Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My First Blog Award :)

When it rains it pours (with love that is) over here at Raising Z :) Not only did I receive this Lovely Blog Award (my first ever award) from Jessica over at We3Liebs yesterday....Mesina over at And Then There Was Me, blessed me with it again today! I want to thank them both for giving me my first ever blog awards. Jessica has a fun blog with lots of great tips, coupons and an adorable son so please go and check her out :) Mesina is a fabulous writer and very artistic with a wonderful blog so please go and check her out too! Thank you both.

The rules of the "One Lovely Blog Award" are:

Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

So here are some of my favorite blogs and some that I have just discovered (sorry I am not very good at following the rules) :) If you already received this award from someone else, I apologize. I just think you are great!

The Young and the Relentless - I have been a BIG fan of this blog for almost a year. Connie is a riot and she and I both share a strong love for Christmas and taking our children on fun adventures.
Mommy Brain - I discovered this blog about a month ago and I am hooked! I instantly bonded with Mommy Brain in that we are both expecting our second children. She is a wonderful and fun mommy with lots of great stories to share.
My Life Badly Written - Amanda is a wonderful mommy down under who has an adorable son and a wonderful sense of humor. Her blog always makes me smile.
Babe in Babeland - BIBL is an actress living in NYC with an adorable baby girl. I appreciate her honesty and fun loving spirit. She is crazy busy planning her wedding right now but promises to be back to blogging regularly soon.
Toddler Awesome - Emma is the wonderful mother of adorable little Ollie. She also designed my new blog :) She is great!
Coconut Belly - I have been reading Coconut Belly for quite awhile. She has two beautiful girls with another little peanut on the way. I so enjoy her writing style and her beautiful photographs.
A Buns Life - A Buns Life has been MIA lately but she is one of my favorite blogs and I have been a fan for a very long time. She has two adorable children and so many funny things to share. Hopefully she will be back soon, I miss her!
Our Organized Chaotic Life - This is a real life friend of mine who has her hands full with work, her beautiful family, her love for scrap booking and her unfortunate medical issues. She has a heart of gold and her work is amazing! She made Z the most beautiful scrapbook I have ever seen.
Poolside with the Girls - This is a new blog for me and I really enjoy it. Poolside has two beautiful girls and two adorable pups. I love the whole theme of her blog and all that she has to share.
Good True and Beautiful - I instantly fell in love with this new blog and her tag line, "learning to live abundantly on a budget". She has great tips and stories about her adorable little guy.
For What It's Worth or Not - BJ Mama is the mother of an adorable little girl and also very creative. She has another site called LadyBeez which is a blog all about her beautiful handbags. If you stop over there by midnight tonight, you can enter to win a custom handbag!!
Sorensen Family - This new blog has two adorable little girls as the focus. Shaunell shares fun stories about her girls and always includes a lot of pictures, which I LOVE.
The Little Things- Alexa is a wonderful mother of 5 and another new find for me. She has an incredible life story and seems like an amazing person.
Laugh Until You Cry - This is another new blog for me but I feel like I have a lot in common with her. I am excited to dive in deeper and check out more of what she has written. We definitely have the New England connection (and we are both teachers).
Eleni - This is another real life friend of mine who has been MIA on her blog for awhile. She is the mother of two beautiful boys and one of the most creative people I know. She has a great sense of humor and is a great friend.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Blog for a Cure--A Huge Blog Party!!

I know the economy is not great and that money in a lot of houses (especially the houses of the SAHM's) is tight. But here is a fun way to make friends, win prizes and help a good cause. The great thing is, it only costs a dollar (or more if you choose to donate more).

This blog party (and the marathon) is being run by Lani, a mother of 22 month old triplets. She lives in Florida and is training for a marathon to help raise money for a close family member of hers. This family member is a young healthy mother with a beautiful daughter.

Check out Lani's review site for more information and help her team reach their goal.

Argh....The Boy Turned 3!

It was a party weekend around here at Raising Z. Starting on Friday morning, Z woke up to his house transformed into a Pirate's Paradise (my friend C lent me some really cool things, Z and I made some signs and fish and I found a bunch on sale). He was in awe as he took it all in...his reaction was so worth the back breaking work of getting it all ready :)

His kid party began at 4pm on Friday. We ended up with 10 of the 12 kids who RSVP'd yes (two were sick) and they all had a blast! Z's Kindermusik teacher came to run the party and she decked out my playroom in ocean and pirate things. The kids started off with a craft (making treasure bags) and then went on a musical treasure hunt with her. They sang, danced, played with scarves, popped bubbles, drove hula hoop boats, played instruments and so much more. The big hit was digging for treasure! They each had their own lasagna pan of sand and got to dig for shiny stones, shells, gold and more. These treasures went into their bags and were cherished by the toddler pirates. The musical adventure ended with the search for the big was filled with candy, necklaces and toys. What a treat!

