Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Brody's 4th Birthday!!

This post is somewhat overdue..but we didn't get to have his birthday party until this past weekend worked out.

Brody Boy turned 4 on January 19th. He has been waiting to be 4 for a long time. For months he's been saying "When I turn four, I'll be able to do _______." (insert anything that "big" boys can do.) Now that he's old enough to understand birthdays, he was really excited to turn four years old.

Four years old..I can hardly believe it. I mean, he's a year and a half away from starting kindergarten. As fast as time flies around here, that will be in NO TIME at all. I can still remember many moments from the day he was born. It doesn't seem that long ago. Yet our lives look 180 degrees different than they did four years ago.

Brody boy, you are so special. You are so smart..smarter than we'd like you to be sometimes. You still have an infectious laugh and a funny personality. You love making us laugh and sometimes know how to use that to try to avoid punishment. You are an amazing big brother. Although you fight a lot with Carson, you would do anything to protect him from others and make sure he's taken care of. Baby Brooks thinks you are one of his parents most of the time. You love to cuddle, kiss, bring him a blanket, tickle, and even help clean him at times. Your "baby talk" to him is quite hilarious...and Baby Brooks thinks so too. You are still quite stubborn at times. When you get your mind set on something, it takes a lot to get you back on track sometimes, yet other times you are quick to do as you're told. We all have areas we need to work on :) You are beginning to understand more about God and his Son, Jesus. You can memorize scripture better than most adults. Now we are just trying to teach you how to apply that to your life. I think this might be our biggest struggle as parents...not only teaching you the word, but teaching you how to apply it and understand it in your heart. So thank you for being patient with us. We love you Brody Boy!

Brody's birthday party was this past Saturday. Brody has many friends now so this year we decided he was old enough for us to have a big boy friend party. He's been saying since July that he wanted a Mario Kart party. I honestly didn't think he'd stick to that, but he proved me wrong. He talked about this party constantly, and as each month passed, he got even more excited and specific about it. I asked him if he wanted a Super Mario Brothers party in general, or if he really wanted a Mario Kart racing party. He was very particular and requested it to be Mario Kart Racing. So..I scoured Pinterest and of course my favorite party ideas blog and put together a simple, but cute party for him.

Does the backdrop make you dizzy?

This AMAZING cake was made by Leigh-Leigh aka Leigh Ann. He (and mommy) LOVED it! Thanks Leigh-Leigh for all your hard work! 
The track was made out of crushed Oreos. Mario and Luigi were from Target. The star, rocket, and turtle are from a Mario Kart Kinects Race Track. The finish line sign was from the race track as well, and attached to straws.
More shots of the cake just because I loved it so much!

The plasticware caddies were cardboard boxes covered in black wrapping paper. I found the stars online and just printed them off.
This was the least successful project. In theory these were very cute..however, I don't think they turned out very great. But, the kids loved them so I guess that's all that matters.

For the table centerpiece, I printed off these question mark squares and attached them to a square box I had. 

Coming out of the box were balloons with images of the different
prizes you can get in Mario Kart when you run over a " ? box ".

A few of the boys really getting into it.
Brody and his good buddy, Scott. I wish I could have captured the moment that Brody saw Scott come in. It was priceless. Thank you Scott for loving our boy so much!

The birthday boy and his cake

Looks like its getting pretty intense!

Leigh-Leigh and Uncle Brent gave Brody a Mario costume for Christmas. So to finish it off, they added the Luigi for his birthday. Unfortunately, he didn't stay in it long enough for me to snag a photo, but Carson had no problem modeling it for us. Such a cutie. I can't wait to get a shot of both of them in the costumes. Carson actually makes a better Mario..have you seen the belly on that kid?
Thank you everyone who came to celebrate. Brody said it was the best party ever! Brode-Man...we are so glad you loved it. Love you bubba!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

mr. blue eyes

Like most nights, Brooks was being his adorable bubbly self tonight. So after bath time, I took some time to snap a few photos of him. And then, I remembered that I downloaded Picasa and decided it was the perfect opportunity to test it out. I'll give my full opinion of it at the bottom of the post..but first, the important stuff, Brooksy Boy!

Little froggy right out of the tub. 

 He loves this giraffe. He plays with it as he's falling asleep. 

 Oh that face. Gets me every time. 

I'm on my belly....oh, I rolled to my side...I made it to my back....and I'm so proud!
While I was playing around with Brooks, Brody asked if he could take some pictures of us. So, they aren't the best..but I think he did a fairly good job for a four year old!

