Monday, January 31, 2011


We've had another language explosion. Oliver's vocabulary and especially his sentence construction has improved greatly. He's been cracking me up lately with the things that come out of his mouth. I'm going to try to remember to share them more often. I'm sure it's funnier in person when you can hear his inflections and everything, but just try to imagine. For example . . .

Last week during lunch, Oliver enthusiastically exclaimed, "Love carrots!"

Tonight during dinner (a chicken and veggie quesadilla), he had finished what I put on his plate and asked for more, so I gave him a section of mine, which was identical to what he had just eaten. Upon examination, he dramatically complained, "I can't eat this! There's carrots in there!"

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Annabelle!

We had a great time tonight celebrating Annabelle's second birthday! Oliver says, "Welcome to the twos, they're a blast!"

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Photo Saturday

Marty got a great deal on a new Dyson vacuum cleaner.

Oliver liked the box.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Potty Training Update

I found a magical device to cure all our potty training woes! Ta-da:

A timer. 

A simple apple timer from the Dollar Spot at Target, which I bought last year hoping to use it for time outs. Unfortunately, it didn't work very well for anything under 5 minutes, so I stuck it in a drawer. 

Then I posted about our potty training troubles on a mom's message board that I frequent, and a few of my friends suggested trying a timer. I'd read about using a timer somewhere in all my research, but never thought to try it. The idea is that you set the timer for regular intervals, and when the bell rings, they have to go sit on the potty. You kind of make a game of it, but most importantly, it gives them a little more control because you aren't telling them to go (or nagging them or begging them), the timer is. Control seems to be our main stumbling block in recent days, as he resists my attempts to get him to go, stubbornly refusing, and then having an accident minutes later. 

Because I am determined to make it work this time, out of desperation I thought I'd give it a try, figuring he'd still be too stubborn. Amazingly, after only a few rings of the bell, he got it. Now every time it rings, he stops whatever he's doing, even watching one of his favorite shows, and says, "Time to potty!" and marches right in the bathroom! He had no accidents yesterday after he got the hang of it, and no protests either! He even told us he needed to pee during dinner! The highchair is where many of his accidents have taken place, so that is awesome.

We are setting it in 30 minute intervals most of the time. I adjust it depending on when he last actually peed, or how much. Sometimes he sits but doesn't pee, or doesn't get it all out, and that's okay, because most of the time he goes. If he doesn't pee, I set it for 15 minutes. I think the intervals will change over time as we get into a rhythm and he learns his body signals better. 

I did a bunch of reading up on potty training yesterday while he napped (he played for half his nap, and slept for half, with no destruction of his room!), and I decided that I also had to work on my attitude. I was starting to get frustrated, and it showed, and I know he picked up on that. So now we are all about praising the tiniest success, and brushing off any accidents as part of the learning process. It's making for a happier mommy and toddler, lots of stickers, and on Saturday, he'll get his incentive toy!

So maybe we're getting this thing figured out. Let's hope so!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A busy nap time

My excuse for not blogging yesterday:

This is what Oliver did during his "nap" yesterday.

Naps are intermittent around here these days. Some days he'll nap for hours. Others, not at all. Regardless, I enforce a "quiet time," so that on days that he doesn't nap, he has to stay in his room for an hour and can play quietly. Sometimes he'll fall asleep. Sometimes he won't.

Yesterday, he quietly removed all the clothes from the drawers of his dresser. I could hear him moving around, but figured he was just playing with toys or reading books. When the hour was up, I went upstairs to get him, and opened the door to that mess. Shocked, I asked him, "Oliver, what did you do?" He immediately confessed with a list, "Get clothes out drawers. Mess with blinds. And poop in closet." See, we have a rule that he's not allowed to mess with the blinds or go in the closet, so he knew that was wrong, but we never told him not to empty drawers, so he seemed quite proud of himself. Oh, the mind of a toddler. Of course, I immediately made it known that it was not okay to empty the drawers, and put him in time out while I contemplated his punishment. And snuck downstairs for the camera.

