59 and a Half

I started thinking about this event right after my parents turned 59 last year. I debated what would be the best celebration for their 60th. With their two birthdays bracketing Christmas and New Years, I knew I would have to rent some place due to weather, and how would I get people to attend during the holidays?

Brian’s dad had a winning suggestion: Just don’t do it around the 60th birthday. The 59-1/2 dual surprise birthday party was born. Or rather, planned and fretted over, with labor and love.


We really struggled with how to get them out of their house. Holly and I ended up doing all the decorating labor, table and tent set up and shopping. Brian and Tyler (who was also sick) had to visit the Air Force museum with them and the kids to keep them away until the scheduled time.



Mom was super surprised and jumped right in. She told us that she didn’t think she had really had more than one other dedicated birthday party before. Both of them seemed to have a great time with as many friends and family as we could gather from their combined contact lists.



We had catering from City Barbecue, iced tea and lots of drinks. It was a sweltering day, but we enjoyed the shade from the tents we rented and the deck awning.




It was pretty windy. Mom’s candles went out before the song was over!




Some good friends and family lingered for birthday present opening.





All the invitees were provided with notecards to write good wishes and memories to our parents, and we included those with photos into a little book (mini project life style).

Since Mom’s siblings were all able to make the trek to their house, we couldn’t go without some reunion style photos.






As for the kids: my cousin’s girls came to the party and they all got along famously. They had a great time.



I don’t recall the kids asking why Meemaw and Grandpa were having a birthday party when it wasn’t their birthday but we’ll see what happens this winter when the big 6-0 actually approaches.

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Three Going on Thirteen

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


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.


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?
– 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


One Year


Two Years

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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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Jameson Turns One Hand Old


Well we don’t have the traditional chair in it’s usual corner anymore because it is downstairs, and during Christmas it was mostly inaccessible because of the Christmas tree, so we did our 5 year blocks on the couch upstairs. Jameson still wanted to do it though so I was all for it!

This year, his appearance was wrapped up in his long hair which we grew out all year until cutting it after Halloween. So it seems like something is missing between the photos of Jameson at 4 and Jameson at 5. It’s all that hair!


We did gifts with Brian’s family on his actual birthday after work and school, which was Wednesday. We also had an Elf on the Shelf for the first time this year, and our elf, Ralphie, wasn’t really into decorating or doing cool things except on Jameson’s birthday when he strung streamers and balloons for the occasion! Jameson’s face did a big “o” of surprise when he saw it that morning.


Jameson got a new scooter for spring, marble run, and more. We got the marble run out right away and both the kids enjoyed it. But that wasn’t all! We decided Jameson was old enough to have his very first big-boy-friend birthday party. We held it at a local indoor bouncer place. It was close by, and a great location for winter parties. We provided the cake, they provided everything else.





Just like last year, we requested no gifts, though we did get a couple. Instead, we had people bring donations for our local animal shelter.



Jameson loved playing the claw machine. They had an easy one that had balls in it, and he got 3 or 4, one for him and a couple friends and Coraline each! It was the first time we’ve invited school friends to our parties and Johnny, Ella, Corinne, and Gunnar came. Johnny’s parents help Jameson play video games with the boys which was nice as Brian and I were constantly wandering around tracking Coraline or Jameson or being social with friends.

Our regulars also came including Jonathan and Joshua, Bobby and Jack, and Vivienne and Finn. We also had my cousin and his 3 boys there, and even Nathan came! Nathan has recently come back to school; they’re not in the same class but they see a lot of each other in the mornings and afternoons regardless.



Coraline also had a blast. She spent some time on the bouncers, and then played in the little kid area reading books and going to the chalk room. It was nice that she was old enough that she didn’t need constant attention, and wonderful that while we were there there weren’t a lot of really big kids either so she was happy to participate.



Jameson visited the doctor for his check up and he’s in perfect health! Still a skinny little dude weighing in around 37 lbs. He didn’t need any vaccines, but he did get to pee in a cup which was a new novelty (for both of us). He got vision and hearing tested and checked out fine.

