Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Full Hearts and Easter Baskets

She dyed most of her eggs pink
The week of Easter we kicked off the holiday by dying Easter eggs.  I made the comment to Scott that most crafts and activities seem to be getting easier and easier each day with the kids.  My mom has been apart of the egg dying process since becoming a Nana, this year was no exception as she showed up on the farm with a carton of eggs in hand.   
The lovely Lila
Saturday morning we took the kids to their first public egg hunt, held at the community center of our little town.  I was a little anxious for them as I wasn't sure how they would do racing against other kids for eggs. Luckily, all I had to do was tell Lila there was candy in the eggs, and that prompted her to hurry along and grab as many of the brightly colored plastic eggs as possible.  

He doesn't look like a fierce hunter, but watch out!
We've discovered that Paisley has a competitive streak in him, so after explaining that he had to be quick to get some eggs, he sprinted off to an area of the egg hunt that the other kids hadn't reached yet.  Both kids did great in their age group and Lila won a pink Build-a-Bear bunny.  As we were leaving Paisley said "Can we do this again next year?!"  I call that a successful egg hunt.

My blessings
Saturday night we headed to a church I had not been to before.  We have yet to find a fit that brings us back week after week, but we had heard good things about this one.  Scott had to work so Nana filled in and helped keep the little ones from coloring in the Bible.  The service and music were wonderful and I love the questions it prompted the kids to ask later that night and throughout the rest of the weekend.  I look forward to returning for another service!    

The next morning I was up before the rest of the house cutting fruit and baking the traditional bunny shaped dessert.  This year I went with a dark chocolate brownie with a mocha frosting.  It tasted fantastic and continued to taste wonderful the next few mornings as I snuck a few bites while sipping my coffee.  
Rotten eggs
Our first stop was my parents house.  My mom should have been a professional decorator as her holiday decor is always festive and beautiful.  The kids had an egg hunt before gathering around the table for a feast.  My mom and dad brought down baskets for everyone and the kids were beside themselves with excitement.  They were just as excited about new socks as they were about the candy.  
Time slipped away from us as we enjoyed the beautiful temperatures outside and enjoyed being with loved ones.  We strapped the babies into their car seats and it was time to head to Scott's parents house. 

Candy and Cousins
We've never taken for granted the short drive between our families home.  40 minutes in a car each holiday is something we can happily make happen.  The fun began again as the kids had an egg hunt with their cousin.   As the last few eggs were found, a huge thunderstorm rolled in, forcing us all indoors.  The exceptionally warm 77 degree day dropped to low 50's as we finished eating dinner.  

The kids received baskets from their grammie and the adults were able to catch up as the kids played.  The storm finally passed and it was time to head home.  The babies were crashing from the sugar and excitement of the day and were more then happy to slip into jammies and get to bed.  
Family of 4
Before Scott and I went to bed, I went and gave the babies kisses.  I like going to sleep with the images of them peacefully sleeping and having just kissed their sweet little heads.  Scott and I reflected on each part of our day. Having both of families to spend this holiday with.  Having children that are healthy, thankful, loving children.  Being blessed with so much more then what we deserve.  We don't take any of it for granted.    

I hope each of you have more blessings then you can count 
and the good fortune to realize it.  
Have a great week!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Entering the World of Children's Sports *gulp*

The sheet of paper slid out of his backpack with ease, as if this was all written in the stars and supposed to be happening.  I read over the words and looked back to his backpack, making sure he hadn't grabbed one of the older children's by mistake.  The moment caught me off guard and my eyes fell on my little boy.  Was he really old enough for t-ball sign-ups?

Lil Slugger
Growing up I played sports and loved watching baseball.  My husband also grew up in an athletic family that played sports, so naturally we knew the time would come for our offspring to play.  I just didn't expect it to happen so soon. 

Scott took our boy to sign ups while I stayed home with baby sister.  A few weeks later we received a text from his coach (a guy Scott went to high school with), a practice and game schedule, and a list of his teammates.  Paisley was happy to see 2 names on his teammate list that he knew from school.  

