Seasonal Recap: Fall 2011

So, I’ve decided to do these updates quarterly, more or less, and to make them about the whole family, not just Silas. That said, I know what you all want to see, so…It’s still mostly Silas.

I think I might have to write this over the course of a few days, as the little critter allows. Forgive me if that makes my time sense a little weird. I’m trying.

First, big news, Chubbs slept through the whole night–from about 8:30 to 6 am–last night. This is a first-time-ever big deal thing. At 15 months old. This level of indulgence is, I believe, reserved for the firstborn. Someone please kindly tell my next child that s/he better sleep through at about 6 weeks if s/he wants to live. k. Of course, this might not happen again tonight. But it could! And we’re leaving for WV and all kinds of schedule-messing-up family fun in five days, which also is going to ruin this sleep thing. It’s enough to make me consider skipping Christmas. Not that I *will*, mind you. But for those I’m visiting, forgive me if I seem neurotic about Silas’ schedule. There is good reason.


Big things since Silas turned one… hm.


I have lived in Virginia for seven years now, and I can state, with no caveats or reservations, that this is the most beautiful fall we’ve had in all that time. It was just incredible. The colors were amazing. The weather was amazing. No Indian Summer (my least favorite season).

Gorgeous walks close to home.

Silas is insanely jealous of these boots. When he’s bigger, I tell him….

Drifts of leaves all over the place.

Outdoorsy crafts…

Well, I costumed The Importance of Being Ernest at EMU theater.

Then I directed JB, a verse drama based on the Book of Job, also at EMU. This is the best show I’ve done in a long time. The students at EMU are great to work with. Even though the material was complex, challenging, and pretty depressing, we managed to have a good time. I’m really proud of all of them for their willingness to engage with the complex issues the play raises–and of myself for creating a safe space for them to do so. Shannon Dove made a beautiful set. He asked me what I wanted and I said, “If I had a million dollars, I would turn the theater into a circus tent.” He did it for a few hundred. Thanks, Shannon!

Several local performers helped create a circus atmosphere by juggling and clowning for the people waiting to get in. Silas’ godparents, Laura and Myers, were among them. Here, you can see Laura painting a blue balloon on Silas’ cheek. He wiped his hand over his face as soon as it was done, turning the balloon into a smudge…maybe he’s not big enough to have his face painted yet.

JC’s youngest sister got married. Yep, all three of them are officially married off, making us the only Hubers of our generation.

Welcome to the family, Justin! We love you!

Silas got to be a “mini usher.” He helped JC out…but really, fussed and grumped through most of it (sorry).

Cute, though, right?

Home renovation
We had lots more insulation and drywall put into the house above the landing and in the living room. My dad and stepmom offered to help us with the project as our Christmas present–thanks, guys! It looks totally awesome. Sam’s Construction, of Linville, did the work, and they did a very nice job. I felt pretty completely underfoot. Silas and I spent the work time in the kitchen and/or inviting ourselves out to friends’ houses.

For those who geek out over these kinds of details, we used UltraTouch insulation, which is made from recycled denim (no kidding!). We love this stuff–it installs just like “the pink stuff,” but is itch-free and has no VOCs. We got it from Nature Neutral, in Charlottesville (good people, there). We used Benjamin Moore Aura paints, which are self-priming and low-VOC. Not to mention, Benjamin Moore could give J. Peterman a run for his money. Our new colors: Face Powder (“Delicate and soft, the exquisite powder in the Art Deco tin was a fond memory of her grandmother.”), Peruvian Chili (“Like smoky, sweet chiles roasting in an adobe oven, this color infuses and welcomes with its spicy character.”), and Approaching Autumn (“The setting sun cast its warm glow across the fields, promising that a bountiful harvest would not be far behind.”).

Work in progress:

Automotive Adventures
So, we almost died over Thanksgiving.

Here is Silas, at a rest stop shortly before the calamity began:

Three of the five lug bolts holding the front driver’s side wheel onto our car BROKE IN HALF as we were driving to Alex’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. I blame Witmer’s Tire, which rotated our tires for us about two weeks prior. The folks there insist that it’s impossible, because they use torque sticks, but .. .uh… yeah. I disagree. The lucky thing is that we SHOULD have been on I-68, going 70 mph in Thanksgiving traffic. Instead, we were on Rt. 50, outside of Romney, where it is a little two lane. I was going 35, and there was no other traffic at all, so I was able to pull over safely. Why were we in Romney? Well, JC and I were both so engrossed in the audiobook of State of Wonder that we missed the turn that would have taken us to the interstate, and didn’t notice for about twenty miles. Literary novels save lives, people.

Anyway, we survived, and Alex came to get us, so we even got Thanksgiving dinner.

Scooby also survived to turn 200K!

