Ten Years

I wasn’t planning on posting today but then I listened to a song that I played over and over and over when the twins were born, not because it pertained to my life at all at that point in time, because it didn’t.  I just loved it and it’s melody took me outside of myself.  It’s been awhile since I’ve listened to that song but today I pulled it up again just for kicks and it pertained to today.  If you’ve been reading the blog for awhile, you might know that my dad passed away when I was in college.  It was 10 years ago today.

When he died, it was one of the hardest times in my life.  I was closer to him than I was to any person on the face of this earth.  He taught me everything I needed to know about love and how to love in the very, very worst of times, especially those who hurt you the most..  He was a very faithful Catholic and while he wasn’t immune to sin nor was he perfect, he placed everything he had into God’s hands and sought to be with his Maker by going to Mass regularly, not just on Sundays but any day that he could.  We’d go together when I was home from college, my siblings and I and him, to the gorgeous chapel at Boys’ Town near our home in Omaha, Nebraska.  While I was off at college he’d go and tell me about the amazing confession he just had with the great priest there.  In the year before the end of his life, our family broke into pieces and although he struggled immensely with the situation, his faith never waivered.  It’s that faith and knowing how close he was to Jesus and how he depended on him with his life that got me through his passing.  We were given an immense amount of grace at his funeral, so much so that joy overtook us (my siblings and I) and instead of feeling sorrow, we were so happy that he wasn’t suffering anymore and that he was headed to heaven.  We heard through the grapevine that a lot of people were really skeptical seeing that we weren’t all crying at his funeral.  We actually wore white instead of black because we wanted to not mourn the end of this life, but the start of his new one; a better one.  I know that you might raise your eyebrows at this but the truth is that the pain and heartache and missing him will always be here with me and yes, I cry sometimes because I miss him so much.  But, I try and focus on how I’m living my life.  I want to be like him.  I know he’s on his way to heaven, if he isn’t there already and I want to meet him there.  (As a Catholic, we believe that before heaven, one goes through purgatory.  Think of it as a shower.  While you live life, sin makes your soul dirty and so, before you get to heaven, you go through a cleansing or “shower” of sorts so that you’re squeaky clean when you arrive at those pearly gates.  Yes, there are people who go straight to heaven; I doubt I’ll be one of them.)  I want him to be one of the first I see.  I want to move on from the suffering and pain in this life to one where suffering and pain don’t exist…forever!  Thinking about that and focusing on walking the narrow way keeps sorrow far from me and hope right in front of me.  :) 

If you have a minute, please say a prayer for my family, the soul of my father, all souls, and for all those who have suffered and are suffering.  There’s a joy to be had in sorrow and a hope to be found and I pray that all find it. 

Here’s the song I was talking about at the beginning of this post.  I hope you are as touched by it as I am.  It’s “When a Heart Breaks” by Ben Rector.

[I know in his song Ben says "and you don't need Jesus, 'til you're here" and I'm not sure what his thoughts are with those lyrics but we always need Jesus.  It's in the hard times however, that we need Him most.]

A fond memory:

We lived on a farm and so, obviously, my dad smelled like crap every time he came in from work.  He’d always try and rub his “aroma” off on me with hugs and I always told him to stop because, obviously, that ain’t no “aroma”.  Being the wise-crack that he was, he gifted me a snazzy nose plug for my 18th birthday…
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…so that my excuses were zero.
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Miss you daddy!

Potty Training: Day Tres

Oh boy.  We are done.  Done for now.  Pardon the time lapse between this post and that of Day Two, we were busy recovering/cleaning/cleaning/sanitizing/recovering.  Since the twins have graced our lives, we’ve never had a more rough few days than the three days we tried potty training them.  Tried and failed.  Yep, we’re back to diapers.

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Anthony had three and half days off of work so we expected to use all that time training and we did, but now those days are over without the results we were hoping for and he’s back to work today which leaves me and the three tots alone and heck if I’m going to nurse a babe, cook, mother, and clean up potty all the day alone.  Not.Happening. 

It feels a little like we wasted three days and I’m really, really bummed that the girls didn’t train like we had hoped and thought.  However, we learned a lot and I think we definitely planted a few seeds about using the pot.  I’ve mentioned this before, but we purchased and followed the ebook, 3 Day Potty Training by Lora Jensen.  I read the book a few times before we started, made notes, and relayed everything to Anthony.  During the three days we trained we followed Lora’s instructions to a T.  We used positive reinforcement and no matter how many times we wanted to slam our fists through a wall, we flashed smiles and encouragement to the girls at all times.  They didn’t see an ounce of negativity in three days.  We followed them around everywhere, we told them to let us know when they needed to go, we caught 98% of their accidents and ran them to the toilet during those accidents (that one left a nice picture in your mind, didn’t it?)  It was misery for all but no one ever said potty training was fun, right?

