It is March! In the Netherlands, it means spring time... crocuses and daffodils. In New England, it means it is still winter. We got about 8 inches of snow from March 1-March 2. It was a nice little birthday present for Roel. He got to shovel snow in the morning so he could get down the driveway and head to work. Kiefer and I stayed home because UMass was closed. This gave me plenty of time to make Roel a birthday cake. He requested a chocolate cake. I baked the cake in the morning and made the frosting and put it together in the afternoon. When Kiefer woke up from his nap, we did a little decorating with streamers. Kiefer was so excited about the bright, colorful streamers that he ran around in delight for about 5 minutes. Kiefer was intrigued by the cake and kept pointing to it. I told him we had to wait until Papa got home. When he did, we sang "Happy Birthday," Kiefer helped blow out the candles and we each had a piece of cake. Now Kiefer isn't that big a fan of cake, but he had a couple of bites before he decided it was time to get down and run around.
At the end of January, Kiefer and I went to visit Liam and his new little brother, Emmett. I went to grad school with their mom and dad. Kiefer and Liam had so much fun playing together. Liam has a little drum set and they had loads of fun playing it. After lunch, they decided they would be helpful and swept the floor with a kid sized broom and mop. It was very funny to see.
A couple of weekends ago when it was snowing (again) we decided to escape the snow by heading to Magic Wings, the butterfly conservatory in Deerfield. It was so nice to be in a warm, green environment. Kiefer thought the butterflies were OK, but he was a little scared when the big ones flew near him. He was much more interested in the Chinese button quail that ran throughout the conservatory. There were also parrots and lizards, which Kiefer enjoyed as well. He definitely explored every inch of that place. After about 2 hours of running around, we had a little ice cream. It was not nice to have brave the snow when we left!
At the end of last week, we decided that at 21 months, Kiefer is old enough to not need a pacifier during the day. We thought he would be upset and ask for a paci... especially in the evening, but apparently out of site out of mind. Now the pacifier stays in the crib for when he is sleeping.
We're hoping that he'll say more now that he doesn't have his pacifiers. He does a lot of babbling, but we don't understand what he is saying most of the time. He will point to the apple in one of his Nijntje books and say, "Apple." He also likes to "read" aloud. He makes a bunch of sounds as if he were reading. Kiefer also likes to get piggy back rides from Papa and he will say, "Go!"
This morning was unexpectedly exciting. I have a cold and don't feel very well, but thought I would head to work anyway. On my way in, the gas light came on in the car, so I realized I would have to get some gas after dropping off Kiefer at daycare. When I pulled into the driveway of Kiefer's daycare, I parked and *thought* I unlocked all of the doors as I automatically do before I get out and leave the keys in the car. When I went to open the back door to get Kiefer out, it was locked. I had locked Kiefer inside the car with my keys! This is something I am always afraid I am going to do, and I finally did it. I ran into Holly's and asked her which she thought would be faster: calling Roel and have him drive from work with his key or calling the police. Her son works as a dispatcher with the police so she called him and he said the police would probably be faster so he called them. About 5 minutes later, a police officer showed up and told me a tow truck was on the way to open the car. Kiefer had started to cry because he couldn't understand why I wouldn't get him out of the car, but he was intrigued when the policeman showed up. It didn't take long for the tow truck to show up and within 10 seconds he had the car open. Kiefer was very excited to see the big truck and he thought it was all great. I decided that maybe I should have just stayed home and after doing a few things at work, I did head home to rest.
During UMass spring break, I will be heading to London for 5 days. I will finally be able to see one of the study abroad programs I have been advising on for the past four years. I will also be checking a potential program for our students. It will be a whirlwind trip and it will be the longest I have ever been away from Kiefer. I know I am going to miss him very much!
Even though I am no longer taking classes, school continues to keep me busy. I submitted a paper for publication last week. It is currently in the review process and I should hear in 8-10 weeks whether or not it has been accepted to the journal. In the meantime, I need to be working on my comprehensive exam paper. I'll have to defend it in May. I feel like I have been in school forever... and I guess I kind of have.
Big news for my sister (Aunt Janice) who finished her M.S. in Zoology in December. She has been interviewing for a number of positions and was offered not one, but two in Arizona. She has decided to take a Habitat Specialist position in Kingman. We're very happy for her! Uncle Geoff will finish up the school year (he teaches in northern Michigan) and will join her. They really wanted to relocate to the southwest and they're doing it. We're looking forward to visiting them next winter. It will be nice and warm in Arizona when the weather is frigid here.