Adventures in potty training and the giant living in our home

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Potty training in bullet points:

  • Wrenn’s 3-year-old (boy) cousin taught her how to use the potty. I’m hoping that’s not going to be something that lands both of them in therapy someday. But it worked!
  • My child is crazy motivated by chocolate. Anytime she has “success” she runs out of her room yelling, “Mommy, I NEED CHOCOLATE!!!” Funny, that’s how her dad is motivated as well.
  • I learned an important lesson: Immediately dump the potty after she goes or the DOG WILL DRINK ALL OF IT AND YOU WILL WANT TO THROW UP OR DIE.
  • My mother-in-law had to tell me there’s an escape hatch on pull-ups for #2. I’m going to add that to the list of things people should warn new parents about, along with: don’t feed your kids too many bananas or they’ll never poo again (I learned that the VERY hard way).
  • I have no idea how to go from “Yay, you peed in the potty four times today” to “Yay, you’re wearing big girl undies and mama doesn’t have to spend $50 a month on diapers anymore!” I actually let her pick out some undies (it was a tough choice between Little Mermaid and Frozen, but she went with the mermaid) thinking we would give them a go, and then I remmebered… POO. That has yet to happen in the potty. And this mama is NOT cleaning POO off of Arial’s head. So moms… feel free to tell me what the next step is, as long as that next step doesn’t involve me cleaning poo messes off my couch.

And our new housemate:

On a completely unrelated note but still something I want to remember forever – it turns out that an imaginary green giant has moved into our home. Wrenn points him out – filled with all the wonder and fantasy of a two-year-old – and we wave at him, hide from him, laugh with him,  wake him up when he’s sleeping, pretend we’re scared of him, and draw pictures of him. His name is Jovie the Monkey and sometimes he’s a bald giant with glasses and sometimes he’s a snake, but he’s always big. Regardless, I love the wonder and imagination that this child brings to our home, and I hope this giant chooses to stick around for awhile.

Bold Prayers

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I’m reading Praying Circles Around Your Children, and already it’s changing me.

“Prayer is the way we take our hands off and place our children in the hands of God.” (Batterson)

This book is inspiring me, y’all. Tonight I snuck into Wrenn’s room after she went to bed, knelt down by her crib, and prayed big prayers over my child while she slept. It’s the greatest gift I can give her, the greatest defense against all of the challenges she will ever face, and the greatest way to ensure that I’m the kind of mother God called me to be. I may not be perfect, but I can pray.

Greetings from quarantine

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There aren’t enough Disney movies in the world to keep a sick toddler happy.

I’m not making light of kiddos who are REALLY sick. That’s downright awful and terrifying, and those mamas need extra hugs and prayers.

No, what I’m talking about is having a kiddo who is just sick enough to feel crummy – nothing life threatening. In our case, my kiddo had a high fever and some asthma problems, which means we haven’t slept in a week, and when she’s awake, she’s the GRUMPIEST THING IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD.

I know you’re surprised. Because my two-year-old could NEVER throw a terrible tantrum. Who am I kidding, she has thrown some epic tantrums on days when she felt absolutely fine. So please imagine with me for just a moment the kinds of tantrums I have witnessed over the past week from my sleep-deprived, feverish, MAD AS HECK two-year-old.

Yeah. I think I need extra hugs and prayers too.

Let’s just say that this mama has had a challenging week. See, challenging is code for BAD. It sounds so much more “glass is half full,” doesn’t it?

So yeah, it was a rough week over at the Right House. We haven’t had a good night’s sleep in about 10 nights because of that dang asthma, and then for the past five days or so we’ve had a cranky, crying, yelling, feverish toddler who also caught a random virus. Here’s how most of our conversations have gone:

(Me, ever so lovingly and patiently): Honey, would you like some milk?

(My crazy demanding toddler): NO! (with arms crossed, yelling, of course)

(Me, ever so lovingly and patiently): Okay. (closes fridge)

(My crazy demanding toddler): MIIIIIIIILLLLKKKK! Mommy, I want MILK! NOWWWWW!!!! (as she throws her toy across the room, pounds the wall with her fist, then throws herself dramatically on the floor and cries hysterically)

So yeah, this week has been absolutely precious.

It’s such mean twist of fate that at the very time that my precious child needs EXTRA love and grace and patience, Mr. Right and I haven’t slept well in 10 straight nights. Like, several nights we got up over and OVER AND OVER to console our screaming child, give her breathing treatments, bring her milk, rock her back to sleep, BEG HER TO SLEEP FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.

