Tiny Human Recommendations (6 Months+)

This is with double motive. First and foremost, lots of blog friends and internet friends and irl friends are having babies or have recently had babies. These are beyond-newborn-stage products that have been awesome for M. We still use and love the majority of them. (She’s a quarter past 2 y.o.)

I did a post like this once before and it was incredibly unpopular, but I don’t learn from my mistakes so fingers crossed this one does better.

Now for my second reason making this post… 90 days ago I was approved to be an Amazon affiliate and given an 180 day trial period to prove people wanted to buy my recs. Well so far I’ve had 0/3 people purchase anything- and that is for lack of trying. Oops. So this is my pathetic but honest plea to encourage you to use the links below if you do plan to buy any of these awesome products.

Ok. That was long winded. Let’s do this.

Sippy Cups

When you are a Type-A Enneagram 5 mom, you research the hell out of things. Like cups.

18 months and 4 days ago experts said it’s best for babies to learn to drink from a cup or from a straw- not tradition sippy cups. Why? I don’t know. They’ve likely changed their minds by now.

But regardless, M loves doing things on her own and this cups allowed her to consume a little water and create a terrible mess at the age of 8 months. The slightly less messy option, that we still use today, is this straw cup.

Why We Love It: The blue cup is shaped for small mouths, weighted at the bottom, and silicon for easy gripping. The straw cup is great because it’s easy to use, spill-proof, and the straw is weighted, so even if M turns it uptown drink it, the bottom of the straw shifts to the liquid and it works.
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No. 1 Stuffy

You know what’s weird? A baby who loves a stuffed octopus. But he’s cute. We named him Cal. He’s dropped a few ranks in recent months. Right now her favorite is actually a stuffed unicorn that was made to be a dog toy but now lives life as a two-year-old’s sleep buddy. Fortunately, we removed the squeaker so it’s less enticing to the dogs.

Why We Love It: Cal is easy to grab, easy to chew, and easy to wash.

Shopping Cart Cover

I registered for this before C*VID was a thing but holy cow has it been helpful since the plague began.

Why We Love It: It definitely gives me peace of mind in the store AND it catches all the crumbs/toys/sippy cups M drops while we’re shopping. Plus, it’s cute.
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Wet Bags

Originally purchased because we did cloth diapering, they’ve since been invaluable for many reasons. The big pocket is water-proofed and there is a smaller front pocket for other items. Plus the patterns are so dang adorable.

Why We Love It: These are great for dirty or wet clothes and bathing suits. They’re awesome to carry around while potty training. (I put extra clothes in the front zipper and anything that has been spoiled in the w.p. pouch.) They’re cute and they wash up so well!
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*I do not put mine in the dryer and they look like new. We started using them back in M’s newborn days.

Little Lamb Hat

First of all, my child actual kills me with how cute she is in this hat. That alone is reason to buy it for the child in your life.

Why We Love It: But really… there’s nothing cuter. And also it’s comfy and warm, easy to slide over their heads, and semi-difficult for them to remove while you’re turned away for 0.03 seconds.
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Closet Sorter

This item is 100% unnecessary but my eyes and brain loved them so much. Plus, you have a TON of baby clothes to sort through in those first two years and these help.

Why We Love It: They’re easy to hang in the closet, they keep clothes organized, and they’re cute. If you’re obsessed with order and organization, they’re fantastic.
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Admittedly, this is not my most exciting blog post, but I do swear by these items. And when I go to baby showers or recommend items to friends, these are always on my list.

Like I said, if you decide to get something from the list, pretty please use the links up there 😊 But if you don’t, I’ll forgive you and we can still be friends.

Do you have any must-haves for toddlerhood? I’m deep in the trenches and always looking for ways to keep my sour patch kid happy and safe.

-Aud

Two Years Old

M turned two on Saturday and I’m still trying to recover from the shock. Time has always been a thief, but it’s strange to see time personified in my little human. She was once a little squishy cute potato with two or three solid skills (eat, sleep, poop) and now she’s an incredible, complex, talking, opinionated, hilarious little girl. I love it.

I struggled during our newborn days. Nowadays things are tiring, but life with a toddler is amusing and fun. She’s ornery and clever and hilarious and sweet. This past year was such a rollercoaster and M has really grown into the person she will be forever. I’m so lucky to know her.

Nicknames: Moo, Toots, Toodles, Mads

Stats: Her 2 year checkup was yesterday. She is 29 lbs. 5 oz. and 35 inches tall.

Likes: Snacking, Mickey Mouse, reading in the morning and before bed, things in nature (the moon, leaves, etc.), animals- but especially dogs, visiting with the neighbors, playing at daycare, helping feed the dogs, French fries, and rides in daddy’s new car.