Oh, and don't worry, he didn't actually poop in the closet. He went into the closet to poop, but since he's still in a diaper for nap times (thank goodness!), he just pooped in his diaper in the closet. So I'm thinking it'll be a while before we try underwear for naps. Maybe high school, at this rate. No, potty training is not going well, but that's another post.

Because of the snowstorm, Daddy came home early right about that time, so we decided he had to stay in his room until he put all the clothes back in the drawers. Now, I know he wouldn't be able to fold everything and get it all to fit, and I'd have to go back and clean it up anyway, but we had to try to teach him a lesson. Well, it became a battle of wills. The parents, trying to get him to just pick up the clothes, and put them in the drawers, versus the child, who sat calmly reading books, and casually saying his favorite phrase, "No, don't want to." This went on for three hours. One of us would check on him every once in a while and urge him to put the clothes away, but he'd either simply say no, or scream and beg, "Mommy do it! Daddy do it!" Finally, I made dinner, and went up and told him that if he put the clothes away, we could eat tacos and berries for dinner. He must have been hungry, because then it turned into a game to see how quickly he could get them in the drawers. Hey, whatever works!

After dinner, I spent the next hour finally getting a shower, and then sitting and folding all those clothes (mostly my off-season stuff) and putting them away. Then fixing the blackout curtains he had pulled halfway off the rod, and picking up all the books he had strewn all over the room while he avoided his task. Too tired to blog. Oh, and I'm sick with a cold/sinus thing. Bonus.

Never before did I yearn for and yet dread nap time as much as I do today.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Photo Flashback

April 13, 2008, at 8 days old.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Recipe: Pork Tenderloin with Red and Yellow Peppers

In pursuit of my goal to be healthier, I have decided to try out one new healthy recipe each week. When I find something I really like, I'll share it on the blog.

This recipe is great. It was super easy, quick, and tasted wonderful. Don't let the anchovies scare you away! The dish doesn't come out fishy at all, just full of flavor. Plus, anchovies are a great source of omega 3s!

Pork Tenderloin with Red and Yellow Peppers
Anchovies melt into the pepper mixture, adding a savory, salty quality. If you don't like anchovies, omit them and add 3 tablespoons minced olives. Serve with mashed potatoes.
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3 ounces pork and about 1/2 cup bell pepper mixture)


  • 1  (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick medallions
  • 1/2  teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  tablespoon  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  chopped fresh rosemary, divided
  • 4  canned anchovy fillets, drained and mashed
  • 3  garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1  red bell pepper, cut into 1 1/2-inch strips
  • 1  yellow bell pepper, cut into 1 1/2-inch strips
  • 2  teaspoons  balsamic vinegar


1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add pork to pan; cook for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; turn pork over. Add 1 teaspoon rosemary, anchovies, garlic, and bell peppers; cook 7 minutes or until peppers are tender and pork is done. Drizzle with vinegar. Top with remaining 1/2 teaspoon rosemary.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 215
Fat: 10.1g (sat 2.7g,mono 5.4g,poly 1.2g)
Protein: 25.2g
Carbohydrate: 5g
Fiber: 1.4g
Cholesterol: 78mg
Iron: 2mg
Sodium: 441mg
Calcium: 26mg

Saturday, January 22, 2011


I said I would post every day. But I'm tired, we've been gone all day, and the start of a cold is hitting me hard. I need a shower, and to go to bed.

So my post for today is: potty training sucks. I hate it. But I'm not quitting.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Photo Friday

In case you were wondering, yes, he still likes lining things up. Today during lunch, he lined up his grapes, placing each one at the end of each line of "Old Macdonald had a farm." Guess what song I'll be singing in my sleep tonight.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bragging Rights

Because if a mother can't brag on her son, then who can?

I have lots to brag on Oliver about today. First, I know you're all dying to hear about it, but we did have a great potty training day. He got 6 stickers, and 2 accidents, one of which was just a little dribble before he made it to the potty. The big one was during dinner. He'd been asking to be "all done," and we kept delaying, and while I think he should have been more specific and said "potty please," it is partly our fault. We were starting to clean up when he suddenly said, "I'm peeing!" So, the load of laundry tonight included his highchair cover! But overall, he did great about telling me when he needed to go, and actually kept a Pull Up dry during music class. We'll have a full day to work on it tomorrow, since it appears another snow storm is headed our way.