I would love to take a hammer to that baby monitor.

And then, because she’s sick and contagious, it means we’re home on quarantine. ALL DAY LONG. For a hot minute I fantasized that I would get so many things done, or maybe just sit and cuddle my precious child and watch movies all day.

Yeah, that’s not exactly how our quarantine has gone. It has been filled mostly with a certain someone screaming, “Mommy! Mommy! MOOOOOMMMMMMYYYYYY!” for hours at a time while nothing I do soothes her.

Instead, I have fantasized about drinking a margarita. For breakfast.

But I am happy to report that this morning she woke up her normal, delightful, non-feverish self. Praise the Lord, my crazy tantrum-throwing, happy-with-nothing child has been replaced with the one who loves to give kisses and snuggles and can sometimes make a decision and hasn’t been in time-out a single time all morning.

His mercies are new every morning. And I’m counting down the minutes until naptime… because this mama has a lot of sleep to catch up on.

A night off and adventures for everybody

Parenthood is full of so many contradictions. The biggest one may be this:

1. I love my child and want to be around her ALL THE TIME. I have tailored my career, my hobbies, and my schedule, so that it includes plenty of time to spend with her. Because she’s only a kid once.

2. The minute someone offers to babysit (especially overnight!!!) I’m all like, “Peace out kiddo – mama is getting a night OFF!!!!!!!

Can I get an amen?

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Even though we had just had an overnight date a few weeks ago, when the grandparents offered to keep Wrenn overnight so she could spend some extra time with her cousins who were in town visiting, we didn’t think twice. We immediately made reservations at our favorite spot and started counting down the minutes until we could have a hot date. And sleep all night without a baby monitor. And carry one of those tiny clutches instead of a giant mom purse and baby backpack.

It’s the little things, y’all.

I was already as giddy as a high school girl who was asked to Homecoming (have I mentioned that I married the Homecoming King? Yeah. I did.) Then, Mr. Right took it up a notch by sending me FLOWERS. To work. In front of everybody.

I pretty much met him at the door when he came home with a goofy grin on my face ready for a night of fun.

And I would show you photos of this night of fun, but we had too much fun to actually TAKE any pictures. Just imagine me all dressed up – IN HIGH HEELS – having a really great hair day. And Mr. Right looking studly in a new fall-colored shirt he was really proud of. We went to one of our favorite spots (Fort Worth friends… get thee there NOW) and indulged on PBJ chicken wings, fried chicken sliders, mac-n-cheese with bacon and jalapenos, and oysters. We talked about grown-up things and nobody threw a tantrum at the table (sorry Wrenn) and it was so… quiet.

After that, Mr. Right took me out for ice cream BECAUSE HE LOVES ME. And then we came home and sat on the back porch and talked about our upcoming adventure to New York and all the fun things we wanted to do while we’re there. It was such a fun night.

(And mom… don’t worry, we didn’t get any more tattoos.)

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The next morning Mr. Right was up before dawn while I slept in until 7:30 (which is my version of noon). While he rode his bike 47 miles from Fort Worth to Dallas, I got a massage and enjoyed a quiet morning to myself. I failed at the “no housework” thing – the weather was just so glorious that I couldn’t help myself… I cleaned out our garage and did some work in the garden. It was a great excuse to get outside on the first cool(er) day in two months.

And then I napped so hard I woke up completely disoriented. That means it was a really good nap, my friends.

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While we enjoyed 24 hours of care-free responsibility, little Wrenn got to spend the most glorious day with her cousins in the country, riding the pony and 4-wheelers, playing with stickers and eating popsicles and watching princess movies and fighting over the grandparents’ attention.

This girl had FUN.

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When we finally reunited Saturday night, I figured she would come running to me, squealing with delight as she melted into my arms for the biggest hug ever. Instead, we walked in the door and she saw us and started yelling, “No! No! No!” Because girlfriend didn’t want us to take her home. She wanted to stay there forever.

Ahhh, motherhood.

My little chef

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Today Wrenn and I made homemade play dough together. I love any sort of project that involves experiencing new things, allowing her to “help,” get her hands dirty (and my kitchen), and create something. I love to watch her little creative mind in action!

Not to mention that we’re pretty big on cooking in this house… so this was a perfect project!

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I can’t even handle the cuteness of her chef hat and apron (an awesome hand-me-down from a cousin). Or the serious look on her face as she concentrated SO HARD as she stirred. It was the BEST. My little girl just delights me.

