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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 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 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.


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.


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!?

Dear Caroline,

You are two years old! I have to say, I loved a lot about the baby stage. I loved the never ending cuddles, I loved holding you while you slept in my arms, I loved all of your firsts- your first smile, first laugh, etc. There is something about the toddler phase that I can't get enough of, however. I have loved getting to watch you learn, I love hearing you talk, and I love the activities that we do together. So far, this is my favorite age. I have a feeling I'm going to say that next year as well, and probably the year after that. It is just fascinating watching you turn into a sweet, beautiful, smart little girl.

Lately, we take our time in the mornings (unless we are going somewhere). You wait patiently for me once you wake up-  you wait for your clock to turn yellow. I then come in. You always request to stay in bed. Sometimes we stay in your bed, and sometimes we hurry over to Mama and Daddy's bed. We bring books, your blankets, and sometimes a friend (Pete the dog, Elmo, etc.). We read books, and sometimes we watch a show (Dinosaur Train is your latest favorite). I eventually tell you it's time to get up and get ready so we can go downstairs and eat breakfast. You beg for "more more more", and ask to stay in bed longer. I love these mornings and so do you. We wake up at 7, and often aren't eating until 9. It's a perfect lazy morning.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I'll be taking the rest of this week off of blogging to enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving with family, and to celebrate Caroline's 2nd birthday. Time really does fly by. It seems like just yesterday I was in the hospital being induced (the Wednesday before Thanksgiving), and looking out the window to see the first snow of the year.

I'll be writing Caroline's 2 year update soon, and of course, posting lot of Thanksgiving and birthday pictures!

Enjoy your family time, whether just at home with your little ones, or traveling to see extended family! Stay safe!

If you need some reading materials over the long weekend, check out these pages with TONS of links to TONS of posts about TONS of topics! LOL!




Sleep (naps)

Sleep (night)

Sample Schedules

Realities of Potty Training

Note: Today is Babywise Friendly Blog Network Day! We are all posting on the topic of potty training! See below for all of the links. Enjoy!

Poop Talk

"Mama poop!" shouts my almost 2 year old. Let me just note that I don't particularly like this broadcast, and not only that...but it didn't just happen! It shouldn't be on my toddler's mind. It happened hours ago, yet we are still talking about it!

"Yes, Mama pooped this morning".
"Daddy poop!", she replies.
"Probably, yes. I'm sure Daddy pooped this morning, too". I answer, wondering why we are still talking about this.
"Caroline poop", she says.
"Do you need to go poop, Caroline?", I ask.
[Blank stare]...... (Me wondering yet again WHY we are discussing this if no one is pooping and no one has to poop) haha!

This is my reality all day every day LOL! We potty trained Caroline this summer and she's done fantastic with it! When we potty trained her, she wasn't talking. She'd make a grunting noise to let me know that she had to go pee or poop. She got her point across. That's slowly progressed to her saying potty, and now describing things at random times. Now she's talking up a storm, and she's got potty on her mind... a lot!

bath ring

Bath time has a lot of different stages as your baby grows. Of course, it starts nice and "simple" using a little baby tub in a sink or on the counter. As your baby starts to outgrow that tub, however, things can get a bit more challenging.

Kneeling next to the bathtub, trying to hold your baby up while washing them, isn't the easiest task in the world- especially if they are moving around! Once they start sitting, it honestly doesn't get any easier... they aren't stable enough for you to really take your hands off of them for even small moments. It's doable, but it's back-breaking quite literally! I quite often found myself just getting in the tub with my daughter to make things easier.

Our Pediatrician's office sends out surveys for us to answer prior to some of the big well checks. I just recently got the 24 month surveys to fill out. These surveys are just that- questions. There is no indication on them as to what milestones your child should have reached, but one can only assume they are asking these questions for good reason- and hence, interested in these particular milestones.

As I was reading the survey, I realized that, while I have a lot of fine motor skill activity ideas on my list of things to do, we just haven't done many of them at this point. Honestly, the weather has been so nice, and we've been going outside so often, that we've not had moments to do these.

