A Year of Jake

Years ago, when I started this blog, I wrote about everything.  Food, Dayton, food, the weather, food, pregnancy, food.  Eventually those posts about non-food related things sort of fell off.  My blog turned into a food blog and, while that’s perfectly fine, I wanted to return to my roots so to speak.  I have an increasingly terrible memory.  It’s actually quite alarming sometimes that I can’t remember things.  Therefore, I am going to add more non-food things back to the blog.  I want to look back ten years from now, read what I wrote and think “YES!  I do remember that now!”  Thank goodness I was a life blogger when I was pregnant!

In the spirit of this notion, I would like to take a look back at some of my favorite pictures of my family from 2016.  It’s not too far into 2017 to do that, right?

img_1434The year started off with celebrating our friend, Anderson’s, 4th birthday.  He’s the little dark haired boy behind Jake.  This kid is so sweet and a great friend to my little buddy.  Super hero and little boys go so great together!  Anderson’s mom, Shannon, was amazing!  She had all kinds of fun little games for the kids to play including walking a balance beam and smashing ice cream cones with hulk hands!  Plus she got a DONUT CAKE from a local donut shop here.  Since this party I’ve ordered at least three more!  It was amazing…

IMG_2135.jpegIn March, we flew to Fort Myers for a weeklong vacation to see my parents (Grandpa John and Grandma Nan) at their winter home.  Jake loved the heated pool they had and asked to go swimming at least three times a day.  We could barely get him out!  This trip was when we started ignoring naps.  We tried to get him to take a nap the first day, but all the excitement was too much for him and he couldn’t sleep.  He did pretty good temperament wise and even stayed up until his normal 9PM bedtime!Fort Myers.jpgThis kid is definitely a beach baby though.  He loved swimming in the ocean and collecting sea shells.  We also took a trip to an alligator preservation and saw live alligators from an air boat!  What a cool experience!

img_2703As you may know, I work for Walgreens and in May it was Red Nose Day!  From March to May, we sold red noses to benefit several charities all around the world.  If you aren’t familiar with the program, you should definitely click on the link above!  It’s an awesome organization that helps millions of children all over the planet.

img_2753Jake went on his first field trip this year too.  They went to see “Duck for President” at a local theater.  Apparently it was super cute and the kids had an awesome time!

img_2773Grandma Peggy came for a visit in April and stayed for a week.  We hung out with her on her first night here at one of her favorite local spots, Dewey’s.  If you’re a local and you haven’t tried it yet, you need to figure out a way!  Awesome pizza and salad!

img_2831This goofy face makes me smile every single day.  There’s no significance to this picture other than that.  Pure silliness in this child and I love him more and more each day because of it.

img_2970Another random photo that I loved of us.  Here we were, waiting on Daddy to order Subway sandwiches for us and I snapped this.  Cute kid.  Love him!

Jake also played on TWO soccer teams this year.  He played at the YMCA in the spring and a local team during the fall.  Parents…be warned.  “Fall” soccer starts in the summer and man those games are HOT!  I was just sitting on the sidelines and I think I lost a gallon of water in sweat.  I felt kind of bad for the kiddos having to run around during the game, but they didn’t seem to mind.  Also…fun fact…Jake got the number 6 for this jersey during the summer soccer season.  This was Daddy’s soccer number all through childhood and high school.  I love it!

img_3550Jake received an apron and oven mitts from Grandma Peggy because of his interest in cooking.  He still loves to help in the kitchen and is getting better and better every week!  I bought him a set of kid’s knives to help him practice but I keep forgetting to pull them out.  Definitely adding this to the winter to do list since we’re stuck inside so much.

img_3566Did I mention he loves to swim?!  He graduated from his level 4 swimming class this summer and is now in level 5.  He’s got some skills to learn still but he has zero fear of the water!  I can’t wait to take him swimming this summer.  Last summer, he was just tall enough to stand in the shallow end and not have the water go over his nose.  He’s grown even more (obviously) so next year I will be even less nervous to let him swim without us in the water with him.  Luckily, one of his cousins is 10 and loves to swim too.  She’s a great “babysitter” in the water.

img_3693Another first for our family this year was camping!  Jeff’s sister, her husband, their three girls, and our family all camped out at a lake close by.  We spent one night under the stars, which was a perfect introduction for us into camping.  I think everyone loved it.  Some more than others!  I need a cot next time I think.  I’m a princess.  I know.

img_3784We also spent a ton of time at the splash park!  These kids are awesome and they love playing in the water.  There is also a regular park adjacent to the splash park, so they can run back and forth.  Several moms and I had a standing Monday night date during the summer. We would pack food and bring it to the park so we could eat and the boys could play.  It was amazing and I can’t wait to go back in a few months!

