Monday, June 30, 2014

A Potty Training Weekend

Hubby left town last Wednesday & didn't get back until Sunday afternoon.  And I decided that in those 5 days, I was going to give potty training my all.  And I'm crazy.  But...for the most part, it's worked!  Incredibly well! 
Disclaimer:  This is my family journal.  So if you have no interest in hearing about the details of Elyse's potty training...feel free to skip on over.  But I want to document this for future kids and also in the hopes that maybe I can help another momma out! 
Let's go back a little bit shall we?  First of all, for various reasons, I have not really even attempted potty training with Elyse.  She was 2 1/2 on June 13 and I hadn't ever tried.  Sure, there were days were I left her out of her diaper just to see what would happen...I'll tell you what happens, lots of accidents, a frustrated little girl, an irritated momma, and a little girl who NEVER went in the potty.  We had a potty in her bathroom, and she sat on it practically every night before bath.  She followed us into the bathroom and we talked about going potty a lot.  But we NEVER forced it.  And honestly, it was probably due to a fear of failing...because let's all be honest...DIAPERS ARE EASY!!!! 
However, with another baby coming in December and Elyse being 2 1/2, I at least wanted to see if Elyse might be ready.  So...with a crazy summer schedule, my only real option was this past week.  I read a few different blogs, googled all sorts of things, and also bought the 3 Day Potty Training e-book from Lora Jensen.  Sure, this might have been something that I could have trouble-shooted and figured out on my own, but I wanted something quick and hopefully almost perfectly successful! 
So with very high hopes, and maybe semi-low expectations, I read her book and gathered my supplies.  I felt armed and ready for a 3 day potty training boot camp!  ha! 
I found a personalized Frozen potty chart on Etsy complete with Frozen stickers.  Of course I had to have it! 

I took Elyse to Target with me and had her pick out a new potty chair.  We bought this Fisher Price Princess potty chair after I steered her toward it!  ha!  This specific one had been talked about on another blog about little girl potty training and Elyse was in love.  We previously had the Bjorn Potty Seat & also Bjorn Potty Chair, but she was NOT at all interested.  However, she loved this princess chair because it sings when the sensors get wet.  Momma loves it because it is super easy to clean, and can also double as a stepstool. 

I loaded up on treats for potty successes.  M & Ms are some of Elyse's favorite so I grabbed plenty of those along with some fruit snacks, multi-colored Annie's bunnies, and other various things.  I also purchased some of the Honest Kids Juice Pouches. Elyse isn't a huge water drinker, and I knew that milk wouldn't run through her often enough to get enough practice. 

We also picked out some new big girl panties with Minnie, Daisy & Disney Fairies all over them.  And I also made a pitstop in the Target dollar aisle to pick up some bigger "treats" for Elyse to have once she achieve so many potty successes.  Bubbles, sticker pages, a new book, water toys, etc....basically anything small that would excited Elyse!

We began the process after breakfast on Wednesday morning.  Elyse helped me throw a huge stack of diapers (I hid the rest in the closet to pass on to my SIL) in the trashcan, we changed into big girl panties, and then I talked with her about how she was a big girl and how things were going to change.  We had our very first success at 10:40 on Wednesday morning.  I know because we called Mamaw & Gigi and texted multiple people.  I may or may not have looked like a fool as I potty-danced my way around the house! 

We stayed home ALL day on Wednesday & had about 3 successes, and too many accidents to count.  BUT...she stayed dry during nap and stayed mostly dry overnight. 

Thursday we had swim lessons (which I was dreading), but we made it to lunch, swim lessons and back without any accidents.  We had several more successes than Wednesday, but still our fair share of accidents. We stayed dry again through nap, had 3 successes in a row, but then had a few more accidents before bedtime. 

