Toddlerlife: 2.5 year old Aven

Sometimes when I see an old picture of Aven or during a conversation with a mom friend, I’ll try to think back on what life looked like with Aven at a certain stage, and I surprise myself with how much of the little details I’ve already forgotten! So now that she is 2 1/2 years old, I wanted to document a little snapshot of what life is like with her.


First, we’ve hit a major milestone, people!
My kid is POTTY TRAINED. Feel free to cheer! (I am!) I thought it was never going to happen, because she’s been using the potty randomly since about 18 months, but it was so inconsistent. We had just gone to her 2 1/2 year check-up and her doctor reassured me that she was close and it would happen when she was ready. The thing was, I knew she was ready. So about a week after that appointment, I just told her she was going to wear big girl panties all day. She didn’t put up a fight and turns out, that was the ticket! She has had accidents, of course, but I was shocked with how quickly she transitioned. (We also give her M&Ms for going, so I’m SURE that helps quite a bit). I guess I should have pulled out the big girl panties months ago! Anyway, we are pretty thrilled to get a short break from diapers before baby #2 comes. (She still wears Pull-Ups at night for now.) 
*These potty books are her absolute favorite and I really think they helped with getting her excited about going potty: Big Girl Panties & My Big Girl Potty

Other milestones & big moments: 
-Her first time to a movie theatre (to see Finding Dory)
-Getting ready to transition to a big girl bed in the next week
-Learning how to dress herself
-Memorized her first two Bible verses: Nothing can separate us from God’s love – Romans 8:39 and Trust the Lord with all your heart – Proverbs 3:5


Typical day:

7-7:30 Wake up. Breakfast of choice is milk, muffins, fruit, and dry cereal. She always asks to watch Daniel Tiger within 46 seconds of waking up.

9-11:00 We run errands if needed. Gotta capitalize on that good mood in the morning.

12:00/12:30 Lunch time. (Pretzel chips with peanut butter or a half of a sandwich, yogurt, cheese stick, fruit, etc)

2ish-4ish “Rest time.” This is something I had to start once she quit taking a regular nap in my bed. She wasn’t sleeping and I was getting frustrated spending so much time trying to get her to settle down. Now she goes to her bed and understands that she has to be still and quiet until I come get her. Most days she falls asleep at some point, and other days she just lays there and talks with her stuffed animals. Either way, it gives her (and me) time to chill out a bit and then she’s more pleasant for the remainder of the day.

4ish (or whenever she wakes up): Play time while I start cleaning up, prepping dinner, etc.

6ish Dinner time. She eats some of what we’ve fixed, depending on what it is, and some of her own food.

7:30 or 8 is bath time. We still do a bath most nights. If we aren’t home at this time or if we’ve had an extra busy day then we skip it.

In the bed by 8 or 8:30 (most nights)


she’s still pretty picky, but she does branch out now more than ever. She has a major aversion to meat unless it’s a Chick-fil-a nugget (because DUH). She loves baked beans, mac n cheese, corn, strawberries, bread, ketchup, and sour cream.  Oh, and lemonade. 🙂  Such a well-rounded diet. (Only not).

right now she is loving fake food (her “begetables”), her play bowls and plates, coloring books and crayons, her little guitar (“pintar”), as well as constantly lining up small toys/puzzle pieces/alphabet magnets into a big pattern on the floor.

Mickey Mouse has taken a bit of a backseat to Daniel Tiger. And I have to admit, I don’t hate it. Daniel Tiger is such a cute show, with tons of moral lessons and since they put everything to a song, she often breaks out a verse in the middle of our day. Plus, she gives me “ugga mugga” nose kisses like Daniel and it’s the sweetest EV.ER.

Like I mentioned, she has rest time every day, and most of the time she’ll take at least an hour long nap during that. At night, we usually do a bath plus the normal bedtime routine stuff, and then we either sing songs, read a Bible story, or have a dance party before she gets tucked in for the night. If she’s especially tired or cranky we short-cut and stick with the necessities. Generally she ends up sleeping from about 8/8:30p-7:30a.

Stuffed animals:
always a rotation of favorites going on, but she is not usually without her tiny Bunny and Lamby, Mama Fox, Baby Fox, and even Ella the Elephant has been making a comeback. (as you can see, we are SUPER creative with our stuffed animal names) 🙂

She wears sizes 3T and 4T right now. She is obsessed with dresses, and calls them “Princesses”. She loves picking out a princess dress, a hair bow, and panties for the day. All girl. ❤

the color pink, her rain boots, playing hide & seek (but she’s always the seeker), her pink kitten purse, being a helper, the library, smoothies, trains, riding in her daddy’s truck, church, nail polish, Finding Nemo/Dory, and green M&Ms.

