A Very Good Weekend

Jason and I overthink the weekends, sometimes. We get our hearts set on elaborate outings that end up being enjoyable for all of 45 minutes but require three times the planning and travel time. 

We purposely decided not to do that this weekend, and the most ambitious activity we planned was a trip to the playground. We spent a buck-seventy-five apiece to ride the park's miniature train, which to Noah and Ezra, ranks just above everything else in the world in terms of face-melting awesomeness. 


For Noah, the most thrilling aspect of the train is the fact that he gets his very own ticket, that the conductor personally takes and punches a hole in, just like in The Polar Express. I especially enjoy watching this very serious transaction early in the season, when the conductor -- usually a teenage boy or retired train-loving grandpa -- is not achingly sick of his life yet and still seems openly charmed by little four-year-old boys who regard him with immense awe and reverence, because in their minds a summer job driving an electric train for the Parks Department is just about on par with being an astronaut or professional dinosaur wrangler.


He's a Leslie Knope in training. 


Ezra technically rides for free, but he was so heartbroken over his lack of a very own ticket that we splurged and laid out an extra $1.75. And it was totally worth it. 


The first time Noah rode this train he was Ezra's age. He cried and clung to me in terror, to the point I thought they'd have to stop the train and let us trudge through the woods back to the station. He was never, ever like Ezra, who simply accepts that things are fun because they are meant to be fun. If other kids seem to be enjoying themselves, well, he'll take that as a sign that we're NOT all going to die a fiery explosive death while being force fed mashed potatoes and finger paints. 


To be fair, Noah's been enjoying the train ride for several summers now. And the slides, and the wobbly bridges, and the rock walls, and the big boy swings, and essentially most playground equipment he was once too fearful or uncoordinated (or both) to attempt. (Never mind that "once" could be as recently as last month for some of the last few obstacles.) The list of things he can't (or won't) do is shrinking at an awfully, wonderfully fast clip these days. 



He has all the confidence a little boy his age should have, and probably some to spare. "I'm going to do it myself," he announced in the car, while attempting to buckle his own seat belt. "And you're going to be so proud of me."





And Ezra, our Fearless Monkey, looked on from his own seat as Noah successfully buckled himself in. You could tell he was so jealous, but he clapped for his big brother anyway.



Go, Noah! (And you, STOP MAKING ME CRY!)


Seeing your kids hit milestones is awesome at any age.

Lee Laughlin

Is it amazing the simple things that please them?


You and your family make me happy.


I am so happy for Noah, it must be terrible to have all those fears and no explanation. Ezra is a beautiful little boy also.


Yes. A very good weekend indeed. I love how different your boys are. They are so wonderful in their own, unique ways. I know a lot of people say that and sound cheesy, but both of them really are so great. In their own, self-defined ways.
I love it. :-)


Such sweet boys! I enjoy watching them grow.


Normally, I just read and enjoy and laugh since we pretty much have the same sense of humor, but this post is too adorable not to comment on. I still ride the train at the Bham zoo. I love seeing the pictures of them hitting their milestones!


Those train rides are awesome. My son was the opposite of Noah on the one front-he was fascinated with the trains. So much so that we visited the Trolley Museum frequently and would visit Strasburg Railroad over and over (just not during Thomas weekends-my boys did not know those existed until their cousins went a few years after us!)
Then one trip into the Pennsylvania RR museum and we found a place that the boys could spend ALL DAY-perfect for the winter months. I wish we still had those an hour and a few away...

It is wonderful how much Noah has grown in the past year!

Cheryl S.

Yay Noah! My Jess is 4.5 and is ALL ABOUT "I'll do it myself" so he sounds totally normal to me! And hooray for Ezra for being sweet enough to clap for his big bro!


Very nice. Current milestones in my kids' lives: prom, drivers licenses, birth control pills.



Life of a Doctor's Wife

I love hearing about these little victories. Yay Noah!!


You are so correct - it sounds (and looks like) a VERY good day. I love the look on Ezra's face when he's gazing up at Jason on the train. It really reminds me of Wheaton Regional -they had an awesome train there. What happy and gorgeous boys you have!


Is that the train at Wheaton Regional? I loved that train! It's such a right of passage during childhood. I can't wait til my son is old enough to enjoy it (he's 6 weeks).


you're good....


I am totally sniffling here at my desk.

Have you taken them to the Wave fountain? When I worked over in Silver Spring, the number of kids standing entranced in front of that fountain was practically uncountable.


"And you're going to be so proud of me." -that made me cry! I love it!


Go Easy E!!! Your buckling days will be here soon enough.


"And you will be so proud of me." And my heart is officially a mushy melty puddle on the floor. Oh Noah, we are all so proud of you!


Proud we are Noah, proud we are. <3


"he clapped for his big brother anyway". how awesome is that? we must encourage this mutual admiration society among our children. with your siblings in your corner you cannot help but succeed!

Megan (Best of Fates)

That train ride sounds awesome - I completely agree w/your boys that it seems a great weekend activity.


Adorable, both of them. And Noah is The Man in that Star Wars shirt.


Isn't it just the best when they clap for each other. I have a 6 and 3 year old. My heart sings when the 6 year old high fives his sister because she used the potty and raves about how wonderful she looks wearing her big girl panties. (Sounds a little pervy doesn't it?) Equally satisfying is watching the little one jump up and down clapping when her big brother does something cool. They need each other and seem to understand that even now.