I decided to give one of my activities a shot to see how she'd do. The activity was simple: place a spaghetti noodle in play-doh so it stands up vertically. I then had Caroline stack Cheerios on the noodle. This activity requires steady hands and good focus. It also will give you an idea of their depth perception and eyesight. She did great, and also really enjoyed breaking the noodles as a second activity! We then rolled the play-doh as a third activity. Lots of fun to be had with this activity!

Here are some of the survey questions that dealt with fine motor skills:

We were so happy with the Mother's Day Out program that we did last year, that we decided to do it again. I have to say, I am even happier to have Caroline in it at the age she is now! She's getting a chance to try new things, interact with other children, and new adults. I've been amazed at how well she's doing! We are using a new place this year, but she still goes 1 day a week for about 4 hours. It's the perfect amount of time!

We had ups and downs last year, but it was overall a fantastic experience. For the most part Caroline was a happy camper when I dropped her off, and eager to stay and play. At the very beginning of the year, and again towards the end, she was crying for about 5 minutes when I'd leave her, and then would cheer up and still have a good time. I was really hoping that this year there would be no tears!

Holiday cards. The holiday cards now are so personalized, yet so standard and unpersonal at the same time. Instead of a cute dog with a santa hat on and nice personalized message handwritten inside, we personalize them with our photos. We send them out just to check off a list. We no longer write a message. The person on the receiving end loves to look at the photos and "catch up". Maybe it stays on the fridge for the holiday season, but then it quickly finds the trash in most homes! Let's be honest, even if it had a handwritten message, it would probably find the trash at some point.

Everyone has an opinion on this topic:
1 child? No need to schedule! or Scheduling is a must!
More than 1 child? Throw the schedule out the window! or It is essential to have a schedule now!

We learned a lot this week about how Babywise needs to work for us, and how the schedules actually allow more flexibility and stability in the home. Today, Emily is talking about the concept of using Babywise with multiple children- and how it is very possible to do so!

Emily writes:

The first Babywise book is very much about eating and sleeping. After all, it is focused on babies' needs- and guess what? Babies needs are pretty centered around eating and sleeping! There are some bigger picture concepts that are put forth in book 1 as well, however, and by the time you get to Childwise, Teenwise, etc., the books are hardly focused on eating and sleeping at all. Today Cole is discussing the bigger picture of Babywise and explaining that it is more than just sleep.

Cole writes:

To go along with the idea of making Babywise work for you, that we've been discussing over the last few days, I'd like to bring your attention to breastfeeding. The myth that you can't breastfeed your baby while doing Babywise because it will diminish your supply. The Babywise book clearly supports breastfeeding (I plan to write a post on this and quote the book soon), and I know so many moms that have done both and been successful- me included! Check out my Real Moms, Real Stories series on "Breastfeeding on a Schedule", for more personal accounts. Today, Kimberly is giving her perspective on this Babywise myth...

Kimberly writes:

"My son was a hungry little newborn.  I knew this and the interval between feedings was sometimes only ninety minutes.  That interval grew with time.  Scheduling does not mean you ignore the demand to eat, it means you meet that demand and plan ahead to keep meeting it. "

Read the full post here!

Don't forget to come back this week for more Babywise Myth Busters! We have a five days with 8 fabulous myth busting posts for you to read!

Here is the schedule along with the topics for each day:

Links will go live on the day specified below...

