Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Blog on Hold

Sorry, I haven't kept up with blogging. There's a never ending TO DO list I've got to tackle, especially to renew my teacher certification, printing pictures from the last year and putting them into some sort of photo album and labeling them, SPRING (ha, will it ever get below 90F so we can play outside without coming home in a complete sweat?) cleaning, holiday activities, etc. I miss blogging, I miss talking with my blogging friends. I hope to get things done as quickly as possible and then continue with blogging. Until then dear blogging world, be healthy, be safe, be happy, and make wonderful memories!

Love and hugs,
Mamacita Tina

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Calling All Mommies...SOS!!!

Potty training - I feel like I have completely failed my son in this endeavor.

We started potty training Ian the beginning of June. This was actually our second attempt. The first attempt just never seemed to take off, so we gave it up until Ian seemed more ready.

The second attempt started out much more successful. A few weeks beforehand, we had Ian try to use the potty first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Then we dove right in and had our little guy running around the house naked. We reminded him to try and use the potty, and occasionally he was seen trotting off to the bathroom by himself. Accidents were few and far between. Amazingly, he woke up from naps and night time sleep dry during the first few weeks.

We took him to the mall in a pull up, not really expecting much, and he asked us to take him to the bathroom. The big toilet didn't bother him at all, just the noisy hand dryers. He came home dry and clean. Even at swim class, Ian asked to use the potty. We started letting him use the big toilet at home, he didn't flinch. Of course Ian's the size of most five year olds, so he has an advantage.

Yes, things seemed to be moving right along, my little man was having great success at this potty training business.

But, yes you knew a humongous BUT was coming, here we are, almost five months later, and it's like we never started the potty training process. Somewhere we've lost our way, and now it's a pink elephant nobody knows how to handle.

Ian runs away whenever we remind him to use the bathroom. He cries and struggles if we try to get him to sit on the toilet. I believe in letting him wear underwear so that he learns from his mistakes. After asking him to try and use the potty, or even after he's tried to sit a few minutes on it, five to ten minutes later he'll have an accident. I'm not talking one accident a day. We're talking at least three. I'm really tired of cleaning urine out of the carpet and chair cushions.

I've tried incentives in the form of Skittles, stickers, TV time, and special play time. It's become obvious none of this matters to him, the accidents continue to happen. I'm losing my patience with him, and I know it's become a power struggle between the two of us. Ian's 3 1/2 years old. Am I feeling pressure to train him because of his age? Absolutely, and I know I shouldn't. I know I need to put Ian's needs first and not care what others are saying.

I'm not sure why he's regressed. We haven't moved, there are no new siblings, there haven't been any changes that I can think of. I try to make sure he gets individualized attention throughout the day, whether we work on puzzles, play with trains or garbage trucks, share a snack, or attend a special class together. Ian just doesn't mind sitting in wet or soiled clothes. He doesn't want anything to interfere with his play time.

So what do I do? Right now, I'm giving up and putting him back into diapers. I think both he and I need a break from potty training and all it entails. I need advice on how to approach it for hopefully the last time. Does anyone have a book they would recommend I read? Does anyone have a tip they found particularly useful? If you've already written about this on your blog, please send me the link so I can learn some beneficial approaches. I need help, especially from those of you who have already experienced this wonderful time of preschooler potty training.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wednesday Weigh-In: Week 5

Another week has passed, is it possible? As the holidays approach, time seems to speed up.

This week, I maintained. I actually feel pretty good about that, especially when I reflect on how awful the week went. All of us caught some version of Ian's flu. Laurel got the worst of it, but fortunately recuperated more quickly than Ian. I had some serious headaches over most of the week that wouldn't go away with Excedrin or Tylenol, or even sleep.

Paul worked late almost every night, leaving me alone with the kids (and sick at that) most days. Poor guy, he even had to work on Saturday. I'm not complaining, it's just not the usual routine, and I wasn't feeling 100% yet.

Needless to say, I didn't focus on eating habits or exercise. Maintaining, yup, it's a good thing. As for total loss, I'm still down four pounds, only six more to go to reach my goal. I realize ten pounds does not seem that much, but I want to have some fun with food over the holidays. The big picture is finding a somewhat smaller me in the mirror come January 1, 2008.

