Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Our Experience Potty Training the Twins {3-day method}

Well....it's official.  For the first time in 4 1/2 years we will not be making runs to target to purchase diapers.  Our first experience potty training Brooke was a breeze - such a breeze that I didn't even remember the details.  We put big girl panties on her and she never looked back....I think it took her a day but she WANTED to use the big girl potty.  Lily and Lauren sort of had a fear of the potty when I tested it out previously.  I didn't feel a pressure to PT the girls, but after talking to several moms about their experience using the "3-day potty training" method, I knew we should try before they got any older.  It was a quick decision but I knew if I didn't commit to start this now, I would keep putting it off.  So Saturday (feb 16) Landon and I decided to start Sunday morning.  This required not being able to leave the house for 3 (or more) days, constant supervision and LOTS of panties.  If you decide to try this method, I would recommend starting on a day that your husband is home....and don't pick the same week you have a business meeting at your home, 260 cupcakes and two cakes to complete.  We lived through the experience through many tears (mostly on my part) and looking back I'm thankful that we pushed through those very long days.  

Here's what our three days looked like...

Sunday - We started off the morning explaining to Lily & Lauren that they will no longer wear diapers but would be wearing big girl panties.  All the diapers were going in the trash (more for us so we couldn't turn back).  They cried.  They loved their diapers.  We rolled up the rug in the living room and moved all the furniture out.  This is where we camped out for almost three days.  This is also where I cleaned up a lot of bodily fluids.  Thank goodness Landon was home.  He worked with them on the potty while I cleaned up the messes.  Just a funny picture for you....just imagine this scenario in your head.  Of course the twins do everything together.  So Lily would start to potty on the floor...we would pick her up and take her to the potty to finish. As Landon is taking her to the bathroom, Lauren is running behind him slipping and sliding all over the place.  In Pee.  This happened several times and is now funny to me...but was not funny at the time.  I started to feel crazy by the end of the day.  

Monday - First day alone.  Thankfully GiGi came to the rescue and took Brooke on Sunday and took her to school Tuesday morning.  Please if you try this, get help with the other kids you are not training.  All of your attention will be focused on the ones you are training.  There was not much improvement, and I was alone, frustrated and tired.  I called Landon that afternoon and told him I was going to quit and buy diapers.  They weren't getting it.  Thankfully I have a great support system - both Landon and my friend Melissa encouraged me to keep going....to be patient and they will get it.  Landon came home, I went to Target to aimlessly walk around and clear my head.  We put the girls to bed and I prayed Tuesday would be better.

Tuesday - The morning started out with dry pull-ups (I didn't take the plunge to have them wear panties at night)! We only had one accident that morning, and woke up from naps dry.  There was an accident that afternoon and that was the last time I cleaned up the floor.  From that point on, they came to me and told me they had to go potty. They woke up from naps/nighttime dry and went #2 in the potty. Epic. I had my serious doubts with this system, but it honestly worked!

Since last Tuesday we have had only one accident during nap time.   I was nervous that we wouldn't be able to leave the house for a while because of the public restroom situation, but it hasn't been a problem.  The girls tell me when they have to go and (cringe) use the public restrooms like champs.  I'm sure there will be a few accidents along the way but they are doing FABULOUS with this big girl stuff.

Here are a few tips from our experience:
  • Let them have the accidents.  They will learn to associate that urge to go, with the toilet when you take them as soon as they start to "go".  That's why you have to be constantly watching them...so you can catch it! 
  • Don't ask them if they have to go potty.  Just remind them to keep their panties dry, and to let you know if they need to go potty.  Be prepared to say that phrase 274 times a day.
  • Buy lots of panties, and don't use big sisters.  She will not like to share her panties.
  • Find a reward that your kids love.  For #1 we used m&m's.  For #2/waking up dry we used disney princess tattoos.  The girls really loved it.
  • Keep the disinfectant spray and paper towels close by.
  • Be patient - they can tell when you are frustrated.  Try to stay positive and encouraging.  
  • Ask for help with your non potty training kids (at least during the day).  Trust me on that one.
  • Have a lot of activities/snacks/drinks on hand to get you through the day.  You want them to have a lot of opportunities to "potty" so they can catch on quicker. 
  • Remember that it's okay if you don't clean/cook/shower/wear makeup/fix your hair for three days.  It's only three days.  No one will see you, unless you go to Target for a break...then  it is inevitable that you will see someone you know.
  • Also remember that although you will be saving $$$, you will also have to visit every public restroom for the next couple years.  Invest in lots of hand sanitizer.
If any of you want to try this method, but need encouragement please don't hesitate to email or call me. I would love to help you along the way!  