Yeah, non-planned days can turn out to the be the best ever, especially if you do them in kid-friendly venues. (Non-planned days at home SUCK.)

Lori McBride

Total awesomeness!!!!!


I love Cabin John! I remember riding that train and playing on the playground when I was a kid (I vauguely remember a petting zoo as well). Now my 4 year old loves the train...


Oh, these pictures are great! So joyful.


All sorts of fabulous! Glad to hear you averted the plague and had a marvelous time. Your family and stories always give me a little pick me up at work.


Million Dollar question (well, maybe more like 100 dollar). Do you feel as though Ezra's fearlessness & normal progression inspires Noah to do more, better? I often suspect this with my own 2 (we are battling an epic battle about learning to drive - wtf?); my son will fight some things so much and then the moment it appears his sister is going to pass him up or best him he gives in & goes for it.


*SIGH* the smile in your writing makes me very happy Ms. Amy. Thank you for the smile.

Jen L.

Your boys are so stinkin' cool. Kinda cute, too. ;)


He was so completely right - we ARE proud of him! (Of course, when he says that next week but the thing he's doing all by himself is dismantling your TV or 'changing' the oil in your car, the commentary may be slightly different...) But for now... Go Noah!

Andrea C.

I LOVE cabin john. when i still lived in the area and super stressed, i would just go to the main playgournd and play by myself. It's so much fun even for adults. thanks for making my current homesickness even worse ;)

Plano Mom

Go Noah! Go Ezra! Feet first! Both of them!


They. Are so awesome. Be Proud.


It really is amazing when your fearful child suddenly decides to not be afraid anymore. It liberates everyone. Yay for Noah's progress and thanks for sharing it with all of us.


Oh my gosh, I have exactly the same photo of me taken at exactly the same age on that exact same train! I never knew where that was until now. Thanks for bringing back the memories! :)


My little guy is just three months, and posts like this get me so excited for what's to come!


Noah is fabulous in his awesomeness.

And Ez rocks the casbah!

Carry on, Amy & Jason. Much love to you from here.


I'm from Maryland (now live in Fla)and I know which park that is and it is AWESOME. I'm so jealous that I can't take my kiddies there on a regular basis, but guess what's on the to-do list when we go see Grandma and Grandpa this summer! And my son goes NUTS for the ticket when we ride the train at our mall. It's such a boy thing and it's the coolest. Love those slide pics!


omg... the second picture... Noah's eyes... just like like Jason's... he looks so mature! scary...


Michael's favorite playground. And mine too, when I grew up here. And man, the train is made of win.


So much happiness! I cannot get over how much Noah is looking more and more like Jason! That 2nd picture of him holding up his ticket! WOW!

Looks like a wonderful time.


My favorite part....your reference to Parks and Rec!!

Katie Kat

I never thought I'd say this, but I see some Jason in Noah's face in that second picture!

I just love every bit of your stories, Amy! Whether good, bad, happy, sad, they are so REAL. Thanks for sharing!

Miss Britt

A million points for the Parks and Recreation reference!!!


So cute! Thanks a bunch for the link to the park website. Looks like a great place!

J Strizzy

Yay for Noah! I know you don't know me and I don't know you or your kids, but I've been reading along for a while and I'm proud of him too. Thank you for sharing your boys.

And this coincidence doesn't mean squat, but we took our 9-month-old twins on that same train for the first time over the weekend.


I was not blessed with children, but I have laughed and cried with you for about a year now. Every victory gets a 'yea and a high five'!! Your boys are fabulous as are their parents. Thanks for sharing your family.


Yo, dude. Today is Star Wars Day. Thought you'd want to know but I imagine you may already... hMmMM. You guys are probably having some type of Star Wars dress up day, and talking whatever talk, they talk. ;) May the force be with you.


Especially love the slide pics. It's good that they want to step up and hand the dude their own ticket. Paying is something everyone has to do eventually and all the time, so it's good that they are learning transactions early. I felt weird about it when I was young. Dunno why. Not enough practice?


These boys! My God, woman. This is making me all sniffy and nostalgic for when my boys were younger. (Not that I was around for it, because I met their mother when the youngest was six, but still! Nostalgia ahoy!) Weeping commences. Damn you!


As the mom of an autistic six year old with major sensory issues, the "mashed potatoes and finger paints" made me laugh until tears rolled down my face. I really needed that today, thanks.


This is lovely. I thought of you the other day, when I watched the Temple Grandin movie on HBO. Not that you remind me of Temple Grandin. But...anyhoo, thanks for your blog, and how it offers me a chance to feel somewhat normal.

Rebecca M.

"And you're going to be so proud of me."

I actually teared up a little. Love that kid.


Good for Noah!

My son is not quite where Noah is yet. He'll be 4 next month, but still fears swings, anything with pedals, and all rides (such as the carousel, which ALL little kids love). He has started going down slides and climbing on play structures (as of last month!). And he starts therapy in 2 weeks. I'm excited to see what new skills he'll develop.

The Mommy

My one-year old and I took a mini train last weekend also! I gave the ticket to her and she was pleased. I was impressed she didn't start to immediately chew on it. Alas, when the conductor came by to take it from her, she burst out into tears! (I really don't know why I didn't see that coming! Bad Mommy! Baaaad!)

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