Memorial Day. You were cold. But that didn't stop my babies from enjoying your wonderful parades and endless hours of park-going fun. And when it all comes down to it you really deserve a big "Thank you." This weekend was a real reflection of the freedoms we have and all those that have given their lives to protect those rights. You may be cloaked in BBQs and shopping sales, but deep down you aspire as a gem of our nation and all those that have fought to call this place home.
Things are looking up around here, in more than one way actually. Throughout the last week or so I've been constantly catching myself staring up at the trees when we take our daily walks down to the park. Geeze these apple trees are mesmerizing, their blossoms falling to the ground like gentle snow and the buzzing of bees adds a relaxing flare to a chaotic process of pollinating each flower. And just when I thought that it couldn't get much better a late spring storm has made the snow capped mountain peaks glisten against the greenery of the hills. It really is quite the site to behold.
Come visit. You won't be disappointed.
//She doesn't give out smiles liberally that's for sure//
We've also been soaking up the Vitamin D like no tomorrow. For weeks (or maybe even months I suppose) I've been itching for the smell of green grass and lazy afternoons sitting on the porch. I really am a creature made for warm weather, but alas there is something about this place that tugs at my heart strings even in the dead of winter and somehow it pulls me back in with its wondrous Spring-time treasures.
For those that know me well it's been a difficult adjustment moving back to a small town and Sunday marked our one-year "moving" anniversary. The people are friendly and the extra time with my family has been such a blessing. My personality on the other hand has always craved movement and a more fast approach to life with little regard for schedules. We live however, in the epitome of Grassroots America--small quiet streets, one grocery store, and a Dairy Queen-like restaurant that is open oply seven months out of the year. All of which have seemed to pull my life into a sort of daily (and dare I say, mundane) rhythm. And for someone who loses interest in routines I've found it to be a bit more difficult to adjust. So I've had to change--I've learned to need less (that hasn't diminished my love of online shopping though) while also finding solace for simple moments in life. And the quietness. It's really quiet.
The awakening of Spring has helped to change our routine as well. The kids has found a new appreciation for all things outdoors and the dirtiness of each day has proven that playing outside is hard work. The lilacs have also come back in full-force. Their smell has taken me back to my childhood in Utah and to our pretend tea parties where lilac soup was the entree' of choice. Bush upon bush line the streets and the overwhelming smell seems to always brighten my spirit. I'm sure everyone says this but you would be hard pressed to find another place that marvels Montana in beauty.
I think I am starting to like it here. But let's just keep that between you and me...
And don't forget to enter the fun giveaway sponsored by Skip N' Whistle!
Today's giveaway is from Skip N' Whistle. It's a hip and quirky kind of shop. And boy-oh-boy are their shirts soft--it's really turning into quite the love affair with this raglan! Moving on, up for grabs is your choice of either the Indian Chief raglan or a child's birthday tee (color and number of your choice, of course).
To enter simply visit Skip N' Whistle and tell me which item is your favorite.
I pulled Addy into bed with me extra early this morning. John had gone fishing and Brecken was still sleeping so I took a few quiet moments to nurse her alone. She contently laid there as I scratched her little face all the while silently giggly at the slightest touch. Restlessness soon set in and she started to use my head as her personal pogo stick. Totally normal, right? Once Brecken woke up we puttered around the kitchen and finally ended up eating left over Chinese takeout for breakfast (mother of the year?) Brecken didn't complain and Addy was more then content to throw sticky rice around the dining room. I tried to take in each moment while letting them completely immerse themselves in each other, Brecken laughed hysterically as he made faces, Addy squealed because Brecken stayed just far enough out of reach so she couldn't grab him, and each of them trying with fumble-like fingers to feed the other. It was a simple moment even more than that it was a happy birthday moment.
The happy-go-lucky atmosphere didn't last long. go figure. Toys snatched out of each other's hands, a favorite sippy cup went MIA, and no sleep the night before all culminated in a very emotionally drained (and tired) baby girl by 9 a.m. I've been silently singing "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to..." for a good portion of the morning. Oh the birthday drama. It's totally a girl thing I assume and it only made me appreciate even more the differences in temperament between my two babies.
Happy Birthday Addy Mae. You are loved. You are dramatic. You are our baby girl.
Oh Hump Day, you've been rather good to us. I mean really good. Two visits to the park, one was blasted hot and a bit humid and for a place that is bone dry the five percent humidity that we encountered was kind of like the end of the world to two mommas pushing strollers. And then good ole' Mother Nature decided to shake it up for our second park visit of the day (we really like the park if you can't tell) where we were graced with blustery clouds itching to pour rain down, which didn't happen, but it would have been nice because we so need the rain. Like bad! We also kicked Wednesday is the butt by having one of my all time besties come over for one of those nice long girl talks. You know what I mean? So we decided to have celebratory root beer floats, because when you don't drink wine you have to substitute with root beer floats, it's only natural. And can we all have a little party celebrating the blossoms on the trees? I've seen picture after picture of blossoms for the last two months and our little area of the world has finally caught up! YAY!
