Green Surprise: The Potty Training Relapse

Since our lives went a tad ballistic in March, I didn't have time to post about St. Patrick's Day.  You know how we do: Lucky Charms with green milk, green applesauce, green alfredo sauce on potatoes, green broccoli, and heck - let's throw in some green donuts for good measure.  

Unbeknownst to me, this devious little leprechaun spent the day devising his St. Patrick's Day treat for me.

The next day I found three green poops on my bathroom floor.  Happy freaking St. Patrick's Day, Mom!

It had been two months since he first mastered potty training, but only a few weeks since we moved.  People… do NOT potty train before moving!  Ugh, I wish I had known that we were relocating, and I would have waited.  He did great at Disneyland, but once we started settling into the new place, something about the big change threw him off his potty game.

I scoured the internet for solutions to potty training relapse and found nothing legitimate, so I was on my own.  Scary place to be, I was seriously at a loss.  It's not on Pinterest?  I'm DOOMED!

There was no other choice but to reach outside of my generational comfort zone and try to figure it out on my own.  Hope this helps someone.

First, we re-introduced the potty dance and reward treats.  That made an immediate difference.  The one change we made was that in order to get a treat he not only needed to go in the potty, but he needed to have dry underwear.  He caught on quickly.

Also, I started taking him to the toilet every hour, even if he told me he didn't need to go.  At first this was met with resistance, so I scrambled for something that would change his negative feelings.

I enlisted Cam to help me create a special potty chart.  We used regular poster board cut it in half, and I made sure to let him decorate it.  {He's a minimalist, but very proud of his craftsmanship.}  Even though I still had animal stickers from our original potty training week, I sprung for some larger Mickey Mouse Clubhouse stickers, so that it was new and exciting.

I taped the chart at the entrance to the bathroom, at his eye-level.  The idea was that seeing the poster and stickers throughout the day would remind him to stop and think about what his body was telling him.  Putting it close to the bathroom will hopefully one day mean that just being near the bathroom will make him think about it.  Most importantly, it helped him get excited as we headed for the potty every hour, rather than resistant, and got him thinking about which sticker he would choose.

This worked better than I ever could have hoped.  When he's walked down the hall he frequently stops to admire his poster, complete with sticker collection.  He asks to go to the bathroom almost too often;  he wants those stickers!  But the result?  No more accidents.

To be honest, this whole thing was hard not to get negative with this.  I mean, we were in the CLEAR and then were suddenly thrown back into the dirty potty training trenches.  It was all I could do not to cry!  But if I ever got negative, the results were instantaneous.  He wanted nothing to do with the potty.  Oops.

So we learned how important it is to stay positive.  Whenever he had accidents I focused not on his behavior {"WHY did you pee in your pants?"} but instead on how yucky messy underwear is.  It even became a joke.  "Yucky, yucky underwear!" was the most hilarious thing one could say in our house, but it had an impact.  And then I had him put the soiled underwear it in the yucky bin himself, and we talked about how nice it is to have clean underwear.

Also, we kept up the mantra, "No pee pee on the floor.  Pee pee in the… POTTY!"  Re-introducing that was almost like switching on a light.  He suddenly remembered our three-day training much more clearly, and repeated it all on his own.  Most often when he was on the toilet, kind of like he was proud of himself for going on the potty and not on the floor.

After only a few days with the poster, Camden was back on track.  Instead of taking him to the potty every hour, I just remember to ask him if he has to go.  This is working wonderfully for us; we've had dry underwear and floors all week.

Thank.  GOODNESS!!!!

Next year I think I'll cool it on the green food… just in case.

Hoppy Easter

Ok guys, this is it.  My holiday rookie year has officially begun.  Before now these kinds of things went over Cam's head, but this Easter he grasped not only the egg-hunting concept, but even gleaned some tiny understanding of the true meaning of the holiday.

Listen.  I have been waiting all of my life for this.  Holidays, traditions, family memories, these are my real-life unicorns, and now I get to captain the magic for my own little tribe.  Excuse me while I throw a cartwheel.

The week leading up to Easter we talked about the big day a lot.  We have a little illustrated children's Bible, and we read the story of Jesus' resurrection multiple times a day--he asked for it every night.  Who knows how much he understood, but it was at least an introduction.  Then for story time at the library, there was an Easter egg hunt, where Cam caught the gist real fast.

