Monday, September 1, 2014

Hopping the Potty Train | 3 Day Method


Well.  We did it.  We are officially sending our sweet (tiny) little girls to the big girl potty to do their business. Coming off of Day 3 of the "Three Day Method", I am one confident momma.  Seriously.  When Jordan and I talked about potty training Parker and Jolie a few months back {HERE} I was self-admitedly in denial of any success we could or would have.  They just seem(ed) so young and not able to actually comprehend what we would be trying to teach them.

Fast forward several weeks, and my kids are complaining at me about their diapers.  Okay, we should find time to make this work.  Their readiness seems to be on point, and therefore us (the adults) should be ready, too. We chose this weekend for a variety of reasons.. not even recalling that it was Labor Day weekend and we would technically be getting Monday off, a fourth day into the mix.
Do we need a fourth day?  You shall find out:)

Jordan and I strategically planned this weekend so that we would both be home for the 'hardest' of times during this entire potty training process - the first two days.  The third day is supposed to be the 'magic day', and this was the day Jordan would be at the fire station and I would be solo with these two potty training machines.  

The Method  
The 3 Day Method.  What exactly does this mean? I had a ton of questions surrounding my instagram posts (@masseya) about this method and what it actually entails.  I was clueless, too.  Technically it is based on Julie Fellom's Diaper Free Toddler's program.  I have read a plethora of blogs, articles..and even got my hands on a borrowed book, and sort of came up with a hybrid version of my own 3-Day Method.  When raising two littles, as with many things, I had to alter my approach, and it was definitely a learn-as-you-go kinda thing.  Like the program recommends, We DID talk about the potty, and going potty, and where we do it for about a month preceding this weekend, but nothing formal.

I did not practice the 'naked weekend'.  We opted for panties only, and a fitted tank or tee for the entirety of the weekend.  I had a hard time wrapping my brain around the 'naked weekend' for a couple reasons.. 1.) we were having visitors/workers at our house over the weekend.  I preferred their little hiney's covered.  2.) I felt better knowing that there would be some sort of barrier between my floors and the number 2.  Just saying.

The Supplies    
BEFORE Day 1, set yourself up for success.  Grab a few entertainment factors to keep the babes busy while sitting on the potty (we chose books), as well as come up with a reward for after there is a potty success.  Candy, treats, stickers.. its totally up to you.  One thing about the books, I bought these specifically for potty-going.  Meaning, they don't come out of the bathroom and the girls only get to 'read' them while sitting on the potty.

Hold the Potty Po- yes, I rewarded my girls with candy.  This is 100% a treat for them and they responded really, really well to this reward.  I went back to what my mom told me years ago when she talked about training her 18 month old (me).
I peed for a single m&m.  
Panties. Several pairs.  We started with just 12 pair (really? really.), and ended up going back to get more after doing two loads of 12 pairs of undies.  24 pairs of underwear is where we are at, and where we stayed.
A timer.  Some potty's come with a watch or something similar, but ours did not. We used the timer on the iPhone.  Rather than watching and waiting for 'cues' that Parker and Jolie would offer before they go to the bathroom, we decided to take them every 15 minutes to the potty.  
Lets be real for a second- even with two of us home and around, watching two toddlers for these sort of cues would have been virtually impossible to capture them before they went.  
This worked well in that it offered regularity to the idea of going to the potty and I feel like it helped them to understand and recognize the 'feeling' or sensation of needing to go.

Fluids.  Offer lots and lots to drink.  They are more inclined to go potty every time you take them if they are drinking and eating heavy water based foods. The more they potty, the better recognition of the sensation to pee.  We did lots of water (A LOT), diluted juice, and offered plenty of fruit to snack on.  We went through nearly a pound of grapes by the end of Day 2.  Frozen grapes are the way to my children's hearts at the moment.
  
..and of course- a potty.  We stuck with just one single potty rather than getting two.

Day 1.
On the morning of Day 1, we started after breakfast (full bellies helped to offset the cranky and unsure experience they would be starting on this day). We dropped the diapers, and pulled on the 'big-girl' panties.  They had about 3 minutes of confusion, and forgot all together about 'being free'.   Aside from not leaving the house at all, we kept as much normalcy to our day as we could.  

