Happy 4th Birthday, Joey

4 years ago, at 7:22pm, the most amazing 7lb 1oz, 19inch long little boy was born 3 weeks early.  From Day 1 we knew we had an assiduous little man on our hands.  While mommy was rushed away to the OR, you were brought down to the nICU and kicked butt.  I told daddy to go to you, I had grandma at my side but daddy wanted to make sure I was getting better.  The 24 hours of not being able to see you was worse than all the unexpected complications.  Everyone always talks about being scared to care for a baby, not me.  I was excited.  I had my own little person to watch how he grows and learns and I was excited to teach him how to be a good, moral human.

Fast forward 1 year and you have impressed us with how much you love to learn already.  By 1 you were already walking, spoke 8 words, knew dozens of ASL signs and when to use them (at 10 months old you signed to me you needed a diaper changed and I was blown away), and you were already starting to learn colors and shapes, and animals through the games we played.  Who knew beanbags and stuffed animals could teach so many things?  Since the very beginning, you made everyone fall in love with you with those big brown eyes and contagious laugh.  12-23 months was super fun watching you develop your language and start piecing together little sentences.  Your favorite thing to talk about was that you were going to home depot (while carrying a hanger on your arm pretending it was a purse) and yelling at moose to get down from the coffee table.

At year 2 you mastered counting to 15, knew all your shapes, all your colors, could identify all upper case letters, had 300 ASL signs under your belt, and became such a flirt.  You’d always make the ladies go gaga over your smile and playing peek-a-boo with anyone who would catch your eye at a restaurant.  You were also (and still are) nosy.  You knew all the parents at daycare.  Even the ones who weren’t in your age group.  Your love for sports or any activity that depended on physical exertion started blossoming at this age.  Everyone said watch out for the terrible twos, that’s nonsense…two was amazing.  Your personality developed and you just loved going anywhere and doing anything with mommy and daddy.  Tantrums never happened.  Ever.  You happily did everything while singing or talking nonstop about everything you saw which sometimes embarrassed mommy with your lack of filter!  Ages 24-35 months was absolutely impressive for learning.  A few of the things that stand out are being potty trained in just a few days, reciting the abc’s backwards, knowing all the planets in the solar system, knowing how plants grow (even having a very basic understanding of photosynthesis), knowing how rain forms and what thunder and lightning is.  You couldn’t decide if you wanted to be a fire fighter or an astronaut when you grew up.

Year 3 was supposed to be the year of the threenager.  I can say that this most definitely was not the case.  You are a kind, caring, loving little boy.  You share.  Your smile lights up a room.  You are the master of hugs and so empathetic.  When you are about to get upset about something you look at me and rethink how you handle those emotions and we talk.  Sometimes it’s a teary eyed talk, but we talk.  It gets confusing when you see children around you in the public acting in a different way but you always remember (sometimes with just a little reminder) to use Joey’s words and Joey’s actions and not worry about how others are acting.  You are your own YOU.  And that makes you so special.  Your adventurous side is really shining through.  We learned you love thrill rides just like mommy.  You are going to be my roller coaster buddy for sure.  You LOVE water parks and water slides.  You can swim on your own without any flotation device.  That’s something I still can’t wrap my head around!  I thought the second half of year 3 was going to be a challenge when we switched your school to give you a better opportunity to exercise that brain of yours.  You adapted in less than a week.  You didn’t resist going to school in the morning anymore like you did in your last 2 months of the old center, you couldn’t wait to get there in the morning and you didn’t want to leave when it was time to go.  You love your teachers and your new friends (and some old that transferred as well!).  This year was the biggest learning leap yet.  I can’t believe you are starting to read and spell on your own already.  You can count to 120+, you know your 100s chart, and are already doing simple math.  My heart swells with every new thing I see you do.  I was hoping I could get you to spell antidisestablishmentarianism by your fourth birthday to freak grandma out, but you just knowing how to say the word is impressive enough for me.  Haha.  We almost freaked her out when you said it without me asking you to! LOL!

