Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year is Welcome

I hate to say that I hated 2015, but it is quite possibly the worst year I've lived. Not because of my kids though.  I look back and the pictures of our year are pretty fantastic. It makes me think that maybe my year wasn't so awful after all. 

But then I  remember the family altering, heartbreaking events from April 5-June 6. My dad got sick,  fought hard and became our guardian angel.  This was the hardest loss of my life.  There isn't a day that I don't think of him. He would love watching Max and Harper grow. I feel like he has missed so much,  but I have to remind myself that he is with us.  He gets to hear Max's smart and witty comebacks.  He smiles at Harper's infectious giggle. He wraps his arms around me when I cry.  He is here with us. 

I always make some attempt at new year goals or resolutions.  Last year,  I failed.  However,  I really am ready this time.  I don't like the body I've created,  the relationship I've strained with my husband,  or the Christian woman I failed to become.

So as in year's past,  here is my list:
1. Lose weight.  For real this time.  I can't eat my feelings.  It's time. 
2. Stop saying things I don't mean.  Don't hurt others and watch my language.  I want to set a good example for my kids. 
3. Work on becoming a better partner to my husband.  Don't blame or hurt.  Just love. 
4. Heal.  Body,  mind,  soul.  It's my year of healing.  I want to say at the end of 2016 that I transformed.  It's possible.  I just need to stick with it.
I hope this next year is all you want and need.  It's always exciting to have a clean slate and fresh start.  Happy 2016!

A 2015 look back.  Courtesy of Flipagram.


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Catch Up with Christmas

A lot has happened between my last post in September until now...but I am going to ignore my absence and move on like old friends. (I know my friends and I can be away from each other for months or years but we always are able to pick right up where we left off like there was no time gap.) That's how I feel about the blog. I want to continue to blog. I do. I just feel like the last 8 months have been difficult: sadness over Dad's illness and death, busy job, busy toddlers, etc.

 I do regret not making this space a priority. I am not going to make any promises but I do want to try and write more. It may be very therapeutic. 

I have a million things to say. But let's start with Christmas!

Christmas was a great time as a kid. I remember the excitement and anticipation. I loved our traditions and I loved the idea of Santa. Heck, I think I finally found out the truth when I was 12 or 13. I just wanted that magic to last.

That's what is great about having kids over Christmas. Bringing that Christmas magic alive to them is amazing. Seeing Christmas through their eyes makes my heart melt and it brings back that childhood magic times 100!

We tried to take the kids to any holiday event that kids would enjoy. But I have to admit, we had just as much fun as they did.

We started a new tradition of the Elf on the Shelf.
This is Ellie Doodle. She made our lives amazing for a few weeks.
They slept in (you know because we had to wait until Ellie Doodle gets back)
She made them want to actually poop in the potty because she would be so proud of them and tell Santa.
What would we do without Ellie Doodle? 

They had so much fun decorating the tree this year.

I love a good crying Santa picture. They are so cute!

My whole family (all of them!) went to the Country Club Plaza for dinner and a sleigh ride. It was so much fun and a lasting memory. We need to start making new memories and traditions because Christmas is so different without our Dad.

Photo bombed on the Plaza
Weather has been so odd here. Weeks leading up to Christmas were so warm for the season. A week before Christmas, Jeremy and I were removing leaves from the yard. Crazy weather!

We made cookies to give to friends. And made cards for their teachers at school. They had so much fun!

There is a Magic Tree. It is gorgeous. 

Magical, right?

We went through the drive through park with Christmas Lights. The kids got into jammies and got to sit in the front seat.

We had to wait in a long slow-moving line for 45 minutes and they did fantastic.

We visited our train station downtown to go through Santa's train. We stayed to look at a couple giant trees too.

We then decided to make our own train. Icing was the real attraction here. 

I feel like all of these events, outings and fun were good for them. But they also took my mind off of the idea of spending Christmas without my dad. They distracted me from the deep sadness and anxiety I had. I am not sure what I would do without them. I think our whole family would have been pretty depressed without these two. They brought laughter and smiles during the holiday season. The way Dad would want. We had a noticeable hole where Dad should be. His chair, his laugh, his smile, his prayer, etc. We missed him but we also enjoyed family time. Together. The only way Dad would have it.

Christmas with Jeremy's family

Missing a couple nieces and their husbands but this is most of the crew

We love our Nonnie

Christmas morning
"Mama, Santa came!"

My fam

All 4 of us

Their smiles are really funny lately. 
A few days after Christmas, the weather changed and we finally got SNOW! I am not a huge fan of snow. These two LOVE it. I had to force them to come inside. Nonnie got them snowsuits last year and we only got to to use them once. They still fit this year and she got them these sleds. They had a blast. 

