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Friday, June 20, 2014

how to (almost) potty train your toddler in 103 days (it really works!)

I was one of those moms that pinned a few "Potty Train Your Toddler in 3 Days" pins, read them in earnest, watched the Youtube videos and thought I was prepared for potty training.

I actually believed I would watch it happen in three short days, as promised.

Turns out either I had some unrealistic expectations or my toddler is an anomaly.   My toddler was not potty-trained in three days.  Nope.  At least not without lots of "accidents."

(If you have tried this three-day method with complete success I would love to talk to you.  Seriously, what magic did you use?)

We "waited until our toddler seemed ready."  Cormac was telling me when I needed to change his diaper, legs practically hanging off the changing table, asking about the potty, and waking up many mornings with a dry diaper.  He was just over 2.5, and all signs showed a green light for starting.

We chose a weekend we would both be home and dedicated ourselves to potty training him.

I bought a bunch of fun Lightning McQueen and Thomas the Train big boy underwear.

I purchased a pack of pull-up training diapers to wear during naps and at night.  (Some people don't do this, solely use underpants and just live through the accidents...I was not willing to be washing sheets constantly if that was gonna be the case.)

I hyped up the fact that we were getting rid of his diapers so he could "potty like a big boy" - and he seemed cool about it.

The weekend arrived and yes, we truly were done with diapers for good.

We rolled up rugs and spent the weekend playing and waiting for him to say he had to go.  There were maybe two accidents.  Maybe.  My confidence soared!  He even pooped once on the toilet!  So cool!  (Yeah, if you don't think this might be exciting you are not a first time potty-training parent.)

After those three days I figured, as promised, we were done with the hard part.  But oh no.  Let us not fool ourselves.  The hard part then began.

To sum up: the next 3-4 months were a rollercoaster.   Trying different toilets.  Sitting with him sometimes for support.  Giving him privacy when that was demanded.   Weekly bouts of constipation because he did not want to poop on the potty.  Quietly pooping (in his pants) in corners and at the end of his naps...places he felt comfortably pooping (clearly not the toilet.)   Accidents - many accidents - mostly when we'd go visit friends with kids and he was playing and did not care to stop and get me to help him go to the potty.  

Honestly the peeing has been fairly easy, but the pooping was our biggest issue.  I have heard with some kids the opposite is true, so I am only giving my personal experience, not necessarily the norm.
Where are we now?  Well, besides the occasional accident when he stays with someone else (I think the different environment probably throws him off) Cormac now goes to the potty all by himself.  He no longer even needs to tell me.  Most times he just walks right in there, goes, and comes out.  Sure his shirt is often tucked into his underwear, but I help him out with that.

He does his daily poop, right before naptime, on the toilet, rather than in his pants (praise Jesus!)

He wipes his own butt.  Uh, the best he can, then I have to check it.  (Yeah, I have gotten good at checking butt cracks.  Fun times.) 

He consistently wakes up dry, even though we still have him in pull-ups.  (I must let go of this!) 

He tells me when we are out that he has to go.  I no longer have to ask/remind him.  I think he got a little annoyed by me asking practically every ten minutes.  

Despite all this success...he still will have the occasional accident.  Like at the grandparents' houses.  Like when he rode his first kiddie roller coaster.  Like at the splash park recently.  (Thankfully that wasn't very noticeable.)

I am not sure if this is normal for a less-than-three-year-old.  I don't know if girls are easier to train.  I don't know if it is easier if your kid is in daycare because there are professionals working with them or if it perhaps harder.

I just know we have progressed a ton over the past few months and so I will focus on that.

Next step in our potty training journey - 'standing and peeing.'   Oh Lord.
my marvelous messy-haired monster 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

why I married someone like my dad

adventuring in europe - with two great dads!
Some people say that a woman seeks to marry a man who reminds her of her own father.

Now I'm not talking about physical appearance or anything Freudian, and clearly nothing has proven this theory.  I am also sure there are many women may prefer to marry someone who is the opposite of their own father.

However, it does make a lot of sense that daughters might gravitate towards someone like their own dad.  Our fathers are there (or not there) from the start.  They shape our ideals of what it means to be a dad/husband.  That could be positive or negative.

