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Posted by on Dec 7, 2016 in Baby Atlas, Family Fun, Trips | 5 comments

All Aboard…This is the Polar Express!

On Monday afternoon we got the kids dressed in their pajamas, drove 2.5 hours to Bryson City, NC and then waited in the rain to climb aboard the Polar Express (a.k.a operation ‘make Atlas’ dreams come true’).

polar_express

It was such a magical experience for our boy and I was in Heaven watching him overflow with excitement and joy.

polar_express_snowman

Andi Rose seemed to really love it too, which I was incredibly thankful for because if homegirl isn’t feeling something she has a special way of making sure nobody else enjoys it either. Luckily, she was entertained by the waiters who sang and danced and when she tired of them, we had lots of snacks to keep her smiling through our 90 minute train ride. I was fa-reaking before we got on the train though because I fully anticipated her to nap on the car ride there and she, of course, refused to nap in the car until 4 minutes before we arrived at our destination. I was bracing myself for the no-nap meltdowns but God had mercy on my soul and Andi Rose was in good spirits for our North Pole excursion.

polar_express_train

Atlas got a special golden ticket (just like in the Polar Express movie) and then Santa got on the train and gave him a silver bell (again, just like the movie). I’m pretty sure Atlas hasn’t let go of either item since Monday night.

bryson_city_polar_express

golden_ticket

I woke up this morning to the sound of his bell ringing. He’s still on cloud 9 from his choo-choo adventure and I’m so thankful we were able to make that little dream come to life for him.

When Santa asked Atlas what he wanted for Christmas Atlas said he wanted cars and he also wanted cars to give to a little boy who didn’t have any cars. I’m telling you guys, that boy is precious! I mean, he still lives to annoy Andi Rose, but other than that…totally precious! 😉

As soon as the train arrived back to Bryson City, we loaded the kids back into the car and made the 2.5 hour drive back home. Atlas fell asleep shortly before we arrived home (close to 11pm!), but he never let go of that train ticket.

mission_accomplished

We didn’t get our babies in bed until midnight and we had to be up at 7am for Bible Study on Tuesday morning, but it was so worth it to make those sweet memories together. The only thing that would have made the experience better is if Tom Hanks would have been there. Can we all agree that Tom Hanks can do no wrong? I love all of his movies, but since having Atlas, the Polar Express movie will always have an extra special place in my heart because of how much my boy loves it. 🚂

The next Christmas item on our bucket list is to check out the Christmas lights at Lake Lanier. We tried to drive around and look at Christmas lights in some neighborhoods around our house the other night but Andi Rose was not having it so I’m hoping she will be more into the lights at Lake Lanier. Do you have a holiday bucket list? If so, what’s on it? 🎄

P.S. My apologies for the crappy i-phone photos. We brought our camera, but it was just too dark/fast-paced/rainy/crazy to snap any decent photos. So the i-phone pics will have to do for this post, but that’s real life sometimes, isn’t it?

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Posted by on Oct 5, 2016 in Baby Atlas, Motherhood | 6 comments

Happy Birthday, Atlas

I’m sitting here thinking, ‘How can it be?’

How is my baby boy already three?

Atlas' Birth

I’ll never forget the moment I first laid eyes on you,

It was love at first sight (kind of like you and Boo Boo).

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With each passing day, my love for you grew and grew,

I’ll always cherish those memories we made on 5th avenue.

It was with you that I had the biggest adventure in NYC,

But then it was time to head south so you could taste sweet tea.

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You take every change we throw at you with such great stride,

Watching the little man you are makes me beam with pride.

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There’s nothing you love more than Boo Boo the Bear,

If Andi Rose even thinks of touching him, you give her the death glare.

boo-boo

When you’re not holding Boo Boo, you’re playing some kind of ball,

I’m pretty sure this makes your dad the happiest man of all.

MY GUYS

Recently you tried to use one my fancy glasses as a golf tee,

Your dad thought this was hilarious – but not me.

If you don’t make it as a golfer, you could definitely be an actor,

Or perhaps you’ll be a farmer and ride a green tractor.

birthday-boy

No matter what you decide, just know I’ll be proud.

