Frozen Third Birthday

I never really thought I’d get into a character-themed birthday party, but since Coraline has been obsessed with Frozen for well over a year now, it seemed like the only thing to do. It was actually simpler than I thought it would be: borrow a Frozen birthday banner and hanging spirals, blow up some balloons, get pink table cloths and themed plates and napkins. And last but not least, bake the cake and put some Frozen figurines on top.




Her hair style is what we call “tiny tails”. We have pig tails, marshmallow tails (which are tucked up underneath in big loops), and tiny tails which are wrapped around the rubber band with a little clip. When they fall out (which they always do), they make the most wonderful spiral curls.



I made a homemade chocolate and white cake. And I have to say, I finally gave in to the “secret” ingredient for chocolate cake: coffee. And I am sold. No coffee taste, but a rich and moist cake results. Even though I don’t like coffee, I loved this cake.

Last year, she just had a family birthday, so this year we did invite a few friends. We still kept it pretty low key. We don’t invite her class, yet. Though its a bit different for her already since she doesn’t have the “family friends” that are her age like Jameson did. All our friends had babies within a couple months of Jameson, but not so with Coraline. But his friends are her friends still and she had a wonderful time!





Coraline insisted on buying the party hats at the store, even though no one really wore them at the party, totally worth it.

She loved being surrounded by all the love and attention. She didn’t mind people helping her open gifts, and she was delighted with everything she received. Makes me want to be a three year old!




We got her a music mat from B. Toys that I really like. It folds up and it is fun for everyone! We also got her a Merida doll (from Brave), who has the cutest hair. And princess shirts, sparkly fake sand that makes a huge mess, and a wand. She was one lucky little girl.


She was thrilled when Lily arrived later after the party started. She adores Lily, who likes to play dolls with her and color and craft.


Of course, the after party was almost as fun as the actual event. Floating balloons are really very entertaining. Jameson started jumping off couches to get to his, which, poor parental judgement aside, was pretty fun to watch.




She wasn’t really sleeping here, “just pretending Mommy”

I think that her party lived up to her every expectation, because a three year olds expectations are super simple. Friends, food, cake, presents, balloons, and bonus for favorite TV characters. And lots of love.

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Hoppy Easter!

We’ve never actually visited the Easter Bunny before, anywhere. Not a mall or park or anything other than our imaginations when we talk about the Easter Bunny after he’s hid eggs around the house. But this year there was a free activity put on by a local nature center which involved a craft too that we thought would be fun.

The Easter Bunny concerned Coraline a bit, who also turned out to be coming down with a fever we found out later. But she gave him a high five! And Jameson got right in there, he was fine with it.



Before the Easter Bunny’s arrival, we did a bunny craft and made ears and a tail! Jameson cut the ears out all by himself, and Coraline was great at cutting outside the lines, so I gave her some assistance. She would’ve continued to cut the scraps of paper all day if we let her.



Jameson also got to do the bunny hop dance outside, though he said he struggled to keep up because his ears kept falling off! The Easter Bunny brought carrots and celery, and Coraline was really into the celery. The kids even shared a second bag of the vegetables with ranch. There were yummy chocolate cupcakes, too. It was a fun, cute time!

Hoppy Easter!

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Martial Arts


To eliminate some wintertime stuck indoors type behavior, we decided to sign Jameson up for one of those free trials at the local martial arts “conglomerate” (there are a lot of Asian Sun academies around us). It truly was free for 6 weeks, and Brian took Jameson twice a week for 5 of them before we started doing swimming lessons again for him.


Jameson really enjoyed it, though it’s not as active as soccer, for example. He’d like to go back I think, but we only do one sport at a time per kid right now.

We also don’t really have the time commitment for the three day a week system that most of the other types of martial arts centers around us use. (Who has time to take a 5 year old three times a week in the evenings to a class? Two is my limit!)


On our last day, Jameson’s friend Nathan was there for just his second time. Jameson was thrilled to show him his skills and offer his learnings. Nathan just wanted to concentrate on the teacher, haha!

It was definitely a great experience for us, and while we hoped it would help with some pushing/hitting going on at school, nothing really helped that but time I think. It seemed to be a phase he’s worked through. We were happy to be able to tell him though that fighting needed to stay on the martial arts mat, so it definitely didn’t hurt. Plus, free.


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Kindergarten Registration

from Instagram:

Attended kindergarten registration last week! Jameson doesn’t have his screening for another few weeks yet.

We’ve started to make our plans for next year when our daily life for 5 years changes from daycare drop off, work, daycare pick up, playtime, dinner, bedtime.

Right now, the plan is to try and avoid morning care and let him get on the bus at our house, so he only will need afternoon care. We plan to use the same daycare for that rather than the city-run before and after program since we have Coraline attending there still. One pick up is better than two!

There’s still significant money savings, and part of my excitement is for that, I won’t deny it. But I know I’m going to miss simple homework-free evenings and simple mornings where breakfast is packed to eat at daycare instead of the earlier rising we’ll need to do to prepare for school.