My family is healthy, there are lots of fun activities planned for the following week, it's time to focus again on good eating habits. Here are my goals:
  • Drink water!
  • Journal food and beverage intake and be aware of every little bite
  • Get moving, try to involve the kids in the process (there will be lots of walking at the farm on Sunday!!)
  • Find some low calorie alternatives for those snack attacks
Have a great week everybody!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Wednesday Weigh-In: Week 4

I know, I know, I'm a day behind in posting this. Ian's been sick with flu, poor fellow. Just when I think he's over it, another symptom pops up. At first he complained of pain in his ankles, then vomit reared its ugly head, then just lethargy, of course diarrhea followed, more lethargy, more pain in his ankles and he's hobbling, and we'll see how today goes. Monday night I had to ask Paul to come home early since I thought I caught whatever ails Ian. I felt nauseaus all evening, but woke up the next day absolutely fine. At any rate, our days have been a bit low key and yet I'm extremely busy trying to keep them that way.

I'm glad to report that I'm down another pound, that makes a total of four pounds lost so far. This week I haven't been journaling like I should. I seem to have internalized how much I can eat during the day, but I need to be cautious since it's still early in the game.

As for exercise, I didn't quite reach my goal of three days of activity. One day, I pushed the kids in the stroller and went for a three mile walk. Our neighborhood's hilly, so it's a good workout. Another day, I worked in the garden digging out dead shrubs and replacing them. I'm not saying this isn't exercise, just that I didn't intend to count it. Monday, I did 45 minutes of aerobics. I may have over exerted myself and ended up feeling sick. So, all in all it could be counted as three days of exercise. But if you feel the gardening doesn't count, then yes, you can send a raspberry my way.

Goals this week:
Drink more water, less diet soda
Go for walks!!!! The weather is finally down in the 80's, no more excuses.

Here's to another week where losing is a good thing!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Please, Oh Please, Just Go To Sleep

A wonderful, busy morning is spent at the railroad park. To my surprise, Ian insists that we go to the playground first. The kids play hard running between slides, climbing stairs and ladders, and getting completely dirty from head to toe in the sand. We rest a bit while riding the carousel, and then meet up with Paul to have a picnic. Lucky for us, his work is across the street from the park. After lunch, we ride the train. Paul gives us all goodbye kisses and hugs, and the three of us head home.

My two completely exhausted children scream as we leave the park. "No mommy, I don't want to go! Nooooo, wwwaaaaahhhhh!!!!!"

Trying to comfort my babes, I offer, "Say bye-bye to the park."

"NNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOO, wwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!"

Ugh, they're over tired. Nothing to do now but usher them into the van and head home. Within minutes, Laurel is passed out. Ian is a zombie. He tries to talk to me about the trucks he sees on the road, and manages to stay awake the entire ride home. When we enter the house, Laurel wakes up in my arms and Ian runs off to use the potty. Laurel's diaper is changed, Ian finishes in the bathroom, and we head upstairs for a much needed nap.

We read a pumpkin story, and then Ian curls right up, ready for Slumberland. Laurel, is a different story. She yells, "No, Mommy, no nap! Downstairs now!"

I quietly kiss her head and lay her down in her crib for a nap. As I walk downstairs, I hear her kick the wall and cry, "Mommy, noooooooooo!"

I'm wondering if she'll wake up Ian. She is extremely loud and her pleas don't seem to be coming to an end any time soon. I refuse to give in to her requests, so I decide to find a project to keep me busy. The neglected photo album screams for my attention as well, and wins.

Ten minutes later, Laurel is still whining and crying. I am amazed Ian is sleeping through her song and dance. But then, the magic words are said that get my total attention, "Diaper off!"

My mind races, did she really just say what I think she said? Do I dare set foot in her room to check on her? Where is the surveillance camera when I need it?

I rush up the stairs, peek in her room, and find out she has indeed taken off her diaper and is playing with it (fortunately, it only contains some urine). Drat, I did leave off her pants when I changed her, otherwise she probably wouldn't have been able to accomplish this feat.

Quietly, I walk over to her crib, remove the diaper, pick up Laurel and place a new diaper on her. I also put her in a pair of snug fitting pants that she won't be able to take off, well at least I'm hoping. No words spoken by me, I just go through these motions and gingerly place her back in her crib. "NO, MOMMY, TIME OUT!"

I walk out her room and decide to blog instead of finishing the photo album. She was really pissed off and crying and yelling at me, but as of a few minutes ago, she had calmed down and was just talking and singing. At least she still doesn't sound mad. She just finished singing, "Happy Birthday," and said, "Night-night, Daddy. Night-night, Ian. Night-night, Mommy."

