Wednesday, August 31, 2011

First Day of School

Yesterday (8/30) was Jake's first day of school this year. I was excited because this is the first time he has had an actual "first day of school". Always before, he was in daycare, so they went to school year round. He didn't start going to Mother's Day Out until we moved to Birmingham, so that happened in the middle of the year. But this was an actual first day of school. He is going to Westwood Baptist Church 3 days a week. His teacher is Ms. Michelle. (And he calls her "teacher". I was asking him about her and he kept just calling her "teacher". This morning I pointed her out at drop off & asked him what her name was. He said "teacher" matter of factly.) So far I've been very impressed with the school & with Ms. Michelle. And I love to hear Jake ramble on when I pick him up & ask him if he had fun. Hopefully the school year will go as smoothly as the first 2 days have gone!

First day of school

I am always amazed when we buy Jake new tennis shoes. They always seem so much bigger than the previous years! This was the first year that I think the length was actually bigger than the width! (And evidently, with that comes a $20 increase. That's right, New Balance up to size 10 is considered 'infant' size & are $39.99. Above size 10 (Jake is a size 11 wide) is considered 'kid' size & are $59.99. Really?!?! A $20 increase? I thought the store was ripping me off at first, but then realized after research that was the price. I love New Balance & I like for Jake to wear tennis shoes to MDO, so we will live with it, but geeze! I paid more for his tennis shoes than I did for my own!)

Comparison of last year's shoes (size 8) to this year (size 11). As you can see, we definitely get our money's worth!

Happy Birthday Siblings!

Both mine & Robbie's siblings all have birthdays in August. Happy Birthday Andrea, Billy & Lindsey! I know that we don't tell them enough how much we love & miss them (& we obviously don't take enough pictures of them!). We've got some pretty awesome siblings & we sure do love them a lot.

First up, on the 13th was Robbie's sister Andrea's birthday. Andrea is one busy lady. How she juggles it all, I have no idea. She is an ER nurse, is going back to get her master's, her husband is a restaurant manager, so they both work crazy hours and to top it off, she is the mother to one of the sweetest little boys in the world - Jackson! Andrea is so much fun and has been so sweet & welcoming ever since I met her younger brother!

On the 23rd, was my brother Billy's birthday. My brother is a little over 3 years older than me. We have always been super close. Now, we fought like cats & dogs growing up of course, but we have always had a tight bond. He has always looked out for me, even when I didn't want him to (do you know how many guys he scared off in high school?!?!). Big brothers are a parents dream if they are going to have a little girl! I would listen to my big brother way sooner than my parents (I mean, WHAT did they know?). He was also much more in the social scene than a parent could be, so he could definitely be a nark. Plus, I never wanted to disappoint him. I've always looked up to Billy and his opinion matters a lot to me. Even to this day. He is principal of a high school and I'm amazed at how much he cares about that school, the students and their success. (And he is my go-to person for parent etiquette at school!)
Lastly, on the 30th, my younger sister Lindsey celebrated her 25th birthday. Lindsey is 7 years younger than me and when her little surprise self came along, I was in that awkward stage of childhood, where I was too old to think a little sibling was neat & new and too young to really do something helpful like babysit. We always seemed to be in different stages of life growing up. She was in elementary school when I was in high school. I was in college when she was in high school. We both did get married within 3 months of each though! Over the years, we have grown much closer. Now, we are very very different, but I've come to realize that we are also very much alike with certain things. I can remember growing up, I would give Lindsey my hand-me-down clothes (about 5 years out of style), and she would be so excited. Now I'm asking her for fashion advice & begging for her castoff Tory Burch flats. Lindsey & her husband Brooks married pretty soon after they both graduated from Alabama. Usually I would say that you miss out on a lot if you marry that quickly out of college, but boy they have one fun life! They love to take last minute weekend trips to places like Vegas & Miami. She has a closet to die for which includes things like Christian Louboutin shoes. Because they don't have kids yet, they can do fun things like turn a bedroom into a closet. They live in Atlanta in a great part of town where they are remodeling their townhouse. She definitely makes young & married cool. But my favorite thing about Lindsey is her huge heart. Growing up, it would drive me crazy that she would get her feelings hurt so easily, but now I appreciate it because I know that she just really cares about people. Believe me... she is a MUCH sweeter person than me. But don't let that sweetness fool you, she definitely has a feisty side! Lindsey teachers school in Atlanta and I'm so proud at how much she loves those kids and everything she does for them. Every time we hang out, I just love it and wished that we could hang out more often. But they are one of the few people that I know that keep a busier schedule than us! If you want a good laugh, you MUST read her blog ( A lot of times I catch up on blogs while I'm putting Jake to sleep (yes, I know... great parenting job!) and I don't know how many times I've about woken him up because I was dying laughing at her blog. She writes with the angle that teachers can be fashionable. I love that blog & I especially love her so very much.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Potty Training for Dummies (which = me)

Yes, I'm going to be 'that' mom that writes a whole blog on potty training. To me, potty training is a HUGE accomplishment & anyone that has done it deserves a pat on the back! (Unless you were able to do it in 1 day. In that case, I just roll my eyes:).) Anyway, there are not that many milestones that actually save you money. And switching from diapers to underwear counts! Plus, I like reading things that work & don't work for other people, so I thought that I would include what worked for us, what didn't & what we still need work on!

