Point It Down! (Potty Training Our Son)

Maximus Potty TimeWell, the day finally came.   It was time to face the dreaded monster that all toddlers meet at some point in their toddlerhood.

That’s right.  It was time to potty train our son.

My husband suggested we start months ago, so I waited until his two week vacation to begin.  (Since he thought it was a grand idea, I didn’t want him to miss out on all of the fun.)

We decided to do the 3 Day Potty Training Method.  With this program, you throw away all of the diapers, wear big boy undies and watch for ques of when it is time to go.  You cancel all of your plans for those three days and are warned in advance to expect accidents.

We pumped up Maximus about potty training and even went to the store to buy stickers and let him select his reward.  Guess what he wanted?  Flags! A pack of four was less than three dollars.

DAY ONE: Bright and early on Monday morning at 6:00 a.m. we heard Maximus waking up.  We rushed in, excited more than ever, and told him TODAY IS THE DAY!!!!  He got all of his diapers out of of the diaper holder.  He and dad walked to the garbage (multiple trips) and threw them away.  I’ll admit, I walked behind them once they left and took the diapers out of the garbage in case this three day method didn’t work.  (A’int nobody got time for throwing away perfectly new diapers you may use again.)

We took a field trip to his bathroom and the new potty.  We talked about how we would no longer use diapers and would be a big boy and use the potty.  All he wore was his undies, socks and a shirt. Surely our pep talk would work right away.

He peed on the floor.

Several times.

Pretty much all day.

Each time was not too long after we asked him to let us know if he needed to go. He earned a couple of stickers for one drop of urine entering the toilet (as we ran as quickly as we could to get him there) and we made as big a deal of it as possible.

After day one, I was pretty confident he wasn’t ready yet.

DAY TWO: My husband and I woke up again excited to conquer the world of pottying. We were ready to help Maximus earn more stickers, which he seems interested in.  He really wanted a flag which we were using as a grand prize for a full incident.

Luckily, day 2 consisted of a couple of pee pees on the potty.  We all did the “Pee Pee on the Potty” dance. We called Aunt Sharon.   Big things were happening.  Maximus was excited because he earned his flag.  We were excited because there was a slither of hope.  Could the pee gods be listening to us?  Was a miracle getting ready to happen?

DAY THREE: I’m not really sure what Maximus dreamed about overnight, but he woke up with very little interest in using the potty.  Let me change that. He woke up with no interest in the potty.  He didn’t want to be close to the bathroom.  Our dance was no longer exciting.  The words ‘pee’ and ‘potty’ just made him turn up his nose. He looked at us like we were crazy.

I was pretty sure that those diapers I hid in the closet would be coming out again really soon. I went to bed feeling like we lost the battle.

DAY FOUR: Instead of giving up, we decided to give potty training one more chance. The morning started off the same. Instead of asking him to tell us when he needed to go to the bathroom, we took him every 30 minutes to try.  Mid afternoon, my husband had a man-to-man talk with him.  I’m not sure what happened at that talk, but miraculously Maximus used the bathroom.

And he kept using the the bathroom for the rest of the day.

And throughout the weekend.

Talk about alleluia moments!  Yes, Lord!

*Now, it’d be great it that was the end of the story and everyone lived happily ever after.  Unfortunately, the journey of pee-hood isn’t that easy.  We have had both good and bad moments with remembering to use the bathroom.  I also learned that my son is a boy.

We went to an outlet mall and stopped for food on the way back.  I sat him on the toilet at Burger King, I stand up to breath for 1 millisecond and he sprays urine all over the bathroom stall door.  I look wide eyed at the door and can’t believe what I just saw.

“Point down! Point down!” I yell.  But, of course, by then it was too late.

So, not only are we dealing with encouraging him to use the bathroom. Once there, the direction in which he points makes all the difference!

Also, pooing on the toilet is not happening. Not sure why to him it feels better to poo in his big boy undies, but it does.  And once it stinks, he let’s us know.  Or, he let’s us find a poo in his bed. Can you say happy, happy, joy, joy?

