Posted on November 5, 2018
It was Gracie’s second birthday and the chaos of any normal kid birthday was happening. However, in those chaotic moments of decorating, last minute food, getting all the seating and table put together and of course being sure we had everything we need for the party. In between all of that, there is a toddler in a diaper somewhere and monitoring that poop bag they have to wear is still very much a part of this chaos.
I stood there as I was feeling anxiety. No matter who I am with if there is a lot of people I get anxious. Now for some reason every single celebration I have ever hosted or things like my birthday I would get the anxiety from feeling like I couldn’t entertain everyone properly or supply the need for what people needed during the event. Its just this thing inside of me that happens and I have no control.
So, as I stood there with that anxious feeling that I couldn’t be everywhere at one time, I couldn’t have conversations with each person, I couldn’t ask each person how their food was, if their little ones were having a good time or even things like, “Have I even had a bite of food since I woke up?”
I then realized I hadn’t checked on Gracie’s diaper in a few and I so off I went. As I knew it, she needed to be changed. While I still had this anxious feeling inside that I couldn’t be out there tending to the guests and being sure things were kept up. (Even tho I had plenty of help, you guys. This is just something about who I am.) Gracie, smiling at me and I just looked at her and said, “You are two now big girl! It is time we start heading in the direction of what big girls do!” I told myself and her at that moment, “Mom is gonna have you wearing big girl panties in just a short couple weeks. (I had a book that said 10 days. I shot for that.)
That is the moment I decided it was up to me to either weed out some of the chaos when I can or live with it. Obviously, I chose to weed the shit out. So, it seemed fitting to get rid of the dirty diapers.
I told myself, “10 days Ashley, you got this!” The book even says so! I read about 25 pages of that book before I decided I was more than capable of doing this without reading some book. Back in the day, like way, way back in the day they did not have books. So, I don’t need one either. At least not how to teach a little person to use a shitter.
Day one, I had been given some hand me down padded panties is what you can call them. I used pull-ups during nap time and bedtime. However, I just got right in it and put on some padded panties during the times she was awake. She had accidents the entire day this day. The first time she wet herself I had dressed her fully of course after a shower. So, when she peed she also peed all of her pants. This is when I made the choice that the next 4-5 days was going to be spent at home as much as possible and no pants were needed. Yay for Gracie!
This also was the first time I got to clean poop out of underwear. That’s fun. HA! You get used to it. Oh my gosh. I can’t believe I wrote that but, its truth! All in all the first day was all about having these things.
Now, I knew being patient was a given and having no expectations was humane. Being consistent with every single celebration was the one thing that gets… weird. At least to me. When I am cheering on a little human to sit on a shitter and release their inners. HA! Seriously that might have been the worst description ever written but, I kept it. Because I am all about being honest and teaching a person to use the bathroom is, weird! A lot of eye contact. Be ready for that. Be ready to clap your hands, yell yay and tell them how big their poop was. Ha! This is serious business to them ya know? Ha Ha!
Day two, now I am briefly going to run you thru the days it took to accomplish what we did. I guess being 2 and potty-trained is more uncommon than seeing your average three year old have it down. But, I am only getting this stuff from online sources or your average book off the shelf. I don’t have exact because I simply didn’t keep track. I’ll be better next time. So, day two she achieved pooping on the toilet! Mind be it was stuck between her butt cheeks but, it fell in the toilet when we sat her down. That alone was a shock to her. Ha! She also achieved going pee in one time. Which was already progress! We were proud nonetheless. Still staying consistent with every 30 minutes taking her to the bathroom, setting her on the toilet and sitting with her as we look at books and we would talk about using the toilet. She would throw fits after she caught on to what she would have to do when she knew she didn’t have too. But we didn’t and she also didn’t communicate the difference to us yet. So yeah, there is a lot of ugly involved in this process but, there is light at the end of the tunnel girl. I promise! Stick to it no matter how many bows that kid throws at you.
Day three thru pretty much day eight there was leaps and bounds of progress with Gracie. By day 8 she was already using the toilet regularly as long as I would offer her the option every so often. No more than an hour at this point in our process. She was really responsive and from day two and on, she also did not poop in her pants. Of course, there have been a couple of accidents since day one to today. But, 99% of the time she walks to the toilet and poops. So by day eight, she would pee if she had too and was on the toilet however we were still working on the communication part to ALWAYS take us to the toilet if she had to go. But I mean we were doing pretty good for 8 days in and only 2 years old.
