Independence Weekend

As I mentioned, we had a great time all weekend in our backyard over the 4th of July. We did get out for a little while though on Saturday morning, when we went to Jameson’s swimming lessons and the Heritage Festival where we usually go to the farmer’s market.

Ice cream at the festival

We went early, but I couldn’t help but get a veggie Stromboli. The kiddos and daddy got ice cream (Coraline loved tasting daddy’s). Jameson was concerned about his ice cream cone and not a fan of getting messy (he said he wished he had a bowl after it started melting down his hands and face)

Snake, flag, balloon, suckered, sticker. Good day to be a little dude (all free but the snake, cause I still love sand animals)

There was a lot of free stuff being passed out, including flags, promo balloons and stickers, and a sucker. We bought him a little $3 sand-filled snake, because I love sand animals. He loved carrying that around and “ssssss”-ing loudly to frighten us.

Heritage Festival fun

We saw old cars, fire engines and trucks too! It was a good time, but I’m always happy to go early and escape before the crowds and heat.

In the afternoon, we had our friends come over and the boys played together in the water bouncer. The neighbor kiddos and their cousins joined us as well, so we had a full bounce house!



Baby Jack and Joshua are getting so big. Joshua enjoyed splashing in the water and Jack loved the baby tent sheltering him from the hot day. And it was hot! A great day to play in the water.


Joshua loved the swing as well. Glad someone is getting use out of it, since Coraline still isn’t a fan.


She loved splashing in the water though. Baby pool, water park, or splash table: all water is fun! She’s getting used to the cooler water as well, and didn’t mind the hose water at all (though the baby pool we did warm up some for all the babies around!)



I remember last year when we had to coax the kids on the water bouncer at first. Now? They’re sliding down the wrong way, trying to climb up the slide, and otherwise making mischief.


All the kids loved playing in the water bouncer, though the girls quit early to get dried off.


We cooked out that evening and enjoyed burgers, hot dogs, pasta salads and more. A perfect end to a summer’s day!


Sunday, we followed suit, though it was a bit cooler. Our neighbor’s had other cousins over, and I went shopping while they played on the bouncers. We had an early dinner that evening and we all went out to eat with all the kiddos. It was chaotic, but hilarious.

Lots of kids out to dinner. Just a heads up to anyone in the area

Good thing we went out to eat though because I was ready to stack up all the dishes in the sink and call it a day! All the same, it was wonderful hosting and not needing to travel over the holiday weekend. It was really like a vacation with the kids at home!

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Independence Day

Our 4th of July weekend was simply amazing; we were able to stay home to celebrate all weekend long. We didn’t see fireworks up close, but Brian and I got to see some from our front yard Saturday night. Those kids crashed out every evening!

Friday, I tried to get some photos of the kids together, though they were less than cooperative about that.



Once I let Coraline do what she wanted, she was much happier.


It was just a little cooler that day, though still plenty warm, we didn’t want to get out the water bouncer. Instead, we opened up a new one that we had in storage. It’s for kids slightly older, though Lily and Jameson enjoyed it plenty anyway!







However, they were not fans when the other would jump while they were trying to climb!

Coraline really wanted to join in the fun, but this one was definitely too big for her. Later, we brought out the obstacle course bouncer and had more friends join us for the evening. We had a fajita night with margaritas and corn salsa sides. I could’ve had this dinner every night for a week!


I even joined in and climbed up once. Only once, since I felt like I was going to topple the whole thing over!


Love this funny face Coraline is making!

The kids have really been enjoying the hammock that we got for Brian last year. I jumped in with a few of the kids climbing on top which was hilarious. Jameson liked to “climb” to the top of the hammock. He wasn’t a big fan of being wrapped up in it though!





Surprisingly, by Sunday, I was exhausted from hosting! Friday and Saturday we had friends over, and Sunday the neighbors had family over. By the end of the weekend, I didn’t want to do dishes or clean up. Here I thought being able to stay home meant it would be more relaxing!

