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.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Biggest Shark

I don't remember how we got on the topic, but the other night at dinner James wanted us to name all the fish. Becky and I came up with quite an impressive list, I must say. We then started discussing what are fish (sharks) and what are not fish (dolphins). At a certain point, I asked James if he knew that the biggest fish was the whale shark. He disagreed, insisting that the largest fish was the great white shark. We asked him how he knew this, to which he replied that his friend Theo had told him. We said that maybe we could look it up on the computer together or look in his shark book, suggestions that only frustrated James. He was absolutely insistent. In an attempt to end the argument, he simply declared, "I just know more than you guys."

If he thinks that now, what will he think when he's 17!?

Thursday, January 3, 2013


James has been very interested in the Titanic lately. It started with a YouTube video and then expanded to a book (which we once read three times in one day). While in New Jersey visiting family for Christmas we discovered their science museum had a Titanic exhibit. Eric and James went to see it and had a great time. Later that night I was talking with James. Here's how it went...

Me:      What did you think of the exhibit?
James:  It was amazing and sad.
Me:       It was amazing because it was so big. Why was it sad?
James:  Because a lot of people died.
Me:      They did and that is really sad?
James:  Did they all go to Kevin?
Me:      What do you mean?
James:  When they died did they all go to Kevin? (meaning heaven)
Me:      Yes they did. (smiling)

Snow and icefishing!

Believe it or not, it has been nearly two years since I've had a chance to play in the show! We had one morning last winter when me and my buddy Freddy went sledding, but that melted by afternoon. I've been real excited to get out there, but we left town right as the blizzard hit last month! Fortunately, it's stayed cold enough that all the snow is still here, so I got to play in it yesterday with my daddy. It was fun, but it was too cold even to make a snowman or snowballs!

And I got to do something really cool...go icefishing! My buddy Freddy and his daddy took me and my dad out to a spot here in town. It was real fun to be out on the frozen lake, especially when the dads pulled us around on a sled. I was curious about how ice fishing worked and pretty disappointed that we didn't catch anything. I guess we'll have to go again!

Snow and icefishing!