Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Our Potty Training Must Haves

It n all of our potty training trials we have only had two accidents. Both of those have occurred because we were in places that didn't have easy bathroom access. So he told us he had to go, but simply couldn't hold it until we got him to the bathroom. After talking with the girls I work with one of them suggested getting the Potette Travel Potty.
Hello, lifesaver.  

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Basically, its a small travel potty that folds down and stores in a bag that easily fits into a diaper bag. However, once you take it out and pop the legs up and add a bag with a specially designed liner you have a potty you can use anywhere.
It also folds out to be used as a seat for public restrooms- which is pure genius if you ask me.
Also, when you run out of the liners, you can easily sub in a grocery bag with some napkins.
Once we got this, I no longer have to worry about not having a potty close by. I have carted this to the park, the pumpkin patch and even used it in the back of my car in a parking lot. Its well worth the $13 bucks Amazon charges. If you're currently facing potty training challenges, trust me, this one is a must buy.
Another must have? Cheerios.
You want to teach a little boy how to aim? Toss a few cheerios into the potty and have him practice "sinking" the cereal. It works like a charm! I'm fairly certain that the makers of the breakfast cereal would never want to advertise this use of their product, but if they were smart they might start.
I really believe that without our reward system we would have failed. Grayson saw this fish tank on TV that he decided he NEEDED, and I used that to my advantage. One morning after we had started peeing on the potty he saw the advertisement and told me to "order it online, Mom!!" and I told him as soon as he pooped on the potty I would get him his fish tank.
Its actually called a Teddy Tank, and it consists of a stuffed body that stretches over the fish bowl. He LOVES this thing. It makes the perfect home for Dory the Fish.  They also sell them in dogs, monkeys, bears and even a unicorn but we took home Mr. Penguin. 
Basically, the name of the potty training game is whatever works.
So tell me, what were some of your potty training must haves?!

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Scariest Part of Parenting So Far- Potty Training.

Raising tiny humans is a scary endeavor. 
 From the realization that they are actually going to send you home from the hospital with a human being, to the first time they get sick, then the first time that you realize they are now mobile and you have to baby/toddler proof all.the.things and everything that happens in between. While most of these moments are also amazing, I think we can all agree they are scary as all get out as well.
However this summer I reached the most terrifying moment of toddler hood so far- potty training.
I was scared ya'll.
Until this moment, I had control. We could go where we wanted, when we wanted (you know, with minimal hissy fits and tantrums) without really having to worry. I knew once we started potty training we would have to be more careful with our outings. Making sure a potty was readily available, constantly asking if he had to go potty, being ready to clean the car seat or the sheets or the couch in the occurrence of an accident. To be honest? I wasn't sure I was ready for that change. However I did want Grayson to go to preschool, and in order to do that, he had to be potty trained.
Over the summer we would put him on the potty before bath time and he would pee and he was waking up with dry diapers, so I knew he was getting close to being ready to try. However we also had a nice 10 hour drive to the beach in the beginning of August, so I knew I didn't want to do anything until after we returned from our trip. 
So I read books, blogs and articles. The three day method, the five day method- you name it I read about it. The facts that say boys can take 6-8 months to be fully trained, those that claim it can happen in three days. By the time we were ready to try I didn't know what the hell I was getting myself into. 
Over Labor Day weekend we decided to start, because Grayson had to be ready in two weeks for preschool. I went out and bought a bunch of rewards, little toys and stickers, as well as a bunch of fun big boy underwear. We had lots of juice and water at the ready and I was determined.
So Saturday morning hits and I got him up out of bed with the alarming news, Mommy had ran out of diapers. I told him we would put on some big boy underwear and if he had to pee he would just tell Mommy or Daddy. Then I said if he managed to keep his underpants dry until we could get to the store he could pick out a present. He said okay and off we went with our "normal" routine. Only we ran to the bathroom every 20 minutes and as soon as he went pee on the potty he got to pick from the prize bin. He managed to stay dry all day, so after dinner we headed off to Target to pick out his reward. Once we were there I asked if he wanted more diapers or a toy- and he went toy. There was no looking back.
Over the next three days he had only one pee accident. He asked me to change his diaper and when I said he wasn't wearing a diaper he then said "Well then I peed on the carpet." Thanks, dude.
So he got the hang of peeing very quick, but for some reason was terrified to poop on the potty.  For the next week he pooped in his underwear, in the tub, removed his pants and even went on the floor- but come hell or high water he would not go on the potty. Thinking the reward system would work I told him if he pooped on the potty he could go pick out a fish for a tank we would put in his room- he said he didn't want a fish.
I literally didn't know what to do. My in-laws said that when the hubs was little he had a similar issue, and they solved it by turning him around on the potty so he was facing backwards. The next time he said his belly hurt, I convinced him to try the potty. Turned him around and that was all it took. After he realized that he went he was so proud, and it only took him about 30 seconds to ask if we could go get his fishy. How could I argue, in the car we went.
Everyone, meet Dory the beta fish.
I truly believe that I had nothing to do with this success, it was all this boy. He has to make his mind up to do something and once he does he's golden. I'm just glad he made it pretty easy on us, because if it was a 6-8 month struggle like one book said I may have sent him off to college in some Pampers.
As terrifying as this parenting gig may be, this kid makes it a pretty awesome ride.  

