Monday, May 30, 2011

TEAoBS: Potty Training Edition, Part 3 Car Seat Trained! :)

We are almost there! :) I know it sounds crazy, but my baby girl is car-seat potty trained. (Meaning she will hold it until she gets out of the car!)

Yesterday we had a Sunday School Day Retreat to the Hurst's Lakehouse a couple hours from here. We got up and loaded the car and put a diaper on our "Little Miss". For good measure, we brought her potty with us (since I didn't know how many bathrooms there would be, and how 'occupied' they would be throughout the day. That, I now know, was the best idea ever. lol

We got on the road, and made it to 103rd St before Brookelynne started saying "Potty, Potty", so Mitch looked at me and I said to ignore her, she had a diaper on, and she had probably already gone in her diaper (like she did in the car on Wednesday). But a minute or so later she started yelling again and I told him to pull off the road. We pulled into a parking lot, pulled the potty out and sat her on it. All she did was try to turn around and see the cars. She kept saying "Car" over and over until I finally decided to just put her back in the car. We looked at each other and agreed, she's just have to go in her diaper, because we weren't going to stop 20 times for 'false alarms'. When we missed our exit on Blanding, she started screaming again. Mitch said, "Just go in your diaper" and she freaked out! She was screaming "No Ma, No Ma, No Ma!!!"  So, we told her to hold it until we could get off the interstate.

So we got off at Roosevelt, turned onto a side street and into a parking lot for a closed business. She went potty this time and we got back on the road. We had to stop 2 more times on our way down but she made it all the way with no accidents or 'wet diapers'. She didn't have any accidents at the house either! I was so proud of her. Then when we headed home, we had to make 2 stops and she did fabulous! I had so much confidence that she'd make it that I didn't even put a diaper on her to go home! I'm so proud of my little angel!

Funniest part of the day was when the adults were outside having our Bible study and most of the kids (including both of mine) were inside with a few of the adults, Mrs Sturgill, my high school Sunday School teacher, looked around and noticed Brookelynne's panties on the ground and no Brooke in sight! Needless to say this new grandma was a little anxious about such a fact! haha. I'm so proud of my big girl!!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

TEAoBS: Potty Training Edition Part 2: The Training Begins!

Thursday Morning we began this whole process known as 'potty training'. I was armed with a potty chair, easily sanitized toys, blockaides for the kitchen, shop towels and plenty of lysol and lysol wipes. :) I woke Brookelynne up, took off her diaper and brought her into the kitchen. I'm not sure this needs to be said, but that morning was the longest I've had in a while! lol. My sweet darling who usually fills a diaper within 20 minutes of waking up, didn't do any 'business' for almost 3 hours. And then when I had started pumping, Braxton had just started crying and I was about to scream she stood a foot from the potty and peed everywhere! I almost screamed. Seriously. It was more than trying my patience! lol.

By the time she got up from her nap, my back was aching from being in the kitchen all day. I don't know whether it was standing doing dishes, sitting straight up in the chair or playing with them on the floor, but my back was Killing Me! So, I had un-'blockaided' the kitchen, brought her potty chair into the living room and put it on a towel so that I could sit on the couch. By the time Mitch got home around 7, I was extremely frustrated. While she had used the potty 4 or 5 times, she had also had 'accidents' 4 or 5 times and I felt like I had spent my day cleaning up stuff, sanitizing myself and Brooke while taking care of Brax as well. By bedtime I was just glad the day was over.

Friday morning we got up and repeated the process. Clean her bottom and leave her sans diaper. My mom was coming up around noon so that I could take Brax for his 4 month appt/shots, so I was interested to see how she was going to do. She had 1 accident Friday morning (mainly because she had climbed up into her high chair and couldn't get down in fast enough to get to the potty.) I had her take an early nap, so she'd be in a good mood for my mom. My mom thought I was crazy to let Brooke walk around without a diaper, but I tried to explain to her that if you put a diaper or pull up on her, that she just potty-ed in it with out reservation. I left and went to Brax's appt and when I got back, Grandma was a little frustrated too. lol. She had put a pull up on Brooke, and she immediately pooped in it and then took it off. And since it was Grandma, Brookelynne as insisting on being held and she had a little accident on Grandma's hip. When I got home, I put panties on Brooke and when Mitch arrived shortly after we fought the battle of making her keep them on! lol. My sweet innocent little girl had quickly decided she wanted to be a nudist! haha. Needless to say, that was not acceptable.