Friday we headed to my mom's house so I could work.  And it was a NIGHTMARE!!!  Elyse would tell my mom that she had to go potty as it was running down her leg and creating a puddle on the floor.  By lunchtime she had had NO successes, and LOTS of accidents.  I'm honestly not sure if this was a result of the new environment, or if she was just testing us.  Needless to say, my mom was discouraged, I was frustrated, and almost ready to throw in the towel all together.  However, she stayed dry through nap and all afternoon and then finally had her first success on Friday evening when my dad came home.  Elyse & I stayed for dinner and right before dinner we managed to have our first #2 success (sorry for the TMI) after multiple "tries" and also after we handed her a Reader's Digest to relax a bit. 
One of those priceless pictures that my dad told me I had to snap!  She WILL hate me one of these days! 
We had one more accident on Friday evening, but otherwise had a fully successful night of her telling us she needed to potty, running to the potty, making it there successfully, and then doing a ridiculous potty dance while being rewarded with M & M's and stickers. 

Saturday I cancelled my original plans so I could stay home to make some more serious progress.  She had ONE accident on Saturday morning which I will take full blame for because I wasn't paying as close attention as I should.  We even went back to my parents' house to spend the night and she was fully successful all evening. 

Sunday I went to church with my parents and we made another big stride when she went potty on a big potty at church (something that had previously seemed to terrify her).  We had multiple other successes, another dry nap, and then even more successes last night. 

I hate to be too proud of her, or of myself, but I honestly think we're practically there.  In regards to daytime at least.  Nighttime will be another challenge, but I have high hopes with how well everything else has gone.  I did follow the 3Day Potty Training book pretty much perfectly...and I would say that it has definitely worked for us.  So I would recommend also get lifetime mentoring on the site with the author.  And I don't know about you, but I always like to ask questions when I'm going through such a huge transition. 

In just a matter of 3 days, diapers are completely out of our vocabulary and potty is a word repeated countless times throughout the day.  Instead of changing diapers, I'm using phrases like "Elyse, remember to tell mommy when you have to go potty, ok?" only to be followed with her first start of sarcasm..."OOookkkkkk Mom!"  ha! 

While it's not perfect, and of course there will still be accidents, I still feel like I can Elyse's words..."I DID IT!"  Or at least I helped Elyse do it!

Friday, June 27, 2014


Time for a little iPhone dump from our week...
1.  Baby "Charlie" and I made it to Zumba on Monday night.  I always feel so much better when I go, and I sleep so much more soundly.  The summer is a horrible time to get into a routine, but I'm hoping to at least make it once a week, if not twice in the future!
2.  My mom has made homemade black raspberry jelly for as long as I can remember.  My dad picks the wild berries, and she prepares the juice for jelly.  She doesn't can a whole lot anymore, but I never grew up buying the jarred stuff from the store.  We have homemade black raspberry jelly and a full stock of strawberry freezer jam year round.  Well...I think this was Elyse's first year to fully enjoy the jelly...or I don't know, do you think she enjoyed it?!?  Papa needs to pick more berries! 
3.  Our gender reveal party isn't until July 9th, but I have a friend who's an ultrasound tech just like 10 minutes from our office.  She mentioned that she would scan us anytime we would like.  I originally said no, but since our actual anatomy scan is scheduled for the same day as the party we decided to take her up on the offer just in case Baby Charlie decides not to cooperate the day of.  We had a great scan, and my friend is 100% positive on the gender.  Needless to say, she's loving having the knowledge when no one else does...a screen shot of a text from the ultrasound tech to our very good mutual friend!  ha!
4.  I will try and do a full post on this later, but Elyse & I had a potty training bootcamp starting on Wednesday.  Things are going fairly well, still plenty of accidents but we're getting there.  We're on day 3 of a 3 Day Potty Training method so I've still got my fingers crossed.  Frozen Potty Chart, Princess Potty, M & M's, and plenty of Minnie Mouse panties...all a recipe for hopeful success!

5.  And just a little Flashback Friday or Throwback is this little chunk now 2 1/2?  This was taken for Elyse's 6 month photo probably her chubbiest weight ever.  Same blue eyes and same ornery, I love this kid!
 Happy Weekend Everyone!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Just Keep Swimming & Splashing!

Back in February we put Elyse in swimming lessons once a week.  To judge where she was skills wise, they put her in the Babies & Me class which meant that I got to be in the water with her.  However, while she was really enjoying herself, I could tell that she really wasn't gonna progress much more until we moved her up to the next level. of May 1, we moved her to the AquaBabies class which meant that she was in the water with just her teacher and the other kids.  I could sit & observe her, but I wouldn't be in the water. 

