Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Potty Training: The Often Overlooked Messy Milestone

Potty Training

 

From the moment our children are born, we eagerly anticipate all those milestones. From the first smile to the first steps, we're there to cheer them on every step of the way! Those are the most anticipated milestones, but there's one that's often overlooked: potty training!

Pull-Ups

With the first child, we can't WAIT for them to achieve their milestones. But by the time another child is born, we realize just how quickly time goes by. The truth is milestones will be achieved and they will be achieved much faster than we could ever imagine.  There's no need to rush anything or compare your child to others! Kids will get there when they are ready.

Those other milestones are surrounded by so much excitement, but seasoned parents know the real deal: The most exciting milestone is having a fully potty trained child! That is the ultimate reward after that often incredibly frustrating journey. And for a parent of a child who has special needs, it's easily the most exciting and most rewarding milestone of them all!


Potty Training


Right now, Liam is working on two major milestones. Not only is he potty training, but he will also be starting his first day of preschool next month. There are some huge changes ahead for my sweet boy. Some changes I'm ready for (having a fully potty trained child) while others are a bit tough on mommy.

Most of my readers know that Liam has Down syndrome. Although he's defying all those misconceptions and showing the world that he is fully capable, there is some uncertainty about when he will be fully potty trained. One of his main goals is to have him ready for FULL inclusion within a year. I was expecting at least two to three years in a developmental preschool before reaching our goal of full inclusion in Kindergarten, but Liam is doing so well that it got pushed up. That means that he has to be day trained by next Fall. I'm so proud of him but it also makes me really nervous!

Potty Training a child with Down syndrome

We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I'm armed with the experience of potty training his three older siblings and I have an arsenal of dependable products by my side. A positive attitude and believing that he can and will conquer this milestone also helps!

Right now we're on vacation at the beach. And although we're taking a break from reality, there is no break in potty training! Liam has to keep working on that milestone in order to avoid a regression.  We officially made the switch to only using Pull-Ups during the day so he feels like a big boy and we visit the potty often. VERY often.

Pull-Ups

Let me just say that going to the beach with 4 kids is no joke. I'm going to need another vacation (ALONE) by the time we get home. Our SUV was packed to the point of overflowing and that was even with a luggage rack on top. There was no way Liam's Pull-Ups, nighttime diapers and wipes were going to fit in the car. Thankfully, I found a Walmart Neighborhood Market near our hotel and made plans to stop by to stock up after we arrived!

Potty Training

Of course, as most parents know, always expect the unexpected. Leave it to me to get sick-REALLY sick-on our road trip to the beach. NOT FAIR. I waited all year for this vacation only to experience incredibly bad luck. A stuffy nose, sore throat, fever and literally no sleep in over 24 hours left me so weak that my husband actually offered to do the shopping for me.

I sent him to the Walmart Neighborhood Market with a detailed list, screenshots of what he needed to buy and an assistant. Let's be honest here: it wasn't overkill. My husband is skilled in many areas but shopping is not one of them. Luckily, the Walmart Neighborhood Market in Virginia Beach made it easy for him!

Walmart Neighborhood Market

After only 3 picture texts and one phone call, he was confident he had everything Liam needed. He did so well that I decided to forgive him for forgetting the Tylenol to take my fever away! The fact that he bought me chocolate definitely helped. (That's totally a potty training reward for me. When you log in all those hours in the bathroom watching your child sit on a toilet, a reward is necessary. Give me chocolate. ALL the chocolate.)

So here we are at the beach and potty training is still in full swing! Liam's tiny booty is encased in the soft comfort of Pull-Ups Training Pants. (And by tiny, I really do mean tiny. He weighed in at 25 lbs just before his third birthday, so I'm very grateful for the adjustable sides on the Pull-Ups which give him a snug, secure fit.) We've gotten to know every single detail about the hotel bathroom.

We're not quite ready to make the switch to underwear yet, so Pull-Ups are a great alternative! Liam can easily pull them on and off all by himself which builds his confidence. They look and work more like underwear than diapers, which helps him feel like a big kid. They still offer leak protection, so I don't have to worry so much about all those messes that happen!

Pull-Ups

Plus, the Disney Cars patterns are a hit! They are perfect for a little boy. Liam keeps pointing at his training pants and buildeveryone "Beep Beep!"  Hopefully he will continue to remain this enthusiastic about the potty training process!

When Liam is wearing Pull-Ups, I feel confident that I can keep all those #MishapMoments under control! And when those inevitable messes do happen, I have a trusty stockpile of Huggies wipes at my fingertips at all times.

