Meet The Nat Pack!

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The Nat Pack: The super fashionable, super mod, super hip family consisting of Nat, Pete, Jakob, Brock, Troy, and Ivy. Like The Rat Pack, only younger, cuter, and not as rich or famous.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Memory Monday: Roadshow

Sorry I've been hit-and-miss on Memory Monday lately.  I'll try to do better.  However, one of the reasons I've been so sporadic with posting at all (and, in turn, reading and/or commenting on others' blogs) is because of my current church assignment-our ward's roadshow.  It's a lot more time consuming than I originally thought it would be.

But more about that later.  This is MEMORY Monday.  So I'm going to write about one of the roadshows I was in when in Young Women's.

The year: 1996.  Me: in high school drama, thinking that I knew everything there was to know about acting, and writing a script, and all that jazz.

Somehow, the Laurel class got put in charge of writing our ward's roadshow this time.  For whoever doesn't know what a roadshow is, it's essentially a play that a group of people perform in different locations, like three different church buildings. We had roadshows in our stake every other year, so this one was my third.  Anyway, because I thought I was all that and a bag of chips, I kind of took over writing the roadshow.

Our theme had to do with time lines, or something, and it was our stake's 50th...anniversary?  It had been 50 years since its creation, so whatever that would be called.  So we chose doing a Back to the Future theme.  The main plot was that Biff (guy in the middle in the picture, who I dated for a while, actually) went back in time and ruined some roadshows, so Marty (guy on the right) and Doc (that was me, if you couldn't tell from the costume) had to go and fix them.  We went to the 50s, and the 70s, that all?  That's all I'm remembering.  Our youth group was really big, and we had them do some dance/singing numbers with the words changed to songs that were from the different eras.

Yes, it was cute.  But, I was really selfish with it, and because I was so full of my drama self, I thought that my ideas were the best, so I kind of ended up writing it myself.  Also, the lady that they chose as director wanted the guy on the right to be Doc.  But because the script was my baby I wanted to be Doc.  So I kind of forced her hand.  Which, now, if a youth were to try to do that to me, I'd be like, step down, punk.  I don't know why she didn't do that to me, but oh well.
So, very fun.  Well, I had fun, anyway; I have no idea if anyone else had as much fun.  But the other roadshows we did as youth were fun for me as well.
Fast forward to January of this year.  Our 1st counselor pulled me and Pete aside and asked if we would be in charge of our roadshow.  And we gladly accepted.  We wrote our script in about a week, and we've been full steam ahead ever since. 

We've had a couple of dance practices with the youth, which has been fun, and it looks so great.  Of course, we have a lady in our ward who does choreography at a dance studio all the time, so she's made it look great. 

The biggest obstacle we've come across right now has been music.  We picked some different songs, and some of them don't have instrumental versions available.  So I've been trying to write in some accompaniment to one of the songs on the piano, and then I'm going to have to figure out how to record it.  (My piano can record, but for some reason I can't find the cords that connect it to a computer to get it off the piano.  Neat, huh?)  But it's worth it for this specific song.

I want to write more about our show, but I don't want to give anything away (in case there are roadshow spies out there that may come across my blog and steal our ideas or something).  I can tell you that each ward got an assigned time period (ours is Book of Mormon) and a theme (ours is missionary work).

There is still SO much to do, and SO much to think about.  And the show is at the end of April, so YIKES!  BIKES!  Hopefully it just all comes together, and ends up being as cute and as funny as I am envisioning.  I mean, just because I think it's funny, doesn't mean it necessarily is funny, you know?

So, that's my current time-sucker.  Like I said, way more time-consuming than I thought it was going to be.  But it's been fun.  And I'm sure you'll hear all about it in a couple of months!  In the meantime, I'll try to keep up with my blog.  For real, yo.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What Happens in Vegas...

...stays in Vegas.

That's why I can't tell you anything about our recent trip to Las Vegas.


We didn't do anything crazy, so I can totally tell you about our awesome trip!  It was just me and Pete, and my mom watched our kids, which was wonderful of her.  We left on a Friday night via plane and flew straight from our home town to Vegas, which took only a little over an hour, which is SO awesome. 