What Jameson is Wearing:

  • Size 4T pants and size 12 shoes.
  • 5T or XS shirts, they’re sometimes a little big but he’ll be able to keep them for a couple years.
  • Soft pants and swishy pants, and clothes with Star Wars, superheros, or Ninja Turtles on them
  • Big boy underwear day and night. And underwear only at night for as long as the weather allows!

What Jameson is Eating:

  • Meatballs, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and most any meat he can eat with ketchup or ranch
  • Cucumbers with ranch or without. He’ll eat a whole one straight up like a pickle. Also tomatoes.
  • Regular and “special” yogurt. Still doesn’t like eggs.
  • Candy of course, and now he gets to have gum! It’s like a treat for him.
  • Potatoes most any way
  • He finishes his dinner the majority of the time.

What Jameson is Saying:

  • Jameson likes to ask us about how our work day was, and insists that we answer his questions first before he answers (minimally) about his day at school
  • “It’s ok sweetie”, (almost) always a sweetheart to his little sister.
  • “It’s not fair!” This is happening more and more frequently. (Life isn’t fair though you know).
  • “Stinky” and “Stinker”, and using other mean words that we have to discipline.

When Jameson gets angry, he shouts “Fine! You’re not my best friend anymore.”

What Jameson Likes These Days:

  • He really loves to watch TV, any show or movie TV now and all the time. We’re working on this. This year along with the usual favorites we’ve also watched Star wars and super heroes cartoons based on the Avengers, Bat Man and Justice League.
  • Jameson enjoys reading about super heroes and Star Wars.
  • Jameson is much more flexible about what he wears lately, but he still likes soft or swishy pants the best. Anything you’d identify as “running” or “exercise” wear.
  • Duffy the little teddy bear and his soft brown blanket
  • Swimming lessons and soccer.
  • Piano, he’s started lessons at school
  • Listening to “his” songs, kid music. Favorites are the Hercules song and the Mulan “Man” song.
  • The ipad, but now he only really gets it when traveling so he doesn’t ask for it as much
  • Wrestling with daddy

What Jameson Doesn’t Like These Days:

  • Sitting still to eat.
  • Hot sauce on his tongue. A new discipline helpful for talking back.
  • Public toilets, though he no longer has a tantrum about them, he still doesn’t like the loud potties.

I thought Jameson was dressed too warm today and told him so; he said that was so we could cuddle!

What Jameson is Doing:

  • Writing his name, identifies letters and loves stories still. Occasionally sounding out a word.
  • Making light sabers out of tinker toys
  • Brushing his teeth and hair on his own, doing all things in the morning without assistance including dressing himself and putting non-tie shoes on.
  • More clarity in his artwork. He’s drawn family portraits recognizable as people now and doing more drawing.
  • Making paper airplanes, every single day. (Better not let him catch us throwing them out, either!)
  • Jameson likes to help make dinner with Daddy and desserts with Mommy

We were just playing tea party when Jameson declared he was pouring beer for daddy.

What We Are Working On:

  • Bedtimes without tantrums
  • Regular chores… we’ve done making the bed, setting the table, and putting toys away irregularly
  • Sitting still to eat.
  • Mommy and daddy are figuring out good ways to reward good behavior so more of it comes without being told.

What is your name? Jameson
How old are you? 5
What is your favorite color? orange
What is your favorite animal? A lion
What is your favorite book? My favorite book is…the Avengers (And something else I couldn’t understand)
What is your favorite TV show? The Lion Guard (A recent discovery of the spin off of the Lion King)
What is your favorite movie? Lion King (This might not really be true anymore but the first he thought of; he really likes the Lego Movie)
What is your favorite song? Old McDonald… I mean, my favorite song is the Star Wars one
What is your favorite food? Meatballs and macaroni
What food do you not like? I don’t like ravioli, quesadilla, eggs, and pancakes
What is your favorite drink? Hot chocolate
What is your favorite snack? Fruit snacks

“I’m going to eat all of my dinner. 100 of the dinner. All the snacks, all the table, all the carpet…all the walls.”

