Soccer Pro

This year is the first that Jameson has had “real” games against another team in soccer. I was able to capture his first game of the season (after just about 3 practices), which was great since he was more easily distracted in future games. I guess the novelty wore off a bit!


He didn’t stop to pick flowers during the game thankfully. But he did try doing cartwheels a few times, or staring off into space. Kids are hilarious!

First they “warmed up” by running around the outside of their field, which was smaller than a regular sized soccer field. We had adult coaches this time, as opposed to last fall, and they offered a bit more structure to our experience this time.


Before starting the game, the kids had to point to where their net was. It was pretty difficult for most of the kids to get the ball turned around when it wasn’t going the right away (or they’d forget), so some goals were made for the other team. There was no keeping score though and everyone had fun!


They rotated the kids pretty frequently, and when they weren’t playing they sat on the sidelines and picked grass.


Coraline enjoyed watching the games too, and pretty much ate snacks for the full hour we were there in the evenings two days a week (which were right around dinner time).



Jameson got pretty into it in the first game, but got a little more timid as the season wore on. They rotated the kids that got to start the game and throw the ball in from out of bounds or do a “penalty” kick. All in all, I was very happy with the participation that Jameson got to experience. We even got our first sports photos, which were hilariously posed.





The games ended with a team cheer and snacks (the best part!)



And of course we did the “good game” high five with the other team. There were three other teams we played over the month or so we played. It was difficult a few weeks in May because of Brian and I being out of town at times, but we made it to all of the games!

We did decide after it was over that we’re done with weeknight evening activities for a bit, so we’ve picked back up swimming lessons instead that start in a couple weeks but only on Saturday mornings. Coraline will get to experience the first lessons with me, and Jameson is able to go to his level at the exact same time which worked out so nice. We really hope to spend more time in the water this year!

Continue Reading

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!


Continue Reading


Coraline can now request to watch the movie “Frozen” by name, and frequently talks about the “ice and snow”. Yesterday, she was able to say for the first time in months, that is was “raining”. So before all the snow melts away (pretty please, any time now), here are a few moments we enjoyed outside when it wasn’t too frigid to move.


In January, we enjoyed some sledding at Grandma and Poppa’s house.


Coraline seemed okay with the idea, but after her first run she decided that it wasn’t for her and refused, wailing and crying.


This year, there was no stump in the way down the hill, so Jameson went by himself a couple times with us waiting at the bottom. He even managed to throw himself off the sled when he got too close to a tree at the end!



To entertain Coraline and distract her from the horror that is cold, Aunt Melissa and Grandma made snowmen and snowballs for her to wreck. The best part is always tearing down, not building up, when you are almost 2 years old.


Coraline does like to taste the snow. That’s probably her favorite part.


As usual, I look like a crazy person when I go sledding.


We also had great snow to make snowmen. We were able to spend time outside a couple days between January and February, but we made these particular snowmen in the middle of January and they are still visible today, on March 11, though they are 1/8th the size they were.



Coraline again was not a huge fan of playing in the snow. She didn’t like walking around in Jameson’s old boots, which were too big for her. After we got boots that fit her, she was much more inclined to hang out outside for… a few minutes. It was definitely not her favorite activity! She really liked the idea of snowmen, but would much rather talk about them from the windows inside!





We tried to make an igloo which was more difficult than I expected, so the next best thing was a fort which Brian started. Jameson wanted to climb the fort, and fell off, which he thought was pretty hilarious. He would stay in the snow for as long as we let him, shoveling, sledding, anything!


We had another lovely day outside when it actually was snowing out. This is my favorite time in the snow; I love when the big fat flakes fall down while we are playing outside. It’s the time when snow really does feel Disney magical.

What a fun time outside!

Snowball fight

Jameson had a snowball fight with daddy, and Coraline loved playing on the slide. We had fun playing with the neighbors for quite awhile on this perfect snowy day in February.

Snowy day

For several weeks in February, we experienced temperatures below 0, and really we don’t tend to take the kiddos outside unless it is at least 20 degrees, so we felt very trapped in the house for while, suffered all kinds of sickness. Jameson got a 12 hour stomach bug two separate times, Coraline had more ear infections, and Brian had an ear infection complete too after his awful cold. I also caught a cold with fever, which had me almost out of commission for a couple days.

Snowmen at sunset

Even with perfect snow days, and evenings with colors like this, I am truly ready for things to start to warm up and the snow to melt. I’m ready to run outside, to be able to take the kiddos out to play (especially now with daylight savings!). Any time now, Spring!

Continue Reading

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.


Continue Reading


Obviously, it is WAY past Halloween. Not even relevant, to anyone but myself for record keeping purposes. Coraline and Jameson were Captain Hook and Tick Tock Crock. It was super cute. I am hoping that I can swing one more year of coordinating costumes, if Jameson picks something reasonable I should be able to get Coraline to go for it next year. Crossing fingers!


This year, we did Boo at the Akron Zoo. It’s our favorite, since the zoo isn’t too big. It’s wonderful for littler kiddos. We went with two groups of friends, which was difficult to keep everyone together but we made it work.