We had a shuttle take us to our hotel, and after we got all checked in and found our room, it was about 11 p.m. Mountain time, and we hadn't had dinner.  The awesome thing about Vegas is that there are restaurants in the hotels.  There was a Baja Fresh on the ground floor of our hotel, so we got it to go and ate it in our room.  I got a chicken burrito thing, with mango salsa and avocados on it, and it was to DIE for!  SOOOO yummy.  Mmmm, just thinking about it makes my mouth water.  It was so huge, like the size of my forearm, but I ate the whole thing in, like, 5 minutes.  YUM.

Here's a pic of Pete by our room's door, room 20166.  The 20 part means the 20th floor, and the 1 means the 1st tower.  Each "tower" was actually two towers, because the even-numbered rooms of tower 1 were in a different segment from the odd-numbered rooms.  So really, there are four towers.  Also, where we caught the elevators had one side that went just floors 2-17, and the other side of elevators was for floors 18-28.
Now, I've been to Vegas before, but it was a really long time ago.  I had forgotten how BIG everything is.  Oh, and they gave us a little (deceitful) map of the Strip, so it looks not very big, but in all actuality, it's so super huge and spread out.

We found that out the hard way the next morning, as we went in search for our breakfast.  We found a Denny's (which there's at least five along the Strip), which was just across the street.  But to get across the street, you have to go through the casino/maze on the ground floor of the hotel, down some steps, up an outside escalator, across a bridge thing, and then back down and over.  We could see it from the other side, but it took us, like 15 minutes to walk there.

While there I had a yummy drink, of orange juice, peach juice, and Sprite all mixed together.  At first it tasted like Gummy Worms.  That's my best Gummy Worm impression that my finger can make.  After I stirred it up a bit, though, it was really good.

So, because we're idiots, we decided to walk from our hotel (Excalibur) (well, actually, from Denny's on up), which is on the southwest side of the Strip, and go pick up our Phantom of the Opera tickets in the Venetian, which is northeast.  Again, the little map was all deceitful and was like, "Look how close it is!  That's not bad!  Just walk the strip!  YAY!"  Stinking map.  By the time we got there, I was a little tired, but it wasn't too bad.  And it had warmed up outside, so it was nice.  However, we decided, after getting our tickets, to walk back, down the other side.

One word: stupid.

Going up the strip on the east side wasn't all that bad.  It was actually a pretty straight shot.  Going down the strip on the west side, however, was entirely different.  On the west side, you still have the escalators and all that, but it's like, jig in, go up, go across, go down, jig out, walk down a little, jig in again....yeah.  Like a big ol' zig zag.  About halfway down my knee started feeling weird.  And I felt all wimpy, because hi, we were just walking, right?  It just felt like it needed to pop or something, but it wouldn't.  So that was fun.

We stopped and got our picture in front of the Bellagio fountain.  Which of course wasn't going off at the time, and I have no idea what its schedule is.  I was under the impression that it goes all the time, but guess not.  It was still pretty, though.  And notice the short sleeves and sunglasses.  Ah, to have warm weather...

We went back to the hotel to rest, and by that time my knee was killing me, as well as my feet.  Good times.  While Pete slept, I watched a couple of awesome TV shows.  One was called "The Stranger", about this guy that started hanging out with a family, and he was all nice and calm, but it turns out he was on America's Most Wanted, and he had killed his wife and set her on fire.  Nice, huh?  The other show was called "A Twist of Fate", where these two girls who totally look alike went to the same college and worked together, and got in an car accident.  One was killed, and the other was in critical condition, but they got the identities mixed up, so the girl in critical condition belonged to the family that thought their daughter had died.  Eventually they figured it out, but weird, right?

We got all dressed up, and after managing to pull ourselves away from the TV (read that last phrase sarcastically, okay?), we had a late lunch at Rainforest Cafe, which Pete pointed out tastes a lot like Chilis.  And because we like Chilis, that was a good thing.  Luckily, Rainforest Cafe was in MGM Grand, so we only had to go through our hotel maze, up and down and around across the street, and then into MGM Grand's

Here's Pete all pimped out.  We didn't pack his dress shoes, though, so he wore his tennis shoes.

