Sunday, December 26, 2004

Yesterday we took Spencer to the movies and it turned out to be a huge success. He sat in a seat between us and stared in awe at the screen. About 15-20 minutes in, after a particularly loud and bright action scene (we saw The Incredibles) I looked over to see how Spencer was doing and he was actually nodding off! We laid him down across the seats in between us (cool that the armrests could lift up!) and he napped for about an hour. When he finally awoke, he was a bit disoriented and after identifying mommy and daddy right nearby, he then signed for us to turn on the lights! Sorry, Spencer! After a bottle he became a bit restless and wanted to walk around. Since there were only six other people in the entire theater besides us, it really wasn't too much of a problem to let him climb up and down the stairs on the sides for ten minutes until the movie ended. If we had known how well it was going to turn out, we would have picked a movie for us instead of for him!

Friday, December 24, 2004

Tonight we learned that Spencer knows a sheep says "baaa." We were reading one of his farm animal books together and he made the sound when we turned to the page with a sheep. I was quite surprised to hear this from him for the first time. It's cute to discover what he has picked up from us. Like this morning when Jim gave him an old phone to play with and he picked up the receiver and instantly put it up to his ear and said "hi!" He's such a little sponge!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Why don't we have any cool stuff like stroller skating in Houston? I think our YMCA is about to start holding some type of Strollercize classes early next year. I'll have to check into that a bit, but I think if we make the trip to the gym, Spencer is either going to want to play in the childwatch area, or go swimming in the indoor pool.

BTW - turns out Spencer and Alessandria were the only two infants at school today, and they got to spend a bunch of time playing around and climbing on the bigger equipment down in the toddler room!
This week has been quite wonderful at school. A few infants are on vacation this week and there have only been four or five kids each day, which gives them plenty of attention! This morning was a bit lazy as Spencer slept in until 7:45 (that's the time he usually arrives at school for breakfast!) Even with our late start, he was only the second baby to arrive. His friend Alessandria was so happy to see him that she jumped up from crayoning and ran over to give him a great big hug. Spencer was delighted!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Spencer is saying a few words these days and it's just too cool! He can recognize an apple and say "ah-pull" and also recognizes the color purple and says "puh-pull." He recognizes pictures of cows, but when asked what sound they make, his response is "booooooo."

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Our "Spencer and mommy" weekend is nearing its end. With Jim traveling to catch the Steelers game in NY, Spencer and I have had lots of fun together this weekend. On Saturday we had a play date to visit his former classmate Paul and mom Cara. Spencer enjoyed playing with some new toys, and especially enjoyed when their cat stopped by to visit. I was sitting with my back to the door when the cat entered the room, but I knew something was going on by the way Spencer's entire face changed when he saw it! He just gets so excited about animals!

In the evening we caught up with Heath and Kim and Chloe. Dinners together often pose a challenge, as Chloe's nap usually ends around 6:00 and Spencer goes for his pre-bedtime bath at 7:00. But with a bit of planning, and an exceptional waiter, Spencer and Chloe were able to visit, and more or less stay on schedule which made for a very pleasant and social evening.

I had invited no less than seven people to join Spencer and me on our trip to the Children's Museum this afternoon, but it ended up just being the two of us. We did meet up with a few familiar faces from recent visits, so that was kind of neat to learn some of the 'regulars.' He definitely recognized the gated entry to the Tot Spot and gets very excited when he realizes where we are!

Pics from our weekend have been added to the end of the December album.

Friday, December 17, 2004

I don't remember what prompted the train of thought, but yesterday I was thinking it would be cool to introduce Spencer to "Trout Fishing in America." Their music is so much fun and kid-friendly, and I remembered when I last saw them perform in Houston (about ten years ago) they had actually put on a kids' concert earlier that afternoon. So, I check their website and could not believe that they are playing in Houston tonight. Alas, it makes no difference really as it begins after Spencer's bedtime and there is no children's concert. Of course there are scheduled one for the kids in Austin and Dallas this weekend, but I don't think we'll be roadtripping for them. Perhaps things will align in 2005.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Spencer continues to amaze us each day. Last night at dinner he showed off new skills learned at school by drinking milk from a cup by himself. Not a sippy cup, an open cup (actually a 1 oz shot glass) that he held nicely with two hands and drank without too much mess. When it was emptied, he made the signs for "more," "milk," and then "drink." Holy cow!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Hanukkah has ended. Last year Spencer was just a tiny baby during the holiday, but this year he watched intently as we lit candles, and smiled while listening to the blessings being sung each night. Now that the holiday is over and gifts have been opened comes the additional fun part of going out and spending some Hanukkah gelt to buy things for ourselves. Extra bonus is that all of the stores are still advertising so many holiday specials. I think Spencer and I may hit the mall this weekend!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

I forgot to mention that this weekend contained a few more big milestones for Spencer. Friday was the last day Spencer had formula - he's now switched over to cow's milk. Whoo hoo! And, this weekend Jim switched his car seat around to face forward. I think Spencer really enjoys being able to see us, and not just through the mirror. Our baby is growing up!

Sunday, December 12, 2004

It's been a great weekend for the Leach family. Friday night Ronnee joined us for latkes, and later in the evening (after Spencer was in bed) Jim and I went out to a holiday party. We had a family outing on Saturday afternoon to get Spencer's his first 'real' haircut at Cool Cuts for Kids. Before you have kids, you really have no idea these kinds of places exist - it was just too cool. In the evening, the three of us were invited to a 'kid-friendly' holiday party. Spencer enjoyed playing with other little kids - at least for the 45 minutes he was awake before we put him down for the night! The transition back to his crib at home didn't go super-smooth, but he did ok.

This morning I had (what I thought was) a great idea to take advantage of our gorgeous weather and go on a family outing to the Houston Zoo. But it was really not all that great. Maybe I'm a bit jaded having had a wonderful trip to the famous San Diego Zoo with mom and Spencer at the end of the summer. Right now, he's not really keen enough to know the difference between a stationary turtle and a rock. And many of the animals were just not moving around. We thought seeing lions would be the high point of the visit, as "lion" is currently Spencer's favorite sign to make. (It's too darn cute to watch him 'read' a book and make the sign for lion when he sees a picture on the page.) But, although Spencer did enjoy staring at the large, lazy lions, he chose that moment to make the sign for elephant for the first time. Hmmm. We cut our trip short, and bought Spencer over to the Children's Museum for about 45 minutes. (It's great being a member to run in like that for a short visit when we're nearby.) An early dinner at Niko Niko's rounded out the day for us, and Spencer promptly passed out in his car seat on the ride home. But not before thoroughly enjoying his feast of pita, gyro meat, tomato, feta cheese and Greek olives.

Here are some pics from our weekend.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Yesterday I was so frustrated I felt like crying. It was of those days when I can not stand living in Texas, in the Bible Belt. We needed more Hanukkah candles, and as our temple isn't close by, and I searched closer to home for them. I had to go to a dozen stores, and had more than a few employees look at me like I was from another planet. Discounters like Targer & WalMart, pharmacies, craft stores, dollar stores, grocery stores... I was met with "hanukkah candles? what are those? we don't sell them." The quest was a blur, but one that stands out was after walking up and down the fourteen aisles of Christmas 'stuff' in Hobby Lobby, I finally asked an employee if the Hanukkah stuff was in a different location and he replied "we don't carry anything for Hanukkah." Great.

But, I finally did find a place to buy candles. In my grocery store, not in the seasonal section, but in an aisle right next to matzoh ball soup mix. Good grief. (I bought three boxes so I don't have to do this again for a long time!)

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Spencer is walking! Over the past few weeks he's take a step or two here and there as he lets go of one object on his way to 'falling' to grab another. But last night Jim and I watched him walk upright and take about three steps very steadily. Wow! And to prove it wasn't a fluke, or that we weren't imagining things, he walked again today at school. One of the teachers wrote a kind note to us to let us know that today was a very special day and how proud they are of him!

Poor mom. She missed Spencer's first crawl by less than 24 hours back in August, and departed Houston just two days before this milestone. I'm pleasantly surprised that we have witnessed so many of Spencer's "firsts" ourselves. I've been looked down upon by some friends who stay home about how sad it is that we should expect to miss these events because Spencer is in school all day. Yet in 2004 Jim and I witnessed his first rollover, his first crawl, and now his first true steps.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

It has been a BUSY few days. Spencer is now one!!! Wow. Our little guy is growing up fast, he's one of the 'big kids' at school now and loves to imitate the older ones. This morning Jim caught him playing peek-a-boo behind a low curtain with a 16 month-old. Too cute.

Spencer birthday weekend was a blast. Mom arrived Thursday and we spent a chunk of time on Friday at the Children's Museum. After our tour of the ones (sort of) nearby her in Manhattan and Norwalk, CT, it was nice to enjoy the wonderful one here in Houston. Ellen arrival from Ft. Worth was very welcomed - teaching Jim and I to play Mah Jongg and helping to prepare food for the big day. Lots of Jim's family showed up for Spencer's birthday bash, along with a couple of Spencer's little friends and their parents. Our little guy now has quite a supply of awesome toys & puzzles & books, and some styling clothes. Jim and I were beat by the end of the afternoon, but we managed to get another round of energy to go to Jack & Lori's infamous holiday party which we missed last year. (Due to being discharged from the hospital after delivering Spencer about the time things were kicking off!) By the time everyone left town on Monday, we were completely spent. Here are some pictures from his birthday party.

