Sunday, March 30, 2008

My Little Potty Trainee Trainer

I've been hesitant to post this for fear I might have to eat my words. But, here goes nothing...


Well, technically I've been potty trained for well over 28 years now, but having successfully completed over a week of Park wearing big boy underwear is the excitement to which I'm referring. And honestly, I feel completely justified in using "we" because it really is a bit of a joint effort, what with the wiping and all.

Originally, the lack of success with pull-ups led me to assume it was time to scrap the whole effort for a few more months. But, a little over a week ago, our paths crossed with a pair of Diego underwear that changed everything.

Desperate to sport Diego across his backside, I decided to drop diapers/pull-ups cold turkey (minus while sleeping) and see where that left us. Coupling Diego with a sticker chart (that Park helped me make) gave us the makings for a very smooth transition into potty training success. And also led us back to the store for more Diego underwear, as well as contemplating buying stock in the sticker industry.

But, one week and only three accidents later, I'm once again reminded that all phases really do pass. And why worry about today what probably will not even be an issue tomorrow?

Hopefully, I'll remember my newly adopted philosophy when visiting the bathroom 3 times in the span of an hour long trip to the grocery store. And when enjoying a playground with a bathroom no closer than a 1 mile hike away. Or when stopping the car twice for potty breaks when only 45 minutes into a five hour road trip.

At least I finally have company in forcing Chris into bathroom breaks!

And can I just say how proud Park is of himself? He saw a leftover box of diapers yesterday and informed me, "That's for babies, Mommy! Let's give them to Kage." So, we called Challi to see if Baby Kage (10 months) wanted a box of size 5 diapers, and she broke the news that they would fit Krew (age 2) much better.

After getting off the phone, Park looked at me with concern in his eyes and said, "Well, Krew needs to be a big boy soon, too. Tell Cha-Cha not to worry , OK Mommy? I teach him to use the potty and flush. Krew can ride the potty train with me!"

Your Cha-Cha will be so relieved, my sweet big boy. Two tickets for the "potty train" coming right up.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Rollin' On (well, minus the rolls)

Today I drove to a special grocery store across town with one purpose in mind; buy some killer rolls.

We are having some precious young couples over for dinner tomorrow night that we are very much looking forward to catching up with. And nothing complements good conversation like good rolls. Except maybe the to-die-for ice cream dessert that I stole from my mom's repertoire. (*recipe disclosed at the end of this post)

Having already bought the ingredients for the rest of the meal yesterday, I made a trip specifically to obtain the buttery goodness that this particular store is known for baking. With Park in tow, we perused the aisles until we secured the treasure, navigated our way through the express line, and somehow made it back to the car without even pinching off a single bite. Even though I wanted to REALLY badly.

Thank goodness Park talked some sense into me.

After running a few more errands, we pulled into our garage, ready to unload our bags. But while digging in the trunk, I made a very sad realization. One that left my rumbling tummy feeling even more empty and defeated. What should have been two bags had somehow turned into just one.

And I highly doubt our guests will be interested in eating a package of Diego underwear.

I am still not quite certain how I managed to leave the grocery store without the ONE item I went there to purchase. Especially since I vividly remember walking up to the register, paying for my rolls and exiting the building. However, the whole putting them in the car details are a little sketchy. So, what exactly happened between the store and the parking lot is a mystery that, most likely, will never be solved.

Although I highly suspect it had something to do with the little distraction holding my hand, who was determined to play chicken with every car we came in contact with.

Or perhaps the Mommy brain that I inherited after his birth.

Either way, there will be no rolls tomorrow night. Unless of course you count the ones I plan on adding to my tummy from all the dessert I'll be inhaling. Because like I've always said, nothing goes better with good conversation than killer ice cream .

Melt one cup of chocolate chips in a large bowl in the microwave
Add 1/3 cup of peanut butter to chocolate mixture
Add 3 cups of Rice Crispy Cereal and stir thoroughly
In a separate pan (I use a large casserole dish),
spread 1 gallon of semi-thawed vanilla ice cream
Evenly distribute the chocolate/PB/Rice Crispy mixture
over the ice cream, cover in tin foil, and freeze overnight

Prepare yourself for wanting to eat the entire pan in one sitting!

