Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas at 3 1/2

Noah still didn't really get the whole Christmas thing this year.  He watched Mickey Mouse Christmas specials and Curious George Christmas specials, but that's about it.  He loves snowmen.  I think he might still be more into pumpkins from Fall/Thanksgiving.  He does really enjoy all the lights and decorations on the houses!

So, we kept things pretty small again this year.  We hung the stockings, put some lights around the tree outside.  I've had my stocking my entire life.  My Mom made the ones for Ching and Noah.  I'm happy we have a fireplace to hang them over! 

About two months ago, Noah decided he was really, really into fire trucks.  That made deciding what to get him for Christmas easy.  It also made waiting to give it to him until Christmas really hard!  We also got him a little Match Box motorcycle. 

The other thing he's really into is Jake and the Neverland Pirates.  Granny and Pa were great and got him some jammies and t-shirt!  His aunt Jennifer also sent him some really cool clothes.  

The lady who's been walking Ramen for over a year now was also really nice and got Noah a little car for Christmas.  We let him start by opening it and it took some convincing to get him to move on and open other things.  

Next year I'm sure will be a bigger event.  We'll decorate a Christmas tree and actually wrap the presents and put them under it. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Dentist, Literally, and Other Thoughts

Noah had his first dentist appointment the other day.  About seven weeks ago we noticed that one of his front teeth was starting to turn a little grey.  The internets said that as long as the gums were ok, it was nothing to worry about.  We figured getting it checked out couldn't hurt.

At the dentist, he went right back with the lady and got up on the chair and began his usual stoic, good response.  They did a quick check of everything and a cleaning.  Towards the end he got a little upset, but we didn't even have the silent tears!  The dentist said everything looked good.  I told him I was really proud of him and thanked him for being such a good kid, but I'm not sure how much he gets that.

One thing that's caught my attention lately is how Noah is completely literal.  So far, there's no sign of imagination or pretend.  His speech is coming along.  He's talking more and in longer phrases, his vocabulary continues to grow.  One of his most used phrases is still "what's that?"  We have no idea when he'll change to why instead of what.  He's also still very undeterred, once he says he wants something, he is relentless until he gets it - or we sometimes succeed in changing the subject.  I was talking with Ching about the literalness, and how it seems that once we lose that, we're never that literal again.  I don't know how to explain it better.  I just find it interesting.

In other news, I put on facebook the other day that everything Noah knows about Christmas, he's learned from Curious George and Mickey Mouse Christmas specials.  We did a little decorating this year, but we'll do more next year.  I also said that I'm more impatient and excited to give Noah his present than I was a kid waiting for mine.  A few weeks ago he started really getting into firetrucks, so we got him a nice Tonka one.  We really can't wait to see his reaction!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

My boss away from work

Since I'm pretty much a pushover when it comes to just about everyone, I knew that once Noah had popped out I'd get a new boss.

It started with the normal everyday affairs of bringing up baby, the feedings, washings and keeping him healthy.  Then as he grew older, gotten more active and now more verbal, he now makes sure that he doesn't make me feel left out when I am not at work.

He wants me to do everything for and with him, gets me to drive him to Starbucks for fruit and cheese (not a everyday occurrence), marches me around like a little drill sergeant, makes me click countless times to get to the Youtube videos that he wants to watch, and just in general, finding and pushing my buttons.

What can I do?  Because of my crazy work commute, I might get to spend maybe 3 hours with him after work before his bedtime (Probably typical with parents who work in this area.)  So that is kind of like an effort to make the time spent with him mostly quality time, even if it means being bossed around.  Even though he can get a bit crazy when I'm around (picture being hyped up on something) his sweetness and spontaneity make it all worthwhile!  (Unless I'm dog-tired.)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Winter Blues

I love the weather here in Northern Virginia.  I love having four seasons.  But... last winter was really long and cold and mostly dry.  Over the summer, I told Ching that this winter would be a wet one.  I was hoping it wouldn't be quite so cold though.  So far, really cold and wet. 

This is not good for an outdoors boy.  Or his Mom.  Noah doesn't like to sit and color, or play with a train set, or sit and do much of anything - other than watch Curious George or Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and play semi-educational apps on the kindle.  (They at least go over the alphabet and shapes and colors.) 

We did get to go to the park one day last week.  I realized how much I miss sitting outside in the sunshine and looking at all the trees. 

We would bundle up and try going to the park more often, but it's up on a hill so the winds are unbearable.  In the summer it makes for a nice breeze, in the winter it goes through your bones.  And also, there's that wet snow and ice we've had lately. 

There is one decent indoor place to go play and we go sometimes.  Almost all of the rec center stuff is for four year olds.  School was supposed to be a good place to go, but man, they've been out of school more than in it since the first of November.  And the two week Christmas break is coming.  The other moms are looking forward to some play dates, too!

Anyway.  Just gotta keep at it and find things to do until Spring. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Noah Just Lost His Mind

We had a nice, quiet Thanksgiving here at home this year.  We cooked all our favorites for the day and are enjoying the leftovers.  Who needs scented candles when there's a pot of soup simmering on the stove all day with the turkey bones in it? 

It's also been really cold again so far this winter.  We went to the park with Noah Thursday, but it was 34 outside with a cold wind blowing, we made it about ten minutes.  Friday, it was 44 and we were there about forty minutes. 

I'm not a fan of this holiday weekend because of all the traffic and the crazy people out at the malls and restaurants.  It makes it hard to just get out of the house and do something. 

So, we've been inside a lot.  Noah's been watching Curious George episodes on amazon prime for a while now.  I found the Curious George 2 movie on netflix for him.  He's watched it twice a day, at least, for five days now. He wakes up and asks for "George - elephant!"  The good thing is it allows us time to relax, make our coffee, figure out breakfast while he watches it. 

It's also made it tempting to buy a cheap tv for him so we don't have to watch all of that George with him.  But, no.  Some people would say it's bad enough he's watching so much tv.  At least we can use it as a time for being together, quietly, and snuggling. 

In the past week or two, Noah has really started using the word STOP.  If we're talking to each other and not him - STOP.  Or just doing whatever it is he'd rather we didn't - STOP!  He never really got into the typical toddler NO phase, I guess this is what he's doing instead.  I guess I use "stop" with him more than I use "no".  This morning, Ching was going to head upstairs, and Noah was all "stop, stop, stop" until she said "what?" He wanted her to get his vitamin for him.  Heh. 

Noah's also lost his damn mind a couple of times lately. 

The other night we were watching George and I asked him if I could light the fire in the fireplace.  He said "ok!"  Then, I did, and he started shouting "STOP, turn it off!!  Stop!  No!  HOT!" and running around the room.  WTF?  We'd had a fire in the fireplace the week before and it was fine.  I can only guess that the fire starts off bigger than he'd seen before and it worried him.  He wouldn't go upstairs to get away from it though.  About ten minutes later, it was all fine. 

Yesterday, he amazingly slept until 9 a.m.  Woohoo!  We finally went to the park and got a late lunch, so we decided that instead of a late nap and staying up until 11 pm or so with him, we'd skip the nap and put him to bed early.  This doesn't happen often, but it happens.  About 7 pm we tell him it's bath time.  We get him in the bathroom and on his little potty - and then he loses his mind.  He won't get off the potty, won't get in the bathtub.  Nothing.  I finally have to carry him to his room, but on his diaper and pajamas and put him in bed.  I think it took him 15 minutes to fall asleep.  Poor boy.  He slept until 8 this morning.  No more skipping naps!

I put on FB that parenting would be much easier of the rules didn't change all the time.  But they do, just like Noah does.  And, really, I guess that's a good thing. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Noah These Days

Let's see.  What to say about Noah these days.

His most annoying habit these days is closing any door in the house he passes that's open.

The flip side of this is that in the past week he's also started knocking on doors and saying "who's there?" or "who's home?"  I assume he picked this up at school.

Something he's been doing for a while, that I assume - and hope - is common for his age is having his favorite little things that he sleeps with and/or takes in the car with him.  It can be this little airplane toy or his glow worm or two long, blue duplos stuck together, or his Jake book.  The one good thing is that he is willing and able to go find/get them most of the time.  But, it does also mean we have to sort of at least have an idea of where they are to tell him to go look.