There was a pretty good (3-4 weeks) transition period as she cried off and on and didn't want to be left by herself, but now she's doing great!  I still have to convince her that momma will sit and watch her and she still peeks back to look for me every once in awhile, giving a huge grin & a sweet wave.  However, she is learning SO MUCH and has become so much more comfortable in the water. 

I haven't taken many photos at swim lessons because honestly the lighting is terrible!  However, we have recently discovered "splash time" at our local aquatic center & Elyse is IN LOVE!!! 

We took Hubby back on Sunday afternoon/evening to show off her skills with the slide & we had a blast.  There is a slide area that is perfect toddlers and Elyse can even touch at the bottom of the slide, so we were never concerned about her going off by herself.  Plus, swim lessons have taught her so much and she's not at all afraid about the water being in her face or going under for a bit! 
Snack first of course!

Daddy & Elyse got in trouble for "jumping" in the pool in another area...apparently there was too great of a fall risk...Ooops! 

Splash Down!

Cheese for Momma!  Oh how I love this girl!
 At first she wasn't too thrilled with getting into the fountains, but then she went crazy!  And her daddy even taught her how to sit on them!

We grabbed pizza afterwards and I think we've found our new Sunday night tradition! Swimming pool & can't get much better than that! 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Charlie Love ~ 16 Weeks

I promise this isn't going to be just a pregnancy journal blog,  but things have been crazy!   Hopefully I'll be able to get another post put up soon...because we sure have been having some crazy fun at our house this summer!
 How far along: 16 weeks

How big is baby: An Avocado, 3.5 oz

Weight gain/loss:  I don't have my next appointment until July 9; however, I'm trying to get back in my Zumba routine and adding in more healthy snacks and meals.  I'm definitely noticing that I don't get full as fast as I used to at mealtime! 

Sleep:  Normal; I was able to go to Zumba last night and I am always able to sleep so much better after a good workout. 

Diet/Cravings/Aversions:  Still nothing, although guacamole/avocados seem to be pretty special to me.  I'm keeping our fridge stocked with fruits and other healthy snacks.  I even whipped up a few good Pinterest recipes! 

Movement:  I had my first moment on Saturday when I wondered..."was that gas? or was that the baby?"  I know it won't be long now! 

What I'm loving:  Having a "belly" and feeling like I just put on too many pounds!  ha!   

Symptoms:  I've been watching sodium intake & pouring the water in which is helping the swelling; it hasn't been nearly as bad recently.  My skin is probably the softest and smoothest it's ever been so I'll definitely take that! 

What I'm looking forward to:  Our ultrasound today!!!  One of my friends is an ultrasound tech at a local hospital and said that she had some free time to scan us if we were interested.  With being 16 weeks, she SHOULD be able to tell the gender.  Let's cross our fingers, I've got details of the gender reveal party to take care of!  However, we still won't be finding friend will simply be contacting our vendors to take care of everything.  We still want to be surprised as well!

Best moment of the week:  Today will be the best moment.  I'm always so excited and relieved to see that heartbeat and active baby on the ultrasound screen! 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Charlie Love ~ 15 Weeks

Well, as with Elyse, this baby has been given a moniker even before we know if it's a he or a she.  In the hopes of it being a boy, my sweet mother-in-law quickly nicknamed Baby Layman #2, Charlie.  And so...for this go around, we'll have Charlie Updates instead of Lucy least until we officially have a name & gender to go on! 

 How far along:  15 weeks

How big is baby:  A Naval Orange, 2.5 oz

Weight gain/loss:  As of last week I was at 4 total pounds.  Man, I feel like it looks like a whole lot more than that so I'll take it!

Sleep:  Can't complain at this point...except I still HATE to get up to pee in the middle of the night. 

Diet/Cravings/Aversions:  Nothing in particular except for food...I'm working on keeping healthy snacks around the house.  Cheezits and Oreos probably aren't the greatest things to be snacking on! 

