Crash course in potty training

You would think that by the time I got to potty training child number five it would be a piece of cake. Unfortunately all the tactics I used on the four older kids have not worked with Abigail. Several times I said I was going to start her but she would just sit on the toilet FOREVER and not do anything. She was happy to sit there but of course that meant I had to sit there to catch the magical moment so we could all clap and praise her. There were many afternoons where I could be found sitting on the floor in the bathroom entertaining Abigail, nursing Emersynne, and trying to help Natalie with her homework. Boy was I glad nobody had a camera on those days! That would be an interesting picture to try to explain!

I kept trying to catch her when she was dry hoping that if she "accidently" went potty on the toilet she would begin to understand how it all worked out. No such luck. At the beginning of April I decided I would aggressively work with Abigail when I got back from my trip. So that is what I did. I figured that the best way for Abigail to learn and understand would be for her to feel it running down her legs. Gross I know but I didn't know what else to do. Ten days ago I pulled her out of diapers and put her in training pants. She was so excited to be wearing big girl underwear. We had two days of wiping up puddles and making sure she sat on a blanket when on the furniture but then she was making progress by leaps and bounds. She went from not having a clue, to telling us she needed to go potty. I was so amazed. I didn't think it was going to happen that quick. We still have accidents here and there and I have gotten used to taking along a change of clothes and underwear just in case. Thanks goodness for plastic pants. They really do help a lot! We stuck with the training pants and plastic pants because Abigail refused to wear pull-ups. She thought they were diapers and wanted nothing to do with them.

Today we were brave (or maybe just stupid) and didn't use plastic pants while we were out. It was an accident free day and hopefully there will be lots more of those in store for us!

Five down and one more to go!


Spring Break

This past week was our spring break and we seemed to find lots to do to keep busy. We didn't do anything really exciting but the kids enjoyed a few play dates with friends, went to Pump It Up and jumped around, colored eggs, and played outside lots.

The Christmas present Santa brought is finally getting some outside use!

It was nice to not have a strict schedule and have things be a little more laid back. The weather wasn't really spectacular and was cool and wet a few days, but it didn't snow and it wasn't freezing so I won't complain.

We finished up the week with the boys going on an overnight camping trip with some friends. The girls were upset about not going camping but I think Abigail was just upset that her daddy was leaving.

We had our own girl time and enjoyed some microwave s'mores, and watched a movie.

Here's the boys in the tent

Breakfast time!


Party! Party!

We get two days in a row of birthday parties at our house in April and I was lucky enough to have ALL my children home on my birthday. This is spring break and the kids are excited to be home. It was a busy day but we did have fun too. We went to the mall, Toy's R Us, and made a stop at Mcdonald's on the way home to pick up some lunch.

The kids took good care of me and made sure I had a special day. I got lots of birthday hugs and had lots of helpers.

Michaela made my birthday cake and it was delicious! I love the Saucy Apple Swirl Cake! So moist and yummy. I think Michaela was proud to have had the responsibility of making the cake.

Trevor was very proud of his birthday present for me. He made my bed all by himself, although I think daddy straightened it out when Trevor wasn't looking!


Trevor's birthday!

It's hard to believe that Trevor is five years old. Time slips away so quickly. Trevor was very excited for his birthday and when I got back from my trip he started counting down the days. He is excited to be five because that means he will be going to school soon! Trevor waited all day to open presents and then his excitement burst out. All the pictures we have of him are so funny!

I think Trevor was really excited with his swim goggles. He ran right over and jumped on me after he opened them. He is excited to use them at swim lessons this week.

This card came with money in it.

I didn't know there could be so many excited looks. Trevor had a good day.

Pastis nails it again


More pictures

Easter Sunday we took a few pictures after church.

My brother and family

Emersynne and Auntie Dean

My sister Julia and Bridgett my only niece that I got to meet. Bridgett was nice enough to share her high chair and baby toys with Emersynne while we stayed there.

It was a house full of boys at my grandparents house for Easter dinner. They sure did have a good time.

Pictures from our trip

Along with this being the first time on an airplane for Emersynne it was also her first time meeting lots of family members. She was a trooper with all the traveling we did in just a few days. She didn't mind being passed around to all the family members either.

Emersynne with Nannie (my grandmother)

Emersynne with Papa (my grandfather)

Emersynne with Grandma Great (my grandmother)

Emersynne with Uncle Roy (my brother)


Successful surprise!

Well I did it! I pulled off the biggest surprise I have done or ever will do. I guess I should say "we" because I couldn't have done it without Jeremiah or my sister Julia.