Remember about four to six weeks ago when we tried to put new shoes on his feet and he reacted as if we'd set his feet on fire.  Fun times.  Well, Saturday he got his shoes wet and they weren't dry by the time we wanted to go somewhere.  So, we got the new shoes, put them on his feet, and he's been happy to wear them ever since.  Woohoo.  I guess he realized they were more comfy than the old ones.

We're also fond of remembering the days when he was a nice, quiet little boy.  We listened when people said that probably wouldn't last.  It didn't.  Boy does he jabber a lot.  I'd say we're up to understanding about 40% or so.  He's constantly learning new words and phrases.  I still think part of his problem could be his brain working faster than his mouth.

He still watches quite a bit of Curious George, and a little Sofia, but now he's in love with Jake and the Neverland Pirates.

Last week I was eating a little cheese pizza for lunch and he ended up eating about 1/4 of it.  Tonight, Ching had some steam bag corn and he helped himself to a few bites.  So there is hope that he will expand his list of foods beyond 20 things.  His absolute favorite food right now is Jello.  Thankfully, he didn't mind all that much when we were out of it.

Oh yeah.  Potty training.  We have NO idea how it works.  Thanks to pre-school, he's started using his potty chair several times a day.  Mostly we have him use it in the morning before getting dressed, before and after his nap, and then before his bath.  He's getting better at pulling down his pants and pull-ups.  He's not to the point where he says, "hey, let's go potty" yet.  But, he's doing better at this point than we thought he'd be.  We just don't really know how to "move the process forward".

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Our Special Ed Boy

Last Friday we finally met with Noah's special ed teacher and his new speech therapist to go over a new IEP (individualized education plan).  His special ed teacher has been working with him at his pre-school and has been giving us weekly written reports of how he's doing.  The speech therapist did a 45 minute evaluations of him a couple of weeks ago.  We feel that both of them have a pretty good handle on who Noah is and where he's at.  Now in addition to the help at school, he'll be doing 30 minutes a week of regular speech therapy. 

One funny thing he did with the speech therapist was when he was no longer interested in the task she wanted him to do, he put his head down, said "sleep" and pretended to be asleep.  Heh.  His special ed person said one time during a book reading he just very, very slowly turned around until his back was to her.  We think it's amusing how he finds nice ways to protest. 

When we started all of this before the last school year, Noah was about a year behind on speaking.  He's made tons of progress, but he's still about a year behind.  He's excellent at labeling things - saying what things are, and at repeating certain phrases we use with him a lot, and at repeating just about anything we say.  But when it comes to spontaneously speaking, it still comes out mostly in jargon we don't understand. 

Ching and I think he's better at understanding us and at following directions than his teacher might.  She said he's not so good when he's asked to "point at..." or "show me..."  but those are two phrases I don't think we've ever used with him, so I understand why he doesn't know them. 

Sometimes it's odd to realize things we don't do with Noah that I guess are common - like the point at or show me. 

He knows his colors, numbers, shapes and alphabet - but we've never actively taught any of it to him.  He's learned it 90% through videos.  We know he has a great memory.

On that front, last night we drove past the place he went to a swim birthday party last summer.  He saw it and said "water, water" and really wanted to go in there.  We had an errand to run first, but let him go in and see the other kids.  He was so upset he couldn't get in the water.  We wouldn't have guessed he remembered it, or would want to do it again.

His regular teacher says he is one of the kids in his class who really seems to want to learn things and takes interest in new things. 

I have a feeling that his language delay might be masking just how smart he is.  (Or not, it's hard to really know.) 

Of course, the biggest question we have is why.  Why is this seemingly specific part of language so hard for him.  I'm not sure there's an answer. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Parent/Teacher Conferences and IEPs

Last Friday we had our very first parent/teacher conference.  It was scheduled for 15 minutes and ran at least 45, that was good.  A lot of that time was his teacher explaining what she does in the classroom and why.  I really appreciated that.  My lack of love and trust of public schools should be well known.  So I was happy to hear that, as it should be, this class is all about play and learning through play, and learning though routine.  Also happy to hear that she's really flexible with her lesson plans - that if the kids sort of collectively are into dinosaurs one week, and her lesson plan was something else, she'll find something on dinosaurs for them.

Noah is still so, so happy to go to pre-school.

On the days he doesn't go to school, he still wants to go to the park in the mornings.  Poor kid, he's so sad when we get there and there aren't any other kids to play with.  Add it getting pretty cold this week, and he was a little bummed out yesterday morning.  (We went to the park at 9:30 a.m. and it was 45 degrees with a breeze from the north.  Brrr!)

This morning we met with Noah's development person (not sure what else to call her, she works with him at the pre-school) and his new speech therapist person to go over his new IEP.  We feel they both really have a good handle on who Noah is, where he's at developmentally, and how to work with him.  He's still about a year behind when it comes to some aspects of language acquisition and expression.  But other than that he's a sweet, smart, social boy!

Oh, the best thing to come out of the parent/teacher meeting was learning that they line all the kids up and do potty time, one at a time, and that Noah is getting the hang of pulling his pants up and down, peeing in the potty, and washing his hands!  We knew he'd started washing his hands when he got the chance.

So this week we've started doing more potty times with him.  A month ago we didn't think we'd ever get started on potty training, and here we are!!  I don't expect a fast development, but this is a great start.  He doesn't even require rewards - he just loves to be told "good job" and to be clapped for!  It does suck that this is happening during winter with the harder to take on/off clothes.

One other fun thing.  Noah is a BIG fan of Sofia the First.  He's been listening to the soundtrack and watching the episodes for quite a while.  We decided to be nice and order him a Sofia the First storybook.  I've always said it really helps boys to read of you find a topic they're interested in.  And there's a whole genre of "fart" books for boys.  Well, for Noah it was his first princess!  He's starting to watch Jake and the Neverland Pirates as well.  We'll have to find that sort of storybook, too.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Shutdown Getaway

Due to the benevolence of Mother Nature and a very messed up government, we found ourselves with some time off, unseasonably warm weather, and cheap, off-season hotel rates.  So, we did what any rational people would do - went to the beach!

It's about a four hour drive to Ocean City, Md.  One of the nicer benefits of the shutdown (other than time off) is a real lack of traffic around here!  We picked Noah up from pre-school Wednesday at noon, finished getting packed, and off we went.

We were on the beach before dinner time!  Noah was hesitant at first, and he still won't get in the water because the waves are too loud.  There was a lovely family with five kids that Noah decided to hang out with after running up and down the beach for a while.  They had some shovels and he moved a lot of sand around.

I was smart and got two queen beds, one for me and one for Nerdstar and Noah.  heh.  He was really tired and even though we forgot his glow worm, went to sleep pretty well.

The funniest thing he's done in a long time - around 4 a.m. I just happened to hear him say, very clearly, "JELLO" and keep on sleeping.

We've joked lately that Nerdstar spent the entire pregnancy giving Noah food updates about what she ate every day.  Now, with his limited vocabulary - at least 65% of it is food words.  His teacher also said he loves to play with the kitchen in the classroom.

At 6 a.m., Noah was wide awake and repeating "water" which meant he was ready to go back to the beach right then.  I had to show him it was still dark outside and we couldn't even see the water.  (We had at least a partial view of the ocean from our balcony.)  We were at the beach around 7 to see most of the sunrise.  Way too early.

We ended up being done with the beach and back on the road about 11 a.m.  We had seen that there was a little conservation zoo on our route, so we went there.

I think it's impossible to overstate how social Noah is.  There were groups of school kids there and he totally ran off and left us to go join them!  He would walk with them to various exhibits and then get right in the middle of the group to see what was going on.  When that group went on to something else, he'd walk with us a little, and then go join another group.  Both us and the teachers were just laughing.

It was a really nice trip, especially because we never got around to doing it during the summer.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Day Two of Pre-School

Noah went to bed a little early last night.  I told Nerdstar that had me worried about how early he would  wake up.  Well, he woke up around 3:30 or so with either a nightmare or a really empty tummy.  He really wanted a cup of milk when she got up there!  Poor boy didn't have his usual number of pre-bedtime snacks.

