teaching them to talk: vol. 3

I've talked a million times over the past couple of years about our struggles with the boys' speech delays. We've received so many hand outs, packets of information on tips we can use daily to encourage speech. I want to start sharing all this information with all of you because I know there are so many moms and dads out there going through what we went through- are they supposed to be talking yet? What should they be saying by now? Is it too early to seek help? Am I just being crazy? Well, I don't know if I can answer any of those questions for you but I'm going to pass on the information we've received and hope that some of it can help you, too.

This series will hopefully be a resource to not only those of you experiencing the struggles of speech delays with your children but also for all parents in general wanting to learn ways to help encourage expressive speech in your children.

Today's tips are about creating situations that almost force your child to communicate without you actually having to force them! By creating a tempting situation-by getting them engaged, you can often open up some very good communicative pathways. I found these tips extremely helpful!

Communicative Temptations
(from Wetherby and Prizant, 1989)

1. Eat a desired food item in front of the child without offering any to the child. 

2. Activate a wind-up toy, let it deactivate, and hand it to the child. 

3. Give the child four blocks to drop in a box, one at a time (or use some other action that the child will repeat, such as stacking the blocks or dropping the blocks on the floor); then immediately give the chid a small animal figure to drop in the box.

4. Look through a few books (or a magazine) with the child.

5. Open a container of bubbles, blow bubbles, then close the container tightly and give the closed container back to the child.

6. Initiate a familiar and and an unfamiliar social game with the child until the child expresses pleasure; then stop the game and wait.

7. Blow up a balloon and slowly deflate it; then hand the deflated balloon to the child or hold the deflated balloon up to your mouth and wait.

8. Hold a food item or toy that the child dislikes out near the child and offer it.

9. Place a desired food item or toy in a clear container that the child cannot open. Then place the container in front of them and wait.

10. Place the child's hands in a cold, wet, or sticky substance such as Jell-O, pudding or paste.

11. Roll a ball to the child, after the child returns the ball 3 times, immediately roll a different toy to the child.

12. Engage the child in putting together a puzzle. After the child has put in three pieces, offer the child a piece that does not fit.

13. Engage the child in an activity with a substance that can be easily spilled (or dropped, broken, torn, etc.); suddenly spill some of the substance on the table or floor in front of the child and wait.

14. Put an object that makes noised in an opaque container and shake, hold it up and wait.

15. Give the child materials for an activity of interest that necessitates use of an instrument for completion (e.g.; a piece of paper to dra on or cut, a bowl of pudding or soups); hold the instrument out of the child's reach and wait.

16. Wave and say "bye-bye" to an object upon removing it from a play area. Repeat this for a second and third situation, and do nothing when removing an object from a fourth situation. 

17. Hide a stuffed animal under the table. Knock, and then bring out the animal. Have the animal greet the child the first time. Repeat for a second and third time, do nothing when bringing the animal out the fourth time. 

I hope these can help you create some situations that encourage your little ones to be vocal! If you have any questions please let me know. I'm not an expert but I'll do my best to help.

stranger needing help or a dangerous scam?

I posted this earlier on Instagram but wanted to talk a little more about it.

Here's what happened today: I answered the door to a young teen girl asking to come in because a guy was following her. I told her I couldn't help her, that I can't let strangers in my home.. and sent her on her way. Minutes later I felt guilty and called 911 alerting them of the situation.

I'm new to this "living in a house" business. We've been living in gated apartments in pretty safe areas before this house. We now live in a pretty safe neighborhood, or what I'd consider safe. We're by a school, there are lots of families and retired people near us. The city is pretty boring and safe. 

In the 6 months we've lived here we've had a handful of sketchy looking people trying to sell something or other. After the last time I told myself to stop answering the door at all. It's not safe, especially when I'm home alone with the boys. Today when the doorbell rang the first time, I didn't answer. The boys stood at the house door (our windows were open) yelling, "Daddy! Daddy!". They get so excited for people to come to the door.

I tried to hush them and take them into another room until whoever it was left. Our house has no front facing windows, I have no way of seeing who is outside besides the peep hole (which, let's face it, are pretty much pointless). We waited a few minutes and the doorbell rang again. I don't know WHY I went to the door. I'm going over this in my head over and over. I should have never answered the door to begin with. 

