Nate’s Notes: Alaska…FINALLY!!!

*Yawn*. I decided I can’t go to bed and wake up when the sun does here on the ship or in Alaska.   For some reason, the sun doesn’t sleep very much here. Today I feel sleepy. *Yawn*. BUT…I’m sleepy in ALASKA!!! Finally!!!! The water seems bigger. The mountains are definitely bigger and right next to the boat! The sky seems bigger and the days are definitely bigger. *Yawn*. Definitely big adventures every day!

The boat has been spectacular (Yes, I use that word, pfff… I’m not a baby!).   Did I mention the halls are so long you can run and run and run? And there is even a level or deck or …yea, ship deck…that is JUST FOR RUNNING!! No really. They actually put little flat people on the ground to show us what to do. Momma goes there to run, and I do too. It’s fun to go as fast as I can. Because Lyla is learning basic life rules, like listening, it is even more fun. Hee hee. See, what you big people don’t understand is this: “Come here” really means “Run the other way”…and most of the time “No” means “Yes- do it more”. At least that is what I taught Lyla. You’re welcome.  

Flat person on floor

Flat person on floor

Flat person on floor

Flat person on floor. 

*Yawn*. Scuze me. Man, that sun really kept me up!!! Well, when we aren’t running or playing, we get to watch the big water, big mountains, and big sky.   We even saw a whale tail earlier!! Hey- that rhymes!! And dolphins swimming by the boat!!! Tomorrow we get to get off the boat and walk around in Alasak! Will there be bears? Will there be snow? Papa told me we get to see big wood sticks that people painted and carved. Like, really big ones. Why do people paint big sticks? Hmmm…have to think about that. Look a bird!!! Look, big water!!! Look a tree!!! Look a mountain!!! Look, there goes Lyla running away!!!

Nate’s Notes: Alaska: Are We There Yet?

BIG!!! HUGE!!! SUPER BIG!!! We’re here! We’re finally on the boat.



We had to wait forever though. Here’s the deal…I just turned three. I’m still working on self-control. Time means nothing…wait means nothing…be patient means nothing. So, I decided that while waiting in the BIG line for the BIG boat, I’d be as loud (BIG loud) as possible hoping to get us there faster. Seemed like a plan to me. It didn’t work. Instead, the angry eyes came out.   So I pretended I didn’t have any bones and fell to the floor. This made more angry eyes come out. When Momma asked me to stand up and use my listening ears to teach Lyla like a good BIG brother…I decided to be a puppy instead.   I jumped to my knees and hands and loudly told her, “I’m not a BIG brother, I’m a puppy! Woof woof!” I’ve never seen BIGGER angry eyes!!   Someone needs to work on that…and I don’t mean me.  

So where’s Alaska? Is this Alaska? Are we there? Are we there??!!! I was so excited I couldn’t even walk. I ran or jumped everywhere! Oh! Oh! The hall! It was so …so…BIG!! I could run and run and run and still not get to the end! And…and…and. Whew. It was exhausting and exciting at the same time. There HAD to be a place somewhere on this boat to hide Lyla!! Oooo…

Cruise Ships_0108 Cruise Ships_0097So really, is this Alaska? Momma said not yet. She said we had to sleep first- that the sun would go to bed, and so would we, but there was plenty to do while we waited for Alaska!! She said we could explore the big boat, find where the stairs go, ride the elevators, look for the swimming pools, find the play room, see how much watermelon and salami there was to eat, take pictures…AAANND… she lost me.

She HAD to bring that up?? I suppose she was going to have her camera a lot. Oh well. There was too much to do to be upset. It seems that Papa, Daddy and Uncle Tim had their cameras too. I thought Momma carried hers a lot?! You should see Uncle Tim!! It must make him feel better, like my lovey blanket does for me.

For the rest of the day we ran, jumped, ran some more, ate, jumped, screamed, laughed, ran, played Legos (yay Uncle Tim!), sang, used those cameras (sigh), ran, ate some more, laughed some more, more Legos, jumped, used those cameras…again (BIG sigh), and finally got ready to sleep. The sun was up for a long time, so I got to stay up too!! That part was my idea!!  When I wake up we will be in Alaska!!! Now…where I can I hide Lyla?