After that, though, we caught the monorail thing up to Venetian.  The monorail thing is kind of behind the east side hotels, and starts at MGM Grand.  And the Deceitful Map was all, "Look!  There's a stop at Harrah's, which is totally right next door to Venetian!  No more walking for you!  YAY!"  So we got off at Harrah's, but then we had to go through that hotel's maze, and out to the road, and then there were five million shops between Harrah's and Venetian, and then into the Venetian, and through its casino/maze, until we finally reached the theatre.

Oh, and I was doing all this walking in heels.  So not only did my knee hurt, and my feet hurt, my ankles also hurt.  Good times.

However.  Phantom of the Opera.  PHANTOM OF THE OPERA!!!!  That was the whole reason we wanted to go down to Vegas, because the Venetian has a permanent Phantom stage.  I bought tickets beforehand, and we sat on the VERY front row.  I wanted to get a picture of me in front of the orchestra pit, which was about four feet in front of our seats, but there was a worker there that was a Camera Nazi.  I got down in front of the pit, and she came over and was all, "NO CAMERAS!!!"  I was like, I just want a picture of how close we are.  And she's all, "NO CAMERAS!!!!"  So, I didn't get a shot of us in there.

Since I don't have a picture of how close we were, let me describe how close we were.  We were so close, we could see their mics on their foreheads (it was a little peach bump).  We were so close, we could hear Christine's dress rustle as she walked around.  We were so close, we had to look behind us to see the chandelier fall.  We were so close, that we could feel the heat from the flames that came up on stage.  We were so close, that when the singers turned from singing to the back of the stage to the front again, we could hear their actual voice (instead of just hearing it through the mic).  We were so close, we could hear the conversations of the orchestra members prior to the show starting.  We were so close we could see their eyeliner lines.

Did I mention that we were close?  The tickets were a little pricey, but TOTALLY worth it.

Afterwards, we walked (well, Pete walked, I hobbled) to the Cheesecake Factory.  I had a super yummy salad, and we got cheesecake to go.  We totally grabbed a taxi on the way back to our hotel, which was worth every penny (and really, it wasn't super expensive).  Note to self: next time I go to Vegas, I'm taking a cab everywhere I go, even if Deceitful Map tells me it's not very far.  My cheesecake was so good, but I could only eat about 2/3 of it because it was so rich.  That made me really, really sad.

While we were there, I made Pete gamble a dollar.  That's right-one smackaroo.  He went up 50 cents, then lost it all.  NO!  Not our dollar!

So Sunday morning, we totally got sucked in to going to a time share pitch.  In exchange for our time (a couple of hours) on Sunday morning, we got a free lunch and a free ticket to the Tournament of Kings, which is the dinner show that Excalibur puts on.  We took a shuttle out to "the future of the Strip", which is further south.  And the condos were nice, but SO overpriced it wasn't even funny. 

What was funny, though, was the saleslady.  We were all, sorry, it's too expensive.  And she's like, well, let me check and see what they have going on right now.  And she'd come back with this SUPER AMAZING DEAL that must be a typo and we can't pass it up!  We said no about 4 times, and she got the message after slashing the price to about a third of the original price.  We went downstairs, and went into another room, where we met with a guy, and he was all, "I can offer you this same deal for half the price."  We were like, dude, no, and where is our free stuff?

We finally got back to our hotel via shuttle.  I guess if you signed to buy a condo timeshare, you got to ride back in a limo.  So we started joking with all the other people on the shuttle that it was the Loser Bus because we didn't get timeshares.  But in all actuality, we were the Smart Bus, and I don't mean that as a joke.

Was it worth it?  Hard to say.  Because we got a ton of stuff out of going to the presentation, but we wasted a good three hours there.  Would I ever go to a timeshare presentation again?  Probably not.  But if you're into getting free stuff, and are great at saying "no" about 50 times, then you should totally do it.

We ate our FREE buffet lunch, which was like glorified cafeteria food, then hung out at our hotel room again.  And this time I slept and Pete watched who-knows-what on TV.  Then we went to the Tournament of Kings.

