Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Brotherly Love

I love watching the boys working together.

We have been listening to some books on CD and Justin has developed this nasty habit of following me around the kitchen while I work and then throwing himself on the floor behind me.  I am afraid that I am going to trip over him and break something (else!)  So on the counter he goes!  And Travis too!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Like Mother, Like Son

I couldn't help but smile when Travis came to me and said that he needed to clean out the drawer with all his coloring books and crayons because it was getting too messy and he couldn't find anything in it.

That's something I would say.

Monday, August 27, 2012

My Red, White, and Blue Gang

What can I say?  I love my gang!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Few Pictures

Alaina is getting close to outgrowing her 3 month clothes so we needed a few pictures of the favorites, and this is one of them.  The matching headband just does it!
And the toes are precious!

Travis is such a great big brother.   He is always trying to soothe her and play with her.

And Justin tries to feed her!


Saturday, August 18, 2012


I am so happy to report (I cannot even say HOW happy...) that Justin is making potty progress.  I decided not to give up.  (It was a hard decision.)  He has been wearing underwear for most of the past week except at night (although he has woken dry several mornings) and while there still has been laundry, there has been less cleaning of floors.  And we are down to only one bath a day, the nightly variety.  I had a little breakdown at church last week and I think the prayers that have come from that have made a huge difference!

Justin has been telling me he has to go to the bathroom, which is huge!  The phrase I was drilling into him was "Mama, potty!"  That's what I wanted him to tell me.  It wasn't until about the fourth or fifth time of him saying, "Mommy, dry!"  that I realized that he was telling me he had to go potty when he said that.  It was like he was saying, "I am dry now, but I won't be if I wait much longer!"  So I had to sacrifice my phrase for the one he chose.  If that's what it took, I was okay!  He earned his Larry Boy toy, which he loves, and we have listened to Silly Songs with Larry so often that they are playing constantly in my head.  Justin chooses the one he wants to hear, since we are limiting him to three for each time he tells me he has to go.  Can you believe that he always chooses the same ones?  "Barbara Manatee, You are the one for me!"  That's entertainment!!

We are still struggling to get the second part under control.  After last weekend I had to cut back on the medicine he was taking, but now he is back to not going every day.  So I had to increase it again.  I think what I have decided is that whatever works will only work for a short time and then I need to change something.  Maybe not everything, but something.  He was down to one packet every other day, but I had to up it to one every day, supplemented with prune juice and his other digestive enzymes.  It is a huge power struggle to get him to drink the medicine and I hate that part of our mornings.  If I try to push him too much, he throws it up and if I leave him alone he will pour it out so he won't have to drink it.  (It went in his cereal one day.  It was all I could do not to pour it all back in his cup and make him drink it.  Grrr!)  So I have to sit with him and do a little at a time. The whole process is difficult with his thyroid medicine because we have to wait 30 minutes after he takes it before he can have breakfast and we have to be out the door as early as 7:45 some mornings.  I can't forget to give him the thyroid medicine as soon as he gets up so we can start the countdown for breakfast. 

After not going for two days he managed to get some out today, and in the potty even.  I am hoping that we have emphasized how good it is to go in the potty that he wants to try for more.  And today it probably helped that he went potty with Pop, who is Justin's favorite playmate in the world, who he seeks to please to no end.

Too cute!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

See Us!

My friend sent me an e-mail saying that she saw us on the Pioneer Woman's blog.  We were at the homeschool conference and apparently so were a few other people.  Like about 6,000.  We are in the second to the last picture, and the last picture of stroller parking you can see Randy leaning against the post to the far right, holding Alaina.  And right near him is our friend Doug, presumably with his wife Erin (You can kind of see her head by Randy and Alaina).  Randy thinks it was when we were talking with our other friend, Crystal.  So crazy that she got so many of us!


When Alaina was born, my Dad asked if we wanted any hair bows for her.  I said, "Sure, if they are not too big."  Well, we received a pile of flowers in every color combination coordinating with her outfits.  So we have very few outfits lacking proper head gear.  This outfit from Sunday earned the most comments so far.  Check out the flowers on her socks even!

We ran into a friend of ours who was in our wedding and she was one of those who loved Alaina's outfit and especially the flower.  The bigger, the better is her mantra.  So I told her I had a doosey for her!

What do you think?

I had to put on the flower with the onesie so everyone would know she is a girl.  Is there any doubt?

And an aerial view just so you can grasp the sheer magnitude of the blossom.

(On a side note:  The onesie came from a neighbor, who had a little girl last year.  She sent several fancy little dresses, the kind that girls only wear once, and this onesie.  The color isn't great, but the message is there.  And somehow, Alaina knew what it said, because there was a whole lot of praising going on that day!)

