Glimpses into Our Life

Life last week was a typical week without much activity outside of the home, just the regular hustle and bustle within!

Every afternoon when John David arrived home, we were outside working/playing. We go outside during the day to play but it’s nearly impossible to do anything productive while wrangling 2 littles by myself!
Bundled Up

John David went outside to work early one morning before leaving for work and Paxton wanted to help. I layered him up (pajamas, clothes and coat/scarf/hat). He really thought it was something that he still had his pajamas on!
Little Helpers

All of the sudden it seems like Weston has left babyhood behind and has graduated fully into toddlerhood, (maybe this is because he was 14 months old on the 22nd)! This week he really started imitating his big brother including dragging chairs over to the sink and counter to ‘help’ me in the kitchen. It’s incredibly cute but also makes preparing meals in our small kitchen a bit of a challenge when chairs/stools are everywhere!

Playing with Rice

This past week I needed an activity to keep  both boys busy while I did some cooking and cleaning in the kitchen. I remembered how much the 3-year-olds in my former Sunday School classes loved playing with rice. I had rice, pans, cups and spoons so I set everything out and gave them about 2 cups of rice to play with. This simple, inexpensive activity kept them busy for 30 minutes! Yes, there was rice everywhere but most of it was in a central location so clean up was pretty simple. (And, even now, 5 days later, there are still grains of rice in various parts of the house but that’s just part of life with littles!)
Lap of Love

Thursday night, I nursed Weston to sleep and then just held him. Paxton had already read about 5 stories and it was an hour past bedtime so he climbed up beside Weston and me, laid his head down and was out. I just savored the moment of having a lap full of love!
Refinishing Chair

I started on a project this weekend. We have 4 chairs that are on our back deck that we’ve had a few years but need to be sanded and re-painted. (It’s one of those projects that have been on my mental to do list for nearly 4 years!) I finally took action! I scraped and sanded 2 of the chairs this weekend.
Working HardI had to share this photo I found on my phone, taken by Paxton! At this moment, Weston was sitting in my lap because he kept running off, trying to dig up my strawberry plants. Paxton actually helped me sand the chairs quite a bit.

So that’s a glimpse into life this week. (Minus the diaper changes, grogginess from waking at 2:30 with a teething baby, staying in my pajamas until 10, dirty floors and so on!)

Toy Rotation

Toy Rotation

We choose to live simply and keep our possessions pared down.

We would choose to live minimally regardless of where we live but the reality is we have 2 young children and live in a 1,300 square foot home. Children are magnets for stuff — especially toys. Without intentionally keeping our toy ‘collection’ pared down, the toys would quickly overtake our small home!

Our boys don’t have an abundance of toys. While we have a smaller than average amount of toys for 2 children, if they were all out at the same time, our entire home would be covered in toys!

The solution to keeping our toys manageable is a toy rotation.

Toy Storage

Our ‘excess’ toys are stored in the closet in our 2-year-old’s room. The top shelves store all the extras – blocks, play sets, vehicles and puzzles. (As well as a few blankets and nighttime diapers!)

When Paxton wants a ‘new’ toy, he will trade one of the ones he has already out, keeping the amount of toys out under control.

Besides not having toys everywhere, the toy rotation is fun — when we trade toys, it’s like getting a new toy again. We’ll get a ‘new’ toy down and it will hold their attention for awhile.

Preschool Toys

The preschool toys that are out are stored in Paxton’s closet on the bottom shelves. The shelves are natural limiters for the amount of toys that are out — if the shelves are too full, something else needs to be put up.

This week we have out dress up clothes, trains, foam building blocks (the other half were all over the floor when this picture was taken), wooden blocks, instruments, tractors/trucks and the walker wagonwhich serves as storage for their balls!

Toddler Toys

We also have a small bookshelf in Weston’s room with baby/toddler toys. He prefers playing alongside his older brother but we have some more ‘age appropriate’ toys available for his independent/one-on-one with mama/daddy play including board books, chunky puzzles, soft books, a few teethers and soft blocks.

