Thursday, May 31, 2012

So much it hurts!

That is how much I love this little girl!

Making dumplings with MeMe

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Smiles (Weeks 8-12)

Well, two months have gone by and our little one does not seem quite so tiny any more. While I do hate how quickly the new born stage passes, I love all the fun that comes with growing. Asher's 2nd month was full of smiles...smiles that quite literally steal my heart. When he gets really excited he opens his mouth in a grin, pulls his hand up, and squints one eye closed. Precious I tell you! He is so aware of everyone in the room and loves attention. His favorite activity is for us to talk or play with him while he lays flat on his back. By the end of the month he was starting to really engage with Avery and starting to giggle just a little.

At his 2 month appointment, he weighed 12.5 lb. (50%) and was 23 inches long (30%). He wears 3-6 month clothes and continues to wear size 1 diapers. He is doing great with a schedule and started sleeping through the night (10:00-6:30) on the same day as his 2 month checkup. By the end of month 2 he was sleeping from 9:00-7:00. Throughout the day he nurses every 3.5 to 4 hours and stays awake a little more than an hour before going back down for a nap. If we have to go out to run errands, his sleep is not restful. He has a hard time going to sleep in his car seat and doesn't have a problem letting us know it. Avery and I have started singing to him in the car (Jesus Loves Me, Jesus Loves the Little Children, and You are My Sunshine) and that helps a lot. Once he finally falls asleep all is good!

Nursing is going great again. At around 9 weeks, I took a short weekend hiatus from nursing and exclusively pumped. I definitely needed some TLC. So far, my milk supply is pretty insane and for this I am so thankful. I have about 350 oz. in the freezer and am out of room. I think a deep freezer may be in our future! I pump in the morning first thing, but nurse each time he eats throughout the day, then I usually pump right before bed. With Avery, since I was working, we were able to cycle through the frozen milk and put away new each day. Now that I am staying at home and actually feeding Asher, we are not using the milk I put up nearly as quickly.

Asher is now sleeping only in his crib. I started putting him in it for naps around 7 weeks, but we moved him permanently at 9 weeks. We were putting the co-sleeper up a couple of weeks ago and Levi said happily "Well, we did it again!" Yes, we did! Once again, we made it through the really exhausting newborn stage and feel so blessed to have been given the opportunity to experience it. We are still swaddling him for almost all naps. If we do not do it just right, he breaks out pretty easily, but still sleeps pretty soundly even with his arms and feet out.

At 11 weeks, my maternity leave ended and I am very excited to say that I resigned from my position at Auburn. Levi and I, with a huge amount of grace and guidance from God, have worked incredibly hard to prepare financially, for me to stay at home. My heart is filled with joy, as I know this is the best decision for our family. Getting to put Avery down for her nap, laughing and talking with her about whatever is on her mind, hearing her say "Mommy will you lay with me?" is wonderful. I know she will not always want me to lay with her, so I better take advantage of her requests now! I hope to write a lot more about staying at home and the blessing it is. Once I have a few months in, I also want to write about my experience as a working mother and how it compares to being at home.

Time is fleeting and I am trying to get in as much cuddle time with my precious little boy as possible. What I want to remember most about this stage is just how happy he is! We love life right now. It is busy and exhausting, but it is also precious and undeserved. I am working on loving it all, even the hard moments of parenting. I can sense God working so much in my heart, gently molding and shaping me into a better wife and mother each day.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

In Love...(Weeks 1-7)

With this little guy! Almost 8 weeks have passed since Asher joined our family and now, it is really hard to imagine what our life was like without him. Granted, it was a little easier to get out of the door to go somewhere, but overall the transition has been really smooth! Praise the Lord! Can I just say he is so pretty...I know you shouldn't say that about your little boy, but really he is. That is the most common response we hear from other people...they say, wow, he is just too pretty and then say, well handsome is a better word to use!

