Sunday, June 19, 2011

Spencer's Birthday Day with Mom

Spencer and I had the bestest day on Thursday.  It was his birthday and it was just me and him.  The girls had their last day of school and an end-of-the-year party and Brian was gone out of town for the week.  So I decided it was going to be a "Mommy-and-Me Day" all about Spencer and what he wanted to do.

The day started off kind of laid back.  I tried to get him to eat a normal breakfast, but alas he woke up signing for Oreos. Random, kind of. I thought maybe he knew it was his birthday, but I don't think he did.  That's what made it funner to indulge him. It was still innocent and I knew that it wouldn't go to his head to use against me in the future. This is probably the last year that would be the case. 

Where was I? Oh ya, Oreos.  I caved.  I figured, hey, this is his birthday.  Whatever.  And... that's about how the entire day went for us.  Everything was "whatever, we have nothing to get back to, nowhere else to go."

Our original plan was to go to an uncovered train station and watch the trains fly by.  We've done that at our local train station, and he LOVES it.  But at that station they don't come very often so I thought watching a whole bunch of trains would really be a great thing to do today. But first, we had to make a detour at the girls' school to give them a camera for their BBQ.  While there, one of their teachers suggested the tourist train downtown. Brilliant!  We've seen it a few times but it's never worked out for us to go.

Spencer is really great with remembering where we are or where we're going.  He has a great sense of direction, or something like that.  He knew exactly where we were and when we turned the corner he completely expected to see the train.  He freaked, as always.

The next one is a video. For those of you who are receiving this post in an email, I think you have to go to my blog to see the video play.

This train takes tourists all around the downtown area.  I think Spencer thinks it's alive though. He kept staring at the front expecting it to talk.

The train was full so we had to wait for the next one that left an hour later. He was not happy, of course, until we saw the birds (more on that later).  He started to chase them (one of his most favorite pasttimes) until I suggested we go to the toy store (another one of his favorites).  

Spencer's never gone inside this toy store.  This water playset is always outside and he will play with it for forever.  Then I usually whisk him away too quickly because we have somewhere else to go.  But rememeber? Today we had nothing else to do. So, I finally got him to go inside.

I'm in love with these types of toy stores.  Then you can only guess how much I love that they have lots of them over here.  Unfortunately they are exhorbitantly expensive so I never buy anything.  Like, makes-your-jaw-drop-expensive. But I still love going in them and seeing all the handmade wooden toys. These are the toys I always dreamed my kids would play with... they were just always too expensive, especially when the girls were young.

Remember how excited Spencer was to ride the "big" train (the tourist one)?  Well... he was even more excited about finding this train table. So much so that he didn't want to leave. We were there for a good 45 minutes and I finally told him the next train was coming. He insisted he didn't want to go but I still pulled him out of there knowing he would enjoy himself.  For the first time in a long time, he threw and all-out fit.  He did not want to leave that train table.

Watch this short video. Take notice of the woman standing in the background. We were in the back of the store and she and the owner had been in the front when we were there.  They both came to the back to "pretend stock" everything. They were there the whole time we were since we were the only customers at noon on a weekday.  This has happened a few times before and it really bugs me.  They watch you like a hawk, talk about you like you're not there (probably cuz they hear me speak English and assume I don't konw what's going on.  But even though I don't understand German, I understand enough, as well as understand when they're talking and then both turn their heads to both look at me at the same exact time), and then they follow you around and put back whatever you just played heaving a big annoyed sigh.  At least these store owners weren't as bad as the ones in Bern-Kastel.  The man even followed us outside Spencer was looking at the displays outside.  And then when Spencer wanted to go back in the store, the man blocked the entrance.  How can one open a toy shop and not expect the kids to want to play or touch the toys?  Even just to pick it up off the shelf to see what's inside.  Can you tell it really annoys me? I'm sure they do it for a reason, probably lots of thefts have ruined it for the rest of us. But I sure hope it's not because I'm a foreigner.  I don't want my "bubble" to be broken of how much I love it over here and that would be something to start the small pinhole leak.

Even though he threw a fit getting out of the store, I ran like a race car back to the train where he freaked out to see that he could get on.

He ran straight up to the train and climbed in. The conductor was really cute with him and made a big deal about punching his ticket and presenting it to Spencer. Wish I would have gotten a picture.