Nate’s Notes: Alaska- Getting There

It was such a BIG trip with BIG mountains, a BIG ship, BIG waves, BIG animals and BIG stories that it might take a BIG long time to tell you all about it. But I have to start somewhere. It. Was. SO COOL!!!!! It is the BIGGEST adventure of my life so far.

We started by car. Not a big car though…it felt small with all our stuff in it. And Lyla had to come too. And the cameras. Pfff…so it was Momma, Daddy, Lyla, and me. Because Momma and Daddy seem to be slow learners, and forgot about the LONG hours and our crying last summer on the road trip…they chose to drive all the way up to where we got on the BIG ship.  

We weren’t gone long before Lyla started puking everywhere. Don’t worry, she does it all the time. But it meant stopping the car a lot. And it meant BIG stink…everywhere. It was then that Momma and Daddy decided maybe they made the wrong choice to drive all this way!! BIG mistake??? Oh well…the adventure had started.   Besides, Momma wanted pictoos along the way.

We drove through BIG and medium states- California, Oregon and Washington. Of course, we had to stop all the time for pictoos, but whatever. I was super excited about the whole trip so I didn’t even mind. I even helped Momma find things. Trees, old buildings, cool clouds, cool painting, drawing and writing on walls, boats, bridges…all kinds of stuff. In Washington we got to see a BIG helper boat. It was a fireboat- a boat that helps firefighters, like a fire truck…but it was a boat!! I’ve never seen one of those before! It was red and big. But it wasn’t OUR boat. Not yet.

Tacoma Fire Boat

Tacoma Fire Boat

Tacoma Glass Sculptures

Tacoma Glass Sculptures

We saw water and different buildings, sand, glass thingies, bridges and trains. We walked and ran. We jumped. And we drove some more. Then we got to a place where we had to answer questions before we could drive more, a man looked in our car, and we had to show our pictoo books to the man. Momma and Daddy said I had to smile big and not talk. This was Canada, and we didn’t get in trouble! They even let us keep Lyla, even though she growled at them!  Oh well.

So we kept driving some more. Daddy said he had to get used to the numbers on the signs.   We pulled over more times for Lyla. And then… we finally saw our BIG ship..or boat…or ship, I can’t remember!! And Papa, Gram Spam, Uncle Tim, Auntie Kate, Auntie Kisstine, MoMo and Bookie were there too. Our BIG family was ready for the BIG boat adventure.  Alaska here we come!!!

Nate’s Notes: Things That Start with “P”

**Momma’s Note:   For those of you close to me that may have heard these stories, or think you know what stories are about to come, go ahead and remove your eyebrows from your hairline, and just keep reading. This is the Nate-version, mostly. I used to worry about and discuss paradigm shifts, protocol, piano scales and proper pluralization. However, now is a time in my life where I worry about what bodily functions, fluids or body parts starting with a letter“p” that might be discussed by my two-year old with strangers at the market.  So, I can’t help but share this edited version and shake my head. This is my life. **


Puh-puh-puh …P! I know a lot of things that start with the letter p!!    Like the other day, I was digging for cat poop in our sand box so that it will be safe to play in.   I was digging, singing a song about digging, and I told Momma, “It sure is fun to dig for cat poop!   Hey! ‘Poop’ starts with the letter ‘p’ Momma!!

She got one of her funny face looks, but then said while smiling, “Nate, that makes me strangely proud!” Puh-puh-puh…proud! Hey, she used a p-word! Wait…puh-puh-puh … “Hey! Momma! ‘Pee’ starts with a ‘p’ too!” With big eyes, her head shaking, and Lyla eating sand, Momma said, “Yes, Nate. It does. Can you think of other things or words that start with a puh-puh-puh p-sound?

I thought. And I thought some more. “Car doesn’t. Dog doesn’t. Puppy does!! Puh-puh-puh…pants! Puh-puh-p…please! Please does!” I kept thinking about all the things around me that start with a p-sound.   While I was busy thinking and Lyla was eating sand, Momma grabbed her camera. Oh man. That camera again. Always. Does she ALWAYS have to have that thing? Does she ALWAYS have to take pictoos?? Hey!! “Momma! Momma! Pictoos is a p-sound too!! Pictoos!! Can I take some pictoos?” Wait. Did I really just ask that? Sigh. BIG sigh.  