I love the newborn stage...the sweet smiles, yawns, and sounds, the tiny hands, feet, and clothes, the sweet cuddling. There really is nothing more precious (Although Avery telling me she loves me completely unprompted comes close)! I am certainly aware of how quickly it will pass and I am trying to soak it in. Something inherently newborn is swaddling and for the first few days, Asher was not fond of it. This totally freaked us out, due to how much Avery liked it, so we tried it again sometime around 1 week old and he loved it. I really like the swaddle me quick and easy for during the day and for family who haven't mastered swaddling with a regular blanket. There is just something so wonderful about a swaddled baby...all snug as a bug :)

So far, Asher has taken really well to a schedule. At the beginning he ate every 2.5 hours during the day and we have moved to every 3.5 hours now. He is only awake for a total of about an hour before he is ready to go back down for a nap. And boy, does he nap like a champ...I can count on at least a 2 hour nap each time I lay him down. He would probably sleep longer, but I never let him go over 4 hours, so that he will sleep at night. Speaking of sleep at night, we had maybe 2 or three rough nights during his second week. For the most part now, I feed him at 10, he is down by 10: 30 and sleeps till 3 or 3:30. I feed him and he doesn't wake again until 7. He also sleeps on his stomach and loves it. Don't get me wrong... we are looking forward to sleeping through the night, but for now, feel good about the rest we are getting and are thankful for God's blessing in this area. I say "we" because Levi wakes up with me every night and gets Asher ready for me to nurse (unswaddles, changes his diaper) and then puts him back down after he is finished. This gives me time to use the restroom and afterwards, change nursing pads and get some water. He is up every morning at 5:30 an leaves the house by 6:15...What an amazing man to sacrifice for me in this way! My love language is acts of service and I couldn't ask for a more servant minded husband! Asher has a wonderful example to follow.

To plug Babywise once again, let me just say... the method is so natural and if you just watch your baby and how they react to being tired, rather than rushing over to comfort them immediately, you can learn a lot about their needs and help them self soothe. Sleep, Feed, Wake, just makes so much sense. For Asher, it was learning that he doesn't want to be awake very long in between eating and going back down. He is as happy as can be when he first wakes up and then while eating, but about 15 minutes after he is finished, he is ready for a nap again. If you do not put him down pretty quick, he gets really fussy.

With a sister as girly as Avery, he has lots of baby dolls in his future!
I have told several people that I think I am more smitten with Asher than I was with Avery. In the early days with her, I was just so busy trying to figure everything out that there wasn't much time for relaxing. This time, things have been much more laid back and I have had time to just be in awe of how perfect and precious my little boy is. I must say that he is smitten with me too...smiling when I sing to him and trying really hard to find me when he hears my voice.
Avery must really love him to share her prized Elmo!
Nursing has gone pretty smoothly...he nurses really well and I have plenty of milk, which is an awesome blessing. I just love how his little hand holds my finger while he is nursing. It melts my heart! With that said, nursing is not a cake walk. It takes time, dedication, and sacrifice. While I have had some pain, I have worked to get through it and hope to be able to continue to nurse through most of his first year.

As far as growth goes, Asher was 7:6 at birth and left the hospital at 7. At one week he was 7:3, at  two weeks he was back at 7:6, and at his 1 month checkup (5 weeks old) he was 9:12 (50th for weight). His length was wrong at the hospital...they charted 21.5 inches, but at his 1 week visit he was only 20 inches. He wasn't even back up to the hospital length at 5 weeks, measuring 21.25 (25th percentile). I am looking forward to his next check up!

Asher, it has been so much fun getting to know you the past two months! You are such a blessing to our family. Asherboy, little man, Ash man, we all love you bunches!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Asher's Birth Story

On February llth at 1:08 pm,  we welcomed precious Asher Thomas Elliott to our family! He weighed 7 lbs. 6 oz. and was charted by the hospital as being 21.5 inches long (it turns out he was really about 20 inches, as confirmed by his ped).  There really are no words that can adequately describe how you feel when you see your baby for the first time. Joy, exuberance, relief, and gratitude are just a few of the ones that come to mind. It is a sweet and special moment, that is forever a part of your being. But, because I know the details of his arrival will slowly become foggy, I want to document them for our memories.
Rewind to my 39 week appointment on 2/8/12, where it turned out that I had not progressed any since 37 weeks.  I was still at 2.5 cm dilated and around 80% effaced. Due to this, Dr. Golden, Levi, and I discussed a potential induction for that Saturday the 11th. Throughout this entire pregnancy, I sincerely wanted to go into labor on my own and attempt a natural birth. With Avery, my body reacted very poorly to the pitocin and the epidural making for a truly horrible induction experience. I was really sick for the last 8 hours of the delivery and felt completely out of control of any aspect of bringing my child into the world. I attribute a lot of bad experience to being uneducated on the true process of labor. Throughout this pregnancy though I became very enlightened on many of the birthing techniques, labor preparedness exercises, and all that is natural labor. In particular, I focused on the Bradley Method for child birth (Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way). Thus when the topic of induction came up, I was definitely reluctant.

