Thursday, August 30, 2012

Kids Get It

Believe in Christ or not, most people agree that it is important to respect others.  I think a majority would even go as far as to say that it is important to treat other people nicely, even when they are not always so nice to us.  So why is this so hard for us and how do we help kids learn it?

Want the truth?  Kids get it.  They really do.  Somehow deep inside is a knowledge that is longing to be tapped into.  Sometimes we need little reminders ourselves - like when the car in front of me cuts me off.  If we are not practicing kindness when we're angry, how can we expect our children to do it?  They need us to lead by example.  They also need us to tell them why!

I have a 2.5 year old and a 4 year old.  "Why" is not just a word in our house, it is THE word in our house.  We hear it sometimes 100 times a day (or more - I'm not even joking).  Kids want to know how to be good citizens.  They desire to get along with other people.  They have a picture of the world that we don't understand anymore.  We tend to push our image of the world onto them and have a hard time figuring out why they don't fit into our world "box".  They have something better than we do in a lot of ways.  Still, for some reason it's us molding and shaping them and we often forget to let them shape us.

Today we had a "situation" in our house.  I was so blessed to be able to see how my boys really get it.  They really are learning to "love at all times".  One boy broke something of value to the other.  The one with the broken item brought it to me and told me that his brother had broken it and he was mad at him.  As we talked about his feelings (mad and sad), he told me that he still loved his brother, even though he had broken this item.

We went together to confront brother kindly.  My boy said to his brother, "I'm sad that you broke this, but I love you."  He SAID it, didn't yell it or cry it.  My sweet son acted in a way that honored Christ.  He gets it, even when I don't.  I was very proud of him this morning.

His brother, when asked how he could make it better, answered, "I can go poop."   Yeah, so we have some work to do there - but he did apologize.  They made up and mommy fixed the broken object.

Lord, let me be like my kids.  Quick to forgive and quicker to love.

What have you learned from your kids this week?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Follow Me on WLB

Hey friends, please support me in my Win, Lose, or Blog journey by following my personal journal page!  There are several updates already!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

You can win

Hey, check it out.  You have an opportunity to participate in Win, Lose, or Blog with me!  You can even win fabulous prizes for losing weight.  Make sure to look at the Win, Lose, or Blog page for information about how to participate!

Cassius is getting glasses

His will be brown, but here's the preview:

Monday, August 27, 2012

It's Day 1!

Hoorah Hooray, Win Lose or Blog  starts today!

Follow my journey to a healthier weight on my personal Win, Lose, or Blog journal.  Please leave comments, questions, encouragement, stories, etc.  I am looking forward to sharing this journey with all of you.  Oh - and you'll have opportunities to win prizes from me, and from Win, Lose, or Blog during this 7 week event!  Keep your eyes open for some great products.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Setting the tone

Do you ever stop and think about how the music you're listening to effects your mood?  What songs come to mind when you are angry, upset, happy, excited...?  Our lives, more than ever before, are flooded with music all the time.  Pay attention at the grocery or the mall - music in the background.  Listen when you're out to eat - music.  We have even learned that we just cannot be alone in our homes without noise.  I remember what it was like when I lived alone - I had the television on all the time.  

I love music.  I love the way my kids light up when a favorite song comes on the radio.  I love that my 2 year old recognizes some music as "worship".  It plays a huge part in our family life.  Sometimes, however, I forget just how powerful music can be.  I even forget that sometimes positive, happy music can bring me down.  

See, I've discovered that for myself, when I am listening to praise music, worship music - God music - I am in a better state mentally and emotionally than when I am listening to other music (even happy kid music).  I need that external influence at times to keep me balanced.  I see so many messages all around me that I need a way to help me focus on truth.

So we set the tone.  I have discovered in my home that when we play music, my children behave differently than when we don't.  When we play music with a positive message, they behave differently than when we play popular music.  If I turn the radio on t accomplish a lot more around the house than when the radio is off.  

Isn't it neat that I get to set the tone in my home.  I can change my mood, my kid's behaviors, their moods, my behaviors... everything about the way our house functions, simply by choosing the right music.

You know what else?  Music sticks with us for a long time.  Randy laughs at me a lot because of the strange songs I pull out of my head from when I was a child - they stuck with me.  They helped form who I am.  Even the kids at camp know that I was formed in part by a song about tooth brushing.  The music I choose for my children to listen to today will effect their behaviors next week, next year - 20 years from now.  

