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Yesterday I wrote about 6 Things My Barely 2 Year Old Does That BLOW Me Away. I've come up with even more to add to the list (now up to 8 things)! This list will most likely climb even higher before my follow up post is published with the last 2 (or more) items on the list. You'll definitely want to check out the original post, and stay tuned come next week for the list addition. Here's a sneak peek at the overall list of topics (tons of details in the posts):

1. Speech
2. Concepts
3. Imagination
4. Thoughtfulness
5. Opinions
6. Routines
7. Reasoning
8. Memory

There is a reason that speech is number one on this list! When Caroline was 22 months old I was ready for the potential conversation of speech therapy at her 2 year well check. I had mentally prepared myself for it, and was trying to be as honest with myself as possible, with regards to Caroline's speech development, so I'd be able to be clear with the pediatrician. Her 2 year appointment came around, and it was clear that she'd made HUGE progress in just 2 months- to the point that the topic was far from everyone's minds.

I am completely fascinated by my 2 year old at the moment! And, as you read, I'm requesting that all of you make a list of all of the things your 2 year old does that blow you away! I really REALLY want to see a ton of comments at the end of this post, so we can all take a peak into the world of a 2 year old and all of the amazing skills they have (and are) learning. This age is just ridiculously captivating to me and I am dying to read about what your child does as well!

Caroline turned two 1 month ago. Each week during this month, I've been fascinated by more and more skills emerging. All I want to do all day is sit and observe my child. I have little desire to do much else right now, because I feel like I'm getting such an amazing opportunity to almost study the human brain. This is the science major in me talking, but I feel like I have a live subject at home that I just get to observe and learn from. The only thing better would be a live picture of her brain where I'd get to see the neurons actually branching and making connections! It's ok, you can say it...HUGE science nerd here....but I'm fascinated as I'm sure all Mamas are!

Ok, so here are the latest skills and accomplishments that are blowing my mind:

1. Speech: We always said that Caroline was waiting to talk because she was learning and perfecting. We joked that her first word would be artichoke (something hard), and that she'd just wake up saying sentences one day. Well, that has pretty much happened. She had a few words at 20 months, and only really started talking at about 22 months. This girl is nonstop talking now at 24 months, and is saying HUGE words, and HUGE sentences. She even has good grammar! My husband mentioned this last night, and I had just been noticing as well. She uses her tenses correctly. She's still figuring out you, me, I , etc. She says sentences like "It's too hard for Caroline", "I need help please, Mama", "Book is upside down", "Hello. My name is Caroline", "I need to go outside on a walk", and so many more complicated sentences that I can't even think of right now. She uses words like "too" and "either" correctly- "I don't like this orange, either". And she says every word and every sentence we say. She said "biochemistry" the other day. Today she said "electron" and "molecule". Can you tell we talk about science!? haha She can say her last name "Villegas", and is just blossoming with speech right now. I am also amazed at all of the words she knows without hearing them first. She points to things in books and in real life, and just says what they are. She didn't just hear me say it, as we like to give her the chance to tell us. The language knowledge is unreal to me right now.

A few months ago, Carrie from the Babywise Friendly Blog Network was joking with me and asked for a "Puppywise" post. Babywise Friendly Blog Network humor LOL! I decided to run with it, however, and came up with 9 Tips for Bringing a Puppy Home. This post appeared at Wiley Adventures on August 11, 2016.



9 Tips for Bringing Puppy Home


Just as your baby thrives on a routine of eat, wake, sleep, your dog can as well! It is important to get in full feedings with your dog in the morning and night, and provide naps at the same time each day. Your puppy needs to be well rested! If he is well rested, he will be more eager to learn and simply behave better throughout the day.

While that all sounds great (kind of) LOL.... dogs are not humans. I'd love to sit here and say that there is a puppywise method, as there is a babywise method. There are some wise things we can do with our puppies to help them (and us) out in those first few months, however!

1. Make the introduction to the family as smooth as possible.
Inform your children about puppies before the dog comes home. Allow them to ask questions, and talk about appropriate behavior with dogs (being gentle, no tail pulling, no touching eyes or ears, etc.). Inform them that some of their time, and your time will now be going to the new addition to the family so they know what to expect.


