Tuesday, November 29, 2011

3-Day Potty Training

Well, we're finally really potty training.  I thought I would write about it since I have not found too many personal stories about how people have potty trained their kids.  Just how to do it, not how it went.  So here it is.  I will give another update later on.

About 3 months ago, Blue Rock was very close to being potty trained.  Then we went to the States.  After we found out why he was throwing-up, along with having to be on iron supplements, we decided to wait until we were back home, he was almost off iron (which causes black sticky poo), and we were not traveling anywhere before we got serious.  He used to wear cloth diapers until he got sick last year and was throwing up almost daily.  It got to be too much laundry so we went back to disposables.  Cloth is great if you have the time and a good washing machine.

We started the 3-day potty training method on Thanksgiving (6 days ago).  We had to make a few errands so we put him in a pull-up on Thursday and Friday.  Friday was the last day he wore a pull-up during the day.  Blue Rock used the potty out in public both days but had one accident in the pull-up.  At home, he has been bare-bottomed and is doing great!  When he's bare-bottomed he has had no accidents and makes it to the potty every time, even poop, which I was surprised and very happy about.  Yesterday we went to the grocery store and I put underwear and pants on him - I was so tempted to put a pull-up on him, but resisted.  He went potty before we left and had no accidents and I took him twice to the toilet at the store but he didn't need to go and told me he didn't need to go but I wanted him to try.  After we loaded the groceries in the car I asked him again if he needed to go.  He said, "no."  So we drove home and when we got home I took him to the bathroom and he went.  Yeah!  A little while later we went to the park.  He played for about 20 minutes and we came home, again no accidents.  I left his pants and underwear on and he didn't make it to the potty in time.  I read that they should be diaper free at home for 3 months.  That seems like a LONG time!  

Today I started the morning with just his pajama pants on, wanting him to get used to pants since he's doing so well at going to the potty.  He went to the potty twice but then didn't make it in time.  I tried putting underwear on him and he said, "no underwear.  No, no, no!"  So I decided to let him be bare-bottomed again.  Later this afternoon I put just underwear on him even though he didn't want to wear it.  While he was playing he peed in them.  The rest of the day he was bare-bottom and went every time in the potty.  The only time pee got on the floor was when I tripped over the potty trying to get a Kleenex to catch a drip of pee on his leg as he got off the potty.  I made a huge mess!  Pee went everywhere, including the couch which is such a shame since he's been doing so good, no accidents on the furniture, just from me.  I think we're going to rent a carpet/upholstery cleaner.  Thankfully I have some cleaner that I used and our microfiber couch doesn't seem to smell like pee.  I'm just a germophobe and the thought of pee left somewhere grosses me out. 

I am very proud of Blue Rock. He has done much better than I thought.  Everyday he has only had 1-2 accidents since we started.  My plan is to everyday let him try pants and/or underwear. I'd like him to always wear something on his bottom but he has an embarrassed look on his face when he doesn't make it to the potty wearing undies.  So, for the most part, we'll probably stick to bare-bottoms while home, at least for a little while longer.  He does very well with that has had 100% success rate when being bare-bottomed.  I think he's officially potty training and definitely knows how to use the potty.  We are no longer using day-time diapers, not even when we run errands.  However, we are going to keep using them at night, at least for a while.  For one, he's still in a crib, yes, we have a toddler car bed, very cool, that he slept in for a while, but after a while, he wanted to sleep back in his crib.  He's happy, we're happy, and he sleeps 11.5-13 hours per night.  When we travel he sleeps in a regular bed.  Every morning I ask him where we go poo and pee.  He says, "poopoo and peepee go in the potty."  Then if I have to run downstairs to do laundry or something I ask him again and usually while I'm gone he uses his potty.