What have I learned from you?  I’ve learned to be more patient.  I’ve learned that you can’t talk at a child while towering above them – that’s intimidating, you need to kneel down and get on their level and understand from their point of view.  Talk with them.  I’ve learned that emptying my brain and pretending I was learning so many things at once can be overwhelming which has made me empathetic on when you get upset over something that, to me, may seem silly.  I’ve learned how to tell by just a simple change in the tone of your voice whether you are happy, sad, annoyed, mad, or scared.  I’ve also learned that by being hands on and engaged, you are the happiest you can be when we are out gallivanting and you never get upset.  I’ve also learned that when a child doesn’t know a word they come up with the best version you could imagine that word would be.  “Boobie Costume” is by far a better word than “bra”.  I’ve also learned that I am the best version of myself when I have you in my sight.  The most pure and true form of love was created when your heart beat inside of me and then I finally saw it beat outside of me.

Joey, I can’t wait to see what you are going to do this year.  It seems every year gets better and I know this one is going to be the best yet.  This year we are going to go on so many adventures and I can’t wait to watch how you handle yourself in everything we do.



Here are the highlights from year 3 (newest to oldest)

Infertility is not a temporary condition

All week I have been sharing old posts from my blog back from my “infertile” days.  Each time I share them I think to myself “this is still my life”, less the IVF treatments and uncertainty that surrounds it.  Instead of uncertainty I am surrounded in certainty that unless I get back in the straddle saddle, I will remain the mother to 1 beautiful earth child and 3 amazing angels.  There’s nothing that will change that fact.  I can’t wish it away, I can’t pray it away, the only way to change it is to actively jump back in and fight harder than I have ever fought in my life.  Again.

Infertility is not a temporary condition.  It is forever there and will forever be there to remind me that life is always worth fighting for.  It will forever make me humble.  It will forever make me appreciate everything we are blessed with.  It will forever make me study my son and know every little thing that makes him happy or sets him off.

Infertility led me to some amazing friendships with people I have never met in person.  Sharing personal and raw stories, sharing joy and heartache, feeling the excitement with good news and crying with heart break after heart break.  The first step was opening up and so much support has followed, and flowed, since.

What’s been hitting me hard the last few months, and the reason why I needed to write a new infertility post after such a long time not focusing on it, is Joey’s curiosity.  He knows about his brothers, he knows they are angles that fly in the sky, he knows their names, he asks about them.  It makes me happy I get to share with him that he has angels who protect him but also sad that they never had the chance to play with him the way brothers should.

What’s been hitting me even harder is his questions about “who’s my sister”?  When I explain to him that he does not have a sister he gets upset and angry.  He keeps telling me he wants a sister to play with and it makes me so sad to think that I give him anything and everything he can dream of but I can’t give him that.  At least not without another several years of uncertainty, heartache, huge financial hits, and so much time and energy.  Do you know how badly I want to give my son a sibling?  That I’ve secretly cried thinking that it is something that, right now, is impossible for us but effortless for others?  That although I loved every moment of being pregnant, that time was overshadowed with mental and emotional abuse and I so badly want a do over surrounded by the people that actually care for me?  I want it more than anyone can imagine.  But it doesn’t come without lots of sacrifice and it doesn’t even guarantee anything will come out of it.

The PTSD and Anxiety that surrounds me from everything I have been through as a result of the losses and emotional torture I endured in that time frame is enough to scare anyone away from even attempting to have another go at it.  But it doesn’t mean I don’t want it.  It doesn’t mean I wouldn’t do it all over again, but in a happier place this time.  It doesn’t stop me from dreaming.

Today is the last day of National Infertility Awareness Week and it is also my 34th birthday.  It’s fitting that today I’ll be making a special birthday wish that I did for so many years before.  The difference this year is that the previous years were filled with uncertainty on whether or not my wish would come true, this year I know for certain it won’t.  Butitdoesn’tkeepmefromwishing.  And that’s the light that needs to keep burning, the desire.

This year’s NIAW has hit me harder than I thought it would.  This is me speaking out.  I am 1 in 8.  If you are, too, don’t be afraid to open up.  It is better than letting it eat at you and destroying your beautiful soul.  You deserve to be heard and you deserve to have empathy.  Opening up is the first step in freeing yourself, emotionally.

Now is your chance to share your story with me, whether publicly or in private.  I am always ALWAYS here to listen because I have been there and I still am there.

And just like that, we have a three year old

I don’t even know how to start this post.  It’s like I don’t want him to grow up but at the same time I am completely and utterly amazed at how he’s growing and learning.  My sweet little miracle is THREE.  Let me repeat.  My little ball of energy, crazy, curious, lover of all things educational, master of cuddling, and funniest kid I know is THREE.  WHY DID I BLINK?!

