Making Ordinary Days Extraordinary (For a Toddler)

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Confession: I didn’t read any books or articles on how to help a used-to-be-only-child adjust to having a younger sibling. I probably should have, but I didn’t. However, I’ve talked to enough friends and read enough article headlines to know that it’s important to have quality time with each child, especially in the transitional period. So Clara shall have some quality time, darnit! In reality, Clara has gotten way more attention than Isabelle over the last few weeks, but she’s used to having practically 100% of our focus, so I’m sure this new sister thing feels like a big shift to her. Anyway, with the awesome weather that summer brings and keeping in mind that Clara is probably having an emotionally rough time becoming a big sister, I’ve been trying to make every day just a little bit more special.

How To Make An Ordinary Day Extraordinary For A Toddler

Here are some ways to make ordinary days a little more fun for a toddler:

+ Get outside. Even if it isn’t summer, toddlers love to play outdoors. Our little one is a complete ball of energy, so getting her outside each and every day is vital for all of our sanity. Some days (with two kids) it feels like it isn’t worth the energy to get us all dressed and outside, but I still make sure we get out there. Usually we head to the playground, but sometimes we just walk to get coffee or to go around our block. Speaking of coffee…


Did I mention that Clara often chooses to not wear shoes when we go outside? I’m choosing my battles with this one.

+ Actually sit down at the coffee shop. Usually I just run in, grab some caffeine, and run back out before either kid has time to have a meltdown, but when I want to make the event a bit more fun (and if Isabelle is asleep), Clara and I will sit at a table and have a mommy-daughter coffee date. I always order her a mini-doughnut or we split a bagel or something similar. Just the act of sitting down with my ‘big girl’ and talking to her while sharing a snack is really fun for us.

+ Read lots of books. Clara loves to read and so do I, so reading books together is a great activity for us. Of course, it would be ideal if we could sit next to each other and read our own books, but that day is far in the future. At this point I let her pick out which books she wants me to read to her and she brings me book after book after book and I read them out loud until my brain can’t handle the 18th reading of the same book within 30 minutes. I mean, some of these stories are just so boring. SO BORING. But, she loves to listen to me read and I love to see her happy, so reading is what we do! If Isabelle cries during our reading time I make sure to tell her she needs to hold on so I can finish the story with Clara. I do this because I want Clara to know that I’m trying to protect our time together and that Isabelle has to wait for her sometimes, too.

+ Act silly. Sometimes I forget to act silly. Between making lunch, breastfeeding, cleaning up, changing outfits, changing diapers, etc I just get too tired to have fun. Sad, right?! Luckily, having a toddler is the perfect excuse (and reminder) to act silly. Clara loves doing ‘happy dances’ and twirling around and doing somersaults. As often as I remember, I try to encourage her to dance and will sometimes join in with her! We also like taking pictures and videos together because she loves watching them afterwards. I’ve never been a big fan of the selfie, but Clara loves them so now we take them together.

Making Ordinary Days Extraordinary For A Toddler

+ Go on an errand. I know some people probably do errands quite regularly, but I’m not one of those people. And let’s be honest, if I ran to Walmart every time I wanted to get out of the house, I would spend way more money on things I ‘need’ than I would like to admit! However, Clara loves to get out of the house to ‘help’ me, and if we’re having a rainy day in Seattle, we load into the car to go shopping for a few minutes and to be around real (adult) people for a change.

How To Make An Ordinary Day Extraordinary For A Toddler

+ Share a sweet treat. Clara cannot watch me eat any food without demanding I share it, and there’s no food she loves sharing more than ice cream! Plus, everyone knows that ice cream tastes best when it’s shared. If we’re being extra-crazy, we even add Smucker’s toppings to our ice cream! Living on the edge, I know! But seriously, ice cream and toppings are just better together! Plus, eating ice cream + toppings makes me feel like we’re at an ice cream parlor without the hassle of getting the girls ready to actually go out into public. Clara prefers chocolate toppings, but I like strawberry so I can get a serving of fruit with my dessert (that’s how it works, right?!).

How To Make An Ordinary Day Extraordinary For A Toddler

Making An Ordinary Day Extraordinary For A Toddler

Smucker's Toppings - Better Together!

So I challenge you, go forth and make today an extra-special one! (And to help with that, earn cash back on Smucker’s Ice Cream Toppings with the free Ibotta app!)

