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Archive for the ‘vacation’ Category

Big changes around here.  Life altering changes…both for the little gal and her parents.  Molly is no longer in a crib.  And Molly no longer has her ga-ga (her paci).

We decided to make these changes right after Christmas.  December 28 to be exact.  And today is January 23.   And we are still fighting her on it.  Here’s a little summary of our journey.

I had the brilliant idea that we should take away Molly’s ga-ga at the same time that we moved her into a big girl bed.  I thought we could help her see that she’s now a big girl in a big girl bed and big girls don’t use ga-gas.  At first it seemed brilliant…but that was before bedtime.  We also had heard of friends who’d used the strategy of snipping the ends off the pacis instead of just taking them away cold turkey in hopes that it would help wean the child off the paci.  That’s the strategy we chose to employ…for better or for worse.  We sat her down and explained the excitement of the big day.  She seemed cool with it all.  She didn’t even freak out at all when Travis snipped the ends of her precious ga-ga.  Inwardly I was praising my wisdom as a mom…I’d waited until she was ready!  I’d come up with a master plan about ga-ga removal and big girl bed transition and the child understood it!!  This was going to be the smoothest transition yet!

And then it was time for naptime.  She didn’t sleep.  Not a wink.  She screamed and screamed and screamed and screamed.  We heard her sobbing these words, “WHY DADDY CUT MY GA-GA????” It broke my heart.  Poor kid had never known a night without her beloved ga-ga and was having to learn to sleep all over again.  But naptime only lasts a couple of hours and then they get up and life goes on.

But then came bed time.  And it was ugly.  UGLY, I tell you.  The child had become a monster.  She didn’t just sob in her pathetic little sad voice about her grief over her chopped off ga-ga.  She screamed.  Like a big old lion roar of a yell.  “NNNOOOOOOOOOOOO!!”  And it wasn’t a sad yell…it was mad.  The girl was furious with us.  She kicked the wall.  She threw her stuffed animals across the room.  She threw any and everything she could get her hands on.  And she just kept on going.  The first night lasted 2 hours.  And then she slept.

This pretty much has continued for the past 31 days.  It’s gotten better.  In retrospect, I’m glad we did both big transitions at once.  At least we didn’t have to get all the way through ga-ga removal only to enter a new level of parenting insanity and transition to the big girl bed.  We just did them both at once.  She really stays in her bed quite well.  That was only a problem for the first few days.  But when faced with the consequences of getting out of bed to announce to us that she was “going to wake up now”, she really hasn’t done it since.  And nap time has gotten so much better.  I was worried that she wasn’t ever going to sleep during the day time again.  And this made me very very very sad.  And tired.  But the naps have returned.  They’re much shortened…going from close to 3 hours to an hour and half tops.  But I can’t complain.  I know there are kids out there that are done napping by 2 and a half.

But bed time.  It’s still nightmarish.  There have been a couple of nights in the last 31 that she’s gone to sleep without crying, but I’m pretty sure the only reason for that was pure exhaustion.  Every other night she’s screamed for up to 2+ hours.  I’d like to say that I feel like it’s getting better because the crying will only be 10 minutes one night, but then we’ll have another 2 hour night and we’re back.

We’ve tried having her take a special toy to bed in place of the ga-ga.  She gets excited to pick it out.  But then that fun ends quickly.  We actually let her have her ga-ga in her bed with her and she clutches it in her hands.  That doesn’t seem to help.  And the thing about it is, I know she can go to sleep on her own.  I KNOW she can. She’s done it for 2 and a half years.  She just hasn’t done it without her ga-ga.  So now that it’s been 31 days, I feel like my little stubborn, strong-willed daughter is making this into a power thing.  Because I’ve caved on many nights just to get her to STOP YELLING, I’ve gone and sat with her until she fell asleep.  Now she wants this every night.  I’ve created a monster!

We’ve also learned another fun fact about our little gal, without the paci in her mouth at night…she talks in her sleep.  But it’s not really talking…she yells.  Loudly.  She screams NO! in a very defiant voice while she’s sleeping.  We’ve run in her room numerous times at night to see what’s wrong only to find that she’s sound asleep and yelling NO! in her dreams.  I think she’s dreaming about ways to challenge me…little stinker.

