Last summer, we went camping with family friends in Pennsylvania. We had a great time! Both kids slept great and had a blast being outside constantly (I think Jameson could live outdoors as long as he also had access to an ipad)
We had a little pontoon ride and enjoyed eating, drinking and exploring. Jameson had been suffering from an abscess as a result of an infection that started out as molluscum (kind of like warts), so he couldn’t go in the water but that ended up not being a big deal.
Picking and digging up slugs and bugs was the highlight of the morning after our first night in the wilderness.
I think the kids were at a great age, but our younger friends were a little more wild. I hope we get an opportunity to camp a couple times this year as well even if it’s just our little family!
Yes, it’s true. Fall soccer is almost over, and here I am talking about spring soccer. For the first time this year they gave kids long sleeves for spring soccer, which was nice except that we had a pretty warm season! And Jameson let those sleeves hang down almost every game. It drove me nuts.
Jameson scored his first goal during soccer practice. They did a scrimmage with the opposite team so I think it counts!
Here are a few more shots of that season. We had a good coach, Jameson’s friend Jimmy’s dad was our coach. Jameson has really come a long way this year in confidence and skill.
This year, with prompting from our neighbor who wanted to expand and fence in their garden, Brian did the same for ours. We had to plant a lot of our sprouts before it was completely done, so I wasn’t able to rotate our “crops” much this year, but next year I’m so excited with the additional space we have to move some things around. I really need to give squash a lot more space, and the tomatoes need some new placement.
Coraline was looking for treasure in all the post holes for our new garden fence. In the very last hole we found pebbles! It was pretty fun to find an actual “treasure.”
The best part, I think, is the stones between each raised bed. No more will I find snakes in tall grass between them!
Here’s Coraline enjoying the fruits of our labor. Snacking on raw green beans. Jameson also tried mint which lasted .2 minutes until he realized it was NOT like gum like we told him. Ha!
We lost most of our squash early again since we were dealing with some powdery mildew. This year we caught it early enough that it didn’t spread to the tomato plants, and we did still get more squash than in years past. We spiralized zucchini for the first time! Coraline loves anything shaped like pasta.
We also got a pumpkin this year! We had sprouts in our compost and I let a couple plants grow. Our first pumpkin rotted on the vine, but we have a second smaller one that I’m going to cut from the vine soon.
We thought we were growing brussel sprouts, but turns out it was broccoli! When they are sprouts they look very similar, and I misplaced the labels early on when we were transplanting things. We added it to our salad the other day, and it wasn’t bitter like the broccoli we have had in the past. We also are trying eggplant this year, and watermelon, but the watermelon isn’t doing much beyond spreading it’s vine everywhere. We lost the one fruit we had to Jameson, oops!
Overall, it’s been a fun year with the garden, and we’ve gotten and used a lot more herbs this year. We are drying them with the food dehydrator. It feels really good to be using a lot more of the food we’re growing this year, and not be stuck with a thousand pots drying out daily!
After demonstrating her proficiency with pedaling this spring (finally), we traded with the neighbors Jameson and Lily’s old bikes this summer. Coraline and Peyton now have a bike they feel appropriate for them.
Jameson also had a big year for biking, since he started riding sans training wheels. After being pushed down some hills many many times, and riding through the grass a lot with Daddy behind him, one day he finally felt confident enough to try it on the sidewalk.
From there, it was one very short day until he was a pro at riding. And, that’s what we’ve done most of this summer.
Easter this year was another gorgeous sunny day, despite being in late March. We managed to get dressed in time for church before the kids were able to find their eggs (though plenty were pointed out before we left).
When we got home, it was egg-seeking time!
This year, the Easter Bunny hid some eggs in the basement, too (but not outside like last year).
In their baskets this year were underwear, pez and gummy bears and a book as well as squishy caterpillars. Jameson had some little marble puzzles while Coraline got some socks, a shirt and stamps and stickers. They each got a craft as well: Jameson got some foldable little robots, since he loves making paper airplanes, and this was a hit. Coraline got a make your own bouncy ball kit which definitely required supervision for them both (Aunt Melissa got to do that), and pretend snow.
At Grandma and Poppa’s house later that day, we always enjoy an outdoor egg hunt. The kids had to wait for Aunt Melissa to come over before seeking, though!
