Category / Toddler

Red, White, and BOY (‘Merica style for the little guys!)

Red White and BOY |www.lifeinyellow.com

1. dinosaur t-shirt | 2. 1776 hoodie (check out the matching shorts!) | 3. flag trunks
4. hot dog flag t-shirt | 5. seersucker trunks | 6. rockets t-shirt | 7. shoes

You know I’m always on a mission to seek out the harder-to-find cute boy clothes that are comfy enough they’ll love them, and original enough that I enjoy buying them. I’m a sucker for red, white, and blue any time of year, but especially during these summer months. Plus, cameras are always out on the 4th, so I know I’ll get a photo opp! If your little man is in need of something to wear to the parade, the fireworks, or whatever else you have planned, check out the above. (I’m loving the long-sleeveed hoodie for after the sun goes down, and we are total fankids of Native shoes — they are easy to get on and off, and do. not. stink!) Wishing you a safe and happy upcoming holiday!

Crew’s Big Kid Room (with garbage trucks, of course)

Big Kid Room Garbage Truck Theme | www.lifeinyellow.com

Even before we finished swapping the nursery and the big kid room, this oh-so-big kid was begging to sleep in here. He had exactly zero issues making the transition to new bed and new room, and we haven’t looked back…although I have a hunch as to why this room is where he wants to be. 🙂

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

I’ve always shied away from anything too “themed” when it comes to decorating — cohesive pieces, yes — color palette, yep — so as I rolled around the idea of working in some garbage trucks here and there (along with other favorite things) — I had to apply a little creative brainpower to make it COOL and not too cutesy or cheesy.

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

I tried not to invest too heavily in anything specific to garbage trucks, thinking ahead to when he’s onto the “next thing” …although I can’t imagine that day now. I have videos over a year old on my phone from him captivated by the garbage truck. It’s been a nearly lifelong love affair for this nearly two-and-a-half-year-old.

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

It was fun to share the final room with Crew, who saw the progress as it happened — furniture being moved in, crib being taken down, etc. But I waited to hang and place all the little details until one mad-dash evening before bedtime, so he could walk in and see the whole effect. He had no idea it was going to be a “garbage truck room” and it made me so happy to watch him gasp and grin and count them as he found them around the room.

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(Cut to me trying to shoot this wall, and Crew pretending he’s important and walking in front of my camera chattering away on a toy cell phone *eye roll*)

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big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

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The “trash in my lamp!” was a big hit, as was the 3-foot-wide engineer’s print of him with “his” neighborhood truck. (A fun and different way to print your photographs — send to Staples and for around 3 bucks, you get a gritty/grainy effect black/white large scale print.)

big kid garbage truck room | www.lifeinyellow.com

The thing I didn’t quite foresee was what a hit the little vintage book would be — I like to incorporate something vintage in each room of our house, and I thought this would serve as charming little decor detail if nothing else. Turns out we’ve read it (multiple) times daily since it appeared on his shelf. I love that Crew refers to it as his “new old garbage truck book” after I explained he had to be careful with the pages!

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

Garbage trucks aside, we brought in a couple favorite animals — a lion (his favorite to see at the zoo) and a crocodile on one of the throw pillows. The stars and the moon are also both a big hit in his world. I liked Page’s idea to put the moon up high near the window, as opposed to my compulsive need to make everything part of an organized grouping in the room, and I love how it (and the wooden star) look against the night sky paint color. Some glow stars on the ceiling were the final touch.

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I was able to reuse quite a bit from his old room without it seeming babyish, as well as several things we already had on hand around the house. The corrugated metal letters were in his first room and seemed like a natural fit (he thinks they are made “out of trash cans”) and the concrete and wood stool is less a side table now and more a perch for a certain someone to look out his window (for what else…the garbage truck, whose route he can now see from this room!) The duvet we had on hand from when this room was still a guest room. I added a stripe of green paint to a cork lampshade from his nursery, spray painted his previously aqua “Things” bin to navy, and used white fabric paint to add a recycling icon to an Ikea pillow cover. A swap of hardware on his dresser (previously changing table) gave it a little facelift as well.

