Friday, January 30, 2015

That one time my daughter potty-trained herself....

I hate potty training. I hated before I ever even potty-trained anybody! Of course I wanted my kids to be potty trained and out of diapers, but I was SOOOOO not excited about the process. I put it off with Tommy until he was 2 1/2 years old. He had shown a few signs of being ready, but we tried once around age 2 and all it did was frustrate us AND him. We went back to diapers for a few months and then followed a 3 day potty training method that one of my friends told me about.

Worked like a charm and he did SO good for the first 3 days. After that, he would pee like a champ in the toilet........BUT.....he would NOT go number 2 in the toilet. It was so frustrating because we knew that he knew he was getting it wrong and pooping in your pants was not okay, but he would NOT do it. Long story short, we cleaned up a lot of poopy undies for a few weeks until he got over his whatever was making him not want to sit on the toilet for that!

So when it came time to potty train Tessa..........I was hesitant. She started wanting to go potty on the big girl potty when she was a few months shy of two years old. We would put her up there when she asked, but she wasn't consistent and wasn't SUPER interested. So I waited......and waited....and waited. About a month after she turned two, Nick and I decided to suck it up and do the 3 day potty training method again. We picked a weekend to get started and that was it. All the diapers disappeared, the big girl panties filled her drawer and the process had begun.

And that's literally all there was to it. She had ONE accident the whole time. She would tell us she had to use the bathroom and then she walked in there and went. There was no pee on the couch or poop in the underwear. We didn't have to stay home for a week because we were afraid she'd have an accident at the store.

We took her diaper off, put underwear on and she was potty trained. She LITERALLY potty trained herself.

Thank you, Jesus.

It was amazing!! I'm sure there are a few factors that made it different--I've heard from several people that girls are much easier to potty train than boys (and Tommy wasn't that hard!). I think also having an older sibling (and an older cousin going through potty training) set an example for her and made her want to be a big girl. And, it was purely an answer to prayer! I prayed so hard she would catch on quick and did she ever!!

So our family is now diaper free and has been for several months! I LOVE IT!!!!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Tommy's 4th birthday party

Tommy was SO excited for his 4th birthday! For his party, he kept telling me he wanted a comic book character party. Which is odd because he's never seen a comic book as far as I know. So I convinced him to turn it into a superhero party......which sooooort of turned into a mostly Spiderman party because that's the only decorations I could find :)

I was a little worried he would be disappointed, but I should have known better. We decorated the night before the party and when he walked out and saw this (a banner that I got for $1 and 6 balloons).....
 .......he literally GASPED and said, "Oh, mommy. This is going to be the best birthday EVER! Thank you mommy and daddy for doing this for me." And I was all "who is this kid?!?" Don't get me wrong, he's always polite and grateful, but not usually to that extent :) It was so sweet.

I made his cake and cupcakes (like I will every year, because that's one of my favorite memories from my mom!). I tried to keep it simple, but was happy with the way they turned out! He loved them too!

 We went SUPER simple with the food and had hot dogs, chili, potato salad and chips. It was fast and easy (my kind of meal!).

After we ate, we opened presents. He got SO many awesome presents!  A Dusty plane from the movie Planes, a Thunder Hockey sweatshirt, some super hero shirts, a bunch of bath toys and this....
 .....a hockey goal and hockey stick. I think we found something to keep him busy all summer! He's already spent hours out there playing hockey!

Then it was time for cake and ice cream........


 Can someone PLEASE explain to me how he's already FOUR?!?

And to finish off the party, we played a little pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey.
Apparently, he played it once at Brooke's house for his friend Mallory's party and he has talked about it ever since. Over and over and OVER. When I showed it to him the day after I bought it, he was ECSTATIC! It was the best $1 I ever spent :)

But perhaps my FAVORITE part of the party was the super hero pictures we took. It was funny because the kids weren't understanding the concept of the pictures and it took a little bit for them to understand exactly what they were supposed to do. But I think they turned out cute!

Super Alex!

Super Isabelle!

Super Tess!

Super Essie!

......aaaaaannnnnd SUPER TOMMY! Yeah....he was really tired by this time, so his super hero pose is lacking :)

The next two are my favorite from the whole day! They're epic and will perhaps have their own spot on my wall soon.......

Michael nailed it!

And the ABSOLUTE best because it's just the cutest thing I've ever seen....
Right?!? Are you dying over the cuteness?!? 

Tommy's party was SO fun. We kept it simple and only invited immediate family this year. I usually invite my friends and their kids too, but this was kind of last minute. And while I LOVE having a bunch of kids at our party, I have to say that this year was the easiest and most relaxed party we've had since birth! Our house isn't tiny, but there's not ONE good space to have a big party, so it always feels kind of crammed and full of chaos when a ton of people are there! It really turned out perfect in every way--the guests, the food, the presents, the games! Tommy had a great time and that's what I measure our birthday party success by! 

