It’s been a while since my last post. I was out from work with pneumonia for 3 weeks and computer time has been at a minimum since I’ve been back and playing catch-up. However, without further ado, I give you Jamie dressed as his favorite thing in the UNIVERSE, Thomas the Tank Engine, for Halloween last week:
One happy little engine!

One happy little engine!

Jamie LOVES anything Thomas. He doesn’t know it yet, but he’s getting a train table for his birthday next month. The Thomas brand one was way too expensive, so he’s getting a less expensive table that comes with tons of Thomas-compatible track, and then we’re just encouraging friends & family to peruse the Thomas Wooden Railway line (there are like five different types of Thomas, none compatible with the others, but Jamie’s is “Thomas Wooden Railway System” and can easily be identified because they are non-powered, no-battery wooden trains with round, magnetic bumpers on front-and-back to connect to each other) as supplementary birthday presents to use on his train table.


I’ve already been fielding some preliminary questions about what he has/wants/needs as far as presents, and more specifically, Thomas, so here is a brief listing which I intend to keep updated by crossing stuff out as I know it’s coming to Jamie. Sheesh, this feels like a registry or something, but with so many family members in different places, it seemed like the best way to keep stuff straight so people know what his interests are, what he likes, and what he already has…so anyway, please do NOT feel pressured to buy him anything off this list (or anything, period, for that matter; we know what Christmas budgets are like!!), but I just thought I’d keep everyone posted this way and if it makes it easier on even one person, it’s served a purpose. ūüôā





WHAT JAMIE IS GETTING from various people for either his birthday or Christmas (at the time I write this posting):



-Annie & Clarabel (Thomas’s two faithful coaches)


-James (of course!)



-The Aquarium Cars

-Sodor Engine Wash

-Sodor Caboose

 -Harold the Helicopter

-Sir Topham Hatt’s car

-Stop-and-Greet Station (This is a destination that is integrated with recognition chips to speak to the individual engines when they come through. So far I don’t know of any of the wooden talking railway trains that Jamie is getting, just regular wooden ones, so it would be cool if he got versions of some that would be identified and spoken to, though the little destination is pretty cool on its own even without that feature. It has a little door that pops open and Sir Topham Hatt comes out and says stuff, which Jamie will love.)

-Suddery Swing Bridge


-More trucks/freight/railcars for his engines to pull

-Small destinations to fit over the tons of track we’ve got, like little unload/load stations or whatever in the Thomas line…y’know, things to link his extremely generic table set to the “official” Island of Sodor where Thomas and his friends live



-The matching express coaches for Gordon would be very cool.

-Toad (Oliver’s companion)

-Mighty Mac the two-faced engine




-Bertie the Bus


And so on. There are about a trillion of these wooden characters. Actually, he would be thrilled with any Thomas item out there because our lives currently REVOLVE around Thomas and have for the better end of a year. Videos, books, coloring pages, toys, you name it–Jamie is FASCINATED with anything remotely having to do with the Island of Sodor and its Really Useful Crew. Speaking of which, it would be really cool to track down the original Rev. Awdry books about Thomas (what started it all). I’m not sure how they’d be listed on Amazon or elsewhere. I think the original name of the series was “Railway Island”…the first¬†books are¬†about 40 years old, so they may have renamed¬†them now that Thomas is so popular outside of Europe as well. Who knows. The¬†wooden trains are¬†kind of expensive (start around $9.99) so we don’t expect anyone to go nuts here, and obviously he’s getting several characters, so again, please don’t feel like you have to give him Thomas trains. We know they’re pricey. I just know it’s hard to keep up on what little ones have, what’s popular, and all that, so I posted this for that reason. He will love anything people give him because he loves the people who give it to him and he has cool relatives. ūüôā


Oh, and for those wondering, Jamie will be wearing size 2T in tops and bottoms this winter. He’s already wearing 2T shirts and is¬†rapidly¬†outgrowing all of¬†his 24-month jeans. The next round of shoes will be size 7. For whatever that’s worth. I have seriously been slacking when it comes to keeping relatives up on this sort of stuff. Sorry.