What a big responsibility!
How do you set the tone at your house?  Do you have a favorite CD that you go to again and again?  What music sticks with you from childhood?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My sweet boy

Seriously, Manasseh is the sweetest little boy I know.  At least, most of the time.  He is 4 after all.  Also, he's an oldest child and well - let's just say I know a bit about oldest children.  Still, this boy is incredibly compassionate, extremely snuggly, and knows just the right words to make a person feel loved.  Yep.  His primary love language is words of affirmation, I'm pretty sure of it.  He frequently curls up in my lap and puts his arms around my neck to tell me things like, "Mommy, you're my favorite mama."  and "I want to ask you a question.  I love you so very much.  That's my question."  He is not seeking anything special - just showing his love.  And as a mama, I eat it up.

Sweet boy struck tonight and I had to tell him some sad news.  As we were going through the bed time routine, Manasseh climbed into my lap and said, "Mama, when I grow up into a man, I won't sleep in my little boy bed any more."  I nodded, "Where will you sleep then?"  I asked entirely curious about what he would tell me.... Manasseh answered, "In your bed, with you."

Ummm... I had to break his heart and tell him that he would not be sleeping in my bed when he is a man.  He was a little upset about that, so I left it at, "We can talk about that again when you're a little bit bigger, you might change your mind about that before you are a man."

Have you broken your sweet child's heart today?  What sweet things have your children said to you this week?


Today I am babysitting - and scouring the web for inspirational quotes.  As I prepare for Win, Lose, or Blog (that starts Monday, yikes) I am looking for some nice reminders to post around the house.  Of course, some of my favorite reminders are pictures of my kids.  On my fridge I've posted my highest fasting blood sugar - the morning I got that reading it scared me.  I knew I couldn't let it get that high ever again.

We are starting our exercises, drinking more water, changing our routine, and working on making the house reflect our desire to be healthy.


great list to use when considering snacks.


The proper activity done a few minutes before eating can encourage food calories to get shuttled into the muscle cells, before it has a chance to get stored as body fat.
Increases insulin sensitivity and burns some extra calories.
Air squats are the best option out there for a quick workout before meals.
Read more about it in Tim Ferris’s book “4 hour body”.
By rebloging this I accept this challenge, and I will do my best to accomplish it.
sounds good to me!

I’ve decided I am going to do this. Mostly because I am pretty much OBSESSED with squats and I will think of any excuse to do them. Do this challenge, it looks awesome!
Gonna have to think about that one.

What inspires you toward health?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tingly Legs

We are gearing up for Win, Lose, or Blog.  Monday's new challenge in preparing was to increase water.  I have heard that a good amount of water for weight loss is 1 oz for every 2 pounds of weight you currently wear.  I weigh about 185 - so I need to try drinking 90 - 100 ounces of water a day.  I rarely make it even though I know it is a healthy habit.  In fact, I'm much more likely to drink soda or coffee than water.

As I am preparing myself mentally for the competition, I am also working to prepare my body and my schedule.  Yesterday I finished about 50 oz of water.  Today - well, I haven't started on water quite yet.

This morning I have tingly legs.  Do you ever get that itchy, tingly feeling when you exercise?  You know, the one that says your blood is circulating in a way that it should be and hasn't done for a while.  It's not a huge accomplishment I suppose, but I'm out of the habit of intentionally walking for the purpose of exercise.
Schwinn Scout Bicycle Trailer - Converts to Double Stroller
Photo from
First thing this morning we loaded up the Scwinn Scout Bike Trailer/Jogging stroller and took off for the park.  Manasseh and I took a 30 minute brisk walk.  Thank you Fort Wayne Trails for maintaining clear easy paved paths through some beautiful natural areas.  I am enjoying learning about the trail system with my boys!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Who am I?

I am Jen Crum, wife of Randy.  We have been married for 5 years (in October) and have had amazing adventures together.  Life with Randy is a joy and and pleasure.  We love to spend time in nature.  Randy and I are teaching our boys to love God's world as we explore together as a family.  I'm honored to be married to a loving man that wants our boys to know God and who cherishes me as I am.  (He even lets me color on the walls ... see?)
I am also the mother of 3 amazingly fun little boys.  In our quick 5 years as a family we have actually had the honor of being "parents" to 5 boys of various ages.  We miss our foster sons and hold them dear to our hearts. 

