Tuesday, December 16, 2014

He did it!

The house smells incredible right now. I'm making a recipe that I found on the inside of the butter box. (Specifically, these.) There's something that feels so daring about making a recipe that comes from the product package.

Anyway, I'm here to say, William DID IT!

Besides wearing a diaper at night, Will is officially in big boy underwear!

And the only accident he's had in weeks was (OF COURSE) in the church nursery. Thankfully, I had a change of clothes. I won't ever leave the house without one until he's.... four? Besides, the accident was TOTALLY my fault. I should have taken him before dropping him off, and I didn't.

He's been wearing big boy underwear for at least a month now. A month! At less than 2.5, he's officially a Big Boy!

I was having QUITE the time of it. I told my friend Ashleigh, "I can't get him to go on the toilet. We try and try and sit and sit and he won't go! He holds it until I put his diaper on for naptime, OR until he can't hold it anymore and he pees all over the floor. I've tried treats, reading books... I don't know what to do."

She suggested running the warm water in the bathtub, undressing him, and letting him stand and pee in the tub . I wasn't sure if that wouldn't just be training him to pee in the tub, but she said, "At least he wouldn't be going in his diaper."

I figured I'd give it a try.

So the very next morning, I told him he was going to be wearing big boy underwear. I put him in the bathtub with warm water running, and he peed. I knew he would. I lavished him with praise and gave him a little treat. The rest of the day, we did that. It worked great!

The following day - oh, rats. It was a doctor's appointment for Barrett. I figured there's no way I was going to take Will out in underwear. But when I got out the diaper, he shocked me and said, "I want to wear big boy underwear." This! From the stinker who had been telling me he didn't want to wear it for weeks now! What could I do?

I packed a change of clothes and right before we left, he peed in my shower. And he did great! I kept telling him, (Over and OVER), "Remember, you're not wearing a diaper!"

That became kind of a catch phrase through this process and now, sometimes, when I put him underwear on he'll tell me, "Remember, you're not wearing a diaper!"

He went straight from diapers to underwear. I didn't want him to feel like it was okay to go sometimes and not other times, and plus have you priced out Pull-Ups lately? Holy Sheesh. I had them in my cart and then was like, UM no. He knows he still needs a diaper at night, but he gets a treat if he keeps it dry all night (only happened two or three times though). I'm sure the poor sister volunteering in Toddlers in Sunday was wishing he'd been wearing a pull-up, however.

After about a week of that, it was like he finally knew how to control his pee, and he pretty much effortlessly transitioned to the potty. I thought we might have to gradually transition him away from peeing in the tub, but it was as easy as saying, "Okay bud, let's try the potty now." Oh yeah - and I stopped giving a treat for going pee pee in the shower, only for the potty.

I HIGHLY recommend the "My Big Boy/Girl Potty" books by Joanna Cole. We actually got both from the library and Will loved the girl one just as much. He definitely identified with the characters and we quote the book a lot. "'Don't worry,' said mommy. 'All children have accidents sometime. Next time you'll remember.' And you know what? Next time, [William] did! You can be like William. You can learn to use the potty too! Then won't you be proud of yourself!"

And after I say that, William gives me a huge grin and asks, "Say it again?"

Thursday, December 4, 2014

December dudes

I have NO business blogging right now. I'm in way over my head but my kids are adorable and hilarious as always and I want to hang on to it!

Last night Will said, "It's reawwy (really) dark outside! Let's turn it on." Turn on what, buddy? "Turn on the outside."

He likes to say really. I'm reawwy sweepy. I'm reawwy hungry. I'm reawwy tired.

He also likes to answer questions lately with a full sentence. William, are you hungry? No, I'm not. Only, 9 times out of 10 he uses the wrong phrase. Will, are you okay? Yeah, I did. Will, are you being kind to Barrett? No, I don't. 