On an unrelated note, check out the cool election pumpkin Hubby and I carved a couple weeks ago. It was way easier than it looked. We couldn’t believe it actually worked. It didn’t look much like him until we put the light in it, and then…POW! ūüôā




Don’t forget to get out there and vote tomorrow!!!




…are spent at our local mall’s fantastic educational toy store. I love shopping there. When I can’t be with Jamie during my workday, finding him awesome presents at the mall on my lunch hour¬†is the next best thing.


Today, I was on a mission. For some reason, over the last few months Jamie has started getting really excited every time we’re out somewhere and see something with Thomas the Tank Engine on it. I have no idea where or when he was exposed to this, because he’s never watched the show with us at home (it’s on during the day on weekdays when we’re at work) and his preschool has never shown it either. Somehow, though, Jamie knows who Thomas is and just goes absolutely nuts every time we see his picture on something, whether it’s toys, or sippy cups, or whatever.


So, I decided to poke around the toy store today and hook Jamie up with some Thomas stuff of his own. Luckily, My Favorite Toys has the largest selection of Thomas toys in Southern Illinois. (That place really rocks. They have a lot of obscure stuff, and hard-to-find stuff, and classic stuff from when parents and grandparents were little kids, and just all sorts of neat stuff. They also have tons of Folkmanis puppets, which family members have been buying for Jamie since he was born. He has quite the collection these days.) I am putting a link to this toystore’s expansive website in my list of links, because I really want these folks¬†to stay in business for a long, long time. They are so friendly and knowledgeable — it’s like they only hire teachers or something. I’m constantly telling people to go check them out if they’ve never been in there or browsed their website. I like to keep our bucks in Southern Illinois, and I love having them as a local resource. I want¬†them to stay put!


Anyway, getting back to Jamie and his Thomas obsession, I bought him two Thomas & Friends videos, two books (one with magnetized pages and cool magnets of all the Island of Sodor trains, and one with a clock with moveable hands so you can change the time on every page as Thomas goes through his railway schedule — how cool is that?) and a little Jamie-sized railroad engineer’s cap to wear when we watch his Thomas videos. I called Geoff, who usually gripes that Jamie has too much junk as it is, and he got really excited about coming home and playing/watching Thomas the Tank Engine with Jamie.¬†Geoff really wants to do train sets with him when he gets older, so he was chomping at the bit to come home and have “train night” at our house.


I can’t wait to surprise Jamie with all his Thomas presents!



It’s been a while since I updated the ol’ blog…here’s what’s going on in our world:

Jamie: Is getting over a nasty double ear infection. He’s finally starting to feel better, after being on half a dozen different medications. He has to continue the Cephaclor and Albuterol for several more days, but we’re starting to see some mild improvement so I hope we’re almost out of the woods. Other than being ill, he’s been really, really hyper from the Albuterol. The clinic said it’s like handing him a pot of coffee. We’re finally able to back it off from three times a day to once daily, so at least his hyperactivity is controllable in the evening now. He watched part of “Ratatouille” on DVD the other night and loved it. He fell asleep watching it on my lap. He NEVER falls asleep on my lap. It was very sweet.

Geoff: Is still up to his eyeballs in press coverage for this whole Herrin cop conspiracy nonsense with the state’s attorney. Several friends from his hometown came to visit last weekend so he was able to get away from all the hype for a couple of days and enjoy some R & R, which he desperately needed. Other than that, he is good.

Meanwhile, I’ve been busy, too. I’ve been doing some serious dieting and have already lost 9 lbs. That would be really great, except that it made my wedding ring become too loose and I LOST IT last weekend. We think it got lost in the house, but I’ve turned the place upside down every night and still can’t find it. Dismantled the washing machine (thanks Daddy), went through the garbage, checked inside pockets and oven mitts, followed the dogs around while they did their business….I cannot figure out where it is!! I even checked inside Jamie’s vaporizer. No ring.

Still, it’s nice to be losing some weight finally. Maybe I can reach my first of several goal weights by Christmas. That would be a nice present!!! (Though finding my ring would be even nicer…I feel so sad about it.) ūüė¶

Well, I guess that’s about all the news from Lake Wobegon…I’ll try and post updates as I continue to diet and pretend someone else cares if my butt gets smaller…but I have already gone down a jeans size! Yay!!

