In the Early Stages of Toddlerhood

I really can’t believe we have a toddler… how is Lively already that old?!

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Toddlerhood is totally different than having a baby; it’s a different type (and level, haha) of exhausting, but also full of so many laughs and teaching moments every single day.

Lively is about 2 months into walking and is fearless; she gets more daring each day, which is kind of scary. She runs around the house (and has already fallen too many times), climbs on everything, and would jump off any surface if we didn’t watch her like a hawk.

She says “dad,” “mom,” “ball,” “bye,” etc., but not much else is enunciated clearly yet; she does watch us super closely when we talk and is starting to try mimicking what we say. She blows me away with how much she already comprehends, though! She loves to blow kisses, wave at everyone, and give “knucks.”

Lively is in a pretty consistent sleep routine (finally). She naps around 1:00 pm every day, usually for about an hour and a half. She falls asleep much easier now, and I no longer have to nurse her to sleep. If I turn on Disney lullabies, her little aquarium sound machine, and rock her, she typically falls asleep pretty quickly. She does still wake up once or twice most nights, and she is frantic until I nurse her. She is weaned other than waking up during the night, so hopefully I’ll be able to help get her past those soon. Weaning her has been a little harder than I expected, because she never wanted to self-wean, but it was getting to the point where she would try to pull my shirt down in public… so I am glad to be past that!

It’s quite a bit more difficult to feed a toddler, because she’s not getting all her nutrients from breastmilk and simple jars of baby food anymore. When I first tried to switch her to whole milk at a year old, she got little bumps all over her skin and her stool became runny, so I waited a couple weeks to try again, and when I reintroduced it, I started with tiny amounts, which went much better! I offer her whole milk with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks (she drinks a total of about two cups a day). Some of her favorite snacks are apple slices with peanut butter, grapes (cut up, of course), cheerios, cheese and wheat cracks. For breakfast she loves eggs, wheat pancakes, bananas, etc. For lunch she usually eats turkey, cheese, peanut butter toast, some baby food veggies, etc. For dinner, she eats whatever we’re have, which is usually some kind of baked chicken with vegetables, spaghetti, quiche, and other pretty simple meals. Cheese is her favorite food right now… she would eat it for every meal.

Socially, she’s not having as much separation anxiety from me. This past week was the first week she didn’t cry being dropped off at the nursery, and it made this mama heart so happy! She loves playing with other kids (she’s walked up to kids we don’t know at the park and held up her arms for them to hold her on multiple occasions…). We’re trying to work on sharing. She signs “please” when she wants something (especially food) and is really in tune with other people’s emotions.

She loves to push boundaries (like a typical toddler), and disciplining/setting boundaries is tougher than I thought it would be, but I know it’s necessary and will help her so much in the long run (and even now).

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She is obsessed with the movie “Sing” and would watch it all day, every day if we let her.

All of our cabinets and outlets are baby-proofed. She is now officially able to reach the countertop, so that’s a new challenge (but thankfully can’t open doors yet).

She never sits still (so if we somehow get her to sit and smile for a picture, it’s a miracle!).

Trips to the store are pretty challenging at this stage. She’s not really old enough to reason with yet, so if you let her out of the cart, she’s runs the opposite direction like a crazy woman pulling everything off the shelves.

Lively is super goofy and has such a funny sense of humor. She knows how to make us laugh and really plays off of it (if something made us laugh once, she’s quick to do it again). It is such a joy watching her grow and develop more and more into her own little person. Toddlerhood is tough, but also such a fun and special time as a parent!

 

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Always and forever,

Alex

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DIY Smash Cake

Sitting here on this chilly, first day of November, I can hardly believe it’s been a month ago exactly that our little Lively turned one! We had her party in Branson, where most of our family lives, a couple weeks later and enjoyed spending a Saturday evening with everyone celebrating Lively’s life. The theme for the party was pink, white, and gold/jungle animals (I know, seems so random, but I love the girly pink, it was Lively’s golden birthday, and she loves animals, so I decided to combine them all, because why not?!)

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For Lively’s smash cake, I decided to make our own, because I really couldn’t justify buying her a custom cake I figured she wouldn’t even eat (thank goodness… because she didn’t eat hardly any of it… she was way more interested in all the people, running around, and her toy car).

I made a simple, two-layer white cake with vanilla buttercream frosting. I got this 6-inch cake pan from Kroger for less than $4 and used the Pillsbury Moist Supreme box of cake mix.

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I followed the directions on the cake mix box, then put 1 1/2 cups of the cake batter in the 6-inch pan at 350 degrees for 35 minutes (make sure to insert a toothpick and see that it comes out clean). I cut off the top (so the cake was a flat surface) and let it cool, then baked one more for the second layer. Once both layers were cooled, I put them in ziplock bags overnight in the fridge.

I made the buttercream frosting the day of her party and followed this recipe. Since it was a layered cake, I spread some frosting between the two layers and used a knife to cover the whole outside of the cake.

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This dark pink, sparkly cake topper was the perfect finishing touch! And these mini gold animals tied in the jungle animal part of the theme perfectly (they came in a set of 12, so the rest we used for decorating the gift table).

A DIY smash cake is totally doable, saves a little money, and hopefully this acts as a nice guide!

Click here to pin this on Pinterest!

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Always and forever,

Alex