Potty Power

This week we started potty training Audrey.  She was showing all signs of readiness and seemed pretty excited to get started.  With the help of my good friend Alli, I began on Monday with these tools in hand:

Potty Power DVD

2.  The ebook 3 Day Potty Training by Kaylee Collins

3.  All kinds of princess panties, hand-picked by Audrey

I followed the book almost exactly, with the exception of night time training.  I wanted to conquer day time training first so Audrey wears pull ups at night and at nap time.  The author of the ebook says to make them wear underwear to bed and just wake them up - YEAH RIGHT!  Other than a few changes to the plan, we jumped in with both feet.

Day 1 - Monday
Today went as expected.  We woke up, made a huge deal about her new big girl underwear, and put away all of her diapers.  We turned on Potty Power and I kept her contained in one room to minimize the damage to our carpets.  I set out lots of fun drinks on the coffee table so she would have to go more often (creates more teaching moments if they have to pee a lot).  She loved wearing her underwear and loved that darn Potty Power DVD!  I would say the DVD was the biggest help in our potty training endeavor.

The first time she peed, she looked at me like, "what the heck is happening?!"  I simply told her "uh oh!  Pee goes in the potty!"  Wash, Rinse, Repeat. :)  Like I said, as expected.

Day 2 - Tuesday (aka false hope day)
Audrey really seemed to get this whole potty training thing.  She was telling me when she had to go and we had minimal accidents.  They were usually as she was running to the bathroom.  I stupidly bragged to my mom and sister that I hadn't cleaned up a single poop accident because she had gone in the toilet!  (Just wait...)  Accidents went from four the first day to only two the second day.  I was certain I had a potty training wiz on my hands.

Day 3 - Wednesday
We woke up and as usual made our way to the toilet right away.  Suddenly Audrey HATED it.  She screamed and cried and refused to even sit on the toilet.  I didn't want to push it so I let her go and told her to tell me if she needed some toilet time.

Long story short, I ate my words about the whole "no poop accidents" thing, and we didn't have a single success in the toilet that day.  Ugh.

Day 4 - Thursday
Audrey did great in the morning.  She stayed dry at dance class and went potty before nap.  Please note that this pre-nap potty was our last success of the week.

Thursday afternoon through Saturday were NOT GOOD.  I think the novelty of potty training wore off and Audrey just decided it wasn't fun anymore.  She didn't seem to care that she was having accidents left and right, and I had the most horrible time cleaning them up.  (I'll spare you the details.  I know I'm talking about pee and poop, but I don't want to be THAT person.)  I was ready to give up, stressed out, and Audrey was in a horrible mood.

I took the night off, put Audrey in a pull-up, and Tony took her on a date.  It was what we all needed.  I think we were just all feeling a lot of potty training pressure and taking a break seemed to help.  I emailed my friend Alli, and she reassured me by saying they went through the same things.  (Seriously, Alli, couldn't have made it through this without you!)

After Saturday's set back, we decided to change our approach a bit.  Audrey is a lot like me - we're finding out - where the harder you push her and make her feel bad about messing up, the more she resists.  The whole "I'm so sad you had an accident!" stuff was making her feel bad and not want to even try.  So, we decided to keep it all really positive and encouraging.  I first asked her if she'd rather switch back to diapers.  If she wasn't into this yet, I was fine to wait a couple months.  I said, "Audrey would it make you feel better if you wore a diaper?"  She told me, "NO MORE DIAPERS FOR ME!  I don't like baby diapers.  I like big girl underwear.  I can go potty in the toilet!"  So we went with it.  It was really nice to hear that she was still on board with all of this.

We went from treats as rewards to a potty sticker chart.  I decked it out with princesses, got princess stickers, and hung it on the bathroom wall.  We told her that when she filled it up, we'd take her to the store and let her pick a brand new toy. When she had an accident, we'd approach it very matter-of-factly.  Instead of saying how sad or upset we were, we'd simply say "uh oh!  You peed in your underwear.  Where does pee go?"  Audrey would tell us "in the toilet" and we left it at that.  We had confidence that she knew what to do, she just needed to feel encouraged, comfortable and unafraid of messing up.