Lately, Will's obsessed with:
Sitting in Barrett's crib with a blanket draped over the side and "doing puppet show"
Talking to Wendy from Bob the Builder (constantly voiced by yours truly)
Anything stuck in the muck
Asking daddy "how was your day?" and then interrupting him - every time - to point out the buck mounts in the living room
Playing in the kinetic sand with his tractors

Lately, Barrett is totally on the go!
Everything's in the mouth. Not super happy to stay in the carrier unless sleepy. Still the world's happiest guy. Even when sick! Sleeping better and better all the time (between colds, of course, and even during them sometimes). Explores, explores, explores. Loves 'lift the flap' books - he'll flip the flaps back and forth endlessly. Loves the Tegu wheels - for some reason he crawls around with one in his hand almost constantly. Searches for the fuzzy side of his blanket and the instand he finds it - thumb in mouth. He's a cuddler and a laugher and a wiggle worm.

What a couple of dudes!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Whatta day.

I'm typing this on my phone as I listen to the tail end of Barrett's long, drawn-out, infernal fussing-it-out for bedtime. He's been at this for over an hour. I was thinking something was wrong, until I realized he was totally happy to play with my necklace in the rocking chair. And I'm like; "Barrett, what are you doing? You never give me a problem at bedtime." And he's all, "Thought you were gonna put me down early tonight? NOPE, sucker! That was a nap, and now I'm ready to play at 10:30!" But Barrett has met his match, I'm afraid. It's not playtime.

And Will is such a trooper, laying in bed and listening to his brother making all that noise, just holding his blanket and resting. Every time I've gone in there to soothe and readdress, he sits up in bed and starts pointing out all the artwork above his crib. "See elk?" he whispers loudly. "See big fish, firetruck?"

But Will hasn't been so chill all day. In fact, right before Brian came home, he had his biggest meltdown to date. I've been pretty blessed with a kid who hasn't been given to tantrums thus far, so this might sound pretty mild to some, but it was a showstopper here.

This is how it went:
Naptime is over, and we're heading downstairs. I'm a little flustered because somehow, two hours have gone by and I haven't gotten my stuff done. Brian's coming home in about 20 minutes and I still have a sink full of dishes, a full, clean dishwasher load, and a clean load of folded laundry on the dining room table that needs to be put away, Will happily walks beside me, blanket and tractor in one arm and a Bob the Builder DVD in the other hand.

(Aside: my firstborn is in love with BtB right now. It's just one Bob the Builder Christmas DVD we've borrowed from the library a few times, and we recently picked it up on Wednesday. This time, he wants to carry the case around everywhere he goes, talking to Bob and showing him all his toys. It's quite an obsession. I haven't even let him watch it yet - he gets to on Saturday - and he doesn't want to go anywhere without "Bob.")

So we see some toys that I keep in the guest room. Will wants to play with them. I tell him sure, we can play with those toys downstairs. We're standing at the top of the stairs. I grab the bucket of toys and take Will's tractor and blanket and I take his hand to walk carefully down the steps with me.

Will decides he wants to play with those toys upstairs.

No, honey, I say. We're going to play with them downstairs, because Mommy's got a lot of work to do and you need to help Mommy get the job done and blah blah blah.

NO, William is insistent. MUST PLAY UPSTAIRS.

Patiently, I explain again.

Unconvinced, William persists.

I'm explaining. He starts crying. Put on a happy heart, I say. Come with me right now, I say, my voice still calm but oh, just barely.

I'm standing on the steps with Wiggly Barrett in my left arm, tractor in left hand, blanket thrown over left shoulder, and giant bucket of toys under right arm, a bunch of crap to do downstairs, a ticking clock, and a toddler having a mini meltdown over not being able to play with his toys in his desired location. (Trust me, they'd play just the same downstairs.) I've been trying to reason with him calmly and I can't do it anymore. I snap. I grab his hand. "Listen to me!" I yell at him. He's startled and shocked and starts crying louder, surprised that I'm yelling and mad because I won't give him his toys.

I decide that I am NOT going to sit here and yell at him. Patient reasoning is not working either. I set down the toys and pick him up. I carry him, one-armed, into his crib, grab the Bob the Builder CD out of his hand, and say, "I will come back when you can calm down."

I believe that if I'd just left him in there with Bob, he would have been fine. But I had the GALL to take Bob and Will just fell apart. He sobbed/yelled for twenty minutes straight - STRAIGHT - "I WANT BOB! I WANT BOB! I WANT BOB!"

