Epcot, Disney Day 3

While we were running the inaugural Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon, Brian stayed with the kids. They were done with breakfast and just hitting the pool when we came back, so we were able to shower, sit for a moment and grab a bite before heading into Epcot for the day.

We really enjoyed staying at the budget resort. Having stayed at the Grand Floridian last time, going to a budget hotel this time really served its purpose. We got a lot more space and the super themed rooms and pools were perfect for young kids.

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YES! I did it. I made the entire family wear matching shirts. I saw these at a good discount at the Disney store online, and it took very little convincing to get all the ladies on board. Brian even wears his around the yard sometimes still! I will say it was the easiest day to keep track of everyone, and I’m pretty sold on the idea for future vacations (sorry in advance)

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While Jameson and most of our group did Test Track with our FastPasses, Coraline and I hung out in the cars on display when you finish the ride. She loved it, and sat happily for almost 20 minutes. We didn’t even realize it when everyone had finished the ride!

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We made sure to go do the Sea building and visited with Crush and I got another great photo next to the Nemo statues. Jameson wasn’t a huge fan of the aquarium but it was nice to sit down a bit during Turtle Talk with Crush for the adults.

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New for me (having been to Disney quite a bit for races myself with my side of the family in the past year), was the Garden Festival. They had a cool butterfly house and Meemaw got a kick out of taking a photo of all the shaped topiaries we passed.

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Yes, I think Epcot is more geared to adults, but the kids absolutely had fun. Meemaw and the kids were partial to Figment, with all the activies you can do at the end of the ride. They were also fascinated with Spaceship Earth, which we never miss.


Original Mouseketeers relaxing

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But the highlight, at least for Coraline, was the princess dinner at Akershus. I’ve eaten there before, and I’m not sure it’s worth the price in general, but to see Coraline’s face definitely was. It’s easiest to see all those princesses close up at a dinner, that’s for sure! (I think Jameson’s highlight was the Test Track)

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So ended our half day at Epcot, which really was the perfect amount of time there. The only thing we really lacked during this visit to Epcot was Duffy bear! Last time, Jameson got to meet his character, but this time he wasn’t on the schedule. Also, they don’t make the little keychain Duffy bears any more, so we ended up with a big one. Tyler found a little keychain Duffy in China though dressed in a cute little outfit! So now Jameson has 3 little and 1 big Duffy bears, the only stuffed animal he’s been attached to for the past couple years.

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Jameson loved the big ball. He did a lot of fussing for other photos (I admit I take a lot), but he definitely wanted this one!

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The Tooth Fairy Arrived!

Jameson lost his first official tooth at 5am this morning! (Knocked out ones do not count). He would like to know how the tooth fairy gets into the house. I let him work out that one for himself.

While joking with dad, he informed Brian that he had seen the tooth fairy, and that she looked like a camel with three heads.

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Animal Kingdom, Disney Day 2

Our second day of vacation was at Animal Kingdom. It was a little rough, mostly due a specific child’s lack of sleep from the previous day. Jameson had a melt down, Coraline fell asleep during a show (though that part was sweet and not any hardship).

But the day started great: Meemaw has giraffe Mickey Ears which were the hit with both kids. Before the end of the trip, Jameson had his own pair!

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Things got rocky when we arrived and Jameson didn’t want to do a photo. The photographer was very patient with us though and even offered to do a magic shot with the kids.

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The kids, having only done their first attempt the previous day, still didn’t understand what they were for, and tried to hold out their hands like tinkerbell was going to land on them as they had done yesterday. Instead, he was trying to get them to look surprised. So here are the kids, sad, next to Stitch, ha!

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We always try to do the safari ride first! So off we went. Unfortunately, the new magic bands and fast passes work a little differently now than our last vacation in conjunction with Uncle Tyler’s employee benefits, so we weren’t able to all go on the ride together, but Coraline got to go twice and the rest of the crew went later (and the giraffes were out the second time, lucky ducks)

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Meanwhile during the second ride I was with Jameson who was in the stroller and insisting he didn’t want to do anything. So we stared at this hippo for 10 minutes.