Thursday, October 9, 2014

First Day of Preschool!!

How did we get to this day? Didn't I just bring this goober home from the hospital? Now he's heading off to preschool?
What's next? Med School?!
At the end of the year last year we signed Grayson up to attend preschool at the High School where I teach. The teacher in charge is phenomenal and the students in the Child Development Classes are some of my favorite students from past years. Plus I knew I could just sneak downstairs every now and then and take a peak at him.
So I did everything you should do. I bought the book "The Night Before Preschool". We went backpack and folder shopping. We picked out a first day of school outfit. I made a pinterest worthy sign. I charged the camera....oh wait.
You guys, I loaned our camera out and totally forgot to get it back.
When did I realize this? At 9 PM the night before school started.
Parent fail #1.
Oh don't worry, I thought. We have the small Fuji camera as a backup. So I charged up the battery and the hubs assured me that he would take LOTS of pictures.
Until the next day when he realized the extra memory card was in the camera bag with our Nikkon.
 Yep, Parent Fail #2.
Thank God for iPhone cameras or our kids first day wouldn't even be documented.
At least we didn't forget the sign? I came up with this last week using PicMonkey and I was super happy with how it turned out.
Yep, you read that right. A Pirate. Not the Pittsburgh Baseball Player kind, the Arrgg kind.
That's my kid.

He was so excited to take his first day of school "chipper" (picture).
A friend covered my class so I could sneak down to see him at the end of the day. When I asked how his day was he told me  "Me cried, just a ittle bit." When I asked him why he cried he answered that he just needed a minute, cause everybody cries Mom.
Well, that's right little man. Cause as I walked up stairs after seeing him go in I too was a bit of a crying mess. In fact one student asked me if I was okay.  Luckily its a kid I've had before and when I told him why he just smiled and said I was crazy.
My kiddos really get me.

Looks like preschool was a success. Now to see if we can get him to go back again!
So tell me lovelies, am I the only one who cried on their kids first day of school?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Three Year Old Pictures

Way back in January my sweet friend Jackie from JDP Photography posted on facebook about a monthly special for photos. I quickly said I would take August, knowing that we would need Mr. Man's three year photos and some family shots.
The results speak for themselves. If you're in the Pittsburgh area, you must check her out. She's one of the sweetest, kindest women ever and OH SO PAITIENT. The day we took these photos was about 87 degrees and humid as all get out. She took her time and tried so hard to get a smile out of Grayson, which believe me was not easy. She did however get a perfect shot of those baby blue eyes I love so much. I love these pictures, and I really can't say enough good things about her.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Big Bugger Birthday Party!

Well, he wanted bugs- so he got bugs.
I fell in love with these amazing invites from LuvBugDesign on Etsy. Ashley was super easy to work with and I couldn't have asked for a better product.  I uploaded it to WalMart and had them printed on cardstock for a fraction of the price of the other printer sites. I even chose the option to print a collage of his pictures on the back, and they cost a whopping $0.59 cents each and were at my door with envelopes in three days.  They came and we loved them, so it seemed pretty smart to take those elements and run with them for the rest of the party.