Huggies Natural Care Wipes

Wipes are simply the most versatile baby product that can be used long after those potty training days are over! My husband actually asked if we really needed 3 packs of Huggies Natural Care wipes this week. My answer was yes. Most definitely yes! There a few good reasons I keep a pack in my purse, a pack in the diaper bag, a pack in our car, a pack attached to the stroller and a pack in each room of our home!

Although the initial use is for diaper changes, wipes aren't just for wiping tiny bums. They're also great for wiping messy hands and faces, wiping messes off of tables, wiping off public toilets before using them, wiping off strollers and other baby gear and wiping up any potty training mishaps. (There are also many other uses around the home, such as dusting off furniture and cleaning cell phone screens!)

That multi-pack of Huggies Natural Care wipes already came in handy this week. From wiping up puddles of pee to cleaning ice cream off of the stroller handle to scrubbing off spaghetti covered cheeks, those wipes were a mom's best friend! My advice to new moms is to stock up on wipes and NEVER run out!

With the help of Pull-Ups and Huggies wipes, Liam's potty training journey is going as smoothly as possible! And thanks to Walmart Neighborhood Market, they had us covered with everything we needed for Liam, even when we were 350+ miles away from home!

Potty Training Essentials


Visit your local Walmart Neighborhood Market for great prices on Pull-Ups or your favorite Huggies products! Find a location HERE.

Everybody loves to save money! From August 28th through September 10th use THIS COUPON on Huggies wipes at your local Walmart Neighborhood Market OR save on Pull-Ups or GoodNites by using THIS COUPON.

Thank you to Pull-Ups for sponsoring today's post and for being a great potty training tool during this significant milestone!

Potty Training Tips

Tell me about your potty training experience with your child! Was it easy? Was it frustrating? Do you have any great tips to share? What are your favorite potty training tools?

Mom Style with XO Kerry {Guest Post}

I may be a mom but I still care about the way I look. I do make an effort to get dressed and look put together each day. But it's so easy to feel less than when you log onto Instagram and see all those amazingly fashionable moms!


That being said, their style isn't often real. How could one possibly chase after four kids while wearing 6 inch stilettos and micro dress? That's why I love XO Kerry!  If you want REAL life mom fashion inspiration, look no further!!!

This post contains affiliate links.
  
Graphic tees. One trend all moms can pull off! I tend to shy away from trends and look for classic pieces but I love incorporating a good graphic tee into my wardrobe. They can be styled so many ways - dressed down with jeans, dressed up with a pencil skirt or super casual with yoga pants. Today I'm going to show you how I like to wear my Mommin' Ain't Easy tee!





I paired my tee with my favorite skinny jeans and flats for a laid back look. I like to wear this to play dates, grocery shopping or just hanging around the house. Graphic tees make enough statement on their own but it's also fun to accessorize! Below I'm wearing my Madre Beads necklace. It's the perfect accessory for busy/teething babies.




   
On Me: Thread Tank Tee | Liverpool Jeans | Madre Beads Necklace c/o | Francesca's Shoes | Timi & Leslie Diaper Bag c/o | Similar Sunglasses

On Parker: Old Navy Tee | Similar Skirt | Shoes | Little Poppy Co Headband

Photography by Photos by SW

What's your favorite way to wear a graphic tee?

Thanks for letting me take over your space today, Stefanie! If you're looking for more Mommy & Me styles, be sure to check out my blog XO Kerry. I'd also love to connect on social media. You can find me on Facebook, Pinterest, Bloglovin', Instagram, and Twitter!

Monday, August 22, 2016

How I Get My Kids To Do Chores Without Complaining {GUEST POST}

Happy Monday, my friends!  I'm currently enjoying a family vacation at the beach so some fellow bloggers are covering my blog posts this week!


The first guest post is from Loving Little Dixie. Sarah is sharing how she gets her kids to do chores without complaining. I'm sure most parents would gladly accept some help in this department!


MEET SARAH:



I'm a Bible reading, coffee drinking mom of three learning to love life in a small town. I'm married to a general contractor and, together, we love turning houses into homes. We lived in seven houses in four metropolitan areas before moving to a small town to start our own construction business. I blog at Loving Little Dixie, where I hope to inspire others to step into the role for which they were created, live life with purpose and focus on what matters most - wherever they are planted. I am learning to do the same.





I am the kind of person who has to do it all and do it perfectly.

My husband graciously reminded me one morning after I had a complete meltdown that I do not have to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders, and I have two sets of extra hands that need to be utilized.

When you have three kids living in your house, the amount laundry and trash and dishes {to name a few} multiplies exponentially.