Here’s our regular gathering of kiddos, between 3 families. Jameson’s friends Bobby and Jonathan and their siblings. Coraline also had a little friend there as well, Adelyn (not pictured), who was born the same night as her (though technically a different day!)



This year the big kids were old enough to trick or treat, and they loved it!

Coraline didn’t feel left out though. She loved feeding the goats and running around freely. We went on a great day, because it was rainy before and rainy as we were leaving, but clear while we were there. It wasn’t crowded and was perfect!





After we left the zoo, we had lunch with Bobby’s family. We couldn’t believe how well-behaved all the kids were, for being out so far past naptime for Coraline in particular. We really felt like we were getting freer to be more flexible, it was lovely!

The next weekend was our haunted neighborhood party/gathering. A few houses get together to do sets like photo booth, food, games and activities, etc. They also do little hayrides through a couple streets. I’d totally consider hosting, but our house is far away from the main gathering point and other houses.




We pay a little fee and the kids get a little something. This year and last year was a light up necklace, which is always a hit!


We skipped the photo booth this year, though not really on purpose, and went straight to do some crafts.



Grandma, Papa and Aunt Melissa joined us for the party this time, as well as the neighbors.


We also got to see Nathan! Jameson was so excited to see his best buddy from school. Nathan doesn’t go to our preschool anymore but still lives in our neighborhood so we have still been able to stay in touch and get the kids together. They loved it!


We never looped back around to the other houses except for the food one because for most of the evening, we were watching a live animal show! All the kids were simply fascinated. Coraline, my baby crocodile, got to pet a real one (or alligator… I can’t remember the difference :)) They also had a really large snake, chinchilla, and parrot too.




It was a great evening and always a fun time. It’s the only big thing our neighborhood really puts on (plus a garage sale day), but what a wonderful annual activity!

The next day we finally carved our pumpkins. This year, Jameson was all about it. He didn’t mind the “gross stuff” and he helped to clean out one of the pumpkins. He told me to make a scary face this year.

I expected Coraline to actually be a little less squeamish than Jameson had been at her age, but she was very concerned with the texture or cold feel of the pumpkin guts, so she didn’t participate.




Except at the very end, she was totally fine with hanging out in the empty pumpkin, as long as she had her snacks.

Continue Reading

Farm Park

The time change this week really hit me, realizing that we’re approaching winter! Jameson comments on it being dark, and frequently asks if it’s his bedtime right after school now. It wasn’t that long ago that we were enjoying pleasant fall weather!




We visited the Farm Park for the first time at the end of September. We’ve been talking about it for a long time (at least a year), but finally we decided to go on this perfect weekend. Our first stop was the baby piglets, which pretty much made the trip for me. I love piglets.


Coraline was all about touching all the animals; she has no fear. She’s knows a lot of animal sounds, though she’s still not great with the pig’s “oink”. My latest favorite is her “cockadoo” for the rooster noise.



Jameson, on the other hand, was very stiff about it.



He refused to pet the piglets, but did pet the goat and a couple other animals. Surprisingly, he was even willing to brush the horse! Only once though.




Aside from traditional farm animals, they had an interesting plant and garden center. The kids could make vegetable people or stamp with vegetables. There was plenty of activity for kids of all ages. Coraline wasn’t bored, that’s for sure!



Our last stop was the corn maze, which also delighted me. We’ve avoided corn mazes because they’re typically geared toward older children. This one though was a perfect size for the preschooler and toddler. Jameson was very excited (don’t let his stiff smiling fool you). He went into what I would call “alleys” in the maze, between the stalks and actual paths. We had to go after him once.






Jameson really didn’t want to go to the Farm Park initially. Lately, he’s been all about staying in pajamas at home on the weekends. In lieu of that, he wanted to go to a playground. Convincing him to go out to an activity is occasionally more difficult than I’d expect! But I get it: He goes to school every day, and not being asked to do something for a while is definitely a luxury for him right now. I think in the end he had a good time.

There were even swings at the Farm Park, so everyone won.



Continue Reading

Final Summer Days

Well into fall, and here I am wrapping up the end of August. I don’t really miss it though, other than the extra daylight. The colors this fall have been breathtaking, and I have a much more pleasant drive into work nowadays to see it since I’m not driving along the highway.

For Grandma’s birthday we had our usual cookout this time with pizza on the grill at her request.



When my friend Emma came to visit us, we took a walk and discovered a garage sale power wheels jeep for cheap, just missing the power cord. In the end, it was a bit more expensive because the battery was dead, so we had to buy both power cord and new battery which is pricey. Totally worth it though.

Coraline is already not following the rules with hands inside the car. Also, she can unbuckle herself, so we have to watch them. But she loves riding in it just as much as Jameson loves driving it.


Grandma and Poppa also brought over a new-to-us big boy bike (originally from cousin Griffin) with new training wheels and all. Jameson rode the bike and the jeep for the rest of the summer, insisting that’s all he wanted to do.




Labor day, we relaxed outside. We took the kids out still in pjs to play in the bouncer. We hung out “poolside” in the afternoon.

