Leighton is TWO

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Height + Weight: approx 34โ€ // approx 27 lbs

Milestones: She’s taken it upon herself to start potty training! A couple times a day, she’ll run to her portable potty that stays in our bathroom and ask to “pee!” — and she always does. We’re not in any rush to go full speed ahead, but it’s pretty impressive to see things connect for her and hear her vocalize what she needs. I’m hoping it’ll be a smooth transition when we do finally take the plunge. ๐Ÿ™‚

We also had our first visit to the dentist recently. She was all about it until the actual exam. She turned into a wild animal when the dentist tried to examine her mouth, but I can’t really blame her. He told us that her teeth were beautiful, but because they’re so close together, we have to floss and brush twice a day. I was preparing for it to be an absolute nightmare because she had recently decided she hated having her teeth brushed, but it’s been the exact opposite. She actually asks to “va” (floss) her teeth and will run to her bathroom at the mention of doing it. Guess the dentist scared her straight!

Likes: Cake. And ice cream, popsicles, donuts, chocolate… she’s gotten her mama’s sweet tooth, to say the least. ๐Ÿ™‚ She typically asks for a “pop” every single night when we’re eating dinner. We do our best to limit when we indulge her in her requests, but man, she sure does enjoy them when we give in.

PLAYING. Anywhere and on anything. She loves play grounds, splash pads, parks, and just running up and down the street. Oh, and the Little Gym class that we started this summer has been the biggest hit. She probably wishes she could go every day, but once a week will have to suffice for now. We’re prepping for the 2032 Summer Olympics with our active, fearless little girl.

She loves her books and will sit in the glider in her room sometimes and just “read” to herself, calling out “baby, Coco, puppy” on every page of her “Good Dog, Carl” book series. It’s adorable and brings tears to my eyes every time I see her doing it because it’s just a reminder of how big she’s getting.

She has a newfound love for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Sesame Street. Her favorite characters are most definitely Cookie Monster (I wonder why?!) and Elmo, who she calls “baby.” She’s learning the names of all the characters and is also learning her letters and numbers by playing games and videos on the Sesame Street app we got.

Leighton has also really taken to her sweet baby cousin, Jack. I was a little worried about how she’d react to seeing me or my mom holding him once he arrived, but she’s totally fall in love with him, just like the rest of us. She calls him “Bobby Gack” for Baby Jack, and it is the cutest thing ever to see her try to hold and hug on him.

Dislikes: She loves playing in the car when we pull into the driveway at home, and she seriously hates it when she’s told that she has to come inside. As she’s gotten a little older and is able to understand most of what we say to her, it’s made it a lot easier to explain situations she might not like (like Mommy leaving to go to work) – so she’s able to process what is going on instead of being upset.

Fun stuff & firsts: She refers to herself as “Tay-Tee” and can also say her last name, which sounds like “Yayes.” She’s become so independent and wants to do everything on her own, which can be both good and bad. ๐Ÿ™‚

One of my favorite things this past year has been watching her friendship grow with our neighbor Emmy. They have become the best of friends and are truly two peas in a pod. We are so thankful to have such amazing neighbors who have become great friends to both us and our daughter. I can only hope that Leighton and Emmy stay friends for life. She’s also obsessed with one of my best friend’s little boys, Nolan — or as she calls him, NoNo. They’re 4 months apart and just the cutest when they’re together.

This year has flown by even faster than the first one did, and I’m sure they’ll only continue to go by more quickly. I’m so very thankful that I have the opportunity to stay home with Leighton during this blink of an eye time in her life as she’s growing so quickly and learning new things literally every single day. It’s bittersweet to watch her getting so big… I’m sad to see more of baby Leighton slip away, but I’m even more excited to watch her become a little person with thoughts and feelings and ideas all her own. More than anything, we’re just thankful to have a healthy, happy daughter, even if it does seem like she’s growing up right before our eyes. Leighton is the greatest joy of our lives, and I hope you’ve enjoyed following along during her 2nd year!