Happy 4th birthday son!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

To my boy, on your 4th birthday

Thomas James--

Today you turn four. To say those words to myself is unbelievable. FOUR. Where has the time gone? I swear it was just yesterday that I was trying to memorize the way you felt in my tummy because I knew you were making your appearance soon. I tried to burn in my mind the way you kicked, how you always sat so low in my belly, that you were ALWAYS awake when I was trying to sleep, the way you danced when I ate spicy food and wriggled when I turned music on. 

And now......we've had four years on this earth together. It seems like it's flown, but also like I've never known life any other way. You are growing into such a funny, sweet, weird, HILARIOUS little boy!

Tommy, at 4 years old, you are:

*around 30 pounds

*getting tall! I don't know exactly how tall, but you come up past my hips. And that feels SO tall

*starting to eat better. Like all toddlers, you went through a stage of wanting nothing but junk. Now, you're eating a lot more meat and fruit......and we're working on the veggies. 

*SO smart! You can write your name and you can spell your name, Tessa's name, mom and dad. You can count to twenty. 

*very good with directions and knowing/recognizing where you are. You can tell us which way to turn to get places. If we drive past places you're EVER been (like my work, where you've been maybe two or three times), you immediately recognize it and point it out. 

*losing a little bit of your temper. It's been a loooooong road, but we're FINALLY getting to the point of much fewer tantrums and outbursts. They still happen, but aren't near as frequent as they used to be.

*doing great at school! I wouldn't say you love it, but your teachers always say you're doing a good job and that you listen well.

*best friends with Katie, Weston and Trey. I have no idea if he actually talks to these kiddos in his preschool because when I ask about his friends, he says, "We can talk about that later." But he always says they're his best friends, so hopefully he's interacting with them!

*SO shy. Like, painfully shy. It makes me sad simply because I hope you're not holding back on doing things you think are fun just because you're too nervous or shy. I used to be that way and missed out on so many experiences and friendships because I was too shy. 

*obsessed with Paw Patrol and Blaze and the Monster Machines. If we let you, you would watch them all day every day.

*in a size 4T jeans and shirt. You wear a size 10 1/2 shoe. Bigfoot!!

*SO funny. Seriously. You say things that make me and your daddy almost cry with laughter. 

*starting to appreciate your sister more. I think you were pretty jealous for awhile, but lately have started declaring her your best friend and wanting her to play with you all the time. I LOVE seeing that relationship grow and watching you guys play!

*insistent on sleeping with at least two cars or trucks, one or two stuffed animals, a few books and a ball. Every night.

Tommy, raising you has been the biggest challenge and the biggest blessing of my life. You are everything I could have asked for in a son and more. You keep me on my toes and make me laugh every day. I love you so much and am so grateful I get to be your mommy!

Happy 4th birthday, buddy!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Old Red

After much ado and MONTHS of waiting.............I'd like to introduce the newest member or our family.

Old Red!
 Isn't she a beaut?!? I seriously love it. LOVE it. Love the color, love the size, love the location. I wish so bad I could say that we had a wonderful experience with our builders.........but that was SO not the case. It started with their communication--they're a pretty popular company around our area, so we thought we'd start there. It took several days to get any response on emails or phone messages. It was very frustrating, but unfortunately by the end of our research, they were cheaper by several thousand dollars than any other company that quoted us. So we decided to go with them anyways. We had originally tried to get it scheduled to build at the beginning of October. October 6th was supposed to be the start date. We were SO stoked and ready! About a week before that date, Nick tried emailing them to ask a few questions. We (of course) heard nothing back for a few days. And the news we finally got was that they were behind in their schedule and it would be mid November before they would get started.

Talk about a buzz kill.

We understand scheduling conflicts--totally get it. But the fact that they didn't tell us until a few days before our start date and that WE had to contact THEM to find out they were delaying our build....very frustrating. So they gave us a NEW start date. November 17th. And of COURSE Nick was out of town that week for business. Because why would it happen any other way? But he decided he would trust them to do it right and that it would be okay without him here (that's a big step for him!).

A few weeks before November 17th, Nick tried contacting them again to make sure we were on schedule. About a week later, they let us know they were actually ahead of schedule and would be starting our barn a week early. We were SO excited! It felt like we'd been waiting forever and Nick was glad he'd get to be here for the building process. They were supposed to come on a Wednesday. Well Wednesday came and went and no sign or them. Then Thursday passed with no sign of them and no word from them. Because that's the kind of customer service we wanted to pay thousands of dollars for (insert huge eye roll here). I'm glad Nick's personality balances out mine because I was ready to call and ream somebody. I mean, if something comes up, all you have to do is PICK UP THE PHONE!!! Let us know! Keep us in the loop! Shoot me a text if that makes it easier! It was just so irritating to not hear anything from them. Nick finally got ahold of them on a Friday morning. They were (of course) full of apologies and excuses. Whatev.