All of the excitement left no downtime before Hanukkah got underway last night! Spencer got to 'light' his PBK menorah, and left the actual fire for us. Which reminded me that I forgot to ask mom to bring candles down with her - as they are readily available even in the grocery stores in NY, but I always have a ridiculously tough time finding them here. I think we have enough to allow me two more days of searching before we run out of some leftover from last year. Here are some Hanukkah pics of Spencer opening presents, our menorahs, and my handsome husband and son.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Oh my goodness! I can't believe that Ken Jennings is no longer the champ! We've been watching him every night since the new season began this fall. What an impressive run! Yesterday was quirky to recognize a classmate from Rice as a competitor, but today really left me in shock.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Saturday was a wonderful surprise visit with my cousin Michael for a few hours. He is performing this week on the Grand Princess cruise, which departs out of Galveston. During our Philly trip in July, we only overlapped with him for about 15 minutes, so it was great to spend more time together during his short time in Houston. A few pictures have been added to the end of the November photo album.

Friday, November 26, 2004

We took an afternoon walk to the park and on the way we passed an extended family also out for a walk, including kids and dogs. Spencer enjoyed seeing the two puppies (obviously!) and even did the sign for dog before we said anything!

Thursday, November 25, 2004

I love Thanksgiving. After so much crummy weather recently, today was simply gorgeous here in Houston. This morning Spencer and I danced around to the Elvis songs performed in the Macy's parade. He thought it was so much fun! In the afternoon, we went to Katie's to join her and her family and other friends for a wonderful Thanksgiving meal. Although the oil wouldn't cooperate for frying the turkey, we still had a delicious dinner with all of the traditional side dishes.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Today was Mitzvah Day. "Mitzvah" is a Hebrew word which roughly translates as "good deed" and today's citywide event, proudly coordinated by our temple, included a huge collection of volunteer projects. As time was short for us today, Jim and I 'took turns' participating. This morning Jim went to the temple to give blood, and brought bags full of clothing with him where other volunteers sorted it for donation. In the afternoon, Spencer and I headed over to Seven Acres - an assisted living center for Jewish seniors. Knowing what a hit Spencer is when we visit (my)grandma in NY, we thought this would be a perfect fit. Folks were delighted to see a baby, and Spencer brought big smiles to many faces. It was cute watching him crawl around and pull on the walkers and wheelchairs! He was so beat after our time there that he actually took a third nap on our ride home!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Today, again, Spencer took another midday nap for two hours and forty minutes. Holy cow. I don't let myself get too excited about this being the possibility of a new pattern emerging. Today was probably just attributed to the tryptophan in the turkey meal they served today. Spencer's 'report card' indicated the following about his meals today: breakfast (TWO bran muffins and pear) and lunch (LOVED lunch!)

The other night Spencer and I were playing and I asked him if he wanted me to take off his shoes. I repeated 'shoes' a few times and also signed it to him. He responded by bending over and touching his shoes. I wanted Spencer to show off his comprehension of this word at school, and when I picked him up yesterday I asked him (verbally) to show the teachers his shoes. Well, instead of touching them, he SIGNED the word shoes, which was pretty cool! They said he had crawled up to them that day, made a few motions with his hands, and then crawled away. They were desperate to know what he had 'said.'

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Yesterday was a big day. Spencer took a nap for TWO HOURS AND FORTY MINUTES! This is a guy who normally naps so predictably for 35 minutes you could set your watch. As he has matured, he has gone from 3 naps, to 2-3, to 2, to 1-2 where we are right now. But until very recently, the length of his nap has remained unchanged. Occassionally, only within the last four to six weeks, on those one nap days he pulls a 'double' and stays down for about an hour and a quarter. But nearly three hours just sounds ridiculous to us! We've read it's around their first birthday when kids settle in to just one nap a day. Could we finally be approaching that point? While it makes the weekends tough with very little downtime Jim and I have no complaints about sleep as Spencer is wonderful sleeping long hours overnight.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Spencer signed to me this morning! We had been up and playing for about an hour when I thought to myself, “it must be time for Spencer to have breakfast pretty soon.” I looked at the clock and confirmed it was indeed time to feed him. When I looked back at Spencer he was staring at me, and then he did the sign for ‘eat!’ Wow! (His variation is fist to the mouth, instead of just fingertips, but it was loud and clear.) What a smart dude! And, later on in the morning, Jim said Spencer started crawling towards the kitchen, turned back to look at him and made the sign for ‘drink.’ (He has adapted that one to be index finger to the mouth, instead of thumb, but also clear.) I guess it’s no surprise some of Spencer’s early signs are driven by his belly!

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Tonight Spencer had his first taste of TexMex. We made plans to go to Pappasito's this evening, to be a part of their birthday celebration and pick up a commemorative margarita glass. Something we've made a point to do for the last six years. Spencer was behaving so well and eating his dinner nicely, that we complemented his meal from home with some rice and beans. He LOVED them (especially the beans!) and even started doing a happy dance while eating. It was a great finale to a fun family outing to the Children's Museum this afternoon.

A November photo album has been started.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Spencer reminded me this evening that I omitted a few words from his vocabulary review earlier. He was so exited about his dinner tonight (some goldfish as an 'appetizer,' followed by some leftover lasagna, and kiwi for dessert) that he kept shoveling fistfuls of food into his mouth, forgetting about chewing and swallowing. I finally had to remind him "Spencer - chew!" and he did indeed stop and move his jaw open and closed to show me he was chewing. He didn't really get the concept that it was supposed to help mash the food, I think he just thought it was a game of opening and closing his mouth at the table. Nonetheless, he got a lot of practice as he was reminded "chew!" many times during the meal!

I also forgot to mention that he has now truly mastered "uh oh." Sort of. He thinks that is what you say when things fall to the ground, no matter if it was an accident or intentional. Not so funny to watch him deliberately pick up an object, drop it, and say "uh oh." But it is funny if that object is something like a Cheerio, and it is still stuck to his palm and hasn't actually even fallen down when he says those words.
Spencer has so many new tricks these days. He predictably responds to a request for a kiss, or asking him to clap his hands. He also claps for himself to celebrate accomplishments like getting a shape to fit through the correct slot in his jumbo shape sorter. He is very good at flipping off the light switch when we leave a room. (Turning on is trickier for him.) Jim has taught him how to safely dismount from the sofa or the bed, by turning onto his tummy and sliding his feet off until they hit the floor. (Then he sometimes claps for himself and falls because he can't stay standing up without holding on for supprt!)

Spencer now understands many words and their signs, including: light, stars, shoes, socks, bath, eat, drink and diaper. So far, the only signs he has voluntarily made back to us are light and bath. We've been using the book Baby Signs which my cousin Hedy gave as a gift when Spencer was born. We read that getting started can take months, so we keep trying.

Monday, November 08, 2004

It's been a good birthday weekend. Lots of calls & e-cards from friends and family, and great gifts like a day of Spa pampering (from my sweetie & baby) and a Mah Jongg set (from mom.) Jim and I had an 'adult' dinner out without Spencer last night (far cry from our 5:00 reservations on Saturday night when we went out with friends from Spencer's school!) And celebration continued into today as Carol made a birthday dinner and cake. It was such a wonderful evening as Spencer and I joined Carol & Brian and Kim & Chloe. Usually I meet the girls for lunch sans Spencer, so it was nice for all three of the little ones to get to play together for a change.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Spencer got a haircut last night. It's been in his eyes and over his ears, so last night I gave him a trim. Next time, I think we'll take him somewhere to get it done. Check it out - Spencer's a big boy now!

Jim and I voted this morning, we hope everyone else has too.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

A great Halloween weekend finished up today with a trip to the Children's Museum of Houston. Rebecca and eight month-old Brianna joined us today. I was not aware that this was truly THE place to be for kids on Halloween. It was so much fun (for the adults!) to watch the little kids play around in costume. Spencer's costumer was a big hit, and he seemed to be having a great time. Pics added to the Halloween album.

Tonight we dressed Spencer up again and went to visit a couple of neighbors to show him off. He definitely seemed a bit confused to still be awake. Even though we've been working this week to slide everything later, poor guy was a little over-tired, and the trick-o-treaters continuing to make noise after he was in the crib did not make for a good night. Poor guy CRIED so much. He's sleeping now, but Halloween aligning with the first bedtime following the end of daylight savings was not a good thing.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Yesterday afternoon was the Halloween carnival at Spencer's school and he was such a hit! Parents we didn't even know were checking him out and taking pictures. Spencer's classmate Nico was an adorable little dragon. And former classmates Hannah and Alexa (now in the toddler room) looked fabulous too! After Spencer was in bed last night, Jim put his artistics talents to the test and carved an incredible Jack-o-lantern, or, should I say Spencer-o-lantern! Pics have been added to the Halloween album.