Our junior adventurers are 4, 2.5, and 10 months old.  They are learning to experience life at it's fullest.  These guys are amazing at being flexible and eager to learn.  They make us laugh every day as they remind us about what it means to have pure love.  Each of our boys has a special story about how God is at work in their lives to keep them healthy and whole.  They already have some amazing testimonies!  I love being a mother of these boys.
Okay, so that's my family - I'm a wife and a mother... but who am I?

I am a child of God.  Set apart for declaring his goodness.  I have a calling to minister with children.  This call has taken us on a new adventure recently as I picked up a full-time-live-at-work-summer job.  Whew.  What a journey it was to live for 3 months in a different city while Randy continued to work (and partly live) at home.  God is weird sometimes.  He is always good and we have seen good things in our family through this unexpected call.  We will continue to be working with the camp through the year.  
I am also a woman with type 2 diabetes.  Yep.  I have a disease.  I fight my disease daily.  You know what else?  I'm uninsured.  We can't afford health insurance in our current life situation.  I hate that.  I want to be well for my husband and boys.  I want to be healthy for a very long me so that I can watch my boys grow and be an active part of my family.  I could give you a list of symptoms that come along with diabetes, but you've likely heard many of them.  The bottom line is that I'm tired.  I'm overweight, and those things feed into each other.  Life wears me out because I'm living at full speed as a wife and mother fighting this disease.

I'm a lot more than these things, but this is where I will stop this evening.  Why?  I want to tell you about our next 7 week adventure - I don't want you to miss out.  I need to share about it because I need encouragement.

Last night I was excited to discover that I was chosen as a contestant for Season 8 of "Win, Lose, or Blog".  I get to take part in a weight loss journey with 7 others and share about it online while we battle to shed some pounds together.  I'm going to be transparent about my personal challenges when it comes to weight loss.  I'll be sharing here, on my personal blog as well as on the Win, Lose, or Blog page.  I am working on my action steps this weekend.  The contest officially begins on Monday, August 27 and continues for 7 full weeks!  If you know me and see me in person, please check in and see how I'm doing.  Invite me to run, or dance, or work out with you.  If you don't know me in person, email me with ideas for food (remember we are working toward a whole foods plant based diet).  Send me videos to help with exercises, share a story about your own journey.  Read along and leave comments on my posts.  I greatly appreciate comments.

Who are you?  Are you on a journey?  How can Life With My Boys support your journey?   

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Greening of our Crum-dom

We are stuff people.  We like cool stuff, we tend to gather cool stuff.. from wherever.  Stuff makes messes, it gets in the way, and you know what else?  It pollutes - maybe not while it's sitting in our small house, but when it leaves - even if it goes to the thrift shop - eventually stuff gets thrown out.

We are working on reducing stuff.  As we work on this, we're working on living more green, clean lives.  That's a lot of work some days.  It means thinking critically when we buy, and when we clean, and when we.... you get the picture.  We really have to take time to consider what we're doing with stuff.

Have you seen "The Story of Stuff"?  This has a little bit to do with our motivation to reduce, reuse, repair, recycle.  As I've already stated - we like stuff.  It is not easy to be wise sometimes.  Gadgets are neat and fun.  

So here we are, working desperatly to reduce.  That's our first step - not just reduce waste, but reduce the things that our in our home and the things that come into our home.  We're already doing a lot of "green" things.  We recycle, compost, cloth diaper (mostly...sometimes), use lights only in the evening (mostly), cool our home with the breeze as much as possible... the list goes on.  We're trying.  As I look around I feel like we have a long way to go.  

So we're starting - a greening adventure.  As we think we need new "Stuff" we are looking for affordable green products instead of things that end up as trash, unusable, unable to be recycled.  We are learning to reuse in new ways.

I'm looking forward to sharing more about our greening house.  

What do you do to live a green, clean, healthy life?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

He won

We're working really hard at sleep training right now - and it's been a pretty good week.  The boys are getting used to being back at home consistently and are actually falling asleep in their own beds.  Tonight Manasseh just really wanted a snuggle.  He came down multiple times to ask us to lay down with him - then to carry him back to his bed when he was declined snuggle time.  (I hate saying no to snuggles).  We each returned him to his bed once, then told him he had to walk back up himself.  He was unhappy with that decision.  He went back to the stairs and whined and waited.  Several minutes later I walked by to see if he had gone up, this is what I found.