I guess she's no longer mad at me. And now, what do I hear? Nothing, except the clicking of the keyboard. Sweet dreams, Laurel.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Wednesday Weigh-In: Week 3

Another pound lost! That makes a total of three pounds I'm saying sayonara to.

Hip, hip, hurray!
A pound was lost today!
A little change here, a little change there,
For my health, I'm showing great care.

Calculating, calculating calories all day,
Wanting a smaller number on the day I must weigh.
Making good choices, keeping the mind set,
To reach my goal of a sexy silhouette.

A poet, I'm not, but it was fun to quickly put that together. So, I'm still journaling. I didn't journal during girls' weekend, but I didn't go overboard on eating while having fun, either. I came back and started journaling again on Monday. Keeping track of foods I eat, the amounts, and calorie counting helps me keep focused. I'm still struggling with integrating exercise into everyday life. As the weather cools down, if ever, it's still in the mid to high 90's here, I will go for longer walks around the neighborhood. The zoo is also a great place to get moving. I know I'm being lazy, there should be no excuses. I'm going to set a goal of going for walks with the kids three times in the next week. If I don't reach that goal, you can all send me a great big raspberry!

Have a great week!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Breathe that Mountain Air

Escaping city life and relaxing in the mountains with some friends is just what the doctor ordered.

Friday night, we sat out on the porch, glass of wine in hand, and star gazed. It was a bit windy, so the pine trees swayed and sang to us.

Saturday morning, we headed up to Hawley Lake. We successfully got a shot of the four of us by the lake. Even our four legged friend is in the picture.

The ten second limit on the camera's timer just wasn't enough for me to sprint across the street for this shot.

We found a closer to spot to place the camera and voila, success! You can see the aspens are just now changing color.

That afternoon, we happily watched the Diamondbacks sweep the Cubs. Whoo-hoo, go Diamondbacks! After the game, we went out for dinner and then hung out a traditional spot for us gals: the Lion's Den, a local bar. Typically, they've had karaoke on Saturday nights. No, I don't typically sing, but the others do. We were a bit surprised when we walked in and found a live band. They were good and the girls danced their cares away. Sober (since I volunteered to be designated driver), I'm a wallflower, so I pretty much stayed at the table. But even sitting/standing there, my whole body was moving to the music.

Sunday morning was lazy. The four of us lounged and gossiped and giggled. The only event for the day was to have brunch at one of my friend's mom's house. She spoiled us with absolutely delicious food, the best being the chocolate chip pie. So we ate, watched football and lounged in the sunlight on the patio. Life was great!

Eventually, we had to head home. But I was ready, I was missing my family. I could hear Ian, Laurel, and Paul all yell, "Mommy!" as I was unlocking the door. Their giggles, smiles, squeals of delight, hugs and kisses said it all. I was missed, I am loved.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Dieting Advice from a Three Year Old

Sometimes Ian will say something absolutely brilliant or funny, and I quickly write it down for future blog posts. In light of my new diet health changes, I thought the following scenario to be perfect:

We're sitting at the kitchen table and Ian ravenously eats his lunch. He's enjoying it so much he has seconds. But then he notices his stomach is not feeling too well and states, "Mommy, my tummy hurts."

"Oh honey, maybe you should stop eating. Maybe your tummy is telling you it's full."

Ian thinks about it, looks down at his belly and gingerly pats it. "Mommy, I can take my shirt off and all the food will come out of my tummy and I can eat more."

Don't I wish, don't I wish...


Well, dear blogging friends, I bid you adieu. Tomorrow, I'm off on a girls' weekend up in the mountains. No hubby, no kids (all of whom I love dearly and will miss oodles). It's going to be a selfish it's-all-about-me time. No diapers to change, no peeing or pooping accidents to clean up, no dressing two little darlings in the morning or at night, no feeding three hungry mouths, no whining other than the wining and dining I plan to do with friends, no breaking up fights, no laundry, no dishes, etc. I only have to take care of myself. I plan on relaxing, gossiping, reading a book, taking a walk, and above all else, laughing my a** off with friends. And yes, I'm being purely selfish, but in the end I know this will help me be a better mommy and wife. I'll be recharged and ready to tackle the endless tasks of domestic life.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Wednesday Weigh-In: Week 2


Oh yes, I hear applause, I hear cheering! Everybody get up and join me in a happy dance. Shake that booty and burn calories.