To Begin. I bought a 7-pack of underwear. Now, I felt like in most cases, the underwear always seems to be falling off the kid because it's too big while they are beginning toilet training. So I bought Jake the 2T/3T size. WAY too small. They are skin tight on him. They look like old man tighty- whities (except with a Cars design!). They look hilarious on him. All well, they were $11, so he is stuck with them. (I'm not that mean of a mom, I've since gone back & bought him some 4T size & they fit much better. But I'm still making him wear the 2T/3T as backup. We WILL get our money's worth!)

We were using the method of giving Jake a gummy bear if he was dry (I checked each hour) & a 2 gummy worms if he peed in the potty.

We were going to give this a shot. If we were not making progress in 2 weeks, I was just going to put it up & try again after he turned 3 (or 10).

Day 1. By lunch time, we had gone through 5 of the underwear. Each time he would pee in his underwear, he would insist that he had "potty-d" and needed a gummy worm. Um, no, it doesn't work that way. You have to pee IN the potty, not in your underwear. Jake has been waking up dry from his naps for a few months now, so I knew that was my prime time to show him. Sure enough, he peed in the potty once he got up from his nap. I went crazy with praise & treats. He then proceeded to pee in his underwear for the rest of the day. How in the world can the kid figure out if he has a booger, he needs to pick it & give it to me to throw away, but can't figure out to put his pee in a toilet? All well, maybe day 2 will be better.

Day 2. Jake had 2 accidents in the morning, but then actually told me when he had to pee. It's very strange. He will not pee in the potty if you sit him on it. He'll only do it when he tells you he needs to go. Doesn't matter to me, as long as he tells me! He did really well the rest of the day & only had about 2 more accidents. Maybe he is getting the hang of this.

Day 3. Jake told me each time he had to go to the bathroom up until lunch. I was elated! I patted myself on the back & declared I must be a super mom because he was potty trained by just day 3. Yea, not so much. He proceeded to pee in his underwear 4 times in a row. All well, nothing like a kid to knock you off your high horse! The tough thing with Jake, is if he has to potty, he will tell you "I poo-pooed". Unfortunately, he also tells you that when he has actually pooped. So when he tells you "I poo-pooed" you have to guess if you just need to quickly pull down his underwear & put him on the potty or slowly pull off his poop filled underwear. Choose wrong = Gross.

Day 4. I had to go out of town for the day for a business meeting, so Jake spent the day at my mom's. My mom keeps my niece (who is 3 months older then Jake) 3 days a week & had her that day too. I didn't think about it that my mom would have 2 toddler's potty training. Oops. Sorry mom! The stories are pretty funny from that day though! (Probably not appropriate to share on here.) Jake & Marrell both did good though & kept up their progress. Thanks Nana! (I expect for my mom to retire from retirement at any time!)

Day 5. Doing better each day. I actually didn't have to wash all of the underwear that day. He only had 2 accidents.

Weekend. Completely digressed. It turns out, he'll only tell Robbie or I (or I guess my mom) if he needs to potty. So if we're not around, he'll just use the bathroom wherever.

Week 2. We are back on track & doing good. Still only averaging about 2 accidents a day. One is poop. I don't know how to get him to realize he is pooping & he needs to sit on the toilet to do it. Usually the other one will be when I'm on a conference call & am not around to either ask him if he needs to go or for him to tell me he has to.

Next Steps. Getting Jake to poop in the toilet. Peeing in a toilet if we are out of the house. (What do you do? Bring with you a toddler potty seat cover? Hold him over the toilet?)

What didn't work for us (Note: everyone & every situation is different. What works great for one will not work for someone else & vice versa. This is just what did/didn't work for us.)

  • I introduced the potty way too early. I didn't try potty training Jake, but I went ahead & bought one about 8 months ago just so he could get use to seeing it. (In my defense, he was the youngest in his daycare class & the others were starting to potty train, so I figured he might want to as well.) My plan backfired. Once I got ready to actually potty train, the potty was nothing new or exciting. To Jake, it was his Barcalounger, not a toilet. So we bought a new one that looked different & he seemed to get more excited about it. We got the Fisher Price Fun to Learn Potty & have been very pleased. (Not to let barcalounger go to waste, we use it as the backup on the first floor of the house.)

  • I didn't make potty training a priority. Before we got focused last week, I would kind of try, but then get busy & forget. I was not consistent. I ended up getting frustrated, but it was my fault.

  • I was using pull-ups. Now don't get me wrong, we will use pull-ups down the road (for car trips & night), but the problem with potty training with them was Jake didn't mind peeing in them. If fact, I think he preferred it, because it meant that he got put on a new one (he loved that they had Cars on them). So once I got serious about it, I used underwear & he gets a lot more uncomfortable peeing in them then pull-ups.