What makes you laugh? I don’t know (After some prompting, he agrees that Coraline makes him laugh)
What is your favorite thing to wear? Underwear!
What is your favorite game? Donuts (being silly I think, but after some thought it could be he’s talking about the gopher game where you bop the heads since he described popping the head up)
What is your favorite toy? At Nathan’s I like to play on the trampoline
Who is your best friend? Nathan
What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Duffy and blankie
Where is your favorite place to go? Canada Never been there. After some prompting we discover that’s where Aunt Melissa and Grandma and Poppa are going, so after some prompting he says: I like to go to Florida (He likes to sleep there and get new Duffys)
Where do you want to go on vacation? Disney
What do you like to do with your family? Mousetrap
What do you want to be when you grow up? A superhero… I want to be Ant Man
What did you do when you were little? Climb on dad’s face
What do you like to do now that you are big? Go to Kindergarten in March (March is Coraline’s birthday so we had to clarify that this happens in the fall)
What is your favorite thing to learn in school? I don’t know… Can we be done now? Ummm eating donuts.
What is your favorite thing to remember? Remind me to get a drink
What do you want to buy with your money? A toy
What is the thing you do the most awesomely? Didn’t get to ask this


One Year


Two Years


Three Years


Four Years

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We went to a birthday party a couple weeks ago at a kids gym. Jameson had a blast, and I had some great mom moments to share. When we arrived, Jameson called me “stinky” in front of the other moms. It wasn’t too funny until I realized that he was in fact talking about me and not about the birthday boy’s mom, which I thought this had been directed at for a moment, thankfully. However, birthday boy picked up on it and repeated it too. We affectionately use all kind of names like this when we tease the kids at home, but it’s being turned on us and has been a little bit frustrating lately. Lesson learned.

However, all was forgotten when the kids went in to play. Jameson was a non-stop ball of fun. He was loud, excited, but listened well and gave birthday boy all the attention. I thought he was acting as a great friend should, and was proud.

My proud heart enlarged tenfold when he asked friends for help picking up “kryptonite” beanbags with the sticks they’d been given. His beanbag was the last one of the balls and bags that had been left around the gym, and he was struggling when he said “everybody help!” and had four friends all help carry the bag with their sticks to put it away. Jameson declared “great teamwork!” and the instructor said that was the first time she’s seen kids help each other in that activity.

I was and am delighted with Jameson’s behavior. I don’t often get to see him outside home with friends, and also have the attention span that you can only have when you’re watching just one child at a time. It was a pleasure!








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Surprise Birthday


Brian’s dad surprised Becky with a birthday party in August! Under the guise of a very small group of friends enjoying their own version of Vintage Ohio, the party grew over the course of the afternoon until Becky realized what was up!


My contribution to the big event was an enormous photo of Becky’s senior portrait requested by Ed, printed with Staples Engineer Print option. Close up, it’s grainy and out of focus — I did some blurring to eliminate the halftone and you can’t help but lose quality blowing something 1 inch or so across into 18 inches!

Plenty of cars stopped to stare at the photo, which looks great from a bit of distance. Mission accomplished!



The kids had a blast. Coraline loves her olives! We tried to keep them from loving on their grandma too much so she could enjoy her party and socialize with her friends, but it was hard to keep them apart!



The cake was from a local place, a carrot cake which is Becky’s favorite. Pecans coated the sides!




The kids needed to get to bed, so we headed out early in what turned out to be a late night party! It was a huge success. Brian, his dad and sister all did a wonderful job putting it on.

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My Golden Birthday

For the big 3-0 this year, my husband actually planned a surprise party for me with a couple of my friends! I had been joking with him on and off for years (he’s 6 years older) that he needed to be planning my party! As it happens he didn’t quite start planning that far in advance. I did get the surprise party I didn’t expect particularly because just a couple months before I gave him a pass and told him he didn’t need to plan anything special since we were both going on separate vacations this year.


My mom and sister came up to visit and said they wanted to do a special girls day, so I already assumed I was done with surprises. They took me for pedicures (which I managed to guess at before leaving the house when I saw their shoes on the cooler day) but we also got massages and manicures! It was an awesome surprise, and when I wanted to go shopping afterward they had a hard time convincing me to leave.