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

I’d still like to find a headboard, but haven’t come across quite what I’m looking for yet. I’m waiting until we’re less in need of the bedrails before adding a nightstand (too many sheet-changing obstacles!), but I like the idea of this one that would match his shelves. I considered these a couple times, but ultimately we don’t store much besides books and clothing in his room (toys and more books are both in our loft playspace outside his room and, soon, in the basement playspace).

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

No room tour would be complete without me patting myself on the back for cleaning out both rooms’ closets. Actually swapping the rooms around forced me to go through everything and move out the baby stuff. Hello, big boy closet space:

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

Thanks for checking out this little garbage enthusiast’s new digs!

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

Wishing you many happy memories in here, buddy, and lots of sweet dreams.

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

engineer print frame (Ikea, only available in store) | C pillow | crocodile pillow | striped duvet | polka dot sheets | plaid shams (Pottery Barn Kids, no longer available) | wood monogram | bedrails | green metal shelf | vintage childrens books | garbage truck watercolor print | “you make me happy” print | tiny trash can | wire basket | Trashy Town book | trash can wastebasket (Pottery Barn Kids, no longer available) | garbage truck patent print | lion head | wooden star | Moon in My Room | “Things” bin | black storage box | baby monitor | curtain panels | recycling truck costume (Pottery Barn Kids, no longer available) | nightlight

Finishing the Basement: the play space

I definitely jinxed myself saying we’d have flooring in for the next post — nope, backordered, then backordered FURTHER, and the latest update is that the mill is now making a whole new run of our carpet, so yes…more waiting.

So I figured in the meantime, I can still share some updated “in progress” pictures — this time, of the play space. This little cove wraps around the bottom half of our stairwell, forming an under-stairs clubhouse spot on the right, and a closet designated solely for toys (and storing baby gear up top) to the left.

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I have since finished arranging all the components just the way I like them (we went with the Ikea “Algot” system, and so far, I’ve been very pleased!). I’ve also been slowly relocating a few toys from upstairs down here — which will be a fun rediscovery for Crew when he can get down here to play in what is (hopefully!) a couple more weeks.
toy closet in progress

We still have some work to do on the clubhouse. Since the first photo above was taken, our electrician installed both a light inside, and the “porch light” on the outside. We’ve purchased some plank style paneling that Page will rip into the shape of a house, and edge with some leftover trim we have on hand. Finally, when he builds a sliding barn door for the bottom of the stairway to help muffle some sound, his plan is to create a mini version to serve as Crew’s front door. I’m thinking a mailbox and/or a flower box of some sort is in order to make it especially homey! 🙂

PlaySpace

I’m waiting to take pics of the inside until it’s truly finished, but decorating this little spot has been so much fun! We will back soon (fingers crossed!!) with the reveal!

Potty Training Essentials (and 5 things that worked for us)

Potty Training Essentials | www.lifeinyellow.com
potty training seat | flushable toddler wipes | OXO travel potty and extra bags | Even Firefighters Go to the Potty | Potty
Big Boy Underpants  (girl version here!)| the BEST underpants by Kickee Pants (available in girl styles, too)

If you follow Life In Yellow on Instagram, you may have spotted the exciting news at our house…no more diapers! People love to tell you that boys in particular are hard to potty train…but I found it to be pretty darn easy overall! I think we put it off anticipating a lot of dragged out progress, but all in all, after a couple of days hanging almost exclusively at home as we all figured out the mechanics, within a week we were feeling like he had it about 95% mastered and had several (successful!) trips out of the house under our belt.

Every kid is different and of course ready at different times. Crew had become way more interested in everything bathroom-related, and I took the interest as reason enough to give it a go, before the window of opportunity passed us by.