Day Ten, I was confident she was basically potty-trained but, I told Ryan that w should give her another 4 days until we officially say she is. Even by day ten she was now taking us to the toilet about 40% of the time when she would need to use the bathroom. But, every time she had to poop there was no hesitation to use the bathroom. We felt like this was a big success!
Day Fourteen, we are telling her and ourselves she is fully potty-trained! Two weeks! Two fricking weeks is what we did. Only 4 days later then a book told us that it would happen. We all know books CAN happen with the advice given but, realistically there is always more of the average occurrence then the 1% occurrence. Just saying don’t beat yourself up if you are off a few days or even weeks. Every kid is different we just got lucky with her response to the process. Even when it was ugly.
We started on September 14th which is five days after her second birthday. It is November 1st and she has 3 pull-ups left for her bedtime. We will not be buying more after those are gone. However, she has not woke up wet but one time in about a month. We just didn’t want them going to waste so used them during bedtime. She has been wearing big girl panties for a nap since about week 3 after starting.
You guys, don’t over complicate the things that are apart of human nature. We poop, we pee and we do it in a toilet. Its simple just set them on the toilet and eventually, they will poop or pee! When they do, CELEBRATE!
How we would celebrate was not only the big hooray, the hand clapping or even the assurance of how big they were. But, we used stickers! She loved putting the stickers on the board after every success. Two stickers if she did a number one and two!
Embrace the chaos and work thru it. Weed out the shit that is not needed and stays consistent with being focused on staying consistent. It is easy to forget when you start a new habit. If you do that, the process will be much less painful and messy.
I hope I was able to shed some light and perhaps some assurance to relax a little. It’s not like they will poop and pee everywhere but the toilet forever.
Posted on April 8, 2018
As we know planning a birthday party for your little one can be stressful, let alone spendy nowadays. I won’t even be modest, we spent $500 on the 1st Birthday. Can you believe that?! I mean, it was the first Birthday and we will never do it again. But, it was a lot of dough for a 2-hour celebration. I also had no idea what I was doing or how to cut corners to save a buck properly and still have style. I would search around and everything was just all over the place. So many times I had wished everything was in one place. The list of the Basics to throw the party, some ideas, and budget-friendly options. Doesn’t that sound amazing?!
So here I am just shy of 6 months out of planning my daughters 2nd Birthday. Holy moly I can not believe that. Well personally, we decided on Rainbow colors with splashes of Unicorns. Instead of it being Unicorn everything with splashes of a rainbow. You see we came to realize it is going to be way more expensive to buy everything Unicorn rather than buy a bunch of colors of stuff creating a rainbow effect. We will buy small things to add the Unicorn touch and feel of the party. Also, it doesn’t overbear the party with a million unicorn items. (Even though Unicorns are fricking amazing)
Well, I wanted to put together my personal task list of what I do when I plan a party for my daughter. I am not claiming this will solve every problem you will have, or answer all your solutions to what you’re looking for. But, I can tell you that this is a good place to start.
I am going to offer Images for visual thoughts, links that lead you to websites which will offer items referred to in the images. I will also attach Budget-friendly options with some DIY and home crafting to help save some money, add your personal touch to the party if that is what you like. However, for those moms that just would really like a party in a box, I got you covered. I will share information that will allow you be at a click of a button to save.
I know this seems like an obvious to do. However, it is the most important thing to have the date set in advance. I mean sometimes you gotta have the birthday the weekend before or the weekend after. Sometimes, their birthdays fall in the middle of the week, and they throw a tantrum because they want to have their birthday on their actual birthday. You know what I am talking about because I have seen it with my own two viewers. Personally, I have not run into this issue with picking a day. This year it falls on a Sunday, thank you, Jesus. So we are having it on a Saturday because that works better for everyone. So, Pick a date!
In my experience, I have a daughter that has a September Birthday. Which allows us to have outside celebrations because it is right at the end of our summer season. So, we don’t need to concern ourselves (as of now) with booking a location or space. But for those of you that will need to book a space or maybe a Bounce house if it is in your location. Here is just a local business that offers that. If you are looking for something like a bounce house for your backyard celebrations. Here is a quick Google search engine to find it! (Search Bounce House)
You will find a neat link Here that offers a way to just find the bounce house for your toddler party. All you need to do is put in your zip code and it will let you know if they serve the area or have locations to offer! That simple. Also for those of you who like Park parties, which I am a huge fan of. I would just suggest getting to the spot you want, EARLY. Set up and hang out!
