Monday, March 30, 2009

Billy's Publishing News

My husband is a publishing fool this year. I mean that in a good way. :)

For those of you who didn't get to read Billy's article in Adoptive Families Magazine this last issue, you can read it on their website, linked here, the article is titled Grief and Joy. He is set to have an article he wrote about Isaac's Sensory Integration Disorder to be in the next issue out in May.

Other works that will be published in the coming months are a story called "Broke" which will appear here:

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tough Times, Tough People
101 Stories about Overcoming the Economic Crisis and Other Challenges
Tough times won’t last, but tough people will. Many people have lost money and many are losing their jobs, homes, or at least making cutbacks. Many others have faced life-changing natural disasters, such as hurricanes and fires, as well as health and family difficulties. Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tough Times, Tough People is all about overcoming adversity, pulling together, making do with less, facing challenges, and finding new joys in a simpler life. The stories in this book will remind us that we are all going through tough times but we are tough people and we will survive.

I am especially proud of this one, as it has not been an easy past 14 months or so for us at all.

This book is due to be released on June 16th.


This One:

In this book due to release at the end of May, Billy has an article about our infertility and his struggle learning to grieve with me and for me and for himself. It is another one I am especially proud of. Of course I am proud of all he has done, but some of these he really had to dig deep for and bare his soul- not an easy thing for him to do. His writing is cathartic for him and a sweet legacy he can leave behind for our children.

If you haven't seen this one yet, it was released a week or so ago.

He is in the Gender Bender chapter (men who contributed). His story is called "Dream Job", page 262-265. His bio appears on page 392. The contributers of this book are best selling authors and such. Even the woman who plays "Jan" on NBC's The Office is in this book. Authors Jane Green and Jodi Picoult are also in this one. I have not read any of their books, but I see their books everywhere! His story here is about my dream job of being a stay at home mom and how it doesn't look so dreamy at times! So if you run into this book at a bookstore or Costco, read his article. It's a good one!

Billy has some other things in the works, but until we get a sure thing from the editors- I will wait to post about them. They are due to be released closer to the end of the year.
One thing I am sad about is that he has been using the money he makes from his writing to pay off debt. Although I know this is the responsible thing to do, I wish he could use it to save for something he really wants. Of course most of what he really wants are books, and we just do NOT need any more of those! He did want a new guitar that he had been drooling over for some time. When he went to the store to price it, and get a quote on his current guitar, it had already sold. The manager even said he would have given him a couple hundred dollars off because he is a regular at Billy's Starbucks. None of the other guitars there were worth the money and he would have had to sell his beloved Straticaster (am I even spelling that right?) that he has had longer than he's known me. He did not want to do that but he couldn't justify buying a new guitar out right either, especially since he doesn't play publicly anymore except for teaching. That is all a part of being a grown up though, and I am proud of him that he wasn't too dissappointed. Someday, is what we tell ourselves....someday...
Until that day he will just go ahead and write about our woes and hope it gets published!!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mr Vic

Last night we went to a Families Like Us event.
They had a children's entertainer named Mr. Vic who was really hilarious with the kids. He had songs like "Don't eat your boogers" and "Tinkle, tinkle, in the potty." Made us parents moan, with "uh oh what will our children take from this!" But he also talked to the kids about Jesus and what He came to earth to do. The kids had a blast!!
Isaac is in the orange sweatshirt. He laughed during the whole performance.

Vivi sat with Isaac unless there were puppets on the stage.
She doesn't do puppets.
You can see in the below video that my children rushed the stage with others at the end.


Saturday, March 28, 2009



Billy has started to teach Isaac the basics of guitar. We are waiting until he turns 5 before he gets his first real guitar. For now he does his lessons on Billy's Ukelele. He is learning fast. They are working on what the parts of a guitar are called and basic finger technique. This video, however is just one of their "jam sessions". No technique required on Isaac's part, just a loud voice which he has NO problem with!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Happy Birthday To...