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A little of this and a little of that

Clara is finally making herself useful! The other day I was walking with her and looking at my phone (it was important, I was trying to do ‘research’ on Instagram to figure out whether a certain ice cream truck would be in the area that day) and she yelled “DOG POOP!” right before I stepped in it. It was such a close call. My mom heart was so proud that she was 1) able to identify what dog poop is and 2) was so gleeful in pointing it out.

I tried the vanilla sweet cream cold brew from Starbucks and was NOT disappointed. Plus, it’s only 110 calories compared to my ‘normal’ caramel macchiato which is 250 calories.

A little of this and a little of that

This is how I’m writing this post right now. #multitasking

Clara decided to wake up at 1:30 last night. She stayed awake until approximately 4am. Ohhhh the things she wanted to do. She is such an enthusiastic little being in the middle of the night. Isn’t my newborn supposed to be the one keeping me from sleeping?

Also, my adventurous toddler keeps crawling onto the top of her dresser and getting stuck there and then we (of course) need to go rescue her. There is no physical way I can keep her from that dresser, I’m afraid. She just pulls out the drawers and scurries on up. I just wish she could get safely down.

I love this sunscreen and supposedly it isn’t filled with as many chemicals as the stuff I currently use, so I suppose it’s worth the higher price tag. For some reason I have a difficult time justifying spending a lot of money on stuff that goes on my skin, but I get that it’s important so my credit card will just need to get over it.

I’m going to do an entire post on this later (famous last words), but I bought this backpack to use as a diaper bag and I love it and I’m now convinced that diaper bags in general are a scam because backpacks are so much better/easier/etc.

I started watching season 4 of OITNB but have heard the last two episodes will make me cry so I can’t even be excited about it. OK, that’s a lie, I’m still excited about it. I freakin’ love this series.

Well, Clara just woke up from her nap an hour early (insert all of the swear words here) because of this darn construction happening literally 10 feet from our house, so I must let you go. Until next time…

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The kind of dad he is

Yesterday I co-hosted a baby shower and arrived home at 9pm. (Four beautiful hours away from my girls – I was practically skipping I was feeling so free. Or maybe it was the Pinot Grigio.)

I walked in the house and found Tim holding Isabelle and Clara yelling something from her room.

Happy Fathers Day

Tim: Oh good, you’re home. Here, take Isabelle, I think Clara’s yelling because her baby doll has to go potty.

… And then he ran upstairs to take the doll and assure Clara that he would make sure she went to the potty.

Because this is what it’s like to have a toddler (or at least it’s what it’s like to have our particular toddler). And Tim, instead of rolling his eyes as we are often tempted to do, handles these types of ’emergencies’ with understanding and patience and a great sense of humor.

That’s just the kind of dad he is.

[Lest you think I abandoned him all day to watch the girls by himself on Fathers Day… this is only partially true. In the morning we took a family ‘adventure’ (walk) to get doughnuts a mile away, but unfortunately we had to abort the mission since both girls were having meltdowns. However, we did get him gifts! I got him a Chicago neighborhood print and a Seattle neighborhood print and a gift certificate to Float Seattle.]

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Happy Fathers Day!

To the dad who…

Happy Fathers Day

Changes lots and lots and LOTS of diapers

Makes lunches and dinners for a sometimes-picky toddler

Held my hand during labor and delivery just a few weeks ago

Sometimes sleeps on the floor to comfort his daughter in the middle of the night

Finds true joy in playing silly games and singing silly songs and dancing silly dances

Goes to the playground multiple times per week

Carries the heavies baby up mountains – in the rain

Takes ‘morning duty’, giving me a few extra minutes to rest or get ready for the day

Makes time for work and his family

Kisses ‘owwies’

Is a great example of living confidently and generously

Truly loves being a dad with his whole heart

Happy Fathers Day.

I couldn’t (and wouldn’t want to) do this whole parenting thing without you.

You are important, you are appreciated, and you are loved (x3)!

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Just another day in paradise.

Can I tell you about my day yesterday?  

At midnight our Airbnb guests arrived. Even though I sent them detailed instructions about letting themselves in through the side door, they still came to our front door, which caused Ozzie to go into a frenzy. At midnight. I swear, when it isn’t the girls waking me up, it’s my other ‘kid’!

