Sunday, June 19, 2011

Kids & Snakes

This August, I will start my PhD program in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at Iowa State University. Mostly, I will be studying garter snakes -- the same animal that I chased, caught, and admired in my youth. Actually, I will be fortunate enough to have a job as adult doing basically the same thing I did when I was 9 years old: running around beautiful places looking for, and catching, snakes. Of course, every parent hopes to share their passions with their kids. I'm pleased to say that in recent weeks, this has undoubtedly been the case.

James has had a great deal of fun playing with his toy rubber snake lately. The other day, he even fell asleep for his nap clutching the snake's neck, in a hold that would make his grandmother proud:

Anna, too, clearly loves her snakes:

And today, James and I caught a little garter snake on our hike:

James was an amazing field assistant, helping me to handle the snake and even weigh the little guy! I could want for nothing else this Father's Day. For more photos of James the field assistant, see here:
Jamie the Field Assistant

Best Buddies

James and Benton are best buddies. While other toddlers can play next to each other at best, these two have been pals since they were both a little over one year old. While they share toys amazingly well and seldom, if ever, argue, the best thing about their friendship is the way they can make each other laugh. Benton can say one small, goofy thing and James virtually explodes with belly laughter. Of course, once a joke is successful, it needs to be used again -- and, if you're a toddler, over and over and over again, eliciting the same uncontrollable laughter each time.

This past Saturday, Benton spent the day with us. The first thing that they did upon Benton's arrival was to throw each of Jamie's Thomas the Tank Engine toys across the living room. Then each of the pieces of track. And the station. Then, they dumped two large bins of cars, trucks, and trains and chucked those. It was mayhem. But, as we always tell James, "It's OK to make a mess, as long as you clean it up." We told the boys that they needed to pick every one up before we could go swimming. Switching from destructive mode to cooperative mode, they put every piece back.

The boys had a lovely time in the Puddle Jumper pool near our house on this beautiful, hot summer morning. They spent a solid 30 minutes playing "dunk" -- Bention would count, "One-two-three!" and put his head in the water, holding his breath for a surprisingly long time. James would follow with his count: "Eight-nine-ten-forty!" and dunk his head. Back and forth this went.

After the pool, we brought the boys home for nap time. This is a precarious proposition on any day, but with these two together we were quite certain that, though it might be fun, it would not result in any sleep. Much to our surprise, it did.

To make our dinner date with friends, we had to wake the boys up from their nap. This was followed by a long, sleepy drive. They had worn themselves out.

We are so grateful that James has such wonderful friends (and their families!) -- next week, James will spend two days and a night with Benton's family while Becky & I try to buy ourselves a new house in Iowa.

For all the photos of these adventures (including a couple of little baby sister in her swim gear), see here:
11.06.18 -- James & Benton

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Broccoli and Noodles Together

Tonight James came home, half asleep on Eric's shoulder, after a long day of playing hard with his best friend Benton. As Eric carried him to his room he lifted his head and said, with a sleepy smile on his face and in his voice, "Mom I ate broccoli and noodles together." He was obviously very proud of himself.

I laughed to myself and thought how he sounded a bit like a drunk coming home at after a long binge and realized that he probably was sleep drunk after such an exciting day.

NOTE FROM DAD: It turns out that this was actually not even true. James did NOT have broccoli and noodles together. He had some noodles, but didn't touch the broccoli.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Fun with Grandma & Grandpa!

Last week, Grandma and Grandpa visited! We had so much fun and Grandpa took some amazing photos!

Fun with Grandma & Grandpa!