Our Polar Express

A couple weeks ago, we were able to do the Polar Express with our local scenic railroad service, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. They also brought Thomas to us earlier this year, so we knew it would be a pleasant activity for us all to enjoy. We were even able to go with our neighbors.

Jameson had never seen or read the Polar Express, so a couple hours prior to the trip, we watched the Polar Express movie to prepare him. He was excited to get in his pajamas and ride a train! Coraline meanwhile had to stay at home for this since it was so late in the evening. It was nice to be able to spend some time with just one bundle of energy!


When we first arrived, he had fallen asleep in the car on the way there, so he was a little grumpy but quickly warmed up after seeing Lily!


The kids got special golden tickets like in the book, and Lily even brought the book with her, so Jameson was able to look at the book before the train ride started. They advise to arrive early to all sit together, so we had about a half hour wait before the train got moving.


The helper elves came around while we were waiting and made name tags for the kids so that the elves could talk to them personally during our trip!


The men had to sit together in one seat so that we could make room for everyone (obviously no hardship, haha), but they were able to spread out after the train got moving and no one needed the extra seats across from them.




During our wait time, I took a lot of photos of the kiddos being silly. They both held on to their golden tickets tightly and no one lost them!

I loved Jameson in his monkey pajamas; for the past year or so, he has actually worn the looser two piece pajamas; these “footie” pajamas were a gift from last Christmas, and when I brought them out for this occasion, he was thrilled to put the “soft” pjs on. They’re now in regular rotation.


The men went to purchase popcorn for everyone, and the kids kept peering over and around their seats to look for them.



Finally the popcorn arrived! And the train started moving! Everyone stayed happy and occupied. Phew.



The next big event was the conductor coming around to punch their tickets. I love the look of shock and awe on their faces.



During our ride to the North Pole, they read the story with some interactive elements (like banners of scenes from the movie held and shown); Jameson didn’t really pay attention to that though. He was more interested in his ticket, the popcorn and cookie they brought out.

They also did hot chocolate, which wasn’t too hot for the kiddos. Jameson’s picky about chocolate though so he wasn’t too interested in the hot chocolate.


Another activity they did was have all the men do their best impression of Santa’s ho ho ho! Daddy wasn’t too great at it. We did have a slight delay from a tree branch (and some reindeer) on the rail but Jameson only got antsy toward the end.


And then we arrived! The North Pole was all lit up and elves were out to greet us. Santa and Mrs. Claus came out on the sleigh, and then Mrs. Claus left alone. We didn’t know it, but Santa had climbed aboard our train!



Surprise! Here comes Santa!


We had only talked to Jameson once prior to this about what he wanted Santa to bring but each time he is asked he says the same thing: a teddy bear. (Specifically, a teddy bear the size of Bobby bear so that Bobby bear has a friend). It is just so adorable that he wants a teddy bear for Christmas.

Jameson even told the big man himself on our train ride.


Santa Claus gave Jameson a bell, just like in the story and movie.


Our ride back was much faster, and my favorite part was singing Christmas carols from the signed book we got from the elves on our train car. Jameson knows Frosty the Snowman by heart; I loved watching him sing.


All in all, it was a wonderful event. We had so much fun, even with Jameson being under 3. He wasn’t old enough to appreciate all the activities on our trip, but just the other night he told us at the dinner table, from nowhere, that he had rode the Polar Express. He definitely remembered and had fun on our trip.

Continue Reading

Jameson & Coraline: Sibling Interactions

In the past month, we’ve seen a big change in sibling interactions with Jameson and Coraline. For one, Coraline is really focused on his activity and watching his every move. Jameson though has also begun taking more of an interest in her.

At first, he seemed to like her and talk about her, but didn’t volunteer much to do anything with her (which was typically just me asking him to sit next to her).



Now, he doesn’t mind sitting next to her as much as he used to, and loves to try and hold her hand (sometimes she is not too excited to hold his). The other night, he even asked to hold her himself, which he hasn’t done since she first came home.



Jameson will also read to her, and dad even let him feed her a bit (she was refusing the bottle anyway, as usual at home). He will get toys that she has dropped and point out all the puffs that she has left on her highchair and of course wants to push her stroller.



He even includes her in his play sometimes. Here he is measuring her head. He was also using the saw, but I told him he could only use the soft saw on her.


