Birthday Dinner

Coraline’s big party was on Saturday after her birthday, a couple days following her actual big day. On her birthday, Brian’s mom and sister came over for family dinner (pizza) and cake, of course.



We opened some gifts first before dinner, and Coraline was very interested in the Mega Blocks from Grandma. Whereas Jameson used to tear things down at her age, Coraline likes to put things back together. She does her fair share of tearing down though, too.


After pizza, Coraline, with Jameson’s help, blew out her candle on her cake.



We tried getting Coraline to eat the cake again, since she didn’t like it during her cake smash session in the morning, but she still refused.


Afterwards, we opened more gifts from Aunt Melissa, and then a couple from mom and dad and Jameson.



She quickly got the hang of feeding her new baby doll!


And herself, haha.


A couple weeks prior, I took Jameson out for lunch and errands. He had a great time, and we went to the toy store to pick out a birthday gift for Coraline. Of course, he got a little something too (a little wooden train, Diesel #10). But he also picked out a great gift for Coraline, this little scooter bike.

It’s small enough that I think she’ll get some use out of it later this summer after she’s walking. I look forward to her trying to follow Jameson around as he rides his own bike!


The next day, Meemaw and Aunt Holly came up to visit before the party the following day. We opened some more gifts on Friday then too, and Jameson was excited to get a few things himself again, like this little zipper monster pouch for good zipping practice!





But in particular, both kids really enjoyed the airplane from Aunt Holly. The Little People were a hit, and Coraline received more Little People gifts at her party. Both Jameson and Coraline like to play with them!




Coraline had such a great birthday celebration from the day she turned one through her party. Now that it’s over, it’s hard to believe she’s one.

It means we need to make some changes over the new few months, like transitioning to whole milk and moving her from bottle to sippy (she never did like holding her own bottle, nor could she be trusted to eat enough if we weren’t holding it anyway, so that will be a big change!). I am thankful we won’t need to eliminate the pacifier this time though!

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Gifts for a 2 Year Old

It’s that time of year again! This year I got an early start on making up a list of toys and games I thought would be appropriate for him.

To be clear though, he’s not really playing with many toys. Our evenings are made up of “wrestling”, running around, playing with his stool, watching tv and looking at books which he likes to read “mysef”


Kid Laptop | Kid Camera | Music Player

In the tech toys, staples are the kid size versions of laptops and cameras, or even the kid-proof case for your own ipad. If you’re strapped for cash, Jameson also has a recycled mouse (cord cut) and keyboard that he enjoys pounding on and standing on.

There are cheaper kid cameras than the one here, but I like this one since you can swivel the lens so you can take pictures of yourself. I take a lot of photos, and Jameson frequently takes my iphone to say “cheese” (and also “hello”; glad he recognizes it’s a phone too). I figured this is a little beyond his  abilities right now, but it will be fun for him to grow with over the next year.

I liked this music player because you can add real songs to it and it will hold up to abuse. I would consider getting some kind of headphones too. This kind of gift will work well for next year too!


Magazine Subscription | Books | Matching Game

Does your child like to get the mail? I started a subscription with Jameson’s name on it, that I was really hoping he’d get into. So far, no dice, but I still think he’ll enjoy getting mail just for him this year.

Specifically, I’m talking about books that relate to daily activities like brushing teeth, switching to a new bed, going potty, and eating vegetables. Jameson has really enjoyed reading about these types of life activities that he can really relate to right now.

The matching game is a really relevant gift for his age, and a step up from the regular blocky puzzles they probably already have. You can just do a couple cards at a time to not overwhelm them.


Mr. Potato Head | Magnadoodle | Backpack

Body parts? Yes.

Of course, a magnadoodle is at your discretion. If you pick one, I would definitely make sure it doesn’t have loose magnets. Jameson is great about not putting things in his mouth yet, but I wouldn’t trust him that far. I like the fact that he can doodle and draw with this without much supervision at any time. Art doesn’t have to happen at the kitchen table. Since he’s not great about sitting still, I am hoping this will encourage him.