At one of my earlier visits, Dr. Golden and I discussed the issues I had during my first delivery and my preferences for this forward to this appointment and he spent a lot of time reassuring me that if we did induce, this time, it should be very different than the first. Apparently, based on Asher's station (-1) and having a favorable cervix, he anticipated beginning the induction about 8:00 a.m and that we would be holding our baby by 2:00 pm. Admittedly, it sounded perfect to both of us, but I could  not shake the guilt over scheduling and induction after working so diligently toward a natural birth. Dr. Golden lightened the moment though by telling me that "Guilt is so overrated!" I definitely needed to hear that :) He told us to sleep on the decision and let his nurse know what we wanted to do at some point the next day.

The next morning, I was pretty much an emotional wreck over the decision. I called my best friend Katherine and basically went over every good and bad aspect of the decision. She was great and allowed me to shed all of the tears I needed to. She is so diligent to pray for her friends needs, and I know also covered me and our family in her prayers. After we talked, I called Levi about 10:00. I let him know my doubts and he said, lets pray separately over the next couple of hours and at 2:00 talk again to make a final decision.
As I prayed, I truly began to feel a sense of peace about being induced. The timing was spot on for maximizing Levi's time off from work and I was in a lot of pain every night when I got home from work. Thinking about going in for another week seemed daunting. Yes, I could have just started my leave, but to sit at home when I could have either been at work or had the baby, seemed pointless. Also, boys in our immediate family (Levi, Alex, and Samuel), all have a history of hanging out well past their due dates and storing up food for the winter (i.e. getting large). Dr. Golden had estimated Asher to be around 7 lbs, which seemed pretty perfect to me. Based on how hard it was for Avery to move through the birth canal at 6 lbs. 10 oz. we knew that a baby over 8lbs would be hard for me to deliver. So, at 2:00 we talked, and God had aligned our hearts in agreement for an induction.

Looking back, many of the emotions I experienced over making the decision came not so much from deciding if we should induce, but more from the realization that our family was about to change forever. It was the first time I had allowed myself the freedom to grieve over the loss of our family of three. Would I be able to devote enough time and attention to both children, would Avery handle the transition ok, would we have a healthy delivery? I used that Thursday morning as time to reflect on the memories we had made with Avery over the last 2.5 years, as well as face all my fears and doubts about bringing a new little one into the picture. By bed time, I had released them all to the One who holds the world together. Through the delivery and these first few weeks, He has been faithful to provide for our every need.

Friday night, Avery stayed with my mom, while Levi and I prepared for the next day by going to bed early. We arrived at the hospital at 7:30. By 8:00, my nurse Madonna had me all set up and started the pitocin. I got my epidural at 9:30. It was a much different experience to get it when I wasn't in a lot of pain. I endured 8 hours of labor before getting it with Avery, which I think was part of why my delivery went so terribly the first time. This time, I knew I wanted it very early, so that I could remain as relaxed as possible and let the pitocin do the work. At 10:00 Dr. Golden broke my water and checked me. I was 3.5 cm dilated and 90% effaced. Levi and spent the next couple of hours talking and resting. I surfed the internet, he did crosswords. About 11:45 Dr. Golden checked me again and I was at 7 cm and pretty much thinned out. He said that by the time everyone ate lunch (except me of course), I would be complete and ready to push. Over the next hour, I could definitely feel pressure and the contractions getting stronger. I also started to feel nauseous, which is a good sign that things are moving along. At 12:45, he checked me again and sure enough, it was time to push!

I pushed with Levi and Madonna for about 15 minutes...I was even brave enough to use the mirror this time! Dr. G came back in at 1:00, by 1:08 Asher was here. Dr. Golden used the manual suction cup for about 20 seconds right at the end and before I knew it, he was saying stop pushing his head is out! Asher's cord was wrapped around his neck (so was Avery's) but shortly after he emerged, he began to softly cry. Then they laid him on my chest and I took in every little nook and cranny of our precious little blessing. So tiny, so new, so perfect! Levi cut the cord and they weighed and measured him. One part of my natural birth plan that I did stick to was asking that they not put the gooey stuff on his eyes. There is not a purpose to use this on most babies and for a short period of time, it makes their vision more blurry than it already is. After they cleaned him up, they laid him back on my chest. I cried as I nursed him for the first time. What an amazing gift from God. The moments He was allowing us to live were completely underserved, but here we were experiencing the birth of a second child. Oh how awesome is our God!

