Day for Dads


Father’s Day this year was a lot of fun! We had a wonderful weekend. However, it was bittersweet for me when I found out one of my oldest friend’s father suddenly passed away Saturday before Father’s Day. I have quite a few memories of him actually, from sleepovers to bonfires. He will be missed by many. As much as I wanted to honor Brian and my own father, even more so because of that, I wanted to respectfully avoid posting publicly on Father’s Day and exacerbating the pain she must already feel.

It opened up a line of thinking, which of course I may have thought of on the surface before but never in such depth, which is that Father’s Day may not always be a day of celebration for many. I would just say that I am happy right now to continue to celebrate all the fathers in my life, here in the flesh or not!

A couple weeks prior while Brian and his friends were away, I took photos with the DAD letters at a friend’s house, and took photos of their kids as well. I had high hopes that Coraline might smile for our silliest friend Lisa’s wacky faces, but I still only got a hint of one no matter what we tried!

We still captured some great moments. Last year I didn’t try to do the photo series since Coraline was too little, but I did do it for Brian’s first father’s day in 2011, and attempted the year following 2012.





I didn’t manage to get our for cards though this year, which I suppose just makes for less waste. Brian did get some awesome mustard, gunpowder spice rub, and spicy sweet biscotti which he’s been enjoying. For my own dad, he hasn’t opened his yet since he’s out of town so we’ll leave the suspense for now 🙂



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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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Mother’s Summer Day


I usually try to get a photo of me with the kids on Mother’s Day, but it didn’t happen this year. Well, I did get this one of Jameson and I which is great, but Coraline was less-than-cooperative. She certainly doesn’t want to sit still!


I did, however, take a few thousand photos of her in this little pink outfit. We recently got a lot of new-to-us clothes from our neighbor, and this outfit is my favorite. We were so lucky to have such a warm, beautiful Mother’s Day after all the rainy and cooler days we had and had again since.



Jameson putting on his rainboots, a testament to how rainy it’s been. It’s only muddy in a few areas of the backyard, thankfully! While Coraline napped, I actually did mulching on Mother’s Day, so I was dirty enough myself without the addition of mud.


A big treat for Jameson is to ride on daddy’s lawnmower while he mows. Brian didn’t actually mow this day, they just rode around, but Coraline gave me a big grin when she passed, so I think she liked her first ride!



We played outside with the cars, tricyles, and scooters. We even got out the bubbles! It may as well have been summer.




I was a little frustrated that this shot didn’t come out in focus, but I worked on it for a bit to create a more artistic looking blur rather than simply out of focus so I could keep the moment. Sasha doesn’t often stay still for Coraline because she tries to poke at her: face, paws, nose, anything she can reach.



Later, Aunt Melissa and Grandma and Poppa came over as well, which meant that I got to relax for a bit after my hard day of mulching and laundry! Happy Mother’s Day to me 🙂



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Easter Hunting

Easter morning, Coraline was up a little earlier than Jameson, so I brought her downstairs for a little egg hunting testing. I wanted to see how observant she was, since the Easter Bunny had to hide the eggs a little better this year for Jameson than in years past.

As it turns out, Coraline was very observant (perhaps more than Jameson at that age?). I took some video of her, and later after church, of both kids doing some Easter egg hunting.

When Jameson joined us downstairs, he spotted eggs right away and wanted to find more. It was tough, but we told him not until after church (just as it was for me growing up!). So we ate breakfast, got ready, took some family photos, and went to church before hunting eggs. It was quite a busy morning.


The Easter Bunny left their two baskets full of good things. Jameson got a box of 7 Jake and the Neverland Pirate puzzles; new bath crayons and bath bubbles; Jake car keys and stickers; a little metal school bus car; and chocolate covered animal crackers and gummy penguins.

Coraline received a new sippy cup which she quickly used with its straw; a Mega Blocks stacking egg with chick; a touch and feel Thumper the Bunny book and hippo puppet; new finger paint colors and stickers; and this Peek N Shake egg carton toy with little eggs and chicks inside which she just adores.



Jameson helped find one of the pink eggs which were designated as Coraline’s, and she got to munch on goldfish (off the floor, how thrilling).