Then the same guests called Tim’s cell phone (a little after midnight) to clarify the street parking signs in our neighborhood. Let me just say that if you’re an Airbnb guest, you probably shouldn’t call the hosts in the middle of the night unless it’s an emergency. Especially if the hosts happen to be sleep deprived parents of two small children.

Isabelle woke up at 4:45am (which I actually wasn’t complaining about because she slept over 9 hours straight)!

Clara woke up at 6:30am with a LOT of energy.

Tim left for work at around 7:30am, leaving me to help Clara finish her breakfast.

By 9am I managed to get both girls and myself dressed. Plus, Clara had finished breakfast and gotten cleaned up, so I was feeling like Supermom!

But then I turned my back for 3 seconds and found Clara giving her doll a bath in the sink.

Then, our Airbnb guests texted to ask if they could have 100 grams of sugar.

I stopped what I was doing (pouring breastmilk into freezer bags) and started ‘researching’ Googling how many grams are in a tablespoon. When I looked up I realized Clara had taken my permanent marker and was drawing all over the kitchen counters. She was so proud of her art but I wasn’t exactly sharing her enthusiasm.

Well, I obviously stopped what I was doing to clean the counters.

I finished cleaning, poured the breastmilk into the bags, took the sugar downstairs, and then heard Isabelle crying (having just woken up from her nap).

I ran upstairs to get Isabelle, changed her and put her on my boob, helped Clara to go potty, cleaned her toddler potty, read her a few books, and then got a text about the Airbnb guests wanting to do laundry.

So we sent a few texts regarding that and that’s when the demolition started.

I guess somoene decided to knock down the two houses next door to us (I mean one is literally 5 feet from the side of our house) without giving us any notice. (We knew they were going to start construction eventually, but thought it would be at the end of summer.) The construction had actually started at 7am with some random hammering, but at 10am they started nailing plywood onto our windows and the huge trucks started demolishing these buildings. It was LOUD.

That was when I decided we needed to get the heck out of the house.

All of this before 10am.

I loaded the girls into the stroller and we took a walk to a coffee shop half a mile away (to kill as much time as possible). Clara and I split a homemade poptart and I had a chai tea latte (with soy). It was blissful. Until Isabelle started crying, which I took as my cue to leave.

another day 2

We walked home and Clara fell asleep in the stroller, which is never a good sign.

The demolition was still going on when we got home, so I woke Clara up to get her out of the stroller and we stopped to watch the big trucks for a while. It was actually really neat!

Then I fed Isabelle again, while making Clara’s lunch. (I am an excellent breastfeeding multi-tasker).

After lunch, another potty break, and a few more books, it was (Clara’s) naptime.

So naturally Isabelle picks this moment to start screaming. And screaming.

I almost lost my mind.

The construction was so loud I could barely think, Isabelle was screaming in my ear. I was trying to read Clara’s books. Clara was yelling (joyfully) about every single thing on every single page… It was awful.

Finally. FINALLY I got Clara into her crib. (And then out again, to go potty AGAIN.)

And Isabelle and I retreated downstairs so I could feed her AGAIN just to make her stop crying. For a few blissful moments, it was quiet in my house. And by quiet I mean that the only sounds I could hear was the sound of a building being demolished 30 feet from my head. But since no babies were yelling, whining, or screaming, I was a happy woman.

another day 1

It’s amazing how low my expectations for relaxation have gotten!

Every time I moved, Isabelle woke up, but I still put her down for a while so I could clean the house.

Then Clara woke up, because naptime is never long enough.

another day 3

Less than perfect photos because it was a less than perfect day. But look at the joy on this face!

At around 4pm I realized that I had only eaten half a poptart all day. Whoops! I grabbed a bit of yogurt and hid in the cupboard so I could eat it in peace.

We hosted our church group last night so we had to straighten up and make sure we had dinner and drinks for our 10 friends.

Thankfully, we had decided ahead of time that pizza and beer is all we could handle so I didn’t need to cook dinner. THANK YOU JESUS.

We hosted our friends for a few hours and Clara had a grand ol’ time running around and showing everyone her skills of jumping and throwing a ball. She was so pleased to have a captive audience, and I was happy that I was able to have some adult time.

Clara finally went to bed at around 8:30pm.
Isabelle went to sleep at around midnight. (She was seriously awake from 10am-midnight with only a few less-than-10 minute naps all day. I do not understand this baby.)
And I went to sleep shortly after that.

I definitely can’t complain that my life is boring!
… But let’s hope tomorrow is a little less chaotic.

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