Nate’s Notes: A Train is NOT A Plane

For someone who likes lists so much…Momma sure got this one wrong. She showed me the picture list of all the things we were going to ride on this trip in Alaska. It went: CAR. BOAT. BUS. PLANE…

I may be little. And I may not have a formal education yet…but this is NOT a plane. This is a train. Don’t get me wrong! I LOVE that we are on a train!!! But I just want to be clear…a train is not a plane.

So all the sickies recovered from the fun wave ride on the boat, and we took a bus trip here, where we met cool friends and now are getting ready to get on a train!!!

Back to this bus ride. Kids my age aren’t meant to sit still for that long….we aren’t meant to be quiet for that long…we aren’t meant to transition from one thing to the next without having a hard time. How would you like to be bossed around all the time, told what to do, when to do it, how to do it?  We are meant to LIVE!!! Let us LIVE! LET! US! LIVE!!!!

Anyway, no real harm done. It’s not like the bus ride was 6 hours long or anything. Now THAT would be harsh. Here we are, on the train!! A train!!! Lyla keeps saying, “Chugga! Chugga!” which is pretty cute, even I’ll admit that.   This is WAY better than a bus. We get to walk around, go outside, see everything, and eat snacks…all while the train is moving!!!

The train guy yelled, “All Aboard!” and we climbed up to our seats. On my way, I made sure I told everyone, “A train is NOT a plane.” And Lyla squeaked, “chugga chugga!”.  Momma shook her head and made weird eyes at me. Here we gooooo!!!!   I can’t wait to tell you all about this adventure! It is totally the best field adventure EVER!!

Lyla on the outside car of the train!  It was windy!

Lyla on the outside car of the train! It was windy!

Alaska Train!!

Alaska Train!!

As we got in our seats, I heard Momma say to Daddy, “Hopefully this will be so fun that he won’t mind being on a bus for 7 hours tomorrow!!”

Whaaatt??!!!! Do you want to see my angry face???

Nate’s Notes: Now THAT Is Texture!!

My Alaska trip was probably the most fun I have had all year. And I know fun!! Who wouldn’t enjoy a big ship, new friends, crash-bang-booming huge ice cubes, endless hallways to run in, and more watermelon than you have ever seen??  Every day was a new adventure, a different place. My mind had soooo many pictures in it already, and we weren’t even done with the trip! Momma always changes out a little square thingy in her camera when there are too many pictures. Seems like I should be able to do that so I could make more room in my head for the rest of the trip.

You know we littles soak up all the stuff you big people are feeling right? So all my happy big people made the trip even better!   Papa and Gram-Spam smiled all the time, and told us new stories. Momma and Daddy laughed and showed us new things. Uncle Tim and Auntie Kate played with us and made us smile. Auntie Kisstine, MoMo, and Bookie played with us too and took us to painting and music! I just felt so…so…so…happy!!  

It's probably best for everyone if you read this!

It’s probably best for everyone if you read this!

Until one of the last days. It started out super happy, with more BIG ice cubes and breakfast. We laughed, we played, we ran, we told stories, we read books, we watched the big water. And then the water got bigger. And bigger. And bigger. And it all went bad. It started with Lyla…she started whining and drove me nuts. She looked funny too (funnier than she usually does- he he he). Then Momma started to look a different color. Then Gram-Spam. Then Daddy. There were weird colors, strange noises, sick faces, sad faces…and then…it started. Lyla was first again…all over the floor. Then all over the deck outside our room. Then all over the bed. Then Momma. And so it went. Papa played with me even though he looked a little strange too. But he was the only one that could move.

I felt really good though!!   I just kept running and jumping and yelling, “Weeeee! This is so fun!!! Make it go higher!!!!”. But everyone else around me gave me an angry face and told me to never say that again. Never ever ever. Never.  Before everything got cleaned up, I thought maybe Momma should take pictures because she is always saying she needs more texture pictures. And THAT was texture!!

But I felt so bad for her and Daddy that I didn’t say that.  

And this happened. All. Night. Long.

