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Posted by on Jan 26, 2016 in Baby Atlas, Healthy Dishes | 5 comments

Toddler Breakfast Ideas

Ask and you shall receive! When I shared how I make Andi’s baby food, I had a few people say they were more interested in what Atlas eats. I still plan on listing a few more baby food recipes because there was some interest in that as well, but I felt more people were interested in toddler meals. I plan on breaking this topic up into a few posts, based on meals (i.e. breakfast, lunch, dinner). Below you will find a list of my go-to breakfast meals for Atlas.

Toddler Breakfast Ideas | CnC Blog

One more quick note: I’m not saying this is what your toddler should eat. This is just what my toddler likes. And my toddler isn’t all that picky, admittedly. This is just what works in the Andrews’ house. 🙂

Breakfast for Toddlers

  • Eggs, fruit and (sometimes) turkey sausage – this is probably our most common go-to breakfast. He eats this 3 or 4 days a week. Usually he likes his eggs scrambled, but he will also eat fried eggs and hard boiled eggs. When his eggs are scrambled, I will mix in spinach and he doesn’t even notice the spinach. Fruit changes on the regular, but typically it is grapes, bananas or apples. He also likes his turkey sausage with a little syrup drizzled on top.

Breakfast for Toddler | CnC blog

  • Fried egg served over these frozen Alexia vegetables, topped with Avocado. This is a great way to get veggies in him first thing in the morning and it is easy. I just sauté the frozen veggies according to the package directions, fry the egg and dice the avocado. Throw all that in a bowl and voila! Breakfast is served!
  • Toast topped with butter or smashed avocado or peanut butter + a side of string cheese + a side of cottage cheese
  • This oatmeal is great for mornings when we are rushed.

Breakfast for Toddlers | CnC Blog

  • Pumpkin muffins – also great for mornings when we are rushed. Atlas loves them when made with the chocolate cake mix instead of spice cake mix. I also freeze some when I bake a batch for grab-n-go snacks. Just microwave for 30(ish) seconds after pulling them out of the freezer and they are warm and delicious. Atlas LOVES these.
  • Smoothie – Our smoothie recipes change frequently, but our current go-to smoothie is almond milk + frozen banana + frozen blueberries + spinach + Juice Plus Complete + spoonful of peanut butter + honey. Atlas loves this because all the blueberries make it kind of blue (his favorite color)! If Atlas doesn’t get a smoothie with his breakfast, he usually gets one with his lunch or as an afternoon snack. We are big into smoothies in this house.

Alright, mamas! I think that about sums up the food in our current breakfast rotation. I know none of these meals are super creative, but it is what my buddy-roo likes to eat. Oh, and I should tell you this…if you ever ask Atlas what he wants for breakfast the answer will always be the same. Blue m&m’s. Every morning he ask for blue m&m’s and almost every morning the answer is no. 😉

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Posted by on Jan 6, 2016 in Baby Atlas, Motherhood | 2 comments

I’m a Parent Now!

Atlas turned 2 years old in October. TWO!


He is so much fun at this age! Dave & I currently love to ask him random questions about his day because his answers almost always make us laugh out loud. He is one of thee most animated kids I know and I just adore the way he uses his hands and dramatic voice inflection when he’s telling a story. On Christmas morning he shouted “OH MY GOSH” or “OH MY GOODNESS” or “OH WOW! AMAZING!” after every single present he opened. It didn’t matter if it was a giant truck or a pair of socks. The reaction was the same and totally over the top. He gets so incredibly excited over life (and conversely, he can also get so incredibly mad when things don’t go his way) and his bright spirit is infectious.