I think this kind of stuff is ultimately as hard as you make it out to be and it’s easy to overthink it. I took the approach of “okay, maybe this won’t work and if not that’s okay, but let’s plan that it WILL, so I’ll have all the stuff I need on hand“. I also read enough to educate myself on the basics, but not so much that I started to psyche myself out with a bunch of “rules”. If we got a day in and it became clear I had misread all his readiness signs, I was completely prepared to chill out and try again in a couple months. We didn’t follow any set schedule or “method”, we just picked a weekend he was healthy/happy and we had little on the agenda, so we could tag-team the extra-close attention we needed pay for a couple days while he got the hang of it all. Oh, and obviously we TALKED. UP. a garbage truck toy as bribery. 😉

Again and again, I look to bloggers and moms who’ve “been there” for product suggestions and reviews, so today I’m sharing my punch list of products that helped to make potty training a piece of cake! If you’re interested further, I made a few notes below about the items on the list, and a couple of tips that worked for us!

  1. Potty versus potty seat — it made sense to me to just stick him on a regular potty from the get-go. At his school, they use a “real” one (although lower to the ground), and when out and about, he’ll have no choice but to use the real ones, and I didn’t want him to be afraid of them. I bought a couple kinds to have one on each level at home, but this one was our favorite — comfy for long sits and no seams to pinch anything!
  2. Flushable wipes and a travel seatbecause it’s way easier than TP and frankly more “familiar” to him to use a wipe. We did add a waterproof liner to his car seat but have yet to experience an accident. It gives me major peace of mind to make further ventures from home if I know we have the travel potty in the trunk!
  3. Lots of books for motivation — We started reading here and there about going to the potty a couple months ago and his interest in the books directly reflected his interest in the potty — one of the ways I felt he showed he was ready was to ask to read them much more frequently and then reference them when we were in a bathroom. I was drawn to the books that could be a bit more specific in terms of gender, and that, for the most part featured the “big” potty versus the little ones (see note #1!).
  4. Underpants (SOFT ones!) — I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t do characters on my kid’s clothing! But when mom after mom told me to let him pick some, I did — and despite the fact he barely knew Thomas or Paw Patrol, in the moment he seemed to like them, so we took a few home. And I hated them. They were cheap and scratchy and my apparently pampered son told me more than once he didn’t want them on. While it’s hard to find many aside from the cheapos that run small enough for a two-year-old, I kept on with my search. If you need undies that run on the smaller side and/or have a younger and smaller potty-trainer on your hands (my stash of adorable Gap ones have yet to fit!), I bought pairs that fit like a dream from the notoriously soft Kickee Pants brand (pictured above) and this set from Boden, also super soft. I laughed out loud when, on more than one occasion, Crew told me “oh they’re so nice and soft!”. Hey — whatever it takes!
  5. Rewards — I printed out a sticker chart and bought an arsenal of stickers…and should have known better. My kid just isn’t really jazzed by stickers in the first place — so a chart that lets him put up a sticker each time he tries/goes/whatever…just didn’t help. We quickly changed course and he got a couple of mini M&Ms each time he tried – success or not. I had heard stories of kids “rationing it” in an attempt to get more successes/treats, and I didn’t want that! I worried that the M&M thing would backfire over time, but we just slowly phased it out or “forgot” or distracted him after the first couple days, and he no longer expected any treats after a couple more days. We also used suckers in the beginning as a reward for trying — the fact that they last longer was great for minutes on end of sitting and waiting, with the deal being that he had to be on the potty to have one. And of course there was the BIG reward that we talked up the whole first weekend — and it became our first big potty-trained outing to go get it — going to the store to pick out a new garbage truck. Whenever Crew was getting tired of our requests to try (after the first few he was kind of over it) we talked up the truck all weekend long to keep him motivated – and it worked!