Our other great news is that Oliver has been asked to attend a second day of his Mother's Day Out program! They had an opening because of a family moving away, and the director called and asked me if we were interested. She said his current teachers just love Oliver, and that the other teachers (that he'll have on his second day) had heard all about him and were so excited to possibly have him in their class! She said they love how he entertains them all with his singing and dancing. She said he sings show tunes! Show tunes? We don't sing any show tunes. I guess it must be songs from his music class that they mistake for show tunes. The only other one I could think of would be Skidamarink ("Skidamarinky dinky dink, skidamarinky doo, I love you...."), which we sing at home sometimes. Maybe that's from a musical? Anyway, I digress. She also said he is a delight, well adjusted, smart, fun, and well behaved. Wow!!!! So they thought of him when the opening came up. Of course they did. Who wouldn't want more Oliver?! So we're doing it. He loves going to "school," and I think he really gets a lot out of it. So now he'll now be going two mornings a week, which means I get another 4 hours off!!

Finally, before music class I was telling his teacher that he woke up this morning (at 6:15, ugh) wanting to sing songs from one of the song books from last year's class. He's very obsessed with the song books that go along with the class, he loves looking at the music while we sing. So when class started, his teacher used that as an example to show how learning music helps literacy, etc. I was so proud of my smart boy. For about 10 minutes. Then he threw a fit because she wasn't singing the songs in the order they come in the book. So, maybe he's a little too obsessed. What can I say, we all know how much he likes things in order! Okay, so he's not perfect, but I'll brag about him anyway.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Potty Training, Round 2, Day 4

Didn't I predict a day of rebellion? Yeah, that would be today. It wasn't completely horrible, we aren't giving up or anything, but this momma is tired. It doesn't help that there was an ice storm today so we couldn't go anywhere, but I thought I'd take advantage of that to keep him in training pants all day.

He did some things well. In the morning especially, he waited a long time between sitting on the potty to pee. I kept asking, and he kept saying, "No, don't want to," very matter of factly. When he did finally go, he only peed a little bit. At one point I went upstairs to get dressed and brush my teeth, for maybe 5 minutes. When I returned, he was in the bathroom with the door shut. I walk in and he is standing in front of the toilet with a guilty look on his face, saying "Peed on floor." Boy, did he! He must have been saving that up from overnight even! It was quite the puddle. The good thing is that he felt the urge and ran to the bathroom, but he wanted on the big toilet not his little potty seat, and he has a hard time getting up there on his own, so he just didn't make it. So I was positive with him, saying "Accidents happen, you'll just try again next time." He said, "like Elmo and Grover! Accidents happen, so that's ok!" He's quoting Elmo's Potty Time, where they sing a song about this. But the way Oliver said it gave me pause because it was in a way that came across as, "Accidents happen, great job!"  like he did something awesome.

Sure enough, it turned out to be the theme of the day. He'd pee in his training pants, shrug and say, "Accidents happen!" and sing the song. Sigh. So we had quite a few long talks about how it's ok if you have an accident, but isn't it much better to pee on the potty and get a sticker. Then this evening, he was in the kitchen playing with refrigerator magnets for a bit, and he came out walking funny. I said, "Do you have to go potty?" He said, "yeah," but as he passed by me on the way to the bathroom, I noticed quite the protuberance from the back of his training pants. Apparently he was busy in the kitchen doing other things. Hey, at least he's not constipated. Sigh.

So he ended the day with 4 stickers, and 5 accidents. And I ended the day doing another load of laundry.

Oh, and 55 minutes into his non-napping nap time today, he comes walking down the stairs into the living room. He figured out how to unlock his door (a safety lock we can manipulate from the outside). This was how we enforce "quiet time" when he doesn't feel like napping. So much for that strategy. It was not a good day for the mommy.

But we aren't giving up. No matter how much he tries to break me down!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Potty Training, Round 2, Days 2 and 3

I am very encouraged by the progress we are making so far! Check out this sticker chart:

(Excuse my paper overlays, we're working off the same chart from August, but I wanted a clean slate).