Saturday morning I got out of the house and ran an errand before the kids got up, and when I got home, Brookelynne had already potty-ed twice. She was still having some issues Saturday with starting to pee in her panties before she got to the potty, but it wasn't much and didn't leak through. She still wasn't very good at telling me that she needed to potty, but by Saturday night, she was more than good enough to go and potty with out any help.

Sunday was a crazy day, and she had 2 accidents during Sunday school, but the teacher was trying to make her go like 35 feet before she started peeing, and that was just not realistic yet. So by the time we got back to her class, 70 minutes later, she was in a diaper. Mitch and I were already scheduled to be in her room that week for the service hour, so when we got in there, I went ahead and put her back in panties. She went to the potty twice during that hour for us without any accidents, so we were really proud of her! After church we put a diaper on her for the car ride down to Aunt Tricia's so that she'd have one on if she fell asleep. She did great and didn't use it though. We had Abbi's birthday party and then I took Brax back to church while Brooke went home with Daddy and continued doing great, with no more accidents. But she still couldn't pull her panties down by herself.

So Monday was the day of 'panty basics' lol. We pulled them down and then up and then down and then up and then down and [can you guess it] then up! :) By 10:30, she was doing really well with it! So much so, that I even called Mitch at work to tell him about it! By noon, I decided to go ahead and move her potty back into the bathroom, because I felt good that she could realize she needed to go, get her panties down and get down the hall in time. She did very well, and only had one accident the whole day, and that was when we were on our way home from the store. She had made it through 2 car rides and 2 stores, 2 hours gone from the house without an accident and had one less than 2 miles from our house! Needless to say, I felt horrible, that I hadn't paid better attention to help her be successful.

Tuesday she did even better, with no accidents all day (except getting her panties a little damp once, but not even enough to make them wet.) And I can honestly say that I was thrilled and very confident that she had it down! We are super excited that she's basically done. Each day she gets more and more control and is able to hold it longer and have more notice when she needs to go. We're not going to push her to be car trained (except for 10 or 15 minutes at a time) or nap trained until she's ready. We'll see how long that takes!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Entertaining Adventures of Brookelynne Starr: Potty Training Edition Part 1 :)

First off let me start by asking a question. Who else, besides me, CANNOT believe that my baby girl is old enough to even start this discussion, much less do it? I'm just saying, that at 19.5 months, my daughter should not be so insistent on doing this, but insistent she is, so we are going for it!

It all started a few months ago when Mitch bought Brookelynne a 'potty chair'. He said she was smart enough to get potty trained and that that was the first step. I didn't want to get a potty chair because I felt like I would have to train her twice, once on it and then again on a regular toilet, and since I didn't plan on training her until the end of the summer, I figured we could just train her on the regular toilet, but Mitch disagreed, so we bought one. We opened it up, and put it in the bathroom and would take her diaper off occasionally (mainly right before bathtime) and sit her on it. Then we would sit on the potty next to her (usually not even using it) and tell her "This is where we go potty". She peed in it a couple of times but never with out prompting.

Then I spent a morning (probably a month and  a half ago) in the bathroom with her sitting on the potty, hoping she would go, so she would figure out what we were wanting her to do. After 3.5 hours in there, toes and fingers painted, multiple songs sung and toys played with, she didn't 'potty'. I almost put it away then, since we weren't going to be doing it 'anytime soon', but she liked it, so I left it. Occasionally, she would say "potty" and go sit on it and I would take her diaper off so she could, but she never did anything. I don't consider any of that potty training, because quite frankly none of it was intentional or what not.

All that led to the day that she set her mind to potty training! Last Monday morning I was in Brax's room changing him when Brooke came into the room with her diaper half off saying "potty". So I took it off and out of the room she ran. She was still sitting on the potty (with no avail) when I left Brax's room a couple minutes later. I made Brax a bottle, put him down and started checking my email, completely forgetting that I had a half naked child running around the house. 15 minutes later she came up to me and said "potty, Paaaaaaaaa-T"  I got up, thinking she wanted me to come in there and sit in front of her while she sat on the potty. When we walked in there, she pointed and said "potty". Sure enough, I looked in there and she had peed and pooped in there already! So I praised her and took her to her room to put a diaper on her. I put her on the changing table and she started freaking out, saying "no diaper, no diaper, no diaper". So I told Mitchell, we needed to buy panties and start the potty training process. We had plans Tuesday and Wednesday, but Thursday morning, the madness began!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Braxton is 4 months old!!!

