Birthday Train

A couple weeks ago, we went to see Thomas the Train with friends this year. Last year, Coraline was still small, just over two months old. It was also cold, whereas it was quite hot this year by the time we finished our ride.

So much was different. I wouldn’t suggest this as an ongoing tradition since there will come time that they will be too old for Thomas, but there is something really special about going back to the same place again a year or more later and seeing how much things have changed.

Also, really, this was a lot more fun with friends!

As a bonus, it was Brian’s birthday, and he wanted to celebrate by taking the kiddos out for some fun. Who couldn’t love such an awesome husband?!


When we arrived, JP, Lisa, Jonathan and Joshua were already there waiting for us. We shared donuts with them while we waited for Bobby’s family to arrive. We had tickets for one of the earliest rides, which was also a better decision than last year (which had depended more on nap schedules).


Before our ride, we had some time to climb on the lawn mowers and get tattoos (Thomas, of course).



This light line allowed us time to get some photos with Thomas that we weren’t able to get last year, and it was still cooler out when we boarded so the train wasn’t too hot.


We squished together, 6 adults in 8 seats with 3 preschoolers and 3 babies. It was fun though, and we were all able to talk to one another! Jameson sat on my lap so nicely.




Coraline had a nice time, and tried to steal the socks off Jack, which is something Jameson also used to do. A baby stealing socks from younger babies is so cute and innocent and seems like a metaphor for something meaningful.



After our ride, Jameson and the boys jumped around in a couple of the bounce houses they had out.

We were pretty thrilled that we were able to convince Jameson quickly that a $3 straw with a picture of Thomas on it was a great souvenir! (As opposed to the $20+ kids shirts and trains)

That afternoon, we celebrated Brian’s birthday at his parent’s house. More fun to come!

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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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Two Makes a Party


Our good friends JP & Lisa had their second son Joshua baptized a couple weeks ago. Unfortunately, we had to miss the ceremony for Coraline’s nap schedule, but we were happy to come to the party afterwards!


Like all children I know, Coraline had a blast playing at a different house with all different toys! She was occasionally unsettled when she realized I was getting up or moving away from her, hence this sad look below. I like to call her a little kitty cat sometimes because she’ll rub her head on our legs for attention or comfort, I’m not sure!


Jameson spent most time in their brand new finished basement (so jealous), and outside. I didn’t get an opportunity to hang out in the basement much since all the babies were upstairs, but this little car track happened to be upstairs and Coraline enjoyed it just as much as Jameson did!



Jameson’s friend Bobby and Joshua’s brother Jonathan of course were there to play with. They enjoyed their relatively healthy snack foods! Jameson loved his carrots.



Jonathan and Jameson actually had some bickering the lingered into most of their playtime together this visit. They both wanted the same ball, and had trouble sharing. Jameson even took the ball away! They were both a little wound up to properly apologize to each other, but like most of our visits there now, Jameson said he missed Jonathan when it was over!


Coraline loved being outside. She isn’t afraid or concerned about the grass. Next to her is little Jack, Bobby’s little brother. She looks so old!


It was so windy that day, hilarious that she has hair that blows around now.


Coraline is starting to really enjoy pretend walking with our assistance. She throws out her little feet far in front of her and has no balance. She attempting a lot of pushing herself up from us when we sit down, but still doesn’t do much “pulling up”. It won’t be long though!


We had a great time as usual, but it was a different experience really needing to manage two kids since Coraline no longer sits still at all. We now have two active and trouble-making kiddos to watch, occupy and mediate!


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Spring Is Here

The beginning of April finally felt more like Spring; we’ve been able to get outside on the weekends and evenings. We’ve planted seeds to try to get our own plants ready for the garden this year instead of buying garden-ready plants at the garden shops. It’s been a fun experiment so far. Our tomato plants have sprouted quickly while the pepper plants are further behind.


I put Coraline out on the grass, and she sat back after every time she put her hand on the ground. She doesn’t remember grass from last year!



Coraline gives great high fives.

I love pulling the kids in the wagon. Coraline is much more interactive when she’s sitting in the wagon than in a stroller. Jameson wanted to help pull the other night which was funny!


