Category Archives: James

18 Months: James

James turned 18 months old on January 1st and marked the occasion by not getting out of his pajamas. Seriously, the kids loves his pjs and most days it’s a big production to convince him to put clothes on. I’m not sure I blame him, though. It is pretty cold and some days I wouldn’t mind hanging out all day in footie pjs.


I took him for his wellness check up this morning and he’s 33.5 inches long (a one inch growth 3 months!), and weighs 24lbs 8oz (less than a pound growth), which puts him at the high end for height and middle for weight. He didn’t have any shots this time and thoroughly impressed the NP by not freaking out when she examined him. I was shocked because he’s never been easy at the pediatrician. This woman had the magic touch and I’m hoping that all future visits go this smoothly.

He is mostly happy but when he is not, he makes sure everyone knows. If he has to wait 30 seconds for whatever fruit he’s asked for, he will scream and cry like it’s the end of the world. Wes has tried the stern approach of looking at him and sharply saying, “Pull yourself together” and it works, but he will hear no such thing from me.

He loves to be outside no matter what the temperature is and would happily play out back all day if only Stella and I didn’t get so cold so quickly! Of course, when his hands do get too cold to be outside, it’s the end of the world (again).

After a few rough months of sleep, we’re getting back on track and he’s sleeping through the night, though he still wakes up way too early for our liking (especially now that we lived in the land of constant dark!) and is sometimes so angry that he probably should go back to bed, but try telling an 18-month old that. If Stella hears him in the morning, she’ll run to his room to check on him and then come wake me and Wes up, as if we can’t hear him calling out (we can, we just want to see if he’ll go back to sleep). Actually, I think it cheers him up to see her first thing in the morning, and any time Stella’s playing nicely with him, I’m happy.

He’s taken an interest in trains and cars, but also dolls and strollers and dress up. He will bring me Stella’s tutus and when we put it on him, he’ll twirl around and he looks so damn happy.


He loves to cuddle, but has a hard time sitting still for too long. A few nights ago I asked him if he wanted to snuggle before bed and he said yes, but after just a few minutes he was ready to get in bed. When we lay him in bed, he puts his hands behind his head in the ultimate rest position and there’s something about a toddler in that position that is so cute and hilarious all at once.


He loves piggy back rides and running around like a crazy person in the house. We have so much space here that he can run from everyone. His vocabulary is growing each day and lately he’s taken to squealing “Get you!” when he runs around.

He’s the reason for most of my frustrations between 3pm and the time Wes walks through the door, but I get it. He wants what he wants but doesn’t yet have all the words to say what he wants. Sure he can tell you that he wants cheerios, but he can’t articulate that he wants to pour them himself, or that he wants grapes on the vine. And he doesn’t understand why we won’t just let him hold the damn dog leash, even though he took a big crash last night and darted right in to our neighbor’s house when Wes gave him a shot at it. But he’s also the reason for so many smiles throughout the day. His smile is huge and is laugh is infectious and his love for everyone in this house is immense.


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A few weeks ago, Santa came through the neighborhood in a fire truck. The kids were excited until they had a chance to get close and then they wanted nothing to do with him. Wes and I were prepared to skip the visit this year, but then they suddenly couldn’t stop talking about Santa. There was a Santa-looking man at Costco wearing the red and white hat, never-ending Christmas movies on Netflix, and James just kept saying, “Santa” in a sad little voice so we decided to brave the holiday shopping and find one for them to visit. 

We settled on Bass Pro Shop because they have a million stuffed animals and a huge fish tank that would entertain them while we waited. We got there around 2pm and the line looked pretty short but then we were told we needed a Bass Pass and the next time slot was 5pm. So we got our pass, walked around for a bit and then headed to the nearby mall to make a return and kill some more time. 

Back at Bass, we wandered the aisles looking for a present for Tsunami. We walked through every department and finally headed to Santa’s wonderland where there was coloring, toys, games, and a train to entertain them until it was our time. 

We anticipated them freaking out about sitting on a stranger’s lap, Santa or not, but he was incredibly nice and asked both of their names before telling them they were going to get a picture and then a candy cane. Luckily, candy canes have been my kids ‘ love language lately and as soon as they heard that they sat patiently for the picture.   

When asked what they would like for Christmas, they both stared blankly. Strange considering Stella spent a good portion of our afternoon grabbing things and proclaiming “oh, I love this!” Wes got them to agree that they’d like the very things Santa was actually bringing them, and then they grabbed their candy canes but very nicely waited until they were out of Santa’s lap to demand we open them. 

