Saturday, April 25, 2009

Adventures in Potty Training

Happily, I can report that Liam is now potty trained. Hurray!

We spent all day yesterday and today filling him with liquid and then running him to the bathroom every ten minutes and by jove, I think he's got it. I know that there will be setbacks and trying moments (like being somewhere that has no bathroom - like our neighborhood park), but I think we're down to one official diaper-clad kid.

As with all parenting adventures, I've learned some lessons along the way:

1. Potty train when it's warm. When Sydney was two, we potty trained her in November and three days of running around half naked in our cold and drafty bungalow earned her a cough and cold.

2. If you use candy as a bribe/reward (yes, I'm a horrible mother who is known to occasionally use sugar to get her kids to do things), make sure you have a large supply before you start. Running out of mini M&M's halfway through the process of potty training is a tragedy on an epic scale to a two year old. Although, I did discover that chocolate chips will work as a bribe in a pinch.

3. Your super smart kid will take advantage of the pee=candy system. We give Liam a mini M&M every time he's successful and boy, did he figure it out early on. He went to the bathroom six times in ten minutes because he knew he'd get an M&M.

4. Potty chairs are useless. Putting a potty ring on a regular sized toilet is not only less messy, but more realistic seeing as public places don't have potty seats just sitting around. If you have lots of money lying around, you might look into replacing your regular sized toilet with a child sized toilet. Sydney's old preschool had them and she really liked them. (Although, in defense of the potty chair, I know some people who put them in the living room in front of the TV and let their kids sit on them all day while watching Barney or Dora or whatever. It worked for them, so I guess you never know.)

5. Plastic training pants are useless, too. Some people I know used them and loved them, but we found that they were just bulky under Sydney's clothes and just one more thing to try to pull off in a hurry.

6. Antibacterial wipes are your friend when out in public. You never know when a newly trained toddler will need to use the facilities and the conditions of those facilities may be less than desirable (think overused bathrooms of a fast food joint somewhere between here and New Orleans where the oldest person working there is at least ten years younger than you are and cleaning the bathrooms is the last thing on their list of things to do). I always carry a travel pack in my purse.

7. Pull-ups are good for two things: nap time and traveling in the car. Sydney's preschool didn't allow them and I completely understand why. You want your toddler to feel uncomfortable in wet pants and Pull-ups are too much like a diaper.

8. Temper tantrums are prime "accident" times. Not only do tantruming toddlers lose control of their emotions, they lose control of other things, like bladders. So watch out!

9. Your pediatrician doesn't know everything. Our pediatrician warned me that boys potty train later than girls and that speech-delayed children train even later. Liam turns two and half next month. Ha!

Anyway, I'm sure that Murphy's Law dictates that something will go horribly wrong and Liam will be back in diapers next week, but for now we're thrilled to be saving $40 a month on diapers and we are very proud of our little guy.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sneaky PTA People

For two months, Sydney has been so excited about her first concert/performance at school. She's been singing and dancing up a storm so that she can practice her moves and perfect her pitch. She's worked really hard.

The kindergarten concert was this evening and it was so much fun. Each class was asked to wear a certain color so that the entire group looked like a rainbow. Luckily, Sydney's class was "red" and right up front so that I could get a great view of her singing and dancing. All of her hard work paid off because she sang her little heart out and danced with the best of them. She did a great job playing the kazoo for one of the songs, too. I took lots of video, but since there are other kids in it, I don't want to post it because those kids aren't as cute as my kid I don't think their parents would appreciate some stranger posting their kids' pictures on the internet. Trust me though, it was some cute stuff.

However, in order to watch Sydney do her thing, I had to sit through this month's PTA meeting first. They did it on purpose, of course. Otherwise, there would have been only fifteen people there to witness the Bree Hodge look-a-likes take their oaths of office for next year. Just kidding. Actually, I was surprised to see that most of the PTA people looked like normal moms ("mom jeans" included).