We are glad that we are over the first hump of Maximus knowing how to use the potty. We never got the diapers back out. We are hoping in the near future that he’ll let us know when he needs to go (versus us asking him) and he’ll be able to do #1 and #2 on the john like a champ.

How You See It

first 2015 picHappy 2015!

I am blessed to celebrate a new year.   2014 was definitely a year of transition and change. As I thought about all that I experienced in the last 365 days, I also thought about perspective.

We all have our share of ups and downs.  All of us. However, the difference is how we interpret and react to our experiences.  Whether you focus on the positives or the negatives will determine how your story is told.

Below I will share two different versions of my 2014.  Both are true.

VERSION A: If it wasn’t one thing it was another. 2014 started out with being told our son couldn’t hear.  We knew he couldn’t talk, but adding the absence of sound was a double whammy.  Maximus ended up getting tubes and we are still working on improving his speech.  I was pregnant and once again got put on bed rest for the third trimester.  I missed my 20 year high school reunion and a major 2 day concert.  It sucked having restrictions. Being in the Army, we knew this would be the year we move. We found out we’d be stationed at Fort Bragg, NC (also-notoriously-known as Fayette-nam for its high crime rates).  When we moved, I was 30 weeks pregnant and high risk.  Can you say worst move ever?  Countless, thousand-dollar, mistakes by the packing, moving, and coordinating companies snowballed into a mountain of apologies and shattered confidence in the Army’s ability to do the easy stuff.  And, I had to leave behind my childhood home.  My husband, Augustus, enjoys his new assignment, but he works very late hours: On average he comes home around 8:30pm (and that’s after he leaves in the morning at 5:40am.)  Our daughter Liliana was born in September.  She had really bad jaundice and then my blood pressure skyrocketed.  So, what should have been two days in the hospital turned into five.  Yes, that’s 15 hospital meals. When we moved here, I moved away from all of my friends. The ability to meet new friends, while pregnant, then with a newborn and a toddler, are slim to none.  I’m definitely hoping next year is a better one.

VERSION B: Wow! Talk about a year of transition.  We spent New Year’s Eve celebrating that “we” were pregnant again.  After two miscarriages last year, we prayed that this baby would ‘stick’.  We were overjoyed, and Augustus was scared, to find out that we were having a girl. I was blessed to have some amazing doctors this pregnancy. They were able to catch my cervical issue and do surgery so that I’d be able to move with my family to North Carolina.  Maximus had surgery for ear tubes and we are prayerful that they will help improve his speech.  Our move to Fayetteville, NC was very rocky, but we were fortunate to have supportive family make the move easier.  While I moved away from all of my friends, we were fortunate to move to a city where both my husband and I have family. Cousins, aunts/uncles and even my mother-in-law’s twin sister all live here.  It was love at first sight meeting our baby, Liliana, in September.  She has the most amazing smile and bright eyes.  Moving to a new state helped me realize I didn’t need to hold onto my childhood home – so we sold it.  I’m so glad a new family will be able to create new memories.  I’m also glad to be in a position to support both my husband and children.  I’ve met some great people thus far and looking forward to forming new friendships.

Same scenario told from two different perspectives.  Which type of person are you?  Do you focus and sulk on the negative or try to find growth and opportunity in them?  Do you spend so much time looking at the bad that you passing by all the good that surrounds you?  It’s easy to complain, but will you make the effort to reflect, move past the negative, and be optimistic and resilient?

I wish each of you many blessings in the year 2015.  Know that once again we will have our share of ups and downs.  Just don’t let those “downs” hold you down.  Find beauty in the joy that surrounds you and try to help others experience the same.

So Long to 4604 in 2014

house

I honestly never really thought I would do it.

But it was time.

The only home that I have never known, now belongs to another family.

December 10, 2014 we closed on my childhood home at 4604 Lincoln Rd, Louisville, KY 40220.

I really never had intentions of living as an adult in that home.  Truth told: I had put down a deposit my first condo in May of 2006. About two weeks later, my mother passed away from ovarian cancer.  It was three days before my birthday. Her house, my childhood home, was paid off, in a great neighborhood and a great overall home. I was able to get my money back from the condo downpayment and move back into the place where many memories were created.

