Tuesday, January 31, 2012


{whole wheat toast w/olive oil}
{cherry tomato halves}
{garbanzo beans}
{smoked salmon} 

Yeah.  She dumped the non-eaten food into her cup of milk.  

That NEVER happens, you guys. 


(Haaaaaaaaaaaa. Ha.)

Monday, January 30, 2012

What she was offered: To-go edition!

We were heading out on Saturday for some winter carnival festivities so I packed a quick to-go lunch for Eliza that she ate at a coffee shop while hubby and I had coffee to warm up.

We received this fun little bento box for Christmas (I've been coveting it for a while) from my soon-to-be BIL, and I love it.  It is perfect for the on-the-go mom and tot, and comes with a little bottle for drinks, too.  It's by Goodbyn (find it here).  And seriously, Goodbyn?  I will say all kinds of nice things about you if you want to sponsor me :)

{eggplant hummus + leftover pizza crust}
{annie's cheddar bunnies mixed with oyster crackers}
{peas + broccoli}
{fresh whole strawberries}
{fruit leather}

Thursday, January 26, 2012

At 2 years, 2 months (and a few days)...

My dear Eliza, here's a little summary of what you're up to lately (haven't done one of these in a while!):
  • you love garbanzo beans.
  • you named your kitty figurine "Gabba Babba".
  • you sing "row row row your boat", "twinkle", your "ABCs", and Florence + The Machine's "Shake it Out" (well, the chorus at least!).
  • you use the word "mostly" in the most interesting ways: "you mostly go over there, mama".
  • you still love your mama's milk.
  • you have started asking for a baby brother or sister (though I think your Dada had something to do with this...!).  You say "I need a baby {brother/sister - but usually it's sister} so I can share my {bread/milky/toys/etc.} with her".  I think you would make a marvelous big sister, and I would love to see you in that role someday!
  • you can count to 11, usually in order, but not always.
  • you are finally big enough to face forward in your car seat.
  • you have found a new passion for putting things - random toys, balls, food, sippy cups - into plastic baggies so you can "save them".  Then sometimes you will put them in the refrigerator!  You're a silly one.
  • you are a carbivore... but you'll eat (or at least try) almost anything.
  • you love holding hands with your little friends.
  • you are potty trained.
  • you love your uncle Reid and aunt Kelly and always ask me if they will have any "em-ee-ems" (M&Ms) for you.
  • you "play" with your words... you like to rhyme and make silly words (right now you are saying "fruit-toot-fruit-toot-woot-toot-woot-toot".  It's very purposeful and you know you are being silly and speaking nonsense when you do it.  Of course we take this as a sign of great intelligence ;)
  • you love books, and of course you especially love it when we read to you.  I think you could probably sit on my lap all day long and read book after book.  A few of your favorites right now are Llama Llama Red Pajama, Mousework, anything by Dr. Seuss (maybe that's where you found your love of rhyming!), Strega Nona, and Owl at Home.
  • you love wrapping your toys up in paper or napkins and giving them to people as "presents".
  • you are sleeping in your new big girl bed for half the night, and in mama and dada's bed for the other half.
  • you love caring for your baby dolls - nursing them, putting them to bed, taking them for walks in their stroller.
  • you are a mama's girl, and that is just fine :)
Love you, sweet girl.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Big Girl Bed = Big Girl Sleep?

A few readers have asked about Eliza's transition to the big girl bed and how her sleep has been since then.

The short answer?  Nothing has changed.  Not really.  Not yet.

I do have hope (hence the word YET.  See?), but so far Eliza's sleep habits are still pretty poor.  Well, I suppose her sleep is pretty typical for the not-yet-weaned toddler... but, still, pretty crappy overall.  She's waking anywhere from 2-6 times per night, and the waking has become more frequent since the introduction of the big girl bed.  So, yes, she is definitely still getting used to the bed.

What we do like about it is that we (and I use that term very loosely, and in fact I really only mean "I" ;)  can lay down with her (it's a twin bed) and help her get back to sleep by just laying next to her.  So, that's a definite improvement over the crib.  And, she seems to wake up less upset, I think because she has the freedom to get up by herself and isn't trapped in the crib.  Also, this means that she can walk into our bedroom and climb into bed with us without me having to go get her from her crib - so yay for mama not having to get out of bed (as much)!

Last night, she was so cute... I was brushing my teeth and I heard her bedroom door open (a sound that we are still getting used to hearing - it's surprising to hear her open the door!).  She poked her head out and said in her squeaky cute little tired voice "can you come in here?".  So I went in and tucked her in and  laid down next to her.  She fell right back to sleep.  It was the sweetest thing...she just needed me to be with her - how simple.  I am so happy to know that I can still meet such simple requests as "can you come in here?".