(Not like my sister and I have ever done this, or anything, though. However, I hear the key is to eat with a minuscule fork straight from the pan. By doing so, it somehow negates all the calories you would otherwise be getting. Mom, only you can attest to the fact that Challi and I wholeheartedly believe in this theory.)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Because the Tomb is Empty, My Heart is Full

Last year as a family, we went to the doctor a total of two times. And really, neither of those actually counted because one was my yearly check-up and the other was a well-baby visit for Park.

But sadly, in the last two months alone, our total number of visits has increased to a whopping six times, plus we threw in a trip to the emergency room for good measure. To make matters worse, all but one of those appointments belonged to Park.

To say it has been a rough winter would be an understatement.

Thankfully, though, we have only been dealing with minor annoyances such as bronchitis, an ear infection, pink-eye and so on. However, this season of illness has done wonders for me in the empathy department. My heart aches for those parents out there who are helplessly watching their children battle life-threatening illnesses or even ongoing medical complications.

While sitting in the emergency room for 5 long hours several weeks ago, as we held our feverish little one in our arms, Chris and I discussed what a great equalizer the hospital waiting room is. Regardless of your income, education, influence, status or lack there of, every person sitting in that room is simply a parent in a position of desperate need. It is the ultimate definition of powerless to watch your child suffer, knowing there is nothing you wouldn't give to take their place.

Can you imagine what God must have felt as He sent His Son to the cross? While hearing Jesus praying fervently in the Garden, did He long to intervene and spare Him from the path ahead? Did He ache to relieve the devastating burden from His shoulders? Oh, the torment of knowing He had the power to stop His Son from enduring so much pain, yet in the same instant, loving ME enough to allow it to happen.

In my limited human wisdom, I dare to say that decision must have been beyond agonizing; a gut wrenching kind of torture I may never fully understand. But because of His sacrificial love for me, God stood unwavering.

And enduring both physical and mental anguish, Jesus remained unchanged, as well. Together with His Father, unmoved from seeing my salvation to fruition because NOTHING can separate me from His love.

Conquering death, HE ROSE AGAIN!

The emergency room might be a small picture of such, but the cross truly IS the greatest equalizer. Regardless of income, education, influence, status, works, or lack there of, we are each in a position of desperate need. Unable to save ourselves, we can choose to fall into the welcoming arms of the Savior that has already done the work for us.

And by his stripes, we are healed.

(Happy late Easter, Y'all!)

*statue at the Charles Bridge in Prague , courtesy of my sweet friend Liz

Thursday, March 20, 2008

All in the Family

I've realized lately that God has placed extremely talented people in my life and I need to extend their wealth of knowledge to my "blogosphere" of influence. It's all about spreading the love, folks.

Which is definitely a better thing to share with you than the pink eye that Park is currently enduring. Yikes, poor baby. But, that is another story for another day that I will hopefully forget to tell.

First up, is my mother-in-law, known best on this blog as the creatively gifted Grandma who is gracious enough to host art classes for her grandchildren. However, that only highlights a small portion of her talent and it is time you see more of her Rustique Art designs. Feel free to check out her new blog and leave a sweet comment to make her feel welcome.

The next person I want to introduce is someone who also came from the above creative gene pool. My sister-in-law has just started a brand new cloth diaper blog and if you use them, are interested in learning to use them, or know some one who is, this is the place for you. I also should mention that her husband is our chiropractor and she is well versed in homeopathic medicine. If we ever have questions on natural healing or nutritional supplements, they are our "go to" people and would be happy to be yours, as well.

In line with "keeping it in the family", I thought I'd use this opportunity to disclose that my husband will be making a few appearances on my Holding Little Hands blog in the coming weeks as a guest contributor. He said the time has come to share "The Man's Point of View", which will consist of periodic posts that counter things I have written about him, impart financial wisdom, help with do-it-yourself projects, give insight into the teenage mind (based on his experiences as a youth pastor), share openly about fatherhood, and encourage woman in their faith, marriages, organization, and creativity. Even though I can't promise correct comma placement, I can tell you that you will be blessed by his heart.