They may actually lure me to the dark side and convince me to join the PTA next school year. Except I hope the "mom jeans" aren't a requirement.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Should've Known Better

Once upon a time, there was a woman who lived with her husband and children in The Big City. The woman belonged to a large neighborhood mom's group and while she didn't always agree with the politics of the group, she enjoyed the company of her son's age-bracketed play group enough to stick with the larger group. She and her son met their friends at the park, swim lessons and each other's houses for some regular chit-chat and play time. All were happy.

As the woman's family grew, she and her husband decided to leave The Big City for another, more affordable community called The Land of Fruit. Upon their arrival in The Land of Fruit, the woman looked for a mom's group similar to the one she left behind.

The first one she encountered was only for mothers of home-schooled children. As the woman was preparing to send her eldest child to a public kindergarten, she knew that she would not fit into this group so she moved on.

The second one she encountered was only for mothers of children with disabilities. While thankful that her children were able bodied, the woman wondered if she'd ever find a group to join.

The third group she encountered sounded more promising as it was for stay-at-home moms. However, upon closer inspection, she noticed that the fine print stated, "FOR STAY-AT-HOME MOMS ONLY. All of our activities are scheduled for during the day and would not be suitable for working moms." While the woman fit the criteria for the group, she didn't want to be a part of a group that was so arrogantly exclusive.

The woman put her search for a mom's group on hold for a while. She and her children went about their daily routines for many months until one day, a flyer appeared in her son's Mother's Day Out cubby:

"Are you a mom looking for some adult conversation and playmates for your children? Join the Mom's Group of The Land of Fruit. Contact Mommy X for more information."

A ha! the woman thought. Finally, a group just for me and my little ones.

So the woman contacted Mommy X for more details. Liking what she read in their monthly newsletter and excited about finding some playmates for her sons, the woman decided to join the Mom's Group of The Land of Fruit. She printed out the membership form and was prepared to write a check for the group's annual dues when she received this e-mail from Mommy X:

"I noticed from the address you gave me that you live on the west end of The Land of Fruit. Unfortunately, this group is for families who live on the east end of The Land of Fruit. Sorry. There are play groups on your side of town that I'm sure would love to have you."

The woman was stunned. Surely she wasn't rejected because of where she lived! What's next? she thought. Play group rejection based on the size of one's house or the occupation of one's husband?

Disheartened and unsure if her ego could take yet another blow, the woman decided to give up the search for a mom's group until her self esteem recovered.

To be continued.......

Friday, April 17, 2009

Fun Fact Friday - Kinda

- I got a Wii Fit for my birthday. While it's a lot of fun, I don't appreciate the Wii saying, "Oomf," when I step on the balance board. I know I haven't lost all the baby weight yet (and I'm beginning to think I never will), but sheesh.

- Our church currently has a campaign going that asks everyone to take 30 minutes a day to listen to a recording of the New Testament. Amazingly, my procrastinating self has actually been keeping up with it and surprisingly, I've been enjoying it. However, the actor who "plays" Jesus comes off a bit arrogant. I don't know if it's the translation being used or the tone of his voice or what, but it bothers me.

- I stopped watching Oprah a few years ago when her shows got all frou-frou and new agey. But I'm really liking her shows again (most of them). I really liked the one where she visited the polygamist compound here in Texas. I learned a lot and while I don't agree with polygamy, I understand why the people there might find it appealing. I know I'd love to have someone else sweep the breakfast room floor for the millionth time this week.

- I already miss "ER". It was on the air for nearly half of my lifetime and I never missed an episode. The ones that made me cry uncontrollably were my favorites (especially the episode when Dr. Carter goes to Africa to recover Dr. Kovac's body).

- I think I'm going to officially close my chocolate business. I was so excited about it when I started it, but then we moved. Unfortunately, our old neighborhood was the perfect location and I just don't know that it would go over very well here in The Land of Fruit. Plus, I don't have the time to make the chocolates anymore and I'm really tired of dealing with the tax stuff from the state. Oh well, I guess it can still be a hobby for me.

