Pink Pinwheel Party

Coraline had a pink pinwheel party for her first birthday. Sometimes pink can be elegant and playful without being overwhelmingly girly, and that’s what I was going for. We rented a little community center nearby for her party since there are so many more kids with friends and family now! It was well worth it to reduce chaos, and that we we didn’t need to figure out what to do with Sasha, who is confined to our first floor at home now that she is older.


We had two kids tables, one of ours and borrowed one from a neighbor, which was a great idea. We had a lot of 2 and 3 year olds in attendance!


The kids had a little craft to make their own pinless pinwheel they could do as well, and while I think the parents enjoyed it, I think it would be even more perfect for 4-5 year olds. I prepared all the paper for the pinwheels so no hole punching was needed, and gave directions for finishing off the pinwheel. All you need are some pipe-cleaners, pencils, stickers and crayons, plus scissors & stapler for parents to secure the pinwheel.

Microsoft Word - Make-Pinwheel-Instructions.docx


Each table had pinwheels for a playful centerpiece (a few of the arrangements were taken with them by guests, a sign of a great little centerpiece in my opinion!!). To make the pinwheels, I used a spray adhesive to make double-backed 12×12 scrapbook paper, then cut them down with a paper cutter in various sizes from 8×8 to 11×11 (most were around the 9×9 range).


I made the pinwheels without using pins, to keep it safe for all the kids attending the party so no one might be pricked. Instead I used pipe cleaners and buttons (I will allow that the buttons were small and a choking hazard themselves, but trusted they would keep secure to the sticks under parents’ watchful eyes, as they did).

The pinwheels are attached to candy sticks I purchased at Jo-Ann, or pre-painted dowel rods I purchased from Factory Direct Craft. The two types of clear glass bottles were a relatively cheap find at Factory Direct Craft (I cannot find them online anymore), and I put sand at the bottom.


I wanted to integrate photos into her party, just as I did with Jameson’s, since I take so many and love the conversation starters they provide to guests. Since the room had a chair rail along the walls, I avoided doing the giant “1” in photos that I did with Jameson’s because it would’ve looked awkward. Instead, we randomly put photos around the room with painters tape.

She also had her monthly photos banner above her high chair. I made small pinwheels, secured with brads and a glue gun to the clothespins, hung on twine. The pinwheels are top heavy, so it needed to be against a wall where they wouldn’t move around much.



For food, we kept it simple party fare: pulled pork, pasta salad, cheese & crackers tray, veggie tray, chips and an assortment of dips, fruit salad and of course, dessert. I made the same yellow cake recipe from her cake smash into cupcakes, and tried a chocolate cake from the same site as well.



I thought maybe Coraline would like a chocolate cake since she wasn’t fond of the vanilla, but no dice. She did taste it though, but putting her tongue right out onto the icing!



Daddy cut up the cupcake a bit and she tried the actual cake, but for the most part she was content (and sometimes concerned) just to look around at all the activity.


Coraline is big into trying to put things back, and she attempted to buckle herself up without success.


Meemaw and Aunt Holly came up for the occasion; unfortunately Uncle Tyler and Grandpa had to miss it.



We also had some baby friends join us, and Jameson’s friend Nathan came as well ready for St. Patrick’s Day!




When it was time to open gifts, Jameson wanted to jump right in and help. He certainly entertained, putting a bag over his head!




Coraline wanted to “try” her gifts before opening them. She got a lot of great toys and adorable clothes. She’s become partial to the Little People dolls, as well as putting together the Mega Blocks (Jameson was always into taking things apart when he was this age, so it’s fun to see Coraline putting things together instead).





We were so excited with all our friends and family who were able to come. We saw cousins and uncles who we hadn’t seen in a year and nearly all our friends invited were able to join us to celebrate Coraline’s birthday!




I love this one of Coraline, playing peekaboo with Grandma with her hands which is new!


I can’t believe that our little girl is one. From here out, our little baby will be growing up into an awesome little girl.


Continue Reading

A 3rd Birthday Get-Together

For Jameson’s 3rd birthday, we opted to do things a little more low key. Of course, we still did cake, but we only invited some close friends and family for a little get together, and insisted on no gifts! Of course, family still got him gifts, and we did too, but we successfully kept too many of our friends giving Jameson too many things. Gifts are fun, but for Jameson, Christmas is right around the corner and more felt unnecessary. We just wanted to have a little celebration for him!

Meemaw and Aunt Holly arrived the day before the party, and we opened their gifts the night prior. Jameson loved his new Jake and the Neverland Pirates puzzle. He requires quite a bit of help putting it together but surprisingly can recognize some key pieces, like the eyes and hair to help put it together.




