The beginning of the rest of our lives.

This weekend really was one to remember. So much has happened! So I will jump right in to it and I’ll start from the beginning like always.
This was a Bryce weekend! Something fun ALWAYS happens when we have our little man home. Friday he came home a little late but we still managed to make it to dinner with Nana and Kristen. Bryce was happy to finally be home, he holds onto his dad so tight when he sees him! That night we gave Bryce a much needed haircut, his hair was super long which can sometimes be a problem considering he sweats A LOT for a toddler. Friday came and went quick, and Saturday morning I had to go to work like usual. Brandon had school for a couple of hours so my mom (Bryce’s Mimi) came to watch him. Oh man does Bryce love his Mimi haha. All he does is talk about Mimi when we get home, and anytime I get a phone call he immediately asks if it’s Mimi and if he can talk to her! It’s super cute. When I got home from work Dad was already home and taking a nap with Bryce. We planned to take Bryce to the park to ride his bike, he always has a blast! However it started getting chilly so we left a little early to go to the store. Bryce gets a kick out of the little kid carts and loves being a little helper with the groceries.

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As I prepared dinner that night we all sat down at the table. I looked at Bryce across from me and suggest we say “Thanks”. I told him to put his hands together, close his eyes and bow his head – he did, and I told him “Say ‘thank you Lord for our food.'” In a hushed tone Bryce whispered “Thank you momma, eats.” Haha, well at least he appreciates my hard work! However we think it’s time that Bryce start learning the importance of God and how he blesses each and every one of us. So we will continue to work on prayer with little one. That night we watched The Little Mermaid, one of Bryce’s favorites. Usually he hates my dance moves and always tells me to stop but that night he asked me to dance with him as ‘Under the Sea started playing. Dad watched us from the couch and laughed at our very crazy dance moves and turns. After the movie Bryce asked us to be read to, and after a few books of his choice we crawled in bed and all snuggled up together.

The Proposal
Sunday we woke up early, I made the boys breakfast, pancakes, waffles, eggs, grapes, milk and orange juice. We attempted prayer again and got the same response, “Thank you momma, eats!” Haha. We got dressed in our nice clothes, something we always do Sundays and went to the mall for a little bit. After coming home and eating lunch Brandon started being all weird. He told me we were gonna go driving around in the car, but had to blindfold me. Alright- Brandon’s not the greatest with secrets or surprises so I kinda had an idea of what’s happening. But I was totally fine with doing whatever he asked! We drove for forever it felt like, he stopped the car and got out telling me to stay put. I asked Bryce “Where are we Bryce??” He got flustered and said “ugh I dunno mom!” and eventually Brandon took Bryce out with him.
Moments later Brandon came to my door a with me still blindfolded told me to walk with him. What was weird was we were outside and I could hear was the sound of bagpipes! What on earth was I stepping into!? Brandon and I walked for forever and I kept stubbing my toes on bricks but eventually made it to whatever destination we were at. He took off my blindfold, there was Bryce, holding a box, an Brandon with a huge smile on his face. “Suzanne, will you be my wife?” My eyes starting tearing up, but I didn’t let then fall because TR, Brandon’s friend was right next to us snapping photos. Of course I said yes! Bryce took the ring from the box with Brandon’s help and put it upside down on my middle finger, Brandon had to help him out a little to correct it, but it was perfect. I get to marry my best friend and I get to be an official step mom to Bryce.
I’m so extremely happy! Brandon and I of course were planning on getting married which a lot I people know, but to have it officially official puts things in perspective. It’s totally happening! My Pinterest board isn’t just a dream, it’s reality. Planning begins now. Eeek!!!

Back to reality- since it’s Sunday we had to prepared to take Bryce back to Seminole. We packed up and headed that way around 4. When we pulled up to Nanas house around 5:30 she walked out shocked. Apparently Memaw (Bryce’s other grandma) was going to pick Bryce up in Lubbock from our house so we didn’t need to make a trip to Seminole. However Bryce’s mom didn’t inform Bryce’s father of any change in the court ordered drop offs. The papers say we are to take him home to her place of residence at 6pm sharp. Which we were doing.. —- I won’t go into any more detail because lord knows my blog is being VERY CLOSELY MONITORED… But
Talk. About. Stressful.
He got home at his regular time that’s all that is important. But funny how a little bit of communication could have saved everybody a bit of trouble. It makes me realize just how important communication is in a situation like ours. We have an open line of communication, however it is very rarely used, we (mainly Brandon) always are more than willing to talk and have a healthy relationship with other members of Bryce’s family. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a good relationship with the other parent for the well being of the child. Even though that might not be our reality I know my Brandon does the best he can and that is all that matters.