Book Storage

We also do a similar thing for our books. The bulk of our children’s books are stored on the bookshelf in our room. While the boys have access to this bookshelf all of the time, we keep the books in their rooms rotated since they seem to spend more time independently ‘reading’ in their rooms. Preschool Books

We keep Paxton’s rotation of books on his dresser (so little brother won’t tear them up). During rest time or bed time, we’ll grab a stack of books from here to read to him or let him ‘read’ to himself.

Implementing a toy rotation really has helped keep our home from becoming overtaken by toys, keeps the toys we have exciting and keeps mama sane since everything is organized!

Do you have a toy rotation in place? 

And, I think it should be noted that the rooms are only this clean early in the morning and before bed. I tidied up a bit to snap these pictures. Remember, this blog is only a glimpse into my life and not the full picture — the reality is, I’m really a mess!

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A Day in My Life – 2013

A glimpse into my life as a stay at home mama of two on Monday, January 21, 2013:

Good Morning

8:00 :: I’m out of bed and go get a fussy Weston who is ready to nurse! While he’s nursing, Paxton wakes up and joins us in my bed. Typically while I’m nursing, I am thinking about our day, mainly about what’s for breakfast and lunch!

Breakfast

9:00 :: The boys have started breakfast already and are eating while I’m checking e-mail. {We recently moved the desk and computer into the dining area so it makes multi-tasking a bit easier!} Breakfast usually lasts 45 minutes to an hour! They are so hungry in the mornings and Paxton frequently says, “I still hungry!”

Blog Post

10:00 :: Now that the ‘breakfast hour’ is officially over and the boys are dressed for the day, I sit down and actually write a blog post. Lately, it’s very rare for me to even attempt to write a blog post during the day but they are happily playing together in Paxton’s room so I take advantage of the time. {This 30 minutes or so of them playing together gives me hope that the days will get even easier as Weston is getting older and is beginning to enjoy independent play and playing with brother!}Reading

11:00 :: I’m sitting in bed nursing Weston while reading booksto Paxton. Nursing hasn’t always been this easy during this past year but now that Paxton is turning into a pre-schooler, he loves, loves, loves when I read to him. After Weston finishes nursing, we all head to the dining room to do ‘art stuff’ {that’s what Paxton calls art time}. {Art time is super hard with a young toddler! Weston wants to participate but he tries to eat the crayons and color pencils. I often will give him our magna doodle so he can participate but it doesn’t keep him happy for long. Because of this, art time is rare these days…about once or twice a week.}

Art Time

12:00 :: We’re picking up art supplies and laying out our creations to dry. As soon as the art supplies are picked up, I start prepping lunch since it is noon.

Lunch Time

1:00 :: The boys are almost finished eating lunch. {Again, it’s taken nearly an hour for the boys to eat lunch!} Notice Paxton is missing his shirt, some days it’s just so much easier to take the shirts off and let them eat without worrying about staining clothes. {Most days they wear play clothes that are already stained but this day Paxton was wearing a ‘nice’ shirt that I’d rather not ruin since he doesn’t have that many clothes!}Rest Time

2:00 :: It’s rest time! Paxton is in his room reading and I’m laying down with Weston. My boys are not good nappers. Paxton typically reads and plays quietly during rest time but rarely naps. Weston needs a nap but prefers to be held or nursed while he naps so I frequently nurse him to sleep and then take a nap myself or read beside him. Playing Games

3:00 :: Rest time is over and Paxton wants to play. We used Old Maid cards to play ‘memory’. Of course, the game didn’t last long since little brother wants to be right in on the action which to him is in the middle of our game. We put the game up and play with blocks and read books. Washing Dishes

4:00 :: I’m finally washing up breakfast and lunch dishes while the boys eat a snack.

Starting Seeds

5:00 :: The boys are playing at the moment so I take advantage and start some seeds! This week we started cabbage and onions since they’re cooler weather crops. I’m looking forward to watching these grow. {And, notice my upcycled starting ‘pots’? Egg cartons and pots from plants we purchased last spring!}

Dinner Prep

6:00 :: Hubby is now home and we’ve spent the past 30 minutes in the garage preparing for our baby chicks which are arriving in a few weeks! {We’re going to have backyard chickens again this year and are so excited!}  I come in right at 6 and start dinner. We had stove grilled pork chops, baked fries and fried apples, yum!Dinner Time

7:00 :: Finishing up dinner, getting ready to clear the dishes and get the boys ready to pick up toys and read books before bed.
Crocheting

8:00 :: Paxton is reading with his daddy, I’m nursing Weston in bed and crocheting. A wonderful end for a January day! Weston goes down around 8:30. I’m ready to stop since I’ve been going for 12 hours at this point but I still have to clean up the kitchen, tidy the house and prep for the next day. John David and I typically spend the evenings reading, occasionally watching a show and relaxing.