In the meantime, I got everything done downstairs. Clothes put away, dishwasher emptied and filled, table set. All to the soundtrack of a miserable little man.


You understand.

Eventually I went back up. Brian was going to be home in a few minutes and I didn't want him to come home to this. I had planned on waiting but this had gone on long enough. "William, you will not get Bob back until you stop crying."


I walked up to the crib. "William, throwing a fit is not okay. I want you to say you're sorry to Mommy."

"I sowwy Mommy."

"I forgive you. Now Mommy has a big job to do and you need to come downstairs and help.. You need to help by playing with your toys downstairs. Can you have a happy heart and play downstairs?"

He looked up with a perky smile and said, "Yes we can!"

Bob, what have you done to my child?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Letters to my kids

Dear Will,

Today you asked me, "Mommy, where did the snow go?" I answered, "The snow's gone, buddy. It went bye-bye." You replied, "It went hunting?"

You're missing your daddy a lot these days, huh.

Later this morning, I blew up a couple balloons for you to play with. I asked if you wanted boys or girls, and you said girls, so I drew a couple different girl faces on them. You came back to me a few minutes later, distressed, informing me that this one was mean. "She's MEAN!"

mean-eyed balloon

Your perception and creativity and language are just exploding. I know I say that all the time. It's the only way I can describe these amazing bursts of your growth. You played out in the garage by yourself this afternoon, running your tractor through your little sandbox as I unloaded the dishes. Bo sat in the driveway to keep you company. I heard you calling for me, and when I poked my head out the door you said, "Mommy, I want my green tractor." I said, "Okay, I'll get it - hey, is Bo still there?" You replied in perfect English, "Bo is not here. Can I have my tractor please?" Never mind that Bo WAS there - I was so amazed by the perfect clarity of your answer.

Right now you are being a total pill, waking up 45 minutes into your nap. GO TO SLEEP DUDE. There's a reason I delayed your sleep and it's because even though I love you boys tremendously, I need some alone time or I will become a very Terrible, No-Good, Evil, Awful Mother.

You have a heart-wrenching way of saying, "Mommy, play with me?"
You insist on asking your Daddy, "Daddy, how was your day?"
Every night, when I lay you to sleep, you inform me that Bob's trumpet is bad and that Travis got stuck in the muck.
You are still crazy for tractors.
You rode your tricycle down the driveway this morning yelling, "This is BIG FUN!"
You laugh when Barrett gets food on himself. This morning you said, "Barrett's got stew on the face."

You can't be summed up in the time I've got to blog, but I can assure you that two-and-a-half is WHERE it's AT. I love this age, and I LOVE you.

Dear Barrett,

Right now you are on my back in the carrier because of the aforementioned Premature Naptime Wakeup. I have to confess that I'm definitely disappointed. I look forward to naptime all day. Therefore I am STILL blogging, and you can chill out back there while I finish the other stuff I have to do.

You're almost nine months old and I can't believe it! You smell like garlic right now because of the aforementioned stew. It's so funny that the baby smells like garlic and no one else does.

You're growing quite a bit and I am so relieved! Your doctor's appointment is in a couple of days and I'm very curious to see how you're doing. I know you're healthy but it's nice to have that confirmed by another source.

You are really a tremendous source of joy to all of us. You always have a smile on your face and several loud words to speak at any moment. You love exploring but always find your way back to my feet, whining to be picked up. I'll hold you close while I can, little man. 

I still very much enjoy nursing you, though not two or three times a night. It was because of this that we recently reinstated sleep training, and in five days you are once again sleeping through the night with no ill effects to you OR me. (Ha!) Now William seems to be coming down with a cold, so I may not be enjoying uninterrupted rest if you get it too. I thank God for the health we've been enjoying for over a month now. It may be coming to an end!

Seeing you discover the world around you is charming. The most interesting things hold your attention for long stretches, and they're almost never toys. So many things you do make me remember Will at your age, and I am constantly reminded of how fast this all is flying by. Two and a half years is not a long time, but already I have held TWO tiny newborns and now I see a chunky crawling, cruising baby and a very grown-up little boy.

Barrett, you can't be summed up either, and it's not helping that you're squirming on my back, pressuring me to get to the housework. I love you so much.