Everyone we know!
In the next month, the kids and I have 6 birthday parties we are going to. In April alone, 10 of our friends and family members have a birthday. Wowza! Three of these birthdays are 1st birthdays! April is a popular birth month, apparently! The array of gift bags are lined up on my dresser and I am stuffing them with gifts, tissue, and cards just as fast as I can purchase them all. Thankfully, I am near done. And even more thankfully, I LOVE children's birthday parties (as you know) and I LOVE shopping!
So this is going to be a fun month of celebration.
Happy Birthday to You!
(you know who you are)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Two Year Well Check

Vivi had her Dr. Appt. today and it went well! She actually let me set her on the scale. Did I tell ya'll that story? At her 18 month well check, she wouldn't let me put her on the scale. Just clung to my neck fussing. SO the nurse says, "you will have to get on the scale with her and subtract your weight for us to find out her weight." Say what? I mean it isn't bad enough I have to weigh myself in front of my nurse...I ain't doin' it in front of a pediatric nurse. No way. So I sweated and fought and finally got her toddler butt on the scale to find out she was about 23 pounds...I think.

So anyway, today she hopped right on and only weighs 24.5 pounds. 20th percentile. And her height is in the 50th percentile...head still in the 10th. She has been like that since was born. So even though she is small, she has had a steady growth pattern which is good.

Then she got her Hep. A immunization and only fussed while it was happening, didn't cry after at all. Just rubbed her leg and gave the nurse the stink eye. Other than that, the Dr. appt. was pretty routine. She is healthy as usual. Now let's see if we can keep her that way until her 3rd well child!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Potty Training Chronicles...A Week Later

Okay, unless we hit a snag in our training- this will be my last post on the subject. We have been training for a whole week today and Vivi is trained! As of this morning, she said potty and we went in and she pooped before church. Then on the way to church she said potty and so before Sunday school, I took her to the bathroom and she peed. And the best news of all is that the teacher said she told her she needed to go potty and went! So she made it all through church in a dry pull-up! Yeah, Vivianna! When we travel out of the house, I put a pull-up on her. This avoids the inevitable messes of a distracted and hurried child and Mom. However, so far she has gone almost completely in public restrooms and has not had to rely on her pull-up, keeping it dry. She did this at Little Gym, American Airlines Center, McDonalds, the mall, the zoo, and now church.

The trick with pull-ups is to make sure at the beginning of your toilet training, you stay home for 3 days and have them wear only underwear (except for sleep times, of course). You have to stick to this if you are going to experience success in the short-term. If they get used to being able to pee in a pull-up, then they will continue to do so and you will be training your child for weeks- if not months. I have seen kids take up to a year to fully train because of the crutch of pull-ups. Now, here is how it works- if you train them on underwear for 3 days at home, then you should be able to put them in pull-ups outside the home (church, daycare, school, etc.) and they will not use them as a crutch. If they are truly trained, the pull-ups only serve as a back-up- not the place they will choose to pee. This is necessary to avoid your Sunday school teacher and daycare provider from having to deal with the stress and mess of wet pants. If however, your child has not trained at home- they will continue to use their pull-up to pee and poop, just like a diaper. So don't go spending that extra money for pull-ups if you are going to treat them as diapers. That's just silly. Diapers are much cheaper and you get more in a box.

Young children, like Vivi- are still learning bladder control. This makes pull-ups necessary for the car seat, the stroller, anywhere you can't get to a bathroom quick or your child is going to be too distracted to tell you they have to go (just ask our waiter at Red Lobster how he felt cleaning up our accident when Mommy chose not to put little Vivi in a pull-up for dinner. Whoops!)

So the final potty training lesson is - ONLY use pull-ups outside the house, and for a only a short time. We pack panties in her little back pack along with a change of clothes, that way when we get to the mall, or wherever we are going, we can take off the pull-up she wore on the way there and put on the panties, avoiding them being used as a crutch. Have your little trainee pee before you leave the house, then don the pull-up for traveling. Go straight to a bathroom when you arrive, pee and then put on the panties. Before you leave your destination, visit the bathroom- pee- and back into the pull-up. Therefor eliminating the cleaning of a soggy car seat if you get stuck in traffic.