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Rain Boot Weather


Lately it’s been feeling like spring! Kids have rain boots on for sloshing around a muddy yard. We still don’t have our toys out yet for the season, so we’ve mostly just been playing on the swingset, and in puddles.


Jameson told me a couple days ago that the frothy yellow looking puddle that is standing water in the rocks in our neighbor’s yard is “dinosaur puke”. He’s developing imagination is very boy-typical.


Flinging her rain boots off when I’m pushing Coraline is a new favorite. She was disappointed when I told her she was too big for the baby swing this year, but she’s gotten over it pretty quick.

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Snow Play

The winter has been relatively mild, so much so that I’ve been able to continue training for a half marathon with long runs outside at least once a week. I wasn’t sure if we’d get the snow the kids have been asking for, but we finally did have a couple weeks with some snow on the ground!

Most of their playtime was in the evenings. I think we played outside every evening for 3 or 4 days in a row. The kids loved it! It’s too bad it gets dark quickly. Jameson would stay out all evening. Contrary to last year, Coraline actually really enjoyed it too! She loves the shovel most of all, while Jameson prefers to go all in with his hands.



Brian got a “fat bike” so he could continue to bike ride over the winter. He has also been disappointed at the light winter snow.



We managed to get in regular snow play, sledding, and snow angles. The one things we haven’t been able to do this winter is make a snowman! The snow melted too quickly on the warmer days for us. I feel bad sometimes that they miss out on some things like this when we are working, but I don’t think they feel the lack since they know no different. The best we did was this fairly loose snowball, which I laboriously made and Jameson jumped on.



On one evening we were throwing snowballs at each other, and Brian brought me down into the snow! Coraline declared when I finally got back up clumsily that I had made a “beautiful snow angel” and wanted to lay in my impression. It was adorable, but I definitely know I was not waving my arms around in a snow angel manner.


I got a new wide angle lens which I have really been enjoying testing out on my favorite subjects, the kids. The trick with the lens to get them in the middle so their faces aren’t warped. The edges and background of photos are beautiful in their extremes. It was my first time making a big purchase on ebay, but it was definitely worth it.


One weekend day, we did get out to Grandma and Poppa’s house for some proper sled riding! Last year, Coraline was not a fan. This year, she loved it! Jameson went by himself and raced everyone. Coraline rode with each of us. Eventually she started covering her face with her hands to avoid snow blowing back into her face! But still she requested to go again and again.





I am not great at stopping, but I did keep the snow out of her face!



Brian let her go herself at the very bottom of the hill, and she was so excited!


We hit most of the snow playtime highlights for the kids, and now they are asking when it gets warmer. Soon!

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Happy 2016

It’s February, I know. Happy 2016 anyway!


We celebrated with our usual family friends, and spent the night there again this year. It was a blast! We’ve been over a couple times since, and Coraline keeps asking about sleeping over. It was a huge success to have her sleeping in a sleeping bag, albeit on a cot.

Instead of Christmas gifts, we exchanged books this year. Coraline was in love with her Daniel Tiger Nutcracker book, and it was perfect because she has started ballet at school, now that she is in a preschool room.





Jameson is still in to paper airplanes and tried showing Jonathan how to fold them.


Meanwhile, Coraline literally ate almost the entire evening.


We tried to get photos of the kids in front of the tree, but you can guess how this ended:





Lisa got a selfie stick so we did take some photos including us adults, and the boys tried it out too.






The kids rang in the New Year with noiseless party favors, and watched a countdown with the Care Bears. We don’t have the kids stay up til midnight with us yet. Someday soon I’m sure they’ll catch on.


The boys all slept in Jonathan’s room, while Coraline slept with Brian and I. I think she was a bit jealous because she insisted on coming back out of her room just to hear the bedtime story. She didn’t really understand why she couldn’t sleep in there but she was amiable enough since she was so tired, I’m sure. Meanwhile, the adults rang in the new year with a game of Cards Against Humanity. It was a good night!


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Christmas Times Three

Christmas day afternoon, Grandma, Poppa, Aunt Melissa, and the future Uncle Robert and family friend Shawn joined us for our third and final family Christmas celebration!


Yes, Aunt Melissa got engaged!! The future Uncle Robert and Melissa are planning to get married spring of 2017, and were engaged before Christmas.




All of us ladies got some beautiful new jewelry, candles and clothes. It was actually warm enough outside that Brian used the grill for Christmas dinner!

On Sunday, we visited Great Grandma, but this year we were disappointed that Great Grandma was sleeping through the day.



Jameson told sleepy great-grandma that he was five now, and the kids had fun eating (a LOT of) cookies and playing with Zac and Caden, their cousins. We celebrated dinner with everyone on Becky’s side of the family, and Robert got to meet everyone for the first time.



Sunday was my last day of “Christmas break”. I used up all my vacation days the week prior, so I worked all week except New Years Day. Brian had off with the kiddos, and they also spent a night at Aunt Melissa’s for the rest of their vacation. The daycare is closed the week between Christmas and New Years, so it was nice that Brian was able to be off the whole time as well. It was a great Christmas, but not just that: to be able to spend over a week with family was, as they say, priceless!

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Santa Visited


Santa came!