1 year::
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13 months::
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14 months::
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15 months::
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16 months::
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17 months::
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18 months::
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19 months::
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20 months::
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21 months::
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22 months::
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23 months::
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2 years::
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Happy 2nd birthday to our girl!

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I can’t believe that I’m actually typing out Leighton’s 2nd birthday post, because it sort of seems like I was just doing this for her 1st birthday. In so many ways, this second year of her life has flown by infinitely faster than the first one did. We’re on the go most days, and she’s learning new things weekly, if not daily. Watching Leighton navigate the world around her and learning how things work, seeing her personality blossom, and getting to experience things with her as she does them for the first time… it’s awe-inspiring and sort of takes my breath away at times.

I spend the majority of my day with Leighton, and just like I said last year, she is truly my best little friend, my favorite little person to do both nothing and everything with, and the absolute love of mine and her daddyโ€™s lives.

Over the past year, we have created so many incredible, fun memories together as a family and with Leighton’s little friends. There are far too many to name them all, but these were some of my favorite memories from year two with our girl…

Finally hearing the sweet, sweet words “mama” come out of her mouth! It only took her 19 months to call me by name, and it makes me so very happy. Of course she now says it on repeat about 12,745 times a day, but I’ll take it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

We celebrated Leighton’s 2nd round of holidays this past year, and it was even more fun than the first time for each one. The whole holiday season, starting with Halloween, was full of exciting, funny, and sweet memories for us. We went pumpkin picking, saw scarecrows, and her hula girl costume was a huge hit. Christmas was such a joy to spend with our families as L toddled around, and she really got into opening her gifts this year.ย She absolutely hated meeting Santa, but we have funny photos… and on the bright side, she did love the famed Pink Pig ride we took afterward.

I had so much fun picking out little goodies to give her for Valentine’s and Easter, and we had even more fun watching her open them. I’m a sucker for holiday festivities, so these were no exception. It truly is so magical to experience things through the eyes of your child. My dad helped her hunt Easter eggs, and to this day, every time she sees an egg, she says “BaBa,” which is her nickname for him. The things she remembers never cease to amaze us and make us laugh.

Our family trip to the beach house in St. Augustine this past spring… it was Craig’s parents’ first time going on vacation with us, and my mom joined us for the week as well. We had the best time making memories together at our favorite place, and it was so fun to have his parents around for such a substantial amount of time since they live out of state. Leighton got in some great bonding time with them, and it was obvious when we saw them again a month later. She just adores all four of her grandparents, and she is so very, very loved by them!

Starting classes at The Little Gym in Smyrna. She’s such a little daredevil, she jumps everywhere like a kangaroo, and she is very clearly destined to be a gymnast in the Summer Olympics one day. So it was obvious that she needed to start some “gymnastics” classes asap, and she absolutely loves them. I love getting to take her there every week and watching her run around the room, bouncing from mat to mat, trying out new skills and just having a blast. She calls is “pay” (play) and probably wishes she could live there!

A not-so-surprising obsession with sweets has emerged… she’s just like her mama in that regard. She wakes up and asks for “caaake!” and begs for a popsicle after dinner every night. When we ask her what a new stuffed animal or baby doll’s name is, “Cake” is always the answer. We do try to balance those requests with healthy options, but it has at least proven to be a good bribery tool when needed. ๐Ÿ™‚

I think I had even more fun planning her 2nd birthday party than I did with her 1st (which I started working on like 8 months in advance and loved every minute of). Her personality has blossomed immensely in the past year, and now that she actually has some favorite things, it’s been so much fun planning a party to cater to those things we knew she’d be so excited about. She’s been obsessed with puppy dogs for a long time now, she loves to jump, and she’s also obsessed with cake… so a puppy PAWty with cupcakes and a bounce house was a no-brainer. Every time I found something extra to do or make for the party, it brought me so much joy to think about how much she’d like it.