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Brian and I escaped the kids while Meemaw and Grandpa took the kids to the Finding Nemo show. We got a photo to prove it!

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At some point around here Jameson threw a complete tantrum and he and I almost left the park. Instead I got him calm and we went to see the 3D Bug’s Life show, which, was totally terrifying for him. So he ended up a little traumatized. We were at the end of the row though so we were able to escape.

We really enjoyed lunch at the new quick service restaurants they had in the Africa section of Animal Kingdom. It was probably the best quick service meal we had our entire trip, it was light, healthy, and tasty.


“The lion goes in for the kill”

Animals just weren’t Jameson’s jam overall, but he really enjoyed the next little animal walk we did and he took photos of the bats. Coraline on the other hand was enjoying every activity we did. How nice to be three years old!

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We spent some time in the kids area, and then it was time to wrap up for dinner! I scheduled us for the Rainforest Cafe which is right outside the park, and on our way out we decided to try the short-looking line for Mickey and Minnie. Turns out, it was not so short. However, it ended up being our only opportunity to visit with Minnie and really didn’t put us out of the way for dinner in the end, so it was worth it.

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Rainforest Cafe was the perfect decision for our wound up kids. There was so much to watch in the restaurant that no one was bored, and the food was just excellent. I was actually pretty surprised at how much we all enjoyed the meal.

After another full day, it was time to get to bed! While Brian stayed at the hotel with the kids, the rest of us set our alarms for 2:30 am for our half marathon! After a disappointing race that was cut short last year, we were all pumped up to finally run a successful half at Disney! And run we did! Even Meemaw and Grandpa!

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It loops around Animal Kingdom, which was a bit of deja vu from the previous day. Jameson got a kick out of seeing my shirt and medal, because they were Star Wars themed. And I got a kick out of finishing the race, exhausted, happy and ready for the real vacation to begin without the stressful anticipation of the race. We planned to spend the day at Epcot (but first, some caffeine please)

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Disney Vacation Arrival

In April, we went to Disney for the second time as a family. I’ve been a few times to do some races with my parents and siblings, but we haven’t taken the kids since Coraline was a baby.

This time, in comparison, was a piece of cake to pack! No bottles or baby toys, teething rings or double strollers! We took one stroller and the kids took turns (with lots of whining, don’t get me wrong). But the maneuverability of the regular stroller was very nice. However, Coraline is quite a bit heavier, so carrying her around on occasion was less fun. Her delighted faces made up for it!

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Jameson was actually a wonderful helper at the airports and was happy to help pull luggage!

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Ipads and snacks are made for airplanes! Jameson declared “Can I have the iPad when we blast off?!”

The early flight, while a little hectic, wasn’t as bad as Brian remembers from our last family trip (I’ve blocked all bad memories from our previous trip. In my mind, the last Disney trip was magical from the moment we woke up to leave, ha!).

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We took the Magical Express bus to our resort hotel at Disney. This time, we stayed at Art of Animation, a much more budget friendly option than our last choice of Grand Floridian which was on the monorail and more convenient for baby transport. Brian and I both enjoyed the extra space we had with this family suite. While we didn’t have adjoining rooms with my parents for babysitting purposes, we did have a separate room for us while the kids slept on the pull out couch. Amazing!

Plus, Disney has great theme style.

After my parents and sister arrived, Tyler drove us to get our race packets picked up before we hit up Magic Kingdom for the afternoon and evening! That’s right, the Disney vacation was an excuse for me to be able to run my 3rd Disney race, the inaugural Dark Side Star Wars Half Marathon.

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Another thing we did differently this time was that we bought the Photo Pass. I was convinced after I found out for the first time that Disney would have their own photographers capture the race rather than an outside party. Between the race photos and the 100 or so times I dragged all of us in front of the official Disney photographers, I definitely made it worth our money. Starting with our arrival, of course:

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I brought my new wide angle lens, which I really only used the first day, but I had fun getting dramatic shots with it. We walked straight through Cinderella’s castle, which was surprisingly open in the afternoon, and I was happy to see that it finally wasn’t under construction any more!