We officially started on Saturday, but I didn't want to waste that piece of paper, so we put this week's on the same page. I guess we'll double up when we get to Saturday again. Oliver has been doing great though!

On Day 1, he went through 6 pairs of cotton training pants before lunch. Then he and Daddy went to an indoor track meet so I sent him in diapers. After they were there a while, he told Daddy he wanted to go home to pee and nap! And then when they got home, he did! Slept quite a while actually, thankfully. That evening, he had more successes, ending the day with a total of 5 stickers (one sticker=actually peeing on the potty, but only if pants are dry). Went to bed in diapers.

Day 2, woke up wet. Went right into training pants after a morning pee on the potty. For the entire day, only 2 accidents! But the biggest success was that he pooped on the potty! Unfortunately, he didn't ask to go, but went to his favorite "hiding" spot between the end table and the sliding glass door, but I caught him before much came out, and rushed him to the toilet, where he unloaded the rest. That called for a big celebration, so new rule, 2 stickers=pooping on the potty! He was much better about asking to go potty before he had an accident, and actually peeing when he was on the potty, unlike the last round, where he was constantly asking to go potty, but never peeing, all in an effort to get stickers. We were also better at reading his signs and asking if he needed to go at appropriate moments, rather than just randomly, or every 2 minutes (which gets old fast!). We did make a run to Target and the grocery store, and put him in diapers for that and naps. Sunday's total was 8 stickers (2 for poop), 2 accidents.

Day 3, woke up a little wet, but cranky, so I let him hang out in his diaper until he felt better. He's been enthusiastic about going on the potty all day, and has only had one accident. He's had another poop, and this time he told me, "poop in potty?"! Today we definitely had more of him telling me he needed to go than me asking him. End of the day tally: 11 stickers (the photo above was taken this morning), 1 accident!

I hope I'm not speaking too soon, and I'm fully prepared for a rebellion day, but this time feels so different from the last attempt in August. He seems to get it this time, which he should, he's older. But he's also more interested. Last time we had the Elmo's Potty Time DVD, but he only watched it once and never wanted to again. This time he's watched it every day at least once, and asked for it multiple other times, but football was on (go Bears!). He's getting out his potty books too. And best of all, since the first day, he has only occasionally asked for his incentive toy (the Cars Lego set), and with that look on his face like, "I know I'm asking you for something I can't have," and no tantrums. I really truly believe that what "everybody" says is true, it works when they're ready. I also believe that I am more relaxed about it this time. I hope it doesn't backfire on me later, but I'm not stressing about putting him in diapers every now and then when convenient (for example, going to the store). I decided I was not going to make this a battle or an ordeal. I'm going to see how he's doing, and if we go to My Gym tomorrow (weather permitting), I'll probably put him in a Pull-Up, since they have a bathroom right there. And I'm not worrying about naps until I think he's really doing well during waking hours. How can I expect him to stay dry during naps or bedtime if he's not staying totally dry when he's awake?! I know the hard core advice is to go all the way, and deal with the consequences, that's how they learn. Well, I want him to learn to understand his body signals while awake before I put him down to sleep without a diaper or pull-up on.

So hopefully my next update isn't another "we've given up" post, but I'm feeling confident that we're on the road to success, yay!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Snow Date: The Movie

Linsey sent me the videos of Oliver and Annabelle's snow play date the other day, so I thought I'd share.

Part 1

Part 2

By the way, the screaming you're hearing from Oliver is his emphatic, "Don't eat it!" whenever Annabelle took a bite of snow. He has apparently inherited his father's germaphobe tendencies.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Here we go again

This weekend's mission: Potty Training, round 2.