If you don't know what it is, it's a show about King Arthur and the different kings from different countries.  You eat your meal (chicken, potatoes, roll, broccoli) with your hands, and watch as the kings fight each other.  We sat in the France section.  It's so fun.  You get to yell and cheer for your guy, and boo at the bad guy.  They joust and sword fight in the arena right in front of you.  I had gone to this before when I was in high school, but Pete had never been.  I couldn't believe how well-trained the horses are.  And the guys are SO good at their stunts!  So, so fun and entertaining.  I'm sure my boys would have loved to see it.

Afterwards, we decided to walk again (you'd think we had learned our lesson, but NO), mostly to find souvenirs for the kids.  But it really wasn't very far this time, and I wasn't in heels, and my knee was feeling better.  We went to the Coke store.  I had my camera out, and a lady in there was all "I'll take your picture with the Coke bear!"  But I thought she was yelling at me like the Camera Nazi had the night before.  So I was all, "I'm putting it away right now-sorry!"  But then I heard her the right way.  The bear kept taking Pete's hat off.  I loved the Coke store.  But I love Coke, so, you know.

After that, we had to go back to our hotel room to sleep.  We're boring and old that way.  We had to get up to catch our shuttle and flight the next morning anyway.

Here we are in front of our hotel.
And...that's it.  It was a fun, albeit short, trip.  But it was nice to get away, just me and Pete.  I don't know when I'll be heading back to Vegas, but when I do, I'm getting taxis everywhere I go.  And I'd see Phantom again.  And eat my yummy cheesecake before my yummy salad.  And not listen to Deceitful Map.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thought-filled Thursday: Training Day Part 4-the Final Chapter

I didn't know I had so much to say about poop.  But here we are again, reading about my last potty training adventure with my only girl.
Sadly (fortunately?), I don't have a picture of Ivy potty training.  Because once again, it went so fast.  The reason I have a picture of Tinkerbell was Ivy got to have a Tinkerbell sticker if she went poop in the toilet.  And she loves Tinkerbell.

Let me start from the beginning.  I got an awesome book from my friend Chelsey, who used it while training her triplets.  She said it worked like a charm.  It's called Potty Training in Three Days, or something like that.  You're supposed to train your child when he/she is 22 months old, which would have been super awesome.  But that time came and went for me, and I had just trained Troy, so I was ready for a break, and I didn't feel like Ivy was ready to train.

However, she started doing the same thing Troy had done, and sat on the little toilet before bath time, and went pee almost every time.  So that was good.  That meant she knew how to let go when she wanted.  She did that for a few months, at least.

I tried to start taking her in the mornings during the summer, but she would just sit on the toilet and cry and whine.  She was so miserable, so I gave up on that one after just a couple of days.

Then she started showing more signs, like wanting to sit on the toilet, and going and getting a diaper when hers was wet.  One day in September or October, I asked her if she wanted to go pee in the toilet all the time, and wear big girl undies, and she said yes and seemed super excited.  So one morning I had her go pee and we put the big girl undies on her.  A half hour later, she had peed in them, but didn't tell me or even react to it.  So we cleaned it up, and put new undies on her.  Which she peed in them about an hour later.

After I cleaned her up, I asked if she wanted to wear big girl undies still or if she wanted a diaper, and she tearfully asked for the diaper.  She wasn't quite ready, and neither was I.  And I really do think that the mom has to be ready as well as the child, because the mom has to deal with cleaning the accidents and helping that child run to the bathroom and all that jazz.

For the next couple of months, I could tell that Ivy was becoming very aware of her diaper and its contents.  She would poop and get this really squirmy uncomfortable look on her face and ask to be changed immediately.  She would even bring me a diaper after peeing.  She's always been a great talker, so I knew that we would be able to communicate about going potty, which is also a great help.  Not necessary, but nice.

I knew we'd have a week off of school and all our activities between Christmas and New Year's, so I decided that that would be our potty training time.  I made a little sticker chart for her, and we started the Monday after Christmas.  She had little rainbow stickers for peeing, and Tinkerbell for pooping. 

It's sad that I can't think of any crazy mishaps that happened on our first day, but maybe that's because we really didn't have any.  I know she's had accidents, but really, we worked on it that week and that's about all it took.  She would have good days with no accidents, and then days with four accidents.  But overall, she did really well, and started taking herself to the bathroom by the end of the week.