That night, I made homemade cake from scratch! White and chocolate cake, and the batter made a lot of extra so he ended up having some for his class and the classes nearby at school on his actual birthday the next day, so that was great. I used a train mold, and the next day in his birthday pjs, he helped decorate it!




He did 4 train cars before he just started to eat the candy and I had to send him away, but it was fun. Meemaw and I finished putting together the trains (though maybe our decorating skills made it look like a 3 year old did all of them, haha!)




That afternoon, his friends arrived! Lily, who he told me the other day is his “best friend”, came over with cookies they baked and did have a couple gifts (John Deere tractors, which he uses to pull around his teddy bears). Jameson wanted to show her his talking book, the reading book that Meemaw and Grandpa actually made for him last year but this year his really has begun to appreciate. It’s Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer.


Here are all the kids at Jameson’s little kid-sized table; also a Christmas gift from last year that we finally put out in the kitchen and have let it stay. It’s a great place for crafting and eating lunch and breakfast. Jameson loves it!


Opening gifts was mass 3-year-old-chaos. Brian and I got him a lot of wooden train set items. He didn’t have any prior to his birthday, so he was outfitted with a Thomas set and a Percy set, some extra straight pieces, and extra train cars. It was a hit with all the kids! He also got a doctor’s set and new sweatshirt from us.


Then it was time for cake! I am pretty sure most of the kids just picked off the candy, but that’s okay.


One of his other favorite gifts were his new scissors from Grandma and Poppa. He loved cutting up paper.


All in all, it felt like the perfect amount of people and the perfect amount of presents. I couldn’t have asked for a better 3 year old, or 3 year old party 🙂

Continue Reading

Party with Chuck

For Jameson’s and Nathan’s birthdays, Nathan’s mother suggested an evening at Chuck E Cheese to celebrate on the 8th. We were pretty excited to take Jameson out, and celebrate with his friend who we otherwise don’t see as often now that Jameson is in the preschool room.

To start, they got special cups. Jameson had lemonade of course.


Then we went to play some games while we waited for food. We had plenty of tokens for two almost-3-year-olds who had no idea what tokens did or what tickets could get you. We started on the little carousel, a Chuck E Cheese staple (I have some photos of myself on one of those as a child, I’m sure).


Jameson and Nathan took turns driving the truck.


Even Coraline got to go, though unfortunately Nathan’s big sister and dad were at home because his sister was ill. Coraline was having so much fun watching the kids play!


Then it was time to eat! Coraline didn’t have any pizza, though we brought her some sweet potatoes and puffs.


Jameson enjoyed the pizza, and then Chuck E Cheese himself came to visit our table and brought a little cake for the boys! Jameson is a pro at meeting fun characters now, so he went right up to him to give him a hug.






After cake, we played some more games. The boys tried to get in the big play center but got stuck when they couldn’t climb any higher (for which we were a little thankful). The moms even got to play a couple rounds of ski ball which was fun!





Coraline was on her best behavior. She is doing this funny thing now where she will babble “mawmmawmmawm” and blow bubbles at the same time. I haven’t quick captured it. It’s hilarious and gross all at the same time.


At the end of the evening, the boys held hands to go get a prize. We had enough tickets for them both to get a whistle and some stickers. They had such a great time, and Jameson was thoroughly convinced after that that he was “already 3”, was “already a big boy”, and had had his party — but we still had another week to go before his real birthday and get together!


Continue Reading

Backyard Labor Day

We enjoyed a pretty low-key Labor Day hanging out in our backyard for a little cookout with the neighbors. Little Peyton has gotten so big, he was trying to play with the big kids!





Lily and Jameson ran up and down the yard hand in hand; I just sat at the bottom snapping a thousand photos as they ran closer and closer with big grins.




I’m just waiting for Jameson to learn how to swing by himself, but for now he loves me to push him on the swings since I make him go high, and occasionally “crazy!” pushing him side to side.


Coraline also got to experience her very first time in the swing. She was okay for a moment, but wasn’t a big fan (presumably because Jameson was pushing a little jerky). He insisted Coraline wanted to go high, but I assured him that she did not.


Then I took a few photos of her big gummy smile which shortly after became one of the last when she started breaking through her very first tooth!







We tried to get all the kids together on the blanket, but this was the best we could do. Jameson ran back and forth and back and forth and refused to sit still at all.


As a reward for sitting so nice (sort of), Jameson was really excited to eat a green tomato. Yep, that isn’t an apple. That is a big green tomato. He ate the whole thing. No, he didn’t get sick. Thank goodness!


It was nice to have a day to just relax, and of course we always enjoy the shorter work week. Jameson asks everyday now if we have to go to work and if he has to go to school. He is very excited to stay home!