Being that Scott and I are first time parents in the world of children's sports, we were clueless about what type of equipment to purchase for our 4 year old.  Luckily Scott works with a seasoned children's sports parent and received the valuable advice of "At 4 they aren't going to be serious about the game, they might be more interested in watching the clouds pass over the t-ball diamond, and your child may never want to play again after 1 season.  So purchase the cheapest gear you can find and as long as it fits, it will be fine."  So our family of 4 ventured to Wal-Mart to buy a bat, batting helmet, glove, and a couple t-balls.  I'm pretty sure it was the first (and probably the last) time our family of 4 all went to Wal-mart together.
The gear

As I was putting the schedule of games and practices on our calendar, Scott and I realized the weekend we were rescheduling our trip to Pittsburgh was also Paisley's first game.  Obviously we weren't going to have him miss the game, so we had to reschedule our rescheduled road trip.  With a half laugh and half serious tone, Scott said "This is only the beginning of having kids in sports." 

Paisley has been practicing hitting the ball off his tee and we've been practicing fielding balls.  We've stressed to him that as long as he tries his hardest, we're going to be proud of the way he plays. 

His first practice is tonight and I think I'm more anxious then he is.  He may get out there and love the sport or he may take after his Aunt Bunny and spend more time looking for 4-leaf clovers then paying attention to the game.  Either way, we've officially entered the world of children's sports.  He may be the next Don Mattingly or he may decide that he's more of a football player then baseball.  I'll support those decisions and whatever sport he chooses, I'll be cheering him on in the stands with a smile on my face.    

It's time for Tuesday Talk and I'm once again teaming up with Polka-Dotty Place 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Family Time and Happy Friday!!!

Not your regular cup of joe
Originally we planned to head to Pittsburgh this weekend to visit friends.  Plans shifted when some of the family we were going to stay with tested positive for influenza on Wednesday.  We decided to road trip later next month!
Happy St. Patrick's Day!!
Our little family of 4 bumped up family night from Friday night to Thursday, in order to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.  We took our green clad crew to dinner at a local restaurant and enjoyed some phone-free family time.  After dinner we made green shebert shakes.  The kids loved them and next year we won't serve the 7-up infused beverage to the kids right before bed.

Did you want some cereal?
Despite our road trip changing dates, Scott went ahead and kept his requested day off and we had a full day of family entertainment!  We started with a huge breakfast and making plans for our day.  The kids didn't realize their dad took the day off, so when Scott asked if they wanted to go to the museum with him, they cheered (literally, they cheered) with excitement.  

The balance board
We headed to the Children's Museum of Evansville and the kids enjoyed dragging Scott to all of their favorite exhibits and interactive stations.  They always have a good time at CMOE, but watching them play drums with their dad, build structures, and play in the water room the happiness on their little faces couldn't be missed.  We weren't even half way through the museum when Lila exclaimed, "this is the best day EVAH!!!"
"Can I have dis? Pweese?"
By the time we had seen and done everything the kids wanted to do at the museum, little and big tummies were hungry!  We grabbed sandwiches at Culvers before heading to the Superbike Shop.  Right now we have 1 four wheeler that we all play on, but eventually we're going to need another toy for our family to enjoy.  While Scott looked over the side by sides, Paisley found a green 4-wheeler that he fell in love with.  Lila found a pink one that she loved so much she kissed it good-bye when it was time to leave.  I'm positive both kids (and probably Scott) will dream about our trip to the Superbike Shop today.
Off into the weekend
Back home to the farm with babies that are exhausted but insist they aren't and a husband that has decided it is time to take down our outdoor Christmas lights (finally!)!  I'm soaking up the happiness I feel from a day spent with my favorites and enjoying a day that was a little out of the ordinary.  The rest of our weekend is plan-free and we are ready for it!!

See you next week!!   

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Potty Talk - Training Early, Part 2

Get excited about diaper-free nights!
As our son was nearing his 3rd birthday we decided to start talking to him about wearing big boy undies to bed.  He had consistently been accident free throughout the day for the past 6 months and he had zero issue napping without a diaper.  He liked the idea of wearing his cartoon themed underwear all night, so having him on board was the first step.

Up until we began potty training over night, we had allowed him to have a cup of water in his room.  Now that we wanted him to stay dry all night, we removed the cup from his room and put it in his bathroom.  We explained that if he got up to get a drink, he needed to use the potty as well.  After 1 or 2 accidents during the night, the process clicked and he was permanently free of diapers.  At 4 years old, we allowed the cup of water to return back to his room as he no longer needed the reminder to use the potty.  
We are currently in the midst of overnight training our 2.5 year old daughter.  The first night I put Lila in big girl underwear she slept for a few hours before coming to me and asking if she could sleep in a diaper.  We switched back to a diaper that night and the following evening she said she was ready for princess panties.  Letting her have control of the situation and making the decision to sleep in underwear vs diaper helped us have a successful few nights.