Anyway.  He was tired when I got him up this morning.  I don't usually have to wake him up, it's not pretty when I do.  He was happy to get dressed.  Then, he didn't want his morning juice, or any snacks, or to watch George. He wanted to go downstairs and out to the car Right Then.  Well, ok, it was only twenty minutes before we needed to go downstairs and to the car.

Thankfully, there's a long way we can take to get to his pre-school.  Then, there was one of his favorite songs on the iPod before getting out of the car.

Because it had been a morning of NOs, I was pretty sure getting him into the classroom wouldn't go smoothly.  He walked away down the hall, then he hid behind my legs, and just really didn't want to go.  He came close to tears, but there weren't any.

It didn't take more than a couple of minutes though to get him into the classroom - his teacher was really helpful.

Generally, once he's re-directed to something he's happy.  But still, driving away, I was a little worried.

When I went to pick him up, one of the assistants told me how much fun he had with water colors, naming all the colors.  And he played with playdough.

Coming out of the classroom, he was all smiles and laughing again and telling me what he could about eating his snacks.

The note in his backpack said he was better today about paying attention to the teachers for clues about what to be doing.

All in all, day two seemed to be a success.

Monday, September 9, 2013

First day of Pre-School

Our boy had his first morning of pre-school today.  We've been talking to him about school, and going to play with kids, and having snack time, for a few days.  We know that until he's been to school a few times and puts it together with the words, it's hard for him to understand.  But that's ok.  Mostly he just wants to go play with kids.

He was pretty excited when we got there.  He walks through the school naming all the things on the walls.  He's not good at standing still, yet.  And he pretty much ran into the classroom and started playing.  I'm sure the other moms thought I'd filled him with his morning coffee.  He was the only kid not standing quietly by their mother.

I realized today what a "presence" he has.  He's not hyper, but his energy takes up a lot of space and the house really does feel empty without him!

After I dropped him off, I went to the grocery store and got a few things.  I came home and worked on mowing the back yard some more.  And I went to the mall to Bath and Body Works and got a lot of hand soaps.  Yes, I missed Noah.

When I went to pick him up, he would have been happy to stay and play a lot longer!  But he was also happy to see me.  He was laughing as we walked to the car.

Once home it was time for a snack and juice and a nap!

This is when I wish more than anything he had the language skills to tell us all about it!!

Friday, September 6, 2013

My Buddy

Noah starts pre-school Monday. Six weeks or so ago, I started a list of things to get done while he's at school. Things like getting the car inspected, getting an old laptop repaired.  Things he might not like to stand still for.  I have a feeling that by week 3 I'll really, really miss having him do all those things with me even though we'll still have T/TH to hang out all day.  He's been my buddy almost 24/7 for 3 years.  I enjoy having him around.  I miss him when he and Ching go run around together.  I'm happy he's going to get to be around other kids.  I hope school will be good for him.  But I'm going to miss him.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sending Noah Out Into The World

This morning Nerdstar, Noah and I went up to Noah's pre-school for a meet-the-teacher session.  All of the paperwork is turned in.  All of the supplies are purchased.  We're all set for the first day on Monday.  Sigh.  There will be twelve kids, one teacher and two teacher's assistants.  Looks like it'll be nine boys and three girls. 

I have mixed feelings about all of this.  I keep reminding myself the reason Noah is going to pre-school is because he loves being around other kids.  So, our only goal is for him to have fun.  Noah was definitely the most outgoing and talkative this morning.  We love how he tends to make himself at home in the world, wherever he is. He's also the kid other kids take toys from.  It happened two or three times in less than an hour.  He always lets them.  He always waits for other kids to go up or down the ladders at the park.  It's going to be interesting to watch how he grows socially over time. 

Now, is it a good thing they're also going to teach our boy to walk not run, use an indoor voice, and follow directions?  YES!  In fact, we're pretty happy someone else will succeed in this, as we haven't.  (We haven't really tried.) 

From just about the day he was born, I've prayed that God would protect him, body, mind and heart.  Now, more than ever, that's still my prayer.  The world can be hard on sweet boys. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Noah Snacks

Morning: Cheese and crackers, an apple, a banana, veggie sticks, small bowl of raisin bran

Afternoon, pre-nap/post park: ice cream and a few french fries at Dairy Queen plus 12 oz of lemonade

Evening: slice of toast, granola bars, apple sauce, string cheese, an orange, small bowl of cottage cheese

throughout the day - 3 8 oz. drinks of water/white grape juice

He'll also add a small glass of milk as his post-bath night cap.  

Monday, August 26, 2013

Pleasant Surprises

The weather this last weekend was amazing.  And having amazing weather in August makes us very happy.

Saturday night we headed out to find and try a new-to-us butcher shop.  First pleasant surprise was there wasn't any traffic, which is stunning.  It makes life here so much nicer when it doesn't take an hour or more to go fifteen miles.

The butcher shop was a disappointment, but that was ok.  We discovered a whole new little shopping area we didn't realize had been built in the last couple of years.  It's in the same neighborhood where I used to work as a phlebotomist sometimes.  It's basically across the street from the Korean grocery store we used to go to before we found a closer one.  And it's also just down the street from the place where I would go pick up the sperm to do Nerdstar's inseminations.  Heh.

The area is in the middle of up-scale shopping tiers.  One very pleasant part was this little water fountain where there were six little areas water would sprout up from.  This was next to a grassy area and next to a movie theater that had a big screen on the outside showing movie previews and some cool  short videos.  Nice area.

It took about five minutes for Noah to even walk around the water area.  We asked him if he wanted to take his shoes and socks off - "NO".  Asked again a few minutes later.  "NO."  But, he was walking around, watching the other kids, checking it all out.  About twenty minutes into it he came over to me and said "shoes/socks" and I took them off for him.  It was just a nice way to spend an hour.  Even nicer because it was unexpected.

There was also a chocolate shop that had some outstanding little chocolates.  It really reminded me of the stunning chocolates we had in Tokyo.  mmmmmm.

Then we also found a cupcake shop and Cold Stone Creamery.  Heh.

We topped all that off with an unscheduled trip to the Korean grocery store.

Sitting by the fountain I just felt blessed and content.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Noah's Fun Weekend

We spent Friday evening where we spend a LOT of evenings this summer - at the park.  Noah had decided that the best thing to do was grab handfuls of the wood mulch and throw it down slides.  Now, this is all well and good as long as there aren't other kids on that particular slide - a distinction Noah failed to grasp sometimes.  This is where his stubbornness is a problem.  There is just no deterring him other than taking him home. 

The upside of park time is seeing how sweet our boy can be.  A few times now, a kid has fallen or cried for some reason, and  Noah goes over to them and pats them on the arm or back and says "ok, ok".  Melts my heart!

Mostly he loves to slide and run and play chase.

Last week, after not having been down there in several months, Noah started saying "water" to me.  OH, yeah, there is a creek down behind the baseball field, with a trail and a bridge!  Noah has started a "redistribute all the rocks" campaign, moving them from the trail and throwing them into the water!  At least it got him away from throwing mulch down the slides.

Saturday was County Fair day.  Unfortunately, I thought it opened about two hours before it actually did.  Bleh.  But, we finally got out there and had a good time.   It took him a few minutes, but he warmed up to seeing all the cows and sheep and goats and pigs and chickens.  He even petted a couple!  Then he rode a few rides.  That's going to be a big advantage to his being tall - not having to wait so long to be tall enough ride some rides.  The down side is he isn't very brave to want to ride a bunch of them. 

Yesterday, we went to the big kids consignment sale.  Ten pairs of pants, fifteen shirts, five sets of pajamas, a fantastic red Mickey Mouse robe, and two toys for $126.  Love it. 

The toys are a little Mickey Mouse phone and a very pink Marie Mouse doll.  (I assume it's Minnie's sister?)  He saw them both and started carrying them around.  I knew he liked Minnie and was planning on getting him one to go with Mickey for Christmas, but this is fine. 

