Saturday, December 31, 2011

Yeah... Seems Like We're Overdue for a Post

We had a great Christmas!  It was so much fun to see Nate so excited.  He's been waiting for Christmas since right before Halloween, when he somehow figured out that the Christmas we had last year would happen AGAIN!

Right after Thanksgiving, we made his letter to Santa.  Since he doesn't read, we copied pictures from the Internet and put those in his letter.  He carried that letter around and slept with it and pulled it out and stared out it for the next 4 weeks.  Mama finally made a photocopy of it right and we mailed the tattered one to Santa.  He was SO EXCITED to think that it was going to get to Santa.  He kept asking if Santa had received it yet and which of the items on the list he thought he'd be getting from Santa.  That letter was a constant companion for a solid month.

Christmas morning he was so thrilled to open packages and tear through the wrappings.  Total change from last year, when he was totally satisfied after one package and we had to coax him into opening the next one. 

Nate received a some animals (the Playmobil kind, not the REAL kind) this year.  He's been fascinated by whales lately and likes to imitate their songs.  I have to admit, it's adorable, even though it sounds like a munchkin trying to make the sounds of Chewbacca after a mortal flesh wound.   He got a whale and some hippos, so it sound be no surprise that he has spent a great deal of time taking baths so he can make the whale swim and dive and, of course, sing.  Apparently, even the melodic sounds of a dying Chewbacca sound better with the bathroom's acoustics.

Brent's coaching JV basketball again this year at a little charter school at the south end of the county.  He enjoys it, but it seems like we don't see him much any more.  We appreciate Grandma Mint taking Nate every day while Daddy goes to play with the boys.  He's damaged his other knee recently and is meeting with the surgeon next week.  He's having a hard time remembering that he's nearly 41. 

New Primary class for Nate tomorrow - Mama's worried about him moving to another class.  He still has such a hard time in noisy places (and Jr. Primary Sharing Time is a NOISY PLACE).  But, I'll still be there with the Sunbeams, so we'll see how it goes.  We've been talking up moving to the next class because he's getting bigger.

He LOVES the idea of growing up, much to Mama's chagrin.  Every morning, he stands as tall as he can and asks if he's grown overnight.  The other evening he said, "Mama, I'm getting bigger?" and I said, "Yes, you are" and he said, "Don't worry, Mama.  I'll still be your little boy."

Monday, November 28, 2011

Super Magic Squeaky Shoes

So my Uncle John and his lovely wife, Gail came into town a few weeks ago to see the family.  I kept thinking I'd get pictures from a relative and then post about this, but apparently my "get around" isn't getting around, so we're posting as is.

Nate still has some stress in noisy areas, particularly with lots of people.  Let's not talk about what restaurants are like.  At any rate, Nate had a "freak out" moment and Mama took him in the other room while he calmed down.

When we came back into the area where the family was, Uncle John could see there was some stress, so he came over and said, "Nathan, did you know that your mom has magic shoes?"  He then proceeded to reach down and "squeak" the toe of my shoe, while holding a squeaker (like from a dog toy) in his hand so Nate couldn't see it.

You should have seen the look on Nate's face.  Magic!  He was enthralled!

Uncle John kept it up with the rest of the "littles" that afternoon.  Everyone's shoes had some magic spot on them and the kids were all amazed.

That night when I was getting Nate ready for bed, he wanted me to squeak his feet.  Of course I don't have Uncle John's magic fingers, so neither his shoes nor his toes squeaked when Mama did it.  Nate said, "Just smash it harder, Mama!"  He was determined to get a squeak sound out of there somehow!

Several times since then, when Nate's in the bathtub, he'll say, "Mama, my finger's magic?" and then he'll reach down and "squeak" his toe.  Obviously, it makes no noise, but he always says, "Yup.  I can hear it!"

So, Uncle John... the "icing" on the cake for this story... I was just sitting with Nate on my lap and my laptop and he was calling out the kind of toys he wants to ask Santa to bring.  We're googling pictures and then putting them on a letter for Nate to send to Santa.

Nate's listing off all the awesome toys he can think of from everything he loves... Thomas the Train, Toothless the Dragon, Whales, Elephants... and then he says, "Santa bring me an Uncle John toy?"

I told him Santa doesn't have Uncle John toys, but we have our very own REAL Uncle John.  He was satisfied.

Thanks for making our holiday season merry and bright!


P.S.  He LOVES the cowboy rubber ducky.  It's definitely a favorite!  Thank you again.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Dear Nate,
Tonight you watched something creatures of the sea on TV.  The later you came in and told me that you saw a "huntback" whale while we were at the lake this summer with your cousins.  You also told me that you need "diver pants" and "diver glasses" (meaning "wetsuit" and "goggles") for the next time we got to the lake so you can play with the "huntback" whales.

Then you asked me if the reason fish chew with their mouths open is because they don't have Mommies to tell them to not do that.  I just shrugged my shoulders because I was biting my lip so hard in an effort to not laugh that I couldn't speak.

You are a delight and a marvel to me every day.  You are such a sweet, kind little boy.

Mama was very ill one day last week.  I came home from work and went right to bed.  You said, "Aren't you gonna eat dinner, Mama?" and I told you that my tummy didn't feel well.  You told me that my tummy hurt because "it was Jesus telling me I need food in my tummy".  (no idea where that came from)

I fell asleep and a few hours later I felt little arms wrapped around my head.  You were rocking your torso back and forth as best you could while laying beside me.  I said, "What are you doing, Sweetness?"  You said, "I rock you, Mama, so you can feel better."

I took you grocery shopping with me last week.  Each time I'd step across the aisle to get something from the other side of the shelves you'd push the cart over to the side where I was now standing and say, "Here, Mama. I push it so you not haffa reach so far."

I love you, Sweet, Sweet Little Man.

Thanks for letting me be your Mama.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Dear Sir,
I rushed into the grocery store and nearly missed you standing there, proud and straight, your skin weathered with the years.  I stopped and watched you from the side for a moment.  Smiling so kindly to everyone as you clutched a fistful of red paper poppies.  I saw you had one to a tiny little girl and knew that you knew that she had no idea why it was red poppies today... Veterans Day.  I wondered how many had rushed by you as you stood, so patiently, trying to gather funds for the Veterans of Foreign Wars.... trying to get the rest of us to remember that we're grateful that we haven't seen what you have seen.  Your military hat noted that you'd served as a Chaplain in the Army and I wondered what you'd helped others endure as part of your efforts to serve - your country and your fellow soldiers. 

