Poop Stalemate // Proceed with caution

Remember when I boasted a few months ago about working on potty training with Cora? HAHAHAHA. Just kidding on that whole thing. We’ve been battling this strong-willed, stubborn, totally independent, A MONTH SHY OF THREE YEARS OLD little girl for months and months. (I have NO idea where she gets these traits! Certainly not me.) (Also? Both boys were trained at 2.5 years.) We will have a week of no accidents, and then another of frequent messes. While she totally gets the whole process, she could really care less about getting the job done.

Wet pants? NO PROBLEM.

Except wet pants aren’t even my biggest concern. We have entered what I like to refer to as the POOP STALEMATE. Are you familiar with chess? A stalemate is a situation in which a player cannot successfully move any of the pieces and neither player can win. Now re-read that sentence and replace ‘pieces’ with ‘poop,’ and ‘player’ with ‘Cora.’

A situation in which CORA cannot successfully move any POOP and neither player can win.

In case you are wondering, NOBODY WINS THE POOP STALEMATE.

She will withhold and withhold and withhold some more. Basically it is torture watching your sweet baby girl refuse to sit on the potty but also refuse to use a diaper. (Don’t worry, we’ve offered both, on many occasions.) So I really had no choice but to create a sticker potty chart. Research is pretty split on the benefits of using sticker charts and reward systems, but we were desperate. NOTHING ELSE WAS WORKING.

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A trip to (mostly) the Target $1.00 Spot and a roughly created chart resulted in a girl who will now sit eagerly on her royal throne. When I say “eagerly,” I really mean without screaming or throwing an epic fit. It still takes plenty of coaching (plus an ounce of trust when she says no), but she is not going hours and hours between bathroom breaks. Or coming downstairs in an outfit change after she had an accident.

Eventually, we will increase the amount of stickers required to earn a treat from the basket. Right now, six stickers results in a shiny new toy.

In other words, CHECKMATE.
Poop fairy Poop fairy

As for the poop stalemate, we’re still working on it. I’ll keep you guys posted, as I am sure you are on the edge of your seat with anticipation.

PS. I should probably apologize to Cora now for telling the internet about her pooping practices.

PPS. Sorry Cora.

PPPS. You’re such a little stinker, darling, but I mean that in the most loving way. Also? It’s your move.


April Fool’s 2014

Today was a day of fun. In fact, yesterday almost felt like the day before Christmas once the kids were finally asleep. I might be an adult, but I refuse to act like one. What can I say? I’m hardcore into having fun. Honest, not hurting anybody, gets a good giggle kind of fun.

Trick #1: Phone Fun! I started the night before by taking Simon’s phone while he was asleep and posting a few “selfies” with the sleeping boy. Since I knew that he would PROMPTLY delete the pictures once he saw them, I decided to LOOM UP HIS PHONE. I am not even kidding when I say I pick up AT LEAST 10 of these tiny rubber bands a day. Finally, payback! We be looming!Trick #2: Edible Dog Poo! This recipe was super easy and I SHOCKED Bennett when I nonchalantly took a piece and popped some into my mouth. To make, mix a couple of spoons of peanut butter, a squirt of chocolate syrup, and flour together. You want enough flour to clean the sides of the bowl. Next, add a sprinkle of brown sugar to give it some “texture.” (GAG ME NOW.) Roll the chocolate pieces into logs and place it around the house.

I left a few pieces on the floor of the bathroom with toilet paper strewn about and a special pile in Simon’s room.  April fool 2014 108Trick #3: Pretend Vomit! This recipe was a little more complicated than the others. Basically you are going to mix applesauce, unflavored gelatin, lemon jello, oatmeal and cheese together. First, make the lemon Jello according to the package. Then add two tablespoons lemon Jello to a scoop of applesauce and warm it up for 30 seconds. Sprinkle the gelatin mixture into the applesauce and stir. Add the cheese and oatmeal. Finally, pour the entire mixture onto a plate and allow it to dry for a few hours. Seriously disgusting.

It was an absolutely revolting jellied mixture that could be picked up and moved. On a scale of 1-10, folks, I would give this an 11. It was worse than the dog poo and that is saying something. April fool 2014 131 Trick #4: Jello Juice! Since the vomit recipe only calls for a few tablespoons of a lemon Jello, I used the rest to make some juice. This trick is an old one, but new to sweet little Cora Jane. She was stumped when her straw wouldn’t work correctly. Simply prepare the Jello according to the package, pour into glass jars, add a straw, and place in the refrigerator.

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Trick #5: Chicken Pot Pie! Original recipe from here. Simply bake a frozen pie shell, add some vanilla pudding, a few starbursts for the corn and carrots, skittles for the peas, and some banana for the chicken. Throw it down on the table with a side of salad, some Jello juice, and call the kids to the dinner table.

Not surprisingly, Cora was the only child to eat any of the chicken pot pie. She’s got a sweet tooth.