Friday, October 29, 2004

For those of you that have asked about Spencer's Halloween costume, here it is. If you think about it, Spencer's body was made for this. Bonnie did a great job making this from scratch too...

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Tonight I was back on the ice and scored my first goal since Spencer was born. It felt sooooo good! It made me realize that most of the time when I feel good about myself lately, it's because I've done something good for Spencer. But tonight was a great feeling of accomplishment and it had nothing to do with him. It felt good.

So many huge things have happened since the last blog entry:
  • Jim and I had some wonderful time to reconnect without Spencer. We went out for a romantic anniversary dinner where we were married and it was soooo delicious. And, then we got away for an overnight with Karl & Heather to their country house in Barryville. (My first small plane ride in a couple of years.) We've both had occasions to be away in the evening when the other one would put Spencer to bed, but this was the first time for me to wake up without Spencer. It felt odd. It was also the first time in a year and a half I had more than half a glass of wine and that also felt odd the next morning. (Not in a good way.) It's possible, however, we were a little off from helping to plant over 500 bulbs Heather had ordered.

  • We returned to Houston where I discovered that Jim had installed a hardwood floor in the study during the days Spencer and I were in NY without him! He had completely cleaned it out and re-organized the whole room top to bottom. Kind of like While You Were Out and Clean Sweep all in one. It rocks!

  • Spencer cut his fourth tooth.

  • Spencer cut his fifth tooth.

  • Mom taught Spencer to smack his lips and give kisses on verbal request (not just by mimicking.)

  • Mom taught Spencer to say "Mmmmm" after taking a bite of food. Very cute!

  • Spencer said his first intelligible, spontaneous word! I'm not sure if that's a developmental milestone to say something on his own (rather than just trying to repeat stuff back) but it seemed pretty darn cool to me. We were driving to school yesterday, and Spencer was happily sitting in the back seat and banging two blocks together. I heard one of the blocks tumble down, and then I heard Spencer say "uh-oh!"

Thursday, October 21, 2004

I omitted the fact that the Children's Museum of Manhattan was actually pretty lame for tots Spencer's age. I think our photos capture almost everything there was to do. Today's outing was completely different. We drove out to Norwalk, CT to spend some time at Stepping Stones Museum for Children and it was wonderful! It's not as large as our Children's Museum in Houston, but I would say it is equally nice and Spencer had so much fun. I would definitely like to bring Spencer back during future visits when he's a little older. They had a super cool water play zone that looked really fun! Pictures from the museum have been added to the end of the new October in NY album.

Nasty traffic on the ride back to NY prevented us from squeezing in a visit with Amy and Zachary this afternoon, but perhaps they'll swing by to say hi tomorrow when Jim is here too. I bet Spencer will go berzerk when he sees his daddy!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

October in NY is beautiful. Yesterday Spencer took his morning nap in the stroller as we walked to the Chappaqua library for story time. Great Grandma Evelyn joined us for dinner and she just couldn't get over how mobile Spencer has become! Today we visited with my pop for the afternoon while we and ate lunch and played at his house. Spencer had a blast meeting little Gabrielle (toy poodle) and playing with toys. Tonight was another first for Spencer - his first taste of Grandma Eileen's chicken soup! Yum. More pics from that past couple of days have been added to the album for this trip.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Although we've made several trips to NY before with Spencer, today was his first visit to the city. We walked around the upper west side - starting with brunch at Josie's, then the Children's Museum of Manhattan (did not have as much toddler stuff as our Children's Museum in Houston) and then a successful bit of shopping at Crafts on Columbus. We passed back and forth by Karl and Heather's apartment about five times, but unfortunately they were out of town and could not join us. Here are some pictures from our trip so far.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

I haven't blogged about this much yet, but the last week at Spencer's school has been quite stressful. Both the morning and afternoon head teachers in the infant room were out for a few days to tend to personal matters, and the staff backfilling their spots hardly came close. Jim and I have been incredibly frustrated and stressed over the situation, to the point where we went and looked at other schools to know what our options are if we decided to pull Spencer out. I've been talking on the phone to other parents at Spencer's school, and the school that would be the most likely place we would move him to. I learned that other parents at Spencer's school are also quite unhappy and have also been talking to the administrator on a regular basis. I also spoke to a parent at his school who did actually pull her two children out last year, and brought them back within three months. She said that despite some of the frustrations, the school's education is top notch. (Explained that her son had already learned two digit addition, but the school the moved him to wasn't going to be covering that until next year.) In the 11th hour, I found out from the administrator that they have just hired a new full time teacher for the infant room. The current head teacher in Spencer's room (whom Jim and I think extremely highly of) said this person is fabulous, and is very much looking forward to working with her. So, for now at least, we'll keep Spencer where he is and see how this plays out.

Spencer and I had a nice break from this headache with a trip to the Oil Ranch. We went with a huge group of mommies (from my monthly Mommies Night Out dinners) and their little ones. It was wonderful. Spencer was too little to appreciate all it had to offer, but he really did enjoy himself and is always happy to get close to animals. Here are some pics from the outing.

Now we're in NY. Spencer (thankfully) was a great traveler today. He took an extra long nap (!) on the plane which gave me a chance to eat and relax. Traveling solo with a little one is tough. We drove straight to grandma's for dinner so she could show him off to all of her friends. Man, did Spencer ever ham it up! He smiled at everyone, and clapped hands on request, and did his famous 'dancing' by swinging his head all around. It was pricess watching him pull up to a standing position holding on to grandma's walker. Ha!

Monday, October 11, 2004

I've thought about blogging almost every day, but we've been so busy somehow a whole week slipped by! Spencer was home with me most of last week due to his diarrhea. I'm happy to say that things are much better in the diaper now, and this weekend he finally got his appetite back too! After six days of messiness, we went to the Dr. just to make sure there wasn't something else we were missing. He confirmed Spencer seemed fine, and after getting a flu shot, we dropped Spencer back at school.

This weekend we all went to the Greek Festival on Saturday. Spencer got to enjoy some music and dancing, while Jim and I enjoyed the fabulous food - especially the baklava and kourambiedes! Since we were nearby, we drove over to the Children's Museum so Spencer could do as he pleased for a couple of hours before we went to Brian's first birthday party that evening. I can't believe his little buddy is one year old! That means Spencer's birthday is not too far off, oh my. Ronnee came by on Sunday to spoil her nephew with clothes & toys, and hug & kisses.

Speaking of celebrations, Jim and I celebrated our second anniversary last week. He was so sweet in secretly planning an evening out without Spencer (dinner at Americas - yum!) plus gorgeous flower and chic new clothes to wear for the occasion! It was also sweet for others to also acknowledge our special day - we received cards from my mom and Audra, plus online wishes from Kim and Bari. Last year our anniversary was a bummer for many reason (I was big & pregnant, it was Yom Kippur, and Jim had to go in to the office for an hour before services to lay off an employee) so it was nice to truly have a day to just focus on us and reminisce about our awesome wedding. For an anniversary gift, my mom is treating us to dinner at Bernard's Inn at Ridgefield where we got married. I can't wait for that meal!

Spencer seems to be learning new tricks almost every week. He has mastered crawling and pulling up, and dancing is no longer quite so risky. He has figured out how to clap (especially during diaper changes, not sure why,) how to wave hi (although he usually does it 'backwards' and waves at himself!) how to turn off a light switch, and how to open dresser drawers. I realized last week that this is something he practices at school. They tell us that he stays 'very busy' all day. Montessori schools use the term 'work' to refer to the different learning toys that are used from infant through primary classrooms. One day a couple of weeks ago we brought Spencer to school before breakfast (we usually feed him at home, but our schedules were tight that day) and the head teacher commented "it's a good thing Spencer came to school early today because he just had so much work to do!"

A new October photo album has been started.

Monday, October 04, 2004

After having a baby, you find that poop is a common topic of discussion. Well, Spencer has diarrhea, and it's pretty bad. It came on strong Saturday morning, with about eight or nine diaper changes already by noon that day. And, we experienced our first real bout with diaper rash. Yeah, his tush has been red before a few times, but one application of cream and it was gone by the next change. This was different: he CRIED every time he had to be wiped and it was horrible. Except for the diaper area, he was happy and playful, as if nothing else was wrong. We pumped pedialyte in him, and by Sunday morning his poop had improved to 'sticky.' So, thinking we had turned the corner, Spencer and I enjoyed a wonderful afternoon at the Children's Museum with Carol and Brian. Another sticky poop diaper change at the museum was a relief. But last night it was back to watery. And, I won't go into details, but just know that Spencer got a bath at 5:00 this morning. We wondered what to do about school today. Do we send him or not? He was perfectly happy, but kept filling up icky diapers. We decided Jim would bring Spencer and the pedialyte to school and let them know to check frequently. Jim IM'ed after dropping Spencer off that "3 diarrhea diapers in a row = go home, and don't bring him back until it's gone!" Good grief, I thought. He had already gone through three diapers before leaving the house! Miraculously, Spencer managed to hold out until 12:30 this afternoon before his third at school. So, he came home and my work day ended around 1:30, with a brief break to run a meeting during his 30 minute nap from 3:00 to 3:30. Tonight was no better, poop-wise, and I'm wondering about tomorrow. Right now, I am thinking that we'll just run some errands and perhaps check out story hour at Barnes & Noble. I feel like it would be playing hookey from work to be out and about, but the truth is I wouldn't be working at home, except during his two 30 minutes naps, so we might as well get some stuff accomplished instead of hanging out here all day. We'll just have to see. For now, he's sleeping soundly, and I hope tonight is better than last night.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Well, Spencer has yet to do his best moves on camera, but he will always dance to his favorite song... The Theme to Sanford and Son... Don't ask! You can also see here that while he is still bops along without regard for his own safety, he has learned some nifty recovery moves...