- Monday: Valerie at Chronicles of a Babywise Mom- Myths Versus Realities of Babywise

- Tuesday: Katrina at Mama's Organized Chaos- Babywise Isn't Imposing a Schedule, It's Learning the Ideal Schedule

- Wednesday: Shea at The Moses Home- How Schedules Keep Us Flexible, Not Rigid

- Wednesday: Natasha at Let's Be Brave- Babywise Works For YOU, Not The Other Way Around

- Thursday: Carrie at Wiley Adventures- Babywise and Cry it Out (how they do/don't go together)

- Thursday: Kimberly at Team Cartwright- Babywise and Breastfeeding (does not diminish milk supply)

-  Friday: Cole at Twinning Babywise- The Misconception that Babywise is just Sleep Training

-  Friday: Emily at The Journey of Parenthood- Using Babywise Isn't Impossible with Multiple Children

Somewhere along the way, Babywise got intertwined with cry it out methods. When people hear Babywise they often think of sleep training. The reality, however, is that Babywise does NOT advocate for or against cry it out methods. Babywise is a parenting tool that is focused on prioritizing full feeds, and promoting healthy sleep. Does it recommend teaching your baby how to self soothe? Yes. Does it say how you need to go about doing that? No. Natasha spoke yesterday about how Babywise needs to "work for you". This is a classic example of how you need to choose a method that is right for your needs and your family. Today, Carrie is not only discussing what the Babywise book does and does not say about cry it out methods, she is also providing some insight into the self soothing recommendations, and different CIO methods and options that you have at your disposal!

Carrie writes:

One of the things I LOVE LOVE LOVE about Babywise mamas, is that they are open-minded and generally not judgmental of other parenting styles! Every encounter that I've had with EVERY Babywise mom has been the same in this aspect. They are loving their schedules, but are supportive of parents that want to use feed on demand strategies. Most are very aware of the fact that Babywise isn't for everyone, and are ok with that. Some Babywise parents use cry it out, others do not. Some breastfeed, others do not. We all have a common link, however- Babywise. We all help each other succeed by helping other moms figure out how Babywise can work for them! Today, Natasha is talking about just that!

Natasha writes:

Babywise Friendly Blog Network Week is continuing strong as we delve into the myths of Babywise! Today we are hearing from Shea at The Moses Home blog on the myth that Babywise makes our lives rigid and hyper-scheduled with little flexibility. She's building on what we discussed yesterday and givings us a lot of insight as to the amount of flexibility Babywise has allowed her to have in her home...with 4 Babywise babies! She knows what she's talking about first hand!

Shea writes:
"Today, I am talking specifically about having a consistent schedule (a tried and true babywise philosophy) will actually make your child more flexible when the routine must be interrupted. You don't have to hyper schedule to make Babywise work for your home. In fact, you begin slowly and build. This helps you to know what will work for your family's lifestyle and needs. "

I mentioned yesterday, that I was quite shocked to read some of the Babywise "myths" when I first started researching the idea. I first found the concept of Babywise on Pinterest, and I didn't yet know it was called Babywise! I found a pin that was focused on scheduling feedings. I had been researching how often I should expect to feed my baby throughout the day and night. I am one of those Type A people that love to be as prepared as possible for things. While I knew I couldn't possibly know anything exact, I wanted a ballpark number to keep in mind- a goal. When I saw the idea of scheduled feedings, I was fascinated. I know that I personally thrive on schedules and knowing what is expected of me, and that my students also did the same, when I was teaching high school. I had a feeling that babies would also love the idea, and I really wanted to give it a shot. As I researched more and more, I finally found the term Babywise. That's when the research turned negative. Once Babywise is mentioned, there are a lot of myths to sift through. I turned to the book, and to the BabywiseMom blog. I also joined the Babywise Mamas group on Facebook so I could have a support system with other mamas that were using the same concepts.

Today I'd like to address something that I'm very passionate about: Babywise Isn't Imposing a Schedule, it's Learning the Ideal Schedule. This is a very important idea that often gets lost (unless you've read the book).

The myths:
Using Babywise will starve your baby and cause failure to thrive
Babywise requires you to hyper-schedule

It's not really until you join the motherhood club, that you realize just how judgmental the "club" has become. Maybe it's always been this way, but certainly with the surge in online media, the judgement seems like it's all around us. Unfortunately, in an age with information readily at our hands online, many rarely turn to books to do their research. As a result, we research online. Often we are reading a blog (like this one)- someone's opinion or recap of an idea. As teachers we try and teach students how to validate their sources, but the reality is it's a difficult task, and one that often gets lost on many (including adults). Reading someone's ideas and thoughts about a topic as a summary, can be very one sided and biased- and even incorrect. Just because it's typed up, does not mean it is fact.

