Potty Training Time 

I had bought a small potty chair and Elmo seat that sits on the toilet a few months ago.   For a few weeks it was novel and Abby wanted to sit on the potty all the time, but now it has been around long enough that the newness and curiosity bout them has worn off.  She has still sat on the potty chair when I am using the restroom, but has never really used it for anything other than a chair.  Once at my Mom’s house over Easter she peed on the toilet but hasn’t done anything since.

For the last week or so Abby has been starting to tell me when she has pooped or is in the process of pooping.  Last night she let me know when she was pooping, so we rushed to the bathroom and she finished pooping and also peed on the toilet.  She was very proud.

We started sitting on the toilet every half hour and she will continue the same routine at the babysitter’s house.  I try to read a couple of books or sing some songs to keep her attention and get her to sit longer.

As an incentive for her to want to use the toilet rather than her diaper, last night we put together a plastic container with M&Ms in it and small items (A couple bracelets from my jewelry box, a balloon, an old Happy Meal toy I found in my closet, some small Finding Dory puzzles from the dollar store, etc.) and decorated the outside with colored letter stickers spelling her name and other stickers.  If she pees in the toilet she gets a couple M&Ms, if she poops she gets to pick a toy.

This morning she peed one of the three times she sat on the toilet and was delighted with her two M&M’s.

How did you potty train your daughter? What worked and what didn’t work?  Do you have any helpful hints to share? 

Finger Painting Father’s Day Project

With Father’s Day coming up, Abby and I decided to get creative this morning and make a present for my husband.  He doesn’t buy new clothes very often, so we had already bought him a shirt, but we wanted to give him something homemade as well.  We had to be a little sneaky and work on it while he was occupied, as it is Sunday and he was home with us.

I looked at several cute ideas on Pinterest, but several of the ideas required items I did not have.  I wanted to try to use supplies we already had at home if possible. 

Abby loves to finger paint, so we got out a piece of 8 x 10 construction paper and acrylic paint.  We decided to use different shades of green, which is my husband’s favorite color.  I draped her high chair and the table in plastic and placed an old towel on the floor.  At first she daintily stuck her index finger in the paint and made polka dots on the paper like she was afraid to get dirty, but eventually she got into it.

Abby’s finished painting, below.

After the paint dried we added some leftover colored letters from Hobby Lobby that I had used for another project.  The letters are a tad crooked and not quite evenly spaced, but we had fun.  She is learning her alphabet so we had to review all the letters several times and she was very picky about what colors we used.

Lastly, I framed the painting with a black 8 x 10 frame.  I could not find an empty frame in storage so I ended up buying a $2.00 frame at Walmart.

Abby is pretty proud and excited to give her picture to Daddy!

Are you making any projects for Father’s Day?  I would love to hear about them!

Transitioning to a Big Kid Bed

Saturday we took the step to transition Abby from her crib to a twin bed.  It was necessary to change because while she still fit in the crib and never (to my knowledge) tried to climb out, she was getting big enough to be too heavy for me to lift over the crib rail and my belly is now too big to comfortably and easily lift her over the crib rail.  

Abby was so incredibly excited when she saw her new bed.  Immediately she wanted to jump on the bed, play with her toys in bed, read books in bed, and pretend that she was sleeping in bed.  The one thing she hasn’t wanted to do is actually sleep in bed.  At least, not alone.

Therein lies the problem.  Each night I have put her to bed she has refused to sleep alone.  If I put her to bed already asleep, she often wakes as I am leaving the room or shutting the door.  If I lay with her until she falls asleep, most of the time she will wake as I get out of bed.  Sometimes it takes two or three attempts to get her to fall asleep and stay asleep.  If I try to put her in bed awake she will get right up and try to follow me out of the room or bang on the door and throw a fit.  She refuses to let Dad lay with her, so each time it is me.

None of the conditions of her room have changed, other than the bed.  I still have her nightlights positioned in the same spots.  I still play white noise to help her sleep.  I still close the door so the noise from the TV or me doing chores does not wake her.  

When she still slept in the crib I could put her in bed wide awake or drowsy and she would lay right down and go to sleep without any problem.

I know that Abby is adjusting to something new and will take time for her to become comfortable with sleeping in her new bed, but it is currently a frustrating situation. 

I spoke with my coworker Sammy about it yesterday.  She said her son had done the exact same thing when he was transitioned from a crib to a bed.  Each time she would put him to bed she would set an alarm and go in two minutes later to put him back in bed.  Gradually she would increase the number of minutes waiting to go back into his room until he learned to stay in bed.  This is basically the same approach I took when I began to place Abby in her crib awake at night.  It sucked for a few nights but eventually got better.  I think I may suck it up and try it again.