That week we did a couple of fun Easter activities.  
Since he is in love with letters right now, I put magnetic letters into plastic eggs and hid them around the house for him.  Once he found and opened one, he had to match his little letter with the correct one written on a square on the floor.  We played it for three days, he loved it!

We also did color matching.  Pipe cleaners slide right into those little holes drilled into the plastic eggs.

These logical games are all the rave around here.  Crafts?  Not so much.  Cam was much more interested in sorting the crayons than helping me with these bunny ears.  But hey, at least he enjoyed wearing them for three seconds.

All geared up and ready for the weekend, the only thing missing was more family.  There was the first sting of moving away from mine.

But thanks to UofA losing in the NCAA tournament, Mom and Dad came up for the weekend!  It was my first time rooting against the cats, but hey--it was for a good cause.  We were thrilled to have Grammy and Papa with us for the Easter/Conference weekend.

Saturday we went to Town Square {along with every single person in the quad-city area} for some games and egg hunting.  Both were kind of disappointing, but Camden didn't know, so we didn't tell him.  Despite the disorganized crowds, we enjoyed the real grass and the trees springing to life.  It's the springiest spring this Tucson girl has ever seen!  {Look out, Dr. Seuss!}

Between conference sessions we did some Easter egg dying.  Colors splashing everywhere, Cam experimented with plopping each egg in every cup.  Yet somehow all of the eggs were ending up pink.  Rookie mistake - use vinegar for all the colors except pink.  Pink is kind of an attention hog.

In the morning Cam discovered the Easter bunny had hidden eggs all over our backyard!  And best of all… there were CARS in his Easter basket!  Pure joy.

We had a bunny breakfast.

And Roy got a little creative.

And then we brought it all back to the reason we do any of this by watching General Conference.  Camden mostly played with his new cars and stuffed bunny, but that little sponge sees what's important to us.  The older he gets, the more he will be able to understand.

For the first time I made our traditional Easter dinner--I even cooked the ham.  There's nothing better than seeing your family together around the table, not gagging on something you cooked.

Roy made some Brazilian cheesy rolls to share with us.

We finished off the day with a bike ride at sunset.  And maybe a cartwheel.

Alexa Gets Hitched

Full-on crying isn't normally my thing, but when my sweet little sister told me she was getting married I bawled.  Of course the most sincere joy brings out the ugly face and the waterworks, that only makes sense, right?  {???}  

But this girl deserves the most wonderful companion, and it's pretty evident she found him.  This guy is so good to her, and we were all happy to welcome him into our family.  Honestly, I just know how life-changingly amazing it is to be married and sealed to your best friend.  I wish it for everyone I love, and I don't think I realized just how much I wanted it for Alexa until I was blubbering over the phone.  

Five months was just like BAM!  and suddenly we were boarding a plane for Salt Lake City, the location of the couple's favorite temple.  

It was a beautiful spring day.  The gardens were beautiful, the flowers were lovely, but she was the one turning heads.  What a gorgeous bride.

I hesitated to post about this beautiful day just yet because I don't have any real pictures.  I ripped these ones off of Facebook, but the professional pictures are spectacular!  Hopefully I'll get a chance to pop a few more on here later.  For now my phone documentation will have to suffice.

The sealing ceremony was simple and perfectly sweet, and the couple couldn't stop smiling even if they wanted to.  It was hard to hold back the ugly tears of joy.  Even my mom held it together better than I did!  There was just SO much love betwixt our families and dear friends, it was palpable!!

Then we got to line up outside of the temple doors to see them emerge as Mr. and Mrs. Schulte!  Precious!

We took pictures for a long time, which was kind of fun.  I tried to keep up my bridesmatronly duties by keeping her train from dragging on the ground and making sure every strand of hair stayed in place, but honestly I don't think the girl could have cared less.  She was too busy being the happiest woman alive.

Then it was fancy wedding luncheon time.

Fed up with posing by this point, Camden started trying to look away whenever I pointed my phone in his general direction.  "No pictures!"  Haha!  Is it bad that it makes me laugh?  Also, how cute is the bow tie that Alexa's new sister-in-law made?

While the bride and groom were distracted, a bunch of us skittered downstairs to decorate the couple's getaway car.

The boys were obviously really excited about it.

Back up to the luncheon, the bride and groom and parents sat up at the front while we all ate and celebrated.  There was toasting and reminiscing and talk of a beautiful future.  The temple served as a perfect backdrop during it all.  What a blessing in our lives, to know we can be sealed as families forever.