Jameson just loved finding eggs this year, but still passed up likely spots I thought for sure he would see right away. He found all the eggs the Easter Bunny hid high up, but had a harder time being thorough looking at his kitchen set which had several hiding in it.




After Coraline’s nap, we went over to Grandma and Poppa’s house, where the Easter Bunny hid even more eggs for him to find! Aunt Melissa and Grandma helped the search, but Jameson nearly lost interest by the end. Looking for eggs outside was hard work.





Inside, Coraline and Jameson played so nice together while dinner was prepared.


The kids got to open a couple more Easter gifts, and Coraline loved her new pink lounge chair!



After dinner, we played with Jameson new toy, a lightweight Styrofoam airplane. Poppa taught Jameson how to fly it, though Jameson was a bit too excited to launch with a steady hand or figure out the proper position or posture. Still, it was a lot of fun for everyone watching him throw his airplane so excited!




Coraline loved being outside. She has no fear or concern for the grass, and was happy to watch all the activity. And crawl, too, because she certainly doesn’t sit still much any more!


By the end of the day, she was exhausted. Coraline loves to throw her head back and assume someone will catch her (most of the time, this works). She loves to be upside down, so at the end of the tiring day, she was a little slap happy and throwing herself backwards over daddy’s leg. Too funny!


It was a fun Easter, though I imagine next year we might see some more competition for hunting eggs. We’ll see!

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Coloring Eggs


This year, we dyed Easter eggs at home. Jameson cracked a couple, but that’s to be expected with a 3 year old, right?


We had to start with the color orange, of course. Jameson wanted to get the eggs out right away, so we had to convince him to leave them in longer.


When the eggs were dry, Jameson put stickers on them. I thought he would put as many stickers as could fit on each egg, but instead, he delicately placed just one sticker per egg.

Jameson and Coraline got to try the hard boiled eggs which had been cracked. Both were more partial to the white portion than the yolk, like their mommy.



Certainly, I think the filling in the plastic Easter eggs that the Easter Bunny left were far more exciting! He had fun though, and loves to help.

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Christmas Visit to Great-Grandma’s


The weekend after Christmas, we made the 2 hour drive to see Brian’s grandma, Jameson and Coraline’s great-grandma. Jameson enjoys great-grandma’s house. He’s always very shy initially, but warms up within an hour to play with his cousins and pet the cats. He wouldn’t give great-grandma even a high five when we first arrived, but by the time we went to leave, he voluntarily gave her a big hug goodbye.



Coraline was fascinated with great-grandma’s face, as she is with most people’s right now, but was very concerned when great-grandma held her! She was also in general a bit fussier because of both the drive and getting a top tooth in! Overall though she was great with sitting in laps and just needed a little walk once to get a change of scenery.



Everyone on that side of the family was there: cousins, aunts, and uncles! We had lasagna and chicken and, of course, cookies that Brian’s Aunt Sue brings.


Sadly, just a week later, Brian’s uncle George passed away unexpectedly. We were all shocked at the suddenness of his illness, a complication and confusion over changed medication for his diabetes. When we look back on these times while we are blissfully unaware of the future, it is hard. One moment life is going on as usual and the next everything is changed. This hit home to us particularly because two of Brian’s cousins are our age and lost their father. It definitely makes us appreciate what we have now more, but I find myself now that I am older with kids of my own dwelling on the pain or situation of others, especially tragedies affecting families. For better and for worse, I think.


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Teddy Bear Christmas

20131224-Christmas-2498We arrived home on Christmas Eve, and after taking a bath and getting ready for bed, Jameson was ready for Santa Claus to arrive. For the first time, he was old enough to leave cookies for Santa, and carrots for the reindeer. Jameson then insisted on leaving an apple as well.

Santa arrived late that night and I snuck a photo. When Jameson got up in the morning though he was fixated on (and a little concerned about) the crumbs that Santa had left behind. In fact, he didn’t notice the presents under the tree until he had his full breakfast of two special yogurts (yogurts in a tube).


