I got the potty training blues...

We started potty training in July. Last year. "Started" being the operative word.

In my usual OCD manner, I read every book I could get my hands on, viewed every video at the library and Netflix. Talked incessantly to Phoebe about it and how exciting it would be. I bought cute little princess underpants. I bought 3 different potty chairs. We read books together about pottys. And I talked to just about everyone I knew.

And then we sucked.

We sucked because deep down I wasn't sure she was ready. I worried that her speech wasn't good enough to tell me what she needed. I worried we didn't have the right potty. I obsessed over every little detail. I followed EVERYONE's advice but I did it all at the same time so I think I just confused her. I would say one thing and do another.

Case in point: pull-up diapers. They are EVIL. Do not use them. Well except if you're going on a long trip or at night time or during nap time. See what I mean?

So during the day, at home, I'd have Phoebe in a dress sans pantaloons or "without underpants" for y'all that don't speak messed up French. Then, we'd put on a pull-up if we were going somewhere or it was nap time or bedtime. Phoebe would stay dry and clean as long as she was pants-less but would save poops for the pull-ups or underpants. She got to the point that she didn't like getting cleaned up and would stay just out of poop smelling range to avoid it. Which meant that by the time I smelled it (10 minutes or so) she would be a little irritated and we'd have to stop everything to get her cleaned up and cream applied. I was at my wit's end. Bribes in the form of suckers were no good. It really seemed like she could careless about being potty trained.

A friend of mine suggested a particular book and told me that purchase of the book also granted you access to the author in a forum so you could ask questions. I purchased the book, looked at the forum and found it all completely useful information. And then I promptly went back to what I was doing.

Until about six weeks ago when she went in a pooping spree. At bed time, she'd poop a little, request cleanup and then go back to bed. Then a little more poop and more cleanup. This would happen 3-4 times every evening. I'd ask her if she was done pooping and make her sit on the potty but no dice. She'd poop a little more and be back for cleanup.

After about 6 nights of this, her butt was getting raw and cleanup time was no fun for anyone.

I went on the Internet looking for answers and was reminded of the book I bought and the forum. We were 9 months into this and I had no idea what to do next and I didn't feel we were any closer to being trained than when we started.

The woman who wrote the eBook answers questions directly in her forum.  I posted where we were in the process and what we were doing and she came back with the fact that the pull-ups HAD TO GO.  NOW.  DO NOT PASS GO.  DO NOT COLLECT $200. 

So we went cold turkey with the pullups and it has been amazing.  Phoebe went from refusing to poop on the potty to doing it willingly.  We've only had a few accidents and those only in the first couple of days.  We even went to the zoo last weekend and she was perfect.

Night time training is sucking but not for the reason you think.  She's only had a few accidents at night mainly because I check on her about 2 hours after she goes to bed and then I get up about 3 hours later and take her to the potty again.  Then, sometime between 3 or so and 8:30 am, she'll get up and go potty without help.  I'm working on stretching the time of the second check so that I can train her out of that one.

So between getting up with her at 3AM and with Griffin, who is experiencing his first ear infection and a growth spurt at the same time, I'm not sleeping a lot.  But the fact remains that my kid is nearly potty trained.  I can't say she's perfect - we're not done.  But day time is no problem anymore.

Reasons to Home School: Traditional Schools Kill Creativity

Schools are all about conformity.  All the kids learn the same thing, at the same pace, in the same place, in the same way.  There is usually only ONE right answer and it's in the back - but DON'T LOOK!

The kids are taught to think the same.  And in some schools, they dress the same.  If there are no school uniforms, then fashions rule what the kids wear and next thing you know, your daughter wants to wear something stupid to school because she feels she will be a social outcast if she doesn't.  And she's right.  Quirky, divergent thinkers are rarely the popular kids in traditional schools because they don't look or act like the crowd.

But you know what my dad always taught me?
"Don't be a sheep.  Sheep are led to slaughter."  
It's a pretty depressing thought but then I also think about Tommy Lee Jones' comment in Men In Black:
"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it."

So that leaves private schools but they largely have the same problem as public schools and that problem is accountability. Accountability in and of itself is a good thing.  But trying to measure a child's education by grading the child on thinking the way everyone else thinks is destroying education.  

