Leah Caroline, 2 1/2 Years

April 27, 2016

I’m 3 months late on this post…There’s no why other than just life. Kids. Work. Reasons.

Let’s see, what has happened since Leah turned 2?? Tons! First of all, Leah started preschool. It was a little bit of a shaky transition with tears at drop off for a few weeks, but she settled in. After 4 months at that school, we moved her (and Caelan) to a bigger school. We anticipated tears again, but she did not miss a beat! No tears, and she settled right in.

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Just a couple weeks after her birthday, we took her for her first hair cut. She cried and squirmed the whole time, but she came out with bangs!

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It’s actually amazing how much her hair has grown since then. And now we are growing her bangs out, which is annoying, but she does look cute with them clipped back.

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Leah was Robin for Halloween last year and she went trick-or-treating for real this time. I’m still not sure she actually spoke, but she enjoyed it.

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In November, we moved Leah to a big girl bed. The transition was smooth – no real problems. However, after a couple of months, she’d get up out of bed and leave her room. Sometimes she’d go into Caelan’s room and sometimes she’d come to our room. We eventually put a gate up at her door and that has fixed that problem for the time being. We also gave her a clock that turns green at a certain time in the morning and we’re working on her learning that she can’t leave her room until the clock is green. She’s fairly good about it at this point.

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At Christmastime, we went to see Santa and Leah actually agreed to sit next to him. She sort of understood Christmas this year. We also included her in our Elf on the Shelf tradition and she gave our elf his middle name, Mike. So now he’s Train Mike.

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In March, we started swimming lessons for Leah. It was the first time she had ever been in a pool and she has done so well! She’s much more comfortable in the pool than Caelan was at her age, though she is still apprehensive. We’ll be starting another session this week.

Since Leah has been in preschool, she’s made progress with things like letters and numbers. She can sing the alphabet but only knows 2 or 3 letters by sight. She can count from 1-13 and then from 17-20, but is a little fuzzy in between. She can also count objects up to about 5. She knows most of the basic colors, and she still LOVES books. LOVES. It is not unusual for her to appear with a stack of books and ask to be read to.

Her speech is excellent for her age. I think she is perfectly understandable to anyone, but of course she does still mispronounce some words and she uses pronouns incorrectly. She did stop calling herself Yah and started calling herself Leah. She also stopped calling Caelan Gaga and calls him Caelan now. Bill and I still call them Gaga and Yah sometimes, though.

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Leah’s sleep has been better in recent months. She still wakes too early for my taste (6-6:30am) and occasionally she will wake up at night, but for the most part she has been sleeping well at night lately. However, naps are now kind of iffy. She’s always been pretty good about napping and she still takes a 2 hour nap at school, but at home it’s different. Sometimes she goes down easily, but only sleeps for an hour, and other times she just wants to play in her room. And it’s not that she’s not tired, because if she skips her nap, she will usually crash around dinnertime. Leah still has quite a few “buddies” that she sleeps with including Penguin, Owie, Hippo, and seahorse. She has recently started using the same projection mobile that Caelan used to use. We have gotten a lot of use out of that thing!!

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Potty training is…not really going. We aren’t really trying. She sits on the potty at school and we are trying to get more in the habit of it at home, but she’s not really ready. If she does happen to go, she’s SUPER excited but that doesn’t seem to inspire her to go all the time.

When it comes to food, Leah is generally not very picky. If she feels like it, she will eat anything. I can’t think of much that she doesn’t like. She is still a huge fan of fruits and veggies. She is still a very messy eater though.

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For self-care skills, Leah wants to do everything herself. Bill has been working with her on dressing and undressing herself. She has long been able to put her own shoes and jacket on. The independence is good on the one hand, but can also be frustrating.

And while we’re talking about things that are frustrating…2 year olds. Yeah. Leah has nailed the throw-myself-on-the-floor tantrum. Oh the drama. And any tiny little thing can set her off – not picking her up, not letting her choose, giving her the wrong kind of fork, etc. We generally try to ignore the tantrums in an effort to teach her that shrieking is not going to get her anything, but omg the shrieking. We’re actually in a phase right now (this very second at least) where Caelan’s behavior has improved lately, and Leah’s has gotten worse. Hopefully Caelan will continue to improve because Leah’s threenager year is coming and only one hysterical kid at a time would be super! Leah already has the sassy attitude down so she’s well on her way.