Thank god we get him back this weekend.

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Spring Break with Bryce.

Spring break came extremely fast this year, and as my previous blog I posted you can see it was quite successful. We successfully potty trained Brandon’s son Bryce! Boy, we all proud of his accomplishment!
This week I decided to take Bryce to Wednesday Night church in Abernathy with my parents. When we got there he was very happy to be around other kids, he even had a little girl Addie who followed him everywhere because she wanted to take care of him! Bryce was very independent, he didn’t want me to be with him while he hung out with all of his new friends. Can I just say how worried I was? Yes I know that he is safe in the church and there are so many people watching them… But I’m so new to all of this! I wanted to be with him every step of the way to make sure he was ok and had enough juice and didn’t have to potty. Brandon and I are always with Bryce. So to have him tell me “No, momma” and go run down the hall to the kids was bitter sweet. He is growing up so fast! Even while we ate dinner at the church he took his plate and took it to the kids table and left me with all the other parents.
It was nice seeing him play and have so much fun. When we got dismissed to attend classes I walked him the his class and asked him if he was going to be okay. He assured me with his sassy attitude “sigh… Yeah momma..” And I left to attend the adult class. However not even 10 minutes later the teacher of the class pulled me out to tell me Bryce was calling for me. Happily I joined the class in their activities, yeah, Bryce is independent, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want his step momma every once in a while! 🙂 victory for me!

For the weekend we did have to move some stuff around, at the beginning of the year we had checked the school website that have a rough draft estimate of the spring break vacation in March. We took that and planned a big trip to San Antonio to see my family and take Bryce to Sea World as a surprise. However the school district apparently changed the date of spring break shortly after we checked and we ended up having to cut the trip short, but we still planned on going until Brandon’s work decided to make him work one one of the days we were suppose to be traveling home. So sadly we had to cancel the trip. Which in reality was a blessing in disguise!
The last Saturday of our time with Bryce we decided to take him to the zoo I’m amarillo about an hour and a half away. Bryce was excited for our day trip to another town! When we arrived at the zoo Bryce could hardly contain his excitement, the monkeys, lions, longhorn, tigers, and many other animals had him in smiles the entire time. After a few hours at the zoo we decided to check out the mall there and went to dinner.
During dinner I had taken Bryce to the bathroom to pee and was so happy when he did! He had finally had used the potty in public! Dad and I can’t express how proud we are.

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How to potty train your toddler in 1 day.

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Wow has this been a journey for Brandon, Bryce and I. Today I’m writing about how Brandon and I successfully potty trained our toddler in one day, while giving you tips that will hopefully help you out when you decide it’s time to potty train your little ones!
Let me start off by saying, THIS IS NOT MY ORIGINAL IDEA! Like most clueless moms/stepmoms, I found the help of other ladies from good ol Pinterest. I must have read 100+ articles on “How to potty train your toddler in a week!” “How to potty train in three days!” “ONE DAY POTTY TRAINING” you name it. What I’m going to share with you is the way Brandon as I decided to do it, and how it WORKED!
Every child is different, and as I’m sure you’ve heard – “Boys are so much harder to potty train.” Which in our scenario was not the case. HOWEVER, I’ve been told by many moms that it is true.
First thing first, your child must be ready themselves. You can’t just decide one day “I’m sick of changing diapers. You’re getting potty trained now!” Your toddler should be showing some interest in the potty, they should be uncomfortable in a wet/dirty diaper. Once they begin to understand when it’s time to ‘go’ is when you should begin your research.
Bryce has been ready, he sees his dad go to the potty and says “Dad, pee!” And puts his hands over himself. He usually just went right then and peed his diaper. So we decided now that we have him the entire spring break that potty training was our main goal! So now, here we go….