I don't feel bad about how I helped the girl who may or may not have been in trouble. I feel bad mostly for answering the door in the first place. I keep thinking over the situation and how it seemed suspicious now that I look back. Why didn't she just call 911 herself? Why wasn't she in school? We're the 4th house on the street, why our house? She did look nervous. What if it was a set up? What if she was a decoy, trying to scope out the house? What if someone was waiting who had a gun? What if someone is going to come back later to hurt/rob us?

I didn't want that girl anywhere near my house, even if someone was following her. I know it sounds bad, but I don't want that here. I called 911, I did my duty. But I don't want that here, not at my house, not where I'm with my babies. I didn't want to get any information from her, I didn't want her to wait anywhere, I just wanted her to go away. It feels so mean to say (if she really was in trouble) but that's how I felt. I wanted to protect us, and should have started with not even answering the door.

My mind is racing. I'm sure I'll kick myself for a while about this. I come from a small town, from a safe home. People leave their doors and cars unlocked. Now I'm a mama bear, and need to protect my babies and home in a very big city/area. Sometimes I need to turn off my trusting instinct. The thing is, if Chikezie was home, I probably would have answered the door. Actually, I have answered the door when he's home. 

I don't know. This whole situation just has me kind of shaken up. 

Have you faced a similar situation? How would you have handled it?

who do we think we are? my thoughts on marriage equality

I'm not afraid to post about my feelings on marriage equality. I don't have much to say on it but I'm not afraid to say it. Not many years ago, people, our grandparents/ generation, were making some of the exact arguments against interracial marriage as so many are making against marriage equality today. 

They said it was a "slippery slope", that what would stop us from allowing polygamy? What about minimum age requirements for marriage? Or incestuous marriage? Allowing people of color to marry whites was a slippery slope, for sure to lead to the corruption of society as a whole. It was just plain dangerous.

They said, "think about the children!" They said the children of interracial marriages would be called victims, be made fun of. They said these children would be robbed of something they deserved, and needed. The children of interracial marriages would never fair as well as those in white only households.

They argued that interracial marriage was against God's will. That it was just somehow, unnatural. Miscegenation was immoral. 

I can't imagine not being able to marry the person I loved. The person I wanted to have a family with, to wander this life with. I can't imagine someone telling me it was immoral and unnatural. That my children's lives would be troubled.  I mean, I know a lof of you out on the other side of this screen are married, have children. Really think about the happiest day of your life, the meaning behind it. You didn't even have to think twice about who you'd want to marry once you found them, you planned your wedding day, got your official marriage license, maybe went on a honeymoon. You are bound by love and law. 

Even today, we've dealt with our fair share of judgement and opposition. (Not a fraction of what we would have dealt with then, thankfully.) It hurts my heart to think of other couples, wanting to have the freedom to marry who they choose, going through the thick of it right now...not 40 years after. 

I want everyone to be able to marry who they want to spend forever with, for their union to be legally bound and recognized. I want those people to work through those first years of marriage that are so difficult and fun and full of so much growth. Who are we to say they can't? No, really. Who do we think we are? 

some wandering thoughts on blogging, etc.

I posted on Friday about taking photos of yourself and since then I have a few more thoughts on the subject.

The standards we live by in this society are so ambiguous and double sided. Showing the world a photo you took of yourself is automatically received as vain. I can agree, there is some part of posting a nice photo of yourself that enjoys the compliments you receive. What human doesn't appreciate a compliment? But if those photos were taken by someone else, or with someone else in the photo? Not a second thought. Even if you crop out the other person, the reaction is totally different. What if you post self photos of yourself making silly faces or dressed funny or on a vacation? Again, not even a second thought.

I think it's a little more commonplace in the blogging world to have self portraits. Over time, we've all gotten more comfortable with it, we see it more often. But what about everyone else? How do they feel about it? Some of my friends and family think blogging is a joke. That it's a strange or funny hobby. I can understand how people would feel the same about self photography. 

Maybe it's when you act like you CARE about what you look like, you're considered vain. You know, when you're being honest. When you upload a flattering photo you took of yourself, it's totally vain, right? Because it's not like every single human on earth cares what they look like and wants to look their best, right? No? Oh we all care. I forgot. But if we act like we care, if we're honest about it, we're vain, strange, selfish, into ourselves. That makes sense.