My kids typically start helping around the house at age 4, doing things like making their beds, picking up toys, putting away laundry and brushing their teeth. At this age, they are eager to help.

As they get older, they become more difficult to motivate, which leads to me trying to do everything myself.

Enter REWARDS EXPRESS.



This app changed my life. We’ve been using it for several months now, and the system still works. My kids, who are ages 7 and 9, now do multiple chores a day without complaining. They even ask to do extra chores on occasion.

You can assign points to specific tasks and assign those tasks to the child of your choice. Once they earn a certain number of points, they can redeem their points for rewards.


 Everything is completely customizable. You choose the tasks, the rewards and the point values for both. The app takes care of the rest.

Anything that simplifies life at home is a win in my book. How do you motivate your kids to help out around the house?

Disclosure: There are no affiliate links in this post. This is not a free app, but I will not make a commission if you choose to purchase.

Connect with Loving Little Dixie:

BLOG
FACEBOOK
INSTAGRAM
PINTEREST 
TWITTER

Thank you so much for sharing this awesome app, Sarah. I can't wait to try it for my older kids!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Downright Blessed - Meagan and Asher

How a Down syndrome diagnosis is received varies from person to person. Some people find out prenatally, some people find out at birth and some people don't find out until their baby is much older. The feeling upon hearing the news, however, is often very much the same.


I met Meagan through the Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network. Most of you know that we didn't officially find out that Liam had Down syndrome until he was almost 3 weeks old. It was suspected at birth, but the doctors were divided. It was a LONG wait for the results. Meagan's diagnosis story is a bit different. Meagan found out that her beautiful son, Asher, had Down syndrome prenatally. Read on to hear Meagan's diagnosis story!




I will never forget the day I got the news that our son Asher would be born with Down Syndrome. My OBGYN called and told me my test results came back abnormal for Down Syndrome and that we would need to meet with a genetic counselor as soon as possible. I remember feeling every emotion possible in the weeks leading up to the meeting. One minute I was heartbroken and depressed and the next I was angered and frustrated. I never really knew what to feel, because I had no idea what it all meant.


At the meeting, the genetic counselor asked questions about our family history and gave us information about my results. She told us about the risk Asher and I could face while I was pregnant. She told us about the health issues he could be born with or have to deal with as he grows up. She even asked if I still wanted to proceed with the pregnancy?! What she didn’t tell us was how much joy and happiness Asher would bring us. Or how much closer our family would be because of him.

Down Syndrome, also known as Trisomy 21, is an extra copy of the 21st chromosome. This extra genetic material manifests itself in a number of ways, most notably intellectual and developmental delays, and recognizable physical characteristics. What does that mean for our Asher? It means he has Down Syndrome, but he doesn’t have every single characteristic of Down Syndrome. He has his own physical features, likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, and traits that make him unique. It also means he might need a little extra time and attention to hit his milestones as he grows, but nothing will stop him!

Asher is an individual, just like everyone else. Down Syndrome is only a piece of who he is. We will not write his future for him and neither will society. Although Down Syndrome is apart of Asher, it does not define him. He is so much more and we want to share his journey with the world!

I wanted to share some pictures for those of you who haven’t met my son from birth up until recently. I cannot believe he is almost the big O-N-E! Everyone, please meet Asher!





This post originally appeared on My Atlanta Moms Club, where Meagan is a contributor. You can find Meagan posting about life with Asher on his Facebook fan page, on Twitter and on Instagram.

Thank you so much for sharing your story, Meagan! If you would like to contribute to the Downright Blessed: Life with Down Syndrome series, please send an email to lexieloolilyboodylantoo@yahoo.com.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Happy 3rd Birthday, Liam! {The Busiest Birthday Ever}

My beautiful boy celebrated his 3rd Birthday today!  I truly can't believe my baby is THREE!


Birthday Traditions

We celebrated this sweet boy all day long!

Birthday Traditions

Of course it turned out to be the busiest day ever!

After our morning celebration, we had to go to Dylan, Lexie and Lily's schools for building visitation. They are in three different buildings and when you have 5 kids with you it's quite a workout. Park the car, haul out the stroller, unstrap 2 kids from their car seats, harness 1 kid in the stroller, push the stroller to the school from the farthest parking spot, visit the school (which requires a trip in the elevator), walk back to the car, strap 2 kids back into their seats, fold and store the stroller, drive to the next school and repeat two more times. Did I mention I woke up with a cold? (BAD timing.)

In 2 weeks, I will have an unimpressed 6th grader...

6th Grade

A 4th grader...

4th Grade

A kindergartener...

Kindergarten

AND a preschooler!

