Sunday, July 31, 2011

our new digs

We've been here about a month and we LOVE it. We were unpacked super quickly (nothing like a steady stream of visitors to motivate you!), but our walls are still mostly bare. I'm working on it. Thought it was high time to share some pictures . . . (and this doesn't even show all of our closets. We have more closet space than we know what to do with. That has NEVER happened before!)
living room
other side of living room
view from our balcony - on clear days you can see all
the way to the Smokies
dining room
huge closet in dining room
kitchen, view #1
kitchen, view #2
hall bathroom
master bedroom
master bath
our huge walk-in closet
Jamie's room
. . . and from the other side
Jamie's huge closet
study #1
study #2
the reason we need a study

Friday, July 22, 2011


For most of the past year, naptime was my least favorite time of day. Of course it was always nice when Jamie was sleeping . . . time to relax or get things done that I couldn't with a wakeful baby. But actually getting him to nap was miserable. He has never been able to put himself to sleep for a nap, even though he can at bedtime, and he never took very long naps, usually only 30-45 minutes. For months, it took me just as much time to get him to sleep as he ended up sleeping. And when he needed several naps a day, I thought it was going to drive me batty.

But fortunately "this too shall pass" is 100% true. Jamie's napping improved greatly over the past few months, and he started taking closer to 1 1/2 hour naps most days. Recently, he went down to one nap, and it has dramatically improved our daily routine. Eight, nine, ten months ago, I never would have believed that Jamie would ever be capable of napping for 2-3 hours straight, but it is now almost a daily occurrence.

Jamie still can't put himself to sleep at naptime, though. I think now that he is down to one nap, I could pretty quickly train him to, but I find myself not wanting to, even though I would have done just about anything to get him to last year. We have a short nap routine after lunch - a short book, a song - and then I rock him to sleep. With one nap, he's tired enough by then that it takes about a minute (or sometimes less) for him to fall asleep. And then I get to rock my cuddly, sleepy boy for 10ish minutes before putting him down in his crib. When he has had a fussy day--unfortunately a common thing this week, molars are the worst--it is so nice to have that peaceful time with him so I can be reminded of how sweet he is and how lucky I am to have him. And right now, I have the time. I doubt I'll be able to do this even if I want to with any future children. It is still hard to believe it, but putting Jamie down for his nap has become just about my favorite time of day.

"Naughty and noisy as they might be by day, [asleep] they look like cherubs; all children do." 
-Madeleine L'Engle

Monday, July 18, 2011

strawberry freezer JAM

I love the new title I chose for this blog a few months ago, but though there has been an awful lot about Jamie, I haven't written much at all about bread or jam.

Until now! (on the jam part, at least)
A couple days ago, we were at the grocery store looking at jam. Strawberry is far and away my favorite kind. Not that I eat a whole lot of jam, actually, but we've been having a lot of whole wheat pancakes lately and I don't like to eat them with syrup because it's too sugary and either fake or super expensive.

Digression: I didn't used to like whole wheat pancakes very much, which is weird because they are about the only thing I prefer white instead of wheat. But I can't bring myself to serve Jamie food with white flour, so I've been making them anyway, and I found a recipe I actually really like! I'll share it one of these days.

Anyway. I was having a hard time deciding what kind to get because it appeared that every kind either had high fructose corn syrup or was really expensive--not good options. So I chose neither one! Instead I got some strawberries and low sugar fruit pectin and made homemade strawberry freezer jam last night. I just used the recipe that came in the Sure-Jell box. It took less than an hour start to finish, and when I put some on my toast today, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. It was THAT GOOD. And now I'm super motivated to try some other homemade jams and jellies. I don't think I can ever eat store-bought jam again!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Grammy and Papy come for a visit

Last weekend, Thomas's parents came to visit Jamie . . . er, I mean, us. We know who the main attraction was. :) I hope they had a fun visit; we sure had fun having them here! Most of the visit was spent playing with Jamie, but we also made time for going out to brunch, going to the park and the mall, and playing games after Jamie went to bed. We had a blast showing them how to play Cranium (one of our favorite games but sadly one we can't play just the 2 of us). I didn't have my camera out most of the weekend, but we did get a few pictures.
out for brunch at La Costa in Market Square
I think that wraps up our visitors for a bit. Now we are settling into our new routine: new apartment (have I mentioned I LOVE our new apartment??? Because I do.) and a one nap baby. Both good changes.

I don't think I mentioned it on the blog, but about a month ago, Thomas shaved his face completely clean for the first time in 6 1/2 years. Here he is with one month's worth of beard growth . . .

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

4th of July

We sadly had a pretty disappointing 4th of July. Jamie's nap schedule has been unpredictable in the last month or two because he is transitioning from two naps to one. Most days he takes 2 solid naps, but occasionally he'll refuse to take his afternoon nap. Those days are the worst because his morning nap will end by noon, so there's an 8 hour stretch til his normal bedtime . . . He consequently gets pretty cranky on those days and crashes early.

Well, Knoxville has a big 4th of July celebration downtown at World's Fair Park that we were planning to go to. We were going to keep Jamie up a bit later than normal so we could see the fireworks. But of course he chose that day to refuse his afternoon nap, even though he'd been taking two naps every day without fail for the past couple weeks. Without that nap there was NO WAY we could keep him up late. In fact, he was fast asleep by about 7:30. I was really disappointed that we didn't get to go. I wanted to watch Jamie watch the fireworks. Not to mention that Brian was still visiting and I feel bad that we didn't end up doing much of anything for the holiday. But on the bright side, Knoxville has a big Labor Day fireworks display, so I hopefully won't have to wait an entire year before our next chance.

And we did have a nice morning. We all went to the park, and then after Jamie's successful morning nap, we had a big lunch: hamburgers, hot dogs, corn-on-the-cob, baked beans, etc. Yum. Just wish the rest of the day had gone well too!

Jamie watches as Brian and Thomas play frisbee
Jamie wants to play too!
Jamie joins the game
corn-on-the-cob: delicious!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

a visit from Auntie Em

I mentioned last time that Thomas's sister Emily was visiting. She spent the past semester studying abroad in South Korea and came to visit us almost as soon as she was back. We loved having her and I hope she had a good time! We didn't really do much of anything special during her stay, but that was okay because the biggest draw for her was getting to spend time with Mr. James. We of course went to the park a couple of times and also went to the Ijams Nature Center, which we'd never been to, and to the zoo. Our friend Brian arrived a day or so before she left (we are feeling very popular this month. Tons of visitors), so he went to the zoo with us too! Mostly, though, we just spent our time playing at home and hanging out. Jamie, as usual, was super cute and friendly, showing off his walking and signing skills and playing peek-a-boo like it was going out of style.

I didn't get too many pictures (I completely forgot my camera when we went to Ijams...oops), but I did get a few cute ones.
being cute at the park
petting a doggy! Jamie LOVES seeing dogs.
stroller peek-a-boo with Aunt Emily
making a break for it
Emily and a giant tortoise at the zoo
Emily was forced into this. I think you can tell.
all of us at the zoo