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.