Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Potty Talk

I'm almost positive that I'm not cut out for potty training.
Like, 99% sure it's just not my thing.

I am not a patient person.
And I'm fairly certain training a little person to go poo on the potty requires boatloads of patience.

I wake up most days telling myself: 
"Yes. Today is the day.
Today is the day we learn to potty.
And diapers will be no more."

And we start out quite determined and assured of our imminent success.
And we travel along this path:
to the potty every 15 minutes,
read books on the pot,
warn about going poo in your undies,
bribe with candies,
bribe with stickers,
bribe with new underoos,
bribe with dancing and a "poo party." 

Oh...around 9:30 I slap a diaper on that butt.
The glowing little biscuits of his cheeks get shrouded in yet another Luvs and I say,
"Today there's just too much..."
{Even though there's not, even though we've planned to stay home all day just for this purpose.}
"We will surely be successful tomorrow."
And I breathe easier just knowing there's a diaper-clad toddler running around happily pooping and peeing himself at will.
And we start again the next morning...
the whole process with the diapering happening at just about the same time in the morning, give or take 15 minutes.

I'm failing at potty training.

"But." You say, "But haven't you trained two other children previously?
What can be so different about this one?"

I did, my observant friends, I did live through potty training twice before.
And you want to know how that went?
Do you?
When Beck and Evie were three and two respectively, I tried The Potty Training with the same frightfully inept strategy.
Start with hopeful anticipation and putter out by mid morning.
And then I went away to Jamaica with my husband and left those two diapered toddlers with my mother-in-law for 5 days.
And when I got home...well...something extraordinary had occurred.
That dear mother-in-law of mine had trained those two babies and I didn't see another diaper {or hideous pull-up!} on their rear-ends ever again.
I almost wept.
I'm not kidding. 

I'm reaching out to my very accomplished set of readers out there...
I know so many of you are card-carrying members of the Successful Potty Trainers League
{only a precious few, ridiculously lame mothers are not}
What was your favorite, most fool proof potty training method?
And don't tell me he needs to be ready, because, you guys, this kid is ready.
I just know he is. This is all my problem.
Hit me with your best shots.

And...well...I'm going to try really hard with what I'm given.
But I'm going out of the country again in a couple of months and that very same mother-in-law is coming to stay with the spoken of bediapered toddler while I'm away.
I'm not trying to be presumptuous...
but if we had a repeat display of her potty training prowess I would not be upset.
Just throwing that out there into The Universe.
I'm not sure The Universe reads my blog, but I know for a fact that my mother-in-law does.

Other tales of my potty training woes:
{well...now that I go back and read this post I guess I actually did potty train Beck.
I forgot.
I guess it was so terrible I've blocked it from my memory.}

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Bachelorette :: Pretty Prague

Kid's in bed. Check.
Comfy, stretch pants. Check.
My spot on the couch. Check.
Red wine in hand. Check.

Prague. Check and check.

Em's date with Arie.
So much of the awkward.
Em: "I just...well...you know, I really like when people are totally open and honest."
Arie: "Well, what else do you like?"
Em: "You know, when people don't lie and there are no secrets."
Arie: "Okay, yeah, that's a good idea. Anything else that's important?"
Em: "Loyalty. Honesty. No secrets."
Em. Really.
How about YOU start with being open and honest?
It could go something like this: 
"I know something you don't know I know.
I know about you and what's-her-name. Wish you woulda said something."
That's it. Problem solved.
Lordy, I hate games.

It seemed like things were worked out well by the end though.
And I think that circumstances like this bring a couple closer together. 
Emily went through the swing of emotions from wounded to pissed to enamored with him again and that will absolutely strengthen her ties to him.
Like a real, live relationship.

Things are looking good for old Arie.
Real good.

I loved the Lennon wall and all of the history Emily treated John to on this date.
I wanna go on that date with Emily!
Pick me! We'd have so much fun.
But I was kind of dying when they were painting on the wall...
"Don't paint over history!"

Here's a funny thing: 
John has had two dinner dates.
One was in a cave and one was in a dungeon.
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say: TMI on the girlfriend cheating story.
I really don't think she needs/wants that depth of info on your sad, failed relationship.
Not at this point in the game.