So, one may wonder what I am doing to ensure success. I definitely want to reflect and concretely write what went well so in future weeks when I find myself floundering, I have something to guide me back to the right habits.

The biggest change is in journaling every little thing I consume. It's amazing how those calories add up. By writing it down and keeping a running total, I can see where I should eat less or choose less caloric foods. I don't have a set number of calories I'm trying to keep under, although when I'm approaching 2000, I really start thinking about my choices.

Thanks to journaling, I have better control over portion size. I'm more aware of serving sizes, and am utilizing measuring cups and the food scale all the time. The internet is a dieter's dream. I can find out the number of calories for any food with just a few clicks.

While finding healthier eating habits, I don't feel like I'm depriving myself of the foods I love. On Sunday alone, I had blueberry pancakes, a chimichanga, and pizza. The key to success was knowing serving sizes, the amount of calories and recording it. Instead of the typical eight pancakes I would eat, I only had three. Instead of four or five slices of pizza, I only had two. Had I not exerted portion control, I probably would weigh more this week instead of less.

This week I plan to keep journaling. An area I need to work on is exercise. I'll be looking for ways to incorporate it into daily life.

Have a great week everybody!

Monday, October 01, 2007


Ian wakes up and I escort him directly to the toilet. As we sit through this morning ritual, he strikes up the following conversation with me.

"Mommy, is it pancake day?"

"Yes, we're making blueberry pancakes."

Ian's entire body shakes with excitement and he wobbles while trying to regain balance on the toilet. "Yes, it is!" he exclaims, letting me know I gave the correct answer to his question. "You, and me, and Daddy, and Laurel are going to make pancakes!"

"Well, I don't think Laurel will be making pancakes, she's still too little."

There's a brief pause while he ponders my statement. "That's right, Mommy. You, and me, and Daddy will make pancakes, Laurel's too little. Laurel can steal toys."

That pretty much sums up Ian's perception of his sister and the concept of sharing.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday Fun: Pumpkin Craft

Do you see it? The shadows outside are lengthening and daytime is getting shorter. Do you feel it? The morning air feels crisp. Do you smell it? People are beginning to bake goodies and cook soups and stews.

Autumn finally takes hold. I get so excited with Halloween approaching, and I'm not the only one. Ian has a very good recollection of last year's festivities and has been talking about it for the last month. The last time we went to the library, he determinedly said, "I'm going to find a pumpkin book!"

He did, too. All by himself. He found a book with a small picture of a pumpkin on the spine. I'm so glad he did, for he found, The Witch Casts a Spell, by Suzanne Williams. By pure luck, my little guy introduced us to this delightful book that you sing to the tune, The Farmer in the Dell. Laurel loves it, we all love it, and find ourselves singing it throughout the day.

One thing led to another, and we started repeatedly reading a book we already owned: Five Little Pumpkins, by Iris Van Rynbach. That story triggered a memory of a craft I did with second graders. I knew it would be simple enough that even Laurel and Ian could do it, and I already had all the materials. Let's get crafting!

Paper Bag Pumpkin Craft, demonstrated by 3 year old Ian, and 20 month old Laurel.

Materials needed:
  • brown paper lunch bags
  • newspaper, pages torn into fourths (done ahead of time by an adult or much older child)
  • string or yarn, any color
  • green pipe cleaners
  • orange tempera paint (washable is nice)
  • plastic cups to hold paint (I reused baby food containers)
  • paint brushes
  • old shirts or bibs or smocks to cover children while painting (or let them do it naked and then just hose them down afterwards)
  • washcloths or paper towels or other wipe type product to clean up paint spills
  • green and black construction paper
  • tacky glue
  • scissors (we used blunt ones designed for little people)

Step 1: Crumple newspaper into balls and stuff them into the paper bags, fill to desired pumpkin size.

Step 2: Adult ties bag closed with string or yarn.

Step 3: Prepare the area for painting! Anything you don't want covered in paint must leave the area. Be ready with baby wipes or paper towels to clean up spills, splashes, and all out explosions.

Step 4: Demonstrate how to use a paint brush and let the kids go for it! They paint everything except the stem (the part above the string) and the bottom. You know of course, they will paint those too, oh well, let them have fun.

For Ian, this is serious stuff. Look at the concentration!