Vivi has had accidents (i.e. the Red Lobster incident) only at times I have deviated from what is now being referred to around here as "The System". This usually involves one of us forgetting to take her to a bathroom upon arriving at our destination. If all the adults involved with your child understand The System and will follow it precisely, most children can train in just a few days to a week. The trick really is in getting your child to tell you they have to go potty, so you are not constantly nagging them with "do you have to go potty?" which usually illicits a big "no!" followed by a puddle on the floor. Vivi is great about telling us and the few times she looks like she needs to go (crosses her legs, grabs at herself) I say "let's go potty!" instead of asking, and off we go.

If you have been following along with the potty posts, and are ready to train your little diaper wearing tot, just remember these tips:

~Start after naptime on day one so you don't wear yourself out

~Go straight to underwear during the day

~Do NOT be discouraged if they wet all their underwear before bedtime. Buy more.

~Give them liquids all day long on day one and two.

~Cover all furniture they will sit on with beach towels

~Do use a doll or stuffed animal as a demonstration

~Take them to the potty every 15 minutes or less on day one

~Do use a sticker chart/reward system (avoid the temptation to bribe with candy)

~Do NOT leave the house with your child for atleast 48 hours.

And lastly, DO NOT put them back in diapers.

It is not worth the setbacks that will ensue.
Here is the link to my other potty training posts.

And please do not tell your friends/sister whose child potty trained at two that they are "lucky". It ain't luck people. My child is not smarter or more talented than yours (although I may think so, Ha!) Just kidding. Stick to the system. It works. Don't pay for fancy potty training books or advice, get them at the library if you have to. Just remember that too much advice can confuse and discourage you. Most 2 year old girls and 2.5 year old boys can do this. I have now done this with 3 children. If you do it right, it will work. Thank you for following along on our potty training journey, and your words of encouragment!
Now onto getting the child to not eat crayons...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Last Day with Aunt Vicki

Billy's Aunt leaves tomorrow to go back to Florida. I am NOT happy about this. She has been a huge help with the kids and a pivotal person with Vivi's potty training success. We spent the morning today at the mall and went out to eat tonight. We take her to the airport in the morning. The kids are especially going to miss all the books they had read to them! She spent hours a day reading to them, to the point where her voice was sore! They constantly brought her books and I am convinced she went through every book on their shelf, many multiple times. They will miss all of the undivided attention. We will miss you Aunt Vicki!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Trip to the Zoo

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Disney On Ice

Aunt Vicki and I took the kids and met my parents, sister, and niece
at American Airlines Center last night for Mickey and Minnie's Magical Journey.

Vivi was VERY excited to see Mickey and Minnie and kept pointing and waving, saying "hi Ickey! Hi Mimmie!"

Isaac cracked me up all throughout the show!
He has not seen a lot of movies, so when Ariel came on and they were going through
that movie, the scene where she loses her fins and gets legs Isaac whispers,
"What happened to Muriel's fins"
I said "Ariel gave her voice to the mean lady for legs"
"But how will she speak?"
"she won't"
Isaac says, "that is not nice or good at all!"
I thought this was especially funny coming from him.
Not being able to speak would truly be the worst thing that could happen to him!

My favorite, Peter Pan!
And they even flew.

The finale with fireworks.

Potty Training Day 4

Well I can sincerely say my child potty trained in 3 days.

Yesterday was her first real outing and she peed in her first public restroom.
She went before Gym class. Then in the middle she grabbed herself and said "potty!",
I took her and she peed again in the toilet. Her pull-up was dry.
She had only one accident all day and it was while she was strapped in her booster seat for
lunch. She not only peed every time in the potty all day, she pooped TWICE!
And we are not talking about a child that has to be reminded. She says potty when she has to go.
Of course I know she may hit a relapse, she will have accidents here and there. But the point is, she says potty- holds her pee until she sits- and has begun to poop on the potty.
And the major accomplisment, will pee in a scary public restroom and has NO problem flushing that giant, noisy toilet!

And of course she was thrilled to be out of the house and
able to practice her amazing gymnastics skills.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Little Outing

Vivi's first trip out while potty training happened before dinner when we took her to the park sporting a pull-up.
We all needed some fresh air after having spent so many hours in the bathroom.
**Only seven pairs of wet panties ALL day today! That is half of yesterday's total! Woo hoo!!!***

Isaac enjoyed working on his mad biking skills. He is fast!

