The Next Stage of Toddlerhood.

Potty training… a journey that’s not for the weak.

Last year, I introduced Mila to her little potty. She did okay on it, but would rather go outside like Max. It’s okay. It’s funny and you can most definitely laugh. She’d sit on it through fall and most of winter, but she really was not interested.

Around when COVID hit and when she turned two, we really hit potty training hard. I bought her underwear and she did a good job of letting me know when she had to go. All summer, she’s been amazing with it. When I started working full time at the end of August, she had a few mishaps, but is back to no accidents. She can nap without having one and has slept through the night a few times too.

I’m so proud of her.

The last time I bought diapers, I told myself this was it. It’d be the last time I ever bought them and I’d only buy pull ups from then on. Honestly, I thought it was a lot of wishful thinking. Then, last night she wore her last diaper and were in the land of panties and pulls ups for night time and long periods away.

This is a huge deal. She got a coloring book today to celebrate and a popsicle after school. I tell her she’s my big, good girl so she knows how good of a job she’s doing.

Lasts of anything are hard, even the last diapers.

Ever since losing Jensen, the first and lasts with Mila have been monumental. I know they have a bigger meaning, but I try not to put it all on Mila. I just hope she knows how proud I am of her and all that she does.

Tonight, we’re celebrating being diaper free and the next stage of toddlerhood. I’m so happy to be her mom and can’t wait to see what she does next.

Mom Fail: Dream Edition.

I just want to start off by saying, I’m not exactly sure if this should be categorized as a mom fail, but I’ll leave it up to you at the end.

Mila has long, beautiful, thick hair. It’s always crazy to me to see how much hair she actually has. I think a lot of people dream about their daughters having nice hair, but, if you’re like me, you didn’t realize how much of a struggle it is. She’s had to have her hair brushed EVERY SINGLE DAY since she’s been a newborn and still hates it with a passion. Lately, it’s gotten worse because she doesn’t want to sit down and wait for me to do it.

Since it’s long, it gets a lot of knots and tangles. My mom always called them rats and that’s what I’m calling them for Mila too. Every night and morning, our routine is to get the rats out of her hair. I don’t even know if she knows what a rat looks like or whatever, but she knows it’s bad and needs out.

I wake up and go to sleep talking about these rats, but I didn’t know how much it was impacting me.

After our normal rat evacuation, I ended up falling asleep with her. That night, I had one of the most strangest dreams. There were actual rats everywhere chasing Mila and I had to shoo them away. It was like little faces and eyes constantly looking at me and I was trying to throw them out of the house. I felt like I was struggling through the dream to get them all away and Mila wanted no part of it in my dream either. Just the whole entire night/dream, I was getting rats away from her.

You can laugh. I would laugh too.

Let’s just say, the next day I went to go get detangling hair spray to add to our after bath routine. The less ‘rats’ I have to think of and deal with, the better.

I’ve yet had any other rat related dreams and plan on keeping it that way.

Again, maybe not a mothering fail in terms of not providing for Mila, but definitely a dream fail, to say the least. A little tip to not have rat nightmares, buy detangling spray before that’s what you think of before bed.

Mom Fail: Cooking Edition

I’d like to start off saying, this is not switching into a cooking blog. Every post lately has been revolved around food and I’m planning on a recipe post for Monday… oops. It just so happened this one directly linked to food too.

When I woke up this morning, I thought, what a great day for blueberry pancakes. We slept in a little bit and already did our morning routine. Mila and Max has played while I did some things on the computer; the morning was just relaxing. It just like a perfect brunch type of day. I mean, look how peaceful Mila looks in that picture.

Since you’ve most likely read the title of the post, you know there’s something bound to happen…

Mila is the best helper. She loves mixing batters and handing my ingredients when I cook. While I’m cooking, she likes to stir the food and cheers. It’s cute and surprisingly, there’s only been minor messes lately.

