batman undies to the rescue

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Good news for us. Bad news for Pampers. Sorry, Pampers. My kid won’t be going to college in diapers after all. Release the confetti and pour Mommy a glass of Champagne. It looks like big man Austin is finally potty trained.

I’m not sure what changed to lead to this success – whether it was time, a new method, or truly by the grace of God. But, based on our previous experiences, I might chalk this one up to a miracle… or, the new Batman undies. Yep. Pretty sure it was the undies.

Our last attempt was in the fall. Frankly, after that bout, I was feeling chicken about trying again. We made lots of excuses about it not being the right time. I didn’t want to deal with meltdown after meltdown or mopping up tee tees and poo poos in the middle of the floor produced out of downright defiance. My sanity would not survive. So, we continued to put it off… until we received the registration paperwork for Austin’s Mother’s Day Out program for the fall.

Apparently, they are not interested in changing diapers on three- and four-year-olds next year. Ha. I can’t imagine why. For Austin to move up, he has to be potty trained. And, not “We’re working on it” potty trained, but experienced potty trainer. That’s the kick I needed. As soon as he recovered from the flu, we started training. Cue the Rocky theme song.

I borrowed “Potty Training 1-2-3” from a friend that recently had success potty training her son. And, I loved it! If you are having trouble potty training, pick this book up. Now. The method around the book is primarily rewarding your child for staying clean and dry, not for producing on the potty. Obviously, you still reward for using the potty, but it’s not the emphasis. Most of the methods we had tried focused on using the bathroom. That was a dead end for Austin. Once he decided he didn’t want to sit on the potty, it was a lost cause and power struggle. This methods puts the control in our hands and sets him up for success.

Don’t get me wrong. It was still hard and frustrating, even with a method that seemed to work for Austin. We didn’t leave the house for two days, and in that time, we focused on Austin and patience (LOTS of patience), and attempted to keep Everett from climbing on, playing in and eating the potty chair.

Plus, we watched The Potty Movie on constant repeat for 48 hours. I’m quite certain I will never be able to rid the tune or images of toddlers singing “Bye bye pee pee. Bye bye poop” from my head. Ah, parenthood.

But, a successful weekend has led to a triumphant week. He’s still not 100 percent trained, but there are rarely accidents and he no longer pees on himself when I announce it’s time to sit on the potty in an effort to avoid sitting on it. Progress, people. Progress.

This child will be attending school next year.

an impromptu graduation

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For six months, I have barely seen the hair on my child’s head. My kisses to his forehead have been blocked. Snuggles to his cheek have been interrupted by cold, hard plastic. And, I have been head butted… a lot.

But, last week, we said goodbye to all of that. Goodbye to the melon. Goodbye to the DOC band. Six months gone and done. Everett is helmet free. Hallelujah!

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We pushed through the thousand-degree days in August… and September, and our trip to the beach where that helmet couldn’t get wet. We battled many sleepless nights in the beginning. We bit the bullet and paid for a second helmet completely out of pocket. We celebrated Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and birthdays in the helmet. For six months, that little boy wore a helmet 23 hours a day.

But, it’s all over, and what a beautiful head he has.

The first day free of head gear, I kissed his sweet head at least a thousand times. I rubbed my face against his. I covered him in kisses, and I ran my fingers through his soft, silky hair over and over. How I’ve missed these last six months.

It’s taken about a week for Everett to adapt without his extra protection. The slightest bump of the head sent him wailing into meltdown mode, and that first day, there were lots of tears. Dramatic, much? Now, when Austin decides to smack him over the head with a toy or he face plants into the floor, you usually hear me gasping as opposed to him screaming. I think he’s back to being fearless.

What a journey it has been, and I’m thankful to bring this chapter to a close. Here’s to no more helmet head butts and smothering my sweet boy in uninterrupted smooches.

get the flu out of my house

Break out the Lysol, we have been hit with the flu. Nothing prompts a nice deep clean like having two littles ones coughing, sneezing and snotting on every square inch of the house. I’m not even going to pretend that I didn’t find dried boogers on my clothing from where they either a) flew out of their noses, or b) were wiped purposely by children. Ew.

Two and a half weeks ago seems an eternity, but that’s when this all began. Austin woke up with a cough. He hacked and coughed all day Monday, but other than that, no problem. So, Tuesday came, school day, and what did I do? I sent him to school. Still coughing, slightly runny nose, but no fever and no problems. In my defense, I assumed it was allergies. Two hours after getting home from school, he spiked a fever. Super. Off to urgent care.

He tested negative for the flu, was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection and sent home with a breathing treatment because he was wheezing.

The next morning, Austin didn’t move. Literally. I asked him to sit up, and he insisted upon lying back down. I offered him a cookie, and it was rejected. And, he could barely stay awake for more than 10 minutes at a time. Nothing slows this child down, and he never rejects sugar. Needless to say, we ventured back to the doc. This time, we walked out with a positive flu test. Tamiflu for all.