My husband, in many ways, is very much like my dad.  I never really thought about that when we were dating or even when we got married, but after almost seven years together I see it pretty clearly.

Some examples...

They have enough humor and patience to deal with an incredibly emotional and dramatic woman.  (Sorry Mom, but you know it is true. We are spirited.)  Sure, they both sometimes use humor at inappropriate and maddening moments which only seem to add fuel to whatever fire is already burning.  Also they both only take nagging for sooo long until they snap and tell us what-for.   But on the whole God granted both these men the patience of saints.  Truly.
this pretty much sums up my dad
dads are superheroes!
Both are really hard-working.  My Dad was a pastor and pretty much worked every day.  Besides all his church duties (which you may not know are limitless) he drove bus to make extra money, because at our church (definitely not a mega-church with lots of cash rolling in) the pastor got paid basically nothing.
dad as a young pastor - in his office
My husband has worked plenty of long hours during his years working a corporate finance job (okay, nothing like being a pastor) but what amazes me is all the work he does besides that...like working on our crazy reno-project house...and keeping our personal finances in order...and making deliberate quality time for me/our marriage..and helping me a ton with the kiddos on the weekend.  I also know if he had to he would work as many jobs as necessary to keep us fiscally responsible/comfortable. I appreciate all of this hard work - more than I can express.

Oh, and both men are also hard workers when it comes to manual labor.  Both love the outdoors and on camping or hiking trips they will carry the heaviest packs and hike the longest.  I could have never married a wimpy guy who didn't like getting dirty and sweaty and doing manly outdoor things!
hubby hiking the grand canyon rim-to-rim


dad summiting mt. temple for the first time
filtering water during one of our camping trips to the red river gorge
on a winter camping trip in frigid northern mn.  yes, we all had to do this with dad.
we were always taking canoe trips with dad 

paul showing off his j-stroke - learned from my dad!
Both love to read, and are very intelligent.

Both are affectionate dads.  My dad was always one to hug us, put his arm around us, tell us he loved us.  Paul is the same.   I love that he has no problem kissing and hugging our kids even to the point of excess.  I do it, too!  Our kids will hate us for it in middle school!
Both are stern disciplinarians.  It is pretty amazing seeing the similarities between these two men when it comes to child-rearing.  They won't put up with crap.  Soft hearts, but hard spanks.
There are also several very distinct differences between my Dad and my Hubby.  My Dad is very laissez-faire about money, while Paul is very conservative.  Paul is very logical, my dad is more philosophical.My dad loves packing as many activities and sights as possible into vacations, while Paul believe vacation is more about naps and relaxing as much as possible.  My dad has a very high energy level, getting up early and staying up late, drinking coffee and running on very little sleep (hmmm...who does that sound like?) Paul, on the other hand, seems to need more sleep than normal humans and doesn't drink coffee. (I love him despite this character flaw.)

But...both love the Lord.  The most important similarity of all.

That, for sure, was a deal-breaker when I was contemplating marrying Paul.  When we first started dating faith was not a big part of our relationship.  Years later, when marriage entered our thoughts after many breakups and growing up a lot, I really wasn't sure that Paul would be the spiritual leader in our marriage/family that I had always envisioned myself marrying (clearly because of my own Dad's values.) But Paul stepped up and puts my doubts to rest.  He showed me his faith in Jesus was strong - whether we were together or not.  That gave me confidence that I could marry him.
dad walking me down the aisle...already getting a little teary
So, thank you Dad, for modeling so many amazing qualities that a father should have.  For showing my sister and I, whether we were conscious of it or not, what to look for in a man to marry. We both married men that are pretty awesome, and I believe that had everything to do with you.
And thank you Hubby - for being an incredible 'Dada' to our two babes.  They adore you, because, like my Dad, you make the moments you have with them count.
hubby with a tiny cormac - learning the ropes of fatherhood
one year down!
your little mini
needing lots of rest with baby finola
drooly kisses!
dada's arms are always a safe zone
Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. Remember, you have an incredible responsibility (nay - opportunity!)  Your little ones are watching and learning so much from you. The boys are learning what a man/father can be.  And the girls...