We did have blast though, and it’s always a nice change of pace to stay home for a 3 day weekend.

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Strawberry Picking

Sunday morning, I was excited to take Jameson to our very first strawberry picking outing together. I went with my grandma a few summers, and particularly, I remember the jam that my grandma made every year the old fashioned way.



We went to a little farm about 20 minutes away as recommended by some friends who we were joining. We arrived a little early and got started. Jameson was very intent about finding the strawberries at first and declared “we have to put on our looking eyes!”

He was also very studious in making sure that the strawberries were ready, telling me “those are not ready yet” on several occasions.


After about 15 minutes, our friends arrived but were sent to a different patch further down. So we packed up the few big strawberries we found and joined them.


Jameson best buddy Nathan was there, which was very exciting for him and he immediate stopped looking for strawberries properly. Haha! He told Nathan over and over “we were looking for you!” Nathan’s family just had a new baby girl a month or so ago who joined them napping in her car seat for her first strawberry picking adventure.


The new strawberry patch was open to pick anywhere, which was nicer for the kids who weren’t restricted to one area, and also harder for the adults to keep them close. The boys loved holding their strawberry baskets and talked about how heavy the baskets were (and how strong they were).

Strawberries at the open patch were more prolific, riper, but smaller. It made for much more fun and quick picking!





We came home with more than enough strawberries to freeze for shakes later this summer or fall after the season is past. The strawberries were in great shape, with little to no bruising or rotting.


We also decided to make jam, though not the kind my grandma made as a kid. She tried to teach me, but I’m not super teachable when it comes to cooking. I have baking down pretty good, since it requires exact measurements, but regular cooking usually requires more effort for me.

Nathan’s mother Megan offered to show me how to make freezer jam which doesn’t require cooking the strawberries or sterilizing the jars for sealing, and she invited us over the following evening for a lesson. Jameson was so excited to see Nathan twice; “that’s so crazy!” he yelled excitedly on our way there. Nathan is out of school for the summer, so Jameson hadn’t seen him in a couple weeks.

Freezer jam with our friends! Thanks for showing us how it's done!

Jameson got to help smash the strawberries and do some stirring before the hot part with the gelatin. The boys enjoyed some of the finished product at the end on fresh bread Megan made earlier, which was delicious.

Between freezer jam and our frozen strawberries, I’m looking forward to enjoying the taste of summer strawberries for months to come. We’ll be back again next year for sure!

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Saturday, we started Jameson’s first swimming lessons that he likely remembers, since his last ones were over a year ago. We stopped about a month before Coraline was born. He’s got a pretty great memory now, but I recall that being a time when he was just starting to really hold onto his memories.

So that morning we took him to a local high school which has a pool. We didn’t do a mommy-and-me style class. For his age group, they recommended he go by himself; Jameson did need some encouragement though. Maybe more than a little, since I had to end up lifting him into the water when he didn’t want to go all the way down the steps.

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The pool was nice in that it was sized great for preschoolers who could actually stand in the water by themselves. It was generously warm as well, which I was thankful for. I remember very cold water on cooler outdoor mornings for my own swimming lessons. Jameson is a lucky kid!

He also showed quite a bit of hesitation before putting the floater under his arms, but again after a little encouragement from me on the other side, he did it!

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They even had time for some play, which I think was missing from our soccer experience (which by the end he did not want to participate in at all!). So I have high hopes that he will enjoy his swimming lessons and get more and more confident in the water. By the end of our first lesson, simply playing with a ball he dared himself to get back into the deeper water!

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To reinforce the lesson that we need to learn to swim (and just to have fun!), we went to a waterpark later that afternoon with some friends.

Coraline loved it. She walked, holding onto my hands, to her chest height. No fear! When I had a hand under her belly, I even saw a couple kicks. I think she wanted to slide down the waterslide as well. She wasn’t quite tall enough for that! Jameson loved it though and did the slide over and over again.