Levi is such an amazing birth coach. Through both births he has been right there for every hard, gross, sweet, and amazing moment. He is always so cool and collected and his words of affirmation give me so much confidence. I cannot imagine experiencing it with any one else. Once at home, he told me that seeing me hold his babies for the first time is when all the emotion hits him. Then I remembered that both our eyes filled with tears when they gave Asher to me the second time. I am so thankful for the love we share!
Because Avery's delivery was so long and unpredictable, we told our family that we would call when I started pushing. Levi's parents left Haleyville about 10:00 that morning thinking it would be at least late afternoon before he was here. Levi called my mom around lunch to let her know I was at 7 and he was born before she could get to the hospital. Asher had been here about 15 minutes when she arrived. To plug how wonderful my mom is, I got really sick at the hospital shortly after he was born (no reason to give details) and she was there to take care of patient and attentive. Lets just say I do not know what I would have done without her :)

By 3:00 the whole crew was there and Asher was meeting his big sister for the first time! It was priceless and Avery was interested in examining every little part of his cute face, his hands, and then even his toes! Eventually, the new wore off and she grew restless. Grandmommy and Grandaddy brought her back to our house where she was spoiled with lots of play time and candy (she loves Grandaddy's smarties).

The next couple of days for us were filled with lots of cuddling and getting to know Asher. I had the sweetest nurses who took great care of me and get ready for a shocker, but I actually like hospital food! We got breakfast out most days, but even Levi ate lunch and dinner in the cafeteria both days. Several sweet friends came to visit little Asher and before we knew it, Monday came and we were heading home! This entire experience (except the 2 hours after he was born that I was so sick), was much better. Dr. G says that all OBs wish they could specialize in the birth of 2nd babies...typically much easier and quicker deliveries. I am thankful that this was the case for me!

Asher you are simply too good to be true! Our days are so much sweeter with you in them. It is amazing how my heart grew to hold even more love than could already. My little boy, my son...I look forward to watching God's plan for your life unfold and am unbelievably grateful to be a part of your story.

Monday, February 6, 2012

As The End Draws Near...

 (37 weeks)

Wow, I will be 39 weeks Thursday! The weeks and months of this pregnancy have gone by so much more quickly than they did with Avery. Now, as I enter the final weeks, I am torn between experiencing our life as a family of three to the fullest, while yet deeply yearning to finally embrace this new little miracle inside of me. Very soon, life is going to be different for sure. I cannot wait to see how much joy and happiness he is going to add to our family.

A few nights ago, Levi and I were discussing just how well he feels like he knows Avery. Just like singing the words to our favorite song, we have a deep understanding for what she likes and dislikes, how to calm and comfort her, and what frustrates her. All of which to a parent is extremely comforting. We are, however, about to meet another person for the very first time and while this is insanely exciting and suspenseful, it is also a little bit scary. I remember holding Avery for the first time and loving her like crazy, solely because she was mine/ours. But, at the very same time, I was incredibly aware of how little I actually knew about her. Levi and I both agree that having a baby is a lot like dating and then marrying your spouse. As you learn more about the other person, your love grows deeper and stronger and you see just how God divinely made you for the other. God made us specifically to be Asher's parents and we cannot wait to begin learning all there is to know about him.

The over all theme of this pregnancy has been exhaustion. A week before I actually took a pregnancy test, I could barely stay awake for rides in the car. It was definitely the first sign that I pregnant. At first, I thought it had to do with it being a boy, but after talking with several friends who are pregnant with girls as their second, I think it has more to do with having another little one to chase around while also working full time. While pregnant with Avery, I napped and exercised a lot. The weather and seasons have been the exact opposite though. The extreme heat of this past summer was during the very worst parts of the nausea and exhaustion. Then, when I finally had the energy to walk, the time changed. It being dark outside once home from work, provides no motivation for activity beyond eating, a little play time with Avery, and falling in the bed. Levi has been wonderful about allowing me to nap. During weeks 8-12, he would walk through the door and I would immediately fall asleep. I am talking about deep, drool all over my face, awesome sleep. I couldn't keep my body from it if I had tried. You see, sleep is an extremely deep need for me. I do not function without it. Thankfully, I have been able to sleep soundly through every night with both pregnancies. I am made for sleep! It is because of that, that I praise God for Levi, and the chiropractor during pregnancy and Babywise for afterwards.