I'm happy to say that our new approach to all of this seems to be working!  Tony was a rockstar yesterday at getting Audrey to go.  He was so positive and encouraging.  It's so nice to have a husband who is willing to help out and who is supportive of my crazy methods.  I think Audrey prefers that he help her go now, because he makes her feel so good about herself.  Potty bonding.  Precious, isn't it? ;)

Audrey proudly put the final sticker on her chart before nap time today.  When she was done she turned around and said to me with all the seriousness she could muster, "You can take me to Target now, and I can buy Merida princess."  I agreed and off she went for her nap.  I'm really proud of her, and while she's still not totally accident-free, she's getting the hang of this potty training business.  We just have to work on her telling us before its too late.  In typical kid fashion, she gets too distracted when she's playing to think about going.  I'm not worried though, she'll get it.


My Little Ballerina

We recently signed Audrey up for dance class.  We wanted her to have a structured activity and get some good exercise in, especially in the winter when we can't go to parks or play outside anymore.  I found a studio in Orem that has a toddler combo class for 2-year-olds and so far we've loved it.  It's a mix of ballet/jazz/singing. I think Audrey's favorite part is that they play Disney princess songs for warm up and stretch time.  I thought Audrey would be too nervous to go into class without me but she's done great!  She always tells me, "we have to say bye to mom for dance class!"

She is enrolled from Sept. to May, and she'll have a recital this spring!

Ready for class!

Sorry the pictures are bad, I had to take them through two-way glass.

Stretching with Miss Cassie

Our Trip to the Happiest Place on Earth

When we found out that kids under 3 are FREE at Disneyland, we jumped on planning a little family vacation.  When we first put our down payment on the trip Audrey was really just into Mickey and Friends.  We weren't sure if she'd enjoy the entire Disney experience and I was nervous that it would be one big tantrum.  That was when she first turned two.  Fast forward a few short months and we have a Disney Princess fanatic on our hands.  At this point, we knew Disneyland was going to blow Audrey's little mind.  We knew she'd love seeing the princesses and all of the characters.  She was even excited for the rides!  Our only thought at this point was that maybe she'd be too shy or embarrassed to talk to or approach the characters.  Regardless, we were all excited to go on our trip!

We decided to drive to Anaheim.  It was a little bit cheaper than flying for us, plus we had the luxury of stopping and seeing lots of things on the way there.  We are so fortunate that Tony's family has a house in St. Gorge.  This allowed us to leave Tuesday evening after Tony got off work, drive the 4 hours to St. George, and stop for the night.  Audrey did great sleeping in the "big bed with mama."  We woke up the next day and started the last leg of our journey to Anaheim.  We stopped in Vegas for lunch, and didn't feel like going on the Strip, so we decided to just stop at Excalibur.  It's at the very end of the strip and it is a castle, for crying out loud.  Perfect for Miss Princess Audrey.  She was pretty excited to go in the castle, but once we got in she did not appreciate the over-stimulation of lights, noises, smoke, talking, people, etc.  (Neither did I, let's be honest)  We ate a quick lunch and got out of there.

I was really concerned about Audrey getting a good nap that day, because the next day was our first day in Disney.  If any of you know Audrey (or have a toddler) you know that no nap = no fun for anyone ever.  This girl NEEDS her nap.  She's not one of those kids that can deal with it for a day.  No way.  Plus, she wouldn't nap the day before.  I was SO happy when I looked over to see this sweet girl asleep.  She slept for two hours of our drive, and my stress was completely gone! :)

We finally got to our hotel, checked in, and went to the pool.  It was nice to have some time to just chill before our big day the next day!

Audrey woke us up bright and early to get ready for our first day at Disneyland!

Brushing her teeth, getting ready for the day

She loved this waterfall in the lobby of our hotel.  It was one of the highlights of the trip :)

When we got to the park we knew where we had to head very first.  Fantasy Faire - where the princesses are.  

...BUT WAIT....

She spotted Minnie Mouse!
Audrey saw Minnie right at the entrance of the park and we had to stop and say hi.  Audrey was SO excited to meet Minnie, and it was the perfect start to our day.

...Okay, now we can head to Fantasy Faire.

