Sunday, November 29, 2009

We're Getting There

Because we had a long 4 day weekend, we saw it as an opportunity take Ben's potty training up a notch. Even though we were going to be very busy, and wouldn't even be home all day on Thursday, we wanted to keep him in underpants as much as possible over the weekend. We hauled his little potty over to Grandma and Grandpa B's on Thursday, and he wore his underpants all day long, minus the 45 minute rides in the car to and from their house. He had one accident (about 30 seconds before I was going to take him to the bathroom), but he wore his little underpants all day and did such a great job. Friday was another banner day for him. He again had one accident, but when you think that he was wearing underpants from about 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., that's pretty darn good! He's still a little weird about going poop, but he's getting there. He HATES to poop in his diaper. We knew most of the afternoon that he needed to poop because he kept saying he needed to go potty and then wouldn't do anything when he sat down. When I took my parents home, I took both of the boys with me, and was feeling brave, so I let Ben go in his underpants. He did great, but about 4 miles from home started crying that he needed to go potty. I got home as fast as I could, and found that he had been successful in holding it until we got home. Yay!!! (on SO many levels!). When he was all ready for bed with his diaper on, he just couldn't hold it any longer and pooped in his diaper. Oh my was he upset. As much as I tried to tell him it's okay to poop in his diaper and praise him that he didn't go in his underpants, he was just devastated, poor little guy. Continued throughout the rest of the weekend, except for part of Sunday, where he decided to turn into a stubborn little turkey. He didn't want to wear a diaper, but would balk at the idea of sitting on the potty. He had 2 accidents, and wore a diaper for church, but he didn't wet his diaper.... he actually didn't wet a diaper all weekend long! So we're definitely getting somewhere. If only we could get him going on any other potty than his little potty, I think we'd be in business. We hope to get him out of diapers for at least part of his school day, maybe starting this week, so we'll see how he does. Right now we are ecstatic with the progress he's made. We'll take whatever we can get!

Thanksgiving Weekend Fun!

What a wonderful start to the Holiday season we had this weekend! I love Thanksgiving. It's such a fun time to get together with family and eat lots of yummy food. It just doesn't get better than that. This year we spent Thanksgiving day at Andrew's mom's house. Auntie Kerri, Uncle Jonathon and baby Adria got to come down from Vegas to spend the holiday with us, which was such an extra special treat! Baby Adria is such a doll, and just couldn't be any cuter!

Josh and Ben had a blast playing with their cousin, Stevin, and painting Christmas ornaments with Grandma B.

The kids all played hard all day long, and by the end of the night, everyone was so tired! Baby Adria even fell asleep on me... I could just eat her up!

Because we were elsewhere on Thanksgiving day, I decided to make my own Thanksgiving meal on Friday. I'm not much for Black Friday shopping, and I love having tons of leftovers, so I just couldn't resist the opportunity! I was up at 5:00 a.m. making pie and preparing the stuffing for the turkey. I made all of my Thanksgiving staples, including an herb roasted turkey, homemade apple sausage stuffing (with homemade croutons), fruited sweet potatoes with a streusel topping, mashed potatoes, homemade cranberry sauce and cheddar corn bread muffins.

For dessert I made a pecan pie (actually made 2 because I burned the first one... the lesson learned was don't try to bake with a massive headache!), and a completely from scratch pumpkin pie. I had never roasted a pumpkin before, but after having done it this year, I don't think I'll ever buy a can of pumpkin again! The pie was so light and just plain tasty.

We were so blessed to be able to spend the day, and the meal, not only with my parents, but with my best friend, Gabrielle, and her family. Gabrielle just had her 4th child on November 3rd. Baby Jameson is so cute, and so sweet. I just loved holding him.

Josh and Aaron, Gabrielle's oldest son, are best friends themselves. They play together so well, and are always sad to go home. It is pure joy to watch them playing together. Kayleigh is Gabrielle's oldest, and she is just a gem. Ben and Jack are also just about the same age and, although they are a little young to really play together, we hope that they will bond as Josh and Aaron have. Here are some photos of the kiddos having a great time together:

What a fun day it was!