Jameson got his wish for a Bumblebee and Optimus Transformer. These 3-step transformers are good for his age, Santa made a good choice. Santa also brought a Star Wars shirt and socks, and a book of Frog and Toad stories, which will be perfect as Jameson starts learning to read. Jameson requested additional items later, such as a Hulk costume and Ipad, but some of those wishes mom and dad made come true.

Coraline, after much back and forth, did request a doll for Christmas to Santa and tried to change her mind later. She did end up getting a special doll that has eyes that close along with hair to brush, a beautiful 16″ doll she seems to have named Dolly (also, Alligator and a line from a Christmas song, and anything that came to mind first after being asked what the doll’s name was). She got a doll high chair too, a bonus gift that went outside Santa’s usual “one toy” rule but since they went together, he had some flexibility. She also got a Frozen shirt and socks (we promptly lost one of the socks), and a book of Berenstain Bears stories.





Before opening stockings, Coraline said she needed to take a nap and went upstairs. She came downstairs not long afterwards half dressed with one sock on. She fed her new dolly and did open her stocking after some prompting. Jameson meanwhile was exuberant and excited and really into everything he got. He initially tried to line up all the gifts for everyone in a row to give out, but we told him to start opening by type of wrapping paper: the black ones with the white ribbon were his, and the green ones, etc.

Brian got me a new iPad, so Jameson inadvertently got his wish, since he now gets to use my old one. Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t get to use it whenever he wants, haha.

I think that Jameson’s favorite gift, based on how much he’s used it, is his bow and arrow set. We also got him a keyboard to be able to practice piano at home. Coraline got a set of piggies and Calico Critter house which were my favorite, but Coraline I think really does like her doll best, which now sleeps with her.





Brian got a DIY mustard kit (I always get him a food related DIY thing, though I’m starting to run out of ideas), along with some other items he asked for. I also got us a new floor lounger (“Husband” pillow), which was hard to find. They really don’t make these for normal sized people anymore, most of what I found was really small! We really outdid ourselves this Christmas, and as always I was both happy to see the kids’ excitement and sad that the magic of the season was over.

Coraline still points out Christmas lights everywhere she sees them, since a few places have kept some up. She sometimes talks about Santa still, too. Christmas really made an impression on her this year. I said that this year was going to be the best yet, but I don’t know: this coming year may still top it!

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December Birthdays and Christmas Celebrations

Every year, we try to visit my side of the family before Christmas so we can celebrate both Christmas and December birthdays! Jameson, Aunt Holly, and Meemaw all have birthdays during December. Jameson had some gifts to open from his birthday when we arrived!



This giant box is a giant frisbee, he was very excited! It will be a fun spring.


One very cool gift we got from Aunt Holly and Uncle Tyler was the Disney Playmation. The Playmation game bridges the gap between super hero and real world experiences. You can put on Iron Man’s arm, and fight a host of good and bad guys through various missions. Jameson played it a lot while we visited, but hasn’t pulled it out much since: we have a lot of new toys to play with! But one thing great about this toy is that I think it will grow with him!


Another tradition is doing puzzles with Meemaw! Jameson loves to work on puzzles. We had a really challenging puzzle this year because I bought a custom one for Meemaw from a photo I took during our visit to Venice. The 1000 piece puzzle took us several days to complete. Meanwhile, the kids worked on bear and dog puzzles. Coraline was only so-so at “helping”, haha.


Uncle Tyler also visited this year, driving up with his pup Athena. We were able to all watch Holly graduate from college! Brian dropped me off at OSU on his way with the kids, and Meemaw, Uncle Tyler and I watched her get her diploma.


One warmer day that wasn’t rainy we were able to go to the playground. Jameson, Meemaw and Grampa played fetch with the dogs (and got super muddy), while Coraline and I played on the playground. She found a new little boy friend that made her laugh while we were there, and was a real trooper walking almost the entire way there and home. No strollers for us!



Then we celebrated Meemaw’s birthday (she opened her puzzle from us early so we could get started on it), and that evening, we also went to our local lights show, another annual tradition.





We celebrated Christmas officially the next day after all the birthday celebrations were complete! Kids opened gifts, and were delighted at all things. Ralphie the Elf even came down to join us at Meemaw and Grampa’s house before he had to fly home to the North Pole. Coraline got a huge set of Frozen figurines, and Jameson got a set of Star Wars ships. I love the photo of his lips making the “vroom” noises a starship makes.




We did go see the Star Wars movie with Jameson while we visited! Brian stayed home with Coraline while the rest of us went to see the movie. We had to encourage everyone to come, because we had a gift for dad that that would only make sense after seeing it. We got him the BB8 robot!

The remainder of the day, Jameson was excited to spend with Grampa playing with airplanes! Grampa made him one of light wood that they shot into the air with a rubber band. Airplanes with Grampa is one of the things Jameson really looks forward to!




Christmas Eve morning, I took the kids to a breakfast potluck at my old friend Tracy’s house. A group of friends and her family were all gathered there, and it was fun seeing everyone and their kiddos and dogs.

Brunch with old friends and new friends

We left for home and arrived home with the light of the full moon.


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