Once the musical part was over, we had pizza and cake. It was so much fun and Z had a blast. I was so excited to see he (and his friend A) comfortable at a big, crazy birthday party. I do believe it had everything to do with their Kindermusik teacher leading the was just like another class for them and I think they found comfort in that (my little sensitive ones :)). It was such a nice memory for S and I and I do believe that Z will remember it too.

Saturday started with Mickey Mouse pancakes at the local diner and a trip to the driving range for Z. Then it was back to get the house ready for party number 2!!! The family (and a few close friends, S and R) were to invade at 4pm. S and I scrambled to ice more cupcakes, get the food ready and make sure the house was clean from the day before. S's parents arrived at 3 and much to our suprise, we were ready :) Z really enjoyed Pirate Party number 2 and this one included a crazy outdoor treasure hunt for the 4 kids (and their adult partners). It was nice to have all of our family (S and R and their kids are our family too) here to celebrate.

By the end of the night, I was exhausted! My feet were swollen, my back ached and all of the work that I had put in over the last week....had finally caught up with me. I could barely walk but it was so worth it. Z had so much fun and it was the perfect way to celebrate his 3rd birthday!

Z making his Message in a Bottle invites

Z made the fish for the fishnet.....He loved the Cannon Crawl

Pirate cupcakes and the big "happy pirate" (that is what Z called him)

The Table and Playing with Scarves

Monday, September 28, 2009

All About MEme Monday: On a Desert Island....

I Cannot (Will Not) Survive Without ...

on a daily basis,
on a deserted island,
with my kids in the car
(you choose!)

Hmmmm....this is my first "All About MEme Monday" and I am so excited to participate but so brain dead this morning (could be that I am 36 weeks pregnant, haven't slept in MONTHS and hosted two big birthday parties for my son this weekend). For those of you who don't know about "All About MEme Mondays" it is a super fun writing prompt put on my MommyBrain and SupahMommy :)

I am thinking that if I had to be stuck in either my car with my child or on an island.....I would definitely pick a safe tropical island over the very dirty Subaru forester (it is on my list of things to do this week, clean the car)!

So here I am on my safe and happy tropical island (which never suffers from hurricanes or other natural disasters).....what should I take??? Oh and BTW....I am not pregnant on this island...I have lost all of the baby weight and am in the best shape of my life (it is my fantasy right?).

1. My husband--I know this might sound sappy but I love him a super lot right now. He has been a saint and has been so sweet to me throughout my entire pregnancy. I couldn't imagine being stuck with anybody else :) I love you honey!

2. My I-Pod with speakers and a never ending supply of batteries--Silence kills me....I would need some music. I would also need it for my daily runs to keep my body looking super stellar (I really miss running right now).

3. My laptop with internet access--I don't think I could go forever without it and how would I be able to video conference with my children and see how they are doing with their grandparents????

4. A cozy bungalow with a stocked gourmet kitchen for the hubs to cook in and a wine cellar --S is a great cook and I haven't had a real drink in a LONG time!

5. A private jet with a pilot so that the hubs and I could go home and see the kids when we wanted (I am super hormonal and mushy right now, even in this little fantasy) and have them fly in for super long visits (really daddy and I would only need every other weekend alone :)). The jet could also provide transportation for friends and family.....they would only be allowed to fly in when we wanted them though.

There it list of 5 things :) I am excited to check out what other people have written as well. Tomorrow I plan to update you all on the two parties for Z, they were GREAT!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I Can't Believe You are Three!?!?!

I remember when I was pregnant with you Z and I would look at children who were three and think that they were so old. I couldn't imagine being the mother of a three year old. Then when you were a small baby, we'd walk through a store searching for sizes and I would see 3 and 4 T's and think, "Wow, those are soooo big!" The sleepers were especially big and I just couldn't imagine you ever wearing something so large. Now you are three and wearing 4T clothing and I can't believe that time has gone by so fast.

Your daddy and I are so blessed to have you as our son. You are a wonderful and sweet little boy with such a kind heart. You have such a curiosity about you and your enthusiastic nature is contagious. There are so many wonderful things you can do now that you are three :) You go to preschool, use the potty (most of the time), sleep in a big boy bed, are learning your letter sounds, can count up to 20, help me vacuum the house, clean up your things, play with such imagination, sing entire songs and you have a mean golf swing. We are so proud of you and know you are going to make such a wonderful big brother. The transition won't be easy but take it from two people who know, siblings are a gift. They might drive you crazy at times but it is nice to know that there is someone there to play with, talk to, celebrate with and count on when you need them.

