Monday, October 31, 2011

Lurkers Still Welcome

For my official policy on Blog Lurking, please see this post.  I just wanted to be clear for those unlookedfor lurkers who recently confessed themselves--you are very welcome here.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

This Year's Theme:

Can you Guess?
front row: Wendy, John, and Michael Darling, Peter Pan
back row: Nana, Captain Hook, Tinkerbell, and Tootles.
Sadly, Smee was at sea.  (OK, he's really in Louisiana, but he will be going off shore tomorrow.)

We were dressed up for our ward's annual Harvest Party and Trunk-r-Treat.  I think Jason's costume was the biggest hit of the night.  I think mine was probably the most startling--no one else had their face fully painted.
Although Tinkerbell and Captain Hook seem like an impossible couple, I think I could see Nana and Smee actually working out.  What do you think?

And I had to prove I had a tail because it make it into any of the other pictures:

Update:  Because I'm sure you all wanted the details of how the fabulous costumes were made--
Tootles was a hand-me-down bear-eared white baby warm suit that I colored brown two years ago for a Fozzie Bear costume for Rhys.
Tinkerbell is wearing wings I made in college, a gold-threaded black cardigan and a green broomstick skirt folded up into it's own waistband to make it short and floofy both from my closet and a thrift-store find sleeveless tunic shirt with the bottom cut jaggedy.  Also green tights borrowed from one of the sister missionaries.
Captain Hook has on a wig and hat from Value Village with Neoma's white feather boa piled on top.  The mustache and eyebrows  he made himself from black construction paper and stuck on with corn syrup.  The jacket was Neoma's missionary trench-coat and the cravat is a small frilly half-apron from my costume closet all piled in on itself.
Nana is wearing a suede coat from my closet inside out with faux-fur from the fabric boxes covering the hood.  The tail is the sleeve of an unwanted shirt sewed slightly narrower with more faux-fur on the bottom.  It was stuffed with scraps and old clothes and safety pinned in place (like the faux-fur)  The brown pants are from the maternity clothes box (I've got to get me some dark brown pants...).  Hair is in pigtails with the tips tucked back up inside and the cap is another of the small frilly aprons folded over itself.
Peter Pan is wearing an over-sized green shirt from the thrift store that was cut and sewed down to size with a jagged bottom and sleeves, green thrift store leggings also cut and sewed down to size.  The hat was triangles of felt from the craft store with a red feather yoinked from Captain Hook's hat (before the feather boa).
Wendy is wearing an XXL adult t-shirt from my closet with elastic threaded through the neck and sleeves and a ribbon from my hair notions around the waist.
John's shirt was fashioned from a brother-in-law's castoff white shirt with a toddler shirt laid on it for a pattern--cut down and sewed, but left super long.  The glasses (with lenses popped out) and umbrella were from the same thrift store as Peter Pan's green leggings.  The hat was from a neighbor cleaning out their kids old things.
And lastly, Michael is sporting pink footy PJ's from a consignment store with a bunny removed from the left breast and the flowery cuffs and collar tucked inside and sewn.  The feet were cut out so he could wear it with shoes on, and he kept pulling them high up his legs.  The backside was embellished with a line stitched around it and buttons salvaged from a baby shower invitation sewn at the corners to imitate a bum flap.  He is carrying his own bear that he is actually extremely attached to.

Altogether we spent under $40 to outfit all 8 of us.  $40 looks like so much when I type it, but it's only about $5 per  person.  That's really cheap, right?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dishpan Man

In the grand tradition of all Gould babies, Peter has discovered the dishwasher.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

