Since we’re traveling to New York for Christmas this year, we’ve had a few early celebrations and gift-openings to include various friends and family members that we’ll not be seeing on Christmas Day proper.

Max is two-and-a-half this holiday, and he is still, as you may have guessed, obsessed with the choo-choos. Here’s what we’ve learned from the occasions he’s had to open presents so far: Save the trains for last or he’ll stone-cold ignore the rest of the gifts. Max still has three unopened presents under our tree alone, because once that switch-track expansion set was out of the box, there was no going back.

Our living room floor, which is not small, is completely covered by a complex wooden railroad network consisting of multiple junctions, spurs, bridges, underpasses, unloading zones, crossings and yes, even a roundhouse. I guess we’ll vacuum next month.

Two days ago, Max said his first three-syllable word: “Derailment!”
Does fortune favor the bold or the foolish?
Brush with Greatness

Last week we were Christmas shopping on Saturday--Max was conveniently asleep in the stroller the entire time we were at the toy store--and we (along with several hundred other people) bumped into Frank Jackson, Cleveland’s newly elected mayor. His bodyguard was trailing him, pushing a cart-full of toys, “For the grandchildren,” as he put it. It was a funny sight.