So, I can't give you all the update that I had dreamed I would be able to -- "The big girl bed solved all of our sleep problems! She sleeps through the night and wakes up bright eyed and bushy tailed!" (haha, okay just to be clear I was never delusional enough to think those things... but I will admit to having crazy daydreams of the sort :) -- but I can say that the big girl bed has been a great improvement and our girl feels SO PROUD to be sleeping in it.  We are proud of her, too!  She has gone through a lot of big girl changes over the last few weeks and she has taken it all in stride without any issues.  She continues to be a flexible, easy-going, happy girl.  So, even though sleep is still an issue, it's easy to forget about it when this face is smiling at you during the day:

Friday, January 20, 2012

Tales of a Small House, Part II: The Play Area

I thought I'd share a few photos of Eliza's play area in our house.  It's in the corner of our living room.  It's 4 feet by 5 feet, so of our home's 920 total square feet, it only takes up 20 square feet!  But we pack a lot into the small space for our girl, and she really does seem to enjoy it.  It's proof that you don't need a lot of space to have fun.  

A key to making this space work is limiting the number of toys in it.  We try to rotate certain toys in and out (I keep a few in the dining room closet and swap them out once in a while), but really, Eliza doesn't have that many toys to begin with, and that helps when living in a small house.  It's also part of how we choose to raise her - without too much stuff - but I suppose that's the topic for another post.

I got that mat from the thrift store, and it's nice because it's small, I think it's 3'x3', and cushy for sitting and kneeling on.  I bought the little carpet sample from the car wash, and it's nice for me and hubby to sit on when we're playing, instead of sitting on the hardwood.  The hanging organizer is from Ikea, and I hung it with command hooks (I love those things!).  It's great for storing little odds and ends, and the tea set lives there when it's not in use, too.  The little square cubbies used to serve as my husband's night stand.  Now it stores Eliza's drum, xylophone, puzzles, and a few other toys.

Eliza's bookshelf is the bottom half of our hutch (a girl can never have too many books!).  I use the top of it for the few knick-knacks I have that are meaningful to me, and for family photos.  See?  You can marry kid stuff and adult stuff in (somewhat) perfect harmony!  

As you can see on the left and right sides of the hutch, I hung up a few things - hanging storage is useful because it gets things off the ground and instantly makes things look more organized.  Again, I just used command hooks because I didn't want to mar the wood hutch (it belonged to my grandparents and I love it).  In the corner is a basket - you can barely see it in the bottom right corner - that currently serves as a catch-all for a number of random toys, baby dolls and some baby doll clothes.  I was just thinking this morning that I could probably organize this little corner a bit better, but it works for now.

Eliza's horsey purse from Auntie Kelly.  She adores it.  I do, too :)
She often stands in her fruit and veggies bin :)

There you have it. It's nothing fancy, it's all done very inexpensively, and it's 20 square feet of fun!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Soup Weather

The windchill today dropped well below zero (-32 when we woke up this morning!), so it was a happy moment this morning when I remembered we had a big pot of homemade soup in the fridge that we made yesterday with my mom.

It was SO easy to make that I thought I'd share it here.  I'm no food blogger, but every once in a while I come across a recipe that I just have to share - usually because it strikes the perfect balance between simplicity/no-fuss and deliciousness.

It's my Grandma Mary's vegetable beef with barley soup, and it's the perfect choice for a cold winter day.

- onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- beef chuck roast, about 3/4 lb, cut into small pieces (or short ribs or any soup meat you want to use)
- 1/2 cup barley
- one large can diced tomatoes (28 oz can I think!), plus one can full of water.
- one can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
- one package frozen mixed veggies of your choice (we used one with peas, carrots, corn, and green beans)
- 2 bay leaves
- salt to taste

Start by cooking the barley according to the directions.  Then saute celery and onion together in your favorite large dutch oven with a bit of grapeseed or canola oil until soft.  Add beef.  When beef is cooked, add the rest of the ingredients - the can of tomatoes (juice and all), plus the one can full of water, the beans, the (now-cooked) barley, the frozen veggies and the bay leaves.  Taste it and salt as you go (it will need a fair amount of salt).  Cook on medium for a while, and then just leave it on low all day long - the longer the better.  I think I left it on low for like 8 or 9 hours!  

We ate it this afternoon for lunch with some homemade bread and olive oil.  It was perfect for this chilly day, and Eliza loved it too!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Big Girl Bed

The day FINALLY came.

Eliza had been asking over and over and over again: "is my big girl bed ready yet? Is the carpenter done with my bed?".  She was so excited.  We told her all about it, she knew a carpenter (not grandpa, we told her, a different carpenter - grandpa is a carpenter too, she pointed out) was making her bed and would deliver it when it was ready.