I pushed some money into your bucket.  Then I stepped over to you and tried to shake your hand.  Your skin looked as delicate as wet Kleenex and I was afraid to touch you.  I noted that your hands were gnarled and twisted with arthritis and I wondered if just existing was painful for your fingers.

I grasped the side of your palm and gently squeezed.

"Thank you for your service," I said.

You met my gaze with your milky-blue eyes that have seen so much and said, "I did it for you - and I was happy to do it."

I hurried away because of the tears, but somehow I don't think you'd have minded. 

Thank you, sir, for the reminder of what you and so many other brave men and women have done.

For me.

And for my son. 

Thank you.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Wolverine. Homecoming Queen.

Thought it was about time to share some pictures from Halloween.

Nate was a cowboy, and a darn tootin' cute one at that!  Everyone kept asking if he was "Woody" from Toy Story, but really he wanted this costume because he'd get to wear his boots.
And, Aunt Titi invited us to her ward Trunk or Treat.  They took pictures of the kids beforehand.  You can see Collin is better at "SMILE!" and Nate is bent out of shape that we took his candy bag before we took these pictures.

And Uncle Nate got in a great evening as The Headless Horseman

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Dear Sweetness,

There are days where it seems like my life has never been without you.  There are other times where the reminder of the miracles that had to occur to get you home is nearly overwhelming.

Our sweet friend made this "SuperNate" cape for you.  We took it to Haiti when we went to visit you in June of 2009.

That was then:
This is now:

You're running around in your cape today, playing with the lasso that goes with your cowboy Halloween costume.  You've lassoed the giraffe and showed it how tough American Haitian Super Cowboys can be.

Thanks, M, for the reminder of how far we've come....

And how INSANELY blessed I am

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ummm... I Think You Started It

This just happened:

Nate:  "Mama, this is kinda weird."

Me:  "What's weird, sweetheart?"

Nate:   "This talk we're having."

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I Know... It's Been Forever...

Dear Nate,
I haven't posted for quite awhile because Mama's life is crazy.  But you've done some very sweet little things I wanted to jot down before I forget them forever.

-You LOVE books and you love to have stories read to you.  We're down to a set "two books and then scriptures" at night and you're finally used to it so you don't get upset that I won't read to you all night long.

-You love to go to the library with me to pick out new books.  The other week we were looking for books for you.  I'd pull one out that I thought you'd like and I'd show it to you.  I'd say something like, "What about this one, Nate.  It's about elephants" or "This one has animals".  You could see where this was going and so then you pulled out a book to show to me.  It had a mouse and a ball of yarn on the front.   You said, "Mama, how about this one?  It's about making balls and a quiet, little mouse."   :)  Sometimes I'm not sure if you're four, or forty....

-Several weeks ago we were running errands with Titi and Colly and we stopped to grab a bite to eat.  You were sitting on the bench next to Collin, happily munching fries, when suddenly you started crawling across Collin to get out of the bench.

"Nate, what are you doing?" I asked.

You said, "I need to fold my prayers" and there, in the middle of the restaurant, you dropped to your knees and folded your arms.  I was laughing so hard I almost didn't get this picture:

- The other day you asked me some random question and I didn't know the answer to whatever it was you were asking.  I said, "I don't know, Sweetness".  You sighed in the most exasperated way and said, "Well, if you don't know, I can't tell you!!"

-You really like knowing where things are going and what's coming next.  I figure you've had enough unbelievable things happen in your young life that you deserve to be cautious about how things are going to work out.

Sometimes, though, it's fascinating to see what you're thinking about.  Here's an example:

Grandma came over the other day to visit.  When she got up to leave, you asked her why she was going and she said she needed to go home and feed Grandpa.

About three hours later you came up to me and said,"'Mama, I not know what Grandpa eat.  What Grandma make for him?" so we had to call Grandma to find out what she'd fed him.

- You've been sick lately.  Seasonal allergies building to a sinus infection.  The day that it really hit and you couldn't breathe, this is what you said to me when I arrived home from work:  "Mama, my nose is broken AND... it doesn't work because it's full of boogers."

Hate when that happens....

- You and Mama went on a date to see the Lion King in the movie theater.  I was so excited to take you.  As the movie started, I leaned over and whispered, "Thanks for coming on a date with me."  You didn't move your eyes from the screen, but leaned back and whispered, "You welcome".

-I love the way you refer to time.  Anything before right now is "Last day" or "Last-er Day".  So you'll tell me a story and say, "'Member Last-er Day when we...."  LOVE IT!

-Speaking of time, you've been learning your days of the week.  Now, if you hear Daddy or Mama mention a day of the week (like, "On Saturday, we need to...") you'll hold up your fingers like you're counting and you say, VERY matter of factly, "Monday, Friday, Tuesday." and then you give this look like, "I know, I'm awesome, right?"

-  You don't like that I have to go to work every day.  If I don't get out the door before you wake up there's usually weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth.  I remind you that Mama has to work and I say, "Why does Mama have to work?"   You sigh deeply and say, "So you can pay monies".

You know it has SOMETHING to do with money and I think it's cute that you say it that way, so I don't correct you when you say it.

- You can now swallow a pill with water!  I know, it's shocking!  I don't think my baby brother can do that and he's a dad himself.   But Benedryl actually works the best for your allergy nastiness right now so we taught you how to swallow it (liquid Benedryl gives me the heebee-jeebies as my childhood was filled with ridiculous reactions to mosquito bites.  Much better to swallow part of a pill in my mind).

-You know that you got your dimples from your birth mom in Haiti.  We actually have a picture of you with her and she's smiling so we look at it and talk about her.  Sometimes you'll come up to me and say, "Mama, I get my 'imples from B, right?"  (not spelling out her name for Nate's own privacy)  I love your 'imples, Little Man, and I'm grateful every day for the Haiti Mama who gave them to you.

I love you, Sweetness.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

You'd Have Thought He'd Have Noticed by Now...

This has been in my drafts since AUGUST, I guess... Posting it finally:

Nate is in swimming lessons with Colly right now.  He loves it.
 Best buddies!
Why are you kissing me??