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Tonight Spencer took dancing to a new level. Literally. He was up on his knees when Jim started up the tunes and he just 'stood' tall rocking back and forth.

I'm so proud of how the big guy has learned to eat his Cheerios so well! He used to get 1/10 in his mouth, and now I'd say it's more like 6/10! Most of the misses account for the fact that he still has to check his fist a few times between the tray and his mouth to make sure the Cheerio is still there. Sometimes, when he sees it still stuck in his hand, he uses the other hand to help the first hand maneuver it into the mouth. Very clever guy. Sometimes the Cheerio falls out during the check. It's a bit painful to watch: yes, Spencer, you did have the Cheerio until you opened up your hand and let it fall to the floor.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Spencer had a little dancing accident this evening. He was sitting down and bopping back and forth to the music like he loves to do. Apparently he got so excited, that he rocked a little too far back, and toppled backwards landing flat on his back. He was on the carpet, but the poor baby cried and cried. It took a lot of hugs and kisses before he was able to continue enjoying the music.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Another Yom Kippur has come and gone. While we were at services, Spencer was happy to be able spend the day with Ms. Tatiana at temple again, and she was equally happy to see him! I guess they won't get to visit again until next year. We are happy that Spencer will be learning at a Montessori school, but it is frustrating that we don't live closer to our temple. They have a wonderful school, but it would mean an extra two hours in the car each morning and afternoon, and that just does not fair to us or to Spencer right now.

Today Spencer and I visited with Jen, Emma (2 1/2) and Jacob (10 months.) We walked to the Children's Museum and it was the BEST! Omigoodness! Even though it's a bit of a trip from our house, I am definitely signing us up for a family membership. That place is just too perfect for Spencer right now and I hope we'll be able to go down there a few times a month over the next year or so. Here are some new pictures of Spencer having fun today at the museum.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Spencer and I did some dancing last night! I wanted to see what he really enjoyed, and I decided that with 80+ music channels at our disposal through Directv, we could figure it out. First attempt was showtunes. He was instantly pleased with music, but the song was a little too slow moving, (I think.) So, then we moved to a Big Band channel. Instantly, he could feel the charge of the music and the big brass sounds coming from the television. After a little while, I switched to a Golden Oldies channel. There was an Elvis song which had just started ("I Need Your Love Tonight") and Spencer just could not keep still! He was bouncing and shaking all over the place with a HUGE smile! He thought Elvis was simply the greatest! I know that (my) pop will be very proud to hear how much Spencer enjoys 'his' music!

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Spencer's got rhythm! (Quit laughing, Audra!) And it is too cute for words! He has always enjoyed music and singing, but this week he took it to the next level. While Spencer was sitting down playing with one of his favorite musical toys, he suddenly started rocking back and forth in time to the music with a huge smile on his face! The music stopped, and so did he. And when it began again, he resumed rocking and smiling! His teachers at school have commented on his new favorite activity. He just loves to dance!

Spencer's top two teeth are breaking through the gums, and he's been a bit uncomfortable this weekend, but over all it's been a good one. On Saturday, Spencer entertained many visitors - Katie, her mom and future sister-in-law came for brunch. Pat was so delighted to finally meet Spencer and enjoyed feeding him lunch. Later in the afternoon Heath, Kim & Chloe stopped in for a visit. It's been a while since Chloe and Spencer have been able to 'play' together. Today our family of three went to the subdivision park for a (very) short trip, as it is still in the 90's here. Some pics from our weekend have been added to the end of the September album.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Yesterday was a big day as the three of us went to temple together for the first time as a family for Rosh Hashanah services. Actually, that's not quite true. Spencer spent the time with other little kids in one of the day school classrooms while we were in the sanctuary. Our temple membership is enormous, and yet we always manage to run in to people we know: yesterday we were able to wave hi to Spencer's pediatrician seated just a few rows away. When we returned to pick him up after services concluded, Spencer was peacefully sleeping on one of the teacher's laps! They said he was a delight (we know) and ate all of his lunch (no big surprise!) It makes us glad to know that going to school has certainly helped him get accustomed to socializing with kids and adults. (Just put him on a colorful mat with some toys and he's a happy camper!)

With Spencer continuing his nap in the stroller, we walked over to the Zoll's afterwards to join their family and friends for lunch. There were so many babies! Jen had made the trip in from Zurich with 10 month old Jacob and 2 1/2 year old Emma, and we also met Michelle's 8 month old daughter Lindsay who was just as cute as could be! Last time we saw each other (last Rosh Hashanah) we were both quite pregnant. It was great to be able to show off Spencer to everyone, especially with him on his best behavior!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Spencer is done nursing, and it truly is bittersweet. It's been a long, hard road. We managed to hit the first six and half months exclusive, before starting a gradual transition to formula. I had heard horror stories about pain associated with weaning, but tapering down over the past few months helped to avoid that. And now we're done. And it feels weird. And sad. And part of me is definitely happy - I look forward to the hormone levels in my body evening out, and to really focusing on getting my body back in shape, and having a drink would be nice too. There was a great opportunity to celebrate my first drink in a loooong time at Mommy's Night last week, but it had only been a couple of days since we stopped and I still hadn't fully admitted to myself that it was really over. The other week at Carol's we discussed with friends that being a nursing mom really enters you into a 'club' - that there are things that just can not be understood by someone who has not walked in these shoes. The struggle during the first several weeks to hit a groove together with your baby, the frustration of not knowing how much milk your baby is getting, the excruciating pain of needing to nurse, and the woeful feeling that you only exist to feed your baby. I surely don't miss those emotions, but I did find it tremendously rewarding to see Spencer gain weight and thrive on what I was able to provide for him.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Until Spencer arrived, I didn't really understand what it meant to have your happiness so tightly tied to someone else's well-being. Today I am in the best mood after learning this morning that one of Spencer's teachers is no longer working at the school. We didn't like her style very much, and we really didn't like the fact that her daughter was in the infant classroom with her as well. (Yes, there is a rule against this, but the toddler room was full, so they were making an exception.) The poor 18 month old daughter could not understand why her mom, who had stayed home with her up until this point, suddenly had to pay attention to other kids. The little girl cried a lot, which created additional frustration for the mom, and took attention away from the other kids. Although Spencer didn't seem to mind (yet,) it bothered us, and now we are happy that situation no longer exists.

A new September album has been posted with pics from the first few days of this month.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Yesterday was Spencer's nine month well-baby visit. He weighs 23 lb 6 oz (85%) and is 29" long (75%.) He also received two immunizations, which he took like a champ, before disaster in the lab for routine blood work. Apparently, Spencer seems to have inherited my crummy veins instead of Jim's great ones. Poor baby SCREAMED for five minutes while they tried to draw blood from his arm. Then went to the other arm where he SCREAMED for another two minutes before they stopped trying. Finally, they had to do a finger stick and he SCREAMED some more while they squeezed the site to collect the blood. It really, really sucked. Spencer zonked out for a late nap on the ride home, but Jim and I were still a bit shaken.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Some people have said that they were unable to see the Spencer crawling video, so I am also posting it here as a flash video. Sorry for the relatively poor quality of the video in this format.

Monday, September 06, 2004

I have to confess, I've always thought of yoga as a kind of hippie activity. Now that I'm turning my focus towards getting my body back in shape, it seemed like a good way to ease back in to exercising. (Plus, what new mom couldn't use a little relaxation time in the day.) On Saturday, Spencer and I went to the Y for an early morning pilates stretch class. It was great. The stretches and strength moves were hard, 55 minutes flew by, and although I didn't really feel like I had just worked out, it did feel good. Well, jump ahead 24 hours and my muscles were SORE! Oh my! Pilates focuses on strengthing your core, and I felt like someone had kicked me just below the ribs and completely bruised that whole section. My calves felt like I had been climbing a few hundred stairs. By today I had recovered enough to venture back to the gym with Spencer to try a "yoga ball" class (yoga with one of those big resist-a-balls.) It was tough. Like Saturday, there were some times when I actually laughed out loud at the directions being given by the instructor - knowing there was no way I could push the stretch any further, or lift a leg off the ball, or continue holding the pose balancing on one hand.