And although this person is not technically a family member, we grew up together from the ripe old age of 6. Reigning from my own hometown and kindergarten class, my childhood friend Traci , who now resides in Houston, has grown an on-line business out of her God-given talent for making things beautiful. After becoming a stay-at-home mom to her precious son, Caven, Beady Queen was birthed as an outlet for her creativity. (And my accessories have never been the same since!) To follow more of her journey, you can find her blog here.

Last but certainly not least, I can't discuss creativity without mentioning our other family, Fellowship Church. Our senior pastor, Ed Young, has also started a new blog that I would love for you to check out. I'm confident in saying it will be full of insightful wisdom, funny stories, and spirit led discussion that will enhance your day.

So there you have it. Happy linking, friends!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Latchkey Brilliance

Have you ever noticed that it is the simple things that sometimes revolutionize your life the most?

When I was a brand new mom, my diaper bag often consisted of 4,062 items that I may or may not possibly need at some point in Park's existence. Traveling light was not my cup of tea. While sitting at a restaurant with Chris one day, he realized that we didn't have enough silverware at the table. Without even having to bother a waiter, I simply reached into the trusty bag and whipped out alternate utensils.

Although Park wasn't capable of eating solid foods at the time, you can never be too prepared, right?

Back to the issue at hand, though. Storing my keys in my suitcase of a diaper bag was equivalent to dropping them into the Bermuda triangle and just hoping for the best. I stood in many a parking lots with Park on my hip, contemplating how well Chris would take to leaving work to drive across town and deliver a spare set of keys to his damsel in distress.

Thankfully, though, I never found out because I couldn't locate the cell phone to call him anyway.

And for those of you that know me in real life, you've now solved the mystery as to why you talk to my voice mail more than you talk to me. It's the bag's fault, people, THE BAG.

One day, though, my friend Kelly and I met up to walk the track around the lake at church and I noticed that her keys were magically attached to her Baby Bjorn. When I asked her about it she nonchalantly said she had put a clip on her key chain because latching them to her stroller, carrier, or diaper bag was the only way she could ever find them when necessary.

Kelly's simple brilliance is one of the reasons I love that girl so much. And I told her so in that exact moment.

Right after I chewed her out for not finding it necessary to share this life changing tip with me sooner. She laughed and said she figured I would have thought of it on my own because it was such a quick fix.

Fair enough.

However, if you are my long-lost sister, currently standing in a parking lot while unable to locate your keys, perhaps this post can serve as your life line. Other than the fact that if you are in said parking lot, you aren't at your computer hanging on my every word.

Now, I would be happy to call and give you this information one on one, except I haven't quite figured out how to keep my cell phone from disappearing into the Bermuda triangle.

And I'm guessing that if you're following in my key issue footsteps, you probably couldn't find yours in time to answer it even if I did.

Forget the key clip, folks. Maybe we should just all invest in a very small hand bag.

* For the key to finding other bags of WFMW tricks, head on over to Rocks in My Dryer. (Sorry, I couldn't resist the corny puns:)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Share and Share Alike

I am always amazed at how strongly toddlers feel about relinquishing their rights to a toy they are enjoying.

Sharing is not something that comes easily. We are born with a very selfish, sinful nature and this is never more evident then when watching two-year-old children trying to interact. "That's mine!" and "I want it!" are being shouted, while toddlers yank each other back and forth in hopes to free an otherwise occupied toy.

More often than not, my sweet Park is smack dab in the middle of that tug-of-war action. He is so very passionate, a go-getter to the very core of his being. Oh, how I love that little boy and his precious zest for life.

A few days ago, one of Park's favorite playmates came over to spend the day with us. Cooper's mommy, my sweet friend Bonnie, recently gave birth to a new baby boy, and it was a win-win situation for both of us to have the boys entertain each other for a bit. They played and played, laughing and enjoying their time thoroughly. Although they get along extremely well, in keeping with the nature of a 2 year old, there were some teachable moments involving the sharing of a coveted guitar.

I set a timer for the boys and we discussed how each one would get a chance to enjoy the instrument before the bell signaled that it was time for an exchange. It was somewhat humorous to me as I watched Park painstakingly attempt to keep his hands off the toy until his appointed play time. The poor little guy was having such an internal struggle as he battled his innate desire to rip it out of Cooper's arms in order to comply with the opposing directions I had given him. He was so anxious that his sweet little hands were actually trembling in anticipation.

But, alas, he made it until the timer rang and he was so proud of himself for the accomplishment.

