Cora’s 3rd birthday {party}

Cora Jane insisted that she wanted a blue birthday cake on her 3rd birthday. She doesn’t consistently label her colors correctly, so hypothetically, she could have had a purple cake and would have never known the difference. (I really wanted a rainbow cake which I showed her approximately 10,382 times on pinterest but she told me no every single time.)

So what the birthday girl wants, the birthday girl gets. Grandma helped decorate her “blue velvet” cake and adorned it with sprinkles. It obviously isn’t as pretty as in past years, but it will do.

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We debated on what to get this little princess for her birthday. I really wanted Matt to make her a doll house, but time was running short and life was too crazy busy. The week before her birthday, I was shopping the Walmart nursery and discovered a perfect, pretty (already assembled) playhouse. The best part? It was on sale for 10% off.

You all know how I love a good deal, right?

At some point, I might paint and/or stain it a slightly different color. For now, Cora’s house is working just fine.

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When she saw her house for the first time, she twirled around and said, “for me?” and I’m pretty sure I died at that exact moment. It’s a feeling I know entirely too well, sweet Cora Jane.

Yes, for you.

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She really was the best gift I ever received. It’s hard to imagine that 3 years ago she blessed our little happy family on my 28th birthday. I often wonder if we can ever top the pink caboose with anything sweeter.

I am pretty sure, almost 100% confident, that the answer is no.

Happy birthday, sweet girl!

Birth story, 1st birthday, 2nd birthday




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.


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.

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.

Stolen kisses

A certain one of my babies got moved to the “naughty list” this weekend. I came down into the kitchen and found tiny teeth marks in the top of 1/2 a dozen Peanut Butter Blossoms.

Guess which of my children just got moved to the naughty list? Hint: name rhymes with mora pain.

I’ll give you a hint on to who is the guilty party: their names rhymes with Mora Pain.

‘Cause (today anyways) s/he is totally mora pain than anything.

Worth remembering

Something that I never want to forget: Cora’s use of pronouns, and in particular, the word “my.” The subject of communication is often a discussion with my Parents as Teachers families. How many words should a 2 year old be using? What should sentence structure sound like? Verbs, prepositions, and pronouns all begin to make an appearance when learning to speak and listen. It’s fun to watch.

Cora Jane, bless her heart, calls her brothers ‘My Simon’ and ‘My Bennett.’

When it is time to leave in the afternoon she says, “Go get My Bennett from school?”

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Some day she won’t talk like this, but today she does. I don’t want to forget it.

Potty Learning 101

Alright, let’s be real and admit that some (80% or so?) will not care one bit about how my precious, beautiful angel of a baby is learning how to use the potty. The other 20%? This post is for you. I also apologize in advance for all of the potty humor puns. I can’t help it. I live mostly with boys.

Welcome to Potty Learning 101.

#toddlertroubles #adventuresinpottylearning #thiswasnotmyidea #pictapgo_app

First of all, I personally believe this process should be called potty learning not potty training. Puppies get trained. Babies learn- just like how they learn to use a spoon or drink from a cup. There will never, ever be any question on any college entrance exam about when one learned to master the commode.  NEWSFLASH: it doesn’t matter when you learned to drop the kids off at the pool because nobody gives a crap. Secondly, I believe that the best time to start potty learning is when both parties are ready to go. Start too early and you end up potty training Seriously, the idea of P.L. for six months (or more) is no es bueno.

So, with that in mind, we began prepping Cora Janie to the idea of sitting. We read a few books, pulled out the potty seat, and encouraged her to sit. TRUTH: she was not having it. No way, no thank you. So we took a little break and gave her some more time before we took the plunge.


After waiting a few months, we decided it was time for Cora to ascend the throne again and show those big boys how to get the job done. We basically took her cloth diapers away and told her that she was a big girl. We also borrowed a small potty chair from a friend, which truth be told, is not my cup of tea (or tee-tee if you insist). A few accidents later, she has pretty much mastered staying dry during the daytime and while napping thanks to the porcelain pony.

When she successfully goes potty, we all clap and cheer and dance. I am not a huge fan of rewarding with candy because clapping is enough for my sweet girl and I want her to be in control. She isn’t a big fan of being prompted to go either, so I trust her judgment, and we clean up accidents when they happen. We try to spot the potty dance before it’s too late but otherwise we don’t push her.

We are still working on number two, but that is a whole another post for another day. Doing business with John takes more time, and right now we are just so proud of our little Poopsie Poo and her big girl panties.


Up next: cloth diapers for sale! Anybody in the market?

Cora’s first haircut

In typical, 3rd child fashion, I recently cut Cora Jane’s hair. It wasn’t something I planned to do or even discussed with Matt.

More of a whim, per say.

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I simply went to the salon to have my own bangs trimmed and walked away with Cora’s sweet mullet in a tidy little Aveda bag. When Simon was a baby, I took my big girl camera and a video camera for the occasion. Bennett has a certificate from his first “official” haircut. (Let’s pretend like I’m over that time when my Mother CUT HIS HAIR WITHOUT MY PERMISSION.)

(Sweet chubby bunny!)