Note to moody booty Chris:
Hey, ManBaby, you signed up for the Bachelorette.
This girl is supposed to go on dates with other dudes.
I don't like him. There. I said it.

I want to know how many times Sean really shouted "Emily!" in the dark streets of Prague and how many times they dubbed it over.
But, the little girl princess-wannabe inside of me was glowing at the thought of him running through the streets looking for her. 
: ) 
*Giggle, giggle.*
He's dreamy.
And I blushed when they kissed.
And Mr. B. saw me blush.
So...that was fun.

Group date:
Oh Doug.
Oh, oh, oh.
That kiss. Way too little, waaaay too late.
He was a good one...just, not on Emily's speed.
Maybe in the real world, buddy, but not in Bachelorette world.
Really though? It's hard to blame the guy.
There are cameras in your face...how are you supposed to make out in those conditions?

I will not make fun of Jef. I will not make fun of Jef. I will not make fun of Jef.
I adored the Jef date.
How did that guy know how to work marionettes?! He had marionette Michael Jackson moon walking!
Mind officially blown.

This is a family blog, but this was the only picture I could find of those two!
Hubba hubba.
The library was unbelievable.
Dream date.
And I thought it was romantic when Mr. B. took me to Barnes & Noble.
The Bachelorette: making men step up their game since 2002.

But seriously, these two mesh.
They're adorable together.

Wardrobe notes:
The cream, sparkly, lacy lil shorts she was wearing on the Arie date?
And completely right with the menswear shirt and blazer.

I love something my BFF sister-in-law said in the comments on my last Bachelorette blog:
She said she loves that she's not feeling like yelling at the TV with every rose Emily is giving out.
Like...ahem...Ashley's season.
{Bentley, anyone?}
Emily is so unannoying in her choices.
So spot on.
I just feel comfy watching her...not freaked out like past seasons.

A Midsummer Evening :: A Tutorial

Kid's are so easy.
They require very little planning and agonizing...just the simplest of ideas can set a party in motion.

Really, all you have to do is pack a basket with some blankets...
and whisper a sweet secret in their ears:
"It's the longest day of the year...called the summer solstice.
Magic things happen on summer solstice night.
Fairies come out to play. 
We should go and celebrate.
We should watch the sun set.
You can go to bed late."

I tell you, those are party words. 
Their faces will brighten with expectation and, I swear, you will see the fairies dancing around in those luminous eyes.

Bring those children to a pretty place.
A nature-y sort of spot that feeds the soul and makes the Mama happy.
{Because when Mama's happy...}

If your chosen spot has sand...all the better.
Sand is fascinating to little hands.

The children will probably begin - with very little prodding from mother - to create a fairy house, complete with garden and rock wall, for the magical fairy romp that will happen after the sun falls behind the trees.

A simple word of instruction to the mothers hosting this party.
Be sure every child is in one of your most loved outfits. 
Even if it is a beast to wash and involves lace or tule or linen or white or...ripped jeans.

Because, if you are sitting at a beach or a forest preserve or a trickling brook or a backyard deck that speaks to your soul and calms you...and then you gaze at your beautiful children and their sweet, expectant faces and what you see is Dora grinning ridiculously back at your from their dirty t-shirt all you'll hear is,
"Swiper, no swiping!" 
or the backpack song
or, "there's a party in my tummy, so yummy..."

And these intrusive thoughts are not conducive to a happy mommy and breathtakingly gorgeous children.
These ugly clothes will cause you to become grumpy and sour-faced.
So, suck it up and put your kids in pretty things that you bought because you loved them.
Leave the play clothes safely at home and drink in the sight of your offspring just the way you envisioned them when you were pregnant with them and your world had yet to be soured by cartoon character apparel.

You can do laundry tomorrow.

On the same note, pack the books that you've always dreamed of your children thumbing through.
Not any of these atrociously written, hot pink, "Barbies can be a Veterinarian" poor excuses for literature that they've been so adamant about bringing home from the library.

Bring Laura Ingalls and Gyo Fujikawa and Maruice Sendak.