Despite the typical toddler stuff, she has a really sweet spirit. She is highly observant and detail-oriented. Particular; routine-oriented. Still very social, although occasionally her shy side comes out. Affectionate. Sassy. Generally happy.

My favorite things about this stage of toddlerhood:

She’s so verbal & can communicate really well which makes parenting easier in general. I love seeing how different she is from me & how she really is her own person. She loves to pray before meals, before bed, and even when she knows someone is sick. She also prays for the baby and talks about the baby in my belly multiple times a day. Watching her big imagination. Listening to her sing songs. The way she says her full name. When she asks me “can I snuggle on the couch with you mommy?” (The answer is always yes, a million times YES). When she’s cranky, we can say “no smiling!” and she breaks out a huge, cheesy grin. And she makes me laugh CONSTANTLY.


What’s been your favorite age so far? Why? I would love to hear about it! 


*All professional photos are credit: D Crowe Photography. Affiliate links used in this post.




A two-year-old calls me mom. I know! What in the world.

I’ll admit I somehow became one of those people saying I had a “19 month old” or a “22 month old” so I have hereby vowed to no more counting by months since we’ve crossed the two year threshold. I apologize to those who find this utterly annoying. In an ironic twist, I too, find this annoying. Time to LET IT GO.
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2 1 m o n t h s { update }

Remember that time I wrote every day for 31 days straight and then took a two and a half week hiatus? Well, I’m back! Just needed some time to recoup. 

It has been a minute since I did an update on Aven. Well, it’s been three months and in the life of a toddler, that’s a chunk, so here we are talking about all things Aven. 

First, can I just say how much I love this age? She is totally my little sidekick. We go everywhere together and she’s becoming such a helper with whatever I’m up to. 

She’s also a talker, so we always have some kind of conversation going. When she talks she nods her head around like a teenager and it’s hysterical. I am also loving the fact that I can actually reason with her and talk through things, and she understands me. It helps us avoid at least some meltdowns and tantrums. 

She’s just becoming such a little person, and it’s so fun to watch. 

C l o t h i n g
Aven wears 24 month/2T clothing for the most part. We do have some 3T stuff that she can already fit into (WHAT IN THE WORLD). Shoes – size 7. Diapers – size 5.

Nope, she’s never been a small one, and that’s fine by me. 🙂

R o u t i n e 

Not much has changed in this arena since I last updated at 18 months. She’s up around 7a, eats breakfast pretty much right away, and the first thing out of her mouth every morning is “Mickey??” so we often start the day with an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. 

Lunch around 12 and not long after is heading for a nap. Naptime is usually 1.5-2 hours. I always lay down with her initially, and sometimes I linger and nap with her because I know these days will be ending soon. 

After waking up, she eats an afternoon snack and watches tv for a bit. Dinner is between 6-6:30p and then she heads into what we lovingly call “crack mode.” Basically she runs all over the house, using every last bit of energy stored up, and dances, sings, yells, throws her arms in the air and generally acts like a fool. It’s hilarious. 

7:30p is bathtime (her favorite) and she’s laying down by 8p. We just sing a few lullabies and then lay her down awake. She falls asleep almost immediately most nights. If she does cry, it’s short-lived, because girlfriend is tired.

F a v o r i t e s 
As mentioned, Mickey and Minnie Mouse are the center of her universe right now. She is truly obsessed. She sometimes yells out “Oh tooooodlessss!” in the middle of playing with toys, and has the funniest granny-style dance moves to the opening song. So of course, we had to represent when Halloween rolled around. She was the cutest Mickey you have ever seen, minus the ears because this kid tolerates nothing on her head. Instead she got little mouse/pigtails. 

Her other favorite tv show is Sesame Street because of “Eh-mo.”

Stuffed animals: Ella the Elephant, Blue the Doggie (she calls him “Bew”), Monk Monk, and Goat. Needs them all in her crib with her night. Not into baby dolls at all, but animals are apparently her jam.

Airplanes / Helicopters / Trains

Mickey Mouse.

Outdoors. If she’s outside, she’s happy. 

Pretend cell phones.

Yogurt dips. Puffs.

Bubbles / Balls / Books / Shoes / Coloring  

Did I mention Mickey Mouse? 

