Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Fourth of July Weekend Recap {2016}

I love that Fourth of July was on a Monday this year instead of the middle of the week, but man...I sure do like it better when it's on a Friday or Saturday so we can sleep in a little bit the next day. But we had a super fun weekend!


Emery and Daniel went on a daddy daughter date night a few weeks ago at Chick-fil-A and they both had the best time. She had been asking to "go date on a daddy"  for a few days so Daniel kicked off the three day weekend by taking her on another date.


She wanted to go to "Reddy's" {Freddy's} and get a grilled cheese and "i chume with a cherry on it"!


It makes me sad that she is growing up so fast, but it sure is cute that she's old enough for things like this now.


We took it easy and stayed around the house on Saturday. It was pretty nice outside...hot, of course, but not as humid as it has been lately. Emery *loves* going outside, so we got out the splash park that we got her last year so she could play in the water. She *hated* it last year...


What a difference a year makes!! She loved it! She was a little confused at first...she kept saying "Take shirt off? Take shorts off?" like it was a bathtub. 



She just looks so grown up...





She wanted to push Daddy in the swing...so sweet. 


Time to cool off with a popsicle!


Sunday was another relaxed day. We went to church and then stayed home the rest of the day. Emery even helped fold a little laundry. She asked for a towel and we were shocked when she ended up with this!


Don't be fooled, though...she does way more unfolding than folding!

We started Monday off with a bang and went out for donuts at Krispy Kreme!  Not sure why, but this is the face we get when we tell her to smile! 


Emery loves sprinkles!!


We did a little shopping the rest of the morning and headed home so Emery could take a nap before our big night!

For the last several years, we've gone to my parents' neighborhood for dinner and a fireworks show. It's such a fun tradition! They have a little mini carnival for the kids and Emery got to do the bounce houses. To say she loved it is an understatement! She kept saying, "I bouncing, Mama!!" 


This bounce house started deflating when she was in the ball pit. I about had a panic attack, but it didn't bother her one bit! She didn't want to get out! 


Climbing up the ladder so she could go down the slide!


Taking a little break for some pictures with Mommy and Daddy. This girl and her faces!



Then it was time for dinner. Emery made the rounds and got lots of treats. A little chocolate with Poppa...


And some ice cream with Uncle DJ. 


The girls played together while all the adults talked. They are just too sweet.


Then we headed outside to get a good spot for the fireworks! So excited!


Hanging out with Nana, Poppa, and Uncle Steve while we waited.



Emery and Vanna both got their faces painted while we waited, too! Emery was really excited about it, but was super serious when it was happening.  Emery will pretty much try anything if Vanna does it first!




Then it was time for the fireworks show! Emery was completely fascinated with the fireworks! She kept pointing, naming the colors, and saying "Look, Poppa!"



Watching with Aunt Allie. 


And that's it...another Fourth of July in the books and it was a very sweet one!

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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Two-Year-Old Tales: Potty Training! {Free Printable}

Well, we've reached another milestone with Emery...potty training! For this overly sentimental mommy, these milestones are coming a little too quickly! She turned two, then about a month later she gave up her pacifier {I never thought that would happen!}, and now she's potty trained!

Shortly after Emery turned two, she started getting really interested in sitting on the potty herself. My sister gave us a book that they used with Vanna and I think that's what got Emery really excited about it. We had to read The Potty Book every night! Her favorite page was "Uh-oh, I had an accident. My pants are very wet. 'That's okay, Hannah,' Mom and Dad said. 'Don't you give up yet.'" 


I would have probably potty trained her right when she started getting interested in it, but I still had a stockpile of diapers and Daniel and I had a week-long trip planned, so I didn't want to risk her regressing after we were gone for a week.

So I decided that I'd go ahead and potty train right after we got back from our trip. I did lots of research on Pinterest...of course.  {Click here to see my potty training board on Pinterest.} I pretty much just took some ideas from several different sources and came up with a plan that I thought would work for Emery {and me!}. I knew I wouldn't have time to get things together once we got back, so I got all of my supplies before we left.

Here are the main things I got:
 - I got this potty seat free with my Huggies reward points! Yay!
 - Flushable Kandoo wipes
 - Big girl panties {She saw them before we left on our trip and got so excited!}
 - Small prizes and a few bigger prizes
 - Candy
 - New cups/juice to her keep her interested in drinking

I got her a couple of these good2grow juices, too, because I knew she would love them. I don't give her juice very often, so they definitely helped me get her to keep drinking!


When we got home from our trip we only had a few diapers left, so I decided we might as well go for it! The night before I was going to start potty training, we wrapped up the potty seat and a new book, Potty Time With Elmo.


In The Potty Book that we had been reading to her, the little girl's parents wrapped up a potty for her, so we figured we'd do it the same way since she loved the book so much.


She was excited about the potty seat, but she *loved* the new Elmo book because it had sounds!! 

When she saw Doc McStuffins on the potty seat, she said "Sis AStuffins!"


I seriously had a hard time sleeping that night. I was nervous about how it would go,  I was not looking forward to cleaning up multiple messes, and I was emotional about her being even more of a big girl.  I'm such a mess. I got a little choked up when I took her *last* diaper off the next morning. Yes, for real.

