For When You're Almost Done Potty Training

Monday, July 25, 2016

Over the last two  or three years I've had an amazing relationship with Huggies as I transitioned from having two kids in diapers, to just one. When I first started trying to potty training Jay two years ago, I thought the day would never come when he was completely out of diapers. I actually don't remember when it was that he was finally 100% potty trained, but I don't think it was until February or March of this year. Throughout the process we learned a lot about what works for us, what doesn't, and had lots and lots of potty mishaps a long the way. 

Some of the first mishaps were when Jay refused to go potty in a diaper, but he also refused to go on the potty, which undoubtedly left little puddles all over our house. Then he transitioned to being afraid of peeing on the floor, so he wouldn't get off the potty... you can tell this was quite the process right?

There were all the times when we thought he was really "potty trained" so we decided to leave him in underwear and then he wet himself while sitting on his primary teacher's lap. We obviously felt awesome about that one. Poor sweet lady. There was also the time when he made it to the potty on time to go pee, and didn't realize he had to #2 at the same time, and completely dropped it on the floor while doing the first one. TMI? We've all been there, don't lie. 

While it's been awesome for Jay to finally be potty trained during the day, he still hasn't quite grasped the concept of staying dry at night. We're told it won't happen until his body starts producing a certain hormone to make that happen, so I'm not really sweating it. He stays dry 90% of the time when he takes a nap, but for bedtime, we always have our Huggies Pull-Ups for extra support. 

Right now you can head to a Walmart Neighborhood Market near you to pick up your own pack of Huggies Pull Ups. Don't forget to print this $2 off coupon before you go, and make sure you don't forget the wipes.

This post is sponsored by Kimberly Clark, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

A New Chapter in Our Lives

Sometimes I make the mistake in thinking that we've checked off all the boxes for big life events, and that our lives are going to slow down and be easier at some point. I should probably stop having that mindset, because it basically never happens. We've been living in our new house for a little less then a month now, and already we've been thrown for quite the loop. 

When we first moved in my mind was blown away by all the active church members in our area who were there and ready to help us move in. When I was driving from the attorney's office (where we had just had our closing), to our new home where people were waiting to help us unload our moving truck, I had about three people call me to tell me that they were so sorry they wouldn't be able to come and help us unload. Then I showed up at the house and there are something like seventeen people outside who had managed to make it to our new home before me. As I watched all these people unloading our truck I couldn't help but be reminded of the many, many wonderful people that we went to church with in North Carolina, and our last ward in Georgia. I immediately thought, and continued to think over the next few days, "Yes, this move is going to be amazing."

Three days later, it was Sunday morning and we made the very quick, less than two mile drive to our new church building. It had been ages since we'd lived so close to church, that being there in five minutes just seemed so heavenly. When we walked into the chapel, the ward was so big that 10 minutes before the meeting started the chapel was full, and most of the overflow. It was fast and testimony meeting that day, and there were even Deacons on the stand with microphones waiting for people to raise their hands in the chapel to bear their testimony because they didn't want to overcrowd the pulpit with lines. 

Right before the meeting started, I leaned over to Derek and joked, "The last time our ward was this big was when we were NC and they had to split the wards and make a new one." And then six seconds later, the Stake President took the stand and announced that they were going to be splitting the wards. 

I was immediately stressed out because most of the families that we'd met that first week lived on the other side of the ward from us, and Derek and I were sure that no one we knew would be in our new ward. And sure enough that was the case, except for one family who was so nice to us that first week and let us borrow a ladder from them, which is instant friendship in my book, and they're in our new ward too, so we knew an entire two people going into the next Sunday of church with our new ward. 

Then last Sunday after church Derek and I got a call from our new bishop saying that he wanted to meet with the families in the ward to get to know everyone. So we met with him on Tuesday, were pretty sure that we would be getting a super low key calling in the next couple weeks, and left the building.

Saturday night at 8:30pm, Derek got a call from the Stake President saying that he wanted to meet with us at 8:30 in the morning the next day before sacrament meeting started. Because we'd told the Bishop that Derek's old calling of being a clerk was basically his dream calling, we were sure that he was either getting called to some clerk position, or that I was going to be a secretary somewhere because I had been bragging about my organizational skills to our Bishop too. 

