Trick or Tweat

As in years past, we had a few opportunities to dress up in costume and Jameson was thrilled with every chance he got to put on his Thor costume! The day they had Halloween parties at school, Jameson told us he wore his all day!

I was excited that I was able to go to see them at their parties this year, since it’s been a couple years since I last went to any parties at school.




Coraline did a skeleton dance (with some encouragement from me; she was a little attached to me after I had gone in and out of her room a few times). She also did a ghost craft with cotton puffs.

The highlight for both was all the snacking I am certain! Jameson didn’t seem to care whether I was there or not but Coraline was definitely zeroed in on my presence.



Jameson did bowling which I missed, and also a tissue paper pumpkin craft. It was so fun to see them in their element at school.


We also had our usual neighborhood party the weekend prior with craft stations, photo booth and even an outdoor movie.

This year we hosted the registration table. Since we’re distant from the majority of the neighborhood, this was kind of exciting to get people to know us and where we live. We had adult jello in syringes the neighbors made and we decked out the swingset with spiderweb and Halloween lights.



It ended up down-pouring right at the end, and we scrambled into the trunk of a car to go home quickly, but a great time was had by all!

We also dressed up for Boo at the Akron Zoo again this year, and managed to get a shot of all the kids looking (not necessarily smiling) at the camera.




The kids got to trick or treat there at the zoo at several stations, and it was a great day out. We really lucked out with the weather this year for our Halloween events. It wasn’t too cold to enjoy being outside this year.





Coraline and Jameson both loved Trick or Treating this year. We took Lily and Peyton with us while their mom was still at work in the early part of the evening, and all the kids together were super well-behaved and really having a good time.



Jameson wanted to run to each and every house so we had to slow him down for his sister a bit. He didn’t ask to go home or get tired (and neither did Coraline for that matter). Coraline said “Trick or Treat” in the sweetest little voice, and then did it in a squeaky mouse tone which had me cracking up.




We were joined after an hour or so (I can’t believe they lasted almost the entire time!) by Brian’s mom and also Kelly. We have candy all over the house, but it’s worth it for their enjoyment. The kids had such a great time!



The next day after Trick or Treat was over, we told Jameson it was time for a haircut, but as in years past, I feel like we made the most of our costumes. So, I wasn’t too distraught to see them put away or watch the hairdresser snip away his long hair. Goodbye Halloween, hello Thanksgiving!

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Happy Halloween


We carved some pumpkins today, just hours before Trick or Treat. Coraline was more into it this year than last, but still just a bit concerned over getting it on her fingers. This year we had a kit and little shovels for the kids which helped Coraline participate more.




Jameson was very focused on the task!



At the very end, Jameson requested to play with the pumpkin guts and seeds… and I was feeling daring I guess so I let them have it. The result is that we have a nice clean kitchen floor now.


Happy Halloween!

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Pumpkin Patch and Apple Picking

A couple weeks ago, we visited an apple orchard for the first time. We went to a little farm that we went strawberry picking to last year, and were pleasantly surprised to see they also had a very nice pick your own pumpkin patch (I insist on going to a patch where they don’t have the pumpkins out of the patch).



We had so much fun! They had four varieties of apples to pick, though we skipped the red delicious. We picked Melrose, Empire and Golden Delicious. The farm lets you try one each of the apples, so the kids had a couple right there in the orchard.




This was the best picture I could get every time I requested they stand next to each other for a photo. I gave up!


Grandma came with us and she pointed out the woolly bear caterpillars. We saw two while we were there, and managed not to squish them. The kids might have been more fascinated by it than the apples.


Coraline knocked an apple off without meaning to and tried to put it back. It got funnier when Jameson tried to help her put it back too! We took it home instead when it wouldn’t stay…


We’ve made apple crisp, eaten raw, and made dehydrated cinnamon sugar apple rings with our apples. We don’t have too many left. I think next year we could buy more if we store them properly in the cold garage. The fresh apples taste amazing!

There was a cute hayride back from the apple orchard, and we rode it all around again. Then we decided to go ahead and pick pumpkins too. Jameson of course tried to pick the biggest one he could carry.



