Thursday, August 14, 2014

First Day of First Grade

James started First Grade today! Hard to believe this on two time scales: that summer is already over (at least the non-school part of summer) and that our boy is now entering the "real" grades. Of course, James' little sister was there to walk him in to his classroom and wish him well on first day. He told us this morning that he was "even more nervous than for kindergarten," though I have little doubt that he is already having a blast with some new friends.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The rocket is taking off.

James has enthusiastically embraced literacy. We have been simply amazed by not only how quickly James has learned to recognize words, sound out words, and spell words, but how much he loves doing it. Yesterday, James brought home what is probably his first written narrative (with illustrations!). He sounded out all these words himself! The English major in me would like to point out his use of the present progressive verb tense.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Finally...some photos of outdoor fun!

It's been a while since we've updated Jamie's blog, but that sure doesn't mean we haven't been up to some fun. Spring is finally here in Iowa and we sure have been enjoying it! Here are some photos of a couple family hiking adventures as well as a trip to one of my field sites with James. We went with our friend Andy, who took a number of these photos (all the ones with file names starting with "IMG" to be precise). James had a great time exploring and catching snakes. Soon enough he'll be my #1 field assistant!

Outdoor Fun

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Outdoor Naked Fun!

We are hankering for spring. After a fall that seemed to extend summer well into mid-November, it seems winter is equally late in its departure this year. We've had exactly two sunny, warm spring days. It might snow later this week. We are just going bonkers in anticipation to start up our summer lifestyle: dinner on the porch, bike rides to the library, evenings at the park, etc. Given how dreary its been outside, though, a day like last Saturday, mid-50s and not entirely overcast, can seem downright luxurious. So we made the best of it with a little hike in a city park with our friends Freddy and Lisa. It was great to see the kids running around in the woods. But not five minutes into our walk we came upon a sandy shore along the creek and spent the next hour or more there. The kids slowly but surely lost their clothes, until they were stark naked, running in the shallow water and up and down the "beach." It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon and we left just as the rain started up again. You can see some of the fun here:
Naked Fun at East River Park

Saturday, April 13, 2013

One Smart Boy

James' ability to recall seemingly minor facts and events has often impressed us. Of course, he also has the amazing ability to "forget" that he was supposed to do simple things, such as put on his socks, within 10 seconds of the request. This afternoon, however, he offered a great demonstration of his impressive memory. I don't recall how the subject came up (his mnemonic abilities are obviously not genetic), but we were talking about a part of the Winnie the Pooh movie when all the characters fall in a mud pit and mistake each each other for mud monsters. This is similar to a book we had read recently called "Two Dumb Ducks" in which two duck friends fall in the muck and are able to scare off the pesky seagulls. Hoping that James might remember this book (and make what Becky might call a text-to-text connection in teacher parlance), I said, "That reminds me of a book we read recently." I had hoped that maybe he would recall the name of the book. Of course, his response far exceeded that as recalled the ducks' names, exclaiming "Carl and Steve!" Then, he went on to say how he really liked Carl's two sock puppets, named "Cornelius and Zanzibar." How this boy can remember the names of the sock puppets of the characters in a library book baffles me. But I suppose that's maybe what kids do best: baffle us.

Two Dumb Ducks:

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Angry Birds

In recent weeks, James has become quite obsessed with Angry Birds. In fact, he seldom talks about Lightning McQueen or the Titanic anymore, so posessed in thoughts of Angry Birds is he. While the video game itself is a fun diversion, the cool thing that has come out of this is Jamie's artistic talents flourishing. He and his friends at school make many, many Angry Birds drawings and cut them out. He comes home daily with a stack of them. It's remarkably how quickly his drawing skills have improved during this time. The other morning, James made a museum of some of his drawings and we made a couple short films of him showing off and discussing his artwork. Enjoy!
Angry Birds

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Fieldtrip to Chicago!

Last week-end, the graduate student organization in my department organized a trip to Chicago. It sounded like fun and the itinerary for a bunch of nerdy science grad students was identical to that we would have selected for a toddler and preschooler (interesting). The organizers were gracious enough to let the whole family come along, so it was a roadtrip to Chicago! We had a great time, first visiting the Shedd Aquarium on Saturday and then the Field Museum on Sunday. The kids loved being in the big city, seeing the skyscrapers, busy streets, and all the other excitement that they don't see much in our small town. James said the highlight was seeing the T-rex bones at the Field Museum, the biggest complete fossil in the world. While the museums were fantastic, the highlight for Becky and I was probably going out to an Ethiopian restaurant on Sunday night. It's our absolute favorite and, to the best of our knowledge, there is not a single such eatery in the state of Iowa. We ate enough to last us at least six months until the next road trip. I've uploaded some of the better photos here, but be sure to check out Anna's blog for some great photos from our visit with Becky's cousin.