On Saturday we started to get the house ready for Christmas. Although we didn't get as far as we would have liked (thanks to my beginning to come down with a cold), we did get the Christmas tree up and decorated.

What a great Thanksgiving weekend. I can't wait for the rest of the holiday fun we have planned over the next month!

Monday, November 23, 2009

30th Birthday Bash!

Last Wednesday was my 30th birthday. I've never been one of these people that frets over age (I know I'm just thirty, but I know people who have freaked over 25!) so I wasn't scared of it, or dreading it or anything like that. It just sounds a bit strange to not be a "20-something" anymore. Over the last few years my birthday has kind of fallen into the background, behind the plethora of November birthdays in our family. It seems as though we're going to this or that birthday party every single weekend in November, leaving virtually no time to really celebrate my birthday. As I've gotten older, I have begun to care about my birthday less and less, so it's never really bothered me too much. But because of the milestone I reached this year, we decided to do my birthday up in style!

First, was my extra-special gift from Andrew and my parents... a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer! This thing is incredible! It weighs probably 20 lbs and is so fun to use! I can't wait to break it out for the thanksgiving feast later this week! =)The boys also got me a Snuggie (the blanket with sleeves!). Joshua was so excited to give it to me, I'm still amazed that he was able to keep the lip zipped until I opened my presents!

The real celebration was this past weekend. Because we weren't able to go to Sea World when we were in San Diego last month, we planned to go back to San Diego for my birthday. All week leading up to the trip, Andrew and I were living in this constant state of mild paranoia over one of the boys getting sick and putting the kibosh on our trip. We were pumping them full of vitamins and orange juice, and thankfully everyone had a clean bill of health for our fun weekend! We headed out early on Friday morning, and had another enjoyable time in the car, rolling into San Diego about 1:00.

Ben didn't make it too far into his book!

Our first stop was Imperial Beach, south of San Diego, about 3 miles from Mexico, as we had heard it was a good place to find sand dollars and starfish. We walked along the beach for a bit... well, everyone but Ben, who had apparently gotten his fill of the beach on our last trip. He refused to walk and turned into the biggest cuddle bug and just wanted to "hide in Mommy's hair."

Josh had a blast finding more seashells, which were much bigger on this beach. The best find of the day went to Daddy... a giant sand dollar! When we stopped for lunch at a little local cafe, even a local was impressed with our find!

After lunch we went back up to San Diego and walked around Seaport Village, and over to the USS Midway. We didn't take the tour of the Midway, as the boys are still a little young for that, but they did like seeing the big ship with airplanes and helicopters on it.

That evening we went to check into our hotel, which was the same hotel we stayed at last month. When Andrew went inside to check in, he learned that we were the "Guest of the Day" which means we got a free upgrade to a 2 bedroom/2 bath suite! There was even a sign being displayed in the lobby with my name on it (which Andrew snagged for me). It was so cool!

Joshua was super excited to have his very own bedroom instead of sleeping on the fold out couch like he normally does. It was a $200 per night room that we got for $129 per night. Happy birthday to me!

The following morning was Sea World Day! Unfortunately, because of the time change (CA is 1 hour behind us right now) and the fact that the boys aren't used to sharing a room, Ben decided to wake Joshua up at about 5:00 a.m. Thanks a lot! Because of the awakening he wasn't quite ready for, he was a little, shall we say, grumpy in the morning. But we finally got him to snap out of it and had a fantastic day at Sea World! We got there just as the park opened, and were probably about the 3rd family through the gate. We got to see dolphins up close, feed some sea lions, and watch the Shamu show, the Pets Rule show and the Clyde and Seymour show. We even got to see Elmo, Burt, Ernie, Zoe and Cookie Monster sing and dance for us, which I think Ben could have watched all day!