- I'm contemplating joining another mom's group. I'm a bit tentative, given my experiences with my last one, but I think it will be good for me and the boys to get out a bit and make some friends.

- They boys' nap schedules are driving me nuts. Evan naps from 9-11 am. We eat lunch at 11:30 and Liam naps from 12-2:30. Evan's afternoon nap is 1:30-3:30. I'm literally in the house all day while a child sleeps. Bor-ing. I cannot wait until Evan drops the morning nap and he and Liam are on the same schedule.

- Long after I finish a book, I find myself wondering about the characters and wondering how they're doing. And then I think something like, "Of course that character isn't up to anything. Number one, she's fictional. And number two, you big dolt, even if she were real, she'd be long dead since the book was set in the 1800's."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Making Plans

Now that Easter is over, the kids are really looking forward to May (due to birthdays) and summer. Well, Sydney is looking forward to those things since she is aware of them. The boys? Well....they just roll with the punches at this point.

Sydney is so excited about her birthday next month. We decided to adopt my sister's "big parties every other year" strategy so there won't be anything too overly complicated to plan or carry out as opposed to last year with the park, pinata and pizza for 50 people. (At 38 weeks pregnant, no less.) We told her we'd take her and a friend to Build a Bear and Chick-fil-A and she seemed perfectly happy with that scenario. Whew! I was honestly expecting a big old drama queen scene, but she's excited to make a bear for herself since she's only made them for her brothers as "Welcome to the World, You Big Attention Hog Little Sibling" gifts. We'll have a small family party at our house for her and Evan at some point, too. I can't believe my little boy will turn one next month!

I was really dreading the summer a few weeks ago, but the plans and activities are really starting to come together. I signed all three kids up for Bible School at my sister's church (I'll be volunteering) so that's one week in June that I don't have to worry about. Then there's a few days at my parents' annual time share in San Antonio and our week of vacation in July. I'm also looking into gymnastics for Sydney and Liam and former lifeguard Ryan said he'd do their swim lessons in the evenings and on the weekends. Throw in some trips to the zoo, some mornings at the park, a night or two with the grandparents here and there and I think I'm pretty well covered. And I think I've decided that every day that we don't have something official planned, we're going to do an activity out of "The Dangerous Book for Boys." Ryan got it for me a couple of years ago (since I know absolutely nothing about raising boys) and it's got some really fun ideas in it.

So, what are your plans for the summer? Anything fun planned? Any ideas I can steal from you?

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Despite the stormy, rainy morning, we had a very lovely Easter. Our church's contemporary service was moved from a park downtown back to our church due to the impending inclement weather, but it was still a great service with wonderful music. Of course, I'm a bit biased since Ryan is in the band.

Sydney and Liam at our church's hunt last week:



Each of them had their own style of egg hunting - Sydney grabbed only pink eggs while Liam put his basket on the ground and picked up two eggs at a time before depositing them in his basket.

Here they are after their hunt at my parents' house (inside, thanks to the rain):





Evan had fun shaking the eggs since my dad put coins in them.

And here are a couple of gratuitous Evan photos, just because he's just so darn cute:



Happy Easter!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Spring is in the Air

We had gorgeous spring weather this past weekend. With the exception of Saturday's lunch and Sunday's church services, we spent almost the entire weekend outside. Of course, today is cold and windy so we'll break our pattern of playing outside, but we did have a fabulous weekend. Here are a few of our pictures from Friday's adventures at the nearby park.

Liam playing hard (as usual):




Sydney, posing more than playing:



Evan, entertaining himself:




Where Sydney goes, Liam must follow:



A funny moment (well, funny for us, not so much for her) when Sydney got her hair caught in the swing:


And, lastly, a picture of my big girl holding up her gift from the Tooth Fairy:


The kids had their first egg hunt yesterday, but I'll hold all the Easter pictures for a post next week.

I hope everyone had as great a weekend as we did!