We have had quite a bit of rain as well which puts a damper on the warmth we’ve been enjoying. It’s raining right now! I keep telling Jameson (and reminding myself) that we need the rain for the grass to get green and plants to grow! We bought Jameson some rain boots to splash in the puddles with, but he was very concerned when he got his pants wet when he jumped. We had to go inside immediately and change.



Since we’ve been outside, we’ve ran into our neighbors Lily and her brother several times too. Jameson loves playing with Lily, they are so fun together. They have been trying to “pump” and move the swings themselves, but need some more practice. I can’t wait for more opportunities for us to be outside!



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Last weekend, Jameson spent the afternoon at Grandma and Poppa’s while Brian, Coraline and I ran some errands. When we returned later that afternoon, I headed home to their house early so I could capture some of Jameson sled riding since I missed it the first time!


Grandma and Poppa have two sleds. One is a classic one with metal skates, and the other a more modern basic plastic one. The snow was deep, so the classic one went a little slower, perfect for Jameson and Grandma to ride down together.


Grandpa did pave the way a couple times and test out the plastic sled to see how fast it was going to go (really fast).


There is a stump a little in the way of their perfect sled-riding hill in the backyard that they’re going to remove this year, so we were cautious of him going down himself. But after Grandma stopped him from going too fast on the plastic sled he insisted on riding, we gave in and let him ride the one with the metal skates all by himself! Then he moved on to the plastic sled, but starting just a bit further down the hill.




He even let me ride with him once. But only once, because I went faster than I expected and screamed and threw snow into his face when I stopped us at the bottom. And I may have squished his face a bit.



Jameson had a great time sledding and making snow angels with Grandma and Poppa, and I think everyone got a workout going up and down the hill. (Especially Grandma who kept asking Jameson if he wanted pulled back up the hill on the sled, haha!)


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Snow Play


This was Coraline’s first snow experience on New Year’s Day! We unboxed Jameson’s old snow suit, but realized we had no boots for her so we improvised with pajamas, a couple plastic bags, and a couple layers of socks. We were only outside with her for about 20 minutes, but she had a good time looking around. She was pretty happy to be in my arms, and a little concerned and curious about the snow but overall did great!


We brought out the sled for Jameson who loved daddy pulling him. He didn’t even mind too much when he fell off this year and was really thrilled to be outside having fun. The process of getting two kids in their snow suits though was the least fun part.




Coraline was not a huge fan of Jameson’s snow covered mittens covering her face. Oops!



After Coraline went in, we let Sasha out for a bit. Sasha always loves snow balls. She acts like a puppy again in the snow, but like Coraline we limited her play time outside since she tires easily. She happily went back inside to nap afterwards.




We were excited the snow lasted into the weekend, since it always seems that it melts away before we get a chance to play in it. The rising temperatures made it perfect to build a snowman, and Jameson and daddy got to make too! They even pulled carrots up from the garden for noses.



When Jameson talked to grandma on the phone later about his snowmen, he said that he wanted her to bring a hat (he loves the Frosty the Snowman song). Unfortunately the snowmen melted before she could come over with a hat; maybe next time!

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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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Trick or Treat!

Our official city trick or treat was delayed due to weather (for the second year in a row!) so we had it on a Sunday instead of the scheduled Halloween.

Since I had already gone with Jameson trick or treating with friends, I decided to hang back and hand out candy. Brian went with grandma and the neighbors, and I got a nice little break to read! Too bad it was ice cold; thankfully Brian left me a heater running in the garage.


Jameson had to stop for candy at our house twice; before he left and when they got back too. When he returned, he shouted “trick or treat!” I think he got the hang of it this time.


Coraline was cozy in her costume, but after about a half hour, she returned with neighbor baby Peyton because it was so cold outside!



And they were off! First they went to our brand new neighbors whose house was just built and finished just that week. Brian tells me that he had lots of fun.



A great finish to our fun Halloween this year! But unfortunately it means no more pictures of kiddos in costume!

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All Dressed Up

We’ve been able to make the most of our costumes again this year, between Halloween activities and our official city trick or treat getting delayed! First, we went trick or treating at a friend’s house on Saturday.

