Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Breaking old habits and forming new ones

Overall, I am loving my kids at this age. They still are adorable and say the funniest things, they both nap at the same each day, they can enjoy most of the same activities, and they are old enough to know to stay out of the street and not put dead bugs in their mouths.
But... I don't love potty training. I thought maybe I would get a break with Caroline because things were going so awesome at first. After about 5 weeks, she started having a huge regression, for no apparent reason. She went back to having careless accidents and not bothering to tell me when she had to go potty. We were so close to our Kentucky trip with it's 18 hour car drive that I decided to salvage my sanity and put her back in pull-ups. When we got home it was back to underwear, all 6+ pairs a day. She even started going #2 in her underwear, which she had never done on potty training attempt #1. So discouraging.
So here we are now, about 3 1/2 months out and still only marginal success. I think her problem is laziness, not comprehension, so I haven't wanted to stop and go completely back to diapers. Problem is, I don't know how to motivate her. It is simply much easier for her to just pee where she is standing and then whip off the wet clothes in two seconds flat. Charlton got her some Nerds candy and that has been a great reward, but most of the time she still won't tell me when she has to go. When I take her to the potty, she usually resists me and tries to immediately hop back off. Then she will pee on the floor 5 minutes later. It has been really frustrating. I know she will get it eventually, but I will be so glad when all the yuckiness of potty-training is over.
I am not sure which is harder, forming new life habits or breaking old ones, almost 5 year old ones. I have been completely avoiding dealing with Rylan's thumb-sucking habit for a long time, but there is nothing like a looming dentist appointment to push it to the top of the priority list. I won't go into all the reasons why it feels like huge challenge for him to quit, but suffice it to say, the obstacle felt like a mountain and my resources felt like molehills. They still kind of do, but...
I recently read an article in a MOPS mom's magazine that felt like it was written for me. A mom noticed that when her children had to go through something really difficult, they handled it best when she walked through it with them. Duh, I know, but what really struck me was her example in the article: thumb-sucking. This mom would lie down beside her child every night and rub her back and pray with her until she fell asleep without sucking her thumb to soothe herself. I felt like God was giving me the answer I was looking for to help Rylan quit. Very difficult, but with God's help I believe he can do it. So I may not be updating the blog very much in the future. I have no idea how long it will take, but I do know my evenings will be spent snuggling beside a sweet and brave young man, helping him learn to fall asleep without his thumb in his mouth. We would definitely appreciate your prayers if you think of us.

Grammy's Visit 2011

Charlton's mom visited us on her vacation last week. We had a wonderful time with her. The kids were so excited to pick her up at the airport. She wasn't due to arrive until 8:30, but at 5:00, Rylan decided he couldn't wait any longer and asked if we "could just go get her now." We had skyped with her recently and both kids have longer memories now, so they could remember and anticipate all the joys of Grammy coming to stay with us.

Grammy took us out to Red Robin, Rylan's favorite restaurant, and we tried to get some pictures afterwords. Caroline looked so pretty in the new colorful dress Grammy brought for her. You can't see in the photos, but the outfit included ruffly matching pink sandals, which Caroline thoroughly enjoyed taking on and off all by herself.

Classic Caroline, sucking her thumb while twirling her hair. She looks a lot like her Grammy Clarke!
We watched a few of Rylan's karate classes.

We went to a summer story time organized at a park by our church. This week's theme was "Circus". The tent made a great hide-out!

Caroline swinging with Grammy on a hot day in the park

We had a snack inside the train car and got a kick out of the funny polka dot pattern made by the train's roof. Both Grammy and Rylan had spots!

We had to cool off with popsicles and sunglasses are a must in sunny Colorado.

I wasn't a very good photographer with Grammy, Charlton, and the kids. I think this was about the best shot.

We also spent a morning at the pool, sans photos because we were too busy splashing. On Saturday, Grammy's last morning with us, she and Charlton took the kids to It'z a big indoor amusement/arcade place. The kids had grown so much since winter, the last time they were there, that they were finally tall enough to experience some of the rides. They are both adrenaline junkies, it seems, and had so much fun on the rides.

Thanks for coming to see us Grammy, we had a blast with you!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Early 4th of July

My brother James had us over to his house on July 2nd, our last night in Kentucky. He truly has the "party house", a pool table, theatre, and bar in his basement, and a huge fenced backyard with a really cool play set for the kids. We ate Old Chicago pizza, my favorite, and James treated us with our own fireworks show at sunset. Fireworks are illegal in Colorado Springs and last year a hail storm cancelled the show, so I don't think my kids had any idea what to expect. They were not disappointed, at any rate. The boys loved the noise and smoke, and pretty much everything else associated with fireworks.

Aunt Martha made yummy cupcakes for dessert, which were well-enjoyed by Caroline and Christopher.

I think this was Rylan's first experience with sparklers, and thankfully all went well.

James Roland is definitely his father's son!

Caroline liked her sparkler, too.

