Helen’s Baby Bucket List

Hello friends! As you know, we have just welcomed our second daughter, Marigold June, into our family. I’m currently on maternity leave (don’t worry, this post is pre-scheduled) and I wanted to share my list of things we’re hoping to do as a family while we’re on our leave. Obviously, our number one concern is bonding with Marigold, but I learned on my first maternity leave that it works best for us to have a lot of fun activities we can do together.

-Make art and crafts. Marigold is so little I know it will be completely different from making art with Nova, but I’m so excited to try different things like finger painting and making art with her handprints for family.

-Cook at home. I’m excited to try all kinds of new recipes, especially breakfast recipes!

-Take family photos. I mean … we obviously need new family photos, right?!

-Stay in our pjs all day (at least once).

-Play in the pool and sprinklers.

-Go to the downtown library.

-Visit family!

-Try new restaurants. We need places to go explore just for the sake of getting out of the house or breaking up our day. So, I have a list of spots in Nashville we’ve been wanting to try. Coffee shops, pizza and tacos—we’re coming for YOU.

-Play in the grass with Marigold. Nova has always loved the feeling of grass, but I’ve heard a lot of kids hate it. We’ll see!

-Go walk around fun neighborhoods just for the hell of it. This is something I always want to do, but we never get around to it. Just walking around with our strollers and stopping in little local shops, ice cream, etc. Sounds so fun this time of year!

If you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them. Even though this is our second child, I feel like it will be a completely different experience because of the age difference (from when we got Nova) as well as the season. I’m so happy we have this time to bond when it’s warm outside—WOOO! xx. Helen

Credits//Author: Helen Larson. Photography: Amber Ulmer. Photo edited with .
  • You said strollers…I highly recommend a double stroller. There are so many good choices (we prefer a side by side) and my girls love strolling through neighborhoods and finding new playgrounds!

    And I’m sure you already know this but a quality stroller is worth the money. 😊

  • I’ve read your blog elsie back from 2008, the one and only resource of happiness I still read 🙂. That’s a pretty nice list! I would only suggest to take some days when you do “completely nothing”, so staying at home, see how it is going with Marigold, just giving her space and time to discover each other. These activities are all great, I mean just slowing down. A curious one year old gets quicker tired of places and shapes and colors. You’re doing great for sure ♥️
    Congratulations on your growing, lovely family!!

    xo,
    Laura

  • Such a great list! Another fun activity we like to do is make homemade play-dough and I’ve seen Kinetic sand DIY! It’s a fun texture experience. My 9 month old tries to eat it, so just be aware of that.. but it’s non-toxic! 🤣

  • I was/am #teamhatesgrass. I hate the feeling of grass on my feet. When I was a baby, my parents could keep me on a blanket in the yard all day while they did stuff outside and I’d never step foot off into grass. So they just moved me from shady spot to shady spot all day while they puttered around the yard! 🤣🤣

  • So excited for your family!! I hope you all have a wonderful, special, bonding summer!

  • Such a fun list! My kids always loved having a “box” day of climbing into all sizes of boxes (or laundry baskets) Also, blanket/pillow forts are a blast!

  • Something we did when my daughter was around 2 was go on “pajama walks” in the summer time. We would put her in her jammies and go for an evening walk and catch fireflies and then she was all ready for bed!

    Best wishes to your new family!

  • Hello!! So excited for you!

    Love all your ideas!

    With my two kiddos (boy 5, girl 3) – we love dressing up and putting on shows. Both of them adore dress up time and pretending. They love making smoothies in the vitamix. They get such a kick out of it-still after years of this-every morning they love it. Putting in the greens and liquid and then the fruit and nut butter. And then to that- making popsicles. And also they love ‘science experiments’ – we buy little science books and they have age ranges. Like making slime and volcanos and all sorts of things -like drawing with ‘invisible ink’ (lemon and que tips).

    Just a couple ideas, but keeps us so busy!

    Also big pool advocates- finding a pool with zero entry or kid pools- golden!

    Congratulations mama! So truly happy for you!!

  • My daughter is Marigold’s age and her favorite thing in the world is the playground. I’m sure Nashville has dozens to explore. I also recommend having just one outing per day. That post lunch nap is nothing to mess with.