Soccer Camp

Travis has been talking about soccer since last year after Sports Camp.  He is all about soccer so I have been trying to give him opportunities to practice and learn more about what it's really like.  So Travis participated in a soccer camp this past week.  It meant early mornings, which are not a problem for us, but Alaina has added a new twist.  I decided that camp would be a good thing since I would only have two to worry about in the midst of potty training.  Plus we had less therapy since I have yet to figure out how to be in two places at once.

I learned after the first day that Travis is really more interested in the social aspect of soccer more than the actually sport of it.  He came home very tired and slightly disheartened because they had to stay outside the whole day (it was really hot) and they made them keep moving to different stations without hardly any rest!   And he was more concerned with telling me what color ice pop he got rather than what he learned.  I asked him if he wanted to wear his soccer jersey from earlier this year one of the days to camp and he said no, it would remind him too much of his old coach.  And that would make him sad.  Oh...

But the week progressed and he liked it more and more and the last day was World Cup day and Travis was assigned to team Brazil (so he had to wear a yellow shirt).  They had the teams cheer for their country and he would say who cheered the loudest.  Brazil was very much the quietest group (they were also the smallest).  I hated to tell them when I was an exchange student and we had large gatherings, the Brazilians always yelled the loudest.  I can still hear it ringing in my ears sometimes...

Here's Team Brazil.  It included kids from every age and then they would play the kids who were the same age from other countries.

Cheering rather half-heartedly...

Down on the field they carved 6 soccer fields out of one baseball diamond.  It looked like organized chaos with all the balls flying everywhere.  As the morning progressed the kids were running slower and slower.  And their faces were redder and redder!

They only played 6 minute games so they could get plenty of rest because there was no shade at all on the field.

Travis got three goals!  I was so glad I got to see them since I missed the one goal he made during the earlier season.

Pop came and watched the games with us.  Justin enjoyed that!

It really was hot and so we dressed as coolly as we could.  Alaina fell asleep so we tried to get her a little shade.

When she woke up Justin wanted to give her a little affection.  Do you notice something missing from Pop's head?  He took Justin to the bathroom and while leaning over to help him his hat fell off in the toilet!  Justin really wanted him to get it out and put it back on his head, but Pop declined!

Travis had a good time at the end, and he still really likes soccer, but I don't think he has the competitive spirit for the sport quite yet.  He is all about being the best and winning when it comes to anything involving Justin and wrestling, but soccer isn't quite up there yet.  I am not sure how much I want to encourage his sporting endeavors.  Right now, I am anxious for school to begin and our schedule to get back to normal so I can figure out how I need to manipulate Alaina's schedule for my benefit.  Our family's benefit, I mean, of course!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Baby Gifts

Before I was married and had kids, I made lots of afghans and cross stitches for my friends for both weddings and babies.  I even know the framer at Michael's so well that we are on a first name basis.  She has seen me through starting my job, getting married and having kids.  Unfortunately I see her less and less these days.  Fortunately I can stop by and visit every now and then to catch up on each other's families.  I completely failed my kids when it came to craftiness.  I am so glad my awesome friends stepped up and made cute afghans, bibs, hats, and of course, cross stitches.  (Just to keep the record straight, I did make scrapbooks for my kids!  They will forever know when their first tooth came in and how much they weighed at 6 months!)

One of the things I have been looking forward to was the arrival of Alaina's birth sampler.  Mommy Sharon has made each of my kids cute and amazing blankets, pillows and cross stitch birth samplers and Alaina's just arrived a couple of weeks ago.  (This is in addition to all the adorable clothes she searches out for us in second-hand shops!)

Friday, August 10, 2012

I Knew It Was Coming

This summer has been filled with lots of different camps and activities out of our normal routine.  That also meant new friends and acquaintances for our family.  New people for Justin.  Last summer was my first real experience with leaving Justin with new people and without Travis.  That was really difficult for me.  It was a Vacation Bible School at a different church, and while there were lots of kids from our church, it wasn't our church.  I struggled with leaving him or not, and in the end he had a great time. 

So we went back this year and he had fun, but I didn't.  Four-years-olds are pretty much all potty trained.  Not Justin.  He would go to the bathroom right before I dropped him off and his clothes would be wet when I picked him up.  No one ever took him to the bathroom or changed him because they don't know him.  His diapers cannot hold it all anymore and no amount of explaining, cajoling, encouraging or pleading will get him to tell me when he has to go.  He can be mommy-trained, and I can force him to sit on the potty and he will go eventually and he will be dry all day, but he cannot take charge of it himself.

So frustrating.