Monday, February 25, 2013

Terri {the loss of a precious child}

I'm so blessed to have my sweet friend Terri posting here this morning.  She has been my mentor, friend and an amazing example of a mother and grandmother.  In her post you will get a glimpse of her amazing testimony as a mother who has lost a precious child. 

Just over 5 years ago, and 5 weeks before his 16th birthday, my son Mitchell got to do something that I hope everyone reading this blog is looking forward to—he got to see his Savior face to face!  On December 28th, 2007 Mitch was skiing when he ran into a tree and was instantly with the Lord. 

God in His great wisdom, love and grace carried me (and continues to carry me) through the worst, most difficult thing a mother can ever go through.  I have much I could share with you about how gracious the Lord has been to me and my family both before and after Mitch’s accident. (I don’t like to call it an accident—I know it was no accident, it was part of God’s sovereign plan for Mitch!)  However, space is limited in this type of forum. 

I’d like to share with you four principles* to remember when trouble comes in your own life.  It is one thing read a testimony of the Lord’s graciousness to my family, but my prayer for you is that you would know what to do when troubles or trials come in your own life.

When trouble comes (and it will come, God’s Word promises us we’ll encounter it), there is a built-in danger AND accompanying opportunity to watch God work and show His greatness to others. 

The danger is always the flesh  -- when we react wrongly to trials, it makes our problems worse.  When we are living in the flesh, we are handling life the way we want to handle it, instead of handling life the way God wants it handled.  Self-centeredness results in anger, bitterness, despair, hopelessness, fear, and anxiety.  We may have done nothing to cause the trial, but we are responsible for our reactions to it.  We can respond selfishly, thinking only of how this trial has affected us, our life, our plans, or we can respond like Christ and be concerned about the spiritual needs of other people. 

God who saves us from our biggest crisis—the loss of our soul—eternal separation from Him--can save us from any lesser crisis, trouble or trial.  Once you are a child of God, your greatest crisis is over.  You may lose the whole world, but you will not lose your soul.  
The gospel, God’s Word, is always the answer   -- Increasing intimacy with Christ is the only lasting and satisfying answer to life’s problems.  Any comfort, strategy, etc. must point us to Christ.  Just like when we became saved, when we came to Christ, we have to turn in humble dependence to our Lord Jesus Christ for our strength—we have to trust God’s provision for our comfort and solace. 

Crises are designed by God to help put the components of our life back in their proper perspective-they help us define what is truly important.  They bring us face to face with God.  There is no reality more significant than the facts that God exists, that He made us, and that He made us for a very specific purpose.  

God’s glory is always the goal -- Paul said “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (I Corinthians 10:31)   If glorifying God is the purpose of our lives, it will determine which roads-which right decisions—will bring us to that destination.  Our responses during times of great pressure and suffering will reveal whether we truly believe that God is the most important reality or whether we think we are the most significant factor in life.  Our goal must be to use every circumstance to show in some way that God is first.  The result will be a lasting joy and peace no matter how difficult the circumstances.  We must put God and His glory first, but it’s hard to put Him above my desires if I don’t know Him well!

The answer for the fears we experience in times of crisis is an increased awareness of the nature of our God.  Do you have a hard time trusting God?  It could be we refuse to trust Him because trusting means giving up control of our lives in some area.  Another reason we have a hard time trusting God is that we don’t know Him well.   In every circumstance of life, we have a trust decision to make.  Will we believe who God is and what God has said about our situation, or will we believe what our own heart tells us about our situation—influenced by our natural sinful bent?

God is always enough  -- When there are things you don’t know about your life’s situation, you must focus on what you do know about God.  How can we find rest—how can our heart find rest—in times of trouble?  We must increase our knowledge of God Himself—the one who is controlling all the factors of our life in His sovereignty.  We may not be able to see exactly what He is doing or how He will make something turn out, but if we know Him well, our heart can rest.  A crisis reveals what we are made of spiritually.  If we have a high biblical view of God gained through the consistent study of His Word, faithful preaching of the Bible, personal meditation on the Word of God and encouragement and fellowship with God’s people, we will run to our Strong Tower, and our hearts will rest because God Himself is always enough!