Nate’s Notes: Necessary Toddler Skill #31- Negotiating

It’s hard to be three. I think I’ve made my point with that a few times. But lucky for those of you who don’t learn as fast as I do, toddler skill #14 is repeating things over and over…and over. 

And over.

So yea, it’s hard to be three. It’s even harder to be three and have a banged up brain. See, I was running/racing inside on a rainy day (yes, it was a Momma-approved activity- so put your eyebrows down)…and my wheels went flat. I crashed. I crashed right into a door and the bottom thingy that sticks out. It cut open my head, made it hurt inside and outside, and made a mess. It hurt so bad, all I wanted to do was go to sleep. I tried, but Momma was mean and didn’t let me. Neither did any of the people that helped me at the *hopstitaw. I had to stay awake, look at lights, walk, wait for awhile, get cleaned up and have my head glued back together. Yep, they glued my head! So cool. Usually I get to use glue for projects, but now I have glue on my head!! So. Cool.

(SIDE NOTE: Can you believe that while I was bleeding and hurting, Momma was looking around at all the machines in the *hopstitaw and saying she wished she had her camera??? Excuse me while I roll my eyes and lay here hurting. This WAS after the doctor decided I could go home…but still…enough with those darn tootin’ cameras.)

Anyway…I haven’t been feeling very good since then. My head hurt inside for awhile, my tummy was angry, I was really tired, and just wanted to cry a lot. Even though Momma and Daddy and all my big people have been really nice to me, and have taken care of me, they still ask me to do things I don’t wanna do. I think that with a banged up brain, I should get a break for awhile. Seems okay to me. Lyla should learn to do more anyway!! She’s almost two and still doesn’t do that much. Sheesh.

It has been in this time of my brain getting better that I learned about negotiating…kind of like Momma’s whole “give and take” speech. Except that when you are hurt, you can kinda take more. Pssst…that’s a secret. So here are some times when I started practicing this new trick…err, I mean skill.

Don’t wanna eat what Momma gives me. “If I eat two bites, can I have that magic cookie that will make my tummy and head feel better? And then I don’t have to eat any more bites of this because it makes my head huwt?”  

Don’t wanna take a nap. “I’m feeling kinda sad Momma, and my head huwts inside. Can I sit on yow lap and get a big hug and wead lots of stowies and then play with my caws and then maybe it won’t be nap time anymore? Can we do that? I will even help you clean. Would that be good?”

Momma says we can read 2 books before dinner. So, this book isn’t a long story, so I was thinking that maybe we could wead fwee books.   (WHEN SHE STARES…) Oh what a pwedicament. You wanna wead four books then? Not fwee? Would that make you happy? Are you so happy? Say something Momma!”

At the flea market with Daddy. “Can I touch that Daddy? No? What about this? But I want to! Do you want my help? Yes? Okay. Excuse me. Hey hey hey…would I like this flamingo (now getting to touch it)? How much? How much is this flamingo mister?! It’s not fow sale? But I weally like it! How much do you want? Hey hey- But I hit my head!”

These are just the easy ones. I’m still practicing. It works a lot though! Watch out. When I get really good, I’m gonna figure out how to get my hands on Momma’s camera and computer for good.

*Momma’s Note: hopstitaw= hospital. Nate just says it differently; it isn’t a spelling error.

Nate’s Notes: Thankful

nate at piano with concussionNate is unfortunately still not feeling great after his concussion last week, and isn’t up to writing much. Since it is Thanksgiving Week, I decided to ask my little guy what he was thankful for, what makes him happy. These are his responses…and I quote:

“Thank you fow my food. Thank you fow my family. Thank you fow my special planes. Thank you fow my special fwiends. Amen.”

“I like playing with Windlifter, Blade, Dusty and all that stuff.”

“Matching things makes me smile, which is the same as happy. So can we do that?”

“Putting chapstick on makes me happy. Thank you fow chapstick. Sometimes my lips just hurt. It is a pwedicament.”

“Thank you fow my multivitamin and my pwobiotics. I LOVE pwobiotics. They are delicious. Do you?”