This pregnancy, as with my last, has been pretty textbook. Since about 28 weeks, I have measured about a week behind. My progression has been a little quicker than with Avery. At my 36 week appointment (the first check) I was 1.5 cm dilated and 75% effaced and then at 37 weeks, 2 cm and 80%. At 38 weeks there really wasn't much change. I will be interested to see on Wednesday if I am moving along. He kicks and moves around a lot. Levi and I have had lots of laughs at night when we are trying to go to sleep. He goes into hypermode about 10:30, but as I mentioned above, it really doesn't affect my ability to sleep. I am to the point that I can tell it is a foot or knee jetting out of my stomach. Honestly, this is the part I missed most after having Avery. I am fully aware of how special it is to feel a baby move inside of you and it something I never take for granted.

In general, I am a pretty intense and emotional person. However, my emotions have definitely been heightned by this pregnancy. When they need to come, tears flow freely. When I am happy or frustrated, it is to the extreme. I think everyone in my life will be glad when my emotions return back to those of normal Emily. Thanks to post-partum hormones, I am sure it will be several months before all hormones are settled though!

(35 Weeks, we didn't take pictures in front of the tree until 1/8!)

Since Christmas, I have had lots of lower back and ligament issues. Sometimes it hurts so bad that I can barely walk or sit (depending on where the pain is concentrated). Because I hate to be out of commission, this has been particularly hard for me. On certain nights after work, I have had to come home and do nothing. This would be ok if there was not so much that I could be doing. It really makes me crazy. God has definitely used this to teach me a lot about patience and accepting/asking for help. Unfortunately, at times, I  have let this affect my overall attitude and had to really concentrate on being postitive and thankful in all circumstances. I guess, just suffice it to say that I have learned a lot about myself throughout this pregnancy (some good, some bad).

We are in an exciting and blessed season of life! I am looking forward to experiencing another birth with Levi by my side and am working to trust God with all of the details. I cannot wait to see Avery love on her little brother for the first time and then dream about how close they will become in the future. He is being born into a pretty fun and crazy family and we know he is going to fit right in!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

And Just Like That...

She was potty trained! The title of this post is more in relation to how fast each milestone has come and gone, rather than how quickly she was actually potty trained. I remember putting her bottles up, then her pacis, and now we have a drawer stocked with big girl panties. Watching a little one grow really shows you how quickly time passes. While each moment of raising a child is not pleasant, they are all fleeting and I am thankful to get to experience this journey! So, for the is her potty training story!

Avery was the very last toddler in her class at school to turn 2. For her this means that she gets to watch all of the other older kids for cues on development. For us, the age difference has brought both good and bad behavior earlier than normal. We are definitely happy about the push it gave her for potty training. Back in May (20 months old), her teachers picked up on when she wanted to go #2 in the potty. She would do this a couple times per week and really liked the praise and silly bands she received as a result. This behavior never happened at home though. We decided we wanted to let her get very used to the idea of using the potty without putting pressure on her to be trained. This led us to buy a ring that fits in our normal toilet and to sit her on it while wearing a diaper. We would talk about how Mommy, Daddy, and other family all wear big boy and big girl underwear and put their tee tee and poo poo in the potty. We decided very shortly after she was born not to buy a separate potty and feel that it was a great decision for us. Our thoughts are that there will never be a separate potty at restaurants, other people's houses, or at sporting events, so why create a dependence on one?

We decided that potty training D-Day would come the first weekend in November (26 months old). Between home games and trips out of town and to conquer it with plenty of time left before baby boy arrives, it was the only weekend that would work. We made a commitment not to travel for at least 4 weekends after the initial training weekend. D-Day for us meant no more diapers (except for naps and night time). So, I ordered gerber cotton training pants that are just a little thicker than normal panties, from amazon. My mom actually used the same ones to train us and we too have been very impressed. Avery likes they way the feel a lot more than just regular panties. They are much softer and she notices the difference. We also had a couple of other packs of regular minnie mouse and hello kitty for back up. Avery's Aunt B bought her a potty stool which really got her pumped. We bought marshmallows and M&Ms for rewards, but didn't buy any other special gifts or treats for training. Lastly, we made a decision to not use pull ups at all. For our household, it is either a diaper or real underwear, no in-betweens. If the training didn't go as expected, we were going back to diapers...