Despite Everett receiving two doses of the flu vaccine and Tamiflu, he still caught it. Thankfully, it was mild and no complications arose, other than an ear infection. He actually landed this ear infection while he was on antibiotics to clear up an infection in his other ear. Oy. Unfortunately, it’s looking like tubes are in Everett’s near future. Any complications clearing this one up or another one soon will prompt the referral to an ENT. I really think we are going to know all the pediatric specialists in Dallas.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to bathe in a bottle of Clorox. Is it summer yet?

wait and see

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This day has been looming over me for the past month. Every time I would begin writing, I would stop. Writer’s block. My mind would drift to this date. Today was Everett’s cardiology appointment. They hadn’t looked at his heart in six months. That’s the longest stretch we have ever gone.

Needless to say, I was feeling a bit anxious. In fact, yesterday, I landed a midday migraine that I can most likely attribute to my anxiety for this appointment and, earlier this week, I randomly burst into tears on the phone with my mom dreading this day.

To ease all of my relatives reading this, the appointment, overall, went well. But, we did hit a snag. Everett’s heart is not perfect. It never will be. After the surgery, there were still a couple problems with his heart that we have been watching. One of those things has worsened over the last six months, but, because he is not having any symptoms, we wait. Things very likely could resolve on its own, or, it could become worse. It’s just a waiting game.

When I spoke to my parents about the appointment, they both told me this was something to celebrate. This baffled me. Sure, we didn’t receive news that another surgery was imminent, but we also didn’t receive the all clear. I didn’t really understand how I could rejoice. But, tonight, it hit me. Everett’s entire life will be a “wait and see” game. And, that’s a harsh reality for a Momma.

We have to celebrate the good news as it comes and not drown in the bad. Today our heart warrior is thriving and strong. There’s no sense in living in fear. He certainly doesn’t. Everett takes this world by storm. He is more daring than I knew a child to be. He meets every obstacle with a grin. Nothing stands in his way.

My child is strong. He is a fighter. And, I have a lot to learn from him.

wrapped around his finger

Potty training has been stalled for the last few months. The best advice given was to give it a rest, since, obviously, we were getting no where in September. We’ve left it up to Austin, and he is happy as can be wetting himself.

I’m getting antsy. Every way I turn I’m changing a diaper. And, even though, it’s nearly nine months away, I’m already feeling stress about the potty training requirement for him to move up to the next preschool class. Because, honestly, I feel like it will never happen.

Then, out of nowhere, there was interest.

The other morning, we were prepping for the day. Austin and I were brushing our teeth while Everett snacked on a toothbrush. Austin stops, looks at me, and says, “I want to go potty.”

Spit dribbled from my mouth as I looked at him in disbelief. “Really??”

“Yeah. I want to use the potty.”

I throw my toothbrush into the sink and grab the nearest potty chair. “Okay,” I said, trying to reign in the excitement. I place it in front of him and proceed to help him with his pants.

He looks at it with disgust. “Not that one, Mommaaaa. I want that potty. The big potty.”

Fair enough. “Okay, let’s use that one!”

I lead him toward the potty when he stops. “Here you go, buddy.”

“No,” he mumbles and walks away, leaving me dumbfounded with potties everywhere and toothpaste still in my mouth.

Touché, son. You have me wrapped around your finger, and, apparently, it was necessary to prove it that day.

I am so over potty training.

creative baby proofing

When Austin was a baby, we kind of slacked in the baby proofing department. Sure, we covered the outlets, and we used a baby gate as needed. And, of course, all cleaners and hazardous materials were placed safely from his reach. But, that was the extent of it.

He opened and closed cabinets at his whim, pots and pans all a strew. I cringe looking back at the death trap of a coffee table we had. And, it took me entirely too long to part ways with the various fragile decor around the house.

But, during the peak age of baby proofing, our house was on the market… for a year. I can tell you right now that hundreds of latches on every single door in your home don’t make for promising showings. So, we made do without.

Here we are with Everett in the throes of curiosity and mischievousness. He is mobile and fast, and I feel like I’m a first time parent again. A new house and new obstacles.

I think it’s safe to say we need to look at some more traditional methods.

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We need new baby gates. Ones for stairs and one for wide openings. We need latches for cabinets and potties, and more outlet covers. Forget plugging anything in to visible outlets. Everett will find them and try to eat them. Really, I could just use another set of eyes… and hands.

Looking back, I can’t fathom how we survived without baby proofing every square inch of our house when it seems so necessary now. Perhaps that’s the difference in one versus two kids. It’s hard to keep a constant eye on two moving objects that rarely coincide with the same direction.

