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Milestones (part two): Potty Training

Potty training is like sky diving. Or how I imagine sky diving would be…scary, intimidating, anxiety inducing. You watch other people do it and survive and you think “ok, I can do this” as you inch a little closer to the unavoidable edge. Then you just jump, fingers crossed you survive.

I dreaded potty training. It sounded miserable. Spending every waking moment watching her every move and anticipating her bodily functions? Using the word “potty” no less than a thousand times a day? I cringed. As my friends braved the trenches I tried to pick up tips from their experiences. I knew the general rule is to wait until the kids show signs of readiness. But what the heck does that mean? Leia wasn’t telling me when she would go, she didn’t wake up dry in the mornings. It was all so confusing. My main reason for procrastinating? I didn’t want to give up the convenience of diapers. I wasn’t ready to hear “mommy I have to pee!” then frantically drop everything and rush to the nearest bathroom.

My car broke over Thanksgiving. Knowing I would be home bound for several days, it seemed like the perfect time to face my fears. I didn’t follow a specific method, and tried to keep low expectations. I let Leia run around half naked and followed her around with a small plastic toilet all freaking day and night. There were lots of accidents. I was exhausted, and felt defeated. When she peed in the toilet for the first time I was beyond excited! I clapped and cheered and hugged her…I was so enthusiastic it scared Leia into tears. Days passed and eventually going in the potty clicked. She started having fewer and fewer accidents.

Just a normal day, chasing cats, naked.

Just a normal day, chasing cats, naked.

Nearly two months later I feel totally confident in saying my child is potty trained. No accidents in weeks. She can hold it if I tell her we need to wait to find a bathroom. I put her in pull ups for naps and bed, but they are consistently dry. The only time in the last month she woke up wet was the one time she didn’t wear a pull-up…figures. She’s been going by herself more often, especially if I’m busy in the kitchen or taking shower. Sometimes she announces her stuffed animals have to potty. She takes them to the bathroom, shuts the door, and all I hear is a flush before she comes out again. I’m sorry fragile planet for the water she’s wasting, it’s a temporary fascination.

New Years Eve, watching fireworks in a parking lots. I brought the potty with us just in case. Since then I've discovered she's pretty good at just squating on the side of the car if there isn't a potty nearby. My kid is awesome.

New Years Eve, watching fireworks in a parking lot. Good thing I brought the potty with us. However, I’ve since discovered she’s pretty good at just squatting next to the side of the car if there isn’t a potty nearby. My kid is awesome.

True story…it’s 11pm as I’m writing this (or it was yesterday when I was writing this…not when I published it) and she just woke up and came into the living room to tell me she had to pee. I went with her, then carried her back to bed. She fell back asleep right away. Who is a proud mom? This lady!

So we survived potty training. Stopping to find a bathroom when she needs to go isn’t as impossible as I feared. I love not using diapers. That said, it was definitely the hardest parenting task I’ve tackled so far. I realize potty training will seem like a piece of cake compared to the parenting challenges as she gets older, just let me have my moment! After the first few weeks it wasn’t as terrible as I expected. See? It’s exactly like skydiving. Once your feet hit the ground you feel like a bad ass and it wasn’t that scary.


Friday Favorites

One of my favorite foodie blogs is Iowa Girl Eats. Her recipes are consistently delicious, the photography is stellar, and her bubbly personality shines through in each post. Each week she does a “Friday Favorites” post about random things from the internet. My friend Jamie at Handling with Grace? does “Gripes and Gratitudes” and Jasmine Star (the first blog I followed back in 2008) does “Kisses and Disses.” I love these ideas so much I’m stealing them! Imitation is flattery right?

I don’t really think of this blog as something strangers on the internet read. I’m pretty sure my only regular viewers are my Mom and five or six awesome friends, and I’m cool with that. Maybe every now and then someone does a search for key words that match my tags and find a recipe. I consider this blog a diary, a way to look back years from now and reminisce. Which made me realize I want weekly post where I just write about random things I enjoy (or don’t) that week.

I tried to think of a witty title for these posts, but lack the creativity of my peers. So Friday Favorites it is.

From the Wilson Creek Facebook page.

Favorite discovery Bed Bath and Beyond sells wine! I still think Trader Joe’s has the best selection at dirt cheap prices. But this means I can use those 20% off coupons I’ve been hoarding to get a great deal on my favorite reds and whites.