All in all, a success. We are spending Christmas with Wes’ family this year, our first family Christmas in 6 years! 

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Twelve Months: James

James turned one year old last month and I’m just now getting around to writing about it because life is crazy. He is crazy. Adorable, but crazy.

The kid has a better tan than all of us and is probably slathered in the most sunscreen when we leave the house because he’s still the baby. Apparently he learned from Dad that a farmer’s tan is all the rage. He wears it well, though.


He finally got his own chair from Grama and Grampa Bishop, and it came just in the the nick of time. He’d started getting very curious about Stella’s but she wasn’t too excited about sharing it. IMG_0151 

Twelve months, man. It flew by.  How he went from a snuggly little baby who only ate, slept, and pooped to a toddler who walks and climbs and barely sleeps just blows my mind. He is keeping us all on our toes for sure. His teeth have come in fast and furious and keep us awake at all hours of the night. I can’t wait until they’re finally all in and we can stop buying Tylenol on a regular basis.


He’s starting to understand more and more and watching the light of recognition in his eyes when he recognizes something or is able to follow a direction I give him is amazing. IMG_0154 

He is a lover, this boy. Hugs and kisses all around for pretty much anyone who wanders by him. He loves all animals and when he sees anything that looks like a dog (horse, cat, goat) he gets so excited “Dah,” he yells with a huge smile on his face.


He says “mam” (and I always think of Will Ferrell in Wedding Crashers yelling for his mom to bring him meatloaf) and “Da” and I think I hear the beginning of Stella’s name when she comes downstairs in the morning. He signs “milk” for everything so you can imagine how fun it is trying to figure out what exactly he wants!IMG_0157 

His four molars are starting to pop up and it’s making life pretty miserable. Some nights are fine and some nights he wakes up screaming. I can’t wait until they’re all up and ready to to chew. He has finally gotten the grasp of keeping food in his mouth so the packets of baby food are on their way out and I’m not at all sorry about that.


His hair is a crazy mop that sometimes makes him look like he’s in a boy band and probably makes it hard for him to see but I’m not ready to cut it just yet. IMG_0155 

He is 30 1/2 inches and 20 pounds 7 ounces, a nine-inch growth from birth! James, you exhaust us daily with your endless energy but you also fill our hearts with love and laughter and watching you grow this past year has been so much fun. I can’t wait to see what your second year brings us. (More sleep, please!)IMG_3484

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Listen Up, Kid

oh, man. This is such a fun age. He understands more and more each day and I love to ask him to do things and watch as he comprehends and does them.

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June 19, 2015 · 5:46 pm

11 Months: James

James is now 11 months old and it’s hard to believe that at this time last year I was just complaining about everything. How has it already been 11 months? Since learning to walk, James has been getting faster and faster every day. No doubt that he’ll be running around soon. DSCN4580 He figured out how to climb out of the dog door (a trick that Stella seemed blissfully unaware of until she was nearly 18 months old) and that has made life so much crazier. He can (and will) climb everything in his path, which means I’m constantly running between cooking dinner and peeking out back to make sure that he hasn’t fallen off the back of a chair or the little table. Mostly he’s covered in Tsunami’s water, but that’s definitely preferable to taking a dive off the chairs. He also enjoys putting various items out the dog door so I’m constantly finding toys or remote controls or books outside. DSCN4550 Tsunami’s water and food bowls are some of his favorite toys so I spend a lot of time picking him up, soaking wet, and relocating him to some place I think is far enough away to make him forget about it, only to have to remove him 30 seconds later. Tsunami’s been handling it pretty well and will just back up when James crawls under her to start playing. DSCN4552 He loves to open and shut doors and smiles when he opens it for me or Stella. We’ve luckily only had one finger-slamming incident, but it was minor and Stella learned that maybe playing open-shut with James isn’t the best idea. Now she handles the closing and opening of doors when they play together. DSCN4553 He learned to wave, but is still mastering when exactly to do it. He also learned to clap and he gets the biggest smile (the kid is full of big smiles) when he catches my eye and claps. He will clap when he hears other people clapping, whether it’s in real life or on tv, and when someone says “yay” he’ll get in on that, too. DSCN4579 His 8th tooth popped through and though I was prepared for many sleepless nights, he managed it pretty well. He also got another cold, which brought back those random night-wakings. We’re still working our way out of it. DSCN4574 He gives big hugs and slobbery kisses and runs at full speed towards most anyone. Sometimes when we’re outside, he’ll roam around and then catch my eye and rush towards me with a smile. He’s fine when I’m out of the room, but as soon as I come back in he calls “Ma-ma Ma-ma” until I pick him up for a cuddle. For a baby who wasn’t really into cuddles, he’s definitely turned into a snuggler. Mostly when it suits him, but I don’t mind because he is one good cuddler. DSCN4567 He is signing for milk now, which I think encompasses everything from breastmilk to water to food. It’s so cute to see his little hands going, unless it’s 1am. DSCN4565 He is “talking” a lot more and I love to hear his voice. He squeals and babbles and Stella and I spend car rides wondering what he wants. One day when he was crying Stella said, “I’m sorry James, but I don’t have any milk in my boobies for you.” They were buckled in their car seats and I was driving and she was worried that he might think she was ignoring him. Sometimes Stella can be a little rough with James, but the love she has for her little brother constantly amazes me, and the smile he gets when she comes down in the mornings can’t be beat. DSCN4559His eyes are still bright blue and his hair is growing out of control. He gets all his food in it and I’ve said it so many times that Stella has taking to letting everyone know that “James has crazy hair.”
DSCN4556He is bigger than Stella was at 14 months old, and can walk like a pro (a drunk pro, but a pro nonetheless) so I have to remind myself that he’s still just a baby. But he understands more every day and watching that flicker of recognition in his eyes when he knows what you’re saying never gets old. He is a messy boy with a big heart, who maybe needs a haircut.

