At Christmas time, my dad’s gift to me was a ticket to visit my sister in Texas after her second baby was born in March. April was a busy month, we moved! But early May was perfect for my visit.
My sister SS lives with her family in The Woodlands, a planned community north of Houston. She has two boys; JWS is going to be two years old in June, and JNS was born on March 30th so he was living his 6th and 7th weeks while I was there. Both of my nephews are at very fun ages! JW loves to play, play, play. He likes to read books, mostly so he can turn the pages, and put together puzzles, play with balls and cars, go to the park, and most of all he loves Technology. He’s an expert at scrolling his dad’s iPhone with his chubby little index finger, and he’s always happy to look at photos, videos, and listen to music on the computer or TV. He had a little toy camera that he would pull out whenever I had mine in hand and we would take pictures of each other and with each other. Even the cheap little calculator I keep in my knitting bag was good for some intense button-pushing and number-clearing. His favorite word is “More,” with the accompanying baby-sign-language gesture of tapping all fingertips together. (Meaning, more crackers, do that trick again, let’s watch another video.) He also says “baby,” “cracker,” “juice,” “bubble,” and of course “Mom” and “Dad.” I tried to get him to say “Aunt KT” but he didn’t quite get there.
JN is a perfect little bundle of baby. He has a pointy little nose, pointy little chin, and expressive eyebrows. Most of the time he looks very serious, but he is starting to give some heart-melting toothless baby grins. He likes to wave his hands around, kick his legs, and he made some excellent progress in the holding-up-his-head department during my visit. I knitted him a stuffed turtle, which my sister named Herman.
Part of the “big deal” about me visiting Texas was the very different climate! I packed very light – just threw some cotton dresses, tops, and shorts into one of those good-sized carry-on bags. When I arrived, it was already quite warm and humid. My sister’s home is of course air-conditioned, and they have a pool. But to my Oregonized constitution, it definitely felt like summer outside. I got up early to go running before it got too sticky. Then, halfway through my visit, we had a big thunder storm with downpour of rain. That was exciting! And the best part was, the weather was beautiful and non-humid for the rest of my visit. This sunset was made even more enjoyable by the fact that I sat on the driveway in flip-flops to watch it.
JW and I got to play outside a lot, in the yard and at the park.
JN is too little to play at the park, but he liked his activity mat, especially when his big brother would turn on the lights and music and Auntie would swing the hanging toys for him. He kicked the crinkly sound-maker all by himself. Who can resist a tiny person in a T-shirt that says, “Hi, I’m new here.”
The day before I left we took an excursion to the Woodlands Town Center. It’s sort of downtown-ish, with lots of shopping in a sort of outdoor-mall style. We got sandwiches and ate them outside. It was lovely in the shade.
There’s a waterfront area with boats, birds, and fish to look at. JWS would have trotted all around the nearby arena if I’d let him.
All in all, it was such a wonderful trip. I had a great time visiting with my sister and just hanging out in her life. We hadn’t had so much time together since we both lived at home with our parents, and so much is different now! We had some major catching up to do. I really enjoyed just playing with JW, holding JN, and helping her with their care. I also enjoyed cooking in her enormous kitchen.
Thanks, Dad, it was a gift I will always treasure.