Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Princess Gallery

A large, ever-so-time-consuming part of our lives in the last couple months has been
potty training

And you say,
"Wait--didn't you already do that?"

Sigh. Yes.

Attempt #1: November 2009

Like I said when I originally posted about it, I wasn't really planning on potty training right then. It was more inspired and lead by Jane's interest. For a month or so, she'd regularly sit on the toilet. Nothing came of it, though. Things were a little chaotic with Megan only about two months old, then a short time later Chris moved to Salt Lake and we started the single parenting adventure. End attempt #1.

Attempt #2: May-June 2010

Again begun by Jane...she was jealous, I guess, of all the kids in day care getting to go potty all the time, so she started going, too. She did fairly well, I think, and we even continued over the course of our move into the new house in Salt Lake. Most experts recommend keeping potty training as far from other major life changes as possible, but it actually worked pretty well for Jane to have everything change all at once--new house, new routine, and diapers gone. Good plan.

Until we painted the bathrooms.

There are two bathrooms upstairs, one in the basement. The decision was made to paint both upstairs bathrooms the same color at the same time. Getting Jane to run into the basement every time she needed to go really didn't work. End attempt #2.

Attempt #3: January-April 2011

Jane's third birthday. Seemed like good timing, eh? She was that much older and more competent. There was nothing else going on in our lives in general for a few months.


Several factors worked against us in this attempt. For one, I was pregnant, first trimester. Not a good time to be dealing with...smelliness, let's say. Two, Jane was opposed this time. Each attempt before she had been all excited about going potty. Not so this time. As a result, she wouldn't go when she needed to and... Well, the pediatrician put her on Miralax and recommended we stop potty training entirely until things were more regulated. Very disappointingly, end attempt #3.

Attempt #4: June 2011

Miralax worked wonders. Once that was settled, it became a "now or never" kind of situation. The baby is coming soon, Jane is starting preschool in September...and once again, we had at least a few weeks without anything major happening. So, potty training began (again) and went well pretty quick. No wet accidents basically from the beginning. But...despite that, she didn't stay clean.

We gradually piled on the rewards. It wasn't long before our living room looked like a Princess Gallery, displaying the things Jane could earn by using the toilet and keeping her underwear clean and dry.

She got one little princess (from the dollar store) when she pooped on the toilet. She also got ten minutes to play with the Pretty Princess book (several small dolls and playmat included). The big Sleeping Beauty princess was the prize for filling all the boxes on her sticker chart--one sticker each time she went to the bathroom.

And then we got to yesterday.
Ah, yesterday was...well, amazing.

Chris had made a really big deal the night before about Jane pooping on the toilet. He even said she could call him at work if she went. That was pretty darn exciting to her. And guess what? She went. I know this isn't the most exciting thing to anyone else, but man, it was a big deal at our house. She got her stickers, her candy, her princess, and she called Dad and Grandma Karrie. Then she got to play with the princess game before taking her nap.

Apparently, the trick with Jane is using every possible motivator I can come up with. By the end of the day, she had earned all but one of the little princesses, and she had completely filled the sticker chart.

When Dad came home, we had a family potty party and opened the new big princess.

It was an exciting day. Today has gone well, too. She's stayed clean all morning. One last motivator is the new sticker chart. One sticker for staying clean from morning until nap, one sticker for staying clean from nap until bedtime.

Once each box is filled, Jane will graduate from plain white underwear to princess panties.

Thank you, Disney
for providing me the means to bribe, cajole, manipulate, and otherwise motivate my three-year-old into using the toilet.
I couldn't have done it without you.

And keep your fingers crossed...end attempt #4?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Aberdeen Daze

We spent last weekend in Aberdeen visiting Chris's parents (and Brenda). It seemed like a good idea to get one more trip in before we have three kids to pack up... Happily, our trip coincided with the annual Aberdeen Days Celebration. Hooray for extra fun things to do!

The day started out with a free pancake breakfast in the park.

I would just like to point out that you can't tell I'm pregnant in this picture. Right now, that makes me happy.

We spent a long time hanging out and playing at the park. This is the only picture I have, in which Jane has borrowed a bike helmet from Chris's friend's daughter. She just had to wear it because it had princesses on it.

That afternoon was the parade. It started off with a genuine World War II fighter jet flying pretty low over the crowd. It was cool.

Grandpa Craig was in the parade as part of the City Council. Bonus! He threw lots of candy right to the girls.

Really, though, they came out with quite the candy haul. We ended up in a spot where not many other people were, so most every float threw candy right to them.

That worked out just great, with the exception of the frozen otter pops. Um, not a good thing to put in the diaper bag and forget about. Just for my personal future reference.

It thought this was fun--it was the Aberdeen High School class of 1961. Part of their 50th reunion including being in the parade. It made me smile. It also goes to show how small Aberdeen really is.

This float was creative--each building represents an actual business in town. They were also spraying everyone with water guns instead of throwing candy.

The two on the left end wearing ball caps are Chris's friend Harold and his son Parker. After the parade, we went to hang out at their house.