So…this explains the lack of blog posts.  We’ve just been dealing with our head-strong daughter.  And trying to catch a few winks of sleep between her sleep-yelling sessions.  Parenting…it’s not for the weak.

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2 going on 16

I haven’t updated about the kids in a while and I should.  There’s a lot I could say about both of them, but tonight I’ll stick to Molly.  In a word, she’s delightful.

She has a sense of humor that is beyond her years and the vocabulary of a kindergartner when she drops words like hilarious, delicious, and congratulations in normal conversation.

She has strong opinions about fashion, demanding to wear her jeggings because they are “cute” while her black tutu skirt is “not cute”.  She’d wear her Beauty and the Beast shirt, her jeggings, and her bright red patent leather Mary Janes every day if I’d let her.  She puts together a killer outfit, doesn’t she?

She is insanely independent…something her brother is very much NOT.  She girl wants to do everything from buckling her own seatbelt in the car, to opening the door to public restrooms, to flushing the toilet (don’t even dream of flushing it for her…all hell will break lose and she’ll stand there flushing it repeatedly just to prove her point).

She is the most friendly child.  I’ve had multiple parents of children in our church nursery tell me that Molly was so sweet to their child when they came into the nursery crying.  She’s got that maternal instinct!

She has friends!  It’s ADORABLE to see her with her friends.  Girls and so different than boys.  Her buddy, Caroline, is in the nursery with her and they have giggly little conversations and save each other seats at the table during church dinners.

She is that kid that wants to pet everyone else’s dog.  Whenever she sees someone walking their dog she’ll start yelling, “Can I pet your doggy?” as loud as she can.  We have encountered these dog-petting children as we have walked Max over the years and thought they were funny…and now we’ve got one of our own.

And the girl loves to talk on the phone.  A real conversation or a pretend one…it doesn’t really matter.  She’s already a giggly girl on the phone.  I caught her on video last night, and if you listen carefully you can hear her tell “Twavis” (because she’d rather call her dad by his first name) congratulations.  She also laughs loudly and says, “That’s hilarious!” a couple of times (only she says hi-war-we-us).  I love my girly girl.

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a blog post long past due

So Molly went to her first movie in JUNE (Father’s Day weekend, to be exact).  Am I a slacker or what??  I would just forget about this post and move on with life but in our family a first movie theater experience is a milestone.  For Molly’s first movie we took her to…

KUNG FU PANDA 2!!

So very girly, right?  Regardless of the appeal this movie holds for most 2-year-old girls, Molly loved it.  She sat through the entire movie on my lap (I loved the opportunity to cuddle with my girl who normally doesn’t have time for cuddles).  About an hour in she asked for popcorn.  When the popcorn arrived, she happily ate it until the movie was over.  We’d brought reinforcements if necessary (the precious paci was in my bag ready to go if the girl couldn’t keep her mouth shut), but we never had to use them.  Molly enjoyed her first movie-going experience just like any child born into our family should.

Since then she’s had two other theater experiences.  One was a free showing of Megamind that I took the kids to on a hot summer morning, and the other was Cars 2.  We have yet to see anything geared toward a female audience.  She hasn’t seemed to mind.

There.  I can check another item off my To Do list.  And this one’s been on there since June.  It’s about time.  One of these days I’ll catch up…

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It was that time again.  The diaper box was nearly empty.  I weighed my options…go spend $$ on another box of diapers or get over my procrastinating self and potty train my daughter.  The easier option definitely would have been to go buy another box of diapers and I was close to going that route, but then I realized we have an open calendar for the next week and a half with nothing to do but potty train Molly.  And now here we are.  I collected all my goodies and we got to work.

We started yesterday morning after breakfast.  Molly was SUPER excited to wear her big girls undies.  While we were in Arkansas she got to pick them out and she couldn’t wait to wear her princesses and Tinkerbell.  When I came in her room to get her ready she’d already attempted to put them on…just on the wrong body part!

She picked out her inaugural pair (Ariel…in case you wanted to know), she picked out a favorite t-shirt, and I set the timer.  She was pumped!

