Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Closer Look

It's been awhile since I've posted a prayer request related to cardiology...

I had hoped I'd never have to.  But here we go.

Tomorrow Matt and I are taking Harrison to Children's Hospital for an EKG.  It isn't urgent.  Just a precautionary test prompted by a "dusky" color that we've been noticing around his mouth and nose.  His pediatrician listened to his heart and couldn't pick up on any murmurs.  Pulse oximetry has been normal.  A fetal echo at 20 weeks showed nothing but perfection.  His fingers and toes are all a beautiful shade of pink (though its most often hidden under a layer of dirt).  We've been given no real reason to suspect or believe that there is anything crazy going on with that little ticker of his....but.



You don't live the things we've lived, lose the things we've lost, and not take a closer look.

So today I ask you, if you have just one minute to spare, to say a few prayers for our hearts.

That Harrison's will prove to be healthy and strong.
That his mom and dad's will remain calm and faithful.
That the little angel who takes up so much space in all of our hearts 
will be with us thru it all.

When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the ROCK that is higher than I.  ~Psalm 61:2

Sunday, November 16, 2014

And Then There Were Three

My three little Packer fans...the most recent who isn't quite "little" enough to carry on with the onesie part of the tradition. :)   

Charlotte 2011
Harrison 2012
Max 2014

So much love wrapped up in three perfect pictures.  

{Go Pack Go!}

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Batman Undies for the WIN

A few months ago Matt and I started toying with the idea of teaching Harrison to use the big boy potty. 

1) He's a bright kiddo and we knew he was more than capable of putting the pieces together.
2) The longer and heavier he got, the more cumbersome diaper duty was becoming.
3) I'd been on the receiving end of one too many toddler round house kicks.

We broke out our hand-me-down potty chair (eeewww that sounds terrible) and let H start familiarizing himself with it.  And my "familiarize" I totally mean close the lid, climb onto and jump off over and over again.  I won't even call it a half-hearted attempt on our part...but the idea (and the potty) remained a constant part of our home.  "Maybe next weekend" became "Maybe the next." Then that transitioned into "Maybe once the rest of our craziness settles down a bit."  Then one day we landed on "after our vacation."

Matt and I had the opportunity to spend the last week of October relaxing and reconnecting on a MUCH needed vacation in the Dominican Republic.  It was an amazing week filled with sunshine, salt water and amazing friends and family.  In all of our post vacation bliss, we almost-kind-of-sort-of forgot about those big potty training plans.  Then at about 10:00 on the following Friday night I spotted our little potty tucked discretely under a chair and announced "Oh crap!  We need to potty train....TOMORROW!"  Nothing like being prepared!  We scrounged up some toys/stickers/candy that we had been tucking away for this very occasion and threw them into what became known as the Potty Prize Bowl and braced ourselves for what the following day would bring.

{Disclaimer} By no means would I EVER call myself a potty training expert.  I took words of advice from some wise and experienced mamas and pieced them together into something that I thought would work for us.  We tried things that proved ineffective (for us) and others that seemed to really click with our little man. Through a series of trial and error we managed to not only survive the weekend, but also to send a little big boy to school just 2 days later wearing Batman undies.  Yes, there are still accidents here and there...sometimes more our fault than his, but the progress that H has made in the past 7 days has this mama feeling SO very proud.

{Here's the skinny on how it all went down}

{Day 1} Lord help us all.

Our first approach at training consisted of lots of fluids and mandated visits to the potty every 10 minutes.  Turns out that H only wanted to pee at 4 minutes or 13 minutes and we spent most of the day cleaning puddles up off the floor.   The concept of the Potty Prize Bowl totally backfired on us on Day 1.  The general premise made total sense in my adult brain.  Go potty.  Get a reward.  Simple enough, right?  WRONG.  I didn't think about the whole "what happens when he DOESN'T go" part of the picture.  H wasn't on board with my whole "high-five for trying" concept...he was dead set on getting those Smarties or "Spiderman candy" (Pez).  He refused to get off of the potty and as a result it felt like 99% of the day was spent just sitting, hoping that he would eventually pee.  Not a very effective way of teaching him to recognize when he has to go.   Day 1 brought with it more tears that I had bargained for and by 1:00 we were ALL ready for naps.  

Someday he'll appreciate me sharing this, yes?

Final verdict of day 1?  Lots of tears.  Lots of messes.  A few successes here and there.  BOAT LOADS of celebrating when the stars aligned and potty hit the potty.

{Day 2} Light at the end of the tunnel.

I have to be completely honest here.  When I woke up on Sunday morning, I had to talk myself out of quitting.  I was confident that we couldn't handle a repeat of day 1....not only the accident part, but the sad little boy who just wanted to wear his diaper part.  I was sad for Harrison and my heart knew that if this whole potty training thing was going to work, we had to try something different.  

On day 2 we decided to say farewell to timers and constant fluids.  That approach might work for some, but the whole process seemed a little too "regimented" for us.  Instead we decided to let H run the show (or at least to let him FEEL like he was.)  We reminded him 8 million times that day to tell us when he had to go potty.  We asked him another 2 million times if he needed to go.  If large chunks of time passed with no word from him, we would suggest "trying," but for the most part we let H dictate when he took potty breaks.