He won.  We carried him to bed.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Starting off the school year with a BANG

Okay, it wasn't a literal bang.  Well, there were some of those, I did have 4 boys with me yesterday after all. We were privileged yesterday to have an opportunity - the boys and I got to spend the LAST DAY before school started with my niece, Little Lou (7) and nephew Bugsy (5).  We decided to do it up right and with my boys (ages 4, 2.5, and 10 months) have a party!

Because we had a back to school party, Manasseh was convinced that we HAD to start homeschool today. Or last night would be even better.  He just couldn't WAIT to start preschool and is looking forward to the rest of the week's adventures in preschool.

Here it is - our back to school party (on the cheap):

We started the day with tie dye.  I didn't get ANY pictures of this because I handled the dyes - Elizabeth, I want pictures.  Cost for 6 shirts and 1 dress?  Less than $10, the dye was about $5 on clearance after Halloween - the clothes ALL came from Salvation Army, most were half price.  I like Salvation Army!
While Azariah slept, I took pictures of the "big" kids.  Then a "quick" trip to Walmart and a local thrift shop.  Okay, you know that "quick" with 5 kids ages 7 and under is not really very quick.

While I made a special party lunch, the kids decorated frames.  Bugsy and Manasseh painted.

Little Lou chose a frame with stickers.

Cassius wanted to use markers on this frog frame.  Total cost for the 4 frames was less than $2 on clearance at various times through the year - they were cluttering my craft bin.

While we were at Walmart I printed 1 picture of each of the "big" kids.  It was super easy to crop them and add words to them on the "instant" machine (by the way you can't do this until after 9am and "instant" means about 5 minutes).  They're not the greatest quality either.  These cost 28c each.  Can you spot the error?

Lunch - Totinos pizza - these kids ate like birds, I bought 2 but they only finished 1 tiny pizza - price? $1.36.  Cantaloupe - $1.50, they ate half, bananas and carrots from my sister's fridge.  And - they drank water.

Azariah enjoyed pizza too.  He was pretty messy by the end of this dining experience.
My boys need naps after lunch.  We put in a $5 Walmart movie and all the boys laid down for an hour (mostly).

More super cheap and easy projects - I had 2 old tshirts that were destined for the donation bin.  Cut into strips they made great braided belts.  We picked up a couple of old belts at local thrift stores so we would have buckles.  Grand total of this project?  About 55 cents.

Little Lou's belt has the coolest buckle!  She was able to do most of the braiding herself.

Bugsy needed more help.  His buckle wasn't as cool - it's hard to find cool boy buckles sometimes.

Little Lou had enough tshirt left over to make a quick bracelet!

We spray painted wooden blocks (about 60c for the set at the thrift shop).  Once they were dry Little Lou and Bugsy used Elmer's glue and water to Mod Podge their pictures onto the blocks.  Total cost for this project was close to $1.50.

Perler beads are fun and use so many great skills.  Manasseh and Little Lou both spent quite a bit of time with them.  I bought a big container of them for $3.33 on clearance at Hobby Lobby.

Our final project was bleach pen shirts with "broncos" on them.  I am a terrible artist.  Little Lou helped me design a bronco head (this is their school mascot).  The bleach pen was the most expensive part of the project - about $2.50 at Menards.  The sweatshirt was 40c and the tshirt was about 20c.  

Sweatshirts take longer to bleach than tshirts - much longer.  Little Lou's shirt didn't turn out quite as bright as Bugsy's.  We'll do another one for her (in purple) as soon as we can find a shirt.

That's it.  Our back to school party.  What did you do to get your kids ready for school?  Have they gone back yet?  What other great ideas do you have that we can add next year?

Wordless Wednesday: The Boys

Monday, August 13, 2012

Back to school with Rubbermaid: Review

Once in a while we get the opportunity to review something that we are going to use nearly every day.  I love those products that we can really get a lot of use from that don't end up just being clutter in our house.  Rubbermaid frequently has that kind of top of the line, every day use, smart products.

Randy packs his lunch for work just about every day.  Usually I send leftovers from the meal we have eaten the night before.  Sometimes he gets sneaky and buys a cheap frozen veggie pack instead.  It's hard to find just the right containers that will fit into a lunch sack neatly and not topple before he gets into work.  

