Top ten: Jaimecito at 15 months edition


Little dude speaks (hears) Spanish by day, English by night (and weekend), so from time to time we like to keep him on his toes with a little Español in the old nombre.  Voilà (that’s not Spanish): Jaimecito. The diminutive just means we like him a whole lot.

So top ten favorite things for the 15 month old:

10. Wheel of Fortune. It’s his favorite TV show. Really the only one he actually watches. Kids shows bed damned, the boy loves the Wheel.  Mom already dreams of the day that she and little dude can appear as contestants on family week (I’m not kidding).

9. Smoothies. In his very own smoothie cup. Some mornings he chugs it so fast he has a reversal of fortune, but we’re learning to slow him down to avoid such a fate.

8. Hiking! Dad got a new backpack for dad’s day and despite some initial screaming, by the end of the hike little dude was psyched.

7. The beach, the sand, sometimes the water, but always the beach! Beach babies are the absolute best. Sunblock, mom, always sunblock. Protect that sweet boy’s skin.

6. Cherries. A cherry stained baby face is a sight to be seen. Sweet boy with bright red dribble.

5. The playground. Everyday after work. We change his diap, he screams, I ask do you want to the go the playground? and he replies with the sweetest, squeakiest little yeah I have ever heard. Heart: melting.

4. His drum. And all of the instruments it contains. Sure, the pots, pans, and whisk are still highlights, but he gravitates towards that drum. Poor thing has no idea musical talent does not run in this family.

3. Travel (be still mom’s heart). We adventured to DC this past month, and the boy loved it. So many smiles, such a good traveler. I can only hope that this is a sign of things to come.

2. The grill at Gramma’s…and the kitchen utensils (real and toy) that go with it. He’ll play for HOURS.

1. MOM. and Dad. Some days one more than the other, but we’re always, always, always good for a giant grin, and we always, always, always melt at the sight of it. Good thing he can’t talk, or we would have promised him the world by now.

So you tell me, what else is grand for a 15 month old Jaimecito? The boy loves new adventures – enlighten us!

[in the effort of full disclosure, there are a few amazon affiliate links above. They all come with two very enthusiastic Jaimecito thumbs up]

On keeping it all together…


I ponder this a lot…the notion of keeping it all together…if it’s possible, if I care to, if it’s even worth pondering.  I think I must care to if I spend so much time pondering it, but I’m uncertain about if it’s possible or even worth the thought.

Keeping it all together runs along the same lines in my mind as the notion of balance.  No one ever seeks balance when their world is too full of good things.  We seek balance when the crap outweighs the fun stuff…and is it the perhaps the same when I’m thinking about keeping it all together?  I wouldn’t worry about it if everything I was trying to keep together was all fun, smiles, and joy.  But welcome to life, it’s not all fun, smiles, and joy.  There’s the daily crap, the work crap, the house crap, the baby crap (I mean that literally more than figuratively - we have a lot of diapers to wash).  And it’s a lot to think about.

Most of it I enjoy thinking about.  Some of it I don’t.  Again, welcome to life.

But the feeling of juggling too much, being a hamster stuck in a wheel where if I miss one step, the whole thing crumbles into me tumbling along with the wheel?  That’s the part that gets me.

The thing is that I have created this hamster wheel.  I steer the ship.  It’s my world to do with as I please.  And in that sense, how do my daily choices affect the outcome of a week, a month, a year? And how do I shape them so that this wild ride that I call life looks just like that: a wild, wild ride full of laughter, joy, and memories?

I’m not sure…but one thing I am certain of is that I will never stop trying.


How I say rest doesn’t necessarily mean rest as most of the world thinks of it. But it does mean time away. Time for a beach run. beach run Time for a walk in the woods.

shoulder ride Time for a million laps walking beach, followed by some time digging in the sand, splashing in the waves, running from the chairs to the sea to the chairs to the sea. beach So rest we do not. But enjoy? Savor? Embrace? That we do. All in, to the best of our abilities, with all of our might.  Because life is too short to squander the time spent together, the precious days we have to relax (we define relax about as loosely as we define rest!) and enjoy.

May we never change.


Adventures in…the simple.

These days our adventures take on a very different form than adventures of yesteryear.  We adventure in nothingness, which is not to say that we’ve ceased adventuring (never!), but it is to say that we adventure in the simplest of ways.

c and dad

The backyard.


The garden.

water table

The basement, oh goodness, the basement brings such delight. It’s a dungeon. With a washer, a dryer, and lots of homebrew.

The bathtub.


The evening stroll down the block to meet Dad at his car.

A cup of goldfish.


A new trick.


It’s all very simple by nature, yet somehow, through those tiny hazel eyes, the most simple becomes the most grand, the most mundane brings the most delight.

Life takes on new forms as we meander through it, and I have to say that the form in which we sit right now? I like it. A lot. I still yearn for big adventures beyond the everyday trips to the grocery store, sprints across the backyard, wanders around the block.  But those everyday adventures?  While smaller in scale, less likely to induce squeals of delight from mom (though not from James), and seemingly mundane…they are adventures nonetheless. Adventures that shape our days, provoke joy, define dreams.