I take photos of myself because nobody else does. I'm important, this time in my life is important. How I see it, how I see myself right now are all important. I take photos of myself, whether with a nice camera or with my iphone because I like to. I like to go back and look at myself a year ago. Who was that girl? Look where she's come. I share them with you all because I want to. I want to encourage others to not be so critical of themselves. I want you to not take life so seriously. 

Also? I'm a bit of a loner these days. I have only a couple of real-life friends within visiting distance that I can actually see. The rest of them are all over the country. So if friends can't see the real-life me, they can at least see the internet me....and feel a little bit less like we haven't seen each other in years. I wish all my friends had blogs and took photos of their lives, themselves. 

This blog has been my sanity over the last 3 years. I've made some amazing lifelong friends, which is kind of the beauty of this blog. It attracts those who are like me, who can relate. And with some of those people blossom some amazing real-life bonds. Does everyone get it? No. Do they have to? Not really. I guess it's not really in my concern those who judge (and shouldn't really be of anyone's concern.) If we're honest, the best people shine through in our lives and the rest is all just background blur.

you should probably have some photos of yourself.

I'm really not a huge fan of self photography. I know fashion bloggers do it all the time and I'm sure a lot of them have gotten comfortable being in front of the camera. I'm not big on it. BUT I'd rather feel awkward and dorky in the comfort of my own home, no photographer but me. I can change outfits, locations in my house, take 300 photos and not feel bad only choosing 10.

Why is it important to have photos of yourself? Well, I have a few reasons for myself, personally.

1) I'm always behind the camera. I have so many photos of the boys, of Chikezie and the boys. There aren't many (iphone excluded) of me or me and the boys. I'm only going to be young once. And when I'm old, I want to look back at myself. I want photos the boys can look back at and see their mom so young. I love seeing photos of my parents when they were young. I'm not out with friends like I used to be, where we'd take tons of photos of each other, I have a good record of those years. I want a record of now. When I'm a new mom. When I'm in my late 20's. When I'm a wrinkle free, short hair, glasses wearing wife. 

2) Having a blog and an online presence, its handy to have an up to date photo of yourself. For me, especially since I've cut all my hair off. It's just nice to have. 

3) Because even if you don't feel so great about how you look or don't have much confidence, you're going to want a picture to remember yourself at each stage of your life. Yeah, I'd like to drop a few pounds (those pesky things have been hanging on for 3 years now!) but I'd like to look back and feel comfortable with myself at all the stages I went through. This is what life is all about, the cycles and changes we go through as we grow. Ignoring them, trying to forget them...it's just shorting yourself in the long run. 

4) You know what? Sometimes it's just nice to feel pretty. To photoshop the hell out of some photos of yourself and too look at them and think, "She's pretty." It's not selfish. It's not self centered or bad to want to look pretty and have visual proof. It's human. And I think it's especially necessary as your body goes through all the changes of motherhood. 

I'm challenging each and every one of you to take more photos of yourself. Especially you moms out there who get stuck taking millions of photos of your kids and husband. You're important, too. Even if you have to step outside of your comfort zone and take photos of yourself in your living room while your kids nap...just do it. Have fun. Be silly. Find what angles you think you look best at and then just shoot the hell out of them. Time will keep going and you'll wish you had a record of yourself through it all. 

teaching them to talk: vol. 2

I've talked a million times over the past couple of years about our struggles with the boys' speech delays. We've received so many hand outs, packets of information on tips we can use daily to encourage speech. I want to start sharing all this information with all of you because I know there are so many moms and dads out there going through what we went through- are they supposed to be talking yet? What should they be saying by now? Is it too early to seek help? Am I just being crazy? Well, I don't know if I can answer any of those questions for you but I'm going to pass on the information we've received and hope that some of it can help you, too.

This series will hopefully be a resource to not only those of you experiencing the struggles of speech delays with your children but also for all parents in general wanting to learn ways to help encourage expressive speech in your children.

1. Use repetition generously as they are learning the meaning of words. For example when you give the child a cup, say "Cup...Sarah's cup". While they are holding or drinking from the cup, you could then say, "Drinking from cup!". When they're finished, you can ask them to "Give me cup."

2. Keep your words, phrases, and sentences fairly simple to promote turn-taking during communication. Use the words the child would probably use in the situation at hand and add a little extra. For example, if they hand you an empty cup, you could say, "All gone...you finished drink.". Then give the child a chance to respond in any way, with a sound, gesture or expression.