Once in a while he walks to work and I get concerned about his foods being in a sack for an hour while he is on the way with nothing to keep them cool.  
Rubbermaid has a new lunch system designed to address just these problems!  The containers fit well together so they stay in place in the lunch sack - AND - it comes with a "Blue Ice" block that fits perfectly together with the containers.  They can be stacked in a variety of different ways to make things just right for you.  They also fit perfectly into their LunchBlox Lunch Bags.  

We tested the "Sandwich Kit" shown above and believe me, it fits more than a sandwich (that's good because I very rarely send sandwiches to work with Mr. Crum)!  I can't wait to pick up the salad kit from the store and try it in his lunches as well.  

I love the size of the containers.  The sandwich container easily holds a slice of pizza and a few cheese sticks with room for plenty more.  It can hold burritos, or a small salad, or.... whatever.  The medium container is perfect for a LOAD of veggies - this lunch had steamed cauliflower and Mr. Crum said that there was too much for him to finish it all.  I wanted to add some type of dip to one of the small containers but there just wasn't need for it in this lunch.  

For those concerned about carrying lunch with them, I recommend Rubbermaid LunchBlox.  You know they're going to last, Rubbermaid has high quality products.  They are just the right size for a healthy lunch - or a not so healthy one, as shown above.  The Blue Ice is a wonderful addition to a lunch kit as well.  Thanks Rubbermaid for another fantastic, user friendly design!

**Disclaimer: I received a product free for the purpose of review.  All opinions are my own.**

Change brings disruption

Today's the day.  My baby sister is going back to work.  She's been home for the last 2.5 years with her kids and it's been great.  I've enjoyed having her "company" via phone calls nearly every day - multiple times a day.  It's nice to talk to adults sometimes, you know?

So today her world changes.  Her baby goes to daycare for the first time in his life.  He's 2.5 now.  Her big boy will be starting kindergarten on Wednesday, and her sweet 7 year old girl will be disguising herself as a 2nd grader!

They are in the midst of turmoil.  Everything is changing for their family.  They believe they are making the best choices for their family and believe God is at work through their current decisions.  In spite of that knowledge, it is very difficult to give up some of the aspects of the life they have learned to love.

 See, no matter how you slice it, change brings disruption.  I'm not saying change is bad - although sometimes even a good change FEELS bad.  It can be so super scary.  The Crum house has had so many big changes over the last 5 years it is sometimes amazing to think about all that we've done and gone through.  At times it has been very rough.

I love that I have a partner who is supportive in times of change.  He is ready to face a challenge with me.  We can stand firm in the knowledge that we will be there for each other and even more so, in the knowledge that we have a God who is there for us.  We have a God, the creator of the universe, who holds our hands during the disruption that change brings.  Wow.  Change IS disruptive, but God is constant.

As we continue to step together into disruption, we are thankful.  We rejoice that we are becoming stronger in our love for each other, and more importantly in our faith in God's goodness.

How do you face the disruption that is change?

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Truth about Teaching Toileting

I don't know about you, but I've seen tons of advice online and in books about how to best toilet train a child, when is the best time, how long it should take... the list goes on.  I'm working on helping my second boy finish toilet training and here's what I know so far to be the truth and the myths of training.

Myth #1: "You can toilet train your child in...."  a week, a day, an afternoon.  Everyone seems to have a formula about how to quickly toilet train your child.

Truth: Toilet training starts in infancy and continues until your child is using the toilet 100% of the time.  It starts when you talk with baby about their diaper being wet.  You are making him aware of the sensation of being wet.  It continues when she sees you on the toilet and begins to notice that this strange chair is something you sit on often.  It goes on when you begin sitting your child on the toilet - at 6 days, 5 months, a year, 3.. whatever method you have chosen. This is a long process.

Myth #2: "Toilet training does not have to be messy."

Truth: Come on now, you're dealing with bodily excrement.  That is messy no matter what method you choose for training.

Manasseh displaying "Super Undies" brand cloth training pants.
Myth #3: "Disposable training pants are the best method for toilet learning."

Truth:  That's true.  For some people.  Some people don't use diapers - EVER.  Those babies learn quickly when they need to use the toilet and they learn quickly to communicate the need.  Some people use cloth training pants that are much like cloth diapers to help children learn to eliminate without the same mess as underpants.  Some people prefer to go straight into underpants when they feel they are ready for teaching toileting.