I seriously cannot believe that it has been 4 whole months since my precious baby boy took his first breath. We are so incredibly blessed to have him in our lives. :)  We just got home from his 4 month appointment with Dr Kim and he checked out great! He did much better at his appointment than Brookelynne ever did, went right onto the scale with no fussing and even smiled while he was getting weighed, and then was fine throughout the entire exam, cooing and smiling at Dr Kim. Here are some stats for the records as well as a list of his 'what he's doing now' :)

Height/Length:               24.5 inches
Weight:                           14 lbs 11 oz
Head Circumference:     43 cm

* He is firmly in size 2 diapers. There were a couple of weeks where he could still fit in size ones but was about to pop out of them, but now we're in full swing with size two. (We still have 4 pks of size ones that I guess will go into the garage to await baby #3!)
* We pulled out his 3-6 month and 6 month clothes a couple weeks before he turned 3 months and he's already out growing some of them! He's such a big boy!

* He's in size 2 shoes for the most part, but some of them are a little too big still. He doesn't wear shoes often, but he does wear them to church and they're super cute on him!
* He's still eating about 6 oz every 4 hours during the day. A 'normal' day has him eating at 8 am, noon, 4 pm, 7 pm and 9:30 pm, as well as one time during the night at either 2 am or 4 am. He also has cereal in his 9:30 bottle. We're going to start him on food tomorrow and hopefully that will be the extra thing that gets him to sleep through the night.
* He doesn't stay in his bouncer very often at all, and has really begun to enjoy his swing and other toys.
* We pulled out the Jumperoo last week and while he's not jumping in it yet, he can touch the ground and has really enjoyed hitting the different things on it. Brookelynne tries to 'bounce' and 'swing' him. Obviously, we had to stop that fun game! lol

* He is super smiley! He smiles all the time and always smiles when he looks at you.
* He has started giggling! He giggles at all kinds of things including my ponytail, peek a boo games, and 'getcha, getcha goos'. He even laughs when Brookelynne 'gets him'. She pokes his belly and says "gooda, gooda, gooda". It's hilarious for all of us! :) His laugh is sweet and understated (not like Mama and Brookelynne), not a belly laugh, but like he laughs just long enough to realize that he might miss something if he doesn't pay attention, and quiets back down! :)

*He loves tv. No I'm not kidding. The kid can be anywhere in a room, and if there is a tv on, he's looking for it and staring at it. Too bad for him that he's not going to be a tv or computer game baby.

* He especially loves Basketball. We've been watch a lot of it lately with the NBA playoffs going on and needless to say, it's his favorite thing to watch! He sits on Daddy's knee and they cheer on the Heat!
* He still sleeps in a swaddle blanket. My mom asked me to stop, but quite frankly he sleeps better with it, and I would much rather him 'need to be swaddled' than 'need to have a paci', so we'll be sticking with it at least a little bit longer.
* He as several nicknames. Brookelynne still calls him 'Braaa". Daddy and Mama call him "Man", "Brax-Man", and "Dude". I call him "Man" more than anything most days. I'm constantly saying "Hey Man, I see you" or "Hey Man, I love you" :)
* He can hold rattles, shake them and switch them from one hand to the other. :) Yeah, he's pretty much a genius! hehe

* He still doesn't like his carseat but behaves pretty well for short periods of time. Wednesday nights are really hard on him. I haven't figured out exactly why, but he pretty much screams the whole way home every week. Even if I leave early, stay later or feed him on the way, it doesn't matter, he's just mad and tells me about it at the top of his lungs all.the.way.home.
* He really likes his big sister! :) She'll come up to him and pop into his field of vision and start talking to him and he'll start grinning as big as he can. This of course encourages Brookelynne to continue what she's doing and thus begins minutes of entertainment for Mama and Daddy! :)

* He still hasn't gotten any teeth, but he's started teething, because he'll have days or hours where he slobbers non-stop and gnaws on everything! :) He especially likes his fists or our fingers!

* He "talks" all. the. time!!! :) He's much more talkative than his sister ever was! He ooos and aawwws all the time and it is super cute! If you have him face to face and talk to him for a minute and then stop talking, he'll start talking back to you! It's so adorable! I think he'll be talking much sooner than others!
* We've started working on 'sitting up', but he's not taking to it very quickly. I'm sure he'll master it in the next few weeks though! And we're very excited about that because that's when they start to get SUPER fun! :)

All in all, our little man is fantastic and we're SOOOO thrilled to have him and see him grow! :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Happy Birthday to My Mom! (& Excerts from Mom's Book....)