Let me tell you a little bit about this child.  He was our last chance.  He was our “secret agent” that we didn’t want anyone to know about when we decided to look fate in the eye and chance that very last frozen embryo.  We didn’t want anyone else to bear the burden of sadness if it didn’t happen.  And here we are, with this amazing little boy who continues to blow my mind each day with his kind heart and thirst for knowledge.  He saved me.

He’s grown up so much over the last three years and it leaves me both elated and saddened that my little baby is growing.  Last week he had his first nightmare and woke me up to a blood curdling scream.  I let him lay in my bed after that event and I found out that his head still fits perfectly nuzzled in my neck as I comforted him back to sleep.  That will forever be his spot.

The birthday boy chose to spend his special day going to his favorite stores instead of an indoor playground but I don’t mind!  I can’t think of any other way to spend his birthday than with a special day with just us and then dinner and cake at grandma’s house, the one who has been the biggest cheerleader for his arrival since day one of all our treatments.

Happy Birthday my perfect little man.  Mommy, Daddy, and your angel brothers love you so much.

Joey’s very first picture, a hatching perfect blastocyst:

Baby Joey Embryo

Love at first sight:


Mr. ONE-derful


There’s no one on earth who is two-er than you!


You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so…get on your way!

Joey Turns 3






Joey and Mommy

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the Universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.”

                                                                           – Steven Hawking



Just keep swimming.

Ever have one of those days, weeks, or months that just really test how much you can handle?  That’s me.  Right now.  Work has been keeping me on my toes so much more than usual and I’m barely keeping my head above water.

Queue checking into my blog to see that when I shared my last post, someone thought it would be funny/make me mad to rate a ton of my posts as one star.  I can see the date and time it was done which correlated to the day I shared my last post.  Thanks to my sharing on facebook, I got a troll.  You know what though, it doesn’t bother me!  Even as stressed out as I am right now, not one single F is given!  I just want whomever did it to know that you will never break me, I can care less about your childish behavior, and I likely don’t even talk to you because you did me wrong at some point.  Get over it…I have.

And now I just have to remind myself that this craziness is not going to last forever so I need to take Dory’s advice and “Just keep swimming”

Tell me, again, why I decided this is a great time to tackle re-doing two rooms, too? I feel like I ask for it sometimes.

Here’s to 2018 – the year of doing weird stuff, traveling, and an added not caring about petty people! 🙂

And maybe a few actual blog posts this year.  Promises, Promises.  🙂

I’m not the same girl I once was – and I am thankful for that.

I can’t tell you how much I’ve heard over the last few years “You used to be so fun” and “You were such an instigator” and “You were always the wild one.”  Past tense.  All of it.

I’ve always been spunky, blunt, and adventurous.  I was always wild.  I was always “Erin.”

Have I changed in the last 10 years?  Yes.  Have I changed even more so in the last 5? Absolutely.

What happened?  Life.  Life happened.

Some minor adjustments happened when I earned my BS and was pushed off in the world in my first big girl job.  I was officially an accountant.  I couldn’t screw this up if I wanted to make something of myself so I had to give up some things.  I also moved out of my parents house and went on my own for the first time.  So many new responsibilities kind of leveled some of the wildness.  And that’s OK.  There comes a time in everyone’s life where you need to figure out what you want to do with yourself and adjust your actions accordingly.  That’s all fine and dandy but I was still adventurous, spur of the moment, and slightly wild – only on the weekends.

So why am I this total ball of anxiety today?  Why can’t I drop everything spur of the moment and do something adventurous?  Why do I get asked what happened to cause this much change?  Why do I watch my mouth and actions?  Again, Life.  Life happened.

Part of life is growing up, learning from past experiences, and paving a good path for your future and your children’s future.  I’m not going to go into specifics on what has shaken me this much as it will only cause unnecessary drama.  Briefly, my experiences over the past few years have really changed me.  I’ve lived through fear of the unknown, extreme joy, heart breaking losses, mental abuse, nearly losing my life, and more unknowns.  The past just over 2 years have seen the most stability I have had in almost a decade even with all the craziness of parenting and higher education, so even though I may not be wild and carefree I am here, I am alive, and I have my family.

I don’t mind not being able to drop everything and do something fun for myself because my biggest concern right now is setting the best example I can for Joey.  That is why I watch my mouth and actions.  I also don’t want to lose a single second with him after the trauma of child loss and nearly losing my own life.  Life is precious and can be taken away in the blink of an eye.