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The kids, Leah and Caelan, have become more difficult to handle as a unit than they are individually now. I can take them out together to run an errand or something by myself, but I try not to. It’s not usually worth it because the whining and bickering and the cliche she-kicked-me, he’s-looking-at-me crap gets out of control. They really do love to play together SO much but they are siblings so they fight. Leah worships Caelan. She repeats everything he says, parrots his opinions, and wants to do everything he does. I think the person that will have the hardest time with Caelan going to kindergarten this Fall will be Leah when she realizes she can’t go with him.

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Leah is still such a cuddly little girl. I love that about her! She loves to be held, picked up, hugged. Often that is what she needs to snap her out of a tantrum. Sometimes we have to refuse to pick her up when she is tantruming or being rude and I hate that but I also want to teach her to use words to communicate, not whines. I really do try to savor every single cuddle and hug (and even the times when it takes forever to get her down for a nap) because I know these days won’t last forever and I won’t always have this little girl climbing into my lap, wrapping her arms around my neck, and giving me a kiss on each cheek before she goes to bed.

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2 1/2 Years Old

Leah’s 2 1/2 Year Old Stats

  • Wearing 3T tops, 2T bottoms and 3T pajamas, size 7 1/2 shoes
  • Size 6 diapers
  • Weight: 28 lbs
  • Height: 36 inches
  • Favorite foods: Yogurt, toast, goldfish, pizza, any and all fruits and veggies especially tomatoes and grapes
  • Loves reading books, Daniel Tiger, Super Why, anything Caelan likes, Hi Ho Cherry-O

 

 


Leah Lines, Part 3

October 6, 2015

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SARAH: Leah, when are you going to go on the potty?

LEAH: On Monday.

———-

Leah is sitting on the air conditioner vent…

LEAH: Ooooooooooh!! It’s cold on my butt!!

———-

I notice that Leah’s diaper is full…

SARAH: Leah, do you need a new diaper?

LEAH [casually]: No. I fine.

———-

CAELAN: Whoever says “butt cheek” first wins!

LEAH [practically before Caelan finishes his sentence]: Butt-cheek-I-win!!

———-

Leah is talking about her ceiling fan…

LEAH: My fan in a time out.

SARAH: Your fan’s in a time out?

LEAH: Yes.

SARAH: Why?

LEAH: Cause he eat me.

SARAH: Your fan is in a time out because it ate you??

LEAH: Yes.

———-

Leah sees Mickey, Donald Duck, and Goofy on TV…

LEAH: Mickey, Donald, woof!

———-

Leah gets Caelan a tissue which he refuses.

LEAH: You fine? [She squats down so she can look up his nose.] Okay.

———-

LEAH: I put Mickey in timeout. In the oven.

SARAH: Oh no, what did he do?

LEAH: He hit Gaga (Caelan).


Leah’s Next Big Adventure: Preschool

September 18, 2015

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We made the decision for Leah to start preschool just after she turned 2. I was (and am) excited to have both kids in the same place again (they were both in their home daycare together for about 6 months before Caelan went off to preschool). Leaving our daycare provider was very bittersweet since we have been with her for 4 years and she took such great care of our babies in that time. But we are excited for Leah’s new adventure!

Despite having been through this same transition with Caelan last year (crazy that it was only last year – it seems like it was much longer ago!) I had a hard time anticipating what this would be like for Leah. Caelan has never been a clingy child but even he had a rough transition to preschool. He was fine the first two days, but then sobbed at drop off for a week and a half after that. Leah is much clingier so I had to expect that this would be even worse for her. Plus, she is used to having only 1 or 2 other children around at daycare. A class of a dozen, plus another couple dozen kids in neighboring classes and I was sure she’d be overwhelmed.

