Turkey Fry

Our friends JP and Lisa had a turkey fry party a few weeks ago, and we brought over the water bouncer for the kids there to enjoy as well.





For some reason though Coraline wasn’t too happy that day, and nothing was distracting her from wanting to hang out with mommy. She’s become such a mommy’s girl lately, which a part of me secretly loves. But that day was particularly frustrating!



We tried the sand table, and she needed her shoes on, but even that didn’t last long! She sat on my lap wailing away, so Brian took her for a walk for a bit.


She was happier playing inside at least! She went up and down the step into the living room over and over again. She also loved the mini ice cream cone that Lisa’s mom bought. They were super tiny and a cute snack size for these little kiddos.



I love this casual shot of all the guys together. We hadn’t all gotten together in quite some time. The kiddos really got into the red solo cups and starting throwing water on each other. It was a little uneven at first, so we gave all the kids a cup.





It was a nice time, and tasty turkey as well. Looking back on these photos now makes me miss the warmer weather. It’s gotten quite a bit cooler recently, and we all are getting colds.

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2nd Annual Kiddie Park Visit

We saw quite a lot of our friends Jason, Lisa and Vivienne the couple weeks before their second son was born. We went to the Kiddie Park with them as kind of a second annual tradition. They go more frequently than us, but this really was just our second time there.

This year, Coraline was old enough to get in on the fun, even being just shy of 1 and a half! When we first got there though I had Coraline while Brian took Jameson on the train ride first.




She wasn’t too concerned about the wait! Then we went and did the boat ride, which is my personal fav (not that I’ve been able to ride on it). Coraline had a blast ringing the bell, and she did great keeping her hands in the boat. (Just that ride though, we did this a couple more times and she got progressively more daring, but didn’t get kicked off at least!)



Vivienne arrived and we did a couple rides that Coraline was a little too young for. The kids love this bumpy car ride and we did that one a couple times as well. I rode with Jameson on the really jerky roller coaster, which was a little intense for me. I was happy that one didn’t get requested twice.



She was big enough for the rocket ride that glides along the ground though!


Coraline loved the carousel and requested “more” for that one, so while the older kids did another big kid ride, we rode that one again.



Each ride you strap in your own kids, so we got this fun shot on the boat ride again.



We ended our day there with the cars. The cars go out of sight, so we weren’t quite comfortable letting Coraline drive off in one of those. All in all, everyone had a great time. Even Coraline with her delayed nap! It’s so nice to have some of that flexibility again.


We even had enough good mood left with the kiddos that we stopped for ice cream! Jameson and Vivienne played with her stuffed kitty, tossing it back and forth. It need a wash after that!


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Circus Comes to Town

A couple years ago, we took Jameson to the circus, a big one indoors. Putting aside wrongs and rights, support or not of circus and circus goers, I’ll just say that I did enjoy the almost vintage feel of the smaller circus we went to a few weeks ago as opposed to the larger.



Jameson didn’t want his picture taken here. We went with our neighbors and their kids, Lily and Peyton. Coraline was simply fascinated with everything that was going on.



Coraline loved watching the animals. She pointed, she shouted “Oooo” and “Woww” numerous times. She was much more fully engaged than I expected her to be.




During intermission, Jameson and I walked around the tent for a bit. They charged for riding the elephants and seeing the tigers up close, which we didn’t want to do. We did buy some peanuts (noted world’s worst peanuts on the front, haha). Inside some of the peanuts were winning tickets for extra large balloons. Jameson won one!

It’s so very.. nice.. that they filled the balloons with air so that the balloon is still intact and full, hanging out in our house for the past couple weeks.


It was so hot that during the rest of intermission we stood in front of the big fans. Coraline was again thrilled. She’s easy to please right now!


All in all, we did enjoy our experience, despite the heat and general mixed feelings about the animals. The acrobatics were good, as was the juggling performances. We even stopped for a family photo at the end.



