lot of questions!"

The set up: Spencer opened a door a across his sandal foot and did a little damage to his big toe. He told Jim, "I lost some skin on my toe. Can you help me find it? I think I left it in Galveston."

This weekend I took Spencer to Moody Garden to give Jim some dedicated time to do demo and construction in the guest room. We had a blast with friends at their man-made beach and water areas. Here are some pics of Moody Gardens.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

graduated!

Jim is now a Rice MBA grad! In addition to the excitement of the investiture and comencement ceremonies, this past month we also celebrated this accomplishment with no less than six different parties! Travel will consume most of the upcoming month, so I think we'll have to wait until July to start enjoying all of that free time together folks keep talking about.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Why we like Houston

Saturday was an awesome day, and reminded me why I love living in this city. Now that Jim has finished up all of his course work the three of us had some fun as a family. We went downtown to the Texas Dragon Boat Festival - the weather was simply perfect and the event itself unlike anything we had seen before. We cheered for the boats in the bayou as they sprinted across the finish line in front of of every 15 minutes or so. We also enjoyed some music and dancing from the Korean Farm Dancers (a hilarious group of feisty senior citizens) and the Polynesian Cultural Association. One of the many booths at the festival was especially for kids, where Spencer decorated a traditional Japanese carp kite, in honor of Japan's Boy's Day, and they wrote his name in Japanese. Here are pics from the event.

It seems like there is aways something fun going on like this in Houston. After we left downdown, we drove a short bit to check out a vegetable co-op I learned about from Katie's blog, and then on to lunch at our favorite Greek restaurant. In the evening Jim and I had a night out to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with some of his MBA clasmates. Overall, a pretty awesome day.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Fetch!

Spencer, Jim and I were having a blast together playing ball together after dinner. We were rolling and bouncing an oversized super ball to each other and laughing our heads off. In my mind, I was having some flashbacks to the fun times we had with all of our foster dogs in the years before Spencer entered our lives. And with those thoughts in my mind, I tossed the ball past Spencer so it could roll and bounce down the length of the hallway. He jumped up and took a couple of steps to chase it when suddenly he stopped and spun back around and asked me "mommy, why did you do that?" I felt a little bad that I was trying to make my kid fetch a ball, but by then he had already turned back and was happily chasing it.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

sports-fest

This weekend Spencer watched three different sports for the first time and had a blast. On top of that, he was well-behaved which meant Jim and I were able to enjoy the weekend with him that much more! Spencer sat on the sidelines watching his very first soccer game (under 5 league) and was delighted to no end that he had the chance to dribble all around during halftime and after the game. He is already asking when he gets to be part of a team. Answer = in the fall. Today we soaked up the spectacular Spring weather watching about half of the Rice baseball game. Spencer excited clapped along with the crowd for good plays and runs scored (of which there were many!) and enjoyed learning about aluminum bats, foul balls, and singing 'take me out to the ball game.' And, finally, Spencer got to watch his daddy play hockey. It took a few shifts before he was able to identify Jim in his gear and then would excitedly shout "hi daddy! hi daddy! hi daddy!" each time he skated by. Teaching hockey rules wasn't too different than soccer he had learned the day before: "this team is trying to score a goal in that net, and the other team is trying to score a goal in this net." It wasn't really that tough a concept to explain the few penalties he witnessed either: "that player pushed another one, so now he is sitting by himself in time out for two minutes." Very familiar concept for a three year-old!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

who needs Websters

I think we have always talked to Spencer like a big kid, and ever since he began signing/speaking, his vocabulary has increased at amazing rate. He is constantly asking for definitions of words he is unfamiliar with, and it is so funny to hear some repeated back that he learned elsewhere. This weekend was Jim's birthday. Spencer was SERIOUSLY upset by the fact that not only was Jim not having a party at a jumping place, but he was not even going to have a cake with candles! I explained to Spencer that "unfortunately, daddy has to go to Rice University on his birthday." Spencer stopped and informed me "unfortunately is when you wish you could do something, but you can not."