Thursday, July 31, 2008

Spilling Secrets

Ok, I have been reading several blogs lately that talk about how their kids hate veggies, and refuse to eat certain foods. We have been pretty lucky in that department, because none of my kids are very picky eaters. I think partly it is luck, partly it is their individual personalities and lack of sensory issues, it might partly be that they are only 3/4, and we just haven't hit that yet, but it is also partly because of a few tricks that I use.

The first is the art of 'spin'. We learned from the King of Spin, our friend Kevin. Spin can be used for almost anything, but I find it especially useful for food. I never give them anything without telling them how YUMMY it is, and how it SMELLS SO GOOD, and how it is Uncle Dane's (or substitute anyone they love) FAVORITE. Once I was cooking broccoli cheese soup, and when I told them what we were having, they all started the screaming "I hate that" "it yucky", and on and on. So I told them a story about when they were little tiny babies, and I tried to give them bananas, and they spit it out, and I tried to give them rice, and they spit it out, but I when I gave them broccoli cheese soup, they ate it all gone. (This story is mostly true- they spit out all food, so I was accurate in saying they spit out the first few. And I did feed them this soup when they were babies, and they did eat it). I then told them it has been their favorite ever since they were babies. When we sat down for dinner, they gobbled it up, and it is now one of Abigail's favorite foods. We talk about how we cook the food, where we got the food, who likes to eat this kind of food, anything I can think of to get them interested in it. Tell stories about the food- a childhood memory, how a peach tree grows, how they harvest wheat, how to tell when a tomato is ripe. They will eat it up! Ha ha! Pun intended!

The second trick I use is reverse psychology. When I am cooking, they are always swarming me, trying to get bites. So I use that. "You can have all the chicken you want, but you can each have ONLY 4 carrots. No more than 4- these carrots are really good, and so I really need to save them for our dinner". They will each eat their 4 carrots, and then also be happy at dinner when they get more. The more you emphasize it, the more they will want it.

My third trick is to not let my tastes influence theirs. I personally cannot stand to eat a raw tomato. Occasionally on a hamburger, but other than that, they need to be cooked for me to consume them. But I offer them raw tomatoes all the time. Along with any other food that I think would be good for them. If I tell them something isn't good, they of course aren't going to want to try it (see #1 above). I also try to buy a variety of food that is different than my normal taste, to give them a wider variety of food to like. Like when we made pizza the other day. I gave a variety of toppings, most of which I didn't think they would choose (mushrooms and onions). If I was making the pizza with what I thought they would pick, I wouldn't have included those things. But they each chose mushrooms, and Jack and Aidan chose onions.

My fourth trick is to talk about what the food does for the body. Carrots help your eyes see really far away! Chicken helps your muscles be really strong! Fish helps your brain be really super smart! Cookies help your tummy get nice and round! This has been a favorite topic recently. They ask me at every meal what each food does for their body. Jack especially gets into this. He wants to be BIG and STRONG, and will ask for seconds of anything that will help him be those things.

A fifth and last trick is to change it up. How about dinner in a muffin tin? Or a salad and sandwich in a really big bowl? Eating in the dark, anyone? Try different temperatures. When they were teething, I used to give them frozen peas, corn and blueberries. They still think it is a 'treat' when I give them frozen peas.

There you go. I am really a wonderful Mother. Full of wisdom and great ideas. If you ever need help with your unruly children, just let me know. I'm sure I can straighten them out. (cue laughter)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pizza with kids

This is one of my favorite dinners to do, and it is even better with kids. I give them each a small-ish piece of pizza dough, which they have fun playing with, smashing, rolling, and squishing. They play while I cut up all the toppings, and then they each get to choose what and how much of each thing to put on. They have a lot of fun, and they love eating something that they made themselves.
Not the greatest picture in the world, but it shows some of our topping choices.
What the kids came up with- Jack, then Aidan, then Abigail's creation.


Enjoying the results.
After they make theirs, I take the rest of the dough and toppings, and make a pizza for the rest of us. Yummy, easy, and lots of veggies. What more could you ask from dinner?

Some tips: I love using frozen pizza dough. It is so easy! My sister has a Sam's club membership, and she asks at the deli, and they sell her a whole box of frozen dough, which we split. I think it works out to about $0.83 for each ball of dough.

When the kids play with the dough, I used to use flour to keep it from sticking, but the flour was very messy. This time I just sprayed each of their hands with some no-stick spray, and it worked great.

Also, after I put the sauce on, I sprinkle wheat germ on it. You can't even tell it is there, and I love to add wheat germ to things.

And, just to make sure you don't think it is all roses, there is a lot of 'management' involved to have any successful activity. In order for things to not get completely out of control, if they are doing something they shouldn't, I give them a warning. The next time it happens, they have to get down from the chairs for a minute or two. This is usually enough to keep things in check.

Examples of thing they try to do that I don't approve of: using their shoe (still attached to the foot) to really flatten out the dough, sticking their fist into the sauce, grabbing dough/toppings/hair that belongs to anyone else, and throwing any of the things within their reach.

Things that I don't approve of, but bite my tongue and let them anyway: putting a huge pile of onions in one spot, putting cheese on at the end instead of right after the sauce, licking the dough as you are playing with it, and using your elbow to put just the right 'mark' on the pizza.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I guess he's ready

Now that Jack and Aidan are pretty much all trained for the potty during the day, I've been thinking about when to start the night training. I was waiting for some sort of signal that they were ready.