So happy birthday sweet boy! We love you with all of our hearts and cherish every minute that we have on this earth with you. You are an amazing little guy :)


And the winner of my first ever giveaway (in honor of my blog make over ) is......

One of my favorite Bloggers who I have been following for almost a year (check her out if you haven't already, she is great)....

Connie at the Young and the Restless :)

Congratulations Connie, I will be in touch (after Z's party mayhem is behind me) and email you your gift certificate! Thank you all for posting comments and advice about the Raising Z name situation. I really appreciate it and got a lot of good advice. Thanks so much!

Friday, September 25, 2009

"T says Ta"

I had heard great things about Leap Frog's Letter Factory DVD from a few different people but I wasn't sure that I wanted Z to learn his letter sounds from TV, I am a teacher after all :) I have been working with Z on learning both his letter sounds and lower case letters for most of the summer but we weren't getting very far. We use teachable moments to do this (letters on signs, in books or in his letter puzzle), so please don't think I sit there with flashcards and drill the poor child. He was really struggling with the concept of letter sounds and so I even caved and got him the refrigerator leap frog letters in hopes that they would reinforce what I had been teaching him. He could care less about that toy and only pressed the ABC song button to hear the whole alphabet. Last week I finally decided to give the DVD a try.

It was going to be a birthday gift but I was so tired one day, I took it out to watch it with him (with my feet up). We were both taken in right away by the cute animation and wonderful story. The premise is that Leap and his sister Lily and baby brother Tad are going to help their dad and mom with a big presentation at their dad's letter factory. They are trying to convince a famous author to do a talking alphabet book and Leap's dad says his letters are the best in the world. While the dad shows the author around the factory, Leap and Lily practice for the big presentation. Little Tad is not included (because he does not know his letters) and goes off sadly. It is then that he runs into the professor of the factory who gives him a tour of the letter training facility. Each room is dedicated to a different letter and it is here that they train to make the correct sound.

The movie is only 33 minutes long and so well organized. Four or five letters are introduced at one time (each with a very memorable scene...A is scared by a monster so it says "aaahhhh") and then they are repeated. The professor continues to sing the same song from the refrigerator magnets as well for each letter..."the A says aahhh, the A says aahhh, every letter makes a sound, the A says aahh". After two viewings of this movie (Z would watch it every day if I let him), Z already had half of the letter sounds down. After his third viewing yesterday, he was at his chalkboard "writing" the letters and singing the song for each letter. He points out letters everywhere we go and tells me the sounds. He probably knows 18 out of 26 at this point and loves to talk about this film. He is also playing with the magnets and singing along. It is AMAZING!

Now I am just a mom, sharing this information with you. I have no stock in Leap Frog, nobody asked me to review this DVD, I just LOVE it. If you are hoping to introduce letters or letter sounds to someone you love, I highly recommend it :)

It is still not too late to enter my first ever give away :) Read this post to find out more :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A New Look for Raising Z

I know what you are I in the right place? Is this Raising Z??? Where are those attractive polka dots???

With the coming of fall, I always feel the need to "nest" and make some simple changes to myself and my surroundings. I love to add a few cozy features to our home, buy a few new pieces for my wardrobe (if you can all it that) and get ready for the long cold winter ahead. Since my new budget (and baby on the way) is preventing me from going out and buying things for our home and my growing belly is preventing me from going out and buying a new fall wardrobe, I decided to give some TLC to my blog instead :)

I want to thank Emma from Indiechick Designs for the wonderful design she created for me. After almost two long years of the same boring Blogger background, it is so refreshing to see this new and improved look! If you too are looking for a change in your blog design, I highly recommend you work with her. She has great ideas, is easy to work with and very quick with getting back to you when you have questions. Thank you so much Emma!

Now I have a question for all of you.....this blog makeover has got me thinking about my blog title, "RaisingZ". Is it unfair to the new baby to keep the name of my blog "Raising Z"??? We could give the baby a Z name but there are not that many choices and I am not sure if it is fair to name a child just so that I can remain true to a blog name. I feel totally attached to Raising Z as my blog persona and can't imagine changing it. That being said, what if my new little one is C or M or J or even X....will they resent this blog because their name is not in the title?? What would you do if you were me?

So in honor of my new look and need for advice....I am doing my first ever give away! I am giving away a $15 gift card to AMAZON (I'm starting small here but who doesn't love Amazon???). So if you would like to enter (your chances of winning are good, there are not many of you out there, mom you can enter too!), please leave me a comment with either a compliment about my new look (I am so shallow) or some advice about my blog name dilemma :) The contest closes on Friday, September 25th at 11:59 PM EST. and the winner will be announced on Z's 3rd Birthday (this Saturday) :) Good luck and thanks for commenting (feel free to start following this blog too if you aren't already, I am in a contest with the hubs and would like to get above 30 if possible :)).