I showed the kids how to hold onto the stem so they wouldn't get paint on their hands. As you can see, Laurel didn't quite understand.

Step 5: Let the painted pumpkins dry.

Step 6: If a stem is too long, just cut off the extra you don't want.

Step 7: An adult wraps the middle of the green pipe cleaner around each pumpkin's stem and twists it enough to stay put. Bend halves as desired for a vine-like affect.

Step 8: Cut out and glue on the faces and leaves. Laurel is too young to use scissors, so I cut out a couple different face parts and leaves that she could choose from and place on her pumpkin. I helped her squeeze the glue onto the pumpkin, and then she added the eyes, nose, mouth and leaves (the leaves were glued onto the pipe cleaners, a small piece of tape was needed to hold them on until they dried and then we took the tape off).I tried putting the glue onto the pieces and letting her place them on the pumpkin, but she kept putting the wrong side against the pumpkin, and of course they didn't stick. She also kept wiping the glue off the pieces onto her arm. That's why we ended up putting the glue directly onto the pumpkin and then adding the paper pieces.

Ian does know how to use scissors, so he cut out his own eyes, noses, mouths, and leaves for his two pumpkins. No drawing was involved, I gave him 6 inch squares of construction paper, and he just went for it.

Right after Ian cut out a piece, I had him glue it to the pumpkin so he wouldn't lose it among the scraps.

The finished product:

Here are our five little pumpkins. I made the one on the left, Laurel's are the next two, and Ian's are the two on the right. The pumpkins sit at our table, and when we eat, we have fun reciting The Five Little Pumpkins poem.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Wednesday Weigh In....

...oops, I'm a day late. Oh well, you know how things get crazy during the day.

But I did weigh myself yesterday. I'm holding at 172. No loss yet, but aha, no gain. Not bad since the night before hubby and I ate at Olive Garden and I let myself have two glasses of wine, two breadsticks, two servings of salad, and the entree. So much for portion control that night. I really don't feel guilty about it, we danced our booties off at the Dave Matthews concert afterwards.

The other three days, yes only three since I started this on Saturday, I did great. I kept track of what I was consuming. Let me tell you, when you start writing down each and every nibble, it's easy to see where all the extra calories are coming from. I caught myself reaching to finish off the kids' lunches. Unfortunately, this is a bad habit I've gotten myself into these last few years. Once I thought about the fact that I would need to record it in my journal, a fire alarm went off in my head. Quickly, I put the half eaten sandwich down.

While making dinner, I also caught myself trying to sample the foods I was preparing. Again, a fire alarm rings and brings me back to reality. All those little tastes add up, and that's not where I want to spend my calories, oh no. I'd much rather enjoy a piece of chocolate, thank you very much.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Flashdance Laurel

Laurel, you should have gone to DMB with your daddy and me last night. It was awesome! Someday...

For more WW, click here.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Badge of Honor

Over a month ago, Lady M awarded me the Nice Matters Award. (Yes, I'm a bit slow at keeping up with my posts.)

“This award is for those bloggers who are nice people and good blog friends - those who bring good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. Once you’ve been awarded, please pass it on to others who you feel are deserving of this award.”

Thank you, Lady M. I strive to be pleasant and leave a positive imprint on the world around me. Nice is a wonderful thing to be. I was watching the movie Superman Returns, and thought to myself, if a superhero of that caliber can be polite and kind towards others and still save the world, then nice is definitely a good thing. I take pride in knowing that I'm nice.

In the blogging world, I have been fortunate to meet several women who are nice. I noticed many of you already have earned this award. There are some of us that definitely need to be recognized. Please join me in letting these beautiful, nice people know how much we appreciate them!

Heidi at Butterfly Mama
Kelli at Holding the Mirror Up to My Soul
Elizabeth at Look At Us Now!
Mama's Moon
Beth at Total Mom Haircut
Mary P. at It's Not All Mary Poppins

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Embarking on a New Journey

It's time for a change in my life, one that will improve and lengthen it. I'm 38, I really don't mind the number of years, but I do mind the wear and tear on my body. At the end of the day, my ankles and feet ache! They hurt so much I hobble. My hips, especially my left side, sometimes have a sharp pain. My energy level has dwindled down to almost nothing, in fact it is so bad, I notice I don't get down on the floor and play with my kids as much as I use to. I procrastinate everything, excusing myself from responsibility because I am too tired. My weight is increasing, and clothes are really starting to bind and pinch. Yes, it is time for change.