We were pretty lucky and got a really good spot in line.  We only had to wait 15 minutes to see the princesses!  The rest of the day was no different.  Wait times were minimal and it was great.  The park didn't feel crowded at all!  We did some research as to which times were least crowded, and we picked well!  With the Disney Wait Times app on our phones, and the lack of crowds at the park, we hardly waited for anything.  I think our longest wait was for Dumbo, around 10 minutes.  Anyway, the princesses that were there that day were Cinderella, Ariel, and Aurora.  They stayed the same the whole three days we were there, so Audrey didn't really get to see many other princesses.  She didn't care at all.

After we met the princesses, we took Audrey on some of the rides she's been talking about for months.

She loved Dumbo!  We rode it three times!

She's been talking about the Spinning Cups forever.  This was probably her favorite ride.  Although, she calls them "Minnie's Spinning Cups"  

On "It's A Small World"
 Rapunzel didn't show up for visitors until 11 am that day.  Audrey got pretty upset about it so Tony told her that Rapunzel had to eat her breakfast and brush her long hair.  She was very satisfied with that.  Makes sense, that girl's got some long hair!  Once we were done with a few rides, we finally got to see Audrey's hero.

After seeing Rapunzel it was getting close to nap time so we decided to go back to the hotel.  We couldn't get out of the park because so many characters were waiting around the entrance!  Audrey loved seeing Goofy, and loved taking a walk with Dale (who she refuses to call by his real name.  She's convinced his name is ChipandDale) ;)

We ate lunch at Carnation Cafe on Main Street, USA - expensive but SO yummy! - then finally headed back for a much needed rest.

Our initial plan was to return to Disneyland after our nap, but it closed early that day so they could decorate for Halloween.  We had to change our plans a bit so we headed to California Adventure.

Audrey loved the new Little Mermaid ride.  I must admit, it was probably one of my favorites, as well.  It was nice and cool and a really well done ride.

We got our carousel on and rode King Triton's Carousel.  It was all sea creatures and Audrey was thrilled to ride on a dolphin.  We tried to get her to ride an otter but she wouldn't do it.

We also rode the ferris wheel (or "ferrist wheel" if you're Audrey), Mater's Junkyard Jamboree (an Audrey favorite), and explored A Bug's Land.  Then we went back to our hotel room, ordered some yummy pizza, and called it a day.

Making some friends on our way out of the park.

We were lucky to have Tony's parents come and stay with Audrey while Tony and I had some time in the park by ourselves.  I told Tony it was by far my favorite date we've been on! We got to ride some of the "big kid" rides and got to spend some time together.  It was a nice, relaxing time and I'm really glad I got to have some time with just Tony.  We did Day 2 evening and Day 3 morning just the two of us.

Our second day in Disneyland with Audrey was one of our favorites.  Our plan was to head to Toon Town first, but when Audrey saw Fantasy Faire we had to do round two of princess visits.  It was the same princesses but we were first in line so they talked with her a whole lot more since no one else was there.

We finally made it to Toon Town only to realize it didn't open for another 15 minutes.  Tony had dropped us off and was riding the shuttle over so he was making his way over to meet us.  We were just sitting around, waiting for Toon Town to open, when we saw Merida skipping through the park.  Audrey sprinted for her.  Right before we left Audrey suddenly became way into Merida (don't ask me why!) so she was really thrilled to see her in person.

Merida was probably my favorite princess we met.  She was really great at acting the part.  When we saw her walking around she walked with that non-princess strut that she does in the movie.  Her accent was spot on and she just really did a great job.  

FINALLY we got to Toon Town, and we were there when they opened the gates.  Minnie, Goofy, Mickey, and Daisy Duck were all there to welcome their guests and Audrey got some VIP  treatment.  Audrey immediately ran to Minnie Mouse, who took her hand and walked her through ToonTown and right into her house. Audrey and Minnie played in her house in each of the rooms, and Audrey got to be first in line for pictures. She was thrilled!  We were talking about how Audrey didn't seem to realize how special it was because she loves Minnie, and sees them as friends.  Why wouldn't she take her hand, walk through town, and go to Minnie's house?  They're pals!

It was HOT that day, and Audrey and I were getting grumpy so after Toon Town we went to see the Disney Junior Live on Stage! show.  It was indoors and Audrey loved it.