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It was mildly chilly in and out of the water, but the water itself wasn’t too cold and the concrete really held the heat which meant we were comfortable and but not sweltering. The weather meant the crowd was very light, which we all loved. When Jameson got too cold, he laid down on the beach chairs covered in a towel eating snacks, haha!

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Coraline was not a big fan of the lazy river, mostly because of the life jacket squishing her little chin and cheeks up. She loved splashing and crawling on me. After several hours there, I still hadn’t really hear her fussing. She loved the poolside snacking (as did Jameson). I’m pretty sure the one time she cried at the end was because she was getting her swimsuit off, and she wanted to play more!

Brian and I had the opportunity to ride a few adult rides with our friend’s older girls, which was a blast. And we all visited the wave pool which water was very beach-like and warm.

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After the waterpark, some exhausted children continued to play and have fun late into the night. Particularly Jameson, who was up until 9:30! Coraline has reached the phase where you may not be able to tell she’s exhausted by looking at her. She’ll continue to play as long as you let her.

We enjoyed pizza on the grill with our friends before another homemade popsicle finale for the evening. A fun filled day!

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Memorial Monday

We were able to bring out the waterpark a couple times in the past couple weeks. We’ve had wonderful warm weather, but it finally cooled off a bit and rained yesterday (for which the garden is thankful, though we were not as much).





Memorial Day, we had friends Rob, Christina and their sons Bobby and Jack over for some waterpark fun! The big boys were thrilled, though the babies not quite as much. The water was ice cold and Miss Coraline wasn’t too pleased about that.



A few days later, however, we had the little wading pool out and filled with some warmer water which was much more to her liking.

She did enjoy the water play table though quite a bit, but in the past week she’s gotten Opinions about being on the grass, and so got a little fussy.





When the kids wanted to dry out some in the evening, we brought out the other bouncer, and Coraline can make her way through that one all by herself! (Going around the obstacles, rather than over).




Though Memorial Day’s purpose is certainly to honor and remember our heroes, I do think a wonderful way to honor those who provide our freedom on this day is by spending that time with family and friends.

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Birthday Train

A couple weeks ago, we went to see Thomas the Train with friends this year. Last year, Coraline was still small, just over two months old. It was also cold, whereas it was quite hot this year by the time we finished our ride.

So much was different. I wouldn’t suggest this as an ongoing tradition since there will come time that they will be too old for Thomas, but there is something really special about going back to the same place again a year or more later and seeing how much things have changed.

Also, really, this was a lot more fun with friends!

As a bonus, it was Brian’s birthday, and he wanted to celebrate by taking the kiddos out for some fun. Who couldn’t love such an awesome husband?!


When we arrived, JP, Lisa, Jonathan and Joshua were already there waiting for us. We shared donuts with them while we waited for Bobby’s family to arrive. We had tickets for one of the earliest rides, which was also a better decision than last year (which had depended more on nap schedules).


Before our ride, we had some time to climb on the lawn mowers and get tattoos (Thomas, of course).



This light line allowed us time to get some photos with Thomas that we weren’t able to get last year, and it was still cooler out when we boarded so the train wasn’t too hot.


We squished together, 6 adults in 8 seats with 3 preschoolers and 3 babies. It was fun though, and we were all able to talk to one another! Jameson sat on my lap so nicely.




Coraline had a nice time, and tried to steal the socks off Jack, which is something Jameson also used to do. A baby stealing socks from younger babies is so cute and innocent and seems like a metaphor for something meaningful.



After our ride, Jameson and the boys jumped around in a couple of the bounce houses they had out.

We were pretty thrilled that we were able to convince Jameson quickly that a $3 straw with a picture of Thomas on it was a great souvenir! (As opposed to the $20+ kids shirts and trains)

That afternoon, we celebrated Brian’s birthday at his parent’s house. More fun to come!

