Enchanted Mommy

Easter Seals Fashion Show!

I just attended my first Easter Seals Benefit last week.  This benefit is a fashion show that benefits children with disabilities in Florida.  My sister’s law firm buys tickets to the event every year and this year I got to go as her guest!  It was so much fun!

First you get all dolled up.  Heels, dresses, the works!  Then show up to the event for makeovers!  They provided lunch catered in by Brio Tuscan Grill.  It was really yummy!  I ate lunch next to one of their male models.  He was very funny and flirtatious as I am sure he was meant to be… the models are in charge of collecting donations!

The male models walk around with trays carrying designer shoes to be auctioned while other models walk the runway wearing designer fashions.  The shoes were all auctioned off for $1,500 to $3,000!

Some of the models auctioning off designer shoes!

Some of the models auctioning off designer shoes!

One woman who helped organize the event had bought a pair of the shoes to be auctioned.  As the model walked around with her shoes she kept bidding on them herself.  In the end she won them!  She said she loved them and had to have them for herself.  She essentially bought the same pair of shoes twice!

My sister bidding on some shoes... we liked to bid around the $300 range while it was safe.  The packages all sold for $1500 to $3000.

My sister bidding on some shoes… we liked to bid around the $300 range while it was safe. The packages all sold for $1,500 to $3,000.

We also got to meet one of the kids that this benefit is for.  Chase, a 5 year old child with cerebral palsy, came to the benefit last year as well.  This year though, he came and showed everyone how he had learned to walk since he was last there.  It was amazing to see him and his accomplishments.

We also got all these great goodies in our gift bags.  Coupons, gift cards, and samples, were included in our bags!  It even had a $25 gift card to Tory Burch.

PicMonkey Collage2

A great event serving an even greater purpose!  The three hour event raised $53,000 for disabled children!!!  Hopefully I will be able to attend next year as well!

 

A Day In The Life Of A Stay At Home Mom

The moms that don’t stay at  home might not ever want to after reading this.

Here’s how my day went today.  It usually goes at this pace pretty much every day.  I hope I don’t scare anyone away from having kids!

7:45: Wake up courtesy of my 3 year old…. Before you judge me, wait until you see the rest of my day BEFORE you wonder why I get up so late.  Real story is that Ella has school on Mon/Wed/Fri so we all sleep in a little on Tues/Thurs.  She’s ready to get going.  I go downstairs and get the coffee going and tell her to let the pups out.  I feed them and get bfast going.  Breakfast is no joke in the Patterson house.  See below.

Coffee first, followed by dog breakfast, kid breakfast, mommy breakfast.

Coffee first, followed by dog breakfast, kid breakfast, mommy breakfast.

While I’m scarfing down food, I get some news in.  Hooray for Robin Roberts being back!  Followed by this, I fold some towels and took the laundry upstairs that I folded yesterday.

Laundry on washer and dryer is what I folded yesterday, but didn't get to.  In basket is clean, but needs to be folded.

Laundry on washer and dryer is what I folded yesterday, but didn’t get to put away. In basket is clean, but needs to be folded.

After we eat bfast, I go upstairs and get ready for the gym, make bed, put laundry away, iron my 3 year old’s shirt (crazy I know, but it takes less than a minute and looks SO much better) and lay her clothes out for her to get dressed.  By this time, it’s 9:00.

I have to wake my 1 year old up.  She went to bed at 7:30 last night.  Such a sleeper/grower.  I take her downstairs, change diaper and throw the girls laundry in.

I wake this child up at 9 and grab her laundry.

I wake this child up at 9 and grab her laundry.

She eats bfast (real fast) while I get Ella dressed and iron her shirt.  I get her dressed, pack a snack and we head out to library.  It’s 10 am by this point.  We finally get ready to get out the door to the library for some new books to take to Grandma and Papa’s this weekend.

Fun time at the library.

Fun time at the library.

We get to the gym around 10:50 and I’m on the treadmill by 11:05.  I s-l-o-w-l-y get my 3 miles in.  Hey, better than nothing right?!  My stomach is getting more and more in the way.