And what better way to end the night then with a few good laughs. I can't really decide which one is my favorite. You be the judge!
The last video, well, I about peed my pants. It was worth it.
At some point during this crazy journey called parenting I knew I would have to address the issue of bullying with my children. I didn't however imagine that it would be an issue that I would have to address with my three-year-old child. You can imagine my surprise when it happened in it's most natural form at the park yesterday evening. The park was bustling with parents watching their children play league coach pitch while the children crowded around the playground equipment like lemmings itching to go down the slide. Brecken was in his element--running amok and befriending everyone in site. He was really quite the spectacle to watch, laughing and giggling, holding hands with complete strangers, calling everyone friend. At one point, a boy a few years older than him honed in on Brecken's charismatic energy and slowly began to test his boundaries with my son--a push here, a jab there, which then led into full blown shoves all the while calling him names and growing thirsty for the tears to appear in my little boy's eyes.
After each attempt to fluster my son, Brecken would pick himself up and continue playing. Bless his heart, he was oblivious to the notion that anyone could ever truly be mean to him for no apparent reason, so he kept playing as if the jabs, pokes, and pinches were in some way a game. I was taken aback by the situation and every God-given motherly instinct in my body was on fire and near the cusp of boiling over into a full-blown mother bear frenzy. My heart was aching and I struggled to know when it would be appropriate for me to step in and take control of the situation. Do I jump in and defend my little boy? Do I let him fend for himself and learn about the hard knocks of life? Do I go all crazy-like on the other kid? Do I find his Mother and point out her inadequacy on raising a polite boy? (I'm sure she would have been mortified to say the least).
Once curbing in my own emotions I decided that if tears didn't appear I would let Brecken fight his own battle. Nothing about the experience was easy and it was one of those times where I wish I had a user's manual with step-by-step directions on how to approach the situation. In the end the boy grew bored with Brecken's friendliness and I imagine he was annoyed that he couldn't dampen his spirit so he moved on.
The feeling of inadequacy as a parent was very prevalent during the experience. Knowing that I couldn't intervene and allowing my child to get hurt to only understand that he was strong enough to defend himself was a hard concept to swallow for this Momma. At that moment I felt like I should have prepared him more for situations such as these and by not doing so I wasn't doing justice as a parent. Despite everything that happened I learn a valuable lesson that day--no matter where I may fall short as a parent he has learned (hopefully from John and I) to pick himself and keep moving no matter what obstacle may stand in his way. His true nature permeated the playground that day, bringing in light and laughter and not letting the vindictiveness of another individual dampen his glow.
Now let's all pray I don't run into his Mom on a bad day...
I didn't make it very far in the Post a Day in May series. Go figure. In my defense it's been warm here, so warm in fact that we've spent our days playing in the dirt and running in the park, while our nights have involved scrubbing off the fun. And when warm days seem few and far between we have to enjoy them while we have them. Here, here, for summertime, friends!
On that same note it, snowed last week (our weather is so fickle, I can't make this stuff up). So I whipped up this spicy dish using my leftover jalapenos. It's a tasty one, I promise!
Creamy Tomato and Jalapeno Soup
5 pureed jalapenos (remove seeds)
1 pureed medium yellow onion
5 purred garlic gloves
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 TBS olive oil
1 8 oz. can chicken broth
2 cups half and half
2 tsp cumin
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
dash of crushed red peppers
1 TBS lime zest
Puree jalapenos, onion, and garlic clothes. Place pureed mixture in soup pot with olive oil. Slowly saute until smell is flavorful. Mix in diced tomatoes, chicken both, cumin, cilantro, and red peppers simmer for half-an-hour. Mix in half-and-half and lime zest, simmer for an additional ten minutes.
Guys, this is a post about potty training. Enthralling, yes? It's a dirty job, painful to say the least and when it comes down to it, it's a vicious mind game plotting fairly sane grown-ups against equally brash toddlers. Okay, I'm being a bit dramatic, but really, it's no easy feat.
Last November during a particularly dark blizzard that forced us to hunker in for the long haul we decided to potty train Brecken. The signs had been evident for a few months--crying before peeing in his diaper, bringing diapers to me when he wanted to be changed, and hiding in the basement to poo. I knew he was ready and it was my own fears that held us back. The diaper was convenient, almost like a crutch, especially with our chaotic schedule which kept us on the-go quite frequently, it just seemed so much easier to keep him in a diaper. My sister-in-law suggested a three day method which worked with her five children, so I accepted the challenge--I mean if she can do I should be able to as well, right?
I later morphed to six days because it just seemed to fit my kid best. Here's the breakdown...