And let them start carrying their own stuff! They’ll enjoy the novelty of it, I swear.


Latch Board | Alphabet or Numbers Puzzles | Build-It Yourself Vehicles

In the puzzle realm, improve dexterity with a latch board type puzzle, or their letter and number recognition with the alphabet puzzles.

I spent a long time searching for a vehicle that I thought would act for both regular play and puzzle/thinking skills. A lot of build-it sets are for older children, and I thought this one settled right where I wanted it to. I can’t wait to see how he interacts with this toy.


Doctor or Vet Set | Wooden Train Set | Play Food

For pretend play, there is always doctor or vet sets (the vet sets frequently come with an animal, which is a bonus).

We also got Jameson a wooden train set. I wouldn’t spend a lot of money on it yet unless you know your child adores trains, because eventually you’ll just upgrade to the electric ones anyway. But it allows kids to build it and play with it, so it’s another win in my book!

If the child already has a workshop or kitchen, then this will just enhance it. If not, play food works well on it’s own or with a little kid-size shopping cart. We’ve had fun teaching Jameson what “pretend” means.


Bilibo | Kid-Size Versions of Adult Stuff | Kid-Size Versions of Adult Stuff

As I said, Jameson doesn’t play with a lot of his toys regularly, so this not-toy is right up his alley. It can be whatever he wants it to be! Which will probably be a hat, since he has been putting most things on his head recently.

Jameson is into dice, which are obviously too small for him to play with without close supervision, so I bought him these hard foam dice just over choking size instead.

The vacuum! You don’t have to spend a lot on the Dyson version; this cheap one Jameson has had for a long time already and loves. We are getting him his own little broom this year, and I am willing to bet it will be a top toy as well. Not to mention, it will continue to encourage him as my little helper!

*I have not used or experienced all these products, but I think they’re great ideas. As always, consider your purchases carefully and note any age specific warnings and details.

P.S. Looking for gift ideas for a 1 year old? Check out some of my suggestions.

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Play Kitchen

Sunday we put together Jameson’s play kitchen! Brian was cleaning out the basement and got tired of staring at the extra large box which we purchased a long time ago. We did anticipate giving it to him before his birthday, when it got cooler out, so this was the right time!

Since Brian does the cooking in our house, we thought Jameson might naturally want to imitate him this way. He will undoubtedly get tools and other traditional “boy” toys, but this item was insisted on by me, who enjoys the fruits of Brian’s labor in the kitchen.

Also, I really wanted to encourage some imaginary play, since a lot of Jameson’s play is rough housing and activities like standing on stools, pillows, boxes and containers.

Jameson insisted on being a helper while we built it. He would take pieces to Brian whenever asked, and wanted to use the screw driver to help put things together.

He also knows the word “batteries” now and whenever something doesn’t work, he’ll say “battwies” and follows that with a “daddy” because I frequently tell him that daddy will fix things. So this time, I put in the batteries for the kitchen.

Once it was all finished, we had Jameson make us some broccoli, apple and bananas. The set came with food, and we went through each of them and Jameson repeated after me.

The following day, we had the cutest conversation about his kitchen:

Me: Are you putting Mr. Bear in the microwave?
J: yeah
Me: oh is Mr. Bear all done? Are you going to eat Mr. Bear now?
J: yeah
(Mr.s Bear and Blanket then made their rounds in the fridge and stove shortly after)

Before Trick or Treat, Aunt Melissa came over and they played with his new kitchen too. It’s fun to ask him for a fork, and he’ll run back to get it.

Surprisingly, he doesn’t use the burners which light up and make noise as much as the microwave, which doesn’t make any noise at all but he will press the fake buttons anyway. Pretty cute!

We moved his toy box into the dining room for now since he’s not playing with much in there. So far, the kitchen’s getting a decent amount of use, even if he does like putting unrelated toys into the cubbies!

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Happy Meal

A couple weeks ago, we stopped at McDonald’s for lunch and brought home Jameson’s second or so happy meal. We had gotten one at the zoo before I think, but this time we kept the toy. We accidentally got the big kid’s toy instead of the one for under 3 year olds, but Jameson didn’t care.