That's Alisha hugging Megan. It was her helmet that Jane was wearing at the park.

Chris played, too.

The only real downside to our trip was the drive home. Oh, my goodness. Two toddlers and a very pregnant woman in a car for almost four hours is...rather unpleasant. Let's put it that way. We have made that drive many, many times all in one shot, no problem. This time, though, we had to stop twice and even then it was a bit of a fight to not stop more. Lame. Other than that, though, it was a good weekend! I'm glad we went.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Father's Day was a week ago, but I still think it's a good time to post about Christopher. He's just too good to miss!

He's had some really cute moments with the girls lately... He was fixing the sprinkler valves in the front yard, and the girls decided to "help" him. He graciously allowed them to, for a while at least.

Chris has been in a quartet that has performed in sacrament meeting in a few wards, at the ward talent show, and even at a chapel meeting in the temple. He also sings with the ward choir and, when occasionally created, the stake choir. He was practicing some music and again let the girls "help" him on the piano.

I think it's funny that in both of these pictures, he is fully dressed and ready for the day and working while the girls are still in pajamas. That just proves that he is much more pulled together than I am right now. I take a lot longer to get the day going than he does.

Chris measured the girls on the wall this last week--we've been in our new house for a year! The girls have both grown several inches in the last year and were quite excited when Dad showed them how big they are now.

A couple weeks before Father's Day, Chris finally bought himself something that he's been wanting for a long, long time. Bolt cutters. His main motivation was this padlock.

It's been attached to the front of his car as long as we've had it, and I'm sure much, much longer than that. Well,

it's not there anymore! Yay!

Chris also fixed the gate in the backyard using his new hacksaw and some engineering ingenuity. And today he basically cleaned the whole house while I moped on the floor because I didn't feel well and my stomach is huge (self pity, don't you know). Pretty much he's amazing. Love you, Christopher!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Supervision Required

One of the Easter gifts my grandpa gave to the girls was a little blow-up swimming pool. Yesterday, I decided we needed some serious outside time. I put on my brave face and dug out the swimming suits and sunscreen. I even ventured into the garage and successfully commandeered the air compressor to get the thing blown up. Chris was so proud.

Megan dove right in. Jane was a little more hesitant.

She warmed up to it...kind of.

They played out in that pool all morning, and that's as far as Jane ever got into the water. She still seemed to have fun, though, so whatever.

The afternoon was a different story. I left the girls in the living room watching a movie while I went into the kitchen to make dinner. It didn't take me too long to realize that Jane wasn't talking anymore. She talks constantly even during movies, so I knew something was up when I couldn't hear her. Upon investigation, I found them outside in the pool again.

Argh, another supervision problem. I seem to be having a lot of those lately.

They didn't have their suits on anymore. Megan didn't have any problem with that and had climbed in fully clothed, shirt, pants, and now fully saturated (non-swim) diaper and all. Jane, on the other hand, didn't want to get her clothes wet. Instead, she was completely naked. Sigh. At least she was all the way in the pool this time.

We had a very serious discussion about being in the pool--Mom or Dad HAVE to be with you. Then I locked and blocked the door. Then we had a very serious discussion about leaving the house naked--Don't do it.

Ah, well. All's well that ends well. In this case, that means catching an episode of Brady Bunch while drying off.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


My reaction to yesterday's puzzle disaster may have been overly, ahem, dramatic. It's a puzzle, right? They are designed and intended to come apart and be put together more than once. But, I have a lot of other things on my mind right now and I think this was just the breaking point for me.

I can't say I'm too sorry, though, because sometimes dramatics pay off.

My mom sent Sarah over to pick up the girls and they spent the rest of the evening at Grandma's house. I'm sure they enjoyed that much better than if they had spent the day with Mom and Dad being upset with them. While they were gone, we had a puzzle party.

After twenty minutes of crawling around on the floor (that's hard for me) and scouring possible hiding places in the basement, this was the status of our previously-attached puzzle pieces.

Luckily, we had some help.

Thank you to Morgan, Bill, Michael and Deborah. We got way farther in one night with six people than we would have with only Chris and I.

Progress report:

The right edge was mostly still intact, and now the left edge is 100% reassembled. The large circles are well on their way to repaired, and the words and border across the top and bottom are coming along nicely.

See? It wasn't really the end of the world. (Ha--it's a puzzle of the world.) And one perk Chris mentioned--once we are actually all done, we can claim that we've done a 7,000 piece puzzle, instead of only 6,000 pieces.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I'm a little upset...

Five weeks and counting until the arrival of our own miniature kick boxer (as I've come to think fondly of him)...we have several projects in the works. Building a new bed, planting and growing the garden, potty training, getting the general baby gear all set, and, as you may remember, doing our traditional pregnancy puzzle.

Here is the picture from the box. Remember, it's 6,000 pieces. That's a lot of pieces.