Caroline: "Mama, boots"
Mama: "Yes, Mama is wearing boots"
Caroline: "Caroline boots, too"
Mama: "Yes, you are wearing boots, too"

Caroline: "Caroline, up"
Caroline looks at a little boy: "Up, too"
Mama: "Yes, he's climbing up the ladder, too"

Caroline: "Dark blue" as she points to my dark blue t-shirt
Mama: "It is dark blue, isn't it!? Great job!"
Caroline pointing at her shirt: "blue, too"

These scenarios kept happening over and over on Halloween day. I kept thinking, did she just say too and use it correctly? I mean, I don't have any experience with 24 month old children to relate this to, but to me this concept seems TOO difficult for a not quite yet 2 year old. It is one thing to simply repeat the word when I say it, but she is actively using it on her own!

If you visit a Babywise discussion group around daylight savings time, you'll see all sorts of questions surrounding how to make the change smoothly. You've finally set up the perfect schedule with your child, and them BOOM- time change to mess it all up. I get it, it's frustrating. On the other hand, some moms are welcoming the change, hoping it will fix the schedule issues they've been having LOL!

There is definitely a way to gradually make the transition and ease your little one into making this change. Check out this post for recommendations on how to make the time change happen gradually so your baby will hardly even notice!

Here's my reality though, and the one trick you can use to make the transition fast and easily:

The trick: roll with it - go with the flow- don't stress! That's it, that's the big trick. If you are stressed about it, your baby will sense it and be stressed, too. And, odds are, your little one will go with the flow!

I've pretty much always just done things cold turkey with my little one. And you know what? She does just fine! Children are capable of being so flexible and adaptable, if we allow them the chance. 

Fall back: 7 am becomes the new 6 am. We want our little ones sleeping in an extra hour. This often naturally starts to happen as it stays darker in the morning. If your child starts trying to sleep in a bit the week before, let them! If not, don't worry about it. The night before, keep your little one up 30-60 minutes extra. Don't go in the next morning until 7 am. Check out this amazing clock to help give your little one some consistency and comfort (it is on the top  list of my favorite items ever purchased).
Spring Forward: 7 am becomes the new 8 am. This one is easy! Your child will want to be sleeping in- just wake them up when it is 7 am on the clock. They might be a little extra tired and want to go to bed a bit early or take an extra long nap. No worries. By the next day, they'll have caught up and will be fine, just like you! :)

Good luck with the time change!

Posts that may be of interest to you:

I honestly didn't know what to expect on Halloween. Caroline is really shy around strangers, so I wasn't sure she'd enjoy anything about knocking on someone's door, and having to talk to them. I'd been getting her excited about her costume, and made it her favorite character from Daniel Tiger, but also envisioned that it was quite possible she'd want nothing to do with wearing it! 2 year olds aren't going to do anything they don't want to do LOL!

The day before Halloween, I started talking to Caroline about what was going to happen. I told her she was going to get to wear her O the Owl costume, and explained the process of knocking on someone's door, saying "trick or treat" and getting candy. We practiced saying trick or treat a lot!

"Read please, Mama" "Read please, Mama" "Read please, Mama" "Read please, Mama" "Read please, Mama" "Read please, Mama" "Read please, Mama" "Read please, Mama" "Read please, Mama" 

So my daughter can talk now. LOL!

I gave a speech development update when Caroline was 22 months old. Suddenly her speech was just taking off. Now, she's 24 months, and she talks all day long. She names objects, she says sentences, and she gets her point across very well! Her grandparents were just here for a visit last week, and she's already saying new words this week that they are surprised to hear! She is trying to say her name, now, and sentences like "Read please, Mama" are second nature to her!