Dislikes: When mom is within sight but out of reach, sitting in her high chair (UGH), and being denied a cookie/French fries/any food she’s demanding.

Sleeping: We’ve had good and bad weeks. M takes a late morning/afternoon nap every day. She goes down for bed around 7:30pm and is up around 7 or 7:30am. When she’s healthy, she’s happy and cooperative at sleep time.

Eating: In true toddler fashion, some days we love carrots and some days we won’t look at them. The same is true for most foods. She’s always in the mood for noodles or a cookie, though. French fries, pouches, and yogurt are also favorites. And bread.

Development: I was reading the 18 month update where I said M says a few words. LOL. The kid talks all the time now, half the time in full sentences. She is great at verbalizing what she wants- sometimes too “great.”

Personality: I genuinely enjoy hanging out with M. She has her moments and we’re working on not hitting people, but she understands it’s not ok and she corrects her behavior pretty quickly. She is funny and so smart. She is a negotiator and a problem solver. She follows directions and makes up songs and loves to be where K and I are. Bristol is still her favorite but she’s a big fan of the office cats, too. She’s friendly and adventurous. She’s still a daredevil and loves chasing and racing and monkeying around. She’s starting to cuddle a little more and I’m not mad about it.

Travel: We’ve been very unlucky in this department. We took a family trip to Michigan and our vehicle broke down. M was a trooper, though, and we tried to make the best of it. A few weeks ago M and I were supposed to fly to Tampa… but M spiked a super high fever and we had to cancel. We did a few camping trips this summer/fall, but other than that we’ve been homebodies.

Mom’s Summary: Over the past two years there have been moments when I’ve doubted my role as a mom. I think a lot of women do when sh*t hits the fan… But I have never doubted that M was made for me and I was meant to be her mom. She is the highlight in my day. I love to celebrate her triumphs and I love to hold her during her big emotions. She’s such a gift to her dad and me. I’m so glad we get to be her mom and dad.

These past two years have been a gift. Even new thing Mads learns brings me joy. I love to see her love other people and I pray every night that she knows she is loved and adored by not only Jesus, but everyone who knows her. I look forward to all the moments- big and small- we’ll have together in the future.

I hope you had a happy birthday, my sweet girl. We love you the very mostest.

*Happy Gotcha Day to our sweet Enzo boy! 8 years with our snuggle bug ❤

-Momma

You can find our past developmental updates here:
birth / 3 months / 6 months / 9 months / 1 year / 18 months

Infant Days: The Epilogue

It was just over two years ago (!!) that we told the world M was going to be a little girl. A few months later that little girl entered the world and completely rocked mine to its core. It was T O U G H and I feel like I was very open and honest and blunt about our struggles with parenthood.

Sometimes I wonder if M will ever find those posts and IG pictures and FB updates, and think I felt regretful. It wasn’t always glamorous and I very rarely painted it as such. And while I hope that was/is helpful to new moms, I sometimes wonder what M will think.

So I thought I’d write a epilogue to the infant days. My 19-month-old is full bore toddler now so we’re in a completely different chapter. (Maybe even book?)

I think every parent has a favorite age. Some will say each stage was their favorite and then the next one happened and it was even better. Kudos to those moms and dads. That is not what I (or K) would tell you.

I loved the newborn snuggles but I struggled during the newborn phase. Even after we cleared the fog, it was hard to find my groove. But then M started rolling. And sitting up. And eating some soft foods.

Then she started smiling and babbling. Pointing and shaking her head. Reaching and rejecting. By the time she was 13 months she could pick out her favorite foods, point to what she wanted, and walk across the room.

And we hit our stride.

I’m sure there are many parents who do not love toddlerhood. Eighteen months is a challenging age. Some parents love newborn age, some like school age (this will be K’s favorite I bet). I am a toddler-lover through and through. M is so much dang fun.

I love that she can communicate- even when I don’t know what she’s saying. Sometimes she’s crying because there’s a thread on her pants- but you know what? I know why she’s crying and that’s such a relief. She’s feisty and inquisitive. She loves doing everything herself… but wants mom or dad close by. She follows the dogs around and expects them to follow her. She can point to and name her body parts. She loves to figure out how something works. She likes to help with everything. She tells us when she’s ready for bed (even if she’s not sold on it when it’s actually time to sleep). She’s down for any adventure. She really is such a fun kid and such a fun age.

SO… for all the struggles and tears and complaining I did 1 year ago, let me just share what a good time we’re having right now. Sure, it’s not always easy. We have tantrums and breakdowns. But dang, it’s rewarding with M. She’s one of my favorite people to hang out with.