There's a 6-year old girl in his class that is quite a little spit fire.  This last week she said to me, "Did you adopt him?"

I said, "Yup... How did you know that?"

She said, 'Because your skins aren't the same color."

I said, "Yup... Nate's from Haiti."

She said, "Nuh-huh.... then how do you know what he's saying??" (picture the snotty look like she's totally just busted me in a blatant lie)

I said, "Because he speaks English."

She scrunched up her nose... "Ooohhh...."

So the best part of that story is that Nate heard me retelling that to someone and I hear him exclaim, "Our SKINS not the same colors???"

I really didn't think I'd have to spell that one out for him, but....

Friday, August 26, 2011

Dear Nate,
The other day you and Mama were snuggled together, watching a movie. 

My cell phone rang, and I picked it up and forwarded the call to voicemail.

You said, "Joo gonna tell 'em that joo snuggling wit joo boy?"

Sweet, sweet child.  Mama loves nothing more than having you home to snuggle with.

I love you.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Introducing... Mr. Melon

This is Nate pretending to be a potato bug:

He says his "potato bug name" is "Mr. Melon". 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Getting So Excited That You Can't Keep Your Shirt On....

Speaking of birthdays, Mama's was earlier this month.  Daddy took you to pick out something for my birthday.  You picked out something that you "knew I'd like".  You were so excited that you couldn't keep the secret.  The night you picked it out, when Mama got home, you took my hand and said, "Let me show you" and you lead me through the entire house trying to figure out where Daddy had hid the presents (you know... so you wouldn't do what you were NOW doing).

Every single night after that you asked me if it was my "dinosaur birfday" yet.  So much for secrets...

The night of my "birfday" when I came home from work, you met me at the door, so excited.  I had to whip my phone out really quickly to try to record your sweetness.

You were so excited that you were twisting your shirt around while you were telling me. 

Sorry that the video is sideways, but you get the idea....

Sunday, August 21, 2011

It's My Birfday Par-tay

Dear Nathan,
You turned 4 yesterday.  All your aunts, uncles and cousins came down to celebrate with you, along with Aunt Titi and your best buddy, Colly.

We had it at a local park where the kids could play on the big toy.  Papa grilled burgers for everyone.

This was your face when you saw the elephant from Brian and Kim.
Just like last year, you weren't expecting the presents.  It surprised you that we were doing that, too.
"It's Thomas!" (Thanks, Trudi)
That's what friends are for!

This was your face when you were opening your first presents.

Bike Helmet from Grandma and Grandpa "Mint"

You're such a sweet, beautiful, wonderful little man.  We love you so very much.

Happy Birthday, Sweetness!

Friday, August 19, 2011


Dear Son,

Daddy's taught you that the polite way to ask for something is to say, "May I please....".

That means that when you come up to me and try to order me, "You read that book to me!" then I say, "How do you ask?" and you say, "May I please you read that book to me?".

It makes me laugh every time.

I love you, Mama

Thursday, August 11, 2011

How Accurate Are Your Sources?

Dear Nate,
The other night you and I walked to a park in a nearby neighborhood. They have a "big toy" there with several slides. You went down the first one and kinda fell over towards the end of the slide and felt like the slide "grabbed your face" so you weren't too happy about that slide.

I tried to get you to go down the "twisty-tube" slide.  You sat at the top and Mama tried to coax you down.  I showed you how it is such a fun slide that it makes our voices sound funny when you're at the top and Mama's at the bottom. 

You agreed that was awesome and were content to just sit at the top and yell things down the tube to me. 

Then I tried to shimmy UP the tube slide with my 6 feet of body to get around the corner far enough that you could see me and confirm that it was NOT, in fact, a tube of death into the unknown.

You laughed at Mama  wedged in the slide but still weren't gonna move.

I kept trying some positive "You Can Do It!" motivation from the bottom of the slide.

You were trying to gear up, and psych yourself up to go down the slide by yourself. 

That's when I heard your soft little voice say, "Mama.... Joo SURE kids does this??"

Sweet, sweet little man.

I love you,

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hearts and Thoughts They Fade

Dear Sweetness,
Mama's got to write down some of the sweet and silly things you say and do because memory WILL fail me.

The other day you were talking about Colly.  You started listing off all of your favorite toys of Colly's.

"He gots a elephant.  He gots a dinosaur.... Really, he gots EVERYTHING!"


You are REALLY bothered by the bugs of summer nipping at you.  It makes you so mad and frustrated.

You asked me the other day, "Why bugs eats peoples?"  I told you that they must think we're tasty.

You sighed, knowingly, "Oh... like when Daddy eats my chocolate neck...."

And somehow that resolved it for you


You made the comment the a few months ago that something was "expensive as an elephant".  Since then you've asked me if you were "obedient as a dinosaur" (thanks to the "How Does a Dinosaur Say Goodnight" book and our frequent discussions about every detail of every picture). 

Another day you snuck up on me and "bwah'd" me to scare me.  I pretended to be VERY scared and said, "Wow!  You snuck up on me" and you said, "Yeah!  I sneaky as a hippopotamus!!"

Not EXACTLY what I was thinking of when I think "stealthy wild creatures", but what do I know...

We have a marble statue replica of the Christus in our home.  The other day you told Daddy, "That's Jesus.... I like his head."
One night in your prayers you said, 'Thank you for playing in the dirt with Daddy..."

I love to listen to your prayers.  You're also pretty frank about how you're feeling about things.  The other night I was getting us ready for bed and said, "Nate, are you going to say your prayers?" and you looked at me and said, 'Umm... no, probably not."

Why do men start young with that attitude to spiritual things??

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you

Someday, Little Man, you will grow up.  

I pray you grow to be a man who will make good choices.  
I pray you will be a man who serves others. 
I pray you will grow to be a man who trusts and loves God.
I pray to always love you so much that nothing would be more devastating than losing you.

I hope you choose to love another person so much that they alter every other thing in the universe.  They are  the light of your day, and the darkness they can bring is of the darkest night.  
And by that I mean that I hope you choose to be a daddy one day. 

As I look back on my life, the day you came home marks the end of one life and the beginning of another beautiful, magical existence.  