A happy experience = a positive experience
The rest of the week diaper free sleeping went alright.  We had dry nights and wet nights.  Then she caught a cold that kept her up throughout the night coughing and having difficulty breathing. That set us back in our progress and I put her back in diapers during the night.  She's "almost" back to healthy again and I'll give it another few days before we try another diaper free night.

I have tweaked her overnight training a little bit as I am concerned about her climbing on the big potty in the middle of the night without someone else awake.  I put the BabyBjorn potty in her room with a roll of toilet paper.  I also put her cup of water next to her little potty.  She has a nightlight next to the potty lighting up the area.  Prior to her catching a cold, the little potty had proven successful to her training.

As I fully expect her to have a few more accidents prior to mastering staying dry throughout the night, I leave a spare sheet, an extra pair of jammies, and a new pair of underwear on top of her dresser to make cleaning up a wet baby in the middle of the night easier.  

To wrap up our Training Early Part 2, I want to discuss a few key points:
  • Talk through the overnight process with your child.  Make sure they know exactly what to do if they wake up and have to pee.  
  • Let them make the decision.  If they aren't ready give them more time. 
  • Character underwear are a HUGE deal! If they have underwear they are excited about, they'll want to stay in them all day and night!
  • Celebrate those dry nights with fun breakfasts!   
  • They will have accidents.  Don't get discouraged.  If you need to switch back to diapers for a few nights, do it!  You're still making progress!  
Road tripping with the traveling potty
Today I'm linking up with Polka-Dotty Place http://polka-dottyplace.blogspot.com 
and the 
wonderful ladies at Tuesday Talk!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Welcoming the Weekend!!

"Will you lay underneath me?"
This week the early spring crud hit our home and both babies came down with sniffles and coughs.  The extra snuggles were worth the excess snotty noses I had to wipe.  Little sister was hit the hardest and had a difficult time sleeping at night.  This also resulted in less then successful nights of being diaper-free.  I've put her back in diapers at bedtime until this cold passes and then we'll start again.  More details to come this Tuesday in the potty-training part 2 post!

Are you my mommy?
We've had an uninvited furry visitor at our home this week that would be welcome with open arms....except he's a jumper that knocks down small people.  After multiple days of him hanging around and zero luck finding his real home via Facebook, I called the dog catcher.  Of course when the dog catcher arrived the dog disappeared.  Smart dog!

Target can get exhausting after the first hour
We're gearing up for a road trip to Pittsburg in a couple weeks to visit friends.  I've started picking up small treats in the dollar bins at Target to give to the kids during the 7 hour drive. I also picked up a few winter clearance items for Lila that were super cheap!  Winter boots and dresses less then $7! I love stocking up on markdowns for the next year!

I think she was playing an air guitar
JCPenny also had great markdowns on clothes and accessories!  I think my kids could have shopped all day!

Today we are staying home and taking it easy in hopes of kicking the crud once and for all.  The weather is warming up so we took our snack outside to breath in fresh air.   We're looking at a nice few days ahead of us and we are ready for it!!  Have a great weekend!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Potty Talk- Training Early, Part 1

As my son was nearing 6-months, I started thinking about potty training.  If you think that sounds crazy, that's ok, because so did my husband.

I didn't start potty training because I despised changing diapers, but because I couldn't imagine a baby being comfortable, even for a few minutes, in a dirty diaper. I purchased the most plain looking potty I could find, the BabyBjorn Potty Chair in white.  Less bells and whistles = less distractions.  It has a high splash guard for boys which was a life saver and was super easy to clean.  I took it home and the process began.
I started the first week by sitting him on the potty while he was dressed for a few minutes each day.  This familiarized him with the potty and gave him a chance to practice sitting on it.  While he was able to sit on his own he could not stand.  I think beginning this process before the child has mobility helps.  
Somedays he wasn't a fan
The following week I began putting him on the potty first thing in the morning without a diaper.  While he was on there I began (don't laugh) making grunting noises.  This is the best way I could think of to communicate what he was supposed to do while sitting there.  My husband was skeptical and worried I was going to be let down when it didn't work.  After a week of grunting a few minutes a day, the progress was in the pot.  I will spare you the picture, but the almost 7 month old had pooped in the potty.  Everyone said it was a fluke and it probably wouldn't happen again.  We continued this process for the next month, every morning, sitting on the potty, grunting.  By 8 months he was trained to poop on the potty.  He had maybe 5 accidents that resulted in me changing a poopy diapers.  My husband apologized for thinking the process was crazy and our days of changing poopy diapers were over.
At 8 months I stepped up the training to sitting him on the potty for a few minutes, every 2 hours, each day.  This is roughly when he would need a diaper change anyway, so why not spend an extra few minutes letting him sit on the potty.  I would make the "S" sound with my lips to associate a peeing sound.  After a few weeks he would frequently pee while on the potty.  At this point he was only peeing in his diapers 1/2 the time.  The potty was kept in the living room as that is where we spent most our day and it was convenient.