If you have a cold season birthday, don’t worry. I will be talking about all sorts of indoor options for celebrating and finding cost savings while doing it in style.
First, to admit, this is the one part I do not personally enjoy. Sometimes you actually have to Not invite people. How mean is that? Ha Ha. But this is me being real, even tho I am trying to share some serious tips. I am allowed to still be my sassy self, yeah?
So when making your invite list, be sure you put all things into consideration. Here is my list of where my brain can go.
I mean do you see? There are some real serious questions to put into place before you go inviting all sorts of people to your home. Plus, if your child is super popular with the other children. You are gonna have a wild night ahead of you. Feeling my Sarcasm?
Please for the love of Jesus make some Invites. I know that social media is the free option and I completely understand that. But here you find options to some very fair prices in ordering and custom making your toddlers birthdays invites. Keepsakes are so special in the long run. For those of you that are in a bind and really just need some budget friendly ways to DIY. Here and Here are two ways to inexpensively create your own beautiful and thoughtful cards. I also found Free printable options Here!
Tip– Go buy the Stamps the day you order the Invites. Have them set aside and ready for when they arrive.
If you can: Order a stamp that offers you your mailing address made on it. It will save your hand from writing more than you need to!
This is when I started getting confused and totally scatter brained because I had no idea which way to go. I mean do I focus on color, a cartoon type theme, or should I throw them together and make my job WAY tougher? Of course I choose to do both and make my life harder. But I mean that is what we do for our kiddos, right? I mean at least the first one. (Giggling) So here are my thoughts and tips on how, now that I did go thru it.
Do both! I am going to share with you ways to be able to do both, save money, have it look stylish, and eat good! I mean, that is a win when I look at it. Some of your own personal creativity will be needed. Only you know your little one best.
If you had to just do colors, it might look sorta boring and not as personal to that person. Not that I am against it or think it cant look good. because it totally can! But obviously throwing in some characters in the party really adds that splash of personal touch knowing what the little one likes. it also allows the birthday star to enjoy having their favorite character around for the party. So be sure you narrow down the character your little one is dying over currently and Here and Here are two link options. The first one you will find it is a little less custom as the second option allows you to go more in-depth with options. (Second link is literally Birthday in a box, just more options.) Which I seriously find amazing and simple and budget friendly!
These are the types of prices I am talking about! Even if Emojis is not the style of choice its the price that blows me away for such stylish and hip characters.
I know that a lot of time you can get the small things and decor done in a short period of time. However, life happens and hiccups can cause a delay in anything. So as soon as you have the supplies you need, I suggest sitting down and getting crafty until you are finished. Get the crafts done way ahead of time if possible, I am telling you that you’ll feel a million times better knowing its all done and ready. This is a massive reason why I mentioned Number 1. ( Picking a date and being prepared)
I am really big on being as prepared as I can be on a day today. I also show myself, Grace, a lot because I forget also. Another reason I am always taking notes.
I want to share with you some Link for some Ideas and Instructions on how to make some fun and general Decorations which will be budget friendly. Now if I share a link that is a boy option for decorating, just change the colors to girl colors if that is an option with the links idea.
Toddlers use a lot of energy. Their own energy and still manage to suck up the rest of everyone else. Wait… Did I just solve how they continuously keep energy flow?! Because I mean once I run out I notice they get crazy. Wow, I am gonna think on that one more. Ha Ha!
So this is also one of my favorites because its the actual fun part of the party. So I am going to share with you just 4 ideas for some activities that can consume some time for the kids. Now they may still involve some parents and also some cleanup. But I mean, how can we get away with doing neither with a toddler? Yeah, you can’t.
I am a big believer in feeding! But I know that finger foods are best for toddler parties. So last year I did bite size hot dogs in crescent rolls and baked them, homemade Mac and cheese in the slow cooker for 3 hours, pretzel sticks dipped in chocolate, rice Krispies drizzled with chocolate, fruit on sticks and of course we had homemade and decorated cupcakes. My mom made her Smash cake, which she did not eat. I am telling you all of this because it was a ridiculous amount of options and I should have kept it real simple. It turned out beautifully and I am so glad I did it but, it was way more work than needed.