3. Don't expect your child to say words correctly. Most children don't articulate correctly at this stage. If they mispronounce a word, repeat it back to them correctly in a short phrase. For example, if they say "ha" for "hot", you could say, "Yes, that water is hot.". Don't imitate the mispronunciation. They need to hear correct models of words in order to learn to say them correctly.


4. Say the word that they're trying to communicate when they gesture. For example, when they point to the car that's out of reach, say, "Car?" as you hold the care up near your face so they see your lips move at the same time they see the object. Pause for 5 or more seconds to give them a chance to respond with a sound or another gesture, then give them the car as you repeat the word in a short sentence, "You want car."

5. Avoid continually asking, "What's this?" and "What's that?", even when you've heard them say the word before. Your child needs los of experience and practice saying his/her sounds and words spontaneously before they can respond to questions with words. When you ask questions, pause for a moment and then answer your own question, e.g., "What's that?...A dog...furry dog." And then give your child time to respond or react with their sounds or actions.

6. As they being to say words or word approximations, they may use single words to convey a complete sentence, e.g., "Ball" may mean, "I want the ball." "Look at the ball." "I have a ball." or "Let's play ball." Try to interpret what the "sentence" is and repeat back to your child in a sentence, e.g., "Ball. You want ball."

bow ties...and a discount!

It was a little bit cloudy yesterday and I wanted to get some photos of the boys in a couple of my new bow ties while the sun was hiding. Well, there's been a new development since the last time I put bow ties on them. They learned to say no.

I bribed them with popcorn and mini cookies. I let them pick out a tie, it worked for the most part. I just have to take what I can get these days. I got a few good shots of a couple of the new bow ties, and some old bow ties that didn't have a model. 

AND I'm working on some bow ties to have to everyone by next week (just in time for Easter) If you order today or tomorrow you'll have it in time...and here's a little discount for all my readers: use the code MAMA20 for 20% off your purchase. 

3 year old fight club.

We've been going through a lot of changes in the E household lately. We've worked on potty training, we've started a new speech therapy and now we've entered a new stage of toddlerhood- 3 year old fight club. Up until this point, the boys have never been very physical with each other. They fight over toys but not fight each other. There's been chasing, pulling, tugging but no hitting and kicking. 

Right now, it's not too physical. They're really testing this new thing they've learned they can do; use their body to somehow hurt or cause pain to someone else. Their fights usually include an instigator, with a half hearted hit/push/kick. The other brother may come back with his own hit or may just cry/feign pain because it hurt his feelings. Because I mean, how could my brother do that to me?? 

Julian, surprisingly, seems to be the instigator lately. (He's usually the one to avoid conflict...and he's making me want to slam my head repeatedly on a hard surface pushing my boundaries lately, too.) Yesterday he'd take Isaiah's car and hide it on purpose, just to watch Isaiah get completely pissed off. Sometimes he'll push his brother for no reason and watch what happens. I'm really seeing him test his boundaries with Isaiah.

I prefer to stand back and watch them work it out. One will end up leaving the other alone and they go back to their business. I think it's healthy for them to explore these boundaries and learn how to resolve this kind of conflict on their own. I know they're only 3, but they get it. They have their own way of making things right. I step in when it starts getting out of control or someone is really mad/looks like he really wants to hulk out.

After every major conflict I also talk to them about how we love our brother, not hurt him. I demonstrate a "nice" touch by rubbing an arm or a back. I make them hug it out. I know they're going to fight each other, I think that's just something brothers do when they're this age. I'm hoping by modeling some good behavior, and letting them work it out, we can get through this stage without any major lifelong trauma. 

What about you seasoned mamas? How did you handle it when your kids started hitting either you or each other? 

Winner Winner!

Winner Winner! ONE lucky lady gets all 8 of these prizes.....


Congrats Sarah! I'll be contacting you with details!

Thanks to everyone for entering the boys' 3rd birthday giveaway- and thank you to all the amazing sponsors!

teaching them to talk: vol. 1

I've talked a million times over the past couple of years about our struggles with the boys' speech delays. We've received so many hand outs, packets of information on tips we can use daily to encourage speech. I want to start sharing all this information with all of you because I know there are so many moms and dads out there going through what we went through- are they supposed to be talking yet? What should they be saying by now? Is it too early to seek help? Am I just being crazy? Well, I don't know if I can answer any of those questions for you but I'm going to pass on the information we've received and hope that some of it can help you, too.

