Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter

As the day comes to a close, I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Easter!  Although it was cloudy and sprinkly today, we still had a wonderful day full of food, family, and Jesus.  The kids woke up early today eager to open their Easter baskets so I was able to sneak downstairs and get some pictures of them coming down and seeing them spot their things for the first time.  It was adorable and they were so excited.

After opening baskets we had a nice breakfast and then headed off to church.  Church, of course, was a beautiful service and gave me chills as it always does.  Easter hymns are so uplifting and amazing and definitely my favorite songs of the year.  I was super excited to get some nice photos of the kids after church since our church has a giant cross at the front that everyone processes in and places flowers on.  Unfortunately, I was disappointed when we walked in and the cross wasn't there.  I found out afterwards that it was something the last pastor did and since we have *yet another* temporary pastor now, they didn't do it.  I said I hope they bring it back next year, so fingers crossed!  I was still able to get some okay pictures of them, even though getting them all to look at the camera at once was next to impossible.

Once we got home I attempted some more group shots which were pretty much equally catastrophic.  The pastor handed out chocolate crosses during the children's sermon and they handed out M&M's after church and I wouldn't let them hold the candy for the pictures and Eliza was NOT having that.  It made for some pretty funny pictures.

After that episode we got ready for dinner with our amazing cousins!!  I didn't get any pictures of all the kids together but they had a great time playing together and it was so nice to spend part of the day with family.  They brought over an AMAZING chocolate cake and cheesecake and my diet was completely shot for the day, but oh so totally worth it.  Seriously delicious!  She also brought some pretty flowers for the table!  Once they left, we blew bubbles outside, had our Easter egg hunt and movie night with The Good Dinosaur and then it was off to bed for everyone.  I am so thankful Chris had the day off and we got to spend it as a family.  We are so blessed!

Eternal is the gift He brings,
Therefore our heart with rapture sings:
"Christ has triumphed! He is living!"
Now still He comes to give us life
And by His presence stills all strife.
Christ has triumphed! He is living!
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Potty Training Update

We have about 6 weeks of potty training under our belt now so I figured I'd give a little update.  I don't know if it's just Zach or the fact that I'm potty training a boy but it has been about twenty times harder for him than it was for Sam.  With Samantha, we threw her on the potty one day and that was it.  She maybe had one accident but she knew what to do from the day we first put her on the potty.  For the first two weeks with Zach our days were really hit or miss.  He'd either go all day without an accident or pee twenty times all over the floor.  I'll tell you we went through a lot of paper towels and lysol!

Like I said in my previous post, we have about thirty pairs of 2T/3T underwear which was a great amount so that we didn't run out or be forced to wash every single day (though with urine saturated pants, you probably don't want them to sit long anyways).  I left five or so pairs on our kitchen counter so that I didn't have to run upstairs for a new pair every time he had an accident, plus it gave him several choices to pick from when he was changing.  Most days we didn't need to touch our spare underwear pile but some days, we went through it all.  The "problem" with Zach was that he did NOT respond well to the timer.  When we first started I set it for 20 minute intervals and each time it went off I had him sit on the potty.  He was not at all a fan of this so eventually I just let it go and tried to ask him every once in a while if he needed to go.  Thankfully, he pretty quickly realized what it felt like when he had to go and took himself right to the potty to do his thing.  The few accidents he did have, I think were just when he was too busy playing to stop and make it to the bathroom.

Shortly after we started potty training we took a trip to visit my in-laws in Connecticut.  I was a little nervous to see how he would do away from home, but I packed only diapers for overnight (which he was still using at home) and of course lots of underwear so that I wouldn't be tempted to revert back to diapers.  We got to our trip and I was blown away by how well he did.  We made the 6 hour drive up in one shot, without stopping once, and he got there completely dry.  I did keep a diaper on him for the drive just in case.  Once we got there he peed and went straight into underwear.  Now, we were there for 9 days, and I am thrilled to report he didn't have one single accident!!!  He even woke up dry every single morning.  Normally at home he would wake up with a diaper so full it would almost be bursting so this was HUGE.  I was so proud that he went the whole trip using the potty.