Adventures in seeing the world through one year old hazel eyes: perhaps these adventures might just be the grandest adventures of all.


Father’s Day Ale

Dad’s Day is all about dads, so when I asked C what he wanted to do this weekend, his response was: brew So brew we did. A Father’s Day ale, full of delightful aromas and flavors and fingers crossed it’s a success.  We’ll find out in a few weeks.  It’s beer number eight for Aardal (Home)Brewing Company (we’ll be in business in no time at all). Anyways, in order to accomplish his wishes, we headed to Hopster’s Brew & Boards in hopes of killing two three birds with one stone: buying beer supplies, watching World Cup soccer, and enjoying a pint. Look at these two (my little heart loves this so very much): J and C Our trip a success, we journeyed home to brew the ale, make some spent grain pizza dough, cook a pizza pie, and relax the afternoon away.  Day number one of Father’s Day weekend?  A whopping success (as rated by all).

Two years: the cotton celebration

Two years doesn’t seem like much until you put two and two together (one and one?) and get three of us, two grown-up jobs, one house to call a home, two new cars (RIP Milk Mobile), a whole world of change.


Two years ago we gathered with our most important people, we bared our souls, and we promised to create a lifetime of adventure together. We laughed, we cried, we celebrated with joy, so very much joy.


We felt young, carefree, excited for what was to come.


Little did we know.

Little did we know the life ahead: the precious little boy who would join us not 11 months later (yes, we move quickly, we’re no spring chickens, by god!). The sleepless nights, the worry for a tiny little soul, the desire to give this boy the world. The absolute innocence. The joy. The smile to melt all hearts. The giggle. The happiness.


Little did we know. We thought we had it all, as we held each other close, scurried all over the world, got lost in adventure. We thought we had it all.

And we did. Sort of. But now? Now we have…more. So much more.

Sure, so much less freedom, so much less time to think selfishly, to run free, be careless.

But so much more joy, so much greater love, so many shared lessons.

It’s true what they say about love growing if you treat it well. Maturing. Transitioning into a different, deeper emotion of understanding, respect, admiration (and goofy grins, always goofy grins).


So we celebrate a quick two years with a cotton celebration, which seems a bit silly and a bit fitting given that two years…well…we have a lifetime of two years ahead of ourselves if we play our cards right. But cotton is how they say to celebrate, so cotton is how we will…

Here’s to many, many more, my most favorite man. You’re the best one around.


Month 14

I keep intending to come here more often, and the days keep passing and I keep not.  So it goes.  Here I am!  And here he is, the 14 month old with the most joyous smile, infectious laugh, and sweetest hairdo.  Really, the hair. Little dude rocks it.   IMG_2647Eating: Everything. I can’t even remember the new stuff he tried this month, because it was…everything. Whatever we’re eating, whatever he wants, whatever is not tied down. It’s great – he had some making up to do after being sick for so much of the winter, and we think he’s back on track. The big new food was peanut butter – only twice so far, but he didn’t explode or implode or really do anything notable at all, so I think we’re in the clear. For now.  (Exhale, Mama, exhale)


Naps: Still two, but not as consistent as they used to be. One short one, one longer (usually) one.  I think we’re on the brink of shrinking to one nap.

Passport stamps: No new ones, but plenty of adventure this month including his first night away from Mom and Dad. He had a sleepover party at Gramma and Grampa’s house while M&D ran away to play for a night. Everyone survived, though it seemed that Dad returned the worst for the wear.  I think we all know why.  Ahem.  Beer.


Weight: over 21 pounds at the last ear infection check-up. Back on track is right (he’s still a little guy, but not as teeny little as a couple months ago).

Height: Not sure…but growing for sure as his pants are short.  Poor lad.

Teeth: Four on the bottom, four on the top, plus two top molars. Boy has done a lot of teething recently.  Toothy grin.

New tricks: Lots of chatter! No really words (aside from the “Daaaaaah” of “Ta-daaaaaah.” Maybe “this” (dis!)?  Tons of “da da da da DAAAAA” but that has gone on for a while. He found his “m” and now babbles “mamamamamama” from time to time which of course I adore. He also has his “s” down and enjoys “sssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.”  OH, and he gives kisses in English and Spanish.  Sweet boy.


Signs: Milk, eat, all done, more (sort of – though sometimes it’s just a point at the food he wants more of), lots of shaking his head “no.”

Obsessed with: Pots, pans, spoons, whisks. He slept with a giant wooden spoon the other night. It was cute until he batted his parents with it as he resisted falling asleep.  He carries one with him almost at all times and wants to stir any bowl in sight.  Again, cute until the bowl has something in it.


So there we have it, 14 months of adventure with the sweetest boy in the world. So much fun, this not-so-tiny-anymore little dude.

Month 13

A year and a month, a year and a month.  It seems so crazy!  A year and…

So much fun this month. For one, we celebrated the return of our healthy little boy, and along with that health came the smiles, the laughter, and the sweetest little person in the whole world.  We all feel a million times better, and our fingers are crossed that we stay this way.