I’ll embarrass you at whatever you do by cheering too loud.

mamas boy

You’re {slowly} becoming the best big brother to baby Andi Rose,

(We won’t mention that time you made blood come out of her nose.)

Sweet Siblings

You are Ob’s favorite playmate and friend,

Even though ya’ll fight in ways I can’t comprehend.

Because of you, Marley gets a lot more food,

No doubt about it – you’re his favorite dude.

atlas-dogs

You are your daddy’s joy and answer to prayer,

At the end of his workday, you are his breath of fresh air.

daddys-boy

Every night before bed, you tell me “I love you more.”

It is one of the many things you do that I absolutely adore.

But when you say that, you have no idea that it isn’t true.

You don’t know that 100 hearts couldn’t hold all the love I have for you.

mamas-boy

You are the sunshine in each of my days,

I wish I could keep you this age for always.

I don’t know why God gave you to me, but I’m so glad He did.

I lucked out because you are the most wonderful little kid.

potty training boys

I think my favorite thing about you is your tender heart,

You are sensitive to others and incredibly smart.

This world needed an Atlas and I did too,

Up until 3 years ago, what I was missing was you.

My_boy

So with that, I guess there’s just 1 thing left to say,

Atlas, I hope you have the happiest birthday!

And remember, whether you’re 3, 10 or 32,

You’ll always be my Atlas and my buddy-roo!

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Posted by on Aug 22, 2016 in Baby Atlas, Motherhood | 8 comments

Potty Training Atlas

I stress about a lot of things when it comes to my kids. I’m a worrier by nature. However, I never found myself obsessing over potty training like so many of my mom friends. I never bought a book on how to potty train my child. I don’t even think I googled it.

potty training boys

Dave bought Atlas a little toilet about a year ago (Atlas wasn’t even 2 years old yet) and I immediately told Dave he could put it in the closet because I wasn’t ready for all that. For some reason, potty training did stress Dave out and he really pushed me to push Atlas to get out of diapers and I pushed back. And here’s why I stood my ground on this issue: I really felt in my gut that when Atlas and I were both ready to cross that proverbial potty training bridge, we would do it together and we would do it with relative ease because we would be on the same page. We weren’t on the same page when he was 18 months old. I know there are kids who are potty trained well before 2 years old and I even know of some kids who were potty trained before 1, but I also knew my kid and I knew that wasn’t him. Atlas is like me – he is resistant to change when he feels it being forced onto him and he has to do things in his own time. I wanted to potty train Atlas when I could communicate with him and he could communicate well with me and when he showed interest in the whole thing. To be honest, my reason for this was selfish. I didn’t want to clean up multiple messes each day because Atlas was either a) not getting the concept or b) refusing to cooperate. I didn’t want to make the whole thing harder than it had to be by starting the process prematurely.

Potty Training

The Right Time

SO, all that said – Atlas turns 3 in October and we just started potty training last week. Atlas had been peeing in the potty for weeks every night before he got in the bath so he was familiar with the whole concept, but I was still keeping him in diapers because he really showed no interest in going during the day and we’ve been on the go, which makes it harder to potty train. Last week, I came down with a cold virus and Atlas ran out of diapers, which meant we were stuck at home due to my illness and he had no choice but to wear the underwear that we picked up for him weeks ago.

I put him in a pair of underwear and told him that today was a special day because today he was going to do a big boy thing! I stressed the importance of not peeing in the underwear because it wasn’t like his diaper and if he went potty in his underwear, it would be so gross and it would be all over his legs. He peed in his underwear shortly after, just to ensure I wasn’t lying to him. I put him in the bath, got him all clean and said, “See, I told you underwear are different. Now you know so next time when you feel like you have to pee pee you tell Mommy and I’ll take you to the potty.” A little bit later he ran to the bathroom himself, pulled his pants down and went all by himself and then came to tell me. And that’s pretty much what’s been happening the rest of the week, with some coaching/help on my part.

He did pee in his underwear 2 more times that first day. One of the times I think he just didn’t make it to the bathroom in time and the other time I think he was just being plain lazy and didn’t want to stop playing with his trains. He has yet to poop in his underwear and he runs to the potty every time he feels even the slightest urge.