Here's our potty training set-up.  We have a tall house, 3 stories (4 if you include the basement) and only 2 bathrooms.  So we have a few portable potties.  I keep one in the living room, which we'll probably move to the bathroom.  And one upstairs on our top floor that has no bathroom.  We also have a little potty in the bathroom on our middle floor and a step-up potty to the toilet.  Blue Rock usually sits to pee but in public he likes to stand.  Sometimes he wants to stand at home but I usually ask him to sit.  I'm no longer asking him if he needs to go unless it's been a while or we're out in public or about to leave the house.  He has gotten very good at just going when he needs to go.  I hope this helps if you're about to start potty training your child.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A German Thanksgiving

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year, if you celebrate Thanksgiving.  An illness struck our house after attending a retreat last weekend so we decided to celebrate Thanksgiving as a family.  We have so much to be thankful for - great family and friends both near and far, a warm house, a loving Savior, and good food to eat.

We made turkey hands a few weeks ago for Thanksgiving
To celebrate we ate lunch at our town's Greek restaurant. Their special of the day was Turkey Schnitzel.  It came with fries and a salad.  We shopped at Toys R Us to compare their prices with online prices for Blue Rock's Christmas presents.  We talked to our families back home and ate a traditional meal of ham, sweet potatoes, and green beans for dinner.  Several Germans have told me that they view sweet potatoes as pig food.  Oh well, I still love them!  

Turkey Schnitzel

Blue Rock enjoying our dinner at home
We had a wonderful day and hope you and your family did too.  We also started potty training Blue Rock.  More news to come.  So far he is doing great! 

Pecan Pie for dessert...yummy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A German Birthday Party!

Us with the birthday man!
Last weekend our dear friend and next door neighbor turned 50!  To celebrate his family had a surprise party for him at the fire station in town.  Our fire station is almost 120 years old and is really neat!  He knew he was having a birthday party but didn't know they changed it to a surprise.  His wife blind folded him and took him to the car.  She drove around and stopped at the fire station.  They led him upstairs to the party room where everyone was lined up to surprise him and sing "Happy Birthday." 

The fire station was a great place for a party.  We even got a tour of the trucks.  Blue Rock loved that!  We all got to go inside them and look at the equipment.  Our neighbor's son is in the fire brigade and gave everyone a grand tour.

Germans celebrate birthdays a little differently than Americans, which I actually like.  The two biggest differences are: the birthday person provides food for everyone and secondly the party lasts longer than 1-2 hours.  For example, our friend catered a yummy lunch and a few hours later provided a variety of cakes and coffee.  His children provided some entertainment by having him play a game of guessing some famous Broadway music.  They also created a beautiful slide show of his life.  We had a wonderful time.  We were only able to stay for about 4 hours because Blue Rock started getting restless and tired.  I'm not sure when it was really over.  He was just starting to open some presents from family when we needed to leave.  Happy birthday to our awesome neighbor!  We felt very honored that you invited us and had a wonderful time!

Our town's fire station

Delicious lunch!

Yummy cakes!

Sitting in the big fire truck - Blue Rock was a little scared

Blue Rock trying on a fireman's hat

These were just a few of the trucks at the station
"Look, this tire is as tall as me!"

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bozo's Grand Prize Game

Did you ever watch "The Bozo Show" on TV as a child? Occasionally, I saw it and the most memorable thing from the show was the "Grand Prize Game."  Six buckets were lined up and the lucky kids on the show got a chance to toss the balls in the buckets for a chance to win the grand prize!  What kid didn't want to play that game?

Blue Rock brought me his bag of plastic balls today and said, "I want to play with these."  I bought him a ball pit for his first birthday party and lots of balls to put in it.  Sadly, we don't get the ball pit out that often or the balls.  When he asked today to play with them, I thought, why not?!  In fact, we could play a game like Bozo's grand prize game. Except, we would be using only 4 buckets, rather than 6, and they are different sizes.  Blue Rock had a blast!  He even created some new ways to play, such as sitting down and standing directly over the bucket, as well as tossing the balls from a distance.

After playing this a while, I found that you can actually buy the "original" game from Amazon.  It's called: Rocket USA The Original Bozo Buckets Grand Prize Game. But for $30, I think we'll pass and just play with what we already have. =)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fun with Salt and Pepper!