Lots of playtime.
 Helping mom prep lunch (and dinner)..
 ..potty breaks every 15 minutes in between
 Feeding the dogs..
 Our FAVorite activity of all time.
They didn't even seem phased about the panties.. until they wet them.  They DID NOT like the wet panties.  Although we were taking them every 15 minutes without delay, they weren't going every time, and often would result in an accident almost immediately after coming out of the bathroom.  The only thing I would tell them is that it is not 'okay' to 'tinkle in your panties'.  I would discuss the necessity of 'letting momma know, and going tinkle in the potty and not your panties.'  Never scolding, but repeating the importance of going to the bathroom in the potty.  We both stayed calm and encouraging, and even if they went just a little we high-five'd and did a little dance, as well as provided a reward.  I never wanted to get to a point of having one or both of them regress because going to the potty became a negative experience.

Around mid-day Jolie started getting uptight about walking into the bathroom.  Parker happily sat down to read her books every time, but Jolie didn't like it so much.  This is when Jordan and I broke off and put our focus on one child per adult.  I sat closely with Jolie- forgoing the timer method, and watched and talked about the potty non-stop.  I think making her stop playing every 15 minutes was frustrating her, and therefore going to the potty wasn't 'fun' anymore.  After about an hour of one on one time with Jolie, we moved forward and past her frustration.  She went to the potty successfully three times in that hour. Once she saw how excited we all were for her, and loving the attention, she welcomed going to sit on the potty chair.  

By the end of Day 1 we were going in the potty more often than in our panties, and Jordan and I were WIPED.  I had a close friend send me words of encouragement throughout the day, and her first text mentioned how exhausting it is (she has a 4 year old toddler and a set of twins a few months younger than Parker and Jolie).  I took the word (exhausting) and sort of shrugged it off- how bad could this be?  Let me express to you all - Jordan asked me at one point during bath time, again at dinner, and lastly while I was brushing my teeth "Are you about to fall asleep?"

Yes.  Yes, I am.  I was indeed exhausted.  Over and over and over.  I was hearing the iPhone timer in my sleep.

Day 2.  A new day. Honestly, it felt like we were starting all over again - from square one.  After such a successful end to Day 1, the start of Day 2 was rough.  Accident after accident.  We did another load of panties in the wash, and I headed out to grab some groceries - and more panties.  After nap we decided to go for longer in between potty breaks, bumping it to 30 minutes rather than 15.
I feel like this is when it all clicked.  
Parker and Jolie started to understand when they needed to go, and although there were still accidents here and there, they would stop themselves, come to me or Jordan and then finish their business in the potty.  
We were all SO proud when we went potty! The grins and claps from these two girls.. and at one point Parker patted Jolie on the back after she stood up from the potty chair.  Talk about parental pride, you guys.  I was so proud of my girls, not only for being rockstars at this potty training shenanigans, but for encouraging each other along.
headband c/o sweet t shoppe
As much as I didn't want to, it was Day 2 that I started making it a point to take the girls to the potty separately.  I loved having them both together for comfort, but once they really understood what we were in the bathroom for, they became distracted by the other being in the room.  Something I didn't realize would be an issue in the beginning, but proved to be much less of a game when one went alone.
Day 3.  The magic Day number 3. Another successful end of the day with Day 2, and with as much confidence as I wanted to have that this would be as miraculous as it's claim to fame, I was still skeptical.  My girls were doing GREAT - I was pleasantly surprised at the success of Day 2, but considering that they can't even say 'potty' (Parker will say 'tee-tee'), for it all to come together in this last day, I wasn't so sure.

We started the morning off with a trip to the potty- Parker did the deed, and Jolie did not. 
A short 20 minutes later, Jolie had an accident all over the kitchen floor.

DANG.

Off to the potty we went.. where she finished up, and we all danced and sang.
For the rest of the day these kids were DRY. Dry as a bone.  I was over the moon, and nearly overwhelmed with pride.  Again, there is that word, but I can't explain it any other way. Jordan was at the fire station for 24 hours, so we sent him 'potty success' selfies with each time we went.
You would think that taking them one by one while I was solo would be tough, but it was nearly as easy as it was she Jordan was around.  After nap, Jolie was dry, we we went straight to the potty - and you guessed it.. another potty success.
The remainder of the afternoon I found creative ways to get them to drink plenty of water, encouraging them to make trips to the bathroom - and without even realizing it, I had forgone using the time all together.  These babies were dragging me to the potty when they had to go.

It clicked.

At one point Parker was sitting in my lap and she hustled down, handed me her sippy cup and trotted off towards the bathroom, only stopping to turn to me with her hand over her crotch as if to say 'lets go, mom.'

Well, alrighty then.

