Expectation vs. Reality – Christmas Pics 2016

Christmas pictures. When some people hear this phrase they feel excited as they anticipate taking family pictures and choosing from a variety of lovely photos. When I hear this phrase, I feel…slight dread. You see, I am a twin mom of two toddler boys. Getting two energetic little guys to stay still, smile, and pose for an indefinite amount of time is nothing short of mission impossible.

Still, I put my best foot forward and decided to do a portrait studio this year if only for time’s sake. My favorite picture takers are my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, who typically take our Christmas pics but I decided to give them a break since my SIL is preggers. So, off we went.

On the way up, JoJo was in a bit of a mood. “This was a bad idea, wasn’t it?” I asked my husband as we drove along, regret lacing my tone. He shrugged in resignation and sighed, “We’ll see.” When we got to the place, all was going well it seemed. Both boys were playing with some of the toys left out and having a good time. TOO good of a time, I started to notice.

“Um, do you think it’s going to be easy to get them out of this section to take pics?” I asked my husband nervously.

“I don’t know…” his voice trailed off unsure. Uh-oh.

So off I went in search of reinforcements. I.E. bribery tools, I.E. candy. After I purchased some favorites, it was our turn. Immediately, Josiah wasn’t having it. He started to cry and my hopes of an easy picture session were dashed. The more we tried to get him to smile, the worse it became. I went in for the reinforcements, grabbing the jelly beans and offering them up as a token of peace in exchange for pictures. Here’s the thing – Josiah didn’t want to let go of the jelly beans. So he didn’t. So they were in literally the majority of our pictures because we’ve learned early what battles to fight and knew this wasn’t one of them.

Josiah – One.

Parents – Zero.

Meanwhile, Micah was striking a pose like he was David Beckham, being a complete ham for the camera.

Nonetheless, the pictures appropriately captured what being a twin parent of three years old is like and overall, I’m happy.  We did get some pretty good ones! But I had to laugh because of expectations vs. reality. Here’s what I expected….

Here’s what actually happened:

Here were my expectations…

Here’s what reality delivered.

Thank goodness we can laugh about it! Here’s to another Christmas session checked off the list.

And here are some of the solid ones:

Until we meet again, photographers.

POTTY TRAINING UPDATE. PROGRESS! FINALLY!

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If you’ve been following my blog you’ve read this post and this post, where I bemoaned the difficulties of potty training and how I failed because I basically didn’t really try. Well, over the summer, my awesome neighbor offered to help me train them on her days off, which happened to be the week before they were going to start preschool. Since she works at a preschool and has experience, she had amazing tips and pointers and came over to help me train them. So we went to work.

The strategy was:

  1. Put their potties in a separate part of the house, away from the TV.
  2. Time them every five minutes and have them sit on the potty.
  3. While they are sitting on the potty, read them a book. Make the time that they’re sitting on it “fun” and something they can look forward to.
  4. Time them sitting on the potty for five minutes. Five minutes on, five minutes off. You can increase to ten minutes, fifteen minutes, half hour, etc. as you see they are getting the hang of it.
  5. Rewarded them with something they don’t typically get to eat – jelly beans.
  6. Let them run around the house naked in the meantime.
  7. Be consistent, don’t give up, be prepared for accidents.
  8. It’s okay if they don’t poop in the toilet right away, it takes time.

I give all credit to my neighbor and her encouragement and willingness to help! It really is awesome having another set of hands and just someone to encourage you when you feel like giving up. She was great.

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We are a long way from where we started in the best way. I would say one is pretty much totally potty trained and the other is 85% there!  THIS MAKES ME FEEL LIKE WE ARE GROWING IN LEAPS AND BOUNDS. And I’m so proud, thrilled, emotional because they’re just not babies anymore. One wears pull-ups but stays dry the majority of the time, going on the potty while the other is in his underwear now all of the time. Hooray!

The thing with having twins is that they encouraged each other! This helped and I think going to pre-school and watching all of the other kids do it pushed them forward in a big way.

This whole potty-training thing is a journey! It is imperfect, messy, crazy…but we are well on our way!