If you want the recipe (and to see some pictures of Wrenn from a year ago before those curls sprouted), go here.

Styled by Wrenn

I used to wonder if girlie girls were a result of nature or nurture. Well, Wrenn came out of the womb ready to accessorize. This girl loves dressing up in princess dresses, tutus, high heels, and as much jewelry as she can manage to reach. And she’s always carrying the perfect bag. It delights me (and the people we encounter in public while she’s wearing her ensembles).

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{PS – She even has her own hashtag: #styledbywrenn. You can see her daily ensembles over at @texas_lovely on Instagram.}

On a happier note: Life, lately

After my last post, I needed something light. As I grieved, I felt like my words were silenced. Writing was too painful. But now, a month later, I’m ready to write again. And since there’s nothing lighter than a two-year-old, here are some happy things from Little Wrenn lately:

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Wrenn is the most affectionate little thing. She’s obsessed with holding hands and regularly asks to “Rock,” which means read books in her rocking chair, or “Cuddle,” which means cuddling on the couch while watching “Mommy’s Show” (aka – Seinfeld). She tells me if she wants me to rub, pat, or scratch her back. I recently asked her to rub my back (which she so gently did for about three seconds), and the I asked her to rub my neck. She proceeded to come around to my front and rub on the front of my neck, right under my chin, with the most serious little expression. I love how literal she is!

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I have been trying to teach Wrenn to do small chores, like feeding the dog or putting her cup in the sink after she drinks her milk or picking up her crayons and coloring book. She has gotten pretty good at her chores, and each time she completes one (many times without being asked) she will run to me and shout, “HUG!” And I gladly oblige.

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If you ask Wrenn what she wants for breakfast, this is what she will list off:

  • Chocolate cake?
  • Pie?
  • Cookies?
  • Popsicle?

I promise she has never had any of these things for breakfast. Also – the girl is totally obsessed with popsicles… especially the red onesphoto (93)

Wrenn is a water baby. And fearless. This child will jump off the diving board and go fully under water and come out saying, “Again! Again!” This summer she has LOVED swimming. What she didn’t love was swimming lessons. Trying to be a good mom, I signed her up for toddler lessons through our city, and she refused to participate in almost every class. She just wanted to swim on her own without anybody telling her what to do. We decided to not fight it and just let her enjoy the pool – there is plenty of time left for her to learn to swim. For now, she can roam free with her floaties. As long as Mr. Right or I are close by.

Oh, may I always remember these little bits of joy that Wrenn brings!

Our Fourth of July – My Favorite Weekend in Years

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Sometimes what you need – what your whole family needs – is a three day weekend filled with nothing but being outside, together, playing and making memories doing almost nothing at all. For me, this year’s Fourth of July was exactly that kind of weekend.

It started with a morning swim at my parents’ house (they were in Europe – lucky dogs), as well as a little swinging on their backyard playground set. My parents got all the cool toys after we grew up!
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Have I mentioned that Wrenn LOVES the pool? Our fearless girl will jump in, slide off a mat head first into the water… just like in all other areas of her life, she wants to be independent and push the limits and experience EVERYTHING in the water. Thankfully, her little floaties allow her to feel like she’s swimming all by herself.

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She had so much fun that she passed out on the way home. That evening we were scheduled to have friends over for dinner, but that fell through, so instead we washed our cars and cleaned the garage and got our bikes ready to ride. It was so good to just be outside, the three of us, and sweat and work and play.

We ended the night by taking a family bike ride and then running through the water hose.

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Saturday morning, the fourth, we took it easy because we knew we would have a late night. Mr. Right built Wrenn a blanket fort in the living room and I finished up one of my quilts (stay tuned for proper pictures later… as soon as I take them).

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Then we all took naps. I managed to fit in a nap every single day during our three day weekend. Bless.

Then we piled up in our car, along with just about everything we own (man, we stink at packing light), and drove over an hour away to our dear friends‘ house, where we sat out on a patio enjoying a country evening, and then walked to the old baptist church across the street and shot off fireworks for almost two hours.

Fireworks are one of my favorite things in the entire world, and much to my glee, little Wrenn loved them too. She kept saying, “Fireworks! Up High! Mickey Chair!” She’s still talking about it, two weeks later. They were going off right over our heads, and the sound didn’t bother her a bit. In fact, our little morning girl fell asleep in my arms about an hour in, and I relished an opportunity to cuddle with her sleeping against my chest. A rare treat.