Movement:  None yet, but I can't hardly wait until that starts up again. 

What I'm loving:  Just thanking God for bringing us another pregnancy and another chance to be parents.  I can't believe that Christmas this year will include four stockings instead of three...Gigi, we need to get on making those! 

Symptoms:  A little swelling in my ankles...which is always most pleasant.  Sarcasm intended.  Honestly though, I seem to be swelling a little more easily than I did with Elyse.  I'll be watching my sodium intake for sure...and elevate my feet as much as I can in the evenings.  I've also noticed a little bit of weakness in the mornings.  I think this is mainly low blood sugar, so I'm trying to have a good snack in the evenings to counteract that problem. 

What I'm looking forward to:  Finding out the gender!!!  That made it so much more real the last time, and I can't believe we find out in 3 short weeks!  We already have plans for another gender reveal party and I'm having a blast putting all the details together!

Best moment of the week:  Listening to Elyse call my belly the "baby manger."  It seriously is the most adorable thing, and I can't wait until she can fully understand a little bit more that she's going to be a Big Sister!

And just for record keeping sake...a little bit of what Charlie has put me through the first 15 weeks!  He/She is starting early with being a pain in the booty! 

1.  Thyroid Issues:  With my first lab appointment and subsequent appointment with my doctor at 5  1/2 weeks, I was told that I have an underactive thyroid.  This could be genetic (thanks Gigi) or it could simply be pregnancy related.  Either way, there can be a strong correlation between an expectant mother's thyroid function and her child's, I'm now on thyroid meds to improve my function and make my baby SO much smarter!  This of course also means an additional blood draw every 8 weeks to check things out...and we all know how much I love having blood drawn. 

2.  Protein Issues:  At the same initial appointments, the protein in my urine was found to be incredibly high.  Without going into a really long, drawn out, medical explanation...oh wait, there is none.  After multiple urine tests, multiple blood draws, a kidney ultrasound, and one MAJOR freakout afternoon, basically nothing has yet to be concluded.  ALL of my other numbers and symptoms that would point to any other issues are completely normal, which means that no one really seems to be all that concerned.  Which also means I can't get in to see a specialist until August-September.  FANTASTIC! 

3.  Balance Issues:  Ok, so I'm not sure if this is a true issue, or if I was just being clumsy, but I have fallen twice since being pregnant.  Like face plant, sprawling on the floor falling.  Lovely.  The first time I freaked out about it and called my OB/GYN which resulted in a nice little bonus of getting to see the baby super early.  Oh what a relief it was to see that heartbeat flashing on the screen.  Clumsy, pregnancy imbalance, whatever...I've been banned from wearing those flip-flops for the rest of the pregnancy. 

Charlie, I'm not sure why you've decided to throw all these issues at your momma...but trust me, I'll love you with all my heart anyway.  Let's be honest, I already do...and I would do ABSOLUTELY anything to make sure you're safe for the duration of your stay in my nice warm belly.  You are going to be one blessed baby! 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Father's Day Weekend 2014

We had a pretty wonderful Father's Day Weekend!  Hubby actually planned our Friday evening activity as he presented me with an invitation a few weeks ago for dinner out as a late anniversary celebration and also a half-birthday celebration for Elyse. 
She found these glasses at Gigi's house...and wouldn't take them off!
A very good restaurant that was located south of Branson burned 8+ years ago...and finally reopened after a local businessman (and the owner/founder of Bass Pro Shops) poured a rumor $60+ Million dollars into the entire facility.  There's an incredible driving range, putting course, and 9 hole golf course which is mainly the reason for Hubby's excitement! 
The entire property is just beyond words...check out that view...and the infinity pool below! 
We decided to take Elyse along for the adventure so we got all dressed up and had an AMAZING TIME!!! 

We spent the rest of the evening roaming around the property and just taking it all in.  The sunset was going to be gorgeous...but Elyse was DONE.  So we headed out.  Rest assured we'll be back soon, without Elyse, to take full advantage of that sunset!