Every 5 minutes the timer would go off and we’d head to the potty.  For the first hour and a half she had 6 accidents.  I had a full basket of towels and undies by the time 10:30 rolled around.  I literally watched her like a hawk and didn’t let her out of my sight.  Whenever I’d see her pause and look down, I’d grab her and we’d run through the house to the bathroom.  We never made it but she was starting to grasp the idea that pee pee goes in the potty not in her big girl pants.  And then it happened…I noticed her pause, look down, we ran and she made it to the potty!!  It’s amazing how genuinely excited you can be about hearing that little dribble in the potty seat.  I was literally jumping up and down cheering.  She loved flushing, washing hands and getting her M&M…all very motivating things for her.  Before lunch we’d had 6 accidents and 3 successes…not too bad! 

After her nap she really made some improvements.  She had a wet diaper when she woke up, but I expected that.  After changing this diaper we continued going to the potty every 10 or so minutes but she never went.  Finally, 2 hours later!!, she went!  I was SO impressed that she could hold it that long and then wait to go in the potty!  This was a huge success for our first day!!  I was so proud of her.

We’re now in the middle of day 2.  We left the house today (crazy idea) and ended up having to stop at a gas station after being in the car for 10 minutes.  Grossest gas station bathroom EVER.  It was one of those outdoor restrooms with a key that you have to get from the cashier.  There was no soap at all in the bathroom and a large roll of tp balanced on top of the dispenser.  Eww.  And it was a false alarm.  But she told me she had to go and I don’t want to discourage that.  We Purelled once we got back into the car and made our way up to church.  She had a one accident while we were there, but I’m going to attribute it to the fact that she was playing on the playground and got distracted by all the fun climbing there was to be done.  We tried about 4 times while we were at church but never had success…I think the different toilet was freaking her out.  After changing her clothes, we headed home and she stayed dry the whole drive back.  (Thank goodness because I was NOT stopping at the gas station again.) 

She went #2 in her undies before nap time.  I should have known she was doing this because she went in her room and shut the door.  Then she came out and told me what she’d done.  At least she’s upfront  and honest!  I made a big deal of telling her I wasn’t mad but going poop in her undies is yucky and poop belongs in the toilet.  She cried and cried (she’s a sensitive type) so hopefully this made an impression and she won’t want to do this again.  But I’m not naive in the potty training department…it took Owen a full month before he’d poop in the potty so I’m well aware that this could be a struggle for her, too.

Overall, things are going much better than I’d expected!  And I will say that potty training a girl is SO MUCH EASIER for one reason…there’s no need to worry about that tricky male part and the direction it’s pointed!  Girls just sit down and it does right in the potty.  No mess.  I love that aspect of this potty training experience.  Hopefully we’ll have more success and less laundry at the end of today!

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After our great visit with Trav’s parents, we headed to Fayetteville to visit Beau and Stephanie.  Beau and Travis have been best friends since first grade and always pick right back up where they left off.  We don’t see them nearly enough and were really excited to spend some quality time with them on our way back to St. Louis.  They own a boat,  live only 20 minutes from a great lake, and the weather cooperated so we spent Sunday afternoon and evening out on the water.  Trav and I weren’t sure how the kids would feel about the boat but we were thrilled when they loved every second of it!  Beau was great and started out going slow so the kids could get used to it.  After a couple minutes Owen looked over at Beau and yelled, “FASTER!!”.  They both loved the boat and the snacks that Stephanie packed.  I think this picture is hilarious…Owen looks like he’s smoking a Veggie Straw and Molly’s talking with her mouth full, as usual. 

Beau has the patience of a saint and let both kids have their first experience tubing.  Travis took Owen out first.  He was a little apprehensive at the start but got the hang of it and loved it!  In fact, he even took another turn after Molly was done.

And then it was Molly’s turn.  She had a good time but had no desire to do it again.  When she got back into the boat she told me the water got in her eyes and face and she needed to wear a mask.  She even specified that she’d like it to be a Nemo mask.  Silly girl.

Not only did Beau show crazy amounts of patience with tubing, he also let both kids drive the boat!  He controlled the speed but they completely took control of steering.  Owen was a big fan of spinning the boat in circles…so much so that his turn ended because we were all getting dizzy. 

