Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Our Lives have Changed

One year ago, our lives drastically changed when we heard for the first time the words Chiari Malformation.  Our youngest daughter, Ashlyn, was 19 months old and she went in for a MRI due to some developmental delays and favoring of one side of her body.  We were thinking that MAYBE she had a stroke or brain hemorrhage when she was born, but we were shocked to find out differently.

I will always remember the moment I received the phone call from the doctor with the devastating news about Ashlyn.  I was at work and I ran to the office so I could hear the nurse as she spoke.  Tears rolled down my face as I didn't know exactly what the words Chiari Malformation meant other than my daughter had a malformation in her brain and she was being referred to a neurologist and a neurosurgeon.  I remember trying to take notes with my shaky hand as the nurse spelled out Chiari Malformation.  I also spelled out INCURABLE.  I remember trying to phone my husband and explain between sobs the results of Ashlyn's MRI.  I remember calling our families with the devastating news.  I remember coming home to see tears streaming down my husband's face.

Since this day, we have spent many hours at doctor's offices, at various appointments, at more MRI's, physical therapy sessions, occupational therapy sessions, and of course brain surgery.  We have spent many hours in prayer.  We have spent many hours crying.  We have spent countless hours rejoicing.

Ashlyn continues to be our little miracle as she fights this incurable brain malformation.  She is doing AMAZING and no one would ever be able to guess that she had brain surgery.  She continues to grow and develop and amaze us with her contagious laughter and personality.

To follow more of Ashlyn's journey with Chiari Malformation, please read my other blog Chiari Hope.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Ashlyn has been in a big girl bed for a few months now.  I was pretty emotional as I put away the crib bedding (and listed and SOLD it on craigslist, *tear) We took apart the crib one last time and I tried to hold back the tears.

Ashlyn and Ambria now share a room with bunk beds and Mariah has now obtained her own room.  At first, Mariah was a little hesitant.  She was unsure that she wanted to sleep by herself because she has gotten used to sharing a room for the past three years.  After a few days passed, Mariah warmed up to the idea and became excited with the thought of her own space.

This is a little sentimental for me as Mariah is sleeping in the same bed from when I was a child and we also put the matching desk and dresser in her room as well.  It brings back so many memories from when I was little.

Mariah looked around at her new room with excitement, and said, "I like it but it needs more toys.  I don't want it to look like a teenager bedroom."

My heart leapt.  YES, YES, YES!!

Don't grow up too quickly my sweet child!

Friday, January 25, 2013

In the Mind of a Two Year Old--More Artwork

"I like markers.  I like to draw on stuff.  I like pens.  I like to draw on cupboards and and chairs.  I'm not sure why mom doesn't like my artwork.  I told her I drew a 'baby' on the bathroom cabinet.  I'm proud, and she should be too."

Mom side note: The magic eraser does not get pen out of white bathroom cabinets.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Tea Please?

Since I have been sick so much this season, I've been drinking a lot of hot tea, just to help warm my bones.

The other morning, Mariah was so thoughtful and made me a cup of tea before I woke up in the morning.  She wanted to keep it warm so she put it in the dishwasher.  Interested idea, but thoughtful. :)  I thanked her for her generosity and told her I was going to warm it in the microwave in a little while.

At 8:00 I warmed my tea in the microwave.

At 1:00pm, I looked at the microwave and it said "END" and I thought to myself, "what is in the microwave?"

My cold tea.

Mom brain.  Mom daily craziness.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Kid Glasses

Ashlyn got her new glasses to help align her eyes.  She is so darn cute!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Winter Illness

We are alive and hanging in there.  The cold and flu season has hit our family hard this year.  We have been battling some sort of sickness since October and each time one person gets sick, it travels through all five family members.

Enough!!  I can't take it anymore!

We all got flu shots in a last ditch attempt to help fight against us getting didn't work.

Ashlyn ended up in the ER while we were visiting family over the holidays because of dehydration, flu, croup, and bronchiolitis.  That travelled through our family too.

