Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Luke the nature-lover

Luke 4-2010 034 We think Luke’s first clearly repeated word was actually a phrase. He says it less often now, but for weeks he never tired of pointing and asking what’s that?, even if it was the same object over and over again. Lately he’s been delighting us by expanding his verbal repertoire. We probably like his animal noises best: ‘a-a-a-a-a-a-a’ for sheep, ‘sssss’ for snakes, “b-b-b-uhhh’ for bees, and a few times he’s done a ‘rarr’ for lions. But his happy chatter is still mostly gibberish to us. Can anyone translate ‘hataah’ or ‘daba’?*

And while he’s only said it a few times, he always has his ears peeled for the word outside. Just hearing it will send him rushing to the door, ready to jam himself through in case we try to slip out without him. And when he wants to ‘ask’ us to go outside he usually just whines at the back door, but sometimes he opts for a much more endearing strategy – holding up his shoes and/or hat with a plaintive look in his eyes. 

Luke 3-2010 264 blog As soon as he’s out the door he starts collecting sticks, rocks, and these long dried-out pods from our trumpet vine. The third item is Mommy’s favorite, as its potential for Luke injury seems to be marginally lower than the other two. Today this wonderland included the rare puddle or two and it didn’t take the little guy long to find them and soak up all their wet muddiness with his freshly-washed sweater. And you don’t even want to hear about the silly boy’s appreciation of dirt flavor, especially potting mix! You would think that after several mouthfuls a child would realize that dirt’s just not so good for eating. It makes me feel a little less complimented when he particularly likes a dinner I prepared!

Even when Luke has been brought (kicking and screaming) inside, we enjoy watching for birds from the back windows and rushing to the front one when we hear a big truck. The past two Monday mornings we started what I hope will be a weekly tradition. I took Luke out in his stroller while the garbage trucks were moving through our neighborhood and we followed one as its big mechanical arm picked up trash bins and emptied them into the giant truck. You should have seen the size of this kid’s eyes as he took in the spectacle!

Nielsens Visit 060 psp blog

Thanks to lessons from his grandmothers, Luke now warms our hearts with open-mouthed kisses on the cheek and happy high fives. All on his own, he recently reinvented a few outdoor watering pipes and some small holes in a metal pipe cover as a shape sorter – thin sticks go in the small holes and medium-sized rocks go in the larger holes. I’m not sure this game is too good for our trees or sprinkler system, but it’s just so cute to see him intent on it that we haven’t discouraged it yet. Last night, he capped off his recent spurt of backyard firsts by climbing to the top of his little slide on his own. He looked so proud of himself, and we feel the same way. You’re a fun one, Mr. Luke!!

Luke 3-2010 108 blog 

*According to dictionary.com, daba is “a Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad” – maybe what we need is a Daba dictionary!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Two quick trips

A few weeks ago Erik caught a plane to Portland for a giant physics conference while Auntie C, Luke, and I took a road trip to southern New Mexico. Check out the contrast in our 2 destinations:

White Sands with Colleen 3-10 022

Portland MMtg 2010 006pspIn levels of urbanization, moisture, SPF ratings, and pocket protector prevalence they hailed from opposite ends of the spectrum. I’d love to go back to southern New Mexico sometime, our scenic route through the Valley of Fires was gorgeous and hiking in White Sands National Monument felt like a shimmering dream of a distant land.

White Sands with Colleen 3-10 025 White Sands with Colleen 3-10 087 But while I love the year-round drama of the Southwest landscape, it just doesn’t do spring like other parts of the country. Erik’s pics of Portland abloom have me thinking that next year we should take a family trip to a moist clime where we can soak up some real springtime pageantry. Luke loves all things green and outdoors so we think he would enjoy it too. Grandma Nielsen has already started teaching Luke how to gently touch flowers. He complies pretty well when it comes to flowers but is much less inclined to touch Mommy’s hair gently!

Nielsens Visit 023Bits of ABQ springtime: Luke and his Grandma beneath the pear tree in our backyard