31 May 2011

Happy birthday, Chris!

Happy birthday!!!!

You are an amazing husband and father. You bring such joy, love, stability, fun and enthusiasm into our little family. Our lives would be pretty dull and boring without you! Thank you for loving us and leading us. God has blessed us in countless ways by bringing you into our lives. We hope He blesses you in return over the next year!


Sunshine and Boogernut

17 May 2011

Potty training: 10 days later

It's been about 10 days since we started potty training Avery. I'm happy to report that she continues to improve and has had only a few minor "situations."

The worst experience for me was last Tuesday, the first day I went back to work and Avery went to my parents' house. She did fine during the day, with just one small accident. But on the way home, we had to make two stops at McDonald's for false alarms, sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic because of an accident on the interstate, then make another bathroom stop at Kroger before she finally did something. (We finally arrived home about 90 minutes after our trip began when it normally takes about 30 minutes.) But I thought it was a huge accomplishment that she went potty on a big potty in a public restroom! Thank goodness that was the worst day because I couldn't struggle through that stressful drive home every day!

After Tuesday, she didn't have any more accidents during the day. She consistently told Grandma, Grandpa, Mommaw, Daddy and me (depending on who she spent the day with) when she had to go potty. And then she actually went potty on the potty chair!

Nights have been more of a struggle. She's had a few accidents. But she still wakes up every time, asks to go potty, then goes. On Saturday morning, she woke up around 6:45 and was completely dry. Then I realized that she never woke up before that! She stayed dry for about 11 hours. The trade off was that she woke up at 6:45 a.m. (on a day we can sleep in!) and wouldn't go back to sleep. But we'll take it! I won't complain too much about the nights because I know soon she'll learn how to stay dry and sleep through the night again.

Yesterday we went to the zoo with Grandma and Grandpa. We had several false alarms. I think she was trying to hold it as long as she could, but then she finally went (once at the zoo and once at lunch on the way home). Yesterday was the big test to see what she would do being away from home for such a long time. Her actions and maturity reassured me that we don't have to live a hermit lifestyle! When we're away from home, she will tell me when she has to go to the bathroom, no matter where we are or what we are doing.

In case you can't tell, I'm so very, very proud of Avery! I'm still a little shocked that this whole thing worked so well. But this was an entire family project. And we succeeded together!

P.S. We'll go back to our regular blog posts now. I think we're done talking about potty and poop for awhile! :o)

10 May 2011

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

I got this salsa recipe from one of Chris' cousins about this time last year. We ate it a lot last summer! (Confession: We sometimes let it serve as dinner.) It's so fresh and yummy. And simple to make. I made my first batch of the season yesterday and enjoyed leftovers at lunch today. I hope you like it as much as we do!

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained
1 red onion, diced
1 avocado, diced
1/2 to 1 jar (16 oz.) prepared salsa
1 lime, juiced
cilantro, chopped

Preparation Instructions
Mix all ingredients together and serve with tortilla chips. (I adjust the lime and cilantro to taste. I also adjust the amount of salsa depending on how runny or thick I want the final product to be.)

08 May 2011

Potty training: Day three

Our whirlwind weekend of potty training is officially over! Today was the best day of the three, as expected. We still had problems getting her to sleep at bedtime tonight, but naptime was a piece of cake. Here's how it all played out today:

4:10 a.m. - Accident in panties and the bed. Then potty in the chair. She was asleep again by 4:30 a.m. Whew!
8:00 a.m. - Woke up dry. Potty in the chair.
9:00 a.m. - Accident in panties and on the bedroom floor. Nothing in the chair.
10:00 a.m. - Big poop in the potty chair. She asked to go to the bathroom beforehand.
11:20 a.m. - Dry panties. Potty in the chair.
12:50 p.m. - Dry panties. Potty in the chair.
2:40 p.m. - Woke up dry after a 90-minute nap. Nothing in the chair.
2:50 p.m. - Dry panties. Potty in the chair.
3:05 p.m. - Dry panties. Potty in the chair.
4:00 p.m. - Dry panties. Potty in the chair.
5:20 p.m. - Dry panties. Potty in the chair.
5:45 p.m. - Dry panties. Potty in the chair.
6:15 p.m. - Dry panties. Potty in the chair.
6:40 p.m. - Dry panties. Potty in the chair.
6:55 p.m. - Dry panties. Potty in the chair.
7:15 p.m. - Dry panties. Potty in the chair. This was just before we put her down for bed.
7:40 p.m. - Small accident in panties and her bed. Potty in the chair.
8:00 p.m. - Dry panties. Potty in the chair.
8:15 p.m. - Dry panties. Potty in the chair.
8:30 p.m. - Dry panties. Potty in the chair.
8:45 p.m. - She finally fell asleep.