Monday, September 21, 2009

5 more weeks!

Hello sweet baby,

It is hard to believe that we have less than 5 weeks until you make your appearance into the world. Your dad and I can't wait to meet you and we have been working hard on prepping your big brother for your arrival. I have even made him two books to help him get ready :) One book is full of wisdom from big brothers and sisters that he loves and the other is all about what will happen when you arrive and we have to go to the hospital. He loves his books and often asks to see you but I am thinking that he really has no idea how much his life will change when you come home. Just give him some time, he will love and protect you and be a wonderful big brother!

Despite our excitement and my new discomfort, I really need you to make sure that you continue to enjoy your cozy "underwater condo" until your 5 weeks are up :) You see, Daddy and I are not quite ready for you to make your big debut. Your brother has TWO birthday parties coming up this weekend (yes TWO) and we have so much to do to get ready for them. Your nursery is still not finished (not that you will be using it right away) and we need to continue gathering and washing all of the baby things. As for what we are going to call you....we are still struggling in that area. I think we have narrowed it down to three boys and three girl names but I am not sure....we continue to change out minds. Then on top of all of these trivial things....there is this scary thing called the H1N1 virus going around and we would like to keep you from getting exposed to that during its supposed height.

So what do you think baby....can you give us the next 4 1/2 weeks to get ready??? We will see you tomorrow at our ultrasound. We can't wait to see you but we are a little nervous about having to have the ultrasound. You see they say I am measuring small for the number of weeks that I am and want to make sure that everything is okay with you. We pray that it is!

Thanks little love bug :) We will see you soon (but not too soon, right?)!

Love, Mommy

Update from September 22nd:

We had our ultrasound today and all looks good. The heartbeat was strong, the fluid levels were great and the the blood flow was good. The baby is just on the small side (25th percentile) but that is AOKAY with me :) The two scenarios are that the baby will be around 6.5 lbs or will be born a week later than we think (Halloween) and will be around the same size as Z. We will just have to wait and see. I cried again today seeing its little face and we even got to watch it swallow....too cute!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Dinosaur Train

Have you seen this show yet?? Z loves it, it has even replaced Imagination Movers as his favorite!! It is a new show on PBS done by Jim Henson Productions. Z has never been that interested in dinosaurs but now he is loving everything dino :) I wrapped up a bunch of toy dinosaurs and so he gets one for every 7 pees in the potty. He loves his collection and walks around telling us that brachiosaurus is a herbivore and that T-Rex is a carnivore. It is great!

At the end of each 15 minute episode Dr. Scott, the paleontologist, comes on and compares the different dinosaurs to real life animals that the children know. We just got back from the library and checked out 7 books about dinosaurs :) I have nothing but good things to say about this show. If you haven't seen it yet, check out PBSKIDS.ORG for more information :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Z's First Day of Preschool

'Twas the night before preschool, when all through the house

excitement was stirring, thank god it wasn’t a mouse;

The backpack was packed with extra clothes and underwear

So in case of an accident, we would be prepared.

The child was nervous, his mom was a mess

While the daddy acted calm, no feelings of dread

After 3 stories, a drink and a hug so tight,

Z finally settled down for a long, long night,

When out to the store the daddy ran like a flash,

To get a special treat to celebrate Z’s first day bash.

A small trinket for Z was all that we’d need,

But daddy had too much fun at the toy store, indeed .

He spent much more than he should of, it’s true

But he loves his dear son and was very nervous too,

When, what to my tired eyes should appear,

But insomnia of course, there would be no sleep, oh dear!

We tossed and we turned all night with a jerk,

When you’re nervous why does sleep have to be so much work.

More rapid than eagles the daytime it came,

And I hopped out of bed and woke Z for the big game!

"Now, potty! now, breakfast! Let’s get dressed real quick!

Now photos! Now backpack! I think I’ll be sick!

To the back of the car! No please don’t stall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

To the preschool we drove just as fast as we could,

Trying not to drive too fast through the hood,

So to Z’s school we quickly drove up,

With the car full of jitters, and mommy trying not to throw up.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard from the back,

a nervous little giggle and a cute little laugh.

As I opened my door, and was turning around,

Z’s little face looked so cute and showed no sign of a frown.

He was dressed in new clothes, from his head to his toes,

He looked so damn cute, oh how fast he does grow;

A bundle of love sitting there in front of me,

Was growing up so fast, how scary to see.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! He was ready for this!

His cheeks were all flushed and he gave me a kiss!

I was the proud mamma of this cute little guy

And now it was his turn to reach for the sky.

We walked down to class, we both let out a sigh,

Holding hands so tightly, trying both not to cry;

He ran for his coat hook and right to the paints,

I followed closely and heard no complaints.