We pulled into the driveway, and I really didn’t get it until I saw my friend Emma’s car with her out of state license plates. I was reeeeally slow on the uptake and thought all the cars I was seeing before that were for the neighbors’ house.


To make the surprise even MORE awesome (is that possible!?), Brian had ordered Chipotle catering. It was an awesome make-your-own-anything bar all along our counters in the kitchen. Good thing I hadn’t eaten much yet!


The theme for the party was, of course, gold because it was my golden birthday when your birthday coincides with the date of your birth. I turned 30 on the 30th of April.


The kids’ favorite part were the balloons, which entertainment lasted for days.




My co-workers threw a surprise for me too, with a completely decorated desk, balloons ready to fall from the ceiling (since I had said that all I ever wanted were balloons to come down on my head — like the winner of a game show), and sash, button and crown to wear. We went out to lunch, had champagne and SO MUCH DESSERT.

Best coworkers evarrrrr

It was such an awesome week to celebrate! I really feel grateful to have such wonderful friends and family to celebrate with. However, that milestone birthday is really going to be hard to beat!

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Birthday Girl

On Coraline’s actual birthday, we let her open her gift from Jameson (which he also picked out for himself I’m certain). She loved her new Anna and Elsa dolls! They are her favorite princesses, along with Princess Sophia. And Jameson got to play with Elsa, so he was a happy camper.



We had a party for her the next day, on Saturday. Coraline’s 2nd birthday party was much more low key than Jameson’s have ever been.


Between planning for upcoming vacations and work, we really just didn’t want to do the big bash. And I think we both kind of liked this better in its own way. Certainly, the grandparents probably liked it better. The family all gathered for a calm (well, there was still a 4 year old and 2 year old) gift opening and cake celebration. My mom and sister came up for the occasion too!



Jameson enjoyed helping Coraline open her gifts, and Coraline kept her tutu on like a rock star!




She definitely can be a little girly. She loved pink stuff, Frozen and her new dolly. Coraline really got into ripping the wrapping paper and was definitely a pro.



The biggest gift was her new dollhouse, a joint gift from Grandpa, Poppa and Aunt Melissa. But probably mostly for the box it left behind.



Coraline does love playing with the little baby in the dollhouse, and we’ve combed the living room looking for the missing baby a couple times. It’s a clever little set.


I made Coraline’s cake as I have for all birthday so far. This one was one of the more time consuming ones (they all seem to be after I get started). I made a homemade funfetti cake in a bundt cake pan, and cut it in half to make a caterpillar. The icing got stiff pretty fast, but I suppose that was helpful in order to keep it on the cake! It was pretty tough trying to keep caterpillar stripes even, and I almost ran out of one of the colors.





Really, I could’ve just made a big batch of icing and made the kiddos happy. But I was pleased with it! I made it especially because my grandma made me a caterpillar cake when I was a kid, and I think she would’ve been proud of my effort!

Happy happy birthday little lady!

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Toddler 2.0


Coraline is now a month into the big 2.0 year. She’s lately become very attached to me in the morning, and doesn’t want anyone else to talk to her (including her teachers). She’s a bit slow waking up, not like Jameson who always perked right up in the morning at that age (not anymore).

It was funny to see her hiding away from daddy in the morning, but now it’s made drop off progressively worse. Otherwise, she’s a ball of adorable energy. When she’s not pretending to be shy, she’s saying hi to strangers and playing peekaboo like at the park this past weekend.


Since Jameson’s been in swimming lessons, I started putting Coraline to bed without anyone else home. She was concerned at first that she couldn’t say night night to Daddy and Jameson. Through the past couple months, it has now become a thing to sing our “night night” song to each family member, plus other people, places or objects.

“Night night Coraline
Night night Coraline
Night night Coraline
We’ll see you in the morning”

Has now been replaced with mommy, daddy, Jameson individually, plus our neighbors family, individually. We’ve sang night night to mac ‘n cheese, the wall, butterflies, bugs, Coraline’s potty and more. I’ve had to start limiting it to two extra verses, but she is not a fan. She’s also been calling herself “Coralee” on occasion, and insisted on that one night (though, right before I left the room, she requested her original night night Coraline song).