Last night I walked upstairs to go to bed, and saw this.
Aidan fast asleep, naked, laying on the floor of the bathroom. Diaper next to the potty. He obviously woke up, went potty, then just couldn't make it all the way back to bed. I guess this is my signal!

Bath Time

Sometimes giving baths can feel like a lot of work (for me, at least. The kids always have fun).

Fill the tub, get undressed. Wash face, wash body, wash hair. Rinse all of the above. Try to minimize splashing during play time. Get out of tub, wipe up all the water, get kid dry, get re-dressed, brush teeth. Times three. Then clean up bathroom, hang up towels, wipe up all the toothpaste mess, put dirty clothes in hamper. Dry myself off, sometimes requiring a change of clothes.

Sometimes I am really tired after doing all the work of bath time.


But sometimes, bath time can feel like play time.


Especially when we fill up our indoor swimming pool.



Monday, July 28, 2008

I am Spam


Have you ever tried to leave a comment on someone's blog, and you have to look at some funny, squiggly letters and type them in the box in order to have the comment go through? Yeah, me too. I know it is to keep out spam, and I know why people have it on the blog. I even know it is called CAPTCHA.

But it is keeping me out. I must be spam. I can NEVER get those stupid letters right. Sometimes I have to try 4 or 5 times before it will let my comment through. I try really hard to look closely, and type every letter as I see it. But I must see it differently than most. And sometimes I just give up. Am I the only spammer out there??
I mean, really, are these crazy letters glaringly obvious to everyone but me? I see tryagacn. But I know that is wrong. I just don't know what the right answer is. And if you want to help reduce my little life stresses, you could remove that little function from your blog. Thanks, from the Spam in your life. (And if you don't get a lot of comments from me, now you know why!)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Follow up

I wanted to follow up the previous 'Falling to pieces' post. I have to admit that I was really nervous to have Kydon gone. I was worried, panicked, nervous, and just plain scared. I really didn't know how I would do on my own, and how I would keep my emotions in check, something that I have been struggling with lately anyway.


But it has been ok. Actually, pretty darn good. We have had fun. We have stayed really busy (partly why I haven't been posting much). I have not lost my cool nearly as much as I thought I would (phew!). I have been able to roll with the punches, and adjust my plans to go with the flow more easily than I usually can.


I have had a lot of help- my parents took them all for a sleepover, Kydon's mom came up and helped me one day, my sister has kept me company on many of my adventures, and this week's gymnastic camp was a well-planned and very beneficial activity for the kids and break for me.

I have been reading, working on some crafty projects, painting my dining room (pics when the camera Kydon comes home) overhauling my closet, and just enjoying the fact that I was okay while Kydon was gone. I feel stronger, and more sure of myself. Not that my not-so humble self needed much more encouragement, but I feel proud that I can take care of what needs to be done *(as long as no one outside the fam needs to use the bathroom, LOL).

I also have been reading some really fun, and cool blogs that have given me a lot of inspiration to do things I love. I love 'Make and Takes'- Marie has great crafty ideas, and for some reason I can't get her ideas out of my head until I try them! I am also totally hooked on 'Simple Mom'. I started reading her archives, and found a great recipe for roasted chicken, which was easy and yummy, and some good ideas for home management, which I am trying to implement. There are a few more, but I will leave it at that. I am feeling a lot of happiness right now, and will enjoy it as long as it lasts.

Falling to pieces

Where is the right balance? Between keeping everything in the air, and just letting everything fall to pieces?

Today has been busy pretty typical. Here is my day so far:
06:30- wake up, shower, take care of referee kids while showering and getting ready
07:00- breakfast. Pancakes for Jack and Aidan, cereal for Abigail, egg omelet for me.
07:30- get kids dressed, brush teeth, referee.
08:00- start laundry, empty dishwasher and load it up again, put away folded clothes.
08:30- get kids bags ready, prepare a decent snack for each, pack bag with change of clothes.

**in between all this I take one or both boys to the potty about every 15 min, which involves taking off all clothing, using potty, getting re-dressed

08:45- negotiate appropriate dress for Abigail to wear, get every ones shoes on, re-pack bags that someone got into and spilled everywhere. Find shoes. Negotiate Abigail's shoe choice.
09:00- get them in the car, chase Jack around the house and get him in the car, buckle 3 car seats, find and distribute toys, because heaven forbid we sit in the car for 5 min. with no toys. Referee arguments over who got which toy and who wanted the toy that someone else got.
09:30- Take them into their gymnastics class. Drop each off, say goodbye, make sure they each have the right bag.
09:45- begin errands. Attend a meeting, go to Lowe's, find just the right vent cover that was the wrong size when I got home and will have to be exchanged tomorrow. Go to the grocery store to get the one ingredient that I forgot yesterday.
11:30- show up an hour early to observe the gymnastics class. I wanted to verify that they were actually doing gymnastics, since yesterday the only things the kids could tell me they had done was eat snack, play duck-duck-goose and watch tv. Making sure I am getting my moneys worth. I was able to see them doing many gymnastic-type activities, and now I feel much better about sending them.
12:30- collect each from their class. Put shoes on, clean up spill from Abigail digging through Aidan's bags to get his leftover snack while I was putting on shoes. Go to the potty, get everyone re-dressed.
12:50- arrive home, cook hot dogs and cut-up veggies for lunch. Referee. Help with potty. Throw some food down my own throat. Make sure everyone has equal amounts of ketchup, mustard, and veggie dip. Unless they don't like ketchup, in that case, make sure that No! Ketchup! Touches their plate!
1:15- clean up lunch, empty dishwasher, reload. Change laundry over. Set up a quiet activity at the table (putting together nuts, bolts and washers)
1:25- put away cool activity, since they had no interest in it and are now taking all the toys and throwing them over the deck.
1:30- put together train toy for Aidan, since he is flipping out and can't do it himself.
1:45- put away train toy since Aidan is now ripping it apart and throwing the pieces all over his room and making dents and holes in the walls.
2:00- find swimsuits, put them on, referee, gather pool toys, sunscreen, floats, towels, get myself ready.
2:20- get them in the car (see above)
2:30- arrive at pool, put sunscreen on all 3 while trying (unsuccessfully) to keep them from getting it themselves and spilling/spreading it everywhere.
3:45- force get them out of the pool, change into dry clothes, gather pool toys, floats, sunscreen. Set up towel with snack and drinks. Get shoes on. Get myself dressed.
4:00- get them in the car.