It was a Big Girl Week, that's for sure - she potty trained and got her big girl bed all in the same week.

First, we said good bye to the crib.

Why yes, that is a Pillow Person - any '80s babies remember those?
I think it was harder for me to say goodbye to the crib than it was for Eliza.  Honestly...it was tough.  I didn't think I would have such a strong emotional reaction.  Saying goodbye to the nursery the way it was -- all the baby things, the arrangement of the room, all the time I spent in there planning and dreaming and working on it before she was born -- it was hard.  It's never going to look like that again.  And it was probably the only nursery I will decorate; since our house is so small, if we have another baby he/she will share the room with Eliza (no more bedrooms left!!).

I know, I know... first world problems, right??!!

At the same time, I was - am! - so excited for Eliza to grow up and get to experience all these new and exciting things... like the big girl bed.  It was a big moment when she ran into her room after it had been set up.  She was so happy.  It was such a joy to see her joy.

After checking out the top loft (where she will sleep when she's a bigger big girl), she tried out the bottom where she will be sleeping for now, until she's a little more sure on the ladder (and can manage it while groggy, which is what I'm mostly worried about).

A girl and her bed: true love
I had fun setting it up and making it special for my big girl.  There are some new things (owl sheets, pink pillow), some old things (pink blanket my mom bought me while we were on vacation in the Blue Ridge mountains when I was younger), and some handmade things (I made the purple pillows and my mom made the small quilt for Eliza when she was a baby).  It's perfect.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Potty Training - Days 4, 5, and The Flu


Same routine this morning: woke up mostly dry, peed on the potty.  My parents came over for breakfast this morning.  We made eggs, and yummy farm fresh bacon from our favorite farmers at the market, Bar 5.  It was a good morning.  My dad left and my mom decided to stay and hang out with me and Eliza for the day since she didn't have to work.  Soon after breakfast, I realized Eliza hadn't gone since the morning.  I was on watch, though not bugging her about it.  All of a sudden she started squatting.  My mom saw her first and quickly ushered her to the potty where she happily sat down and peed.  Again, we talked about that feeling she was feeling and how that meant it was time to run run run to the potty OR tell mama or dada.

Later, we decided to make an outing to buy Eliza some big girl sheets for her big girl bed (that was to arrive Sunday!).  We did the routine potty before we left, and then when we got to the store, I suggested we "check out the potty" there, and she went there as well.  So there I was, totally suggesting potty breaks - but yeah, I think I will continue doing this for a while when we're out and about.

So, again, it was just that she had to start feeling and recognizing the urge, and then acting on it.  She had tried to do this a few times so far, but it was not yet reliable (though I knew it was totally normal at this point.  Realistically, it could take months before she did this reliably).  We got home, peed again upon arrival, and then *tried* to nap.

Then, we did not nap.

My mom offered to take her swimming at a local community center while I worked in the lobby, so off we went.  We ate lunch, though Eliza barely ate anything... and then all of a sudden she said "I want to go pee" (!!!!YAY!!!!).  She and my mom raced off to the family bathroom (I didn't pay for a wristband to get into the facility so I could only go as far as the lobby) where she peed!  A great sign!  My mom said she peed after they got out of the pool, too.

They were in the pool for about an hour and then we left for home.  Right before we left, however, Eliza said "My tummy hurts.  Too many noodles in my tummy."  Hmmm... we had not eaten noodles...!  She has said this before and has been fine, so I didn't know what to think.  On the short drive home, Eliza became increasingly upset and irritable, but I thought she was just tired from not napping and that all the activity from swimming had just worn her out.  She kept saying "I'm tired mama", and was asking for milk, so when we got home we sat on the couch together and she nursed for like 30 seconds before drifting off to sleep.  I was sort of thinking I should keep her awake so we wouldn't have a bedtime battle, but the poor thing just looked so tired that I let her sleep.  About 30 minutes later, she stirred.  I moved her a bit so that she was kind of over my shoulder...........and then proceeded to throw up all over my back and the couch.  EEEEEEEWWWWWW!!!  This was my first experience with kid vomiting.  I realize that it's been over 2 years and that I'm extremely lucky to have gone this long... but wow.  It was disgusting.

Anyway, I won't give you all the vomit-y details, but this went on for the next 12 hours (from about 4:30pm to 4:30am), with some pretty crappy sleep in between "sessions", and then continued into the next two days (though with less frequency).

The good news is that she didn't  have an accident this whole time, and she even woke up dry the next morning, and then peed when she woke up.


