Thursday, September 27, 2012

Still Alive

Obviously I haven't been doing very good at posting lately. So here comes a boring recap, I'll try to post some cute pictures of the kids soon.

There isn't too much that's new, yet I feel we are busy ALL THE TIME! Jerad's business is doing great. He literally doesn't have time for all the work he has lined up which is awesome on the one hand because we are still catching up from having a baby, me not working the first three months of the year, and him not really working the second three months. But also having so much work means so little time. There are projects around the house that we need to finish, and more that we'd like to start.

Miller. Oh Miller.... my difficult second child. In the last month he has decided to abruptly stop nursing completely (I'll blog about that one later) which means I am now exclusively pumping. And boy, that's a lot of work and takes a lot of time. Did I mention I have two kids ages 2 and under and a husband that is working all the time? He also has a rash that we think is from a food allergy, but haven't been able to nail down exactly what yet. Also not fun. So he is grumpy and itchy and not sleeping well and literally nothing we have tried has helped. Awesome.

Marshall is LOVING preschool. He would probably move there if he could. All the teachers gush about him and how smart is is. The potty training totally stuck, and he's still only had the one accident while at school. Its finally getting less stressful and I'm comfortable leaving him alone playing for long periods of time and we don't have to jump out of bed the second he wakes up in the morning. Only washing 1/2 the diapers has been so nice. One of these days I might actually even get caught back up on laundry:)

To make up for the difference in having to pay for preschool in addition to the nanny for Miller I picked up an extra 4 hours a week at work. Tuesday and Wednesday I now work 7-3 when I had been getting off at 1:00. I didn't think it would be that big of a deal, but honestly I got a ton of stuff done in those 2 hours as far as taking the kids fun places and running errands. I'm really missing them. To make up the rest of the difference (both nannies and Montessori are pretty expensive:) I also fired our housekeeper. That one I'm REALLY missing. She came once every two weeks and would do all the stuff I didn't like doing like washing baseboards, dusting light fixtures, ceiling fans, cleaning the oven etc. Obviously I still had to clean but it really was a huge help and my favorite luxury. Oh well, maybe again someday! We're trying to just save save save so that it won't be stressful when Jerad's work inevitably slows down, and in hope that once we do have more time we'll be able to afford some bigger projects like completely re-landscaping, remodeling the kitchen and bathrooms, and hard wood flooring.

I am so ready for a change of seasons. I'm waiting not-so-patiently for the chillier Fall weather to start. I like Fall, but I LOVE winter and especially all the Christmas parties and we already have a ton lined up this year. I can't wait to decorate, and do Christmas Crafts, and listen to Christmas music. It'll also be nice not being hugely pregnant through the holidays this year. Although, that means it's also almost time for Miller's 1st birthday which I am not at all emotionally prepared for.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to have his party in January which will be easier for everyone's schedules and also kind of keeps him a baby for one month longer.

Today is my "Friday" so I'm counting down the minutes until I can go home. Tomorrow morning we have a play and craft date at a friend's house, Saturday Jerad is taking Marshall to the Air Show while Mills and I put up some fall decorations, then Sunday we're having a family dinner at his parents house. The weekends just fly by!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Potty Training Update

Well, its been a week and a half and things are going great! Marshall has only had one accident at school (his first day back). Most days he stays completely dry at home as well. He's wet the bed twice but both times were kind of our fault for playing the "it's your turn to get up with him" game, but otherwise he has been sleeping 11ish hours at night with no pullup/diaper and waking up dry! He stays dry through naps as well.

We've been running errands, visiting friends, playing outside all with no accidents. Yesterday we even spent 6 hours at a waterpark and as far as I know he didn't have any accidents. I mean, I suppose he could have peed in the pool but he did go in the toilet every time we took him.

Since it looks like it's sticking and he's out of diapers, I celebrated by buying him some cute little boy underwear. I'm not a huge fan of the crazy busy looking character ones they have at Walmart/Target (plus he doesn't watch those shows) and for the training had ordered some plain white and solid colored ones on Amazon. I wanted something "cute" so I got these online at Gymboree:

Also some cute whale ones that aren't on the site anymore. The lobsters are my favorite! They were all regularly $5.95 each (seriously?), on sale for $2.99ea, then I had a coupon for 30% off and found a code for free shipping. Not too bad! They also run smaller than the others we had so they actually fit him!