I will pause here. Around 2:00, I checked my phone messages, and there was someone from church who wanted to meet with me. Tonight. Since Kydon is out of town, I could meet, but only if we did it at my house. I called her back and left her that message. So while I am doing all of the above, in the back of my mind I am thinking about what to do to have this meeting at my house. I *have* to clean the bathroom. Totally embarrassed if someone needed to use it, and it was as dirty as it is. I would need to clean up all the toys/clothes/shoes/various crap from the front room and the toy room (basically one big room). I should vacuum, but I doubt that would happen. Dishes needed to be done AGAIN. And I need to run some sort of wet cloth over the kitchen floor, to clean up all the spaghetti sauce that I didn't clean up last night. They would probably be coming over about 6 or 7 (I still hadn't heard back, so I was needing to be ready), so I now had 2 hours to get the kids home, changed, cook and serve dinner, read books, drink their milk, get in pj's, and settle them down for bed. THEN do all of the above cleaning.

How in the world do you do that? The answer is you don't. I could have normally had the meeting in my dining room, which is usually the one room I can pretty much keep always clean, but right now I am in the middle of painting, and it is a huge mess in there.

So, to continue my day:
4:10- decide to get fast food for dinner, and told the kids if they helped me clean up when we got home I would also give them cookies.
4:30- arrive home, clean out the food from the car, throw away 1.75 hamburgers, all the chicken nuggets, and 90% of the french fries. Fume.
4:45- Start on dishes, try to convince kids to help. Flip out when Abigail decides to help by dumping out a huge bin of toys.
5:00- call the girl from church, and get the news that they will find another time to meet. Whew.

5:20- finish some basic pickup, give the kids their cookies (no, they didn't earn them, but I was not up to dealing with the fits).
5:30- pajamas, milk, read books. Referee. Potty. Repeat.
6:00- convince cajole carry the kids one by one upstairs to their beds. Read a few more books, and get all stern to get them to stay in their beds.
6:20- all are asleep, and here I am.

Still to do: work on painting the dining room (at least do some taping and prep for tomorrow), dishes, clean the afore-mentioned spaghetti sauce, email, make some phone calls for upcoming adoption conference, clean up the toys from the deck-throwing incident, find something to eat for my dinner, since I was good and didn't eat the fast food crap, and workout on the bike.

So despite my busy-ness, I have been thinking all day about balance, and juggling all the many roles I have. I want my house to be in order. I want to say "sure, come over and have a meeting here", and only have a few things to pick up/put away. I don't want an impromptu visit from someone to make me cringe with embarrassment at the state of my bathrooms. I feel more at peace in a clean, organized home. And Kydon really wants our house to be clean. It makes him a little crazy to come home to chaos. But we have 3 kids. Who are young. And destructive. And (shall we say) spirited. I like them that way. I'm glad they have spunk and spirit and wildness. But it does make for a messy house. I don't mind messes here and there. Clutter, if not out of control, is ok. But the dirt and grime and dust have got to go.

I have a quote hanging on my wall that says "My house is clean enough to be healthy, and dirty enough to be happy". I love that idea. But where is that line? How much time do I spend cleaning? Nurturing? Playing? Cooking? Taking care of myself? All these things are important to me. How do I balance them? I want my house to be clean. I want to be a full-time mom, and do fun things with my kids. I want them to enjoy life, and not stress about any little mess they might be making. I want to give them good, healthy, home-cooked food.

But where do I find the time? We are done with naps. No one goes to school. This week they are in gymnastics camp, but it is just this one week from May-August. I am struggling to find the time and/or energy to do all these things!

So please, leave me a comment and tell me how you find balance! How you juggle all the many tasks you have! How you find time for all the things that are important to you. How you find the time to nurture those you love. Help! :)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mmmm... soup!


In the mid-July summer heat, when temperatures hit near 100, and the humidity is sweltering, don't you just feel like a nice bowl of steamy hot soup?

I don't know why, but I have been on a total soup kick lately. Here are two of my favorites:

Garden Vegetable Soup

2/3 c sliced carrot
1/2 c diced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups fat-free broth
1 1/2 c diced green cabbage
1/2 c green beans
1 T tomato paste
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c diced zucchini

Spray a large saucepan with non-stick cooking spray, heat. Saute the carrot, onion, and garlic over low heat until softened, about 5 min.

Add broth, cabbage, beans, tomato paste, basil, oregano, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer, covered, about 15 min or until beans are tender.

Stir in the zucchini and heat for 3-4 min.

**This is SO good. The kids eat their entire bowls and ask for more. I always feel very full after eating a bowl of this soup. And so good for you! It also freezes well. It is very easy to double this recipe and freeze 1/2.