After showing him how it’s used, he quickly caught on and used his own steady hand to put the cardboard disc in the slot and pull back the trigger to release it.

He loved diving behind Brian, using him almost like a barrier against enemy forces. Of course, all he was really using it for was pure enjoyment of watching the disc fly over and over again.

He didn’t really eat his happy meal, but I was ridiculously proud of his accomplishment in figuring out how the toy works and doing it himself.

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Vivienne Turns The Big One

Saturday was Miss Vivienne’s 1st birthday party! It was unseasonably cool (in the 60’s) and neither Brian nor I knew that it was going to be held outside. So, when we arrived and discovered how chilly it was outside, Brian headed home for some jackets for Jameson and I.

In the meantime, food arrived, and I imagined my terror toddler squirming out of my grasp and/or grabbing at the food to dump it all over me. I was grateful that JP & Lisa were there with Jonathan so that if necessary I could have an adult helper!

However, Jameson was in rare form, and sat still in my left arm while I also held the plate of food right next to him and which I ladled onto with my free hand. I was impressed with myself, for sure.

He then sat like a little angel on my lap on the picnic table, eating off the plate politely with me. Pizza, blueberries, a little pasta. I also enjoyed the meatballs and chips and cheese dip, which Jameson tried at our second helping and enjoyed as well despite a little spice.

Finally, Brian returned with our jackets, and while he ate, we took the kids off to play with the toys they had around!

It was breezy, so it was easy for Jameson to “blow bubbles” by simply holding up the wand at the right angle. He was so excited. He loved playing with the bubbles.

The breeze didn’t stop him from trying to blow the bubbles out himself though:

He didn’t try to dump out the bubble solution either. We were pretty impressed with his maturity; we’ve considering picking a big bubble wand up from the dollar store. It was a long time of entertainment, and would’ve been longer, except that we had to share.

Before Vivienne opened her gifts, we took a break and went down to the nearby playground, which Jameson also loved. It was a perfect location for a birthday party!

After break time, we headed back up for a diaper change and gift opening. I went with my practical-but-still-seems-frivously-awesome StrideRite gift card for shoes for the soon-to-be-walker, and then I also found this gem: Wooden Shape Sorting Clock. It says 3 and up, but the pieces didn’t seem too small for a 1 year old as long as that one year old isn’t insistent about stuffing their face with wood.

Anyway, it seemed like a great grow-with-me toy, and our lucky day, this lucky lady likes to sort shapes like crazy so I’m sure she’ll enjoy it.

Jameson was a champ, but since he had an interrupted nap in order to arrive in time for the party, he was starting to get a little antsy. He said goodbye to Vivienne’s mom Lisa, and gave high fives all around. He’s always adorably shy around Vivienne which makes me laugh.

It was a great time, despite the cool weather (which I argue is better than 100 degree weather any day!). The location was ideal, and makes me wish Jameson’s birthday was in warmer weather. Oh well… we’ll just have to find other excuses to party in the summer!

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Watermelons and Kittens

The last weekend in July was a busy one! On Saturday, we went to visit Brian’s grandma and Aunt & Uncle. The last time we were there, Jameson was a new crawler, so it had been awhile!

Jameson is showing much more fear, of strangers and loud surprising noises, so he wasn’t inclined to let his great-grandma hold him. He did however give her a high five!

We had also celebrated cousin Stacy’s engagement to Nick when we were there last, and while they weren’t there, we thought of them since their wedding is now just a week or so away!

I don’t care for watermelon (never have; it’s one of the few foods that I have consistently never liked even as an adult), but Jameson enjoyed some!

He did want to gnaw on the rind, but for the most part he ate his watermelon really well, and wanted another!

Great-grandma has a magnolia tree in the backyard, with thick low-lying branches that if Jameson has the chance, I am sure he will climb when he gets older!

Brian’s Aunt Terry & Uncle Wes have a brand new kitten named Zane. When we met him, he was just 7 weeks old!