PTSD and Anxiety are real, especially after all the traumatic experiences I have been through.  And they are really scary to have to deal with sometimes, but I am OK and have found ways to handle it.  Please understand that people go through things that change them, and the change isn’t always a bad thing rather a life changing experience.  Joey is a better child because of it and I cherish him more than I think I could have as a result.  I’ll never be that girl from the first 22 years of my life, but that’s OK.  I’m still “Erin” no matter what anyone thinks.  I just act a little different now.  And for that I am thankful.

On Thanksgiving this year, don’t focus on how different people have become, rather focus on the improvements they have made.  Be thankful they are here and enjoying your company.

Also, the holiday season can be incredibly stressful for those who have issues such as depression and anxiety so be there for them.  Extend an ear.  Open your house.  Pour a cup of tea.  Anything.  Show them they are so loved and cared for.  That little extra something may be all they need to keep pushing.

I hope everyone has a lovely Thanksgiving with your friends and family.

Rough Times

Have you ever had one of those days/weeks that you just feel like you can’t do anything to make yourself happy?

Yes, I feel like I am doing an excellent job as a mom even when having some particularly rough days.  Yes, I feel like I am accomplishing my tasks as an employee and doing a damn fine job at it.

What I am NOT doing very well at is taking care of me.  I put everyone and everything in front of my basic needs.  I don’t have nearly as many opportunities for adult interaction as the normal working mom and when I do they are sparse or interrupted by my constant need to make sure my child isn’t falling off a couch and breaking his neck.  I am constantly distracted with work and mothering that my need to be my own person is swept under the rug.  I feel selfish that I am upset that I forget who I am or that I used to be the funny entertaining one that loved talking and interacting with people.

It’s just been a rough week…and I needed a little rant.  And maybe a break.


It’s Potty Time!!

**Warning – this is a very long post**

It’s been one month since we started our potty training endeavor and I’m proud to say that Joey is on the road to success with only one accident in the last 2 weeks that was actually my fault.  He told me several times while eating lunch he had to pee but I asked him to hold it until we were finished…the walk to the bathroom after he finished proved he was telling me he did really need to go – it was just a little squirt but I felt so bad.  He told me and I didn’t listen and I apologized to him.  Bad mommy.  But he’s not wearing pull ups for naps, just bed time.  Once he can go 2 full weeks of waking up dry I will stop pull ups at night.  He’s had a few days in a row completely dry but then every once in a while a little bit…but he’s still very young and sleeps a very long time at night.  I’m not concerned.

We decided to do the potty training boot camp and just jump in cold turkey.  They say all you need is 3 days, but I was skeptical about that so I took a week off of work to get this done.  The real test would be the following weekend as we had several events planned, including my MBA graduation ceremony.  The article is very detailed and every child is different so you sort of have to tailor it to his or her needs.

On Friday, May 19th Joey said bye bye to his diaper pail, his changing pad, and the rest of his diapers.  For a few weeks I told him that we would be saying bye bye to them soon and start using the potty only so he knew what to expect.  I didn’t lie to Joey and say the diaper fairy took them away, I don’t throw him into situations without warning so he knows what is happening and why, I don’t pretend I don’t know what happened when he asks where something went or why it is happening mainly because I put myself in his shoes and think if someone did that to me I would be an anxious mess.  I explained that if he tried hard and did well that we would have a week full of treats and presents for his efforts and success with the ultimate prize being a big boy bed!  I hid all his diapering paraphernalia in a closet just in case and the following morning his last diaper was taken off, he sat on the potty, and was naked from the waist down from there on out while in the house.

Let me tell you, day 1 did NOT start out well.  In a matter of a few hours I was peed on 6 times.  SIX.  The poop was a struggle.  My hopes were torn to pieces and I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.  I thought over and over that I rushed into this too quick, he’s too young, I took a week off and it will be a failure.  Boy was I wrong…after his nap on day 1 he was like a new person.  Turns out Joey wasn’t getting allllll of his pee out.  Just little squirts.  So when he’d play and jump or laugh or sneeze another squirt would come out.  I don’t know if it’s because he was being stubborn or if he was nervous or just trying to rebel against the potty but the first few hours he did not fully void his bladder.  And he did NOT like when he had an accident.  “WIPE IT MOMMY!!!” is what he cried and he would help me clean up.  I explained to him over and over that it takes less time to sit on the potty and pee than it does to clean up an accident so we need to try harder to make it to the potty.  I can’t tell you how many times he helped me clean up that morning and I was just exhausted and ready to throw in the towel on day 1.  He pooped on the potty but it was like pulling teeth and I had to wait until he made his patented poop face to get him to go on the potty.  I was a wreck, he was upset, confused, nervous, anxious…I can’t even imagine what he was going through being thrown into something completely different than he was used to.  I don’t know what happened during his nap but once he woke up it just clicked and it was a week full of success after success.  Friday we will be putting his big boy bed together as his ultimate reward.  He totally deserves it.