Be sure to kiss little sun-browned, sand-dusted shoulders.

And, bring your good camera, so you can capture all of the beauty around you.

The iPhone photos will serve their purpose...and actually capture the night's events quite nicely.

But it's really best to bring the big daddy camera with you for the real stuff.

The peaceful toddler taking in the gentle loll of the waves.
The grass whispering and bending to the breeze.
The handmade quilt crafted with love by your own Mama.
The miniature sailboat drifting far.
The pastel backlight of a muted sunset.

The big brother "losing" to little brother in an impromptu sibling race because, "Britt, you're just so fast!"

The airy movement of a neon-green tutu as she really does beat her big brother in a foot race.

The determination as they hoist the biggest log they can find to the fairy camp...
"The fairies need firewood for their bonfire."

And, when the glow of the sun is disappearing behind the trees, light your candles and watch the golden little faces take in the enchantment and know that, for a night, you have created magic in their hearts.

They've been bewitched by the summer solstice...
and so, probably, have you.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sparkly Things

You guys...I just got my first piece from The Vintage Pearl.
I'm so pleased.
It's lovely with all three little names stamped small but proud for all to see.

Happy {just a bit late} Mother's Day to me.

I have the sweetest little friend.
Her name is Alexandra and she's a farmgirl.
Like...a real, live farmgirl who actually lives on a farm.
{Aren't there so many of these online people proclaiming farmer-dom when really they just have a big garden?}
Not this girl. Alexandra has chickens and she milks cows and knows about horses and how to make soap.
She's also pretty clever at jewelry making and she makes some gorgeous little things.

So pretty for Fall.

We all love turquoise. We just do. All of us.
 Fun story:
I used to watch Alexandra and give her mama a little break when she was a chubby wee one.
She would sit in her high chair and pat her macaroni and cheese into the tray, soiling one of her many pretty little cotton dresses. {Her mother dressed her impeccably.} 
And her big brother ran wildly around the house proclaiming 
{at the top of his very powerful lungs} 
and giving a convincing - if saliva laden - "pow pow!" with his fake gun. 
He had a nice raccoon skin hat too.
Alexandra just watched in her pretty dress.
And ate mac n' cheese.
And took naps.

I also remember, years later, looking over to the row of little girls bordering the dance floor at my wedding reception and there she was, watching our first dance.
Mr B. and I rounded the floor and I was totally smitten with him {of course}
but I absolutely have this time-out from that night, a shimmer of remembering, 
that line up of fluffy dresses; staring at us with dreams in their eyes.
They were getting ideas.
Ideas about life and womanhood and how it all should be.
I love that memory of the looks in their eyes.

Blue and white...sigh. Favorite.
See that delicate little blue and white bracelet up there?
I have that.
Yeah. I wear it. Lots.
So you can't have it because it's mine...but I'll bet you Alexandra would totally make you another one.
{I would have snatched the earrings up too, but my ears reject everything I put in them.}

Please visit Alexandra's etsy site:
{cause she's a real farmgirl.}

Jessica Davis is one of the most genuine, caring people you may ever have a chance to meet.
She makes things you wanna wear, too. 
And they're priced wonderfully.
What's the best about her shop is that each month Jessica picks a non-profit cause she believes in and donates 10% of her your purchase goes there.

What is it about birds and wings that we love to wear?
 One of my favorite pieces Jessica does is her Family Tree pendants.
Crystal birth stone beads are added to a stamped tree charm.
She takes custom orders too. 
Family Tree Pendants
Heart to Hand Designs is donating 10% of your purchase to my Kenya Mission trip.
So, a portion of what you buy from Jess will go toward medical supplies for my mission at the end of the summer!
Love it.
She also sells much of her jewelry on facebook and has a bigger inventory there.

Which online shops do you find your sparkly things?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Insatiable Reader :: Good Reads

A scary thing happened today.
I scrolled down my blog page and realized that this space has turned into a "The Bachelorette" commentary and not much else.
Horror of horrors!
What if some new person, someone who doesn't really know me, happened to wander onto this site and saw these {admittedly fun and entertaining} Bachelorette posts and surmised that I was merely a reality TV blogger and, thus, a shallow, low-minded, couch potato scum-bag?!
This will not do.
I must blog more.
About quality, respectable topics that leave people with a {slightly} more true-to-life impression of me as a person who has a brain that has not, in fact, turned to not-really-real reality TV mush.