Back in February when southwest was having their specials, Jeremiah mentioned that I should go to Utah for my Grandmother's 90th birthday party. Because of a bonus he got and was so willing to spend on my plane tickets I actually considered going but quickly decided it wouldn't work and was too complicated to leave everybody at home. Jeremiah insisted and said he would take off work to stay home with the kids. Well, after going back and forth between going or not going I had a plane ticket and nobody knew about it but Jeremiah, myself, and my sister. We decided to keep it a secret and have it be a surprise. Piece of cake, or so I thought!

It's easy to keep a secret from people when you live across the country from them. When I realized that my Mom was going to be here for two weeks in March (my grandmother's party wasn't until April) I knew I would never be able to keep it a secret. I had a few close calls but it was still a secret when my mom left to go home.

Before I knew it April was here and Emersynne and I found ourselves on the airplane headed to Salt Lake City, Utah. It was a completely full flight so I spent six hours holding, bouncing, and nursing Emersynne to keep her quiet and hoped that she would go to sleep. After several hours of her crying she finally fell asleep but then I had to sit and hold her. I didn't dare move I was so afraid it would wake her up. It was exhausting but we made it.

My sister and two cousins met us at the airport and had used the excuse of a "Girls Night" to sneak out and get us. Supposedly they were at my sisters house watching a movie. Sure hope we all don't get into the habit of lying after all this!

Emersynne and I spent the night at my sisters beautiful house and in the morning the excitement began. The plan was for Julia to go in with her two kids AND Emersynne, casually saying that she had an extra child for the day. So this is exactly what we did. I stayed on the front porch while my sister went in.

Keep in mind that my mom had seen Emersynne two weeks ago so when she saw the baby in the car seat she just stood there in shock staring at the baby. She later said that half of her mind was telling her that was her baby but the other half was telling her it couldn't be her baby! Julia finally told her I was on the front porch and she should go let me in. My mother was so shocked and was speechless. She cried which of course made me cry too. She couldn't understand how I had gotten there or how I could have left my kids. I couldn't have done it without my awesome husband holding down the fort while I was away!

So, I surprised my mom and my sister-in-law and then we went downstairs to surprise my dad who was working at home that day. When my dad turned away from the computer and saw me standing there with Emersynne he jumped out of his chair and squealed. He, like my mother couldn't believe I was there and couldn't believe how I had gotten there!

During all this excitement my brother was in the shower so when he came upstairs and saw me standing there it was surprise all over again! We all hadn't had enough surprise so we went over to my grandparent's house and then my grandma's house and did it all over again.

It was a wonderful few days full of non-stop action. I got to spend time with grandparents, my grandma, cousins from both sides of the family, my parents, nephews, niece, and siblings. I'm so thankful I could be there for my grandmother's special day and help honor her life by being at her party. As Jeremiah said, "You only turn 90 once!"

Thank you Jeremiah for making it possible for me to go. It was a wonderful trip and one that I will remember and cherish forever.


Easter Photo-op

I will have to put down more details later, but I had to get this portrait up now.

So typical to have one kid off doing her own thing.



Don't you just love surprises? It is sometimes hard to surprise certain people but this must be my lucky month. I had the opportunity to surprise my brother and it was so much fun.

He emailed me asking for the name of a piano book he wanted to order. I was so excited when I realized I could just order it online and have it sent to his house. That is exactly what I did. I sent him an email back telling him I still hadn't found my book and would get back to him soon. A few days later he had the book in his hands.

My brother is not an easy person to buy for and not an easy person to surprise either so it was lots of fun.

Now, I said this was my lucky month because there is another surprise in the works. I can't say anything about it yet but in a few days you will be able to read all about it. If all goes as planned this will be the biggest surprise I have ever pulled off!

So exciting!


Punishment blues

Yesterday I had to do something that as a parent I think is one of the hardest things to do. It just about broke my heart and today I am still upset about it. I'm writing this in hopes that one day when Anthony is older it will help him understand that parents really don't get a thrill out of punishing their children. I now think that it may be harder on the parents than it actually is on the kids but how do you help them to learn important lessons?

Anyway, here is what happened:

Anthony, who is an extremely sweet and sensitive boy is also a child that likes to get reactions out of his siblings. He loves to push their buttons and is known to walk by someone and hit them, giggling while he is doing it. He thinks it is funny and of course it is not. We have had lots of talks about this with him and about the importance of keeping your hands (and feet and whatever else) to yourself. He is better about it than he was and hopefully he will continue to improve. To help him understand the importance of his behavior we set up a strike policy. We very clearly explained to Anthony what kind of behavior would be a strike.

If Anthony gets three strikes in one week then he won't be able to go to Cub Scouts. Anthony loves cub scouts and looks forward to going every week so we thought this would be a good incentive for him. As a bonus, if he has a week totally strike free (which has only happened once) then he gets a special reward. Right now going BB gun shooting with his Dad is hanging over his head.

