My Not-so-Serious Potty Training Advice

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I’ve been putting it off for a while, but now we have officially taken the plunge. The plunge into potty training that is.

Potty training has got to be my least favorite milestone. I’m sure I’ll change my tune when it’s time for my children to start driving, but as of this moment, potty training is the winner. Surely it has something to do with the negatives way out performing the positives:

Potty Training Negatives:

-Watching the clock
-Cleaning up accidents
-Realizing your baby is growing up
-Bringing a potty with you wherever you go
-Packing multiple changes of clothes
-Having to take your child to a public restroom when she insists she has to go NOW
-Pee and poop galore
-Washing a zillion loads of extra laundry
-Convincing your child that diapers/pull-ups still have to be worn while sleeping
-Convincing your child that diapers/pull-ups are only to be worn while sleeping

Potty Training Positives:

-Saving money on diapers
-Not having to change diapers

I mean, who really wants to have so much say in another person’s toileting habits?

So, for anyone who might be approaching this stage of parenthood, here is my not-so-serious potty training advice.

Stop Caring

Just get over it. You have to be at the point where you legitimately do not care if your child pees on your couch or poops on your rug. Because it will happen. Stock up on fabric cleaner and you are good to go.

Okay, so I’ve heard tale of people who have potty trained their kiddos with zero accidents. That is amazing and these are probably the people from whom you should be seeking potty training advice. Not me. Remember that post on seeking advice? You shouldn’t even be reading this!

Leave it up to Them

I was better at this with my first than with my second. I thought she was ready, but when she peed on me at 7ish months pregnant, I gave it up until I knew for sure she was ready. How did I know? It was very scientific.

“Dearest daughter, would you like to wear diapers or panties today? Diapers? Okay, awesome.”

Two months later: “Dearest daughter, would you like to wear diapers or panties today? Panties? Okay, you have to go pee-pee in the potty first. No? Diapers it is.”

Two more months later: “Dearest daughter, would you like to wear diapers or panties today? Panties? And you are okay going pee-pee in the potty?” ::deep breath:: “Father in Heaven, help me through this.”

Be Flexible

I’m speaking to myself. Last time, I insisted that my daughter wear her undergarments anytime we went out. If she was going to be potty trained, it was going to be wherever we went.

That’s not a bad idea, but if you know you are going to be taking a five hour trip to the beach, please put a pull-up on your child who has only been potty trained for a month. Please. Just do it. If you take this tiny piece of advice, your trip may not turn into 7 hours with two carseat accidents and five potty stops. And who wants to wash a carseat cover the moment they arrive at the beach? Please. Use the pull-up. I’m speaking from experience here.

And if your child happens to get poop all squished in some undies…save yourself the trouble and just throw the things away. Again. I have experience. Gross. You can afford a new pair.

Conclusion

Alright, so you guys caught me. I don’t actually have any real, good, legitimate, tried-and-true, proven-to-be-affective advice. Basically, I make this stuff up as I go.

But here is the truth: you’ve got this. You can handle it and you will survive it. You are a mommy, and mommies have pretty good instincts about when their kiddos are ready to handle things like potty training. Go with your gut, use bribery, buy a bajillion potties, and just go with the flow.

And most importantly, laugh at the craziness of it all.

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A Party for Jesus

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“Jesus is rising from the tomb, so I am making a birthday party for him to celebrate!”

She dashed back and forth between our dining room table and her play kitchen, bouncing happily as she set places for each party guest. Everyone had their designated seat, and when she declared the feast to be ready, we all sat in expectation as we waited for the guests to arrive.

She would exclaim, “They are almost here!” And then, “Jesus is here! Let’s open the door for him!”

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We were all shown to our seats and were told to eat the mini oranges on our plates. We spent our morning dining with Jesus.

For several weeks, I had been trying to figure out an Easter project to do with my girls. Should I buy a craft from Michaels? Make resurrection rolls? Dye eggs? I never landed on anything. But this child, who will be turning 4 in just a few weeks, found her own way to celebrate.

I cannot stop marveling at her creativity and imagination. Her delight as she prepared a place for Jesus has given me a new perspective on what it means to come to him like a little child.

We should come freely with abandon.
We should come with joy and excitement.
We should expect him to show up and meet with us.
We should delight in his word and apply it in our lives. Even if it is with plastic food on our kitchen table.

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How often have I dined with Jesus? How often have I invited him? I’m pretty sure those two concepts are highly correlated.

Today is Good Friday. It is sad, but good, because it was the day Jesus took the sin of the world on his shoulders. He gave his life so that we could truly live.

Sunday is Easter, or Resurrection Sunday. It is a day we should celebrate passionately because it was on this day that Jesus conquered the grave. We live because he died and defeated death.

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It is because of him that we are #ChangedForever, so this Sunday, let’s have a party!

“He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.” (2 Corinthians 5:15; NLT)

Mom Fails

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I originally wanted to have “Big Sister” talk to “Little Sister” in my belly through a tin can. You can see how excited she was about the idea.