...well, they may end up marrying someone like you.

No pressure, dads.  ;)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

mamarazzi : sibling love

I don't know how it is in all families with two toddlers...but despite the occasional scuffle and shrieking match, mine kind of adore each other. We are talking snuggles, kisses, hugs, hog piles, adoring gazes - the works.

It was perhaps this way for my older siblings, who were also two years apart, just like Cormac and Finola.  Meanwhile, I came five years after my sister and four years before my little brother...so while there was the required sibling love, there was much more annoyance when we were little...usually at the younger sibling for hanging around, stealing thunder, or just being in the way!  I love the topic of birth order, so perhaps there is something uniquely beautiful about spacing your kids no more than two years apart.

Sure, there are moments when I wish Hubby and I had waited a tiny bit longer (maybe six months or even another whole year) before getting pregnant with #2.  These moments typically occur when I am feeling overwhelmed while mothering, eyes heavenward inwardly asking "God, what made you think I could handle this????!!!!"  

Birth order is also one of many reasons I strongly hesitate adding a third babe into the mix.  I wonder how it would affect the personalities of and the relationship between the two - oh, how the dynamic would change! (Plus, my head would probably explode and God would get reeeeeally tired of my questioning His parenting abilities.)

But most of the time, like when I look at these photos and see that clearly this - this two and this age difference - was meant to be.

Every once in a while I just get a sudden itch to take photos of my kids and end up with a few that I love.  (Excuse all the different filters - I did a lot of playing around with these.)
Have you had any 'mamarazzi' sessions of your own, lately? 

Monday, June 2, 2014

finola - one year!

Dear Fin,
I'm a little late in posting this, but I'm sure you don't mind.
Your first birthday came and went as quickly as the entire first year.
What a lovely year!

Eating:
Awesome.  You love your food.  You get immediate 'food envy' if you are not offered what others are eating.  You will pretty much eat anything, and a lot of it.  Still prefer the bottle over a sippy cup, and still prefer your milk to be warmed up.  However, we ditched the formula (yay!) and now you are solely drinking cow's milk (or water.)

Sleeping:
Consistently through the night - barring instances when you are teething, when you may wake up several times for comfort.  Still taking a morning and an afternoon nap, with no real end in sight as far as the first nap goes.  

Sibling Relations:
Lovely.  I adore watching you and your brother together.  Sometimes you scuffle (aka he gets annoyed at you for being up in his business)) but the love there is so cool to watch.  You both will randomly hug and kiss each other, and it is the sweetest!  You want to be wherever he is and playing with whatever he is playing with.

Milestones/Developments:
  • Started standing on your own, without support from anything!  It is so cute how you laugh proudly nearly every time you do it, which is all the time.
  • No independent steps yet.
  • Started attempting to use eating utensils.
  • Getting better with the sippy cup.
  • Will both wave and point at things.
  • Can now finally climb down the steps and off of whatever you have climbed up onto.
  • Still lots of babbling but no new words.  You go off on long baby tangents where you look like I should really know what you are talking about.  I just smile and nod and say, "Really???" a lot.


Health/Measurements:
  • weighs 22 lbs...was in 85th percentile for weight and 25th for height.  short and chunky at his point, and I love it.  
  • has six teeth, two on bottom, four on top.
  • apparently the Ohio River Valley air is bad for babies, also...she has constant congestion and drippy nose, it seems.

Month's Memories:
  • The first birthday party!!!!
  • Tons of trips to the park due to the beautiful warm weather.  You love climbing on the playground equipment and going down slides, by yourself or with mama or brother.
  • First time in the pool and going to splash parks.  It is clear you are my water baby.  You had no problem (despite initial water coldness on opening day at the pool) hanging out with mama in the pool, and you LOVE splash parks/fountains.  You even climbed right in by yourself at the one by your Mimi's house.


Instead of the usual onslaught of pictures from the past month, I decided to do a slideshow of the year instead...

So there it was -  the final 'monthly baby update.'  I want to cry thinking that this was probably my last 'first year' with an infant.  But in so many ways I am just simply grateful and excited to watch my two little ones grow into 'big kids.'