Both Thursday and Friday were spent talking about how diapers were going to go bye-bye and that she was about to only wear big girl panties. We even let her wear the panties over her diaper on those nights. Saturday morning we woke up and immediately put on her panties in preparation for the day. We told her that when she needed to go tee-tee to say it really loud and take off running toward the potty. At the recommendation of a friend, we downloaded the potty training boot camp e-book. Just to document, we also ordered a travel potty for the car (it is basically just a hole that you can put a bag down in if you are at the park or leave open if you have to pull over on the side of of the road) and then a protector for her car seat is there were to be an accident in the car.

She told us a couple of times that she needed to go, but nothing happened. Then she had 2 tee tee accidents in her panties and one with nothing on. After this accident (I think seeing it in the floor really grossed her out) and lots of talk about keeping her panties dry and how awesome it is to put her tee tee in the potty, she started to succeed. Those were the only tee tee accidents we had at home during the three days of training. So, even though it is recommended to stay at home for the three days, we decided to venture out to church on Sunday. I packed her extra clothes and panties and off we went. When dropping her off  in the twos nursery class, I found that she was the only one in there who was starting to train. Because none of the volunteers had any experience with taking little ones to the potty and watching for cues, I had serious doubts that she would make it through church without an accident. Sure enough, she tee teed and had to be changed. Once at home that day, she did great with tee tee the rest of the night and the entire next day

Now on to poo poo! Saturday, she had one accident that night. She went to the bathroom and used it next to the toilet without us knowing. When we found it, she helped us clean it up and we talked about how gross it is when we don't put our poo poo in the potty. Her next accident came on Sunday night in her pants and it was a big one. Again, we made a huge deal out of how stinky and nasty it was in her panties. She helped me dump it in the potty and then since she needed a bath anyways, I stripped her down and put her in the tub so she could help me wash her panties out. Watching the poopy wash off her panties and into the tub really threw her for a loop. She kept trying to back away from the faucet and was worried about it getting on her legs. It was just the event we needed for driving the point home (thanks potty training boot camp). On Monday, SUCCESS, no tee tee or poo poo accidents and when she had her first poopy in the potty, we went for an ice cream cone at Micky Ds! She stayed in her pajama top, but wanted to wear the ballet tutu over her panties! Her eyes are closed in both pictures, but you can see how happy she was herself!

Once back at school on Tuesday, she had one accident and since then no more. The next Sunday at church, she stayed with us during the service and Sunday School and went to the bathroom twice while there. We took her back to the nursery for the third Sunday and she did great with telling them when she needed to go. We were truly amazed at how much she wanted to use the potty. She loved and still loves the verbal praise she gets for going. I am glad we stuck to small rewards (a piece of candy, getting to watch elmo, ice cream cone, silly bands, and verbal praise) as incentive to stay dry. We wanted her to really grasp that this being a big girl means using the potty and to not associate it so much with rewards. We played on the fact that she likes doing what everyone else in our family does.

Our first long car trip was December 15th and she let us know throughout the trip when she needed to go. Between the two of us, I think we stopped about 6 times on the 4 hour drive to Haleyville. Levi was about to lose his mind! Who knows when we will move out of diapers at nap and at night...I am sure it will come developmentally at some point. Our main goal was to have her trained before little guy gets here and that is accomplished. I am interested to see if she will regress once he is here. We will deal with that when it comes!

Levi and I were at home together Saturday and Sunday and wow, did we need each other's support throughout the process. At different times we gave each other encouragement for how big this step really was and to ease up on ourselves and the expectations we had. We made sure to make the house seem as loving as possible and asked God to shower us with grace and strength to help Avery achieve this milestone. We also prayed for Avery. That she would be willing to yield to our encouragement and believe that she could do it. After doing this, we decided that if after three days there was no progress, we would pick it back up at Christmas. We really did try to take the pressure out of the process. In the end, Avery's journey was pretty short and a success. I will be interested to see what it like to train a little boy. We know everything could be different and hope to compare their development as little as possible.

The funniest moment so far came during December. When getting ready to leave for school, she told me her tummy was hurting. I asked if she wanted to go to the potty and she said "no, I want to wait till I get to school." Basically, she was holding our for a silly band reward :) Such a little mess she is!