Coraline searched for “baby” pumpkins. We found a couple, but they were only baby ones because they didn’t grow properly, so her baby one we took home has since rotted (she didn’t notice when we made it disappear).





We used finger paints to paint a couple of the pumpkins and put them safely out of the rain underneath our porch. The rest are still awaiting carving since we haven’t had much time to do it yet. But we’ll get it done before or on Halloween! Jameson’s teacher at school told us that he loved the pumpkin goop from the one they carved in class, so it should be a good time.

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Bubbles & Pine Cones

The weather’s starting to feel like fall today, so this is a nice throwback to the heat this summer. We had a cookout with Grandma, Poppa and Aunt Melissa for the rest of our 4th of July weekend. Coraline is wearing an outfit that was mine growing up, so fun to see her in it!

The kids love to collect pine cones beneath Grandma’s tree, which they call the “Tree House”.




They don’t know it, but all the pine cones they collect actually get returned out to the tree prior to them visiting, so they can re-collect over and over again. Never-ending fun!


They also played with bubbles, and kept anyone watching them busy by running around, up and down the hill and to the creek to throw rocks and back.




This photo of the two of them was cute, but I noticed after I took it that Jameson’s hair was in his face. So, I tried to get them to go back down the hill to take it again. However, Coraline started running way too quick on the steep hill and slammed onto her face.

After about 10 minutes of recovering, crying, and asking to go back up the hill, Jameson actually joined us and she perked up again.


And so I got this beautiful gem, the best photo of the two of them I’ve taken in a long time, no crazy photoshop needed. It’s hanging large on our kitchen collage wall now! I’m glad that committed to re-taking the photo, despite our mishap (and Coraline probably believing I was the worst mommy ever for a time).

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4th of July Friends + Mini Pies

We tried to get a family photo this 4th of July (I did), but everyone wanted to get their swimsuits on instead of smiling. So… it’s not terrible, minus my double chin.


We went over to JP & Lisa’s house for a cookout, and the kids had a blast. Coraline was a little bit shy/anxious/unhappy for a bit until she warmed up.


Jameson jumped right in, though.




The kids had a couple pools to splash in, swingset, little trampoline, and these cool air powered foam rockets. It was all fun and games until Coraline got hit in the face (okay it was still pretty funny without injury). Coraline’s little foot had no power and the rocket went up about two feet. Jameson’s soared, but he wasn’t great a paying attention to his environment and who was around him.


Jonathan’s new swingset was a hit!



The meal was a full array of meat, and dessert was ice cream and mini pies I made. Coraline is more of an ice cream girl, but everyone loved the mini pies. I brought over blueberry, strawberry apple is pictured below.

For the crust, I followed my grandma’s basic recipe. For blueberry filling, I followed this, and strawberry apple, this. Idea came from here!

Mini strawberry pies


When we got home, I expected to send the kids right up to bed, but the neighbors were out, so we stayed up for a bit playing with pop it’s and sparklers.





Coraline LOVED the pop its. She played with them long after the other kids moved on to other things. Both of them were a little uncertain about the sparklers though – once was enough. It was a great day with friends, and wonderful to really enjoy the hot weather after a long rainy spell in June.

I also really enjoyed getting my bakery on. I don’t feel like I have time usually (or inclination, since we’re busy with making it through daily life), but I enjoyed making the mini pies which we ate all through that holiday weekend!

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Easter and Spring!

Easter this year was adorable. We decided to go to a later Easter service, so the kids could find their eggs after breakfast. This year, the weather was nice so the Easter Bunny hid eggs inside and outside!




It only took Coraline a minute to figure out what was going on (though she didn’t find her first one as quickly as she did last year), but then she wanted to eat everything in her eggs before finding the next. She didn’t really get the “find first, eat later” mentality. Luckily, Jameson was a generous big brother and collected eggs that he voluntarily gave to her.





In their Easter baskets were more treats, bouncy balls, and blankets. Jameson got an Avenger action figure the snaps apart, and Coraline got some dress up people. But the blankets were the winners!