For our pancakes, she held the cup while I poured in the dry ingredients, kissed the egg, and already had the work ready to mix it all up. After everything was in there, I beat the egg and had it pretty well mixed and let her continue while I cleaned up.

As I turned to my kitchen counter, I heard a quick ‘uh oh’ and then a clang. All while this was happening, I turned to Mila to make sure she was okay. Then it literally hit me.

She had accidentally dropped the bowl and as I so happened to turn, the bowl hit the ground sending batter all over me and the surrounding area. Mila miraculously was pancake batter free.

Fortunately, there was some batter still in the bowl. It was just enough to make us a few pancakes. So not a completely fail, right?

Mom Tip of the Week: Pasta Edition

Once upon a time, Mila was an amazing eater. She would try anything put in front of her and clear her plate. That time is now gone.

Somedays, I’m excited if she eats a handful of nuts and some dry cereal for the whole day. Others, she eats everything in sight so I keep giving her more to store up for other days. It’s a constant battle in toddler world.

Anyways, one staple for Mila is pasta and red sauce with a ton of cheese; she’d eat a bag of cheese a day if I let her. I think she likes it causes it the messiest thing she can possibly eat. It does taste good too, but… One thing I’ve learned to do to sneak some protein in there and fill her (and me) up with less pasta is adding beans.

Beans can sometimes be intimating to cook with or introduce, but when added with pasta, red sauce, and cheese, you don’t even notice them in there. They’re such an amazing source of protein and, again, you can’t taste them.

Before adding them into the pasta, I usually put salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and onion and garlic powder to it. It just spices it up a little.

That’s what it ends up looking liked when it’s mixed. Obviously you can see them in there super up close, but when you’re enjoying dinner (and have a mountain of cheese on it if you’re Mila) it’s just like a typical bowl of pasta.

It’s Mila approved in our house and I’m interested to see if it’s toddler approved across the board. Next time you have pasta, try this little mom tip and let me know how it works for you.

Adapting to Different.

This summer has been different from all others.

I mean, we all know this. We’re living in a COVID world where we wear masks, constantly are sanitizing, and are stuck home. It’s a huge difference to spend summer this way for me. I’m used to concerts, beaches, and adventures.

When I realized summer wasn’t going to be the same as I had in my head, I worried about Mila. She wasn’t going to experience summer in the way she had the previous two years. Last year we had a bucket list and constantly were on the go. We went to the beach, quite a few times and I wondered if she’d be sad. Like most things, she’s helped show me the bright side of things.

Summers different in many ways, but not all just bad.

We still get to jump in the pool and she’s learning how to swim. I’ve found a new appreciation for dirt; probably because Mila looks so cute with it smeared across her face and it’s constantly stuck under her fingernails. Vacations have been (safety) visiting friends and the lake has became the beach. Home cooked meals are much better than going out to eat, although we still love to go get ice cream or slushees.

It seems to be a lot different, but summer has still felt the same. If she’s taught me anything during this time, it’s to adapt.

One more month of summer until my last year of classes begin. I’m not sure what the worlds going to be like in the near future, but we’ll adapt and take it as it comes.

For now, we’ll be soaking up these last few weeks of dirt and pool filled days.

Mommy and Me Art Box: Mila’s First Chemical Reaction

Mila’s second Mommy and Me Art Box came in and it definitely did not disappoint. Yesterday it let Mila become a scientist. Let’s just say, she loved it.

This month’s box is centered around Mother’s and Father’s Day. There are a lot of crafts to make for them. One of them is an item I’ve never worked with, so I’ll have to update how that goes. There was also one science experiment that we had to try right away.

Like last month’s box, every activity comes packaged separately and is color coded AND it included everything you need. It’s so nice because I can just pull out whatever activity and get right to work. I like how everything’s labeled on the little directions and the items too.

With this experiment, Mila was able to get things in place too. As I opened everything, she placed candy pieces in the candy mold. Some pieces might have disappeared too.

This is a little baking soda and vinegar experiment; the candies color the bubbles. Although most of us know what happens when these two mix, Mila had no idea.