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Poor Sebastian was neglected (the number one reason why we should’ve gotten another person on board to help) and spent the majority of the last three days in his swing.  Besides the emotional stress of trying your darndest to nicely teach your kids that excrement belongs in the toilet, the stress of knowing that I couldn’t cuddle our three month old killed me.  I missed him so much. 

Potty training brought out the worst in me.  I’m a pretty positive person but when I wasn’t within a five foot radius of both twins at all times (a must with the three day method), so during naptimes, I was exhausted and perched next to their bedroom door while they slept listening for any signs that one needed to ‘go’ and browsing Instagram where I wanted to comment “you suck”, “you suck”, “you suck”, “you suck” on all my followee’s pictures because everyone was happily living life and I was stuck cleaning up gallons of pee (and that is probably more literal than figurative). 

Anyway, it’s over.  Life is back to normal and I love all my Instagram friends again so I’ll not focus on the misery but on what we took away from the crappy experience (more figurative than literal thank God).

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[I know you’re dying to see pictures of my kids in their skivvies, so I’ll just keep on postin’.]

The girls can be potty trained.  It is possible at their age – 22 months.  They learned how to hold it.  They know how to control it.  The first day was spent cleaning up accidents because they’d just release not knowing what they hay was happening.  Day two was different.  We pumped them full of liquid that they gladly drank but they became afraid of having accidents so they held it until they couldn’t hold it anymore.  They learned to tell us when they had to go – they’d run to us and get all panicky and want to be held.  But, here’s the kicker, every time we set them on the toilet they’d throw a FIT.  Seraphia actually did pretty well on the morning of day two until she observed Cecilia throw a fit on the toilet and decided she’d do the same.  It wasn’t that they were afraid of the toilet.  If we set them on it and handed them a book, they’d be perfectly fine and would sit there reading.  For some odd reason, they just didn’t want to release into the dark abyss below.

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In the end, we learned that not every method, not matter how many successes it touts, works for every kid.  Lora says you should never say “no” or “bad” and I agree and disagree.  Seraphia responds pretty well to “no” when we say it upon her doing something we’d like her not to.  She’ll stop and move on.  Saying “no” to her when she goes to the bathroom on the floor would probably resonate well.  Cecilia on the other hand seems to think that the word “no” signals a game.  She’ll give us a wry smile, continue doing whatever it is she’s not supposed to being doing and laugh in our faces.  You can imagine how she’d react then if we told her no peeing on the floor…actually, don’t imagine it because…yuck.  Saying “bad” to either girl however would probably make them think that peeing is bad in general, no matter what or where. 

Anyway, I know that if you haven’t already clicked off that I’m boring you to death talking about human excrement so leave the rest of my thoughts to myself.  Our goal is to have the girls potty-trained within the next few months and so, when success finds its way to us, I’ll let you know how we achieved it.  Until then, it’s back to the 20+ diaper-changes-per-day grindstone which I will gladly take over the nightmare of our first experience with potty training.  :)

If you have any tips or tricks that got your kid from diaper to pot, please leave them in the comment section or email me!!  I’m not going to say that we’re desperate but we just might be…a little bit. 

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P.S.  One little tidbit of info I did pick up – I bought size 4 toddler undies for the girls even though they’re barely in size 2T because they were literally half the price and we needed 30 pairs for training.  After washing them and drying them on high heat they shrank a little and, even though they didn’t fit tight, they worked perfectly!

Potty Training: Day Dos

Let me tell you what I am.  Too physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted to write.  So, hopefully this moment in time fills you in on how potty training went today – day two:

Let’s just say that there are three people here who are at medium to high risk of getting their pants wet.

If you’re interested – Day One.

Pray for us.  Please.

Potty Training: Day Uno

Well, we started the day off with a bang…rather, the twins did.  I’m guessing they were uber excited after the last ditch effort to infuse toilet knowledge into their noggins…

…because at 4 am Cecilia wanted out of her confines.  We let her whine it out, which she did until around 6, when I finally went in to find both her and her sister awake and in the most miserable moods (they usually sleep until 8).  And, even though we’re no pros and very much first-timers, we thought about it and made the executive decision to delay the training until after the girls first nap when rosy cheeks and dispositions were a lot more likely and therefore, a couple of doses of semi-cooperation in making friends with the toilet (the initial plan was to start after breakfast).

