Potty Training Survival Kit (for MOMS!)

I am thrilled to be over at BabyGizmo.com today, talking about potty training my Crazy Toddler and putting together a Potty Training Survival Kit for moms! Because if you survived potty training, you deserve to TREAT YO' SELF!

We finally started potty training for reals last Monday. I had been putting it off because I didn’t have my act together between the almost 3-year-old and 8-month-old twins. Well, mom finally got her act together and gathered up all the pertinent potty training supplies. It was ON!

I printed out a potty training chart and ordered a giant book of alphabet stickers. I bought a smiley, froggy potty and filled a little “treasure chest” with prizes. I picked up some salty snacks, lots of juice, and special gummy treats. I pulled out his favorite reading material and his favorite “Potty Time” video. I rolled up the rug, cleared our schedule, and gave my little dude (and myself) a pep talk. We can do this. Let’s show that potty who’s boss!

Day One: Five Words. Wizz.All.Over.The.Place.

Day Two: Less wizz. But… at one point, I was locked in the bathroom with a naked, peeing, tantrum-throwing toddler. It was like the sprinklers going off suddenly when you are standing in the middle of a lawn. The grossest sprinklers ever.

By day three, I was on the verge. Click here to read more...

Summer Fun for the Not-So-Slim

I'm lending my voice to iBelieve.com today, discussing how we not-so-slim mamas can still have some summer fun!

I’m definitely not at my thinnest this summer. I had twins 8 months ago, and I’m still carrying around significant postpartum pounds. I also happen to live in Southern California, the land of bikinis, beach days and barbeques. What’s a mom with her not-quite-beach-perfect-bod during those sweltering, summer months?

Extra pounds and summer fun don’t really go together. After all, magazine covers and Pinterest boards have been advertising ways to “slim down by summer” for months now. Get your body bathing suit ready! What do I do if I’m not “bathing suit ready”? The options seem slim for the not-so-slim.

Banishing TO DO, Choosing TO BE: A List of 34 Things in my 34th Year{Happy Birthday to Me!}

Happy Birthday to ME!!

Yo. It's my birthday. Woot. Woot.

And my 34th year looks pretty freakin' amazing. For a number of reasons. 

First of all, can I tell you how much I love my tiny humans? 

Crazy Toddler is becoming a Fabulous Preschooler. That kid makes my day. All of the days. I love his quirks and idiosyncrasies. The way he talks and sings and laughs so loud so much. The stuff he's interested in and the stuff that takes some convincing. I love how much he loves to snuggle and read and be around "his people." You guys. He's just the best.

This is how he winks. I die.
And the twins are in the red hot center of maximum cuteness zone. No crawling or walking to add to the chaos yet. Just cuddling and eating and sleeping a lot which allows me time and energy to dwell on their cuteness and love them when they are awake. 

Killing me with cuteness. And tiny twin finger nails.
Also, my husband. Oh yeah! There he is! Now that the twins are 7 months old and we have emerged from the keep-your-head-down-and-just-keep-wiping-butts-and-cleaning-spit-up-and-ignore-the-complete-and-utter-lack-of-sleep-and-personal-hygiene portion of newborn parenthood, my husband is back. We are back. 

We have gone on dates, people. Dates! Plural! Guess what? He is funny! Like literally laugh out loud funny, not just type LOL funny. And handsome and interesting and a crazy good dad, which, by the way, is knock-my-socks-off attractive. You know what else is knock-my-socks-off attractive? They way he has kindly, lovingly, patiently taken care of me since all this twin pregnancy/birth/newborn business punched me in the face. The dude is killing it.
Best dad ever.  Swoon.
Then there are my friends, family, and church who have kept me completely blanketed in prayer, love, support, and encouraging texts for the last year.

With all of these people in my life, I'm pretty excited about year 34.

But as I have been known to do, by anyone that knows me, I have been reflecting on the last 34 years and what I want out of the next one. So I came up with a list.

This isn't your typical lose weight/exercise/give up chocolate/take up yoga kind of "New Year's Resolution" sort of list. This list is more about shaping who I am rather than getting in shape. I didn't want another list of things to do, though I love me a "To Do" list. I wanted to make a to be list, with each item selected based on who it makes me, how it renews and transforms me. I wanted a list that would add adjectives to my description. Marie is a listener, a reader. Obedient, helpful, tenacious, persistent, etc.