At first she was shocked that the liquid she was putting on there was making it fizz. She kept saying woah and wanting more. After the first round of baking soda and vinegar, I asked her to help me sprinkle more on there. It sort of got a little messy, but we had fun. Seeing her reactions were priceless, especially when she accidentally dumped vinegar all over the mold.

In all, we played with this activity for thirty minutes… which was when we ran out of baking soda and vinegar. If I would have had more outside, she would have easily played for longer. I can definitely see us doing this again too! A little side note though, if you include candies in your experiment, there’s a huge chance they’ll be a snack.

Mila nabbed all the candy hearts… I’m unsure what vinegar and candy tastes like and wouldn’t eat it myself, but Mila didn’t mind. I guess that’s what being two is all about.

Again, this is the Mommy and Me Art Box! We’re on month two and LOVE all the activities and can’t wait to see how the rest go.

Capturing a ‘Last’ Moment.

She smelled like a baby today.

Any parent knows that smell. You don’t even know what it means until it’s truly gone. I remember everyone telling me she smelled so good and I’d think, ‘obviously, I bathe her.’ Then when it went away, I knew what they were talking about.

And today I got it back.

Somehow the smell fought through her hands and face covered with Cookie Crisp cereal. It overpowered the candles burning and the flowers on our dining room table. I don’t know how it pierced through the after smells of lunch, but there it was.

Maybe it was because she napped on me on the couch like she did when she was itty bitty. Maybe it’s because you never notice the last time you’ll experience something, but I know this moment was it.

This is the last time my Mila will ever smell like a little baby. It was only for a few moments, but it’s all I needed.

It’s a bittersweet symphony of being happy she’s growing, thriving even, and a sweeping melancholy for knowing she’ll never be this little again.

So for the rest of the day, I’m just going to keep her close. We’re living today in a mix of crazy toddlerhood and sleepy infancy. It’s not going to be long until it’s full out toddlerhood and into independent childhood. I know I say this a lot… but I’m really going to miss these moments.

10 Things I’m Grateful for This Week.

This week has went so quick, but has felt like a lifetime with all the things that have happened. Since Mila kicked me off our new toy, I’m reflecting on all the pictures we took this week. During this time we can all use a little happiness, so I just wanted to share ten moments that have made me the happiest.

Mila Cuddles

I’m unsure if she knew my heart has needed them, but Mila has been so cuddly lately. She’ll come sit on my lap to watch movies and at night she wants me to lay right by her while she plays with my hair. It’s made my heart feel so full lately.

The Piñata Beatdown

All of Mila’s second birthday was the best, but watching her spear the piñata… I don’t think anything can top that. If you didn’t see her second birthday blog post, go back and watch it. I giggle the whole entire time. By the way, the piñata is still being used. It’s broken, but can still be hit multiple times.

Constant Singing

Two has also brought all the singing. Throughout the day, she’ll just start singing as loud as she can and want me to join along. Her favorite song to sing is the intro to Frozen, the ‘nah nah nah nah.’ If you’ve watched the movie or have an obsessed toddler, you know. I’ve also been listening to “My Favorite Murder,” which is a podcast, and she sings the intro tune for it too. Maybe I should mute that when she can here, oops.

An Organized Fridge/Snack Drawers

This is the smallest things and no one really thinks about, but this week, I cleaned out my fridge. I feel like a new person. Now I know all the food I have in there and everything has a spot. Mila even has her little snack and juice corner that she has complete access to. It’s the little things that make you happy and life go a lot smoother.

Gardening

I’m officially a plant mom. I check my little plants multiple times a day to see what else has sprouted. Anytime I see they need watered, I have my little squirt bottle and go to town. I didn’t know how seeing that sort of growth would make me smile so much. It gives Mila and I something to look forward to doing every day. A new part of our routine!