It's as if time shifted and everything now folds into "Before Nathan" and "After Nathan".  

I think differently because I think about how to explain it to you. 
I dream differently because my dreams include you. 
I see differently because I think about sharing it with you.  
I eat differently because now I think about how to introduce that food to you, or whether you like it, or if I can slip it into your potatoes without you noticing. 

Mama has a dear friend who was vital and instrumental in matching us to you, getting us to Haiti to visit you over and over again and getting you out of the country out of the earthquake.  I feel like I wouldn't be a Mama without "Mama Chareyl" because I wouldn't have been able to get you home to me without her.

She has so much faith and trust in God and she's continuously serving others. She's the kind of person your Mama wants to be when she grows up.

Mama Chareyl lost one of her biological children this week.  

Your Mama's heart is breaking for Mama Chareyl.  

I have only had you for such a short time compared to the 23 years she had with her son.  But I know Mamas are supposed to fix things and be able to make it all better for their babies. At least we think we are.  And that feeling doesn't dissipate when our babies are adults and are making their own choices.

For now, Son, we will pray for Mama Chareyl and her family.  We will pray for peace for them in this brutal time.  We will find ways to show our love to them.

And Mama will hug you extra tight tonight, because we never really know how long our universe will be magically altered by that special kind of love.

No matter what, Son, know that I carry your heart with me.

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)

                                    i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant 
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
 -e.e. cummings

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Seriously, He Is This Sweet...

Dear Sweetness,
Mama needed a nap today.  She didn't sleep well this weekend. 

I tried to get you to snuggle with me and take a nap and you kept wiggling and moving and asking the same questions over and over again.

After... AN HOUR of that, I got frustrated.

"Nate," I said, "I need some sleep.  Will you please hold still?"

I settled back down and closed my eyes.

Seconds later, I felt your little lips softly pressing against first one and then the other of my eyelids as you kissed them.

Then you cupped your little hands over my eyes ever so softly and said, "You sleep now.  I cover your eyes for you.  You just sleep now."

I love you more than I can ever tell you.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Uncle Nate, Jr

Nate remembers all sorts of things.  It's sometimes hard to keep up with his train of thought because he's remembering some random event from months ago.

The other night he asked me what "Jr." meant.  I asked him where he'd heard that.  He remembered that the mama elephant in "Dumbo" named the baby elephant "Jumbo Jr." (which it a name that lasts for about 2 seconds until the other elephants see his ears and change his name to "Dumbo").  We haven't seen that movie in a long time. 

I explained to him what it meant and he thought for a bit.

"So, my name Uncle Nate, Jr?"

Well, essentially, yes.  You're Uncle Nate and Daddy, Jr because you're named after both of them.  Way to make a connection, Baby Boy.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Birthday Tribute

The adoptive family of another child from Haiti recently sent a wonderful donation to Bèl Haiti. There was a note on it that said the donation was in honor of the adoptive father's birthday, donated by his parents. What a beautiful tribute and a great birthday idea!

It thrills us to see the generations of family that whose lives are eternally changed by these beautiful children.

I tell Nathan every day how grateful I am to be his Mama. I know his grandparents and great-grandmas are in love with him as well.

I'm so grateful that God knew where our son was when he was born and how to get him to us.

Worth every second of the long, arduous journey to get him home!

Thank you again to that family for the birthday tribute.  Harry will be thrilled!

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Colly came to play this past week.

After the boys got all muddy in the backyard, they came inside and played "jump off the couch together" and "make a silly pose for the camera"

This picture reminds me that I took off their muddy shoes but didn't clean their legs before they started jumping.  :)
I'm so glad you have such a good buddy. Thanks for coming over, Colly!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Damn You, Dreamworks!

Nathan loves trains, elephants, whales and masha-tatoes.

He also loves dragons

He has a "Toothless" dragon that he loved to play with.

Until he left it out one day and Divot chewed the end of the tail off.

My sweet OCD son, who has to have things lined up and his toys clean, was heartbroken over the broken tail.

We explained that's what happens sometimes when you leave your toys out and that we couldn't fix it.

Daddy ended up putting the toy away for a few months.  Toothless recently emerged from the Toy Witness Protection Program, and Nathan has been having fun with him.

When he's not crying over his broken tail.

His language skills have improved since Toothless was originally broken.  After I explained to him (for the umpteenth time) that we couldn't fix it, he sobbed "but Hiccup fixed Toothless's tail!"


So that is how I found myself fashioning a dragon prosthetic out of felt and sewing it around Toothless's stump.

Nathan is thrilled.  He's even told the dragon, "We fixed you!"

Now I know what I'll feel like when he comes home from school and excitedly announces that he's going to be broccoli for the school play.....

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sweetness 101

You've said some very sweet things lately.  I thought I'd take a few minutes to jot them down here.

Daddy was laid off several weeks ago.  He's been working hard at home, putting in the backyard, and focusing more time on Bèl Haiti.  You have so enjoyed spending more time with Daddy.  Today, you came back from Home Depot with Daddy and were so excited to show me that Daddy got you your own "work glubs" (gloves). 

If there's anything you love more than trains and mashed potatoes, it's digging in the dirt!
The other day you were listing off everyone in our family.  "Grandma love me; Grandpa love me; Aunt love me; Uncle love me... MAMA, EVERYBODY LOVE ME!" you exclaimed, throwing your arms wide and with a big grin on your face!

Another afternoon you were whining and I said, "Nate, why are you whining?"

"I not whining," you said.  "I squeaking."

Oh!  My mistake, Son.  Sorry about that.
Sunday afternoon you said, "Mama, this is a good house for me."

I'm not sure how much you knew what you were saying, but I think this is a good house for you, too, Sweet Boy.  This is exactly where you should be.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Comfort and Joy

Dear Sweetness,
Mama tells you your adoption story often. Right now you have no idea what I'm talking about but you can repeat all the parts. You know that Nathan "was born at Haiti" (that's how you say it) and you love to watch the little video clips we have of that first trip when Mama and Daddy fell head over heels for you.

Mama and Daddy soaked in everything about you that first trip. You'd think two people had never fallen in love with a baby before.

Mama took this picture when you reached out and grabbed Daddy's finger in your sleep.  It was so sweet, just like everything about you.

You love to know someone is there.