Potty training? Not really happening. She sits on it for a moment (half a second).

A week or so after she turned two, she did take a big girl step and got a her new big girl bed. She adored it right away, and loved watching daddy put it together. She tried to climb into the window, which has happened a couple times since then as well. It won’t be long before she won’t fit though! She’s getting so big. She’s 24 pounds and in a size 6 shoe! (We were stuffing her into 4-1/2 size, oops!)






Sleeping and napping has been pretty good; she’s been adjusting to the freedom of getting out of bed, and we had a week or so where she didn’t want to go to bed in it after the initial excitement wore off. One day she even took off her pants and diaper and I never heard a sound at naptime! She’s doing really well now, and loves to talk about her big girl bed. Jameson was a little jealous, since it has a roof on it, and he’s also loved playing in it.

Not super pleased about the lack of breakfast before our ear tube surgery this morning.

Coraline also got tubes put in her ears for the second time. So far, everything is great! We haven’t had any tubes fall out like we had within a month last time. It was harder this time around because she really wanted to eat in the morning. She always requested a snack immediately upon waking, and when I told her no, for the first time she said the full, big word “breakfast” with a sad little face. We left for the surgery early so we could get her out of the house and away from the food. After walking around a little stumbly, by evening and after naptime, she was completely back to normal.

Coraline loves getting boo boo kisses for all her “injuries”, singing songs like Hushabye baby, Rockabye baby, Bumble bee and more. The other night, Jameson translated for us a new rhyme she was saying about monkeys in the tree. She’s hilarious, smiley, and almost always in a good mood.

Except when she’s not, and she screams herself red in the face and lays flat on the ground, which is pretty funny as long as I’m still in a good mood. She doesn’t always like getting her hair done, but likes it when I’m finished. Coraline also wants to pick out her own clothes sometimes now, which can be entertaining. The first three or four times she had on short sleeves the past month, she kept trying to tug them down because she was confused about the length. It’s finally feeling like Spring!


Bring on warm weather and our climbing toddler! We’re ready!

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4 Years Old


Jameson insisted on stacking his blocks and blanket himself for photos. I can recall when he didn’t want to take photos (like Coraline is now), so I am really enjoying his excitement. Soon, that chair will be moving out of Coraline’s room though so our yearly photos will have a new background to them. But we’ll continue to take them for as long as they like. I love it.


Toward the end of this last year, he has started to write letters. First his name, which he writes without needing to trace letters now, and things like “yes” “no” and short words he is still tracing from worksheets at school. Sometimes he still gets colors mixed up, so I’m not convinced that there’s not a little color blindness there. He doesn’t like to draw much or color, but he loved the science kit we did the other day and enjoyed watercolors, and likes activities that involve physical movement (soccer, gym, wrestling with daddy), which I think is usual for a little boy his age.

He doesn’t share much about his days at school except that he plays in the gym or plays with friends. Since his best buddy Nathan stopped going, he had to make new friends, so we’re not sure who his best bud is anymore, if anyone. He’s more outgoing now than he used to be, though he’s still shy around people he doesn’t know.


He is almost potty trained at night time now, which we know is a subconscious control he doesn’t quite have yet though he’s been day trained since he was two. We are going through an occasional fibbing stage where he likes to tell one or the other that “mommy said I could do or have this”, or “daddy said I could do or have this”. Sometimes it works, most times it doesn’t now that we’ve caught on. He likes to get out of bed now several times before settling down for the night, and hasn’t napped at home except a handful of times since Coraline was born. Though, surprisingly, he naps at school great now! Once he’s asleep, he stays asleep.