Now I think Finger foods are the way to go! Plus maybe one item of substance. So I will share the list I think is basic and probably would be fitting for any child’s birthday.
That’s it! Those 3 listed options, don’t make it complicated for yourself. Unless you want to.
Here are some Pinterest inspired ideas I came across that I really like and could be simple and affordable.
You could do these with any colors of your choice. One bag of chocolate to melt, some cheap food coloring, and a bag of pretzels. Simple, colorful, and tasty for anyone! ( Be gluten conscious for those that may be intolerant.)
Apples with Frosting! I mean you can not find more amazing kid balance than that for a celebration. They are getting the fruit nutrition along with the sugar for celebrating. Win!
This one is always a classic favorite. Very cost friendly, tasty, and very colorful! What kid does not absolutely love Fruity Pebbles?!
Its the day of Celebration! Hopefully, you listened and you chose to get 75% of everything done ahead of time. If you didn’t I am sure you are stressed and wishing you did. Don’t worry, Next year will come quicker than you know. Be ready!
For those of you that did the preparing and organizing, enjoy sleeping in today. Because you did all that and allowed yourself time. You can sleep in, rest assure you have it all set up and ready to start decorating and cooking what is needed. If you are looking for some recipe ideas for warm item foods. Here is a link that will take you to some basic ideas.
Go get that oven going, get cleaned up and ready to head to decoration land! About time to do the actual Party Set up!
We use tables and chairs and have seating for everyone for outside for our daughters birthdays. So if you’re doing an outside celebration, be sure you get all the seating set up!
Tip- Have strong tape on hand to potentially need to tape anything down due to the possible wind! ( Consider all things! )
Have an amazing Celebration!!!
I hope you found help and some guidance here today. Please share your successes thru this article below in the comments. Thanks for reading!
Posted on April 5, 2018
Truth be told I don’t have this issue, YET…
Well, I’m not quite there with Gracie but, she hasn’t quite grasped that concept yet. Or, maybe she has but can’t tell me yet. Thinking about that briefly made me sad for her. Bummer when you can’t talk much yet. (Sorta bonus for mom)
Either way, the time comes for all of us parents when we will have to encounter the ”Monster phase.”
So first thing is first we already know when the times comes we must come up with a strategic plan. I mean this stuff has to be believable. Toddlers are hardcore and they question everything. I’m not even kidding you. If your little one is at the age of mine where Monster talk is not a thing yet. Bare with me Mama, we can do this. For those of you who have already been thru this stage. Whether that be a quick and easy stage or a long and painful one. You are amazing and I hope you chose to share your story here in the comments. We all need more people to relate to. But, for now, I will continue to share with you my thoughts.
I am not sure what type of reaction Gracie will have. If she will even go thru the long, awful stage. Perhaps she will not be bothered by scary things, and move on with life. Yeah I know I am dreaming. Let me be. Haha
Okay, we have all heard the stories from different little kids as to where the monster came from or who it is. I mean I haven’t lived under a rock. I have had the conversations and encounters with the Monster talks. I was a Nanny for 5 years. However, I am far from an expert. I just know that over the time frame of Monster Mania I had these thoughts. They explained to me the images. Not only were they Blue or Red and bloody, but they were hairy and gooey with mean eyes and horns! I mean, where did they see this stuff?! I was totally shocked with how vivid they explained things. Then again I was raised with horror flicks and had horrible night terrors. So, perhaps that is their story too?
Here I am going to share with you the items you must have for monster attacks and to keep them away. ( Share this with you little to ensure they know the remedy is real!)
Now the purpose behind the flashlight is to see what the noises are first. We always want to be sure we can see our surroundings. But also we use the flashlight to blind the Monster if it really did show itself. We are not messing around, we mean business!
This is a must! Monster HATE to smell pretty, let alone even come near anything that doesn’t smell like poop or garbage. (They are such gross things) I hear if you place a fragrant type of item inside your room it helps keep them far away. Sort of like how spiders don’t like lavender. So always keep your room smelling CLEAN. Monsters hate it!
Oh, this one… this one is tough. It can be really hard for many little ones. Which is why we tell them to double up on the flashlight or the extra clean room. But, If they do the two listed above with using their Big kid Voice. The extras won’t be needed! Just do a little of each, find that Big kid voice when you feel scared. Out loud all you do is say this, “You are not real and I am brave” Repeat 10 times, flashlight in hand!