After church and a nap, we headed over to Brian’s parents for more Easter hunting fun. It warmed up nicely too, but it was very windy!



At grandma’s house, more than just eggs were hiding outside. The kids loved the little plastic dinosaurs, and Jameson loved the craisins wrapped up. Both kids were a little over the picture-taking and crazy windy hair!




The kiddos always have a blast at grandma’s, and it had been awhile since we were last over so we all enjoyed the afternoon.


There was even some evidence of spring!


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2015 Beginnings

For New Years, we visited our friends JP & Lisa, and decided to stay over along with our friends Rob & Christina too. Our last New Years that we stayed over was a couple years ago, and let’s just say we didn’t want to repeat it any time soon. Jameson was up early, we had little sleep, and we were dead on our feet the whole next day.

A couple years later, and it didn’t seem as bad. And it actually wasn’t! The kids did a ton of snacking. I think that’s all we did was snack. I had Coraline’s hair up in these cute little tails, which is challenging because it’s hard enough getting one in, let alone two.



P.S. Coraline totally growls better than the boys do.

We always exchange a little Christmas gift too with the kids. I think next year it might be less, but we set a $5 limit this year (2 kids each, and two families, so that’s $40 in kid gifts right there so $5 seemed to work at first til I tallied it up!)

Christina made a gift for the older boys this year, which were a huge hit. Super hero capes! Jameson got a batman one.




Coraline got a cute little farm animal little people tractor set and book, which is always a win.



I tried to get the kids to sit on the couch for a photo, but that was not really working. Lots of hyper giggles!



We even practiced counting down to the New Year, but that also ended in hilarities. Jonathan came around to give everyone their New Years kiss!



To settle the kids down, we put on Frozen. The boys got into it, singing “Let It Go”. We also went ahead and put on the Madagascar “New Years Eve party” episode to celebrate the New Year a little early. This worked out pretty well, with the kids in bed at a decent hour.

The boys all slept in Jonathan’s room in new sleeping bags. Coraline slept in the pack and play upstairs with us. We were shocked, but she actually was really excited to get to sleep in it. She was a much better sleeper than Jameson was a couple years ago.




The next morning, we had breakfast and felt (relatively) rested. We stayed up too late and drank and played games, so even with good sleepers we were a little tired. It wouldn’t be New Years otherwise though, would it!?


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Christmas Finale

This is it! We’re finally done with Christmas. Mostly, anyway. We still have a live wreath on the front door as of today, which looks surprisingly well. It’s probably smothered in preservatives.

After naptime, we headed over to see Grandma, Poppa and Aunt Melissa.



Melissa had some air filled bags for Jameson to pop, and Coraline wanted to try. She got right into it and tried to jump and fell right on her butt. Hilarious!


Jameson got a Pink Floyd shirt from Aunt Melissa that he adores. However, it’s not washing very well unfortunately. It’s pretty much see-through when it’s not on him, now.

And as usual, boxes are also a hit!



Brian and Melissa exchange some kind of gag gift. Mostly it’s Brian gifting to Melissa, but then it typically comes back around. This time, he got her grasshoppers from the pet food store. We had to open them… Jameson (and all) were pretty disgusted.


Another favorite: Jameson got a transforming helicopter/dinosaur that makes all kinds of sounds. He loves it!


Coraline also got this cute little book with her little face showing on every page.


It was wonderful to be able to spend time with family and have a lot of vacation time from work to do so. We didn’t get to go see Great-Grandma this year though because of various illnesses, so that was the end of our 2014 Christmas season.

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Christmas Day


Jameson and I made cookies for Santa when we arrived home Christmas Eve. He insisted that Santa should use a real glass cup for milk, but that he might be too messy, so we wrote a note. Jameson then said the note would get too messy next to the cookies and milk, so he posted it on a wall for Santa to see when he came in.


He was so excited to see if Santa came the next morning! Coraline had to have some yogurt first though so we made him wait. He wondered how Santa knew he wanted a shark (he didn’t, that was from mom and dad)! There is still some mix up about which gifts are from Santa and which are from everyone else, but that’s okay.