I've mentioned that Noah is a fan of Sofia the First.  Hmmm.  I figured out that what he likes about it is all the music, so I finally got around to seeing if there was a soundtrack or something on iTunes.  There is!  So, I downloaded it for him last night and we played it after his bath.  Oh my.  There might have been a little prancing going on.  And that show is really just a gateway to show tunes!!

We joke about having a metrosexual boy on our hands. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Weekend Getaway Complications

I started this over on FB, but as always, I have too much to say for there.

We'd like to do a weekend getaway around the end of September.  We don't really do summer vacations, because we don't like hot weather or lots of people!   We need somewhere within driving distance because flying is just too much trouble for a short trip.

Now, Ching and I like nice hotels with pools and hot tubs and big comfy beds.  Ok, Noah likes a lot of that, too.  We like to gamble and eat good meals.  Noah likes to run, run some more, chase some kids around a park, and watch his videos.  He's not really into zoos, or amusement parks, or things like that yet.

We've learned that if we take him somewhere, there had better be good places to do lots of walking/running.  It's harder to keep him entertained on the road than it is at home.  And there's also the chance there won't be a nap for us to get some down time.

Also, as we had reinforced the other night, we don't have to worry about Noah becoming addicted to playing games on a device anytime soon.  We used to could to out to eat and he'd eat his snacks, and then play some aps on the kindle.  Not anymore.  Once he's done eating he yells, "GET OUT" until we get him out of the high chair.  This usually happens just as we're in the middle of eating our entres, which means one of us gets to take him outside while the other gets the boxes, settles the check and all that fun stuff.

So, back to that getaway.  We found a cool place in West Virginia (about a four hour drive) that is a small hotel in the woods/at the base of the mountain.  There are trails and a big creek and not very many people.  There's also no good restaurants.  I like the idea of spending some time outdoors and think Noah would really like it.

Then there's also a Great Wolf Lodge/Busch Gardens/Colonial Williamsburg about two and a half hours from here.  We don't think he'd like Williamsburg.  He's also not a "water kid".  We went to a swimming party and it took him fifteen minutes just to get his feet into the pool.  He never did play in the water by himself, he was in Ching's arms the whole time.  The plus side is everything is indoors at Great Wolf, so weather is never an issue.  There would be lots of kids for him to chase around.  And there are some things other than water activities.  Again, though.  No good food or gambling for us big kids.

Third option is Atlantic City.  Noah really enjoyed the boardwalk last time we were there.  He wasn't too crazy about the beach.  We're not thrilled with the beach either, but it's not terrible.  The problem here is what do we do with Noah while we do a little gambling or go eat at an adult restaurant?  I found two babysitting services for Atlantic City, one in business since 1998.  But is that something we'd be comfortable with?  Maybe.  Ching does have some family in NJ, but we're not sure they could meet up with us.

It just seems like it should be easier to pick a place!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

He's growing up so fast!

  When I pick him up, Noah's legs dangle almost below my knees, and at the rate that he has been growing, when he's 5 or 6 years old, he'll probably be at least at my chest level.  Part of that has to do with his donor's height, which is 6'2", and part of that was probably due to how tall my father was, at 6'4".  Myself, at 5'6", is the shorter one compared to my sister, who is around 5'7" or maybe a bit taller.
  Besides Noah's height, he is also speaking more, in ways which we understand better, and that is an improvement.  However, he will definitely need speech therapy.  We will try to work that in with the upcoming event of him attending preschool.  Two things which I think work to his advantage are that he is a very social child, and he's naturally curious.  We also have noticed that he enunciates words better when he's "singing".  Therefore adding some more exposure to music in terms of maybe getting him some more varieties on his ipod, or even maybe music lessons (but we are not going to push him) will be ways to help him better his speech.
  Even with the latest difficulty of  eating out with him (chronicled in the last entry), he is still the best tempered child around.  I cannot remember the last time that he had thrown a fit (he does, just ever so rarely).
  He's also now calling both of us "Mommy!" and still gets crazy when I'm at home.  Keeping him occupied, well fed, and entertained now surpasses everything else.  I don't really miss that much of anything else, except for the occasional t.v. watching.
  Life is pretty good so far, aside from the doom and gloom of Obamacare, corrupt politicians, angry lesbians, and you can fill in the rest of blanks, having Noah around helps us stay as grounded as we could!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Noah Now

Well, our little boy is growing up.  He weighs in at 36 1/2 pounds and is 39 inches tall.  I was surprised that only puts him in the 80th % for height.  Not that we're complaining, he's plenty tall!

If I only had one word to describe him, it'd be goofy.  Wait, or maybe sweet.  It's a close call. 

Here's what he's up to these days.

Viewing preferences:  He loves Curious George, Mickey Mouse - old episodes and new Clubhouse ones, Sophia the First (my only guess is he likes the music), and he still watches Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends sometimes.  He hasn't watched his Japanese movies much lately, but some. 

Food preferences:  It's all about cheese and crackers.  The little pages of crackers that come with the cheese and little red stick, ritz crackers, string cheese.  Then it's all about apple sauce and yogurt.  He eats the Fage yogurts with the fruit you mix in.  He's dropped a lot of his fruits.  Nerdstar will make them into a shake some nights.  He loves white grape juice and his nightly before bed milk. 

Actually, his real favorite food is a McDonald's chicken nugget happy meal with lemon aid and then ice cream after.  He'll sing-song "french fries, chicken, ice cream" all the time! 

His favorite song right now is "Snow Day" from one of his "For The Kids" cds.  Some mornings I just put it on repeat so I can go make my coffee and get a couple of things done before he's ready to get out of his crib.

Our days are pretty routine.  He wakes up anywhere between 8 and 9 a.m.  When he wakes up, he yells "HI" until one of us comes upstairs.  This is because one of the first things we've always said to him in the morning is "hi handsome!"  Then he usually demands "Snow Day" and jumps up and down in his crib to it for five to fifteen minutes. 

After he's actually out of bed, it's time for either Curious George on the computer or Sophia downstairs on the tv.  He'll say "stairs...  T" for that.  He usually lets me shower while he's watching T, if not, I'll put him in his room to play while I shower. 

Then it's time to get him dressed and either run errands or go to the park, or both.  We'll play at the park about 45 minutes in the mornings, then he wants to go back and play another 45 minutes or so once Nerdstar gets home.

Thankfully, he still naps from around 1:30 to 4 or so.  I have no idea how long it actually takes him to get to sleep, but as long as he stays in his crib and doesn't cry it's ok with me. 

After his nap it's usually more George or Sophia or play time until Ma gets home. 

We're working on bath time being about 8:30, then more play time in his room, then bed time by 10.  It's hard to get in dinner and park time and everything else before bath time.  He loves his bath, lets Nerdstar brush his teeth and then he brushes them. 

He has slept with a glow worm from the time he started sleeping in his crib instead of his bassinet.  He still has it and still loves it.  He also has two Pooh Bears, a small pillow pet, a small pillow from when he had his adenoids out, his longtime blanket and a new blanket, and now his Mickey Mouse.  Plus, he usually wants one of this little school buses, trucks, or cars in the bed, too. 

Our only current complaint is that he's getting harder to go out to eat with.  For a long time, he was content to eat his snacks and then play his game on the kindle.  Now, the kindle no longer holds his interest and he just wants to eat and then literally run around the restaurant.  Ugh.  We really need to up our cooking skills.

Monday, July 29, 2013

So Cute It Hurts!

These are the bongos and Mickey Mouse we got Noah for his birthday.  Last night, after his bath, he just started playing the bongos and singing!  Our hearts melted!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Turning Three!

Tomorrow, Noah turns 3.  We did a little party for him this evening.  (Very little, one of Ching's army buddies came over.)  Not having family in town makes it hard to be motivated to do a bigger party.  Also, Noah still doesn't understand what a birthday is.

So, we got him some little bongos, because he likes watching Curious George play them.  And we got him a Mickey Mouse stuffed figure because he saw one at a friend's house and loved it and loves watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse these days.

We got a couple of balloons and an ice cream cake.  He would have simply preferred getting a cone and McDonalds. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Change is Coming

One thing we've consistently said is that we can make our plans for Noah, right up until those plans come in touch with the reality of who Noah becomes.