While on the train, I realized it was lunchtime and he hadn't eaten... and it was nearing his naptime so it's no wonder he was grouchy.  I had planned on getting us lunch in our original plan, but because things changed and he was having fun at the toystore, it just never happened. So snacks were our friend, but I wasn't surprised that he was grouchy and ended up falling asleep halfway into the train ride and getting a quick nap (which made for an even great day because we got to do more, rather than going home early.)

On the train, I met a great Australian couple that had been traveling Europe for the past four weeks. It was the last part of their tour and they were flying out of Frankfurt the next morning.  The only reason I mention it was that it made my day so much better with the conversation we had and all the things I learned about their culture that I didn't know. I'm SERIOUSLY in love with that kind of thing. I also felt a sense of pride when I showed them all the places of interest to go in our little downtown area, as well as places to eat.  I realized I "knew" this place like my home. That's because that's what it was. And it made me happy. :)

After the train ride, we made our way to lunch at Vapiano's.  I'm actually in love with this place, even though some of my friends are sick of it.  They have been here longer than I have so they've probably frequented it a lot.  I'm on the rise to getting to that point too because last week I was there three times... the kids beg me to go there as well.  It's really healthy Italian food they make the minute you walk to the front of the line. They boil the pasta and make the sauce one dish at a time. And all the herbs are fresh, still in their pots, that they pick off for each dish they need.  The bruschetta is worth crying over and the pizza, hot out of the oven, is f'amazing!  The kids love that they get a credit card when they walk in and everything you order from the different lines are charged to your card where you then pay at the end. This is also the only fast food place I can find something for Spencer that he likes.  Positives all around for Vapiano's.

Fresh Rosemary growing on the table.  Love it?  Yup!
Outside the restaurant there is an escalator and a fountain, two things Spencer loves.  So of course, yup, we went in!  The fountain has a shallow step around the perimeter which I completely let him do.

He was doing great and didn't even get close to falling in... until he started to beg me to get in.  He totally lost his footing and fell straight back into the fountain.  As horrible as it was, I had to laugh cuz it was really funny. Is it bad that I was bummed cuz I had just flipped the video camera off?  Seriously, wish you guys could have seen how it happened. He was a bit floppy and slippery.  But so darling and cute.  I just had to get a picture of the aftermath.

At that point, I was seriously contemplating going home.  We had been in downtown for many hours so we made our way back down to the car garage.  On the way, though, someone had thrown some bird seed and Spencer about had a heart attack when he saw all the birds appear.  We spent at least another 45 minutes to an hour chasing birds... even though it had started to lightly rain.  

Watch Spencer's pants in the next video.  Because they were wet, and a little big on his waist, they were falling off. We had crowds coming to watch him and a group of German high schoolers on a group trip stood watching him and giggling for awhile too.

And... playing in more fountains.  Don't worry, it looks dirty but I could smell the chlorine.

This was the stairway going down to an Egyptian exhibit focusing on King Tut. Same place we saw the Titanic Exhibit last year and of course the girls are extremely excited and insistent on going.

Remember my post about it being hard to take a picture with Spencer's eyes open? The next two prove my point.

We couldn't just go home, could we? Way too early for that (even though it was already 3:00 p.m.) Toys R Us was calling our name.  So, even though we had a bunch of presents at home, I knew that he loves playing with the Thomas trains at Toys R Us.  Hey, we had nothing to get back for.  And it actually felt really good to be able to be this free.

(Check out the eyes)

In the next picture, he was excited to see the Chuggington trains.  This is a new show we discovered that Spencer loves. (Oh and yes, he's in his pajamas.  I had to change him out of his wet clothes and that's all I had.)

But he still always goes back to Thomas.  He ended up spending a lot of time in the Thomas section.  He does a lot of analyzing of the toys, too, looking at the tracks and playing with the ones he can reach into.

And of course on the way out he found two Thomas vending machines.  Of course we had to get him one.  Remember my justification for indulging him on his birthday I wrote about above?

Walking out a happy kid...

I think he had a great day, don't you?  The next two pictures were taken at 5:00 p.m. He was wiped.  (Take notice of his face.  Guess what he ate as soon as he came straight home?) 