After one more...session...which fortunately my husband dealt with and cleaned up, Eliza wanted to go back to bed.  She wasn't going to hear any complaints from me!  So we crawled back into bed and she laid next to me.  All of a sudden she said something like "I toot and have to pee".  Honestly, I was so groggy that I don't really remember what she said (SO NOT A MORNING PERSON, PEOPLE).  I wish I could remember.  I do remember realizing that she was indicating that she might need to poop (we were, after all, beginning day 4 of what hubby and I lovingly started to refer to as "Poop Watch 2012".  Hey, we have to get our kicks somewhere).  So off we went to the bathroom.  She sat on her potty and nothing really happened, but she didn't get up.  So we started talking a bit about how she was feeling, she told me that "I vomit.  I vomit like Belle!" (yes, she is unfortunately already very familiar with vomiting thanks to our kitty...).  So we're sitting there chatting and finally - FINALLY - after about a minute or so (well, no, actually after 4 days), she pooped on the potty.  And we cheered and high-fived and I told her how proud I was of her.  She was SO excited.  She kept saying "I poop on the potty by myself!".  And of course she wanted to look at it... and she wanted to show it to all her friends ("I show Maya?" No, sweetie...just, no.), and then she waved bye-bye as we flushed it down the toilet.

Oh my, it was an event.

After that, she really started to perk up.  I could tell we were through the worst of it, and in fact she seemed to get better as the day went on (and then worse again a little later).  As far as potty training went the rest of the day, it was another uneventful day.  She wouldn't really eat or drink much this day, I think her tummy still couldn't handle much, so she didn't have many opportunities, but she did go at those periodic "routine" times and avoided an accident.

And this brings us up to the present.  Well, sort of.  It bring us up to the present day that I'm writing this, but not to the present day in which it will be published... oh never mind, it doesn't matter.

Final Thoughts

It is very clear that she was ready for this.  There has been no pushing on my part, and no push-back from her.  If there had been any sign that she was not ready at any step of this process, I would have stopped and waited a few more months.  If she had become frustrated or too upset or it became a power struggle, I would have stopped.  But it turns out that she was ready.  And even though she's not "100% potty trained" yet, she is on her way and I am SO proud of her!  She has made a lot of progress since we started on Sunday (it is now Thursday, btw), I can't even believe the difference.  I know we might have a few more accidents over the next couple of months than if we had waited until she was older to PT - maybe closer to age 3?  I've heard that if kids potty train closer to 3, there are fewer accidents and the whole process doesn't take as long.  So, I guess it's a trade off.  I honestly didn't care WHEN, I just wanted her to do this WITH me, and not have it be something I was doing TO her.  And it worked!  Or, I guess I should say... it is working (now, excuse me while I go knock on some wood).

I'll keep you posted, but for now I think we've all heard enough about Eliza's bodily functions.  I know I've certainly had enough of writing about them for now!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Potty Training - Day 3

After waking up mostly dry (I could tell the pull-up was a bit wet this morning), Eliza went into the bathroom with me and went potty.  By this point she was getting pretty used to the "routine" times at which we generally use the bathroom: in the morning (and the fact that picking out a pair of big girl underwear follows this potty time is extra motivating at this time), before we leave the house, upon returning to the house, before and after nap and before bath time.  By this day she also knew that when you sit down on the potty chair, you go pee.  By this point she was willing and able to do this every single time she sat down.

So, by Day 3, it was pretty clear that if someone reminded her to try to use the potty every so often and/or coaxed her into sitting down and trying, she wouldn't have any accidents.

But to me, that's not the definition of "potty trained".

So, while we were at home, I wasn't constantly reminding her or asking her; I wanted her to learn her own body's cues and not have to constantly remind her that it was time to try to go potty.  I mean, I know that's a common parental thing to say - especially when you're in public places - "do you have to go potty?" or "let's try going potty" -- don't you hear parents everywhere saying that to their kids like ALL THE TIME?  Yeah, now I get it.  'Cuz at this stage they are like little ticking time bombs!!! -- but while we were at home, I just let the learning experiences happen in hopes that she would learn from them.  Yes, while we were out I would (and probably still will for a great long while) ask/remind her, but not at home.

I was definitely excited that she had gotten this far, though!  The fact that she was "holding it" for some period of time, could release when she got to the potty chair, and was totally cool and happy with the whole experience thus far - without using any sort of extrinsic reward?  Awesome.  I was just looking forward to that next step.

And so we trudged on.

On this day, we were watching our little friend Isaac and I decided it would be best to bring him back to our house instead of bringing the potential for accidents to my friend's house.  So we went to Isaac's house to pick him up.  Before we left for home, though, Eliza did use the Elmo potty at Isaac's house.  She was very excited to show Isaac how to use the potty, to show Isaac's mama her big girl underwear, and to use a new potty.  So, that worked out well.