The tubing was probably Owen’s favorite part, but Molly’s favorite part by far was swimming in the lake.  When we were in the water, she kept saying, “Leave me alone.  I swim away from you.”  Not the most polite thing to say (we’re working on that) but it gives you an idea of the girl’s independence.  She loves to swim and has become a little fish since we started her on the vest/floaties combo.  It opens up a whole new world of swimming freedom for me.  We spent lots of time just like this in the water:

We had talked with Owen about how you go to the bathroom when you’re on the lake (well…#1 at least).  He thought this was pretty cool and eventually decided it was time to try it.  We’d been having a snack in the boat when he announced that he had to pee.  Travis was preparing to jump into the water with him when Owen dropped his swim trunks and started peeing off the side of the boat!  He didn’t really grasp it when we said that if you have to pee you can do it in the water…he literally just stood on the boat and peed into the water!  I’m sure this picture will embarrass him someday but I think it’s hysterical.

We were sad to see the day end.  We had so much fun and cannot wait to do it again!  Thanks Beau and Steph for showing us such a great time and being absolutely fabulous hosts! 

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A couple weekends ago we took the kids down to Mena to visit Nana, Bubba and Grandma Renie.  We were really excited about all the fun things they had planned for us while we were there.  On Friday morning we headed over to Kathy’s new pottery shop called Come Together.  Kathy is a close family friend (and neighbor) and is an incredibly talented potter (is that what you call a person who makes pottery??).  She is opening a shop similar to the Painted Zebra here in St. Louis…basically you pick a pot and get to glaze it however you want.  Here we are…smocks on, paintbrushes in hand, eager to paint! 

Julie graciously offered to be Molly’s helper so I could paint a piece myself.  And Travis has never been one to love artsy types of activities so he had no problem helping Owen paint his pot.

I wasn’t sure how long the kids would last.  I half expected them to enjoy painting for 5 or so minutes and then the adults would have to finish.  But they completely surprised me!  They were both super intense and painted every last inch of their pots (and then Molly moved on to painting the paper towel…).

Kathy was amazing and fired the pots for us while we were in town so we could take them home with us.  The kids were so excited to see their finished products.  I think they turned out pretty great!

Our next activity was something we’ve never done with the kids before while in Mena.  Saturday was hot but not unbearable so we took the kids up the mountain to ride the train.  They were really excited and thought it was a blast.

After riding the train, we took the kids over to see the big train.  They thought it was so cool and loved playing around in there.

I think this next picture is hilarious.  We need to get those kids some sunglasses!!

On our last night in Mena, the kids discovered some treasures still on display in Travis’ old bedroom.  They escaped bathtime preparations, put on all of these “necklaces” (as Molly called them), and put on quite a show for us in the kitchen.

Our time in Mena was great.  We got to spend some time with Grandma Renie, Jeff and Julie had lots of quality play time with the kids, and we loved all the fun activities they had planned for us.  Sunday morning we got up and drove to Fayetteville to begin Part II of our trip.  Boating, tubing, and swimming pictures coming soon…

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A couple of weeks ago Tyler, Tessa, and Cooper came to visit.  We were super excited for these three to get to play together.

Owen and Cooper bonded over their mutual love of shooting things with nerf guns.  These tough guys had quite the shootout in our basement.

Trav had to work while they were here, but Tyler, Tessa and I took the kids to the Magic House.  Molly got a chance to demonstrate just how long and wispy her hair was before her very first haircut.  My hair, on the other hand, didn’t cooperate with the static ball.

While Tessa was here, I took advantage of the fact that she is a stylist.  Molly had been in need of a cut for a while but I didn’t really want to shell out $15 for someone to trim her wispy ends.  Tessa volunteered to give her a trim while she was here, so we popped in Finding Nemo and Tessa set to work.

Molly was a champ and sat still the entire time.  Tessa was awesome and even swept up the wispy ends so that I could save them in Molly’s baby book.  The first haircut was a success!

It made her hair look so much better!  It’s slowly but surely coming in on top, but the back is now filled with beautiful bouncing curls.  Did I mention that Moo is starting to get freckles across her nose?  How cute is she going to be with a full head of blonde curls and little freckles on her nose?  Adorable.

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