After I moved back into my childhood home, at the age of 30, I thought I may stay in the house forever and ever.

But, then I fell in love. I fell in love with a guy that was joining the Army. Army life = military life = moving every couple of years.

What a surprise it was for us to get our first duty station in Fort Knox, KY. My boyfriend, who became my husband, drove 45 minutes between our house and the place that holds the gold.

My house became our home. We met online through match.com and our first face to face meeting was at my front door.  Our first kiss was in the basement.  He proposed on one knee in that same spot.  Both of my children were conceived in that house. My son was raised in that house. Memories upon memories upon memories.

Well, hold on –

It’s not the only place I’ve lived.

I actually started my life in Mallgate apartments.  We first lived in an apartment and then moved to a townhouse at 7107 Kings Court, Louisville, KY 40207.  We didn’t move to my “childhood home” until I was seven years old.

Yes, in 1983 is when the memories started.

One of my first memories involved a trip to the emergency room.  I remember my mother driving me to our new house.  We were pulling up to the intersection of Browns Lane and Dutchman’s Lane (right in front of the hospital) and we saw my old school bus.

I pointed to it.  My mother looked.

My mother hit the car in front of us.

Of all things that could happen, I bit in my tongue and had to get stitches in my tongue. Yes, dear friends, you heard that right.

Our house at 4604 was known as the house with the steepest driveway.  My parents used to yell at kids who tried to ride their bikes down it.  Our house also had a balance beam in the back.  My father built it for me.  BEST. GIFT. EVER! Our backyard was attached to a farm, which became a golf course, and there were yearly steeplechase races. My parents loved to host gatherings.

Birthday parties. Sleepovers. Science projects. Thanksgivings. Christmas. Punishments. Prom. Graduation. Sickness. Cancer. Tragedy. Sleep. Joy. Love.

The majority of my childhood, teenhood (is that a word?!) and adulthood memories were wrapped up in that one building.  I had convinced myself that we would never part.

But I had to.

4604 JulyThe military called us this year to move to Fort Bragg, NC – home of the 82nd Airborne. When we move over the summer I had every intention of holding onto the house and renting it out. But, once all of my items and memories where removed from the house, I quickly realized that all that remained were bricks.

The memories came with me.

The house remained.

When I realized that, I was fine to sell the house and move on.

4604 sold without me ever making a trip to Louisville. I actually signed all paperwork electronically. Our family came in town the week after the official closing.  The only thing I asked was to be able to walk through the house one last time.

On Fri4604 last shotday, December 19, 2014, I met the new owners of the house.  It was a young couple with twin toddler girls. As I walked through the house one last time, I knew I did the right thing.  There were no tears shed. I was happy. I had my husband, son, and infant daughter with me and realized that as long as we are together, wherever we lay our head will be our home.

The house that Steve and Lillian built helped to mold me into the person, mother and wife I am today.  I am proud that a new family will be able to create their own memories. I am excited that my family will be able to travel the world. I know that regardless of where we go, 4604 and the memories will always remain.

Convo With the PoPo

popo1We took the family to a parade today.  When we arrived, it was colder than we thought so I took Liliana to the car to add more layers.  We were parked around the corner from our house, so Milton drove home to get my coat and a blanket for Maximus.  Maximus and Nana stayed and watched the parade.  While I waited for him to return, I decided to chat with the police officer that was directing traffic.

I’ll admit, I’ve had very little interactions with police officers.  I’ve had one speeding ticket and that’s really about all.

But, with all that is happening right now with black men being killed (i.e. Eric Garner and Mike Brown) I figured there was no time like today to talk to one.

As I walked up to him, he made a funny comment about Liliana’s legs in her baby carrier.  I told him I had a question to ask him.  I said, “What are your feelings with everything happening in today’s society with the police?” His expression was priceless. I listened to him give his viewpoint on everything, including how to start change.  It wasn’t a time for me to agree or disagree with him (which I did both), but a time to hear his view from his experiences.  He didn’t sugar coat his answers and you could tell he was still uncertain about some things.