Over the years, I’ve had multiple people, including strangers, tell me that Austin is the most active child they’ve seen. I’m never sure if that’s a compliment or code for GOOD LUCK! But, as Everett becomes more and more mobile, I’m not sure that he isn’t going to follow big bro’s lead. He is on the move. He is quick. And, he is up to no good.

No more waiting. Time to corral these kiddos.

Any recommendations on your favorite brands or items for baby proofing?

the ice-pocalypse 2013

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In Texas, when it ices, the entire state shuts down. At the mere mention of snow, a 15-car pile up will occur in a matter of minutes, and people will begin swerving as if each piece of sleet is a land mine.

Welcome to Ice-pocalypse 2013. The sleet began on Thursday. The grocery store shelves were bare by that evening. People fought over chicken and bread. And, the entire Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex went into hibernation.

Friday morning came and the entire area was a sheet of ice. All across the Metroplex, life stopped as people were “trapped” in their homes. We went to Starbucks.

We lived in Colorado for a couple years. The hubs is from there. While I hate all things ice, snow and cold, I moved back to Texas with a hint of Colorado in me. Shhh… Don’t tell the hubs. I’ll never hear the end of it.

Experiencing an ice storm after moving back to Texas is a surreal thing. Before, I joined the masses and shut down life until every drop of ice vanished from the road. This time around, we pretended we were still in Colorado and went on with our lives.

We still spent the majority of time snuggled away from the cold, but we also experienced a bit of the Metroplex in undisturbed peace. We sipped hot chocolate and saw beautiful fields of icy grass. We spotted icicles as long as Everett. And, we shopped Target as a ghost town.

Five days into the ice-pocalypse and things have finally begun to thaw. Life returned to semi-normal today. The highways still crawled, but people were out. I’m almost convinced that the mere sight of ice on the side of the road is about as hazardous as it being on the road itself.

But, the good news is that ice is melting everywhere. The streets are clear, people are breaking free, and Starbucks has re-stocked their pastries again. Congratulations, Dallas-Fort Worth, you survived the ice-pocalypse 2013. Here’s hoping for a tropical Christmas 😉

the Christmas tree

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In 2008, we celebrated our first Christmas as a wedded couple. Less than three weeks prior to that, we closed on our first home. Despite towers of cardboard boxes and a completely disheveled home, we still put up our first Christmas tree.

It was beautiful. It was adorned with delicate glass balls gleaming in purples, reds, blues, silvers and golds. Gifts of Christohper Radko and Wedgewood ornaments were our extra special contribution to the tree. And, perfectly wrapped presents created a wreath beneath it. We snuggled under a warm blanket together, sipped our hot chocolate and admired our first tree in peace.

Three years later, we had a freshly mobile one-year-old. Austin’s interest in the tree was short-lived, but long enough that the Christmas tree received its first remodel. Our precious CR and Wedgewood ornaments were elevated to the penthouse of the tree, safe from curious hands. Amazingly, only one gift huddled beneath the tree required a re-wrap that year.

In 2012, the remodel turned more into a renovation. Not a single glass ornament made it on the tree that year. Bless Costco and their extra large tubs of plastic ornaments. I truly believe they were tested by toddlers. Unbreakable. I tried whole-heartedly to have gifts underneath the tree that year, but, in the end, I re-wrapped every single gift at least once. Ironically, when Christmas morning came, we had to coax Austin to open all of his gifts. Rule #1 of kids: Nothing is nearly as much fun with your parents’ permission.

Another year. Another change. Our Christmas tree went up the day after Thanksgiving. No glass ornaments again. They are safely stored for a less destructive age. The tree went up perfectly, and it looked as though we would have a similar tree to last year’s… until today.

I walked into the living room to find Austin nestled next to the tree. He had removed one of the cushions from the chairs, and there in front of him, he had lined up a number of ornaments from the lower extremities of the tree. He smiled at me, and proudly showed off his collection. A few moments later, I spot Everett bounding after a giant, glittery ornament much like a puppy. In fact, when he finally captured it, he celebrated by attempting to eat it, despite it being the size of his own head.

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So, this year, I have two options. I can remove the bottom half of the ornaments, or I can let it be. This is the year my tree becomes our family tree, and I’m just going to let it be.

What a transformation we have seen over the years. As we change, so does our tree. The Christmas tree tells our story. It’s messy, imperfect and a little rough in spots. But, it’s always colorful. It’s always bright, and it is well loved. Ornaments will come and go, but the precious moments we share as a family beneath this little tree will carry on.

That first Christmas seems ages ago. No longer is there the same peace and quiet surrounding the Christmas tree. There is something better. There are snuggles, sweet giggles and wonderment from two precious boys that far outweigh the quiet. It’s a different kind of peace.

I love our tree. I love its story, and I love that it is ours.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours this Christmas season.