Crappy cold and flu season for us.  I. am. ready. for. spring.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Thoughts on Having Children

While tucking the girls in bed, kissing them good night, and saying prayers, Ambria interrupted my bedtime prayer with this...

Ambria: "I don't want to have kids" (proceeds to shake her head 'no' and stick out her tongue).

Mariah chimes in, "Yeah me either.  Mom, doesn't it stink taking care of us?"

Not sure where or why this fit into the bedtime prayer, but I guess Ambria had something on her mind that she wanted to share.  Thanks Ambria, and no, Mariah, it doesn't stink taking care of you (although it can be challenging at times and I continue to count gray hairs).

Oh the things kids say.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Toilet Training in Less than a Day

Less than a day??  This can't be true!  I was the first skeptic.  I was leery.  I was pessimistic but trying to by optimistic.  I was actually nervous to try it.

When our second daughter, Ambria was 2.5, someone recommended the book Toilet Training in Less Than a Day by Nathan Azrin.  My husband picked up the $7.99 book at Barnes and Nobles.  I thought I would give it a try with Ambria.  The book was a quick, easy read.  Seemed easy enough.  And guess what...


So I thought, either 1. Ambria was just really ready to be potty trained, 2. we got lucky, or 3. the method in the book worked.

Ashlyn has been showing physical and mental signs of being ready to be potty trained for a few weeks.  She went potty on the big potty a few times and was interested in the "new" potty chair.  She is a month shy of 2.5 years old. 

So, I got out the book again.  I refreshed my memory about the basics of the method and we got to work.

Again, I was nervous for some reason.  It was a bitter sweet moment of our last child in diapers getting ready to become a "big girl."  I followed the method for the most part but Ashlyn pretty much took her own initiative and I only followed the method for the basic ideas and followed Ashlyn's lead.

By mid morning, Ashlyn was telling ME when she needed to go potty.  She stayed dry!  She hasn't worn a diaper since potty training day.  She had a couple "half" accidents on training day where she started to pee and stopped right away and ran to the potty.  I still call that success since she knew what was happening.  The first night, I asked Ashlyn if she wanted to wear a diaper to bed and she said, "um, probably not." (Too cute!)  She stayed dry for her 2.5 hour nap on potty training day and stayed dry during the night (9:00pm to 9:00am!!)  I was actually shocked!!

So, what IS the method??  How can a child learn to potty train in less than four hours and be willing to use the potty without assistance or a reminder??

In short, you reserve ONE day for training and limit all distractions.  There is a lot of repetition, positive reinforcement and no punishments or negative reinforcement.  The book suggests this method for children 20 months of age to 4 years old.  You start with a baby doll that wets to demonstrate and follow the same method with the doll as with the child.  You use a lot of reminders and checking dry/wet pants.  The child pulls their own pants up and down, helps empty potty chair, and helps to clean any messes.

Ashlyn didn't wear pants on training day, just underwear, so it was easy for her to pull them up and down.  We had a lot of different drinks on hand (since training only lasts a few hours, you need the child to have to go potty a lot during that time) and fun cups with straws to drink out of (anything to make the experience a little more fun).  Ashlyn enjoyed her potty chair, whereas Ambria liked the big potty better.  We used high fives, praise, cheering, stickers, small pieces of candy, and band aids (yes, band aids, Ashlyn's favorite) as positive reinforcement.  After a few hours, Ashlyn did not expect, or even ask for, candy.

Going pee was VERY easy of a process for Ashlyn, but I was nervous about the poo.  I knew Ashlyn had to go, but I could tell she was a little scared.  She told me she had to go poop and kept running to her potty chair to sit down but she did not go.  This lasted for HOURS.  I sat on the floor in the bathroom to help distract Ashlyn and to help her relax.  I read books, I acted like I was doing other things like cleaning, I sang, I danced, really anything I could think of.  Despite all these efforts, Ashlyn kept holding it and running to the potty every few minutes.  I was actually doing dishes and Ashlyn ran past me into the bathroom and she pooped on the potty all by herself!!  Again, I was shocked!!  We celebrated!

