Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Baby Signs® Program in the news

Lead news story today from Fox News on the Baby Signs® Program! I've been continuing to teach at a slow and steady pace, averaging one workshop a month, and having a great time! I've been getting lots of hits on my website, so I know interest is building in Texas.

all together again

Spencer and I returned home, and we're all back together after a week of evacuation. We were lucky again and had an empty seat on the plane for Spencer, and he was a great traveling companion. He shouted "Hi pilots!" toward the cockpit when we got on the plane, and they were kind enough to reply back! I told Jim I feel like I cheated somehow because usually I am completely wiped out after flying solo with him. It often takes much more effort to keep him entertained on the airplane. But today he was thrilled to watch videos and read books, so when he protested his nap I let him keep on doing what he was doing and everyone was happy. Of course he zonked pretty hard in the car and asked to go to bed at 6:15. We'll see how the morning goes.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

time to go home

Tomorrow morning Spencer and I return to Houston. We've had a great impromptu vacation here in NY. Spencer, mom and I have been having fun together and, as always, eating very well. Spencer packs away an impressive amount, more often than not. Last night we had a fun trip to open gym time where we met up with Zachary and Amy. Spencer was such a monkey swinging on the rings. He just loves it, and I'm sure can't wait to go to his next class at the Y. And, he was most delighted that they also gave out stamps at the end of class just like he is used to. He got stamped on one hand, then the other. Then he stuck the first arm back and said "arm!" Next he looked to his feet and legs which are usually exposed with shorts, but he was wearing long pants and socks and realized that wouldn't work. So he looked at the instructor, yanked up his shirt, and said "belly!"

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Split

Flights resumed today and Jim is now back in Houston. He planned to go ahead of Spencer and I in order to ensure conditions were siutable for our return. And while we were fortunate that our home was spared damage, we have intermittent (mostly not-working) connectivity with our cable/internet/phone and are worrying if electricity will go off as well. So Spencer and I are going to stay in NY a little while longer than anticipated.

We are having a good trip, in spite of the circumstance. Tomorrow morning will be Spencer's third visit to storytime at the library in four days. He LOVES it so much and clearly asks for his rhyme of choice when it is his turn to choose. On Friday, when we started singing Ring Around the Rosy, Spencer immediately grabbed the hand of the little girl next to him and started walking her around the room. At the end of the rhyme ('all fall down') he went down and pulled her to the ground too. Her mom and I were laughing so hard, it was completely adorable! Jim and I were even able to escape for a quick trip to Barryville last night with friends to check out the Von Steuben Festival and enjoy a little time away from Spencer. Today mom and I took him to Muscoot where he was able to get up close and personal with some animals.

This is still a game of 'wait and see.' But it is wonderful to be able to be here relaxing with family.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Evacuated

Just a quick post to say that Jim, Spencer and I are safe and sound in NY. We were at the airport before dawn and got the heck out of dodge. Jim's MBA teammate Pete is indeed at our house now (five hour drive for him from Clear Lake) and will be staying there through the weekend. We will play our return trip by ear as we watch and wait.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Go Away Rita

That was displayed in lights on a sign in front of a nearby business and made me laugh out loud. But since hurricanes often have a mind of their own, we are going to go away instead. Thank goodness we took action when we did, because it seems that all outbound flights from Houston are now booked. As I write, Rita is a Category 5 and heading this way. The news is referring to it as "Katrina's BIG sister." We have opened our home to one of Jim's MBA teammates who is escaping his place about 50 miles south of us, much more in harms way. It is an added bonus to have someone keep an eye on things while we are gone.

We just watched the live landing of jetBlue in LAX with landing gear problems. And while it was predicted to be ok (and it was) it was stressful to watch nonetheless.

With our evacuation plans in hand for tomorrow morning, we took a little time out tonight to bring Spencer for some fun at Pump It Up who was having a drive to raise money for a Katrina relief fund. For the first hour, we were the only ones in the entire place! The next people to show up was a family I recognized from the YMCA. Sadly, I don't think they raised even $100.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

bubbles

Like most little kids, Spencer loves bubbles. This weekend he woke up from his nap Saturday afternoon in a foul mood and after going through an exhaustive list of options, it seemed the only thing he wanted was bubbles. He wanted to try to blow them too, and much to everyone's surprise, he was successful! It gave him even more delight to see the bubbles that he created! Spencer also gave them a taste and was NOT pleased. He made nasty faces and tried repeatedly to spit them out. And kept stating over and over "tastes yucky!"

Monday, September 19, 2005

food for thought

Jim took a 36 hour study break this weekend - his best friend Karl flew in and they were able to do some flying and also go to the Steelers game on Sunday. They also had wristbands to get on the field before the game and were able to take some pretty close up pictures! Despite the fact that many of mine and Jim's good friends live around the country, they (and we) are happy to jump on a plane and close the gap quite often. Karl asked an interesting question during dinner Saturday night that has had my mind spinning since then. He was commenting on the amount of work that Jim's MBA program requires him to commit, and the corresponding amount of work it requires of me to take care of Spencer while he is so busy. I started to reply that while it was tough, I certainly was not bored. And I stopped to think - is it perhaps better that I have Spencer to 'play with' while Jim is in school? I could easily see myself getting a bit whiny about being left solo if we were pre-kids. Yes it requires a lot of work, but Spencer and I can make play dates with other friends and kids, or go on outings together. It might not work as well as a temporarily single person trying to be a tagalong. Yes, it is a bit exhausting when the weekend rolls around figuring out how Spencer will be entertained. I'm sure I'll be wishing for that feeling of boredom as we get deeper into the program, but for now I'm happy to have my buddy! (When I call Spencer "baby," he corrects me and says "buddy!") Here are some pictures from activities in September.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

traffic cop

Now that Spencer fully understands and pays exquisite attention to every traffic light encountered, he gets very upset when the rules we have taught him are not followed. Last week he shouted "orange! orange! orange!" when I ran though a light that was changing. And today when Jim made a right on red, Spencer complained for another few miles "not green! not green! not green!"

