Wednesday, November 24, 2010

This is the Life!

We love Craig's List and yesterday Eric found a family selling old wooden train track and some engines and cars. He came home from his adventure with a special surprise for James. The family threw in, for free, a toddler Thomas the Tank Engine armchair. It is soft and cuddly...two things James loves. He proceeded to sit in the chair most of the night and looked rather relaxed (as you can see) enjoying his milk, his blanket, and a little pre-bedtime TV.

When it was time for bed he insisted we bring the chair with us. He sat in his chair under his blankets while I read him his bedtime stories. When it was time for me to leave I asked him if he wanted to stay in his chair or lay down. He said, "Stay in my chair."

I checked in on him a little later and although he was no longer sitting in the chair, he was laying with his head resting on the seat. I decided to leave well enough alone and check in one more time before I went to bed. Before going to sleep ourselves Eric and I found him snoring peacefully with his legs propped up on the chair. We gently removed it and set it next to his bed on the floor.

Not to be put off so easily when James woke up this morning he came happily out of his room carrying his new chair. I think all in all it was money well spent.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Talkative Boy

Eric sent me this e-mail and I couldn't resist sharing. The subject heading was "A brief excerpt of my dialogue with James on the way to school this morning..."

Here it is...

I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. Have it. Have it. Have it. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. Have it. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. Have it. Have it. I want my turtle. Have it. Have it. Have it. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. Have it. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. Have it. Have it. Have it. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. Have it. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. Have it. Have it. I want my turtle. Have it. Have it. Have it. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. Have it. Have it. Have it. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. Have it. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. Have it. Have it. I want my turtle. Have it. Have it. Have it. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. Have it Have it. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. Have it. Have it. Have it. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. Have it. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. Have it. Have it. I want my turtle. Have it. Have it. Have it. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. Have it. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. Have it. Have it. Have it. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. Have it. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. Have it. Have it. I want my turtle. Have it. Have it. Have it. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle. I want my turtle.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Fine Art of the Insult

Friday afternoon I was riding my bike home after picking James up at daycare. It was a cool fall evening, the skies darkening early. James was tucked safely in the trailer, bundled in his winter clothes and a snugly blanket. There is one marginally steep slope on the way home that can be a bit of a challenge after a long day. As I was approaching this hill, I requested, "James, say 'Daddy, you can do it!'"

Immediately he did: "Daddy, you can do it!"

He then followed this with, "Daddy, try harder!"

At this, I burst into laughter and, of course, found the energy to pedal up the hill. At first, I thought this incredibly encouraging and sweet. James must have picked up on my reaction, because every thirty seconds or so for the rest of the ride home, he commanded, "Daddy, try harder!" One or two times of this is encouraging; after that, it becomes progressively more insulting, especially when you're already trying.


The following morning, I asked James what he wanted for breakfast. Being much like his mother, he declared, "Pizza!" So I obliged and made him a pizza bagel (kind of a compromise). As he chowed down, I asked, "Is it yummy?"

He replied, "No, it's yucky" through a mouthful of pizza bagel.

Taken aback, I said, "You're yucky."

He quickly responded, "No, you're yucky."

The boy has a quick wit.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Trains! Trains! Trains!

Last Sunday, I took James and his best buddy Benton to the "Great Train Expo". Being boys, they of course love trains and especially Thomas the Tank Engine and friends. They had a great time running around, watching trains go 'round and 'round, and of course sneaking under a couple rope barriers to get closer to things they shouldn't have (though they never touched anything they shouldn't have, they did make a few model train enthusiasts nervous). I got a couple cute photos of the boys watching a G-scale train running on ground level -- perfect for toddlers!

11.11.07 -- Train Show with Benton

Monday, November 1, 2010

Trick-or-Treat (Or, "I want more")

Yesterday was James' first trick-or-treating adventure. At first, he was a bit hesitant, but once he realized that he could collect unlimited free candy, including chocolate, which we would let him eat without restriction, he was all in. While he invariably used his manners and said "thank you" each time he received a treat, he was not adept at saying "trick-or-treat!" when approaching a candy-giver. At one house, he approached a nice woman in a witch hat with a bowl of candy. I prompted him with, "What do you say?" He held out his pumpkin bucket and declared, "I want more!"