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Since a lot of our friends had children right around the time we had Jameson, he has had no shortage of playdates and playmates. Coraline, however, was born about a year to year and a half off from our friends’ second children. She hasn’t had nearly as many playdates as Jameson had.

The night Coraline was born, my friend also had her first baby, Adelyn. We’ve only gotten the kiddos together one other time, when they were we little. So we decided to get them together again for a little playdate a few weekends ago! Brian even got out the water bouncer for them, though they couldn’t appreciate the slide just yet.




I also invited an old co-worker, Lauren, with her twin girls. They are just over 2 years old, so they were able to enjoy the slide. It must be nice to have a built in playmate!



Jameson was great with the babies and younger toddlers. He was just excited to play in the water bouncer! We were all happy it was such a nice day out for it. We also filled up the water table which never seems to get old. Technically it’s a sand and water table, though we’ve never put anything in it but water.



Coraline and Adelyn showed off their climbing skills, crawling all over the bouncer. Adelyn was already walking, and loved splashing in the water. Coraline enjoyed the water much more after she was a able to eat after her nap. She wasn’t quite walking yet, but happy to walk along the walls and climb over obstacles.



It was nice for Coraline to have an opportunity to play with kiddos her age, though she never seems to be complaining about it. She adores her brother and watching big kids play too! It’s hard to believe so much time has passed though.

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Independence Weekend

As I mentioned, we had a great time all weekend in our backyard over the 4th of July. We did get out for a little while though on Saturday morning, when we went to Jameson’s swimming lessons and the Heritage Festival where we usually go to the farmer’s market.

Ice cream at the festival

We went early, but I couldn’t help but get a veggie Stromboli. The kiddos and daddy got ice cream (Coraline loved tasting daddy’s). Jameson was concerned about his ice cream cone and not a fan of getting messy (he said he wished he had a bowl after it started melting down his hands and face)

Snake, flag, balloon, suckered, sticker. Good day to be a little dude (all free but the snake, cause I still love sand animals)

There was a lot of free stuff being passed out, including flags, promo balloons and stickers, and a sucker. We bought him a little $3 sand-filled snake, because I love sand animals. He loved carrying that around and “ssssss”-ing loudly to frighten us.

Heritage Festival fun

We saw old cars, fire engines and trucks too! It was a good time, but I’m always happy to go early and escape before the crowds and heat.

In the afternoon, we had our friends come over and the boys played together in the water bouncer. The neighbor kiddos and their cousins joined us as well, so we had a full bounce house!



Baby Jack and Joshua are getting so big. Joshua enjoyed splashing in the water and Jack loved the baby tent sheltering him from the hot day. And it was hot! A great day to play in the water.


Joshua loved the swing as well. Glad someone is getting use out of it, since Coraline still isn’t a fan.


She loved splashing in the water though. Baby pool, water park, or splash table: all water is fun! She’s getting used to the cooler water as well, and didn’t mind the hose water at all (though the baby pool we did warm up some for all the babies around!)



I remember last year when we had to coax the kids on the water bouncer at first. Now? They’re sliding down the wrong way, trying to climb up the slide, and otherwise making mischief.


All the kids loved playing in the water bouncer, though the girls quit early to get dried off.


We cooked out that evening and enjoyed burgers, hot dogs, pasta salads and more. A perfect end to a summer’s day!


Sunday, we followed suit, though it was a bit cooler. Our neighbor’s had other cousins over, and I went shopping while they played on the bouncers. We had an early dinner that evening and we all went out to eat with all the kiddos. It was chaotic, but hilarious.

Lots of kids out to dinner. Just a heads up to anyone in the area

Good thing we went out to eat though because I was ready to stack up all the dishes in the sink and call it a day! All the same, it was wonderful hosting and not needing to travel over the holiday weekend. It was really like a vacation with the kids at home!

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Independence Day

Our 4th of July weekend was simply amazing; we were able to stay home to celebrate all weekend long. We didn’t see fireworks up close, but Brian and I got to see some from our front yard Saturday night. Those kids crashed out every evening!