We got home that morning, played a bit and then it was snack time.  While we were all sitting at the table having snack, Eliza all of a sudden looked down and then I saw the puddle forming.  I scooped her up and ran her to the potty saying "let's pee in the potty, okay?".  She did sit down and pee a bit more, but she had peed a lot on the chair.  Fun times.  We talked it through afterwards.  I told her that was the feeling of a full bladder and that meant she should run run run to the potty before that happens to keep her big girl underwear dry.

It's so interesting to go through this experience - you really realize that these physical feelings are all things that they have to learn on their own (at this young of an age at least) - the feeling of having to pee, the holding of that pee until they are sitting on the potty, and then releasing.  There is a lot going on - muscular/physical, mental, and even emotional!  No amount of explaining or talking or rewarding can really do that.  It needs to click with them, I think.

So, on to our second pair of underwear for the day.

The rest of the day was rather uneventful.  She peed before and after nap, stayed dry during nap, and then peed before we left the house to drop Isaac off, and then again once at Isaac's house - oh and that time she did actually say "I want to go pee", but I'm not sure if it was due to her actually feeling the need to go, or out of the novelty of using a different potty?

One thing happened later in the day that was interesting, and a good sign, I think: we were eating dinner and I knew she hadn't tried to use the potty since we got home about an hour or so earlier, but again, I wasn't going to bug her about it, so we just ate dinner together and then I got her out of her high chair and noticed her pants were a little wet.  I asked her if she felt the wetness and if we should put on some dry underwear.  So we went into the bathroom and I took her pants and underwear off and really, they weren't all that wet - like it seemed that she had peed a tiny bit, but then stopped.  Then she sat down on the potty and peed a LOT more.  So, I took that as a good sign - like she knew that it wasn't right to pee in her underwear and so she stopped until she got to her potty chair?  I don't know.  Again, she wasn't yet verbalizing the need to go potty and hadn't run into the bathroom on her own at all that day (a slightly discouraging fact), but maybe this was something?

Then Daddy got home, she peed again before bath, and it was time for bed.  I was exhausted but feeling like some progress was being made!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Potty Training - Day 2

We woke up for Day 2 to a dry pull-up!  Small victories :)  I know many people/books suggest not using pull-ups for overnight (or at all), but seeing that we're still co-sleeping for part of the night, I wasn't going to spend half the night worrying about The Pee Bomb to go off next to me in bed.  So, it's pull-ups for now.  We call them her "paper big girl underwear", just like we used to call 'sposies "paper diapers" (vs. cloth).

Straight to the bathroom we went where Eliza successfully emptied her bladder while Daddy (who was in the shower at the time) and Mama looked on - ah, the joys of the single-bathroom home!  Then she ran into her room to pick out her (first pair of) big girl underwear for the day (butterflies).  Then we played, I made my coffee, put away some dishes, we said goodbye to Daddy, and then we decided we should make smoothies.  Just as she was pushing up her stool to the counter to help me make smoothies, she got down and started running into the other room.  I followed close behind and found her standing outside the bathroom door saying "I peed, I peed".  She did in fact have an accident on the floor, but I took this as SUCH a good sign - she had actually felt the need to pee and tried to get to the potty herself.  And she got pretty darn close!  She peed a bit more in the potty and then we washed hands and picked out new undies.  I just said "let's try hard to keep this pair of underwear dry, okay? Tell mama when you have to go potty OR run to the potty yourself, like a big girl!".

She spent the morning dry, and we made an outing to go to our ECFE class.  She peed in the potty there upon arrival and then again before we left.

We got home and she seemed really tired and was asking for milk, so I put her down for a nap on our bed (on a towel!).  She slept a LOOONG time - like over 2 hours (which gave me time to take all the Christmas decorations down and sort through her old clothes to make goodwill/pack away piles - score!)  - and actually woke up dry!  I told her what a big girl she was to wake up dry from a nap and how exciting that was.  Then I asked her if she wanted to try to go potty since she hadn't tried since after ECFE.  She agreed and again emptied her bladder.

Also of note -- she had underwear and leggings on this entire day and was *almost* able to get them on and off by herself.  She just needed a little help in back.  Also, she was wiping herself each time.

Anyway, after nap Grandma brought lunch over and Eliza played with Grandma in the afternoon while I worked around the house (as I wrote about earlier this week, we are really trying to organize our living spaces right now).  It was a great help, and I was still able to be close by to keep an eye on the PTing.  Once during the afternoon, Eliza went into the bathroom and started trying to pull her pants down - I couldn't really believe my eyes, actually!  But there she was.  She said: "I show Belle!", so we brought our kitty Belle in the bathroom and Eliza showed her how to go potty like a big girl.  You better believe I held that cat down and made her watch my two-year-old pee in her potty.  Ha!  Oh, the things we do.