I think it helped while we were potty training to have both me and Pete around.  Because when I had to run an errand, Pete could be home with her, and vice versa.  For the first few days, we would ask her almost nonstop if she had to go pee or poop.  I'm sure she got sick of hearing us ask, but then I think it helped to keep the subject in the forefront of her mind.  Also, it helped that we didn't have to drive to preschool, or gym, or wherever else, and I didn't have piano lessons.  We could concentrate on her instead of being pulled in 50 directions.

I do remember when we started back into our daily grind, we drove Troy to preschool.  I dropped him off, and got back to the car, and Ivy was scream-crying.  I asked her what was wrong, and she cried, "I go PEEEE!!!"  I was like, oh great, she just had an accident in the car.  I felt her bum, though, and she was dry.  So I asked, "Ivy, do you need to go pee?"  And she was all "YEEEEEESSSSS!!!"  So I took her out of the car and asked Troy's preschool teacher if we could use the bathroom.  She held it all the way in to the house, which was awesome, and then went pee there.

Also, I didn't think that aiming for girls was a big deal.  They just sit, right?  Wrong.  Well, wrong for Ivy, anyway.  Because when she sat straight up, the pee would go in the gap between the seat and the bowl, and get all over the back of her pants, or the floor.  So then I had to work on having her bum hang down lower into the bowl, and lean her clear forward.  And now that's kind of how she sits by herself, which is nice.

Another time, like a Saturday night, I noticed the bathroom door was shut, and the light was on (this is after the kids were in bed).  I opened the door to smell that really yummy smell.  There were some undies in the sink, with poop in them, and the toilet was filled with toilet paper and kleenex, so much so that they were sitting in there dry.  So poor little Ivy was trying to take care of her poop all by herself, and tried cleaning it up and stuff, and had apparently run out of toilet paper-hence the kleenex.  The next day I told her that kleenex is for noses and toilet paper is for bums, and if she runs out of toilet paper to come get me and I can get her more.

And...that's about it.  I think she had an accident on Saturday, but before that it had been...who knows how long since the last one.

So hopefully my potty training stories were interesting, or helpful, or...something.  If not, at least I have them written down.  Because you can never type too much about this subject, apparently.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Non-Forgetting Friday: Training Day Part 3

This is the only picture I have from Troy's potty training experience, because his training time was so stinking fast.  Well, kind of.

Our little potty was pretty much a permanent fixture in our upstairs bathroom by this time.  Once trained, all of my kids have wanted to use the "big tow-wet" (big toilet), but have all trained on the little one.  So, for a long time, Troy would use the little potty before baths at night, and actually go in it (just #1).  But I couldn't get him to use it any other time.  I didn't try to force him into it, though.  (See?  I'd learned.)

So that went on for a couple of months.  Then I had my hysterectomy (this is Oct. 2009).  So, just so I have it straight in my head, Jake trained in 2006, Brock in 2008, Troy in 2009, Ivy in 2010.  While I was healing from surgery, my mom came over a lot and helped me out with things.  And Troy LOVES my mom.  He loves cuddling with her, and he'd do anything for her.  So she would ask him to go in the mornings, and he would.

A little over a month after I had my surgery, I went to my doctor's appointment to get checked to see how I was healing.  And Troy had preschool-just a neighborhood thing that a few ladies and I did for our 3-year-olds.  Troy was the youngest in his little group, and, incidentally, the only one not potty trained.  So I took him over to preschool and left for my appointment, leaving my mom behind.

After preschool started, Troy pooped in his diaper.  The poor mom was trying to figure out where the smell was coming from.  When she found it was Troy, I guess a few of the other kids were all, "You still wear diapers?"  And he was soooo embarrassed.  The mom called my mom, but she couldn't go get him, and by the time I got back from my appointment the preschool was almost over.  So the poor mom had to smell him the whole two hours, and Troy had to sit in it and be embarrassed for two hours.

It definitely had an effect on him.  He talked about it for a few days after.  And that's when I decided he was ready.  That was his button-being a Big Boy, and keeping up with his peers.

I made a potty chart for him.  We started December 4, apparently.  I kept him in diapers, though, because I wasn't wanting to clean up messes.  The first day he went in the toilet only in the morning and before bed.  The next day he did the same thing.  But the following day, at church, no less, Troy told me he had to use the bathroom.  I took him, and to my surprise he went. 