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Two Makes a Party


Our good friends JP & Lisa had their second son Joshua baptized a couple weeks ago. Unfortunately, we had to miss the ceremony for Coraline’s nap schedule, but we were happy to come to the party afterwards!


Like all children I know, Coraline had a blast playing at a different house with all different toys! She was occasionally unsettled when she realized I was getting up or moving away from her, hence this sad look below. I like to call her a little kitty cat sometimes because she’ll rub her head on our legs for attention or comfort, I’m not sure!


Jameson spent most time in their brand new finished basement (so jealous), and outside. I didn’t get an opportunity to hang out in the basement much since all the babies were upstairs, but this little car track happened to be upstairs and Coraline enjoyed it just as much as Jameson did!



Jameson’s friend Bobby and Joshua’s brother Jonathan of course were there to play with. They enjoyed their relatively healthy snack foods! Jameson loved his carrots.



Jonathan and Jameson actually had some bickering the lingered into most of their playtime together this visit. They both wanted the same ball, and had trouble sharing. Jameson even took the ball away! They were both a little wound up to properly apologize to each other, but like most of our visits there now, Jameson said he missed Jonathan when it was over!


Coraline loved being outside. She isn’t afraid or concerned about the grass. Next to her is little Jack, Bobby’s little brother. She looks so old!


It was so windy that day, hilarious that she has hair that blows around now.


Coraline is starting to really enjoy pretend walking with our assistance. She throws out her little feet far in front of her and has no balance. She attempting a lot of pushing herself up from us when we sit down, but still doesn’t do much “pulling up”. It won’t be long though!


We had a great time as usual, but it was a different experience really needing to manage two kids since Coraline no longer sits still at all. We now have two active and trouble-making kiddos to watch, occupy and mediate!


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Spring Is Here

The beginning of April finally felt more like Spring; we’ve been able to get outside on the weekends and evenings. We’ve planted seeds to try to get our own plants ready for the garden this year instead of buying garden-ready plants at the garden shops. It’s been a fun experiment so far. Our tomato plants have sprouted quickly while the pepper plants are further behind.


I put Coraline out on the grass, and she sat back after every time she put her hand on the ground. She doesn’t remember grass from last year!



Coraline gives great high fives.

I love pulling the kids in the wagon. Coraline is much more interactive when she’s sitting in the wagon than in a stroller. Jameson wanted to help pull the other night which was funny!


We have had quite a bit of rain as well which puts a damper on the warmth we’ve been enjoying. It’s raining right now! I keep telling Jameson (and reminding myself) that we need the rain for the grass to get green and plants to grow! We bought Jameson some rain boots to splash in the puddles with, but he was very concerned when he got his pants wet when he jumped. We had to go inside immediately and change.



Since we’ve been outside, we’ve ran into our neighbors Lily and her brother several times too. Jameson loves playing with Lily, they are so fun together. They have been trying to “pump” and move the swings themselves, but need some more practice. I can’t wait for more opportunities for us to be outside!



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March Visit to Meemaw’s House


At the end of March, since I am still out of work, I took Jameson and Coraline to visit with Meemaw and Grandpa. Our drive there wasn’t too bad; I think that Coraline is slowly getting better in the car.

Jameson jumped in right away playing with toys at Meemaw’s house. Unfortunately, it wasn’t really that warm yet, so we didn’t spend a lot of time outside.




Don’t let Coraline’s happy face fool you! Within a day of our arrival, she was starting to get sick. She just loved the dogs though, particularly Mayzee who was perfectly nice to let her pet her without getting all up in her face like Shiloh does.




The dogs are always a hit with Jameson too, and he finally seems to be getting a little too big for Shiloh to give him “hugs” constantly. He was so good with them both. When they’d follow him upstairs, he’d say “thanks for coming up with me” and enjoyed tossing their toys for a game of fetch (he wasn’t too keen on tugging the toys out of Shiloh’s mouth though). He even claimed Shiloh was his best friend once.