A few little pictures of my cute little guy,

Then I gave him a kiss and I said, “good-bye”;

A look of panic washed over him, all over his face

so I hugged him again, just one last embrace

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his painting

And I quietly walked out, how this day was so draining,

I climbed up the stairs with my friend K by my side,

And burst into tears, the only adult who cried!

The teacher came up and told us they were all doing fine.

Now only if I could enjoy a nice glass of wine!

At the end of the day Z was all smiles and hugs

And mommy just wishes she could take some strong drugs,

It’s been a long day but it turned out just right

"Happy Preschool to all, and to all a good-night."

Copyright © RaisingZ 2009 All Rights Reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced without written consent from the author.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Potty Training Diaries--Part VI

Welcome to Part VI of the Potty Training Diaries :) The saga has been long and drawn out but I am excited to announce that with the deadline of preschool looming (two more days), we are making progress. Please come with us on our week long journey into the world of no diapers (well almost no diapers) ;)

Tuesday Night
-I find out at Preschool Orientation that Z must go to school in underwear even if he is not trained. Anxiety takes over my body and I have a sleepless and teary night worrying about how I am going to train my son in a week.

Wednesday Morning
-S insists that Z go to Open House at preschool in underwear (he has never been out of the house in underwear!). I leave with a large bag of back up clothing and supplies and pray for the best. He uses the school bathroom three times in an hour, uses the bathroom at the grocery once (his first public potty!!! I had to go we had no food) and then poops his pants on the way to the car. I take him back into the grocery store, deal with the poop situation and make a deal with myself that we will stay home as much as we can over the next week!

Wednesday Afternoon
-Z is in underwear all of his waking hours (diapers while he sleeps) and only has one more poopy accident. I take him to the potty every 25 minutes and this seems to work well. We venture on a 35 minute car ride to a birthday party and Z uses the potty 4 times while we are at the party :) S goes out and buys more undies and sweatpants to help with the laundry situation :)

Thursday Morning
-We cancel all activities to stay home to clean the house and use the potty :) I revamped the potty reward system (Z was sick of using the potty) by wrapping the prizes, making a new chart (he gets a prize for every seven trips to the potty) and introducing fruity cheerios as targets. I know the research says to teach them to pee sitting down but standing has been the only successful way for me.

Thursday Afternoon
-We had an accident free morning and I put him in a diaper for nap. Our new mother's helper was starting today so I left him in the diaper and told her to come and get me when he pooped. He never did in the 3 hours she was soon as she left he went back in undies. No poop all unlike him and now I am nervous.

-Well the big poop came (FINALLY) but unfortunately it was in his undies :( We had three accidents today but other than that, he did well. We had to go to the preschool for a conference and Z practiced going potty 3 more times (they were an hour behind on conferences) and even did it solo once!!!! I told his teachers that he is not independent yet but working on it and that poop training will come later :)

-He went in a pull-up for our long drive to the lake and then back in the undies. He did well (1 accident) but started to put up some resistance! He could not be bothered with the potty :( The novelty had worn off and he would rather not stop his fun to go potty (can't say that I blame him). S had his first potty training accident in public....Z peed all over the grocery store floor. S stayed calm and managed to get it cleaned up with napkins from the coffee counter (poor guy!). Z had just gone before he left the house but he doesn't always finish! He also won't tell us when he has to go....we have to continually ask him or look for signs. This is the hardest parenting project yet!

-More resistance but we did get him in a diaper for his poop (we continually ask him if he would like one for a poop and he finally said "yes"). He used the potty a bunch (a few times had to be dragged into the bathroom) and wore a pull up for the ride home. It is so much easier when S is home and we can tag team for training!

-A lot more resistance but we are almost at independence (for pee)! He has been practicing pulling his pants down and up and is working hard on his aim. He still won't tell me when he has to go but with constant reminders, he is doing well. Poop is still another story...we had a BIG accident in that arena today.

I have one more full day at home before preschool starts. My goal for tomorrow is to try to break some of this resistance and continue to work with him on his aim. I am not sure how to get him to tell me when he has to go or how to make it fun again but I am going to try. This is sooooo hard!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mommy's Boo Boo's

A few months ago (before my belly was so big and round), Z would put his hand on my ginormous pregnant breasts, pat them and say "baby". I would gently move his hand to my stomach and say, "Yes, the baby is in Mommy's belly". This happened a handful of times. Finally one day when I moved his hand to my belly, he looked up at me and asked, "What are those?". I had been waiting for this question, so I quickly said, "those are mommy's boobs". He repeated me and went on his way.

The other night he came up and kissed my breast. I was shocked by this and looked at him puzzled......I asked, "What are you doing?"