Favorite accomplishment It’s been over a month with no nail biting! It’s a disgusting habit. I’m grossed out when I watch other people do it. I think the secret is just to keep them painted – if I don’t see the nails I don’t bite them. For the first time ever, I cut my nails because they were too long. Once they grew past the tips of my finger I felt like a 12 year old with press on nails, it was annoying. So if I just keep them painted and short I think I can kick the habit!


Favorite books For the past six weeks I’ve been submerged in books by Richelle Mead. Melissa always gives me suggestions on new books to pick up and I’m never disappointed, she rocks. I read the Georgina Kincaid series first, then the Vampire Academy series, and just finished the second book in the Bloodlines series (book 3 is unreleased). That’s 14 books! I’ll probably pick up the Dark Swan series after my current reads. Sometimes the YA books can be a little too targeted for teens and I roll my eyes at the characters or obvious plot directions. But overall I’m a huge fan of the urban fantasy/paranormal romance/young adult fiction genres, in case that wasn’t obvious. This week I’m reading two books, She’s Come Undone (coming of age memoir) and Unraveling (YA urban fantasy, another Melissa recommendation).


Favorite music The xx (Xx? XX?). The second album was just released, but I slightly prefer songs from the first album. Whats not to love about the British indie pop trio? Not much I say.


Favorite travel fantasy My “Places to Go” board on Pinterest is filled with amazing destinations. Everyday I dream about what it would be like to see all of them. The source for this photo says it’s West Virginia. I can just imagine sitting on the edge watching that sunset, being humbled by all the natural beauty around me.


Favorite dream home I don’t think I’d ever leave the kitchen. Look at all those open beams the windows, the stone wall! The stove under the arch is fantastic. Yep, I already see myself with an apron on buzzing away while my friends and family laugh and sip wine around me.


Favorite recipe It’s probably the Chai Pumpkin Spice cookies. Since it already got it’s own post, I’ll go with the Baked Risotto with Caprese Chicken from Baked Bree. I had no idea you could bake risotto so I was skeptical. But some vigorous stirring right out of the oven and the rice was creamy and delicious! The recipe was so simple and tasty, it’s definitely on my “make again” list.


Favorite picture Leia showing off her teeth. I have to brag because my kid is a champ with brushing her teeth. She gets them all pretty well on her own, but doesn’t mind me helping. Now if only I could stop procrastinating about scheduling her first dentist appointment.

Leia is two

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The picture on her birthday e-vite.

That amazing little girl turned two on July 31st. I’m geeky and get a kick out of us both being born on the 31st (one month and obviously many years apart). This year we celebrated at our pool, friends and family came to swim and eat really colorful cupcakes. It was a beautiful day, an affirmation of how much love and support is always around us. I would post pictures of the party, but since I was running around in a bathing suit I didn’t have my iphone handy. And yes, it’s a shame I consider my iphone my camera. So until I harass my friends ask around, two pre-party photos will have to do.

Helping me make cupcakes the day before her party.

My mom spent the night and worked really hard all day to make sure her party was perfect. She’s the best.

Celebrating on her actual birthday at Grammy’s house. Uncle Randy bought her a bike.

Whoever said the days are long and the years are short really nailed it. Most cliches about time going too fast really hits home these days. It’s such a blessing to watch this little person I nurture grow into herself. Everyday I love her more, everyday she gives my life more meaning.

Leia here are some things you might like to know when you’re curious about your childhood. I know they’re things I’ll enjoying reminiscing on when I stumble upon this years from now.

Being silly.

You surprise me everyday with new words, lots of them. I really have to watch what I say now because you repeat it right back the first time I say it. This week’s favorite phrase: “Not yours, mine.” I can’t help but giggle, I love your verbal assertion of self. You know a lot of colors and shapes (today you said your cracker was an oval). When asked how old you are, you excitedly say “two” but usually hold up anywhere from 1 to 4 fingers.

Swings at Balboa Park.

At the park with her friend Joanna.