He has also made up a game, “Kaboom” which Coraline had to try too. Coraline, despite the high risk feet involved, absolutely loved it. She was laughing just as much as he was and grinning at him the entire time.

When I first put her in the swing, he insisted on helping push her and told me that she wanted to go high (she did not).

Coraline was not super pleased with her first swinging experience (Jameson was pushing)

Jameson has also picked up on more of what we are saying about Coraline, saying “I pinched her” (which we joke about when she is crying and which we have tried to stop saying since then!) and “I woke her up” when he actually didn’t.

And perhaps most shockingly of all, we can actually sit with both kids in our laps for an extended period of time. When I say extended, I mean 5-10 minutes which must surely be hours in toddler time. Jameson doesn’t mind that we are all sitting together.


We are really enjoying how their sibling love has grown. I know it won’t always be like this, but right now it’s so wonderful to see their interactions together.

Continue Reading

Touch a Truck

A couple weeks ago, we took Jameson to a little local event called Touch a Truck. They occur in various cities throughout the summer, but our closest one was very convenient for us and we were happy to spend an hour at this FREE event.

Last year we actually were shopping when this event was going on, so we saw it last year as well though Jameson was a little young for it then.


Jameson was pretty intimidated at first. As much as he loves firetrucks, every time we’ve seen them up close this summer (at other festivals too), he has wanted to leave and not interested in them at all. So we walked by the firetrucks after getting our helmet, and continued on to the diggers and dozers, as we call them.

He was likewise unsure of those, but did get on one bigger tractor. Where he really shined was the littler but big ride on mowers. He wanted daddy up there too, but after some coaxing, we got him sitting himself.



On our way past the firetrucks, we had also passed by the bus. But now that Jameson had opened up a bit more, he was excited to get on the bus with me. I particularly thought this was important, for obvious reasons. We have a while before he’ll be riding a bus, but I’d rather drop those fears early!




He just seemed so very little getting off the bus. I can’t imagine him going off to school yet.


We had a lot of fun, and I loved that is was free. Coraline was there as well, though she slept on and off the whole time. She isn’t quite bit enough to be riding on trucks (if ever! My little sweet pea!)

Continue Reading

Holiday Weekend

Friday before fireworks, we had a fun-filled day sans Coraline. It wasn’t just the opportunity to spend some quality time with Jameson himself that prompted us to leave her at daycare; we also thought it would not be a good idea to let her go 4 days in a row without having a proper bottle, so we decided to leave her for part of the day.

We originally planned to go on a bike ride, but it threatened rain, so we went to the Cleveland Children’s Museum instead!



I’m not sure that Jameson fully appreciated spending time with just mom and dad by himself; he already seems so used to having Coraline around regardless! However, I appreciated it entirely, especially since someone would have needed to carry her or wear her in the Children’s Museum since no strollers are allowed.

Jameson took right to it, and went from exhibit to exhibit like he had been there before. He loved the boat with the steering wheel, and when we showed him the magnetic fishing rod, he wanted to get all the fishes into the basket.



He wasn’t as enthralled with the water table, I think because there were a lot of kids around it, and he may have been intimidated to get the toys he was interested in. Also because he refused to wear the rain jacket so I told him he wasn’t allowed to splash.



The grocery store though was ridiculously adorable. I loved watching Jameson pull stuff off the shelves and into the cart. We got fruits and veggies, chicken, orange juice (filled with orange tissue paper) and other boxed goods. There was a “checkout” stand, with other kids. Jameson put all his stuff on the counter, but wasn’t as much of a fan when the kid went to take his food; I’m not sure he fully understood the nature of the game.

He did pretty good with putting everything away though and moving on to our next stop, the “house” with baby dolls.



There were about 8 or 9 of these baby dolls, and after attempting to stack them in a small cradle and put them in the washing machine, we suggested he put them all in the big bed. Jameson himself decided to try and tuck them in, which just melted my heart.

At the doctors office, Jameson gave daddy a couple shots and checked his heart. I’m not sure he knew what he was looking for, but it was funny nonetheless.


Our last stop was the actual baby and toddler room where we could just let him run rampant. He was so good there, but I am glad that we were able to leave Coraline at home for this one!


After the Children’s Museum, we had Jameson go potty (yes, each time at the public potties is an event) and went to the Winking Lizard for what felt like the 50th time… it was tasty, but we need to find a new go-to restaurant. Jameson was pretty good for it as usual.