We have accepted the fact that we are not likely to finish before the baby is born. Hopefully that works out okay, but we're still putting in some serious effort. We had a friend over on Sunday who worked with us for a few hours, and just last night, Chris and I spent another three hours working on the puzzle. And I spent quiet time today working on the border while the girls were in bed. After several hours of work (up to and including this week), we had this to show:

That's more than a thousand pieces done, including a mostly white border. It may not seem like it, but it's about 20% complete. Yes, yes, that counts.

I had to quit working on it this afternoon once the girls were up--them and the basement are not a good mix, especially with the puzzle set up like it is. Besides, my back was hurting from bending over for so long. I ventured back upstairs and we proceeded into a relaxed afternoon of movies and blocks.

I was sitting on the couch, reading blogs, while the girls built towers and watched Cinderella III (don't judge--it's better than you might think). I was getting drowsy. I hadn't had a nap that afternoon, and I wear out pretty darn quick. In fact, my Facebook status was "I just need a nap. Is that too much to ask?"

Yes, yes, it is.

I dozed off. I wasn't worried about the girls, since they were playing so nicely together right in front of me. Well, apparently I was even more tired than I realized because I didn't catch on when they left the room. In fact, I didn't know they were gone until Jane came back and woke me up with the words, "Mom, come see the mess we made."

This falls in the category of what my mom would call a supervision error...

I went downstairs. I saw this first.

And I started crying. I walked farther in and saw this.

And cried more.

This is our puzzle now, only an hour after I finished the border that had taken literally months to get put together.

I called Chris in tears. Apparently this was all too much for my pregnant hormonal mind to handle. It may not look like much, but dang, this puzzle is hard. That's a lot of work destroyed.

Chris will be home shortly. In the meantime, the girls are having an extra quiet time in separate rooms. Mostly for their own protection.

Anyone want to help with a puzzle?

A Patented Phillips Bridal Shower

All the traditions were there...

Chocolate Fountain, I thought I had a picture, but I don't. Just close your eyes and picture it in your mind...

Quilt Tying


and Gifts

Early Congratulations to Morgan and Bill

only 32 days to go!

Monday, June 20, 2011


I was quite sick most of last week...we didn't get out of the house much. It's not too surprising then that Jane's adamant, oft-repeated request this morning was "Please can we go somewhere?!"

I'm not terribly confident in my current abilities to wrangle my own two children when away from home--that whole eight months pregnant thing. That meant we were looking for somewhere we could wander without too much worry of the girls escaping me. I opted for the Jordan River Temple, on Lisa's suggestion. Nice, right? Quietly walk around the temple while it's closed on Monday, no playground to lose children on, easily use a stroller so they can't run away...good plan.

Unless you factor in construction on the temple grounds. Not such a good plan after all.

We headed back in the direction of home, but Jane was just about heart-broken that we hadn't gotten out of the car. Not wanting to completely crush her spirits, I gave in and we went to the duck park.

It turned out even better than I could plan. The federal government provides free sack lunches during the summer. We just happened to show up at the right park at the right time and got free lunch for the girls. Yay!

Even better, my visiting teacher was also there with her two kids. We were able to visit while the kids ate and played together.

Nice timing, huh? That's what I call serendipitous.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

33 and a half

Thursday marks 34 weeks for this pregnancy.

I don't think I look much bigger than I did in my last picture (24 weeks) but man, I feel huge. I can't stand up, I can't roll over, I can't put my socks on nicely...good thing it's summer so I can just wear sandals.

I'm not so much enjoying this part--big surprise for third trimester, huh. Besides being enormously uncomfortable, I'm tired and I keep having contractions and my pulled muscle from last time has come back with a vengeance and heartburn and this boy moves like a hockey player and congestion and and and...only six weeks until I can not be pregnant anymore. Six weeks. Six weeks isn't so long, right?

Just to cheer myself up, I thought I'd share two of my more noteworthy dreams of late. At Chris's suggestion, I'll even illustrate them for you, courtesy of Google Images.

First, I dreamed I was running a race.

It wasn't going well. I had that obnoxious pain in my side that you get from not breathing right (or something) while you're running. Man, it hurt, but I just HAD to keep running. It was a race! So I kept running. And it kept hurting. And I kept running. And it kept hurting...

Then I woke up. Turns out, my baby's head was fighting as hard as it could to eject itself straight through the side of my stomach. Easy fix...just shove the kid's head back the other way and go back to sleep. Ha. At least it didn't hurt anymore.

Another time, I was kidnapped by a family of vampires. They all lived in a huge mansion,

in which was hidden all of their collected family treasure. Unfortunately, said treasure could only be retrieved by a mortal. Enter me. My job was to follow the direction of the sun coming through the windows and thus be lead to the treasure's secret hiding place.

After much searching and following, I found the hidden location.

That's right. It was the door knobs. Each door in the house was adorned with nothing less than diamonds, disguised as door knobs.

I simply removed the diamond door knobs. The result: I was excessively rich and all of the vampires were permanently trapped inside the mansion (because they couldn't open any doors--get it?). Talk about a happy ending.

At least my brain can entertain itself while I can't really sleep at night.