Sunday, March 01, 2009


So I intended on writing this post weeks ago, but between a month of internet problems and seemingly unending illness, it just didn't happen.

February opened with two very special firsts for Mr. Nathaniel. On February third, he got his very first professional haircut. I mention the "professional" part because I made an attempt at it awhile back and cut his ear. That began and ended my career as a hairdresser. Anyway, Nathaniel made his mama proud and had a great time. Katie was a big help in keeping him happy. Not one tear was shed.

The very next day, we celebrated Nathaniel's first birthday at our home with some friends and family. In typical Nate-Dog style, he ate TWO dinners about an hour apart and then dove right into his chocolate cake with both arms. I really do not understand how he is not even on the growth chart. That kid eats like crazy!

At a year old, Nathaniel is crawling, pulling up, and cruising. He can say hi, Dada, bye bye, and dog. And today he just cut his seventh tooth. I can't believe that an entire year has gone by since he joined our family, and yet, I can hardly imagine us without him. We love you, Nathaniel!

Mission Accomplished

The second week in February we began attempt number one million at potty training Katie. Like before, we cleared the schedule, got out the potties, potty seats, panties, and prizes, and prayed. In the past I had made a big production of it which only produced more performance anxiety in my precious little perfectionist. So this time, we went for laid back.

Me: "Katie, do you want to wear panties and bake cookies with me?"
Katie: "O.k., but I don't want to go peepee on the potty."
Me: "That's cool. But you have to wear panties while we make cookies."
Katie" "Can they be gingerbread cookies?"
Me: "Absolutely!"
Katie: "Yes, I want to bake cookies."

So after trying on several panties, she settled on a princess pair (thank you, Grandma Cavanagh), and we baked. Every so often, Katie would tire of a particular pair of panties and want to change them out for a different style or color. We had to keep them in the kitchen in her Tinkerbell backpack so that we had the selection right there with us. That girl cracks me up.

I think I must win the mother of the year award because, while Katie was very scared to sit on the potty, somehow jelly beans helped to lessen her fear, and with them in hand, she could take on the toilet. But nothing happened. Again, performance anxiety.

My friend Liza believes that the key to potty training a kid is making the child sit on the potty often or long enough so that you "catch them" going and then he/she can make the mental connection. That only works if your kid is not smarter than you. If your kid does not understand that if she doesn't drink anything, she won't have to pee.

Me: "Katie, you haven't been drinking your milk. Aren't you thirsty?"
Katie: "Will that make me go peepee? I don't want anything to drink if it will make me go peepee."
Me: "I got you a special treat, lemonade!"
Katie: "No, thank you, Mommy. I don't want any lemalade. That will make me go peepee."

So I made a quick run to the convenience store outside our subdivision to get some salty snacks. I would not be beat! Katie may be able to turn down lemalade, but chips and pretzels, never! She had to get thirsty sometime.

All that to say, my plot failed, but in a moment of desperation, I decided to put her on her little potty in front of the t.v. so that she could calm down enough to go. So armed with her jelly beans on a potty in the middle of the living room, Katie joined the ranks of potty trained people. I had left the room for a moment to change Nathaniel's diaper when suddenly Katie appeared.

Katie: "Mommy, I want to show you something. But you can't say anything."
Me: "O.k."
(We go back to the living room.)
Katie: "Look in the potty, but don't say anything."
(The potty has been used!)
Me: "Can I give you a hug?"
Katie: "Yes."
Me: "Can I give you high five?"
Katie: "Yes. But don't say anything."

And from there it has all been down hill. Having conquered her fear, Katie is now fully potty trained. And even cooler than that, it is helping her to overcome fear in other areas. Katie has been very afraid of going to preschool. Luckily for her, it hasn't been an option because you have to be potty trained to attend. But a week ago, Katie informed me that since she is no longer scared to go on the potty, she is not scared of school either. God's timing is perfect because that weekend, she had a group play assessment as part of her admission process for preschool, and she liked being there.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Big Week for Nate Dog

The Big Week really started last week when Nathaniel said his first word.  "Hi!" he says with a wave.  At first we weren't sure if he was really saying "hi,"  but we became convinced when he greeted Mama Kitty when she arrived at our house on Saturday.  We are so proud of you, Nathaniel!