Preschool
{Shirt - Koala Kids from Babies R Us}

This mama will be shedding a lot of tears over the next few weeks!

After school tours, we stopped by Grant's mom's house to pick up some packages and ended up visiting for a few minutes. We headed back home so I could pack for vacation. With less than 24 hours to go until we left, I really needed to start!  

More about those 5 kids: my great niece has spent every weekday with us this Summer and today was her last day with us. We still see her throughout the year, but we're really going to miss her. She's a part of my crew and Lexie and Aubrey are best friends! My girls were so sad when my niece picked Aubrey up to take her home.

Best Friends

By then, there were all those vital last minute errands, like getting the luggage rack from my sister, filling up the SUV with gas (hello, fuel perks) and stocking up on almond milk for Liam.

We did take a brief break from the insanity for dinner. Grant met us on his way home from work and we celebrated our birthday boy. Of course, Liam had his usual: a salad!

The Lucky Few

We rushed home from dinner to have a mini birthday party for Liam! My parents and Grant's mom came over to celebrate. We gave Liam his gifts and had some cake. I do feel bad that he received all these new toys and has to leave them behind for a week!

After everybody left, we had to load up our SUV...in the dark. Grant headed to bed early so he could get some sleep and I put the birthday boy to bed. Despite the craziness of our schedule, he had a great birthday!

Third Birthday

I'm pulling an all nighter to get everything done.  It's all worth it, though. In less than 12 hours I will be seeing my favorite view!

Virginia Beach

It will be a very welcome break after the past few months of constant busyness. We don't have a single thing on our agenda other than enjoying the beach! 

My blogging schedule will be jam-packed when I return! Next week, however, I have a few awesome guest posts coming your way. I'm not a fan of blank blog space for a full week, but I do plan on enjoying a break from EVERYTHING, so these awesome mamas have it covered!

I try to blog every weekday, but had to take a brief break this week to get things done. One of those things was a post for Pittsburgh Moms Blog! In honor of Liam's birthday today, I shared a post about Liam's birth diagnosis. I get a lot of questions about how it went undetected so I decided to share that part of our story. You can read it HERE or just click on the picture below!  

" The truth is there are no guarantees in life. I had a 1 in 891 chance of having a child with Down syndrome. I didn’t think it would ever happen to me."

http://pittsburgh.citymomsblog.com/pregnancy/syndrome-can-go-undetected-pregnancy/


I was feeling all the feels when I wrote that post, especially considering Liam "graduated" from early intervention yesterday and we had to say goodbye to his amazing team of therapists. When I get back from vacation, I will be sharing Liam's full birthday recap along with his 3 year pictures. Right now it's time for a road trip! Have a great week, my friends! XOXO

Happy 3rd Birthday to my sweet boy! He is the most amazing unexpected surprise I've every received.  I love this kid with every ounce of my being!


Motherhood

Let's Be Friends!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Beach Themed Kids Activities - Camp Mom Week 10

 Beach Themed Kids Activities

Happy Tuesday, my friends! I can't believe it, but this is officially our final week of Camp Mom. When I came up with the idea I never expected to make it through the entire Summer, but we made it 10 weeks! 50 incredibly fun kids activities are now documented on my blog!


It was a LOT of work, but such a great experience. Lexie keeps telling me that I'm the coolest mom ever because I did so many fun things with them this Summer. She's on the verge of the tween years and being annoyed by me, so all that hard work and dedication to our Summer project was well worth it!

Our final week of Camp Mom was definitely our favorite. We decided to have a week full of beach themed activities to prepare us for our beach vacation in a few days.  Trust me when I say that the activities this week are the coolest!

 Here's a recap of our final week of Camp Mom kids activities: 

 

Jellyfish in a Jar - Camp Mom Day 46 

 


Jellyfish in a Jar

My mom posted this activity on my Facebook wall years ago but we never got the chance to try it. I knew it would be perfect for our beach theme!

My Pet Jellyfish

Supplies:
  • Empty Water Bottle with the label removed (I like Voss water bottles)
  • Water
  • Food Coloring
  • Scissors and Thread
  • Clear Bread Storage Bags (a fold top sandwich bag would work for a smaller version)
Directions:
  1.  Fill the empty water bottle with water. 
  2. Add a drop of blue food coloring and shake to disperse.
  3. Grab the sandwich bag and make a jellyfish head by bunching the closed end together. (It should look like a ghost.) 
  4. Tie a thread loosely around the "neck." The hole needs to remain slightly open right now so you can fill it with a little bit of water and air.
  5. Make tentacles by trimming the end of the bag with the scissors. You can also trim the bottom a bit so it fits inside the water bottle.
  6. Fill the head half full with water, blow in some air and close the hole tightly with the thread.
  7. Drop your jellyfish into the water bottle, seal the lid tightly and watch it float around as you flip and turn the bottle.
The end result is really cool!