At a year and a half he was using the potty almost every time I placed him on it.  It was very rare that he initiated needing the potty on his own, but it occasionally happened.  I could tell by his movement (the pee pee dance) when he needed to sit. I also began introducing him to the big potty with the Arm and Hammer Secure Comfort Potty Seat.  This seat has handles for him to hold while in the seated position, a splash guard, and it was easy to clean.  This seat was also easier to take with us when visiting friends/family than the BabyBjorn potty.

At 2 years old, he no longer needed diapers during the day (we hadn't even thought about staying dry at night yet).  He switched to wearing underwear and we began the process of leaving the house in underwear.  I moved the BabyBjorn potty into the back of our SUV and would make sure he would pee before we left the house.  While running errands I would make him sit on the potty in the back of the vehicle every few hours.  This kept any accidents from happening.

To wrap up our Training Early Part 1, I want to breakdown the process in a few steps.

  • Start early if possible.  They can't run away from you and they are interested in this new seat they're sitting on.  
  • Be consistent.  Find a time that is easy to stick to and put them on the potty every day at the same time.  Somedays they will like it, somedays they will despise it.  Stick with it.  
  • Make a BIG deal when they go on the potty! Lots of cheers, claps and happy faces.
  • The potty is not a toy and not to be played with.  If they go to it, put them on it for a few minutes.  
  • They will have accidents.  Don't get discouraged.  Stick with it.  
Each kid is different and each parent is different.  I used this same process on my daughter starting at 8 months and had semi different results.  She was pee trained well before she liked pooping on the potty.  She also was less agreeable about sitting on the potty then her brother, but with persistence she was also out of diapers during the day by her 2nd birthday.  

Next week I'll talk more about staying dry at night.  In the meantime if you have any questions please leave me a comment below!  Or if you have a potty training tip that may help other parents, please leave that below as well!

Linking up with Polka-Dotty Place http://polka-dottyplace.blogspot.com


Friday, March 4, 2016

Weekly Wrap-Up!

The weekend is barreling down on us like a runaway locomotive and we are ready to jump on and take a ride!
Just a swingin'
The weather this week was warm and cold and rainy with wind.  We spent the warmest evening soaking up the sun and letting the breeze blow our hair.  The kids could spend hours on their platform swing squealing with delight and yelling to hear their voices echo off the big red barn.  We long for the days of warm spring and summer weather to spend hours at a time outside.

Craft time!
Big box store dollar bins are great places to find holiday crafts for the kids.  This week they painted  ceramic bunnies.  This is the point I realized I need to find painting smocks for the kids as paint doesn't always come out of clothes.  I also realized that sometimes the kids would rather paint empty cardboard paper towel rolls instead of cute bunnies.  You live and learn.

That little hand....
This week my girl reminded me how little she still is, yet how big she's trying to be.  Despite her attempts to give up her daily nap, one day I found her in her bed, under her covers sound asleep.  I hadn't even mentioned her taking a nap?  A few minutes after I found her asleep she called for me and I picked her up, laid down on the couch with her on my chest, and there she slept for over an hour.  It had been months since she slept on my chest.  The weight of her, the sound of her breathing, and the warmth of her little body against mine were pure bliss.  I had missed that....  

As for her being a "big" girl...we are completely done with diapers.  Who would have thought that is something I would be sad about?  Last night was the first night her bed was kept dry....we won't mention the fact that when I went in her room this morning she was sleeping completely naked with about 8 pairs of pants laying in her bed with her (who knows what she was doing?).  For the record, she did have pajamas on when I put her to bed the night before.

Before the hat was christened....
Funday Friday involved us going to the zoo for a final glimpse of the orchid escape!  We had the place to ourselves as it was a cold morning and most people don't venture to the zoo on mornings like this.  It was all fun and games until a duck pooped on Paisley's head.  Luckily he had his hat on....but I think going forward he will be leery of walking through the jungle-like areas.

After the zoo it was off to grab a sweet treat and celebrate the end of the week and a morning with friends.  As if we really need an excuse to get donuts.

