Life Lately: Summer 2016

I have seriously sucked at blogging this summer! I think my last big post was when Gerrit turned 18 months old… and that was back in May. Wow. So here’s my attempt to catch people up on what has been going on this summer before I go into more detail on things (if I have time).

Summer in North Carolina is hot and humid. I knew we would be outside a lot more this summer compared to last summer, since Gerrit isn’t a baby this summer. He is a very busy toddler who loves to be outdoors! We spent lots of time in the backyard checking out Andrew’s garden, playing in the dirt/mud/water, playing on the slide, drawing with chalk on the patio, and checking out any bugs we came across. Our patio is pretty well shaded in the afternoon, so most outside time happened after Gerrit’s afternoon nap and before dinner.

Look at the garden grow!

Look at the garden grow!

This particular patch of dirt became "The Mud Hole"

This particular patch of dirt became “The Mud Hole”

An afternoon at the splash pad on base

An afternoon at the splash pad on base

We had lots of fun with our little pool

We had lots of fun with our little pool

So much mud...

So much mud…

The day after the 4th of July, Andrew left for Officer Training School in Montgomery, AL. My mom spent the first couple of weeks of his training with us to ease the transition, but it was hard when she left. July was a pretty quiet month for us as we got used to life without Dada for awhile.

In August, I decided to take on driving from North Carolina up to Michigan for the annual family reunion on my dad’s side of the family. This was a big deal for me because 1) I had never done a road trip with just Gerrit & me before, and 2) Gerrit is usually not a very happy traveler. And I wasn’t sleeping well at night (ahem, Gerrit), so I was worried about actually making it to our destination without falling asleep at the wheel! Needless to say, we survived: North Carolina to Ohio, Ohio to Michigan, Michigan to Wisconsin, Wisconsin to Ohio, and Ohio back to North Carolina. Nice little tour of the Midwest… which I will blog more about soon!

Stopped in traffic in Chicago

Stopped in traffic in Chicago

We got back from our Tour de Midwest, had a week at home, then repacked and headed for Alabama for Andrew’s graduation from OTS! Thankfully, my mom came with for this trip. And it was a much shorter drive (one day instead of two). We loved seeing Andrew/Dada as well as Andrew’s parents, had a great time celebrating Andrew becoming an officer, and saw some friends as well! Again, a more detailed post on all of this to come.

Touring Maxwell AFB

Touring Maxwell AFB

Now here we are, mid-September, and we are preparing to move! I’m hoping I will have downtime here and there to get back into blogging, since this is a pretty exciting time for our family. Stay tuned for posts about our summer travels, our move, and our new home in TEXAS!❤


Potty Training: Phase One

So… here’s another old post that got forgotten over the summer. I REALLY want to get better about blogging again, and I wanted to get these drafts published first. Bear with me, friends!

Who hates potty-training? I do! I guess a downside to working with kids prior to actually having kids means you know some of the hard parts before you get to them with your own offspring. Potty-training is one of them for me.

My first experience with potty-training was with a few of the kids with autism that I worked with through WEAP. We approached it step-by-step, with getting used to sitting on the potty first and eventually leading up to a “potty day” where we basically worked hardcore on getting successes on the toilet for a whole day. It took a lot of patience and hard work! Next I worked on potty-training with a few kids when I worked at the Child Development Center in England. These kids were under 2, and I think some were more ready than others. It definitely seemed like girls were more ready than boys in most cases. And that was another reason I was nervous to start potty-training my little guy.

But I decided to jump in and start anyway! Around 18 months, I introduced a potty book and a little Elmo potty in the playroom. Gerrit liked the book, and we practiced having his stuffed animals sit on the potty during the day if he showed interest in the Elmo potty. I didn’t want to use the Elmo potty for actual potty-training because I didn’t want to transition between that and the actual toilet. So despite him being pretty little yet, I bought this potty seat and stool for the bathroom.20160614_170614

(Okay, how do I seriously have no pictures of this kid on the potty?! I’ll try to add one later, sorry, guys! Here’s a cute one in just a diaper though, haha ^)

A little before Gerrit turned 20 months, I started having him sit on the potty seat on the toilet before bath time. He was definitely apprehensive about it, and he would only sit for a second or two to start. I made sure to praise him just for sitting on it though. If he said he didn’t want to sit on the potty, I never forced it. Eventually we had an accidental tinkle on the potty! And then Phase One of potty-training was pretty much complete!