Have you ever been in this situation before?  What helped?  What advice would you give?  

It’s a… Whole New World

Photo by Aditya Romansa. From http://www.unsplash.com

At my 19 week prenatal appointment my OB/GYN ordered a sonogram.  I was very excited to finally get our first look at our new little one.  Later that week we went to the radiology department of the hospital.  The technologist asked if we wanted to find out the baby’s sex, which we did.  

It’s a boy!

Boy, was I not ready for that surprise.  No pun intended.

I always thought I would have another girl.  I never considered the fact that it could be a boy.  I mean, I knew it was technically possible, of course.  I just never thought it would happen to me.  

When I was a kid and played house I never pretended to have a boy baby.  I grew up with just a little sister and thought that boys were weird and gross; they talked about poop and farts and boogers and liked to burp, kick each other in the crotch, and to scare girls.  I never even considered what it would be like to have a boy until my amazing nephew came along nine years ago.  He made me think thay maybe a boy wouldn’t be so bad.

I had just naively assumed this baby would be a girl too.  I thought I was ahead of the game and so prepared because I wouldn’t have to buy any clothes.  I would have everything I needed for the baby.  I would have two girls that could play together like my sister and I did.

I am not trying to be silly or dramatic, but it took about a week for me to process and for reality to set in.  I’m having a boy.  Abby will have a little brother.  

I am totally not prepared for a boy!  I don’t have any boy clothes.  I don’t know how to take care of a little boy.  All I know about is being a girl.  Boys are so much different than girls!  Over Memorial Day weekend we took Abby to the zoo.  When we were looking at the giant tortoise exhibit a little boy yelled, “Did you see his butt hole?  Did you see it?  COULD YOU SEE IT, MOMMY?”  Oh Lord, am I ready for this? 

It’s a whole new world.   Ready or not, here it comes!

A Long Time Away 

Photo by Viktor Hanacek. From http://www.picjumbo.com

It has been over a month since I last published anything.  I have been amazed each day to see that my page has still been visited – thank you to those of you who have.  

I haven’t published anything for several reasons.  I ran out of ideas for a while.  I went through a period where I thought maybe I wouldn’t come back… my readership isn’t very high, would anyone really notice?  Would anyone really care?  Does what I write about matter to anyone?  I was ill with bronchitis for over a month and felt too awful to do anything beyond the everyday necessities.  I felt stressed and a little depressed due to work, worn out and exausted from being pregnant and running around after a toddler.  Meh.

But, after much consideration, I decided to return.  My writing may not mean much to some, or most, but if another mom can identify with it, and me, then I feel like I am making a small difference and that makes me feel good.

So I guess you are stuck with me. 

I look forward to updating you on my latest thoughts, what’s been happening with my pregnancy, what’s going on in our family, and more.  Stay tuned!  

Five Reasons Why I Love Being a Mom

  1. There is a little person who loves me just as I am, fiercely,fully, and without reservation.
  2.  People always say, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  I look at raising a child as my chance to change the world, my chance to make it better by raising a good, kind, caring, conscientious human being.
  3. I get to watch her learn and grow and discover the world.  It is incredible to see.
  4.  She can always make me smile, no matter how sick or tired or sad I am.  
  5.  She makes me want to be a better person and strive to be better than I am.

Mom’s Marvelous Carrot Cake 

I love my mom’s carrot cake.  It literally is the best carrot cake I have ever tasted.

I am very picky when it comes to carrot cake.  I remember the first time I ever tried carrot cake: I was probably six or seven and my aunt brought out a cake after supper.  I was so excited that we were going to eat cake- then I took a bite and was immediately disappointed.  It was dry and had stringy carrots and my mom made me be polite and eat it all anyway.  I tried carrot cake other times as I got older, but never liked any until finally, Mom convinced me to try hers.  I still haven’t found one that compares.

I made sure to copy my mom’s recipe so I could share it with you.