I have definitely transitioned during this season from being just a ‘caregiver’ to actually being a ‘parent’ to Atlas. By this, I mean that a caregiver serves to meet all your physical needs while a parent goes one step further and helps mold your heart, attitude and outlook on life. Atlas requires more than diaper changes and snuggles at this stage of life. He needs guidance. I’m being stretched mentally as I try to teach him right from wrong & how to treat others. For example, I’m not just trying to teach him to share. I’m trying to teach him WHY we should share – I’m trying to instill compassion and consideration in him now at an early age. Another example is when he gets mad because Andi is playing with a toy that he wants, I have to address the issue and the real issue isn’t trying to figure out how to give both Atlas and Andi a turn playing with the same toy. That’s just the surface issue. The real issue I must address is the ugly attitude rooted in his little heart that doesn’t want his baby sister to have something that he wants. That’s a sin and I’ve got to help him identify that in himself and change his outlook. That’s tricky. And I know this is only just beginning – I’m simply attempting to lay a solid foundation now so we are working on steady ground as the issues we face in the future get bigger and more complex. I find it a bit overwhelming sometimes, but it is causing me to seek the Lord like never before because I know the wisdom and guidance I so desperately need can be found in Him alone. I can promise you I won’t be doling out parenting advice for the next 25 years. This job is tough and I struggle everyday with wondering if I’m doing this motherhood thing right. If my kids turn out to be amazing, perhaps I’ll write a book in 30 years about how to raise awesome humans. And hey – if they wind up in prison, maybe I’ll still write a book – It will just be called, “Parenting gone wrong: What NOT to do.”

All joking aside, I am enjoying the precious interactions that come with having a toddler. From the laughter that erupts during tickle fights and endless piggy back rides to the countless hours spent on the floor playing with choo choo trains – There’s so much joy and so much sweetness to be soaked up. Sure, there are days where Atlas throws giant tantrums and sometimes I respond by throwing a tantrum right back (& my tantrums can surprisingly be slightly more dramatic than his). And then I put myself in timeout by locking myself in the bathroom and running the water so my family can’t hear me sobbing. But even in the midst of all that craziness, there are so many blessings to be counted.


One of the unexpected blessings that has stemmed from this new season of parenting is how God is using the lessons I’m trying to teach Atlas to gently convict my own heart. For example, the other day I asked Atlas to do something and in his little mind the end result of his obedience wasn’t going to be beneficial to him. Naturally, the crocodile tears started flowing. I quickly snapped, “Atlas! You just worry about obeying and let mommy worry about the outcome.” In that moment, the Holy Spirit gently nudged my heart and I felt the Lord saying, “Ashley – you know that apology you still haven’t given? Or that family I asked you to give to over the holidays, even though you’re living on 1 income and you don’t think it makes good financial sense during this season? Shouldn’t you do this very thing? Worry more about obeying and let ME worry about the outcome.” The Holy Spirit stopped me right in my tracks that day. I’m so thankful for how gentle the Lord is with my heart as He guides me. This reality challenges me to try so hard to be gentle with Atlas’ little heart as I guide him. I actually think I could dedicate an entire post to the lessons I’m teaching Atlas that God is simultaneously teaching me. Most recently it has been how to respond correctly when the answer to your request is ‘no.’ Atlas & I are learning that lesson together…mostly the hard way…you know, trial and error.

We are choosing to call this season with Atlas the “teachable two’s” instead of the “terrible two’s” because it is all about perspective, right? 😉 I feel so lucky that I get to be his mom. What a treasure he is to me!


And if you’re a mom reading this from behind a locked bathroom door where you’re trying to muffle your sobs, I’m sending you a big virtual hug and challenging you to get up, dry your eyes, put on some lipstick (because that always makes me feel more put together) and give yourself a truckload of grace. Because isn’t that what we all need as mothers? An outpouring of grace? To ourselves. To each other. Grace that washes away those thoughts that says our flaws are too great and our strengths are too few. Grace that covers us with the reality that we don’t have to try to be perfect at everything everyday. We just have to find rest in the One who is perfect. Press on, sweet sister! You’re doing a great job and God knew your kids would need YOU as their mom. ♥

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Posted by on Jul 13, 2015 in Baby Atlas, Motherhood | 4 comments

Our Life with 2 Kids Under 2

From the moment people found out I was pregnant, the comments started. “Whoah! 2 kids under 2? That’s going to be crazy!” or “You’re never going to sleep again.” and “How on earth will you manage all that? 2 kids and 2 dogs? What will you do?”

Today I wanted to share a few of my thoughts on life with 2 kids under 2. You can also find this topic filed under “Life in crazy town.” Andi is 3 weeks old today and Atlas just turned 21 months old last week.