Now…you can stop here since I provided the link to what we used to train, or you can check out some of our work and adventures.  This is going to be a long post so here’s where we get into the details of our week of training and how we’ve been continually doing AMAZING ever since.  There’s a few snags we faced and overcame along the way that may be of interest so if you have the time, please continue reading…

Our Potty Training Experience:

Joey has a potty training video he has been watching consistently for probably about 8 or 9 months (Potty Time).  I bought it early knowing he loved Rachel Coleman and the whole signing time series so this would likely be beneficial since he has a big interest in her and sign language.  I think the key here is finding something/someone they like and starting the videos and books early so they know how things work and what you are supposed to do.  Toddlers are sponges so they will be telling you what needs to be done once it sinks in.

Several weeks before starting I told Joey every day that we would begin potty training soon and did a countdown.  He knew what to expect and when.  When the day got closer I would ask him “So what are we going to do starting Saturday?” and he’d repeat “Only pee pee and poopy in the potty.”  Another key to our success was preparation and not leading him in blindly.  He knew what to expect and when so he was not as nervous or as anxious about just being thrown in cold turkey.

The night before we began we gathered all his diapering materials (changing pad, excess diapers, and diaper pail) and said good bye to them.  The best advice I was given was from my sister-in-law and she told me once you start you need to stop changing them on the changing pad.  These are all things associated with diapers so to set up for success they do need to be removed.  And it sucks, because it was a bonding experience with us as well but it is for the best possible chance of success.

While Joey slept that night I started breaking out all the treats and prizes that he could potentially earn with his potty charts, successful poops on the potty (that was our biggest hurdle!), and big achievements.  They were set up and displayed where we spend most of our time so he has the goals in sight (and he’d often check it out to figure out what item he wants to try and earn next).  I also set out all his new big boy underpants (and night time underpants) for him to see.  The next morning his diaper was taken off for the last time and we sat right on the potty to start the first day of training.  His new routine.  This is where it gets interesting…

I think seeing what he can earn helped him try harder to get it.  He understood that none of the prizes were available to him until he met certain milestones that were set.  Some people use sticker charts, some people use fancy personalized potty training kits on etsy, all you really need is to give them a goal and a way to track it and it’s all good.  I literally printed out a template I found on google the night before and gave Joey a crayon so he could color in the circles every time he was successful.  If there was an accident he would help me clean it up, we’d finish on the potty, but no circle to fill in.

Here’s how our days went:

Day 1:

The day started rough, Joey refused to pee on the potty when he woke up at 6:30am.  The rebelling started even with the preparation.  I think he wants to control the situation and go back to his normal routines but I’ve got to remind him that mommy is in charge and this is something we need to work on together.  We had our milk, still no pee on potty, and while sitting on mommy’s lap he lets out the pee he refused to do in the potty that morning.  We were both soaked and he was upset.  Being upset is a good thing, it means he didn’t like the way it felt and will try not to do it again.  There were lots of small accidents between 6:30 and 9:30 – once he felt the splash come out he would stop and go on the potty.  This is where I think he started to process what was going on and try to figure out how to control the “squirts”.  At 9:30 I ask him to keep pushing it all out since he was going constantly and just little bits at a time.  I’ve never seen so much pee come out of him before.  This is when I realized he has only been peeing a little bit at a time and not emptying his bladder.  This was the start of less accidents but still had one more before nap time.  I wasn’t this optimistic during the morning of day 1, but reflecting on it now all the signs pointed us in the right direction based on how Joey reacted to and handled the situations.  After lunch I threw a pull up on him for nap time (since we were only working on half hour intervals at that point and I didn’t want to upset him too much with a nap accident) and we started fresh when he woke up.  Let me tell you…after he woke up and let out all his pee in the potty he was like a new child.  He actually held it in the full half hour or told me if he couldn’t make it and he only pee peed on the potty for the rest of the day.