  • Congratulations!! And welcome home
    Marigold!
    I totally second the “only one outing per day” sentiment. You obviously don’t know Marigold super well yet, but EVERYTHING will be new and interesting to her!! Also, I don’t remember hearing this trait about Nova, but I always really want to prepare new parents (or parents of a new addition,) that their little one may be a sensitive type and may get overwhelmed easily / not be able to nap in the stroller. (I’ve got experience with two of those!!! )
    We all are so excited for you and your family! Very best wishes and luck!!!

  • My son turns two in September – our favorites these days include toddler time at the trampoline park, the choo choo park (big playground that has a mini train to ride), berry picking, bubbles bubbles bubbles, making pancakes, rolling around in mom and dads bed, sandboxes, and magnetiles. Have an amazing leave!!!

  • Lovely list. I used to love finger painting when I was younger, although I can’t remember doing it as a baby hehe.

    I like the idea of taking lots of photos together. I don’t have many photos from my childhood and it makes me kinda sad because I don’t remember too much of it any more.

    Sarah @

  • We love making ice soup outside in the summer. Fill a bowl up with ice, fill another with water, bring our different bowls and serving spoons and let the kids serve ice soup! You can even add flowers from the garden. Don’t actually eat it. But it’s fun to watch the ice melt. Add some chalk to make bright drawings!

  • When my kids were 1, they loved sensory activities. There are loads of taste-safe sensory activities if Marigold still likes to mouth things (like unflavored, unsweetened gelatin cubes, taste-safe cloud dough, gak, water play with different temperatures of water in bins) and once she gets past putting things in her mouth, my kids loved bean bins, coloured rice etc. And then you can do sensory bags for non-messy times. And now, my kids are 7 and 10, and still they love the sensory stuff. Also big for the under two set is learning to move their bodies, so pikler triangles and kinder gyms and playgrounds are so great, but just know you also might spend awhile hour spotting her as she goes up and down the stairs. This age is so much fun! Can’t wait to hear all about it.

  • Splash pads are fun with my 4 & 1 year olds. They can feel like they’re doing the same thing even if the older sibling is running all over and the little one is more stationary. Also, summer is ideal for elementary school playrounds! They’re empty and provide great variety of parks for us! Each summer we do one night of ice cream for dinner. Right at dinner time we surprise them and up and take everyone out for ice cream- veggies can be made up another day. 🙂

  • My brother and his wife just had their second baby in May. Big brother was close to 3 and he ADORES his little sis, but he also still has big feelings about a lot of the bonding time being about little sis and taking time away from him and mommy. I realized my biggest support as an auntie was making sure my nephew felt he was getting plenty of attention since he was having a hard time adjusting to not getting 100% of his parents attention.

    Nova is a little older so I hope the adjustment isn’t as rough, but I think a couple “Nova dates” with just her and Jeremy/You and her would help her know there will be special times for her too and be extra special for her since she is no longer an only child. <3 It would give a little one on one time even if it's just a quick run for ice cream or art time in the sun room together for an hour. 🙂

    So excited for all of you! <3 <3 <3

  • Congratulations are in place first!

    If there is one thing I would totally recommand with a second child is to get some one-one time with Nova and scedule it. It is so easy to get lost in the care of a baby and especially in those first weeks when you get to know Marigold.

    I wish you all the luck!

  • wow what a special time! i’d say a few products for documenting this special time are:
    the mom’s one line a day. you can say one word like she said mama or she gave her first high five then next year you will see the line above oh yeah!! she said her sister’s name for the first time a year ago today! get one for your hubbie too so he can just take a sec to reflect on the day. the touchnote app is a fun way to send your fav photo to your mom and dad and for $1.99 you can brighten their mailbox with your new angel baby! one can of silly string is like $2 and your toddler can have running around spraying it while you cuddle your new sweet baby! have fun!!oh and order those books that record your voice. have your folks, you and your man record a book for your girls for their future use. xxxx

  • First, congrats to your family!! I love seeing your photos on Instagram!! My kids are close in age to Nova and Marigold, one thing I learned from our daycare teachers is that it’s a LOT easier to do foot prints rather than hand prints when making art with the kids! When they are still young they like to curl up their hands and it’s really hard to get a good hand print with paint.

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