One great part about the trip to the Y on Saturday was running in to Brett & Liana with 10 month old Brynna. We hadn't seen each other since we were both pregnant working out in the weight room last summer. It was so cute that our babies got to play together in the child watch area.

After Jim golfed with some hockey buds during the day, we all met up at the Furze's in the afternoon. Spencer thoroughly enjoyed their pool and their Golden Retrievers - giggling when they gave him kisses. I was so pleased he was in a great mood the whole time we were there. I know it will be harder to socialize when he's a toddler, so I'm just glad for the wonderful stage we're in right now.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Spencer has been mobile all week now. We have replaced all the outlet covers with child-safe ones, contained potential cord hazards (including building a wall,) attached a toilet lock and are getting ready to re-install the kitchen cabinet locks we removed (and saved!) when we moved in to the house.

Also this week, Spencer has figured out how to eat Cheerios. It's been tremendously entertaining to watch this learning curve. Even once he got better at picking them up, he still had lots of trouble figuring out how to release them into his mouth. His inital solution was to take the other hand and use it to help shove the hand with the Cheerio further in his mouth.

He seems to enjoy flipping toys upside down. Particularly his larger toys, like the Kick 'n Play bouncy (from Audra, Heidi, Kim, Katie & other Girls' Night friends) and the Musical Activity Walker (from a couple mom sees during her annual summer vacation to Quisisana.) The teachers at school say Spencer does the same thing there too - just too look for some kind of switch to play with. Ah, the offspring of two engineers...

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

For those that haven't had patience to flip through our entire online vacation album from San Diego, I just wanted to share this one pic of Spencer showing us that he really knows what it means to relax!

And here is some video of Spencer crawling we took last night - a mere 24 hours after his first attempt.

Monday, August 30, 2004

As much fun as we had in CA, Spencer was also happy to be back in Houston to see his old pals at school today. The morning head teacher had not seen Spencer for three weeks, as she had been on vacation to Spain immediately before we left town! I stopped in to visit at lunchtime (to drop off formula, since we left none at home!) and all of the teachers were commenting how he would be crawling pretty soon. We didn't have to wait long: when Jim picked him up at the end of the day, Spencer crawled to him! And he crawled some more tonight at home! He's going to be absolutely all over the place before the end of the week
Now we're back in Houston and time to wrap up the last bit of vacation blog. Friday we decided to take another recommendation from Rebecca on a "can't be missed" breakfast at Brockton Villa in La Jolla. We sampled their famous Coast Toast which was absolutely amazing! So much so, that on Saturday (mom's birthday!) we made the drive back there again for breakfast! Yum! I had hoped to connect with Nikki somewhere between San Diego and LA, but that didn't work out. We were able to catch up on the phone, and I learned that Jill, our wonderful freshman advisor from Rice, had a baby girl just six week ago. I contemplated making a long day trip to LA with Spencer to visit, but her parents were in town for the weekend. Saturday afternoon was the wedding, the reason for the trip to San Diego, and Spencer and I made a brief appearance at the outdoor reception to say hi. Then, suddenly it was Sunday again and time to return home. Where did the week go??? Oh yeah, I guess I can just look back at the 200 photos we took! Or, look at Spencer's tan! You can tell he's tan because the chubby creases around his wrists, elbows, ankles, etc. are still white!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Vacation continues to be wonderful, as it should be. Spencer has learned a new trick - he now can sit on the side of the pool and "jump" into the water. He thinks this is tremendously fun! He just loves the pool so much, it's great to be able to walk outside and take him swimming every day.

On the tourist front, yesterday we walked around Balboa Park and ate lunch at the famous Prado restaurant. We didn't think Spencer would be too interested in the local art exhibits, but we did go into the sciece museum. He thought the toddler area was fun, and especially enjoyed looking at himself in the funny mirror. He even sat quietly through an Imax!

Today was SeaWorld! I've never been to the one in San Antonio, and wasn't really sure what to expect, but it was fabulous! Far easier to navigate than the vastness of the zoo, and many more shows for entertainment as well. We made sure to check out the dolphins, shamu, the penguins and the sea lions. Spencer thought they were all great and enjoyed watching. One time when shamu jumped up out of the pool Spencer was a bit startled, but overall he was captivated. At the tide pool he was just fascinated getting to see the starfish up close, and grabbed hold of one of its legs pretty tightly!

More pics have been added to our San Diego vacation album.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Omigoodness. A week since posting – lots to catch up on. Quick recap from last week: Thursday was fabulous as I was able to spend a few hours with Audra during her return to Houston. We kicked butt at DSW (her more than me) and she was also able to enjoy some time together with Spencer too before heading off to hockey. Friday evening was the annual luau at Spencer’s school. We were able to swim and socialize with a few other parents before Spencer was rubbing his eyes and yawning, so we called it a night.

Now we’re in San Diego! On Saturday mom flew from NY through Houston so we could all be on the same plane together to California. Sunday was a day to get acclimated (as Spencer is still on Houston time and woke up at 5:30 that morning- ugh) and spend most of the day enjoying the great pool at our awesome hotel. We ate dinner in Old Town at Casa de Bandini where I had the most phenomenal meal ever – a shrimp dish in a cream sauce over rice served in half a pineapple. Yum! Yesterday morning we walked to Mission Bay Park after breakfast and Spencer giggled like crazy on the baby swings. For lunch we drove up to Del Mar to meet up with mom’s friend Terri. Terri’s son David is getting married on Saturday, which was the excuse for the vacation. In the evening, on a recommendation from Rebecca who used to live here, we had a delicious dinner at Mandarin House.

Today’s outing was to the San Diego Zoo. We had no problem getting there in time to hear “Welcome to the world-famous San Diego Zoo” when the gates opened at 9:00am. We started off with a guided bus tour, and then went back around to re-visit some of our favorites. I wasn’t sure if Spencer would be too young or not, but he was certainly intrigued by the animals. Not necessarily more or less interest than he showed in Terri’s Lab Beowulf the day before, but the animals did hold his attention. He was most pleased to see them up close at the petting zoo, inside the children’s zoo. Good thing those goats don’t mind getting their coats pulled by little kids because Spencer liked to grab on tight!

Pictures from San Diego have been published to a new ofoto album.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Unrelated, Spencer tried broccoli tonight for the first time. We laughed as he made a funny face, similar to his intial reaction with asparagus. I don't know if it was the taste or the texture which he was responding to. He did slowly open his mouth for more, although he didn't seem overjoyed. Then, after about 7 or 8 bites, he threw up. It wasn't pretty. Up came the broccoli, and the 'vegetable turkey dinner' which he had just finished. Thanks Janet for the super-awesome bib from Canada that caught everything in the pocket and made clean up a snap! No more new food introductions for a while...
I work from home almost exlusively now, only going in to the office a couple days a month. I was there today, and it was quite somber. I learned that Glen's final downturn was very quick, he had been at work as recently as two weeks ago. Geez. I feel awful that I will not be able to attend his funeral as we will be heading out of town this weekend. I hadn't mentioned that Glen was not an old guy - he was exactly the same age as I am.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Over the weekend, while Spencer and I were walking to the park, my thoughts drifted to my close friend Tracy. She plans to be spending a bunch of time in the upcoming months traveling across the country to be with her friend/co-worker who will be going through nasty chemo treatments (not her first) and has a poor prognosis. I then thought about my co-worker Glen who went through chemo last summer while I was pregnant. When I returned to work this spring, he told me that unfortunately it had not done the trick, and he was in the midst of a second round. I made a mental note during my walk to send him an email today and see how he's been doing. Sadly, instead I got a phone call saying that Glen passed away last night. I don't even know what to do with this news right now.
Our great weekend with a happy, happy Spencer continued into Sunday, and was capped off with a totally awesome visit to the Parkhill's late in the afternoon and evening. We thoroughly enjoyed getting the chance to relax together as a family and spend quality time with our friends. Before kids, Jim and I would get together with Bari and Blair every Tuesday night for dinner and to watch NYPD Blue. But somehow babies have gotten us out of that routine! Yesterday, the seven of us played in the pool for hours, which absolutely delighted Spencer. There are tons of great pictures added to the end of the ever-growing August photo album.

Developmentally, Spencer has hit some big milestones. He is now able to get from lying down to sitting up all by himself! He is so pleased, and so are we! He is up on all fours and rocking back and forth, but no forward locomotion just yet. As school, they tell us that it's right around the corner!

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Spencer and I had a great day together today! We took advantage of the fabulous weather this morning (high 70's in August was delightful!) and walked to the park in our subdivision. He had so much fun swinging, sitting in the tunnel, and sliding down the slide! Pictures have been added to the end of the August photo album. We then took a trip out to visit Maggie while dropping off my skates for sharpening. She was so thrilled to see and hold Spencer after seeing his pictures in the locker room on Wednesday night. Our second stop was to visit Angela (one of Spencer's teachers at school) at CostCo. She was absolutely delighted to see Spencer and insisted that we send him to school with his adorable hat! After lunch (new food introduction = kiwi) and a nap, we went to the subdivision pool and enjoyed having it all to ourselves! Spencer was having so much fun that we stayed for an hour! Evening followed the usual sequence: dinner, playtime, bath, story and bed and he only fussed for one minute in his crib before going to sleep. Overall, it was a fabulous day for us.