Saturday I worked and spent the afternoon at home while Hubby had a fun morning with Elyse and then played golf with his Dad in a father/son tourney.  Elyse & I spent an hour or so at the local community pool before we all met up for dinner at one of my favorite local pizza places.

Sunday we headed to church and then to Hubby's parents house for lunch.  I managed to wrangle all of the cousins for a picture with their Pappy before we broke out the STL Cardinals pinata!  My MIL thought the kiddos would enjoy it, but who was she kidding, I think all the adults enjoyed a few pieces of candy as well!

She has the whole sorting/matching thing down...she ONLY wanted the PINK laffy taffy...and she didn't eat a single piece, she just wanted to collect it!
We finished up with a little water table fun before heading out for a quick car nap!

The sun managed to go behind the clouds just as we arrived at my parents' house, but that didn't keep Elyse from wanting to swim!  Ha!  Hubby & Papa were the lucky ones who got to join her in the pool yesterday!  It was a little chilly from a fresh rain yesterday morning and the cloudy skies didn't help!

My brother & his family surprised us by calling to tell us they were headed down to join us for dinner...we attempted a photo of Papa with his two you can see, no one was really excited about that!  ha!
We had a fabulous day celebrating all the dad's in our lives...and I certainly wanted to celebrate Elyse's Daddy!  She made him a wonderful grill platter, but I still don't know if we'll be using it or putting it on a plate stand for display!  Pinterest success for sure!

God truly blessed me with some incredibly daddies in my life and then blessed me yet again when he sent me Hubby to become a daddy to my children.  He is amazing with Elyse & I can't wait to see him be a daddy of 2 in just a few short months! 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Elyse Love ~ Happy 2 1/2!!

Today Elyse celebrates 2 1/2 years of being in our's been a LONG time (like since her 2nd birthday) that I've done an Elyse update and since this is the only scrapbook/baby book/record I have of her childhood I thought I should put some new things down in writing! 

Our little toot...

At 2 1/2 you have left every ounce of baby/toddler in your are now full-on little girl with a mind of her own.  You are so independent that it makes me worry about how clingy Baby #2 will be.  I honestly think you would play in the new play room with your farm animals, or sit and read books, or gather up random collections of small items for hours on end if I would allow you to do so by yourself.  You always seem to have your own little imagination for whatever game you are playing each day. 
You typically start your day with a cup of milk and a viewing of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, of course sometimes you must get tired of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse because Sherriff Callie Wild Wild West wins out a few mornings a week.  However, this morning you must have grown up over night because you didn't ask for either. Your daddy & I were a little shocked that your routine of many, many months was thrown out the window!
You have a ridiculous amount of love for all things farm related, but hold a very special fondness for two small cows that have been affectionately named Bessy & Bossy.  You know almost any animal sound possible, and have even tried to figure out what sound a giraffe makes...unfortunately no one has been able to easily answer that question.  We have a local farm park that you absolutely adore, and I can see us making frequent visits there this summer & fall. 