I thank God for you two every day.

Love, Momma

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Will, waking up from his nap: I want chooooooooclate.
Me: Well then, you have to go pee-pee on the potty. Do you want to go pee-pee on the potty?

Will, on the way upstairs to bed: Goodnight Wendy! Goodnight, Bob! Goodnight, Farmer Pickles! I gon' go to bed now! Thanks for coming show you my toys!

Barrett is SO into climbing on top of things right now. Whether it's the box of blocks, the basket of books, or the little potty seat, he stands for several minutes with his hands propped up, babbling to the room. Now he's started trying to hoist his legs up there too, which makes him immensely frustrated. Thanking God he hasn't discovered the stairs yet.

Life is crazy right now and I have no business blogging during this rare morning to myself. I have laundry, cooking, cleaning, and a million other things on my list. How in the world can it be that only two months ago I was trying to convince Brian to adopt a toddler from foster care and now I am seriously doubting my ability to keep my own two kids from escaping the house without me noticing?

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Today Will, for the first time in his short life, told me, "I need to go pee-pee," then proceeded to aim like a pro and- before I could say a word- pee all over his basket of musical instruments.

Today I realized I've become a pro at feeding Barrett sideways, since whenever he and Will are eating together, he is permanently turned toward his brother.

Today I actually breathed a sigh of relief - instead of despair - when I realized Brian was going to be home late after hunting. An extra 3.5 hours to wait on dinner!

Today was actually a pretty good day.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


I have a few posts on my Drafts, waiting to be finished.

I'm in a season of life right now when I'm not getting much accomplished!

Right now I'm typing this hurriedly, DEFINITELY on borrowed time. I'm shocked Barrett's not up yet. My little guy is still the happiest, most easy-going baby, but he's not sleeping a whole lot. He gets up one to two times a night and wakes up quite early, usually between 6 and 7. I'm always awake then, since that's when Brian leaves for work, but I mourn the loss of my mornings... my recharge station for the day. And the night feedings are impacting my energy during the day, too. I'm not sure what to do about them. I remember Will going through this phase... and it was just that: a phase. It ended. And since Barrett needs to grow a bit, I'm willing to give him the extra food. Still, it's always verrrrrry exciting and refreshing when he sleeps through the night. Becoming more and more infrequent, though.

The other thing that's been absorbing my time is feeding this little guy. He gets about three meals of solid food a day, and each one takes at least 45 minutes to spoon into his mouth. I'm trying to be thankful for this time of forced sitting for me, but it's hard not to think about what I could be doing!

I know, I know -
1. I have SO much to be thankful for.
2. He will outgrow this in what feels like two minutes and he will be feeding himself soon.
3. It's just a season.

I find myself repeating that phrase a lot lately. Whether it's Will's meltdowns (tame but frequent) or Barrett's wakefulness, I know 'this too shall pass'. I love my boys so much. But yesterday it hit me how much I thrive when I have a couple hours in the day to myself. I guess the Lord gave me this morning, then, to take a breath.

Lately Will has been playing with his little Duplo men, making them have conversations with each other. It's incredible to hear. I know that seems like a tiny thing, but it's not to me. He's also enjoying listening to Adventures in Odyssey in the morning. I love that his imagination is able to encompass that. He's learning how to be gracious with Barrett, who's more and more interested in [destroying] whatever he's doing. I tell him that he can say, kindly, "No, no, Barrett," as long as he gets him another toy. (Sometimes this results in Will hoarding all the blocks, crying, "NO NO BARRETT! Go play cars!") He's also allowed to move his toys up to his little table, out of Barrett's reach. He doesn't always follow these guidelines, but he really is doing better each day. And yesterday, as I saw him playing peekaboo with Barrett in his highchair, making his little brother laugh and laugh, and then witnessed him kiss Barrett on the head without any prompting, I decided that forcing him to be nice to Barrett is NOT making him resentful of his little brother. I believe it's causing him to have genuine feelings of love for him.

Well, Barrett's awake! But we're not going anywhere today. It's a full day at home. Ahhh. So I plan to enjoy it and maybe.... just maybe... I'll finish up some of those Draft posts.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Today we went to the zoo, and Will was more intrigued by the machines doing construction work there than by the rhino and the lion that stood about ten yards away from us.