I will write more about No Child Left Behind in another post but I can tell you that Standardized Testing is the worst thing that ever happened to schools.  Teachers MUST teach to the test.  Teachers MUST teach test taking skills.  Teachers MUST teach things that have no practical use in the real world.  Seriously, how many times have you had to fill out a bubble form lately?  Your Census form?  Ok.  One form.  That has stupid easy instructions.  Do you really need 20 or more hours of practice filling in a few dots?

In the real world, divergent thinking is important.  Being able to think creatively to solve problems is revered.  No one puts "I know how to bubble in the answers" on their resume. 

How Homeschooling compares with Public Schools

Homeschool Domination  
 Created by: CollegeAtHome.com

Why I love scrapbooking

september-scrapbook-wowAbout 15 years ago, I inherited literally HUNDREDS of pictures.  A lot of these photos were loose in boxes, some were in old photo albums, few were labeled and all needed some time and attention given them.

That's when I learned about scrapbooking and I never looked back.

After a few years, I branched out into rubber stamping because it gave me the ability to stretch my scrapbook dollar and a while after that, I moved into making my own cards.

At heart, I am a teacher and see my purpose as an opportunity to share what I love with folks who were like me 15 years ago.  I love showing people new techniques and I love learning them myself.  I am also aware that, when faced with the MOUNTAIN of supplies, endless ideas and, most importantly, the sheer financial burden that some crafts impose, that it's important to start at the beginning with those things that you really need instead of just following what’s trendy.

I’m going to use this space to show you a few simple techniques that make the most of your creative dollar.  I'd far rather you buy fewer things and be happy with them, than push you to buy the next great thing and have you quit your craft because it's too expensive.

My Summer Plans

I'm busier than a one legged man in a butt kicking contest.

I figured out last night that I am working on about a dozen different project right now.  Some are short term and will be over soon.  Others are ongoing projects and will be going on for YEARS (I'm looking at you children who want to learn to read and write and do math and be ed-u-ma-cated...). 

One thing I'm gearing up for is Camp Nanowrimo.  In case you don't know, NANAWRIMO stands for National Novel Writing Month and traditionally takes place during November.  Basically you commit to writing a 50,000 word novel in those 30 days.  My darling hubby was a NANOWRIMO winner a couple of years ago - meaning he completed his novel.  They also nost two smaller events in June and August called CAMP NANOWRIMO for people who basically can't wait for November.

Now, I've decided that the ideas in my head will not calm themselves down and must be written out in novel form.  This is part of the moving towards more writing in my pursuit of employment where I don't have to actually deal with people.... I'll have to talk about that more in another post.

So I have 3 story ideas.  I am working on writing out a synopsis for all of them but I think I know which one I will be writing during the contest.

Have you ever done anything like this?  I'd be interested in hearing how it went in the comments...

Bracelet #3–Not yet

I am using this book as a kind of curriculum for future bracelets. So far, I have made and destroyed about 10 bracelets because the weave is too uneven and ends up being wonky on one side but nice and tight on the other.

To this end, I am still working on a bracelet for this week.

I only drink at Disney World

My mother was quite the party girl when she was in her 20’s. She drove intoxicated on more than one occasion and often said that it was a miracle that she never got hurt or killed someone. She often said that she’d used up all of her luck and part of mine too and was relentless in telling me not to drink and drive.

I was a willing student for the most part. Our young next door neighbor was killed in a drunk driving accident and it marked me and made me understand that just because you are young does not make you invincible.

My parents were also quite liberal about alcohol.  We always had a full bar and my parents often offered to make me a drink and let me find out what it was like to get drunk in the comfort and safety of my own home.  I had had wine from a pretty young age and had tasted the hard stuff numerous times and never took them up on the offer. This cavalier attitude affected me in the way that I saw no point in sneaking off to get drunk with my friends.

However, on one occasion I decided to be one in the crowd when an older friend, who was driving, said he would “stay straight” so we could all get wasted.  And wasted was what I got.  But not so wasted that I didn’t notice my designated driver having a beer.  I confronted him right then and there and told him I wasn’t letting him drive me home.  I then took off into the night and walked about 2 miles to a convenience store with a pay phone (this was before cell phones, kiddies!).

I called my mother and told her I was drunk and needed a ride.  She had promised me that she would pick me up, no questions asked, if I EVER needed it.  I had mostly sobered up during the walk and was almost completely sober by the time she got there.

I got in the car and she said we weren’t going to talk then since I was drunk and we would discuss it in the morning.  I said that I wasn’t drunk anymore, but that I was PISSED!