The part you really came for
Ok, so here’s all the stuff about Silas.

Crawling everywhere, even up and down stairs. Pulling up on everything. Pushing my stepstool around and climbing up to reach the counters. Opening doors. He walked for the first time right before he turned 15 months…or, rather, that was the first time we saw him do it. He walked about seven feet, so we suspect he’s been practicing when we weren’t looking.

He has a few words that we hear regularly now: “bye-bye,” “thank you,” “nana” (banana), “daddy,” “shoes,” “buuuu” or “bk”(book), “stick.” Also heard on occasion: “no no no no,” “mamaaaa,” “sock!” “block,” “doggie,” “hi,” and “cash!” (he doesn’t know what it means, he just likes how it sounds). He signs “more” and “potty” sometimes.

He’s always been a people person, but lately he seems even more interested in other people, especially children.

Here are some of Silas’ favorite toys, lately.

Home-made color bottles:

Home-made shaker jars (one has buttons, the other popcorn kernels)

Life-sized horse (didn’t you always want a toy that was bigger than you were? Joyce got this for him before he was born):

Sticks (I think he pulled this one out of a stone in an old churchyard):

Pans of sudsy water:

We were getting bored with our ordinary toy rotation, so for a couple of weeks I organized them by color. This mixed things up and encouraged Silas to play in new ways. Here he is with all his red toys.

Finally big enough for Duplos!

Helping JC plan our next DC trip (using City Walks with Kids, which we picked up at the Green Valley Bookfair.

This was supposed to be a picture demonstrating how he’s figured out his stacking toys, but he was not cooperating.

His kisses are still terrifying.

Experiment: What different sounds can we get out of a metal cookie cutter, a plastic cookie cutter, and a bunny?

He was into this thing where he would take ALL his books off the bookshelf. It was driving me crazy. I realized that it might be partly because he can’t read the spines, so he has to pull them off to see them. Also, it is fun to pull all the books off the shelf. We installed a rain gutter bookshelf and moved his big one into the closet. Now we put out ten or so books at a time and rotate them regularly. This seems to be working better.

He likes books and gets excited each week when we pick out new books from the library. We’ve gone to the library story time a few times. I can’t really tell if he likes it. He’s pretty shy in groups, until he warms up a bit. Last time, our friends Simon and Nina were there, and I think that made him feel a little better. He really loves a lot of the lap rhymes they do there–things about riding a horse or rocketing to the moon and such. We do those at home, too. The moon one ends with a countdown from five, and by the fourth time we did it, he started grinning at the beginning of the countdown, and his grin just got bigger as we got closer to 1. Now he actually starts to launch himself right before I say “liftoff!” and pick him up. I’m constantly amazed with how much he understands.

Outdoor Exploration

We spent a lot of time outside this fall. The weather was generally very nice, and there’s so much to DO. If it’s not storming, we go out for at least one walk each day, and often more.

Silas enjoys exploring all the different textures out in the world…

What has furry feet…

and the One Ring (of Cheerio)?

Hobbit baby!

He was too little for trick-or-treat, so I just dressed him up and took him over to RStone. People seemed to enjoy it.

Children’s Museum
When we were doing the demolition for the renovation project (aka, my favorite part), Mom and Gary came and took the chubbs to Explore More, our local children’s museum. Here are some of their pictures.

A lovey
So, I might have talked with some of you about wishing that Silas had a lovey. Just something to reach out for in the night when I am happily asleep in MY OWN BED ALONE and not freak out because it was there. I’ve been working really really hard to encourage his attachment with this rabbit–it really looked like a contender for a while, but…just not quite, you know?

Then one day, I was at Gift ‘n’ Thrift, and I wandered over to the toys for no good reason. And I was just drawn to this little pink dolly. She’s soft and has lots of different textures, and she rattles. I kept telling myself to leave her because, well…she is a pink dolly. And Silas has more toys than he knows what to do with. I circled back three times before I plunked down my $0.75.

When I pulled her out of the shopping bag that evening, Silas reached for her immediately, hugged her, and gave me an accusatory look, as if I had been hiding her from him all this time. So…”Shelley” is part of our daily life now. He doesn’t exactly play WITH her much, but he checks in to see that she’s there. He brings her from one room to the next with him sometimes. He sleeps with her sometimes. He chews on her little antennae or whatever they are when he’s teething.

To be honest, I’m a little bothered about Shelley. I feel like people are judging me–that they think I’m making some kind of statement by giving my BOY a PINK dolly. Seriously, this was not my plan, it’s not political. Nothing like that. Shelley just said, “Take me home,” and Silas said, “Where have you been all my life?” and I am the unwitting intermediary.

Next up, Christmas, a sojourn in Michigan, and who knows what else! Life sure is busy here, but so exciting.


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