So Picasa...I only downloaded it so that I could make quick collages. So my opinion may not be very helpful. As far as the collages Literally a minute, maybe, from start to finish. Select the pics you the collage style and presto. Its done. You can add borders, frames, etc if you want and then export them to a folder on your hard drive. So for collages...BRAVO. As far as photo editing goes, to me its far too basic. I guess for quick touch ups and making photos black and white, sepia, etc it does the job. I use photoshop as well as Adobe Lightroom for more detailed editing, so I guess it wouldn't be fair for me to compare. It also makes slideshows to music and other things that I haven't played around with yet...I'll get back to you on some other features. If anyone uses this and has any suggestions of cool things it does, let me know! I've heard great things and am just now trying it out. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Potty training: day 3 and beyond

The last few days I haven't been able to blog. So hopefully I remember how day 3 went. His pull up was dry when he woke up on day 3. We went through the whole day following the same method as days 1 and 2. He only had one accident the whole day and told me every time he needed to go. That night we had church and since I was working in the preschool, I requested to be in his class so I could keep an eye on him and reinforce our training method. He did great and asked to go twice while in the class.

Thursday,day 4, was Brody's Birthday. I wanted to be able to get out and do fun stuff with the boys that day. However, that morning I spent 2 hours putting together a Mario kart race track and the boys were glued to it all day. So we got to have an extra day at home to make sure we had this potty training thing down. We went to dinner that night with no problems.

Friday and Saturday we ran errands, ate out, etc and big Carson was a champ. No accidents, always told us when he needed to go, and never argued if we suggested he go before we headed out.

So, I would say that Carson is officially potty trained. We still remind him periodically, but he seems to really know what to do and is glad to be a big boy in underwear. It may have been nice to have it done before 2 1/2, but since it was so easy and he was so ready, the timing was perfect.

2 down, 1 to go....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Potty training: day 2

Day 2 went almost the way I expected, but not quite as bad as I imagined. We woke up, went potty and got into underwear (his pull up was wet when he woke up). I immediately gave him a glass of milk and we all had breakfast. He didn't go potty for a while since he had gone during the night, as well as when he woke up. I was constantly pushing liquids and annoying him with the reminders to tell me if he had to go. He was standing in the middle of the drop cloth when he finally peed for the first time in his underwear. He screamed and said oh no! I need to potty. I feel like this was when the real training began.

We ran to the bathroom, he finished on the potty, and we talked about how he would try to keep his underwear dry next time. Probably not even 10 minutes later, he had another accident. We did the same thing over again. He probably had 5 or 6 accidents before naptime. About the fourth or fifth time I noticed that he was only starting a small bit in his underwear and catching it quicker.

Showing off Thomas. 
Legos are a new fave around here. We literally played for hours this morning.


After naptime, we had a mixture of both. Sometimes he'd tell me in time and we'd make it with no leaking. Other times he'd start in his underwear and finish in the toilet.

Pooping: before nap he acted like he needed to poop. I said tell me if you need to poo-poo. He said he did so we went in the bathroom. He grabbed the potty seat that Brody learned to poop on and put it on the potty. He sat for a minute then said he didn't need to go. We went back to play and 5 minutes later he said he needed to go again. We went back in and he got on the seat. He said he didn't need to go and I suggested that he sit a little longer and make sure. He then said he didn't like the seat. So I took it off and set him on the toilet backwards. He almost immediately started pooping. Of course there was lots of cheering and fruit snacks as a big prize. Unfortunately, about 10 minutes or so later, I smelled something. He apparently wasn't finished and had gone in his underwear and never mentioned it to me. Later in the day, after dinner, he ran to Matt and I to tell us he had to poo poo. When we got to the bathroom, he had started a tiny bit in his underwear but had stopped himself. He said "I stopped it!" He, and the rest of us, were so proud.

The first attempt to poop on the potty.
Overall, I feel like day 2 was successful. There were accidents but he seemed to learn from each of them and seemed to gain more bladder control as the day went on. So will he be fully potty trained after 3 days??? We'll see.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Brooks Matthew: 4 months

Don't you just love the drool!

Happy 4 Months Brooksy Boy! 

I skipped a 3 month update. I think every 2 months is going to have to be it for right now. Blogging isn't very high on the priority list these days. Plus, there is SO much change between 2 and 4 months that there's more to blog about!

Brooks is growing like crazy. Everyone constantly comments on how big he is. I see it in the cheeks, but really, he's not as big as he appears. He is just now wearing 3 and 3-6 month clothes. He has such a laid back, sweet personality these days. Unless he's hungry or tired, he rarely cries, which makes things a lot easier on this momma. His little smile is absolutely adorable. Sometimes he even seems a little shy..he'll give you a big smile and then look down or away in a bashful way. So precious.