So on Sunday morning when we sat down in front of the Stake President where he told us that Derek would be the new Elders Quorum President, we were both in shock. We knew maybe three families in our ward by this point, and I confirmed with the Stake President, "You know we're only 24 and 27 right?" He apparently didn't seem phased by our age at all. 

We spent most of yesterday laughing and joking about his calling until around dinnertime when the weight and magnitude of the call really started to sink in. We realized that the original closing day on our house was supposed to be July 22nd, and had that been the case, Derek never would have gotten called. Everyone said closing in 20 days was really fast, and now we know the Lord had a plan for us the entire time. 

But to be honest, it's overwhelming to be sitting here at the beginning phases of a very large calling. Derek still has one more year for his MBA, His church responsibilities have just escalated from teaching primary once a week, to likely doing something church related more days than not. It feels daunting to not know exactly how busy he's going to be, and what all of this will mean for our family, and family time, but we're told that there are great blessings from serving, and so we're just hoping it all works out. And in 3-4 years when Derek gets released and we're able to look back and say, "we made it", then all the better. 

Squirt Gun Water Color DIY

Thursday, July 21, 2016

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FreeToBe #CollectiveBias

I'm really not a very fun mom. When I was pregnant for Jay I remember that was the time when Pinterest really started to become a "thing", and while I anxiously waited for the arrival of our first child, I pinned all these fun parenting activities that I thought would be so fun to do with him when he got older. Jay turns four in two weeks, and this right here is the only "Pinterest worthy" child activity that I've done with him so far. When we were done, I realized how fun and easy it was to do a little project like this, and how we really should slow down to do things like this more often. 

I had seen an idea like this on the internet somewhere, where you put some food coloring into water guns, and spray it at a canvas to make a cool picture. I figured it was so easy, and non-labor intensive that I could easily pull it off myself. Plus, Jay doesn't really have the best hand strength, so I figured anything working those little finger muscles, the better. 

We headed out to Walmart last week to get everything we needed for this project (AKA 97 cent water guns), and some All Free Clear Detergent. This has been our detergent of choice since Jay was born. I love it because it doesn't have the harsh chemicals or dyes like other detergents, but is significantly less money then the specifically marketed baby detergents that do the exact same thing. Jay has always had eczema on the back of his arms near his elbows, and so we like to keep things in our laundry as gentle as possible to alleviate any chance of allergies. That, and when you're about to let your kid run loose with a water gun filled with food coloring, having detergent on hand is basically a necessity. 

1 small canvas
food coloring
water guns

Pour about 1 tsp of food coloring into your water gun. Then fill the water gun about half way with water. Have your child point the water gun at the canvas and let them make their own picture mixing and using as many colors as they would like. Leave outside to dry for a few hours. Color does not transfer from picture once dried. Also, my water guns leaked in our house a little bit, but the color wiped up really easily. Just take caution and be careful to not spill on hard to clean surfaces, or do the entire project start to finish outside. 

What is your family's laundry detergent of choice? Have you tried All Free Clear?


OK, I'll Be A Blogger Again

Monday, July 18, 2016

Three months ago I wrote my post about why I wasn't blogging anymore. I've loved the time that I've had to separate myself from the internet, spend more time with my kids, move into our new home, be settled, the list goes on an on. As I moved away from blogging I was able to see real parts of it that I missed, and the parts that I was more than ready and willing to let go of. As I periodically monitored my analytics (stats that tell me how many people are coming over here each day), I learned that things I was doing that I thought were sooo profitable to my page views, were really doing nothing for me in the long run, and that I could spend 40+ hours a week doing things for my blog, or 10, and I would likely get the same amount of page views, and money. 

I learned that I 100% don't miss running out every weekend to make sure I have a fabulous outfit post every single weekend, and Derek doesn't mind one less opportunity to take pictures for me. I learned that if I don't have something fabulous to write about, it's okay to simply not write. I've learned that there's nothing wrong with working with brands and doing a sponsored post if they're products you really use, but jumping through hoops to get every single sponsored post, just for a quick hundred bucks probably hurts me and my credibility more than it really profits me. 

The biggest thing that I've learned though is that the real things I want to blog about are the things that I guess are what drew people here in the first place. Great food recipes, money saving tips, posts about our family, and fun kids activities. Do I need to be extreme and post something five days a week and harass every poor victim on my social media five days a week? No. If I feel compelled to post, or am working with a brand that I'm really excited about will I post? Yes. Will I go back to loosing every Saturday for the rest of my life to run around and do blog errands all day? Probably not. 