HOW TO POTTY TRAIN YOUR TODDLER IN 1 DAY

What you will need:

•A entire day free of any activities. (YOU MUST DEVOTE THIS ENTIRE DAY TO THE CHILD!)
•Underwear, lots of it.
•Pull -Ups for emergency.
•Books to read while on the toilet. Ex. A Potty For Me
•Juice and other fluids.
•Fruit to snack on. Ex. Watermelon, apples, grapes, oranges, pineapples.
•Child’s favorite stuffed animal or action figure.
•Blankets & towels.
• Toy box filled with all toys. (No video games or iPad or iPhone.)
•Toilet donut OR small toddler toilet.
• Potty chart with stickers.
• Treat jar (Optional if you do the sticker chart. Whatever motivates your child more!)
• PATIENCE, AND PLENTY OF IT!
•a positive attitude!

We started early that morning. Brandon was home the first shift while I was at work. We chose to start cold turkey. Meaning we tossed ALL diapers out and put him in underwear. Brandon explained to Bryce that when he had to pee or poop to let us know and we could take him to the potty. This is where their favorite stuffed animal/action figure comes in. This gives the child a visual on how to use their new potty.
“Uhh ohh- Iron Man has to pee! Iron man is a big boy and he uses the big boy potty!” Now you place Iron Man (or whatever) on the donut and allow the child to see. This will motivate them in some cases, Bryce saw his favorite hero using the potty which made him want to use his more.
What we found best was to take Bryce to the potty every 15-20 minutes. Yeah, you read that right. EVERY 15-20 minutes. We constantly asked him despite what he was doing “Do you have to potty?” Even if the answer is no, when that 15-20 minutes is up you need to take them to the potty. Sit the child down and have them sit for at least 10 minutes. During this period of time you should be reading to them. Always listen. If you hear even a slight trickle of pee you should always congratulate them. We chose at first the treat jar, small pieces of candy, but soon found out the potty chart & stickers was more rewarding for him. This motivated our toddler to want to go to the potty constantly. We encouraged and hugged and high fived every time he peed. Never down play a potty experience. If it’s a long pee, short pee, tiny trickle, small deer pellet poop, or a massive nuclear poop (haha sorry for the detail) you should ALWAYS celebrate and congratulate it. Let the child know how proud you are of them!
When not on the toilet, we gave Bryce nothing but fluids and fruits. This was to help him realize the sensation of having to ‘go’. We played with toys and always watched for signs that he have to pee and poop. Example: him hiding, him crossing legs, him touching his privates or butt. We did not allow any video games or iPad access to games. This distracts the toddler way to much from the goal. We did however allow movies. But paused every 15-20 minutes for bathroom breaks.
Accidents WILL happen! When they do, NEVER scorn them. This is why we had many towels on the ground where he sat. Help them change from the dirty underwear to a clean pair, an explain to them that it is OK! Everybody has accidents and it is alright. Still always encourage them to go to the potty.
I do not encourage Pull-Ups at all. The only reason we have pull-ups in the house is for emergencies. Such as emergency runs to the store for more juice. But always explain that If they need to potty to let you know. And the moment you get home you put them back in underwear. Also, we put our little one in a pull up at night but always explained that if he had to go that he needed to tell us. He has yet to pee in a pull up.
With this method you HAVE to be on top of your game, don’t leave them alone, always be doing hands on activities with them- reading, playing with toys. Don’t do your dishes, don’t cook a huge lunch or dinner, don’t leave your child in a room alone. I mean it when I say you must dedicate this entire day to your child. At times it will get frustrating, you will want to crawl in bed as throw your hands up In defeat and slap a diaper back on the kid. Don’t! You’re child WILL get it! After all you’ve never seen a kid go to college in a diaper right? It takes patience and a good attitude and lots of encouragement. As well as a village, everybody must be willing to go on with potty training, that includes both mom and dad, any step parents, grandmas and grandpas, babysitters, brothers and sister. Everybody! & you must always be consistent.

I hope that my small tips help you out in your journey of potty training and if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below. I wrote this in a hurry so it may be sloppy! 🙂

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The most beautiful shade of blue -part 2