I don't think it's any secret I'm not a big fan of public schools, especially when it comes to boys, and then even more so when it comes to our boy.  When Noah started noticing other kids at the park and playing chase and such with them, well, my thoughts started to change.  He really, really likes being with other kids.

Yesterday, at the park, a school bus pulled up with about 25 kids who were going to play on the playground before going to the water park.  He stood there mesmerized as they all walked over to the playground and eventually found three or four boys to hang out with.  Today, there were two kids playing when we got to the playground, but they soon left.  Then, a lady with four kids came and when he saw them get out of their car he stood there and waved and said hello before they even saw him on the playground.


I had put in an application at one pre-school that Noah's speech people had recommended.  It's through a Methodist church, doesn't require potty training, and works with kids like Noah who might be a little delayed in speech or other areas.  I got a call about two weeks ago saying there was a wait list for the morning sessions, and said that was fine.  They have two day a week and three day a week options from 9 to 12.

I got a call this morning saying he could start in the three day a week classes.  I'm still hopeful the two day a week will open up, but three is fine.

I'm already sad about how much I'm going to miss him.

I know this will be good for him for so many reasons other than just letting him hang out with other kids and make friends.  And those things will be good, but they don't matter as much to me.

Noah is the sweetest kid I know, and out going.  He's easy going and happy.  I'm all on board with this pre school thing, unless it starts to change our boy.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Staying Put

At slightly different times, and for slightly different reasons, Nerdstar and I both decided we'll be staying put here in our little house in Northern Virginia for the foreseeable future.

It had been a long time since we'd been in Texas in the summer months.  It's not that you ever really forget the Texas heat, but those memories can be a little dulled.  Experiencing it again, with Noah, really made me re-think moving back.

Weather permitting, Noah and I go to the park six, if not seven, days a week.  On weekends, we sometimes go twice a day.  He loves to be outside, running and playing.  I'm really enjoying all this outdoor time, but that's because the weather here is much more moderate more of the year.  Yes, we've finally gotten hot and humid here, but it's still ten degrees cooler than Texas, and it cools off some when the sun goes down.  If you've never lived in Texas from June to September, you cannot know just how oppressive that heat is.  I lived there over 30 years and never got used to it.

Now, the biggest factor with the heat is how it affects Noah.  His skin really doesn't like it.  He gets sweaty and his head gets itchy.  Poor boy ends up scratching his head a lot while he's outside playing.  His face also reacts badly to sun screen.  (We're still trying to find one that works for him.)

Noah's going to spend a LOT of his time outdoors over the next many, many years.  So will we.  I just don't think Texas is the best climate for that!

The second big factor is jobs.  The reality is that Nerdstar's current line of work is only available in this small little part of the country.  And changing careers is possible, but not easy.  It's something we'll keep looking into, but for now, the money is here.  And it's good money - we're just going to put as much in savings as we can and see what we can do in the future.

We talked a little bit about moving slightly north, closer to where most of her jobs are.  (We're sad her gig at Quatntico ended and now she's back to over an hour drive each way.)  There just aren't any suitable houses in our price range in that area.  We got really lucky with the price of our current house.

So, we're taking a look at what we can do to enjoy living where we do.  The good things:  We like our house.  It's not super nice, but the rooms are huge and aesthetics can always be changed.  We can always add a little counter space/cabinet in the kitchen if we need to.  And if we get really ambitious, there's a huge space downstairs that can be converted to an upscale bathroom and walk-in closet!

We love being on a cul-de-sac for Noah, it's just safer for his run-around self.  We love the park that's a mile from the house.  It has lovely shade trees and is on a hill so it gets a nice breeze all summer.  There are also a lot of other nice parks in the area.

One other downside is we find it hard to make friends in this area.  We're not sure how to remedy that, but we'll see.  So many people are military and only here a year or two.  Or they live ten miles away which is forty minutes in traffic.

Home is home for now.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Park Time

We're very fortunate to have a really nice park about a mile from the house. There's actually a decent water park, a playground, two baseball fields, and a nice through the woods walking trail.  The two best things about the playground are the shade trees and that it's on a hill and gets a nice breeze.  (Well, the breeze isn't so nice in winter.) 

We've been going there since Noah started walking.  I love the mornings because the other people there tend to be SAHMs with kids around Noah's age.  Then, in the evenings, it's more of a free for all UN situation with people from different countries and kids of all ages.  Seriously, there are eastern Europeans, Asians, Hispanics, Blacks, everyone.  It's cool. 

What's been the neatest thing in the past month is seeing Noah really starting to interact with other kids, not just so his own thing all the time.  I think it started when we met some friends of ours there and Noah had a blast playing with the boy who's about a year older than him.  Then the next time it was just Noah and I until a neighborhood mom showed up with her little boy, just about Noah's age.  They spent a lot of time running around and around after each other.  Noah still has a limited vocabulary, but he's really sweet and tries to play with kids.  It's still so funny to watch little girls try to boss him.  He has no idea what they're trying to tell him to do and it makes me laugh. 

Today a big family showed up - seven kids of all ages.  At first Noah was happy to see a bunch of kids.  Then even more happy when he found some little toy dump trucks of theirs to play with.  But they just weren't into letting him "in" to play with him.  They were in no ways mean or rude, just not inclusive.  I'm glad that so far Noah has no concept of people be "nice" or "mean".  He's a sweet, sweet boy and I it's going to be hard for me when he realizes people aren't always nice to him.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Days Go By

I feel like I/we haven't done very many actual Noah updates lately.  I guess that things are just chugging along and don't seem very exciting.

We think the biggest constant is he grows a little bit taller every day.  Even that isn't in dramatic growth spurts.

He's started this kinda weird thing where he whispers this "ehh ehh" sound a lot of the time.  No idea why.  Sometimes it makes me think of horror movies right before someone gets stabbed.

I think his feet are like cats' tails.  He's always flexing his toes or moving his feet somehow.  I'm not sure he's even aware of it.  Although, he does pay a lot of attention to his toes.

And then here's some thoughts I started as a comment over here.

Somewhere along the way,  we decidedon just not arguing with Noah.  This means we give in. Now, he’s not really all that demanding.  But, once he wants some juice, he's going to stand there and say "juice" until we get him some.  Or, if we're at a restaurant and he's ready to play his game on the Kindle before we're ready for him to, well, he generally wins that battle.  We say he’s a really great kid right up until he’s not, then he’s more hard-headed than we are.  I used to say of our cats that they had nothing else to do all day other than to get us to do whatever it was they wanted done - feed them, open the door and let them out, open the door and let them in, whatever.  They had more time than I did, so they won. It was good training for dealing with a toddler. 

One good thing is that he can also be really easy to bribe.  The promise of that same juice or game can get him to leave the park when we're ready or sit in his high chair another thirty minutes.  

Mostly our days just go by.  Which is kind of nice.  We watch a lot of Curious George.  We go to the park at least once a day - or find a way to let him run.  We listen to music. We eat snacks.  We wait for Ma to get home.  Then when he sees her, he always says, "It's MA!"  So cute!  And if she's not in sight he asks "whereshe?" all run together. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Praying For A Wife

It's been a while since I really thought about being an older parent.  This morning, after I showered, I was lying on the bed relaxing before Noah woke up and it just sort of came to mind.  Poor Noah sort of has a double whammy - not only are Nerdstar and I older than most parents, but he's also an only child. The last thing we would ever want for Noah is to be lonely in life.

Now, I have every intention of living at least another 45 years, and hope Nerdstar does, too!  But our backup plan is for Noah to find a really, really good wife.  That means we have to raise a really, really good man to find and keep a good wife.  And that means we have to be really good parents.  Funny how that works.

Also, many years of his mothers' prayers.

Monday, June 10, 2013

5 Weeks

It's been a long, full, fun, frustrating five weeks.

Five weeks ago, Nerdstar lost her job.  I was ready to pack up the house, put it on the market, and head on down to whichever city in Texas and start over.  Nerdstar, not quite as ready.