I might be singing another tune when we potty train… or transition from crib to bed… or start thinking about preschool. But for now? I am one happy human with my sassy little toddler.

*For those that struggle with toddlerhood, it will change. I would never paint a rosier picture than it really is, but I wanted to share that motherhood isn’t miserable forever and ever with no moments of joy.

The Rocking Chair: Bedtime Reflections

You are safe here. In the dark corner of your cozy nursery.

There is no hate, no school shootings, no grocery store tragedies.

There is no racism or sexism. You are accepted and loved, just as you are.

There is no poverty or excess.

There is no hunger or hypothermia. There is no disease or virus.

There is no pressure to please others or obligation to fall in line.

There is no bullying. There are no politics. There is no dishonesty.

There is no scale. No size. No style. No budget.

There is no violence, no yelling, no anger.

Sometimes there are tears, but I will always take care of those.

And there is a warm bottle and worn blanket.

There are two strong and soft arms, just right for your little frame. Always right for you. Any time.

I know there is a certain level of privilege in this space. I know that. I am grateful to have the means to provide this for you.

I wish I could bottle up this time. I wish I could save this contentment and peace for you.

And when you enter the world, and the world shows you its ugly truth, I would gift you these perfectly packaged moments of safety and love and wholeness. I would stock my closets and cupboards with memories and moments of serenity for you.

Because the world will try to shatter you. It’s how it goes. It is an unperfected world.

It doesn’t deserve my perfect little human. And you most certainly deserve better than this world.

But you will leave this chair. And this room. And even this house someday.

You will follow your dreams. And I will quiet my nightmares. And you will do what you were born to do.

And when the broken world tries so hard to break you, I will hold you. You are safe here.

Aldi Toddler Finds

Like many of you, I am a big fan of Aldi. Our town doesn’t have a Target or Whole Foods or Panera… but we have an Aldi. She may not know it, but M is a big fan of Aldi, too.

I’ve talked about Aldi before. I did a post about my favorites at one point. (I imagine some of those items are now discontinued.) Today I thought I’d share the non-baby things that my baby loves.

Before I launch into non-baby stuff, I want to share that my experience with their baby items has been remarkably great.

Their diapers, puffs, rice rusks, and fruit & veggie puree pouches are top notch.

I’ve had some issues with the wipes, but still recommend them as an okay option. (The packaging has fallen apart on me- nothing to do with M’s skin.)

Ok… on to other foods.

Freeze-Dried Fruit I think these are gross but M loves them. (Well, she did last week. This week it’s a no. So probably next week they’ll be in her good graces again.) I’ve seen mango, strawberry, and fuji apple. Mango was the favorite… who knows what it’ll be next.

Veggie Straws Unlike the fruit, M is still BFFs with these square tube healthier-ish chips. Girlfriend doesn’t love fresh vegetables and fruit right now so I’m considering veggie straws a mediocre alternative. Plus they keep her happy and who am I to deny her joy? (I know, I know. It’s literally my job to deny her joy.)

Avocado Dip These are just small cups of mashed avocado and sea salt. Lazy? Sure. But I don’t have to play Russian roulette with a fresh ‘cado and end up with a browned, rotten $2 stress ball.
*We also practice using our spoon with these cups because they’re thick enough they don’t spill out and soft enough for her to scoop.

Fish Sticks M isn’t sold on fish sticks yet but we’re going to keep trying. I also did the #lazymom thing and made them in the microwave when I know for a fact they’re 10xs better in the oven. So we’ll try this one again soon. She loves fish so I have high hopes.

Chicken Nuggets Love me a chicky-nuggy lunch. I make enough for Moo-Poo and myself because DUH. I cut these into small bite-size bits and give them to her or mix them with Mac n Cheese.

Grilled Chicken Stripes These are the bomb. And they’re a HIT with Moo. Again, I just chop them into small bits and she loves them. They can be mixed into pasta, too!

Mac n Cheese, Spaghetti, Ravioli My child is a carb-o-holic and will eat any noodle put in front of her. I’m going to try mixing tuna in with her Mac n Cheese at some point. And Aldi has such fantastic prices for all these items.

Whole Milk, Eggs, Yogurt Normal stuff for a toddler, but priced sooooo well at Aldi!

Lunch Meat, Shredded Cheese, American Cheese Again, normal toddler snacks but cheap cheap cheap. M loves meat & cheese, lol. She’s her father’s daughter for sure.

As I said, M isn’t into fruits and veggies right now. She actually nommed on some pineapple the other day but I think it was a fluke. We don’t do grapes or nuts or hotdogs, so I can’t speak to any of those items at the great and powerful Aldi.

What do you buy from Aldi for your mini garbage disposals (or yourself)??