Watching Leighton learn and thrive in the environment we have created for her at home has been one of the most rewarding parts of being a mom. She loves animals and can identify tons of them by making their sounds, and it’s hilarious to hear her interpretation of each one. She is so good at puzzles and can master new ones with just a few tries. Her vocabulary has really exploded recently, and we’re working on all of her colors, letters, counting, and so many new words. It’s amazing to see things connect in her little brain and then hear her voice those new things she is learning!

Leighton Lane, we wish you the happiest of birthdays, sweet baby girl! Your birthday is my favorite day. We love you more than you will ever know… thank you for making us parents two years ago, and thank you for making every day a joy.

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A Puppy PAWty for Leighton

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Leighton is and has been obsessed with puppies for probably a year now. We have a 6yr old Rottweiler named Coco who is Leighton’s best buddy, so it’s easy to see why she has such a strong love for dogs. ย She also loves to jump, and she’s constantly got cake on the brain (you know who her mom is, right?)… so when it came time to start planning her 2nd birthday party, a puppy PAWty with cupcakes and a bounce house was a no-brainer. She wore a black polka-dotted dress as a nod to Dalmatians, and by the end of the night, it was completely covered in sprinkles, icing, and Doritos. Just as it should be, right?

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I spent many nights perusing Pinterest for puppy party ideas, and I found so much cute and clever inspiration. I took some of my favorite ideas and gave them our own little spin, and I’m so thrilled with how everything turned out. Party planning is such a labor of love for me, and it makes me so happy to get to do these fun things for Leighton and share them with our loved ones.
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We decided to host her party one evening over Labor Day weekend. Dinner consisted of a hot dog bar and the yummiest BBQ smoked by Craig, fruit salad, veggies, pasta salad, baked beans, PAWtato chips, and Graham cracker bones. We got our favorite cupcakes from Smallcakes and added little sugar bones as toppers. One of my friends has a “cookie lady” she uses for all her events, so I had her make a variety of dog-inspired iced cookies… including dog bones with #llcoolhayes written on them! My mom also tried her hand at making cake “pups” for the first time, and they were a huge hit — every single one was eaten!
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We set up a puppy adoption station for her little friends to each pick out a stuffed puppy to take home (complete with an adoption certificate). Leighton appropriately named her puppy “Cake.”
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The clear favorite of the party, though, was the giant puppy bounce house in our front yard. The weather was perfect and beautiful, so most of our guests stayed outside during the party to enjoy the cooler temps and watch the kids (and some adults) jump to their hearts’ content. Leighton was just a little sad when she woke up today to see that her bounce house was no longer here.
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We had the absolute best time celebrating our favorite almost two year old with our families and so many of our friends. Life is so much better with our loved ones in it, and we are thankful to everyone, both near and far, who has helped us with raising and loving Leighton over the past two years!
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Leighton is obsessed with cake, so she was pretty thrilled when it was time for the birthday song and her own personal cupcake. She even “blew a whooshing breeze” (a line from a favorite book that has taught her how to blow) to blow out her two birthday candles. ๐Ÿ™‚
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After all the party guests were gone, we hopped in the bounce house for a little family jumping before it had to go away. I think this photo pretty perfectly sums up Leighton during her party — a total blur because all she did was jump and play. It was the pawfect pawty!
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***For anyone who may be planning a puppy birthday party soon, here are the source links for some of our favorite party things!

Party sources::
Invitations: Pretty Parties and More onย Etsy
Cupcakes:ย Smallcakesย in Smyrna, GA
Dog bone cupcake toppers: Cranky Cake Toppers on Etsy
Custom cookies: contact for info if local to Atlanta
Hot dog menu: Pretty Parties and More onย Etsy
Plush puppies: Oriental Trading
Adoption certificates: Whitetail Designs on Etsy
Puppy party blowers: Party City
Chalkboard easel:ย IKEA (painted mint green)
Wreath:ย DevinsDecorย on Etsy
Birthday dress: Vivie and Ash
Headband: Zozu Baby