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We had to ride the carousel, of course.

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We also did It’s a Small World, and Coraline, on observing all the coins, said excitedly that there was “treasure down there!”

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While I debated about booking us too many character meals this time, I pretty much scheduled us one a day again on this trip. It’s just so convenient to not have to stand in line while still getting to experience all the characters! So, we did Crystal Palace for dinner to see Winnie the Pooh and friends. While we were waiting, we observed the most beautiful skyline.

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Who knew waiting could be so much fun? Only at Disney.

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First to visit was Piglet, which was a great character to start with.

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My favorite, as always, was Eeyore. This particular Eeyore was very strong and gave me a tight almost strangling hug which was pretty funny.

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When we left, the sun had started setting. Kids were pretty well behaved, so we decided to try to stay until the fireworks! We actually had a few more things scheduled before then though. And I squeezed in another family photo.

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We booked fast passes for Enchanted Tales with Belle. We didn’t need the fast passes, but totally worth doing! The kids got to play a part. Jameson was Chip the teacup, and Coraline was a salt shaker. And Brian and Tyler got drafted as knights!!

The kids stand with their parts and then put on a play for Belle, who then leads them around a little parade, and then meets and greets with each of the kids individually. And even the knights!

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We also had time to do a quick visit with Ariel, who seems to be one of Coraline’s new favorite princesses! Jameson meanwhile was very shy with miss Ariel.

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We also had booked the new Mine Train ride, and I’m glad for Jameson’s sake that it was dark or he might have backed out! As it was, he walked off saying that it was too fast and he didn’t really like it, but within minutes had declared that Brian needed to build one in our backyard.

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Jameson had been insisting that he wanted to ride the car rides, so we squeezed that in right before the fireworks! Coraline didn’t ride the mine ride, but she did enjoy the cars. Uncle Tyler was again very popular with the kids and they wanted to sit next to him on most rides, particularly Jameson, who, before the Peter Pan ride said that Uncle Tyler was the better driver so he wanted to ride with him!

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And then, we finally got to see the fireworks! It was the one activity I wanted to make sure I got to do with or without kids on this trip, since I hadn’t seen them in all my visits the past couple years. The kids have both said since they they were too loud and didn’t really like them, but Coraline was thrilled to see Tinker Bell flying away from the castle!

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We made it! Stayed awake for fireworks!

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And so ended our first, long, magical day at Disney!

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Preschool Concert Lasts and Firsts

Jameson and Coraline were both in the Spring concert this year. The theme was Sesame Street! It was pretty difficult recording and photographing them this time since they were on opposite ends of the stage, but we did our best. I did love seeing Coraline perform in ballet! Coraline was so excited for the concert and skipped from the car into the school!

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Coraline tried to help her friend back into her sweater, which she was having none of, haha! As usual Coraline was super expressive and delighted to see us.

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Jameson was also happy to see us in the crowd, but very seriously followed along with the songs for the most part.

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After the concert, Jameson was greeted by a lot of his teachers, including his piano teacher. When she said that she was excited for lessons the following day, Jameson groaned and declared that piano was hard.

(I’m mixed still on whether I want to pay for lessons after this year, which he’ll have to attend outside of school once he starts kindergarten. We’ll see, but he’s definitely been expressing to us lately as well that he doesn’t want to do piano.)

Post concert sugar rush. It was Jameson’s last preschool concert and Coraline’s first!

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Boy in a Box

Jameson got to sleep in his box a couple nights last weekend. He slept with his sleeping bag, a few stuffed animals and doggie pillow, and stayed there all night. Apparently, we could’ve left him in his crib years ago; he still fits so snugly still in small spaces.