IMG_1446Sure baby. After you take pictures, why don’t we go inside and look at pictures to find more p-words! We can look on the website and pick some pictures that start with p!” That actually sounded…REALLY FUN! But don’t tell Momma that.

I wonder what pictoos I’ll find that start with p?! And why does Lyla eat so much sand?

Nate’s Notes: Yep. Eggs STILL Don’t Bounce.

*I’ve been gone awhile. I’ll try to explain that later, but the adults in my life basically needed my help….A LOT. And I couldn’t write at the same time. Oh! And I got to see REALLY BIG things in Alaska. I’ll tell you all about that later…first, you gotta hear what Lyla did.


I tried to tell her.   But she does what she wants. It’s like trying to wrangle a toddler…or a chicken. Either way, Lyla wasn’t wearing her listening ears. And somehow I got in trouble because of that!

Run Ladies! Run!!!

Run Ladies! Run!!!

See, we were doing chores for the first time together. I decided to LET her come with me to feed the ladies and get their eggs. Lyla was sooooo excited to be near the “bok boks”. That’s what she calls chickens…bok boks…like a baby or something. Pfff.   As usual, I got distracted watching the ladies run. Have you ever watched chickens run? It is soooo funny. You gotta see it.  It might be funnier than watching Momma try to dance.  I could watch them for hours.   If my teeth are hurting or my toys bore me, I just watch our chickens run and feel better. Momma laughs a lot too and that make my heart smile.  

I warned Lyla about the eggs and told her that eggs aren’t balls. So I was watching the ladies run, Momma was talking about the pictures she wants to take, and all the pictures she has to work on (really, can she think of ANYTHING else to talk about???), and Lyla was…somewhere.  

Well…when we weren’t looking, Lyla wandered over to the chicken eggs. I turned around JUST in time to see her with them in her hands. She was yelling, “Ba Ba Ba” (that is Lyla speak for ball).   And then I knew. I knew because I had to find out for myself when I was a baby. These weren’t balls. They were eggs. And eggs don’t bounce. But I couldn’t stop her.   What kind of a big, helpful brother would I be if I didn’t let her learn for herself??!   And what kind of a big, sneaky brother would I be if I didn’t let her get in trouble sometimes??!   So I watched with a teeny, tiny smile. I watched Momma gasp. I watched Lyla get big eyes. I watched Lyla throw. I watched Momma yell just as Lyla threw the eggs. I watched Momma close her eyes and groan.   I watched Lyla freeze and then turn around and run away.   She knew. She knew Momma wasn’t happy. Okay, so they aren’t balls…they are eggs.   Eggs don’t bounce. I knew that. And now, so did Lyla. But eggs STILL make a pretty picture all broken up!

Now…about ALASKA…

Nate’s Notes: I Am NOT Sharing These Legos

Awhile ago I wrote about “Sharing is Caring”. Really? It is? There are big people in my life that like to say this. Actually, big people who don’t even know me, like at the playground or market, like to say it too. Have you ever heard something so silly?!   I hear it often…as if you can reason with my two-year old brain.   I heard it just the other day, about 11teen hundred 67 times when Lyla tried to play with my Legos. MY Legos.

WP_20140522_003Here’s the thing about Legos. They. Are. AWESOME!!! You can build something different every day with Legos. They have great colors. There are big ones, mostly for babies, and smaller, “regular” ones. Actually these smaller ones we call “Uncle Tim Legos”. My Uncle Tim and Legos go way back. He is kind of a super hero with them. And these Legos were FROM HIM. FOR ME. He gave them to me, NOT Lyla. I am the one who broke my collar bone, NOT Lyla. I am the one the doctor called a SUPER HERO, NOT Lyla.

Seems like I should get to play with them and only me.  And besides, big people don’t share everything.   They certainly don’t share much with me. I watch. I listen. I know.