Continue Reading

Bubbly Birthday


A cute little lady turned two in August, and Jameson, Coraline & Jonathan attended on a Friday night. It was pretty fun to get out of the house on a weeknight like that.




We borrowed a less-than-sturdy barrel for a few photos. It didn’t collapse on us thankfully. Had I known I was going to do an impromptu photo shoot I would’ve selected a different outfit than pajamas!

Coraline did really well but she was tired, so I fed her to sleep after letting her cry for a bit and then she was completely passed out. I just set her on a blanket on the floor which worked out surprisingly well!

Later Brian went up to check on her and their cat was laying right next to her which was funny. The cat hissed at Brian, so they obviously made fast friends.

Meanwhile, after dinner and dessert the kids were playing with the bubble maker outside!



This one above cracks me up since the boys are giving Vivienne a sour face!



Vivienne opened a a few of her gifts at the end of the evening. She was a little wild with over-tired energy and hilariously put our gift, a pair of pants with a skirt attached, on her head like a hat!


BAM! That’s how you do a party on a Friday night.


Jameson, of course, was also passed out within moments of getting in the car.

Continue Reading

Feeding Giraffes

I am pretty behind in sharing our recent adventures because things have been very hectic, both at home and at work. Brian and I are both doing the Couch to 5K program, so the free time at home is being cut further (not to mention time with the kids as well). I’ve found so far that it has been worth it since, as of starting week 4, I am looking forward to running, time to myself, and not spending every evening entirely at home. I still need to be home to feed Coraline for bed, but I think I’ve overall been in a much better mood. I am not dieting yet, but that will come when we are done nursing… which doesn’t look to be any time soon!

So, without further ado, the zoo!

We went with JP, Lisa & Jonathan a couple weeks ago, and Jameson really got into it. Coraline doesn’t know what’s what just yet but she enjoys being outside and is a real trooper.



This time we decided to make our way to the top of the zoo which we rarely do since it’s very uphill. Jameson and Jonathan, of course, don’t mind at all!


The cheetah’s were hanging out right at the edge of the exhibit, so that was a treat.


This time we decided to stay long enough to eat a packed lunch too. We usually pick up a sub and we had some crackers too. It was pretty hilarious at the end, Jameson wanted to eat a peach and we made him wear one of Coraline’s bibs because it was so messy. He thought it was pretty cool and asked us a couple days later to wear Coraline’s bib again.



After lunch, we visited the playground a bit before looping back down and through the bears & giraffes.



We decided to try feeding the giraffe for the first time, which was fast but so fun to see the giraffe so close. It was a great finale to our trip and fun to do something new since we visit the zoo a lot.




Continue Reading

Summer Cool Down

We have recently experienced a cool down to our summer which had thus far been pretty scorching. It’s a little out of sync then but I wanted to share what we did on a couple summer days to cool down!


We broke out our waterpark! We’ve had the waterpark for a long time, a couple jobs ago for each of us since we worked at the toy company. It stayed in a box until just a couple weeks ago. The ages on this is 5 and up, but Jameson took right to it.

Neighbors joined us for the fun in the morning through the afternoon and it turned into an all-day impromptu outdoor cookout since we had burgers for lunch and pizza on the grill in the evening!



Coraline hung out outside in the bumbo chair for a good 20 minutes before she got tired and was due a nap anyway.

For about 20 times, I had to slide down with Jameson in order for him to want to go down. Confession: I didn’t mind at all. The waterpark was a blast for adults, too!







The daddies were a little big for going down that slide, but that didn’t stop them from going down a couple times each. Don’t worry, everyone was well under the supposed weight limit, though the top seemed to sink dangerously when they were up there, haha!


The next task was teaching him to go up the ladder part so that I could go up before him (much easier than going up behind him and climbing over him to get him in my lap). He got the hang of it in a few tries, and shortly we were just calling out to him to make sure he used the handles!


It was a very short step from there to get him going by himself! Which went quickly from standard to sliding down on his stomach. “I go down on my belly” he yelled when he did it (no warning of course, I nearly had a heart attack). “I bounced!” he also yelled, excitedly. Yep, he did get some air going down that slide.




Coraline was up from her nap and quite enjoyed hanging out in the umbrella stroller watching everyone from the shade. We shortly moved her up to proper shade under the porch umbrella where she could also sit eye to eye with Peyton.



Our friends from Florida came up to visit family and work a bit, so Bobby came to play in the afternoon too. He loved letting the water out of the pool (An occasional necessity due to the slight slope in our yard, we had to eliminate some of the water when it reached the height limit. He loved to help, of course)



Bobby had no fear and went down the slide himself from the get-go!

We all were hungry from the day’s activity and nearly all of our three pizza’s were consumed. Poor Peyton was exhausted and passed out in the high chair! It was quite a day.