It never did rain, so when we got home we decided to brave a quick bike ride around the neighborhood. I got on my bike for the first time in possibly a full two years; it was fully operational since Brian had been riding my bike with the bike seat on it, so at least it was still in good shape!

Of course, it did at that moment decide to down pour! We got caught in the rain, but it let up pretty quick so we kept going and went around the neighborhood “lake”. Then we picked up Coraline and got ready for Aunt Carol’s house for dinner and fireworks!

Enjoyed farmers market and heritage festival this morning with grandma!

Saturday was full of more fun; we went to our usual Farmer’s Market where Jameson got a little balloon dog. Grandma went with us, and we moved Jameson’s car seat to the third row of dad’s car, which he actually loved. We had a passenger in the car then! It almost felt spacious!

We found that it was the annual Heritage Festival which goes on onĀ  4th of July weekend. I got a stromboli and we walked around the town we both graduated from and marveled at the positive changes happening in the town. (And all the new good looking places to eat that we should try)

Saturday afternoon, Jameson went to grandma’s house for a few hours, so Coraline got some of her own one on one time, which was nice. It is strange how easy it seemed with just one kid to take care of.

Even though it was overcast and on and off rainy over the 4th of July weekend, we were able to spend some quality time outside and without a doubt enjoyed our family time all together for 4 days straight!

Continue Reading

Two + Half


It would be hard for me to believe that Jameson was two and a half except that we have a newborn at home, so it’s starting to feel natural that he looks and acts so big. Since he first turned two, his reasoning and thinking skills have really improved. He won’t hesitate to tell us what he wants to eat, and then just as decisively will tell us that he wants something else instead and no longer wants chicken nuggets. And speaking of food, he seems to be more consciously messy, which drives us bonkers. Spitting food out on the table and dipping in his milk is a frequent favorite.


Every like and dislike is said in an earnest and urgent tone, and when he doesn’t get his way we are always talking him down from the ledge. Sometimes is easier than others, but overall we don’t experience many tantrums and consider these upset moments as blips on the radar.


Jameson is 26 pounds as of a month ago and measured about half an inch under 3 feet.


He is really developing his imagination which seems to revolve around food: playing tea with Lily, giving me “pizza”, and he has even told us that Bobby Bear wants to sit at the table to eat. Luckily Bobby Bear doesn’t eat real food. I can only imagine how much messier we’d be!


When I took a picture of Bobby Bear, Jameson said “say cheese Bobby Bear” and when he realized I couldn’t see his smile, he got Bobby Bear out of his chair and turned him around so I could take a picture of him smiling; I obliged, of course.

In another example of his growing imagination, as I was making his bed he told me he wanted a bounce house (he hadn’t really experienced the word “tent” yet). I built one for him, and while we didn’t bounce in it, we did lay in it and made another one that night which he decided to call a castle this time around and read stories inside.



Bed time has been going very smoothly. We had a couple rough months prior to Coraline being born but since then has been very smooth and routine-driven. So has the morning ritual and most mornings go great. Jameson is still wearing pull ups to bed (we tried recently without and it didn’t work nor did he wake up), but during the day he is completely potty trained even through naps.

We read library books at bedtime mostly now, switching them out every month or so. He really enjoys Curious George books which are longer than our former board books and a little more now. But he doesn’t like Curious George the TV show as much; that favorite still goes to Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (the Mr. Rogers cartoon reinvention). He asks to watch Daniel Tiger goes potty and Daniel Tiger goes to sleep.


And Coraline… he loves his little sister more each day as she seems to be more active and alert. We talk about her smiling at him, and he has finally sat still enough a couple times that she has been able to focus on him and truly smile at him. He likes to take her hand and do knuckles with her. At bath time recently he did “this little piggy” on her hands and toes, which melted my heart.

He does show some signs of wanting more of mom’s attention since it is frequently on Coraline and feeding her or holding her; dad does the morning and most bed routines, so when he can get mom to read a story or sing a song he is thrilled!


Jameson just loves to be outside and doing what daddy (and sometimes mommy) is doing. He sings frequently, sometimes songs we didn’t realize he knows. There is nothing better than listening to a garbled song from a cute toddler!