Jim's big project that consumed his time today was working on building a wall to block Spencer's access to the back of the television.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

I'm a little bit sore today, but it felt soooo good to lace up and get back on the ice last night! I can't believe that I had not skated at all since April of last year. This was also my first real aerobic activity of any kind since Spencer was born, and I was soooo tired out there. But it was a rush, and the new rink at Memorial City Mall was cool, as there were many 'fan' stopping by to watch the action. Although I've seen some of the folks during my 16 month hiatus from playing hockey, it felt great to be greeted with so many smiles and 'welcome backs.' I am definitely looking forward to getting my body back in shape, and getting my game back, at least whatever game I had...

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Yesterday I stopped in at CostCo during lunchtime to pick up a few things and saw Dr. Mintz, the mohel who performed Spencer's circumcision at his Bris. Excitedly, I went over to him to say hi and show him recent pictures of Spencer. Sadly, he didn't have a recollection of the baby (who certainly looks nothing like he did at eight days of age!) and he didn't seem to clear on the details of who I was either. He confessed he's probably seen about 200 baby boys since then, so it's understandable, but it made me a bit disappointed nonetheless. I sent him a quick email from home later on, and attached a photo of Jim, Spencer and I along with him and Rabbi Walter from the Bris. He replied almost immediately saying that after leaving the store he did remember who I was, and was so glad I had said hi, and thanked me for sending photo. So I felt better.

At CostCo I picked up asparagus as part of our dinner, and steamed some separately which I pureed for Spencer. At first he wasn't sure what to think about the new taste (new fruits are always good, but new veggies can be interesting) but within a couple of bites he was opening wide for the next mouthful!

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Over the weekend I finally got around to reading the weekly newsletter from Spencer's school. No mention of him in the classroom news this time, but it was next week's upcoming enrichment curriculum that held my attention this time: Biomes. "What the heck is a biome," I thought. It sounded vaguely familiar, perhaps something related to math, like a binomial? Then I scanned down to the related Show and Tell for next week which said "Bring a picture of a biome different from ours." Hmmm. OK, clearly not related to math. I gave up. I confess here publicly that I ended up having to do a web search to find out what exactly is a biome. It did all come back to me, but I don't think I've heard that word since learning about it in school. (Here is one link that gives a good basic definition.) I think/hope that Spencer may end up like that kid in Jerry McGuire by the time he's three.

This afternoon we went to Monique's to check out her awesome new kitchen. It was actually Spencer's second visit there, as we had brought our tiny bundle of joy to their housewarming party back in January. Today, healthy eight-month old Spencer was able to enjoy the pool with us and half a dozen kids who were friends of Grant and Zoe. I think this was (at least?) Spencer's fourth day in a row to go swimming. Backing up to Thursday which was water play at school, then Friday after work Carol & Brian came over and we went to the subdivision pool with the two babies. And yesterday we brought Spencer with us to the YMCA where he'll be starting up swim lessons next month. I'm so glad that he's reached this age at this time of year when we have access to so many swimming opportunities.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Spencer and Jim looked so cute dressed alike today that I just had to take some pictures before they went off to school/work. (Pics at the end of the August album.

Update on Spencer's sleeping, as it has now been two weeks since we have begun working with Spencer on the Ferber method. For the last four nights in a row, Spencer has gone to sleep with any crying or complaining. And he has stayed down all night, putting himself quietly back to sleep when he wakes up. Whoo hoo!

Yesterday I met Rebecca for lunch to catch up. Her two little boys are so sute, and will have a young brother or sister to play with in early 2005! And she also mentioned that their business NurturedFamily.com is continuing to grow and now has a gift registry. When we met up with Tracy and baby Aurelie last month, she just couldn't say enough good things about the Fuzzi Bunz she had bought from them!

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Tonight we put shoes on Spencer for the first time. Kinda silly, since he can't even crawl yet. But Jim had read how it can be helpful for babies to get used to wearing shoes before they learn to walk. Spencer thought his little sandals were absolutely fascinating. Jim played around trying to hold him up and "help" him to take some steps, but Spencer was far more interested in checking out his feet up close. He tried to inspect the sandals while walking, while sitting, while eating... Check out some funny pics added to the August album.

Monday, August 02, 2004

OK, I guess it's a bit tedious to ramble on with daily updates on Spencer's sleep progress. To sum up, in the last four nights he has gone to sleep without any complaining twice, and one time only about 30 seconds of half-hearted cries. We are feeling quite good.

Since August is here, time for a new photo album! Yesterday afternoon Spencer played in his little pool from Grandma Eileen in our backyard. Rain was pending, but he was able to enjoy a nice half hour of goofing around before we came in for the evening.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Huge news: Spencer went to sleep without crying last night! We kept waiting for him to begin complaining, but it never happened! Now, we know this doesn't necessarily mean that he won't cry tonight, but we are so thrilled with this first! Last Friday evening, night one of Ferberizing, we had some doubts. But in one short week we have observed continual improvement and hit a huge milestone last night!

After work yesterday we met Carol and Brian at Cold Stone Creamery for the World's Largest Ice Cream Social to help benefit Make-A-Wish. Free ice cream cake for everyone!

Spencer's teeth have finally broken the gums! They aren't poking through yet, but you can catch a glimpse in picture 74 of the July album taken during Spencer's bath last night.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Spencer went to school today! (Whew.) However, we learned they are not allow to let the children cry unattended in their cribs, so Spencer's routine will be altered there. But they did agree to no longer feed him or rock him to encourage sleep.

Last night no visits to Spencer's room were required, as he fell asleep before we had planned to check in on him. He stayed down all night, and woke up happy this morning after 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Yesterday I found this article reviewing an upcoming book Why Love Matters which made me feel a bit physically ill to read how leaving your child to cry can affect the development of a child's brain and personality. I finally exhaled about 3/4 of the way through when it was explained that the infant's cortisol levels are pretty much set by six months of age. This concurs with Dr. Ferber in that children younger than this age are neurologically too immature to calm themselves. It is so hard to listen to him cry, but is 5-7 minutes of complaining harmful? Uninterrupted sleep is ultimately best for the child, and I trust that this small period of focused training will reward him (and us) in the end. We have seen great improvement night after night - by establishing rigid meal times, nap times, and appropriate evening routines to help Spencer's body get on a clock so that he is ready to go to sleep when bedtime finally arrives. Jim and I continue to refer back to Dr. Ferber's book for guidance (i.e. learning that Spencer's inconsolable middle of the night screaming on Monday was possibly a partial-wakening due to sleep terror, and we now understand how better to respond to this in the future.) But reading about these findings from the scientific study in Why Love Matters really causes me to take a step back.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

With Spencer being out of sorts, it was not a huge surprise that sleep didn't go so well last night. Although we went down ok (only one visit at the adjusted time and he was asleep shortly afterwards) he woke up around 1:15 this morning and would absolutely not go back down. After tending to any potential discomfort (new diaper, orajel, and tylenol) he was still in utter distress an hour later. With no previous nighttime (or naptime) complaining reaching 20 minutes, we caved and picked him up for comfort. He must have been feeling so awful because it was still another thirty minutes before he went to sleep, despite all of our efforts to calm him down.

His rash is still around today, so we're still home again together now.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Spencer did great on Sunday with his sleep! He stopped complaining before we ever needed to check on him at naptime, and at bed time! Actually, he took his two afternoon naps in the car to and from his first Astros game! (New pics at the end of this album.) I could not believe how many babies were at the game - there was actually a line in the ladies' room to use the changing station! (And there was a baby on the field too!)

Unfortunately, all of the fun came to a halt this morning. Spencer seemed a little bit off his game as we were getting ready for the day. A quick temperature check revealed 100.2, which meant we couldn't bring him to school. When a rash appeared later in the day, we made a quick visit to the pediatrician who concluded this was likely some generic virus that needed to run it's course.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Saturday evening, a.k.a. night two of Ferberizing Spencer, went well. Last night required only one visit, and he was quiet about two minutes later. We have been extremely diligent in sticking to his appropriate pre-bedtime routines and stand strong for the post-bedtime interventions which are all part of the method. Overall, yesterday was a great day for Spencer. He napped on a good schedule, ate meals at his regular times (also critical parts of the success of the Ferber method,) and we were rewarded with a baby who was happy virtually the entire time he was awake. We even made time for a quick family trip to the pool in the afternoon, which we have all been enjoying very much.

He is currently down for his morning nap, and no visits were required! (Not that he didn't complain, but he had settled down and was quiet within a few short minutes.)

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Night one of the Ferber method: we braced for the worst. Two interventions were required last night (one for each of us.) And boy did they suck. I mean really, really suck. But, several minutes before time was up for the third one, Spencer had fallen asleep. He woke up about an hour later, cried for 30 seconds, and went back to sleep until 7:00 this morning. Sounds like a good start so far, however Jim discovered in some research online that night two is commonly found to be the toughest.