There is also a huge difference between 2 years, 9 months (Caelan’s age when he started preschool) and 2 years, 1 month (Leah’s age). Leah speaks well for a 2 year old, but she isn’t used to sleeping on a cot or with a pillow, she *just* learned how to drink from an open cup, and she is still a baby in many ways. And she’s my last baby which makes her just that much more of a baby to me, no matter her age 🙂

I dropped her off on the first day of school. She walked in as she always does when we drop Caelan off, this time excited to have her own lunchbox, but still not realizing that I was about to leave her there. When she did realize, she WAILED. I was expecting it and I made my hasty escape, but not without shedding a few tears myself. I know it’s normal, I know she’s going to be fine, but it’s hard to leave your baby screaming like that. Apparently, she stopped crying fairly quickly and went on to have a good first day.

The tearful drops offs continued through the first week, and the second week…Finally now, at the end of her third week, she’s started to do better. She hugged me today and said “Bye!” without so much as a quivery lip. I won’t be surprised if we have a few more rough mornings in the coming weeks, but hopefully now we’ve turned a corner.

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Leah’s very own cubby


Leah Lines, Part 2

August 11, 2015

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Talking to our Amazon Echo, Alexa…

SARAH: Alexa, what is my name?

ALEXA: Sarah’s Profile.

LEAH: Say “Mommy”, Alexa.

———-

SARAH: Leah, can you say “I love you”?

LEAH: We go Chick Fil A??

———-

Leah and I are watching Caelan NOT nap on the monitor…

SARAH: Go to sleep Caelan.

LEAH: Listen a Mommy, Gaga!

———-

SARAH: Leah, do you want to take a nap?

LEAH: A nack [snack]?

SARAH [enunciating]: No, a naP.

LEAH: No, sssssnack.

———-

Leah is very annoyed by a few flies who have sneaked into our house. I overheard this from the lunch table…

LEAH: No fly, that my milk!!

———-

SARAH: Your hair is a hot mess.

LEAH: You’re a hot mess.


Leah’s Carnival Party

August 10, 2015

At this point, it’s no surprise to anyone that I’m going to go all out on a birthday party for one of my kids. I know it’s insane and it’s TONS of work (especially this one), but I love putting the parties together. And my kids have a great time and that is the ultimate goal 🙂

So going way back to this past Christmas, friends of ours gave us a popcorn machine. My first thought was “Okay, one of the kids is having a carnival party this summer.” Funny how these ideas come about, but that is how this one was born.

Nailing down the details for this party was tricky. I wanted to include classic carnival foods, but also some non-junk foods. And the games needed to appear to kids ranging from 2 to 11 and be self-operating.

In the end, I figured out the menu, the games, the prizes, etc and it all came together really well! The amount of prep was crazy though. I had EIGHT people helping me do food prep and set up right before the party and we still managed to get it together just as the guests were arriving. (PS: THANK YOU to my “crew” (aka my family) for helping out!!)

Invitations

I found a few inspiration pics from a Google Image search and designed this invitation for Leah’s party.

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Decorations

We had minimal decorations since the food and games were kind of the stars. I put up streamers and balloons in the kitchen near the food, but that was about it except for the pictures. I have done this monthly pictures display for both of my kids for their 1st and 2nd birthdays. It’s fun to see how quickly they’re changing!

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Food

Here was our menu:

  • Hot Dogs
  • Chick Fil A nugget tray
  • Corn on the Cob
  • Pasta Salad
  • Watermelon & Grapes
  • Popcorn
  • Soft Pretzels
  • Funnel Cakes
  • Cotton Candy
  • Marshmallow Dumbbells
  • Lemonade, Soda, Beer, Juice

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I also made little signs for all of the food…

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Cupcakes

The cupcakes (ironically) were the only thing that went really wrong. First off, the cupcake liners I ordered from eBay arrived 2 days AFTER the party. Fail. Luckily, I have a stash of liners and I actually had some that were really perfect for this. Crisis #1 averted. I made plain old chocolate cupcakes and planned to frost them with a new icing recipe I found for a whipped cream icing. I was making the icing at the last minute and I was so busy that I kept turning on the mixer and walking away and forgetting about it. Between that and the humidity, my icing was soup 😦 But a call to my mom and father-in-law to pick up some canned frosting and my sister and brother-in-law icing the cupcakes at the last minute saved the day! Box cake and canned frosting, and you know what, they were delicious. Crisis #2 averted.