Do you see a pattern today? :o) Avery did a great job staying dry and telling us when she had to go to the bathroom. Even when she had some false alarms, she would get to the bathroom then say, "Avery fine." I think she was expecting something to happen, but she wasn't sure when. After a few "Avery fine"s, she would finally go potty.

And here's the underwear tally for the weekend:

Friday - 21
Saturday - 9
Sunday - 3

Now...about the bedtime situation. We know she needs to empty her bladder as much as she can before bedtime. And we've noticed that she needs 30 or 45 minutes and four or five trips to the bathroom to do this. So we may try to delay her bedtime by about 30 minutes until she can empty herself more completely in less trips to the bathroom. Don't tell her that she's going to stay up a little later or she might take advantage of it!

Looking back, this may have been the most difficult thing we've had to do as parents so far. (I know...God blessed us with an easy child and an easy beginning to parenthood!)  But it was worth it. We still haven't ventured out to the real world or our normal schedule (we'll try that this week), but I think she'll adjust to that pretty easily.

We highly recommend the Three-Day Potty Training method. It may not be right for every family, but it worked for us. If you decide to try this method, I really suggest that your spouse join you on the experience if possible. I know neither Chris nor I could have done this whole weekend alone, even though the method's author says it's possible. There were times that Avery needed both of us, and there were times when one of us needed to step away for a little break from all of the stress. We couldn't have maintained our sanity without each other. I guess that's what marriage is all about!

I'm glad Chris and I got to share this adventure with Avery together. Typically, I get to enjoy a lot of Avery's small milestones by myself since I'm with her more often during the weekdays than Chris is. But I'm glad he was able to experience the highs and lows of potty training with me. He was such a great cheerleader for Avery and a great teammate for me.

So what's the next major milestone? A "big girl" bed? Kindergarten? Prom? I can wait a few years for that!

07 May 2011

Potty training: Day two

Day two of training was even better! Although we still had plenty of false alarms, there were considerably fewer than yesterday. And we noticed that she would have two or three false alarms rather successively, followed by a full-on potty. So we tried not to hesitate too much when she asked to go potty. She's even gotten good at running to the bathroom by herself, knowing that we're right behind her!

Here's a recap of the details:

3:00 a.m. - She woke us up by calling our names, the bed was slightly wet but she had the biggest potty yet in the potty chair! That meant she stayed dry for about eight hours. She had several false alarms and wouldn't go back to sleep until about 5:00 a.m. when Daddy finally decided to sleep with her on the floor of her bedroom.
7:10 a.m. - Woke up dry. Nothing in the potty.
7:45 a.m. - A few drops in panties. Big potty in the chair.
8:15 a.m. - A few drops in panties. Big potty in the chair.
9:00 a.m. - A few drops in panties. Big potty in the chair.
9:30 a.m. - Dry panties. Potty in the chair.
9:45 a.m. - Dry panties. Big poop in the chair! She was very proud of herself. And so was Mommy. :o)
10:40 a.m. - Accident in panties. Nothing in the chair.
11:10 a.m. - Small accident in panties. Potty in the chair.
12:35 p.m. - Dry panties. Potty in the chair.
2:15 p.m. - Woke up dry after a one-hour nap. Potty in the chair.
3:30 p.m. - Small accident in panties. Potty in the chair.
3:50 p.m. - Dry panties. Potty in the chair.
4:50 p.m. - Small accident in panties. Nothing in the chair.
5:40 p.m. - Dry panties. Potty in the chair.
6:15 p.m. - Poop in panties and the chair.
6:30 p.m. - Dry panties. Potty in the chair.
7:15 p.m. - Potty in the chair after bath time.
7:35 p.m. - She called our names from bed. Small accident in panties. Potty in the chair.
7:45 p.m. - Dry panties. Potty in the chair.
8:00 p.m. - Dry panties. Potty in the chair.
8:15 p.m. - Dry panties. Potty in the chair.
8:45 p.m. (current time) - She is refusing to go to sleep. She usually is such a breeze to put to bed. But tonight she keeps asking to go potty and then goes only a little. By now she shouldn't have any liquid left in her body! We think she just doesn't want to go to sleep now. She's slowly starting to quiet down, so hopefully she'll be asleep soon.