Today we watched Will share his sippy cup of water with Barrett, alternating sips as they both sat in their chairs at dinner. All his idea.

Today Will chased Bo around, yelling for him to COME BACK AND EAT YOUR FOOD BO! Such a big brother.

Today a tired Barrett, playing with toys while I quickly vacuumed, fell backwards onto the floor and, instead of rolling over and getting back up, just laid there and looked around for about ten minutes... until I came over to see if-what the heck-is he paralyzed? Nope, just chilling.

Will's imagination is blooming every day, more and more. It's the most magical and rewarding part of parenting so far. Either that, or the way Barrett crawls into my lap and sits contentedly when he's all done playing. I love this job.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Book favorites - 29 months (almost)

Now that Will's getting older, he is much less discriminatory when it comes to books. Further, I can pretty much read the given text in any of these and it holds his attention (when I used to have to improvise a shortened version). We still stick to brief books (since he's two). There are many more years for The Chronicles of Narnia, I guess.

So here's a reallly quick list of what we've been reading lately. He loves it all!

The Napping House
Don and Audrey Wood

Didn't think he would like this story. He really, really does. (Amazing illustrations, by the way.)

Pete the Cat: The Wheels on the Bus
James Dean

This is a perpetual favorite. Will has started singing along with me, and for that, I am so happy. I wouldn't buy it, but he keeps wanting to get it from the library, so... okay, then.

If You Give... books
Laura Numeroff/Felicia Bond

My personal favorite is Moose a Muffin, but Will doesn't seem to be choosy. We've read Moose, Cat, Dog, Pig (Pancake and Party), and Take a Mouse to School. I plan to get the rest out soon!

Duck in the Truck series
Jez Alborough

I wasn't a huge fan of the 'moral' of the Duck in the Truck original book, but after borrowing the rest of the series from the library, I've come to appreciate these books a lot more. Duck is a bumbling, thick-headed, well-intentioned bird. He's always getting his friends in some kind of scrape because he just doesn't think. We've read Fix-It Duck (my fave), Captain Duck, Hit the Ball Duck (Will's fave), and Super Duck. Still want to borrow Where's My Key?

Jack's House
Karen Magnuson Bell/Mike Wohnoutka

Lots of big construction equipment and a cute dog. What's not to love?

Hush, Little Digger
Ellen Olson-Brown/Lee White

A boy, his dad, and a bunch of heavy construction equipment. This one came in particularly handy when Brian was gone. I think it made Will miss him more!

My Truck is Stuck
Kevin Lewis and Daniel Kirk

I Drive a Bulldozer

B is for Bulldozer: A Construction ABC

This is My Tractor (Chris Oxlade)
and Big Machines: Tractors (David and Penny Glover)

I highly recommend Big Machines over the other, but Will loves them both.

Bob's Busy Year
Tricia Boczowski

We got this from the library and then... we lost it. Couldn't find it anywhere. So I ordered a new copy online and the day it came, we found the library version. I'm thankful we did, because Will carries this everywhere. It's safe to say Bob is his best friend and most cherished compadre.

Llama Llama Time to Share
Anna Dewdney

This, so far, is the only Llama series book he's really liked. I love hearing him ask me to read "Wama, wama."

No, David!
David Shannon

I think he is mesmerized by all the terribly naughty things David is doing.

The Three Little Rigs
David Gordon

In searching for this image, I saw that Gordon's also written The Ugly Truckling and Hansel and Diesel. We'll have to check those out! In this book, however, Will for some reason loves to talk to the Big, Bad Wrecking Ball. Even when I make the Ball respond, "I don't care!", Will still wants to tell him all about his day. I usually encourage him to tell his stories to the Little Blue Rig, who is always more receptive.

Do you see a pattern, here?
Can you tell that my kid likes trucks, tractors, and construction?

Nevertheless, let me finish up with my personal favorite.

Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball

This book is so great. The illustrations are adorable. The text is rhyming. It lends itself to being either a great bedtime story OR a great "let's move around" book to get us active. And without fail, at the end, Will curls up next to me for a hug and asks, "Read 'gain?"