I’m only a few years in and I have had my fair share of “Mom Fails”. For example…

There was the time we were getting ready for family pictures. I was trying to get some things accomplished when I realized my toddler was playing on our stairs. I literally thought to myself, “I need to get her off of those stairs. I’ll just finish this real quick…” Next thing I know she has tumbled down half of our solid wood stairs and is screaming at the top of her lungs. Of course, on top of feeling awful for ignoring my intuition, she is forming a nice big lump on her forehead and her eyes are all bloodshot. I felt terrible that she got hurt, but was also desperately hoping our pictures wouldn’t be ruined.

Did you know that Pastor’s wives don’t say things like “crap”? I’m pretty sure that when I married my husband, this was somewhere in the legal contract. Well, this past week, as I was painting my girls’ nails, some polish got on my couch and I said, “crap”. Apparently, my youngest loved the sound of this word and she immediately started turning it into a song. “Crap! Craaaaap, Ccccrrrap, Craaap!” My apologies if she ends up sharing her new vocabulary with you.

Earlier this week, we ventured to Walmart for some groceries. It was my first time getting out since being snowed in all weekend. Our trip turned into quite the adventure. I had a cart full of groceries plus two little girls. It’s always a struggle to get all these things in my car, but this time I failed miserably. I decided to start by buckling in my youngest, but as I’m about to place her in her carseat I hear, “MOMMY!!!” I immediately turned and ran after my cart (carrying my oldest in it) which was already halfway in the driving lane. So many thoughts plagued my mind, but I managed to get everyone buckled while praising Jesus for keeping us safe.

I once posted on social media about my youngest bathing herself in toilet juice. As the story goes, I had just finished cleaning the toilet and hopped into the shower. When things got a little too quiet, I peaked out to find my daughter with the toilet brush in one hand, and the other hand scooping wet, nasty, gooey, chemical-filled toilet juice out of the brush holder and all over her hair. I was mortified. The logical reaction would have been to stick her in the shower with me, but instead, I felt the damage was done and finished my shower before giving her a bath of her own. The worst part about this? It happened twice. I’ve since hidden the toilet scrubber.

This mom job is hard. It seems like every day I struggle with the decisions I’m making and whether or not I’m failing at my task. I’m always sorting through things like:

  • Am I teaching them the right things?
  • Do I intervene in the fight, or let them work it out on their own?
  • Should I work harder in this area, or am I expecting too much?
  • When I get angry, do they know that I still love them?
  • How do I point them to Jesus?
  • Am I giving them enough choices, or too many?

Yesterday, after jokingly calling me a potty mouth for teaching our daughter to say “crap”, my husband reminded me that raising children doesn’t happen in a day. It is a lifelong process. Why is this encouraging?

Our mistakes today do not have to dictate tomorrow. When bedtime is nothing but a battle, it doesn’t mean my girls are going to wake up mad at me the next day. My failures today do not mean I have failed at this parenting thing altogether.

There is grace for these moments, and the opportunity to learn from them. We pick ourselves up and try again. I trust that my girls are watching me learn my lessons too. They may see my failures, but they also see how I respond to them.

I’m not going to do this perfectly. I won’t get it right all the time. Someone else will always have a different opinion. But no matter what happens, I’m grateful that I don’t have to do it alone.

This week, while reading Beth Moore’s “Believing God”, I was reminded of the power of God’s Word. As such, I’m clinging to this verse:

“For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:13; NIV)

 

*Photo credit: Alexa’s Photography

That Time I Took My 3 Year Old Shopping

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Her excitement is due to the fact that her “money” has a picture of Frosty on it.

My sister sent me a text that said something to the effect of, “Is there anything your girls want or need for Christmas?”

YES! They needed water bottles. I may or may not have been ultra specific in the water bottle selection, as I have cleaned up my fair share of leaks. (Contigo for the win!)

I also tagged on a rather strange request. Might my sister want to give her three year old niece a gift card for Christmas? To buy clothes?

I’ve mentioned the princess dress fiasco, but it got worse. After bringing home what I felt was a super cute princess dress for my daughter, she asked me to return it. My three year old told me she did not want to wear the dress I had carefully selected and wanted me to return it.

At this point, I felt I had two options.

Option 1: “Child, you best be grateful. I paid good money (okay, six dollars) for this dress and you are going to like it. You are going to wear it to church on Sunday and you are going to be happy about it.”

Option 2: I could realize that she has an opinion and honor it. Could this possibly be an avenue to end the battle of getting dressed in the mornings? Putting the ball in her court could potentially lessen my stress while empowering her to make decisions.

I chose option 2, and my sister, being amazing as she is, gave my daughter a $25 gift card to purchase clothes for Christmas.

So, we had some fun with it.

I counted out 25 monopoly bills and had my daughter count them with me. “This is how many dollars you can spend on clothes today. You may choose whatever you like as long as it is something warm.”