What Jameson is Wearing:

  • Size 3T pants for length, though I had to sew in all the waists since he doesn’t like jeans which had the cinching straps.
  • 3T shirts
  • Soft pants and swishy pants, and clothes with Pink Floyd, superheros, or Ninja Turtles on them
  • Pull ups at night, but sometimes big boy underwear

Jameson, describing the grippers on his new socks: “They’re sparkles, I love sparkles! Let me feel them. Ooh they sound crunchy.” Yes indeed, we bought socks with crunchy sounding sparkles (never mind the dinosaurs on them)
– Friday, January 3, 2014

What Jameson is Eating:

  • Meatballs, chicken nugget, hot dog, and most any meat he can eat with ketchup or ranch
  • Cucumbers with ranch or without. He’ll eat a whole one straight up like a pickle. Also tomatoes.
  • Regular and “special” yogurt. He likes regular yogurt again now because that’s what mommy and daddy eat. Still doesn’t like eggs.
  • Candy of course
  • Potatoes most any way
  • Strawberries and berries.
  • He’s become much better about trying his food, but counting the number of bites and negotiating for more of what he really likes is still an almost nightly occurrence.

I’ve got to use my looking eyes! (Looking for strawberries)

Mommy! I like your underwear! Is it new?

What Jameson is Saying:

  • Jameson likes to ask us about how our work day was, and insists that we answer his questions first before he answers (minimally) about his day at school
  • This year, Jameson learned about where we live, cities and streets. He also knows where Grandma and Poppa live and Aunt Melissa, streets and city.
  • For several months, Jameson couldn’t say hamburger properly, saying “hangaber” instead (He could says cheeseburger just fine). He finally says it correct now, which is kind of sad.
  • We have experienced a lot of “never” (instead of “no”, so at least he’s creative). We also get to enjoy defiant stares and complete withdrawal from participation.

Me: Jameson, did you know mommy got a new job at the mattress factory? [extreme simplification for the 3 year old]
J: Oh, I’d love to go there. Just like Corduroy! [corduroy the bear tries to get a button off a mattress in his book]
Me: That’s right!
J: You look beautiful today mommy!
Me: Why thank you, Jameson!
J: You have all your clothes on!
– Friday, April 18, 2014

What Jameson Likes These Days:

  • He really loves to watch TV, any show or movie TV now and all the time. We’re working on this. This year along with the usual favorites we’ve also watched Batman, Rescue Bots, and Ninja Turtles.
  • Jameson enjoys reading about super heroes. He was playing super hero at school and told me he was Captain America and Wolverine so I’m guessing those are the favorites.
  • Wearing his favorite clothes.
  • Duffy the little teddy bear and his soft brown blanket, as well as a dog pillow that he became attached to after Sasha passed away.
  • Swimming lessons and soccer. He loved his new soccer class this time around!
  • Listening to “his” songs, kid music. He also requests kid Christmas songs randomly any time of year.
  • The ipad, but now he only really gets it when traveling so he doesn’t ask for it as much
  • Frozen book and movie (but not the live ice show apparently, it terrified him…)
  • Wrestling with daddy
  • His dogs Sasha, Mayzie and Shiloh, and now Zoe. This year we lost two of them, and he’s stopped asking for a new one since meeting Zoe the puppy. He loves them though and always asked to see Meemaw and Grandpa’s dogs on the iPad during FaceTime

Jameson, what did I tell you about throwing!?
….But I was just catching mommy!
– Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I’m not scribble scrabbing, I’m coloring.
– Sunday, August 17, 2014

What Jameson Doesn’t Like These Days:

  • Napping or resting at home.
  • Sitting still to eat.
  • Being told what to do “right now” or “hurry up”. He really doesn’t like being rushed or forced and becomes very obstinate, refusing completely. We’ve found that using a visual timer works for many arguments and time outs.
  • Cold baths. He had one once when his tantrum was out of control at bathtime.
  • Toilets… in particular, overflowing toilets. He only has specific ones at home, school and Meemaw and Grandpa’s house that he will go in. He’s finally getting over some of it, from an incident that occurred when I let the downstairs toilet overflow. My fault!

I need my chapstick on because I burned my face! Then he rubs it all over his nose and forehead. Sometime between winter and summer, he got confused.
– Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Why did you break Coraline’s pajamas? (the first time Coraline was in two piece)

What Jameson is Doing:

  • Writing his name
  • Asking how things work, or making up how they work on his own. Today he told me the humidifier keeps Coraline warm, so I had to correct him but I love this mechanical kind of imagination. I’ve also described how hot air rises to make the ceiling fan move.
  • Playing with the little Playmobil or Lego guns and toy swords.
  • He dresses himself, identifies letters and loves stories, and likes to make pretend coffee with any stream of water.

