Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Frequent Flyer

We made it.
Like a seasoned traveler, Jackson breezed through the layovers, canceled flights, uncomfortable seating and public restroom diaper changes.
Never have I wiped down a surface so thuroughly.
I broke down and let him play on airport "playground" equipment. I could feel the "pink eye" creeping around the corners of the bright yellow slides, but he was so in love with the Syracuse play area I had to let him play. He sat in the tiny helicopter and enjoyed its levers, pedals and buttons.
Between the two of us, dad and I had it down to a science. Bathroom breaks, food court dining and playing baby swap during naps on the plane, we took on O'Hare, Dallas, Syracuse and Tulsa. Jackson adored his cousins and quickly learned to appeal to the Court of Oma for anything he might need. He took walks to the stream, shopped for a winter coat and was regularly chased in the backyard.
And he now offically signs for "Please." Although grandaddy thinks it really means "Gimme." But isn't that what we all mean when we say "Please" ?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Flight Plan

We are headed to New York tomorrow morning.
On a plane.
To New York.
Many hours on a plane.
13 month old.
From 8 am to 6 pm, I will be at the mercy of American Airlines, O'hare and a tiny wild thing that has a recent addiction to raisins.
I've never been great at math, but this equation has me all riled up. I've packed and repacked for as many entertainment possibilities as I can fit into a diaper bag. I've got enough snack variations for everyone on the plane. I've got crayons, cups, stackable tugboats, books, pacifiers and benadryl.
But my secret weapon is a grandaddy. Thank goodness I'll have a grandaddy chaperoning us all the way. Between the two of us, surely we can keep Jackson from eating everyone's free bag of peanuts.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

His love. It can be fickle.

For the time being, Elvis has been replaced.
Our 6-year-old, black-and-white, four-legged mutt is still on Jackson's top 5 list. However, he has slid to No. 2 for the time being.
No. 1?
Turns out our son is part squirrel.
Every day we take a walk outside heading down the driveway, or through the neighbor's extensive garden or maybe to the stop sign and back. During each step, Jackson's eyes scour every inch for acorns. Acorn caps, acorn stems, entire acorns, half-eaten acorns, squished acrons... anything acorn related must be collected.
He continually stuffs his already packed, tiny fists with more acorns. Each time he puts a new acorn in, one rolls out of his fingers. So now we must collect this rogue acorn spinning down the drive. And the cycle continues. I have even caught him trying to hold extra acorns in the folds of his neck. And yes, there are a few folds there ... so like a mother chipmunk, I check my baby's chins daily for acorns.
Elvis seems fine with the new arangement.
Maybe Elvis has coerced the boy to disrupt the squirrel's food supply?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Welcome to the shoe show

It is becoming increasingly difficult to find time for scrapbooking and/or taking photos and documenting all of the awesome, hilarious stuff Jack does. I actually find that writing bits in this blog is easier. So just a quick note of some adorable Jackson-isms I want to remember.
One, he giggles extensively every time we put his shoes off and on. He finds it very funny to watch the socks and shoes go on and off. And after giggling quite a bit during the taking off of the shoes and socks, he is immediately ready for us to put them back on again. Granted during sock-take-off I will slowly tug on the socks which is, to Jack, the best part of the shoe-show.
Two, Jack has taken hide-and-seek to a whole new level. He is almost obsessed with the game. He plays it all day and the best part about it is that he thinks if he just rests his head on an object, any object, he is "hiding." Even behind the letter "W" from his alphabet magnets. If he places the orange "W" on his forehead, you can't see him behind it. And when he whisks away the tiny object, poof he is discovered, much to his delight. He will repeat this over and over. Seriously. Like 10 times. This evening, he placed his forehead on the edge of the coffee table at which point you are to say "Where's Jackson?" and then he quickly raises his head, makes a tiny noise, along with a big grin, and you are to discover him with amazement.
Seriously, having a 13-month-old around the house can be very entertaining. Who needs cable?

Scottish Festival Update

Turns out the festival was not-so-festival. Kind of a bummer. But it was nice to get out, walk around, listen to some music and see the downtown skyline.

I learned it from watching.....elvis

Yesterday, we headed out for some brunch and afterward noticed it was so nice we stopped by the park. No one was there so we sat on a blanket and let Jack run wild. He darted through the wet grass in his bare feet pointing out squirrels and dogs running past in the distance. After a while, he found a large tree and danced around it playing hide-and-go-seek. Until after a second or two we could no longer see him. Turns out he was behind the tree "taking care of some business." That's my boy. Taking after the family dog.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Tonight we are going to the annual Scottish festival. And I am looking forward to Whisky Tastings, men in kilts, great music, and large Scottish men throwing large, odd, Scottish equipment. This year there is also a dog parade. That's right - dogs of Scottish origin will be working the runway. I wonder what Ted Gunn would have to say about that.
Not to get too "scrapbookish" here but it will be Jackson's first festival where he can run around, eat stuff and maybe throw some things.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


The following is a list of all of the signs that 12-month-old Jack uses to communicate with us and/or boss us around. For some, he uses official sign language. For others, he has just aquired through various observations.