be prepared

Last night at CPR class I learned about a great volunteer opportunity (like I need more stuff to do?) here in Houston. Various groups that are part of the Citizen Corps here in Harris county have been mobilized in supporting efforts for evacuees from Lousiana that have come to Houston. Performing tasks such as setting up thousands upon thousands of cots at the Astrodome before the busloads of people arrived. I know I was not alone in wanting to DO something to help out, and during times of emergency, groups of organized volunteers can be the most effective. I hope others will consider signing up too. At the class was a group (den?) of cub scouts. It was encouraging to see them taking time out on a weeknight to learn such a valuable skill.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

what an imagination!

Spencer is growing and learning so much, and I am amazed even though I am with him every day! This morning he was playing around while eating breakfast, and decided that the shape of a partially eaten piece of pancake on his plate looked like a pair of pants. He signed and said "pants" a few times, then took another bite, after which he inspected the pancake again and annouced that is looked like a "butterfly!" and put it down so he could use both hands to make the sign. I guess sometimes it is ok to encourage your child to play with his food!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Spencer's pals

Well, we didn't get to meet Paige at the birthday party on Saturday night for Spencer's classmate Ian, but we did meet sweet Ann Marie, and a pal named Brandon. Spencer had SO MUCH FUN playing around with his friends at Pump It Up. And I enjoyed getting to meet three sets of parents from his class. Ann Marie's mom's jaw practically hit the floor when Spencer came over to say hi and called Ann Marie by name. He had a truly great evening bouncing around, going down the big slide, and 'socializing' with his friends! With Jim at Rice and unable to attend the party, Spencer didn't get to share stories with him until this morning. He told Jim all about "Ian's party" and listed off his friends "Ian, Ann Marie and Brandon" he saw, and told him that he ate "pizza" and "cake" and made sure to tell Jim that they were able to "jump!" It was so cute to see how much he enjoyed reliving the event! Tonight, when Jim was putting Spencer to bed, he reminded him that tomorrow was Monday and that he would be going to school. And Spencer responded "Ian's party?"

Friday, September 09, 2005

momma's little helper

With daddy off to school early this morning, Spencer did a great job of picking up the slack and helping get ready this morning. Since he woke up before I got ready for the day (or out of bed for that matter) he joined me in the shower and played nicely with his letters while sitting down. (He still gets quite a bit of mileage from rotating "M! W! M! W!" around.) After we both got dressed, I brought the laundry around to the washer and sorted everything on the floor. Spencer was an excellent helper in moving clothes from the 'light' pile into the wash. He was a bit confused why some socks were getting washed now, and others not until later. Nonetheless, he was a big help, although I think I'm on my own later for folding!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

toddler talk

It is just too darn cute now that Spencer is using small sentences to communicate along with his signs. This morning I sneezed and he said "bless you mommy!" Aww, thanks Spencer!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

long holiday weekend

Our new MO for the weekends is spending lots of time with Spencer away from the house so Jim can study. This weekend we went to the pool at the YMCA, the Children's Museum, Splashtown and Jumping Jax (and indoor play place that made me think of a crack house, and I'm not sure we will ever return, but it was an entertaining afternoon for $1.) It was also a wonderfully social weekend as well. Jim and I went to an "adult" party on Saturday night and drank margaritas until we rolled in at 2:00am. We had friends join us at Sunday's Children's Museum outing, and impromtu company for a snack afterwards at Ruggles. I love having friends who are spontaneous! Our trip to Splashtown yesterday was great. We arrived in time to walk through the gate as it opened, and enjoyed a very uncrowded morning. Spencer requested to visit the dolphin slide first. He went down that slide over and over again for about 15 minutes, and we were the only ones in that area for the entire time!

Spencer's food opinions are increasing by the day: "red juice (v8) in purple cup" and we try to jump in ahead of time and offer up options of what is available in the fridge, and clean in the cabinet, before he sits and thinks of something we might not be able to deliver. Last night we took him to Hido, where he enjoyed the show and devoured everything on his plate. He is a big fan of soup (or "oop!" as he calls it) and gave a big "Mmm" after each mouthful. And the day before at Ruggles he happily enjoyed an entire cup of tomato basil soup. Soup with a spoon is still too challenging (yogurt is about as thin as he can manage) so he drank it from a cup, stopping to remove some basil from his mouth. I expect I'll be making a bunch of soups as fall (?) comes along!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Spencer has a girlfriend

This week's return to school after the trip to NY was a joyous one for Spencer, apparently. Usually when we talk about school, he runs through the list of names of his teachers and a few friends. But this week we heard a new name, and he kept on repeating the name as if this was the only person at school: Paige. "Paige. Paige. Like Paige. Like Paige." Hmmm. So yesterday Jim just had to ask the teachers about this. They confirmed what we had suspected, which is that Spencer and Paige are definitely buds. (And they added that she is very sweet and a cutie.) Her cubby is near Spencer's, and next to the boy whose party we are attending next weekend. I am really hoping that she was invited to the party too and I can watch them interact!