So, I figure like we almost have phase I down. It has certainly been an adventure & I'm pretty sure we will have to have the Bush's carpet professional cleaned. Slowly but surely we will get there!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Vacation at the Beach

We planned a little mini-vacation for the beach & got a great deal on a condo price from a friend that was way bigger then what we needed. So, we invited one of my best friends who lives not too far away, to come join us. I'm so glad they did! It was so nice to not only be at the beach as a family, but to also share it with one of my favorite people in this world. Stephanie & I have been best friends since we met our freshman year at college as sorority pledges. I cannot believe that we've been best friends for 14 years now! We both found out we were pregnant within days of each other. Our due dates were 2 days apart, but Jake ended up coming early, so the boys have about a 3 week age difference. It is so much fun to see them carry on the friendship (even if they are only 2!!)

I'm pretty sure they were talking about picking up girls at the beach

Beach time & in no mood for pictures Playing in the ocean

Playing in the sand

Before dinner

Best friends!

Love it :)

Our family (Jake refused to look at any camera. Lovely)

Stephanie & me with our families

Pre dinner cocktail of crackers

Just lounging back

Or sitting by the window (Both boys ended up playing up there & looking out the windows. We didn't realized that it was covered in dust. They had brown all over the skin, their clothes, everywhere. It was a dusty mess!)

Camel ride outside a party shack

Jake & Daddy

Grant & Jake with Jonathan

Being brave going out into the ocean

Sharing a Popsicle

Grant was not amused with my picture taking

Such a fun time

Thank you Jonathan, Stephanie & Grant making our vacation much more memorable!! We love you guys & miss you!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Happy Birthday Addie!

We were in Chattanooga over the weekend for Addie's birthday. It was a great reunion with special friends to celebrate a very special little girl's birthday.

Birthday Girl!!

Great friends excited to be reunited
Jake & Connor
Off to go find trouble
Sweet Jonathan!
Addie loved everyone singing Happy Birthday to her
Jake & Addie

My sweet little boy
Just hanging out...
...telling secrets...

...laughing our heads off!!

Sweet joy
The dads trying to put together Addie's Cozy Coupe

Close enough

Still trying
Sweet friends
Love these 3 kiddos so much. Such special friends...
Just taking his girl out for their date
Playing a little wii before bed
We have such special friends in Chattanooga. We love & miss them so much!! It was so great to see everyone!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Good-bye July

Because Robbie & I both work in business & Jake goes to school year round, the summer months are really no different then all of the others except they are much hotter! Sometimes it makes me sad that I will never have another summer vacation, but at least I don't have to get sad when it ends! I do like though that the months June, July & August just seem to be more laid back. Therefore, I still LOVE summer even though I don't get a summer vacation. But this summer has been tough & I have to admit, I'm glad July is over. I had 2 huge projects at work that both happened to fall into the month of July. So I spent all of June & July preparing. Add on top of that selling the house (PRAISE!!), but the buyers moving up the closing date 2 weeks, meant we were scrambling to get everything ready. Thankfully we had a relocation company moving us, but it was still hectic trying to get everything ready. (But again, we are so so so thankful to get the house sold & moved out, so we are happy no matter how crazy it was!) Add onto that a few other bumps along the way. But, July is gone & I now get to try to celebrate the last month of summer!

We are kicking our August off with a trip to see Jake's Chattanooga girlfriend Addie for her 2nd birthday. Jake's closest friends in Chattanooga were Addie & Connor. He has seen them both since we left, but the 3 of them have not had a chance to hang out all together. He is so excited to see them!! (And of course Robbie & I are so excited to see their parents who just happen to be some of our closest friends in Chattanooga as well!) Then next week, we FINALLY get to go on a vacation. I feel like some people are already on their 5th or 6th vacation of the year. We are heading down to the beach for a few days. And I'm super excited because we will be joined by one of my best friends Stephanie & her family! YAHOO!!

Here's to last few days of summer! We are certainly going to try to make them count!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Jake moments from the last 3 weeks...

One morning I couldn't find Jake. I finally found him on Mimi & Granddad's bed. They had left the paper on it.

He loves to "read" the paper. (Which really means he loves to destroy it making it impossible for anyone else to read.)

Jake's cousin Jackson came to visit for a week. The Bush's bought them a slip-n-slide. There is a reason the box said for 5 & up. This 2-year-old completely did not get it. (These are completely posed shots!)

He would run, stop & then fall down & lay there. He did like the sprinkler at the end though

I found him one day like this with his feet propped up

My office space is in the bonus room right behind this sofa. But the desk faces the wall, so if Jake is playing, my back is usually to him. I was working one day & heard Jake "fake snoring". I tried around & found this...

It's his new place to watch movies

Bed before (we have the mattress on the ground & he was still able to climb out)

Bed after (we are all much happier!)

I thought this was sweet. I went up to check on him one night, & he was using Llama as a pillow.

Jake loves for you to sing to him, but he hardly ever sings. I just barely caught him singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.