Wednesday, March 25, 2015

One a Day, Week Twelve

Ice cream in the backyard on a warm spring day

This is how I feel about spring too.

Eliza and one of her favorite friends

My two boys

Family Home Evening

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Potty Training Fail, Illness, and New Toys

Potty-training Cami didn't last long, darn it.  After starting two weeks ago Monday, she, she got sick on Wednesday and between throwing up and explosive diarrhea, we went back to diapers.  She's better now, but says she wants to stay little a bit longer and not wear underwear.  So we'll try again in another month or two.

* * *
Speaking of illness, Cami felt better by Friday.  Then Saturday night, four of the little girls threw up in the night.  They felt fine by Monday, when I got hit with it.  Then Tuesday of last week, Michael threw up, followed by Katie on Wednesday.  If I'd been smart, I would have just cleared my calendar for two weeks once Cami got sick.  But I'm ever the optimist and always hope the rest of us will be spared.  It's been nearly a week since the last one got sick and I'm hopeful we've seen the last of it.  DH, Lillian, and Joey were the only ones spared.
Cami back to her old self and ready to pump some iron.

* * *

I got a couple of new camera toys last week.  I'd saved up enough for another lens and was debating between a smaller prime that's easier to carry around or a macro lens for close-ups.

But there's been this red-tailed hawk that has been perching on a tree in our backyard almost every day for a weeks, and it's been driving me crazy that I can't zoom in very close, so I decided to go for a wildlife lens.  I'm excited to take it out to the lake and to the beach with my kids.  It's 600mm on the long end, and it's been fun to play with.  But man, it's a tank!

I feel like a member of the paparazzi carrying it around, but it's been fun to get photos of my kids from a distance.  That red-tailed hawk, however, has only shown up once since I got the lens and I wasn't able to get it onto my camera fast enough before it flew away.

My other new toy was a macro extension tube for all of $15.  It fits between my camera and a lens and makes it possible to focus extremely close to the lens.  It's a little tricky to work, as it has only a fixed spot where the subject is in focus (no zooming in and out and re-focusing), I have to manually focus the lens, and the depth of field is extremely narrow since I can't close down my aperture, but it's still been a fun little toy to take flower photos with.

Before, this was about as close as I could get to my crocuses:

Decent enough photos, but nothing like the fun of getting in even closer:

I have so much more I want to write about -- the 10K I ran a few weeks ago, the races my husband and kids have been doing, how my kids are learning to be better and more independent cooks in the kitchen, how I've picked up some fiction books lately and have been reminded of why I don't read them often (because I ignore everyone anything until I find out what happens next!), and more.  

But I've only got a few more minutes today, so I'll save it for next week.  Life is good.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

One a Day, Week Eleven

Growing the bangs out

Joey playing basketball with one of our favorite neighbors.  He's using the force to levitate the ball in the air.

Pi Day Breakfast

Sunday games

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

One a Day, Week Ten

I had a couple of days this week where I almost forgot to take a photo.  But I still haven't missed a day yet!

These silly bands are always all. over. my. house.

Allison and Sarah helped me plant seven fruit trees last week!

We love our haircuts!
Harmony:  "I love my mom because we go places together.  We love to go to the stors and we love to go on trips and she loves us.  My mom makes food for us.  she takes us to school and plays games with me.  I love you mom."

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Potty Training Tips from a Mother of Nine

I started potty training Cami yesterday.  She sat on the potty, wiped, flushed, washed her hands and got her potty treat a dozen times.  She also peed -- in her underwear -- twice, both quite soon after having visited the bathroom.  She has yet to actually deposit anything into the potty.  Yeah, I'm really good at this.  :)  Some of my kids have been super easy to train and others super hard, and it doesn't always match up with their personalities.  Katie was pretty tough as a toddler, so I dreaded potty-training and put it off as long as I could.  Then, a few months after she turned three, we potty-trained her in the course of a couple of days.  And that was it.  No accidents, she stayed dry at night, and no complaints.  Others of my kids had accidents for months afterwards.  About half of my kids have needed pull-ups at night for years afterwards, but that's more a matter of how deep they are genetically programmed to sleep rather than any kind of potty-training dos or don'ts.

Crazy, Intense Katie!
I don't consider myself a potty-training expert by any means.  It's not something I ever look forward to, and though I've somehow managed to have 8 success stories so far, it's never a guarantee that this time will go well.

Still, I have learned a few things things.

My best tips for potty-training:

1.  Wait until they are close to 3.  Sure, your kid might be able to do it sooner, but usually, it involves a lot more work on your part and a lot more accidents.  Waiting until almost three almost always makes it go faster and allows the child to be more aware of their own bodies and more able to manage the many steps required.

2.  Talk a lot about potty-training in the months and years before you do it.  I often point out while changing diapers, for example, "right now, you are using diapers.  When you get bigger, you'll make your poop and pee in the potty!"  Talk it up and make it sound like an exciting, grown-up thing to do.  Read books about potty-training and share your excitement about how great it will be when your child is also big enough to wear underwear.

3.  Pick a week when there is not a lot going on.  Try to stay home completely for the first few days.

4.  Make a special trip to the store to let the child pick out her own underwear.  I prefer to start with training pants since they have the ability to contain accidents a lot better.