IMG_0122The first thing I want to touch on is that going from 1 child to 2 has not been nearly as traumatic as going from 0-1. At least, for me. When I had Atlas my entire world was rocked and I wasn’t at all prepared for how drastically  my life changed. I wasn’t prepared for the difficult delivery. I wasn’t prepared for the colic and hours upon hours of crying (by both Atlas and me). I wasn’t prepared for how long it would take me to leave the house. The whole experience really shook me to my core. However, with Andi, my perspective, expectations and goals have been totally different. For example, I know this season of life with a newborn is so incredibly short, so I don’t necessarily mind waking up at 3 am to feed my baby girl. In fact, I actually sort of cherish those cuddle sessions in the middle of the night with Andi because trying to cuddle Atlas now is like trying to wrestle a greased pig.( So – yes – I’m one of those moms now.) Also, I don’t expect to leave the house looking ‘put together’ and I certainly don’t anticipate arriving at any event on time for a while, much less with jewelry and make-up on. I am more {mentally} prepared this go around for those occasions where I get everybody ready to go and right before we walk out the door, Andi has a blowout diaper, requiring 2 of our 4 family members to change clothes. This is just the season of life I’m in right now and it is so messy and so crazy, but so sweet and so beautiful and sometimes it is even kind of fun.


I should also state that Andi is proving to be an easier baby than Atlas was (at least so far), which is making the transition smoother. I think part of it is that I’m more relaxed. Her cry doesn’t rattle me like Atlas’ cry used to. I expect her to cry. But she also just doesn’t cry as much as he did. He cried during every bath and diaper change. He cried every time we set him down in his swing. He cried every time he was in the stroller for longer than 10 minutes. He cried in his carseat. She rarely cries. I realize she could ‘wake up’ any day now and start expressing her opinions, just like her brother, but for now I’m enjoying her go-with-the-flow personality to the fullest. I rarely left the house with Atlas when he was a newborn because he fussed so much and I was so scared and anxious, but Andi has already been to the zoo with our family, out to dinner, out to lunch and to the mall with me. She is the perfect shopping partner right now! 🙂

Baby Andi

The hardest part of this transition from 1 child to 2 has been watching Atlas try to adjust. The first week we brought Andi home from the hospital was difficult. I knew it would be tough on Atlas, but I wasn’t fully prepared for just how hard it was on him. He wouldn’t sit by me if I was holding Andi. He wouldn’t kiss me or hug me. He threw several things at Andi. He hit her every chance he got. He just acted so angry and it was heartbreaking for me to watch. It was also frustrating because I was still recovering from labor, so I couldn’t play with him like he was used to, but yet I was still the one who had to discipline him for hitting his new baby sister. I just felt like the bad guy and it sucked. Luckily, he’s doing better with each week that passes and he’s even given Andi a few kisses. Since I’m feeling better, I’m able to play with him more and I’m making a daily effort to take time away from Andi and devote undivided attention to him.

My FirstbornAtlas currently loves all trucks, so if I can take him out to look for any motorized vehicle his day is pretty much made. We made a special stop at a fire station the other day and I scored major mom points with him. Slowly but surely I’m falling back into his good graces.

IMG_0108The other difficult thing that has come with adding Andi  to our crew has been relinquishing control. Control of the house. Control of our meals. Control of Atlas. Turns out I’m kind of a control freak (I think we learned this after I had Atlas) and I prefer to handle most things myself – especially around my house and with my children. However, with 2 kids under 2 I just have to accept help. I can’t make dinner, do all the laundry, feed Atlas his dinner, nurse Andi, do the dishes, give both kids their bath, etc. I have to let Dave and my mom help with some things and while I’m so grateful for their help (I would sink right now without it), I definitely struggle with wanting to do it ALL myself. That just isn’t realistic at this time though.

It is definitely hard to juggle meeting the needs of both children (I’m pretty sure I could spend 6 hours a day just feeding both of them all their meals and snacks) and my mom has been here to help, so I’m not quite sure how things will fall into place when she leaves us and I’m on my own, but I know we will find our groove. Life with 2 kids under 2 certainly brings a new set of challenges. I assume my house won’t be tidied up every day now. I assume we will eat a lot of quick dinners that might not be the fanciest or healthiest, at least for a few weeks. I assume there will be times when 1 kid has to cry because their sibling’s needs must be met first. I assume there will be a few days where I call Dave and beg him to come home early from work to save me. But when I stop and think about the situation we are currently in, I realize we are in the midst of so many blessings. When I’m trying to change double the diapers and manage double the meltdowns and do double quadruple the laundry (who knew a 7 pound human could fill a laundry basket so fast), I realize I’m just managing blessings. God has blessed us beyond what we deserve with 2 healthy children. In a strange way, the diapers, laundry and meltdowns are just reminders of how much God loves me. Sure, to some it may look like a burden and some days it does feel overwhelming, but the crazy workload is just a sign of the crazy blessings.