Entertainment

I really wanted to have a bouncy castle (as my kids call them) for this party. It seemed fitting. We decided to purchase one instead of renting. It seems a little extravagant to me, but hopefully it’s a good investment since we can use it for future parties.

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I also wanted to include face painting. I was reluctant to hire a pro for this since we had already spent money on the bouncy castle so I purchased a face painting kit. I printed out some simple ideas and hoped the parents would be willing to try their hand at face painting. Many parents did give it a go and the kids looked great! Unfortunately, sweaty faces + water guns and we had a lot of smearing and I’m pretty sure there is a fair amount of paint on the bouncy castle. Oh well, it’s washable.

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Games

We had 3 games. They were set up so that each child could win 1 prize from each game, and the idea was that those 3 prizes would be their party favor. The games were fairly self-explanatory though my husband did supervise a couple of them. And since we were left with more than half of the prizes at the end of the party, I don’t think how to win a prize was quite clear.

Ring Toss

I made this ring toss set with empty iced tea bottles, a cardboard box, and a set of rings (found on Amazon). Each bottle was numbered, and each number corresponded to a prize bag.

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Fish Bowl

For the fish bowl game, I used clear plastic cups and taped a picture of a fish with a number on the bottom of each one. The cups were then filled with water. The kids tossed ping pong balls and tried to get one in a cup. Again, the numbers corresponded to a prize bag.

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Water Gun

For this game, I stuck golf tees in a block of stryrofoam and the object was to shoot the balls off their tees with a water gun. I couldn’t figure out how to do prizes for this game so I just did a grab bag of prizes instead of individual ones. The kids did play this game, but the water guns were a hit on their own (I thought they would be!).

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So that was how we celebrated Leah’s 2nd birthday!! Everyone seemed to have a good time and it was our first time having a large party at the new house. There will be many more, I’m sure 😉 Read the rest of this entry »


Leah Caroline, 2 Years

August 2, 2015

Today our baby is 2!! I’ve been saying she’s “almost 2” for ages it seems, but now she finally is. It’s mostly sweet, but it’s a little bittersweet also. The older she gets, the farther and farther away we move from the baby years, since Leah is our last baby. I think the year between age 1 and age 2 shows the most dramatic change. Of course, from birth to age 1 is a huge change but at both the start and end of that year, the child is a baby. At age 1, Leah was standing but not walking (though she did take her first steps 2 days later) and she had about 3 words. For the most part, she was still completely dependent on us and we were not able to communicate with her very well. Fast-forward to today and it’s a totally different story!

Driving Daddy's tractor

Driving Daddy’s tractor

I’ve said this before, but it’s still true…18 – 30 months is hands down my favorite age so far, with both of my kids. The squishy newborn days are sweet and the crawling/standing/first steps are exciting, but the learning to talk is my favorite. It’s fascinating to me to watch Leah learn how to pronounce letters and words and to figure out how to use the words to communicate with us. Naturally, it results in some mistakes – many of which we don’t correct because they are too hysterical/adorable.

Around 22-23 months old, Leah progressed to 4-6 (or more) word sentences. (“Watch a show, Mommy, please?” “I ride the bike, Daddy!”) Her sentences include verbs and pronouns now. The pronouns are mostly used incorrectly, but they’re there. (“Here coming me!”) Right now, she basically narrates everything going on around her and repeats the same sentences over and over again. That can be a little tiring (Caelan has complained about that and I just love the irony 🙂 ) but you can tell she’s practicing. She basically says everything and she is very understandable, even to people who aren’t around her much. Some of our favorite phrases:

  • “Mommy, hot dog me?” (Similar to “beer me” if you’re familiar with that phrase 🙂 )
  • “I sitting here!”
  • “Where Yah go?” (Said while hiding – “Yah” is what she calls herself)
  • “I haveita booboo, Mommy”
  • “Come on, Gaga!”
  • “You comin’ Mommy?”

“Haveita” is my favorite. Bill and I have incorporated it into our own conversations.