You are able to put 6-9 piece puzzles together without any assistance whatsoever, but it does become a little more difficult when you decide to leave out the pieces that "you don't like anymore."  This usually results in puzzles that are incomplete when we look at them, but I think they probably look perfect in your eyes.  We frequently find you carrying around these puzzle pieces or a grouping of small colored circles that are meant to be used for a toddler BINGO game, and heaven forbid we can't find the right ones.  Which means that random stacks of items can be found all over our house...
You are reading all sorts of books and sometimes even make up your own words based on the pictures.  I can frequently find you pulling a book off the bookcase and reading it to yourself.  You can recite several  books to me or finish the page before I turn it.  You always ask questions about the smallest of details on each page, trying to soak up every bit of information you can. 
You are speaking practically in paragraphs at a time and honestly never cease to amaze us with the stuff that comes out of your mouth.  Many times you speak with an accent that sounds Southern or French or British...we're not really sure sometimes why you pronounce things the way you do. Many common single-syllable words become two-syllable words when they come from you:  Can't & Help are two of my favorites that apparently are more effective when pronounced with two syllables.
You are still an incredible sleeper, but you definitely still follow the old adage of "sleep begets sleep."  If you get to bed too late, you end up waking around 5:30-5:45 which is about an hour early.  So...your dad & I have made a consistent effort of getting you to bed before 8:30 at night which means you wake anywhere between 6:45-7:00.  You love your bed and are quick to ask us to sleep in it when it's time.  You are taking a 2-3 hour nap during the afternoon, and regardless of where you are, you nap in a big bed (momma's bed, Gigi's bed, or Mamaw's bed).  You do very well with this and I'm hoping it will help make the toddler bed transition easier...which we don't actually plan on doing anytime soon as you seem to really like your crib and I LOVE that you are still fully contained. 
You definitely have your good days & bad days when it comes to eating.  Your favorites for breakfast are fried eggs (with a runny yolk) & toast, Greek vanilla yogurt with red raspberries, and we ALWAYS have some kind of berry--red raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, or a combination of all!  I'd love to say that you're a great veggie eater, but the only veggies we can get you to consistantly eat are green beans & carrots (raw only).  Truth be told, your daddy & I are not very good veggie eaters we can't really blame you for that.  You love cheese quesidillas, Spaghettios (don't judge), noodles or most any kind, tacos, sour cream, guacamole, chips, cookies, ice cream, deli turkey & roast beef, chicken nuggets (Wendy's mainly), pizza, cottage cheese, applesauce, mashed potatoes, peanuts, raisins, POPCORN, and many other things.  We honestly don't fret a lot over your eating, you still LOVE milk and we only recently moved you to 2% from whole--but we know that you're getting plenty of calories (even if they aren't the best calories all the time)! 
You are loving being outside and have recently become much more independent at the various play places we like to visit.  You are finally checking out the twisty slides all by yourself, which honestly makes our job a little more difficult as we work to keep up with you.  You love to go out in the backyard and play with Bogey, and are quick to notice when he's out of food or water.  You are also becoming quite the little fish as you are learning so much at swim lessons and becoming much more comfortable in the pool.  With Gigi & Papa having a pool, this wasn't really an option and we're so thrilled to see you learning how to be self-sufficient in the water. 
You also love to go to the store--Walmart (to run around like crazy with no one caring), Lowe's (to drive the race car carts), Target (to get popcorn for the cart ride), and any other store where we let you run free!  You are pretty good at sticking by our sides for the first 2 seconds until you get comfortable wherever you are...and then you're off and making new friends and telling new stories to whoever is around. 
You are normally extremely mild-mannered and while I hate to even type this, you don't seem all that prone to even throw a huge fit.  Just the threat of time-out typically works if you are disobeying...but you have had the CRAZY thought to blow raspberries at your momma when she asks you to quit doing something.  Needless to say, your momma doesn't handle this very calmly!  You certainly have your own opinions on things, but usually it's not a battle worth fighting (which shoes to wear, which clothes to wear) or we can still get our way with quickly distracting you with whatever is getting ready to happen next. 

You are going to be a wonderful helper when Baby Brother/Sister arrives...or I know you will be once you adjust to not being the absolute center of everyones attention.  While I know you don't fully understand why momma's belly is growing, you affectionately refer to it as the "baby manger" and while we certainly don't plan on naming our baby after Jesus, I'm still astounded that you would relate my belly to the place where our Savior was born. 

Oh and just FYI, Operation Potty Training commences in a couple of weeks...get ready girl, you are MORE THAN READY to be potty trained but are just resisting and this momma gives in too easily to your sweet, innocent precious face when you say "no way!"  But when your hands are finding their way into your diaper, and momma asks "are you going potty?" and you respond with "uh huh"...IT'S TIME! 

We'll celebrate your half-birthday out tonight with a big fancy dinner...I LOVE that you are able to join us on such outings, and I hope there will be many of them in the next 6 months as we await the arrival of your new baby brother or baby sister. 

You, my darling precious  baby girl, are my life...and that will absolutely never change.  I'm not sure how, but I'm assured that my heart will simply grow to make room for your new sibling...and I'm trying not to question that.  To love another child as much as I love you, seems inconceivable...but it's done time and time again.  You are my world and we love you so much it hurts. 

Hugs, kisses, pats, and're the bestest!