If Mama is holding you, you play with her hair.  If Daddy is by you, you like to hold his hand.

Mama took this picture while we were on Thomas the Train the other week.

You have always been a sweet, tender-hearted boy.

That is, after all, why Mama calls you "Sweetness".

I love you, Son.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Nathan Rides the Rails

Dear Son,
This weekend you were able to visit Thomas the Train as he visited the old Heber Valley Railway.  You were so excited to go with Mama, Daddy, Uncle Nate and Aunt Al.  You had been marking off the days on the calendar for weeks.

It was overpriced and chaotic and totally worth the look on your face.

Our coach window was open.  You put your hand out the window and touched the side of the coach.  "Mama," you said, "I'm TOUCHING Thomas.



It really was a perfect day.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Serpentine! Serpentine!

It happened again today.

I'm not sure if you're supposed to have a "favorite traffic interaction", but a single police car slaloming for all he's got to stop 6 lanes of traffic singled-handedly is totally my favorite traffic interaction.

There's something about watching people obey police officers that are just trying to help that makes me want to do the "STAND UP" portion of "I'm Proud to Be an American".

Except I'm driving and standing up would be bad.

Anyway, from the Countdowntohomecoming archives, I give you:  Police Improv

So there I am, in the commuter lane, minding my own business. Suddenly, on the far right lane, a highway patrol officer flips on his lights and his siren. He's only 2 cars ahead of me, so I'm RIGHT THERE for the action. I watch to see who he's going to pull over (and no, it was not me).

To all of our surprise, he begins slaloming back and forth across all 7 lanes of traffic. It's a weird thing to watch. At first you wonder if he's OK. It seems like some sort of automotive seizure. Then you frantically try to remember your Driver's Education days to see if they told you what this means and you remember that they only went over what to do when the lights and sirens are behind you and that slaloming was definitely NOT covered. Meanwhile, he's still slaloming and everyone's slowing down and trying to "SLOW" since that's what we think it means.

Of course, there's a couple of idiots who think that the entire freeway has spontaneously decided to drive 5 miles per hour for no good reason that start trying to whip around cars and get back up to the open space they can see. Seriously, friend in the white sports car... Think for two seconds. What are the odds that everyone - EVERYONE - would drive that speed simultaneously without reason. I know based on what you see on TV and music videos, sometimes it seems that people regularly break out into synchronized dance moves, but that doesn't really happen. Maybe you should get out more. People just aren't that organized.

I actually found myself talking to Mr. White Sports Car from inside my car. As I was yelling something like, "Pay attention! There's a policeman slaloming ahead! STAY BACK!" I realized that while I know the universal sign for choking, and I know what sign indicates "This is a McGruff house and it's safe to ask for help", I actually don't know enough signs to say "Police Slalom Ahead!!!" I really should have studied more Sign Language.

Which also makes me wonder how the police train for these types of things. I think they should have an improv class. It would be like, "OK, Officer Jenkins, you're up next. The scene is: Large debris on the freeway and you need to slow down all the lanes of traffic by yourself. Go!" and then Officer Jenkins would be like, "What's my motivation again?" and the teacher would be like, "Give me "Panic" and he'd be like, "OK. I'm ready" and then he'd start flipping on the lights and sirens and slaloming all over the place. And then everyone would clap at his brilliance except for Mr. White Sports Car who shouldn't be there anyway because this class is just for policemen.

Mr. White Sports Car really is an idiot.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Pardon Me, Miss... Your Threat is Showing.

Dear Sweetness,
It's so fascinating to watch you reach different milestones.  Some of them are social.  Others are verbal.  Others are physical.

You've recently picked up on the "threat" option for inter-personal communication.  I'm sure it's from the elementary school aged kids that are there in the afternoon at your daycare.

You have the concept generally correct.  "When I don't get what I want, I will threaten something worse".  However, your execution leaves something to be desired.  Mostly from your side.  You don't realize that the threat is actually supposed to be something your audience will dread.

I give you an example:

You love trains.  Mama and Daddy and Nathan are going to ride the little local train up in the canyon in a couple of weeks.  Since I told you we had tickets and were going to do that in "14 sleeps", you've been using the potential of NOT riding the train to ME.

If you don't get what you want, you huff, fold your arms and say, "Fine then!  I can't wanna ride a train wit Mama and Daddy then!"


You don't realize that Mama and Daddy really don't care about riding the train.  On a scale from "1 to huge deal in OUR lives", it's on the "1 side."

If this were a card game and you said, "Do you have 'Not ride the train'?" I'd say, "Go fish".

That's just how it rolls when you're old, honey.

Similarly, last night you were your evil alter-ego, Señor Grumpy Pants.

Now, mind you, there have been occassions when you're having a total melt-down when Mama will say, "Should we say a prayer?" and I pick you up and hold you on my lap and we say a little prayer and ask for help to calm you down and help you feel better.

Now last night, Señor Grumpy Pants decided to THREATEN Mama.... WITH A PRAYER.

You said, "Fine then!  I'll fold my prayers!" and you huffed loudly and folded your arms, closed your eyes and bowed your head and said, very curtly and with staccato precision,  "Thank. you. for. my. Mama.  Thank. you. for. my. Daddy.  Thank. you. for. my. food.  Help. me. a. not. be. so. GRUMPY.  A-MEN!!"  and then you looked at me triumphantly with a "take that, woman!" glare.

I hope you didn't notice how fiercely I was biting my lip.

I said, "Wow... you SHOWED me!  Mama will think twice before making you dinner again.  Please don't ever PRAY in my general direction again, Nate!"

You gave me a smug look.

I had to walk away so I could laugh.

I know someday, you're going to be all attitude.  Someday you'll recognize that words hurt and that people who live under the same roof can make life hell for other people in the family.

For now, I will take your toddler threats.  I am so grateful to have you as my son, even if it means I occasionally have to parent Señor Grumpy Pants.

I love you,

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

Dear Sweetness,
Today was Mother's Day.

I hate this holiday.  I think I always have.  I don't like Hallmark telling me what to do, so I completely loathe this day, Father's Day, Valentine's Day...

Don't even get me started on Arbor Day cards.

Church is also hard on this day.  I have had many Mother's Days without children.  Many, many years where I didn't know if I'd ever be a mother.  I've been OK with the fact that other people could have what I could not, but I know this is a hard thing for many, many women.   I know many women who avoid baby blessings and who can't stand hearing that someone else is expecting.