I'm all gross, but 27 weeks.

I’m all gross, but 27 weeks and welcome 3rd trimester.

I pick up girls from childcare and head home for lunch.  We get home around 12:20.  I threw the girls clothes in dryer and all of our jackets in the washer (they were a little too much on the dirty side), made lunch, did dishes and ran dishwasher.

Throw nasty coats in washer, make lunch, do dishes and run dishwasher.

Throw nasty coats in washer, make lunch, do dishes and run dishwasher.

We read some library books and I put Anna down for a nap around 1:30.  Unfortunately my 3 year old doesn’t nap unless I want her up until at least 10 pm.  So, I have to try to entertain her and get things done at the same time.  I took a shower while she played with magnets and colored.  She came upstairs bored at the end of my shower- go figure right?!   No time for drying hair and forget make-up.  I threw some clothes on, put darks in the washer, got out her puzzles, folded their laundry and she helped me pack their bag for their grandparents house this weekend.  I kind of multitasked by packing the clothes that I just folded.  I probably could have found some cuter outfits to pack, but this was easy and convenient AND I didn’t have to put most of them away.  My butt felt oh so good to sit down and fold laundry.

Laundry folding, bag packing, puzzles and some delicious healthy green tea.

Laundry folding, bag packing, puzzles and some delicious healthy green tea.

Next, my toenails needed some help so I painted both of ours along with doing a couple of thank you cards for the people that made me feel special on Sunday for turning dirty 30.  I let Ella help with the cards.  She put letter stickers on them (learning letters right?!?!).  I’m afraid this is the last time my belly allows me to paint my toes.

I like to call it letter learning and painting nails.

I like to call it letter learning and painting nails.

Right after finishing up our toes, Anna woke up around 4.  I got them a snack and put the dishes away in the dishwasher while they ate and watched Barney.

Snack!  Pirates Bootie.

Snack! Pirates Bootie.

After this, we went down to the basement so they could play and I could yet again fold a load of laundry.  I folded while they jumped in the bounce house.  They had just enough bounce house when I had two pieces of laundry to fold (never a dull moment).  We also played dress up and play-doh.

Releasing some energy, looking pretty and being creative.

Releasing some energy, looking pretty and being creative.

After killing time til dinner in the basement, Brian finished work.  I sent asked him nicely to go upstairs and put the new baby’s dresser together, I’m such a wonderful wife.  I got the girls and myself some dinner.

Ella eating, poor husband putting dresser together and my dinner.

Ella eating, poor husband putting dresser together and my dinner.

When dinner was over, Anna said she poo poo’d.  I took them upstairs and gave them a bath and got them ready for bed.

Bath and show in mommy's bed.

Bath and show in mommy’s bed.

While they watched a show in my bed, I put laundry away and then clipped their nails.  We also gave our small dog a bath.  Finally, they were ready for books and bed.  I was done with this around 8:00.  I came downstairs and put some orders in for a catalog party and then started this post.  It’s now 11 pm and I still need to finish picking up the house and would love to put the baby’s clothes in her new dresser that I washed.  Maybe I will get to bed by midnight!

Anyone wanna say that stay at home moms are lazy?  I do believe that I could sit around and let my kids watch shows or movies all day, but for my sanity and theirs, we like to get out of the house and do fun things.  Not all days are this crazy busy, but most days add some sort of craziness!  There are some days when I wish I could go back to work and get a break from the home life, then I quickly realize that life is too short to not enjoy every minute I can with my kids.

A couple of things to take note of:

  • I did not sit down all day unless I was scarfing (literally) food down OR folding laundry.
  • I did not have any other adult interaction (barely any with my husband either).
  • When I was folding laundry, I was either singing or trying to make conversation with the girls.
  • There were several things that I didn’t get to that I should have – i.e. call doctor about them not filing insurance on a claim.  ugh.
  • Forget a phone conversation or fun internet breaks today.
  • I’m leaving for Florida for 4 days in 2 days, I have yet to pack a thing for us.
  • I love my friends, I really do and I know one day they’ll understand why I’m so MIA all the time.