I really want it to work this time. He's been going on the potty off and on since our failure back in August. He got more interested again a few weeks before Christmas, but I didn't want to take a potty training child on a plane or to other people's homes for two weeks. So we just took him when he asked, and like the first time, it was mostly about getting stickers. But I know he understands the process, it's just a matter of body awareness and stubbornness. So I thought we'd try again when we returned home. Last Friday morning when he woke up, I asked if he wanted to go sit on the potty to pee. He replied with an emphatic "No." See, stubborn. So much for trying. I mean, you can't force them to sit on the potty, right? But he was still in the midst of his post-holiday attitude. You know, after 2 weeks of grandmas and lots of presents, you feel like you rule the world. Hopefully things are back to normal now, and he'll be more willing to try. Plus, I found a secret weapon:

 The incentive!

Finding an incentive worked really well when we got rid of the binky, so I'm hoping it might help things along here too. When we were in Target yesterday, we were perusing the clearance toys. He zeroed in on this one. I let him hold it while we shopped, and then before we went to check out, I told him that this toy would be a present for him after he learned to use the potty and keep his pants dry. He kept saying "Open at home," our standard mantra whenever he gets something at the store, so he doesn't rip it open right then and there. So I repeated, "after you learn to use the potty" repeatedly, until he said it back to me.

After he woke up from his nap, I asked if he needed to pee on the potty, and he did. So he got a sticker on his newly updated sticker chart. Excitedly, he asked, "Open box?" So I had to explain to him again that he had to fill his sticker chart (2 weeks worth) before he got the new toy, because he had to show that he could keep his pants dry. Major tantrum ensues. I guess he didn't get it after all. Finally, after much screaming on his part, and explaining on mine, I think he finally sort of got it. The box is on top of the refrigerator, where he can see it as an incentive, though I'm thinking of just putting it away so he isn't completely tortured by it. It does feel slightly cruel.

This morning when he woke up, I asked if he wanted to wear underwear so he could practice peeing and pooping on the potty, and he agreed, and went on the potty before we got dressed. Hooray! The rest of the morning, we had a combination of successes and accidents, 3 stickers, and 6 wet training pants. The underwear we bought for the last attempt don't fit him any more, so I'm going to have to go get more of those and more training pants.

Right now he's off with Daddy for a Boy's Day Out, and back in diapers while they're gone. I've decided I'm not going to be as hard core this time as I was the last. I'm not spending 3 days locked in our apartment staring at his crotch. If we need to go out, I'll put him in pull-ups or diapers, whichever feels appropriate at the time, and then he'll be in underwear or training pants at home. Last time things got too stressful, for all of us. This time it's a little different. He knows what to do, we've been "practicing" for months. He just has to learn to read his body's signals better, which is hard to do when you play as intently as he does. Plus, he's a little bit stubborn. I have no idea where he gets that trait! We have nine months until he starts preschool and has to be out of diapers completely. Hopefully, it won't take that long!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Snow Date

Like much of the rest of the country, we got hit by the big Snowmageddon on Wednesday. Here's the view off our back balcony right at the end of the snowfall:

 I don't know exactly how much snow we got. It varied throughout the state, but we were under some big unmoving band for a while, so our specific area got more than others. In our town, I think we got somewhere around 26-28" from what I heard on the news and what I could tell by looking. See the pile on top of the a/c compressors to the right in this photo:

It was definitely at least 2 feet, and regardless, it was a lot. So we were all stuck in the house, though Marty worked from his home office (our bedroom). Rather than be stuck inside all day, Linsey and I decided that we had to take the kids outside to play in this historic snow. If nothing else, we'd get a few good photos, and maybe they'd tire themselves out enough for good naps. So, in essence, the kids had a snow date (awwwwww)!

 Waiting for his favorite girl.

 Cheesy Grin!
 There she is!

 Oliver and Annabelle bravely trek toward the back lawn.

 Oliver, my wimpy son, holds on to Annabelle, a 10 month younger girl, as they are confronted with a pile of snow that is almost taller than they are.

 Look how far we've come! Probably three whole feet!

 And, they're done. Or more correctly, Oliver was done. Annabelle wanted to keep on trying for the remains of the snowman from a previous storm that was out of frame to the left.

 It turns out that what Annabelle was really most interested in was eating the snow. Well, it was about snack time. She's a cheap date. There was a lot of snow, and it was free!

 Linsey to the rescue!