The following activity Blue Rock thought of completely on his own.  While I was getting ready this morning, Blue Rock decided to reach for the salt and pepper shakers.  Boy did he have fun!  He emptied both containers and spread the salt and pepper everywhere!

Where I found him, "innocently" sitting at his craft table holding the salt and pepper shakers

Where it started, in the kitchen

While I was scoping out the mess, Blue Rock plays with his trains in it
Fun with shapes!

Not good

After it was all cleaned up, he decided to lay on the coffee table
Empty salt and pepper shakers

The Husband Project Giveaway!

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was helping with an online book club for The Husband Project.  It is a fantastic book!  Author, Kathi Lipp, who by the way, has been a huge blessing to my life, is giving away 5 copies of her book and DVD.  If you have not read this book or participated in the book club, here is your chance to win a free copy!  To win: visit her blog, do the last project (watch a guy movie with your husband) and leave a comment about which movie or kind of movie you will watch.  To enter the drawing, go to the book club website here. You can also purchase the book from Amazon or from the club's website.

I was also honored to be able to contribute an article to such a wonderful project, called Take Time to DineMay your marriage be blessed through The Husband Project!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Our 2 year old is starting to read

Blue Rock loves books.  We have been reading to him since the day we brought him home from the hospital.  A nurse gave me some advice, she said, "when you are feeding him, read to him."  I did this quite a bit, but only during daytime feedings.  Now we typically read to him 30 min. to an hour a day.  

There are a number of books Blue Rock has memorized.  The ones I can think of off the top of my head are: Are You My Mother?; Goodnight Moon; Old Hat New Hat; Goodnight Gorilla; and Bless Me.  He actually "read" Are You My Mother to my step-mother when we were in Texas a few months ago.  She was quite impressed as he was very dramatic as he read.

Blue Rock is starting to sound out words and he knows quite a few.  However, he doesn't usually see a word and tell us what it is unless it's his name, which he knows very well.  Numbers and letters are a different story.  He started pointing out letters when he was 17 months old.  We first noticed this when we went to dinner in Mannheim one evening and he was pointing and saying the letters on random signs.  Last night was different.  While we were eating dinner, Blue Rock read his first word, out of context, that was not his name.  He seems to know a lot of words but usually tells us them when we're reading a book.  Or if he sees his name written somewhere, he is quick to point it out.  Last night was different.  He noticed one of his trucks on the floor near the wall.  He said, "I would like that cat, please."  My husband and I looked at each other then looked to where he was looking to see if his stuffed cat was over there.  There was only one thing, his Caterpillar truck that says, "CAT" on the back, which was facing the table.  It was solely lying on the floor near the wall.  Neither my husband nor I have ever called one of his trucks a cat or caterpillar and he knows what a truck and a cat are.  He also usually calls his trucks, trucks.  We were both amazed.  Reading is such an important part of life and we are glad he loves books and learning.

Blue Rock and his CAT

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A German-American Halloween!

We had the most visitors we've had since living in Germany on Halloween last night.  There were two knocks on our door.  In the first group there were four German kids, the second group two.  Blue Rock enjoyed passing out candy and seeing the kids dressed up.  All the Germans kids that have come to our door say a lot more than just "trick-or-treat."  Our awesome neighbor translated what they say for us.  He said these girls said: "Halloween Halloween buh and chuck, all the hags now are here, Halloween Halloween get no fright, sweet stuff over than we are away!"

Handing out candy

Playing in his monkey costume earlier
Saturday evening we went trunk-or-treating with some Americans.  This was the first time Blue Rock has gone "trick-or-treating."  He had fun and enjoyed saying, "trick-or-treat" and "thank you!"  Blue Rock was a monkey this year.  He loves his costume and likes wearing it to play in.

Getting ready to go trick-or-treating

Trick-or-treating with his friend

Friday we joined some friends for some pumpkin carving fun.  It ended up being the Mom's who did the majority of the carving as the kids quickly decided they had more fun playing than carving.  I hope everyone had a great Halloween!

Getting ready to carve
All the scary pumpkins!

Our pumpkin

Cute German kids trick-or-treating in Germany.
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