And we tried to find our friend Aliza Furman on the globe.
Vivi looks forward to getting her first Passport.

Potty Training Day 3

Well, we are continuing the progress!
Yesterday afternoon she wet maybe half the panties
she had wet in the morning.
Today she is averaging 1-2 wet an hour,
which is a huge difference from day one.
She tells us everytime she has to go
(although sometimes she has already done some).
We have found that the dresses get too wet when she goes,
so she is running around in t-shirts and underpants only. We have not had any carpet clean-ups, she is holding it back really well.
Our little potty trainer has not left the house since Sunday morning. Tomorrow we will venture out to Little Gym with a pull-up on, but it is important that you stay home with your child for the first 48 hours, so they can really get the technique down.
We have not had a poop in the potty yet, so we are holding out for that. But she always tells us when she has gone and holds her butt- so that is great! I have lessoned the liquids now, so she is having to pee less frequently which is good because day one was a beating,
though a necessary step in the process.
The trick is not giving up! The accidents will continue for days, maybe weeks. She has the steps down, tells us when she needs to go,
and shows excitement- so we are on the right track.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Training Day Two

It is almost 1 p.m. and Vivi is down for a nap. It has been an exhausting morning! She has been training since 6:30 this morning and by naptime ran out of underwear. The good thing is that most of the time she pees just a little in her panties and says potty, doing some more in the potty! So the messes have been minimal. The bad thing is that she is not emptying her bladder, which has her peeing literally every 10 minutes or less. I haven't had to set the timer to take her in there because she is going ALL the time. I'm glad she isn't completely sick of it.

She filled up a chart and has had a lollipop, so we are experiencing lots of successes. But this is the toughest day. Usually be the end of day 2, the child is getting it. She has shown some real good recognition already, as she says "Potty" every time she has to go or has gone. This afternoon I am going to lessen her liquid intake to hopefully get her to a place where she can spread out the need to pee longer than 10 minute increments.

The underwear sizing is interesting. We have discovered that Elmo and Dora fit her really well. Minnie is a shade big and the generic underwear sags and hangs everywear. All the of them are sized 2T-3T. So if your child has a tiny hiney like ours, go with Elmo and Dora. They are snug and oh so cute!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Potty Training Day One...Overactive Bladder

Today we began Vivianna's potty training after her nap at 3:00. We started with 13 pairs of underwear. We ended with 2 pairs at 7:00 p.m.
It was a successful day.
I gave her this toy for her b-day. It is a doll's potty kit. We had a doll from last year that pees, so that worked out well as our demonstration.We had our potty launch and gave her this basket.

She loved the potty books, chart, stickers, and panties.

Here she is with Aunt Vicki going through her basket.
***Note the double layer of beach towels on the sofa.
This is the only place on furniture she is allowed to sit for week one.
This keeps the messes to the floor.
A beach towel on the bathroom floor works well too.

We started off by hanging the chart, doing the doll demo and having her begin her fluid intake.

Then she got to model her nice Elmo panties.
So she pretty much peed every 10-15 minutes for 4 hours. We set the timer, but she rarely made it. After an hour or so she began to hold herself and say "potty" or "poo poo", so we could see she was cluing in. She also began to hold it and release it multiple times in a 5 minute span- so we know she has that muscle control.
When we put her in her pull-up for bed she even said she had to go potty and did some more on the potty. Yeah, Vivi!
Now, you are thinking...11 pairs of underwear wet and that is a success? But, yes- for day one. She was clearly showing signs of getting the technique down which will help us major tomorrow.
It is best to start after nap on day one so you don't wear yourself completely out by starting in the morning. Keep giving them drinks so they have to go ALL the time. This gives lots of chances for success. Also, don't worry about it staining your carpet because if you are hydrating well, it comes out clear not yellow. Just get some good stain remover for pets that takes the scent out of the carpet, LOTS of paper towels, about 15-20 pairs of underwear and you are good to go!
I will discuss the various underwear sizes we discovered in the 2T-3T range tomorrow.
Stay tuned...

Vivianna's Second Birthday Party

Eating a chocolate covered pretzel.

Cupcake time!