W o r d s  /  L e a r n i n g 
We are teaching her numbers, letters, colors, animal sounds, and shapes during playtime/bathtime/car rides.

Her vocabulary is really growing, and she’ll put together two- or three- word sentences now, like “Aven eat” or “Mommy go upstairs.”

She cannot say her L’s. Instead she replaces it with a “y” sound. Which makes so many words just so stinking adorable, like “yeh-yow (yellow) or “yight” (light). This is my favorite thing, maybe ever??

She can count to 10 with help. She can recognize her name when spelled out, and can recognize almost all letters. We are starting to teach her the alphabet using foam letters during bathtime.

New animal sounds, of the nontraditional variety, because those are more fun: Deer: “grunt grunt” / Turtle: “wah wah wah wah” / Crab: clicking sound while making “pincher” fingers / Hippo: “chomp chomp”. I have a video of some of these I’ll post on Instagram later 🙂

P e r s o n a l i t y 
Friendly. Social. Talkative. Demanding. Opinionated. Joyful. Girly. Sensitive. Dramatic. Sweet.

Q u i r k s 
Hates to have her feet touched  //  Every time she sneezes she yells “tissuuuue!”  // Waves at literally everything  //  “Sniffs” every flower she sees, even pictures of flowers.  //  “Fake” sleeps, complete with little snores and whistling sounds that I can only assume were learned from cartoons // Is OBSESSED with order and organization (she will put things back, shut drawers, and close doors behind me  // Boo-boos require ice, but not for the boo-boo, just for her to munch on.

Crazy kid. 

F i r s t s 
Library trip
Day trip to the mountains
Kiddie train ride
Encounter with chickens, goats, pigs, and horses
Learned to give “thumbs up!”
Potty *attempts*

Oh, Aven Harper. You make my heart sing and my face smile. I’m so proud to be your mom.  

1 8 m o n t h s

So listen. I now have an 18 month old. I’ve been a mom for 18 months. A year and a half year old kid calls me mom. 
Hold the phone. 
I’m obviously having a hard time wrapping my head around this.
I try really hard not to lament over time and how quickly all of this goes, but instead focus on the current milestone. The current phase. The current weight of her in my arms (25 pounds if you’re asking). But DANG. I do believe this second year is going by even quicker than the first one did.

As of late, Aven is really becoming her own little person.

She’s still very social and thrives in groups, especially when she knows and loves those people. Her vocabulary has really grown and even if it takes a little while to learn people names, it only takes her a few minutes to learn dog’s names. (Little pet lover.) 

She occasionally throws tantrums now which is super fun. (sarcasm abounds). They usually start if she doesn’t get to go play outside (aka, where she would live if we would let her). She then falls on the floor dramatically and bangs her head on the floor – a move that my little brother used to do so it kind of makes me want to laugh. Just a little. Charlie, did you teach your niece your head bangin’ ways? 

We are encouraging independence as much as possible because it has never been her strong suit. Even when she was too small to notice if I left the room…uh, she noticed. And this many months later she still hates to be by herself. I’ve even resorted to propping a gate up in the doorway of the playroom, just so she’ll play for 5 minutes without me. Any advice on this is welcome 🙂

She’s very routine-oriented, which I would assume is true for most little kids. These days, she’s up at 7-7:30am and eats at the same times we do, with a snack around 4pm. She naps after lunch for 1.5-2 hours, and then its bath and bedtime 7:30-8pm. No more bottles, only milk from sippy cups (this was a big deal for us because girlfriend adored her bottle!)

So although there are always bumps in the road of raising a child, there is also a whole lot of fun going on around here lately. 

Toddlers. Are. Crazy.

{ here are our favorite Aven-isms & pictures since I posted her last update at 14 months: }

If something requires a fist bump – a frequent occurrence in our house – she’ll run from wherever she is to give everyone a fist bump, including the dogs. (Um, adorable).
She dances to all kinds of music but still hearts Taylor Swift the most. Her dancing = her entire body bobbing up and down with a twirl thrown in sometimes.
Knows lots of animal sounds, but my favorite one by far is her whale impression. (there’s a video of it on my instagram from about a month ago)
If we’re driving on a curvy road, I’ll hear “weeeeee……wooooaahhh” from the backseat. 🙂 

Sidewalk chalk is a new favorite pastime. 
“Nak” is her way of saying “snack” and it’s hilarious. Also, she says it 500 times a day.
When we drop her off at the church nursery, she walks down the hall stopping at all the classrooms to wave and say hi to the other kids. (Social butterfly, I tell you).
Obsessed with trains (real ones).