After that, she went a loooong time (like two hours, I want to say?) without attempting - and she stayed dry, but I was starting to wonder/worry since it had been so long.  So at this point my mom and I did encourage her to try.  This time we brought our other cat Maxx in the bathroom and Eliza showed him how to pee like a big girl.  Naturally, he was enthralled.

After that, Grandma left and Eliza and I played a bit more and then I got dinner ready.  Daddy was going to be late that night, so we ate without him.  Eliza was sitting in her highchair (with her tray on) during dinner, so I don't know if it was the fact that she couldn't get down by herself, or if she was distracted eating dinner, or if it was just a plain old "learning experience"... but she peed a little while she was sitting in her highchair.  It wasn't very much... but enough to change her clothes.  So we went into the bathroom (where she also peed a little more in her potty), got her cleaned up and then put on a new pair of underwear.

The rest of the night was accident free.  When Daddy came home, he took over.  She peed in the potty one more time (including a long stretch of sitting on the potty trying to see if she had to poop - hubby handles that much better than I do for some reason!), had a bath, and then got ready for bed.  All in all, it was a great day!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Potty Training - Day 1

We started the day with a nice breakfast out to eat as a family.  Eliza had a fun time coloring with crayons while we waited for our food, and then she enjoyed a big breakfast of french toast, scrambled eggs and sausage (and some of mama's pancakes).  We talked all about how Eliza was such a big girl now, and how after breakfast we were going to go buy her some big girl underwear - the day she had been waiting for a LONG time!  She was really excited.

Off to Tar.get we went and found some pretty purple, green, white, pink, polka dots, and butterfly underwear.  Eliza proudly put them up on the register so we could pay for them, and then carried the bag out of the store herself.

We got home and made a big celebration out of packing away her cloth diapers ("the baby will use them" she said), and threw away the few paper diapers we had hanging around (which of course I then rescued from the trash so we could give them away).  She chose to put on the purple polka dot underwear first and then took off all her other clothes - she was SO proud and excited to be wearing big girl underwear.  We explained to her how she was a big girl now so it was time to use the big girl potty, and to tell Mama or Dada when she had to go.  We started by going straight to the bathroom.  She sat down and used the potty to go pee right away.  She even pulled up her underwear all by herself afterwards.  We gave her high fives and told her we were proud of our big girl.

Soon it was naptime and even though she did go pee again before naptime, she still woke up wet.  So we said "your underwear is wet, let's change you into a dry pair".  The idea is to not make it a negative thing that they had a "learning experience" - just to try again.  So we reminded her to try to tell us before she had to go potty, or to just run into the bathroom when she felt like she had to go.

Later that day we went to my parents' house - Eliza stayed there while hubby and I ran an errand, an Ikea run which took us 3 hours!  While we were gone my mom and dad took over (bless them).  She had one little pee accident and then peed in the potty once.  When we got home she tried to go again but couldn't "release", so we just said "thanks for trying" and moved on.  Not 5 minutes later I saw her in her familiar "stance" and scooped her up mid-accident and brought her to the potty.  She did finish pooping into the toilet, about which she was VERY proud.  "I made poop go in the potty!".  Everyone came and looked.  She sat on the potty for maybe another minute or so and then said she wanted to get down.  So we washed hands and got ready for dinner.  About 10 minutes later I saw her face and knew she was either pooping or had to poop again... sure enough, she had pooped in her underwear.  Poor girl.  So we went in the bathroom and cleaned up and started over.

At this point, I was feeling very worn down and questioning whether this was a good idea.  I didn't want to put any pressure on her or make her feel like she was a failure.  She is only 26 months, I knew that is on the early side...was this a ridiculous thing to do?  But, I promised that I would give it a good try, so we forged on.  We tried hard (and succeeded, I think) to keep things very positive and just kept telling her to tell mama or dada (or grandma or grandpa) when she felt like she had to use the bathroom.  I knew she had to learn the feeling first, and that would take time.  She definitely didn't like being wet or the feeling of poop in her pants (well DUH!), and she knew that pee and poop went in the potty, so it was just a matter of anticipating the events!

We got home that night accident-free and everyone went potty when we walked in the door.  She put on another pair of underwear (pair #5 for the day!) and played a bit before bath time.  We talked a lot about it and congratulated her on her first day of potty learning.  It was a start.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Potty Training

For the last five days, we've been working on potty learning/training/whatever you want to call it with Eliza.  We started on Sunday morning with a trip to get some big girl underwear, and we went from there.  I've been documenting every detail of each day, and I'm going to publish one a day for the next few days.