I told you in my post about Mom's party, that I'd share the things that Josh and I wrote to Mom, so in honor of her birthday (officially 60 today!), here they are!

We're so proud of her and the amazing Godly mother she's been to us. I hope you enjoy them!

Here's Josh's:

"To You My Mom,   
"I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me.  They have clung to me all my life".  ~Abraham Lincoln

I found this quote as I was thinking of what to write down for this book and I thought it exemplified one of the biggest elements that makes you the great mom that you are! I feel your prayers daily as you poor your heart out to Jesus asking him to protect me and guide me. Mom, for this I love and thank you!

There is no way that I could write down every amazing memory we have, there isn’t enough paper in the world to publish them! So instead I picked a few of my favorites to remind you of on your 60th birthday.

“When I was sick and you were young, you lived between my shin."

I remember my birthday party when we had thirty kids in our back yard and even though you were working full-time and tired and sick, you pulled out all the stops and made it great. Thank You Momma!

I remember the fifth grade and working so hard to make the patrols; and when that teacher gave me a 'C' that I didn’t deserve, that got me kicked off, you went to bat for me. Every time I needed someone to fight for me, you were there. Thank You!

I remember every time you taught me right from wrong and all the times you showed
me how to be a good man. Mom because of you, I am who I am. Thank You.

I remember getting a call one Saturday morning that would change our lives. Mom those were the longest two months of my life and you will never know how just how truly thankful I am that God chose to heal you that year! You fought so hard when so many others would have thrown in the towel. Mom you have shown me how to fight and what it means to survive. Thank You.

I could go on for days and days of memories I have of the great times we have had threw the years but I will leave you with this. Mom you are beautiful, kind, loving, passionate, intelligent, bold, and everything I want to be. There is no one that could have given me what you have given me. Enjoy your 60th and I cant wait to enjoy another 60 years learning from and loving You!

Thank You for being my mom.
~Love Your Son

"If you have a mom, there is nowhere you are likely to go where a prayer has not
already been."  ~Robert Brault"   "

Isn't he sweet? I sure think so, and Mom loved it! :) Here is what I wrote....


When I try to think about my favorite memory of you, there are obviously too many to name. Most of the things that come to mind include the events or times when we laughed too hard or the ones where I could see on your face that I made you proud. Of course there were plenty of memorable times when you would sit Josh and me down to dish out whatever punishment that fit our current crimes, but in hindsight, most of those are even fond to me now.

Over the years, we have had a lot of tough times, but you always made it clear to me, that with God, you and Josh, we could make it through anything. I always smile when I think of the Three Musketeers and the way that we always supported each other. “All for One and One for All.” I’m so thankful that you didn’t give us an option, whether we wanted to or not, we were going to be at each others games, competitions and plays and be kind to each other. I don’t know that I would love Josh as much as I do today if you weren’t the Mom that you were to us, and I’m so grateful for that. I honestly cherish the times of cheering Josh on and seeing him succeed more than I do my own successes and the fact that at the end of the game, we celebrated as a family was always so special to me.

I remember so many times when we would misunderstand you and end up laughing hysterically over what we thought you had said. Like, “When you were young, and I was sick, you lived between my shins!” I can still see us laughing in the middle of that Walmart isle for what seemed like 20 minutes! I wish we had written them all down because I’m pretty sure we’d have days worth of entertainment by now! I was always so grateful that you were able to laugh at yourself and didn’t take things too seriously, because that’s something that I have to work at. Seeing you laugh at yourself, makes it easier for me to lighten up too.

In the past few years, I have had the privilege of developing a friendship with you. While I’m so thankful for that, I am much more thankful that you choose to be a mother first. So many parents refuse to take the hard stances and fight the hard fights and while I know it wasn’t easy or fun, I’m so thankful that you choose to do what was right and be my mom first. I wouldn’t be the woman that I am today without those standards, so Thank You.

When I think back and determine which moments with you that I am most grateful for, I can honestly say that they are the ones where I knew that I made you proud of me and did something worthwhile. I remember the day that I had Brookelynne and watching you hold her after everyone had left and seeing how truly proud of me you were. I’m so grateful that the Lord has allowed you this ‘borrowed time’ to spend meeting and knowing my children.