We did get bundled up and went outside one day. Jameson flew airplanes with Grandpa and wanted to swing in the baby swing (he fell off the big swing when he wasn’t holding on properly–oops!)





I can’t get enough of that excited swinging face! He drove the car around too, but then decided he was too big for it for now.


Coraline was out too, but it was really quite cold and I forgot gloves for her, so we grabbed a couple (mismatched) for her to put on while we walked. She was fascinated. Despite the cold, I did get out on a run with Grandpa which was fun, our first run together.




Even though Coraline was sick, bedtimes went pretty smoothly until our last night there. Each night, I’d put Coraline down first and then Jameson. A couple times she woke up as I was putting Jameson to bed, but I was shocked that they both fell happily asleep. Jameson couldn’t wait to get into Meemaw’s big bed (a blown up full size mattress on the floor is like sleeping in a bounce house to a toddler!)


Meemaw read them Hairy McClary from Donaldson’s Dairy which became a hit while we were there. We got a few more Hairy McClary books and some movies at the library near the end of the week. Our last night though Coraline woke up Jameson and both were up for a couple hours. It was difficult with just me there since they both wanted me. Jameson hung out in my bed with me until Coraline finally fell back asleep and then insisted on going back into his own bed.


Jameson was a big fan of the small cucumbers while we were there, eating them like pickles, whole.


Coraline practiced clapping on command! Whenever I chanted “fee fi fo fum” (just like Daddy does in the mornings), she would clap her hands. It was super cute, and a highlight from our trip which otherwise mostly involved her crying, fussing, clinging, or sleeping. Poor thing! She developed a persistent fever, which did respond to Advil, but returned every time it wore off. She stopped eating solid food, so I was thankful we were still continuing with formula for her bottles.



Meemaw brought out the dollhouse, and the kids both did some playing with it. Jameson enjoyed swinging the Little People from Coraline’s new Little People set high in the swing.



But… the box all the furniture and people came up in was quite a bit more fun for him.


Both kids spent a lot of time in their pajamas, though Jameson was by choice! He would stay in them all day if we let him. Coraline visited the urgent care once for her fever, where they told us it was viral. We followed up with the doctor when we came home on day 6 of her fever, and the doctor requested some tests including blood and chest xray. The white blood cell count was double the norm, and indicated an infection. We never got a certain answer, but when they ran a catheter the following day the almost-too-small-sample did have indications of a urinary tract infection. After a shot of antibiotic, she immediately started getting better. Within 24 hours, she was back to her normal self.




We didn’t let Coraline’s illness stop us from having a little fun at Meemaw and Grandpa’s though. We managed to get out at least once a day for a short period of time. I did take Jameson to visit and play with my friend Katie’s kids, Finley and Marky. Finley is Coraline’s age, so we were disappointed we weren’t able to get them together too.

We played at Marky's house today. Coraline had to miss seeing Finley this trip though!

Jameson and Marky played so great together, it was like they remembered each other! They played with Marky’s turtle masks, so when I needed to use a gift card received for Coraline’s birthday at a close Toys R Us store, we went ahead and used a portion of it for a mask for him.



Not thrilled to be at the toy store

Coraline was less than thrilled about being at the toy store though, ha! She did get some cute baby dolls out of it though. As Meemaw says, you can never have enough baby dolls.


Our last full day at Meemaw’s we went to the library and grocery store, where Jameson got to push his very own cart. It was very exciting for him, though he resisted our efforts to steer him properly. He wanted to do everything himself, of course!

Decided to stay an extra day at Meemaw's and Jameson got to push his very own cart

We had a nice time (all except for maybe Coraline since she was sick). Jameson may even get to go to Meemaw and Grandpa’s by himself this summer. He said he’d like to, we’ll see 🙂

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