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I Want A Big Hug

Last night putting James to bed, we had an absolute laugh-fest about saying that his dad was Scooby-Doo or that bear's daddy (from the book) was Scooby-Doo. (He's been obsessed with Scooby-Doo lately, though I don't know if he's ever even seen the dog. One of his friends from daycare is going to be Scooby-Doo for Halloween, so he must talk about it a lot). Wow was James ever cracking himself up. So, he was a little wound up; when I left the room (even 15 minutes later than normal) he was still settling down. As I was walking out, he whispered something. I couldn't hear, so came closer and asked him to repeat. He said, "I want I want a big hug" and stretched his arms out toward me. I had no idea my heart could grow so big.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pumpkin Festival!

Last week-end, we joined our friends Jon (or, as both I and James call him, Marbach) and Amy, and their lovely daughter Genevieve, to a pumpkin festival. The kiddos had fun romping around the pumpkin patch (well, romping in the case of James, being propped up against pumpkins in the case of Evie). There are some photos here:
10.10.09 -- Pumpkin Festival

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Where my sasuage at?

Last night we went out for dinner at a nearby sports restaurant/bar...not for the sports, but because they had cold beer, chicken wings, and a patio -- three things I was looking for on this lovely early-autumn evening. Alas, the patio was booked so we sat inside and had a pleasant meal. To our surprise, Becky and I were actually able to have a sustained conversation (the first time this has happened in a while) as James was completely mesmerized by the various large-screen TVs showing various sporting events. Now we know how to get ourselves a peaceful dinner without the need for a babysitter!

After dinner, we walked across the street to the grocery store to purchase supplies for the picnic dinner we had today with Jamie's best love Addie and her mom (and our dear friend) Auntie Jen. One of the first items we picked up was a miraculously vacuum-packed salami. James spent the next twenty minutes or so throwing the salami as far as he could down an aisle (which is pretty far; maybe he learned something from watching all that football at dinner!) and then chasing after it, picking it up again, and doing the same. Occasionally, he would throw it at a display of cereal boxes or dishwasher detergent instead of down the aisle. It would disappear behind the racks of dry goods and he would exclaim, laughing hysterically, "Where my sausage at?" The packaging never opened and the salami was delicious.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Just Right!

I'm sure everyone feels this way, and in fact I think there was a TV show whose title expressed this sentiment, but sometimes James just says the most amazing and surprising things. Yesterday we had two of those incidents...

First, we returned home after work/daycare and James needed a diaper change. He was very cooperative and when I was done I said, "All finished." James sat up and said, "Thank you Mommy." It was the first time he ever thanked me for changing his diaper and seeing as it has been more than two years - about time!

Later we were playing in his tent to which his tunnel attaches. James would crawl through and laugh and laugh and then say, "Mommy's turn." I attempted this a few times - no easy task even before I was pregnant. (I'm still cursing my parents for buying James the tunnel. Maybe we'll see if grandpa wants to crawl through when he is here in December.) Finally, I had to give up. I looked at James and said, "Mommy's too big." He was thoughtful for a moment and then replied, "James is just right." I could do nothing but wholeheartedly agree.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sometimes it's hard being a dad...

Parenting sometimes involves a great deal of sacrifice: of time, of personal interest, of other hobbies and commitments. This past week-end was an example of the opposite: we went camping, found snakes, played at the beach, and rode on a train (Thomas the Tank Engine, no less!). Actually, I felt like I was returning to my idyllic childhood only now I was able to enjoy a cold beer at the end of such an exciting day. Jamie's best buddy Benton came on the train, too -- along with his parents and his new (as of 4 months ago) baby sister Maria, who James was very curious about and insisted on giving a kiss at the end of the night. Enjoy some of these photos, especially the ones of James with the snake and the very, very cute photos of him and Benton together!