I finished my maternity session for school yesterday.
Aced it. Aced it hard.
So good to be done, but I have a little pang of sadness that OB is over.
And I'm kinda wondering:
"Do I really need to go to school next semester? I mean, I finished what I came here for..."
But I'll probably go back...I mean there's a good chance I will.

But, since I'm officially allowed to enjoy summer break {2.5 glorious weeks of it}, 
I have already visited the library and scoured my own personal book shelves for my Summer reads.

These are good books people, pay attention.
You'll want to read them.

Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist
My friend, Abby {hi, Ab!} turned me on to Shauna and her beautifully transparent books.
Her writing style is so conversational and raw and you absolutely feel like you need to be her friend because she has so much simple but profound wisdom.
Like, this girl can put into words a feeling that you know you've been feeling for ages but never really knew that's exactly what you were feeling.
She has a gift.
Plus, she's a pastor's daughter, she loves food, friends, Paris, wine and babies.
We're kind of a little bit twins.

Bringing up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman
Can't say much about this one yet.
I haven't cracked it open. 
But it's sitting here...staring at me with it's adorable red, white & french blue cover art and I'm dying to dive in.

Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach
I am so, so, so over-the-moon excited about this one.
I started reading today at Barnes & Noble and ended up carrying two copies out of the store.
Yup. Two.
One lucky little friend is going to find this at her doorstep today and I can't wait to give it to her.
For more info visit Jenny's blog.
And watch the book trailer
You're gonna buy the book after you do. I'm almost sure of it.

The Rhythm of Family by Amanda Soule
This is one of those books you keep accessible and refer to throughout the year.
With beautiful photography and sentimental writings about the ebb and flow of family life throughout the different seasons - it's just a book that makes you want to live.
There are recipes, family outing ideas and simple craft projects too.

I'm reading other stuff too.
A few novels are calling my name...and I'm still burrowing into the words of Ann Voskamp and my favorite book ever.
To get reviews of other books I'm reading and to catch my final reviews of these books, visit Insatiable Reader, my book blog. 

Coming up on the blog:
{because I'm doing my best to un-reality-tv this place!}
Kenya fundraising/supplies update
Our Summer Solstice Celebration

Happy first day of Summer, my pretties!

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Bachelorette :: "I Know, Right? Right?!"

She's really going to hate that she said that more than 1000 times when she watches this back.

Who knew?
So breathtakingly beautiful.
And did you see those streets? 
Really, really clean.
I mean, as streets go, they were pretty comfy.
I wanna go there.
{Mission accomplished, Croatia travel bureau.}

Her date with good ol' Mississippi Boy, Travis, (aka Mama Ostrich) was sweet but...
just so, so sweet.
And that's all.

But I personally really liked the Umbrella Throw as he walked away in the rain.
Quite a nice way to show your pissed-off'dness.
"I'm mad." *throws umbrella* "I'd rather stalk away, wet and dejected, in the rain."

The group date.
Dudes in Skirts. On Donkeys.
I mean, if I were a girl with six cutey cute boys at my disposal, I would put them in kilts and make them ride livestock too.
Reason # 3329 Emily is my girl.

"Hey, you guys, I really respect you...but I'd like for you to don this plaid man-skirt, knee highs and ride a non-horse in the wilderness.
And, I really want to see your biceps as you do this, so don't forget the tight tanks I have provided."

It was fun to watch the guys shoot arrows and toss logs.
Poor Chris looked like an absolute girl during the archery contest.
One F was adorable (as always) but a little wimpy - not surprised, once he hits puberty he might bulk up.
Sean was, in our girl's words, "friggin' hot." I concur.
Arie is still so pretty, like, so so pretty. Especially with a little scruff on his face.
And, stopping the girl in the middle of the street for a make-out shesh? Such a good move.