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Ten Months: James

James is 10 months old and so busy, which is why this is getting written closer to the 11th month than the 10th! He started out the month taking more and more unassisted steps. He wasn’t able to stand up by himself, but once he was up with the help of a chair, table, or me, he would be off. On Wes’ birthday, he finally figured out how to stand up by himself and within an hour he was trying to chase Stella around the house. That particular attempt ended in a face plant, but he’s since learned his limitations. DSCN4460He climbs anything in his path and I have to remind myself on a daily basis to watch him closely. Stella didn’t walk until she was a year old, and even when she did, she was loud. I never had to question where she was because she let out squeals as she moved around. James, though, is pretty silent, especially when doing something that he shouldn’t be doing. Like climbing on top of the kids’ picnic table. Or moving Stella’s wooden table next to the patio chairs and trying to climb them, an act that had my heart in my throat as I raced to grab him before he got distracted and fell. Something like that seems to happen on a daily, if not hourly basis.
DSCN4464 He is a sweet boy. He is constantly moving but usually stops long enough to give me a quick cuddle before moving on to the next big thing. I don’t think he’ll every snuggle as much as Stella does, so I take these hugs where I can. He gets excited to see his dad in the mornings, and some days the early wake up call is worth it to see how happy he is to see Wes. DSCN4470 He has also got quite a temper, especially when you take something from him. Bath time is especially rough because there’s only a few toys and in an enclosed space they inevitably want the same one. Once I talk Stella out of stealing whatever hot toy James has got, he will usually hand it off to her. I think about all the times my brother and I fought over every little thing and I just get exhausted, but I also think about the times we played happily together and I look forward to that. DSCN4471 After Grandma Candee left I decided that sleep training was in order so that we could all be a little more rested, but that very night he slept through the night and, with the exception of a few nights here and there, he has ever since. I hope that he has it all figured out because I don’t think I can go back to those nightly (or twice nightly) wake up calls. His naps are getting more consistent, which makes planning activities out of the house so much easier. DSCN4474 His hair has grown so much in the past few months and it looks a lot like Wes’ does when he needs a haircut. Grama Tina wants us to wait until his first birthday to cut it, which actually might happen because I have no idea when I’ll find the time to take him somewhere to get it cut. DSCN4494 He is the messiest eater, and will shove everything I put on his plate in his mouth, as if I’ll take it away if it stays there for longer than 30 seconds. Most of it ends up on his hands or in his high chair, and this makes Tsunami so happy while also driving me crazy because Tsunami now thinks she can get scraps from anyone with food. DSCN4500 He has the sweetest smile and his eyes fully light up when he grins. He’s happy to see most people and will offer up hugs to new people, just like his sister. He also has some serious separation anxiety and will scream if I leave the room for 15 seconds. Once I’m gone, however, he’s just fine. It’s when I’m in eyesight that he gets upset, screaming as if to say, How dare you put me down when you can hold me! I admit that I give in a lot and pick him up because I love the way he rests his head on my shoulder. DSCN4501 He wants what he wants and will do whatever to get it. When he hears the fridge open, he comes running (fast walking) to the kitchen, hoping to get in there before we shut the door. Same thing with the dishwasher, cabinets, front door, basically anything that opens he wants to get in. DSCN4504 He loves Tsunami and will snuggle with her when he gets tired. Tsunami loves that she gets his table scraps and so allows a certain amount of rough housing before abruptly standing up and knocking him to his butt. DSCN4507 He has seven teeth and makes a mess of his face daily, so much that I’ve just stopped trying to clean him up. But he’s the cutest messy baby ever. DSCN4509