I want health. I want to be free from aches and lethargy. I want to vivaciously play with my children. I want to feel comfortable in my clothes. I want energy to accomplish each day's tasks.

The holidays are rapidly approaching. Halloween incorporates so much candy, my head spins thinking about all the sugar highs to be had. Thanksgiving surrounds us with loved ones, and a feast where going back for seconds and thirds is more than appropriate. Christmas, of course, means cookies, fudge, and parties. Don't forget New Year's where appetizers and drinks are abundant.

Normally, I do not dare make eating and lifestyle changes this time of year. Instead, I just expect and accept weight gain as a holiday ritual and eat myself into oblivion. Not this year, this year I am taking control over my health. When January 1, 2008 rolls around, I will look in the mirror and smile, not sigh, not cry, but smile, even clap and cheer and do a little happy dance!

Now, to accomplish this change in my life, I need to set some goals:

With a little determination, and the help of family and friends, we can accomplish anything. I know I have the support of my family and local friends. Through blogging, I know I will also have your help. If you ever want to share some advice or a kind word, I'll be more than happy to listen to what you have to say. I'm also joining the courageous gals at Tales From the Scales. They are having a weight loss challenge: Looking Great in 2008! I am very excited about joining this group and look forward to meeting some of them and reading their successes.

I love food. I know, duh, that's how I got this way in the first place. I do not believe there are bad foods, just bad portions. I will continue to eat the foods I love, but I will measure the amounts I eat. I will journal in a notebook what I am eating and keep track of the calories I consume. I already eat fairly healthy and make sure I get veggies and fruits each day, I just need to limit other foods and rethink eating an entire box of cookies. All together now, "PORTION CONTROL!"

I've noticed I'm not drinking the recommended eight glasses of water a day. Plus, I live in the desert, I probably require a bit more than that. Water consumption is a high priority.

No more excuses, I need to get up and moving every day. It may be a walk around the block, or a couple of sprints up and down the stairs, or running with my kids outside. I really want to try and involve my kids with exercise so it becomes a natural part of their day, too.

Weight loss goal
I hope to lose 10 pounds by January 1, 2008. Nothing over the top, but attainable, and definitely a step in the right direction. I currently weigh 172 pounds, ugh. Yes, being 162 pounds will be a HUGE improvement.

Whew, that's a lot to think about. But I'm ready, ready for change, ready for health and energy.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A New Fashion Trend?

Potty training, so much to learn and remember. Some skills are high priority, others are not.

Poor Ian, he still is learning how to tell when his shirt is inside-out, let alone backwards. We taught him to look for a label. If there's an actual tag that's been sewn into the clothing, he usually figures things out. When the label is just printed on the actual item, he figures he can wear it any which way. Hey, I'm just so glad he's dressing himself.

I'm curious, is there anybody else out there who has children insisting that they must strip down to absolute nakedness in order to use the toilet?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Monday, September 17, 2007

Ian's Day

Ian hasn't had his mommy and daddy all to himself since before Laurel was born. I decide it's time for some one-on-one time with him, plus we need a day to discretely work on potty training.

We leave Laurel with Papa Dave and Grandma Ann, and head home to go swimming. At first, Ian's idea of swimming involves cleaning the pool tiles with a pumice stone. He's a good helper, and the pool looks great! Paul and I finally convince him to ride in an inflatable boat. We push the boat fast thinking he'd love it, but he's a cautious fellow. "Mommy, gentle please."

With a gentle push, the boat glides back and forth between Paul and myself, Ian rides along much more relaxed. Each time he arrives, he comments, "Thank you for being gentle."

After an hour of pool time, we have lunch out on the patio. Ian's hair has the total surfer, windblown look, so of course I take pictures.

Ian gets a relaxing bath, we read a story, and then all three of us take a nap. Paul and I eventually, but reluctantly, get up to shower. Ian sleeps a good two hours, moving around in the pool water wears him out.

I keep checking on him so that when he wakes, I am right there, ready to walk him to the bathroom. So far, he's had no accidents. As he strips so that he can sit on the toilet, we find he is dry. Whoo-hoo!