There you have it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Ways to Get Active with Your Kids!

Trying to be active as a family can be daunting!  I have not been great at it in the past, but have set my goals much higher this year!  Previously, we would all work on being active on our own;  I would take kickboxing and zumba classes at the gym, Danny would run, and the kids would play sports during different seasons.  It isn’t that we dont still do these things on our own, because we absolutely do, it’s just that now we would like to also incorporate having active lifestyles into our family activities as well.

It takes more effort and planning, but is way more fun and rewarding!  We have made a lot of changes to how we spend our free time and you can to!  It doesn’t matter how old or young your kids are.  These ideas will work for all families with old and young kids alike!

1.  Sign up for a race.  Start off easy, like the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving or another 5k or shorter.  Have your kids train with you!  My kids loved wearing a kids pedometer as they ran/walked.  It was still a bit hard on my five year old so he road his scooter beside us as we trained.  Fun and non competitive races are great for younger kids and for getting started.

We just ran the Color Me Rad Run this past weekend.  They have these all over the country.  They basically spray or throw paint at you as you run by so at the end of the race you are tie-dyed!  The kids loved it!  It was very laid back as far as the run goes.  It wasn’t timed, it was just a good time out getting exercise with the family.  There were lots of kids and even parents pushing strollers.

My niece, me, and my 7 year old getting ready to start the Color Me Rad race.

My niece, me, and my 7 year old getting ready to start the Color Me Rad race.

 

Here we all are at the finish line covered in paint!

Here we all are at the finish line covered in paint!  I didn’t bring my younger boys to this one as this was the first time running this one and I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I will for sure bring them next time!

 

2.  Plan active things to do on the weekends.  Instead of the usual dinner and/or movie, we try to plan more active outings.  We go to the beach, the pool, hiking, fishing, roller skating, ice skating, the park, the zoo, camping, bowling, … it doesn’t matter as long as it is an activity that keeps your family having fun and on their feet.  It was hard to detour from our typical weekends of eating out and sitting at movies.  We still do these things from time to time, but as a general rule we try to make more ACTIVE plans.

3.  Invite friends over to play games rather than just to eat and sit around.  Meet at a park or plan to be in the backyard playing wiffle ball.  Set up a slip’n slide for the kiddos to play on while you BBQ.  We recently went to our church with some friends in the evening when there were no other activities going on and played freeze tag using the entire building where  adults and kids together would run, hide, and take turns being it.  It was a blast!  Even my three year loved it… he thought he was pretty cool going and unfreezing all the big kids!

4.  Get a basketball hoop!  This is a great way to have something active to do each night!  It doesn’t count if you just send your kids out there to shoot hoops (not that there is anything wrong with this).  The goal is to be active as a family, so go out there and play some HORSE and elimination with the kiddos.  We even set up a mini Little Tikes hoop for our three year right next to the big hoop so he can be part of the game too!

5.  Support your kids in their own sports!  We try to have each of our three boys pick a sport to sign up for each season (as much as funds permit).  We bring the entire family to each game to watch and cheer as much as possible.  Sometimes their games overlap and we have to split up, but more often than not we spend our Saturday mornings going from one game to the next.  It is really important that the kids know we feel what they are doing is important and that we are all there to watch and support their hard work!

6.  Take walks or go on a bike ride after dinner.  This is hit or miss for us because we often have practices on weeknights, but we love to just walk around the neighborhood and talk while the boys ride their bikes beside us.  Taking family walks are never overrated!

7.  Bring back the old school games!  We recently taught our kids how to play Kick the Can.  It was a huge hit!  They are obsessed with it and have all the neighborhood kids coming over after school to play it!  Not a fan of Kick the Can… try dodgeball in the backyard, capture the flag, SPUD, wiffle ball, or even a good old fashioned water fight!  Bring back all those games you use to play around the neighborhood before iPads, wiis, and xboxes ruled the world!  You might feel silly playing these along side the kids at first, but after the first round you will be in it to win it!  Our kids will spend their lives trying to beat us!