I have been so behind lately, that I haven't had time to record this pretty amazing milestone! Caroline can catch! I've been pretty impressed with her physical abilities. She's not yet 2, and she has been able to jump and get both feet off of the ground for at least a couple of months now! I've written about her gymnastics class in the past, and she's continuing to show her physical strength and just impress us all! She's mastered the "bear crawl", where she has to climb across a horizontal ladder. She does so with ease! She can hang on the bar and the rings for insane amounts of time, and she is simply put- very coordinated and very aware of her body and what it can do! She climbed up a ladder at the playground a few weeks ago as well. Month 23 really brought a lot of new skills for her!

We've been so lucky this fall to have visitors galore! As many of you know, all of our family is out of state. In both September and October we were incredibly excited to welcome some of the west coast Villegas clan! And, in November we also get a visit from the Palmieri side for Caroline's birthday/Thanksgiving. Cap it all off in December with a family trip, and we are ending up with 4 straight months of visiting family! This is so special, and we are so thankful for each and every memory!

In September, Auntie Maria and Uncle Adolfo came to visit for a full week. It was a full week of laughter and good times! After family visits, I am always left wishing we all lived closer. I always feel this a bit extra with Maria and Adolfo, because not only are they family, they are a fun couple to hang out with! Joe and I don't get together with other couples- ever. But we love hanging out with these two and always have a blast! It literally doesn't matter what we are doing, we are always laughing and giving each other a hard time. 

It's Babywise Friendly Blog Network Day! We are all writing on the requested topic of "quick dinner ideas". This topic idea came at a fitting time for me. You'll read below, but I am basically on an everything free elimination diet starting TODAY! I've been experimenting over the last couple of weeks with recipes and figuring out how I can make good, quick meals throughout this process. You'll find my suggestions below! At the end of this post you'll also find a list of all of the other Babywise Friendly Blog Network posts, and their take on the "quick dinner ideas" topic! Enjoy!

There are so many people nowadays that are aware of their food sensitivities. We've made a ton of progress in the medical world acknowledging these sensitivities and allergies. Most stores even have specialized gluten free aisles now! Pretty amazing, really!

Over the next couple of months I am doing what's called an Elimination Diet. I am essentially trying to figure out if I have any food sensitivities that might be causing pain and fatigue. This is such a daunting process. I've always eaten anything I wanted and never worried about diets. As a result, I am pretty unaware of ingredient lists in general LOL! I'm learning, however, that being gluten, dairy, egg and soy free is hard to do "quickly". You have to make things from scratch to succeed at your meal being free of all of these ingredients. I am also doing nightshade free (potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers). It is pretty eye opening to start reading labels and learning what's in a lot of the things I eat.

Last week was my trial week. I gave myself a trial week to figure out some recipes that work. I need some go to recipes that I can make in a pinch (instead of going out or making a quesadilla)! I know that in order to be successful, I need a plan going in. This diet is something that I'm doing with a Naturopathic doctor, and she's recommended several resources:

OH MY GOSH! We took Caroline to Sesame Place this weekend, and she literally had the time of her life! She is almost 2 (1.5 months out), and it was a great age to start going to Sesame Place.  She is in love with all things Elmo, so I knew I wanted to schedule us for a character dining experience where she'd get to meet him. Even under 2, she can ride most of the rides with us. It's a pretty neat place!

Here's all about how our day went and some tips/tricks we learned along the way:

One of my favorite things to do with my family is go on a nice evening stroll (especially in the fall)! Everyone enjoys being outside, and it is such good family time that even gets to include the dog.

Caroline really enjoys looking at the moon. So much so, she always says she wants to go to the moon when she sees it! I decided on a whim, that I wanted to throw out Caroline's schedule for one night, and have an extra special family walk. Instead of putting Caroline to bed at 7/7:15, we actually headed out of the house at 6:30. Our destination- the golf course that my husband works at. 