Black Bean Soup:

2 c black beans, rinsed and soaked overnight
2 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
2 c chicken broth
1 c jarred salsa

In a crock pot, place the soaked black beans. In a skillet, heat oil and saute onion and garlic together for 3 min or until onion is soft. Add this mixture to the crockpot. Then, add cumin and chicken broth and cook on low all day- about 8 hours. Stir in the salsa just before serving. Top with sour cream and green onions, if desired.


***I always add kielbasa or sausage to this soup. It makes it taste amazing! I also always double this recipe and freeze all but what we will eat in a couple days. I like that it uses the dried beans instead of canned, and my beans have always turned out really good- not too hard, not too soft.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Cheater

Don't feel like posting for some reason, so I will 'borrow' from my sister! To read what we were up to this week, click here.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The downside

Ha! I bet you all were thinking that after 23 (yes, I counted) posts about potty-training, I wouldn't be able to come up with *ANOTHER* one!! Ok, maybe you were just *hoping* I wouldn't come up with another one, BUT I DID!

The downside.

I am super-happy to have them getting all their fluids in the pot. I am super happy to not buy diapers by the truckload. I am super happy to not have to wipe all said fluids with just a thin wet cloth between my hand and you-know-what. But there are a few negatives. (In no particular order).

  • I now know the location of every single potty in every single public location we ever go to. Betcha didn't know that our super Wal-mart has 2, didja?? And OHMYGOODNESS THANKHEAVENSTHEYDO! Because it was a moment of panic when my 3 year old needs to go, and can't really figure out the whole 'hold it in' thing yet, and I am in the very back of the store with 3 kids and trying to calculate how fast I can run all the way to the very front, while dragging all 3 with me. But there is also one in the back. Thank goodness.
  • I am also realizing that even though my boys are 3, and their pants are size 18-24 months, those diapers were doing a LOT of the 'holding up the pants' work. Because now we have a lot of fally-down pants that used to be stay-up pants.
  • I now say the phrase "OK- hold it in and RUN!" at least 57 times a day.
  • They now know that 'I gotta go potty' is the only way they can get out of bed without getting in trouble. Even if they say it 4 times, and Mommy seems like she is getting mad, she will supress it and say 'good job'. And boy, do they use this bit of knowledge.
  • Dirty public toilets. YUCK!! We came across one the other day, and I very quickly tried to teach Jack to stand and pee, but he was so distraught that then he couldn't go at all. And I almost always have all 3 in the stall with me, so the two that aren't on the pot get to touch and grab EVERYTHING while waiting their turn.
  • I now have to let them wash their hands play in the water after every experience.
  • No more car trips longer than 10 minutes. They just can't do it.
  • They are getting picky about underwear. NO! I want THOMAS underwear! Not THAT Thomas! The other one! NO! I like SPIDERMAN! Thomas is AIDANS- not MINE! Didn't have this issue with diapers.

I think that is all, but just for fun, LETS PUT A FEW MORE WORDS IN ALL CAPS. Just because I LIKE TO!!!

***as a side note, Kydon took the camera on his trip, so no pics for 2 weeks. That's ok, it is the end of the post, so you can leave to find some tissue for the tears.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Day 1

...without our Daddy. Ok, I am totally making a big deal out of something that should be just a regular deal.

But I miss Kydon already! :) And I miss the help! :) Despite Jack being more than ready to replace Daddy with Uncle Dane, today has been fine. We got up, had a lazy morning, took baths, got ready for church. A few times, Aidan said he missed his Daddy, but no more than any other day of the week. Although at one point he said he needed 2 Daddies and 2 Mommies. I didn't want to confuse him, so I didn't bring up the fact that he actually *does* have two mommies and 2 daddies. ;)

Church was ok. We were about 3 minutes into the meeting, and I thought I was going to lose it. I had taken Aidan to the potty, then I took Jack and Abigail to the potty. I got back, we were all sitting down, and I glance over to see Abigail doing a somersault on the pew. NOT GOOD!!! So the steam was building in my ears, and I was thinking about giving up, but my nice and thoughtful sister showed up just then to sit by me. Thank goodness! So we made it through the meeting, and didn't even have to take any more potty breaks.

The second two hours of church, I am supposed to teach a class of 8 year olds. I say supposed to, because during that *same* time today, I had to go help Abigail with a little presentation she was doing, and keep up with potty time for the twins. Basically, I knew it would be a mess, so I gave them a picture to color and cut out, and I tried to tie in the gospel in between potty trips. I doubt they got much out of it. But the boys stayed dry, and I guess that was more important for today.

Now I am taking our black bean soup, our "Fiesta Dinner" (layer tortillas, black bean and corn salsa and cheese in a dish, repeating the layers and bake), and our rosemary peasant bread over to my moms to eat dinner over there. I bring the food, she brings the sanity. I hope she has enough for the both of us. Otherwise, I will have to just take hers, because I will need it more than she will! ;)

And, in the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that despite my rigid eating plan, and my resolve to stick with it, last night I made a huge pan of chocolate-covered rice crispy treats. And now there is not a lick left. And even though there are 5 other people who could have eaten them (Abigail, Aidan, Jack, Dane, Laura), I think I am the only one who ate any. I gave some to the kids, who tried one little bite each, and cast them aside. Don't worry, I promptly devoured them.