Day one and two//In order for this method to work all distractions needed to be removed i.e. television, phones, ipads, this made it easier for me to recognize Brecken's cues and get him to the toilet before having an accident. It also meant staying in the bathroom for four complete days.
The first two days Brecken sat on the toilet completely naked for the entire day. Let me say that again, thee enntire dayyy. He would sit on the toilet while I would read stories and sing songs. The first few times peeing in the toilet were alarming for him. He would try to stop himself but with some positive reinforcement he would keeping going. To really knock home the idea of peeing in the toilet I tried to find different types of sensory prizes--clapping, cheering, sticker chart, and treats. To make sure he was peeing frequently he was given lots of sugary drinks and salty foods, not his usual diet but an exception was made for the sake of kicking the diaper.
It worked so well in fact that getting him off the toilet was somewhat difficult, go figure.
Day three and four//Once I began to notice his cues: prancing around and crossing his legs I knew when he needed to use the potty. So on day three I began to let him wear underwear. We still spent all our time in the bathroom, but I let him sit on the floor and look at books. Every thirty minutes or so I would sit him on the toilet and tell him to pee, sometimes he would pee right away at other times he would sit there for two hours #killme. And because I know someone will ask, yes, he did have an accident in his underwear but after peeing in it once he realized how uncomfortable it felt and it rarely ever happened again.
So to recap: Noticed cue, placed him on toilet, let him pee, reward him for a job well done. simple.as.that.
By the fourth day, he was beginning to recognize his own cues and would run to the toilet. He still needed help pulling down his underwear, but we successfully made it the entire day without an accident. On Day Four he finally pooped in the toilet as well.
Sorry guys. But I have to talk about poop. so don't unfollow me just yet. As my SIL suspected sometimes kids get nervous and don't want to poop and like us they would prefer to do it privately. so when he finally went by himself I left the bathroom, which made the process easier (I hope) for him.
Day five and six//By the fifth day we were physically pooped (ha!). Brecken was allowed to wear clothes and leave the bathroom, but wasn't allowed to leave the house. I would let him play, but again I would make him go sit on the toilet every thirty minutes or so. By the end of the fifth day Brecken would go to the bathroom on his own, he still needed help pulling down his pants, but he was recognizing the signs of a full bladder all on his own.
By day six we made our first excursion out to lunch. I still took him to the bathroom every thirty minutes to be safe and I can proudly say we were accident free!
And again, I know some of you will ask, night time was actually the easiest. The first few nights I put a diaper on Brecken to be safe. He had a wet diaper the first two nights, by the third night he woke up dry and by the next week he cried when I tried to put the diaper on so I eliminated it completely.
Since then we've rarely had an accident after using the six-day method. For a month afterwards I still made sure to take him to the bathroom every thirty minutes-to-an-hour. The only accidents we encountered happened when I didn't get him to the toilet in time.
Six months later//We haven't had an accident in months. Brecken is successfully going on his own, and will only ask for help if he can't get him pants up or down by himself. At night he is allowed water up until two hours before bedtime. If however in the middle of the night he does need to use the bathroom he is great about getting up and asking me to take him. Good for him, bad for me.
Looking back on our potty training experience I learned one valuable lesson. Consistency was the key. Which meant suffering for a few days for lasting results. I stuck to my guns and eliminated all distractions for a few days so I could focus all my attention on Brecken and it seemed to be the key to not dragging out potty training for months.
Your thoughts? Please tell me you'll keep reading even though I dedicated an entire post to poop....
I've been caught in a rut as of lately. Maybe it's the kids or the lack of sleep but blogging has just turned into a chore that I've kind of started to avoid. Jenni at Story of my Life has this fun little event going on called Blog Ever Day in May. Obviously, I don't need to explain it.
I nailed it. go ahead count.
was born in the Year of the Ox, mesmerizing, yes? Known for being
self-confident and obstinate with a twinge of pragmatism running through the veins
seems to be the defining features of those born in 1985. As the oldest of four
I developed the mothering hen knack at a young age—I was a bonified short stack fire
cracker. I never shied away from a fight and even managed to get my first
bloody nose by first grade—from a boy no less. To our dismay my parents
uprooted our lives in Utah and moved to the vast openness of Montana where we
finally settled in the most iconic small town on the Rocky Mountain Front. I
even managed to surprise myself when I decided to stay in Montana to attend
college. And as luck would have it may have been the best choice I ever made. I
met John while he was painting my bathroom (and chasing after my sister). Her
loss was my gain? No matter what the case may be we've grown together over the
last seven years and after four degrees, two kids, four moves, and a whole slew
of takeout meals I still find myself falling for him all over again every day. Cliché,
I know. We've had our share of battles, some we've won others we have lost but
one thing is for sure, it makes the journey a whole lot better when I have
someone else to pin the blame on….joking…or not…