I was mad that I had trusted someone to stay sober so I could get drunk. From that day on, I have only trusted three people in this world to stay sober: my husband who doesn’t drink, my mother when she was alive, and ME.

That’s right, ME. I know that I will be sober and have acted as the designated driver on many occasions while I watched friends be idiots while under the influence.

So this brings us to Disney World.

We have always stayed on property – meaning in a Disney hotel – while at Disney World.  Disney hotel guests have access to free transportation.  Disney World has awesome alcoholic choices.  And voila!  It’s like a match made in Heaven for a control freak like me.

Homeschooling Laws in Georgia–REDUX

blahJust a few of days ago, I posted this story about the laws in Georgia as they are on the Georgia Department of Education page.
Turns out that the Governor had JUST signed a new bill into law whereupon all correspondence now goes to the State instead of the to local school district.
As of today (5/9/12), the page has not been updated and there is no mention of any changes.  So I will keep watching to update you on this…

Bracelet #2–EDITED

IMG_0190I made this bracelet about 4 years ago and I’ve been trying to find the pattern ever since.  I’ve found patterns that are close but not exact.

It’s made with Swarovski 4mm bicones in Peridot and silver Delica beads.  I think the class I made this in was the first time I’d used Fireline.

Fireline is really fishing line but somewhere along the line, beaders found it and decided it was so tough and thin that it would make great beading cord.

EDITED:  Wouldn’t you know that after posting this item this morning and 3 years of searching, that I would find a resource that not only tells me what the name of it is but how do to it?  Here it is for your information… Hana-Ami Pattern

72 Hour Kit Challenge #2

Last month we started our 72 hour kits. Did you start yours?

imagesThe theme this month is MAKE A PLAN and the items in this month’s challenge will help with that.

This month, gather these things:

  • Copies of important papers like insurance policies, marriage certificates, birth certificates etc. You can store in a large envelope for now…
  • Cash— $30-50 at least. At least $5 in quarters for phone calls
  • Phone numbers and addresses for out of town contacts
  • A list of medications and dosages and the names and phone numbers of the prescribing doctors.

Broken Wings: Lessons Learned

dilbertLast August, my daughter fell off of a kitchen chair and broke her collar bone. I knew that she was injured, but decided that it was urgent but not critical that she receive medical care.

I quickly called the local emergency room and was told that we could bring her there, but that anything serious would require a transfer to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. I hung up and decided to take her to CHOA myself.

I had no idea where Children’s Healthcare was. I knew there was a location near Northside Hospital and there was another location near Emory Hospital. Were those my only choices? A quick review of the hospital’s website told me that the closest location was Children’s Healthcare at Hughes Spalding near Grady Hospital. A check with Google maps told me I could be there in 30 minutes.

She and I jumped in the car and were there in 23 minutes. I may or may not have exceeded the speed limit.

Now, I have the address and phone number for the hospital in my cell phone. If necessary, I can quickly access it and be on my way. But it would have been really helpful if I’d gotten my information together BEFORE I needed it.

This month’s challenge is all about making plans. What would you do if your child were hurt? Who would you call? Do you know if your dentist has emergency hours?

Another consideration is talking to children about preparation. Talking about disasters can be scary to children and for people who may have difficulty coping with daily life. Be open and positive. The unknown causes more anxiety than knowing facts. Listen to your child, learn how they feel and what they may be afraid of. Sesame Street has great resources for helping get your kids on board.

One thing to remember: Your plan does NOT have to be perfect. ANY preparation is better than NO preparation. Do not allow fear of making a mistake, stop you from thinking through these situations.

Preparedness challenge: Make a Plan

Goal: Understand what puts you at risk from disasters and take steps to lower your risk.
Choose one thing to do this month to become better prepared:
  1. Learn what disasters can happen in your area and decide what you will do in a disaster.
  2. Plan to protect yourself and your family:  Decide on a room in your house that can be your “safe room”. This should be an interior room or closet away from windows and doors. An interior hallway can also work.  Meet with your family and discuss how to prepare and respond to emergencies. Give each person a job and make a plan to work together as a team. If a family member regularly travels for work, discuss how you would respond if they were away from home.  Also talk about lesser emergencies at home like falls, illness and burns. Know where the closest emergency room is. Teach the kids what 911 is for.
  3. Plan what to do if you have to evacuate: Choose two places for your family to meet. One should be right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, such as a fire. The other should be outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate.
  4. Download GEMA’s Ready Georgia mobile phone app for FREE