So back to these Legos. I don’t plan to share anytime soon. In fact, I’m bringing some on the BIG boat and adventure we take in a couple days!!! Uncle Tim is going too. Only Uncle Tim gets to play Legos with me. NOT Lyla.

That’s all.

Nate’s Notes: Cars, Trains, Buses, Boats and Planes- OH MY!!!!

11teen more days. 11teen. It feels like so much, and not so much. I try to count out 11teen cars and books and planes, just to see how much that is, but Lyla keeps interrupting me. Little sisters…pfff. Just 11teen days separate me from my BIG adventure. Momma says this isn’t just any adventure. She tells me we are going to the land of BIG things. BIG mountains, BIG wild spaces, BIG bears, BIG ice cube thingies, BIG days (Momma says the sun goes to bed for only a couple hours), and BIG fun.

Even better, we get to go on a BIG boat- or ship – as part of our trip! Even better than that, I get to do all this with a lot of my BIG people!! I get to go with Papa, Gram Spam, Momma, Daddy, Lyla (eye roll), Auntie Kate (I can’t wait to read with her), Uncle Tim (maybe he will play Legos with me), Auntie Christine (she makes me smile and gives the best hugs), cousin MoMo (Dance party!!!), and cousin Brooke (she’s fun, has my birthday, and has the best smile).

First we have to go by car from our house all the way up to Canada. Still not sure how I feel about road trips and being strapped in the car for such a long time, but Momma and Daddy both make it fun. I always get to see new things. And guess what…take MORE pictures along the way (eye roll). Then we get on the BIG boat with everyone else. I’m pretty sure my brain will explode if I try to think about all we will see on the boat, from the boat, and when we get off the boat. Momma has been telling me stories and showing me pictures, but c’mon…I’m two. I can handle only so much.

After the BIG boat, we get to go on a train to the BIG mountain that starts with a “D”, like “Daddy”. A train!!!!! After the train, a bus will take us all around that BIG mountain where we might see BIG bears, BIG cats, BIG goats, BIG flowers (eye roll), and BIG trees. Just think of all the pictures!!!! Wait…did I just say that??!! (eye roll).

After the trip to the BIG mountain we get to take another bus and have more adventures before we get on a plane to start home!! My very first plane trip!! Momma and Daddy look scared when we talk about the plane ride with me and Lyla…but I will keep them safe and sound. A plane with me in it!!! In the sky!!! Brain…exploding.

I’m so excited I could pee my pants!!! Don’t judge.

11teen more days. Then it’s time for my BIG adventure with my family, full of BIG fun and lots of love. I’ll be sure to take pictures and share with everyone! Yes, I said that. There must be something about cars, trains, buses, boats and planes that makes me not care about the cameras and pictures!! I am one happy boy.

Nate’s Notes: Teaching The Next Generation

Ever since I fell and broke myself, I’ve had a lot of time to think. My big people don’t let me do too much stuff. So, with all this “rest” time, I think…and I scheme. No, just kidding!! I don’t really scheme, I’m two!

Back to the scheming, I mean thinking…So yea, as I get older, I find I do a lot of thinking anyway. Where do the birds sleep? When can I see the new helicopter movie with Dusty Crophopper? Why can’t I see it now? What if I feed my nemo fishies too much? Will they grow so big and break the tank really? Why does Momma not like sharks, because they seem nice enough in that movie? Why can’t I stay up all night and read? Is Lyla really staying forever? When does the boat for Alaska leave? Will it come here? Is the train on the boat too? And the plane? And the bus?  Why does Momma keep asking me what my name is or Lyla’s name is? Does she really not remember? Will I turn into a watermelon if I eat too much? Will I turn into a prune if I stay in the bathtub forever? Why can’t I use Daddy’s camera? (I already know how…pff). Is eating dirt or leaves really that bad? Does the bobcat really hug the chickens and take them back to his house?

Whew…it is exhausting really. One of the biggest questions I’ve been asking myself lately (since I haven’t been able to take pictures) is about who will take pictures when we (me, Momma, Daddy and the “others”) stop? Will Lyla? Certainly not at this rate. By the time I was her age, I was already taking my own pictures, and had been given two cameras. I guess it is up to me to show her…to teach the next generation.