Friday, I tried to get some photos of the kids together, though they were less than cooperative about that.



Once I let Coraline do what she wanted, she was much happier.


It was just a little cooler that day, though still plenty warm, we didn’t want to get out the water bouncer. Instead, we opened up a new one that we had in storage. It’s for kids slightly older, though Lily and Jameson enjoyed it plenty anyway!







However, they were not fans when the other would jump while they were trying to climb!

Coraline really wanted to join in the fun, but this one was definitely too big for her. Later, we brought out the obstacle course bouncer and had more friends join us for the evening. We had a fajita night with margaritas and corn salsa sides. I could’ve had this dinner every night for a week!


I even joined in and climbed up once. Only once, since I felt like I was going to topple the whole thing over!


Love this funny face Coraline is making!

The kids have really been enjoying the hammock that we got for Brian last year. I jumped in with a few of the kids climbing on top which was hilarious. Jameson liked to “climb” to the top of the hammock. He wasn’t a big fan of being wrapped up in it though!





Surprisingly, by Sunday, I was exhausted from hosting! Friday and Saturday we had friends over, and Sunday the neighbors had family over. By the end of the weekend, I didn’t want to do dishes or clean up. Here I thought being able to stay home meant it would be more relaxing!

We did have blast though, and it’s always a nice change of pace to stay home for a 3 day weekend.

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Visit to Grampi’s (Part 2)

On Tuesday, Coraline and I left Jameson with Meemaw and Grandpa. After lunch, they went to the Children’s Museum, where Grandpa got to be a big kid again himself.




Wednesday, Jameson was up earlier! After walking the dogs and watching the neighbor’s yard getting cut, they went to see the airplanes at the Air Force Museum. Jameson has been there before; he’s all boy and loves seeing the airplanes.


Thursday, they went to another park, but only for a short while since Jameson was exhausted. He was on the go the entire time he was there!


On Friday, his last day there, they went back to the splash park we went to with Marky. Mostly, Jameson just wanted to play on that playground there. In particular, he loves the rolling slide.

Jameson ran through the sprinkler, watered gardens, and took the dogs on a walk almost every day. We also got to speak with him each night on Facetime, though he got shier as the days went on and stopped talking as much. I think he was exhausted!


But the best part of every day was probably the squirt guns they bought. Everyday, there was a water fight! Jameson even got to bring them home, which was thrilling. Jameson stole Meemaw’s gun while she was taking photos and got Grandpa with two at once!





Meemaw brought Jameson home Friday evening, and Saturday she stayed with us to go to the farmers market and swimming lessons. We’ve had such a fun filled summer that Jameson asks nearly everyday if someone is “coming over”. He’s a lucky little boy to have so much family and friends surrounding him.

Now, maybe next year, we can arrange to make this a longer visit and trade off another kid too!? Haha!

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Strawberry Picking

Sunday morning, I was excited to take Jameson to our very first strawberry picking outing together. I went with my grandma a few summers, and particularly, I remember the jam that my grandma made every year the old fashioned way.



We went to a little farm about 20 minutes away as recommended by some friends who we were joining. We arrived a little early and got started. Jameson was very intent about finding the strawberries at first and declared “we have to put on our looking eyes!”

He was also very studious in making sure that the strawberries were ready, telling me “those are not ready yet” on several occasions.


After about 15 minutes, our friends arrived but were sent to a different patch further down. So we packed up the few big strawberries we found and joined them.


Jameson best buddy Nathan was there, which was very exciting for him and he immediate stopped looking for strawberries properly. Haha! He told Nathan over and over “we were looking for you!” Nathan’s family just had a new baby girl a month or so ago who joined them napping in her car seat for her first strawberry picking adventure.


The new strawberry patch was open to pick anywhere, which was nicer for the kids who weren’t restricted to one area, and also harder for the adults to keep them close. The boys loved holding their strawberry baskets and talked about how heavy the baskets were (and how strong they were).