It being Ian's day, we head off to an ice cream shop for dinner and desert. Ian eats most of his chips and a single bite of his hotdog. This is his day, so we don't push him to eat his dinner, we know he's waiting for the ice cream. The sundaes arrive and Ian delightfully giggles. In the matter of a few seconds, he gulps down all the whipped cream off the top. He eats maybe two bites of ice cream, and he's done. I guess next time we should just order him some whipped cream.

We go to get Laurel at Grandma and Grandpa's, and as we walk through the door, Ian declares, "Laurel, go with Mommy and Daddy, it's my turn."

Yup, arrangements have been made, and he gets to stay the night with his beloved Grandma and Grandpa. Hey Ian, just please don't slam the door as Daddy and Mommy walk out.

As for working on the potty training, no accidents all day!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Girls' Day

Ian gets to spend the entire day with his Grandma Edie and Papa Chuck. He practically kicks me out of their house as he waves goodbye. "Bye, mommy!" Slam.

I can't blame him for his actions. He has a lot of fun with his grandparents. Plus, Laurel's not going to be there to bug him or destroy any of his creations. Then there's the fact that he knows they're going to the Dinosaur Museum (aka: Mesa Southwest Museum).

So, it's just Laurel and I. I pronounce today, Girl's Day! Whoo-hoo!

The mall is our destination. No, not to shop, are you kidding? Laurel HATES shopping with me! The minute we step foot into a store, she goes ballistic. She so much as smells leather (shoes) or fabric, she screams and arches her back in the stroller trying to escape. Just wait Laurel, I will pay you back when you're a teenager!

No, I don't want to fight with her, I want the two of us to have fun. So instead, we play at the playground inside the mall where there's free air-conditioning. Sweet, sweet cold air! Today's temperature is 107 Fahrenheit/42 Celsius!

Laurel has a blast running around with the other toddlers and babies. The play area is primarily for that age group. All structures are padded and somewhat low to the ground. Laurel easily climbs everything, and slides down them. When she runs by me, she shouts, "Mommy, mommy, mommy, I runneen. I runneen."

Twenty minutes into play, Laurel starts sneaking out of the play area and sits in our stroller. I walk out to her and inquire, "Are you ready for a snack?"

"No, mommy! Ha, ha, hahahaha, ha!" she cackles and then runs back to the play area.

I sit back with the other parents and watch Laurel run through the area and disappear into a tunnel. Shortly, she sneaks by me and sits in the stroller again.

Again, I walk over to her and ask, "Laurel, would you like a snack?"

"No, mommy! Ha, ha, hahahaha, ha!" she again cackles and runs back to the play area.

So, it's become a game has it? We'll just see about that.

I let her play, but it isn't too much longer before she's sitting in the stroller for the third time.

I meander towards her. "Hi, Laurel. It looks like you're ready to go." I reach down, buckle her into the stroller and walk us away from the playground. "Say bye, bye to the playground."

"Bye, bye."

No screams, no tears, I guess we are both ready to do something else. We splurge and get ourselves a couple of cookies and milk, and watch the other children ride the carousel.

"Mommy, mommy, mommy, hosey, bunny."

"Would you like to ride the horse or the bunny?"

"Ride bunny on cawasuu."

"Ok, we'll ride the bunny on the carousel."

And of course we do. And of course I'm a sucker, and we ride the carousel a second time, only on a horse.

Laurel passes out on the drive home. I gaze at her sweet reflection in the rear-view mirror, while thinking about the morning's events and how much fun I've had with my daughter.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


This is the last of our wonderful trip to San Diego that I'll be sharing. Mom and Dad rented a condo on Mission beach. The beach was literally a stone's throw away. Did my husband and I get pictures of our excited children digging in the sand, chasing the waves, or searching for seashells? No. Sniff. So instead, I bring you Legoland.

New York City built with Lego blocks, impressive! The tallest building is the Freedom Tower. This is the first time I had seen a model of it. Absolutely striking, it makes one stop and remember.

Legoland pleasantly surprised me. It was the perfect amusement park for our three year old and nineteen month old. I'm guessing from three to six years old are the ideal ages for kids to enjoy what Legoland has to offer.

When we arrived, they had two different parking fees: regular for 10 dollars, and "preferred" for 20. We went ahead and paid the extra 10 dollars since Dad was needing a wheelchair and we forgot to bring the handicap parking sign to hang on our rearview mirror. Spending the extra money was worth it, we parked right next to the entrance, whoo-hoo!