At daycare, they have a chinchilla owned by one of the teachers who brings him in every once in a while. Jameson apparently loves the chinchilla, so I was hoping he would do just as well with this other tiny creature. Jameson got to pet Zane, and I was excited to see that he did so well being gentle while Aunt Melissa held him.

Jameson however quickly got distracted by his cousins’ toys, and discovered a guitar that they were generous enough to send us home with! He has enjoyed the guitar a lot, and it completes his musical collection of drums, xylophone and rattles. We could host an entire toddler band now!

It was a relatively short visit, but fun despite the interrupting rainstorm. We still enjoyed our summer meal with the watermelon, pasta salad I brought, broccoli salad and burgers! It is good to see Brian’s grandma, who seems to be doing really well this year!

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August Miscellany

It’s hard to believe it’s really August. Sorry I’ve been MIA. Here are my obligatory excuses:

  1. Olympics
  2. Converting from DISH to Uverse this weekend (hence, watching all my recorded shows)

Sorry, I couldn’t think of any others. Is it sad that my excuses are all television??!

I have photos in back log: This past weekend was full of fun with friends and family, but I haven’t gotten around to editing them, hence no posts about them, because I’ve been enjoying a ridiculous amount of TV time after Jameson goes to bed.

I think that August will be a great month for us, and for Jameson too: He will be starting in the next room at daycare on the 20th this month. We are blessed that he has a teacher who wants to follow him (she is his favorite, and he is hers), so I think that the transition will be easier for him than it would otherwise. His friend Nathan, who has been out of daycare for the summer, will return soon too!

Every night when we come home now, Jameson wants to either play outside or watch Elmo. I’m happy to oblige: He will sit on my lap to watch Sesame Street for nearly 10 minutes before squirming his way out. It’s adorable, and I’m staying guilt-free since it’s Sesame Street, he’s spending time just resting with me, and he never watches TV at daycare. WIN WIN WIN.

(for the GOLD: I have already requested to borrow an Elmo costume for Halloween from a friend who’s daughter wore it last year. And, I’ve bought some Christmas or birthday presents, you are now in awe of everything I can get done when I’m not blogging now aren’t you?)

We got him new shoes for daycare which are sandals with covered toes that can get wet, and he loves them. Doesn’t want to take them off in the evening. It’s adorable.

The neighbors had their new baby yesterday, and their mystery baby was a BOY! Peyton. In a year, I can see them all running around the backyard (which maybe by then will have grass, seriously).

So much to be thankful for.

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Last week, I had to explain to one of Jameson’s teachers why he was saying “baby” all the time in class…

…Not that kind of baby!

Jameson’s new favorite book is “Baby Beluga” from his Grandma; it’s a sing-along book based on the music by Raffi.

I have asked most everyone I know now if they have heard of Raffi, and it’s about 1 in 20 who have. But I grew up on his music, so I didn’t even need the CD to be able to sing Baby Beluga to Jameson.

It wasn’t too long before it became his favorite book, and one of the first books that has no soft fur to touch or pop ups to grab that captures his attention. One day, I sang it to him 7 times in a row.

I’m so good now that Jameson can spend all his time looking at his favorite page with all Baby Beluga’s friends on it. You can see it in this video:


(I love Jameson looking through the book, saying “baby”. Not too much of my singing, thank goodness!)

Yesterday, he was going through his book basket and he kept saying “baby” and swaying back and forth like we do when we sing. It was upstairs, so we had to go get it. Story time is my favorite time (as long as we’re not reading 10 Tractor and Truck books in a row. Let’s stick with the animal books, okay Mr. Jameson?).

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Swimming Lessons?

We tried to get Jameson and Lily to play in the pool and sprinkler on the unseasonably hot days we had a couple weeks ago, but no dice.

Jameson tested the water, but it was too cold.

We plopped him on the side, but he wasn’t too sure.

I won’t name names, but somebody threw him in, thinking he might get used to it and appreciate it on a 90 degree day…

…He didn’t.

Daddy rescued him from the pool. Looks like that’s it for swimming lessons this year!

