Potty Training, part deux

Last night, I sat down on the couch next to Aaron (who is recovering from ACL-knee surgery) with a notebook and started jotting down goals for the New Year. I wrote out some personal, family, and household goals for 2014. One of my family goals was to potty train Grant. He'll be three in the beginning of March and will most likely attend preschool in the Fall. 

I changed him out of his pajamas and diaper around 10 am and into a shirt, socks, and underpants. We made it through the morning and outside play (in the snow and 13 degree weather) without an accident. This afternoon was another story. He went through a total of 8 pairs of underwear, 7 accidents, refused dinner, and by the evening hours was refusing to visit the potty. It was hard on both of us. I had to track him down every 20-25 minutes and endure the crying, sobs, snot, and punches while he clawed his way off the toilet. He went to bed early and once he calmed down I assured him that I was proud of his efforts and asked if he'd try harder tomorrow. We read a story, said our prayers together, and he fell asleep nestled into his warm flannel bedding. We'll try again tomorrow. 

potty training shennanigans...ellie was a big helper and encourager and everyone loves to ride on marlo kitty's scooter.

December Daily | Crafts & Activities

We're going to try for one wintery, Christmas (Pinterest Preschool) craft/activity a day the whole month of December. We're a bit late, but we're late for most things these days.

Here's what we have planned for the rest of this week and next, if you'd like to follow along. (Testing 1, 2, 3. Is anybody still reading this little blog of mine?) I'll try to update with photos of my own kids and blog the next two weeks, soon.

Edited to add: We did not get to do a craft each day. It was a good idea, but overwhelming in the busyness of the holiday season, as well as Aaron's knee surgery and recuperation this year. Here's a highlight of what we did accomplish!

Marshmallow Snowmen

messy hair, don't care + extra dining table and random books on the floor. bonus points.

Handprint Ornaments

c for cady my little babysitting charge.
my version of the ornament...stamp fingers into clay, bake way longer than the directions say too, hand paint, and deliver to grateful parents/grandparents/childhood ornament boxes

my nativity was a gift from my mother upon my college graduation in december three years ago, but this year my cousin sent the kids their own nativity and ellie played with it everyday throughout the christmas season. i was so happy to see her make the connection from the stories she'd heard at school and church to her own play at home. precious.

Decorate a Gingerbread Village

2011 Baby Ellie and her friend Sophia's original village.

2013 ellie made a gingerbread village with her gigi & poppy this year. grant feasted on stale candy for weeks.

Lights Before Christmas at the Zoo
We tried to go to the Lights Before Christmas (after Christmas ;)) but the car line was over a mile long to get into the Zoo. We waited until the "LOT FULL" sign came into view and then ditched plans and went out to dinner. I was disappointed because we've done it every year as a family and this year, Aaron had knee surgery and when I tried to go with my parents, it was jam packed. Maybe next year?


A few months ago, we showed our house for sale on a whim. A friend of a friend was looking to buy in our neighborhood and wanted to stop by. They were pre-approved for a loan and our house was the right size and location for their family.

I had 40 minutes to ready the house, get one kid to nap, and nurse another. In the end, they loved it and placed an offer on the spot. And then the couldn't secure financing. 

A home is a sacred place. We felt violated. Their realtor said that they were pre-approved, otherwise we would've never let them in the door. The whole experience left a sour taste in our mouths and we really didn't want to list the house for sale, for real. 

A month or so later, the realtor approached us again. "I have a couple that is interested in a house your size...and they have cash."

We hemmed and hawed. Did we really want to sell? Would this opportunity ever present itself again?

We readied the house before the weekend came around. They toured our house but wanted to see other models and possibly build a new house in the same community. Another week passed while they toured other options. On the third week, they had a second walk through. They were the only couple to come through. We never even had a For Sale sign in the yard. They offered money, we countered back, they accept and we walked away with a bit of cash in our pockets. 

We closed on the sale last Friday. Over the weekend, we moved out of our house and in with my parents. 

It's bittersweet. I had never wanted to live their long term, but I spent eight years there. I learned how to be a wife there. I taught piano lessons there. I suffered through inferility and an empty nursery there, but I also brought three babies home there. 

A year ago when Aaron and I went through the hardest year yet of our marriage, I would have never thought this day would come. There was a time last year when I thought we would lose our house to the hardships we were facing. We lost friends, loyal companions, and an income, but we never lost that house. 

So cheers to new beginnings and to raising my children with a village. May they remember this time and look back with fond memories on the time that they get to spend with their grandparents. 

Marlo's Birth Story, part 2

LABOR, 40w3d

Unlike my son's labor, (which took 12 hours at the hospital plus 3 hours of pushing) Marlo came fast. For five weeks, I walked around dilated to 1 cm and only progressed from 50% effaced to 60% effaced. My labor started around 7:30 pm and we got checked into labor & delivery at 11:00 pm. Internal check revealed that I had dilated to 5 cm and I was so glad to hear that but disappointed I wasn't any farther. Aaron and I tried several different positions to get comfortable and the nurse tried to find a vein for the IV bag of fluids. I expressed my wishes to go without, but since my doctor wasn't on call for delivery I had to go by what the on call doctor ordered. Nurses poked and prodded and blew a vein and the dug around other locations and called in reinforcements. Finally they got the port in my left hand and between the pain of needle sticks, a male resident doctor, and my labor slowing down I became discouraged.

I tried dancing with Aaron for a while and it was nice to be out of bed but I was exhausted. I grabbed a pillow and hunched over a bench in the room to sleep between contractions. I stayed there as long as I could - the gravity felt good on my belly, but my knees couldn't handle the concrete floor and then I struggled to get up.

I remember refusing an internal exam from the resident doctor. He had huge hands and the thought of him examining me made me want to close up the labor shop. When he left the room the nurse explained that he needed to assess whether or not the baby and bag of waters were too high to break my water. I didn't care that it was a teaching & learning hospital, I just didn't want to be touched. The on call doctor finally came in and introduced herself, examined me and broke my bag of waters.

I was a loose 6 cm 1:30 am. I immediately went into transition and felt so out of control. My sister had come to check on me during her lunch break and got to witness the chills and vomiting that accompanied the changes my body was preparing for. (I think it might have solidified her stance on never having children!)

At this point, I remember pushing against every contraction. It was my way of applying counter-pressure against the contractions. They had me in bed and lying on my back and I could not get comfortable. I put as much weight as I could on my left hip and swayed back and forth to ease the pain. The nurse sat at my feet and would check me after every couple of contractions. I finally dilated all the way to 10 cm but still had a lip in my cervix, just like I did with Grant.

I remember the "ring of fire" when Grant crowned but once I got past the lip with Marlo, I couldn't stop pushing. The nurse and resident kept telling me to stop pushing but that's an inhumane thing to tell a mama in labor. They frantically paged the doctor and the resident was in place. Baby slipped on out and was caught by the resident as the doctor walked in and gowned up. They placed my beautiful baby on my chest and Daddy got to cut the cord. I kissed her beautiful face, wished her a happy birthday, and named her Marlo - in honor of my grandmother Mary Louise.