After some time, he declared that he was too tired to open more Christmas gifts (and Coraline gave up after just three), but we made them do it anyway. They’re not pros yet, obviously. Coraline is a little over one and a half and Jameson is 4 years old.





As usual from Santa, Jameson and Coraline got something to read, something to wear and something to play with. Jameson got Pixar Bedtime Stories, and Coraline got a classic Madeline board book. Jameson also got his one wish, a new lawn mower for Christmas like Jonathan and Lily’s. Coraline got a play dough molding and cutting set which also came with new play dough. She immediately wanted to play with it.

To wear, Jameson received new fuzzy socks and a Superman hat that fits much better than the little caps he had been wearing. Coraline got a new sweater with a little fox on it.





 Kids Opening Christmas Gifts Video

Jameson and Brian went out and picked out a gift for Coraline from Jameson. He picked a little pound puppy which she carried around with her everywhere for a while. The kids together got a lot of new playfood, since I was very interested in replacing some of the less-than-healthy plastic food they had. I didn’t throw all the food out that they had, but supplemented and replaced what I could for now. Coraline really loved her tea set, which we actually bought for her the year prior and saved.



Jameson got a new spider man sleeping bag, which he brings out to sleep or lay in every chance he gets (literally every weekend). He got to use it at Jonathan’s house when we slept over for New Years Eve. It’s very loved. Coraline got a little remote control vehicle and Hape stringing/lacing beads as well.


In their stockings, Santa brought special holiday goldfish, lots more socks, tooth brushes and toothpaste, and Coraline got a new necklace that’s actually for teething and made of food-safe silicone beads since she’s still a chewer. Jameson got a paint-your-own-snowman, too.


One of Jameson’s favorite gifts was the truck he got, a log hauler I picked up from TJ Maxx. It’s by a great company making better plastic toys, Bruder trucks. He also got Legos, which we’ve made together. He loves the little swords the little men carry.


It was a fun-filled morning, after which we brought out the new play dough, had some breakfast sweet rolls, a nap (Coraline did anyway) and headed over to Grandma and Poppa’s for our Christmas dinner.


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Christmas Lights & Family

I really enjoy Christmas lights. I think we should have Christmas lights up all winter long! We do take ours down when the weather permits, but I really wouldn’t mind if they were up until April. The past couple years, when we’ve gone down to Meemaw and Grandpa’s for Christmas, we’ve also visited the local neighborhood light show at the rec center. This year was much less muddy than last years.




You pay to get in, but they have free rides when you’re inside. The kids rode this flying Santa ride. Coraline leaned over and stared out the side the whole time.


Then they did this mini coaster, and Coraline lost her hat on this ride. It was very jerky around the corners! The operator rescued her hat before it hit the rails. She was very concerned by the end of this one and almost crying. I’m sure she’d do it again though if Jameson wanted to!




It was actually on Meemaw’s birthday that we went. Happy birthday Meemaw!


We also celebrated all the December birthdays with Uncle Tyler. Meemaw got her gifts from all of us, but Uncle Tyler came to visit from Florida and had gifts for Aunt Holly’s early December birthday and Jameson’s too.


Jameson got binoculars, which we brought to the park later to see the birds.


Coraline knows Aunt Holly, Meemaw and Grandpa, of course, but she wasn’t sure who Uncle Tyler was at first. She doesn’t have some of the shyness though that I had observed in Jameson when he was little.


We had Christmas at Meemaw’s on the 23rd. We were leaving on Christmas Eve and wanted to give the kiddo’s an opportunity to play with their gifts before we had to leave.





Coraline enjoyed showing off her gifts. The cups were a big hit! Jameson loves his Jake and the Neverland Pirates pajamas.




We really had a lot of fun seeing my side of the family, and I enjoyed the Christmas cookies and Christmas dinner maybe more than I should’ve!


We were lucky to see Meemaw and Grandpa three times from Thanksgiving to Christmas, but especially enjoyed seeing Uncle Tyler and his pup, Athena, who we usually only see once a year.


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