Our conversation ended toward the time Milton pulled back up in his car.  At the end of the parade when Nana, Maximus and everyone was were walking back to the car, I introduced him to the family.  He gave Nana a hug and Maximus a high five and a sticker.

I know I didn’t solve all of the world’s problems with that one interaction.  However, I do know that I took one step toward improving relationships.  I know that I started exposing my toddler son to the police.  I know my mother-in-law who screams at the tv while watching CNN appreciated his small gesture.  I know that many police officers are friendly and approachable.

Change starts one person, one conversation at a time.popo2

Holiday Joy

There’s a benefit in helping others!

Recently a mom in one of my FB groups talked about how upset she was that she couldn’t get photos of her infant daughter this Christmas because she was low on funds. The pics cost $20.

Now, to many people, Christmas pics may not be a big deal. But to her, they were very important. See, last year her first child, at the age of 3 months, was killed in a car accident. He was never able to celebrate Christmas. So, this would be a new milestone for her baby daughter to achieve.

I didn’t want her to miss capturing these moments so I asked for her address and sent her a $20 bill. She was very gracious.

Have you heard when you give, it can come back to you? Well, last weekend Team Turner went to a UNC football game. We got there late and caught a late shuttle to the stadium. We were supposed to have bought a wristband to board, but the person handing out bands had left. The driver told us to go on and get onboard, but we’d still have to a pay the money when we board after the game. Well, it was a blowout, so we left at halftime. The driver once again asked for our bands. I told our story and pulled out my wallet. She said don’t worry about it!

I feel that we were blessed for helping others. And the biggest blessing came yesterday when the mom shared with me her gorgeous Santa photos. My heart melted!

There's a benefit in helping others!    Recently a mom in one of my FB groups talked about how upset she was that she couldn't get photos of her infant daughter this Christmas because she was low on funds. The pics cost $20.    Now, to many people, Christmas pics may not be a big deal. But to her, they were very important. See, last year her first child, at the age of 3 months, was killed in a car accident. He was never able to celebrate Christmas. So, this would be a new milestone for her baby daughter to achieve.    I didn't want her to miss capturing these moments so I asked for her address and sent her a $20 bill. She was very gracious.    Have you heard when you give, it can come back to you? Well, last weekend Team Turner went to a UNC football game. We got there late and caught a late shuttle to the stadium. We were supposed to have bought a wristband to board, but the person handing out bands had left. The driver told us to go on and get onboard, but we'd still have to a pay the money when we board after the game. Well, it was a blowout, so we left at halftime. The driver once again asked for our bands. I told our story and pulled out my wallet. She said don't worry about it!     I feel that we were blessed for helping others. And the biggest blessing came yesterday when the mom shared with me her gorgeous Santa photos. My heart melted!

Small Talk

Today I tried to make a difference.

Although I can’t change society as a whole, I can take small steps. With social media, very few people have in person conversations. How can we start to understand people if we don’t take time to communicate?

This morning Liliana and I went to Target. In addition to buying half of the store, we stopped and had conversations with complete strangers.

*We talked with a mother of a two-year-old boy about how easy Christmas is for kids this young. Her son got restless and I instantly thought of Maximus.

*We talked with a man about how hard it is to ‘drive’ those Target carts through those narrow aisles.

*We met a mother of a five-month-old. We stood trying to decode the Target discount that made no sense and talked about the ‘mom uniform’ of leggings and a sweater.

*We talked with the woman who checked us out. She unfortunately has to work Thanksgiving evening and turn around to return to work Friday morning.

*We talked with a couple in the parking lot who loved Liliana’s hat and volunteered to take our cart back.

These people were of all races and ages. We didn’t target any of them to communication with. But, as our paths crossed, a welcoming conversation ensued. We have to start getting to know each other and realize how many commonalities we each have.

These conversations may have not been life changing, but it definitely made my shopping experience more enjoyable and we both left with a smile.

As you’re out and about these holidays, take time and say hello to the person next to you. Wish the people behind the register a happy holiday season. Help someone in need. One small gesture on your behalf could be a hidden blessing in the life of someone else.