Riding the flying Elmo fish ride in the Sesame Street Bay of Play

We had informed Joshua ahead of time that the Sesame Street characters would be there and that he could meet them. As soon as he learned this, he informed me that he was going to bring Cookie Monster some cookies that we had made (with my mixer, of course!). The night before we left he had painstakingly, and completley on his own, selected two cookies for Cookie Monster and put them in a Ziploc sandwich bag. I was told to make sure we remembered to put them in a safe place, and he even made sure we had them before we left the house Friday morning! Anyway, when his chance finally came to give Cookie Monster his cookies, he mustered up all of his courage and gave Cookie Monster his baggie of cookies. Cookie Monster was SO happy to have cookies! He started blowing Joshua kisses and then grabbed him and gave him a huge hug.

Joshua is in there somewhere!

Joshua was so beside himself excited that he could make Cookie Monster so happy. What a sweet little spirit he has! I think this was my favorite part of our day!

We stayed at Sea World for pretty much the whole time the park was open. We did it without naps (except that Ben pooped out right before Clyde and Seymour started)...

and without a stroller, which proved to be the best thing to do (and I think that if we can Sea World without a stroller, it is definitely time for the strollers to go and give us back our closet space!).

In all the excitement, we were concerned that our trip would send Ben on a detour away from his potty training. How wrong we were! He actually did SO good while we were gone. We brought his potty chair with us, and were unashamed to lug it into the stalls in public restrooms, or even park him on the passenger seat of the car along our way.

At one point he actually asked us to take off his diaper so he could poop in the potty! Hooray! But because he no longer wants to USE his diaper, the trip home got a little interesting. When we stopped in Yuma (our first stop after leaving San Diego) I checked Ben's diaper and he was dry, which I saw as a huge victory! We took his potty chair into the bathroom and he went potty no problem. Then after having lunch and getting back on the road, he started crying that he needed to go potty. We were in the middle of absolutely no where, without even a random exit to pull off into. We tried to tell him to just use his diaper (how's that for sending mixed messages!) but he really didn't want to do that. We ended up stopping three times between Yuma and home to try to get him to use the potty (the last time being off of some random off ramp next to the train tracks. I didn't have my camera, so I'll have to paint you a mental picture... Ben sitting on his little potty chair in the gravel in the middle of nowhere, with a train zooming by about 100 feet away from us. Would have made a great photo for a punk album cover or something!). One of our stops was in Dateland, which gave Andrew a chance to try a "world famous" Date Shake.

Although the drive home was a little hectic and frustrating at times, we made it in one piece and were so happy to be home!

So my 30th birthday was pretty awesome! Thank you, Andrew, Josh and Ben for making it a special time for me, and thanks to everyone for your birthday wishes! Now, off to 31!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Reading Machine: The Movie

Josh continues to do so well with his reading. We are working on sight words right now and he has about 14 that he can read. Not bad for not even 4 1/2!

Show That No. 2 Who's Boss

This post is probably going to be entirely TMI, so be forewarned. But it was such a groundbreaking and exciting day in potty training, I just can't help myself! What was probably entirely on accident, Ben pooped on the potty today! I was at the grocery store, so I didn't get to be here for it, but I guess he kept saying he needed to go potty and went in to try but wasn't doing anything. After about the 5th time of this song and dance, Andrew told him to just go in and do what he needed to do since he can pull down his own underpants and get himself situated on his little potty. When he was done he told Andrew he went pee pee, but when Andrew went into check, it wasn't just pee pee in the potty. I guess Ben wasn't has excited about having pooped in the potty as Josh and Daddy were, but he did think it was pretty cool to get to flush it down. Isn't it funny how excited parents get over the things their kids do? We were so proud of his little poop today, that Andrew even joked about taking a picture of not only the evidence, but of Ben's very first skid mark in his underpants. LOL! Don't worry.... we didn't, and even if we did, we'd spare you!

Second Yard Sale

We had our second yard sale this weekend to once and for all purge our baby stuff. Every year my parents' neighborhood has a community wide yard sale which usually sees a lot of traffic and in years past as been very successful. The weather was chilly and looked like it was trying to start raining all morning, and actually did sprinkle on us a couple times. Instead of getting the kids up as early as I wanted to be down to my parents house to set up, we decided for Andrew to stay home with them and bring them down a little later in the morning. The boys were more than happy to go to Grandma and Granddad's, especially since Granddad has his famous tran set up, complete with a full Thomas train, which is a big hit in our house. I didn't have my camera, but I'm sure we'll get some pictures before he takes it dow early next year.