If you want to beat your head against the wall over and over again…it might be easier than trying to teach Lyla about cameras!! Oh man. I. Have. Tried. Trust me, I’ve tried it all. Since she didn’t seem to get the camera lesson, I decided to show her what some textures were. Start simple. Once again, my actions were misinterpreted as shoving her face in the carpet, the driveway, the couch, dumping water over her head, painting her legs, and pushing her against the wall. I simply wanted her to see the textures up close, to focus. All Momma saw was the last part of all of it.

We have a lot of work to do. See for yourself. The pictures say it all.  


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TMG Philosophy: Inspiration

Sometimes we all need a little inspiration, whether from images, gestures, or words. Sometimes we need quite a bit! Recently, I’ve been looking at readings and favorite quotes for some much needed comfort and inspiration. Part of the reason I journal is for just such a reason as this.  I thought I’d share some of those I’ve collected, and those that jumped out at me today. It occurred to me that some of these personify our TMG Philosophy perfectly!    


Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all. – Sam Ewing
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” ― Mary Anne Radmacher

“I think that to find meanings, you have to look at things from different directions.” – Bev Doolittle

“The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ― Theodore Roosevelt

“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” ― Walt Disney Company

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall

“Although I make mistakes, I am not a mistake.” – Anonymous

“We become brave by doing brave acts.” – Aristotle

“People don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care.” – Anonymous

“A picture is a poem without words.” – Horace

“Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.” ― Gloria Steinem

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Nate’s Notes: Bone Pictures

“8 little monkeys jumpin’ on the bed. One fell off and bumped his head. Momma called the doctor and the doctor said, ‘No more monkeys jumping on the bed!!’” I love that book. Actually, I love any book. I mean, WHO DOESN’T??!!! Oh wait…Lyla doesn’t. Give me a break.

Actually, that happened. I mean…I got a break. Yea. I was just reading my book. Maybe I was sitting on the bench in a way that Momma told me not to. I’m not saying I was, just that it is possible. I’m two. C’mon.

So yea, I was reading this amazing book and I fell. It happened fast and probably is the most scared I have ever been. I cried. I kicked and I cried. I cried so loud and hard that I couldn’t breathe. Momma was right there to hold me.   She kept telling me I was safe. She kept telling me she was there and that Daddy was coming soon.   She rubbed my head, sang me songs and loved me. But all I could do was cry. I cried so much that Lyla started crying.

Everything started to get cold. It hurt so much that I started shaking and shaking. Momma sang louder then and told me again I was safe, I was loved. I felt like if I just went to sleep that it would be better.   I don’t remember Daddy coming home, but when he did, I was almost asleep.  

Momma called the doctor and the doctor said… “Bring him in.”   So I got to go to a big huge doctor’s office. It was called a hopitoo. No…hospy. No…hospital!! Everyone was really nice there.   The nice doctor even called me a superhero. He called me a brave boy!!   It hurt when he tried to move me, so he said we needed pictures. He said it was probably broken. Wait…what??

Oh perfect. Him too??!!! Great. I’m surrounded by people who take pictures. What could this doctor POSSIBLY want to take pictures of at a time like this?? Can’t I catch a break??!!   Wait, I’m broken?   Did he just say I was broken????   That didn’t sound good. Not at all.

A woman came and got me and Momma. We got to wear capes and stand on a stool. Then a big big machine came at me. The woman told me it was going to take pictures of me. So I smiled. She told me not to. Someone’s a grumpy pants. I stood really still and the machine took pictures …of my bones!!!   My bones!!!   Now, THAT is a cool camera. I’m asking for one for my next birthday.  

After the pictures, we got a special brace for me. It hurts. But the doctor said Momma and Daddy would help me feel better, and keep me safe.   I broke my collar bone. Whatever that is. It just feels like my shoulder is on fire.

It isn’t fun. Everyone tells me to stop doing this, and stop doing that because I will get hurt. Everyone watches everything I do. I do get to read a lot of books, which is cool.   But I can’t run that much, or jump…or do EVERYTHING a two-year old boy NEEDS to do all day long. I DO get extra hugs and cuddles. Momma and Daddy do keep me safe.

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