"It feels so good to do the right thing," I reminded them both, as I distributed a round of high fives and hugs. While doing so a picture that Park had colored at church caught my attention from it's place on our refrigerator. The message on it brought a smile to my face.
What a relief to know that God helps us with this because I have to admit that I have trouble sharing, too.

Now, don't get me wrong, you won't find me cat fighting over a toy if you come over to our house for a play date. And I have no problem lending a book or sharing maternity clothes with an expecting friend. Things that cost me little are not that hard to give up. No, my sharing issues are more inconspicuous and covert.

They tend to emerge when I am asked to sacrifice or get out of my comfort zone.

Am I willing to share my time when there is nothing I can gain by doing so?
Am I willing to share an ear with a long winded acquaintance?
Am I willing to share my home with someone that needs a place to live?
Am I willing to share my finances with those who are less fortunate?
Am I willing to share my talents and gifts through volunteering at church?
Am I willing to share my testimony with an unbelieving neighbor?
Am I willing to share my heart with God by daily spending time in His Word?

Sacrificing in any way or putting someone else's needs above my own does not come naturally. Nor is it something I can do on my own. Thankfully, though, I don't have to because of the simple truth that God helps me share. Just as I aid in teaching Park, the Holy Spirit is at work within me, leading and equipping me to be more like Christ. But also like Park, I often face an internal struggle when trying to obey, forcing me to suppress my own selfish desires to follow His leadings.

Oh, but the joy I experience when I am successful at following the tugs of the Holy Spirit. It isn't always easy, but it sure "feels so good to do the right thing".

Thank you Jesus, for showing me more of yourself through Park. Examine my heart and get rid of whatever is not pleasing. You are the ultimate example of sacrifice, sharing your very own Son with a sinner like me. It is my prayer that as I grow to be more like you, my son will come to know Yours.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Crocodile Hunt

The craziness of the weather has wreaked some serious havoc on my skin.

We've jumped from freezing snow to warm, sunny skies, all in a 24-hour period. It is just more than my pores know what to do with. Being a native Texan, you'd think that 30 years of unexpected temperatures would have been enough time for them to learn how to adapt.

Clearly, I am dealing with some high maintenance skin cells.

The results of such "it is winter-oh wait, summer-ugh, I mean winter" madness is the scaly little crocodile that lives on my heels and his flaky alligator cousin who is setting up camp alongside the edges of my nose.

Or at least they WERE before I discovered a way to exterminate exfoliate them. I have two words for you, Mr. Reptile:

Eviction Notice. (otherwise spelled P-R-I-M-R-O-S-E O-I-L)

Now, I've tried every kind of lotion and cream under the sun, but these tiny caplets, that look very similar to vitamin E, are what actually took care of business. They are easily located at health food stores and even found in many drugstores, often referred to as EPO (Evening Primrose Oil).

It is effective immediately and application time was less than it took me to locate a pair of scissors. Snipping the capsule open and then smoothing the oil over the afflicted area cost less than 2.5 seconds out of my day.

Now, that's my kind of pedicure.

And as tempted as I am to show you before and after pictures, utilizing the power of the zoom feature on my camera, I just care about y'all way too much to put you through that. So, you will just have to take my word for it. It works, folks.

(And as a side note, Evening Primrose Oil has even been known to aid in bringing a stubborn baby out of a "my due date has come and gone and I'm STILL pregnant" body. There are also other additional usages when taken orally, including but not limited to, easing PMS and aiding with eczema)

I hope I don't see you later alligator, or after while crocodile. But if I happen to meet up with pesky flakes in the future, I'm armed with more EPO caplets and I'm not afraid to use them.

*For more WFMW Tips, check out Rocks in My Dryer.

Monday, March 10, 2008

I Am "Snow" Over It

All my life, I've wondered if my body temperature is several degrees lower than the average human.

When others around me are sweating, I am usually quite comfortable. Often when I crawl in bed, placing my cold feet on my husband's warm legs, he says that I am his own personal air conditioning unit. And although most folks wouldn't enjoy being pregnant in the stifling heat of a Texas summer, I actually found it quite refreshing to finally feel comfortable inside the frozen tundra of a movie theater.

No, I'm not expecting a call from the Polar Bear's Club anytime soon.