And I will also admit that now my tummy feels a little sick.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

2 steps forward, 1 step back

Yesterday and today so far have been a step back in the training. Several accidents, some in the most inconvenient places. And fits in the morning to put on the underwear. Talking about Aidan, of course. But we will continue on. Not as euphoric as before, but still pushing on.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

6 year old hero

We have a friend. I will call him Hero. He is 6. And awesome. We met because Hero's little sister is really good friends with Abigail. We started inviting her over to play, and I would only hear giggles emitting from the room for 2 hours. Finally, their mom and I realized that we each have 3 kids, they play well together, and Hey! We could swap! So about 4 weeks ago we started a swap. We each pick a 2 hour chunk once a week, and I watch her kids and she watches mine. It is fabulous.

Until I realized that 6 year olds have a lot more ideas than 4 year olds do. They (or at least he) takes everything up a notch. Example: We have a little cardboard mat with pictures of roads, houses, buildings, etc to drive the cars around on. Jack and Aidan, age 3, love to drive their cars and trucks on it. Abigail, age 4, got the idea to stomp around on it. So, ok, I am used to her destroying things, and it really wasn't that bad. Well, then Hero got the idea to run and jump on it, using it as some sort of sliding mechanism, which propelled him into walls, tables, and the other kids. Just whatever they are doing, he takes it up a notch. They jump from the bed to the floor, he shows them how to climb to the top of the dresser and jump to the floor. They like to throw sand box toys all over the yard, he showed them how to throw them over the fence (and we found out our neighbor really HATES to have toys thrown over into her yard).

But Hero is just that to Jack and Aidan. They love him. They follow him around, copy whatever he is doing, and laugh like crazy if he even looks their direction. Hero is a nice kid. He is very kind, and I am actually pretty amazed at how patient he is with my two 3 year olds who idolize him.

And after today, I have to admit that Hero is my hero too. I started getting some inklings yesterday at playgroup. Aidan got the idea to potty train because he didn't want to be a baby anymore. When Hero jumped out of his car to play at the park, Aidan runs right over, pulls down his pants and proudly proclaims "Wook, Hero- Unnerwear! Me no baby!". It was funny, and embarrassing, and it made me sort of wonder if maybe Hero was the one that he didn't want to be a baby for.

This morning, Aidan was tired of the whole 'pee in the potty' thing. I mean, that was so yesterday. Despite his fit, I managed to get his pajamas and diaper off, but he was not having anything to do with underwear. No potty. He ran over, found a diaper, and hugged it like it was his only hope of happiness. I was so not going back to diapers after going 3 days with close-to-perfection. So I remembered Hero, and pulled out the big guns.

"If you wear a diaper, Hero will think you are a baby. You are going to his house tomorrow, and he will see your diaper."

He thought about this for a minute, but wasn't ready to completely give in "Me wear diaper, den go to Hero's house, wear unnerwear?"

"No, no, you have to wear underwear all the time to be a big boy".

He still had to think for a few minutes, but then he went to the potty and dropped the diaper.

So now I really believe that Hero is the impetus for the potty training success. I give him at least partial credit for seeing this in my house every day now:



As I was taking pictures, they started hugging. Now isn't that the cutest thing ever???

Thank you, Hero! Now, can you get them to load the dishwasher????

Technology dependence of the next generation


I sometimes think about my own dependence on technology. DVR, Internet, Cell phones, this list could go on and on and on. But then the other day I thought about my kids. If I am this dependant, think about how the next generation will be.


For example: For Kydon's most recent birthday, my mom got him something he has been wanting for a while- a weather station. You put a little thing outside, and it transmits information to a screen inside. It tells you temperature, weather, and probably a few more things, but honestly I don't really look at it that much.


We have it mounted in our breakfast room. And the kids love it. They live and breathe by what it says will happen with the weather (luckily the weather prediction is in pictures). It claims to be accurate 70% of the time. I would guess it is more like 5%. But don't tell the kids. They believe it. No matter what. Forget the fact that this room has 3 of its 3 walls covered in windows. And a glass door. They could very easily look outside and *see* the weather. But, no, they only believe the little screen with a picture of a cloud, or sun, as the case may be.


If it changes though out the day, they run to me very excited "Mommy!! It SUNSHINE!" or "Mommy! It raining now!" Sometimes I try to correct them with reality. "It isn't raining. Look outside- the sun is shining, and the sky is blue. I don't even see any clouds. Look!" But they will have nothing to do with it "No Mommy, it raining. Look at the Wedder"

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Catapult

It looks like Aidan is going full force. After yesterday's success, we have not looked back. He has been in underwear all day, and we even went to playgroup with both out of diapers. (I figured as long as I was taking Jack to the potty every few minutes, I may as well take Aidan too).

And he has done GREAT! I wouldn't say he is all the way there yet, but it is in sight. I saw a huge box of diapers in the garage today, and I got pretty excited thinking it could be our last.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Dare to hope?

Jack is doing amazing with the potty training. We are solidly in phase 5, and dabbling in phase 6. I only occasionally remind him, he just goes and does his thing when he needs to. Woo Hoo!

And today I have something new to report. I occasionally check in with Aidan. "Do you want to try the potty?" "No" "Would you like underwear today?" "No". I checked in with him this afternoon, and he again affirmed his love for diapers and all things 'baby', and denied any desire to use the potty. So, okay, that's fine. I'm so happy with Jack that I'm really not worried about it.

About 4 o'clock, we do our cleanup, and Mommy needs a break, kids are going hog wild, we decide to watch a movie. 30 minutes before the movie ends, Aidan starts yelling "pause it, Mommy, PAUSE IT!!" I run over and pause it. Then ask him why. He proceeds to tell me that he needs to go pee pee in the potty. "Me no be baby no more. Me go in potty". I asked if he was done with diapers forever, and he says yes. I ask him if he is going to pee in the potty every day, and he says yes. I ask if he is all done with diapers (can you tell I was feeling some disbelief?), and he says yes.

