My toddler has a slight obsession sorry, an infatuationwith anything dinosaur related. It all started when he was given the book, How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight by Jane Yolan, for his 1st birthday. This book is cute and fun to read. So fun, in fact, that we read it every.single.night. Mr. C and I have even been known to do a duet-recitation of the ever popular children’s book when dealing with a fussy toddler in the car. The obsession, however, does not stop there.
Baby Cakes thinks that dinosaurs have a raspy, growly voice. We’re not all that sure where this started, but you can ask him “how does a dinosaur say ______” and he will repeat whatever has been requested in his little growl. It’s been an extremely fun party trick, especially when we decide to ask him how a dinosaur says random words such as “spatula” and “ladle”. Our friends and family giggle when they get him to say their name in the famous dino voice.
We love our little dino so much, that we thought it appropriate to purchase a new winter hat, courtesy of the Etsy shop, Mrs. PTB Makes. These hats are customizable by color, and she even has other animals to choose from. Our little dino loves his hat, and loves seeing himself on video. Here is his latest “flick”. Enjoy!
Baby Cakes is now 18 months old. A whole year-and-a-half! Baby Cakes has always had huge personality, but now Mr. C and I are truly seeing the comic, the scholar, the sweetheart, and the rambunctious spirit come out in the boy that we have spent the past 18 months (well, 27, really!) getting to know.
I don’t know when kids are supposed to show their sense of humor, but BabyC has his stand up routine down pat. He has a signature “Dinosaur Voice” in which he will repeat anything you say in a low, gravely growl, as long as you ask, “How does a dinosaur say ____?” Of course, this is the funniest thing in the world to him, so he always has to throw his head back to force out his toddler cackle.
Our little 18 month scholar is learning letters and building his vocabulary. People have asked me how many words he knows, and honestly, it would take a long time to create that long list, and I’m sure some words would get left off. Recently, I purchased magnetic letters for the fridge. He immediately took to them, started pulling them off one-by-one and to my surprise, he was naming them (correctly!). Thank you Cookie Monster, for your letter of the day. You have truly made my child a literary genius.
Baby C has turned into such a little person, with his own opinions, style, and sense of humor. We can’t eat one meal without requests of “ah-deh?” (that’s Adele for those non-toddler speakers) and “dancey?” as Rumor Has It blasts in our kitchen. Everything is a show while Baby C is on the go, yet I live for those moments when he winding down for the night. He will fake “ni night” and snuggle up close with his “B” (his little lovey blanket). Being a mom of a little boy is such an immense joy. I can’t wait to see all of ways BabyC will continue to amaze us as he is over the hump and on his way to a big 2 year old.
As my summer time at home is winding down, I thought I’d make some treats for the few “Daddy Daycare” days that we have coming up. Here you have Strawberry Shortcake Muffins — Dashing Dish. These were very easy to make and require only a few simple ingredients. The only things that I had to go out and buy were the fresh strawberries and old fashioned oats.
Stirring in strawberries after blending ingredients
I’ve been MIA lately, mostly due to my “crap, I only have one week of summer left” mentality, which in teacher reality means, “crap, I have to get into my classroom early to make sure I’m not stressed when I’m really due to report back next week.” See…more evidence that teachers are truly a hard-working bunch. While I’ve been slacking in the “Mrs. Cupcake” role of meal planning, sticking to somewhat of a schedule to keep our house together, and going on fun trips with BabyC , I’m mentally doing better in my role as a working mom. You see, last year at this time, things were pretty bad. I know I brought a lot of it on myself, but there were many factors that made both work life and home life a mess. So here you have some of my reflections from a year ago at this time. Things are already off to a better start this year!
A year ago…
I cried every morning when I woke up
I slept for maybe 4-5 non-consecutive hours each night, with Mr. C getting even less as a grad student
I cried dropping Baby C off with his nanny
I cried when she texted me to tell me that he wouldn’t stop crying
I cried when I walked into my building, lugging my teacher supplies AND a huge bag with pumping gear
I cried when I was told I had to pump in the science closet, amongst many other strange locations
I cried in meetings when I felt pressure to be that teacher that I was pre-BabyC
I rushed home to play on the swings and neglected any sort of housework/cooking
I cried when I realized I only had 2ish hours to be with Baby C before bath and bed
I cried going to bed at night knowing it would all start over again the next day
Do you see a pattern? Of course, much of it can be attributed to newish mommy hormones, but nevertheless, here’s to less tears, more sleep, more organization, better dinners, a cleaner house, and more smiles this school year. Of course, Mr. C and I do have a huge goal of celebrating one more semester of his MBA down with a trip to Ireland in December. That will keep us smiling for sure!
Every week, I try to make one dish that will last for many lunches and those lonely dinners when Mr. C is in class. This particular ziti dish from Better Homes and Gardens has been a big hit in our house with both of my favorite guys. In fact, Baby C was under the weather this weekend, and is also getting those terrible, horrible, no good molars that I have been dreading. Let’s just say, his appetite was non-existent and this meal changed it all. If you know how sad I get about the tiny state of my under-10th-percentile child, you know that this was a huge win on my part!
This meal is also going to be a lifesaver for the ever-approaching hectic days where both Mr. Cupcake and I are working full-time. I’m also thinking it could be a good staple for some families I know with babies due any day now! Who doesn’t like food dumped on their doorstep?
In somewhat related news, Baby Cakes has been starting to mimic. It’s actually a hilarious stage, but we have to REALLY start….seriously, I mean it this time, watching what we say. Apparently I complain a lot about things being messy. I didn’t know I used that word so much, until one day he approached me with a towel and said, “Messy, messy. Face? Hands?” and proceeded to wipe me in the proper places. Enjoy this little clip of Baby C eating his ziti.
and no, the nose picking is not something that he is mimicking, at least not from me!