That being said, Friday brought about the opportunity to play in the snow. And I must admit that it was both beautiful and exciting because it was so out of the ordinary. But for those of you that live up North, I must ask a very important question.


Chris and I played with Park, making a snowman and sliding down the hill in our backyard. We marched around the crunchy vast whiteness and had snow ball fights, while laughing until our sides hurt. And then the numbness in our hands and feet took over and we ran back inside to nurse our wounds every 15 minutes or so. It was the most painfully enjoyable experience, serving as a reminder of why our family won't be taking any ski trips in the near future.

We took a winter vacation to Colorado one year when I was a little girl and I begged my parents to never make me endure such misery again. To enjoy snow skiing, I think one needs a higher body temperature than that of a corpse, therefore eliminating me from ever qualifying for the Winter Olympics. Well, that and the fact that there is not even a minuscule glimpse of athletic ability in my freezing cold body.

And although hubby can hold his own in the athletic department, his inability to tolerate his feet being "trapped" in anything resembling confinement is a slight problem when trying to snow board. Or wear boots for that matter.

Although I'm not exactly certain where Chris' foot claustrophobia originated, after witnessing his painful attempts at putting Park's shoes on for the last two years, I'm convinced it is a very real problem. One that might require years of therapy before skiing is a possibility ever again.

So, between my negative zero body temperature and Chris' constrictive feet issues, for now, it looks like this weekend's Texas blizzard may be as close to "real" snow as sweet Park comes.

Although based on how much snow he ate, it is quite possible that those of you Northern folk who are tired of shoveling snow could use his services. .

Who knows, snow eating may even catch on as a sport in the Winter Games, easily enjoyed (possibly indoors) by cold, nonathletic competitors.

Or those with feet complications.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Hypothetical Sleep Issues MULTIPLIED

Events started happening last week that led me to believe I might have some reason for concern. Since that time I've worked diligently to remain in a state of denial, but I'm afraid the truth is rearing its ugly head more and more each night.

As much as I would love to disclose this disheartening information to you, I don't want to use this blog to point out any hypothetical sleep issues that Park may or may not have inherited from his father.

However, if Park were developing those hypothetical sleep issues, my night may have looked something like this.

11pm: Find Park sitting on the floor in his room, saying nothing and staring off into space. Return him to bed.

1 AM: Awaken to loud squeaking noises on the baby monitor. Arrive in Park's room just in time to see him standing on top of his rocking chair with his arms stretched out as if he is surfing. Hear him mumbling something about, "You have to move like this." Return him to bed.

4:30 AM: Awaken to an alarming crash on baby monitor. Bolt out of bed, sprint into Park's room to find that he is in his closet and has knocked down a box of diapers while intermittently speaking gibberish and asking not to wear his shoes anymore. Glance down at his bare feet before returning him to bed again.

5:45 AM: Awaken to husband standing next to the bed mumbling that he has to get Park. Wonder if you were so tired that you might have slept through son's cries. Hear Chris on the baby monitor telling Park that, "Daddy is here, you don't have to cry anymore." Become perplexed at how Chris' voice is crystal clear yet you are unable to hear even the slightest of whimpers. Stumble into son's room to find Park asleep in his bed and husband in the rocking chair, comforting a blanket. Return husband to bed while reminding yourself to enjoy the humor in this once you have GOTTEN SOME SLEEP ALREADY!

5:50 AM Endlessly toss and turn, plagued by the fear that you are the only sane person that lives in your house. Contemplate how one could live in your body for nine whole months and yet completely bypass all your DNA, taking 100% of his father's. Consider someday warning future daughter in law of all the sleepless nights she has ahead of her. Decide against it for fear you may have to live with BOTH of your crazy men for the rest of your sleepless life.

5:55 AM Jolt up in bed after thinking you hear Park say something you can't believe. Crank up the volume on baby monitor while straining your ear against it. Plain as day, hear Park repeat once again, "Target is in time out. Target is in time out."

5:56 AM Assured that son does, in fact, have at least 1% of your DNA, lean over to kiss sleeping husband's forehead before peacefully drifting off to sleep. Realize that even though they might keep you up all hours of the night, you're as crazy about your two guys as they are crazy.

Hypothetically speaking, of course.