I thought the first day was a successful one, and today was even better. Could this method really work? Could we possibly have a potty-trained little girl at the end of the day three?

06 May 2011

Potty training: Day one

Well, day one of potty training boot camp is complete. Except for the nighttime. We'll see how that goes!

Here's a rundown of our day:

8:30 a.m. - First panties.
9:35 a.m. - Accident in panties followed by one drop in the potty chair.
10:20 a.m. - We noticed her wet panties. Nothing in the potty chair.
10:25 a.m. - Accident in panties followed by one drop in the potty chair.
10:27 a.m. - Smaller accident in panties, small potty in the potty chair. The songs played on the potty chair, making Avery excited and causing Mommy to cry a little. :o)
10:35 a.m. - Small accident in panties, bigger potty in the potty chair. Mommy and Daddy cheered and danced.
10:50 a.m. - Dry panties and a small potty in the potty chair.
Several false alarms.
11:15 a.m. - Dry panties and a small potty in the potty chair.
11:30 a.m. - Dry panties and a bigger potty in the potty chair.
Several false alarms.
12:15 p.m. - Accident in panties. Nothing in the potty chair.
12:30 p.m. - Accident in panties and small potty in the potty chair.
1:10 p.m. - I put her down for her nap, but after I left the room she immediately got up and called my name. She already had an accident in her panties and then left two drops in the potty chair. After this excitement, she wasn't interested in going back down for a nap.
1:30 p.m. - She had a panicked look on her face but wouldn't do anything on the potty chair. She had an accident in her panties while we were standing in the bathroom, then she had a bigger potty in the potty chair.
2:00 p.m. - Accident in panties and on the kitchen floor. Small potty in the potty chair.
2:15 p.m. - Small accident in panties. Nothing in the potty chair.
2:55 p.m. - Small accident in panties.
3:00 p.m. - Small accident in panties and on the kitchen floor as she said "Avery potty." That's progress, right? Two drops in the potty chair.

The rest of our afternoon and evening consisted of an estimated 100 trips to the bathroom as she said "Avery potty" nearly every minute. Sometimes she would leave a few drops in the potty, but more often she barely sat on the potty chair before she said "Avery done." She had several more accidents, too. We think she's just enjoying the newness of this whole experience and wants to go to the bathroom all of the time. We're still waiting for the first poop either in or out of the potty chair.

Please excuse all of the gory details. I'm trying to keep track of everything for myself!

In case you lost count, we went through 20 of our 33 pairs of panties today. So I'm doing a small load of laundry now to be sure we have a fresh stack of underwear tomorrow.

While over the course of the day I felt frustrated, defeated and exhausted, I think overall we had a successful day. Avery went several times in her potty chair and even started cheering for herself when she did it and heard the music play. I'm praying for a quiet night tonight and fewer accidents tomorrow. I'm sure everything will click with her by the end of the weekend.

05 May 2011

The next milestone

Avery is ready to take on the next milestone in her short, young life. But Mommy isn't.

For a few months now, Avery has talked about the potty, told us when she wet or dirtied her diapers and played with the potty chair. So we decided to start potty training after the excitement of the Japan Clarks' visit subsided and when we ran out of diapers. This weekend marks that time.