Three Days down and my kids are telling me before they go, sitting right down on the chair, and immediately going to the bathroom.  No playing, no bribery, and minimal accidents.  I went into this weekend with pretty low expectations, and came out overly impressed.  One thing I will say is that using this 'quick-training' method does not mean that Parker and Jolie are 100% potty-trained.  We still (for the time being) do diapers at nap time and bed time, but stick with the panties for the remainder of the day.  To me, success over this weekend means that my kids have figured out what it means to need to go potty, and where to go, and how to do it.  I know there will still be accidents, but I'm okay with that.  We are in this together.  Exhausted, but doing it together. I know that this 'method' has not worked for everyone, but bottom line, follow your child's lead.  Every child is different and especially with two, one may be ready, while the other is not.  They may display their readiness to train differently.  As a mom, dad, parent, you will know when the time is right. Thats the one thing I came to respect of the comments on my social media posts over this weekend.  Mom's encouraging me in every which way, and also expressing knowledge that their kids (kid) aren't ready.  Thats the key.  Be in-tune to your child's readiness.  

As for today?
Well.. Minnie is now going potty, too.

AND, we are still in our panties and tank tops and will be until we gain enough confidence to leave the house diaper-free.  I read in the official Three Day Method that it is recommended to stay 'naked' for 3 months following this weekend.  What that means for us is that when we are at home, we will be running around in our panties.  Thankfully, this first week after, Jordan and I will be home the majority of the time- therefore lots and lots of reinforcement can take place so that when we do leave the house we are prepared

..and will probably take the potty with us.

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Friday, August 29, 2014

ReGroup

Its been an off week.  'Off' as in I'm really tired.  I haven't been motivated to do much of anything at all, and am pretty behind on a handful of things.
See also sucky

Happy Friday! 
I know.  But let me just tell you about my week.  I'll start with the bad, and round out the end with the better- how is that?  
My babes.  I haven't a clue what is going on with them, but they are bears right now.  Not the sweet little sister cubs we all know and love. No way.  Jolie is beside herself and a grouch with a capital G. SO not like that little girl, at all.  
All grouchiness aside- because I can handle that.. its the whiney cries when I mention that its time to go to bed {random}, the fight to the death and blood curdling scream when I lay them down in their cribs {random}, and cries and cries and more cries {45 minutes to an hour's worth} and no soothing will do.  Once we do finally go to sleep, they are awake on the hour.  AND..and ready for the day by 5am.  
What is happening here?  I posted it out to my IG friends yesterday and one gal mentioned that her little was cutting his 2-year molars.  
You better believe that I stuck my fingers in Jolie's mouth to feel around.  I feel swollen gums on three of the 4.  Houston.  We've found the problem.
As the week has gone on, they are sleeping through the night and not fighting nearly as much to go down, but its the early early early mornings that I've come to dread.  
Parks was up at 4:40am yesterday.  Which means Jolie was also.
EVEN though they used to sleep through every single peep the other made.
Again I ask, what is happening here?
I can 100% appreciate the 8am rise and shine. Really I can.  So bring it on back, girlfriend(s)
Until then, EARLY morning walks and breakfast smoothies are where its at.

Which brings me to my next point. 
I mentioned in this post {HERE} that I have started blogging in the wee morning hours while my house is still asleep.  Well, the wee morning hours are being consumed with baby snuggles (and who's complaining about that?!) which is why this blog-o-sphere hasn't seen the light of day for a week.  Why do I feel so much pressure about that?  My Type A personality has warranted list after list of ideas for upcoming posts.. being more consistent..
blah, blah.. 
In other words, I'll do better next week. 

Oh. 
I dropped my phone {face down} after spending way too much time at Target {because it is the pit of temptation} and desperately digging for my keys whilst holding a squirmy toddler.
Thats a big fat cherry on top, isn't it?
After a trip to the Apple store, to wait and wait and wait.. feeling a tad claustrophobic and then be told my Apple Care is no longer is valid, but I can buy a new phone for **one million dollars** << thats what it felt like, anyway.  holla if ya hear me.
Thank you Radio Shack for 30 minutes of my life I'll never get back, but I have a fresh screen.  
It pains me to mention that this is my 3rd screen in just a few short months. I figure I would call myself out for fear of Jordan hijacking the blog to tell the world.

After typing out my pity party above, I've come to realize that my week isn't all so bad.  I digress.
So, where's the good stuff?
Here.
Family stationary.  Simple. Clean. SO in love.  
Jillian of Bella Carta Boutique so sweetly made these perfect little notecards for me (my family).  When they came in the mail this week I was finding every reason to mail one out. 
She is offering up a $50 shop credit for the Twin Talk 2K Giveaway we have going on Instagram right now {@twintalkblog}.
She is also generously offering 10% off using the code LAUNCH10 in celebration of the opening of her new website today.