So, I would say it’s been a relatively easy transition. Now, I have heard multiple stories of kids regressing, so I would by no means say we are fully trained and out of the woods. I imagine we still have some weeks of learning and things being touch and go, but we are definitely off to a great start!

*Side Note: We did try pull ups with Atlas and that was not successful for us. He couldn’t tell a difference between the pull up and a diaper so he just went to the bathroom in the pull up. So, I knew when it was time to potty train I would just be putting him in underwear and going for it. Pull-ups may work great for your toddler though.*

The Rewards System

One reason I think some kids can be easily potty trained at 18 months old is because their parents bribe them with M&Ms. That is so great, but that didn’t work for Atlas because he gets M&M’s on the regular because I’m a big sweet tooth so I get M&Ms on the regular. I briefly tried the whole, “If you pee in the potty, you can have an M&M” deal several weeks ago and he was all, “But I get M&M’s anyway?” Well played, Atlas. Well played.

So, I had to up the ante. I thought, “What does Atlas loves more than anything?” Easy answer: His iPad. So I took his iPad away last week (he was being naughty, so it all worked out in my favor) and I told him that from now on, he could only get his iPad when he pooped in the potty. I know that is harsh, but desperate times call for desperate measures. He immediately pooped in the toilet after this and to be honest, for the first day I was a bit worried he was going to give himself hemorrhoids because he wanted that iPad so dang bad. Yikes.

I also bought his favorite toffee treats that he only gets for being extra sweet to Andi Rose or the dogs or doing something helpful and I told him every time he peed in the potty he would get 1 of those and every time he pooped he would get 3 of those AND iPad time. Worked like a charm.

After the first 2 days of successful potty training, Dave ordered him some Finding Dory underwear + a Finding Dory stuffed animal because Atlas is currently obsessed with Finding Dory. Atlas thought that was the bees knees and he was so proud of himself and he’s since been taking Dory with him every time he uses the bathroom.

And finally, I can’t leave this last bit of info out because this blog serves as a little diary for me and I always want to remember this. After Atlas pooped in the potty for the first time he looked at me and said, “I just did an ewww buddy in this little potty, so now you need to take me to Disney World.”

That kid drives a tough bargain. And you know we are totally planning Atlas’ first trip to Disney World now, right?

*Also, Atlas calls his poop “Ewwww buddy” because whenever I change him, if it really smells I always say, “eeeew buddy” so that is what he has always called poop and now that is what our entire family calls poop. And now the whole world knows that…or at least the 2 people who read this blog do.

The Resources

Potty Training Aids

Several months ago we bought Atlas 2 books on potty training and he loves both. He’s loved the Elmo book, P is for Potty, forever because of all the flaps that lift-up – any type of pop-up book or hide-n-seek book is always a winner in our house.  We recently started reading The Potty Book for Boys and Atlas is super into it. (They also have the same book, but written for girls here.) He loves that the little boy in the book has a bear because Atlas carries his bear (who we all affectionally refer to as Boo Boo) with him everywhere! We read that book a lot last week and Atlas kept saying, “He uses the potty and I use the potty.” He seemed to get that little parallel.

Atlas will use the regular toilet, but definitely prefers this little toddler toilet. I’ll probably give him another few weeks using the little one, but once he’s totally comfortable I am removing the little one because quite frankly, I hate cleaning it after each use. #gross #aintnobodygottimeforthat

We also have this little adapter that goes on the regular toilet and Atlas has a much easier time using the big potty with this on there, so I think we will keep that on the toilet for a while. I have this device upstairs and I keep the little potty downstairs, so Atlas can easily go to the bathroom upstairs or downstairs, depending on where we are.