8.  Start a garden!  The kids love this!  They are all about weeding, planting, and of course watering!  Gardening helps them take pride in eating healthy home grown produce as well as taking care of the yard.  Each weekend we bring the kids out to help clean up, water, and take care of the garden and yard.  My littlest guy loves pushing around his toy lawnmower while my husband mows the lawn.

9.  Sign up for some adult co-ed sport leagues.  They have everything these days!  You can do softball, volleyball, kickball, flag football, etc…  Bring the whole family to the games to watch and cheer!  It is fun for them to see their parents participating in the same type of organized sports they do!  Last year I did softball.  It was a blast.  We brought Grandma along with us to the games to keep an eye on the kiddos while we played.    The kids loved going to the games and running around with their cousins (whose parents played on the team).  I think we will sign up for kickball next!

10.  Take up tennis!  Tennis is easy because most communities have courts you can play on for free.  These days, you can also get a decent racket for $20.  We like to take the whole family to the courts and play around.  The younger kids mostly just run around the courts throwing tennis balls around while the rest of us practice.  Either way, it is a fun and a free way to be active with your family.

These are just a few ideas and I would LOVE to hear what you do with your family to stay active and healthy! Change takes time, effort, and planning, but this change is so rewarding that it is really worth the fuss!

An active family is a happy family!

Casey and his Daddy after the race!

Casey and his Daddy after the race!

 

I couldn't resist posting this one was well!  It is not often that we get a cute picture like this!  Thanks to my seven year old for taking it. :)

I couldn’t resist posting this one was well! It is not often that we get a cute picture like this! Thanks to my seven year old for taking it.  Maybe he will be a famous photographer one day or maybe he is just particularly skilled with the iPhone!  🙂

 

 

Book Review: Stephen King’s 11/23/63

StephenKing.com - 11_22_63

I know I dont often do book reviews on this site… it is because I like to save them for books I especially enjoyed!  This one is definitely in this category! I loved it!!!

Historical fiction novels have always been my thing, but this book is especially great because it is historical fiction with a bit a of science fiction.  LOVE!  Stephen King did a ton of research in this book giving it a plausible feel to the history during 1958 to 1963, a time period I think most of us have all been interested in.

The hero , Jake Epping, is a 35yr old English teacher from Libson Falls, Maine in 2011.  He also teaches evening courses for adults working toward their GEDs.  The book sucks you in immediately when you meet Harry Dunning, a man working on his GED.  Harry’s entire family was brutally attacked when he was 10 years old by his drunk father.  He is now a janitor with a lopsided head and a horrible limp.  His story is the first part of the book.

In part II of the book Jake’s friend Al tells him of a secret staircase he has been using to time travel back to 1958 to buy beef at the 50’s prices and bring back to his restaurant each week.  He urges Jake to go down and take a look and to finish the job he wasn’t able to do…  stop JFK from being assassinated.

This is not a “what if” book… as in what if JFK was never assassinated and the world that would create.  It is more of the journey it would take to change history and the possible butterfly effects that could occur as a result.

It has everything a great book needs to keep you hooked from start to finish:  great characters, entertainment, wit, a little brutality, research, and love.

Give it a go a let me know what you think!  I would love to discuss!

By the way this book is on sale for kindle right now for $3.99 on Amazon.  Read it on your kindle, tablet, phone or computer using the free kindle app.

 

Give Your Guest A Smile With A Towel Elephant

If you’ve ever been on a cruise, it’s so fun coming back to your room after they’ve made it up each evening to see what towel animal you get.  Well, I came home and was dying to know how they made some of the animals and thought it would be cute to have a surprise waiting for my guest.  All you need is a hand towel and bath towel of the same color.

towel elephant

Add some sunglasses too!

I found this easy tutorial of how to make an elephant!

Try it and I bet your guests will remember your house for sure!

My Hilarious Journey to Potty Training my Toddler


So I have to admit I am pretty conceited when it comes to my potty training ability.  Besides my two older boys, I have potty-trained hundreds of boys and girls through out the last 10 years.  I worked at children’s center for years, at first as a teacher then later as a Director.    I always told eager parents at preschool, “wait until they are ready.  If they are really ready it will be a cinch and will only take a couple days.”

