Sunday, June 24, 2012

Week Two

Week two of being a single mom wasn't any easier. Even after I resolved to be the best temporary single mom ever, I still struggled. I struggled with keeping my patience with a stubborn two year old who was acting out. The poor kid really missed his daddy and didn't quite understand why he was gone. He was hurting for the attention I just couldn't give him. I struggled to juggle my limited time between both my boys, Spencer usually winning out since he has always demanded more attention. Poor Ashton always loses out. So then I struggled with the guilt that my baby was being neglected. Just the every day things you take for granted are much harder when you're used to having help. Dishes, diaper changes, baths, bedtime, etc. I struggled to keep my house from drowning in dirty dishes and clothes and being consumed with books and toys strewn about. I struggled taking my boys on fun outings having only two hands and two eyes to do the work of two parents. Needless to say, at the end of the day I struggled to stay awake to enjoy some much needed Angie time. Thankfully my husband is home and I can put my single momdom status to rest.....for now anyway.

Last weekend I packed up what seemed like my whole house to take a trip back home for my family reunion. Spencer was excited to play with his cousins again and I was looking forward to a little adult interaction. Since I was home on Father's Day, we took advantage of the rare situation and took my dad out for supper. We spent the night at my sister's house. While the boys were fast asleep in their pack 'n plays, Hope, Brian and I enjoyed the nice night with a few adult beverages. We went to bed far too late and woke up far too early, but such is the life of a mom with small children. Before heading back home, we brought donuts to my Grandma Faye's for a short visit.

Grandma Keeha.
Cousin Olivia.
Uncle Ryan.
My little family minus one important member.
My big family minus quite a few.

Waking up at Aunt Hopey's.
We took a week off from projects because, honestly, I couldn't muster up the energy to organize any. Instead we met up with some friends for a play date; stayed cool in the hot weather playing in the pool; hit up a few garage sales; and went to Family Night on the Farm, where Spencer got to ride a train, hayride, jump in a jumping castle and come face to face with some stinky cows. All in all, it was a good week, even if tempers were short and tantrums were aplenty.
Can you tell this baby loves water?

Who needs a fancy aquatic center?
Hanging onto hands with his Lella on the farm.

He is in tractor and train heaven.

Let me see that thing, Mommy!

Going on a hayride.
Spencer has been doing very well with potty training. Over the weekend he had a few setbacks, but I think the traveling messed him up. He has been accident free for the past few days, even taking a few poops on the potty. We're still working on him recognizing the sensation of peeing and then holding it until he is on the toilet, but I'm fairly certain we are on the right track now. He is very proud of himself for wearing undies and not diapers. Sometimes I miss the convenience of diapers, like when we were on a farm and only a porta potty with a long line was available. Spencer spread his legs wide while we were waiting in line and declared he was going to pee outside. Luckily, I stopped him and he held it until he was sitting on the toilet, though.

This weekend is my small town's celebration. Friday morning we enjoyed a kiddie parade and free ice cream. We invited our friends over Friday night for dinner and to watch the fireworks from our yard. Saturday afternoon we visited the teeny carnival, where Spenc got to ride the train over and over again. He also got a pony ride and to pet some animals. Saturday night we went to a BBQ at a friend's house before watching the parade.
Kiddie parade.

Just posing for a picture; he's still too little to ride.

We're so glad to have Daddy back!

Another parade.

Also this week, Ashton turned 8 months old! He's still working on mastering the crawling technique. He woke up a few times this morning on all fours crying. I've been told by an ECFE parent educator that babies often practice their milestones in their sleep. Hopefully he perfects crawling soon so he can sleep better! Here are his 8 month growth pictures.

Here are more random videos and pictures from the week....

A treat at McDonald's.
My sleeping baby.

His first owie! I looked away for a second during the kiddie parade, and he did a nosedive off the curb onto the pavement. Ouch!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Week One

Helping Daddy pack.
My husband recently changed jobs, so his new employer sent him clear across the country to Georgia for training. Although I am very proud of my husband and support him, the training takes him away from us for two weeks. TWO WEEKS! That is a long freaking time. As the first week comes to an end, I am very inspired by single parents because it is a lot of work. Since I am a stay at home mom, I typically have bad days where I watch the clock and count down the hours until the end of my "work day," as does anyone at their job. The end of my work day consists of my husband coming home and helping me with our beautiful, but sometimes crabby, kids. With Dave being gone, I do not have an end or a start to my work day. It is just a continuous loop. I love my kids and I love being a stay at home mom, but everyone needs a break from time to time. Surprisingly, I am at a better place mentally now than I was at the beginning of the week. After a few bad days and a pep talk to myself, I am determined to be the best temporary single mom I can be, and be very grateful it is only temporary.

