Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Sam Update - Eighteen Months Old*

I'm a few weeks late with Sam's 18 month update because we have been very busy.  You'll have to wait 4 more paragraphs too, while I tell you about all the other things going on with us.  


As you probably know, we are now in Lexington, Virginia, where Adam is teaching at Washington and Lee Law School.  We absolutely love it here.  Lexington is an old town at the south end of the Shenandoah Valley with beautiful buildings and a cute, touristy downtown area.  We live on a hill in farmland with a 360 degree view of the Blue Ridge and Allegheny mountains.  There are 3 horses on our property.  They hang out right near the house and we see them every day.  We'll get to ride them soon, now that spring is here.  I feel like I'm on a 5 month vacation - it's just wonderful.


Adam received 3 job offers and since we just can't get seem to get enough of moving around, we chose the one we didn't visit:  George Mason University!  But seriously, GMU is the perfect law school for Adam.  I believe that working there is going to set his career on fire and allow him to have a great impact on the law.  Of course we feel quite a bit of sadness leaving Michigan and MSU.  We both loved MSU, Adam as law prof. and I as student.  We will miss our friends there and the absolutely gorgeous spring, summer, and fall (all 6 months of it).  ;)


GMU is located in Arlington, VA, so we'll be living just outside of Washington DC.   We'll probably move some time in May and rent for at least a year to get the lay of the land.  I love visiting DC and we're excited about taking Sam to see the museums and monuments as she grows older.  We have a lot of friends in the area too.  I know we'll get a lot more visitors in DC than we did in Michigan.  We'll make sure we have a guest room!  I think there is a very good chance we'll stay in DC for a really long time. 


We just got back from a trip to Florida.  My parents are working at Disneyworld for the winter and we spent a few days there with them.  After Disney, we visited Adam's parents in St. Petersburg.  Sam was sick so the whole trip was very difficult, but it was nice to see family.


So what is Sam up to lately?  She is finally walking!  I guess she was waiting until she could do it well before taking the leap because she hardly falls at all.  Right away, she could maneuver around objects, stand still, carry objects, and look all around her without losing her balance.  Now she wants to walk everywhere, so I'm entering a new phase with her.  Luckily, spring is here and we'll be able to go on many long walks and spend time at the playgrounds.  She also loves to chase us around the house.  We play hide and seek too.  It's a lot of fun and it wears her out, which is good!


She says a word here and there, but doesn't seem interested in using them regularly.  She continues to learn new signs, though, and we communicate very well.  A big change is that, along with shaking her head "no," she can now nod "yes."  This is a huge leap and makes it so much easier to communicate.


Sam is very interested in the letters of the alphabet.  We got her a toy that "speaks" the sounds of the letters and she's been working on them.  She can identify many letters in her books when asked.  We have no intention of pushing her to read early or anything like that - this is coming purely from her own interest.  But that's no big surprise considering how much Adam and I love to read, and how often we read to Sam.


She can also identify many common objects in her books.  I like to ask her "where is the flower" (or whatever object I see) on a page of a book of which I've never pointed out the flower.  She can find these things most of the time if she's been shown the object in other forms.  I love to see that conceptual faculty developing!


One of the sweetest things is that she now gives us real hugs and kisses.  She is so cuddly now!  When she was an infant, she preferred not to be held.  Now she sometimes just wants to sit close with us, and she'll even walk across the room just to get a hug.  She likes to kiss her stuffed animals too, which is too cute for words.


So, we're doing pretty well overall.  All of this moving around has been very stressful and we're really excited to move on to the next phase of our lives.  I'll send you all our new address as soon as we have one.  Wish us luck and keep in touch!


*Disclaimer:  The Sam Update began as a series of e-mails sent to family and friends starting when Sam was less than a month old.  To keep the chronology I've faked the dates here on the blog to reflect when the updates were actually written.  They were really added to the blog in May 2008, with just a bit of editing.  All subsequent entries will be posted directly to the blog.