I also love that Jake met most of the kids he is friends with now when they were infants at the day care we go to.  I’m hoping they will continue these friendships for a very, very long time because not only are the kids great, but the moms are too.  We have a standing Girl’s Night once a month to eat, drink wine, and catch up.  It’s a wonderful thing.


Again, no significance in this picture.  I just love how cute he looked in his little Tommy polo shirt.  Does that even make sense?  It’s not a Polo shirt, yet it’s a polo shirt.  Anyhow…

Jake took his first official train ride this year!  After one of his soccer games, we drove to a nearby town, where they have a train they dress up with various themes.  They often do Thomas because that’s a no-brainer.  They also do the Polar Express, which we wanted to do this year, but didn’t get tickets in time.  A fun part about this day was that Jake’s friend Jack, who had moved away to Columbus earlier in the year, was able to come down and play!

img_6358One of the most fun things we did last year was going to Anna Maria Island, a “funky little town on the coast” or so my t-shirt says.  Guys, this place ROCKS.  It’s so cute and quaint, with just enough to do that you don’t get bored.  The town is very easy to navigate and has a free public trolley that goes all along Anna Maria and nearby Bradenton and Holmes Beaches.  It’s just a short drive away from Sarasota and Bradenton, too, so you’re never too far from anything.  We got a place right on the beach and spent tons of time in the ocean and looking for shells.

Jake even surfed for the first time!

We went with our friends, Kristy and Will.  It was an amazing trip and I can’t wait to go back!

Grandma Peggy came back in the fall and brought her partner, Grandpa Wes, with her.  One of the outings we took them to was the Renaissance Festival, a must for us every year. Jake LOVED riding the camel and I think the grandparents liked the interesting people.  Plus, of course, they got to hang out with their favorite little man!

We also checked out another local place, EnterTrainment Junction, for Colin’s 5th birthday.  He’s the one in front in the train picture.  Colin is the sweetest, most loving kid on the planet.  He’s always got a great, goofy smile on his face and an infectious laugh.  The kids loved how HUGE the place was and of course the train theme was top notch.  Jake asked if he could have his birthday party there a few months later!  He always wants his parties where Colin had his.  First Chuck E Cheese (no, kid) and now this place!

img_7722We also introduced our new neighbors and fellow day care members to one of our favorite Fall traditions…”haunted” hay rides at Windmill Farms!  We go during the day so it’s not really that haunted, which suits me just fine.  I can watch scary movies and zombie shows all day long, but put me in anything that resembles freaky and I’m out.

img_7987We also joined up to go Trick or Treating with the same neighbors plus another buddy.  Jake wanted to go as Rubble from the TV show Paw Patrol, a favorite for this age group.  So many people commented on his costume!  They loved seeing one of the “puppies” they knew from TV!

Also this fall, I wanted to get a photo of all the grandkids for Jake’s Grandma Teri and Grandpa Cliff (Jeff’s parents).  While waiting for the others to arrive, I snapped a few photos of him.  This kid is SO photogenic!  I can’t remember a time I took him to the arboretum where I didn’t get a frame-worthy photo.  Oddly enough, I never remember to frame them.  I think I might still have pregnancy brain.  Is that possible five years later?

img_8433Of course 2016 couldn’t be complete without his birthday celebration!  We chose to go to the bowling alley for this party.  It was fun, but not quite as fun as last year’s party at the gymnastics place.  There’s that Colin again!  See what I mean about that goofy, infectious grin?

img_8553To round out 2016, all the kids participated in a Holiday Special, where they get up on stage and sing.  I love all these kids so much.  They are a great group and each one of them brings a little something different to the mix.  It also helps that all of the parents are pretty awesome too and we all get along quite well.

There you have it, folks!  That’s Jake’s year in review.  I left out so much, but if I’d included everything, this post would last until 2018!  We had a pretty fantastic year and it’s already shaping up to be a pretty great 2017.  We just heard that we are slated to start our kitchen the first week of March, so now I’m pumped but also nervous because there are so many things that still need to be done!  That’s where lists come in handy…


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