(The vending machine tiny Thomas.)

And no, he didn't sleep through the night (as I'm sure many of you will ask). I thought he would sleep through since he slept through me transferring him to the car, a whole car ride through traffic to pick up the girls from the Teen Center, taking them to Young Women's, etc.  He woke up about 9:00 p.m. and was awake til midnight when he and I both fell asleep on the couch.  

It was a good day.  Probably one of the best I've had in a long time.  Isn't this how life is supposed to be? I think so.


Randi said...

This is my favorite post ever! I love all of the stuff you were able to do just for him. I also have to ask where the chubby little baby went? I guess I never noticed in all of the other pictures how slim he has gotten! Brenna and I have days like this often since we have nothing else to do and it really is the best part of being a mom. Spencer is lucky to have you!

Charise said...

Okay, I LOVE those kind of days! I have often said one of my favorite things in life is a day where nothing is written on my calendar.

I have a 5 year old that signs more than he speaks… (paralyzed vocal chords and chronic lung disease) and getting him to eat almost anything is impossible (g-tube). However, he LOVES double stuffed OREO’s! How do you sign that? I would love to know!!!

What a darling train. It totally looks like it should be a friend of Thomas the tank engine, and be able to talk!

Ok, I love it… all he’s eaten so far this day is about a dozen OREO cookies, and we wonder why he threw a fit? Obviously the poor kid was not thinking rationally!
His laugh when running through the birds is just delicious. What a sweetheart he is.

Randi said...

I have been sitting with Brenna on the couch watching the videos and showing her all of the pictures. She keeps asking to look at the picture of Spencer's Mommy! I tried to distract her with the videos but she wants to look at the "pretty girl". You do look quite amazing...I just think it is funny that my little girl is in love with you! She told me "she is your friend Mommy...and we LOVE them!"

Beth said...

Happy Birthday to Spencer! What a fun day you both had. He is getting cuter and cuter!

Heather said...

so cute! I loved those videos...he's gettin so big!

Alicia said...

There is so much to say here... I loved reading every single second of this post, and your pictures are fantastic. Jake would have lost his mind with all the train stuff. You're a great mommy, friend. What a day!

Ruth said...

Harper Loved watching all the videos of his cousin. But then He got bummed cuz he wanted in on the fun. It looked like the perfect day to me.

Kerstin said...

It's so nice to have days like these!"Why? Because I can."

Oreos: You wrote about this in another post. The bigger German supermarkets sell these as well. You don't have to wait until the base re-stock.

first video: I love the thing he does with his hands, when Spencer is excited! Is it a sign or just a habit?

shop assistants: It's not because you're a foreigner. Here it's unusal to stay for 45 minutes in a store and not buy anything.

Australian couple: I love how you say "I "knew" this place like mey home....".

missing video: Wishing you would have taped how Spencer fell into the water? You could belong to my family!

museum: It's great that they, even though they don't like touring cities anymore, still look forward to going to the museum!

And by the way, Spencer has such a cute smile!

Christy said...

Responses to your comments:

Randi-I know! Where did that chubby baby go? He's a big boy now. :(

Charise-we just sign "cookie." Here's a website called that we go on all the time to see how to sign something. And by the way, he actually had eaten a few snacks on the train so he shouldn't have thrown THAT big of a fit. But the oreos I'm sure contributed. WE should definitely talk about your 5 year old and compare stories. I'd love to hear how he's doing and what your guys' life is like.

Randi-you are so kind for telling me what Brenna said about me. I've been feeling so fat for so long that it really boosted my self esteem. haha. By the way, did you ever get the videos to work?

Ruth-I can't wait for Harper and Spencer to be besties. I'm glad he enjoyed watching the videos. :)

Kerstin-About the oreos, they’ve actually restocked quite a bit and I did find them at the German grocery store down the street. He took a break from them for a little bit, but then got interested again. And about his hands... it's just a habit. He's done that since he was really little. For the shop assistants-they usually show up the minute we start walking around. And about feeling at home-You're right. I love that too. I love that I can assimilate pretty well in places. And it makes me even happier when I realize I am no longer a foreigner, well at least partially. I know I still am, but I don’t feel like I’m just visiting. And about the museum-they learned all about Egypt this year and ancient cultures so they were super interested.