So, this is your warning!

I know that the five or six of you who read this blog might not mind reading about this subject, but... still.  I thought it would be polite to give everyone a heads up.  I also want to say that I KNOW this stuff is not interesting to anyone but other parents going through potty training... which is really why I am going to post it and ONLY post it here.  I don't talk about it on face.book, so I talk about it here.  I also want to have a record of this for when P2 comes along.

To give you a little background, we started the potty training journey here, so this is the continuation of the journey.  I don't want to spoil the "ending", but, no, I can't say that we are 100% done as of today - or that there has even really been an ending to the potty learning journey - but she's made a lot of progress.  I am so so so proud of her!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tales of a Small House, Part I

We are doing some rearranging, reevaluating and redoing of our house.  Nothing big, just some organizational and perhaps cosmetic changes.  This was spurred by the fact that Eliza's big girl bed is arriving on Saturday, so we have to figure out where her soon-to-be-displaced-by-a-huge-twin-loft glider is going to go in our small house.  So, we are doing some major rethinking of our living spaces, which is leading to a lot of purging, repurposing and asking ourselves "is this the best use of this particular space?"

You see, our house has 920 square feet.  Not college dorm room or one-bedroom apartment small, but for two adults, one child and two cats (not to mention all of our stuff), it poses a bit of an organizational challenge.  Over the past 6 years, I've become pretty good at handling the challenge, to the point that I actually enjoy it (that is, when I'm not cursing the housing market that makes it impossible for us to move - so much for our "5-7 year home"!!!  Anyway.....).  

Here's what we have to work with in our cozy house:
  • Three bedrooms.  This is rare in such a small house.  Even though the bedrooms are small (8'x10'), at least there are three of them - this helps a lot in terms of creating separate spaces and privacy.  One is a non-conforming bedroom which means that it doesn't have a closet.
  • One full bathroom with enough storage for towels, cleaning supplies, extra toilet paper and toiletries.  The bathroom is actually where we have the greatest ratio of built-in storage to square footage, maybe with the exception of the kitchen? 
  • Kitchen (not eat-in) - plenty of cupboard space, thanks in part to the fact that we don't have a dishwasher! ;)
  • Dining room - one tiny closet.
  • Living room/entry way - no built-in storage here, but my talented father crafted some beautiful custom hook rails (two of them with five hooks on each one) in the corner by our entryway for coats.  
  • Closets: 3 in total.  We have two closets of standard door width (26"), by 30" deep and as tall as our ceilings (8').  They do the job for mine and hubby's clothing (we each have one; Eliza uses a dresser) with the help of some mad closet organization and storage solutions.  We also have one teensy closet in our dining room.  It's not quite as deep as a standard hanger - I know because we use it to hang winter coats and things, and the hangers have to hang diagonally in order to close the door!  Thankfully, it's about one inch wider than my wooden folding chairs, so I can store those there.  
My new motto around the house is: question everything.  For example: Are we absolutely sure we need this {widget/gadget/dresser/random item}?  Or, who says we can't store the food processor on the top shelf of my closet?  It's more easily accessible there than in the basement.  And hey - why can't this wine rack double as a pants-holder when hung on the wall of my closet?? (easily one of my favorites!). We use under-the-bed storage like it's our job, our coffee table is a trunk that houses our extra blankets and hubby's gaming equipment, and baskets line the shelves (also made by my talented Dad!) in Eliza's room that store her next-size-up clothes (only clothes that currently fit her go in her dresser) and other necessities.  We're serious about alternative storage in this house!

In addition to storage solutions, living in a small house demands efficient use of space.  So, even if the answer seems unorthodox, I always ask: how could we better arrange this room to get the most out of the space?  An example: our bedroom isn't being used to its full potential - but for years we thought we didn't have any other options because "this is the only configuration that allows our nightstands to fit next to the bed! what about our nightstands? WE NEED NIGHTSTANDS.  Right? Right?"  It took a while for us to see that - hmm - maybe we don't need nightstands!  Huh. What would that be like?  Could we install a few corner shelves instead to store our alarm clock/kleenex box/kindles there?  Then, we could move the bed over there to the corner, and then look how much floor space is opened up.  Then we wouldn't have to SHUFFLE SIDEWAYS to get past the end of our bed (we currently only have 11 inches between the end of our bed and the wall).  How novel.  We're moving the bed tonight and we're going to try it out.  I'll let you know how it goes!