At his 4 month appointment yesterday, he weighed 15lbs 12oz (75th percentile) and was 25 inches long (50th percentile). His head was still in the 50th percentile as well. So he weighs a little more than the average 4 monther, but he's not gargantuan haha. And his head is average :)

Much better than the 2 month update. I think I had high expectations of my 2 month old. These days he: 
-goes to bed between 8 and 9 most nights. He randomly has some fussy nights where he doesn't settle down until after 9. 
-Around 3 months he started sleeping until 5:30am. It was awesome. And only lasted about 3 weeks. He started waking up about 2:30 again and then sleeps until 6am. So I guess only waking up once isn't too bad. But I sure miss those nights of solid sleep. 
-After his 6am feeding, he will usually sleep until 9am unless I make him wake up. He goes down for naps about 2 hours after waking up throughout the day. 
In the last post, I commented about how he wasn't doing well going to sleep on his own in his crib. That completely turned around once I was ready for it to. It took a couple of nights, but not long after 2 months, he started doing great laying in his bed at nap and bedtime and drifting off on his own. He plays with his hands or blanket for a little bit and sometimes talks to himself, and is usually out within 10 minutes or so. Obviously, like all babies, he'll cry somedays and I'll have to just let him work it out and eventually he'll settle down and go to sleep.

He's still working on the same tooth that we thought was breaking through 2 months ago. Its more visible right under the surface now and we have lots of drooling going on. 
Sleepy boys all piled in our bed one morning

-Smiling, laughing, and "talking" a lot
-Raises feet up to play with them
-Rolls from back to side but hasn't made it all the way over yet
-Grasps toys with hands, puts things in mouth

-He is coming around to the paci, somewhat. He likes to chew on it and it will settle him down for a short while if he's fussy or tired. But he doesn't require it to go to sleep.
-He LOVES to pull his blanket up around his face and neck when he's going to sleep. Just about every time he goes down, I have to go in a few minutes later to pull the blanket off his face because he's covered it. (Don't worry, I use lightweight cotton blankets) He likes to chew on it and rub it. Today I introduced a taggy that was given to Brody that he or Carson never really took to. Brooks LOVED it and is currently sleeping with it right up next to his face. How awesome would it be if I can convince him to use this instead of dragging blankets around the way my big boys do :)
-Loves being talked to and having people around. He's content laying down with a toy as long as he's not completely alone in the room for long periods of time. He's definitely a people person. 

-He still despises the car seat. If he's in the seat, and he's not asleep, its not a happy car trip for us. So although its not great for the nap schedule, I try to plan my errands around his morning nap. If he's tired, he'll fall asleep in the car seat and if I can get my errands done, and keep him asleep, it goes well. However, if he's not tired, then he is unhappy pretty much the whole time he's in the seat. We bought new car seat toys as well as put a toy on the seat in the car for him to kick at and see himself, but he's not all that interested. 
-At the moment, I can't even think of anything else. I'm sure in the next couple of months he'll start being more opinionated. 

I did a horrible job of taking good pictures this last month. He's not even in very many Christmas pictures because he slept through most of the events. I'll have to do better this month! 

Potty Training: Day 1

I was hoping to get to write this post last night, so that today's events wouldn't affect my opinion of yesterday, didn't happen.

Day 1 didn't start out the way the book says to do it. Brooks had his 4 month well check up, and since his doctor is popular and you have to schedule well-checks well in advance to get in with him, I didn't want to reschedule. So we did that first thing in the morning, and began potty training when we got home around 10am. We (Brody, Carson and I) laid out the vinyl drop cloth that Matt picked up the night before.  The "plastic blanket" was a hit with them. Next, we all went in the bathroom and talked about how exciting it was for Carson to get to wear underwear. He picked a pair from the bucket we keep under the sink  and worked hard to get them on his chubby legs. (Apparently 2T-3T are a little small for my 2 1/2 year old. We'll be picking up a bigger size once we can leave the house.)

The underwear bucket we keep under the bathroom sink.

We played all morning on the plastic blanket. I tried to push fluids so the need to tee-tee would come up more often. But for some reason, he was not interested. He kept telling me "I'm not thirsty, Mommy." I even offered glasses of sweet tea, his fave. Still no interest. The book tells you to constantly remind them all day to tell you if they have to go, not to ask them if they have to go. So all day I felt like a lunatic saying "Remember to tell mommy if you need to go potty. Make sure you tell mommy if you need to tee-tee. Let's check and see if you're underwear are dry. Oh good they are! So remember to tell me..." He actually got very tired of it and even sighed one time before he said "Yes, they are dry." 

The only shot he would let me get of him in his underwear. 

We took a break from playing and watched a short movie. 
Don't you just love the drop cloth? So glad we thought of this. We can't get new carpet yet :)

The first time he had to go, he told me and we ran to the potty. He went a tiny bit, but who cares! Brody and I were so excited and gave him lots of praise and high fives. He then received a Mini M&M as a reward. This opened up a whole  new world for him. So you're telling me if I even drip in the toilet I get an M&M? For the next 2 hours he would tell me every 15 minutes he had to go. We'd run in there and he'd barely go and then ask for his prize. If they go even a tiny bit, you are supposed to reward them. So I tried to explain to him to only tell me he had to go if he really had to go. But at the same time, I couldn't figure out how to prevent him from doing this. And worse, Brody felt he needed a reward every time he went to the bathroom and he started doing the same thing. He's been potty trained for a year, but didn't see why Carson got a prize and he didn't. So, in order to avoid making an ordeal out of it, I just went along with it. But I did convince Brody to stop going when he didn't really need to.