I've got to say, at this point "potty trained" is MUCH more stressful than having 2 in diapers:)

Before, as long as he was content I'd let him play in his room a little before and after naps and bedtime. If he woke up in the morning and wanted to occupy himself, GREAT! We could sleep in! Now we're sleeping with the baby monitor turned way up and we run in there the second he moves. Whenever we go out I am reminding him that if he needs to go to the bathroom to tell me. Then I have to find a bathroom, wait for him to go, help him with his pants, help him wash his hands... all usually while juggling Miller.

I think most of the problem is in my head, it's like I'm just waiting for some huge traumatizing accident to happen while we're in public. Its like when Miller was first born and Jerad would ask me how the day went and I'm tell him "we went to the park and OMG, it was sooo stressful." Then he'd ask me why and I'd be like "well the whole time I kept thinking Miller was going to wake up and be hungry and scream and then Marshall would run away or not cooperate with getting back in the car and everyone will look at me like I'm a horrible person who can't take care of my kids." And he'd be like "well did that happen?" And I'd realize that no, he actually slept the whole time and Marshall had fun but still... So.Stressful.

Now I imagine that we go somewhere and Marshall has a huge poop accident (which has never happened btw), and I don't have any babywipes or a change of clothes, and the bathroom is out of order, and Miller and him are both screaming and I have to abandon the cart and never show my face in the store again.

So basically I just make up random imaginary scenarios to stress myself out since apparently real life isn't spicy enough. I should probably knock that off.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Potty trained? 3 day Potty Training.

Prepare for a looong post about pee and poop so feel free to skip:)

So, I think Marshall is potty trained? Which is funny because if you asked me 3 weeks ago if we had any plans to potty training him soon I'd have just laughed. I had planned on just kind of going with the flow and waiting until he showed some interest.Then all of a sudden after almost 9 months of having 2 kids in cloth diapers it started getting to me. I got tired of stuffing pockets, so we switched to prefolds and covers during the day and a disposable at night. In a way that was easier because as Miller got bigger I could use the same diapers on both of them, they're much easier to wash, and no stuffing!

But because they don't have a stay dry liner, they need to be changed pretty frequently. As in, I usually change them once an hour while they're awake. With our front load washer my wash routine is a short wash on cold with no soap (to give them a good rinse and make sure no stains set), a long wash on hot with soap and oxy clean (to make sure they get clean), then a long wash on hot with no soap (to get all of the soap out). Together they go through about 18 diapers a day. Its too many to wash every other day, so basically thanks to the wash routine I've been doing 3 loads of diapers a day. While working full time. And having a million other loads of laundry to do. Not so fun.

Anyways, a friend told me about the 3 Day Potty Training Method and I immediately knew it was right up our alley for a number of reasons. First of all if it actually only took three days that'd be amazing. Second I liked that it advocated no pullups or nighttime diapers, you just go to 100% underwear. This would work perfectly for how his school handles potty training. Third, I liked that the kid is only supposed to go potty in the bathroom... no potty chair in the living room, bedroom etc. Plus its just a really positive program. No scolding or punishing, just putting them in only underwear and instructing "tell me when you need to go potty" then praising like heck when they do it where they're supposed to.

My birthday this year happened to be on a Thursday of a weekend where the following Monday was a holiday so I was going to have a 5 day weekend. We also for once didn't have any plans so I decided this was going to be "the weekend." I vowed to give it 4 days, and if it didn't seem like it was working, we'd quit and I'd still have one day off of work left:)

Day 1.

I sent Miller to the babysitter's house so I could just focus 100% on Marshall. After Jerad and my sister (who was staying with us at the time) left for work Marshall and I gathered up all of his diapers, said goodbye, and "threw them away." Meaning that he put them in a clean trash bag and later I stored them for Miller to use. I put underwear on him and told him they were his new big boy pants, he wasn't going to use diapers anymore, and poop and pee needed to go in the potty. Then I showed him his new potty chairs and seats (one of each in a bathroom on each floor) and told him he needed to tell me when he went potty.

Then I offered him liquids like crazy (including juice which he NEVER gets), and stayed glued to him all day which was so much more mentally exhausting than I had anticipated. He had a TON of fun because all day all we did was play!

We played with Floam:

 And paints:

And "walked on the logs" in his bedroom where I had removed his floorbed so that I didn't have to potty proof it:



And all that was just before his nap! Basically I'd play with and watch him and about every 30 minutes remind him to "tell me when you need to go potty." Then when he'd start to have an accident, I'd run him to the bathroom to try to get to the potty chair in time for him to finish there (which never actually happened on day 1). Then I'd remind him that his big boy pants needed to stay dry and to let me know when he needed to go potty.