Once Gerrit realized what the goal was, he started going pee on the potty pretty regularly. I try to sit him on the toilet at every diaper change, and he almost always pushes a little something out, haha! He loves getting praised for a potty success! Sometimes he wants to read one of his bath books while he’s on the potty, and reading a book on the toilet was actually how we got that first success from him. I’m so proud of him for doing as well as he is right now!

So what’s next? I really would like him to have a poop success on the potty, but I’m not rushing that! And I also want him to start telling me when he has to go. He told Andrew once “pee pee” and proceeded to have a success on the potty (yay!), but that hasn’t happened since. I’m not rushing any of this, since Gerrit is still really young, and I want him to have a positive experience with this. I have heard too many stories about kids being pushed to potty-train earlier than they were ready and shutting down and refusing to potty-train because of it. So I’m hoping that easing Gerrit into all of this is the way to go. Wish us luck!🙂

The 18 Month Sleep Regression

Yep, it’s that time again. Sleep regression hell!! We have gone through every single possible regression that people talk about, but the worst ones were 4 months, 10/11 months, 15 months, and this 18 month one. One reason why I think they are so awful, is because after the previous regression, your body started to get used to sleeping again. So when that goes out the window, it’s particularly cruel punishment.

Gerrit’s 18 month sleep regression kicked in right around 18-1/2 months. We were starting to have some better nights of sleep: 3 hour stretches were becoming normal, with 4 or 5 hour stretches mixed in. Definitely not ideal, but better than things had been! Around mid-May, things started going downhill: frequent night wakings, difficulty settling back to sleep, late nights & early mornings. It’s always tough when these regressions happen, because I feel like, Haven’t we moved past this? I thought you knew how to sleep better! But since we have been through so many sleep regressions, I knew this one was coming.

So how to deal? Well, I never thought Andrew being on swings shift would be a positive thing, but it has been a godsend to me! Yeah, it’s rough getting through dinner and bedtime on my own sometimes, but one thing I can count on is Andrew getting up with Gerrit every morning.


A morning where I was sleeping and G & Dada did breakfast

The sleep regression means that I bring Gerrit to bed more often around 4 or 5 in the morning. If he makes it in his crib until 6 or so in the morning, Andrew will get him up and bring him to me to nurse in bed. Andrew dozes off for a bit longer while I nurse, but once Gerrit is done, he takes him out to the living room and deals with breakfast and playtime with Gerrit until 9 or 10 in the morning. Those extra couple of hours of sleep are heavenly. And they really help get me some extra rest to get through the day without sleeping while Gerrit naps every day.

The crappy thing about major sleep regressions is that they don’t only attack night sleep. The 18 month sleep regression brought difficult naps too. Some days Gerrit would fight his nap for almost an hour. Other days he’d wake up after only 45 minutes or an hour, and I’d have to try to get him back to sleep (sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t). When your kid has a rough night (which means you had a rough night) and then they don’t nap well either? SO IRRITATING!


So tired from waking up way too early that he is laying on the floor

So here we are at about 7 weeks into this mess. We are starting to have better nights, but then we have a really crappy night again.

I wrote everything above this in mid-June. It’s now mid-September, and I saw that this wasn’t published haha. Oops. It’s been a crazy summer, so I’m cutting myself some slack for that. Anyway, we survived the 18 month sleep regression, with all of its ups and downs. I’m not even sure when it improved, since Gerrit’s sleep is never great. We have been traveling for a good chunk of the last month or so, so that never helps things. More on that in a post soon. I hope!