Probably because of the weather, the traffic through the neighborhood was extremely light in the morning. After about 2 hours and only making roughly $10, I was thinking this day was going to be sort of a waste of time. But as the day wore on and the sun began to poke through the clouds, traffic picked up and we actually ended up being pretty successful, making about another $100 and getting rid of everything we had really wanted to go. We packed up everything that didn't sell, which ended up being not too much, and my mom carted it off to Goodwill for me. The only thing we kept were the leftover clothes. What is so exciting is that all we have left of baby clothes is one plastic tub full. That may sound like a lot, but when you think that before we started giving it away and selling it, we had about 3 tubs and 4 trash bags stuffed full. Yay for more closet space! I love getting rid of things no longer used. It makes the house feel so much more organized, and even a little bit bigger. Now we're ready for whatever Santa may bring! =)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Moving Right Along

Benny is totally rocking the house on his potty training. Over last weekend we had him in underpants whenever we were home and he was awake. All in all he wore under pants for probably 75% of the weekend, used the potty 6 times, and only had one accident, right before we were about to sit on the potty. Wow!

The school the kids go to is awesome and totally work right along side us in potty training. We have told his teachers that he is starting to use the potty, so they have begun offering him the potty at various points throughout the day. He just about always wants to try, but hadn't actually gone at school... until today! And he did it standing up to boot! He was so proud of himself, and I of course made sure he knew loud and clear how proud I was of him.

But that wasn't the only potty training development of the day. At dinner time, Benny looked up at me and clearly said "Mommy, I need to go potty." We got right into the bathroom and he did just that. Just about every other time he has used the potty it has been initiated by either me or Andrew, so we were so excited to see that he is learning to notice, in advance, that he needs to go potty.

He's doing such a great job! Now, if we could get him to do the rest of his, um, business on the potty, we'd really be rolling! We know that will come with time. There's just one thing to say... Go Benny!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Baby Shower Cake

I was asked to make the cake for the baby shower for a girl in my office. I took on the task, and oh man, was it a lot of work! It took me all week, but in the end I was happy with the results, and everyone else seemed to be too. I was even asked to start making the cakes for the monthly office birthdays! Not sure if I will do that or not, but it was nice to be asked! Here are some photos of the cake. Unfortunately, the cake got a couple finger pokes in it during assembly, but you get the idea. The booties are made out of gum paste and turned out really well.

Maybe there is something to this cake thing. I hope to take a couple decorating classes next year and I want to start trying out some cake recipes, so we'll see where it goes from there!

Another Round of Gardening

Since our pumpkins turned out to be a great big bust, we have taken a small break from our garden while we decided what we wanted to do next. One of the greatest things about living in Arizona is that you can grow all year round. Vegetables do great here in the winter, so we decided to plant a vegetable garden today. Andrew and Joshua picked up some carrot, radish and cauliflower seeds at Home Depot yesterday, so we got to planting this afternoon. The radishes should be ready to harvest in 30 days, while the carrots and cauliflower take about 2 months. Hopefully we'll get some good produce and can learn a little about how vegetables grow. Wish us luck!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Keeping it Up!

I know I just posted yesterday an update on Ben's potty training adventures, but I just had to give one more little update because today was a pretty exciting day in potty training. For starters, Ben pee peed on the potty 3 times today! What was so exciting was that one of the times he started to go in his underpants, but pinched it off and got to the potty to finish. So, while I suppose that officially counts as an accident since we had to change his underpants, it also shows tremendous progress, in that he is noticing when he needs to go or starts to go and is exercising control in getting himself to the potty to finish. He had one other accident today, but then a little bit later went in the bathroom, said "I'm gonna go pee pee." and then did just that. We're hoping he will keep up the good work. We're so proud of him!