Of course there will always be accidents here and there, and you use dry/wet checks and reminders for a few days/weeks after training day.

Disclaimer: A few of my friends tried this one day method and it did not work for their children, but I guess it is worth a try and worth $7.99.

All in all, Toilet Training in Less than a Day worked for two of our children!!  I am a little surprised, but now I am a believer in the one day method!

(Side note: Ashlyn has been trained for over a week now.  She hasn't worn any diapers.  She has had less than five "half" pee accidents (just a LITTLE wet), no poo accidents, stays dry for nap and nighttime.  One night she even woke up in the middle of the night to tell me she had to go potty!  Yay!!)

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Missing Sippy Cup

It is never a good thing when you can't find your child's favorite sippy cup.
And it is REALLY never a good thing when you know that missing sippy cup was filled with MILK.

Friday, November 30, 2012

You Know You're a Mom When...

The Mom Purse

*You buy a purse big enough to fit lots of snacks
*You always carry snacks in your purse
*You have more snack wrappers and used kleenex in your purse than money
*In your purse is your new phone...and the first thing you do with your new iPhone is download kid apps

I am such a mom.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Gum Container

You know these gum containers?  Well, they make perfect snack cups for the kiddos!

Monday, October 15, 2012


Yup, I said it, farts.  We use the word "toots" with the girls, but there is just something about that "noise" that makes kids giggle, even girls.

The girls saw some weird putty at the store and it was only a dollar, so I bought some "noise putty".  Little did I know what exactly that "noise putty" was... (aka: putty that makes fart noises when you push it back into the container).

Let me tell you, that dollar bought LOTS of laughter.  It is just too funny listening to the girls' endless laughter over a silly noise.

Oh girls....

The putty is actually really easy to clean up, it doesn't stick to surfaces or hands, and it is pretty much fragrance free.  All three girls give the "noise putty" two thumbs up!

Monday, October 8, 2012


You know the kids are growing when...

A large pizza is hardly enough to feed the whole family.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


You know the kids are growing when...

You have to start folding their pants in thirds instead of halves to fit in the drawers.

Monday, October 1, 2012

In the Mind of a Two Year Old--Blankie

"I hate blankie washing day!  It is the worst day of my life!"

(Side note: Read a previous post about Security Blankets)

Saturday, September 29, 2012


My favorite color is blue, then the girls must like blue too.  My favorite food is pizza, then the girls' favorite food is probably pizza too.

Of course not, but it took me a while to realize this.  Just because something is my "favorite" doesn't mean the girls have to like it---a little or AT ALL.

This is what makes each girl an individual.
Mariah likes purple, Ambria likes pink, Ashlyn likes owls.
Mariah like peanut butter and honey, Ambria likes cheeseburgers, and Ashlyn likes macaroni and cheese.  Mariah loves fruit and vegetables, Ambria doesn't, and Ashlyn chews them up and spits them out.
Mariah likes wearing socks to bed, Ambria doesn't, and Ashlyn doesn't care.
Mariah likes drinking warm water, Ambria likes cold water, and Ashlyn likes juice.
Mariah likes to read, Ambria likes to draw, and Ashlyn likes to write in books.

I could go on and on, but what I love is what makes each daughter unique!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

In the Mind of a Two Year Old--Syrup

"While mom is on the phone, I'm going to sneak this bottle of stuff out of the kitchen cupboard, the same stuff that mom pours on my waffles and pancakes.  Oh, look, I can open the cap!  Bonus!  I see mom turn the bottle upside down and the stuff comes out so I will do that too!  Oh, look, some spilled on the living room floor and it made a cool design!  Let me make more fun designs!!  Let me try to pour some on the table, more, more, more!  This is sooo fun and sticky!  Ok, the bottle is almost gone so I must move on to the dining room floor to make a design, and now on to the kitchen.  A little dab here, a little dab here, a line here, a puddle there, wahoo, it like a new kind of paint brush or marker!!  Oh no!!!  Mom just saw me!!  I'm caught!  She is chasing me....!"