If those parents could see me now… they would see me sticking my big fat foot right in my mouth!  Have you ever had one of those toddlers…  you know the ones that are so stubborn and strong willed that you are practicing your compromising and negotiating skills constantly?  For a while I didn’t think they actually existed… yes I really was that foolish overconfident in my abilities.   I figured those kids were only those kids because the adult didn’t quite know what they were doing.  Oh geez… so foolish.  I am now repenting of my pride!

So you probably guessed it.  I now have one of those toddlers.  I have to tell you this third little boy of mine is no doubt the cutest most adorable little guy you will ever interact with.  He is fascinated with everything and loves life so dearly that when he runs to give you a giant squeeze because he is so excited to find his lost matchbox car he lost earlier… I mean really there are no words for the joy he brings us.  With that being said, he was the most challenging child to potty train I have ever come across!!!

So this is my journal in potty-training the stubborn and un-potty-trainable.

Pre Potty-Training:  Making sure he was ready.I could tell my little guy was ready.  In fact, he was ready before I was.  He was getting jealous that his big brothers got to go potty.  He would bring me a diaper and tell me he needed a diaper change.  He would often wake up dry from his nap.  One day he came and asked me to take him potty even.  It was in the middle of Christmas craziness so I convinced him he didn’t need to use the potty and decided I would start him on the potty once the holidays were over.  Boy… jokes on me now huh!

Preparation:  Potty charts and stickers
So I got him a big foam poster board and some Lightning McQeen stickers (he is obsessed with cars).  I divided the board up in half and put “pee” on one half and “poo” on the other.  We then had a talk about how he is such a big boy and can go pee pee and poo poo on the potty now.  No more diapers, just big boy undies!  I explained how he would get to put a sticker on his board every time he went potty in the big boy potty.  I showed his new cool undies and talked about how we didn’t want to get our new Mcqueen undies yucky.  You get the point.  Anyway, he was excited about the stickers and the undies and was ready to go.

Day 1

So here we go!  He wakes up we take off his diaper and have him sit.  I am a big fan of the little potties that sit on the regular potty.  I didn’t want to train him on a small potty on the floor and then have to transfer him to the big potty.  Cold turkey is the way to go.  They just get confused if they are sometimes allowed to pee in their diaper and other times not.  It is a hard week, a bit messy, definitely frustrating, but I swear it is the best and quickest way.

So the hardest party about potty-training is getting the toddler to understand what you are expecting of him.  He hasn’t seen himself ever go potty and up to this point has sort of let his body do what it wants without much thought from him.  I know I needed to get him on the potty at the right time and then cheer and dance like a crazy lady to reinforce his success.  So we sat… I read every book I could get him to sit through, sang songs, clipped his fingernails, whatever I could do to get him to sit and wait.  Then I let him run around in just his undies  for 15-20 minutes before returning to the potty.  And the cycle repeats throughout the day.

The first time he peed in his undies and he ran to me saying, “oh no… I spilled.”  Not sure he understood where the  “spill” came from, but it was pretty cute anyway.  Each time I took him to the potty and he was already wet, I say “Oh no!  We pee in the potty, not in our undies!”  Then we sit on the potty for as long as he can stand it… sometimes we alternate between standing and sitting.

So after a full day of this, I have to admit I was incredibly exhausted and had no stickers on his chart to show for it.  I had never previously gone a full day without one potty success in my potty-training experience.

I still felt okay though.  In past potty training experiences I have always felt like giving up after the 2nd day, so I promised myself to keep going with it.

Day 2

Same thing as yesterday… lots of sitting, but not success!  Seriously!  I was vigorous too!  I made sure he went in every 15 minutes and kept him occupied for at least 15 minutes at a time.  I could tell that by the afternoon he was really frustrated too.  He didn’t want to keep sitting on the potty for so long.  I started to reward him for just sitting in order to keep it a positive thing.  Lots of nice words and one M&M for his effort.  This worked for a time, but my stubborn boy decided he didn’t care and told me he did not want to “spill” or “pee pee” or any sort of thing in the potty.   Each time we sat on the potty and I asked him to push and try to go potty he would scream, “No!  I don’t want too!”

