Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Follow-up on Potty Training with the O-Man

I thought it might be helpful to follow-up on the potty-training trials with the little man.

Yes, he was pee trained in 3 days.  The poop thing took a little longer.

In the meantime, we decided it would be a great idea to take a quick trip to Texas for my nephew's graduation.  So, I took both kids by myself, and drove to Texas.  15 hours.  I put pull-ups on them in the car because I know there are stretches of Hwy 80 and I-20 that do not have exits or have exits lacking clean restrooms.  And you know, when you travel with two small children, every bathroom stop is an ordeal:  a parade into the restroom and a party in the handicap stall.  As mothers will find out, it is wise to let the children go potty first so that the sound of someone else peeing doesn't cause them to pee themselves.  And by the time it was my turn to go, the children were ready to go and would try to open the stall door.  Depending on the size of the stall, sometimes I could stop them, and sometimes I could not.  Yikes!

Anyway, 15 hours later we made it to Texas (no potty accidents!), and O-man had to use the potty before bed.  For the first time, he just climbed up on the potty before we had time to get out the potty seat, and he went.  And then he pooped.  That was the end of it.  We didn't even get the potty seat out for the rest of the week.  It clicked for him, and now the boy is a pooping machine. We'll be on to standing while peeing in no time.

On the night-training front, Oscar is batting .500.  Some nights dry, some nights wet.  Still trying to narrow down the causes.  Unlike Elsie, who would wake up screaming in the night when she peed, Oscar is content to roll over to a dry spot and continue sleeping.  This possibly has to do with the fact that Elsie was trained in December, and Oscar in May, and the fact that being cold in the winter is less desirable.  Or maybe Oscar is more of an easy-going problem solver.  Wet spot over here?  No problem.  Cover with pillow and move over to dry spot.

I'm sure that by the end of the summer, the boy will be standing and peeing, and staying dry all night.  We'll see, though.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Traveling with the Little Beavers

So, we just returned from a week-long trip to Texas.  By "we", I mean the kids and I.  Ordinarily, we work out our summer travels so that Eli can come with us, but this time we worked around a certain date:  my nephew's graduation.  Eli really couldn't get away for the week, so we packed up the car and headed to Texas.

I've traveled solo with two kids before.  It has been a while, though--not since we took a "short" 8-hour drive to see Eli when he was up in Virginia for six months at the JAG school.  I've learned a few things about traveling with little people.

1.  I have two amazing little people to travel with.  They entertain each other and themselves in the car--no problems.  See, we have a compact car.  No fancy technology.  We make long drives without the aid of DVDs.  Just the company of each other.

2.  Plan ahead for food (my kids love to eat), and all will go well.  I stock the front seat with a cooler of kid-friendly drinks (sport top bottles, etc.) and water; I also have a basket of snacks, equal part salty and sweet. I also bring empty cups:  cups with lids to give water, and cups without lids to hold loose snacks.  When necessary, stop for meals.

3.  Plan for in-car diversions, and but don't give it to them all at once.  I made that mistake last summer, haha.  They each have a backpack, and I go to the dollar store and spend about $20 on junk for them (stickers, toys, coloring books, etc) and put part of it in the backpack, the other part in the trunk for the return trip.  Last summer, I learned that crayons were a no-go after having to remove melted crayon from O's car seat.  This summer, I learned that if you give markers, you have to be willing to deal with the consequences, which I'm okay with, so we went into Chick-Fil-A with one green kid and one red kid because the best canvas is a blank one, you know?  They also each had a good time with a Slinky.  Oscar more than most.

Look, mama!  My Slinky!

I do also plan ahead and get audio books from the library.  This time I hit the gold mine in a CD that had six Arthur books on it, plus songs to go along with it.  I also brought my least-annoying toddler tunes.  And an audio book or two for me.  When one of my discs would end, we would listen to one Arthur story.  And on the return trip, I managed to get the kids to listen to the Wicked soundtrack.

If we had been plugged into electronics, we would have missed Oscar raising his markers to the sky, saying, "By the Power of Gray Skull!  I am He-Man!"  or every time he saw some, yelling excitedly in the way only an almost-three-year-old can, "More cows!!!"  We would not have had the back seat sing-along, or the random questions from Elsie because she was actually thinking:  "Mama, do Chick-Fil-A have beer?"

4.  You have to take time for little people to get out of the car to run around, so go ahead and plan for it.  But, make it a productive stop.  Combine restroom, stretching, food, and gas wherever possible.  Rest stops and welcome centers are better for running around than other places, but do what you can.

Mississippi River overlook in Vicksburg
That's a mighty big river!
Welcome to Texas.  Almost there.  But not quite
5.  It's okay to let kids be kids.  Like, when they decided to serenade the ladies' room at the Texas welcome center because there was already a stage and great acoustics.

Yeah, like that. Times twenty.

6.  There's no great way to do potty stops.  We all go in.  We all go.  We all come back out.  Somewhere in there someone opens a stall door before it's time and we flash the other ladies that may be in the restroom. People I'll never see again, thankfully.  But sometimes, just sometimes, you may get a free concert.


Saturday, June 1, 2013

June 2013 Debt Update

One of the best things that has happened to us since finding Dave Ramsey and his financial advice is that now we can handle financial hits without freaking out.  First, do you know about Dave's Baby Steps?  If not, here's the basic steps.  You can go to his website, www.daveramsey.com, for further information.

We have completed Baby Step 1 ($1000 emergency fund), we are working on Baby Step 2 (paying off all debt using debt snowball), and we are less than two years away from moving on to Step 3 (3-6 months living expenses in an emergency fund).  We have been budgeting and setting funds aside for recurring expenses in sinking funds.  We have more saved up now than we have in our entire marriage (all earmarked funds, of course), we have less debt than we've ever had, not including the house.  Because of this peace, financial setbacks are small problems instead of terrible tragedies.

Take for instance the day sometime in late March that we deemed it was too warm to live without turning on the A/C.  So, we turned it on.  Air was blowing.  It was warm.  Something was not right.  Well, we knew that repair would be expensive, so we stuck it out, waiting for tax refunds and another paycheck.  We ran ceiling fans and slept with the windows open.  It was not really a problem because we are really only home in the coolest part of the day--we got our air conditioning fix elsewhere.  However, when school ended and the kids and I were here during the day, it was unbearable.  So, we got it fixed.  When the man quoted the price, we didn't even bat an eye.  We were able to write a check for it right then.  Because we have an emergency fund for times such as this.  And now we have A/C.

On top of that, we were still able to make a major loan payment this month with all the extra hauling butt we have been doing.  So, here's the debt thermometer for the end of May/beginning of June:

Third 10K Chunk, started 1/1/13 fundraising ideas

Fundraising Thermometer

We are halfway through this thermometer!  Maybe we can knock this one out by the end of the summer (August!).  We have just less than $28k to pay off (remember we started with $105k, and started the debt thermometers when we had it down to $55k)!!  This is exciting, indeed!