“I like stowies. They make me happy. Can you tell me a stowie? No…not that one.”

“Chwistmas makes me sooooo happy. Hey- is it Chwistmas?”

“Momma?  I’m not happy or saying thank you fow bumping my head.  Is that okay?”

And there you have it.  We are hoping he’ll be back at it next week!  Stay tuned.

Nate’s Notes: Some Days Are Just Bad Days…No Matter How Old You Are

NOTE: Our regularly scheduled Alaska blogging will continue next week. Today I needed to get some big feelings out.


Today I woke up grumpy. Yea, you heard me. I. Was. Grumpy. What- I’m a toddler who is loved and provided for so that automatically makes every day rainbows and unicorns??? Clearly you’ve never been three years old.

How many times have I told you that sometimes BIG feelings just happen? How many times have I told you about life under four feet tall?? Don’t you listen??? Do you big people think I WANT to feel this way???? Do you want to see my angry face?????

Momma always asks me to press the reset button. Well, today it wasn’t working. I tried.

Dressed and trying to make it a good day, I got on my stool for breakfast. Momma was humming. Lyla was babbling and smearing yogurt all over herself, perfectly happy and unaware of these BIG feelings. Well, at least I had good food to look forward to. Maybe that would help. And then I looked down. What was this? I don’t want eggs and sausage!! I glared at a grinning Momma, who quickly stopped smiling and stared back. “I don’t want this!!” I yelled. She didn’t talk, but instead raised one VERY serious eyebrow…big people code for “That is not acceptable. Stop now.”   But I couldn’t. Obviously she didn’t get the breakfast food change request I sent with my mind. Grrrr…I showed her my angry face.

And so the day continued this way. It was a struggle. It was a fight. It was actually painful. There was whining. About that…It’s time you big people accept whining as a part of language. When we communicate this way, you make (try to make) us stop and call it whining. When you people do it, you call it complaining and talking out your feelings.   It’s NOT different!!

And if I hear one word about taking pictures or see the cameras, I might flip my lid.  

Finally, Momma said, “Nate, sweetie, you seem really angry and frustrated today. What can we do about that?” Well…ding ding ding!!! Congratulations Momma- you get the prize! Just for being SOOOO aware, I may add a star to your reward chart, and we might play a game that doesn’t end in crying!!!  Or maybe I’ll stay in bed tonight and let you sleep!  Just kidding, we don’t actually care if you sleep.   Jeez Louise*. Before I could share my witty response with her, she scooped me up in her big arms, gave me a hug, and told me I was very loved.   For the first time that day…I felt a little smile.

*Still waiting to meet this Louise person.

Nate’s Notes: And The BIG-ness Keeps Coming!!!

Today we saw huge ice cubes! Our BIG boat floated right up next to them in Alaska. Momma said there would be giant ice cubes, and we might see seals, whales and puffins. You know what? She was right! Well, I don’t know about the puffins. Some people on the boat said they saw them, but I didn’t see the puffins…so they probably weren’t there.

These giant ice cubes were sooooo cool! Get it…cool…ice…cool?! I feel like sometimes I have to slow things down and spell them out for you big people because you get too busy. It’s exhausting really. So yea, these ice cubes were sticking up way way way out of the water. There were even big pieces floating in the water that we HIT and ran over with the boat! Toddler Boy Brain = Exploding.

Giant Ice Cubes

Giant Ice Cubes



We hit ice with the big boat!

We hit ice with the big boat!

It was super cool. Yea, and cold. Like….brrrrr. We bundled up with hats and sweatshirts and jackets. I’ve never been in a place that cold! No really, I haven’t…I’m from California. Of course…EVERYBODY had a camera, not just Papa, Daddy, Momma and Uncle Tim. It seemed like everywhere we looked on the boat, people had their cameras attached to their faces. Jeez big people. Ever think about just looking and enjoying? Momma says we can take pictures with our minds. What’s wrong with trying that?