My encouragement to you:

  1. Don’t give up like I did right away.
  2. Don’t be discouraged.
  3. Be persistent, steady, consistent.
  4. Dedicate several days, or a week to this completely.
  5. Realize, they will go eventually. Don’t be hard on yourself.

These are the things I wish I told myself! But I’m really thankful that I had someone to tell me these things! But we have progressed, and for that I am proud!

The American Dream…or not?

What is the American Dream? Success? White picket fence? Perfect house? Great paying job?I think somewhere along the way, I was starting to buy into the idea that in order to have a happy life I needed certain things. A huge house. Great paying jobs. Nice cars. Vacations left and right.

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Over the past few years, especially over the last two, I have really felt God shifting my focus in a HUGE way and unveiling my eyes to look at the things that truly matter. I realize that none of those things interest me. I think it’s easy to get caught up in keeping up with the Joneses’ in a society that thrives off of comparison. Especially in the age of social media, where people can airbrush their lives or show you only what they want you to see, which is typically the best part of their lives.

Yet, I’ve felt God completely flipping my world upside down and allowing me to see things through a different lens. Here is what I find TRULY matters to me:

  1. My faith.

This is the foundation of who I am. The very core of my being. Let me be even clearer. Living a life for Jesus is what matters to me the most. Because of this, I believe that even in the midst of chaos, my heart can be at peace. I won’t be shaken when life throws crazy things my way.

2. My family.

My family matters deeply to me and the decisions I make are centered around what is in their best interest. As a mom, I ask myself – “Is this decision the best decision for my boys? Will this affect them positively? Will this create a better life for them when it comes to quality?!” As a wife I ask myself, “Does this decision work in the best interest of my marriage?” These are the questions that guide me.

3. Pursuing our dreams. Better yet, pursuing God’s dreams for our lives.

Let it be always said of me, that I lived a life of dreaming HUGE God-sized dreams AND pursuing them? What does that look like for us? That looks like possibly one day opening up our home to foster care children, adopting, church planting, writing songs/recording, and whatever it is that God plants in our hearts to do. I believe everyone on earth has a purpose/destiny. I want to walk in it for my life.

I want my kids to see the fact that their Mommy and Daddy followed their dreams. This will enable them to do the same.

4. Leaving a legacy.

I want to leave behind a life that speaks volumes. A life that mattered. I want to live a life that serves others and lives beyond herself. As a mom, wife, teacher, friend, daughter. That’s my desire.

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to want nice things. What I’m saying is that we can find ourselves so caught up in these things that we forget what truly matters. In an instant, it can all change. Hold on to what truly matters.

PRESCHOOL. OMG.

THE BOYS STARTED PRESCHOOL YESTERDAY. It’s completely unreal. I feel excited, sad, shocked, proud, wistful…so many emotions swirling through my heart. It feels like they were just tiny little babies and now they are in preschool. img_9607img_0633img_9601img_9606img_9599img_9593As you can see, the emotions were all over the place. Since I’m a teacher and had to work, my husband took them in. He changed his work schedule so he could bring them in every morning so we wouldn’t have to pay for wrap around care. I get to pick them up every day and on the first day, they were sitting happily drinking apple juice and eating animal crackers at a table with other kids their age. Today one was eating a snack, and the other was being read to. I can’t believe the boys have hit this milestone. I’m so proud and excited for them as this new chapter begins.

I’m officially the mom of two Preschoolers!

Blogging funk.

So I’m in a bit of a blogging funk. I mainstreamed my blog website through wordpress.org (which is actually different from wordpress.com) and ever since I’ve done so, I’ve been in a blogging funk. I wanted to take my blog up a level. So I shared with family and friends that I’ve been blogging, shared our story, etc. But now…

I feel pressure. From where? I have no idea.

My mind is blank when it comes to writing. Things I wonder – will I be judged by people who know me well for my writing? Will I be criticized? Am I writing about meaningful stuff?!

AHHH.