First birthday scenes:
The biggest event of the month was communication. We saw our first signs!  Mini man now proudly tells us when he’s looking for the milk truck, and Mom, as a dutiful milk truck, obliges. It’s fairly incredible to me to think that this is just the beginning, and that once the communication starts, it opens up a whole new world. So much chatter. Oh, and after milk followed all done, and we think maybe eat?  Still looking for more, though the mouth wide open lunge might be sign enough.
Our usual run-through:
Eating: now that he is healthy, EVERYTHING. Most notably, everything that we eat. He prefers our food (buffalo chicken, tortellini salad, cheeseburgers, turkey sandwiches) to his own baby-type food. We don’t complain – it makes our lives much easier, as our food is his food is our food is his food. We all like to eat.
Naps: still two, but beginning to wonder when two might shrink to one. We’re getting there I think.
Passport stamps: One more quick trip to the hospital (just tests, everything is fine, it was a nightmare) and a canceled trip to Washington, D.C., but other than that, not much travel excitement this month.
Weight: Still hovering around 18 pounds and a bunch of ounces. We’re working on it with his appetite being back though – little dude is skinny!
Height/head size: Slowing down on the growing…again, we’re working on it now that he’s a hungry kid again. Head is still giant, 90th percentile. Height is about 15th. Poor thing.
New tricks: Walking everywhere! Not confidently and not tons of steps, but definitely stringing steps together and walking on his own without prodding from us. It’s simultaneously great and sad (sad because he’s not a tiny little baby anymore!).
Let go of my hands, Dad – I got this!
Teeth: Lots more coming through. One more on the bottom (his 6th), and two molars on the top (7th and 8th).  Maybe another one, but I can’t tell for sure just yet.
Obsessed with: The musical instruments from Gramma for Easter. Still Chomp and Clack. Dad’s garden (and sticking his hand in the freezing water from the hose), the zapper/blipper/remote control whatever you call it, the telephone, Wheel of Fortune (be still my heart)
So there you have it, 13 months of wee dude. So so so much love to my tiny little side kick.

Holding on to a smile.

Why do I leave his smile every day?  I ponder this question more and more these days. How do I find something better suited to these lofty visions I have for what our world should be? Where do I even begin to look?

I notice that these thoughts are a pattern, and not a good one. When I look back into the archives of my thoughts, this notion is ever-present since the wee man came to be. It was so easy before James to scuttle along, following each whim, confident that what I chose need not be permanent. I maintain those same thoughts now – my current existence will not always be my daily routine – but somehow there is more to it.

The choices mean more, say more, feel more.

This little guy is at stake.

And you – no, I – only live once.

So what do I want it to be?

And why do I choose to leave him each day?

Realistically, there are answers. A paycheck, health insurance, retirement benefits, a bit of my life to call my own. A life outside of our little bubble at home.

But does it need to be every day? And does it need to be in this space that continually beats me down, wears me out, tries to make me believe I am not enough?  I don’t think it does. And I know that it does not need to be a place that makes me feel any less courageous, intelligent, strong, and kind than I am.

So what do I do?

The same thing I always have done: I create change.

The only question remaining is how.

ONE. (Month 12)

One. He’s one. I thought it would feel like more of a relief, like we’ve made it out of the woods, but the poor little dude spent a lot of month twelve feeling sick, so in reality the first birthday was more of a blur of exhaustion, worry, and more exhaustion.  It was okay…he pulled himself together to celebrate with family, eat some cake, and play in the back yard, but the little guy was still not himself.

The details of month 12:

Eating: not a whole lot. Given that he has been sick so much, he’s down to mostly milk from mom more often than not. We’re doing our best to stuff him full of food when he’s healthy, but our efforts feel futile at times given that the poor little thing just cannot kick the winter sicknesses.

Naps: Two, as usual, and sometimes more when he’s feeling sick!

Passport stamps: Still two…with plans for Spain and England in the fall.  Other trips on the horizon include Denver (not sure when!) and Seattle this summer.

Weight: up over 18 pounds, but stuck there since nine months. Again, the sicknesses – he needs a break to get back on track with the weight gain.

Height and head size: Two feet five inches? Slowed down, again thanks to being sick. And again, he needs a break to get back on track with the growing!

New tricks: WALKING!!! He took a step or two the day before his birthday, and then low and behold on his birthday he toddled all over the room. He’s not confident in his ability by any means, but we’ll get there. Boy is growing up.

Teeth: Still five, but two molars are peeking through and a fourth tooth on the bottom.

Obsessed with: Snack cups. The stairs at Gramma’s house (he climbs them). Pots and pans. Goldfish cookies.

So that’s that. A year of sweet little baby James. A year that taught me and Chris so very, very much. We’re tired after a winter of sick baby, but when those smiles return…oh goodness, it’s all so very worth it.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Baby James. Thank you for the lessons you teach, the laughter you share, the joy you bring. We can’t imagine our world without you.