20131224-Christmas-2504Then, he approached the tree and seemed a little confused actually about the big teddy bear waiting for him. I think because Coraline had just gotten a large pig at Meemaw and Grandpa’s house, he thought it was for her! After correcting him, he got pretty into it, and for the rest of our holiday break, he insisted on bringing the big teddy up and down the stairs to wherever he was. Since returning to work though we’ve managed to keep Big Corduroy as he’s called up stairs.

He’s called Big Corduroy because Little Corduroy was another gift from Santa. Santa typically brings something read, something to wear and something to play with at our house. Santa this year thought it appropriate for Jameson to get not one, but two teddy bears from his simple request.

Jameson also got two pairs of new pajamas, and A Pocket for Corduroy from Santa. Mom and dad got him a camera, a new truck hauler that carries motorcycles, and a cool extra long book about dinosaurs among a few other things.

We did have some drama in the midst of opening presents; Jameson appeared to be getting a little upset or jealous about Coraline’s gifts (perhaps because one of the boxes was big? or the book she got was really cool and one he also liked?) and he refused to open any more gifts until I told him the he got a cool book too and he opened his dinosaur book.



Coraline got a new sweatshirt from Santa, the Chick-a-Chick-a-Boom-Boom alphabet book, and a shopping cart from Santa.

We got her a book of all her favorite faces which I purchased from Pint Size Productions which makes custom board books. I was really happy with that book, and the pages are almost pearlescent and very high quality. We also purchased a Noah’s Ark for her and musical crawl ball. Of course, she isn’t much interested in that and wants to chew on all of Jameson’s toys instead!


Jameson was a big helper of course opening Coraline’s gifts for her.



Coraline then took a nap, so the last of her gifts waited until after she woke up. Sasha had some gifts too, of course, and opened two of them on Christmas (this particular one she got to open from Grandma and Poppa!)




Coraline woke up from her nap, and we did some Face Time with Meemaw and Grandpa and opened her last gift, the Noah’s Ark. She really likes taking things out of other things now (we have a little container looking like a milk jug with big coins in it) and now she’s just starting to put things back in it, so the Noah’s Ark is fun.



Jameson was really excited about Coraline’s shopping cart, which we insisted on waiting to put together after she woke from her nap. Little Corduroy (and all the other teddies eventually) went shopping.



After that Jameson was completely wiped out. We hadn’t even done the stockings yet, but he needed a break after a few more almost-melt-downs.

A little while later and after a snack, we opened some stockings! Coraline got a lot of socks! As well as some more puffs. Jameson got a new caboose for his trains, some musical toys, playdoh and more.


Later on, Aunt Melissa and her boyfriend Vince, and Grandma and Poppa came over to celebrate Christmas and have dinner! Coraline was in a fine mood in her lovely Christmas dress!



Brian decided on a fried turkey for the menu, and insisted that this new-to-him jacket from Goodwill was going to be his turkey frying and beer brewing jacket. The flannel underneath really completes the look, don’t you think?


After our wonderful meal of fried turkey, fried vegetable, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and wine we got to open more gifts!


Aunt Melissa got some tools this Christmas to go with her new house. We all got some wonderful, thoughtful gifts, and Jameson and Coraline were so excited to have everyone over!



And then Christmas was over! The anticipation always just seems to build up and then feels so anticlimactic when it’s over. But this year, the fun seemed to continue for Jameson into the following days as he continued to talk about Santa, or his gifts, or sang Frosty the Snowman (or Jingle Bells).

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Tis the Season at Meemaw & Grandpa’s House


Coraline, Jameson and I spent the 4 days before Christmas at Meemaw and Grandpa’s house. Brian wasn’t able to go with us, mostly because we have chosen that for most of Sasha’s late doggy years now we prefer her to be at home and cared for by us as much as possible. Since he had visited with us over Thanksgiving, we decided that he would stay home for this trip. Sasha was taking antibiotics (all better now) so that worked out best anyway.

I feel like most of our trip was about puzzles! After Shiloh chewed on part of the traditional Christmas puzzle Aunt Holly was putting together, we decided to go out and get another puzzle. Which led to Jameson watching us do a LOT of puzzling, so he needed to do some too.



We did manage to put together this 1000 piece puzzle before I left, but it was quite a bit of work up to the very end!