IMG_0090So, it is definitely crazy town around these parts. At the moment I smell like spit up and this post is fueled by a {cold} cup of coffee, but life with 2 kids under 2 is marvelous. Sure, it is crazy and sleep is rare, but it is nothing short of wonderful.






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Posted by on Mar 23, 2015 in Baby Atlas, Motherhood | 8 comments

Things the Baby Books Didn’t Tell Me

I’m in the process of creating a baby book for Atlas. I’ve been sifting through thousands of photos  in hopes of picking just a few of our favorite moments with Atlas to highlight in a custom made book. It is amazing to me how much he has changed in less than 2 years. How much our lives have changed. How much my heart has changed. Being Atlas’ mom is such a beautiful balance of work and wonderful.

DSC_2874Looking at pictures of Atlas as a newborn obviously made me think of the journey we are about to embark on yet again when our baby girl arrives in June. I remember how scared and unsure I was when we left the hospital with Atlas. I found the whole experience quite terrifying, despite all the baby books/blogs/websites I devoured in the weeks leading up to his arrival. The reality is no book can totally prepare you for parenthood. Today I thought about what I wish I would have known back then. I thought about what I would tell myself if I could go back in time and what I will tell myself in June when I start over with a brand new baby and I start navigating life with 2 babies under 2 years old.

Things the Baby Books Didn’t Tell Me

  1. Stock up on the mesh undies the hospital gives you. Seriously, stuff them all in your suitcase. 2 week’s worth. Yes, they are hideous. Yes, they are worse than your mama’s swimmin’ trunks…worse than granny panties. But you’re going to want them. Actually, you’re going to need them. Disposable underwear for the win! Oh, and while we are on the general subject – you won’t be able to walk home from the hospital like you planned, but I promise you’ll walk normal again. In fact, you’ll even run again – faster than you ever ran before.
  2. Preparing your heart for motherhood is as important as preparing a nursery. Get off Pinterest and pick up your Bible. When you’re bouncing a colicky baby around at 1am you’re going to need a whole lot of Jesus. Spend more time trying to line your heart up with scripture and less time obsessing over getting that perfect Instagram photo of the new nursery decor. Your baby needs a mother who is overflowing with God’s love more than they need the best decorated crib. IMG_5944
  3. Don’t forget who you are. When you lose yourself, your entire family loses. You need you. Your husband needs you. Make time for yourself. Don’t feel guilty for leaving the baby with your husband while you go for a run or go out alone for an hour or 2 just to breathe. If you don’t carve out regular time for yourself you will wind up alone in a Starbucks at 9pm on more than 1 occasion sobbing into your latte. Trust me on this.
  4. Do what feels right. Read all the baby books, but in the end you have to do what feels right to you. If co-sleeping feels right for your family, do it. If the crying it out method suits you, go for it. If rocking your baby to sleep when they are 3 years old is your thing, then do that and own it. Trust your gut.
  5. Not every moment is magical. You won’t bond with your baby every minute of every day. Life with a newborn doesn’t always look like a Pampers commercial. Actually, it rarely does. It is messy and exhausting and it is okay if you don’t enjoy every second of the ride. Lower your expectations just a bit.
  6. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Cut yourself some slack. There isn’t actually a mom-of-the-year award so you can drop the super woman act. You won’t be able to run 8 miles, have a six pack, shower, do your hair AND make-up, read your Bible, cuddle your baby, walk the dogs, clean the house, make a gourmet meal for your husband, write that freelance project and research ways to help your baby talk before they turn 6 months old every day. In fact, you won’t be able to do a quarter of that. And that’s okay. Prioritize. Do what you can and forget the rest (except the shower – try to squeeze that one in everyday). Comparison kills contentment. Don’t try to look like a Victoria’s Secret model, cook like Ina Garten and organize like Martha Stewart. Do the best YOU can do and be proud of that.
  7. This too shall pass. Whatever you and your baby are going through together, remember – it is just a phase! The colic demon will eventually leave your house. Your baby will eventually sleep through the night. Breastfeeding will get easier. That tooth eventually pops through and your happy baby returns. Everything – the good and the bad – will pass…almost in the blink of an eye…almost. i-BRjmnF4-M
  8. You’re not alone. Every new parent is clueless. You’re not inadequate. You’re not stupid. You’re normal. Every new mom feels unprepared.
  9. Create a home filled with laughter, not perfection. Your life will never be perfect. Your baby won’t be perfect. Your house won’t be perfect. You won’t be the perfect mother. Embrace the chaos and laugh it off.
  10. Let your husband be right. There is more than 1 right way to do things when it comes to babies. Let your husband help and let him do some things his way. He may not pick out the perfect outfit or hold the baby exactly how you do, but that’s okay. He has a relationship to build with his child too and he has to find his own groove. IMG_3220

To all my mom readers: If you could go back in time, what would you tell yourself after having a baby?

