The Bumpy Road to My Potty Trained Toddler

My soon to be 4 year old, stubborn, strong willed son has been “potty training” for what seems like forever. We tried a reward system, we tried convincing him he was a big boy and he didn’t need to wear diapers anymore, we tried the 3 days without diapers….twice. Nothing seemed to be working.

He would tell us things like, “I’m not ready” or “It’s hard for me”. We would validate his concerns and ask him why he wasn’t ready or why it was hard. His answer was his favorite answer when he does not have a real reason, “It’s why mommy”. (I still am not completely sure what that means.) When we did the reward system he would only go potty when he knew we had prizes and when the prizes ran out, he suddenly ran out of pee pee for the potty. Oh, my little smarty pants was totally working us.

I was devastated that nothing seemed to work and he could not stay consistent with the potty training. I would call my mom and ask for advice. She would assure me that it was okay, some kids take longer to potty train. I wasn’t satisfied with that answer after hearing it time and time again. (I should have trusted her, she is my mom you know.) So, I did what every mom does. I googled it. Why isn’t my toddler potty training? Potty training a stubborn toddler. The lists goes on and on. Then I admitted it to myself that yes, I do have a strong willed son and a resistant potty trainer.

After all my google research, I decided to lay off the potty training and see what would happen. I waited and then waited some more. Then, last Monday my son woke up and said “I don’t want to wear these diapers anymore!”. I had not had one sip of my morning coffee yet, so I was still trying to process what he had said with so much excitement. I responded with “Okay, so what would you like to wear today?”. He said, “big boy undies!”. I was celebrating and doing a happy dance in my head. He wore his big boy undies and he has been wearing big boy undies for three days straight!

He got mad on the first night when we put a diaper on him for night time. We though he might wet the bed and he proved us wrong. He popped out of bed, ran to the potty, and changed back in to his big boy undies. The thing that he did seem to have a fear about was doing #2 in the potty and he was successful with that too! Can I tell you what kind of excitement and glow we both had after that success! We were both on top of the world! We made some fun cupcakes in celebration of his potty success. If you would of told me a few years ago that I would be baking cupcakes to celebrate poop in a potty, I would of laughed! Motherhood can make us do some inexplicable things.

So, after all of our ups and downs with potty training I have come to a conclusion. If you are like me and struggling to potty training your toddler, don’t feel bad. Don’t doubt yourself as a parent and don’t doubt that little one either. The amazing thing about being a parent is you learn so much along the way. With this potty training adventure I have learned that sometimes you have to stretch your patience even farther then you thought possible but it pays off in the end. I learned a lot about my little guy too. I learned how strong willed he is and it always amazes me how smart he is. I’m not mad at him for potty training on his terms. Somethings take longer to adapt too. I don’t ever want him to lose that stubborn streak or strong will because that might just help him get through challenges in life. The last lesson I learned throughout our potty training adventures is always listen to your mother!

Payment by Toddler Hugs and Kisses and Baby Giggles and Grins

Sometimes being a stay at home mom and being able to contribute zero dollars to the family funds is frustrating. I went from being a very high earner with my retail management job to bringing in zero. We made the choice as a family to go from two incomes to one. This was definitely a hard decision to make, but the “pay” I get from my job now is priceless. I am going to admit I wonder if I made the right decision some days because I feel like we aren’t where we want to be financially. My husband is great at reminding me that what I am able to give our boys now is so, so very important. I am so thankful for his never faltering attitude about our decision for me to stay home with the boys. But, still I feel a little guilty now and then about not contributing to our cash flow.