On Sunday, we dedicated Nathaniel to the Lord during the church service.  I am well aware that this was just a formal display of what God will daily call us to do, turn over the life of our precious son to Him.  Quite a few people joined us to witness the dedication and celebrate afterwards.  We were so glad that Nana, Grandmommy, Grandaddy, Mama Kitty, Liz, Haley, and Matt could join us.  And it was such a blessing that all four families in our Bible study dedicated our second-born children on the same day.  

By Sunday evening, Nathaniel was already testing us to trust the Lord with his safety as he proudly crawled up the stairs for the first time.  Boy was he proud!  Now we just have to remember to keep that gate closed at the bottom of the stairs.

Which leads to the next big thing that happened this week... After crawling up the stairs, Nate Dog started wheezing.  He has had cold symptoms for about a week, so he either has RSV or the cold triggered asthma.  They are treated the same way, so we are doing nebulizer treatments every few hours, and he seems to be doing fine.  Hopefully, this was just an isolated incidence.

Back to the good news...  In spite of being sick this week, Nathaniel, ever the joyful one, graced us with his second word at 5:30 this morning.  After nursing he rolled over in our bed, patted Andy, and said, "Hi, Dada!"  Of course, it has made Andy's day, and it's not even 8am.

New Year, New Blog

So as some of you might have noticed, I am not the most prolific blogger.  But it's a new year, a time to start new habits.  My goal is to post once a month, and you can hold me to it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My Sincerest Apologies

Until I was fourteen, we lived next door to David and Peg Harmon.  Peg worked with the children's ministry at our church where she was known as Mrs. Peg.  Since she was called Mrs. Peg, I assumed that her husband must go by Mr. Peg which I called him for most of my childhood.  The adults all thought that this was cute, and so they never bothered to correct me.  Eventually I figured it out for myself that Mrs. Peg's husband was, in fact, Mr. Harmon, not Mr. Peg.  And for years this has been told in my family as a cute story of when I was a little girl.

Tonight I was recounting this story at Bible study when something horrifying occurred to me.  Mr. Harmon was a Vietnam vet who had lost a leg in the war, leaving him to rely on a prosthesis, a peg if you will, in its place.  So, David Harmon, if you're out there, I am so terribly sorry.  There was no pun intended.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Mommy and Nate Go to the Big D

Last weekend Mommy and Nate had a hot date to the Big D.  I had the great privilege of taking part in Haley and Matt Byrnes' wedding, and Nathaniel went as my date since Daddy had to work back in Austin.  Driving more than a couple of hours is a challenge with the little guy as he gets bored and voices his dissent quite loudly from that point forth.  But we made it to Dallas in one piece and even arrived at the rehearsal in time for Mommy to practice the scripture reading.  It was no small feat.

Haley and Matt had a great Texas-style rehearsal dinner on White Rock Lake overlooking the Dallas skyline.  Unfortunately, Nate-dog and I had to head out before the band took the stage.  He's not the two-stepper that his daddy is, and we both needed to catch some shuteye.

The wedding was beautiful and very honoring to the Lord, and I was grateful to be there sans baby due to a little babysitting help from one of my college roommates, Holly Crenshaw.  After the wedding, Hols and I got to spend some quality girl time together catching up and taking care of important goals like watching Baby Mamma in my hotel room.  I also kicked her butt playing Boggle.  Love you, Cren!  It felt great to actually win a game since Andy almost always beats me.

On Sunday we made our way back to Austin to find that Andy and Katie had a good time as well.  And although Katie was a little mad at me when I first got home (she wanted "space"), she warmed up pretty quickly, and we enjoyed some good time together before the week began.