THIS came in the mail {its been a 'good' mail week}.  My lovey hubby and bestest ever Ashley are throwing me a thirtieth birthday party.  Technically I turn 30 on the 27th.. and honestly I haven't thought much about it..  What I have thought of was the gold glitter confetti that came flying out of the envelope enclosing the most perfect invite (another great work of CKFireboots).
 This custom sign by Linen and Lace Shop.  I had a vision, and Brittani captured it perfectly.  
We are working on getting it hung above the stove top just right, and then I plan to share more on this, as well as the rest of my kitchen next week!
 ..and lastly.

I started with 'complaints' of motherhood, and I will end with it's praises. Last night {Thursday} was the first Aggie Football game of the season and while J was at the station, Ashley and Jarrett invited me and the girls to come over and grill burgers and watch the game.  
I've been dying over football season to start, and here it is!
 I needed this evening more than anything.  Just me and my people.  MY people.  THE important ones.  The perfect end to this less than stellar week.  I am so tired, but so very much in love with my family - which is the most important thing on the planet.  Who cares if I'm a tad behind on work/blogging/life. 
347 pictures later.. this one is perfect.
custom headbow / @lovesugarbabycouture  {instagram shop}
tank / babygap // distressed denim / curly q's counter
lace halo c/o sweet t shoppe

Happy Weekend sweetest friends.  Potty training starts TODAY (I will keep you all posted, but refrain from sharing the mess I'm fearful of) and Homemade Pizza is for dinner.

Linking up High Five For Friday with the lauren elizabeth


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Friday, August 22, 2014

Party Planning 101

I have this friend.  She's my best friend, actually.. and she is UH-mazing.  We all have friends like that, right?  I hope you do. For your own sake..
This friend of mine is an event planner, and in turn never leaves a detail behind when it comes to developing an idea for all kinds of events.  If you read my blog, you know her.  My girl, Ash.  From weddings to birthday parties, and even as simple as dinner.  Dinner at Ashley's house is always a 4 course event.  I always LOVE Supper Club at the Dunaway's.  I feel like calling it just 'dinner' doesn't do justice. Plus, she's a really good cook. 

ANYway.  Whenever I have an event or party coming up I always seek her out for resources and assistance and she never lets me down.  It honestly frightens me to think about how my parties would turn out if I didn't have her pushing me along to create the very best bang (for my buck).  That being said, my skills have improved after years of friendship, and I've got some confidence in myself for getting things done effectively.   

I've planned many many parties and events with Ashley's talents (and they are 100% her talent, you guys) and each and every time they come out beautifully.  Just a few (pintrestable) events I've been apart of and always love to look back on:


Ashley's Wedding (Every detail was remembered- right down to the matchbooks..)
Vintage Tea Party Baby Shower (My most trafficked post- over 12,000 visits to date.  Featured in multiple online collections for most unique baby shower themes)

Styled Events

I have been asked time and time again for assistance with party planning (first birthday assistance seems to be the biggest request), and with the help of the expert, I have come up with some key points to follow along when planning your party event.
Well- really.  There is just one Ashley.  Call her.  
The End.
(kidding)

Choose a Date
     - Saturdays or Sundays are usually better for the guests of a first birthday party.  Lots of family and friends of the adults tend to come to this type of party, so making it convent for them is your best bet.  I have been to a few parties on a random Tuesday, and that most often works out for small events and young children are in attendance
     - Near a holiday? If so you may want to consider having the party earlier or later in the month.  Parker and Jolie's party was in the month of December, but still early enough it didn't conflict with holiday events.   

Choose a Time
      - Managing nap time for young toddlers is key for a successful (and non-breakdown) event. Choose a time that is best for your little, but also know that there will be some guests that do not attend due to their own schedules, and that's ok.
      - Also- be sure to consider your Guest List.  Do you have a lot of families coming? Are there people with children in sports at that time?  Spring and Summer can be tough for weekend events due to the sports schedules.  Earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon can be a good place to start for a time.

Choose a Theme
The theme is your most important piece of the puzzle.  It is what brings to event together as one.   It can be as simple as a color theme (black and white), or take a more specific approach.  In these first few years of birthday party planning, you (the parent) have the control and say so.    
       - A favorite character.  
       - Color Scheme
       - Play on "One" for a first birthday i.e.; Winter ONEderland; Alice in ONEderland
       - Nursery Theme?