"Mommy, I'm kissing your BIG boo boos. Feel better?"

"Yes Z, my boo boos feel better :)"

Friday, September 11, 2009

My Highly Sensitive Child

A few weeks ago, my friends and I were together for a play date. It was a small group (4 two year olds and 2 babies) and the kids have been playing together for about 2 years now. All was going well until the adult conversation turned to the subjects of preschool and potty training. Both subjects came with a lot of anxiety and I could sense Z getting more and more tense as we spoke. It was a difficult situation for me, these were topics that I needed support with, yet the conversation was stressing my child out.

At lunch time, we went up to the kitchen and Z would not leave my lap. He ate his strawberries and refused to sit anywhere other than my lap. One of the babies was eating his lunch and started to cry for more food. Z began to shake and quietly whispered in my ear, "Can we go home?". I was proud of him for recognizing a stressful situation and for using his words instead of tears. Unfortunately I was waiting for my salad to be delivered and whispered back that we would leave when it arrived. I asked if he wanted to go out on the porch where it was quiet....he quickly agreed. This worked until the other kids followed him out and then he came back inside. Once the baby started to cry again, Z could not hold his tears in anymore....he was a mess.

Luckily my salad arrived and I was able to leave with him. I had tried to console him in the other room but it was no use. I left feeling miserable....why is this always happening?

My friend K, emailed me later that day and told me not to worry about what happened at playgroup. She reassured me that Z is just sensitive, much like her daughter and then she recommended that I read "the highly sensitive child" by Dr. Elaine N. Aron. I have known K and her daughter for 2 1/2 years now and I have seen her daughter get overwhelmed in certain situations and need to leave. I knew that she and Z were similar in that way and that is why we requested that they be in the same preschool class. What I didn't know is that K now has strategies at hand to help her deal with her daughter's sensitivity. Having already done a lot of research on Sensory Issues and having very little luck with fitting Z into one of the many categories (he does mildly fit into the Auditory Dysfunction category) I was up for anything. S and I took the test online and Z answered true to 15 out of the 23 statements. We thought that getting the book might be a good idea, so we ordered it and picked up K's copy to hold us over until it arrived.

This book has been a godsend for S and I and has helped us to understand what Z goes through on a daily basis. The book is full of strategies on how to better raise him to be a happy and confident child. There is nothing wrong with my him, in fact research says that 15-20% of the world's population are "Highly Sensitive People". He just needs to learn ways to cope with the things that make him anxious, nervous and shy and celebrate all of the wonderful things that being sensitive has to offer. We feel that we now have a tool that will allow us to better parent him (this includes a list of strategies on how to prepare him for his first day of school on Wednesday).

What is amazing about this book is that I too identify with so much of it myself (I guess sensitive people give birth to sensitive children). It has helped me to reflect upon my own childhood and the situations which brought me so much stress and anxiety. I might just have to go out and buy the Highly Sensitive person to see if it can help me better handle my adult life :) If you are going through similar issues with your child, I highly recommend you check out the website.

Another interesting tidbit is that "Highly Sensitive Children" are usually delayed when it comes to potty that explains why I had so many issues :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Preschool Anxiety

Last night we had our Parent Orientation for Z's school. S and I went together and I was sick to my stomach the entire ride over. The entire school was there and so the session started off as a big group. We then broke into smaller groups and we got to meet Z's teachers and the other parents of his class. I was holding up okay until the teacher started talking about that first morning and how important it is to prep them for the good-bye.

"I will come down with you, help you hang up your things, watch you pick a choice activity and then give you two kisses and one hug....then mommy will leave for awhile and come back after school is done".

This was what she suggested we say to our little three year olds and at this I started to tear up. I was able to keep it together (fanning myself in the hot auditorium) but didn't realize how hard of a transition this was really going to be for ME. She then told us that even if our child was not fully potty trained that they must come to school in underwear, not pull-ups. This statement caused my heart to start beating out of my chest, I could feel the sweating forming and my blood pressure climbing. My little Z was going to have to deal with the anxiety of starting school at the same time he was going to have to worry about using the potty??? Was that fair to him??? The poor baby inside of me must have been wondering what was going out in the big bad world...why was mommy freaking out??

All of the pregnancy hormones raging through my body and the worry over this big transition for Z were now mixed with the huge anxiety over potty training!!! What were we going to do?? What can be done in a week??? I cried the whole way home, cried with my sister when I got home and then cried with S for about an hour and a half over the situation. The poor guy tried to calm me down (for the baby's sake) but I was too worked up to listen to his good sense.

"Put Z in underwear tomorrow, make it clear that when he goes to preschool he wears underwear."

This was his advice, I knew it made sense but Z had never been out of the house in underwear...was he ready? Was I ready???