And finally — celebrate! Page and I busted out dance moves and cheers and we shouted it from the rooftop driveway! 😉 Guys! We haven’t changed a diaper in over a week — life is amazing! 🙂

(And in other news…) 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

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Crew Does Two — The First Quarter

Crew 2.25 | lifeinyellow.com  Now that Crew is two, I’ve scaled back to quarterly, rather than monthly, updates on everything from growth to preferences to all the (mostly) fun little quirks of his personality. Much has happened in his first quarter-year as a two-year-old!

It’s April and you’ve been two for a quarter of a year already! Most traces of “baby” are long gone and you are a super talkative and energetic little boy.

You started the year off with more swimming lessons with Dad and began gymnastics with me…both much-needed activities to burn some energy on days you aren’t at school and while the weather was still cold and crummy out. You’ve gotten so comfortable floating on your back in the water, and can finally jump with both feet leaving the ground in sync, as opposed to the gallop you started with.

Crew 2.25 | lifeinyellow.com

A couple fun outings included some ventures to Tot Town, an under-five indoor play session through a local community center, and a trip to the Botanical Garden downtown. Your favorite part was the automatic doors as opposed to the actual gardens but it was a great spot to let you run around and explore in what felt like an outdoor space, but without the need for all the winter gear.

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In February we headed south for some much-needed family R+R time. You loved some daily splashes in the pool, the sand, and just the ability to be outside! It was so nice for all of us to get out of the frigid Iowa temps and soak up a little Vitamin D. You had your best flights yet – your first with your own seat and we experienced firsthand the little wonder of the CARES harness. (I have to go on a side note for anyone traveling with a kiddo up to 40 pounds…using this allowed us the lightest travel we’ve had since Crew arrived – so liberating! And each flight, the attendants mentioned that it’s THE safest way for a small child to fly!)

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Your attention span has grown by leaps and bounds — you stay engaged in conversations about a single topic and string along multiple thoughts about the same thing, and can follow along much more with movies and storylines (as long as you have the freedom to roam around the room and play AS you watch). Your language has absolutely exploded since turning two. Words like “probably” and “maybe” have crept into sentences and you actually use them correctly. Some of my favorite things you say right now are “hmm, I dunno…“, “oh shoot!“, and “I hold Mommy” (even though it’s the other way around, I will never correct this one!) <3

You refer to yourself in the first person most of the time anymore, although you still refer to us in the third. “I go upstairs, get big dump truck, come back downstairs. Mommy comin?” Yes, somewhere along the way, “dada” and “mama” got replaced with “Daddy” and “Mommy“. I say it every day — slow down, time!

crew 2.25 | lifeinyellow.com

You have your frustrated moments, like any two-year-old, and wanting to do things yourself but still needing assistance is a hot button. It has certainly taught ME patience, and to plan on an extra few minutes to leave the house as you get your jacket on! (Sometimes I swoop in from behind you and help with a sleeve, then jump back and excitedly applaud that you did it yourself, so you won’t notice I helped – ha!!) The more you realize there are OPTIONS available in day-to-day life, you more you are annoyed when the options are not available choices for you. No, we can’t have fruit snacks for breakfast. No, we can’t stop and play at that park right now — we’re headed to school. For the most part, you recover quickly and can be led to think about something else. You’re working really hard on asking, not crying or whining, for something, and stopping to “listen” (you always point to your ears) to what we are asking you to do.

You are counting, counting, counting. You can count to ten without error, then it gets a little spottier “nine…ten…eleven…twelve…fifteen…NINE!” You sing your ABC song at about 90% accuracy, and you are obsessed with a couple of puzzle apps we put on the iPad. I swear I can SEE your brain working and you are so proud when you finish one — even if no one is nearby I hear you say, “Good JOB Crew!“. As much as you love the devices, you will drop them in a heartbeat if we ask you to come play something “real” with us. Mom and Dad still win — I wonder for how much longer?! 😉

You continue to be an awesome sleeper – bed around 8, up around 7 and still logging 2.5 to 3 hour naps after lunch. You’ve figured out fruit snacks are the bomb, you only want pouches if they have a banana prominently displayed on the packaging, and you love pretzels, chips, corn, mandarin oranges,  anything cinnamon/spice flavored (grahams, muffins, etc.) and m&ms (“nom-a-nom-a-noms“). Of course, the donut obsession continues — the only thing you love more than those is a garbage truck!

