Sunday, September 29, 2013

Another Potty Training Update: Jo's Figuring it Out!

Joanna's potty training continues to make progress! For a few weeks now, Jo has gotten her poo-poo in the potty more often than not. She usually runs up to me in a panic and starts jumping from foot to foot, and sometimes she says, "Pooh!" I put her on the potty, and she goes! She yells, "Yay, Jo!" after she makes the basket. Sometimes, she doesn't tell me, and she goes on the floor. I say that happens about 1/3 of the time. She almost never goes in her diaper anymore, but it sometimes happens when she is in the crib.

Her poo-poo progress is a direct result of a book I bought her, called Once Upon a Potty. It is a really cute, little story about a girl (or boy, if you get the boy book) who learns how to use the potty. I was surprised the first time I read it to her because it is a little detailed about anatomy! I don't think it is a bad thing at all, but I was definitely not expecting to read the part about the little hole that makes poo-poo. The kids love it, and they cheer for Prudence (the little girl) when she finally poops in her potty. Joanna brings me the book all the time and says, "Prudence?" I read it to her when she sits on the potty.

About a week ago, Jo's behavior on the potty started to change. When I put her on the potty, she actually tries to go. Before, she would run up to me at the last moment before she had to poop, or she would start to tinkle on the floor and then stop until I put her on the potty. Last week, she peed so many times in the potty but only after she started to go on the floor first. This week, she has made numerous successful potty attempts. She tinkled in the potty three times today alone without going on the floor at all! I put her on the potty, and she worked really hard to get some pee-pee out. Then she cheered, "Yay, Jo!"

I feel like the last couple of months were very slow moving on the potty training, but it has suddenly clicked. I wish we could spend another week focusing on potty training, like we did when we first started. We are just so busy with Oliver's classes and stuff that it's not possible. So, she still spends hours a day in a diaper. I hope she will start to go potty before we leave the house so that she can maybe learn to stay dry when we run errands. If she starts to go consistently before we leave and starts to stay dry consistently, then I plan to switch her from diapers to training undies when we leave the house. That step is at least a couple of weeks away, but she will hopefully be ready to go diaperless during the day--even when we are away from home--by her second birthday. In a couple of weeks, we will be switching houses. We'll be leaving Andrew's parents' house and staying with my parents for a few months until we are ready to buy a place of our own after Christmas. I know big changes aren't very conducive to successful potty training, so we might face some potty regression before she figures the whole potty thing out. That's OK! We're just rolling with it.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Kids' Day, The Colorado Railroad Museum, and Our Day Out with Thomas

Every year around this time, we pick a day and designate it to be kids' day. We try to pick things to do that we think our kids will especially love. Recently, Oliver has been all about Thomas the Train, so we got him tickets to "A Day Out with Thomas." We took them for Kids' Day this past Saturday. I didn't want to get him too excited ahead of time because it is really hard for little kids to wait. So, we carefully worked him up to it by saying things like, "I've heard Thomas might be coming into town from Sodor." The day before we went, we asked him, "Would you like to see Thomas?" He stared off in the distance and broke out in a big smile. "Yes, I do!" he exclaimed. That settled that!

When I'd called the museum to get tickets, the man who helped me let me know that there would be a lot of activities for kids. He also told me it's really busy and to get there at least an hour before our train departure time. Our tickets were for 1pm, so we needed to be there by noon. We arrived a little before 11am, and I am so glad we did! The place was packed. I had no idea it would be the event it was. There were large signs directing us to "Thomas the Train Parking." We had to drive about two miles past the museum to park, and then we caught the shuttle they provided back to the museum. As we drove past the museum, we saw Thomas. You have no idea how pumped Oliver got from seeing Thomas. Well, maybe you do.