Because she was getting paid to not work for three weeks, and then cash out almost 100 hours of leave,  we decided to take that time and see what happened.  She had a couple of local jobs that might come through.  It would also give her some time to talk to a few people and see if there was anything for her job-wise down in Texas.

On the last day of her paid three weeks, she got the official job offer here in northern Virginia.  Slightly higher pay than her last job, but back to a stupid commute.

We decided the job here in NOVA would be a good thing.  It buys us time.  Time to look more into things in Texas.  And it would also allow us to buy a house down in Texas before having a job down there.  (more on that coming up)

Anyway.  Noah and I have been lucky enough to have Nerdstar home with us for these few weeks.  I'm not sure it was exactly a vacation for either one of us.  Noah has so much more energy with her, and bosses her around so much more!  Some days it was nice taking a back seat and letting her handle things.  Other days it just felt like I had two kids.

One cool thing was that Nerdstar's sister was already planning a visit for Memorial Day weekend, so she had time for that.

This also allowed me to go to a nearby casino and play some poker.  I got lucky (and played decently) and doubled my money in a couple of hours.  I then took a hundred of that and played craps for all of ten minutes and walked away with $240.  I love to play a $5 12 - which means the next roll of the dice will be a 12 and it pays 30X your bet - $150 on $5.  Yep, I hit it!

We decided to go ahead and take a little vacation down to Texas before the new job started.  Noah needed some family time and we needed some of our favorite foods.  The money I won at the casino was our spending money and it lasted 90% of the trip!

The trip to Texas was crazy in that it sort of changed our positions on moving to Texas.  It made me a little more cautious and Nerdstar a little more ready.  But for now I think that's another post.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Slippery Slope

Those darn slippery slopes.  Nerdstar's sister gave her a kindle for her b-day.  It's cool, but we don't really need it for web surfing or anything and so far haven't had time to load or read any books on it. 

Noah's speech therapist has some learning apps on her iPad and will let Noah play one or two at the end of their sessions.  We loaded one of those apps for Noah on the kindle to use when we go out to eat at "real" restaurants.  It works like a champ.  But, we used it a bit much on vacation. 

This evening Noah wanted to play his app while watching his cartoons.  I guess at least he can multi-task.  He has his snacks, juice, app and cartoon. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Trip Pics

Me and Noah on the Zilker Express.

Noah loved this hat at the children's museum in Austin.  

This is him playing with all the fake food at the children's museum. 

Vacations Then and Now

Nerdstar and I have always traveled a lot.  Before Iraq, we'd go to Vegas once a year.  Before and since we've done tons of road trips - covering most of the US.  We're not club people, or drinking and dancing people.  But we like to gamble, to eat good food, to maybe hear some music, walk around new towns and people watch.  I'd have to say other than our big road trips, my favorite trip was when I got to meet up with her in Tokyo for a few days.

Now, we have Noah.  And for these few years of him being young, it's really changed how we think of vacations.

Thankfully, he travels really well.  He loves buses and trains and escalators and elevators.  He loves hotels and the big beds.  He loves people and car watching.  He loves running around where ever he is.  He does well in a car for day trips.

On this trip, thankfully we had direct flights that were only about 3 hours long.  But those last twenty-five minutes, when he was tired and we had to literally hold him down in the seat while he cried and protested, was hard.  I felt so bad for him, he just didn't understand why he couldn't get up and run around, why we here holding him down.  I told Nerdstar our good deed for the day was making other parents feel good that it wasn't their kid being upset.

So, when we travel now we have to find things Noah can do, or really, places he can run around.  And he's not old enough we can go places for kids and just drop him off for a while.  And this trip he didn't nap, so earlier in the evening we were all tired and thus nice dinners weren't much of an option.

I asked Nerdstar if other people with toddlers just don't take vacations, or if they drop the kid(s) off with grandparents (which we thought about, but again he's just not quite ready for that).  Do people leave their kids in the hotel room with snacks and movies or games and go eat without them?

We know it will get better and better over time.  And Noah is so fun to take places right up until that moment when he's not fun at all.  Those thirty minutes or so a day we're all too handle each other.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Not Ready For This!

We've known this day was coming, and while we're glad it took this long, we're not really ready.

Noah got all the way out of his crib after we put him down for a nap.

Nerdstar and I were downstairs about to watch a dvd, we got through the previews when we heard a couple of "thuds" from upstairs.  Huh?  We looked at each other and hoped we hadn't heard what we heard.  We didn't hear anything else for a few minutes.  Then we thought we heard Noah say something.  Uh oh.  A couple of minutes later - more footsteps.  Yep, he was just standing at the top of the stairs.

We're pretty sure we've got to change his crib now - it converts to a bed with one really short side and the rest still the regular crib.  We'd hate for him to twist his knee or ankle while getting out.  Although, he seems to be fairly careful when we watched him do it the second time we put him down for a nap.

The only saving grace is that because of the child safety thing in his bedroom door, he can get out of bed, but he can't get out of his room.  We've long imagined him finally figuring out how to get out of his crib and then coming down the stairs to come find us or something in the dark.  Although, he's not a big fan of the dark.

We put him down for a nap one last time, because he really was tired.  Then we left and closed his door.  Yep, he got out one more time and then played mostly quietly in his room for over an hour.

So.  Nap times and bed times are about to be a lot of fun.  I don't have too much trouble getting him to take naps.  But now that he'll be able to get in and out of bed - who knows.  I guess it'll be a policy of "nap" time - you stay in bed or your room until I come and get you.  But it's much harder for Nerdstar to get him to sleep at night.  No idea how that will ever work.  We'll have to see.

We're looking forward to being woken up to the sounds of him playing at who knows what hours of the night/morning - especially if he decides to turn up the volume on his keyboard!  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Then or Now?

Once again inspired by FB comments and conversations with my Nerdstar.

I'm sure as all mother's do, I think about how parenting was for my Mom.  Not the was she a good Mom or not question, (like all mothers she was both, but the good far outweighs the bad) but did she deal with some of the same issues moms face now.

One caveat to this discussion is that I'm an older mom, so the gap between when I was Noah's age is much bigger than for other moms.

Nerdstar and I were talking about all of the pressure from other moms to be the perfect mother.  It's as if parenting (much more for women than men I think) has become a competitive sport.  From blogs to magazine articles and who knows what else, there are all these ways to get the message "you're not doing it right."  Is it because we communicate so much more through social media than face to face?  I just can't imagine my mom and her friends telling each other the types of things I read these days.  I don't know.

Then, on FB there was a comment about was it better for our parents that cartoons and kid's shows were only on when they were on and there was no or on demand.

I remember as a kid watching cartoons while getting ready for school in the mornings.  Casper, Popeye, Tom and Jerry, Felix the Cat, old Mickey Mouse.  Then there might be a few more cartoons in the afternoons (maybe that's when Tom and Jerry was on).  And if I got up early enough, there might be Saturday morning cartoons.  But honestly, I remember Soul Train on Saturdays more than cartoons.

So, in some ways I think it's better now.  More choices and at any time.  You don't have to have a set time every day that's "tv time" you can watch it when wanted or needed.  Noah doesn't understand real time tv, but she absolutely knows what the "skip ad" button on is.

Also, and on demand give parents the option to skip all those ads targeting children - that alone is worth it!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Lazy Wins

(Disclaimer, parts of this are from FB)

Noah has definitely hit the "play everything ten times back to back" phase of life. It's a blessing and a curse the iPod had a "repeat" button. It does save me from having to get up and manually restart the song every time. (No, we don't have a remote control for it.) We're on the fourth viewing of this particular Curious George video. All I can say about Curious George is that after two days I'd send him back to the jungle.   

So far, our saving grace is that Noah still has decent taste in what he watches/listens to. I'm pretty adamant about never letting him see for the first time things I won't watch 100 times - like Elmo! Curious George isn't my favorite, but it's harmless. He also really likes Mickey Mouse Club House, which is fine.  He'll also watch Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Sophia the First.  Disney Jr. has too many commercials, so I'm glad our On-Demand has all these shows.  Also, our boy just doesn't understand commercials or viewing schedules - heh.  He does totally understand the "skip ad" button on

One really cool thing from Noah's video viewing is that thanks to some really cheesy, cheap animated videos with trains carrying the letters of the alphabet, numbers, and shapes - Noah is learning those things without us teaching him.  He picked these videos all on his own.  I'm glad this bodes well for using something like Kahn Academy in the future.