Coraline kept opening her eggs and eating her candy rather than searching for more eggs. Meanwhile, Jameson, who is kind enough to share with his sister, was very seriously looking for as many eggs as he could.
After egg hunts and lunch, we played by the creek and daddy let Jameson into the creek for the first time with his new water shoes that he got in his Easter basket at Grandma and Poppa’s house. Jameson was concerned about getting his shorts wet, but thrilled to be walking around in the creek.
It was a great Easter, and warmer than last year. I was excited about Coraline’s last minute dress find. It was such a lovely spring color and she loved wearing it (always a plus).
Jameson finished his first mile run March 23, no walking. I slowed our pace, and he did a good job pacing with me. He was so proud of himself! And I was proud too. We ran fast enough that I regretted wearing the jeans (too lazy to change). The mile was just around our neighborhood to the “neighborhood lake”. I read that we shouldn’t let kids overdo it (just like a puppy), so I made him run-walk the way home.
Lately it’s been feeling like spring! Kids have rain boots on for sloshing around a muddy yard. We still don’t have our toys out yet for the season, so we’ve mostly just been playing on the swingset, and in puddles.
Jameson told me a couple days ago that the frothy yellow looking puddle that is standing water in the rocks in our neighbor’s yard is “dinosaur puke”. He’s developing imagination is very boy-typical.
Flinging her rain boots off when I’m pushing Coraline is a new favorite. She was disappointed when I told her she was too big for the baby swing this year, but she’s gotten over it pretty quick.
The winter has been relatively mild, so much so that I’ve been able to continue training for a half marathon with long runs outside at least once a week. I wasn’t sure if we’d get the snow the kids have been asking for, but we finally did have a couple weeks with some snow on the ground!
Most of their playtime was in the evenings. I think we played outside every evening for 3 or 4 days in a row. The kids loved it! It’s too bad it gets dark quickly. Jameson would stay out all evening. Contrary to last year, Coraline actually really enjoyed it too! She loves the shovel most of all, while Jameson prefers to go all in with his hands.
Brian got a “fat bike” so he could continue to bike ride over the winter. He has also been disappointed at the light winter snow.
We managed to get in regular snow play, sledding, and snow angles. The one things we haven’t been able to do this winter is make a snowman! The snow melted too quickly on the warmer days for us. I feel bad sometimes that they miss out on some things like this when we are working, but I don’t think they feel the lack since they know no different. The best we did was this fairly loose snowball, which I laboriously made and Jameson jumped on.
On one evening we were throwing snowballs at each other, and Brian brought me down into the snow! Coraline declared when I finally got back up clumsily that I had made a “beautiful snow angel” and wanted to lay in my impression. It was adorable, but I definitely know I was not waving my arms around in a snow angel manner.
I got a new wide angle lens which I have really been enjoying testing out on my favorite subjects, the kids. The trick with the lens to get them in the middle so their faces aren’t warped. The edges and background of photos are beautiful in their extremes. It was my first time making a big purchase on ebay, but it was definitely worth it.
One weekend day, we did get out to Grandma and Poppa’s house for some proper sled riding! Last year, Coraline was not a fan. This year, she loved it! Jameson went by himself and raced everyone. Coraline rode with each of us. Eventually she started covering her face with her hands to avoid snow blowing back into her face! But still she requested to go again and again.
I am not great at stopping, but I did keep the snow out of her face!
Brian let her go herself at the very bottom of the hill, and she was so excited!
We hit most of the snow playtime highlights for the kids, and now they are asking when it gets warmer. Soon!
Every year, we try to visit my side of the family before Christmas so we can celebrate both Christmas and December birthdays! Jameson, Aunt Holly, and Meemaw all have birthdays during December. Jameson had some gifts to open from his birthday when we arrived!
This giant box is a giant frisbee, he was very excited! It will be a fun spring.
One very cool gift we got from Aunt Holly and Uncle Tyler was the Disney Playmation. The Playmation game bridges the gap between super hero and real world experiences. You can put on Iron Man’s arm, and fight a host of good and bad guys through various missions. Jameson played it a lot while we visited, but hasn’t pulled it out much since: we have a lot of new toys to play with! But one thing great about this toy is that I think it will grow with him!
Another tradition is doing puzzles with Meemaw! Jameson loves to work on puzzles. We had a really challenging puzzle this year because I bought a custom one for Meemaw from a photo I took during our visit to Venice. The 1000 piece puzzle took us several days to complete. Meanwhile, the kids worked on bear and dog puzzles. Coraline was only so-so at “helping”, haha.