And THEN…BOOM!!! CRASH!!! BANG!!! Lyla jumped and “ran” for Momma’s leg. Why is she always hugging Momma? Doesn’t she know she’s already taken?? Stop already. Anyway… I froze (more ice humor people). It sounded like the ice cubes were yelling or growling…or something like that! They were breaking and crashing into the water. That actually scared me a little (okay, a lot), but I’d never tell anyone that. I know I’m still little, but when the ice cubes boomed and crashed, it made me feel even more little. I may have even quietly grabbed Momma’s other leg, but pretended it was to make sure she was okay. I looked at Daddy though, and his smile made me feel safe. I knew I didn’t have to be scared. With Momma and Daddy as my steady, I was okay.

I went back to looking at the huge ice cubes and listening to their giant noises. And took a picture with my mind. This…this I would never forget. KABOOM!!! 

Nate’s Notes: My Tips for Traveling with Two Toddlers

Momma, Momma…Momma. Look at her. So cute how she planned all these activities and read some books about traveling with toddlers. Busy bags, new books and special snacks fill each bag we brought. As if she could actually plan for life on the road with me and Lyla!! Here we are, on a BIG ship in Alaska, about to see the BIGGEST ice cubes ever, and she looks so tired. Maybe she should have slept more before the trip and planned less. She tried, she really did…

If she had just asked me, I could have given her tips. Toddlers are tricky; life under four feet is hard. Here are some ideas to make it easier.

  1. There are so many rules! No one tells you the rules AHEAD of time, you just have to learn them as you go (or AFTER you break them), and somehow remember.  No one told us toilets aren’t snack bars and swimming pools, that food on the floor or stuck under tables shouldn’t be eaten, and that not ALL walls are meant for drawing. (When Momma takes pictures of cool drawings on walls of buildings and says the painting is super cool, it is even more confusing!) No one really explains that screaming like a monkey and running at Lightning McQueen speed down the ship halls isn’t very nice.       Instead, we just hear a sharp, “NO! That’s NOT okay!”. No one told me that hiding Lyla in the ship elevator was a bad idea…until after I had tried. Well, okay then. And that tired saying, “It’s the rule.” Rules, rules, rules. Driving me crazy!!
  2. We aren’t as smart as you think and we can’t always use our words. Sometimes BIG feelings just happen. Sometimes I am scared because I don’t really know that a bathtub drain won’t suck me down or a big bird won’t take me away or sharks aren’t waiting for me to fall off the boat. Sometimes I am angry that I have to change my fun times when YOU big people decide. Having fun running up and down the stairs Nate? Oh- well, you have to stop now.   Have the biggest smile EVER while playing in the water with Lyla?       Oh- well, too bad- get out! How would you like it if you had to stop in the middle of your favorite thing? Yea…you would flip your lid too. Flip. And when your lid flips…you don’t have words, just feelings. If I could tell you that you hurt my feelings and I’m worried about if I’ll ever feel that happy again, I WOULD use my words to say that!! But I can’t. My brain is still figuring things out!! And if I can’t use my words all the time…well, Lyla definitely can’t.
  3. Gross things are fascinating. OOOO- A bald eagle (not really bald), just pooped on the sidewalk = amazing = must touch it.   Lyla spit out her pickle and watermelon at the dinner table in front of a ship full of staring strangers = yum! I love watermelon and pickles, so I’ll pick it up, smoosh it, smell it and eat it…ALSO in front of a ship full of staring strangers.
  4. We are smarter than you think we are.       Yep. That’s what I said. We are so much smart. I watched Momma make all this fun stuff, find new toys and books to bring for our weeks of adventures…but I’ll wait until I get them and decide I want the microphone that is off limits, or the cell phone charger, or the hot curling iron instead. Shiny things can’t trick us.   We also know that the fastest, easiest way to get out of doing something is to have an identity crisis. Time to go back to the room for bed? I’m not Nate, I’m an owl and owls are awake at night. Time to walk slowly and wait in line? I’m not Nate, I’m a cheetah- the fastest animal on land. Time to be quiet? I’m not Nate, I’m a loud, growling bear.   Time to walk up the stairs? I’m not Nate, I’m a puppy dog and have to crawl up the stairs.       We know. We. Know.
  5. This one is tough…ready? We toddlers are changing and growing super fast. We are learning SO much right now. New words, new ideas, new things to see, new mad skills and tricks. There is no time to sleep. We have too much work to do…too much to practice! Looking at Momma now, I can see this one will take awhile for her to get.