10.09.19 -- Camping & Thomas

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Our favorite pool closes this week-end, so we spent this very, very hot afternoon enjoying one last splishing and splashing rumpus. James gets more comfortable and more bold in the water every time. Today, he insisted on "swimming" back and forth between Mommy and Daddy at least 7,000 times. He wanted more more more of going under together and even intentionally dunks himself. This boy loves the water! We got some good photos of him at the pool:
10.09.05 -- James at Pool

And, just for Grandpa Slater, we got some video of his diving:
From 10.09.05 -- James at Pool

Friday, September 3, 2010

What Jamie Says

Yesterday morning while driving, James and I were playing the "What does a _____ say?" game. It went like this:

"What does a firetruck say?"


"What does an ambulance say?"


"What does a doggie say?"

"Woof! Woof woof!"

"What does Jamie say?"


"I love you!"

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Steamboat Springs!

Last week-end, we took a family adventure to Steamboat Springs for our friend Rachael's wedding (one of Becky's college friends). We had a great time up in the mountains and had many adventures -- ride the super-fancy ski lift to the top of the mountain for the reception, going to James' first rodeo, eating lots of ice cream, and having fun everywhere we went. James was his cheerful, funny self -- he's recently discovered how to be funny and obviously enjoys getting everyone to laugh. Here are a couple examples.

Before the wedding reception, all of the wedding guests went outside the restaurant for a giant group picture with the bride and groom. After the photograph had arranged everyone and we were waiting for the cue to smile, James yelled, "CHEEEEEESE!!!" Of course, this made everyone laugh, which made James do it several more times. I bet those pictures turned out great with all the genuine laughter.

Our drive home took nearly 7 hours -- about twice as long as it should have -- because of traffic heading back to Denver. For most of this drive, it was just James & I in the car together. At one point he was clearly getting bored (as was I), so he started to drink is bottle up-side down, putting the back end of the bottle in his mouth and pretending to drink. He knew it was funny and got us both laughing.

Our funny boy did have his two-year check-up today and we're very happy to say that he's in tip-top shape. He's 35 inches tall now and nearly 29lbs. Hard to believe that two years ago he was just barely opening his eyes...

Here are some photos of our fun adventures last week-end:
10.08.22 -- Steamboat Springs

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Jamie's Second Birthday Bash!

It’s back-to-school time for the whole family, so we’ve been busy busy busy! Jame is doing a great job transitioning into full-time daycare. It seems like a great place and by this week, just his second week, he was totally fine when I’d drop him off in the morning. His teachers have many positive comments about our boy – he loves being outside, he’s great with the little babies, and he doesn’t even use his pacifier or take a bottle!
Earlier this afternoon, James celebrated his second birthday with a Thomas the Tank Engine-themed party, which shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. He rode his new slide and had lots of fun with his friends Benton, Addie, Iris, Jude, and Logan! We posted a few photos here – as you can see, James and Benton are pretty much best buddies:
10.08.15-- Jamie's Birthday Party

Monday, July 26, 2010


This past week-end, we went on a family camping trip (well, cabin-camping, if you count that as camping) to State Forest State Park in the lovely Rocky Mountains. We went with our good friends Jon and Amy and their beautiful 3-month old baby girl, Genevieve. James had a blast playing with marshmallow skewers, looking for "real moose," playing a game of bodyslam with "Marbach" (as he calls Jon), and of course being very gentle with baby Evie. James fell in love with everyone, often saying "Marbach back" or "More...more Amy" when one of them would walk away. He was amazing with the baby: being gentle, sharing toys, and giving gentle hugs when she was upset. We took a couple nice hikes, played in the creek, and even saw a family of otters and a real moose! Given the success of this adventure, soon enough we'll try some tent camping!