My kids are the ones still in pj's


And suddenly Coraline enjoyed swinging. Weeee!


Continue Reading

A Day at the Zoo

For some reason we just didn’t make it to the zoo much this summer. We love to go, and I wanted to see the new carousel that opened up. It received a lot of attention for the animals which are all different and have a tremendous attention to detail. Coraline and Jameson both enjoyed it! They chose tigers.



There’s also a new children’s area just outside the carousel. There’s a small wading creek for beavers, and a tunnel made of sticks the kids enjoyed going through. First though, a snack.







I do have a number of photos of animals at the zoo, so I try now to only take exceptional ones or when they animals are close. We decided to feed the giraffes again, which is always fun. I just love to see them close up!



We opted not to go to the very top of the zoo to see the indoor areas and stuck with the main part of the zoo.


This area isn’t one we usually stop at, but Jameson wanted to see what was inside all the little holes. It was for watching birds, and I got a kick out of Jameson trying to use the binoculars. He liked looking through the cards of birds and tried to identify them.





We saw the wolf exhibit, camels, and reindeer next. The kids like to climb of statues, of course, so that is a given.




A packed lunch is always perfect for the zoo when we have a stroller to carry the lunch bag. And then we were off again to see the last exhibits, including bears. Sadly, the polar bear passed away a while ago, so there are brown bears in that exhibit now. It’s just not the same!




I got such a kick out of this sloth bear looking like he was just hanging out, bored in class.


Our last stop was the elephants, which is right by the entrance. We were all pretty exhausted by then, but Coraline did such a great job delaying her nap. Everyone had a great time at the zoo.


Continue Reading

Backyard Camping

Sunday night over Labor Day weekend, Brian planned a little backyard camping with Jameson and a couple friends. Jameson was so excited for the experience, and for having friends come over! He loved helping put up the tent with dad.




Christina, Bobby’s mom, packed them all snack pouches for camping!


Once the tents were up, the dads had to teach the 3 year olds the proper way to get in and out of a tent to avoid tracking in lots of dirt. Of course, the kids wanted to jump right in. Teaching patience and properly removing shoes was funny to watch.



The boys played in the evening while the dads made a fire. Jameson was most excited about roasted marshmallows, since he had read about them in Curious George books but never had any.


He waited very expectantly, and even grabbed his own stick to roast with though we have more proper (and slightly more sanitary) roasting sticks that we used.



He ate his marshmallow, but was concerned about the sticky texture so didn’t really want any more roasted (but regular was okay!)



Jameson went to bed the easiest out of the three kiddos. One didn’t want to stay in the tent without dad, and the other didn’t want to sleep in or out. But eventually they all fell asleep, and were actually up at relatively normal times in the morning. I, for one, was happy to sleep in my bed inside though, ha!

I woke up early to run though and snapped this of everyone still sleeping peacefully in the early morning hours.

Backyard camping with the 3 year olds

Continue Reading

Fair + Visit with Aunt Holly


The kids were a delight at the fair this year. At least for the morning, until tiredness set in. This year we went on a Saturday morning with Aunt Holly who came up to visit us for the weekend. The first thing we always do is runwalk to the pumpkin to take our pictures before there is a line.


I’m sure you’re not really supposed to do this, but we put the kiddos up next to the actual big pumpkins themselves for some photos. They’ll only be this small for a short time right? And pumpkins rot.

And then we saw this magnificent pumpkin that looked like a little chair. So we did that too.



The pumpkins are one of my favorite parts of the fair. Even though it’s Labor Day weekend every year and hot in those final summer days, this just shouts the beginning of fall for me.

Next up is some animals. We do things a bit backward because of the pumpkins. This year, after a few animals, we ate an early lunch and actually had a chance to sit down at a table since we were so early. Cavatelli, another fair tradition, was enjoyed by the kiddos and myself. I only got to have one meatball, haha.


Hanging out with the cows



There’s a little village in the back of the fair with old rehabbed buildings. Jameson really got into those this year. I got a kick out of pointing out an old telephone to him. It was so foreign to him, he didn’t understand. We looked at old carriages, and the old train was also a hit.

I really think he enjoyed this part more than the animals, but the rides were the biggest hit of all.


He did request this year to ride a couple rides, and selected motorcycles and the batmobile. He always has a serious face on rides, but he really enjoyed himself.



Our last stops are typically the tractors and old machines. Coraline fell asleep but woke after 30 minutes, so we knew it was time to wrap it up.



Nap time


There is a popcorn making machine, which we always have to stop at. And then it was time to go! The kids actually did fine in the car on the way home, but we were all pretty exhausted from the heat.


Aunt Holly actually arrived on Friday, and left on Monday, so we enjoyed some more time with her during our Labor Day weekend. I took off work on Friday and we went to Cedar Point. Here’s a couple fun shots of our day. It was pretty fun to enjoy a day child-free (and work-free). We were there almost open to close, so it was a rough wake up the next morning for sure!

The rest of our weekend was quite a bit more relaxed, including a little campout for Jameson and Brian in the backyard, friends, and hanging around the house.

Fun day with Holly!

Wooden coaster

Continue Reading