Once we got home, however, it was a different story.  During the day he continued doing great but night time was a struggle the first three nights.  In Connecticut all 4 of us shared a bedroom so once Zach woke up at 6-6:30, we ALL woke up.  After we got downstairs he would take himself to the bathroom and go potty.  At home, we put his little froggy potty in his room, but he refused to get up and use it alone.  He insisted on waiting in his bed until I came to help him but he wouldn't call out for me to come help.  Sooooo, the first 3 nights he ended up laying in a completely soaked bed until I came to get him.  After that, either Chris or I would get up and take him potty and then he'd go back into his room to either lay down or play with his cars.  After that we decided to resort to bribery.  When Samantha potty trained she earned a toy once she was trained and we intend to do that with Zach as well.  So as an incentive we told Zach that once he starts keeping his bed dry and going potty in the morning on his own he could earn something new.  This thrilled him and he has mostly gone potty on his own every day since.

Now our new thing, and a first for us, is peeing standing up.  Zach discovered yesterday that this is a possibility and now refuses to potty sitting down.  Thankfully, for now, he has great aim so it isn't too big of a deal.  He's so excited to go potty and is always telling me how much he loves using the potty and having no more diapers.  I hope this enthusiasm continues!!  Next up...Eliza!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Trying For A Routine!

At the end of February the kids and I spent 9 days in Connecticut with my in-laws.  I am not ashamed to admit that my kids are hooked on electronics.  They're probably more connected than I am and I'm on a lot.  While in Connecticut I made it a mission to cut back on the gadgets -- tv, iPad, kindle, you name it.  It was tough, but I think I did an okay job.  As a matter of fact, the first time Samantha's iPad ran out of battery, I "forgot" about it and didn't charge it for 3-4 days.  There were tears and there was fighting but she (and I) survived!!  Less use of electronics also helped us to get into a routine.  Routine is something that I'm not very good at as I am more of a go with the flow kind of person, but since we've been home, I've kind of enjoyed knowing I have something to do every day.

One of my mother-in-law's big things is one load of laundry every day.  The first thing she does every morning is turn on her washing machine and get a load in.  At first, I thought this was nuts because I'd only be washing one outfit per person, but after missing one day of doing my wash, I quickly realized how fast it adds up.  Doing wash every day has been super easy once we got home, mostly because Zach has wet the bed for 3 of those nights lol!  Even if it hasn't always been clothes I have definitely kept up with doing one load of laundry per day, sometimes even more.  Now if I could just keep up with folding it.  ;-)

Another suggestion she had was to play a clean up song every hour so the kids can clean up their toys.  She uses a song from Fly Lady while we had always sung the song from Barney.  The kids don't seem to have a preference to either song, we just make sure to play or sing something every time we are cleaning up.  Samantha and Eliza have been very into this though it has been harder to get Zach on board.  I'm hoping eventually they'll just get in the habit of cleaning up after themselves once they're finished playing with something but my mother-in-law is not optimistic.  Looking back, she's probably right because I remember our basement constantly being in a state of natural disaster because my brother and I not cleaning and my mom being adamant that we clean up whatever we were playing with before we took out something new.  I must have been 10 years old and still not cleaning up after myself!!

Now here's the part that is still tough...keeping the electronics away.  We wake up and eat breakfast, I have my laundry going...what next?  With 3 kids very close in age and still young enough to be wanting attention pretty much 24/7, it's easy to fall back on the tv or iPad to keep them entertained.  Now I know this is an electronic but I have found our Amazon Echo (aff.) to be amazing.  This is a bluetooth speaker that can interact with you.  Samantha loves to ask Alexa to tell jokes and tell us about the weather for the day.  I like that Alexa is connected to our music and the entire Amazon Prime Library.  Now rather than having the tv going all day for some background noise we listen to fun music and sing and dance together.  Our current favorite is the Chicken Dance and I'll Tell Me Ma for some Irish step dancing.

We have also been filling up time with reading and coloring.  All 3 kids are signed up for the reading program at our local library and love getting to color in acorns for each book they've read.  We will have even more reading to do once we can sign up for the summer programs and start on the kindergarten reading list.  So much to do and so little time!  I love coloring and it's so easy to pull up blank coloring pages from google and print whatever each child wants.

Now I just need to figure out how to work in some school work for the kids and we will be golden.  It has been so nice not having things going all day long and feeling like I've accomplished something during the day.  Thankfully as the weather gets warmer it will be easier to keep those gadgets turned off and be up and outside playing!