It has taken me the almost-year-and-a-half of Baby C’s life, but I’ve finally completed his “Baby Book”. Before I started, I had high hopes that I would begin scrapbooking again, and include all of his little “collector’s items”. I have a box full of his ultrasounds, footprints and hospital bracelets, cards, “month” stickers from each photo shoot, and much more. I even got as far as printing pictures from his first 5 months. Then I went back to work and never had the alone time that I would need to sit down and concentrate on such a task. Hence, the photo book. Thank goodness for modern technology! Maybe I’ll figure out a way to display these important items some day, but for now, at least I have all of the pictures from his first 365 days in one place.
After much research, I decided I wanted something different for Baby C’s first pictures. I came across a blog post by a mom of little ones over at Little Red Wagon Photography. This lead me to the fabulous world of Blurb.com, where I had a lot of fun playing around with their layouts and different sizes of photo books. It was a decent price too, considering I almost went over the photo limit with my hundreds upon hundreds of pictures that I wanted to include. It came in the mail last week, and I am so thrilled with how it turned out (despite a missing letter that Mr. C was kind enough to point out. I can never be perfect, can I?)
Here is the ever-adorable cover. If this doesn’t give you baby-fever, I don’t know what will!
Blurb allows you to share your book with friends, family members, and the world. You can also set only a few pages to be viewed as a preview, which is what I did. It took me many evenings, post-baby-bedtime, and several glasses of wine, but it is finished and (almost) perfect.
Last week, BabyCakes and I were fortunate enough to spend the entire week playing at the seashore. Mr. C was there from time to time, but since we always have 5 different things going on at once in this house, he was traveling to and from the beach to attend his grad classes. This left him driving 16 or so hours back and forth in one week, just to spend a few days with his family. Isn’t he the best?
I’m sure Mr. C was glad that he could witness his now 17-month old’s first meaningful time playing at the beach. Since he wasn’t there the first day, I had to snap a few shots of Baby Cakes’ reaction
At times, he would scream with all he had in him, just to be heard above the crashing of the waves. I fear that he would have run straight across the Atlantic if we let him. That being said, Baby C became obsessed with the ocean. Once we were back at the house (which has an amazing view of the beach) every other word was “o-shun?”. Sometimes, he would put more than one word together to get his point across to whoever’s leg he could tug on, “O-shun? try?” I guess we should start looking for some beach front property!
Here are some of our views from the week. I had to practice my amateur photography!
Morning walk on the beach
I think that although Baby C has been to the beach 3 times previous to this trip, none was as exciting and new to him as this experience. I will always remember snuggling with him that first Sunday morning that we woke up in our home upon returning. He looked at me and said,
“more what, bud?” I asked.
Yes, little man, I think we all need a little more “o-shun” in our lives.
The beach is one of the most majestic places on this earth. I will never get over its beauty, and I will always come home with a post-beach depression. It seems that for the past few years, our vacation has coincided with the end of summer. I look forward so much to the trip and then, once we’re home, that anxious, sinking, pit-of-the-stomach feeling hits. Time is running out! Luckily, we have access to the beach during the off-season too. It just isn’t the same though…
After a week of not worrying about anything except the safety of Baby Cakes as he bravely dashed into the ocean (more on this later!), I am back to meal planning, grocery shopping, and trying to figure out how to get us back on the healthy train after a week of bingeing. I’m not sure those bike rides and runs helped, seeing as though they usually resulted in a trip to the market to get beer or donuts!
Healthy suggestions are welcome and very much appreciated as I spend the rest of the morning browsing my pinterest board…which is essentially full of delectable treats and not-so-much the healthy stuff.
When BabyCakes was 6 months old, I swore that was the best age ever. Then he hit 9 months, and I was blown away by the huge personality that was making its presence known more and more. Now that he is almost 17 months, I can honestly say that this toddler stage is amazing. He is still my cuddly baby boy, but the pace at which he is learning language and motor skills blows me away. Mr. Cupcake comes home each afternoon and is shocked to hear the new words and phrases that Baby C can say. This past week alone, it was “tache you” (thank you), share?, and try? among others. Needless to say, communication in our house is getting easier by the day.
Today, however, the best word that comes out of that little mouth is “su-shine”. Maybe it’s the way that his voice quiets when he speaks it, maybe it’s the meaning behind it, or maybe it’s because we always have to use yellow chalk to draw the “su-shine” on our sidewalks. Whatever the reason, it’s my favorite and I will always cherish the way that he “sings along” to our song, You are my Su-shine, of course!
I have been attempting to meal plan each week and in this plan, I try to include something that I can make in bulk that not only we can eat for dinner, but that I can have on hand for Baby Cakes to eat whether he’s with me or off to his nanny. The old Mrs. C would have baked up some bland chicken breasts or broken into the frozen stash of emergency (why-did-I-even-buy-these) chicken nuggets.
Two recent hits were these turkey pesto meatballs (recipe calls for chicken, but I had ground turkey and it was delish!) and homemade chicken nuggets from Skinny taste. Like most toddlers, Baby Cakes is Mr. Independent and wants to hold and bite his own food, so both of these options are perfect for his little hands!
Skinny Taste nuggets, perfect for toddler hands
Enjoying the pesto meatballs
Baby Cakes is a very expressive eater (like his daddy) so we always know when he is enjoying something. These recipes will definitely be repeats! If you have any other faves that you make for your toddler, send them my way, thanks!