God has been gracious and merciful to us since Mitch’s accident by immediately bringing to mind that He makes no mistakes, that He loves Mitchell more than we do, that He wasn’t surprised by this, that this was His plan from the beginning.  We still grieve—but His love and care for us goes so much deeper.  Not a day goes by that we don’t think of Mitch, sometimes with joy, sometimes with tears, but God truly is enough as we choose (with His help) to keep our eyes on Him!  Dear readers, always seek to know the Lord more intimately, become confident that HE IS ENOUGH!

"That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.  For our present troubles are quite small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever!  So we don't look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever." - 2 Corinthians 4:16 – 18

If I can be a help, an encouragement, or even a prayer support for you during a time of trial, don’t hesitate to contact me!  terrijo@maltsberger.com

*(Months before Mitch’s death the Lord brought a small book “When Trouble Comes” by Jim Berg across my path, and these principles are from that book.) 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

snow day!

We had a "surprise" snow day today!  I say surprise, because here in Oklahoma you can't always rely on the weather forecast.  Also because just a few days ago I was wearing flip-flops.  

Lily & Lauren stayed on the porch but still had a good time!  We couldn't find any gloves so they sported daddy's socks on their hands.  


Brooke had a blast - the only thing she wanted to do was to make a snowman, so we did just that!  It was just a mini snowman, (since I couldn't find gloves anywhere either) but she LOVED it!  Mission accomplished.  Hope you all enjoyed the snow as much as we did!  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tissue Pom-Pom Tutorial

These sweet little tissue poms are my favorite "go-to" decoration for any party!  They just make any room fun and festive!   I always get a lot of questions about how I make mine so I thought I would do a quick tutorial! 

Here's what you will need! Each large tissue pom will require one pack of tissue paper.  You can cut the paper down the middle to make 2 smaller poms for a variety of sizes. {Target has some really cute papers out right now} If you buy tissue paper and it is in the shape of a square, just make sure to cut one edge down so it is in the shape of a rectangle.  8-10 sheets of tissue paper will make the perfect "fluffy" pom-pom.  You will also need floral wire, pipe cleaners or twine to tie the middle.  Lastly you will need a pair of scissors!

*if you are hanging these from the ceiling clear jewelry line, fishing wire or even string or twine will be perfect!

Let's get started!!!

Step 1. Unfold your package of tissue paper and keep the papers neatly stacked.  

Step 2.  Make 1 - 1 1/2 inch accordion folds,  going up the rectangle until all your papers are folded.  

Step 3.  Place the wire around the middle of the folded paper and twist.  I usually make a little loop to make tying the poms easier if I am hanging them from the ceiling.  

Step 4.  Trim the edges into rounded {or pointy} edges.

Step 5.  Fan the papers out to the middle.  From here you will pull each layer of tissue paper away from the center one at a time.  Try to be careful so the papers don't rip!  Fluff the papers together and enjoy your festive pom-pom!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sarah {storytelling as a missionary mom}

I am so honored to begin this series with one of my dearest friends Sarah.  Sarah and I have been friends for almost ten years.  We served at Northland Camp together, she held my hand through a very difficult time in my life, stood right by my side as I said "I do",  and she loves my children like they are family.  She's an amazing wife, mother and friend.  Here's her story...

My name is Sarah and I am the proud mom to Amelia, almost 4 years, and Simeon, 9 months. My family has lived in Italy for the past 3 years working with a Fiilipino church where my husband pastors and leads Bible studies. I also work with the ladies in the church, mentoring and teaching book and Bible studies. 

It’s hard to know where to begin in talking about the things God has taught me these past 3 years. Living in Italy has some awesome aspects. I love the food, the clothes, the laid back lifestyle. The gelato. But in some ways these years have been the most spiritually dry I’ve ever experienced. God has used the trials of leaving family and friends, learning a new culture and language, and a myriad of other changes, to expose all the ugliness that had been lying dormant for so long. But the beauty in it all is that it has shown me HOW MUCH I need God’s grace to make it through everyday. And that He is using these things to make me more like Him (even though I don’t always like His methods).

In the realm of mothering the biggest thing I have learned is that I need to give my kids to God completely and trust that He knows what they need better than I do. I know every mother struggles with fear and worry over her children. Moving to another country magnified that by about a thousand for me. I could share a ton of examples of times where I was fearful but I’ll narrow it down to 1 per child. 