Because Brian had to work, I left Coraline (they easy one, for real. I never thought I’d say that about a baby, but Jameson’s a bit more work than her right now!) and I took Jameson by himself to our friend’s house. We were there not too long ago for their daughter’s birthday.

Jameson was pretty shy, but warmed up over the few hours we were there. First we did crafts with foam stickers and pumpkins.

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Then we ate and went out for trick or treating! Jameson didn’t want to say “trick or treat” bu the did get out a “thank you” a couple times. Milo was a hit in his Lightning McQueen costume. Jameson wanted to keep going for a while; he loved getting candy! I loved enjoying Jameson, by himself. We haven’t been able to do that much recently; it was a nice mother-son evening. He even stayed awake the whole car ride back.

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Then we went to Boo at the Zoo! This year we went to the Cleveland Zoo (last year, it was the smaller Akron Zoo). I think we like the Akron one better, since it’s smaller and more suited for little kids, but they didn’t really care.

At first, Jameson and Jonathan did not want to be in the wagon. Not even a little bit. Jameson had fallen asleep in the car and was still waking up.


Coraline though as usual was just taking it all in.



Jameson slowly woke up and started having fun. He captured a few photos before it got too dark. Lisa and Jason with their daughter Vivienne joined us too! Kids were hard to capture all together this year.




They had some treat bags for the kids, and we even got to see a bear eating a pumpkin.



The kids had a good time! Jameson also got to dress up at school for their Halloween party, and then again for our neighborhood event. All this before our regular neighborhood trick or treat!


Coraline wasn’t able to have a costume at school, but everyone did dress up for Halloween to get a cute photo!


Our neighborhood puts on an event with crafts and activities for kids. We went with the neighbors and grandma.


Jameson enjoyed the crafts and games like ring toss and a bean bag toss. I think he really like the decorating a cookie best (filed away under good ideas for the future).



With our $10 fee which helps support the event, we also got flashlights for the kids which were a hit.


We also ran into Nathan, Jameson’s best friend from school. This photo was a little grainy, but I love the delight on their faces.


Coraline eventually fell asleep on grandma, so sweet.


Last year, we took pictures with our local Kiss look-alike, but this year he wasn’t dressed up. His yard was still pretty awesome though, so we still got a fun Halloween shot of the kids.


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Pumpkins & Hay

We’ve really been enjoying our fall so far, and the weekend after we returned from vacation, we took the kids to a little farm. There, we had a hayride and some photo opportunities.






This is the first year that Jameson has every seen a corn pit, and he was a little concerned about the feeling between his toes. He didn’t want to leave though; he just wanted to watch the big kids.



Animals are always a hit, and he got a kick out of the chickens that were just roaming around the yard. The farm also raises cattle and we saw some calves on our hayride.



Jameson enjoys going up on the tractors now, even the big ones, without fear.


The following weekend we went to get our pumpkins at a real pumpkin patch! Every year, I say I want to go to a real one and pick them from the vine. Last year we came close, but the vines had already been pulled up. This year we found the real thing!


We went with JP, Lisa and Jonathan. Lisa is pregnant and due in November. We are so excited to meet Coraline’s new friend (and find out if it’s a he or she!!)


We took a hayride back out to the corn maze (which we didn’t do this year: it’s acres large!), and then to the pumpkin patch.


Jameson dove right in picking out pumpkins. He was pretty flexible though with dad’s selection.



We even got some photos of Coraline on the ground. She ended up with some muddy hands, reaching for that pumpkin (which is, in fact, one of the actual ones we took home). How about that adorable pumpkin hat!





After we made our final selection, I tried to have Jameson take a photo. He was very interested in sitting on top of the pumpkins, which cracked me up.




All in all, a very successful trip. We even went out to dinner with our friends and successfully occupied children! We went to Hartville Kitchen, which makes a good homecooked meal. With pie, of course. On our way home, we stopped at Crafted Artisan Meadery (honey wine). The kids and I stayed in the car while Brian went in to check it out. We might become fans! We took home two bottles which we haven’t cracked open just yet.

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