Since Tuesday night is my night 'off', I left shortly afterward. But Kydon reported that Aidan went to the potty once more before bed, and didn't have any accidents. Granted, it was only one hour, but it is HUGE!!! I mean, really, really, HUGE!!

As I was walking around Target (buying more underwear! Yay!), I kept trying to tell myself to calm down, not get too excited, don't count your chickens before they hatch, it isn't done yet....

But I can't help it. I'm way excited!

Cousins

We are so lucky to live near cousins! All of the cousins on my side live close, and we frequently get together, play, and have fun together. Since Abigail was born, we have had a tradition of getting a yearly picture of all the cousins together.

The first one went pretty well. Caroline was 3 (? Melinda- correct me if I'm wrong!), so we did have 4 kids 3 and under, but we got a cute shot and it wasn't that painful.
(Sorry for the blur, I didn't feel like scanning, so I
just took pictures of the pictures)

The second one added the twins. It was a little more rowdy, but still ok overall.

The third one brought Alex and Grant to the mix, and it was pretty wild. After about 4 different attempts at poses, and many bribes and threats, we somehow got *one* (and only one) halfway decent shot. It was wild, and crazy, and I think most of us left with a little anger in our pocket. :)


This is last years. We got a picture, but it was a disaster. A complete disaster.

I'm not even sure I can remember all that was terribly wrong with this. Abigail and Tyler were ok. They responded to the bribes. Caroline sat, but getting her to smile and/or look at the camera was pretty much impossible. Carter had a broken foot, and it kept getting bumped. He wanted to leave really badly. Aidan was having nothing to do with this. During one pose, I had to be laying on the ground, covered in a blanket, holding his hips to keep him in place. You can imagine how that went. Jack was screaming, crying and running away. Alex was crying, but not moving a lot. The next day he was hospitalized for dehydration, so that explains it. Grant was hysterical. Completely lost it. We had to get the black and white finish to hide all of his tears and red face. Jack and Aidan are holding cell phones, as it was the absolutely only way to get them to be anywhere close to the other kids. Of course, them having the cell phones didn't go over too well with the others. Then, after all this, we had to wait for about 2 hours trying to pick which picture, decide how many to order, etc. etc.


This year, we thought about cancelling it all together. But we decided to go a different route. An outdoor shoot, with a photographer we knew. And it was wonderful. We were outside, and therefore not all cramped in a tiny little studio room. We were able to take a few pictures, let them play and run, take a few more. We got at least one great posed shot:



And some amazing candids:



It wasn't easy. There were 9 kids, age 2 months-7. But Marchet did a great job! You can see a few more pictures here. And when we left, the kids had had a parade, found a frog, blew bubbles, and played with their cousins. And the adults just sort-of hung back, talked to each other, and relaxed. Yay!

I love the parade with the flags. Jack has his bubbles, Carter Abigail and Caroline look like they are just bursting with joy. I love that Alex and Grant are walking the other direction, and Alex is looking back, like 'hey- where did everybody go?' So cute!

Monday, July 7, 2008

3 year old logic

I was vacuuming today (shocker!!), and all of a sudden a Light up Sandal flys within inches of my nose. I turn, and see Aidan standing nearby.

I ask "Why did you throw a shoe at my head?"
He answers "Me no find my ball"

I'm not sure if he meant "I wanted to chuck a ball at your head, but couldn't find it, so I used my shoe" or maybe "I can't find my ball, and it made me mad, so I'm throwing a shoe at you". Or perhaps simply stating unrelated facts "I threw the shoe at your head because it was there, and your head was near, and I am 3. Also, have you seen my ball?"

It made me laugh. Probably because it didn't hit me. If it had hit me, this story might have a different ending. :)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Milestones

We had a big milestone today. (Yes, I'm talking about potty training). We took Jack to church in underwear! And then to Grandmas house. In UNDERWEAR!!!!

Church was great. Yes, I had to take him about every 15-30 minutes. It was mildly embarassing to leave the service that many times, but so worth it! I think he figured out pretty quick (like, within 25 min) that simply saying 'me feel pee pee' gets him a walk around the building, a fun trip to a new bathroom with toilets, flushers, and fountains of water and soap. And a stop at the water fountain on the way back in. I think some of his trips were just for fun, but I didn't mind! First, I'm not ready yet to call his bluff, and second, if it gets him to the potty, that is all I ask for now! :)

He did have an accident at Grandma's. He felt horrible. Very embarrassed, worried that Grandma would be 'hooper mad (super mad)' or 'on-ee (onery)'. But after being reassured that Grandma wasn't mad, he was ok. After the accident, we put him in a diaper, but he continued to use the potty throughout the rest of the night. :) Yay Jack! He is just doing so great. Who knew it could be somewhat simple once they are really ready?

I feel such a relief! It has been more than 3 years since we just had one in diapers! :) Of course, we still are using diapers for naps and nighttime, but that is very much ok for now!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy Birthday, America. Sorry your party was so lame...

I will know who is an Office fan by anyone who is laughing at the title! ;)

We started our celebration for America's Birthday by planning to go to an awesome parade. Something about marching bands, music, and festivities in the morning just seems like classic celebration. So we found a great one- 125 parade units, 3 different bands, and a festival at the end. Then the family called. We re-routed to a smaller, closer parade. And by smaller, I mean almost non-existent. You can read a really good description here. You know it is bad when the most entertaining thing is *me* singing 'You're a Grand Old Flag'. And if you have ever heard me sing, you probably just got a shudder. Scary, I know!