See some photos here:
Camping in State Forest State Park

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Good Morning

James woke up crying around 4:00 last night. I tried to wait him out but he wasn't stopping and since Eric was out camping I decided to bring him into bed with me. He has gotten much less wiggly so all in all this was fine. Around 5:45 I heard James talking and rustling around. As best I could tell he was was talking in his sleep and saying, "Calling Super Truck!" and "Help Me, Super Truck!" - a clear sign we have been reading the book Super Truck too much lately. Next I felt him gently pat my arm and say very quietly, as if not to wake me, "Morning Mommy. Sweet Dreams." I tried my hardest not to laugh or smile too broadly hoping he might fall back to sleep. He didn't but lucky for him his wake up was sweet enough for me to put up with the pre-6:00am wake up.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

One Hip Boy

Not only is James a looker, but he is quite the talented musician as well:
James Plays Keyboard And Sings

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Many New Adventures!

James & I just arrived last night from a lovely trip to Buffalo, NY to visit his Nana & Papa, along with Great-Grandma Nina, Great Aunty Suzy, Cousins Matt & Jonny, and lots of other friends! We went swimming, watched trains, visited the Czar of the Woods Farm, and had a great time playing with all the toys that Nana has collected for Jamie. See some photos here:

10.06.21 -- Buffalo

Last week Thursday, James and I joined his friend Benton and Benton's daddy at the park...the boys have so much fun together! See some photos here:

10.06.17 -- James & Benton at Park

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Sweetest Boy

The other day James and, probably more truthfully, I, were looking for some new activity to do besides playing with trains or crawling through the tunnel. We came upon his basket of stuffed animals. In there we found baby Elmo dressed only in his diaper. James pointed to Elmo and said, “Elmo diaper.” Next, we got out a teddy bear, this one sans diaper. James pointed at the bear and asked, “Diaper?” After a brief exchange we decided to put a diaper on his teddy bear. I went and got a diaper and came back. James looked at me questioningly, pointed at the bear's butt, and said, “Poo-poo. Wipes?” So off I went again to get the wipes. James then gently held up the leg of his teddy, used the wipe to clean the bear and then, with my assistance, diaper him. As I watched I was overwhelmed by how cute and sweet he was – as well as my own wish that he would be as cooperative as the teddy bear when I changed his diaper.

On another day we visited the Cherry Creek Mall and the fake food play area. Revealing himself to truly be my child, he gravitated toward the bacon. Shortly thereafter several other boys came up with toy trucks and cars and raced them down the bacon ramp. James stared longingly at the cars and trucks and you could just about feel his fingers itching to get a hold of those trucks and race them himself. Suddenly, a truck jumped off the ramp and landed at his feet. He immediately picked it up and I watched to see what he would do. He looked down at the truck, up at the boy, and handed it back to the boy. This happened probably 2-3 more times and each time he kindly handed the toy back. It made me so sad, I just wanted those boys to share their toys with him and wished desperately I had a truck for him to play with, and so proud of how kind and sweet he already is.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Boy's Laughter

Today James laughed like I have never heard before. For some reason, he thought it was hilarious to use his toy excavator to dig inside my mouth. I would hold the toy in my mouth by the arm and repeat James' favorite exclamation: "Scoop! Dump!" Of course, this would come out somewhat muddled (ever try talking with an excavator in your mouth?), which made it even more funny. After a round of this, he would lean his head back and I would nuzzle/tickle him in that sweet spot where the jaw meets the neck, which sent him into convulsions. It was a combination of belly laugh and exploding giggle, as if his little body just couldn't hold back the joy. Then, we would do it again: excavator, scoop-dump, head back, tickle. And he would laugh hardily again, this time perhaps even more than the last. Best of all, after he caught his breath, he would let out a long sigh as he looked at me, a sort of, "Ahhhh..." that said both "I need a break" and "do it again."

Monday, May 31, 2010

New Photos!

To make things a bit easier, we're trying to post Jamie's photos using Picasa...try these links for some new photos!