When I was at my management job I had a handful of older ladies that were retired and working for fun that had been SAHMs for their kids years and years back. I remember one of them telling me a few days before I left my position that staying home with your kids is so amazing and to remember that sometimes money might be tight, you might not be able to go out to eat or go out of town as often, but it was the most valuable thing you could do for your little ones. Every time I wonder if I made the right choice for our family on our financial side, I think of her. I remember her telling me that so vividly and wondering if I would have those days and sometimes I do. So maybe it takes longer to pay off a credit card bill or a car payment. That is okay and I have to remember to be okay with that. If you are feeling like things are tight because you are staying home with your babies just remember you are so valuable. The value you are giving to your kids surpasses any amount of money a salary could pay you. You, stay at home mama, are priceless.

Simple Acts of Kindness

Today while Baby B and I were out, a gal passing me while I unloaded our groceries into our car offered to wheel my cart to the cart corral for me. Wow, what a great gal! I was so thankful for her act of kindness and it made me stop and think….

I was at a super center, so it was a very busy atmosphere. Through out our shopping trip I kept getting cut off by other peoples carts and getting blocked in, etc. I was starting to get a little frustrated. Then at the end of my shopping trip, after I had walked three parking lot aisles looking for my car (I forgot I hadn’t parked in my usual spot), this lady helped me out. Something so simple, but so nice. I didn’t have to take my cart to the cart corral with the babe.

This friendly, kind woman reminded me of a post I saw a few days back, it said something like: “Real queens fix each other’s crowns.” She was a queen. She was there just when I was about to lose my cool and she gave me a helping hand. It made me feel like she had my back. Even though I didn’t have my family with me to help me; I had her, a fellow queen. So if you are out there and struggling through your day mama, we’ve all been there. Even if you are not a mama, you’ve been there and had those days. You are not alone. So if you see someone having one of those days, give them a helping hand. You may never know what kind of impact it may leave.

The strength of our human connection is sometimes underestimated.

We Love Tucson!

We recently had my sister and her husband visit us from Alaska. While they were here we were able to play tourists in our hometown. We had so much fun and it reminded us why we love living here so much! We had beautiful weather and this time of year we have many events to go to that are really unique to our city.

We hit up the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show with our Alaskan visitors.
There are many different showcases that come to town for this annual event and there are many venues to choose from. We have always loved to visit the 22nd Street Mineral & Gem Show. We love this one because it has a lot to offer but is a good size with our little ones in tote. My toddler loves all the dinosaur bones, fossils, and of course all the different rocks!

Our Family at the 22nd Street Mineral and Gem Show with some dinosaur bones behind us!

The 22nd Street showcase is great because its $3 to park and entry is free. We always bring some cash to pick up a few trinkets from our venture which is always fun for my toddler and I am sure Baby B will love it when he gets a little bigger. You can spend a lot of money at these shows if your in the market for some stones to set or a unique piece of jewelry, but we just love to look and see all the different products brought in from around the world. After spending a big part of our afternoon there, we had a great early dinner and walked around downtown to the shops. We ended our adventure with some delicious ice cream from Desert Dream Ice Creamery on 4th Ave. What kinds of things do you love to do in your city that are unique to your area? We would love to hear!

Our trinkets we bought: two dinos carved from stone, a tortoise, and an elephant figurine.

Believe in Me

There is so many reasons why I love J so much, the list grows each day. Something I have noticed lately is he truly, 100% believes I can do anything I set my mind to. This is the man you should marry. The one who sees your potential and doesn’t hesitate to encourage you to follow your dreams.

I wanted very badly to stay home with our baby boys, but I did have a lot of doubts before leaving my career of 11 years. I wondered if we could budget and stick to it (we still have work to do here). We both made good incomes and one of our incomes was enough to live off of but there is a major transition time from going from two incomes to one. When I was still working we could go out to eat all the time and go for quick weekend trips whenever we had the time. That was the thing, we didn’t have as much time together. Now we have time but sometimes we don’t always have the discretionary income to do whatever our hearts desire, which is okay. It’s great to have the extra money, but I wouldn’t trade the time with my boys for the money again. I doubted our abilities to budget, but J never did. He kept telling me when I was trying to make this decision to leave my career that we would make it work. Here we are, 7 months after me leaving my job and we are making it work.