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So there you go!  A very fun but exhausting day. I had a few more ideas in my head, but they will have to wait until next year. If in doubt for funny ideas, then search the internet. There are so many creative people, full of creative ideas. The dog poo and vomit recipes both came from Simon’s personal copy of “Pranklopedia,” by Julie Winterbottom.

Check it out if you are into that sort of thing, which (obviously) is the sort of book that my family totally loves. I mean, who doesn’t love fake vomit? (Don’t answer that.)

How to make cloud dough

Did you know that back in the day I used to teach early childhood deaf and hard of hearing kiddos? There are days when I miss that job so much. I loved the creative aspect of designing and implementing fun things for little kids to do AND I GOT PAID FOR IT.

Now I only do fun things for my kids every fourth Thursday of every third month. Just kidding. It only feels like it anyways. If I don’t find things for Cora Jane to do, then she will end up in front of a screen (iPad, tv, phone..she isn’t picky). So enter the magical, amazing, so soft CLOUD DOUGH! It’s like playing with regular flour, yet it is able to hold shapes. Cora spent a solid hour making “cupcakes with candles.”

To make, mix 8 cups of flour with 1 cup of oil.

Other recipes called for baby oil and, unfortunately, I didn’t have any baby oil. I used vegetable oil and it was fine.  march 2014 073 march 2014 091 march 2014 112

Be forewarned that this activity is pretty messy. Cora ended up with flour all over the counter, floor, and her face. Consequently that was fine with me, because I would rather see her face caked in flour then glued to the screen of the iPad.

Save the drama for your Mama

Hello? Anybody there? I couldn’t even remember my password to get in this space, so I’m doubtful that any of my 10 or so faithful readers are still here. My apologies. I haven’t forgotten about this space, despite my lack of postings, it’s just that I haven’t trusted myself to write.

You see, I’ll be brutally honest and say that lots has been going in my work life. You’ll understand when I say I can’t really talk about it, yes? Things are better now and (hopefully) FOR THE LOVE OF GOD everything has calmed down. I don’t like conflict, so just know that I am happier now. It was a hard couple of months and I am looking forward to the future. Everyone was sad, stressed, and anxious. I really do love my job though.

This now shall end my discussion of work. I don’t want to talk any more about it. I can guarantee that Matt, my co-workers, family and my closest friends can all agree. I will now shut up. THE END.

So speaking of looking forward, who is ready for Spring? Soccer games, swimming pools, and summer flowers are all calling my name. It just feels like winter has dragged on and on around here.

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I found these pictures of Bennett and Cora  after one of our massive snowstorms. The Polar Vortex can kindly see itself out now. I don’t want to talk another minute about wind chills, snow boots, or snowfall totals. I am also tired of arguing with my boys about wearing shorts. We made a house rule that if the temperature is above 50 degrees, you may wear shorts. #pantsoptional. However, if the temp is below 50 degrees then long pants are required.

Much like the drama with my job, I am done with all that nonsense.



Two pounds of candy in a one pound sack

My Dad used to always say that my sisters and I were “two pounds of candy in a one pound sack.” I know exactly what he means. Cora Jane is simply too much. She’s funny, ridiculous, opinionated, begs for vitamins, loves to read books, and wants to watch the same movie (Ice Age) every single day.

She says excuse me, bless you, and thank you without prompting. If you ask her a yes/no question, she’ll respond loudly with “sure!” And is she a princess? “Yup, I am,” is how she will respond.

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She always wants to do what her brothers are doing, even if that means throwing snowballs at her Mama.

God, we got so very lucky with her and her brothers. I’m pretty confident that my Dad would agree.

Soft as Cloud Dough

I saw this recipe floating around on Facebook the other day and decided to make some for Cora. She LOVES “maydough” and will spend hours rolling, squashing, and dropping pieces all over my dining room floor. The amount of time spent playing ALMOST equals the same amount of time I have to spend cleaning it all up. So, basically, a win for me.

To make:
Mix 1 part hair conditioner
2 parts corn flour/starch
A few drops food coloring

I ended up using a bunch of left over hotel conditioner samples until I found the right consistency. The great thing about this dough is that it smells great! Of course it had to be pink because it’s her favorite color.

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She loved it so much that I bought another bottle of the CHEAPEST conditioner ($1.59 at Target) that I could find. I’m sure we’ll be making more of this as the winter progresses!

Bennett’s bedroom

Something that we have been talking about recently is finally finishing the basement. We have three bedrooms upstairs and Cora’s crib is still in our bedroom. Does she actually sleep in her crib? Of course not. It is really just a receptacle for stuffed animals and baby dolls. She much prefers to sleep in our bed.

Ideally, both boys will go downstairs to the basement. Cora will move into Simon’s room and Bennett’s room will become the spot for Baby Pool #4. (Disclaimer: No, I am not pregnant. No, we are not trying. I just like to plan ahead. Also? I have a 2-year-old in my bed still. I have no idea if we will really try for one more baby or not. Our family is pretty sweet. End Disclaimer.) Regardless, I want Cora out of our room. Girlfriend needs her own space.