I think the special Dory underwear really made Atlas excited, so I would suggest getting underwear with something on them that your kid totally digs if you’re about to start potty training. Every night before bed, Atlas insist on picking out his underwear for the next day. It’s hilarious!

potty training book

The Requirements

I knew potty training was going to require patience, but I didn’t realize to what capacity my patience would be needed. Atlas only had a few accidents & none of them were horrible, as I mentioned above, but oh my word! I had to stop and drop everything multiple times a day to assist him in the bathroom and it did drive me a little mad. I think the whole thing was more difficult because I also have Andi Rose to keep up with, and at 14 months old she is into everything, so I can’t really turn my back on her for a second because she is so busy! So I would have to stop what I was doing, scoop up Andi Rose and run to the bathroom to either wipe his bottom, clean out that little toilet (I’m OCD, so I lysol and bleach that thing down every time because Andi Rose will sometimes play with it when I’m not looking – I know, so freakin’ gross), help him wash his hands, administer his treats and do the potty dance (Oh, did I not mention that earlier? We also have a potty dance and song I made up.).  It is an ordeal, ya’ll! But it was what was working for us so I rolled with it. It just made getting anything done (folding laundry, unloading the dishwasher, making meals, etc) extra hard. But he’s already more independent after a few days into training and doesn’t require as much attention so it is getting easier.

But my advice would be to clear your calendar for a few days and just prepare yourself for spending a lot of time in your bathroom. And be ready to get excited a million times a day over even the tiniest drop of pee in the toilet. By the end of the day, I would be looking at Dave like, “Can you PLEASE do the potty dance this time?”

This definitely isn’t a how-to post because I’m no expert. I just wanted to share what our first experience with potty training has been like thus far and what is currently working for us. My biggest piece of {unsolicited} advice for moms who are semi-interested would be to do what is right for you and your child! Don’t be pressured by anybody to potty train if you and your toddler aren’t ready! Nobody knows your child better than you, so you do what works for your family! 🙂

*Final Note: Atlas does still nap in a pull up and he sleeps in a pull up at night. I have no idea when I’ll transition him to underwear for sleeping, and I welcome any tips/advice you may have. But again, it isn’t really stressing me out. He’s asked to sleep in his underwear several nights, but I’ve told him he can’t do that until he wakes up with a dry pull up several mornings in a row.*

If you have any questions that I didn’t answer in this post, just leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to respond. Also, if you’re not a mother and you just read this I’m so very sorry for what you just endured. 🙈

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Posted by on Aug 8, 2016 in Baby Atlas, Motherhood | 5 comments

Stitches for Atlas

The only thing the text said on Saturday morning was, “We had an accident and Atlas is hurt. I need to get him to the hospital.” I read it twice before responding with, “Are you joking?” Surely it was a joke. But unfortunately, Dave was serious.

Boy Mom

Early that morning before Dave & Atlas headed off to their 5k race, I thought, “I should probably grab Andi’s carseat out of the car before they head out, just in case I need it for some strange reason.” I quickly dismissed that thought though because Andi had pink eye in both eyes and a stomach virus (hence, we weren’t running with the boys). I was basically under house arrest, so I decided there was no reason to get her carseat.

My Girl

As I tried to gather details about what had happened to my baby boy, I was also trying to process how to get Andi Rose to the hospital without her carseat. After talking with Dave briefly on the phone, we decided it was best for him to just come home and get me because there was no way Atlas was calming down without me (and even with me in the picture, it was still a coin toss).

We headed to the hospital as a family of 4 and Dave filled me in on what had happened. They had been less than a half mile from the finish line when the stroller’s wheel hit a curb that Dave didn’t see and they wrecked. They were both pretty banged up and it was clear they were both going to have some horrible bruises and road rash, but Atlas had taken the worst of it, with a deep laceration on his chin. (Don’t worry, there will be no pictures of that on this blog. I don’t photograph stuff like that.)

We spent the morning at the ER, juggling Andi’s upset tummy (& consequently, her diaper rash) and soothing Atlas while he got checked over before it was time for him to get his stitches. Then Dave took Andi Rose out of the room since she was screaming and losing her mind because I wasn’t holding her. I tended to Atlas, who quickly lost his mind when he realized the doctor and nurses would be touching his ‘boo boo.’ They ended up strapping him to the table in this device that essentially wrapped him up like a burrito.

burrito wrap

I think the whole thing took less than 15 minutes, but it felt like 3 hours and it was one of the worst experiences of my life. Andi Rose was in the hallway crying for me and Atlas was crying the biggest crocodile tears, looking me in my eyes, pleading with me to hold him, as he laid in a straight jacket on the table. I had to help hold his head while the professionals stitched up his face & all I could do was whisper how brave he was and sing songs in his ear as his tears mixed with mine. Hearing both my kids crying for me and feeling so incredibly helpless was excruciating. I felt physically ill when it was all over and I was drenched in sweat.