Does a super cute impression of the wind.
Isn’t really into cartoons which I’m happy about, but she does love Elmo. And her Praise Baby DVD comes to the rescue as needed. 
Sticker obsessed and her favorite place to stick them is on my face. Or my floors.

Refuses all bows and hairbands which I’m sure is payback for the headbands I forced on her when she was too little to yank them off. 
Gives eskimo kisses.

Waves at everything, including tree limbs blowing in the wind because obviously they are waving at her and it would be rude to not wave back. (dear Jesus never let this sweetness end).
Is convinced our boxer Hudson is her bestie and she usually plops down next to him on his bed. Like I said on instagram last week, he definitely gets extra crowns in heaven. 

Asks for lotion on her hands and then promptly bends over to lotion her legs. A girl can’t have dry legs. No idea where she learned this. Ahem. 
Carries around my old stuffed panda bear, which is bigger than she is. And then uses him as a pillow.
Loves to FaceTime and gets super hyped when the phone rings. (She knows the Facetime ring is different from the regular ring.)
Favorite toys are those she can push around the house: her lawnmower, stroller, and vacuum, or even a stray chair will do. And nothing makes her laugh like her giant purple ball. It’s the simple things, people.

this was one of her last bottles ever.

{ firsts }
pinkeye-ish illness (never confirmed by Dr. but treated as is).
riding in the “car cart” at grocery store
wearing flip flops
zoo trip
trip to the beach as a toddler (more on that here)

Aven Harper, I love you so! All 18 months of you.

life lately + favorites

Over Aven’s first year, I did monthly updates on her recent milestones, our current routines, & moments I wanted to remember. Rather than continuing to do these monthly, I’ll pop in from time to time when we’ve had some changes in routine or recent updates I want to track and share.

She is now 14 months old, or the simpler and less annoying way of saying it: She is a little over one year old.

Most fun lately for me has been watching her learn new things practically every day and her growing vocabulary. She’s a griper by nature – she always has to be making some sound and communicating in some manner. I’m encouraging her to use the words she does know whenever she can and I make sure to acknowledge quickly so she sees it’s more effective than a gripe or a whine.

Most fun lately for her has been walking! She’s so good at it now and face plants less often which we are all happy about. She is content to just toddle around whatever room I’m in most of the time. Usually carrying some semblance of a purse. Such a GIRL.

headband: Olivia Avenue (this is my current favorite shop for accessories)

Worst moment lately was when she fell off the bed last week. Part of me was all yay, we made it 14 months before a fall off the bed! and the other part of me hurt way more than she probably did. Not only did she fall off with me sitting next to her (you can give me my Parent of the Year award later) but she fell onto her Mamas&Papas Seat that I had just set down next to the bed. It was pitiful and scared her half to death. I called my firefighter/EMT father and my pediatric nurse friend and we all concluded that she would, in fact, survive.

Signs: more, eat/food, please, bath, diaper (just points at diaper repeatedly).

New words: Toe (but she says “no”), up, down, turtle (says “tuh-tull” – so presh), eye, bracelet (sort of), hot, night night, owl, hoot hoot, ribbit (it’s really just a growl sound whenever you say frog), moo.

Clothing: She is wearing mostly 18 months clothes now, with a few exceptions. (P.S. moms with girls – Target is killing it right now with adorable spring and summer clothes. I always watch for mobile coupons and/or Cartwheel deals.)

headscarf: Lemons and Lace (fun fact: I named the one she is wearing! It’s called Magnolia Mae & it’s one of my favorite headbands ever.)

Teeth: getting 2 top molars and 1 bottom molar. These are taking their sweet time coming in which I feel like has been easier for her to tolerate. This banana toothbrush doubles as a teether in our house. It’s really pliable and the bristles feel good on her gums.

Routine/Food: She is still taking three full (8-9 oz) bottles per day, along with one 4 oz bottle just before bed (mostly for soothing/routine purposes). She practically hyperventilates when she sees a bottle warming up so I’m not in a big hurry to get rid of them yet. She eats a bowl of oatmeal every morning and LOVES it. Finger foods and snacks include crackers, cheese, granola bars, rice cakes, puffs, cheerios, fruit, yogurt, & bread, along with water (no juice yet). We still do at least one jar of baby food per day (usually something with meat). 