Our biggest hurdle was poops.  While he had been familiarizing himself with the potty for many many months so he wouldn’t be scared of it when the time came, he never attempted a poop in it.  I was scared going into the week since he refused to even try previously.  The week before, however, we caught him in time and sat him down and he did it.  I saw he was starting to make his infamous poop face and stripped him and put him on the potty.  It was a bit of whining but he did it and we all cheered and danced and he got a piece of “minty chocolate” as a prize.  This was a huge relief going into potty training week…we had popped his poop cherry on the potty and it helped get through this week.  Day 1 he had a successful poop on the potty and got both a “minty chocolate” (mini peppermint patty – his poop treat) and a prize for hitting his first big milestone of pooping on the potty.

Day 2:

Seriously…Day 1 was the only bad day.  On Day 2 we still had the potty timer going every half hour and he went successfully each time.  Even asked for a few pees in between because I was keeping him very hydrated so he could feel it.  There was only one accident on this day and it wasn’t due to pee…he sat down on the potty and pooped but got so excited he did it that he stood up and the rest fell out.  He literally finished his poop like a horse.  And it was not very solid.  There’s something about diapers that make poop less gross…but when it is on the floor it is so bad.  Thank God we have hardwood floors!  We were even able to get out of the house for a little bit and go to Uncle Jeff’s house with our potty in tow.  Joey played very hard outside with the kids and went on the potty 3 times while we were there without so much as a fuss.  No accidents.  I was so proud.

 Day 3-5:

I started getting a little ballsy.  I knew that next week he’d be returning to school so he needed to be able to hold it longer.  I also knew that I did not want to be bringing pull ups to school…he’d be doing the same thing we were except with clothes on.  I increased the time and let him feel what it felt like to have an accident in bed.  Yes I did it on purpose.  Yes I am horrible for making him cry and get upset.  But you know what, it never happened again.  Sometimes you have to let them fail so they know how to correct the situation and figure out how to be successful.  Babying them will not help them figure things out for themselves.  So I let him drink up his water, he peed before his nap, but woke up 2 hours later and had an accident.  I softly explained to him that he should try to hold it in his belly until mommy could get to him and he can pee on the potty.  He helped me clean it all up and he said he would try hard not to do it again because he didn’t like how it felt.  But seriously, he had no more nap time accidents at home.

During this stretch we were playing outside and I had asked him if he was ready to go in for a quick potty break but he said no.  I knew he would eventually have to figure out how to deal when he’s playing and doesn’t want to stop to go so I didn’t force the issue.  I’d much rather him figure it out in our own yard than at someone’s house or at a park with a total meltdown.  He did it one time…that’s all it took.  I let it drip down his leg and he was upset.  Sometimes you just have to let them lead, fail, and help guide them to figure out how to do better.

We were coming close to the end of the week and I needed to get a hold of daycare to set ourselves up for success, especially since the director would be going on vacation the following week.  We went over schedules, what I can do at home to help the transition, what they can do to make him more comfortable.  Seriously, meet with your school – a good director will work with you but also lay down the ground rules (No potty insert at school…only the toilet.  Scary, yes, but you know how much that helped us when we are out in public and don’t have our insert with us??)  Both the director and I knew that the first week would be rough…he’s been home with me all week and changing the routine would likely disturb him…but we made a plan and she passed along the needed info to his teachers.  I think we were both nervous but hopeful.

Days 6-10:

Thursday (Day 6) I knew I had to prep Joey for the upcoming weekend.  We had a few things planned…My graduation was on Saturday, we had a birthday party on Sunday for his friend Nixon, and Monday was Memorial Day.  Our last day together before he returned to school.  We did a few walks on Thursday and Friday to get him out.  Played outside in the yard.  Unfortunately he had caught a cold and we couldn’t really go visit anyone because there was a chance it could have been pneumonia since there was a reported case at school along with other respiratory infections.  I was actually afraid he wouldn’t make it to my graduation if he was still under the weather…my mother was ready to watch him if that was the case.  I really wanted him to be there since he was my reason for working so hard and finishing.

Saturday morning he woke up feeling great so we got ready, packed up some snacks, pull ups just in case since it was a big LONG day, and picked up my mother.  Can I tell you that Joey had not one single accident?  NOT ONE.  That made my graduation day so much better because not only was I able to accept my prize from all my hard work, but I also was able to hold my biggest gift of all and be so proud of how hard HE worked.  It was perfect.