This new series will hopefully be a resource to not only those of you experiencing the struggles of speech delays with your children but also for all parents in general wanting to learn ways to help encourage expressive speech in your children.

This list of tips came on a hand out we got when we got the boys tested to see if they would qualify for therapy. All of these are very basic, yet extremely effective tips.

--> Hold items/toys next to your mouth. The child will see your lips move. This also works on eye contact, joint attention, articulation and expressive/receptive language.

--> Pause for responses or initiation of communication (at least 5 seconds)...it's ok to have silence. This when sounds, words and gestures will occur

--> Slow down your speech. This allows a child to process what you're saying. Let them know there is plenty of time.

--> Sing songs often! It makes a significant difference and provides MANY speech and language opportunities, make up songs, be silly!

--> Give 2 choices of things to play with/eat/drink, etc. Name what child chooses. 

--> Use action and movement. Take breaks often. Adults need breaks. Children need breaks even more. Examples: swinging, bouncing, jumping, stomping, clapping, etc.

--> Describe what the child is looking at. Watch the child's eye gaze and comment on what the child is looking at. 

--> Use phrases that are 1-2 more words than the child is producing. If a child only has 1 word utterances, use 2-3 word phrases when you talk to them. Example: Tommy has bear. Bear. Bear is jumping. Hi bear. 

--> Add 1-2 words to what the child says. If the child says, "Kitty." You say, "Kitty says 'meow'. Soft kitty. Kitty jumps."

--> Draw the child's eye contact up. Put a toy close to the child's face (6 inches or so) and then pull it back. They will usually follow the toy with their eyes and give their attention.

--> Overemphasize consonant sounds and repeat the first sound of words. Example: Cat.../k-k-k/...Cat

--> Imitate the child's sounds and actions. Follow them, babble with them, and then produce a different action or sound/word to try to get them to imitate you.

-->Use signs and large gestures often.

Google Reader?! NOOOO!!!

Ok you all heard the news. Google Reader is peacing out. As un-thrilled as I am about it...well, whatever.

They're ending it on July 1, so head on over to Bloglovin and follow us there. Should be good. Right?
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Oh, and this video on the subject is hilarious. 

potty training twins - how I did it.

We're about 1 week past our fist day potty training and I think we've got it down. Well, I think we got it down pretty quickly. I've decided to take it all slowly at first, getting the boys through each new stage together. 

So far we have down day time peeing in the potty. Next on the list:
- Actually catching a #2 in the potty. It's been in their pull ups or we've caught an accident a little too late a couple of times.
- Learning to go on the actual toilet. They're both cool with flushing it, not with sitting on it. And to accomplish our next goal, we'll need to be able to go on the toilet.
- Being able to leave the house without a pull up. (They'll need to be able to go on the toilet for this!)
- Nap time without a pull up.
- Night time without a pull up.

When I write it all out, it really seems like we have a long ways to go but I think the hardest part is done. Here are some of the things I've done so far, some tips, some things I've learned.

* M&M for bribing. We started out as M&M's for potty every single time. Now, after a week, I only give them one if they remember to ask me. Sometimes I even bribe them to sit on the potty in general for an M&M. It works, so I use it.
* I had a sticker board for them to put a sticker up for each potty. It was just one added incentive we used the first 3 days, honestly they would have done fine without it. Sweets seemed to be their main motivation. 
*Excessive cheering at every. single. pee. And then more cheering from Daddy when he got home and heard the good news. 

Neither one of them really cared much about being a big boy so that route didn't work for us. They didn't get a reward after a certain number of stickers because they don't get the counting/banking of things concept. 

