Monday, June 21, 2010

Blog Hiatus

Unfortunately I will be taking a small break from this blog due to computer problems. I am not happy about it. I can check email on Gerry's laptop when he brings it home at night. But i can't upload any pictures, which is what i really like to do. Hopefully we can get the problem fixed, once and for all!

Especially since i have been so excited to announce the birth of our beautiful little nephew, Dominic. He arrived last Thursday, the 17th. I have lots of pics of him to share. You can check out proud mommy, Laura's blog at to see the little guy.

Hopefully i will be back soon!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Adventures in Potty Training: Boot Camp

Well...we survived! (and so did the kids, surprisingly!)

An entire weekend of POTTY TRAINING!  We marked it on the calendar weeks ago and decided we were not going to leave the house for the entire weekend.  We would solely focus on getting Maria to use the potty, and nothing else. 

Every 30 minutes (we set a timer) we would take her to the bathroom.  Sometimes she went, sometimes she didn't.  We had a few accidents but she started to get the hang of it.  She even pooped on the potty, which was beyond my expectations. 

I'll be honest.  By 9 am on Saturday, I was ready to give up, throw in the towel and put her back in a pull up.  We were giving her tons of milk, juice...whatever she wanted to drink.  It was going on 2 hours and she hadn't peed.  Every time I took her to the bathroom, she wouldn't go.  She would just play around.  I was so frustrated. Just when I was about to call it quits, Gerry stepped in.  He gave me a pep talk and said we just had to push forward...not give up.

He started taking her and I stayed out in the living room with Naomi.  Then, Maria actually started going.  Her confidence started growing and I think she realized that she could do it!

Fast forward to Monday...

Now Gerry goes off to work and I have to deal with it all by myself.  I'm dreading this day.  How do I keep Maria from goofing around in the bathroom and keep Naomi safe and happy out in the living room/kitchen area?  The day started off the same way...I called Gerry, almost in tears, by 9:30 am.

Luckily, he gave me the same pep talk.  So, I pushed forward and got the job done.

Overall, I'd say Maria has had a very successful experience.  We finally crossed over to where she was asking me to go, instead of me telling her.  I am beginning to trust her a little more on how long I think she can hold it.  I've started to notice that she walks on her tippy toes when she has to go, which is kind of funny!  And tonight, when Gerry and I were cleaning up dinner...she went completely by herself.  She was running around playing in her room and the next thing we hear her say is "I did it all by myself!"  So I ran into the bathroom and - sure enough...she was sitting there all by herself going pee!  I have to say that I am one proud mom.

Now tomorrow will be a new adventure: we are leaving the house!  Maria is going to "camp" at her pre-school.  They are equipped to deal with this stuff, so I am packing 20 undies and shorts, just in case.  I really don't want to go back to pull-ups after all this hard work. 

I really hope this is the beginning to a whole new world!  She will be 3 in July so (hopefully) there's no turning back now!!!

Wish us luck! (I am going to line her car seat with a trash bag before I go to bed...ha ha)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A week of adventures

The day after we arrived home from Branson, I crawled out of bed, made some coffee and realized I had made plans with my friend Erin to go to Grant's Farm.  I checked the weather: high of 91 with 80% humidity.  Great.

I scurried around getting the diaper bag packed.  I was able to shower (bonus) and get the kids dressed.  I knew Erin had taken the day off work and we had this planned for months.  But something in me just didn't feel like lathering the kids up with sunscreen and taking them out into the brutal heat.  I frantically brainstormed about things we could do know, air conditioning and NO SUN!

I know I sound like a weirdo, but honestly, as much as I love doing things outside, I am deathly afraid of the sun.  I am afraid of it for me and for my kids.  I constantly struggle with protecting my kids from the sun versus letting them be kids and enjoy being outside.  It's very hard and it can be paralyzing.

So, after kicking around a few ideas with Erin about what else we could do, I decided to buck up and go to Grant's Farm after all.  I can honestly say that I was so happy we went. It was a fun time and we left before it got too hot!

                                                                  Erin and Naomi on the tram
Maria enjoying the tram. (so glad she agreed to wear that hat!!!)
Feeding the goats...she giggled the whole time!
Then I couldn't get her away from the goats...she wanted to pet every one!
Naomi looking at the goats from a distance!