Still, some days I feel like I am failing at being a stay at home mom. The baby has been cranky and crying all day and my toddler has been defiant. Some of those days I just want to cry, some of those days I do cry. J always hugs me and tells me I’m the best mom and that there will be hard days. Sometimes his hugs are all I need to know that it will be okay and tomorrow will be better.

There are two things I always wanted to do but never had the time when I was working. That was to blog and to start my own Etsy shop. Now that baby B is enjoying sitting in his rocker or swing, I feel like my hands are freed up. I was nervous to do both of these things, but J knew I could do it. He always believes in me and that is invaluable to me.

It doesn’t matter the situation, he never loses faith in me and frankly, he believes in me more than I do most of the time. As we get older we definitely change what we value in our relationships. I know now that J always believing in me means he will always believe in us. I can’t tell you how much love that fills my heart with. That is definitely the man I want to spend the rest of my life with.

From Our Wedding Day in Eagle River, Alaska. I was 4 months pregnant with Baby B and it was far too cold for this AZ girl to be wearing that dress, but I did anyway.
Photo Credit: Uros Nikolic

Winding Down With B and Baby B

Have you ever had a weekend fun hangover? When you just had so much fun over the weekend and you don’t want it to end? We had such a blast this weekend. We were able to take a family trip up to the White Mountains and visit J’s son. It was a quick trip. We were all so happy to see each other and be together and that it made it so memorable. We had breakfast together, ran to the store to get mittens for the boys, and Baby B and I watched the big boys (including J) play in the snow. The boys had so much fun playing together, it filled our hearts with joy.

So, today we are just hanging out at home while J is at work. Trying to keep those weekend, feel good vibes going. We are watching cartoons and doing a couple of craft projects. After having a fun, busy weekend its good to wind down and reflect on everything and everyone you have to be thankful for. We aren’t wearing our pajamas all day today, we are dressed (your welcome Papa). We are having a fun, kind of lazy day! I thought I would share some of the craft activities my 3 year old, B, and I have been working on.

Our little craft activities from today from left to right: a valentine’s ceramic paint kit from Dollar Tree, a valentine’s banner from Spritz at Target, and letter beads from Dollar Tree.

Guardian Angels Come in All Sizes

We all have a special connection with all of our children. We all live to care for our littles and shower them with love. Sometimes, even with our best attempt to hide it, we need a little extra love and care when we hit a rough patch in life.

When my ex and I first split I had a really hard time with it. I felt like I didn’t have a reason why we were splitting, but it was obvious it was over. I was depressed. I had never been so overcome with grief in my life. I felt like my future and all the plans I had made for our family just slipped out of my fingers and were gone. But, there was this amazing little boy we had. At the time of the split he had just been 2 for a month, he was so little still Since the split, he has been my shadow and he has taught me so much.

He hugged me and patted me when I was crying on the kitchen floor. He tried to feed me when I wasn’t eating. He showered me with his little love because as much as he needed me, I needed him more. Because of my little guy I was able to pull myself out of that rut and quick. I started to work out and take walks with my dad in the evenings. I started seeing a therapist to help me work through what I was feeling. I started to find new hobbies to fill my time when my son was with his dad. And when I decided to start dating, my little guy helped me there too.

When I met J it all fell into place and things seemed too good to be true. I had felt like I had truly met someone that knew my soul. But, when my son met him that’s when I knew for sure that J was the one. My little guy has always been shy when meeting new people. When he met J, he hugged him and let him carry him the first day. He instantly took to J and that was the stamp of approval I needed. Nobody else’s opinion even mattered anymore.

As I sit here and type this blog, my little angels are right beside me. My eldest in the chair next to me playing and my baby boy in his rocker to my other side. I strive to be the best mama to these little guys that I can be. I will never forget what my first born babe taught me when our lives were changing so much. Sometimes the hardest lessons we learn are taught by the tiniest guardian angels.