It can be very, very difficult to listen to Mother's Day talks about perfect mothers.

I was talking with the guys at work about Mother's Day and I said, only partially joking, that maybe instead of handing out potted plants for Mother's Day, the church should give out razor blades.  We beat ourselves up waay too much, I think.

But it's more than that, really.  I've realized in the last year and a half since you came into my life permanently that EVERY DAY is Mother's Day.

Thank you for being my son.  Thank you to your Haitian mom, B, who made the decision to let us raise you because she could not.  I know she wanted to raise you.  She changed her mind when you were about 7 months old and she took you home for a few months.  I'll never know what she went through when she decided again to place you but I'll always, always be grateful she did. 

You have changed everything in my life, Sweetness.  I don't need one day per year to realize that.

I love BEING with you.  I love living life with you by my side.  I love - not being a mom, but being YOUR MOM.

I love you,

Friday, May 6, 2011

So Interesting to Hear Your Thoughts...

Dear Sweetness,

Today on the way to Jessie's we saw a hot air balloon.  You'd never seen anything like that before. 

You said, "Mama, what dat ting?"

I explained it was a hot air balloon and that there were people in it and that they were looking at the valley.

You said, "Mama, I wanna go in one.  Please, please, please?"

I explained that it would, indeed, be very fun to go in one but that it was very expensive.  I said, "That means it costs a lot of 'monies'." (using your word for "money")

From the back seat you sighed loudly and knowingly.

"Sigh... Like elephants," you said. 

Yes, sweetness... just like elephants.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Cause in My Head There's a Greyhound Station Where I Send My Thoughts to Far off Destinations...

Dear Sweetness,
You've grown again. 7 inches since you came home.  Your grandmas say that you're taller each time they see you.  Sometimes I think you're taller each time I see you.

You're finally pretty much potty trained.  You're so pleased with yourself.

Your language skills are exploding.  You still have your own way of saying some things.  A few of my current favorites are:

blacklist - breakfast
flum - thumb or plum, depending on the context
wallermillon - watermelon
nuggle - snuggle
prootnac - fruitsnacks
sanglitch - sandwich

You love to read books and I think it's so sweet the way you relate to the characters.  One of your favorites this week is The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  I realize that Eric Carle does his pictures as tissue paper collages and that's why his books are so fun, but it also makes some of his pictures hard for you to decipher.  There's a piece of cherry pie in this book and no matter how many times I tell you that's what it is you still call it "pizza cake" (because that IS sort of what it looks like).  You love to jump ahead to the part where the caterpillar eats to much and has a tummy ache.  I think you're sad for him.  You know what it's like to have "tummy hurts"

You also love to randomly blurt out, "Mama, where it live?" and then I'll ask you "Where does what live, Sweetness" and then you say whatever random animal you've been thinking about.   Sometimes you forget that I can't hear your thoughts.  Your animal choices are things like elephants, octopus, bear, shark, horses, whales, "penglins", and sometimes it's something like "trains".  "Where trains live, mama?"

This last weekend you started your "Why" phase.  It's been the longest few days of my life  :)  I repeat it back to you each time you say it and you get very mad and I say, "yeah, it is annoying isn't it?"  Sometimes I tell you exactly why just to keep my cool.  Like today you threw a ball and it accidentally hit Mama.  I said, "Hey, you hit me!" and you said, "Why?" so I explained trajectory to you and you kept asking "why" until you used up all my physics knowledge.

At least it amuses me...

You love counting things, even though a lot of the numbers you use are made up.  Eleventeen, and twentyteen are personal favorites.

The other night you went to the store with Daddy.  When you came home, you came running down the hall and said, "Mama, I here!" and when you hugged me you said, "I came back for you."

You remember things with scary accuracy.  And sometimes you pull something out that you heard somewhere and I'm pretty sure you DIDN'T know you used it correctly.  Like the other day you asked if we could do something and I said, "We'll have to see" and you said, "That'll be the day".  After I quit laughing I asked you where you heard that and you reminded me that one of the trains says that in one of your Thomas videos.  It just happened to fit, but I don't think you know what it means.

I don't THINK you do...

I love, love, love being your Mama and I'm so proud of every little thing you do, Sweetness.

I love you.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A 13 on the BUN Scale

At work this week we started chatting about how somethings should just be WRONG no matter where you live.  There shouldn't be a culture (in my personal and oh so humble, opinion) where it's OK to try to sell or marry a child.  There shouldn't be a culture where women aren't allowed to think or have a voice or face.  There shouldn't be a culture where children can die because their parents were sucked into a Facebook game and left them to drown in the tub.

 I think we could call it the "B.U.N. Scale" for Basic Universal Nastiness.

The more I have thought about this the last few days, the more I like the idea.  It would be awesome if news stories had a BUN Scale at the beginning of the story and you could just know you'd want to tune out because the details of this story exceed your BUN Scale coping abilities.

Then I saw the local news the other day.  There was a headline that said something like, 'Man May Face Felony Charges after 9th Arrest in Girls' Locker Room".  I don't know which word in that is more disturbing:  "may" or "9th".  Repeat Offenders would get a high number on the BUN scale.  Repeat Offenders against children are practically on their own chart.  Frisking 6 year olds at the airport would be on the scale.  The three stories I've heard lately about people who have essentially locked children in rooms and treated them like animals should be scored.  This number could give judges a clear indicator of universal nastiness of some of the crimes.  It should pull into their sentencing. 

There are some other, broader social applications of this potential scale.  For example, mullets could have a rating.  Wife-beaters would get a score.  Spandex in general could have a score.  That woman that walked by me at a concert years ago who was wearing a lime-green tank top that was about 12 sizes too small for her and therefore her entire belly was hanging out - she gets a special number.  I still remember it because I was scarred by it.  SHE had the hairiest navel I've EVER seen.  I still have nightmares.  High BUN Scale factor on that one.

So I'm partly joking and I'm partly serious.  I wish there was a better way to keep kids safe, help people make choices that aren't harmful and generally help people to not bite each other.  Those things should be universally understood.  We should do a better job of taking care of each other.