So, this trip set the tone for the week.  I faced my fears each day with an outdoor activity.  I promised myself, and my kids, that this summer would be full of fun activities, instead of staying inside and watching TV.

The next day, Maria's friends from pre-school met at a park and had a picnic.  Although I still loaded them up with sunscreen, we lucked out by having a pretty cloudy day.  It even rained while we ate lunch under the pavilion.  The kids were absolutely filthy when we got home.

Dirt covered legs, sand filled shoes, sticky faces and necks from spilled juice boxes!  As I was putting them in the tub I thought "Now this is what summer is all about!"

Later that evening we dropped Maria off at Gerry's parent's house.  His mom took some vacation and wanted to spend some time with Maria so she spent the night at their house.  It was nice having some one on one time with Naomi the next day.  I don't get that very often!  She's a fun kid!

To end the week, Friday we invited some little kids over whose mom's are getting ready to have babies!  I called it a Pregnancy Relief Playdate!  Our sister-in-law, Laura, and my brother's 2 sisters-in-law, Kristy and Sara are ready to pop.  So, we had their little ones, Olivia, Gavin and Micah, come over for some fun!

We read stories and had circle time, made a fun snack, played outside in the pool, and ate lunch! Whew!  What a day.  I almost nixed the pool idea because it was so hot (and the sun was SOOO bright), but I didn't let fear take over.  I covered them, head to toe, with sunscreen and then enjoyed shooting them with the hose while they splashed each other! Luckily Naomi was napping during this time, so I didn't have to worry about her!

                                          Olivia decorating pudding in ice cream cone cups!
Gavin's masterpiece!
This is the best!
Group shot!
Pool Party inside?
Now that's more like it!
They're not quite's a little cold!

Ahhh...having a drink by the pool! 

Alright...nobody move! And nobody pee on my floor!

Lunch time!
Gavin just loves Naomi.  Ha wanted me to take a picture of the 2 of them! Cute!
Partied out and passed out!
Hey guys...where's the party?

It was a great end to a great week.  I loved having all those kids around.  It made me miss my days at the daycare...just a little!  We will definitely have to do it again! Now if those little babies could just get here soon!  We can't wait to meet them all!

Maria and Naomi were exhausted each day from playing so hard.  I hope this inspires me to be creative with our summer and keep doing fun things!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Naomi Walks!!!

She's been taking a few steps here and there, but this was the longest she has walked at one time!

We are so excited!  Yay Omi!

Branson Vacay 2010

My family spent Memorial Weekend in Branson, Mo.  We had a fantastic time!  We stayed in a 4 bedroom cabin, which was very child friendly. (thank goodness).  We spent most of our time relaxing, eating, drinking and laughing! The kitchen was stocked with everything we needed so we cooked most of our meals there. Saturday, we went to the Dixie Stampede which was a great show that provided a gigantic meal.  Sunday afternoon, we walked around the downtown Branson Landing and had dinner at a nice steak place.  We watched the water/fire show on the landing and did a little dancing.  The whole weekend was a blast and it was great to spend time with our family.  This was our first time doing anything like this and I hope we can make it a tradition.

Relaxing in the cabin after a long drive.
Hailey and Jeff

Maria and Grandpa Galen

Gerry and Kelly

John and I

Of course mom's gotta be goofing around

Finally a good one!

Cute family!

Big Bro and Lil Sis!

 Checking out the fish at Bass Pro Shops

Uncle Marc and Omi getting ready for some steak


Pretty smile!

Getting ready for the water show.

Awww...young love!

Family Fun!

Mom and Galen trying to tame the wild animals. (I like the crowd in the background)

Gerry and Cara

Thursday, June 3, 2010

First and Last Day of Children's Day Out

Tuesday, May 24th, was Maria's last day of her pre-school program.  I have nothing but wonderful things to say about our experience here.  Maria loved the teachers and talked about her school friends often. She learned about Jesus each week and loved to play on the play ground!

My how things change! Here is a side by side pic of her first and last day of school!

During the school year, the teachers took random pictures of the kids in the classroom.  They uploaded them to a photo sharing website.  Here are just a few that Maria was in.

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