He loves playing with his neighborhood friends Lily and Nathan and is starting to remember that Nathan lives nearby now, requesting to go to his house on walks. He recognizes his school from the car while driving, even if we are just passing it, and also recognizes our neighborhood when we get close to the house. We can’t fool his memory as easily now!


We haven’t really experienced much of the terrible twos, so (knock on wood) I’ll take more of these toddler years please. He’s so fun!

Continue Reading


Jameson has a new skill, somersaulting.

He just keeps getting bigger by the day.

P.S. I’m back at work today; I can’t believe how quickly 12 weeks went by. Coraline is doing…. okay…. so-so…. with the bottle. I want to make a nice update of her bottle feeding adventures when this is all through but for now we’re still in the midst. As for myself, I am doing okay. I came in and immediately had a problem that I knew how to solve and a task that I knew how to do and that felt very good.

Continue Reading

Water Slide

The weekend before last was so hot, we enjoyed pulling out the pool that goes with our swing set and playing outside. (Sadly our Memorial Weekend was COLD!) Jameson loves dumping water down the slide and going down after it.

After over a week without a proper nap (since he doesn’t nap anywhere but school, he didn’t sleep at Meemaw and Grandpa’s or over the weekends), he was simply exhausted and on Sunday he passed out on Brian. Brian moved him onto the couch by himself where he slept for over two hours before we woke him up.

Coraline even napped some at the same time, and a quiet house in the middle of the day was very odd.

We also found eggs in the bird’s nest on our porch. However, something got into the eggs since and its now empty; mother bird has abandoned the nest. I was particularly disappointed since I wanted to both document it and show Jameson their growth. They were pretty.

Continue Reading

Visit from Uncle Tyler

Jameson asked if Uncle Tyler was coming back several times after he left, he enjoyed his time with his uncle so much!

They watched movies and tv shows together, and Uncle Tyler got introduced to Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, a replacement for the childhood series Mr. Rogers Neighborhood that Jameson just adores.

Brian and Uncle Tyler also found the time to put together Jameson’s new swing set on Saturday, though we didn’t get to spend as much time on it over the weekend as we would’ve like since it was rainy on Sunday!

They watched a lot of Disney movies too while Brian worked on getting materials for our garden and beginning the building. I figured it was the perfect time to work on building the garden so that we’d have a spare set of hands to either watch Jameson or help Brian out when needed! It worked out even better than expected, since Coraline was so needy over the weekend.

Sunday it was time to load dirt up into the garden, and Jameson insisted on helping out, even though it was lightly raining almost the whole time and a little chilly.

This photo of them and the wheelbarrows just cracks me up. Jameson had trouble loading up his shovel with dirt, so Uncle Tyler was happy to help, but Jameson insisted on pushing his own wheelbarrow back and forth to the garden.

We didn’t actually complete the dirt-loading process, but with Tyler’s assistance we got it much closer to completion than we would’ve on our own! (That is, on Brian’s own!) Don’t worry, we fed Uncle Tyler well for all his trouble, with breakfast casserole, ribs and spaghetti dinner. Although I think he’d agree that the hardest part was keeping up with Jameson!

Uncle Tyler even wiped a few noses for Jameson by the time he left. When Jameson saw me take another photo of Coraline and Uncle Tyler, he insisted on one for himself too.

Continue Reading

Toddler Jameson

My two favorite boys!

Jameson continues to amaze us daily. He is repeating everything we say, and we find ourselves explaining things more (this isn’t just a nut, it’s a cashew, and things aren’t just broke, they’re loose or missing batteries etc.). While I’m sure he doesn’t understand the reasons, the fact that I’m giving him new and different reasons for the way something must be actually makes him more accepting.

Jameson is currently responding well to “last one” or “one more”, and while he will try for extras (like one more slide! and one more run! and one more water! goodnight Sasha, go potty, etc), most of the time he doesn’t have a meltdown when the requests are denied after the announcement of “last one” has been spoken. Bedtime is currently going well, much better than pre-baby Coraline’s arrival.

However, we have been introduced to Scary Things. He will announce something is scary, and usually it doesn’t seem to have a particular reason. He saw Cars 2 (or rather, 15 minutes of it) and announced it was scary and that it was over.

Tonight, he heard a noise, which I told him was a loud car outside, and he told me that was scary and wanted to sit in my lap and asked three or four times later about the loud car, to which I reassured him it was gone. He has occasionally requested his small lamp on, but I insist on keeping it off since he has his stars, nightlight, and he has recently enjoyed his glow worm again.