P.S. Yesterday I discovered there is a new swimming lesson facility opening up toward the end of the year! It is geared toward kids with warm, clean water and small class sizes. I am actually looking forward to having something to do with Jameson this winter when it’s not as nice outside!

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(Almost) A Year and a Half

At some point, you stop counting the months and start rounding. It’s starts at half years, and then eventually it’s just full years. As an adult, I don’t go around telling people that I’m 27 and a half. (I’m not, I’m just 27, just turned so a month ago if you’re counting)

Jameson is 17 months. A neighborhood lady asked me, and I said “a year and a half.” He seems so grown up! (Don’t laugh)

This month was a special growing up month for Jameson since he began sleeping on a cot for naptime, lost his very first tooth and got his first real haircut!

In addition, he gave up the bottle, for the most part. We are still giving him a bottle at night before bed. Our intention was over this next month to wean him from that, but since our vacation was canceled so we could attend Brian’s grandfather’s funeral yesterday, we are waiting until vacation next month. Brian’s parents will be watching him, and we want to make the bedtime routine easy for them!

He has started using utensils more consistently. His teacher at school told me they think he is left handed since he grabbed a spoon with his left the other day. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that she is wrong on a few counts.

He has been switching back and forth on hands for utensils that we have been giving him all this month; and children don’t settle on a hand for sure until they’re 3. So I read, anyway. Regardless, he’s getting pretty good and messy with the spoon and has fun with the fork. Jameson still doesn’t like us to help him a lot, he is very independent.


Jameson does let us help him up and down high places and stairs, thankfully. He is also getting good making those steps, but he needs to grow a bit more before that will be comfortable for him. By that time, I’m sure he’ll be off and running up and down stairs like he’s been doing it for months (because he has, with our help!)

He loves to wave now. When I tell him to “wait” he often “waves” instead, mistaking my direction. When I tell him to say “hi”, he waves! I think that may count as a sign in addition to his “more”, “all done”, “no” (shaking head) and “eat” regular signs.

Yesterday, we discovered that Jameson also signs “please” now. He must have learned it at school, since we haven’t had sign language classes in a while. It was so gratifying to see that “please”, and so unexpected. Of course, he got more teddy grahams!

As for regular words, we can identify a lot of words when he is repeating us, but it is so much harder to tell what he is saying when he is babbling (though it seems he knows what he is saying). Words we have identified that he says with some regularity:

Cheeeeeese (for pictures, this is our newest and I think school taught him that), Yes/Yeah, Bath, Bottle, Bear and/or Blanket, Dog has turned into Doggie, Daddy which often sounds like Doggy, Mommy, Juice, Milk, Uh Oooooh, Yucky/Dirty

Jameson has been blowing kisses now for a couple months, but I love these pictures that capture him doing it.

Jameson is walking around everywhere confidently. He outgrew his very first pair of walking shoes, which he also made a hole in the toes last week (we thew them away, not a whole lot of sentimentality here). We bought him the same Stride Rite kind, in a different color half a size up. He’s now a 5, and in 5-1/2 shoes.

He recently likes to walk on his tippy toes which makes us laugh, though we are hoping he’ll stop that soon. We try to let him be barefoot more often at home since he’s in shoes all day at school.

Jameson has finally started mastering the real shape sorter instead of just the coins in the faux piggy (cow) bank which he mastered months ago. He used to give up, impatient with it, after the first try. We are starting to see some maturity (yes). He will sit still with it for longer periods of time, and he has begun putting his toys away when asked! He gets less distracted on the way.

He’ll even bring me books with or without prompting, and return them to the book basket when we’re finished. Right now, I have a singing book he loves. It is the longest book he’ll sit through that doesn’t have a touch and feel feature. It is the baby belluga book based on the Raffi song which I grew up with. I don’t need Raffi to help me sing along with this book, and Jameson will sit through me singing the whole thing, asking for more two or three times.

Shall I go on? I really could, he develops so much every day. Those are just a few highlights. I can’t wait to see him at 18 months, a true 1-1/2; it seems like each month is better than the last.

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