When we’re in a crowd or around new people, you prefer to stay close and quietly survey the scene. When you feel comfortable you’re silly and full of laughs, you’re kind and gentle. At the park, you’re happiest on the swing or climbing through the ladders and tunnels with a friend or me close by. I guess you take after both parents, preferring a cozy group of familiar faces to a loud and busy crowd. Your comfort zone has increased exponentially in the last several months. I remember being shocked the first time you were just fine turning to me and waving bye, holding someone else’s hand to go exploring. Now those moments happen more often, knowing you can always come back to me when you need a home base. In public I’ve never had to worry about you running off, you’re great about holding my hand if I need to keep you close. I realize I’ve got it incredibly easy, thank you.

This is what naptime looks like. Leia has just fallen asleep. Daphne is almost always glued to my hip. Now is when I tiptoe quietly from the room to go catch up on Facebook or read a book.

After the cats climb into bed, I usually get one small corner, maybe some blanket if I’m lucky. Leia twists and turns all over the place when she sleeps. Sometimes she sits up in her sleep and flops back down with her head at the foot of the bed.

All that tossing and turning makes for awesome morning hair.

You’re still an early riser! Most days we are up and running between 6 and 7. I make breakfast while you watch cartoons, then I take a shower while you play in the bedroom. After we get dressed it’s off to whatever adventure we’ve got planned for the day. You like to nap for a few hours in the afternoon. Sometimes we go out again after naptime to run errands or go to the park. Other times we stay in and play at home until dinner. At night we usually read a few books and clean up around the house before it’s time for a bath. You love the tub, pretending to be a fish and make tsunamis, but you despise water on your face. This makes washing your hair tricky. You scream like the world is ending for about 5 seconds until I can wipe your face dry with a washcloth. One time I leaned into the tub and poured water on my face to show you it was ok. You thought it was funny, I just ended up wet. When you get out of the tub I always say “burrito time!” and wrap you tightly in a towel. Then I hold you next to me and we sing and make funny faces in the mirror. After pajamas are on you run into the bedroom and tell kitties “night night” before climbing into bed. I nurse you to sleep, and it’s one of the best parts of my day. I get to relax, reminded to live in the present while I watch you drift off to sleep.

I used to wait until you were napping to do the laundry or dishes, now I do them when you’re awake. I encourage you to help – it’s fun to watch you put my bras on your head or socks on the cats. I like to think I’m earning “good Mom” points by making you a part of the housework at an early age. My favorite is when you help me cook. You sit on the counter and you scoop things into measuring cups or pour them into a bowl. Today I let you crack an egg, you were pretty good, you smashed the whole thing yourself! It reminds me of helping my Grandma in the kitchen.

One of three times I’ve styled her hair in the last six months.

Your hair is getting so long! You like to pick out your own clips from the bathroom drawer. A few times I’ve put it in pigtails. I wish I could tell you I styled your hair for playdates or parties or even just for fun. It’s just not something I ever think about. Your hair gets brushed and the front is twisted up in a clip so it’s out of your eyes. Mama is low maintenance.

No photo of Leia playing with iPhone
because the iPhone is my camera.

I let you play with my (otterbox covered) iPhone enough that it gives me a little mom guilt. You unlock it on your own, or if it’s Grammy’s phone you had it to her and say “code” until she unlocks it. Then find your favorite games, lately it’s the one where you line up shapes to make pictures or flip over cards to match different objects. You scroll through the pictures and play videos – your favorite is when you were riding the carousel at Balboa Park with cousin Sarah.

We go to the Zoo and Seaworld a lot, probably once a week to each place. At Seaworld your favorite thing is the Sesame Street rides – Elmo’s flying fish and Abby’s spinning sea star. Maybe you’ll be a roller coaster lover like your mom. Then we usually go check out the sharks and the turtles. You love the sharks, especially pointing out their sharp teeth. At the Zoo we always stop to see the flamingos, the monkeys and the elephants. At home you ask for an “elle ride” and I crawl around with you on my back making elephants sounds.

Riding the bus at the zoo on her birthday.

Birthday lunch.

At home we color with chalk and paint on the patio, fill up the bird feeder with seed, water our plants. You like to pretend we’re going shopping and I pull a makeshift shopping cart around the patio before you insist we ride the “elle” (elevators and elephants share a name for now). Once inside the patio-closet-turned-elevator, you shut the door and pretend to press buttons on the wall until I say “ding” you open the door and we walk around the patio again…at least 27 times. You love your play kitchen, and use the hot pad to take food out of the oven, smart girl. We roll out playdoh and cut out cookies that you serve on your tea set. We pretend to go camping in the living room with your new tent, it has fire that lights up and makes crackling sounds. Then we use fishing poles to catch magnetic fish and grill them for dinner before making smores.