Since I figure it will only take approximately 3924 months for the basement to be finished because we are going to do (most of) the work ourselves and use cash only, I decided it was time to update Bennett’s room.

You can see Bennett’s old room here.

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I decided to not nail his name letters to the wall. It takes MANY nail holes to get the job done, so for now they are just balanced on top of the ridiculously old pictures. I might change my mind later about nailing them up. As the Mama, I reserve this right at any time. Some day I might even update his pictures too. He’s hardly that wee little baby any more. (Single tear.)

Baby steps, folks. Baby steps.

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Resources: the paint is Classic Silver by Behr, quilt is Pottery Barn Kids, and the bed is Restoration Hardware Baby and Child.

Cora’s pretty pony

While at my sister’s house over the holidays, we jokingly pointed out that Cora got a princess bike, a puppy, and her very own pony all for Christmas. Yes, I know. EXCESSIVE. (Please note that the princess bike is the only thing she actually got to keep.)

The thing she talked about the most, however, was the pony. We asked her repeatedly if she wanted to go ride and she insisted that she wanted on the pony. Imagine her asking “Go ride pony?” on repeat. Before going outside, I would have bet $100 that she wouldn’t actually do it. Cora talks a big talk, but rarely follows through. Once we got into the arena, I was completely amazed at her willingness to climb up and go.

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It’s a good thing we don’t actually live closer, or else Cora would want to ride every single day. Spoiled little girls get whatever they want, apparently.

Christmas recap 2013

So Christmas was, what, two weeks ago? My bad. Does anybody expect anything less? I can hardly keep up with the piles of laundry around here, let alone sharing pictures on this blog.

We ended up traveling 10 hours to my sister’s house in Northern Colorado and had a wonderful time. No, really we did. Everyone got along and nobody yelled! It’s a Christmas miracle. Susannah recently moved into a bigger house and it’s pretty damn glorious. I liked my house until I saw hers, for real. We jokingly refer to it as The Ski Lodge. If you had two sets of twin boys, you would need a ski lodge too.

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It’s almost unbearable for me to look at these pictures. The boys (especially the older ones) get along and love each other so much. It’s so hard to not be near family. Simon, Roan, and Rowdy got the bright idea to set an alarm and wake up at 3:15 AM Christmas morning. THREE FIFTEEN AM. Grandpa heard the giggling and the running and sent them promptly back to bed.

It’s a good thing they aren’t around each other 24/7, because I can’t imagine the trouble they would cause.Christmas 2013 055Christmas 2013 050

Santa brought everything the kids were hoping for, of course. Santa even managed to deliver TWO bicycles and a highly coveted Playstation game to Colorado. (Did I mention we were 10 hours from home? Well done, Santa.) Other notable gifts: more Nike apparel because one can never have too many workout clothes (Hint: that wasn’t a gift for me), rolls of duct tape (why not?), an American Girl Doll, tennis racquets, Legos, books, Rainbow Loom Bands (Lord help me), wooden play food, and more clothes.

Some might call it tacky to share Christmas gifts. I share only in the interest of preserving history. One might look back and laugh some day at the Christmas gifts of ’13. If only this blog post could count as Thank you cards too. Thanks, family, for all the gifts. You guys rock.Christmas 2013 118

The gift we almost brought back with us was a puppy. Somebody dumped a dog (who immediately was pregnant) and my nephews ended up raising the puppies. Susannah managed to sell all of Rosie’s 11 puppies, except for their favorite three. While she really wanted us to take Opal, I liked the big boy Jasper. He was the calmest of the bunch and most well-behaved. We had Jasper loaded up in the van to begin the trek back to Kansas and were 5 miles down the road, when broken-hearted Rowdy texted that he wanted his puppy back.

We probably ended up dodging a bullet with that one, especially a working dog designed to herd cattle. Lord knows we didn’t need another mouth to feed, puddles to clean off the floor, and a puppy to train. And really it’s all good because Jasper will have plenty of company with four wild boys, five dogs, a barn full of kittens, cattle, and more horses than I can count.

He lives at a freaking Ski Lodge, remember?

The not-Christmas card

I totally planned to send out a holiday card this year but never managed to get the job completed. I could bore you with super lame excuses like:

1.) Working sucks and takes up all my “free” time.
2.) Matt had a major abdominal surgery.
3.) I have poor time management skills, especially at bedtime when the kids are asleep.
4.) We didn’t have time (or money) to pay an actual photographer to take quality pictures.
5.) I have a good 10 lbs. that I would like to lose. If Mama doesn’t look good, why send out a card? Also? I needed a hair cut in these pictures.

I know, excuses.

So let’s just pretend that I did use these photos for an actual holiday card, yes?

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While we are pretending, look at that nicely written font that says “HAPPY HOLIDAYS!”

Love (for reals),
Matt, Audrey, Simon, Bennett, and Cora Jane

PS. We took pictures like this last year: here and here. (Seriously, Big Mama in the house compared to last year!)