Little Man was playing in the living room last night when it struck us how much he suddenly looked like a little boy and not a baby. The way he was interacting, and playing with the doggies (we both expect his first word to be “Dezi”), and even the way his face looked framed by what is getting to be pretty bushy blonde hair — he’s just a boy now, no longer a baby boy. Where does the time go? He’ll be eight months old next week, and he’ll be¬†a year old before we know it. He learns something new every single day now, and watching him developing his skills makes me wonder what happened to that helpless little infant I held in my arms last December…



P.S. Here are¬†some pics of him sitting with Pop Pop while wearing his Southern Illinois Miners “uniform” that Grandma made him…




crib party

…(humming the Moody Blues in my head)

Well, I enjoyed lunch today with one of my coworkers from the good ol’ DCE days…my friend Stacy and I had lunch at McDonald’s. It was nice to catch up with her, because I miss her. The people at McDonald’s were going crazy because a water main broke and the cashier was really mean and I was afraid of her because she got mad at me when I asked if I could have iced tea (I didn’t know the water main had caused their problems…I thought their soda fountain had just broken). She was scary. Maybe I will eat at the other McD’s from now on in case she does voodoo on me to get even with me for ordering iced tea when they are out of it…

Other than Scary Cashier Girl,¬†Stacy and I¬†had a good time. Actually, today has been pretty decent all around. Hubby was nice enough to use part of his vacation day today cleaning up the kitchen and running errands to the bank and water department for me since he is on vacation and I am at work. What a nice husband. I will fix Hamburger Helper for him when¬†I get home. And he’s a nice enough husband that this will actually make him happy. Even though I will have to make it out of¬†SKIM milk that I accidentally¬†at the store on Sunday, which is a cardinal sin.

It is a good afternoon. ūüôā


Howdy folks!

Sorry it’s been so long getting a post up — I’ve been without computer access for over a month. But here I am, and a lot has happened this summer!

Well here goes:

New Job: I started work at the new job on June 28th. I’ve made it through my first crazy deadline week, and am slowly getting the hang of stuff around here. Still some snags, but I’m wading through it. I work in a brand-new office suite, with brand-new furniture and as of Friday, brand new computers, which is of course nice. I don’t really feel like I¬†fit in over here at all, but as long as I can plug away and pass my 6 month evaluation, it’s good enough for me. I hope to be here a long time. I hate switching jobs! Somehow, my raise has already spent itself. Money is suddenly quite tight around our house. I’m not sure how it happened, but it has. Going to be quite a while before we can afford much of anything extra, but no bills are due today, and I keep reminding myself we’re only promised our Daily Bread, not our weekly…

Jamie: Is working on cutting Tooth #3 right now. He still refuses to crawl, but has discovered that noodle-rolling is the best way to get from Point A to Point B. Has a ball rolling around on his tummy. He tried saying the word “bubble” last week, but it came out as, “BALL-BALL-BALL-BALL-BALL.” Heehee! He’s now decided that bathtime is the most fun thing ever. This realization came at about the same moment that he discovered that if he puts his hands together, he can make a cup that is excellent for scooping bathwater onto Mommy’s countertop. Needless to say, we don’t leave bills lying on the counter anymore!

Garden: Is a disaster. Weeds everywhere. I had so looked forward to this past weekend because I really wanted to get out there and get it all cleaned up, and then wound up coming down with a terrible summer cold on Friday night. I was practically bed-ridden all weekend, and showed up for work today with DayQuil, Kleenex, cough drops and hand sanitizer…I feel better today than I did this weekend, though. A combination of medicine and coffee has helped quite a bit this morning.

Hubby: Geoff is doing well and is hoping to be able to take several days off in a week or so. He has a few work-related projects for that period, but is also hoping to have some much-needed down time as well. Other than that, things are going well for him and the papers are both still doing a great job.

Well, I’ll be sure to keep up with the posts now that I have access again.¬† Oh yeah, and here’s a picture of the boy:

The boy

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