This morning's nap followed the same pattern. Two visits to a possessed-sounding Spencer in his crib. But a few minutes after the second visit he went to sleep for a nice one hour nap. (A bit longer than his standard 30-40 minutes.) And now he is currently down for his afternoon nap - and no intervention was required! He quieted down one minute before we were planning to check in the first time! Progress? Perhaps. We'll see what this evening holds...

Thursday, July 22, 2004

This morning when I dropped off Spencer I hung around for a little bit and took pictures of some of the babies (and toddlers) enjoying Water Play! It was super-cute.

This weekend we are preparing to begin teaching Spencer to go to sleep using Dr. Ferber's method. I know there are plenty of critics out there, but unless you have also read the doctor's book, and understand pros and cons of this and other methods, I really don't want to hear it. I'm tired of hearing stories of "friend's of friends that tried it and it didn't work," or "people created their own version and it didn't work." We spoke with Spencer's pediatrican at our visit last month and he said Spencer was mature enough, and that this is a good approach to take.  We'll see how things are going at this time next week...

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Today I had jury duty. It was nice to go to the local courthouse and leave home at 8:15, rather than having to be out the door at 6:00am to serve downtown. It became apparent right away how 'small town' the whole set up was - they didn't use our juror numbers for panel selection, just went by what row we were sitting in! As the one bailiff said "I didn't go to attorney school or nothing." Gee. It totally blew my mind during voir dire (which the bailiff admitted he didn't know how to pronounce) the stupid things people would say with the obvious intent to try and get struck. I really don't understand why people try to get out of jury duty. We should be thankful for our country's legal system. And, these particular trials (we were told) were speeding tickets. Hardly the type of case that would take weeks out of someone's time. Somehow, I ended up on the panel. I won't go into any of the painfully boring details of the case, but it was ridiculously lame. Prosecution presented the police officer and the radar speed. Defense presented nothing besides a headache - introducing so many hypothetical cases which were not germane that even the judge had to interrupt and ask him what his point was. And when the defendant took the stand, all he could say was that he was not going that speed, but he had no idea what his speed was. Good grief. In the jury room, I quickly volunteered to be the foreman. It took us less than 10 minutes to reach a unanimous verdict of guilty and determine an appropriate fine. The much more interesting part of the day's experience was trying to find a place to pump at the courthouse. We had a well-timed 30 minute break (after our panel was selected, while they were going through voir dire for the second panel) but it took bailiffs and clerks 10 minutes of running all around to finally figure something out.

Spencer continues to grow and delight us every day. We introduced meat in to his diet last week (ewww) and added mango yesterday. We have expanded lunch at school to include vegetables and fruit and put them in these awesome bowls which Kim introduced us to.

Monday, July 19, 2004

The faces in Spencer's class are changing quickly. Last week, three month old infant Paul started (man, is he little! and he only comes three days a week) and it was also the first day for 10 month old Taygun (rhymes with tycoon.) He is a very handsome little guy! Fortunately, so far both boys seem to have easy going dispositions. Alexa 'graduates' to the toddler room at the end of this month, and Alane heads out in mid-August. At that time (assuming no more new faces) there will be a total of 7 infants - big girl Alessandria and six boys!
 
This weekend we took Spencer to the neighborhood pool again. He just loves it! Pool pictures and a few from Tracy's baby shower have been put in a new July photo album.

Friday, July 16, 2004

TGIF. It's been a good week, highlighted with our monthly Mommy's Night Out. It is really helpful to get out and socialize and meet people going through the same thing with babies in the house. And to ask advice of those who have older little ones. I feel lucky to know have friends like Ronda who take the reins and organize events and go out of their way to make sure everyone feels included.
 
Spencer's sleeping habits have regressed terribly. With one exception in NY, he hasn't slept through the night since the end of June. It's been a rough week for Jim and me. And how terribly cruel that right as I come to terms with giving up a pump in the middle of the night in order to *finally* get some sleep, Spencer throws us this curve.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Last night Jim and I went to the show and had a blast!

Monday, July 12, 2004

What weekend! On Saturday we drove down from Chappaqua to Aunt Carol's house in Philly, where we met up with my cousins and their kids too. (Peggy was able to make the drive down from Quakertown to come meet Spencer!) It was fantastic to get all of the little cousins together. Per 5 year-old Ethan's request, we all played baseball in the backyard for a large chunk of the afternoon. And to cool down afterwards, the kids played around in a kiddie pool. Spencer toppled over into the cool water a couple of times which upset the grandmas, but, after being initially startled, he was really just fine. For me, one of the best parts of the day was after Spencer got his evening bath and changed into his PJ's. He was hanging out on the bed, joined by cousins Sophia and Ethan, and all three of them were just giggling and having a great time. More pics have been added to the (now enormous) July album.

Spencer and I traveled back to Houston yesterday, our first flight alone without Jim. Fortunately, Spencer was a pretty good traveler. In my definition, pretty good means he cried for 5-10 minutes on three or four occasions during the four hours we were on the plane. Of course, during those time he was crying it was tough knowing his mouth was very close to another passengers ear. The lady kept trying to encourage me to nurse him to help calm him down, but I had no plans to do that on this flight. It's one thing to sit next to the window and have your husband on the other side shielding most of the view, but no way was I going to nurse the little guy sitting less than six inches from a stranger on one side and an aisle on the other. Baby Einstein on the laptop DVD player also helped quiet the cries.

It was good to finally get home last night. I think Spencer was happy to see some familiar sights here too. He had tons of fun playing with the toys were borrowed in NY, but he is especially fond of his Jumperoo here! He didn't sleep great last night and hopefully will settle back in to his routine soon.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Today was a fabulous day for baby Spencer! This morning mom took him for a walk in the stroller around Chappaqua while running a couple of errands. We met up at the library for infant laptime. Inside, we made new friends with infants Charlie and William and Ross and Presley and Mikey (who were all very close in age to Spencer!) and the lone girl Layla who just turned one. We sang many of Spencer's favorite tunes and learn a few new ones as well, including one which I believe is now his new favorite. Something about froggies jumping, and we insert a different baby's name each time we repeat the verse and lift them up so they can take turns 'jumping' way up high. Spencer giggled like crazy and we requested an encore. In the afternoon we headed over to Amy's house to visit with her and Zachary, and her folks Gail and Rudy stopped by as well. Spencer was so well behaved, I don't think he cried at all the whole time we were there! We played inside where Zachary shared his toys, and his mommy! We also spent some time outside on their fabulous new swingset. Pics from the last couple of days have been added to the July album.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Spencer has not been sleeping well at all here. He slept like a champ our first night, but has been waking up during the night a bunch since that teaser. Although he usually quiets down and goes back to sleep relatively quickly most of the time, waking up to screaming and the shrieks through the diaper change are draining. Last night, he woke up at midnight, 1 and 2. After the third wake up, I just brought him to bed with me where he slept peacefully until 7:30. Waking up hourly is painful. When we get back to Houston, it will be time to teach him to go to sleep. He needs to learn to calm himself back down to go back to bed without our help.

This afternoon we walked across the street to visit Spencer's girlfriends. Emiliana was absolutely delighted and 'held' him most of the time. Upon passing him off to her, she was a bit surprised by his weight for such a little guy. "El es un poco pequeno Y un poco grande," she decided.

Yesterday Spencer enjoyed his very own water play in the backyard. Mom bought a small inflatable baby pool for him and we enjoyed some afternoon snacks outside while Spencer splashed around and had a great time. Here are some pics of our trip.

Monday, July 05, 2004

All is quiet here in NY at mom's house. The baby is sleeping (for now, at least) as I sit outside in the backyard to catch up. It's about half an hour or so beyond sunset. way out here in the burbs, there are no street lights, or ambient lights of any kind as we are so used to in Houston. The perfect time to catch the swarming fireflies all around me, as I'm sure Spencer will be eager to do next summer. It's dark enough to see them glow, and still light enough to just make out the silhouette when they are flying around. Growing up, this is about the time of night when the neighborhood game of ball would break up, as it became just a bit too dangerous when we could no longer quite make out the approaching ball. Of course, as kids, we were not astute enough to pick up on this until someone would actually get bonked.

Jim's back in Houston now after our whirlwind weekend here together. It always seems like there simply isn't enough time to get everything accomplished. For Spencer and I, our social calendar for the rest of the week is already filling up and I knjow we'll leave here thinking the same thoughts as last time, "if we only another day or two..."

Poor Spencer's day did not start off well. He's been having some 'trouble' in the diaper area, including some embarrassingly loud grunting and crying in a restaurant last night. To try and help things along, we indtroduced prunes this morning. Unfortunately, they did not seem to agree with him and mom got to witness the projectile vomit. After throwing two quilts, the boppy, all of my clothes and all of Spencer's clothes in the wash, we were finally able to start our day around noon. I just don't know where the time goes here.

OK, now it's actually dark, and the bugs are out en force attracted to the light of the laptop.