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Posted by on Jan 29, 2015 in Baby Atlas, Motherhood | 4 comments

Fast Forward, Pause, Rewind and Repeat

The pause button. If life came with a remote control, it seems like every mother claims she would choose to hit the pause button so she could enjoy her baby just a bit longer. Since having Atlas I’ve become very aware of statements other moms make regarding their children. Statements like, “I wish she would just stop growing!” or “I hate that he is getting so big!” and “I wish I could freeze time and enjoy this baby stage longer.” Statements like the above always made me feel a little inadequate as a mother. Why? Well, because as other moms were desperately trying to hit that proverbial pause button, I was frantically looking for the fast forward button on my life’s remote control.

I never prayed for the time to slow down when I was soothing a colicky baby at 1am. I never wished that time would freeze when Atlas screamed bloody murder every time he sat in his stroller…or the carseat…or really any place that wasn’t my arms. I never wanted Atlas to ‘stop growing so fast’ when I was nursing him every 2 hours…or when he would cry for what felt like hours and I had no idea why because he had no way of communicating his needs to me. In fact, I prayed for the exact opposite of what every other mom seems to pray for.

“Dear Sweet Lord in Heaven, if you will make this day go by quickly I’ll give you whatever you want. My firstborn? You want my firstborn? Because you can totally have him.” 

For the first year of Atlas’ life, I struggled to keep up with motherhood. I loved Atlas with all my heart, but I found the stages of his development utterly exhausting. Every stage he entered was certainly better than the last, but I never truly categorized a stage as “THE BEST!” Never, ever, ever did I wish time would slow down so I could enjoy a certain stage a little longer. I assumed that was just a motherhood gene I was missing and in all honesty, it made me sad that I really had no desire to savor those 2am diaper changes and feeding sessions.

And then Atlas hit a year and everything started changing for us. Atlas began walking around 10 months and by 12 months he was trying to say words. That was a game changer. He seemed like a happier kid almost overnight, which made me a happier mama. I still wouldn’t say I’m searching for life’s pause button, but I am trying to record moments in my mind so I can replay them over and over again because the moments are simply too wonderful to be forgotten.


Like the way Atlas sings Bible songs while lifting his hands up in the air and shaking his little booty. I’m confident it is the cutest thing that’s ever happened on planet earth. And the way he dances through his baby music class…gah!Be still my heart!


Oh, and the way he whispers, “I luuuuub yooouu” when Dave & I put him to bed at night. And then he screams “Niiiiiight Niiiiiight” when we leave his room and he proceeds to say “Byyyyyeeeee mama. Byyyyyyyeeeee dada” 621,487 times before drifting off to sleep.

Today he came up to me, grabbed me by the face with both of his tiny hands and kissed my lips no less than 10 times. I will think about each of those sweet baby kisses on his wedding day and cry. I’m sure of it.

I’m trying to memorize the pitter patter sound his feet make when running around our house – especially when he runs naked to his bathtub every night screaming “baaaaaath!”


He must say “Hiiiii” to every person he sees. Even if they don’t see him. It’s the best and I’ll be sad when he outgrows that. But then again…maybe he won’t outgrow that. He is Dave’s child and my husband is the friendliest man I know.

And the way he hugs Ob & Marley tightly, with his eyes squinted shut and says, “aaaaawwww.” Gosh. I don’t ever want to forget that sweet sound.

He laughs at everything these days. We took him for a ride in his little blue car when it was snowing this week and he couldn’t stop giggling at the snow pelting him in the face. My heart will break a little when he outgrows that baby giggle.


And he insist on helping us with every household chore. Laundry. Dishes. Taking the trash out. He wants to help with ALL the chores and while this can be annoying sometimes, there are times when I think…actually, I know…I’m going to miss this. He just wants to be doing whatever we are doing and I find it absolutely precious.