Ingredients 

Cake:

  • 2 c flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 c oil
  • 1 c white sugar
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp.baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 c grated carrots (I prefer finely chopped in the food processor, rather than grated)
  • 1 c or 1 medium can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1/2 c golden raisins
  • Optional: 1/2 c finely chopped walnuts 

Icing:

  • 1/2 c softened butter
  • 2 8 oz blocks of softened cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tbsp cream
  • 3 1/2 c powdered sugar
  • 1 c walnuts, chopped and lightly toasted

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans.
  • In a large mixing bowl mix the sugar, eggs, and oil.
  • In a separate bowl mix together the flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Add dry ingredients into the large bowl containing the wet ingredients. Mix well.
  • Add the carrots, pineapple, and raisins. Mix well.
  • Divide the batter into the pans.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted into the center of each pan comes out clean.
  • Allow the cakes to cool and gently remove them from the pans. Cool completely on a wire rack before icing.
  • With a mixer mix together all the ingredients except the cream and powdered sugar.
  • Slowly add the powdered sugar (This is where I usually make a huge mess)
  • Add the cream, a little at a time until the icing is as soft or firm as you prefer.
  • Place the first cake on a cake plate or in a cake keeper.
  • Frost the cake on all sides and place the other cake on top, then frost it. 
  • Gently press the walnut pieces into the sides of the iced cake.

Store in the refrigerator.  The cake is even better the next day.


The first slice of cake with a side of ice cream. Yum!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

A Step in the Right Direction, a Weaning Update 

Photo: Ricardo Pilati/Unsplash

Initially, I took a slow and step-by-step approach to weaning Abby from breastfeeding.  When that sort of came to a standstill I decided to take a leap and quit cold turkey; while not offering to nurse, I would not refuse if she asked. 

Today is day twelve of my full time weaning efforts.  I am happy to report that Abby is doing fantastic!  I am really proud of how well she has done.  She has accepted drinking milk out of a cup at night if she asks for milk.  

Abby has not once asked to nurse, which really has surprised me, but just goes to prove my suspicion that she was wanting to breastfeed at night out of habit and for comfort rather out of necessity. 

It is so nice and so much more convenient to not have to pump each day.  Since I was taking certain medications I would have to pump before coming home to Abby or if I had a migraine I would have to pump if I took my migraine medicine.  

It feels very liberating to no longer be breastfeeding.  After so long it really began to feel like a chore.  I loved to do it, and I am happy I was able to do it for so long, but it wore on me after a certain point.  

I thought that perhaps my breasts would become engorged and I would feel uncomfortable,  but that has never happened.  I noticed when I became pregnant again that my nipples were constantly sore, no matter if I used ice, lanolin, or time without nursing pads or a bra, nothing I did made them feel better.  Now all the soreness has completely disappeared.  I think my body was as ready to quit as I was mentally.

I’m really happy with how we are progressing, but we’ll continue to take it one day, one step at a time.

An Early Birthday Dinner: Swiss Steak

Photo: Annie Spray/Unsplash

I don’t know if I have ever mentioned it before, but I have the best parents ever. They always do so much for me and I appreciate them very much. 
Saturday we drove almost an hour to my parents’ house to celebrate my birthday a few days early.   

My photographer husband helped my dad photograph items belonging to my grandparents’ estate in order to begin to sell some of it.  They were busy most of the day.

My mom and I played with Abby and cooked while the men were occupied.

My mom made a special birthday supper of swiss steak with mashed potatoes and cream cheese corn.  I requested this, as this meal has long been a favorite of mine; my grandmother used to make it often when we would come over for a Sunday lunch.  I have many wonderful memories of eating swiss steak off of her octagon shaped pewter plates with my family gathered around the table.  My mom’s swiss steak was just as delicious as I remembered it to be.  In fact, it almost made my father cry because it tasted so much like his mother’s.

For dessert, my mom made her incredible carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.  I was very full from supper, but somehow managed to stuff myself further with cake.  

Abby excitedly helped me unwrap my birthday gifts.  I received some wonderfully soft pajama sets and a pretty kitchen utensil cannister designed by Pioneer Woman.

My mother made me take home the leftover cake, so I will be enjoying it for days to come.  I will post my mom’s cake recipe and photos of the cake tomorrow. 

I apologize that I didn’t get any photos of the Swiss steak before it was devoured,  but I thought I would include the recipe for you.  My grandmother would always serve this dish with mashed potatoes and corn.

Grandma Julia’s Swiss Steak

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs round steak or minute steaks 
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped 
  • 2 cups celery, chopped 
  • 2 cups catsup
  • 1 can Campbell’s tomato soup
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • Flour
  • Salt and pepper 

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Flour steaks and fry brown on both sides.
  • Put steak into a sauce pan or deep pan that has a lid. Place vegetables on top of steak.
  • Add catsup, soup, brown sugar, salt, and pepper.
  • Put in oven and simmer for about 2 hours.
  • Optional: instead of cooking in the oven you can cook using a slow cooker. If cooking on low setting let simmer for 6 hours. If cooking on high setting let simmer for 4 hours.
  • Enjoy!