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Sunday Wrenn was so exhausted that she slept past nine (she’s always up by 6:30, so this was way out of character). We spent the day lounging and doing nothing productive. I so very rarely rest – why is that? It was so good for my soul.

Little Miss took a bit of a tumble head-first into our ottoman and busted her lip, so I treated it with her favorite thing – a purple popsicle. It’s amazing how quickly a popsicle can help heal a minor injury when you’re almost two.
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Sunday evening we were back on our bicycles, enjoying a beautiful evening together. Wrenn has finally gotten brave enough to master her balance bike. We also hooked up a trailer to Mr. Right’s bike, as well as let her sit on dad’s bike rail (totally illegal, but childhood is about being dangerous every once in awhile). With the wind blowing her hair she would tilt her head back and scream “Weeeee!” as they rode together.

Oh, how I would love to live this weekend over and over and over.

 

Peace and a Toddler’s Prayer

 

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I prayed 2 Thessalonians 3:16 the whole time my nephew Sawyer was in the NICU.  Here is a prayer from my journal written on June 3:

You promised to give us peace at ALL times and in EVERY way. God, we need your peace now. Give it to us in abundance. Help us to trust you when we’re weak, scared, tired, hopeless. Give us more hope. More trust. More faith. More peace.

While life seemed like a roller coaster, God promised he would give us peace at all times and in every way. And he dd. He sustained my sister and brother-in-law and the rest of the family.  And I am confident that he always will. Because God keeps his promises.

Isn’t it wonderful to have a God who keeps his promises?

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Sweet Sawyer came home from the NICU on Tuesday, June 16, and I think he has been held every single minute since. I know everybody rejoices over a new baby – because life is a MIRACLE – but with this baby… THIS BABY… well, we just can’t put him down. I want to smother him with kisses and keep him forever, but as his Aunt B I will settle for a lifetime of loving on him and spoiling him whenever possible. And a lifetime of thanking God for creating such a miracle. May I remember God’s goodness every single time I see him.

Speaking of goodness… you guys, my little Wrenn did something the other day that made my heart just explode with joy. We pray often with Wrenn – before meals and each night before bed – it’s a part of our routine. She and I had sat down for dinner (Mr. Right was at a church meeting), and did our regular meal prayer and then started eating. A few minutes later she stopped me, reached over the table to grab my hand, and said, “Pray. Pray!”

I asked her who she wanted to pray for. We pray for family members and friends as well as choo choo trains and puppies and bugs. She told me she wanted to pray for “Yuke” (her cousin Luke, Sawyer’s big brother). So, I held her hand and bowed my head and started to pray, and then she stopped me and said, “BABY! Yuke and baby!”

It was my child’s way of saying she wanted to pray for Baby Sawyer. Oh, what a sweet, innocent heart who has no idea what is going on, and yet she has heard us pray for Baby Sawyer over and over these past few weeks. And she felt compelled to pray for him, in that moment. She has such a limited understanding and yet she wants to pray.

God, bless all of these little children in our family!

Life Lately

Life has been hard lately. It’s hard to watch your sister and best friend go through something traumatic, like having a sick baby in the NICU. But you know what? Even during stressful times, kids bring so much joy. I am constantly reminded of what a gift children are. Mine. My nieces and nephews. Other peoples’ kids. It doesn’t matter – each one is a unique blessing given to us from the Lord.

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Speaking of blessings… Wrenn is now 23 months and such a JOY. Like, I can’t even describe the joy she brings to Mr. Right and me. Whether it’s hearing her say a new word (like “air conditioner” or “love you”) or learning to say her ABCs (she can repeat all of them after me), or simply saying, “HUG!” and giving me a giant hug over and over and over… this child reminds me every day that I am blessed. She is God’s gift to me.

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Mr. Right is also such a gift. Yesterday (a Sunday), after a particularly hard week, he told me to go get into bed for my Sunday afternoon nap and he would bring me lunch in bed. Who brings their wife lunch in BED? My husband, that’s who. There is nobody I would rather do life with, day in and day out. He is so much better than I deserve, and yet I will gladly take him.

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Life happens in seasons. Last year was a tough season. Up until a few weeks ago, 2015 was such a peaceful season. Nothing lasts forever, but each season seems to point me toward my need for a Savior. Through the peaceful days and the stressful days, I will choose to praise Him for who He is and what He has done for me.