Whether or not we rank she-male navels is really optional. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The One About When God Gave the Whale a Job Chart, and Other Lesser Known Bible Stories

Dear Sweetness,
You recently developed a little issue with hitting people when you're mad.  I think you picked it up on the mean streets of daycare.  You pull your arm back as far as it will go - so your hand is clear behind your neck and you leave it there, while glaring at your victim.  You want them to know that you're locked and loaded.

When you do this to Mama, I remind you gently that if you continue with this decision, you'll have a very nice time out all to yourself.

That usually results in an extremely slow motion forward release, ending with you patting my leg and whispering, "No."

You still get timeout.  A slow motion hit in anger is still the problem. 

After many, many timeouts Mama decided to try something different.  I made a job chart for you.  If you could go 5 whole days without hitting, we'd take you to pick out a little toy.

You were very peeved about the job chart.  You kept saying, "I can't wanna make-a chart a not hit!  I can't wanna five days! "  There was a lot of weeping, wailing and teeth gnashing.  But Mama held firm. 

The next day was Sunday.  I was in Primary with you (as you still have issues with them wanting you to sit AND not cry in Primary).  You were very wiggly and ready to be done with Sharing Time.  The sister that was teaching the lesson was talking about different Bible stories.  I kept trying to get you to listen to her but you weren't having it.

Then she started talking about Jonah.  Somewhere in your wiggles, her words wafted into your mind and settled.  You realized what she was actually saying. You froze in your seat and stared at the teacher.

Then you looked at me, wide-eyed, and said,  "He got EAT by a WHALE???"

"Oh, Sweetness," I said, "There's a lot more where that came from.  I'll tell you after church."

So that afternoon, as I changed you out of your Church clothes, I told you the tale of Jonah and the whale.  I made sure it was at your level.  I told you about how Heavenly Father asked Jonah to go talk to some people because they weren't being nice and Jonah didn't want to listen.  I told you about how Jonah tried to run away, and how he ended up in the ocean and how a whale scooped him up.  I told you the whale just held Jonah in his mouth so that Jonah was safe (making it very clear he didn't EAT him) and that after three days, the whale spit Jonah back out on the land.  And that then Jonah went on to Nineveh.

I could see the wheels in your mind turning.  You were staring off into space and I could tell you were picturing something in your mind. You were trying to reconcile this crazy story your Mama had just told you and make sense out of a world where whales "sort of" eat people.

I said, "Nate, what are you thinking about?"

You said, "Heavenly Father say, "No, no, Whale.  You not eat Jonah."

I agreed that Heavenly Father probably did tell the whale not to eat Jonah.

And then you said, 'He say, 'No, whale.  You gotta be nice.  You not eat him.  You gotta make a chart.  You gotta make THREE DAYS a not eat him.  And the Whale said, 'GRRR.... I can't wanna make a chart a not eat him..."

It was so hard not to giggle as you tried to work through your continued frustration at the job chart and combined it with your new fascination with Jonah and the whale.

At least, apparently, even God gets complaints from the villagers when job charts are implemented.  The whale's anger at the job chart is my new favorite part of the story.

You continued to talk about the whale and not wanting a job chart for a good hour.  I even called Grandma and you told her the story.

I've also noticed that you seem really keen on the story of David and Goliath.  You like Daniel and the Lions' Den and you like David and Goliath.  But lately, you seem to make all of the Biblical characters "David".  You want it to be David in the lions' den.  You want it to be David that was swallowed by a whale.

Now that I think about it.... it's probably because you're so impressed that David not only got away with throwing things but he also did a serious job of hitting someone without getting in trouble.

And without getting a job chart.

I love you, Sweetness,

Thursday, March 24, 2011

600th post

Last night in your prayers you said "thank you for warm and comfy".

I asked you what "comfy" meant.

You said, "Nathan and Mama".

I love you, too, Little Man.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Prayers of the Children

My dear Sweetness,

One of my favorite moments of the day is helping you to say your prayers at night.

You're so sweet... when you fold your arms, you call it "folding my prayers."

"Look, Mama... I folding my prayers," you tell me.

You've been repeating what I tell you, dutifully, so I recently decided we could branch out and let you say your own prayers.

I start by asking you "how do we start" and then you open your prayer with, "Heavenly Father...."

Then I ask you what you are thankful for.

You usually sigh deeply and then say, "Thank you for my doggies and my mommies and my daddies and my doggies."  I'm not sure why we're plural, but the doggies are always there twice.  :)

Then I keep asking you what you're thankful for until you seem to have listed everything you can think of that night.

The things you list touch me and remind me of where you've been, where you are and how far we've all come in the last year.

Here are some of the things you've been thankful for in the last few weeks:

1.  "Thank you eating"

2.  "Thank you playing"

3.  "Thank you for covers" (that's what he calls blankets particularly the blanket his Grandma made him)

4.  "Thank you for my house"

and my personal favorite:

"Thank you Daddy tickles my 'pits"

Thank you for helping me remember all that we have to be grateful for.

I love you, Sweetness. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Update on the Rent

We received word this last week that another organization has made arrangements to catch-up the backrent at Harry's current place.

This means we only need to worry about the "going forward".  We're in talks to see if we can pay the landlady monthly (because it's always easier to come up with a six hundred dollars on a regular basis than several thousand all at once).

Nothing like having this sudden stress reduced to a tenth of what it was!  A big two points for the Lord on that!

Friday, March 11, 2011


Dear Sweetness,
You reached a new milestone in "immigrant toddler-hood" last night.

We walked in the door and the heat vent under the sink was slightly askew.  It sits in the kick plate, so it was a bit obvious that it wasn't sitting correctly.

You immediately blamed it on the dog.

You said, "Divot broke it!"

Then you picked it up and held it in your hands.  You looked at it like it was horribly destroyed.

"It's broken" you said, "Damn it!"

I asked you where you heard that word.

You said, 'Daddy."


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Well, When You Put It THAT Way....

Dear Son,
We live in the valley at the base of the beautiful Mt. Timpanogos.

I love this mountain.  I love it in all seasons.  I love watching the sunrise over it and the sunset upon it.

When I lived in Florida (which is very pretty but FLAT) I missed this mountain.

I've been trying to help you appreciate this mountain.

Sometimes when we're driving and the sun is setting, I'll point it out to you and tell you how pretty it is.