Jellyfish


Puffy Paint Sand Castles - Camp Mom Day 47 

Puffy Paint Sand Castles

This craft is very similar to the puffy paint ice cream cones we made a few weeks ago. The kids love puffy paint so much that we had to do it again with a beach twist!

Supplies:
  • Construction Paper
  • White School Glue (4 oz)
  • Shaving Cream
  • Sand
  • Paint Brushes
  • Shells
 Directions:
  1. Empty the glue into a bowl, squirt in an equal amount of shaving cream and blend together. 
  2. Start pouring in sand by the handful until you get the desired consistency. We used a lot! 
  3. Paint a sandcastle onto the construction paper. Make sure to use a thick layer of sandy puffy paint!
  4. Decorate the sand castle with shells by pressing them gently into the puffy paint. 
  5. Lay flat to dry.
Puffy paint is always a hit with my kids and they loved this beach-themed project!

Puffy Paint


Under the Sea Graham Crackers - Camp Mom Day 48 

Under The Sea Graham Crackers 

I planned this activity back in the Spring and it must be a popular idea! Lily went to a birthday party recently and received a similar one as a favor. She ate it before her siblings could see it, so they still had fun making this snack!

Supplies:
  • Graham Crackers
  • Blue Frosting
  • Baby Goldfish
  • Nerds
Directions:
  1. Spread a thick layer of blue frosting on a graham cracker.  
  2. Sprinkle a handful of Nerds on the bottom.
  3. Decorate with Baby Goldfish (or Swedish Fish).
This was an easy snack to make and all of my kids loved it!

Under the Sea Graham Crackers


Sand Slime - Camp Mom Day 49 

Sand Slime

Our slime recipe is very quick and easy to make. We wanted to see what happened when we added sand to it!

Supplies:
  • 1/2 tsp Borax 
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 4 oz white glue
  • Two bowls and a spoon to mix
  • Sand
Directions:
  1. Mix 1/2 tsp Borax (found in the laundry aisle) in 1/2 cup warm water. 
  2. Empty bottle of glue into separate bowl. 
  3. Pour Borax mixture into glue and begin to knead the slime.
  4. Add the sand by the handful as you knead the slime in the borax solution. Repeat until you get the desired texture.
It turned out to be a neat hybrid of slime and dough. The kids thought it felt like textured Flubber!

Sand Slime


DIY Aqua Sand - Camp Mom Day 50

DIY Aqua Sand

This activity was voted the most favorite in Camp Mom history!  I actually agree with my kids. It was really neat to watch!

Aqua Sand

Supplies:
  •  Sand (I bought colored sand from Dollar Tree)
  • Large Container
  • Scotch Guard Fabric Protector
  • Cups
  • Foil and large freezer bags
  • Funnel
 Homemade Aqua Sand

Directions:
  1.  Put individual sheets of aluminum foil down on a large piece of cardboard. 
  2. Dump each color of sand into large freezer bags.
  3. In a very well-ventilated area, with your nose and mouth covered, spray the Scotch Guard into the freezer bag until the sand is saturated.  Zip the bag shut and shake to disperse.
  4. Sprinkle the sand into a thin layer on one sheet of foil and allow to dry overnight. 
  5. After it dries, dump the sand into small cups. 
  6. Fill a large container with warm water.
  7. Hold a funnel over the top of the container, and pour each color of sand through the funnel and into the container. 
  8. Continue with each color and try to make designs along the way!
 Aqua Sand

The best thing about DIY Aqua Sand is that you can use it over and over again! Simply drain the water out of the container and store the sand. When the aqua sand stops repelling water, refresh it with the Scotch Guard and allow to dry overnight again.

DIY Aqua Sand

This activity was so much fun!

Homemade Aqua Sand

Camp Mom was a HUGE success! We're really sad to see it end. My kids had a blast with all of these kids activities and they made some great memories along the way!

Camp Mom - Beach Theme Kids Activities

Thank you SO much for following along with us! I hope you were able to try out some of these kids activities. What was your favorite kids activity from Camp Mom?

You might also enjoy the kids activities included in these posts:

Camp Mom Week One
Camp Mom Week Two
Camp Mom Week Three
Camp Mom Week Four 
Camp Mom Week Five 
Camp Mom Week Six 
Camp Mom Week Seven 
Camp Mom Week Eight
Camp Mom Week Nine 

Let's Be Friends!



Linking up for Tuesday Talk.