Thinking thinking thinking
The Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science waives admission on the the first Friday of each month.  That was our destination after fueling the kids up on sugar.  We let the kids run free in the child friendly areas but strapped them into the stroller as we walked through the paintings and statues.  I was excited to see an Andy Warhol painting that I had never noticed before.  We had to get creative in explaining why some paintings depicted naked characters spearing fish. I guess you're never too young to learn that everyone has a different definition of "art."

Train car giggles
After walking through the out of service train engine and cars, we called it an afternoon and headed back to the farm.  Both kids opted out of a nap and have now emotionally crashed from their funday Friday and donut.  I'll wipe their overstimulated tears away and count down the hours until their dad comes home bringing boxes of pizza. Here's to a weekend of warmer temperatures and dry beds.

See you next week!


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Empty Drawer and Other Kid Tasks

I would never wish away time, wanting my kids to get bigger...but since I don't have a choice in the matter, I am embracing some of the tasks they can independently perform at 2.5 and 4.5 years old! Tasks that not only help me out but also teach them to clean up after themselves.

Shoes!! Between the 4 of us we have over 100 pair of shoes floating about.  We don't wear shoes in the house and I didn't want a pile of shoes in front of our door.  I bought each child a shoe rack for their closet and they learned that once their shoes come off, they must be taken to their closet and put on their rack.  Having the racks help the shoes get exactly where they need to be and keeps them off the floor.
I did straighten them up for the photo!
Laundry is a never ending task at our house.  Each kid has their own laundry basket from Land of Nod that all dirty clothes get thrown in. On laundry day, each kid is responsible for bringing their basket to the laundry room and then returning it to their closet once it has been emptied.  These baskets have proven indestructible thus far and come in cute colors!  The material is light enough that the 2.5 year old can pull hers through the house without assistance.  *Sidenote: When they are empty the kids pretend they are cat house and "live" in them.

Hers and his closet hampers
As clean clothes are coming out of the laundry the 4.5 year old can put away all of his clothes in the correct drawer.  He isn't tall enough to reach the hanging items in his closet, so I still take care of those.  The 2.5 year old can barely reach any drawers, which is why she has an empty bottom dresser drawer.  As I give Lila her clean and folded clothing, she takes them to her room and puts them in the empty bottom drawer.  Later I will go in her room and pull everything out of the bottom drawer and put it in the correct spot.  Having her assist is teaching her the importance of helping and responsibility for her belongings.  It helps me get everything to her room in one location and putting them away takes very little time.

The easy to reach empty drawer
Having kids means having toys and books.  Both kids have several canvas bins that toys are stowed in.  We had originally purchased bins from Land of Nod, however they have a thin support rod on each corner.  The rod easily breaks if bent causing a deformed bin.  I then purchased bins at Target that are a stiffer fabric and do not contain the rods.  These are holding up much better.  Both kids are responsible for picking up toys before bed and putting the bins in their designated areas.  We purchased an 8 cube bin from Better Homes and Gardens that works great at holding bins, books, and larger items.

Keeping clutter off the floor!
The kitchen is a great, although messy, place to let your kids help clean up.  The 4.5 year old sets the table before dinner.  He's also able to help empty the dishwasher and place the dishes on a towel on the counter.  The 2.5 year old is able to carry cups with lids and small empty plates to the table.  Both understand knives and hot plates are taken care of by momma.  Letting them assist in the kitchen gives them the feeling of being "helpful" and "needed."  Both of mine seem to eat that up....or maybe they're just trying to hurry dinner to the table?  Either way.

Teaching young children to help in the kitchen and around the house will stick with them as they grow into young adults. Even at a young age children are able to take pride in having a clean room that they are responsible for.  Don't get me wrong, somedays my house looks like a tornado passed through and I question if we have been burglarized or if this is just how the house looks.  On those days I ask my littles to help out and they do.  Who knew little people could be so helpful??

She was surprised that a 2.5 year old could be so helpful!!
Below you will find links to some of the storage items mentioned above!

http://www.landofnod.com/bins-and-baskets/storage/i-think-i-canvas-hamper/f4156 - Clothing Hampers

http://www.target.com/p/threshold-fabric-cube-storage-bin-patterned/-/A-50253259 - Target bins

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Better-Homes-and-Gardens-8-Cube-Organizer-Multiple-Colors/29741111 - 8 Cube Bin

Joining up with Polka-Dotty Place http://polka-dottyplace.blogspot.com and the other ladies at Tuesday Talk!!