On the day I send Atlas off to kindergarden, I’m confident I will cry. And I’ll cry when we drop him off at college. And I’ll cry when he gets married. But it won’t be because I miss holding an infant or because I long for those middle of the night cuddle sessions with a fussy baby. It will be because I miss the stage we are in now. I will miss the sound of this feet running down our hallway and the sound of his giggle. I’ll miss his hilarious version of a whisper. I’ll miss the kisses he so freely gives right now and the way he reaches up for me to hold him while saying, “Uuuuup, Mama! Up!”

If life handed me a remote control, I still wouldn’t hit the pause button right now. But I wouldn’t hit the fast forward button either. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not a pause button sort of girl. I still don’t ever wish time would freeze because as much as I love this stage, I’m very much looking forward to the next stage, and the stage after that. I’m looking forward to t-ball games and birthdays and even high school. I’m excited to watch Atlas grow up into the man God created him to be. To be completely honest, I’m even sort of looking forward to an empty nest one day (one day very far away). I quite like my husband & I think it will be exciting to one day share our home with just him again…with frequent visits from Atlas and my grand babies, of course. 😉

I’m savoring moments of motherhood these days though – soaking it all in. I very much hope this time is imprinted on my heart and in my mind with such detail that I can always revisit it and smile like I smiled today. If in 30 years someone handed me a remote and a DVD (or whatever people are watching movies on in 2045) of my life, I would gladly hit the rewind button. I would stop the tape to when Dave & I were young, free and in love (I was cuter back then)…but then I would want to fast forward to the love we share now. A love that is deeper and more meaningful and just all-around-better. I would probably still fast forward through the infant stage with Atlas, but then I would quickly hit play to watch right where we are today. This is where I can tell it is starting to get good. I would curl up with Dave and enjoy some popcorn as we watched the messiness, craziness, hilariousness and sweetness that our life is right this second. And I would cry. Tears of joy that all these blessings happened to us and tears of sadness that it all passed so quickly. I’m sure of it.

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Posted by on Oct 10, 2014 in Baby Atlas | 4 comments

Happy 1st Birthday, Atlas!

I’m posting this a few days late, but I couldn’t let Atlas’ first birthday pass by without writing him a poem. Its something I try and do for Dave & the dogs each year (yes, Ob & Marley get a poem) and I want to start the tradition for Atlas. Yes, yes. I know. I’m the cheesiest writer in all the land. Don’t hate.

This poem is for you Atlas, my firstborn son,
In honor of your birthday – your very first one!
Never before has someone changed my life quite like you,
You have also changed the lives of your dad, Ob and Marley too.
There is no disputing it – you are your father’s clone,
But we knew from the beginning you had a mind all your own.
You can’t talk yet, but you always make sure your opinion is heard,
You let me know exactly how you feel without saying a word.
 It didn’t take you long to turn my world upside down,
Gone are those nights of going out on the town.
You’ve brought chaos, laundry and messes galore,
Life with you is never a bore.
You love to be on the go – you have to always be moving,
If I stop for the tiniest break you are very disapproving.  
At the rate you’re going, I’m confident a great runner you’ll be
I can’t wait for the day when you ask to race against me!
An ‘easy child’ you most certainly are not,
As far as spankings go, I suspect you’ll get a lot.
You have a very strong will and Heaven knows,  
Your tantrums and meltdowns keep me on my toes.
Atlas Luke, you are one of a kind,
When God made you He had me in mind.
You see, He’s using you to teach me new things,
Like the unconditional love motherhood brings.
Every night before bed, it is for you that I pray
That you grow in God’s wisdom each and every day.
I pray the Lord guides me as I guide you,
And you will grow up thinking on things that are true.
I pray you live a life free of remorse,
And you make lots of money on a golf course. 
I pray wherever you go your light shines bright,
And you will always stand up for what is right. 
 I hope the lessons I teach you take deep root,
And one day you’ll bless others with your spiritual fruit.
You already take life’s challenges in great stride,
When I watch you fall and get back up I beam with pride.
Without a doubt, you have changed my life for the better,
You are my life’s greatest gift, for which I will always be a debtor.
In the sound of your laughter is where my heart finds joy,
I couldn’t have handpicked a more beautiful boy.
There is nothing for you that I would not do,
Hopefully that has been proven by all our trips to the zoo.
Happy birthday, Atlas! I look forward to watching you grow,
I love you more than you could ever know.
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