We purchased our tickets at Costco, saving us some money. I figured we would also save some time by not having to wait in line to buy tickets, but the lines were only three people long, not busy at all. Once inside, we slathered on the sunblock and headed for the sights, sounds, smells, and rides.

Uncle David takes in the sights with Laurel. Isn't Laurel's harness cute? It gives her freedom from a stroller and yet keeps her from running away and falling into water sources or into other people or vehicles. It's so soft and cute, that she loves it and even snuggles up to it when it's off.

Ian was tall enough to ride their Coastersaurus. Once upon a time, Paul and I were coaster enthusiasts. That past-time has been put on hold since Ian's conception. We were more than happy to share the adrenaline rush with Ian. After waiting in line a few minutes, we looked up and were surprised to see Paul's dad already loaded in the front car of the train. He took advantage of his wheelchair status and got to enter the loading area via the exit and didn't have to wait. Smooth move, Dad!

Ian loved the rollercoaster! Another ride he enjoyed was driving his own car. This totally cracked us up. He knew exactly how to buckle himself in, but had no clue how to drive. He'd continually over correct his steering and end up crashing into another car or the edge of the track. Ian also drove me around in a boat. His steering improved dramatically, but we still experienced a few bumps along the river.

This is the storybook boat ride. You can see Grandma Ann, Uncle Jason and Ian in the first boat. Uncle David and Laurel are in the following boat. They're all looking at the Prince on the horse made out of Lego blocks. It's hard to see, but he's holding a cell phone up to his ear.

Ian loved the Thomas the Tank Engine built out of Legos!

The miniature cities built out of Legos were quite impressive. Ian was extremely excited by the moving garbage trucks that were also made from Legos.

Laurel creates her own amusement: pick up leaves and run around a tree. Whee!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

San Diego Birch Aquarium

Tuesday, August 28

Morning stories help Laurel and Ian wake up before we rush off to the Birch Aquarium.

Ian marvels at the jellyfish.

Papa Chuck helps Laurel get a better view of the jellyfish.

Kudos to the aquarium for having hands on exploration for little ones. Papa Dave watches Ian, Laurel, and Paul play with the water currents. Notice Laurel's tongue sticking out - a family trait.

Grandma Ann and Grandma Edie pose for pictures with the kids.

Ian talks about the sharks with a new found friend.


Still hungry, the shark chomps on Uncle Jason for dessert.

Wordless Wednesday: Laurel's First Pony-Tails

For more WW, click here.

Monday, September 03, 2007

San Diego Zoo

Sunday, August 26

Some pictures from our visit to the San Diego Zoo...

A little over four months ago, I posted about my Mother-in-Law's double lung transplant. Thanks to a successful operation and recovery, not only was she able to walk through the zoo, but she was also able to help push her husband through in his wheelchair. (He fell off a ladder and broke his ankle, poor guy.) Notice the smile, the glow of health on her face, and the lack of an oxygen tank! Way to go, Mom!

Ian and Laurel watch the gorillas sleep.

The kids have fun playing among gorilla statues.

Observing Pygmy Hippos.

Ian tries to keep up with a Pygmy Hippo.

Uncle Jason watches Laurel while she plays a quick game of peek-a-boo with me.

Ian strikes a pose while a panda waves in the background.

Grandma Ann tries to point out an animal to Laurel and Ian.

"Hi Polar Bear, hi."

I love these shoes! These shoes saved my feet during all of that walking.

Vacation...Road Trip to San Diego

Saturday, August 25

9:00 a.m.
Black cat crosses in front of our van as we arrive at Papa Dave and Grandma Ann's. We load up last minute stuff into their car and ours, and off we go.

10:10 a.m.
Parking lot on the 202. Darn that black cat!!! Mental note for next trip: Check for freeway closures. Once home, write letter to ADOT (Arizona Department of Transportation), telling them to try thinking.

Looking back at Grandma Ann and Papa Dave's car.

Nothing but red brake lights ahead...sigh.

11:30 a.m.
Finally drive three miles to get off freeway, head to Casa Grande for lunch. Next stop at Yuma. Carl's Jr has an awesome play area for the kids! Finally we cross the California state line.

Sand dunes along the Arizona/ California border.

Look out, dust storm ahead.

Enormous car chopping/ pureeing windmills.

Can you say wind power?

Precious cargo. Are we there yet?

7:30 p.m.
We finally arrive at our rental in San Diego. We hear waves on the beach, all is good.