His language development is still coming along slow and steady.  He talks all the time and tells us these long stories, but we still don't understand most of it.  When he really needs to ask or tell us something he usually knows enough words to get his point across.  

Which brings me to Parenting/Teaching approaches.  Ugh.

Two years or so ago I read the books that were really against "child led" stuff.  It was all about the parent setting the eating/sleeping schedule and everything else.  Sounded reasonable.  And then we had a hard-headed son who, while a very good kid, also seems to set his own schedule/agenda.  

So, in some ways, lazy won.  Because he's not anywhere near unreasonable, we let Noah lead a lot.  

Mostly, I believe he's got a lifetime of having to do things on other people's terms and time tables.  He's still very young, and happy, and sweet.  He's social, and curious.

Where we're running into trouble already is with the school system and his speech therapist - who is a developmental therapist not a speech therapist.  She's consistently advised we put him in pre-school to work on his attention span and essentially - compliance.  Um, No.  He's been two this entire time, and his attention span is just fine for his age.  She brought it up again last week, suggesting pre-school in the Fall.  I didn't explain to her all the reasons we don't want to do that.  We don't think it's normal for kids under four or five to sit and conform.  The whole reason I'm staying home with him is to avoid such things. 

Her one hour a week with him, and her determination to get him to sit and pay attention and complete tasks has prevented her from seeing his actual development.  It's been a little frustrating.  

Anyway.  The point is we have a great kid.  He takes a lot of energy, but it's worth it.  

Oh, and the right bribe at the right time is still the best way to help him choose to do good.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Non Update

Well, we're about 2 1/2 weeks into the unknown... and it's all still pretty unknown.

One kinda funny thing, a few weeks ago we were really wishing Nerdstar could just take some time off so we could "get stuff done".  We've put a decent dent in our "get done" list.

As of right now, I'd say it's looking a little more likely Nerdstar will land a job here in the same line of work she's been doing.  We'll know more in a week or so.

This isn't the worst thing.  And if it does work that way, it's probably helpful.  It buys us time.  Time to take a little vacation or two before she starts the new job.  Time to house hunt down in Texas - and employment to be able to get a place.  Time to look into jobs down in Texas.

So, IF a job here comes through, maybe we'll be looking at moving to Texas in the Fall.

If none of this comes through here, well, we can still sell the house and take a chance.

Noah is a crazy boy with Nerdstar home so much.  Wow.  He's having a blast.

In other Noah news.  He's really gotten into watching Curious George and Mickey Mouse Playhouse on  He also really likes these odd educational videos with animated trains and stuff about the alphabet, colors, numbers and shapes.  We think it's cool we've got a kid who makes us show him educational videos!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

More Two-ish

Now that our boy is getting closer to turning 3, he's acting a little more "two".  He's crying a little longer when he does cry, and maybe being upset a little more often.  The best strategy is still to mostly leave him alone and let it blow over.  I'm sure the stress in the atmosphere around here isn't easy on him, and the craziness of Nerdstar being home a lot more.  I'd say right now the thing that upsets him most is when one of us leaves the house without him and the other Ma. 

I'd say one of his favorite things to do is just run.  Run relays from here to there.  I think he could run a couple of miles given the space and ability to not get distracted.

One of the cutest things he's done in the past week or so is try to sing.  I love it.  And what makes it so funny is that we don't understand a word!  Now, he can sing along a little bit with his dance tunes like Blame It On The Boogie and Heaven Knows, he's also starting to learn the "rock yells" in songs like Dancing With Myself.  But this is just him singing by himself out of nowhere. 

Several months ago, his speech/developmental person showed him a game on her iPad.  When Nerdstar's sister gave her a kindle for her birthday, we found that same app for Noah.  It's the best thing ever when we need to entertain him so we can finish our meal at a restaurant.  It has four or five different little games to it.  It has a little monkey in the corner that says what to do, and then jumps up and down and says "good job" when you get things right, or shakes it's head no when you get them wrong.  Noah loves saying "good job" every time!  One of the games is moving four puzzle pieces into place.  For a while we'd help him move his finger, then this past week or two, he started being able to do it on his own.  One game is to pick the one item out of four that is different - somehow he's done that perfectly from day one.  Another game is a matching game with eight tiles, like concentration.  Today, he's been able to do that all by himself a few times.  It's so cool to watch him learning.

He's also starting to tell me when he poops.  Maybe he'll be potty trained before he's four!

Speaking of poops (and all moms of little ones do!) I finally became a little concerned that his poops were no longer solid.  They were a gross wet mess.  We decided to completely cut out apple juice, even though he didn't drink that much of it in his water.  About the same time, we decided that the cause of his remaining red bump breakouts on his face might be related to milk drool when he sleeps, so we switched to almond milk.  (Mostly because Nerdstar already had some she was drinking.)  Turns out, it was probably the milk causing the runny poops.  And the derm said it probably is his drool causing the skin problems.  We're using vaseline type stuff on his face to help keep the drool off.

We still feel like we won the baby lottery when we got him!  He's so damn cute!  Oh, and he's so very social!  He loves running around seeing what kids are out in the neighborhood and going and sort of hanging out with them.  It's still not really "playing together" but he loves being around them.  He's also always saying "hi" to people whenever he walks by them, or if he's sitting, when they walk by him.  So sweet! 

Oh yes, I almost forgot.  Noah will not survive Nerdstar being home all the time for long.  I cannot tell you how much more he eats when she's home.  It's at least twice a much!!  

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Not Funny

A few weeks ago when we were getting a little work done around the house, I joked that maybe we were starting to get it ready to sell.  A week or so after that Nerdstar mentioned there was a job opening down in San Antonio, but it was a very, very long shot.  Another week goes by and they actually call her for an interview.  Wow.  I think it was at this point I started packing the house, imagining a new house, and working out all the logistics of a cross country move in my head.  Ugh.  That went on for two weeks, my very busy head, and then the Boston bombing happened.  It was at the end of that week that she found out the project in San Antonio had lost it's funding.  Sigh.

I really thought for those few weeks that this was finally our opportunity to get out of the DC area and back home to Texas.  Yes, the logistics are complicated, but the new company was even going to pay for the move.  Can't beat that deal.

Also, during all of this time, Nerdstar's job has gotten worse and worse.  We don't understand why, but they just seemed unhappy with her no matter what she did or tried.

Friday, she lost her job.

Now, I had just spent the past week trying not to be disappointed that the San Antonio job didn't work out and trying to be thankful to God that our lives here are good, you know, a steady job, a decent house, great weather, good health.

There have been many times over the years I've told God He's not funny.  This is certainly another one.

Instead of two weeks notice, her company has this weird thing called being "on the beach" where she goes into one of their more admin. buildings and tries to find another project within the company for two weeks.  If something doesn't materialize, then that's it.  There is also a slight chance of a job with another company she used to work for that's in the same building she was just working in.

Anyway.  We've been saving and saving and telling ourselves that when the job thing ended here, we'd pack it all up and move back to Texas.

So, we've got a lot to sort through, decide, and see what happens in the next month. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

14 Years!

Today is the 14th anniversary for these two bad moms.  It's hard to wrap my head around that many years.  7 in Austin, 7 in other parts of the country.  So many road trips.  So many moves.  And our boy Noah.

Heh, it's actually 15 years.  We're so old and it's been so long...  we'll chalk it up to motherhood.

I wrote this back in 2003 for my first blog.

A Little History
updated December 1, 2003
In March of 1999 I was recovering from a devastated heart and was totally bored. The two years prior to that I'd met a lot of women online and those "flames" tended to burn out pretty fast. I hadn't seriously dated anyone since I'd broken up with my first girlfriend about eight years earlier. I was also getting a little tired of being alone all the time and was dying to get laid.

