Monthly Archives: July 2014

He’s Potty-Trained…I Guess

We’ve been working on potty training, without really potty training, for months now. The real thing holding us back was me. For a while I said, “I’ll work on it after I quit. It’ll be so much easier when I’m home with him all day.” Then I got quit and we’ve been soooo busy this summer, that my excuse has become, “I’ll work on it this fall after C’s started school. Then I can really give him my undivided attention.” Well, no more excuses.

Last Thursday morning, D confidently stated, “I am NEVER wearing a diaper again!!” So what was I to do? I put underpants on him and spent the day encouraging him. And he was amazing. Dry for the whole day. I’ll be honest though. I was a little disappointed that he succeeded. Isn’t that horrible?!? The thing is, I’m watching a baby this week. We had cousins over yesterday too – 5 kids for the day. So I knew I’d be distracted this week and didn’t want to add this to my plate. Amazing how I can keep pumping out the excuses, huh?

I knew I had to stick with it though. If I discouraged him when he was showing interest, that could cause plenty of problems later. So I did. And he’s done pretty darn good. In the last 8 days, he’s only had 3 accidents. That’s a pretty good success rate. So… Here’s hoping! Then you won’t have to hear about our potty training escapades any more 😉

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My Road Trip Tips

I think I’ve read about 73 different blog entries on road-tripping with kids. I read about half of them in the last few weeks, knowing that I’d be driving five and a half hours with the kids by myself. And I’d be driving through St. Paul – easily the biggest city I’ve driven through. (Yes, I’ve been driving for 13 years and Des Moines is the biggest city I’ve driven in. Don’t judge.)

In case any of my friends are taking a trip soon and want some tips, without reading dozens of strangers’ blogs, here are my ideas 🙂

  • Plan ahead. This is an easy one for me, because I ❤ planning. For our most recent trip, I found a town just under halfway there and located a McDonald’s with a PlayPlace. We left the house so that we got to lunch just before noon, the kids ate and burned off some energy before we got back in the car. If you’re not into fast food – not our first choice, but convenient, and luckily, my kids aren’t aware of Happy Meals, so I got us in and out pretty inexpensively – you can do some research to find a rest stop with a playground. We saw a few of those off the interstate and could have taken advantage if I’d taken the time to pack us a lunch before we left!

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    See – we’re happy in the car! (And in a parking lot. Safety first!)

  • Use a portable DVD player, iPad, Kindle Fire…whatever you have available. We have a portable DVD player with 2 screens. We only put this in the car when we’re going on a long trip, and our kids don’t watch it the whole time, but it certainly helps when they’re tired, getting restless or need a distraction.
  • Pack lots of snacks. When in motion, my kids are soooo hungry. I packed lots of snacks, and tried to mix healthy options – fruit, cheese sticks, granola bars and popcorn – in with treats or things that are a bit more special – animal crackers, cracker mix and fruit snacks. Along these lines, my kids each get their Camelbak filled with ice water before we leave. And that’s it for their beverage, because I don’t want to make extra stops just for the bathroom if we can avoid it.

    My passenger seat - a basket with activities, a basket of snacks and my kids' lovies.

    My passenger seat – a basket with activities, a basket of snacks and my kids’ lovies.

  • Use dry erase markers for good car activities. This is great for a couple reasons. My kids think dry erase markers are super cool, so they think this is a treat. It also makes for reusable activities. On this trip, I took a name tracing sheet for C, shape tracing sheet for D and an I-Spy game for each of them. We have a laminator, so I laminated the papers and voila! they become dry erase activities. We also have some activity books we use at home with the pages in sheet protectors, which work just as well. In one of the 73 blogs I read, I also saw the suggestion of using dry erase markers on the windows. This is a great idea we might take advantage of in a couple years.
  • Have some “car only” activities. For us, these include a Melissa and Doug Water WOW! Activity Book, a set of small, wooden puzzles and Magic Ink books. These are all small and mess-free, so they’re perfect car activities. Each of these activities can keep my kids entertained for over 15 minutes, which can be an eternity in kid-in-the-car-world.
  • Bring lots of books (and a LeapReader if you’re lucky!) I always pack a bag with 20+ books and put it in between the kids’ car seats. They can both reach the bag, so they don’t even need my help to get to the books. The books are not a 15 minute activity, but it’s an independent activity, which is a win. We got C a LeapReader for her birthday. Using this, the kids can have books read aloud to them. D can use it to read the books and C loves to hear the books and play the games within the books. And…you can put headphones in it. C “read” books while D slept on the way home – perfect quiet time activity.

    LeapReader time!

    So there you have it. My non-expert tips on road-tripping with kids. The kids and I spent 11 hours in the car this week and managed to come home with smiles on our faces. Although that might not have anything to do with what I’ve said above, it might just be because they’re rock stars!

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Summer Fun

Can I say again how lucky I am that I got to start this new phase of our lives over the summer?!? We have had so much fun already and it’s just the beginning of July!

Let me be up front though. I have not gotten a single project completed that I imagined I would complete when I started staying home. My house is not cleaner than it used to be. If anything, it’s messier. I have not started cooking the majority of our meals. We have been far too busy for me to do any of the above!

One of the exciting developments for our kiddos – they have become fish! We’ve made it to the pool at least once a week since it opened, and the kids had fun, but it was mostly just splashing and hanging out in the lazy river. Then in mid-June, we got to spend a long weekend at the cabin with my in-laws. The kids got to go on their first boat ride, catch their first fish and swim in a lake for the first time. My brother-in-law spent a good chunk of time inflating inner tubes and tying them on the the boat so the kids could hang out in the lake. Then my 9 year-old niece jumped in and started swimming, at which point my kids decided they were too good for floaties and they needed to swim as well. So my 2 year-old and 5 year-old, who until this point still wanted to hold hands in the pool at 3 feet deep, decided they could swim around in a 20+ feet deep lake without holding onto anyone’s hands (although with life jackets and noodles…) And they were amazing.

This is part of the 3 minutes our kids spent on an inflatable

This is part of the 3 minutes our kids spent on an inflatable.

C swimming with her cousin.

C swimming with her cousin.

See those specks in the distance? That's my daughter, her cousin and my husband swimming from the boat to the cabin and back again.

See those specks in the distance? That’s my daughter, her cousin and my husband swimming from the boat to the cabin and back again.

When we got home from the cabin, the kids started their countdown until the next weekend, when we were headed to my family reunion. The kids were excited to see family, but also super excited because we were going to a small beach and they were going to go swimming again! We had been to the pool during the week, but it just wasn’t quite as cool. Thankfully the weather cooperated and the kids got to swim. They remembered what they were doing and had a blast playing with their cousins.

Swimming with this many cousins left no shortage of people to admire their newly acquired skills :-)

Swimming with this many cousins left no shortage of people to admire their newly acquired skills 🙂

We had almost as much fun playing in the sand as we did in the water!

We had almost as much fun playing in the sand as we did in the water!

Lucky for us, we have a lot of summer left.  In the next week alone we have plans to go to the beach several times with family and friends. And in case anyone was wondering, I read this article and put my swimsuit on. Memories made. And the kids don’t even know how much I wish I could shave 5 pounds and several stretch marks off of each thigh.

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