We have been using these new Baby Bjorn bibs and bowls for mealtime and they’ve made our lives so much easier. I really wish I had these back when we first started solid foods! The Soft Bib has a clasp-type closure so even my girl who typically rips bibs off in two seconds can’t figure this one out. Since Aven is feeding herself, my floors (and dogs) see an absurd amount of crumbs after each meal, but this BB bib has a spill pocket along the bottom to catch all the mess. I’m pretty thrilled about not having to clean outfits, highchair seats, AND floors after each meal. That is a huge deal. RIGHT? (Although I’m pretty sure my dogs are wishing the crumb catching bib would just disappear completely.) The BB Plate is clover-shaped and really deep which keeps the food contained and easier for them to scoop out on their own.

(P.S., these would make a great gift set for a baby shower or even a first birthday!)

Sleep: I hesitate to type this, but she has been sleeping through the night consistently for a while now. Nearly 12 hours. (Someone tell me why I still don’t feel rested?!)

Other fun//funny//firsts:
fist bumps.
first ponytail.
completely weaned from nursing. (will detail more about this in a later post)
can climb up onto our futon by herself.
obsessed with her toes. (She kisses them all the time, photographic evidence below).

first bang trim (wahhh I didn’t want to but I had to).
knows how to knock on a door.
first time at the park (made friends with some older kids, because of course. She’s the extrovert I never wanted to be.)

Lastly, we had an amazing Easter celebrating our risen Savior! Aven was tiny last year – only about two months old – and actually had her first sickness over the Easter holiday. This year was so fun teaching her how to hunt eggs, and even though she isn’t a fan of the grass (like I said, such a GIRL), she did enjoy carrying her basket around. I can’t wait for the coming years when we’ll get to teach her about why Easter is so special and meaningful. 

Happy spring, everybody!!

Disclaimer: I received the Baby Bjorn products for review as part of the Savvy Sassy Moms Product Scouts program. All opinions are my own. 

both hands.

My 13 month old has just started walking. Parents, you know how it happens. Those first unsure, wobbly steps VERY QUICKLY turn into a tiny human toddling confidently all over the house. I think it only took Aven between one to two weeks to get really good at it. She beams with pride and even applauds herself over this new milestone. It’s adorable. But in the beginning when she was first learning, she would reach up and grab one of my hands. Then she would stand there paralyzed, reeeacching up until she could grab hold of my other hand – only then would she feel brave and secure enough to lift her foot and make a move. It took both hands. I had to be all there.

This really made me think about how often I parent with one hand.

In a literal sense, it’s totally a survival skill for parents, especially in the beginning when you’re holding your child in one arm while functioning with the other. It’s kind of astounding what you can accomplish with one less limb out of necessity. But more importantly, how many times do I parent with one hand, in an absentminded or passive way? Giving my daughter only part of me? I know for a fact that 100% of Aven’s mama does not always show up. Often purely out of distraction with other things. Or sheer exhaustion from LIFE RAISING A BABY. (HOW do people have more than one child?? I need a nap just thinking about it.)

Of course, we can’t be engaged 100% of the time. I know this. Things have to get done, there’s work to do, and it sure would be nice if my floor were actually visible through the sea of toys. That’s what I tell myself. And that’s valid, a lot of the time. But showing my love has to be intentional, always. That’s where the divide between the talk and the walk appears. And for our little ones, LOVE is often spelled out with our hands. We have to SHOW UP. We have to put down our technology, our lengthy to do lists, our multitasking, our busyness, our expectations of motherhood, and our selfish tendencies so we can make ourselves fully available to our babies. Because you know what?

Sometimes both hands are required.

To hold their tiny little faces with two hands when you kiss them……Or for a tight hug with both arms…..To cheer and clap for their big and small accomplishments….So you can scoop them up close and tell them how big you love them…..For playing patty cake….To tickle them until their sides hurt from giggling….So you can splash and make a colossal mess during bathtime….Or for a dance session in the kitchen while the bottle is warming up.

So many opportunities for significant displays of love in the simple and mundane. But you’re gonna have to use both hands.

Colossians 3:12 & 14 says to “clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. And over all these, put on love, which binds them together in perfect unity.”

That’s the mom I want to be.

Parents – PUT ON LOVE.
Look with both eyes, fully focused on little faces. Listen to little voices with two ears instead of one. Use both hands. Use your whole self and your whole heart, because YOU make them brave. YOU teach them extravagant love. By simply being YOU.