We've decided to try the Three-Day Potty Training method. I know what you're thinking...that can't be done in three days! The method isn't anything special, but it all makes very good sense. Basically you get rid of all diapers, put underwear on your child and stay at her side for three days straight while playing, watching TV, coloring and doing other activities. You run her to the bathroom as soon as she starts to have an accident. Then you praise her for any success. After the three days, she'll understand the signals her body is sending her and will go to the bathroom on her own. We're going to try it this weekend and see what happens.

I'm sure she'll pick it up pretty quickly since she seems very ready and is so excited about wearing big girl underwear and using the potty chair. Mommy, on the other hand, is nervous about this whole endeavor. I don't want her (or me!) to get frustrated or upset when things do go well. I don't want to lose our freedom when we are out and about because I'm always going to have to look for bathrooms everywhere we go. And honestly I don't want to lose my little baby! But I'm certainly looking forward to not buying any more diapers!

Avery was such a breeze with everything else (weaning from breastfeeding to the bottle, stopping the pacifier cold turkey, sleep training to sleep through the night, weaning from the bottle to the sippy cup) that I will be surprised if this doesn't go as planned.

So the three of us will be holed up together at home this weekend as we potty train little Miss Avery. We'll try to check in with updates, but I'm anticipating a busy and probably stressful weekend that hopefully will be filled with a lot of fun family time as we watch our precious baby continue to grow into a little girl!

04 May 2011

02 May 2011

Easter pictures

Finally, here are our Easter pictures. I'm only a little more than a week late. Will you forgive me?

We split the afternoon between the grandparents' houses. First up was Grandma and Grandpa Hromada and Aunt KK, of course.

Avery sported a dress made by Grandma Hromada and an Easter basket made by Great Grandma Rork.

She saw the jellybeans and other candy right away and sneaked in a few bites.

Our latest family picture.

Now that Shin-ya is back home in Japan, Karen has moved up to the top of Avery's list of favorite people again.

After lunch, Avery had her own Easter egg hunt...

...with a little help from Grandpa.

She had to open each egg as she found it. Inevitably, all of the goodies ended up on the floor. See Chris in the background? He reacts like this a lot whenever Avery drops food on the floor.

Some of our recreation time included playing Duel on Wii. Dad beat Karen and me way too easily. Then Mom played. They really got into it, like they were actually dueling. I wonder if they play nicely when we're not around.

Next, the party moved to Johnson County and Mommaw and Poppaw Clark's house.


A new sun hat for spending summer days in the pool.

And then it was another Easter egg hunt. Where are the eggs?

Aha! There's one!

This girl can't get enough of the sweet treats. She's definitely my daughter!

01 May 2011

Kids for a day

Our final field trip with Casey, Elvie and Shin-ya was to The Children's Museum of Indianapolis (or "su-seum," as Avery  likes to say). There's always something there for everyone!

First off, Avery dressed up like a dinosaur. She already loves to read books about dinosaurs and even recognizes them on her own.

Currently, there's a special exhibit featuring costumes from TV shows and movies. I took these pictures just for Aunt Karen, who is a huge Wizard of Oz fan. Unfortunately, there weren't any I Love Lucy costumes. :o(

Chris appreciated seeing these two famous costumes up close (Darth Vader and Indiana Jones).

Avery had to host a tea party in this tent in the exhibit about Egypt.

She also played with some other children in the Egyptian cafe.

What's a visit to The Children's Museum without getting your picture taken in the race car?

One of Avery's favorite places is Playscape, made just for kids her age and size. She loves playing in the water...

...and sand.

Casey, Shin-ya and Chris worked together to assemble this arch, while Avery supervised.

And don't forget about the carousel!

Mommaw joined Chris and Avery for a ride on the horses.

Finally, Avery always gets a kick out of the Barbie exhibit. This time, she willingly dressed up and participated in a fashion show.

Shin-ya served as the photographer.

She was a little apprehensive about walking out on the "runway," until she heard her favorite Barbie song on the speakers. Then she started dancing like she does at home! Chris wasn't expecting Avery to react like that. So he did his best to capture the action and caught the end of her performance.

I hope you enjoyed Chris' singing. Apparently, Mattel can brainwash daddies with catchy Barbie songs.