I told myself, that I was okay and reminded myself that day 2 is always the worst and that the trick is to push through it no matter what.  Tomorrow would be better.  We’ll see.

Day 3

So I woke up with the goal of ensuring he had some success today.  We were both exhausted and I didn’t want either of our efforts the last two days to be in vain.  I was desperate for success and tried getting him to sit for longer spans on the potty.   At one point during this time sitting, my dogs started being obnoxious and wanted to go out, but I knew he had to go potty at some point and didn’t want to miss it.  Finally, I enlisted my 4 year old.  I had him come in the bathroom with Andy and told him to tell me if he saw any pee pee come out.

I ran to let the dogs out to do their business.  I stood at the back door waiting for them while keeping a good listening ear toward the bathroom.  The dogs ran back inside just as I heard my four year old yell, “He did it mommy!  I saw pee pee!”  Doh!  I had missed it and only had the word of a four year old as proof that it happened.  Not wanting to miss any opportunity to cheer and give some praise after two long days, I decide to celebrate completely!  We picked out a sticker for our board and we did a jumping shaking high fiving potty dance!

The rest of the day was uneventful, only I noticed that he was having less and less accidents.  Not that he was having success in the potty, but he was using less undies throughout the day.  Finally, some sort of measurable progress!  He has figured out that he is not supposed to wet his pants and has figured out how to hold it.  In fact, he only had one accident before his nap and that was when I was making lunch and not paying attention to him.  The little bugger… he knew just when to go and get away with it.  Yes, it would be better if he had figured out how to let it loose, but still… progress is progress.  We went into the next day a little more hopeful.

Day 4

So today was interesting.  I decided to try the naked approach to switch things up a bit.  I have heard a lot of people use it and although I have never needed to use this method on the other boys I figured it was worth a shot.  Backfire!  He ended up peeing all over himself and the floor while running around the dining room- living room-kitchen loop.  He then slipped in his own pool of pee and ended up sprawled out on the floor crying.  I calmed him down and had him help me clean up his mess (this has always been a rule of mine… no better way to show him the consequences of peeing his pants than having him help clean it up).  He was begging to wear his undies after this.

So strange that this isn’t taking by now!  I know he is ready… right?!?!?!  Now I am doubting myself even though I know he showed every sign of preparedness.   So we decided to play it cool and let him relax a bit doing his favorite thing…. Taking a bath.  He was really excited and ran upstairs to the tub.  He took a detour to his room and grabbed a diaper first and told me he needed a diaper.  What?  No you don’t… you are a big boy.  No more diapers.  That was random.  I put him in the tub.  A few minutes of splashing and playing and he is calling, “eeewww!  Yucky in the bath tub!”  Sure enough, he has just pooped in the tub.  Okay so a kid who goes to get his diaper for me just before he is about to poo…. He is so ready.  He can do this!  This is progress!  Motivation for me to keep moving!

Later on, we finally had a successful “spill” in the potty followed by lots of cheering and another sticker on his board.  I didn’t miss it this time!  I had a front row seat and made sure he saw it all too.

Day 5

Ugh!  Could it really by day 5 without much success?  My hubby and I started discussing options.  Should we cut our losses and move on?  It had been a very long week so far and we had all been trapped in the house during this tiring cycle.  We hadn’t quite decided what to do and I just wasn’t sure it was in his best interest to give up these last few days of hard work… not just yet.

We started the day off in the bath tub.   I stripped him down and stood him in there.  What the heck… “make pee pee Andy” I said.  He smiled up at me and said, “okay mommy.  I make pee pee in the bath tub.”  Then just like that he peed!  What the $#%%!!!!!?!!?!?!  Just like that!?!?!?!   He jumped excitedly clapping and laughing and cheering for himself… this same cheer and excitement that always melts my heart.  So I was mad… he has seriously been holding out on me.  The stubborn kid!!!!