To My Mystery Follower

Hi.  This is me risking being really embarrassed because I don't think I know you, but there's always the slight chance that I might be supposed to.  But I don't think I know you, and I was really excited by the idea that someone is following my blog that I don't even know.  How cool is that!  So, that being said, I actually did want to find out who you are, because as much as I welcome anonymous blog-stalkers, I like knowing people even more.  And I tried to send you a message, but couldn't figure out how to make that work.  (I even followed one rabbit hole down to becoming a follower on my own blog, but I still couldn't send you a message then, so you see how desperate I am.)  So, maybe you could comment and tell me, "Hey, don't you remember, I was in your ward that one time," or, "Hi, yeah, I've never met you but I am friends with so and so and saw your blog on their blog," or, "I'm that stranger and I randomly came across your blog as I was clicking 'next' up in the corner and was so impressed with your wit and humility that I have been hooked ever since."  Or don't, and just keep silently stalking me and drinking in my clever goodness and correct usage of apostrophes.  'Cause I'm sure that's why you're here.  :)

Kindness and Blessings

As I sat in church today, listening to my children sniff and snort and sneeze their way through Sacrament Meeting, I was regretting that I hadn't paid better attention to them sooner so that I might have had time to find someone to teach my primary class for me so I could take them home.  I didn't want to send them to their respective classes to infect all the other children, but I didn't have anyone else to take them home, or to teach my lesson. Besides that, I wasn't feeling too great myself.  I was silently despairing, when Rhysie told me he needed to go potty.  With a tenuously toilet trained toddler, you don't tell them to just hold it.  So I left Willow in our pew and took him to the restroom.  I tried to encourage him to take off his shoes so that he could get his pants off and sit backwards on the potty, which is the only way we have found to make sure that he gets it all in.  He insisted he wanted to leave his shoes and pants on (which we could never get him to do back when we were trying to get him to sit frontwards), and so sit facing forward.  Since he had been practicing aiming, I agreed and started talking him through holding it down to aim it in, but before I knew it, he was going, straight out, onto me.  I got him pointed down pretty quick, so I wasn't soaked, but I was definitely thoroughly sprayed.  I have a change of clothes for him, but his were dry.  I do not have a change of clothes for me.  I turned to the other mom that happened to be in the bathroom at the same time with her little boy and spilled my sob story on her in the form of a "what do you do when" rhetorical question.  I tried to be cool, but my eyes started dripping (might as well, my nose already was).  When she offered her husband to teach  my class for me, I finally made up my mind--we were going home.  I'm so grateful for compassionate and observant people.  I can do the compassion, but I'm generally not incredibly observant.  I'm glad other people are, and are kind.
And I will end with a cute, although unrelated, picture (note the ride-on car in bed with them):



Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

To My Medieval Compatriots

Do you recognize these?


St. John's Urchin!  Otherwise known as Sausage Hedgehogs.  I actually made them for dinner the other night.  The kids loved them (as did the grown ups).  I actually slivered the almonds by hand.  We only had whole ones, and I wanted them so bad.  It was worth it.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Sister's Son

Because I don't have a cute baby of my own to post pictures of right now.

Maybe if his mom was downstairs she would have taken it off after the pictures.  As it was, we left on for the whole meal.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Toilet Training in (More or) Less Than a Day


If you will recall this post, you will know the entirety of my fickle nature. I pursued the gimmick-free potty training path with Rhys, and guess what? It worked! He could fully hold it between times being taken to the potty, even if I didn't remember to take him with great frequency. I felt so successful! And then he had a period of regression. At that point, I just didn't want to deal with multiple accidents every day, especially not on the go, which was difficult anyway because he needed someone to hold his little man down for him, but when I leave him in the child care center, they are not allowed to help him. Yeah, that was interesting, and unsuccessful, and wet.

So he went back into diapers indefinitely, though I had some thoughts of trying to potty train again when Daddy got home, or maybe after all of the summer traveling.  And because I'd packed away all the cloth diapers and I was tired of laundry, and I'd had trouble there at the end of cloth diapering getting them stripped, we were even back in plain ol' disposables.  Talk about regression.  All my lovely, green progress, gone.

