Thursday, August 29, 2013

Potty Training

I'm pretty excited to announce that Adalyn is potty trained!

We had been telling her soon we would be taking her diapers away (except at nap and night time). She had been wearing underwear during the morning time before we headed out of the house and was being very successful with that.

I just needed to do it...just jump more diapers. I knew it was time, she was ready. I really wasn't.

Monday morning came and we weren't going any where, so I just never put a diaper back on her. She asked a couple times for her diapers. I so wanted to give in and put them on her, but she was doing great. She had 3 accidents on Monday, but successfully went over 10 times in the potty. A pretty darn good day 1 I'd say.

Tuesday morning we were back at it. Along with a planned trip to a park that was 30 minutes away from us. We practiced going potty before we get in the car and I brought her potty along with us, too. I explained to her that she CAN NOT pee in her car seat! She rocked it! No accidents out or that whole morning. She did have 2 that afternoon, one after nap and one outside.

Wednesday morning it was coming quite apparent that she would go potty when she wanted to go. Don't ask her if she needs to go or if she should go try. When she went was all up to her and with very few accidents I went with it. She went to a friends house while I attended Kindergarten orientation. No accidents! We spent 2 hours at the elementary school for a meet and greet that afternoon...No accidents! She went all day Wednesday with no accidents.

She hadn't pooped yet though. Finally, Wednesday she did. Phew! Successes all around.

We are super proud of her. I think this shows when the kiddo is ready, potty training isn't very hard. Just a new thing to get use to for all involved. 

We think it will be awhile before she is out of diapers at sleeping times. She still drinks lots of water before falling asleep. Since it took her 2.5 years to sleep mostly through the night. I'm not willing to change that routine as of now.

I've been trying to get a picture of her on the potty, but she won't let me.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Incredible Years {Praise}

I started recently talking about The Incredible Years program. This week I want to bring you one of the basic concepts of the program: PRAISE.

Yep, that is is. Kinda plain and simple, but used in the right way it is an amazing tool to use with all people, not just challenging kiddos, or siblings, but adults as well, even co-workers.

The idea behind praise is to draw attention to the behaviors that you want to see. Human nature often has us giving attention to the unwanted behaviors. We want to say "Stop doing ______ (fill in the blank)" or yell "Don't do ______ (fill in the blank)". Which continues to give attention to that unwanted and annoying behavior. Which keeps that ugly cycle of bad behavior going on and on.

When using the concept of praise, you ignore "bad" behavior. Excluding any thing aggressive like hitting or biting. For the most part though the majority of unwanted behaviors can be ignored.

Yes, ignoring bad behaviors can be hard and challenging to do. I can't do it all the time and wouldn't except any human to be able to ignore all behaviors. We all have limits and come the end of the day I can't ignore a whiny kiddo always. Having a goal of ignoring most unwanted behavior and thinking in your head "ignore, ignore, ignore" really helps.

In our house you will now here a lot of praise. Sometimes it's just tossed out there from another room, kinda like drive-by-praise. Other times it more directed right at the kiddo. Praise is also like descriptive commenting. The more specific you are about what you are seeing and like the better. Good job and nice work are forms of praise, but pulling something out a bit deeper will get you a lot further.

"You two are playing great together."

"I love how you are sharing those toys."

"Your body is sitting so calmly at the table."

"I love hearing your quiet voice."

"You got into the car so fast."

"What a great listener you are."

"You are being so helpful by cleaning up these toys."

 As we spend the day putting praise statements out the kids are hearing what we want them to do. NOT what we don't want them to do. The attention is put on the good things. Making the house so much more peaceful. I'm not depending and yelling at them to do stuff. I just praise the things that I like and want to see happen.

A great example of this is cleaning up.

When it is time to clean up, I get down on the ground and start. I'll praise myself for being helpful and cleaning up the mess. Generally both kids jump into action to help as well. People want to be praised and are motivated by praise. Let's say one of them (generally Adalyn), doesn't join the clean up force. I then lay the praise on Shane thick. How awesome he is doing. How fast he is. You get the idea. Four out of five times she will start cleaning up quick. The moment she does, I praise her a bunch.

Clean up has gotten so good with these kiddos now I really don't have to go through this whole process. They just do it. I still praise them, but can do it on a smaller leave since this general area is going so well.

You praise more heavily on the behaviors you want to see improved.

Recently, the kiddos were NOT getting along or playing well together. Kenny and I made a huge effort in praising (and rewarding the next step to this program) constantly and consistently every time we saw them talk nicely, share, play well or get along with each other. With just a day or so of heavy praise in that area there was major improvement. Just this morning I woke up to sounds of two kiddos playing together with out any fighting. What a great feeling! As soon as I could get myself out of bed I praised them.