Some lowlights:
  • We were for sure the only people within 100 yards. Great for finding a spot to sit, not so great for the festive atmosphere.
  • Parade route was no more than 200 yards. And lasted less than 15 minutes.
  • The well prepared, excited family that we are, we got there an hour and a half early. And parked almost 2 miles away.
  • The main event was a gaggle of people in red, white and blue clothes pushing strollers and walking dogs. They gave me some strange looks for cheering for them, but my gosh, I had to cheer for something!

All right. So that is over, and we still have MORE! CELEBRATING! TO DO!! We load in the car and head to Callaway Gardens. I had the opportunity to go with the family, or stay home by myself. I of course chose to spend the holiday with my loved ones. A decision I re-thought many times throughout this day.

In the interest of conserving oh-so-expensive gas, we drove just over 60 the whole way there (about a 2 hour drive). Then we missed the exit and drove 40 minutes out of our way, negating all that annoying slow driving we had just done. Grrr.

Just as we pull in, with 3 kids who are so over being in the car, and about 2 hours past lunch time, we see that beautiful liquid sunshine. Dumping everywhere. Grrrr. But by the time we circled the entire place 4 times trying to find the exact right parking lot (Grrr), the rain had stopped.

The place was packed. It was wet. No where to go, no where to eat, no where to park. The few attractions they had for kids, were WAY overpriced (an inflatable slide, no more than 5 feet tall, that you could send your kid to for $5 for 15 min. Anyone surprised that we didn't want to pay $1 per minute? The kids were surprised. And VERY SAD). Then we had a member of our party pointing out all the fun things to do. Look- we can ride the train! Look- there are huge inflatables in the water! Look- a huge water slide! Except that we couldn't do any of these things (long lines, too much money, kids not old enough, shut down due to bad weather). And each disappointment was felt keenly met with screaming, crying, and your basic run-of the mill fit throwing by 3 kids who were up early, had a long drive, a little too much candy, and not nearly enough solid food. And no nap.

Ok, ok, there were a few good moments. The beach area was pretty fun. Splashing in the water, digging in the sand. We were cool, having fun. Then the diaper blow-out. In a swim diaper. And not the nice disposable one that you can throw away. It was the re-usable kind that fit REAL tight (even more so since we bought them 2 years ago for baby bums and are still using them), and that you have to take off via the legs and feet. Let's just say that our household now has one less towel, one less swimming suit, and one less re-usable swim diaper.

I think I must have been giving off some pretty heavy 'sick of the kids' vibes, because Dane, Laura, their friends and Granny took all 3 kids and went on the paddle boats. Now that was a nice break! We started grilling the food, and had a nice chance to eat before they all came back. Just as I was starting to get my mommy-fear/paranoia setting in, they came back, and everyone ate. We were debating staying for the firework festivities (starting at 9:30, and we still had a 2 hour drive home). And by debating, I mean that I wanted to leave and Kydon wanted to stay. Pretty typical of our usual preferences. :) Luckily for me, the liquid sunshine returned and helped me make my case. We threw everything in the car and headed out.

At the exact same time that 1/2 the people in the entire place decided the exact same thing.

So, for the Grand Finale, we sat in the car for an hour and a half. Or, one whole showing of 'The Bee Movie' and an entire bag of candy. During this time, we did not move. Not even an INCH. None at all. We heard several stories for the excuse:

  1. The storm had caused a tree to fall on a car. Abulances and Fire Trucks were on the scene, but we had to wait for them to clear it.
  2. Someone accidentally locked the main gate. The guy who locked it had gone home, and they were trying to call the only other person with a key.
  3. None of the traffic directors were on hand for the early exit, and it was just a huge, messy, nasty traffic jam.

Take your pick, but the bottom line is that IT SUCKED! BIG JAGGED ROCKS!! We finally roll in to home at 11:30. Good thing we left before 8 to get a head start!

As we were (finally) driving out of the park, we saw a flag, mounted on a tree that was a little worse for the wear. Broken stick, droopy flag, dripping wet. Kydon remarked that it was a pretty accurate picture of our celebration. :)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Every once in a while...

You make the right decision. So much of my life is spent debating things in my head, wondering what the right thing to do is. What is right for me? For each kid? For the family as a whole? More often than I would like, I decide wrong. Or there is no 'perfect' answer, and every choice has a negative aspect.

But the decision to stop potty training Aidan and continue with Jack has been wonderful. Thank goodness!! Jack is just learning by leaps and bounds. He is in underwear at all times when we are home. He initiates almost 1/2 of the trips. He has had only 2 accidents in the past two days. Both were close to bed time, and both were just little dribbles that he was able to stop and run to the pot. I can just see and feel it all 'clicking' with him.

So give one up for the right decision! We have to celebrate- it doesn't happen all that often! ;)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Dora, we hail thee

In an effort to eliminate parental guilt about childhood obesity and to get kids off the couch and encourage them to be more active, while at the same time keeping the kids glued to the tv watching cartoons, todays cartoons are much more advanced than in my day. They encourage kids to 'get up and dance' 'say it with me' and 'jump!'. My kids are way too sophisticated for these mundane tricks, and will continue to lay like slugs while watching the cartoon characters exhibit whatever movement they are trying to encourage. It always seems pretty silly to me when Mickey Mouse will face the camera and ask them questions. And the kids have never fallen for it before.

Until Dora.

This chick is captivating.