Monday, September 24, 2012


Mariah is in her second season of cheerleading and she absolutely LOVES it!  She really excels in cheerleading, she enjoys going to practice, making new friends, making up new cheers, and of course cheering in front of the crowd.

I was not a cheerleader.  It really isn't in my blood, but when Mariah said she wanted to try it (and do it for a second year), we agreed to it, even though it is a huge commitment for us as well (practice three times a week for two hours and games on Saturdays and a big competition).

Mariah has learned so many lessons from cheerleading, like following through on a commitment, self confidence, team spirit, humbling winning, accepting losing, and so much more!

I'm glad that Mariah has found an extracurricular activity that she loves, and little does she know that she is learning so much from it!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Displacing Blame

I went to the store to buy some curtain rods for our house, I had my list in my hand of the sizes and kinds of curtain rods that I needed.  Checked that off the list and went home to put up the curtain rods in the basement, kitchen, and bedrooms.

I got home, and there was one less curtain rod than I needed!  Ugh!  I counted again and again, and yup, I was one short.  Darn!  Without even thinking, I blamed the girls and thought, they must have dropped one out of the cart, they put it back on the shelf, etc.

I blamed the girls first, not myself.

I wonder how often I do that, when in reality, it was MY fault.  The girls had nothing to do with MY mistake.

I'm going to try to pay closer attention in whom I place my blame and try not to jump to conclusions and think that if something went wrong, it is the girls' fault.  That isn't fair to the girls.

So, even though I had to go back to the store to get another curtain rod, I learned a valuable lesson.

Friday, September 21, 2012

In the Mind of a Two Year Old--Miscommunication

"I cannot understand why my mom doesn't know what 'ki at' means!!  I keep yelling 'ki at, ki at, ki at' while driving in the car and she keeps guessing all these absurd things.  No, it doesn't mean, music or snack or water or toy!  'Ki at!!' And then she keeps guessing and she is STILL wrong!  Since I am strapped in my car seat, I can't get up and show her what 'ki at' is but gosh darnit, I MEAN IT 'ki at!'  Fine, I will just settle for the crackers that mom is trying to hand me to try to help calm me down.  She wins."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Not a picture of health, but a picture of a happy child.

No, this doesn't happen all the time, but friends kept giving Ashlyn goodies and she kept accepting.  She only had one sip of Mountain Dew and a few licks of the sucker. :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Bad Mom Award

Hoping that I can be a better mother today than yesterday!

I felt like I kept snapping at the girls and losing my patience with them.  I'm glad tomorrow is a new day!

Friday, September 14, 2012

In the Mind of a Two Year Old--Chewing Gum

"While I was walking around the store with my mom, my gum jumped out of my mouth and landed on the floor.  Mom was yelling something like 'eeww, NOOO, gross' but before she could intercept the gum, I quickly peeled it off the floor and put it back into my mouth.  Mom said 'oh oh oh, no, no, no' but I said 'mmmmm.'  I was so happy to have my gum back!"

Monday, September 10, 2012

In the Mind of a Two Year Old--Lollipop

I've been inspired since my last post about the Terrible Two's, and I'm going to start a new feature on this blog called "In the Mind of a Two Year Old."  Every now and then, I will write about what might POSSIBLY be going through my child's mind.

So, I will start with this:

"While mom is driving, I will take this sucker and rub it all over my hair.  I'm not sure why mom keeps telling me to stop and that the sucker belongs in my mouth.  I know it belongs there, but I want to keep rubbing it all over my face.  Now I will rub it all over my hands too.  The funny thing is that mom can't do anything about it because she is driving and her arm isn't long enough to reach me.  She is trying to trick me to give her the sucker because she said she wants a lick, but I won't hand it over.  Oh boy, mom is starting to get really upset.  I will just keep rubbing this awesome stickiness all over, because I want to."