Crew 2.25 | lifeinyellow.com

You constantly have an “owie” (make believe most of the time or the TINIEST scratch becomes a major deal) and you need all.the.band-aids. to show anyone who will pay attention to you, while pouting and saying “oh no, I have owie…poor Crew“. You’re showing more interest in the potty and have had several “successes” so far. I’ll be honest, we’ve waited a bit to potty train just out of laziness/busyness on our part, and also because I was waiting to hear when you would move up to the next room at school (which also impacts your routine and your “normal”). Now that we know that won’t be happening until early summer, I think it will be full steam ahead with this bathroom business.

Crew 2.25 | lifeinyellow.com

You LOVE babies and several of your buddies have new siblings. You actually announced at school that “Crew having a baby” after one of your classmates welcomed a new brother — I definitely caught some raised eyebrows my direction! Sorry but it’s just the three of us, buddy!

Crew 2.25 | lifeinyellow.com

You understand the concept of presents much more now (every boring Amazon box or paper towel delivery via UPS is met with you exclaiming “Oh! Mayyyyybe presents?!“). You’re pretty happy to just open up anything, present or not, but it still cracks me up you don’t give up hope that everything will be for you. You get the idea of the Easter Bunny coming far more than you understood Santa just a few months ago. Every couple days you ask about your basket and if the eggs are still empty.

You did turn into an alter ego of yourself for about ten days mid-March. You were whiny and clingy and didn’t want to eat anything (even your favorites) and would cry about everything, even stuff that didn’t make any sense. We ended up in the ER (your first visit) one night when you had a sudden, severe attack of Croup, and went home after a nebulizer treatment and some steroids that helped you recover quickly. But even after that was addressed, the whininess continued, and we were back in the doctor’s office to be sure you didn’t have an ear infection or something else we hadn’t thought of. In the back of our minds the whole time, we thought this COULD be teeth, but kept checking and didn’t see anything. But sure enough, a couple days ago, 3 of 4 molars have popped through. Teeth never bothered you much to this point but wowza, this last round tested all of us!

Crew 2.25 | lifeinyellow.com

You’re still a bit of a mama’s boy and I love that for about 90 uninterrupted seconds every morning, I get all the hugs and smiles and snuggles — before you promptly ask to turn on garbage trucks (YouTube) and eat some breakfast. You think Dad can fix ANYTHING and if something’s broken, I’ve noticed you never bring it to me for help ha! With Dad working in the basement more lately, you are constantly asking me what he’s doing, telling me what he’s making, or asking to go “check on Daddy“. You love your little family and that makes my heart swell.

I can’t believe the next time I get one of these posts pulled together you will be halfway to three already. I couldn’t pick a favorite phase in your short little life so far, but this talking, loving, learning phase, with all its frustrations but ALL its discoveries and enthusiasm, is ranking pretty high on the charts. Love, love, love you, Crew Man!

Easter for the Boys

Between the pink and pastel-dominated holidays of Valentines and Easter, it’s sometimes hard to find stuff that doesn’t feel super girly, for the boys. So I’ve been on the hunt (hehe pun intended) for basket contents for a certain someone who has a special place in his heart for trucks, bugs, and everything else you might traditionally associate with BOY.

I’ve rounded up a few things that will be appearing in somebunny’s basket this year, should you be looking for some toddler/boy inspiration!