Little Miss Talks-A-Lot is super bossy now too! And very, very independent. Reminders to use her manners are frequent. She wants to do EVERYTHING by herself (“I no need help.”). Her fine motor skills are really great. She can put her shoes on by herself and she can even buckle her sandals. I was kind of shocked when she came into the room with her sandals on and no one had helped her! Of course she also wants to help with things like changing her own diaper, which is far less helpful.

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Putting her shoes on

Speaking of diapers, we’ve got nothing on the potty training front. Occasionally I ask her if she wants to try and usually she says no. She did agree to sit on the potty once, but she thought it was weird. We don’t push her because, really, the last thing I want is a too-young, not-ready potty-trainer. Honestly, at this age, diapers are easier. However, when she starts preschool at the end of this month (!!!) she will need to wear Pull Ups.

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Reading

Leah and Caelan are still buddies, but the bickering and fighting has escalated, as has the whining from both kids. Sometimes it’ll be quiet and I’ll investigate (because quiet kids are usually trouble) but I’ll find them playing well together, or reading together, or sharing a toy together. However, more often their play is NOT quiet. Often it’s still fine and they’re getting along, but there are plenty of fights too. I know its normal – I have a sister and while I don’t remember what it was like when we were 2 and 5, I’m sure we did fight. There are fights over toys and someone grabbed something from someone else or Leah starts crying and then I need to figure out if Caelan did something to her or if she’s just being dramatic. We set a lot of timers to switch off using certain toys.

Leah adores Caelan. She loves all the things he loves. When I asked her what she wanted for her birthday, she said “Lightning and Mater!” I’m excited for them to be in preschool together in a few weeks (though they will be in different classes). She still calls Caelan “Gaga” (and Bill and I do too sometimes) but she also calls him Kai. When asked “Can you say ‘Caelan’?” she will say Cay-en, so she CAN, she just prefers Gaga.

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Playing together

Leah’s sleep habits are…slightly better? I can’t really tell if it’s that or if I’m just more used to it by now. How is it possible that we have a 2 year old who doesn’t sleep through the night?! I mean, sometimes she does – probably a few days a week. But the other days, she still wakes up 1-2 times a night. And then she’s up for the day at the butt crack of dawn. At her age, I’m not even sure how to fix it. When she wakes up, it’s easy to get her back down again, but she needs to be doing that herself, without us. Maybe it will be better once she’s out of the crib and in a bed? I think that change may becoming in the next few months. I’ve already started planning an owl theme for her “big girl room”.

In the meantime, her bedtime rituals ARE very cute. Her best “buddy” is (the aptly named) Penguin. Other current favorites are Ernie and Hippo (we are creative with the names around here). She lines them all up, not forgetting the glow bear in the corner, then tucks Penguin under her arm, curls up in the fetal position and waits to be covered with her “owls” and her “fuzzy banket” (both blankets which were formerly “behbens” but are now “bankets”).

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Leah’s buddy, Penguin

Despite being of average/petite height and weight, this girl is a bottomless pit when it comes to eating! Especially snacks (aka “nacks”). Omg she asks for a snack all.day.long! She may prefer to be a grazer, but we don’t really let the kids graze so maybe that’s why she’s constantly asking for snacks. It’s not like we don’t feed her though! She gets 3 meals plus 2-3 snacks a day! But she will literally get up from the dinner table and ask for a snack.

She eats all the foods. She really will eat basically anything. There are a few random things she’s iffy on (like chicken nuggets and potatoes) but I don’t know that she really refuses anything. She would eat fruits and veggies all day long – she is a huge fan.

Leah still has her baby hair and has yet to have a first haircut, but her hair is definitely getting long! She needs a barrette to keep it out of her face and, thankfully, she is very tolerant with me doing her hair and she doesn’t bother it once it’s up.

Her hair is getting long!

Her hair is getting long!

Last month, we went on a family beach trip with Bill’s family. This was Leah’s 2nd trip to the beach, but last year was very different from this year. Leah liked the beach last year, but she wasn’t walking yet so she didn’t do much other than nap and play in the surf a little. This year, she was having a BLAST running in the surf with Caelan, jumping waves, and just running full out straight into the ocean. She kept Bill and I (and Pop) running! She got knocked over by a wave once or twice, but it didn’t phase her much.

Running on the beach

Running on the beach

Cooking up something with a bucket of water and some sand!