We started our week by doing a letter T project: TYE DYE!! I have been dying to do this project ever since I brainstormed letter ideas months and months ago. To eliminate the possibility of dying my kitchen table or floor, we brought the project outside. Spencer absolutely loved it because he got to squirt. Anything that involves squirting captivates his attention. Although I stripped off all his clothes but a pair of Elmo undies, he still managed to dye a great portion of his body. It took a handful of days to wash and, ultimately, wear off. In fact, I noticed remnants under his toenails when I cut them tonight. We saved the shirts for a special day this week.

To create our Tt flashcard, we borrowed a project from ECFE involving tissue paper. First we cut tissue paper into little scraps. Then we arranged them on a piece of paper and squirted them with water. After the tissue was dry, we removed the tissue to discover it had dyed the paper. I cut the paper into upper and lower case Ts and glued them onto a 5x7 card stock to make our flashcard.

We also used the tissue paper scraps to make Father's Day cards for all the grandpas.

Spencer wasn't the only one who got to enjoy planned activities this week. Ashton also got in on the fun. I found an idea in a parenting magazine to fill a wipes container with scraps of different types of fabric. This is a good sensory game. Ash seemed to enjoy eating the fabric and the wipes container more than anything. At least he had fun.

The main focus this week was potty training. I decided to eliminate diapers except for sleeping. Although this made me nervous when we went out in public, I knew the inconsistency with switching from underwear to diapers was confusing Spencer. I'm happy to report he has transitioned pretty well. He is a little scared of public toilets, mostly because he isn't used to sitting on the big toilet without a potty seat. He refers to the toilet as "the big hole." He is also a little timid. His first successful public pee was at the library. He managed to get more pee on me and himself than in the toilet, but I learned a valuable lesson: sit next to him, not in front of him. I also realized we needed to work on his aim ;)

When we are out and about some place that doesn't have bathrooms (i.e. parks), I bring the little potty with us. We have gotten some strange looks and a lot of giggles and grins when people encounter a little boy sitting on a potty in the back of the van, but, hey, it gets the job done!

Not wanting to be outdone by his big brother, Ashton decided to hit some milestones of his own this week. About a month ago, he sat up all by himself in the crib, but then he didn't do it again.....until this week. Now he can sit up all by himself whenever and wherever. This is a great accomplishment to celebrate, except at nap time when it is time to sleep and he won't stay lying down in the crib! But if perfecting the sit-up weren't enough, he also figured out how to pull himself up to a standing position. Imagine my surprise when I went to check on my little baby during his nap to find him standing up in his crib! I was excited until I realized this posed a major safety hazard and his crib mattress needed to be lowered immediately. I cursed my husband for being gone and not lowering it weeks ago when I asked him. Then I searched my whole house for the crib manual, which seems to have fallen in a black hole. Knowing I'm not handy woman, I decided not to even attempt lowering the mattress myself. Instead, I set up the trusty ol' pack 'n play in his room for a few days. Thankfully I have a great man in my life who made a quick stop today to lower the mattress for me (and fill the water softener, too, while he was at it). Now my baby is safely tucked in his crib fast asleep. (Thanks, Scharmer!!!)
You can't make me lay down to sleep, Mommy!
Spencer's peeing in the potty? So what, I'm standing!
Now that those two things are taken care of, any takers on mowing my yard for me?

We had a bit of a traumatic experience in my house this week that landed us back in Urgent Care. (Is it a bad sign that my two year old asks to watch TV the minute we walk in the building and knows exactly where the stickers are?) While we were playing at the Marine Art Museum for their monthly Toddler Tuesday, Spencer fell while carrying a wooden boat. A long, skinny wooden dowel poked him in the eye. OUCH! The doctor reassured me that eye injuries look worse than they are. He broke a blood vessel that will mostly likely heal on its own. It's already looking better, but it's still pretty gross. Besides the initial screaming and crying when it first happened, Spencer has been a real trooper about it. He only seems to notice it when I tell him he can't rub his eye.

Enjoying his snack while we eat carny food.
Steamboat Days is going on this week in Winona. I was reluctant to take the boys to the carnival by myself, but I braved it and am very glad I did. Spenc had a blast! Last year he wouldn't ride the train by himself, so Dave rode with him. This year he couldn't run away from me fast enough to hop on all by himself. Three times! He would have kept riding it all night if I let him. He also rode a whale ride once and won a red car at a fishing game that he calls Lightening McQueen (that he happens to be sleeping with tonight). We also went to the kiddie parade this afternoon, with a concert in the park afterwards. This is where we wore our matching tye dye shirts. I'm excited for more opportunities to sport them. I'm sure Dave is beyond relieved he was gone and didn't have to endure matching family outfits yet again.
Mini donuts!

Fishing game.
Whale ride.
Matching tye dye shirts.

Kiddie parade.
Long day.
Here are more pictures and a video from our week.