Babies go through clothes so fast. We have baby clothes that weren't even worn because our daughter outgrew them before I could get around to putting her in them! With this reality two things happen:

1. You need access to the next size easily and quickly
2. You need a method to putting away clothes that no longer fit


When Caroline was just a tiny baby, I found myself struggling with what to do with the clothes that no longer fit. My method back then was, if it didn't fit, I simply put it back in the drawer...only to grab it again a a few days later and realize I'd already determined it didn't fit! Not really a method, but rather a forgetful, busy, tired, exhausted, mama tactic that had zero benefit!

I realized I needed a place to throw these items so that I could store them later, when I had time. The reality is that I didn't have time right then to get out my storage bin and truly put it away. So, I came up with a very simple system. I placed a bin in the closet that was a catch all for clothes that didn't fit. I throw all items in this bin that are too small or out of season. When I have time to store them in the appropriate bins, I then grab this catch all bin and sort/fold/store away for good. This simple idea was HUGE in relieving the stress of clothes that no longer fit!

Caroline just turned 2, and she's very interested in learning numbers and counting at the moment. She learned the alphabet (uppercase letters) about 6 months ago, and decided to work on colors and shapes next. Now that she knows her colors and shapes, she's moved on to numbers and counting! It is simply fascinating to watch her learn and to see what her interests are.

I'd like to start this post by saying that I like to follow Caroline's lead. There is obviously no need for a 1.5 year old to learn the alphabet...but if she's interested, why not teach it!? They absorb like little sponges at this age, and are so eager to learn more and more and more!

Caroline was really interested in the alphabet when I started showing it to her. She ran with it and even asked me to quiz her! I introduced some focused play (very short at the time), and she kept asking to do it again, so we did!

She moved on to colors and shapes quickly after and decided she didn't want to practice the alphabet any longer. So guess what? We don't do much with the alphabet at this point. Every once in awhile she gets her alphabet puzzle out, but it seems pretty apparent that she feels as though she's mastered it and prefers to move on.

She had a blast showing me that she can now say all of the letter names as well as identify them, however! She enjoys learning through play as I think most toddlers do. We never force anything, but if she's interested we take that interest and run with it.

She loves learning about the world around her, and if she's interested to learn about something like the alphabet, there's no reason not to teach her.


We just celebrated Caroline's second birthday. It was small and sweet- just us and her grandparents that were visiting at the time. It was perfect. Caroline was home and got to play with her toys immediately and enjoy family time! At this age, toddlers really want to play with their presents NOW, not move on to the next present and play with everything afterwards. Totally fine, and so much fun to watch- but it is SLOW! So, it got us thinking about Christmas (which is only a month after her birthday).

We want Caroline to enjoy her toys and not be overwhelmed. At the age of 2 that simply doesn't involve opening everything on Christmas. Here's our plan:

1. A month of giving! Caroline has a decent amount of presents. We've decided to randomly give her presents throughout the month of December. This way, she can enjoy her gifts and not be rushed to move onto the next gift to unwrap. So, if you've sent a gift don't be surprised if you see it in a picture or get a thank you sooner than you were expecting!


We just got back from Caroline's 2 year appointment at the dentist. This is her second time going to the dentist. It is recommended to start as soon as your child gets teeth. This recommendation is based on 2 things: getting your child comfortable with going, and getting parents up to speed and knowledgeable. Our appointment today went perfectly! Caroline was calm, listened well to instructions, and was even excited and curious. She was polite, and answering questions. It went as smoothly as it could have gone, and I was so proud of her. The dentist and the staff were pleased and impressed as well. They were also thrilled that we were doing some necessary things at this age:

1. Brushing twice a day (helps prevent tooth decay)

2. Teaching our daughter how to spit (can switch to fluoride toothpaste once this is achieved and will prevent tooth decay) We are making this switch now!

3. No longer using bottles/pacifiers and not allowing thumb sucking (can cause speech and dental problems)

I really can't express how excited I was to read this guest post from Kimberly over at the Team Cartwright blog! I feel like I could have written this post myself, except she did a way better job of expressing it! Kimberly has written down her 10 Bath Time Confessions, and I agree 100% with ALL 10 of them. Baths are one of those "topics", that, if you aren't bathing your kid every night and incorporating it into your bedtime routine, you're made to feel like a less than exemplar mom. I decided to bury that feeling LONG ago, because not only do I think it's better to bathe less frequently, I simply don't want to take the time to do it! I am still a rockstar mom, as is Kimberly! Our kids are clean and healthier as a result. I bathe Caroline about twice a week....sometimes once a week. I recently had to decide on a day (Monday) to mark on the calendar, so I'd make sure I remembered to do it at least that day...