Sometimes I point out the mountain when we're clear across the valley and I make you say, "Hi, Mountain."

I want you to appreciate how beautiful this world is.

The other day, we were driving to Grandma's.  She lives in the city right at the base of the mountain.  So we were driving along and the mountain was RIGHT THERE out the window and I was saying, "Nate, isn't that a pretty mountain?  Mama loves that mountain.  She thinks it's beautiful."

From the back seat, I heard you say, "Mama...." (in hindsight, this is where you were thinking, "how do I break this to her")

"Mama, it just DIRT."

Monday, February 28, 2011

People have asked where to order the book

Click here and it will take you to the page.

I added a hardcover-image wrap option as well if you want that.

Monday, February 21, 2011

I Can't Want To Be a Romanoff

My dearest Sweetness,
You have a new saying that is adorable and so appropriate.

Instead of saying that you "don't" want to do something, you say you "can't want" to do it.

Mama will say it's time to get ready for bed and you say, 'Mama, I can't want to."

Or I'll tell you we need to get you some medicine for the nasty cold you've had and you tell me that you "can't want" your medicine.

I think I'm going to start trying that one out at work - next time I get asked to create a report or something.  We'll see if it works any more successfully for me than it has for you.

Speaking of cold medicine, I think it wired you last night.  You were literally bouncing up and down as fast as you could.  I asked you what you were doing and you said, "I dancing".  Then, on all the "downbeats" of your jumping you said, "Mama. I. Don't. Wanna. Listen".

It was very cute and I have to admit that I couldn't prevent myself from laughing at you.

I am constantly amazed at how you think things through.  Since you came home you've called my parents "Grandma and Grandpa Fish" (because they have an enormous aquarium in their living room) and you call Papa's parents "Grandma and Grandpa Mint" (because our last name is hard to say when you're three).

The "grands" have LOVED it - it's been so cute and they've called themselves that as well (like on the phone or "come give Grandpa Fish a hug").

A few weeks ago I finally broke it to you that those weren't REALLY their names.  I explained what their names really were and I repeated them a few times so you'd get the association ("Grandma Fish is Grandma Olson", etc).

A few minute later I could hear you in the backseat, talking to yourself.  You were trying out the feel of those new names.  I heard you say, "Grampa O'son.... Grampa O'son" and then you said, "Mama, do THEY know that?" 

I asked you, "does WHO know that?" and you said, "Grampa Fish".

Yes, Sweetie.  He knows what his real name is.  Sorry to ruin the dream.

Speaking of names, yours can be a mouthful.  Our last name is hard to say. You'll get used to spelling it for everyone the rest of your life.  But right now, if we ask you what your name is you say "Na-tun Bent Romanoff".

That'll do, Son.   That'll do.

I love you,

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Snips and Strings and Little Things

There has been so much of the past year that I haven't blogged about.  It seems like life is a whirlwind and it's all I can do to keep up with work and church and my health raging through it all.

So, if you'll indulge me, I'm going to catch you up on a few gems.

When Nathan came home from Haiti, he didn't know HOW to play.  We had toys for him.  They were pretty meaningless to him.  At that point he didn't know what the animals were so he had no concept of what a stuffed elephant or giraffe were supposed to be.

Nate did two things when he came home with toys:
1.  He liked to take a toy (like the infamous El Camino) and HOLD IT in his hand.  That's mostly what he did.  Hold on to it.  He'd take it to bed.  Take it to the table to eat.  Take it outside, upstairs, wherever he was going.  Just hold it.

He still does this.  He pretty much always has a train or a car in his hand.  I think that's pretty reflective of the orphanage lifestyle - if somehow you get something, hold on tightly because you never know when someone else bigger than you will take it away.

2.  The one activity that he did do (right from the moment he was home) with his cars was put things in them.  It's kind of hard to explain, but if he finds any tiny scrap of something - a bit of string, a rip of paper, some lint off the carpet - he will pick it up and very carefully shove it into whichever car he's holding.  That would entertain him for hours.  He could sit on the carpet and pick up little threads and just push them in through the windows of whatever he was holding.

When he was first home and before he could really verbalize what he wanted, he'd come to me with a fully stuffed car just bawling.  I eventually figured out he wanted me put help him get everything back OUT of the car so he could push it INTO the car again.  Pretty soon he'd bring me the car full of strings and things and say, "Hep, peez" and hand it to me to "de-stuff".  I'm pretty good at it now (a straightened paperclip is very useful).

I have thought about this behavior and I've thought about what I know of where he lived.  Nate was always sick in Haiti.  He didn't really run around much.  If you can't fight for what you want, you won't get it in an orphanage.

I know how much concrete there was there and how few toys, how little space for those children.  In my mind's eye I can see Nate sitting by a crack in the concrete and pushing little bits of dirt into it over and over again to entertain himself.

Here's a closeup of one of his stuffed trucks:

Right after Nate's arrival, my dear cousin, K, sent him two large cars with a note that said, "Because every American boy eventually has to decide - Mustang, or Camaro?"  The doors opened on these cars and they were  the perfect size for little boy hands to push around.  He has LOVED those cars, K.  There was a period of time where he figured out he could pull the tires off of them.  He picked one at random, named it "Tire" and he carried it with him everywhere.  For weeks Tire went EVERYWHERE - he even took "Tire" to bed.  Numerous times we'd be most of the way out the door and he'd realize he didn't have Tire and I'd have to go back and find Tire so he could clutch it in his hand.  I finally had to put an end to it after the eightyjillionth time of searching for "tire" all over the dark carpet in the back of my car, where he'd dropped it from his carseat and was now sobbing for "Tire!"

Here is one of the cars from K with some string, a carrot and a bit of plastic inside:

I spent many evenings laying on my stomach next to him and showing him how the cars rolled back and forth if you held them just so and making car noises for him.  At first he LOOKED at me like I was insane, but he quickly caught on.

Now he likes to go through all his cars and trains and say, "Mama, what color dis?  What color dat?"  or "What his name?" (mostly used for his Thomas trains).  That will entertain him until Mama is so bored she wants to poke her eyes out.  

But the best moments are when I can hear him making his cars or trains talk to each other and he's making whistle sounds and engine sounds and just being an American boy.

That, my friends, is a beautiful thing.