We parked our car and took the shuttle over to the museum. It was the first bright, hot, and sunny day in a few weeks. I had no idea the event was all outside! Andrew laughed at me when I said that, but it's true. We didn't come prepared and didn't have hats or sunscreen. We spent a lot of the time trying to keep the kids shaded and cool. It was absolutely worth it, though. One of the first things we did was stand in line for photos with Thomas. We got to see Thomas drive around the park a few times (he did 3 loops for the riders). 

After Thomas stopped, we go to go stand and have our photo taken. They sold the photos for $18, but they also let us take our own. I snapped one of the family super quick. I didn't want to hold up the long line behind us, and, consequently, I ended up with a single, blurry photo. Oh, well!

Even Joanna got into the Thomas spirit! She kept yelling, "Thomas!" all day. A few times, she walked up to kids who were wearing Thomas the Train shirts and pointed at them and yelled, "THOMAS!" at them. It was kind of funny.

In the library at the museum, a woman read stories about Thomas.

There was a big tent full of train sets for the kids to play with. Our kids loved this tent, and we sat in there for probably a full half hour.

We got to go into an old train car, where they were giving out temporary tattoos.

Sir Topham Hatt was there, too! The line to see Sir Topham Hatt was a few blocks long. We didn't wait in line, and I just snapped a photo of him from the distance.

Rather than wait in line in the sun to get a spot on one of the front cars, we waited in the shade to get a shady car at the back of the train. The wait wasn't too bad, and the kids did great!

Here's our view of the museum as we went around on the train:

There's Thomas, pulling our train!

We were all exhausted after our day out with Thomas. The kids were amazing, though, and never got fussy or cranky the entire time. We really felt like we'd just spent the day at Disney World or something!

Everyone was too wiped out to do much after that. I ran to the store and picked up ingredients to cook with Oliver. We made smoothies and a pizza. After we ate, he helped me bake pumpkin bread for the first day of fall! In all, I think it was pretty much the best day he could have hoped for, and Jo had a good time, too.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

End Of Summer & Lunar Festival

Well, we didn't complete our bucket list this summer, but we gave it our best shot! We definitely kept busy and had fun, and the last month of summer was full of rain and clouds--my favorite weather. It was one of the best summers I've had in a long time!

Yesterday was also the moon cake/lunar festival! My friend gave me some moon cakes, so I saved them for last night. She said the moon is supposed to be the biggest of the year! The cloud cover we've had has its downside, and we couldn't see any stars and couldn't find the moon. The kids loved their moon cakes, though (especially Jo). Jo kept walking around with the box of panda-shaped moon cakes saying, "It's a moon cake!" and "roar!" and "It's a bear! Roar!"

We stayed up late--well, by our standards. We'd told the kids the moon cakes were for after we saw the moon. At about 8:30, we gave up and pulled up a picture of the moon on the internet. The kids finally went down to bed at 9pm. A couple of hours later, I ducked back outside and--would you know it?--the moon was out!

Today is the official last day of summer of 2013. I am looking forward to my favorite season: fall.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Tea Party!

How cute of an idea is this? One of the moms in my MOMS Club decided to host a tea party for everybody. All the kids who came dressed up. I brought some Russian tea cookies, and another mom brought some homemade scones. The host brewed teas and iced them for the kids. It was hysterical! These little kids were dressed to the nines, sipping on iced tea, and eating little sweets on top of a plastic table cloth. Best little kid party ever!

Here is the recipe at for the cookies.

Here are Oliver & Jo, all dressed up for the tea party!

Jo was so happy to finally get to eat the cookies!

The tea party! (Thanks to the other moms for some of these photos)

I took a few extra photos of Jo's adorable fall dress when we got back. I'm so glad we had an excuse for her to wear it!

We're going to stay busy all week! One of the moms in MOMS Club pointed out that today is "Talk Like a Pirate Day." She has a bunch of great ideas for the day, like walking the plank (a board on the ground), eating today's catch (Goldfish), and counting treasure (pennies!). We might try to do some of those things, but today is also Lunar Festival! My friend gave me some moon cakes that I saved especially for today. In parts of Asia where they use the Lunar Festival, today is sort of a fall celebration. My friend told me they eat moon cakes and go out to look at the moon and tell stories. We're going to do that and also look at stars (one of the items on my summer bucket list). 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Summer Bucket List Update: Sidewalk Chalk

Jo was mad that Oliver had a piece of the chalk.