I hope you enjoy reading Kimberly's 10 Bath Time Confessions. I sure did! Please reach out to me if you have momfessions to admit to. This blog is all about keeping it real, and I'd love to publish your story as well in my real moms real stories series!!



My post today is over at Babywisemom.com. It is about Toddler Behaviors I "Go To The Mat" For- 4 Behaviors I never ignore! The post was inspired by one of the moms in my discussion group, and I loved thinking through this topic. You'll find the behaviors I never ignore, and also the ones that I do ignore. Real examples are given, and I also discuss how I go about trying to diffuse and eliminate battles. 

Real Mom Confessions: Bath Time

Real mom confession time.  I don't often talk about bath time with my kids.  I have my reasons. Don't worry, my kids are clean and I take good care of their hygiene.  But I feel like if you don't have a loving, full on bath with all the bells and whistles every night before bed that somehow you are judged as being a bad mom.  This doesn't have to be the case!  In order to combat that, here are my real mom confessions: bath time edition.

1) I do not bathe my kids every day.  Nope, I don't do it.  They get baths two to three times a week.  Sometimes more if needed.  And honestly sometimes less if life gets busy.  When Ben was a baby my husband and I both worked.  It didn't want to take the time every night to be stuck in the tiny bathroom doing bath time.  We wanted to relax and enjoy time with Ben, so we only did baths a few times a week.  That carried over and we still only do it a few times a week.


Our daughter has everything she needs. She is surrounded by a plethora of toys, she has books GALORE, she has clothes in her closet for all seasons, she has food to eat, warm blankets, and lots and lots of family that love her. My husband and I knew from the start that we didn't want to have too much stuff. We wanted her to appreciate the things she has, and to learn to live without every want met. In addition to this, we want her to learn to be a giver. We want her to learn to share with those around her, and to expect nothing in return but kindness.


To avoid getting too much stuff, we started a Christmas gift guide last year. It was basically a sign up sheet for our family members, so not everyone would end up buying her toys. It encouraged books, and even events to make memories. The reality, however, is that with family far away, sometimes they give gifts simply because it gives them joy- which is something we want them to continue if it makes them happy. That being said, Caroline has a LOT of toys. And the reality is she hardly plays with her toys. So, in our effort to teach giving and kindness, and to not accumulate too much, we donate!


Our daughter has amazed us with a couple of things:


Does anyone else ALWAYS use the Nestle Toll House recipe on the back of the chocolate chips? This is the only chocolate chip cookie recipe I've ever used! It's good, so why switch it up? Well, it's not consistent...at least not for me. I don't know why, but sometimes I get nice fluffy cookies that are soft and gooey like I like them, and other times I get hard, flat, crispy cookies. I am not a fan of crunchy chocolate chip cookies.

I can't believe I officially have a 2 year old! It's amazing to see how much Caroline has learned over the course of two years. What's even more fascinating, is going through each of my monthly updates on the schedule page, and seeing the differences that are noted simply in a few weeks! In her 21 month update I mentioned a few words that she was saying "Moe" for "Moose" (our dog). She now just says Moose. Probably even more amazing is that I had forgotten all about how she used to say "Moe"...and it was only a few months ago! Her speech REALLY took off in the last couple of months, as well.

Schedule 

Not much has changed with her schedule. She's still taking one nap, and goes down very easily. She reads for awhile longer before going down for her nap these days, but she still takes a nap once she feels she is ready. I am still leaving her in her room for the full 3 hours. She reads, then naps, then has quiet time- all in her bed.

7:15 am wake and drink milk
8:30 am breakfast
12 pm lunch
12:30/1-3:30/4 pm nap (I no longer wake her), milk when she wakes
5:30/6 pm dinner
7:15 pm bed



This gift guide is for the 2 year old age range. You'll see it is broken down into 3 categories (bed/bath, books, and toys). Each of these categories has 4 ideas that I think are 2 year old gift WINS! This list is meant to be practical, but the gifts are also exciting and educational.


Bed/Bath


Elmo Pajamas- these pajamas are fabulous! We bought a size 3T for our 2 year old daughter. She is 27 lbs and 34.75" tall. They fit great and they will fit great for quite some time. The cuffed legs are great so the pants aren't too long. Nice and warm for winter months, but not too warm. I am very glad we got these. And what 2 year old doesn't love elmo!?