It did help that Emery was excited about it! She kept saying "No more diapers!" and "I go potty!"  So that morning, I took her diaper off {while choking back tears} and immediately put her on the potty and told her to go pee pee. AND SHE DID!!! What?! I think this helped get our day off to a great start! I made a complete fool of myself celebrating which made her *so* excited! We called Daddy at work and I let her tell him the good news, and then she got an M&M and a sticker on the sticker chart I made for her. {See below for a blank free printable.}



One of the things that I read in nearly every potty training post was the importance of celebrating and rewards. I really think it helped Emery a lot! She loved getting to call Daddy or Nana {not every time, but a couple of times}, and it's amazing what a few M&Ms and a sticker did.

She sat here almost every time I gave her M&Ms. It was like she thought she had to sit right in this spot to get them. 
Another thing that I read over and over again was to completely forget about my to do list. The only thing I was going to be able to focus on that day was potty training. I think mentally preparing myself for that helped. I ate breakfast while she ate her breakfast, I ate lunch while she napped, and Daniel picked something up for dinner. The rest of the day was consumed with trips back and forth to the bathroom. In between potty breaks, we played together 100% of the time. Normally, I'll let her watch a TV show or play on my phone a little bit at some point during the day, but I didn't want her to get too distracted so we did other things. We also stayed inside the whole day so we were close to the bathroom. She really seemed content with this because she was still really excited about everything!

I was an elementary school teacher, so I love a good sticker chart.  Emery has really been into Mickey Mouse Clubhouse lately, so I went with a Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck theme for her chart. She got a sticker every time she successfully used the potty, and every five stickers she got a prize. She got the hang of it quickly and was super motivated by the "hair bow prize"! I made the prizes a little closer together toward the end since she was going a little less often and I wanted to keep her motivated.

She picked this little puppy as her first prize!
On day one, I was pretty much expecting the worst, but it actually ended up going better than I expected. It was still *exhausting* though! I put her in just a shirt and panties and took her to the bathroom about every 15 minutes.


She didn't go every time, but when she did we celebrated with M&Ms and a sticker on her sticker chart! She had about 12 accidents that day, but the panties helped keep it a little less messy. When we were on carpet or the couch, I had her sit on one of those pet training pads. Every time she had an accident, I would run her to the bathroom so she could sit on the potty and try to go more. I also kept telling her that day to try to keep her panties dry so she would learn the difference between wet/dry. This helped a lot on the second day!

I tried to keep her eating and drinking the whole day. One of the blog posts I read suggested giving her salty snacks to keep her drinking which would give her lots of opportunities to go to the bathroom. It definitely worked, and Emery was loving all the Cheez-Its and juice!!

She definitely made me laugh during that first day...which was nice because it was a pretty intense day.  When she would go pee pee on the potty, she would say things like, "I go pee pee! Yeah! I did!" and point down to the potty. Sometimes she would go just a tiny bit and she would say, "Yeah! Little bit!" and nod her head! It was funny how she would start repeating things I said, too. When she was sitting on the potty I would tell her to listen for pee pee and she started whispering "Listen!" every time she sat down. Then when she would hear something, she would get excited and say, "I hear it!"  That definitely helped lighten the mood! I'd also say that it was awesome and that I was proud of her when she would go, and she started saying it, too. Almost every time she gets off the potty now she says, "I so proud of you!" 

I decided to just use pull-ups for nap time and night time. I talked to a few friends and they said they did it that way. Eventually their kids started waking up dry. I read on a blog post to call the pull-ups "nap time/bed time panties" so she wouldn't view them as diapers, so that's what I did. Emery woke up dry after nap a couple of times, so we made sure to celebrate that!

I read in a few different places that day two was often worse than the first day, so I had very low expectations for the second day. I did the same exact thing as day one and she completely shocked me because she didn't have any accidents!! I didn't take her to the bathroom quite as often {maybe every 25-30 minutes} and I kept asking her if her panties were still dry. I really think emphasizing keeping her panties dry on day one helped on day two.

Trying to pick a prize. She kept saying "all of them?" She was super motivated by the prizes!
Day three was pretty much the same routine, but she did have a couple of accidents. She caught herself every time, though, and she'd say "panties wet!" Then we'd run to the bathroom and she would go.

Days four and five just got easier with hardly an accidents at all! 

She filled up her sticker chart on day four...


...and got her last "hair bow prize" which was a bigger prize...a bubble machine!! She *loves* bubbles and was so excited!!


Of course we had to take it outside right then and try it out!



So much fun!!



I'm so proud of her! She really is doing such a great job! Now she can stop growing up for a little while!

Here's a blank copy of the Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck sticker chart. Click here to download


Here are some other prize ideas, too.

- Books {Emery *loves* singing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and she was so excited about this book!}


- Bubbles, sunglasses, bath toys, fun new cups {I found some great stuff in the Target Dollar Spot!}

- Play-Doh kit {This was one of the bigger prizes that I got and Emery is obsessed with it! She is always asking to "pay pay-doh"! Now if I could just get her to stop licking it! }



- Puzzles {I got this cute Minnie Mouse dress up puzzle and she loves it! She takes off Minnie's hair bow and says "Mickey Mouse!" because it looks just like Mickey without the hair bow.}

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