When it was all over we knew it wasn't really over.  There was still a wedding reception to rush home to in Tucson!  Party!!!!

Before jumping back onto a plane, we were lucky enough to get to see some of our favorite people on this earth!

By beautiful coincidence, Grandma Buckmaster happened to be in the area that very week!  {Well done, Leah!}  Camden needs to see this wonderful person much, much more!  We got to go out to dinner with Sue, Melissa, Jeramelin, Leah, Jamie, Danny Jay, and Grandma Buck, where I had some amazing sweet potato pasta concoction that I will spend the rest of my life trying to duplicate.

Roy got to go to a basketball game for a bit, but he also got to take Camden down to Leah and Jamie's house for some extra family time.

Then one night Roy had an MTC reunion with some great guys from his days serving a mission in Brazil.  Naturally, that meant girls night for me, Shellena, and Andrea.  {Is it still considered a girl's night if there are kids running around and insisting you construct train tracks and dance like a princess with them?}

Talk about a whirlwind trip.  But I have to say, it makes it so much easier having such a good littler traveler.

Although he's been in love with airplanes for well over a year now, this was the first time he fully understood that we were inside of one and we would be going "high in the sky."  It was way exciting for him, as we pointed out tiny cars below and fluffy clouds alongside us.  And although he didn't do much sleeping, he really was perfectly content.  How did I get so lucky?

Gentleman in training.  "C'mon GG!"

The reception in Tucson was stunning.  Beneath strands of lights in our parents backyard we celebrated Alexa and Jake with food and dancing and cake and merry-making.  Sweet Alexa, I couldn't possibly cry any uglier--I couldn't possibly be any happier for you without bursting!  Congratulations, we love you and Jacob!

It's April, You Fool!

It was an average morning; just like I wanted.  I packed Roy a lunch while he helped Camden clean up breakfast.  He gave us both kisses and took his brown paper bag as he headed out the door for work.

Ten minutes later I got a text.

"What did you do to my sandwich?"

There was nothing unusual about his sandwich, but I love that every April 1st my first prank begins all on its own.  The, what-is-she-going-to-do-this-year terror that lasts throughout the day.  Muahaha!  Isn't Roy so lucky?

Cam and I executed the prank while still in the early morning.  As I walked through the parking lot at Roy's work {shrink wrap in one hand, toddler grasping the other} I suddenly felt like turning back.  There were police cars parked everywhere.  There were prosecutors milling around.  I didn't want to get in trouble!  {Hello?  Am I 14?}

But with the spirit of April Fools, we got it done.  We even had officers laughing as they passed, or lawyers stopping to ask who it was I was pranking.  My clothes got super dirty from crawling underneath the car to pull the shrink wrap through, but it was worth it.  The entire car was double-layer wrapped up tight.

We added a message that said, "Happy April Fools Day, Dad!" onto the window, and then snuck out of the parking lot.  Camden didn't quite get the whole idea--he was sad we weren't going into the office to see Daddy--but he did think the car was silly.

A few hours later Roy texted me, "You stinker!  Everyone is taking pictures with the car!"
Just helping my husband make new friends at his new job--or maybe just giving his the reputation as the guy with the crazy wife.  Either way...

Later in the day Roy texted, "The plastic is melting onto the car!"

Not gonna lie, he got me for about five seconds and I totally freaked out.  That would have been the worst prank backfire!  BTW, has anyone noticed that Roy's pranks are a lot nicer than mine?

This year Camden had his first April Fool's prank.  When I was asking him if he wanted a yummy lunch he said, "No yummy lunch!"
So I said, "Oh!  Do you want a yucky lunch?"
He thought that was an awesome idea.  "Yeah!"

So I sat him down with rocks and weeds and told him, "Okay, here's your yucky lunch."

The sweet boy tentatively tasted one rock and then laughed, "Yucky lunch!  No yucky lunch!"

Oh - and there was one last prank of the day, which I will not picture here because it's gross.  But funny!  Since we moved Camden has had a little bit of a potty training adjustment, so when Roy saw a little #2 accident on the lip of the toilet seat, he was all like, "UGH!  Camden!!!"

He brought me in to look at it, and I immediately picked it up with my hands.  Roy's eyes went wide for a split second before he remembered April Fool's Day wasn't over yet.

Just soggy cardboard from a toilet paper roll.  Hehehehe!  This day doesn't come around often enough! {Roy would disagree.}