Most of all, I am thankful for the woman that you have been in our lives. None of us are perfect, but you have always strived to seek the Lord’s wisdom in raising us and to point us to Him. I have grown up watching you put what seemed like unwavering faith into our Lord and His sovereignty even when things seemed impossible to overcome. While I don’t remember you saying the words, I remember knowing that you truly believed that if the Lord chose to take you away from us, that that must be the best thing for us and that you wouldn’t waiver in your faith if that was what He did. What a testimony that has been! I remember you praying for us, not just saying you would or had, but actually praying for us, in front of us. Each night you put us, our futures, our mates, our problems and our successes before the Lord, and asked that His will be done. Each day I pray for my children and I pray for their salvation and for their mates. I pray for their futures and that they will live their lives honoring and glorifying the Lord. That’s a heritage you started.

When I look back on my wedding day, I remember the look on your face when they called you to the dance floor to dance with me. You were so confused and surprised, and while unconventional, I had known the first time I heard that song that I had to dance to it with you on that day, because you truly are “Somebody’s Hero”. You’re mine.

I love you ALLLLLL Much!
Jenny  "

Hope you like them!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Brax's first batch of baby food!

For anyone wondering how to make you're own baby food, I decided to do a picture 'step by step' for you. :) And for me too, because it encourages me to keep doing it! :)

First step is to buy the produce that you intend on using for your baby food. I make a point of watching for sales and purchasing it at its lowest price. Sweet potatoes are usually $1 per lb at our local Publix, but were on sale for $.49 per lbs, so right there, I've saved 50%. I bought 7 lbs of sweet potatoes (2/3rds of it is pictured here. I did the other third in a separate batch)

With most of your choices, you will want to peel them and then wash them thoroughly (sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, apples, pears). There are certain things that you can't peel, like green beans, sweet peas and corn. Those you'll have to make sure you wash especially well.

After they are peeled and cleaned, chop them up to cook.
[When I made baby food for Brookelynne, I chopped them into smaller pieces, but that made it difficult to keep a thicker consistency in her food. (This caused us to have to put rice cereal in almost all of her food after the first week of eating because we found that she ate the thicker consistencies better than the thinner ones)]
Fill with water, and boil.
[You want to use as little water as you can while still cooking the food. A portion of the nutrients come out in the water, and while you will be using some of the water to get the consistency right, you won't be using all of it, so the less you have left over, the few nutrients you're throwing away.]

Then spoon the chunks into your blender or food processor and 'blend' :)

 Continue to add water and blend until it reaches your preferred consistency. As you see, I like mine to be the consistency of soft serve ice cream. Any thinner and I feel like it's so much more difficult for them to keep in their mouths.

Once you've gotten it to your liking, spoon into containers of your choosing. For at-home feeding, ice cubes of food work great! Especially starting out, most babies don't eat more than one ice cube worth per serving anyway. As they begin to eat more, you just heat up more than one ice cube as needed. I also freeze jars worth of food for when we're not at home. Its much easier to just grab a jar out of the freezer than to find a container to hold however many ice cubes you need. With Brookelynne, we ended up buying baby food, just so we would have the convenience of a jar. So I saved those jars and lids and now freeze them full of homemade food. Best of both worlds!

Those potatoes you saw up top, turned into this! 6 and a half ice cube trays and 12 stage 2 jars of baby food! 

Just put them in the freezer (uncovered to begin with) and all the 'hard work' is done!

6 to 8 hours later, go back and loosen your ice cube trays. This way, the food is set in its form, but not so frozen that it's stuck in the tray. You can also go ahead and put the lids on your jars at this point too, since the food will have already expanded.

In another day or so, go back and pop all of those ice cubes of food out of their trays and put them in a resealable bag. :)  Then you can just pull them out one at a time as you need them!

I can honestly say that I really enjoy doing this. It only takes an hour or two (and I do big batches) per food and if you do one a week for a month or so, you'll have plenty of food for your baby! 

Also, since this is my blog and I am therefore allowed to say whatever I want, I will add that there are some things that just aren't worth making. One of which is applesauce. Its much more expensive to make it, takes a LOT of time and is difficult to get the right consistency. I just buy the big containers of 'all natural' applesauce when it goes on sale and call it a day. Also, green beans weren't worth it for me either. I didn't feel like I could clean them enough to make myself happy, and I didn't like having to worry about strings in my baby food. I also don't do meat. That's just gross to think about! lol.  So we watch for sales/coupons and stock up on those as needed. We have 50 or 60 jars of  baby food that we got for $.10 a jar last time there was a bogo with a coupon. Not bad since I will re-use those jars next time around! :)