Does anyone else out there live in a cozy, er, spaciously-challenged home?  What are your tricks?  I have a few that I'll share in my next post.  I'd love to hear yours too!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Big Girl Beds and Babies

Eliza is getting her big girl bed next weekend, and she is very excited.  We've been talking about it for a while, and she has been saying how she is going to sleep in it ALL NIGHT LONG, MAMA! Okay, honey, we'll see!  

We've also been talking about babies - we know a few babies, siblings of some of her toddler friends - and she is quite enamored with them.  Hubby has started asking her if she wants a baby to come live in our house (OMG no I'm not pregnant), mostly to see her reaction when he asks his follow-up question: "would you share your milky with a baby brother or sister?".  Usually she says "no", or, more specifically, "no that's MINE'S!".  But more recently she's been getting a bit more on board with the whole big girl concept and is changing her mind.  

I got a little bit of this conversation on video today and she even went so far as to explain where a baby would sleep.  So cute.  She definitely understands baby things vs. big girl things and I'm hoping this will eventually lead to the promised sleeping in her bed ALL NIGHT LONG, MAMA!  Until then... we're good (baby steps, right?).

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Starting Over

Looking back at my goals for 2011, I realized that, while I met a few of them, I really didn't do so well overall.

I am still working on my Special topic paper (2nd of 2 prelims required for my Ph.D. program); I was hoping to have that finished and handed in in 2011.  Thanks to certain circumstances - some of which were in my control, some of which were not... I'm way behind and had to essentially start over at the beginning of November.  Honestly, I feel like a big fat failure on most days when I think about it.  What a way to start the year - by realizing you are in the exact same spot you were 365 days ago. It makes it hard to find the motivation to keep trudging on.  But, here I sit at the beginning of 2012, once again listing "Pass my Special" as a goal.  *sigh*

Okay, I just realized that I also listed "finish my coursework" as a 2011 goal, and I did do that.  So, there's something!

(But... "hammering out a plan for my dissertation"?  HA! And also: HAHAHA!)

Another 2011 goal was to focus more on my relationship with my husband.  I definitely think we did a good job here - we had many fun date nights, vacations, time as a family and time for just the two of us on the weekends... it was a good year in that respect.  And that, my friends, is huge.  We're not perfect, but we work at it and never take our marriage for granted.  And, we try to laugh and have as much fun as possible!

Being present in the moment and not worrying about what else I should be doing.  This is a constant battle but I think I am doing a lot to win this one.  I've stopped so many many times over the past 12 months to think how lucky I am in this moment... and in this one...and oh. Oh, this one is so good.  I marvel at my little girl, my little family, my extended family, my friends.  I love it all, I soak it up and cherish it.  I file things away in my mind, take pictures, and try to memorize each day because they are so so good.  And I live in the moment as best as I can and as often as I can.  So yeah, even though I do sometimes need work to be vigilant about this one, I think I'm doing okay.

Building up our savings account.  Uhhhhhhhh, yeah no.  Let's break this down: funding slashed = lost my job = down to one income = had to take out loans for school = depleted savings account.  FUN TIMES.  We're definitely hanging on to that "money can't buy happiness" idea.  It really is true, I know it, I live it.  But it does buy longterm financial security! ;)

Taking more time for me.  Hm.  This is a tricky one.  Yes and no, I guess.  I definitely got my fair share of mani/pedis, facials, salon appointments last year... yeah, I have been fairly well groomed and spa'ed (I know that is totally not a word, btw) lately.  But... I haven't taken the time to take care of my physical self like I need to.  Exercise - it's the one thing that falls by the wayside.  I made time for school work, for relaxing and enjoying "me" time in ways that involve going to the spa, seeing friends, catching up on my favorite shows (Mad Men, Weeds, Grey's, Project Runway, Up All Night)... but finding time to get regular, real, exercise?  Nope.  And I have the extra 10 pounds to prove it (the 10 pounds that I lost after losing the baby weight in 2010.  GO ME.)

I just reread this post and... it's sort of depressing!  So I'll end it on a good note:

In 2011, I had all that I needed.  I had the health and love and support of a wonderful family, I was content, and I was grateful.

2012, this is all that I need from you.

Eliza's Stats

Birth: 8 lbs 5 ozs
Going home: 7 lbs 10 ozs
5 days: 7 lbs 13 ozs
2 months: 12 lbs 6 ozs
4 months: 17 lbs
5 months: 18 lbs 12 ozs
6 months: 20 lbs 13 ozs
9 months: 24 lbs 3 ozs
12 months: 26 lbs 13 ozs
15 months: 28 lbs
18 months: 29 lbs 3 ozs
2 years: 32 lbs
3 years: 34 lbs

Alice's Stats

Birth: 8 lbs 11 oz
2 Months: 13 lbs 10 oz
4 Months: 17 lbs 15 oz
6 Months: 20 lbs 4 oz