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As many of you know already about my grandpas passing February 22, I have finally gathered up the courage to write out my experiences with this event. On the day he passed my parents were already in Missouri with him, my mom had called me while I was getting ready for work. I answered the call expecting good news, even though I new the situation was not a good one- I expected god to preform another miracle like he did three years ago when we all prepared for my grandpa to pass.. However this was not the case. My mom with emotion in her voice informed me grandpa had passed that morning. Tears of course filled my eyes and I asked to talk to dad. My dad got on the phone and he asked me if I was okay. Me? ME? I thought right then as there, why am I the one looking for comfort when it is my mom and dad that need the most? I sucked up my tears best I could and told him I was ok. How was he doing?
I’m sure everyone can say that seeing or hearing your dad cry if probably one of the most awful heart wrenching things possible, and it was. He doesn’t talk long, we hang up the phone and I finish getting ready for work. Brandon who was asleep for most of the time woke up and asked what was wrong, we laid down for a while until I had to leave. That day was hard, but I didn’t cry much. Once at work, when a lady who’s last name was “Norman” showed me her ID and I went to the back and cried- a once at Runway when a lady offered me 10$ off instead of 5$ off my purchase. Funny how small things can make you burst into tears huh? She must have felt AWKWARDDDD.
I didn’t cry after that.
That Thursday the 27th I got the weekend off of work an made the trip to Missouri with my mom and dad. Thomas and Megan would come the following day. It was a normal trip it felt like! We were sharing stories, watching movies, laughing normally. It didn’t feel different at all. We made it to the hotel in Mountian View late and I joined my cousins in the room and fell asleep.
Morning came fast, so I got up early and did my hair and makeup. I saw my sister and the kids, Uncle Bruce who with the help of my dad flipped poor Amanda over in the bed like a sushi roll haha. It was nice to have the family back together even though it had to be for this reason. I never get to see my uncle Bruce and my cousins because they live so far away in Oregon. So it’s always fun when we get together.
After we all got ready we made our way to my grandmas, she was at the doctor because of a red spot on her leg and wasn’t there when I got there. But a few minutes passed and she was there walking in the door. I went right up to her and greeted her, she immediately went into tears as she hugged me, no words were said, we just stood there.
The day went on, and before the viewing at 5, the family decided to do something fun! So we all went to these old old old thrift stores, so many random things in one place it was overwhelming but fun!

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It was a great time being with family.

5 came around and we all loaded up to go pay our respects. First grandma and the kids. Then us grand kids. I won’t write much about this because it gets way too hard but I’ll do my best.
I sat there in the waiting area as my dad and everybody walked into the viewing room, my sister was frantic, telling me she couldn’t go in. As much as I wanted to be there for her, I couldn’t help but block out her and everybody else around me. Now, I’ve never dealt with death much before, only have I gone to one viewing in my life when I was young. So I wasn’t sure what to expect… After uncle Jeff came out an said we could come in, nobody moved. I was one of the first to go in.
The first thing that hit me was the arrangements of flowers and plants, as I reached up further down the aisle my dad came to my side and we walked down together. I’ll skip the details. But I’ll say there were many tears. He looked great. Just the way I want to remember him, beautiful.
The slide show started, photos of grandpa filled each photo, one of the last ones was the photo of grandpa and me in my church, he was wearing overalls to keep him from getting wet in the water as he got ready to baptize me. What an honor. What a great honor was it to be brought into Christ by him. Anybody who knew my grandpa knew what a godly man he was. Grandma came to me and hugged me, she said “Grandpa talked about you and all the things you did for him, just know it meant a great deal to him.” The first time my grandpa was sick in 2011 we came and I took care of him, fed him ice chips, sat with him, rubbed his feet, watched the any Griffith show, and much more. To know that he really appreciated that makes me happy.
After hours of people coming in and out of the room we went home and relaxed. Saturday was the funeral and that was even more difficult then the day before. Like I said, I won’t go into much detail.
The service was great, hearing stories about grandpa was nice, but when it came time to close his casket is honestly when I lost it. The director took off his wedding ring and glasses and gave it to my grandma. Something about this seemed so final. My chest hurt and I cried. I cried and cried and cried. I took in my last look, touched his hand for the last time, and had to leave to the bathroom. We were directed to the grave site where my grandpa was honor for his time in the air force. And after that we left to the church and ate with family an friends. It was time to celebrate. Celebrate his life, he wouldn’t want us to continue to mourn. He was right where he always wanted to be, next to God and Jesus Christ himself.

I will always remember my grandpa as the great man he was, the man who loved fishing, golfing, an God. I’ll remember the little things, the theme song of the Any Griffith Show we watched, the beautiful shade of blue in his eyes when he looked at me, the dust bowl movie we all watched during my last visit, his voice when he sang songs of praise, his laugh and the way he squinted his eyes when he did. And I won’t forget the last words he spoke to me, even though they weren’t the ones I really wanted to hear, I heard the message he really meant.

Thank you all for the prayers and good thoughts for my family.

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