We also celebrated Meemaw’s birthday while we were there, and Jameson brought paintings for Meemaw, and also for Grandpa, since his birthday is January 3rd. While he got pretty fussy about his hands getting dirty while baking cookies, he sure didn’t mind getting them covered making his art!


We made sugar cookies one day, and Jameson picked the teddy bear to make. They turned out a little extra large, but tasted great.


Decorating was mostly just dumping sprinkles, which was pretty funny.



We made more cookies the following day, and had a bit more fun with these because they involve the mixer! Jameson just loved helping with the mixer, and even requested I take his photo helping, multiple times!




We decided at the end to add some m&m’s, but when Meemaw asked him to sprinkle them on, he dumped them all out right on top (reminiscent of our sprinkles on the sugar cookies the day prior). Ha! We spread them out and you would’ve never known, but it was pretty funny. We called them Meemaw’s Monster Cookies.


Despite this happy face, he was not pleased that his hands were covered in cookie dough. They were way too messy for him! But he was hamming it up for the camera big time with this activity which was fun!


On Meemaw’s actual birthday, we went to the woodland lights. We were a bit under dressed, because it was supposed to be warmer, but that night the temperature did drop so we were all chilly.




Jameson enjoyed riding down the slide with Aunt Holly, though they had a minor crash with another rider at the bottom. Oops! Jameson also enjoyed this little ride, despite his usual solemn face look.





It was fun as usual, and terribly muddy. I’m not sure if that was better or worse than the snow we had the year prior! Jameson did get to feed the reindeer a grape this year which was pretty cool.

Grandpa as usual played with his little hover planes and Jameson helped a couple times. It drives Shiloh nuts, so this was a fun capture of the dog leaping to get it.



Coraline and Jameson again shared a room at Meemaw and Grandpa’s, and they did really well. There was only one night where Coraline was woken while I was putting Jameson in bed and had trouble falling back asleep. We gave her another bottle after about a half hour, and started bedtime over for her, and she finally fell asleep. The kids both had a snotty nose cold, so we brought the humidifier. I was really surprised at how well they did!

Brian drove us down half way, and Meemaw picked us up for the second half after we stopped for lunch together, which made traveling with two kids so much easier. It is particularly difficult alone, because Coraline is still not great in the car, and of course because she can’t walk either during potty breaks! She has gotten tremendously better between this Christmas trip and the Thanksgiving trip, but it is still hard to soothe her when she does get fussy while driving since she doesn’t take a pacifier. I was thankful that I didn’t need to deal with that by myself!


She showed us how close she is to crawling several times, but no dice! She’s more proficient at butt scooting instead.


Her favorite parts of the gifts were ribbons and wrapping paper, of course.



She got this great stuffed pig from Meemaw and Grandpa, as well as some necessities and a cute frog book. And the outfit she is wearing too!


Jameson got some new food accessories and knife for “cutting” watermelon. He also got a pickle ornament and cash register! Coraline actually ate one of the little dimes and we all didn’t catch it until it was in her mouth and she was rolling it around in there! Thankfully she didn’t try and swallow it before I fished it out with my finger, but it was a reminder at how mobile she’s getting even if she hasn’t perfected the maneuvers yet!




It was such a fun time! I was sad to leave, but we did on Christmas Eve so we could be home for Santa to arrive.


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Trimming the Tree


I grew up with fake trees, which I really do love. They’re easy and sturdy, and I used to make the branches into rooms for our ornament elves and play with the toys and the elves in the tree. You can’t do that with real ones. But I’ve grown to really enjoy getting a real tree each year since Brian and I have been together.

We have once or twice gotten our tree from a tree farm. Once we got a big fat tree with pine cones in it from there. But even easier to get it from the hardware store, already cut, and not too big. This year though Brian passed a sign for a little cut your own tree farm not too far from us for only $25. That is a steal!



This is the only picture I have of Coraline on our little trip out to get the tree. It was freezing and wet, and I didn’t want to put her down. She had a terrible runny nose!


After about 10 minutes walking around, we settled on this bushy (but not too much), tall, soft needled tree. Jameson was running around like a little monkey in the snow while dad cut down the tree. He was a little concerned when it fell down but then we got to take the tree home, so all was well.