Sunday was his friend’s 2nd birthday party and he was also accident free the entire time.  We’d remind him every 20 or so minutes to let us know when it was potty time but made sure he was going every hour or so.

Monday was also accident free and we went to see a parade.

The week of potty training ended on a high note.  The following 2 weeks would be the real test on how successful this week of training was for him.

Back to school!

I knew and already prepared myself for a not so good first week back at school.  I packed so many extra clothes you’d think I was crazy.  I wasn’t.  And it went as I expected…he needed to adjust to a new schedule.  I messaged his teacher the first few days to check up on him and for being so new and adjusting to school he did really well.  His biggest issue was poops (duh!) and holding his bird down while he peed.  He had a few little pee accidents when he couldn’t hold it in line to go to the bathroom and a lot of peeing over the toilet because he didn’t hold it down.  He also had, and needed to have, a nap time accident to learn from…never happened again.  All things we would work on during the week/upcoming weekend to have a better next week.

The poop was the big issue…he had only ever gone at home on the potty.  We needed to pop his “not at home” pooping on the potty cherry.  Prior to this we were sending him to school without underwear because in the boot camp it says not to use it because it gives the false sense of wearing a diaper, which makes sense.  But we had to quickly end this when we had a literal shit storm of accidents.  The poo literally fell out of his shorts and created a mess at school.  I was totally embarrassed.  It was a Friday.  I wasn’t going to let that happen again so we slapped on underpants and he only got confused one time with one tiny tiny dot of an accident and was perfect ever since.  It did not confuse him at all once he felt it.  I finally got him to poop that weekend at my mother’s house and from then on out he only pooped on the potty at school.  He just needed to do it one time somewhere else.  Now he can poop anywhere.  We worked on holding the bird down the entire weekend and were happy to hear the excitement in his teachers voices when they said he did it at school too!  The next week he was accident free and as I recall he hasn’t had any more accidents since the ‘shit storm.’

Wrap up

I’d say the boot camp was a complete success.  I can’t say it can be done in 3 days or less, I think small achievable goals and baby steps are important to guide and grow confidence and establish a new routine.  I also think going cold turkey and being fully involved in failures and successes help achieve quicker and more successful results without causing too much anxiety.  It also helps to have people who are ready and willing to help with your child’s success as your support group.

Joe and I were actually able to go away for a night to attend a wedding and Joey was accident free with Grandma the entire time.  She learned he loves to narrate his poops…PLUNK! and that he’s hilarious with telling her everything that needs to happen.  His personality really started coming out during this time and he’s becoming so funny and vocal.  It’s amazing what a little change and stepping out of your comfort zone can do to positively impact your child.

What I will warn you is that following this method there is a LOT of nakedness.  A LOT.  And it gets a little weird.  There’s a lot of “exploration” and touching of things you don’t want them to touch.  And you need to buy all the Lysol because naked hineys rubs all over EVERYTHING.  And you can’t take lots of pictures because there’s just so much genitalia…but it’s only a week.  And it has been fun and crazy ever since.  I’m so proud of all that he’s been able to accomplish and I hope that my experience with the boot camp method can help others get a little more confident to just stop and say “Let’s do this!” and rock the whole potty training experience.

I have heard there is some regression, most children experience it at some point and not to get upset or nervous about it.  It just happens.  We may see it or we may not, but we will cross that bridge when we get there and hopefully we never have to.  I am a firm believer in consistency, listening to your child, and keeping them involved.  These things are huge when it comes to success.  You can’t just do this for a week and think, ok it’s on them now since they are so good at it now.  This is an on-going process for the whole family for several months…set your child up for success and better confidence by continuing to work with them and being consistent.

Good luck ❤

If you have any questions or comments on anything specific or how we handled certain situations please feel free to leave a comment!

Potty training eve **warning – this post contains a picture of a poo

Tonight we change our toddler into his last night time diaper and say farewell to the changing mat.  Tomorrow when Joey wakes up he will be stripped of his diaper and placed on the potty and there’s no turning back.

What have I gotten myself into?  I mean, I know it’s time.  He’s ready.  We’ve been amping up this day for weeks.  Why am I not ready?

We created this child in September 2013, he was frozen for a whole year before we met again, and now he’s this crazy talkative and bright little man.  He’s not tiny anymore.  He’s my big boy.  I don’t know if I am emotionally ready for this but I will pretend to be strong for him so we can get through this.