James May 2010

James April 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

Jamie's First Complete Sentence

Ordinarily, James delights in eating strawberries. This morning, however, he was caught by some toddler whim and decided to throw his strawberry pieces, one by one, from his cereal bowl onto the floor. After our meal as I was taking him from his booster seat, he pointed down to the floor and said, "Messy."

I replied, "Yes, it's messy. Who made that mess?"

James stated, "Jamie mess."

"Yes," I said, "Who's going to clean the mess?"

With astonishing grammatical accuracy, James replied, "Daddy clean the mess."

Oh boy.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lots of New Adventures!

Hi Everybody!

James & I went to look for trains this morning and, while we didn't see any, I still insisted that James wear his train hat (that used to be my cousin Jason's).

We've just uploaded a bunch of new photos! See some pictures from Nanna & Poppa's visit in March here:

Also, a few more from a nature walk last week:

And, as promised, here is the video of James navigating the Atlanta Airport!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Back from South Carolina Adventures!

We just returned -- early, early this morning -- from a lovely week in Charleston, SC visiting Jamie's Grandpa and Grandma. We all had a great time playing at the beach, looking for turtles, exploring the playground, running around, and doing all those things that energetic, unflappable toddlers love to do. Well, mostly unflappable.

Jamie's list of new words from this trip is impressive: grandma, grandpa, froggy, upstairs, downstairs, tanker car, and fire. Please don't ask us to explain the context in which these words, together, were important.

See some fun photos here:

And coming soon -- a video of James fearlessly navigating the Atlanta International Airport!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Saying Bye-Bye to Nana & Papa

James' Nana & Papa, as he calls my parents, visited this past week-end. Despite being on the mend from a nasty bacterial infection resulting in a double ear infection and double conjunctivitis, James had a lovely time -- playing trains, taking baths, doing his happy naked dance, and visiting all the animals at the zoo.

He fell asleep on the way home from the airport today and continued his nap at home. When he awoke this afternoon, we were playing around the house when he ran down the hallway and began pounding on the closed door to the office/guest room. I was curious what had him so motivated, so I opened the door. He walked to the center of the room and looked around, stunned and forsaken, repeating plaintively, "Papa? Papa? Ooch ooch!" (translated: Grandpa! Grandpa! Come play trains with me!).

Photos of our recent adventures will be coming soon!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Adventures in the Mundane

James and I went to get the oil changed and a maintenance check-up on the car this morning. The timing wasn't ideal, since the past several days I've been struggling a bit with feeling distracted in my attentions for the boy -- on Saturday it was cleaning snake cages, on Sunday a monumental day of cooking and baking, and yesterday with some boring old laundry. While my cleaning habits have certainly never been described as "anal," too often I worry that five minutes spent doing dishes is five minutes with my toddler son that I'll never have back. This is irrational, of course -- I have the gift of an abundance of quality time with my son and it is healthy for him to play by himself for periods. (Spying on him when he thinks he's unattended is a treat as well -- Becky found him repeatedly imitating the "slide" sound in one of his audio books and this morning I found him cooing and making train sounds while pulling his Thomas locomotive around the room.) Nonetheless, my penchant for hyperbole and dramatics wins out and, despite a clean kitchen, I'm retroactively saddened by each minute spent in distraction. So, I worried this morning would be another drag-the-boy-along-for-what-daddy-wants-to-do affair, me placating him with grapes while in some protracted discussion with the mechanics about the health of our station wagon. It was not. Rather, James sat patiently on the counter for the two minutes (total) it took to check in and pay out; the duration of the morning was spent on a leisurely and sunny walk, chasing Canada geese and norther pintails at the nearby park, and chasing each other around the maze of playground equipment. The birds, as tall as him and certainly faster on their feet, were unafraid of his advances: rather than unanimously take wing in fear, they casually strolled off. When they were finally trapped between the water and the advancing menace, they flocked off with a fury of beating wings. James asked for "more, more" repeatedly, even after I explained that it is impossible for me to coax the birds back, just as I cannot conjure more fire trucks or predict train schedules. Oh, the failures of a father. Being out of the house, away from work, and outside on a sunny early-spring morning was the perfect and unpredicted recipe for quality time, a fortuitous encounter like a snow day or getting stopped by a train on your way somewhere you don't want to go. James has taught me much about surprises and making the best of a moment, any moment.