Jameson is pretending to swim in the tub.
Me: Jameson would you like to take swimming lessons soon?
J: I don’t want to jump in the pool
Me: Why not?
J: Are there sharks in there!?
Me: No, sharks live in ocean. Only people swim in pools.
J: Oh with the fishes?
– Thursday, March 20, 2014

What We Are Working On:

  • Nighttime potty training
  • Cleaning up and putting things away when we are done with them.
  • Sitting still to eat.
  • Mommy and daddy are figuring out good ways to reward good behavior so more of it comes without being told.

Jameson is singing “do you know the muffin man”
Brian: I don’t know the muffin man, who is he?
J: he’s the caker
Brian: who’s the caker?
J: he makes cakes!
– Saturday, September 6, 2014

We also did our 4 year interview! Like last year, he got distracted after just a couple questions so we didn’t get to ask them all. His answers were a lot more coherent this year, but still very focused in the now, like what is around him. His favorite movie is still Lion King, though I thought he’d say Frozen!

What is your name? Grameson… Jameson (He was nervous about the interview at first I think)
How old are you? 4
What is your favorite color? Blue and orange
What is your favorite animal? A lion and a bear
What is your favorite book? My Superhero ones… on your ipad! (He has a set of Marvel Superhero books, but just the other night I showed him the bonus ebook on the ipad that came with the set for the first time, and he loved it. It was our very first kids ebook experience)
What is your favorite TV show? It is Jake (Jake and the Neverland Pirates)
What is your favorite movie? Lion King
What is your favorite song? Old McDonald
What is your favorite food? It isssss a bun. (It’s true he usually requests a bun to eat with his hot dog so he can eat it by itself)
What food do you not like? Pork chops and pork.
What is your favorite drink? It’s water and milk and juice and apple juice and and and apple juice and orange juice and apple juice and orange juice and milk and water.
What is your favorite snack? It is grahams… it is teddies! (as in Teddy Grahams)
What makes you laugh? Pictures. hahahahaha Fake laugh
What is your favorite thing to wear? Mickey Mouse and my Mickey Mouse socks (That was what he’s wearing in the video; he loves swishy pants and his Ninja Turtles shirt. I asked him for more, and he told me that I needed to buy him a sword shirt, like his new toy sword.)
What is your favorite game? The game over there. (Chutes and Ladders, which we’ve recently been playing after Coraline goes to bed.)
What is your favorite toy? My sword
Who is your best friend? Trip and MJ
What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Duffy and and Bobby Bear and my baby Rudolf (Plus the doggy pillow and soft brown blanket and a billion other “guys” every night)
Where is your favorite place to go? To see the sound of the owls… with Aunt Melissa (I am so surprised he said this, since he got impatient to go home while we were waiting to hear the owls. It was a cool night hike really meant for older kids and Aunt Melissa came with us; it must have really made an impression.)
Where do you want to go on vacation? Accidentally skipped over this
What do you like to do with your family? Accidentally skipped over this
What do you want to be when you grow up? I wanna… I want to be umm… I don’t know

Upon arriving home today, Jameson said “when I grow up, I’m gonna drive… In my own car… And you’re gonna sit there!” (Pointing to passenger seat)
– January 30, 2014

What did you do when you were little? I was putting things in the toilet. When I was a weeeee little baby.
What do you like to do now that you are big? I don’t put my toys in the toilet and I get new toys.
What is your favorite thing to learn in school? I like to play music. (I paused for a few minutes here since he was really distracted with his camera. Then he got confused and thought I asked what he liked and began listing things in front of him like his rocking chair and the Elmo rocker)
What is your favorite thing to remember? Didn’t get to ask this
What do you want to buy with your money? With the three little circles with the money I want the money. More more more money. (We’ve never asked him this before, he doesn’t really understand how money works yet)
What is the thing you do the most awesomely? Didn’t get to ask this


One Year


Two Years


Three Years

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