It really is a simple and powerful tool. I'd say almost all behaviors can be changed with a huge dose of praise (and rewards...I'll get to that next time). It takes some time to change our habit of drawing attention to that "bad" behavior. When you can flip that little switch in your head, it feels pretty darn empowering.

Try spending today praising the people around you. I bet you'll feel just a bit lighter and happier come the end of the day.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Almost Wordless Wednesday {Hair}

This is our third dog. You've met it if you've ever been to my house. She exists all over my floors, our clothes and our couch.

Our two Golden's have been shedding the worst they have ever shed this summer. I can pull clumps of hair off of them all day long.

This lovely pile was after about 30 minutes of brushing mostly Sadie. I could have brushed her for hours and kept getting hair.

Dogs....My love/hate relationship with our two fur kids.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Summer Trip To Sequim

Every summer I take the kiddos over to Sequim for a few days. A little break from our regular summer life, we get to hang out with Mema and Papa and we often hit the big Clallam County Fair.

This year it seemed we had to squeeze it in between lots of other happenings, but the kids were great (we've had some bad trips before) and were sad to leave, though happy to return to their own beds. Plus, Mema came back home with us, so that helped the transition of leaving.

The kids had a blast swimming at the Sequim indoor pool. The benefits of a small town: it was cheap, there wasn't a single kid in the "shallow" aka kiddie pool and it was quick to get in and out of. Shane would have been happy to go there every single morning. I'm on the search for a pool we can hit up here at home now.

They very much enjoyed their time at the fair. Another benefit of a small town is that you can get in and out of the fair super easy, you can ride some rides with out any lines and see the animals with out huge crowds. It was still expensive though. Both kids rode rides and had a blast. Next year we'll need those unlimited ride bracelets.

Shane finally got to roast a hot dog and a marshmallow over a camp fire! 
Papa had to protect him from the flames.
He roasted that jumbo marshmallow at least 10 different times. 

We visited Railroad Bridge Park for a little stroll. 

You can just barely see their shadows in this picture, but
we saw 30-40 migrating Pink Salmon going up the Dungeness River.
That was pretty fun to see.

Burning off some steam. 
Adalyn's first time in the hot tub. She always refused to go in it before.

Always lots of fun things to do and see with a visit to Sequim. Thanks Mema and Papa for having us!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Menu Monday

After a week of being out of town, we are back to the "normal" summer schedule for a bit.

Monday -- Chicken Tortilla Soup (semi-homemade)

Tuesday -- leftovers

Wednesday -- Cheeseburger Mac (semi-homemade)

Thursday -- leftovers

Friday -- BBQ Salmon (Thanks Dad for more fresh caught salmon. We now literally have salmon coming out of our ears. This will be a weekly menu item for months to come.)

Saturday -- Camping (still minus a fire)

Sunday -- ??

Monday, August 12, 2013

Swimming Lessons

Shane completed his yearly swimming session this past week. He has struggled in his previous lessons. When you refuse to get your face wet, it's hard to progress in the area of learning how to swim.

That kid made some major progress this time around! He didn't pass Youth Level I, but he did a bob!! It was a miracle, he stuck his face in the water, more then once! He bobbed and actually repeated it over and over again on multiple days.

Getting the goggles on. 

Teacher Kelsey. He really liked her. 

Kicking on the wall. 

He can't keep his face in the water, kick and move his arms all at the same time....

He does love being in the water though. 

 The jump at the end of class. He refused to jump. He just sorta slides himself in.
That kid.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Deception Pass

We embarked on our first camping trip of the summer this weekend. We literally have been thinking about this trip for a year. Last summer when we went camping with several other families we picked to camp together at Deception pass this summer. I was really excited about the trip and all the different areas there was to explore, hanging with friends and making memories camping with the kiddos.

The trip took some hits along the way though. The three other families bailed. A big bummer...camping is just more fun with other people around for the little people and the big people.

Campfires got banned. An even bigger bummer. Camping with out a campfire just pretty much doesn't feel right. The politics behind the whole thing ticks me off to boot and is just plain silly/wrong.

We had a busy week before leaving and I felt really unfocused on camping prep. The weather was warm here and I was having a hard time preparing ourselves for cooler weather, plus no fire. I felt like I had just gotten good at meal planning with a campfire and now had to rethink everything using our propane stove.

The whole trip seemed to have a big dark cloud hanging over its head.

None-the-less we packed up and headed out Friday afternoon where found ourselves heading into a 2 hour ferry waiting line. We quickly detoured out of that plan and then found ourselves in bad, bad, bad traffic. Oh ya...that darn gray's still there.