It didn’t take long for her to find two pieces that she loved. A “princess dress” (strangely similar in color and shape to the one I had previously purchased…) and a sweatshirt with a dog on it. It was a winner because the dog was wearing a crown, and therefore, a princess. These two items would total $25 exactly.

We counted her money. She knew she was at her limit. When I told her I was going to buy her some pants, she conceded by crawling underneath the clearance items and telling me her legs were tired. Well, I suppose that’s normal for a three year old.

Moments later, she came across the most extraordinary piece of clothing she had yet witnessed in her lifetime. A princess shirt. A shirt with an actual princess on it. She fell in love with it, so we reasoned through the situation.

Me: “Do you have enough money to buy this shirt?”
Her: “No.”
Me: “This shirt is less money than your other items. If you put back one of the other items, you might be able to buy three things with your money.”
Her: “Put back the dress.”

We counted her money and found that she now had an additional $6 to spend. I’m all for encouraging good spending habits, so by golly, I was going to find something she loved for $6. It took a bit of searching, but we finally landed on a shirt with a star on the front.

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The loot.

I was so proud of her decision that I offered to buy her something additional, but she refused. She wanted those specific three items with her $25.

And, you know what? The next day, she jumped out of bed, ready to get dressed because she wanted to wear that princess shirt. I’d say that’s a win.

Perhaps I shouldn’t encourage such a young one to enjoy shopping or fashion, but I love that we had a fun mommy-daughter day. And (bonus!) it even included a small lesson in economics!

Maybe even the concept of counting her dollars will help her appreciate what she receives in the future…

Maybe.

30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 30

I do believe that as the month of November continued, my list of names grew longer, rather than shorter. I can think of two reasons for this:

Reason number one: I am living an extraordinarily blessed life. I am surrounded by people who love me and encourage me. People who have had made significant impacts on my life through their words and/or actions. I never want to lose sight of all the goodness God has given me.

Reason number two: The more I was able to honor people, the more people I saw who I wanted to honor. We live in a culture that loves to embrace the negative and bring to surface all the faults a person may posses. This is tragic. We are called to something greater. Our words have the power to bring someone down, or lift someone up to their full potential. Let’s focus on the latter. My hubby had the opportunity to speak at church yesterday, and his message was all about how positive thinking can be life-changing. If you missed it, check it out here! You won’t regret it.

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A photo from a trip we took to the Grand Canyon about 6 years ago. I chose this because we are just on the horizon of what God has in store for us. Such grandeur, and our eyes cannot see it all.

There is always someone else to recognize. Another person who could benefit from a little love and encouragement. On this final post, I would like to highlight a few more people. I know I am leaving out more than I am including, and I wish this were not so. But demonstrating gratitude and honor should not be a month-long event. It should be a lifestyle. Will you join me in this?

I think of people like Dallas, Emma, and Ella. My go-to babysitters. It takes quite a bit of trust to be able to bring someone into my home to care for my little girls. I want these ladies to know how grateful I am to have them. They are trustworthy, love the Lord, and my girls adore them. I am so so grateful for them.

There are several staff members at Daystar that I didn’t get a chance to mention. Seth, our youth pastor, is so good at what he does and will one day be directly impacting my own children! Jon does community outreach and is working on a special serve day that will make a huge impact in our city. Jennifer is a counselor and has a sweet disposition, yet a powerful woman of prayer. All of these staff members are important and deserve great recognition.

Rick and Amber have been in our lives for a number of years and I have learned so much through their wisdom. They kept our girls for a few days for us while we went on a trip this fall. They give a great deal of themselves to so many people and it is an honor to call them friends.

Then I start to think about people who have impacted me at various times in my life. College friends like Hannah, Rachel, Beth, Amber, Maddie, Kristen, and Vickie. Each of these women left a positive imprint on my life and I love the memories that we have shared together. I also greatly treasure friends from my childhood like Emily, Sarah-Eileen, Caitlin, and Kaitlin.

Trish was someone I always looked up to spiritually. She and her daughter Ashley threw me a baby shower for my first born. The two of them have a special place in my heart. Ashley, we need another girl’s night soon!

In this month I was able to mention all of my immediate family members, but didn’t get a chance to touch on my extended family. There are too many names to list them all here, but I love each and every one of them. They are spread all throughout the country in places like South Carolina, Delaware, Kansas, California, and Hawaii. Some I have known better than others, but I value each moment we have spent together.

My thoughts travel to one who is no longer with us. Leigh Lane was a precious friend of mine during my last two years of high-school. I was a homeschool girl transitioning to public school, and she was such an inspiration to me. She lived with unstoppable joy and had a great peace about her. She was the type of person you knew had a special relationship with the Lord. I wish I had more time with her.

I could go on. There are so many more. But it doesn’t have to stop here. It doesn’t have to be a blog post or a Facebook status. It can be a card in the mail, a text, a phone call, a gift. Let’s live a life that brings honor to others.