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Nine Months: James

James turned nine months old a few weeks ago and he is crazy. Non-stop all the time it seems. He is 18 pounds 15 ounces and 18 1/2″ long. It’s not a lot of growth from his 6-month check up, but still has him in the 50th percentile for height. All the moving has really thinned him out. DSCN4225 He has seven teeth now that he uses to bite everything that comes into his mouth, which sometimes includes my fingers because I am constantly having to pull random objects out – grass, dirt, pieces of food from the meal he ate an hour prior. DSCN4226 He loves food but is still having trouble keeping it in his mouth. It doesn’t matter what you have, he wants to try it, and will quickly make his way to try and steal it. Stella’s learned quickly where she can sit so he can’t reach her food! He hasn’t mastered the pincer grasp yet, just shoveling whatever food he can sweep into his hands into his mouth. Naturally, he’s a mess when he eats (I thought about changing him into a clean white onesie for his photos but this is more true to daily life) and after every berry someone will ask “What happened to his face?” because he looks like he’s got road rash. Tsunami has become accustomed to cleaning up after him and probably at her peak awfulness when mealtimes roll around. It doesn’t help that James, hands covered in food, will lean over the high chair to look for her. Tsunami happily cleans up those messy hands and thinks that she’s being fed. DSCN4234 Not he doesn’t have his share of bumps and bruises. This kid is crazy. While Wes was vacuuming, James was crawling around. Neither of us had eyes on him for a few seconds and suddenly he was crying. He bumped his lip pretty hard and there was a lot of blood. He might have been trying to stand up, or he might have just taken a header to the ground while crawling, as he sometimes does. He stands up in the bathtub and gets so excited that he falls down and I basically have a dozen heart attacks a day with this kids. DSCN4238 He has taken a few unassisted steps here and there, but after two or three he gets so excited that he starts wiggling and giggling and falls on his butt, at which point he gets frustrated and cries because crawling is for babies and he is so clearly not a baby! He crawled up the stairs for the first time when Uncle Porter was here and now every time the gate is opened, he crawls as quickly as possible to try to get upstairs. If he could walk circles downstairs (with the help of mom or dad’s hands, that is), he would do that all day. Sometimes before bath time we chase Stella around and they both lose their minds over it. I’m looking forward to letting them entertain themselves. DSCN4239 He is still a mostly-horrible (for me, that is) sleeper. It seems like we get into a groove and then he gets a tooth or a cold and everything goes back to square one. Naps are going well, but nighttime is always a guessing game on whether or not he’ll sleep all night. DSCN4242 He loves his sister and his dad and the dog and, of course, me. He likes to rest his head on Tsunami’s butt and just lay there and every time he does it I smile because he rarely stops moving. Stella likes to try to make him laugh and some things that I think she maybe shouldn’t do are the things that get him laughing the most, like grabbing him while he’s sitting next to the dog bed and rolling backwards on to it. They both laugh and he struggles to get up so I have to remind Stella to let James go and then we repeat. In the car she echoes what he says and that makes him laugh. While my brother was here I took advantage of being able to run into the post office without kids and while they were waiting in the car James started to cry. My brother said that Stella kept repeating, “It’s okay, buddy. Mama will be right back.” I know that they’ll go through a period of hating each other, but right now they love being around each other and I that makes me happy. DSCN4245 James loves to be outside and is often at either the front or back door, just looking out. We set up some water areas and sun shades in the backyard and have been spending some time out there. Naturally, he plays in Tsunami’s water bowl and tries to pick up the dead leaves from the patio. DSCN4254 He is so incredibly happy and friendly, just like Stella was. Unlike Stella, though, he’s got some separation anxiety. He will smile at pretty much everybody, but when I leave him alone he has a minor meltdown. He will calm down, but when I come back in his field of vision he starts crying because he realizes he could be with me but isn’t. It’s simultaneously awesome and annoying to be loved so much. 
DSCN4260 He has his dad’s crazy hair and his blue eyes and my ability to tan easily and I wouldn’t change one thing about him. Well, okay, I’d make him a better sleeper. DSC_7865

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