Cooking up something with a bucket of water and some sand!

Last year at the beach, we often found ourselves trapped in the house during the afternoon nap which was kind of a pain. But this year, Leah only takes 1 nap and she is much more flexible with it so we were able to get lots of beach time AND some beach naps! Beach napping with Leah was probably my favorite part of that trip. Everyday, she napped on the beach. Something about standing near the surf was like a tranquilizer and she was out within minutes. Going on vacation with little kids is the opposite of relaxing, but that hour or so a day when she napped was like a little slice of the vacations of yore – only better because I was snuggling a sleeping baby AND relaxing myself. (Obviously, Caelan was there too but he was often playing or being supervised by Bill during Leah’s nap times. He’s also become more and more independent, but more on that in his next post 😉 ) I’m a little sad that this year was probably the last year for beach naps for the kids. I mean, maybe we’ll luck out and she’ll nap some next year. She is a decent napper…

Beach napping

Beach napping

Now that Leah is older, her personality is really starting to come out. Yes, she is dramatic. She’s bossy and she has a little attitude, but she’s TWO so it’s kind of hysterical too. She has the exasperated sigh down pat and I ALWAYS laugh when she does it. She’s meticulous in the way that 2 year olds are (lining up toys, laying out a blanket just so) and she can dissolve into a tantrum out of nowhere over seemingly nothing. I don’t know, maybe because we’ve been through this before (or because I know this is NOT the worst its going to be), I don’t get that upset about it. Well maybe sometimes. Like when she won’t COME HERE for a diaper/clothes change or when she insists on buckling her booster by herself, which she can’t really do.

This face saves her.

This face saves her.

As dramatic and screamy as she can be, Leah definitely has a quiet and reserved side too. She is vary wary of unfamiliar people and surroundings. Sometimes that makes her a Velcro baby stuck to my hip, but she does warm up eventually. She does so much better with people who *don’t* approach her. Once she’s had time to evaluate the situation for herself and once she realizes that some of these new people might be A) friends to play with, or B) people who will read books to her, then she will join in 🙂

Leah is very affectionate. She really craves that closeness more so than Caelan did at this age. She likes to be held (which is getting painful at this point since she’s too old/heavy to be carried around everywhere) and though it can get to be too much at times when the kids treat me like a jungle gym, she does like to sit with me/on me/in my lap. I know that won’t last forever and I am already sad about it ending someday. Leah is my heart and I am so excited about the little girl she is growing up to be!

And now some comparison pics…

Pig tails, age 1 and age 2

Pig tails, age 1 and age 2

Caelan and Leah, age 2-ish (23+ months)

Caelan and Leah, age 2-ish (23+ months)

Happy 2nd Birthday to my sweet girl!! Mommy and Daddy and Gaga love you!!

Happy 2nd Birthday!!

Happy 2nd Birthday!!

Leah’s 2 Year Old Stats

  • Wearing 24 month tops and bottoms and 24 month sleepers/pajamas, size 5 or 6 shoes
  • Size 5 diapers
  • Weight: 25 lbs
  • Height:
  • Favorite foods: Yogurt, oatmeal, goldfish, hot dogs, any and all fruits and veggies
  • Loves reading books, lining up toys, spreading out her blankets, trying on shoes, eating snacks, Mickey Mouse, Mater

Leah Lines, Part 1

June 22, 2015

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I cannot believe it is time to start Leah’s conversations posts!! It is so much fun to talk to our kids and hear what they come up with. The very first entry here is from April 2015, when Leah was 20 months old.

——————–

I hand Leah something…

LEAH: Thank you.

SARAH: You’re welcome.

LEAH: MY welcome!

———-

CAELAN: No way!!

LEAH: Yes way!

———-

Leah farts.

SARAH: What do you say?

LEAH: Thank you.

SARAH: No, what do you say when you fart?

LEAH: You’re welcome.

SARAH: Um, no.

———-

Background: Leah calls herself “Yah”

SARAH: Hi baby.

LEAH [sternly]: No baby. Yah.

———-

When I dropped Leah off at daycare, she climbed into Ms. Sheila’s lap as usual and then looked up at me…

LEAH: Go home.