Myth #4: Your child is ready to start potty training when he meets this list of criteria...."

Truth:  Your child does not need to be able to speak in order to let you know he needs to eliminate.  She may not be able to pull her pants down yet.  You can start toilet training a newborn simply by talking to him about what he's doing in his diaper. Some people even put very young babies on the toilet when they are using the restroom.

Underwear and boots, what more does a boy need?
Myth #5:  "Girls are easier than boys."

Truth:  Some girls are easier than some boys.  Some boys are easier than some girls.  It's really about personality, desire, and parenting.  Rumor has it, some children choose to "train" themselves, while others need a lot of extra encouragement.

Myth #6:  "Elimination Communication or Early Potty Training is just training parents".

Truth:  When teaching infants to use the toilet parents must be highly attentive and involved.  However, infants learn at a very young age to recognize their bodily function and are taught methods of communicating their needs with a caregiver.

Myth #7:  "Most children are not ready to be fully toilet trained until 2.5 years old or older."

Truth:  Before the dominance of disposable diapers, which wick wetness away from the skin, The average age children were fully toilet trained was 18 months.  The disposable diaper industry has changed the way families deal with toilet training and fortunately for the disposable industry, pushed toilet training back for an entire year or more in some families.

Azariah wears a mixture of cloth and disposable - we are working on getting him back fully into cloth.
Myth #8: "Disposable diapers are better for children who are not yet toilet trained because they keep the skin from getting too moist under the diaper."

Truth:  Cloth diapers often allow moisture to be near baby's body.  However, new materials in diapers actually help baby to feel dryer than previous generations of diapers.  Cloth does require more attention because they do not always hold as much urine as disposables.  It is better for baby to be changed before the diaper is soaked any how.  They also require more attention because they have to be washed well.  The good news?  Cloth can be cheaper and children who wear cloth diapers tend to be toilet trained more quickly than those in disposables.  Also with cloth diapers there is little fear about chemical reactions in the "gel".
Manasseh sleeps in a pull up when we are at camp so he doesn't wet the camp's mattress.
Myth #9:  "Children should be able to sleep without wetting before they are allowed to sleep without diapers."

Truth:  Some children are very slow to learn night time toileting.  This can be do to a physical problem or a genetic disposition.  Do not fret if your child is slow to learn night time toileting.  Some children don't mind training diapers at night, others feel embarrassed if they need diapers over night.  If you don't mind cleaning up the mess, let your child sleep in underpants.  She'll learn to wake up when she's wet and eventually before an accident happens.  It is not abnormal for children to still have accidents at 7 or 8 years old while sleeping.

Myth #10:  "There are too many changes going on for my child to learn toileting right now."

Truth: While it is good to limit the number of changes with your children, toilet training happens with parent consistency.  When you are ready to work consistently with your child, he will be ready to learn.  You can even begin simply by choosing 1 time  of day to put your child on the toilet every day.

What myths have you heard about toilet learning?  What truths do you know?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Potty Training is...

(Felicity, don't read this post).

I love this little boy:
Because I love him, I want him to learn how to be independent.  I want him to wear underwear.  In fact, I've finally made the decision that I'm done with diapers on Cassius, just done.  Other than nap and bed time - we'll get to those after we get day time figured out.

Today was day #2 fully in underwear - no excuses for reverting to the diaper.  Yesterday was great - mostly.  He had 1 accident and that was in the evening...

Today was mostly good.  He went all morning without an accident - until we got home from shopping and I sent him to the restroom.  He stopped in the middle of the hall, turned to me and said, "I peed on the floor".

Whatever, mess happens when you're 2 and in underpants.

Tonight we went to dinner and made sure to take him to the restroom SEVERAL times (twice at the library, 3 times at dinner...).

Note: Always have supplies for toddlers in your purse... AND remember to take your purse to the restroom.  Mama left the purse on the bench.  I got a surprise.  I pulled his pants down to use the restroom and well, it was messy.  I ended up leaving his underpants in the trash because I didn't have anything to put them in...
Also - ALWAYS make sure the stall you choose has toilet paper.  Ugh.  Messy.

So I decided that since he had already emptied himself, we were pretty good to go.  He could continue to wear his shorts and just walk around "free" underneath.