Alaska Trip_Valley_Day 1 (10)

Remember- life under four feet is hard work. Maybe you big people have forgotten. But with these starter tips (I’ll have more later) life can be easier- especially on a big adventure like this!! Oooo- look at that!!

10/8- Nate’s Notes: A Different Puh-Puh-Puh-Perspective…From Alaska

Awhile ago I asked if you would lower yourself to my level, or better yet, Lyla’s level. No, I didn’t mean like in a maturity way- neener neener, so there. Gosh. Silly buster kangaroo! Grow up! I meant, spend the day crawling around. Yea, actually crawling, or as close to that as you could get. See things from our perspective. Did you do it? I’m sure people only thought you were silly for a few seconds, then they probably put their noses back in their phones. That’s usually what big people do.

Did you? Did you open your eyes and notice how much taller the trees are, how much bigger the windows and doors are (or what they taste like)? Did you notice the grass, the mud puddles, the wood on cabinets or next to the carpet, or the patterns in carpet? What about the leaves turning colors, the acorns, pine cones and rocks on the ground? Did you feel the cold (or warmth) of metal? Did you see the shapes in wood fences? It’s a different world at our level, one I bet you’ve forgotten about with all of your gadgets and phones and stuff.

Cruise Inside Passage (5) Ketchikan (262) our shipWell, my super family is in Alaska now, AND on a BIG BIG ship. It seems like all my big people are LOOKING and FEELING the world around us!! Like maybe they listened to me? They are looking at things differently, I think. They keep talking about how the sky seems closer, the clouds and sun giant, the flowers so much big, the mountains so SO much big and the best they have ever seen. They say the ship is a giant. It seems like my big people really are looking at things differently!! I guess you call it a different puh-puh-puh purse…no puh-pursepectative-or somethin’ like that.

I knew it. I totally have super powers that made them.

Nate’s Notes-Alaska :Tree Poles

*Yawn*. Between the sun and Lyla, I’m so tootin’ tired. Big bumpers and bananas! She does not sleep!! No sleep. None. She is a night monster, I just know it. The first couple nights of our adventure, I didn’t mind. I thought I could find some place once we were on the ship to put her. But having to sleep- no, TRYING to sleep- in the same room with her is just mean. I have tried hiding her on the ship, but she walks pretty good now. Besides, someone always catches me and I have to act like it’s a cute game we are playing.

Juneau (1)Anyway, we got off the ship and back on again today, with only a few tantrums. You can guess who had those. I saw big painted sticks! They go way up in the sky.  They are made from trees actually!  Well, most of them. People make faces in them, and cut out whales, birds, fish, bears and big bad wolves! And they paint them to tell stories or for people who aren’t here.  I love stories! And I saw bald eagles in the trees. Those are birds. But they aren’t REALLY bald. And I saw Momma, Papa, Daddy and Uncle Tim with their cameras!! Oh wait- that isn’t exciting. No really- I saw that a lot. So much a lot. They bounce all over the place, kneeling, bending, climbing, leaning…always taking pictures. You spend a day around them, and you almost forget what they look like because the cameras are in front of their faces. Sheesh.

Totem Poles_0436 Totem Poles_0394

Every once in awhile, Momma just stops and watches. She doesn’t talk, just watches everything. So I watch her. What is she thinking? Is she okay? Why isn’t she moving? Does she know how to move? Then she leans down and tells me or Lyla to look at what she sees. She gets really excited about it, and asks if I am taking a picture with my mind to save. I say “yes” just to make her stop being silly. The only picture I want to take is of Lyla being put in another room tonight so I can sleep. Or of Lyla in a boat BEHIND our boat. Those pictures…those I would like to take. *Yawn*.

So far, Alaska is my favorite place…EVER.

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!!!