This morning I woke Z up for his Open House at the school. I told him that Daddy and I had been to his school the night before and that we met his teachers and saw his classroom and everything looked wonderful. He looked at me and said, "I don't want to go to preschool". Then he crawled into a ball on the floor. I explained all of the wonderful things in his classroom and how his teachers couldn't wait to meet him and he looked up at me with big doe eyes and said, "Will Mama stay with me or is she going to leave like Llama Llama? Mama stay with me?" That damn book!!! I told him that today I would stay but when he started school next week, I would be leaving for a little while. I gave him a big hug and fought back the tears as I continued to pump him up about preschool.

So we drove to school in undies (with 4 back up pairs and two extra pairs of pants in my bag). We went straight to the bathroom to use the potty where Z giggled nervously. I helped him develop a potty routine for this new bathroom and showed him that the toilet was not loud (thank goodness!!!). We then walked into his new classroom to find his hook. He found it right away, met one of his teachers and then took off for the science center. His eyes were wide as he took in all that his new classroom had to offer. He played with the blocks, make a great house, climbed a bridge and really enjoyed his time there. He dragged me around from one activity to another, not letting me out of his site, but he was happy! At one point he looked up at me and said, "Preschool is great!". I took him to the potty once during the 45 minute open house and then again at the end.....he did better and better each time. I was sooooo PROUD of him!!!

At the end of the Open House we went out to the playground with all of the other children. Z had his first run in with a boy who would not share and quietly (and sadly) stepped away from the situation. It broke my heart but I realized at that moment that I can't always protect him and stand up for him. He is growing up and there are some things that he is going to have to learn to do himself. As a tear rolled down my cheek, I watched him sadly move onto the playground. Within minutes he had forgotten the situation and was enjoying the slide. My little boy was growing up before my very eyes.

We don't officially start school for another week but today's experience was good for both of us. Z got to experience all of the fun that preschool will offer him and he had a really great time. I gained a little more confidence in his potty training abilities and know that in time he will master this very difficult skill. It was a growing day for both of us and though I am still anxious about next week (and know I will be crying like a baby when I drop him off), I know that he will be okay (and so will I).

Monday, September 7, 2009

Summer Reflection

I can't believe the summer is coming to an feels like it just started. Maybe that is because summer didn't start in New England until the last week of July and only lasted a month!!! No I am not bitter :).

This has been a fun and jam packed summer, filled with many "Adventures". I have tried so hard to make it special for Z and I think I succeeded. So it is time to revisit my Summer Adventure List that I created in May and see how I did ;)

So here is our Summer Adventure list :)

Adventures With Z
1. Space Adventure--trip to the Planetarium--Did this one with Daddy!
2. Fish Adventure--trip to the local Fish Ladder--Did this one twice :)
3. "Moo" Adventure--a visit to the local farm--Never made it to the farm :(
4. Wet and Wild Adventure--a visit to a splash park--Z loved this!
5. Periwinkle Adventure--tide pooling--Maybe next year, my big belly kept me from this one.
6. Curious George Adventure--a trip to the zoo--A great day
7. Sun and Sand Adventure--a trip to the lake to build castles and swim--Fun day with Neene
8. Movie Adventure--a trip to see the latest Kidtoon Film--we saw the last one of the season
9. "Play Ball" Adventure--a trip to see our local AA baseball team--this was with the grandparents.

Family Adventures
1. Fantasy Weekend Adventure--a trip to the local children's Amusement Park and a ride on Thomas the Train :)--This was a BLAST!!!
2. Ocean Adventure--a trip to our favorite beach for a picnic--Did this three times :)
3. Fish are Yummy Adventure--a pilgrimage to our favorite spot for clam cakes and CHOWDAH!--Yup :)
4. "Ahoy There Matey" Adventure--a boat trip with a cannon blast--not this year :(
5. Putt Putt Adventure--a game of mini golf--Z got two legit holes in one on this adventure!
6. Quack, Quack Adventure--a trip to the Boston Public Garden to follow the path of Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack and Quack--not this year :( 7. Oooh, Aahh Adventure--a trip to see Fireworks--this would have been too scary for Z
8. "Fore" Adventure--a trip to the driving range--not yet, still time though.
9. "Farmer Z" Adventure--Z would like his own carrot garden like Curious George--his carrots are growing well :)
10. Lazy Days of Summer Adventure--3 weeks at the lake :)--The BEST!!