Naptime came and went and we started the process around 11ish and it’s been accident after accident ever since.  I’m not going to go much into the process because I don’t want to rob Lora of monetary support but let’s just say I thought maybe I’d be able to tell a tad if one girl or the other was about to let go.  Nope, nada, your guess is as good as mine.  The best way to describe to you the difference in the girls expressions when they’re about to pee vs. not about to pee is that it’s the same difference in expression they’d have as a miniscule gnat wizzed three feet above their head vs. no gnat.  No help whatsoever. 

Needless to say, we’ve got the rewards at our sides, ready to be doled out…waiting, waiting, waiting…
Nary a lid has been twisted yet but I’ll let you guess which have been longingly touched and untouched for the sake of patience and bedtime (cough-the alcohol-cough).

I’ll let you know how the rest of the day fares in the rest of this story tonight.  At this moment, I’m perched with the laptop atop my legs outside the girls door as they take a second nap, waiting for a wimpering beg for the bathroom.  I’m hoping and waiting for a cue but most likely I’ll go in after the deeds been done with a clean sheet and out with a wet one…

>>> Six Hours Later <<<

Well.  I suppose the stats will give you the best glimpse into how day one of potty training two kids at once went.

Number of sheets washed:  2 (there will more than likely be more as the night rolls forward)
Number of wee undies soiled:  36
Number of M&Ms doled out as rewards:  2
Number of times we told the girls to tell us when they had to ‘go’:  403
Number of sprints to the bathroom holding a flailing, dripping child:  36
Number of sprints to the bathroom holding a flailing child we thought for sure had to release:  25

On a positive note, towards the very end of the day Cecilia started being bothered by having wet undies and I’m calling it a milestone. 

Anyway, you might get the point and if you don’t, lucky you.  I have high hopes that people who live through potty training twins can, afterward, live through anything.

Smirnoff Ice, come to mama.

State of the Sharpie Mugs & Painted Rug

Hello one and all!  My fingers are flying at the keys to bring you the first of a series of posts I want to continue with the title “State of the…”  There are lots of projects and painting, sewing and scheming that go on around here and I want to make sure that I not only give you all the details on how things are done, but occasional check-ups on how they’ve held up.  Hopefully all report cards will read A+ but some projects, like one that I’m about to open back up, don’t hold in their marbles as well as I would’ve liked them to.  So, without further chitting and chatting…

>>> The Sharpie Mug Planters <<<

I wrote in the original post that the coral, fine-tip sharpie seemed to scratch off a little more easily than the thicker-tipped sharpies.  Well, it wasn’t a little easier, it was a lot easier.  So much so that I scrubbed the whole mug clean last week and redid it using the same type of sharpie I used on the other two mugs but in silver.  Here’s what the sad mug was looking like:IMG_4451

And here’s what it looks like now after I rewrote the words (sans spaces) of our wedding song (When God Made You by Newsong) on it and stuck it in the oven:

I also grabbed some small mint, cilantro, and basil plants and stuck them right in as my seedlings from last year disappointed in the growth department.

IMG_4456As you can see, the other two mugs have held up great!  I’d still take note of the sharpie art tips in the post, but I’d say they’re winning!

>>> The Stamped & Spray-Painted Rug <<<

PicMonkey Collage

[Original posts:  The striped side & the stamped side.]

From the pictures you can tell that the paint on the rug has lightened up a little.  Mind you, I’ve washed this rug at least four times since I’ve painted it so I’d say it’s holding up pretty well.  If I could go back, I’d have washed the rug before painting since washing it ‘fluffs’ it up, revealing all the unpainted areas that were previously hidden from any paint because the rug was so matted.  Make sense?  The final verdict though is that you CAN paint a flat-woven rug and it will hold up, even when washed.  Good thing because I’ve got another one coming down the assembly line for the entry way.  Stay tuned for that.

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In other news, we’re going to start potty-training the girls this Thursday using this 3-Day Potty Training method.  I grammed this a few weeks ago after I had all the prep work done and ready to go.  After the tots are nice and tucked into their clean sheets each night in their snazzy toddler panties, I might hop on and give an update on the blog here just to vent.  If you care to read about crap, you should stop by.  Just make sure it’s not during your sit-down breakfast break, lunch break, or dinnersnackdrivethru because, well, it’s potty-training people.