Polar Express Snow Monsters

After the last Polar Express in 2015, I had said we’d probably be done with the Polar Express, but somehow the holiday spirit got a hold of me, and I decided to keep the kids up late, feed them a bunch of sugar and trap them aboard a train with us again. This year we were joined by our friends and their sons Jonathan and Joshua.


Matching PJs were a little less traditional. While on a girls trip to Niagara Falls, we found these adorable Yeti pajamas which I called Yeti Spaghetti at home (like the game). The kids wore them the whole season and loved them!



I also couldn’t help it and bought Yeti slippers. Too much holiday spirit, ha!


And, yes, I did get matching pajamas again this year. At least, matching bottoms. Look! A rare photo of me with the kids all smiles!







Jameson got to sing in the mircophone, and performed admirably. Everyone did the pajama parade, consumed cookies, and were thrilled seeing Santa. It still might not be our last year…



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The Disney Wonder

Just before the weather got cold in Ohio in early November, I had the opportunity to board the Disney Wonder on a two night test cruise! Uncle Tyler scored us this awesome opportunity. However, Brian wasn’t really up for going, and I didn’t want to take Coraline myself. I thought two young kiddos myself might be a little much. It really worked out perfect though because Aunt Holly wanted to go, and we had a limited number of tickets anyway.

So Jameson and I boarded a plane (or three) for a three nights away from home. I tried to get us cheap flights since this was such a short stay, so the travel day was pretty grueling. Jameson was a trooper, and I hadn’t flown Delta before, but they treated Jameson like royalty. I really enjoyed our flights, aside from layovers (which was my own fault, trying to be cheap). That’s probably the last time I will do two stops for a trip unless there is literally no other choice.

Our first night, we stayed with Uncle Tyler in his apartment, and ate out for breakfast the next morning. Then we had a drive and wait time to board the ship. Our two night vacation was really spent with a lot of waiting. An exhausted Jameson was a little slow picking up on the surprise- we hadn’t told him anything. Though he was pumped about using a booster seat in the car! The ships were easy to see in the distance about 10 minutes before we pulled up, and it took Jameson until we were right upon them to notice!

We did have a cranky first evening after a couple long a days of flying, driving, waiting and standing. Jameson is therefore not in this photo.

We enjoyed the launch party complete with singing and dancing, but were disappointed that the kids pool area wasn’t open. The center pool was, so Jameson swam around in that instead and loved it, but we were all a little bummed because the kids splash area looked really fun! After all that standing, flying, driving and waiting though, we did have a cranky first evening, so, Jameson wasn’t in this photo, ha!

We sent Jameson away to the kids area that night while us adults watched the “Golden Mickeys” show the first night because of that, but Jameson enjoyed himself there despite that (I was truly surprised he let me leave him there, but it helped we had walked around to introduce him to the kids stuff earlier during the parent visit period Open House). It was pretty awesome, particularly the Toy Story themed area.

On board, he enjoyed more ice cream, the hot tub and pool, and awesome new kids play spaces. Stayed up late, met Louis the alligator, watched Frozen the musical, went shopping.

I got up early to get some shots with the good camera for the sunrise. We were graced with the presence of a helicopter, shooting footage for future marketing, which was pretty cool.


Overnight, we had been traveling to the Disney private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay (pronounced Key). This was such a blast!

The whole crew

Swimming in the Bahamas at Castaway Cay

Enjoyed his very first (ocean) beach day yesterday. Bar was set pretty high.

We buried Jameson in the sand twice, used snorkel fins and swam to the first buoy, had ice cream 3 times, drank “fuzzy” lemonade, biked the island, loved the beach.

When you bike around the island, you get to bike down a huge landing strip. The expanse of that huge road narrows to proper biking paths. We made sure to explore all the roads before we returned our rentals.

Jameson didn’t really get a feel for the snorkel very well, but wore the goggles and fins pretty far out. It was hard work! I couldn’t get him to look in the water much once we were further out though, because he was convinced there were things at the bottom which were cause to fear. He was so brave despite and was pumped to reach that first buoy! If you go further, there is more stuff to see, almost like a scavenger hunt in the ocean.

Buried in the sand twice, used snorkel fins and swam to the first buoy, had ice cream 3 times, drank fuzzy lemonade, biked the island, loved the beach.

That evening was much more pleasant for him than the first. On board, Jameson enjoyed more ice cream, the hot tub and pool. He stayed up late, met Louis the alligator at Princess Tiana’s restaurant (a truly stunning venue), watched a spectacular performance of Frozen the musical with us, and went shopping. He was introduced to Sprite, which is now his drink of choice when going out to restaurants. He loves the fizzy pop now.

We made sure to visit with another character, since Jameson missed out on the first one. We had to dance a little for our photo, haha.

Also saw Chip and Dale! Always a favorite. We danced for our photo.

The most hilarious moment of our short vacation was the family photo. The photographer assumed Uncle Tyler and I were parents to both Aunt Holly and Jameson. She made sure to snap some shots of just “the kids” together, and got some awkward and hilarious photos of Tyler and I posing together. We really weren’t containing our giggles, but played along.

Overnight, we sped back to port, and I made sure to capture some photos of the gorgeous sunset before our trip was officially over.





I can’t thank Tyler enough for letting us join him and see all his hard work aboard the Disney Wonder!