While we're in the moment of honesty, I won't pretend that the decision to come back wasn't prompted by financial need. When we moved into our home we were under the impression our mortgage payment was going to be cheaper than it is, and found out that because our house was a rental property before we bought it, we won't be able to have a tax break through the homestead exemption until January. Financial blow number one. A week into living here I backed into our mail box, which now needs to be replaced, and be the exact same as everyone else's in the neighborhood. Derek's 92' Geo Prism is on the way out. We're hoping it can hold out until January when we can replace it with another inexpensive car with our tax refund, but should it go before then, we're likely to be in the land of another car payment. I figure it's unfair for me to sit back and let Derek figure out all our financial struggles when there is something that I can easily do to help alleviate it. And now that I've had all the time off, I know I can do it in a way that doesn't jeopardize my relationships with my family, which obviously come first, always. Again, thank you for always reading, and supporting. Those of you who stick around through all the thick and thin over here, really, just thank you. 

Our Fourth Of July

Friday, July 15, 2016

Remember when this blog used to be about our lives and the things we did, and what was actually going on with us. I need to get better about that. Even though the Fourth of July was 10+ days ago now, for posterity sake, I want to share what our holiday was like. 

We knew that the Fourth of July was going to be the first holiday that we spent together in our new home, and I wanted it to be as special as possible. I had set a goal for myself to learn My Country Tis of Thee on our piano, and actually succeeded learning it on the right hand. Derek tried learning to play on the left, and told me it was actually really hard and that he wasn't really able to do it. Since he is the more advanced pianist out of the two of us, I decided to just do the right hand really well and be proud of that accomplishment. Which is totally Paige for you. Set a goal and do it half way right? 

So in my mind our day was going to go as follows: Wake up, see the neighborhood parade, come home and have breakfast, I play the piano while the entire family sings happily in unison behind me for three full verses, head outside to drill and hang our new flag on our house, teach the children about America and have them say the pledge of Allegiance, and then have a magical day that ends with fireworks. Perfect sounding day right? 

Well, here is the real story. We did wake up and make it to the neighborhood Fourth of July Parade. When we got home to play the piano and do all that good American cheesy stuff, Em was screaming while Derek was trying to hold her, Jay wouldn't sit in the chair next to me, and refused to take part in the entire situation, Derek was super annoyed that chaos was happening, I still attempted to play the piano and sing against everyone's will, all while messing up playing the song 1,000 times before I eventually stormed off and thanked everyone for, "ruining the one thing I wanted to do that day." I have the entire thing on video, it's fabulous. 

I then stormed off to the bedroom and took a three hour nap, while the kids and everyone else napped too. Then around 5 o' clock I decided to make a peace treaty and we all went out for some pizza. We tried this new place that I'm pretty sure only exists in GA, but it's a chain called Marcos. It was actually pretty good for a chain place, but more than Papa John's or Domino's. When we were there everyone was in happy spirits, which count your blessings after everything leading up to this point. When we were there Jay was really into taking pictures and then even asked me to take a picture of his ear... Your wish is my command small, strange, human being that I produced. 

After dinner we headed to Kroger to check out their display of high quality fireworks... AKA pick through whatever was left by 6pm on the night of the Fourth of July. We were able to scrape together a few things to pick out, and even got some new pool toys for the kids, and then headed home to put them down for bed while Derek got homework done. 

Our original plan (original as in the plan made at 5pm after the first original plan backfired) was to put the kids to bed and then get them up when it was dark out so they could do the fireworks when Derek got his homework done. 

I wound up putting Em down, although she didn't sleep the entire time, and then I took Jay outside with me to do some pop-its in the driveway to kill some time. We then watched a movie until it got dark, but he fell asleep halfway through and then I had to beg and plead with him to wake up so we could do fireworks. Yes, I know I'm strange for begging a sleeping child to wake-up at 9:30pm, but I've obviously proven many times in this story already that I'm clinically insane, so... We did the fireworks, and Jay and Em had the magical moment I'd been waiting for all day. Then we put them to bed and pretended like it wasn't the most bizarre holiday to ever happen in the history of forever. 

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