Friday, July 02, 2004

I recently discovered the sweet little card that was attached to the Father's Day present Spencer 'made' for Jim at school.
This is my hand.
My hand will do
A 1000 loving things for you
And you will remember
When I am tall...
That once my hand
Was just this small.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Speaking of returning from NY, we just learned today that a new infant will be joining Spencer's class the very day we come back. I'm sure Spencer is looking forward to finally having someone younger around to beat up on, er, to play with. Not bad being in school for nearly four and a half months as the youngest dude! Hannah officially moved up to the toddler room so there are seven babies until Paul arrives in July. When Spencer started back in March there were ten in the room (capacity) so it's been noticeably more under control with fewer kids. Plus, everyone keeps getting older (profound) without any new little ones until now. Although Spencer joins everyone down in the lunchroom, he doesn't eat at the table with them just yet. But he is big enough to hold his bottle by himself and he's been flipping around on the mat a bunch lately too. Knowing that the new infant will require a lot of laptime from the teachers, the fact that Spencer is now able to feed himself plus get around on his own makes me feel better about the whole situation. Selfishly, I enjoyed the fact that he was the baby, and so much younger than all the others too.
Today's daily frustration - pharmacy wouldn't refill a prescription that will run out on my last day of the upcoming trip to NY. I tried to fill it today so I could leave it in Houston and have it the evening I return, but apparently that is too far in advance for them and I need to go back the day before I leave town... like I won't have enough other things to worry about that day. Sheesh.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Today I found another cool website that searches for recipes from many different food sites. Truth be told, I "found" this on the list of Time's 50 Coolest Websites. Another one on the list I thought was pretty cool was eHow.com which even answers questions like 'how to put your infant to sleep.'
We added a ton of pictures to the June album, including some from our outing to the pool this afternoon.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

At 5pm today Spencer and I finally left the house for the first time. It was only to take a walk around our subdivision, but it was good to get out and take advantage of the brief respite from the rain. I have to admit, though, it was a pretty good day staying inside. Spencer tried some hard boiled egg yolk for the first time and liked it. Per his pediatrician's feeding guidelines, this will be a new addition to his daily diet. I also found a great website today called BloggingBaby which has links to tons of interesting info out there for parents. We also caught up with Audra on IM and phone in the afternoon. I miss her not being in Houston. Today Jim spent a big chunk of the day repairing our ReplayTv which froze up and died last night. Those that have PVR's (Tivo, etc.) can understand the panic that set in when it went down. I am so impressed that my husband can hack this type of specialty equipment and rebuild the guts just as good as new. And tonight I made some mini mango cheesecakes. They are out of the oven and smell delicious!

Friday, June 25, 2004

Yesterday was one of those days that started poorly and finished great. I was feeling super-bummed in the morning. Now that I work from home, by the time Thursdays roll around I can get pretty burned out on isolation. Things took a turn for the better after lunch, as it was a great mail day. In addition to a couple of personal notes, there was a package on the front door from my friend Rachel. She had sent a cute little baby outfit with a short note to 'enjoy summer with Spencer.' We haven't even seen each other since before Spencer was born. I was so touched by her thoughtfulness and kindness. That set the tone for the second half of the day. When Spencer went in for his evening bath, I headed out to meet the girls for Mommies Night Out. I am grateful to have a social network of friends who are at the same place in their lives raising young children. It was great to see Rebecca who just returned back to Houston from South Dakota. (Not to be confused with Rebecca who also just moved back to Houston from San Diego.) Jim and I had just gotten married when they left, and now just a year and a half later, we are both mommies! Ronda was kind enough to bring Nicholas' old tub ring for Spencer to use now that he is sitting up so well. We used it during his bath this evening and he really seemed to enjoy it! Check out the pictures added to the end of the June photo album.

Spencer's new "big boy" convertible car seat finally arrived last night as well. Murphy's law prevailed, as this morning it was raining the first time I couldn't quickly click him out with the infant seat, and this afternoon he spit up on the shoulder strap. Sigh.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Spencer isn't feeling so great these days. Last night he had a terrible time going to sleep. He is usually such a champ, but instead we had to console the little guy screaming on an off for about four hours before he finally gave in. Something was wrong, he was hurting and just couldn't get comfortable. Today was had to pick him up early when his temp climbed just over 100, but doc's office said to give tylenol and see what happens. So far, he's been in good spirits, and had no problem putting away dinner, and was especially fond of the peaches we introduced for dessert tonight.

It was good to visit with Katie here last night, but too bad Spencer was feeling so awful and wasn't much in the mood to play.

It's been raining all week and will probably spoil another Water Play for the infants tomorrow morning. Bummer.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Tonight Spencer had green beans for the first time. New food isn't that huge a deal to him; he didn't get the big belly he has by being picky! Nonetheless, after the vomiting early on, we are still sticking with Stage 1 commercially prepared food for now and only introducing a new food item every 3-4 days to check for reaction. His diet includes two grains - rice cereal (which he doesn't like much) and oatmeal, two fruits - applesauce and pears, two orange veggies - sweet potatoes and squash, and now two green veggies - peas and green beans. I feel bad sometimes that he's eating the same thing all of the time, but I guess when you eat three meals a day there aren't too many permutations!

Another first this weekend took place on Saturday night. It was the first time Spencer pooped in the tub during his bath. Yuck.

And although Spencer has been mentioned in the 'Classroom News' section of his school's weekly newsletter before, it was the first time Jim was mentioned! Not by name, but it specifically talked about how the annual Father's Day breakfast on Friday was so mellow, and they "particularly enjoyed our three fathers who were here for the first time with their infants."

And I have to share this "awwww" story my cousin Hedy sent to me about her seven year-old daughter, Sophia.
Sophia takes art lessons. For the past few weeks they have been studying Romare Bearden, an artist who made many collages that were pictures of memories that he had from when he was a child. So the girls (there are 4 total in her "class") had to make a collage of a childhood memory. Sophia chose your wedding, stating that this was a special memory because "we were adding another person to the family".
How sweet is that??? We don't visit often as they live in Maryland, but we are looking forward to being able to introduce Spencer to them during our next trip to NY in July. For those who live in the northeast, check out when you may be able to see her husband Michael in an upcoming public performance.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Pop's on a plane back to NY now after a great weekend together visiting in Houston for Father's Day. We ate well (no surprise) and Jim and I are just now getting around to dinner, staying full all day from a fabulous brunch this morning. Here are some pictures from the weekend, including various Father's Day gifts.

Friday, June 18, 2004

I am feeling much more at ease now with Father's Day details more or less sewn up. Pop is heading here today for our traditional get together on Father's Day weekend. I think this year, however, we may have to pass on our favorite outing to Fogo de Chao, as men running around with knives might be a bit much for Spencer. Right now, we plan to get our steak fix at Taste of Texas.

This morning Jim was invited to Spencer's school for their traditional Father's Day breakfast. Apparently not as many daddies were able to attend as mommies did on Mother's Day, but it was a social event nonetheless. Pictures of the event will be posted sometime this weekend.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Spencer had two firsts this evening. He got his first green veggie: peas. Definitely didn't like them as much as orange veggies or fruit (which involves him lunging towards the spoon and complaining that we can't shovel it in fast enough) but he didn't spit them out either. And, while sitting in the high chair after dinner was over, we heard his first clear consonant sound "BAH!"
While running errands at lunchtime today, I saw a woman pull up and princess park in the fire lane outside the entrance to the grocery store, run inside and kneel down to plunk some quarters into the candy machines! Good grief.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Today started off a bit sad - it was the first day I didn't have enough milk to send to school with Spencer and had to make up the difference with some formula. I should be doing a little happy dance that we hit the six-month mark which is the AAP's recommendation, but the little (big) guy just needs more than I can give. Today was also the first day we sent Spencer to school with some solid food too. He ate everything like a champ, but that's not really any big surprise.

Tonight Kim and Carol came over with their babies for dinner. I took some pictures this evening and added them to the newly created photo album for June. (After checking out the pictures of Spencer in his swing grabbing the little creatures over head, click back to the January album and compare how small he was, and how impossibly far away they seemed!)

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Spencer & I had some adventures together today while Jim was busy climbing through the attic running cable. He must have thought today was just one of the best days yet in his life, because this was the first time we fed him three meals of solid food. Man, this little dude can eat! After breakfast (oatmeal + applesauce) and lunch (squash + applesauce) Spencer and I headed over to the local library to watch a puppet show and he thought it was great fun! The Three Little Pigs was 'narrated' from a recording with music and Spencer enjoyed the sounds and lights, and especially all of the other children in the room! After the hand puppet show was over, there was a short marionette skit. Towards the very end was a jack-in-the box surprise and poor Spencer did NOT appreciate the loud noise. He immediately let out a loud scream of his own and we had to jump up and leave the room. (Actually, we had to go outside in the 90 degree heat, because there is nowhere inside the library where it would be ok to have a young baby screaming!) Fortunately, he calmed down very quickly, and we returned within a couple of minutes as the show concluded.