OK, I think I’ve finished my pity party.  Thanks for joining me for that.  I’d love to hear your experiences (the good the bad and the ugly), any tips, words of encouragement, or something particularly funny to get me through the next week.

Oh…and about that warning of a poo picture.  Joey finally successfully pooped in the potty the other day but last night…well…he had other plans for that poo.












poo picture

A happy and sad day. Happy Mother’s Day

Can you believe that 4 years ago on this day we found out that for the very first time the IVF was successful and I was finally pregnant.  Little did I know this would be our first Angel Baby


Yes, I know this should be a happy day for me since I have my Joey, but it also comes with great sadness…I should have 4 babies but instead 3 have become angels.  Time does not heal, it only changes the way you handle the pain.

I can remember so many Mother’s days being so completely depressed that I was empty handed again.  I can also remember Mother’s days weeping over the loss of my babies.  I still weep to this day but it is of happiness and sorrow as I love my Joey so much but still mourn the loss of my angels.

It doesn’t get easier…it just gets different.

To the mommies waiting to fill their arms, to the mommies mourning the loss of their babies…stay strong, especially on this day.  You are so strong for all that you have been through, just remember that.



Stop using the “S” word!

Sometimes parents annoy the shit out of me.  I probably annoy the shit out of other parents as well so I’m not going to deny my annoying tendencies to post thousands of pictures and videos proudly displaying my son and his inherent cuteness.  I’m probably the most annoying of all!  But I’m not here to talk about me, I’m here to talk about you…or maybe not you…but definitely some of you who are bound to lay your eyes on this.

What REALLY annoys me is when parents brag about how smart and ahead of the game their child is.  My husband is even guilty of it and I have to firmly remind him why he shouldn’t do that.  He’s gotten much better.  If you scroll through my Facebook and Instagram you will never once see ME refer to my child as smart or the best or way ahead of the game…you’ll see a ton of other people say it about him, but never me.  Why?  Because I don’t want to give my child an ego.  I want him to always strive to do better because he works so damn hard at it and that’s what I love so much about him, his drive. I also don’t want to compare him to another child because every single child learns and develops at their own rate.  Every. Single. One.  No child is better than another because you think they are the most intelligent creature God ever created.  I also know what milestones are meant for, and they are certainly NOT meant for bragging.

A child is not born smart or ahead of his milestones.  And smart is really just a relative term.  Also, a child who has the means to build on their foundation, with the help of his or her parents and caretakers, is vastly capable of being ahead of these “milestones” doctors set which are simply the least or expected things a child should be able to achieve by a certain age before becoming concerned about developmental delays.  They are simply measurement tools to ensure there is nothing going on that can’t be physically seen.  They are in no way shape or form a stepping stone for parents to rub “smarts” in everyone’s faces.  Your child can crawl, (s)he’s so SMART!  No, your child doesn’t have a physical disorder that would prevent them from crawling, you are lucky to not have to intervene…smarts have NOTHING to do with it, human instincts to crawl and being physically capable does.

Your child may be smashing all these milestones really early, mine did too, but some don’t develop that quick and some have certain conditions that don’t allow them to smash them like we were fortunate enough to.  These developmental milestones are in place to look for signs that your child doesn’t have a condition that would involve intervention and further medical diagnostics to determine what is going on.  Hello…this is how they discover when babies are hard of hearing!  Get off your high horse and stop giving your child an ego so early…they are working hard to learn everything all at once, instead of bragging why don’t you work with them to develop into kind and well mannered human beings who work hard to achieve both your and their own goals in life.  The world needs more humbleness and less showboats.  I don’t know when or why medical diagnostics on well visits turned into a competition of smarts.  I’ll take it all back if you can show me your 4 month old doing long division, but I won’t hold my breath waiting.

And if you are on the other side of the fence and think your child is not intelligent, step back a second.  Toddlers and children love to tease us old folk.  If you want something so hard in every breath of your being, your child will pick up on it and tease you with it.  If there are no diagnosed developmental delays, chances are your child is messing with you.  They are all sponges and will only do what they want to do.  You just have to find a way that makes it fun for them…playing is learning, too.

Now if you excuse me, I’m going to continue praising my child for his hard work and not shout from the rooftops he is so smart.

End Rant.

Also, for those who use the term “smart” to their child, this is a very good read on why you shouldn’t use the “S word”.