We arrived, set up camp and went off exploring. It was odd to come back to the camp site and not make a fire. Even more odd what to do with ourselves after eating. We all just headed to bed.

Friday night brought rain, very little sleep for myself and early rising kids. Saturday morning, I was ready to pack up and head out. Kenny was willing to stay, so stay we did.

Eventually the sun came out and we got a lot of great exploring in. The one thing I can say for sure is Deception Pass is a beautiful area, tons of cool places to hike and see.

Deception Pass bridge in the background. One of the scariest bridges I've ever driven on! 

 Walking under the bridge didn't help my bridge fears either. 

I wasn't stepping foot on that thing! Kenny and Shane went a few feet on it. 

Views every where! 

We found this map on one of the trails and the kids were obsessed with it. 

Saturday started out cold, but warmed up quite a bit. 
All of a sudden we were hot in all of our layers. 

 Awesome tide pools.

Dipping their feet in the water.

Saturday night we went to the park amphitheater and listened to The Bowman Boy's perform. They did campfire songs (minus the campfire) and had the audience participating. It was really a lot of fun. Afterwards it was another 8pm family bedtime.

The rain arrived again Sunday morning. Packing up to go home in the rain was interesting, but we did it. We got back home around 9:30am. Just not a lot to do in the cold, rain with out a fire. Stupid burn ban.

It was a tough camping trip in my book for a variety of reasons. In the end though we survived, made memories, enjoyed exploring a beautiful area and through the kids eyes they had a great time.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Mini Photo Session

We had a mini family photo session last weekend. I'm kinda in love with mini sessions. In under 10 minutes we are done with the whole thing. No one fights it or gets upset, plusI can afford to do them more often then one big session every couple of years.

Tushna of T-Elle Photography took these, as well as the mini Christmas session we did back in December, at Molbak's (a super awesome garden store in Woodinville). She is great with kids. She even took some fancy pictures of me in February that I gave Kenny for Valentine's Day. I had my hair and make-up done...totally made me feel like a model. A fun time and experience for me and the pictures turned out amazing.

It was a wonderful summer day! Sadly our session time didn't work out so great with the sun, and 3 out of 4 of us had some squinting issues. Over all the pictures captured our family nicely. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Donner Lake {2013}

Late July, we joined Kenny's family at Donner Lake. There was lots of fun to be had in the sun and water. Here are some highlights from our trip.

Shane, Adalyn, Carolyn and Kenny hanging out on the dock. 
It certainly is beautiful there. 
The water felt great on the hot days it got into the upper 80's and 90's. 

Shane and Adalyn spent hours in the sand and the water. 

Adalyn was going a bit crazy in the water the first time she got in. 
The other cousins are watching her being silly.

Break time for Shane and Carolyn. 

We took a visit to Donner Memorial State Park
which gave us some insight to the whole Donner Party situation. 
This statue represents the 22 feet of snow that was on the ground 
when the Donner party attempted to come through the pass. 

A little hike where we discovered a lot about the local vegetation.

There was A LOT of cousin love.

Carolyn, Adalyn and Meredith

The whole family (minus me the photographer).

The boat was a hit for all. 
Shane and I had a blast on the last day messing around with it. 

One happy boy.

Uncle Chris got the kids digging this major water way. 
They had a blast working on it and watching the water run through the channels.

Grant and Shane sitting in the pool at the bottom of the channel.

Shane and Merie playing with the race track that all the kids loved.

Always nice to have a big cousin who can read you stories. 

Adalyn was in LOVE with baby Colin. She was in baby heaven. 
She would hand him his ball, or get him a blanket, 
hold him or just sit and watch him. 
She now has a baby doll at home that she calls Baby Colin.

Uncle Joe bought them ice cream from the ice cream truck. 
A first for them.
They were happy happy kids.

We took a little trip into Squaw Vally. 
That was a cool place! Wanderlust Festival was happening.
The hippie in me was lovin' it. 
The kids, Joe and Kenny played a round of mini-golf.

Then word got out about this cool jumping thing. 
Carolyn wanted to do it and surprisingly Shane wanted to do it as well. 
We were super proud of him for trying it and even liking it.

We took at trip into Truckee and went to the KidZone Museum
This place was awesome.
Shane lovin' the control tower.

Adalyn instantly fell in love with the house and baby dolls. 

You could hear from this airplane into the control tower. So much fun. 

A cozy place to hang out in a hot air balloon basket. 

The cousins: Colin, Adalyn, Grant, Shane, Merie and Carolyn

The kids did great on the trip there and back. Adalyn was a bit difficult on the airplane rides, but overall a successful trip. There wasn't a lot of sleeping on my part, but the kids settled in and slept well. Great memories to be remembered.

Our trip to Donner Lake 2011.