She recognized her name!

* Watch a fireworks display on the Fourth of July.
Bake a berry stars & stripes cake with Oliver.
Run through the sprinklers.
Go to a splash park.
* Play in the "creek" at the Children's Mordecai Gardens at the Denver Botanic Gardens.
* Watch our first parade.
Ride the outdoor train at Belleview Park.
Visit a petting zoo.
Take the kids for a swim.
* Have a real outdoor picnic on the grass with a picnic basket.
* Watch a sunrise.
Go for a hike in the mountains.
Go on a road trip.
Go out for an ice cream cone, and eat it outside!
Make our own ice cream, and let Oliver choose the flavor.
* Pick and eat vegetables out of the garden we're growing at Grandma Judy's house.
Eat cherry tomatoes right off the vine at Aunt Bonnie & Uncle George's house.
* Throw water balloons.
Go tent camping overnight.
* Look at stars in the sky.
Visit Andrew at work for lunch.
Take the train downtown to visit Grandpa Larry for lunch.
* Go to the Fireman's Museum.
* Use sidewalk chalk.
Blow bubbles.
Take Father's Day photos with the letters that spell out "DAD" again.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Very Merry Un-Birthday Broncos Un-Party!

Our favorite baby nephew is turning 1! OK, so he's our only baby nephew. It still counts.

I didn't want my brother-in-law or sister-in-law to think we'd forgotten about his birthday in the midst of all the wedding stuff, so I asked Andrew to check with his brother to see if they wanted to celebrate while they were in town. They said no, as they had their own thing planned. I totally get how that goes because there's nothing worse than planning a little celebration only to be upstaged to your own kids.

Only there ended up being a big misunderstanding, and Colleen came to me later to tell me they did want cupcakes after all. So, Andrew went out Sunday afternoon to pick up some cake mix last minute, and I told Oliver he'd get to bake cupcakes for his cousin's birthday! He got excited, and even Jo started to sing, "Happy Birthday." It was right about the time we turned on the mixer that I found out about the mis-communication. Sawyer's birthday party was next weekend, and they planned their first baby's first birthday party. I felt so awful because I know what that feels like... I am the last person who would do something like that and take away a parent's fun and celebration with their own child. Thankfully, they were really understanding of what happened, but I felt awful. Plus, there were my kids, mixing up cake mix...

SO WE HAD BRONCOS VICTORY CUPCAKES INSTEAD! I told Oliver there would be no singing, and he was totally cool with that. At that point, the kids just wanted to eat cupcakes. So, I totally let them pig out.

Anyway, it was a good thing it ended up being a Broncos party instead of a birthday party because the little guy didn't make it to the end of the game. 

Here's the newest Broncos fan:

The un-birthday Broncos party:

(Happy early Birthday, Sawyer!)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Shattuck Weekend: A Wedding on Vail Mountain

A good friend of Andrew's family got married last weekend in Vail, and he and his wife invited all of us. Paul and Colleen were kind enough to treat us and Andrew's brother's family to a weekend up in Vail. At first, Andrew and I talked to my parents about babysitting. We thought we'd drop the kids off to my parents on Saturday and head up to the mountains from there. We looked forward to an adult evening, and we didn't want to have to worry about getting a sitter up in the mountains. My in-laws were (understandably) looking forward to some family time. My brother-in-law and his family (including his brand new baby girl!) were coming into town, and so we wanted to make the family thing work. Paul and Colleen volunteered to drive the kids up early on Friday. Andrew and I would meet them up in Vail later that evening, after he got off work. My parents never cease to amaze me, and they agreed to drive up Saturday before the wedding to bring the kiddos back down to town to stay with them.