The favor bags included a plastic mason jar to catch bugs, a bug net, plastic and sticky bugs, plastic bug Easter eggs filled with candy, and a beanie baby bug. At the end of the party I stuffed chocolate covered bumble bee pretzels, chocolate covered frogs and a popcorn cup into each treat bag. No one went home without treats, for sure. Also when it was time for cake, I may or may not have delivered a piece to each child with a cup of dirt. Because we didn't have ice cream.

Grayson wanted a gym class party, which I mentioned was tough because most gyms don't allow food other than cake. Well a local YMCA came through with this amazing gym class set up, complete with bars and ball pits and fun things to climb all over. The kids LOVED it and they all got to run around until their hearts were content.
As for food we were sad because the place we ordered from last year closed down. So we decided to go easy and order pizza and a sandwich ring. It was delicious and easy and I loved it so. I also made some peanut butter sandwiches and cut them into butterflies using a cookie cutter for the non-pizza eaters. Ants on a log, chips, grape caterpillars and bug juice rounded out the food menu.  
Then it was time for cake. If anyone remembers last year, Grayson pitched a FIT when we sang to him. So to say I was nervous was an understatement.

But no worries at all this year, he loved it! Im pretty sure he asked if we could do it again.

I still cant believe my little boy turned three. Of course he is already asking about his next birfday party. I cant wait to see what he comes up with next year!

Monday, October 6, 2014

This Year the Boy Wants Bugs...

This year the boy decided he wanted his party to be all about the bugs.  What can I say? Hes a typical boy, through and through. He kept calling it his big bugger birthday party. So before I reveal the actual event, I want to share with you my inspiration for the party.
First things first, I hit up Pinterest and came up with some ideas.

So bug food, bug cake, bug favors. I thought, I can do this.
After Pinterest I knew my next stop would be Etsy for the perfect invitations. Followed closely by a Google search for bug jars and nets on the cheap because the dollar store was already out of them and it was August.
In the past I have DIYed a lot of elements for Grayson's Parties (check out the Super Why Party and the Thomas Party from years past!) so I knew this year wouldn't be any different. I wanted to make the favors, food tags, and a lot of the elements myself. I usually start early planning these events and try to have most of the elements finished before I go back to work in the fall.

He also wanted a Gym Class birthday party, so I had to find a gym that would allow us to bring in food. Most places only allow cake and juice boxes, and I knew I couldn't sugar up a bunch of toddlers and then not feed them any real food. Plus, I like having food for the parents as well. Its kind of my peace offering for all of the junk food I will shove into their children for the two hours of the party.
Grayson was actually really specific about his cake.  His Godmother said she would order the cake from a bakery right by her work and she was nice enough to ask Grayson what he wanted. My only requirement was that it was covered in bright colorful bugs so it would be cute enough to actually want to eat. Grayson told his Ashey he wanted caterpillars, ants, spiders and ladybugs.  He was so adamant on what he wanted, it was really kind of cute.
The place we ordered food from last year had gone out of business, so we decided to make it easy and order some pizzas and a sandwhich ring. I also wanted to make peanut butter "butterfly" sandwiches for the kiddos who don't like pizza. I wanted bug juice, grape caterpillars, dirt and some type of bug cookies. 
So I had a plan, I just had to get it all to come together. Check back tomorrow to see if I pulled it off!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Friday Phone Dump!

I have so many fun pictures from summer and since I officially know how to get them off of my phone- here goes nothing!
Weddings make you put on grown up clothes!
(Dress is from Kiki La Rue!)

Buddies give hugs.

Looking identical to his big cousin. Who I may or may not have also carried in a laundry basket a time or two.

How everyone feels shopping at Wal Mart.

Fourth of July Fun

See, me still be little like David.

Pappy got him the GALLON sized purple slushie. PS- if they drink even a little bit of this, they will puke in purple too! He took about four sips.

Grayson, did you eat a doughnut? No Mommy, me ate LOTS of them!

That time Uncle Mac rappelled off of a building.

Still bedhogs.

When you're having a good hair day, you take a selfie.

We take awkward selfies like champs.

More proof. PS- that shirt is from 3rd grade. Still fits.  

Mommy can Pappy take me for a ride?
No kid. Just no.

Best friends take awkward selfies too!