Seeing Dave sitting in the ER crying, holding Atlas’ hand and apologizing profusely because he felt so guilty (about an accident that could have happened to anybody) was heartbreaking. But it also made me love my husband even more. His humility was beautiful. He held Atlas’ hand, rubbed his back, kissed his cheek and cried over him. My husband is one of the most confident men I know, and I love that about him, but his humility is such an attractive trait too.

So, when we last left off on Friday’s post, I was telling you all about how excited I was for our first 5K as a family of 4. But nobody in the Andrews’ crew ended up crossing that finish line on Saturday. We didn’t get to go out to the fun dinner we had planned Friday night. We didn’t get to work in the yard Saturday or play in the pool on Sunday. Instead we made our favorite chicken noodle soup, ate way too many cupcakes (Atlas’ request – I was just trying to make the kid happy), made ice-cream sundaes, grilled out in our backyard and spent hours on the couch cuddling and watching Disney movies. (I also changed a ridiculous amount of crib sheets, but I’ll spare you those dirty details.)

Ob stayed close by Atlas while he napped

Ob stayed close by Atlas while he napped

Last week I got this hymn stuck in my head…

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of his glory and grace.”

It was such a random song to be singing early in the week, but by the end of the week when I was juggling a sick child and a hurt child, I realized the Lord had put that song in my heart for a reason. He knew I needed it. I sang it through frustrated tears over the weekend. It feels like our house (mostly Andi Rose) keeps getting hit with all these illnesses (mostly stomach bugs), and while nothing is life threatening and worth complaining over in the big scheme of things, it is easy for me to feel isolated when I’m under house arrest constantly due to sick kids. I told Dave, it isn’t really the endless loads of laundry and the being up all night that gets to me…it is that feeling of “I can’t go anywhere. We are stuck at home because we can’t spread our germs.” It gets kind of lonely and then I get horrible anxiety about taking the kids anywhere (church nursery, Bible study, child watch at our local gym) when they are healthy again because I don’t want them to get another virus. It can all be a bit maddening for me. BUT, when I think about Jesus then everything else – all the little frustrations that can add up to feel like the weight of the world – get filtered through a lense that keeps it all in perspective. That felt like rambling? Did it feel like I was rambling to you? I’m sorry.

mamas boy

Oh, & Atlas woke up Sunday morning with pink eye. But we all knew that was going to happen, right? Here’s the real kicker though… Atlas & I shared a pillow Saturday night since he was hurt and wanted to sleep in bed with Dave & me. I woke up and was like, “Oh, buddy! You have pink eye now! Oh no!” And then I was like, “Dangit. That most likely means I’ve got pink eye too.” Butterfly kisses for everyone! Luckily, we’ve already got the antibiotic eye drops on hand.

My_boy

I’ve never had pink eye and I really hope I can still say that at the end of this week. *Fingers crossed*

Atlas is such a trooper. By Sunday he was laughing & playing like his old self & his resiliency continues to inspire me. Andi Rose is the toughest member in our family – she smiles through so much. I’m so proud of how my kids handle hard things, even at their young ages. I’m so lucky I get to be their mom. ❤️

Also, these pictures are a week old, that’s why Atlas doesn’t have any battle wounds in them. My dress is here (LOVE the dress so much and I did go a size down after reading the reviews and I’m glad I did) and my shoes are by a company called M. Gemi. Lipstick is YSL #26.

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Posted by on May 9, 2016 in Baby Atlas, Family Fun | 2 comments

Home Sweet Home

Hi! I hope you all had a very happy Mothers Day and your Monday is off to a good start. Last night Dave commented on how slow our Sunday seemed to pass by and how amazing that was! Usually the weekends fly by, but yesterday passed by nice and slow and it was glorious. We spent pretty much our entire Mothers Day at home sweet home!