So what am I missing?  Is it the potty itself he objects to?  Is it the fact that he just wants to do it on his own terms?  Should I get him a small potty for the floor, even though I have always found them unnecessary?  One thing is sure… I am not giving up.  Not now when it is so obvious he can do this!  I decide to try the small potty.  Maybe it is just small enough that he can stand over it and feel in control enough to use it, after all he has to stand on a stool in the real potty and maybe he just isn’t comfortable that way.  The problem is, the hubby has left for work and I am on my own with all the kids and have to be at the bus stop at 11am for the kindergarten bus, then its lunch time and nap time, and then my first grader will be getting off the bus.

So I am ashamed to say it, but there was just no way to go get the potty today.  Instead, each time he was ready to go potty I took him to the bath tub and told him to go.  I know right…  terrible, terrible, but ask yourself what you would do if you were me! ?!?!? At this point I am as humble as I can be with my failure right before my eyes and I am willing to do anything!  Each time I put him in the tub, he smiles and goes pee pee followed by his adorable little jumping excitement and high fiving action.

So this is where we end day 5.  He has stopped having accidents.  He knows how to hold it.  He knows when poo poo is coming, but hasn’t yet gotten it in the potty (fun right?!?!).  He knows how to make the pee pee come out and is willing to do it when asked… as long as it is in the bathtub!  Oh geez!  The best part is how he runs (visualize his little plump legs going as fast as they can through the house) back and forth to his brothers or his daddy for the next five minutes to give high fives and tell them how he peed in the bathtub!   What could tomorrow possible bring!  I obviously can’t let this continue!

Day 6

All right, we got the little potty and we are ready to go.  Of course he hates the little potty and refuses to even stand near it!  Seriously kid!  So my hubby had a great idea and decided to put the little potty in the bathtub.  Ha!  He had no problem going on the little potty as long as it was in the tub.    Ridiculous!  Luckily the gimmicky star stickers that you pull out of the little potty and stick on the back won him over.  By the end of the day he was peeing like a champ on that thing without having to put it int he bathtub!  No more bathtub!  Thankgoodness!    Great day!  We finally ventured out with him in his big boy undies.  We went to the library and then ran a quick errand.  The trip took an hour and half.  He held it the entire time and was ready to go potty as soon as we got home!  Real success at last!

One Month Later

Poopy training took a bit longer.  We just had to be consistent and up the rewards a bit.  We went and got a few matchbox cars (he is pretty obsessed with those) and hung them up on the wall near the bathroom.  Every time he passed by the cars and asked for them we told him he could pick one if he made poo poo in the potty.  He tried, but for a while just felt more comfortable waiting until I put on his diaper at bedtime.  We tried lots of things including letting him go naked from the waist down.  Honestly though, only time and patience helped.  One day he just came to us and said he needed to go poop.  We put him on the potty just as we always do when we think he needs to go and the crazy thing was…  he just went.  No problem.

It has been a long road and he has by far been the hardest child I have ever potty trained.  That’s saying a lot coming from the once arrogant professional potty trainer.  I will take this humble time and try to hold on to it…  I have a feeling that I will be needing it for a long time while raising this little monkey.

The Last Cowboy Lesson: Learn to Ride and Fish!

How can you be a cowboy if you can’t ride and fish?  Before we could leave Utah the kids had to have their fun fishing and riding horses.

It has been an amazing summer… so much so that I am sad to see it end.  The boys made such great memories.  It was really fun to do something different and a bit more meaningful this time around.

Don’t get me wrong… we love the beach (in fact we just moved to be closer to it), but having the boys work on the farm, ride horses, fish, shoot a gun on the ranch, and learn about their ancestors was a great change of pace this year.

Here’s to making memories!!!

Gorgeous view huh! Have I mentioned how beautiful it is in Utah???

Gorgeous reflection of the clouds on the water in this one.

 

Not many memories better than this...

So I admit the little one had more fun chasing ducks around than fishing!

 

Casey and his cousins with their catches for the day.

 

And now for the horses… we are just glad Aunt Christy doesn’t mine showing the boys around a horse!  Thanks Aunt Christy!