Part of the Max and Harper's present from Mommy and Daddy was their big kid beds. My sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew watched them for their first ever overnight. I was sad, but it was time. I was mainly worried I wouldn't be there when they needed me. Come to find out...they are just fine without me. Sad. But it was great to have a date night with Jeremy. We also put together their toddler beds while they were gone. That way they could come in and see them. They have been sleeping amazingly! I wish we had done it sooner. They are sleeping rock stars.

Max loves firetrucks. And Paw Patrol. We blew his mind with this one.

First night in his big kid bed.

Princess Harper's bed (this is how she refers to it)

She got a little crazy the first night. I had to move her. The 2nd night I found her on the floor at 2am. She is staying in her bed better now. 
So Christmas was pretty great. I hope to make other posts in the next couple days. I go back to work on Monday and need to make sure I am getting caught up. I hope you all had a fantastic holidays. I am now going to spend my afternoon getting caught up on reading your blogs. I haven't read in a month so I am sure I missed quite a bit.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Down with Diapers! (A Potty Training Survival Story)

****Sorry, some of my pictures in this post have disappeared because I deleted them off of Blogger by accident.****
Ever since we got our potty chairs in DECEMBER, I have been excited at the thought of no more diapers. It seemed to be a strange and foreign land...a land with no diapers, no diaper bag, no more wipes, and no more dirty messes.

After the twins turned two, they were moved to the two year old room at daycare. They potty train and so we gave the all clear. We took copious amounts of big kid underwear and many, many changes of shirts, pants, socks and shoes.

We were ready to do this. (Or to let daycare do this.)

We loved our cushy life of having them pee and poop incessantly in their pants all while doing a load of laundry every night. So much that we used diapers at home but allowed daycare to just "try".

It was clear that if we weren't "all in", then Max and Harper weren't going to be all in either. So, we made a plan. THREE-DAY-POTTY-TRAINING.

Another twin parent at daycare passed along their copy of  Lora Jensen's 3 Day Potty Training ebook. We read the book and realized we would need 3 days of being at home constantly. So, we passed along to family and friends that we would be out of commission over Labor Day.

All of their goodies and incentives for a successful weekend!
We started the weekend by throwing away their last diaper and getting rid of all other diapers and pull ups that we had. The book said to throw away. I just put ours in the extra bedroom out of sight.
No more diapers (I might have cried a little)
The first day of the training was awful. SO AWFUL! By 9am, we wanted to quit. Max and Harper had both had 5 accidents. (On a side note, this sucked with carpet. Lots of carpet cleaner!)  We persisted and Max made great progress in the afternoon. Harper still refused to pee on the potty. However, she had great control and could hold it FOR-EV-ER! It actually had me concerned for her health a bit.

We were eager to start!

So proud of her sticker chart, albeit empty

Stressed out selfie
Girl likes to sit...just not pee there!
We had to spend every waking moment with we played lots of games.
End of a very trying day!

The second day of training was not as bad. They both woke up dry at night (yep, no diapers at night either! Crazy, right?!) Harper still refused to go in the potty but she wasn't having accidents all the time. In fact, many of her accidents were done right by the potty. Max did awesome. His sticker chart was getting full fast!
We started Day 2 with my first PSL of the season!
It made it better.

Waking up to pee was NOT his favorite thing.

Lots of brother/sister time!

Melt my heart

Sharing stickers

End of Day 2...Harper got a sticker for trying.

The third and final day of training was pretty darn good. Harper peed in the potty for the first time. We celebrated big time and had great hopes for her. Max was a rock star and using the potty by himself to pee AND poop. Harper's only successful trip to the potty was the only one. Sigh.

We overly celebrated Harper's baby steps.

More games and lots of movies

Yep, that's pee!

His BIG prize at the end of the weekend.
So Proud!

Harper's end of weekend prize sat there for a few days.
She got it eventually.

End of weekend sticker chart. Max helped out his sister quite a bit!
We took them back to daycare and gave the explicit directions of no pull ups or diapers. They were supportive. However, Harper was really struggling and probably not ready for that directive. But we didn't give up. We did lots of laundry and were in constant transfer of  clothing to and from daycare.

We had our first outing outside of the house the next weekend. Max was doing great and letting us know. Harper...not so much. We went through lots of clothes. I decided that she wasn't ready and I was starting to feel like I might cause irreparable psychological damage. So we put her back in pull ups this week.


Now she is potty trained! She hasn't had an accident for three straight days. But she is in pull ups. I think she feels more comfortable in them. She even poops on the potty now. I am just in shock. I thought for sure we would be battling the potty for months to come.

So we celebrate the small victories often. They are both doing spectacular.