He occasionally wants up, to be held, or “wrapped up” with his blankets, though he is most independent. When he injures himself, he most frequently requests his small lovey blanket and bear rather than a kiss from mom.

The blankets are slowly being called balankeys rather than leekys, which I am a little sad to see go. He also has a few more “guys” as they’re called. It currently consists of 2 bigger blankets, 1 small lovey size blanket which is sometimes 2 on the weekends when the one from school comes home, 1 bigger teddy bear called Bobby which was Brian’s as a child, and his lovey size bear, plus a little Elmo.

Jameson is saying “sorry” a lot, for things he doesn’t need to say sorry for. He doesn’t seem to quite understand the concept yet, though I appreciate the effort! He is also saying “achoo” literally, expecting us to say “bless you” back as if he’s sneezed, which is pretty funny. He seems to like that joke and loves to be silly.

We are currently working on clean up and being more consistent about having him clean up his own toys.

Can you believe he still fits in the bumbo? Around the waist, he is still comfortable in 18 month clothes, though length and tops are definitely 24 months to 2T. He is wearing size 7 shoes and has been particular about picking out new ones (they are the same as the last ones, by his choice). He can put on and take off his own pants, underwear, socks and shoes. He can’t do shirts himself just yet, nor buttons or zippers unless they’re already started.

Slowly we are approaching potty training at night; he is frequently dry overnight though we still put him in pull ups then. He tells us in the morning if he’s had an accident and thinks he is wet (though he isn’t). We haven’t had an accident in weeks, though we haven’t had the opportunity to test him in public restrooms for some time.

Life is great for him right now, and we finally brought his bike outside which he can ride as long as he has a helmet on. He loves to go from his driveway, down the sidewalk to Lily’s house and back, over and over and over. We can’t wait to put up his very first swing set in the backyard this week and are enjoying the warmer weather.

Continue Reading

Spring Weekend

Finally, spring weather seems to be here to stay!

This weekend, we got out a lot, even with a newborn and toddler. Saturday, we went to the meat market to stock up on fresh chicken and beef, and then stopped at the farmers market on the way back to pick up some apples for Jameson to take to school during the week.

We played outside, and it is so fun watching Jameson be able to run to through the backyard which is finally drying out a little as well.

It was even warmer on Sunday, and we went to the zoo! We met JP, Lisa and Jonathan there (and we were only about 10 minutes late, haha)

Jameson told us on the way that he was going to see zebahs (we were a little surprised at his choice of animals that he was intending to see, since lions and elephants are in more of the shows that we watch!). We did get to see zebras, but first we saw elephants and the lion, which was on his back, sunbathing.

The trip for Coraline was a bit anticlimactic, since she isn’t observing much yet! But I did breastfeed her, in public (with a drape), which I thought was an accomplishment. Much more convenient than bringing bottles, that’s for sure.

She napped most of the time, and was a little angel for the entire trip. I forgot how much easier newborns really are sometimes.

The toddlers went stroller-free, which was great. Of course, we couldn’t have done it without the two strong husbands to carry them when needed. It was so different, looking at Coraline bundled in her stroller and Jameson walking around and thinking that’s only two years away for her. I am regularly reminded of how fast the time goes, and perhaps more appreciative of that fact with her than I was with Jameson.

After some snacks and about an hour and a half at the zoo, we decided to get some lunch.

Lunch was wild! We went to Aladdin’s, and the boys did great with veggies and hummus and pitas, but Jameson clearly needed to go potty and kept refusing. We tried at the zoo at every restroom, and tried again at Aladdins another 3 times. When we spoke logically to him, he said he needed to go potty, but as soon as he saw the restroom, he refused. I am not sure where this fear of public restrooms came from, though I think it’s related to the automatic flushers; Aladdin’s didn’t have them though. Regardless, he started telling us he wanted to go home, and we quickly wrapped it up.

We tried at the public rest area off the highway with similar results. Somehow… he managed to hold it until we got home. I am still not sure how he managed that. This is the first time I have thought that being potty trained has its inconveniences. Not sure how to get him over this fear except to continue trying. Unfortunately, we only have opportunities on the weekends sometimes to get him to go at other restrooms.

Looking for any advice!

Continue Reading