Other tips:
* The only way to get Julian to pee at first was to have him stand - so I went with it. After a few days and being more comfortable, he started sitting on his own. 
* Learn your kids' style. Not all kids need or want to be TOLD to pee every 10 minutes. Julian, after he got the hang of it, lets me know when he has to go. I still ask him, but he mostly goes when HE feels he needs to go. Isaiah is different, and if I forget to ask him and it's been too long he'll have an accident. So...test out some different systems with your kid if one doesn't seem to be working. Potty training definitely isn't one size fits all.
* Don't shame your kids after an accident. Just matter of factly tell them we'll make it to the potty next time. I always make them finish the sentence, "Where do we go pee pee? In the _____. " Just to help emphasize the point. 
* Be slow to add pants back into the mix. We went sans undies on Day 1, undies only on Days 2 and 3 and now finally have added pants back into the mix. They can sometimes give the false sense of security, reverting them back to just going without thinking. When Isaiah has a couple of consecutive accidents I leave him in just undies to help him remember he has them on and not a diaper. After their entire lives of doing something one way, I expect it to take a little time doing it completely different.

Tips on potty training twins:
 * If you're busy helping one with an accident/success/whatever remember to be mindful of the other. A lot of the accidents I had was when I was busy with one. I learned to have the other sitting on the potty before finishing with the first one. 
* Positive peer pressure! The excessive cheering, the rewards...give those to one twin and the other always wants to be in on it, too. 
* Teach them to celebrate each other's successes. The first time Isaiah made it to the potty, Julian (on his own) was standing right by him, yelling "Yaaaay!!". It was just super cute and I know had a special meaning for them. 

I hope some of these tips help any of you potty training in the near future. Just remember a lot of potty training is just experimentation and finding what methods work best for you both!

Julian and Isaiah's 3rd Birthday Giveaway!!

It's that time, folks! I try to do a big giveaway every year around the boys' birthday and this year I have some super crazy awesome prizes for you guys to help celebrate the boys' third birthday! ONE WINNER TAKES ALL. That's right. Almost $300 worth of handmade goodness is about to be in some lucky's life. 

Here's the deets on what the winner will get:

Follow the directions below to enter...good luck, friends!

potty training twins: day two

Potty training day 2. We're surviving. Maybe even...thriving? I've learned already that this potty training thing isn't one size fits all. These two boys have two completely different needs and personalities. It might take me a few days to learn how to help teach them both. 

Julian: HE GETS IT! He says MOM! And then runs to the potty, pulls down his own underwear (which he doesn't mind wearing now) and waits for me to come help give him some balance so he can stand and pee. He says yay! when he does a good job and is totally proud of himself. I can't even believe this is the same kid that was freaking out at peeing in the potty yesterday morning, the one who I thought wasn't ready, who really was tempting me to throw in the towel.  This morning only 1 1/2 accidents, 10 successes. No #2's yet. We'll cross that road when we get there since he really isn't into sitting on that darn potty. 

I've learned to let Julian lead. I ask him practically every 10 minutes if he has to pee. He says no. But sometimes he'll think about it after he says no and then go over to the potty. He's pretty much got it down.

Isaiah: He's a litte different. The first time he went this morning was because I asked him to sit and try. And he went. After that it was a big accident on the floor. Another big accident (that I caught half of). After that he didn't want to even get off the potty. I think he's nervous he's going to have an accident when he gets up. I'm still trying to figure out his cues that he has to go. All of the potties that he got today were because he was already sitting there. But we celebrated them nonetheless.

I think with Isaiah my approach has to be different. I'll have to set a timer, remind myself to remind him. If I ask him to sit on the potty every half hour (for now) I think we'll get the hang of it and he'll learn he doesn't have to be glued to his seat. 

The pull ups for both boys are pretty wet after sleeping but we'll deal with nights another time. I know some people say to do it all at once but I'M POTTY TRAINING TWINS. So that's not happening right now. (I say this to myself a lot when I start to get overwhelmed. That holy crap, I'm potty training twins I'm a total badass! Just to talk myself off the ledge.)

Last night I got the 3 Day Potty Training E-Book and while I'm not following it exactly there was a lot of good tips in there. She basically says if your kid is old enough to signal their wants or needs (gestures OR verbal) that they're old enough to potty train. That not all kids just "show interest" on their own. There were lots of good trouble shooting answers, like how to get underwear on kids who refuse it - to just put them on matter of factly and change the subject/distract them. It worked for me! They fought me to get them on but after a few minutes we were over it. SO, if you're having any questions about potty training kids, this book really does give some great advice. 

Here's to hoping the next 24 hours is just as promising!

the day i've been dreading for months...