They swore they'd be here the following week (Nov 17th--the second start they gave us). Needless to say, I didn't hold my breath. When I pulled up Monday to the house Monday night and there was nothing done, I wasn't surprised. Nick left Tuesday morning to go out of town until Friday. I came home from work on Tuesday and lo and behold.......praise the Lord! We had............wait for it......WAIT FOR IT............................................................................

A pile of lumber!!
I decided to consider that a HUGE accomplishment. I immediately took a picture and sent it to Nick. We were making some serious progress now!! (I wish sarcasm came through a computer screen the way it happens in my brain). 

They actually managed to show up the next few days and we started TRULY having some progress. It was so exciting to come home from work each day and see what had been done!
 






About a week later, the concrete was poured, the trim was put on and Old Red was a finished product!

Just look at her glow in the sunlight. We love her like she's a part of the family already :) I see many a barn party happening here! And it's been a great place to send the kids with their dad when mommy needs some alone time and it's too cold for them to play outside.

When Nick and I first bought our house, we made a list of things we wanted to have/accomplish with our property. A barn was number one on that list and four years later, we finally made it happen! So even though our building experience was less then ideal and left a bad taste in my mouth, we are SO pleased with the final product and were happy to see one of our dreams come true. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

The look

The look.......you know the one I'm talking about. When your husband has done something and you have to break out the raised eyebrow and mildly cocky smile that says, "See? Didn't I ask you that exact question and you said no, but now I know the answer should have been yes and you were SO wrong and I was SOOOOO right?!?"

Yeah, that's the one I'm talking about.

A week or two before Halloween, Nick's company had a tour of their facility. We go every year and it's actually really cool because you get to walk around and see the assembly line and all the tractors and get a better idea of what exactly your spouse/parent/child does almost every day of their life. This year, it was a little closer to Halloween than it has been in previous years. Nick was telling me the morning of the tour that he had just found out some of the people that were working the tour were dressing up in costume and he was debating if he should of not. I asked him if it was a Halloween themed tour and he said he thought so. So I proceeded to ask if the kids should dress up in THEIR costumes to go to it and he was like, "Oh, no. Definitely not. I don't think it's THAT Halloween-ish." I was all, "Uhhhh.........should you make sure before we go, just in case every other employee's child is in costume?" And he was all, "Noooo........I'm pretty sure they shouldn't dress up."

And that was that.

Nick picked up the kids from Brooke's and brought them back to Wichita to meet me so would get to the open house night on time. We met at Wal-mart and I got in his car and off we went. As we were driving up to the facility, a princess walked out from behind a car and started running toward the door.

"Huh!" I thought. Now WHY would a little girl be dressed as a princess? As I was pondering her outfit, a couple of Ninja Turtles sauntered across the parking lot. Now I was all....."Whaaaaa?!?" And then it happened.

I gave him the look.

And he was avoiding me as an awkward silence came upon us. A girl he works with that I've gotten to know a little bit over the years walked past us. I rolled the window down and after saying hi, proceeded to ask if the kids were supposed to be dressed up in costume. She was all, "Yeah! It was in the email I sent out about the event. Didn't you get it, Nick?"

Nick didn't have much to say about that :)

We made a quick u-turn and ran back to Wal-mart to get the kids some costumes. If you know how cheap I am, you know it killed me to pay $20 for a couple of shoddily-made outfits! But I ran inside and found an angel outfit for Tessa and Superman for Tommy. We changed them in the car and went BACK to the open house! It was a hectic 20 minutes, but I'm so glad we went for costumes because every other kid there was dressed up! And, they turned out to be pretty stinkin' cute in their costumes.

I only had my cell, so these pics aren't the best, but you can get an idea of how much fun my kiddos had and how much they LOVED seeing where daddy works!

Sitting in the "big tractors" daddy makes!


Love these three!

 Daddy and Superman showing off their big muscles!

 Daddy and his little angel

Tommy was cracking me up the whole night. You could tell that his Superman costume made him feel like a million bucks! He would take off running and say, "Mom! Watch! Watch my cape! See it?! Did it fly out?" It was the cutest thing and I loved how much he was getting into character. Tessa was.....Tessa. Not too excited about anything!

We had a great time! There was all kinds of games to play and they were handing out candy. And there was a bouncy house, so Tessa was in heaven. I loved getting to see where Nick spends his every day and watching the pride in my kids' eyes when they saw what Daddy did. It was a great night.

And you KNOW I took those costumes back to Walmart as soon as they were done wearing them :)