Uncle Tyler also visited this year, driving up with his pup Athena. We were able to all watch Holly graduate from college! Brian dropped me off at OSU on his way with the kids, and Meemaw, Uncle Tyler and I watched her get her diploma.
One warmer day that wasn’t rainy we were able to go to the playground. Jameson, Meemaw and Grampa played fetch with the dogs (and got super muddy), while Coraline and I played on the playground. She found a new little boy friend that made her laugh while we were there, and was a real trooper walking almost the entire way there and home. No strollers for us!
Then we celebrated Meemaw’s birthday (she opened her puzzle from us early so we could get started on it), and that evening, we also went to our local lights show, another annual tradition.
We celebrated Christmas officially the next day after all the birthday celebrations were complete! Kids opened gifts, and were delighted at all things. Ralphie the Elf even came down to join us at Meemaw and Grampa’s house before he had to fly home to the North Pole. Coraline got a huge set of Frozen figurines, and Jameson got a set of Star Wars ships. I love the photo of his lips making the “vroom” noises a starship makes.
We did go see the Star Wars movie with Jameson while we visited! Brian stayed home with Coraline while the rest of us went to see the movie. We had to encourage everyone to come, because we had a gift for dad that that would only make sense after seeing it. We got him the BB8 robot!
The remainder of the day, Jameson was excited to spend with Grampa playing with airplanes! Grampa made him one of light wood that they shot into the air with a rubber band. Airplanes with Grampa is one of the things Jameson really looks forward to!
Christmas Eve morning, I took the kids to a breakfast potluck at my old friend Tracy’s house. A group of friends and her family were all gathered there, and it was fun seeing everyone and their kiddos and dogs.
We left for home and arrived home with the light of the full moon.
Brian and I also got to have our own getaway in late August to Mammoth Cave. We dropped the kids off at my parents house “on the way”, and enjoyed a very large and beautiful cabin all to ourselves in Kentucky.
Our first stop was, of course, Mammoth Cave. We didn’t get to do an spelunking or cool tours like that since they were offered at limited times and already full, so we joined a large herd of tourists like us for a traditional tour. I almost regretted not bringing my regular camera, but just like it was wonderful to freely take photos in Hocking Hills, it was similarly but differently wonderful to not feel like I had to take any photos at all.
Brian and I also did ziplining for the first time. I thought I might be scared, but our guide was an expert and all I felt was excitement. I was first off the platform, no problem.
We planned one night out and one night in, cooking in our awesome cabin. On our night in, Brian cooked on the grill and it started raining lightly, but I hung out on the wrap around porch and it was still perfect facing out of the cabin to what looks like limitless forest. Also, creepy once it’s fully dark. But wonderful at sunset no matter the weather when you are warm, with wine, on a wrap around porch in the country while your husband is cooking next to you.
Though I don’t have any photos, I think one of my other favorite parts was just the driving around, especially on the way to dinner out to the tune of Johnny Cash. The countryside was amazing, full of farms and fields and forests.
The next day we did kayaking. This was an endeavor that I was worried about, because for the first time I was getting my own kayak and Brian his. I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to keep up or get tired. I was tired, but I made it just fine! There’s even a little shallow cave that when the water isn’t too high or too low you can go in with the kayak, which we did.
In the center of the river there are a few “islands”. We stopped at a couple, and Brian found a giant live mussel (which we put back as requested by the livery operators but sadly was found and removed by two girls after us).
We finished our tour at the ferry (we used the ferry in our car daily which was fascinating), and we drove back to Mammoth Cave to explore the grounds around it. There are several caves and underwater deep cave features.
This photo right here is the moment when I wished I had my regular camera. In my opinion, aside from hanging out with Brian, this was the highlight of the trip. The baby deer was steps from us, unafraid, and walking across the path to it’s mother. We came upon it at the perfect time.
We had a nice trip away, and it felt so good to get out in the fresh air. I was really happy with how good I felt since I had been running a lot. I really felt like I was keeping up and felt strong and alive hiking up through the woods for hours. I told Brian that a couple years ago I wouldn’t have performed nearly as well. I think he disagreed, but I know that I’ve been feeling very well since I’ve been running in earnest through this summer and fall.