I was nervous about nap time because usually he just plays in his room until he goes to sleep and I didn't want to take my eyes off of him for a minute, but he won't sleep if I'm in the room. I made up his bed in like 6 layers so incase he peed in it, I could just remove one blanket/sheet/plastic and have a clean set underneath all ready to go. Then I turned up the monitors really loud, and stayed close for his entire nap so that the second he woke up I could bring him to the bathroom. He stayed dry his entire nap!

I was wiped out by this point so I basically just sat outside his door, had some alcohol, and stared into space while he slept.

After the nap it was bean scooping:

Train playing:

Guitar playing and song-singing:

Flower spinning:

Word World watching:

And chair spinning.

We are not a stay in the house all day family so it was really hard to do that all day. Also I can not explain how mentally taxing it is to literally stare at your child all day and sound positive as they repeatedly pee on the floor. Luckily almost every accident happened on the tile so I didn't have to do much carpet cleaning.

By the end of day 1 he hadn't made it to the toilet or potty chair ONCE and had had accidents at
9:53 (pee)
10:32 (pee)
12:00 (poop)
12:02 - (pee -this was frustrating because we'd literally JUST been in the bathroom after the poop accident)
3:00 (pee)
5:25 (pee)
5:45 (pee)
7:00 (pee)

It was pretty clear that he had no advance idea when he needed to pee. I'd read a lot of testimonials and I knew for a lot of kids it didn't click until day 3 so I wasn't too worried.

Day #2 I went into his room at 3:45am when I heard him tossing and turning on the monitor and asked him if he wanted to go sit on the toilet. He was pretty asleep and confused and played along but didn't pee. The second I heard him stirring on the baby monitor in the morning I went in as well and he was dry!  He then proceeded to have an accident about 5 min later. This day was exponentially harder because while attempting to not take my eyes off of Marshall, I was also trying to entertain and supervise this little guy who is now mobile and getting into EVERYTHING:

This day was a little easier because it seemed like he was starting to "get" when he needed to pee. He peed in the toilet twice in a row around 9am so it felt like we were turning a corner! Then the rest of the day was all accidents but we still stayed positive and had fun. I also started bribing him with some gluten free cookies my sister had made and told him he got to have one whenever he made it in the toilet.

Word World and afternoon snack in my bed (with a towel just in case):

Picking up magnetic blocks with the crane:

Zoo Animals:

I had set up the playpen so that I could throw Miller into it and he'd be safe and contained if I needed to run Marshall to the bathroom and ended up stuck in there for awhile. They came up with a game where Marshall would wheel it around the living room while Miller tried to stay on his feet or hands and knees. They both thought this was the most hilarious thing ever:

Farm animals:

We didn't want to put him to bed until I knew his bladder was empty so he ended up going to bed at almost 8:30 which is about an hour later than normal.

By the end of day 2 he had made it to the toilet twice (hey, 200% improvement from the day before right?) and had had accidents/successes at:

7:10 (pee)
7:45 (pee)
9:05 (pee)
9:15 made it in the potty!!!!
9:45 made it in the potty!!!!
10:45 (pee)
12:45 (pee)
3:50 (pee)
6:00 (poop)
8:02 (pee)

Day 3 Jerad was home for part of the day which was nice because we were able to tag team. Marshall again stayed dry through the night then peed in the potty right after he woke up. He went on to make it to the bathroom 5 times! Which was great because after being in the house for three days we were all going crazy and the house was starting to look like a disaster zone so it was nice to feel like we were making some progress. By this time it seemed like he could tell when he needed to go, and could hold it long enough to get to the bathroom.

Playing drums and singing:

Partners in crime tearing up the house:

Like I said, by the end of day 3 he had made it to the toilet 5 times and had had accidents/successes at:

6:45 pee in potty!!!
8:00 (poop accident - but peed in potty!)
9:15 (pee)
10:45 pee in potty!
12:00 poop in potty!
1:40 (poop)
2:40 (pee)
5:00 (pee)
7:51 pee in potty!

Day 4 he once again woke up dry and peed in the toilet a few minutes later. He also slept in since he'd been going to bed later which was nice for us:) By noon he had only had one accident, and even told me he needed to go once. I emailed a friend who had used the same method for her two boys and asked her if I should keep going or just give up. Things were definitely so much better than they had been, he was staying dry through naps and at night, but he wasn't telling me when he needed to go. She encouraged me to give it one more day and to get brave and get out of the house.

I loaded him up and we went grocery shopping at Trader Joes which is about a 15 minute drive from our house. I packed a potty chair in the back of my car in case he needed it and reminded him to keep his big boy pants dry and tell me if he needed to go potty. We were gone about an hour and he stayed dry the whole time.

He ended up only having one accident all day!