We took our daughter to the natural history museum in D.C. Right before we left, we found that they actually had a child exploration room! The room was amazing and equipped with everything from a dress up corner, to hieroglyphic stamps. It had a coloring station, a light table, a skeleton, rocks, microscopes, weights to measure on a scale, and so much more!

The first thing we tried with Caroline was the microscope. She watched me put a rock on the specimen tray and look through the eye pieces. She was hooked. She was doing it all on her own from that point on. She'd put an object on, and look through the eye pieces. Cutest thing in the world!

I remember it vividly- I was finally pregnant, and I happened to be at Target. I thought I'd stop by the book section and get a few pregnancy books. I couldn't wait to read about the bundle of joy inside of me. I love knowing facts and details. I bought two books. One of them was What to Expect When Expecting (an amazing book). The other book, I returned so fast, I don't even remember the title. It was the most negative book I'd ever read. It detailed every possible thing that could go wrong during pregnancy, along with all of the things I needed to avoid, etc. It was not something I wanted to read. I am all about knowing the facts, but I am also focused on staying positive and realistic. As the book was written it simply put unneeded and unwanted worry on expecting moms. When I returned the book, I also returned to the pregnancy book aisle. I found that many of the books focused on the negatives. So, I stuck with the one good book I'd found and did the rest of my reading and research online. About a month before my due date I realized I should probably start reading up on my baby, instead of just the pregnancy. I found two phenomenal books: Babywise, and The Wonder Weeks. I've decided to start doing book reviews of the helpful books that I find. So, today I'll be starting with The Wonder Weeks.

The Wonder Weeks concept and idea is just fascinating to me. This book outlines 10 developmental milestones that occur in a baby's first 20 months of life. The idea is that these developmental milestones actually occur at roughly the same time for babies (within a few weeks). With predictable leaps in babies development, this book is incredibly eye opening as a parent. The book details the earliest week that these leaps typically occur. You can literally look at a calendar and predict when they will occur for your child. During these leaps, your baby is extra fussy as they work through these life altering changes that are occurring in their brains. When the leap is over you'll be able to see your baby showing new skills!

My experience: I found that the app coupled with the book was an amazing combination. I detail below what each has to offer. The combination put my mind at ease. All of the sudden (literally out of the blue) Caroline would be extra fussy, and I had no idea why or what had changed. Without fail, 100% of the time, I would check the wonder week calendar, and Caroline would be entering or already in a leap. It was shocking to me how predictable these leaps really were! Once I realized that Caroline was in a leap, I'd read the chapter for that specific leap in The Wonder Weeks book. Reading about the skills she was developing put everything into perspective and allowed me to remove myself from the frustration of the "fussy period", and be more understanding that it wasn't my fault or her fault or anyone's was a normal mental development that was occurring. I was also able to read about the new skills that might be popping up, and see them happening right before my eyes. Truly amazing. Once I realized that the concept of this book seemed to really be on point, my husband and I would read about the next leap ahead of time so we knew what skills we were looking for. We enjoyed reading the chapters together every evening, and discussing our daughter's progress.

The App: I think the app is now $1.99. It is the ONLY app I've ever paid money for, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. The app is a quick reference to keep tabs on where your child is in their developmental cycle. You can enter your child's birth date and track where they are in relation to the leaps that are outlined in the book. The app gives a quick summary of the skills that may be developing during this leap. I used the app mostly for the ease of the calendar and tracking.

The book suggests to base your child's development based on their due date. I entered 2 "children" into the app: Caroline based on her due date, and Caroline based on her birth date. I always found that my daughter entered leaps perfectly based on her birth date. I tracked them both for about 6 months, and once I realized our trend to be based on birth date, I stopped tracking based on due date all together. I'd recommend doing this to see how the calendar lines up for your specific child. 