I don't know if the Shattuck family weekend turned out exactly as planned. All of the kids seemed to be on different schedules! Colleen somehow ended up babysitting all four kids Friday afternoon, and they were all in the midst of a meltdown when Andrew and I finally rolled into the mountain town. After a few desperate calls, Andrew sprinted ahead to rescue his mom from the little stinkers while I waited for the bellboy and our luggage. My poor mother-in-law... Andrew said that it was just four kids in absolute hysteria when he arrived. He wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry. Thankfully, they all calmed down pretty quickly. She just needed one more set of hands!

Ours were up bright and early at 6am, and we got ready went over to Andrew's parents' suite to enjoy the breakfast I'd brought up with us... a big thanks to Colleen not just for her generosity, but for baking the strata when she got up with Sawyer!

The newest member of the extended Shattuck family slept in with her parents, so we took cousin Sawyer out to explore Vail. He was content with hanging out in the stroller and checking out all the water fountains. He happily let Andrew hold him as they went with Oliver up and down the escalators. It was a good time! It's nice spending time with the happy, little guy and it always makes me pause to think what our life would be like with more kids!

This is an ice rink in the winter!

There was still no sign of Jessica and Paisley, but we didn't want to disturb them, as sleep is the most precious thing when you have a newborn! So, we did all sorts of exciting stuff like playing with the bowl of pine cones in the room and brewing a few pots of coffee. When it got close to lunch time, we had to give up and head out to get the kiddos ready to meet my parents.

We got them dressed and packed and drove to the Vail Village parking structure (free parking in the summer!). We met my parents there and transferred all the kids' stuff to them. We wandered over to Starbucks for a treat, and then we took a stroll along Vail Creek. The pines were beautiful.

We said goodbye to our kids. Right as we waved goodbye, we got a phone call from the in-laws that everyone was up and dressed and getting lunch. Perfect timing! Andrew and I made our way back to the hotel to meet them for a meal. As usual, Mr. Sawyer was thrilled with everything and very happy to be eating! We had a nice time, and then everyone scattered to their own rooms to get ready for the wedding.

Andrew and I were ready first. The wedding was on top of Vail Mountain, and we were given tickets to ride the gondola to the top. It was a 13 minute gondola ride! We decided to go early to enjoy the view. Before we left, I stepped out onto our balcony. It was very comfortable and sunny, so I decided not to waste the effort with bringing a shawl or umbrella. I asked Andrew if he wanted the umbrella, and he said no. I believe his exact words were, "Even if it does rain, I would rather be a little wet than have to lug around a wet umbrella all night." If you think I that seems a little naive and even foreboding, well, you are right.

We made our way up the mountain with only our tickets, wedding card, and camera. It was gorgeous up there. It was the perfect place for a wedding. We met a few guests, took a few pictures, and enjoyed the sunshine.

When it got close to the ceremony, guests started murmuring about the clouds rolling in. They blocked the sun, and it started to get chilly. That's about the time Paul, Colleen, and Jessica showed up with the babies. We were surprised to see them since Colleen's friend drove up to babysit them, but we rolled with it. Andrew was quick to take our nephew to help keep him warm and entertained until the ceremony started. Then, he handed off our little nephew so he could enjoy the ceremony as planned.

It got cold so fast. Then, right when the wedding party started walking up the aisles, the clouds opened up, and it started to rain. I don't get cold very easily, but my hands started to freeze by the end of the ceremony. I could only imagine how the bride and bridesmaids felt! The bride's father officiated, and he gave us an abridged version of the ceremony. Then, everyone scattered to get back to the gondolas! Andrew and I made sure Sawyer made it to Zach, and then we trotted ahead to get warm & dry. I'm pretty sure we were the only guests who hadn't brought a jacket and/or umbrella! Ah, and we'd thought we were so clever for not hauling stuff up the mountain...

By the time we caught a gondola back down, the rest of the family caught up to us. It also stopped raining, and a rainbow appeared! It was the perfect ending to such a memorable ceremony.