Look under the chair if there is one
Check bathroom if attached
Make sure it’s within reach!
VERY IMPORTANT part. They hate stuff that smells good. Don’t forget that.
Its very important to gain the confidence before bed. You will rest easier knowing you did voice warm ups. Perhaps the pre warms ups help keep the Monsters away even better…
I hope you found this helpful! I hope while you read this over with your little one they felt a little comfort and a tad tougher. Be sure to get your list and don’t forget the extra batteries! (Find those at any local store)
Posted on March 29, 2018
Dear Fellow Mom,
Today I was reading a letter from someone very dear to me. It brought tears of sadness, yet I was able to also share some tears with a smile. I share this with you today my fellow mom because while I was reading that letter. I took a moment to pay attention to how I was feeling so, that I could address how to feel better. While I came to the conclusion reading that letter I felt Empty, because I was missing the person that wrote it. Yet, I also felt a heart full of love for this person. For some reason, feeling those two things at that moment made me think about other Moms. How do you ask? I am really not 100 percent what actually led me to this analogy or thought process. Sometimes things just happen with absolutely no explanation. But let me try to explain the best I can.
Fellow mom you are not alone. That is where I would like to start. I know in the hustle and bustle of life we can forget the simplest of things such as remembering we are not alone. We as moms need the reminder every so often because our brains start to resemble what I like to refer too as “Tracers.” Can you relate? It can be tough juggling life and all that it throws at you. I know because, well I am alive too. I am not sure if you are a stay at home mom, a part-time working mom, full time working mom, or the OVER TIME career working mom. Either way in my eyes your on the same platform as me. You’re a Mom. No matter how busy or not busy you are, the feeling of emptiness happens. I just wanted to tell you, “It’s okay, to not be okay.” No one is going to judge you for feeling empty or alone. If someone ever was judgemental or mean to you for expressing that, I am so sorry. For me personally, all that validates is the person that judged you probably need a hug more than you do. I truly believe we need to stop the thought process that if someone is rude or cranky we automatically turn to sourness. That to me is the vicious circle I see happening with moms today. Yet here we are on facebook, blogs, tweets, Instagram and just internet in general. I see it everywhere. Moms complaining, crying, fighting and just plain being nasty to one another. Why? Why are we doing this when collectively if we all paid more attention we would see, that we ALL are saying the same thing. We just all deliver it differently. If only we could open our minds and be kind to one another. TRY and understand that we really all are fighting the same battle. Mom Life is hard. It does not make you weaker or less smart. Its just the way it is and there is absolutely no correcting the fact that raising a human is a lot of work. Feeling Empty sometimes is natural and normal. We as mothers give A lot out and we naturally do it with love. (Most the time) So I guess I wanted to just give you that little reminder that you are not alone, and its okay to feel empty sometimes. Just don’t forget you’re important and it is okay to give yourself grace. I encourage you to be easier on yourself and do more of reminding yourself how strong you are.
But, I suppose in the end if we only absolutely have to encounter feeling Empty, at least we can see the bright side that we have a Full Heart.
Another Fellow Mom
Posted on March 26, 2018
Let me Explain. You see everyone told me prior to having a baby that I was in for it when they turn two. I’m thinking, okay I can handle some nutty midget. No problem. I got this. Plus I knew that if my husband and I were good at anything. It is working together as a team. We just had that from the get-go of our friendship into our romantic relationship. We re grateful for sure that we can work together so well when it comes to solving problems.
Okay so back on track here. I want to explain that I am here to tell you that the “Terrible Twos” do exist. I’m not there with Gracie yet, but I know it is just around the corner. Plus, I’ve heard it time and time again. Now what I want to share with you is this.
Terrible twos are real. However, the moment you have that little breathing life in your arms. It is tough from the get-go. Day one is all when it really starts. See, this is obviously just my take and perspective. But I mean I feel like Day one they are just little Unicorn Turds. Ha Ha. I mean it in the sense of Unicorns are rare and awesome. But turds are well, turds! So They are Awesome/Rare turds. Ha Ha! I mean I felt like that was a pretty spot on analogy. Either way, I felt like sharing this. Perhaps a laugh will be given, a smile made or quite possibly you feel, just the same way.
BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH
journey to the little things