Noodles! (with Mamma)

As often as I can I try to plan some adventures for James and I to have in our evenings together - it sure beats being in the house all the time. Yesterday we had big plans - get some lavender oil (it might help him sleep better) and go play at Gymboree.

After picking James up from PS1 we headed to Whole Foods. James pushed a "child-sized" cart, rode in the car shopping cart, filled his own cup from the water jug (over and over with mamma drinking big gulps to keep it from overflowing), and ran up and down a ramp about a bazillion times. I bought us some pizza and noodles to have for dinner before we went off to play. After finding a booth to sit in (so I could sit on the outside and keep James on the inside) the fun began.

He climbed the window ledge (So he could get a better view? I'm not sure as it was a floor to ceiling window), found my receipt and had fun crumpling it up and throwing into the next booth, and decided what he really needed to do was climb on the table. We compromised with me allowing him to sit on the table but not stand as was his original intention.

He quickly discovered the bag with our purchases. He pulled down the edge, peered inside, looked up at me and said, "Noodles?!" Being no dummy myself, I knew it was time to bust out the noodles.

After cutting them into small pieces we took turn scooping bites onto the fork for James to eat with an occasional hand darting in to grab an extra handful of noodles. By this point James was very happy and very excited. He began to flap his arms, and with a mouth covered in the object of his affection, chant, "Noodles! Noodles! Noodles!" He would pause only long enough to grab another bite or smile at my laughter before going back to his flapping and chanting.

As I glanced out the window I saw a passenger in a car waving, smiling, and laughing at James and his antics and I thought, I am indeed a very lucky mamma.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

New James Photos

We've finally uploaded some photos from February and some from March! See James playing with his friend Iris, taking his first bike ride, watching, trains, swimming, helping make a cake, and making his favorite "smile" face for the camera!

All photos are posted here:

Sunday, February 28, 2010

What a big boy!

James is bigger to me today, as if he's loosing some of his infant tendencies and becoming a little boy. This is exactly the case, of course, but it's odd how it seems to happen in a sort of punctuated equilibrium: I've spent every day with him for countless months and yet today, suddenly, here is my boyish toddler. This is a photo taken at the pool as we waited for kiddie-swim to begin. Don't worry, we weren't outside in February in our swim trunks; he's standing in front of a window.

Jamie's First Bald Eagle

James is learning the birds. Though he's yet to master the pronunciation of Colaptes auratus, he does happily repeat "magpie" whenever we see one on our walks, which is often. Yesterday, as we left the house on a cloudy afternoon to set out on a bicycling adventure, the sparrows and finches in the neighbor's trees sounded their chirpy alarms. I peered at the barren treetops, expecting to see a hawk, usually a Swainson's or red-tailed, which is not unusual but still exciting. I was startled to noticed the outline of a bird much too massive for a hawk; it was a bald eagle! While our family is certainly not known for our affinity to patriotic symbolism, this was still very exciting: these once near-extinct birds are majestic and regal (which adjectives, when linked to the word "bald," always make me happy). He or she was perched atop a towering cottonwood, peering down sternly and serenely (and, one might surmise, hungrily) at the neighborhood. I gave James a quick history lesson on DDT, raptor eyesight, and habitat range, which he mostly absorbed. The photo here is not great, but you can clearly see this is an adult Haliaeetus leucocephalus.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Jumping Cherub

Yesterday, in honor of cherubs everywhere and in celebration of St Valentine's Day, James enjoyed some Run Around Naked time. This involved snuggling with his big, fuzzy blanket, dancing, and his new favorite activity, jumping. He was practicing his leaping skills off this book for at least 20 minutes without pause. The attempt immediately following the one you see here was interrupted by peeing all over the book (daddy's good bird book).