They will do whatever she says. When Dora commands "say cuidado", my kids answer "ee-a-oh". Dora responds "Louder", and I hear "Ee-A-Oh". Louder, this girl says, and we hear "**EEEEEEE-AAAAAA-OOOOOOH**". Screamed at the top of their lungs. When she wants them to jump, they jump. When she asks a question, they answer. The power this girl has!! Maybe its the little glimpse of belly they get when she raises her arms and jumps? Maybe the mystery of words that have no meaning to them? Her little monkey friend? The fact that her parents are no where around? Maybe they relate to the fact that none of her clothes match? I have no idea, but boy, they love Dora.

Their reactions to other cartoons:

Backyardigans: "Mommy, why won't they stop singing?"

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: fits of giggles when Mickey 'shakes his bum' in the intro. No interest after that.

Teletubbies: slugs

Caillou: slugs

Meteor, the monster truck: slugs, but then they practice the moves later with their own monster trucks

Pretty much everything else: slugs

Not enough people

The past few days have brought a friend. Lewis, Uncle Dane's friend, has been staying with us for a few days. Yesterday, Abigail went down to the basement. I can only imagine what hour this must have been- surely before the sun was up. She woke Lewis up, and said "Don't ever leave, ok".


Lewis told me about this, and I couldn't help but crack up. I guess 2 parents, 3 kids, Uncle Dane and a cat just aren't enough. We need Lewis too!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about you....

All of you who are dying to know how the potty training is going. All of you who need a good laugh in your day. All of you who love to see another suffer! ;) Don't worry, it has been a looooong time, but I am back for more.

I checked, and my last potty-training post was May 14th. Yes, we are now in July, but that's ok. And, no, there is no way I would have done anything without posting here on the blog, so please don't feel like maybe you missed something. Even all of you who are hoping that I will take them to the potty atleastonetime without blogging about it to the world, sorry, no such luck! I heard the term 'verbal vomit' recently, and it seems to apply in this situation. :)

Anyway..... back to the subject at hand. We attempted yesterday. With zero success. Not even a glimmer that they remembered anything from before. It was like day zero all over again. I was partially kicking myself for waiting so long, but not really, because it just wasn't happening, and I'm really not sorry I stopped. But I was sorry yesterday that there was such abysmal training happening.

Then today. Aidan screamed bloody murder for at least 10 minutes while I made him sit on the pot. He refused to do anything at all. For 10 minutes I debated within my head to the background music of screaming and crying.

Is this really worth it?
Why doesn't he just pee and get off?
Should I let him down and within 3 seconds he will pee on the floor?
Should I tough it out and make him sit there?
How long do I wait? How far am I willing to take this?
If I stop training him, will it damage whatever progress Jack is making?
Will Jack think he doesn't have to go if I let Aidan continue in diapers?

And on and on. After 10 minutes, I decided my limit was 10 min. I brought Jack in and explained that Aidan wasn't ready, but he was, and would still need to go in the potty. He seemed ok with it. Ok, so we are ready. Aidan back in diapers, and more than proud of his 'baby' status. Jack seems ok with the underpants. And you know what? He remembered some of what he was doing before. Like holding it in between going. And not having accidents. And how to release it once he is on the potty. Good boy!! Makin' momma happy.

And now, for TMI, I will give you the details of our greatest accomplishment. He looked at me once and said "toots ok?" I told him that toots were ok, but they probably meant he needed to go to the potty. He was adamant that he didn't need to go, and after a few back and forths, I dropped it, since I had taken him less than 5 min previous to this. Then he gets *that look* on his face, and says "mommy, me pooped". I begin my lecture, and rush him into the bathroom to get cleaned up, kicking myself the whole way for not taking him before. But guess what- no mess! So I put him on the potty, and he GOES! For real. All of it. I can't even tell you how unbelievably happy this made me. Not only are we solidly in Phase 1, but this catapults us straight into Phase 2 territory, and we catch a glimpse of Phase 3! It was just a language barrier with future tense/ past tense confusion!! He recognized he needed to go, and was able to put it in the proper place!!

He stayed dry all morning (except for the 2 hours he went to a friends- we are still heavily in the diapers for anytime outside the house), plus he initiated twice more besides the incident above. He did have one little accident, but it was in the late evening, and it was just a little bit. Woo Hoo!

So I am seeing progress with Jack. Major progress. The kind that gives me hope and motivation. We won't think about Aidan, just focus on the progress with Jack.

And there you have it. Like sand in the hourglass, so are the pees and poops in our potty.

Favorite Things

Here are a few things I am loving right now...


All the yummy fruit of summer! Pears, peaches, cherries, grapes, plums.... I could probably go on! I love going to the grocery store and just loading up on all the wonderful fruit! Even if it is breaking our budget!! :)

My favorite key chain! A soft, fluffy, cute little key holder. It unsnaps, so I can hook it around my belt loop or purse strap, it is adorable and fun to hold, and I never loose my keys in the bottom of my purse anymore! I got it here.


My new broom!! I found this at TJ Maxx for only $6.99. And it actually works really good! I mean, as long as you are doing something really mundane like sweeping, you may as well make it fun, right?
This picture has 2 current favorites- playing with cousins and swimming in the backyard pool. Cousins are awesome! We have finally gotten to the point where they actually play pretty well together, and they are close by, and the Mommies can take turns having a break! Swimming in the backyard is a perfect thing to do on a hot Georgia day! And the cleanup is pretty minimal.





Mmmmmm.... DC helps me get through every day! I love it! A nutritious, delicious treat.


Blue Bunny Sweet Freedom ice cream bars. They are SO yummy! And only 90 calories each! My favorite is the black cherry ice cream with dark chocolate. I treat myself to one of these tasty treats almost every night.