I have a friend at church who has 4 children.  I think she has some magic child-rearing skills because her 4 year old was reading scriptures in her primary Sunday school class and her 2 year old is not in diapers anymore.  And she said the same was true of all her children at the same ages.  I had secret jealousy.  In talking to her, she told me that she used the book Toilet Training in Less Than a Day.  She offered to lend it to me, and I figured that it couldn't hurt to at least read it, even though I had completely eschewed gimmicks.  It turns out, the method in this book is every single gimmick I have ever heard of rolled into one--dedicate a morning distraction free, focus only on your child, nothing else, teach a doll to go potty, give them lots to drink, give them rewards for success, make them practice 10 times when they have accidents--plus more I had never heard of.  The thing was, though I had tried and failed with each of those tricks, it started making sense as I read the book that the reason for the failure was that I had used each on its own.  It explained how they work together to actually teach your child how to toilet himself, not just throw him in and hope he swims, and then getting mad because you have to keep getting wet when you jump in to save him from drowning over and over and over (why doesn't he just swim?!).  So I was converted.  And I held on to the book and read it and planned to train him after the summer craziness was over.

In mid August, the day finally came.  My angel of a sister took my daughter and her kids out of the house so I could focus on just my little boy and we started with the special drinks and teaching a dolly (we didn't use one that wets, we just used a regular doll and poured some water behind it).  I don't know if it's because my son has such a great capacity to hold it, but he did not get enough practice in that single morning to actually figure out what he was supposed to do.  I kept him up all afternoon and put him to bed early.  We were both exhausted.  He went once or twice in the potty, but could not take himself.  He had, however, learned to pull up and down his own pants, carry the little pot and empty it without spilling, and get a wet wipe to clean his hands afterward (he can't reach the sink on his own).

The next day my sister again took all the kids and we returned to work with a little more success.  He sometimes went on his own.  I left it at that.  We had accidents, but sometimes he went.  After a few days of off-and-on, I decided he needed more practice, and not practice running to the potty when he had an accident--that didn't seem to be helping at all.  So I set aside another morning, but with everyone at home this time, and I gave him lots of drinks and watched him  so he would have lots of opportunities to practice.  Success!  He actually started taking himself to the bathroom without instruction.  He usually told me he needed to go, but he was noticing and choosing and taking care of it on his own.  So Exciting!

After a couple of weeks I decided that he needed to learn to go by himself in a big potty, and, using a tip from my wonderful mother-in-law, I taught him to take his pants all the way off and climb up to sit on the potty backwards.  With his hands on the back of the toilet, his body is in a position such that the urine stream actually goes in.  It has been wonderful.  The last several weeks, somehow his ability to notice and go  to the potty on his own has all but disappeared.  I'm not sure what happened, but if we don't tell him and insist, he won't go.  But he does hold it if I tell him to go regularly, and he can take himself and do the whole thing without me in the room.  This is huge, and I call it success.  We are, however, working on the staying dry and taking yourself thing, but I know it will come eventually.  He currently gets a cookie just before teeth brushing time if he still has on his big boy underwear from the morning (he has to put on training pants if he has an accident).  He likes it and looks forward to it, but it hasn't really modified his behavior (except that he doesn't complain as long when I ask him to go).

Official Book Review:  It took about a week from when I started to when I would say my son was fully potty trained, but I still think the method was a success.  Even though it wasn't as quick as promised, it still was a lot quicker than the year-and-a-half with my daughter.  I don't think this method is for all parents.  It's intense, and requires determination, effort, consistency, and faith.  (OK, that sounds like if you don't want to do it, you must not have those things so you are a horrible person.  No, you can have those things and just not have them for potty training, and still be a marvelous human being.)  Some of the things they describe or advocate in the book are pure fantasy--a 2 year old wiping himself after he goes #2 and then dumping it all in the toilet without you knowing?  SO not a good idea--and somethings are missing--they don't even mention hand washing, anywhere, ever--but overall the child psychology and pedagogy are sound and the method does produce success.  

I am very happy to say that I have two potty trained kiddos.  And no diapers.  That's weird.  I was planning to have at least one in diapers for the next 20 years.  Oh, well.  I'm not complaining (too loudly).

Sunday, October 9, 2011