We decided about a year ago that the best way for Amelia to learn the Italian language was to enroll her in preschool. I have struggled with so many feelings of guilt over this decision...what kind of mother would send her 3 year old to a school where she doesn’t understand the language and doesn’t know anyone? And why would I send her anyway when she’s so little and I’m at home all day? Will she be scarred for life? I’ll never forget fighting back tears during the first “parent/teacher conference” when her teacher told us that Amelia acted sad sometimes and played by herself a lot. But the past few months have proven that this was the best decision we could have made for Amelia. She loves going to school and has made several little friends (most of them are foreigners...I guess they like to stick together). She is learning the language and has a much needed outlet for all that energy. When I started contemplating those feelings of “guilt” I came to the conclusion that it was way more about my comfort and my need to be in control than it was about her well-being. Because deep down I knew my social little girl needed that outlet. And the longer we put off teaching her the language the longer she was going to go without friends and learning how to interact with others. It’s been hard to learn that life is not about me. 

Another huge challenge for us was dealing with pregnancy and birth in a new country. The amount of time and energy it took to schedule appointments, blood tests, and ultrasounds was huge. I was sure this new baby would come out being super uptight and needy since I was so stressed during the whole pregnancy. With my oldest I had a c-section but I wanted to try a VBAC with the second. The doctors here encouraged that decision until it became clear that Simeon was a big baby. They went ahead a scheduled a c-section the day after my due date. I was absolutely freaked out about having surgery in a foreign country. Not to mention the fact that I would have to stay in the hospital for 5 nights and share a room with other patients (my husband could not stay with me). The night before the scheduled surgery I laid in bed and sobbed about what was to come. Little did I know that about 4 hours later I would go into labor on my own and 4 hours after that I would be holding my little boy who came out the natural way! Not only did I only have to stay in the hospital 2 nights but my husband was able to be there with me in a private room for the first night. Why had I doubted that God would take care of me? The truth was even if I had had the surgery and stayed in the hospital for a long time God would have taken care of me then too, but He chose to bless me in a way I couldn’t imagine. 

Do I still struggle with fear and worry? Every day. Do I still wonder if my kids are going to be normal after living such a strange life? Yep. And I wonder every day how God can use such a broken person like myself. But He loves me. And He loves my kids way more than I do. And it’s all about Him.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."  Joshua 1:9

Monday, February 11, 2013

"mom" series

Starting next Monday I will be featuring some of my favorite women {and moms!}, who will be telling their story on my blog!  I'm excited to hear how God is working in their lives, and hope these guest posts will be an encouragement to you! Stay tuned...mondays are going to be great, don't you agree???

*if you are interested in telling your story, please contact me.  I would LOVE for you to be my guest for the day!  

Monday, February 4, 2013

january {in an instagram}

Wow - where did January go?!?  For us, the breathing treatments and sleepless nights left us in a haze.  January was a pretty rough month physically on our family, but we had some pretty sweet times regardless.  We spent a LOT of time at home, worked on projects, painted, crafted and took road trips to get coffee.  I'm so thankful Lily and Lauren are past the RSV, lung infection and MAJOR ear infections. I'm also thankful that they are pretty tough cookies.  They took those three (long) weeks like champs.  God is good in every situation. It really made me more aware of praying for my friends that have very SICK children - children with heart defects, chronic lung problems, cancer, pnemonia, etc - and it made our trial look so small.  I'm thankful for his love and strength during that time, and for the many prayers of our family and friends!

Here's a few pictures from my instagram account of our month!  I was inspired by my friend Marybeth to create a picture collage in black and white.  I always love looking at her weekend updates in black and white collage form.   She has a great tutorial here.  

We said goodbye (yes I cried) to the cribs.  The twins took over the bunk bed in Brooke's room, and we did a makeover on Brooke's "new" room.  We sold the newer crib, dresser, quilt, crib mattresses, and purchased a beautiful headboard and french provincial dresser for her room.  We ended up paying nothing out of pocket to re-do her room (yippee!) thanks to craigslist steals and clearance buys. We did save Brooke/Lauren's crib to repurpose.  I hope to make a bench with the crib, and we made a picture/bow/artwork holder with the crib springs.  

I really would love to start a new "series".  I get a lot of emails from you when I write about what God is teaching in my life.  Although it is hard, I like to be transparent, hoping that something I have learned from God's word is an encouragent to someone else.  I would like to feature one mom every Monday - someone who is willing to share what God is teaching her as a parent or as a wife.  I would love to write more, but just don't have the time to commit.  I think it would be great to hear from other women in all walks of life (expecting, new mom, mom to teenagers, grandmas) who are willing to share what God is doing in their lives.  If you are interested in sharing, please email me!