And...that's that.  He was good to go from then on.  I put him in undies after a couple of weeks, and he's been dry ever since.

Which takes us to...part 4, Ivy's story.  Stay tuned.  That is, if you want to hear more about poop.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tell-It Tuesday: Training Day Part 2

And now Part 2 of the Potty Training Chronicles: Brock's turn.

(The undies on his head?  His idea, not mine.  Don't worry-they were clean.)
After our rough time potty training Jakob for six months, I was worn out, and was totally NOT ready to potty train again.  But time marches onward, so it had to be done.

Which, P.S.-poor Jake!  The first kid really is the Guinea pig, huh?  When you just don't know what to do, and so you flail around, and try all sorts of things, and then afterwards you figure it all out, and then it's a lot easier on the next kids.  If only it didn't have to be that way.
One thing I had learned is that I started Jakob on potty training too early.  He had no idea what was going on, or how to do things.  I think I started him so early because I didn't want the three kids in diapers, but then after I did it that first time, it's wasn't the worst concept in the universe to me.  So when I was pregnant with Ivy, I had zero drive to try with Brock until later.
Another thing: when I was training Jake, I brought up the fact that it was taking a million years to train him to my doctor.  He suggested having Jake clean out his own undies.  I was like, I can't do that to a 2 1/2 year old!  So I didn't ever try that with him.  But as I started contemplating training Brock, it sounded like a better idea to me.

Ivy was born in May 2008.  I started training Brock sometime in July 2008, so he was a little over 3 years old.  Hence, I did the three kids in diapers thing for a few months again.

Brock has always liked to be pampered.  He loves getting sun lotion put on him because it's like a massage.  He loves getting his back rubbed.  And, by extension, I think he really liked getting his diaper changed, because it was a form of pampering.  But I could tell he was aware of his diaper and his "system", because he'd pause while playing for a minute.  That was one of the signs I knew he was ready, but I knew I had to force his hand a little because of the pampering thing.

So, we started, and we did cold turkey, meaning just straight into undies.  I think because he was older, he did a lot better than Jake did at first.  I still had him sit on the toilet often, but I didn't do the hand in the warm water thing or the sticker chart.

I did, however, have him clean out his undies whenever he had a poop accident.  And he HATED it.  I'm sure most kids would, but he especially did because of wanting to be pampered and clean.  We would have him take off his undies, and put them in the sink, and rinse them out really good. 

There was one time I took him to clean them out, and he was shaking, and he just reached one little finger out and just...touched the poop.  I'm like, no, you don't have to touch the poop part, just the undies, but we need to make sure the poop gets rinsed out.

He did really great-it took about 3 weeks for him to be trained.  But after no accidents for a while, he pooped in his undies at my parents' house, on my birthday at the end of July.  I played the birthday card, so Pete ended up cleaning him up.  And to do it, he had Brock stand outside naked while he hosed him off.  A little cruel?  Yes.  Effective?  VERY.

A couple of weeks after that Brock had a pee accident, then two the following day.  I was like, dude, no WAY are we going to regress.  So I told him, "Well, we need to get you cleaned off because you peed in your undies."  I put him in the tub, turned the water on super cold, and started dumping it on him.  He totally HATED that, but while I was doing it, I said, "No peeing in your undies."  He was like, okay okay okay!  He's been great ever since.

Lessons learned this time around: making the kid clean it up works very well, wait until you see some signs (like that they are aware of their diaper and their poop) works, and kids hate cold water.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Memory Monday: Training Day Part 1

Now that I am TOTALLY COMPLETELY DONE with potty training, I'm ready to document my diaper days.  These are the stories of my adventures in potty training.  We'll start with the oldest, which I should probably title "How NOT to Potty Train Your Child", or "First is Worst".

Here is a picture of me, pregnant with Troy, and CRAZY to boot.  And yes, that would be Jakob, asleep on the toilet.  Isn't he just so stinking cute?
So.  I started potty training Jakob the day after Easter, when he was a little over 2 1/2 years old.  I had no idea what I was doing.  I had heard, "Oh, you'll know when they're ready", and "Just wait until they show interest", and "Bribe them and celebrate any time anything goes in the toilet!"  Okay, then.