The second time we put the waterpark up, it was a little cloudy so Coraline even got to experience the water with her very first time in a pool!

It was a little chillier that day and the water was cold though so I was impressed that she didn’t give us the stink eye until she was in it for a bit. (Unlike Jameson who screamed the moment we put him in cool water his first time)






We quickly dried her off, and after her nap she got to come back out and enjoy the warmth in the stroller. We didn’t make her suffer too much in the cold water!



I brought out some squirt guns purchased at Target for $1 and we added those to the mix which Jameson loved. He ran around yelling “squirt squirt!” which was adorable since he only got it squirt about half the time. It takes some strength in those little fingers!



We had a pretty exhausted dude that day, coming down with a cold. He actually relaxed next to daddy for a while in the pool. We sure do love this waterpark! It’s been so much fun and made weekends at home feel like vacation.


Continue Reading

Independence Day Cookout

Sunday after the 4th, we had friends join us for a cookout. Weather was beautiful and perfect, of course, for Popsicles. Course, it doesn’t take much for that!



The kids loved the bouncer and climbing toys, running around like crazy. Jameson has continued to get more daring on the bouncer.




Everyone enjoyed watermelon pre, during and post dinner.



After dinner, kids wanted to play more so we opened up the water table and bubbles. We had a little trouble keeping bubbles in the dish, and sharing, so that was a very short-lived activity.



The evening brought with it some shade, so I took Coraline out to try the hammock. She actually seemed to enjoy it! Alternative to swinging? Maybe, except I’d be concerned with spit up.



It was a great day to spend with friends we don’t see as often. And a perfect end to our holiday weekend!

Continue Reading

Kiddie Park

The last weekend of June we went to a kiddie park with our friends! Jameson had never been, so we weren’t really sure what to expect. It turns out that Jameson loved rides! He wasn’t as happy riding the caged in Ferris wheel or the roller coaster, but otherwise he wanted to ride anything and everything.



The kiddie park was particularly nice because it’s made for very young children and you pay per ride with tickets that never expire. How quaint (and convenient!).

Our first ride was the boats, and poor Jonathan wanted to ride the carousel first instead. He wasn’t happy until he got to ride the horses a little later! Lily rode with her friend Milo who we met for the first time.


A little later, dads rode the roller coaster! There was a poor girl in the middle we don’t know whose face just makes me giggle. That poor thing! Jameson was ok but seemed very concerned. The ride didn’t dampen his excitement for the next though!



Coraline was pretty good while we were at the park. I did leave for a bit to feed her in the car, of which she ate a little and then wanted to nap some.


Jameson got to ride these cars twice. This is one of the few rides he gave us big grins on because the ride operator would hold out his hands and request a high five at every pass. Jameson never gave him any but he would offer the widest smiles as he passed!



Jonathan finally got to ride the carousel! Jameson wanted a pink horse but it was in the middle, and I wanted pictures of us so I offered him the one on the outside which he tolerated.


Jameson insisted on pink for the next ride, airplanes. He told me while he waited, and then ran for it as soon as the gate opened!


Our happy baby woke up and offered us smiles! We had to take a break for a little while because there was a sudden downpour! It only lasted about 15 minutes before we were able to start rides again.


Our last ride of the day was the cars, which was a little daring because the kids get out sight on the track for a minute.



At the end, we convinced Jameson to go potty so he could go out to lunch. It required a lot of patience and showing him that it wouldn’t flush on him but success!! I was so proud of him. We went to Winking Lizard then, our usual, and all the kiddos were pretty good. It was such a great day!

Continue Reading

Neighborhood Party

We’ve meshed our backyard play equipment into a mutual spot around the center of our houses so that Jameson and Lily can play on whatever they choose; and last weekend, we also meshed to create a big cookout. The neighbors were already planning the gathering, and Brian and I provided the bounce house.


Jameson has become really daring in the bounce house and jumps from the top of the climbing half cylinder straight up and into the “bars” in the obstacle course bouncer. He also will slide down the middle between the two actual slides. I only held my breath a couple times while watching him.


Coraline enjoyed being outside as usual but had trouble napping.


Brian cracked me up with pretend feeding her… it won’t be long though, I’m sure it will go by quickly!


We enjoyed burgers, pasta salad and fruit as well as lots of different dips for appetizers. I nearly stuffed myself in dip long before food was ready!


One of the best parts of having extra kids over is watching Jameson interact. He wanted to spend most of his time in the bounce house, but he would try to get other people to go with him (including mom and dad who refused). He really wanted to be around the other kids, and especially the older ones. Lily’s cousin in particular captured his interest and he followed her around specifically for a while. They even went inside where he burrowed his way between them in Lily’s bed, which was pretty funny and cute, since you know, he’s 2. haha!



Continue Reading