Then, look who we found right outside the theater!

This was kind of the last day for Audrey in Disneyland.  We brought her back Saturday night because she was really sad she didn't get to see Pluto and didn't have his signature on her autograph frame.  Tony dropped us off, and Audrey and I sprinted to Toon Town.  I figured he would be there.  Tony called when he got to the park and informed me that he saw Pluto AT THE ENTRANCE.  So, we sprinted back, making it just in time.  Audrey was thrilled to see Pluto!  It was really cute.

It was a great trip and one we'll always remember.  We're so glad we decided to take Audrey.  She still talks about all of the things we did there.  It was so fun to see her experience it all!

Phew!  Mega post!  I'm proud of you for surviving that novel.


My New Beauty Routine

(I'm currently working on my post from our Disneyland trip.  There are a lot of pictures and videos to sort through, so I'll put them up soon!)

There are tons of articles circulating right now on Facebook about how much a mother's perspective of herself affects her daughter.  I've read most of them, and I agree with all of them.  The way a little girl views her mother is so important.  She models herself after her mother.  The way she acts, talks, dresses.  I've seen this in my own life with Audrey around.  I recognize that it is equally as important for little boys to have a positive female presence in their lives, but because I only have experience with a daughter that's where I'm speaking from.

It is really hard for me (any woman, really) to not point out to their husbands or just mutter to themselves their flaws.  I was getting really bad at it and wanted to break the bad habit before Audrey was really affected by it.  I decided to channel my inner-Audrey.  Audrey thinks she is the most beautiful princess to walk the earth.  She tells us daily.  She walks with such confidence and nothing stands in her way.  The other day I didn't see Audrey around so I went to investigate.  I found her in my room in front of the full-body mirror looking at herself.  "I have lovely yellow hair!" she said.  "I am so big and strong!" she exclaimed, reaching her arms to the sky.  It made me stop and think about how much she loves herself.  I wanted her to know that it was good to love herself as much as she does.  I also wanted her to see that I loved myself as well.  So I walked over, sat with her and said, "look, mom's hair is so beautiful!"  She agreed.  As awkward as it was for me, I kept going.  "I have nice green eyes!"  Audrey then pointed out her beautiful blue eyes.  We kept going like this talking about everything we loved about ourselves.  Audrey loved it, and you know what?  It works.  I felt so good about myself for the rest of the day, and Audrey and I kept telling each other what we liked all day long.  We've done it every morning since, and it is by far the most successful beauty routine I've used.  I feel and look great after we do it.

I certainly don't think I'm the most beautiful in all the land, but I'm slowly learning to love myself despite my imperfections.  It's amazing the things toddlers can teach us.


Be Happy!

So first, a confession.  Days of Our Lives (you know, the horribly cheesy soap opera?) is always on during Audrey's nap.  I watch it.  It is a nice, mindless thing to have on while I surf the web and relax a bit.  It's embarrassing how much I look forward to it.

I should say, I used to watch it.  Channel 5 switched things up so now Days of Our Lives is on at 1 am!  So, today I watched Studio 5--the show that now occupies my Days of Our Lives spot.  I actually quite enjoyed it.  I've seen the show before, but it's got a new format and the topics today were interesting to me.  At the beginning of the show they talked a lot about being happy.  They had a relationship coach who talked about ways to consciously be happy in your day to day life.  It got me thinking, and I really want to be a happier person.  Who doesn't?

I'm not a particularly angry person, but I do feel like the pressures and stresses of adult life have definitely changed my attitude and disposition.  I'm a mom to a toddler, so I'm tired and stretched to my limits every day.  Do you know that in 7th grade I won an award for "Person Most Likely to Bring a Smile to Your Face"?  It's true.  My English teacher, Mr. Knight, nominated me for it.  He gave a whole speech about how he was always excited when it was time for my class period because I always smiled at him as I walked in.  He said it put him in a good mood for the whole day.  I want to be that way again.

The relationship coach on Studio 5 gave a 7-day plan to Live Happy, and I'm going to try it out.  I think it will benefit not only me, but Tony and Audrey as well.

Here's to a happier me!