The BIG news in my family this year is something very tiny: a new baby boy! My sister gave birth to this little guy, James Michael, on Saturday. He is the first grandchild and everyone is bursting with excitement.

He was 6 pounds 2 ounces and 18 inches at birth. He has big hands and feet — like a puppy! — so we think he will grow up to be a basketball player/swimmer/piano player, depending on who is talking about him.

I am headed westward for Christmas, so it was going to be mid-January before I had a chance to spend any time with the babe. I couldn’t wait that long to see him or his parents, so Ned and I took a day off work Tuesday to bring love and food to the new family. [Note: I would like to personally thank the farm bill for getting itself passed in the Senate last week, thereby making a day off work possible. God bless you, United States Senate.]

Ned and I spent about 9 hours in the car (so much for our carbon footprint) and 3 hours with little James. It was totally worth it. He is so sweet and tiny and … helpless. Heart-melting. My sister and her husband are great parents already.

I have never met a baby so closely related to me before, and it was surprising that even at such a tiny age, he looked familiar.

I must also note the excellent timing of the baby’s arrival (besides waiting until after the farm bill, way to go, Jimbo). Friday was my sister’s last day at school (baby was due on the 18th). She loves teaching and loves her students, so she wanted to stay with them as long as possible. Her labor actually started during school on Friday, but she taught the whole day and even went to the staff Christmas party after school (admittedly, she wasn’t sure she was in labor at that point; she just thought she felt weird).

**Can we just pause here for a moment to think about how awesome my sister is? Thank you. While we’re at it, I would like to salute all mothers. Thank you for your pains.**

Back to the story: it was at the party that she actually figured out what was going on and left abruptly. After a long and painful night, baby was born on the 15th, which is also my parents’ anniversary. Happy anniversary — a grandson! My parents are currently en-route to N.J. (via DC — yea!) to spend Christmas with the babe. I wish I could be there too — I know my dad is just going to be eating up the cuteness of this little guy.