Having a picnic on the patio

Tea party with playdoh cookies.

We read a lot, there’s stacks of books throughout the house. Favorites include: any of the Llama Llama books, How Do I Love You, Horns to Toes, the Dr. Seuss Dictionary and most recently Princess Millie’s Magic Wand. We watch movies more often than cartoons now. You’re only interested in the movie for 20 minutes at a time, but it’s something different. You love the Cars movies and one about Garfield and his British doppelganger.

Me: “Time for lunch, do you want peanut butter and jelly or turkey and cheese?” Leia: “Ice Cream” Me: “Ice cream is a treat, we need to eat healthy food for lunch.” Leia: “No, Ice Cream.” Me: “You need to eat real food.” Leia: *sad face*. So I make myself peanut butter and jelly. You eat some of  my sandwich and “ice cream” in the form of a frozen gogurt. I feel slightly less guilty about the sugar content because it has no artificial colors or flavors. I figure it balances out because you eat artichokes and asparagus like a champ.

There’s so much more I know I’m forgetting, but the praise for eating green veggies seems like a good place to stop. Leia Olivia you are my heart and soul and joy and everything. Thank you for being such an amazing little person, I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.

21 Wonderful Months

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Time goes so fast. I can’t think of a non-cliche way to say it. Leia, I am in love with watching you  grow, become your own little person, explore the world around you. There are so many fantastic things about you right now.

You’re saying new words everyday, eager to communicate, pointing out the letters “E” and “O” anywhere you see them. My phone is easily unlocked and you know how to find the games (or send texts, ha). You’re fantastic with the matching shapes games – circles, ovals, diamonds, rectangles, pentagons and hexagons. We line up your bath toys on the edge of the tub and you can count to ten. You’re learning more colors, blue and yellow (“lello”) were first, then red, green, pink and orange. You are so, so smart. I’m constantly amazed at how much you understand.

You love snails, it’s adorable. Even if I think they’re a little icky, I’m proud that you’re caring to all living creatures. You squeal with excitement and point out the “neels.” Sometimes you touch them, waiting for me to pick them up and put them back in the grass.

Your favorite cartoon is (still) Bubble Guppies. We watch those guppies every morning while we have breakfast and when we’re getting ready for our day. Sometimes we also watch Sesame Street, or Cat in the Hat. But mostly, it’s Bubble Guppies. I’m grateful it’s not Yo Gabba Gabba or the Fresh Beat Band, thank you very much.

You love corn on the cob, pretzel goldfish, raisins and yogurt. We eat asparagus and artichokes together. You prefer to dip your chicken in sauce – mostly BBQ, sometimes ketchup. Milk? No thanks you say. You’ve been on a cheese hiatus and you’re the rare toddler who doesn’t like more than one or two bites of banana.


Just like your mom, you love lemons. You'll eat the whole slice (sometimes the skin too!)


You love to go through my makeup bag, the lip gloss was an especially good find.



You are kind and gentle with your cousin Johnny.



I love this picture because I see a little girl who is determined. I've always said I hope my daughter grows up to be the 3 C's: curious, compassionate, and confident.


The kitties love you. You love the kitties. When you nap, one of them usually ends up on the bed too. They know you'll pour out the whole bag of treats, in return they let you chase and hug them.


Someday this will be a real car, with wild teenage friends instead of wild animals. That day will come entirely too soon, so I'm enjoying this moment as much as possible.




The carousel is hands down one of your favorite things in life (trumped only by your love of the swing). This was taken at the Wild Animal Park. After each ride you pick a new animal, and we go around and around (and around, at least six times).


Nap hair. You have the most beautiful, fine, fluffy, blond, wispy hair. It's always crazy in the morning and after you nap, just like your moms hair.


Your first pigtails! My hair is in a pony tail or a bun everyday, I've never been a "styled hair" girl. So it's a conscious effort to remember you deserve hair cuteness like this everyday. I'll learn.


Decorating a cake with your Dad on his birthday, making the same face as you concentrate on your art. I know you share his creative genes, which makes me so happy.


I hope you always look at the world with wonder.

I love you Leia. You make my life simply beautiful.