 The sure sign the date was almost over: she removed her mitten . . .

because it's easier to eat the snow with a bare hand!

All done!

Back inside, they warmed themselves by the fire computer.

Oh, and yes, we spent more time getting them bundled up than we spent outdoors.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Christmas, Part 3

Late on the night of New Year's Day, we returned "home" to Connecticut. Oliver went right to bed and dreamt of sugarplums while Santa made a special late trip to drop off the last of his presents. Santa's elves must have stayed up very late preparing everything, and were probably exhausted after their long day of traveling!

We were awakened late the next morning, thankfully Oliver was still on Central time, and apparently tired from his trip too. We made our way downstairs, expecting screams of delight and excitement at the sight of new presents. He was actually quite subdued. He saw a new train set all put together elaborately on the table, and just said nonchalantly, "Oh, toys." Then he saw all the stacks of presents from both Santa and Mommy & Daddy, and said very quietly and repeatedly, "Can't open presents." I'm not sure what this meant, except maybe when he first saw the presents at our families' houses, we couldn't open them right away, but had to wait. So maybe he thought that was true here too? Anyway, we let him open them, and he did get excited as he saw each new gift, but was quite subdued through the whole thing. Maybe he was all Christmased out? Or worse, maybe opening presents was becoming such a common experience, this was no big deal anymore?! More likely, I believe, is that he was just tired, as were we all, from all the traveling. As the day went on, and he played with each gift, he became more excited. And then again a week later, when all the boxes of presents that he had opened elsewhere arrived; it was like yet another Christmas!

Here are some highlights of our quiet, but nice, little family Christmas.

 His big gift from Santa, a train set! Most of the trains came from various family members as Christmas gifts, but Santa gave him the tracks and accessories.

 His tower of gifts.

 Another puzzle!

 Blocks! They're all mixed up here, but his big gift from Mommy & Daddy were the standard unit blocks, and my mom (Nee-Nee) got him the Architectural set (the ones with the columns and other details). 

 Pausing from building to read his Curious George books.

 Surrounded by his gifts.

 Later that night, playing with blocks with Daddy.

Thumbs up to a great Christmas season!! Oh, and Happy New Year! Go Bears!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Year's Eve

We started New Year's Eve with a visit to the Butterfly House on a stormy day, and ended it with a nice dinner with family and friends and passing out before midnight. What an exciting life we lead!

 Grandma Linda and Oliver checking out the bugs.

 Oliver enjoyed the huge display of cockroaches. Mommy did not. Reminded me of living in Florida!

 Daddy and Oliver looking at the scorpions. You know they're bad when they put a case inside a case!

 The Butterfly House was beautiful, gorgeous plants, and tons of butterflies. Thus, it was also very humid, and my lens fogged up. I thought I got it wiped off enough, but apparently not. Think of it as artistic effect.

 Grandma Linda and Oliver
 Daddy and Oliver, and the cheesy grin, ride the carousel in the park nearby.

 Note the growing storm clouds out the window. This was when the tornado sirens started, so we left. We were parked in a gas station parking space (safe during a storm, right?!) when the bad winds hit. We were very lucky, as there were tornadoes in other parts of town.

Back at the house, Oliver became obsessed with weighing himself.

 Hanging out before dinner.

 Family friend Deenie helps with the puzzle.

 Seriously, does this sweater make me look fat?

 My own little Jackson Pollock, making art with pudding.

 He told us he was drawing a doggie, so Deenie tries to find it.

 Love pudding!

 Don't you see the doggie? It's right there!

 Bob and Oliver became fast friends, which is unusual for Oliver who cried and clung to me at the sight of strange men the whole trip. I wish I had gotten a picture of it, but just after this, Oliver took Bob by the hand and made him walk around the Christmas tree with him. 

 Riding the horsey with Deenie.

Oliver's bedtime came long before midnight, so he said goodnight. He even gave Bob a kiss! Friends for life!

And thus ended our holiday travel. We loved getting to see lots of family and friends and celebrating the holidays together. Thanks again to everyone for a great time!

The next day we flew back to Connecticut, where Santa made a late stop, and we had our own Christmas celebration. Highlights to come!