Day 4:
7:27 pee in potty!
9:32 pee in potty!
10:50 (pee)
11:15 told me he needed to go then pee in potty!
3:45 pee in potty!
7:45 pee in potty!

We decided to stick with it, and Day 5 he only had one accident as well even though he spent hours playing and working outside with Jerad, and we had company that afternoon and evening.

Day 6 (yesterday) we decided to send him to his Montessori school with no diapers. Their policy is no pullups or training pants during potty training, and request that the parents send 5 changes of underwear and clothes. If the child goes through all 5 they are placed back in a diaper and potty training is put on hold for awhile. They do all diaper changes standing up, and in the bathroom and with each change they ask the kids if they'd like to try sitting on the toilet which lays the groundwork for potty training. I was hoping he didn't have 5 accidents since it had only been 1 per day the last 2 days, but I wasn't too hopeful because he would be majorly distracted, would be wearing clothes instead of just underwear, and was going to be there for 8 hours.

When I picked him up they said that he'd only had one accident all day. It was really working!!! He stayed dry the rest of the day at home and woke up dry this morning as well. So now its noon on day 6 and as far as I know he hasn't had any accidents today (he's at school). I'm going to tentatively say he's potty trained. He isn't verbally telling us when he needs to go yet, but he'll act like he needs to and then when we ask he'll confirm it and go in the bathroom. He still needs some help with getting his clothes on and off, but that'll come with time.

I can't recommend this method enough. It was pretty much painless. Yes there were some accidents to clean up, but he had fun for most of the time and I'd SO MUCH rather have a few hard days than drag it out for months. Maybe I'll actually be able to catch up on laundry now!

This week we'll be back to our normally busy schedule of errands, appointments, parks, playdates, the Children's Museum, then Sunday we're spending the day at the waterpark so wish us luck!

Update: No accidents at school today! Or all day so far actually. Yeay Marshall! 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Miller Cash: 8 Months

Well it happened, Miller turned 8 months old. I thought I'd be ready for how fast the baby time flies but it still is catching me completely off guard! On the one hand it seems completely unbelievable that he's this old, but on the other it seems like ages ago that it was just Marshall.

There have been so many changes in the last month! He now is fully mobile. He went from getting up on his hands and knees to crawling FAST seemingly over night. He completely skipped the "inch worm" stage that Marshall went through.

He has two teeth on the bottom now and is eating solid foods like a champ. He makes a huge ridiculous mess each time, but insists on feeding himself. So far his favorite foods are anything with flavor; green beans sauteed in garlic and olive oil, rosemary turkey, oven roasted sweet potatoes with onions and spices.

He also "calls" us when he wakes up from naps. He holds on to the edge of the crib, shakes it, and makes an "ahhhhh" sound until we come in and free him:) I was going to make the transition from his crib to the floor bed this month but I've been lazy. Our last house was so little that I could hear Marshall when he woke up so we never needed any baby gates. He's also napping SO WELL that I don't want to mess it up. He always naps at 9 and 1, and I can lay him down wide awake and he just rolls over and goes to sleep... usually before I can even get out the door.

Nighttime sleep also turned a huge corner over the last month. He's going down easier, and sleeping longer stretches. Twice he's slept 7 hours at a time, and once completely through the night. Most nights he goes down between 6:30 and 7:30, wakes once at 11:30, then one or two (or three) times before we get up at 5:30. He'll also now take a bottle from Jerad or let him comfort him back to sleep which takes so much of the pressure off of me. If Jerad's going to be up late working on the computer, I pump a bottle and he does the first feeding so a few days a week I get to sleep from 9 or 10pm until around 3am. Heaven. I just need one two or three hour stretch a night to feel like a human being so things have been good lately.

He loves Marshall no matter how many times he knocks him down or won't share his toys. The same with the dogs. They bowl him over every time they lick him even though they're trying to be gentle, but he still gets so excited every time he sees them.

 He's also pretty in love with this hand-me-down ape from Jerad's cousin. He hugs it, rolls on it, and claps when he sees it. I'm pretty sure he thinks its real and his friend.

He's pulling up and standing on EVERYTHING. He can go between the couch and coffee table, and can even take 5 or 6 steps at a time with Marshall's old walker toy.

Side Note: I should probably take down that Happy Birthday banner that has been up since Marshall turned 2 the beginning of May. I'm so short I don't notice it. Whoops!

As if crawling, standing, standing, and cruising weren't enough, he's already trying to let go and balance. He has it down one handed, but is determined to let go with both.

I think this is my favorite baby stage. There are so many things I love about every age, but I think 8-10 months is the sweet spot for babies.