Monday, August 04, 2008

My Baby is Growing Up

Nathaniel is now six months old.  It's hard to believe that half a year has already gone by.  I am so thankful to have such a wonderful son.  At six months, he is rolling over, sitting up, cutting his first tooth, and generally making sure that things aren't too quiet around here.  That boy is loud!  He loves to scream when he's happy, sad, hungry, dirty, whatever.  But he more than makes up for it by how cute he is.  His sister and two doggies can make him laugh like nobody's business, and based on how much he likes to bounce around when he's being held, that kid is not the type to sit still.  Let's see, he's joyful, loud, wiggly.... who does that sound like?  Mini-Andy.

Now I Lay Me...

Now I lay me down to sleep.  I pray the Lord to ride a llama?!

Part of Katie's bedtime routine includes praying.  We always ask her what she would like to pray about.  Last night, she asked me to pray that she could ride a llama.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Da Bears

Black bears are one of the many types of wildlife that make their home in the Catskills.  And throughout my childhood, it was always a big deal if someone were to actually see one.  We knew that they were around, but they mostly stayed away from populated areas unless there was a drought.

In the last few years, there has apparently been a bear population explosion because now they are everywhere.  People send out memos on the best methods to prevent bears wreaking havoc on their property.  But still, we had never seen any signs of one near our house.

So... one night we were playing Scategories and being quite loud.  After the game wrapped up, I went to take out the trash, but thankfully looked out the window before going outside.  The big wooden box in which we place our trash cans in order to prevent animal intrusion was literally upended, and trash was everywhere.  We were a little freaked out but also excited.  O.k., Andy and I were excited.  Madeline was already high-tailing it upstairs so that the bear wouldn't get her.

We told Katie the next morning thinking that she would share in our excitement.  A real live bear at our house!  Cool!  She didn't really share in our enthusiasm.  Andy spent the rest of the trip telling her not to be afraid because the Bears are in Chicago.  Nice one, Dad.

We had heard that spraying the trash with Febreeze is a good deterrent, so I kept our trash bin as springtime fresh as possible for the remainder of our time there, and that seemed to do the trick.  (Apparently bears do not like floral-scented garbage.)  At least until our last night there.  The next morning the box was once again knocked over, and we had a cleanup job to do.  Andy volunteered to take care of things.  But when he walked out the door, he got more than he bargained for.  To add insult to injury, the bear had pooped on our back stoop.  We suspect that this must have been an adolescent bear.  Thank goodness he didn't have a paper bag and a lighter.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Twilight Park 2008

We just got back after two glorious weeks in Twilight Park.  For those of you who don't already know, Twilight is a summer community in the Catskill Mountains of New York.  It was founded over one hundred years ago by some of my (Ashley's) forbearers, and our home there has been in our family since that time.  Twilight is where we go to rest, unplug, enjoy God's beautiful creation, and reconnect with one another.

The first week we were there, we enjoyed the company of Dick and Madeline, Andy's dad and step-mom.  The kids had lots of fun with Grandpa and Grandma as did we.  Some high-lights include visiting on the porch, reading, doing a puzzle, splashing in the creek, going to the playground, shopping at a local farm, playing board games at night, a visit from a bear, eating at our favorite mountain-top restaurants, Andy going mountain biking, and Ashley attending a birthday party for some of her childhood friends.

Week two was all about rest.  We did a lot more reading, laid in the hammock, went to the pool, played more games, did another puzzle, went hiking, had another visit from the illusive bear, ate ice cream with sprinkles, went to story hour at the library, got together with old friends and watched our kids become friends, picked blueberries, soaked in the claw-foot bathtub, and enjoyed walking to nearby waterfalls and soaking in the scenery.  It was hard work, but someone had to do it.

There is so much to share, so look for more blog posts about Twilight soon!