So sorry Baby Girl but your rat-tail just had to go. Even if I didn’t bring any way to document the momentous occasion. My girl, Lydia of Lou and Co, promises that your hair will grow in better and thicker without the random long party pieces in the back. I’m choosing to trust her expertise.

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Most often, I look at Cora’s face and see Simon. This picture above, however, reminds me of Bennett.

Minus all the rolls and sweeping bangs, of course.

Here is Cora same spot, different year. Okay, so maybe she really does look like Bennett after all.

Birthday fun (take one)

Prepare your hearts because I have no less than 50,000 pictures from the past week. My baby girl turned two years old and I turned 30, we had a party, and Matt built the cutest play kitchen for her. Yes, so much goodness wrapped up in such a small period of time.

First up: our actual birthday.

We celebrated by opening a few gifts and eating a cookie cake out on the deck:

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We aren’t potty learning yet, but we are taking steps forward in the process. Like having a baby that actually goes potty. So fun until you start stepping in puddles that the “baby” leaves behind.

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Also, a few pictures of our deck. Spending time out on the deck is one of my favorite activities. For one, I love being surrounded by flowers. Secondly, the more meals we eat outside, the less mess I have to clean up inside. #truestory

For my birthday this year, the boys got me some $10 cushions for the table and the lantern. Of course, Target only had 3 red cushions and insisted that the truck was going to bring more on Friday. (We need five total.) So we went to Target on Friday, only to find out that they didn’t have get more cushions. Awesome.

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Lizzie girl is starting to look her age. She’ll be 10 this year, so almost 70 in dog years.

Tomorrow: Cora’s birthday party, complete with the most beautiful cake ever

On deck: play kitchen plans and pictures. #myhusbandisamazingwithtools #andinbed #sorrymom

Cora Janie turns two

Cora Janie Pool, today you are two. TWO YEARS OLD. Be still my heart, how is this even possible? I closed my eyes and your babyhood passed before us. I can so clearly remember the anticipation of your arrival. The way I longed to hold you in my arms and dress you in sweet pink sleepers.

I never imagined you would come on my birthday. What a sweet gift I was blessed with and never fear, Baby Girl, I won’t ever forget how blessed I was on that perfect day. For the record, I will probably never stop telling the story of our birthdays either. On my 28th birthday, I was given a baby girl. I wasn’t induced. It wasn’t planned.

Now, here you are.

It seemed fitting, of course, to take some birthday shots of you exploring the nursery (Howard’s Pine Garden Center for the locals). Being outside and wandering is something that you love to do, especially if you have your baby tucked under your arm. My favorite girl surrounded by flowers sounds like the perfect way to spend an hour.


Birthday girl photo shoot. So fun! Also? Dirty. || Confession: if I didn't teach, I would want my own greenhouse. Maybe someday? || #1moreweekasa1yearold #almostourbirthday #nothingisordinary #dreambig

It makes my heart so sad to think about all the changes that you have gone through the past two years. Weren’t you just a baby? Wasn’t I just waiting for this day? The swaddling blankets were packed away so long ago. Sleepers with tiny feet are buried in boxes.

Raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles, and warm woolen mittens. Brown paper packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favorite {Cora Jane} things.

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*Your untamed love of jammies. The cupcake pair and the giraffe pair are your most prized pairs. If you find them in the dirty clothes, you will strip off your clean clothes and put them back on again. Annoying? Sometimes. Cute? Always.

*Watching you jump and laugh and smile on the trampoline.

*The silly way in which you run. It’s part skip, part speed walker, part booty shaker. It makes me laugh to see your joy.

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*Watching you care for your babies. In and out of the stroller, clothes on and off, lining them up in a row on the pillows. Babies are  your toy of choice.

*The way you always check to see if I’m watching. Come follow me, Mama. You say it mostly with your eyes. Come find the place where dreams are made.

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*How you ask to nurse, gently at first but growing more desperate when told no.

*Dresses. Bows. Sandals with straps.

*The way you say “tank you!” and “what’s that?” no less than 40 times each day.

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*Introducing you to new things. Kitties named Petunia at the Nursery, sliding down slides, flowers in pots. It is all an experience to you.

*How you like to hold my hand when going to sleep at night and how you never sleep alone. Daddy is always here for naptime.

*Listening to your language explode. You are just now starting to put two words together and like to practice them over and over. “Hi (insert name here) is your favorite. “Hi Miman!” “Hi Daddy!” How could anybody be sad when greeted this way? I leave the room and come back to “Hi Mama!” every single time.

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*The amazing range of emotions that you are able to feel and express. Thunderstorms cause your body to shake and quiver with fear. Seeing Daddy or your brothers walk through the door brings unimaginable joy. Taking candy away from you at the checkout brings screams and tears and bright red faces.

*Speaking of fear, you are the most afraid of bugs. If you see a sugar ant, you freeze and scream until rescued. “Bug? Bug! Bugggg!” Cue meltdown mode immediately.

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When I am feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel so bad.

Happy birthday, Sweet Baby. I would keep you this age forever if I could but then I wouldn’t have any more favorite things to add to this list.

I love you.