He signs for:
more: he points his right index finger in the open palm of his left hand.
all done: he shakes both hands in the air when he is ready to go or finished eating
lotion: this he picked up on his own. Every night after his bath I put lotion on him and so now everytime he sees a bottle of lotion he rubs his hands together.
be quiet: he puts his pointer finger up to his lips to tell elvis (and/or other dogs) to be quiet
help: when in the yard he will raise one arm up for you to help him over a step, a stick, the hose, etc.
eat: he points to his mouth when he is hungry
pointing: he points in the direction he would like to go

These are such small and simple gestures but it is incredible to witness how much they have helped Jack communicate with us. Instead of getting frustrated or just upset he is able to to tell me very specific needs. I think it also builds trust. He knows if he can communicate something to me I will make an effort to understand him and provide him with what he wants (most of the time!)

I think it has also given him a sense of control and self-confidance. Not that he needed a boost in self-confidance! But as he becomes his own little person he is learning how to effectivly communicate.

I guess what I'm saying is: We are pro-baby-sign-language.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Let's see how this baby runs

So I am testing out the idea of starting a small blog to keep friends and family updated on the houpley happenings. Now that we have Jackson, it seems there is so much more to keep up with. So let's see how this turns out...!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Life List

I love making a list. Who doesn't? Aren't we all making lists?
Let's make a list of who is making list!
and you?
Yes, and I know YOU are.

Anyone who has ever done some traveling on the interwebs is surely aware that life lists are all the rage. The credit goes to http://www.mightygirl.com/ for the birthing of such lists. One of my fave writers, I have enjoyed watching her cross off items from her 100-item-long list.
In the same vein, I thought I would start making my own list for several reasons.
And then after talking with Eric about it, he started to make his own life list. And then I realized that making a life list should involve your life partner. Since pretty much they'll be the one watching the kid while you go do your life-list-stuff, right?
It was touching to see how we had written some of the same things on our lists.
Why now?
1. Because I don't want to forget all of the things Eric and I hope to do someday
2. Because it will be interesting to one day look back and see the things that seemed important for us to include
3. Because maybe our child (children) will find it interesting

Did you see that?Just got to make another list!

So for the real list - which we will be continuing to add to I'm sure - here goes. (please note some items may be added only by one of us...)
1.Own a lake house
2.Visit Italy
3.Sip mint juleps with friends/family in the summer evenings on our wrap-around porch
4.Get a wrap-around porch
5.Take a trip around the United States to see major attractions: Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, Big Ball of Yarn, etc.
6.Write a book
7.Host a fancy dinner party
8.Meet President Obama
9.Have another child
10.Have a child with President Obama (just testing to see if you're still reading)
11.Go on a cruise
12.Paint the bathroom in our game room with chalkboard paint so everyone can leave hilarious/dirty messages
13.Get a game room
14.Have Christmas/Thanksgiving at our house
15. Own a Jeep
16. Tend an elaborate vegetable/flower garden with fountains and secret spots
17. Take an incredible photograph and then have it blown up and nicely framed in the house
18. Become a famous comedienne
19. Visit New York City during Christmas
20. Have an old fashion Coke machine in the "game room"
21. Drive a motorcycle
22. Attend the Olympics
23. Teach my children to water ski
24. Write. Every day.
25.Take the family trout fishing
26.Play golf with Jackson
27.Find a place to hit golf balls within walking distance
28.Go to Greece
29.Sail the islands
30.Build an entertainment center
31.Flip a house
32.Learn Japanese
33.Finish the quilt
34.Finish a 5k in 21 minutes
35.Play rugby
36.Become an engineer
37.Teach for a living
39.Visits Dayton, Ohio to see Greg's cousins
40.Travel with Pop and Dearie
41.Write a book with Amanda
42.Shoot a spoof video
43.Do Quicken

The exercise ended up being more difficult than I thought. We get so caught up in the day to day battles and victories that sometimes it's hard for me to think big. To think beyond work issues and tonight's supper and whether or not Jackson is ready for the next size shoes and why is the dryer taking so long to dry...

Excerpt from a Bon Apetit Interview with Maggie Mason abut Life Lists: When you start writing your Mighty List, try not to worry about practicalities. A hundred things is a lot to think about, so after you write down "get pilot's license" and "visit King Tut's tomb," you'll still have a lot of room for the mundane stuff like, "watch less TV." Let yourself dream big, and change the list to suit you as you go along. The whole exercise is supposed to be fun. Post your list in a prominent place and get started on the easiest thing. Even if you don't keep up with it, you'd be surprised at how much can happen for you just because you've written your intentions down. It makes you conscious of the things you want for yourself, which helps you move in that direction.

After some obvious goals and a few fun ones, I was surprised at how hard it became to answer: If someone asked you what is it that you've always wanted to do, what would you say?
What would you say?
Take the challenge.