I thought Anthony was going to have a no strike week since Sunday night he was strike free and only had to get through Monday and Tuesday. I guess it was not meant to be and maybe Anthony has to learn that we will stick to our rules. By the time Monday afternoon rolled around Anthony had three strikes. I really hated giving out the last strike that I knew would keep him from going to cub scouts and since it has happened I've gone over it in my head many times. Did I act too rashly? Did I react to the situation? Did I act out of anger? I feel that I handled it very well and based on the rules we had previously set up for Anthony I feel that he had plenty of warning and chances to change his behavior and avoid the punishment.

I think Anthony understood completely that he deserved the three strikes because he didn't argue but simply hung his head as the tears dripped off his cheeks. He didn't stomp up to his room and slam the door but came to me for hugs and comfort while he cried and I cried along with him. It about broke my heart.

So, tonight is Cub scouts and I'm sure that when Jeremiah leaves to go there will be more tears. From both Anthony and his Mommy. But now it is a new week and Anthony has a clean slate. No strikes. Can he keep it that way?


The Joy of Little Boys

"What's in this little hole?"

I have to say that I can't blame Trevor for being so inquisitive. I'm a "big boy" now, and I still have that drive to see what's inside holes and what happens when I push buttons. Luckily, my self-preservation has advanced to the point where I probe holes with sticks instead of my own flesh.

Trevor claims it happened as he was walking out of my room, which I imagine is partly true. His curiosity was piqued by the little hole in the door jamb, and, as far as I can gather, he tore off part of his thumb when he wrenched it out after it got stuck.

Anthony told me that Trevor didn't even notice the wound at first, and that it took him noticing the steady stream of blood trickling onto the floor before he started to cry.

It should be no surprise that within the hour Trevor and I were sitting in the emergency room waiting to be seen. Perhaps I was overly cautious in dragging Trevor to the hospital, but I was quite concerned when I got home and saw the extent of his injury. Once I had it properly cleaned, I could actually see below the top layers of skin.

After a lot of tears and a fresh dressing for his thumb, Trevor was sent on his way armed with a syringe to squirt his sisters with. He was in a pretty cheery mood, and even asked if I'd carry him out like I had carried him into the hospital. I told him that I would pay for the visit and call it even.

Those of you with faint hearts should be thankful that I only had my phone with me. The photos are rather blurred.


Six months old

Now that Emersynne is almost seven months old I am finally getting around to doing her six month post. She hasn't learned any new tricks but she does have a tooth. Of course, it waited until after Grandma Cindy left before coming in. It's amazing how their smiles change when the teeth start coming in. We have started Emersynne on baby cereal and so far she has had squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, and tonight she had green beans for the first time. The kids love watching her face when she starts on a new food. There was a lot of laughter at the dinner table tonight as we watched Emersynne eat the first few bites of green beans. She wasn't so sure about it but kept opening her mouth for more.

Two days ago Emersynne had her six month check-up. Because of the doctor needing to reschedule our appointment (which should have been earlier in March) her six month check-up was almost her seven month check-up. Oh well. She is doing great and survived her shots.

My BIG beautiful baby girl!
Emersynne Victoria
19 lbs 3 oz
28 inches

This dress was made for Michaela by my
Grandmother Beverly Pendleton.
It has been an outfit to treasure
and now all four of the girls have worn it.

Trevor and Abigail can never resist being in a picture.
I don't know where the other three kids were.

Emersynne showing off her "fur" coat.

Happy Birthday Jeremiah!

Sunday was Jeremiah's birthday. The kids were so excited and had been counting down the days until the celebration. They were a little upset that Daddy's birthday was on a fast Sunday and even more upset that it rained all day on Daddy's birthday. We had a yummy dinner of taquitos and refried beans, Jeremiah opened presents (with the help of Abigail), and we got our fill of chocolate with Chocolate Cake with Chocolate frosting and Chocolate ice cream. We finished up the evening with two games of bite the bag and two games of hide and go seek in the dark.

Natalie made her daddy's favorite cookies for his birthday. She wanted to make big ones so we made giant snickerdoodles!

Anthony designed and made a watering can for Jeremiah to use at work

Trevor stuck with another one of his Daddy's favorites. Black licorice!

Michaela was excited to find fruit slices at Trader Joe's since she remembered how much her daddy likes those.

This present was tucked away until the very end. I knew as soon as Jeremiah saw the box he would know exactly what was inside.

And he was right!
This present was from my parents and Jeremiah had been dropping hints about it every time my mom and I went out shopping while she was here!

And it wouldn't be a complete post unless I added a photo of cute little Eme. Here she is playing with Jeremiah's slipper while he is opening presents.