We started potty training this morning. The boys show signs of readiness, they can say pee-pee, potty, poo-poo. Pull pants on and off (mostly). Let me know when they poo in their diaper. Who knows if they're REALLY ready unless you try. The speech issues make our situation complicated. The twins issue makes the situation complicated. The fact that preschool would GREATLY benefit their speech is a huge motivator, and they need to be potty trained for preschool. 

My plan: Naked or undies only from waist down. M&M's for reward and happy face sticker for a potty chart when they go. Pull-ups for outings and bed.

Julian: Now tells me "no" for everything. He didn't want underwear. Sat on the potty and watched a movie this morning. When he actually had to go, he stood up dancing around, screaming. I sat him back on the potty, hugging him and holding him there. He continued to scream and peed a little. Then stood up and peed the rest on himself while whining. This happend twice more this morning. After that he didn't want anything to do with his potty (they both won't sit ont he big toilet either). When he has to go...there is no reasoning or reward good enough. NOTHING. 

I finally once put the potty in his stream while he was going and let him experience some of the success with peeing in the potty. The next time I caught him going while standing, I ran to get the potty for him, and instead of him running away from me saying no, he came toward the potty, stood over it and did his best to get it all in. 

Before nap, he freaked his freak out when I put pull-ups on him. (But nude wasn't an option for bed. And I'm not busting out any diapers.) So that was this morning.

Isaiah: Didn't want underwear. Sat on the potty most of the morning. First pee was while Julian was freaking out. He stood up afterward and said pee-pee. Then an accident while I was dealing with Julian's 2nd freak out. After that he preferred to stay on the potty. I caught him going the 2nd time, and when he stopped I asked if he had anymore. To which he pushed more out. So he's kind of getting it. He peed in the potty once more after that. 

He threw a huge crazy tantrum when Julian got M&M for peeing and he hadn't gone again to get a reward. I decided it was nap time. He had a melt down that I'd rank in the top 3 of his meltdowns. I had to force the pull ups on him (As nude isn't an option).

And so that's where we are. They're napping now. I'm hoping the afternoon is slightly less freak-out-ish. I have a full load of towels to wash after all the messes this morning. I really thought about giving up after Julian's first freak out but am determined to make it a week and reassess then. 

I've kind of learned so far that most people's advice isn't working haha. I think the boys are just going to teach me how to do this our own way. They don't give a crap about being a big kid. They want what  they want. There are no fun games, songs, tricks. We're just going to figure this out our own way. 

a non-pinterest birthday

I've learned the hard way over the past couple of years, that Pinterest is poison to me around holidays and birthday time. You pin and pin onto these boards with great expectations of the holiday to look so pretty but it all gets overwhelming and lost in planning the holiday itself. This year, I said screw Pinterest. Yes, SCREW them/it. I didn't want to get lost in making stupid decorations for a party just so I could take pretty pictures and post them all prettily and say "look at this pretty party I threw!"

I decided to focus on the boys, and focus on the things that are their favorite. I wanted to throw a birthday party that a 3 year old boy would throw if he could throw parties. My first plan? Get a shit load of balloons. My children get stupid over balloons. Their eyes get huge, and with raised eyebrows they shout "BA-YOON!" repeatedly for hours on end. So we had balloons. On the floor, tied to things, outside, inside. That's all we really needed. 

I also popped some popcorn, got a huge bag of M&M's and we were golden. All of the boys' favorite things together and they just had a blast. My mother in law made her delicious rice and chicken (like she did last year) and we just hung out with friends and family all afternoon. Couldn't have gone any better. The boys ate so many M&M's and loved their mylars that Uncle Chic sent so much that they didn't even want to eat their birthday cupcakes.

I don't have many pictures because I decided to put the camera down and just enjoy the moment. We get so caught up in creating this perfect party, without really focusing on what it is that matters. The birthday kids. And some good food. And ba-yoons. 

3 years of Isaiah

Today is day two of my nostalgic flashback on the boys' 3 years of life. Yesterday I showed all of my favorite photos of Julian, today I'll focus on Isaiah. 

Isaiah, although the baby of the family (by one minute) is a little spark plug. Since I could first feel kicks in my belly he's been making his voice known ever since. If there's a problem, you know. He's strong willed, outgoing, and silly. He loves laughing at his brother, and is the very definition of a mama's boy. He's continually testing us one moment and being the most loving little person the next. He's a feeler, this Isaiah. He's the perfect yin to his brother's yang.