New Recipes

If quarantine has shown me anything, it’s my Pinterest addiction. I’ve found SO many new recipes to make now and try in the future. This weeks new recipe was this bacon cheeseburger grilled cheese meal. Oh my goodness, it was amazing. I’ve been craving grilled cheese lately, but this new recipe is just so good. I’ve also found new vegetarian recipes to make on Mondays and whenever I’m not feeling meat. It’s gotten to a point where I want to share all the new recipes I make, but that would be bombarding.

Mila’s Crafts and Independent Play

For the last few weeks, Mila’s started to play more independently. I’m unsure if it’s because I’ve put more thought into her activities throughout the day or she’s just getting older and her imagination is growing. We do an art craft or experiment almost everyday then talk about it, which she looks forward too. Then we read all the time, but she’s started ‘reading’ to her stuffed animals and Max. Another contributing factor is she got a lot of independent play toys for Easter and her birthday that have worked. I’ll try to write a post about toys she likes and maybe that could help another parent in deciding what to gift their two year old (or around this age) for whatever. One thing she’s gotten that has been used multiple times a day is her new easel. I love seeing her creative side.

Playroom Art

This venture will definitely be a blog post… or two. I’m converting Jensen’s room into a playroom. It’s been hard, but I know it’ll be worth it in the end. Again, I’ll save this for a future post when the playroom is completely finished. ANYWAYS, I recently found a college student who makes this artwork from pictures. It’s like she takes a photo of you and sort of makes like pop art. There’s bright colors, the outline of the bodies, and the details in the clothes, but all other details are blurred. It’s so beautiful and I’m thankful I found her!

Almost Finishing Spring Classes

If you didn’t know, I’m so close to finishing all my classes to teach full time. After this semester is finished, I’ll only have four more classes and student teaching. Not a lot at all! But, I still have to finish the two classes I’m in right now. Anyways, the stress of everything going on right now has made it hard to work on my finals. I kept putting them off, but as of yesterday, I’m done writing papers for the spring semester. That’s something to celebrate!

Trampoline Time

The new toy I Mila kicked me off of is a trampoline. It was put up last night and it was a birthday gift for her from my mom and dad. Every time she saw a trampoline, she’d tell us she wanted to jump on the ‘lean.’ Mila is so active and even though she’s a little young to have one, she’s obsessed. While we were putting up the safety nap, she was on there jumping and all day today, she’s been jumping. I love that she’s so active and seeing her get more comfortable with her body makes me happy. It’s crazy because it seems like she excels at whatever she tries to do. No matter if it’s gymnastics or running or doing defensive basketball slides, she’s just naturally athletic. I can’t wait to make memories and watch her make them on her trampoline. This is only the beginning.

I hope all of you can find many moments you were grateful for this week. Just a reminder that we’re all doing our best.

Its just an inch, but feels like a mile.

Today we made a memory. One that isn’t going to go away any time soon either. I marked Mila’s height on one for the doorways in our house.

Through this little mark, I learned two things. The first, Mila is actually pretty tall. I didn’t realize it until I stepped back and saw how high it was compared to a door. When I see her running around, I still see a little girl. I know she’s getting tall, but wow. The second thing… how much I’ve healed in four years.

I know that probably sounds silly. How does a little mark show growth? For me it’s the permanence of the mark. When I was pregnant with Mila and for so long, I thought I was going to lose her. I thought she was going to die so many times during pregnancy and that first year. Then I thought she’d be taken away with the psychological mind games that were played with me.

It sounds dramatic and overboard, but it’s true. She’s mine and no one can take her away, but I never believed she could stay. I felt like if I let myself believe it, something would happen. It’s been an awful battle. But she’s not going anywhere.

When I look at that little mark, I can picture the next sixteen years of measuring her. You know if she lets me and all. But I’ve never been able to see past so many years ahead. I’ve always thought I just had today. Those intrusive thoughts with parenting after loss are hard and can suck the joy out of everything. I’m really trying though.