The Book: The book is a must buy. It goes into a ton of detail about what is happening with your baby's development. There is a separate chapter for each wonder week (or leap). Each chapter consists of 4 sections:
  • This Week's Fussy Signs: This section outlines what behaviors and clues to look for indicating that your baby is about to make a developmental leap.  There is a diary section where you can check off the signs you've noticed to help you keep track of things.
  • The Magical Leap Forward: This section discusses the new skills and abilities your child may acquire during the leap. Again, there is a diary section with a checklist . This was probably our favorite part of the book! We loved reading about all of the new skills that our baby would soon acquire!
  • What You Can Do to Help: This is an amazing section, that gives you ideas for games, toys, and even focused activities that are catered to each stage of development. This is also one of my favorite parts to read through and gave me some great ideas!
  • After the Leap: After the leap, your baby will start to be happy, and more independent again. This section lets you know when to expect this. 
The chapters also have real life experience quotes from moms and dads, along with fun facts on things like brain changes, sleep tips, top toys, and more! As an example, in wonder week 12, there is a brain change fact that states "At approximately 10 to 11 weeks, the head circumference of babies dramatically increases". I just loved seeing everything put forward in such a positive light with lots of fun facts. Babies have a lot of ups and downs and it can be hard on parents when they don't know what's going on. This book really does help you to understand what's happening in your baby's development and how you can assist to make things easier on them. I highly recommend grabbing a copy! We'll even be re-reading this when baby #2 comes along one day- it was that interesting and there are way too many facts to simply remember for the next go around. It is definitely an in the moment read and well worth your time (even when sleep deprived)!

Check out my other book reviews here.

Today is blog swap day at Babywise Friendly Blog Network! I am posting a book review of The Wonder Weeks over at Team Cartwright! Guest posting for us is Carrie Wiley! She's got some amazing tips for going to theme parks with a toddler!

Tips for Theme Parks with a Toddler

Some families choose to wait to travel to theme parks until their children are older. We are not one of those families! There are solid reasons for waiting until they are older, but for our family the hustle and bustle is so worth it for the memories with have with our kids.

That being said, the toddler years can be difficult enough to navigate on their own without throwing a big trip or theme park into the mix. I have taken toddlers to theme parks several times and have learned some things along the way…


This clock keeps coming up in the discussion group that is set up for this blog! I also keep mentioning it in all of my posts because I am just in love with this product (and no it was not given to me to review LOL)!

When I was first researching ok to wake clocks, there were lots of other clocks that were much cheaper than this one. I had a really hard time getting over the price, initially. I am glad I stuck with my gut, however, and chose the My Tot Clock above the others. This clock has a ton of features, and we utilize most of them! We started using this clock when Caroline was 18 months old. This seemed to be the perfect age for us! It then helped Caroline make a seamless transition into her big girl bed!

So, let's talk about all of the amazing features and what it does!

- The clock: The clock itself shows both an analog and digital version of the time. This means nothing to my toddler at the moment, but when she is old enough to learn how to tell time, she'll have a great little clock to look at!

Sewing is not something that comes very easy for me. I don't have the patience to do it well. I can figure out a basic pattern if need be, and I can do a decent job, but the reality is that I prefer the no sew route! Especially for something that is going to be worn ONCE...maybe twice?!?

Halloween is also not a favorite holiday of mine. I am trying to get excited about it, however, now that I have an almost 2 year old that is going to love it!

So, when I was thinking of what costume to get her, I knew I didn't want to spend an arm and a leg (or spend an enormous amount of time creating something), that she was going to wear once.

Her favorite characters right now are Elmo, Daniel Tiger, and O the Owl (from Daniel Tiger). A mom can only take sooo much Elmo haha, and this girl really loves owls. So, I thought it would fun to make a simple owl costume for her.

What is Babywise? This post might surprise you! Most people think of scheduling and routines, which is only part of the whole story! Babywise is a scheduling methodology at it's core. It is bigger than this, however. If you can establish good routines and schedules with your baby/toddler/child, you can help them in all facets of their lives. A child that is well rested, will inherently be better behaved and eager to learn. It is so much more than just schedules, however.