Home Improvement Adventures
1. Finally finish Master Bathroom (we are soooo close)--YUP!!!
2. New flooring in our Kitchen and Dining room to fix the damage of our indoor flood--Nope :(
3. Work on our new front landscape--YUP!!!
4. Building our new laundry room in the basement--Not yet
5. Remodel downstairs bath-Number 4 must be done first
6. Get Nursery ready-Almost!!
7. Paint front of house and deck--Nope :(

And as for my Summer License Plate Game....I saw 39 out of 50 states this summer (including two Alaska plates) :) Not too bad considering I never left New England!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

8 Weeks and Counting....

S and I came to the realization the other night that we are less than two months away from becoming a family of FOUR! I know what you are thinking....shouldn't we have come to this realization a lot sooner considering I have been pregnant for the last 7 months? I guess we both pushed off the preparations, excitement and panic and decided that once September came, we would get serious about preparing for this new addition to our family. Well it is now September and we are dealing with this big event in our own ways.

S's worries center around money and the future of sleepless nights (and also trying to keep me sane). You see he works for a Start-Up company (he always has worked for Start-ups, this is his third company) and not that there is much job security in anything these days....start-ups are the shakiest. He enjoys the risk and excitement but we are constantly wondering if he will have a job in six months. He also loves sleep and I think he is starting to remember that first year with Z and how we didn't get much sleep at all! He keeps telling me that we are going to do things differently this time :)

My worries center around Z and then the actual birth. How will Z react to this new addition to the family? Will he enjoy his new big brother role? Will he be potty trained in time? In what ways will he regress once the baby is born? How will I deal with two children??? Will I be able to nurse with a preschooler hanging around? And you know how they say that you forget how bad childbirth is so that you will do it again??? That is not the truth in my case. I remember it ALL and I am so nervous that it will be similar if not worse than last time! I don't deal well with pain.

Even Z is starting to worry a little bit (most likely feeding off of us although we are trying to stay as upbeat as possible around him). One day he is so excited about growing up and tells us how happy he is about wearing his new underwear and sleeping in his Elmo bed and then the next day he is apprehensive about both and just wants to be held. Growing up is tough stuff and he is being asked to do a lot all in a very short period of time. I too am struggling with his growing older and know that in time he will no longer want to cuddle with me or shower me with kisses. He is slowly becoming more independent and though I celebrate this, I worry that soon he won't need me anymore. So sad!

So here we are less than two months out and we have a half finished nursery, a child who is in the middle of potty training, two long lists of names, no specific plan for what Z will do while we are in the hospital and two parents who feel like they have forgotten how to care for an infant. I am feeling just a bit stressed. But then I look at pictures of when Z was a baby or fold a load of Z's baby clothes and I just smile and most of the stress melts away. I can't wait to meet this little bambino and welcome he or she into our family. It will be so nice to hold a little baby again :) Three is great but I know FOUR will incredible.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Where are you Potty Training Fairy??--Part V

Z starts school in 15 many of you know he is suppose to be on his way to being potty trained when school begins. My question is....what is the definition of "on his way"? We have been "working" at this since before he was TWO! Does that count?? At school he can wear a pull up for the 3 hours he is there but if he poops, I will be notified and have to come and change him. I pray for his sake that this never happens.

It was my intention to work on potty training while at the lake. We did make some progress but spending week two in a house with a broken septic (we did have access to my mom's house and spent most of our time there) did not bode well for the training. He did learn to pee standing up (which he loves), went a few times a day (when it was convenient for him) and was feeling really good about going pee pee on the potty.

We have been home for a few days and so I decided to bite the bullet and put Z in underwear. He is in underwear as long as he is awake and at home (pull ups while we are out and a diaper to sleep). Monday went great! I brought him to the potty every 30 minutes and he had no accidents! He was loving being "grown up". I was so pumped from this success that I couldn't wait to continue....not as easy as I thought.

Today has been a whole different story. Today he doesn't want to use the potty, crumbles into a ball every time I ask and has peed on the floor three times so far. I have pulled my back out (a combination of bending over during potty training, overworking myself in the nursery on Sunday and being 7 1/2 months pregnant) and don't know what to do. I know all children are different, I know that this is a learning experience for him and that there will be many setbacks but the fact of the matter is, I am in pain and getting larger every day....not the ideal time to be training someone who doesn't want to be trained.

After the third pee on the floor, I decided to switch up my system. I am now setting the timer for every 30 minutes so it is the timer reminding him to go potty, not me (he was starting to get angry with me). I made a new sticker chart with a new system in place. Before he would go potty for a sticker and a he could care less. I told him if he gets 8 stickers in one day, he will get a prize at the end of the day. Once I started with these two things, he went in the potty twice without a fight.

Every child is different.....every potty training experience is different. Most kids don't like the sensation of being wet, mine apparently doesn't care. I wish there was a potty training fairy who would swoop down and help me. S is off from work Thursday-Monday and I am hoping that he (and my mom) can help me push this potty train is very challenging to do this alone this late in my pregnancy.