5.  Buy potty treats.  I usually use M&Ms or something similar.  During the first few weeks of training, I give out 2 M&Ms for sitting on the potty and trying, even if nothing happens, and a whole handful when poop is made.  After a few weeks, the potty treats usually run out, but by then, the child is pretty well trained, so I don't have to buy more than one big bag.

6.  On the days you start potty-training, have the child wear just underwear, with no pants.  It makes it easier for them to pull them up and down and saves on laundry for accidents.  It also helps remind the child that something is different and helps them remember to go into the bathroom.  Some of my friends swear by having their child run around completely naked and giving them the underwear after they are successfully trained, but I just can't handle the thought of an accident going everywhere, nor do I want to go to the effort of keeping them on hard floors for several days in a row.  Give your child plenty to drink.

7.  Give it a good try for at least 3 days.  The first couple of days, lead your child into the bathroom at least every 30 minutes, whether they go or not.  Have them practice pulling down their underwear, sitting and trying, wiping, flushing, and washing their hands.  Praise them for trying and talk up how grown up and wonderful it is to be using the potty and getting potty treats.

8.  Don't make a big deal of accidents.  Help the child clean it up, change into a fresh pair of underwear, and remind them "We need to keep our pretty new underwear dry.  Let's go pee in the potty next time."

9.  If it obviously isn't working after a week, go back to diapers for a few months.  That's SO much better, in my opinion, than having a half-trained child running around having accidents often.  Don't make a big deal of it and just continue to talk up the excitement of "when you're bigger, you'll get to wear underwear again!"  Then try again.  Trust me, it's much better to wait and have success with a fully-potty-trained child than to push on and deal with constant accidents.  Of course, even if everything goes well, your child will likely have a few accidents here and there.  When that happens, show some disappointment and show them how to clean it up, but don't get angry or punish them.

Here's to success -- yours AND mine!

I'm hoping all goes well with Cami.  If so, it will be the first time in almost 16 years that I haven't had a child in diapers.  And it will last all of 4 months before baby Benjamin is born.  :)

Friday, March 06, 2015

It's a . . .

I think I'll let Cami share our news:

We're super excited, at least as "not excited" as Cami is.

Lillian, Allison and Sarah had a good time trying to interpret the different blobs on the ultrasound screen (they don't have quite as much experience with that as I do).  They were especially excited when the gender was revealed.  I had Lillian call to tell her dad, then the four of us went out for lunch.

Best news of all, though, is that everything looked great with baby's development.  That's not something to take for granted.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

The Middle Months of Pregnancy (plus a video)

I'm almost twenty weeks and my ultrasound is later today.  We asked the kids for their guesses this morning.  Michael, Katie, and Cami guess girl, the rest guess boy, and DH wisely abstained from voting.  For the first time, I'm bringing some of my kids to the ultrasound -- Lillian, Allison, and Sarah.  I'm excited.

It's amazing how quickly I've gone from being able to wear slightly baggier clothes and not showing the pregnancy at all to feeling huge and wearing maternity clothes.

This is me at 14.5 weeks, and part of that baby bulge is that I was wearing a bulky skirt:

And here I am at 19.5 weeks:

Speaking of maternity clothes, I got mine out and I realized that I hated almost all of them.  Why anyone thinks that pregnant people are just dying to iron the clothes they bought thinking they wouldn't wrinkle is beyond me.  Plus, some of my maternity shirts are ones I wore 15 years ago.   So I went to Target, tried on everything they had, and bought three or four shirts that I actually like, letting me give a bunch of my stuff to DI.  

I'm enjoying the best part of pregnancy:  feeling the baby move.  I felt it first at 16.5 weeks and she or he has only gotten bigger and more active since then.  Love it!  

It's gotten harder to keep up with the running, as I've felt a lot of uncomfortable pulling in my abdomen, especially on my weekend longer runs (5-7 miles).  I have a 10K on Saturday and I'd thought I'd have to stick to shorter runs after that, but then last week, I bought this.  I've only run with it twice now, but it has been awesome.  So maybe I'll be able to run for a few more months after all.

Ideally, I'd be able to run the entire pregnancy, but I just don't know if that's even possible. Even though I ran a marathon at 15 weeks last time, I didn't run much at all afterwards, first because I was waiting for my knee to heal, and then because it was cold, I was big and pregnant, and I didn't feel like it.  

I've been doing more on the elliptical, and I've been able to get in about five of my favorite yoga routines each week, which has been great.  I've had modify a couple of the moves so I'm not lying flat on my back or flat on my belly, but otherwise, the routines have been awesome.  

Katie keeps telling me, "Mommy, you're getting fat!" and sometimes, she puts her hand on my growing belly to emphasize her point.  But she also thinks we should name the baby Arrow if it's a boy and Tessa, like her friend's baby, if it's a girl.  My husband's vote is for something like Benjamin Eragon Eomer Legolas Gandolph Bartholomew (he'd never get out of first grade if he had to write all that down!).  I'm of the persuasion that one Lord of the Rings-inspired name is enough for any family (Camilla's middle name is Eowyn).  We'll see if I win the argument.  

I'm hopeful baby cooperates today!

What do you like about the middle months of pregnancy?  Any tips on keeping up with the running after my 10K?  And anyone want to venture a guess on this baby's gender?

P. S.  For those who are interested, here's the short video of how we announced our pregnancy to the kids on Christmas Eve.


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