We made a memory today and the physical memory is about an inch long. I know when I look back on those hashes, I’ll see Mila wanting me to remeasure her and the shock in her face that mama drew on the wall. I’m sitting here picturing how tall she’ll be next year and thinking I’ll write what she wants to be when she grows up beside them too.

I’m so happy about her growing and progressing. There are so many moments I wish I could pause, but I want her to keep getting older and growing as big as she’ll get. I know what it’s like to not have my child grow and have their hashmark on the doorway. Jensen has taught me so much about life and myself and Mila is teaching me how to move forward and grow. One piece of information doesn’t shadow the other. The light and heavy are always present in my life. I’m just doing my best juggling the both of them and making sure they both know how much I love them.

Starting a Garden with a Toddler!

Fun fact… Earth Day is next Wednesday, April 22.

A few posts ago, I was talking about eco-friendly changes I’ve made and how I wanted to share them. Since it’s techincally “Earth Week,” I thought now would be a great time to start talking about those and some activities Mila and I are up to to thank our world.

Before I start, I am not an expert on this stuff at all. Just thought I’d throw that out there. I do what’s best for my little family and try to imagine what would be interesting for Mila. If anyone ever has suggestions or anything that would help benefit others with anything I talk about, please let me know and I’ll do my best to add it in here! As humans, we’re all doing our best to get by and be happy.

Back to the earthy things.

Last week, I got ambitious. I had been thinking about starting a garden this year or just getting a tomato plant or two. Honestly, I’ve never really had a green thumb, but maybe that’s because I’ve never tried? I just knew I wanted to try it out and see how it went. In my mind, I have this beautiful vision of Mila and me gardening and making a dinner with some vegtables we helped grow. It may sound silly, but I’ve never done it before and there’s no time like the present.

Back to ambition, I saved up some egg shells, egg cartons, and other containers to try and do seed starters. When I saw so many people starting their seeds, I knew I needed to hurry. I walked down to the local hardware store and grabbed some potting soil and seeds. I ended up getting two different types of tomates (I heard they’re the easiest to start), green peppers, and a few different herbs. When I got home, I prepped everything on my kitchen table to start our little garden.

Mila loved playing in the dirt and crushing the excess egg shells that I had. Yes, I was going to use them, but she mashed them up and was having fun; so, I guess I’ll pick my battles. She helped me put the dirt in most of the containers and sat watching me for a while. After about thirty to forty minutes, she was over it. She’d come over while I continued pressing on to make sure I was doing a good job, but she played and did a good job entertaining herself.

I can’t blame her, if I was watching someone put seeds into random egg cartons and old containers, I’d be bored too.

FULL DISCLAIMER. I didn’t realize how much work was all entailed with planting everything and getting it all started. Halfway through planting, I realized that I had purchased entirely too many seeds. I felt like I was planting seeds for seven hours. By the end of it, I was just like throwing seeds into pots because I didn’t save enough egg cartons and containers for everything. Then I was stressing out because I was worried about the watering situation. I’m just being real here. Next year, I’ll be a lot more prepared!

When it was all done, I was super proud of myself and Mila’s patience with the whole ordeal. She likes to check on our little garden throughout the day. It makes me happy that she’s so excited about it, it’s probably because I make it a big deal every morning to see if any have sprouted.

It’s been a week since we started our seeds. I’ve been a little disappointed since nothings sprouted, but it hadn’t even been a week. Well, last night, I checked on them before I went to sleep and there are sprouts! I’m feeling like such a proud plant mom. Hopefully, more will sprout up in the next few days too. I’ll for sure new you guys updated as they grow and we eventually move them outside.

If anyone has any suggestions or tips moving forward about starting a garden, I’m all ears. Seriously, I am going into this blind and just relying on Pinterest and blog posts. I’m really excited though and can’t wait to see Mila’a reaction as our little plants grow.

Later today, I’m going to share either a new eco friendly project or subscription that’s newly in my life OR Mila and I’s Earth Day craft box, which is a monthly subscription that provides various crafts and activities monthly for kids!