It was a hard couple of weeks though. I am going out there and saying that potty training has to be the hardest thing about parenting so far. Give me sleepless nights. Give me the helpless first few days of parenthood. I go on record of saying POTTY TRAINING SUCKS! I never want to go through this again. Ever. No more.

Our life with kids is SO different now. We have to pack backpacks of undies and clothes. We have to have the phrase "Let me know when you have to go potty" on repeat every 30 minutes. We have to navigate public restrooms with kids that want to touch everything. We have to clean up really gross accidents...ones that are better in a diaper than on my floor. (Cleaning out undies filled with poop is up there on the list of most disgusting things ever.)

So, I have big kids. Big kids that  are rocking through this whole new adventure of potties. I am so proud of them and proud of us for surviving thus far.

 The whole experience of spending 3 whole uninterrupted days with my kids was amazing. They are such neat and amazing people. Their compassion and love for each other is the sweetest thing ever. I dare you to watch this video without it melting your heart into a puddle. Seriously.

See you soon!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Maxy Doodle

Now onto my favorite little man, Max!

Weight- 26 pounds 3 ounces 34%
Height- 33.5 inches 19%
Head- 19.5 inches 74%
Sizes- 2T shirts, 18 month or 24 month pants, shoes 6, diapers (not much longer) 5
Favorite food-Pizza
Favorite color-Blue
Favorite activities- watching movies, reading, dancing, playing outside, helping Mom or Dad, cars or tractors or figurines
Favorite movie: Cars, Horton Hears a Who, Big Hero 6
Favorite book: School bus, tractors, any book really!

Max is our sensitive guy. He gets his feelings hurt easily. He has a soft heart. He has this innate ability to know when someone needs a hug or a pat. He has helped me immensely since losing my dad last month. When he sees I am sad, he will come over and rub me or grab my face and kiss me. He does this with friends at daycare too. He doesn't like seeing people upset. He is so kind. But he hurts easily too.

He also gets annoyed easily. Especially by his sister. I wrote about this in Harper's post. I think his favorite phrase is "No, thank you" or "I don't like it". We hear these phrases a lot when he is upset or annoyed by what is going on around him.

He is not a fan of the big swimming pool but loved it when my sister took him to her neighborhood pool. I don't know what's up there. He kept saying "Max go home now." Ha!

Max is very helpful. He loves to do tasks around the house. Especially clean up time. He may have a bit OCD though. If things are lined up or put away "just so" then he may have a mini meltdown. Not the greatest character trait. We have started ignoring these "OCD flare ups" as well as keep Harper away and it seems to help. 

Max is a reader. Man, this kid. We could easily read 30 books in one sitting. I love to see him enjoy books. He is often found on the couch or in his chair reading books. He will repeat phrases or words that we have read to him. Sometimes even with the funny voices or inflections that we use. 

Max is a bit aggressive. Okay, sometimes more than a bit. He is easily frustrated by others or by objects/toys not working how they should. This results in Max clearly announcing "I bite you" "I pinch you" or "I push you" and then acting on such announcement. It is tiring. We use timeouts. He will sit in timeout for 2 minutes. He has had lots of practice so usually stays until his time is up. Sometimes even places a longer time period on himself. He will say "I am not ready." He knows getting out of timeout requires an apology (usually to Harper) so he will wait until he is ready to fully commit to the "I am sorry." It is hilarious.

He keeps us laughing for sure. He really is a funny dude. The things he says or comes up with are freaking hilarious. I am amazed at his vast vocabulary. He speaks in long sentences now and the stories he tells...ha!

At the doctor's 2 year check up, Dr. C walked in and Max announced, "Hi, Dr. Cattaneo!" I think it shocked Dr. C a bit. He then went on to say "I be 2". 

He is doing a great job on potty training at home. We are holding off to commit fully until they are moved to the next room at daycare in a couple weeks. But he tells us when he needs to go potty, especially at night and is successful (most times) in making it into the potty. Upon completion, he immediately asks for his M&M reward. Big boy pants are in our near future!

Max also loves animals. He has no fear of any kind. He would tackle a goat to give it a hug. He is obsessed with the family of deer that live in the trees at the end of our street. He is always looking for them and doesn't quite understand why they take off running at his charge towards them. Bella is, of course, his number one animal in his life. 

Max is an odd eater. He is a good eater but likes odd combinations of food. He loves red onions...and dip those babies in ketchup and you have made him really happy. Actually anything dipped in ketchup or applesauce is okay by him. Ewww...

Max is struggling with separation anxiety a bit. So sleep is trying. We find ways to tiptoe out of the room without hitting those darn creaks in the floorboard. He wants to rock or "hold you" which I genuinely love. I know when school starts back up and I need to legitimately need to work the next day, it may not be so cute. But I love being loved. And he loves big. He shows how much he loves you but also says it all the time. I just could kiss him all day long. My Prince!