More about One F - he's really, super into her.
And I'm loving him more and more every week.
I just really like to say stuff about how baby-faced he is. 
It's like, my favorite joke; is that obvious?

Lawd have mercy, Ryan likes to gush on and on about himself.
Is this guy real?
Part of me feels like he's cast himself as the villain of this season as is saying any junk that comes to his mind.
Like, "what's going to make the people hate me the very most? Yeah, I'm gonna say that crap."

They went oystering and she spit that slimy little guy right over the edge.
Reason #3330.

The oyster wasn't the only slimy guy she spit out.

Um. You guys.
She surprised Ryan so, so much.
She had the dude stuttering.
Ryan. Stuttering.
But I really wanted him to stop talking. 
Buddy. Just. Stop. Talking.
He tried his hardest to sell her on him...but girlfriend followed her instinct.
A girl who follows her gut in the face of a smooth-talking, charmer.
Reason #3331.

Girls. Turquoise shoes and facial hair in the shape of bat fangs.
And his exit speech.
{Part of me would not be even a little bit surprised if we see Ryan again this season...}

Some notes:

Arie gave her the sucker-fish lips. Cringe.
But they're pretty cute together.

A few guys dropped the "L" bomb.
Chris, Arie, Jef.

We found Doug's flaw: self-esteem in the gutters.
Just...so scared of Emily.
He needs the Little Mermaid lagoon scene:
"Sha la la la la la don't be shy, you gotta KISS DA GIRL."

I wanna see Brave.

I was so surprised by the John/Doug extra rose upheaval.
John seems funny and nice and down to earth 
{which is really very surprising considering he's from St. Louis.}
: )
...so maybe he has a chance.
But probably not.

I am just loving this season. It feels good.
Like, vintage Bachelor(ette).
I like the guys. Lots.
I adore Emily - she's savvy and real.

'Til next week, dearies.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Bachelorette :: Shout Out to West VA!

I was eating up this London visit.
It was beautiful and so full of culture and just...Europe. 
I'm a gonner over Europe.

Sean and Emily's date.
See that picture down there?
 See it?
I want one of those; with the historic Buckingham balcony behind myself and Mr. B. lip-lockin'.

Sean is just winner material.
He is so low-key and down to earth.
He's not trying too hard and, not sure if I've mentioned it, he's sort of beautiful.

Emily gave him more than a kiss tonight...she totally gave him her raspy-cold.
I'll bet you he'll be sportin' his very own version of the sexy rasp in a day or two.
I'd also bet you that he doesn't mind a bit.

This group date had me busting a gut.
These guys fake-accenting and fencing and dressed in upholstery fabric and tights...
too good to be true.
Sigh...I love you, reality TV.

Arie and Doug as the chicks: beyond cute.

Ryan and his Marf.

And, I have to admit, although Ryan has been giving me the creeps he is just a little bit charming at times.
His little "Oh, but I'm not quite dead yet..." for the second kiss? 
And he bought her jewelry.
They have chemistry. You can't try to deny it.
They do.
But, the guy wore several man scarves.
Barf on the marf.

Kreepy Kalon lived up to his beloved nickname.
I don't even need to elaborate. You all saw it. You know exactly what I'm talking about.
He has no idea how much fun an exhausted, sick mother with a child awaiting her at home can be.
Just ask Mr. B. We're barrels of laughs.
Bye bye, luxury brand consultant.
I hope your coach class plane ride home is luxurious.

Emily + One F + Jean the Etiquette Instructor = True Love Forever.
The first part of this date was just so full of Jean.
I really like One F. I do.
But I'm not sure he was old enough to drink that pint.
And a person his age definitely shouldn't be kissing like that.

But his whole handbag schpeal was pretty smooth. 
I liked that a lot.
I actually like him a lot.

...He'd look really cute in my kid's stroller.
: )

And, you guys, I've been to West Virginia. 
Emily's not kidding around.
It's a rough kind o' place.

Boys with undeniable connections with Emily:
One F Jef

The rest are replaceable and, quite frankly, forgettable.
Who's your favorite for our girl?
I'm going with Sean...or, dare I say? Jef.