Home Sweet Home

On Friday we assembled office furniture (our office is definitely my favorite room of the house – is that weird?) and then we went out for mexican. Dave and I shared some margaritas (just like the good ole’ days), Atlas and Andi Rose shared a quesadilla and then Andi had a major blowout diaper so we had to leave (nothing like the good ole’ days). Saturday was spent running errands. Atlas got his first real hair cut and I almost cried because he went into the salon looking like a baby and he left the salon looking like a 7 year old. Also, not sure if I’m using the term ‘salon’ correctly. We took him to Sports Clips. Is that considered a salon? Probably not. Anyways…

Home Sweet Home

We spent almost all of Sunday outside playing and it was so much fun. We live on a cul-de-sac and there are so many kids on the street and Atlas loves to watch them ride their bikes and play. We really love our little neighborhood.

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

One of the coolest things about our neighborhood is it is filled with hiking trails so every weekend we pick a new trail to hike with the kids and dogs. It is my favorite weekend activity.

Home Sweet Home

Now I’m doing laundry and prepping dinner while my babies nap.

P.S. All these pictures are from the last month in our house. The picture of Andi and me is from a few weeks ago after church. I don’t wear dresses to play outside with the kids. And as you can tell by the photos of Atlas, he obviously doesn’t wear shoes to play outside. He loves going outside and he runs out so fast, I can’t get shoes on him. We had to buy child locks for our doors in the new house because Atlas was running outside without me hearing him. One day he ran outside, took off all his clothes on our front porch and was standing in our neighbor’s yard in only his diaper when I finally found him. We are, apparently, rednecks in the making.

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Posted by on Feb 4, 2016 in Baby Atlas, Healthy Dishes | 0 comments

Toddler Lunch Ideas

Last week I shared our go-to breakfast foods for Atlas and this week I’m coming at ya with some of our go-to lunch items.

Before I share what Atlas eats though, I want to reiterate that I am not a nutritionist and I’m not saying this is what your toddler should eat. This is just what works for us during this season of life. Also, I’m not super creative on the lunch front and because Atlas typically eats a big breakfast, I don’t make his lunch all that huge.

But this is how we do lunch in the Andrews’ house.

  • Dinner leftovers: Most days, Atlas & I eat the previous night’s dinner leftovers because it is easy. And usually pretty healthy. And cheap. And I can microwave it with one hand while holding Andi.
  • The Snack Plate: When leftovers can’t be found, this is my go-to for Atlas and it is always a hit because Atlas loves the variety.

Toddler Snack Plate

I realize the above photo is pretty horrendous, but that’s our real life. I just chop everything up and throw it on his tray most days. That’s how we roll. The above lunch is turkey/fresh cut cheese/avocado/grapes. I think he actually had a side of apple sauce with this meal too that’s not pictured.

Other snack plate options include:

  • Cottage cheese/apple slices/carrots/raisins/peanuts
  • Hard boiled egg/banana/string cheese/sweet potato fries
  • Toast with peanut butter/apple sauce/broccoli/yogurt

And obviously, I mix and match all those items based off what we have on hand and what Atlas wants that day. We love the Alexia frozen sweet potato fries. We love the Chobani flip yogurt cups. Atlas hates raw carrots (& let’s be honest, you do too), so I always boil them or sautĂŠ them. Cheese is his favorite food on the planet.

  • Grilled Cheese: Atlas would eat this every day if I let him. He only gets it about once every 2 weeks though.
  • Applegate Chicken Nuggets + Broccoli: I try to avoid frozen foods, but these frozen chicken nuggets are good and Atlas always seems to enjoy them. I bake them and make a veggie to go with them – usually broccoli or peas because that’s what my boy likes.

Toddler Lunch

That’s really about it. Sometimes a smoothie gets thrown in the lunch mix. Sometimes I cave and buy him corn dogs. Sometimes we get this mac and cheese. Sometimes I pre-bake sweet potatoes & load one of those up for him. But the meals listed above make the most appearances during our week.

I hope that helps! Oh, and if you have a little boy who loves trucks, I recommend this plate!  Toddler Lunch

On days when Atlas is protesting about eating, I offer to let him eat on his construction plate with his construction utensils and he thinks it is awesome! He will eat foods he doesn’t normally love if he can eat them off a spoon that looks like a digger. Go figure.

Toddler Lunch

Anyways, it makes mealtime way more fun for him so I thought I would share!

If you want more toddler meal ideas, definitely check out Brittany’s blog and Weelicious. They do meals up right! 🙂

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