Easter for the Boys | lifeinyellow.com

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7

Crew is obsessed with all things trucks, and loves putting things inside other things, and has a slight obsession with garage doors. So his dreams pretty much all came true when we discovered Tiny Tonkas — there are more than a dozen to collect and they fit in his hot little hand. Each comes with a garage and as you collect them, the garages can hook together in a row. You’d think we’d have lost more of these because of how TINY they are, but he keeps close tabs on these treasured toys!

I love clothing that is more off the beaten path and not on repeat at every big box store (and on every other kid at day care!) so Etsy is a go-to for me, for little boys’ clothing. I loved this take on what could otherwise be a really feminine bunny tee — but given the cool factor!

We are in a major I SPY phase, after getting a first couple of books for Christmas. I opted not to do the “Little Hearts” version for Valentines (but note to self, should you need VDay ideas for next year!) and went for the “Little Bunnies” edition instead.

It’s been a while since it was warm enough to be bug weather, but that doesn’t keep Crew from spotting them in every book, game, movie, etc. Plus who doesn’t love a good pop-up book?

This egg sidewalk chalk made its way into Crew’s basket last year, and it’s still the batch he reaches for most when we’re coloring outside. I think because it’s easiest to hold and sturdiest against breaking. I finally threw out the worn-down nubs at the end of the season — time for a fresh batch to kick off Spring! (Note: Just the other day, I also found egg chalk at World Market.)

I loved this carrot take on a traditional popper — something Crew hasn’t yet partaken in. I also liked that the treats inside AREN’T candy — he’ll get enough of that as it is!

The words “bow tie” were in Crew’s vocab long before he hit two. I love that this kid likes to dress, and I love Janie and Jack’s classic, quality, childrens clothing for when you want to go the preppy route. I can’t wait to share his Easter outfit for church!

And while (of course) I bought Easter jammies long ago (okay, over a year ago — I love to shop the sales and plan ahead!) I thought both these and these were so cute but still “cool” for little men.

I’m excited to incorporate some Easter traditions this year — maybe an egg hunt outside, weather permitting? What are some of your favorite Easter activities with littles??

Camp Crew (Crew’s Second Birthday Party)

Crew's Second Camping Birthday

We had so much fun celebrating our two-year-old Crew Man this weekend!

Crew's Second Camping Birthday

I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking, but between some painting with pinecones, scooping and dumping ingredients to make our own trail mix, chucking marshmallows into a bear’s mouth, and munching on hot dogs (and barbecue for the adults!), Camp Crew was a raging success thanks to his buddies who made the morning so much fun! I refrain from posting others’ kids (even my friends’ kids) here on the blog, but imagine lots of squeals and sugar-highs! 🙂

(Click on any photo to view it full-size!)

Crew's Second Camping Birthday

Crew's Second Camping Birthday

Every camper went home with a canteen and a bag of gear (a.k.a. flashlight, whistle  –pretty sure the parents hate me! — and adhesive glow stars…so even if they didn’t get to at the party, they can sleep under the stars!)

Crew's Second Camping Birthday

Crew's Second Camping Birthday Crew's Second Camping Birthday Crew's Second Camping Birthday

Crew's Second Camping Birthday

Crew's Second Camping Birthday Crew's Second Camping Birthday

Page built the A-frame tent and I used the Target bear as a muse to paint a piece of plywood for the marshmallow toss.

Crew's Second Camping Birthday Crew's Second Camping Birthday Crew's Second Camping Birthday | swanky shank shirt

Crew's Second Camping Birthday | pillowfort target bear

Crew's Second Camping Birthday pinecone painting

Crew's Second Camping Birthday pinecone painting

Crew's Second Camping Birthday

Crew's Second Camping Birthday Crew's Second Camping Birthday Crew's Second Camping Birthday Crew's Second Camping Birthday Crew's Second Camping Birthday Crew's Second Camping Birthday Crew's Second Camping Birthday Crew's Second Camping Birthday

Crew's Second Camping Birthday log cake

Biggest birthday wishes to our happy camper! #campcrew