I don’t like the feeling because I’ve  never felt that way when it came to blogging. It was always an outlet for me and a great way to connect with awesome people. I also miss my fellow bloggers, because the way the new site works is everyone has to resubscribe and follow me again I think.

So I don’t really know what to do. I think I want to blog back at my old site and blog at my new site for posts I think are amazing or really good. This site is great for sharing literally everything that’s on my mind. My other site I wanted to use as a resource to help others.

All this to say – I’m in a funk! AHHH.

Here is my new site. But I might be jumping in and out between both places. Who knows.

New site.

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Hey friends! I’ve recently switched my blog over to wordpress.org. I was working on it for awhile, but recently made the switch. This means that if you still want to read my blog (which I would love and hope you want to!) you will need to check out my new site and subscribe!  So please click HERE to continue to hang out with me on this journey. You guys are the best!

Potty Training Fail.

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*To the tune of ‘Fresh-Prince of Bel-Air’*

“And this is the story all about how

I tried to potty train my twins but failed, Oh Wow…*

Okay, so I’ll stick to not trying to rap. This week I was on my spring break from school. Can I even count the ways it was glorious? I go back to work tomorrow but so enjoyed hanging out with my babies! Summer, come please. Thanks.

That being said, I made a decision that I was going to potty train my boys during spring break. I had a week to do it and I kept telling myself and my friends. I was kind of determined. A few days passed into spring break and I forgot about it. Tuesday came around and I thought to myself, “Crap. I need to potty train these guys!” So I did what I do best. I went to Target with my husband and filled up the cart with loads of essentials.

Potty training pants? Check.

Cute “Cars” underwear? Check.

Other nonessential pointless items that make their way into my cart EVERY SINGLE TIME? Check.

Sheer determination to potty train no matter what? I think I left that at Starbucks when I was ordering my Frappucino.

This is how it went:

I woke up the next morning and “prepped” by looking up things on Pinterest and what not. Most moms research and read up on this for awhile. This mom talked to friends and other people, looked up a few articles, skimmed read them, and got ready. My husband was working so I was on my own. I was psyched about how much I was going to accomplish and how this was going to be the beginning of our potty training journey. So I woke up, took them from their cribs (you can read about my fear of toddler beds here) and sat them on the potty.

Me: Okay, now pee!

Them: Cars! Put on Cars Movie!

Me: Okay, but sit and pee while you watch (no pressure right?)

I then proceeded to stare at them and wait. They grew bored sitting on the toilet and tried to wander off. I grew bored watching and decided to use the bathroom. When I came back, one had grabbed their potty and was walking around with it. But wait, there was something inside! I excitedly texted my husband about the success we were reaching and bragging about my amazing potty training abilities. I tried to show my excitement by trying to engage the boys in high-fives but they weren’t too interested. Three hours later and several pee puddles on the floor later, I texted him a new message:

“This is hard. I quit. I think it would be easier with you here. I’ll try again in the summer.”

And THAT my friends, is how NOT to potty train. 🙂

We will revisit you soon potty. This won’t be the last of us.

I know I didn’t really give potty training a true try and I’m okay with that. We had a family emergency this week that took a toll on us in every way. We are still recovering from that even now. I also think one twin is ready and the other is not. So I may try to do one for now and wait a bit for my other little guy. Who knows?! Either way, it’ll happen before preschool in September. I hope! Ha!

 

 

 

Stop pretending you have it all together.

As parents and as humans, sometimes we feel the need to act like we have it all together all of the time. We are afraid to let people in, afraid to let people see the “real” us, flaws and all. We are afraid of failure, afraid that when people see the ugliness they will run away or want nothing to do with us. OR that that the facade will be up. When you live life this way, it all comes crashing down eventually. Trust me on this.

If I can give you a word of unwarranted advice, here it is:

  1. Let people in.
  2. Don’t be afraid to be real and ugly. Those worth being in your life won’t run. They’ll embrace you.
  3. Getting help doesn’t mean failure. It means you’re wise enough to know it’s time to reach out to others.
  4. No one is perfect. People are comforted to know your imperfections, because it makes them feel better about their own.
  5. Your life will be better for it.

The end.