Bad choice.
Bad choice.

Don't do that.

We went to Barnes & Noble (Felicity, this is the part I don't want you to read) because the boys wanted to play with the train set and read books.  Also I was hoping to see Felicity, who had a rough day yesterday and could certainly use a hug.

Well, they played.. until.. my boy stopped playing.  He said, "I pooped."

Daddy.. oh daddy... he checked (remember the boys is free, no underpants to contain mess) - as soon as daddy pulled out the shorts to check... **PLOP**

Fortunately, I had napkins in my purse.  I quickly cleaned up the floor at the bookstore.  Handed daddy a shopping bag to put under dear Cassius in order to contain any seeping or further messing.  Daddy scooped him up and carried him outside.

Admit it. Have you ever done a parking lot change?  We're pretty good at making those work - usually we can find a little grassy area close to the van to lay the boys on so it's a bit more cozy.. not today though.

I figured we would clean him up, change his pants, and head back in to finish our shopping.  BUT... well, sometimes things are messy.  He has this bizarre poo sometimes that just won't wipe off.  It crumbles - he HAD to have a bath, it was all over his leg.. and wouldn't wipe off.  SO.. I put him in a pair of pants I just bought for his 7 year old cousin.  I figured that would contain the mess so that it didn't get on his car seat while we drove home.

And then ... I remembered something we needed at the hardware store.  So we decided to stop over there.  Mr. Crum suggested we not take this boy inside because the pants were too big to stay up.  Mama.. yes, mamas are creative and brilliant at times... pulled out a pair of shorts to put over the pants that were too big and quite lovely, might I add.

Messy.  I love my boys.  I even like the potty training phase with all the strange situations that it can cause.  Tomorrow I'll remember to take my purse with me to the bathroom.

Do you have a potty training story to share?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

34 things

34 Things I want to do while I'm 34:

  1. Drop my blood sugar levels
  2. Exercise regularly
  3. Finish the change to a whole foods, plant based diet
  4. Teach Pre-K at home with Manasseh (and Preschool with Cassius)
  5. Stick to a budget
  6. Learn to  cook at home every day
  7. Improve my sewing skills 
  8. De-clutter my home
  9. Stop and really think about answers before I give them to my boys
  10. Get Azariah back into cloth diapers full time
  11. Be part of an ongoing Bible study with a group of women
  12. Visit at least 10 churches as a representative of YCL Ministries
  13. Bike as a family
  14. Hike in all seasons and experience nature
  15. Create some really cool hand made Christmas gifts
  16. Invite friends over at least once a week
  17. Lose 34 pounds
  18. Meet my neighbors
  19. Fix the garage - it needs new walls and a new roof
  20. Help my big boys learn to sleep without assistance
  21. Read, a lot
  22. Go on a lot of dates with my husband
  23. Sell our house in Goshen
  24. Pay off all remaining debt (we're so close)
  25. Support my husband in reaching his educational goals
  26. Make sure my kids know their family - at LEAST see grandparents once a month
  27. Work on the Couch to 5k
  28. Visit the little creek in Brown County and skip stones with Randy
  29. Take a vacation
  30. Teach my kids to clean their room
  31. Have a mama only retreat for a day, or a week, or... no, not more than that
  32. Visit Ikea
  33. Enjoy a whole family snowball fight
  34. Help my children learn to cook

The Start of a New Year

It's my birthday!

I'm 34 today.  I'm not sure when I started to get so old, it seems like I was 24 just a couple of days ago.  I liked 24, I was healthy(er), active, and always with a friend.  I also like 34.  I've met the love of my life (and I even married him), we have 3 amazing little boys, and I am able to really love time with them.  Life is good.

It's the start of a new year for me.  It's kind of fun to "start a new year" in the middle of the year.  I've been thinking this morning about the things we are already working on changing in our family over the next year.  Some of those things we've been working on for a while such as healthier living, consistent Bible study, quality family time, etc.  I'll be sharing about some of these things over the next several months I'm certain.  Some things you'll just have to wait until they happen for me to share publicly about what is going on.  Lots of good things in store for us.

For now - we're planning to get our hike on and enjoy nature with our family as many ways as possible.  We want these boys to live a healthy, long life.

What plans do you have for your next "new year"?  How do you encourage friends and family to stay on track with life changes?