My toddler

Leia is a baby toddler. I’ve been using the T word with increased frequency but I’m still trying to wrap my head around it.

Tomorrow we’re going to her friend’s 1st birthday party. The kids are wearing costumes. I’m putting Leia in the pumpkin costume she wore last year. Somehow my squishy sleepy little pumpkin became a very confident walking climbing pumpkin.

Leia and Eva at the pumpkin patch. Ashley called them Children of the Corn, ha.

Want a glimpse into toddlerhood for us?

I love the kisses. They are sweet and plentiful. So are the hugs. Lately she’ll come up behind me and lay her body against my back with her head turned to the side to snuggle and I just about explode with love.

We like high fives and pointing to body parts. “Leia, can you show me where your (hair, toes, feet, mouth, nose, eyes, ears, teeth, belly button) is? Yaaaay!” Followed by big smiles and clapping. It’s my favorite party trick 🙂

Singing the San Diego Super Chargers song. She’ll either go grab her jersey or dance and stick her arms up as I say “Touchdown San Diego!” It’s so cute. We also sing along to the random songs on Sesame Street, Super Why, and the theme song for SpongeBob. After cartoons in the morning we usually rock out to whatever Mommy has on Pandora.

Leia has two bottom teeth. Just two. I’ve sworn up and down some nights that teeth were coming, but no. It’s been 4 (5?) months since her last tooth broke through. At this rate I’m thinking she’s either going to get 10 at once or go to school with dentures.

She eats GoGurts like there’s no tomorrow. I buy the “Simple” ones so I feel better about giving her 3 or 4 yogurts a day. She’s back to eating cheese again too. This is a good thing because the girl still has zero interest in milk. Unless it comes from the boobs.

Miss independent is testing boundaries and abilities. Read: Leia throws herself on the floor in a tearful screaming heap when she can’t stand on the kitchen counter or I take away sharp objects. She decided sharing is overrated. Lately Leia gets very possessive of her personal space when she’s with her friends. I’m really hoping this is a short phase. It’s hard to watch her get upset and scream at the other kids when they are trying to play with her and she thinks they are trying to take her balloon or toy or whatever.

On the flip side, it’s also hard to watch her be social and try to play with another child and get rejected. At this library last week she tried to give a 10 month old boy a kiss and he pushed her away. I gave her a big hug and joked with the boy’s father about it not being the last time she can’t kiss the boy she wants to.

Leia naps better on the couch than the bed. We lay down together so I can nurse her, and after she falls asleep I get up and do my own thing. She can’t quite get up on the couch, but she knows to go “feet first” off the beds and couch. I’m still taking our bed off it’s frame soon, I’d feel safer watching a movie in the living room if I didn’t think she’d wake up quietly and launch herself off onto the floor.

I’m so grateful to have a close knit group of mom friends to share this journey with. I love that Leia has friends she will hopefully grow up with. I’m amazed at the differences in development with kids her age. I resist the urge to compare Leia with other kids too closely or seriously. For the most part I notice the differences and shrug them off or embrace them. Leia skipped crawling, and walked a little earlier. Some of the kids are chatting away (verbally or signing), and Leia is content with “Mom” “Ball” “Dat” (That) and “Bob” (Boob, unless we’re watching SpongeBob).

While we were in Target yesterday:

Nice old woman “Oh how precious! How old is she?”

“Thanks! She’s 14 months”

“That’s such a great age, make sure you enjoy it” she patted Leia’s head and walked away.

With how fast the time goes (even when some days are slooooow) I needed a reminder to be present in the moment. To embrace my little toddler (and myself) exactly where we’re at right now.

Leia and Roz

Everyone loves a little sunshine, a cuddle and a big drooly kiss





Happy Birthday to You

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We made it! Yesterday my daughter turned one. I not only kept a little human alive for 365 days, we created an environment where she is thriving, flourishing. I am a great mom. She is a great baby toddler (gasp!). Life is good.

Happy 1st Birthday to my loving, curious, splendid little Leia Olivia. You are the light of my life. How blessed I am to watch you grow, discover, and experience your life. The future bright it is with possibilities for you, and us. Thank you for all the love you bring into my life. Celebrating your birthday with friends and family was wonderful.

A day filled with capturing balloons, eating cake, chasing friends and being smothered in kisses results in a much needed nap.

Coming soon! Pictures from her Suesstasic party…