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Thanksgiving 2016

For Thanksgiving, Brian and I had to separate because we didn’t have a kennel spot for Luna. So I took the kiddos to my parents house, while Brian stayed home.

Brian was going to spend Thanksgiving with his parents but that ended up being pretty spotty because Luna got sick from eating a plant! He spent most of Thanksgiving Day driving back and forth trying to eat dinner at their house and check on Luna, which was unfortunate. Luckily she ended up being fine, but we have really had to watch this eater!


Instead of doing the rec center’s Christmas lights at Christmas this year, they started them early, so we went during our Thanksgiving visit and really got in the holiday spirit!







Yes, that is Coraline being read to by Grandpa from a Reader’s Digest magazine. She even requested the story again! Grandpa did a good job making up a story for her. She and Jameson adored Grandpa this visit. Jameson really started to get good at Wii Bowling, so much so that we set up our Wii at home later this winter.



Aunt Holly got a new dog named Artemis! So we got to meet her and experience her craziness. She’s not barking as much these days, but even then she was super well behaved with the children! Better even than miss Luna, who is always trying to get them to play with her.


We tried to get Coraline in a few outfits from my childhood. One birthday cape I’m hoping to get her in for her birthday! Coraline was less than thrilled with our fashion show, ha!



The kids and I had a good time, even though we had to be separated from daddy during this visit!


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Star Wars Halloween

Similar to last year, we picked our pumpkins at the same farm where we did apple picking. We really got some giant pumpkins!



Both kids drew faces on the pumpkins for Brian to cut out (he was maybe less than thrilled about that, ha). The paper rings hanging from the porch were made by Jameson and hung there through the rest of the year!




We had moderately good helpers this year. Coraline gave up pretty early though Jameson wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty!



We spotted a woolly bear!


Coraline was pretty insistent on being Darth Vader this year, or a Storm Trooper so she could shoot bad guys (nobody really corrected this idea). So I got her a Darth Vader costume and Jameson wanted to be Kylo Ren, so I loved that I got to match the kids again this year!

Jameson would’ve trick or treated all night (as would Coraline, though she was utterly spent). Jameson kept wanting to go to just one more house!



Brian and I both got to attend their Halloween party at school, Jameson got to attend too since he didn’t have regular school that day, so that was a great experience to have them all there again. Jameson is looking pretty old these days though!



It was a fun holiday with the kids having even more fun as they get older. I got Brian to dress up with me for our neighborhood haunted party. I took the photos this year for the event, so I didn’t get to hang out with the kiddos, which made me feel a little sad, but I was happy to have the opportunity! Here’s my set up, from which I have learned a lot I can apply to future events or sets for my new business, Rosy Days Photography.


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Fair Fun

We did do our yearly fair visit in the fall over Labor Day weekend. I enjoy looking back at the pumpkin photos to see how much the kids have grown!




We’ve gotten a lot more selective over time at what we go to see at the fair. I love seeing the pumpkins, the kids like seeing the animals and trucks. When Coraline gets older maybe I can convince her that the craft building is awesome too!


Oh, how could I forget the rides?






Coraline really just wanted to hold the yellow duck all by herself but they said she was too little. Second best is petting it.



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I have a lot I could say about our first year of kindergarten, but I won’t dwell too long since our first year of school is already almost over. The one word that comes to mind is challenging: Jameson is challenged daily at school (and he rises to the occasion!) but often that comes out in behavioral problems at home. We are happy that he seems to be performing well at school, but have tried several strategies at home to help him deal with frustration at home including buying him a punching bag!

What has worked the best up until recently was introducing consequences and trying to do less yelling (trying being the key word). He is frustrating and independent which I am sure will serve him well as he becomes his own independent persevering person.

Enjoyed our back to school carnival tonight! Came home with masks, balloon animals, cotton candy and plastic alligators.

Who is this Kindergartener?

Just walking out of a tinker toy ad from 1960 from Instagram: http://ift.tt/2bKgmr4

Yesterday a kindergartner today a middle schooler

Ready for school in just a couple days now!

Jameson wanted him and Coraline to match for his second day of kindergarten


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Our Big Camping Trip

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!

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Beach Day

Beach day last year! For the kids who have never seen a beach, Lake Erie is pretty awesome. Coraline asked on and off for a few months to go to the beach. A proper beach in the south wasn’t really in the plans for 2016, so we went to Lake Erie instead. It was still a win!

Interrupted popcorn snack for this photo can you tell?

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October Visit with Aunt Holly

In October, we had a fun visit with Aunt Holly! Since I hadn’t had enough of the fall color yet, we decided to take an overdue trip to Holden Arboretum and explore their new canopy walk.

Enjoy the photo dump of our fun explorations:









I also enjoyed the opportunity to use my new wide angle lens again!


Hiked up and down 220 steps all by herself (with hand holding for mom and dads peace of mind)




Jameson was a big fan of the little zip line!


I think we were there just before the peak leaves, but it was such fun to get outside and we had gorgeous weather!




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What’s New?

Hi there

If you are still here, following my occasional ramblings and photographic adventures, thank you! Hopefully, the drought is over. I’m doing some (brief) recaps of 2016 over the next week, and I hope to return to a more regular posting schedule this year. I think it’s important to remember the fun anecdotes in our lives and this is my favorite place to do that.

A lot of my time and attention has been devoted to a New Project.

I have been hard at work on my new business, Rosy Days Photography. If you’re local to the area in northeast Ohio, check it out.

Thanks for your support!




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