I eventually had to put these in the kitchen cabinet. Having them in the bathroom was too tempting for them. (and the lighting in this bathroom is really yellow..hence the hideous pictures.)

At nap time, I went ahead and put a pull up on him. I just decided that I wasn't ready to attempt that right now. Maybe I'll regret it later, but he's typically pretty wet when he wakes up so I knew it would be a mess to deal with right now. After nap time, we had a lot of the same...refusing to drink more than he wanted, and never really going to the bathroom with a full bladder. He'd go more often and just have small releases. He never let himself get to the point of REALLY needing to go, so we never had a single accident the entire day. But I knew not to be excited about that. The real training comes when they really have to go, they start to pee on themselves, and are rushed to the bathroom. This teaches them the sensation of needing to go and how to control it. Going every 15 minutes when they don't really need to go doesn't teach them much, at least not in a quick fashion. 

So we went to bed that night with no accidents. Matt asked if Day 2 of potty training was going to be like week 2 on the Biggest Loser. I laughed and said yes, I was positive it was. You see, if you're a biggest loser fan you know that week 1, the contestants lose tons of weight and do awesome. Week 2 they usually don't lose much weight at all and are really disappointed with the results. I knew that day 2 would not be like day 1. While day 1 was actually really easy, I knew day 2 would bring on the REAL training. I expected him to start having the accidents one after another and we'd go through lots of underwear. And actually, I was hoping for that. Because I learned with Brody that until they reach the point of learning what it feels like to need to go and having accidents to learn how to hold it, they don't really learn what to do. And the process is prolonged. Coming 2 :)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Here We Go...

Tomorrow is the BIG day..Day 1 of potty training Carson. He has been waiting for this day for a while now. He's been asking us when he can wear underwear, he's teetee'd on the potty numerous times, and knows exactly what its all about.

But its never been the right timing. When he was "ready" to start training, Brooks was born. I was not about to start potty training with a newborn. So we kept telling him "after Christmas, you get to start going on the potty!" Matt at one point told him that after we take down the Christmas tree, he could start going on the potty. Well Christmas came, and went. We traveled New Years weekend, as well as the weekend after to wrap up all of the Christmas celebrations.  And the tree stayed up. Because we knew he would remember. Once, a couple of weeks ago he even said "We're gonna knock that Christmas tree down to the floor and then I can tee tee on the potty!" So you see, this boy is BEYOND ready!

Then last Monday was my birthday..and potty training didn't sound like a very fun birthday gift to myself. So I was going to start Thursday...and then remembered that Brody had physical therapy that morning and I had errands that HAD to be completed on Thursday. got pushed back again. Finally, yesterday, we took down the Christmas tree. I had taken the ornaments and lights off New Years week. But left the tree up until we were ready. And seriously, like clockwork almost, Carson was ready. We didn't start today, but Carson kinda did on his own. Matt changed his diaper when he got him up this morning. When I undressed him to give him a bath before church, the diaper was dry and he ran to the potty to go before he got in the bath. Then after the bath, while he was still diaper-less, he said "I need to tee-tee!!" And ran to the bathroom. His diaper remained completely dry all through church. During a meeting we had after church, he told Andrea he needed to go, as if he'd been doing it for years. She took him, he went, and was still dry when we put him down for his nap. He woke up dry as well.

Sooo...I'm not sure of my expectations for tomorrow. I feel like this could be a piece of cake. Or he could change his mind and it could be harder than I'm thinking. But he's showing ALL signs of readiness and eagerness. We do the 3 day method which is intense but very worth it in the end. The only thing I did different with Brody, and will probably do different with Carson, is her "no pull-up rule." The first attempt to potty train Brody failed utterly (his CMT probably played a part in that) but was a disaster and we all were miserable. And what stressed me out the most was the wetting during nap and bedtime. He wasn't getting good naps, it was a huge mess, and at that point in life, I couldn't take it haha. I  feel like I probably could do better with it this time. So I'll probably start him out like she says and not put a pull up on at nap and bedtimes. But if it goes too long with accidents during those times, I'm not opposed to changing things up a bit. Sleep is very valuable around here :)

If I can remember, and have time, I'll try to post at the end of each day how things are going. And hopefully I'll remember to take pics. Matt is gone to lowes right now to get a couple of things and is going to pick up some drop cloths for the living room. This should be interesting....