Poor girl was worn out by all the fun and late bedtimes.

Just had to include a picture of this cutie-pie. Little Christopher was so sweet and calm and looks just like his mama.

A few random pics from Kentucky

All settled and comfy at the start of our long 2-day drive.

Caroline "driving" Papa's tractor. This was before she sat on the water bucket and drenched herself.

Rylan having a blast on J.R. and Christopher's cool swing set.

Little Miss stinky feet. We would beg her not to take her shoes off in the car, because they would smell so bad!

Pure joy!

Airborn on Nana's trampoline!


Rylan and Caroline have seven cousins age 6 and under with sweet baby #8 due in September. Last year, Rylan was a bit overwhelmed socially, but this year, he had a blast with his cousins, especially J.R. who is 4 1/2 and Katherine who just turned 5 in May. All of the cousins were together at one time at the pool Tuesday and Nana really wanted a picture with her grandbabies. Unfortunately, it was past naptime and Rylan had just fallen on the sidewalk, getting twin "huge, bloody boo-boos" on his knees. So, for most of these pictures, Mr. Overreactor was not looking his most photogenic. We still got a few half-way decent shots and this turned out to be the only time all the cousins were together, so I am glad we made the attempt.

Rylan and Katherine were great buddies. They played contentedly in the sandbox and in Katherine's room for over an hour.

Katherine has such a sweet, caring heart. Here she was giving Rylan a hug and I am not really sure what kind of face he was trying to make, but it is definitely serious and manly!

Andrew has the serious face here! The two-year olds, Caroline, Andrew, and Christopher were all born within 5 months of each other. They weren't super interested in each other, but I can imagine they will be quite a force to be reckoned with as they get older.

Pool Time

One of the best parts about summer in Kentucky is staying cool by Nana's pool. We had a blast and it was a great place to meet up with cousins and friends, too. Guess what Rylan did for the first time? A little encouragement from Uncle Benjamin and positive peer pressure from cousins, and Rylan jumped off the diving board. He was so proud of himself and it was one of the highlights of our trip to see his courage and confidence grow.

Getting himself pumped up?

We had a little chuckle at the guy in the background of this picture. Rylan may be attempting back flips in a few years.

Very brave boy, especially when Dad is waiting below.

Caroline would have been jumping off the diving board too, I am sure, if I had even let her think that was a possibility! She did love going down the slide into the big family pool and it was fun to watch her submerge completely, then bob back up and swim to the side of the pool. I found some great vest style floating devices that gave me a lot more peace of mind with the kids swimming, especially in the deeper water.

Lunch time! One of my dear friends from high school met us on Tuesday and we enjoyed spending time with her and her children and our cousins.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Great-grandparents Monroe

My grandparent's (dad's parents) turned 84 this past week, their birthdays within 3 days of each other. Every time we get to spend with them is precious and I know they delight in the antics of their great-grandchildren. We got a few special pictures of our family with Grandma and Grandaddy Monroe.

My mom, the photographer told everyone to make a silly face in this last picture.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


On our first morning at the farm, Nana let the kids ride High Hopes and we played with the other horses up by the barn. My kids must have inherited that horse-crazy gene, because they had a blast.

Caroline gets one of the first rides. High Hopes turned 26 this year and is blind in one eye, which makes her a little more skittish in new situations, but she was willing to give a few rides to the kids.

Rylan loved his ride on High Hopes, too. He learned the horses' names and loved petting them.

Caroline really liked Trigger, mom's boarding horse. He didn't actually bite her, but I guess he just wanted a little taste of her sweetness!

Caroline learned a valuable lesson this morning. Full water buckets do not make good chairs. They will actually tip over and drench you if you try to sit on them. On the other hand, the mud puddle created on the barn floor is really fun to play in with your cousins. If you get really good and muddy, then your mom will take your clothes off and then you can climb the fences half-naked.

Kentucky Trip 2011

We arrived home sweet home early this week. after a great trip to visit family in Kentucky. We had a safe, uneventful drive, warm summer days, healthy kids, and lots of quality time with extended family, so it was definitely a successful trip. I downloaded 180 pictures onto my computer, so needless to say, it will take me a few posts to even get the best ones on the blog. The kids had fun on our trip last year, but Rylan was definitely overwhelmed by all our family, most whom he didn't know well. He was pretty much one big meltdown most of our trip. What a huge difference this year! He actually really enjoyed playing with his close-in-age cousins and remembered his aunts and uncles from other trips. Caroline was much more manageable as a 2 1/2 year old than an 18 month old and there were many more blessed moments when the cousins were playing contentedly with each other and the adults could sit and talk.
The best part for me was seeing the kids enjoy all the wonderful parts of farm life, many of which I loved as a kid. I am so thankful for loving extended family and to have such a beautiful, and fun place to take my children. I really think my parent's farm is the next best thing to Disney for Rylan and Caroline. So here goes Kentucky vacation, June 2011...