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Mom’s Weekend

This past weekend, I manhandled the kids myself for the most part, while Brian planned and prepped for our big garden expansion. I took them first to see the Jungle Book on Saturday, and Jameson was not happy about going. He almost didn’t come, but I convinced him at the last minute after I showed him the trailer that included the “behind the scenes” clips showing how they used computers to animate the animals.

Coraline loved it (and snacking) the whole time. Jameson liked it, but was noncommittal about his favorite part. Coraline declared that she loved the tiger, which is probably accurate considering she was turning around and making tiger faces and growling at me during the final scenes of the movie. She told me on Monday this week that she loved the snake, that the snake was bad, and the snake was pretend. I think she caught on pretty well.

For my part, I loved most everything about the movie, and especially that I was able to take double trouble and manage them by myself in a dark theater while actually still watching it myself!

I was so proud of their behavior I even let them play one video game each afterwards.

Took the kids to see the Jungle Book (great!) and stopped for one arcade game after. Jameson did the gas pedal for Coraline.

I did get relieved of the children later in the afternoon so I could do laundry myself. I had a couple hours worth of folding and sorting and washing to do: it’s amazing what doesn’t get done when you are watching a chewing puppy every evening!

Sunday, we went to church while Brian worked outside in the weird mix of snow and sleet (in May!). We almost didn’t make it though after Jameson tripped his sister (for the second time that weekend). This time Coraline hit her head on a chair which quickly turned into a goose egg on her forehead. Poor thing has been battling a cold and ear infection from last week, so she was already pretty sensitive, so this resulted in near hysterics from her while Jameson pouted in his room.

I managed to get them out of the house on time nevertheless, and Jameson lost his teddy bears for a couple nights because of it. Although I had to laugh a little (literally, out loud) when he declared he didn’t want a little sister (the woes of being the eldest child).

Later we had a playdate with our friends at their house as Brian continued outside (though thankfully the sleet stopped) and left in a hurry to get home for Robert’s 40th birthday dinner. Uncle Robert, Aunt Melissa’s fiance, apparently had no idea (which was a surprise to me as well, good thing I didn’t spill the beans). I enjoyed the dinner out, and was grateful all the family was in attendance to help wrangle up these guys, who actually were remarkably well behaved as the dinner went on until after 8 pm.

It was a nice weekend, despite the extra work. We’re looking forward to doubling the space in our garden this year and putting up a beautiful wooden fence. Just in time for planting time! Our seedlings are looking okay as we attempt to get them used to the sunlight without burning them up. I’m excited for tomatoes and fresh lettuce again! Summer, here we come. (Any time now!)

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Three Going on Thirteen

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What Coraline is Wearing:

  • 3T pants and shirts
  • Doggie shirt, princess shirts, and dresses or skirts when I can convince her how AWESOME AND CUTE she’ll look 🙂
  • Headband, because lately she’s wanted to wear her hair down (and then thinks I don’t have to brush it… that’s not how that works)
  • Big girl underwear, all the time
  • Size 8 shoes

Coraline was upset this morning when I made her wait to get her blankie until after she got dressed. I’ve been asking her if she wants piggie tails, marshmallow tails, double pony tales, or something else for her hair.
Today she told me she wanted a sad tail.
– Wednesday, December 9, 2015

What Coraline is Eating:

  • Meatballs, chicken nugget, hot dog, and most any meat she can eat with ketchup or ranch (same as her brother!)
  • Eggs, waffles, and most breakfast foods that Jameson never liked. Except she’s not a big fan of mommy’s homemade muffins.
  • Regular and “special” tube yogurts
  • Anything with a character on it
  • Candy “treats”, cookies and cupcakes, ice cream… any dessert.
  • Pasta all the time, even the edamame pasta we buy. Not a huge potato fan like Jameson though.
  • Strawberries, and applesauce pouches
  • Milk.
  • Coraline tries most of her food with every little effort from us, though rarely finishes her plate.