Who do I want to be?

What would be on your list? What adjective would you choose? What habits or activities would you add or remove to be that person? To be different? Or perhaps to be more like you used to be? It's an interesting concept.

So here are 34 things to be for my 34th year. Who do I want to be (not just DO) this year? Here's a glimpse...

(more posts on each item coming soon!)
  1. Read more
  2. Fart around on the internet/Social Media/Netflix/Hulu less
  3. (Actively) Listen more
  4. Think about myself less (not less of myself) and hold my thoughts captive
  5. (Actively) Think about others more cultivating empathy and compassion in my thoughts, then words, then actions
  6. Embrace a Biblical redefinition of beauty
  7. Eat food that fuels my body
  8. Eat food that fuels my relationships
  9. Eat food that fuels my heart & soul
  10. Feed others
  11. Obey (God) Right Away
  12. (Really) Be a "Big Helper"
  13. Do Hard Things 
  14. Try, Try Again
  15. Treat my words (spoken, typed, or texted) like weapons and water
  16. Be a "Gentle" Mom/Wife/Daughter/Sister/Friend
  17. Share generously
  18. Encourage lavishly
  19. Laugh raucously
  20. Pray fervently
  21. Strengthen my body
  22. Strengthen my relationships
  23. Strengthen my heart & soul
  24. Sing more
  25. Dance more
  26. Listen to more music
  27. Experience more art & culture
  28. Clock some serious time with Jesus
  29. Stubbornly, passionately, tangibly love my husband
  30. Stubbornly, passionately, tangibly love my kids
  31. Build my Tribe of Sister-Friends 
  32. Learn something new and (even if ever-so-slightly) dangerous
  33. Re-learn something old and long-forgotten
  34. Don't get too attached to any of the above

Well, that's who I wanna be. For now.

What do you think of my list? This concept in general? Do any of these stick out to you? What would you put on your list? I'd love your input!

Accepting Help From Others Transforms Us All

I'm honored to join iBelieve.com today as I discuss the transformative power of serving others but also accepting their service to you. 

Accepting Help From Others Transforms Us All

How do you feel about accepting help from others? Was graciously asking for and accepting help as well as humbly serving something you were taught or saw modeled growing up? How do you think our culture views asking for and accepting help? What has been your experience in asking for and accepting help in Christian circles?

I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Accepting Help From Others

Let me tell you about unseen beauty, silent comfort, touchless embraces, solitary support. The rhythm and ever-present beating of the heart of the Body of Christ as it rings in my ears and soothes my soul. Let me tell you how I’ve been healed, transformed, by accepting help from others.

On April 30, 2013, I got some astounding news. Twelve weeks in to my second pregnancy, and there wasn’t just one little nugget growing in my womb, but two. Twins.

Wait. What. Twins?

Suddenly there were double the appointments, double the stuff to buy and borrow and assemble and sort and organize. It all panicked me just a little. I was filled with fear and excitement for this new season, but kinda mostly fear. Fear that everyone would wish me well and ask to see pictures, but I would drown alone under piles of laundry and diapers and dishes and tears.

Then, one by one they came. With unseen beauty, silent comfort, touchless embraces, solitary support.

Tired Mama In Search Of Sleep {...Plus a GIVEAWAY}

These twins are teaching me new things everyday. Like how God is using their bedtime routine to remind me to invest in relationship, rather than put my faith in rituals...

tired mama sleep training baby twins

Do not be fooled. These smiles are a lie. We are deep in the midst of sleep training up in here, my friends. My deceptively "happy" twin baby girls have been fighting naps and waking at all hours. That makes for one tired mama. 

(I'm seriously considering putting an ad in Craigslist. "Tired Mama in search of a good night's sleep. Name your price." Except... Not really any price. I mean, I'm kind of on a budget. Twins are expensive, ya'll.)

What's most difficult about this season of sleeplessness is the horrible bait and switch. We will have a couple amazing days with 3 solid naps and only one night nursing session. Just enough rest and relaxation to get our hopes up, lulling us into a false sense of security. 

Then, BAM! 

I get punched in the face, hit by a truck, wind knocked out of me, with days of crying and wailing and fussing and nursing and nursing and nursing

Little to no sleep. All that effort with no reward.