The last straw was this past weekend at the Home School Conference.  He and Travis participated in the Kids' Program along with about 500 other kids.  Pure craziness, but also loads of fun.  It lasted all day, from 9-5.  We just picked them up for an hour to feed them lunch.  When I dropped them off in the morning I explained about Justin not being potty trained and offered to come back whenever he needed changing so as not to interrupt their activities.  They said no, they would be fine, just leave his diaper bag with them.  So we did (along with an extra set of clothes, just in case...)  When we picked them up at lunch, Justin was dry, they said they hadn't changed him and he wouldn't go potty for us either before or after lunch.  Strange.  So back they went after lunch and when I picked them up at the end of the day, Justin was wearing his spare set of clothes.  As we left the room we were pulled aside and one of the program directors said that there had been a problem with Justin.  They had taken him to the bathroom 15-20 times during the day and with only 2 leaders for the group of 15 kids that was really tough on the one left with the rest of the kids all day.  Of course!  So then they wanted to know what they could do differently the next day.  I was stumped.  Really.  I had no idea what had gone on but I didn't want Justin to be a problem.  That's the biggest struggle: sheltering him too much vs. requiring too many extra accommodations for him.  I don't want to make things hard for other people.

I was so upset.  I cannot even express how much I was hurt that they had waited the entire day to tell me there was a problem.  I considered not taking Justin the second day.  I considered leaving early.  I considered going up every hour to take him to the bathroom myself.  I did not sleep much that night.

The next day they had combined two groups making it extra large, but then having four leaders for the entire group.  I cringed when I saw that.  I felt terrible.  I asked them not to wait until the end of the day and to call me if Justin was a problem. I spent all day checking my phone to see if they were calling.  He was wearing his extra clothes at lunchtime and my heart sank.  I told him we had to go home if he had another accident because I didn't have more clothes. We made it through the afternoon and then when the kids did their performance, Justin was nowhere to be seen in the group.  We looked back in the other room where they had been and still no Justin.  Finally Randy asked someone and they said he had fallen asleep during rest time and he was in another room with a couple leaders.  When we went to pick him up the leader (who was holding him) said, "Your son is so sweet and precious!"  It was all I could do not to break down and cry!  He is sweet and precious and he also is stubborn and willful.  Such conflicting emotions.

We have tried everything I know to try to potty train.  We have done rewards, we have used examples and encouragement from Travis, we have tried naked days, we have done the regular timed potty breaks.  And he can do it just fine.  He goes potty before bath every night with no prompting. He just cannot make that connection to choose to go himself.

So with all of this being said, I decided that we cannot go any longer without forcing potty training.  I know that you really cannot force it, but Justin can do it: he can hold it and he can put it on the potty, he just won't do it himself.  So there is a training method described by Bridget Murphy that I was hoping would make the connection for Justin.  It's supposed to take only four days.  We are on Day 5 and we still have not mastered Day 1.  It involves making Justin responsible for cleaning up his messes with the hope that he won't want to make messes so then he will go in the potty.  Very good theory.  I have done a whole lot of laundry and suffice it to say that MacDonald's will not be inviting us back any time soon.  Very bad day.  So bad we had to get new straps for Justin's orthotics.  Very, very bad. 

I have seen little tiny glimmers of hope but I am not sure if I should keep going or just give up.  I feel like all I am doing is yelling at Justin these days and I do not want to do that!  But I want this part of Justin's education to be done.  I know God made all phases with good and bad parts so we would enjoy them but not be sad when they passed.  There is no good in diapers!  I feel like such a loser, especially with so many younger kids potty trained now.  Why do parents hang their self-worth on their kids' accomplishments?  Hard not to.  I have been over-thinking this whole thing to the point of nothing making any sense.  All I know is that I love this little guy!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A New Trick

Alaina learned something new!  Can you tell what it is??

Oh yeah, she found her thumb!

She was watching Olympics with Daddy and she managed to get it in.  She did it for the first time earlier in the day while we were out to lunch with some friends, so I had to get a picture to remember the day.  Of course we are not sure if this will stick, but if the boys are any indication....

Here is the first time Travis sucked his thumb.  When we took this picture we had no idea what it would turn into!  The first in a long line of DeCarlo thumb-suckers!

 And here is Justin. 


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Happy Two Month Birthday!

Alaina turned two months this weekend!  She is getting very smiley and giggly!  The boys love that she is interacting more and Travis is particularly pleased that she doesn't cry every time he kisses her!  She was able to wear some of her long pants because we went to the Homeschool convention and it was chilly in the air conditioning.  Everyone loved her outfit!  (We did take off the crown...)

Randy and Justin started helping me get her to smile so she is looking at Randy but she has such a great smile!

And a great giggle face too!