The Guest List
       - Large or small; your choice most definitely effects the budget.  Be mindful of the guests and how many they bring with them.. cousins with 5 kids, most likely will bring their 5 kids:) 

Invitations and Printables
These are the most fun to plan and design.  This can be done a variety of ways - DIY is very common and pretty easy to do so these days, but finding someone to help create them for you can relieve some stress when planning every other detail of the event coming up. 
       - ETSY.  The greatest online database (for small business shopping) on this planet.  I am not very computer creative, but I can tell you all the details I want, and so my go-to is the Etsy marketplace for outsourcing this sort of thing.

       -Sarah (CKFIreboots on Etsy or email her HERE) is our favorite for printables and invites. Ashley and I keep her busy, busy, busy!



       Try to send out invitations at least one month in advance and even sooner if the event is around a holiday.  The greatest convenience to your guests is to be able to plan around your date, and in turn make it easier for them to actually attend.  Getting an invite in the mail just a couple weeks in advance can make it difficult - especially for families. 

       THE Printable Staples to make the party details special:
Food labels - such a special touch to the food table
               Drink labels
               Quotes - printed and displayed in picture frames to go along with the theme of the party
Banner 





Stay Organized

  Pinterest.  What did we all do before Pinterest?? We love to create a private board for inspiration.
Parker & Jolie's HERE 

This is your place to find ideas for décor, menu, take homes for the guests - literally anything you can possibly need or think of, you will find it on Pinterest.


Ashley is the KING of organization.  If I could share one of the many email chains between Ashley and myself when planning a party or event together, you would be overwhelmed with the details (good overwhelmed, though). Ashley generally creates an email draft with every detail possible (link lists, menu ideas, theme, dates, vendor selections) and continuously add to and delete it as things for the party come together.  But the end of it all, the email is rainbow colored due to the change in ink color after each reply.   

Choose a Menu
Here in America our social events are almost always surrounded by food- so this part in planning could essentially be the most important.  

Time of day dictates your menu selection.  Planning around nap time (morning or afternoon) can be a big part of deciding what to serve. 
 Brunch
Lunch
Heavy afternoon snacks
Dessert only option

            

     Consider your audience. If there are a lot of children, be sure to have kid friendly options. If there are a lot of men in your family or friend pool, be sure to have heavier items available regardless of the time of day you are hosting them.  

Think Décor

       Do a quick Pinterest search of your decided theme. Be creative. Don't just recreate a party you see on there. Make it your own and pinterestable.




DIY: Another decision factor that depends on budget for the event.  Ask yourself: is it worth the time and effort to make on your own, or would it be worth spending the money on the same thing for someone else to make it?  DIY invites and printables aren't an option for me personally - but can be an easy one for some.  Luckily these are relatively inexpensive, but things like banners, tassels and such can add up quickly and easily become out of control. This is a great way to cut budget costs and save where needed.  
       Photos of your littles - the guest of honor!  
              Professional pictures are always fun to have, but candid photos are just as great.
             In the example of a birthday party event, share (monthly) photos over the first year, and find a cute way to show these off (banner or a bulletin board)

       What in your home (or family/friends' home) can you repurpose for the party?  I always outsource this to my mother in law for little things like votive candles or picture frames.  Serving dishes, too!


       If you have to purchase some decor, shop wisely.  Always hit up the sales and discount stores like HomeGoods and TJ Maxx, etc.  Hobby Lobby ALWAYS has a coupon and most often has a sale of some sort.

Take Homes

       - What is your guest going to take home with them to remember the party?
       - Make it simple, useful
       - If a lot of children are attending your party,  goodie bags are a fun way to go.  
       - Skip the "junk" and try fewer items rather than a lot of cheap trinket ones.  Puzzles, coloring books with crayons, mini figurines, etc.  Offer something that will actually be useful after they leave.


       
Food items to take home like trail mix or personalized sugar cookies are a good touch if tangible items aren't the way to go for your theme.



Photographer or Photo Booth

Pictures!  Make memories of this event you've planned.  You want to capture this fun time and milestone (as well as all your hard work in planning!)  
       - friend or family member
       - professional photographer.  This can be very pricey - but there are some affordable ones out there.  Having someone else take your pictures and capture the event professionally can be so special for looking back to.  They tend to understand the event itself and examine the surroundings.  Not just 54 pictures of opening presents.
       - Photo Booth.  Super trending, but a really inexpensive way to add detail to your party.  Have a bucket or suitcase full of cheap costume props (hats, sunglasses, boas, wands) and let your guests have fun with it! 
Photographer References


There you have it.  The basics {and a great place to start} for planning your (first birthday) party.  It can be a lot of fun, but a lot of stress if you find yourself unorganized.  

For Ashley's (amazing) assistance in your planning needs feel free to email her HERE.


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