Holy crap, it worked.  Successful trips to the potty far outweighed accidents on day 2.  He peed.  He pooped.  We danced.  We high-fived.  We fed sugar highs with more sugar.  It was amazing.  We were SO proud of H and the look on his face with each success told us that he felt the same pride in his accomplishments.

{Days 3, 4 & 5}

Coming off of such a productive day 2, my mama's heart was a little anxious about what came next.  Day 3 was a Monday.  Monday means daycare.  Daycare means (generally speaking) that you need to wear pants!  With a little reassurance from Miss Holley at Harry's school, we headed out the door that morning with a little boy in big boy undies.  Oh my goodness was I ever nervous.  Nervous for him.  Nervous for the day.  Nervous for his teachers.  It was only day 3 and I had no idea what to expect.  I resisted the urge to call all day long and mentally prepared myself for the worst, hoping to be pleasantly surprised!  Low and behold, people, Harrison Paul Ritchie did fantastic.  He had a few accidents, but nothing like I expected with all of the distractions of school. 

Each day has gotten a little better.  There have been moments where I feel like we're back sliding, mostly when he's overly tired.  There is still room for improvement when it comes to him initiating potty breaks rather than needing to be asked, and also on "hitting his mark" rather than spraying over the rim (he's a sitter), but all things considered, I'm beyond impressed by his progress.  We still have to tackle naptime and bedtime, but for now we're taking it one step at a time. We've come full circle to another Saturday, and last weekend's fiasco seems like a world away.  

Some of my favorite "Harrisonisms" from our week of potty training....

"No Stella!  Don't drink my potty!" as our pup walked past while he was going to the bathroom.

"I eat it.  No, Grandma eat it." as he admired his #2.

"Undies NO go on my bottom!  They go on my head!"

"Come on daddy, I go push my penis down!"

Nothing like mixing a little humor in with the craziness!  We love you sweet Harrison and are so very proud of the BIG BOY that you have become!  Here's to the start of another good week.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Maxwell Thane {9 Months}

Low and behold - Today is November 6th.  That means I'm 9 days overdue on a certain little boy's "month-a-versary" post.  Lateness on my part seems to be the trend when it comes to poor Maxo and his milestone posts.  Whether a result of sickness, crazy schedules, forgetfulness, or in this month's case, a tropical vacation (whoop! whoop!), I just always seem to be operating a few steps behind.  No less love...just a little crazier life these days!

So here we are, 9 months and 9 days into our time with sweet Maxo.  He's growing like a week, learning new things every day, and constantly reminding us of just how quickly babies can turn into big boys.

Here's the latest and greatest on our little guy...

{A Mellow Fellow} We hear it over and over again "He's such a good baby!" "Such a happy little boy!" "What a sweet, sweet boy!"  You're winning the world over with your big gummy grin, sparkling round eyes, and contagious giggle.  Melt. My. Heart.  You've earned yourself the name "Maxo Relaxo" on account of your super chill personality.

{Here. There. Everywhere.} You, Sir Maxo, are a very busy little boy.  Gone are the days where we could safely sneak out of the room for a minute with confidence that we would find you in the same place we left you.  You are constantly on the go and keeping us ALL on our toes (especially big brother Harrison as he tries to keep his toys safe out of reach.)  You have started to do a little more hands and knees crawling, but when speed is of the essence, you quickly resort to your perfected army crawl.

{On Your Feet}  Two days after mommy and daddy boarded a plane for a weeks vacation, you decided to start pulling up independently and standing by furniture.  Talk about making mommy homesick!  I was so sad that I missed this big milestone, but I think that you made Grandma Debbie pretty happy by doing it on her watch.  She sent us a picture and it made our day to see that PROUD look on your face knowing that you'd done something pretty awesome!

{Chomp Chomp Chomp} This month we started to add a little more "substance" into your previously pureed diet.  You are a big fan of bananas, sweet potatoes, corn, and of course, Grandma Debbie's banana bread!  I'm ready to say BYE BYE to baby food and think that you're on board with that plan too.

{Chubba-Wubba} With all of that eating, its no wonder that you are tipping the scales!  We don't have official numbers this month, but judging by your thigh and ankle rolls, you won't be starving anytime soon! We're officially transitioning into a size 4 diaper and are almost exclusively in size 12 month clothes.

{Odds and Ends} You're following in your sister's footsteps when it comes to teeth.  At one year sweet Charlotte had the tiniest speck of white poking thru her gums.  Nine plus months in with you and there's still not a speck of chomper in sight.  You got your first haircut - which consisted of mommy snipping of a few rogue hairs off the top of your head.  I'm sure took some pictures...but once again I'm late!  You had your first taste of dirt/rocks/mulch.....sigh.  Like I said...hear, there, everywhere.  You've fallen in love with your gray blanket and bury your face into it the second that we lay you in your crib.  You like to crawl under the table and try to eat our toes while we eat dinner.  Goof.  You love to watch the rest of us clap, but haven't quite mastered the action yourself.  Right now its more of a flailing chicken wing...but oh so cute.   Much like your brother, you think that your daddy is hilarious.  Its only a matter of time before you forget all about your cool mommy and give all of your attention to him.

Maxwell Thane {9 months}

 He let me snap 2 good pictures before launching into explorer mode. 
Busy. Busy. Busy.

 Because the best way to an elephant is ALWAYS to launch ones self over the arm of a chair. 

Happy {Late} Birthday, little man.  Our hearts are exploding with love.