That’s 9 am to 9 pm in January 2013!

In January 2012, I also recorded a day in my life. One year ago I had a 1-month-old and 21-month-old. In that post, I wrote :

During this season in my life, I’m focusing primarily on keeping up with the laundry, keeping diapers clean, preparing meals, keeping the kitchen clean and making sure my children are clean, dry and loved!

While the boys are a bit easier now, one year later, I’m still in that same season of life and those are still my main priorities.

My days Monday through Thursday are very similar to this one. I love the ‘calm’ days spent at home with my boys! I attend a Mom’s Group at church on Wednesday mornings and we’ll schedule a play date about once a month but for the most part, this is an accurate glimpse into my life.

Linked to: A Day in the Life of… at Simply Rebekah

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Potty Training

Now that Paxton has been potty trained for almost 6 months, I’m finally ready to share about our training experience. {I’ve been hesitant to share, fearing that it was too good to be true and he’d regress!}

I’m certainly no expert in potty training and don’t believe the process we used will work for every child but this is what worked for Paxton.

First, I want to note that I had absolutely no expectations or hopes of having him potty trained before the age of 3. Most of the little boys I know trained right around the age 3 and I was okay with that. I’ve heard mama’s of little ones talk about training like it’s a competition. Hear me mama’s, it’s not a competition! I did not get a gold star for having a little boy potty trained at 2 {although a lightened cloth diaper load was a huge reward!}

When Paxton turned 2 in April, we bought him underwearand a small potty,  just to introduce them to him and see if he had any interest. We put the underwear on him and talked to him about pee-peeing in the potty but he had no interest. We put the underwear away but left the potty in our bathroom and talked to him about using it when we were in the bathroom.

In June, he developed a diaper rash and I decided to let him ‘air out’ rather than using disposables and diaper cream. I rolled up the rugs and pulled out the potty {it was in whatever room we were in so he had easy access}. There were accidents and it wasn’t fun with a 6-month-old fussy little brother but after a couple days he was pee-peeing in the potty occasionally. He went to my parents a few days later for a week and I decided to postpone the training so he and my parents could enjoy the visit.

When he got back, I decided we were going to spend another week diaper free in an attempt to potty train. We stayed home all week, he ran around naked and towards the end of the week, his success rate was good enough that my husband and I ventured to town with him in underwear and the potty in the back of our car. He did have a little accident while we were gone but it was a matter of not getting to the potty fast enough instead of just peeing on himself, we counted that a success!

He did struggle a little bit with underwear, he seemed to view them like a diaper and was okay wetting in them. We spent about a week ‘underwear training’.

In mid-July, he went to visit my husband’s parents for a week and we sent the small potty along with him. He had no accidents all week with them including #2!

By the beginning of August, I considered him trained, he was in underwear full time and had a success rate of about 80%.

Of course, there were accidents along the way like #2 at friends homes {he’s had a hard time tearing himself away from toys} and at church. He also had a habit of wetting in class on Sunday’s but most of the time it was because he told his teachers too late.

Now, at 2 years and 7 months old, he’s 95% potty trained. There’s the occasional accident due to laziness and he wears nighttime training pants but he successfully goes to town and has even taken a few road trips without accidents!

This brief summary of our potty training makes it seem almost easy and it was easier than I expected but still very involved. In the past 2 months, as his success rate has increased, my stress level has decreased and I know the stress was due to potty training.

If you’re thinking about potty training, my advice is do not compare your child to others and don’t pressure your child to train if he’s not ready. And, buy a bottle of non-toxic cleaning spray to clean up the frequent accidents in those early days.

Potty Training Supplies:

 

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