Strawberries at the open patch were more prolific, riper, but smaller. It made for much more fun and quick picking!





We came home with more than enough strawberries to freeze for shakes later this summer or fall after the season is past. The strawberries were in great shape, with little to no bruising or rotting.


We also decided to make jam, though not the kind my grandma made as a kid. She tried to teach me, but I’m not super teachable when it comes to cooking. I have baking down pretty good, since it requires exact measurements, but regular cooking usually requires more effort for me.

Nathan’s mother Megan offered to show me how to make freezer jam which doesn’t require cooking the strawberries or sterilizing the jars for sealing, and she invited us over the following evening for a lesson. Jameson was so excited to see Nathan twice; “that’s so crazy!” he yelled excitedly on our way there. Nathan is out of school for the summer, so Jameson hadn’t seen him in a couple weeks.

Freezer jam with our friends! Thanks for showing us how it's done!

Jameson got to help smash the strawberries and do some stirring before the hot part with the gelatin. The boys enjoyed some of the finished product at the end on fresh bread Megan made earlier, which was delicious.

Between freezer jam and our frozen strawberries, I’m looking forward to enjoying the taste of summer strawberries for months to come. We’ll be back again next year for sure!

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Saturday, we started Jameson’s first swimming lessons that he likely remembers, since his last ones were over a year ago. We stopped about a month before Coraline was born. He’s got a pretty great memory now, but I recall that being a time when he was just starting to really hold onto his memories.

So that morning we took him to a local high school which has a pool. We didn’t do a mommy-and-me style class. For his age group, they recommended he go by himself; Jameson did need some encouragement though. Maybe more than a little, since I had to end up lifting him into the water when he didn’t want to go all the way down the steps.

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The pool was nice in that it was sized great for preschoolers who could actually stand in the water by themselves. It was generously warm as well, which I was thankful for. I remember very cold water on cooler outdoor mornings for my own swimming lessons. Jameson is a lucky kid!

He also showed quite a bit of hesitation before putting the floater under his arms, but again after a little encouragement from me on the other side, he did it!

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They even had time for some play, which I think was missing from our soccer experience (which by the end he did not want to participate in at all!). So I have high hopes that he will enjoy his swimming lessons and get more and more confident in the water. By the end of our first lesson, simply playing with a ball he dared himself to get back into the deeper water!

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To reinforce the lesson that we need to learn to swim (and just to have fun!), we went to a waterpark later that afternoon with some friends.

Coraline loved it. She walked, holding onto my hands, to her chest height. No fear! When I had a hand under her belly, I even saw a couple kicks. I think she wanted to slide down the waterslide as well. She wasn’t quite tall enough for that! Jameson loved it though and did the slide over and over again.

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It was mildly chilly in and out of the water, but the water itself wasn’t too cold and the concrete really held the heat which meant we were comfortable and but not sweltering. The weather meant the crowd was very light, which we all loved. When Jameson got too cold, he laid down on the beach chairs covered in a towel eating snacks, haha!

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Coraline was not a big fan of the lazy river, mostly because of the life jacket squishing her little chin and cheeks up. She loved splashing and crawling on me. After several hours there, I still hadn’t really hear her fussing. She loved the poolside snacking (as did Jameson). I’m pretty sure the one time she cried at the end was because she was getting her swimsuit off, and she wanted to play more!

Brian and I had the opportunity to ride a few adult rides with our friend’s older girls, which was a blast. And we all visited the wave pool which water was very beach-like and warm.

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After the waterpark, some exhausted children continued to play and have fun late into the night. Particularly Jameson, who was up until 9:30! Coraline has reached the phase where you may not be able to tell she’s exhausted by looking at her. She’ll continue to play as long as you let her.

We enjoyed pizza on the grill with our friends before another homemade popsicle finale for the evening. A fun filled day!

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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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