We bought the little toilet, and some cool superhero undies so that he would get excited.  Then I put the little toilet in my kitchen, and vowed that we'd spend the day(s) in there until he got it down.  Oh, and I only bought a 6-pack of undies.  Little did I know.  Or maybe I was being optimistic.  Either way, I definitely was not prepared.

The first day he went through all 6 pairs in the first two hours.  He would just go a tiny bit, and would always get this look on his face like "What in the world is traveling down my leg?"  After that, I put him back in a diaper for the rest of the day, until I could clean the undies and try again the next day.

The next day was a little better, but not by much.  But, I was also sick of spending time in the kitchen.  I tried giving him a lot to drink, but the kid could only take in so much fluid.  After a couple of days I got the brilliant idea to put his hand in warm water, to see if that would help him get going.  We did the sticker chart, which he cared about for the first 3 stickers.

One day (I have no idea where I was, but I was gone, or downstairs doing laundry or something), Jake went poop, and it ended up EVERYWHERE.  I think he was trying to get to the toilet, but didn't quite make it, so then he was trying to clean it up himself, but it got all over the floor in the bathroom, and of course all down his legs, and he stepped in it and ran down our carpeted hall...just, everywhere.

Eventually, he got pretty good at peeing in the toilet, but pooping was a different story.  We bought a toy for him that he had picked out and said if he went poop 10 times in the toilet (not even in a row, but just 10 times), then he could have that toy.  It took him, like, three weeks to finally "earn" it.

There was a day, after months of cleaning poop out of undies, that I just lost it.  Now remember, I was pregnant with Troy, which was my crazy pregnancy.  Not that I'm trying to make excuses for myself, but I had just had it.  Everyone always says not to punish kids when they have accidents, but Jakob at this point was very aware of his BMs.  He would run into a corner and stand there and poop instead of running into the bathroom.  So he had done that, and I just started yelling at him, like, crazy yelling. 

Every time I flipped out during this pregnancy, and there were a LOT of times, it's like I was watching myself be crazy.  It's like I was flipping out, and couldn't stop it from happening, but at the same time my sane brain would be like, dude, what's the big deal?  Just chill out already.  So, this was one of those times.  I was wiping Jake's butt with wipes, and...I remember just doing a lot of yelling.  And he was just so scared of his crazy mom.  Not one of my best parenting moments.

At that point, I decided that if I had to clean poop out one more pair of undies, I would probably either kill my child, or kill myself.  Neither option was good.  I didn't want to go back to diapers, though.  I settled on Pull-Ups.  I still called them "undies", but if he pooped in them, I could just throw them away, and I was okay with that.  Then things felt a lot better, but Jake still had a bunch of accidents.

Well, Troy arrived in August, and we had been potty training for 4 or so months by this time.  Which sucked, but oh well.  Troy was a super easy baby (thank goodness).  We just kept on keeping on with the potty training.  One night, in October, inspiration struck.  We were getting the kids ready for bed, and we said, "Look at Troy.  He's a baby because he pees and poops in his diaper.  Jake, you must be a baby, too."  And the now 3-year-old said, "No, I'm not a baby!  I'm a big boy!"  Us: "No, Jakob, you must be a baby, because you pee and poop in your undies."  Jake: "NO!  I'm a big boy!"

It was literally the next day that Jakob had zero accidents from then on.

I think, for him, he had to really see what he was doing, and realize that he could go in the toilet.  He had to make up his mind that this is what he needed to do.  And knowing that he was a Big Boy instead of a baby was the kicker for him.

So yes, I had three kids in diapers at one time-well, technically, Jake was in a Pull-Up, but who am I fooling?  Tons of people have asked, "Wasn't that the worst thing ever, to have three kids in diapers?"  Nope, it wasn't.  And I did it again, too, after Ivy was born.  It was more like an assembly line-just line 'em all up and change them all at once.  No biggie.

Lessons from this: don't rush your child into doing it on your time table, find the little button that pushes your kid and not what has worked for others (because it's different for every kid), and you probably shouldn't potty train a cute little kid when you're pregnant and CRAZY-if you can help it.