One Wednesday night, I met Nerdstar in a chat room and a couple of hours later talked her into calling me. It was funny. I suggested that she call and she's like "when?" and I'm like "NOW". So, she did. We talked for a couple of hours. She'll tell you she was hooked from that moment. She really liked my voice and could tell I smelled nice. (I'm still questioning how that was possible!) At the end of the phone conversation I said, "come on up and see me." She was living in Houston with her grandparents at the time. She said, "when?" I said, "well, what are you doing this Friday?" I think she was too in shock to say no.

That first night was a precursor of so many things it's not even funny in retrospect! She calls at one point about two blocks from my apartment complex and says where she is. AN HOUR LATER, I find her wandering around the parking lot in front of my building. I should have known then it will always take her an hour to do something that should take ten minutes. I'm still getting used to that.

To make us both a little less nervous we go out for dinner. We just went to Chili's, very safe. All thru dinner she speaks only in nonsequiturs. After almost every sentence she spoke I'd think "huh?" This was clue number two of how things would be. She's not the best in the world at communication. What was working to her advantage that night is that I was looking to make out not make conversation - hehehehehehe. At this point I'm thinking, ok, she's nice enough, she came all this way, and she's cute... what the heck.

We go back to my apartment and are hanging out and she asks if I still want that massage. I say, "sure". At that point she goes to this grocery bag she's brought, pulls out the wine, the candles, the massage oil, the works. I was impressed!!

Some background... she had told me she was new at this whole lesbian thing. She'd had a weekend fling with a guy while in the army, but other than that had never really dated anyone and had never had sex. And she's 27 at this point. How crazy is that?

We hung out all day Saturday, went out to eat and stuff. Then Sunday when it came time for her to head back to Houston she kept saying, "five more minutes" until it was about 8 p.m.

The next weekend she came to see me too. But then, she was about to have Army reserve drill for two weeks. On another wednesday, we're on the phone and I suggest we meet halfway between Austin and Houston for a night before she has to leave for drill. Unfortunatley, on my way there my car broke down. But, we both finally make it there. The next day she suggests that we get my car back to Austin, then I drive her to Houston and keep her car while she's gone. At this point I've known this girl for two weeks. This was another hint of how things would be - she takes great care of me!!

I went to see her a couple of times while she was at drill. The advantages of being a lesbian sometimes cracks me up! It was no big deal for her to sneak me into her room in her barracks.

About a week after drill and she's back in Houston I talk her into moving in with me and finding a job in Austin. The timing was good for her because she had just finished a class she was taking and was looking for a job down there.

I always tell her she's a one night stand who still hasn't left. It's your typical lesbian U-haul story.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

One of the Big Boys

We can't tell you how much Noah wants to be one of the big kids!  Most days after school there are boys of various ages, I'd say from 3 1/2 to 9 or 10, out in our cul-de-sac playing basketball or generally running around.  We keep saying, they're not bad kids, but most of them haven't been taught any manners or social graces.  That said, we're so thankful that they're all nicer to Noah than they usually are to each other. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

New Pics

That's some seriously bad, cute bed head!

 This is Noah's little fleet.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Our Sweet Boy

I've long worried that Noah would pick up my favorite cussing phrases.  So far, that hasn't happened.  He did pick up my saying "thank you" to just about anything he does.  There is no telling how many times a day I say "thank you" and "good job".  Now, anytime you hand Noah something he says, "thank you" or "thanks".   It's so cute and sweet.  And he thinks it's funny when you say "you're welcome" back.

Last spring and summer when he was walking and running some, but was still pretty little, he loved watching the older boys in our cul-de-sac running and playing ball, usually basketball.  Now that it's just warm enough to head outside in the afternoons when the kids get home from school, he wants to be right back out there with them!  Now, these kids aren't bad kids, but they haven't exactly been taught to be good kids.  What's cool is that, so far, they're usually nice to Noah.  They understand he doesn't speak well enough for them to understand him much yet.  And of course, he's way too young to really play with them, but they don't run him off.

I already worry, though, that our boy is too sweet.  That he'll be the kid the other kids take advantage of, the kid they have fetch things for them, or whatever.  The other day, two kids were playing with sticks, so Noah spent a long time picking up all of the sticks around and handing them to them.  When we go to this play area with other kids his age, he's the one who ends up having the ball or toy he's playing with taken - and he just sort of looks at them and moves on to something else until the toy or ball is free again.  He never fusses or grabs it back.

Mostly, I stand back and watch, make sure he's not upset, redirect him some.  I told Nerdstar the other day to not be surprised if I deck someone in the future for not being nice to our sweet boy.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Kids Need Boredom

Yes.  Kids need to be bored sometimes.

Lying in the yard, looking up at clear blue sky until I was totally lost in it is one of my favorite memories.  Even as an adult, I've had tons of "empty" time, no tv, no radio, not even a book, and I think it's something we're missing these days. 

I'm so glad Noah is fine playing in his room by himself for a while every day.  We're trying hard to resist him playing with phones and tablets and apps for as long as we can.  If they're always doing something with whatever device is in their hands, they'll miss out on so much, including the simple art of making small talk while waiting. 

I can't state how often I'm tempted to move to "the country" for our sanity and Noah's future. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013


The other day, Noah and I were playing in the back yard.  Two of the kids who live next door came out into their yard and Noah went over to say "hi" while I stayed on the deck.  I heard the little brother (probably 3 or 4) ask his sister (probably five) if I was Noah's mom.  The girls said, "No, because she's not Chinese."  Ha!  We thought that was funny.

Kids have such funny ideas about how things are.  A long time ago, when I was substitute teaching, a kid asked me how old I was.  After I told her, she looked at me and said, "You can't be that old, you're not tall enough."  Ha! 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pretty Darn Cool

April will bring the 14th anniversary of Nerdstar and I.  That means we lived together for over 11 years before Noah showed up.  Sometimes it's kinda weird to realize we've got this other person, this little boy, with all his wants and wishes and schedules and stuff, living in our space.  This handsome, sweet, tall, goofy boy, making us laugh, bossing Nerdstar around, demanding snacks or movies or dance tunes or to go outside.  It's pretty darn cool. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Summer Wardrobe Done

10 T-shirts
9 pairs of shorts
1 pair of swim trunks
4 pairs of pants
2 sets of pajamas

Less than $70!

We LOVE consignments stores!  Plus he got two new toys for under $11! 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Errand Buddy

I know this could sound crazy coming from the mom of a toddler, but Noah really is my errand buddy.  He has been pretty much from day one.  If it's been a few days since we've gone to the store (any store, but mostly grocery) he'll look at me and say "store".  He's always done well in the cart, although now he likes to start off helping me push the cart before he has to sit up in it. 

I know, this entry reads pretty boring.  But, after all the years I spent alone either before I met Nerdstar or the years she was off being my army girl, I'm so grateful to have Noah to run errands with.  So I'm really glad he's such a good, sweet kid when we have to run them.  He's even starting to talk to the cashier ladies we see all the time. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

He Didn't Even Miss Us

We did it!!  We finally found a baby sitter and went out to dinner without Noah!  And, we didn't even talk about him the entire time. 

One of Nerdstar's old army buddies has a very nice daughter who is going to baby sit for us. 

They basically had a movie marathon, interspersed with a few snacks and some episodes of Foster's Home.  He didn't ever fuss or anything.  It's like he didn't even miss us.  And when we got home, he was only marginally happy to see us, as long as we didn't interrupt him finishing the movie! 

So this first time went incredibly well.  Test number two will be when she comes back over and he learns that means we're leaving.  But I'm optimistic. 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

That's Entertainment

Our adorable boy is starting to sing.  Just a little.

A couple of times he's picked up a little flashlight and pretended to sing something.  That was cute.

The good stuff is a result of his insisting on "dance tunes" every time he wakes up.  We've long had his dance tunes playlist with the Bee Gees, Donna Summer, old Michael Jackson, etc.  Blame It On The Boogie is one of those songs.  He sings the "sunshine", "moon light", "good times" and "boogie" parts while doing his jump up and down dancing - complete with all the appropriate pauses in music.

Today he added the "shake, shake, shake" part of Shake Your Booty to his repertoire.