This little guy cried when his turn was over!

Tyson's turn!

 

He is such a ham up there! Riding like a professional!

 

Casey is getting too cool for me and my camera...

Cowboy Lesson 2: Learn About Your Heritage

FOLLOW UP POST FOR:

COWBOY LESSON 1: LEARN TO SHOOT AND CLIMB A TRACTOR

AND MAKING COWBOYS OUT OF CITY BOYS

We had a really great moment during our trip out west.  The boys got to visit the gravesites of their Great, Great, Great Grandparents.

This was an awesome event after they visited the ranch with their Great Grandpa.  This 320 acres was originally owned by their 3 time Great Grandfather in the 1830’s:  Alexander Calderwood.

Alexander Calderwood came over from Scotland and bought the land from the U.S. Government for a very small fee if he agreed to live on the land for at least 3 years.  We drove all around his land and saw his hand built cabins he lived in with his wife and kids. After this we went to the Coalville Cemetery and found all the graves of these ancestors.

It was very touching to watch my boys clean the graves of their Great, Great, Great Grandparents.

The very same week we were able to drive to Idaho to show the boys the Hinckley gravesite and family properties.  Their Great Grandfather left his farm as a young teenage boy during the great depression.  He hitch hiked to New York and eventually had a career running the Boys and Girls Club.

Before he died he wrote his 13 yr old grandson a letter and included a hand drawn map of the old Hinckley homestead in Idaho he cherished as a boy.  We used this hand drawn map to find our way around the properties and see their Grand Grandfather’s old stomping grounds.

Casey got to hear and learn about the man he was named after, his Great Grandfather.

This is the hand drawn map included in the letter their Great Grandfather drew for his 13yr old Grandson.

Nags Head, NC – A Great Place For A Family Vacation!

Now that I’ve slept in my bed one night, I’m so ready to be back in our 8 bedroom on the beach house with the 20 people I care about most.    Last week was pure bliss.  We stayed here in the OBX.  I’m one of four kids and we are all married and have kids, so it made one heck of a good time.

beach family photo

Our family! All 21 of us! (I'm the only one with pink shorts!)

I would definitely encourage all of you east coasters to head to the Outer Banks.  There are several fun things to do!

1.  Of course, enjoy the beach.  We sure did!

buried at the beach

My brother (the biggest kid there) buried my 3 year old!

2.  and…. the water!

Nags Head ocean

Playing in the ocean!

3.  Take the kids to the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island.  This is a great break from the beach.  There is so much to see and you even get to touch animals.  This is my niece and nephews holding turtles!

north carolina aquarium

They got to hold turtles!

4.  Fly a kite!  We did this three times and it was so much fun!  The wind was perfect on the beach!

Flying a kite

Flying a kite in Nags Head.

5.  Check out the outlets for a couple of hours.  These we really close to our beach house.  While they aren’t the greatest, it gave us a good couple hours of shopping!

6.  Eat, EAt and EATTTTTTTTTTTT.  We went to three restaurants while we were there.  My most favorite was Blue Moon Beach Grill.  Oh my gosh, it was SOOOOOO good.  I would recommend it 1k times over and over.  Do not miss out on this strip mall (yes, it’s in a strip mall, but you WON’T be disappointed) restaurant.  We also ate at Miller’s Waterfront.  It was also really good.  The talked about hush puppies really were amazing.  We also ate at Captain George’s, while it’s good, it’s one of those places where you feel like you have to gorge on food to get your $31 worth.  I definitely got my money’s worth on crab legs, but my stomach paid for it later.

7.  Check out The Lost Colony.  My parents liked it so much that they went three times!

8.  Check out Jockey’s Ridge.  We had planned to do this the last night, but it rained.  Boo.

9.  Get a house with a pool!  It was totally worth it to us.

Daddy swimming with his girl!

10.  Go fishing!  There are so many piers that offer rentals and it is a great place to do it!

Now, go book your trip!  If you don’t have kids in school, you can save A LOT of money by going late August.  Heck, maybe we’ll go again!