Thus concludes part 1 of my Potty Training Chronicles.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Gym

I signed my boys up for a gym class for the year.  Jakob had done a hip hop class last year, and really enjoyed it, but wanted to try something new.  And I thought it would be a good thing for all my boys to do together.

It's a tumbling class.  They've all been doing great in it.  It's so funny to watch their different personalities come out while they're doing the class.

(I haven't been able to get very good pictures-because they're so far away, and it's so big and not super bright in there, they all come out blurry.  So, there's a good butt picture for you.  I'm actually kind of surprised at how flexible they all look right there.)

Jakob has been spastic.  He's gotten really good at front rolls and back rolls.  He loves doing the different tricks on the long trampoline they have.

Brock has been exact.  He'll observe the teacher closely and try to do it exactly right the very first time. 

Troy has been important.  Even though he's the smallest kid in the class, you'd think he was the biggest.  He's just so happy to be there.

They just got a new teacher-I think their other one went off to college or something.  The new teacher has them grab onto a large rope at the end of their lesson, and swing out over a pit full of large foam cubes.  Then they let go and fall in.  It's the best thing since sliced bread.  It's very Tarzan.

They have a parent section, that's up above the floors.  One side has video cameras that play on some TVs, and the other side you can look down and watch.  I like watching some of the other classes.  There are some little girls that are amazing gymnasts.  It's like watching the Olympics every week.

One lady comes and cross stitches the whole time.  I asked her about it, and she said her daughter comes twice a week for 4 hours each time.  She was all, "I guess I could be at home cleaning my house, but if she's doing something she loves for 8 hours a week, why can't I?"

I guess I could cross stitch as well, but instead I take my logic puzzles book.  Which, for me, is still very zen.  Ivy comes along as well, and I try to bring crayons or toys for her to play with.  For a while she kept trying to steal a little boy's food and toys.  When I forget toys we munch on TicTacs.  Have you tried the green apple ones?  They're yummy, although they don't necessarily give you fresh breath.

There's also a Russian guy that teaches there.  At first I couldn't really hear his accent.  And I was like, dude, I wonder what he says to people when they ask what he does for a living.  "I yell at little girls."  He doesn't mean yell all of the time, but you have to yell to be heard in there-it's very tall and open in there.

The boys' gym class starts right when I would be preparing dinner, and ends too late for me to whip up something afterwards.  So I decided to make that night my crock pot night.  My friend Arin lent me a crock pot recipe book, and I photocopied a whole bunch of 'em.  I've really liked all of them.  And I LOVE being able to just dump everything in either in the morning or early afternoon, and it's ready to go when we get home that night.  If only every meal could be so easy.  (Well, I guess it could be, if we had crock pot stuff every night.)

Here are a few of my favorite recipes that we've tried thus far:

HEARTY HODGEPODGE (a.k.a. Minestrone Soup)
1 1/2 pounds ground beef, cooked
2 cans (10 3/4 ounces each) condensed minestrone soup
1 21-ounce can pork and beans in tomato sauce
1 12-ounce can tomato juice
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup water
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced (I just used a little bit of minced garlic)
Dump it all in a crock pot.  Cook for 7-8 hours on low or 3 1/2-4 hours on high.

3 pounds country-style ribs
1 medium onion, sliced
1 18-ounce jar peach or apricot preserves
1/2 cup orange juice or water
2 Tbl. bottled teriyaki sauce (I think I used soy sauce)
3 cloves garlic, minced (used minced garlic again)
Put the onion on the bottom, put the ribs on top.  Mix the other ingredients in a bowl, and pour all but 1 cup on top of meat in crock pot.  Put the remaining in the fridge.  Cook for 8-10 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high.  Heat up the sauce that's been in the fridge, and pour over the ribs before serving.
(I used the leftovers and made a sandwich for myself with green peppers and Swiss cheese the next day. YUM!)

2 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck
1 medium onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large red sweet pepper, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 14-ounce jar spaghetti sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 1/2 cups hot cooked spaghetti or mashed potatoes
grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Cut meat into 1-inch pieces.  Dump everything in the crock pot except spaghetti or potatoes.  Cook for 9-10 hours on low, or 4 1/2-5 hours on high.  Serve over spaghetti noodles, or with mashed potatoes.

So there you have it.  My time at the gym.