We didn’t decorate it immediately, but we do have advent ornaments we hang up, so Jameson was excited to do that. It is a soft needled tree, so it’s not prickly, but it is harder to get ornaments to stay on properly on stiff branches or back farther on the more flimsy ones. But he’s happy to point where the ornaments should go.

A couple days later, we had the tree all done! Coraline isn’t a crawler yet, so as long as she’s moderately far away from the tree, it is safe from the baby (and the baby is safe from it!). Coraline is ready for her first Christmas!



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Thanksgiving at Meemaw and Grandpa’s



This year, my brother brought his new dog for Thanksgiving at my parents’ house. We arrived Wednesday afternoon and were introduced to Athena (which he reminds us was the name she was already responding to, not perhaps he might have chosen for himself!) Athena was a rescue, and a pretty one at that. Her and Shiloh learned to play together while we were there, but old Mayzee was not as much of a fan.


We celebrated Aunt Holly’s birthday that evening, early for December 4th. Jameson was of course a big helper.

Next, Jameson helped Meemaw make zucchini bread for Thanksgiving morning. Chopping the nuts was the best part, because he actually really likes them. He kept sneaking pieces to eat. And even though Meemaw forgot the butter, the bread came out healthier and just as delicious (with a slightly different consistency) as usual after an overnight wrapped in foil.




Jameson must’ve had about 4 pieces that next morning! We had the parade on, though Jameson wasn’t too interested in it (he just wanted to watch Monsters).


Coraline got sniffed by the dogs over and over. Athena did really well with her first introduction to babies, though she wasn’t as good with Jameson, a quick, startling toddler. She nearly nipped at him once, which scared him, though by the end of the trip she was much better and he got better at being “brave” walking around her.


Ah! That’s not a sock!


Coraline’s first Thanksgiving outfit, courtesy of Meemaw.


Once the turkey was prepared and in the oven, there was time for play!


This photo was pretty hilarious, with all three dogs in the picture.


Jameson just loved Shiloh this trip. He kept requesting that she come with him to his room and to follow him. She wasn’t a great listener (she’s not for anyone), but it was still very cute. Jameson loved his room and wanted to play in it all the time because it is a big blow up mattress bed right on the floor! So much fun.


Another fun thing at Meemaw’s house was the big cup. He wanted ice (the ice maker on the fridge there is a novelty for him) and then Meemaw found a straw to put in it, and it was impossible to get him to put it down for photos with Uncle Tyler.



Jameson and Grandpa practiced hopping on one leg while we waited to eat, and then Jameson played with Coraline’s toys (more interesting now that someone else wants to play with them). He also loved playing with the Little Tikes dollhouse van. It must be a vintage item at this point, but in great shape for playing with Duffy the bear.




Everyone ate their fill for Thanksgiving with our traditional turkey, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce (the jellied kind of course), stuffing and pie. Coraline even tried potatoes the first time! She’s had a couple solid foods now including peas, noodles, potatoes, and corn.



Friday, the boys all went to the Air Force Museum while Meemaw and I stayed home to do a special Christmas project. Coraline was great for us, though she was a little pooping machine!

She let Meemaw give her a bottle, and did really well over Thanksgiving with just the bottle feeding. We nursed in the morning but the rest of the days were all bottled fed. She’s showing some signs of wanting to hold it herself!



Jameson had a lot of fun at the museum, though he kept saying that some of the planes were broken when they weren’t allowed inside all of them. He came home with a little toy airplane and asked me how to fly it (certainly because Grandpa had been flying little quadcopters earlier!). Alas, this one can only be flown by hand.


He even gave us a little concert that evening on the piano!

Our final morning was Saturday, so that we could have an extra day to unpack and relax before heading back to work. We relaxed in the morning, and Jameson got an early 3rd birthday gift from Uncle Tyler.



Coraline is still iffy driving any time past 30 minutes, so the way there was a little rough with a few stops, but both kids were amazing the way back! They both fell asleep for a time, and we didn’t even have to stop once. A first and last, most likely.

It was great seeing Uncle Tyler, who won’t be able to visit for Christmas this year, and fun to meet his new dog. We celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday, birthdays, did special projects and visited a museum. We even found time to do a little shopping (online and in store!)!

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