Asked Coraline what she wants for Christmas:
Day 1
C: Kitty
Mommy: What kind?
C: Orange
Mommy: Well, I don’t know if Santa can bring a kitty, what else would you like for Christmas?
C: Birthday cake
Mommy: We get birthday cake on our birthdays. Santa brings gifts and presents. What else would you like for Christmas?
C: Box

Day 2
Mommy: What would you like Santa to bring you? (Was she serious about the kitty)
C: Presents
Mommy: What kind of present?
C: Box
– Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What Coraline is Saying:

  • Coraline really loves to chatter, so we always get a nice overview of her day and what she did.
  • Whatever Jameson is saying: Lots of potty language
  • She’s very articulate, likes to play pretend and tell us that we’re eating pretend food or that her “baby is sleeping” so we need to be quiet, shhh!

Are you hungry in your belly, Coraline?
“I hungry in my mouth.”
– Friday, April 18, 2015

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What Coraline Likes These Days:

  • Coraline loves to make a “surprise” face. June of last year she started opening her mouth real big when she got excited. She’s very expressive with all her feelings, but surprise face is my favorite.
  • Pretending to be a baby. She’ll do a little fake cry and curl up, waiting for me to scoop her up.
  • Coloring, stickers and stamps. She loves doing crafts too with our neighbor, Lily.
  • Eating! Coraline loves to eat and snack. She’s not in a rush through dinner either, she loves sitting at the dinner table and will eat long past everyone else. Not because she’s eating more, but she’s eating slower.
  • She loves Frozen, all day long, all the time.
  • Reading stories with me. And really, she’s pretty much a mommy’s girl all the time. I kind of like it.

Too busy to wash hands for dinner that she was demanding just 15 minutes before:
“I coloring mommy, I busy. I busy.”
– Wednesday, June 17, 2015

“Slip-shers” (Slippers)
– Wednesday, June 17, 2015

What Coraline Doesn’t Like These Days:

  • When she can’t see mommy’s eyes (or the eyes of a doll or eyes on her Elsa and Anna socks, we can’t roll them!)
  • Getting out of bed in the mornings
  • Being told to go potty when we request. She’s been potty trained for a long time, but has recently had a few accidents related to delaying her potty time
  • She’s not super fond of our newest addition, Luna, our labradoodle
  • Lately, it’s been harder to get her to stay in bed after her songs and stories, or even get ready for bed. I’m sure it’s just a phase, because usually she LOVES sleeping
  • When she gets disciplined, she gets very upset. She wants to be a good listener, she says!
  • Going down the stairs by herself, she always wants “uppy” especially in the mornings.

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Pretending to be a puppy:
“Don’t pat my butt it’s stinky I poop everyday”
– Thursday, February 4, 2015

What Coraline is Doing:

  • Playing pretend, playing with her dolls house and tea set.
  • Watching tv
  • When coloring sometimes she’ll tell us that she’s writing her name or someone’s name, like on a card.
  • Singing and talking, all the time.
  • Trying on and playing with jewelry, hanging out in her room by herself. She doesn’t seem to fear being alone the way Jameson does as often, though she has her moments!
  • We starting doing gymnastics to help her find her balance better, which has worked out wonderfully. She really enjoyed it, though we’re on a break right now.
  • We also signed her up for ballet at school which she’s enjoyed.

Coraline found pumpkin stickers tonight and called them punkpunks.
– Thursday, April 9, 2015

A little rough drop off to daycare. Coraline discovered her blankie was “broken” when we arrived. She then threw a fit when the teacher said she was pretty, and she fell out of her chair.
– Friday, April 10, 2015

What We Are Working On:

  • Mommy and daddy are figuring out good ways to reward good behavior so more of it comes without being told (as always).
  • Getting dressed herself is sometimes good and sometimes rough. We try to reward it with a puff ball, a new rewarding tool that has worked for us somewhat. Other days though she’ll go upstairs and get her pajamas on after school all by herself and does it just fine! It seems to depend on mood.
  • Wiping after potty time, and washing hands after that.
  • No matter the mood, she still struggles with putting on her socks. Trying to do it usually results in a big upset cry

And without further ado, Coraline’s very first interview:

What is your name? Coraline Genevieve… I wanna do poop. I wanna do poop picture! (The “potty language” continues throughout the interview)
How old are you? 3 Holds up fingers
What is your favorite color? Pink

What’s your favorite color?
“Chocolate!”
– Saturday February 27, 2016

What is your favorite animal? Um… Bugs!
What is your favorite book? Poopy book… picture of animals
What is your favorite TV show? Frozen (Daniel Tiger, Doc McStuffins or most anything on Disney Junior, and usually whatever Jameson wants to watch when they’re home together)
What is your favorite movie? Cinderella (I think Frozen is her favorite and maybe Minions, but we have been introducing her to all the other princesses for Disney!)
What is your favorite song? Frozen (Let it Go, which I sing one verse of at bedtime, and the “snowman one” which I also sing a verse of)
What is your favorite food? Orange
What food do you not like? Not blood orange. I like regular oranges!
What is your favorite drink? Sour stuff
What is your favorite snack? Fruit snacks. And apples, bananas
What makes you laugh? Apples and bananas
What is your favorite thing to wear? Naked butt shirts (Such a joker)
What is your favorite game? Something I wanna poopy butt… lets see.. there’s something in here… (We can really tell that she has a big brother)
What is your favorite toy? A Frozen toy
Who is your best friend? Porter and Hailey (Friends from school)
What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Well I’m pushing this. Well.. I’m getting out of this… Well this is very fun in here to push. (Talking about what she’s doing instead of answering. I suggested that she goes to bed with her little blankies.)
Where is your favorite place to go? To Disney World! To Disney (We hadn’t yet gone to Disney when we took the video, but we sure were talking about it a lot!)
Where do you want to go on vacation? Disney
What do you like to do with your family? I like to go with them and push the tent (Again talking about what she’s doing instead of answering the question)
What do you want to be when you grow up? Umm be… Bad Coraline! (I can hope here that she’s referencing the movie Coraline since she was looking at the DVD shelf, haha!)
What did you do when you were little? I used to play with Mommy’s toys
What do you like to do now that you are big? Do big girl stuff… go with the schoolagers (Coraline is really enamored with the idea of going to kindergarten with Jameson)
What is your favorite thing to learn in school? Something I wanna get toys and sit and lay on the floor (Coraline was really distracted at this point talking about what she was playing with at the time, so we cut it short!)
What is your favorite thing to remember? Didn’t get to ask this
What do you want to buy with your money? Didn’t get to ask this
What is the thing you do the most awesomely? Didn’t get to ask this

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One Year

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Two Years

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Easter Hunts

Easter this year was another gorgeous sunny day, despite being in late March. We managed to get dressed in time for church before the kids were able to find their eggs (though plenty were pointed out before we left).

When we got home, it was egg-seeking time!

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This year, the Easter Bunny hid some eggs in the basement, too (but not outside like last year).

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In their baskets this year were underwear, pez and gummy bears and a book as well as squishy caterpillars. Jameson had some little marble puzzles while Coraline got some socks, a shirt and stamps and stickers. They each got a craft as well: Jameson got some foldable little robots, since he loves making paper airplanes, and this was a hit. Coraline got a make your own bouncy ball kit which definitely required supervision for them both (Aunt Melissa got to do that), and pretend snow.

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At Grandma and Poppa’s house later that day, we always enjoy an outdoor egg hunt. The kids had to wait for Aunt Melissa to come over before seeking, though!

Tackling grandpa

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Coraline kept opening her eggs and eating her candy rather than searching for more eggs. Meanwhile, Jameson, who is kind enough to share with his sister, was very seriously looking for as many eggs as he could.

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After egg hunts and lunch, we played by the creek and daddy let Jameson into the creek for the first time with his new water shoes that he got in his Easter basket at Grandma and Poppa’s house. Jameson was concerned about getting his shorts wet, but thrilled to be walking around in the creek.

It was a great Easter, and warmer than last year. I was excited about Coraline’s last minute dress find. It was such a lovely spring color and she loved wearing it (always a plus).

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